Monday, November 10, 2008

EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS AND THE MADNESS OF CROWDS. In case you were wondering (or simply hadn't completely forgotten) about the tape African Press International claimed they had of Michelle Obama yelling at them -- which fanciful object stirred the hopes of rightbloggers during the late campaign -- be advised that API's editor has held a live discussion with readers, in which he still claims to have the as-yet-unheard tape, which he will release in good time. He also claims to have proof that Obama is a Kenyan citizen, that the tapes were not aired by Fox News (with whom API professed to have a deal) "because I did not know anything about the American way of doing things," and that the Obama campaign tried to buy his silence.

Most of the hundreds of questioners are respectful, even meek ("Thank you Chief Editor for taking the time to answer as many of the questions as you have the freedom to answer"), though the editor's emissaries sometimes bark at them to keep their entreaties from getting out of hand ("did it ever occur to you that he is answering questions IN ORDER and that he has about 50 more to go before getting to your self absorbed self? Grow-up! He is doing this as a courtesy and does not owe anyone here ANYTHING, but since he is a man of his word he WILL make sure his readers hear the tape"). When one of them asks, politely, why she should believe the story when no evidence has been produced, another tells her,
I mean, truly, why would any man make such a claim, in such dangerous times as these, if it were not true? Risk his and his family’s lives for nothing? I sure wouldn’t–well, then again, I’m not a man. But, no one wants the FBI, the CIA, and the NERDS showing up on your doorstep, or on your website for nothing.

There are people who very much do not want you to believe it. Mr. K. and the rest of us (the ones wearing the white hats), we could care less whether you believe it or not. That should tell you something.
And the questions go on: "Have you researched/read into BO being the antichrist in regards to the revelations and nostradomas? If so what are your feelings on this?"

If you, gentle readers, could absorb and internalize this sort of mendacity, you could make a million bucks.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP. Title: "After The Fall, Rightbloggers Divided: Are Most Americans Socialists, or Dupes?" I would also recommend James Rainey at the LA Times on more mainstream conservative commentators' post-election prattle, including Rush Limbaugh's announcement that "The Obama recession is in full swing." And they said Obama and his fans had a high opinion of his abilities!

But never fear, the GOP is already busy rebuilding. Mike Pence is excited by the success of the anti-gay-marriage referenda, which tells him "the vitality of the conservative movement around the country is very real." It would be too much to expect that Pence will deliver the Republican Party entirely unto its social conservative wing and the fate of the Know-Nothing and Anti-Masonic Parties, but let us keep hope alive.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? I hadn't thought about Kim du Toit -- celebrated author of "The Pussification of the American Male" and other two-fisted screeds on self-reliance -- for quite some time when pure, blind luck led me to this fascinating essay by his wife, explaining why Mr. du Toit will soon cease blogging, despite an alleged flood of reader protests: "The truth is folks, we can’t afford it."

Astonishingly, blogging has not been the bonanza the du Toits might have wished for, and as Mr. du Toit is unable to "contribute to our financial requirements" with a more traditional job because of his gout, times have grown hard. Mrs. du Toit cashed in her IRA last year, but that money was all spent on a "last hurrah around the world with our kids," lap-band surgery for their daughter, household repairs, and servers for Mr. du Toit's blogging.

"We've staid-off bankruptcy, but just barely," says Mrs. du Toit. "The truth is, we spoke to an attorney about bankruptcy, but we'd be forced into a two year commitment of repayment, not debt forgiveness, and the kid's college would be the expense we'd have to stop under that scenario."

Such are the terms of the Bankruptcy Bill supported and voted for by John McCain, whom Kim du Toit supported against the wealth-redistributionist he calls "The Black Stalin." To his credit, his family's financial situation has not softened him on this, and he asks not for government largesse -- except for the disappointing bankruptcy protection -- but for "gifts" from his readers. These, alas, have been insufficient: "Kim’s recent 'Gold Watch' bleg has yielded about a $1,500 total, over two months. If folks think that blegs yield Andrew-Sullivan like windfalls, they’re mistaken."

We trust that if the Obama Administration offers a program intended to provide relief to families like the du Toits, they will bat it away as a poisoned, socialist chalice.

Meanwhile Rachel Lucas -- the winger previously examined here, who spent Election Night "freakin' out" because, under Obama, her boyfriend will have to "earn money for people who don’t work and who breed children they can’t support" -- is moving to the UK, not because of Obama but because her mate is taking a job there. You might think a 100% American like Lucas would hate and despise Britain, and you would be right -- she considers it "socialist country that has Shari’a courts." But she is making the best of it, and looks forward to taking in the culture. Also, she expects of the Brits "Surrender they will…TO ME," and dreams of studying history there and eventually taking "a job with the State Department." More likely what she will get instead is a thirst for Banks's Bitter and an annoying quasi-dialect. In any case, she's their problem now.

This election just keeps getting better and better.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

MEAN FAKE NUN DEMANDS YOU BEHAVE. The Anchoress says the right is being nice to President-elect Obama and his supporters and, in a spirit of Christian charity, demands that Obama supporters return this alleged kindness to her and her kind (while assuming that we won't).

It appears she doesn't read the rightbloggers on her own blogroll. (And those are just from the "A"s.)

During the campaign The Anchoress called Obama a "presumptuous" man who "thinks he’s already been enthroned," "a construct" and "a put-together illusion" about whom "I had my doubts he even wrote [his own] books," who "jeer[s] at his country and countrymen" and suffers from "ambiguity about his own citizenship" and "megalomania." And that's just gleaned from my own coverage of her work; dip into her archives for accounts of Obama's "inconsistency, naivete, relativism... and a tendency toward suppressive and vengeful behavior to those who do not fall in line," and thoughtful analysis like "Obama is a fraud on legs. If he gets elected, and the house increases its left-hold, we’re not going to recognise this country in two years," etc.

Not to speak of what she says about us.

I'll take my lessons in humility from the Dalai Lama. That's 'cuz I'm an elitist!

UPDATE. I see this passive-aggressive routine is getting around. Mark Hemingway refers to From 52 to 48, a site from Obama voters being nice to McCain supporters; his readers howl for blood. Hemingway says, "it's probably necessary that we be the adults here... there's no reason to adopt the left's Alinsky tactics." Who does he think is extending him the olive branch -- Obamacons? Hemingway should really send his message directly to From 52 to 48: "Thanks, guys, we'll be the adults here and refrain from adopting your Alinsky tactics." Then, when he receives a disagreeable response, he can get on with the I-didn't-leave-reconciliation-reconciliation-left-me phase of the program.

Other reactions to From 52 to 48: "Love notes from the winners. You know, the ones who’ve had Bush Derangement Syndrome for eight years and Palin Derangement Syndrome since August... Upchuck warning." "I suppose it would all depend on just how many of these people didn’t spend the past eight years calling people like me racist fascist babykilling warmongers." "Well, this is a nice change from disclaiming the President and half your country to foreigners."

And people wonder why I'm such a sourpuss.

UPDATE II. More rightwing conciliatory gestures here.

UPDATE III. Twisted Spinster (click "it would all depend above) reacts: "Check all the links alicublog uses as examples of the right’s intransigence, and tell yourself this is the way gracious winners behave." Pointing out their intransigence proves that me and my buddies are unwilling to accept their fists of friendship! It's hard to play Gandhi when the other side is playing Attila the Hun.
THE DISASTROUS PRESIDENCY OF BARACK OBAMA, PART ONE. Kenya proclaims a holiday to celebrate the election of Kenyan-rooted Obama. At National Review, Travis Kavulla reacts:
Sad that the first concrete effect of an Obama presidency on Kenya would be to further depress the productivity of a country that could really use a booster shot in that department.
Maybe Gordon Smith and Liddy Dole can start drawing up a bill of impeachment.
THE REBUILDING BEGINS! RedState:
RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

We're tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others. Michelle Malkin has the details.

We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you'll see us go to war against those candidates.

It is our expressed intention to make these few people political lepers.
This election just keeps getting better and better. (And better.)

UPDATE. Thanks, commenters, for all the snappy phrases, including "Pied Palin," "Peak Wingnut," and "Lepers V. Cougar. The catfight for the GOP's soul."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

AFTER-PARTY OBSERVATIONS. That was a particularly pleasant Tuesday night.

Matthew Yglesias observes that the cry of "he must govern from the middle" is already going up. But these people don't know where the middle is. The government owns a majority interest in several heretofore private banks, is embroiled in foreign adventures for which it cannot pay, and, from the looks of the various referenda results, is riven with significant cultural divisions. It looks more like Lord North's Britain than what we usually think of as America. The new President is better advised to seek solutions rather than some mythical center line to toe.

Have a look at the prominent conservative thinkers (I know, I know) who are working on a conservative "game plan", trimming like little Clintons in search of the Joe the Plumber vote that brought John McCain all the way to 163 electoral votes. They're looking for the middle because they have nothing else to do. It's a fittingly harmless occupation for people who are not going to be making policy anytime soon.

I still insist, against the tide, that McCain's concession speech was more a disturbing than an inspiring spectacle. I've heard dissension at the traditional call for cooperation with the victor before, but nothing like the ugly response of the Phoenix crowd, and to my eyes the famously irritable McCain was annoyed by it (though of course grim memories of his whole "challenged" campaign were probably uppermost in his mind).

I would contrast that scene with David Dinkins' concession speech when he was ousted by Rudolph Giuliani in 1993. Obviously distraught, wiping his face with a handkerchief, New York's first black mayor briefly but emphatically put the kibosh on the hurt feelings of the crowd. "Elections come and go," he said in part, "mayors come and go, but the life of the city must endure." Dinkins was not always the most eloquent of speakers, but he commanded that moment at least, in part because he was speaking to people with whom it was relatively easy to reason.

Yet McCain's speech prompted Mark Levin to say, "If McCain had won, we were told of possible riots." Nothing in front of their own eyes affects these people like their lurid fantasies of what their opponents might have done.

One of the many happy results of the blessed finish of this election is the end of Megan McArdle's professions of support for Barack Obama. I'm still not sure what she was trying to do with those; sometimes, when she was advising McCain to attack her candidate on Bill Ayers or telling us "I don't believe that Obama is going to change Washington, eliminate lobbying, etc. I wish he wouldn't tell me things that I can't possibly believe... he might even make Washington work a little better, though I kind of doubt it," I thought she might be imagining herself a useful double agent for the Republicans, sowing dissension among Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and whomever else might be taking her seriously.

Now she's saying, "If the country is so progressive, how come Bush won the popular vote four years ago?" and that the high black voter turnout was a "definitionally unrepeatable happening." When Obama fails to denounce the capital gains tax in his Inaugural Address, I expect that will be the last straw. Then McArdle can become the go-to disgruntled Obama supporter. Orson Scott Card must be kicking himself for not thinking of this first.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS. How's the Ole Perfesser holding up? Well, unlike some of his brethren, he keeps from getting the blues by tireless cheerleading and riding of hobby-horses. For instance, he points to a Gallup poll that says, essentially, that as McCain tanks Republicans are as worried that ineligible Negroes and ragamuffins are going to cancel out their votes as the Ole Perfesser has advised them to be. That'll lift an operative's spirits even in a down cycle.

But something -- maybe the incipience of a wrinkle, suggesting that the Singularity cannot come fast enough -- did momentarily put the Perfesser in a solemn mood, and he summoned an "Army of John Galts" to talk about how they would go off the grid if the socialist Obama prevailed, depriving the littlebrains of their essential crafts of law perfessin', psychologizing, documentary filmmaking, and the like. One such -- a newspaper columnist and a "private investor"! How will we do without his unique skillset! -- writes:
I want to appease the new administration and not be too productive. So, upon Obama's passing his new redistribution plan, I will slow my work schedule, lay off a few people (Obama's got their back) and let someone else bust his tail since I will now be able to get "redistributed wealth" from those poor fools who are ambitious, energetic, work hard and have made good decisions.
It doesn't occur to them that others will scramble to take their places -- well, it does occur to one, but Kartik Gada believes that even immigrants, formerly besotted of America, will also be disgusted with Obama and follow the Galts to... Red China, or some other such paradise where they know how to treat an investor class. Then we'll all be sorry.

They really believe it. The greed and stupidity of investors far bigger than the Perfesser have done what untold cadres of socialists and communists couldn't manage in a century -- destroyed the good name of American capitalism and put the better part of its assets under government control -- and the would-be Galts are threatening to bugger off to China because America might elect a moderately progressive Democrat.

I'll be disappointed if Obama doesn't make it, but really, on the whole I must declare myself content as it stands: the very threat of something that would mildly discomfit their self-centered world view has excited these folks' ridiculousness to levels that surprise even this jaded observer of human folly. And the beauty part is, no matter who wins tomorrow, they're just going to get more entertaining.
THE NEW VOICE COLUMN IS UP, about the rightbloggers in the last days of the election. It's basically a story of frayed nerves, wild claims, scattershots, and hurt feelings. The most encouraging sign is that a number of them are predicting victory for their candidates, which at least is in the grand tradition of American politics. I'd be very happy if their final hours were devoted to that. Of course afterward, whatever the result, they'll be crazier than ever.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

SNOTCHOS FOR DR. HELEN. Balloon Juice told us the other day that the new apocryphal cab driver conversation among conservatives is the Bum/Waiter with an Obama Tie story, following the tale of a puckish right-winger who sees a beggar with a "Vote Obama, I Need the Money" sign, eats in a nearby restaurant, stiffs the waiter because he's wearing an "Obama '08 tie" (?) and tells the astonished server he will give the money instead to the bum as a "redistribution of wealth." BJ traced it from a mass email to a McCain spokesman to the letters page of the Chicago Tribune. The story has since been heavily disseminated among the booboisie.

Leave it to Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser, who has been threatening to "go John Galt" and deprive an Obamafied America of the fruits of her psychoanalytic labors, to escalate this silly bit of wish fulfillment into an action plan for angry wingnuts:
Should you tip less in an Obama Administration?...

If Obama is elected, maybe in lieu of a tip I should leave a note like the following:

HOPE AND CHANGE FOR AMERICA: Spreading the Wealth Around...

If enough people leave notes like this, I'm sure it will galvanize waitpeople everywhere in support of The One!
It also might galvanize them, in the close-knit community of Knoxville, Tennessee, to pre-emptively spit in Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser's food.

Friday, October 31, 2008

THE WORD, THE FLESH, AND THE LOPEZ. Kathryn J. Lopez, stiffening her resolve and laying her hand upon her breastplate like a true, confirmed bride of Christ, stoically enters the blue belly of the beast -- the satanic Al Franken campaign. A godly woman keen for electoral martyrdom, she is determined, though one small part of herself is exposed and vulnerable to the devil. Can she complete her mission before temptation o'erweens?

She starts well; so strong is her holy ardour that she can use even the devil's own tools against him.

"Isn't Cardinal O'Connor an a**hole?" she quotes Al Franken at the top. Brandishing other cherry-picked Franken laughlines, she scoffs: "I don't find them funny. Can Minnesota voters?"

She appeals to the better nature of the sober-sided Squareheads, assuring them they are as cautious of the near occasion of sin as she, maybe because Jim Lileks is the only one she knows.

But the polls remain unmoved. So she must abandon flattery, and go straight to fire and brimstone. Attend the story she tells the prairie folk, a flashlight under her chin:
The author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot is not only a crude, mean comic, but he's within shooting distance of possibly unseating Republican senator Norm Coleman. Yes, that's right: While the rest of us are getting used to the possibility of an Obama-Pelosi-Reid Washington, there's more to the worst-case scenario.
(Pause as the lightning flashes, and count to three...)
There could be a Senator Al Franken in the United States Senate.
Thunder! She must be relentless now. Franken "ridicules the Resurrection," she cries, "excoriating the Eucharist and Confession." He doesn't even give a fig for stem cells! He thinks "porn and even child abuse and sexual violence are just one big joke." Hear her, sons of sodbusters! "The choice will not only be a signal from Minnesota, but a defining of the Senate down...."

Alas, as the Church teaches us, even a small imperfection may lead to downfall, and at the crucial moment Lopez falters:
I know the Senate's performance can leave a lot to be desired, but it’s still no joke.
Thus is our heroine's spell of righteous indignation, even with a full head of steam, and her hold on the crowd broken in an instant. Her mission has been scuttled by an uncontrollable rhetorical tic -- nurtured through the long, fat years of Reaganism, it is now so strong that it can overcome even the loftiest spiritual motivations. Thus is Lopez the Culture-Warrior defeated by K-Lo the Hack.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A FINE EXAMPLE OF THE GENRE. There's a whole lot of rightwing crazy going on these days -- the now-famous Atlas Shrugged dilly claiming Obama is the son of Malcolm X; the Jesus freaks praying over the Wall Street bull; the 23 percent of Texans who think Obama is a Muslim. These are delightful, of course, but I am more a spellbound observer of human venality and stupidity than of madness, particularly among the cast of the Thimble Theatre that is the subject of this blog.

Thus my favorite brain-bleed of the day is Jonah Goldberg's. He cheerfully reproduces a quote from a White Power nut who approvingly quotes Obama, then learns that the Obama quote is bullshit. His response is purest Goldberg:
The Obama campaign says Metzger's quote is false. But their "fight the smears" page also makes it sound like Obama's discussion of race in his book isn't remotely troubling, and that's nonsense. Maybe we can discuss more tomorrow. I'm off to dinner with some Bucknell students.
A simple acknowledgment would have been sufficient, but Jonah will never just stick his foot into a bucket when he can also attempt to march, nose upturned, into the ballroom with it. The final desperate evasion is the sort of thing by which critics in the future, when all our links are broken, will identify it as authentic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"I DON'T THINK ANYTHING I'VE EVER DONE IS WRONG." Ryan Sager is pretty unequivocal about the libertarian part of the conservative coalition:
Two years ago, I wrote a book imploring the Republican Party not to follow its worst elements off a cliff -- not to evolve, in short, into an insular party with little-to-no appeal outside of the rural, the southern, the Evangelical. As the McCain campaign flames out in a ball of Rovian disgrace, scorching the center in an attempt to fire up the base, it's difficult to reach any other conclusion than that the battle for the soul of the Republican Party has been lost.
But conservatives don't need any more bad news, and the Ole Perfesser comes along with some reader email to ease the pain:
If the libertarians are disgusted with the GOP and conservatives are disgusted with the GOP... is there a theory which would explain both trends? Yes. I think you can blame the MSM. Seriously.

GOP politicians are still politicians and they learn early not to fight with those who buy ink by the barrel. Conservatives who expect that the GOP is going to step in front of the MSM-driven train to defend principle are destined for a letdown. Few are going to commit political suicide and those who do aren't around next term to do it again. Conservatives don't need a new party. They need a new news media.
But we thought the blogosphere was the new news media. It's been four years since the Perfesser assured us that CBS "suffered a crippling blow" from Rathergate, and that "the ability of the Big Media to maintain preference falsification by presenting a unified message is already long gone." Surely by now the blogosphere must be America's Most Trusted News Source.

Heh, as someone once said, indeed. As we have noticed before, the media remains the right wing's favorite boogey-man. And now that things are looking grim for them, they ascribe new, sinister powers to the MSM menace. Its influence is no longer limited to the sheeple -- it's also actually driving Republicans away from conservatism. They didn't leave the party, the party left them.

I've spent most of my life running away from adult responsibilities, but even I could never have pulled off, or even thought up, something as bold as this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

THE BIG-LEAGUER AND THE BUSH-LEAGUER. The conservative heretic hunt proceeds apace. Witchfinder General The Anchoress thinks that Peggy Noonan, of all people, is angling for a job as Obama's Press Secretary:
Some of us have rather suspected that Peggy Noonan -- over the past few months -- has been playing pretty for a seat at the Obama table. Hey, a girl wants to be relevant, right?...

Hey, if Noonan manages -- like a few others from the right -- to successfully anchor herself within the coming regime, more power to her, I guess.
She's talking about the same Noonan who said that Obama represents the awful "New America," for whom "Politics is life," who sue smokers, and for whom "love of country is a decision... What you breathe in is skepticism" and "Tradition is a challenge, a barrier, or a lovely antique." She also asked, "Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it?" Hell of a way to curry favor, I'd say.

But Noonan said some bad words about Sarah Palin, which to The Anchoress is proof of treason. In a way you can't blame The Anchoress. She doesn't understand that Noonan's loyalty is not to a set of principles but to a brand. Brand Peggy is a comfort brand for conservatives and seeks to ease their minds; if something went wrong with some Republican campaign, it was not the conservatism, but some bad choice. She isn't going to work for Democrats, as her most recent column (about "flinty elderly Republicans from New England, home-schooling mothers in Ohio, libertarianish Republicans in Colorado, suburban patriots outside the big cities... the beating heart of conservatism") amply proves, any more than Tony Bennett is going to start covering the Vivian Girls.

But she is going to protect herself, and she wants to leave the impression that she has been true to the cause while others deceived themselves. Republican candidates come and go, but Peggy will be at the hearth with a blanket on her lap for years to come, talking to a large audience about the good old days.

As a crazed dead-ender, The Anchoress can't grasp this: for her every battle is Armageddon. But she works a small market. Noonan is playing in the bigs, and though she may sometimes descend among the people for effect, she will always return to the skybox when the paychecks are being distributed. Whatever she tells the rubes, she knows where the "beating heart of conservatism" is really at.

Monday, October 27, 2008

BREAKING! OBAMA THUGS DRIVE VOTERS TO POLLS IN SOCIALIST "CAR POOLS"! Supporters of Barack Obama got an email from the campaign today suggesting, "Ask your Boss. Ask your Professor. Take Election Day off and volunteer to make history" by helping Obama voters get to the polls, as volunteers do in every election.

So far, so what, you might be thinking -- unless you're Michelle Malkin:
Obama campaign to worshipers: Ditch work and school on Election Day for The One

The pursuit of “Higher Purpose” requires Obama followers to skip out of their jobs and play hooky from school — while others pick up the slack.
Welcome to “redistributive change!”

As for Obama followers without jobs: Just do your “thug thizzle.”
Wait until she hears about their plans for an Obamamaniac love-fest known as "the victory party."
SPOILED. How about that. I was just talking about how rightbloggers don't like to acknowledge their own errors, and a fresh example jumps out at me. Glenn Greenwald investigates a claim by National Review's Ed Whelan that the Washington Post failed to report Joe Biden's "international crisis" comments. Greenwald, using the clever expedient of the Washington Post's own search feature, discovers the quote in several Post articles.

Greenwald is understandably snarky in his report. Nonetheless you'd think Whelan, as a seeker after truth, would be grateful at least for the information. Instead, he flips out:
Never mind that I had done what strikes me as a sensible search (and one that should have yielded more results that Greenwald’s) and had expressly stated my lack of confidence in the reliability of the Post’s search engine. Never mind that, when informed by a reader that he recalled seeing the quote in the Post, I used his information to find one article and promptly (within an hour of my original post) added a correcting update. Never mind that the fact that the Post previously quoted Biden doesn’t detract from the strangeness of the “Impolitic” feature in this morning’s paper. Never mind that there are mountains of evidence of media bias in covering the campaign...
Etc. He also calls Greenwald "unhinged."

Like juvenile delinquents, these people have been shielded from the consequences of their actions for so long that when correction comes, they take it pathetically hard.
MY NEW VOICE COLUMN is mainly a recap of the Ashley Todd affair. The speed and zeal with which rightbloggers jumped on the fraudulent charges are interesting, in a familiar sort of way, but their willingness to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their own credulousness is fascinating. As it happens, the blogosphere model of bad reporting has become so great a part of our discourse that the Todd story got big play from the beginning, and so did its exposure as a fraud, which intensified the spotlight on the bloggers, who generally behaved as any incompetent player might upon suddenly discovering that a huge audience has seen him end his big dance solo with one foot in a slop-bucket: They manfully played it off as part of the routine. It won't teach them anything, but it might have some effect on the people who read them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

SHORTER ROD DREHER: A friend of mine is having sex and enjoying it! Can't you see this proves that sex cannot be private, it must be regulated by whatever Church I happen to belong to at the moment! Why are you all laughing at me? Oh, yeah, well laugh at this -- AIDS!
HELL HATH NO FURY like a rightblogger scorned. Kathleen Parker has a, er, slight piece on Sarah Palin, whom Parker had previously denigrated to the ire of true believers. They are newly incensed, but we doubt any reaction will top that of Riehl World View:
Note to Kathleen Parker: Before you go off like that again, you might want to change your Buckley School photo (at right) to something other than one that says, "Hey, I'm getting older but I'd still love to meet some young would be journalists out of Harvard who love to f/ck!"

Or perhaps that glasses sliding down the nose Charlie Gibson look is now a little more befitting your stature assuming you've put on a little weight?
Mrrroww! I bet he'd like to carve a "B" on her face.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

THEY'VE GOT TO GET THEMSELVES BACK TO THE GARDEN. A few years ago I noted that National Review's Stanley Kurtz really wanted America's safety net destroyed so that family values could be revived. Apparently, now Joel Kotkin hopes for the same result from economic chaos:
Forced into belt-tightening, Americans are likely to strengthen our family and community ties and to center our lives more closely on the places where we live.

This trend toward what I call "the new localism" has been underway for some years, driven by changing demographics, new technologies and rising energy prices. But the economic downturn will probably accelerate it as individuals and corporations look not to the global stage but closer to home, concentrating and congregating on the Main Streets where we choose to live – in the suburbs, in urban neighborhoods or in small towns.
Kotkin also lauds the impoverishment that forces more young adults to live with or seek funds from their parents ("This clustering of families, after decades of dispersion, will spur more localism"). And higher energy prices will make us all locavores! The New Depression will be great for families, if you don't count the scrofula and abandoned babies (but at least their ragged parents won't be able to afford abortions).

Wherever there's a loony New Jerusalem, there always is Crunchy Con Rod Dreher:
I want Kotkin's vision to be true, and I can see economic necessity forcing these kinds of changes on American society. Americans may not become "their better selves" by choice, but because they have no choice.
To be fair, he sees a point in Matt Frost's demurrer before concluding hopefully that "we'll make a transition that looks something like what Kotkin envisions, but it won't be smooth, and there will be a lot of pain."

Isn't there some unsettled stretch in the Mountain States where we can put these people?

UPDATE. Fixed link.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WE COME FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS -- MINE HAS SOAP AND TOOTHPASTE. Garage vandalism story for real:
When Laurie Coleman, wife of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, hauled her trash to the alley at 7:30 this morning, a chilling sight greeted her.

Spray-painted in black on the wooden siding of the garage in the couple's Summit Hill neighborhood, in letters nearly a foot high: "U R A CRIMINAL RESIGN OR ELSE! PSALM 2"...

Also vandalized in similar fashion: U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Jim Ramstad. Klobuchar and Ellison are Democrats; Coleman, Kline, Bachmann and Ramstad, Republicans.
(Emphasis added.) Garage vandalism as told by wingnuts:
Norm Coleman's Home Vandalized By Leftists-- 3 Other GOP Homes Marked...

But, don't expect to see the media to condemn the "angry left" for these attacks.

It doesn't work that way.
OK, so Gateway Pundit is the sad, intense member of the gang who always screams "OK BOSS!" a little too loud -- let's check in with the more responsible RedState:
...precisely the sort of thing that would make people scream "theocracy! Christianists!" if the target was a Democratic Jew. Also: note that this is Norm Coleman that we're talking about, he who recently ended running negative campaign ads. Apparently, this sort of thing just encourages a certain subset of Minnesota Democrats.

Anybody think that this attack will get any kind of meaningful, mature response from Al Franken?

Nah, me neither.
(Actually Franken promptly condemned the vandalism, but as long as RedState's making shit up, they must figure, why not go all the way.)

OK, RedState also looks like the type that's always secretly itching to play Night of the Long Knives. So let's look at Fox News, which doesn't restrict itself to Coleman -- it also reports the vandalism against John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Jim Ramstad... hey, where'd the Democratic victims go? Must be an oversight.

They really aren't even on the same planet with us anymore. I expect them to develop conservative math, physics etc soon, and refuse to take part in our godless science.
SHORTER MARK HEMINGWAY: I'm not eating shit, you're eating shit! And BTW you're lowering the tone of the debate!

Monday, October 20, 2008

DEAD-ENDER ETIQUETTE. Barack Obama goes to see his sick grandmother. Gateway Pundit sends his regards:
Obama used his grandmother on the campaign trail this year including comparing her to racist, anti-AmeriKKKan pastor Jeremiah Wright and calling her a "typical white person":

But, Obama will take two days this week to see her in Hawaii.
All class, these people.

UPDATE. Betsy's Page: "Despite his trumpeting her supposed racism before the public in order to excuse his time in Reverend Wright's church, I'm sure she's filled with pride and love to see the grandson she helped raise be on the cusp of being elected president."

If passive-aggression were an Olympic sport, Betsy would be Nadia Comaneci.

UPDATE II. Wow. What a douchebag.

UPDATE III. This guy is also pretty amazing:
Unfortunately, since we're dealing with someone who's running for president, there are some questions that need to be asked. I don't want to ask them, but is something else involved?
Then he links to a Freeper who thinks Obama's just trying to steal some documents.

There are more like this, but there's only so much Republican strategy I can take this close to bedtime.
DUH. Rightwing legal genius Todd Zywicki explains that Sarah Palin's apparent inability to answer simple questions is proof of her superior intellect, whereas Joe Biden sounds smart because he is really stoopid:
Some thoughtful people simply have a tendency to confuse intelligence with the ability to be glib, or more precisely, to bs. And I think that is much of what it comes down to--if Palin doesn't know the answer to a question, she just isn't that good at making something up. Biden, by contrast, is a master bs'er, as his debate performance exhibited. As a general rule, the less informed he was about the answer to a question, the more assertive he was in answering it...

I have to say though, given the choice between someone who gets flustered when she doesn't know the answer to a question versus someone who doesn't know the answer but just makes something up, it is not obvious to me that the latter is smarter or better able to lead the country.
I see that Zywicki is a Professor at George Mason. His students who read this post have a distinct advantage over their classmates: they know they need only answer questions, "Uh, chee, boy, I'll have to get back to ya," to be credited with a first-rate intelligence.

Oh, there's one other requirement: they have to be right-wing.

Zywicki also says that people who don't see Palin's brilliance "have to have an awfully low opinion of the voters of Alaska and the overwhelming majority of Alaskans who approve of her job as governor." With any luck, we'll see in a couple of weeks what Zywicki thinks of the voters of America.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, this one about the trickling-up of slurs that you usually find on the most venomous rightwing blogs into the mainstream Republican campaign. The students have become the masters, as it were. If this were happening four years ago, those guys would be trumpeting their influence on national politics. You can understand why they're not so quick to do it now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

HEART OF DORKNESS. Roger W. Gardner of the dramatically titled Wake Up America takes in the fall foliage in his sleepy New England town. It sounds lovely -- "Clean white wood frame houses, tall slender church steeples rising up into a cloudless blue sky," etc.

But Gardner can't fully enjoy it. Though it is a "great undeniable reality," his mind keeps turning to "a competing reality, that not-so-reassuring reality I left behind me on my computer" No, he doesn't mean World of Warcraft. He means "creeping sharia and pending Socialistic doom." He wonders:
Do these people who I pass on my way to the store look frightened or vulnerable? If I stopped and asked one of them if they were living in fear of al Qaeda right now, what would they answer? If I stopped and asked that man who is raking leaves in his front yard if he's worried about America losing its national sovereignty or the encroachment os Islam into our Judeo/Christian culture, what would he say?
Probably, "You want the state mental hospital; it's just up the road."

Then Gardner sees the portents: "They are the signs of Obama." But even worse -- yes, worse than that! -- he sees another sign;
An innocuous little sign, weather beaten and torn at the edges -- it's been up there for quite a while now. "No room in this town for hate" it reads. And I shudder to myself... We have no room here for hate. And without hate we are vulnerable to those who hate us...
Later Gardner acknowledges, "sometimes I feel so out of place." I marvel that he has yet to move to a survivalist camp. There he might find plenty of cleansing hate, and take in foliage close-up, from his treehouse.
STORYTIME. At National Review Jay Nordlinger tells a tale (actually he tells two others as well, but this is by far my favorite):
Have a friend who was in Riverside Park (Manhattan) with his baby daughter. A woman came up to him and said, "Are you a registered Democrat?" He said no. She said, "Well, you can register right now — it will just take a second. I have the necessary paperwork here." He said, "No, actually, that's not it — I am registered. It's just that I'm a registered Republican." He said that the woman gave him a look of hate such as he had seldom seen — sent a shudder down his spine. She walked away, still glaring, bitterly, without a word.
That's nice. I have one just like it:
Whilst strolling through Central Park (New York) I was approached by a man who asked me if I was really going to vote for "You know who," and then he pushed in his nose, pushed out his lower lip, and stuck out his tongue. When I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, he poked my arm and said, "You know -- the N-I-G-E-R!" When I told him to piss off, he let out a fart of a foulness I had never smelled before, and as he shambled away he shook his fist at me and said, "You haven't heard the last of this, or my name isn't Jonah Goldberg, B.A.!"
I have plenty more. Naturally most of them involve cab drivers.
THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE. On "Meet the Press," they just showed a clip of John McCain announcing to a rally that he is "not George Bush" -- news the presumably Republican crowd cheered loudly.

Andrea Mitchell talked about a "remarkably negative" Obama ad -- negative because it shows McCain bragging about how often he sided with George Bush.

In 2000 there was a lot of yapping about the limited involvement of Bill Clinton in Al Gore's campaign. (In fact we've had some of that this year about both Clintons' limited involvement in Obama's.) Yet nobody finds it remarkable that the Republican Presidential candidate is running, actively and like hell, from the sitting President from his own party. In fact, they cluck over Obama's bad taste in bringing it up.

Wingnuts who love to play "Name That Party" don't notice this embargo on President Bush's political affiliation. And the Liberal Media are, as usual, useless, both as the liberals they are alleged to be and as media (ditto).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MORE DESERTIONS. A Politico story reveals that people think the Republicans have fucked the country up so badly that even voters who don't like black people are thinking of voting for Barack Obama.
“I wouldn’t want a mixed marriage for my daughter, but I’m voting for Obama,” the wife of a retired Virginia coal miner, Sharon Fleming, told the Los Angeles Times recently.

One Obama volunteer told Politico after canvassing the working-class white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are … undecided. They would call him a [racial epithet] and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy.”
This is really bad news for McCain, whose election-eve strategy, I expect, is to appear on CMT in front of a Confederate flag with "Dixie" playing in the background. As FiveThirtyEight puts it, "In this economy, racism is officially a luxury. How is John McCain going to win if he can't win those voters?"

Of course conservatives see it differently. In their view, this proves that it's Democrats (and their lying, cheating [racial epithet] friends) who are the real racists:
So refreshing to see the Democrats openly admit they're racist scumbags...

...it's OK for them to be racist, so long as they project their racism upon Republicans with their incessant cries of racism. Naturally, it's fine if 105% of blacks (with ACORN's help, naturally) vote for Obama. We can't call that racist, because we'd be racist for pointing that out.
I know we liberals are supposed to be angry and violent, but after the sword is handed over at Appomattox, let us grasp hands o'er the bloody chasm, because fellows like this are going to have a very difficult Reconstruction.
EXIT STRATEGY. K-Lo effuses:
[Sarah] Palin didn't need Greek columns. People react to her because they believe she represents what the Greeks established.
I'll refrain from the obvious, but I will say this is the best idea I've heard yet for resuscitating Palin's popularity. Look what it did for Tristan Taormino.

UPDATE. Added word to improve setup. For more porn-related Palin laffs, see TBogg. Palin's many inadequacies have distracted us from the peculiar effect her feminine charms have on male wingnuts -- see musical-comedy enthusiast Mark Steyn's post:
Re the pantyhose'n'leeches post, an observant reader corrects me:
Palin doesn't wear pantyhose Mark. That's one of the reasons the old fems don't like her—unlike them, she actually has legs good enough to to bare.
Alas, I wouldn't know. I saw Governor Palin in Laconia*, NH yesterday and — clearly stung by the allegations that her white outfits are racist — she turned up in black pants and a blouse of brownish-beige hue. In my section of the crowd, the moderate, centrist, undecided, independent swing voters expressed a preference for skirt and cleavage.

(*Laconia is best known for its annual Bike Week, by which standards the Governor was extremely overdressed.)
I'm comfortable with all manner of kink, but really, this mix of humiliation and upskirt fantasies just doesn't do it for me. I'm now less interested in attending one of the NRO Cruises.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NOT SUITABLE FOR TREATMENT. Conservatives are in a weird, anxious state. Some of them appear even worse off than that. The Anchoress:
A friend of mine, noting the Buckley endorsement of Obama on the slimmest of notions, said, “there is a strange undertow of events, lately.” Yes. Things are so strange because there is disorientation - and this disorientation is because the supernatural is in play - it’s been in play for a long time, of course, but the painless coup is almost complete and there is almost an anticipatory frenzy on the side of the presumptive victors...

No matter what happens, we are entering a new era, and I believe everyone knows it. With the prayer and fasting, I am “in training” making myself ready for whatever comes, because whatever comes is going to be very different; it will jar us from all of our complacencies.

So, yes, I feel very peaceful right now...



Surely someone over on that side of the asylum wall has taken note of this election-induced lunacy. Let's see what Rod Dreher has to say:
What if McCain manages to win this thing after all?

Seriously, what do you think would happen? I think the left would howl with rage. I'm only being slightly hyperbolic. They will be so angry and disappointed that it will be very, very hard for President McCain to get anything done... To have gotten so close to power, and to have such a good candidate, and in such a favorable Democratic year, and to lose? Really, it's hard to imagine how they'll react.
But imagine he must. Anything's got to be more pleasant than what's happening right in their own front yard.
THE PASSION OF JOE THE PLUMBER. McCain promotes Joe the Plumber to national punchline. So reporters look him up -- that's part of the job, you know -- and report their amusing findings.

Rightwing bloggers will tell you what the real crime is:
They've done more investigations into Joe the Plumber in 24 hours than they've done on Barack Obama in two years . . . .

A reader emails: The harassment of Joe the plumber is the singular biggest mistake of the Obama campaign...
I've been around so long, I remember when Joe Biden was Obama's biggest mistake. And when making fun of McCain's multiple houses was Obama's biggest mistake. And when not picking Hillary was Obama's biggest mistake. And when bitter/clinging/guns was Obama's biggest mistake. And when attacking Rush Limbaugh was Obama's biggest mistake. And when attacking Andy Martin was Obama's biggest mistake, etc.

Given his multiple biggest mistakes, it's amazing the guy's so far ahead he has to warn supporters not to get complacent. Perhaps this, too, is his biggest mistake.

We've around this mulberry bush so many times that the Ole Perfesser forgets to leave out the really embarrassing part:
And reader Donald Gately emails: "Joe the Plumber is the new Linda Tripp, apparently... media elites... out of step with mainstream America..."
Time for Joe to give a press conference at the foot of the Linda Tripp memorial on the Mall, which commemorates the day decent Americans rode Bill Clinton out of town on a rail. Maybe this reference is meant to signal to his readership that this trick doesn't always work. Or maybe he's preparing them for the alternate universe to which they'll all repair when the Dark Time comes.

People are starting to talk again about an October surprise. But at this point I doubt anything can surprise us.
THE "LOST" CAUSE. I've never seen a candidate do worse than McCain did tonight. But let's see what the kids at The Corner thought:

From the beginning they were restive. Kathryn J. Lopez came in early by wishing "He so should have opposed the bailout." (Ramesh Ponnuru explains that it's more expedient to lie about that.) Jonah Goldberg also proposed an alternative response -- as usual, a nonsensical one.

They loved Joe the Plumber. John Hood called him "a new American hero." K-Lo said Joe's her hero. Stephen Spruill was reminded of Swing Vote -- given its grosses, another sign that we are among dead-enders.

They had trouble keeping the ball aloft. "What's the deal with the McCain strategy of repeating the same phrase three times?" said Michael Graham. "Freeze, scalpel, hatchet zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz," said the easily bored Jonah Goldberg, who wanted McCain to talk about gay marriage. Sorry, Jonah, wrong decade.

When McCain said he wasn't Bush, K-Lo was overjoyed, but die-harder Ponurru said, "isn't Obama right?... I prefer more of the Bush program to the Obama program myself."

Poor John Hood complained that Obama was laughing at McCain. Laugh and the world laughs with you... or, probably in this case, vice-versa.

The clearest sign of how out of touch they are is Michael Graham's "YES!!! Finally!!!" when McCain said that Obama's concern for the health of women having abortions is a joke. "It's a huge winning issue that reaches beyond the pro-life base." Maybe if Graham ever wandered outside that highly specific base, he'd rethink that.

But even the brethren had some clue that this battle can only be won in the hypothetical: Stanley Kurtz laid out a long alternate-reality McCain response having to do with ACORN and Bill Ayers. Mark Steyn let slip the deepest wish of the tribe by revealing that, as regarded the charges of negative campaigning by McCain, "if the dissatisfactions with McCain expressed to me at the Palin rally in Laconia, NH today are anything to go by, there's a 60-40 probability that any cries of 'Kill him!' at a GOP event are directed at our guy."

That's tonic for the troops right there. The war-cries and whining go on, but Ponnuru put a fitting amen to it: "I’m going to go back to watching the first season of "Lost." Probably good preparation for next year." Theirs is a Lost Cause, indeed -- and like the more famous one, only redeemable by deep feelings about black people.

Monday, October 13, 2008

REPUBLICAN NADIR WATCH. I just saw David Frum on Rachel Maddow, pleading for a better tone to politics (!), and actually quoting Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

This is the same David Frum who defended Ted Haggard on the astonishing grounds that it was morally better to be a hypocrite than a homosexual; who has declared that if a rightwing comedy fails, it is less important that it fails to amuse than that it fails to "create a conservative institution with cultural power"; who didn't care whether we got Bin Laden because, he said, it wasn't as important to bring justice to the perpetrators of mass murder as to fight a "war with the ideas that animated those people," and many other such outrages against both civility and reason. The idea of this ham-handed political thug playing the meek lamb and quoting Gandhi would be infuriating if Frum were not observably swirling down a drain that was created by himself and his colleagues.
NEW VOICE COLUMN up, taking the pulse of rightwing bloggers, who as you will see are reverting to form in more ways than one: not only spreading smears and policing apostates, but also celebrating (out loud!) the golden era before No-Legs Rosenfeld socialized the country.

I notice also that the brethren are now so steeped in Obama rumors that they're getting insular about them, treating them more like prized collectibles than as urgent dispatches to rouse the sheeple. Ace O'Spades bats around an "Obama girlfriend" story: "Fire is being held as those who know the story try to get someone of import to break it," he informs us -- wingnut insider baseball! The subject is a "major, big-time fundraiser" who "for reasons unfathomable, suddenly shut the shop down and decamped to a little Caribbean island." Now why would a rich person do such a thing? "The story has a Fred Baron. Not The Fred Baron. But actually -- an even better Fred Baron." Who's either Fred Baron? David Horowitz' Discover the Networks (the paranoid successor to Follow the Network, now dark) has Baron I as a former president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and a bigshot in some Democratic Presidential campaigns. Wow, and Baron II is even better than that? Yes, he's from "the dirty Chicago political machine." And get ready for the big finish:
There's another big twist too, which I can't say anything about. I wouldn't even hint about it, really, even if permitted to, because it's so delicious it makes it nearly fantastical -- in the sense of "No one gets this lucky!" -- and actually would be used to denigrate the rest of it. But there is a chance it gets more interesting than even the Chicago Machine connection.
It's delicious, it's self-refuting, it's even more interesting than the Chicago Machine! This one goes on the top shelf right next to Barry is a Muslim and Barry is Not a Citizen, and the autographed Swift Boat -- fine objects of contemplation for when O'Spades is taking ease and hearkening back to the days when he was badgering bigger bloggers to run his stories.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

THE HOOVERVILLE TROLLEY. Jonah Goldberg lays out the new conservative POV on our present economic chaos:
...the tragedy is that this election year does look quite a bit like Hoover vs. Roosevelt (and given that choice, I'll take Hoover)...
Other comrades have taken up the call. Please help them spread this around. Maybe it'll trickle up and John McCain will start denouncing FDR and the Social Security Act.