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God Bless our valiant dead

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader remembers and prays for the souls of all who have died in the service of our glorious Republic.

He also keeps in his heart and prayers those who serve today. Especially his cousins who serve in Iraq, the Pentagon, and Europe (soon to be back in Afghanistan).

Masonic Cemetery Fredericksburg
A view of the Masonic Cemetary of Fredericksburg, VA, looking towards some of the graves of Revolutionary War Veterans. (Over the brick wall in the distance is James Monroe’s law office. Monroe was a resident of my fair city, as well as a Colonel during the Revolution, and President of the US of course.)

Carry on.

Refreshing

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been drinking quite a bit of bourbon over the weekend. He made his first Manhattan cocktail on Saturday. It was fine. He made it with Evan Williams bourbon, sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters. As he said, it was okay but nothing to write home about.

(NB to readers, especially the Air Marshal if he is lurking out there: Your Maximum Leader felt compelled to write the exact brand of bourbon he used in his Manhattan so that the Air Marshal would not wonder about which brand he used. You see, your Maximum Leader brought home a bottle of Wild Turkey Rare Breed from his recent bourbon weekend with the Air Marshal. And the Air Marshal emplored your Maximum Leader not to mix the Rare Breed into a cocktail, or mix it into ginger ale or coke (as he does sometimes). While your Maximum Leader can’t promise that he’ll never mix the Rare Breed into a cocktail or ginger ale or coke, he did want you all to know that he didn’t this time.)

(NB - again: By the way. Your Maximum Leader knows that a “true” Manhattan cocktail is made with Rye Whisky and not Bourbon.)

Your Maximum Leader did notice on the Maker’s Mark website that they mix a shot of bourbon into an Arnold Palmer. It sounded good. So he tried it. Frankly… It is really good. So he’s been drinking them all weekend.

Frankly, your Maximum Leader imagines Arnie Palmer himself (and John Daly for certain) would like their Arnold Palmer’s with a shot of bourbon in them.

Carry on.

A Conversation - from the dinner table

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will share another conversation in the style of FLG that was had at the Villainschloss over the long weekend.

[Scene - the dining room. The whole family is seated for dinner.]
Villainette #2 (looking sideways at her brother, the Wee Villain - aged 5, seated next to her): Don’t do that.
Mrs Villain: Don’t do what?
Villainette #2: He’s scratching himself. You know… THERE…
Villainette #1: Ewww… Gross… I’m trying to eat over here.
Mrs Villain (to Wee Villain): Stop it.

A moment later the Wee Villain stands up from his chair and stands next to the table in plain sight.

Max Ldr (to the Wee Villain): Are you okay? You’re holding yourself like you need to use the bathroom. Do you need to go to the bathroom.
Wee Villain: No. I am moving bochuk.
Mrs Villain: What? You’re moving what? Bochuk? What is bochuk?
Wee Villain: Not bochuk. Bob and Chuck.
Mrs Villain: Bob and Chuck? Who are Bob and Chuck.
Wee Villain: Come on mom! They are the names I gave my balls. Bob and Chuck.

Choking on food ensues as does laughter and groans.

Max Ldr: Son, you can’t play with Bob and Chuck at the dinner table.
Wee Villain: But they are really itchy. Please, can I go to my room and do it?
Max Ldr: Of course. But wash your hands before coming back to the table.

The Wee Villain leaves to go to his room and Mrs Villain, Villainette #1 and Villainette #2 are staring at your Maximum Leader.

Max Ldr: I don’t know why you’re staring at me. I’ve never named mine. I don’t know where he got that. Probably from some malcontent in school…

Carry on.

A Conversation - from the laundry room.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will present to you a conversation which occured over the weekend at the Villainschloss. (Grace a FLG for the post style.)

Villainette #1: Daddy, why do your pants always look better when we take them off the drying rack?
Max Ldr: My pants look better than whose pants when the come off the drying rack?
Villainette #1: Well they look better than mine or mommy’s.
Max Ldr: If you look at the drying rack you will see I fold mine differently than you and mommy fold yours.
Villainette #1: So your way of folding is better than mine and mommy’s?
Max Ldr: I wouldn’t go so far as to say my way is better…
Villainette #1: But if your pants look better than ours when they come off the drying rack and the only thing you do differently is folding then wouldn’t your way be better?
Max Ldr: As I said, I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say mine is better. If you want to draw conclusions based on your own emprical observations far be it for me to try and tell you otherwise.
Villainette #1: You’re trying awfully hard not to say that mommy and I do it wrong.
Max Ldr: I’m not ascribing “rightness” or “wrongness” to a methodology of pant folding. You are drawing your own conclusions.
Villainette #1: You normally don’t wait to declare something right or wrong. I don’t understand why you don’t want to say that mommy’s way is wrong. Is something up?
Max Ldr: Yes.
Villainette #1: What?
Max Ldr: Your mother…
Villainette #1: She’s standing behind me isn’t she?
Max Ldr: Yes.
Villainette #1: Ah. I see.

Carry on.

Mindless wanderings

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have a subject or theme to this post. So you’ll just have to bear with him.

Last night your Maximum Leader dreamnt that he (and Mrs Villain) were going to a party at the Hearst Castle. We were the guests of George Hamilton. Hamilton was taking us all around and introducing us to everyone. Somehow your Maximum Leader ended up in a huge Gothic library, in a smoking jacket, smoking cigars with George Hamilton, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, and Eddie Izzard (who was not wearing a smoking jacket, but instead a sequined evening gown). Conversation revolved around making a film version of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” The “gimmick” of the film would be having it set in late 20th Century America and Caesar has overthrown the government. (Caesar would be killed on the floor of the old Senate Chamber in the Capitol.)

Your Maximum Leader played with an iPad yesterday for about an hour. We wants one now. We wants one…

Your Maximum Leader thought of Robbo when he learned that Brooks Brothers is running a seersucker suit sale. Go for it Robbo!

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t have too much planned for the weekend. If the weather holds he’ll take the family out for a little hike in the George Washington National Forest. We may see a waterfall if we are lucky.

Carry on.

With deepest apologies to…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader apologizes in advance to the late Robert Frost (as well as to his fans and admirers everywhere).

Some say the world will end in fire, others say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire, I side with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I know that 225 British nuclear warheads combined with 5, 113 American ones would do the trick.

Carry on.

Some Nirvana in Kentucky

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is returned from a quick trip to Kentucky. The purpose, as he mentioned in a previous bleg, was to road trip with a good friend to visit Bourbon distilleries. Specifically the Maker’s Mark distillery.

By the way, my loyal minions… What the hell is up with you people? Have none of the 3,000 unique visitors per month to this site ever been to Lexington, Kentucky? None of you? He blegs for a restaurant suggestion… And nothing… On the one hand he is glad that no one made up a recommendation. On the other hand he now wonders if any of you get out…

(NB to you all… Your Maximum Leader read his site statistics for the first time in months in order to ascertain how many of you might be out there…)

Your Maximum Leader will not bore you with all the sundry details of the whole trip. He’ll say that he visited three distilleries. Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Maker’s Mark. Of those three, if you were going to visit one… He’d tell you without hesitation or reservation that the only one worth your time was the Maker’s Mark distillery.

As longtime readers of this spot know, your Maximum Leader is a Scotch whisky type of fellow. He comes from a long line of Scotch whisky drinkers. But over the past few years a combination of patriotism, changing taste, and the economy have started a love affair with Bourbon whisky. (Great Bourbon is a hell of a lot cheaper than great Scotch by the by. And times are tough you know…)

Your Maximum Leader’s favorite Bourbon is Maker’s Mark. He does like the Wild Turkey “Rare Breed” and Wild Turkey “101″ as well; but Maker’s is his favorite. He suspects this is due to the lack of rye in making Maker’s Mark. This is not to say that he doesn’t like Rye whisky. In fact he does. But if he is going to go down that taste path, he’d just as soon have Scotch.

In case you need photographic evidence of the trip…

Here is your Maximum Leader posing with the Maker’s Mark sign:
Maximum Leader at Makers Mark sign

As many readers surely know, Maker’s Mark is famous for the wax seals on their bottles. The distinctive red wax is applied by hand to every bottle. If you happen to visit the distillery and want to pony-up the cash, you too can dip a bottle of Maker’s in the red wax yourself. Needless to say, if you are making the trip you really have to do the dipping too. So here are just two shots (from the sequence of shots taken) showing your Maximum Leader dipping his bottle of Maker’s.

Maximum Leader preparing to dip bottle

Maximum Leader twirling his bottle

The Maker’s Mark distillery is really worth the trip if you are in the area. (Of course, your Maximum Leader made the 470 mile - each way - trip for no other reason but to go.) The grounds are fabulously kept. The facilities are great and the people are terrific. Everyone we encountered was so wonderful. Your Maximum Leader was particularly pleased with Betty and Susan (who gave him his tour and who greeted us upon our arrival, respectively). In addition, the man who was mixing the mash in the fermentation barrel was very happy to answer some questions while he worked. Even the fellow doing the weed-whacking near the parking lot was a cordial guy.

Your Maximum Leader was not as pleased with Four Roses or Wild Turkey. To be honest he’d never heard of Four Roses. Apparently much of the Bourbon produced by Four Roses is for export only. The Four Roses distillery was okay. In many ways it was about half-way between the Maker’s distillery and the Wild Turkey distillery experience. Maker’s Mark was almost a high-end theme park dedicated to Bourbon. Wild Turkey’s distillery was more like walking through a factory. Four Roses was somewhere in the middle.

To be fair to Wild Turkey, they need to be more factory-like. They are producing in a month as much product as does Maker’s Mark in a year. Where the Maker’s facility was characterized by manicured green lawns, nice sidewalks, beautiful shade trees, and well-tended buildings; the Wild Turkey facility was characterized by paved streets, rail road sidings and the constant hum of machinery.

Oh yeah… Did your Maximum Leader mention that Wild Turkey’s visitor center doesn’t have a serve permit? So while your Maximum Leader was getting small samples at Maker’s and Four Roses, they can’t let you try the goods at Wild Turkey. That was a little sad.

Anyhoo…

Your Maximum Leader might, at some point in the future, return to Bourbon country USA. He was rather charmed by Lexington and the surrounding horse country. He can see himself going (with Mrs Villain) to Lexington and taking in some horse racing, fine dining, and another visit to Maker’s Mark…

Carry on.

Nats fall to .500.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn’t think for a moment while watching yesterday’s game between the Washington Nationals and St Louis Cardinals that his beloved Nats looked like they were going to break their now 5 game skid. They (the Nats that is) didn’t look very sharp offensively. While the game’s score was close (3-2) the game itself didn’t seem that close while watching. There were some sparks, but the Nats seem to be in a slump.

That is okay. Teams go through slumps. The season is long. So your Maximum Leader isn’t going crazy. He thinks that the team will likely play consistent, if not always winning ball. When the season began your Maximum Leader knew that the Nats were not going to have a third 100+ loss season. He still believes that. He thinks that the Nats are still a season away from being a contender for a wild card spot. But this season is a sign of things to come.

Of course, your Maximum Leader hopes that the Nats can pull out a win against the Mets tonight. Perhaps a home stand is what the Nats need to get themselves going again.

The Nat’s curly “W”
Go Nats!

Carry on.

Stud.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been thinking a little about the primary results from yesterday. He thinks it all boils down to this: incumbents ought to watch out. Now since there are more Democratic incumbents than Republican ones that could be a boon for Republicans. We’ll see. It is still a long way to November and there is no telling what will happen. All in all it will be a fun ride.

But that little tidbit of esoteric commentary isn’t why your Maximum Leader started to write this post…

No… He is writing this because he wants to direct you to a short post by Fishersville Mike. Go and read Mike’s post “He’s a stud. That’s all.” You’ll like it.

Carry on.

Bourbon Country

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is going to be heading off at the end of the week to Lexington, Kentucky and Bourbon Country. It will be a short trip with your Maximum Leader’s childhood friend (who used to blog here from time to time) known here as the Air Marshal. It seems that perhaps 10 years ago the Air Marshal put a down-payment on a bottle of special bourbon that was being aged by Makers Mark. The bourbon is done and he has to pick it up in person. Your Maximum Leader will accompany him on this trek.

Can you see how this might the cause of a story? Road Trip + Booze = Stories.

Anyhoo…

If you are familiar with the Greater Lexington, Kentucky area and could recommend two restaurants for dinner your Maximum Leader would appreciate it. He’s never been to Lexington before and will have to rely on guidebooks and restaurant review web sites without your help.

Please suggest in comments or shoot your Maximum Leader an email.

Carry on.

The Slayer of Wilde Things

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is, today, the Slayer of Wilde Things. (See how he added that “e” to wild to make it look all “olde tyme”-y?)

By his reckoning, he’s killed no fewer than 8 small wild creatures today. (And the day is still young.)

The first group of creatures he killed was sort of by accident. He disrupted not one, not two, but three bird nests this morning and this disruption lead to the deaths of 7 baby birds in those nests. (Some survived - so it wasn’t complete bird-o-cide.)

The eighth creature your Maximum Leader killed was quite intentional. It was a black snake.

Normally when it comes to snakes your Maximum Leader is something of a live and let live type of guy. Snake eat vermin that your Maximum Leader dislikes more than the snakes. He likes letting animals higher up the food chain live if he can. (He applies this to spiders too. Spiders eat other more numerous and annoying insects thus he tends to let them live.) Alas, this snake seemed to run afoul of your Maximum Leader’s sister-in-law and had to be dispatched. Sadly it was the shovel for the snake. The snake was quite lively and resisted quite a bit. But in the end your Maximum Leader proved he was the higher life form. Out of curiosity after the snake was done in your Maximum Leader determined to measure it to see just how big a snake it was… The snake (without head) measured 38 inches on a tape measure. The head was likely another 3 or 4 inches.

That was a healthy sized snake. Was being the operative term of course.

Your Maximum Leader feels a little badly about having to kill the snake. And he hopes that mice and other vermin aren’t going to flourish due to this act… Of course, if they do, your Maximum Leader can kill them too.

Carry on.

Are they still the “Natinals?”

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn’t stay up to watch all of the Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies game last night. It was rain delayed and your Maximum Leader decided to just turn in and get a little extra shut-eye. Sadly he should have stayed up to watch the Nats put the 14-6 smackdown on the Rockies.

Last night’s win is one of those wins when you wish you could have a “run bank” and “bank” some of those runs you scored last night for a night when you can’t buy a run (and those nights happen in Baseball).

If the Nats continue to play well this season, and your Maximum Leader certainly hopes they will, will they still be called the “Natinals” by Neil Everett on SportsCenter? Your Maximum Leader wonders…

Your Maximum Leader has been getting some pressure from his offspring to become a “citizen of Natstown.” For those of you not in the area, “Natstown” is the fan-club component of the current Nationals marketing campaign. The team started to use the name last season when club VP Stan Kasten was referred to as the “Mayor of Natstown” during a press conference. The marketing campaign is working on the younger fans of the club apparently. The Wee Villain (aged 5) announced last year one time that he “wanted to go to Natstown” because “you can do whatever you want there.” To him Nats Park is a magical place where you can watch baseball, play video games, romp on a big playground, eat half-smokes, drink soda and eat ice-cream out of a little batting helmet. Obviously he doesn’t play close attention to his dad who shucks out all the money required to “do whatever” at Nats Park.

Anyhoo…

Villainette #2 sees the ads on TV during games entreating TV viewers to become a citizen of Natstown. She has asked many times that your Maximum Leader find out what it takes to be a citizen of Natstown. Your Maximum Leader’s exhortations that watching the team religiously and going to a number of games every year and buying t-shirts and stuff is certainly enough to be a citizen of Natstown. Villainette #2 wasn’t buying what he was selling however, so your Maximum Leader looked up what it actually takes to be a citizen. Here is the join Natstown page on the Nationals web page. As best your Maximum Leader can tell, to become a citizen of Natstown you give the team $19.95 and in return they give you some special web privleges, a single Thursday night game ticket, access to MLB Game Day (audio streaming of all MLB games to your PC) and some discounts at the team store. You also get a citizenship card.

No decoder ring? Harumph…

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t see how all that is worth $19.95. Sure the regular retail price of MLB Game Day by itself is $19.95, but your Maximum Leader already gets all the games on TV. He doesn’t get the games on radio.

(NB to Nationals management: What the hell is up with radio broadcast of the games by the way? You are on 1500AM and the signal strength of that station is crap. Your Maximum Leader can barely pick it up when he is in the Villainmobile and physically in DC! The signal starts to break up by the time on hits the Beltway! So down here in Fredericksburg your Maximum Leader is pretty much screwed in terms of picking up the games on radio. What makes this worse is that on some nights he can actually get a clear signal on the AM stations in New York City and Boston that broadcast the Yankees and Red Sawx games! That is pitiful. Please do something to get a better signal for the Nationals radio broadcasts. How about trying to do a deal with 106.7 FM. They are currently on an all sports-talk format - which really means all Redskins all the time. Perhaps putting some real games on the FM radio might be a good start.)

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t see the value of the Natstown membership. If he listened to more out-of-market games on the radio and knew that he could get away by himself to go to the Thursday night game it might be worth it. As it stands the $19.95 only gets you 1 ticket to the game (and a single ticket for a stadium tour). The game ticket value is $20 by the way.

Now… If the Nationals were to offer a “family” membership to Natstown your Maximum Leader might be more interested. He would be willing to pay up to $50 for a family membership with up to 4 tickets included. (Your Maximum Leader would still have to buy one more ticket to cover the whole family, but he understands that…)

So, your Maximum Leader will have to keep up the party line that as far as he’s concerned, we are already citizens of Natstown, even if we don’t have a laminated card…

The Nat’s curly “W”

Carry on.

More objectification

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader became very distracted today. After posting his recent post on objectifying the lovely and talented virtuoso, and platonic interest Lola Astanova, he listened to some of Lola’s recordings on his iPod.

The distracting part was imagining her playing Rachmaninoff at a piano on a beach and her wearing a little red bikini.

The acoustics of a beach performance leave a little to be desired. But the whole environment makes up for the deficiency.

Carry on.

Shouldn’t have touched the dial

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader did something he shouldn’t have last night. He assumed the Washington Nationals could have held a 5 run lead over the New York Metropolitans and he went to the olde PC and started to blog the mess you will read below this post. When he was done writing (if you can call it that) he went back to watch the post-game show and see how it all ended.

It ended with the Mets scoring 6 runs in the 8th inning and beating the Nats 8-6!

Ack!

That is no fun at all.

At least the ESPN people are taking note that the Nationals are a much better team than they were last year.

If the Nats can keep up their play over the season then this will be a very (VERY) good year. Your Maximum Leader was tickled to hear Ray Knight say on the pre-game show before last night’s game that if the Nats can keep it up over the year the last series of the season will be great. Of course the last series of the year for the Nats is a 3 game stand against the Phillies. Your Maximum Leader thought Ray spoke a little too soon… But it would be fun…

Go Nats!

Carry on.

Conservatism, a few random thoughts

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that David Cameron of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom has kissed Her Majesty’s hand and accepted the task of forming a government. A minority government, but a government just the same. Your Maximum Leader would be interested to learn what concessions the Liberal Democrats might have extracted from the Conservatives to assure that the budget doesn’t fail later this month. Congratulations to Mr. Cameron.

Your Maximum Leader has also noticed many American conservatives getting all warm and tingly about the Tory government in the UK. This is curious to him. First of all, the Tories are a minority government. This is a precarious place to be in a Parliamentary system. At any moment the government could collapse on a major vote that doesn’t go their way. So it seems a little odd to celebrate being in such a position. Sure, the Conservatives came back from a long way down and ousted the Labour Party from power, but they didn’t quite climb fully to the top of the greasy pole. They are sort of hanging off the top of the greasy pole by their fingernails.

The next unusual thing for your Maximum Leader is that American conservatives seem to think that British Conservatives are birds of a feather. Sure they share the title “conservative” but that really doesn’t mean that they are very similar. It is fair to say that American conservatives and British Conservatives both like “small government.” But “small government” to a British Conservative doesn’t mean ending the National Health Service - that huge socialist organization that runs health care in the UK. A British Conservative wants to keep down taxes and spending and due to Britain’s current financial condition they might actually have to deliver on the keeping down spending part. Your Maximum Leader hears lots of talk from American conservatives about keeping down spending; but they have not had a good track record in that department.

Your Maximum Leader is happy to see Labour out in the UK. He would be happier to have the Tories at 326 seats in Parliament rather than 306 or 308 or whatever non-326 number they have. He hopes that the Tories can hang on and make some good changes in about a year or so and then call another election and get an outright majority.

Of course, your Maximum Leader has also been thinking about American conservatives. He understands the angst that is manifesting itself in the Tea Party movement. Indeed, he feels the same angst in a number of ways. But all in all your Maximum Leader is not a Tea Party type of guy. He isn’t a protester sort. He is more a “peer over his glasses while reading the paper in the club to look at the protester through the window” type of guy. Of course, because your Maximum Leader isn’t the protester sort of fellow he sometimes wonders if he is conservative enough to satisfy some of his fellow-travellers.

Your Maximum Leader reflected on this point, namely his conservative street-cred, while reading a nifty little piece from Newsweek on how Reagan wasn’t a Reagan Conservative. It is fun to read about the crack-up of the conservative movement in a left-of-center weekly (that the Washington Post is trying to sell off by the by). It is fun because from time to time the liberal movement in the US has had similar crack-up moments and your Maximum Leader can say to himself “Ah, how soon they forget.”

Of course, it isn’t too fun to read a wonderful turn of phrase (in the Newsweek piece) that could be used to describe how your Maximum Leader’s feeling. That turn of phrase is: “…the RNC recently toyed with the idea of imposing a purity test on potential GOP candidates. Comply with eight of the party’s 10 “Reaganite” principles, the thinking went, and you’re worthy of funding. Fall short, and you might as well be Leon Trotsky.” Yup. When he talks to many conservatives and reads many conservative blogs he has frequented for years he is beginning to feel a little like Leon Trotsky in 1925. You know that “you’re still in the party but we will strip you of our Red Army positions and advise you to take a little vacation” feeling. Next thing you know you’ll be on the outs with the XVth Party Congress and living in Mexico on the lookout for NKVD agents with ice picks.

Look, your Maximum Leader is a small government fiscally conservative type of guy. But at some level we have to realize that small government isn’t achieved by tax cuts alone. It is achieved by spending cuts. It is achieved by cutting entitlements and bloated programs.

While your Maximum Leader is just laying it out here allow him to say that he’d like to see the Bush tax cuts made permanent and then just table the whole “tax cut” idea until we can cut some spending. Let him go even further (the real crazy talk), he’d be willing to let the Bush tax cuts expire if he could get some Democrats to come over to the dark side on spending cuts.

Egads! Did you read that last sentance! Your Maximum Leader would be willing to compromise on principle in order to advance on some other front! It is about priorities people. In a perfect world your Maximum Leader would be a pseudo-benevolent autocrat and we wouldn’t have these problems. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And our imperfect political system (which your Maximum Leader loves almost all the time) isn’t set up to move effectively or swiftly. But with a little political will progress in important areas could be made. Frankly, time isn’t on our side in the long-term and someone (or a whole bunch of elected someones more accurately) are going to have to fall on their swords to get things done before the US goes the way of Greece (and soon Portugal, Spain and Italy).

If you read the Newsweek piece linked above you would see that Andrew Romano mentions the “GOP Purity Test” as a benchmark to judge the behavior of Republican presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush. Romano’s benchmarking is sort of stupid actually if you had read the 10 points on which the GOP attempted (and failed as your Maximum Leader recalls) to pass. The 10 points are crafted to be relevant to the current political situation (more or less). Let us see how your Maximum Leader might fare if he were scored on these 10 points. Here we go!

(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus.” bill Your Maximum Leader does favor a smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficit and lower taxes. He must admit that he doesn’t know that opposing Obama’s “stimulus” is all it takes to demonstrate a commitment to those four points. Now your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that the “Obama stimulus” was as necessary as the “Bush stimulus” was but he is going to go on the the record and say that if it were not for a massive government intervention in the economy we would have been, in a word, fucked. So, your Maximum Leader didn’t (and doesn’t) oppose the stimulus. What about these other items in number one. Sadly they aren’t all going to happen at once. Your Maximum Leader would rank them thus: Lower deficits is most important; smaller government is next - and would naturally follow, if you are cutting the deficit (ie: spending) you are cutting government; then smaller national debt, then lower taxes. Sadly most conservatives will put lower taxes on the top of the list and hope for the best on the others. Your Maximum Leader actually did believe in the 1980s and 1990s that if you cut taxes you might get Congress to cut spending too. He doesn’t believe that any more. Lowering the deficit through spending cuts is the way to go.

(2) Market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare. Your Maximum Leader is safe on this one. The President’s health care reform package is awful and should be repealed.

(3) Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation. Okay, once again your Maximum Leader is good here. He does favor market-based reforms and does oppose cap and trade.

(4) Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check. Whoa! Three in a row. He does oppose card check.

(5) Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants. The streak ends. Look, your Maximum Leader is fully supportive of legal immigration. He is fully in favor of assimilation to American society and values (although we can thoughtfully debate the full scope of American values). But he has said time and time again that he is in favor of dramatically expanding opportunities for legal immigration. He likes the idea of guest worker programs for example. And he both supports securing our borders and opposes deporting illegal immigrants. To be honest the only workable solution to the problem of illegal immigrants is some sort of amnesty program. The first step should be securing the border. Then the next step is some sort of expansion of legal immigration and amnesty program for those illegals who want to take advantage of it. (NB: please remember that amnesty doesn’t mean citizenship automatically. It means a way of becoming legal and then, possibly, becoming a citizen.) Furthermore, your Maximum Leader would be in favor of examining a Constitutional Amendment that would require that one have at least one American parent to be born an American and remove the automatic citizenship to anyone born in the United States. (That actually is pretty durned radical in your Maximum Leader’s mind.)

(6) Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges. What the hell does this actually mean? What is victory in Iraq and Afghanistan? That isn’t really clear. Your Maximum Leader believes that we should support our troops to the level required to meet clear goals. If we aren’t willing to set these goals and work towards them then we shouldn’t be in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

(7) Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat. What the hell does this mean? Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that the George W Bush Admininstration had a workable strategery in this area. Frankly, your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that President Obama has a workable strategery in this area either. But if your Maximum Leader had to choose between Obama’s path and GW Bush’s path, he’d go with Obama’s for the time being. Talk to people, make friends with other nations and build a coalition against Iran and North Korea. Going it alone and not talking didn’t get us very far.

(8) Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act. Can’t do it. DoMA is unconstitutional as far as your Maximum Leader can tell and he would not support any plan to retain it or prop it up.

(9) Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion. What? This doesn’t make any sense. Who is rationing and denying health care to vulnerable people? Private insurers right? The only way to do this would be for the government to force private insurers to cover the vulnerable - or have government cover the vulnerable itself? Didn’t they read number 2 above? Your Maximum Leader is not an abortion supporter, so he has no trouble denying government funding for abortions. But he isn’t sure how all the rest of this works together.

(10) The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership. Check. Full support on this one.

So… Let us review… Your Maximum Leader would score (grading as generously as possible) a big ole 4.5 out of 10. (He gave himself a half a point on #9. He thought about giving himself a half a point on #1 as well… but then thought better of it.)

Well… What do you know… If Andrew Romano was determining if your Maximum Leader was a Reagan Conservative using the criteria he does in his article; then your Maximum Leader would score about the same as the real Ronald Reagan. Amazing how that works.

Of course, your Maximum Leader isn’t exactly a Reagan Conservative as the term appears to be used now (which is ultimately Romano’s point in his article). Your Maximum Leader is a Reagan Conservative in as much as Ronald Reagan, and the “Age of Reagan” as it were powerful influences on the type of conservative your Maximum Leader became. In the end your Maximum Leader is a real old school conservative. The proper role of government is a limited one that supports the traditional liberties of Americans and is slow to change for the sake of change. Government should be interested in equal justice under law and the setting of sensible boundries in commerce and civil interaction. Men aren’t angels so we must have government; but men should be allowed freedom to live as they would like within established civil traditions. Centralization is, ultimately, dehumanizing because a centralized bureaucracy is only capable of working a system to the lowest common denominator. And when you work to the lowest common denominator you bring many more people down than you raise up. As much as figures like Reagan are political heros to your Maximum Leader; just as important are people like Robert Nozick and Michael Oakeshott.

So where does this rambling mess of crap leave your Maximum Leader? Well, perhaps he isn’t Leon Trotsky… Perhaps he’s more like Bob Bennett…

Carry on.

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