I thought this was interesting. See what you think. Next: Choosing Your Hill to Die On
At about this stage in the Carter years, I began to worry: the president was getting a reputation for being a wimp, the economy was going to hell, and his poll numbers were headed steadily south. The main enemy — the Soviet Union — was flexing its muscles, invading Afghanistan in December of 1979. This came amidst the Iranian hostage crisis, which began early the previous month.
We tend to forget that the U.S. military buildup, which ultimately played a big role in the successful outcome of the Cold War, was started by Carter in response to the Soviet move, but by the time it started, “the wimp” could not hope to recover his lost manhood by sending money to the Pentagon.
And so I asked myself, is there a point at which a president realizes that wimps don’t get reelected? And if so, what might he do to shatter that image? For the next two years I worried that Carter might overreact to some international crisis in order to make folks see that he was really a tough guy.
For some folks, their one gear can best be described as CHAAAAAARGE!! In politics, every single thing that any Republican does that displeases them in the least is grounds to threaten to NEVER DONATE TO OR VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN AGAIN. Threatening total abandonment of politics (or voting third party, or for Democrats), is the only negotiating tactic these people know. Similarly, everything Obama and/or the Democrats do is the most shocking attack on capitalism and the Constitution that has ever been seen in the history of ever.
Another group of folks knows only the gear that we will call “Congress.” Another word for this gear is “retreat.” For these folks, there is always an excuse for capitulation, always a reason to bend to pragmatism, always a reason to not rock the boat. No matter what horrible thing the Republicans do, we dare not abandon them and be left to the Democrats. To these folks, we dare not risk provoking either a governmental shutdown or the teachers’ unions, no matter the stakes, for fear of bad polling.
Of course, the person who bluffs every hand is just as bad at poker as the person who folds every hand. At the risk of being labeled an enabler of Democrats, achieving success in politics takes a more nuanced approach. Sometimes you have to swallow a bitter pill of compromise and sometimes you have to pick up your torch and pitchfork and let people know you mean business, and knowing which situation calls for which is everything as both a politican and an activist.
This one I really enjoyed, and I had to admit that author has a point. The thing that bothers me is that it always seems to be the Republicans who are forced to bow the knee. The Democrats never have to. (Incidentally, I'd like to recommend that all Republicans be forced to read Ann Coulter's book 'Guilty.' They might learn a thing or two about the Dems.)
And the last one: How to Think About the Tea Party
On February 19, 2009, when the finance commentator Rick Santelli indulged in a rant against the newly unveiled “stimulus” bill on the CNBC cable network and called for a demonstration in Chicago modeled on the Boston Tea Party, he fired a shot heard round the country. Santelli’s diatribe was focused on the fact that Americans who had played by the rules, had saved much of what they had earned, and had paid their bills on time were being required to bail out fellow citizens who had gotten caught short in purchasing a domicile they could not afford or while speculating in real estate. In the weeks that followed, ordinary citizens spontaneously gathered in towns and cities across the continent to organize Tea Parties in protest against what they took to be an unjust redistribution of wealth from the industrious and the rational to the greedy and improvident.
I really liked this one, as it has kind of a history of the Tea Party in it. Check it out.
And that's all the columns. I hope you find something interesting up there!