Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

“People Aren’t Stupid”

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

John Fund’s column in the Wall Street Journal, about Massachusetts’ new Wonder-Senator:

So why does he think Democratic attacks on him for opposing Mr. Obama’s bank tax didn’t seem to gain traction?…”They get that a bank tax will be transferred down to individuals through ATM fees and the amount of money they can lend to create jobs will also be reduced.”

Mr. Brown says it frustrates him that too many politicians still believe that people will be fooled by what they’re proposing. “People aren’t stupid, and leaders should figure out they’re better informed now than ever.”

On Endorsing McCain

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

I agree with Allahpundit. Mostly, anyway. More than I usually do.

First, he quotes from the boss, Michelle Malkin…and I have to agree with her as well.

As the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, [Sen. McCain] was wrong on the constitutionality of the free-speech-stifling McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations. He was wrong to side with the junk-science global warming activists in pushing onerous carbon caps on America. He was on the wrong side of every Chicken Little-driven bailout. He was wrong in opposing enhanced CIA interrogation methods that have saved countless American lives and averted jihadi plots. And he was spectacularly wrong in teaming with the open-borders lobby to push a dangerous illegal alien amnesty.

Tea Party activists are rightly outraged by Sarah Palin’s decision to campaign for McCain, whose entrenched incumbency and progressive views are anathema to the movement. At least she has an excuse: She’s caught between a loyalty rock and a partisan hard place. The conservative base has no such obligations – and it is imperative that they get in the game before it’s too late.

And then he makes a prediction…

The weirdest part of this? I don’t think anyone will be swayed by Palin’s endorsement. No one seriously believes she’d be backing him if not for her personal loyalty to him, and McCain’s sufficiently infamous for his centrism that even her support won’t scrub him clean in the eyes of tea partiers. Which means this is actually a pretty shrewd move on her part: She gets credit for being a good soldier, especially in light of the sniping at her from his former campaign aides, whereas he gets maybe a few extra votes from conservatives. In fact, someone should make a video at her rally for McCain in the same mold as that now-famous video outside Obama’s rally for Coakley, where college kids babbled about getting to see The One in person while showing no enthusiasm whatsoever for the candidate. That’s what we’re going to end up with here, I think.

Yes, Palin has an excuse, yes Palin is caught between a rock and a hard place. Suppose she endorsed Hayworth or Simcox. Or simply didn’t say anything at all. Oh dear God, can you imagine. She could survive it, but only just barely. I think what’s going on is, in that scenario she’d lose the “salt of the earth” types — those who don’t give a rat’s ass whether McCain sinks or swims over in Arizona, but dammit, want to see some good old-fashioned character in whoever’s taking charge. Right or wrong, she’d lose them. And without them, her movement loses definition.

No, I don’t think this is shrewd on her part. I think it’s necessary. Even so, I’m not altogether sure I agree. Malkin’s right, and I hope McCain loses.

The democrats are saying two and two are five. The Republicans, last time they were in charge, said two and two are four but it doesn’t really matter let’s spend the money anyway. McCain’s all about saying it adds up to four-and-a-half.

We’re getting fed up with all the nonsense — I think Arizonians are too — and McCain isn’t doing his bit to bring it all to the inglorious end it so richly deserves. Depending on the issue, four-and-a-half is every bit as wrong an answer as five.

“Can’t Win Them All”

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Great Scott.

State Sen. Scott Brown has pulled a Bay State bombshell by upsetting his Democratic rival to capture the open U.S. Senate seat by a 5-point margin.

Brown, 50, of Wrentham, will roll into Washington as Congress wrestles with health-care reform. But Brown has vowed to be “the 41st Senator” who will defeat the measure and bust up the Democratic supermajority.

Democrat Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, has gone down in a stunning defeat. Brown has won 52-47 percent, with 94 percent of the precincts reporting. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy finished way back with 1 precent of the vote.

In her concession speech, Coakley said President Obama called her to say, “We can’t win them all.”

It’s history. And every time it’s mentioned, I’m going to immediately think of Daphne’s comment:

HAH!

Obama takes one right in the nads!!!!!

Way to go Massachusetts!

Drinks are on me, boys.

I Told You SoWhat happens from here on out? Frank has some predictions.

* The Democrats will try to rush their Obamacare bill through the House, not even checking it for errors, and we’ll all wind up with free halth care.

* Obama locking himself in his office, and when he’s told the people want to hear from him, he’ll say, “I’m too awesome for the American people! They don’t deserve me!” This will be followed by loud weeping.

* Left-wing blogs will break down into even more rage and incoherence such that posts will just be made by the bloggers angrily bashing their keyboards with their tiny fists.

Guess I can stop writing posts with the recurring headline “Twilight of Honeymoon.” It’s freakin’ pitch black now, and the honeymoon’s over. Undeniably. In less than a year.

Update: When my optimism of the human condition gets to be a little bit too high, I hit FARK. Cures me every time.

In fact, while I can always predict the outcome, sometimes I cannot predict the means. Case in point — you’ll never guess what they’re doing tonight. Never in a million years. If your very first exposure to the site was through this thread, you’d swear on your grandmother’s bones that the place was an underground bulletin board for lifelong Republicans. “Take that, you stinking democrats!” seems to be the prevailing theme. “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of assholes!”

You FARK people…who in the blue fuck do you think you’re kidding. You’d have to cross-reference the names to find out for sure: Are these people changing their tune, now that York has overthrown Lancaster…or is it one crowd of people, previously overbearing, now shutting up; and another one, previously silent, letting loose? Which one is it?

Does it really matter?

People are jackals. Cowardly jackals. Fucking hyenas. Scavengers of the first order. Well…you read it here first, folks. FARK is now a hard-right Republican news site. Obama? Aw, they could never stand the guy, nope.

Well, whatever. Tomorrow, we start following the saga surrounding the “halth care” bill. It should be in terminal decline. I won’t stop worrying about it until the dirt is hitting the coffin lid.

Bury it with Ted’s rancid carcas, and dump nine feet of wet cement on the whole stinking mess. You want a nanny state to manage your aches and pains and treat you like a five-year-old with a tummy ache, there’s a hundred other countries you can go. I’ll help you pack. One-way ticket.

Obama Will Be Combative

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

There’s something glaringly missing from this story which speculates on the response from democrats in general, and the White House in particular, should the Massachusetts race not go their way. Can you spot it? Read top to bottom. Go on, I’ll wait. It starts out like this…

President Barack Obama plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts, close advisers say.

“This is not a moment that causes the president or anybody who works for him to express any doubt,” a senior administration official said. “It more reinforces the conviction to fight hard.”

A defeat by Martha Coakley for the seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy would be embarrassing for the party — and potentially debilitating, since Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof, 60-vote hold on the Senate.

A potential casualty: the health care bill that was to be the crowning achievement of the president’s first year in office.

The health care backdrop has given the White House a strong incentive to strike a defiant posture, at least rhetorically, in response to what would be an undeniable embarrassment for the president and his party.

There won’t be any grand proclamation that “the era of Big Government is over” — the words President Bill Clinton uttered after Republicans won the Congress in the 1990s and he was forced to trim a once-ambitious agenda.

“The response will not be to do incremental things and try to salvage a few seats in the fall,” a presidential adviser said. “The best political route also happens to be the boldest rhetorical route, which is to go out and fight and let the chips fall where they may. We can say, ‘At least we fought for these things, and the Republicans said no.’”

That last one kind of got close to what I was trying to find…not quite there. What I’m looking for, you don’t find anywhere in it. Not a single mention.

And this is really, really remarkable.

It is the reason democrats are going to fight so hard after being handed this plate of shut-the-fuck-uppery. The ostensible reason. Our poor, our disenfranchised, the uninsured, the homeless people the Republicans keep stepping on when they walk down the street. The little old ladies being forced to choose between proper treatment of their malignant hangnails and another tin of cat food for them to take home for supper now that they’ve eaten the cat.

The ritual snow-job that, supposedly, what the democrats want is only what’s good for “all of us.” Something about, no matter how many Republicans are in the Senate, there are still some decent folks out there who can’t get health care, and dammit they’re entitled to it! (Slam fist down on table here.)

You don’t hear that quite so often the last few days, do you? It’s all about how awesomesauce the democrat party is, and how they win even when they lose.

Not that this proves anything. Sure, it’s logically impossible for them to have the country’s interests at heart when they behave this way…but that isn’t news to you if you think critically about this stuff. Nevertheless, there are seasons to this. On even numbered years right before Election Day, it is clearly to their benefit to take the sad-sack approach and talk about “workers” being forced to lick the mud off their boss’ boots because our labor laws aren’t up to snuff, or “undocumented workers” who are being overworked just so they can send a few piddly dollars back home to their fifteen kids who all have leprosy, or the guy who is willingly selling his last kidney so his daughter can get a bone marrow transplant because she used up all her benefits…whatever.

During “special” elections all that shit goes away. It becomes more like a coach’s speech in a locker room. Minus the sportsmanship. We’re so awesome, those other guys suck so much. In this particular case it’s supposed to be about health care. And saving the planet. Not a single peep about the supposedly awful ramifications in store for “all of us,” or “the least among us,” should they fail. Nothing about who stands to get hurt. Even snail darters and spotted owls…something like those…nowhere to be found.

Very, very, very strange. What exactly does it mean? Wish I knew.

Brown, Brown, Brown, Brown…

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Senator Brown.

Hot Air

Anything can happen; a coming snowstorm could cool enthusiasm for Brown and blunt the big turnout he needs from independents, for instance, although right now that would appear to be more of a danger to Coakley’s diffident voters. But the broad range of polls all show Brown surging and Coakley stumbling. We’ll see whether that becomes reality in tomorrow’s definitive poll of Massachusetts voters, and whether the seat belongs to the people or to Washington DC.

MyFox Boston

A poll released a day before the special Senate race shows Senator Scott Brown surging to a double-digit lead over Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race for the open Massachusetts Senate seat.

Politico

A new InsiderAdvantage poll conducted exclusively for POLITICO shows Republican Scott Brown holding a 9-point advantage over Martha Coakley a day before Massachusetts voters trek to the ballot box to choose a new senator.

According to the survey conducted Sunday evening by the non-partisan firm, Brown leads the Democratic attorney general 52 percent to 43 percent.

Never Too Late to Right a WrongFive Thirty-Eight

The FiveThirtyEight Senate Forecasting Model, which correctly predicted the outcome of all 35 Senate races in 2008, now regards Republican Scott Brown as a 74 percent favorite to win the Senate seat in Massachusetts on the basis of new polling from ARG, Research 2000 and InsiderAdvantage which show worsening numbers for Brown’s opponent, Martha Coakley. We have traditionally categorized races in which one side has between a 60 and 80 percent chance of winning as “leaning” toward that candidate, and so that is how we categorize this race now: Lean GOP. Nevertheless, there is a higher-than-usual chance of large, correlated errors in the polling, such as were observed in NY-23 and the New Hampshire Democratic primary; the model hedges against this risk partially, but not completely.

Update 1/19/10:

Pic credit: TNOYF, via Gerard.

Wall Street Journal:

Whether or not Republican Scott Brown wins today in Massachusetts, the special Senate election has already shaken up American politics. The close race to replace Ted Kennedy, liberalism’s patron saint, shows that voters are rebelling even in the bluest of states against the last year’s unbridled pursuit of partisan liberal governance.

Yes, said “unbridled pursuit” has definitely been put to an inglorious end, inside of a year. The country has drawn at least one benefit from its decision to put the democrat party so decisively in charge of things, out of widespread contempt against the other guys: It knows, beyond the shadow of any doubt, what is in the heart of the democrats.

Their agenda is not good for the country and they damn well know it. With the competition effectively gelded, that’s the time to start sneaking around like they’ve never sneaked around before. Their behavior has been beneath abysmal. If the occasion was an invitation to attend a party, rather than to govern a country, their performance would be roughly akin to taking a colossal dump in the punch bowl.

No, wait. Worse than that; much worse. Taking said dump with everyone watching. Wiping with the living room curtains. And then telling everyone it’s a candy bar. And then getting pissed when all the other guests don’t simultaneously yell “Well okay then! Om nom nom nom!”

Spare a little wrath for the electorate though. Some forty-five percent of us would invite them to the party again, and are willing to brag about this. This should be somewhat like buying the National Enquirer, or ordering a penis enlargement device: No one will ‘fess up to having done it, but doggone it you just know someone somewhere must have.

Perhaps, by later this year when we elect a new Congress, the stigma really will be that thick. And stay like that for awhile.

JFK’s Stimulus Program

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Interesting concept. Let’s call it “anti-American,” then maybe Obama will give it a try. Naturally, He’d want to kick it off with a wonderful, wonderful speech.

The fellow speaking at the end is running for the Senate seat that was once occupied by JFK and then by his brother Ted.

Hat tip to Rick.

democrats Can’t Blame Bush For Their Troubles

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

E.J. Dionne…

[George W. Bush']s presidency was a tonic for Democrats and led to a blossoming of political creativity on the center-left not seen since the 1930s. No tactic, no program, no leader ever did more to catalyze the party than the rage Bush inspired.

The whole effort was summarized nicely by the party’s slogan in 2006, “A New Direction for America.” There was no need to specify north or south, east or west, up or down. Compared with Bush, any alternative destination seemed appealing. And by becoming the apotheosis of the fresh and the new, Barack Obama emerged as the most attractive guide to this unknown promised land.
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But politically, the Democrats are in trouble. They are at one another’s throats over health-care legislation that should be seen as one of the party’s greatest triumphs. They are being held hostage by political narcissists and narrow slivers of their coalition.
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When Democrats make deals, they are accused of selling out. When they fail to make deals, they are accused of not reaching out. Moderates complain that their party has gone too far left. Progressives chortle bitterly at this, asking: What’s left-wing about policies that shore up banks and protect drug companies?

…has absolutely no sense of irony.

And I think he’s having an Inigo Montoya moment with that phrase “political creativity”; I do not think it means what he thinks it means. Just because you’re doing all your thinking with the right half of your brain, and the left half of it is long since dead, doesn’t make you “creative.”

The lesson to be learned, is that when you are the opposition party the whole issue of “making the tent bigger” or “reaching out” is off-topic. It doesn’t mater. And that’s not a good thing, for anybody.

The fault goes to the power-brokers who were building up the democrat party as an opposition party against Bush’s policies…any Bush policies…anything that might possibly be connected to his name. It was not a substantive or honest way to debate the direction in which our country should be heading. But don’t be too hard on them; they were just running the campaign in such a way that it could enjoy the greatest potential for achieving its goals, and most efficiently.

Just like running a business.

Mmmmmm…the ironies…yes, I does have a sense of them.

“Whole Foods Republicans”

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Michael Petrilli, writing in the Wall Street Journal, offers a helpful prescription for Republicans. Or pretends to:

What’s needed is a full-fledged effort to cultivate “Whole Foods Republicans”—independent-minded voters who embrace a progressive lifestyle but not progressive politics. These highly-educated indiividuals appreciate diversity and would never tell racist or homophobic jokes; they like living in walkable urban environments; they believe in environmental stewardship, community service and a spirit of inclusion. And yes, many shop at Whole Foods, which has become a symbol of progressive affluence but is also a good example of the free enterprise system at work. (Not to mention that its founder is a well-known libertarian who took to these pages to excoriate ObamaCare as inimical to market principles.)

What makes these voters potential Republicans is that, lifestyle choices aside, they view big government with great suspicion. There’s no law that someone who enjoys organic food, rides his bike to work, or wants a diverse school for his kids must also believe that the federal government should take over the health-care system or waste money on thousands of social programs with no evidence of effectiveness. Nor do highly educated people have to agree that a strong national defense is harmful to the cause of peace and international cooperation.

So how to woo these voters to the Republican column? The first step is to stop denigrating intelligence and education. President George W. Bush’s bantering about being a “C” student may have enamored “the man in the street,” but it surely discouraged more than a few “A” students from feeling like part of the team.

The same is true for Mrs. Palin’s inability to name a single newspaper she reads. If the GOP doesn’t want to be branded the “Party of Stupid,” it could stand to nominate more people who can speak eloquently on complicated policy matters.

Even more important is the party’s message on divisive social issues. When some Republicans use homophobic language, express thinly disguised contempt toward immigrants, or ridicule heartfelt concerns for the environment, they affront the values of the educated class. And they lose votes they otherwise ought to win.

Petrilli’s mistake is pretty obvious: The GOP’s reputation as the “Party of Stupid,” he seems to think, is the party’s own fault and nobody else’s. There has been no concerted effort on the part of Team Obama, MoveOnDotOrg, the cable teevee “comedians,” the alphabet-soup network news anchors, Team Kerry back in ’04, Hollywood celebrities, et al — to make democrat candidates look like mental giants and Republican candidates look like knuckle-dragging rubes. No, that was all empirical evidence we saw with our own eyes, and mistaken Republican campaign tactics that need to be turned around. The segregation-party took everything over last year because they’re the only natural home for the eggheads; the Party of Lincoln is getting pounded because it’s all about tearing out indoor plumbing, electricity, the wheel…that’s why the conservative pundits are people like George Will and Thomas Sowell, and the other side has Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Jerry Brown.

Conservatives just have to start liking smart people, and everyone will stop making fun of them.

It seems to have never occurred to Petrilli to wonder just what kind of life a typical liberal leads, in order to become so desperate to advertise these qualities of “smarts.” If ya got a brain, and you really know for sure that you have one, shouldn’t you just be…using it? Quietly? As a tool to be going about your day-to-day existence, rather than as a flashy gimmick for starting conversations at cocktail parties? To vote for candidates who will govern — and not “rule”?

And if you misuse it…like, for example, so you can “BE A PART OF THIS THING!!!” as of November of last year…isn’t it something of a natural consequence to regret it now, as so many clearly do?

Seems to me that’s a much more potent campaign slogan. Votes that will make things better, rather than votes you can brag about to your other highbrow friends.

Ideas that work…not ideas that dazzle your friends who likely don’t make very good friends anyway.

Policies that are good for everybody…not policies designed to pick out this-or-that segment of the population of your fellow citizens — small business owners, “hedge fund managers,” capitalists, executives, entrepreneurs, and take ‘em down a peg or two because it feels so darn good.

Of course, the elephant (Hah! Sorry) in the room around which Mr. Petrilli is dancing, and which I’ve left unmentioned up until now as well, is…Copenhagen. Following his advice to the letter, and only pretending to show some of this intellectual curiosity and not actually using any of it — the enthused Republican candidate will be confronted early on with the issue of climate change. That which used to be called “global warming.” It says…

1. The world is still heating up;
2. Trends left unchecked, it will become unlivable very soon;
3. It’s all or mostly our fault — enough that we can “make a difference” by stopping some things and starting other things;
4. The only way to check, slow or stop the crisis is to raise our taxes.

Now if you want to deck yourself out in glib, glittery, meanlingless finery that showcases your intellect…nevermind whether or not you really have some…the verdict is quite clear. You must support those four pillars above. You must. And it’s already been proven to us, if you are in possession of, or have access to, data that disturb the four bullets, you have to get rid of it, or “hide the decline.”

On the other hand, if you think intellectualism is something more than a fashion statement; if you think it has something to do with honesty — you have no choice but to fight back, because this stuff called “climate change” is nothing other more or less than an assault on responsible thinking.

Mr. Petrilli is the one defining this term “Whole Foods Republicans,” so it’s left to him to make the determination: Are these people who won’t give a candidate their vote, unless the candidate supports the most audacious and ambitious scam in all of human history?

Could he be talking about people like me, who recognize it has the sham that it is, but still drive around in four-cylinder, two-door sedans, walk to wherever it is we’re going if it’s within two miles and we have the time…yell at our kids to get the hell out of the house and get some fresh air…teach them that littering is an abomination in the eyes of God? Is he talking about us? It doesn’t seem likely. I know of others who do this, and not a one of ‘em was fooled by Barack Obama for a single Chicago minute.

No, the ones I know are tired of the bull feces. They recognize — Mr. Perilli seems ignorant of this — that “intellectualism” has gone through a redefinition of sorts since that whole Iraq thing. That one really smart guy worth quoting, said it all:

Intellectualism has become the readiness, willingness and ability to call dangerous things safe, and safe things dangerous.

You want to scratch the itch that plagues the Republican-smarty-pants set? Take that one down. Attack that. Stop that in its tracks. That’s my suggestion…and it’ll net you all the Republican votes you ever had a shot at chasing. The rest were never going to be yours, no matter what.

Purity Resolution

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

All RIGHT. Now we’re talkin’.

Republican leaders are circulating a resolution listing 10 positions Republican candidates should support to demonstrate that they “espouse conservative principles and public policies” that are in opposition to “Obama’s socialist agenda.” According to the resolution, any Republican candidate who broke with the party on three or more of these issues– in votes cast, public statements made or answering a questionnaire – would be penalized by being denied party funds or the party endorsement.

The proposed resolution was signed by 10 Republican national committee members and was distributed on Monday morning. They are asking for the resolution to be debated when Republicans gather for their winter meeting.
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Here is the resolution’s list:

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run health care;

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

If I was running for office — hah right, fat chance. Anyway, I’d be at nine outta ten. It is a satisfactory intersection between the issues that concern us in the here-and-now, and my own platform. So the seventy-percent test seems fair, to me.

I wonder how Scozzafava woulda done.

Update: I would have appreciated some elaboration on Point #1. Maybe splitting it in two. Whoever wants to call himself a conservative in 2010, should be spirited in launching a devastating attack upon the various wealth-distribution schemes. There needs to be an emphasis on the damage that takes place on the natural-market forces when assets are forcibly taken away from one and given to another. There also has to be a sense of conviction that Keynesian economic theory is not only invalid, but has been repeatedly tested and failed each time. That we are permanently done with it.

Neal Boortz has a great quote about this today. The author is Dr. Adrian Rogers.

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. [emphasis mine]

Go in to 2010 standing up for that guy. The guy that must work to earn without receiving. Let the liberals appeal to their base, let them wail away that you’re slavishly playing into the interests of a bunch of rich pansy whiners. Let them go ahead with that.

Just stick to that one sentence up there, the one bolded. Whatever is given to someone who didn’t earn it, must have been plundered away from someone who did. And who loses when that happens? We all do. Rich, poor, anyone in-between.

You know what else has to be in the document? Something about reality. Name-calling. Stop championing one policy over another policy by coming up with a bunch of school-playground names for people who happen to favor the other policy.

To drone on at length about how liberals want energy, labor and prices to be artificially more expensive…how they’re guilty-white-racists pushing bad policies in some sick search of personal redemption…how they’re out to bring down the free market system…that’s all fair. The next few steps beyond it go into ad hominem, and that’s too far. Leave that to them. They’re very practiced at it and they don’t have anything else.

Memo For File CII

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

So I went off on what didn’t turn out so well yesterday…I have not yet opined about what went better. Two states out of two go to new Republican governors now. The world now knows the Republican party has a pulse.

I just said “the world now knows”; I did not say “it is proven.” The idea that since January we were under one-party rule forever and ever, was always a pre-canned pre-chewed pre-digested idea for simplistic idiots and I don’t think anyone with working gray matter ever believed in it. In the months since then, the growing sense of anger and frustration — and His Wonderfulness’ record-setting free-falling approval numbers — made it abundantly clear that if any regime were to ever lock in an eternal mandate in the U.S. of A., this was definitely not what it looked like. So the Republican party has been assured throughout all of it that to whatever extent a party of loyal dissent was desired and required, they still had a job. And really when you get down to it, that’s about the only function they’ve had for a lot of folks for a very long time. That’s really about the only reason we say anything positive about them here.

So the Republicans aren’t dead, and everyone paying attention knows it. What’s vastly more important than that, though, is…there’s some unhappiness with what the democrats are doing, and everyone paying attention knows that. Sure it isn’t news to you if you have a brain and haven’t been living in a cave. But like Stalin said, quantity has a quality all its own. When more people know, that takes on a truth all its own.

Now the finger-pointing starts. Because there is the Hoffman thing.

We think the most reasonable interpretation is, or might very well be, Taranto’s…who fortunately does a sufficiently thorough job of re-capping things that I don’t need to do it here. Which would make me feel very foolish indeed, since by now everyone’s doing it.

The conventional explanation for this result will be that Doug Hoffman, the de facto Republican in the race, was too conservative for the district and that the GOP would have been better off sticking with its formal nominee, liberal Dede Scozzafava, who this weekend dropped out and endorsed Owens.

This is not implausible, but we’re not so sure. The situation in New York’s 23rd is anomalous and reminds us of Joe Lieberman’s re-election victory as an independent in 2006 — that year’s only major defeat of a Democratic nominee (Ned Lamont, who had beaten Lieberman in a primary), but not one that turned out to signal any peril for Democrats.

Under normal circumstances, political parties work out their divisions in primaries, then unite behind the victorious candidate for the general election. In both the Lieberman-Lamont and Owens-Hoffman races, this process failed — and it did so because of unusual provisions of state election law.

Lamont beat Lieberman in a particularly bitter primary. In most states, that would have been the end of it. Since there was no serious Republican in the race, Lamont would be in the U.S. Senate. But Connecticut allows an unsuccessful primary candidate to get on the general-election ballot as an independent. Abandoned by his party, Lieberman did just that — and thus he was able to re-enact the primary with a more congenial electorate.

In New York’s 23rd District, there was no primary. Party bosses met behind closed doors to pick Scozzafava, who turned out to be unacceptable to many Republican voters. New York is unusual in its practice of electoral “fusion,” which ensures several minor parties of a spot on the ballot. Hoffman got the nomination of the Conservative Party and in effect waged a primary battle with Scozzafava — one that did not end until three days before the election.

Republicans ended up divided because they had no time to reunify after a nasty battle they hadn’t expected. Scozzafava, presumably (and understandably) bitter after being chosen and then discarded by her party, threw her support behind Owens, the Democrat. The problem for the Republicans isn’t that they were divided between “conservatives” and “moderates”; such divisions are an essential part of the two-party system. The problem is that because of New York’s screwy election procedures, the resolution of those divisions was too late and too messy to help them on Election Day. [emphasis mine]

Perfect. But I’ll take issue with one little thing here: It was not understandable for Scozzafava to throw her support behind the democrat. Because that makes her one. I may very well have my bones to pick with the whole “you’re an idiot if you disagree” argument; I resent it when it’s hauled out to support militant atheism, global warming, Al Gore and Barack Obama being smart, George Bush and Sarah Palin being stupid…all that stuff. Along with “Dede Scozzafava is a perfectly decent Republican.”

But when it’s been hauled out and used, I expect the everyday common goddamned courtesy of waiting a couple of years before you say “okay, I can see you’re not buying, you’re right, we were bluffing.” Scozzafava waited one stinkin’ day before proving she was a democrat all along. One day. On a weekend. That’s practically instantaneous.

Up yours, Dede. And I didn’t even mention the matter of 900 thousand dollars. That didn’t belong to the Republican party bosses you managed to bamboozle and swindle…and maybe bully and intimidate. It belonged to the people who donated it. Everyday people, who in all likelihood make a lot less money per year than the typical democrat donor, and might even live a lot less comfortably. It’s a good thing you’re a woman, because if you were a man I’d be able to find the words to aptly describe what you really are.

This brings us to the matter of the big question. I defined it today both at Buck’s place and at Phil’s:

Whaddya think…conservatives lost because they deserted the GOP party apparatus, or the party apparatus lost because it deserted the conservatives?

In whatever way you choose to word that, I know it’s been weighing on the minds of many others and perhaps someone somewhere found a way to express it even more eloquently. Although I doubt it. Regardless of that, though, I’m sure it will figure prominently in spirit as we see many an obnoxious headline in the near & distant future. Take it from blogsister Cassy:

Expect Democrats and the Meghan McCain’s of the GOP to trumpet this as a sign that moderates are what the public really wants, because if they wanted conservatives, they would’ve voted for Doug Hoffman. No mention of the party’s bungling of this race, of course… it’ll just be about how the GOP needs to be less “extremist” and more moderate (meaning more Democrat-lite). Watch.

And that, dear reader, now that you’ve made it this far…that’s the subject of this post.

Blogger friend Buck might be the very first example of what Cassy’s talking about. Pity, that; I consider the both of them to be on my inside cream-of-the-crop blogger-pal circle, and I think the two of them would get along great. I like to think that. Sometimes I have my doubts. But our guy down in New Mexico doesn’t seem to be in a state of good cheer about what’s going on, especially in NY23:

I posted my initial thoughts on NY23 here. And my opinion hasn’t changed a whole Helluva lot. NY23 was a clusterfuck of the HIGHEST order, and there’s plenty of blame to passed around as to why.

I’m beginning to think the GOP doesn’t want me and my kind in the party… especially if folks of the same mind as yourfineself have their way. I am NOT a dogmatic conservative purist, I don’t particularly care for Miss Alaska, and I damned sure don’t like all the “real” conservative bullshit that seems to be taking front and center in the debate these days. I’m rapidly becoming apolitical, and the knee-jerk ultra-conservatives are the primary reason why. Well, them and the fucking Obamatrons.

He posted his thoughts on NY23 “here.” What’s “here”? This is “here”…

I happen to agree with Gingrich… what’s happening in NY-23 sets a dangerous precedent… which is to say an opening for knee-jerk Third Party candidacies whenever and wherever a significant minority of conservatives disagrees with the mainstream GOP. As Newt says: this sort of fragmentation almost guarantees The One’s reelection. Newt and I also seem to be in the minority on this issue, as well. I’m not that much of a political junkie to claim I know what’s going on in NY-23 but I know enough to see things don’t look good for us Libertarian-type conservatives… and the GOP, as a whole. Shorter: What are we doing in this handbasket? And where are we going, anyway?

(Just as an aside: if you read blog-bud Morgan regularly you know that he and I have been sparring on this exact issue since last year’s Republican primaries and well before. It all began when he backed Fred Thompson and I supported Giuliani; the discussion has continued full-tilt boogie since he’s become a serious Palinista. Which I’m not.)

At this point, Buck has expressed himself as much as he cares to and it does present something of a smorgasbord of coherent concerns, some of them quite legitimate. As far as the agreeing with Gingrich — it’s that Greta Van Susteren interview in which Gingrich issues his dire warnings against fracturing. Fracturing is a rather simple and predictable turn of events in political science, becoming a real possibility whenever factions form about anything. Ten people want ice cream for dessert and eight people want cookies. If they all have to have the same thing, it should be ice cream. But wait — a bitter feud erupts over whether it is to be chocolate or strawberry. Final vote: Four for strawberry, six for chocolate, eight for cookies. Cookies win. Cookies shouldn’t-a won, but they did anyway, dadgum it.

Okay, let us get this one thing straight here: I’m not going to sit here and argue this point. Buck’s right. Newt’s right. It isn’t debatable. It’s a fundamental law of the universe.

Here is what is debatable:

The “fracturing” argument is only relevant if you’re concerned about the short term…and within that short term, if you’re concerned about party labels. And so I ask myself: How much do I want Republicans to be in charge of things throughout 2009 and 2010? And the answer is…not very. Look around, folks. They aren’t running squat. That isn’t going to change for fifteen months.

After that, do I have unlimited faith in these people? Like the DailyKOS folks have in democrats? Eh…nope. It comes down to one thing: I’ll give up just about anything for them to win because, and only because, I want the other guys to lose. You want a lot of rah-rah stuff, a whole lot of “no one from our side ever makes a mistake” stuff? You’ve come to the wrong place.

At this point, permit me a rant. A rant about the confusion others have had. The confusion is between doggedly pursuing an agenda to eliminate others, in spirit as well as in body…and…simply refusing to participate in the Great Pretend. I think deep down you know what I’m talking about. Pretending that a baby’s right to be born is of neglible consequence, and that the baby’s mother’s right to enjoy a mother-less lifestyle is of such great significance that it diminishes pre-meditated murder into the phantom zone of things that never actually took place. Pretending that you have an absolute right to work if you happen to belong to a union, and you absolutely have no such right if you do not. Pretending that when the economy’s in the crapper, what we need is a colossal universal healthcare plan that will punish people for refusing to buy health insurance, and that will fix everything. Pretending that when the minimum wage is raised…when income taxes are raised…when property taxes are raised…when capital gains taxes are raised…when estate taxes are raised…people will not change their behaviors as a result. And that if they do, they deserve to be punished good & hard with some kind of a “exit” tax or “unpatriotic” tax.

My rant is this: We only play this cute little “Prove you’re a moderate” game with conservatives. Not with liberals, not with independents, not with libertarians, not with moderate conservatives. As I said at Buck’s place,

I know it’s not easy to admit you’ve been sold a bill o’ goods sometimes…but think about this. The folks on the other side of the aisle that disagree with both of us — I don’t see anyone approaching them to say “change your position on labor unions every other election cycle…or else you’re brittle and intolerant.” I don’t see anyone telling them “repudiate your poster about ‘General Betray-Us’…or else you’re intolerant.”

You know what convinces me somebody’s tolerant? I’ll tell you this: I think Buck’s as tolerant as I ever wanna see anybody be. And that’s a compliment. Because our disagreements about the issues, I can tell, go somewhat beyond what he’d find…let us say…soothing. True, we agree more often than we disagree, both of us have said so on many an occasion and we mean it. But where we disagree, we each have our reasons for sticking to our guns. And there may be misunderstandings there — more on his end than mine — but outside of the misunderstandings, we’ve got hard lines in the sand that are drawn in concrete because they come from different life-experiences. We’re not budging on these.

Yeah well you know what? I still have a standing invitation to zip on over to Portales (or near it) with or without that bottle of Chimay. If Buck can make the time to be here before I can make the time to be there, he’s got the same invite. That’s tolerance. That’s class. And that’s as much flexibility as I expect to see in any man. That is where my admiration for such attributes begins. And I’ll tell you something else — that’s where it ends, too.

I do not…let us repeat that. I do capital N-O-T appreciate people who pretend false things are true, and vice-versa, to make and keep friends. I do not appreciate people who indulge the Great Pretend just to be sociable. I don’t admire it, I don’t like it. I think it is the modern plague of our times.

I don’t think anybody else admires it either.

Ah, but with conservatives — we have another game of pretend we like to play. Keep believing that stuff you believe, conservatives, and you won’t have a friend in the world. But contradict some of it, a little this year, a little more next year…do a little dosie-do, here, there, there some more, until nobody knows what in the hell you’re all about…just reprise Charle’s Durning’s “Dance a Little Sidestep” from the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas…and who knows, maybe, just maybe, you’ll pick up a VOTE!

Yeah, well McCain tried that…and…hey you know what? I’m not going to examine history anymore. What’s the point.

It’s a craven fucking insult to our intelligence. Just stop it already.

Like I said. It isn’t being done to anyone else. It’s a litmus test that is never, ever, EVER imposed on liberals. So there. Now we know what it’s all about, and it doesn’t have anything to do with tolerance. It’s got to do with making things more liberal.

What is tolerance, anyway? There’s another point to be made here. This one, deeper than all of the rest.

I’ve written before about how the Hindu religion got something very, very right…exclusively right. Like many other world religions, they used dieties to symbolize natural elements, natural forces, rudimentary directions of effort. And here’s where they got it oh-so-right, in fact, so right that their view of things has to be invoked time and time again, as it continues to dovetail with whatever’s going on.

There is a deity associated with creating things.

There is a diety associated with preserving things.

There is a deity associated with destroying things.

As you follow these three different “deities”…your behavior changes…and that is because the way you think about things…likewise changes. As I said this summer:

It’s the Morgan Freeberg Theory of the Charismatic Wrecking Ball.
:
We are divided, fundamentally, into those who want to build things and those who want to destroy things. These two factions of person, do not think of things the same way. They do not live life the same way, so they don’t look at life the same way. Building things is infinitely tougher than destroying things, because things have to fit together with other things — you have to build them just right and line them up just right. You have to measure every step, and you have to adhere to a design. The design has to have taken everything into account that might become a factor during the building process, and this does mean everything. Temperature. Humidity. Slope. PH level. Altitude. Wind speed. Drag coefficient. If it matters, then the design must have taken it into account, and if anything is missing then this is all just a big waste of time.

Builders just aren’t very much fun to watch. They don’t build until they have a line inked in; they don’t ink the line in until they’ve penciled it; they don’t pencil it until they measure it, and measure it again, and again, and pencil it in ever-so-lightly, measure yet one more time, curse heavily, erase…I tell you, watching these people is like water torture.

Wrecking balls are fun to watch. Their mission is far, far simpler, and so they enjoy the benefit of moving in a straight line…to such an extent as they don’t want to move that direction anymore, then they swing back again. With sufficient inertia as to overpower everything else. A wrecking ball can afford to move that way — because it is concerned only with destruction, not with creation.

That’s how people are. If you’re out to destroy things and not build things, you get to move in a straight line just as long as you want. Your actions are utterly predictable, since it’s a physical impossibility for you to abruptly change course or speed. And yet you’re so much fun to watch.

I submit, ladies and gentlemen, in the midst of this age in which we are all supposedly so concerend about showing “tolerance” for each and every li’l thing, and demanding “tolerance” out of each other, for each and every li’l thing…the following:

It is impossible to show true intolerance against an agent of destruction.

This is what blogger friend Buck has missed. Failing to tolerate an agent of destruction — it’s like giving consent for sexual intercourse when you’re ten. Think about the firefighter using a stream of water to extinguish a fire. Showing his intolerance against the fire…destroying the fire. Do you think of it in that way? No, you don’t. Here he is depriving those poor little flames of the oxygen they need to keep on burning. He’s moving through them exactly the same way a harvester moves through a tall grass with his scythe, cutting the flames down.

But what he’s cutting down is an agent of destruction — fire.

He’s not acting as a destroyer. He’s acting as a preserver.

When those nutty…intolerant…fundamentalist…whacko…kookoo…die-hard, inflexible, holier-than-thou, oh-so-smug pro-life conservative Republicans act so “intolerantly” toward the abortion advocacy groups, they’re doing exactly the same thing.

Tolerating an invasion of illegal aliens? That’s just like tolerating fire. It’s no different. It isn’t tolerance. Not really.

I live in California, a place where democrat politicians tolerate lawyers who are looking to stir up extraneous lawsuits in order to make a livelihood where none exists. They tolerate union officials who, in turn, tolerate absolutely nobody else. The place is beyond bankrupt. Is that true tolerance? These are all agents of destruction, not creation or preservation. Once again, is it possible to show tolerance or intolerance toward such things?

I made one other point at Buck’s place about this: Let us call this my “Who is being intolerant to whom?” point:

Palin tells Buck to take a leap – 0
Buck tells Palin to take a leap – 1

Conservatives leave GOP – 0
GOP leaves conservatives – 1

Now I’m going to keep those scoreboards updated for a reeeeeaaaaaal long time, m’friend, but I don’t think they’re gonna change. Seems to me you’ve mistaken the simple concept of “act like what you’re positions really are that important” with the decidedly different concept of “reject people.” In that last exchange, as well as the prior you linked, the only person I see rejecting anyone is you.

Anyway, a lot of this stuff is in how you look at it. Not to get into details too far, but gay marriage as an example. If the state gets to define that, how long do we wait until churches are sued, and perhaps prosecuted, for refusing to conduct marriage ceremonies? You say you want people left alone and left free. Well that’s just another angle to consider. And it’s a very real possibility.

Buck has committed no special sin here. He’s made no exclusive mistake. He has no handicap to call his own. Like many millions of others, he’s been asked to imagine something has taken place — that never really has. And he made the understandable error of complying.

Think back to the greatest show of intolerance you have ever seen Sarah Palin engage. Something about a rape kit, right? Urban legend. Nice try. How about burning library books? Bzzzt. Try again. Puttin’ the hate on the gays? Three strikes. She opposes same-sex marriage but her first veto was against a bill that would have prohibited same-sex couples from receiving state employee benefits. She’s not a gay-hater.

And she’s done nothing to reject Buck.

Buck’s rejected her.

What you’re seeing is Saul Alinsky’s twelfth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Once conservatives are made into something foreign, it is okay to wish all kinds of intolerance upon them…and it’s okay to imagine them saying things they never actually said. We all saw it with the Rush Limbaugh thing with his trying to become a partner with the NFL. Phony quotes, like slavery had its merits, and James Earl Ray should’ve been awarded a medal.

Once the subject has been properly frozen, personalized and polarized…never let the facts get in the way. The Alinsky rule works, because it isn’t a rule at all. It simply is describing and documenting what has already been hard-wired into human nature.

And so I’ll not think any the less of Buck for having fallen for it. Couldn’t if I wanted to. All he’s done is make a human error here. But the fact remains: His thoughts about stalwart conservatives acting in an exclusionary way toward the more “moderate” types — at least in any gratuitous, unprovoked way — are simply those. Thoughts. He’s been duped into inventing them, and pretending he saw ‘em somewhere.

But if Sarah Palin has ever behaved with just a fraction of the nastiness and exclusionary zeal that has become routine for people like George Clooney, Al Sharpton, Dede Scozzafava and Hillary Clinton, it’s news to me. And it’s news to everyone else, too.

Taking your own beliefs seriously has nothing to do with excluding people. All it really means is that you’ve put some thought into why you believe the things you believe…right or wrong…and you’re willing to stick by them. That shows integrity and strength of character. Exactly the kind of thing that we are all supposed to be demanding out of our politicians. We all remember that, right?

Scozzafava Suspends Campaign

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Bully.

Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate, announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District and releasing all her supporters.

The state Assemblywoman has not thrown her support to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, or Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate.

“Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community,” Ms. Scozzafava wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. “It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so.

Newtely is trying to backpedal

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who came under fire from some conservatives for endorsing Dede Scozzafava in next week’s special Congressional election in New York, is now backing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

Gingrich made the announcement via Twitter shortly after the Republican Party nominee Scozzafava announced she was releasing supporters from their commitment to back her.

“Scozzafava dropping out leaves hoffman as only anti-tax anti-pelosi vote in ny 23 Every voter opposed to tax increases support doug hoffman,” Gingrich wrote on Twitter.

It’ll take a lot more digging than that to get yourself out of the hole you’re standing in…at least, in my book.

Really, what the hell were ya thinkin’?

Seven Reasons Why You Can’t Build a Political Party Around Moderates

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Hawkins explores each one; but my favorites are #2 and #4.

2) Because moderates tend to be much less ideological, less knowledgeable about politics, and less informed than liberals and conservatives, it’s entirely possible that even if our candidate’s views are closer to their views, they won’t be capable of figuring it out (That’s exactly how it worked with McCain and Obama, for example).
:
4) Moderates may not know a lot about politics, but they do at least know that they can’t trust the press. So, how do they decide whom to vote for? I would suggest to you that many of them largely base their decisions on anecdotal evidence.

What do I mean by that? Let’s take the current election. What did a moderate voter hear from his liberal friends about Obama? “He’s the greatest hope for America! He’s wonderful! He’ll solve all our problems!” Now, what did that same moderate hear from his conservative friends about McCain? “He’d probably be a lousy President, but he’d still be better than Obama.”

In other words, if conservatives aren’t enthusiastic about their nominee, moderates are going to take cues from that and cast their votes accordingly. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so counter-productive to antagonize conservatives in an effort to draw in moderates.

As I pointed out lately, we suffer from a tragic loss of good judgment when we figure out how to use words like “centrist,” “moderate” and “extremist.” We don’t have a very good picture of what an “extremist conservative” is. Most of us, across all different kinds of ideological regions on the spectrum, think that has something to do with being mean. Lacking compassion. Unpleasant. Stingy. Reactionary. A bit of a dickhole. Exclusionary. You get the picture. A Grade-A1 USDA Prime piece of jackass.

Here’s how I see it:

Human history tells us something important about human nature, and what it tells us is altogether unflattering: The things that are most reliably demonstrated to be bad ideas, are the ones we try the most often. That’s just the way it is.

I mean, overall. Not across the board. Some things work quite well, and we do those things often too. Let’s make murder illegal. When people show they don’t care about breaking the law, let’s lock them up. On those, there really isn’t very much disagreement.

Let’s take money away from people who have it, and give it to those who don’t…

…that’s been tried so many times. It’s supposed to create some kind of wonderful society, one where no one is ever left wanting for anything. It’s had hundreds of years to work out that way. And it hasn’t yet. We’re still waiting on it. And our resolve to keep trying it again and again, has in recent generations become something of an obsession. We’re like the wolf licking at the razor blade, faster and faster as he gets more and more of a taste of blood.

Let’s show compassion to those who kill our wives and children, by letting them out of prison, and when they see our compassion they’ll stop killing. That’s another one.

You know, it really isn’t fair if you just come up with an idea, you get to copyright it and own it, as if you did some “real” work when all you did was think of an idea. Knowledge should belong to the world.

Stop asking her father for permission to marry her. Naive stupid young girls who just want a sexy appealing party-stud, and don’t care about a man’s financial stability, should have the final say in who’s going to knock ‘em up.

Businesses lack compassion. Let’s force them to stop business-ing, and when we need the things those businesses make, let’s put the government in the business of doing that business-ing instead. Because anyone knows when it’s compassion you want you should make a bee-line straight to the nearest government bureaucrat who’s thirty seconds late for his lunch break, and there you’ll find all you can handle.

I could add to this list ALL day…don’t tempt me…

So here’s what an “extremist conservative” really is. An extremist conservative looks at all those bad ideas we’ve put into practice many times already, that have never worked out one single time, and does what common sense people do. He says “fuck it.” He dumps it all in an outhouse, then he moves the outhouse building so no one can ever find the dumbass idea he just dumped in, and pours cement in the hole so the dumbass idea can never be used again even if it’s somehow found. If he’s even more extreme than that, he decides to do it even sooner. And if he’s the most extreme conservative you’ll ever know and you’ll ever meet — he uses his intellectual gifts to figure out why this is a dumbass idea that’s never going to work.

What’s a liberal do? He says let’s give it another try.

A moderate liberal says let’s try just a little bit of it.

An extremist liberal says let’s never give up trying no matter what.

And the moderate conservative? Well, the sad, vicious truth of it is these people are just liars. Liars or dupes. History says “the dumbass idea never worked once” and the liberals say “don’t you dare believe that, it’s an ‘urban legend’.” And the moderate conservative says “Alright! You guys know best!”

Meanwhile, the dumbass idea never worked because it’s never gonna work.

And the guys who notice it hasn’t worked and can’t work…we call them “extremist conservatives” so we can give ourselves an excuse to keep trying it.

That’s the truth. Dress it up however you want, but that’s how it is.

Twilight of Honeymoon VII

Monday, August 31st, 2009

That was pretty damn short, wasn’t it?

Experts see double-digit Dem losses

After an August recess marked by raucous town halls, troubling polling data and widespread anecdotal evidence of a volatile electorate, the small universe of political analysts who closely follow House races is predicting moderate to heavy Democratic losses in 2010.

Some of the most prominent and respected handicappers can now envision an election in which Democrats suffer double-digit losses in the House — not enough to provide the 40 seats necessary to return the GOP to power but enough to put them within striking distance.

Top political analyst Charlie Cook, in a special August 20 update to subscribers, wrote that “the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and congressional Democrats.”

“Many veteran congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats,” he wrote.

At the mid-August Netroots Nation convention, Nate Silver, a Democratic analyst whose uncannily accurate, stat-driven predictions have made his website FiveThirtyEight.com a must read among political junkies, predicted that Republicans will win between 20 and 50 seats next year. He further alarmed an audience of progressive activists by arguing that the GOP has between a 25 and 33 percent chance of winning back control of the House.

I think that’s just about right. The House will probably stay in democrat hands…but “probably” as in a revolver loaded with two bullets in six chambers “probably” won’t go off. The GOP has a chance. And, at any rate, it seems silly to try to deny some kind of a shake-up is in order.

The democrats had their chance, and they blew it. And I think it might very well have been the “Pass health care for Ted” that really sealed their fate. It’s not right-wingers bad-mouthing them anymore; Main Street USA has started to figure them out. They’re all about finding the perfect sales pitch to sell ideas that aren’t good for anyone. Well…aren’t good for most of us.

It took Republicans three election cycles to urinate away that much opportunity.

Looks like the pattern’s staying consistent: The public doesn’t like skyrocketing debt. Now then — when does Washington start to pay attention?

Update 9/2/09: Wanted to snag this bit from yesterday morning. Although it isn’t important enough to justify a post of its own, it is a point worth remembering that the “Obama Slide” is nothing short of historical:

The White House has failed to veto measures, like the pork-laden omnibus spending bill, that would have demonstrated independence and fiscal restraint. By force of circumstances and by design, the president has promoted one policy after another that increases spending and centralizes power in Washington.

The result is the Obama slide, the most important feature of the current moment. The number of Americans who trust President Obama to make the right decisions has fallen by roughly 17 percentage points. Obama’s job approval is down to about 50 percent. All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.

“Strange Hypocrisy”

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Yglesias, indulging in circular argument: Don’t call us hypocrites when we’re being hypocrites, because we’re just giving the people what they want. And we know it’s what they want, because the elections turn out the way they turn out…after we indulge in our hypocrisy.

In 2004, Massachusetts changed its laws to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing John Kerry’s replacement in case he became President. Now it’s 2009, the Governor of Massachusetts is a Democrat, and Ted Kennedy is dead so the state legislature is considering changing the rule back so that Deval Patrick can appoint an interim Senator to serve in Kennedy’s place.

This is being described in some quarters as “hypocritical,” which really strikes me as silly. The underlying principle here is that the outcome of senatorial vacancies should reflect the underlying preferences of the people of Massachusetts. You could imagine a different state in which the parties are much more competitive in which this bobbing and weaving really was nothing more than a transient majority in the state legislature entrenching its power. But does anyone seriously dispute that the Massachusetts electorate prefers (a) to be represented in the U.S. Senate and (b) congressional Democrats? It’s been over ten years since the Bay State sent a Republican to Congress, and the last Republican Senator lost in 1978.

Probably there should be a uniform national system for filling senate vacancies. But instead, we leave it up to state legislatures. Given that legislatures have been granted this discretion, it would be perverse of them to refuse to actually use it when doing so is crucial to advancing what their constituents want.

Just talking to liberals face-to-face, and thinking back on those experiences…I’m having difficulty recalling even just one who was enamored of the liberal position on every single issue across the board. Most of them, if not all of them, possessed great passion on one or two things, and in service of that one or two things, held their nose & pulled the lever to overcome some mighty reservation on a great bunch of other things. I’m pretty sure things work the same way in Massachusetts as well. I’m also pretty sure there are exceptions to this rule of mine, that there are some liberals who are dedicated to the left-wing solution to every problem, nevermind what the problem is, just make sure this team wins out over that team. Yglesias makes sure to get the message across that he’s in this camp. That’s his right, but he makes a serious mistake projecting his fanatical extremism over an entire state.

Even that one. Romney, once upon a time, did win an election did he not?

Within the ten terraces of liberalism, there is an important tumbling-down from one terrace to the next, when the liberal in question promotes the adored ideological position over & above a consistent interpretation of the rules. Once it’s reached a point of “Do it this way here…but that other way over there…so that my side wins, and wins, and wins some more!” — something important has been lost. Yes, I know. Here & there, a conservative does it too.

But when you look over the entire issue and how it works out, that’s not really true. There’s a disease that plagues the liberal viewpoint, one that knows little or no counterpart in the conservative community. It has to do with reconciling oneself with the idea that one’s ideological framework has been rejected, in the present cycle, at the ballot box. Overall, conservatives know exactly what to do about this. They know that when you think on something diligently enough that you see things about it that aren’t seen at first, the price to be paid for this is you’ve lost the assurance that lots of others people will see it the same way. They understand that you can perceive something well, or you can perceive something “ordinarily” — those two are mutually exclusive. And so when they are told, through any poll, and official elections are included in this, that the majority is against them…it’s just something to be expected. Oh well. The majority is in a mood to be suckered. It happens. Give it time. People will learn.

Liberals, on the other hand, never seem to know what to do. We have to change the rules. Oh, no, we need to change them back again. Let’s count votes in this county in Florida/Minnesota, in a completely different way from the way we count them in that other county over there.

This is why the psychiatric profession experienced such a surge in caseload at the beginning of 2005; searching the archives for a similar surge in 1997, you don’t find one. That’s why. Conservatives are rejected, they moan sadly, and roll their eyes — that’s about it. Liberals get rejected…by popular will, and in some cases, by their own logic and/or procedural changes…and they become absolutely unhinged and unglued.

They’re doing the work of The People. And so The People can be trusted to say what it is The People want…only some of the time…when they give the correct answer. The rest of the time, they have to be told.

A GOP Comeback Possible?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

It is oh so fashionable to remain pessimistic, and show optimism only in muted tones. But to show a surplus of optimism in favor of the iPresident, would be foolish I think.

For the first time since their 2006 election drubbing, top Republicans see signs — however faint — of a political resurgence over the next year.

At first blush, this sounds absurd. After all, polls show the GOP more unpopular than ever, and the John Ensign sex scandal serves as a vivid, real-time reminder of why many see the party as a collection of hypocrites.

But several trends suggest this optimism might not be as far-fetched as it seems.
:
How the Republicans Could Come Back

A red state

Polls show that Obama’s chief vulnerability is public concern over the soaring deficit. And as the sticker shock of a trillion-dollar-plus health care plan takes hold, these concerns are only likely to grow.

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — long used to hearing complaints about Bush — says his moderate constituents have finally found something else to gripe about. “Now the dominant thing I hear from them is: ‘What is all this government spending?’” said Kirk, who is mulling a Senate run next year.
:
Promises, promises

Obama promised his stimulus plan would keep unemployment below 10 percent, and some of his advisers said it would remain below 8 percent. But now the president himself says it will hit 10 percent this year.

The administration’s technique of incorporating “jobs saved” into its accounting is being met with increased skepticism — and is unlikely to resonate if unemployment lines run long.

“I think his biggest vulnerability right now is that unemployment is going to exceed 10 percent and be there for some time,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “The stimulus bill was meant to sustain and create new jobs. And it hasn’t done it.”

What’s coming up next is a “midterm” congressional election in 2010. Therefore, in my mind, it is meaningful to inspect what exactly is meant by the term “coming back.” You can’t honestly produce an answer to the question “Do Republicans have a chance?” without first performing this inspection.

First of all, there is the objective of roaring back into power with the full mandate Republicans had in 1994 after the electorate had what our news anchors told us was a “temper tantrum.”

Secondly, there is the decidedly different objective of stepping up to the podium of the loyal opposition, performing a simple day-to-day sanity check on The Holy Man’s expen$ive policies.

It is faulty thinking to conflate these two objectives into one, pronounce a lukewarm milquetoast verdict of “Eh, they got a shot but I wouldn’t count on it,” and walk away. You have to keep these separate. You HAVE to, because the first of those two options is a restoration of trust following a betrayal and those are never quick. It’s like the man-of-the-house moving back in after his wife has made the decision to take him back for the sake of the children. Even if it does happen, nobody’s going to be feeling entirely good about it. Especially if daddy was “taken back” after having sexual escapades with his secretary, moving in with her, doing some lines of coke, taking a European vacation with her and her parents, knocking her up, wallpapering her new nursery room, and sending the credit card bill for it all back home. Trust is violated in a heartbeat, and never fully restored even years later. Not really.

The second of those two — well good heavens. How on earth is it going to seem like a great idea to pass this up by the autumn of ’10? We’re still going to want to be a kinda-sorta-dictatorship in fifteen months because Obama is still so wonderful? Folks, it isn’t shaping up that way now. Of course all eyes are on President Obama; back when He was about to be inaugurated, all eyes were on Him back then too. But it’s different. Back then people were watching Him the way disciples want to watch the religious figure who leads them. Oh look at me, I actually touched His robe! I’ll never wash this hand again as long as I live!

Nowadays, people watch Him the way sailors watch a canon ball rolling around on the deck of their sloop. What the hell is He going to do next??

See, that’s a trust issue too. People are watching Him because He’s dangerous and they don’t know what He’s going to do. They don’t trust him. They’re starting to yearn for the checks-and-balances that are supposed to be in place right now, but aren’t really working.

It’s a funny thing about opposition congresses. People are never willing to admit, on a large scale, that they like this idea. But it is clearly what the Founding Fathers intended, and American history, even recent history, is chock full of occasions on which the electorate figured out this idea was necessary, and acted to put such a congress in place. Government marching in lockstep just oh-so-sure about what to do next — it seems like a great thing to the weak-minded. It isn’t so great when you’re living out your own real life under it. That’s when people wake up; that’s when they start to get it.

Raise the Voting Age

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Reflecting on what’s happened to our country here, I consult my archives and I can’t help noticing something. Every sixteen years, reliable as rain, we elect a guy President who happens to…

 • …be the youngest out of all the guys running who actually have a chance;
 • …talk a whole lot about “hope”;
 • …be a democrat;
 • …possess truckloads of “charisma” or whatever;
 • …not say a single word about any of the policies he’ll enact after he’s elected, in such a way that the rest of us could actually participate in a reasoned, informed debate about them.

It is as regular as an object completing an orbit around a large star — sixteen years, right on the dot. I pointed it out here and here and here.

And then the guy gets in and doesn’t change squat. Except for two things: Spend unprecedented amounts of borrowed treasury money on bullshit; and do that idiot-schoolgirl thing where you behave exceptionally nicely to bad people and act like a royal bitch to whoever’s actually done some pretty decent things for you.

I would hope folks all across the ideological divide will agree with me, at least on the sixteen year thing. Call it smartening up, call it getting shafted, whatever you want to call it — I call it the “Heartbeat of Stupid” — we sure are punctual.

Parenting FailSo since we can all agree that, for whatever reason, this is a sixteen-year thing let us then do this: It is contrary to the interests of the nation for people to vote before they have had a chance to see this happen. Right now, you get to vote when you’re eighteen. Eighteen is not much more than sixteen. Seems to me you should have seen a couple cycles of this, with your own two eyes. Not read it in the archived news stories, not learn about it from your history teacher who probably thinks FDR was the greatest President who ever lived. You should have seen it for yourself.

Two cycles.

Raise the voting age to thirty-two.

It is the very least that is needed to make an informed decision, about something that has turned into, for all the artificial drama we inject into it, an utterly-predictable merry-go-round ride.

It’s not how fast you’re maturing, son. It’s got to do with the country. And how quickly she forgets stuff. Something has to be done.

Twilight of Honeymoon II

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

CQ Politics

Early in his presidency, Barack Obama had a grace period when the public saw the nation’s problems as ones he inherited, but two new polls — by New York Times/CBS News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News – make clear that there are rising concerns about his policies.

The biggest public concern is over the size of the deficit being run up by Obama’s economic recovery proposals and how much more it will rise if his plan to overhaul health care and increase coverage for uninsured Americans is enacted. But there is also discomfort about his intervention in the auto industry and taking a big government stake in ownership of General Motors. And voters also disagree with Obama on closing Guantánamo.

John Hawkins likens it to a common male-female stormy relationship. His analogy is pure genius, and since I can’t find a way to excerpt it I’ll just dump it all in. You gotta read this, especially if you’ve been there before…gents.

To me, this is reminiscent of some relationships I’ve seen come and go. It starts with a whirlwind romance. The couple can’t get enough of each other. His friends point out some of her rather obvious glaring flaws, but she’s fresh, she’s new, she’s great in bed — and in his eyes, she can do no wrong. (Stage 1)

After a surprisingly short period of time, he proposes. His friends are dismayed, but they can’t really talk to him about it. If they suggest that perhaps they should slow things down and get to know each other a little better, he says he sees no need to wait. If they try to point out her flaws, he gets mad. There’s really nothing they can say that will change his mind. Soon, they’re married. (Stage 2)

After the marriage, they move in together and even though things still seem pretty good, he can finally see some of the flaws his friends pointed out. She gets in foul moods. She nags. She gets into fights with his parents. She seems flighty. She’s not very supportive. She’s a drama queen. Wow, how did he miss all these things? (Stage 3)

A few months in, he realizes these are not one time things, they’re patterns of behavior and he starts to have doubts, although he really can’t bear to talk about them. If you ask him basic questions like — “Do you enjoy spending time around her? Do you think your wife respects you? Is your wife your best friend? Are you ready to have children? Are you having as much fun as you were six months ago?” — the answer to every question is, “no.” But, if you were to ask him — “Do you still love your wife? Would you do it all over again? Are you happy to be married?” — he’d say “yes” to every question.

Why?

Because he’s hoping things will change. Because he can’t bear to admit his friends were right. Because it would make him feel petty to say, just a few months into his marriage, that he made a bad choice. Because he just can’t admit that he blew one of the biggest decisions of his life. (Stage 4)

Fast forward to 12-24 months after the couple is married and things are very different. They yell at each other all the time. He’s constantly upset. He’s asking his friends privately if they think he should get divorced. He’s utterly miserable. (Stage 5)

Then eventually, they get divorced, and it’s, “I don’t know what I saw in her. I don’t know what I was thinking. That was the biggest mistake of my life.” (Stage 6)

Today, most of the American people outside of Obama’s hard core supporters, who will stick with him no matter what, are either at stage 3 or stage 4. The more of them that move on to stage 4, the harder it’s going to be for him to get legislation passed. If the majority of people reach stage 4 and 5 before the 2010 election, and I believe they will, the Democrats will take a tremendous beating. Let’s hope this marriage continues to sour because the best thing that could ever happen to this country would be for it to get a divorce from Barack Obama.

Commenter smelvertising sees an issue, and I see it too. This is a painfully accurate summary of what American politics are all about, in my eyes.

You missed a stage: eventually, as they grow apart, they start to forget all the bad blood and bad stuff, and wonder why they parted. And the old flame is reignited, which resets everything to stage 1.

It would explain why the voting public keeps putting idiots, morons, charlatans and demagogues (AKA leftists) in charge, after they’ve proven themselves again and again to be unable to do anything but kill economies and destabilize the international situation.

This is really the difference between conservatives and liberals, right there. Conservatives have workable, even temperaments — well, most of them — and functional long-term memories. The issue that arises to confront the American voter over and over again is “Who’s up for doing one more time, what’s been tried many times before and has never worked once?” Liberals are the ones that say “Hell yeah! Twentieth time’s the charm!”

Conservatives respond the way normal, emotionally stable people do. “If we got sent back to the drawing board, then I think we should spend some time there. Tell me what you’ve changed in the plan to make the outcome different.” Nothing changed means no sale.

And how do Americans debate between these two positions? The propaganda that consumes us richly exploits Bullet Point #3 on the House of Eratosthenes list of Ways to Motivate Large Numbers Of People To Do A Dumb Thing, Without Anyone Associating The Dumb Thing With Your Name Later On. And sadly, most of us fall for it; it doesn’t really take much time at all to relapse back into smelvertising‘s sixth stage:

3. Switch moderation and extremism with each other, by using the words “always” and “never” to describe any alternatives to your idea;

The mainstream folks who don’t care that much about politics, have been conditioned to think of “liberal” as the moderate — as someone who says “Hey surely there’s got to be something we can do about this problem, let’s keep trying until we find the right answer.” While a “conservative” is an extremist; someone who says “No, no, absolutely not because I/we am/are afraid of change.”

This is that Bullet Point #3 exercise of switching moderation and extremism. The reality is that liberals are quite extreme. They say “History always began this morning for us! So in our minds we’ve never tried to do anything at all, let’s do this thing we’ve already tried a hundred times!” And the conservatives are the ones who say “Well waitaminnit, if this was the way to go, then why didn’t we stick with it after 1992 and 1976 and 1964 and 1932 and…and…and.” “Where have they ever outlawed guns and experienced a lower crime rate as a direct result?” “When did we ever raise the minimum wage and in so doing raise the overall standard of living?” “How exactly is a nation supposed to tax itself into prosperity?” “Now that we’ve elected your hopey changey iPresident Replacement-Jesus Man-God guy, where’s the one guy in the whole world who hated us last year and loves us all to pieces now?” “What exactly is a congressional apology for slavery supposed to achieve?”

“Did rent controls lower rents?”

“Did putting a woman in charge of the House of Representatives end wars?”

“Did the war on poverty end poverty?”

“Did Social Security ensure our retirees are all comfortable now and forevermore?”

So the conservatives are presented as wild-eyed zealots, religious zealots in a sense, who are opposed on principle to solving a problem or even attempting to solve it. Their position is actually one of simply doing what sane people are supposed to do. Exercise a consistent action, expect a consistent result. Of course, maybe we aren’t doing things to get positive results, and just want to feel better about ourselves, kind of an emotional elixir that is really a placebo. A ten trillion dollar placebo. In which case, maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to admit that’s what is being done. Just stop pretending you’re trying to fix anything.

Maybe people are starting to figure out that’s the real situation. Maybe that’s the real reason the honeymoon is coming to an end. You gotta admit, last year during the campaign a lot of folks were told Obama’s election would make things a whole lot different. That was the slogan: “Change.” It seems, after all, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Update: Or, if you’re among the dwindling numbers of people who aren’t yet tired of pretending, then keep pretending. Stage One is a pretty comfy place after all.

Hat tip for the video to blogger friend Gerard.

Week Ending June 12, 2009

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Do you realize what an incredible week this has been? I’m ready to go ahead and call it right now: In the months and years ahead, when Republicans and democrats try to figure out when the national scene all turned around, there will be bipartisan agreement that the fickle wheel of fortune did its spinning in the week ending June 12, 2009. That is when the Republicans really returned to power; when the democrats really fell out of it. When mainstream America figured out the Obama experiment was, in all the ways that mattered, a complete failure. Time to absorb the lessons of reality and let the tender bloated easily-bruised ego receive the punishment that had been coming.

There is, I confess, some wishful thinking involved in that. But that’s not really a bad thing. Every triumph against the odds, in human history, has started with that. And there certainly have been some. I’ll presume, for the thinking reader, no listmaking is necessary to bolster that point.

Let us instead fixate our list-making obsession on the week just departed. And in doing that, let us start with the big kahuna:

David Letterman’s sad, pathetic, stupid joke. Does Letterman have a Republican plant on his writing staff? The damage done here was incalculable. The joke delved down deep into what everybody knew, in their dark subconciousnesses, and brought it bubbling up into the light where it all had to be consciously acknowledged: How humor itself has been re-defined in the early part of the twenty-first century. Blue-blood super-liberal Manhattan comedian makes a conservative look like a buffoon, and the rest of us give a courtesy laugh. Even though it’s NOT FUNNY. This has been a seriously powerful weapon in the liberal arsenal, because if you respond to this the way a reasonable person does — roll your eyes — in our modern, twisted culture, you’re a die-hard lunatic extremist. In a more reasonable environment it is acknowledged that it takes a die-hard lunatic extremist to do the laughing.

The punchline simply didn’t pack any humor. Nobody’s waltzing into a bar and saying “Hey, didja hear the one about Alex Rodriguez and Sarah Palin’s daughter?”

What Letterman did, was wake up the “mainstream” Americans who don’t give a rip about conservatives or liberals — but who could’ve easily been suckered into voting liberal with some well-placed signals that Republicans are subhuman, beneath contempt, it’s okay to abuse ‘em so it certainly should be alright to vote against ‘em without bothering to study up on the issues. Well from here on out, maybe that will still work, but I think America will have a little bit better idea of what’s being done to it now. And that can’t be good for the plan.

Elsewhere on the Manhattan-lib fashion-plate front, Katie Couric’s ratings plummeted some more, and fellow fashion-plate blue-blood Manhattan-lib Jon Stewart actually had the balls to made fun of her about it.

Paul Krugman, seldom correct but never in doubt, tried to lead a charge against right-wing hate by fastening the identity of the Holocaust Memorial shooter to the conservative movement. And everly ambitious, he thought as long as he was at it he’d try to revive some credibility for that discredited Homeland Security report. He failed on both counts; as is usual for Mr. Krugman, his point failed when it was discovered the facts simply weren’t on his side. Hating George Bush, hating John McCain, being a registered Maryland democrat…these are not traits that typically apply to conservative-movement agitators. But they applied to this nutburger who’s supposed to be our new icon for conservative hate. Swing and a miss.

By now, there had arisen an urgent need to prove what was supposed to have already been proven seven months ago: that the democrats were innately nice folks, and there was something about human nature that made Republicans inherently mean. Typically, democrats like to pursue this with an objective of purity: Everything anybody does that is nice was inspired by a progressive movement somewhere, and every anecdote about man’s inhumanity to man has some conservatism in it somewhere. The Letterman joke all by itself was plenty enough to upset that applecart, so now the effort was to recover the sentiment through saturation. President Obama’s former Pastor and spiritual advisor Jeremiah Wright demonstrated his impeccable timing by choosing this as the week for his comments about talking to his former spiritual pupil: “Them Jews aren’t going to let me speak to him.” Good one! That guy we elected President to start our new Hopenchange good-time rock-n-roll chapter in history, who’d inspire us all to do better and love each other — he received spiritual counsel from this bigot for two solid decades. Republicans tried to warn ya. Ya didn’t listen. It was, and is, a reality. Yet another reminder.

And the week was still young.

Ah, but our country certainly knew what it was doing. We had a skeptical, energetic and free press filling us in on what was going on, and letting us come to our own decision about who would get our vote. Right? Well…hope you didn’t put too much faith in that. If you did, it might have come as a bit of a shock when Evan Thomas went on record to say President Obama “is sort of God.” Chris Matthews agreed. Yup. Real balanced and objective, there, gentlemen. I don’t understand why anyone ever doubted you. They must have been a bunch of unreasonable, lying, irrational, bitter angry conservatives.

Perhaps this is why — also this last week — a San Francisco Chronicle editor said “Obama and the fawning press need to get a room.”

After all that, the solid meat is still just ahead of us. Remember back in January when, if the world went to war and caught fire, you’d never have heard a single thing about it because the news was all filled up with stories about Michelle Obama’s gowns, Barack Obama’s ten balls (!), and hope was in the air? About how much the economy sucked but it was all going to get more better because we had our hopey changey iPresident now and He was going to fix everything? Nowadays the hardcore liberals, the mildly liberals, and the main-street guys who don’t care or say they don’t care — still defend that because hey, it’s only been five months since then. Give Him a chance! He’s trying His best! It’s too early, and He inherited all this! Well…sit down for this one…now, according to Rasmussen, by a six-point margin Republicans are more trusted than democrats on economic issues. Yup, that’s from this week too.

Now how’d that happen? I see a link between that story, and the one about the study from Ohio that found conservatives are more open to opposing arguments than liberals. Call me Pollyanna, but I think even the Main Street folks who don’t give a crap about any of this, intuitively understand that you can’t make good decisions in life if you already have your mind made up about something before you gather the facts. What I’m trying to say is that people want to follow a good leader, they know in their guts what a good leader looks like, and they don’t want to see someone locked into a mindset and with that mindset, a narrow field of options from which to choose for any given situation. Which, ironically, is what the democrats keep saying, citing reasons why conservatives can’t be trusted. But it turns out, in reality as well as in public opinion, liberals are the narrow-minded ones. This was aptly demonstrated when the study hit the innerwebs, and some cloistered communities of liberals aired their reactions to it. It typically looked something like this.

It’s not news to anyone who’s really been paying attention. But liberals are not open-minded, they’re not receptive to all points of view, they’re not willing to listen to new ideas, and they damn sure aren’t tolerant of anything called “diversity” unless, by diversity, you’re referring to monochrome concentrations of dark skin.

President Obama also thought He would demonstrate His impeccable political timing. Now that the country He was supposed to be leading was showing its reservations about investing in Him all this godlike power, He thought He’d appoint a czar to limit executive compensation at private firms. Now, He may have found it politically expedient to limit the effects of this to corporations accepting taxpayer funds in the form of bailout programs…and He may want to promote that…but you just can’t get around that it raises serious questions about the relationship between government and the private sector. And how long would such a policy remain limited to bailout firms? We’ll have to wait a few weeks for the polls to come out, I think. But my gut says most people are on my side on this thing, or at least, are similarly concerned. This is an alteration of the fundamental relationship between our government and the people it purports to govern. The party hacks get to decide if I’m making too much money, and cut me off at the knees if they think I’m getting as big as they are? What country is this again?

The point is, I thought it was Obama’s predecessor who was supposed to be making us ask that question.

Affirmative Action was in the news this week. You know what that is, right? That’s where, if your racial makeup is caucasian and you try to make something of yourself, you are artificially injured to help make up for the abuse that was heaped on persons of darker skin in times past. It’s a tit-for-tat thing. No wait…it isn’t…supposedly, it’s an effort to help the disenfranchised and underprivileged, and it’s entirely color-blind, any thoughts muttered to the contrary are purely hardcore right-wing agitprop. It’s long been my impression that a bare majority of the country does support Affirmative Action, but because and only because they believe that last summation. In other words, by a bare majority, we are on board with helping the underprivileged but we do not want special race-based privileges to apply. So it was further damaging when it came out that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayer ‘fessed up that she is an “Affirmative Action baby” in comments released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Affirmative Action baby…as in…her test scores were not comparable to her classmates’ test scores. She leapfrogged ahead in line because of her racial background. Her statement that says that.

Is America on board with that kind of Affirmative Action program? An outcome-based one that confers the same prestigious position — Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, in this case! — upon members of beneficiary-groups with mediocre achievements, as it would upon a boring-old-white-guy who can offer spectacular achievements? Don’t forget, across all racial classifications, mediocre people vastly outnumber spectacular people. So what are the ultimate consequences of this? More to the point, could the country possibly become worried about such consequences? Want to have your next brain surgery done by someone who’d never been called on to truly distinguish himself, except by his or her race? Does Main Street USA’s support for Affirmative Action extend that far? Maybe we’re about to find out.

Congressman Barney Frank…whom nobody thinks is a Republican…demonstrated that much-lauded progressive-liberal patience and tolerance for diverse points of view during a live television interview. Wonder if they factored this in to that above-mentioned study.

And then we had that progressive-liberal respect for the rule of law demonstrated by our Climate Queen — yeah, that’s another matter, our liberals-in-charge want to control our weather. Climate czar Carol Browner apparently violated the Presidential Records Act.

So the picture’s pretty complete — as it has been for awhile, but in this damaging, damaging week, it was pencilled in, painted in, tinted, shaded, and framed to perfection in such a way that the apathetic mainstream centrist voters can understand it. And understand it well. These people are in power, uncontested, out of control, as closed-minded as any Republican has ever been, hateful, intolerant, impetuous, as pissy and resentful as any loser of elections has ever been. They are as dim and incurious as George W. Bush has ever been. They cannot get along with anyone else, even their own. They cannot deal with important decisions because they cannot deal with facts. They just want to have power over everybody else, and that’s all. Well, that and accumulate magnitudes of personal wealth as lofty and imposing as what they would deny to others.

The only thing missing from this week…and this may have happened too, if I missed it…was the usual, regularly “scheduled” embarrassing gaffe from Vice President Joe Biden. Other than that one cherry on top, everything else was there this week.

Small wonder that Biden’s old contender for the #2 spot, apparently felt so justified in saying I told you so.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Ideological Purity

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Dick Cheney thinks it is a mistake for Republicans to try to be more moderate.

“I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate,” Cheney said. “This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles. You know, when you add all those things up, the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most of us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, ‘Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.’”

Republicans Need Ideas?Blogsister Daphne brings us a disturbing tale of true intolerance in one particular Republican considered to be most-pure.

It’s no wonder less than 25% of the public identifies as Republican when we’ve elevated Joe The Plumber as a conservative poster boy. I’m sure he’s an honest, decent guy, but give me a break, he doesn’t exactly sell conservative philosophy eloquently to anyone with an IQ above 60. When Joe speaks, I cringe.

People don’t understand the dictionary—it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do—what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. [emphasis Daphne's]

And Neo-Neocon seems to me to flat-out disagree with the former Vice President, making her preference for quantity over quality abundantly clear.

So, what’s behind the conservatives’ targeting of RINOs, when they know that the states from which RINOs come are likely to elect Democrats instead? [Olympia] Snowe’s Maine, for example, is now a solidly blue state, and to deny this is to deny reality.

I don’t think that conservatives really have a death wish for the Republican Party. It’s that the extreme wings of either party are just that: extreme. As such, they tend to be inherently less practical, less willing to compromise, and more inclined towards ideological purity and purges.

I think NN is correct in her observations, but also that this is a good thing. If Sen. Snowe wants to go the way of Specter, then good riddance. There is a deeper issue here than simply winning this-year’s-election, an objective in which Republicans never enjoyed winners’-money throughout the entirety of last year. They were always fighting a losing battle on this. The year 2008 was a liberal-year, period, full-stop.

But this deeper issue, of which I speak, is being a decent and reliable representative for your constituency and that constituency’s concerns. And the criteria is unfulfilled if your party only does this so long as it’s accepted by a popular vote. Loyalty endures throughout waxing and waning popularity, or else it is nothing. Let’s put it this way: When you go off into a closed-room meeting with someone else who’s going to try to change you, your constituency understands you will continue to fight for their interests, even though they personally can’t be in there to make sure you do. That is the kind of loyalty I’m talking about.

It’s a pretty big concern. Neither of the major political parties have that quality right now. The democrats got past it last year by being hip and edgy and cool…which works out pretty well when the race is a sprint and not a marathon. But who could be relied-upon? Nobody. Certainly not the guy who won the elections. The cuteness-contest came to decide things not because one among the candidates had a great deal to offer there (although that was part of it)…but rather, because it was a tie-breaker. All superior methods by which the electorate could’ve decided the election, had been tried, and the results were inconclusive. Nobody had this quality of resilience and reliability of which I speak.

And, let us not forget: Losing that quality is exactly what cost the Republicans power in the years previous. That’s how they lost Congress two years ago. You say “I’m a Republican!!” — and what, exactly, do I know about you? Do I know you’re going to insist on punishment for the kid who threw the first punch in a fight, instead of the other kid who threw the last one? Do I know you’ll stand up for Israel, protect my right to keep and bear arms from being infringed in any way, fight MoveOnDotOrg’s network “neutrality” schemes? Fight to make sure kiddy-diddlers are kept in prison for their entire lives? To bring back the electric chair and fry up the murderers extra crispy? Cut my taxes? Whittle government down to size, appoint some judges that will award child custody to the father when it makes sense to do so, consign affirmative action to the ash bin of history where it belongs?

No. No no no. No. No. No. No, no and no.

This is what blogger friend Phil meant, I think, when he eschewed the notion that the Republican party needs to broaden its base, and instead insisted it needs to deepen it. I don’t know what people mean when they call themselves Republican, and neither do you. About all you can discern from the willing personal association with that word, now, is that the speaker must be a glutton for punishment. Nothing else.

The confusion between extremism and moderation is the fatal mistake, here, I think. Neo-Neocon has fallen for it, and she’s not the only one. This is what needs to be straightened out.

Take, for example, Joe’s ugly thoughts about homosexuals. That seems pretty extreme, and I don’t agree with it at all. Sexual preference is sexual preference, nothing more; to associate it with perversion, or likelihood of perversion, is discriminatory, just-plain-wrong, and not just a little bit treacherous. Lots of straight folks, it should be unnecessary to point out, have been dangerous perverts.

And yet — what is truly extreme here? Joe’s attitude that his children should never be around homosexuals?

Or some centralized authoritarian government program, hard (regulatory) or soft (“education”), to force Joe to immerse his children in a homosexual fellowship?

My point is: Stop it with this “proving” that Republicans are just as tolerant as, or more tolerant than, democrats. They are, of course. I’ve yet to hear a major candidate for President on the Republican side intone that those edgy urban liberal people are bitter and clinging to their hybrids and hallucinogens. I’ve yet to see a conservative condemn some proposed program just because it would be too helpful to people of color and females, the way liberals condemn things just because they fail to achieve sufficient unpleasantness or abuse toward whites and males.

Just stop proving it.

Because when both sides claim to be decent, and both sides show some evidence that they do in fact contain indecent people in their midsts; when both sides claim to represent people, but neither side can be relied-upon to carry a simple message to Washington and have it codified into our laws; then it becomes a contest to see which side is cuter.

Which is what happened six months ago.

And Republicans are never going to win that. Look at the people saying Republicans are down for the count, never going to get up off the mat ever again. Within the tiny world those pundits live in, they’re right. Because they think style is all that matters. It is not going to be stylish, any time in the next twenty years or more, to be conservative. Not gonna happen.

But it could very easily make a great deal more sense. And we don’t have to wait twenty years for that to matter. Just be honest, sincere, reliable and consistent. Tell us what is important to you, and convince us that when you meet with other people who recoil from it, you’ll continue to defend it. Even when they argue against it and say asinine stupid things like “I’m the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks.” Even when those who are hostile to it, start to use blackmail. And then bribery. Start out with sensible, logical positions like…”She shouldn’t get custody when she’s a cokehead, just because she happens to have a vagina.” Or…”What part of ‘shall not be infringed’ is hard for you to understand?” Or…”If your state doesn’t recognize gay marriage, and you’re gay, and you want to be married, then MOVE.” Or…”If you’re going to let innocent people die just so you don’t have to bring discomfort to a brutal savage murderer, I see nothing morally superior about that decision.”

And then stand firm. The nation is hungry for that — the entire nation, not just half of it. That’s all that’s needed.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Strong Poles

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Senator Jim DeMint, summing up the Republicans’ woes and what they can do about them:

To win back the trust of the American people, we must be a “big tent” party. But big tents need strong poles, and the strongest pole of our party — the organizing principle and the crucial alternative to the Democrats — must be freedom. The federal government is too big, takes too much of our money, and makes too many of our decisions. If Republicans can’t agree on that, elections are the least of our problems.

Hat tip: NeoCon Blonde.

Depth

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Letting Phil speak for himself…

A Revelation

I was over reading in “The House” and I ran across the line “Republicans don’t need to broaden their base…”

and I thought to myself….

No…. they need to deepen it.

Says all that needs to be said, right there. “Broaden” the base is just plain silly. Broaden the base with what policies, exactly? With the sub-skeletal level of discussion about policies in last year’s election, it has become a practically refuted point that there is any consensus-value of any policies whatsoever. The electorate still seems reasonably sure about the Holy Man they elected President. He spoke very little about policies — less than any candidate in my lifetime, and before that. His message was, rather, what some nameless faceless anonymous busybodies would think about His policies. Republicans should make inroads into the dimwits who so passionately elected Him? How? By learning some dance moves? Our nation longs to see a bunch of sixty-year-old white guys doing the moonwalk? Make that happen and people will vote Republican in droves?

Silly.

Phil’s right. The problem is depth. Republicans were fired because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do. People think, if they’re all crooks anyway, and they’re all going to spend money and bankrupt our kids anyway, might as well get someone fun to watch. Then the time comes to do post-mortem, and nobody thinks about character. The voters voted for what’s-cool, they’re going to be doing that forever now, and so the problem is now to make these old-white-guys with hair growing out of their ears more “cool” than Barack Obama by 2012. Let’s come up with some ideas!

Count me outta that one.

On the other side of the fence

White House Twitter Account Comes To Life
By Doug Caverly – Fri, 05/01/2009 – 15:59

Following the presidential election, Barack Obama’s Twitter account fell silent for more than two months, and some people suspected that he’d abandoned the service after achieving his goal. But the old account still sends out an occasional message, and today, an official Twitter page for the White House was also introduced.

Mind you, our nation’s leader doesn’t seem to be typing out text message abbreviations while counting to 140 himself; one tweet identifies Obama in the third person instead of the first, so don’t count on hearing his thoughts directly (or watching him waste his time).

Social NetworkingTwitter. The President’s on Twitter. He was on the Tonight Show a couple months ago, and now He’s tweeting.

Well, we have a Twitter account too. No MySpace and no Facebook…the latter of which is coming into widespread use among our acquaintances. Facebook operates by networking, so the question comes flying in fairly frequently about whether our Facebook page is up & ready for a link. The answer is that Twitter is about as far as we’re willing to go into this kiddie-territory. Very little of what we have to say about things fits into a “tweet,” and even with just this service, we’ve managed to make medium-to-very-poor use.

We just don’t make very good “twits.”

More than one (ostensibly) well-intentioned commenter has made the point that perhaps a blog is taking things too far all by itself. We do not blog under a nom de plume, and since we are a professional dude, perhaps we should. The principle is the same as the one by which you park your car in a garage, or out in the open, above-ground rather than in an underground bunker: If someone wants to do their damage badly enough, they’ll get it done. So we blog. And blogging is pretty much all we do out in cyberspace.

We’re live-and-let-live about it — but at the same time, it does cause some concern to us, and it should give pause to others as well, that the nation’s leading executive chooses to tweet. Why would this be a great fit? He takes the helm of a mighty nation during a devastating crisis, He has all kinds of balls to juggle, He’s supposed to be the most intelligent and curious President since perhaps Washington…exceptionally well-read…the “rep” is that everything in His noggin is so constantly up for appeal, that the die is seemingly never cast on these ideas. Not that He’s indecisive, oh no, don’t you dare ever insinuate such a thing. It’s just that where the rest of us have brain-farts, He’s just gelling His ideas into works of fine art. Laboring six days and resting on the seventh, & all that.

So if His ideas are so complex and so multi-layered — what’s up with the kiddie-stuff?

Got into a scrape with the FARK kids last night…somewhere…I dunno where. The Iraq death count is up for the month of April, and I dared to criticize Dear Leader over it. I was immediately challenged to prove my assertions by calling out an Obama change in policy. I replied that I was merely holding Obama to the same standard as His predecessor…as all of us, really. Tell the boss you’ll have something done by such-and-such a date, and, while you’re in charge, everything goes to hell and he tells you so — you don’t get to reply “Oh yeah? Prove your assertions. Point out exactly what I did to screw up.” Nope. Best case scenario, you’re given x much time to straighten things out. So I suggested they should just admit — their guy is just supposed to look cool, not foment any kind of positive “change,” they made a mistake in supporting Him and they should just admit it. Then I went to eat my dinner.

They have become parodies of themselves. Everyone else can be criticized, but say a word against anything Obama-related and they’re like Rottweilers on a ham steak. It’s impossible to exaggerate how bad this situation has become. So they’ve devolved into something two-dimensional and paper-like…rather like a stock character on Saturday Night Live. The skit practically writes itself. “That dress Michelle wore last night, made her look frumpy.” “Grrr!!!!! Oh yeah??? Prove it!!! Grrr!!! (slobber)”

All this stuff speaks to one thing: A crisis of depth. People want to be shallow right now. It’s just where they’re at. Things are not supposed to happen by such-and-such a date…anywhere. Instead, everything’s just supposed to be likable. Republicans need to really turn their whole act around, in order to be liked. Obama’s supposed to be fun to watch, not to get anything done or improve anything. Our country isn’t supposed to be secure, or prosperous, or mighty, or even think too highly of itself. It is, instead, supposed to talk to our enemies and stop alienating our allies.

This perpetual embrace of the facile somehow brands it as heresy to ask: What, exactly, do our enemies have to say to us, that a spider doesn’t have to say to a fly? And in what ways, exactly, do our allies “love” us, beyond the ways Rosie O’Donnell loves pastries?

As for the rest of us, screw up a deadline with the boss and you’ll be called in for an awkward meeting for thirty minutes or so…maybe passed over for a promotion that would’ve meant a bunch of pain-in-the-ass work anyway. But fail to be fun-to-watch, and that’s where the serious punishment begins. Your kids hate you, nobody wants to be seen with you, your wife’s getting boned by the mailman, et al. And so, in 2009, the pressure is on: Be hip and edgy, don’t worry about getting anything done.

Reminds me of some “advice” I once saw broadcast, generically, to all the guys who wanted to marry well, from a frustrated coquette who figured her own disappointments on the dating scene had more to do with deficiencies in the stock available to her, than in what she was offering to those who expressed initial interest. If I live to be a hundred and fifty, I’ll never forget this quote. She said, “everything that needs inventing has already been invented; drop out of the trade school, learn to rap and do your crunches.”

I thought at the time that this was a very sad thing, the idle ravings of someone young enough to know everything, doomed to single-motherhood at the very best. (Just imagine a marriage lasting a lifetime, with an attitude like that under the roof!) But now I think maybe she was on to something. She wanted next year’s model of “car” to be irreducible. Functionally monolithic. Pleasing to the eye, but offering nothing under the hood for inspection, maintenance or repair. You drive it around, other people look at it and admire how pretty it is, and when something needs fixing inside it you just junk the whole thing.

KardashianAll this is descriptive of every building block in our society right now. Our worthiness is in the aesthetic pleasure we bring to those who look at us. Even that has very little to do with anything deep…like manners, proper salutations, unexpected talents, knowledge of subjects, et cetera. Few among us are supposed to be doing anything. My complaint is not that our lifestyles are inflated or that some abundance of rights or opportunities has been denied us. It is, instead, that the level of comfort and security we enjoy is disconnected from the things we do…how well we do them…how long they stay done. Like we’re all Kardashians. So why would we value results? And if we don’t value results, why would we value methods? For lack of any reason to value methods, why value any deep thinking at all? Why value character? Why be deep?

In a twisted sense, our society’s extraordinary shallowness is a dementedly reassuring sign that people are paying attention. They’ve figured out they aren’t supposed to perform, and neither is anyone else. We’re all just supposed to be pleasing to the eye. Know some dance moves, “tweet” away, be witty, and that’s all that is expected of us.

Beneficial results aren’t valued, because they simply don’t matter. Everything we can acquire with ‘em, we can grab just as easily without ‘em. Be good looking — that is the measure of a socially functioning citizen right now…although I hesitate to call us citizens if that’s the definition. Know those dance moves. Bring visual and audible pleasure. Nothing else matters!

There is a great and tragic disappointment headed our way. Because if you want to see something that really doesn’t matter…just feast your eyes on the second-most-attractive person in a room. Sooner or later, the most radiant and ravishing among us, the hippest and edgiest, those who know the very best dance moves — will all taste of that bitter fruit of True Obsolescence. That is the gambit we’ve made.

Now, Everyone Wonders About Republicans

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The New York Times must have been reading the pages of The Blog That Nobody Reads yesterday (or, far more likely, John Hawkins’ fine column which got us onto the subject).

More of the New York Times big-lie about Republicans. The schism is supposed to be exactly what got President Garfield assassinated in 1881, between the moderates and the “stalwarts.”

A fundamental debate broke out among Republicans on Wednesday over how to rebuild the party in the wake of Senator Arlen Specter’s departure: Should it purge moderate voices like Mr. Specter and embrace its conservative roots or seek to broaden its appeal to regain a competitive position against Democrats?

To even ask the question, is to answer it. To stand for nothing…to sacrifice everything for the sake of whatever the latest poll numbers say is important today…to sail the seven seas in a raft without any oars, just heading wherever the tide takes you, rather than in a sailboat or a motorboat with a destination, a map and a plan. Why, exactly, does America need two political parties doing that? What would be the point?

I can only think of one: Competition for its own sake. A whole lot of screaming and yelling and finger-pointing and blaming, when in reality there “ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two of ‘em.” In other words, exactly what people most often complain about the status quo right here and now.

Just plain stupid.

No, here’s what the difference should be. Here’s what the difference really was, back in the old days when the democrat party was about as popular as ferret farming.

This party, over here, is all about what’s hip and cool right now. They’ve got a bunch of plans that don’t work, that they’re trying to sell. Plans that have been tried before, throughout modern history, by many countries, and have always failed. That party is going to make all these plans popular, by giving away taxpayer money to whoever might otherwise remember the plans suck so much. If they give away enough taxpayer money, or if enough people forget history and traipse off to the polls thinking about whoever’s younger-lookin’ and sexier, they just might take the place over for two-to-four years.

That other party, over there, is more concerned with what works. They get accused of doing “favors” for their “rich buddies” a lot, but that’s because — well, all that stuff Party #1 says about “getting a tax code going that works for everbody“? This other party actually lives up to it. It isn’t out to punish success. It’s not going to force you to pay for everybody else’s hangnails, dandruff, octo-kids, halitosis, new radiators, crotch-rot, learning disabilities and big-screen television sets just because you happen to have worked hard to build a successful small business.

That’s the divide: What’s cool versus what works. American Idol versus Dirty Jobs.

Now, how does that win elections? How do you get cool and stay cool, if you aren’t concerned in the first place about what’s cool?

Answer: And it’s a big stinky dirty secret nobody wants to discuss. Hard work is cool. Yes it’s tiring, and the time always comes when you don’t want to think about it anymore. That’s where we are right now. But that’s always a pretty short recess…all people have to do, is put up with the natural consequences of screwing-around for a little while…and it always turns out the same. Hard work is cool again, and people are much more interested in what actually works. That’s when “reality” teevee shows start getting canceled.

By coincidence, blogger friend Buck put up yesterday a cartoon that captures this extraordinarily well.

So keep spewing your venom and your confusion, New York Times. Deep down, people understand when they’ve chosen strong leaders and when they have not. When all the rhetoric is about “that isn’t my deficit” and “I won” those other guys at the other side of the ring are just so awful…I think most folks understand. This isn’t how strong leadership talks. The time has come to revisit this choice we thought we made half a year ago.

But…we can’t. We have to wait another eighteen months. At that time, people will still be happy with their little vacation-from-reality, like they were before? Really?

Conclusion: Republicans don’t need to do a damn thing. They don’t need to change a damn thing. They don’t need to broaden their appeal. They need to wait, and that’s all. Time is on their side. If they are so stupid as to do something above & beyond that, then the time will come for a third party.

Here’s your new Republican motto: “I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, if you’re male or female, what color your skin is, or if you drink booze or smoke pot. Just help me chisel this government down to a sane size. Here’s a hammer.” That message would bring out a Reagan-Mondale blowout. Not years from now. Tomorrow.

GOP Psychologically Out of Whack

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Hawkins has a new article up, Why the Republican Party is Psychologically Out of Whack. He cleverly kicks it off with two quotes that showcase the party’s deep split:

“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” — Jim Demint

“(Arlen Specter) is what the party needed to be. They need to cultivate more Specters instead of deriding him as a RINO.” — Michael Smerconish

I agree emphatically with Hawkins about what he says about the Smerconish sentiments:

…I think they’re indicative of what’s wrong with the David Frum, Ross Douthat, Meghan McCain, Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, David Brooks wing of the party. Arlen Specter isn’t a RINO and the GOP needs to emulate him? Not only is Arlen Specter to the left-of-center, he just left the Republican Party. How in the world can any sane Republican say that’s what we need to be copying?

The split, ironically, is the reason why the Republican party is somewhat deserving of support: It is a manifestation of principles. The unprincipled will always be among us, after all. If you don’t have principles, their attitude will be everlastingly unanimous, just as a boat without an anchor is never conflicted about where it wants to drift in any given moment.

That’s one way to look at things. To those who have weak minds, it’s tempting to ignore time and view the entire universe through a snapshot. Once time enters the equation, it is the unanchored boat that lacks direction, and the anchored vessel that possesses it. The tension on the line is simply a “price” to be paid for having an anchor.

Hawkins seems to see things this way:

Make no mistake about it, the GOP needs moderate voters and moderate politicians. We cannot expect a hard core conservative to win a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-to-2. We can’t expect a Republican senator from Vermont or California to be as conservative as a Republican senator from Oklahoma or Georgia. Yes, people like this can make conservatives pull their hair out at times, but it’s impossible for us to have a majority or get things done without them.

However, the flip side to this is that moderates are not the majority of Republicans, they’re not ideologically coherent as a group, and they simply don’t bring enough manpower, money, or energy to the table to drive a successful political party. What that means is moderates have to be the Robin to our Batman. Conservatives, who have stronger beliefs, more numbers, and just bring so much more to the Party are not going to happily fall in line over the long haul in a moderate Republican Party. Conservatives have to be in charge — and this can work.

I’m not too interested in this fantasy about winning elections. That’s quite a wait, for one thing; for another thing, it really can’t be done without telling people what to think. I think right now people know what they want: that wonderful, hip and edgy liberal goodness. I say, let them have it. But at the same time, while people may be spectacularly uninterested in the substance of ideas right now…they still hate to be deceived.

And that’s the position the Republican party needs to take right now. The democrats are the bosses — the GOP is the conscience of the democrats.

Like, for example, the democrat President said we shouldn’t pass debt on to the next generation. We need to make the economy work for everyone. Republicans need to agree in substance with the empty meaningless platitudes, then appear before the cameras and demonstrate the opportunity for improvement in sticking to the meaning of the platitudes.

The task that would confront the Republicans, then, would be to go out in search of these discrepancies between what the democrat-bosses say they’re going to do, and what they really do.

The task that would confront the democrat party would be to deny these opportunities to the Republicans. This would all be for the benefit of the country itself. How would it not be? How could utter and then substantiate a syllable of protest against it?

The job done by the democrats, so far, in sticking to their knitting: Medium to shitty.

The job done by the GOP, so far, in calling it out: Much shittier.

Fix that.

D’JEver Notice? XXVII

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

There is no re-definition taking place about conservatives, right now, or for that matter about liberals either. The history involving these two camps stretches backward through the generations, quite far, and remains essentially unchanged.

The liberal says “If I can make it sound appealing enough to try my idea, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s been tried already or how badly it turned out. You have to go through it again to prove you’re a decent person.”

The conservative says “If you can’t give me some firm evidence that this makes things better, or at the very least leaves things unharmed…let’s just not try it, and say we did.”

The year 2008 didn’t change any of that. That’s Surprise Number One. Surprise Number Two is, that out of all these ideas liberals want us to try that conservatives don’t…very few of them even approach something you could legitimately call “new.” Nearly all of them have been tried before. Here, or elsewhere.

Hannan

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I’m late to the party on this one; it’s become another “Everyone Else Is Blogging It, I Might As Well Do It Too” thing.

But this is exactly what I’ve been talking about. This is why I will (or should) win a steak dinner and $100 come 2012. Pretend you’re a British taxpayer, listen to what this guy’s saying, and tell me with a straight face that even the laziest cortex in your noggin has a single synapse to spare for: How he dresses, how much hair he’s missing, whether the other guy has hopey-changey charisma, whether some cute sluts have fainted at his speeches, whether their wives are wearing acceptable fashion, whether they give you tingle in your legs, arugula, waffles, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

You catch wind of some asshole spending all your money and all your kids’ money, that all goes flying out the window.

Update: To all those who question whether the prey is a good match for the hunting gear, there is this:

President Barack Obama took many on-point questions at his press conference this week. But for our money, the most important came from Chip Reid of CBS News.

“At both of your town hall meetings in California last week, you said, quote, ‘I didn’t run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation.’ But under your budget, the debt will increase $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says $9.3 trillion. And today on Capitol Hill, some Republicans called your budget, with all the spending on health care, education and environment, the most irresponsible budget in American history.

“Isn’t that kind of debt exactly what you were talking about when you said ‘passing on our problems to the next generation’?” Reid asked.

This is a profoundly important issue. Even without the hugely costly stimulus and bailout measures believed necessary to deal with the economic crisis, even without the highly costly Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the United States faces staggering annual deficits in coming years as 78 million baby boomers retire and the tab for Social Security and Medicare explodes. In 20 years, the average age of the nation will be what it now is in retirement haven Florida. A decade after that, the ratio of workers paying taxes to retirees receiving federal checks will drop to 2-to-1.

Something needs to be done to prepare for this coming entitlement tidal wave – a point Obama made repeatedly on the campaign trail, to his credit.

Now, to his discredit, Obama is simply ignoring these grim fiscal realities. The president argues that to put America on track for a better future, he has no choice but to pursue enormously costly expansions of government health coverage and government regulation of energy use and production. But he must acknowledge that his ambitions have a jaw-dropping price tag. This is what Chip Reid’s question was meant to do.

He is exactly what Daniel Hannan was talking about; He says one thing, now & then, here & there…and does something else. To be fair about it, Republicans have been guilty of the same thing.

But my intuition tells me that at the beginning of ’11, there will be more than a few new faces there. Asking for, and worthy of, a chance to demonstrate that their deeds match their fiscal-conservatism rhetoric.

Punch Drunk?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I’m so sick of talking about this guy. But this clip just cuts right to the heart of who He really is, what He really stands for, how He operates, and what kind of future we have ahead of us.

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

People who belong to His political party, as wonderful a job as they’ve done convincing the weaker-minded what incredibly wonderful people they are, have this disturbing tendency to describe our current problems as dire, dire, dire, oh my gosh, things are so bleak, we just might not come out of this intact…and then show teeth. Smile, grin, laugh, chuckle, guffaw.

I remember seeing, and commenting on, Al Gore doing exactly the same thing…here, and here. It’s unnatural. If you believe the speaker in question believes what the speaker in question is saying…it’s even more unnatural.

The fault lies with us for tolerating it and not questioning it. After all, how would you feel if you saw President Bush talking about body bags coming home from Iraq, families whose lives have been changed forever because of this ultimate sacrifice their son or daughter made over there…and then just moments later engage in that Will Farrel shoulder-shaking chuckle over some dumb joke?

Didn’t Michael Moore have some kind of “now watch this drive!” clip in that propaganda movie of his? Didn’t he get just tons and tons of mileage out of it?

Things are different when you’re a democrat, I notice. Our national consciousness must have had something planted into it at some point, somewhere…maybe it has to do with all those millions George Soros spent. But when you belong to the party of the ass, you can talk up a good game about how hopeless the country’s situation is, here at home, as well as overseas…and then giggle like a child right before Christmas about it…we let it slide. If someone doesn’t point it out explicitly, most of us don’t even notice.

JohnJ had something to say about this lately:

Even here in Alabama, many people believe that the Democrat party is the party of good intentions and the Republican party is the party of evil intentions (granted, most of those many are at the law school). But even when I talk to people in other places, I often hear much of the same meme. For example, people think it’s ridiculous that Obama would ban guns or impose socialism, because Americans wouldn’t stand for something like that. But Republicans are on the verge of completely banning abortion, homosexuality, and criminalizing being black. I’m constantly amazed at the sheer number of people who believe exactly that.

From last year’s election, I’m inferring the democrat party has a complete lock on this “we are good people” tagline. If it’s a contest to see who can be thought of as good people, the democrats will win every single time. And so, in these discussions about what Republicans need to do to unseat them, or what any other faction would have to do to unseat them, I have steadfastly insisted this tactic should be abandoned. It doesn’t work. Last year offered it the very best of circumstances under which to operate, since I perceive there is bipartisan recognition that your kids are much better off spending a weekend with John McCain and Sarah Palin than with Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Nevertheless, the subject turned to who has better character, and the early-propaganda-money, and the Obama-as-modern-Messiah, won out.

And so I have also steadfastly insisted the next contest must be about “we are better people”…versus…“our policies work.” Reagan didn’t convince anyone he was a better person than Jimmy Carter. The palpable and effervescent consensus in 1980 was that Carter was a decent man, with noble intentions, who was simply in the wrong line of work (since then, demonstrated to be at least 33% correct).

Newt Gingrich never put too much effort into convincing people he was a more decent person than the democrats in the House leadership. I doubt like the dickens Richard Nixon ever convinced anyone he was a more decent person than LBJ, RFK or HH.

When people have problems they need to have solved, this just isn’t on their minds. They talk about it a lot because it makes them feel good…and if you listen to them too closely, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking this is what they’re after. But they’ll borrow money from a mobster, in a heartbeat, if they think that’s what they need to do. They’ll sleep with vampires, they’ll sell their souls to the devil. Their instincts to eradicate some source of insecurity, or danger, win out most of the time, over their instincts to be on the side of what they know is right.

The Republican message…the Libertarian message…the anti-democrat message…needs to be — you aren’t even getting out of this deal what you’re supposed to be getting out of it. Partly because it’ll work; and partly, because it’s true. Obama was supposed to connect with people, resonate with people, earn us “respect around the world,” fill us with hope, encourage us to do more good works, bring smiles to our faces. That was the Faustian exchange by which we collectively agreed not to ask Him any tough questions, to forget about Jeremiah Wright within a space of mere hours, and to never, ever insist He should take a firm policy stand on anything. That was the bargain. And everything our country was supposed to have gotten out of it, seems to have evaporated. There’s no hope, there’s no real change, and in the nation’s highest office it seems we have some empty suit who can’t even speak clearly, communicate messages clearly, offer us encouragement or even deliver to us a positive outlook on life.

We abandoned logic and reason, to pander to our own emotions; in so doing we gave up some things in order to acquire other things, and we ended up without those other things.

All of life, I maintain, is like that.

Now, I hope my advice is taken. To me, it seems like a no-brainer. If it isn’t, JohnJ will be right, these people will stay in power indefinitely, talking up our problems, making them more severe in magnitude, insurmountable, and depressing…laughing and smiling with their “gallows humor” all the way.

Plus, I’ll have to buy JohnJ a nice steak dinner. I think he, and I, would be much happier about that if he was the one paying the bill on that one, and so would you.

Rightosphere Temperature Check for March

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

John Hawkins just took a poll of 55 right-of-center bloggers (this time around, we did not partake). The results are here.

One cannot help but wonder how well the nation’s future would be doing — hey, come to think of it, that’s supposed to be more important than anything else, right? — if you were required to be a right-of-center blogger in order to cast a vote in a national election. With things as they are, all the riff-raff voting, that future is looking a little on the dim side. In fact, if you accept that in a democratic-republic such as ours, if nearly everyone sees something as a bad idea, maybe it shouldn’t be done…with the stimulus and bailouts, we seem to have failed that test. Another test, derivative of that one, is that if nobody anywhere can put together a coherent argument why a proposal is a good idea, or merely a non-harmful idea, it should be tossed into the “bad idea” stack until the time such an argument is forthcoming. We’ve failed to do that, too.

But what really makes me entertain the idea of only-right-wing-bloggers voting? Sensible things like this…

If you had to make a non-binding choice today, which of the following candidates would you want as the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012?

Mike Huckabee: 1 (2%)
Tim Pawlenty: 2 (4%)
Ron Paul: 2 (4%)
Bobby Jindal: 9 (17%)
Mitt Romney: 10 (19%)
Mark Sanford: 11 (20%)
Sarah Palin: 19 (35%)

Always makes me nervous to see my viewpoint in the majority, anywhere. I harbor no ambitions toward rebellion, but it does make me want to re-check things. Well, things check out. Usually, that means the facts are becoming obvious…

See, there is some hope. There’s going to be a lot of learning going on over the next 46 months, all up & down the political spectrum. A lot of learning carefully customized — life always carefully customizes it this way — to what we need to know, that we don’t know yet. Things our country desperately needs to learn.

It’ll happen, folks. And we’ll survive. We’ve had 44 presidencies now; only a dozen, perhaps just a smattering more than that, were truly worthy of mention. The rest of them were bobblehead-figureheads. Mediocre guys. In over their heads, you might say. Just like now. The nation survived.

To Mommynator, With Love

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Oy, this is embarrassing. I’m in a passionate back-and-forth with a lovely lady over on Rick’s blog who lives in upstate New York…and I’ve blabbered on to such an extent that the posting form won’t accept that volume of text anymore, so I have to come back and host it here.

Her point, as I understand it, is that the election was lost when the Republican nominee was chosen — a point with which I personally agree. Her rant was pretty priceless and captures exactly the spirit I think the country needs. She also thinks it would’ve gone differently if the Republican champion was Rudy. Hmm. Not sure if I disagree with that, either.

But there seems, to me, to be something missing from the formula, especially since she went on from there to disparage my guy Fred Thompson:

I guess it’s a matter of perspective, resting in no small amount on personal biases. To my way of thinking, Fred did just fine. I was about to say so, but a week or two before I got the opportunity South Carolina made the decision for me, declaring Mr. Thompson wasn’t charismatic enough.

If charisma is the litmus test then what’re you complaining about? Who can doubt, given the premise that Americans are supposed to put in office whoever is the most fun to watch, that we picked the right fella? Whatever your predilections, Obama is one fun guy and mega-awesome too!

The paradox is this: The electorate wants to make the final decision. But they need to be led like a child. If they aren’t led like a child, they end up picking whoever is taller. Or whoever they’d most like to see on American Idol. These are symptoms not quite so much of a dissolving society (although it is that), as a lack of leadership.

Look at Ronald Reagan. Yes, he was more “fun” than Jimmy Carter, and he was more fun than Walter Mondale. But he didn’t win those elections because he was a fun guy; we didn’t talk that much about hopey-changey charismatic goodness in 1980 and 1984. He won them because we had spirited debates about policies. We had spirited debates about policies because Reagan took control of the debates and made sure that’s what they were about. And then it became blindingly obvious that his opponents’ policies were just-plain-bad.

Your mistake here, Mommynator, is comparing Giuliani’s policies with Fred’s charisma or lack thereof. In so doing, you’re formulating a plan that depends on all the electorate seeing things the same way you do. Rudy DID run, and we saw what happened when they got a look. He just didn’t become an eminent force. Granted, neither did Fred, and granted Fred blew a lot more chances than Rudy did. But the point is it’s descended into a high-school popularity contest, and it’s done that because of a lack of leadership from all of the candidates. THAT is the answer to your question.

What we really need…and I personally lack the talent to do this…is to distill this conundrum into something that will fit onto a bumper sticker.

I can use an analogy, though. Republicans say to change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles or something close to it, democrats say it’s wrong to change the oil in your car because it’s just a scheme by the oil companies to get us to use more oil. Obviously, to a thinking adult, the democrat policy will ruin your car, but to an immature mind it might sound plausible.

McCain’s approach a few months ago was to become embroiled in a phony-intellectual debate about how much obscene profit is made for the oil companies when you buy five quarts of oil. And then to compromise on a new policy that tells you to change the oil in your car every 10,000 miles. The McCain theory is that by recommending an oil change interval that is just nominally better than not changing your oil at all, the candidate is spared some criticism. That is the only value there is to it. And…this doesn’t work. The Manhattan blue-blooders still criticize, just as vociferously as they would’ve otherwise. And then they vote for Obama. He’s cuter.

The right approach would’ve been: Folks, this really isn’t complicated at all. The more often you change your oil, the longer the car lasts, and an oil company making a profit by selling you oil isn’t gonna hurt your bottom line, while a busted car will.

Global warming, treatment of “detainees” at Guantanamo, “shoring up” America’s “image” for approval by her “allies,” corporate “greed,” and many other issues: The McCain campaign took on a halfway-liberal position on each one. It created the impression that liberals had a point, when they didn’t.

That doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker.

I can also do a right/wrong approach:

ATTACK: Sarah Palin is a stupid idiot who isn’t qualified.

RESPONSE (WRONG): You can tell she’s smart because she’s a capable speaker, we’ll put her on with a couple interviewers who’d just love to make her look like a dolt, oh by the way she’s the commander of the national guard, her duties in that capacity amount to…blah, blah, blah…

RESPONSE (RIGHT): Quit arguing like a six-year-old, you democrats. Palin’s policies are good, Obama/Biden’s suck, and here are all the ways history says that is so.

My long-winded point, Mommynator, is that Rudy might very well have cured cancer and single-handedly stopped martians from invading the planet. But if the democrats and “centrist” airheads are out there making the election into a reality television show and nobody has the balls to stop them, it won’t ever matter, because we’ll just end up voting for whoever played a saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show. And that is why your guy got beat.

We need to be discussing policies, but first there needs to be a consensus that policies are what it’s all about.

You know, I can think of some things that fit on a bumper sticker. Things that we should be hearing about all the time, not just during election campaigns…but during election campaigns especially. The air should be thick with these words.

Liberty.

Freedom.

Opportunities.

Individual Ambition.

The chance to make yourself all you can be.

Higher standard of living.

Defense.

Victory.

Limited government.

States’ rights.

Sovereignty.

Those will fit on bumper stickers…although, by themselves, they do not quite make the point. The point is that, as Americans, whether we lean right or lean left, we all should be living and breathing these things, every waking moment of every day — and then dreaming about them as we sleep. Something is viciously wrong with our country if & when that is not the case.

Change that, and democrats have won their last election for a generation or more, even if the Republicans choose as their congressional and presidential nominees, a family of crazed ferrets. Then, maybe, the country has a chance.

If you don’t change it, on the other hand, then you can nominate Jesus Christ Himself. And the conversation will turn to how boring He is when Katie Couric is interviewing Him…how gross those holes in His hands look…the “charisma” He doesn’t seem to have, and how sleepy He looks, when He does that praying thing…scandals involving Mary Magdalene.

If the conversation isn’t about the right stuff, then the candidate doesn’t really matter.

Thanks For Doing Everything My Way, Now You’re All Dead

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Within the list of guys in world history who got everything done their way, George Soros is my nominee for all-time champion Gloomy Gus.

At Columbia University last Friday, legendary hedge fund manager George Soros shocked his audience, proclaiming …

”We witnessed the collapse of the financial system. It was placed on life support, and it’s still on life support. There’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.“

Soros went on to say that …
The crisis is actually more severe than the Great Depression …

It’s like watching the demise of the Soviet Union, and …

There is no prospect of a recovery any time soon.

Kind of reminds me of Eric Holder’s speech…you know, the “Thanks for electing a President of color who appointed an Attorney General of color, and by the way, you’re all cowards.”

Why are people so adamant about having everything done their way, and then just sit around and squawk that things are so bad, once it happens?

More on Soros

Regulators are in part to blame because they “abrogated” their responsibilities, Soros, 78, said. The philosophy of “market fundamentalism” was now under question as financial markets have proved to be inefficient and affected by biases rather than driven by all the available information, he said.

“We’re in a crisis, I think, that’s really the most serious since the 1930s and is different from all the other crises we have experienced in our lifetime,” Soros said, adding that the Federal Reserve had created several by lowering interest rates.

I’ve heard all these talking points before. With weaker regulation, people looked after their own selfish interests and ruined things.

Trouble with that is, what are we hoping will revive, exactly? Something called “the economy,” right? Can anyone tell me what an economy is…other than a bunch of people looking after their own selfish interests?

In fact, since these greedy selfish people are just people, and regulators are just people — it’s a little like arguing what color to paint a bomb you’re going to drop on a city, isn’t it? I mean, what exactly is it about regulators that makes them wise and un-greedy?

All I can think of is motivation. Those filthy robber barons are motivated toward a healthy bottom-line. Huh. You know, if what we’re bitching about is unhealthy bottom-lines, I don’t see how their objectives are different from ours. People like Soros have had many chances to explain this to me, and I must be too dense to figure it out because it remains a mystery. Regulators, on the other hand, aren’t really motivated toward any one thing…their job, when you get down to it, is to get in the way when decisions are made too quickly for the benefit of the bottom line. To be a fly in the ointment, a pain in the ass. They represent everything-else. They’re the opposition.

But getting back to the subject of this post. How decisively does an election have to culminate in a triumph for Mr. Soros’ interests, before he stops being such a depressing little gnome? This is a guy who has ruined national economies for his own personal benefit. The more I think of it, the more his lecturing us about greed, seems one and the same as Eric Holder lecturing us about cowardice.

I think this needs to go in the memory file, for the next time we’re presented with an opportunity to do things the way these gentlemen want us to. You know, it’s true throughout all of life, anytime someone demands you do something rather than asking nicely…

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

D’JEver Notice? XXII

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

If right now, right this very minute, I were to run a post with the following headline, or a newspaper were to run an article with the following headline, or a television news special were to run on your idjit box with the following promo:

Al Gore Won Florida After All

You’d want to see it. Why? Because you’d know someone was off his meds. Someone tripped across a six-year-old story, thought it was brand-new, and goofed. Or, if no mistake had been made, wonder of wonders miracle-of-miracles, someone was making some information known with undeniably pure motives. This is the one single bunch of hours in which there would be absolutely nothing to gain, for anybody, with such an act.

That’s because deep down, persons of all ideological stripes understand that nonsense never had anything to do with pure motives.

Here’s another thing I’ll bet you’ve noticed, but might not have registered with you consciously:

When a Republican wails away about a “stolen election” his complaint has something to do with a directional shift. A change in rules in the middle of the game. Courtroom hijinks. Bug-eyed judges staring at ballots under magnifying glasses to “divine the will and intent of the voter” when such a thing never would have happened under a different scenario. Stacks of ballots “discovered” in someone’s car. Someone in an ivory tower, be it a judge, or a lawyer, or a secretary-of-state, or a governor, intervening to alter the outcome by means other than simply casting a vote.

When a democrat uses those words, it means the democrat candidate lost narrowly. That’s all that has to happen to produce the complaint. The democrat won 49% of the vote, 48% of the vote, maybe even less than that…the election must have been stolen. Bring on the lawyers.

And so we have a new rule in effect. If the democrat comes within a percentage point or two of winning, you have to give it to him.