- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2004

Failure and success

“What are we to make of Ulysses S. Grant? At 39 he was seen as a washout — no job, no money, forced resignation from the U.S. military after occasional drinking binges, nearly destitute with a dependent wife and four children, ex-junior officer, ex-farmer, ex-woodcutter, ex-real-estate agent, and at last, in 1860, a rumpled leather store clerk in Galena, Ill. … Yet a little less than three years later by congressional decree Grant was appointed lieutenant general in command of all Union forces. A mere seven years after he left Galena, at age 47, Grant became the youngest elected president in the young nation’s history.

“If contemporaries were mystified by the sudden ascendancy of this nondescript Midwesterner without either a distinguished academic record or friends in high places, 140 years later historians are still confused in their assessments of how he pulled it off. Drunk, corrupt, butcher, slob — Grant was slurred with these epithets and still more, both now and then. …

“Military leadership is not an easy thing in itself, but Grant was more than either a supreme commander or combat leader, but rather both and still more. He was a Patton and an Eisenhower all in one, stalking the front lines under fire and issuing his famous crisp, laconic orders to division commanders, even while as a grand military vizier he telegraphed orders over a continent-sized theater.”

Victor Davis Hanson, writing on “A quintessential general,” in this month’s issue of the New Criterion

‘Seismic conflict’

“Despite [the Wall Street Journal’s] claim that support for Proposition 200 was ‘plummeting,’ Arizonans … voted heavily for the ballot initiative that aims to stop illegal aliens from receiving involuntary taxpayer subsidies, voting in elections, etc.

“Proposition 200’s grassroots triumph in the teeth of the united opposition of the entire political establishment and its media mouthpieces is, as with California’s similar Proposition 187 [in 1994], a further illustration of the extraordinary power of the immigration issue.

“That the political establishment’s opposition remains absolute — typically, on election night, CBS News’ Dan Rather never even mentioned Proposition 200 in his interview with Arizona’s Sen. John McCain — is further evidence of the irrepressible seismic conflict that mass immigration is causing to build up under the surface of American political life.”

Peter Brimelow, writing on “The Big News: Proposition 200 Wins in Arizona,” last Wednesday at www.vdare.com

The values divide

“Since Southerners stopped fighting the Civil War and joined their conservative brethren in the GOP, sectional differences have become meaningless in America. Instead, the country is divided rural versus urban, cosmopolitans versus the average American. The cosmopolitans are able to project their vision out from New York and Hollywood, but people aren’t listening anymore.

“You could see this the morning after with Katie Couric trying to cope with the idea that the election was decided by ‘values.’ Values? What the heck is that? It never occurs to her that three hours later viewers will be treated to an afternoon of soft-core pornography masquerading as soap opera. None of this raises an eyebrow in Manhattan, but parents in Peoria trying to keep their kids away from the television are sick of it.”

William Tucker, writing on “Lessons for Losers,” Thursday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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