17 November 2012


"I beseech you,

The president won the election. But I think it wasn't on the issues. He ran a heck of a good grass-roots organization and was able to basically convince enough people that they couldn't trust Gov. Romney.
— Terry Bransted, Governor of Iowa (R), 15 Nov 2012

in the bowels of Christ,

Any day in [the] campaign that wasn't about the economy or jobs was a good day for Obama.
— Haley Barbour, ex-Governor of Mississippi (R), 15 Nov 2012

think it possible

The fatal flaw with this presidential election, more than anything, wasn't just the last few weeks. It was early this summer, after an extended and lengthy and onerous primary season, the president's campaign did an effective job at branding Mitt Romney before he fully had a chance to identify himself to the people of this country.... We didn't have a well-defined case against the president and, of even greater importance, we didn't have an effective means by which to counter the attacks.
— Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin (R), 15 Nov 2012

you may be mistaken."

We have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100% of the votes, not 53%. I think that's absolutely wrong. I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we are going as a party.
—"Bobby" Jindal, Governor of Louisiana (R), 15 Nov 2012

Oliver Cromwell, letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 03 Aug 1650.

In this particular instance, Governor Jindal is the most wrong of these leaders of the Church of Scotland Heffalump Party, because I do not believe he understands the difference between his ambitions (and the corresponding means of advancing them) and the objectives and behavior of his party. I do not mean just the so-called "base" or the "Tea Party". I mean a party seeking the "gift" of not just the personal accumulation of capital, but the sequestration of capital away from others... combined with rules that subtly favor the interests of accumulated capital over every other economic factor or transaction. I mean a party of "makers" that wants to ensure that none of its own children ever need be "makers," because their inherited wealth will keep them from needing to be productive members of society. I mean a party that forgets that — slightly paraphrasing Jon Stewart — if your name is not Sitting Bull O'Reilly, you too are a child of immigrants, and probably of disfavored immigrants. I mean a party that — like the Church of Scotland in the seventeenth century — treats tolerance of different religious beliefs as a form of heresy that is perhaps worse than those different religious beliefs themselves, and raises purely political and partisan disputes to religious status.

As Emmanuel Goldstein wisely remarked, "The object of power is power." Adam Smith, that great proponent of free markets (but not, if one actually reads his work, of unregulated markets), believed that the profit motive provided a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the advance of a free society. What mattered to Smith (and to his successors) was not just self-interest, but enlightened self-interest. It is rather apparent that the Heffalump Party has forgotten the "enlightened" part... which is rather ironic in that Cromwell's imprecation is one of the more succinct statements of what the Enlightenment was about, in both a philosophical and a political context.

Much as I despise the principles (and many of the persons) "represented" by today's Heffalump Party, this Republic needs it as a necessary source of ideas. After quite a bit of study of issues myself, I'm pretty convinced that the liberal (as distinct from, although not necessarily opposed to, what Americans have come to misunderstand as "leftist") approach is the correct one, and is in the best interests of this nation. That is not to say, though, that every single policy is best managed through ideologically pure liberalism (for some definition of "pure", and for that matter of "liberalism"); I want to hear those other ideas, because they might be better... or mine, on a particular issue, might be plain wrong.