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.