“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."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who's the Most Conservative of Them All?

While the nation was digesting its turkey dinner, Rep. Michelle Bachmann was seizing an opportunity to score points at Newt Gingrich's expense. Suggesting that his position on illegal immigration amounts to "amnesty," Bachmann predicted that the GOP electorate would "come home" to the person who has been the most "consistent conservative." That would be, she offers, herself.

The voters may not agree with her solution, but many in the GOP do seem to be looking for a — forgive the expression — "thrill down the leg" candidate to take on Obama in the general election.

Thus, the seismic spikes for Bachmann, Perry, Cain and even, briefly, Trump. It is now, apparently, Newt Gingrich's turn in what Brit Hume called "the single most dangerous place to be in American politics, which is the non-Romney leader in the Republican field."

The adage has it that when the two parties pick their nominees, "Democrats want to fall in love and Republicans want to fall in line." It will probably hold true. But there is more than a whiff of Democrat-style swooning in the Republican contest so far.

The Union Leader's endorsement didn't quite put it the way The Augusta Chronicle did ("Why not Newt?"), but it did cite Gingrich's "courage and conviction." Yet, curiously, within its editorial endorsment, the Union Leader inadvertently cited the best reason not to support Newt Gingrich:

" . . . Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running

Just so, but back to Gingrich.

It isn't the three marriages — though the hospital visit to discuss divorce proceedings while his first wife was recuperating from cancer surgery is not an agreeable image. It isn't the ethics violation, for which the House Ethics Committee cited him when he was speaker. (The Internal Revenue Service later ruled that he had not violated the tax laws.) And it isn't his position on illegal immigrants with deep roots in America.

Newt Gingrich is a bad bet because he will embarrass the Republican Party .

He will do so through things he has already said and done and in ways we cannot predict except to be sure — because character will win out — that they will happen.

No sooner had Republicans, with a huge boost from Gingrich, achieved the long-denied prize of control of the House of Representatives than Gingrich embarrassed the party by signing a $4.5 million book deal.

Though an effective, even inspired, backbencher in Congress, Gingrich proved an incompetent and sometimes petulant leader. He explained that his decision to shut down the government in 1995 was in part motivated by Bill Clinton's failure to spend time with him on Air Force One when the two were returning from Yitzhak Rabin's funeral. "It's petty, but I think it's human," said Gingrich.

Gingrich was the only speaker of the House in U.S. history to be removed by his own party. It wasn't a cabal of liberals who forced him out, but Dick Armey, Bill Paxon, Tom DeLay and John Boehner.

Gingrich is lauded as a "conviction" politician and a man of ideas. But his convictions are flexible, and his ideas are half-baked when they're not loopy. Always glib and self-assured, Gingrich declared on March 7 that he would impose a no-fly zone on Libya. On March 23, he just as smoothly declared, "I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi." Though he now says he doesn't know whether the globe is warming, he filmed a commercial with Nancy Pelosi in 2008 saying, "our country must take action to combat climate change."

Gingrich rose to prominence in the Republican Party by citing the loose ethics of Speaker Jim Wright. Yet in his post-government career, he has been playing the traditional game of selling influence. Among his many lucrative clients was Freddie Mac. The government-sponsored enterprise reportedly paid the former speaker $1.8 million.

Gingrich explained that this was for his "advice as a historian."

Because of his grandiosity, it's possible that Gingrich actually believes this. Either way — whether he was for sale or so vain that he missed what was obvious to others — it's not inspiring leadership.

Gingrich once said that to understand him, you needed to do no more than to read "futurist" Alvin Toffler. The former speaker's sweeping generalizations, flamboyant pronouncements and soaring banalities do indeed seem influenced by Toffler. But Toffler is the opposite of a conservative. In "The Third Wave," he declared that the founders were "obsolete." So should Toffler's acolyte be.


  1. The notion that the MSM will not pull out the most damning of Newt's actions/words at the perfect time to sink his run against Barrack Hussein Obama,
    is at best childish. be charitable.

  2. Rufus II said...

    "Probably shipping a lot of it to China. China being the no. 1 Beer Market in the World, I believe."


    That, if true, if not terrifying, is simply sad.

    To the Ramparts, Men!

    Man up, and


  3. Romney tried a second beer,
    ...but he swears he did not swallow it.

  4. Newt would be . . . . . er, interesting as President. Romney would probably be better (more stable.)

    I could vote for either, I guess.

    Palin was the only one that would have made me smile as I voted. (she Did look good in them little fuck-me, red pumps.)

    Honestly, the Dems are just a little bit too anti-business, and the pubs are just a bit too pro-(fossil-fuel) business.

    Well, catch you later peeps; gotta go to Chatanooga (hate that drive.)

    See you in a day or two. hopefully. :)

  5. Well, this from the Wall Street Journal, makes me smile.

    The Founders defined the dollar as a weight of gold or silver. We moderns have undefined and disembodied it.

    The 21st-century greenback is neither connected to nor—as they say on Wall Street—collateralized by anything tangible. You can materialize it on a computer, like a tweet.

    "Greenback Planet" is the story of this amazing monetary transformation. The narrative begins in the 18th century and races to the present, pausing to catch its breath at some of the great American monetary landmarks: Andrew Jackson's veto, in 1832, of legislation rechartering a predecessor to the Federal Reserve; Abraham Lincoln's recourse to greenbacks, or fiat currency, to finance the Civil War; resumption of the gold standard in 1879, with which it once more became possible to exchange gold for paper and vice-versa at a fixed and statutory rate; J.P. Morgan quelling the Panic of 1907; the Federal Reserve not quelling, never mind preventing, the Great Depression; the crazy-quilt monetary improvisations of the 1930s; the halfway gold dollar of the post-World War II era; and the creation, in 1971, of the pure paper (later digital) model of today.

    Mr. Brands is a paper-money man, though the subtitle of his book—"How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It"—seems to betray some reservations. It betrays, as well, the author's zest for provocation.

    The American currency, he extravagantly claims, has "made America rich," "defeated communism" and "knitted the planet into a single economy more fully than any currency before."

  6. We need a draft Palin movement and now.

    What do we have without her? A retreaded white wall tire and a Mormon RINO.

    Iranians invade British Embassy, cry Death to America.


  7. That is often the cry of the powerless, boobie.

    The US and its' proxies blamed, across the whirled, for the distress felt by the general populations.

    Just ask mat.

  8. For a powerless country they certainly have everyone worried, crapper.


  9. There are few places in the whirled that have been more manipulated by the "Anglo Axis" than as has Iran, both currently and historically.

    Just because Abracadabra is paranoid, that does not mean we are not out to "get" him.

    As mentioned in a recent NYTime opinion piece:

    Doctrine of Silence
    by Richard Cohen

    In Iran, a big explosion at a military base near Tehran recently killed Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a central figure in the country’s long-range missile program. Nuclear scientists have perished in the streets of Tehran. The Stuxnet computer worm has wreaked havoc with the Iranian nuclear facilities.

    It would take tremendous naïveté to believe these events are not the result of a covert American-Israeli drive to sabotage Iran’s efforts to develop a military nuclear capacity. An intense, well-funded cyberwar against Tehran is ongoing.

  10. Sanctions and Sabotage are Sufficient

  11. Just because some minor league players are beating the drums of fear, boobie, does not mean there is cause for concern.

    That our regional AAA league team does not have a deep bench, a historical fact.
    That the risks inherent in that reality have been true and evident to the observant since the founding of Zionism in Europe, in the 19th century, an accurate reading of history.

  12. The tail is doing its best ...

    ... to wag the dog.

  13. I believe it was allen that told us that there was no "real" difference 'tween the Shia and Sunni.

    If that is an accurate assessment ...

    ... then the Islamoid whirled already has nuclear capacity and there will be proliferation out of Pakistan.

    If allen is wrong about the lack of a gap, 'tween Shia and Sunni, well, what else is he wrong about?

    Either way, the US is not threatened by Iran's lack of military capability.

  14. It looks as if Cain is no longer able.

  15. He should quit while he's behind...

  16. Iran denies explosion after mystery blast heard near key nuclear facility

    Authorities dismiss reports of blast as new satellite images show destruction from earlier incident at another facility

    Sanctions and Sabotage are Sufficient

  17. Bankers are not prosecuted.

    The corporation pays a fine, all is forgiven.

    Corporations, they're people, too.

  18. McCain is crazy ---

    Sens. Paul, McCain clash over terrorist detainee amendment
    By Josiah Ryan - 11/29/11 11:29 AM ET

    Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and John McCain (Ariz.) battled on the Senate floor Tuesday over a proposed amendment to the pending defense authorization bill that could allow American citizens who are suspected of terrorism to be denied a civilian trial.

    Paul argued the amendment, which is cosponsored by McCain, "puts every single American citizen at risk" and suggested that if the amendment passes, "the terrorists have won."

    “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won," Paul argued, "[D]etaining American citizens without a court trial is not American."

    McCain, however, who has spent hours of floor time in the last weeks promoting his amendment, hurried to the floor to defend it against Paul's onslaught.

    "Facts are stubborn things," McCain repeated from the floor several times. "If the senator from Kentucky wants to have a situation prevail where people who are released go back in to the fight to kill Americans, he is entitled to his opinion.”

    The amendment, offered by McCain, who is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, would technically allow the executive branch discretion on whether a terrorism suspect ought to be tried in civilian courts or the military tribunal system.


  19. McCrazy as Rufus used to call him.


  20. At 3:28 or so --Europe is being run by a man with the look and demeanor of a fertid? fervid? rodent :) Mr. Annonymous, an unelected bureaucrat in Brussels.....


  21. Bring back the pound, the deutschemark, the franc, the lira!!


  22. desert rat said...

    "Sanctions and Sabotage are Sufficient"

    Naw, we need a Manhatten Project sized
    Division of Sabotage.

    Think what fun it would be waking up each morning in anticipation of the latest misfortune visited upon the Mullahs and Dinnerjackal.

    I wanna be the one in charge of taking out their one gasoline refinery.

    Douglas Ramírez Sánchez:

    "When one wages war for 30 years, there is a lot of blood spilled, mine and others. But we never killed anyone for money, but for a cause, the liberation of Iran"

    Dougal the Jackal
    has a ring tone to it.

  23. DR said...
    If allen is wrong about the lack of a gap, 'tween Shia and Sunni, well, what else is he wrong about?

    Allen is wrong each and everyday about countless things. Your attribution, however, is not one.

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