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October 31, 2005

Dear Right Wing: I Would Prefer It If You Used More Subtle Figures Of Speech

I would be more comfortable if people like Victor Davis Hanson—i.e., right-wing militarist historians beloved by Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby—didn't write columns calling on George Bush to "cross the Rubicon":

For good or evil, George W. Bush will have to cross the Rubicon on judicial nominations, politicized indictments, Iraq, the greater Middle East, and the constant frenzy of the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic party — and now march on his various adversaries as never before. He can choose either to be nicked and slowly bled to death in his second term, or to bare his fangs and like some cornered carnivore start slashing back.

You might think a National Review editor would tell Victor Davis Hanson: "Uh, Vic... here's the thing. Most people remember that the moment Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army is seen as the point at which the Roman Republic died and the Roman Empire was born. So, as a right wing militarist, you might be better off using a different figure of speech. Just, you know, so people don't think you actually want Bush to destroy republican government in the U.S."

But apparently the National Review has never had such editors. Either that or they did, but then Hanson stabbed them all to death with his gladius.

Posted at October 31, 2005 12:16 PM | TrackBack

Other commentators would point out that only serial killers use all three of their names on their manifestos and leave it at that. But not you, Jon. You roll up your sleeves and show us how Victor Davis Hanson's flair for the unfortunate works.

Posted by: Blonde Rotarian at October 31, 2005 01:32 PM

Come on, Jon. In Caesar's day, the Senate was occupied by a bunch of corrupt, easily bribed hacks trying to enrich themselves at public expense. There's NO WAY you could draw that comparison with OUR Congress, buddy. And Caesar's heir Augustus got a lot of mileage out of promising to restore traditional values to the Roman people. NO WAY would a Republican run on something that silly. And just because the traditional-values Augustus had an embarrassing libertine of a daughter doesn't mean that a Republican president could as well. Two embarrassing daughters, maybe.

So please stop drawing these irrelevant historical analogies.

Posted by: Ted at October 31, 2005 03:42 PM

When Caesar decided to break the law by not leaving his troops at the Italian border he reportedly said, "Alea jacta est" which means "the die is cast." There followed a bloody civil war in which the Republic was replaced by an empire the emperor of which was Caesar (whence come the terms "Kaiser" and "Czar"), appointed for life and deemed divine. I'm not sure whether we have not already crossed the Rubicon, but it doesn't seem that VDH is all that concerned with the political consequences of Bush's actions on any future election. You may easily guess why.

When the Cheney admin invaded Iraq, the die was cast.

Posted by: cavjam at October 31, 2005 11:27 PM

Jon, do you seriously think that if every subscriber to the New Republic was required to write down what they think the Rubicon is, that any of them would even know what the historical reference WAS? If any of them DID, do you think it would be more than the percent of human endeavor that your dad thinks is based on reason?

More to the point, do you think that VDH knows what it is? (I know he's supposed to be a military expert so presumably he should - but how can you be sure?)

Posted by: Anna in Cairo at November 1, 2005 12:48 AM

Ah, the snobbery of East Coast elites!

The difference is that Anna's even further to the East than the usual liberal traitor.

Posted by: Sully at November 1, 2005 07:46 AM

I'm curious about what is the difference between East Coast and West Coast liberal snobbery, Sully.

Lest we forget, after the Greeks in Egypt dispatched Pompey, and after Caesar reorganized Egypt, he returned home to many long knives.

Rubicon crossed or no, who out there may be sharpening theirs?

And all the Romans had AT LEAST three names.

Posted by: Alexis S at November 1, 2005 08:35 AM

Our Rubicon was called the Tigris. Too late, oh eternal city!

Funy though, Bush went from Julius Ceasar to Nero Ceasar in five short years...

Posted by: Keith at November 1, 2005 09:29 AM

Obviously, East Coast snobbery is earned.

But, then, I'm an East-Coaster.

Posted by: Sully at November 1, 2005 10:01 AM

The Rubicon, ah yes, I figure it was where we derived the Rubic's Cube from, right?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at November 1, 2005 10:14 AM

It's the RubiCon, like BloggerCon, and it's festival for the guillble.

Posted by: Blonde Rotalitarian at November 1, 2005 10:47 AM