Here’s Alfie, grinning, back in the day. His pretty little wifey is not around just now, and he’s prowling. Alfie’s a philosopher, he says,"You got a shiny silver dollar in your pocket, ain’t nuthin’ wrong with goin’ fer another, jus’ don’t flip double-or-nuthin’!"

Annie’s another philosopher of the Alfie mindset. She’s an albino Pit we’re keeping for a time. We give her a treat, a synthetic rawbone, and also have one for Scoobie, who takes his into the den.

She’s thinking, Annie is. You can see her thinking. She buries her treat under a blanket by the fire and trundles in towards the den. She thinks she can somehow cozen Scoob out of his rawbone, therefore she’ll have ’em both.

Now she stops to think it over for real. Scoob is a Rottie/Pit mix, and he outweighs her by at least a hundred pounds. He makes an expression that scares me, and I ain’t even involved in the transaction.

Annie thinks better of her move.

But it’s only human nature, to expand your goods at the expense of the other guy. It’s war, sports, capitalism, international trade. Consider a politician, who must play to the base during the primary, then move over towards the center to take more play away from the opponent in the general election. The winning candidate tries for a permanent majority by settling into that vast shallow lake in the eye of the storm.

Here’s one historic example of just such a tactic.

…[T]hat [the president’s] political problems at home were primarily from the right and the center, that the left could be handled, indeed that it had nowhere else to go, and that it must accept the Administration’s private statements of good will and bide its time for the good liberal things which might one day come. The latter attitude, the belief in the essential political weakness of the liberal-left, encouraged the Administration in some of its harder-line activities … That [the president] still felt that the right was his problem, that he coveted respectable Establishment support as a form of protection from the right and that he felt more comfortable with the traditionalists was evident in another crucial appointment he made … of John McCone, an extremely conservative, almost reactionary California Republican millionaire, to head the CIA.

Italics mine. I’ll take your questions now.

1) What is this passage from?
2) Which president is featured?
3) What’s the issue driving these decisions?

1) The Best and the Brightest – David Halberstam
2) JFK
3) Vietnam



Smalltown Texan, Blackland Prairie, a senior. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up. Married, with Rottie/Pit. Reading, and some writing, that's me.