Shorter Jonah Goldberg: Obama’s “patriotism problem” is that he isn’t a complacent reactionary like me. Exactly the kind of logic that led to the National Review‘s “patriotic” defense of apartheid. Certainly, we couldn’t consider that “patriotism” could consist of comparing a country’s stated ideals with some of its contemporary practices!
In addition to his politically convenient mind reading, there’s also the fact that Novak is just making stuff up. Obama, of course, said (unwisely) that people were clinging to guns, not “the Second Amendment.” Hence, the alleged contradiction vanishes entirely. The fact that people may (in some people’s judgment) overvalue some constitutional rights or exercise them in ways others consider unwise does not abrogate the existence of said rights.
Where does one find Scriptural support for this dress code?
Ari makes a good point:
And furthermore, circling back to and expanding upon Wes Clark’s original point about experience, history is agnostic on whether great warriors make great presidents. In the “yea” column you’ll find George Washington. Because I’m feeling generous . . . . I’ll throw in Teddy Roosevelt. And if you insist that I expand the column to include borderline cases, we could also talk about Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman, and Ike. The “nay” column is far longer, so I’ll just hit the highlights: Zachary Taylor, U.S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, John Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and, of course, George W. Bush.
I would certainly add the execrable Franklin Pierce, who — along with the hapless Winfield Scott — collaborated to make the election of 1852 one of, of not the, most awful presidential campaigns in American history. Pierce and Scott were nominated by their respective parties solely on the basis of their service in theMexican War. Scott, the Whig candidate, was a Whig only by virtue of his private (though widely surmised) opposition to slavery; indeed, he had apparently never voted in his life, which proved to be a unique advantage to the Whigs, who were unsuccesslly trying to avoid any national conversation about slavery. Pierce, though a Democrat, nourished his inner plantation master by supporting his Southern colleagues in their hopes of extending the rights to human property as far as the eye could see. The election was as awful in reality as it appeared on paper.
The Mexican War offered both candidates a seemingly non-partisan — and ultimately meaningless — basis for claiming a right to national leadership. At the time, the war had been pitched as a great sectional unifier, an expansionist war that — coupled with the acquisition of Oregon — would ease the growing political, economic and cultural distance between North and South. Over the next decade, however, the Mexican War evolved into a symbol of Southern expansionism — a war that gave the South the terrain it needed to rejuvenate itself. With Peirce as President, this view of the Mexican War would become all the clearer as the New Hampshire Democrat presided over the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and an utterly disastrous, pro-slavery foreign policy that sought to acquire Cuba.
Pierce was also the recipient of one of the worst gestures of 19th century literary hackery, when Nathaniel Hawthorne — an old college friend of his — wrote his campaign biography for him.
This has been another edition of what Publius said.
Interesting discussion about Omar Vizquel here. Some thoughts on the two questions:
- On the Hall of Fame issue, the conclusion of the more analytical observers seems right to me. I hate to say that — he’s been a favorite of mine since I saw him in Calgary as a minor leaguer, and he even worked out in my gym in Seattle in the winter. But I have to say no Evidently, this is a question of standards; he has a reasonable case under the historical standards for HOF shortstops, which the Veteran’s Committee has padded with Rizuttos and Jacksons and Bancrofts. But assuming we don’t want to use past errors as a baseline, I don’t think he’s even close. I think James went through this in detail at his site recently, but certainly we shouldn’t even consider Vizquel until Larkin and Trammell — also good shortstops if not quite Vizquel’s caliber and far better hitters — are in. Unfortunately, my guess is that the writers will compound their foolish rejection of Trammell by voting him in.
- On the direct retirement question, everyone who have the “MYOB” answer is right. If put in a more useful way, however — should the Giants release him? — I’m going to be contrarian. Vizquel is still an excellent defender, and on a team with 1)a lot of young pitching and 2)no chance of winning, I say play him. Every hit he saves Lincecum and Cain and Sanchez helps the team’s future. I wouldn’t play him in front of a good young player, of course, but the Giants’ Opening Day shortstop can’t hit .200 in AAA. Anyway, the key lesson of the Rays this year is the importance of putting a decent defence on the field, especially when you have young pitching.