Archive for November 26th, 2008

November 26, 2008

Republican irrelevancy

Matthew Yglesias makes a point I’ve made before — Republicans will be essentially irrelevant in Washington after Jan. 20. Yglesias makes this point in refutation of Elizabeth Drew’s wondering how Obama can get GOP cooperation, and the obvious answer is, “Why bother?” There is very little likelihood that the Senate Republicans, with only 41 or 42 seats, could mount an effective filibuster of anything, and House Republicans are now utterly irrelevant to the governing process.

This goes to show how the mentality of some people has been influenced by recent history. Since Newt Gingrich and the GOP took Congress in 1994, the big question among liberals has been, “What will Republicans do?” Everything has been conditioned on that question, and they can’t seem to shake the habit. (Fact: 41% of CNN viewers didn’t even realize Democrats had taken control of Congress.)

Republicans never consolidated power. After six years of divided government, with congressional GOP fighting Clinton tooth and nail, when Bush took office he had a House with a very narrow Republican majority and a 1-seat majority in the Senate. At the very zenith of his power (2003-06) Bush never had more than 55 Republicans in the Senate, whereas Obama will have 58 Democrats, perhaps 59.

The GOP poses no impediment to Democrats enacting whatever policies Democrats want. This is (or should be) frightening, but the great disadvantage to Democrats is this: They can’t blame Republicans.

Sure, for a while, they can say that they’re dealing with the toxic result of the Bush years, but that song will get old pretty quick. By Election Day 2012, will expect Obama to have accomplished something — not merely in terms of passing legislation, but actually making things better — and it’s hard to imagine him being able to do that.

Obama’s progressive base doesn’t understand that he can’t enact the kind of left-wing economic program they expect, because it would cause capital flight from U.S. markets at a time when we’re very much in need of capital. But I guarantee his economic advisers are cautioning him about this danger. Lawrence Summers is not a stupid man.

One of the keys to organizing a GOP resistance will be denying Obama and the Democrats the mantle of “bipartisanship” for any of their key measures. That is to say, House and Senate Republicans need to make sure that they whip the maximum number of “no” votes on Obama’s agenda items, so that in 2010, they are in position to hang that agenda around the Democrats’ necks in the midterms.

November 26, 2008

‘Hawaii Five-0’ is only #8?

This list of the 40 Greatest TV Theme Songs (via AOSHQ) commits an injustice against a tune rivaled only by the “Peter Gunn” theme. Listen to how the French horns start doing counterpoint at the 53-second mark — that’s quality, baby:

I would also argue for the inclusion of the magnificent theme from “The Virginian”:

November 26, 2008

Ed Driscoll TV

Attaboy, Ed! Remind me to ask sometime about your green-screen virtual-studio setup. Is that a canned package? Also, how do you convert YouTube clips to QuickTime (or whatever)? I’ve been working with Final Cut Pro for about a month, and need to learn this stuff.

November 26, 2008

21st-century indoctrination

Mark Steyn:

A few months back, my little boy came home from Second Grade and said to me, “Guess what we learned today?” I said: “Rosa Parks.” He said: “How did you know that?” I said: “Because it’s always Rosa Parks.”

I’d laugh, except it’s no joke. The Historic Victimhood Narrative is virtually the only history or civics taught in American public schools today. “America The Beautiful” has been replaced by “America The Oppressive.” Parents who send their offspring to these government-run indoctrination camps should be prosecuted for child abuse.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias offers the excuse that the “greater attention given in recent decades to the contributions of women and ethnic minority groups is about trying to expand the circle of people who feel invested in the national narrative.”

This is what Marxists call “social history” or “people’s history,” and is the sort of thing that leftist academic activists like Howard Zinn have made popular in America. Scouring history for relatively obscure figures who can be made into political heroes — role models for The Movement, as it were — is the sort of propaganda tactic that anyone familiar with the Soviet Union will recognize: “Comrade Pavlik — be like him!”

Children are taught to reverence a pantheon of symbolic personalities whose biographies are didactically rendered in such a way as to ignore whatever fundamental reality might contradict their function as symbols. The student/subject of these thought-control projects develops a conditioned response to the invocation of the holy names. Obversely, social didacticism requires certain demon characters who symbolize oppression and injustice, who are subjected to the same kind of one-dimensional treatment.

The student subjected to such politicized “history” cannot be said to think about history. Rather, he has an autonomic reflex, and reacts instinctively as he has been trained to react.

One of the reasons that women and minority conservatives are so vilified is that they contradict the Left’s narrative of women and minorities as “change agents” on the side of Progress. Our Marxist indoctrinators teach children to reverence a catalog of non-white-male symbolic heroes whose martyrdom and/or courageous protests are exalted as archetypes of progressive activism. This is why college leftists always react so furiously when they encounter a Michelle Malkin or a or Shelby Steele or a Star Parker contradicting today’s latest leftist dogma.

November 26, 2008

Somali terror network in Minnesota?

They’re out to get Ed Morrissey, no doubt. Wonder how these terrorists got into the country?

November 26, 2008

Holiday Books: Immigration

Only 29 shopping days until Christmas!

The 2008 Holiday Book Sale continues with three excellent books on the immigration issue:

  • Michelle Malkin’s Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores shows how the issues of immigration and national security are intimately connected. Her riveting account of how Mohamed Atta and his fellow terrorists took advantage of lax immigration enforcement is particularly informative.
  • Peter Brimelow’s 1996 classic, Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster is a lively debunking of the economic, political and cultural fallacies underlying the open-borders arguments. Brimelow’s account of the history of America’s immigration laws is especially important, given that conservatives are accused of heartless bigotry for wanting to enforce an immigration law drafted and supported by that mean-spirited right-winger . . . Ted Kennedy.
  • Pat Buchanan’s State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2006, even though such “conservative” journals as National Review refused even to acknowledge its publication, while it was (predictably) slammed by liberals. If it’s that politically incorrect, you know it’s got to be great!

Let’s face it, if Thanksgiving reminds us of nothing else, it reminds us that the Indians paid the price for having a weak immigration policy. Now the country’s so overcrowded, you can’t even find a parking space at the mall. Fortunately, with Amazon.com, you don’t have to go to the mall. Just one click and you can have your gifts delivered nationwide. Why wait? ORDER NOW!

PREVIOUSLY:

November 26, 2008

Yeah, right

Note the “clever” tactic:

For author Richard Rodriguez, no one is talking about the real issues behind Proposition 8.
While conservative churches are busy trying to whip up another round of culture wars over same-sex marriage, Rodriguez says the real reason for their panic lies elsewhere: the breakdown of the traditional heterosexual family and the shifting role of women in society and the church itself. As the American family fractures and the majority of women choose to live without men, churches are losing their grip on power and scapegoating gays and lesbians for their failures.

The “real issues,” my foot. This argument is a transparent coalition-building gesture: “We’re all gay now!” Rodriguez utterly ignores that gay militants are the aggressors in this battle of the “culture wars,” that this is a fight of their choosing, and that — far from seeking to “scapegoat” anyone — opponents of same-sex marriage are strictly playing defense.

There are no protest marches by hetero “swingers,” no boycotts by divorced moms, no petition drives by single guys. If homosexuality is an issue in 2008, it’s only because gay-rights activists insist on making it an issue. Having spent the past three decades calling attention to themselves, they now complain they’re getting too much attention. It’s like Britney griping because the paparazzi won’t leave her alone.

And don’t overlook how horribly Rodriguez has suffered: He’s published three memoirs celebrating his gay/Lation identity-politics narrative. Oh, what a pathetic victim . . .

November 26, 2008

Palin’s Georgia itinerary

Following up on yesterday’s news that Sarah Palin will go to Georgia to campaign for Sen. Saxby Chambliss before Tuesday’s runoff election, here is the governor’s two-day itinerary:

  • Sunday, 6:30 p.m. — Fundraiser at the W Hotel Midtown in Atlanta. Tickets are $1,000 per couple, or $5,000 for “hosts.” The invitation notes that “The Run-off is a separate election cycle and contribution limits start over.”
  • Monday, 8:30 a.m. — James Brown Arena in Augusta
  • Monday, 11 a.m. — MLK Jr. Arena in Savannah
  • Monday, 1:30 p.m. — Georgia Fairgrounds in Perry
  • Monday 4 p.m. — Gwinnett Arena in Duluth

Admission to Monday’s events is first-come, first-serve, but attendees are urged to RSVP with the Chambliss campaign.

Today, meanwhile, the Chambliss campaign is hosting a “BBQ Lunch Victory Rally” with Gov. Sonny Perdue and former Gov. Zell Miller in Gainesville.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

November 26, 2008

Her Unconstitutionality?

Many bloggers are intrigued by the possibility that Hillary Clinton is forbidden, under Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution, from taking the job as Secretary of State. Marc Ambinder sums it up:

Essentially, you cannot take a job if the salary was increased during your current congressional term. And the salary for cabinet officials has gone up in the past year.

Not that the Clintons have ever let the Constitution stand in their way before, but Ed Morrissey points out:

Still, the intent of the founders is clear, and not something to shrug off so lightly. They wanted to keep Congress from creating cushy sinecures for them to occupy when a friendly President took office. The attraction of power, cash, and cronyism would lead to corruption and a permanent political class that would cease answering to the electorate.

We are well past the point where constitutional restraints have any real meaning. On the one hand, the Supreme Court looks at the Constitution and sees things — “penumbras and emanations” and the “sweet mystery of life” — that aren’t there. On the other hand, the limits of the enumerated powers are ignored and the 10th Amendment eviscerated by the very existence of the massive establishment in Washington. If the Constitution had any real power, the Department of Education would not exist.

The Constitution now means whatever the fashionable professors say it means. Perjury and obstruction of justice cannot be “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the professors assured us during the Lewinsky scandal. I’m sure the Clinton Foundation can make a few research grants and buy off enough law professors to legitimize whatever it is that Hillary wants. The dictatorship of the professoriate!

November 26, 2008

Our first BlackBerry president

He’s quit smoking, but can he quit texting?

Barack Obama wants his BlackBerry back – or at least some good way to communicate better with people outside the immediate circle of the president-elect. . . .
How is the president-elect getting along without that BlackBerry which the Secret Service wasn’t happy about the boss carrying?
“This is a problem,” Obama says in the interview airing Wednesday night, according to excerpts released by ABC. “You know, one of the things that I’m going to have to work through is how to break through the isolation and the bubble that exists around the president. And I’m in the process of negotiating with the Secret Service, with lawyers, with White House staff and….”
Does that mean he’ll get his Berry back?
“Well, I’m, I’m negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the ten or 12 people who surround my office in the White House,” Obama said. “Because, one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day.”

With its mobile Web connection, the “Crackberry” — that’s how supposedly addictive the devices are — has become ubiquitous among Washington operatives in the past few years. (Apple’s pricier iPhone is not quite so popular.) Attend any event in Washington and you’ll see people scrolling their e-mail or surfing the Web throughout the event. And if, perchance, the event occurs in the bowels of a hotel where there’s no signal, then as soon they emerge from the event, the first thing they must do is check the device to make sure they haven’t missed anything.

Because a Blackberry or cellphone signal could be tracked or intercepted, the Secret Service can’t allow the Commander in Chief to carry one, and so add this to the sacrifices the office requires.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)