The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fox News Reverts To The Gong Show Format

Now Playing: "Every Time it Rains" from KWS' Live On

Fox News has got a game show running just now - it's got the snazzy stage sets, the packed cheerleader audience, the groovy panning multi-angle cameras, and there are six contestants. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

Some play-by-play:

- Much as I dislike Paul, you've got to admire a candidate who actually talks about Austrian economics by name in the midst of a televised debate. When he did so (on a question on an impending recession,) you could almost hear - and see, in Romney's case - five other throats swallowing hard... The problem with Paul, once again, is that his irrational foreign policy stance - and his vehement emotionalism whenever it comes up - has instantly disqualified him as a serious Presidential candidate at a time when the very survival of Western Civilization is on the chopping block. Therefore everything else he says, no matter how valid and admirable taken by itself, is disgraced by association. This guy is a one-track broken record on retro-60s head-in-the-sand pacifism.

- I'm wondering why, after John "Traitor" McCain's and The Reverend Huckabee's being queried specifically by the "moderator" about the apparent betrayal of Reaganomics by the current GOP "leadership," Fred Thompson had to ask that "moderator" to be given the same opportunity and time to...have his turn. After he had done the "moderator's" job for him, Thompson landed a one-two punch to the solar plexus of the confused Reverend Democrat Huckabee. So..why the odd focus by the network on the two Democrat candidates, Huckabee and McCain? 'Guess we know who the media are backing... I'll be interested to see a comparative breakdown of time and speaking opportunity allotments given the candidates.

- A detail note: I'm a big fan of precision in speaking and in choosing one's words. Which means I'm liking, big time, Hizzoner Giuliani's alteration of the phrase "war on terror" to "the terrorists' war on us." Precise, pithy, illustrative. More of that, please.

- Clapping. Lots...and lots...and lots...of clapping. Back and forth. And back and forth. And squealing - literally squealing - cheerleaders jumping into the "debate" on their idol's cue. As if I give a tinker's damn what a game show crowd thinks of a given point, and as if their emotional response is likely to cause me to rearrange my beliefs - which intent is palpable with every childish outburst. *sigh* This is not a good use of my time, Fox. Can you study the difference between a game show and a Presidential debate, then try to apply whatever you might learn to the situation at hand? Could somebody else create a news network that's run by professionals? Please?

- Paul eats serious crow on his 60s-flower-child pacifism when, after a lengthy rant of escalating emotionalism (as mentioned above,) the moderator asks what Paul was responding to, when the rest of the candidates had all urged calm and restraint on the Iranian agression against the American Navy. In the aftermath, even the half-baked rest of the field made Paul look like a naïve teenager on national defense, which, as I've said earlier here, is kinda-sorta important...?

- A big part of me wants very badly to be a Thompson supporter. His body-slam reply to Michael Moore's taunt in May of last year was the kind of thing I'd expected would be the tip of an iceberg of Reaganism. Unfortunately, we only hear that from Thompson on the rarest of occasions. And there's his noxious endorsement of the altruist ethics, the foundation of collectivism, in his paean to "sacrifice for the greater good," which "greater good," historically, has shown itself to be malleable to whatever the mob wants it to be, and generally enforced by a dictator. Essentially, the precise, polar opposite of inalienable rights of individuals.

The characterizations of him as "lazy" would be more accurately described as something like "inexplicably reticent" or "inappropriately passive." In any case, though Thompson's style of quiet gruffness and authenticity is a refreshing contrast to the slick, prepackaged, and coached artifice that's become the norm among American politicians, an appealing style - oddly attenuated at that - can't mitigate a disastrous view of ethics and some consequently disastrous black marks on his record. He'd have to convince me that the "sacrifice" blather was a momentary lapse of reason and outline some proposals at least as bold as Reagan's. Like eliminating entire cabinet departments like Education and Energy, alphabet soup agencies like the FDA, EPA, ICC, FTC, and above all, the FCC. But Thompson's most egregious offense remains his support for the McCain Campaign Censorship Act.

So as it stands, Thompson got some great soundbite points - and by the calculation of one of Fox' instant reaction panels "won" the debate overall - but he'd have to undergo a sea change of both substance and style to merit nomination.

All in all, the last two debates have illustrated vividly that, on a philosophical level, Giuliani is as good as Thompson is as good as Romney. The only real differences between them are superficial, mostly personality and stylistic differences. None of the GOP candidates is anything close to the Reaganesque fiscal conservative / social libertarian mold except Paul, but he has, as I've indicated, disqualified himself as a serious candidate on that whole Basic Survival question. That's really too bad because he literally ran rings around the others whenever he got away from 60s pacifism, which was roughly: 15% of his total speaking time. So given that we're left only with induced pragmatism, the candidate with the best cross-partisan appeal, therefore the candidate most likely to score the landslide defeat of Clinton / Obama / Edwards / Mussolini / etc., is the logical choice. That would be: Giuliani.

Yes, I'd rather vote for a candidate I could back enthusiastically and strictly on principle, but Janice Rogers Brown, Robert Bidinotto and T.J. Rogers are all gainfully employed. So I'm reduced to gutter pragmatism.

Just like the last five Presidential elections. This is getting real, real old - but what's a guy to do?

Hey France! Can we borrow....

Yeah, yeah - "No Person except a natural born citizen...shall be eligible..."


Please pass the Jenlain, s'il vous plait.


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