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Monday, October 14, 2013

Is it 1854, yet?

It's hard to get optimistic about the future given what we have seen the last five years, and, in particular what we have seen the last few months, week, and days. On the international scene, the USA has become an irksome joke. The Nobel Prize committee, for example, has once again awarded its prize to an institution, the UN's OPCW, that has yet to do what it has been awarded the prize for doing--sound familiar? The prize, of course, is a rebuke to the US and our vague threats to bomb Syria for having CW. The Iranians laugh at us; Moscow sees an opportunity created by Obama's ineptness in the Mideast that the Russians could never have dreamed of having; the Chinese, covering up their own impending economic crisis, are busily advocating an "American-free" world; the jihadis are gaining ground throughout the world; and Latin America drifts away. Allies such as Israel, Canada, and Australia must shake their heads, and wonder what has happened to America.

At home, we have an executive branch run by people who comprise a lethal mix of incompetent; untruthful; disloyal to or ignorant of our culture, history, and political traditions; and followers of a progressive creed that sees only more government as the solution to the problems created by past expansions of government. More government: That's all that's on offer from the progressivism that has taken over our political institutions, media, and schools.

Opposition to this progressivism, so far, has proven largely confused, or better said, inchoate and unable to push to the fore leaders who can galvanize the great numbers appalled by the destruction forced upon us by progressivism. Opponents simply have been overwhelmed by the brazenness of the power grab, including the "banana republic" use of federal agencies to crush dissent and frighten potential opposition, all abetted by the complicity of the powerful academic and media industries and the bloated public sector unions. I note, for example, the ongoing veterans' march on DC. The national media almost completely have ignored it. We see thousands of persons, many wounded veterans from our wars, peacefully protesting in the capital and insisting on keeping public parks and monuments open during Obama's fake government shutdown, and getting little to no coverage--unlike, as you remember, the cartoonish antics of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. As I write this, for example, the CNN website does not even mention the event, except in a dismissive yawn of just "another Tea Party" event. We can assume that if an act of violence occurs, or, worse, somebody unfurls a rebel battle flag or a "racist" banner, then the media coverage will prove massive. Imagine a demonstration in DC by veterans during a Republican administration; we would have endless stories comparing it to the 1932 Bonus March.

The GOP establishment has proven clueless and largely out of touch with the great anger in the country over what Obama and his Chicago gang are doing. I communicate with friends in DC, good, smart, semi-conservative (by DC standards) people, and find them merely bemused by the scattered reports they read of citizens opening national parks in defiance of the Feds, and of the fury I find among people stunned by what Obamacare means for their families' financial outlook and quality of medical care. Even politicians in whom I once had some faith, such as Paul Ryan, appear distant from the rising populist anger, and seem eager only to get things back to "normal" in DC, i.e, end the "shutdown." I have written before about this manifest cluelessness and won't repeat that now.

We need change to get back the hope that has been the trademark of American life for over two centuries.

The standard meme in a typical American history class or book, and in the media, holds that so-called third parties have no realistic prospect for success in the USA. The leadership of both major parties, naturally, agree with this interpretation and are eager to stifle any moves to create a party outside of the long established two party system--the Democratic party, by the way, has a legitimate claim to be the world's oldest political party. A quick glance through American political history would seem to support the conventional wisdom's argument against a "third" party. We have several examples typically served up to us as part of the cautionary tale.  One of the most famous efforts was Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party, aka Bull Moose Party, which he launched in 1912, after becoming upset with Republican President Taft's failure to pursue TR's "progressive" agenda. TR's party succeeded in knocking the Republicans out of the White House for one of the few times since 1861, and putting in place the calamitous Woodrow Wilson. While the Bull Moose Party crumbled away within a few years, many of its platform planks eventually became accepted, e.g., women's suffrage, eight hour day, a form of social security.

Another notable "third" party effort came in 1948, with the States's Rights Democratic Party, better known as the "Dixiecrats." Headed by Senator Strom Thurmond, this party argued, inter alia, for the right of Southern states to maintain racial segregation. Former two-time FDR Vice President Henry Wallace's hard left, pro-USSR Progressive Party--another "third" party effort in that same election-- also syphoned off Democratic votes in some key constituencies. Between these two "third" parties eating away at Democratic votes, Truman almost lost the 1948 election to Dewey, but managed to eke out a win. Both of the 1948 "third" parties quickly disappeared. There are other examples such as George Wallace's American Independent Party, John Anderson's Independents, Patrick Buchanan's Reform Party, and H. Ross Perot's Independent Party which also failed to win the White House but, nevertheless, had considerable impact on their respective elections and on post-election political developments.

Oops! Missing from this list of "third" parties is none other than the Republican Party, itself. Without going into a detailed history, widely available (see for example, Eric Foner's, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men), the Republican Party began in 1854 with a mix of anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats appalled by the perceived collusion of the Whigs and the Democrats in allowing slavery not only to remain but to expand westward. The Republicans, in 1856, ran their own candidate, explorer and hero of the Mexican war John Fremont--the man who freed California from Mexican rule. Although the campaign lost to Democrat Buchanan, it succeeded in destroying the ossified Whig party and lining up the Republicans for victory in 1860 with Lincoln.

I am not saying--necessarily--that we are at the point of seeking the destruction of the GOP a la the Whigs. I think, however, that the GOP establishment needs reminding of their own party's origins. My gut feeling is that the Tea "Party" cum movement has been growing, despite the media's repeated announcement of its death and attempts to throw it in a grave. This movement still, as noted, is somewhat inchoate; that some might argue is a source of strength in that there is no single Tea leader who can be disgraced by the media, and, hence, bring down the movement. At various times the media seek to name a politician or another as leader of the Tea party, and go gunning for him or her. They fail to understand that unlike the Bull Moose, the Dixiecrat, or most other "third" parties, this is a movement driven not by a dominant personality but by everyday working and tax-paying Americans fed up with the state of the country and the quality of leadership and thought dominating our political discourse. I would like to see the Tea movement take over the GOP and turn it into a genuinely conservative alternative to the progressive Democratic party, rather than have to go through setting itself up as a "third" party. That option, nevertheless, should not be discarded all too quickly.

49 comments:

  1. And so children, that's how the DiploMad for President movement was started.

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    1. Hear! Hear! At least he has courage, a heart and a brain. Waaaaaay ahead of those in D.C. now.

      LibertyGrace'sGrandma

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  2. Unfortunately, I think that the current politicians fairly represent the wishes of the people. Here is my guess of the electorate:

    53% are on the public dole and like it.
    30% are Fabien Socialists, e.g. most elite Californians
    12% are RINOs or those who prioritize popularity over principles
    5% are Constitutional conservatives

    The bottom line is that humanity is probably hard-wired for socialism. That explains why the American experience is unique, and unfortunately unsustainable. Historical evidence of socialist failures or American success does not seem to provide a roadmap to the masses.

    Current society cannot be reformed. It can only be reconstituted on virgin ground.

    There is just not enough critical mass for conservatism to succeed. Have we not seen enough with the IRS scandals, Obamacare debacle, the Spitehouse, that should bring millions into the streets demanding justice if it were possible? Cue the crickets.

    Nothing will happen until we hit bottom, and then it will be too late. The decline exits to the left.

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    1. Yeah.. unfortunately the world is entirely 'locked down' now.. so there's no new place to reconstitute a conservative republic. Sad, we're stuck with the liberal baggage.

      - reader #1482

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  3. Dip,

    Use the experiences and skills of your world travels to write a book. Something like 'Coping Skills for Honest People in Third World Political Systems'.

    It would teach honest Americans important skills like:

    * proper methods for bribing officials in order to receive medical care.
    * hiding true beliefs from government informers
    * joining the ruling-party and its benefits
    * benefits of political correctness and the cost of sharing true beliefs
    * indoctrination of the children - how much is too much

    Certainly these skills will be important in our near future, and I am afraid that the honest, patriotic Americans are simply unprepared.

    New York Times best seller, guaranteed!

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    1. Maybe a fortune, but not a revolution. For the most part, voters who don't already vote Republican don't read.

      We (many of us) quote books all the time. (Maybe a little too much of the Ayn Rand, but still ...) But even their intellectuals--and they have many--seldom cite one-another's books. And for the great mass between us and them--well, they seldom read political books, anyway.

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  4. The only thing that makes me smile is knowing that the socialists will be crushed by the radical Islamists when the end of American history is written.

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    1. What's this "when" stuff? Surely you mean "if".

      Granted that America won't last forever. Earth won't last forever. Forever is a long time. But we aren't going to be taken down by these seventh-century yahoos.

      We'll let ourselves be hurt first--hurt bad--hurt enough to motivate a Democrat. We may wait until New York and Washington are nuclear ruins. Why would we do that? Hint: rhymes with Cupid. We will then fight and win a nuclear war.

      Sucks. But better than defeat.

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  5. Dear Dip,
    Viewing things from out here in the middle of the country, I agree that people in DC seem to underestimate how completely fed up most people are.
    On the tea party--some are now saying, it doesn't mean "taxed enough already" anymore--now it stands for "totally engaged Americans." I've met more than a few who are totally engaged.
    Have you read "The Liberty Amendments" by Mark Levin? If not, could you please, and then report back to us? It is quite a good read. As I'm sure you know, Levin argues that this is a 5th amendment moment, that DC will not reform itself, elections are no longer enough, and it is time for the states to make some changes through the state-led amendment process to restore the Constitution. Many of the interesting amendments he suggests were actually proposed by one or more of the Founders.

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    1. Agreed! But there's an ongoing, disturbing trend---anything even vaguely associated with the Tea Party is derided as "fascist" or "crazy" or "nutty" (include your own adjective). The media has done a fine job of completely misrepresenting how this movement got going and what it means.

      I have intelligent, well meaning friends on the moderate to liberal side of things who still think the Tea Party are some sort of weird extremists grown in the Koch Brothers lab.

      I'm usually speechless and am not sure you can actually explain anything to these people. The continuing ineptitude of the establishment party has nearly reduced me to tears. The Senate, in particular, seems to think that "graceful surrender" equates to victory.

      I know not what the future will bring. I'm not optimistic.

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    2. "totally engaged Americans"

      I would suggest that it should also be totally ENRAGED Americans. And I don't mean that as a sign of disrespect for I count myself as one.

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  6. A fine post Dip. I was hoping your conclusion would be as you wrote: "I would like to see the Tea movement take over the GOP and turn it into a genuinely conservative alternative to the progressive Democratic party, rather than have to go through setting itself up as a "third" party. That option, nevertheless, should not be discarded all too quickly.". In my scribblings elsewhere on lesser blogs, I always argue the R party needs to be taken over and made to stand firmly FOR something and equally AGAINST something. In our efforts to do this, I think history shows that parties of the Left eventually eat themselves alive from hubris and then turn themselves against one another. We should in the name of kindness, help them along as they consume themselves. There must be a triggering event. I figured 2008s financial collapse might be it, but maybe that was act one. The arrival of Himself in 2009 may be act two. My guess is a currency crisis if not collapse might be the trigger. And it doesn't necessarily have to be the US dollar. We may yet "live in interesting times".

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  7. A pivotal moment for me came a few years ago (2009, maybe?), when I drove six hours to attend one of those anti-Obamacare rallies at the Capitol building in DC. The Capitol lawn was filled with thousands of peaceful, orderly protestors. At the same time, there was a small, lefty protest a few blocks away. I forget if the latter was about immigration or ladyparts, but there were about a dozen or so protestors. When I left for home in the late afternoon, I was astonished to hear all the radio stations covering the lefty protest, with nary a word about the anti-Obamacare rally. The only mention of the anti-Obamacare rally was on stations that carried Mark Levin. That day crystallized for me exactly how "in the tank" for the Left the media is.

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    1. Lap dog media, aka leg humpers. When Barry is gone from office, let us remember this media well.

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    2. But what can we do about it? I don't think they will change their spots anytime soon. Only when a Republican gets elected, then they'll suddenly be all concerned about honesty, integrity, good governance, etc.

      Right now they don't care as long as their party holds power.

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    3. The solution is to ignore the MSM - cut off their income and they will die. It's already well under way, just need to help it along.

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    4. Well, I'm doing my part! I also change the channel of the TV in the elevator lobby at work, especially when some drone puts it on CNN or MSLSD.

      It pleases me.

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    5. Welleran has it right. Ignore their product, their sponsors, disrespect their people in person and in print. Verbally humiliate their "journalists" and always ask them why it is so easy to be lap dogs and leg humpers for any Democrat. Never let up. ie, treat them as they have treated us.

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  8. DM's observations remind me of the likely outcome of all of this political angst. Because the rising worldwide backlash against lefty lunacy is so imperfectly formed and hard to define, it will be easy for the political cowards to claim lifelong allegiance to whatever dominant theory emerges when the dust settles. Get ready for comments sometime in the future ala:
    "Well of course Obamacare was stupid. Anyone with a brain could have told you that. I've always been in favor of rational government spending and that was clearly irrational."

    Uh-huh.

    Just like you couldn't find a true-believer Communist in Russia in the 90s for love or money. I must have heard this a million times, "Oh yeah, my family and I listened to VoA every night. We never bought into that dialectic bunk. We were always for democracy!" Sure thing Ivan.

    I suppose it shouldn't rankle so much that Vichy French are able to claim Resistance pedigrees or that Dixiecrats are able to create new, unassailable, morally superior histories for themselves. The horrible bandwagons they latched onto crashed and burned, right? The fact that many of the loudest cheerleaders were able to dust themselves off and pretend they were never on the wagon in the first place shouldn't matter...should it?

    I hope that the side of sanity will prevail again and that I won't be too upset when it does and I find a bunch of pals who were "with me all the time...in spirit."

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    1. Very good points. I will steal them and never give you credit!

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    2. Dip, you are truly a man of character.

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    3. Swoggler, I agree that you've made some great points. I'm old enough to remember that people were shy of identifying themselves as "liberals" during the Reagan and early Bush II years.

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    4. @ Kepha - Yep, but something tells me those same people boasted the loudest when they voted for Obama..."twice!". And if, God forbid, the country collapses and conservatives put it back together again...those same people will say (and believe!) that they were always for fiscal responsibility.

      and steal away DM! I've been stealing your bits since the "high priest vulture elite" posts.

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    5. paul_vincent_zecchinoOctober 15, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      "I will steal them and never give you credit." Refreshingly honest slogan for the presidential campaign. I'm in. Who else?

      Still laughing. Thanks for all.

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    6. Theft is truly an art form here! It's a feature, not a flaw. It's what endears this blog to so many of us.

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  9. We've got too many parties, not too few. Sure, we don't execute our many-party system like other countries. Instead, the various parties are forced to coalesce themselves into two basic groupings under R and D in order to participate in elections. The R party of Reagan looks almost nothing like the R party which nominated Romney. Unfortunately the 'R' party seems to be having a lot of problems figuring out which subgroup is going to lead now.
    I'm just floored by the lack of qualified, congenial political operatives on either side which demonstrate a modicum of character. As mentioned here, they're all either marginalized or clamoring for that "odd respect" from the liberal establishment regardless of whether they're 'R' or 'D'.
    Politics in the US has become such a horrible cesspool, and the sacrificial walls built to prevent intrusion into it have become so vast and dung-clad, that to enter it in the spirit with which our forbearers did, (ie as an act of service rather than an act of self-indulgence), is simply insurmountable for decent, responsible citizens.
    I ask myself: "Would I submit my life and family to the ceaseless attacks and mudslinging? Do I want to have a set of thrice divorced coworkers with whom I'm supposed to accomplish what *should* be a noble agenda?"
    Show me a figure out of entertainment, sports, or politics, and I'll show you an ugly mess of a life.
    - reader #1482

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  10. Efforts to start other parties in Oz have been somewhat of a failure.

    Back in the '50s there was a split in the Labour Party when the Catholic faction peeled off to become the Democratic Labour Party. They are now largely irrelevant although occasionally one pops up out of nowhere.

    Then we had a disaffected Liberal [conservative to my US friends] by the name of Don Chipp start a party called the Democrats supposedly, in his words, "to keep the bastards honest". It went down hill fast after he retired and imploded when the new leader, Cheryl Kernot, hopped into the cot with one of the more prominent Labour pollies, Gareth Evans. Exit the Democrats. A sentiment I guess many of you would wish in the US.

    Of course we have the Greens with their wacky Gaia loving brand of extreme socialism. While they had an undue balance of influence in the life of the Labour government they are now largely irrelevant due to electoral massacre. They are largely supported by the inner urban latte sipping tofu scoffing "intelligentsia".

    Mind you our somewhat strange method of voting for the Senate has given a seat to a member of the Motoring Enthusiast Party, one to Family First, a couple of seats to the Palmer United Party and an independent. Even though the election is now well and truly over and the House of Representatives will sit soon with our new PM [Yay!!] the new Senate does not come into play until mid-way through next year.

    Rather than a third or fourth or fifth party it would be better, from an outsider's point of view, if your Republican Party returned to its conservative persona and truly represented the aspirations of hard working Americans rather than being a Democrat Lite institution.

    Good luck.

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    1. Fascinating. Thanks. I am going to read up on that.

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    2. Dip you are more than welcome. The appearing and disappearing of minor parties can be a fascinating study. They are mostly limited issue entities and ill suited to governing in their own right while sometimes exerting undue influence on the major three parties - Labor [the buggers can't even spell], the Liberals and the Nationals [the last two always operate in coalition as the Nationals were once called the Country Party being a rural based conservative entity]. When the coalition are in power the PM is from the Liberals and the Deputy PM from the Nationals.
      Keep the Faith.

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    3. I kinda like the way Labor spells its name . . .

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  11. Many large and important protections of incumbents, and of the incumbent parties, have been put in place since 1854--some of them constitutional only by virtue of a hallucinatory Supreme Court. The high pitch of gerrymandering alone virtually locks third parties out, and that's just the beginning. Government rationing of political speech during elections has already arrived--and it's not going to get less bad.

    The good guys need to primary the McCainGrahams every time, whether with good initial prospects or bad. A RINO may win an election, but must never be able to count on the one after. Bring them in line, or bring them down.

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    1. Alpha Six Zulu sounds like an Armed Service call sign?

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    2. paul_vincent_zecchinoOctober 15, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      David from Oz -

      Agree, one of those trigraph voicecalls on HF/SSB whenever there's an offshore exercise here. Has a nice ring to it.

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    3. The judges' lifelong tenure is a major problem.

      However, I also suspect that when Madison and Co. put impeachment procedures in the Constitution, they intended them to be used a lot more often than they have been.

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    4. Kepha, I agree about impeachment. It's there ready to be used any time a president loses the confidence of the majority of the House and the Senate. The articles and reasons for removing the president from office can by anything the congress decides upon. There is no appeal from an impeachment. Can Supreme Court justices also be impeached? I should know, but it's been a long time since government class.

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    5. Anon--Yes, judges can be impeached, whether lower courts or Supremes. I've been teaching government a number of years now, albeit gritting my teeth as I use a textbook and curriculum that take for granted the idea that government exists to redistribute goodies, especially to Left-Democrat clients.

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  12. There are a couple of third parties that have an ongoing spoiler effect. For some time now the Libertarian party will draw enough votes away from a Republican to give a Democrat a plurality win. Minnesota's unique offshoot of Perot's movement got enough votes statewide to swing the 2008 Senate race to Franken and the 2010 governor's race to Dayton.

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    1. I thought it was a box of ballots that were suddenly *found* in a car trunk that gave Franken the slim margin that he needed and lots of legal wrangling.

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  13. Welfare and all entitlements including Obamacare is the new slavery that is spreading. As welfare spreads though, it is those of us who pay for it who have to pay higher taxes. With each tax increase, you become a bit more of a slave. At 100% you are a slave. At 50% when you include sales and property taxes, you are half a slave. As the Democrats increase taxes, they are increasing slavery.

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    1. Alas, no Supreme Court will ever ban this under the Thirteenth Amendment.

      Consider Euclid v. Amber Realty et sequelae. Restriction of land use, short of actual dispossession or value reduction all the way to zero, does not count as a *pro tanto* taking and require just compensation--the government can do it for free.

      Similarly taking part of you. Including specifically taking all of you, for part of your life. Conscription for military service and jury service, and testimony under subpoena, are not "slavery nor or involuntary servitude" for 13A purposes, and are neither forbidden nor require just (or any) compensation. Nor do they count as loss of life, liberty, or property requiring due process of law.

      I wonder whether the Court would prevent, under one heading or the other, conscription for, um, useful labor contributing to the national security (in the authoritative opinion of the President) if it occupied only part of your life--oh, say, twenty-five years.

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  14. Good post Mr. Mad, especially the title date. Alot of this does have the feel of the late 1830s'-1850s'. The "Great Compromise, splintering of parties, emergence of issues central to the perception of our concept of government, the lining up of the country on either side in consequence, the implied and overt flouting of the Constitution by the party in power, the use of quasi-police forces, the floating of the idea in publications of the arrest of sitting political opponents, I could go on, but the audience here is quite current, so I won't. Events are pushing people out of complacency, whether this is headed for good or ill in the long run I have no idea.
    What does surprise me is the shock that some on our side display at what the progressives are willing to do. You hear a lot about how distasteful politics are or have become. Well politics have been this way since cave painting and will continue to be this way long after we're gone. Which is long round about way to say "get involved directly". Complaining and name calling are one thing (I love doing it myself), but organizing, contributing, and actively advancing your cause is better. Well back into my cave.

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    1. "What does surprise me is the shock that some on our side display at what the progressives are willing to do". I am always surprised at the complete unwillingness of some to understand just what this "progressive enemy" is willing to do with media approval mind you. The GOP is the stupid party for this reason and they seem comfortable in that role. The Dems are the corrupt party and they seem likewise. The TEA Party types are disturbing the balance of things. This is vital. The Progressive is convinced of his goodness... his altruism. I read a summary of a book called "Pathological Altruism". The idea is that anything that furthers the goodness of the altruist (progressive) is quite simply good and just. It is when the altruism is carried to extreme--Pathological, we have the world of Stalins, Hitlers, and Castros.

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  15. This article is about as good a description of the near and mid future as you'll find.
    http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2013/10/16/the-third-party/

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    1. James, a good article indeed. It fits nicely with Brit Hume's comments yesterday on why the tea party took the stand it did. Nothing has ended. Maybe things are just getting started.

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    2. "Maybe things are just getting started."
      Yes!

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  16. Dip,

    I recently wrote an essay on the Republican split. It's a little longer than yours and I don't want to take up your band-with with the whole thing, but here's the beginning:

    Let’s talk about the Republican split.

    I was going to call it a “Civil War” but that would be an exaggeration. There is a very deep fissure in the Republican ranks. There are any number of ways it can be described, but one of the best descriptions I have read of the "establishment" Republican Party is that it's the “Not-Democrat Party.” By that I mean that the Republicans are the party you vote for when you don’t want the Democrats to win.




    The Democrats have become firmly ideological. When Michelle Obama spoke about her husband wishing to fundamentally transform America, she meant it and so does he. They, and a majority in Congress, desire a socialist welfare state and are doing everything they can to transform the country into one.




    Those who quibble with my use of the term - socialist - are simply playing semantic games suitable for academia. They are trying to re-define terms. They do that all the time. They won't use the phrase "raise your taxes," but will talk instead of "revenue enhancement." It means exactly the same thing but it sound better.




    You don’t have to nationalize the country’s basic industries, at least not now, when you can tell them what to do via agencies like the ACA, EPA, DOJ, NSA, HEW, SEC, IRS and a host of other agencies including those “friendly” guys in the Smokey the Bear hats at the National Park Service who are ready to follow orders, block views of Mt. Rushmore, imprison elderly tourists at Yellowstone and threaten to arrest old veterans in wheelchairs, like good Germans.




    The establishment Republicans, on the other hand, hope that the Democrats will screw up enough so that they can win some elections, get the better offices, control the committees and get more of the PAC funds to fatten their campaign coffers. But they are the polar opposite of being ideological. Oh, they remember the words and the music enough to give a rousing stump speech about the direction the country’s headed, the debt and the deficit, the need for a strong national defense. But they check their beliefs with pollsters before they utter them and pander to the Democrats in the press. They want to get good press and so, like Groucho Marx, they proclaim:


    Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.




    They come to Washington to compromise. Not having any firm principles, they see nothing wrong with helping build the Welfare State, but hope to do it on the cheap. But having arrived in Washington their compromise is always with the Left, never with the Right. The Right lives in flyover country while the Left is right outside their door.


    Here's the rest: http://moneyrunner.blogspot.com/2013/10/lets-talk-about-republican-split.html

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    1. I came back to this thread looking for something else and I saw your offering. Hasn't there always been a split? Remember 1964 and the Goldwater- Rockefeller wings battling at the convention? About 3 posts above yours, notice a link provided by James about some of this. It is a good explanation of what is going on now. By the way, I like your sign on name. It's different meanings bring back some old memories of far off places.

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  17. To paraphrase an earlier president, with a genuflection to Bernanke, "The buck never stops".

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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