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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

OTP- August 2012: The Leader Post: New stadium won’t have same appeal, says Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee

“Building a new stadium down the street does not work unless (Ron) Lancaster spilled some DNA in the lot where they’re going to build the new stadium,” he added. “You have to refurbish (Mosaic Stadium). You’ve got to can all new ideas you might have and use the sacred ground. Fenway did that and that is why Fenway is loved. The new Yankee Stadium isn’t the same as it used to be.”

The former Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos pitcher will not be running for the vacant mayor’s position in Regina later this year. With his opinion on the new stadium, he wasn’t sure he would garner many votes anyway. But that is nothing new to the former member of the Rhinoceros Party. Lee ran on the Rhino ticket in 1988 for president of the United States. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make the ballot in a single state. He said one of the high-ranking members within the party gave him a six-pack of Molson Canadian and asked him to run for president.

“I adhered to their funny philosophy,” Lee said. “My campaign slogan was ‘No guns, no butter. They’ll both kill you.’ And I only campaigned in federal prisons where I knew they couldn’t vote, and I only accepted a quarter in campaign contributions.”

With it being an election year in the U.S., Lee said he is all in for the re-election of Barack Obama.

“The only time (Mitt) Romney opens his mouth is when he needs to change feet,” Lee said of the Republican nominee. “If Obama does lose this, which I can’t see happening, then it’s because of a lady in Florida who works for Jeb Bush and Diebold, the voting-machine company. If Obama even comes close to losing this election, it’ll be fraud.”

Guess what, its the new OT politics thread!

Tripon Posted: August 01, 2012 at 12:04 AM | 5975 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, politics

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   5501. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4223435)
Clint Eastwood could easily have functioned effectively as President of the US. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney wouldn't have a chance in hell of competently directing a serious film.


Possibly, but the bigger accomplishment, the much bigger accomplishment, is getting elected president. There's equally no way in hell Clint could get elected president.
   5502. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4223437)
Clint Eastwood could easily have functioned effectively as President of the US.
I... what... ok, SugarBear.
   5503. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4223438)
Didn't the financial crisis happen right at the end of Sept? I thought one of the major issues wasn't just the severity of the crisis, but the fact that it happened so suddenly at a moment when people were ill prepared to respond to it.


That's just when the general public noticed.

I represent banks and insurance companies- they knew several months in advance that things were heading south, how quickly and how fast that accelerated kind of took them by surprise, I think they were expecting a repeat of the 1980s S & L crisis, long, drawn out, but essentially a soft landing.

   5504. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4223441)
Clint Eastwood could easily have functioned effectively as President of the US.


Even if true, so what. Hypothetical accomplishments matter now?

Real accomplishments are what we are talking about and acting and directing movies (and being Mayor) are not the accomplishments that being President is (or Senator or Governor). Just because Paris Hilton and Snookie are huge stars does not make them accomplished at all.

And again I love me some Clint Eastwood movies.
   5505. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4223443)
I... what... ok, SugarBear.


It's not surprising that you (royal you) overrate politicians hideously. Clint Eastwood is simply a more talented person than Barack Obama. It really isn't close --even if you include Obama's books, which you should. Many politicians can't put two competent literary paragraphs together, which is why they use my money to hire speechwriters, staffers, and ghostwriters, but Obama is indeed superior to that.

Obama's books aesthetically and artistically, of course, aren't in the same stratosphere as Eastwood's films.
   5506. SteveF Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4223446)
Eastwood is a fairly towering personality, capable of dwarfing even the best of men in his presence. Hell, when they were onstage together last night, Obama was basically invisible.
   5507. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4223447)
Clint Eastwood could easily have functioned effectively as President of the US.

I... what... ok, SugarBear.


But if Bush was a moron as liberals believe, then surely Eastwood could do it as well.

Unless you want to argue that either (a) Bush isn't a moron, or (b) Bush didn't function "effectively" as president. To me, the reality is (a).

The problem Eastwood would have is understanding how to operate within the political and governmental apparatus - something Bush had direct experience as governor, plus whatever knowledge he was able to pick up from having a father who was in government for decades and had even reached VP. (I realize Eastwood was a mayor, but, no.)

Eastwood would also have a Palin-type problem: simply being unfamiliar on any sort of deep level with the issues. (Unless I'm selling Eastwood short - he seems to be very libertarian so maybe is decently well read on these topics.)

But as to the substance of the job, there are so many advisors that I don't know why people think it's a hard job for someone who is reasonably familiar with government and the issues and the requirements of the job, etc. If one has the ability to make informed decisions, one should succeed. There is nothing Magical about it. Hell, it's probably harder to get elected than it is to do the job.

Regardless, as to his rambling presentation last night, the Democrats have nothing to gain by attacking Clint Eastwood. A few light jokes is about all that's in order.

   5508. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4223449)
I was sure it would be Bush basically through the entirety of 2004.


My take on Bush in 2004 is kind of similar to SBB's take on Obama 2012- Bush in 2004 won because he had the good fortune of running against an unlikeable, phony, odd stiff.

   5509. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4223450)
It's not surprising that you (royal you) overrate politicians hideously.


It is not about overrating politicians, it is about rating accomplishments in general. Mozart is an all time great musical talent and in that field he reigns supreme (or nearly). But when rating art versus politics I have to say that I feel politics is more significant an accomplishment (but comparing the two is likely a fools game).

And I actually agree with you that Clint could have functioned as President. Ronald Reagan was President and Ahnold was the Governator. But he didn't.
   5510. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4223451)
The speech last night was pretty sad (from what I've read - I didn't see it) but Eastwood could certainly have been as effective as any President of recent vintage. Like SBB, I am continually blown away by the amount of trust and confidence people place in politicians, 99% of whom have earned none at all.
   5511. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4223452)
Clint Eastwood could easily have functioned effectively as President of the US.

That's such a seriously stupid statement that it's hard to know where to begin. The only question is whether you're extrapolating Eastwood's film talents beyond recognition or wildly underestimating what it takes to be an effective president. The whole idea makes for a much better movie than it does a reality show.
   5512. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4223453)
Unless you want to argue that either (a) Bush isn't a moron, or (b) Bush didn't function "effectively" as president. To me, the reality is (a).
Bush was a historic disaster as president, the worst since the turn of the 20th century. I think a lot of people could have governed the country as poorly as Bush did.
   5513. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4223454)
he seems to be very libertarian so maybe is decently well read on these topics


Heh.
   5514. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4223456)
The speech last night was pretty sad (from what I've read - I didn't see it) but Eastwood could certainly have been as effective as any President of recent vintage. Like SBB, I am continually blown away by the amount of trust and confidence people place in politicians, 99% of whom have earned none at all.
Think of the president as an executive and a manager. These are not simple skills, and being an actor does not instill analogous skills.
   5515. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4223458)
The problem Eastwood would have is understanding how to operate within the political and governmental apparatus

And that's not a talent or accomplishment, and easily learned. The office carries with it its own powers.

Eastwood would also have a Palin-type problem: simply being unfamiliar on any sort of deep level with the issues.

That's what staffers and the bureaucracy are for. We don't hire the person most familiar on a deep level with the issues to be president, nor is such a thing remotely a prerequisite for the office. Many nations would have no qualms hiring one of its most accomplished film/theatre artists to head its government -- see, e.g., Vaclav Havel -- but Americans have a bizarre understanding of politicians and political office.
   5516. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4223461)
And I actually agree with you that Clint could have functioned as President. Ronald Reagan was President and Ahnold was the Governator. But he didn't.

And Clint was a mayor.
   5517. Greg K Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4223462)
Have you watched Bunheads? Best new show of the summer, like Gilmore Girls but with ballet and four different Rorys.

Hadn't even heard of it. I'll definitely give it a go if I can find it here in the UK.
   5518. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4223463)
Think of the president as an executive and a manager. These are not simple skills, and being an actor does not instill analogous skills.

Eastwood's not just an actor; he's among the most accomplished directors of our Golden Age of Film. He's organized and led hundreds of people to make his films.

Nor are executive and managerial skills, talent.
   5519. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4223464)
Regardless, as to his rambling presentation last night, the Democrats have nothing to gain by attacking Clint Eastwood. A few light jokes is about all that's in order.
Absolutely. What Democrats want, insofar as "winning the day" is a thing to care about, is for the stories about the RNC to be 50% about Eastwood. The more these stories are about Eastwood, instead of Romney, the less room there is for Romney to get his free publicity convention bounce. But it probably doesn't matter much either way.
   5520. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4223465)
Clint Eastwood dropped into the Presidency would struggle.

Clint Eastwood (alternate history version) who went into politics full time after his stint as Mayor and managed to get elected President. He would likely do fine.

It does not take a super genius to be President, but it is very difficult and an amazing accomplishment to get there.
   5521. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4223467)
There's equally no way in hell Clint could get elected president.



I dunno, if Clint had decided in the 80s to run for Governor after being Mayor of Carmel, then in the 90s who knows? This is a state that elected Arnold as Governor remember.

Didn't happen, didn't enter politics full time, stayed in the Movie industry, talking about Clint as a POL is basically speculative alternative history.

What if Gore had announced early in 2008 that he was running?

It was assumed in Dem circles that the 1992 nomination was there for Cuomo's taking... He never ran - I always assumed that Cuomo would have been president instead of Clinton if Cuomo had run- until the past year, it occurs to me that a Mario Cuomo run in 1992 may have gone the way that Rick Perry's did in 2012...

   5522. tshipman Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4223468)
The biggest difference between the pre-industrial economy and now is the Fed and a greater awareness of monetary policy.


Also, Volcker didn't raise rates to make a political point. He did so to defeat inflation. Until Volcker, Fed presidents would raise rates, but chicken out when the country began to slide into depression. Volcker made the country take its medicine. As soon as Volcker lowered rates, the economy bounced back.
   5523. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4223469)
The problem Eastwood would have is understanding how to operate within the political and governmental apparatus - something Bush had direct experience as governor, plus whatever knowledge he was able to pick up from having a father who was in government for decades and had even reached VP. (I realize Eastwood was a mayor, but, no.)

Eastwood would also have a Palin-type problem: simply being unfamiliar on any sort of deep level with the issues.


That's a less heated version of what I was trying to say above. I'd say the same thing about any other talented actor or director with a bee in his bonnet about politics who didn't wet his feet on any level higher than being Mayor of a small town in California.

(Unless I'm selling Eastwood short - he seems to be very libertarian so maybe is decently well read on these topics.)

Plenty of entertainers are reasonably well versed in history and political philosophy. So are a lot of us here, which along with a few bucks will get us a Metro ride across DC.

   5524. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4223470)
Have you watched Bunheads? Best new show of the summer, like Gilmore Girls but with ballet and four different Rorys.

Hadn't even heard of it. I'll definitely give it a go if I can find it here in the UK.
It's Amy Sherman-Palladino's new show on ABC Family. Stars Sutton Foster (broadway star) as a struggling dancer who moves to a quirky small town in California and very slowly comes to work with the local dance teacher (Emily Gilmore!) and her four best teenage ballet students. It's charming, funny, exceptionally slow moving, legitimately touching when it wants to be - it's Amy Sherman-Palladino. I had missed her dialogue. Minz from Friday Night Lights is brilliant in a supporting role.

As a sort of interesting side note, I don't believe it has yet to pass the Reverse Bechdel test in ten episodes. It's a lady show. As in, a show about ladies. It is, of course, a show for everyone.
   5525. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4223471)
Nor are executive and managerial skills, talent.


You clearly have never tried your hand at actual management. Skillful managers are a wonder. They have a talent base in soft skills that is as invaluable as it is rare. Most can learn top be OK managers, but the gifted, the truly talented at it, it is in fact a talent and requires hard work and dedication like anything else.
   5526. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4223472)
But when rating art versus politics I have to say that I feel politics is more significant an accomplishment (but comparing the two is likely a fools game).

Well, yeah ... that's what modern liberals do -- they overrate politics and politicians and the political enterprises.
   5527. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4223473)
I'm not guaranteeing Eastwood would have made a good president, but its not unreasonable to think he could have. Again, most of you are drastically overestimating the intellect,competence and integrity of politicians. If living on earth for 30, 40, 50, 60 years hasn't shown you that, an argument from me or SBB isn't going to help.
   5528. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4223480)
The biggest difference between the pre-industrial economy and now is the Fed and a greater awareness of monetary policy.


I am not sure how to quantify "biggest" but the whole nature and structure of the economies talked about are so different that I can't imagine that is the biggest difference.


Heck even between the 1930s and now (assuming 1930 is industrial) a huge difference is all the fiscal stabilizers built in (unemployment and many many more) combined with all the market based differences (the world is truly global now in a qualitative way it was not then, especially the financial markets) as to make the monetary differences just one huge difference.

Of course I do agree switching to a fiat currency and understanding monetary policy is a huge huge difference. Of course understanding it and actually doing something helpful are very different - as the current policies of the Feb and European authorities tells us.
   5529. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4223482)
You clearly have never tried your hand at actual management.

I have. It's not difficult, nor is it anywhere near as rare a talent as directing Eastwood-caliber films. I'd happily describe it as a "talent" with that condition in mind.

And yes, Mozart is more talented and accomplished than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
   5530. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4223485)
Well, yeah ... that's what modern liberals do -- they overrate politics and politicians and the political enterprises.


In comparison to a Hollywood entertainer! That is the part (I think) that has most of us amazed. We would get it if you were running down politicians at the expense of the Wall Street Titans that clearly can do no wrong* but you are elevating a Hollywood dude**.

* That's sarcasm kids.

** Albeit a great Hollywood dude.
   5531. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4223487)
I will agree that the awe people seem to have over politicians, and even presidents, is bizarre. These people are flawed and often not even all that bright; it's a mystery why some of you don't seem to have noticed that.
   5532. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4223488)
I'm not guaranteeing Eastwood would have made a good president, but its not unreasonable to think he could have.

Sure, but not if he'd been parachuted from a plane coming directly from Hollywood. The closest parallel to an Eastwood scenario would be Reagan, but Reagan had spent a lifetime engaging in political issues on the private level, and then won and served two terms as governor of the biggest state in the country. He didn't jump from GE spokesman to the White House overnight.

Again, most of you are drastically overestimating the intellect,competence and integrity of politicians. If living on earth for 30, 40, 50, 60 years hasn't shown you that, an argument from me or SBB isn't going to help.

Well, I'll admit that it's a given that Eastwood could perform at least on the level of the late Sonny Bono, but I'm not sure that I'd necessarily use that as a standard for what we'd want in a president.
   5533. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4223489)
Eastwood would also have a Palin-type problem: simply being unfamiliar on any sort of deep level with the issues.


That was a problem for Palin because she was an incurious moron, not simply due to a lack of political experience. Anyone who wants to can become an expert in world affairs if they travel and read enough. I will grant you, spending time as an elected official in the lower levels of gov't will certainly provide one with a chance to hone their doublespeak skills and build a network of campaign donors in exchange for political favours.
   5534. tshipman Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4223490)
Of course I do agree switching to a fiat currency and understanding monetary policy is a huge huge difference. Of course understanding it and actually doing something helpful are very different - as the current policies of the Feb and European authorities tells us.


I don't think it's fair to lump Bernanke in with the Euros. There are legitimate disagreements with how Helicopter Ben has handled the recovery, but he has had to go it alone to an extraordinary degree. Draghi has actively threatened the governments of Spain, Italy and Greece in order to get what he wants.

From 2008 until around 2010, Bernanke did his job unquestionably. He prevented the complete and utter collapse of the economy. He gets credit for that from me. He ran out of steam, but you can't compare him to those useless wankers in Europe.



Edit: You guys are arguing with SBB and Cold Prosnian about something absolutely ridiculous (but I repeat myself). Look at the posting handles.
   5535. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4223491)
And yes, Mozart is more talented and accomplished than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.


Talented sure. Accomplished, sorry but not likely. Dude was kind of a failure (not completely, and he was being a sort of innovator, but honestly it did not work out very well for him in terms of life success - others with less musical talent did much better for themselves).
   5536. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4223493)
Again, most of you are drastically overestimating the intellect,competence and integrity of politicians.

The problem is we've seen what happens when someone who doesn't have the intellect/competence/integrity steps into the political spotlight of running for president.

Sarah Palin is the prime example. She was obviously doing "okay" in Alaska, but once she stepped onto the world stage, it was an unmitigated disaster. She had all her handlers around her, and they still couldn't stop the train wreck.
(I highly recommend reading "Game Change". A very interesting look at the 2008 election from behind the scenes.)

John Edwards is another example where his integrity imploded when he got too big.

Sometimes, the less competent make it far (Dan Quayle), but eventually everyone figures it out.

So when someone does make it big in politics, and doesn't implode, he/she deserves some respect for it.
   5537. Greg K Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4223494)
I have. It's not difficult, nor is it anywhere near as rare a talent as directing Eastwood-caliber films. I'd happily describe it as a "talent" with that condition in mind.

And yes, Mozart is more talented and accomplished than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Not that I want to weigh in on this discussion (which frankly is the oddest in a thread full of head-scratching arguments), but I think the two of you are arguing different things.

On one side is talent, and rare gifts.

On the other is things done that influenced the world.

Again, not to take sides, but my understanding of Bitter Mouse's point isn't so much that politics requires more talent than film-making (not even sure how you would go about measuring that), but that politics has a greater influence on the world. Stalin trumps Mozart, so to speak.
   5538. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4223495)
He ran out of steam, but you can't compare him to those useless wankers in Europe.


I wasn't trying to do a direct compare, just saying existence of knowledge does not get results. But I was probably a bit harsh.
   5539. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4223499)
Again, most of you are drastically overestimating the intellect,competence and integrity of politicians.


I don't think anyone here is overestimating the "integrity" of politicians.

I kind of look at many successful POLs as kind of like idiot savants- they are very good at figuring out how to get people to vote for them, even if they have trouble chewing gum and walking at the same time.

Some, OTOH, are just people who are in the right place at the right time, what they say and how they say it, and how they look saying it- but it's just happenstance- says more about the audience/voters than the POL, doesn't mean that POL is smart or can figure out how to appeal to voters outside that specific pool- that type of POL usually hits a wall hard when they try to move on/up
   5540. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4223500)
You clearly have never tried your hand at actual management.


I have. It's not difficult,

That statement alone gives the game away. Exactly what vast enterprise did you manage, SBB, and how high did your peer reviews enable you to climb? Or is this one of those "trust me" moments?
   5541. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4223503)
Sometimes, the less competent make it far (Dan Quayle), but eventually everyone figures it out.


Quayle's not as bad as he's made out to be.
   5542. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4223505)
I will agree that the awe people seem to have over politicians, and even presidents, is bizarre. These people are flawed and often not even all that bright; it's a mystery why some of you don't seem to have noticed that.


Again we are comparing politicians to people in the entertainment industry - no awe required. We are quite aware they are flawed people, but we are comparing them to people who <<insert random GOP talking point about Hollywood>>.

If we want to talk accomplishments and we move over to greats like Gandhi, MLK, Einstein, Edison, or others then we can talk about how overrated Politicians are. As long as the comparison group is Hollywood types I am very happy saying you are overrating the competition.
   5543. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4223506)
Is the Eastwood speech worth watching? I tend to tune out conventions but it sounds like good stuff.
   5544. Greg K Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4223508)
I have. It's not difficult,

That statement alone gives the game away. Exactly what vast enterprise did you manage, SBB, and how high did your peer reviews enable you to climb? Or is this one of those "trust me" moments?

I guess it depends on the person, but I have more confidence driving a car than managing people...and I've never driven a car in my life, and have semi-regular nightmares that involve doing so.
   5545. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4223511)
John Edwards is another example where his integrity imploded when he got too big.


What makes you think he ever had any integrity, dude made his money as an ambulance chaser.
   5546. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4223517)
Think of the president as an executive and a manager. These are not simple skills, and being an actor does not instill analogous skills.


This.

I have. It's not difficult, nor is it anywhere near as rare a talent as directing Eastwood-caliber films. I'd happily describe it as a "talent" with that condition in mind.


No.

I would agree that I don't think it's enormously difficult to be a 'good manager' to people working under you - trust them (and know who you can't trust) and be competent, open, and hard-working enough that they trust you. However - you also have to deal with colleagues, your own bosses, other management in the organization, etc. That's what I've personally found to be difficult. I have a very good group and I think they trust me - but I've had some serious problems with a few other silos in our company and I'm also a bit crusty in dealing with executive level management.

I could just say that's because I'm right and they're wrong -- and frankly, on some technical matters, I do think that's the case -- but that's actually somewhat immaterial to being a good manager... Doesn't matter if you're right about everything, if you're ineffective getting others onboard - especially others you can't just order onboard (like a Congress!), then you're not being an effective manager. It's probably the single biggest thing I try to work on a daily basis.

It's one reason that I have a lot more respect for politicians than most here seem to -- in the confines of a company of a few thousand, I know all these competing interests, egos, and objectives are hard enough to manage. In the government sphere - that grows exponentially... and that's before we get into the idea of elections and all that goes with that.

An actor - even a director - can get by on sheer strength of talent in that specific field. A politician, even an extraordinarily gifted politician, cannot.

However partisan I might be, I have a ton more respect for most politicians - even ones I strenuously disagree with on the issues - than most.

That's not a function of my being a 'pro-government liberal' - it's a simple recognition that running a huge nation of 300+ million, with the largest economy and military in the world, with sometimes ferocious disagreements on policy among that populace, with an independent judiciary, with an ever-changing legislature... well... that's a hell of a lot harder than creating a film.
   5547. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4223519)
Again we are comparing politicians to people in the entertainment industry - no awe required. We are quite aware they are flawed people, but we are comparing them to people who <<insert random GOP talking point about Hollywood>>.
Seriously. The GOP maintains a constant drumbeat about how stupid Hollywood actors are, but if one of them turns out to be a Republican, they fall all over themselves trying to get them a convention speaking spot. I'm still wondering how Ron Silver rated a convention prime time slot.
   5548. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4223521)
it's a simple recognition that running a huge nation of 300+ million

The president doesn't "run" the country. That's a modern liberal construct.

   5549. billyshears Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4223522)
Didn't the financial crisis happen right at the end of Sept? I thought one of the major issues wasn't just the severity of the crisis, but the fact that it happened so suddenly at a moment when people were ill prepared to respond to it.


To echo #5503, the financial crisis had been building for over a year by the time Lehman failed and the crisis became very, very acute. People in finance knew this and people running for president of the United States should have known this. When the crisis became acute, it was fairly disturbing how plainly obvious it was that John McCain had no idea what the #### he was talking about on economic issues.
   5550. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4223524)
If we want to talk accomplishments and we move over to greats like Gandhi, MLK, Einstein, Edison, or others then we can talk about how overrated Politicians are.

Or more to the point, the question of how even genius in one field doesn't translate into another, especially when the "another" (politics) requires dealing with and working around large minorities of determined opponents who are trying to cut off your head from the moment you step into office. That "Go ahead, make my day" line works a lot better in movies and zombie conventions than it does in the outside world.

EDIT: cokes all around
   5551. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4223525)
Is the Eastwood speech worth watching? I tend to tune out conventions but it sounds like good stuff.


Not if you like Clint Eastwood.

There's a bit of red meat if you're disposed to that flavor of red meat, but even then - I think there are just too many cringe-worthy moments.

I saw it live and thought it was bizarre... I re-watched it on the web, and thought it was sad. I have no desire to see it again, if only because I loved Clint Eastwood's work (and that won't change). I'd prefer to erase that vision of Clint Eastwood from my memory... in fact, I think I'm going to make today a Man with No Name trilogy day just to wash the taste of last night out.
   5552. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4223527)
Quayle's not as bad as he's made out to be.

I agree that he's not the fool that most people make him out to be, but he had too many tongue-tied moments in the public spotlight to ignore. We have a manager in our company who is terrible when he tries to get his points across in meetings, but when he has the time to craft an email, it's very well done. Unfortunately, everyone sees the meetings, and only a few of us get to see the emails.
   5553. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4223530)
The president doesn't "run" the country. That's a modern liberal construct.

I'm not sure why you needed to put "liberal" in there.
   5554. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4223531)

The problem Eastwood would have is understanding how to operate within the political and governmental apparatus

And that's not a talent or accomplishment, and easily learned. The office carries with it its own powers.


It's definitely not easily learned. The Roman Emperor had in theory absolute authority, financial resources beyond the dream of any other man, and thousands of talented servants and underlings. Yet Helvetius Pertinax, a commander with a long and distinguished record of military service and provincial administration, was unable to handle the competing interest groups at Rome and got himself killed within three months. His successor, Didius Julianus, was a financial whiz with support in the Senate and a successful record as a commander and governor. He lasted for eight weeks. Septimius Severus, who had no more experience or training than either, managed to bring the competing factions under control and had a long and accomplished reign. Talent was the difference.
   5555. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4223532)
Or more to the point, the question of how even genius in one field doesn't translate into another, especially when the "another" (politics) requires dealing with and working around large minorities of determined opponents who are trying to cut off your head from the moment you step into office. That "Go ahead, make my day" line works a lot better in movies and zombie conventions than it does in the outside world.

There really is no such thing as political genius, and to the extent there is, it's aimed toward an inferior end to art, science, and invention. People like Clint Eastwood and Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein don't bother with lesser fields like mass politics because it's beneath them and a waste of their skills. Hell, it's a waste of most actually talented lawyers' (*) skills.

(*) As opposed to lawyers like Joe Biden, bottom 10% of his law school class at Syracuse.
   5556. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4223534)
Zonk, thanks. I do like Eastwood, who reminds me of my father. Best not to watch, I think.
   5557. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4223535)
#5537. In the flurry of posting I missed this post, but yeah pretty much.

Also it is ridiculously hard to be elected President. Getting there is a huge accomplishment. Love him or hate him, but Barack Obama did it. But more impressive is how he did it.

He went from being part of a herd of semi-unknown politicians in 2003 to getting elected in 2008. He did it as a black man with a funny name, and did it after building up a campaign organization that beat the Clinton machine (over 20 years in the making) handily and then went out and whipped a war hero in the general.

Getting the nomination over HRC was a massive accomplishment.
   5558. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4223536)

The president doesn't "run" the country. That's a modern liberal construct.


The President has an enormous impact on the course of the nation. To deny that is to deny the reality of history.

From Washington to Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln to Wilson to Roosevelt to Johnson to Nixon to Reagan to Bush to Obama - the course of our nation is irrevocably set by its leaders, for good or ill.

The weighty issues of a nation didn't end with the Louisiana Purchase, the Nullification Crisis, the Civil War, the World Wars, the Depression, the cold war, the S&L crisis, or the Wall Street crash.

The government does not run our day-to-day lives - I never said it does... and there is absolutely a national momentum more driven by its people, but all it takes is a leader to nudge a nation off course and you have Einstein in America, not Germany.

Territorial expansion, monetary policy, social programs, liberties and civil rights, and tons of other things - government may surf these waves, but it still has to stay on the surfboard effectively.
   5559. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4223538)
Today in WTF???


A well-known Catholic priest who hosts a weekly religious television show said in an interview this week that child sex abusers are often seduced by teenage boys and should not go to jail on a first offense. But the comments were removed by the website that published them and replaced by an apology from the priest and the site's editors.

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, who hosts a weekly show on the Catholic television network EWTN, originally made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register. He also referred to convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky as a "poor guy."

"People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to -- a psychopath. But that's not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster -- 14, 16, 18 -- is the seducer," Groeschel was quoted as saying in the interview, which is no longer available on the paper's website.

The interview has now been replaced by a statement from Fr. Benedict:

"I apologize for my comments," it said. "I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone."

Jeanette R. De Melo, the site's editor in chief, included her own apology for posting the interview.

"Child sexual abuse is never excusable," she wrote. "The editors of the National Catholic Register apologize for publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel's comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The interview, billed as a reflection on the 25 years since Groeschel founded the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal order, covered many topics, but Groeschel's comments on child sexual abuse brought it national attention.

"Well, it's not so hard to see. A kid looking for a father and didn't have his own -- and they won't be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping, but not having intercourse or anything like that. I's an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers," Groeschel was quoted as saying.

Quotes from the interview remained posted on websites including the National Catholic Reporter, the Huffington Post, and the Catholic blog Renew America, all of which criticized Groeschel for the remarks.

Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter called the comments "particularly disturbing" because of Groeschel's background in psychology. He received a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University.

"(The comments) cannot stand unchallenged," Roberts wrote.

Groeschel could not be reached for comment. Representatives for the National Catholic Register and EWTN did not immediately return calls for comment.

Groeschel had also commented on recently-convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach convicted of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

"Here's this poor guy -- Sandusky -- it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn't anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn't break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn't think of it in terms of legal things," Groeschel said.

He also said that he did not think priests or lay people should go to jail based on a first offense of sexual behavior with young children.

"At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act -- not necessarily intercourse -- they're done. And I'm inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime."


   5560. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4223539)
From 2008 until around 2010, Bernanke did his job unquestionably. He prevented the complete and utter collapse of the economy.


I've posted these Bernanke quotes on BBTF before, but if I must:

Nov. 21, 2002 - "The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at no cost."

July, 2005 - "We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though."

Oct. 20, 2005 - "House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals."

Nov. 15, 2005 - "With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly."

Oct. 4, 2006 - "If current trends continue, the typical U.S. worker will be considerably more productive several decades from now. Thus, one might argue that letting future generations bear the burden of population aging is appropriate, as they will likely be richer than we are even taking that burden into account."


Feb. 15, 2007 - "Despite the ongoing adjustments in the housing sector, overall economic prospects for households remain good. Household finances appear generally solid, and delinquency rates on most types of consumer loans and residential mortgages remain low."

Jan. 10, 2008 - "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession."

Jan. 18, 2008 - (Two months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed and were nationalized) "They will make it through the storm."

June 3, 2009 - (When asked directly during a congressional hearing if the Federal Reserve would monetize U.S. government debt) "The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt."

June 9, 2008 - "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so."

July 20, 2008 - "The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing."

Aug. 2, 2010 - "The financial crisis appears to be mostly behind us, and the economy seems to have stabilized and is expanding again."

Oct. 15, 2010 - "...inflation is running at rates that are too low relative to the levels that the Committee judges to be most consistent with the Federal Reserve's dual mandate in the longer run."

Dec. 5, 2010 - "One myth that’s out there is that what we’re doing is printing money. We’re not printing money."

Dec. 5, 2010 - "The money supply is not changing in any significant way. What we’re doing is lowering interest rates by buying Treasury securities."

Dec. 5, 2010 - "I wish I'd been omniscient and seen the crisis coming."

Dec. 5, 2010 - "We’ve been very, very clear that we will not allow inflation to rise above 2 percent."

I have lots of quotes he gave before the 2008 collapse that will no doubt further bolster your trust in Bernanke, but again, when you're brainwashed into believing Chicago-school economic theory despite what's going on in front of your eyes it likely won't do any good. Bernanke is a fool, and after examining his illustrious track record, anyone that puts stock in his predictions or advice must also be a fool.

Despite Bernanke's (claimed or actual) ignorance of the indicators that tipped off the 2008 crisis before it happened, they did exist. Many in the crazy-conspiracy-wacko-tinfoil hat-wearing alternative media began warning of the crisis back in 2006, which was why I avoided any loss at all in 2008 by pulling my meagre investments out of the stock market and into precious metals, where they have done very well. But of course, this was just a pure fluke, and the crisis is over, and the 100 million American that are living dangerously close to or below the poverty line will all find themselves with productive jobs within a year thanks to puppet master Bernanke.








   5561. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4223540)
From Washington to Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln to Wilson to Roosevelt to Johnson to Nixon to Reagan to Bush to Obama - the course of our nation is irrevocably set by its leaders, for good or ill.

No it's not. It's dependent on the caliber of the nations' people and their ambitions, skills, talents, and the things they value and strive for. Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan couldn't turn Mali into an industrial and economic powerhouse, and Sarah Palin wouldn't have turned the United States into Burma or the Central African Republic.
   5562. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4223541)
There really is no such thing as political genius


Abraham Lincoln and George Washington say hi! Their political genius saved the US. There are many other examples. Genius comes in all forms.

And Eastwood's (still love him) accomplishments are not fit to be in the same room as Einstein's, Gandhi's, or Edison's accomplishments.
   5563. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4223543)
No it's not. It's dependent on the caliber of the nations' people and their ambitions, skills, talents, and the things they value and strive for.


I am not a fan of the great man theory of history. I think the bulk of "destiny" is wrapped up in impersonal forces and factors and also the "human capital" of a country. However leaders and individuals do matter a great deal. It is a complex dance between the aggregate and the individual and to minimize either is to ignore the complexity of reality and the lessons of history.
   5564. Randy Jones Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4223544)
People like Clint Eastwood and Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein don't bother with lesser fields like mass politics because it's beneath them and a waste of their skills. Hell, it's a waste of most actually talented lawyers' (*) skills.


Edison's "talents" basically were the same as a politician. He stole other peoples ideas and claimed them as his own and used his power(in his case money and reputation) to smear his competitors. Tesla was a genius, Edison was scum.

EDIT:
And Eastwood's (still love him) accomplishments are not fit to be in the same room as Einstein's, Gandhi's, or Edison's accomplishments.


Eastwood's talent and accomplishments are far, far more commendable than Edison's. And Edison absolutely doesn't deserve to be grouped with people like Einstein or Gandhi.
   5565. Rants Mulliniks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4223546)
Edison's "talents" basically were the same as a politician. He stole other peoples ideas and claimed them as his own and used his power(in his case money and reputation) to smear his competitors. Tesla was a genius, Edison was scum.


Amen to that.
   5566. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4223547)
Tesla was a genius, Edison was scum.


Tesla was a genius. Edison was scum and a genius.

I love the stories about Edison traveling to various fairs electrocuting things in an effort to prove the Tesla/Westinghouse AC power was not safe. So twisted.

EDIT: And yes he did steal many ideas, but not all of them. Edison was both great and despicable. And morally does not belong with the others. But his accomplishments were still mighty.
   5567. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4223549)
I saw it live and thought it was bizarre... I re-watched it on the web, and thought it was sad. I have no desire to see it again, if only because I loved Clint Eastwood's work (and that won't change). I'd prefer to erase that vision of Clint Eastwood from my memory... in fact, I think I'm going to make today a Man with No Name trilogy day just to wash the taste of last night out.


My thoughts on this are close to yours, but keep in mind that Eastwood was simply out of his element here; it's not like he's been giving political speeches for 40 years, and suddenly lost his fastball. For all we know, he could have given this same speech at age 42.

Of course, I'd have expected him to remember his lines better at age 42, but, well, what can you do. Him not remembering his lines - if that's what the stumbling was - is ironic because when he directs he's famous for only doing one take. And instead of yelling "Cut!" he just says, "Ok, that's enough of that sh^t."

If this were a movie he'd have done enough takes to get it right, but this was live, though, again, I think a lot of his movies are shot "live" in the sense that there are few takes, so maybe he thought he could pull this off.
   5568. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4223552)

No it's not. It's dependent on the caliber of the nations' people and their ambitions, skills, talents, and the things they value and strive for. Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan couldn't turn Mali into an industrial and economic powerhouse, and Sarah Palin wouldn't have turned the United States into Burma or the Central African Republic.


Are you honestly telling me that if Andrew Jackson doesn't threaten the bejesus out of the nullifiers in his own party, there's no chance the fledgling American doesn't splinter into a bunch of smaller nations or at least a looser confederation that had already failed in the years before the Constitution? That if Roosevelt doesn't at least restore that faith in the system - regardless of whether you think the New Deal was effective or not - there's no chance an entirely different system doesn't arise from the ashes of a near decade of malaise? Or heck - I'll even give Bush a nod - let's say in 2008, we just 'let wall street go bankrupt' (and I'm not saying that I like most of TARP)... suddenly, when paychecks start bouncing, you think there's disorder and no chance that spins out of control?

This is American exceptionalism at its most obtuse. I'm taking nothing at all away from the American people and their role in the development of the country - but the idea that we're special or blessed is nonsense. There are talented, hard-working people all over the world. Many other nations are blessed with extraordinary amounts of natural resources.
   5569. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4223557)
Are you honestly telling me that if Andrew Jackson doesn't threaten the bejesus out of the nullifiers in his own party, there's no chance the fledgling American doesn't splinter into a bunch of smaller nations or at least a looser confederation that had already failed in the years before the Constitution?


Heck let's go earlier. If George Washington hadn't been the great man he was we would have been screwed from the start. He defused a rebellion among military types that would have been terrible for the nation - and that was after militarily saving* the nation and before politically saving the nation's future by shaping the presidency as he did. Heck the act of stepping down after two terms alone likely did more for the nascent nation than the entire actions of almost any of the other founding fathers.**

* The jury is out on how good a military leader he was. I have read everything from underrated genius to train wreck. The fact is he did win and had the near universal admiration of everyone involved at the time, so there is that.

** Perhaps slight exaggeration, but if I had to pick one political act that helped shape our nation that one has to be top five if not number 1.
   5570. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4223559)
I tend to agree that early to mid 19th century was definitely a time period when things could have gone a lot differently for America than it actually did but what entirely different system would we have gotten if FDR wasn't elected in 1932 and I doubt anything really radical would have happened in 2008 with our form of government had our leaders had gone a different way.
   5571. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4223560)
A 2 percent inflation target with 8% unemployment is pure insanity. What the christ is wrong with these people?
   5572. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4223562)
There really is no such thing as political genius, and to the extent there is, it's aimed toward an inferior end to art, science, and invention.

I'll let more patient people deal with the nearly thrilling combination of ignorance and condescension that went into that remark.
   5573. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4223563)
My thoughts on this are close to yours, but keep in mind that Eastwood was simply out of his element here; it's not like he's been giving political speeches for 40 years, and suddenly lost his fastball. For all we know, he could have given this same speech at age 42.

Of course, I'd have expected him to remember his lines better at age 42, but, well, what can you do. Him not remembering his lines - if that's what the stumbling was - is ironic because when he directs he's famous for only doing one take. And instead of yelling "Cut!" he just says, "Ok, that's enough of that sh^t."

If this were a movie he'd have done enough takes to get it right, but this was live, though, again, I think a lot of his movies are shot "live" in the sense that there are few takes, so maybe he thought he could pull this off.


Absolutely.

I'm perfectly fine with all of us as a nation - left, right, center, whatever - just collectively agreeing to never speak of it again.

Frankly, I'm getting relatively pissed at my own side at the moment... the blogs and such ought to just let it go. Have some decency and respect already... It's not going to impact the election, so let it go. What's more - as you mentioned, it not like Eastwood has taken the Jon Voight (or Sean Penn, if you like) path for a decade or more either.

   5574. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4223564)
* The jury is out on how good a military leader he was. I have read everything from underrated genius to train wreck. The fact is he did win and had the near universal admiration of everyone involved at the time, so there is that.

He was the Dusty Baker of generals.
   5575. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4223565)
A 2 percent inflation target with 8% unemployment is pure insanity. What the christ is wrong with these people?


The facile explanation is they are beholden to the debt holders and don't give a #### about the masses. It is getting harder and harder not to believe this, try as I might.
   5576. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4223566)
Didn't Israel want Albert Einstein to be its first president? That would have been awesome.
   5577. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4223568)
Frankly, I'm getting relatively pissed at my own side at the moment... the blogs and such ought to just let it go. Have some decency and respect already...


Dude it is the blogosphere, expect decency and respect and you will be disappointed. Let them have their day or so of fun. If it is still a thing in three days then I will join you though.

And some of the snark has been funny in a cruel and base way. Fortunately I think Eastwood and his greatness is basically immune to this nonsense, so no long term harm will come of this.
   5578. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4223569)
Didn't Israel want Albert Einstein to be its first president? That would have been awesome.

He'd have been the last, too.
   5579. hokieneer Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4223570)
Also it is ridiculously hard to be elected President. Getting there is a huge accomplishment.

IMO, getting elected to any office/position is always harder than actually serving that office/position, no matter the level of government. Campaigning can be a physically and mentally exhausting ordeal to go through. The higher up you go, the more "talent" is needed in the form of communication, charisma, physical/mental energy, etc.

As for serving the office, the POTUS appears way too stressful and demanding of a job for me to ever want, but outside of that I don't think any elected position would be that difficult.
   5580. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4223571)
Sorry, Mr. Smartypants...prime minister.

And you're wrong, too. Israel does have a president.
   5581. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4223573)
He was the Dusty Baker of generals.


This made me laugh, and then wonder how Washington's troops held up in the sun.
   5582. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4223576)
And you're wrong, too. Israel does have a president.

No, I meant he would have been hung by Egyptians.
   5583. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4223577)
There really is no such thing as political genius, and to the extent there is, it's aimed toward an inferior end to art, science, and invention.

I'll let more patient people deal with the nearly thrilling combination of ignorance and condescension that went into that remark.

Was Hitler a political genius? By the definitions proferred herein and any other sensible definition of the term, obviously yes -- and among the top 5-10 of the past 3-4 centuries. Arguably number one.

The only way around this obvious truth is to define "genius" as "doing something I politically agree with," which renders the concept meaningless.
   5584. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4223579)
Oh. I'm still not following. But ok. I'm not that up on my immediate post-war Israeli history, so it's not your fault.
   5585. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4223580)
Of course Hitler was a political genius. He seems to have been a disaster as a commander in chief.
   5586. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4223581)
I am not a fan of the great man theory of history. I think the bulk of "destiny" is wrapped up in impersonal forces and factors and also the "human capital" of a country. However leaders and individuals do matter a great deal. It is a complex dance between the aggregate and the individual and to minimize either is to ignore the complexity of reality and the lessons of history.

If anyone wants to read one of the best books on how the role of great** (political) men in history irrevocably changed the course of human destiny, you might try a book written over 70 years ago by Sidney Hook, The Hero in History. To put it in simple terms, he argues for the primacy of the individual "heroic" actor over the primacy of the forces that surround him. IMO it's largely a chicken-and-egg question that can never be resolved, but Hook presents a very strong case for the "hero" side of the issue.

**with no moral component attached to either "great" or "hero"
   5587. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4223582)
I would love to be a Senator. Six years of guaranteed work and you really don't have to do much of anything, and you get to have plenty of fancy power lunches at Capital Grille.

Congressman in a safe district would be sweet too.
   5588. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4223583)

This made me laugh, and then wonder how Washington's troops held up in the sun.


By the end of the war, 25% of the Continental Army was black.
   5589. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4223584)
what entirely different system would we have gotten if FDR wasn't elected in 1932


There was a very real fear at the time (so Andy tells me anyway*) that the nation could have become authoritarian (Communist or Fascist) had the depression not been dealt with. The nation was really very damaged and democracies all over the world were crumbling.

In retrospect it seems like everything was destined to go well, but read accounts at the time and it sure did not feel that way to those that were there.

That said I am not enough of a historian to know what the current thoughts of the academics is on the subject.

* I kid, but I have this from many relatives including my mother.
   5590. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4223585)
Was Hitler a political genius? By the definitions proferred herein and any other sensible definition of the term, obviously yes -- and among the top 5-10 of the past 3-4 centuries. Arguably number one.

Of course he was, but so what? Was the inventor of the atom bomb not a genius? Is a master stock swindler who gets away with it for decades not possessed of the sort of "talent" that even Clint Eastwood might envy? There are moral geniuses and evil geniuses in every walk of life.
   5591. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4223586)
Was Hitler a political genius?

Um. Yes? Crazy, but he took a rundown, defeated country and conquered most of Europe.


Oh. I'm still not following. But ok. I'm not that up on my immediate post-war Israeli history, so it's not your fault.

Well, honestly, I'm not either. But I do know that Israel faced a lot of existential threats in the first years of its existence and, in keeping with the thread of the discussion, I think it quite likely that if Einstein were their leader, they don't last six months. Which ends with his hanging from something or standing front of a wall or kneeling over a stump...you get the idea.
   5592. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4223589)
Was Hitler a political genius? By the definitions proferred herein and any other sensible definition of the term, obviously yes -- and among the top 5-10 of the past 3-4 centuries. Arguably number one.


As others have said, yes he was a genius. Bismark (just to name one) was a greater genius. Hitler might have been a genius, but I really don't think he was number one by any stretch.

But weren't you arguing there was no such thing?
   5593. jingoist Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4223590)
"There really is no such thing as political genius, and to the extent there is, it's aimed toward an inferior end to art, science, and invention."

Really?

As prima facia evidence to the contrary, I give you Karl Rove.

Perhaps the greatest political genuis I have witnessed of the last 25 years.

He got that dolt, Shrub, elected not once, but a second time after everybody had already gotten to witness his level of ineptitude firsthand.

Rove got undereducated middle-class types to vote against their own best self interest by employing flag-waving and a jingoistic narrative.

If that isn't a political genius I don't know what is.

   5594. bunyon Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4223591)
that the nation could have become authoritarian (Communist or Fascist)

I think it is interesting that the American Right is currently abuzz with the idea that preparations are underway to make us communist. I have always thought that when/if the US falls to totalitarianism we'll certainly be fascist.

Your relative fear of communism/fascism probably explains which direction you lean when the two parties are so obviously out to lunch as they have been recently. I fear fascism, based mostly on the US having, it seems to me, many more people of that ilk, therefore when faced with a choice of two crappy leaders, I favor the least fascist. I think a lot of folks, fearing communism, lean to the least communist.

I dunno. Just throwing it out there.
   5595. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4223594)
* The jury is out on how good a military leader he was. I have read everything from underrated genius to train wreck. The fact is he did win and had the near universal admiration of everyone involved at the time, so there is that.


Personally, I think Washington was a tactical train wreck, but from a strategic perspective - highly effective.

On a grand level, I think he understood that his most important task was just keeping his army from being destroyed. He was really good at formulating retreat plans ;-)... but that was something that funny as it sounds, he needed to be good at.

I think he was also quite adept at inspiring men - that's also an important quality.

He was fairly good at recognizing talent and delegating authority and tasks appropriately.

However, when you look at the battles where he primarily formulated and then carried out the battle plan -- he was constantly finding himself outflanked... it's one thing if you're a Patton-esque generally that couldn't care less about protecting the ends of your line because you're constantly on the attack, but Washington wasn't that. He was relatively (even if appropriately, given force size and composition) cautious. If you're that type of tactician - a Montgomery type that prefers to consolidate and envelop - there's absolutely no excuse to find your flanks collapsing and lines overrun because of it as often as Washington did.

   5596. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4223595)
There was a very real fear at the time (so Andy tells me anyway*) that the nation could have become authoritarian (Communist or Fascist) had the depression not been dealt with. The nation was really very damaged and democracies all over the world were crumbling.

They were struggling but the older ones were making it through. I think you also have to remember that a lot of that "fear" was akin to Tea Partyism or Rush screaming on the airwaves about doom and gloom. Not saying everything was rosey, afterall the Baseball Hall of Fame tried to overthrow the government, but things would have had to have gotten a whole lot worse for America to have an entirely different system after 1932.
   5597. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4223596)
Of course he was, but so what?

So the statement that you ridiculed was correct. Political genius in fact aims at inferior ends than the aims of art, science, and invention.

Was the inventor of the atom bomb not a genius?

Yes, and his genius was a superior form to "political genius."

Is a master stock swindler who gets away with it for decades not possessed of the sort of "talent" that even Clint Eastwood might envy?

No, he's a talentless thief.

   5598. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4223597)
what entirely different system would we have gotten if FDR wasn't elected in 1932


There was a very real fear at the time (so Andy tells me anyway*) that the nation could have become authoritarian (Communist or Fascist) had the depression not been dealt with. The nation was really very damaged and democracies all over the world were crumbling.

In retrospect it seems like everything was destined to go well, but read accounts at the time and it sure did not feel that way to those that were there.

That said I am not enough of a historian to know what the current thoughts of the academics is on the subject.

* I kid, but I have this from many relatives including my mother.


I've got a trunk full of letters from the 30's written between my parents, who were married in 1931 but separated for weeks or months at a time while my father went up and down the East Coast looking for work, while my mother had to leave her wedding ring at home in order to keep her secretarial job, as married women were considered to be "stealing" jobs from their husbands. I wouldn't wish that sort of existence on my worst enemies, although it might have done a few people I know some good to have experienced it first hand.

But you only have to look at some of the many movies shown regularly on TCM to get a sense of what the mood of the country was like at the time. Heroes For Sale, Gabriel Over The White House, Wild Boys of the Road, and I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang are better than any textbook or history book in bringing that political atmosphere to life.
   5599. zonk Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4223598)
Was Hitler a political genius? By the definitions proferred herein and any other sensible definition of the term, obviously yes -- and among the top 5-10 of the past 3-4 centuries. Arguably number one.


Never underestimate the power of audacity.

I think Hitler had enormous skills as an orator and he understood stagecraft well, but I wouldn't call him a 'political genius'... The Nazi government was an absolute bureaucratic mess. There was constant sniping - something Hitler encouraged - between areas of government. There was tons of duplication.

However, Hitler was one of the most audacious politicians in history. You can get by - at least for a while - on that. When you're playing a wholly different game than your opponents - they think they can compromise with you, you're willing to entirely eliminate them, and even when you make it clear you will do so, they don't believe you - it's not hard to outfox them.

   5600. McCoy Posted: August 31, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4223599)
My favorite general from the Revolutionary War is Nathaniel Greene. Knew how to inflict a beating, kept his army from getting routed, and kept on sticking it to the Brits. I had and still have one of those old Apple games called Revolution 76 or something like that and Greene was always my go to guy even when the computer was telling me he was disgraced and the troops had low morale because of him. If you ever needed a guy to beat the long odds or inflict heavy casualties without losing a lot of men he was the general for that task in that game.
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