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by Christopher Chantrill
March 10, 2015 at 12:00 am
THERE ARE A couple things about the Obama years that have registered “does not compute” for me. The first was the complete powder taken by the media. Yes, I know that they are all ruling-class liberals that believe in all the received liberal notions and still swoon today at the thought of a First Black President. But you would have thought that, here and there, a liberal journalist would have popped his head above the parapet to take a potshot at the president. Because fame and celebrity. But really there was nothing for six long years until after the 2014 midterms.
The other thing that did not compute has been the extraordinary discipline of the Democrats in Congress. I could accept that in 2010 the Democrats would all vote as one over the passage of Obamacare. Even so, we still got to see the purchase of the final votes in the Senate as predicted in the settled science of Buchanan and Tullock’s The Calculus of Consent. But I still don’t understand the way that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) exercised supreme power over the Senate in 2013-14. I was taught that the Senate was supposed to be full of prima donnas and primo tenores that couldn’t be forced to do anything. Not only that, but senators are supposed to by wily politicians. You tell me that none of them saw the 2014 wave coming, and none of them had the self-preservation instinct to break out of the pack and save themselves from the GOP onslaught?
Journalists are understandably timid. They live by their sources, and if they don’t toady to their sources, then good-bye sources, and good-bye career. The case of former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson is the exception that proves the rule. CBS was OK with her investigation of Bushies, but not Obamis. And if the CBS brass didn’t get the message there were designated Obama bullies ready to read the riot act.
I think we are coming to understand the other “does not compute” now that the Justice Department has decided to prosecute Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The Dem officeholders have been kept in line because someone is keeping a little list of all their little foibles. It’s a delightful system. The Obama administration does nothing about corrupt acts by its supporters until the day that a supporter breaks ranks. Then it’s: Nice little political career you got here. Pity that something should happen to it. Especially if you break with Mr. Big on his Iran policy.
I wonder what Harry Reid knows about his Senate caucus, and exactly what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) knows that keeps her House Democrats in line.
It’s a cunning scheme. The boss winks at his Democratic rank-and-file whenever they breach the rules: Hey, everybody does it! But you note the violation down in your little black book, and when the time comes to twist an arm for a vote, you don’t even need to break a sweat.
Compare this educated and evolved system with the crude initiation rites to criminal gangs in which you have to kill someone to join. That way you have to stick with the gang through thick and thin, because the gang has the goods on the guys you killed. You’ll agree it’s completely different.
I have a friend who wants politicians to start cooperating and compromising. But where do you start when the president and his henchmen act like they are running a criminal gang? Under the Obama rules you don’t enter the smoke-filled room thinking about the best deal for you and your supporters, you go in wondering what the president’s men know about you, and you quiver with fright.
That way you never get down to talking ordinary political give and take, and get to warn the president’s men that you are getting a lot of pushback from the folks back home on the president’s latest plan.
Compromise? Maybe when the Republicans get back to the White House. Then maybe we’ll get compromises like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the bipartisan achievements of the Bush years. Wouldn’t it be great in 2017 if Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan could get a bipartisan Medicare reform and Obamacare repair package through Congress?
In politics, people compromise when they know they are beaten, but figure they can salvage something out of the train-wreck. That’s where we hope the Democrats will be in 2017
Meanwhile the Obama Democrats are stuck with their thug strategy. There’s a problem with that; you can’t ever let up on the thuggery, because everyone that’s ever had a visit from your enforcer hates your guts.
I wonder what the Democratic Party would look like if everyone weren’t looking over their shoulder wondering what California Nance or Bugsy Harry or Big Ears Barry had got on them?
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[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
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
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
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
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
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State