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2/17/2009
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: ALL’S FAIR THAT ENDS FAIR

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show,, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, we’ll have a look at the fairness doctrine and what plans there might be afoot to reimpose it. I’ll welcome Clarice Feldman of the American Thinker, Kim Priestap of Wizbang Blog, and my old friend Kender from Kender’s Musings to discuss the issues surrounding this dangerous threat to liberty.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

The Chat Room will open around 15 minutes before the show opens,

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 6:10 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

BURRIS WHINES THAT ‘MEDIA AND REPUBLICANS ARE ALMOST DESTROYING MY CHARACTER’

No, Mr. Fake Senator, confirmed as you were under false and misleading pretenses. You are doing a fine job of destroying your reputation yourself. You are a fraud, a liar, a perjurer (not about sex this time my lefty friends), and a slime merchant. You have proven yourself to be just another crooked Chicago pol and your only hope is that Democrats cover for you by saying idiotic stuff like “It could happen to anyone.”

If it had been known that Robert Blagojevich, the crooked governor’s crooked brother, had approached you saying that you could have the senate seat if you contributed $10,000 to Blago’s campaign, the United States Senate would probably not havet confirmed you. So you waited until the FBI approached your lawyers with the news that at least one of your conversations with Blago’s aides (that you didn’t reveal at the impeachment hearing either) was on tape. Hence, your 11th hour “correction” to your sworn affadavit.

If Joe Blow citizen had been caught lying under oath, do you think he would have been given a chance to “correct” his sworn testimony? If he had a good enough and well connected enough lawyer, perhaps. But this is par for the course in Illinois politics and so you will probably skate.

At least some Illinois Democrats are worried. From the New York Times:

“We all have a lot of questions,” State Representative Jack D. Franks said. “He wasn’t forthcoming, and that’s the bottom line. I feel betrayed. The real problem here is the question of trust for the citizens of Illinois. We were supposed to rise to the occasion and, again, Illinois becomes the laughingstock for the nation.”

Mr. Franks was a member of a panel assigned this winter to consider impeaching Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich after federal prosecutors accused him of trying to sell the Senate seat left empty when Barack Obama won the presidency.

In January, the panel heard testimony from Mr. Burris, who had been appointed by Mr. Blagojevich but not yet seated in Washington, about his ties to the governor.

At the time, Mr. Burris described to the lawmakers under oath an occasion on which he had spoken about his desire to become the next senator with one of Mr. Blagojevich’s former chiefs of staff.

But Mr. Burris now acknowledges he also spoke with others, including Mr. Blagojevich’s brother, Mr. Blagojevich’s chief of staff at the time and two close advisers to Mr. Blagojevich.

The senate should kick this lying rascal out and insist that Illinois hold a special election to fill Obama’s unexpired term. That is the only fair way to insure that the citizens of Illinois get a reasonably honest person to represent them.

But it won’t happen. Democrats, both national and state level pols, are fearful that all the slime created by Ali Blago and his 40 Thieves would rub off on the party and make the election of a Republican a real possibility. So they will play along with Mr. Burris and pretend he simply forgot to mention the attempted bribe (as well as his other “forgotten” contacts with Blagojevich’s staff) while counting on Burris’s African American base to run interference for him.

Meanwhile, Illinois Republicans, who are out of power and can do little except complain, are calling for a prosecutor to investigate Burris for perjury charges. Fat lot of good that will do. Here are the “wait and see” Democrats:

“This is troubling,” said State Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat, adding that he intended to study all of Mr. Burris’s previous comments, and hoped that his colleagues would do the same. “My take is that this could still go either way. We could determine that Mr. Burris was simply negligent and had a failing memory in a very honest way. On the other hand, we may find out that he knew more than he was willing to explain.”

“Negligent” in “an honest way?” 

Ain’t Illinois politics grand?

 This blog post originally appeared on The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 8:57 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

2/16/2009
CPAC AGENDA SHOWS CONSERVATIVES STILL IN DENIAL

The theme of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) should be “Cocooning our way to Irrelevancy” or perhaps “How to lose the next 5 elections in 10 easy steps.”

From my point of view, it really is that bad. With the exception of some effort to bring conservatism into the 21st century communications-wise, the program appears to be an excellent panacea for what ailed conservatism in about 1980. It’s as if the debacles of 2006 and 2008 never happened. Does it matter that the very same people who helped get us clobbered the last two election cycles are running seminars and roundtables at the conference? Not if you’re a movement still in denial that it will take more than “message tweaking” and better utilization of the internet to bring conservatism back and make it relevant to a large portion of Americans again.

The side conference being sponsored by PJTV - “Conservatism 2.0″ - looks interesting but here again, we have familiar faces who haven’t expressed much interest in real conservative reform. (Some panelists on the communications side are the exception.) Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin are internet friends of mine and I agree with them on many issues. But are they really the people to be running a “Conservatism 2.0″ conference? Perhaps I misunderstand what they are trying to accomplish. And I may be pleasantly surprised. But before we can even get to “Conservatism 2.0″ perhaps we should be thinking of taking a remedial course in what conservatism should mean in our modern society. I’m afraid this sort of introspection will reveal how far afield conservatism has strayed but may also generate thoughts and ideas about how conservatism can be relevant in a 21st century industrialized democracy.

Online activism is fine and seeking new ways to communicate is an excellent idea. But does it matter what we will be trying to get across? If so, I’m not sure that this PJTV side conference will accomplish anything useful.

Alright…so. My idea of “reform” is probably a helluva lot different than most conservatives. But maybe we could start with the recognition that in elections, the way you win is by getting one more vote than the other side. And no matter how you want to add up the numbers, the 30% of so of the nation that identifies itself as “conservative” will always fall short of 50% + 1. I hate to break this news to my fellow conservatives; you can use any kind of mathematical hocus pocus you wish but there just aren’t enough of us to only allow “true conservatives” a place at the table. The absence of conservatives like David Frum, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, and others who probably agree with 90% of conservative positions on the issues but have been driven from the movement for their apostasy — real or imagined — is as incomprehensible as it is depressing.

This is the way back? It’s not a question of being “moderate” or “true-blue” but rather how long does conservatism want to wander in the wilderness? Ideas on how to reform conservatism — and I speak of real reform, not the cosmetic solutions that appear will be offered at CPAC — must come from as many sources as possible. Some conservatives might not like the smell inside the “Big Tent” but turning up your nose at people who disagree with you on one or two issues is just plain nuts. “Litmus tests” and the like are all well and good unless you are a minority, getting smaller and less relevant, and don’t wish to find a way back in order to compete in the marketplace of ideas.

Our dire situation doesn’t seem to have sunk in yet. This is evident by how many sessions are scheduled that appear to have been lifted from the agenda of a decade or more ago. To wit:

Thursday, 2/26 at 10:10:

“The Key to Victory? Listen to Conservatives”

Michael Barone, U.S. News and World Report
Rep. Aaron Schock (IL)
Rep. Peter Roskam (IL)*
Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC)*
Saul Anuzis, Michigan Republican Party

Moderator: Al Cardenas, American Conservative Union Board of Directors

I would listen to Michael Barone if he appeared in a bathtub. As for the rest, the day the conservative movement stops listening to members of Congress (with precious few exceptions) is the day we begin the road back.

Thursday, 2/26 at 1:50 pm

“New Challenges in the Culture War”

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ)*
Dr. Janice Crouse, The Beverly LaHaye Institute
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law

Moderator: Marjorie Dannenfelser, Susan B. Anthony List

New, old, what’s the difference? The issues are losers. The GOP is no longer seen as the party of fiscal restraint, low taxes, and strong defense but rather the gay bashing, anti-woman, anti-minority party. Those who believe a simple tweaking of the message will change that are dreaming.

Friday, 2/27 at 9:00 AM

Breakfast with Phyllis Schlafly: “Doing the Impossible”

Schafly is one smart, tough woman but part of the ancien regime. The same goes for many of the speakers at the conference. Ann Coulter will once again try to make headlines by attempting to top her own outrageousness. Ralph Reed is selling a book and hardly relevant to my idea of modern conservatism. The Members of Congress invited are, with a couple of exceptions, an uninspiring lot. Mike Pence and Eric Cantor are two of the more thoughtful House members in the Republican caucus but the rest are vanilla and oatmeal.

There are a couple of interesting sessions including Thursday morning’s “Timeless Principles, New Challenges: The Future of the Conservative Movement.” But the panelists? Van Hipp, American Defense International, Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal, and Bay Buchanan, of the The American Cause would not be my choices to run this session. How about Ross Douthat or Marc Ambinder? These are guys who have given conservative reform a considerable amount of thought. Alas, they are not “pure” enough for this crowd.

Also a session I plan on attending will be “Building the Conservative Hispanic Coalition.” I will almost guarantee that it will be the least popular session as far as attendance at the conference. Given the way GOP candidates shamefully and inexplicably dissed Hispanics by refusing to show up for the Spanish TV debate, I would be ashamed to show my face at this session too.

And, as I mentioned, there is the PJTV side conference. At least here, there appears to be an effort to think outside the box. Patrick Ruffini will be on a panel with Jude Cristobal, singer-songwriter, Andrew Klavan, award-winning author and screenwriter, and Alfonzo Rachel, advocate of right-minded ideas on new media talking about “New Media Empowering Conservative Messages.” There isn’t a new message yet but at least we’ll be ready when there is one.

Saturday’s PJTV session is being billed as a “conservative answer to The View “and features some pretty savvy women moderators including Michelle Malkin, political strategist Jeri Thompson, and pollster Kellyanne Conway. The concept is interesting but I question how it plays into the “Conservatism 2.0″ theme. A take off of an MSM television show and transferring the format to internet TV may be entertaining but instructive how? It would seem to me that the format might get in the way of any kind of serious discussions about the future of conservatism but, I may be pleasantly surprised.

Perhaps I am expecting too much from a conference where conservatives are gathering to learn about activism (there are several sessions about “nuts and bolts” politics that are always very good), enjoy the company of mostly like minded people, and gape at some of the stars of the conservative movement.

But looking at the agenda and the speakers for CPAC 2009, I can’t help but think that this will be a lost opportunity. There is so much for conservatives to think about; facing up to the failures of the Bush years and conservative’s role in enabling those failures; less ideology and more pragmatism; a fundamental reassessment of how conservative principles can be relevant in a nation of 300 million people of varied ethnicity and interests; and a radical cleansing of limiting ideas that stifle debate and place more emphasis on assessing the purity of one’s conservative beliefs by a self-selected minority rather than accepting and embracing our differences.

And most importantly, fleeing the mindset that re-enforces the notion that there isn’t much really wrong with conservatism that a dab of message clarification here and a spot of renewed enthusiasm there won’t cure. Accepting the fact that there are fundamental problems is the first step toward recovery.

Unfortunately, CPAC fails miserably in that regard.

UPDATE

Here’s more from some clear thinking conservatives:

Frum:

Could we possibly act more inadequate to the challenge? More futile? More brain dead?

We in fact have a constructive solution to offer, one that would deliver more jobs faster: the payroll tax holiday, an idea endorsed by almost every reputable right-of-center economist. But that’s not the solution being offered by Republicans in Congress. They are offering a clapped-out package of 1980s-vintage solutions, including capital gains tax cuts. Capital gains! Who has any capital gains to be taxed in the first place?

Almost 70% of Americans say that President Obama will change the country for the better, the CNN poll found Feb. 7-8. Asked whether President Obama is doing enough to cooperate with Republicans, 74% said yes. Asked whether Republicans are doing enough to cooperate with President Obama, 60% said no.

In every poll I’ve seen, hefty majorities approve of President Obama’s economic performance. Approval numbers for congressional Republicans remain dismal.

If we’re to make progress in 2010, we have to look serious. This week we looked not only irrelevant, but clueless and silly. Quite a job for a little mouse.

Douthat:

But that’s a big if - which is why the more likely road to revival for the GOP probably starts outside Washington, with politicians who can afford to be experimental without constantly worrying about what Rush Limbaugh would say about them. This is one of the ways reform happened in the Democratic Party of the ’70s and ’80s: You had a collection of distinctive and innovative political figures - your “Atari Democrats,” your neoliberals, your “New Democrats” - who were testing out new ways of being liberal in statewide races long before their ideas were embraced by the party nationally. (Some of them still haven’t been, of course, as Mickey Kaus will be happy to inform you.) What the Republican Party needs, above all, is a generation of politicians who can fill the “center-right” space currently occupied by time-servers like Arlen Specter and Susan Collins with a politics that’s oriented around policy, rather than process. It needs a reform caucus that’s actually interested in reform (as opposed to deal-cutting), and that’s populated with politicians who have tried something new in difficult political terrains, and proven that it might work.

If such a caucus doesn’t emerge in Washington, though, then the party has to hope it emerges in the statehouses - and that one such statehouse occupant has what it takes to win the party’s nomination, the Presidency, and singlehandedly turn the GOP away from it’s self-defeating, self-destructive habits along the way. This is both the easiest way for the party to acquire the leadership it needs, and the hardest: It’s the easiest because it only requires the emergence of one great politician, rather than the slow cultivation of a generation of them; and it’s the hardest because it depends on the skills and vision of a single reform-minded leader, rather than a pooled efforts of like-minded cohort. Some of the failures of the Bush Administration, it’s worth noting, reflect precisely the latter set of dangers: You had a President trying, fitfully but with some sincerity, to create a new kind of conservatism (compassionate, big-government, whatever) without the kind of institutional and intellectual support that his project required. And it’s easy to imagine the next Republican President - whether it’s Jindal in 2016 or whomever - running into the same sort of problems, and running aground on them as well.

And yet, these guys are frozen out of CPAC and Ann Coulter gets center stage?

By: Rick Moran at 12:44 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (66)

2/15/2009
NEIWART AND THE LEFT DON’T GET IT

Dave Neiwart has an interesting piece up at Crooks and Liars today about why some kind of Fairness Doctrine is necessary to “level the playing field” in talk radio where conservatives dominate.

His thesis is not that no one wants to listen to liberals on the radio, it’s that conservatives own the communications companies that program conservative talk and freeze out liberals for ideological reasons. (Bill Press said something similar last week.)

The core problem is ownership: Radio station ownership in the past twenty years has been decidedly conservative. And anyone who’s worked in media can tell you that ownership sets the tone and direction of what you do. After the Fairness Doctrine was removed, these wealthy right-wing owners effectively proved right one of the fears that drove the creation of the Fairness Doctrine in the first place: That the wealthy can and will dominate the political conversation on the public airwaves by simply buying up all the available space. Since the wealthy in this country are overwhelmingly conservative, the end result was not only predictable, it was in fact predicted.

Liberal radio has withered on the vine not for the lack of demand, but for the lack of ownership dedicated to nurturing talent, promoting the product, and creating local outlets as well as national markets. Still, one of the right’s favorite myths about the Fairness Doctrine has been that these stations failed because no one wanted to listen, as in this Fox report (video above):

But Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe said radio programming should be based on what brings in listeners and advertisers.

“I can’t think of anything worse than to have government in a position to dictate the content of information going over public radio,” said Inhofe, a Republican. “The whole idea is that it has to be market driven. We have a lot of progressive or liberal radio shows but nobody listens to them and every time one tries to get on, they are not successful.”

On the contrary, as Bill Press observes:

Unfortunately, what’s happening in Washington reflects what has happened in one city after another across the country. In Miami, Clear Channel recently dumped progressive talk for sports: Clear Channel stations made the same move in San Diego and Cincinnati. Sacramento abandoned progressive talk for gospel music. In fact, according to a study released by the Center for American Progress and Free Press, there are nine hours of conservative talk for every one hour of progressive talk.

In fact, the only reason there’s not more competition on American airwaves is that the handful of companies that own most radio stations do everything they can to block it. In many markets — witness Philadelphia, Boston, Providence and Houston — they join in providing no outlet for progressive talk. In others, as in Washington, they limit it to a weak signal, spend zero dollars on promotion and soon pull the plug.

Companies are given a license to operate public airwaves — free! — in order to make a profit, yes, but also, according to the terms of their FCC license, “to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance.” Stations are not operating in the public interest when they offer only conservative talk.

For years, the Fairness Doctrine prevented such abuse by requiring licensed stations to carry a mix of opinion. However, under pressure from conservatives, President Ronald Reagan’s Federal Communications Commission canceled the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, insisting that in a free market, stations would automatically offer a balance in programming.

That experiment has failed. There is no free market in talk radio today, only an exclusive, tightly held, conservative media conspiracy. The few holders of broadcast licenses have made it clear they will not, on their own, serve the general public. Maybe it’s time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine — and bring competition back to talk radio in Washington and elsewhere.

First, it is apparent that liberals don’t get out much - at least enough to talk to a real live businessman. The idea that an executive at Clear Channel or some other giant corporation would deliberately avoid programming that would make money is so stupid as to be beyond belief. Those men and women are in no position to allow their personal politics to color decisions that could cost their company millions of dollars in revenue.

I do not think it necessarily because there is no market for liberal talk. Neiwart makes the point that even in liberal bastions like Seattle and San Francisco, conservative talk reigns. The clue is staring Press and Neiwart right in the face but they are refusing (or are too blinded by their own rigid ideological framwork) to see it.

Radio stations want to make money.

Ooops. There I go, I said it. Replacing programming that wasn’t making any money with programming that will (or at least make more than liberal talk) doesn’t seem to enter into these gentleman’s heads. Jesus, even Press mentioned a “conservative conspiracy.” What a dolt.

At bottom, we are not talking about politics or ideology. We are talking about entertainment - “the boredom killing business” as Cheyevsky’s Arthur Beale so presciently put it. Neiwart and Press do not have one shred of evidence that liberal talk radio is not doing well because it is being stifled by mean, greedy, conservative owners. They are positing a complex rationale for something that has an extremely simple explanation; conservative talk jocks who are successful are entertaining people enough that they tune in for the yucks as well as the rants.

Neiwart dismisses this explanation out of hand - and reveals a towering ignorance about the radio business to boot:

What Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have been telling their audiences is that any talk about the Fairness Doctrine is actually about trying to “silence” them. But of course, no one’s interested in “silencing” anyone on the right: all we’re talking about is creating a level playing field on the public airwaves so that a broad range of viewpoints can be heard instead of just one narrow bandwidth of ideology. This notion, naturally, is what they fear most, since their ideas don’t compete well outside the vacuum they’ve created.

Ideas that don’t “compete well?” This is somewhat contradictory to his thesis in that conservative talk blows away the competition in every single city where they come head to head. And please, we are all grown ups here, Dave. Your panacea of dealing with diversity in ownership is one thing (something I am sure I could support if it were sufficiently free market oriented). But do you really believe your ideological cohorts in politics aren’t extremely interested in getting Rush Limbaugh off the air? Or, more to the point, making it impossible for a radio station to program talk shows it wants to rather than being forced to put some spitting, ranting lefty on for 3 hours after Limbaugh goes off the air? Your playmates on Capitol Hill will honor the first amendment in the breach. They aren’t quite the stickler you are for that “Congress shall make no law” stuff.

I cannot imagine Bill Press being as entertaining as the most dullard conservative talk show host I’ve heard (and I’ve been on the radio enough to have heard plenty). He’s not even entertaining on CNN in the few minutes he has to spout. And that’s the nub of the matter here - entertainment. People turn on radio not to weigh the heavy issues of the day with some sonorous, monotoned stuffed shirt like Bill Press. They want fun! They want mayhem! Or they want someone who will rouse their emotions - something you’ve commented on relentlessly Dave and, to some extent I agree. Bill Press is as entertaining as a ham sandwich. I say anyone who listened to him on the radio was a masochist.

I don’t know what the answer is, as far as getting more entertaining liberal radio hosts. Maybe they should read some joke books. Maybe they should learn how to interview a guest. Hugh Hewitt is a master interviewer and raconteur. He’s a conservative with a national audience but he’s hardly a flame thrower. What he has is empathy for his guests and the skills to bring out the interesting tidbits - a Larry King without the moronic celebrities. What’s her name Maddow is a good interviewer. She will get better. Olbermann is a clown but his secret is that - gasp! - he’s entertaining. I don’t know too many liberals who listen to Michael Savage - a true hater of the right. But I know plenty of liberals who listen to Rush Limbaugh just as I know conservatives who watch Olbermann.

It’s not a conspiracy. It’s show biz. And if Neiwart and Press don’t understand this - if they’re friends on the Hill don’t get it either, then the chances of some kind of fairness doctrine being reimposed are pretty good. This would be a shame because it will kill talk radio thus making the need for it obsolete. And radio will once again get very boring and vanilla.

The Fairness Doctine supporters may as well be advocating the battle cry “Bring back the Top 40 countdown!”

By: Rick Moran at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)

IS THE RIGHT READY TO RETURN TO POWER?

What conservatives have yet to do is confront the large but inescapable truth that movement conservatism is exhausted and quite possibly dead. And yet they should, because the death of movement politics can only be a boon to the right, since it has been clear for some time the movement is profoundly and defiantly un-conservative—in its ideas, arguments, strategies, and above all its vision.
(Stan Tanenhaus writing in The New Republic)

Another in a series of conversations with myself about conservatism. Part I, Part II. See also this series of posts.

Tanenhaus decries the fact that ideology has dominated conservatism since the rise of Reagan which may be a satisfying position philosophically but I don’t know if it matters that much when it comes to the actual nuts and bolts of politics.

Indeed, Tanenhaus’s complaint is reminiscent of arguments I’ve had with conservatives online for years; philosophy and reason vs. ideology and passion.

Tanenhaus:

Chambers was not alone in seeing a divide between classic conservative thought and the polarizing politics of the movement. Indeed he seems to have been influenced by “The Politics of Nostalgia,” an essay by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. published in June 1955, five months before the first issue of National Review appeared. Schlesinger’s subject was the unexpected rise of “conservatism as a respectable social philosophy” in the postwar period. One book in particular, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, a sumptuously written survey of the classic Anglo-American tradition of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had attracted much attention. But, Schlesinger noted, there was a strange disconnect. Kirk and others genuinely revered traditional conservatism. And yet, once “they leave the stately field of rhetoric and get down to actual issues of social policy, they tend quietly to forget about Burke and Disraeli and to adopt the views of the American business community.” Kirk, for example, denounced federally sponsored school lunch programs as a “vehicle for totalitarianism” and Social Security as a form of “remorseless collectivism.”

Where in this, Schlesinger asked, was even a hint of classic conservatism, with its concern for the social and moral costs of unchecked industrial capitalism?

Disraeli with his legislation on behalf of trade unions, his demand for government intervention to improve working conditions, his belief in due process and civil freedom, his support for the extension of suffrage, his insistence on the principle of compulsory education! If there is anything in contemporary America that might win the instant sympathy of men like Shaftesbury and Disraeli, it could well be the school lunch program. But for all his talk of mutual responsibility and the organic character of society, Professor Kirk, when he gets down to cases, tends to become a roaring Manchester liberal of the Herbert Hoover school.

Schelsinger the elder, an old school progressive and a believer in materialism as the main determinant of history, was perhaps the greatest social historian of America in the 20th century having basically invented the genre. Arthur Jr., by contrast, eschewed some of his father’s beliefs regarding the insignificance of the individual’s contributions to historical progress and embraced a “man of action” liberalism first with Stevenson and then, reluctantly, with Kennedy who he didn’t see as much of a liberal at all. (His painfully beautiful prose in A Thousand Days won him a second Pulitzer but is peppered with “might have beens” if only Kennedy had been more a man of the left.)

I’m not sure that quoting a young Arthur Shlesinger’s opinion of Professor Kirk’s seminal work tells us anything about modern conservatism but rather what classic liberals would like modern conservatives to believe. Kirk may have used a little hyperbole to get his point across but to dismiss him as a “Manchester liberal” is nonsense. One of Kirk’s six “Canons of Conservatism” is a “belief in transcendant order” which infers some government regulation of the economy as well as government assistance to the poor. Kirk was disgusted with libertarians (and later in life, neoconservatives) and it stands to reason he would have rejected the charge that he believed in some kind of souped up laissez-faire capitalism.

But Schlesinger - and Tanenhaus’s - points are well taken regarding how far movement conservatism strayed from is Burkean roots. And the first principle of classic conservatism - that conservatives should reject excessive ideology in favor of reason - can be seen as modern conservatism’s greatest failing.

Now, politics is a game not conducive to breeding cool heads. If we accept the classic definition of politics as “the art of governing” then we can see that the “art” inherent in politics is finding ways to move vast numbers of people to agree with you and vote accordingly. The best way to appeal to the masses - or perhaps the way that has proven to have the most success - is to manipulate the emotions of the voter. This would appear to be the very definition of ideology in that its birthplace - the French Revolution - was a boiling cauldron of emotions and resentments that were expertly exploited by Robespierre and his gang of cutthroats on the Committee of Public Safety and led directly to “The Terror.”

Although he apparently looked with favor on the beginnings of the French Revolution, even prior to the terror Burke was calling for restraint and a return to honoring the “contract with society” that rejected the overwhelming passions aroused across the channel in favor of enlightened “national tradition.” Conserving the notion that well ordered societies depended on preserving what was handed down from those who went before was paramount. Change, while necessary, should be ordered by tradition and not carried out as a response to passions aroused in the ideological battles that erupt in political societies.

Tanenhaus:

The story of postwar American conservatism is best understood as a continual replay of a single long-standing debate. On one side are those who have upheld the Burkean ideal of replenishing civil society by adjusting to changing conditions. On the other are those committed to a revanchist counterrevolution, the restoration of America’s pre-welfare state ancien regime. And, time and again, the counterrevolutionaries have won. The result is that modern American conservatism has dedicated itself not to fortifying and replenishing civil society but rather to weakening it through a politics of civil warfare.

One can see the basis for movement conservatism as well as where it went wrong in what Burke espoused. Modern conservatism went from being a coherent set of ideas set to compete with liberalsim in the marketplace of ideas to a counterrevolutionary riot of conceits with many internal contradictions.

It is those contradictions - the struggle for liberty with the need for order or capitalism versus stability - that have recently exposed conservatism’s weaknesses and, in my view, resulted in a paralysis of thought that has gripped many on the right and caused them to look inwards to a rigid, unyeilding, ideological framework that brooks no deviation from orthodoxy. Any breach in this wall of beliefs is resisted by purging those whose ideas might challenge them to think about these contradictions rather than paper them over with half baked ideological bromides and talking points.

Allan Lichtman wrote a book recently White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement that David Frum heavily criticized in his New York Times review as “self flattery.” (I see similar criticisms of Tanenhaus from conservatives on blogs.) But in something of an overwrought response to Frum, Lichtman nails some of modern conservatisms internal contradictions:

Ironically, George W. Bush’s former speechwriter fails to address the epilogue of White Protestant Nation which explains how conservatism has fallen victim to internal contradictions during the Bush years. (pp. 436-456) The analysis shows that today’s conservatives cannot reconcile their historic opposition to social engineering with their backing for one of the most expensive and ambitious social engineering ventures in US history: the reconstruction of Iraq. They cannot square their backing for states’ rights with their support for constitutional amendments on abortion and gay marriage and their opposition to vehicle emission standards set by California and other states. They cannot reconcile their advocacy of individual freedom with their support for warrantless wiretapping of U. S. citizens, stringent versions of the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts. They cannot reconcile their support for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and balanced budget with a president who has built the biggest, most expensive, and most intrusive government in U.S. history.

It is painfully obvious Mr. Lichtman doesn’t read much from the right these days. Or much for the past 8 years for that matter. Non-partisan conservatives have criticized most of those contradictions wafting up from Bushland at one time or another. But Lichtman’s point about the inability of many movement conservatives to reconcile their support of Bush era intrusions with classic conservatism’s reverence for tradition and limited government is a good one.

This is a major stumbling block to a conservative revival. A brutally honest appraisal of Bush and the right’s support for him must be at the top of any agenda that would deal with the question of conservatives returning to power. Without that, there will be no lessons learned, no adjustments to the reality of what kind of nation America has become in the 21st century and the proper role of government in that society. We cannot battle Obama and his cult like followers by spouting the same tired nostrums as if simply speaking them makes them true. There must be a period of introspection and self examination.

Beyond that, I like this quote from Whittaker Chambers in the Tanenhaus piece:

To Chambers, an avid student of history, this trend toward government reliance was a function of the unstoppable rise of industrial capitalism and the new technology it had brought forth. Chambers put the matter bluntly: “The machine has made the economy socialistic.” And the right had better adjust. “A conservatism that will not accept this situation, he wrote, “is not a political force, or even a twitch: it has become a literary whimsy.” It might well be “the duty of intellectuals … to preach reaction,” but only “from an absolute, an ideal standpoint. It is for books and posterity. It does not bear on tactics or daily life. … Those who remain in the world, if they will not surrender on its terms, must maneuver within its terms. That is what conservatives must decide: how much to give in order to survive at all; how much to give in order not to give up the basic principles.”

I return to the theme of what possible relevance “limited government” has in a world that is governed by a federal entity with a budget of more than $3 trillion? What does it mean? Theodore H. White believed that you couldn’t think of the federal budget the same way you looked at your household budget. The US government budget was an existential expression of the hopes, the dreams, the desires, the needs, and the requirements of the people and as such, was not a document as much as it was an expression of national will. Yes, we can all find programs to cut, agencies to deep six, perhaps even cabinet departments to throw under the bus. But will doing that really “shrink” government? Not in any meaningful way. Not in any way that would have a tangible effect on the scope and reach of the national government. That’s because the government is as big as it is because it needs to be. In order to shrink it, you would have to eliminate modern society itself - a tall order even for The Gipper I would think.

The question for the right then must be how to fit in? Where can conservatism make a difference? Right now, we are Chambers’ “literary whimsy” - an irrelvant cacophony of clashing contradictions where many, perhaps most adherents believe it possible to return to a pre-Great Society America where the government’s footprint was small and the social changes that have been wrought can be rolled back. An exaggeration? Not by much. The social history of America these last 50 years shows conservatism on the wrong side of history more often than not. We may recall that while the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s would not have passed without the support of some conservatives, the fact is that many others on the right opposed the legislation on the principled grounds that it vastly expanded the power of the national government at the expense of federalism and would lead to unintended consequences.

That argument may have been proved right. But those who supported these landmark bills judged the nature of the problem correctly and voted for the expansion of government because it was, at bottom, a Burkean (non-ideological) response to the knotty problem of making the idea of equality before the law a reality rather than rhetoric. The huge social changes that accompanied the Great Society and subsequent agitation for the rights of women, gays, and Hispanics have required a reordering of society that some found frightening while others resented the intrusiveness of federal measures to right past wrongs. Playing to those fears and resentments became a staple of Republican party electoral operations and has led the GOP to its current status where the majority of people have accepted the changes and wish to move on, leaving many in the GOP base behind.

So in the end, modern conservatism has turned inward rather than facing the reasons for its falling back. I don’t know if conservatism has been discredited but I know that what people believe conservatism to be is in very bad odor right now. And until we can show we are making a serious effort to examine where we went wrong and embrace the world as it is and not as we wish it to be in some alternate reality, then it won’t matter what people believe about conservatism because we will have rejoined the national political conversation and our ideas are successfully competing.

By: Rick Moran at 1:44 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)

2/14/2009
HATE TO RUIN YOUR WEEKEND, BUT…

Read this piece from Veronique de Rugy at Reason Magazine about what exactly our legislators voted on yesterday.

It will turn your stomach, at the very least. With the economy falling down around our ears, these pork-loving, cynical, selfish bastards larded up a spending bill with some provisions that will easily make the Hall of Fame of Wasteful Spending.

A partial list:

  • $24 million for United States Department of Agriculture buildings and rent
  • $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
  • $290 million for flood prevention
  • $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
  • $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
  • $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp programs
  • $1 billion for the 2010 Census
  • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
  • $650 million for the digital TV converter box coupon program
  • $2 billion for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program
  • $10 million to combat Mexican gunrunners
  • $125 million for rural communities to combat drug crimes
  • $1 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services program
  • $1 billion for NASA
  • $300 million to purchase scientific instruments for colleges and museums
  • $400 million for equipment and facilities at the National Science Foundation
  • $3.7 billion to conduct “green” renovations on military bases

Again, for dimwitted lefties who may be lurking out there, some of this spending is no doubt needed - but has absolutely no business being attached to this bill. Why can’t some of these programs be funded through normal legislative channels? Because the whole Congress knows they would never be able to spend the amounts earmarked in this stimulus package or even pass some of these spending provisions at all unless we had a president out there deliberately and cynically ginning up fear in order to scare people and thus justifying its passage as a result of a national emergency.

And that’s not all:

The conference report dedicates 30 percent of all discretionary spending to 33 new programs totaling $95 billion and expands 73 programs which are normally part of the regular appropriations process by $92 billion.

That’s 33 new government programs brought into existence that, like almost all government programs, will take on a life of its own and we will be funding them long after you and I have let this planet for more hospitable climes.

Also, that’s another 73 programs getting money in this stimulus that should have gone through the regular appropriations process but didn’t because Democrats wanted to spend more money on them than they could possibly get going through channels.

That kind of thing happens occasionally. Bills will have riders attached that have little to do with the nature of the spending but is stuck in there by some member as the result of a favor. But it has never been done to this gargantuan extent nor with such blatant disregard for rules and procedures.

Finally, de Rugy shows us some things that were put back in conference that the senate had taken out:

So now funds can go to museums, stadiums, arts centers, theaters, parks, or highway beautification projects. Most significantly, this reopens the door for many of the projects on the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ wish list of “shovel ready” projects that includes many items that are nothing but waste and pork, such as doorbells, construction of dog parks, replacement of street lights, and money for a “mob museum.”

“No earmarks” doesn’t mean that Democratic mayors aren’t salivating over the prospect of getting their hands on this cash for their little pet projects. The only people who will benefit by that kind of spending are the political supporters and cronies of the big city mayors.

I am suffering from “outrage fatigue” this morning. And after reading de Rugy’s piece, I feel like getting sick to my stomach. The rank cynicism it took to write this bill and then sell it as a panacea for what ails us is perhaps the greatest betrayal of the public trust in my lifetime.

I only hope there are American historians a hundred years from now to write about it.

This blog post originally appeared in The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 11:13 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (29)

2/13/2009
IF IT WASN’T SO FRIGHTENING, I WOULD LAUGH

One after another, Obamagaffes just keep coming. Two, sometimes three times a day, we are witness to the fruits of electing someone president who quite simply, had no business running for the office in the first place.

I’m tired of writing about it except that it sets up my prescient and trenchant analysis directed at our good friends on the left:

I told ya so.

I hate to say it but we have got to find a way to right the ship at the White House. History has reached out and tapped this novice on the shoulder at a time when there is real danger his bungling will result in a catastrophic economic collapse as bad as the worst in our history.

Many historians believe that the Panic of 1837 (a speculative boom to bust combined with an inflationary crisis) was even worse than the Depresssion in the 1930’s. One third of all banks in the US failed. For different reasons, we are looking at a similar crisis today in the financial markets. It is not likely that we will see 1/3 of all banks in the country go under. But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together - and quickly - the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.

The idea of building up anticipation for the announcement of a plan to deal with this crisis as the White House did all last weekend and then first, delaying the announcment a day and then sending out Geithner with not much of a plan at all is shocking. Didn’t the bozos at the White House have any clue that the markets were on tenterhooks waiting for this plan? When nothing much materialized, many concluded that the White House and their financial wunderkind Geithner were stymied. They didn’t know how to solve the crisis and were fumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. The markets reacted accordingly and here we are, three days out from Geithner’s “deer in headlights” appearance before Congress where he was actually laughed at by members and Congressional staffs, and we still haven’t fleshed out many details of how this “plan” is going to work , how much it will cost the taxpayer, which banks will get more cash, which will be lucky enough to have toxic assets removed from their balance sheets, and on and on into the darkness.

We know that bank executives will have their salaries set by the Treasury Department, though so that’s something. Congratulations to Geithner and his boss for concentrating on the real important stuff like playing the class warfare game by sticking it to the rich bankers.

They’ve screwed up monumentally on the big stuff like the “Financial Stability Act” that no one knows how it will work as well as the stimulus bill that even if you believe we need to spend every dime of it, one must be concerned that this 1500 page monster of a bill will never be read in its entirety because the Democrats and the White House refuse to publish it and there isn’t enough time to read it and study it anyway.

The frightening fact that this reveals is that these guys aren’t really that smart after all. For all the talk of a “team of rivals” and the brilliance of our president and his people, the truth is a lot more prosaic; they have proven themselves to be as incompetent and thick headed as Bush ever was. Personnel problems the likes we have never seen with Judd Gregg the latest colossal blunder. Obama’s promise that if the stim bill passes, the head of Caterpillar will rehire some people has been revealed to be a lie or wishful thinking on the part of the president when the CEO - a supporter of the president - contradicted his optimistic rhetoric.

Then there’s the aggrandizing of power within the White House, marginalizing the Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. The last president that tried this? Nixon. And he was roundly criticized when it turned out the State Department never knew what the White House was doing behind its back. This led to some comical foreign policy blunders including the temporary derailment of our rapproachment with China. One could add the politicizing of the census, a tiff with the military over Iraq that had the president retreating from his campaign rhetoric about withdrawal, a rambling, disjointed press conference that resembled a question and answer session between 3rd graders and their teacher, and the general feeling emenating from the administration that no one is in charge.

All of this would be enough Obamagaffes for one term and yet we are barely 3 weeks into his presidency.

It’s time to call in some wiser heads. Obama would hate it but utilizing Bill Clinton’s knowledge and experience would probably help a great deal. Clinton, was if nothing else, a competent manager of the executive branch. One of the problems right now is that the Obama people still think they’re in Chicago. They were absolutely tone deaf to the tax problems of Geithner and Daschle as well as being blissfully ignorant of the impact that Bill Richardson’s real troubles with the law might have. Clinton might be of great help in fixing their broken personnel operation; no more lobbyists and find honest people who know what they’re doing.

Obama has done well in calling in some of the other Democratic graybeards like George Mitchell and Ambassador Holbrooke. Perhaps he can expand that list to include some other old Clinton hands. Not permanent hires but people he can call on to guide him through the maze that is Washington. God knows, we need this White House to get its act together and fast. Otherwise, Obama is going to have the shortest honeymoon in history. And there are so many challenges ahead that getting things right now is vital to his - and our - future success.

Right now, his party is still united behind him and the American people seem willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But continuing to stumble and stagger around will cause people to lose confidence in him in a hurry. Democrats, a notoriously fractious and disunited bunch ordinarily, might return to their old ways if Obama proves not up to the job.

And if, despite all his rhetoric about his stimulus bill saving the day, the economy really begins to tank, the American people will desert him faster than you can say “Hope and Change.”

By: Rick Moran at 9:21 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (74)

2/12/2009
SHOULD PRESIDENT TAYLOR INVOKE THE 25TH AMENDMENT?
CATEGORY: "24"

1-11
President Allison Taylor

First of all, my humble apologies for the tardiness of this summary. I know many of you who can’t stand my politics visit here exclusively for my 24 recaps and I am sorry if you were inconvenienced. About all I can say is that the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. A nasty headcold with a splitting sinus headache made the prospect of staring at the monitor for 14 hours in order to both do the work I am paid to do and write for my own pleasure impossible. All in all, a quite unproductive day.

This has happened only once or twice in 4 years so I hope you will let it slide and continue to join me for a look at some of the issues raised by the show as well as the silly fun we have with some of the characters. Evidently, some poor schmucks on the left have the sense of humor of a potato and believe I am a hypocrite because I am a fat old man who disses the personal appearance of some of the cast members. In fact, as regular readers know, my descriptions are so over the top that they become a parody of themselves - sort of like Larry Flynt describing the late Jerry Falwell but without the gross sexual and bathroom references (no doubt since I didn’t include any scatological humor, the brainless twits didn’t recognize it as parody.). Since it takes more than two brain cells working for the average three year old to figure this out on this site, the numbskulls who believe I have no business taking potshots at any character for their physical appearance can be forgiven their idiocy. Allow their brains to mature a bit before we judge them too harshly.

On a more interesting note, the drama of the President’s ordeal in being blackmailed with the life of her husband unless she called off the attack on Sangala opens the door to a fascinating real life counterfactual; should a president placed in that position invoke the 25th amendment and turn the presidency over to the vice president?

Here’s the relevant section of the 25th amendment:

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

The scenario in the show is not as farfetched as you might think. Suppose in some alternate universe John McCain had been elected president (yeah, yeah…not the brightest universe in the bunch, I know). McCain’s son is serving in Iraq as you read this. Although we don’t know whether young Jimmy McCain would have been withdrawn from the fight (British royals have gone to war and been exposed to enemy fire) if the senator had been elected, a troubling scenario emerges where Jimmy is kidnapped by Sadrists who demand the US withdraw from Iraq.

What would a President McCain have done? One option would be to invoke the 25th amendment, turn the presidency over to Sarah Palin, and remove at least some of the kidnapper’s leverage. Knowing what we know of the Sadrist street thugs, it is doubtful we would see Jimmy alive again. But the point is that the US government would not be held hostage by the kidnappers if McCain stepped down temporarily.

The 25th amendment was ratified in 1967 and seeks to clarify some fuzzy constitutional language in Article II, Section 1 that never makes it clear whether the vice president, ascending to the presidency following a president’s death, is actually “President” or “Acting President.” In 1841, President Tyler set the precedent following William Henry Harrison’s long winded inauguration speech in a winter rain storm that caused Tippecanoe to catch a cold and die 41 days after taking the oath. There was a sizable segment of the country that believed Tyler was “Acting President” and that a special election should be held for Harrison’s replacement.

Tyler himself believed that not just the “duties and responsibilities” of the office devolved to him but also the title “President of the United States.” In the end, Tyler won the arguement when his enemies couldn’t muster the support to supplant him.

Prior to the 25th amendment, there were several cases where a “Jimmy McCain Scenario” might have proved too real. Abe Lincoln’s son Robert served as an aide to General Grant - fairly safe from being killed or captured in battle but still in danger from kidnappers. Then there were FDR’s 4 sons who served on the front lines in World War II, all of them distinguishing themselves in battle. One can imagine Hitler or Tojo wanting to get their hands on one of them. Finally, there was Eisenhower’s son John who served in Korea and who related a conversation years later with Ike where the president asked him to committ suicide if he was ever captured.

But what of President Taylor? The idea that she would be placed in such a position is dramatic but hardly realistic. Any president worth their salt would have stepped down temporarily and not allowed US policy to be held hostage along with her husband. That’s why the 25th amendment is there in the first place. Still, as a dramatic device (”I can’t ask the American people to sacrifice” what I would be unwilling to do) it works well. It certainly added some drama to the show and gave Jack and Renee something to do.

SUMMARY

The bent Secret Service agent Vossler brings the First Gent to Dubaku’s basement hideout that reminds me of a clubhouse a bunch of us kids set up in the basement of an abandoned house. Except these guys had HD TV, real comfortable chairs and sofas and was spotlessly clean.

At the White House, Jack, Bill, Renee, and the Matobo’s are shown into the oval office. After assuring the Prime Minister that the attack is underway, Maboto excuses himself and we are left with perhaps the most interesting scene on the show to date.

Jack fills the president in on the plot against her and America, a tale made all the more unbelievable by Jack’s kidnapping then rescuing Maboto. Poor President Taylor isn’t sure what to do until Renee steps forward and assures her it’s all true. All this time, Ethan Kamin - suspected plotter - is lurking in the back of the oval office drinking in every word. Jack pours on the charm and sincerity and Taylor relents. Especially after she is told that the CIP module is destroyed.

But is it?

Who found the module on the floor after the firefight in Dubaku’s office nerve center? Who called out to the rest of the crew that it was destroyed? Did Jack, Bill, or Renee actuall see the destroyed module? Who is about to flip sides and rejoin the conspiracy?

Gentle reader, do not be shocked when Tony shows up with Dubaku carrying the undamaged CIP device.

Dubaku then calls the president and gives her the bad news; he’s got her husband and unless she withdraws US forces out of range of Sangala and hands over Prime Minister Maboto, the First Gentleman will get it. To reinforce his threat, Dubaku has one of his goons cut off a First Gentleman finger.

Jack offers to rescue Henry but the president appears dubious. When she asks how she can trust Jack given his apparently dizzying back and forth regarding which side he is on, Jack gets a look on his face that would melt Taylor’s iron corset. “With all due respect, Madame President, ask around,” is all he says. The problem, of course, is that anyone who could testify to Jack’s loyalty are either dead or suspect themselves. Maybe Talyor could give the Chinese a ring…

When Jack asks Renee to search Gedge’s phone records so they can get a lead on Henry’s whereabouts, she convinces Bauer that they must bring Larry into the Golden Circle. The look on Larry’s face when he hears from Renee is priceless - he is one whipped dog, no? However, he won’t do anything unless he can be sure she is not under duress so they agree to meet.

The White House decides to at least appear to be carrying out Dubaku’s instructions so they fake a pullback of the American invasion fleet and get some poor government flunkie to dress up like Maboto and go to the place where Dubaku ordered them to take the Prime Minister.

Back at FBI headquarters, Hillinger is getting too nosy for our own good. The very first hour of the show it appeared he was involved in the plot when Janis caught him fooling around with the server. His explanation seemed plausible and we have hardly given him a thought since then. But the revelation that he is playing around on his wife with Miss Anorexia and his curiosity about the CIP module not being a threat anymore has us thinking once again - is he or isn’t he? Janis is oblivious to the possibility of Sean being the mole but knows that he’s fooling around with Miss Eating Disorder. We’ll see how that plays out as Miss Binge and Purge may play a key role in exposing Hillinger if he is the main mole at the FBI.

The scene in Lafayette Park with the confrontation between Larry and Jack over torture is one of the reasons I love the show. The series has always made a genuine effort to present realistic arguements for and against Jack’s tactics. And Renee, in this case, can be an “everyperson” character who is torn between necessity and her own personal morals. It’s an old dramatic device going back to the Greeks but it still works when done well.

After handing over Gedge’s phone records, Larry is horrified to hear Jack ask about Vossler’s family. Bauer’s plan is to make Vossler think that they will hurt his family unless he tells them where Henry is. Jack makes it plain that he is disgusted with Larry for not seeing the truth - his truth - of the matter:

Jack: When are you people going to stop thinking that they are playing by your rules. They’re not!

He gives them a choice; either they can tell the president that their consciences wouldn’t allow them to rescue Henry or they will “do what is necessary” to get the job done. Reluctantly, Renee sees it Jack’s way but you can tell she is torn. She heads off to Vossler’s home where his wife and 11 month old child are about to receive a lesson in “asymetrical warfare” - Jack style.

As Larry heads back to the FBI office so that he can track Vossler, he calls out to Jack angrily:

Larry: Look at yourself. You have lost everyone and everything you’ve ever had by doing what you think is “necessary.”

Of course, Larry nails it. And his concern about Renee taking up after Jack is well founded. She has already done stuff she never dreamed of doing before she met Jack. His parting shot to Jack is trenchant as is Jack’s response:

Larry: (almost gently): Jack - The rules are what make us better.
Jack: Not today.

Okay. So the “ticking bomb” scenario is a load of crap. I agree. But is it any less likely than a film like Seven Days in May where a conservative general tries to overthrow the government or The Day After that showed a nuclear holocaust? Don’t get me started on the realism involved in left wing films - even recent ones like Syriana. Somehow, the arguement that “it could never happen” doesn’t make it into discussions of those scenarios, only the “lessons” that are to be learned.

After Dubaku calls his American girlfriend who is unaware he is a genocidal maniac, we meet the woman’s wheelchair bound sister who doesn’t like Samuel-Dubaku and wants her sister to break up with him.

At FBI headquarters, Larry is tracking Vossler while Renee takes his family hostage. We can see that Renee is having a hard time threatening a woman with a baby. Larry pinpoints Vossler’s position for Jack who heads the bent agent off by speeding the wrong way down a one way street. Arriving at the intersection at exactly the right time, Jack slams into Vossler’s car, drags the nearly unconcious agent from his damaged vehicle into the foyer of an apartment building, and starts to turn the screws.

He softens him up a bit before he calls Renee who is having no fun at all “doing what is necessary.” When Vossler won’t cooperate even after talking to his hysterical wife, Renee goes after the infant. It is shocking to see and she almost disolves into tears when she forces herself to start choking the baby (we think - not even Fox was brave enough to show exactly what she was doing). The piteous cries of his baby breaks Vossler and he reveals Dubaku’s hideout. Renee brings the baby to its mother, releived she didn’t have to apply any more pressure to Vossler’s family. When an innocent bystander distracts Jack, the former Special Forces member Vossler springs into action with a knife, knocking Jack’s gun away. They struggle briefly before Jack stabs him with his own knife, killing him.

Jack calls Renee with the location of Dubaku’s hideout, informing her that Vossler is dead. Renee is so shaken she almost abandons the entire project but in the end, agrees to continue. She calls Larry who goes ballistic when he hears Vossler is dead and agrees to keep the news of the dead agent quiet. Hillinger is getting even nosier and wants to know why Homeland Security is keeping them out of the loop. Do we detect a slight panic in his voice? If he is the mole, that would make sense in that he is not getting information to relay to the plotters.

Rosa, the sister of Dubaku’s American girlfriend Marika calls the thug and tells him that she knows he is not who he says he is, having received a letter from a source she has in immigration saying there is no record of him emigrating here. The poor woman doesn’t know that she just signed her death sentence. Dubaku leaves - presumably to attend to Rosa. Marika will probably be key to unlocking some mysteries surrounding the plot given her close association with Dubaku over the previous months.

The Maboto look alike and his Secret Service protector arrive at the exchange place but, per their plan, refuse to get out of the limo. When informed of this development, Dubaku orders the limo destroyed and then calls his hideout, telling them to dispatch Henry. The limo is hit by an RPG, killing both the look alike and the agent.

Jack and Renee arrive at Dubaku’s hideout. They force the Korean grocer to unlock the door to the terrorist’s basement clubhouse and, after Renee is discovered coming down the steps, the second good firefight in two weeks erupts with Jack accounting for 4 of the bullies while Renee knocks off the other two.

Unfortunately, the last terrorist standing makes it into the back room where Henry is being held and despite getting one in the back from Jack, is able to get off a round that hits Henry in the stomach. The episode closes with Jack administering aide to the stricken First Gent, screaming for an ambulance.

BODY COUNT

Jack the Knife takes out Vossler
The Maboto look alike and his guardian pay the price.
Six terrorists are history at the Clubhouse with Jack accounting for 4.

Jack: 12

Show: 311

By: Rick Moran at 8:32 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (21)

2/11/2009
“24″ SUMMARY DELAYED
CATEGORY: "24", Blogging

I apologize to those of you who have been looking in vain for my summary of the show. Got up late yesterday and today feeling pretty bad and have been unable to spend my usual 14 hours a day in front of the monitor. I will try and get it up later this afternoon.

By: Rick Moran at 6:48 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

2/10/2009
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: THE ISRAELI ELECTIONS

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show,, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, Professor Barry Rubin of the GLORIA Institute will join us live from Israel (3:00 AM his time) and Rich Baehr of the American Thinker will also be on hand to discuss the vitally important Knesset elections in Israel today. There may or may not be a winner by air time but we will take a far reaching look at the issues and personalities involved.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

The Chat Room will open around 15 minutes before the show opens,

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 1:30 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)