Tag: Nancy Pelosi

US Department of Fake

 

I ran into Greg Potemkin in DC yesterday when I was in town to lobby for The Euthanamerica Foundation, which I helped establish to counteract the obsessive focus on young Asians being promoted by the Oregon-based Euthanasia Society.

Greg is considerably younger than I, but we became fast friends five years ago when we toured Uzbekistan together for the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) to promote magic awareness and escapism. After exchanging the traditional IBM greeting, which consists of pulling multi-colored scarves from each other’s ears until we were worn out, we retired to the nearest Starbutts to catch up.

Black Toes Intolerant

 

Earlier this week, I was walking up the massive marble steps of the Primal Scream Foundation in Los Angeles with my world famous environmental consultant, part-time Benedictine monk, Phil T. McNasty, when we ran into a small but irrational crowd gathered under the building’s faux Greek portico. On a raised platform in front of the group, former Speaker of the House, San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Lugosi, was screeching, continuing the Democrat war on Big D, pronouns, syntax, and sentence construction.

“While it’s only been a couple of weeks since the inauguration, we’ve seen nothing that I can work with President Bush on,” Lugosi said, echoing her comments from a press conference on February 6, 2017, blurring the lines between current and former presidents, and seamlessly moving from plural to singular pronouns, while using prepositions willy-nilly.

Nancy “Bella” Lugosi Searches for Real People

 

My longtime auto mechanic and drone designer, Milo Fields, and I testified last night at a hearing in DC on the new President’s proposal to adapt the auto industry’s driverless vehicle technology to the US House and Senate to make them operable without human Senators and Congressman. Passing the US Supreme Court steps, we encountered a group of disheveled, wild-eyed people screaming and holding up microscopic glowing things, yelling about the President’s immigration order.

“Those are candles,” Milo said as we grew closer. “I know size is not supposed to matter, but that’s ridiculous.”

For Once the Vice Presidency Matters

 

kaine-pence-debateBack in late January, 2015, I did a post entitled The Party of the Living Dead. In it, I drew attention to what Barack Obama did to the Democratic Party — which is that he deprived it of a bench and left it in the grips of septuagenarians such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the like. Even that young whippersnapper Elizabeth Warren — with whom I served back in the last millennium on the debate team for Northwest Class High School in Oklahoma City — was slated to be 66 or 67 by now, and Hillary Clinton was slated to be 69 — older than Ronald Reagan was on the eve of his first election. I did not have the wit to mention Bernie Sanders, then and now another septuagenarian; and I took it for granted that the Republicans would nominate someone in his or her forties or fifties. It never crossed my mind that they would nominate someone older than Hillary. But here we are.

I mention this because I believe that Tim Kaine or Mike Pence will be President before long. There is, as Aristotle said with regard to the Spartan gerousia, an old age of the mind as well as one of the body — and Hillary is evidencing both. She is not only ill — probably with Parkinson’s disease — and lacking energy. She is, as Huma Abedin noted some time ago in an email to someone recently hired at the State Department, “often confused.” She may win on Tuesday. My guess — for what it is worth — is that she will. But she will not be with us long. Hell, she is not always with us now.

For all of his defects, Donald Trump does not seem to be lacking in energy — perhaps because he is not, like his opponent, given to imbibing. But let’s face it: he, too, is old, and the campaign must be a terrific strain. Moreover, his incoherence — the fact that he seems to have attitudes and resentments but not well-worked ideas — fits rather well with Aristotle’s observation. It is, of course, conceivable that the man was never able to think through issues. He certainly seems to be stuck in adolescence, and he clearly has a problem with impulse control. But these things get worse as one ages. The ablest people remember their conclusions but forget the line of reasoning that got them there. Trust me: I know.

Nancy Pelosi Gets It. Will We?

 

Smarter than she soundsLong story very short: the president will almost always beat the speaker. To win the presidency, the Right needs not barn-burners but fire discipline. To understand the Boehner fiasco — and for conservatives, it has been a fiasco of our own making — we need to understand a bit of history. We need some perspective, and it would help to start with the first modern speaker, Tip O’Neill.

Tip O’Neill reinvented the House of Representatives. Previous Speakers, like Sam Rayburn, had been effective because they were able to put together large bipartisan coalitions to pass bills. But O’Neill put a partisan stamp on the House: he weakened the committee chairs and did his best to pass bills on party lines. O’Neill’s revolution wasn’t widely understood at the time, however, because O’Neill usually lost legislative battles to President Reagan. Why? Because when the president and speaker fight, the president nearly always wins. The president speaks with one voice, while the speaker frequently gets drowned out by the loudest and dumbest members of his caucus. National Review was right to note that Tip O’Neill shut down the government, but Stiles forgot to mention that O’Neill mostly lost those battles to Reagan.

Newt Gingrich continued the trend that O’Neill started. Gingrich liked to compare himself to British Prime Ministers, who very nearly elected dictators. But when Gingrich tried shutting down the government, the blowback forced him to yield to President Clinton. In Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Gingrich made a rueful admission:

On the Downside of Being an Emperor in a Democratic Republic

 

ObamaChinHere’s some bad news for a Friday: you’re going to spend most of the weekend hearing about Nancy Pelosi. The House Minority Leader, her body temperature slowly elevated to allow full mobility and partial sentience, took to the floor of the lower chamber earlier today to come out against trade adjustment assistance (TAA) in the run-up to the vote to give President Obama fast-track authorization to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Now, TAA, which provides government resources for workers dislocated by international trade, is normally popular with Democrats. But Pelosi didn’t take this position on the merits. Knowing that the passage of TAA would be essential for getting Democrats behind the Trans-Pacific deal, she was trying to smother the effort in the crib. As she said on the House floor,“If TAA slows down the fast-track, I’m prepared to vote against TAA.” And she got her way: it went down handily in the House, losing the vote 126-302.

There are a couple of easy journalistic frames coming here: progressives are abandoning the president in much the same way that conservatives took their leave of George W. Bush towards the end of his administration; The Obama Administration is officially sliding into lame duck territory; With Obama in the home stretch and Harry Reid preparing to retire, Pelosi is now the de facto leader of the Democratic Party. Choose your own adventure.

Insanity and Guilt

 

When I was an undergraduate, I took my meals at Yale’s “kosher kitchen” in a basement on the periphery of campus. Dinners were popular, but lunch was… intimate. Depending on the day of the week, lunch could be a gathering of a dozen, or just three or four. One semester during my sophomore year, I got to know a third-year law student named Michael. Our schedules overlapped on one of those weekdays when lunch was sparsely attended. Michael was a little older than most law students, and his gravitas was enhanced by his quiet confidence and his full beard. But there was also something else about Michael. It was a kind of heroic intensity, similar to the vibe I get from ex-military guys.

Over the course of the semester, I learned a little of Michael’s story. He had some condition that caused periodic blindness. The law school provided him a reader, when necessary, to read textbooks aloud to him. Fortunately, Michael had a remarkable memory and could recall all the material. Michael was well-informed, intelligent, and reasonable. He had seen something of the world between his undergraduate days and law school, and was an engaging conversationalist. He was someone I often turned to for advice.