September 27, 2011

"The Constitution is the rules; politics is the game."

"The alternatives to organized political contention are anarchy or sheep-like passivity."

Richard Brookhiser speaks in one aphorism after another in this dialogue with Kathryn Jean Lopez about his new book about James Madison, "James Madison." (Buy it here. I just did.)

The headline on the interview is "Politics Is Madison," and I was delighted to see, that it wasn't about my crazy little city in the Midwest.

More from the interview:
LOPEZ: What accounts for Madison’s scorn for John Adams and his love for Thomas Jefferson? Does either man’s relationship with Madison provide essential insight into Adams or Jefferson?

BROOKHISER: Madison never spent much time with John Adams, and could not see beyond his obnoxious qualities to the good ones. Thomas Jefferson was the cool older brother Madison never had — brilliant, eloquent, quirky — but at the same time a fellow Virginian and an ideological soul mate....

LOPEZ: What might Madison think about Barack Obama?

BROOKHISER: Jefferson’s vices, without the charm.

61 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Madison deserves his portrait on currency. He was the intellectual that made the constitution workable.

But he was never popular like the others.

maybe he can replace Susan B Anthony on the next new coins...but not made from copper or they will all disappear by midnight..gone in a Madison second.

Henry said...

LOPEZ: What might Madison think about Barack Obama?

Madison would have thought he was 3/5 of a person.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Madison would have thought he was 3/5 of a person.

Madison would have been right.

Pastafarian said...

You guys are going to get Althouse into trouble again with the higher powers, like local Wisconsin blogs read by literally dozens of people.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)
Madison would have thought he was 3/5 of a person
No, but thank you:
1) For revisiting an old and often-debunked trope; and
2) Playing and contributing.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Henry said...

Joe -- Please elaborate if you would.

Traditionalguy is right -- Madison's role in drafting and defending the constitution is profoundly important, even heroic.

But he was also a creature of his time, a slaveholder, and the author of the 3/5th compromise.

Lopez's question to Brookhiser is obviously nonracial and that is how Brookhiser answers it. It's actually a clever answer, even if wildly hypothetical.

What were Jefferson's vices? Partisanship. Secretiveness. Duplicity.

edutcher said...

I would have said Adams' vices, without the charm.

Like His Rotundity, GodZero is a dictator at heart.

WV "permetsm" How the NFL now feels about proctology in the huddle.

Henry said...

@Mary -- Is "Adams was a pain in the butt" too sophisticated for you?

EDH said...

Thomas Jefferson was the cool older brother Madison never had...

To put it in terms even I can understand, does that mean Adams was Madison's Eddie Haskell?

Mick said...

Madison would say that Obama is ineligible, since he was born a British Subject (and wasn't grandfathered in by A2S1C5, since he was born 171 years too late).

DUH

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

OK, the 3/5th’s Rule was an ABOLITIONIST/Anti-Slavery Compromise….it had NOTHING to do with a person’s value or personhood. The South/Slave States wanted to deny Africans ANY voice, of course, as slaves, but wanted them counted FULLY as “persons” for the purposes of the Census, thereby granting White Southerners a disproportionate say in the US Congress. Abolitionists opposed this, and wanted them freed, or arguably, not counted at all…INSTEAD the 3/5th’s compromise was created to allow the adoption of the US Constitution…it did not satisfy anyone fully, but it allowed the process to proceed. The 3/5th’s Rule was a COMPROMISE between counting Africans not all or fully, for purposes of enumerating state populations, and hence Electoral Votes and seats in the US House.

Yours is a repeated and baseless trope about the nature of the 3/5th’s Rule. Rather than being racist it is, in fact, a move to limit the power of slave-holders, sponsored by abolitionists.

edutcher said...

Mary said...

Maybe it's something less sophisticated. Maybe Jefferson, the "big brother", shared his women with Madison??

Since the only woman in Tom's life was Martha, his wife, I doubt Tom was into wife-swapping.

Henry said...

Whoops -- Let me correct myself. Madison originally proposed a 3/5 count for slaves as an amendment to the Articles of Confederation. The 3/5 compromise to the Constitution was actually proposed by James Wilson and Roger Sherman.

David R. Graham said...

"Really, this far out, why can we be so sure these historians are reading these men correctly and it's nothing something ... simpler?"

Good point. Toynbee and Spengler knew it, too.

And it leads into the comment the quoted exchange brought to my mind: Wasn't the best thing about James Dolley, with her illustrious bosom and luminous social graces?

edutcher said...

Mr, Graham, a comma would help that last sentence immeasurably.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama's a slave? No wonder he complains so much.

J said...

Madison was a Federalist, initially, and did associate with Hamilton--(Adams' man). He later joined the Jeffersonian faction, the democratic-republicans--around the time of Jeff's presidency. So Broookhisers oversimplifying. Mad. was not always in agreement with the Jeffersonian democrats.

Henry said...

Okay Joe, you win the argument of no context.

Interestingly, in the debate about amending the Articles of Confederation I referred to above the south wanted slaves to count less than the north since the ratio would determine tax obligations. Funny how self-interest works.

Apparently Madison supported indemnification and recolonization. Since no one indemnified him, he held onto his slaves.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

"Since the only woman in Tom's life was Martha, his wife..."


Post Martha (perhaps before?),
I bet Sarah "Sally" Hemmings' family would beg to differ...

Betcha he hit on his slave women for "practice" well before Martha.

Titus said...

I love Katey Lopez.

Very hot.

Titus said...

I do believe that Katey Jo Lopez needs to get laid though, really bad.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Titus said...

Would any of you do Katey Jo Lopez?

She must be frustrated working with all those republican men and not one date.

J said...

hey "Titus"--yr little 10th grade obscenities are stupid meaningless shit. Jus STFU, maricone

themightypuck said...

Why is England with no constitution very similar to the USA? I suggest that the import of the US constitution is more a kind of sacred document that binds us together as a nation and less a set of rules.

J said...

Also, Adams and his son both were presidential timber. Jefferson, for whatever reason, never got there.

Your wiki-google skills are off , mormonic-sockpuppet. Try like some espresso, and maybe "who was the 3rd President of the USA."

Some of the moralists forget that Madison supported Liberia. And most forget that Madison was even more..secularist than Jefferson--ie the Remonstrance.

Mary said...

Damn he made president, but all anyboy remembers him for these days is sleeping with his slave women.

Who bore his offspring...

(Funny how things work out that way, eh? What we remember, and what we don't.)

Scott M said...

hey "Titus"--yr little 10th grade obscenities are stupid meaningless shit. Jus STFU, maricone

Absolutely hysterical. Pot? Here's the Kettle. Notice it's overall black color?

Mary said...

Why you taking this so personal, J, with the namecalling and all?

You bedding your servant women too?
;-)

J said...

IM not a demo or liberal, Squatty the mormonswine and don't approve of yr little logcabin pal titus. you don't know my views, white trash bag of mierda

Capichay , wicca filth?

J said...

See above comment re wicca scum, mormon-sockpuppet

timmaguire42 said...

J, are you new here? Titus is a local hero. He is no maricone, he is an artist.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

*WOW* The Small Pathetic Voice is reasonably rational today! I wondered how anyone could talk about Jefferson not being “Presidential timber”, myself? Still it’s hilarious to see the Small Pathetic Voice attack Titus with yr little 10th grade obscenities are stupid meaningless shit. Jus STFU, maricone and keep a semblance of a straight face…irony and self examination are not strong points are they SPV?

Scott M said...

J said

yr little 10th grade obscenities are stupid meaningless shit.

and then said

Squatty the mormonswine and don't approve of yr little logcabin pal titus. you don't know my views, white trash bag of mierda

and, as always, the obvious hilarity twixt the two escapes him. You do see the similarities in maturity, don't you e-grade?

I'm not much better, but at least I'm aware of the fact.

J said...

Small Pathetic Shofar player aka Joejoe--

don't respond to my comments, chandala. You're too stupid to discuss Madison or Jefferson--maybe stick to ..yr fave Kissinger quotes, or Joan Rivers or something,dreck.

Mary said...

Oh I get it...

J is a queer with a hard on for Tommy J. (That's PRESIDENT Tommy J. to you Mormons you!)

J said...

There's no hilarity ,squatt filth,except that you think yoo have something to say.
I piss on yr white trash-zionist grave ,and yr little boyfriend titus. You have nothing to say about my views or politics, yid filth

J said...

No "Mary" the Mormon sockpuppet aka Byro Barfaroni--yr the queer , poetry boy, like yr old friend Ginzoburg.
You dont know fuck about Jefferson do you seditionist--either his virtues or errors

Getready for some more links mormon satanist

Scott M said...

You have nothing to say about my views or politics, yid filth

I don't stop at middle-school bus stops in my neighborhood to discuss politics or views either, benchpresser, for pretty much the same reasons. Very low tolerance for your particular flavor of ignorant blowhard. If I thought you had a consistent sense of debating in good faith, I might give it a try again, but you so quickly devolve into inanities and needless name-calling, it's not worth it.

Mary said...

J.--
Settle down now and eat your cheese...

Mary said...

And whatever you do, J., don't click this link:


Maybe Tommy J. indeed shared his Sally with James Madison ... might he be the father of James Madison Hemings?

(Remember, the Y chromosome match to Jefferson came through his brother Eston, not JMH himself...)

Mary said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madison_Hemings

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

ScottM, if I am a Warlord Class III in World of Warcraft, what e-grade would I be in Federal Service?

Scott M said...

You would have a ton of leveling-points, that's for sure. Almost as cool as a quarterback who throws for four scoredowns a pitch.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)
You would have a ton of leveling-points, that's for sure. Almost as cool as a quarterback who throws for four scoredowns a pitch
Does Power-Lifting help…

J said...

Grunt away, zionist swinebuckets--

yr an insult to the Founders and indeed to all rational politics. Stick to like Joan Rivers, dreck

Scott M said...

Does Power-Lifting help…

Only if you're mother/landlord spots you.

Bruce Hayden said...

J - as has been pointed out above, Titus is a well accepted part of this community. Yes, his sexuality does come across sometimes as a bit narcissistic, and maybe even juvenile, but he does talk about something that he seems to know a lot about - the gay life style, and he does so in a humorous way, that is almost totally disconnected with what the rest of us are talking about.

In short, Titus is much better loved here than you. He, at least, seems to do his homework (though maybe a bit less now that he is married). You? Not so much.

J said...

Alright ,we'll slow it down for the Swine-tardds.

E as in Enlisted pay scale, Squat the dumbass? difficult eh. And that holds for ChiefPetty Officers, as I said weeks ago

--
Jefferson's far too much for you Small Pathetic jew aka joejoe-- Joan Rivers--thats yr level of cognitive ability

Carol_Herman said...

Oh, wow.

One thing our Founding Fathers knew. If their revolution wasn't successful they'd ALL HANG.

They ALL knew they didn't want a monarchy. Heck, they didn't even want the Church of England. (Which was a break-off from the Catholics.) With very high dramatic arts. And, the priests could marry. All they had to do was accept the King of England as the head of the church.

So, in America the Anglican Church name was taken off the front of the building. And, the word EPISCOPALIAN went up in its stead.

The US Constitution is a REALITY CHECK on how ALL governments function. And, like I said, our Founding Fathers didn't want a monarchy. They didn't even want a parliament.

So they chose a PIE they could split up. There's a 3-way Federal section. There's power to the 13 States. And, "what got left over" went to the people. (Where everyone knew people die.)

You know, in the beginning there weren't even political parties! Then by the time Jefferson wins, our President #3, parties emerge. And, one of them is called THE WHIGS. (They took this name from the Brits.)

Power is a delicate thing. It's not sunshine, that spreads on everybody. And, to get to power there's a rush of competition. Just like horse races.

The slavery "thing" in the beginning, was PURE EVIL.

But evil exists.

As a matter of fact, every time someone introduces a very rich person to you ... you know that the wealth was made by a CROOK.

First ones to get very wealthy always are crooks.

Our Founding Fathers knew that too.

Whatever politics is, however ... it's more like a whorehouse than a happy marriage.

And, some women, for instance, could never be whores. Even if they were starving. Men? Men on the other hand will sneak into whorehouse ... even when they have wives at home.

There's no explaining human nature.

Lucius said...

Madison was clearly more gifted, at least at the thing that counted most, than Jefferson; so that Madison's making himself a political and intellectual buttboy to Jefferson has always been a bit sad.

Madison started out on Team Washington, of course, and that was the place he should've remained-- the maximal Madison, of Constitutional and Federalist Papers fame, comes from thence. Everything else is all downhill.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

You know, I can’t find WO’s within the ENLISTED rank structure…probably because they aren’t ENLISTED…nor are they NON-commissioned officers, but instead have a Warrant, from Congress, making them officers…to be distinguished from the COMMISSIONED Officers, who have a commission from the President/King….

As such one may find E-1’s to E-9’s….O-1’s to O-10’s (Active)…AND W-1’s to W-5’s…..

J said...

Hayden--spare me your simpering quasi PC bullshit. Im sure you don't know the Federalist papers from yr favorite logcabin GOP for Mitt Romney site.

J said...

No Joe the stupid f*ck the phony pretending to be a navy vet said he was a sailor. Any non-officer in any branch of the military knows his E-grade, be sure of that, dreck. a new E 1 being like $1500, but E-9--like CPO with years of service-- could be $5-6000. per month or more. In other words, he was lying (the LDS sockpuppet MO)

Scott M said...

Any non-officer in any branch of the military knows his E-grade

Nobody...ever...calls...it...e-grade. Get that through your thick wikipedia skull. Take from a vet who's from a family of vets going back five generations.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)
to be a navy vet said he was a sailor
Meaning s/he was in the NAVY, possibly…just as most members of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children say, “I was a Marine” whether they were a Clerk/Typist in a Reserve Truck Company or Walt Boomer…..Being a “sailor” can and usually means that the purveyor of this information once spent time in a relatively rat-free vessel of Her Majesty’s Government, where cannibalism has been mostly brought under control…..

Alex said...

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but Blogger is starting to use the Microsoft Metro UI! Can't Google ever NOT copycat?

Lyle said...

... or the slaves. Obama doesn't own any slaves, I think.

Canuck said...

"BROOKHISER: Jefferson’s vices, without the charm."

What is he talking about? Jefferson was an anti-federalist. Jefferson was the leader of the anti-federalists.