The clueless would-be rulers

Today’s must-read, by Walter Mead:

This is not what his critics expected. At 49% overall job approval in the latest Gallup poll, and with 60% approval of the way he is handling the coronavirus epidemic, President Trump’s standing with voters has improved even as the country closed down and the stock market underwent a historic meltdown. That may change as this unpredictable crisis develops, but bitter and often justified criticism of Mr. Trump’s decision making in the early months of the pandemic has so far failed to break the bond between the 45th president and his political base.

One reason Mr. Trump’s opponents have had such a hard time damaging his connection with voters is that they still don’t understand why so many Americans want a wrecking-ball presidency. Beyond attributing Mr. Trump’s support to a mix of racism, religious fundamentalism and profound ignorance, the president’s establishment opponents in both parties have yet to grasp the depth and intensity of the populist energy that animates his base and the Bernie Sanders movement. . . .

That a majority of the electorate is this deeply alienated from the establishment can’t be dismissed as bigotry and ignorance. There are solid and serious grounds for doubting the competence and wisdom of America’s self-proclaimed expert class. What is so intelligent and enlightened, populists ask, about a foreign-policy establishment that failed to perceive that U.S. trade policies were promoting the rise of a hostile Communist superpower with the ability to disrupt supplies of essential goods in a national emergency? What competence have the military and political establishments shown in almost two decades of tactical success and strategic impotence in Afghanistan? What came of that intervention in Libya? What was the net result of all the fine talk in the Bush and Obama administrations about building democracy in the Middle East? . . .

On domestic policy, the criticism is equally trenchant and deeply felt. Many voters believe that the U.S. establishment has produced a health-care system that is neither affordable nor universal. Higher education saddles students with increasing debt while leaving many graduates woefully unprepared for good jobs in the real world. The centrist establishment has amassed unprecedented deficits without keeping roads, bridges and pipes in good repair. It has weighed down cities and states with unmanageable levels of pension debt…

Mr. Trump’s supporters are not comparing him with an omniscient leader who always does the right thing, but with the establishment—including the bulk of the mainstream media—that largely backed a policy of engagement with China long after its pitfalls became clear. For Americans who lost their jobs to Chinese competition or who fear the possibility of a new cold war against an economically potent and technologically advanced power, Mr. Trump’s errors pale before those of the bipartisan American foreign-policy consensus…

…the U.S. establishment won’t prosper again until it comes to grip with a central political fact: Populism rises when establishment leadership fails. If conventional U.S. political leaders had been properly doing their jobs, Donald Trump would still be hosting a television show. (emphasis added)

To reinforce the point, Exhibit A, from the just-passed Senate coronavirus relief bill:

Kennedy Center

The legacy media portion of the establishment is no better, in their deranged hatred both for Trump and those in the country who prefer risking him rather than the proven failures of past leadership.  CBS screamed in a headline recently that a man died and his wife was seriously hurt after taking an anti-malarial drug (hydroxycloroquine) Trump and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have expressed optimism about as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The problem?  What the Arizona couple actually did was notice their fish tank cleaner contained the chemical, and consumed it as a preventative measure, without consulting any medical expert.  Only two-thirds of the way through the story does it clarify the headline: “The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.”  In other words, despite the headline, the couple didn’t take the drug.  They drank fish tank cleaner!  A factual headline, though, wouldn’t have been potentially damaging to Trump, which seems to be the primary goal of all mainstream journalism these days, facts and context be damned.

We’re supposed to be practicing social distancing.  But the elites in this country are (and have been for some time) so far out of touch with the common person’s daily experience that it shouldn’t be a surprise the latter has had more than enough of the former.

Eliminating political careerism

A columnist from Massachusetts points out that Elizabeth Warren’s failed run for the presidency resulted in a loss of representation for the State:

According to ProPublica, Warren has missed 53.5% of her votes during this session of Congress. This makes her the third-most absent member of the Senate. (Remember: We lowly taxpayers pay Warren $175,000 for this job.)

She clearly decided that running for president was a valid excuse to neglect and ignore her Senate duties. Yes, this despite the fact that she pretty much promised Massachusetts voters in 2018 that if they reelected her, she would not run for president. Then, of course, she changed her mind just a few months later and decided to run and skip out on her current office to do so.

This is a slap in the face to the people of Massachusetts, who elected her to a six-year term just in 2018, undoubtedly with her promise to actually serve this term in mind. Turns out, serving in the Senate was just a backup option for Warren in case her presidential aspirations didn’t work out.

In other words, it’s all about serving her interests, not those of her constituents, whom she failed to represent in Washington more than half the time.  This is a bipartisan problem, and I’ve written about it before.  Elected officials should never take their current office as a given, even while reaching for more influence. 

Aside from term limits, the best way to end political careerism is to require people to serve out the full elective term of office (barring debilitating illness, injury or misconduct), and to ban the practice of running for more than one office at once (i.e. president and senate).  It’s bad enough how much running for reelection shapes an officeholder’s term.  Trying to grab the next rung of the ladder while keeping one hand on the current one “just in case” is the opposite of public-mindedness.  Too many special elections (which cost taxpayer $$) occur because John Q. Politician was elected to two different offices simultaneously, or else was picked as a political appointee while serving in an elected office.  In a country of nearly 330 million people, nobody is that indispensable.  If someone believes they are called to greater responsibility, they should demonstrate a commitment to it by fulfilling any current public obligations, then focusing on convincing the public or an executive to give them such an opportunity.  Such an expectation by the people would mean candidates would be out of political work from time to time.  And that’s not a bad thing, considering that also happens from time to time to the citizens they allegedly represent.  Let our would-be representatives live like the rest of us occasionally.

Government by gangsterism

Senator Chuck Schumer personifies the authoritarian nature of the Left: “our way, or else.”

In front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined pro-choice protesters on the day justices debated the constitutionality of [legislation in Louisiana] titled “Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.”

During his speech, Schumer made threatening remarks aimed at Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

“I want to tell you Neil Gorusch, and you Brett Kavanaugh, you have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said. “You won’t know what hit you, if you go forward with these awful decisions.” (emphasis added)

How inappropriate were these remarks?  His spokesman strained credulity to the limit trying to walk them back:

Sen. Schumer’s comments were a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision,” Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said in a statement.

A plain reading of Schumer’s remarks reveals no reference to the GOP’s political fortunes, only two Supreme Court justices being called out by name.  Nor is this the first time Schumer has engaged in marginally veiled personal threats:

The new leader of Democrats in the Senate says Donald Trump is being “really dumb” for picking a fight with intelligence officials, suggesting they have ways to strike back, after the president-elect speculated Tuesday that his “so-called” briefing about Russian cyberattacks had been delayed in order to build a case.

New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Former Justice Antonin Scalia, often considered one of the most influential conservative jurors in the history of the Supreme Court, died in 2016 under circumstances that offered plenty of opportunity for so-called ‘conspiracy theory.’  When such public threats as Schumer’s are being issued by a ranking member of Congress, and FBI agents are revealed to have sent texts during the last presidential election worrying about a Trump victory and saying “we’ll stop it,” and a reputed pedophile with links to prominent people “commits suicide” in his jail cell despite being a high-profile prisoner, is it any wonder the public increasingly agrees there is a “Deep State” at work that ensures its own purposes regardless the expressed wishes of the American people?

For the record, the Senate should call for Schumer to resign.  His remarks are wholly inappropriate for a person in his position.  Don’t worry, though — I’m not holding my breath.

A tale of two parties

Just a brief observation in contrasts: It’s been a bad week for the Democrats: their first election event of the 2020 season was a debacle, the sham impeachment was rightfully rejected in the Senate (no thanks to Mittens, who hopefully earned his permanent exit from the political stage), and the entire party from Pelosi on down made fools of themselves during the State of the Union address.  Really, how tone deaf must a politician be to believe that looking sour at good economic news, or tearing up the president’s speech at the end of the event are good optics?  Such petty obliviousness to the public’s likely reaction just goes to show how far out of touch they are with the real America outside their bubble.  They are unfit to govern, and I look forward with anticipation to historic electoral punishment in November.  As I’ve said before, the Democratic Party needs to be destroyed.

Republicans, on the other hand, remain surprisingly focused on their priorities.  Adding further pressure to the Democrats, Senator Mitch McConnell wasted zero time after concluding the impeachment trial.  He immediately began to move forward again on confirming more judges to the Federal Courts.

Republicans who fight back and focus.  Who’d have thought we’d finally see the day?

All or nothing

The Democrats insist on dragging out the impeachment circus as long as possible by calling for witnesses that should have been heard by the House if they were so important to the case.  Naturally, the RINOs* (Sen. Romney, Sen. Collins, and Sen. Murkowski) are only too happy to help the “stupid party” prove once again it rarely knows how to use majority status to effect its goals:

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine claimed credit Wednesday morning for shaping the initial impeachment procedures resolution to require a vote adding witnesses and additional evidence. A Senate vote on whether to consider calling witnesses and allowing other new evidence is expected as early as Friday.

“I am pleased that I along with Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and others worked very hard to get into the resolution a guaranteed vote on whether or not to call witnesses at this point in the trial,” Collins said Wednesday.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to ensure that if witnesses are called, it’s not a selective assortment designed solely to try to make the president look bad.  No, if we’re going to call witnesses, let’s hear from those whose activity the president was concerned about in the first place:

Even Mitt Romney, the first link to break, has said that he thinks calling witnesses should be reciprocal. That means Joe and Hunter Biden, at minimum. But calling the Bidens in exchange for calling John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney has been rejected by Democrats.

So McConnell’s way out it to force Democrats to reject a witness deal. That way, Democrats are the ones responsible for no new witnesses. It provides cover to people like Susan Collins who may be concerned how voting against witnesses my impact their reelection chances.

McConnell needs to go nuclear. Mutually Assured Destruction nuclear on witnesses — the Bidens or bust.

The GOP has become more politically assertive and aggressive with Trump in the White House, and that’s been a pleasure to see.  I’ve said before that if he does nothing else, Trump’s at least showing the Right how to fight.  That said, there are still plenty of “Republicans” who’d be happy to see the president fail.  McConnell must insure that if the investigation is going to be rehashed in the Senate, that it’s done in full, so that all the truth comes out.

Otherwise, there will be a lot of people like me who will wonder what point there is in handing the Republicans political power at all.  If they fail here, they should expect alternative political organizations to challenge for their place.  And they’ll deserve their irrelevance.

* RINO = “Republicans in Name Only,” for those unaware.  And no, it’s not a compliment.

Straining credulity to infinity and beyond

There’s been plenty of memery online about Jeffrey Epstein.  It’s so easy even I can do it:

AP Explains Iran Revolutionary Guard

While all this has done a good job of keeping the story of Epstein alive, it’s really not all that funny when you look closely as his alleged “suicide,” as the CBS program “60 Minutes” did Sunday.  Attorney General William Barr himself said there were “serious irregularities” involved in the case.  There are just too many “monumental failures at all levels,” in the words of former Federal prison warden interviewed by CBS.  As the saying goes, once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.  So exactly how many ‘failures’ were there in this so-called suicide?

1. After what was reported as an earlier attempt, Epstein was placed on suicide watch… for only a week.

2. Epstein claimed the first incident was actually an attack by his cellmate, a former police officer jailed for a murder believed to be related to drugs and Mexican organized crime. The cellmate’s lawyer obviously denies the accusation.

3. After release from suicide watch, Epstein was returned to a cell and required to have a cellmate. The night before his death, though, his cellmate was released, and no new one was assigned.  Epstein’s lawyers say during their visit the day before his death, their client was “upbeat” and looking forward to an upcoming bail hearing.

4. The night of his death, two guards required to check on him every 30 minutes failed to do so for over 10 hours, and are now facing charges of falsifying logs to conceal the fact (revealed by video) they were web surfing or sleeping instead.

5. Regarding video, however, in response to requests from the lawyer for the inmate Epstein said attacked him, the Feds have now given differing explanations for why footage from the day of the first incident isn’t available. The latest story is that they preserved video from the wrong cell.

6. The camera that should have captured footage of Epstein’s cell door and of the other cells in the block the night of his death was “corrupted,” and no footage exists.

7. Though there are photos from Epstein’s cell showing nooses and other items after his death, there are no photos of his dead body inside the cell, even though such an incident requires preservation of evidence as a crime scene.  Instead, Epstein’s body was taken to an emergency room before any photography occurred.  Did the 6-foot Epstein hang himself by a sheet attached to his bed frame a mere four feet off the floor?  Nobody’s saying, and there’s no photos to explain how he pulled off his own demise in a facility allegedly designed to minimize the chances of such.

8. The forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family says the noose sketched in the autopsy report doesn’t match the wounds on Epstein’s neck, which appear more consistent with strangulation by a wire.  The wound was also on the middle of the neck, rather than just below the jawline, as would be expected in a hanging, and says he has never seen the three fractures present in Epstein’s neck in a case of suicidal hanging.  The pathologist acknowledges the public might believe he is biased by working for the family.  But he also says he’s hesitant to make a final judgment until all the evidence is in.

9. The government declines to give the pathologist video and additional forensic reporting, citing the ongoing criminal case against the two guards. ((Convenient, no??))

Given the high-profile nature of the Epstein case, the fact his jet was dubbed the “Lolita Express,” and his known connections to many famous and powerful people, it’s simply inconceivable that his incarceration was just bedeviled by all-around shoddy administration.  Two guards are on trial, but the warden was ‘reassigned.’  Why not fired outright?  What about the psychologist who cleared Epstein off suicide watch?

The day Epstein’s death was reported, I was at a relative’s house.  I was immediately infuriated, saying “they got to him.”  I’ve never even entertained the idea it was a suicide.  Evil is only too willing to hide behind perceptions of incompetence.  It’s said the devil cannot abide being mocked, but he’s happy for you to think he’s an impotent fool — the better to help you drop your guard.  The most aggravating thing about this is the lack of public outcry and demand for accountability.  Sure, Ricky Gervais may have slapped Hollywood with Epstein’s name at the Golden Globe Awards.  But like all the memes online, this is simply acknowledging the public’s not buying the official line this time.

How do we get from joking to justice?

American extinction

A trio of reads, looking at current trends from different lenses:

First, the Wall Street Journal notices how changing demographics are influencing the future of our politics:

For years, the establishment media has admitted that the nation’s changing electorate — almost entirely due to mass legal immigration — is dooming the Republican Party in elections across Orange County, California, and now, Virginia.

Under current legal immigration levels, the U.S. is on track to import about 15 million new foreign-born voters in the next two decades. Those 15 million new foreign-born voters include about eight million who will arrive in the country through chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country…

Ronald Brownstein, senior editor for The Atlantic, notes that nearly 90 percent of House congressional districts with a foreign-born population above the national average were won by Democrats. This means that every congressional district with a foreign-born population exceeding roughly 14 percent had a 90 percent chance of being controlled by Democrats and only a ten percent chance of electing a Republican.

But immigration (legal and illegal) isn’t the only driver of this demographic change.  The original posterity of America’s founders, increasingly, isn’t showing up anymore:

The accentuated shift toward racial and ethnic diversity among the nation’s child population is not only driven by a growth in nonwhite racial and ethnic groups. It is also facilitated by a decline in young whites. Overall, the nation’s white population has grown tepidly–by 0.1% since 2010. It declined by 247,000 between 2016-2018 according to the new estimates. But the number of white children under age 15 has declined over the 2010-2018 year period by 2.2 million, continuing a trend already observed in the first decade of the century.

This decline in white youth reflects lower white birth rates. But more importantly for the long term, it reflects an aging of the white population that has led to proportionately fewer women in their childbearing years.

As a result of these trends, the very idea of American citizenship is being rendered moot:

Americans cherish their citizenship. ((I’m not sure that’s demonstrably true anymore — Jemison))  Yet they have all but lost it. The erosion of the citizen is insidiously accelerating in two quite different directions. It seems as if we are reverting to tribal pre-citizenship, in the manner of clan allegiances in the centuries before the rise of the Greek polis and the seventh-century-B.C. invention of the concept of the citizen (politês). Or perhaps the better comparison is to the fifth-century A.D., when northern nomadic ethnic bands crossed the Rhine and Danube and replaced the multiracially encompassing notion of “civis Romanus sum”—“I am a Roman citizen”—with tribal loyalties to fellow Goths, Huns, or Vandals…

…multiculturalism is retribalizing America, in the manner of the fragmentation and evaporation of the Roman Empire. Millions seem to owe their first loyalty to those who share similar ethnic, racial, or religious affinities rather than to shared citizenship, common traditions, and collective histories that transcend race, creed, and clan.

If we wonder why illegal alien residents who commit felonies are rarely deported or must be deported repeatedly, or why few college graduates know much about the Constitution and American history, or why loud social-justice-warrior athletes so eagerly mouth Chinese platitudes about curtailing free speech inside the United States, or why the protections offered by the First and Second Amendments depend largely on where you work or live, one of the reasons is because American citizenship as we once knew it is becoming meaningless.

I highly recommend reading and thinking about each of these linked pieces.  Those who foisted the Immigration Act of 1965 upon the country succeeded: they have dissolved the people and “elected” another… one less likely to oppose their anti-American agendas.

Quote of the Day

From the always-worth-reading Victor Davis Hanson:

It is easy to say that 2020 seems to be replaying 2016, complete with the identical insularity of progressives, as if what should never have happened then certainly cannot now. But this time around there is an even greater sense of anger and need for retribution especially among the most unlikely Trump supporters. It reflects a fed-up payback for three years of nonstop efforts to overthrow an elected president, anger at anti-Trump hysteria and weariness at being lectured.

A year is a proverbial long time. The economy could tank. The president might find himself trading missiles with Iran.(*)  At 73, a sleep-deprived, hamburger-munching Trump might discover his legendary stamina finally giving out. Still, there is a growing wrath in the country, either ignored, suppressed or undetected by the partisan media. It is a desire for a reckoning with ‘them’. For lots of quiet, ordinary people, 2020 is shaping up as the get-even election — in ways that transcend even Trump himself.

(*) Don’t think for a second the unelected Deep State is above engineering either or both of these possibilities, among endless others that would be bad for the nation but possibly good for them.

Decorum and Defeat

The Christianity Today news site weighs in on impeachment:

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

Translation: “yes, Trump managed to put a wedge between Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire and federal funding; yes, Trump has reversed some of Obama’s specific policy targeting of Christian groups; yes, minorities and the underprivileged are faring better economically than they have in ages; yes, Trump is completely reshaping the Federal judiciary by appointing people who respect the Constitution; yes, Trump is resetting trade policy to protect the U.S., and pressing allies to shoulder their share of the defense burden… despite all that, he’s crude, rude, uncouth and must be removed.”

In other words, better to go down to polite defeat than to get dirty while fighting.  What a joke.  I remind this magazine of the personality contrasts between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.  The former was fond of alcohol and cigars (which killed him), was notoriously unkempt, and lacked any political polish whatsoever.  In contrast, Lee was the so-called “marble man,” — the West Point graduate who did four years without a single demerit… the consummate gentleman of refined manners and a personal ethos that inspired others to follow him.

Lee lost.

When confronted after the battle of Shiloh about Grant possibly crawling back into the bottle, Lincoln refused to remove him, saying “I can’t spare him… he fights.”  For anyone who wants to see America safe and strong, the same is true of Trump.  I don’t idolize the man (or any other, for that matter).  But results matter.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address one other part of the editorial:

…the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

That is but one interpretation of what happened, and I don’t believe it to be the correct one.  Here’s an “unambiguous fact:” former Vice President Joe Biden openly (and profanely) admitted in a public forum that he withheld U.S. aid from the Ukraine until they agreed to fire a prosecutor.  One who just happened to be looking into a company for which Biden’s son was paid thousands a month to “consult,” despite having no relevant experience.  This is what Trump asked Ukraine to look into — whether the former U.S. vice president had abused his office.  Looking after the nation’s vital interests surely must include investigating possible corruption, right?

To the writers of the editorial, though, that’s abuse of power by Trump.  Sorry, that position is more alchemy than Christianity.  The same people screaming “no one is above the law” are also yelling it’s wrong to look into actions Biden has acknowledged, because he’s a presidential candidate.  So which is it?  Can one now avoid scrutiny simply by throwing their hat in the ring?  The writers of this editorial have swallowed a Democratic talking point without showing any discernment whatsoever.

It’s proper to be concerned about our witness, individually and as the Church.  And it’s a good thing to strive for leaders we can emulate.  We must be careful, however, of allowing the Enemy to use that concern to neuter effective resistance to godless globalism.  I hope Christianity Today is enjoying all the temporary plaudits they’re receiving from people who detest everything Christianity actually represents.  They fell for the trap, creating yet another crossfire that can only benefit the other side.

For all the public fables of Washington and the apple tree, or Lincoln and his log cabin, we never have or ever will elect a perfect man.  I would love Trump to be more Christ-like as a person.  But I need him to be an effective defender of America, its people and its traditions as a president.  I don’t know why that is so hard to figure out.

Echoes of Cromwell

So the House of Representatives stands adjourned, having failed to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for action.  You know, the articles that were so urgent they were rammed through in a party-line vote.  Mixed messages much?

Perhaps when Congress returns to town they should be forced to listen to this speech from nearly four centuries past:

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!”  (emphasis added)

Oliver Cromwell, dismissing by force the English Long Parliament – April 20, 1653

These are no longer merely parliamentary games.  The Democrats are carelessly playing with literal fire.  Confidence in Congress has been in the dumpster since long before the current chapter.  The bewildered reaction of the Left to the 2016 election showed they simply did not comprehend the level of anger in the country — an anger that had only been stoked by their treatment of the earlier, more ‘polite’ Tea Party movement.  The past couple of days show they are either still clueless, or past the point of caring.

Trump is undoubtedly no Cromwell.  But the more the Democrats shred our institutions and precedents in their hunt for his scalp, the more the door is opened for one to appear.  When social and/or governing systems break down, people cast about for the rescuer on the white horse.  Not since the early 1930s has the U.S. been so ripe for such a development.

History will judge Pelosi’s partisans as harshly as Cromwell judged his own miscreant legislature.  Perhaps, like the England of old, the U.S. is due for a reminder just how rare, precious and fragile self-government really is.