Thursday, May 22, 2008

The banal v the thoughtful

Doug Floyd of the Spokesman-Review/A Matter of Opinion blog thought that Michelle Obama should be considered fair game in this election season. Around a day after I had offered my own rebuttal on that blog, should Cindy McCain be in the news (a target)? Chelsea Clinton? Kathleen Parker gets republished in the print edition of the Spokesman-Review, of course she can be such a target... look at what she said! Quite frankly, given Ms. Parker's prior zaniness, I definitely wouldn't use her to vindicate the above argument. Ben "Scooter" Jones(?) of "The Dukes of Hazard" and a member of Congress at one time, made a very eloquent rebuttal at trying to turn one spouse or family into a target for political attack. I expect that journalist Parker is very capable of being as fully aware of news sources besides her own, because that former TV actor was making his case on CNN. But where the Obama's are concerned, Ms Parker would rather not pay attention.

Michelle Obama—For the first time in her life she was truly proud of her country... The GOP decided to make political hay out of that and proved very specifically how they weren't proud at all of a country that allows by way of the First Amendment Michelle Obama to say what ever she pleases, even if it seems offensive. And so exploited the same first amendment privileges to come off as remarkably threatening and intimidating in GOP Tennessee ads. A fellow in the ad can't be "proud" of his country unless he is standing in front of a private arsenal mounted on a wall? It's an ad in its most banal that could as easily be used against the GOP who ran it. Parker could have said that, she didn't.
Michelle Obama or Barack Obama—The government that would require people to work... Depending on where they were at the time to have made such utterances. Well now, back in the 1930s where this nation was going through the terrible travails of the Great Depression, seems we had a gvt under Franklin Delano Roosevelt who not only required that the able bodied go to work, but to also provide them with jobs. When gvt intervened, the Great Depression began to ease its deadly grip. Doesn't sound like Senator Obama is saying anything at a time when we are facing:
  1. A terrible housing mortgage crisis,
  2. A credit crunch,
  3. High fuel and food costs,
  4. Increasing losses of good jobs;
worse than what Roosevelt himself had said when the conditions of this nation were so much graver.

And what of the GOP themselves? Ronald Reagan came into office with the whole idea that he could whip away at the "welfare queen." That individual suckling the teat of gvt, driving down to get her welfare check in a limousine. The GOP started touting the mantra of welfare dependency, what the Democrats were doing to people by offering them welfare dependency and on, and on, and on. So the GOP touted "welfare reform" and Democratic President Bill Clinton signed it into law. I would guess then that gvt requiring the impoverished to "go to work" only sounds good as long as it is a Republican making the case. If a Democrat, however, how dare he!?! Then I guess Ms. Parker must love those welfare queens.

Leonard Pitts, jr. had a more useful argument to make, the thoughtful conservative v the unthoughtful "conservative." In short, the former is the guy who having certain principles inclusive of limited gvt and fiscal sobriety. But the unthoughtful conservative on the other hand happens to be the guy who tramples all over those ideological principles and even principle itself. A snippet for general amusement:

Don't read this column yet. First I want you to do something. Google "Chris Matthews + Kevin James." This will bring up video of the latter, a conservative L.A. radio pundit, being questioned by the former last week on MSNBC's "Hardball." You "must" see this video.

For the Internet (or dial up only—meaning me) deprived, here's a recap: James goes on "Hardball" to comment on a speech President Bush gave before the Israeli Knesset in which he accused unnamed politicians—read: Senator Barack Obama—of a policy of appeasement toward terrorists. Bush evoked the memory of Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister whose attempted appeasement of Adolph Hitler made him one of the more thoroughly discredited figures in the 20thcentury.

James goes off like fireworks, blasting Obama's willingness to talk to the nation's enemies and accusing him of policies detrimental to Israel. And Matthews asks him a simple question: What did Chamberlain do? You're defending a speech that equates Obama with him, so what was his sin?

What Pitts goes on to relate was that James couldn't provide an answer and kept on ranting about appeasement, appeasement. So Pitts provides an answer for the record: "What Chamberlain did—he gave Hitler a chunk of Czechoslovakia in exchange for what he thought was "peace in our time"—is not some "Jeopardy" obscurity. It is, rather, a pivot on which turned perhaps the bloodiest tragedy in human history. Yet James knows nothing about it." And obviously, GW who's own father fought the Nazis in World War II knows nothing about it either. In what I have seen of Obama's speeches, I have not heard any Neville Chamberlain style arguments. But we have all seen GW going off to Saudi Arabia pleading for a reduced price in oil by way of the Saudi gvt pumping more crude. The Saudi gvt saying no. GW getting some harsh criticism as well as some pointed political attacks by way of republished to the Spokesman-Review political cartoons. One such, the Saudi official saying "no" after reading GW's note and even despite GW kissing his feet. There could be no greater description of "appeasement" than that.

My take? A "thoughtful" conservative doesn't engage in lemming-like behavior. Just because the "dear leader" said thus and so, doesn't mean the "thoughtful" conservative is going to agree. On the other hand, James as that unthoughtful conservative read:—new left radical, the dear leader speaks and guys like James will line up and go over the cliff for him. Pitts is getting there.

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