“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Can McGician Win?

McCain. Is he the magician that can save the Republican Party? It is so absurd, you have to assume it is possible.


Republicans forced to turn to their nemesis: John McCain

By Albert R. Hunt Bloomberg News
Published: May 11, 2008

The Republican political establishment is looking to the devil to deliver them, the man many have depicted as the incarnation of evil: John McCain.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are petrified about a November debacle, a fear stoked on May 3, when they lost their second straight special election in a district held by Republicans.

The party's fundamental situation is terrible: Republicans are saddled with an enormously unpopular president, a war, a troubled economy and a Democratic opposition that's being energized by important constituent groups.

"The generics are as bad as anytime since I have been here," said Representative Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican and one of the most politically astute members of Congress in either party. Davis, a 14-year veteran, is retiring this year, frustrated with his party's long-term prospects.

In a delicious irony, the one bright spot is McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. A few months ago, McCain spoke to the party's caucus in the House of Representatives and said that he would campaign in any district where he was wanted and stay out of any where he would be a liability.

"I don't know of anyone that doesn't want him in," said Representative Ray LaHood, an Illinois Republican who is also retiring.

This is turning history on its head. Not long ago, the independent-minded McCain was vilified by his party's leaders.

Tom DeLay - the former Republican majority leader who was once the most powerful official the House had had in years - complained that McCain "has done more to hurt the Republican Party than any elected official I know of." Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert once suggested that McCain, a decorated prisoner of war in Vietnam, didn't understand sacrifice.

This year, Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi said the thought of a McCain presidency "sends a cold chill down my spine." His former Mississippi colleague, Trent Lott, has endorsed McCain; eight years earlier, Lott's comments about the Arizona lawmaker were unprintable.

The czar of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, said earlier this year that a McCain nomination would "destroy" Republicans: "He has stabbed his own party in the back I can't tell you how many times."

There is a situational element to these attitudes; McCain is fine when he's useful to them.
(keepin on)
Too good to miss. ht Doug ht meaningless hot air


  1. If I want to read myself saying nothing and doing it badly, I can always read Albert Hunt.

    He's one of those figures in the media who remind the mediocre that in America all things are possible if only you believe.

    Right up there with Eleanor Clift.

  2. I agree. it is a case where you are justified in shooting the messenger and heed the message.

  3. I don't know what McCain's chances are. I hope that they are more than 50/50 not because I believe he is the best man for the job, (the best candidate, yes). I find so much of McCain antithetical to conservatism but I have no other choice and I am resigned to what seems to be an evitable move to the left. What I hope McCain will do is maintain a center-right Supreme court and somehow find a way to check the coming Democrat pogroms.

  4. I am indecisive about which thread to put on top...Democrat pogroms...Partner, i inhaled my coffee the wrong way...has the workers comp policy been paid?

  5. Speaking with reporters in Bend, Ore., Obama brushed aside suggestions that the fall campaign may be largely about his race, liberalism or patriotism.

    "In a contest between myself and John McCain," he said, "there is going to be a very clear choice on policy that I don't think is going to have to do with ideology and who theoretically is more liberal or who's more conservative. I think it is going to have to do with who has a plan to provide relief to people when it comes to their gas prices, who has a real plan to make sure that everybody has health insurance, who's got a real plan to deal with college affordability."

    "So rather than an abstract set of questions about, 'Is he too liberal, is he too conservative, how do voters handle an African American, et cetera,' I think this is going to be a very concrete contest around very specific plans for how we improve the lives of Americans and our vision for the future," he said.,

    Can Obama sell his "very specific" plans in the market place of ideas? How can he be very specific without revealing his political essence?

  6. I equivocated, then leapt indecisively. With such qualities I could have been a Civil War General for the Union Army.

  7. I took the liberty of appending Doug's brilliant YouTube hattip to the bottom of this post.

    Happy Mother's Day to all the EB mothers.

    I will resume on the other side of brunch.

  8. They both espouse leftist, and, sometimes, Looney ideas. the difference, I'm afraid, is that McCain believes them; whereas, Obama is just cynical, and smart enough to say them. (like the NAFTA deal.)

    I'll vote for the "smart" cynic, everytime. Those idiots will get you killed. That said, it's gonna be a long 8 years (Bobal, and I hope so, anyway; we're getting on in years, you know:)

  9. This is what you're getting, Terr-bear, when you vote for this guy: McCain promises four more years of Bush.

    He pushed the Surge and sings ditties about bombing Iran.

    He voted against HR 2082 which would have prevented the CIA from waterboarding prisoners.

    He flip-flopped and now favors tax cuts which are really a transfer of wealth from our children and grandchildren.

    He supports privatizing Social Security.

    He opposes the Jim Webb GI Bill (funny way to support our troops).

    He opposes a federal minimum wage and has voted to repeal it. His idea of a minimum wage is a nice round number, like "0"

    He votes against ethanol subsidies for our own farmers, and pushes ethanol imports, no surprise there since he's in favor of NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO.

    He wants to teach ID in schools. And Terr-bear, pay attention, he supported the bill in Arizona to outlaw gay marriage in 2006 and doesn't even support civil unions.

  10. It certainly is an interesting election year. On that we can all agree.

  11. "He pushed the Surge and sings ditties about bombing Iran. "

    Should the surge be opposed?

    Should Iran be bombed?

  12. "..he supported the bill in Arizona to outlaw gay marriage in 2006 and doesn't even support civil unions."

    And now he's got my vote.

  13. Chewie, do you know where you are? You're in the Elephant Bar. The Elephant Bar. Congratulations, Babygirl, you just gave the barflies here a half-dozen reasons to plug their nose and vote for McCain.

  14. "Israel the shield may very soon have to become the Israel the sword."


    I like the way you stack the odds. Six million Israel the shield and the sword for 6 billion popcorn munchers. :)

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Doug,

    Thanks for that translation.

  17. Mat said @ 12:13

    "..he supported the bill in Arizona to outlaw gay marriage in 2006 and doesn't even support civil unions."

    And now he's got my vote.

    Amen, Mat.

    I had, originally, skipped over the
    Katchoo comment so I went back to read it all.

    Having done so, I'm thinkin', maybe McCain isn't all bad.

  18. Lassen Sie das Teufelnehmen Obama, diese Penis!

  19. Teresita said:

    "Chewie, do you know where you are? You're in the Elephant Bar. The Elephant Bar. Congratulations, Babygirl, you just gave the barflies here a half-dozen reasons to plug their nose and vote for McCain.'

    Heh, heh, heh. Suddenly, the day is looking better.

  20. He flip-flopped and now favors tax cuts.

    Now he's got my vote too.

    Who are these new people, chewie, and terr-bear?

  21. Danke für das gute Lachen, Doug.

  22. Obama ist a sitzt und pisser. Und sitstenblinker.

  23. Das Muncher Munster Gallaria:

  24. Ein latte Trinken sitzen und pisser.

  25. For our Jewish readers:

    Ein latte drinken zitzen und pisher.

  26. A gutte mornen far dir ech. :)

  27. What was that phrase--a sit and pisser--how did that translate? Can't remember for sure. It was all one word I think.

  28. Vas ist gutten about it? My bones ache.:)

  29. Bobal: Who are these new people, chewie, and terr-bear?

    Katchoo and David (or Lucky Pierre, you've seen him around) are puppies who followed me home from the Joel Rosenberg blog when he turned off his comments, just like Kudlow did a few months back. That's a pro-Israel end-of-the-world blog. We talk to each other in the #scripture chatroom on IRC, and I'm teaching them how to set up their blogs and MySpace pages.

  30. Can McCain win?
    All depends on the white middle class. So, yes, he can. Yes, he can.
    If I only had a hibernate button, set on 8.

    All puppies are welcome, terr-bear! And I can see why a puppy would follow that profile home:)

  31. "What was that phrase"

    There's only one phrase one needs to remember for Hussein Obama and his clan:

    Gey kaken afon yam.
    (Go shit in the sea).

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Bob said it well. We are very inclusive here at the bar, but you may want to keep on your flak jacket just in case. Whit and I only care about you paying your bar bill.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Still, Obama’s race and name are different enough for some people that they cannot support him. Bill Donovan of Inez says he’s not racist, and would love to support a black candidate like former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    But he believes that Obama is a Muslim and therefore unsuited to be president. “He was born and reared a Muslim,” Donovan said. “He can say whatever he wants to say but he is what he is. We’re fighting a war on terror and we don’t need a fox in the henhouse.”

    Kentucky Poll: Race An Issue

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Kudlow is right about McCain, he should start calling for a commitment to a strong dollar...

    Beijing and Riyadh will call the shots on ailing dollar's future (Telegraph)

    By Liam Halligan

    Only a month ago the dollar slumped to an all-time low against the euro. And it's just five weeks since the greenback hit a 12-year low against the yen.

    But now, the US currency has started to strengthen - with the markets talking about a "turning point". On Wednesday, the dollar reached a six-week high against the European single currency, closing in on $1.53 - an improvement of more than 5 cents. And on the same day, the greenback climbed to a 10-week peak against the pound.

    But does the dollar remain in danger? Could "the rope slip" and the world's pivotal currency still go into freefall? That would plunge America beyond recession and into depression - as inflation ballooned amid soaring import costs, forcing the Federal Reserve to raise rates in the teeth of shuddering slowdown.

    A plummeting US currency would also cause chaos globally, as central banks sought to protect the value of their reserves. And after the inevitable overshoot, the currency would snap back, sending financial markets into a tailspin, and threatening a fully-blown global slump.

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Obama Keeps Bad Company

    Mat just likes the sounds of that Gey kaken afon yam, and I do too.

  40. I would not want to be the one to pay for the broken chairs and tables in this place.

  41. Hey, look at that! Ol' Dreher referring to "Marxist Antonio Gramsci."

  42. Slow, It has been quieter since you forced Habu into early retirement.

  43. Thank God, they're virtual.

  44. Right now, the weak dollar is working it's magic, just like it's supposed to. Non-Oil Imports are down, and Exports are Sky-Rocketing.

    The unemployment rate is holding steady at about 5%, and incomes and spending are holding up.

    Hoover was Very Concerned about the strength of the Dollar. Sure enough, by 32' the dollar was King.

    Problem was, nobody in our family had a Dollar.

  45. Potlatch Corp. here is going gangbusters with the weak dollar. Exports to Europe(they got few trees) up 500%. Things are wonderful around this mill town, right now. The Euros, they got to wipe too. And we provide the wipes.

    Dreher must have a controversial past? Never heard of the guy.


  46. It's Mother's Day. We shouldn't do this to GIAI (Or to Ourselves.)

    Have your Barf Bag ready.

    Tar Sands The alternative to biofuels.

  47. Ditto Rufus on the dollar.

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Doug don't open that Rufus-link, it's a PDF, your Vista will choke on it!

    Rufus, I love tarsands. Canada is our bestest buddy. I know it's still a matter of mining energy instead of farming it, so it's not carbon-neutral, but I don't care about carbon. We're probably in a cooling phase anyway.

  50. Ah, T, you know I think the whole CO2/AGW stuff is Silly Horseshit to the Nth; but, dang that is an awful big Toxic Mess up there.

    I can't believe the Canadians haven't gone Crazy over that.

    Did you know that Atlantic Richfield actually worked out a deal with the Canadian Government back in the Seventies, I think it was, to "Heat them Up" using nukes?

    Honest, I didn't make that up.

  51. Hmm, that's interesting. It reposted the comment as I refreshed the page. Sorry about that.

  52. Rufus, now you mention it, I think I kinda recall that, dimly.

    Sounds like one of Edward 'Father of the H-bomb' Teller's fantasies.

  53. Like using H-bombs to make a new improved Panama Canal, or harbors in Alaska.

  54. Dr. Bill was saying last night we ought to just fly C-130's over Burma and drop food packets and water bottles, and the hell with permission from the junta.

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Bobal: Like using H-bombs to make a new improved Panama Canal, or harbors in Alaska.

    In my silly little comic book I use H-bombs to make domed cities on Mars. But then, space is a good place for nukes, not this fragile place.

  57. Bobal: Dr. Bill was saying last night we ought to just fly C-130's over Burma and drop food packets and water bottles, and the hell with permission from the junta.

    The risk-benefit ratio is too small. Even if you use Puff the Magic Dragon, who can defend himself nicely, there's not enough cargo space to make a dent on the magnitude of this need.

  58. "there's not enough cargo space to make a dent on the magnitude of this need."
    So we help none because we can not help them all?

  59. Joe Buzz, ever since Mogadishu, "Black Hawk Down" I say we don't ram our help down unwilling throats.

  60. The throats to be helped aren't unwilling. They'd see it as manna from heaven.

  61. Street vendors offer to exchange cash on the black market. On a bench beside a lake, a couple cuddle and try to fend off curious gazes with a parasol.

    A few hundred metres further on, a roadblock has been set up. The house behind it is the home of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyii, opposition leader under house arrest for years.

    Those who do not want to incur the wrath of the military government had better stay far away from that roadblock.

    Rigged Elections

  62. And so the "Right" converges on McCain's position, rallying to his faded banner.

    As the candidate that has engineered limitations on political speach, just prior to elections, when it is most vital.

    To being the public face of "Comprehensive Immigration Reform".

    The candidate that favors government for the government and by the government. Wanting to deny the public the opportunity to vote with their wallets.

    Whose wife refuses to make her income amounts and sources public.

    Imagine if Bill Clinton or Michele Obama had taken that stand. Oh the outrage that would be forth coming.
    The need for transparency

    Makes the Clinton's income of the past ten years pale in comparison, from sources more unsavory.

    Ride to sound of the guns!

    Even if McCain were to win an electoral college victory, the House and Senate Democratic majorities will be free to chart their own course for the government.

    It'll be interestiing campaign to watch

  63. I may be in the minority, but I think McCain has a good chance. Particularily if there's some kind of terrorist trouble, folks might look to the old warhorse.

    The whole political year looks like a disaster.

    Billary still campaigning like hell in W. Virginia. Going for the 'working class vote', wink,wink,nod,nod.

  64. Does McCain go "right" or stay "center" with his VP choice?

    A little known governor, or an election neophyte appointment politico?

    Another Senate insider?

  65. I'm tempted to say go black or female. Maybe he'll go mob.

  66. A clean Budwiser distributor. Most folk can relate to that.

  67. After listening to Michio Kaku, who has his own program now, interviewing an Australian scientist, Chris Turney, I am beginning to weaken again on global warming. I don't know what's going on.

    The best thing we can do is build nuclear power plants and quit this burning coal.