Tar Pits

Speaking of tar pits and the critters who sink into them, I just saw this head and blurb on the Los Angeles Times site:

Props to Pax Americana

Jonah Goldberg: Does being the leader of the free world make the U.S. an empire? Who cares?

I can’t bring myself to actually read it. You can, if you have the courage. I just want to ask … Has he not noticed that “Pax Americana” turned into “Bellum Americana” (excuse my Latin) some time back? Does he not realize that the “free world” would not follow Dear Leader even to a buffet table? Does he not know what an empire is? And does Goldberg make a bag of hammers look brilliant, or what?

Well, don’t get me started.

And then there are Democrats. Bob Herbert has a gloomy assessment of the current field of presidential candidates.

A friend of mine, talking about the Democratic presidential candidates, tossed out a wonderful mixed metaphor: “This is awfully weak tea to have to hang your hat on.”

The notion that Bush & Co. had fouled things up so badly for Republicans that just about any Democrat could romp to victory in 2008 was never realistic. What’s interesting now, with the first contests just weeks away, is the extent to which Democratic voters are worried about the possibility that none of their candidates have the stuff to take the White House.

This election, the most important in decades, cries out for strong leadership. The electorate is upset, anxious and hungry for change. But “weak tea” is as good a term as any to describe what the Democrats are offering.

I can’t say I disagree.

Bush-bashing is not enough. Unless one of the Democratic candidates finds the courage to step up and offer a vision of an American future so compelling that voters head to the polls with a sense of excitement and great expectation, the Republican Party could once again capture the White House (despite its awful performance over the past eight years) with its patented mixture of snake oil and demagoguery.

The G.O.P. game plan is already being pieced together. The White House hopes to inoculate Republican candidates on the Iraq war issue by bringing home a significant number of combat troops in the middle of the general election. And the demagogic issue of choice for 2008 is immigration.

The Willie Horton ugliness of 1988 will be like nothing compared with the concerted attack to be unleashed by the G.O.P. on illegal immigrants next year.

The Democrats will have to figure out a way to counter that with an appeal to the better angels of our nature, and that will require courage.

Of the current field, I think Barack Obama is the one most likely to catch fire with the vision thing. When he’s on his game, he’s electrifying. But his campaign so far hasn’t shown as much spark as I anticipated it would. Maybe he’s pacing himself.

At the Washington Post, Andrés Martinez makes an interesting observation:

I remember being in Europe on the eve of the 2000 election and seeing polls that showed about 85 percent of the people in Holland favored Al Gore. And that was back when Bush was known as a compassionate conservative who worked well with Democrats and talked about a “humble” foreign policy. His “popularity” in Holland has taken quite a hit since then.

There is no way around it: Bush’s departure will be a good day for the U.S. “brand” around the world. And while wanting to be liked isn’t the sole criterion on which to base your vote, it’s hard to deny that the election of a Democrat would result in a a bigger boost to America’s international brand. …

… On the whole, change will likely be welcomed around the world. And setting aside any other merits or demerits of Barack Obama’s candidacy, given his life story I do think the conventional wisdom is right: His taking the oath of office on Inauguration Day would count as a massive propaganda coup for the United States.

That’s the single biggest reason I’m rooting for Obama. That does not count as an endorsement, however. Presidential candidates always should have caveat emptor stamped on their foreheads. In past history, many sparkling candidates proved to be disappointing presidents, but a few have exceeded expectations.

I’m actually not too worried. Our guys may be a pack of mutts, but theirs are … well, you know.

17 thoughts on “Tar Pits

  1. Amen, Maha.

    I recently had an uncomfortable lunch with a raving Canadian right winger. But even he thought Bush was beyond the pale.

    Americans have no idea how despised Bush, and by extension, the US are. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Canadian who has anything good to say about the US government. Unfortunately, our current government thinks Bush is just peachy.


  2. Read the Chris Hedges’ article over at Truthdig to get an idea of how desparate we are for a true statesman in the WH.

  3. Thanks to your successful “Darmok” analogy, I’m now reminded of that TNG episode where the crew began to de-evolve. Picard was turning into a nervous little lemur, but as I recall, he was OK because he had Data to advise him. The Dem candidates may all be a pack of lemurs, but as mammals, they’re still the wave of the future. And maybe the next Dem president can get Al Gore for an adviser.

  4. “The notion that Bush & Co. had fouled things up so badly for Republicans that just about any Democrat could romp to victory in 2008 was never realistic.”

    Too true. But Capital-P Progressives (“The only thing we hate more than Republicans are Democrats! And you stoopid Liburals!”) thought Bush couldn’t win in the first place. They beat the “Anybody But Gore” drum, then the “Anybody But Kerry” drum, and now they want Gore as a write-in instead of any of the current candidates. Anything But A Win, I guess, because if you win you have to take responsible action instead of standing on the sidelines throwing rocks at everyone else.

    From a Capital-P’s “Anybody But Hillary” letter in the September 23rd San Francisco Chronicle:

    “Even though I strongly feel that the U.S. will be best served if a Democrat, not a Republican, is elected President in 2008, I will vote for a third-party candidate, even if it means the Republican candidate is elected.”

    We can take the WH away from the neo-cons only when complete morons like that pull their heads free of their own rectums. Survival first; high-handed piss-ant political dogma second.

  5. Seeing the Doughy Dodo made me spew tea on my monitor. Would that his kind were extinct instead of the poor avians.

  6. I like Obama’s ability to inspire, but I like Edwards’ actual policies better. I think Edwards is a more authentic candidate, with a truly inspiring vision … if he could ever figure out how to package it so that anybody would listen ….

    Of the big three, Hillary is the one that seems the “weakest tea” to me. Puzzling why she is still the frontrunner. Perhaps name-recognition is still the dominant factor amongst don’t-particularly-care-about-politcs Dems?


  7. I am going to toss out something that’s not yet been discussed. Though it may be a tease for ratings, Lou Dobbs is talking about running as an Independent. Since Lou is frequently criticzed by the Right for being so liberal, and the Left for being so conservative, there is the risk (or prospect) of drawing from both sides of the voting spectrum and throwing a huge wrench into the conventional planning of professional politicians in the hunt.

    Before anyone points out the long list of reasons Dobbs is unqualified, there is one thing that makes him a serious candidate. He is not sold out. Hid distain and disgust for the way the ultra-rich have gamed the system with BOTH parties is refreshing. For anyone with an open mind, I recommend his last editorial:


    Ther’s not a word about illegal aliens.

  8. I can’t bear to read Goldberg, but I will comment on what little you quoted. Righties love the idea of being king of the hill, but are oblivious to how empires end – badly. They crush everything beneath them, including their own citizens. Goldberg, with eyes closed and his brain fogged as usual, stupidly asks “who cares?” – well I do, I don’t want to get trapped in a crumbling, violently corrupt nation-state.

    Felicity in comment 2 mentioned Chris Hedges’ piece, and it’s worth highlighting here. Read America in the Time of Empire.

  9. “The notion that Bush & Co. had fouled things up so badly for Republicans that just about any Democrat could romp to victory in 2008 was never realistic.”

    That’s debateable!..Maybe not a romp to victory, but Bush’s bullheaded arrogance and stupidity have shifted the advantage in the Democrat’s favor.. For those who are paying attention and have a real concern for who we are as a nation and where we are going in the future.. they are going to reject anything associated with Republican governance.
    For myself, and I think for many others, we project the qualities and values we wish to be percieved as on an personal level to that of our nation and its leader, and will look to a candidate who best fufills our hopes of that projection. Nobody likes an arrogant, pompous airbag who is so full of themselves, or those who associate with them…The republicans.

    Look at Trent Lott….a prime example of a republican dedicated to serving American.. He can’t wait to start slopping at the lobbyists trough… like the pig he is.

  10. bush bashing isn’t enough? h*ll, I’d settle for some serious bush bashing from the dems. I haven’t seen it yet.


  11. Last night’s Republican “debates” was such a freak show that we switched to another channel. The Republican agenda is war, the Bible, executions, the “right to life”, and torture. The bipolar express………
    At least McCain stood firm against torture (but insists “we” must “win” in Iraq
    Romney will seek “counsel” re torture
    “Huckelberry hound dog” has no problem with executions, being an ordained minister and all…
    Goul-iani , thufferin’ thuccotash, will go after the Islamofascists responsible for 9/11,9/11,9/11,9/11.But he wants to trade with the Muslim world because the majority of Muslims are good people.Oh yea, then he mentioned 9/11.
    Fred Thompson? Well I’m reminded of what we used to say as kids after we cut a fart….FREDS OUT!
    Tancredo and Hunter…. the Twilight zone candidates
    Ron Paul. Numerous stumbles, fumbled words, booed, but inmho, the only one that wouldn’t blow up the planet.
    I was feeling a bit better today about the Dem Party, then I read this:
    It’s been a real slice folks……….

  12. Lou Dobbs??? God help us. We cannot afford another ingenue in the WH. Democrats who go all gaga over the novelty of Obama make me sick, especially the women. I want a woman in the WH. I am sick to death of men screwing up everything .

  13. erinyes – thanks for that link. probably the most powerful bit of blogging I have read off of this site.Tha author has it all (except humility) and he suggests that the Dems will not impeach because they are complicit in Bush’s crimes and they intend to continue after Bush has left office with only cosmetic changes.

    Barbara – when you have time, I hope you will read this, and if you also find the ideas significant, open this up for greater discussion. We know you have a life (outside of blogging), and hope you are well.. and we all miss you.

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