Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Personal Asides: What Happened to Walter Hamilton?...Terry’s Trivia Answered…One Sentence Judgments.


What Happened?

I’ve had some queries about “Flashback” as to whether I went to Walter Hamilton’s farewell party and what happened to him. I learned to master the Commerce game, extending pseudo courtesies while manipulating revenge—but I couldn’t bring myself to attend the farewell party and wipe faux tears of farewell. At the time, my stomach wasn’t strong enough for that. Had I stayed long enough, I’m sure I could have as David Koch managed through his career. Walter Hamilton, ironically, died not too long…a matter of a few years…after David Koch—both of them relatively young, Hamilton only 52. Hamilton lost his Schedule C but had become a permanent civil service employee…lower pay but practically unable to be fired…thanks to some kind soul in the Nixon administration.

Terry’s Trivia.

Answers to the last two Terry’s Trivia questions: the musical arrangement described, the subject of a young orchestra leader’s first hit recording in 1937 was “Marie” for Tommy Dorsey. Correspondents Jeff Terklow and Denis Quinn were first with the right answers…and the president who was a very good bowler was Richard M. Nixon with the winners Lovie’s Leather and Jesse Taylor. Congratulations.

One Sentence Judgments.

Minnesota, the state where I lived for a long time, provided the launching pad for Hubert Humphrey’s civil rights initiatives notwithstanding the fact that blacks were scarce there when he lived; now this naivete has carried over to a guilt-ridden “tolerance” for Muslims (Minneapolis represented by one who insisted on being sworn in on a Koran) but has finally righted itself as 92% of Minnesotans blame Muslim cab-drivers for intolerance: refusing to drive passengers who carry alcohol with them for “cooperating in sin.”


It is heartening to see that Katie Couric, one of the more mindless network liberals, has caused CBS-TV to sink in its ratings under “World News with Charles Gibson” on ABC and “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” proving that hype alone is insufficient to gain ratings.


With all the bad news the Republicans have had nationally, presaging an almost sure loss of the presidency next year unless the party recognizes the value in avoiding internecine battles and instead concentrate in behalf of a front-runner, it’s an index of ineptitude that the GOP can’t capitalize on these facts: the very day deficit hawk Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) called for repealing the Bush tax cuts, the market fell 200 points, news came out that the wealthiest Americans continue to carry a record share of the tax load (the top 10% pay 2/3rds), the budget deficit continues to fall, federal spending slowed to a 2% growth rate while revenues climbed by 9.3% and statisticians say the deficit will continue to decline to 1.6% of GDP this year if economic growth continues…proving that a party that cannot capitalize on these good news points is woefully incompetent.


The recurring rumor in Washington is that President Bush will not lift a finger to pardon Scooter Libby which underscores at least one thing that the liberal media appear to have right: the apparent supposition that the White House is seemingly ready to throw an honorable man to the wolves to protect Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.


One is constrained to ask if the designation of U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as “mediocre” is due to the influence Illinois Republican and Democratic “Combine”…Jim Thompson, Richard M. Daley and Dennis Hastert types…exert on the White House.


News that White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s cancer has expanded to his liver is awful news—not just for him but for the country just as his talents have given rise to recognition that he has the kind of sunny optimism not seen since Ronald Reagan.


In “Reader’s Comments,” Dr. Dennis Martin aka the sepulchral voice of a finger-wagging Old Testament prophet has just lamented that I have endorsed Rudy Giuliani where, were he to re-read the piece, he would see that I have not…my point being that mobilizing primary wars on several different fronts involving ideal 100% social conservatives provides a waste of money and increases the odds of defeat next year, a year where Republicans will dip to the nadir of Herbert Hoover—the solution being to make a sober judgment on how to capitalize on the narrow chance that the GOP might just pull this thing out: but then after Obama or Hillary get in, perhaps the professor and all of us will re-learn from future college seminars how wasted financial resources, expended in the hope to elect the perfect president, spurred ultimate defeat leading to a generation of liberal administrations.


  1. Regarding Fitzgerald: Instead of “One is constrained to ask,” shouldn’t you instead say, “One can only conclude”?

    Regarding Dennis & Rudy: Any talk about the pitfalls of “moving to the center” or “lesser of two evils tactics” treats social issues as if their dynamics were no different from those of other issues.

    With social issues everything hinges upon capturing a majority on the Supreme Court. Until then, we are frozen still on some social issues (e.g., abortion); and on others, we can expect the Supreme Court to be like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get next.

    Hence, we should be willing to make practically any compromise to achieve this goal, but should permit no compromise on this particular goal.

    In other words, any of the present GOP frontrunners (including Rudy) would be worthy of support IF we can be confident 1) that he can win and 2) that he can be counted upon to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. However, if a future Republican president who appoints another David Souter to the Supreme Court deserves to be made a one-term president – and the more humiliating the defeat, the better.

  2. Dig the crazy wallpaper in the White House bowling alley!

  3. Tom, if you would read my comment carefully you will note that I did not say you endorsed Giuliani. I made an argument. Sepulchral, finger-wagging, Old Testament prophet language, last I checked, comes under ad hominem rather than engaging substance.

    Tom, originally you said you could support Giuliani only if he changed to pro-life. Now you are prepared to support him despite his reassertion and insistence that he will not change. You've moved the goalposts, closer to him. If I were Rudy, I'd say, "hmmmmm," I can get the prolifers to support me and I don't have to concede anything, really, to them.

    Just from the angle of political strategery, Tom, that seems to me like a raw deal. But then what do I know about politics? I'm just a sepulchral Old Testament prophet.

    All I ask is that you take the argument seriously. Haven't you abandoned your original condition? Exactly how does your seamless garment approach differ from the liberal Catholics' seamless garment approach?

  4. WPD,

    With respect, EVERYTHING does not hinge on SCOTUS appointments. Even if it did, what you offer is still a "seamless garment" argument: yes, Rudy openly and unapologetically supports legal abortion, won't commit even in principle to overturning R v W, offers at most "strict constructionist judges." These and his other "good policies" permit Catholics to vote for him despite his position on abortion. We don't like it when liberal Catholics say one can ignore a pro-abort politician's stand on abortion because he favors some other pro-life, good, policy. Why does Rudy get a pass and they do not?

    This is called proportionalism. Your and Tom's reasoning is exactly that of Richard McCormick and the other "consequentialists" condemned by John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor--the notion that some other good goal permits one to overlook an intrinsically evil act.

    And, in the long run, it's not even good political strategery. The "moderate," pro-abort Blue Blood, Combine-Republicans have taken pro-life votes for granted for decades, reasoning that "they'll still vote for us because the Democrat alternative is worse." With Rudy they are pushing the envelope, testing to see just how far that strategy can go before the pro-lifers say, "enough already." I can imagine the pro-abort Blue Blood Republicans chuckling in the back rooms: you see, those schlubs will even vote for an outspoken and unrepentant, unyielding pro-abort if we can scare them enough with The Alternative. In the future we won't even have to bother with the window-dressing, half-hearted effort to be "pro-life." We can be straight out pro-aborts and they'll swallow hard, hold their noses, and pull the lever.

    It's like a parent who says, "cross over this line and you'll get your bottom warmed." The child crosses the line. The parent backs off and draws a new line, "this time I really mean it." The child tests her, she caves, but draws a new line, "This time, I really, really, really mean it."

    I'm asking, as a matter of pro-life strategy, what happens when we draw a line (the condition Tom set: Rudy has to convert to pro-life before we pro-lifers can support him), Rudy crosses it, and then we decide we can support him anyway. One does not have to be too smart to assume that none of the lines pro-lifers draw really matter.

    At that point, strategically, the pro-life game is up.

    Don't give away the store, WPD.

  5. Dennis, your response would make more sense if I had endorsed Giuliani for the nomination, which I didn't. Presently, I'm leaning toward Romney.

    Frankly, I don't see the comparison between what I or Tom said and the "seamless garment" theory. After all, we are not placing some other goal ahead of ending legalized abortion. The issue is over what strategy will best achieve the same goal.

    Accordingly, electing pro-life leaders is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. I am less interested in the ritual purity of electing leaders with the right positions than I am in actually getting the laws changed to secure legal protection for unborn life.

    Is this giving away the store?