The Long View 2002-12-19: Lott, Lower Manhattan, and Vichy

This post of John's is interesting for the way in which you can see current trends in American politics in embryo. Trent Lott resigned as Senate Majority Leader after Andrew Sullivan and other bloggers made an issue of him mildly praising Strom Thurmond. At the time, this was a new thing. Now, the digital lynch mob may be the normal way politics is conducted in America. John didn't think much of this tactic at the time, but he also wasn't that alarmed by it. I wonder what he would make of the SJWs and the Eye of Sauron they turn on those who displease them?

Another trend John correctly predicted was the growing influence of the various strands of the non-Establishment Right after the Great Recession and the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles. Old warhorses like Pat Buchanan have indeed made the best of the situation, but newer voices like Alex Jones are also incredibly popular. Then there are the sovereign citizens, the neo-reactionaries, and various and sundry movements that exist outside the Establishment Right. There is a sense in which complete and utter political and economic disaster would suit these various groups just fine, because the status quo on both Left and Right effectively excludes them from real power. Only chaos would give them any chance of success.

Lott, Lower Manhattan & Vichy
Abigail ThernstromNew York Times
Would it be altogether fair to Lott to force him from the leadership? Perhaps not. Few people who heard Lott's flattery of crumbly old Senator Thurmond on the occasion of the latter's 587th birthday thought much of it, until they were told to do so. Trent Lott is an ordinary bring-home-the-bacon legislator. He is not the sort of person who has an ideology, which is not necessarily a criticism. On the other hand, he is not one of the ornaments of the Senate; he has never been one of those senators, like the late Senator Wellstone, whose expertise you have to respect even if you disagree on policy.
Andrew Sullivan
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lower ManhattanThe New York Times
As everyone acknowledges, the point of this exercise is not to design the new buildings that will actually go on the site, but to block out the land use. Specifically, they have to figure out very soon where the train stations will be. The PATH trains from New Jersey still don't have their terminus in lower Manhattan back, for instance: a serious local bottleneck.
All the proposals, including the titanic ones, will create a much more interesting neighborhood than the old WTC provided. The people who worked in that complex loved it, and I am still willing to defend elements of it architecturally. Still, it was designed at the absolute nadir of urban planning. In those days, architects went out of their way to discourage pedestrian traffic around major buildings. Walking around the old complex was as interesting as walking along the blank walls of a levee. The new plans open up the streets that the World Trade Center had blocked off. Some of the plans would create what would be among the world's great urban prospects.
As for the Hanging Gardens of Manhattan, let's see what the real estate market is like in five years.
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TimesBlair for President
Rule #2
There are several reasons to take this to heart. The most important for Democrats is this: should Washington ever become Vichy on the Potomac, it is not at all clear the Democrats would be the incumbents. The Americans who are most persuaded they would benefit from disaster in the Middle East and economic collapse at home are the Buchanan Nationalists. Given enough national dismay, they suppose, they would be in a position to pursue a counter offensive in the culture war with some chance of success. They could easily be mistaken, but they are less confused about the issue than the Left is.
American ConservativeI Do Not Favor World Empire
When Mailer says that the occupation of Iraq would be the beginning of a world empire, he is exaggerating. Still, he is right about the trend. His only real problem seems to be that it is happening under a Republican Administration.
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These are American reports: scrupulously anonymous but phrased with grave plausibility. They may well be true, but one suspects their real audience is inside Iraq. There have been many rather better confirmed reports of late about the collapse of the Iraqi people's faith in the durability their own government, and even that they hope the country will "get back to normal" in six months or so. If people come to believe that the regime poses a greater threat to life and property than the prospective invaders, they could just begin to ignore orders.
If a civil war breaks out, it makes little difference what the UN says: the invasions starts then.

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