Mid afternoon Friday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe lovely thing about summer is that I get to sleep in a little. I like that.

The less than lovely thing about summer is that I am never alone. More than that, if my family is near me, they want me. Sometimes they want me for irritating reasons, such as asking me to do things they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves (e.g., making themselves lunch); sometimes they want me for necessary things that only I can do (e.g., filling out the parent permission form for an activity or dealing with contractors); and sometimes they want me for flattering reasons (“I just want you to sit with me, Mommy.”). No matter the reason, I can’t write when they want me.

Other times, as is the case now, I have little bits and pieces of time within which to write. I’m therefore going to slam stuff out and you’ll just have to excuse the inevitable typos. If I proceed methodically here, I won’t be able to publish this until Monday.

** 1 **

Mitchell Langbert wrote an open letter to his state Senator asking that New York take away tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement:

I urge New York State to eliminate tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support involvement with the Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanctions movement. Such support is already illegal under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code, which prohibits the use of tax-exempt money for political and ideological purposes.

If Langbert is correct in the way he interprets the law, all of us should make a very big deal out of this one, not just in New York, but across America. (Hat tip: JKB.)

** 2 **

So far, Israel is doing very well. Ironically, one can say that she’s doing well because Obama hates her. With past administrations, when the president asked Israel to stop fighting Hamas, even when she was winning, Israel agreed to the request. She did so because all past administrations tacitly or explicitly promised that, if things get really bad, America will have Israel’s back.

Barack Obama, of course, doesn’t have Israel’s back. He’s mostly in Israel’s face, with a shiv aimed at her jugular. The fact that he manifestly dislikes Israel explains why Israel now refuses to listen to his pleas for her to back down. He’s got no carrot to entice her into listening to him, so Israel sneers at John Kerry when he, a Lurch without charm, insists Israel lay down her guns.

Israel is also doing well because Hamas is doing badly. The IDF put out a poster explaining just how badly Hamas is doing:

Hamas hurting

That poster doesn’t even acknowledge the 150 Hamas fighters who surrendered yesterday.

For more on just how well Israel is doing, you can read an American Thinker article that purports to report a conversation with a very highly placed Israeli specialist and Bibi advisor, or read Tom Rogan’s analysis about Israel’s success is splitting Hamas and Fatah.

** 3 **

That same Israeli specialist and advisor has no doubt about the basis for Obama’s hostility to Israel:

As for what is behind Obama’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, he attributes it to the fact that Obama is a Muslim and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps Obama also sees himself as the Caliph of any future Caliphate.

The other thing the post about the specialist mentions is Qatar’s involvement in funding radical Islam. Qatar also funds lots of soccer. My son loves soccer, and he can’t understand why I won’t let him buy gear from Qatar-funded teams.

** 4 **

Contrary to what the Left says or implies, the war between Israel and Hamas is not a case of powerful white people attacking helpless brown people. In fact, Israel is a multicultural, multiracial, multi-religious society — and all people of good will within that society, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion, support stamping out the terrorism emanating from Gaza.

** 5 **

CNN’s Erin Burnett isn’t just another pretty face. She’s a really stupid pretty face, something that comes through loud and clear when Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador U.S., takes her to task for her inanely stupid “but what about the children” plea when it comes to the Gazan children that Hamas deliberate dots around weapons’ sites in Gaza.

Regarding Hamas’s tactics, I’m sure its supporters have made the point that the nature of Gaza (a small, urban area) means that Hamas can’t have nice military bases or remote areas where they can stockpile weapons. That’s true.

What’s also true, though, is that there are choices other than schools and hospitals for storing arms and mounting attacks. Moreover, when your enemy goes out of the way to give you advance warning that it plans to demolish the schools and hospitals in which they’ve determined you keep your weapons and fighters, there are choices other than ordering women and children and sick people to stay in those buildings.

There are always choices — and Hamas, when it chooses, always makes the least moral choice.

** 6 **

Meanwhile, as the world’s Muslims and Leftists castigate Israel for daring to defend herself in a more humane way than any other nation in history, most of the world is turning away from Muslim atrocities in Iraq and Syria. There, Muslims slaughter each other and Christians with fury and brutality, and in great numbers. Looking at this inconsistent behavior, one has to ask, If it’s not the oldest hatred that drives the obsessive focus on Israel, what is driving it?

** 7 **

Sultan Knish explains that terrorism is a tactic like any other. Traditional militaries think in terms of conquering land or towns. Terrorists think in terms of conquering minds through abject fear:

This emotional calculus is misleading because it is an immediate response to a set of deaths. However terrorists are not trading an end to violence for a village or a town. They are calculating how many deaths it will take to force Israel to abandon that village or town. And once they have it, they will use it to inflict more terror on another town or village, this time using rockets.

Israelis were convinced that a price in lives had been put on Gaza and that if they withdrew, the killing would end. But Gaza was just the beginning. Not the end. There is never an end.

The goal of a terrorist movement is to change the relative perceptions of strength and the freedom of movement of both sides. Terror tactics create the perception that the winning side is losing. This perception can be so compelling that both sides come to accept it as reality. Terrorists manufacture victories by trapping their enemies in no-win scenarios that wear down their morale.

Described that way, it’s hard to imagine how to defeat this profoundly cruel psychological warfare. Fortunately, though, Sultan Knish says it can be done but it will take political courage. Unfortunately, how often does one find courage in politics?

** 8 **

My back garden is dotted with solar lights. They’re cheap to buy and don’t require any electrical boxes, outlets, or cords in the garden. Buy enough of them, and they’ll illuminate deck stairs just enough so that no one falls or will keep people from wandering off a paved pathway into the dirt. It would take a whole let of them, though, plus a full moon, to allow you to read a book by their light. Solar energy just doesn’t deliver that much power, and that’s the problem with trying to turn it into a viable fossil fuel alternative.

** 9 **

You’ve heard it everywhere else, so you may as well hear it from me too: Jonathan Gruber, an important Obama-care architect, has castigated the Halbig decision for daring to read Obamacare’s language literally and, on that basis, deciding that subsidies only support state-run exchanges. Of course the government meant to include federal exchanges when it talked about subsidies, says Gruber.

A few years ago, though, Gruber was singing a different tune, when he gloated about tying subsidies to state exchanges. His theory then was that it would incentivize states to set up their own exchanges. In a sane world, Gruber would lay to rest the DemProg’s discontent with the Halbig decision, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

** 10 **

Kimberly Strassel says that the Halbig case proves that the IRS, which has become an arm of the Democrat party, cannot be entrusted with Obamacare. It will do anything, including disobeying the law as written, to support the Democrat agenda.  With that in mind, I wouldn’t just remove Obamacare from the IRS’s purview.  I would argue for eliminating it entirely, and starting anew.  (Like that’s going to happen.)

** 11 **

I don’t think Noemi Emery really explains the roots of Hillary’s sense of political and monetary entitlement, but in trying to explain it, she sure paints a picture of a women who believes that the White House and millions of dollars should be hers for the asking.

My take is that Hillary didn’t get to this point because of her Arkansas exile or victimized-wife roles. I believe she’s just your ordinary sociopath, who managed to lever herself into a power path, and now wants more just because she’s the sociopath she is.  In other words, her history didn’t make her a sociopath; the fact that she is a sociopath shaped her history.

** 12 **

Charles Krauthammer has offered a very interesting theory about Obama’s bizarre passivity as the world burns around him: he believes that the arc of history will go his way so that he can just sit back and watch it happen.

If that idea — that bad guys will wither away in any event — sounds familiar, it’s because you heard it from Jimmy Carter about our own American Revolution:

[I]n some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.

Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial‘s really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.

I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.

See, if you’re just a little nicer to people on the other side of a quarrel, they’ll fall in line with you. It’s that easy. So if Obama just doesn’t throw America’s weight around, everyone will make nice in the end.  Obama is helped in this theory by the fact that he seems happy to have that arc of history bend to Islam, not the western, Judeo-Christian tradition.

** 13 **

In the 1930s, many decent-ish people in Europe and England supported Hitler’s rise. That’s because initially they saw his fascism as the European antidote to Communism. It somehow never seemed to occur to Europeans, accustomed as they were to autocratic government, that the choice wasn’t binary, between a tyrannical government that destroyed the rich and a tyrannical government that co-opted them. Individual freedom never occurred to them.  That was stupidity, or at least limited thinking, on their part.

These same Europeans stopped being decent-ish but stupid, and became evil, though, when they still supported the Nazis despite the latter’s increasingly insane antisemitism.  That’s another legacy of the European past — it wasn’t just autocratic; it was also antisemitic. European’s embrace of antisemitism into addition to totalitarianism is less forgivable than accepting totalitarianism alone, while the latter is a structural ideology, the former is pure evil.

Fascism and communism may be gone from Europe, and socialism may be dying on the vine there, but the antisemitism lingers on. That oldest hatred seems to be bred into the European DNA. Nor can one just blame the huge Muslim populations in Europe for antisemitism’s resurgence. Just as the Ukrainians and Poles and French, while resenting Nazi invasions, supported Nazi ethnic cleansing, too many of today’s Europeans, while frightened of the Muslims, cheerfully (and almost reflexively) chime in when the cry to “Kill the Jews” rings out.

** 14 **

Mr. Bookworm is convinced that I abandoned him politically when I moved from Democrat to conservative. I keep explaining to him that he abandoned me too, because he’s been moving steadily to the Left. He denies that, since he still rejoices under the name “Democrat.” Hard data, though, seems to support my perception.

** 15 **

A palette-cleanser:

** 16 **

Hamas priorities

This clever twist on a London Underground map makes a powerful point about Hamas’s tunneling under Israel’s borders and into her towns. If Hamas, instead of being impatient and firing rockets, had waited quietly, it’s possible it could have carried out a terrorist attack in Israel that would easily have rivaled 9/11. Thank goodness, I guess, for impatient terrorists.

Gaza underground

Obama wasn’t mugged by reality; he wanted this reality

obama gives us the finger_thumb[41]William Kristol has a good summary about Obama’s inertia in the face of world chaos.  I disagree, however, with the language I’ve emphasized:

In late 1979, with the seizure of American hostages by Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter was mugged by reality. Carter then tried, however haplessly, to change direction. But Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter. Will Obama increase defense spending, as Carter did? Is he likely to launch a military excursion, as Carter did, over the objection—and then resignation—of his dovish secretary of state?

Carter, whatever his problems, was more hawkish than most in his party. In this he followed in the footsteps of every other Democratic president in the past century. Until Barack Obama.

It’s been a bit bewildering, even disorienting, to watch Obama get mugged by reality and refuse to press charges.

Obama hasn’t been mugged by reality.  This is what Obama wanted.  That’s why the comparisons with Carter don’t actually work — and it’s not just that Carter only had a four-year term, rather than an eight year term.

When Carter embarked upon his foreign policy, his imagined result was that America would still be a world leader, but one that would lead through Gandhi-esque peace, rather than through arms.  When peace didn’t work, Carter pivoted in an effort to return America to leadership through economic and military strength.  When he was voted out of office, Reagan did that job and did it well.  Carter was a dreadful president and I seriously dislike him for his increasingly overt antisemitism, but he was still a patriot.

Obama is not a patriot.  America’s total retreat is what he wanted.  That is, he was never seeking world domination through peaceful means.  Instead, his stated goal was to cut America down to size and make her just one nation among many.  The world cheered him in that goal.  Now the world is being reminded of the dictum to “be careful what you wish for because you might get it.”

Obama, however, is not weeping over his wishes being granted.  He got exactly what he wished for and is undoubtedly pleased with the results.  Insulated by his praetorian White House guard and sycophantic media, he doesn’t worry about the downsides of his execrable foreign policies.  All he cares about is the fact that he succeeded in weakening (perhaps permanently) a nation he’s always viewed as an overbearing, racist, capitalist bully.

No, the polls aren’t bothering me

We conservatives are very fragile.  One SEIU house polling organization (that would be PPP) and one White House press organ (that would be Politico), both of which trumpet Obama’s staggering 5 point post-convention bounce, and we’re already donning sackcloth and ashes.

Yes, it is frustrating that a president with the worst employment numbers since Jimmy Carter nevertheless still seems to be in the game.  But as Drudge and others remind us, at this time in 1980, Carter was still in the game too.  The parallels to 1980 are actually striking.

Both Carter and Obama presided over a dismal economy that utterly failed to recover on their watch.  Both of them presided over the steepest, quickest increase in oil prices in the post-war era.  Both of them made love to the Muslim world at Israel’s expense.  And both of them got a lot of media protection.

Things are a bit different nowadays.  Carter’s love for Muslims and ill-hidden disdain for Israel offended Democrats as well as Republicans, and his flailing about over the Iran Hostage Crisis didn’t help him a bit.  As the delegate floor vote at the DNC shows, Obama’s love for Muslims and ill-hidden disdain for Israel sits badly with only about half of the Democrats in this country.  Still, polls show that more than 50% of Americans believe Israel deserves American support.  What they may lack in philosemitism, they probably make-up in 2012 pragmatism — a pragmatism arising from the fact that both America and Israel have been attacked by Islamists who proudly state their desire to rid the earth of these two nations. The process is more attenuated than the Iran Hostage Crisis, but also more ugly and dangerous.

Also, in 2012, the media love is more blatant than it was in 1980.  In some way, that helps Obama more than Carter, because Obama gets such fervent support, whereas the media’s support for Carter was tempered by its old-fashioned belief that it had to appear objective.  Nowadays, the word “objective” frequently come out of media talking heads, but no one believes it.  And that means that Obama is slightly less well situated than Carter.  Nowadays, aside from the true believers, people take what the media says with a grain (or sometimes a shovel) of salt.  In addition, the internet means that anyone who is interested can investigate a subject more deeply, whether that means watching the entire speech that the media cut and spliced into scary nonsense, or reading thoughtful analyses that the media would rather die than publish.  And of course, there’s Fox (although some have noticed that Fox is embracing the antisemitic side of conservativism, which is very disturbing.  One wonders if this is an inevitable result of a major Saudi shareholder.).

Things are also the same now as they were in 1980 on the other side of the aisle:  The media loathes Romney every bit as much as they loathed Reagan.  In 1980, we were told Reagan was an idiot.  In 2012, we are told that Romney is an evil plutocrat.  In 1980, even without the internet, voters were able to cut through the noise.  In 2012, Romney is pursuing a slow but steady course aimed at cutting through the noise as well.

I think that, as happened with Reagan and Carter, the debates will be a turning point in public opinion.  Yes, the media interlocutors will throw softballs at Obama and try to tie Romney up in knots, but that will fail.  First, Americans will recognize this cheating for what it is.  It will be too blatant and they’ll resent that and root for the underdog — which, in the debate context, will be the beleaguered Romney.  Second, Obama will fumble the softballs and Romney will handle the knots.  Obama isn’t as smart as he thinks he is; Romney is indeed every bit as smart as he appears to be.  With the two men on stage all alone, even in the artificial, biased constraints of a debate, Obama will struggle.  Romney may not have Reagan’s wit and charm, but he’ll still run rings around Obama.

So, no, the polls aren’t bothering me.  A little less than two months is an eternity in politics and, as things heat up, Obama cannot run forever from his own record.

Talk about damned with faint praise — George R.R. Martin speaks about Barack Obama

I found the show “Game of Thrones” unwatchable, and the book unreadable — both were boring, ugly, and self-involved, which kind of hints at the author’s personality, right?

Anyway, George R. R. Martin has decided that it’s not enough to have his books reveal his petty little soul.  He’s now taken to expressing freely and in detail his political opinions.  Since one assumes that Martin reads only The New York Times, one can understand, although not forgive, his fact-free, invective-filled ruminations about clearing the voter rolls of illegal aliens, dead people, felons, etc.  After all, when the NYT is your information source, you’re going to be a perfect example of “garbage in, garbage out.”

The real insight into Martin’s brain comes when he talks about Barack Obama.  The following is an actual quotation, one he made some time ago when I was paying attention to this small little man’s political opinings.   Before you read the following, please be assured that I am not making it up (emphasis mine):

Martin, an avowed Democrat from Bayonne, N.J. who has described President Obama as “the most intelligent president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter”, doesn’t often write about politics on his blog, but when he does, it is usually to speak about something he feels strongly about, be it TSA screenings or the Affordable Care Act.

“The most intelligent president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter”?  In the face of that kind of intellectual and moral blindness, I’m tempted to come back with something as witty as “I know you are, but what am I,” or perhaps the always reasonable, “It takes one to know one.”

Democrats are imploding, one brain cell at a time.

Obama — even worse than Carter, and that’s saying a lot

You know I’m going to be hooked on a post if, in the second paragraph, it describes Jimmy Carter in these terms:

Jimmy Carter should not have been president. He was incompetent beyond belief; angry about America’s success in the world; wanted us to get our comeuppance; and was and is a mean, reptilian and graceless little man.  Being out of office has made him even angrier, meaner, smaller, more anti-American, and even more anti-semitic. He was and remains a repellent creature; if ever anybody could make me ashamed of my country, he could. I can’t forgive him for that.

Well, yes, that does about sum up the man.  What’s really depressing, according to the DiploMad, a career Foreign Service employee, is that Obama is even worse:

We now are saddled with another abomination as president: one worse than Carter. The damage Obama has done to our economy and global standing, while immense, can be relatively easily fixed. The real damage he has done is more pernicious and perhaps permanent. He has participated fully and deliberately in undermining the essence of what it means to be an American. Let me explain.

By all means, do let the DiploMad explain, although I guarantee you that the post will depress you — especially if you consider that both London’s bookies and Intrade have put their money on Obama.  Obama, the international man of mystery, whose past, the media harangues us, must forever be a closed book, has Leftified America, something from which it may never recover.

H/T:  JKB

 

I find myself agreeing with the slapping woman — but only up to a point

Have you already seen the video of a Barrett supporter slapping him for conceding to Walker in Wisconsin before even half the votes were counted?  No?  Here’s the video:

I don’t agree with the slap. I think that gal crossed a big line there, even though she asked permission first. Mayor Barrett though, quite reasonably, that she was joking, because nobody with any sense or maturity would slap a politician in that way, especially after he’s suffered what was a painful and, presumably, unexpected defeat.

Although I don’t agree with the slap, I do agree with the sentiment.  It drives me crazy when a politician concedes when he sees which way the wind is blowing.  We know from last night that the exit polls didn’t reflect the votes (either because people lied, or because absentee ballots skewed things, or because the pollsters erred).  This means that statistics are useful predictors, but they’re certainly not entirely accurate.  There comes a point, of course, at which it is impossible for the losing candidate to catch up, even if every single subsequent vote goes in his favor (unless the voting is in Chicago or some other county in which dead people hang onto their civil rights).  I was not under the impression, however, that Barrett had reached that point of no-return.

Don’t get me wrong here:  I’m delighted Barrett lost and Walker won.  I just hate the early concession.

This is a very visceral thing for me.  I cast my first vote back in 1980.  Because of time zone issues, by the time I cast my vote, it was symbolic:  Jimmy Carter had already conceded based upon preliminary returns from other states in different time zones.  In retrospect, I’m delighted that he lost and that he slunk away into the night (or, at least, he slunk away temporarily before emerging later, more malevolent and antisemitic than ever).  What did not delight me, though, was to have my very first presidential vote become manifestly meaningless before I’d even cast it.  Had Carter stuck it out a few hours longer, I might had least have thought that I was casting a vote that might make a difference.

In both 1980 and 2012, the correct man slunk away, and the right man won.  But I understand those supporters who feel that their chosen candidate is a weeny and a wuss for walking away before the last possible vote has been counted.

What does February mean to you? Lincoln? Washington? Generic Presidents? Black History Month?

When I was growing up, February boasted Lincoln’s birthday (February 16 12) and Washington’s birthday (February 22).  When I was no longer a child, those two distinct birthdays — one celebrating America’s first commander in chief and first president, and the other one celebrating the architect of our modern union and the leader of the war against slavery — got merged into one holiday that is celebrated on the Monday closest to Washington’s birthday, and that rejoices under the generation appellation of “President’s Day.”  Ostensibly, the day honors both Lincoln and Washington, but that amorphous title leaves one wondering whether Jimmy Carter is parading around his house declaring to Rosalynn “This is my day too.”

As the parent of two school-age children, I can tell you that President’s Day has absolutely nothing to do with any presidents, whether Washington, Lincoln or (thankfully) Carter.  Instead, to the extent there’s something out there called “President’s Day,” it’s just a hinge for a weekend’s or week’s worth of skiing.  (Or if snow isn’t your thing, Florida is nice at this time of year.)

What February is really about, at least as far as our schools are concerned, is Black History Month.  I don’t like Black History Month, but not for the reason those always hunting for racism might assume.  I don’t like it because I don’t believe in hyphenating Americans.  I don’t believe in allocating a month here or a month there to those who represent our nation’s highest aspirations or to those who demonstrate the greatness of American individualism.  I find something creepy about relegating black greatness to the shortest month of the year.  If you’re a great American, you’re a great American, irrespective of your skin color.  Every single day of the year, our children should be celebrating those Americans who contributed to our nation, contributions that ought not to be bounded by skin-color or relegated to specific months for official recognition.

Black History Month isn’t a celebration of the contributions black people have made to America.  Instead, it’s a continuation of segregation in America, only with a pretty gloss.

Although it’s a silly holiday, Black History Month pretty much defines February.  That’s why I have something peculiar to relate about a store at my local mall.  It’s a children’s clothing store called Peek.  As best as I can tell, it’s a very nice clothing store, catering to people who don’t feel the need to dress their children like hoods or rock stars.  Don Quixote and I often stroll by it when we have lunch at the mall.

The other day, the first time we passed Peek, something about the window display struck me as being  . . . not “off,” but discordant.  On our second pass by the store, I figured out what was so unusual:  the window display honored Lincoln and Washington.  Rather than pictures of the great Booker T. Washington, there were pictures of George Washington.  And in place of the ubiquitous Maya Angelou, there was a book about Abe Lincoln.  Between the age-appropriate children’s clothes, and the homage to Presidents Washington and Lincoln, the window looked as if it was a temporal escapee from 1970.

I’ll leave you with Allen West’s fascinating homage to Black History Month:

Obama presidency proves Palestinians have never wanted peace

Pro-Palestinian putzes have consistently claimed that if Israel would just bend a little more, and still a little more, then there would be peace in the Middle East.  The execrable President Carter (I always affix that adjective to this loathsome human being) now claims that he’s being forced to urge a UN vote for a Palestinian state because Obama didn’t exert enough force on the Israelis to make them really, really bend over.  Jonathan Tobin explains that Carter’s criticism of Obama, while reflecting badly on both, reveals a home truth about the Palestinians:

It is highly ironic Carter would blast Obama for being insufficiently supportive of the Palestinians, because the latter prioritized the peace process throughout his administration. Ignoring the evidence PA leader Mahmoud Abbas​ had no intention of ever signing a peace deal, Obama plunged into the negotiations picking fights with Israel and showing a clear preference for the Palestinian position. But despite Obama’s attacks on Israel’s positions on settlements and Jerusalem, Abbas refused to rejoin the negotiations. Even after the president ambushed Netanyahu in May with his proposal that the 1967 lines be the basis for talks, Abbas still wouldn’t budge.

Had Abbas been willing to make peace, he would have found Obama a useful ally who had little love for Israel. Obama did everything but present a U.S. dictat for peace in order to please the Palestinians, but Abbas never had any intention of negotiating. As the New York Times noted last weekend, the Obama-Abbas spat has been something of a lovers’ quarrel. Having been thoroughly embarrassed by the Palestinians, Obama has stayed aloof from diplomacy on the conflict in recent months.

It’s a really good article, so you may want to read the rest here.

Ronald Reagan gets his due — in England

An ardent Thatcherite in England has gotten approval for a statute of Ronald Reagan to be erected outside the U.S. Embassy in London.  Unsurprisingly, given the world in which we live, feelings are mixed — not from the British, but from the current administration:

An interior designer from Chelsea who is a leading light in the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward group has won approval for a statue of the great American conservative Ronald Reagan to be erected outside the US Embassy in London. The project was given the nod on Thursday night by Westminster City Council’s planning sub-committee in a break with its policy of allowing memorials only to people who have been dead for at least ten years.

[snip]

The 10ft bronze statue of the man hailed by Margaret Thatcher for winning the Cold War without firing a shot will be placed on a 6ft plinth of Portland stone outside the embassy building in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, near an existing statue of Dwight D Eisenhower, the war hero President, unveiled by Mrs Thatcher in 1989.

The architects behind the project, the same firm responsible for the statues of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square and the Queen Mother near Buckingham Palace, say that it was enthusiastically backed by the former ambassador, Robert Tuttle, who left office in February.

[snip]

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the current inhabitants of the embassy — who are still waiting for President Obama to confirm Mr Tuttle’s replacement — appear less keen to have a larger-than-life statue of the darling of the American Right on their doorstep.

“This is not something that we have requested or actively tried to get brought about,” an embassy spokesman said yesterday. “We’re happy to have our presidents honoured but this statue was not a US Government initiative.”

Asked whether the mission would take the statue with it when it leaves Grosvenor Square for its new head-quarters in Nine Elms, south of the Thames, he replied: “It’s not our statue.”

The only person who sounded an even less gracious note than the Obama administration was a representative from the Green party:

But Jenny Jones, the Green who chairs the London Assembly’s planning committee, expressed her “disbelief” at Westminster’s decision. “What a ridiculous person to put on top of a monument,” she said. “I can’t remember anything particularly clever that he said, I can’t remember anything good he did.”

What about ending the Cold War? “I think there were other factors involved in the Cold War. It would be the same as putting up a statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger — will they do that next?”

Excuse me?!  Did she just insult both my current and past governor, as well as my past President?  I’m shocked! Shocked!

But on a more serious note, is it me, or is there something deeply disturbing about the new administration’s bone deep hatred and disrespect for those past administrations that don’t comport with its statist, Leftist view of the world?

Now, I freely admit that I’ve probably said a few unkind things in the past about that idiotic, antisemitic fool, Jimmy Carter, but I’m a private citizen.  I’m not the representative of all of the people of the United States of America, nor of the continuity of American government in England, dating back to John Adams’ first appearance there.  I can afford low standards; the official American administration can’t.

On the positive side, I think that it’s crass demontrations such as these, not to mention the disconnect between media adulation and facts on the ground, that is seeing the bloom come coming off the rose.  For my Mom, an ardent, aged Jewish Democrat, the tipping point is the relentless media assurance that Michelle Obama is a beauty.  Since my Mom’s own eyes tell her this is a lie, she’s wondering what other untruths the media is peddling.  I helped hasten this process by showing her Sally Quinn’s ridiculous Mother’s Day article about Michelle’s arms, which left my Mom reeling.  For the first time ever, Mom is beginning to suspect that she’s been had.

McCainiacs thinking outside of the box

In 1980 (and again in 1984), Ronald Reagan won in significant part because traditionally Democratic voters abandoned their party to vote for him. Those same “Reagan Democrats” have shown up frequently in the news today.  Indeed, McCain is specifically targeting those same people and demographics.  US News & World Report explained back in May:

As the Democrats struggle to select their nominee, John McCain is quietly finalizing his fall strategy. One of his goals will be to attract white working-class and culturally conservative Democrats who supported Ronald Reagan and now have their doubts about the Democratic presidential candidates, especially Barack Obama. This trend was particularly clear in the May 13 primary in West Virginia, where Obama did poorly among such voters. “The Reagan Democrats are in play more than they’ve been in a long time,” says Frank Donatelli, a senior official at the Republican National Committee and former White House political director for Reagan.

I have my doubts, though, about McCain being able to replicate precisely the same Reagan Democrat trend that occurred in the 1980s.  Don’t get me wrong — I think this is another election that will see renegade Democrats tilt the balance in favor of the Republican candidate (color me hopeful).  I just don’t think it will play out on precisely the same lines as before.

For one thing, back in 1980, the Democrat in question had a record on which to run and, boy, was it a depressing one.  Carter’s ineffectual waffling almost certainly aided the Shah of Iran’s downfall, and his manifest weakness when it came to the situation in Iran was a green light for the Revolutionaries to seize American hostages and to lord that fact over the former super power of the world.  Old-time northern Democrats may have liked their unions, but they liked American strength and security even more, and they weren’t about to put their faith in this pathetic American leader a second time.

The economy also suffered mightily under Carter’s tender economic ministrations, which relied heavily on high taxes and high government spending.  Even long-time Democrats who believed in an expanded and strong central government could see that this approach wasn’t working.

Carter was also so damn equivocal.  He seemed to have no fixed principles whatsoever.  A friend of mine  once tried to explain his waffling away by saying that Carter was an engineer and that he constantly recalculated things every time a new piece of data came along, thereby rendering himself completely ineffectual.  That explanation sounded plausible back then, but I’ve come to believe that, in fact, Carter actually doesn’t now and didn’t then have any fixed principles.  Be that as it may, Ronald Reagan, with his cheerful personality and his strong moral and political beliefs, was a welcome antidote to the vacillating, weak, grim boob occupying the White House.

Obama, unlike Carter, has virtually no record whatsoever on which to run — and this means virtually no highly visible political record that is repugnant to voters.  It’s only by the most diligent digging that people who care have managed to find out information about his politics.  And the sorry fact is that too many people don’t care.  We who peruse blogs believe that all other Americans share our heightened interest in politics.

I suspect that the opposite is true.  Most people are headline readers:  They might scan Drudge, but their news major intake may be limited to reading the cover and back page of Time Magazine while waiting in the checkout stand at the grocery store.  And, perhaps, they watch the first 5 or 10 minutes of the nightly news.  If those are indeed their sole news sources, they keep hearing that Obama is fresh, that he’s brilliant, that he’ll change things — and since things don’t seem so hot right now, and since Bush is not an overwhelmingly popular President — change can only be for the better.

It is true that people are beginning to figure out that all is not as it seems in Obama-land.  He’s pompous, he’s egotistical, his affiliations range from the silly to the scary, he’s ill-informed, he is an unprincipled vacillater, he’s hostile to many traditional American values, his politics come from the far Left end of the political spectrum, he misspeaks with almost unusual frequency, etc.  But again, that news is only slowly trickling into the awareness of the average voter, especially since the mainstream media is assiduously working overtime to protect Americans from Obama’s less savory and flattering aspects.

All of the above is McCain’s first problem in courting conservative Democrats:  Obama is a cipher and, while that’s not good, it’s better than being one of the worst Presidents ever.  In other words, Reagan got lucky that he was running against Carter.

The second problem, and one that I think is even more serious than the first, is the fact that, in many communities, conservatives have been run underground in a way that was inconceivable even in the politically polarized 60s and 70s.  Those decades were still transitional periods, during which traditional values, which still held sway in such cultural markers as the media and schools, were being given a good run for the money by the new Leftists, and were also starting to appear in the media and in schools.  This meant that a lot of the old time Democrats were rethinking their political allegiance in the face of new Democratic politics that, increasingly, had little to do with FDR’s New Deal, and a lot more with Moscow’s old deal.  There was, therefore, a great deal of fluidity that we don’t have now.  This fluidity meant that there was room for open public debate within people’s own communities.  This flux and freedom allowed for political movement.

Things are different now.  Conservatives slink around, afraid of public attacks and social isolation (something I’ve blogged about here and here).  In Hollywood, which has the most visible, vocal liberal community in America, departing from the prevailing liberal orthodoxy can spell career death.  (See here, here and here for articles spelling out what’s going on in Hollywood.)  Liberals speak with increasing frequency of prosecuting political speech with which they disagree, and have resorted to thuggish tactics to suppress donations to conservative causes.  If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to remind you of the way in which conservative speakers are either barred entirely from America’s campuses or are harassed and attacked.  This is not a fluid time politically.  It’s one that is very fixed.

What all of this means is that people who have historically self-identified as liberal, and who live and work in liberal communities, are very isolated.  They don’t feel as if they’re part of a movement.  The younger ones are especially hampered by a culturally dominant belief that Republicans are hate-filled old fogies who want to suck money away from poor people in America and who keep KKK hoods hidden in the back of their closets.

The problem, then, in true Blue Communities is to give conservatives positive visibility.  In this way, the ones who waver can look around and think, “Hey, I didn’t realize What’s His Name was also thinking of voting for McCain.  We ought to get together and talk.”  There’s really a heady rush that goes along with discovering that you’re not alone, especially if you’ve made a rather painful journey from one end of the political spectrum to another.

I discovered I wasn’t alone in Marin when I bravely journeyed out to my first Marin for McCain meeting.  I learned at this meeting that at least half the people there were former Democrats and that, of those, half of them are scared to let anyone know about their political transformation.  Significant parts of the organizational meetings, therefore, are given over to brainstorming ways to convince Marin’s shy neo-cons (or anti-Obamites) that it’s okay to be a conservative.  I wanted to share with you some of the thinking outside of the box that goes on at these meetings as we work to break through the monolithic liberal attitude that pervades Marin, and other Blue communities.

My favorite suggestion, and one that I think will play well all over America, is to co-opt the concept of Flash Mobbing.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here’s the Wikipedia definition:  “A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse.”  The idea is a good one right off the bat since the flash mob concept is closely tied to emails and text messaging — it therefore has a young feel to it.

A conservative flash mob could work this way:  Politically active conservatives would agree to show up at some agreed-upon location (a mall or a farmer’s market) wearing their McCain t-shirts.  There’s wouldn’t be anything threatening about these appearances.  That is, the conservatives wouldn’t group together or do cheers.  Instead, they’d just be there, at the mall or the farmer’s market, in their McCain shirts, showing local residents that McCain voters actually exist.  Someone would then take photos of these McCainiacs wandering through the mall or mulling over the fresh fruits and vegetables, and send these photos to a website — providing further proof that conservatives exist in Blue regions.  For the conservatives who show up, there would be a wonderful feeling of camaraderie.  And for those who hear about it and see the pictures, there would suddenly be a visible reminder that they are not alone.

Other ideas for enabling conservative Democrats to become McCain Democrats include using bloggers like me, with stories of breaking away from the computer and working for the McCain campaign; making the McCain headquarters a welcoming place for police and firefighters by offering food, drink and toilet facilities for them; finding local conservative musicians (they do exist), to liven up the campaign headquarters; taking out silly ads in local newspapers (with the latest idea for our dog crazy community being an ad showing dogs in McCain way); and handing out free M&Ms to remind people that Marin is for McCain.

As I said near the start of this post, I believe quite strongly that, as the election draws near, more and more people will be become frightened of Obama and back away from him.  (Or if Hillary comes back, enough people are already frightened of her to render that avoidance prophecy true.)  The challenge is to get these frightened people to take an affirmative step.  They shouldn’t just avoid voting for Obama; they must vote for McCain.  And its our job in the coming months to make that, for them, very big step, as easy and fun as possible.

If you have ideas that can entice those old Reagan Democrats into becoming McCain Democrats, let the active McCain supporters know.  You can email me at Bookwormroom*at*gmail.com, or just contact your local Republican or McCain headquarters.  Don’t be shy.  It’s fun!  And it’s for an awfully good ’cause if you don’t want to see a scary repeat of the Carter era.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Jimmy Carter, worst President ever, Part 43890314809

J.R. Dunn ruminates about ex-Democratic leaders, who seem driven by some bizarre Narcissistic compulsion to cling to the spotlight long after their political moment has passed.  Aside from being an enjoyable read, it has a great summary of the horrible effect of President Carter’s moral equivalence, a character failing that has seen him gravitate time and time again to totalitarian dictatorships with horrible consequences, not only for the unfortunates in the dictator’s country, but for the world at large:

Carter was indirectly responsible for putting the mullahs in power in Iran (kicking off the violent confrontation between Jihadism and the West in the process). He was directly responsible for handing Nicaragua to the Sandinistas (Carter refused to sign off on a plan to replace the dictator Somoza with a government of moderates) and Zimbabwe to Robert Mugabe. (Abel Muzorewa, the centrist opposition figure first elected president, was pushed aside with Carter’s acquiescence and a new election arranged that Mugabe was guaranteed to win.)

Carter’s weakness for goons has had horrendous historical consequences. Khomeini’s takeover of Iran led to a major war in which millions died, the birth of two terror organizations dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, the deaths of thousands of others across the world — including hundreds of Americans — and the encouragement of the Jihadi terror movement. The Sandinista takeover resulted in chaos across Central America for over a decade and the slaughter of thousands of Nicaraguans, including a large number of Miskito Indians in a process indistinguishable from genocide.  Zimbabwe, once one of the richest states in Africa, is today an economic basket case suffering chronic famine and one the lowest life expectancies in the world. The end game is being played out now, with a distinct possibility of a climax to rival in horror and blood those of Rwanda and Cambodia.