Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Vladimir Putin, John Podesta, Rex Tillerson, and another Birther Movement?

It’s entirely possible that Donald Trump voters still don’t appreciate that he’s unfit to protect Eastern Ukraine, let alone is adult about the existential significance of America’s nuclear deterrent. Does he yet know that Trump no longer stands for luxurious escape? Are any of us sure he’s not beholding to Vladimir Putin and, therefore, too conflicted to be allowed to be President?

Can this sickening state of not knowing be intolerable, constitutionally? Clinton Campaign Manager, sad-eyed John Podesta, seems to think so, petitioning the Electoral College to receive an intelligence briefing on Russia’s dirty tricks before they ratify Trump’s electoral victory.

We do know one thing: Liberals are at their best unpacking to stay rather than packing up to leave centers of power. Up here in Canada, Justin Trudeau is successfully stretching out the thrill of Ottawa house-hunting and a family restoration in the last safe capital of liberal moral leadership.

American liberals aren’t haters. They only deplore the bad things others do and, obviously, deplore losing elections.


Getting in the way of a president-elect immediately after his election has a bipartisan history in this busy century—specifically: contested George Bush ballots in Florida and the persistent wish that Barack Obama wasn’t born in America. The legality of those elections, not the ignorance of the voters, was challenged. Resistance offered amateur partisans emotional release, but didn’t hasten their party’s return to power.

Indeed, it’s entirely plausible that Obama’s early, teasing silence on his birth certificate helped the Birther Movement” capture wide public attention and, in part, foul the brand of the presidential Republican Party.


Donald Trump has neither the exquisite WASP reserve of Barack Obama nor his political savvy. However, I can’t resist the thought that he’s putting the Democrat’s leadership in an increasingly awkward position on his bromance with Vladimir Putin.

Throughout the election, Trump purred that it would be “nice” to get along with Russia and its government. He won. And now he’s doubled down with provocative indifference by nominating Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State. Tillerson actually has a multibillion-dollar relationship with Putin and runs possibly the most globally invested business in the global economy. 

To economic nationalists dedicated publicly to the notion that global capitalism is out of control, Tillerson is a dangerous, unavoidable target.

As was that “black Kenyan” for Republicans, Rex Tillerson’s resume will raise money amongst core Democrats. Will ambitious Democrats, however, be able to keep their distance from the kind of vulgar taunts that disappointed Barack Obama—right through to his successful re-election in 2012?


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