Of Extremists, Incompetents And Nuts
by Larry Perrault on September 24, 2010 at 12:30 PM
It isn’t new. If you are old enough, you remember that Ronald Reagan was CALLED an unintelligent B-Movie cowboy who might take us to war or even a nuclear threat. I’ve always cited 3 big things that separated Reagan from the other shuffling political advisor prepped and muted Republicans of my lifetime.
- When air traffic controllers went on strike and froze so much of American commerce, Reagan ordered them back to work or risk firing. Assuming no president would have the courage to fire union workers, they called Reagan’s bluff and stayed away. They were wrong. They were fired and replaced.
- At the end of arms limitation talks with Soviet Premier Gorbachev in Iceland and just before an agreement was signed, Gorbachev demanded that Americans also suspend their satellite Strategic Arms limitation initiative, which was a great pressure point on the Soviets. What now? The media and world watched assuming that a president couldn’t forego a milestone arms limitation treaty. They were wrong. Reagan told Gorbachev, “Nyet!” and flew back home. The Soviets were shortly back negotiating and papers found after the Soviet Union’s collapse revealed Soviet distress that Reagan wasn’t to be bullied.
- Along similar lines, in preparations for a Reagan speech at the Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin Wall, advisors more than once removed what they considered too provocative from the text of Reagan’s speech, which he reinserted. On the day, Reagan again found the provocative text missing from his notes. But, he delivered the line anyway: “Mr. Gorbachev,…TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!” Timorous Republicans couldn’t have done those things.
George W. Bush was also called stupid and illiterate, though even his academic credentials were better than his first opponent Al Gore, who was called the intellectual. That sounds even funnier today. But, the wave hit hard on Sarah Palin. They called her unqualified and un-experienced and still do. But I always found that amusing given whom the media supported and pushed to the presidency. Barack Obama had NO executive experience with only two years of the most liberal voting record in The US Senate. But for example, even after the thrill up his leg, I’ve heard Chris Matthews coo about the “intellectual” we now have in The White House. Really? A community organizer with a Harvard law degree? Actually, I more often see Ivy League degrees, especially in law, as something to be overcome, which he plainly has not. I’ve seen real literarily gifted intellectuals who actually taught at the most prestigious universities in the world whose misbegotten premises and perfect logic produced the most audacious and foolish conclusions.
George Orwell famously said, “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” Radio talk show host Dennis Prager frequently refers to “ideas so foolish that you have to have a graduate degree to believe them.” Twenty-five years ago, I was referring to what had often become the object of the university: to make you smarter than ordinary common-sense. Learning to write and speak are fine things, but not worth much if you can’t deal with the world. I’m glad Obama has precipitously withdrawn from the Middle East as his campaign rhetoric suggested. I suppose that as president, our military and intelligence told him that that would be one enormous mistake that he probably wouldn’t live down. But look at how pathetically he has dealt with both allies and threats. Obviously, Benjamin Netanyahu is a much cooler and practical leader of Israel than he was once thought he might be, else he would have told Obama to stick it in his ear. I very well might have. And boy, Obama has put Iran and North Korea in their place, hasn’t he? Where’s our Reagan today?
Sarah Palin commanded the Alaska National Guard and air surveillance right next to Russia and she’s the mother of a soldier. When she became governor, after chasing the corrupt oil poodle Republican establishment, she proposed a mineral development land-lease that included oil company profit-sharing with Alaska citizens. Exxon’s representative objected to the profit-sharing. Palin told the representative of the world’s largest corporation not to let the door hit him in the stern on the way out. Exxon relented and took the lease. Now, who do you want negotiating with Iran and North Korea. Chris Matthews can have his “intellectual.” I’ll take Palin, whom Matthews considers a scary dope. With her, the world would be safer and our economy stronger. That’s the bottom-line and that affects lives here and around the world.
In Nevada after her primary upset, Sharron Angle was a crazy extremist that would resurrect an unpopular Harry Reid. That’s all he’s run on, saying she wants to privatize Social Security; trying to burn her with the old “third rail.” First of all, as Bernie Goldberg said, “If I were voting in Nevada, I’d vote for Scooby-Doo before I’d vote for Harry Reid.” It doesn’t look like extremism accusation s going to work. Reid is a well-known incumbent well below 50% in the polls, whose ONLY chance is if a whole lot of people vote for “None-of-the above” as you can in Nevada, which is why he must smear her down to his level. I don’t think enough people will be that stupid. All Angle had suggested was getting entitlement revenue back out of the spending reach of the general budget. But anyone who wants to stay with the status quo with 130 trillion dollars of entitlement liability now coming due, is the one who’s totally divorced from reality. Charlie Crist in Florida was going to run as an Independent to beat that extreme Marco Rubio who took the Republican nomination from him. That looks pretty much out the window, and Rubio is obviously a budding Republican star. Rand Paul upset Republican establishment backed Trey Grayson in Kentucky and that “extremist” now holds a double-digit lead in the polls.
It looks like Ken Buck will unseat incumbent Colorado Senate appointee Michael Bennett, after he upset establishment-backed Republican Jane Norton in the primary. Joe Miller in Alaska eeked out a victory over remaining Alaska establishment legacy Republican Lisa Murkowski, who shortly and shamefully announced an Independent write-in campaign. She wasn’t particularly clear-headed anyway, but it looks like she’ll go out pathetically, already well behind Miller in early polls. Miller is a West Point grad with a Yale law degree, so it’s not easy to smear him, though they’ve tried with his “extreme” suggestions that we return to constitutional principle and state responsibility. Even some liberal perennials like Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, Barbara Boxer in California, and Patti Murray in Washington face significant challenges this year.
And now, Christine O’Donnell has upset liberal Republican Mike Castle for Joe Biden’s former Senate seat in deep blue Delaware, Political veterans Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer have presumed that to portend the loss of a seat Castle was figured to win, and she is also called an intellectual lightweight. . Obviously in Delaware, conservative spokesperson O’Donnell probably will have the toughest challenge of all of these. But this year, I wouldn’t count her out. She isn’t the dope they’ve made her out to be and if she clearly defines the difference between herself and Chris Coons, it’s going to be a close one. And it is true that this group of conservative Republicans is more principled than any group in my lifetime. So relative to the flaccid Republicans of that lifetime, yes they are extreme but that’s a good thing. These experts should have noticed that we are in extraordinarily extreme and perilous times. Ten Bob Doles would win control of the Senate. But ten Bob Doles would have little chance of rescuing us from insolvency or hyper-inflation. This bunch will put unprecedented principled punch in the Senate with Jim Demint, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe. But frankly at this point, such clarity is long overdue. America’s critically ill and is in for radical surgery. We need people who can do it right.