These End is Nigh

These boys -- with one noteworthy exception, all boys -- are good for morale.  If I believed any of this was true, I'd be feeling pretty good about the future.

Unfortunately, I have trouble buying it.  They are taking counsel from their fears, not from wisdom; I do not believe that the danger is nearly as great as they say.  More's the pity!


DL Sly said...

Ok, I tried. I read four of the essays and with each successive one it became harder and harder to continue reading. From a strict *teachers* perspective, (any other perspective leaves too much room for emotional reactions) all four of the essays I read would have gotten an F for the simple fact that none of them addressed the question put before them.
Specifically, they formatted their essays as Compare and Contrast (with their savior Xerxes the light against which all others are judged) when the question is meant to be answered in an Extrapolative format. Instead of getting what a President Romney or Gingrich would do based upon their words during this past year of debates, we instead get what Xerxes, I won, has done to reverse all the evil that President Bush perpetuated with his insidious moralism. I'm guessing that the inference is supposed to point the reader to the unassailable fact that if Bush did it, so, too, would any of the conservative (aka Republican) candidates.
Finally, in the conclusionary paragraph -where one is *supposed* to tie all their previously cited and sourced points together to elaborate their final conclusion - we get a sentence each (if that much wrt some of those considered to be *lesser* candidates) that simply regurgitates the ideas that the candidates themselves have put forth. There aren't any attempts at extrapolation of possible actions by the candidates when the potential situation being discussed comes to fruition. Just hyperbolic rhetoric and fear-mongering - with a little racism for *color* - to feed the liberal left dogma that all conservative thinking people are evil and sinister.

Grim said...

But other than that, you liked the essays?

DL Sly said...

They exercise. Yeah, let's go with that!
I can only hope, as it seems you do to a degree, that their fears are well-founded due to the cluebat-sized thump of reality upon their Utopian dreams and not the typical Chicken Little outcry over every perceived injustice (and there are sooo many it seems these days) that has become so common in the 21st century.

Texan99 said...

I expected the hardest part of the exercise to be predicting what Romney might do, and sure enough, I found this gem: "Romney is sufficiently protean in his ideological positioning and stance on particular issues to introduce some uncertainty over precisely what he would attempt to accomplish in office." I'll say.

Well, at least I'm fairly sure he could pick a better Attorney General, and he'd be almost to certain to sign some bills that Mr. Obama would veto. So of course I'll vote for him if he wins the nomination, though with a marked lack of enthusiasm.

As for morale, surely viewing the collapse of one's opponents' morale is good for one's own. This was a remarkable collection of pouty, unhinged writing. It makes me wonder if I sounded this way when it started to be clear that Obama would win in 2008.

bthun said...

"I expected the hardest part of the exercise to be predicting what Romney might do."

Speaking of the ability of Romney to change as needed, certainly not a trait exclusive to Romney, reminds me of the old saying, one with ample flexibility never gets bent out of shape.

That has to be a core competency for the majority of those who enter politics.

"surely viewing the collapse of one's opponents' morale is good for one's own."

304 days and a wake up until the crescendo.

*slaps the dust from jumping up and down off of bib overhauls, then resumes steady-state*

DL Sly said...

"This was a remarkable collection of pouty, unhinged writing."

Which is why I could only approach them as one would when grading a paper - even then I had a very difficult time keeping my emotional reactions in check. The internal cries of "Bullshite!" were indeed loud and incessant. So much so that I kept finding myself wanting to fact check and debunk every detail point by point. All the while knowing fully that were I to do such, it wouldn't even achieve the minimum effect of going over their heads.

"...surely viewing the collapse of one's opponents' morale is good for one's own."

Yanno, I didn't get that from these essays. I do get a sense that they don't believe it's as easy a slam dunk as 2008 - as you can see by the speed with which the rheotoric ratchets up with each new front runner that isn't Romney. However, I don't think they are demoralized.....yet. And quite frankly, I worry about the day when they are.

Sorry to rain on your parade (so to speak), bthun, but hey, at least I knocked the dust down!

Grim said...

What's been interesting to me about this process is how important it is to both the Democratic party establishment and the Republican party establishment that Romney wins. I have read journalists write over and over that 'Romney is the opponent Obama fears most.' Well... maybe. And maybe the establishment has decided that it can live with Romney or Obama, as long as it gets one of the two. Both of them are tied into the same networks of big money, and neither of them is going to let principles get in the way of doing what their donors tell them.

Texan99 said...

I admit I'm more confident of the results in the House and the Senate than in the White House, but I still reckon he's going down. I noticed that one of the articles quote inTrade stats at about 75% chance of the R's increasing their hold on the House and roughly the same for taking the Senate, while the quoted odds for the White House were close to even. A lot may depend on how motivated independent voters are by the top ticket and therefore how strong the down-ticket effect will be.

Seriously, do you not smell desperation and querulousness in those articles? I thought they reeked of it. Consider the contrast between how they describe the Tea Party's influence today and how they wrote about it 2-1/2 years ago. Then it was all smug dismissiveness about ignoramuses who would be ground under the rolling tracks of progress; now it's peevishness over how effectively those dreadful people have snuck themselves into shadowy positions of evil power. And can you believe it? There are actually voters out there who have begun to doubt whether the people running the EPA these days are on the same page about the environment as the rest of the population, or who question the exalted missions of HUD and the Dept. of Education. Why, some of the candidates appear to be serious about putting a stake through the heart of our beloved Obamacare! And they've got supporters! -- All of those authors had raging cases of the "Well, I nevers." I recognize the signs; I was in quite a tizzy myself four years ago.

Texan99 said...

Alternatives to Romney are what the Republican establishment fears most. In some cases, that may be simply because they fear any of the other alternatives will alarm voters enough to put up with the incumbent again. In most cases, I suspect it's as you say: any status quo big-government type will do, but real reform is out of the question whether or not it could engage the support of the voters.

Grim said...

I've long harbored the suspicion that the left in particular was pro-Romney, and playing the "Romney is who Obama fears most" card chiefly as a bit of reverse psychology.

The moment the blinds opened and the sun shone in, though, was the morning after Iowa. I had largely ignored Santorum's candidacy because of his consistently low standing in the polls, and for other reasons; so the fact that the media was so studiously ignoring him hadn't made an impression on me.

Yet suddenly, the morning after he won, there were carefully crafted attack pieces that smelled of intense oppo research. If they'd turned up two weeks later, I'd have figured that the media was simply ignoring him (as was I), and only began taking him seriously after he showed signs of success.

Now, though, I have a suspicion that the ignoring of him, and the coordinated attacks upon him, were both natural consequences of an agreed-upon strategy. We saw this at work in 2004, and I think we're going to see it again.

At this point, I think I will support anyone who isn't Romney or Obama. If it comes down to Romney v. Obama in spite of that, I still plan to vote Obama on the four-years-is-better-than-eight principle. As far as I'm concerned, they're in the same pockets, and therefore they're the same guy.

Texan99 said...

I'd love to persuade you otherwise. Romney is a squish who's unlikely to achieve much, but he wouldn't do nearly as much harm as another term for Obama. His appointments would be better, especially in the Supreme Court, and his vetoes would be in a less damaging pattern.

Grim said...

If it comes to it, we can talk about it. You make valid points, but remember also: the system needs severe, top-to-bottom reform. If we can't get a President devoted to that, the next best thing may be to have a House and Senate opposed to the incumbent President. Congressional Republicans, in charge of both houses of Congress, might go along with a Romney administration's request for more big government programs. They will resolutely oppose such requests from an Obama administration.

Then, in four years, both parties would have to put up fresh nominees -- with no incumbent advantage.

bthun said...

"Sorry to rain on your parade (so to speak), bthun, but hey, at least I knocked the dust down!"

OK, so maybe the PRAVDA widgets and the Collective are somewhere north of fretfully anxious but south of demoralized. I will still carry on with my hootin'-n-hollerin', jumping, laughing and pointing in their general direction. And if it rains, well, I'll just have to wash off the mud instead of knocking off dust... =;^}

"Seriously, do you not smell desperation and querulousness in those articles? I thought they reeked of it. "

FWIW, me too.

"the system needs severe, top-to-bottom reform. If we can't get a President devoted to that, the next best thing may be to have a House and Senate opposed to the incumbent President."

In the immortal word of a distinguished politico from yesteryear, that paragon of the modern politician, Governor William J. Lepetomane...

Texan99 said...

The take from Ace of Spades:

"It's the stuff of nightmares! Interestingly, there are little to no worries about the debt, deficit, unemployment rate, jobs... I guess they assume these won't be problems with a Republican President."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The essays were unbearable. Their assumptions are so firmly embedded that they cannot stand outside them for even a moment to ask "Hey, did anyone check the map?"

But this Obama/Romney equivalence from Grim, that deserves attention. I see the point of that 4 vs 8 reasoning, but in my own life, such strategising ends up too-clever-by-half. Want what you want, and don't project much into the future, I say. We wouldn't have the Tea Party if we'd elected McCain! some claim, but we wouldn't have Obamacare either. Such calculations go awry, because prediction is difficult, especially about the future.

Which brings me to my overall point: I think more in terms of systems being set in good directions, not attempting top-to-bottom overhauls. Leave that to liberals. This is Round 4 of a 12-rounder*, and there is no need to think in terms of knockout blows. Such thinking, in fact, can cause folks to squander advantages. Complex systems change rapidly, and while we all prefer to dream of casting rings into Orodruin, Gandalf's 3000 years were largely spent otherwise. Romney's nominees are likely to be good but not inspiring, and not conservative enough, but they won't be Kagan and Sotomayor. Romney does not seem to have any grand visions for what he wants to do to us, and that is entirely a good thing. A nice boring president, a Coolidge, doesn't stir the blood like Maggie Thatcher, but such is what most of decent Anglospheric history is made of. Remember PJ O'Rourke "I usually vote with the Republicans, because they have fewer ideas. But not few enough." Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, Bachmann - they all have Ideas, and that makes me nervous, even when they seem good enough. Boring entitlement reform and boring tax-code simplification, however compromised and narrowly passed to get them through Congress, and we all go out for a pint.

*Why I set 1/1/06 as the beginning of a new bout is a whole 'nother story.

DL Sly said...

"Seriously, do you not smell desperation and querulousness in those articles? I thought they reeked of it. "

True desperation? No. They're still just flinging poo and have control of the fan speed - for now. It's been my experience that true desperation always manifests in physical action. As this election season starts to heat up, and the ad cycle ad nauseum begins, people will have no choice about hearing something other than over-the-top liberal spin. For some (hopefully many) it will put a bug in their ear and make them curious enough to seek out more information. (How cool would it be to have those little screen shots from Starship Troopers that says, "Would you like to know more?" at the end of some of the ads?) The day they feel their words are no longer being taken as "gospel" they will get truly desperate.
It is the day afterward (and the ones that follow) for which I prepare.

Texan99 said...

OK, granted, that's true desperation. I was using the word in the rhetorical sense roughly appropriate to the chattering class. What would it take to spur one of these authors to literal action? There may be some closet revolutionary agents out there ready to light some fuses if they see the White House and the Congress about to slip through their fingers, but I'm pretty sure none of them are paying the bills by penning these minor petulances.

DL Sly said...

One needs only look at the TEA party and the 2010 election to see what a few *insignificant* players can accomplish. The people who wrote these essays may be minor players, but they are very visible on a fairly popular (for their demographic) site. They write them not to pay the bills, but to control the fan speed and direction. Because to them it's all about control.