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« Hillary Finished | Main | Same Old Corn »

A Depressing Screed

...with which I wholeheartedly agree, from Lileks:

On the Hewitt show tonight I was talking about the end result of the administration’s overall rhetorical failure, its inability to assert and explain ideas near and/or dear to many who elected him. I think people gave up expecting high fine oratorical flourishes about matters other than the war and the ancillary issues long ago, but it does gall; like the squandered Congressional majority, it was a sign that the thick institutional inertia had filled the vacant crevasses in the domestic agenda. So we get campaign finance “reform,” and we get an energy bill that will require everyone to switch to bulbs that cost ten times more and require an EPA HAZMAT team to ninja their way through your skylights if you drop a bulb. (Yes, I know, it mandates efficiencies, and if old-style bulbs meet the standards, they’ll pass, but given the higher cost of fluorescents and the general planet-friendly rep they have, I expect that a combination of foot-dragging, ad campaigns, somewhat lower prices and improved quality will move people away from incandescents.) I don’t think the administration is in the pocket of Big Flourescent; I just think they don’t care.

Either they figured the logic of their case was self-evident, or saw no short-term gain to making arguments that polled low.

The Middle East? Don’t get me started. At the end of the Bush term Syria will run Lebanon, Israel will pressured to concede, Iran will unsanctioned and unbowed. Iraq will work in the end if we care and try and stay, and that’s no small thing; that’s the big thing, in the end. History won’t give a fig about the fluorescent-bulb bill. You could say that second terms always end like this. Clinton, however, would probably have gotten a third term. You could say he was an anomaly, since his appeal was more personal than ideological, and you could say that he didn’t spend his time making speeches in his second term defining liberalism for the 21st century. But he didn’t have to explain his ideas; they were part of the free-floating cloud of Unexamined Good Things instinctively accepted by the overclass, so he wasn’t exactly fighting an uphill battle. Bush had an opportunity to redefine certain ideas as progressive, not retrograde. Really: if the public school paradigm is the status quo, then attempts to upend the Etch-A-Sketch and find new solutions are progressive – unless you’re one of those blunt-headed types who believe that “conservatives” (a meaningless term, here) want to destroy unions and punish inner-city schools and funnel public bucks to nuns who prowl the aisles with a ruler, whapping knuckles when anyone mentions Darwin. Rethinking Social Security is progressive, especially if it means giving young people more control over how their forced contributions are invested. Nuclear power is progressive; the status quo, in place for twenty years, still thinks “The China Syndrome” is a documentary. I know it’s a different definition of progressive, but heck: redefining “progressive” is progressive.

As is redefining "liberal."

Posted by Rand Simberg at January 11, 2008 05:21 AM
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Vote us out of Iraq. Vote Ron Paul!

Posted by Raphael at January 11, 2008 05:38 AM

I'm debating whether or not to let the above website graffiti from the Ronulans remain. Any thoughts from other commenters?

Posted by Rand Simberg at January 11, 2008 05:49 AM

Your standard policy of letting nutters prove themselves nutty has served you and this blog well. But in the case of the "Paulites" I'm not sure as they tend to clump together (like summer pig turds my Grandfather would say) so the above by "Raphael" could be the start of a flood of "Leave Ron Paul alone!" (Google the youtube video) type posts. It might be a good idea to, as Barney Fife would say, nip it in the bud.

Posted by Cecil Trotter at January 11, 2008 06:43 AM

It's like bird droppings on your car. One dropping doesn't really matter, but if you start getting a lot of them you should probably remove them.

Posted by Jonathan at January 11, 2008 07:54 AM

I'd toss it, Rand. I mean, I haven't been following the progress of "your standard policy", but the sheer impertinence of that comment would set me off like a bomb.

"You're out of the pool, kid."

Posted by Billy Beck at January 11, 2008 12:17 PM

Aren't Ronulans of the same stock as Randians, only difference being that Randians are ruled by logic while Ronulans rule by intimidation? Or does Randian Logic inform us that Ronulans must be dealt with harshly, as Randians started out as similar such primitives and know that squishy Earthling sentimentality doesn't hold sway with that culture?

I say let the Ronulans be, unless they start getting huffy and start filling up your discussion threads with snarky remarks. The fact that you have Ronulans visiting your site suggests they may read your writings and one day adopt the way of Logic.

Posted by Paul Milenkovic at January 11, 2008 12:31 PM

Vote us out of Iraq. Vote Ron Paul!

I'd let it be. Demos the class of his supporters.

Unless ... it's a smear campaign by the e-vil republithugs.

Posted by Brian at January 11, 2008 12:59 PM

I would have hoped, that someone discusses the video I've linked to above. Instead all I can find is a discussion, whether I should get censored?

Posted by Raphael at January 13, 2008 04:31 PM

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