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Newt Gingrich and the Kamikaze Presidency…

In an interview with the gang at Coffee & Markets (h/t: Memeorandum), Gingrich says something interesting with reference to the Paul Ryan business:

The question was: if there’s a program that is very unpopular, should Republicans impose it? And my answer is no. When we passed welfare reform, 92% of the American people supported it, including 88% of people on welfare. Reagan ran to be a popular president, not to maximize suicide. And I think conservatives have got to understand: you govern over the long run by making the American People think you’re doing a good job, and think you’re doing what they want.

What’s important to note is that this is not the Tea Party approach, which has more than a little of “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” to it. As a general rule, I support the Tea Party approach, as 1) I’m not certain that incremental conservatism will sufficiently address our yawning financial crisis, and 2) we need to have some push from the Right to even get the ball moving at all in our direction.

The thrill of nominating a Bachmann or a Palin (or even a Santorum) would be to see that person do everything that the Left hates. To hear their lamentations as political power was wrested away from them, and their treasured institutions undone.

But Gingrich has a point. Even if you accept, as some at Protein Wisdom do, that Obama is doing exactly what he wants, he’s not becoming popular by doing so. He’s not making his party stronger by doing so. And if a real conservative is unable to convince the mushy middle that they did the right thing in electing him or her, then that mushy middle is going to change it’s mine four years hence.

The Kamikazes were a powerful weapon in the hands of the Japanese. They were scary. They sunk lots of ships. They affected the outcome of the war not one iota, because destroying the enemy does nothing unless you can force him back. If we were to somehow elect Ron Paul, Ron Paul would busily construct himself to demolishing every last addition to the federal bureaucracy since the Jackson Administration. And unless he had the American people on his side every step of the way, he’d be gone in a quatrain of years, and his Democratic successor would put everything back, and more, even faster. Because destroying, even necessary destroying, is not the same as governing.

Obama may well end up a Kamikaze President for the Left. It may not be the best idea to have one of our own.

UPDATE: suggests a compromise, wherein we simply destroy everything going back to the Johnson Administration. I would laud such, even if I was uncertain if he meant Andrew or Lyndon.

In Which I Import a Project from One of My Dead Blogs…

After a while, the main source of posts at Genre Confusion was a project I call Rating My CD’s. I have, by current guesstimate something like 3-400 of the damn things. I decided, after skimming through other CD blogs, that I would review my own. By Genre Category. In Alphabetical Order.

The Categories are as follows:

  1. Rock/Pop/Country — Honky folk music.
  2. Jazz and Blues — Non-Honky folk music.
  3. Hip-Hop, Rap, Jam and Assorted Electro — Stone Cold Rhymin’ and Synchronized Beeping.
  4. Punk, Metal and Assorted Alternative — Angry Honky folk music.
  5. The Rest of the Mess — Movie Soundtracks, Classical, and other stuff I’m ashamed of.

Each CD receives a Grade. The Grades are as follows:

C = Crap
L = Likes it
LL = Loves it
DI = Desert Island/Essential

To date, I’ve gotten through the first 50 of the first category, from AC/DC to Otis Redding. Which means I need to work faster. Or it could mean I’ll be working on this until my yet-to-be-born kid is in high school. It would be nice to have that level of consistency…

There they are...taunting me...

My Essays Page

Some of you may have noticed, next to the “About” page, a link for “Essays.” This is for a handful of long-form, footnoted pieces that I’ve written within the last few years. Most of them were part of my Master’s Degree work.

So I’m not entirely yanking your chain on the “Scholar” thing.

I mean, I'm not this guy, but...

The Air Force Burial Business

I spotted this first on Ace’s sidebar: The Air Force has buried remains of servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a landfill in Virginia.

The obvious reaction

I know. I know. Ladd Ehlinger, who worked for the military in some capacity until 2001, has piled on. But hold a second:

Air Force now confirms that body fragments linked to at least 274 fallen military personnel sent to the Dover Air Force Base Mortuary were cremated, incinerated and buried with medical waste. That procedure was in place between November 2003 and May 1, 2008. The Air Force also said that 1,762 body parts were never identified and also were disposed of, first by cremation, then by further incineration and then buried in a landfill.

Wait…what’s a body fragment? Is that a body? What is it?

When bodies are not intact — for instance, in the aftermath of a crash or explosion — a body may be released to the family before some parts have been identified by the Air Force Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Families can elect to be notified when parts are identified or leave it up to the military to dispose of them appropriately. Since the policy was changed in 2008, the unclaimed body parts are buried at sea.

So what I take from this is: what got buried in the landfill was unidentified body parts, not whole bodies. What could be identified was sent home to families as it should have been.

At some point, it’s not 100% possible to determine who a particular bone or organ belongs to. DNA testing can only take you so far. And hanging on to body parts in the forlorn hope that they’re going to ever be identified — so you can ship them to family members who have already buried a loved one — is a rather ghoulish bureaucratic perversity.

You can fairly argue that cremating the leftovers and putting them in a landfill is insensitive. I agree, and am glad for the new policy — instituted in the closing months of the Bush Administration — of sea burial (after all, if it was good enough for Bin Laden…).

But however hot this tempest blows, it may extend no further than the teapot’s dome.


Helping Your Kids With Rhyme

I am about to be a father. The Good Greatsby has wonderful advice for teaching kids with rhyme:


Don’t blow off a lady when you learn she has a mister; relax, play it cool, she might have a sister.

Sleep safety:

Check under the bed before you count sheep, you never know where monsters may creep.

Vampire peer pressure:

Sucking blood makes you a dud.


No man is a fox wearing black shoes with white socks.

You should, of course, read the whole thing.

Matthew Perpetua Pretends to Understand Conservative Politics, References Ron Swanson…

Slate never fails to underwhelm.

Swanson, played by Nick Offerman, is essentially an optimistic fantasy of a conservative politician. He’s stoic and deeply hostile to the very notion of government, but ultimately kind-hearted and genuinely concerned for the well-being of other people. He’s a throwback, in some ways, to the Teddy Roosevelt image of conservatism—hyper-masculine, outdoorsy, self-sufficient. (Swanson probably would not have created any National Parks, however.)

I suppose, if I didn’t know anything about what conservatism is, that I might think Teddy Roosevelt was a conservative, too. I also might say that Gingrich isn’t enough like Teddy Roosevelt, if Gingrich didn’t just admit his man-crush on the Roosevelts.

I’m not going to say that this is one step removed from a semi-ironic Chuck Norris for President poster. He had to type out all those words, so that’s another step.