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I took a chance this week. I usually run about 30 minutes per episode. When I feature a segment of the book I’ll post a few quick hits and run one or two chapters. This week I had two short chapters and one long one. So I decided to go with it. They are goods ones and one is quite timely. It runs about 31 minutes, minus any ads I might use.
I wrote this book early in the primaries before the 2016 election. I revised and updated it during the general election. I first thought to write it after Bush 41 yawned his way through his re-election campaign against BJ Bill. It is full of lessons we’ve overlooked or completely ignored for decades now.
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The sixteenth chapter of the book discusses war. It is pure coincidence that I have arrived at this chapter this week.
I’ll leave a link to Doug McGregor’s conversation with Tucker Carlson on the evolving situation in Gaza and the wider implications therein. I’ve done my best to warn readers and listeners about this type of situation for a long time. This is especially true on the P4B since last March.
In recent years the United States has exhausted itself, often not in its best interests, both economically and militarily. Foreign powers know that we are not in a position to reach out and wreck very much right now. We are painfully short of men and material.
To understand the level of incompetence that allowed this to happen, we now have more flag rank officers (generals and admirals) than we had in World War Two. Then, we have 16 milllion men in uniform. Now we have just over a million. That means 94% of these overpaid “yes” men with the big shoulder boards can’t justify their existance.
The Navy, if appearances are any indicator, isn’t ready to fight anywhere on a conventional level.
I remember after Viet Nam being told that we would never have to fight a conventional war again. That was why we were scaling back on forces. A new and empty term was invented, asymetrical warfare. For the little shit holes we’ve been fighting in, we call it asymetrical war. The enemy in those places just called it war. It was the most they could do with what they had.
Understand, that if any biligerents in the Middle East simply will it to be so, we will find outselves forced into a very large kenetic conflict. No humping around the badlands then going back to base camp to watch TV. This will be the real thing. And NONE of the empty uniforms walking around the Pentagon have any experience even close to this.
All it will take is one fuck up by any international actor in Eastern Europe or the Middle East and people will start dying, including our people.
Last week I suggested North and South America sit this one out. But Lindsay Graham never saw a conflict he didn’t want us to jump into and Joe Duh is looking to get reelected. No, I wouldn’t put it past him…or his handlers who dictate everything he says and does.
I will let the video at the end of the podcast speak for itself. If you are listening to the podcast on a service that doesn’t carry the text of the episode, I invite you to go to www.streetpolitics.us and take a free subscription. That was you can get all the pertinent links.
Telling your government to butt out of the world’s problems is not unpatriotic. With the state of our Armed Forces right now, it’s the voice of reason. Would I lose any sleep if Hamas ceases to exist? Not a wink. But others in the world may see an opportunity here.
The next 20 years will be horrible for much of the globe. We don’t have to participate. So let’s not.
Let’s get to the book!
It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!
Copyright © 2015 Matt Jordan
Formerly 16 20 24: A Path to Consistent Conservative Victory
Revised for republication here. All rights reserved.
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events... incompetent or arrogant commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant fortune, ugly surprise, awful miscalculations.
– Winston Churchill
No Jokes Here
War is the most onerous of duties to befall a thinking and humane statesman. There may be a day when you have to come to grips with that reality. Whether you are senator voting on a war resolution or a President ordering men into battle you will have to screw up the courage to face your duty. Or screw up the courage to stand against it, if there is the fever of violence in the land and you don’t believe war to be the answer.
All the wars we have fought post-WWII have been wars of convenience, expedience or policy. We have not fought one out of necessity. Afghanistan should have been that, but we approached it like all the others.
In Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan the US wasted 119,174 American lives. We brought home hundreds of thousands of wounded. We killed millions of the enemy. And all for what? The tyrants we went to vanquish stayed, or the tyrants we installed betrayed us (always predictably). Borders remained as before. Countless tons of material were left behind, countless dollars squandered.
If you have the least sense of decency, the casualty numbers sicken you. If you have a brain the results should enrage you. You are witnessing the result of 70 years of post-war “yes” men; men in uniform, who ingratiated themselves to politicians with the promise of a new kind of war, limited war. Clean, supposedly quick, not cheap, of course.
Robert McNamara, with his body counts and spreadsheets, promoted these guys to the head of the class and they have replicated themselves, one generation after another, ever since.
Limited War! Indeed! Great for the diplomats and officials involved. They can feel extra civilized in that they are not defeating anyone to the detriment of their self-esteem. And for the ones we kill, well they won’t have a self-esteem problem, will they? It’s great for the weapons industry. “Limited wars”, after Korea, tend to run long and gobble up tons of product. It’s just one long, manageable supply chain. And “limited war” is just super for American citizens. For decades now, we’ve been able to hang out a flag, watch the Bob Hope USO tour and pat GI Joe on the back and call that our contribution to the effort. No draft, no rationing, no inconveniences.
Yep, it’s a pretty good deal if you haven’t lost a son (or now a daughter) to the “limited war”. It’s rather an inconvenience for the guy squatting in some shithole in Goddamistan, getting shot at, losing buddies, not seeing anything accomplished over multiple tours. And again, for the guys who get killed, well they now don’t have that inconvenience anymore.
What the governing class in this country remains intentionally obtuse to is the fact that for the warriors and their families there is nothing “limited” about it at all. And when all is said and done, they know it was all for nothing.
Well, friends and neighbors, it’s time we did away with “limited war”. The smart candidate, when asked about the possibility of clashing with ISIS or Russia or whomever, should make one very certain point: that the President does not have the power to wage war on his own. That past Congresses have ceded power to past Presidents to have adventures in foreign lands does not make it right; not legally, not morally, not ethically. Certainly not Constitutionlly. This candidate will not lift a finger against a foreign power or any agent on foreign soil until Congress specifically declares that a state of war exists between the United States and that state or entity. The only exception would the immediate defense and evacuation of Americans in a hostile area.
In a declared war, this candidate, as President, will move the might of the entire nation into the fight (and a candidate for Congress will declare support on that level). The nation will go on a war footing. The Department of Defense will be designated the Department of War. The draft will be reinstated. An overwhelming force will be marshaled. We will move on the enemy with one and only one purpose; to destroy his capability to resist our will. Victory will come in the form of a complete surrender by the enemy or his total destruction, if that is the path the enemy chooses.
Pause a second to let that one sink in, look the questioner straight in the eye and say if this is not what you expect from your commander-in-chief, you need to elect a weaker candidate. You can point out that under a weaker person, the United States is much more likely to be caught up in a war. And a “limited war” candidate will get more Americans killed in the course of a much longer effort. But hey, it will be a lot easier for everyone at home, especially the Congress. They can, and have in the past, turned their backs on the White House when “limited wars” became unpopular. A more uncertain President won’t insist on a clean declaration of war. He’ll want a reason to not fully commit.
An Approach to Actual War
Among the many things Abraham Lincoln has been lauded for, one should stand out as misguided, at least it should to a historian. That would be his “management” of war. We hear admiring stories of his going to the telegraph office every day and sitting for hours waiting for reports from the front, so worried was he, for the troops.
Well, worried he may have been, but it is clear from his communications that he was also at the telegraph office to tell his generals how they should be fighting the war. Not surprisingly, he met with one setback after another for the better part of the entire effort. All the demons mentioned in the Churchill quote at the opening of this chapter would visit the Union effort, and few understood why.
Across the divide, the confederacy was winning battles and making strides despite an economic and industrial disadvantage. While it is certain the Jeff Davis set the strategic objectives, application was correctly left to the generals. When a Southern general failed, he became more valuable to the cause, now sadder but wiser in the ways of war.
And by not being in constant communications with Davis, the troops moved rather quickly and far afield, allowing them to harass the Union one day at Winchester and a few days later, many miles away.
On the Union side, if a general failed, he was sacked. A new man took his place. Sometimes the new man was ambitious and coveted the position to begin with. Perhaps others were loyal to their old commander and took the new post with a heavy heart. It didn’t matter. They still had to learn lessons they could only learn in that post. These lessons cannot be learned while observing from a subordinate position.
If I can be allowed a personal analogy, it is like conning a ship. The conning officer doesn’t have his hand on the helm or the engine order telegraph. He watches the ocean, his charts, radar and other ships and gives commands to the helm. I can tell you from experience, having learned from Commander Tom Corcoran, one of the best ship handlers I’ve ever met, a ship feels different under your feet when you have the con than it feels when you don’t. It was during a conflict in handling technique with that same man that this lesson was made most clear. He nearly relieved me in a minor emergency and would have given different orders to the helm. But he kept faith and later said that I got the exact same result as he would have gotten.
While much more complicated, commanding troops in the field has the same differences from one person to another. So the burden on the Union Army from Lincoln’s telegraphs was two-fold. By replacing one general after another, there was no learning curve to rely on, and a man far-removed from the field was giving orders, to whatever general was in command at the time, on how to conduct the war. Orders were coming from a man who couldn’t “feel the ship beneath his feet”, so to speak.
We still have not learned our lesson on this more than 150 years later. As technology has improved, our Presidents have more and more taken over the running of warfare from the safety of the Executive Mansion, and the results have been abysmal. By crossing the lines of responsibility between strategy and tactics, policy and execution, the President becomes a burden to his troops, not a force multiplier.
So, all that said (Remember, if time allows, you should be teaching, right?) our ideal candidate will also commit to surrounding himself with the brightest, most aggressive military minds available. With their advice, the President will set the course of a war and have the generals carry out his will. This will save lives and make victory far more likely.
History agrees with me on this. For example, if Hitler wasn’t delusional and had his same ambitions, he could have told his staff to take Russia and given them the supplies and support they needed. He could have fought one war at a time, as he was often cautioned to do. If he had, they’d be speaking German in Vladivostok today.
If the next Commander-in-Chief, I don’t care which party he or she may be from, faces conflict or the threat of conflict with this philosophy, and doesn’t take another word away from this book, I will consider my life to have been purposeful. If the same C-in-C were to face down an adversary without firing a shot, so much the better. Let’s face it, when your power and resolve are undeniable, you don’t have to kill anyone to protect your interests.
Oh, what a wonderful world that would be!
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“Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican...Henceforth, if any Republican has a grievance against another, that grievance is not to be bared publicly. ”
- California Republican Party Chairman Gaylord B. Parkinson (not Reagan). This is called the 11th Commandment of the Republican Primaries.
Save Your Fire for the Real Opponent!
Here’s the challenge we face on this subject. We are dealing with egos the size of Mount Everest. Most of the people in the race really think they should be President. Some should be satisfied with a cabinet post, a few should just go home. For now, all are trying to appear Presidential. While Democrats spew mostly untruths, they do so with real discipline. We might try to adopt some of that discipline while we speak the truth.
The choice you have when running for the nomination is to a) adopt a scorched earth policy and leave the party and everyone’s bank accounts in a shambles when the primaries are over, or b) run a campaign that sets you apart from the field without pretending that everyone else in the field is the biggest POS (not an acronym for Point of Sale) since Nancy Pelosi.
Some candidates, despite pleas to the contrary and whatever attention this very chapter might gain in the wider media, will stupidly choose a). Some already have.
This is because they are not conservatives. They can barely call themselves Republican. They don’t have a solid idea or plan to call their own that will stand up to the slightest challenge.
As successful as he has been in these early days, Trump is the poster boy for that last paragraph. I have to admit that his showing a crowd Lindsay Graham’s request for money and giving out Graham’s phone number was pretty funny. But his lowbrow attacks against Republicans at this stage show him to be as odd and unserious as his haircut.
The three strongest candidates at staying on message and hitting the Democrats are Cruz, Fiorina and (sadly) Bush; Fiorina, especially.
She has saved her most vociferous volleys for Empress Rodham and the federal government in general. Her appearance on the Kelly Files showed her willingness to take on the incompetence of government head on, deal with Hillary and only argue responsibly with other GOP candidates.
Also, think about this: Let’s say you (whoever you are) win the GOP nod. You’ve just spent the last 10 to 12 months ripping your opponents mercilessly. You know there is going to be pressure for you to take on some of these people as supporters, a veep, and as cabinet members. When you pick the one you called everything but “good guy”, the public and your adversaries will know that your message was hollow. You start your first day in office, hell – your transition period - looking weak and insincere.
Finally, when all about you are yapping like skittish chihuahuas, and you rise above it and make your argument coolly, confidently but with real passion, you appear Presidential. The field appears pedantic and weak. In the early days, Bush shows a bit of promise on this point.
You must respectfully disagree with other Republicans; but you abhor the statist policies and lies of the Democrats.
The Fratricide Corollary regarding Funds and Support:
One last point: Instead of forming little cliques among conservatives running for various offices, and this goes all the way the state and local level; candidates, handlers and the Republican machine must find creative ways to show support, across the board, for conservative candidates everywhere. The party would be wise to heed this advice. There is going to be a conservative surge this year. To capitalize on it and remain relevant in coming election cycles, you will want to embrace it. Be smart, for once, instead of trying to be clever. If two known conservatives are running head-to-head, don’t endorse one. Support both! A win is a win.
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. ”
- Barry Goldwater
This was originally intended to be Chapter 2, but since I know the less broad-minded will slam the book closed as soon as they read this, I figured I’d wait until later in the book before losing you. To the folks who think the only person worth voting for is a Christian who wears his faith on his sleeve, thanks for stopping by. But know that with the possible exception of Rick Santorum, there is no way to know if any of the candidates are what they say the are, religiously speaking.
Some political aspirants don’t make a thing of their spirituality. But too often conservatives pander to the religious right in order to “sew up the base”. It’s kind of the way the Dems treat blacks and Latinos. They’ll go all Ebonic like Hilary and Barry do in their speeches. Or they will try to convince Hispanic citizens and legal immigrants that illegal immigrants are good for them because they share surnames with the illegals. Thus the Dems think they have the votes of those groups (whom they consider to be their lessers) locked up.
Note to Dems: If any of the ideas discussed here (none are new) get traction, your domination among minorities will soon end. One thing people of all races are discovering, in ever-growing numbers, is that the modern progressive is not their friend.
And thus it is slowly turning among people of faith. The Conservative = Christian crowd is shrinking. By pandering to religion for votes, you not only debase yourself and your audience, you divide the party and face the law of diminishing returns.
The prime example of this is Huck. His version of Aw shucks, I’m just a conservative Christian makes Reagan’s affability look like Greek stoicism. This man has tarted himself up to be a conservative. He is most certainly not that. He knows it, and yet he keeps the lie alive by using religion as political hackery. So what then, can be said about his Christian values other than the fact that they are as fungible as Bill Clinton’s would be?
While the hard-core, blindly religious Billy Bobs reading this will reject it outright, the conservatives in the race ought to think twice. There are fewer and fewer Billy Bobs left in this world, especially in faithful Christian families. And though he may rant on Facebook about how so-and-so isn’t conservative because he doesn’t go to church, Billy Bob seldom votes. His grandpa might, maybe his mother. But Billy Bobs are usually lazy, ill-informed whiners. The conservative movement burns needless energy catering to him and to abstract beliefs that don’t actually underscore the secular issues we face.
Remember, our discussion on Message. Our target is everybody. The more narrow the target of the message, the less useful it is. Still, as I said in chapter one, be yourself. If you are a person of faith, great! Be that. But ration out the come-to- Jesus routine carefully. It wastes time and air.
I’ll tell you why.
Religion is like any other exclusive group in society. In claiming membership in a group, a politician may gain some electoral traction in that specific group. But your good standing in a beach volleyball club is not going to motivate members of the Jerkwater Knitting Society.
So as a speaker, in a room full of people who knit or play volleyball, you are left with three choices.
Pound your chest and tout how many spikes you had last year.
Do the above AND pretend to like knitting by throwing in some crap about a sweater your Aunt Helen knitted for you.
Appeal to your audience as voters and stick to the important issues.
Which would you choose? That’s a silly question, because if you were a typical, modern politician, you would choose – foolishly – 1 or 2. The correct answer is 3!
Liberals like to be pandered to. They like to be divided, subdivided and made to feel like snowflakes. They exist in a world of fallacious argument. Republicans want ID used when voting. Democrats call Republicans racist for wanting ID. Therefore it is wrong to check the true identity of a voter. That’s the fallacy of the ad hominem argument. OR We have to give Iran a nuke in ten years. If you disagree, what do you want WAR? This is called a straw man argument. You can see every common fallacy in political arguments. But in the case of liberals as we have seen in recent months, they then act out on these fallacious positions. They don’t agree with us on gay marriage, abortion or the fact that races need to be pandered to. Therefor they have no right to be CEOs or to be bakers or run a pizza shop. It is okay for us to run them out of business. “They”, of course, are conservatives or Jeffersonian liberals.
This also demonstrates solipsism on the part of liberals. When they look in the mirror, they think they are looking at the world. If you deviate, you are evil.
Earlier, I said that by teaching people to be republican (members of American society) you can produce Republicans (members of a party). Here is where you can do the most good. By delivering a full-throated, muscular message, honestly and clearly, a lot of the liberals I mention above will have a positive alternative to emotionalism and anger. Where do you think those folks known as the neo-cons came from?
Clear-minded conservatives and uncommitted voters do not think like progressives. We have real jobs. We are concerned with real issues. We want to know what the hell you intend to do in office. We don’t like the baby kissing and the I’m-a-shuffle-board- enthusiast-like-you routine. We tolerate it. We wait to get past the pandering garbage to hear what you have to say about the economy, the size of government, America’s enemy’s and/or Bill Clinton’s former 1970s sex partner, Hillary. We don’t want hugs and drum circles. We want your thoughts and plans on real shit!
For the record, no one likes shuffleboard. Even people who play it everyday hate it. They only do it because they have no athletic skills. I’m great at it.
Somebody Wake Up That Guy in the Back.
I want the handlers as well as the candidates to pay attention here. It goes against common assumptions and requires a shift in thinking to get used to.
As illustrated above, people don’t really care about your religious views if you are not from the identical religion. Let me say that again for the folks in the back. PEOPLE DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT YOUR RELIGIOUS VIEWS IF YOU ARE NOT FROM THE IDENTICAL RELIGION.
It only becomes a topic of discussion because it is considered polite, God only knows why(pun fully intended), when someone says something spiritual, to compliment them on it. The substance is unimportant and the compliment is as well-intentioned as a reflexive, “God bless you,” when someone sneezes. But it will not get you enough votes to win national office.
There is an even less desirable way a candidate’s religious pandering can inspire conversation. If the larger public senses animus or religious provincialism, no matter how minor or benign, those people will be turned off by the candidate. And they might say so. I would contend that if honest, most people would say they wouldn’t vote for a guy if they perceive him as too religious. The few that make up the radical wing of the religious right would. Many folks would not vote for a candidate who is overly solicitous of a religious audience. Candidates are better served educating voters on the folly of identity politics.
I like Ted Cruz. He is almost always the smoothest, smartest duck in the room. He appears to be a man of substance, his Catholic priest delivery not withstanding. Contrary to popular lore, he has held an executive position. As Solicitor General he had to absorb and digest information all day long. After doing so, he made decisions and delegated authority to see them carried out. This is much better preparation for the White House than being an absentee legislator or sitting with buddies in Chicago writing bogus grants for each other to cash in on worthless government programs; the Barry Obama resume. I am of a mind that Cruz would be a very good VP choice.
Still, it is arguable that Ted Cruz did serious damage to his candidacy by announcing at Liberty University. There is just so much wrong here. By speaking to the audience as “us”, and putting strong religious overtones in his announcement speech, he implies that he favors this group over any other. My assessment will put off many Christian talking heads, but the reader knows it is true. You cannot be parochial and all-welcoming at the same time. No matter how many phrases you insert about people of all faiths, it still smacks of vote for me and I’ll give you the best darn Christian theocracy ever! And...oh, yeah...we still like Jews and Muslims and Druids and Atheists and other Christian denominations too...even Catholics.
The point is that making more than a mere passing mention of your faith, and in direct context with something important about you, and only you, you are wasting time and energy in a way that could easily blow up in your face.
Never announce your candidacy or break open a new stump speech at a church or mosque or temple or universities dedicated to associate faiths. Do it at the Washington Monument (everyone’s monument) or the Statue of Liberty (everyone’s statue) or before an Eagles’ game (everyone’s team).
Finally, this kind of phony intimacy feeds the undesirable narrative that as President, you would be involved directly in the lives of everyday people, or at least their pal in DC. This is exactly the wrong message to send to the listener. It is also a form of identity politics...always horseshit. Always. Leave the preaching and the hallelujahs to the preacher and the choir. You are seeking a secular office for all the people. You’re not running for Pope.
To the voters:
It sounds cynical to say this, but politicians love a religious constituency. And it’s not out of the purity of their hearts. The more people there are that believe the zanier aspects of all religions, the more a politician knows your credulity can be counted on. You might actually believe they are “with the government and here to help. ”
The typical political hacks are the type I describe at the beginning of the chapter. They will whore themselves out to anyone on any subject so they can join the governing class and set themselves up for life.
The honest ones, precious few, know that they can’t deal with your personal religious foibles. When they get to DC they find their plate is full just dealing with real-world problems, and a lot more than praying will have to be done about them. If you have such a representative you may want to dump him because he doesn’t pander to “God” enough. You do so at your own peril. The next hack is watching and will be happy to swoop in wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. He won’t do for you what the religiously unidentifiable guy will do. The hack will take your vote and forget you exist.
To come to terms with this reality, we need to acknowledge what the modern political animal is. To survive more than a few states during primary season, a candidate must be of a coldly calculating mind and have a gargantuan ego.
There might be something out there more important than they are, but they (the politicians) are near, if not at, the center of the universe. Those who lack this “quality” don’t often survive. So a REAL spiritual candidate is a much rarer species than one might think.
So whether you are religious or not, the next time a politician tells you he is motivated by Jesus, Yahweh, Allah or a talking tree, ask him what he plans to do about the deficit? Surely his spirit guides have addressed at least that issue while calling him to serve, eh?
Don’t let your faith be fodder for insult and manipulation by disingenuous hacks. Hold them to account no matter whom they claim to worship!
Don’t forget the link at the bottom of the page.
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