Tag Archives: Tea Party

A genius gone awry

August 26, 2011

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So there are these two scientists, see. The kooky one wears sandals and yesterday’s lunch on his tie and thinks up hair-brained ideas about love and peace and making the world a better place and stopping evil-doers from doing evil: all commendable, well-motivated, and laudable, to be sure. But now for practicalities: Where’s the money? The resources? The step-by-step plan? Let’s sing our hallelujahs for that second, trimly-groomed scientist with horned-rimmed glasses and spit-shined shoes. He asks nuisance questions and keeps our feet on the ground.

Such was the roll-play between America’s two great parties for most of the twentieth century. The Democrats were the idealists and the Republicans were the realists. The Democrats launched the New Deal and the New Frontier and the Great Society; the Republicans pushed for lower taxes, disciplined spending, and the friendly business environment. Just to clear out one myth, both were hawkishly anti-communist (the Democrats implemented the anti-Soviet “containment” policy and pushed us into Korea and Vietnam). They usually campaigned rough but relatively fair – partly because they knew the press would ferret the truth and they’d govern with these people after the election.

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A well-motivated bad idea

August 23, 2011

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So impassioned, so compelling, and so misguided: Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz has called for a nation-wide strike against politicians. He’d have us speak the only language they know, money. We would withhold all donations from each and every one until they honestly negotiated, compromised, and resolved their conflicts. Our country will work once more.

How enthralling. I’m almost ready to fold my checkbook – but then I remember the call’s three fatal assumptions: First, believe it or not, not all politicians are equally culpable for the gridlock. Remember the “gang of six” and their noble compromise attempt as the debt ceiling approached? What about those yielding their (reasonable) positions on moderate tax hikes for the rich? And think of Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, the last remaining Republican moderates. Do we abandon them as they guard their party’s historic turf? Even Independents and Democrats can wish them well.

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Please don’t think of this as a lecture; think of it as … a lecture

July 30, 2011

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Many are revolted that no cool heads are prevailing as we veer close to the debt-ceiling precipice. But let us pause. Let us ask: Why has this come upon us? Look no further than the election of 2010, when “voter anger” chased out the last statesmen and ushered in thugs who view compromise as a weakness. We voters were angry, and we angry voters elected angry politicians who knew all about screaming and vilifying and nothing about human relationships. The result: Self-perpetuating, self-fulfilling, and self-metastasizing rage. We’ve got what we voted for.

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Life Would Be More Simple If Our Dead Ancestors Followed The Script …

June 6, 2011

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Let’s say hundreds surround you while cameras snap and fans grovel and journalists bark. You might commit a gaffe. You might say “British” when you meant “American.” We’d all understand. Joe Biden put televisions in our Roosevelt-era homes and Jimmy Carter said “Huber Horatio Hornblower” and President Obama called a senator a “jackass.” It was an “oops” moment. Shrewd leaders immediately correct themselves and throw in self-deprecating humor: “I meant to say ‘American,’ but I was distracted because I can see Russia from my house.”

Take that, Tina Fey!

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Psst: Listen to this, Newt. We’ve got an idea …

March 26, 2011

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Dear Newt Gingrich: The boys and I tossed back a few the other night and came up with a totally outlandish concept, one of those this-is-so-strange-it-might-work types …

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Bad Theology + Slipshod Thinking = Unmitigated Disaster

December 4, 2010

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Does anyone hear the ominous background music? A window-shopping couple smiles; a mother pushes a baby carriage; a child plays in a sandbox. Everyone’s happy. But the slow drumroll and dissonant cellos betray the inexorable menace …

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Extra-Extra: Responsible, Reasonable, Rational Republican Found Alive!

November 22, 2010

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Believe it or not, there was a time when conservatives were, well, conservative – and “conservative” was synonymous with “cool-headed,” “reasonable,” and “sensible.” They wanted facts, data, and options before rendering decisions. Think of Everett Dirksen, Jack Kemp, Bob Dole, and Gerald Ford. They easily worked with the Republican Party’s moderates (remember them?) and (gasp!) liberals: Thomas Dewey (New York’s innovative governor and defeated presidential candidate), Charles Percy of Illinois, Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, and Mark Hatfield of Oregon.

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