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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Polyarchy by Robert Dahl
The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
Why do the French think they have so much power? They have almost no military power, their economy, along with the rest of Europe, is struggling under the weight of a burdening social safety net that no longer provides security but rather retards their prosperity, yet they cling to the remnants of Cold War political power that no longer hold any worthwhile significance. They cling to these institutions, such as the U.N., because without them the U.S. could easily dominate the world agenda. They finagle the methods of change and action because with every day that passes, the façade of French influence is undermined by the will of the powerful.
During a punctuated moment in history in which power shifts become apparent and pretenses of authority are shown for what they are, nations that have seen their day in the sun and now must watch their slow decline become nothing more than obstructionists in the path of safety, security, and general prudence for what is acceptable and what is not.
This is what has happened with the French. They no longer have the influence that they once had, and that America once required of them. They have become politically insignificant. Their U.N. veto is now one of the few traditions of power with which they can still justify their worldly pretension. The French have been flying under the radar for far too long, and they have been doing it on our dime.
Vodkapundit postures that every shortfall the French have had since the end of WWII has been rectified by the U.S., but with little in return. We have spoiled the French for too long and have coddled their delusions of grandeur far longer than they deserve. He writes:
"You’re broke after losing to the Germans? Buddy, we can spare a few billion dimes. Can’t get a handle on those Viet Cong, old friend? Let us step in for you. Nasty Soviets? We’ll man the Fulda Gap. You don’t want NATO headquartered in Paris anymore? No biggie, there’s always Brussels. Islamofascists are threatening all of Western Civilization? You can try paying them off, but we’re happy to do the dirty work when that fails."
While the French have built up a socialist-leaning government in which workers have minimal incentive to put in the extra effort, and as a result the French economy has contributed to the marginal success at European collectivism, the U.S. has been France's safety net. We've caught them when they've fallen, protected them when they've been invaded, and let them pretend they are just as important as us. What do we have to show for it? Nothing but indignation, resistance and hassle.
"We’ve been subsidizing French stupidity since 1945, and now we wonder why there’s so much more of it? We’ve made anti-Americanism a winning proposition, a gamble without a downside. If you tell me that my pair of nothin’ will trump your full house, you’re damn right I’ll raise the bet. What’s the house max?"
It's time to cut the net and free ourselves of an ungrateful and stubborn ally.
Stupidity and ignoranceinvade the White House once again. This is simply unacceptable, and Andrew Sullivan tells us why.
These kinds of people shouldn't be allowed anywhere near government, and geez, of all places, not on the committee that addresses the issue of their ignorance. We might as well let David Duke be the curator of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. Or we could even let a racist senator be a congressional leader. Wait, we did that already...
In 2004, the Democrats need to push Peter Fitzgerald out of office. He's incompetent, plain and simple. It was a travesty that he ever won, though in light of who his opponent was, it's understandable. Fitzgerald should be target number one for the Democratic party, but who could do it? The American Prospect saysOprah.
Oprah Winfrey as Illinois Senator? Hmm. It may not be as crazy as it sounds. She would have a great chance of succeeding, especially considering the potential field.
"Though a number of Democrats are lining up to challenge Fitzgerald, none is particularly well-known. There's Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas; State Comptroller Dan Hynes; investment banker Blair Hull; and Gary Chico, a former president of the Chicago Board of Education. This is clearly a field that's begging for someone with Oprah's name recognition."
Prospect points to what would be Oprah's instant monopoly on the women's vote, as well as to a likely large turnout from African-Americans. Currently there are no minorities in the Senate, and I'm sure Illinois would love to break that barrier again, though with a better candidate this time around.
Oprah would have a great shot at winning, and it would certainly liven up the dull, old white men's club that is the U.S. Senate. Now all she has to do is want to run. I hope she does.
(via Oliver Willis, who thinks Oprah should skip the upper chamber, and instead focus on 1600 Pennsylvania)