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    Time for New Leadership on the Right?

    Time for New Leadership on the Right?

    If you’ve ever read my blog, you may know that I’m a big fan of Bill Whittle and his series of Afterburner videos from PJ Media.

    In his newest video, titled Time to Go, Bill looks at Mitch McConnell and John Boehner with an eye to strong loyal opposition in history.

    Bill’s problem with the current Republican leaders is not that they’re disloyal but that they’re simply ineffective. He makes a compelling case for a fresher, more aggressive style and offers one particular senator as an example but you’ll have to watch the video to find out who it is.

    Here’s the official description of the video from YouTube…

    Whatever happened to a loyal opposition? Boehner and McConnell just seem to be loyal, without the fervency and drive to oppose Obama’s recklessness. Bill Whittle is tired of seeing our country’s oldest tenets left hanging from a thread with no major leadership there to save them. It’s time for a new group of young leaders to takeover.

    So is Bill Whittle correct? Watch the video and leave your thoughts in a comment.

    Featured image via YouTube.


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    Viator | May 10, 2014 at 10:00 am

    The Democrat Party and the Republican Party are in a race to see which party can become defunct first. Whoever wins gets to take the country with it.

    tom swift | May 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Sorry; not impressed.

    Sure, he’s right about the obvious. Reid is a petty man and a crook, Obama is steering the American experiment onto the rocks (and one need not agree about exactly which rock is the one which will poke a hole in the hull to recognize that the nation has a fundamental navigation problem), and the Republicans leading the party are evidently total non-entities and will doubtless stay that way.

    But how can those near-banalities be padded out to eight minutes? Whittle’s always been a bit of a windbag, but in his early days in print it was easy to speed-read past the more airy persiflage to get to the point; now that he’s gone video, it’s a chore to get through the dross. And dross there is a-plenty, not least about Disraeli, Gladstone, and Sir Winston.

    People knew what Disraeli and Gladstone stood for? Not an easy claim to credit. The differences between the Liberal and Conservative parties (neither of them having much to do with what we’d call Liberal or Conservative today) were, from our vantage point, trivial – the big ones being divergence of details of tariff policies, and how best to abuse poor tenant farmers in Ireland. Disraeli was a bit more energetic than Gladstone when it came to reinforcing alliance structures so as to keep Russia restrained, and Gladstone was more reluctant to spend government money. That was about it. Neither was a champion of any political philosophy, though both dominated parties named after political philosophies. The substantive divergences were so slight that, rather than debate their nebulous policy differences, the principals themselves were reduced to childish (though oh-so-Parliamentesque) personal gibes, as Whittle illustrated via anecdote. And the differences there were that Disraeli was the wit, but Gladstone had all the class. (Women liked Disraeli better, though.)

    And Churchill? Just what did Churchill stand for? A detailed examination of his career shows a succession of policy reversals from which it’s hard to determine exactly what he did stand for. But it’s explicable; the key is that Churchill was an unusually energetic and enthusiastic man, positively assaulting any job he held at the moment. When he was Lord of the Admiralty, he pushed hard, and generally successfully, for mountains of money for dreadfully expensive dreadnoughts. (Note that modern battle fleets were the major government expense of the era, at least for those countries with serious navies.) But after the Great War, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and had the problem of paying down huge war debts, he was obsessed with savage cost-cutting. (And very sensibly, too – the idea of living on perpetual deficits wasn’t yet in vogue.) Most, then as well as now, would consider these to be contrary philosophies.

    Though he doesn’t state it explicitly, Whittle is probably thinking that Sir Winston’s almost rabid distrust of both the Bolsheviks and the Fascists is what he “stood for”, and although Churchill was right about both, he wasn’t the only one of the political class to think so; other prominent British politicos, such as Eden, recognized the dangers of those evil twins, but were not really willing to go to great lengths to fight them. Churchill was a unique combination of suspicion, energy, stubbornness, aggression, and ideas, a combination – mainly the “ideas” part – sorely lacking in early 20-century Europe (and it is perhaps not coincidental that he was half-American). Anyone studying the history of that period must be struck by this; the Old World was simply out of ideas, most obviously at the end of 1914, when it behaved like a cow stuck in the corner of a corral with no idea of how to back up and set another course. Winston had ideas, though even his contemporaries recognized that while some of them were real corkers, others were pretty bad, and Winston himself had no idea which were which.

    But comparing the midgets of today with the single most important man of his century seems futile. Obama, Reid, Boehner? Obama will have his framed photos taking up space in the back rooms of post offices nationwide for a while before somebody gets around to pitching them onto the rubbish heap of history, but the others will never appear anywhere but the footnotes. Midgets they are and midgets they will remain.

    So, leaving out the lessons we can’t really extract from Gladstone, Disraeli, and Churchill, what does Whittle have left? The gross inadequacies of Boehner and McConnell.

    But I think we knew about those.

    When he gets to numbers, Whittle has never been particularly good. I noted only one number here –

    … a nation spending 10 billion dollars a day (and most of that is debt, by the way) …

    I don’t know what “The Nation” spends, but the federal government is spending around 3.8 trillion annually, which is indeed pretty close to an average of 10 billion dollars a day. But what’s with that “debt” claim?

    Currently something around 6 percent of federal spending is interest on the bonds financing the current debt. And of the 3.8 trillion annual spending, about 3.2 trillion is money the feds have (or will have by the end of the fiscal year), leaving a deficit of about half a trillion. That’s about 13 percent of spending. So, together, something on the order of 20 percent of today’s federal spending is money the government doesn’t actually have, or interest on money it spent in the past but didn’t have then, either. So I see the percentage of spending which can be chalked up to “debt” being around 20 percent, which is ridiculously high but still nowhere near Whittle’s “more than half”.

    This is not a mere detail, this is an important and even fundamental philosophical difference between fiscal conservatism and modern liberalism – one can handle numbers, and the other can only ignore them.

    Let’s stay on the correct side of that intellectual chasm.

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