April 9, 2006

The Hamlet Men

Another in my continuing series on "Bad Americans."

"Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all" -- Hamlet

IN THE END it was not through the application of money, the calling in of favors, or the deft manipulation of the rules and regulations of the Democratic Party that raised John Kerry to become that Party's candidate for President of the United States. It was because he was, in all senses, the perfect man for the job. Kerry was the single politician who reflected the deep soul of the what the Democratic Party had become; the standard bearer for the resurgent Left, exemplified by Hollywood and MoveOn, and the corpulant decadence of classic liberalism as seen in Ted Kennedy. Kerry was The Hamlet Man of the moment, and perfectly suited to strut and fret his hour upon the stage in the puffy shirt. Kerry was, to paraphrase Gilbert and Sullivan, "The very model of a modern major Democrat."

As the designated Hamlet, Kerry had many things to recommend him to the faithful. Above all, he looked the part. Beyond that, he was a convincing amalgam of the other candidates. Kerry was all of Sharpton's bleached Iago and Dean's muddled Malvolio. He incorporated the treachery of Wesley Clarke's stupified Macbeth. He contained that whisp of untrustworthiness sensed in Moseley Braun's botched Goneril, and mirrored, without merit, the vanity of John Edwards' shrewish Katerina. From his recently discovered campaign demands we now learn that Kerry's "requirements" echo the performance by Kucinich of a puckish Oberon in drag and in mime. Kerry even had his own quadrophrenic Ophelia, Teresa, who entertained by inviting her multiple personalities of Empress Tamora, Queen Gertrude and Lady Macbeth to join her in regular noonish wine and cheese parties on their private jet, "The Flying Squirrel".

Kerry contained these aspects all, but most of all he was Hamlet: ever doubting, parsing, posing, and pondering, and yet never advocating without equivocation any actual action. His plans, like those of his party, were all mired in reaction. In this he was taking a turn from Clinton's memorable interpretation of Falstaff, but without the gravitas.

Like all politicians who aspire to high office, Hamlet was not who Kerry was, but who Kerry felt he had to embody in order to mirror the base, the core electorate. Politicians long in Washington and with large ambitions are never more than Peer Gynt's onion. They may begin their careers from a small seed of integrity, but they end as many layers tightly bound around a core of nothing. And although that nothing once existed at the core of a realm made of blue smoke and mirrors, in these smokefree campaigns only the mirrors remain; mirrors which in reflecting Kerry reflected the Party and the political philosophy that chose him, above all others, as their Champion. The chose him because he best expressed what they had and would become.

The man who would be King is politically dead. Long live the Party that would be King, the Hamlet Party.

After years of greater and greater defeats, the Hamlet Party draws in upon itself more and more to ponder the larger questions of how to live and how to govern without elected power in this most dangerous of times; a period more dangerous than the Cold War since it is more insidious. It has no new answers , nor even any new questions, but it does act with an ever increasing intensity as if, through the power of honed spite, it can shave the good sense of the electorate enough to regain the only thing it values, power. And real power in this age is the power of the purse and the power of the executive which, together, control the foundation of all American power, the command and control of the military. The Hamlet Party had control of the military for most of the 1990s and left it in a state from which it has yet to recover.

The Hamlet Party has shown that it cannot seek this power through conventional electoral means; by adjusting its thought and policies to the times and to the people. It can only -- through an unremitting tsunami of propaganda -- seek power through weapons of mass distraction, hoping to weary the people into grudging agreement, and to reverse the times to their Happy World of Yesteryear. Victory through vindictiveness seems to be the order of the day for those that have taken up the mantle of the Democratic Party. Rebuffed at the ballot box they seek to craft a victory via tendentiousness that employs, day in and day out, the long co-opted media and academe where voices that might contend against the decadent liberalism of the Party are either silenced or excluded.

But just what is this Hamletized program that is being proffered in implicit and explicit ways to the electorate as we move into the 2006 electoral cycle?

It is, they will be pleased to inform you, a program that affirms life, love and happiness. It is a bit lacking in security, but since when have life, love and happiness been all that secure? Besides, in another central theme of the Hamlet Men, who are we to judge what is really secure? Isn't it better, doesn't it feel better, to live in the glorious happy world of our liberal utopia than to worry needlessly about what tomorrow may bring from our sworn enemies? And who is to say that, talked to sweetly enough for long enough, these blood enemies may not see the light and become our friends? Let us, they say, bring our troops and our treasure home to repair our levees and rebuild our housing projects and perfect Jerusalem here and now. Do not heed, they say, that distant drum but instead light up one of the Doobie Brothers and " Oh, oh, oh, listen to the music."

After all, their films and newspapers and magazines and television shows will tell you and tell you, there are so many in need here. There is so much that is imperfect, even hideous, about America. The Great Society beckons again if only we could put down the burden of national and global security as Europe did, and take up the greater task of feeding, clothing, employing, admitting, healing and bribing all those who merely wish these things at no cost to them, but only for the asking. To all men according to all their needs, real or imagined.

Surely then, they promise, when we have perfected our imperfect selves and rooted out all greed and all hate within us, will the world turn and once again love us. Surely we have had enough of war, capitalism and globalism. Surely now we can return to the grand unfinished project of our youth:
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind's true liberation

Do not trouble yourselves with the world as it is, they sing. Do not listen to those who swear to kill and enslave you and take from you all that is yours, they insist. They too are subject to reason. Come let us reason together. Why must there always be fighting and killing? Why can't there be peace in our valley? Vote for us and come with us into the world as it can surely soon be. Follow the Progressive Pied Piper in the Camelot costume.

It is an attractive possibility, especially since it carries with it the implicit promise that the mouthpieces of The Hamlet Men will cut back on their ranting, whining, and constant carping and again affirm America. The only problem is that it will be their America; an America of the elite, by the elite and for the elite. An America that will be marked not by the revolutionary assertiveness of the City on the Hill, the Spirit of 76, the resolve found on Little Round Top at Gettysberg, the immense fortitude of the Normandy Beaches, nor the steel courage of those who went up the stairs of the Twin Towers when all others were coming down. It will be an America where the uninhibited riot of a twice-twisted social conscience long into its dotage becomes the conscience of the Hamlet Men; the conscience that
doth make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er
with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

As much as one may wish for an alternative to the current insane clown posse that passes for Republicans in the Congress and the Administration, the Hamlet Men of the Democratic Party are not adequate to fill the empty slot in our politics. Their entire implicit program, as revealed in their speeches, policies and programs day after day, is all to be found in that passage from Hamlet above. Their "new" program for National Security unveiled at the end of March did not promise action so much as reaction to actions already in play; it promised not progress and victory, but pause and then defeat.

From a party that once championed movements to overturn tyranny at home and abroad, the Democrats, by their own admission, have become a party that advocates "Fortress America -- with big bribes." Their 2004 Hamlet recently underlined this with his call in the New York Times to inform Free Iraq that it had until May 15 to form a government or the Americans would leave.

Iraqi leaders promptly checked their almanacs, discovered that John Kerry was not currently the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and went on with their squabbling. Wags in Senator Kerry's district took pleasure in sending him text messages to the effect that the forming the present Constitutional government of the United States took from September of 1774 until March of 1789. Senator Kerry remained "sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought" on his recumbent bicycle.

One wishes for some party, any party, that did not spend its time projecting hand puppet shadows on the the walls of the United Nations and Iran: "This one's a butterfly. This one's a mushroom cloud. This one's a puppy. Woof."

One yearns for a party that would, as it did in the months after the 11th, seek to promote "enterprises of great pith and moment" such as the expansion of democracy in the world by diplomacy where possible, by the sword where necessary, but it would seem both parties have lost this momentum.

The question that confronts We, the People, then, as we come to this election is a realistic one. It is all well to wish for a party of unfailing strength and good sinew, but neither one will come up to this measure. It remains, as it always does, to decide which party is more likely to regain momentum and muscle and sinew when events in the world or here on our soil again require it. And while there is some reason, based on recent history and current policy, to believe that the Republicans can achieve this, there is no reason to believe that the Democrats will ever again be capable of it. We cannot risk, at this juncture, that their "conscience doth make cowards of us all."

Our enemies wait for that. They depend, in a very real sense, on the return of the Hamlet Party to power. They view them as their natural allies and in this they are not all that much mistaken. We need to vote to deny this to them even if by so doing we falsely empower the other party that has, for now at least, lost its way. We must reject the Party of Hamlet and hope for the Party of Henry V.

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Posted by Vanderleun at April 9, 2006 11:40 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I had a comment, but it turned into a post.


See what happens when you get a burr under the saddle?

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at April 10, 2006 2:54 AM

Ok, you've convinced me. I am so deeply disappointed in the Repub domestic program (Motto: We triangulate with the Democrat platform! Screw the base that brung us!) that I had no intention of voting this November...but...you are correct, sir. While the Republicans can now be best described as Democrats-Light, they still have the barest potential for handling the GWOT while the actual Dems do not.

Still - how will they EVER get the 'get back on the base's bandwagon' message if not through realistically backed up threats of withholding our votes and money? How will that potential for action be made manifest if we pose no threat to their tenure?

Posted by: BrendaK at April 10, 2006 6:14 AM

If Republican leadership has half a brain (and,in my opinion, they do, exactly), they'd make sure this post gets the widest possible dissemination, Gerard. If they had a whole brain, they'd do this only by linking and pointing, carefully avoiding the irony and hypocrisy which would result from your words quoted by their mouths.

Posted by: Levans at April 10, 2006 6:52 AM

Insane clown posse Republicans and Hamlet Men Dems. Exactly- with no prospect of change on the horizon. As Steeler's Wheeler sang, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Posted by: kreiz at April 10, 2006 7:01 AM

The political situation of promising utopia always leads to that demigod, somewhere out there just waiting to entrall the masses. Then all hell breaks lose. Break out the ammunition and lock and load we are one demigod short of hell.

Posted by: jeffersonranch at April 10, 2006 7:32 AM

"The force of nature" strikes again. WOW!

On the Republican "clown posse", I am as angry as anyone. I do, however, try to examine the situation. And the past week has provided an inkling of an answer IMOM.

Many of us are also angry that we are not/have not fought the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan FULL OUT. We are angry at the consistent references to Islam as a "religion of peace". We are at the point where "Kill them all, let God sort them out" is beginning to sound reasonable. We dare not yet say these words aloud to our workmates, our neighbors and even hesitate to say them to our friends.

Now think of the mass demonstrations in the streets of many of our cities today and compare to same visuals last week. Gone are the Mexican flags. Gone are most of the LaRaza signage and flyers and those maps of Azlan. A farce is all over the nations TV screens and front pages.

See where I'm leading. With the ....they seek to craft a victory via tendentiousness that employs, day in and day out, the long co-opted media and academe. And this ..it can shave the good sense of the electorate enough...

Look at the polls, even very good parents sometimes just trade in "good sense" for some peace and quiet.

I want to be optimistic and have faith that unless it actually is the "end of times", God will not let this "shining City on the hill" fade.

Perhaps our "posse" is just going underground a bit, knowing that this is a very dangerous midterm. I would prefer another Sherman's march, but perhaps speaking in code will keep the House and Senate. Then the gloves can really come off on November the 8th.

That's my hope - perhaps I'm a dummy.

Posted by: LARWYN at April 10, 2006 10:59 AM

What a perfect discription of the Hamlet man. All this time I thought he lost because no one wanted "Tuh-raz-ah" as the crazy aunt living in the attic of the White House.

Posted by: DirtRagsRanch at April 10, 2006 7:49 PM

After I posted a link to "The Hamlet Men" on Just One Minute, J M Hanes gave me the link to your
The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts @ AMERICAN DIGEST Sept 4, 2004

And also informed me that he had rewritten the
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern scene in the comments:

Posted by: JM Hanes at September 16, 2004 07:59 PM

THE KING: And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
Get from Omlet why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
ROSENCRANTZ: He does confess he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.

Hope you'll add a hot link for all your new fans.

Posted by: LARWYN at April 10, 2006 11:52 PM

Este conocimiento caerá en los oídos sordos.

Posted by: Steel Turman at April 11, 2006 6:44 AM

Another astonishing work of PFG. (pure xxxxx genius)

Posted by: cave16 at April 11, 2006 10:59 PM

Literate and trenchant - worthy of a wide audience. PFG indeed.

Posted by: RKV at April 12, 2006 5:01 AM
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