The American Taliban


People say they hate “politicians.” Senator Richard Lugar was one of the last who could truly be labeled statesman and public servant, who rose above politics. He was one of the good guys. He was certainly on the conservative end of the political spectrum. But, apparently, not at the bitter end.

So he lost the Republican primary 61% to 39%. The inmates have taken over the asylum

This will surely be mentioned when a future Gibbon writes The Decline and Fall of America.

The Republicans are turning themselves into an American Taliban, a bunch of Savonarolas, scourges of ideological purity. They seem oblivious that this is a democracy, with majority rule – and they ain’t no majority. The more extreme a corner they paint themselves into, the less likely they can achieve something.

Lugar’s primary opponent, Mourdock, sounds like an altogether typical politician, saying whatever will get him elected, and saying it in that phony stentorian politician voice. He says that what we need is not Lugar-type bipartisanship but, instead, “principle.”

Uh, no. That’s just the problem with American politics.

I’m not against having principles. But you don’t have them to yourself. The other guys have them too. In fact, we live in a nation where half of us have one set of principles and the other half has principles diametrically opposite. If everyone immovably stands on principle, we’re going to stand still.

And such principles. The House Republicans passed a budget bill to protect defense spending from any cuts whatever, while paying for it by slashing social programs for the most vulnerable. Of course, this budget cannot possibly be enacted; it’s just political posturing. But is this really the political position Republicans want to go into this election defending? It’s just handing the Democrats their favorite demagogic posture on a silver platter, letting them wrap themselves in virtue as champions of compassion.


But the dirty secret of federal domestic spending is that the great bulk goes to relatively affluent middle class people, not the poor and needy. When you hear Democrats prattling about compassion, it’s really a ruse to avoid any hard decisions about largesse for the truly non-needy. We could afford ample help for the worst off, if welfare for corporations and the rich were trimmed. By taking the opposite tack, the Republican budget is disgraceful.

These Republicans may make a Democrat of me yet.

2 Responses to “The American Taliban”

  1. Gregg Millett Says:

    I write when I disagree with you, so this time I’ll say “way to go.” But “Taliban”, isn’t that a bit strong — not counting my mid-western high school buddies who are arming themselves!

    [FSR comment: Like in my picture? Yes, “Taliban” is a bit strong — given that we still do have the U.S. constitution. But this is what we call political rhetoric. At least I didn’t call them Nazis.]

  2. Lee Says:

    Alas, many “viable” Democratic candidates are beholden to corporate welfare too. And the other extreme of anti-corporatism isn’t any better. Finding someone who is middle ground on corporate/business issues is getting quite difficult.

    [FSR comment: Well, there’s me. I’d run, if I thought I could get elected. But you’re right, politicians with my kind of right-thinking are virtually nonexistent.]

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