Posts Tagged Politics

Methinks the Governor doth protest too much…

Which of these does not belong:

Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart, Rod Blagojevich?

If you answered Jimmy Stewart, as the only non-political official or activist, guess again.  And if you’re from Chicago, I apologize for bewildering you with a trick question.  If you haven’t been keeping up with the story that has turned political scandal into raw entertainment, the first five names are figures to whom soon-to-be-former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has recently compared himself.

Rather than fight the charges against him in the courtroom, Blagojevich is attempting to fight them in the court of public opinion.  Probably not the best strategy for the politician who has already achieved the distinction of casting himself as the slimiest creature in the political swamp.  Refusing to call witnesses or face his accusers is unlikely to endear Blagojevich to an electorate long-sickened by bipartisan graft and greed and moral bankruptcy.  It’s more likely that Blagojevich hopes to manipulate his own exoneration by threatening — openly or tacitly — to bring others down with him.

However, Blagojevich’s farcical comparison of himself to every modern hero short of Mother Theresa is really just the flip side of a trend that’s been going on for a while.

Remember the Bush-haters who compared the former president to Hitler and his administration to the Third Reich?  Remember Jimmy Carter’s outrageous condemnation of Israel as an apartheid state?  This kind of over-the-top rhetoric transcends the merely offensive, the merely ludicrous, and the merely absurd.  It’s effect on democratic culture over time is far more pernicious, for it blurs the lines between difference of opinion and true moral corruption, between poor judgment and criminal incompetance, between flawed planning and authentic evil.

The Blagojevich comic tragedy is the logical next step.  If we live in a society where people truly cannot recognize the difference between an attempt to overthrow Saddam Hussein and the German invasion of Poland, why should we not expect a similar confusion between Nelson Mandela and Rod Blagojevich?  If we hear from the international community cries for prosecution against Israeli soldiers as war criminals (from the same people who have remained resolutely silent while Palestinian bombs rained down unprovoked on Israeli civilians), why should the indicted governor not compare himself to Gandhi from the tallest soapbox he can find?

As long as our society descends ever deeper into the sinkhole of moral equivalence, the Blagojeviches of the world will multiply — literally and figuratively — like the proverbial can of worms.

But then again, perhaps I’m being too hard on the governor.  After all, the occasion of his impeachment has been to him, by his own reckoning, like Pearl Harbor Day.

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A Few Words From the Wise

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of these, but they have a ring of truth, and they certainly are entertaining.

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-Edward Langley, Artist (1928 – 1995)


 There is no distinctly Native American criminal class…save Congress.
-Mark Twain



A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson



If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do
read the newspaper you are misinformed.

Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-Winston Churchill


Suppose you were an idiot.
And suppose you were a member of Congress….
But then I repeat myself.
-Mark Twain

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-G. Gordon Liddy


A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
– George Bernard Shaw


Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at GeorgetownUniversity


Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)


Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian


Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)


Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.
If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
-Ronald Reagan (1986)


I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-Will Rogers


If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!
-P.J. O’Rourke


In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-Voltaire (1764)


Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!
-Pericles (430 B.C.)


No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
-Mark Twain (1866


Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it.


The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-Ronald Reagan


The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-Winston Churchill


The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-Mark Twain


The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)


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Freedom to Think

It’s truly remarkable how a society that worships so passionately at the twin altars of political correctness and non-judgmentalism can indulge in such unabashed group-think and censorship of thought and speech.

I just saw Ben Stein’s extraordinary documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which chronicles the attack by the mainstream scientific community — not against the concept of “intelligent design” but against allowing any debate whatsoever on the subject.  Stein compellingly demonstrates how today’s amoral and intolerant culture of dogmatic Darwinism mirrors the Darwinian euginics movement that contributed to the rise of Nazi Germany.

I couldn’t help but draw a parallel with the mainstream media’s love affair with one presidential candidate and its unapologetic assault against the other.  WSJ columnist Daniel Henninger shines the light of objectivity on the lopsided coverage  (with special attention to SNL producer Lorne Michaels’s unsually candid comments), while Michelle Malkin makes a mockery of the media portrayal of Sarah Palin as a bumbler.

(One snippet:  which VP candidate, in an interview with Katie Couric, praised FDR for his response to the stock market crash?  Answer:  it wasn’t the one in high heels.  Oh, and FDR wasn’t president when the stock marked crashed in 1929.  Bonus points if you know who was; you may also be qualified to run for high office.)

If one side has a 100,000 watt speaker system and the other side has a cardboard megaphone, where is free speech then?  (This is actually the answer to those on the far right who accused John McCain of “trampling on the First Amendment” with his finance reform legislation.)   And if those who try to speak out are ridiculed, censured, or otherwise browbeaten for their minority opinions, how long until even freedom of thought is disallowed.

Case in point:  Joe the Plumber, who had the audacity to hope that he could get a straight answer to a fair question.  Actually, the answer the candidate gave was straight.  But the attack dogs that pounced on him afterwards are bound to discourage other questioners.  On that point, I’ll give Jonah Goldberg the last word.

… except for this:  here we have two striking examples of the culture war about which I’ve already written.

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