“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."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Misunderestimating Your Political Enemies

Looking for love
December 01, 2008
W Too Nice to be President?
By Larrey Anderson American Thinker

Conservatism needs a fresh start. It is losing arguments ... and it is losing elections. One person, more than any other (even more than John McCain), has caused this: President George W. Bush.

Conservatives have not been winning arguments -- or elections -- by defending President Bush and his record. We have been, repeatedly, thumped rhetorically and electorally in our efforts to support his policies. It is time for conservatives to move on.

George W. Bush is undoubtedly a sincere man. He is, in all probability, a good man. His dramatic conversion to Christianity indicates that he, at least at this point in his life, is a man of high moral principles. He is compassionate. And therein lies the problem: President Bush was too compassionate to be a good president.

A few conservatives saw this coming. I remember cringing at Bush's promise for "compassionate conservatism" and at these lines from his first Inaugural Address:

Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.

America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.

President Bush really believed this -- and probably still does. His opposition on the left, however, never has believed it and never will. President Bush "misunderestimated" the ruthlessness of his political opposition. And the Democrats spent eight years running circles around him. As a result, conservatism will probably spend the next eight years paying for Bush's naïveté.

The reason we will pay is because partisan politics, in spite of what President Bush and Senator McCain believe or would have us believe, is not a quest for civility, or respect, or fair dealing, or forgiveness. Partisan politics is the pursuit, acquisition, and the use of power.

Our Founding Fathers were well aware of this cold hard political fact. They were not congenial in their descriptions of the process:

The inference to which we are brought is that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.
[Federalist Papers, Number 10, Madison. Emphasis in original.]

Our Constitution was not written to ensure forgiveness. It was written to prevent any one political faction from obtaining too much power.

The founders did not demand or expect cooperation and compromise between competing political ideologies -- they wanted and expected wide-eyed and vocal competition:

To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectiveness. [Federalist Papers, Number 1, Hamilton.]

Any politician who claims that politics is or can become a cooperative and civil process is either gullible (Bush) or is deliberately trying to deceive his constituency (Obama).

Conservatives must decisively distance themselves from the failed Bush administration. We cannot rationally defend President Bush's legacy and conservative policies or principles in the same argument. All such attempts are doomed to failure.
  • We say: "The bailout was a horrible idea." The left responds: "It was George Bush's proposal."
  • We argue that Medicare and Medicaid are bankrupt. The left counters that George Bush pushed through comprehensive free prescriptions for the elderly.
  • We assert that our educational system is a disaster. The retort from the opposition: "No Child Left Behind."
  • We contend that federal spending is out of control. The left just laughs at that one: "Ten years of Republican control of both Houses of Congress and most of those years with Bush in the White House. It is absurd to blame out of control spending on the Democrats."
  • We insist that something must be done to stop illegal immigration. The left doubles over in laughter. Bush was on their side of this debate -- not ours.
And the left is right on every one of these issues.

The Bush administration was a near disaster even when the president stuck to his "compassionate conservative" principles. Bush spent the first few years of the war in Iraq conducting a "kinder and gentler" conflict. (Remember all of those months when the Islamofascists ran Fallujah?) If not for the absolute strategic necessity of the very late "surge" the war would have been lost.

And Bush nearly appointed an inexpert "school marm" (remember Harriet Miers?) to the U.S. Supreme Court. No doubt Bush thought it the decent thing to do as a repayment for her many kindnesses and unwavering support -- but it was a bad idea. If not for the outcry from the conservatives in America, Bush would have appointed an inexperienced version of a Sandra Day O'Connor to a crucial seat on the Court.

In short, almost nothing good was accomplished during the Bush Administration -- either for conservatives or for America. Let us no longer fool ourselves. Let us stop defending the indefensible. George W. Bush was no conservative. And he was too nice to be president.


  1. Nice guys finish last, and the most compassionate end on the cross.

    I can't believe it's always like that.Just refuse to believe it, though it may be true.

    Palin In Georgia Campaigning For Chambliss

    Says a lot about my Lady, that they want someone from Wasilia, Alaska to be campaigning in Georgia. She'll do him some good too, I think, and I'm predicting Chambliss will win.

  2. Allegators and crocodiles don't age, and a parrot can live to be a hundred. They have good DNA repair mechanisms. So I learned tonight on C2C with Dr. Kaku. And we may live in a reality of an infinite number of bubble universes. Unending. He says, "I'm comfortable with that."


  3. Dead-ass on target, Deuce. I've said that to my wife dozens of times. He's too nice and he doesn't make his enemies pay for crossing him. Probably comes from living the charmed life - he may have had some personal tough times with the bottle, but that aint the same as having tough times creating and growing a business, professional practice or other such pursuits where you must live by wits and honor and repays dishonor in a manner that teaches its practioner not to do it to you again.

    Bobal, I'm gonna begrudgingly vote for Saxby, like i did a month ago, but he ought to be beating Martin like a drum. He's not because he practiced a form of Bush/McCain compassionate, non-partisan politics - supporting that Illegal immigration bill until the last minute, supported the bailout, supported that idiotic plan to limit drilling to 4 states (one of which was GA, which has all of 100 miles of coastland, with a sub base right in the middle of it. Ridiculous. But i'm gonna vote for the fucker and hope he learned his lesson. If not, no second chance next time around.

  4. Very interesting times right now for the Republican party. The Rockefeller bluebloods and Goldwater libertarians are claiming that the party needs to jettison the far right Christians.

    "Far right Christians? Can you believe it? Since when in America, can Christians be labeled "far right?"

    I think the country has lost it collective mind and victory will go to whovever can effectively grab power in the chaos. I.E. Obama.

  5. GW Bush, he was always a Republican, never a conservative.

    The two are incompatable.

    The Republicans being a type of socialist, the conservatives not holding a single seat or State.

    While even a registered Socialist, does hold a seat, in Congress.

    The Christians I know, and those that are in politics, are liberals, like GW Bush. There being nothing from the results of his his tenure that could be described as advancing the conservative cause.

    Though many, many examples of his supporting and advocating the socialist position.

    The primary one being the election of Barack H. Obama as a direct consequence of GW Bush's performance during his tenure.

  6. Then, there are the majority of you guys, that supported an even more liberal candidate than GW Bush, because ... he was a "better man".

    Which is subject to debate, in and of itself, but what is not subject to debate, no one ever supported John McCain because of his "positions'" on policy. None of his supporters, here, ever even tried.

    So the 'system' presented a unipolar binary choice. Leaving much of the electorate with no one that mirrored their political convictions. Or maybe McCain did, mirror their convictions, there not being many conservatives left, in America.

  7. ... Ten minutes of Googling will bring you to a fine article, “The Ideologies of South Asian Jihadi Groups,” from the April 2005 issue of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. It’s by the respected journalist and diplomat Husain Haqqani, who, as it happens, is now Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States.

    Lashkar-e-Taiba, Haqqani explains, is a jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion, “backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services.” He notes that “Lashkar-e-Taiba has adopted a maximalist agenda for global jihad.” Indeed, the political arm of the group has conveniently published a pamphlet, “Why Are We Waging Jihad?,” that lays out all kinds of reasons why the United States, Israel and India are “existential enemies of Islam.”

    So much for Leach’s notion that the Mumbai terrorists had no “cause” or “rationale.” But Leach’s refusal to see this is in the service of persuading India not to respond in a “nationalistic” way — and of persuading the United States not to see itself primarily as standing with India against our common enemies.

    But if terror groups are to be defeated, it is national governments that will have to do so.


    The ISI is part of a National Government, it's just that there are none so blind as those that refuse to see.

    The reality of reality just to much for them to contemplate.

  8. Dr. Kaku was talking about this situation on C2C tonight.
    While I'm not certain he knew what he was talking about on this subject, he was saying both sides are on launch on warning, and it's like both sides having a cocked .45 a few inches from the head, and that since their warning systems are quite primitive compared to ours, they might well end up in an accidental nuclear war. A flight of birds, an electric storm, a malfunction.....

    He gave an example from our history, when they turned on an over the horizon radar and it locked onto the moon, and sent a warning.

    Could happen I quess, but I didn't know--if it's true--that both sides had warheads sitting on missiles. Their bombs are quite dirty too, compared to ours, he said, and the fallout would reach the USA and Europe in a couple of days.

    Pakistan has around 40 warheads he thought, and India about 80.

    Buy powdered milk now.

    He also thought the north pole is still going to melt, though delayed a bit, due to the recent lack of activity on the sun. The poles of the sun flip every 11 years, due to the rotation of the sun. And he was worried about the permafrost melting, releasing runaway methane. Methane may have been the cause of the Permian extinctions too, when 90% of the sea creatures went missing, so one theory goes.

  9. He held off the Global Warmeners, gave us Missile Defense, Protected the Oil, Got us Started on Biofuels, Opened Trade Deals, Everywhere, and had our Deficit down to the cost of the War.

    The "Conservatives" gave us The Great Depression (along with the "Liberals.")

    Piss on the Conservatives; and Piss on the Liberals. Right down the "Middle" is where George went, and "Right down the Middle" is Where I like it.

    I'd vote for him, again. (We would have to have a little talk about immigration, and housing, though.)

  10. The North Pole "Melts" about every 30, or 40 years. It's cyclical.

    As for India, and Pakistan. Let'em have at it. India's way overrated, and Pakistan needs a "mass extinction." It'd be "good for their nuts." :)

  11. I think after a while we may kind of miss George.

  12. That leaves the US with no new drilling, no new nuclear plants, no new hydro plants and no new coal plants.

    Pray For Warm Winters

  13. Whit: "Far right Christians? Can you believe it? Since when in America, can Christians be labeled "far right?"

    When you have John Hagee and Joel Rosenberg calling for Iran to be attacked to force Jesus to start his eschatological timetable early. When the President of the United States tells Palestinian leaders that God told him to invade Iraq and bring democracy to the Middle-East. When the Republicans throw their 'states rights' rhetoric out the window and use federal legislation to keep Terri Schialvo plugged into the wall forever. I could write a whole essay, but it's Monday, gotta work for the Man.

  14. ah, Ruby, couple of wayward preachers don't make the vast majority of the Christians of America 'far right wing', whatever the heck that's supposed to mean.

    Whit's right.

  15. Not to be left out...

    My party won...

    We now have a messiah we can believe in...

    (pardon be while i vomit)

    I STILL do not trust this empty suit...

    Publically he looks, sounds and feels normal...

    but then small insights start to appear...

    Robert Malley...

    Susan Powers...

    I am IN CHARGE...

    I am NOT impressed...

  16. Most Americans go get themselves an hour, or so, of "Bible-thumping" every Sunday, and figure that's enough. We don't want our Government making serious Economic, and Security decisions based on someone's "Religious" views.

    Accordingly, we're pretty "independent-minded," but we know there's a time and place for Government to get "involved" in economics, and business.

    In short, we pretty much want our government to keep at least two wheels "on the road," and stay away from the "Extremes."

    "Movement" are fun, but come Monday morning it's time to "make a living."

  17. Here is an article guaranteed to give deuce indigestion, and in Pennslyvania too.

  18. Obama is probably going to be an "Interesting" ride. McCain, on the other hand, would have just been "Tiresome."

  19. "I told you, my daughter, you got to careful with these things. I just wanted to show you what happens when you're not."

  20. Conservatives/Libertarians/Greens need to dispense with the two party kabuki theater. They need to campaign as separate parties and allow for an agreement for a governing coalition. The Republicans have no business in this coalition, they're really big gov corporates and are pretty much the same animal as the blue state libs, but with the car/oil/defense welfare industry as their constituency. I see no problem with Christians as part of the Conservative/Libertarian/Green coalition.

  21. I Don't Like This

    Been hearing about this for awhile. We've never had this before. Coupled with Obama's Civilian Security Corps or whatever the hell it was to be called.

    I've got Dennis Miller's spooky vibes over this stuff.

  22. We might be better off with a Parliament. My lawyer has thought so at times. Trouble is, we got what we got. And we often don't even follow the constitution.

  23. I'd rather call up the Idaho Militia, of which I was a member, though I knew it not, than have the Army running around the country.

  24. bobal said...
    I Don't Like This

    What Federal Empire, bob?

  25. 'tis a bad sign, in my mind, Rat.

    If they'd put them down on the border I might reconsider.

  26. plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011.

    Anniversary of 9-11

  27. Come on Ruby, Hagee never called for an attack on Iran to bring on the End Times. He is the first to admit that event is out of human hands.

    I don't know anything about Mr. Rosenberg.

  28. But they are not guarding the frontier, bob. Would that they were. But they want to have rapid response teams, to back up the civilian corps, if there is an emergency.

    Well beyond the National Guard capacities.

    The Long War threatens the Homeland, bob.

    Just another one of the reasons it cannot end.

  29. Yes, Plaxico Burress is an idiot who shot himself in the leg but $100,000 bail? That is ridiculous. Plus, the man was taken to court in handcuffs.

  30. Joel Rosenberg on Glenn Beck Show

    Show is in Five parts. Also, on other videos, Beck talks to Hagee.

  31. "Conservatives must decisively distance themselves from the failed Bush administration."

    Which is kind of like saying that you ought to call it quits after she's cleaned out her side of the medicine cabinet and caught the last flight back to...Crawford.

    You shacked up with her for eight years, buddy. Must've gotten something out of it.

    My urgent recommendation is to identify that something.

    Bush was too nice? You think liberals and progressives didn't spend the past eight years saying the exact same thing about their own leadership? Does American Thinker get out much?

    But the fact is, Bush wasn't nice, never mind too nice. Like many of those he hired, and most of those he trusted, he was arrogant, prickly, inflexible, incurious, and alienating. None of which have political causes, but all of which have political consequences.

    The Compassionate Conservative Thing has been remarked and lamented for years. Saying goodbye to all that at the moment it comes to its close is a little too...obvious. And frankly, ungracious.

  32. Just another reason not to reside in New York, or New Jersey for that matter.

  33. CHICAGO – Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind.

    The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. The study also found that fewer than 25 percent of college-aged Americans with mental problems get treatment.

    1 in 5 young adults has personality disorder

    So, nine out of ten EB'ers do, too.

  34. Yeah, I've said to myself all along, bob, all these people are nuts. :)

    Looks like Big Bill "Bubba" Clinton may be heading for Hillary's Senate seat.

    ah, shit, can't we ever get rid of them? I mean really......

  35. Blogger whit said...

    CHICAGO – Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder...

    Great, get 'em each a big ole gun!!


    by Bob Vernon, Honest American News - Plains Radio Network

    December 1, 2008

    On November 19, 2008, the official United States Supreme Court Docket for case number 08A407 - Leo C. Donofrio v. Nina Mitchell Wells, Secretary of State of the State of New Jersey - was updated to show that the “emergency stay application” to halt the national election and Electoral College meeting of 2008… was “DISTRIBUTED for Conference of December 5, 2008.” At that time, it was not clear whether this was scheduled for conference by Justice Thomas alone or by the full Court.

    In multiple interviews with Leo C. Donofrio, this reporter and other members of the Plains Radio Network, were informed by Mr. Donofrio that he suspected the distribution for conference was an action taken by more than Justice Thomas alone. Mr. Donofrio suggested that another docket update stating the emergency application was referred to the full court by Justice Thomas should have appeared on the docket prior to the distribution for conference.

    Since the docket did not reflect a prior referral it was widely accepted that the distribution for conference was an act of Justice Thomas alone. Honest American News can now confirm - by direct contact with the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office - that the distribution for conference of DONOFRIO V. WELLS was an action taken by the full court.

    On November 28, 2008, the docket for case number 08A407 was updated to show, retroactively, that Justice Clarence Thomas did in fact refer Donofrio’s emergency stay application to the full court on November 19, 2008. Last night in an interview with…Plains Radio Network, Mr. Donofrio suggested that this new update, nine days later, indicated that the full Court had taken action to distribute the case for conference. Mr. Donofrio cited a SCOTUS public information document issued to reporters entitled:

    A REPORTER’S GUIDE TO APPLICATIONS Pending Before The Supreme Court of the United States

    In that document, on page 3, it advises:

    “The Circuit Justice may act on an application alone or refer it to the full Court for consideration. The fact that an application has been referred to the full Court may not be known publicly until the Court acts on the application and the referral is noted in the Court’s order.”

    Mr. Donofrio pointed out in various interviews that since his case had been made public by the SCOTUS, there was probably a referral by Justice Thomas prior to the actual distribution for conference. Mr. Donofrio was correct.

    Today I spoke with Patricia McCabe Estrada, Deputy Director of Public Information at the United States Supreme Court. She informed me that Mr. Donofrio’s application was first referred to the full Court by Justice Clarence Thomas on November 19, 2008. After that referral took place the full Court, and not Justice Thomas alone, distributed the application for an emergency stay for Conference of December 5, 2008.

    Let me reiterate the main point: DONOFRIO V. WELLS was distributed for conference of December 5, 2008 by the full Court after a prior referral of the application by Justice Thomas.

    Some arse back there at the Supreme Court took Wrotnowski's case, which came in FedEx, and had it sent to a lab for an anthrax test! So they are refiling tomorrow. The reason seems to be an effort of sabatage to prevent the Wrotnowski and Donofrio cases from being merged.

    You wouldn't believe the monkey shines going on by the clerks at the Supreme Court.

  37. The disorder is they don't want to live, and don't want to defend themselves, Ash. American 'culture' is getting to them.

  38. It looks like we need to find a new central front of the GWOT. Unless US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker is acting as a rogue agent, the Bush Administration accepted a "surrender date" whereby US forces will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Thirty-six months. A battalion a month. I wonder why Bush hates our troops so much that he's willing to roll over for al-Qaeda and accept a timetable for withdrawal.

  39. I think the spirit of Franz Kafka is haunting the Supreme Court Building.