Friday, April 25, 2008

Republican of the Week

If you asked me which Republican in Congress has never yielded anything - except for the balance of his time - on the issue of Busheney's war occupation in Iraq, I would have to show you the honorable . . . .

... well, really, he needs no introduction.
Some of my Liberal acquaintances, yellow dog Democrats, and such don’t much cotton to Ron Paul, because he’s a free-marketeering Libertarian. That’s not exactly a plus in my book, either.

But in these days of the twinkling twilight of American greatness, I’m willing to seek out and ally with anti-militarists and anti-fascists wherever they can be found. That’s the way is ‘twas in the mid-twentieth century, right? Back then they called anti-fascist and anti-communist coalitions, ‘national fronts’. Remember? At this juncture, our national front against Busheney and McCain is not nearly broad enough for me, so there’s plenty of room for Libertarians like Mike Gravel and Ron Paul.

One thing I like about Paul is he doesn’t pander or cater to what George Lakoff calls as Congress’ Politeness-Trap protocol:
There are certain politeness conventions that members of Congress follow. For example, anyone in a US military uniform must be commended for his patriotism, ability, and dedication — even if it is a political appointee on a political mission, like Petraeus.

There is a reason for this, what linguists call 'metonymy,' a mode of thought in which a leader stands for the institution he or she leads. If this commonplace metonymy is used, a general in uniform reporting to Congress would be seen as standing for the military as an institution.
The thinly veiled facts are that the 4- or 5-star admirals/generals are political appointees. They are personally selected by the C.I.C. They're nominated, as it were, by their accession in rank. As they ascend in rank, the president can fire see that they are retired early until he finds one with whom he can work. Thus, General Shinseki and Admiral Fallon, to take two examples, were retired early so that Bush could get who he wanted in behind them. In fact, Petraeus, Patreus, Betrayus or whatever else you want to call him, no more represents 'the opinion of the military' than the next man or woman behind him. He's there because he represents the president's position.

Lakoff goes on to say:
Because the Leader-stands-for-the-Institution metonymy is widespread, members of the Senate and the House therefore treated the general with utmost respect at the hearing.
That's why you get the GOP's and the Dem's, alike, fawning over Petraeus, demonstrating their utmost respect:
Let me start off by thanking you for your service to your country...
That's why Bush has his General Pet appear in his full-medalled regalia. Eisenhower and Bradley, heroes of the Greatest Generation of World War II, were never this immodest. Bush, the chickenhawk, has sprung the politeness trap on Congress and is hiding behind the top-ranking brass chestplates which he has personally chosen to speak for him.

Bottom line in my book: Petraeus (General Pet) is fair game. And I'm glad Ron Paul is in the hunt.

14 Moderated Comments:

Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

Mayb, it seems to me, that Obama could win some electoral leverage or traction by pandering to Libertarians. Like offering Ron Paul a cabinet post: something a little heavier than a ceremonial one. That’s a wide-eyed scheme that should get a scream from life long Democrats, Dems with a capital D.

4/24/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Two telling quotes tell this tale:

1. Frank Rich in The New York Times 13 April, 2008:

Unable to even look at the fiasco anymore, the nation is now just waiting for someone to administer the last rites.---The prevailing verdict on the Petraeus-Crocker show is that it accomplished little beyond certifying President Bush's intention to kick the can to January 2009 so that the helicopters will vacate the Green Zone on the next president's watch>

2. Simon Tisdall in the Guardian 1 April:

George Bush's Iraq legacy will present his successor with a potential presidency-wrecker of a problem.

Why in the world do either Hillary or Barack want to be president?

4/24/2008 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ryland Grace said...

I've always liked Paul even when his Libertarianism went off the deep end. But the most telling thing about Paul and his recent run was while at the republican debates was how the other established canidates shut him down proving the point of Susan Jacoby's "The Age of American Unreason". Everytime Paul tried to make a point that our past actions in the Middle East had done much to foster the hatred there the others in the peanut gallery with him refused to even consider the point.

4/25/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

That's very true beach bum. Some of the Libertarian perspective is quite enlightened, especially the party's perspective on privacy.

Gravel, now in the same party as Paul, had the same problem everytime he spoke. (And these people were the "liberals.") As Gravel often said, "Why didn't my party support me?" That's why he's running as a Libertarian.

I like the idea of putting both Paul and Gravel in cabinet positions for the next presidency if Bile-ary doesn't mess up this election for the party, getalife.

At this point in time, we need a positive shakeup, but I can't envision how that will happen if the country continues to dumb down.

4/25/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

I liked Paul at first, but after researching what he has said about black people, gay people, women's issues, etc., I found that except for his war stance, he is just as foul as any other GOP hypocrite.

But Vig, I finally thought of one you could feature here without disagreement from me: John Dean.

4/26/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

Stella, Ron Paul got 16 percent of PA's vote Tuesday, which, combined with Mike Huckabee’s vote share, meant that more than a quarter of the voters in the Keystone State’s closed Republican primary voted for somebody other than their party’s all-but-certain nominee.

4/26/2008 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Tom, like I said, allies against the war-mongers are truly hard (and good) to find. It's the popular front, baby.

BTW, John Dean was Republican of the Week 7-Sep-07. But maybe I should bring him back. I think he has a new book out.

4/26/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

Yes, tomcat, you're right about Paul. I remember posting quotes stemming from his bigotry and accepting campaign contributions from Stormfront, David Duke, and numerous other hate groups that embraced him. Vig, I know you don't agree with judging a candidate by who contributes to their party. We'll have to agree to disagree.

Huffpo posted "...white nationalist and anti-Semitic support flowing to the Paul campaign reflects one of the difficulties facing candidates who do not fall into the midstream." About a year ago, the The Daily Kos quoted him directly as a bigot and misogynist. He's lost my "Republican of the Week" nomination. John Dean as Republican of the week? He doesn't qualify. On Tavis Smiley, Dean stated I don't speak as a Republican or a Democrat; I'm a long-time Independent now. Great interview.

Thank you for the reminder, tomcat. Either age or continued fuming about McCain's dismissive comment against women regarding the Lilly Ledbetter bill blanked my memory.

Vig, thanks for signing the petition. But ex"sponge" Spongebob? Ha! Fishpaste!

4/26/2008 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Stella et. al., I am relieved that no one seems to be calling on me to repudiate, disavowing, disowning, or renounce Ron Paul for his not repudiating, disavowing, disowning, or renouncing any racist supporter of his past.

Stella and TomCat: Maybe the delineation should be who quit the GOP after Bush became president. That would be A.N. as in After Nero. So, the question becomes when exactly did John Dean de-register himself from the Republican party?

4/27/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

Oh yes, tomcat has that right! John Dean.

4/27/2008 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

The libertarians are not the party of the people. I am surprised that we all seem to be forgetting this. Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, and "who cares" do not represent me, nor will they ever represent me. I would opt for Skip's Technocracy thing before I would consider being a libertarian. So that's all folks :-)

4/28/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

I certainly agree with you, Mike. I would never desert the Democratic ticket for the Libertarian ticket. But I think Geta-Life's idea of pandering for Ron Paul voters intriguing. Anyone who hates Iraquagmire can't be totally demonic, IMO. What if Obama hinted in October that he had Ron Paul in mind for a Cabinet post... what if....??

Come on guys, lighten up a little!

4/28/2008 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Adynaton said...

Clever article from Lakoff. He seems to get to the very things the administration does to manipulate public opinion. However, I think he gives everyone a bit too much credit for saying it's a metonymic way of thinking they take advantage of -- it seems like it's simple personification. They say: "Here's a guy with medals, and he stands for the troops. Because he is the Troops, you can't touch him." Paul does not like to take part in the show and that's why he seems wonderfully rude. Maybe he's just a very bad actor who decided to drop out the play. Or, if he really has Naziesque sympathies, he recognizes the aestheticisation of politics when he sees it.

4/29/2008 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

Food for thought Adnayton. Vigil I just don't know what to think of Ron Paul. Had he not decided to join Gravel in the Lib party I would have been able to lighten up.

4/29/2008 09:42:00 AM  

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