The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Who Doesn’t Enjoy Fisk-Flogging A Lefty Op-Ed?

Posted on | August 26, 2010 | 25 Comments

by Smitty

Michael Gerson’s 25 August op-ed is something of a treasure to be savored in full: >

Why the Tea Party is toxic for the GOP Reply
So the “summer of recovery” swelters on, with Democrats sun-blistered, pestered by bottle flies, sand in their swimsuits, water in their ears. Jobless claims increase, Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot, and George W. Bush is six points more popular than President Obama in “front-line” Democratic districts that are most vulnerable to a Republican takeover. Still, Democrats hug the hope that Obama is really the liberal Ronald Reagan — but without wit, humor, an explainable ideology or an effective economic plan. Other than that, the resemblance is uncanny. “liberal Ronald Reagan”? That’s like a castrato bass, or something. Why can’t BHO be himself? Why this need for him to mooch the glow off virtually every President in the lot, with the glaring exception of George Washington. Numero uno never comes up. Warum?
Yet the Republican Party suffers its own difficulty — an untested ideology at the core of its appeal. Limited government? Free market captialism? Insofar as the GOP has debased itself to become the Ruling Class ethos, Gerson has a point.
In the normal course of events, political movements begin as intellectual arguments, often conducted for years in serious books and journals. To study the Tea Party movement, future scholars will sift through the collected tweets of Sarah Palin. Without a history of clarifying, refining debates, Republicans need to ask three questions of candidates rising on the Tea Party wave: Palin will form an input, true, and this is an op-ed, sure, but, really: you’re over-simplifying. Alinsky Rule #12 is predicated on an ignorant audience. If everyone at the show understands the sleight of hand, it’s not terribly magical, is it?
First, do you believe that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional? This seems to be the unguarded view of Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck and other Tea Party advocates of “constitutionalism.” It reflects a conviction that the federal government has only those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution — which doesn’t mention retirement insurance or health care. Well, yes. Otherwise, what is the logic of the 9th and 10th Amendments, in theory? What about the crushing debt and defit, in practice? The Federal government, if it retained a managerial role, could operate in an oversight capacity over social programs implemented by states. It’s hard to both officiate and play the game, Gerson: the game overtakes the referees. See Fannie/Freddie.
This view is logically consistent — as well as historically uninformed, morally irresponsible and politically disastrous. The Constitution, in contrast to the Articles of Confederation, granted broad power to the federal government to impose taxes and spend funds to “provide for . . . the general welfare” — at least if Alexander Hamilton and a number of Supreme Court rulings are to be believed. In practice, Social Security abolition would push perhaps 13 million elderly Americans into destitution, blurring the line between conservative idealism and Social Darwinism.
  • historically uninformed: Had the Internet existed in 1913, the foul ideas upon which Progressivism was founded (Amends 16 & 17, Federal Reserve Act) would have died, died, died. That’s a counterfactual; no one might have believed the crushing debt that was to follow. But to say that the current renaissance in conservative education is uninformed is baseless.
  • morally irresponsible: How is chronically spending what you haven’t got an ethical thing, Gerson? Before playing the guilt card, explain ‘moral’. Otherwise, get bent.
  • politically disastrous: For whom? Our Ruling Class overlords? Whaaah effing whaaah.

“In practice, Social Security abolition. . .” Abolition? Is this an admission that Socialist Security is a form of slavery? On this we can agree: slavery must needs be abolished. Now, there are ways, and there are ways, and I would (a) advocate everyone receiving or about to receive the scourge continue to receive the scourge, and (b) accept that I’ll pay my current amount with no hope of payout, if (c) I knew that future American generations would be emancipated from this scourge, and that future Congresses were precluded from running such abject, godforsaken ponzi schemes. Socialism is the opiate of the bureaucracy, and it sounds as though you may have mainlined more than a little, Gerson.

This approach undermines a large conservative achievement. Despite early misgivings about Social Security and the Civil Rights Act, Ronald Reagan moved Republicans past Alf Landon’s resistance to the New Deal and Barry Goldwater’s opposition to federal civil rights law, focusing instead on economic growth and national strength. A consistent “constitutionalism” would entangle Republicans in an endless, unfolding political gaffe — opposing, in moments of candor, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, the federal highway system and the desegregation of lunch counters. Way to blow by the Cold War and the cratered national defense of the Nixon/Carter years, Gerson. I was of age that I can recall my father serving in the ‘Hollow Force’ Navy of the 70s. The GOP, should it become fully conscious with sufficient Tea Party floggings, will restore Federalism, and delegate to States the funding and implementation of social programs. Because a social program that isn’t funding itself is some blend of lie, ponzi scheme, accounting gimmick, patronage system, and all-around affront to liberty.
A second question of Tea Party candidates: Do you believe that American identity is undermined by immigration? An internal debate has broken out on this issue among Tea Party favorites. Tom Tancredo, running for Colorado governor, raises the prospect of bombing Mecca, urges the president to return to his Kenyan “homeland” and calls Miami a “Third World country” — managing to offend people on four continents. Dick Armey of FreedomWorks appropriately criticizes Tancredo’s “harsh and uncharitable and mean-spirited attitude on the immigration issue.” But the extremes of the movement, during recent debates on birthright citizenship and the Manhattan mosque, seem intent on depicting Hispanics and Muslims as a fifth column. Irrespective of the cultural heritage we celebrate (e pluribus), we have to grasp the meaning of unum. Let liberty prevail, but let that liberty rest upon common values as expressed in the Declaration and Constitution, as amended. Enclaves suck, and are a tool of the Ruling Class to enslave by perpetuating grievance.
There is no method more likely to create ethnic resentment and separatism than unfair suspicion. The nativist impulse is the enemy of assimilation. In a nation where minorities now comprise two-fifths of children under 18, Republicans should also understand that tolerating nativism would bring slow political asphyxiation. When a Lefty invokes the ‘f’ word, in either the ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ variant, this is a red flag that we’re about to experience some usage of the Progressive Inverted Tongue. In PIT, illegal doesn’t mean unlawful. When there is a terrorist attack by an Islamic extremist shouting “allahu akbar” while gunning down unarmed Americans, the PIT speaker is going to bemoan the likelihood of retaliation against third parties by those sympathetic to the victims. This never seems to happen. Is the PIT speaker (a) insane, or (b) trying to project insanity on others? Discuss.
Let us all study American history, warts and all, from beginning to end, without snorting the Progressive dope, and see who keeps their traditions at home with the family and enjoys the pluralistic, free-market capitalistic system in which we can all enjoy greater liberty than anywhere else.
Question three: Do you believe that gun rights are relevant to the health-care debate? Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle raised this issue by asserting that, “If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.” Far from reflecting the spirit of the Founders (who knew how to deal with the Whiskey Rebellion), the implied resort to political violence is an affectation — more foolish than frightening. But it is toxic for the GOP to be associated with the armed and juvenile. Gerson, I doubt you’re a dummy, and I’m certain you can think through the parallels between historical tyranny that informed the Bill of Rights, and the sad isomorphis (to use a shiny word) of that historical tyranny with the current situation. The FCC would like to regulate the Internet, the EPA would like to control lead bullets, and “Death Panels” would like to use things like evidence based medicine to figure out who among the hoi polloi dies, or lives in joy.
Most Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement are understandably concerned about the size and reach of government. Their enthusiasm is a clear Republican advantage. But Tea Party populism is just as clearly incompatible with some conservative and Republican beliefs. It is at odds with Abraham Lincoln’s inclusive tone and his conviction that government policies could empower individuals. It is inconsistent with religious teaching on government’s responsibility to seek the common good and to care for the weak. It does not reflect a Burkean suspicion of radical social change. Yeah, the Ruling Class GOP and RINOs are wetting themselves, as they should. Government policies always involve taking from A and giving most of the taking to B. The governor on a generator provides feedback to the prime mover to keep the PM in good trim. The governor is not the PM. Get this through your noggin, Gerson, and you’ll sound less daft.
The Democratic political nightmare is now obvious and overwhelming. The Republican challenge is different: building a majority on an unstable, slightly cracked foundation. The Deomocrat party has exactly the same opportunity as any other to enjoy a Constitutional dream. The notion of sneaking a slow-motion Progressive revolution in is done. Over. Land a prime mover on it. Toast. Free communications via the Internet have obviated the need for a few point-haired nitwits in some office to (vainly) attempt to sculpt utopia. The task now is to dig out of the wreckage of this opium dream and work off the dead horse.

Comments

  • Joe

    Another example of why it is a bad idea to f*** with Smitty (even his sensibilities). You might get fisked by him.

  • Joe

    Another example of why it is a bad idea to f*** with Smitty (even his sensibilities). You might get fisked by him.

  • waylay

    Formatting teh sucks! It is so uncomfortable my irritated retinal vessels feel like throwing up but my extraocular muscles seem utterly paralyzed. Reminds me of my secondary school days when we used to draw two columns when asked to “differentiate/distinguish between” or “briefly compare and contrast” this and that.

    What was your point again? Ah, you were fisking and flogging a lefty op-ed with no flaming and handwaving whatsoever. Great job.

  • waylay

    Formatting teh sucks! It is so uncomfortable my irritated retinal vessels feel like throwing up but my extraocular muscles seem utterly paralyzed. Reminds me of my secondary school days when we used to draw two columns when asked to “differentiate/distinguish between” or “briefly compare and contrast” this and that.

    What was your point again? Ah, you were fisking and flogging a lefty op-ed with no flaming and handwaving whatsoever. Great job.

  • waylay

    “Ah, you were fisking and flogging [fisk-flogging] a lefty op-ed…”

    Or lets just call it Smitting(/Smithing) Shit out of your opponent’s op-ed; aka Smit-hitting.

  • waylay

    “Ah, you were fisking and flogging [fisk-flogging] a lefty op-ed…”

    Or lets just call it Smitting(/Smithing) Shit out of your opponent’s op-ed; aka Smit-hitting.

  • Rob Crawford

    “It is at odds with Abraham Lincoln’s inclusive tone and his conviction that government policies could empower individuals.”

    This must be in reference to some other Abraham Lincoln. The real one was no fan of forcing one person to work for the benefit of others, which is what the combination of the terms “government policies” and “empower” mean today.

  • Rob Crawford

    “It is at odds with Abraham Lincoln’s inclusive tone and his conviction that government policies could empower individuals.”

    This must be in reference to some other Abraham Lincoln. The real one was no fan of forcing one person to work for the benefit of others, which is what the combination of the terms “government policies” and “empower” mean today.

  • http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com Paul Zummo

    The Constitution, in contrast to the Articles of Confederation, granted broad power to the federal government to impose taxes and spend funds to “provide for . . . the general welfare” — at least if Alexander Hamilton and a number of Supreme Court rulings are to be believed.

    Not sure about Hamilton, but if you read Madison in Federalist 38, he actually makes the case that the taxing powers under the AoC are broader. It’s just that it proved difficult if not impossible to get the states to agree to exercise those powers.

  • http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com Paul Zummo

    The Constitution, in contrast to the Articles of Confederation, granted broad power to the federal government to impose taxes and spend funds to “provide for . . . the general welfare” — at least if Alexander Hamilton and a number of Supreme Court rulings are to be believed.

    Not sure about Hamilton, but if you read Madison in Federalist 38, he actually makes the case that the taxing powers under the AoC are broader. It’s just that it proved difficult if not impossible to get the states to agree to exercise those powers.

  • Pingback: My Fisking ‘Tis Of Thee « The Camp Of The Saints()

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    Smitty: You made my day – many thanks.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    Smitty: You made my day – many thanks.

  • http://www.amusingbunni.blogspot.com Bunni

    Way cool, I’m tweeting.

  • http://www.amusingbunni.blogspot.com Bunni

    Way cool, I’m tweeting.

  • http://ifyouseekpeace.wordpress.com/ Ran

    Ouch. Gerson’s taqia is becoming tedious.

  • http://ifyouseekpeace.wordpress.com/ Ran

    Ouch. Gerson’s taqia is becoming tedious.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    By the way, Smitty: I like the table format you used on this. May I suggest a couple of tweeks:
    1) Make the cell border lines either darker or a different color than grey [or black]. A contrasting color is easier on the eyes.
    2) The text slams right up against the cell borders [left/right]. Is there a way to set a distance of say .1 or .2? I’ve used that in my form designs in QuarkXPress.

    Humbly submitted….

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Bob Belvedere

    By the way, Smitty: I like the table format you used on this. May I suggest a couple of tweeks:
    1) Make the cell border lines either darker or a different color than grey [or black]. A contrasting color is easier on the eyes.
    2) The text slams right up against the cell borders [left/right]. Is there a way to set a distance of say .1 or .2? I’ve used that in my form designs in QuarkXPress.

    Humbly submitted….

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    @Bob,
    Good points, and, yes, a bit of CSS surgery is entirely do-able.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    @Bob,
    Good points, and, yes, a bit of CSS surgery is entirely do-able.

  • http://thatmrgguy.wordpress.com/ Mike

    Beautiful fisking. You make it look so damn easy smitty.

  • http://thatmrgguy.wordpress.com/ Mike

    Beautiful fisking. You make it look so damn easy smitty.

  • http://wormme.com wormme

    Comparing anyone to George Washington except Cincinnatus is an insult to ol’ Wooden Teeth.

  • http://wormme.com wormme

    Comparing anyone to George Washington except Cincinnatus is an insult to ol’ Wooden Teeth.