|2012: It's Bain Capital vs. Obama Capital||President Obama's Civilian Soldiers|
by Christopher Chantrill
March 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm
WHEN THE DEMOCRATS surfaced George W. Bush's 1976 DUI the week before the 2000 presidential election it nearly tipped the election. A week before the revelation, Bush was comfortably ahead in the polls.
It was obvious, reading about Bush as he struggled through the last weekend of the campaign and failed to come up with a riposte, that Bush was ashamed. Who wouldn't be? It nearly cost him the election.
Not Newt Gingrich. When an embarrassing interview about his infidelities showed up on the mainstream media two days before the South Carolina presidential primary, Newt made the mainstream media the issue. And the audience at the Thursday televised debate loved him for it. Adultery? Schmadultery. What's despicable is the mainstream media, said Newt. And by the way, when are they going to stop covering for Barack Obama?
Newt Gingrich is shameless.
Is shamelessness the #1 skill you need to be a successful elected politician? Certainly Bill Clinton had it. Al Gore had itremember the Big Kiss at the 2000 Democratic National Convention? The convention delegates went wild. President Obama certainly has it. He can refer to Bill Ayers as just a friend in the neighborhoodthe guy who sat on foundation boards with him and maybe ghost-wrote his memoir. And he can brazenly rewrite American history in Osamatomie, Kansas, without a blink of an eye.
Mitt Romney, obviously, is not shameless. He's embarrassed about his Bain Capital years, his taxes, and his wealth, and it shows.
You would think that voters would prefer leaders that showed an ounce of decency, and that actually seemed ashamed of their peccadilloes, but we obviously don't. Presumably that's because political leaders are, in fact, still tribal chieftains. A leader's job is to lead the tribe and defeat its enemies. We can worry about trouble among the women and slaves later. A tribal chieftain with hesitancies and regrets is about as much use as an Italian cruise-ship captain. Anyway, tribal chieftains have always had lots of wives; it comes with the territory.
The hit on Newt Gingrich is that he has baggage and that he speaks before he thinks.
On the other hand, Gingrich has been fearlessly taking it to the Democrats since the mid 1980s, when he started making inflammatory speeches on the empty House floor. Democrats got so annoyed that they changed the camera rules to show the empty benches that Newt was speaking to, and they taught the mainstream media to call Gingrich a bombthrower. Newt took the hint, and in 1994 bombed the Democrats out of the House leadership after 40 years in the majority. You'd think you'd been carpet-bombed too if that had happened to you.
There's a bigger issue here. What if the parties are changing their positions on shame? For decades the Democrats have been the naughty party and Republicans the up-tight party; Democrats were for drugs in San Francisco, Republicans for cocktails at the country club. But things change. It used to be that the Republican Party was a northern party and the Democrats the southern party. Now the opposite is true. Used to be that Republicans balanced budgets and Democrats ran deficits. Not any more, not since Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. It used to be that liberals told us to let it all hang out. Now they want us to get permission for sex in writing.
Used to be that Democrats were shameless about everything and Republicans were embarrassed about everything. Suppose that is about to change? Here's Tim Stanley reporting from a party of religious conservatives in South Carolina:
No, Newts infidelities do not concern me, said one Southern gentleman. On the contrary, I take heart that someone older and fatter than me can still have an affair.
This comes from a party that used to say, of Bill Clinton, that a man who cheats on his wife will cheat in the rest of his life. Next thing we know, social X-rays in Manhattan will preface their confidential luncheon put-downs with bless her heart.
If Newt goes on to win the nomination and the presidency, liberals will only have themselves to blame. If liberals hadn't clamped down on free speech by making it a thought crime to think badly of blacks, women, gays, native Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, abortionists--anyone except greedy bankers, corporate CEOs, millionaires and billionaires--Republican voters wouldn't have built up this pent-up anger, this overpowering urge to give a standing ovation to anyone, anytime, that lands a haymaker on the mainstream media.
I tell you. It's not your father's Republican Party any more. Things are getting to be shameless around here.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America