Voters are left helpless and bereft when the political experts form a circular firing squad

I’m planning a trip this summer to Japan, a country about which I know nothing.  Actually that’s an overstatement.  I know some things:  it’s beautiful, historic, and clean (I love that part), and comes complete with great food and well-mannered people.  But that’s all I know.

Toji Pagoda

I don’t have this tabula rasa problem when I go to Europe.  Whether England, Germany, France, Belgium, or Italy, I have in my head enough information about the country to  be a little picky. It helps, too, that Rick Steves has published a series of European travel guides.  He’s not shy about being opinionated.  Indeed, that’s why people turn to him.  They have faith that they can trust his judgment so that, if he says a city is good and requires at least three days time, they can immediately book a hotel (one he recommends, of course) for two nights.  Likewise, if he says “don’t bother with such and such,” his readers know that Rick saved them time and money on a short, expensive trip.

Schloss Neuschwanstein

So far, I haven’t found a Rick Steves for Japan.  All the travel books make everything sound wonderful, without any rankings or priorities.  And I’m sure that, if I had unlimited time and money, I would enjoy traveling to every town, shrine and museum Japan offers.  But that’s not the reality of vacation travel, and I’m currently overwhelmed by the choices. Yikes!

My Japan conundrum isn’t unique.  In a world awash in information, there is no way one person can master all the data necessary to make important life decisions.  Inevitably, in various areas such as education, travel, politics, finances, etc., we select experts whom we trust and assume that, when they state an ultimate conclusion about their subject, we can rely on that conclusion.  This works both ways, of course.  Since I’ve long thought AlBore to be a rather foolish man with enough feral instincts to be a successful snake oil salesman, I have never believed in global warming.  Likewise, a friend of mine refuses to accept the rising tide of evidence against global warming, because it’s been published in “Republican” and “conservative” outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Mail.  The fact that AlBore’s theories are based on computer models while the evidence against global warming is based upon actual data disturbs him not a whit.  He’s found his reliable sources, and he’s sticking with them.

Right now, my reliance upon political experts is creating a dilemma for me, because my “experts” are turning on each other.  Before the primaries, they were all united in their profound dislike for Barack Obama.  Now, though, the circular firing squad isn’t limited just to the Republican candidates themselves.  The shoot-outs are taking place at every major conservative website, not to mention many of my favorite blogs.  Just check out PJ Media’s front page at any given minute to see astute political commentators, all of whom I respect, battering away at each other and the candidates.

To some commentators, Mitt is a RINO’s RINO, who flops, then flips, while Newt is the fiery voice of conservative truth who can reclaim America.  To others, Newt is an unprincipled loose cannon, while Mitt is a steady, conservative politician whose problem-solving skills make him the only one who can defeat Obama.  Still others see both Mitt and Newt as RINOs (one of whom has a backbone of noodle, while the other has the ethics of an alley cat), while Rick Santorum is the only true conservative in the house — never mind the fact, say entirely different pundits, that Rick’s conservative stances on social issues assure that he’ll lose to Obama.

I find all of the above viewpoints both interesting and credible.  Newt is an exciting speaker who articulates core truths about America, the economy, and national security that too many Americans, intimated by the PC police, have been stifling for years.  His fund of knowledge is impressive and enjoyable.  And of course, he’s the man whose insider skills in the 1990s forced the entire political system slightly to the right.  On the other side of the scale, he’s a man who has cheated on at least two wives (and I really don’t want to find out if he’s been cheating on a third), he’s known to be a terrible manager, his relationship to truth can be distant at best, he’s erratic, he too often sees Big Government as the vehicle for his own eclectic brilliance, and so on and so forth.

(Image by Gage Skidmore)

Then there’s Mitt.  We all know and appreciate the Good Mitt.  This is the Mitt who understands the market; the Mitt who has impressive organizational abilities; the Mitt who has proven to be an adept, albeit unexciting candidate; the Mitt who makes the Republican establishment feel loved; and the Mitt who, we are told, can entice the independents whom Newt frightens.  But all is not wonderful in Mitt land.  There’s also the Less Good Mitt, the unrepentant architect of RomneyCare; the man who, when he isn’t flipping, is flopping; the man whose Mormonism worries those who believe he is committing a profound doctrinal error that reflects on his judgment and intelligence; and, which might be the worst thing of all in a hyper-media age, the man who has the charm and warmth of a first generation android.

(Image by Gage Skidmore)

And what about Rick?  My God, the man is a Boy Scout, and I mean that in a good way.  He’s honest, loyal, decent, moral, and truly conservative.  He’s definitely what we conservatives want.  Except for that little problem he has of fading into the woodwork, not to mention the fact that, with the nation trending further and further left on social issues, there’s the strong likelihood, say many, that he’ll be the poison pill candidate for independent voters.

(Image by Gage Skidmore)

Darn those independent voters!  They’re the real problem, because all three conservative candidate (and, yes, I am ignoring Ron Paul entirely) could easily win against Obama if we could automatically co-opt independents into conservativism.  We can’t, though, which paralyzes the Republican primary.  While the independents seem to dislike Obama with ever greater intensity, the mainstream media has trained them, like tens of thousands of Pavlovian dogs, to be very hostile to certain stand-out traits in the last three Republicans standing:  Newt is the evil architect of the Contract with America; Mitt is the evil Mormon; and Rick is the evil Christian who will imprison all your gay friends and relatives.  Evil!  Evil!  Evil!

The worst thing of all, though, considering all the alleged evil the MSM keeps highlighting, is the fact that America’s premier conservative commentators aren’t doing anything to help.  Rather than building up their candidate of choice, they too are just as busy as the MSM, and the candidates themselves, in the savagery of their attacks against the candidates they don’t like.

It’s worth remembering that Newt rose to prominence during the debates because, in the beginning, he kept a laser-like focus on Obama.  He pointed out Obama’s myriad, manifest flaws and failings, and articulated ideas that promised to help America recover from her experiment with a true Leftist in the White House.  His numbers rose.  When Romney went negative, though, so did Newt — and so did everyone else.  In the last couple of months, the flesh-ripping on the debate stage is sickening, and the political commentators, rather than stepping in to help focus the voters on their chosen candidate’s attributes, are standing at the base of the stage drinking up the flowing blood.

THIS IS NOT HELPFUL.  If you’re going to have an opinion, advance useful information that helps affirmative decision-making and that helps staunch the sanguinary stream we’re currently giving as a gift to the MSM.  Yes, it’s good for the candidates to get groomed to fight the dirty fight, because it’s going to be very dirty indeed when they stand on a stage opposite Barack Obama.  I think, though, that we can comfortably conclude that the current batch has the grit to take the hits.  It’s time now to give the voters the help they need to choose the best candidate, rather than just to avoid the worst.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Our own indubitably courageous Charles Martel can probably draw upon his personal experiences to support or refute my contention, but I seem to recall that, upon the eve of Islamic conquest of Europe, Charley was forced to unite a discordant rabble of feudal European city states to face an existential enemy.

    Prior to the actual battle of Tours (Poitiers), these city states were busy hacking and slicing each other with gay abandon until Charley united them to confront a fanatically militant and unscrupulous foe. One united, of course, Charley’s chargers laid waste to the Muslim hordes.

    I have no doubt that we will all unite to defeat our common foe, once the primary bloodletting is done. 

    Japan sounds great, btw. I understand that the west coast is spectacular and still quite wild. Kyoto and its palaces are a must. Also, would love to see the nature preserves and alpine mountains of the northern island of Hokkaido. Japan has several beautiful nature preserves – you should try to see Japan’s jacuzzi-loving macaques. Try to get in a folk festival.

  • Oldflyer

    One minor point Book.  There is actually no program, much less a law called Romneycare.  That is a fictitious, and pejorative,  label that was hung on Mitt by his detractors in hopes of equating Romney to Obama.  They seem to have succeeded. 
    Many of the people who use the pejorative  know a few truths that they either ignore, or obfuscate.  To wit, Mitt exercised his veto 800 times while Governor.  Among the items he opposed were certain aspects of the Massachusetts health care plan.  He was overridden multiple times by the Liberal Legislature.  The Massachusetts health plan was developed to protect the people of the state from deadbeats who were bleeding the treasury through Medicaid abuses. It may have been devised–in part–by Mitt Romney; it may have been supported–in part–by Mitt Romney; but the finished product omits elements that he supported, and includes elements that he did not support, and tried to block. It is neither accurate nor fair to call it  his plan.

  • phillips1938

    I’ve been going to Japan every year for 40 years.  Usually for 7+ weeks.  This year I’ll be there most of March and April.  For a lunch, I’ll help plan a trip specifically for you.

  • Charles Martel

    My older brother, Mike, was stationed in Japan for two years during the 1960s in the U.S. Navy. Thanks to him, back at home we began receiving a stream of cheap, well-made consumer electronics that told us that “Made in Japan” would soon cease being a pejorative.
    Mike has always been an independent sort. Whenever he got a two- or three-day liberty, he’d flip a coin: Heads said he’d go get rip-snortin’ drunk for a couple of days; tails said he might head over to the ship next door and volunteer to work on its engines for a day or two. He loved engines and thought that working on them was a delightful and instructive way to pass the time.
    Occasionally, though, he’d head deep into Japan’s countryside to stay at one of the rural inns there, a ryokan, where the innkeepers typically knew no English and he knew only a smattering of Japanese.
    No matter–the Japanese were incredibly hospitable, all the more so because they could see how much he enjoyed these sojourns and how appreciative he was of the efforts his hosts made to make him feel comfortable. 
    I hope you have as pleasant a time, Book.


    Slash and burn politics are not limited to the candidates. “First they came for the Communists….”     Allen West being redistricted out of existence in effort led by Romney Florida spokesman Source:

  • Oldflyer

    I had a Navy friend who was third generation Japanese on both sides.  Naturally, he looked all Japanese; but, he spoke no Japanese at all, because his family had made a determined effort to become Americanized.
    He said it was extraordinarily embarrassing for him in Japan.  They simply did not understand.

  • tomthesubmariner

    Bookworm, I first lived in Japan in 1955 – 57 (4 – 5 grade). In many respects Japan has changed greatly. Young ladies are much taller and slender. This only applies to the Kanto Plain area (Tokyo and environs). I’ve been going there off and on since then. As to Japanese speaking English, limit yourself to Narita Airport, or the Ministries of State and Defense. Here’s an example. In the 50s we lived at Sagamehara Army Housing near Camp Zama. At that time it was well into the country but by the early 70s it was urban. Just outside the main entrance was a store brightly labeled “Toy Store.” As a fifth grader I spent a deal of time there. But the owners spoke little or no English. When I returned for a nostalgic visit in the 70s the owners spoke no English.There’s a lesson there which I’ll elaborate on in a minute. The Kanto Plain is flat but get beyond that region and the country is very, very mountainous. For example, the Hiroshima Airport is not really near the ciry of Hiroshima. I believe it’s about 40 km away. It’s not because there was land flat enough to build an airport but because there was a spare mountain that could have its top chopped off to be able to build a modern airport. In the North of Honshu the terrain is also very mountainous (There is a 15km tunnel that takes you from the center of the island out to the Pacific coast) Be careful as the countryside gets about 120 inches of snow during the winter, summer however, is lovely. The roads are virtually unmarked and as expected, no one speaks English. Have good maps that are in Japanese and English because if you get lost you’ll need to show the map to someone who does not speak or read English. That person will, however,be able to show you, on the map, how to get to where you want to go, doing so with humor and graciousness.  Please do not be put off by my comments. Reality is reality. Plan your trip carefully with the above cautions in mind. The Japanese are very nice people. That said, my wife and I prefer to travel to SE Asia, Singapore, Thailand, Bali, etc.  Tomthesubmariner  

    I can’t speak to GPS reliability. 

  • pst314

    Book, maybe you can get a GPS for Japan that can be set to speak English.

  • Old Buckeye

    You’ve summed up the voting dilemma very well. I’m on the same page.  I’ve forwarded your link to many friends.

  • Mike Devx

    Book says: The worst thing of all, though, […] is the fact that America’s premier conservative commentators aren’t doing anything to help.  Rather than building up their candidate of choice, they too are just as busy as the MSM, and the candidates themselves, in the savagery of their attacks against the candidates they don’t like.

     You hit the nail on the head, Book.  Why aren’t they sticking to merely enthusiastically promoting their favorite candidate, while remaining mostly silent about the other(s)?  I think there are a combination of factors at work.  The two main ones I see:

    – They’re not as much enthused by the candidate they’re supporting, as they are horrified at the candidate they’re attacking.   Among those doing the attacking, Romney supporters detest Gingrich; Gingrich supporters detest Romney.  Their enthusiasm is lukewarm, their hatred vitriolic.

    –  This is a war between the Establishment and the non-Establishment GOP, where the non-Establishment is mainly the Tea Party folk.  There are insiders in both camps pushing strongly to nuke the other camp, and it is no-holds barred warfare.  The various conservative negative bloggers and media outlets are siding with one camp or the other.  I suppose it is understandable: If you’re aligned with the Tea Party, you probably think the Establishment (on BOTH sides!) is destroying this country, and consumed utterly with self-interest and getting rich and maintaining D.C. power, and screw the American People.  If you’re an Establishment guy, you see the Tea Party as a radical fringe that will guarantee that the GOP will remain losers.

  • Bill C

    Mike Devx has framed the Republican divide very well.  I just want to add that this fissure goes back decades.  In 1952 my father was a delegate at the Republican convention for Robert Taft who narrowly lost to Eisenhower.  There has been since then a more moderate, east coast, urban wing of the Republican party and a more conservative, rural, southern/western wing.  Now, the whole party is more conservative than it has been but the old divisions are still creating clashes.

    I am a Newt supporter because I think he can be trusted to govern as a conservative.  I don’t trust Romney and i have to admit, in part, that mistrust comes from those who support him.  (It doesn’t hurt that Romney was a moderate/liberal up until 2005-6.)   Romney has the support of the east coast moderates, entrenched Washington plutocrats, and no movement conservatives.  Romney says all the right things but his actions, and his pathetic attempts to make an intellectual defense of conservatism make him a candidate with whom conservatives will always distrust.

    But Newt has a lot of problems, too.  He is just a better conservative than Romney.  So now the campaign is down to slander.  A terrible state of affairs.  The good thing is that we are finding out where people stand.  I predict more than a few tea party candidates will be primaried in their next elections.

  • Don Quixote

    It’s not just the commentators.  Newt himself has gone off the rails in Florida, attacking Mitt personally.  That smells of desperation and it will backfire. 

  • Ymarsakar

    Everyone seems to be very knowledgeable. Btw, where is this place called Japan? Is it near the Netherlands?


  • Gringo

    Everyone seems to be very knowledgeable. Btw, where is this place called Japan? Is it near the Netherlands?
    Must be. China is about 25 miles from Nederland, east of Houston on  the Gu’f Coast. 
    From what I hear, China is close to Japan, so Japan must be close to Nederland/The Netherlands, also. 
    The legendary football coach Bum Phillips is from Nederland- at least he is legendary in Texas.
    If you can get your hands on it, Bill Neely sang and wrote The Texas Map Song, where he showed that you can travel around the world and never leave the Lone Star State. I worked in Guatemala with a tool pusher from Palestine- Palestine Texas, that is.

  • Michael Adams

    I grew to the age of 18 in Atlanta, TX.  My wife lived in Paris, TX, until she was five.

  • bizcor

    Yes Mitt and Newt are tearing each other up. Rick Santorum got into it with Mitt the other night and he zings Newt on a fairly regular basis. On the night I saw Newt and Santorum debate Lincoln/Doulas style they were both very cordial to one another and really they both were pretty much in agreement. This was all beofre the Iowa negative campaigning. Newt was winning on points and Mitt’s people decided they needed to knock him down if they were going to win the nomination. You are correct about the conservative pundits. Ann Coulter to name one is trashinig Newt, others are bashing Romney, the only one staying neutral is Rush. He just discusses the back and forth and refuses to publicly suppport anyone. Newt is the only one buying time on Rush’s show which I find interesting. If I was consulting a “conservative” Presidential candidate I would absolutely be buying time on Rush. When I was consulting a Congressional Candidate I was buying time on the local stations airing Rush. During that race the other candidates vying for the nomination were also buying Rush. I really hate the mud slinging but it has become the way campaigns are run these days and when we do get a nominee Obama’s people will unload with eveything they have. I wonder if Mitt will be a ruthless with Obama as he has been with Newt. Newt will take Obama to task, I think. The voting is out of my hands. I voted a few weeks ago and now it up to the rest of the country. Speaking of buying ads lately Oboma ads are beginnning to show up on my face book page.

    As far as Japan is concerned I have never been. My sister lived there for ten years or so but I was raising a family and couldn’t get there. I would have her join the blog to lend some information but she is a die hard, blinded by the magnificence, Obama supporter and I am sure she would not enjoy this blog at all. I understand to some degree Bookworm’s dilemma with Mr. BW being a lib, I love my baby sister to death but her misinformed loyalty infuriates the daylights out of me. I don’t live with her or near her. She lives in Hawaii and just goes all a twitter when the Obamas come to town. She is one of the 12 people still watching MSNBC and she feels the need to share articles and videos from them with me.

    Sadie I saw the post about Romney’s spokespearson caampaigning to redistrict Allen West out of a Congreesional seat. Jeez Louize, Allen West for crying out loud. I love that guy. He pulls no punches, speaks his mind, and is not afraid to be a conservative. Yup the establihment Republicans do not like the Tea Party because the Tea Party is holding their candidates accountable. It was the Tea Party folks who screwed up Boehner’s deals with the President. BTW If you live in a disctrict with a Tea Party guy or gal in the house do get out there and support them however you can. The establishment on both sides of the aisle don’t like the Tea Party because they are gumming up the works with their siily demands to cut spending and governing according to the US Constitution.

    Finally watch Mia B. Love running in Utah. I am sure the guns will be out for her big time but I think she is smart enough to know this and I would love to see her win that seat. She is friends with Allen West.

    Good luck with the sleep issue Bookworm. I sleep like a log and my wife doesn’t.



    bizcor – The GOP establishment and the DNC both had plenty of target practice with Sarah Palin and quite effective, too. Don’t remember John McCain or any other getting into the trenches to protect her. Only The Tea Party came to her aid and defense. The others would have happily watched her bleed to death, step over her body and taken their positions on Capital Hill like nothing happened. I believe we became a three-party system since November 2010 -although the general public doesn’t know it as yet, the GOP and DNC certainly do. It’s civil war in the 21st century and it will be anything but civil.

  • Ymarsakar

    Gringo, interesting, I’ll have to look into that.

    What a lot of Americans seem to take granted is the corruption of politicians. But I wonder if they truly understand the corruption of the media, or in fact believe the media’s own stories about “corporate owned” policies. Which if you analyze the historical propaganda and how they work, makes little to no sense. Capitalism does not work the same the media works, not even Leftist robber baron capitalism.