Monday, November 02, 2015

Jeb Coriolanus

I don't do this as much as I did when the blog was young - mostly because as I found out on active duty - most people in the Navy do not care all that much about the classics, theater, architecture or much of the classic "Renaissance Man" liberal arts canon (though I was quite pleased the interest the Front Porch showed in to my self-indulgent dive in to T.S. Eliot last year).

That and people look at you funny when your deployment movies include Pride & Prejudice, but I digress. 

Anyway, we're about to go all Shakespeare on 'ya but stick with me a bit - it is germane.

I managed to startle the spaniel last night when my internal dialog leaked out with a resounding, "Exactly!" when I read Ian Tuttle's bit over at NRO, Jeb’s Coriolanus Syndrome;
Coriolanus is, of course, the title character of a Shakespeare tragedy, the general outline of which is taken from Plutarch’s Lives. In Shakespeare’s telling, Caius Marcius Coriolanus — virtuous warrior and true aristocrat — runs for consul, the highest elected office in the Roman Republic, at the behest of an ambitious mother. He wins the support of the Roman Senate, but schemers turn the people against him. Not inclined to flatter, he responds by railing against the easily swayed masses, whom he “disdain[s] with cause” for failing to recognize true virtue among them.
By record and character, he is surely among the most creditable candidates in Republican politics. He would be a responsible executive, if not a flawless one. Then along come Donald Trump and Ben Carson and this foul mood among the voters. The crows peck at the eagles. But Jeb has misread the moment. Conservatives are bucking not because people are curs (though there’s some of that), but because many people feel abandoned by their representatives, if not betrayed, and not on questions of passing interest, but on questions of principle and identity. If that anxiety has alighted on Donald Trump as its spokesman, it is at least in part because more responsible leaders have refused to take it up.
I feel for Jeb, a man I voted for three times and who was an exceptional governor. His time has passed in the last decade and a half - and he knows it. He also has some flaws that did not matter at the State level, but in national office would manifest themselves in a way that would be destructive in the extreme.

That is our reality - one his family had no small part in creating starting with 1990 Bush 41's 1990 no-precondition summit in order to avoid an automatic Gramm-Rudman-Hollings cut of only $100 billion. He was completely outfoxed by the Democrats and begat the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act.

That fundamental betrayal of a promise by what many saw as one of the most ethical Presidents, injected suspicion and a lack of faith in good governance in to one of the last bastions in the electorate of the good government Boy Scouts. That is why Jeb cannot get traction. It does not really have to do with his brother, it has to do with his father.

Let's get back to admittedly one of The Bard's lessor works - but when seen correctly, one of the more uniquely insightful, Coriolanus.

You need to first understand the play's political context. This video of Robert Luongo, author of The Power Template: Shakespeare's Political Plays does this better than anyone.

For those who were not aware, a few years ago a slightly modified and modernized version of the play directed by Ralph Fiennes came out.  

Highly recommended. The "banish" scene in some ways will reflect Jeb's internal dialog when he has to end his campaign.

Like that? Well, here goes the productive part of your day. The entire 2.5 hr movie. Yes!

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