Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rudy's Victorian Accommodation

Rudy Giuliani should have read James Bowman's "Honour, a History", or at least the chapter entitled the "The Victorian Accommodation". It may have served as a blueprint through which he might have succeeded in restoring the Reagan coalition, instead of giving what sounded very much like a swan song Tuesday night after his crushing blow in the winner take all Florida Caucus. As Mr. Bowman puts it, "Victorian honour itself rested on a comprimise between traditional aristocratic standards and the new spirit of democracy and equality that was always and inherently unstable". Unlike the Victorians of their day, Mr Giuliani - high off the fumes of his seemingly untouchable poll numbers at the start of the race - seemed unable or unwilling to strike any sort of accommodation with traditional social conservatives, not understanding that the socially liberal or "moderate" wing of the Republican party that Giuliani is part and parcel with was not the formidable movement that perhaps he believed it to be.

Now, granted, this is a tenuous analogy, but I can't help plugging Mr. Bowman's invaluable book "Honour, a History" (buy it today! Impress your friends!).

Many have speculated on the reasons that a campaign flying so high could have come crashing down to earth with all the subtlety of an Indonesian train wreck. Some would argue that his snubbing of the early caucuses cost him dearly by dropping off the radar screen, allowing some virtually unknown folksy populist from Arkansas to suck up all the media attention. They're partially right. Some would say that Rudy's social liberalism doomed him from the start. They're not altogether wrong either. But Stanley Kurtz, writing on NRO online, gives a far more intriguing and in-depth analysis of the Giuliani melt down than most of the pop-up pundits have offered - his ultimate undoing was his unwillingness to compromise.

Giuliani's first misstep was ignoring the early caucuses. Many socially conservative Republicans were more than willing to support a Giuliani candidacy - as Kurtz provides evidence of - they only asked to be met halfway. Rudy may have ventured that the early primaries weren't the best place to hedge his bets, but this was a miscalculation that cost him dearly amongst this same group, who claim they have a history of being slighted and used by the establishment. This was the first in a chain of events that led to the catastrophe that was beginning to unfold.

But perhaps the most devastating aspect of his decline, as mentioned above, was his unwillingness to compromise. Social conservatives, as Kurtz asserted, are "far less doctrinaire than the usual stereotypes hold". They were perfectly willing to negotiate with Giuliani, but he seemed unable or unwilling to reciprocate. Had Giuliani had the foresight to extend the olive branch to them and give a little more ground on abortion or gay marriage, he could have stuck to his "Strict Constitionalist" shtick, and that in and of itself would probably have been enough to placate a large portion of the party. Instead, he chose to try and woo religious conservatives by repeatedly telling them "I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not budging on abortion. But at least I'm honest." Well, he certianly may have been, but it was hardly a profile in courage. His honesty was admired, but not rewarded. Asking people to turn their heads the other way when dealing with such a deeply engrained conviction as right to life requires much more than a wink, a flashy smile, and some tub thumping about rounding up porn merchants.

In the end, the no-nonsense mayor who guided New York city through the worst domestic terror attack in American history, plotted out an unorthodox strategy for victory, and being propeled by the inertia of his front runner status, ditched New Hampshire and Iowa, alienated a crucial wing of the party, and when all was said and done, stood at a podium speaking of his campaign in the past tense wondering what the hell had happened.

Perhaps if he had brushed up on his James Bowman, he may have been able to find his own kind of Victorian Accommodation.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

They Done Scoped Me!!

January is in full swing and I've been a little lax in posting. No doubt you are salivating for the latest news and commentary carefully dissected with my conservative-libertoid cutting knife, but forces beyond my control were at play. One of these events was tragic, the other just damn uncomfortable and humiliating.

You see, due to my past life of, shall we say, "hearty" drinking, I developed several health problems including: high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, and an inexplicable need to shout "we needs more copper at the copper shed" at passing strangers. Seriously though, I've been having nagging chest pains that my band of socialized healers of the welfare state have been trying to get to the bottom of, so they had me scoped. A nice little prelude to a series of future tests to come, each one no doubt more horrible than the last.

In case you've never been scoped, let me give you a run-down. First, they need to keep your jaw open, so they stick a plastic ring in your mouth firmly held in place by a rubber strap around your head, making you look like a blow up sex doll, or some guy starring in an S&M movie called "The Spanking of the Leather King". Then they make you gargle a numbing substance that tastes vaguely like menthol cigarettes and battery acid. After your throat is sufficiently frozen, they inject you with a sedative and a pain killer that's supposed to knock you out - that's if you don't have a past history of starting off your morning with a few shots of Jack Daniels in your coffee (that would be me). Then they shove a gussied up version of a garden hose with a camera attached to it down your throat while a nurse gently reminds you not to swallow, and just let your spit drool down your cheek. Very dignified. Anyway, turns out I have a hiatal hernia. Nothing major, but not a sufficient explanation for the chest pains.

In other news, it was sad to see the only true conservative, Fred Thompson, drop out of the race. He is a brilliant and gifted man, but jumped into the race too late, and by the time he caught the fire in his belly, providing some of the best debate moments I've seen in years, it was too little, too late. Thompson would have made a formidable candidate, and it is not just the Republican party's loss, but the country's loss as well. We at the Hype hope Thompson continues to be a presence during this election, reminding us all of the principles that conservatives must never abandon, even if it should cost us an election.

Dennis Kucinich has finally announced that he is dropping out of the race - if only Ron Paul would take the hint and go away as well. Even the apparently mildly retarded Kucinich had enough sense to see the writing on the wall. It's obvious Congressman Paul is mentally unstable, but you would think he has enough sense to know that his campaign is doing nothing but wasting valuable time during debates and fueling his loyal following of anarchists to violently harass anyone who so much as looks sideways at the lunatic.

Anyway, hope everyone has a great weekend, and congrats to Jonah Goldberg, whose book
"Liberal Fascism" has hit no#5 on the New York Times best seller list. He has also been nominated for a Pulitzer prize in journalism, something none of his semi-literate critics can put on their resume. If you don't know who I'm talking about, they're the people who ask if you want to supersize your "Gut Buster" burger combo.



Oh, and Gywnn Dyer is a drooling pod person, quasi anti-semite, apologist for hate mongers, and an anti-Catholic bigot.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Closed for the Weekend

Sadly, we will be offline until Tuesday of next week due to the passing of Claire's Grandfather. He was a war veteran, and served his country with honor. He will be dearly missed and we ask for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time for Claire's family. He is now in God's hands enjoying the rewards he worked so hard for all his life, and justly deserves.

A quick thanks to Jonah Goldberg from NRO for the unexpected and much appreciated link on his Liberal Fascism blog. It has propelled my writing to an entire new level, and an expanded readership that I could have only imagined. Hope you enjoy the site. We'll be back soon.



Monday, January 14, 2008

A Conservative With A Forged Passport

When Mike Huckabee began to surge in the polls, polishing it off with a strong win in Iowa, it was hard not to flirt with the idea of a President Huckabee. His home spun, sitting on a rocker, chewin' on a piece of straw, dispensing nuggets of non-threatening populism, folksy appeal made him an attractive candidate for those of us who were less than persuaded when NRO threw it's substantial weight behind Governor Mitt Romney - (not my decision), as Jonah Goldberg said in a past edition of "What's Your Problem?"

Thompson wasn't showing any traction, and while Giuliani is passionate and persuasive, it's hard to have your social concerns appeased by a guy who should be wearing a shirt that says "I've been a strict constitutionalist all of my life and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". Huckabee has a quick wit, and the Chuck Norris endorsement lent its way to lots of brilliant and funny campaign ads.

But something was gnawing at my gut. Maybe it was the constant blitzing of Huck on The Corner, maybe it was his slick but vacuous response to questions that fell outside the social spectrum. Then came the ugly specter of the class baiting weapon - when Huckabee's credentials came under attack by the conservative media, he pulled a page out of Pat Buchanan's playbook and made the ridiculous assertion that he was under attack by those in the Republican party who where beholden to Wall Street and big money interests. It brings to mind Buchanan's lamentation that the writers of National Review were "conservatives with forged passports".

Then came the final nail in the coffin. No, it wasn't his vicious attack on the president, and his even more ridiculous backpedaling on the statement. It wasn't even his whining that the Republican party panders to Christan conservatives only to leave them out in the cold until the next election.

I am plagued by a strange phenomenon called "soul pain". It happens when someone makes a bad joke or an over-used cliche that causes you so much discomfort it actually feels like your soul is aching. Soul pain can also happen during bad commercials, lame sitcoms, listening to people talk about Nascar, or people who are so in love with Nascar that they proudly display one of those carved wooden Dale Ernhardt plaques in their living rooms. It's those things in life that makes you go "ouch" on the inside.

Huck's soul pain inducing moment came during the South Carolina debate when a surprisingly animated Fred Thompson attacked Governor Huckabee over his record of raising taxes. Then it came. After a rambling answer answer, Governor Huckabee actually said; "we raised hope". Hope? How do you raise hope? The only thing he managed to raise with that response was my blood pressure. If felt like some took a jackhammer to my soul, sliced it out with sickle, and burnt it in front of my eyes. Ouch.

No Huck, the Republican party isn't turning their back on Christan conservatives. They are turning their back on you. You are not the standard barer for the religious right. The religious right may well be pro-life, but they are also pro-Iraq and pro-tax cuts. When you insult the President and criticize the those who create the wealth in this country, you are not attacking some ambiguous straw man, you are attacking your base. Watch your step.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Being Liberal Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

David Frum's justifiable outrage over the refusal of anyone to have the moral courage to distance themselves from Ron Paul is indicative of a larger trend on the left. Even Andrew Sullivan is coming to the defence of Dr. Crackpot, and I group Sullivan in with the left, because to call him a conservative, or even libertarian these days, is being rather charitable. The worship of Ron Paul by certain liberals almost seems to defy reason, but lately, once you've flown into their ideological birdcage, it's like that old Monty Python skit, where the shop owner keeps insisting that the bird is alive, even when the customer exclaims in exasperation; "Look my lad, I know a dead parrot when I see one and I'm looking at one right now."

I'm still deciding what was more offensive about Gwynne Dyer's latest column. His incredible ignorance about the base of the Republican party, his shameless class baiting, or the astounding statement that Ron Paul is "a national treasure".

Ron Paul is not being rejected by the lunatic base, he is the lunatic base. If Mr. Dyer were a little more in touch with Dr Paul's past, he would surely be familiar with the newsletter the congressman published on a monthly basis called "Ron Paul's Freedom Report".

Dr. Paul's newsletter has been filled with chilling, racist rants, and in the past Congressman Paul once penned an article chronicling an upcoming race war in which he said, and I quote verbatim, "I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defence. For the animals are coming". Dr. Paul has written a plethora of articles in which he describes African Americans as zoo animals. He once claimed that "black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white 'haves.'" The litany of his racist remarks have been well chronicled, most recently by The New Republic.

Chilling, to say the least, and disturbing that he can seduce sycophantic pundits like Mr Dyer.
I wonder if Mr Dyer, like Sullivan, will have the courage to denounce congressman Paul, or does he stand by his statement that this idiot is a "national treasure". What about it Mr. Dyer?
Anyway, it seems only "right" to give out props where props are due to the invaluable David Frum, whose new book, "Comeback" , is being met with rave reviews. Along with James Bowman's "Honor, A History", and Jonah's "Liberal Fascism", they represent the best of conservative thinking that has come out over last few years. Congrats Mr. Frum.


Joe Leger

Monday, January 07, 2008

Superbowl for Geeks

Paul Johnson once said of Warren Harding that he "did not believe that politics were very important or that people should get excited about them or allow them to penetrate too far into their everyday lives.” President Kennedy is said to have echoed almost the exact same sentiment. Well, I'm with him on the latter if he was referring to resisting the all intrusive government that Alexis De Tocqueville spoke about, and I don't like the idea of being penetrated by anyone, be it a sniveling bureaucrat from a government oversite committee, or some escaped ex-con from a halfway house looking for the guy who stole the last rice crispy square from his lunch box. As for the first part, perhaps he didn't have time to get very excited about politics between his bumbling foreign policy fiascoes and his chronic philandering down at Peter Lawford's beach house. He should have re-thought his position. In fact, people got so excited about politics back in his day, they shot him in the head in the middle of the street in broad daylight. I mention all this because while some bemoan the seemingly endless and early electoral process, I welcome it the way a sailor welcomes a cold beer and a hooker named Mindy after a long voyage at sea.

The primary process is in full swing in the States. Seemingly seismic shifts take place on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Who would have thought that 2 months ago, Fred Thompson would be nipping at the heals of Rudy Giuliani in national polls, only to fast forward to yesterday to see the once discounted Mike Huckabee, slightly ahead of John McCain, and Mitt Romney slowly eroding what little political capital he has left. Hillary Clinton is on a fast and ever sinking ship, being sunk by an inexperienced liberal smooth talker, who has yet to coherently articulate a single policy position. Obama loves the words change and hope. While speaking in front of a jam packed audience of young people, they began to chant "CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE". It was like he was being heckled by hundreds of pan handlers. And what about hope? Hope is great if you're waiting for those embarrassing little blood tests to come back from the clinic, but not so great as a central theme of a soon-to-be national campaign that is offering little else but a flashy Crest smile and an empty bag of promises.

This is my Superbowl. Superbowl for geeks, if you must. And count me as a geek, if you must do that as well. But for political wonks, this is like the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final, and we're in triple overtime.

Not much else to say on this weekend update, except I strongly suggest that you run out and buy a copy of Jonah Goldberg's first ever published book Liberal Fascism. It's currently the #1 political work in the country, and it is an important and historic tome which turns upside down almost 70 years of conventional wisdom about the political left.

Have a great weekend, I'll be busy moving into my swanky new digs where I plan to spend endless days parading about in a crested velour bathrobe, smoking cigarettes and making witty comments about the bourgeoisie. Embrace the Geekness.



Friday, January 04, 2008

Straight Into '08

January 1st. Time to pluck your heads out your respective toilet bowls and ring in the New Year, Straight Hype Style. Unlike you crazed drunken louses, I gave up the drink for good over 3 years ago and won't be spending the better part of January in a detox facility. Now, don't think I'm some kind of crazed puritanical who took a temperance pledge because I joined some wacky church that advertises services with a neon sign and has bible study nights thrice a week. No, my friends, I gave up the sweet, sweet beer because the moment the golden nectar passed my lips, I would inevitably end up in a hospital bed looking up at several doctors staring at me in amazement, wondering how I could have managed to drink so much and still be breathing. Ah. Happy times.

Anyway, let's not go there, except to give a quick thanks to my friends and family who have been so supportive of my sobriety, and my readers who have been so supportive of this blog. So let's get with it.

First off, I want to thank my fabulous girlfriend and co-editor Claire, who agreed to take on the thankless job of picking through my egregious spelling, dilapidated grammar, fragmented sentences and split infinitives, so my blog posts don't look like something written by someone who wears a tin foil hat and lives in his mother's basement. She has a keen eye for spelling and grammar, and that's the reason the posts have much more continuity than they have in the past. On with my predictions for 2008!

1- I predict that the Huckabee express is going to come to a grinding halt after a poor showing in New Hampshire. Huck's a gifted politician, and probably the best communicator in the crop. But when you're asking your supporters to send in gas money for your campaign bus, not even Chuck Norris can help you go the distance.

2- John Edwards will take the Democratic nomination after a surprising show in the early caucuses. He will nominate some obscure congressman as a running mate. His creepy two-Americas, quasi-populist class warfare shtick will get old very quickly and he will get walloped in the general election by whomever comes out of the Republican fray.

3- Iraq will continue to brim with good news into 2008 and the drones in the media will make the ridiculous claim that the administration painted an unwarranted rosy picture of Iraq to coincide with the elections.

4- Keith Olbermann's nightly loony hour conspiracy theory show will continue to annoy us well into 2009.

5- TV shows that star rogue heroes who exercise vigilante justice in 18 wheelers accompanied by their chimpanzee sidekicks will make a come-back much to the chagrin of all of us who think monkeys are God's smelly plague.

6- Wolf Blitzer's lawyers will rescind their restraining order against me and agree to begin negotiations to auction Mr Blitzer's kidney on EBay, in my mad kidney for profit scheme.

7- 2008 will be the best year ever...except for Democrats, may they rot in their own post-FDR, New Deal Utopian filth (please exclude Joe Biden, and Joe Lieberman from this list because Biden has his moments, and Lieberman is the boss...and they're both named Joe).

Happy New Year!