Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Carter was a much worse president than clinton. Carter was the worst president we ever had. Why is it then that I insist on relegating clinton always to the lower case? Because Carter was incompetent and earns disrespect because of his minimal capabilities, but his character was not vile, and the disrespect he brought to his office was not through his selfishness. clinton on the other hand used the presidency for his own gratification, as a personal blowup doll.

Which brings me to wonder, which is more important, character of capabilities? Emotionally we’d have to say character. We hate them, as it were, because we think they’re bad. But it really doesn’t matter if they’re bad. Nixon, or Carter, or clinton or Bush -- all hated, by their various oppositions. What matters though is the state of affairs after they leave power.

Nixon was indeed a disgrace, vindictive and the least conservative Republican president ever. It pains me to say it, because the people who hated him are what I would consider to be the enemies of what America is. I might be wrong. But the enemy of my enemy is closer to me than he’d otherwise be. The way to decide the issue is to answer the question, was the country better off because Nixon had been president. A what-if question, and so a matter of opinion, but the answer seems to be no, the country was not better off.

Same with clinton. He sat in office during a quiescent decade. His minimal accomplishments reflect a lack of crises. But such periods are the perfect time for consolidating assets and advancing interests and building infrastructure. What did clinton do with the wealth of the ’90s? It went somewhere. Where? I don’t know. Down the toilet. Wasted, like all his opportunities.

I heard some caller on the radio say he wanted clinton back in the White House because things were better in the ’90s. What can you do with someone like that? Have patience, I suppose. Maybe nobody ever explained it to him before. That things were better because we’d just won the Cold War, which had nothing to do with clinton. It’s like thinking Santa Claus is responsible for Christmas. Son, there is no Santa Claus.

It has to do with understanding the nature of power. There are indeed great men, just as there are pathetic men. Both sorts find power. But both are as much the product as the shaper of their times. Destiny is a partnership. Buchanan and Lincoln had the same opportunities. The times were the same -- character made the difference. If Gore had won in 2000, Iraq would be a Baathist stronghold and Iran would be nuclear. Oil would be 200 dollars a barrel. We’d be in a recession to make the ’30s look like the Roaring Twenties. Maybe I’m wrong. My point is that there is a time for the raw exercise of power, just as there is a time for caution. Carter should have used his power. clinton should have used his opportunities. Used them for the good of the nation, that is, rather than for his orgasms.

Now the clintons are urging America to build a bridge to the 20th Century. Sort of a reversal, eh? Part of a reversal of fortune. Here they are, intoning a mantra of change, and they’re more retrograde than the Dole/Kemp ticket of the Stupid Party. The country seems not to be quite that stupid. Stupider, maybe, but not stupid to that precise degree.

I say stupider, because the Dems did indeed go for Obama, last night. He won 13 states to Hillary’s 8, and he won a dozen or so more delegates. How is that not a victory? The Dems could also have to wait for their convention to settle the matter, at which point Edwards and his delegates will matter. That’s creepy. He’d go with Hillary, because of the Kerry betrayal in endorsing Obama. For all that Edwards talks about the Two Americas, he’s as establishment as they get. It’s just rhetoric, see? Just words to feed to the yard chickens before he cuts off their heads.

What a load of hooey. Change change change. And here we are, electing two party establishment apparatchiks. Hillary and McCain. Yes, McCain is establishment -- you can tell by who’s for him. Y’see, there’s the establishment, and there’s the grass roots. Establishment is not, and never is, about conservative values. It’s about the machine and pork spending. Not conservative. You don’t stay in the Senate for decades without being plugged into the system. Romney is rich, but he’s Mormon, which is fringe. He’s a big-time business man, but he’s got a set of values not in accord with Halliburton and Big Oil and whatever other bugaboos control our rightwing thinking.

As for Obama, it’s blacks and the youth vote that puts him on top -- that's not the establishment, the entrenched power. The liberal welfare plantation for which he's so eloquent a spokesman has agents, employees ... uh, I suppose I shouldn't say 'slaves' ... that work for the interests of the masters, out of misplaced conviction. And if he’s not establishment, then the establishment must be ... uh, well, the other one. Those other ones, the c’s, will win at the convention, if it comes to that. That’s where the machine is strongest. So I suppose it’s an establishment battle, as they’ve all been, since Carter won. I’m not the prophet around here, but so it seems.

It seems that the decade to come will not be quiescent. We don’t want a backstep into the Nineties. We don’t want an untried orator. We don’t want an erratic, vindictive non-conservative old man.

As I say, interesting days.


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