November 4, 2006

Christopher Hitchens on botched-joke-o-gate.

(Or whatever it's called.) In the WSJ:
Regrettable though it might be for the United States military to become an untouchable "third rail" in American politics, there can be little sympathy for someone who keeps on brushing against that rail just to see what will happen. One could have assumed that Sen. John Kerry, who has reason enough to wake up whimpering and biting his knuckles when he reflects on past embarrassments, had learned this lesson. He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter--from the cringe-making "reporting for duty" to the sickly discovery that he had been part of a "band of brothers" rather than a bunch of killers, to the phantom "Christmas in Cambodia."

Yet of all the days that he might want to have back and do over again, last week's clumsy appearance in Pasadena must be the most whimper-inducing of all.

The senator's labored defense of himself is so lame that it has to be true.
Oh, why is Hitchens being so charitable to Kerry?!

Anyway, read the whole thing. He talks of the email he's gotten from soldiers in Iraq:
Many of my respondents agreed that his words may not have meant or intended quite what they first seemed to mean, but they also felt that the klutziness was Freudian, so to speak, in that the senator's patrician contempt for grunts and dogfaces was bound to come out sooner or later.

One thing I already knew is confirmed--there is a very great deal of class resentment in these United States. Another thing I wasn't so sure of is also confirmed--James Webb in Virginia is right to stress the huge rage felt by those of Scots-Irish provenance who feel that they have born the heat and burden of the day in America's wars, and been rewarded with disdain.
Those of Scots-Irish provenance.

Anyway, Hitchens has a proposal to deal with the race-class problem he perceives:
Sen. Kerry and his party should publicly demand that the U.S. military be allowed to recruit openly on elite campuses. And the supposed reason for the ban on ROTC--the continuing refusal of the armed services to admit known homosexuals--should be dispelled at a stroke by a presidential order rescinding the Clintonian nonsense of "don't ask/don't tell."

55 comments:

kettle said...

"He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter--from the cringe-making "reporting for duty" to the sickly discovery that he had been part of a "band of brothers" rather than a bunch of killers, to the phantom "Christmas in Cambodia.""

What is he talking about, could someone clarify this? I have no idea what he means. (I'm serious)

AllenS said...

kettle,

He was against it before he was for it.

tjl said...

"the klutziness was Freudian, so to speak, in that the senator's patrician contempt for grunts and dogfaces was bound to come out sooner or later."

Hitchens has put his finger on that special de-haut-en-bas quality that makes Kerry so odious.

Here is my own personal we-hate-Kerry story. On the weekend before the 2004 election, I was in Santa Fe, NM. Dining in an upscale restaurant, I spotted 6 secret servicemen wedged around a small table near the door. I caught the hostess' eye, and she responded, rapturously, "Theresa Heinz KERRY is dining with us tonight!!!" (Theresa was seated at a far better table elsewhere).
The next evening, the same secret servicemen turned up at a far less pricy spot without Theresa (she must have been dining in that night). They all wore very prominent Bush/Cheney lapel buttons. No doubt the Kerrys had been treating them like domestic help.

There's always cognitive dissonance when the Democratic standard-bearer is some wealthy elitist who knows what's best for the little people. The Dems did so much better with Clinton, whose modest background made him far more plausible in the role of advocate for the masses.

Shanna said...

Those of Scots-Irish provenance.
Interesting. This sort of thing rarely gets mentioned. Hitchens is a brit, yes?

I don't think America has as much of a "class" problem as it has a geographical problem (or maybe even some remnant of British v. Scot/Irish culture). Because people from "flyover" country don't have to be poor or lower class to be reviled by people in New York or Massachusettes.

kettle said...

I should have been clearer about what I wanted clarified. I didn't know what events (gaffes) he was referring to with these allusions:
"Reporting for Duty"
Duty Vid(YOUTUBE)
"Christmas in Cambodia"

and "Band of Brothers".

George said...

Prof.--

Based on your italicization of the phrase "[the huge rage of] those of Scots-Irish provenance," I would commend to you Webb's book "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America."

Publisher's Weekly says that "Webb's thesis is that the Scots-Irish, with their rugged individualism, warrior culture built on extended familial groups (the "kind of people who would die in place rather than retreat") and an instinctive mistrust of authority, created an American culture that mirrors these traits. Webb has a genuine flair for describing the battles the Scots-Irish fought during their history, but his analysis of their role in America's social and political history is, ironically for someone trying to crush stereotypes, fixated on what he sees, in almost Manichaean terms, as a class conflict between the Scots-Irish and America's "paternalistic Ivy League-centered, media-connected, politically correct power centers."

Webb says the Scots-Irish "learned from an early age to expect hardship and physical confrontation as a way of life. They willingly served their leaders, not as serfs but as emotional and spiritual coequals....And if any man, no matter how highly born, should strike or offend them, it was their credo to strike back twice as hard....They were not the kind of people you would ever, ever want to set in action against you."

Do you still need the italics?

Simon said...

"the continuing refusal of the armed services to admit known homosexuals--should be dispelled at a stroke by a presidential order rescinding the Clintonian nonsense of don't ask/don't tell."

Don't ask don't tell is a federal law, not a policy of the executive branch. Is Hitchens really advocating that the President of the United States should have the power to overturn Federal law he disagrees with at the swish of a pen, or is he saying that 10 U.S.C. §654 is unconstitutional because it clashes with the President's inherent powers as Commander-in-Chief?

I thought liberals were terrified of such aggrandizing claims of power by the executive branch? Who knew: Chris Hitchens, George W. Bush's new best friend. What "nonsense" law is the next target for the Presidential bulldozer?

AllenS said...

kettle,

Let me try to be clearer: he was for it before he was against it, or he was against it before he was for it. It works both ways.

Cedarford said...

Like it or not, the military believes open homosexuality is disruptive to good order and discipline, and Congress backs them up on that.

The people trying to shove the gay agenda down America's throat - even fully backed with secular Jewish progressive money and legal muscle - are butting up against enormously powerful cultural institutions like the churches, Boy Scouts and military. Mess with them at peril.

This country will likely be in war with terrorism, an Islamic nation, or in a strategic contest with China/Russia for the foreseeable future. Decades of the foreseeable future. It is in the national interest of the United States not so much to have lesbian submarine crewmates and queer artillery squads - but instead the best educated and trained personnel....and that includes ROTC at our elite institutions...

The Solomon Amendment didn't actually go far enough. It should extend to barring ANY DOD business and defense contracts - even any Federal Gov't funding of any sort (including student aid) to any school (HS or college) barring recruiting or ROTC as harmful to national security and interfering with Congress's Constitutional obligation to raise an Army.

Fenrisulven said...

He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter

The same line jumped out at me too Ketttle. Spoiled for choice? Have never come across that. Is this a Brit metaphor? Someone pls clue me in. What is he trying to convey with that line?

I actually majored in English [hah, Ann's shaking her head over my recent "buy" vs "by" error]. My focus was British Lit. Never came across that line.

Palladian said...

"The people trying to shove the gay agenda down America's throat - even fully backed with secular Jewish progressive money and legal muscle - are butting up against enormously powerful cultural institutions like the churches, Boy Scouts and military. Mess with them at peril."

Ahh, it's Cedarford, jumping to the gay-agenda "throat shoving" metaphor again! That image seems to come so easily to you, Ceedy.

And who would have guessed that, all along, it's the fault of those wily Jews! Maybe even an alliance of Jewish bankers and communists! The Jews should know about allowing the gay agenda (cue three sinister, descending notes, double forte on the third) to be shoved down the supple throat of the military, as Israel was one of the first nations to allow openly gay citizens to serve in their military. Drat those nefarious Jews!

Bissage said...

kettle and Fen: Regarding "He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter," I took that to mean the same thing as "an embarrassment of riches."

He already used "embarrass" so maybe he figured he'd mix it up a bit.

Elegant variation or something like that.

Richard Dolan said...

Kettle and fen wonder what Hitchens means by the phrase, "He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter..." It's a sufficiently odd turn of phrase that, like them, I stopped to look at it too. I don't think it's a Brit-ism, but only a striking locution connecting the thought immediately before it, with the list the comes immediately after. Kerry is "spoiled for choice" because he has so many "reason[s] ... to wake up whimpering and biting his knuckles when he reflects on past embarrassments...." How could Kerry ever pick his most embarrassing gaffe from such a rich list? How could a professional politician like Kerry be so consistently tone deaf when it comes to all things military? Hitchens, in his way, enjoys superlatives, things that stand out from the ordinary. If you were trying to come up with an "all time best" list for politicians with runaway foot-in-mouth tendencies, Kerry surely would be at or near the top.

Hitchens packs all of that into his little phrase, "spoiled for choice," and since it makes you stop and look, it obviously works.

While I always enjoy Hitchens' way with words, his basic thesis is a bit shopworn. The notion of deep-rooted Scots-Irish resentment is seriously out of date. There was a time, which was already fading out when JFK was elected, when Irish resentment directed against entrenched WASP elites was palpable, particularly in the Boston area where I grew up. And there is something, too, to his notion of continuing class resentments. But it's easy to overdo that stuff, and I think he does.

His idea that there is some burning desire by those currently serving in the military to associate with Ivy types, such that it would make any difference whether the Ivies stopped their war against ROTC, doesn't ring true to me. It would all to the good, and mostly beneficial to the Ivies themselves, if they stopped their little version of the culture war aimed at the military. As for the military, it needs people of quality and dedication; and the Ivies have no monopoly, or even any privileged place, any more where those matters are concerned.

It's obviously true that the kinds of resentments Hitchens mentions get trotted out frequently, and that Kerry manages to personify them to a tee. But I think it's usually only for rhetorical or political purposes -- as a away of attacking the university-based lefty elites, who express deep love for Mankind and the Common Man, even as they sneer at those whom them deem inferior, which usually encompasses pretty much everyone else. People, even people in uniform, notice things like that, and don't like it.

Fenrisulven said...

Ah, I get it now. Thanks Richard.

sonicfrog said...

"The people trying to shove the gay agenda down America's throat - even fully backed with secular Jewish progressive money and legal muscle - are butting up against enormously powerful cultural institutions like the churches, Boy Scouts and military. Mess with them at peril."


There was a time when the Boy Scouts were not that concerned with the sexual orientation of it's members. This interpretation of the phrase "Moraly Straight" has only become in vogue in the last twenty five years of the organizations history if I remember correctly. Many churches see this exclusionary policy as wrong and discriminatory. But they are not the churches that have the ears and hearts of current Washington leadership.

The Drill SGT said...

kettle said...
"He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter--from the cringe-making "reporting for duty" to the sickly discovery that he had been part of a "band of brothers" rather than a bunch of killers, to the phantom "Christmas in Cambodia.""

What is he talking about, could someone clarify this? I have no idea what he means. (I'm serious)


without attempting to decode the Britishisms involved, let me make a guess and then tell you how I interpret the phrases.

I read that as "almost spoiled for a chance to touch the 3rd rail". Meaning that in classic Kerry fashion he was alternately:

1. anti-military or at least agnostic or disdaining in college
2. then joined up
3. then bailed out of VN early
4. did the 71 "they're all Genghis Khans" Senate lecture
5. went to Paris to meet with the enemy in 71
6. ran for office in 72 saying that the volunteer army was anti-democratic and made of of the poor and the black and brown.
7. voted against GWI
8. decided that was a bad move and voted for GW2
9 voted for funds before he voted against funds
10. stood up in the Dem convention wrapped in the flag and discovered that the Genghis Khans were his long lost "Band of Brothers"
11. Was shocked that a bunch of the real band (swiftees) had long memories about being called baby killers
12. supports the troops, but thinks that they are gestapo, kicking in doors and molesting Iraqi women and children
13. supports the troops, but thinks they are losers, too dumb to...

you get the point. He likes to get close to the third rail and what the sparks arc to various portions of his body then is shocked at the outcome and cuddles his flag like Charlie Brown and is surprised that "somebody who wasn't a VN hero" questions his patriotism.

The guy is an elitist fraud.

sonicfrog said...

One could have assumed that Sen. John Kerry, who has reason enough to wake up whimpering and biting his knuckles when he reflects on past embarrassments, had learned this lesson. He's almost spoiled for choice in the matter--from the cringe-making "reporting for duty" to the sickly discovery that he had been part of a "band of brothers" rather than a bunch of killers, to the phantom "Christmas in Cambodia."

The meaning seems clear to me when taken in context. Kerry has made made so many gaffes; he should have been able to reflect on any one or number of them and learn how not to make the same mistakes over and over again - thus he was spoiled for choice on opportunities to learn how to avoid these types of gaffes. I find it interesting that so many of his gaffes seem to center around military service and policy.

Harry Eagar said...

Hmmm, I descend from a long line of warriors of Scots provenance, although they thought of themselves as Americans. Never heard my father, uncles, grandfather or cousins express any resentment along those lines.

Webb sounds like another Republican military fabulist, like Capt. Reagan, although unlike Reagan, Webb has had the experience to know better.

tjl's comment expresses better than I could the ick quality that Kerry moves around in, like the cloud of dust around Pigpen in Peanuts.

However, even if he didn't, if Kerry is so much smarter than me -- he never misses a chance to say he is -- why does he keep doing so many stupid things?

Zeb Quinn said...

Drill SGT:

Good decoding there.

Joan said...

6. ran for office in 72 saying that the volunteer army was anti-democratic and made of of the poor and the black and brown.

"Would be" for "was" is more accurate. In 1972, the military wasn't volunteer. Kerry was fear-mongering that were the military to become all-volunteer, it would be even worse than he said it was in 1971.

I saw a bumper sticker yesterday reading "Bush voters: sorry yet?" Had I the opportunity, I would've asked the driver of that car how he feels about Kerry now.

The Drill SGT said...

Richard Dolan said...
The notion of deep-rooted Scots-Irish resentment is seriously out of date. There was a time, which was already fading out when JFK was elected, when Irish resentment directed against entrenched WASP elites was palpable, particularly in the Boston area where I grew up.


Richard, Webb isn't talking about "those Irish", he's talking about displaced Scots Highlanders, encouraged to their Clan leaders and the Brits to emmigrate to Derry, and subsequently to the new world. Landing in Baltimore, moving into PA, then south along the Mountains. We're talking about the folks that were called Hillbillies, and now RedNecks. Neither English Planters, nor green Catholic Irish later waves.

Zeb Quinn said...

Hitchens has always been a bit of a puzzlement to read, but it's always worth the effort to solve the puzzle because there is always some good stuff there. He is an intellectual heavyweight.

That said, my own sense is that the guy remains an unreformed Trotskyite, even in his supposed neocon version, and all of his views, including neocon ones, can be best understood and explained by his grounding in Trotsky. So I always take what he says with a grain or two of salt.

The Drill SGT said...

Joan,

I was in VN in 70-71 and in what was the called the Volunteer Army (VOLAR) in 71-72. It wasn't very professional by today's standards, but it was trying to transition.

Anon Y. Mous said...

"spoiled for choice"

Idiom: be spoiled for choice (be spoilt for choice)

To have so many options or alternatives that it is hard to decide which to choose.


http://www.epennypress.com/Words_Starting_with_B/be_so_kind_as_to_beaked/be_spoiled_for_choice_definition.html

Garage Mahal said...

John Kerry is a big Elitist French Satan Traitor !

You guys are priceless. But if it insulates you from reality, and from what's going on in the real world right now, have it. It's much easier believing O'Reilly, and Rush, aint it? Just remember though, these two (among many others) were the ones who were spreading rumors to millions of people that the Clinton's had Vince Foster whacked. Credibility? Not so much.

Anyway, do Iraq War Vets have to check in with you guys, on what they can say, or not say? Is Kevin Tillman a traitor too? Are Republican War Vets fair game?

Another head fake from Drudge - We're all going to die! (but keep bashing Kerry by all means...)

Fenrisulven said...

"Would be" for "was" is more accurate. In 1972, the military wasn't volunteer. Kerry was fear-mongering that were the military to become all-volunteer, it would be even worse than he said it was in 1971.

Reminds me of an old documentary inside the Time editors meeting. They were discussing which of three photos to use as the cover re our soon-to-be launched liberation of Kuwaiit during Desert Shield. They went with a black service-member on his back in the sand trying to cut through barbed wire, prob to perpetuate to "minorities are disproportionately placed on the FEBA" lie. The other photo of a tank racing across the sands would have been a better metaphor.

Fenrisulven said...

But if it insulates you from reality, and from what's going on in the real world right now, have it.

[snicker]

The recent debate about Iraq on these very pages illustrates how the Left is ignorant of what's gone on in the world.

You're not one to talk about being insulated from reality.

Zeb Quinn said...

It's much easier believing O'Reilly, and Rush, aint it? Just remember though, these two (among many others) were the ones who were spreading rumors to millions of people that the Clinton's had Vince Foster whacked. Credibility? Not so much.

You mean to say Clinton didn't have Foster whacked? I suppose next you're going to say with a straight face that the Warren Commission got it right too, that JFK wasn't whacked by anybody other than Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone. Right?

All of which begs the point. Neither O'Reilly or Limbaugh pushed the Clinton whacked Foster theory. IIRC Limbaugh did, however, spend air time discussing Hillary's sealing of Foster's office and sanitizing his papers, a step ahead of everybody else who were properly charged with that responsibility, and speculated why she might have done that.

As for Tillman, he's obviously working his way through the throes of grief, lashing out in anger being a part of that process. But the left is never above exploiting such victims for partisan gain whenever possible, is it?

JorgXMcKie said...

fen, I think you miss george mahal's point. He's right, you're wrong and there will no 'debate' allowed when his favorites replace your fascists.

They're totally in favor of freedom of speech and expression except when evil idiots like you are trying to say something they disagree with.

There is nothing to talk about except how right george and the Lefties are, and if anything does come up he, or they, will let you know and then tell you what you think about it.

David said...

There's actually a surprisingly large Celtic pride movement in the US, the breadth of which you can see on this Google search. Some of these are people who simply have a healthy pride in their culture, others are dedicated to refighting the Civil War, and some -- with a lot of overlap with the Civil Warriors -- are somewhat sophisticated white supremacists.

The basic thesis is that Appalachia was settled by protestants of Celtic descent from northern England, northern Ireland and Scotland. Lots of people believe that Celtic culture has been preserved in its purest form in these communities. There is a growing field of Celtic studies, and even Celtic diaspora studies.

James Webb argues that the Celtic/Appalachian culture is a warrior culture (as opposed to the English farming culture) and that's why the Scots-Irish disproportionately fight the nation's wars.

Others argue that the Celts have been oppressed, serially, by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, the English and the American north for the last 2000 years, had nothing to do with slavery, were more like slaves themselves and thus are not "white" and are actually history's real victims. In this theory, New England was settled by the English and all of American history is simply the recapitulation of the historic oppression of the Celts by everyone else in Europe.

Christy said...

Tennessee, heavily settled by the Scots-Irish, isn't called the Volunteer State for nothing. When the Feds asked the State for 2500 men in 1846 to fight the Mexicans, 30,000 volunteered.

Maxine Weiss said...

Christy......you refer to them as "Scots"

...and not "Scotch" ?

Scotch is a beverage, not a people, I guess.

Scottish?

I just call 'em North Englanders, myself.

And, I've never gotten in trouble with that yet.

Peace, Maxine

Christy said...

Maxine, I grew up saying Scotch-Irish, but dropped that usage years ago. Forget why. You do know that when the Scots selected a national anthem recently, they chose a 600 year old ballad that celebrated a victory over Edward II and the English?

And Highland Games are popular all through the Appalachians. This weekend my sister is off to a small one in Hendersonville, N.C. The grandaddy of all Highland Games is the one at Grandfather Mountain every July. Google "Highland Games" and you get almost 4 million hits.

Bo Steed said...

I have written the definitive summary of this sordid situation here: http://sagejournal.blogspot.com/2006/11/assman-squirt-and-age-of-apology.html

There really is nothing more to be said about it.

Freder Frederson said...

If it wasn't such a sad comment on our so-called liberal media, I would find it hilarious how both Gore and Kerry were (and still are) depicted as effete elitists who disdain the common man while Bush is depicted as a plain speaking man of people (hell, he lives on a ranch and he walks with a steel rod up his ass . . .sorry, in Texas, that's called "walkin'").

The whole, plain-talking Texan thing is a freaking act. Bush is as much an elitist, if not more, than Kerry. He attended the best schools, yet still only got into Yale on a Legacy admission (something like the fortieth in his family). He is all old New England money. Yet we are supposed to believe he speaks for the common man and sneer at Kerry because he windsurfs, snowboards, and rides a roadbike. Yet when Bush golfs, tools around in an antique wooden motorboat, or rides a mountain bike, those are apparently pursuits of the common man.

Tully said...

"Scots-Irish heritage"

A most genteel way of saying "hillbilly rednecks and their descendants." That's me!

But we just call ourselves Americans.

tjl said...

"Gore and Kerry were (and still are) depicted as effete elitists who disdain the common man."

That's because they are, Freder. Have you been to Nantucket lately? Do you know how much it costs even to get there, much less live next door to John & Theresa?

Cedarford said...

Sonic Frog - There was a time when the Boy Scouts were not that concerned with the sexual orientation of it's members. This interpretation of the phrase "Moraly Straight" has only become in vogue in the last twenty five years of the organizations history if I remember correctly.

You don't remember correctly. Concern about pederasty has kept organizers and sponsors of youth movements striving to keep out homosexuals. Not just Boy Scouts, but other Christian and indeed other cultures youth groups (the Communist nation's Pioneer groups). This concern appears to be valid as 1/3rd of underaged sexual victims are boys - they aren't being predated on in general by women - and gays amount to 2 in 50 of all men...Meaning that the frequency and number of victims of gay pederasts is far higher than the male heterosexual norm of likelihood to predate on underage females.

Until psychologists are able to distinguish between gays with no pederasty traits and those who do, it makes sense to be very careful about letting a potential fox into the chicken coop. Not all heroin addicts or complusive gamblers are thieves - but it is prudent for any employer to play the odds and keep them away from unsupervised access to large sums of money. It's not just Boy Scouts. All cultures have protected their children. It is only recently (the 60s onwards) that "tolerance" and other PC biges helped set up groups like the Roman Catholic Church and German Boy Scouts for massive pederast lawsuits.

The Boy Scouts have screened out "boy-happy" men since inception, and removed leaders caught in gay sting operations or who display "undue affection" regularly. And queer boys. Being morally straight has been in the Boy Scout oath for over 100 years. A bit on God was added in the 50s, but Scouts never oriented as discriminating on religion. Perhaps you only noticed it when gays tried forcing their way to young boy access in the last 20 years.

**********************
I have a different read on the ROTC ban. The original bans, ROTC bombings and burnings were by 60s Leftists (sometimes backed by Soviet efforts) to demonize the military over "repression, atrocities, Vietnam, imperialism" here and in Europe. Decoupling the best universities from training the best officers and technical people - as opposed to past American university support - was a way to show how they "loathed the military" and all in it.

With the end of Vietnam and the fall of the Soviet Union, a new excuse was summoned up by Lefties to make military service anathema - the homosexual "cause". By the same folks that screened homos from the Pioneer Movement, Red Army, and for fellow travellers - their manservants, nannies..

The post-Communist assault on the military was re-framed as a "rights" and victimization matter. Because the military, for Lefties - was still a critical American institution that needed to be attacked to deconstruct and rebuild a better America were it's influence was significantly lessened...

If it wasn't gays, some other convenient excuse would be dredged up as reason to "hate and loath" military people.

1. Not just gays were victims, but the military people themselves, who were childlike dupes manipulated into military service.

2. Despite study after study showing that miltary people were healthier and better adjusted and better earners as Vets than their non-military peers - A whole litany of Syndromes and psychobabble and schlock Leftie doctor's "pathologies" emerged in Kerry's clique and afterwards to describe the evil US soldiers. Drug abusing, homeless, flashback-haunted shells of men from their baby-killing days. PTSD, DU Syndrome, Agent Orange Syndrome, vaccination Syndrome.

3. Banning ROTC was just one important visible stigma imposed on campus. Students in uniform have reported being singled out for condemnation by faculty and denounced by Leftie activists on campus. Many schools refuse to work with the military on distance ed courses for service members. Military recruiters were banned with much fanfare and sometimes posters displayed that their "school" was declared a "militarist discrimination-free zone". New courses were offered in American military war crimes.

4. The military people were then attacked as a class. As stupid Southern Christian rubes or as Kerry famously said, disproportionately brown and black and more likely to commit future atrocities.

Gay rights are just a convenient tool to attack military service. If not that, something else would be invented.

We will be in low or high intensity war with America's enemies for decades. We will face a Rising China that is now greatly expanding it's military. It is in our vital interest to sustain and support a military that has the very best educated persons and leadership we can. No different than wanting the same in other professions like medicine, teaching, engineering..except the military is even MORE critical to our nation's welfare and future. It is foolish to war with our own military when we have many enemies out there who would like to kill us and harm us simply for being unbelievers, because we block their rise to Empire, or for our way of life...

Freder Frederson said...

That's because they are, Freder. Have you been to Nantucket lately? Do you know how much it costs even to get there, much less live next door to John & Theresa?

My point was not that Gore and Kerry are not rich elitists (they obviously are) but that Bush is every bit as much the Elitist Snob as Gore and Kerry, regardless of how much he affects his good 'ol boy Texas act. Have you been to Kennebunkport lately? Sure, you can drive there (you don't have to take the ferry or fly), but buying real eastate near George and Barbara ain't cheap.

Or do you really believe our ex-president lives in Houston?

Max Klein said...

Freder makes an excellent point, which is that some people are led ot believe that Kerry is elitist and Bush is not, while, of course, they both are. I remember reading that every single member of the Senate is a millionaire. I also took the time to read the financial disclosures of several members of the Bush admininistration--Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld. They are all millionaires many, many times over.

So, sure, sneer at Kerry for being elitist. But don't forget they are all far from being the common man, and it is silly to imagine that any of them--on either side of the aisle--live lives like the average American.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me suggest that the difference is that the Republicans have long championed the middle class, while the Democrats championed the lower classes. So, it is a much shorter stretch for someone with Bush's advantages to represent the middle class than for a Kerry or a Gore (or a Kennedy, Pelosi, etc.) to represent the working classes.

Also, while GWB obviously had all the advantages that family and money can buy, eventually, he really didn't see that until he went away to boarding school. The house that he grew up in in Texas was no more pretentious than the one I grew up in in CO, and a lot less so than a lot of today's preppies I know live in.

Ann Althouse said...

George: I'm quite aware of all that, including that book, but I was struck by Hitchens's Britishness in pointing it out and in using the word "provenance" -- normally associated with objects -- rather than "heritage" or "ancestry." I have a lot of that Scots Irish ancestry myself.

The Drill SGT said...

a couple of comments:

Tully said...
"Scots-Irish heritage"

A most genteel way of saying "hillbilly rednecks and their descendants." That's me!

But we just call ourselves Americans.
I can't back it up with a link, but I have been told that West Virginia traditionally provides the most service people per 1,000 of each cohort. More of that Scot-Irish legacy, Kerry would agree I expect :)

Cedarford said...
I have a different read on the ROTC ban. The original bans, ROTC bombings and burnings were by 60s Leftists (sometimes backed by Soviet efforts) to demonize the military over "repression, atrocities, Vietnam, imperialism" here and in Europe. Decoupling the best universities...


Interestingly Congress mandated the Land Grant College program 1860 and 1890 (includes my school, UCD and Ann's UW-M) with explicit requirements for ag extension and ROTC. How far we've come.

Meade said...

I'm curious... when one uses the term 'Scots Irish ancestry,' to what exactly is being referred - a mixture of Scottish and Irish parentage or Scottish ancestors who were planted in Northern Ireland?

The Drill SGT said...

Meade said...
I'm curious... when one uses the term 'Scots Irish ancestry,' to what exactly is being referred - a mixture of Scottish and Irish parentage or Scottish ancestors who were planted in Northern Ireland?


the second.

here's the wiki extract/intro

Scots-Irish (or Scotch-Irish) is a term used to describe inhabitants of the USA and Canada of Scots-Irish (particularly Ulster-Scots) descent, who formed distinctive communities and had distinctive social characteristics. The term is sometimes qualified with American or Canadian, when it is necessary to distinguish between communities in the two countries.

This article deals with those who arrived prior to the large influx of Irish Catholics in the mid-19th century, in connection with the potato famine and the tenant clearances. The people who arrived before that time were almost all Protestant, usually Presbyterian, and formed distinct communities. Most of the early migrants had an historical opposition to both Anglicanism, due to issues of religious freedom, and Roman Catholicism, due to relatively recent religious wars in Europe which had culminated in Ireland in the Battle of the Boyne.


I happen to be Scots-Irish with roots in Kentucky, but this whole subject dovetails with my view of sheep as the telltale mark of violence throughout the world. :)

Appalachia, Scotland, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Basque Country... what do they have in common.. Angry men living on poor land with too much time on their hands, watching sheep, plinking targets and dreaming of raiding lowlanders for cows and women.

sheep, the mark of Cain... j/k or half kidding :)

Fenrisulven said...

If it wasn't such a sad comment on our so-called liberal media, I would find it hilarious how both Gore and Kerry were (and still are) depicted as effete elitists who disdain the common man while Bush is depicted as a plain speaking man of people

Kerry eats pizza with a fork. C'mon.

And I worked in the Texas State Capitol while Bush was Gov. Its not an act. The father is an elitist, not the son.

Squiggler said...

The Scots-Irish Presbyterians and Coventers were the primary settlers of Western Pennsylvania pre-Revolutionary War. My ancestors were part of that group and were the first to form militias and take the fight to the British. They were/are still fierce patriots. They were farmers when they weren't fighters, although soon moved into positions of local government as the nation was born. They were especially good at church building and schooling and rebelling against taxes (i.e., Whiskey Rebellion)

For full details on Kerry's record with those who serve see: http://www.swiftvets.com/

We, as military families who have given much to our country, do not like him. Period.

Meade said...

Thanks Sarge! Interesting history, fascinating and humorous theory.

The Drill SGT said...

Squiggler said...
The Scots-Irish Presbyterians and Coventers were the primary settlers of Western Pennsylvania pre-Revolutionary War. My ancestors were part of that group and were the first to form militias and take the fight to the British. They were/are still fierce patriots. They were farmers when they weren't fighters, although soon moved into positions of local government as the nation was born. They were especially good at church building and schooling and rebelling against taxes (i.e., Whiskey Rebellion)


Webb documents that saga in his book, "Born Fighting". From memory, my synopsis of that section would be:

William Penn welcomed the Scots-Irish into PA, recognizing that if encouraged to settle in the right spots, these settlers would serve as an armed militia, protecting the less militant PA residents, e.g quakers, etc. The Scots Irish had a history of living on the edge of civilization, fighting to protect themselves and their kin. Unlike the Anglicans, and the Catholics and the German Protestants, they had little respect for hierarchical authority in religious or civil society. Thee highest form of government they recognized was the clan meeting or Kirk elders.

In this respect they were akin to Rome planting retiring legionaries on the borders of the empire in armed colonies. They tamed the land West of the mountains.

Shanna said...

My point was not that Gore and Kerry are not rich elitists (they obviously are) but that Bush is every bit as much the Elitist Snob as Gore and Kerry, regardless of how much he affects his good 'ol boy Texas act. Have you been to Kennebunkport lately? Sure, you can drive there (you don't have to take the ferry or fly), but buying real eastate near George and Barbara ain't cheap.

You aren't going to convince people that Bush is elitist just because he comes from money. Everybody already knows this. That's not the issue! The issue is if he looks down on people who don't. Clearly, people think Gore and Kerry do and they don't think of Bush that way. Maybe he's just not that way?

Let me suggest that the difference is that the Republicans have long championed the middle class, while the Democrats championed the lower classes.
This is also a good point. It is one thing to hear a rich Republican say American's should keep their money. It's another thing for an extraordinarily wealthy Dem to say that you are greedy for wanting to keep more of your own money. I look at someone like Kerry saying I should pay higher taxes and get mad, because I didn't marry a billionaire heiress and I actually have to pay bills that he can't possibly comprehend.

So the message is different, and the Dem's message isn't nearly as palatable coming from Kerry as it is coming from Clinton.

Harry Eagar said...

I thought Drill SGT's theory was funny, too, but I don't remember a lot of sheep in the Great Smoky Mountains.

A more universal attribute would be fierce self-subjugation to a sacred, savage text. It does not seem to matter much which one.

Gerry said...

I love this. Supposedly, it was a botched joke.

But Kerry's website has an article saying that if it was a joke or not, Kerry was right.

Sheesh

Harry Eagar said...

Well, this is funny.

The kerry.com piece is exactly right -- except about Kerry.

Bush didn't, and doesn't, know anything about the Middle East and is bound to fail because of it.

And the military has been a way for intelligent people to rise socially and economically. My dad, for example, who grew up poor and got a college education by joining the navy.

But that doesn't change the fact that Kerry is a fuckup.

Daryl Herbert said...

Progressive secular Jews with money are trying to shove the gay agenda down America's throat.

America is disgusted by gays. Every time you mention gay antics to America, America wants to vomit--this is normal and healthy. Isn't it obvious: the progressive secular Jews want to break America's gag reflex.

Cedarford's comments are a breath of fresh air.

Allowing gays to serve openly in the military is bad for unit cohesion. If progressive secular Jews think it will be easy to convince Americans otherwise--I find that hard to swallow. And Americans won't tolerate anti-military sentiment--that leaves a bad taste in our mouth.

Americans see this happening constantly--day-in, day-out, in and out, again and again--and most feel powerless to stop it. Most lack the courage to bite the bullet, grit their teeth, clamp down on it, and say "enough is enough."

This isn't some passing fad. The gay homosexual progressive secular Jews are trying to plant a seed deep in our cultural center. But that seed will never take root--their values are foreign to America, and they will only find an unfriendly womb, full of bile.

(join me next week, as I attempt to take another unfortunate metaphor entirely too far)

Daryl Herbert said...

Kettle: I'll try to explain it piece-by-piece. And I will start from the very beginning.

John Kerry was the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2004. During the Vietnam War, he served in the Navy, in a Swift Boat unit.

"reporting for duty"

that's what John Kerry said at campaign events, making reference to the fact that he served in Vietnam and Bush didn't.

the phantom "Christmas in Cambodia."

Kerry claimed multiple times to have been on a secret mission into Cambodian territory, much like the mission described in the fictional movie Apocalypse Now. There was zero evidence that he actually had been to Cambodia and Kerry stopped claiming it. Another notable politician who lied about going to Cambodia is David Duke.

"band of brothers"

HBO series about some American soldiers in WWII. The point was that they were really good people, and the terrible stress of war brought out the best in them.

a bunch of killers

Kerry, upon returning from Vietnam, became a prominent anti-war activist and accused American soldiers of doing Very Bad Things (murder, rape, torture, maiming, you name it). A lot of Vietnam Vets refuse to forgive Kerry to this day.

the sickly discovery that he had been part of a "band of brothers" rather than a bunch of killers

As part of his election campaign, Kerry talked up the camaraderie, etc. that he had with his unit. Kerry (or his staff) may have even used the exact term, "band of brothers," to describe Kerry's former unit. He brought servicemen who had served under him to campaign events, including the Democratic National Convention.

spoiled for choice

See: SonicFrog's 9:35am comment.