The Bookworm Beat — August 16 Saturday Night Special

Woman writingYesterday, the phone or the doorbell rang every 10-20 minutes all afternoon and evening. We had a rotating cast of characters for dinner, one of my dogs hid for the day, and the other dog barked itself into laryngitis. I have no complaints, as I like a social house, but there’s a lot to be said for just a little less sociability.

Today has been relatively quiet, so I was able to do six loads of laundry and take care of a good 300 emails. I still have my snail-mail inbox to clear out, but overall I feel remarkably productive. The dogs are happy too.

I don’t know if a review of the news will result in any happiness, but it’s still a task I feel compelled to perform.

Ferguson reveals seemingly intractable problems in modern American cities

The more I read about events in Ferguson, the more I know that two principles I hold are correct, even though I don’t know how much either principle applies to the specific events in Ferguson. The first principle is that the police are and should be people’s servants, not their military masters.

Separating military and police

The second principle is that the “wilding” that blacks turn to when the police offend them solves nothing about their dismal situation throughout America’s Democrat-controlled cities, but definitely makes it reasonable for police to seek protection behind military gear.

Police brutality and Slim Jims

This is a nasty chicken and egg dance, with blacks complaining (illogically, but it still drives their behavior) that police brutality drives them to resist arrest and run riot through cities, effectively destroying their own communities, and police complaining (more credibly) that with blacks running riot, the only way a sane person would become a police officer is to bury himself behind massive armor and weaponry.

Mark Steyn certainly finds much to blame on both sides of the dispute raging between Ferguson’s blacks and its police force.

Even as cops and blacks blame each other, both should be blaming Democrat/Progressive Big City politics

The only place that neither blacks nor police are looking in order to place blame is the one place that ought to be blamed: The urban Democrat/Progressive political machine. Kevin D. Williamson, who has traveled to most of America’s major cities, the vast majority of which are Democrat-run and being run into the ground, explains just how badly the Progressive experiment is playing out in these places:

Progressives spent a generation imposing taxes and other expenses on urban populations as though the taxpaying middle class would not relocate. They protected the defective cartel system of public education, and the union money and votes associated with it, as though middle-class parents would not move to places that had better schools. They imposed burdens on businesses, in exchange for more union money and votes, as though businesses would not shift production elsewhere. They imposed policies that disincentivized stable family arrangements as though doing so would have no social cost.

And they did so while adhering to a political philosophy that holds that the state, not the family or the market, is the central actor in our lives, that the interests of private parties — be they taxpayers or businesses — can and indeed must be subordinated to the state’s interests, as though individuals and families were nothing more than gears in the great machine of politics. The philosophy of abusive eminent domain, government monopolies, and opportunistic taxation is also the philosophy of police brutality, the repression of free speech and other constitutional rights, and economic despair. Frank Rizzo was not a paradox — he was an inevitability. When life is reduced to the terms in which it is lived in the poorest and most neglected parts of Chicago or Detroit, the welfare state is the police state.

I would recommend Williamson’s article as a must-read and, if your Leftist friends can be brought to read something published in — gasp! — National Review, it’s an article that you should share with those who haven’t already seen the conservative, individualist, small government, small-l libertarian light.

Resisting arrest is asking for trouble

Bob Weir, a former police officer, explains that “brutality” is not an unreasonable response to get from a police officer if you make the decision to resist arrest.

And of course, there’s always the media to fan the flames

Sadie send me this image, along with some of her pungent, trenchant commentary:

The media's role in all this

A reprise of the Trayon Martin summer hit of 2012. Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse once again, play themselves. Benjamin Crump, Esq. has been recalled to the stage. Rioters, looters and extras, against a backdrop of staged outrage are seen running, dancing, shouting – looting included. Audience members and media are encouraged to bring a cell phone to record the experience.

Ferguson is making for some pretty strange political bed fellows

A young Marine friend of mine (who grew up in an incredibly liberal Marin household) posted this excellent Matt Walsh article saying that the police officers aren’t to blame for the anarchy in Ferguson. A young entrepreneur I know here in Marin, whose Facebook posts hew liberal, but who has a libertarian streak, liked the article, commenting that you have to “suck up reality.”

Events in Ferguson are making for some strange political bedfellows. Perhaps we might see a paradigm shift coming soon….

Obama, the bored, disaffected, disenchanted, disengaged American President

I’m not a Joe Scarborough fan, but I agree with Pete Wehner in thinking that Scarborough was correct when, on the Hugh Hewitt show, he stated that Obama has simply checked out of the presidency. Although motives are irrelevant — all that matters is the fact that Obama’s not playing president any more — Wehner still speculates as to his motives, and I still find the speculation interesting:

What could possibility explain this attitude? It may be that Mr. Obama was drawn to the job not for the right reasons but because he viewed the presidency as a new mountain to climb, a prize to win, as a way to feed his unusually large ego (even for a politician). It may also be that Mr. Obama, with his presidency crumbling, is like a petulant child who wants to pick up his marbles and leave. He was fine serving as president when he was adored and well liked; now that things are going south he appears to have emotionally “checked out,” to use Scarborough’s phrase.

The curse of the golf course

Daniel Greenfield has noticed that Obama starts wars when he’s on vacation near a golf course, while bad actors seem to time their bad acts to coincide with Obama’s golf game. The incessant golf games, which once were a sore point only for grumpy conservatives, are beginning to dismay everyone.

There’s something unseemly about our president’s obsession with golf. Of course, the golf games are perfect fodder for political cartoonists, who see the golf course as a metaphor for Obama’s singular absence from and disinterest in a world in flames around him. Don’t believe me? Just check out Steven Hayward’s cartoon round-up for the week.

The terrorist negotiating strategy

No, I haven’t forgotten poor, beleaguered Israel, even though I chose not to lead with it in this round-up.

My very first item about Hamas put me strongly in mind of Jeff Dunham’s Achmed The Dead Terrorist, whose catch-phrase whenever things don’t go his way is “Silence! I kill you!”

Hamas has now issued an ultimatum regarding its peace talks with Israel.  Paraphased, it amounts to “Accept all our conditions or we kill you!” Last I heard, that’s not how good-faith negotiations are supposed to work.

The world doesn’t care about dead JEWISH kids

A bereaved Israeli mother, whose teenage daughter died in a terrorist attack during the Second Intifadah, reminds us that the world doesn’t inevitably shed tears when children die in war. For example, when her precious daughter was one of hundreds who died in attacks deliberately targeted at Israeli/Jewish children, the world had nothing to say.

The IDF has a photo-gallery summing up this summer’s war

The IDF has collected 17 photographs summing up the reality of the Israel/Gaza war. Some of them show the bombs bursting in air over Israel and how frightening and destructive those bombs are, Iron Dome notwithstanding. Others show Gazan residents lined up as useful idiots and human shields for Hamas, as well as the fact that Israel treats these poor fools with incredible decency. Still others show the depth, breadth, and imaginative destructive power of the Hamas armory in Gaza.

It’s like a joke . . . “This Travis County D.A. walked out of a bar, dead drunk….”

The Rick Perry indictment is a joke. That’s no surprise to me, frankly.  Travis County is famous for its corrupt legal system.

Back when I was in law school, three Texas Supreme Court judges were under investigation for accepting bribes. Indeed, at our annual musical review, which spoofed the movie Grease, I distinctly remember that one of the songs had lyrics that referred to a scam in which attorneys appearing before the court had bribed the judges with lavish trips:

We go together like V&E [Vinson & Elkins], F&J (Fulbright & Jaworski), and Jones & Day
We’re graduating and going on to sweat and cram for the July bar exam
We’ll clerk for judges and
Fill their briefs with legalese, and Vegas trips with attorneys.

I mean, jeez, if an Obama stalwart like David Axelrod is unimpressed by the indictment, you know it’s shaky. For more solid legal reasons, Eugene Volokh also thinks the indictment is unsustainable. So good for Rick Perry to fight back, and I hope he fights back hard.

For those of you new to this story, Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County D.A. got arrested for drunk driving, pleaded guilty, and served 45 days. I’ll let Duane Paterson pick up the story:

Rick Perry thought her to be a disgrace, and wanted her to resign. She didn’t. So he took the next step and threatened to veto funding for her office. In response, a grand jury handed down an abuse of power indictment for coercive use of a veto late this afternoon. So the woman who was belligerent and intoxicated stays, Rick Perry is the bad guy and needs to go. Right. Got it.

By any standard, Lehmberg’s behavior was disgraceful. She pleaded guilty to a .23, almost .24, blood alcohol level (almost three times the legal limit), was oppositional with the arresting officers, and tried to use her political heft to avoid the charges.

Here’s the arrest video:

And here’s the video of her doing her “do you know who I am and who my friends are?” routine:

And for those who aren’t conversant with that blood alcohol level, Ace has a handy-dandy (and funny) cheat sheet.

Gene Simmons fights back against political correctness and in favor of immigrants learning English

I hate Gene Simmons, the KISS rocker. (It was the snake-like tongue that did it for me. I hate the tongue in Miley Cyrus too.) However, I very much admire Gene Simmons, the American immigrant who courageously speaks truth to political correctness. His latest outburst is about the criminally wrongful act of insisting that immigrants to this country shouldn’t be forced to learn English.

As a sort of aside about political correctness, my daughter said that she tried to watch Robin William’s movie Hook. She thought that the premise — Peter Pan returns to Neverland as an adult — intriguing, but hated that the casting was manifestly done to meet a racial quota. There were carefully calibrated numbers of Asian, black, white, and Hispanic boys. She said “The acting was awful, even for a 90s movie, so it was obvious that they didn’t choose the best actors; they just chose actors to be the right race.”

All I could do was agree with her. I found the movie unwatchable back in the day and for the same reason. I added, because I can never resist moralizing, that political correctness destroys everything it touches: art, humor, free speech, creativity, education, etc.

What patriotism used to look like in the mainstream

Back in 1970, John Wayne hosted a July 4th special celebrating America. Can you imagine something like this being made nowadays for mainstream TV, staring mainstream stars? I can’t. It’s simply impossible to imagine:

Modern feminism has nothing to do with freedom or equality

My wonderful sister-in-law reminded me of a Tumblr site I’d meant to mention, but then forgot. It’s called Women Against Feminism, and has women explaining why they feel empowerment comes about when they’re not feminists.

I was speaking to a young Swede today who expressed surprise that I chose to stay home as much as possible to raise my own children, rather than go to work and have the state pay for some other women to raise my children. He said that, because of “equality” women are expected to work. He was even more surprised when I suggested that forcing women to work is just as bad as the old days, when women were refused the right to work. Both deny women the freedom of choice. That thought had never occurred to him.

Pictures

(Thanks to Caped Crusader for this amazing picture round-up.)

The Tea Party Conspiracy

Hamas speaks to Israel and CNN

Obama tells tales about Iraq

Slavery in Africa

Emperors foreign policy

Eisenhower on total security

Something is very wrong in the Obama White House

I’m not the savviest person when it comes to body language, but even I can tell when someone is using inappropriate laughter (h/t PJ Media). In this case, that person would be Barack Obama, who is just cracking up during a meeting with Texas governor Rick Perry. This wouldn’t be a problem if Perry was laughing too. Perry, however, looks deeply disturbed and that’s not surprising. After all, the meeting is to discuss the crisis playing out on Texas’s southern border, as hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans — children, criminals, gang members, terrorists, disease carriers, sexual predators, etc. — pour into America.

Even if Obama is thrilled by the deluge (which we know he is, because he invited these people in by manifestly refusing to enforce existing laws), he should at least pretend that something serious is going on. That is, at least he should profess concern about abandoned, sick, or molested children, or something like that.

Obama thinks the border is a joke 2

Obama thinks the border is a joke

Yesterday, I said that the administration has become deeply disturbing and quite possibly dangerous. I can’t help but think that what we’re seeing is an arrogance born of insanity, which mimics quite perfectly historical examples of the mental damage unchecked power does to the people holding that power. (Examples: Nero, Caligula, Henry III, Ivan the Terrible, Elizabeth I of Russia, Peter I of Russia, Hitler, etc.) I’m not saying Obama is about to embark on Hitleresque genocide; I am saying, though, that he is increasingly unhinged.

Eventually, the ultimate question isn’t going to be impeachment (which some think is necessary, and others think is dangerous given Obama’s half-black lineage) but, instead, whether it’s time for a 25th Amendment removal for mental incapacity. (And I’m quite certain that VP Biden, with his eye on the oval office, would happily join in with a Congressional committee questioning Obama’s mental fitness to hold the office of president.)

Newt’s not as smart as all that — say liberals

Since at least Reagan, the standard liberal trope is that Republicans, both voters and politicians, are stupid.  That trope has, of course, emerged again this year.  The joker in the deck is Newt Gingrich, a PhD and author who spokes with incredible fluency and has a masterful grasp of facts.

With Newt as the frontrunner, the Left is rallying with a line of attack I’ll call “Newt’s not as smart as all that.”  Exhibit One is a Frank Bruni NYT’s Op-Ed sarcastically entitled “Professor Gingrich.”  To set up his premise that Newt’s not as smart as all that, Bruni carefully insults the other Republican candidates:

The candidates who surged before him are to varying degrees yahoos. They proved it anew last week. Michele Bachmann [a successful lawyer] seemed to be under the impression that we had an embassy in Iran, and Rick Perry [Air Force pilot and successful long-time Texas politician] was definitely under the delusion that the voting age in this country is 21 instead of 18.

Herman Cain [multiple degrees, Navy background, hugely successful businessman), on his Web site, unveiled the foreign-policy analogue to his 9-9-9 tax jingle, a world map that merely labeled countries “ally,” “adversary” and the like. Had it instead presented little thumbs-up and thumbs-down symbols, along with palm trees for hot countries and snowflakes for cold ones, it wouldn’t have been any more simplistic.

Funnily enough, Bruni’s paragraph didn’t include a rant about a politician who’s spoken about America’s 57 states, appeared impressed with the Austrian language, bemoaned attacks on English embassies, applauded the military’s “corpsemen,” waffled on about mysterious “price versus earnings ratios,” held only one non-academic, non-political job (the Annenberg Foundation) that was a major disaster, and kept all of his grades carefully under wraps.  I guess Bruni just forgot about him.  But I digress…

Having established that Republicans are “yahoos,” Bruni goes in for the kill against the one Republican who doesn’t have “yahoo” written on his resume.  Newt’s problem isn’t that he’s smart, it’s that he’s proud of being smart, damn him!

But then there’s Gingrich, the former college professor, who regularly brandishes his Ph.D. in history from Tulane. He does it directly, as in a 1995 interview when he bragged, “I am the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson.”

He does it obliquely, by constantly invoking centuries past. Ask him about the price of milk, and he’ll likely work in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

Couple that showy scholarship with his grandiose streak and you get pomposity on a scale that would make a French monarch blanch. Last week, in an electronic book published by Politico and Random House, it was revealed that he had compared the attempts to retool his initially beleaguered campaign with the founding of Wal-Mart by Sam Walton and of McDonald’s by Ray Kroc.

In a Fox News interview he one-upped any of Al Gore’s long-ago claims about “Love Story,” Love Canal or the invention of the Internet.

“I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply-side economics,” he boasted.

“I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress,” he added. Put aside the tortured locution — were there reds among the House’s Blue Dogs, along with Bolshevik backbenchers? — and you’re left with an audacious credit grab.

And in Bluffton, S.C., he told voters that he didn’t need to lobby because after he left Congress, “I was charging $60,000 a speech, and the number of speeches was going up, not down. Normally, celebrities leave and they gradually sell fewer speeches every year. We were selling more.”

Faced with the reality of Newt’s intellectual and knowledge, Bruni reluctantly concludes that the Republicans feel that they need someone who can speak at Obama’s rarefied level:

If you consider how ardently Republicans courted Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, you’re forced to conclude that they do value, and crave, an intellectually muscular candidate who can square off against President Obama. The 2012 election has a fundamentally different temperature from the 2010 one. There’s arguably worse economic uncertainty this time around, greater stakes and a seemingly waning thirst for Tea.

And Republicans appreciate that a presidential race, and the presidency itself, have a higher altitude than a Congressional showdown. Some palpable gray matter really does come in handy.

Isn’t that a nice phrase?  “Palpable grey matter.”

Yes, it is true that Republicans have normally favored do-ers over talkers.  This year, they recognize, though, that Obama has so decimated the country’s psyche that they need someone who can talk us out of the hole Obama dug (or do I mean off the ledge Obama has yakked us onto).  And Republicans, being smart, are looking carefully at the one candidate who can blow to Hell and back any pretense that Obama is as smart as he thinks he is.

After all, as Bruni’s column perfectly shows, liberals tend to reduce “intellectualism” to who’s faster with the personal attack.  (Think “palpable grey matter.” )  During an argument with a liberal yesterday, an argument that wasn’t originally focused just on me, my opposing party managed to reduce the argument down to three statements:  “You’re an idiot.  You’re an effing moron.  You’re a jackass.”  I was not impressed either by the liberal’s grasp of facts or advocacy tactics.  What really depressed me, though, wasn’t the string of meaningless insults.  It was that this is what passes for reasoned debate on the liberal side of the political spectrum.

On the subject of insults I’ll say one more thing:  given the virulence with which the MSM attacks conservatives — not their ideas, but their person — perhaps it’s not surprising that so few are willing to stand up to be beaten down.

Only megalomanics need apply

Let’s see if I’ve got this right, based upon the evidence currently available:

  1. Obama is a grandiose narcissist
  2. Newt is an egomaniac
  3. Hillary is a compulsive liar
  4. Mitt seems vaguely asperger-ish, with a weather vane in place of his spine
  5. Herman is a serial womanizer (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the claims against him are true)
  6. Rick is manic (so can depressive be far behind)
  7. Michelle is an abused wife (or is she married to an abused husband?  I forget)

And on the list goes.  Giving personality disorder labels to presidential candidates is like shooting fish in a barrel — it’s just too easy.  But think about it:  What person in his (or her) right mind would want to run for president or be president in the early years of the 21st century.  Not only is there the burden of governing a superpower in an explosive world, but our manic media ensures that, if you’re a Republican candidate, you’ll be subject to routine, public colonoscopies,  while if you’re a Democratic candidate, you receive the kind of fawning sycophancy that created the same delusions of grandeur that drove many European monarchs mad.

Any job description for the job of president in 2012 should end with the words “only megalomaniacs need apply.”  No sane person would want the job, including a sane patriot, and that fact may go a long to explaining why our candidates are so deeply flawed.

In honor of this realization, I’d like to propose a new presidential song, which is much more apt and meaningful than “Hail to the Chief”:

(Or see here.)

Perry vs. Romney open thread *UPDATED*

Back in 2007 and 2008, I pretty strongly supported Romney.  If you check out my Mitt Romney category of posts, you’ll see myriad posts in which I praised his economic acumen and his character.  It looks as if I’ll be dusting those posts off again.  When Perry came on the scene, I liked his fire, his American pride, and his small government attitude.  His fire, though, seems to have turned into painful self-immolation and, unless he miraculously improves his showing in a few days, I don’t seem him going anywhere.

Romney had three problems going into 2008:  Romney Care, his Mormonism (which I don’t mind, but which worries or is offensive to many Americans, both religious and non-religious), and his slightly plastic demeanor.  He has only one problem now:  Romney Care.  Obama is so bad, most conservatives and many independents will willingly overlook both his faith and his demeanor.  Romney Care, however, is a problem.  As I said back in 2008, though, there is no perfect candidate.  Romney was better than McCain back then, and he’s definitely better than Obama now.

As I’ve mentioned before in my posts, my support for one primary candidate or another is purely hypothetical.  By the time the primaries reach California, it’s all over anyway (and, with California’s new open primary law, thank God for that, ’cause I really don’t need to have the Democrats selecting my Republican candidate).

What say you?

UPDATE:  Since I didn’t watch the debate, I have no idea if James Taranto’s statement is accurate, but I just love the imagery (emphasis mine):

Rick Perry was awful in last night’s debate. Just awful. The swaggering Texas governor kept scrapping with the chipper Mitt Romney, and he kept losing. It was like watching Donny Osmond dominate John Wayne.

There’s still room for Perry to grow and move, and as the Duchess of Austin said in her comment, he’s still got much stronger conservative chops than Mitt with regard to everything except illegal aliens.  Both are better than McCain was in 2008.  (I still haven’t grasp how McCain got the lock on the Republican nomination back then, but that’s another story entirely.)

Perry’s ad

What do you think of it?

I find the over-the-top music on the “Perry is wonderful” part a bit distracting but otherwise agree with those who think it’s an effective ad.

Perry and the Gardasil leviathan

What do you all think of the Gardasil leviathan attached to Perry? Bachmann went off the deep end when she said that the vaccination causes mental retardation, but I know there are plenty of conservatives (Michelle Malkin is a good example) who think that Perry’s attempted Gardasil legislation makes him unfit for office.   Much as I respect Michelle, I have to disagree on this one.

Government has for decades mandated vaccinations as part of its public health responsibilities. Parents have always been allowed to opt out, but the default setting is to require vaccinations to stop the spread of transmissible diseases. I think even libertarians would concede that a core government function is to stop disease transmission, something that is entirely different from forcing people to buy health insurance and otherwise engage in “life maintenance” to save money.

People are also upset with Perry because they believe he was encouraging premarital sex. I think that’s wrong too. The vaccination confers a lifetime protection, but it seems to work only if you give it to young girls. There’s a small window of time within which to buff up that immune system. Despite the age at which girls receive the vaccination, it doesn’t exist simply to protect them during their teen years.  In other words, it’s not a premarital, teen sex aid.  Instead, it’s about any sex — martial, post-martial, extramarital, you name it. I bet a lot of famous 19th century women who got marital syphilis (e.g., Jenny Churchill and Isak Dinesen) would have loved to have had a syphilis vaccination when they were 12 or 13.

What’s your opinion on this one?  Do you think Perry’s Gardasil initiative (a) fell outside the traditional government public health role of disease prevention and/or (b) tacitly encourages girls to engage in premarital sex?

I continue to root for the candidate who can beat Obama, and who has a generally conservative, small government world view.  While I want someone with Churchill or Reagan’s charm, rhetorical chops, and moral courage, and, of course, Keanu Reeves‘ looks (always a good thing in a president), that candidate does not exist, at least not going into the 2012 election.  I refuse to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Of course, living in California, it’s not as if I have a choice.  By the time the primaries come here, it’s already decided.  Actually that’s a good thing this year, since the Dems managed to get the voters to agree to destroy the California primary process, with a new law that makes it impossible for people to choose the member of their own party whom they’d most like to see run for president — but that’s another story altogether.

How far is too far when it comes to attacking primary candidates? *UPDATED*

As the primary season heats up, here’s a good question to ask:  If we want to end the primary season with a viable political candidate to face off against Barack Obama, are there limits limits to the nature of the attacks that bloggers launch against the Republican candidates during this primary season?

My take is that it is very important for us to learn as many facts as possible about the candidates, whether we’re learning good things or bad.  However, I’m not yet ready to leap up and castigate any candidate as the devil incarnate.  (Even Ron Paul, whom I would not like to see win, can be challenged through facts, not hyperbolic insults.)

As we learned in 2008, there are no perfect Republican candidates.  Unfortunately, the other lesson we’ve learned in the last 2.5 years is that Obama is a perfectly scary Democrat president/candidate.  This means that, when the Republican primary ends, we need the last Republican candidate still standing to have the strength to face off against Obama.  If we inflict too many wounds against our own people, the primary winner may be so weakened, s/he cannot win the final, presidential battle.  Further, if s/he’s bleeding badly from the ideological wounds we inflict, Independents will shy away, as they will almost certainly be incapable of discerning between the wounds inflicted during internecine conflict from the type of fatal flaws that spell death at the presidential polls.

As of today, I can easily say yucky things about every one of the Republicans now seeking office (especially Ron Paul):

(1) Michele Bachmann has no more executive experience than Obama did at this stage in the game, and we all rightly predicted that he was grossly unprepared for high executive office;

(2) Paul Ryan, should he weigh in, will also lack that experience, plus he’s got a geeky quality that might not play well in the media;

(3) Mitt Romney has the RomneyCare albatross and all the charm (and good looks) of a Ken doll;

(4) Ron Paul takes libertarianism to an inhuman extreme that includes jettisoning the nation of Israel and supporting Iran’s quest for nuclear arms;

(5) Rick Perry tried to strong-arm Gardasil, whether because of fear of cancer, ties with Merck, power lust, or something else, plus he’s kind of smarmy;

(6) Chris Christie, should he weigh in, has sharia ties, offends people with his outspokeness, and will have to fight the fat-taboo that governs in America.

And on and on and on.  (Please note that, with the exception of Ron Paul, who seriously rubs me the wrong way, I can just as easily say a whole lot of good things about the candidates and potential candidates listed above.)

The fact is, nobody makes it very far in political office without chutzpah, arrogance, a touch of insanity, and a whole lot of compromising.  The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything at all.  Being an inert lump doesn’t get one far, especially politically.

My current candidate of choice is the William Buckley candidate — the one who can win.  There is no Churchill on the horizon and even Churchill, a politician I admire with something approaching ferocity, had his disastrous qualities and made horrible decisions that resulted in uncounted deaths.  He was, nevertheless, a leader, and his core values were the right ones, especially during a time when those values were so desperately important to the survival of the Western world.

Let’s definitely get all the facts on the table.  Good, bad, in-between, whatever.  If you have opinions, by all means advance them.  But sheath the long knives.  The last candidate standing has to be in sufficiently good health to take on a sitting president with a war chest that’s reached historic proportions.  Too much blood-letting in the lead-up to the big campaign will leave him (or her) supine and helpless.  (Not to mention that the MSM will happily recycle, only with longer knives, the worst arguments made against the Republican who makes it through the primary gauntlet.)

Having blathered on here, let me say something about conservatives in the main:  As the cheerful, neat, polite Tea Party rallies showed, ours is a surprisingly congenial political party.  While we may disagree with each other, we do so with civility and respect.  Our core values revolve around personal integrity and love for country.  Debate enriches, rather than demeans.  It is within that spirit that conservatives should be analyzing, challenging and supporting the Republican candidates.  If we bring out the long knives now, we run the risk of presenting the nation with a bleeding carcass as the official Republican candidate.

UPDATE:  Rob Miller, at JoshuaPundit, expands on my point.  As always, when I read something I writes, I smack my forehead and think “I wish I’d said that.”

UPDATE II:  The Razor weighs in too.  He opens with the excellent point that we’d better get everything out on the table now, before the MSM does it for us.  I agree with that entirely.  My only suggestion is that our tone should be one of inquiry, not one of long-knives attack.

There’s that condescension again

I’ve been focusing for years, almost to the point of obsession, on Obama’s nasty crack to Hillary during the Democratic primaries.  She said, with rather charming self-deprecation, “I think I’m likeable,” and he sneered in return, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.”  It was that moment at which I said, “This is not a nice man.”  A more condescending remark I’ve seldom heard.  It was especially inappropriate given their relative status:  he a man, she a woman; he young, she old; he a party neophyte, she a party elder.  It showed misogyny, arrogance, and just plain nastiness.

I thought of that when I heard that Obama is now chastising Perry:

Asked whether Perry’s remarks [some hyperbole about Bernacke's "treasonous" damage to the American economy] were disrespectful, Obama said he would “cut him some slack” as a new candidate.

Who, may I ask, is Obama to cut Perry some slack?  Obama may be president, but in the context of Perry’s statement, they’re simply two candidates squaring off.  Obama can voice an opinion about Perry’s comment, but he doesn’t occupy some higher moral ground that allows him to do the slack cutting.

This is one of those rare occasions where I think Allahpundit is off base, as he thinks Obama struck the correct, “low-key” tone on this one.  While it was low-key to acknowledge a candidate’s learning curve, it was arrogant to “cut Perry slack.”  Once again, Obama is showing that oozing condescension that makes him such a fundamentally charmless figure in American politics.

Stephen Hayward thinks Romney has the lock on the nomination *UPDATED*

Stephen Hayward advances a solid argument that Romney has the lock on the nomination.  As I read it, the core of is argument is that Romney is the seasoned Republican campaigner, whose weaknesses have already been thoroughly exposed by a hostile media.  Perry still has ahead, as Hayward says, a comprehensive and public proctological exam.  This will come from both the Left and the Right.  Pamela Geller is already raising a problematic challenge to Perry based upon his being too chummy with sharia.

As you may remember, during the last election, Romney was my candidate of choice at this blog.  The error of Romneycare notwithstanding, I thought he was the best candidate in the pack.  He may still be the best candidate in this pack.  The problem, though, is that all the drilling and training in the world hasn’t made him anything but a boring stump speaker.  He also has the RomneyCare albatross hanging around his neck.  That was a problem in 2008, before ObamaCare.  It’s a disaster in 2011/2012 after ObamaCare.  Lastly, Romney has also been out of the governance loop for quite a while now, which doesn’t give voters any idea about how he’d deal with the present crises.

Perry is, in many ways, Romney’s opposite.  He is a galvanizing speaker who says all the right things.  Subject to a few hiccups, his governing style is small government.  It’s impossible for to imagine Perry advancing “PerryCare.”  And finally, Perry has the Texas economy at his back.  It’s easy to say that, after eight years of Bush, voters don’t want another Texan, but the fact is that Texas’ economic record is overwhelmingly strong in a time when our nation and our other states our bleeding heavily.

Ultimately, Perry’s speech-making skills, his small government approach, and his state’s economic success will probably wipe out Romney’s crown prince advantage.  I say this without regard to either candidate’s actual merits.  In this peculiar election year, practical virtues and political dues paying aside, Perry’s going to have the edge.

By the way, have you noticed that the three who have become the instant Republican frontrunners are all extremely good looking people?  The same media that swooned about the jug-eared Obama’s effeminate moobs (I think they called them pecs) isn’t going to mention this fact, of course, but voters may have a subliminal response to how good any one of these three will look at the first post-election G-8 summit.

UPDATE:  JJ’s on the money when he comments that Bachmann has one big problem — inexperience.  James Taranto makes the same point, one with which I wholeheartedly agree:

The most obvious parallel is in the quantity and quality of their political experience. On Election Day 2008, Obama was nearing the end of his fourth year in the U.S. Senate; 2012 will be Bachmann’s sixth year in the House. Both came to Washington after stints in their state senates, where Obama served eight years and Bachmann six. Although both quickly gained national prominence as opposition spokesmen, neither is about to be mistaken for Lyndon B. Johnson in terms of legislative acumen or accomplishment.

During the 2008 election, much was made of Palin’s inexperience, with the logical counter being that she was running for Vice President, not President.  Here, though, Bachmann is aiming for the top position and, while her values are better than Obama’s, and I think she’s smarter, she is every bit as inexperienced as he is when it comes to the ins and outs of managing a vast government enterprise.