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November 27, 2006

Representative Rangel, a fly in amber.

I deliberately unplugged this weekend. I needed to get stuff done, and spend some time with family. So, I left the laptop at home, didn't surf the 'net much, and certainly didn't watch an TV news.

So I missed the performance of one of those new fresh faces brimming with a new world-view and New Ideas who will be in charge next Congress.

Y'know, Representative Rangel. Who more than anything, seems to me to be a fly in amber, a preserved relic from a bygone day.

I want to make it abundantly clear: if thereís anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

Damn you, SGT Hook! Here I thought you were quality. Turns out you're a schnook. And what about neuroscientist Prakash? Apparently he's a toad, too. Then there's professional football player Pat Tillman, he certainly had no prospects. Not to mention Dr. Holland had no prospects to speak of, either.

Hey, it's true for me. All I was gonna do was flip burgers if I hadn't joined the Army. That's why my other career choices were Policeman and Firefighter. I wasn't ever going to be an investment banker or a furniture salesman, nope. Don't have the wherewithal to do those jobs. And I so hate being over my head as a Beltway Bandit that I'm on the volunteered-for-recall roster so I can take a big pay cut and go play in the sandbox. Because I know I'm just a poser, and they only place I can succeed is if I get back in the tie-dyed clothing - which is much kewler now, anyway! Me who takes a month of weekends to do a two-day job... because of how bunged up I am from having been in for 20 years. Oh, I know, I'm just a stupid horse, running back into the burning barn, too dumb to know any better, right Representative Rangel? Thank heavens you aren't my Representative, sir - I'd have to write you a letter. Hmmmm. That said, it's probably time to write my new representative a letter and tell her the quickest way to get in my sights will be to talk like... Representative Rangel. So, Representative Boyda, what *are* your thoughts on the Honorable Mr. Rangel's characterization of military service?

To sum up, Uncle Jimbo sez it pretty well:

I guess itís inconceivable to Chuck that there are actually people who can look at the world see the dangers we face and consciously choose to meet that threat so others donít have to. He also repeats the repeatedly debunked BS about the poor brown kids dying so W and Cheney can make money. What a world class jackass. Enjoy your two years in the sun you sanctimonious, s**thead, You , Pelosi, Jackass Murtha, Freakiní Lurch, Al Gore, Howard Dean, there is no way that cast of clowns doesnít remind America that even though things have been tough, handing the keys to to a bunch of asylum inmates doesnít make much sense either.

Sigh. New faces, new ideas. In 1969, mebbe. When we had a draft... as Mr. Rangel proposes.

Of course, Mr. Rangel proposes a draft because he knows it would make the services largely unable to be used for anything other than WWIII or Bosnia.

And, I would argue, they wouldn't be that good at WWIII kinds of things.

A fly in amber.

Discuss.

Comments on Representative Rangel, a fly in amber.
Cricket briefed on November 27, 2006 08:20 AM

Didn't the flies get stuck in the quagmire of amber because they were too stoopid to move?

Just asking.

fdcol63 briefed on November 27, 2006 09:23 AM

I hope that Rangel and his ilk are tossed back into the minority in 2008. But this past election has given me serious doubts that a misinformed, uninformed, apathetic, myopic, and attention-deficited American public will make the right choice.

Rangel, Kerry, Pelosi, Murtha, Durbin, et al continue to spout the same, tired, and cliched tripe about the US military and other issues like health care, the economy, education, and class warfare, but the American public still sucks it up.

Casey Tompkins briefed on November 27, 2006 09:46 AM

Um, fdcol63, dunno if you, like, noticed, but the Republicans repeatedly shot themselves in the foot the past couple of years. Over and over again, in fact.

From a mushrooming Federal budget, to corruption, to nearly-pure incompetance on many national issues, the GOP lost the confidence of the center (or the moderates, independents; whatever).

There were technical issues too; apparently Rove's rosy predictions just before the election were based on a collective confidence that the right could beat the left one more time just by "mobilizing the base" one more time. What they didn't seem to realize is that the GOP has pretty much realized the law of diminishing returns with that procedure, while the Democrats are still catching up.

Such "mobilization" is only a partial strategy, and insufficient to win elections; something I hope the GOP now grasp. The Lieberman election demonstrated the fact that the country (overall) is roughly 1/3 Republican, 1/3 Democrat, and 1/3 independent/centrist/non-doctrinaire. The Republican strategists have apparently not yet grasped the fact that moderate voters were a vital factor in their victories for the past dozen years.

I must point out that -as has been observed by more than a few commentators- the Democrats gained their narrow majority by electing relatively conservative/centrist candidates. Pelosi has already encountered significant opposition from the new blood when she tried to decree that ex-marine Jack Murtha would be the new majority leader, over Steny Hoyer.

It's rather sad to see people praise voters when elections follow their own inclinations, then suddenly veer about and condemn them as stupid sheep whey they disgree.

fdcol63 briefed on November 27, 2006 10:27 AM

Casey,

I agree with everything you said, except 2:

1) Since 1992, the point at which I became more "politically" aware, I have believed that the American public is, unfortunately, largely "misinformed, uninformed, apathetic, myopic, and attention-deficited". However, I stillhad hope ..... I can always have that, can't I? LOL

2) I agree that the GOP shot itself in the foot with great ineptness, lapses of ethics, and by abandoning its core values. But I'm still at a loss about how, exactly, voters could believe that the Dems would do any better .... especially at fighting our Islamist enemies - in Iraq or elsewhere.

Basically, they voted for "change" without really considering the nature of the change (or naively thought that ANY change would be good because it sent a "message" of discontent), and they cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Just my opinion ...... take it for what it's worth. As I will yours.

FbL briefed on November 27, 2006 12:02 PM

That race-baiting Rangel would be waying what he does about poor/racial minorities being over-represented in a war is not surprising. But I found it intersting that in his rush to condemn the military, he condems the very people he claims to represent--those facing poverty and unemployment.

karla(threadbndr) briefed on November 27, 2006 12:15 PM

Good Grief - you'd think he'd have learned SOMEthing from the Kerry debacle!

This offends me on the Marine!Goth's behalf (to say nothing of my own).

Trias briefed on November 27, 2006 12:22 PM

Rengel, no doubt, is saying things that he thinks people want to hear. Considering the citizens of America voted in the rather obviously anti-war Democrats itís not hard to see what it comes from.

This is not the first time Iíve heard US politicians claim soldiers on the ground are dumb etc and I sense the generation of pity in here. Why? I note no one asks a young bright soldier or regular young citizen what they think about it.

I can see this becoming a blame haemorrhage very soon now that the citizens have empowered the opponents. It may be repeated here at the next elections. It also seems a bit pathological which does spark my concern this might turn into a Vietnam kind of homecoming.

Iím looking for the ray of sunshine here but I think the batteries are out.

Casey Tompkins briefed on November 28, 2006 04:46 AM

fd: I would characterize most voters as "earnest C students." You know, the ones who try hard, but never make the honors rolls or the varsity team.

I think common joe- or jane-sixpack is just that: a citizen who works hard, votes, and tries to make the right choice. Like you, I have hope for better, and I think I can point out something which (I think) will improve things; the blog we're conversing on right now, along with all the other "army of David" bloggers out there.

It's been said that, inside everyone there's one good book. I think we can extend the analogy to the observation that inside everyone there's at least one cogent observation, which made, is of great use to other people. Blogs help citizens plant their observations, hence increasing the probability of cogency, as it were. :)

As for the Dems, they're not all bad. Take Jim Webb, for example. I hear he's been giving the Democrats fits nearly every other day with his off-the-cuff comments. Heh. Not to mention the Democrats ran (as I mentioned before) some more-centrist candidates this time around, and I don't think they were thinking too far ahead about their strategy, either! :)

Robert Heinlein once observed that it is vital for citizens to vote, and if they don't have anything to vote for, then they should vote against. At least that way they make their voices heard. I believe that's how many voters were thinking this year.

I tend not to lose too much sleep over elections after they occur. One of the enduring concepts I have taken from Winston Churchill's work is a German saying was was fond of: "trees do not grow up into the sky." In other words, things don't go on forever, and must ultimately end. Sooner or later the Dems will regain leadership, then after that the GOP will revive. We will see heroes, knaves, and fools in the White House; sometimes all at once.

A friend of mine (a moderately well-known blogger in his own right) was certain by June of '04 that Kerry was going to win the election, and became truly depressed for a while.

I wasn't worried; if nothing else the people around Kerry, and the leaders of the Democratic Party aren't complete idiots. My expectation was -given a Kerry victory- that he would either withdraw early, commence feckless negotiations with Syria, Iran, and company, or both. The result would be more dead US soldiers, the citizens (who have supported the war so far, despite arguments about various polls) would become upset, and demand that DC "do something." So Kerry would revert to something resembling the Bush strategy, but with different stage dressing and marketing. I suspect that's what's happening right now with the Baker "study." Gives the Democrats the chance to make a show of fixing things while finally coming on board as partners in the war.

Sometimes I think that's what Pelosi is doing with that idiot, Rangel. It's an artful misdirection in the same way a magician convinces you to look at his dramatically waving right hand, while the left hand is palming cards. Or rabbits. Whatver. :) Basically Pelosi lets Rangel make a big stink about a draft, then she lets the measure go down to defeat. Her excuse would be that the newbie centrist Dems bolted to vote with the GOP a la the "gang of fourteen," and she was outnumbered. Basically stunts such as Rangel's allow the vituperative element of the anti-war left to vent while she builds some sort of concensus with Bush.

Trias: that anti-war fringe I mentioned above has been in full-blown "baby killer" mode for at least a year. They've attacked ROTC kiosks and offices on college campuses, assaulted soldiers at home on leave, and pulled out all the "days of rage" stops except for the spitting. I expect that to emerge by next spring. :(

That's not to say I'm painting all anti-war Dems as moonbats. I know of more than a few decent, patriotic Democrats who I'd be glad to share a beer with, who just can't abide Bush, or "his" war. Considering some of the speeches leading House and Senate Republicans made regarding Clinton's entry into the Balkans, they (the leaders) at least should not have too much to kick about. On the other hand, two wrongs don't make a right, so monday-morning quarterbacking the current administration out of spite because the GOP pulled the same bonehead stunt ten years ago is a poor strategy.

Jon The Mechanic briefed on November 28, 2006 07:48 AM

I called Charlie's office yesterday and asked if they could clarify and expound on his comments. I then told them that I joined because I wanted to live up to what my grandfather had done during WW2 and my brother joined because of me.

I also told them to tell them "honorable" representative that the next time he wanted to insult the military to bring his goofy ass to Fort Drum on one of my drill weekends and tell me that I am not smart enough to get a good job.
At that time I would be MORE happy to tell him what an obnoxious assclown he is and to kindly get the hell off of my post before I proceed to kick him across the impact area.

The poor girl I talked to was rather shocked at my comments and a little speechless.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 28, 2006 08:00 AM

...and we made this call from a payphone, using coins, wearing gloves, and not in view of a videocamera, right?

;^)

BillT briefed on November 28, 2006 09:41 AM

One of those "fresh new faces" indeed. Chuckles Rangel has been the Harlem House Rep since 1970 (the year Adam Clayton Powell decided he'd finally gouged enough money from his constituency).

Chuckie started making noises about a return to the draft in August of last year or so. Interesting that he was anti-draft during the SouthEast Asian unpleasantness and pro-draft during the SouthWest Asian one.

Most everybody in this neck of the woods (except, of course, his constituency) sees through the posturing rhetoric. If they ever yank Selective Service out of deep-standby, Chuck-bo will be the first one screaming about The Unfairness of It All -- just so long as he can do it in front of a live studio audience...

oldloadr briefed on November 28, 2006 10:05 AM

Do you all remember that Ol' Charlie commisioned a study of military recruiting demographics a couple of years ago when he first brought up the draft. Unfortunately for the "Honorable Gentleman" from NY, the survey showed that recruiting in low income zip codes had dropped since 2003, but had gone up in middle and high income zips. Things that make you go hmmm...

Cricket briefed on November 28, 2006 08:25 PM

I shall now connect The Dots: John Kerry makes
¬ty and ignernt comments about Persyns In Uniform Being Stupid. Rangel says that Minorities are Over Represented. Uh huh.

I did not wear The Uniform Of The United States Armed Forces, but I took care of it. All four types: BDUs, Dress Blues, Class As and DCUs.
Did my share of turning collars, sewing on Military Merit Badges (my snarky name for name, branch, MOS and rank thingies), washing, ironing
cutting them down to fit the CLUs when they got worn out.

ry briefed on November 29, 2006 01:15 AM

You know John, maybe you might want to do what The Corner does sometimes with The New Republic and do a little back and forth with a contrary opinioned mil-blogger by cross posting at both sites the running argument (Armchair Generalist for instance as he's rather pro-return and seriously so. Not just in a 'stick it to the republicans' way, but serious.). That could be interesting and stop some of the echo chamber going on at both sites.

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 29, 2006 05:47 AM

Isn't that what I hired you and Jack for? With a frisson of Owen?

That said - while it's an intriguing idea, I simply do not have enough space in my life at the moment to do that.

Because if I did that, I would feel compelled to be a lot more prepared than I am now - but perhaps more importantly, it would be hard to keep from using stuff I have access to via work, which is a rule I abide by religiously.