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Hamilton’s Blues

Walter Russel Mead has an excellent column on the continuing reverberations of the great Hamilton-Jefferson Divide. 200-plus years later, the argument is still not over.

In Osawatomie and beyond, President Obama will run for re-election as a Hamiltonian and a custodian of the 20th century progressive state.  He will argue that modest and careful reforms, trimming a few excesses here, making some innovative policy shifts there, can keep the old ship afloat in the twenty first century.  Like JFK, he will argue that the best and brightest can develop government policy that will guide the nation to a brighter future through collective action and state investments.

Governor Romney, so far as one can discern, is at his core a Hamiltonian as well, but he has less sympathy than President Obama and the Democrats for the blue synthesis of Hamiltonianism and social democracy.  He stands roughly in a line of Republican presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush who accepted the basic elements of the progressive state.  Former Speaker Gingrich is also a Hamiltonian, but much more than either Romney or Obama he believes that Hamiltonianism needs to be re-imagined for our times.  Congressman Paul is the one Jeffersonian in the race, and of the four he seems the least likely to be elected in 2012.

Continue reading → Hamilton’s Blues

Fast and Furious: The Stages of Scandal

The thing people forget about Watergate is that it took over two years — from the actual June 1972 break-in until Nixon’s August 1974 resignation — to come to full fruition. So I’ve been keeping my powder dry with regard to the unfolding Fast & Furious/Gunwalker scandal.

Now, with Friday’s document dump, (h/t: Ace) I think a milestone has been passed.

The scandal erupted late last year, after at least two F&F weapons were found at the southern Arizona scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder. Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Justice for an explanation.

The response was a Feb. 4 letter from assistant AG Ron Weich, who insisted, “The allegation . . . that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons . . . is false.” The ATF, Weich went on, “makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”

That letter has now been formally withdrawn. “Facts have come to light during the course of this investigation that indicate the Feb. 4 letter contains inaccuracies,” wrote deputy attorney general James Cole on Friday.

The question is, what kind of milestone? Where in this scandal are we? Will this admission that the “letter contains inaccuracies” (because the letter, you see, is at fault) satisfy the mob? Or entice them further?

Hard to say. Back in 2005, Madelaine Drohan published an article at Neiman Reports on that discussed the Stages of a Scandal. According to Drohan, they are as follows: Continue reading → Fast and Furious: The Stages of Scandal

Pretenders II…

…sounds really good on headphones. And by headphones, I mean headphones, not lame earbuds that give you all the timpanic damage of heavy bass while not letting you actually hear it, and in any case make you look like the Matrix has you by the middle ear.

Anyway, there’s neat rhythmic stuff they do.  Give it a listen.

The Rum Diary Sinks Like a Rummy in a Large Pool of Rum

I was wondering how this film was doing. Over at PopCrush, the inestimable James Lileks lays it out for us:

Meanwhile, heads are scratching: why did it tank? Bad week for small films? Depp’s appeal on the wane? People like him only when he’s piratical? Perhaps because word of mouth was like halitosis: The movie got a C minus from people who actually saw it, and Hunter S. Thompson’s appeal may not be as universal as some suspect.

The last part is undoubtedly true. I’ve long considered Thompson to be massively overrated, bordering on the laughable. But then, I’m only going by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and his excreable ESPN.com column from his later years (“The Vikings struggled back like a drunk who doesn’t know who just hit him, but the deep dark doom was upon them…” ad infinitum). However, I just plain doubt that your average moviegoing audience even knew that this was a Thompson book. To make a film of The Rum Diary is, cinematically speaking, to make a prequel to F&LILV. Yet the studio didn’t market it as such.

Curiouser and curiouser.

They also didn't offer a free rum runner to every patron over 21. Which would have been fun.