Saturday, October 25, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson

If I had to choose one person in this world I would like to meet, Victor Davis Hanson might just be the one.  In conservative writing circles, he is highly regarded.  I first read about him in a column by James Lileks, one of the wittiest writers I have ever read, and whose political observations I respect immensely. He commented once that VDH had made a reference to something he (Lileks) had written, and was so moved, so humbly honored to be linked by someone he considered to be in a whole other league.  I had to check him out.

And guess what--his humility was well-justified.

I linked VDH to a friend of mine once, and after initially being impressed with the article, he was able to debunk all of it by telling me that Hanson was a Hoover Institute Fellow.  Hanson's most recent missive details the state of the political race as he sees it today.  This is a great summation of the frustration I feel with Palin-bashing and the inevitable course towards a socialist society that we are heading.  

Read it here.  

In other news: PUMAs and Democrats for McCain?  Sounds like wishful thinking, but I don't think anyone voting for McCain is going to be fooled into staying home on election day.  


Alan said...

So, if Obama wins, am I going to learn what it's like to be a Republican and have to weather the critiques of my friends against a President I support and wish the best for? Because I'm not looking forward to that part--but it does help me understand my buddies positions better.

I don't think this comment has anything to do with your post, BTW. I'm just thinking out loud. I visited MFTD in Stratford, CT yesterday and thought "How close is this to Boston?" and then thought, "But maybe Scott wouldn't want to meet up with me these days anyway, seeing how polarized we've grown about this election..." And that made me real sad.

Scott said...

Oh, come on, Alan! I'm not mad at you or anyone else for supporting Obama. Why on earth would you think that? I feel strongly that Obama is the wrong man for the job, but I would have to be blind to not see what his supporters are talking about. I just disagree. If I were that hard-headed I would be a very angry and confused man. I've been debating with my friends in California and Massachusetts for a long time about these issues, and I'm friends with all of them still (if I'm not, it had nothing to do with politics).

As to your first point, you will find out first-hand what it is like to support someone who is reviled by half the country. According to Biden, it could well be over three quarters of the country once Obama makes some hard decisions.

Alan said...

Well now I'm real happy! It's clear that my skills at disagreeing is rusty. I know my viewpoints, and I clearly hear others', but I do it with a queasy stomach and I worry that the act itself is going to cause a problem. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that with you.

So that's totally my deal. I've seen you have it out here several times and I shoulda known that you'd be cool.

magnetbabe said...

Stop calling Obama a socialist. It's offensive to the real socialists. ;)

Toni Anderson said...

I know you're still talking to me even though I like the Dixie Chicks :)

Never thought I'd be asking, 'How was the football' *vbg*

Scott said...

Natalie - Have you heard the radio clip that had Obama talking about wealth redistribution? It's more than just a Freudian slip to Joe the Plumber. Regardless of what he says now or on his web site, he believes in the tenets of wealth redistribution, and with control of the house and senate, he can do as he pleases.

Toni - There's a new movie about how the Dixie Chicks have suffered. You should check it out.

I'm not sure which football game you are talking about, but if it's the Cowboys, times are pretty lean right now. We're making up for a classically healthy team with lots of injuries. We have to play the Giants next week without so many starters, including the quarterback. Yikes. You never know though, this team was riding high on reputation and now they're just another set of faces. Maybe having to prove something and work through the season will build character.

Beth said...

I'm a registered Republican who is voting for Obama. At this point in USA's history, I should say, I'm an ashamed registered Republican.

Obama is the right man for the job, in my opinion, and I really hope and pray he gets a chance to show you and others when the time comes.

magnetbabe said...


I haven't heard this myself because I do not listen to the same types of radio stations you do. But if I'm thinking of the right one, it is from a 7 year old interview, was misinterpreted and the hubbub that is trying to be made of it hasn't gained any traction past the conservative news shows and blogs.

The latest scare tactic from the hard right is this notion that if the dems reach the 60 seat mark in the senate and however many they need in the congress that there is going to be a runaway communist re-structuring of our country. Its meant to get out the conservative vote because they know their party is in big trouble for what they've pulled the last eight years. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Scott said...

Beth - As you will then!

Natalie - I'm not sure if you consider me hard right, but it is a legitimate concern for folks that disagree with the politics of the left. I heard that interview online before it hit the news circuits. I'm sure that no matter what is said about Obama, or whatever Obama says about Obama, is a misinterpretation. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. It must be nice to have supporters with no standard of accountability but for the other side. As for conservatives getting what they deserve--on that we totally agree.

Alan said...

Am I crazy, or did I hear a sound byte this morning where Obama said "Taxes will not be raised on the middle class in an Obama administration, and you can take that to the bank."

I wish you could see the puppy eyes I'm making right now, Scott. I want you to believe him so badly. I want you to have your fears eased and I want to see you happy with the guy I'd like to see in the White House. :-)

As a matter of principle, have you ever voted Democrat before?

Scott said...

Alan - I was going to vote for Obama when he got the nomination, and I was a big fan of Bill Clinton, and yes I did vote Democrat. You made the observation that the media's attacks on Palin and overwhelming support of Obama has made me less open, but that's simply not true. I'm totally open to reason and persuasion, or I was until the flavor of Obama's politics became clearer to me. He can say whatever he wants and his supporters will swoon like teenagers at an Elvis concert, but the fact is that he is a far left leaning candidate that believes in wealth redistribution and disarmament. I think he's naive and he'll not only face an international crisis, he'll invite it, having completely neutered our defenses and making us an easy mark. He'll put what he thinks is fair--and again his fans will swoon--above what is best for the country. That's based on what I've heard him say and what I've come to understand about him. I think it's really sad.

magnetbabe said...

It must be nice to have supporters with no standard of accountability but for the other side.

Nice sideline swipe. The reason you hear me crying foul about the accountability of the other side is because I know I haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of convincing you of the things I don't agree with in regards to Obama's policies. Believe it or not, I do take issue with parts of his platform, but I know I haven't got a sympathetic ear here so I don't bring them up. I don't particularly want to extend our discussion to populism, healthcare, and ending the war before another American life is lost or taxpayer dollar spent. And I'm a little insulted for you to suggest that I am giving him a free pass simply because he plays for my team. I thought you knew me well enough to know that I think for myself (it's inherit in my profession, after all) and refuse to be brainwashed by anyone. I am passionately defending Obama because the economic and defense policies of the last eight years have been a miserable failure and I see Obama as our best chance to unite and put this country back together.

But I can also clearly see with the direction this exchange, our previous exchanges, and the discourse I see with other commenters that there is nothing anyone can say or do to convince you that Barack Obama is not a socialist who is out to rob rich guys (cue violin) and give it to lazy welfare queens. I don't have the energy to try to correct the misinformation you have gathered from your chosen media outlets. I never thought you were hard right, but frankly the links you have been putting up lately make me think otherwise. The "facts" about Obama's policies will come out soon enough. I've gotta take a break from this. I'll be back after the election.

Alan said...

Okay. That jogged my memory. You did sound pretty supportive there in the beginning, and now you believe he's going to do real harm. I think you and I both hope that you're wrong.

For me, his politics are the same as anyone else's. Risky and prone to opposition. That goes for Bush, Carter, Clinton and Reagan.

What's important to me is that I need history to move forward where the color of my skin is concerned. This is the first black candidate who has gone this far, taken as seriously, with an actual, good chance to be our President. Yes, it could happen again in the future with someone who more Republicans could like, but this is right here, right now. I don't want to wait any longer.

So someone pass me my fan as I swoon some more. ;-)

Scott said...

Natalie - I certainly didn't mean to offend you, but that is the risk we both take in debating emotional issues. I know that you can think for yourself, that's why I've been surprised that you haven't even acknowledged that some of what is said about Obama might be true. You immediately jump to the question of sources or dismiss things as misinformation. You read the NY Times and believe it for the most part, but I don't bring it up as a counterpoint every time you defend Obama. I have my sources too. We all do. I know you are smart, and I totally respect you, but you've given me no reason until now to suspect that there was any give in your ground. Clearly you perceive the reverse to be true. I'm sure if we had a sit down and talked with one another we would have more accurate perceptions of one another. And as for being hard right, I don't really think you believe that. You are just a little mad at me right now.

Alan - Like I said to Beth, as you will then.

Alan said...


It will be okay. My friend.

magnetbabe said...


I'm not mad at you, but I do feel like I need to distance myself from this conversation since I don't believe it will end in either of us changing our minds. And I have work that isn't getting done. ;) I have plenty of friends with whom I try to avoid political discussions for this reason. But let me just try to explain to you the frustration I feel over your whole argument without sounding dismissive.

I do not think all sources are equal. Part of the biggest problem I have with the internet is that anybody can blog and put their ideas out there no matter how whacky. That's fantastic and protected under the first amendment, but those sources shouldn't be treated with the weight of a legitimate news source. Yes, I read the New York Times and their editorial section is unapologetically liberal. But the facts reported in their news pages are simply that - facts. I also get facts from papers whose editorial sections are blatantly conservative, such as the Washington Post. It is generally understood that both papers maintain a high degree of journalistic excellence (130 Pulitzers between the two of them), and generally I trust them for my facts.

I also read Huffington Post, which is a blog written for liberals by liberals and while I personally agree with most of what's written, I take it with a grain of salt and acknowledge there is clearly a bias and a presentation of material to fit a specific ideology. That site would have you believe that John McCain is a war-mongering imperialist and common sense tells me that might a little reactionary. That is why I tend to brush off conservative blog posts and opinionated radio talk show hosts who can be incendiary and a little over the top.

I found the piece that your post linked to was exactly that.

Obama clearly said those words 7 years ago. He made a statement of fact that the Warren Court rulings bestowed civil rights upon African Americans but they didn't do anything to diminish the financial and social disparity between whites and blacks. As a constitutional lawyer, he also stated the fact that the rulings stayed within the constraints of the constitution so really they weren't radical rulings as was apparently alluded to earlier in the interview(?). He also admits that it isn't the job of the courts to narrow the socioeconomical gap between white and black America (nor does he ever say it should be, contrary to what the blogger writes), it is the job of the people and the communities to put pressure on people in power. Notice he never explicitly endorses redistribution of wealth, he endorses "redistributive change" which could just as easily be redistribution of power - it is a nebulous term likely meant to have multiple connotations. But the redistribution of power concept encourages people to become active in their government and elect people who will fight for their needs and concerns. This isn't a socialist argument at all, its a populist one. That was his whole deal as a community organizer. Part of Barack Obama's mass appeal is not that he wants government to take over the lives of people, he wants the people to take back control of their government and make it work for them. "We are the ones we've been waiting for" and "This election has never been about me, it has always been about you" are in my opinion the most effective points in his stump speech. Incidently, the appeal of taking "democracy" and giving it back to the people by means of challenging them to vote out the emcumbant party was a theme shared by every singe democratic candidate this cycle.

Or, it's possible he meant redistribution of wealth, which is also known as progressive taxation and is a far cry from socialism (please read: But more importantly, what this blog did was take his statements and rather than dissecting the meaning and context used it to push the already existing notion that Barack Obama supports a socialist agenda. And did you read a couple of the comments posted there? Yowza.

Anyway, scott, I really do like you and respect YOUR opinion. But I don't respect the opinions of the people you have been linking to lately. I hope no matter how the election turns out we can get past our differences. Sorry this got so long, I thought about just emailing you but didn't know if it was appropriate.

Scott said...

Natalie - Either way you want to contact me is appropriate, so no worries. I agree with you that no matter how this turns out we will get past our differences. No question. I'm going to hold you to that if McCain wins! Not that I think it's going to happen.

I think the NY Times is biased on what it will report as fact as well, but we can differ on that. They did hit pieces on Palin and Cindy McCain, but nothing so remotely comprehensive on Michelle Obama, nor have they held Biden to task for any of his monstrous gaffes. Not that I know of anyway.

I appreciate all your effort in presenting me with Obama's side of the radio controversy. I could be totally wrong, and like I said before, I hope I am.

I never said that all news sources are the same. I too have to weigh everything I read against what political bias I perceive the source to have. A lot of what I have linked I do agree with, only with some reservations, and a realization that I could be wrong. Politics is far and away not an exact science, and what we believe today is not necessarily what we will believe ten to twenty years from now. My reservations about Obama are based on what is in my mind reasonable doubts. We don't have to agree, but I am very happy that we can go back and forth and still come out being civil.

Good luck in the election to your man. It gives me some comfort that you feel so strongly that he is the right man for the job, because I know you do your research. I'm still not voting for him, but if he wins I will have my fingers crossed that he doesn't make a bigger mess of our economy.

Beth said...

Wow, Natalie is my hero. Seriously, everything she said. I've done a LOT of research before deciding on Obama. I just don't argue politics. It's futile. If you're on the fence, I'll try to help, but when someone is decided, they're decided. I respect that.

Is this why you didn't visit my blog this week? Because I'm an ashamed registered Republican voting for Obama? (Just keeping it light)