President Obama’s State of the Union
address was disgusting.
The president began with a moving tribute to the armed forces and their
accomplishments. But as he has done many times now, he celebrated
martial virtues not to rally support for the military, but to cover
himself in glory — he killed Osama bin Laden! — and to convince the
American people that they should fall in line and march in lockstep.
He said of the military: “At a time when too many of our institutions
have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed
with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They
focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could
accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within
That is disgusting.
What Obama is saying, quite plainly, is that America would be better
off if it wasn’t America any longer. He’s making the case not for
American exceptionalism, but for Spartan exceptionalism.
It’s far worse than anything George W. Bush, the supposed warmonger,
ever said. Bush, the alleged fascist, didn’t want to militarize our
free country; he tried to use our military to make militarized
Indeed, Obama is upending the very point of a military in a free
society. We have a military to keep our society free. We do not have a
military to teach us the best way to give up our freedom. Our warriors
surrender their liberties and risk their lives to protect ours. The
promise of American life for Obama is that if we all try our best and
work our hardest, we can be like a military unit striving for a single
goal. I’ve seen pictures of that from North Korea. No thank you, Mr.
An unfinished post from the past for my boy Brizoni:
PSOMETHING 37. When
Edgar Allan Poe died, his chief rival and enemy got the
last word, an obituary that stands as one of the nastiest in literary
history. It succeeded in damaging Poe's reputation for half a century
or more, a bitter harvest on top of the fact that the man had died a
pauper and was buried in about three minutes with seven people in
attendance. Here's what Rufus Griswold had to say:
Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in
Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle
many, but few will be grieved by it. The poet was well known personally
or by reputation, in all this country. He had readers in England and in
several states of Continental Europe. But he had few or no friends. The
regrets for his death will be suggested principally by the
consideration that in him literary art lost one of its most brilliant,
but erratic stars.
The character of Mr. Poe we cannot attempt to describe in this very
hastily written article. We can but allude to some of the more striking
His conversation was at times almost supra-mortal in its eloquence. His
voice was modulated with astonishing skill, and his large and variably
expressive eyes looked repose or shot fiery tumult into theirs who
listened, while his own face glowed or was changeless in pallor, as his
imagination quickened his blood, or drew it back frozen to his heart.
His imagery was from the worlds, which no mortal can see, but with the
vision of genius.
He was at times a dreamer, dwelling in ideal realms, in heaven or hell,
peopled with creations and the accidents of his brain. He walked the
streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indistinct
curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayers for the happiness
of those who at that moment were objects of his idolatry, but never for
himself, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already damned.
He seemed, except when some fitful pursuit subjected his will and
engrossed his faculties, always to bear the memory of some controlling
He had made up his mind upon the numberless complexities of the social
world and the whole system was with him an imposture. This conviction
gave a direction to his shrewd and naturally unamiable character. Still
though, he regarded society as composed of villains, the sharpness of
his intellect was not of that kind which enabled him to cope with
villainy, while it continually caused him overshots, to fail of the
success of honesty.
Passion, in him, comprehended many of the worst emotions, which
militate against human happiness. You could not contradict him, but you
raised quick choler. You could not speak of wealth, but his cheek paled
with gnawing envy. The astonishing natural advantage of this poor boy,
his beauty, his readiness, the daring spirit that breathed around him
like a fiery atmosphere, had raised his constitutional self-confidence
into an arrogance that turned his very claims to admiration into
prejudice against him. Irascible, envious, bad enough, but not the
worst, for these salient angles were all varnished over with a cold
repellant cynicism while his passions vented themselves in sneers.
There seemed to him no moral susceptibility. And what was more
remarkable in a proud nature, little or nothing of the true point of
honor. He had, to a morbid excess, that desire to rise which is
vulgarly called ambition, but no wish for the esteem or the love of his
species, only the hard wish to succeed, not shine, not serve, but
succeed, that he might have the right to despise a world which galled
We must omit any particular criticism of Mr. Poeâ€™s works. As a writer
of tales it will be admitted generally, that he was scarcely surpassed
in ingenuity of construction or effective painting.
As a critic, he was more remarkable as a dissector of sentences than as
a commenter upon ideas. He was little better than a carping grammarian.
As a poet, he will retain a most honorable rank. Of his "Raven," Mr.
Willis observes that in his opinion, "it is the most effective single
example of fugitive poetry ever published in this country, and is
unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conceptions, masterly
ingenuity of versification, and consistent sustaining of imaginative
In poetry, as in prose, he was most successful in the metaphysical
treatment of the passions. His poems are constructed with wonderful
ingenuity, and finished with consummate art. They illustrate a morbid
sensitiveness of feeling, a shadowy and gloomy imagination, and a taste
almost faultless in the apprehension of that sort of beauty most
agreeable to his temper.
We have not learned of the circumstance of his death. It was sudden,
and from the fact that it occurred in Baltimore, it is presumed that he
was on his return to New York.
"After lifeâ€™s fitful fever, he sleeps well."
Today, of course, everyone celebrates the memory of Rufus Griswold, and
nobody remembers the man he assassinated after his death.
No. The irony is that most Americans still don't know just how great
and important a genius Poe was. He was not only the inventer of horror
fiction and detective fiction (Conan Doyle), the first writer of
science fiction (Jules Verne), the direct inspiration of Herman
Melville's Moby Dick, the stepfather of French symbolist poetry
(Mallarme, Baudelaire, Rimbaud), but also an intuitive scientist who
theorized the Big Bang, in a poem no less, sixty years before
scientists did. Perhaps even more astoundingly, he has continued to
inspire young artists more than a century and a half after his passing,
including dozens of pieces of classical (Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Glass)
and popular music (Beatles, Alan Parsons Project, Lou Reed), as well as
what we can only call multimedia art (from Manet to the Sims) based on
his poetry and prose. Not to mention all the movies derived from what
we insist on considering his potboiler fiction. He may yet be the most
important American writer who ever lived in terms of his influence and
inspirations. And he still gets more respect abroad than he receives at
home. Although he is nevertheless so much a part of us that we all know
of him and can only rejoice in the attention he is receiving in this,
the 200th anniversary of his birth. He lived fifteen fewer years than
Lincoln, born the same year. And he is less famous. But it's unclear
that the sum total of the ideas and works and dreams he indirectly gave
rise to amount to less than Lincoln's.
He may not have thought he would, but he definitely has the last word
-- and opera, and movie, and symphonic chorale, and video, and cartoon,
and painting, and detective and sci-fi thriller, and maybe even
metaphysical truth, unless you personally place more stock in the fact
that no other NFL team is named after a poem. Not even Shakespeare can lay
claim to that distinction.
Is all this worth dying alone and unloved on the wet cobbles of
Baltimore? Who can say? Our own favorite Poe poem is this one:
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
You can decide what he would have thought of this whole discussion.
[ED. I have no memory of what's in these links. Maybe I should be more
meticulous, but maybe you should explore your ancestors more
(This list of links can and should be much longer...)
[ED. I never finished this post, which I began in October 2009, because
there's so much to say about
Poe, and the press of circumstance diverted me in other directions. I'm
posting it now because I'm beginning to understand that young people
have been taught to sneer at him. The very same young people for whom
he should be a beacon, an archetype of the misfit who managed to remake
everything he came in contact with. Not that there is one, but if there
were an American Shakespeare, this man would be first in line to claim
that mantle. With the world falling apart around us, I know you may not
be interested. But if you are, let me know and I'll return to fill in
some of the many blanks in your knowledge of this towering genius who
died at the age of 40.]
I don't usually like Phillip Glass. This time I do. His inspiration is
Poe's "Descent into the Maelstrom." There's literally no end to what
the links could be. Edgar Allan Poe is alive. It's just that he's also
dead. Schroedinger's Black
Cat, if you will.
Catching up. Don't like unfinished business. From Debussy's "La chute
de la Maison Usher":
Not that I like it. Never did like Debussy. Nothing against the French per se. Because I did like this
translation by Stephane Mallarme:
Il y a mainte et mainte année, dans un royaume près de la
mer, vivait une jeune fille, que vous pouvez connaître par son
nom d'Annabel Lee: et cette jeune fille ne vivait avec aucune autre
pensée que d'aimer et d'être aimée de moi.
J'étias un enfant, et elle était un enfant, dans ce
royaume près de la mer; mais nous nous aimions d'un amour qui
était plus que l'amour, -moi et mon Annabel Lee; d'un amour que
les séraphins ailés des cieux convoitaient à elle
et à moi.
Et ce fut la raison qu'il y a longtemps, - un vent souffla d'un nuage,
glaçant ma belle Annabel Lee; de sorte que ses proches de haute
lignée vinrent et me l'enlevèrent, pour l'enfermer dans
un sépulcre, en ce royaume près de la mer.
Les anges, pas à moitié si heureux aux cieux, vinrent,
nous enviant, elle et moi - Oui! ce fut la raison (comme tous les
hommes le savent dans ce royaume près de la mer) pourquoi le
vent sortit du nuage la nuit, glaçant et tuant mon Annabel Lee.
Car la lune jamais ne rayonne sans m'apporter des songes de la belle
Annabel Lee; et les étoiles jamais ne se lèvent que je ne
sente les yeux brillants de la belle Annabel Lee; et ainsi, toute
l'heure de la nuit, je repose à côté de ma
chérie, - de ma chérie, - ma vie e tmon épouse,
dans ce sépulcre près de la mer, dans sa tombe
près de la bruyante mer.
Mais, pour notre amour, il était plus fort de tout un monde que
l'amour de ceux plus âgés que nous; - de plusieurs de tout
un monde plus sages que nous, - et ni les anges là-haut dans les
cieux ni les démons sous la mer ne peuvent jamais disjoindre mon
âme de l'âme de la très belle Annabel Lee.
I find this translation unutterably touching. Why? Because it's such a
failure. Mallarme has exquisite talent, but he is attempting the
impossible. And in attempting the impossible, he is exposing the
weakness of his native language. You see, I love English. I love English. I also love French,
just not as much. Like Shakespeare, Poe was not afraid to make new
words. (One reason so many teenage boys have flocked to him.
'Ratiocination' anyone?" He liked the sounds of words, their syllables,
And so, apparently, did Mallarme. In this valiant translation, he is
distorting French to make it more like English, expressing a hope that
cannot be realized.
was many and many a year ago...
Il y a maint et maint annees...
French does not permit of iambic pentameter. All French syllables are
equally stressed. I'm thinking Mallarme was reading his translation in
iambs, but few other Frenchmen would even know what he was attempting.
And when he gets to the money lines, he comes across the other great
French weakness -- not enough words:
of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
...de la très belle Annabel
"Beautiful" equals "la tres belle"? Really? No. Say the word
'beautiful' to yourself, as if about someone loved and lost, with your
heart breaking on every syllable. Then try the same exercise with "la
tres belle." See what I mean?
It's this that is the beginning of symbolist poetry in France. The
language has lovely rhythms, but it cannot embody passion; it can only symbolize it. It becomes necessary
to use language as a kind of abstract background from which genuine
emotion might ultimately emerge. The constant lilting prettiness of
equally stressed syllables has to be a kind of fertile architecture,
not a a singular voice of stature. (Why Clarence Day reading his
mother's French Bible was so dismayed to discover that "God was wroth"
became "le Dieu est irrite.") (Music, of course, changes the equation:
Why there's an Edith Piaf.) The result is a backing away from
literalism into a twilight zone where everything important is actually
The translation to English is not quite as much a failure as
Mallatrme's version of Annabel Lee:
"The Drunken Boat" by Arthur Rimbaud
b y A r t h u r R i m b a u d
As I was floating down unconcerned Rivers, I no longer felt myself
steered by the haulers: gaudy Redskins had taken them for targets,
nailing them naked to coloured stakes.
I cared nothing for all my crews, carrying Flemish
wheat or English cottons. When, along with my haulers, those uproars
were done with, the Rivers let me sail downstream where I pleased.
Into the ferocious tide-rips, last winter, more
absorbed than the minds of children, I ran! And the unmoored Peninsulas
never endured more triumphant clamourings.
The storm made bliss of my sea-borne awakenings.
Lighter than a cork, I danced on the waves which men call eternal
rollers of victims, for ten nights, without once missing the foolish
eye of the harbor lights!
Sweeter than the flesh of sour apples to children,
the green water penetrated my pinewood hull and washed me clean of the
bluish wine-stains and the splashes of vomit, carring away both rudder
And from that time on I bathed in the Poem of the
Sea, star-infused and churned into milk, devouring the green azures;
where, entranced in pallid flotsam, a dreaming drowned man sometimes
where, suddenly dyeing the bluenesses- deliriums and
slow rhythms under the gleams of the daylight, stronger than alcohol,
vaster than music-ferment the bitter rednesses of love!
I have come to know the skies splitting with
lightnings, and the waterspouts, and the breakers and currents; I know
the evening, and Dawn rising up like a flock of doves, and sometimes I
have seen what men have imagined they saw!
I have seen the low-hanging sun speckled with mystic
horrors lighting up long violet coagulations like the performers in
antique dramas; waves rolling back into the distances their shiverings
of venetian blinds!
I have dreamed of the green night of the dazzled
snows, the kiss rising slowly to the eyes of the seas, the circulation
of undreamed-of saps, and the yellow-blue awakenings of singing
I have followed, for whole months on end, the swells
battering the reefs like hysterical herds of cows,-never dreaming that
the luminous feet of the Marys could muzzle by force the snorting
I have struck, do you realize, incredible Floridas,
where mingle with flowers the eyes of panthers in human skins! Rainbows
stretched like bridles under the seas-horizon to glaucous herds!
I have seen the enormous swamps seething, traps
where a whole leviathan rots in the reeds! Downfalls of waters in the
midst of the calm, and distances cataracting down into abysses!
Glaciers, suns of silver, waves of pearl, skies of
red-hot coals! Hideous wrecks at the bottom of brown gulfs where the
giant snakes, devoured by vermin, fall from the twisted trees with
I should have liked to show to children those
dolphins of the blue wave, those golden, those singing fishes.- Foam of
flowers rocked my driftings, and at times ineffable winds would lend me
Sometimes, a martyr weary of poles and zones, the
sea whose sobs sweetened my rollings lifted my shadow-flowers with
their yellow sucking disks toward me, and I hung there like a kneeling
[I was] almost an island, tossing on my beaches the
brawls and droppings of pale-eyed, clamouring birds. And I was scudding
along when across my frayed cordage drowned men sank backwards into
But now I, a boat lost under the hair of coves,
hurled by the hurricane into the birdless ether; I, whose wreck,
dead-drunk and sodden with water, neither Monitor nor Hanse ships would
have fished up;
free, smoking, risen from violet fogs, I who bored
through the wall of the reddening sky which bears a sweetmeat good
poets find delicious: lichens of sunlight [mixed] with azure snot;
who ran, speckled with lunula of electricity, a
crazy plank with black sea-horses for escort, when Julys were crushing
with cudgel blows skies of ultramarine into burning funnels;
I who trembled to feel at fifty league's distance
the groans of Behemoth's rutting, and of the dense Maelstroms; eternal
spinner of blue immobilities, I long for Europe with it's age-old
I have seen archipelagos of stars! and islands whose
delirious skies are open to sailers: -Do you sleep, are you exiled in
those bottomless nights, O million golden birds, Life Force of the
But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are
heartbreaking. Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter: sharp love
has swollen me up with heady langours. O let my keel split! O let me
sink to the bottom!
If there is one water in Europe I want, it is the
black cold pool where into the scented twilight a child squatting full
of sadness launches a boat as fragile as a butterfly in May.
I can no more, bathed in your langours, O waves,
sail in the wake of the carriers of cottons; nor undergo the pride of
the flags and pennants; nor pull past the horrible eyes of the hulks.
Beautiful, yes, and only a fraction of the original, BUT we are no
longer talking about exactly what we were talking about. Are we? It's
Poe at work. He challenged them to offer up the passionate apostrophe,
which they could not duplicate, and then he showed them that an
environment could be its own character:
Where did abstraction begin? Here. From here, it rampaged. From a guy
who died in 1849.. The culture remembers, even if the heirs do not.
Towering. He changed everything forever. And for most of you he's just
a guy on a list and "We all should work to learn more about him."
Tired of millennials. Really tired.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I'll be playing
the Keith Richards part. I'll explain.
THE BOOK OF YOU.
For days and days, I haven't been able to watch the news except in
snippets. There is no news. There is mere caterwauling as Obama's
Alinsky virus spreads into Republican ranks and infects the entire body
politic. For now it's all about lies in every quarter as every
principal politician and pundit pursues his own personal interest.
People change sides and perspectives on an almost daily basis in what
has ceased to be a campaign and become instead a kind of vaudeville
I can't possibly provide all the links I've been combing through -- no,
I haven't been idling -- and if you care enough you can surely find
them for yourselves, so I won't be doing that work for you. Gingrich
wins in South Carolina by dressing down the CNN moderator who led off
the Carolina debate with a question culled from maliciously solicited
gossip by an embittered ex-wife. The NYT responds by claiming that
Gingrich loves the media, which causes all the leading journalists at
Fox News to close ranks around their CNN "colleague." Barf. Even Lady
Laird's FNC favorite, Neil Cavuto, superciliously declared he would
have asked that same question first, too, because he is a journalist, by gar. Self-important
asshole is more like it. I'm not even going to mention Chris Wallace
and Charles Krauthammer. Oops. I guess I just did. Not to mention the
ritual Gingrich scorn of Ed and Allah at Hotair.
People claim the American people have a short memory. I suggest that
nobody has a shorter memory than the self-proclaimed conservative
intelligentsia. Cavuto gets on his uppers and somehow forgets the two
years of lefty propaganda surrounding Clinton's
Lewinsky/perjury/impeachment scandal arguing that private sex lives are
personal matters and have nothing to do with affairs of state, that
lying about sex isn't lying at all but inevitably human. Sure, the
question can be asked. But first?
Really? There's some known universe in which ordinary Americans should trust the journalistic objectivity of NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, NPR, CNN, or even FNC to ask questions that aren't expressly designed to embarrass Republicans and elevate Obama? Not if they want to keep going to social events hosted by the powers who own the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the White House." *
Which leads some to the argument that CNN's John King was deliberately
helping Gingrich by making himself a target (uh, no, I saw his face),
thus propelling Gingrich to an unexpected win against the candidate the
Dems really fear -- Romney. Which has somehow become an article of
faith for both the Republican establishment and any number of
conservatives who believe Romney is the only electable Republican
candidate. Yea, even Ann "Attila" Coulter is carrying water for Romney,
as was Mark Steyn a week or two ago when he claimed that Gingrich is
essentially totalitarian, though now he is curiously reversing his
field to savage Romney's rhetoric, his bloated campaign organization
(like an unyieldingly incompetent government bureaucracy), and his
whole candidacy (like a bad Broadway show that can be made better but
Meanwhile, everybody on the Republican side has pissed off everybody
else on the Republican side. Gingrich attacks Romney's Bain experience,
which rightly causes Romney to propose that Gingrich is employing
leftist anti-capitalist arguments that will be exploited by Obama in
the general election. Then, in the wake of his South Carolina loss,
Romney declares Gingrich a "disgrace" and "a Fannie Mae shill," and his
sudden new ally Chris Christie (panting for a VP nod, apparently) tells
the MSM that Gingrich is an "embarrassment to the party." Sarah Palin
wades in to tar Christie for taking a NJ state helicopter to his son's
baseball game, tells him "not to get his panties in a wad," and reminds
him he's just made an Obama ad against a Republican who might get
In the margins or in the background, the Santorum who claimed credit
for his association with Gingrich a week or two ago is now a Santorum
who dismisses Gingrich's term as Speaker as a time of chaos and "an
idea a minute," while Gingrich falsely claims to have been a
Goldwaterite (he supported Rockefeller) and Romney falsely claims to
have been a Reaganite (he repudiated Reagan in his Massachusetts
gubernatorial run) even as he continues to use the Reagan phrase
"shining city on a hill" because his huge writing staff can't come up
with a better close for his stump speech. And Mark Steyn, erstwhile
Gingrich opponent, does to Romney what Tina Fey did to Palin with her
"I can see Russia from my house" line that has since been attributed
ceaselessly to Palin herself. What did Steyn do? He quoted this from
Romney's stump speech: "I believe in an America where millions of
Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of
Americans believe in. That’s the America I love." Thanks, Mark. That's
not going to go away anytime soon.
Why you haven't heard from me lately. What we're watching is the
success of Obama's Alinsky tactics. He has succeeded in so poisoning
the political waters with his own strategem of saying whatever he
thinks works at the moment while repeating the most pernicious of the
out-and-out lies ad nauseam that he has conjured a mirror image of
himself in the opposition. He doesn't need to participate actively. He
just has to prod and nudge and drop in the occasional harpoon to keep
the whole melee roiling. Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwile -- the MSM is
too busy with Republican self-destructiveness to cover Fast &
Furious, Solyndra, LightSquared, and other administration criminalities
that would be worthy of an impeachment investigation if anyone in the
news elite, including Fox News, really cared. Or cared about covering
the truly "dismal
There is one person — one American
among the 300 million of us — who is not to blame for the state of the
union. Everyone else, each of you, in some small or large way, bears
some share of the blame, but not this guy. Not one little bit.
This guy is Barack Obama. He is not the least bit to blame for the
dismal state of the U.S. economy. George W. Bush is, for sure, and that
evil Dick Cheney, oh, no doubt. House Speaker John A. Boehner — evil,
too — is, of course, to blame. But guess what? So is Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and every
Democrat in the House and Senate.
Now, President Truman made it very clear: The buck stops with him. No
passing the buck for that guy. But Mr. Obama blames everyone but
himself. Mr. Bush, he says, left the nation in a ditch, a deep ditch,
and he’s been digging out since he took office. And Congress? Those
guys are just plain awful, he says. So mean. Wah, they won’t do
anything I want done! Mr. Obama feels so sure about it that he’s basing
his re-election campaign on bashing Capitol Hill.
Well, I did find one
illuminating essay, by J.E.
Dyer, a back bencher (of course) at Hotair.
If the voters weren’t silly, they would
understand that it has to be Mitt Romney, because, well, primary voters
were silly and picked Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell over Mike
Castle in Delaware, not to mention running with that goofy Sharron
Angle in Nevada, and look how that turned out. You can’t get
California and you probably can’t get New York, if you’re the GOP
nominee. But you have a good shot at Pennsylvania and Ohio,
Michigan and maybe even Illinois, if you’re Mitt Romney. Newt
Gingrich? Forget it. Gingrich can’t even win Georgia...
As with the O’Donnell-Castle primary outcome in 2010, however, it’s not
the voters who are silly. They know that all things aren’t equal
in 2012. The voters who put Gingrich over the top yesterday
believe that we can’t keep going down the same political path in the
United States – and that that holds for Republicans at least as much as
for Democrats, if not more. Their perception is that the GOP
leadership is invested in the current path of government: that it
doesn’t want change; it is not committed to restoring liberty and
limited government, but instead is comfortable with the growth of
regulatory intrusiveness, and seeks merely to broker pragmatic
accommodations to leftist activism as a sort of rear-guard action.
Considering that the GOP has been doing this for most of the last 80
years, the voters aren’t wrong. They aren’t wrong about Mitt
Romney: his record of enthusiastic accommodations to the left is a set
of rusty, clanking weights tethered to the back of the
Mitt-mobile. Gingrich and Santorum both have some ‘splainin’ to
do as well, but Gingrich has specifically repudiated some of his
earlier faux pas (such as the snuggle-up with Nancy Pelosi on combating
“global warming”). He also speaks trenchantly on the issues that
exercise the most voters: federal debt, health care regulation,
regulation in general, government intervention in the economy, illegal
It does matter to primary voters, moreover, that Gingrich “takes it to”
the media by rhetorically denouncing the questions posed in the GOP
debates. Voters on the right perceive the one-sided political
attitude of the media to be a significant problem for American
Many voters are determined not to be ruled by federal executive
agencies whose agendas are approved by MSNBC and the New York
Times. These voters are voting for the candidate they deem most
likely to reverse America’s slide into precisely that method of
government. That they see such a candidate in Newt Gingrich
speaks more loudly about the general state of the GOP than about
anything else. Voters are seeking to break the inertia and
conventionalism of the Republican Party; this is, in fact, a power
struggle, and one in which I would not bet against the voters...
The people have one tool – the vote – by which to express the sentiment
that things have to change. In 2008, Mitt Romney didn’t look all
that different from George W. Bush. The Obama tenure has been a
wake-up call that has put Romney in a new perspective: in 2012, he
doesn’t look as different from Barack Obama as conservative voters
would prefer. Obama is less an outlier than the end-gamer of the
same big-government principles embraced by both major parties over the
past 80 years. We have now seen with our own eyes where those
principles lead, and the voters don’t want to go there. It’s not
the voters who need to wise up; it’s the Republican Party.
Which brings me at last to my video. I decided to watch Pirates of the
Caribbean 4 after reading a solidly literate review dismissing
Nicely and convincingly
written. Everything the franchise could do it has done. Not worth
watching. Then I read the first comment
(paraphrasing): "What's wrong with you, dude? It was a bang-up
I trusted the commenter over the reviewer -- my mood these days -- and
he was right. It was a
bang-up entertainment. But it was also more than that. It's a
pirate movie obviously, but as I watched I became aware that the only
honest communications between pirates in the whole movie occurred at
the beginning between Captain Jack Sparrow and his pirate dad, Keith
Richards. (The old man warns him that his next adventure will be a
demanding personal test.) Throughout the rest of it, everybody was
continuously, obsessively, even perversely, lying about everything.
Absolutely nothing and no one could be trusted, including the hero who
eventually does a right thing because of a love he has to lie even to
himself about. It's comical in the extreme, but eventually you begin to
wonder why they talk to each other at all, because everything they say
to one another is a lie. They turn on each other in an instant,
sometimes in mid-sentence, and betrayals are so constant and inevitable
you're left with the conviction that
it's all simply a game, which is fine in an entertainment but not in
The truth is, we're all being taken for a ride by pirates -- by
everyone who has something public or private or, worse, venally
vengeful to gain, even the Charles
Krauthammers and National Review
editors on the sidelines.
So I thought, maybe it really is
all over. Maybe there's no point in
talking any more, blogging any more. No matter who wins, we all lose.
But if I'm going to be swayed by a
pop culture movie, I have to be swayed by its message, such as it is,
too. Captain Jack Sparrow does finally commit an unselfish act, both to
save someone he loves and to destroy the most evil of his direputable
colleagues. Maybe that's a victory worth fighting for. Small in the grand scheme of things, perhaps, but not inconsequential to those most directly affected. Like our children and grandchildren.
Which brings me to a modest proposal I simply can't execute alone.
Forget the pirates on the Republican side. The worst of the pirates on
the scene is still Obama, the Blackbeard of the movie. It is still the
mission to defeat him.
I propose constructing a news aggregation site that consists of no
Republican advocacy or candidate-specific campaigning. It consists of
aggregating and organizing the abundant stories about the costs,
corruptions, lies, disinformation, evasions, persecutions, accomplices,
unconstitutionalities, and other monstrosities of the Obama
administration. A go-to source for
anyone seeking information about just how bad Obama has been as
and how catastrophic a second term would be. Not gossip, not snarky
abuse, not rumors, not explosions of anger. Just the facts regarding
where he has been (I'm not even excluding fact-based "birther" analyses
bio questions), who he consorts with, what he has done, what he has set
in motion, what he intends, and how the history shows he has gone about
I don't know what the right software is. It has to allow those of you
who care to participate to contribute links individually, maybe one or
two a week each. I'm not a news aggregator talent myself, but I can
accept your input and do actual postings; I simply have no idea how to
set it up. I'm still learning how to use my iPhone.
The mission is Beating Obama. My idea for a title. Who among you is
still feeling like a pirate rather
than a damsel hopelessly walking the plank?
My son is still working on my book. Slowly. But he'll do me proud. Eventually.
Fountain of Youth? No. "Does this face look like it's seen the Fountain of Youth?" But how about regeneration of the American spirit? That's a different question altogether.