Sunday, August 31, 2008

SILVER LINING. One reason Commentary's Jennifer Rubin finds this "A Good Sunday Indeed":
And finally due to Gustav, neither George W. Bush or Dick Cheney will be able to attend the Republican Convention on Monday. It would be impolitic to say this is a blessing for McCain. But it is.
"Impolitic" is one word for it. Rich Lowry of National Review also rejoices that Gustav is keeping Bush out. "It's sort of gross to talk about a natural disaster in terms of its political effect, but it's what everyone is doing," he says, so let the muted celebration commence! He is also pleased that the killer hurricane "creates a drama around the convention that wouldn't have existed otherwise."

They find happiness in the oddest places.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS. "Dems rally for Obama at Ohio congresswoman's memorial." Quick, call out the Republican mourners-in-absentia. The schtick they used in 2002, when they denounced Paul Wellstone supporters who paid tribute to the late Senator's political causes at his memorial, may work again. Everything's in place: Some Democratic splitters are already on it, and Free Republic and Lucianne Goldberg are roiling the swamps. All that's needed is a credible mainstream figure like Peggy Noonan to don the mantle of propriety and cry "shame." (No, this guy doesn't count, but he's got the right idea.)

The fact that the office at issue this time is not the same one held by the deceased makes no difference. It's a national election, and every little helps.
PLEASING THE AFFILIATES. Stop the presses: "Ross admits he's rooting for Palin to succeed. I should admit it too: I can't think of the last time I've wanted a politician to succeed more. She may turn out to be a disappointment one way or another. And I think I've been evenhanded about the political risks here. But just so folks know, lest they can't figure it out, I really want her to pull this off. " -- Jonah Goldberg, National Review

Who on God's green earth wondered whether Goldberg wanted the Republican ticket to win? His assurance comes right after a post in which he actually argues that "Alaskan governors deal a lot more with international and national security issues than, say the Governor of Arkansas. There are all sorts of treaty issues, missile defense stuff, bases, etc up there." (His source points out that Palin has negotiated placement of a gas pipeline through Canada and is "commander of the Alaskan National Guard," and that her state is located near Russia.)

This is certainly part of National Review's constituent service -- that is, a show of responsiveness to the right-wing nuts who write them letters. The magazine is a lightning rod for folks who have become aware that some high-end vendors of conservative guff -- including a few in the Review's own pages --have decided to defend their own long-term prospects as such by complaining about the decision to nominate Palin.

Populism is a tough gig, whoever's doing it. The mob, sometimes dignified with the name "base," recognizes Palin as a right-wing folk hero in the mold of Dale Evans, and wants no message diversity from the pointy-heads allegedly in their camp. When they see posts in friendly precincts that are not full-throated roars of approval for the new Queen of the West, they sense wetness and man their mail applications.

It is soothing for them, and instructive for the rest of us, to be reminded that these journalists owe their first loyalty to movement troops, and not to anything like independent judgment. The Review writers have insulated themselves from the base's complaints against the insufficiently on-board McCain with regular assurances that they share them. But the Palin nomination opened a window of what-the-fuck that shows just who rules that particular roost.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A CHICK ON THE SIDE. Well, so much for the end of identity politics.

The Anchoress, having previously complained that Democrats are too solicitous of race and gender distinctions, now complains that the Obama campaign lacked "generosity of spirit" because they didn't acknowledge the allegedly historic nature of Palin's nomination as McCain had noted that of Obama.

But the Obamans were clearly in the right: seen from the perspective conservatives are constantly claiming to take, Palin's nomination is an insult to Obama, Biden, and the electorate. Obama muscled his way to his nomination against a sharp-elbowed opponent; Palin has been gently placed in hers as a lure for Hillary Clinton voters. She isn't even the first woman to run for the office and, from the speech she gave today, her primary qualifications are that she has a nice family and doesn't put on any airs. Yet the same people who said Joe Biden's vast experience would make people think of Obama's lack of experience ("a presidency-on-training-wheels") are now saying that Palin's slim credentials -- as the former Mayor of Wasilla and first-term governor of a state with a population about half that of The Bronx -- will have the same effect.

We'll see if voters fall for it. Meanwhile, among the perpetually falling-for, my favorite so far is Noah Millman, who races all over the map to justify a candidate he frankly admits is "totally unqualified to be President" -- even suggesting at one point that "If McCain were to die in February 2009," Palin should "appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President," and then arrange to switch places with him or her. Imagined laughter already roaring in his ears, he explains that this would obtain under a Parliamentary system of government. Then he suggests that, if McCain's heart can hold out till February 2012, Palin might then be ready to execute her Constitutional duties. Then he says of the Vice Presidential office itself, "arguably, it's not for anything at all," then decides that it can serve as "on-the-job training" for the Presidency. He also seems to believe blogs are for publication of rough drafts. In the end, Millman finds Palin "an excellent choice" for this mysterious office, and the Democratic argument against her nomination "suicide." For added comic value, Millman says he's "undecided in this election." I guess he figures that as long as he's telling us things we can't possibly believe, he might as well go all the way.

UPDATE. You just have to imagine Rod Dreher singing "FETUS" like Flo & Eddie singing "PENIS" in 200 Motels.

UPDATE II. Also glad to learn via no less an authority than Matt Welch that "libertarian" means "devoted to making abortion illegal." I knew there was something I didn't like about those guys. Besides the constant stimming, I mean.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

SALESMANSHIP. Everyone expected a strong speech from Obama, but its unexpected and best quality was confidence. He sold the package -- traditional Democratic values with a dash of new-generation pizzazz -- without any trace of doubt or apology, as if the Republicans hadn't been going ahead of him for months, doing negative advance work. Though he was energetic, he was also unusually sober in his demeanor: He didn't flash that famous smile much, probably because he wanted to defeat any sense that he was trying to sell himself rather than the package, which salesmen sometimes do when they're nervous. In fact he more often went with a small, are-they-kidding grin when describing his opponent's inferior product. He looked like he expected to make the sale, because what he was offering was clearly better suited to the customer. Despite the grandiosity of the setting, he did the job like a real pro, and when he mentioned Kennedy and FDR, it was as politicians rather than statesmen that I recalled them. In other words, he did exactly what he needed to do.

As for the policies, we'll see. (I hope.) But he did one thing that was both transcendent and canny. When he said American troops had "not served a blue America or a red America, they served the United States of America," I thought: How long have we waited to hear something like that from a Presidential candidate, or for that matter, a President? At the 2004 Republican Convention President Bush didn't spare even a line to speak to the divisions in this country. Of course, he was working from a script written by Karl Rove, whose strategy relied on division. It's nice to hear some political speech that suggests there's more to be gained by pulling people together than apart.

Conservatives are already sweating the small stuff ("What about those food stamps? Was it once? Was it for a month? For a year? How long?"), and pretending to have watched disinterestedly so their disappointment will seem genuine, though on whom they imagine they're putting it over is hard to fathom. That's how they keep their spirits up. They'll be doing a lot of it in the days to come.
FIRST READ. New rightwing site Culture11 is open. In the current edition: Conor Friedersdorf lashes out at a DJ who played L'il Jon (aka Lil John) at his friend's wedding. Friedersdorf listened to Snoop back in that day, which raises the question: "Is gangsta' rap uniquely degraded?" Some posts are fun, which is I guess an essential feature of New Toryism; on the other hand, they let Rod Dreher write long, which is pretty much the opposite of fun: It's as if H. Allen Smith had gone totally mad and joined a back-to-the-land cult. They also have a video of Bill Bennett lecturing on the Great Books, which I couldn't bring myself to watch, though I did scan it and heard "canon" and "furniture of the mind" and saw that the producers had chosen to enliven it with a picture of Allan Bloom. I do look forward to his promised discussion of Macbeth, which I expect will be full of references to the Clintons.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CONVENTION, CONT. I wrote about Hillary Clinton's speech here. Bill Clinton, well, he did his thing, a little rougher of voice than in years past, and maybe with less native energy, but he's been at this a long time and he's good at it. I hear he would have preferred to talk about economic rather than foreign policy, and no wonder: his arguments in those matters wouldn't make as simple a sale as his pitch at the 2000 Convention, when he ran down the economic disasters Republicans said his Presidency would create, and then said with a little grin, "My friends, time has not been kind to their predictions." But tonight Clinton craftily focused on Obama's policies and defended those rather than his own, mainly comparing his own youth and inexperience at their time of nomination (of which their critics, in both instances, tried to make an issue) and his place "on the right side of history" with Obama's. Till this year, Bill Clinton has been very fortunate in his enemies, and his best gift to Obama was let him share them.

If John Kerry had been this energized in 2004, he might be President today. It's interesting that he mentioned Karl Rove, into whose box Kerry put himself when he stuck to a statesmanlike tone in that last election. "Talk about being for it before you were against it" was a very good line, though not as startling as hearing old, droney Kerry asks the crowd, "Are you kidding me, folks?"

Biden was surprisingly telegenic. The characteristic flashes of righteous anger were studiously tamped down, though at times, when he was denouncing some Republican injustice or other, and with his hair so carefully slicked back, he made me think of Jerry Brown's bullet-headed conviction in 1992. But he also spoke with quiet urgency about the problems faced by citizens, bringing a much-needed sense of dynamics to a heretofore declamatory event. And the "Not change, more of the same" and "McCain was wrong" chants he led had the advantage, for viewers like me anyway, of being old-fashioned political guff that is actually related to the issues, in contrast to the idiotic "flip-flop" chant of the last Republican Convention.

The surprise guest thing was a clever appetizer for the big speech. It was nice to see him effortlessly light up the hall for a few minutes before taking his act to the giant stage at INVESCO Field. It's like the Stones playing a club gig before one of their stadium shows.

Monday, August 25, 2008

AMATEUR HOUR. I have the show on, but I haven't been paying close attention. The first night of Convention is usually a loss anyway, and the recent Republican onslaught has had the desired effect of making politics tiresome to me.

What those operatives, and the speakers themselves, can't manage to ruin, TV commentators make up for. After Nancy Pelosi's dazed homilies, I saw David Brooks explaining that what he wanted to hear was a clear message about who exactly Barack Obama is, and that Nancy Pelosi hadn't done it for him. First of all, I hadn't previously imagined that even Brooks was dumb enough to seek counsel from Nancy Pelosi about anything, except maybe how to make his eyes look fresh after a long night out. Second, who on God's green earth believes David Brooks is open to any such argument as he describes, or that his lively curiosity about Obama -- still unsatisfied after dozens of speeches and interviews, and reams of commentary -- resembles that of the average citizen? Maybe Brooks imagines that he has been among ordinary Americans enough for research purposes that he can pass for one: has he not explicated the inadequacies of the Bobos, and thereby earned some down-home cred? I mean, I have to admit that George Will knows a lot about baseball, but who would want to go to an actual game with him?

It was nice to see Ted Kennedy vertical, and able to repeat the tropes and cadences, and achieve the volume, that made his reputation as a speaker, but his performance was the oratorical equivalent of Hitchcock's Family Plot. Jesse Jackson Jr. is a good amateur speaker, but he started high and stayed there: he ran the gamut from Y to Z.

The wife of a Presidential aspirant need only resemble a likable human being, and this Michelle Obama achieved. She was also complicated enough to hold interest. She too is only an amateur speaker, but she has just enough poise to draw our admiration, and not so much that we don't appreciate the effort she expends in maintaining it. I was aware that her address was crafted to appeal to a wide audience, but the patriotic tells didn't bother me, because I could see that she wasn't there for her own sake, or even just for her husband's or her family's. The harsh necessity of countering the ugly stories that have been circulated about her may have forced her into a speech more programmatic than she, or even we, would have liked, but it would take more than a little boilerplate to conceal that she knows both how fortunate and how worthy of fortune she is. People tend to like a person like that, even if they first encounter her when she's giving a speech at a Rotarian dinner.

Outside of that, I heard that we're going to give the middle class a break and end the war in Iraq. Not ideal, but it'll have to do.
THE NEVERENDING STORY. I'm back to doing that thing, you know, that weekly rightwing wrap-up thing at the Voice.
CONVENTION IN FLAMES, REPORT RIGHTWING COMMENTATORS. Jammie Wearing Fool says of the Clinton die-hard presence at the DNC, "Just imagine if you had massive amounts of Republicans defecting from the GOP and declaring they'd be voting for Barack Obama. You'd have a nonstop deluge of Obamacan stories flooding the media." He cites the New York Post and Politico in defense. Clearly the MSM isn't spiking stories like it used to.

The Ole Perfesser approves JWF's comment, cites the Washington Times, Politico, CNN as further evidence of media blackout.

Meanwhile over at Google News:

Other citizen journalists in Denver see mostly demonstrations, and when things are too quiet on that front, their powerful friends try to liven things up.

Special correspondent Jim Lileks is also in Denver; has found Starbucks, but no Target. Feel the excitement!

UPDATE. I didn't mean that Lileks reported the absence of a Target, but that he didn't report finding one, which he would certainly have done if he had.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

BIDEN FOR VEEP. Obama picks Biden -- liberal media reacts (via memeorandum):

No one said it would be easy, but you'd think Obama would get some traction out of having a white guy on the ticket.

Conservatives come out with popguns blazing. Jonah Goldberg criticized the Obama campaign for issuing its cellphone update at 3 am. Michelle Malkin noted that Biden had earlier "said he 'wasn't the guy.' Starting his VP candidacy off with a lie." They'll be getting on his hair plugs soon... UPDATE: As usual I am way behind the curve.

But I'm not the only one: the more general argument that longtime Senator Biden does not represent the sort of "change" represented by the Obama cause is absurd, given that we are in the thick of a campaign already wholly devoted to meaningless symbolism of a more traditional kind -- military cred, elitism, populist blather, etc. Conservatives who have been dunning Obama for portraying himself as an alternative can't seriously believe that choosing an ideologically appropriate running mate from the old school -- instead of, what, a female or Hispanic politician, or someone even more new to politics than Obama -- is a betrayal of anything except the caricature of Obama they've painstakingly crafted. But they've been working with that to good effect lately, so I guess it's worth a try.

Last year I noted that in the Democratic debates Biden was "difficult to follow when he is being genial, but extremely lucid in his bursts of anger" on subjects (mainly in foreign policy) that animate him, and wondered if this were "the kind of behavioral mix voters trust with the football." Certainly Biden is gabby, and we'll see how voters react to his style of discourse now that they have to pay attention to him, more or less, for the next eleven weeks.

Me, I owe Biden a vote for helping to keep the dangerous lunatic Robert Bork off the Supreme Court.

UPDATE. Now here's a new one: Biden "should be named an honorary soldier in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps" because he once voted no on a "sense of the Senate" resolution that would have named the IRGC as an official terrorist organization. Also, Biden "threatens a sitting president of the United States with impeachment" and "warns against striking Iran." This appears in the Canada Free Press, so we may consider it an out-of-town tryout for some new right-wing ordnance in case the hair plugs thing doesn't work out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IN THE LAST DITCH. Indeterminate Number of Star General Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters continues his bilious streak with an unusually brief and at least more-than-usually incoherent rant on Georgia:
WAR doesn't change anything! How many times have we heard the claim from self-righteous leftists protected by their betters?

Tell the dead in Georgia.
Pausing, even only for a moment, ruins nearly all of the General's arguments, and in this case even interventionists would have to wonder upon reflection what righteous act of war would have saved the Georgians from their fate. The one Truman et alia were too chicken to declare on Red Russia, back when only America had the Bomb? Or the one Bush is too chicken to declare now?

Attend: the answer is blowin' in the General's wind. Condi Rice doth "huff and puff," NATO dithers. But the "hardcore Left," without any of Rice's and NATO's power, is always worse, for one thing because it mocks the General:
Over the years, as I've tried to explain the human reality I've encountered, the leftist response has been "Shoot the messenger!" (presumably, with a water gun). When I wrote that a dangerous minority of men enjoy tormenting and killing others, the response was that I obviously believed killing was good.

I've never even kicked a cat.
This is a startling admission from an author who has never, in my experience, seen or heard of a difficult situation that he didn't think would be improved by a whole heap of killing. (Or maybe he's just saying that he's fond of cats, the way Patton was of Willie.)

When the General asks, "what solutions does the war-doesn't-change-anything Left bring to the party now, in Georgia?" he's just offloading his own disgust with the current Administration, whose huffing and puffing he obviously considers no more efficacious that whatever the Berkeley City Council would propose (or Barack Obama, whom the General fantasizes "gobbled up in one bite" by Putin -- as opposed to Bush, whom one imagines would take longer to digest, at least when Putin got to his liver).

Maybe, because Bush's and NATO's officers don't wear distressed denim or love beads, the General feels protective of them. Or maybe he's just protecting himself. "I don't think a military response at this point would do any good," the General admits, "only more harm." What then does the General bring to the party? Only a deep-seated faith in force, regardless of its usefulness in the present situation, and an equally profound lack of faith in, or perhaps understanding of, anything else.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"THE HARROWING ADVENTURES OF PRESIDENT OBAMA." You may get a kick out of this.
REPACKAGING. I've had a laugh or two with Reihan Salam's and Ross Douthat's Grand New Party, but I haven't read it. Thankfully Patrick Ruffini of the forward-looking The Next Right has condensed it for me:
Want cheaper energy? Drill now, expand refinery capacity, go nuclear, and diversify into renewables...

Want cheaper consumer products? Fight protectionism and forced unionism.

Want cheaper food? Get rid of ethanol subsidies.

Want cheaper health insurance? Get rid of irrational regulations and frivolous lawsuits, and let people buy health insurance across state lines...

Want cheaper government? Cut spending.

Want cheaper tax bills? This is self-explanatory.
Ruffini then took the words right out of my mouth: "Most of this is not new. " But in his explanation he actually does come up with something fresh and different: "Republicans have largely been unable to capitalize on wanting things to cost less because the country was relatively prosperous and inflation has not been a real concern for a generation. With the country now facing tangible inflation in the food and fuel sectors, an affordability agenda for the working class is now much more salient."

It had been my impression that Republicans avoided using affordability as a come-on because, since Reagan days, they have showcased a hyperactive stock market, fueled by enormous corporate profits unwinnowed by taxes, as proof of their superior government stewardship. Gushers of cash and credit were the wind beneath their wings. Now that the bottom is falling out of that racket, Ruffini wants to position them as efficiency experts, using the same not-new philosophy and tactics as they had in the go-go era. It's as if a faith healer, having exhausted the credulity of his client, suddenly announced that he is also a trained surgeon.

The resemblance of modern politics to marketing is long established, but you rarely see it as plainly as herein:
In 2008, the recession is all about consumers -- be they consumers at the pump, homeowners, or at the grocery store. The recession is hitting all of us a little (rather than just some of us a lot, through lost jobs). This makes it psychologically more damaging, but also more open to a free market populist agenda centered around lower prices for goods in the private economy.

If we can get out from under the dead weight that is 28% Presidential approval, the economic issue environment can be turned against the progressives.
They'd better hope that not many people are watching "Mad Men." This reeks of the glad hand, seeking opportunity in crisis. I would say God go with them if they were not so obviously resistant to changing the formula along with the ad campaign.

Friday, August 15, 2008

STABBED IN THE BACK! The veteran money-followers at Open Secrets find that U.S. troops serving abroad have contributed six times as much to Obama's campaign as to McCain's. Like Hamlet said, we who have free souls, it touches us not. Using the troops as campaign window-dressing was cheap during the last campaign, and it remains so. In a week or two McCain will find a wounded vet who denounces Obama, and everyone will be talking about arugula and whatnot again.

But though we are above trying to embarrass our opponents with this information, we do not disdain to notice when they massively embarrass themselves.

We enjoy, for example, the close analysis of Wizbang's Jay Tea, which reveals that the servicemembers have spent very little on campaign donations overall, allowing Tea to brush off these warriors' contributions as "statistically irrelevant." He adds, "I think I kinda like that 99.9% of our troops aren't spending at least $200 on presidential campaigns."

This is a startling admission. When the Bankruptcy Bill was debated in 2005, the Democrats tried to put in an exemption for military personnel, and the Republicans voted it down. "One of the most common cases I see as a legal assistance attorney in the Army," writes a JAG soldier/lawyer, "is a soldier in debt." We pay them shit and give them no breaks, so I'm not surprised that the troops don't have a lot of scratch left over for campaign finance, but I am surprised to hear Tea admit that he's happy about it.

Michael Goldfarb at John McCain's own blog says that "most of those troops are likely too busy doing the important work of defending this country to make political contributions." Busy working second jobs, maybe? Goldfarb adds that McCain has far more "retired admirals and generals" endorsing him than Obama. Who's the elitist now?

Speaking of elites, a visibly flailing Allahpundit takes comfort in the fact that "the one branch where McCain leads Obama in contributions is the one most likely to see the hardest action — the Corps." This is fairly classic: as the weaker units desert, Allahpundit puts his faith in a hard core of loyal followers who will follow the flag unto death. Godwin's Law forbids the obvious comparison.

Say Anything points out that McCain loses by less when you include soldiers serving here in the states, where treason can't get at them. Also, "I think the lopsided contributions speak more to conservative dissatisfaction with McCain than outrageous amounts of new support for Obama," which servicemembers of course express by contributing to Obama. Then he throws a chair and runs.

This is feeble even by their usual low standards, but you have to be forgiving. They've been working the support-the-troops scam for so long that they might actually believe it. If you're a liberal, you have to imagine black people saying that Brown v. Board of Education was a big mistake to get some sense of how this is hitting them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ATTENTION NEW YORKERS. At the Voice blog we are soliciting reminiscences of the 2003 Blackout. You are welcome, nay, invited to leave yours there.

Mine were recorded for posterity here.
POPULISM WITHOUT POPULARITY. The perfectly sensible point that the rich, well-born John McCain has got at least as many elitism points as Obama reaches perfectly mad Victor Davis Hanson, who responds:
Even adroit spinners and handlers can't manufacture elitism; it is not necessarily connected with wealth. The very wealthy Bush no doubt was brought up in greater splendor than was Kerry; but fairly or unfairly, he was more at home at NASCAR and Texas than wind-surfing. And the people sensed that even without Karl Rove's ads. John McCain in a wet suit seems unimaginable.
J. Pierpont Morgan is also unimaginable in a wet suit. But if he were living today and had a set of image-handlers, they would teach him to drop his g's and dress him in cheap windbreakers, and tell plain folks how much more old J.P. has in common with them than has that too-skinny glamour boy, Tom Joad. This would not, of course, change Morgan's business and political interests, though it would make them harder to see. Elitism isn't body language, but a way of looking at the world.
Liberals and progressives are far more vulnerable to charges of elitism, since they are prone to the additional charge of hypocrisy. Right-wingers, as the catastrophic election of 2006 showed, are more easily exposed as hypocrites when they preach family values and are caught in Rev. Haggard-like positions, or abuse drugs and drink. But liberals, 'two-nations' men and women of the people, who rail against the unfairness of an uncaring system and the perniciousness of wealth and privilege, far more readily suffer charges of elitism when their populist rhetoric is contrasted to private jets, 30,000 sq ft. homes, or 11 mansions.
The problem here, of course, is that both candidates engage in "populist rhetoric." When John McCain visits a kitchen cabinet factory and promises to "keep jobs here at home and create new ones," or goes to a biker rally and says he prefers the "roar of 5,000 Harleys" to the cheers Obama received in Berlin, or talks about "lobbyists and special pleaders" and comes out against lavish CEO salaries, he might as well be Huey Long. McCain's own campaign advisor calls him a "populist." This is categorically different from conservatives making fulsome "values voter" pitches and sermonizing on sexed-up Democrats while fucking prostitutes and harrassing teenagers on their cell phones. The latter is hypocrisy, the former is parity.

Personally I think it's a good thing that people are pointing out that both candidates are rich. It's a good first step toward some real populism.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SEMANTICS AND PEDANTICS. Joe Lieberman pretty clearly said that Obama doesn't put his country first -- "Between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not" -- which is a sentiment that is uncontroversial in a college libertarian bull session, but highly offensive in a Presidential contest -- and Don Surber says, as they always do, that liberals are silly, but adds, perhaps for purposes of page length, a metaphor ex machina:
Ever have a bad tooth?

I have. There comes that time when you bite on it just so, it hurts like heck.

Liberals have a bad tooth that I will call, for the sake of this post, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.

Lieberman hit the liberal bad tooth yesterday.
This mangled bit of wordplay pays tribute to the example of Dean Wormer in Animal House ("The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me"). Or maybe Surber's point is that, like teeth, Lieberman and liberals have many similarities, and are animated by the same forces, but underneath liberals are rotten.

In any case it's better than his actual defense:
I parse it as saying put the country first in legislation, which is not questioning one’s patriotism but rather a common parliamentary elocution; we must put our country first, and compromise on campaign reform. McCain has reached out across the aisle many, many times. Obama hasn’t.
Similarly, when I say that Don Surber eschews liberal ideas and is not a heterosexual, I mean that he prefers to keep with his own intellectual kind, and not that he is a big gay guy who likes to have sex with men.

He does get points, though, for using the idea of a "screaming" toothache in the traditional association of liberals and screaming. It's so elegant I tend to think he cooked the whole essay up just to use it.
APOLOGIES for the sparse posting. You know how it is with a new job. Eventually I hope to learn time management skills from fatigue and methamphetamines, and give you lovely people the attention you deserve.
CURTAIN CALL. I sort of like the Guardian slideshow of President Bush Olympic LOLs, but something bothered me about it. At first I thought it was because the style was pretty transparently ripped-off of LOL President. But LOL President is itself a rip-off of LOLcats, so I guess by now it's just an hommage without attribution. (You know, like my Shorters!)

Then I noticed that LOL President was moribund, posting nothing since June 4. And I think I know why. There had been some funny Obama and McCain bits in recent months, but nothing brings the lulz like a good Bush photo funny.

This is made painfully clear by the President's behavior at the Olympics. I actually watched him during the Opening Ceremonies. He seemed impatient and petulant during the big parade, thwacking his flag against his leg and looking around as if for a beer vendor at a ballgame. And of course we've all seen him discomporting himself around Misty May Treanor.

I don't normally make much of the President's many social liabilities, which are irrelevant and pale in comparison to those of his governance. But it hit me: this is all he's got left. While the nation attends our ridiculously personalized Presidential contest, looking for displays of elitism or senility, the star of our national drama is mostly becalmed, sullenly reading statements and puttering around the White House. And he's actually a very successful performer, and one who seems to enjoy his effect on people, even when (maybe especially when) it annoys them. For years he seemed tickled that his repertoire of frat-boy stunts and cowboy posturing held the nation's interest. Now, for the most part, he has to lay low, lest he remind voters already disenchanted with the Republican Party of the grim results of his Presidency, or international war crimes prosecutors of signs of depraved indifference that may be used against him in a court of law.

The Olympics provided Bush with a golden opportunity to reinsert himself into the public eye like a sharp stick. As the effect had no domestic political resonance, he could let it all hang out. I'm sure nobody who wasn't extremely high has had as good a time anywhere as Bush had in Beijing. Politics to one side, it was almost charming.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS. I go off the grid for a couple of days, and come back to find I've lost my bearings. Though I'd covered the spectacularly dumb "Celeb" McCain spot, I was totally unprepared for his latest goofy ad. It seems to me that as Russia invades Georgia, the market convulses, Kashmir heats up, Musharraf falls, and our President, after fucking off to the Olympics all weekend, makes obviously toothless grimaces over South Ossetia while much more effectively sabotaging the Endangered Species Act, that even the Republicans would find it hard to tell people that their greatest danger comes from a Presidential candidate whom people like too much.

Given the circumstances I think the McCain campaign is consumed by the political equivalent of a fit of nervous giggles. There's nowhere else for McCain to go but negative, but the normal Republican negative routine of dark, dystopian portrayals of Democratic rule -- Dukakis' filthy Charles River, Mondale's unattended Russian bear, etc. -- would just remind voters that we are on the verge of dystopia already. The only course left is evasion, not merely of current political realities, but of reality, period. So they fixate on the one about the Obamessiah, and ring endless variations on it, as if it were the Holy Grail of comic material, impervious to wear, tear, and overexposure.

No matter how simply and directly critics point this out, the second-line McCain operatives have a single ready answer: that the critics are just projecting -- which is a mildly intellectualized way of saying that they don't get the joke. But even if we concede that there were something to the joke -- and that's a big concession, given how overstrained the right-wing laugh factory has gotten -- a sensible person would have to acknowledge that we are getting past the point where even a good joke would do. Normally I would assume they had something stronger prepared for phase two, when we are all within sight of the day of decision and have to face facts, if for no other reason than self-preservation. But I have a feeling that there is no Plan B. I should be happier about that, considering how I'd like the election to go. But as the examples of tulipmania and the Great Awakenings show, mass delusions, even when contained, wind up playing out badly for everyone in the end.

Friday, August 08, 2008

If he joined the Green Berets, there was no way you'd ever get above Colonel. Kurtz knew what he was giving up... His family and friends couldn't understand it, and they couldn't talk him out of it. He had to apply three times and he put up with a ton of shit, but when he threatened to resign, they gave it to him. The next youngest guy in his class was half his age. They must have thought he was some far-out old man humping it over that course...
Starting Monday, I'll be writing regularly for the Runnin' Scared blog at the Village Voice, and occasionally doing features for the paper.

I'll be here too, just a little more fried than usual.
ARMY OF ONE. America's favorite psychopath, Umpty-Star General Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters, is on one hell of a mood swing. His ravings on the Olympics in today's New York Post start, "I RARELY watch sports on TV. I'm a doer, not a viewer." Right off the bat the General is reminding us that he has killed men with uncurled paper clips. Then he tells us that "Beijing's post-Mao mafiosi dropped their (dirty) drawers." Context is unclear; maybe the General just emitted it in a spasm of journalistic Tourette's, and his editor -- well, what am I saying: clearly nobody edits the General.

A strong believer in useless gestures, The General will "boycott" the Olympics -- that is, he will refrain from watching it on TV, instead curling up with a Faces of Death marathon. He is also boycotting Chinese goods, which probably means (if he is serious) that he goes everywhere in his old Army uniform. Even the General admits "it can be hard" to do without Commie provender, and he wants you to know how hard: "A work-out bench ordered online recently turned out to be made in China." Again, the General is unclear: was the online ordering done by him, a neighbor, or another imaginary character? Doesn't matter, the key words are "work-out bench," to remind us that the General is out running the obstacle course while you maggots are still raising your morning wood. Now drop your dirty drawers, Chinamen, and he'll give you twenty!

You know I'm not fond of the Chinese Government, either, and would like to make common cause with the General on this issue, but that would lead to the same sort of problems William Holden had with Bo Hopkins in The Wild Bunch.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

IT'S A SHAME THE WAY YOU BEAT YOUR KIDS. NOW, LET'S PARTY. This morning at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, President Bush made some human rights noises in front of some Chinese officials. He had criticized the Chinese more strongly during an earlier stopover in Bangkok.

A Chinese spokesman made some counter-noises. Later everyone's going to the Olympic opening ceremonies. Be sure to watch on NBC!

You expect Kissinger to say Bush's part in this mutual ass-covering enterprise is "important," and I regret to say the same is true of Mayor Bloomberg:
"I thought the president of the United States stood up this morning and said what a lot of Americans believe: that individual rights aren't as open there as they are in America and that they should be," Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday at a press conference in Lower Manhattan. "I thought the president should go to the opening games — he is going to go. I thought he should speak out, and he did, and I was pleased to see that."
As long as nobody loses any money over it. I sort of miss the earlier, simpler time when History's Greatest Monster had us boycott the Moscow Olympics because of another big Communist country's aggression against some little country that we later invaded.

UPDATE. Naomi Klein explains. This isn't Berlin '36*, when the Nazis tried to keep their repressive policies on the down-low. It's an international trade show for totalitarians.

* Ralph Peters, of course, already told us that the new Berlin Olympics was the 2004 Democratic Convention. More conservative ChiCom sympathy here.
THE SWEET HEREAFTER. The Ole Perfesser hehs but does not indeed a First Things post mocking the Singularity, a human-robot nirvana for which the Perfesser holds out hope. But the Perfesser does not cast his scorn so wide as to include the IEEE Spectrum item to which First Things refers:
If you’re obsessed with your own mortality, the idea of a computer blinking into consciousness 400 years from now isn’t going to rock your world. You want the magic moment to come, say, 25 years from now at most. Unfortunately, that timetable grossly over estimates the speed of technical progress...
I've had fun with the Perfesser's visions of eternal life, not to be a killjoy, but because it seems integral to his horrible politics. He belongs to a school of conservative-libertarians who take a cheery view of human progress, and while that is usually preferable to the end-is-nigh attitude of crunchier conservatives, it too often serves as a glib evasion of even our most obvious problems.

If Peak Oil ravings are unhelpful, for example, so too may be comforting assurances that we can just drill our way out of our recently acute but observably chronic energy problems. That sort of optimism flips off despair, which is reasonable, but it also flips off any suggestion of how progress might be better achieved by means other than those endorsed by the Republican Party, as shown by the Perfesser's suspicious lapses in confidence when the scientists he expects to grant him immortality take global warming seriously.

We can assume that the impeccably conservative First Things is annoyed by the Perfesser's interest in the Singularity because it conflicts, or rather competes, with their own faith in a more old-fashioned idea of life beyond life. It wouldn't annoy them so much if the Perfesser were not otherwise a fellow traveller -- that the FT post stretches to include Christopher Hitchens is a psychological tell: these fellows are basically on our side, why can't they go the whole hog and come to Jesus? What they don't recognize is that the Singularity serves the Perfesser's conservatism in exactly the same way Jesus serves theirs. It is the blissful prospect of a world beyond that makes sense of their otherwise puzzling lack of interest in the world at hand and the people who live in it.

Conservatives often disparage the alleged liberal faith in "the perfectibility of human nature," but by their actions conservatives tirelessly demonstrate that their contempt is really for the idea that we may improve anything in our present life -- not just the nature of humans, but their condition as well -- by means not endorsed by Reagan or Jesus. Liberals support social programs, they tell themselves and whomever else will listen, because liberals are foolish tinkerers with the human spirit -- just like the Nazis! Of course, we really support such programs as an advance from the want-induced tribalism of earlier times, as some conservatives acknowledge when they are incautious.

It's harder to demonize liberalism on those terms, of course, but I don't think that's mainly why they reject them. They really believe that something besides utility underpins their ideology, absurd as it may look to someone who is mainly looking to get through life with less pain. And that something is eternal, immutable, and unanswerable. So no matter how disastrous the results of their faith may be on this wicked, imperfect earth, that is to them a small thing compared to the reward their faith will buy them on the Other Side.

For the theocons, it's God; for such as the Perfesser, it's the Singularity. For the rest of us it's bullshit. But when they stick together it's difficult to wrest control of the Ship of State from their poisoned judgment.

UPDATE. In comments, Keifus breaks it down: "The rollers and the glibbies both expect to be rewarded for believing the right thing over actually doing the right thing." There's something to that. We already know why the Jesuscons are the way they are (because Jesus, that's why!). And as for the glibertarians, their sloth comes from the suburban/managerial mindset 99% of them are bred to. They think of scientists and engineers as their employees, even though they don't actually pay or manage them. Much as they expect artists to heed their calls to "shut up and sing," the glibbies expect the test-tube and cyclotron guys to devote themselves to sustaining the social order that benefits them. That's why they get mad when scientists turn their attention to stuff like climate change instead of softer cushions for fat glibertarian asses. To the glibs, that's goofing off.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

BYRON YORK, TV DETECTIVE. Byron York, National Review, August 5, 4:05 pm:
Several days ago, I posted a Top 10 list from the "Late Show with David Letterman" in which Letterman mentioned the John Edwards "love child" story. The list was actually entitled "Top 10 Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident"...

I linked to the Top 10 list on the "Late Show" website, but not long after my item was posted, I got a number of emails telling me the list had disappeared from the site. The suspicion was that the "Late Show" had pulled the controversial item. I've been meaning to call CBS to find out, and today I finally got around to it... the spokesman assures me it will appear in an upcoming issue of the "Late Show" newsletter...
Byron York, National Review, August 5, 8:15 pm:
I've received some emails from readers who say they saw the July 29, 2008 episode at home, on TV, with the Obama/Edwards Top 10 list included. Does anyone out in TiVo-land have any information?
Byron York, National Review, August 6, 10:49 am:
I've gotten a lot of emails from readers forwarding the link to the YouTube video of David Letterman's Obama/Edwards Top 10 list. From what I understand, that doesn't prove that it actually aired on CBS... I've also gotten more emails from people who say they saw it on the Letterman show, but I still haven't seen any video to that effect.

Meanwhile, I've gotten notes that Jay Leno joked about Edwards last night... The audience reportedly got the joke.
Readers, you seem reasonably sane. If it was made clear to you that you had become this much of a fucking tool, wouldn't you kill yourselves?
THE OLIGARCH AS POPULIST. Gazillionaire Tom Golisano, a frequent independent candidate for Governor of New York, has a PAC fueled by five million dollars of his own money. New York Republicans, whose balance of power in the State Senate is thin, are shitting bricks over it, and a candidate in a Democratic State Senate primary is calling for investigations because she suspects Golisano of colluding with her opponent. Talk about your Operation Chaos.

The last three times he ran for Governor, nobody took Golisano seriously. Even in the Corzine-Bloomberg era, he was considered a crazy rich guy playing at statesmanship. "Unlike Michael Bloomberg, whose millions were backed up with a discernible political philosophy [? -ed.], Mr. Golisano seems to believe that wanting to be Governor is enough reason to be handed the position," said the New York Observer in 2003. "New Yorkers realize, of course, that he is a clown."

Maybe so, but given the three-ring circus of our current politics, from the slimefest at of the Presidential race to the accidental Governorship of David Paterson, Golisano may yet turn out a clown prince. He may have figured that, while merely investing in campaigns didn't do the trick, it might be worth a few mil to position himself as a lone do-gooder venturing into Albany's den of thieves. It's a win-win situation for him. If he backs losers, the ensuing bad governance will be something he tried nobly though in vain to stop; if he backs winners, the ensuing bad governance will be a great disappointment to him, and a sign that Albany must be reformed root and branch.

This is the wave of the future. Our country is as rotten as a Minneapolis bridge, yet our politics is more of a clown show than ever, with tire gauges and celebrity slurs instead of squirting flowers and slapsticks. The more completely these matters are devoted to symbols rather than issues, the more obsolete Parties become: they're less political entities than production companies as it is, distinguished mostly by proprietary image banks that convey "toughness," "compassion," or what have you, the way MGM was once associated with glamour and Warner Brothers with action pictures. In the wasteland of 2010 Golisano may well be able to offer his candidacy to whatever party is desperate enough to take it, and win.

UPDATE. Fixed typo.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

QUINTESSENCE OF DREHER. Rod Dreher tries to get the CrunchyCon kids excited about John Edwards. He agitates to get the big papers (presumably including his own) to cover the Edwards affair story, which has so far been proffered only by the National Enquirer, bloggers, Fox News, and that monstrous hybrid of all three known as Mickey Kaus.

Dreher says he has very serious reasons for wanting to promote this story. "[Edwards is] still a big player in Democratic politics," says Dreher, "and might have been either an Obama running mate, Attorney General or held some other cabinet post." To elevate the tone further, he refers to Edwards twice as "the Silky Pony."

Amazingly, Dreher's readers don't take the bait:
Sounds like you are rationalizing. And gossiping.

I'm no fan of Edwards, but is it any wonder why people don't go into public service?

I am so glad I am not the only one who reads the tabloids when standing in line at the grocery store. Seriously, though do we know if these rumours are even true? It seems in poor taste to malign someones character without proof of their alleged indiscretions.
Some readers also mention the rich veins of McCain scandal that could be opened under this forgiving policy.

Dreher responds as one would expect of a Christian:
It is impossible for some people to engage in a rational critical discussion of the point. Another reader just wrote me privately to say I should shut down all the comboxes for a while, because the tone has gotten so nasty he doesn't want to visit them anymore. I'm not going to go that far, but I am going to shut down this one. Sorry, screaming mimis!
I'm tired of the excuse that Jesus is just misrepresented by his followers, and am going to have to assume that He's an asshole, too.
WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF. When last we attended kulturkampfer Andrew Breitbart, he was telling us that the Hollywood blacklist of the 50s was nothing compared to the dirty looks conservatives get in filmland these days.

Now he devotes a Washington Times column to Jon Voight's recent right-wing ravings, which he claims were "swiftly attacked by establishment entertainment journalists expertly wielding the tools of the new McCarthyism." How's that for a hook: Voight is marked for death!

Those who are not fans of the genre may be disappointed at the thinness of the plot. When blogger Jeffrey Wells says of Voight, "I finally get what Angelina Jolie has been on about all these years," Breitbart thunders, "Mr. Wells went well below the belt by attacking Mr. Voight's parenting skills. And for what? Because one citizen expressed his contrarian political opinion in a town that doesn't embrace free speech anymore." Variety's Peter Bart repeats an anecdote demonstrating Voight's awareness of his own intellectual limitations; Breitbart, mortally offended, says that Bart is "desperately attempting to be as cruel as possible" (before repeating some dirt on Bart!), and announces, "[Bart's] message to Mr. Voight: You're dead. Hollywood never forgets."

Like I said, it's for fans -- if you're not familiar with the form, you may have trouble getting into the story, especially if you know that failure to toe the liberal line hasn't done much harm to Bruce Willis' career. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger's. Or Trey Parker's and Matt Stone's. Or Judd Apatow's, etc.

Breitbart anticipates this argument, but his rejoinder is less than convincing, and even less than coherent:
Those who argue that Mr. Wells' point of view is not representative of a larger mind-set among the Hollywood elite should think back to 2005, when Barbra Streisand publicly canceled her subscription to the Los Angeles Times for the crime of hiring a conservative to pen editorials a few times a week. That writer, Jonah Goldberg, went on to write the book "Liberal Fascism," which hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Perhaps the title resonated with the masses.
So Babs cancelled her subscription and Jonah Goldberg went to #1? What does that have to do with... well, anything? Never mind -- Breitbart throws us a twist ending ("Is it any wonder Jon Voight didn't have his opinions published in a hometown rag?") and brings up the closing credits. So it doesn't make sense -- neither does David Lynch! The critics will eat it up!

Competing for rightwing box-office is Weekly Standard's current cover story, "Hollywood Takes On The Left," which tells us about David "Airplane" Zucker's new comedy film, all about Rosie O'Donnell and Barack Obama and other deranged liberals. The cover promises an inspiring story of plucky wingnuts saving the day, but that's all marketing; Zucker and author Stephen Hayes know what the audience really wants when the lights go down, and they play it as a paranoid thriller. Zucker's partner, Steve McEveety, worries about losing his shirt. The star, Chris Farley's brother, says, "If it's the last movie I do, I'll go work for Steve's company." Zucker says he's "donated his career" to defeating Obama with this movie, and "Shouldn't I be allowed to say that?" and "Why can't I put it out there?" as if pleading for his little movie's life before a liberal death squad.

Yet such problems as Zucker et alia are having seem to be the kind any less-than-hot production company might reasonably expect ("Zucker had originally hoped to cast Dan Whitney aka Larry the Cable Guy as Malone, but a timing conflict kept him from getting it done"). But don't tell the wingnuts that. Their version of Hollywood entertainment doesn't come from movies, but from outrages. Breitbart and Hayes are those happiest of entertainment figures: showmen with a winning formula.

Monday, August 04, 2008

SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE. In my April Voice article I referred in passing to Megan McArdle as a "lipstick libertarian," which outraged her: "I'm hard put to think of a way to pack more snide sexism and heteronormative stereotypes into two words."

She also got after us sexist liberals:
I will say that I'm particularly shocked to find that about 95% of this comes from the left, particularly the fraternity potty talk--my right wing commenters usually limit themselves to saying "you're pretty", which is the sort of thing no one, male or female, minds hearing.
Today the Hit & Run blog of the eminently libertarian Reason magazine announced a bloggingheads dialogue between McArdle and Kerry Howley. It is titled "Lipstick Libertarians." At the top of the episode, McArdle announces, "I've been called a lipstick libertarian. I'm not quite sure if that was meant as an insult or a compliment."

She's reappropriating the L-words, I guess. Here are some of the Reason comments:
In my imagination, you two are planning a rainbow party. I'm not about to watch the video and spoil that image.

You girls would be so pretty if you just did something about your hair and makeup.

Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

Girl's got quite the noggin, glad she's on our team! *friendly, athletic slap on the ass*

They kind of look a little bit like Bert and Ernie in that one.
Bert and Ernie were a couple, so does mean Kerry and Megan.... [WARREN'S HEAD 'ASPLODE]
Maybe this is that fabled common ground between liberals and libertarians I've been hearing about. I suggest Obama start using it to counteract charges of elitism. First step: flip-flop his apology for calling that reporter "sweetie" and say his only regret was not also giving her a friendly, athletic slap on the ass.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP: "Rightbloggers find McCain's Chocolate Sandwich Tasty." I may be getting the hang of this headline thing.
CHUTZPAH. The Anchoress, under her pen name Elizabeth Scalia, pleads in a PJM essay against "name-calling" -- as practiced by "rabid Bush-haters."

I could leave it at that, but let's just take a quick look at some of the Anchoress' greatest hits:
Is it just me or is Bill Clinton looking increasingly like the the smug bastard son of Boris Yeltsin?

Is Obama a megalomaniac?... If he wins, no one can say we didn't see megalomania... (Also, Obama is "a presidential candidate [who] needs to get up on stage and jeer at his country and countrymen for their lack of so-called sophistication to his 'sophisticated' and self-hating supporters," who are also "jack-booted silencers of dissent"; the press are Obama's "whores," etc.)

Nancy Pelosi Orwell: The Lady Likes Control... Feinstein: Tomorrow belongs to the people! Pelosi: Excuse me, comrade, I think you mean tomorrow belongs to me!

Jimmy Carter... the most repellent ex-president, ever...
This only draws from recent examples in which the Anchoress' usual passive-aggressive approach flares unto raw slander. By and large she prefers to use devices such as imaginary dialogues and funny dialects to mask the full intensity of her rage. I'd say her latest self-casting as the Voice of Sweet Reason isn't fooling anybody, but with cases such as hers, we must admit the possibility that she is fooling herself.
SHORTER RICK MORAN: I can dish it out, but I can't take it.

(Remember: there is no greater atrocity on the face of God's green earth than accusing the children of Lee Atwater of racism.)
WHY WE'RE FUCKED. Over at Reason, discussion of some article about Obama race blahblah: father--who I don't believe has a bigoted bone in his body... is nonetheless apprehensive about Obama because he correlates governmental decline of where he lives with when black politicians started getting elected. While I don't share his reasoning and conclusions (especially in the case of Obama, who won't get elected without a hell of a lot of white people voting for him) he is empirically correct about the local politics in many cities...

I don't suppose they bothered to ask the white voters who said race was a factor whether it was a positive or negative? I would expect some percentage to be guilty white liberals voting for the black guy because he is a black guy.

Obama's liberal white supporters are given to cheering his sneezes and fainting whenever he graces them with his presence.

All this election is going to prove is that whites favor generic white over generic black and blacks favor generic half black over generic white. That's a basic human impulse that has colored human social interaction since the beginning of time and is nothing to be concerned about.
Commenters also suggest that if you vote for Obama because he's black, this makes you the real racist; that black people won't vote for "an Orien..., er, Asian candidate? ;-)"; etc.

Now bear in mind, these are libertarians, who are generally smart enough at least to correctly spell the word "libertarian." Despite their clinical and tragic inability to empathize with other human beings, you'd think their intellectual pride at least would steer them away from racist circular logic. So it is depressing to see them using their big brains to explain that, while they themselves don't see the relevance, they can understand how Al Sharpton Whoisblack makes decent, reasonable white people nervous about Barack Obama Whoisblack.

And if that's what the Randian Supermen are up to, imagine the discourse in the 3-D comments boxes (aka bars, church basements, etc.) inhabited by Real Americans who don't need no debate-school tricks to tell you what they really think.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

SHORTER PETER WEHNER: Without bullshit, we're fucked.
OUTTA LOCKDOWN. Well, that was weird. Apparently Blogger thought I was running a spam blog and briefly shut me down. Blogger describes spam blogs as those that "can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text" -- well! An honest mistake, then -- "along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site." I'll have to write less about Jonah Goldberg henceforth.

I was a little sore about it, but I'm glad to see some of the comrades kept their heads:
Obama's Netroots Supporters Continue "Blog Burning"

Tell me once more how progressives love free speech...

Online activists thought to be loyal to Barack Obama are once against using Google's software tools to target rival political blogs for elimination as spam blogs...
I must mention that Mr. Yankee updated with a cryptic one-line link to a contrary opinion. (You won't catch me making that mistake again!)

The Anchoress delivered an epic "Prayer Request" for Catholic bloggers deprived of internet ventilation by Satan: "Not that one is conspiracy minded. But it does seem that Old Scratch is doing his usual. Pray for Julie, her husband and Beyond Cana group, Deacon Greg and Patrick... Let me know of any other Catholic blogs on google/blogger and I’ll add them to the growing list!" She also corrected, briefly, suggesting the outage might be due to "Summer mischief," which of course means she hates Obama because he's black.

UPDATE. Confederate Yankee has expanded on his retraction, only because you citizen-journalists held his feet to the fire! Boo-yah! Pibb Xtra for my horses, noogies for my men.