Fred Feitz at Fox News makes a brave but conventional attempt to outline a strategy to recover America’s position in the Middle East. It’s worth reading but suffers from the assumption that the same set of actors in Washington who landed us in trouble will do different things in the future. That is an assumption which Ted Cruz’s epic speech on the corruption in Washington does its best to refute.There's a lot of worth in what he has to say after that, where he talks about the way forward. It's worth taking a moment to realize that the last week -- as the last six months -- have involved a coming-to-be of a new world and a passing-away of the world we knew. The ramifications have only begun to appear in reality. What we knew is slipping away. We will have to be bold, but the good news is that we will have the opportunity to be bold. The death of institutions and easy assumptions means a birth of possibility. New things will come to be, and we will have at least some power to shape them. We must be wise in what we make of that potential, insofar as it is in our power to shape.
Cruz explains at convincing length that Congress — the Republican Party included — has been bought off. The whole place is rotten; there is no balm in Gilead nor cavalry to ride to the rescue. In Cruz’s telling political America stands condemned because it is financially, morally and internationally bankrupt. If that’s what Obama has done Cruz explains that’s what the Republicans helped him do.
To the question “what do we do now” Cruz’s answer is “don’t wait for Washington”.
The virtues of Cruz’s indictment are also its limitations, because while his speech accurately portrays the oncoming danger, it does so at the cost of convincing the viewer that America had it coming. Washington in Cruz’s characterization is not the result of bad luck but the accretion of national vices. In that sense, there is about Cruz’s analysis the flavor of Crime and Punishment.
The problem with the retributive narrative is that it sounds too much like a story from out the old books and most politicians, reluctant to sound hokey, are loathe to take it up, however true it may be. For in the retributive story there is one unpleasant feature; disasters continue until the sinners “repent” and repentance is something most of us are by and large averse to.
Much as the voters despise politicians, most of them are attached to life as it is. They love the normal; the predictable, the comforting and the routine. Therefore they love without realizing it the liberal narrative, which falsely promises a painless progression from cradle to grave without the need for virtue, courage or even industry.
What Do We Do Now?
Richard Fernandez of the Belmont Club mourns the coming to pass of several of his core predictions. Fernandez, who also writes under the pen name Wretchard the Cat, has long written a strategically insightful narrative that strikes a kind of middle position between what you hear from me and what you hear from Cassandra. This stretch of his post, for example, couldn't have been written by either of us, but might have been written by a committee designed to edit our work into a common theme.
By Grim on Thursday, October 01, 2015