Taking the government back from the seed corn eaters
Posted by aogSunday, 04 July 2010 at 08:38 TrackBack Ping URL

Legal Insurrection has a post about the end game for current political class. It’s the inevitable place where “let’s just worry about feeding people today” ends up, because the future happens day by day too and so eventually arrives. Some argue it is cruel to not spend money when it’s available. I am with those who say it is even crueler to spend too much and create an even greater problem in the future. To live for today is how primitive, brutal societies operate. Our current power and wealth, which has so enormously improved everyone’s lives, down to the poorest, is the result of planning and working for the future, even if it hurts today. We are in such trouble now because so many have forgotten that and take the results of previous generation’s work and sacrifice as facts of nature rather than what they are.

As we celebrate this Independence Day, I think we ought to ponder how independence is not just that of a nation, but of its people as well. I cannot see the greatness in national sovereignty if the citizens have been reduced to clients of that nation. True independence can only start with the people, not with the government.

UPDATE: Yet another write up of how we are creating Two Americas, a privileged public sector and an increasingly serf like private sector.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Sunday, 04 July 2010 at 10:27

A bit o/t, but does anyone know where Obama is today, the most important day of year for our country, the country he’s the president of? I did a bit of googling and there’s nary a mention of his whereabouts or activities. Has he given the WH press corps the slip again?

pj Sunday, 04 July 2010 at 13:30

erp - Here’s his official schedule … has one 14-mile helicopter flight and one barbecue, no other public events. Possibly a non-public golf game on one of those days?:

On Saturday evening, the First Family will return to Washington, D.C. from Camp David. There will be travel pool coverage of the President’s arrival.

On Sunday, the First Family will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbeque, concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn. Staff and their families from throughout the Administration will also attend this event for the concert and fireworks viewing. The President will deliver remarks. His remarks will be pooled press. The event will be streamed live on www.WhiteHouse.gov/live.

On Monday, the President has no public events scheduled.

erp Sunday, 04 July 2010 at 14:16

Thanks pj. Where did you find this info? This is the kind of stuff he should be doing.

pj Sunday, 04 July 2010 at 17:06

I googled “Obama July 4 schedule” and up came: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2010/07/president_obama_official_sched_357.html.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 04 July 2010 at 20:34

OTOH, the vice president was in Baghdad and, according to the NYT, urging the Iraqis to form a government.

Laugh and cry at the same time.

It’s hard to believe that Incurious George could look dumber in hindsight than he did while in office, but he does.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 05 July 2010 at 13:04

Ah, the “Look! Behind the tree! it’s George Bush!” gambit. I have to say, though that it’s particuarly pathetic here when you

  • Cite “Slow Joe” Biden before going on about Bush’s mental deficiencies
  • Do so in the context of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, which is already famous domestically and abroad for its near unparrelled fecklessness.

May I respond by bring up General McChrystal, Obama’s hand picked commander for Afghanistan?

Harry Eagar Monday, 05 July 2010 at 20:27

Obama’s in a tough spot. The military high command doesn’t have any competent officers to choose from.

The point, since you missed it, is that our adventure to bring independence to the liberty-loving Iraqis was based on the misconception that they had any interest in liberty. It seemed worth remembering that on our independence day.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 05 July 2010 at 20:46

How does Obama being in a tough spot with regard to the military high command cause his overall foreign policy to be such a disaster?

Unfortunately as a nation we are in a tough spot as we are no longer willing to deal with people like that in a way that accomplishes anything. Nation building and surrender are basically the only politically viable options left and I prefer the former. Why not give Bush slack for that, the way you do Obama for his alleged circumstances?

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 06 July 2010 at 09:43

Someone else realizes I am correct

The fault line in American politics is often not between Republicans and Democrats, but rather between taxpayers and the Washington political elite.

The Tea Party represents the taxpayers and they want to take the country back from the taxconsumers and gun toting nannies.

erp Tuesday, 06 July 2010 at 11:52

Labels are meaningless when they been corrupted by the masters of semantics. I thought it was quite amusing the Chris Muir makes a case for the classic liberal.

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 06 July 2010 at 13:13

I am not aware that his overall foreign policy is a disaster. It is unimpressive, but he did inherit a series of complete disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Sudan and China.

None of them seem any better but none seem any worse, either.

I understand that the Republican Party line (see Michael Steele) is that they had nothing to do with any wars, but I am old enough to remember that Bush started them. On the basis of purely fantastical assessments of what was going on. So, no slack there.

Anyhow, if you read RtO, you’d realize I haven’t cut Obama any slack: See here.

It does not strike you as weird that nation-building should require American officials to exhort the built nation to form a government?

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 06 July 2010 at 15:10

Disaster in Iraq? Why, our Vice President says it will be one of the great achievements of the Obama Administration. Newsweek agrees.

I would disagree that Iran and China were not worse, but instead I will point out that those are not the only nations on the planet, and not even the only ones with which our international relations matter. What about, say, the UK? Or Russia?

I understand that the Republican Party line (see Michael Steele)

See, massive backlash against Steele’s comments — I think we can safely dismiss that as being the GOP party line. But you were probably unaware of that as well.

It does not strike you as weird that nation-building should require American officials to exhort the built nation to form a government?

No, but suppose it did — would it then follow that surrender is the superior option?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Tuesday, 06 July 2010 at 22:24

Re: “…how independence is not just that of a nation, but of its people as well. I cannot see the greatness in national sovereignty if the citizens have been reduced to clients of that nation,”: The Road to Serfdom, two tragicomic episodes from Britain, (hat tip Restating the Obvious), a Chilling Warning for all Those Who Would Attend it:

Big Brother row as ‘food police’ secretly photograph schoolchildren’s packed lunches | By Sarah Harris | 3rd July 2010

Teachers have used ‘Big Brother’ tactics to spy on children’s lunchboxes, it has been revealed. They secretly photographed pupils’ packed lunches over six months and analysed the contents. Staff awarded marks to the food and then showed their findings to outraged parents, offering them advice on how to improve nutrition.

Boy, two, left in tears as nursery staff confiscate his ‘unhealthy’ cheese sandwich | By Daily Mail Reporter | 28th April 2010

When little Jack Ormisher opened his packed lunch, he was delighted to find inside a cheese sandwich his mummy had made for him. But before he could tuck into the meal, staff at the nursery he attended snatched it away - leaving him in tears. Apparently, the sandwich broke their ‘healthy eating’ rules…

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 07 July 2010 at 12:39

Massive backlash but he gets to keep his top job. Sort of like how the BP board is treating Tony Hayward.

Again, I am mystified. Are we about to go to war against Britain again? I hadn’t heard.

Recall that we did not invade Iraq in order to dispose of Saddam. If that had been the goal, it could have been done almost for free by arming the Kurds. We did it because, we were told, the Iraqis were thirsting for liberty and the chance to govern themselves.

Turns out, they weren’t. As, for example, closer observers than anybody in the Bush White House noticed, such as Bassam Tibi, who wrote (even before Sept. 11, 2001) that ‘Arabs are not interested in democracy.’

What’s our investment in Iraq been? What’s the return been? The Iraq Lobby today sounds just like the China Lobby around 1950.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 08 July 2010 at 11:21

Massive backlash but he gets to keep his top job. Sort of like how the BP board is treating Tony Hayward.

And that demonstrates that Steele’s every utterance is, in fact, official GOP policy to the exclusion of any other statements by GOP leaders and rank and file? Even if Steele himself walks backs his statement? Can I apply this same standard to statements by Howard Dean during his tenure at the DNC?

Again, I am mystified. Are we about to go to war against Britain again?

Because there is no change in an international relationship that matters short of war? By that standard, how can you call North Korea, Iran, China, and Sudan “disasters”? Did Bush go to war with them? I hadn’t heard.

Recall that we did not invade Iraq in order to dispose of Saddam.

Actually, I recall that we did and that it had been an official foreign policy goal since 1998. What was all that “regime change” stuff about, in your view?

What’s our investment in Iraq been? What’s the return been?

We have made a large investment. Part of the return has been

  1. a failure of a hostile regime in Iraq to conquer and/or threaten oil supplies in the Middle East. It
  2. Fighting with the Caliphascist in Iraq instead of domestically.
  3. A related result of a greatly decreased capability or willingness of the Caliphascist to strike at us domestically (which, notably, changed once Obama became President — yet another failure on his watch compared to Bush).
  4. The possibility of not have to play out the Three Conjectures end-game.
Harry Eagar Thursday, 08 July 2010 at 12:54

Hmmm. Sounds like a rewrite of history to me. If we were going to go around and topple dictators for no better reason than that the world would be a better place without dictators, then Bush barely scratched the surface. Why didn’t he go on to Damascus and Tehran, so long as he was at it?

I recall that people like Glenn Reynolds spent a great deal of time trying to explain to us that the reason we went in had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction but was more, uh, nuanced.

As for 3., I think you did not mean to say that during the Bush era, the security services failed to identify and stop attempts to attack us at home. They did. More power to ‘em.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 08 July 2010 at 14:11

May I take it, from your heavy investment in the “Look! George Bush!” distraction that you agree with the original post? Thanks, glad I could clear that up for you.

Hmmm. Sounds like a rewrite of history to me.

Yes, I just made that 1998 thing up. And all that agitation against “regime change” was just in my local neighborhood too, I suppose.

If we were going to go around and topple dictators for no better reason than that the world would be a better place without dictators, then Bush barely scratched the surface.

Yes, he did barely scratch the surface. Yet you once again simply cannot deal with someone’s else actual argument but have to make up strawmen to combat. In this case, “or no better reason than that the world would be a better place without dictators”, which was a minor factor in the desire to regime change Iraq. You might try looking at Bush’s speech to the UN on the subject. Note how much was about “Iraqis love liberty” and how much was specifically about the Ba’athist regime. Note the lack of an argument similar to what you claim.

Why didn’t he go on to Damascus and Tehran, so long as he was at it?

Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

As for 3, I am unable to read it as you did. I did not state nor even imply anything about domestic security forces failing to identify or stop attempts at domestic terrorism. I stated that Caliphascists have shown an increased willingness and/or capability to engage in such attacks since the inauguration of the Obama Administration. I think you may be imposing a non-existent dichotomy.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 08 July 2010 at 16:14

You mean this?: ‘True independence can only start with the people, not with the government.’

The people is the government and have a right to misgovern themselves. We are further along than ever before in our history toward really being a government of the people. I don’t think they are doing a very good job, but they are doing a better job than was done when only a self-described better element did it for them.

I am unaware of any evidence that Muslims are more willing to engage in attacks, since they have been trying right along.

As for the Iraq Liberation Act, I think you make my point for me. We are going to make them democrats whether they like it or not, as they clearly don’t.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 July 2010 at 12:24

I think we are closer now than we have been any time since WWII in having a self-described better element governing this country. That is precisely who the Tea Party is trying to “take back the country” from. Just consider one such group who you actually disagree with, the Warmenists.

Moreover, by “independence” and “self governing”, I do not mean the sort of totalitarian collective you seem to embrace, where everyone moves in lock step controlled by an elite, where no element of one’s life is outside the scope of other people’s voting. Independence at the local level is people, as much as possible, running their own lives and making their own, independent, decisions. Not taking a vote and forcing everyone to do whatever that vote (or its resultant officials) decide.

Harry Eagar Friday, 09 July 2010 at 17:27

You just don’t like participation from the plain people.

At the local level, for the first 40 years of my life, the local board of supervisors, wherever it was, was dominated by insurance agents and real estate developers. Nobody who ever got his hands dirty had a place.

Then I moved to Hawaii, where the board — and the various subdivisions like planning, water — has carpenters and desk clerks and entomologists and teachers on it. We are not obviously worse governed than, say, Des Moines, Iowa, but there is less mutual handwashing here than I have been accustomed to. Also, the range of perspectives about governance are broader.

Some of the carpenters and desk clerks are rather emotional and not always as skilled in public discourse as the smoother insurance agents, but none comes close to being as emotional and unskilled in public discourse, as, for example, Sharron Angle.

Another anecdote from the old days. Around 1970, the top officials of the Norfolk Shipyard were convicted of bribing Department of the Navy officials for contracts worth in the low millions. The US district judge, to my surprise and the consternation of the better element, sent the crooks to the slammer, just as if they had been welfare cheats scamming the taxpayer out of $300.

The business editor was shocked. “What good does it do to send that class of people to jail?” he protested.

Not much, history showed, but it did bring a warm feeling to those of us in the low class. Plus, since the New Deal, the army has not been used to shoot workers. A real plus, in my book.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 July 2010 at 18:28

You just don’t like participation from the plain people.

You’re just making things up again. Or do you think that Pelosi / Obama / Reid / Frank / Dodd are “plain folk”? Actually, given that I like Palin (one of the plainest national figures in a long time) and you don’t makes me think you’re projecting and that you only like plain folk when they agree with you politically. If they have a different view, and particularly if they want to live their own lives independent of others, you mock them. I, in contrast, mock elites.

Harry Eagar Friday, 09 July 2010 at 20:58

None of the plain folk I know has a $150,000 wardrobe. Heck, all of them lumped together don’t have a $150,000 wardrobe.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 July 2010 at 21:28

Neither did Palin, when she was selected to be the Vice Presidential candidate. In fact, Palin never did have such a wardrobe, it was purchased by and owned by the RNC and donated to charity after the campaign.

erp Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 08:30

aog, isn’t it odd that Harry who’s in the news business didn’t know the truth about the Palin wardrobe smear?

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 09:04

erp;

He missed the backlash from Steele’s recent comment on the war in Afghanistan so I am not too surprised. But it’s a general technique of his to simply throw out clusters of accusations and smears as distractions, abandoning them the instant their lack of provenance is noted. He’s kind of like the anti-Judd. Eagar is a master of rhetorical technique and it’s always instructive to watch a master in action.

erp Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 10:09

I wonder who Harry thinks pays/paid for all Michelle Obama’s bling.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 13:49

Instapundit reports that a Rasmussen poll indicates that the American Street has had enough of paying more taxes so the public sector can enjoy better working conditions.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Sunday, 11 July 2010 at 08:38

I wonder who Harry thinks pays/paid for all Michelle Obama’s bling.

Same classes of people who paid for Nancy Reagan’s.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 11 July 2010 at 09:59

erp;

Responding to your earilier question, perhaps it’s because Eagar reads Reuters who also have a problem with being aware of things. That’s our essential Old Media, providing the (dis)information we need.

erp Sunday, 11 July 2010 at 10:24

Rough, which class is that?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 12 July 2010 at 06:03

Rough, which class[es are those]?

Individual well-wishers; people of every stripe seeking an audience or influence; and the American taxpayer.

It’s one of the perks of being in power, and is certainly not limited to American First Spouses, or even to national politicians. But it does mean that comparing Michelle Obama’s swag to that of Sarah Palin is an error of classification: They are not in the same category.

erp Monday, 12 July 2010 at 07:50

Palin didn’t get any swag, all the got were expensive frivalous law suits and off-the-wall demonization. Michelle Obama isn’t in her class, with that I will agree.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 12 July 2010 at 08:45

Palin didn’t get any swag…

Say what???

Getting serendipitously picked by the McCain team was the biggest opportunity ever to have been afforded Palin, and it was a bolt from the blue - Palin wasn’t seeking anything like that; her book, PalinPAC and paid-speaking tour are examples of her swag.

Michelle Obama isn’t in her class, with that I will agree.

Indeed?

Your gratuitously-stated derogatory opinions of Michelle, written in this forum and other places, are why I take your crocodile tears for the plight of Malia, and your seemingly-hypocritical predictions about her future attractiveness, with a cellar of salt.

Harry Eagar Monday, 12 July 2010 at 13:01

Oh, she just wore the clothes, she didn’t own them. Sorta like Senator Murkowski’s chair, I guess.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 12 July 2010 at 13:53

Exactly. Your argument is equivalent to saying that someone becomes not “plain folk” because they were expensive clothes in a movie. Or maybe it was that being nominated for a powerful political position makes one not a “plain folk”, which would make it a bit challgening to elect such a person.

I must admit, though, the Senator Murkowskis chair reference totally escaped me. I thought it might mean you were implying that Palin got nice clothes because her father was an important politician, but that’s too alternate a reality even for you.

I think this is an excellent example, though, of how it’s not the “plain folk” that you like, but a specific ideology which you project on those “plain folk”. When it turns out to be an invalid projection (as with Palin and so much of her support) you find it intolerable and lash out with whatever poisoned memes are at hand.

On that note, this is a relevant post about Palin, her political appeal, and her base of support.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 12 July 2010 at 17:00

The American Street thinks the problem is too much spending — once again, spenders vs. producers. That’s the modern American political schism.

erp Monday, 12 July 2010 at 17:43

Rough, as our host would say, projecting are we?

I don’t remember ever making any remarks at all about Michelle Obama’s mothering skills. However, since you seem to be keeping track of my comments, you probably know better than my faulty memory.

The Obama girls are adorable now and it’s a fair bet they’ll grow up to be beautiful women. That’s my opinion. You may feel differently.

Don’t you feel in the least bit aghast that Obama made fun of his daughter while she was standing right there in front of the cameras with him?

Harry Eagar Monday, 12 July 2010 at 20:23

Actually, I think Palin is plain folk. I understand she skins her own mooses. I am sure Tipper Gore sends hers out.

Palin got to puttin’ on airs for a while, but even though the RNC shipped in a whole container of g’s, she’s back to normal. When she was on Maui, she was on the beach in a tatty old Army t-shirt. Can’t get plainer than that.

But you got me all wrong about the plain folk. Recall I said they have a right to misgovern themselves. I tend to think that, over time, they will do a less bad job of it than the old, country-club elite, for which I wouldn’t exchange a last-year’s moose carcass; but at any particular moment, you can certainly find things they aren’t doin’ so well.

I’ll take a Palin over a Taft Jr. any day.

(I am surprised you missed the Murkowski’s chair bit. It wasn’t the daughter who was bribed with a chair, it was the father. How quickly we forget, when they are Republicans.)

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 09:29

I think Palin is plain folk

So this comment is no longer operative? And this one as well? Why, after that, should I take anything you write seriously? You parrot Journolist attack points and then pretend you didn’t.

Palin got to puttin’ on airs for a while

No, the RNC took to putting airs on her. She didn’t like it at the time and, as I am sure you are unaware, the Palinistas complained vociferously about it at the time. That stopped once she was no longer being run by the McCain campaign staff. Or is another attack point you’ll unremember a few days from now? Perhaps I should just label these “Harry’s Emphemeral Attack Technique” — “oh, that’s just Eagar applying some HEAT again”.

But you got me all wrong about the plain folk.

No, I don’t think so. Your mockery of the Tea Party tells the tale. Your partisanship for the Democratic Party, despite it being funded much more heavily by elites that the GOP, is another indicator. Carter vs. Reagan is yet another (note which group, American Street or self described betters, liked eached of those).

Further, your analysis misses two key points.

The first is that there things that should not be governned. I have yet to find any such limits you would support, but our nation was founded on that principle. That’s the entire point of the Bill of Rights. It is not an issue of whether such things should be governed by elites or commoners, but that governing them at all is wrong and will lead to bad outcomes.

Second, the more complex and powerful the government, the less it is possible for the citizenry to control. There is no way to prevent the capture of a sufficiently complex government by elites, the people who can spend their lives mastering its intricacies, compared to normal people who live real lives. The American Street can only really control the government if it is relatively small, limited in its powers, and federalized. Support for our current style of interventionist and centralized government is simply support for rule by elites in stealth mode.

I tend to think that, over time

Woah, Hopkins gets thrown under the bus! I knew you didn’t really believe that.

I am surprised you missed the Murkowski’s chair bit. It wasn’t the daughter who was bribed with a chair, it was the father. How quickly we forget, when they are Republicans

Yes, that never happens in the Democratic Party, and it’s a clear sign of partisanship to not know every instance of nepotism. I am still left mystified by how you think this was “just like” Palin’s RNC supplied wardrobe. Or was that just more HEAT?

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 12:35

Murkowski’s excuse was that he wasn’t given the chair, he just used it for 10 years. Palin didn’t own the clothes, she just wore them. Shrug. If erp was making some other point, I missed it.

America is obviously better-governed now than it was in 1920 or 1880. Who wants to go back to then? I think it’s because, since the New Deal, everybody can participate, which wasn’t true earlier. I could be wrong. It might be something else.

Since the older, simpler government was also captured by elites, and the plain folk proved for a long time helpless in the face of that, I think you are making a distinction that is without a difference.

Aside from conscience, I cannot think of anything that should not be governed in a democracy. If things are doing well enough, then there is no need to supervise them. I don’t think it was necessary to have government control of country music, but it wasn’t the Big Gummint types who insisted on that.

erp Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 13:26

I made no point about Palin’s clothes nor a chair.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 02:59

The American Street thinks the problem is too much spending…

And they are absolutely correct. However, in the states with the largest fiscal problems, the amount of spending that has to be cut to bring the budgets back into balance is horrifying the populace, which is why the problems aren’t already solved.

Same on the Federal side, only MUCH WORSE… I slightly pity the Boomers, ‘cause at least my generation knows that there ain’t no gov’mint rockin’ chair money waiting for us - whereas the Boomers are getting their notification at the very last minute.

Don’t you feel in the least bit aghast that Obama made fun of his daughter while she was standing right there in front of the cameras with him?

Perhaps we saw different video clips. In the one I watched, Obama waxed nostalgic about his kids, and said that he like Malia having braces, because it made her look younger, less grown-up.

Basically, the kind of thing that almost any parent of “tweens” might feel and say.

Please point out the part in which he ridiculed Malia.

I made no point about Palin’s clothes…

“I wonder who Harry thinks pays/paid for all Michelle Obama’s bling” was clearly in response to Harry & AOG’s banter over Palin’s campaign wardrobe.

Are you now claiming that your post was a pointless non sequitur?

erp Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 07:38

Bling, banter about campaign wardrobe and waxing nostalgic are in the eye of beholder.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 08:07

Murkowski’s excuse

for …? It is interesting to note that you don’t see any difference between borrowing clothes, which any person may legally and properly do, vs. “borrowing” the office of Senator. I, however, consider those morally very different things.

America is obviously better-governed now than it was in 1920 or 1880. Who wants to go back to then?

I think much of you which consider “better governed” is simply greater material prosperity and changes in societal norms. Transport those back to 1920 or 1880, and it would be a far different and better time without any changes in governing. Where are the share croppers you mentioned these days? Wiped out by growing prosperity1. Again, put our wealth back in 1920 and the problem would have been solved faster and better than via governance.

I would also wonder, looking at the blue hells of so many of our modern day cities, how you can think those are better governed. Come live in Illinois for a few years and then tell me, with a straight face, how “the people” have gotten control of the government.

The Democratic Party, so popular on the American Street that they hold fundraisers in Canadathat’s certainly a mark of how popular they are at home. Nothing says “governance by the people” like its politicians having to meet in a foreign country.


1 I suppose I should mention that I am one of those Evil Landlords who has share croppers working his farmland so clearly I am irretrievably biased.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 12:30

It wasn’t prosperity that eliminated the sharecroppers. It was extreme poverty, coupled with government interference, once the street, as you but not I call it, captured government and took steps against peonage (read = slavery).

I think a nation without slaves is obviously better governed than one with slaves. Not many people are really anti-slavery, they just don’t want to be slaves themselves. You cannot trust them to abandon slavery for market reasons. They don’t.

As for governance of cities between 1920 and now, I suggest you read Page Smith’s ‘Letter from My Father.’ His father was a Republican machine operative starting late in the Wilson era. It’s an easy read, and I predict you would find his stories about how things were done surprising.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 19:24

And, since somebody just brought up the Tea Party again (and whatever anybody else has done, I haven’t called them teabaggers since I learned the street meaning of the term, which I didn’t know until a few months ago), let me commend to your attention NPR’s Morning Edition interview today. The subject was the NAACP statement calling on the Tea Party to read the racist elements out.

A Tea Party national spokesman was invited to speak, and I suppose they chose one of their more presentable members. Don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself. He couldn’t maintain the charade of non-racism even for a minute, within 30 seconds he explodes into a racist rant of the sort I haven’t heard in polite company for a long time.

I’ll accept, since people keep telling me it’s so, that the mass of the party is not racist, but if that’s so, they clearly are unable to keep the racists out of the leading positions. And these people are supposed to be more capable of running a country than the old parties?

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 23:33

I suppose they chose one of their more presentable members

Why would you suppose that? It’s NPR who picked and I personally would expect NPR to pick the looniest Tea Party type they could find. I would not be the least bit surprised to discover they found a rant first, then picked the guy behind it to represent the “Tea Party”. It’s right up there with how the Washington Post picked their “conservative” reporter, David Weigel.

these people are supposed to be more capable of running a country than the old parties

No, they just want to govern less of it. That means they’ll do less damage than the old parties.

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