September 4, 2013

Bushes as Habsburgs with better jawlines

Two from commenter Peter the Shark:
The Bushes are really reminiscent of the Habsburgs - another family of aristocrats whose primary loyalty was (is) to themselves and who were happy to take on the coloring of any group of people they could rule. Thus you had a Habsburg popping up in Mexico in the 19th century, Emperor Karl trying to make himself king of Hungary after WWI and another nephew who tried to enlist Ukrainian nationalism in support of his cause. Now of course Habsburgs are big supporters of the EU and continuously trying to find a role at the supranational level. In similar fashion a Bush can be an old New Englander (Prescott), a Texan (Dubya), or a Hispanic. Doesn't really matter to the Bush family. In some ways you have to admire the Bush clan for somehow managing to preserve an almost medieval sense of European aristocratic entitlement into the 21st century. 

And:
"30 Rock," like "Curb Your Enthusiasm." reflects a cynicism that has developed among smart urban liberals. They recognize that a lot of liberal tropes have failed, but for cultural and tribal reasons they won't abandon the ship. Liberal cynicism is probably good for the Democrats - it allows them to have a bigger tent since for the most part they are OK with being mocked from the inside as long as certain lines aren't crossed. I don't see that on the GOP where there is a constant battle to be "more true conservative than Thou!". The Dems are applying the Putin strategy to power and the GOP the North Korea strategy. 

33 comments:

countenance said...

Except I don't see where in the Stupid Party there's the great competition to be "more conservative than thou." The party's establishment is not and does not want the party to be conservative, and it wants conservatives not to have any power within the party, (though not distanced enough from the party so that it still votes Republican).

Dave Pinsen said...

OT, but you should check this out before the WSJ deletes it: "Fueled With Rice, Li Na Marches Into US Quarter Finals".

The article quotes the Chinese tennis player as saying she usually eats pasta before matches, but this time her husband brought her some Chinese food. Commenters criticize the WSJ for the headline being racist, by perpetuating the stereotype that Chinese people like rice, or something. Unreal.

JoetheHun said...

At least the Habsburgs left some nice buildings in Mitteleuropa

Marlowe said...

It seems to me a rather ridiculous equivalence. Regardless of the Latin influx from the south, I doubt most Americans will accept the emergence of a Bush dynasty, even one speaking fluent Spanish. The father suffered a rather sharp defenestration in 1992 at the hands of the American public and I don't believe the victory of the son in 2000 had much to do with the electorate's perception of a familial continuity. Most central & south American countries have failed to produce any sort of imperial dynasty - it might have produced beneficial results in terms of governmental stability but alas, no.

SGOTI said...

Damn, that's a lights out punch of a comment. And true!

"The Bushes are really reminiscent of the Habsburgs - another family of aristocrats whose primary loyalty was (is) to themselves and who were happy to take on the coloring of any group of people they could rule."

slumber_j said...

"At least the Habsburgs left some nice buildings in Mitteleuropa"

Plus, at least one of them--Polo Dobkin--is a really good chef:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1032652/The-West-Country-travel-agents-wife-612th-line-throne-unlikely-Britons-list-royal-succession.html

Anonymous said...

The lefties are able to laugh at themselves because they have won and they’re confident. So what if they occasionally let the mask slip on 30 Rock and admit that some of their dogma is bs- they have people like Jon Stewart and Colbert doing all the heavy work, training the young that Republicans are ridiculous and contemptible. The idea that the left has adopted a healthy self-image while those silly Republicans are just humorless and uptight because they can’t help themselves is just stupid. They’ve been castigated for being racist, homophobic religious zealots. Now after all that, they're being indicted because “they can’t laugh at themselves”? Please.

Anonymous said...

I don't see that on the GOP where there is a constant battle to be "more true conservative than Thou!".


Huh? Where in the GOP - whose most recent Presidential nominee's have been Romney, McClown, and Dubya and whose Congressional leadership is McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor - is there even the slightest evidence of a battle to be "more conservative than thou"? Believe me, I long to see such evidence. I'm sure I'm gong to be disappointed though.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

the GOP where there is a constant battle to be "more true conservative than Thou!".

Sounds like somebody watches too much 30 Rock, Stewart, and/or Colbert <wink>

Matt Buckalew said...

Other commenters have done a good job taking issue with the humorless GOP thing, but the Hapsburg comparison is somewhat iffy too. I mean when I think families dedicated implacably to one goal I think Barcas and destroying Rome and Hapsburgs and destroying the Reformation. I mean Charles V and Phillip II basically worked themselves to early deaths in fighting Protestantism.

The Hapsburgs described by the commenter are something like the 50th generation of recorded Hapsburgs not the 3rd generation like the Bushes. And even then it makes a lot of sense of an member of the Austro-Hungarian royal family to try and be the king of you know Hungary. Moreover, the Hapsburgs are no longer doing much of anything seeing as they are offically defunct following the death of Otto, who again saw his support of the EU very much in terms of restoring a United Christendom not riding the EU back into power.

I know its a small point and the analysis of the Bush family is on the money.

Anonymous said...

In some of the more progressive quarters of the country, Tina Fey gets no love whatsoever. Just google "Tina Fey racist" or "Tina Fey racism."

An example: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zeeshan-aleem/is-em30-rockem-the-most-r_b_637300.html

It's the run-of-the-mill Leftists who can afford the humor. The REAL Leftists know that such humor is keeping True Social Justice from being enacted universally.

Anonymous said...

"More conservative than thou"?

Hardly. The problem with Republicans is you have a constant drum-beat of moderates attacking conservatives and whining that Republicans need to be more liberal.

Mr. Anon said...

"Bushes as Habsburgs with better jawlines"

But they are sorely lacking in the ostrich-plumed hat department. The Habsburgs certainly have the Bushes beat in that regard.

The Bush/Habsburg analogy is a very astute observation by Peter the Shark.

Maxwell Power said...

The latter of the 2 comments sounds like every Huffington Post blog update ever

Aaron Gross said...

Liberals and leftists have always laughed at their own hypocrisies and pretentions. Ever hear of the phrase "politically correct"? A self-mocking phrase jokingly applied by leftists to themselves, until the right picked up on it and drained out every ounce of humor.

stari_momak said...

"Emperor Karl trying to make himself king of Hungary after WWI"

Emperor Karl was the king of Hungary, as his ancestors had been for, oh, 3 centuries or so ... by the express action of the Magyar parliament.

Whatever their faults, and whatever the legitimacy of mittel- europa nationalisms, the Hapsburgs kept the Ottomans out of Europe, and eventually recovered quite a bit of territory (including Hungary) for Christendom. It is clear from Otto von Hapsburg's funeral that popular nationalist and right wing groups support the family.

PS -- you'd think the hipsters would embrace the Austro-Hungary as an ideal. The original whiteopia, with fabulous facial hair.

Perhaps a better Bush comparison would be to the Bourbons. They truly had little

Mr. Anon said...

"Aaron Gross said...

Liberals and leftists have always laughed at their own hypocrisies and pretentions. Ever hear of the phrase "politically correct"? A self-mocking phrase jokingly applied by leftists to themselves, until the right picked up on it and drained out every ounce of humor."

You are, unsurprisingly, wrong. "Politically Correct" was used entirely unironically and in deadly seriousness by marxists, going back at least to the 30s. The New Leftists adopted the term, and likewise used it in earnestness. I have heard it used as recently as the 80s, in it's original, unironic sense.

"liberals have always laughed at their own hypocrisies and pretentions"? You must deal with a different kind of liberal or leftist than the one I am familiar with - an entirely imaginary kind.

So was this post made out of your usual inclination to dissemble, or were you just ignorant of that which you speak, i.e., were you being a "retard", as you might say?

Jack Hanson said...

Another day, another idiot comment by Aaron Gross.

Bill said...

Ever hear of the phrase "politically correct"? A self-mocking phrase jokingly applied by leftists to themselves, until the right picked up on it and drained out every ounce of humor.

So the trains to Siberia will ride on laugh tracks?

Anonymous said...

Except I don't see where in the Stupid Party there's the great competition to be "more conservative than thou." The party's establishment is not and does not want the party to be conservative, and it wants conservatives not to have any power within the party, (though not distanced enough from the party so that it still votes Republican).
9/4/13, 3:32 PM
Not true, the Tea Party folks that call Rino don't realized that the folks most against increasing taxes in their party also like cheap labor, Grover Norquist opposes increasing taxes on those in the 250,000 category but likes lots of cheap labor. Conservatives need to define themselves from something different in keeping taxes down always for folks in higher income brackets and being friendly to every business interest, for example a lot of Tea Party folks recently took the side of fast food companies since the left wants to rise wages but the Tea Party thinks you should kept wages lower like the fast food companies like MCdonalds wants and fast food hires a lot of illegal immigrants as well.

Modern Abraham said...

Ever hear of the phrase "politically correct"? A self-mocking phrase jokingly applied by leftists to themselves, until the right picked up on it and drained out every ounce of humor.

Truth? Truth?? Come back, brother! Seriously, even with an empty hand Truth does not resort to just making $h!t up. He at least tries to leaven the mood with his comedic stylings.

The last 60 years for the American Left has been one instance of identity flight after another, a desperate scramble to re-brand themselves after thoroughly discrediting whatever banner they've been marching under at the moment:

"No, I'm not a communist (and anyway Joe McCarthy coined that smear), I'm a socialist! No, I'm not a socialist (damn Nixon!), I'm a liberal! No, I'm not a liberal (grumble, Reagan, grumble) I'm progressive!"

"Politically correct" was the thoroughly self-selected designator of the politically correct until things like the Antioch College dating code and the "waterbuffalo" incident made them laughingstocks.

Maximo Macaroni said...

Don't forget the Hohenzollerns, who, through the Sigmaringen branch, supplied a missing heir to Romania (Karol) and tried like heck to put one on the throne of Spain (Leopold), with somewhat dire consequences - for France!

Modern Abraham said...

Yes, and it does not end well-


Charles II was the last Habsburg ruler of Spain. His realm included Southern Netherlands and Spain's overseas empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies. Known as "the Bewitched", he is noted for his extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities—along with his consequent ineffectual rule.

Charles did not learn to speak until the age of four nor to walk until eight, and was treated as virtually an infant until he was ten years old. Fearing the frail child would be overtaxed, his caretakers did not force Charles to attend school. The indolence of the young Charles was indulged to such an extent that at times he was not expected to be clean.


If you trace back his lineage, you can see the jaw becoming more grotesque down through the ages. Philip II looks very Germanic, with a pronounced but not freakish-looking chin.

Interesting to note the prominence of vigorous, bastard "John's of Austria" through the ages- fresh blood, I guess.

I also wonder how the example of these decrepit, disgusting, Medieval relics had an influence on European culture in the 19th Century. The forces of Napoleonic France bursting into Spain and sweeping away the last vestiges of feudalism- twisted aristocratic freaks like Charles II, but also the remnants of the Spanish Inquisition- must have seemed like a breath of fresh air to many. Subconsciously did this influence the interest in hygiene and good breeding (and eventually Darwinism) of the 1800's?

Marc B said...

"Except I don't see where in the Stupid Party there's the great competition to be "more conservative than thou."

It's just repeating the Big Lie over and over again. The attacks on the Tea Party and Sarah Palin over extremism are never backed up with any facts. Rarely, if ever, are the political positions of the supposed lunatic fringe right ever compared to the neoconservative policies considered the loyal opposition.

This is a tactic to reset the goal posts of what constitutes acceptable discourse. The real enemy of the Establishment is White political populism, so they must smear it so that it is marginalized.

Anonymous said...

"Whatever their faults, and whatever the legitimacy of mittel- europa nationalisms, the Hapsburgs kept the Ottomans out of Europe, and eventually recovered quite a bit of territory (including Hungary) for Christendom. It is clear from Otto von Hapsburg's funeral that popular nationalist and right wing groups support the family."

Churchill wanted the old empire to be re-established after WWII, as a way of keeping the peace. Stalin effectively vetoed the idea, well aware that such an empire would be hostile to him, and wanting those nations for himself.

Anonymous said...

The Hapsburgs, Welfs, Wettins, and all the other really old German sovereign families moved around a bit because the original German realm/Holy Roman Empire was conceived of on some levels as a unity, and these families were being appointed to semi- or fully hereditary landholdings/rulerships, and moved around or dispossessed for cause, by their superior, the German/Roman King/Emperor. And of course they were also squabbling over succession to the latter's throne, since it was only intermittently hereditary and always formally elective.

The Habsburgs started in what is now Switzerland, where their ancestral seat the Habichtsburg [Hawk's Castle] I believe can still be seen in ruins. They were the villains in the story of William Tell. Later they were appointed to be markgrafs [marquises] of the Eastern March [Ostmark, later to be known as the Eastern Realm/Lands or Osterreich]when the governing Babenberg line ran out.

There they managed to keep their hereditary holdings together and expand them into a coherent powerbase, eventually getting themselves elected to the German/Roman throne and making it practically hereditary, but always relying on their Austrian powerbase to provide their real revenues, army, etc.

It was a good way to build lasting power in a political system whose unity was breaking down and whose official appointments had become functionally hereditary long before that.

The later stuff is as others have said. Karl himself had already been King of Hungary, as his forebears had been since about 1517 or so, and it was Habsburg military power that redeemed most of Hungary from Ottoman rule over the next 200 years.

Ukraine is a more interesting case. In the age when monarchy was seen as the normal form of government and a badge of membership in European civilization, it was normal to import a monarch from an established line. It was a matter of manners and negotiation how much that monarch and heirs naturalized themselves to the host country. The German lands of course, since all the great princes, Grand Dukes and Dukes had become sovereign from 1648 and some had elevated themselves to Kings after 1815, had the most spares. Almost all monarchies ended up with a German or partly German line. The British have been German and then German by way of Danish [Philip's lineage- the Greek Royal Family are of Danish origin, but originally Germans from Oldenburg]. The Spanish and French are the only major exceptions I can think of, and even they kept marrying German or Austrian brides.The Russian, Dutch, and Belgian monarchies are/were all of German or German-Danish origin by 1900 or earlier.

Anonymous said...

Finland briefly entertained a German-born king as well.

Ukraine would have had a number of good reasons to take a German or Austrian king. It was under German and Austrian occupation 1917-18 and this had proved altogether better than Russian rule. Taking a King from either, presuming Central Powers victory, would have meant backing for the Ukrainian government against Soviet Russia and against all the various White and anarchist factions. And entree to European civilization, in general and in its then German-led form. Also, western Ukraine/Ruthenia, then as in the 1990s the seat of anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalism and such liberalism as Ukraine could generate, had been under Habsburg rule as part of Galicia and Bukovina.

Also, the archduke who aimed to be king of the Ukraine had led a military unit of Ukrainian riflemen from the part of the Ukrainian/Ruthenian people who were already imperial subjects.

Even more curiously, that archduke, who eventually had senior Habsburg backing for his scheme, was the rebel child of a Habsburg family branch that had previously set out to become the Polish Habsburgs and aim to become Polish kings. They too would have had a claim, since the Habsburg emperor also already held the title of King of Galicia and Lodomeria, which was a basically Polish kingdom within the empire encompassing southern Poland and now Ukraine.

This all sounds outre now, though as a Canadian monarchist I'm intellectually and spiritually much closer to it than most republican Americans would likely be. [I am satisfied that our Queen, though from a line that has passed through German and Danish precincts a few time, is a fairly senior genealogical descendant of James VI and I, and through him of all previous English, Scottish and Irish monarchs. And some Welsh princes. The Habsburgs are a bit much for me]. But the Habsburgs had good historical claims to be kings of any reconstituted poland or Ukraine after WW1, and an unchallenged claim to the Hungarian Crown should there have continued to be one.

Anonymous said...

"It is clear from Otto von Hapsburg's funeral that popular nationalist and right wing groups support the family."

No they don't. Only a handful of kooks support them. The popular austrian right is based on vehemntly anti-monarchist and anticlerical traditions. The Habsburgs are irrelevant and the monarchists only a couple of dozen in number. Most members of the popular right are oblivious to both.

Ulrich Habsburg is a member of the progressive green party. Karl Habsburg founded a non-monarchist, centrist, conservative christian party and failed miserably.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder how the example of these decrepit, disgusting, Medieval relics had an influence on European culture in the 19th Century. The forces of Napoleonic France bursting into Spain and sweeping away the last vestiges of feudalism- twisted aristocratic freaks like Charles II, but also the remnants of the Spanish Inquisition- must have seemed like a breath of fresh air to many.

As Joseph Sobran noted, the incensed liberal condemns his enemies, not to Hell, but to the past...

Peter the Shark said...

Of course Karl was King of Hungary before November 1918. But the Hapsburgs were viewed as alien intruders by the majority of ethnic Hungarians, as Karl's somewhat farcical attempt to reclaim the throne in 1921 demonstrated. An analogy might be Dubya - he was the legitimate governor of Texas, but most Texans today will you tell he's not a real Texan.

Anonymous said...

When Bush comes to love, what goes up must go brown.

pat said...

One big difference between the Habsburgs and the Bushes that you have not mentioned is consanguinity.

Don Carlos may be Verdi's best opera but it is certainly not the most historically accurate. The real Carlos was a genetic defective - a homicidal, deformed dwarf.

Many of the European royal lines were inbred including the Windsors - e.g. "The King's Speech". But none were so much so as the Habsburgs. They had double cousin marriages. Their motto seems to have been - "Let no recessive trait go unpaired".

BTW recently John Stossel announced on his TV show that marrying your cousin has been found to be harmless. Ha!

Albertosaurus

Matt G. said...

Prescott was from Columbus, Ohio; went to Yale and never left. Bush family is not old New England (Walker family is another story).

Lithuania/Latvia has a short lived German king at the end of WWI. Catholic Hohehzollern from Swabia. Cousin to kings of Romania.