Basil Fawlty’s insanity almost becomes Bank of England policy

I do believe that one of the funniest things ever shown on TV is the episode of Fawlty Towers (a show that ran from 1975-1979) in which Basil Fawlty welcomes four German guests to his seaside hotel.  He’s told not to mention the war, lest he offend the Germans, but he cannot help himself:

As is happening way too often lately, life in the 21st century has gone from amusing satire to dysfunctional seriousness.  This is the news out of England today:

Bank of England bosses thought twice about putting Sir Winston Churchill on the new £5 note – because they didn’t want to upset the Germans.

Officials warned Sir Mervyn King, then Governor of the Bank of England, that Churchill’s wartime record might make him highly controversial, documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show.

[snip]

In a memo dated April 11, 2012, Sir Mervyn was advised Churchill will be a popular choice because of his ‘broad name recognition’ and the public’s ‘very affectionate view’ of him as a wartime leader. But officials also warned him that ‘the recentness of World War II is a living memory for many here and on the Continent’.

[snip]

Officials also warned Sir Mervyn of Churchill’s ‘disastrous’ decision to return Britain to the gold standard in the 1920s. Churchill’s critics at the time claimed the move, with the backing of the Bank of England, produced the mass unemployment, deflation and industrial strife of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Bank staff who conducted ‘considerable research’ into Churchill’s role in the debacle noted: ‘If academics do pick up on the move to the gold standard it is likely they will refer to the role of the Bank and Churchill’s own criticism of the Bank.’

We shouldn’t be surprised by this thinking, though. The same government body was worried about using Jane Austen’s image on a bank note in case something shady emerged about her private life.  (For those who are not fanatic Austen fans, she lived her whole life with her family; never married; wrote exquisite social comedies that were also strong morality stories; and left virtually nothing of herself behind other than her work, since her beloved sister Cassandra destroyed almost all of her letters.)

Found it on Facebook — Socialism versus Capitalism

In an earlier post, I ranted about the nasty vapidity that characterizes the “posters” my liberal friends put up on Facebook whenever an election draws near.  I also mentioned that my conservative friends consistently post more substantive articles and images.  This one, from my brother-in-law, manages to be both pithy and substantive.  It packs a world of ideas into a picture and two sentences:

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything before that so clearly distinguishes the fundamental differences in the premises from which socialists and capitalists operate when they make their political arguments.  This poster provides a perfect visual to Winston Churchill’s own epigrammatic statement that “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

We have to be Churchillian about this Supreme Court decision — that is, we now fight to win

I’m going back and forth whether Roberts was a typical judge (i.e., stupid and unworthy of respect), a brilliant thinker, a chess player, a pawn, etc.  Each of you who has commented here has made an excellent point.  I agree with all of you, even when you disagree with each other.  In other words, I’m having a lovely intellectual wallow-fest.

The problem is that wallow-fests are for water-coolers and sodden drinking orgies at dank bars.  We don’t have time for that.  We have to get energized and quickly.  The breast beating will not win us the next battle.  Although no blood has actually been shed, I suddenly understand just how Winston Churchill felt as he worked to rally a shaken Britain following the Dunkirk evacuation.  Sure, the evacuation lives in history, as every boat in Britain rallied to rescue stranded British soldiers, but the fact is, that heroic moment came about because of a staggering military defeat.  Churchill’s words to the House of Commons in the aftermath of that disaster are worth remembering.

Churchill’s June 4, 1940 speech begins by describing, in blunt terms, the scope of the military disaster (although that disaster was somewhat allayed by the fact that the evacuation rescued more than 330,000 men, not the 45,000 predicted).  Then, he gets to the nub of the matter, which is that Britain must look not only on what it lost (and Churchill spoke in unvarnished terms about those losses), but also about what Britain still had, in terms of weapons, men and, most importantly, morale (emphasis mine):

Turning once again, and this time more generally, to the question of invasion, I would observe that there has never been a period in all these long centuries of which we boast when an absolute guarantee against invasion, still less against serious raids, could have been given to our people. In the days of Napoleon the same wind which would have carried his transports across the Channel might have driven away the blockading fleet. There was always the chance, and it is that chance which has excited and befooled the imaginations of many Continental tyrants. Many are the tales that are told. We are assured that novel methods will be adopted, and when we see the originality of malice, the ingenuity of aggression, which our enemy displays, we may certainly prepare ourselves for every kind of novel stratagem and every kind of brutal and treacherous maneuver. I think that no idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered and viewed with a searching, but at the same time, I hope, with a steady eye. We must never forget the solid assurances of sea power and those which belong to air power if it can be locally exercised.

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Or, as another famous English person once said, this is not the time for us to go all wobbly.

Enough breast beating.  It’s time to start the drums beating.  Remember, politics is a form of war, albeit (quite thankfully) a bloodless form.  We don’t win by pissing and moaning.  We win by making the 2010 Tea Party look like a mere trial run.  For those who are worried about Romney (and they are right because, while he hews conservative, he’s not a “principled conservative”) had better tether the man with a strongly conservative House, not to mention that all important conservative Senate.  Give money, send letters, carry signs, reason (not yell at, reason) with friends and family, be cheerful but determined.  Fight and win.

King Obama the Insane — is Obama still living the big lie, or has he slipped round the bend?

Albert Einstein allegedly defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Austin O’Malley looked at the process of insanity: “A sane man often reasons from sound premises; an insane man commonly reasons as well, but the premises are unsound.” And Guy de Maupassant examined that peculiar phenomenon we now call monomania:

I have seen mad people, and I have known some who were quite intelligent, lucid, even clear-sighted in every concern of life, except on one point. They could speak clearly, readily, profoundly on everything; till their thoughts were caught in the breakers of their delusions and went to pieces there, were dispersed and swamped in that furious and terrible sea of fogs and squalls which is called MADNESS.

The common thread in these quotations is the fact that the insane person is disconnected from reality. He doesn’t understand cause and effect, his factual premises are ludicrous, and his inability to deal with reality may be centered a specific subject, so that he appears lucid as to other things.

With Obama’s most recent speech about the economy, the one in which he cited approvingly to an immediately discredited study claiming that he’s been one of the most frugal presidents in history, a new meme sprang up in the blogosphere — “Obama the Insane.”

Of course, no one has stated it with that level of clarity.  More and more writers, however, are commenting upon (1) Obama’s belief that if he keeps spending more and more money, he will magically reverse the fact that his existing spending binge has already caused inestimable harm to the U.S. economy; (2) his reliance on manifestly false facts; and (3) the way in which, even as he is cogent on other subjects (his family, rap parties, etc.), Obama’s focus on those things that most deeply affect Americans, such as the economy, foreign affairs, national security, bears no relationship to the facts on the ground.

Here are three respected writers, each of whom expresses serious concern about President Obama’s increasingly obvious disconnect from the reality of his presidency and his policies.

Peggy Noonan politely calls the presidency a “house of cards”:

There is, now, a house-of-cards feel about this administration.

It became apparent some weeks ago when the president talked on the stump—where else?—about an essay by a fellow who said spending growth is actually lower than that of previous presidents. This was startling to a lot of people, who looked into it and found the man had left out most spending from 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency. People sneered: The president was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture! But you know, why would he go out there waving an article that could immediately be debunked? Maybe because he thought it was true. That’s more alarming, isn’t it, the idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.

Peter Ferrara is also dismayed by the President’s inability to recognize economic reality, although he believes the president is simply being deceptive. After quoting with approval the Noonan passage, above, Ferrara goes on to chide Obama for lying:

What this shows most importantly is that the recognition is starting to break through to the general public regarding the President’s rhetorical strategy that I’ve have been calling Calculated Deception. The latter is deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture. That has been a central Obama practice not only throughout his entire presidency, but also as the foundation of his 2008 campaign strategy, and actually throughout his whole career.

Rest assured, Ms. Noonan, that the President is not as nuts as he may seem at times. He knows very well that he is not a careful spender. His whole mission is to transform the U.S. not into a Big Government country, but a Huge Government country, because only a country run by a Huge Government can be satisfactorily controlled by superior, all wise and beneficent individuals like himself. That is why he is at minimum a Swedish socialist, if not worse. Notice, though, how far behind the times he and his weak minded supporters are, as even the Swedes have abandoned Swedish socialism as a failure.

Mark Steyn speaks in terms of soaring rhetoric unconnected to earthbound problems:

Take, for example, the attempt at soaring rhetoric: “That’s how we built this country — together. We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We did those things together,” he said, in a passage that was presumably meant to be inspirational but was delivered with the faintly petulant air of a great man resentful at having to point out the obvious, yet again. “Together, we touched the surface of the moon, unlocked the mystery of the atom, connected the world through our own science and imagination. We haven’t done these things as Democrats or Republicans. We’ve done them as Americans.”

Beyond the cheap dissembling, there was a bleak, tragic quality to this paragraph. Does anyone really believe a second-term Obama administration is going to build anything? Yes, you, madam, the gullible sap at the back in the faded hope’n’change T-shirt. You seriously think your guy is going to put up another Hoover Dam? Let me quote one Deanna Archuleta, Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of the interior, in a speech to Democrat environmentalists in Nevada:

“You will never see another federal dam.”

Ever.

All three essays are worth reading in their entirety. All three struggle with the vast chasm between Obama’s words and actual reality. Although Ferrara calls Obama a liar to his face, Ferrara’s take on the matter is the most generous of the three, because he believes that Obama is a con man, not an insane man.

I wonder. Certainly if Obama is a con man, he’s a very bad one, in that he’s letting his audience in on the trick. A good con man would never rely upon such an easily proven set of numbers. If this is what Obama did, he’s once again proven himself to be the un-Churchill.

Why do I say that? It’s because of a story I once read that Churchill’s assistant told about the great man. I don’t know if it’s a true story, but it perfectly illustrates what a good con should be:

Churchill was invited to speak to a group of manufacturers about the future of their industry. He asked his assistant to research for him information about the probably economic future of this industry. The assistant returned to him and said that there were so many variables that it was impossible to put together a coherent picture of the industry’s future in the coming year, let alone the coming decade. To the assistant’s great surprise, the very next day, he heard Churchill give a speech replete with numbers, analyses, and estimates projecting out a good ten years. After the speech, the assistant approached Churchill and asked “How did you do that?” “Simple, my boy,” Churchill replied. “I made it up. You told me that there were too many variables to reach a conclusion or make a prediction about even the immediate future. That means that it will take years to prove my statements wrong, by which time there will have been so many intervening factors, no one will look back on what I said.”

Now that’s a con. What is not a con is to state as truth an absolute falsehood, and one that, moreover, has already been conclusively proven to be false.  The man who does that is either the most clumsy of all lies, or a monomaniac who has become unmoored from factual reality and drifted off into an economic realm all his own.

From the moment Obama appeared on the national political scene, many writers (including me) have been harping on Obama’s malignant narcissism.  The important thing to remember is that a malignant narcissist has built around an empty emotional core a carefully constructed, quite superior persona.  In order to keep that illusion alive, the narcissistic must constantly assert his superiority.  We’ve seen Obama do that over and over again.  Here are a few examples:

Marion Berry recounted meetings with White House officials, reminiscent of some during the Clinton days, where he and others urged them not to force Blue Dogs “off into that swamp” of supporting bills that would be unpopular with voters back home.

“I’ve been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”

******

President Obama met yesterday with “about 20 Conservative Jewish community leaders, thanking them for the work they do to improve communities around the country and discussed their shared commitment to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” Haaretz reports.

In the meeting, Obama reportedly boasted about his knowledge of Judaism, telling the leaders that he thinks he knows more “about Judaism” than all past presidents. He said he gained this knowledge of Judaism from reading.

“Obama … stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it,” Haaretz reports.

******


When it comes to piloting
, Barack Obama seems to think he’s the political equivalent of Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager and—in a “Fly Me to the Moon” sort of way—Nat King Cole rolled into one. “I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers,” he reportedly told an aide in 2008. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.”

The flip side of this constant self-assurance is the need to deny other people their due.  Narcissists are offensive.  That too is an Obama trait:

Asked in the Saturday Democratic debate about her dearth of “likability,” Clinton offered an answer both artful and sweet — first, demurely saying her feelings were hurt and mock-heroically adding that she would try to carry on regardless, then generously conceding that Obama is very likable and “I don’t think I’m that bad.”

At which point, Obama, yielding to some inexplicable impulse, gave the other memorable unscripted moment of the New Hampshire campaign — the gratuitous self-indicting aside: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” He said it looking down and with not a smile but a smirk.

******

Obama poked fun of McCain and Palin’s new “change” mantra.

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s still a pig.”

“You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.”

“We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

******

The president defended his talks with Gulf fishermen and oil spill experts, saying their purpose was not academic – rather, they were an exercise in asserting where the presidential boot should be administered, “so I know whose ass to kick”.

******

President Barack Obama says police in Cambridge, Mass., acted “stupidly” this week when they arrested Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, someone they knew was in his own home.

The big question, of course, is what happens to a malignant narcissist when reality is so overwhelming that his normal coping mechanisms — self-aggrandizement and the denigration of others — no longer work?  Obama is being soundly slapped in the face by economic reality, by statistics, by an aggressive political opponent (You go, Mitt!), and by a disillusioned, although still loyal, media.

One could say that insanity is the last refuge of a narcissist.  If the real world will no longer conform to his self-image, he’ll deny the real world, and come up with a better one that allows him to boast to his heart’s content, not just about his own alleged qualities, but about larger, objective reality.

Obama’s intellectual and emotional collapse would normally be a sad sight, indeed.  Because of his peculiarly exalted position, though, a mad President Obama is just as unnerving and dangerous for the State as any mad monarch of old.

Putting Obama’s blame game into perspective

Keith Koffler has assembled some of Obama’s finest “passing the buck” moments.

Put another way, Obama has freely admitted that he lacks leadership skills, since he is utterly incapable of dealing with the ordinary cycle of domestic and foreign politics that are part-and-parcel of being the chief executive of what used to be the most important nation in the world.  I can’t help but contrast Obama’s endless whining with Churchill’s take on blame when he gave a speech following the Dunkirk evacuation.  This was a moment of profound despair, because it was not only one of the greatest military defeats the British had ever suffered, but it brought home to everyone the risk of a Nazi invasion.  Churchill was undaunted:

I am not reciting these facts [about the disastrous situation on the continent] for the purpose of recrimination. That I judge to be utterly futile and even harmful. We cannot afford it. I recite them in order to explain why it was we did not have, as we could have had, between twelve and fourteen British divisions fighting in the line in this great battle instead of only three. Now I put all this aside. I put it on the shelf, from which the historians, when they have time, will select their documents to tell their stories. We have to think of the future and not of the past. This also applies in a small way to our own affairs at home. There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Governments-and of Parliaments, for they are in it, too-during the years which led up to this catastrophe. They seek to indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs. This also would be a foolish and pernicious process. There are too many in it. Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches. I frequently search mine.

Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future. Therefore, I cannot accept the drawing of any distinctions between Members of the present Government. It was formed at a moment of crisis in order to unite all the Parties and all sections of opinion. It has received the almost unanimous support of both Houses of Parliament. Its Members are going to stand together, and, subject to the authority of the House of Commons, we are going to govern the country and fight the war. It is absolutely necessary at a time like this that every Minister who tries each day to do his duty shall be respected; and their subordinates must know that their chiefs are not threatened men, men who are here today and gone tomorrow, but that their directions must be punctually and faithfully obeyed. Without this concentrated power we cannot face what lies before us. I should not think it would be very advantageous for the House to prolong this Debate this afternoon under conditions of public stress. Many facts are not clear that will be clear in a short time. We are to have a secret Session on Thursday, and I should think that would be a better opportunity for the many earnest expressions of opinion which Members will desire to make and for the House to discuss vital matters without having everything read the next morning by our dangerous foes.

Not only did Churchill refuse to waste time in recriminations, he looked forward to a future of vigorous battle, leading to overwhelming victory:

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

That is leadership.

Obama, in the same situation, would have given a speech in which he blamed the troops, blamed the military leadership, blamed the French, blamed the weather, and blamed the Nazis.  He would have thrown in several “I” statements about his contributions, which would have been the only lights in the darkness.  He might have done a little confessional about how the English people kind of had it coming because they’d victimized the Germans when they demanded reparations.  He would have urged caution in going after the Germans, because war is expensive, and it might harm native habitats on the continent.  Lastly, he would have thrown out a suggestion about using algae to power battle ships and solar power to melt the Reichstag.

Barack Obama defined

(With apologies to Winston Churchill.)

The current state of rumor and innuendo about a president who has no past other than that which he grudgingly doles out, creating a tabula rasa on which we can write our own impressions, leads me to this conclusion:  Barack Obama is a bisexual riddle wrapped in a Muslim mystery inside a bipolar, narcissistic enigma!

The great Winston Churchill

I came across the following story about Winston Churchill when I was reading The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes:

In the summer of 1941 Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross for climbing out onto the wing of his Wellington bomber, 13,000 feet above the Zuider Zee, to extinguish a fire in the starboard engine.  Secured only by a rope around his waist, he managed not only to smother the fire but also to return along the wing to the aircraft’s cabin.  Churchill, an admirer as well as a performer of swashbuckling exploits, summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street.  Ward, struck dumb with awe in Churchill’s presence, was unable to answer the prime minister’s questions.  Churchill surveyed the unhappy hero with some compassion.  “You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence,” he said.

“Yes, sir,” managed Ward.

“Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours.”

Now, as a thought exercise, try to imagine any politician today having that kind of grace.

(If you’re curious about Ward, here’s a bit more info about his short and honorable life.)

UPDATE:  Welcome, Ace readers.  I can fairly promise you that neither my writing nor my thinking are as good as Churchill’s.  On the other hand, I’m here now, blogging away, and I offer two things at my blog:  A broad array of fairly well-written posts on a variety of conservative topics and some of the most intelligent commenters in the blogosphere.  Since I know Andrew Breitbart thinks Ace has the best commenters, you might feel very much at home here.  All of which is is to say that I think you should spend a minute looking around and deciding whether you think this is a site worth visiting again.

A “Deadliest Warrior” match-up between Churchill and Obama

My kids — indeed all the kids I know — are enthralled by a show called “Deadliest Warrior.”  In every episode, the show takes two types of warriors (Israeli Commandos v. Navy SEALS; Al Capone v. Jesse James; etc.), and compares their weapons and techniques to determine which will be that episode’s deadliest warrior.  (Incidentally, the SEALS won, though the Commandos came a very close second.)  Although no one gets hurt, there’s lots of fake blood, lots of explosions, lots of guns, and lots of hand-to-hand combat.  It’s a rather enthralling show.

It occurred to me today that, because Obama is our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, it might be fun for us to do a “deadliest warrior” episode comparing his rhetorical skills and strategic thinking to those same attributes as evinced by another wartime commander.  Because Obama was sold to us as the greatest orator of our generation, not to mention the most brilliant leader since Abraham Lincoln, I’ve decided to pair him up against the greatest orator (and possibly strategist) of the last wartime generation.  That would be, of course, Winston Churchill.

Let’s start with Winston Churchill, whose war came first, and who has held the “greatest wartime orator” title for a few decades more than that up-and-coming commander-in-chief, Barack Hussein Obama:

A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril. [Love of country -- check!]

All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. [Love of democratic ideals -- check!]

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old. [Unswerving commitment to victory -- check!]

You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.” [A willingness to commit all available resources to achieve full victory over a totalitarian enemy -- check!]

That’s some pretty tough competition, so let’s see how Obama steps up to handle the role of greatest wartime leader and rhetorician:

We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger.”  [Apathy and minimal goals -- check!]

“You’ve got to get the job done there.  And that requires us to have enough troops that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.”  [Practical advice, crudely and insultingly phrased -- check!]

[Per the WaPo's summary of Bob Woodward's book]:  “Frustrated with his military commanders for consistently offering only options that required significantly more troops, Obama finally crafted his own strategy, dictating a classified six-page ‘terms sheet’ that sought to limit U.S. involvement, Woodward reports in ‘Obama’s Wars,’ to be released on Monday.”  [Ensuring greater risks for America's troops and, by ignoring his own crude advice, increasing the risks to civilians -- check!]

[Per the NYT's summary of Bob Woodward's book]:  “Privately, he told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings, and while Mr. Obama ultimately rejected it, he set a withdrawal timetable because, ‘I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.’”  [Putting party politics ahead of national security and troop safety -- check!]

Hmm.  I have to say that, while I had high hopes for our articulate president, I just don’t see him winning in this rhetorical (and strategic combat).  As you can see, right out of the box, it’s clear that he really see the war as end to the jihad on American soil, especially because Americans can suffer with the best of them.  (A complete aside here, but that type of apathy has a remarkably inshallah tone to it, which really does help contribute to the notion that he’s a cultural Muslim.)

As our post competition analysis clearly shows, Obama also completely ignores his own crudely given and tactless advice, which was that you win a war by having boots on the ground.  And lastly, he puts party politics ahead of national victory, which just has to knock him down some points in this competition.

On other other hand, Winston Churchill has managed to hit all the major factors citizens look for in a war time leader:  he loves his country, he loves what it stands for, he expresses unswerving commitment to seeing the fight through to the end, and he’s willing to use all available resources to emerge from the battle victorious.

Comparing our competitors’ performance statistics, I have to conclude that, in this week’s match up of wartime commanders-in-chief, the clear winner is Winston Churchill.  Unfortunately, having been dead for several decades, Churchill is not available to accept his award.  Even more unfortunately, life’s not a game, and the sorry, apathetic, cowardly, lazy, ideologically driven Barack Obama is this nation’s real commander-in-chief.

(P.S.  For a more serious post contrasting Obama’s weak leadership to past leader’s, check out the Mudville Gazette.)

Finding comfort and inspiration in Winston Churchill

Question for all of you: A friend thinks that we shouldn’t get our hopes up over November and beyond. He thinks that, aside from the concern political junkies are exhibiting, most Americans actually don’t care enough about the political scene to vote for politicians who would put a stop to this. They got their voting excitement out of their system when they collaborated to put the first black man in the White House. He freely concedes that, living as we do in the Bay Area, our view about “most Americans” is pretty warped, but still….

So, do you think that the political junkies are getting exercised, but that this will go nowhere? And even if it’s trying to go somewhere, do you think that the MSM, which is ululating in delight over the bill’s passage and using Alinsky tactics hard and fast to paint the bill’s opponents as racists, homophobes and whack jobs, will successfully whitewash the whole thing so that American voters are pacified and inert by November?

As for me, I think the battle is over only if we give up. Abject despair and surrender are a guaranteed recipe for failure.  Think of Winston Churchill, who had a miserable political failure during WWI, was a political outcast during the 1930s, and led the only nation standing up to Hitler in the first years of the War. Unsurprisingly, he had a whole lot to say about not giving up (and about the freedoms and system for which we fight):

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

If you are going through hell, keep going.

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.

If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.

In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.

Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.

Never, never, never give up.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.

Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

There is no such thing as a good tax.

This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.

To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can.

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

Winston Churchill writing about Islam

Winston Churchill wrote the following in a book published in 1899 about the Sudan.  It is remarkably prophetic (emphasis mine):

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Our government would do well to remember the nature of the forces arrayed against us, and to remember Churchill’s advice about recognizing the enemy sooner, rather than later:

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

But I think our current leader would be happy to live as a slave, because he does not see much in our culture that is worth saving by fighting.  I know that Obama suffers from a vast historical ignorance, one he reveals on a regular basis, so I doubt he has more than a passing familiarity with Churchill’s life or thinking.  Nevertheless, it was entirely fitting that our Quisling, Vichy-esque President, as one of his first acts in office, got rid of the Churchill reminder occupying space in his office, and sent it on an ignominious trip aback to its land of origin.

McCain and Churchill, Part II

You may recall that, only last week, I reviewed one of McCain’s victory speeches and concluded that it bore some remarkable similarities to Churchill’s “finest hour” speech.  It turns out I’m not the only one to see that McCain’s . . . perhaps not his rhetoric but his world outlook is similar to Churchill’s outlook.  The McCain camp has seen it too, with this campaign video as evidence:

By the way, Dafydd suggests that McCain use this grand sense of our place in history to his advantage, and that he run rings around Hillary’s and Obama’s petty politicking with some big ideas.

Hat tip:  Big Lizard

McCain and . . . Churchill

Writing at American Thinker today, Steven Warshawsky gave a very good review to John McCain’s victory speech the other night. Warshawsky praises McCain for taking the high road and promising to focus on the issues, which should help middle class voters get past possible guilt about not voting for the woman or the black candidate. Warshawsky also approves of the way McCain discussed what some of us believe, along with McCain, is the nation’s number one problem; namely, the War the Islamic extremists have declared against us. Here’s what McCain had to say:

America is at war in two countries, and involved in a long and difficult fight with violent extremists who despise us, our values and modernity itself. It is of little use to Americans for their candidates to avoid the many complex challenges of these struggles by re-litigating decisions of the past. I will defend the decision to destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime as I criticized the failed tactics that were employed for too long to establish the conditions that will allow us to leave that country with our country’s interests secure and our honor intact. But Americans know that the next President doesn’t get to re-make that decision. We are in Iraq and our most vital security interests are clearly involved there. The next President must explain how he or she intends to bring that war to the swiftest possible conclusion without exacerbating a sectarian conflict that could quickly descend into genocide; destabilizing the entire Middle East; enabling our adversaries in the region to extend their influence and undermine our security there; and emboldening terrorists to attack us elsewhere with weapons we dare not allow them to possess.

Warshawsky sees this as an elegant way for McCain to avoid his Achilles’ heel, which is that he supported the war from the git-go, while the majority of Americans are sick of the war. To this end, McCain doesn’t focus on the past, but promises resolution in the future. Substantively, I agree with both McCain and Warshawsky. This election is about 2008 and the years beyond. It’s not about entering the Way-Back machine and allowing a future Democratic president to change events in 2003.

I happen to like the speech for another reason, though. Purposely or not, it perfectly echoes Winston Churchill’s “finest hour” speech after the Brit’s ignominious defeat against the Germans in 1940, and their disorganized, but miraculous retreat at Dunkirk. Just as McCain did above, Churchill opens by stating the problem, including the fact that past decisions were, to say the least, imperfect. He then goes on to put the focus where it should be — the future. Because each perfectly shaped paragraph is an inevitable prelude to the important points he makes in the subsequent paragraph, I’m not going to shave and snip much. Instead, I ask you to take the time to read the language below and to consider whether that’s not precisely the point McCain is making. (All emphasis placed in the speech below comes from me.)

I spoke the other day of the colossal military disaster which occurred when the French High Command failed to withdraw the northern Armies from Belgium at the moment when they knew that the French front was decisively broken at Sedan and on the Meuse. This delay entailed the loss of fifteen or sixteen French divisions and threw out of action for the critical period the whole of the British Expeditionary Force. Our Army and 120,000 French troops were indeed rescued by the British Navy from Dunkirk but only with the loss of their cannon, vehicles and modern equipment. This loss inevitably took some weeks to repair, and in the first two of those weeks the battle in France has been lost. When we consider the heroic resistance made by the French Army against heavy odds in this battle, the enormous losses inflicted upon the enemy and the evident exhaustion of the enemy, it may well be the thought that these 25 divisions of the best-trained and best-equipped troops might have turned the scale. However, General Weygand had to fight without them. Only three British divisions or their equivalent were able to stand in the line with their French comrades. They have suffered severely, but they have fought well. We sent every man we could to France as fast as we could re-equip and transport their formations.

I am not reciting these facts for the purpose of recrimination. That I judge to be utterly futile and even harmful. We cannot afford it. I recite them in order to explain why it was we did not have, as we could have had, between twelve and fourteen British divisions fighting in the line in this great battle instead of only three. Now I put all this aside. I put it on the shelf, from which the historians, when they have time, will select their documents to tell their stories. We have to think of the future and not of the past. This also applies in a small way to our own affairs at home. There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Governments-and of Parliaments, for they are in it, too-during the years which led up to this catastrophe. They seek to indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs. This also would be a foolish and pernicious process. There are too many in it. Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches. I frequently search mine.

Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future. Therefore, I cannot accept the drawing of any distinctions between Members of the present Government. It was formed at a moment of crisis in order to unite all the Parties and all sections of opinion. It has received the almost unanimous support of both Houses of Parliament. Its Members are going to stand together, and, subject to the authority of the House of Commons, we are going to govern the country and fight the war. It is absolutely necessary at a time like this that every Minister who tries each day to do his duty shall be respected; and their subordinates must know that their chiefs are not threatened men, men who are here today and gone tomorrow, but that their directions must be punctually and faithfully obeyed. Without this concentrated power we cannot face what lies before us. I should not think it would be very advantageous for the House to prolong this Debate this afternoon under conditions of public stress. Many facts are not clear that will be clear in a short time. We are to have a secret Session on Thursday, and I should think that would be a better opportunity for the many earnest expressions of opinion which Members will desire to make and for the House to discuss vital matters without having everything read the next morning by our dangerous foes.

The disastrous military events which have happened during the past fortnight have not come to me with any sense of surprise. Indeed, I indicated a fortnight ago as clearly as I could to the House that the worst possibilities were open; and I made it perfectly clear then that whatever happened in France would make no difference to the resolve of Britain and the British Empire to fight on, ‘if necessary for years, if necessary alone.”

[snip]

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

We no longer seem to be capable of this kind of soaring rhetoric, but I give McCain credit for fully comprehending the ideas behind Churchill’s magnificent speech.