Thursday, October 16, 2008
Personal Asides: Axelrods Invention of New Debate Rules. Will You Believe Me or Your Own Eyes?...Chris Buckley for Obama Abolish the Current Catholic Charities and Form a New One.
Until recently the most devastating thing that can happen in a debate or a two-man talking head confrontation on television is after one participant claims his opponent wrote something which the adversary hotly denies, to have the originator of the charge produce a paper that shows indeed what the adversary wrote. In years past, I debated David Axelrod numberless times and while I never called him on something he had written because in his early years he was careful not to write much it was understood as a given that one debate partner could trump the other by waving the paper of proof.
But since then, Axelrod has moved from his always slippery confrontation in debate to a negation of fact notwithstanding that ones eyes tell you so. It is a logical outgrowth of the relativism, the disdaining of all absolutes, that in recent years has guided this wily eel who wears the toga as reformer when he works for Barack Obama and the opposite when he lobbies (without registration) where he is indentured to the Daley administration. While his candidate inveighs against the pernicious force of lobbyists, mere technicalities keep him from admitting that Axelrod is a heavy, deep-pockets lobbyist for Mayor Daley a case from which the slavishly pro-Obama, supine, boob media avert their eyes.
Now the tall, pale-faced Artful Dodger with drooping mustache has pioneered yet another strategy which vitiates the presence of all objective truth. Appearing on Fox News Sunday with a McCain aide, the McCain person properly said that Axelrod defended in written word the principle of patronage for political service. Axelrod looked at the camera and just said it was all a lie. The viewer is left to hear the charge and denial. After the television show it was demonstrated that Axelrod did indeed write a tract for the Tribunebut that is of no concern to Axelrod as he blunted the charge while the show was on. Not that what Axelrod wrote was faulty. There is, of course, ample justification for a modicum of legitimate patronage in city government based on political activitywhich the early Axelrod (in indentured service to his Daley master) wrote but the first reaction is to deny-deny-deny in order to get by an embarrassing moment.
Axelrod has brought his Axelrod theory of anti-intellectual lying and denial of fact to the presidential debate featuring his candidate. Obamas calm demeanor and sad shaking of his head fits in well with the abject relativism and negation of absolutes his mentor is famous for. Once when we were friends, Axelrod related a story about Tom Keane, the city council finance chairman who went to jail under Richard J. Daley for lining his pockets on real estate deals. That was when Dick Simpson had first come to the councila near north idealistic professor. Axelrod said as Keane walked out of the council chambers he muttered about Simpson, he really believes this stuff, doesnt he?
There was a time when Axelrod did too. Wealth, proliferation of big money contracts, the chopping up of his soul into tiny fragments to serve different and often contradictory masters have produced a beady-eyed gerbil on the make. Too bad, He has become a great tutor for another guy on the fast make who denies insatiably, sure that checking the facts is too arduous for average viewers to do. This tactic is similar to that of Joe Biden who invents scenarios involving national security which get him by on the stump and in debate which research has never quite been able to catch up with.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates were brilliant exercises in two exemplars of thought. They exist because the two propounded well the issues that divided the nation. If Axelrod had any influence with eitherbut let us say Douglas--hed have the Little Giant simply deny-deny-deny, get on the train and make it to the next stop where depending on the mood of the geographical electorate he would either affirm or deny a charge which suits his convenience. This decadence in political strategy can well be called Axelrod-ism. And the media admiringly think its cute.
Oh theres another Axelrod-gerbil reaction that satisfies the boob media. Unable to shake questions about his bosss killing the Born Alive bill four straight times in the legislature, he first said it was different from the congressional bill that passed. No. Then he said there was adequate legislation to prevent babies born from botched abortions from being allowed to languish and dieas one did in Nurse Jill Staneks arms in the hideously misnamed Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. That didnt work either since many protections were passed to safeguard blacks since the Civil Warthree amendments and numberless civil rights laws.
So now Axelrod has ordained that the response to this charge is that it is disgraceful. Disgraceful it is but not the charge. Of course the supine, star-struck media here accepts what he says at face value.
Christopher Buckley for Obama.
We have all noticed in genealogy the tendency of great men to provide disappointments in their progeny. Some with the Adamses plus a few notable exceptions-- but the F. D. Roosevelts certainly. Sen. Robert Taft sired a weak kid named Bob Taft who in the Senate could never make up his mind about anything and HE produced another Bob Taft as governor who was corrupt. The English Catholic church had in the 1940s and `50s its greatest living apologist in Frank Sheed who spoke in defense of traditionalist theology in Hyde Park, taking on all covers. With his wife Maisie, he formed a great publishing house. His great masterpiece of theology was To Know Christ Jesus. Such magnificent heritage went to waste with their son Wilfred, a fop who inherited a literary style which he used to denigrate his parents in the book Frank and Maisie.
At least Gen. Douglas MacArthurs only child, Arthur, changed his name and melted into the scene as a cocktail party pianist, recognizing that he was not up to his father and grandfather where he probably drinks himself in insensibility every night but at least hes quiet about it. Now we have Bill Buckleys son Christopher who is a literary celebrity of sorts but evidently cannot confront his fathers reputationso he veers off and endorses Barack Obama. We cannot know for sure but something must have weakened the sperm count in his conception.
I am probably the only one who feels that Richard M. Daley is not fit to loosen the sandal straps of his late father Richard J., because of one major fault. Richard J. took risks with his popularity and saw himself hated by the liberal boob media while he saved this city from becoming another Detroit. Richard M. began by assimilating the left into a new variant of a machine and presides over it with higher popularity than his father has had. But if Richard M. has succeeded by the Machiavelli strategy, he has become weakened and impotent by a disparate coalition where he fears to displease anyone. The biggest thing a mayor can do is not to plant flowers or beautify or built multi-millionaire parks with huge cost overruns. It is to protect the lives of the citizens in his community.
Rudy Giuliani decided to do this by taking on the ACLU and defending his police department against the antics of so-called human rights advocates including the editorial board of The New York Times. Richard M. Daley is a tool of the ACLU left he assimilated and has hired a police superintendent who is a hugely overpaid body builder who has never walked a beatwith the result that his police department has no respect for him and recognizes that if they stick their necks out Daley will flee to the protective cover of the ACLU and the radical Father Pleger who is on the police board.
The other day Terry Scanlon, president of the Capitol Research Center in Washington, D. C. which gives dispassionate scrutiny to charities, spoke at the Catholic Citizens of Illinois meeting and said what we all knowthat huge double digits of federal money come to the Charities nationally, trickle down to the state and local archdiocesan levels and turn the once pristine arm of Catholic social action into just another federal largesse machine, dispensing stuff the Church is opposed to and looks the other waycontraceptives, abortion referrals on occasion et al. In one diocese, Richmond, Virginia, Catholic Charities arranged an abortion for a young pregnant woman.
At the session were two women who are employed by Catholic Charities here. Their case was somewhat persuasive. Much of what Charities dispenses is invaluable to the poor (apart from the contraceptives and on the quiet abortion referrals). What to do? What to do is simply this. George Cardinal Mundelein started Catholic Charities during the Depression and it received largesse almost from the outset from the federal government. But now the federal monies blur the distinction between Church and government. Everyone agrees that in the broad overall, The Salvation Army is an efficacious agency. What should happen if we had an archdiocese with the courage to divide the causes dividing God and mammon is to strip Catholic Charities to the bone, reject federal grants and turn it all over to the Army. Then start a smaller one with a private budget thus sparing the Church from the embarrassment of violating its strictures, allowing it to have crucifixes on the walls et al. In essence a true smaller but purpose-directed Catholic Charities and let the Salvation Army do the rest.
This wont sit well with the man who really runs things in the Church here, Chancellor Jimmy Lago (which is his baptismal name and not used here as a term of endearment) who was once head of Catholic Charities and who is the top bureaucrat with legendary connections to the Cook county and Illinois Democratic party. But there may come a time, who knows, when Jimmy will be gone.