Tuesday, March 13, 2007
  When will they ever learn?

Rush is hitting hard this morning on the Republican habit of being always on defense. Good points.

These things haven't changed a bit in 30 years.

Here is a 4-minute news segment from the spring of 1974. It's worth hearing for the sound bites from politicians. As always, the Dems are certain of their goals and values, attacking hard from solid ground; as always, the Repubs are shaky and defensive, never pointing out hypocrisy or falsehoods, just whining about unfairness.

I've been listening to a series of these newscasts from '74, and the entire picture is remarkably similar. Later in the week, Israel was attacking Lebanon, and the Israeli government was about to collapse because hard-liners accused the prime minister of fumbling the last war. Teddy Kennedy was in Moscow holding a town meeting with Russian "students". And on and on, same now as then.

There is one notable difference, though: the lead story every day in the '74 week was about a strike in some sector of American industry. Unions were riding tall at that time; now they are a minor player, and lawyers have taken over the role of counterbalancing capitalism. Unions and lawyers are both obnoxious, but looking back now, I think we were somewhat better off with unions. Corrupt and incorrigible, at least they occasionally represented the real interests of the workers. Lawyers represent only their own unvarnished greed.

= = = = =

For non-listeners, here are the high points of the sound segment:

Republican politicians supporting campaign finance reform.

Nixon is negotiating with the Russians.

Dems are pushing to impeach Nixon, R politicians are responding defensively and weakly: Minority leader John Rhodes says "No other president has been so charged. This is unfair." Waaaaahh!

Dems are calling for overhaul of the Veterans Administration, charging that the VA is a "dumping ground for Nixon campaigners." Dem Teague of Texas says "I have never seen morale at a lower point. This is a direct result of political manipulations by Nixon."

Wilbur Mills was asked by reporters when Nixon would quit. Mills said essentially, "as soon as possible." (Supposedly Mills was the one who actually talked Nixon into quitting later on.)

Lowell Weicker (RINO of Connecticut) charges that Nixon used IRS data to protect friends like John Wayne and Billy Graham from audits.

Woodward and Bernstein reveal one of their sources, but keep Deep Throat a secret.

= = = = =

Some of the same men are still in the picture; all of the charges, responses, and phrases are being repeated today, and even the subjects are the same.

= = = = =

The problem with R politicians is that they are not paranoid enough.

By all accounts Nixon had a melancholy and paranoid temperament, but when it came to judging his enemies he was just as naive and optimistic as Bush.

A full-fledged melancholy paranoid operates on the "Nothing to Lose" principle. He understands that his enemies will attack him at 100% intensity no matter what he does, so he goes ahead and does everything necessary, and does it fast, hard, and loud. No clever bank shots, no cutesy coverups. Result: the surviving enemies, IF ANY (preferably none), will back off and stop attacking for a while.

Optimists, like Bush and Nixon, mistakenly and suicidally believe that Communists and their allies, whether in Russia or Iran or the Senate, are nice civilized gentlemen who can be mollified by compromise and negotiation.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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