BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Sarah Palin turns on the charisma

Mark Mardell | 02:58 UK time, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Tuscon, Arizona

"Do you love your freedom, Arizona ?" Sarah Palin cries, hitting the high register. The portion of Arizona cramed into Pima County Fairgrounds tells Sarah Palin that they do. She is doing her bit for the man who has done so much for her.

Veteran senator, tortured war hero former presidential candidate he may be but John McCain is in a spot of bother in Arizona. Like many sitting Republican senators, he's being challenged for his own seat by those who think he's not conservative enough, on the economy, on immigration in particular.

Sarah Palin and John McCain, Pima County Fairgrounds, Tucson, Arizona,  26 March 2010So what better way to hit back than bring on your old pal, who just happens to be the heartthrob of the conservative Tea Party movement? Sarah Palin fell out with the McCain camp during the presidential election, and they despaired of her occasional catatonia and failure to grasp basic policy. But if the senator has ever breathed a bad word about her it wasn't in front of leaky advisors who've told journalists so much.

So she does her stuff. She not so much hits the red button issues as stomps on them in her platform heels. She praises the troops. "Anyone who has served this great country raise your hand - we are going to honour you. Thank you! We love you!" She sneers at health care, attacks the media.

She makes it clear she and the maverick are cut from the same anti-Washington cloth.

"It's a beautiful grass movement putting government back on the side of people. Let me clear the air right now everybody here supporting John Mcain we are all part of that tea party movement. We are all that tea party movement."

Words mean what Sarah Palin wants them to mean. But what do the rest of the Tea Party movement make of this?

Outside the wire fence around the fairgrounds four women are there to support an alternative, more right-wing, candidate.

A couple of hours drive up the valley at the San Tan Flat Steak House country music plays, as the local Tea Party movement begin their regular meeting with the oath of allegiance.

"Then a prayer Father, we come before you amazed that people across our country are binding together and raising their voices in preservation of this great republic."

Palin supporters at Pima County Fairgrounds, Tucson, Arizona,  26 March 2010

Palin's support for McCain disappoints them. The founder Jason Mow says that Palin should remain true to her roots and beliefs and then she would win a presidential election with a landslide, because that's what the country is crying out for.

Sara Palin is a brand. A super star. When she chucked in her job as governor of Alaska she started making millions out of her autobiography, speeches and now an eight-part series on Alaska. Some think she'll end up in Hollywood, not Washington.

The conventional wisdom is that she will opt for celebrity not politics and that she is too devisive to be a presidential candidate. That's not the view of a man in an Obummer T-shirt says: "I think she's a fox. A drop dead fox." He says it is time for a woman to be president.

A woman says, "she's just like me" and wants her to run.

But a Vietnam veteran, an ageing angel perched on his harly Davidson, admires her toughness but says she's doing more now than when she had an offical job.

Perhaps the conventional wisdom is right. But Palin is the Republican party's only charismatic figure and by doing gigs like this she is keeping on the right side of the party hierarchy. In America, fame and fortune never hurt if you are really after power.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 04:01am on 27 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    And I was sure that the next string was going to be on the nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia. There was a time when that kind of thing was considered important.

    I was really looking forward to the MArcus equivalent of an "I told you he was a traitor".

    Not to be.

    So passe.
    Gone with the Cold War, I guess.

    So now we have more important things: the star power of Sarah Palin.



    If you get a minute, Mark, you might ask Senator McCain for his views on nuclear arms reduction. He might know a thing or two.

    And, for light entertainment, you might ask the same question of former Governor Palin.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 05:19am on 27 Mar 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    Reviewing some history: In 1962, after losing a race for governor of California, R. Nixon gave what he termed his final press conference:
    "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more!" After sitting out the 1964 election (his participation would have made no difference) in 1966 he began a comeback by campaigning for a number of GOP candidates for the House of representatives and the Senate. Some of them won, and appreciated what help Nixon's speeches (and helping the attendance at campaign rallies) may have made. A politician with some national reputation who helps winning candidates builds up some credit for possible use in the future.
    Ms. Palin may not be as disliked by the MSM now as Nixon was in the early 1960s; but she is widely considered a lightweight.
    Writing a book to earn funds to pay legal bills left over from the Alaska governorship, and having the money and freedom to go wherever invited maintains her to some extent on the national stage, which she could not possibly do if she was continuing to work with the Alaska state administration and struggle with details of executive & legislative policy in that backwater.
    She would still have to build some "gravitas" before being considered a serious candidate for future national office; but whether she winds up as a celebrity talk show host or remains a player in GOP politics, she seems to be managing her post-2008 campaign career fairly well.
    TeaPot562

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 05:20am on 27 Mar 2010, Edgeofurbania wrote:

    "...Palin is the Republican party's only charismatic figure..." You're right about that Mark! And the only one who can be accepted by the Republican's and the Tea Party!
    November is along time away, but thevarious primaries can be interesting in the near future. Sarah Palin owes big time to John McCain and is right to support him! Voters should realize McCain is a politician, as they all are, and at least give him the benefit of the doubt. John McCain started out withou C-Span and constant cable news. He is a hero! He is an advocate for Arizona, whom are well represented by him...

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 05:25am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Well Sarah Palin is obviously smarter than growingly senile Harry Reid.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2010/03/26/sot.reid.accidental.no.vote.cnn

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 05:32am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    ad #1

    IF

    The agreement is not that significant. Moscow was simply eager to dump some of its oldest leaking bombs/warheads but couldn't do that without U.S. reciprocating. Barack Husein Obama has obliged. As usual.

    That's all.

    Besides, nukes are an old technology.

    That's why Sov..er...new democratic Russia works on biological weapons.

    [While of course denying officially that such a program exists. :)]

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 05:33am on 27 Mar 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    Sarah Palin is an attractive and forthright speaker. However, there is also a strong element of self-parody in her manner and her speech. She is the antithesis of nancy Pelosi - the anti-Pelosi - and both are caricatures of the parties they claim to represent.

    I find this site fascinating. When the author moves outside the world of Obama and his policies, there is a tendency from what I have seen so far to misunderstand, misinterpret and mischaracterize. Palin is no more representative of most American conservatives than Peolsi represents most left-wingers. They are both lightning rods - and they are on the fringe.

    I do not mean to suggest this misinterpretation is deliberate. It is likely related to the understandable desire to reduce the extraordinary complexities of American life to a few easily digestible characters. This is an enormous country - several countries in one, really. I have rarely met anyone outside the US who grasps that.

    The problem with all of this attention to Palin is that there is a strong element of nonsense in it: both the media coverage and in her campaign (and it IS a campaign).

    She is not nearly as powerful or as popular as suggested here. For many of us, the circus of politics and media has little relation to everyday life. I do think those outside the US love to think we are all in the middle of the circus every day. It is much easier to condescend and to be amused and to mock. It just isn't true. We are not that fascinating. And we are not that stupid.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 05:38am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Interested Foreigner,

    If attempts to reduce tensions between Moscow and NATO interest you may find this report on the latest Russian military provocations interesting.
    Or at least amusing.


    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/25/russia.uk.intercepts/index.htm [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 05:45am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BTW. Mr. Mardell

    It's not 'harly'. It's Harley [Davidson].

    [Although I agree that Yamaha or even Kawasaki is easier to spell]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "OH, WHAT A FEELING TO DRIVE - TOYOTA!"

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 06:12am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #7

    Perhaps this link works better.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/25/russia.uk.intercepts/index.html


    BTW. Arizona refuses to have antything to do with health-harming DST, which Britons, I understand, call hopefully Summer Time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 08:33am on 27 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #2 and #3

    One of the schools of thought is that since the Republicans can not match charisma (in my case the con man ability) of Obama they should run a technocrat.

    Campaigning Obama's many mistakes, his appoitments and his foriegn policy screw ups.

    So I think it is more likely a Romney, Gigrich both of whom on an issues and intelligence far surpass Obama.

    I know the Obamaphiles on this board will refuse to acknowledge that a Republican could be wiser than their second coming

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 11:02am on 27 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    Give it a rest, Mark! You REALLY haven't a clue! It is extremely unlikely that Sarah Palin will be the Republican candidate in 2012. What is this malarky about "in America fame and fortune never hurt if you are after power'???? The fame game and the power trip are really quite separate in America. Movie star status worked against Ron Reagan, talk to Steve Forbes about the effects of fortune....in fact it was McCain's inability to count the number of his houses on his fingers and toes that worked mightily against him.

    What is more true in America is that political power leads to great wealth...LBJ filled is coffers while in office, Smilin' Bill Clinton got wealthy through his "speaker fees" (read connections), and Al Gore is positioned to milk the carbon credit cash cow.

    Palin is doing the good work of keeping the Tea Party movement grounded in political reality.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:05am on 27 Mar 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    Post 6,TimR1944 wrote,

    We are not that fascinating. And we are not that stupid.

    Like folk the World over,yes you are...

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 11:24am on 27 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    9.powermeerkat:

    Thanks for the reminder. (At least Meerkats can offer someuseful information.) I always forget to change the clocks.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 11:26am on 27 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    8. At 05:45am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "BTW. Mr. Mardell
    It's not 'harly'."

    No, it's 'Hairy'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 11:39am on 27 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    7. At 05:38am on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "You may find this report on the latest Russian military provocations interesting. Or amusing."

    The latter, one hopes. They've been doing that for decades.

    They were very pretty photos, weren't they? The 'sunset' one I thought was superb. Good snappers some of those RAF pilots, by the look of it. (The MoD can probably make a bit of extra cash flogging them to Russian pilots for their messroom walls, I should think.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 11:44am on 27 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    She is so full of it - even before the slime light - look at these blatant lies
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oro2Yh9HoEM&feature=related
    Sarah Palin media coverage is like Scab Picking

    How about all us angry mobs taking a look at why the OCC and FDIC are leaning on banks, so the banks are calling commercial notes that are paying on 'ratios' or cuz they 'deem' them insecure, freezing their accounts and taking their stuff. This is doing wonderful things for the economy? It's not just Wall Street, its every martini drinking scumbag suit wearing club membership self congratulating guy who went into 'finance' on daddy's membership card...They permeate the system.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 11:48am on 27 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    So, was she in Arizona to support McCain (and help him win) or try to con everybody into believing the Republican Party is the Teapot Party?

    ("She's a fox". . .Seems to be a favourite refrain of so many fat, overweight, balding, ageing white men with funny moustaches and their hands in their pockets.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 11:52am on 27 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Sarah Palin's scripted soundbites may be simplistic and lack substance, but they appeal to a segment of our population that loves her overt displays of patriotism and the apparent sincerety of her message...regardless of how misguided or deceiving they may be.

    She is politically astute, she recognizes her limitations and vulnerabilities, and has a keen sense of what resonates among the people that are likely to support her not because of her intellect but because of the lack of it. In a nutshell, she appeals to red necks, high school dropouts, and evangelists because she is not an elitist or a person that talks above their heads. They understand her, they share her beliefs and values, and they love her displays of patriotism.

    Will her attributes be enough to get her elected in 2012? I doubt it, but I felt the same way about W and he was not only elected (sort of) but re-elected by a comfortable margin.


    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 12:00pm on 27 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    18...yeah....'astute'...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrzXLYA_e6E&feature=related

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 12:41pm on 27 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Sara Palin and John McCain are yesterday's news, political has beens. Neither was qualified to be President of the United States, no more than Obama or Biden. By the time the next Presidential election comes around, they will be all but forgotten.

    IF;

    If this keeps up, the number one nuclear power in the world could be Israel. They will not commit national suicide by giving up the only guarantee they have for their survival no matter what. Obama has proven again that American promises of support are as they proved in Hungary, Kurdistan, East Timor, Vietnam, probably Taiwan, maybe Iraq and Afghanistan as reliable as the shifting winds of American politics. Obama has sold out his country, his party, even his own supporters. Why should anyone be surprised that he's sold out Israel? He's doing everything he promised he wouldn't and nothing that he promised he would. In fact except for this monstrosity of a bill he just railroaded through Congress that barely squeaked by despite as much arm twisting and back room dirty deals as Washington has ever seen, he's accomplished nothing that started with him.

    Wall Street may be happy with him, Main Street is not amused. Don't believe it? Just go to any shopping mall on any weekend day and see how many people are walking out with purchases. America's economy is 2/3 driven by consumers. That retail sector is about dead now. Even the biggest chains of stores are dropping like flies. The small ones in the strip malls just keep disappearing one after another. 15% of all US home mortgages are in trouble according to the government. The real figure as usual is probably much higher If things don't get better soon, it's expected to rise to 50%. It's so bad that when homeowners default, some banks doen't even want to take the houses back. It ccsts them more to keep them and pay taxes, insurance, and maintenance than to walk away from them. It is time the government bailed homeowners out and small businesses. Forcing them to buy medical insurance for employees is going in the wrong direction.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 12:44pm on 27 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 12:47pm on 27 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 19, frayedcat

    There is a difference between being intelligent and qualified for the positions you are seeking and being politically astute. Sarah Palin understands the anxieties of the far right, the reason for their hatred of intellectuals like Obama and Romney, their hopes and aspirations, and their determination to bring back the good old days.

    Her appearances in support of moderate Republicans have more to do with a desire to expand her sphere of political influence than loyalty to her mentor. What the moderate wing of the GOP does not seem to understand is that the crowds that go to rallies such as those being held in Arizona don't go there to cheer for McCain or other moderates, they go there to see and hear Sarah...their idol!

    Party fragmentation is, obviously, not unique to the GOP, the problems the Democrats had passing healthcare reform highlight the ideological schism that exists in the Democratic party. Hopefully leaders in both parties will manage to move their flocks to the center and be more representative of mainstream America, but I doubt it. I expect our politics to remain as polarized as ever, our representatives in Washington will remain as partisan as ever, and the Almighty dollar and fear of anything foreign will continue to dominate the agenda.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 12:54pm on 27 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #20 - agree that consumer and credit driven economy is a mistake, error, mismanagement - look at a 12 year old's history book chapter on the 1930's and it will be listed as a cause of the Great Depression. It's an offensive concept based on the simplest of logic or basic human nature...you can't just loll about and consume all day...can you? If you can, tell me where....

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 1:09pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    I love Dr.Welsing . I wonder whats her thoughts on all this healthcare stuff and the tea baggers ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 1:13pm on 27 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 20, Marcus

    "Sara Palin and John McCain are yesterday's news, political has beens. Neither was qualified to be President of the United States, no more than Obama or Biden. By the time the next Presidential election comes around, they will be all but forgotten.


    I agree with you on McCain, but I am not so sure about Palin. Her popularity is growing and I expect her to be a major contender for the GOP nomination in 2012. Romney does not appeal to conservative because of his religion and because he is considered an elitist, and it is too early for Cantor, Ryan and other emerging stars of the GOP to run. Brown, a man that supports abortion rights and voted for tax increases srved a purpose, but does not have a chance as a Republican.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 1:15pm on 27 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Did Sarah Palin bring up the new government mortgage assistance legislation or the Republican opposition to extending unemployment benefits I wonder?

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 1:55pm on 27 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #22 and @5

    Domincik don't confuse the ivory tower entitlement life Obama has had with the real life expereince and business sucess of a Mitt Romney.

    Yes Romney comes from a rich political family but he built Bain capital thorugh his own efforts and unlike Obama has worked with the other political party.

    Americans are going to be looking for someone with a track record and a good economic foundation which Romney has.


    Intellectually he also far surpasses Obama.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 2:08pm on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #27

    Surpasses Obama?


    Have you watched sen. Harry Read (D) vote AGAINST Health reform bill?

    TWICE?

    Well at least he hasn't had his face so embarrasingly stretched as this septuagenarian reformer... what's her name?

    [you know, the California vineyards and exclusive gulf club owner]

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 2:17pm on 27 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #22 mayhap she is astute..(def: shrewd)..at some things, like emotion and prejudice button-pushing...but is that 'politically' astute? Politics (def: art of government).

    Is perfidious rabble rousing an art of government?

    I suppose its the same as saying the devil is a necessasry part of god, or good can't exist without evil.

    Funny how the ultra religious types often seem to do the worst harm.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/destruct.htm

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 2:19pm on 27 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #27 what hogwash..."Yes Romney comes from a rich political family but..." Obama's life of 'entitlements'..? It sounds like you are making stuff up as you go along...Romney is like a sourpuss version of Kerry - they even look alike.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 2:32pm on 27 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The greatest invention of American politics was negative campaign ads. Often we learn the terrible truth about the candidates from their opponents because the worst things they say about each other are often true. In American politics, nice guys really do finish last. Even if the ads are lies, how well the candidate who was unfairly defamed defends himself gives a clue as to how well he will be able to defend his ideas and the country. Gore proved he couldn't even defend himself when he actually won the 2000 election. Nixon beat Kennedy but didn't have the guts to fight. He should have even though some embarrassing things about him might have come out. No guts, no glory. That's what I like about Vladimir Putin, he has the killer instinct. That's what a candidate for Presdident of the United States needs, the inborn urge to go for his opponent's throat. Palin and McCain didn't have that. Johnson did, at least during the campaign. He didn't fighting the Vietnam war. What a pity, he would have won that war if he had. History would have been very different.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 2:40pm on 27 Mar 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 27 MagicKirin-

    "Americans are going to be looking for someone with a track record and a good economic foundation which Romney has."

    Mitt Romney is going to have a tough time overcoming his 'elitist' up-bringing with the Tea Party crowd. Mitt grew up in the very exclusive Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; attending, the very elite, Cranbrook Institute. Talk about Ivory Towers and Silver Spoons; Mitt had both. He does not rub shoulders well with a "Joe the Plumber" kind of guy.

    His father, George Romney, was the best Governor the State of Michigan has had. Even though very prominent in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, George kept his religion quiet. Mitt should take a page or two from his father's lessons. George was a great leader, both in industry and politics.

    I was a nine-year old boy when George came to my small town to campaign for Governor. I was politically astute at that age; even a 'seasoned' campaigner, coming from a politically active family of Democrats. I was very impressed with what the man had to say. I came away from hearing George speak with a box full of pencils and brochures that I circulated, door-to-door, throughout the town and the surrounding farms.

    I may not have been able to convince my parents and grandparents to vote for George Romney for his first run at being Governor; but they voted for him in each of his re-election bids.

    If Mitt can portray the same kind of image as his father; he might have a chance at the next GOP nomination; and a shot at the Presidency his father attempted to obtain.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 2:45pm on 27 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #13

    sqirrelist


    1.Even Russian regime wants to dispose of Dayligh Saving Time as harmful rather than helpful.

    [so far they've managed to dispose of least 2 of their 11 time zones]

    So appreciate my concern about red squirrel's health.



    2.Nope, Russians were NOT violating UK air space 'for decades'.

    Till recenly they had no money for fuel, so there were no long-range Sov...err...Russian military flights of any kind since 1989.


    And, btw...

    Why do you think, them Bears and Blackjacks don't violate U.S. airspace?

    They have better maps of U.S. than of U.K.?

    Or simply they know better? :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 2:52pm on 27 Mar 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    I give up, im just going back to my cocktail party meeting. we're emulating the Brits cuz this vid makes the tea party look weak

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-april-16-2009/tea-party-tyranny?xrs=synd_facebook

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 2:53pm on 27 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #32

    I saw Romney govern in Massachusetts whth a corrupt legislature that Barack Obama would be right at home with.

    Romeny's religion only came up and was only revelant with political oppnents like Ted Kennedy used it to smear him.

    If Tony Blair could keep his devout beliefs seperate from being PM why not Romney.

    You are correct about the evagelicals, Huckabee's conduct toward Romney was disgraceful. See I don't like everyone on Fox.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 2:54pm on 27 Mar 2010, Pompadour wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 37. At 3:11pm on 27 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    9. PMK

    Ah, just like the good old days.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 3:28pm on 27 Mar 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 35 MagicKirin-

    "Romeny's religion only came up and was only revelant with political oppnents like Ted Kennedy used it to smear him."

    I'm afraid Mitt's membership in the Mormon Church will be a further issue in a race for the GOP nomination; when push does come to shove. Not just Huckabee will be leading the charge.

    The early Mormon Church in Utah challenged the sovereignty of the United States in some very sinister ways that have not been forgotten. The "Theodemocracy" of Utah still has deep roots in the modern State. Also the very limited, yet still existing practice of polygamy by some factions of the Church continues to rankle even the Evangelical Christians.

    This prejudice against The Church of the Latter Day Saints may be a higher hurdle for Mitt Romney to scale than John Kennedy's Roman Catholicism.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 3:38pm on 27 Mar 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Sarah Palin, although popular and rich, is a quitter for the USA. She quit her Governorship due to feeling "too much pressure." That is a total farce. She just wanted to make more money and be a celebrity. But that does tell you who she is: another reality star.

    I have to admit the Tina Fey imitations of Palin's quotes during the last election were absolutely hilarious and entertaining. But I think that most of us are pretty grateful that she never went further.

    As for Russia, that is great that we have finally come up with an agreement that is acceptable by both sides. And although we are both cutting our arsenal, there are still plenty of nuclear weapons so we can breathe easy and still feel protected. When USA and Russia get along, that is good for the world.

    It is interesting that this year in Russia's Victory Parade, UK, USA and France will all be marching. That shows our cooperation during WW II. But this is definitely something new. If UK and France weren't there, I don't think we would be there. Since our allies are there, then we figure it's okay, too. This is a sign of improvement in relations.

    I don't understand why Russia is flying by the UK, though? Seems a bit strange. Like they are "keeping tabs." So we know we must always keep our guards up, still.

    Ultimately, what is Russia after???

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 3:57pm on 27 Mar 2010, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 40 LucyIllinois-

    "Ultimately, what is Russia after???"

    Maybe to discover how to make good fish and chips? ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 4:29pm on 27 Mar 2010, justahick wrote:

    glad to hear that the foreign contingent continues to weigh in to our political concerns....especially when they tell us what should be important to us. my thought on that is... when you are down to a survival level, it is time to take care of the house so you can move forward to help others - which i might note the USA has done more than ANY other country in the world! as for the nukes... exactly what are you and your country doing to resolve the issue?
    back to sarah - for those that can not figure out why the majority of the american 'outback' support her... it isn't political, if isn't entertainment, it is just simple - MOST of us are sick to death of the extreme NPD's (narssistics) that are in the lime light (politicians, the 'entertainment' industry - actors, musicans, pro athletes - get real. these people are NOT heros, they earn a living entertaining people... outside of that they contribute nothing of consequence... unless they are among the few of their type that take their celebrity and do good with it) making honesty, integrity and responsibility 'uncool'... well, sarah palin represents those three words and is willing to take action to get them back into popularity. where do you stand on them?

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 4:38pm on 27 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    motor city;

    "Ref 40 LucyIllinois-

    "Ultimately, what is Russia after???"

    Maybe to discover how to make good fish and chips? ;-)"

    When they figure it out....they can teach it to the British :-)

    I understand the Brits don't put them in rolled up newspapers to disolve the ink off the newsprint onto the food before they eat it anymore. That must have taken the best flavor out of it. Now all that's left is the grease.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 4:51pm on 27 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    20. At 12:41pm on 27 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Sara Palin and John McCain are yesterday's news, political has beens. Neither was qualified to be President of the United States, no more than Obama or Biden. By the time the next Presidential election comes around, they will be all but forgotten."

    So who did you like, other than Frank B. McGovern and Indiana Jones?

    ----------

    "IF;

    If this keeps up, the number one nuclear power in the world could be Israel. ... "

    ----------

    You do not disappoint.

    Although a pacifist, I have also read Clausewitz. I want the entire world to have no doubt that America has the most potent arsenal, and the unquestioned ability to obliterate its enemies, with ease, many, many times over.

    The point of that policy is that I want it to be unthinkable for any foreign power to imagine that it has anything to gain by challenging America with nuclear weapons - it is a 100% guaranteed certain losing bet, so don't even go there.

    As Clausewitz pointed out, if that doorway (i.e., military challenge) is closed then the way to international settlement of disputes must flow by some alternative path, e.g., through diplomacy, negotiation, trade dispute settlements, and so on.

    Until 1905 the policy of the Royal Navy (roughly speaking the corresponding strategic arbiter of its day) was that it should be large enough and powerful enough to defeat all of its potential enemies, everywhere, all at once.

    This system only broke down when one power foolishly, and much against its own genuine economic interests (it was getting freedom of navigation for free, for heaven's sake), and against the wisdom of its great unifying Reichskanzler - decided to challenge British naval supremacy.

    That policy had been beneficial not merely to Britain, but to many, many other nations because it underpinned a relatively stable trading environment. (i.e., compared to earlier times). America has performed that guarantor function since 1945. This role has yielded huge positive externalities for many other nations, even ones that are at least nominally hostile to America.

    If we take that same measure today, and discount for losses in a first strike, uncertainty in the chain of command, and hacked telecommunications, what is the minimum size of arsenal guaranteed to be sufficient to do the job?

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 4:59pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    logic 101
    if americans are tolerant people
    =>
    hateful tea bags are unamerican

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 5:18pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    44
    That's right.
    ----------------

    148. At 6:24pm on 14 Jul 2009, squirrelist wrote:
    139. At 5:39pm on 14 Jul 2009, Gary_A_Hill:

    Of coursehe doesn't use the R word. It'd get him banned.

    "A few people seem to take pleasure in raising the stakes with these inflammatory accusations, but it does them no credit."

    Yes, because anyone with half an eye should be able to get what he's up to.

    If someone were to continually to asperge the "indigenous inhabitants of Canada and Greenland" that'd be just "based on politics and national culture" would it?

    Sure. Give me a break.

    It's not those who object to it that are being "inflammatory". And yes, they should take credit for pointing out who is. They sour every BBC blog they touch.


    ----------------


    this is an example of discussions early on in tis presidency that touched on the race issue. Gary insists that those that mentioned the appalling/appealing behaviour on the right are just grinding an Ax.
    but they were not they were just commenting on what was said at the time. what has become more apparent. to the stage where NPR does a report on the southern Law centres study on the rise of Racism.



    from the days of old
    "the good ol days" mentioned above we have
    so who is left from those days?
    Timmmamaayyyy made a reappearance. power has not left (though was not around for a while)



    TIMMMMAAAYYYYY make a comeback just when Tim readmits the Ohio connection:)


    this racism started becoming more and more acceptable in the USA as the elections drew near and since the elections has hit off big time.




    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 5:22pm on 27 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    44. At 4:59pm on 27 Mar 2010, JOHNNY REGGAE wrote:

    "logic 101
    if americans are tolerant people
    =>
    hateful tea bags are unamerican"

    Or is it your hate for the tea party that is then "unamerican"?

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 5:26pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    Israel has responded with attacks into Gaza.
    And MM is going on about (so what if he is sarcastic in the news is better than ignored so she will be joyous at any coverage)(yes it does relate to USA. We paid for the bombs.


    For over thirty years the "pothead party" has complained that they are not allowed a voice.
    they are persecuted.put in jails. harassed out of work.
    their crime. to want to be able to smoke pot.
    harmin g no one but themselves.
    for thirty years the press never gave them a voice.
    indeed when the BBC aired a debate on a blog about it they removed over half the comments that mentioned pot as OK or part of life.

    discussion was stifled no repressed with no mention of research that was pro pot no mention of the unconstitutional attacks on homes and liberty by the "authoritories". next to nothing about the forfieture laws that are unconstitutional.


    But the same press will give air time debate time, credit time tot he tea party wh and those that say...He is not american .has no passport,is muslim, has no smarts, etcetc etc.

    So freedom is guaranteed to all that wish to promote hate and war, but not to those that would sit and smoke with their neighbours.




    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 5:27pm on 27 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    SaintDominick # 25

    The roar of the greasepaint, and the smell of the crowd.
    Sarah Palin A classical pretty American cheer-leader come carnival barker introducing the main event. Beg to disagree SaintDom, but Sarah Palin is perfect for everything but top level politics.

    Despite her participation, politely supporting John Mccain the fading thespian on the American political stage who had earlier given her her first shot in front of the spotlights during a past production, I do not feel she has either the brain or the heart for it anymore.
    This does not mean she is stupid and thoroughly enjoys the attention and notoriety she has attained. The thrill she experiences now shown in performing are self evident and perhaps even her handlers might feel they are choreographing her for a greater role in a Republican comeback but are in for a disappointment. Mark himself queried the front runner possibility and I believe just being one of the chorus is not in her agenda or heart
    Sarah, I believe just seeks fame in front of the camera and has realised that the split second timing, political savvy and repartee necessary is missing. The written script she recited, deriding Obama's goof-boards / teleprompter oratory could secretly be her ideal dream. She can still achieve the star status she seeks in front of a TV camera using retakes and out-takes before the adjusted, spliced, finished result hits the screens making her look as though she is the swan gliding over the lake, whereas in many live productions she resembles a duck splashing about. A fish out of water even. This role as politician will soon end.
    The Glenda Jacksons and Ronald Reagans had years of experience learning their lines and manipulating their audience before going the political route, and with today's Congress presently made up of comedians playing politician, it does not need another actor learning the ropes.
    Whether she could become the first 'politician' to give it all up to become a star of the screen is in the lap of the gods. Sarah has already had her one Greta Garbo moment-"I want to be alone" resigning from her Alaskan Governorship duties. Expect the next one well before 2012. IMHO.

    As Socrates said, or van Gogh, or even a certain Sgt. Schultz - " I know nothing"]

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 5:42pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    waterman where did you watch "Hogans hero's"?

    Surely not in southern sunny Europe or the UK . Did hey show it in the underworld

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 5:52pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401037 wrote:

    ☞ postage four six ☠
    Or is it your hate for the tea party that is then "unamerican"?
    ___________________________________________________________
    touché tea bag*
    * = (French pronunciation: [tuʃe]), the French word for "touch", is used as an acknowledgement of a hit, called out by the fencer who is hit. ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 5:57pm on 27 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 48, watermanaquarius

    "Beg to disagree SaintDom, but Sarah Palin is perfect for everything but top level politics."

    I agree and I am truly amazed that people pay to listen to someone like her. My point is that she enjoys the support of the far right, particularly the most uneducated, angry white men, and the evangelicals who love her religious themes, folksy style, blue collar credentials, and overt displays of patriotism.

    Obviously, that is not enough to win national office, but it is enough to cause havoc within the GOP. I really wonder if moderate Republican like McCain are seeking her endorsement and help, or if she is offering her assistance to widen the scope of her base. Frankly, I doubt too many moderate Republicans or Independents will be buying tickets to her venues.


    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 5:59pm on 27 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    oregonfisher # 49

    Half a life spent in Holland, where the costs of subtitling any USA or English language production far out weighs the exorbitant costs and luxury of voice-over we still occasionally receive the original classics.
    Hogans Heroes, I love Lucy etc etc used to fill the screen many mornings and probably still do.
    Cannot wait to get colour TV

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 6:06pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    they pay attention because they can't get the stupid moo off their screens

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 6:13pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    lol water I never knew cloggies watched Hogans hero? damn I missed it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 6:36pm on 27 Mar 2010, DigitalJanitor wrote:

    You know what's sad? There was a time when portions of the GOP actually took the time to make thoughtful, rational, disciplined, possibly even cerebral arguments for their beliefs... and their reasoning appeared sound. They were the kinds of folks who would recognize that health care expenditures chewing away at ever-widening slices of our GDP wasn't sustainable and would have eagerly come to the table with solutions. Heck, they may have even called the meeting first.

    The only thing that makes me more bitter is to see the churches I grew up in completely infected with the Fox News/ God=GOP virus. These good hearted people haven't realized yet that Rove et al has used them merely as a vehicle to satisfy their personal lust for power. It was never about doing what was 'right', it was all about WINNING, and if/when the evangelicals aren't useful any more these guys will quickly throw them under the bus.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 6:38pm on 27 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    SaintDom # 51,
    My whole point is she is not a political creature at all.
    Body language and eyes of a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights [ not Dierdre]
    Tea party with the extended bent little finger - no way.
    Beer and pretzels is more her style.
    The American Dream- You can fool all of the people all of the time!
    When I read Marks " Why is Sarah in town" I am forced to conclude that despite the obvious, she has more on her mind like-
    Must I visit Yamaha to pick up the spare part for Todd's snowmobile?
    Hell, I have broken a nail.!
    Wonder whether they have the Great Pumpkin hiding in the Phoenix Desert Garden Pumpkin patch.?
    How does John expect us two extinguished cinders to rise from the coals in Phoenix?
    etc etc.
    Poor kid!. Closeted in with oldies smelling of mothballs dreaming of their political resurrection on the back of youth.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 6:41pm on 27 Mar 2010, Blogs On wrote:

    Another U.S. news media-hyped performance, sounding like the other performances Palin has given. The TV folks could have saved some money by simply resurrecting something from their archives. So-called TV "news" in the U.S. often is more contrived sensationalism than actual news, and in this instance seemed to have been deliberately designed to promote the re-election campaign of McCain (He and Palin deserve each other!) and a possible Palin candidacy for national office. Strange things take place in U.S. politics, with quite a few Americans having memories of about a couple of weeks for past questionable goings-on. Such examples as supposedly discredited polticos being elected notwithstanding past gaffes - Richard ("Tricky Dick") Nixon comes to mind - . . . If people feel that Palin is the political guru who has what it takes to resurrect the country from what they feel is disaster, they need to undertake a thorough internet-search review of her times in offices she held in Alaska.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 6:42pm on 27 Mar 2010, Pompadour wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 59. At 6:58pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    the important thing is that no matter how right we think J mc Cain is his opponent is not a democrat. .not really. it is a "freethinking american right winger."(they never did get the difference between free thinker and free from thought.)

    His opponent is to the right of JmcC.

    the reason this should be important to all is because despite repeated claims since 2008 that racism is not an issue. IT IS.
    Andf now J mc J faces removal from office by someone who would probably put Palin in fron t of himself;)
    if she had not made previous arrangenments. but she mad it look like he was there and she was there to stop the left winning.

    LOL like she cared for McC.



    Blogson. If anyone thinks she is smart, able to understand and anything but a bit of stuff to parade. they are fools that are easily led.

    She may have the smarts to fool the foolish but that should be it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 7:00pm on 27 Mar 2010, WhitewaterOregon wrote:

    Dream on Palin supporters. Please tell me how many successful candidates for President ever QUIT a political post in midstream? None? I guess that's why Mama said, "Quitters never prosper."

    Please don't mistake notoriety, celebrity & electability for the same thing or Howard Stern would be a viable candidate too.

    The notorious Palin will no doubt dog the party for years, dragging them to the unelectable wingnut extreme.



    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 7:05pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    56 I think you will find she is the first one to turn up in many's retirement home who does not say "no grandad you are being racist and I don't want your grandchildren brought up that way"
    No she just says things like "grandad knows best"


    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 7:14pm on 27 Mar 2010, U14401272 wrote:

    60 Whitewater.
    Is it only in Oregon that she is seen as the last hope of the desperately racist idiot few?

    I have yet to meet someone in this state that would say she was good for anything but as decoration.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2010/03/sarah_palin_decides_oregon_isn.html

    lol Looks like she knows it

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 7:31pm on 27 Mar 2010, Alex Newhouse wrote:

    The more I read about Sarah Palin's apparent superstar appeal, the more prophetic Mike Judge's 'Idiocracy' seems to me.
    I expect to hear her advocate the use of powerade on staple crops -
    "It's the electrolytes!"
    For the few who watched the movie, you know I'm right.
    Hey, if you want the popular vote in a future presidential race, Sarah, why not go the whole hog and nominate Hulk Hogan? Or Dog the Bounty Hunter? They'll know how to energise that base! I'm sure one or both has a fitness video, for a start.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 7:44pm on 27 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #63
    Hey, if you want the popular vote in a future presidential race, Sarah, why not go the whole hog and nominate Hulk Hogan? Or Dog the Bounty Hunter? They'll know how to energise that base! I'm sure one or both has a fitness video, for a start.
    ___________

    If the last Presidential election had been voted on merit accomplishment or other criteria other than charisma and a Bush backlash; would this pathetic excuse of a leader we have now be in office?

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 9:06pm on 27 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 56, watermanaquarius

    "Body language and eyes of a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights"

    I understand, but the one whose body language was most revealing during the rallies in Arizona was Sen. McCain. He was biting his lips and looked nervous or disturbed while Sarah was talking. I guess after making the mistake of bringing Sen. Brown, a center-left Republican, to rally for him in Arizona he was probably thankful for the help he is getting from the darling of the far right.

    The Brown gaffe, which gave credence to the claims being levied by his ultra conservative opponent, may cost him in November.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 9:08pm on 27 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #43 IF,

    "This system only broke down when one power foolishly, and much against its own genuine economic interests (it was getting freedom of navigation for free, for heaven's sake), and against the wisdom of its great unifying Reichskanzler - decided to challenge British naval supremacy."

    I'm sure you already know this, but it seems to me HMS Dreadnought made that challenge possible becuase she made all other war ships obsolete. What was meant to symbolize the futility of going against the Royal Navy actually led to an world wide arms race to gain parity with it. Germany was not so foolish considering the gap in power now equated to one capitol ship, HMS Dreadnought.

    Btw, I enjoy your history inputs, please keep them coming.


    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 9:42pm on 27 Mar 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    ("She's a fox". . .Seems to be a favourite refrain of so many fat, overweight, balding, ageing white men with funny moustaches and their hands in their pockets.)

    It goes beyond this Squirrel:a lot of young guys say the same. What it tells me is they have never been very successful with the opposite sex if they consider her to be "hot" or a fox. They unwittingly tell on themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 10:22pm on 27 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    wolfvorkian # 67,
    Despite squirrelist's observations he did seem to be very knowledgeable about his own rubber, latex and other products more associated with those that appreciate an exotic lifestyle, in a later post.
    We often reveal a lot about ourselves without realising it.

    I am sorry to say his post would appear to have been deleted. I do hope mentioning latex and rubber[now twice], will not see this one canned as well.
    If I can not promote my own Harold Wilson latex and rubber raincoat then I feel I am being forced back to wearing an anorak.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 10:53pm on 27 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    SaintDom # 65,

    I put John Mccain's demeanour down to one of ill health that despite assurances to the contrary has been visible the last few years.
    Perhaps the bloom of youth- what is Palin 40+, next to the tortured frame of an aging war hero will always show up these differences.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 10:56pm on 27 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    52 & 54.

    Whatever you do, don't watch the re-runs now. It has not aged well.
    Only John Banner and Willem Klemperer could act.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 11:40pm on 27 Mar 2010, Alex Newhouse wrote:

    #64
    Hey, Magic! Just having a little fun. Anyway, I wouldn't call historic health care legislation, a major nuclear disarmament deal and kicking Netanyahu's backside pathetic.
    Obama has done more good in one week than Bush achieved in eight years.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 00:31am on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    66. At 9:08pm on 27 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "I'm sure you already know this, but it seems to me HMS Dreadnought made that challenge possible becuase she made all other war ships obsolete. What was meant to symbolize the futility of going against the Royal Navy actually led to an world wide arms race to gain parity with it. Germany was not so foolish considering the gap in power now equated to one capitol ship, HMS Dreadnought."
    __________

    Not sure that's right, but unfortunately memory isn't what it was.

    It seems to me that a very long time ago I read a biography of Jackie Fisher written by somebody like Fred Jane. Or was it a biography of Fred Jane? I think it was written by Jane, who was a genius at naval intelligence. Whatever it was, it was written before the Great War, and it had remarkable insights that were borne out by subsequent events.

    In any case, do you remember HMS Pinafore? Remember the costumes? All the elaborate finery?

    As you might imagine, the Royal Navy, with its global reach, was an exceptionally expensive and rather elaborate enterprise that over time became encrusted in the trappings of its own greatness, and particularly so given its long periods of unchallenged dominance. It had faced no major challenge at sea after 1815. It had fought small actions all around the world, but no major fleet actions against a credible foe in a century.

    Then a number of factors came together all at one time.

    First, German industrial production on a broad range of measures outstripped the British Empire some time in the late 1880's or early 1890's, most importantly in steel production and coal mining. I'm pretty sure there is a graph showing this in "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy. Again, memory isn't what it was.

    The German industrial economy was set to dominate Europe, come what may. There was no need for a great European bloodletting to establish that economic dominance. Bismarck knew this, and knew that the critical strategic imperative for Germany was the diplomatic isolation of France. Britain was not a continental power, and Britain's maritime policy dovetailed with Germany's needs to a very large extent.

    So Bismarck kept Britain sweet by avoiding any challenge to British naval supremacy, and kept France isolated by any number of measures, including engineering the "League of the Three Emperors" (Der Drei Kaiser Bund, I think is the German name). When you consider that the interests of Austria, Russia, and Germany were inherently mutually antagonistic in large measure, yet he convinced them to form this pact, you begin to grasp just how remarkably clever Bismarck was.

    The untimely death of his father brought a young, headstrong, envious, impatient, Wilhelm II to the throne. In less than 15 years he had abandoned both arms of Bismarck's previously successful policy.

    ----------

    Notwithstanding the golden glow of the late imperial sun, it was clear in Gladstone's time that Britain's relative commercial dominance was on the wane. This was most visible in Britain's relative industrial decline vis-a-vis not only Germany but also America.

    As you might imagine, the Royal Navy, the premier strategic weapon of its day, an agency of impressive global reach, was an exceptionally expensive enterprise. By 1900, the policies of the Royal Navy, i.e.., essentially unquestioned and unquestionable dominance of the seas, everywhere, were becoming too expensive for the British Empire.

    It seems to me that a very long time ago I read a biography of Jackie Fisher written by somebody like Fred Jane. Or was it a biography of Fred Jane? In any case, do you remember HMS Pinafore? Remember the costumes? All the elaborate finery?

    Well, as an image of the ornamentation, peacetime inefficiency, overall bloated costs, and the position in the psyche of the Empire of the Royal Navy, that caricature, from HMS Pinafore isn't a bad starting point.

    Go and look at a map of all the coaling and cable stations maintained by the Royal Navy. Look at its roster of ships and manpower from 1870 onward up toward 1900. It's astonishing. The wealth of Empire must have been great indeed to underwrite such a vast enterprise.

    But it was essentially pre-industrial in mindset, and in productivity. Now consider three or four major technological advances:

    The introduction of the Bessemer process changed the world forever.
    Nobel invented modern gunpowder.
    Parsons invented the steam turbine, demonstrated at Spithead in 1897.
    Rockefeller built an empire that used a liquid fuel rather than coal.

    This provided an opportunity simultaneously to cut costs, to expand the fighting capability of the Royal Navy, and to increase the effective range of each base(and therefore reduce the number, and therefore cost, of major bases required).

    This is where the idea of an all big gun, oil powered*, turbine driven, steel-hulled, standardized, industrially produced Navy came from. Remember that in about 1890, something like 90 % of the world's merchant shipping was built on the banks of the Clyde. An all big-gun Navy was therefore playing to Britain's strengths, or so it seemed.

    *The early Dreadnoughts were coal powered. The decision to convert the Navy to oil (and various adventures in the Arabian Peninsula and Mesopotamia) came a bit later. It seems to me that a young Winston Churchill was First Sea Lord at the time(?) (Anybody know the answer?)

    When you look at the gargantuan Grand Fleet that engaged the Germans at the terrible missed opportunity of Jutland, it is a testimony to British shipbuilding capability.

    Oddly though - a harbinger of the future - the German ships though fewer in number, seemed to be better built, had better steel, fired better weapons, and had better armour penetrating shells.

    (And, most galling of all perhaps, in reversing course out of traps that should have ended the war, and then, with the bulk of the Royal Navy between the Germans and the safety of their base, in escaping yet again at night while the British twiddled their thumbs, Scheer also bested the Navy in first class seamanship, and showed greater all-around pluck, too. Intolerable.)

    British industrial capacity could not sustain the effort required to maintain overwhelming naval supremacy as the industrial capacities of other nations caught up with, and then passed Britain by. The Great War hastened that relative decline. Symbolically, the design faults that doomed the Hood in 1941 were already incorporated in her design in 1916.

    Economic decline presages strategic decline. In that, the British were no different from the Phoenicians, the Venetians, the Spanish, the Dutch, and the French before them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 00:43am on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    41, justahick, hate to break it to you, but this is a British website effectively financed by UK users,
    So really, your the 'foreigner' here.

    Of course, anyone remotely secure and happy in themselves would not be bothered by mere 'foreigners' commenting anyway.

    Though if you are someone who takes that Palin woman seriously, hard to tell from the mangled post of yours, then that may explain a lack of basic critical facilities.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 00:58am on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Re 72.

    Pardon me, an error cutting and pasting there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 02:24am on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    But a good post anyway InterestedForeigner.
    Though Jutland despite the huge disappointment (and anger) for the British public that it was not another Nelson style drubbing of an enemy, it was a strategic win for the RN, since Germany failed to break the blockade that was having a serious impact on the German home front, which would be a factor in their defeat.

    The early 20th Century Technology, new, untried, very expensive so some caution in it's employment in battle, did not make Nelson style drubbings likely, the next one would be with 1940's technology, naval aviation, at Midway in 1942.
    Where again both sides were fairly evenly matched.
    But one side had just the better intelligence (breaking enemy codes), a burning desire to avenge Pearl Harbour and, as always in battle, a bit of luck too.

    Today? It's getting harder to see (thankfully really), big conventional set pieces, although some capability is needed for this is needed for insurance, because these capabilities have other applications (aircraft carriers are very versatile beyond carrying jet fighters), the fact is that nasty, messy, conflicts against enemies without uniforms, usually without a nation state too, seem to be the norm.
    And when there is no country to surrender to you, such conflicts become very extended with it seems, little headway, this becomes very unpopular with Western electorates.

    Who live in a world of instant services, instant products, short electoral cycles to show 'results', in depth media coverage - nasty pictures and coffins coming home included.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 03:15am on 28 Mar 2010, oletimer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 77. At 03:31am on 28 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    68. At 10:22pm on 27 Mar 2010, watermanaquarius wrote:

    "I am sorry to say his post would appear to have been deleted."

    Dear me, so it has.

    Was that a mis-spelling btw? It would be an 'erotic' lifestyle, not an 'exotic' one? (Not that I really know much about these things.)

    I think I made a reference to a decorative addition, deriving from an ancient Indian symbol, commonly seen on certain bikers' garments, too.

    My point was that that the way people dress for a crowd (and/or a TV audience) says something about the image and the culture they want to present. So, dressing like a biker's bimbo. . .

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 06:12am on 28 Mar 2010, b1itsjustme wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 06:12am on 28 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #72 Interestedforeigner,

    "In any case, do you remember HMS Pinafore?"

    I'm familiar with the play but never had the chance to see it. A lovely name for a fighting ship though.

    I do remember the USS Sea Tiger in "Operation Petticoat", where the submarine is painted pink for lack of enough red or white primer. Not on par with Pinafore, but still amusing.
    ------------

    "The German industrial economy was set to dominate Europe, come what may. There was no need for a great European bloodletting to establish that economic dominance. Bismarck knew this, and knew that the critical strategic imperative for Germany was the diplomatic isolation of France. Britain was not a continental power, and Britain's maritime policy dovetailed with Germany's needs to a very large extent."

    I recall reading somewhere that Germany was initially reluctant in backing Austria before the outbreak of WWI, but their alliance forced them into the war. All the major powers at the time were pulled in becuase of one treaty or another. Wilhelm II would have been better off just sending his regrets. That goes double for Nicholas II. But it seems everyone had ambitions along with a few past grievances that made it a convenient pretext. Amazing what one assassination can lead to. I wonder if that Serb student had any idea of what would come.
    ----------

    "Notwithstanding the golden glow of the late imperial sun, it was clear in Gladstone's time that Britain's relative commercial dominance was on the wane. This was most visible in Britain's relative industrial decline vis-a-vis not only Germany but also America."

    I'm not so sure it was clear at the time as much as it was in hind sight. The British Empire was still considered a super power right up until WWII. Not as dominant perhaps, but still out front.
    --------------

    "But it was essentially pre-industrial in mindset, and in productivity. Now consider three or four major technological advances:

    The introduction of the Bessemer process changed the world forever.
    Nobel invented modern gunpowder.
    Parsons invented the steam turbine, demonstrated at Spithead in 1897.
    Rockefeller built an empire that used a liquid fuel rather than coal."


    Add to your list breach loading rifled guns placed on turrets, along with armour piercing shells. There is also the self propelled torpedo which ushered in various ship class's like submarines, destroyers, and smaller torpedo boats.
    --------------

    "Oddly though - a harbinger of the future - the German ships though fewer in number, seemed to be better built, had better steel, fired better weapons, and had better armour penetrating shells."

    Germany also had better communications between ships which allowed for superior command and control.
    ----------

    "And, most galling of all perhaps, in reversing course out of traps that should have ended the war, and then, with the bulk of the Royal Navy between the Germans and the safety of their base, in escaping yet again at night while the British twiddled their thumbs, Scheer also bested the Navy in first class seamanship, and showed greater all-around pluck, too. Intolerable."

    Scheer never intended to battle the entire Royal Navy. He was hoping to bite off smaller chunks. While it might seem intolerable that he was able to sail away, Jellicoe's actions not only prevented the battle Scheer hoped for, he basically ended the sea war at Jutland. Although the "High Seas Fleet" replaced it's losses and sortied twice again, Wilhelm II became nervous about future losses and later kept them home. Ironically, he only saved his fleet so it could later be interned at Scapa Flow and used for target practice.


    Great post!

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 07:51am on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    75. At 02:24am on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    "Though Jutland despite the huge disappointment ..., it was a strategic win for the RN, since Germany failed to break the blockade that was having a serious impact on the German home front, which would be a factor in their defeat."
    __________

    No, I disagree. In the end it was not a strategic victory.

    Although not perceived so clearly at the time, for Great Britain the strategic imperative was not merely to contain the Germans, but rather to end the war as soon as possible.

    Ultimately, in the West, in terms of relative power, the largest loser of the Great War was Great Britain.

    Jutland occurred on May 31, 1916, and trailed off into the night (as the Germans slipped away) and on into June 1. The Battle of the Somme commenced on July 1, 1916 with 60,000 casualties including 20,000 dead on the first day.

    Although it was perhaps not fully appreciated at the time, the British Empire was never to recover from these twin catastrophes.

    Although it is what generations of school children have been taught (if taught at all), merely keeping the German High Seas Fleet penned up was not enough. Did the Navy really wait two years to spring a trap on the Germans, merely for the satisfaction of putting the cork back in the bottle? Hardly. Jutland provided the first, and only, chance that the Royal Navy was ever to get to have ended the war in a day.

    The very existence of the High Seas Fleet required an even greater expenditure of resources by Great Britain, because Britain, with a weaker economy, had to support a much larger naval force to keep the Germans bottled up. Worse, it meant that Great Britain remained trapped without an exit strategy in a land war on The Continent that it could not afford - either in terms of blood or treasure.

    The BEF of the old originals died at Mons. It was a small, superbly trained force - the cream of the British Army. The small size of the BEF reflected its anticipated employment - usually as an adjunct to the much larger Navy, for employment against local troubles, over relatively short periods of time.

    By the Autumn of 1915 Britain then found herself committed to providing a land force to support an ally, France, that was not only overmatched against the Germans on land, but also in difficult financial trouble, and with much of France's most industrially productive territory, and much of France's coal, under German occupation.

    While the Germans had the easier and less expensive task of defending ground, it was politically unacceptable for France to agree to terms if German troops remained undefeated and on French soil. France was bled white. The French army was on the point of mutiny. Britain simply had to take over more of the line or watch the French go under. So the BEF had to be far, far larger than anyone ever imagined, the casualty toll was beyond anything ever seen before.

    And then Britain and France found themselves subsidizing their Italian ally, not only financially, but with men and equipment.

    ----------

    In the long series of wars of containment against France, namely the War of the Spanish Succession, the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years War, and the Napoleonic Wars, Britain had always been the paymaster of a ring of continental Allies arrayed to do down the French. Ah, and how often had Gallic pride come to ruin against the financial power of the nation of shopkeepers.

    But in the Great War, the strain was too great even for that richest of Empires. Containment at sea was not enough. The cost of the land war was too high.

    ----------

    On June 1, at 56 deg. N. Lat, there would only have been a few hours of real darkness. In those few hours the fates of Empires changed.

    Would Howe, or Rodney, or Nelson, have let a numerically inferior, slightly slower moving enemy, trapped in a position of geographical disadvantage, break off a fleet action because the sun went down?

    ----------

    In the end, that failure to win at Jutland, when not one, not two, but at least three glorious opportunities to annihilate the German fleet presented themselves, and the almost criminal failure to keep contact with the Germans through that short night, was a terrible mistake. It was a mistake that was instrumental in eventually costing the best part of a million Englishmen their lives. (And, by consequence, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Austrians, Turks, Russians, and eventually Americans, too.)

    The failure to win at Jutland, the complacent view that containment was enough, when combined with the Somme and the 28 months that were to follow, bankrupted the British Empire.

    Settling for a tie was not good enough.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 09:15am on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    75, my understanding is that the German surface fleet rarely ever took to the seas, aside from the odd raid bombarding English coastal towns.

    And that at Jutland they were not engaged after they turned for home due to the fear of coming into range of German torpedo boats, this being seen as a deliberate trap to lure the RN into their sights.

    But I agree that WW1 was catastrophic for the UK not just in terms of death and injury.
    Though understandably the horror of the Somme and others has led to the British 1918 offensive, the most successful one in British military military, being almost forgotten.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 10:29am on 28 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    81. At 09:15am on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    "75, my understanding is that the German surface fleet rarely ever took to the seas, aside from the odd raid bombarding English coastal towns."

    Mine too; and you make the point that WWI was primarily a land war; though I suppose you could argue that Jutland led to the development of submarine warfare, but that would have happened anyway.

    Anyway, that's all just for wargamers and the 'what if' school of history.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 3:29pm on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    82, 81.

    Leaving aside U-Boats (the German kind, not the BBC kind), it is true that the German High Seas Fleet rarely left port. But, as one would expect under the "fleet in being" concept, it tied up an enormous amount of British military resources just the same. Imagine a Royal Navy free to interdict iron ore from Sweden? Or free to aid Russia? Or free to reduce German ports to rubble? Or free to land forces behind the German static defenses? That would have made the German position very difficult indeed.

    Regrettably it is not so academic as it seems. There is an ongoing lesson here, one that is applicable to debtor nations: No debtor nation ever rose to prominence as a debtor nation. Failure to appreciate that your economy can no longer support you military commitments, and to take appropriate corrective steps, can lead to even greater disasters.

    Surely that is a lesson with significant contemporary resonance.

    Time to call it a day on this one?

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 4:51pm on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    83, I agree with that, other than to add that the current debt carried by todays superpower might, one day, lead to a 'Suez Moment'.

    As this is really about Mrs Palin, I understand that when running for VP in 2008, she actually did not know the difference between North and South Korea!
    (Presumably due to not being visible from Alaska?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 5:24pm on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    84. - They're separated by the Mae-Seong Dik-Seong line.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 10:20pm on 28 Mar 2010, Paragraf wrote:

    glad to hear that the foreign contingent continues to weigh in to our political concerns....especially when they tell us what should be important to us. my thought on that is... when you are down to a survival level[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] it is time to take care of the house so you can move forward to help others - which i might note the USA has done more than ANY other country in the world! as for the nukes... exactly what are you and your country doing to resolve the issue?
    back to sarah - for those that can not figure out why the majority of the american 'outback' support her... it isn't political, if isn't entertainment, it is just simple - MOST of us are sick to death of the extreme NPD's (narssistics) that are in the lime light (politicians, the 'entertainment' industry - actors, musicans, pro athletes - get real. these people are NOT heros, they earn a living entertaining people... outside of that they contribute nothing of consequence... unless they are among the few of their type that take their celebrity and do good with it) making honesty, integrity and responsibility 'uncool'... well, sarah palin represents those three words and is willing to take action to get them back into popularity. where do you stand on them?


    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 00:23am on 29 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    86. Paragraf

    Haven't seen you here before.

    Please look back up the string.
    Can you see postings that are easy to read? Why are some easier to read than others?

    Now look at your own posting.
    Does it look like the posting of a literate adult?
    Not so much, eh?

    Why not? What's the difference?

    This is a welcoming website where you will find that there are a lot of people who make, for the most part, quite insightful and clever comments.

    If you make a thoughtful argument, I'm sure that people here will engage you in that argument. It's quite enjoyable. People here are mostly pretty friendly. When you get comfortable with it, you'll find that they will make you think about the logic of your own views, and your arguments will improve because of it.

    So slow down, take a deep breath, think about the point you want to make, and post your argument.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 05:13am on 29 Mar 2010, Craig Cramer wrote:

    The thought of Palin becoming president scares me because of her inability to see America as a mix of cultures and people. Her phrasing of the "real America" demonstrates that she views anyone other than conservatives as somehow being foreign, rather than an alternate, valid American perceptive.

    If I thought she would protect my rights or could empathize with me, as an Atheist, I would not be so worried.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 1:05pm on 29 Mar 2010, Dutchie76 wrote:

    Sarah Palin has now become exactly what she was always accusing Obama of being; a celebrity. And she is merely just that. If she were to somehow run for President in 2012 and win, that would prove the Mayan's were right all along, the world will come to an end in 2012.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 3:44pm on 11 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    6. At 05:33am on 27 Mar 2010, TimR1944 wrote:

    “Palin is no more representative of most American conservatives than Peolsi represents most left-wingers. They are both lightning rods - and they are on the fringe.”

    I’m not sure that Nancy is as far out on the left fringe as Sarah is on the right. Old school Ivy League educated Republican leaders like William F. Buckley, would not have given the ignorant Sarah any support. Had he even allowed her on his TV show [IMHO doubtful] he would have shredded her in minutes.

    “This is an enormous country - several countries in one, really. I have rarely met anyone outside the US who grasps that.”

    Because of our common language and history Brits often think they understand the US better than anyone else. My Swiss [German] students are the ones who have actually understood Americans best, in my experience.

    “The problem with all of this attention to Palin is that there is a strong element of nonsense in it…”

    My only disagreement with you here is that IMHO it isn’t just an element, it’s the main ingredient, seasoned with ignorance, illogic, and pandering.

    “She is not nearly as powerful or as popular as suggested here….And we are not that stupid.”

    I certainly hope you are right on both points. It does seem, however, that she is popular with a disturbingly large crowd of the ignorant, stupid and well-meaning but clueless people. And in the age of “the Media” notoriety and media presence IS power. Is she the bimbo, the Paris Hilton, of modern American politics? That remains to be seen, and I do hope you are right about the American people not being so stupid as to fall for it; but a lot of them fell for the totally bogus “death panels” and the health industry’s anti-reform propaganda.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 8:32pm on 11 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    72. At 00:31am on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    66. At 9:08pm on 27 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:
    “…Economic decline presages strategic decline. In that, the British were no different from the Phoenicians, the Venetians, the Spanish, the Dutch, and the French before them…”

    I very much doubt that either Sarah Palin or GW Bush has the education or intelligence to fill in what you left unsaid. The policies that have undermined American industry will eventually undermine American military power. Short-sighted businessmen who outsource advanced tech as well as jobs, short-sighted political leaders who blunder in international relations, short-sighted “patriots” who think that Power is just guns and grunts, all play their part in undermining a great power as they have before.

    This will not happen soon or overnight [barring some cataclysm] because of the lead the US currently enjoys. If however the ignorant and anti-science crowd get a hold on the levers of power the coming will be accelerated.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 9:03pm on 11 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    80. At 07:51am on 28 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    TO: 75. At 02:24am on 28 Mar 2010, SONICBOOMER
    This dialog is, I hope, one heard at Annapolis and West Point, if not the halls of power in Washington DC [sometimes referred to as Byzantium on Potomac].

    I applaud you for not letting history be forgotten, lest by being forgotten it be relived.

    11. At 11:02am on 27 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote: “Palin is doing the good work of keeping the Tea Party movement grounded in political reality.”

    It is going to take me some time to parse and digest this sentence. How to interpret “good work” is problematic. Is it “good work” in the same sense as Josef Goebels’ “good work” in using propaganda to successfully promote Nazism, or “good work” in the same sense as the Bolshevik’s thorough elimination of their royal family or “good work” in the sense of Albert Schweitzer’s humanitarianism?

    The “keeping…grounded in political reality” seems to be pretty obviously a logical absurdity, as relates to the teabag crowd, but I am still trying to figure out whether it might have a deeper meaning; perhaps that they will find out that you really can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 11:47pm on 11 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    91. At 8:32pm on 11 Apr 2010, JMM wrote:

    "... If however the ignorant and anti-science crowd get a hold on the levers of power the coming will be accelerated."
    __________

    Wrong tense. It has already happened.

    It started on January 20, 2001, lasted for eight years, and had precisely the result you note.

    But, more optimistically, there is the example of Charles the Wise of France, who inherited his throne after the well nigh ruinous reign of a similarly inept predecessor.

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 00:56am on 15 Apr 2010, McJakome wrote:

    From the BBC: Americas
    “Thousands of supporters of the US conservative Tea Party movement gathered in Boston for a rally led by Republican politician Sarah Palin.”

    How things change in a mere 235 years. The real and original tea party was a group of radicals trying to make things better for the lower levels of society.
    The FOX sponsored tea party is a group of reactionaries trying to keep life the same for the well to do and keep the uppity lower orders in their uninsured place.

    “Mrs Palin, who ran for the post of vice-president in the 2008 election, said it was time government started working for the people.”

    Actually they want the US government to continue working for the same people: The well-off, the CEOs, the banks, the insurance companies, Big Pharma, etc.

    “She said that if that was the kind of change the Obama Administration was about, ‘we'll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion - and you can keep the change.’"

    Did she leave unsaid that they would continue clinging to: ignorance, propaganda, racial stereotypes, red herrings and outright lies [death panels, Obama is a Muslim, Obama was not born an American, Obama is a socialist-and, bizarrely a Nazi].

    While I agree with some of their talking points [shouting points?], I could not possibly support the ignorance, cynicism, duplicity and outright lying. Another big negative for me, the sponsors are beyond the pale [FOX, Beck and Palin herself.]

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 08:19am on 15 Apr 2010, Mike Morgan wrote:

    This phenomenon of the tea-party is really nothing new in American politics and Palin's "charisma" as you call it is not much more than a simple grifter plying her trade. Compare her answers to any of the issues with that of any of the establishment politicians and it is beyond any doubt whatsoever that she is a fraud. At this point, the GOP finds this woman useful to separate the fools from their money but she will not advance much further. In the Republican tradition of devouring their progeny, at some point in the near future, Palin will be let go after some outrageous scandal.
    Recently I found an article in the archives of Life magazine, 1962, which puts this movement into the proper perspective. http://nomadicjoe.blogspot.com/2010/04/then-and-now-far-right.html

    The difference between that age and this is the attitude of the media allowing this party and this woman an legitimacy that is unearned and undeserved.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 1:29pm on 15 Apr 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    96. Mike Morgan

    Great link.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 2:13pm on 20 Apr 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    I used to like Sarah Palin because she was down to Earth. Now?
    I find that she is WAY to conservative, like all who are a member of the Republican party. She is also VERY uneducated on world events, obviously.

    The Republican party has a reputation for being racist, homophobic, pro-religion (to the point of fanaticism), anti-Constitution, anti-worker, anti-middle class, and just plain anti-anything that makes America great and free. Almost 100% of all racist groups (including the Neo-Nazi groups) in the U.S.A. are Republicans.

    That says it all.

    If Republicans find the notion of freedom and the American flag so repugnant, why do they live here in the U.S.A.?

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 2:51pm on 20 Apr 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    95. Mike Morgan,

    Well, the lady must be doing something effective to get all this scathing attention from the nasties of the left. What is it about her that threatens you so?

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 2:53pm on 20 Apr 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    The only good thing about Sarah Palin is her stance on abortion. She's against it and so am I.

    So she says that she has gay friends. Well, that's so generous of her. She also feels that those "gay friends" shouldn't be allowed to marry.

    Like most, if not ALL Republicans, Sarah feels that the Constitution should only apply if it benefits her/their way of thinking. That is NOT the intention of having a Constitution. The Constitution was never supposed to be used to LIMIT human rights as the Republicans have done, but to GRANT human rights across the entire population which lives under it.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.