Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Impedimenta Intellectua

1. Fear Of Work

     “Man is a working animal. He likes to work.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon

     Well, most of us do, anyway. But there are exceptions. And it isn’t always about laziness.

     Last night on Fox News’s Special Report, Bret Baier interviewed likely Speaker-of-the-House-to-be Kevin McCarthy (R, CA). It was the sort of interview guaranteed to fill time while telling the viewer exactly nothing. McCarthy answered Baier’s questions, the great majority of which addressed specific subjects and deserved specific answers, with one windy platitude after another. The performance was so blatantly an act of political hairdressing that even the panel discussion noted how evasive McCarthy had been, albeit gently, to spare Baier’s feelings.

     Baier has demonstrated his willingness to cut off Barack Hussein Obama when he initiates a session of his trademarked “run out the clock” gasbaggery. Yet he refrained from showing the same dutiful aggressiveness toward a Republican. Why?

     My theory is that Fox News really has got a sotto voce deal with the GOP, which guarantees Fox agents “access” to Republican officeholders in exchange for Fox’s guarantee that they won’t be embarrassed. Baier risks his reputation for being a penetrating interviewer by cleaving to such a deal if it exists. He risks Fox’s audience loyalty if it doesn’t.

2. Laziness.

     And sometimes it is about laziness. Have a few words on the subject from Ace:

     [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell could have both broken the filibuster and then campaigned hard against the Democrats for blocking payments to our troops -- if he'd been willing to sacrifice some weekend Me-Time.
     Instead, McConnell did what Democrats expected him to do. He griped about it, moved on, and looked to a continuing resolution. He extracted no price at all from Reid and his caucus for shutting down the budget process. There was no pain or penalty for Democrats for killing the appropriations process. That, after all, would have required working weekends.

     The truth is that the budget process, in the absence of earmarks, is extremely inconvenient for members. Republican leadership was not serious about restoring it -- requiring them to rake members over coals for weeks on end and degrade the quality of life of being in the Senate. McConnell would be viewed as a giant a-hole, sure --– but this is what it takes. Eventually, Democrats would have broken, and the appropriations process would have proceeded. So today, instead of looking at a looming shutdown, it would be at most a couple of departments at risk of losing funding.

     Senate Republican leaders have allowed the obstruction of the budget process (Congress's core reason for, you know, existing). They chose personal convenience over the hard work of breaking the Democrats. And they conceded themselves to the view that President Obama has the power of the purse, and Republicans should be satisfied running against his abuse of it.

     Had he done that, the most critical parts of government would have been funded, so a shutdown would tend to shutdown the parts of the government that primarily service liberals -- not as dangerous a thing for the GOP.

     Which is why the Democrats didn't want the troops funded -- they want to keep doing this by CR, because they know the cowardly, lazy McConnell won't tangle with them when it comes to the power of the purse.

     McConnell might prefer that situation himself -- as it gives this well-compensated layabout a constant excuse as to why he should not work a bit harder.

     The usual excuses will, of course, be proffered. There are always passable excuses for not prodding a sleeping dog. But note that Harry Reid has stood ever ready to do so, and from a minority position, at that.

3. Establishmentarians Gonna Establish

     Colonel Lawrence Sellin makes a point I’ve hammered long and hard:

     The main objective of the political-media establishment and, in particular, Barack Obama is to prevent any post-election investigation of the rampant corruption in Washington DC.

     Both the Democrats and the Republicans want to maintain their standing as permanent political elites, whereby they may continue to treat ordinary Americans as indentured servants and broker the tax revenues for the benefit of themselves and their wealthy donors.

     This, of course, requires bipartisan action. On the Left:

     It is clear that the Obamas and Valerie "Rasputin" Jarrett hate the Clintons and do not want to risk "payback time" from a vindictive and ruthless President Hillary.

     The Obama strategy is stretch out the homebrew server scandal to undermine Hillary's campaign through a death by a thousand cuts. It has to be delicate surgery, something short of indictment and trial, which would likely implicate him, and something that would prevent retaliation from the Clinton camp, perhaps leaks of the Muslim or birther variety that we witnessed from them during the 2008 primary season.

     And on the Right:

     Equally eager to avoid any corruption investigations, the Republican establishment has selected Jeb Bush, the candidate most likely to continue business as usual and not raise any embarrassing questions.

     Jeb's poll numbers are so anemic, however, an anticipated maximum of 15-20%, that the Republican establishment had to devise a plan that would keep Jeb afloat and gain enough primary victories in the key states to ensure his nomination. By splitting the vote amongst a number of other establishment candidates, the "Jebettes," enough votes would be drawn away from any significant challenger. Ballooning the field with a large number of candidates has been a deliberate strategy, whereby Jeb could win, not by gaining support, but by fracturing his opponents' support. The original cast of "Jebettes" was Graham (South Carolina), Kasich (Ohio), Perry (Texas) and Rubio (Florida) with further insurance policies in Virginia (Gilmore) and New York (Pataki).

     Unfortunately for the Republican establishment, Donald Trump transformed their grand strategy into a bridge to nowhere. And that is why they are so aggressively trying to get him out of the race, lately by leveraging the fluctuating popularity of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina as a counterforce to Trump.

     Nicely and concisely put.

     “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power....Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” – George Orwell, 1984

4. Popeulum.

     Mark Steyn is unsparing of Pope Francis’s vague and pointless blather:

     His speeches were fatuous and evasive pabulum, and already forgotten. I am not a Catholic but I understand that, unlike the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, where total contempt from the congregants more or less comes with the job, the Bishop of Rome is generally held in some respect by his church. So last week, out of deference to Catholic readers' sensibilities, I confined myself to an aside:
     Best to talk about the dangers of "climate change", as the Pope is doing this week, even as in the heart of Christendom the post-Christian future is showing up at the express check-in.

     As the years go by, I like to write about what matters. And in this last seven days, the Mohammed cartoons and the "refugee" tide now engulfing Europe both matter more than "POPE CAME TO THE USA". His Holiness in fact has chosen not to matter, even as European politicians take decisions that will guarantee "Christendom" will be non-Christian. There is something shallow and decadent about a pontiff who prioritizes "climate change" even as every last Christian is driven from the Archeparchy of Mosul. What will they say of such a pope? That he fiddled with the thermostat while Rome burned?

     Where are the Catholic commentators who have dared to say anything as incisive? Do they fear that questioning whether the Holy Father should blather about “climate change” when all of Europe is being Islamicized would entail excommunication?

5. Matters Fictional.

     Yes, Statesman continues to fight me. I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have committed to it in the first place. Never fear; I will finish it, though there might be a delay. But I can’t help but wonder whether it will please the readers who’ve awaited it for so long.

     I could use a few prayers, if you have any bandwidth to spare.

1 comment:

Backwoods Engineer said...

As a praying Christian, I'd be honored to pray for you, Fran.