Saturday, June 24, 2006

Same As It Ever Was

Here's a political cartoon from the 1864 election. Drawn by Thomas Nast, it was a comment on the Democratic Party's "cut and run" Copperhead platform. The inscription on the tombstone is the Civil War version of I support the troops by not the war: "In memory of our Union Heroes who fell in a Useless War." Pre-election the Dems were uber confident that homesick, disgruntled and battle weary Union soldiers would vote en masse for their former commanding general, George B. McClellan. McClellan had been relieved by President Lincoln after the Battle of Antietam. McClellan had little stomach for actual combat and had a predictable Chicken Little tendency to always see a falling sky by consistently overestimating Southern forces and capabilities. He was more about spin and a whole lot less about win. Here's a quote from the History Channel website:

An able administrator and drillmaster, McClellan proceeded to reorganize the army for what he expected to be an overwhelming demonstration of Northern military superiority. Popular with his troops, the 34-year-old commander was also a conceited, arrogant man, contemptuous of the president and already suspect among Republicans because he vigorously opposed any tampering with the institution of slavery. Ultimately, his tendency to overestimate the enemy and his excessive caution wore out Lincoln’s patience.

His lack of fighting elan, and over-confidence in the enemy's forces, rather than his own, ultimately wasted lives through his failure to effectively capitalize on the near death blow Lee's forces recieved at Antietam September 17, 1862, and thus hasten the end of fighting. Lincoln sent him back to civilian life November 17 with the now famous quote, "If you don't want to use the army, I should like to borrow it for a while."

The Dems of that day were also heartened by the Draft Riots they had openly provoked, particularly in New York City, with inflammatory newspaper screeds about a failed mission coupled with the specter of emancipated blacks flooding the northern job market; blacks freed in a war originally sold as being more about restoring the Union and less about eliminating the institution of slavery.

Lincoln was convinced that he was going to be handed a historic loss. He couldn't have been more wrong. Naysaying and doom-mongering fell flat and Lincoln had a victory of historic proportions; 212 to 21 votes in the electoral college and 55% to 45% in the popular vote. The Union Army supported Lincoln with a 78% margin. America's resolve behind Lincoln and staying the course made the Emancipation Proclimation a permanent fact, rather than a passing fancy. If the Dems had had their way passports would be needed today to go from Pennsylvania to Maryland, and the Underground Railroad would be operating still.

What prompted today's post? An article in the June 23rd issue of The Washington Post about the ongoing presidential aspirations of failed vice-presidential candidate, former senator and North Carolina ambulance chasing lawyer John Edwards. Edwards is tauting a two pronged platform of eliminating poverty in the US and restoring America's place on the heights of the world's moral high ground. He advocates an immediate removal of 40,000 troops from Iraq (the remainder out in 12-18 months), and a re-deployment of tax money, to the tune of 15 to 20 billion a year, in a return to fighting the War on Poverty. So let me see if I've got him right....getting everyone in the world to think America is swell again is the cure for international jihad. And, throwing more money at poor people will stop poverty. The moral high ground is apparently reached through good PR rather than confronting evil. Telling everyone that we're all about democracy and a just world needs to replace actually doing something concrete about it. How zen! Do by not doing grasshopper. Stop evil by not stopping evil! Stop poverty by paying the poor for being poor! Think big thoughts, use big words, espouse big ideas! Before we know it est will be back. All evil requires to fail is for good men to do nothing (apologies to Edmund Burke). I wouldn't be surprised if 500,000 Rwandans don't just rise up out of their graves after realizing they had mistakenly run into machetes during the Clinton era, surely Edwards' golden age of America's death grip on the moral high ground. And the 7 trillion wasted on the previous War on Poverty....siphoned off by Haliburton no doubt.

Somethings never change. Politicians preaching easy pie in the sky solutions, trumpeting bad news and instigating open disloyalty during a time of war. The New York Times and the LA Times yesterday, disregarding pleas from our government, revealed to friend and foe alike a formerly secret operation that has since 9/11 effectively identified and thwarted our enemy. The death of Al-Zarqawi widely minimized, the horrendous deaths' of American servicemembers relativized in a haze of moral equivalency, a preemptive disruption of a terror plot in Miami marginalized (amazing how the Left gets away with buffooning these homegrown terrorists-I just listened to the NYTs' Maureen Dowd on FoxNews disparagingly lampoon the Miami conspirators as "not being able to find the local Sears, let alone the Sears Tower"), and attempts at downplaying three sets of elections in Iraq are but a few of the trends actively and predictably spun from folks on the left. Their hypocrisy is as transparent as their well-meaning rationalizations are delusional. WE ARE AT WAR.

Hey, remember, I'm not a ranting neo-con 24/7, check out my soft underbelly....visit my new photoblog. Thanks.


EdoRiver said...

We seen to be at war with each other. Why do you set your sights on the shifting qualities of political parties? As your own example shows this inconsistency. The Democrats opposed civil rights during Lincoln's time and now the pary has a higher representation of minorites in the party's state by state organization than the party of Lincoln. The Southern Democrats are some of the most rabid conservatives you can find. and the criticism of party members of John McCain's character during his campaign was no example of integrity.

If you set your hopes and relieve your stress by banging on party politics your heart will always be at the mercy of individual desires. It is far better to raise your standards and measure the person's actions by their contribution to the community no matter what party they belong to.
If such a small matter as an article in one American newspaper on one day sets your heart beating faster than normal. Where is your focus on the true meaning of our lives?
I may be wrong, but it appears that although you rant against the value of certain US newspapers, yet that is precisely the focus of your blog's attention time after time. It appears to me Mr. Fay that if they are so upsetting and of negligible value, why not change the channel? Concentrate on those newspapers or columnists you totally agree with. I think it would be less stressful for you.

mdfay said...

Dear edoriver, I have first hand experience with being misquoted and spun by two of America's major newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and also by the Associated Press and the BBC. Perhaps one day you too will have the highly instructive experience of having your thoughts subtley massaged, edited and squeezed out through someone elses supposedly highly professional objective psyche. I've also had a good experience with a very liberal writer from the Wall Street Journal, he, Michael Phillips, sent me several drafts of a piece he wrote about me to read prior to it being published. My experiences, good and bad, influence my attitudes towards the press. I also have the distinct privilege of having experienced an overwhelming mass of positive events in the war on terrorism which have never appeared in the very same papers which draw my ire. Silence in the face of their gross mis-reporting is rather difficult at this point in the game. There is no pretense of objectivity here at Fire and Ice. I am not a journalist. What you see is what you get....the honest sentiments from someone who's been out in the "goo" and has returned to tell of it. No theoretical stuff here.

Your somewhat pointed musing as to whether I might be well advised to "change the channel" is tellingly rude. Although my nearly 30 years of continous sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous have taught me to always extend the benefit of the doubt, your condescending tone is duly noted.

I'm one of the good men who, rather than doing nothing, am doing something to fight evil,which presently means speaking out against those who are, knowing or unknowingly, working counter to the war effort. The New York Times and The LA Times have done exactly that. Once again, if you do not get that we are war, then this will make little meaningful sense to you. Likewise, if my howling at the MSM moonbats has discomfited you, please don't feel you have to subject yourself to my missives. On the other hand, if my stressed out experience based PTSD driven diatribes are granting you a sense of detached zen-like superiority, please keep coming by.

For myself, I find you interesting you think in Japanese and then translate into English when you type?

Laurie said...

"It is far better to raise your standards and measure the person's actions by their contribution to the community no matter what party they belong to."

To measure something means to estimate or determine its magnitude according to some unit of measure. So first you have to agree on a standard and what unit to measure it in. The trouble we run into here is that it is very subjective. What you perceive to be a more important issue may or may not be the most important issue to other people. So your standard of measure is different.

"I may be wrong, but it appears that although you rant against the value of certain US newspapers, yet that is precisely the focus of your blog's attention time after time. It appears to me Mr. Fay that if they are so upsetting and of negligible value, why not change the channel? Concentrate on those newspapers or columnists you totally agree with. I think it would be less stressful for you."

Perhaps he does find value in it, the same way you must find some value in reading Mr. Fay's blog which it seems you often disagree with. Of course that is just my subjective opinion.

devildog6771 said...

Great post. Thank you. We share common sentiment.

JG said...

Edoriver: Your swipe at the Republican Party on Civil Rights is as false today as it was in Lincoln's time. Not only were we in the forefront of the elimination of slavery, most of the civil rights legislation in the 60's passed with Republican support, not Democrat support. If more people in state government are minority it might well be due to the indocrination that comes with your party membership. I will always contend that no one is truly free unless he or she is free to choose their own party affliation. Ask any minority of Republican affiliation just how much respect those of your party allow them for their ability to actually BE free. The horrible vilification that is heaped upon people of such incredible stature as Colin Powell, Condie Rice, Lt. Governor Steele etc. in in keeping with the worst examples of racial bias one could find in our worst eras of racial intolerance. When that stops and is gone forever and Americans of any racial background may choose freely according to their personal belief systems without harrassment, talk to me about your party on racial issues.

As to the concept of choosing an individual not the party: that individual comes with a whole host of party debts, monetary and otherwise/loyalities/supports/friendships etc. You always get the package deal.

The major newspapers who are a thorn to Mr. Fay, myself and a host of others, are failing. They are not in touch with the American people and every year readership fades away to other news venues. A news entity once said they would print "all the news that is fit to print." Today the major liberal papers such as the NYT print news that is not fit to print, filling it with distortion, untruth and vital national secrets. You won't find truth about the GWOT only that which undermines us in this life and death struggle. It will be a truly great day when the NYT among other papers sees its last issue put to bed. The question in my mind, however, is whether the national interest will survive the efforts to undermine it by such newspapers at a time when we are facing perils of unbelievable proportions. Your comment, "if they are so upsetting and of negligible value, why not change the channel" is ludicrous. Unfortunately, the NYT is quoted nation wide throughout the MSM as thought it was from on high and still holds much influence with many who allow them to do their thinking for them. Ignoring such a prevalent and despicable force would be to fail to do one's national duty. I do believe Mr. Fay has been a man into doing his national duty.

I salute all good men who have the courage to see the problem, frame it and endeavor to ammend it. Mr. Fay falls into this group. Bless you, Mr. Fay for both your military service and the service you supply via this blog. Men of your insight and valor are ever in my prayers. Keep the faith for all of us.

Beth* A. said...

Mike Fay, you are a refreshing tonic (as always) to read; this post was particularly memorable.

As for your follow-up comments, I have yet to see another set-down delivered with as much acerbic wit and gracious style.

The sting from that ought to last a good while.

Synova said...

I think that sometimes, rather than neo-cons, the more common creature is a neo-liberal... as in classical liberalism.

Promoting liberty and democracy, certainly rule of law rather than by despot, *believing* that all people are important and valuable, not just Americans (how often have we been told that Iraq is not worth a single American life?), and that all those people, minorities in this country or goat herders and date farmers elsewhere are entirely capable as human beings to achieve what any of us can achieve... all those things are liberal beliefs and values.

I could go on with examples until you're all very tired of me.

The Lincoln quote ROCKS, btw. :-)

countrygirl said...

Yeah, what "jg" said, that's what I wanted to say! Yeah!
And yes, the Lincoln quote does rock!
M D Fay, you are a fine example of what an American can be. I'm proud of you beyond what you can imagine, and so durned thankful for you. Geez, I'm getting teary...