The Other McCain

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

Victor D. Hanson Offers Meanness And Mitt

Posted on | November 11, 2011 | 37 Comments

by Smitty

VDH is one of the few academics worthy of the respect formerly afforded the ivory tower. His analysis is pure gloomy realpolitik: only Romney has the chops to take on Barack.

Where I badly want to disagree with Victor is that he seems not to hold out much hope for the American people. While fully in the Anybody But Obama camp, it seems a lighter Fail if the replacement has to be Some Personality. That the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in our founding documents seem insufficient to excite the people on their own plays into the Left’s thesis that people are sheep, and should be herded by experts.

The subtext of Mitt at the CNBC Economics Debate seemed to be acceptance of the pre-2008 state of diminished liberty, with enough Tea Party flourishes to pull in conservatives for the ‘win’, where winning means crashing more slowly. Romney does not seem a terribly visionary statesman who is bent on rolling back the federal overreach of the last century.

Update: I want this to be wrong, but somehow I don’t think it will prove so: “Big Labor’s Scorched-Earth Campaign in Ohio a Preview of Obama’s Reelection Campaign

Update II: linked at The Camp of the Saints.


37 Responses to “Victor D. Hanson Offers Meanness And Mitt”

  1. Marvin McFadin
    November 11th, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

    Dead on Stacy.  Jefferson said we needed little revolution every so often.  To say the politics are as they are is too accept the natural devolution of society.  Man left to his own, will corrupt.  Only the constant reminder of the better path keeps him and society in general from going the path tyranny, defeat, enslavement.

    Sometime you just have to do the “right” thing, and let God decide if it is time for a change.

  2. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

    If we are going to rely on the President to roll back the Progressive excesses of the last century, we will always be disappointed.  No matter who is elected, they will have maybe two years to enact whatever their own “program” is before they begin to worry about reelection. 

    We cannot hope to straighten out the mess of bloated bureaucracy, wildly excessive and counterproductive spending, and stifling regulations without the Congress leading the way.  We need to take the Senate so we can push things through – thanks to Harry Reid for demonstrating how to change the rules on whim to block filibusters.

    It would help a lot if some so-called conservatives would stop calling Republican leaders in Congress “RINO” when they have lifetime ACU ratings of 85+, too.  We don’t get perfect leaders because it isn’t a perfect world.  If real reform is to come, it will be behind these leaders and some of the new blood coming in from 2012.

    Standing on the sidelines throwing rocks at the players isn’t going help win the game, either.

  3. DaveO
    November 11th, 2011 @ 4:52 pm


      Were Romney to be a visionary politician, he would never have gotten beyond city dogcatcher in a one-horse town. Who are the visionaries on his team?

      Visions, such as “Hope & Change” are for the other guys. Our visions get distorted into pogroms, the Inquisition, Jerry Falwell in your bedroom, Rampant Imperialism, and backstabbing the Working Man.

  4. ThePaganTemple
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    You know something? He’s right. I don’t have to watch the video, and won’t because its too depressing, to know that. Think about it. As goddawful as Obama has been the last going on three years of his presidency, he still typically polls over forty percent, most often in the mid to high forties when matched up with either a generic or specific Republican. That means roughly six to eight percent of the people that voted for him before at this stage won’t vote to re-elect him.

    But not for the right reasons. If the economy were humming along, guaranteed he would get the same percentage he got the last time, and might pick up two or three percent to boot. And it wouldn’t matter work smack if he implemented every unconstitutional mandate in the world he could think of to impose on the American people. They don’t care. All they care about is the immediate state of the economy. The hell with constitutional principles of liberty and self-determination.

    So when anybody tells you the American people are sheep, go ahead and give him a look of disgust, then go on home and knock back a few and try to tell yourself maybe in time it will get better. It probably won’t, but its a nice thought.

  5. Joe
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    I like Victor Davis Hanson a lot, but he also defended Charles Johnson in 2009 (well after the meltdown had started there).  Sometimes VDH is wrong.

  6. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    Strangely, I was thinking about VDH just today, while watching this.

  7. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    When I viewed that clip last night my reaction to most of what VDH said was dismay. While I’m certainly not inclined to agree that we should settle for Romney, I believe his assertion is that in the end we’ll have to rather than we should. The part about why Obama could go after Iran in order to get reelected is was well within the possibles. I have a great deal of respect for VDH and am not inclined to dismiss his analysis out of hand. I believe that he is one of many who believe that defeating Obama is so crucial that who replaces him is a lesser consideration. Electing Romney is at best prevent defense.

  8. AngelaTC
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    Last time we had the House, the Senate and the Presidency we couldn’t reform Social Security, but we got the unfunded Prescription Drug Program through, no problem.   Forgive me if I don’t give a rat’s ass about the ACU ratings, either.  

  9. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

    You’re suffering from the old problem of confusing Republicans with conservatives. We may have had a GOP majority in the House and Senate, but it sure wasn’t a conservative majority – as you have already noted.

  10. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    Goody. Putting Miss McConnell in charge of the Senate really makes me do a happy dance. McConnell reminds me of that old hen, Miss Prissy, from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.

    Senate Major Leader Jim DeMint or Rand Paul would be a major upgrade. Majority Leader McConnell? Meh.

  11. Bob Belvedere
    November 11th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    STAGE THE COUP in the House and Senate!

    Overthrow Granny Mitch, Cryin’ John, and their toadies.

    That’s the only way have GOP control of both Houses of the Congress is going to mean a damn thing.

    Message to Mrs. Bachmann: Get back to business; get back to the House and lead the coup.

  12. Bob Belvedere
    November 11th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    A G&S fan!  I knew there was a reason I liked you.

    BTW: The song fits for many on the Right.

  13. Charles
    November 11th, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

    Here’s the problem with “rolling back the federal overreach of the last century.” I like indoor plumbing and electricity.  I like civil rights. I like that I can use my new iPhone and my old bank bank card in all fifty states.

    Unless, for example, one can articulate how eliminating the Department of Energy will make a meaningful and positive difference in my life, I’m not going to award a lot of points for that on my scorecard. And I had Romney as a governor and didn’t find him to be a flip-flopper, and so I take away no points for that.

    The Tea Party was fine, and I thank it for ousting Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, but else what did it accomplish? The Five is much better television than the always gloomy Glenn Beck.

    If, on the other hand, one can articulate why 9-9-9 would be better, both for me and for the country, that would earn a lot of points.

  14. rgolich
    November 11th, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

    You like “civil rights”?    Just what are “civil rights?    Do you believe that Black Americans were slaves up until 1964?   Do you think they were denied voting until 1964?    There was some nonsense going on in a few Southern states but by no means was it widespread across the country.   Was it any worse than today’s voter fraud, pushed by liberal interests – illegal aliens voting, busing people, paying people to vote, who are overwhelmingly Black, Latino and/or illegal aliens?

    Just what does the Dept of Energy do (besides provide federal jobs which is in effect, a voting bloc for Democrats)?    Energy, Education and Commerce Departments should all go ASAP.   Nothing  but jobs programs. 

  15. Romney Delanda Est! « The Camp Of The Saints
    November 11th, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    […] one item this time and it is a spot-on quote from Smitty in a posting where he takes General Victor Davis Hanson to task for advocating […]

  16. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    There is no positive connection between the Energy Department and energy production it merely facilitates green energy boondoggles, squandering tax dollars and makes exploiting real energy more difficult. It’s had three decades to solve the “energy crisis” and has failed by any objective measure, abolishing it removes the wholly negative effect it has on all of our live.

    It was government over reach that stopped you from using your bank card in all fifty states and deregulation that made cell phones possible as well as cable TV.

    There is no positive connection between the Department of Education and education it is merely a mechanism to empower the unions and take control of education away from local control where your voice is louder.

    The EPA has declared or is about to that hay is a pollutant and milk is an oil just like petroleum it’s purpose is to eliminate fossil fuels not clean our environment. The Department of the Interior creates wilderness areas to prevent development of resources and keep the Border Patrol form chasing illegal aliens in vehicles. Whenever there is an effort to place a new critter on the endangered species list you can bet there is some “evil” resource under it.

    The list goes on and on.

  17. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

    Adjoran and Charles are Exhibits A and B of the attitudes that make a second American Revolution followed by “no longer our countrymen” as the Founders did with the Tories necessary even though not desireable.

  18. Preview of the 2012 Election – It’s Going to Get Ugly | The Lonely Conservative
    November 11th, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    […] get a bump in the polls. I wouldn’t put it past him, I wouldn’t put anything past Obama.Smitty thinks perhaps Hanson isn’t giving enough credit to the American people. Perhaps, but then […]

  19. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    “Where I badly want to disagree with Victor is that he seems not to hold out much hope for the American people.”

    As you say, RSM, the people will have their way and our system is based on that premise. For better or for worse, the people will decide and I’m all for letting that happen if done honestly.

    The problem so many have with forcing the “electable” candidate is that that candidate so often lacks vision other than his own self-advancement. To that end their mission is not so much to further a platform that preserves America as much as it is to placate it just enough by pander to attain power… and then to wield it discriminately. Plus, electable by whose standard? It isn’t the person that matters; it’s the ideology. Who will best articulate an ideology and work to further it openly so the people can opt either in or out as opposed to disguising it just enough to be, ultimately, meaningless in action? Or worse, fraudulent?

    That was the magic of Reagan. He took the nation where it wanted to go at the time. He could never have accomplished a conservative revolution without the people working against the Statist Congress and the hostile academia and press. Reagan articulated a belief and inspired the masses – he tapped into who they wanted to be and history was again made. The people decided. The conduit was Reagan.

    So, the question is, “Who will carry the nation where it wants to go now?” There is no savior. There’s the public’s sentiment and its contemporary “leader” who will explain a vision – one that the people want but cannot effectively galvanize. Conservatives have an opportunity to redirect the nation’s current, failed path by electing the one with the best vision and articulation and not by the blind, predictable tactic of “most electable.” Hope-n-Change failed. Miserably. The nation knows it… so get the guy/gal with the conservative vision who believes it and can articulate it selected in the primary and live with it. Milquetoast will not do.

  20. Joe
    November 11th, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

    At first I thought you were going with the this guy!

  21. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    Every diamond has its flaws.
    Every great man has his failings.
    Every good idea has it’s shortcomings.
    Throw them all over the railings.

  22. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

    Well said.

  23. DaveO
    November 11th, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    Easy way to look at the Government. Anything that has a title that starts with “Department of” usually does the opposite.

    Dept of Energy doesn’t produce, facilitate, or anything useful with energy. Our infrastructure is the same today as it was during the mass blackouts of a few years ago.

    Dept of Education doesn’t educate. Kids test scores today are lower that in 1976, just prior to its creation.

    Dept of Defense doesn’t defend – it attacks. Expensively. No GAAP is wasted accounting for DOD expenditures.

    Dept of Commerce doesn’t make a dime, but sure spends a lot on… wait for it…. well no one can be sure, really. But it’s damned important!

    The Constitution says we need a Navy, and the ability to raise an Army. We need a diplomatic corps, most of whose duties are performed by the Marine Corps. Everything else is optional when one is flush with gold, and a unnecessary burden when one is in debt.

  24. DaveO
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

    Reagan had a vision, and took every opportunity to communicate his vision for America to Americans. His vision encompassed peaceful unity accomplishing whatever we set out to do.

    But during his term, the Progressives rolled out their vision for America in the harangue delivered by the rapist and killer, Senator Ted Kennedy. The vision was entitled ‘Bork’s America.’

    Progressives have spent decades Balkanizing the people; and the people have responded willingly. Like Srebrinica, they don’t understand the Progressives will abandon them as soon as abandonment becomes in their interest.

    We could use a nominee who’s vision is ‘I won’t permit rivers of blood to flow through our Nation’s streets.’

  25. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    How did I get thrown in with that idiot?  Just because I think Cain is a liar and that you whining complainers have ZERO chance of accomplishing anything without guys like McConnell – ACU rating 96 for this Congress, 90 lifetime.

  26. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

    ACU = CPAC, btw.  And John Boehner and Mitch O’Connell are most assuredly NOT Denny Hastert and Bill Frist.

    But if you think you can find more conservative candidates who could win those seats, go for it.  The more likely result is Democrats in them.

    The perfect should never be the enemy of the good.  Insisting you want perfection is just insane.  It has never happened and will never happen in this world.

  27. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

    DeMint isn’t interested in being the Leader; it is too constraining because you have to work with the Maine Sisters, Scott Brown, and other moderates depending on the issue.  Rand Paul isn’t qualified and lacks seniority.  Do you not understand how Congress works?

    You don’t like how it works?  Fair enough.  But throwing a fit about strong conservatives who have spent their lives promoting our ideals doesn’t change anything, or accomplish anything.

  28. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    I am sick and tired of being lectured to by self-styled pseudo-intellectual pricks like you. It’s squishes like you that have helped move the Republican Party to the Left because you don’t stand for anything. It’s go along to get along.

    If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

    I am done with you. Period. You are part of the damn problem, not part of any solution.

  29. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    By the way, I didn’t leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me when it moved to the left to become part of the Washington establishment.

    Go Along Get Along Gang. Me too, me too!

  30. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    Wow, is that medical grade stuff you’re smoking?  The House and Senate Republicans aren’t divided about their leadership.  Ask Jim DeMint what he thinks of Mitch McConnell.  Then you can denounce Jim as a RINO too!

    Michelle Bachmann has never led anything – except her Presidential campaign, and that off the cliff.  When she tried to form a “Tea Party Caucus” in the House after the big Tea Party-inspired victory in 2010, she got a whole TWO members to join with her.

  31. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    People seem to forget – or maybe they just weren’t old enough to understand at the time – that Reagan never had a Republican House, and the Senate was always pretty close in his time, although back and forth on control.  He compromised all the time.  He couldn’t get a damn thing through Congress without Tip O’Neill, the Boston liberal who was Speaker. 

    The actual records of guys like Boehner and McConnell are more consistently conservative than Reagan’s ever was – even as Governor of California. 

    Some of you wish we had another strong conservative leader in the mold of Reagan, but if Reagan himself came back with a different name and face but his exact record, you would denounce him as a RINO.

    As Reagan pointed out, “My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy.”  Think about it, those of you who seem more enthusiastic about blood purges in the Republican Party than in ridding America of the scourge of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi and their disastrous policies.

    Even Stalin was smart enough to understand he had to consolidate control before he could begin culling those suspected of ideological impurity.

  32. Anonymous
    November 12th, 2011 @ 12:58 am

    Reagan had been communicating his vision for years. At first America rejected it and him. It took Jimmy Carter and the years of malaise to change the public psyche. Reagan’s vision meant little until the public was ready for it.

    There’s no question that Progressives have been moving their agenda (while the GOP has been but a speed bump), but the agenda moves because the people keep tolerating it. And why does it keep tolerating it? Because so often it seems futile to fight since those who aspire to office keep making promises they will not keep. The people keep settling on the lesser of evils believing that they’re not being deceived. Until, opportunistically, now. The Tea Party insurgency was the most profound in decades to reassert Constitutional control, but it’s not yet enough to really change the federal corruption and decay.

    And that’s the continuing problem with not challenging the status quo and settling for the “most electable.” Politicians are, by DNA, wedded to state apparatus and government imposition. Their mission is to control and they do to crushing effect. Every civilized nation collapses from that inertia and it’s happening to America now. So we have to ask ourselves, “Is this our inevitable fate?” Of course it is unless we break the chain as did our forefathers. But less radically we can assess the pulse of the nation at this very moment and operate proactively. The pulse is beating conservative because the sinister lurch is destroying us and the majority knows it.

    America is ready for conservatism and surely Not Obama, so let’s get the most visionary to verbalize where the nation is ready to go as opposed to someone who will fill the space because s/he’s “electable.” We’re blowing an opportunity if we settle. Now, if the GOP’s whole purpose is to settle (and I generally think it would prefer that over a return to first principles), then we’re screwed anyway… in which case, the people will still be heard and their response will be much more acute and hostile as their pain thresholds are exceeded. The people will decide the path of the nation, not its leaders. Leaders are always transient.

  33. Joe
    November 12th, 2011 @ 1:54 am

    Andrew Sullivan irony watch (Sullivan commenting on VDH): 

    Victor Davis Hanson claims Cain is blacker than Obama:

    Cain is authentically African-American and of an age to remember the Jim Crow South; Obama, the son of an elite Kenyan and a white graduate student, came of age as a Hawaiian prep-schooler, whose civil-rights credentials are academic. Cain’s lack of experience and seemingly embarrassing ignorance about the right of return or nuclear China are amplified by his unaffected style, whereas Obama’s similar gaffes (57 states) and buffoonery (inflating tires to preclude drilling for oil) are mitigated by metrosexual cool.
    Seriously, what is it about this calm and reasonable man in the White House that prompts this unbounded contempt from so many on the right?

    Well beyond noting that VDH’s observation is generally correct, let me answer with a question.  Seriously, what is it about Sarah Palin that prompts unbounded contempt and bile from Andrew Sullivan? 

  34. Joe
    November 12th, 2011 @ 3:04 am

    I made the mistake of watching Real Time.  Andrew Sullivan and Chris Matthews got in a bitch fight over JFK.  Matthews said JFK was a saint, Sullivan called him a war monger.  I lost what else they were arguing other than their nostrils started to flair and I suspect the Real Time studio got musty. 

  35. ThePaganTemple
    November 12th, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    I agree with everything you said here, and I agree with mostly everything you said in an earlier post about Boehner, and especially McConnell. But on the other hand, you need to understand that when the establishment Republicans go out of their way to sabotage candidates like Christine O’Donnell and other actual conservatives, all it does is heighten these tensions. I’m a major proponent of the long game. You’ll never change either the Republican Party, or the overall political culture, if you expect and demand that change to happen overnight. It’s going to take years of increasingly steady gains, maybe a generation. The fact that the situation is so dire now and change is all the more fundamentally important than it ever was before doesn’t change that fact one iota. I’m very much afraid the whole system is going to have to slide into chaos and complete anarchy before people get the message. And then its still going to be a war for the hearts and minds, only it will likely be fought with knives and bullets instead of speeches and votes. Unfortunately, patience has never been a virtue when it comes to any side of the political aisle, so its very unlikely we’ll see anything in the way of substantive change away from that coming collapse.

  36. Anonymous
    November 12th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

    That 90 lifetime is troubling.

  37. Rightklik
    November 12th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    I don’t remember conservatives clamoring for Romney in 2008. Maybe that’s why he finished 3rd.

    Sure, conservatives are tougher on Romney now than before Obamacare. That’s not unfair, and it makes plenty of sense.