Gersonian Idiocy

In today’s Washington Post, Gerson offers a column titled “Closet Centrist: In Obama’s Cabinet, the Audacity of Moderation”. Can someone please tell me how something as unsurprising as the picks President-elect Obama has made for his Cabinet constitute anything audacious?

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The Washington Post Hates Liberty

In today’s issue, the editorial board offers its endorsements for four Congressional seats from Maryland. They offered all four to Democrats. The language and reasoning employed by the board suggests just what a joke American “liberalism” has become, neither particularly liberal nor “progressive”, but statist in the worst ways. Call me terrified.

Following are excerpts from the endorsement column.

WHEN VOTERS in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches from Prince George’s County into Montgomery, dislodged Rep. Albert R. Wynn in the Democratic primary this year, they put considerable faith in the potential of an energetic but untested newcomer, Donna F. Edwards. [ . . . ] Ms. Edwards has shown that she deserves a full term in Congress.

We’ve disagreed with some of her votes: against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, for example, and against the first version of the $700 billion rescue plan for the ailing economy. But Ms. Edwards supported the final version of the rescue after asking some reasonable questions about it. [ . . . ] Her opponent, Republican Peter James, is a crusader against deficit spending who endorses such extreme remedies as abolishing the Federal Reserve and who has issued a local currency to underscore his point. The currency hasn’t caught on; neither should his candidacy.

[ . . . ]

A similar showdown is unfolding in Maryland’s 5th District, where a likable challenger, Republican Collins A. Bailey, is attempting to unseat an accomplished incumbent, Democrat Steny H. Hoyer. As a longtime member of the Charles County Board of Education, Mr. Bailey has done an admirable job of managing the county’s schools. But his doctrinaire interpretation of the Constitution makes Ron Paul sound like a loose constructionist. Mr. Hoyer, who has represented the district with distinction since 1981 and has served as House majority leader since the 2006 Democratic takeover, is the superior choice. Mr. Hoyer’s pragmatic leadership on national issues has produced compromises on key issues, including the federal surveillance bill and the financial rescue plan. His sway has meant millions in federal dollars for the district, which stretches from Greenbelt to southern St. Mary’s County.

[All emphasis mine. – NPO]

Once upon a time — or so I’ve heard — the media comprised a Fourth Estate,and had some sort of moral obligation to advocate for sound policy. Maybe I engage in historical revisionism here; I don’t know. Whatever the case, the Post, in its reckless opposition to Constitutional limits, reveals exactly why so many individuals and organizations who may have opposed, say, the Iraq War or the USA PATRIOT Act (neither of which this establishmentarian rag opposes) nonetheless have been complicit in the acceptance of such pernicious policies — by being unwilling elsewhere (e.g. health care) to stand up against the federal government’s intervening where it simply does not belong.

Give someone an inch and he’ll take a mile; give the government an inch and it will defecate on the Constitution, destroy the country(ies) within its national borders, and drive the currency’s value to nothing. Impeach Congress and impeach the Post. (Can I receive a partial refund if I cancel my subscription?)

Excuses; forthcoming

I realize that I’ve been particularly remiss in my web-logging duties of late. For this, I apologize. The school year has started off far more busily than I could have prognosticated: Already, I’ve a project due, tomorrow, in my studio; I serve as a teaching assistant; I have two other courses, both of which require some of my time; and I’m the editor-in-chief of The Terrapin Times, a paper in disarray: This job has taken quite a bit of my time. Fear not, though, loyal readers: The next few days, save tonight, as much of which as necessary I shall spend in the studio, I shall dedicate to at least some of the following, as well as whatever else strikes me fancy.

*Larison’s “Kosmopolitis Take Two”, in response to Helen’s “Does Veneration Really Wither on the Pavements?”, and my thoughts on urban conservatism, aristocratic populism, and the like.

*The subject matter of this Washington Post article. Really, a website called BedPost, which “was created to map users’ sex lives online — everything from partner to duration of the encounter to descriptive words, which could later be viewed as a tag cloud.” Is nothing sacred, beyond the totalitarianism of the computer? Have we no shame?

*More on the District’s battle to destroy the Second Amendment.

*Repealing the Seventeenth Amendment: Why we should.

*Conservative New Urbanism, I swear, and some urban planning news.

*Belgium, John McCain’s campaign slogan, and the need for precision in language

Do Democrats think before speaking?

I know that Republicans rarely do; the Democrats seem to follow suit. In today’s Washington Post, in “Assessing Sarah Palin”, Democratic pollster Douglas E. Schoen offers the following brilliance (Read the whole piece for his complete thoughts and the opinions of others, including a couple of grade-A morons.):

By passing up obviously qualified candidates such as Joe Lieberman and former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, who offered at least the possibility of bipartisanship and a broader range of experience and background than Palin, McCain has missed a critical opportunity to expand the reach of a party whose base has been narrowing steadily since 2004.

Time for some amateur deconstruction.

1. How, precisely, define we “qualified” here? Being anathema to the party’s socially conservative base, McCain’s relationship wherewith has been quite shaky at times? Unrepentantly and shamelessly promoting endless war in the Middle East and a one-sided policy respecting that volatile region? Having served as Secretary of a Cabinet department that should not exist and serves little more than further to expand the Leviathan and to embarrass our nation? (Eww, Ridge also sits on the board of Home Depot!)

2. Yes, Ridge is socially moderate-to-liberal, but he hardly offers “bipartisanship”; well, anyway, I’m not sure that anyone from the Bush administration really can. I could be mistaken.

3. The Democrats, of course, care much more about preventing their base from narrowing. Also, as I, and others, have argued, Palin does help to expand the party’s — or at least McCain’s — reach: She may be too conservative to make serious inroads with the Hillarycrats, but she certainly offers some appeal; she has a pretty moderate record on gay rights; she’s an undeniable outsider (for better as much as for worse); and, apparently, she has some Buchanan/Paul sympathies. She probably will fail to draw many from that wing, but considering that neither Baldwin nor Barr is perfect enough, she might shore up a bit of support from the Old Right/traditionalist wing, if she can prove that she still holds these positions. I almost should not be surprised if Buchanan eventually caves and throws his support behind the “bellicose, red-faced, angry guy”. Almost.

As John notes, I have expressed enthusiasm for the McCain-Palin ticket; not enough to sway my vote to them, but enough for me less to fear a McCain presidency. I wish not to go over-board on the matter, so, at least for now, until something major would happen, expect only one more post from me on the matter — if I remember what final point I wanted to make as I lay in bed last night, drifting into the realm of dreams.

“Bob Barr, the Master of a Curious Universe”

The Post ran a pretty good piece on Bob Barr to-day, one that offers a glimpse of Bob Barr the person and has no interest in shying away from his past indiscretions and his “flip-flopping”, but which also paints, on the whole, a rather fair picture of this Georgia bulldog whose law is “Never run a 100-yard dash in a 90-yard room.”

A non-swimming reason to like Michael Phelps

From to-day’s Washington Post:

He will return with his eight gold medals to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club that produced him. His coach, Bob Bowman, is taking over the club, and Phelps will move into a house he bought in Baltimore, back to his roots. His mother, Debbie — who squealed with every win here and whose facial contortions were a fixture on NBC’s live prime-time telecasts– will be nearby, as will his older sisters. His dog, Herman, will come along, too.

“I’m really looking forward to going home,” he said. [My emphasis. – NPO]

Yes, he’s become even more famous now; he’s swimming in the dough; they’ll shower gifts and praise upon him at posh gatherings sponsored by Visa. Nonetheless, he wants to go home, to the place where he has roots, where his family resides, where his coach is, where he is. Good for you, Michael.

NY _Times_ reports: “Russia Orders Halt in Georgia as Fighting Continues”

MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia announced Tuesday that he had ordered a halt to his country’s military operation in Georgia, although he did not say that troops were pulling out and he insisted that Russian forces were still authorized to fire on enemies in South Ossetia.

I happily report this, having begun to fear that Russia’s initially justified(-ish) military operations, brought on by outrageous actions ordered by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, had quickly morphed into an attempt to oust the democratically elected, “pro-Western” (quasi-)tyrant. I, truly, hope that Medvedev’s call for a cessation of operations soon extends to an end to the authorization of firing (non-defensively) on enemies; whether a withdrawal is yet appropriate, I cannot say, although, I believe, troops should remain until the Georgian government can provide substantial evidence not only that it stands by its call for a cease-fire, but, also, that Saakashvili intends to terminate his terrorization of the South Ossetians.

James offers his thoughts on the matter here.

The front page of this morning’s Washington Post reports (prior, of course, to Medvedev’s order) that “Bush Question’s Moscow’s Motives”:

President Bush said yesterday that Russia’s military attacks in Georgia may be designed to unseat the pro-U.S. government there, a move he warned would represent a “dramatic and brutal escalation” of a conflict that American officials have begun to describe as a return to Cold War-style aggression.

Doesn’t rhetoric like this warm you to the cockles of your heart? When President Bush does it, despite the lack or any true national interest, it’s liberation. The Russians, in contradistinction, engage in Cold War-level aggression when acting within their “sphere of influence” and in matters directly in their interest.