Most Bizarrest Election 2008 Debate Moments Thus Far3. Last night's semi-constant sycophantic fawning over Ronald Reagan. Jebus, folks. You gotta squint to even make him a decent prez...and a great one he just ain't. I know Republicans desperately, passionately want their own FDR, but this Reagan crap is just...embarrassing. Even by contemporary GOP standards. Here's an idea: find a truly great nominee sometime in the relatively near future and get an actually great president instead of one whose primary qualification is his ability to read the teleprompter fetchingly. (Who knows? McCain seems to have the right stuff for genuine presidential greatness...too bad the GOP hates him...)P.s. Anybody count how many times they said 'Reagan' last night? Jeez, how many times did just Romney say 'Reagan'? Maybe they should have just gotten up and said "RonaldReaganRonaldReaganRonaldReagan..." But not in front of a mirror in a darkened room! Else he might come back and sell more weapons to the Mullahs... Though it'd be o.k. if he did it! Again.2. Democrats flailing about trying to explain why the surge was STILL a bad idea......even though it worked. Man, it was like that scene in Airplane when the stewardess asks whether anybody knows how to fly a plane...everybody running around, screaming, hanging form the ceiling... See, even Bushies admit that reducing violence was only a means to achieve political progress...and political progress in Iraq is only a means to democracy in the Mideast...and that's only a means to eradicating World Eeevil. So if there's any evil left in the world, then the surge has FAILED! Get it? The surge cannot succeed, no matter what!!!
(And I say this not because I supported the surge, but just because of how nauseatingly irrational and dishonest it was.)
And the number one most bizarrest debate moment thus far:1. All the other Republican candidates (except Paul, if he counts...) pretending like they have absolutely no idea what Huckabee could be thinking by saying that the Bush administration has had an "arrogant, bunker mentality."Now, we all realize that they're going to bullshit on this one. But the truly bizarre thing is that they all acted like they could not for the life of them understand where Huckabee got this wacko idea. It was as if he had written "Bush needs to stop wearing that water buffalo on his head all the time." Realize that I'm not even saying that they ought to recognize Huckabee's claim as true (despite the fact that it is, well, obviously true). What I'm marveling at is the fact that they were all acting as if they simply could not fathom how anyone could think such a thing. As if he had just pulled the damndest thing right out of thin air. It really was one of the freakin' nuttiest things I've ever seen in politics. And that, my friends, is really saying something. And, to make a kind of point of which I'm fairly fond: remember, the less scary possibility here is that they're just that good at bullshitting/pandering. The truly scary possibility is that they really are that clueless.I'm sure we'll have lots more to add to this list as time goes on...though that #1 is going to be hard to beat.
NY NOW, Reminding Me What I Hate About The LeftSo the New York chapter of NOW has concluded--if, indeed, we should dignify this inchoate emotive spasm by calling it a conclusion--that Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama shows that he hates women.I suppose there's no need to explain why this is a butt-ass stupid thing to say, so I won't bother. But pay special attention to the vicious vituperative tone of the statement. Christ, these people are loons.But, for those of you who have never had any sustained contact with hard-core feminists, let me just note that there's a sense in which none of this should come as any surprise. Hard-core radical feminists are among the most irrational people I've ever met...and that includes racists, creationists, fundamentalists, postmodernist literary critics and suchlike. Really hate-filled and strident, too...and as sexist as the most sexist male rednecks I've ever met...and I've met a ton of 'em.What surprises me is that I've always thought of NOW as a fairly sensible, centrist, mainstream organization. They give themselves a real black eye with this ridiculous screed. I'd like to see the national organization repudiate it.So it didn't take long for the race and sex cards to get played, did it? Rove's "lazy trash-talker" op-ed seemed to get the ball rolling, then came Bill Clinton's various questionable utterances, and now this. Nice work, folks! What a bunch of morons. I hope no one was under the impression that ignorant dumbassery was limited to the right.So I suppose that the principle guiding NY NOW's inference is this one: if a person of disadvantaged group G is running for office, and you endorse that person's opponent, then you are bigoted against group G. By a straightforward application of this principle (plus some fairly obvious empirical premises) we get: NY NOW is racist. Bastards!And, look: this is the kind of patently idiotic lefty dumbassery that really seems to stick in the mind. Sure, it pales in importance when compared to some of the BS we've gotten from the right of late...but it makes up for it in sheer, unadulterated irrationality. And it's got some kind of stomach-turning je ne sais quoi... If your brain could barf, this kind of thing would be like ipecac.O.k., that's it. I'm going to try to get this turbo-charged stupidity out of my head.(Oh, and just for the record: many folks in my grad school cohort would have asserted--with great passion and total seriousness that I'm evil for having written this. Let's see, a quick perusal reveals that I called some women irrational and said their claim was emotional...so that's conclusive evidence that I hate all women and have the whole retinue of anti-female attitudes possessed by the most reactionary sexists. Oooh, and then we see that I characterize them as having a "black eye," thus showing my desire to do violence against all women... See how easy this game is to play! The illusion of thought, but requiring no thought! All it takes is a certain knack for spinning every utterance in the worst conceivable direction, and a certain hatred and suspicion of one's fellow man (specifically: man) and voila!--a certain illusion of depth and erudition. Er, well, in the eyes of really, really dumb people and other true believers, anyway.Perhaps I've regaled you before with my fascinating theories of the role of the PC movement in stoking the fires of the viciously anti-liberal conservatism of the past several years? No? Well, another time then...)
Backand:HRC: WTF?Behold: again I return. Everything seems to be more-or-less in order at the Ranch of the Damned. Mom seems to be doing very well, though her health remains a concern.As for the rest of the world: I've been virtually news-less for almost two weeks, and it was GREAT.The one thing that kept smacking me in the face when I did see the news on this trip, however, was this: it's starting to get a little hard for me to see myself voting for HRC. Man, what the hell is wrong with the Clintons? They seem to be angrier at Obama than they are at Bush. And all the little dirty digs and exaggerations (kindergarten and the presidency, drugs, messy desk)! I mean, you'd think they had Dick Morris back on their team.I mean, seriously. Along comes this guy who sincerely says that he wants to reform American politics to make it less vicious--and who might actually be able to do it--and what's the Clinton's response? Viciously attack him at every opportunity. If they'd have turned half this ire against the Bush-DeLay-Limbaugh-et. al. Axis of Evil they might have been able to do some actual good. One can reasonably think that Clinton would make a better president than Obama, or even that Obama just isn't ready for the job...but the viciousness of the Clinton camp's attacks are just bullshit--and often so ridiculously petty that I'd find them angrifying even if directed at someone genuinely loathsome. Say, Giuliani... There are reasonable points to be made against Obama, but the low blows are just making me (and others, I expect) more sympathetic to him.So listen, Clinton supporters: get your gal to straighten up, or she's going to lose a hell of a lot of us. I'm serious.
Hiatus 2Off to Missouri Again. No web access at the Ranch of the Damned. Be back in a week or so.
McGovern: Impeach BushCouldn't blog on this when it came out, but it's important. McGovern seems to be right about this--perhaps most notably about the point that the case for impeachment against Bush is probably stronger than the case against Nixon.I think there are a couple of reasons why Pelosi et. al. don't want to impeach Bush. First, they think it will energize Republicans. Consequently, second, they think it will lower the odds of a Democratic win in November. Third, they think that a Democratic win is crucial this time around. Fourth, they realize that Bush would never be convicted because--basically no matter what--an insufficient number of Senate Republicans would vote to convict. And, finally, perhaps the Dems realize it will turn into a highly partisan slugfest...and Dems almost always lose such contests. (Why? Well, Republicans tend to be meaner and more partisan...but also more resolute and courageous. The Dems tend to be more objective and reasonable...but also more wimpy and feckless.)The central reason is probably the worry about losing in November. Now, I, too, think it's fairly important to get a Democratic president this time around (though the real need is to get someone capable of repairing the extraordinary damage done by the Bush administration...and McCain might be able to do that, too). However, it's also extremely important to punish crimes, especially crimes committed by the president. It's well-known that Jim Wright knew that Reagan deserved to be impeached for Iran-Contra--but he decided not to pursue it because he didn't think the country could take another such crisis on the heels of Nixon. This was a noble error. The refusal to impeach Reagan has almost undoubtedly emboldened the Bush administration. If they knew that there would be swift and certain punishment for abusing presidential power, then it is far less likely that they would have done the things they've done. It is likely that impeachment would energize the GOP and reduce the odds of a Democrat winning in 2008. It's also crucial that someone sane, honest and competent be elected. But--even putting straight-forward points about justice to the side--it is important for the future of the country that Bush (and perhaps Cheney) be impeached. If this administration was emboldened by the failure to impeach Reagan, consider the effects of the failure to impeach Bush on the next such administration. If Bush does not deserve impeachment, then one must begin to wonder whether there is any crime or abuse of power that would warrant it.Two final points:I am not arguing that Bush (or Cheney) should be convicted. That is a more complicated legal question that I'm not qualified to have a strong opinion on. That they ought to be impeached seems fairly clear, but it may very well turn out that the evidence exonerates them. In fact, once the facts are carefully investigated and reasoned about, those of us who are outraged by the actions of the administration might even come to see that their actions were not as bad as we thought. But we'll never know without a thorough investigation.Finally, we also need to worry about the differential standards for impeachment that seem to have been established. This is in part a consequence of differences between the parties already mentioned. The lesson of the Clinton administration seems to be that, if Republicans don't like a Democratic president, then they will investigate him until they are able to find some thin pretext for impeachment. On the other hand, the Democrats seem unwilling or incapable of even considering impeachment even when it is clearly called for. This is a very dangerous state of affairs, and even the (wimpy) Democrats should be able to see that, even merely from the crass perspective of partisan self-interest, this is not a winning strategy.It's always struck me as peculiar that the very people who have the most pronounced tendency to wave the flag and extol the virtues of America also seem to have the least actual respect for the Constitution and the institutions of our government. That brand of patriotism--if patriotism it even is--is of a tribalistic, sophomoric variety. Actual patriotism, however, requires a commitment to the principles of the Consitution, and an ability to take an objective view of matters of this kind by transcending partisan commitments. There may be legal arguments that show that impeachment is not, in fact, called for, but if those arguments exist they have not been made public. From the perspective of the well-informed layperson, given the available evidence and arguments, impeachment must at least be seriously considered.
McCain!I don't know about you guys, but the most exciting development for me so far in the primaries has been McCain's victory in New Hampshire and possible resurgence. I've long thought that the key to bringing sanity back to American politics lies with the GOP--as long as the psycho wing of that party is in control, there's just not that much that can be done to improve things. I think Obama might just frighten the GOP establishment enough to prompt them to accept McCain. Now that DeLay, Rove and several similar folks have been shown the door, we're really just waiting for the clock to run out on Bush and Cheney. Even if they are replaced by a Republican administration, things will improve dramatically both at home and abroad if that administration is a McCain administration.Though I disagree with McCain on a long list of important policy issues, at least he's a man worthy of respect and worthy of the office of President. I could not only live with him as President, I could be happy about it. (That is, at least if I put Supreme Court nominations out of my head temporarily.)That having been said, I do still think it's important to elect a Democrat this time around. Since Congress is not going to do the right thing and impeach Bush (note: as always, I'm merely pointing out that he should be impeached; I don't know whether or not he should be convicted), I think it's important for the country that there at least be an electoral repudiation of the administration. Furthermore, I think there is so much (righteous) anger among Dems that a Republican victory might drive them over the edge. Just about the last thing we need is to finally get a sane, competent Republican President, only to have the Dems flip out and start acting like the CDS wing of the GOP acted during the Clinton years.But those considerations are fairly speculative.
Anyway, it sure would be great to see two smart, admirable, sane, civil candidates in the general election. Perhaps unsurprisingly I'm mostly thinking of Obama here for the Dems. (I'm still mourning for Dodd, but a large part of my heart has been tugging me Obama-ward for quite some time now.) I fear that McCain would beat Obama, and I think that would be a sub-optimal outcome...but merely sub-optimal will look like political paradise after the last seven years.
BackHey. My mom has had a bit of a health scare, but things seem to be looking up rather dramatically. I'll be heading back to Missouri soon, but before then I'll probably post a few fascinating thoughts.Thanks for all the comments, e-mails, chats and phone calls of support. I really appreciate it.
HiatusCurrently dealing with a family medical emergency. Taking a temporary hiatus.
Vodkamoron on Huckabee and the "Corn-S[h?]ucking Idiots" in IowaSadly No! has this, and it's worth a read. So many things there...so very many things...First, just sit back and groove on the delusional crankdom of the following quote by Mark McKinnon on those who "don't get" Bush:
And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.Oh, man! That is some funny shit! Or it would be, if it weren't probably true. They like the way he walks. They like the way he points! And, as you might recall, some of them like the way he looks in a flight suit.  That's a good reason to elect somebody president, you betcha...But the real fun starts later in the SN post, when they quote Stephen Green, a.k.a. "Vodka Pundit"--looking dapper in an absolutely aDORable little suit! And so slimming!--harshing on Iowa Republicans. Now, Mr. Pundit is still somehow under the impression that Jimmy Carter was a worse president than Dubya...but, astounding though that is, it's really nothing in the context of this screed. Never mind that, had Carter's absolutely inSANE ideas about, e.g., energy independence been implemented, we wouldn't currently be engaged in shooting ourselves in the ass in Iraq. No, never mind any of that. These people, they aren't much impressed by facts. Remember: that's the hang-up of the "reality-based community," and completely out of place in Our Post-Modern World.What's really interesting is that this seems perfectly to reveal what the effete elite of the GOP think about the people who win them elections. Hint: 'derision' is too weak a term. Turns out that those simple rural folk who were dead on when they were digging on W's walk are JUST NUTS when they like Huck. NOW they're just CRAAAAAZY! All that folksy shit is cool when it helps elect the scion of one of the effete elite families on the basis of his manner of ostension...but a commoner?!?!? I mean REALLY!The funniest part of the screed has to be Mr. Pundit's botched attempt to deride Iowans by calling them "corn-sucking [sic] idiots."Now, one look at Mr. Pundit [see pic at SN] makes it fairly clear that he's never seen corn outside some kind of compote at Le Bernardin. But the thing is, Mr. Pundit, people don't, ya know, suck corn. Or, er, not that I know of. They--or, rather, we--do sometimes shuck corn, though. So perhaps that's the term Mr. Pundit was looking for. Corn grows inside green leaves or husks sometimes called shucks, and one shucks corn when one removes these leaves. Perhaps Mr. Pundit has shucked oysters--on, say, Martha's Vinyard or somesuch--in which case he is at least familiar with shucking in general. As for the sucking, well, that's really none of my business.Oh, it will really be fun watching the long knives come out if Huckabee's success continues. Funny thing is, the guy really does seem to be a little nutty. But it's not his nuttiness that's bothering Mr. Pundit and his EE-GOP pals. They don't seem to mind Huckabee's CDS, or his rejection of evolution. What seems to bother them is that he comes from the wrong side of the tracks.I wish none of this crap happened in American politics. But, given that it does, it couldn't happen to a more deserving party. E.g. G. Gordon "I'm a big f*cking psycho" Liddy (a.k.a. Herr Einsatzgruppen), who said, of W and his appearance on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln:"Well, I -- in the first place, I think it's envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he's in his flight suit, he's striding across the deck, and he's wearing his parachute harness, you know -- and I've worn those because I parachute -- and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those -- run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman's vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn't count -- they're all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape."
Dodd is OutEtc.Well, my man Chris Dodd is now officially out of the race. It's too damn bad that the really good candidates so seldom seem to have much of a chance. And who won't miss crazy Joe Biden? Too bad given that those two know more about foreign policy than the rest of the field combined (and more than all the Republicans except for McCain combined).How 'bout the Obama win? Well, I'm fine with all three of the front-runners. Obama is something of a risk given his relative lack of experience, but it's a risk I'm willing to take given his obvious virtues. I've been leaning Edwards-ward for a little while now, despite the fact that populism makes me a bit nervous. And HRC would, I think, be, ya know, just fine.I'm sure the big men in the GOP are sweating over the Huckabee win...and, as JQ pointed out to me just now, they're probably just going to get sweatier after McCain takes New Hampshire.I'm still betting that the Dems will find some way to blow it in the general election...but who knows? Even they might not be able to squander the massive Bush dividend they find themselves with.