A Conservative Trifecta


1. Here is Michael Tomasky in yesterday’s Daily Beast on the disease of moderation mania. It is an illness that arises, in one origin, from being so systemically embedded that one cannot think outside of it. (That would be the box, for you phrase hogs.) To be making these proposals after the past nearly four years is to descend into terminal conventionality.

Well, lots of people spent Wednesday making fun of Tom Friedman’s column pleading with Mike Bloomberg to run for president. Piling on doesn’t interest me. What interests me is that Friedman and Financial Times columnist Sebastian Mallaby, whom Friedman quoted, and others in the center-left orbit they inhabit genuinely seem to believe that if Barack Obama put a bold and comprehensive tax-reform plan on the table, the Republicans would be forced to respond and negotiate in good faith. But this is pure fantasy. All that would happen would be that Obama would cost himself loads of political capital, and the center of gravity on the subject of taxation would again be pushed to the right. That isn’t just bad for Obama, which is a second-order concern; it would be horrible for the country.

I’m sure that people like Friedman and Mallaby, and Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson and Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici, mean well and operate in good faith. They want to see a president issue big and courageous proposals, and they want Congress to rise above the blah-blah-blah. They want our system to vindicate itself. Well, who doesn’t?


[T]he worst outcome is this: if Obama makes a big proposal that meets the GOP halfway, and they block it, then the substantive center of gravity will shift to the right one more time. The same people who now wish that Obama would “show leadership” will make the same demand, except that next time, that demand will mean that he offer even lower rates in order to win Republican support. Guess what? The Republicans know this. Obstructionism suits them just fine.

That’s the reality of today’s GOP. What can change it? Not much. Losing lots of elections. If they’re ever down to 38 senators and 153 House members like the good old days, they’ll have to deal. Until then, Obama wouldn’t be a leader if he tried to negotiate with them in good faith. He’d be a fool.

2. According to Ted Nugent,

“We actually have heard from the Secret Service and they have a duty. I support them. I salute them. And I look forward to our meeting tomorrow,” Nugent said on Wednesday, according to the Beck-founded website The Blaze. “I‘m sure we’ll have a great conversation … bottom line is, I’ve never threatened anybody’s life in my life. I’ve never threatened. I don’t waste breath threatening.” [Emphasis added]

The show of respect here for the role and agency of the Secret Service is an institutional regard that a conservative like Nugent should automatically offer the office of the presidency and the person who fills it – that is if there were a firing neuron between his mouth and his muzzle. Not to fear, though – the man is totally incoherent: he ends above, amid this pretense of decent respect, as the macho moron he began, with an implied threat: “I don’t waste breath threatening.”  No, he’s a man of action. He just shoots. Without warning?

And as an added bonus (call it the Trifecta plus) Nugent has the support of another of American conservatism’s leading intellectual lights, Allen “78-81 card-carrying members of the Communist Party” ‘West.

“I don’t think the Motor City Madman has any ill will toward the President of United States of America,” he said.

3. The war on women that is totally in the fevered imaginations of foolish liberals:

The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”

The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.


And while the Vatican was investigating the Leadership Conference, the Vatican was also conducting a separate, widespread investigation of all women’s religious orders and communities in the United States. That inquiry, known as a “visitation,” was concluded last December, but the results of that process have not been made public.

That’s some fever.


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