Friday, October 28, 2005


NRO Columnist Advocates that Bush Seize Power

So, what does a president do when his vice-president's chief of staff is indicted on criminal charges, when his own party rejected a judicial nominee, when his war is turning into a quagmire, and when the Democratic Party actually shows a faint pulse? This is what National Review Columnist and Hoover Institution Senior Serpent Victor Davis Hanson advocates: For good or evil, George W. Bush will have to cross the Rubicon on judicial nominations, politicized indictments, Iraq, the greater Middle East, and the constant frenzy of the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic party — and now march on his various adversaries as never before. He can choose either to be nicked and slowly bled to death in his second term, or to bare his fangs and like some cornered carnivore start slashing back. "Crossing the Rubicon" refers to Julius Caesar's illegally turning the armies of Rome on the capital to seize power and establish a dictatorship Now, this might be written off as a quaint and inappropriate phrasing but for one reason. Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. As a student of classical history, he knows what he is advocating. Hanson poses Bush's supposed need to seize power as a necessary defense against the normal workings of democracy. He admits that it may well be for evil. And yet he advocates it. To get a sense for how completely hypocritical and amoral his implication of offense over the Miers nomination is, this is what right-wing commentator Virginia Postrel said: For whatever reason, the president has picked a woman who not only has no constitutional or judicial experience but even in her business practice has demonstrated no interest in the law as anything other than a source of billable hours. At 60 years old, she appears never to have had a substantive conversation about law or policy with any friend. She comes from a closed and cronyish legal and business culture and appears to have gotten ahead through a combination of networking, nose-to-the-grindstone diligence, and willingness to do her law firm's management, rather than legal, work. I got the recommendation to read that article not from Howard Dean, but from David Frum, who evidently approves. Would it be good or evil if Bush marched on Frum and Postrel too, baring his fangs like a carnivore and slashing back? Um. Wait. Don't answer that. You get my point. If the NRO ever again uses the phrase "moral relativism," remind them of Hanson's column.
Sorry to rain on your semantic parade -- and not to defend a Republifreak -- but "crossing the Rubicon" is widely acknowledged as a turn of phrase regarding taking a risky move. NOT specifically a coup d'etat. This is sort of freshman English.

Besides, to imagine that Bush and the wingnuts would consider a coup is about as paranoid as the usual rantings of Coulter et al. So, maybe take some deep breaths and relax a little.

--Dem in NYC
Ah, another brave anonymous poster to lead me to truth!

Read the frikkin' post, pal. I know what most people mean when they say "crossing the Rubicon." It is contained in the link I provided!

But scholars are not so careless with their phrasing. There are plenty of ways to say, "taking a risky move." Like: "Time for Bush to make a risky move."

No, Hanson knew what he was saying, even if his dimmer readers did not.

The context makes it clear: Bush must "now march on his various adversaries as never before....bare his fangs and like some cornered carnivore start slashing back."

This is not responsible comment at this historical moment.

But thanks for the lecture on freshman English.
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