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25 January 2012

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Dongo

"The Proud Tower" is a favorite of mine; nice to see it's still getting attention. While our current world does seem to have more than a few similarities to the one Tuchman presents there, I certainly hope we manage to avoid the cataclysm that ends her book.

Matthew

Poetry: "The Republicans of today's mainstream long ago hunted down and largely exterminated Republicans of that type, and have harried scattered surviving centrist Republicans through the Shire while denouncing them as RINOs."

Bob Dole's post-Senate ED commercials were profoundly symbolic too.

rst

Given your point about how Republicanism has changed over the years, the invocation of social Darwinism is especially interesting: Part of the aversion to Darwin among conservatives back in the day arose from the social implications of "survival of the fittest...."

walrus

I think Col. Langs comment best sums the future up; "Whose country is this?"

- We will find out in the next Two years.

To paraphrase an observation seen elsewhere on the web; America currently is operating a system of governance where people and corporations buy the laws they want.

America has now gone one step further - allowing individuals to buy the wars they want; for example Sheldon Adelson is intent on purchasing war with Iran on behalf of a greater Israel, by financing the Gingrich campaign. Irans existence hangs on the result of the ongoing auction.

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/adelsons-millions-come-tipped-with-missiles-aimed-at-iran.html

Were this system of patronage overturned and rational, national, self interest allowed to prevail in legislatures, Americas chronic problems (health, education, welfare - you name it) could be fading memories in a decade or less.

However I don't see this happening unless the 99% movement prevails, and the risk there is that the powers that be might prefer a form of Fascism over retiring gracefully to their mansions.

As for making the country safe? So what? From whom? Mutant zombie bikers? The oldest political trick in the book is to declare something "at risk" and then proceed to develop policy as if this was a foregone fact. Done it myself with great effect.

As for the current Democrats, I would characterise them as "champagne socialists" - loudly proclaiming their support for the underdog and the poor while raking in the same salary increases, tax breaks and subsidies as their Republican colleagues. I saw a lot of that in the 1980's in Australia.

FB Ali

George Soros spoke the other day on the coming 'class war' in the US. Since he has established his credentials not in the ivory tower but by making a lot of money in the rough and tumble of modern-day capitalism, perhaps he is worth heeding:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/22/george-soros-on-the-coming-u-s-class-war.html

Ramojus

Excellent commentary Col. Lang.

Perhaps it is time for the US culture to revisit "The Theory of Countervailing Power" by John Kenneth Galbraith. I read it in college when I thought that the Democratic / Labor coalition had too much power. Now, I feel that it's the other way around. Could some violent radical socialist movement (i.e. Marxism) be returning? This country is in need of a "countervailing power" equilibrium to prevent violence.

turcopolier

walrus

"Whose country is this?" an old question. JW Booth wrote it in his journal. Fortunately, it was not on one of the many pages that someone tore out of the little book. I suspect that the pages named names in the federal government. I think Booth would be a movement conservative
Republican today. pl

Fred

I've got a copy on my bookshelf as well. I'll have to pull it down to re-read tonight.

Fred

FB, very insightful, especially his comments about the "Occupy" movement.

William R. Cumming

The STATE of the UNION in my opinion is that few leaders currently in power or likely to get their in the next decade in the USA. Why seems to be the question?

Perhaps more technology will deliver on the inherent success of Americans?

About to start the Steve Jobs biography? Authorized. Was he a leader? Perhaps!

crf

Without the effectively 60 vote senate, laws passed by the 2009-2010 congress would have been markedly different.

Do Americans recognize the practical incompatibility of Democracy and a super-majority requirement for every single law? Right now, elections don't matter, because the minority can block everything (and they have). Senators console themselves with grandstanding and extremism, because if laws cannot pass, then there is no real penalty for proposing extremist laws. If the Senate had practical limits on filibustering, it would act as a natural curb on extremism and promote bipartisanship: because if you passed a divisive, unpopular law, the opposition may gain power next election and undo it.

The inability of a Presidents to see their budgets or their priority legislative aims actually pass means that spend too much of their time on wars, justice and other executive functions. The result is that their actions seem ever more distant from the concerns of American citizens. Obama focussed so much with the Treasury, and Bush with his massive wars.

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