Quotes of the day

posted at 8:41 pm on November 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “by far, far and away” the Republican frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race, veteran Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer says…

“Now, he’s going to have trouble in Iowa. He’ll have trouble in other places. But I don’t think the Republicans want to commit hari kari . . . I don’t necessarily think he’s going to win, but they’ve lost twice.”…

“There are areas where conservatives will disagree with him but if you find a guy who wins by 22 points in a deeply, deeply Democratic state, you’ve got to take a look at him because whatever you think of moderation amongst some conservatives, it sure beats having a Democrat, a [Barack] Obama, or a [Bill] Clinton in the White House.”

***

“I think he’s DOA in South Carolina,” says Daniel Encarnacion, state secretary of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a libertarian group. “The perception is, he is just too moderate for the average, everyday South Carolina voter.”

The split in early opinion about Christie — that he has the best potential to open up an that has favored Democrats in recent elections, as opposed to the conviction that he is simply not conservative enough to lead today’s GOP — is an important phenomenon that may come to dominate the 2016 race

Of the early states, New Hampshire offers Christie the most favorable territory. Its primary electorate tends to be broader and less religious than those found in Iowa or South Carolina, says Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

“Right now, he gets the most votes among Republicans in our polls,” Smith says. “But he’s also tied as one of the Republicans the most people wouldn’t vote for under any circumstances.”

***

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the nomination of Barry Goldwater and the shouting down of Nelson Rockefeller at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. For many conservatives, the Goldwater moment–itself a reaction to the perceived moderation of the Eisenhower years–is a kind of nativity narrative for what’s best about the modern GOP. The story goes like this: conservatives disenchanted with Ike nominated Goldwater, whose defeat made Reagan’s ultimate victory possible.

The problem with that tale, though, is that it fails to credit the great historical fact of the matter: Eisenhower and Reagan had more in common with Christie than with Ted Cruz. Ike and Reagan knew how to win and how to govern, and they bent history to their will by appealing not just to a narrow slice of America but to the nation–even the world–as a whole…

No one is confusing Christie’s political gifts with Reagan’s, and it is hard to see how he could win a Gipper-like landslide in 2016. But he did something this week that no GOP politician has done convincingly since the Reagan era: he dominated the middle of a Democratic electorate.

***

Like Clinton, who so famously felt people’s pain, Christie connects. He has a reputation for confrontation — rightly — but Christie’s emotional range is much broader. His response to Hurricane Sandy was, in part, a great act of empathy. Near the end of his victory speech, he spoke about hugging New Jerseyeans.

What Clinton had that Christie evidently lacks is a well-thought-out approach to his party’s predicament. Clinton had a new governing philosophy, embodied in the Democratic Leadership Council and its associated think tank, and expressed in a raft of new policy proposals. Chris Christie has an affect and a style of governance, plus a resounding victory over Barbara Buono.

If Christie’s message to the GOP is merely that it should look to what he did in the Garden State and be as wonderfully unifying as he is, it deserves to flop. It could come off as boastful and hectoring, and about as original as the average political discussion on NPR. Coupled with his various departures from conservative orthodoxy, it could be toxic.

For Christie to capitalize on the opportunity he has created for himself, he will need a conservative reform agenda.

***

The governor’s record also includes some mistakes that conservatives will and should hold against him, and we are not talking about whom he has hugged. He accepted Obamacare’s invitation for states to expand Medicaid. He has expressed support for New Jersey’s strict gun-control laws and even (albeit half-heartedly) proposed tightening them. And Christie’s judicial appointments have fallen troublingly short of his rhetoric. He can reasonably defend his decision to abandon his appeal of a New Jersey court’s order to recognize same-sex marriage on the ground that the state’s courts were likely to turn a deaf ear; but that defense is also an indictment.

Then there is the question—and it is a question—of where he stands on national issues with which he has little experience. His dust-up with Senator Rand Paul this summer suggests that he believes, as we do, that we cannot shirk the responsibilities that come with being the most powerful country in the world. They also suggest, however, that he has a tin ear on these issues: The concerns many conservatives raise about the overextension of the national-security state may be unfounded in some instances, but someone who seeks to lead the conservative coalition should not peremptorily dismiss them. Unifying that coalition will require deftness as well as pugnacity.

Also unknown is what Christie thinks of the Republican party’s condition and how to improve it. Is he among those who think that the crucial imperative for the party is to soften its image on social issues? Or that what it needs most is an attractive standard-bearer—a tempting line of thought for any ambitious politician? In our view, the crying need is for an authentically conservative agenda that advances the interests of most Americans, and for leaders who can explain how it does so. Senator Mike Lee of Utah has cleared a path here: Will Governor Christie take it?

***

1. The I/Me syndrome. Christie shares this in common with successful presidents — the last two Democratic presidents, in particular. He believes in himself, which is good, and confidence is a sexy trait for voters, but he is self-assured, or self-possessed, to a degree that is already noticeable. While it’s true that presidential campaigns are cults of personality, we tend to notice when someone makes it all about himself. Christie’s 2012 convention speech, his keynote, was supposed to be a testament to another guy, Mitt Romney. Instead, it was self-referential. Self-reverential, even. Christie disagrees. That he disagrees is evidence itself of a willful blindness to the way his self-possession comes across. Christie will learn, over time, that what he did matters as much (if not more) than how great he is.

2. Blindness. Overconfidence, and an overage of self-piety, will lead Christie to insist that certain potential problems are simply not. (There’s no way that, I, Chris Christie, would allow myself to make that mistake.) To admit otherwise is to introduce cognitive dissonance. But as the Romney vet of Christie showed, there are potentially significant questions about his judgment that will dog Christie until he answers them without being defensive. This blindness will serve Christie poorly when it comes to choosing advisers, too. (Rudy Giuliani had his Bernie Kerik. And what was galling about it was how Giuliani simply could not contemplate the idea that Kerik was not up to snuff. Giuliani, after all, had picked him to be part of his inner circle.)

3. Temper. As a human being, Christie is entitled to get angry. As a presidential candidate, he can use his anger productively. A few flashes of uncontrolled annoyance are fine, too, making Christie seem like he responds to events just like you or I would. In a Republican primary, there’s also something to be said for lashing out at the media. Newt Gingrich became the frontrunner by tweaking debate moderators. But Christie’s flashes of temper tend to be volcanic and even scary.

***

But let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that Christie makes it to the general election. Imagine a time after the press has turned on him (as they turned on John McCain and other Republican media darlings). What happens when MSNBC plays video of him yelling at someone for the millionth time, and after George Will or Charles Krauthammer writes the column about the danger of an angry man having his finger on the button? What happens when he tells a national political reporter that “it’s none of your business”?…

It’s understandable why his advisors might not want him to tinker with his natural demeanor. And you can imagine the “let Christie be Christie” headlines that would surely emerge were he to tone down his style and fall flat. But conservatives who have seen the media turn on Republicans once they become a viable threat to a Democrat like Hillary Clinton worry his behavior will gradually go from being portrayed as “colorful” or charming to erratic and dangerous.

“If Christie yells at a teacher at a town hall in Iowa, that teacher is going to get a lot of time on television afterward — in a way that these people [who] get berated in New Jersey don’t,” says my liberal sparring partner Bill Scher.

***

All that Lowry love led a New Jersey political source to e-mail his disagreement. “He’s proven me wrong before,” he said of Christie, “but I think Rudy Giuliani is the more apt comparison.” And then he succinctly made a convincing case.

Anyway, you remember President Giuliani, right?
Italian American — check
Former prosecutor — check
From the Northeast/NY Metro area — check
Bully — check
Thin-skinned — check
Two-term chief executive — check
Built his rep on the backs of a disaster — check
Ridiculous hype about his prez aspirations — check
Questions about his conservative bona fides — check
Chief strategist named Mike Duhaime – check

***

“I am pro-choice, and that is almost a disqualification,” [Giuliani] said. “Christie is pro-life. I don’t think Democrats understand the Republican primary process. The reality is that being pro-life immediately gets him off the disqualification list. That is entry test No. 1. If you don’t pass that, you don’t get to any of the others. For people who are pro-life, it is a life and death issue, that’s the way they see it.”…

“His main appeal is that he seems like a common-sense tough guy. He seems like a Harry Truman—rough around the edges, but has common sense. Has an ideology, but is willing to make deal. I think there is a tremendous appeal to that. He is legitimately the frontrunner.

Unless, he quickly added, “Jeb Bush gets in. If Jeb Bush gets into it, he is like Hillary on the Democratic side.”

***

Feehery is more succinct: “It’s going to be a governor—or Jeb.”

Then there’s Jeb. The last name is obviously a handicap, though perhaps not as much now as last cycle. (The present Republican crew does make one nostalgic for even not-so-popular GOP administrations gone by.) His support of comprehensive immigration reform does not sit well with the base, nor does his embrace of Common Core education reform. (Or, as Corallo calls it, “his buddying up with the left on education reform.”) There is also some below-the-radar rumbling that the governor’s wife, Columba, is not ready for prime time. That said, Jeb is widely seen as a grown-up in a party with few of those. He was a very successful, very popular conservative governor in Florida, a key swing state with a large Hispanic population. And even that whole family dynasty thing has its upside. Sure, there’s plenty of Bush fatigue, but the name also helps open up wallets. “There’s always going to be magic with Jeb in this party,” says Corallo. “The money will flow.” Jeb is more conservative than his brother, which would help with the base, but he doesn’t scare business types. And even folks disappointed by his big brother’s presidency could take heart in the fact that, as Feehery notes, “Jeb has always been seen as the smart one.”

***

Before the New Jersey governor arrives, I find myself in the back of the room talking to two of his donors, one a personal friend of the governor who is very optimistic that Christie has a lock on the 2016 nomination.

“Nationally, you’ve got the Ted Cruzes of the world, Rand Paul, you’ve got all of these guys that are going to cannibalize each other for that piece of the party,” he tells me. “And there is no other figure out there, with the exception of Jeb Bush, who has this niche in the Republican party.”

The other donor, a former Wall Street trader, doesn’t see it that way. In his view, a Tea Party frenzy has taken over the party and only a conservative purist will win the nomination. “I think a Christie-Bloomberg third-party ticket is more likely than Christie capturing the [Republican] nomination.”

***

***



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The “Missing White Vote” Would Sink Christie

If you think that the reason for supporting Christie is that he would be more electable, please please listen to me. The exact opposite is true.

The “missing white vote” sunk Romney. And it would be much worse, indeed, totally detrimental, with Christie. The reason is that Christie is obviously more liberal and more disturbing to the conservative base than even Romney was.

I remember after Romney’s nomination, on Free Republic, in fact the owner of Free Republic, Jim Robinson, said he wouldn’t support Romney. He’d stay home. Up until the day before the election that was something I continued to hear from freepers, that they weren’t going to vote for Romney, some freepers disagreed, but with Free Republic representing a very conservative slice of the electorate, the translation was a missing white vote of 6 million. Romney lost because of that.

Now look at Christie. As far as his conservative credentials, he’s even worse than Romney. First, on abortion, they’re about the same. They’re both recent “converts” to the pro-life position. On guns, both are questionable. On gay marriage, both are questionable. On climate change, Christie remains steadfast in his support of the leftists on this, while Romney at least had partially recanted his previous support for the warmists. Also, Christie apparently has a reputation for coddling Islamists, a problem Romney didn’t have. Further, there’s the whole hugfest with Obama thing, another issue Romney didn’t have. See the Christie & Obama “love birds” holding hands on the beach, lol: http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/11/06/no_phone_call_obama_snubs_christie

But the big big difference is on AMNESTY. Romney came out as a “severe” right winger against amnesty, but Christie is all for amnesty now, and even Ann Coulter has abandoned her support for Christie because of amnesty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTZg3_F_6s

Christie is unquestionably more liberal than Romney.

The “missing white vote” would be huge with Christie, and we’d probably see the rise of a third party candidate like Sarvis in VA. If we want to win we need a candidate that unifies the GOP, not that attracts liberals. Krauthammer and the rest of the RINO Pundits need to stop their bloviating about how great Christie would be. Christie would be a Titanic disaster for the GOP.

anotherJoe on November 9, 2013 at 1:44 AM

If this don’t getcha, I give up.

G’night all.

hillbillyjim on November 9, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Shania Twain – “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!”

Anti-Control on November 9, 2013 at 1:44 AM

jhffmn on November 9, 2013 at 1:43 AM

DELAYING the Manatees?

WHY are we DELAYING The Manatees?!!

LET THEM SWIM!!!

williamg on November 9, 2013 at 1:48 AM

Christie is unquestionably more liberal than Romney.

anotherJoe on November 9, 2013 at 1:44 AM

Well – Of COURSE!!

Romney was “Severely Conservative“!!!

He TOLD us so!!

williamg on November 9, 2013 at 1:50 AM

…la la la la la, la la la la la

equanimous on November 9, 2013 at 12:30 AM

By Malayasian “psych” band, The Strollers:

“Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”

All together now!” :)

Good YT comments:

“This sound like the funeral home version…..”

“sounds like they all have a belly ache”

“Malaysian Rock and roll …hey hey my mind Rock and roll will never die”

“gong show version.”

Anti-Control on November 9, 2013 at 1:54 AM

DELAYING the Manatees?

WHY are we DELAYING The Manatees?!!

LET THEM SWIM!!!

williamg on November 9, 2013 at 1:48 AM

OH, THE HUGE MANATEE!

Anti-Control on November 9, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Check out Jay Leno’s treatment of Ted Cruz here:

http://youtu.be/2qBOAZ0XDRM

Cutting him off constantly, grilling him.

Would Obama be treated like this?

Anyway, Ted was relaxed and great, as usual. Got several rounds of applause as well.

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 2:47 AM

Twitchy’s just-posted take on the great job Cruz did tonight on Jay Leno:

http://twitchy.com/2013/11/09/sen-ted-cruz-holds-his-own-against-prosecuting-attorney-jay-leno/?utm_source=autotweet&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=twitter

I watched it earlier. Cruz kept his cool and was awesome in the face of a weirdly aggressive, almost snarling Leno.

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 3:10 AM

Leno goes after Ted’s dad and says he’s fair game for attacks. Did Leno or anyone in the media ever mention the Marxism or womanizing ways of Obama’s deadbeat dad?

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 3:15 AM

Obama apologists on Twitter are whining because Cruz got too much support from audience. Says Cruz must have paid for them. Hahaha.

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 3:29 AM

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 2:47 AM

Man, my opinion of Leno just we t down a coupe of notches. Yeah, Cruz acquitted himself well there.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 4:13 AM

anotherJoe on November 9, 2013 at 1:44 AM

Another thing Christie has accomplished throughout the Sandy affair is to further cement into people’s minds that their problems are to be addressed by big government rather than by community and personal effort.

And, of course, big media is only too willing to aid in forming that narrative.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 4:19 AM

Man, my opinion of Leno just we t down a coupe of notches. Yeah, Cruz acquitted himself well there.
Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 4:13 AM

Funny how Obama wasn’t introduced by Leno as a “polarizing figure” when on the Tonight Show.

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 4:29 AM

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 4:29 AM

That is interesting, isn’t it? I had always thought Leno wasn’t like that.

Well, the honest ones in the audience would have to have seen a genuine person in Cruz even if they don’t agree with him. It was a good forum for Cruz and he acquitted himself well. Used his time well to inform the electorate.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 5:17 AM

Check out Jay Leno’s treatment of Ted Cruz here:

http://youtu.be/2qBOAZ0XDRM

Cutting him off constantly, grilling him.

Would Obama be treated like this?

Anyway, Ted was relaxed and great, as usual. Got several rounds of applause as well.

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 2:47 AM

I get a message that says, “this video is not playable.”

Censorship?

Or just a “glitch”?

PointnClick on November 9, 2013 at 6:05 AM

Krauthammer and the rest of the RINO Pundits need to stop their bloviating about how great Christie would be. Christie would be a Titanic disaster for the GOP.

The holiest of holies – self professed conservatives should really consider moving to Alaska and Texas en masse. At least they can pat themselves on the backs for having 4 rock solid conservative senators and a handful of representatives that are mostly conservative.
Because winning on a national level is a pipe dream when 90 percent of the GOP is considered unworthy of votes because they are RINO, CINO, etc.

Heck with all those numbers in two states several offshoot programs of Doomsday Preppers could be a wild success in the local tv markets…

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 6:12 AM

urine.soaked.mattress.

Murphy9 on November 9, 2013 at 6:20 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTZg3_F_6s

Ann Coulter was dead right to dump Christie over amnesty, and Bush too. This is the hill to die on. She explained why.

David Blue on November 9, 2013 at 6:24 AM

Heck with all those numbers in two states several offshoot programs of Doomsday Preppers could be a wild success in the local tv markets…

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 6:12 AM

You are talking about Costco shoppers with that.

And the Preppers part of Amazon.

If you try to sneer when Walmart starts handling Prepper materials, then the mainstream is the marginal part of society… and when you look at all the Zombie Preppers and how they are not limited to a couple of States but a National phenomena, the question of addressing the pro-preparation people who saw, first hand, how ‘good’ Christie or Boomberg did with Sandy then becomes something that no National candidate has touched: personal preparation outside of the government.

Do not dismmiss what you think of as marginal because you are unprepared for disaster. Many have now taken the hint post-Katrina and post-Sandy that the government at the local, State and federal level are absolutely clueless on how to deal with disasters. Doomsday, Zombie and Natural Disaster Preppers are not marginal in any way, shape or form. And if you don’t have at least 3 days of supplies to ride out a disaster then it is you who are part of the problem because Sandy has shown us the time between being civilized and going barbarian is 72 hours. A Presidential candidate who utilizes this to support pro-preparation by individuals has a theme that goes way, way, way beyond the Doomsday Preppers and right into the mainstream.

ajacksonian on November 9, 2013 at 6:40 AM

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Another one who thinks “winning” is the Holy Grail.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Recommended T shirt for you that states “Self Professed Conservative – cuz at the end of the day what matters is how bad you lost…”

ajacksonian on November 9, 2013 at 6:40 AM

LOL – guess I hit a nerve.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 7:37 AM

if you find a guy who wins by 22 points in a deeply, deeply Democratic state, you’ve got to take a look at him

If you do find a guy that so many liberals love–run like a crazed person, unless you wish to win as a liberal and govern like a liberal. If you do, just stop fighting, let the present trend continue and save yourself the grief because moderation from principle in order to win is a guaranteed way to lose.

That so many on the “right” think that is the path, is but solid evidence of how far we are from the conservative principled nation we were gifted with great bloodshed.

Don L on November 9, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Christy need to get a running mate named, Jake.

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Recommended T shirt for you that states “Self Professed Conservative – cuz at the end of the day what matters is how bad you lost…”

Bradky on November

I’m guessing your T-shirt might say, “Dad won the election and all I got was this Socialism.”

You know your comment proved his point, right?

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 7:57 AM

I watched it earlier. Cruz kept his cool and was awesome in the face of a weirdly aggressive, almost snarling Leno.

bluegill on November 9, 2013 at 3:10 AM

I don’t think many were convinced that Leno was some sort of latent conservative because he busted on Obama recently. He likes his job. I’m sure he’d like to keep it.

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 8:02 AM

anotherJoe on November 9, 2013 at 1:44 AM

That was an awesome rundown.

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 8:17 AM

ajacksonian on November 9, 2013 at 6:40 AM

I have less and less sympathy for those NOT taking even the LEAST bit of prepping seriously. Good grief, alot can be done with $5 a week, and the family is much more secure, and self reliant.

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

You know your comment proved his point, right?

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 7:57 AM

The funniest thing about self professed conservatives is how they insist that democracy, apple pie, freedom and individualism are sacred. Yet, when the majority does not agree with them they insist it is socialism pure and simple.
Ideology is great in theory but not in practice — applies to both sides of the aisle.
But I can guarantee that at the point the GOP has a president in the white house and control of congress your tolerance for disagreement from the left will be nonexistent. Until then you get all butt hurt because your opinion is not getting traction – rather the moderates of both parties are fashioning what is the likely outcome.
Could call it “Smoothsailing gets his lesson on how politics and ideology really works”.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

and the family is much more secure, and self reliant.

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Until the tribes of have-nots take what they want through sheer numerical superiority. Ask the Y2K preppers how much they spent and whether it was worth it.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

ajacksonian on November 9, 2013 at 6:40 AM

Pressed submit too soon ….

Yes, you’re right .. there are millions of us out here.
Got me thinking about HOWa candidate could actually tap into these folks without sounding like ‘duct tape and plastic’, y’know ?

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Good grief, you don’t understand us very well.

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Could call it “Smoothsailing gets his lesson on how politics and ideology really works”.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Or you could call it Bradky blathered for three paragraphs and still managed to prove another’s commenters point.

You’re clueless.

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Good Morning, Patriots! …And, Troll(s).

We’re going to be gifted with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes … same sentence … with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect by the government, which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare — all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke.

- Dr. Barbara Ruth Bellar
My take: “Obamacare: Inception, Perception, and Rejection”

kingsjester on November 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Until the tribes of have-nots take what they want through sheer numerical superiority. Ask the Y2K preppers how much they spent and whether it was worth it.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

That’s the plan. Rush them? lol Ask the Chinese how that worked during their participation in Korea.

Once more. You’re a dumb f#ck. Most people that store several weeks worth of food in case of emergencies aren’t really thinking about your roving ban of gangs. But they’re prepared for that.

Are you really trying to still pass yourself off as a Republican?

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Until the tribes of have-nots take what they want through sheer numerical superiority. Ask the Y2K preppers how much they spent and whether it was worth it.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

That’s the plan. Rush them? lol Ask the Chinese how that worked during their participation in Korea.

Once more. You’re a dumb ass. Most people that store several weeks worth of food in case of emergencies aren’t really thinking about your roving ban of gangs. But they’re prepared for that.

Are you really trying to still pass yourself off as a Republican?

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Yeah. Not surprising coming from someone whose political philosophy could probably fit on a bumper sticker.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 9:46 AM

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Perhaps, as with Ocare, folks like Bradky will just have to LIVE THROUGH losing $100s of frozen food, or figure out how to flush their toilets when the entire city is out of power for a week or more, before they understand what we’re talking about.

Sure don’t wish that on anyone, seriously.

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

nice article for all of you self described “internet activists” [believe me when I say I have no illusions about what my postings on the innertubes really mean in the long run] to keep in mind:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/11/09/the_death_of_writing_and_its_impact_on_our_politics__120606.html

For four months before the battle of Gettysburg, Pvt. Myron A. Clark, a 21-year-old clerk in Company I of the 14th Vermont Infantry, wrote every day in a leather-bound diary he’d bought in Washington, D.C.

He filled it with descriptions of camp life’s boredom and tedium and flashes of news. His prose, marked with spelling errors, was spare, yet lively and informative, and an entry often said more than its words. On March, 19, for instance, Clark noted: “Peter Berges on Knapsack Drill for laziness & Frank Pasno in the Guard house for drunkenness.” Four days later, he complained of “a miserable straggling march of about 7 miles.” The 14th Vermont, in the middle of a nine-month enlistment, was having discipline problems.

By July 1, Clark was camped in a wheat field south of Gettysburg, Pa., ready for a fight after a 12-mile march. “I washed myself, changed my shirt, threw away my old one so it makes my load only a Rubber & Fly tent and pr. Socks, but it is enough. This P.M. marched for Gettysburgh & saw the smoke — guess the village is burnt.”

Then, two days later, different handwriting recorded that Clark had been killed at 4 a.m. by a 12-pound cannon ball that took off “all the back part of his head.” He was one of the first casualties of the battle’s final, bloody day.

“He was a good boy and soldier,” the anonymous writer scrawled. “The whole Co. mourns his loss & Especially his Capt. Such are the fortunes of War and they are deplorable.”

No heroic tributes, no tales of dramatic action, no lashing out vows of revenge — just sparse, direct description of a death by chance, a long way from home. In 27 final words, we are connected to the real cost of a hideous war that no statesman was able to step forward and prevent.

My research on Civil War writing leads me to one conclusion. If you are literate today, it does not mean you can write — not even close to it in many cases. But if you were literate in 1863, even if you could not spell, you often could write descriptively and meaningfully.

In the century and a half since, we have evolved from word to image creatures, devaluing the power of the written word and turning ourselves into a species of short gazers, focused on the emotions of the moment rather than the contemplative thoughts about consequences and meaning of our actions. Many everyday writers in the mid-19th century were far more contemplative, far more likely to contextualize the long-term meaning of their actions. They meticulously observed and carefully described because, although photography was the hot new medium during the Civil War, words remained the dominant way of communicating thought, memory, aspiration, hope.

Imagery is the primary medium of our time, a potentially powerful host for good change and authentic understanding. But in its shadow, we have gotten lazy in our appropriation of the correct words to assuage or understand or to seek the common humanity that is in all of us. Today, throwing barbs and brickbats into the Great Din of the Internet has become as second nature as breathing, and one can do it so ubiquitously that words have become devoid of any meaningful consequence. The Great Din requires no forethought, no real calculation of purpose or result, no contemplative brake, no need to seek angles or views beyond those that reaffirm or reassure what we think right now. The best photographers still work patiently and incessantly for the right angles, the right lighting, the right moments to tell the story most truthfully and honestly. Would that more writers do likewise.

This is a big reason why our approach to politics is broken. Seeking any edge, the leading actors too often talk about “optics” over accommodation or resolution. By boiling complex issues into single images or seven-word slams, everyone — actor, describer, citizen — is let off the hook, content with their own translators and tribes. Even the once-derided 30-second sound bite has become archaic, too lengthy for our run-and-gun debates.

The word appropriators in journalism have got to stop describing our politics in the language of war or pugilism. (If I see one more “traded jabs” reference describing a campaign debate, I am going to open my window and scream, and I invite you to join me). This war imagery is built on the construct that there must be definite winners vs. losers in any public policy outcome and that destroying your opponent is the ultimate goal. Some might think just that, but Pvt. Clark would not agree that politics is war. War is the failure of politics.

A picture worth a thousand words? Not even close these days.

Chuck Raasch is a former national reporter for USA Today.

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Glass Houses, Skippy.

kingsjester on November 9, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Ha!

Bmore on November 9, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

No kidding, Dick Tracy. Think about it.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Genuine.

Murphy9 on November 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Sure don’t wish that on anyone, seriously.

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

I sorta do. I mean, if they won’t take care of themselves, should we care what happens to them anymore?

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Bradky on November 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Classic. Your most colherant comment is actually someone else’s.

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Palin thread?

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2013 at 1:24 PM

plus a resounding victory over Barbara Buono

Who?

It bothers me that these republican talking heads are misleading us all about how fabulous Christie’s victory was. And its the only real accomplishment they ever talk about with Christie. What has he done? Huh?

Chris Christie = overrated

magicbeans on November 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

magicbeans on November 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I think he’s perfect for New Jersey.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I think he’s perfect for New Jersey.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I’d hate for them to lose him.

magicbeans on November 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

magicbeans on November 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Me, too. I think they should change their constitution and allow more than two terms.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2013 at 2:32 PM

smoothsailing on November 9, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Yeah, I feel that way about strangers, but with grown kids and grands, who just don’t seem to ‘get it’, yet, I’m sort of storing up for them, too. At least as a lesson, as they WATCH us, and hopefully ‘get it’ before it all gets too expensive or nasty.
Sigh.

pambi on November 9, 2013 at 7:10 PM

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