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Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Unthinking Right

This post from Ramesh Ponnuru made me chuckle. It gives you insight into his thought process, but it also illustrates that the dude just isn't thinking!
Wassila turns out to have more people than Delaware—and it has been growing fast. (I can't get the links to work right now but it's easy to look up.) 4:00 update: oh how very embarrassing. A typo in the site I was looking at—totally wrong, by a factor of a hundred. Ouch.
My guess is that he was looking for some kind of info to back up a point he was trying to make about Palin's "executive experience" as Mayor of Wassila versus Joe Biden's legislative experience in Delaware.

But when confronted with information that said a small unknown-until-yesterday Alaskan town had more people than an entire New England state , Ramesh's bullshit detector did not go off. He did not scrunch up his face and say, "That doesn't sound right..."

Instead, he ran with it. And made a complete ass of himself.

(Just for the record, the city of Detroit has more people than Delaware. However, Delaware has more people than Denver. And there are no cities as big as Detroit or Denver in Alaska.)

The Crystal Ball

I predict that Sarah Palin will withdraw her name from consideration as McCain's VP selection before the election.

Stunt Casting During Sweeps Week

You come across some funny ideas when you listen to, ahem, "conservative" Republicans fall into line behind their (okay, I'll use a charitable adjective) eccentric leadership.

Here's Newt Gingrich on Sarah Palin in the Washington Post, a serious man on a serious topic in a serious paper:
Gov. Sarah Palin is exactly the right choice for John McCain's running mate. The contrast with Sen. Joe Biden is extraordinary.

Biden came to the Senate in 1973; Sarah Palin was 9. Biden has spent all those years in Washington; Sarah Palin spent them in the American West.
At least the writers on the Daily Show are cognizant that they're writing jokes.

Look at this paragraph again:
Biden came to the Senate in 1973; Sarah Palin was 9. Biden has spent all those years in Washington; Sarah Palin spent them in the American West.
So Biden's been representin' my entire life and then some, and Palin is young and lives in the "American West."

Obviously, the advantage goes to Palin...

Also, I've been in the "American West" since 1976. Surely that qualifies me for something... Put me in charge of the FCC.

But Newt's not alone in his looniness. Here's Republican strategist Greg Mueller playing the "executive experience" argument:
In fact, Palin has more executive experience than Obama does. This is dangerous territory for the Democrats. If this is a campaign about experience and judgment, McCain will be the next president of the United States.
That's rich. Because if you were to say, "Palin has more political experience than Obama," you would obviously be telling a lie.

But if you add that "executive" part, you're just telling a very cloudy truth. When Palin was elected as Alaska's governor in 2006, Obama had already been a legislator, at both the state and federal, for over ten years. You can obscure this by talking up the "executive" angle, but no reasonable person should be persuaded that a little bit of "executive experience" trumps a whole lot more "political experience."

But wait, there's more!

Dan Quayle's former speech-writer, Lisa Schiffren writes:
Barack Obama says that change comes to Washington, not from it. But Palin has already changed the way things are done. She has vigorously cut pork. She personally stopped the "Bridge to Nowhere." She has been tough on ethical lapses. At a moment when energy issues are central, Palin has been a forceful advocate of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; that she is a hunter, a conservationist and an Alaskan gives her street cred on the environmental aspect of this issue. She is a serious athlete -- and we shouldn't underestimate her willingness to hit hard.
You see that?

"Palin has already changed the way things are done."

You get added to the GOP ticket and you go from an obscure unknown one day to someone who "has already changed the way things are done" the next. Talk about being charitable!

It's one thing to highlight your candidate's accomplishments. It's another to give them credit for things that haven't even happened!

And what's this "she is a serious athlete" shit? How is that even relevant? She's not training for Olympic gold or trying to get a starting position with the Green Bay Packers. She's running for vice president!

Reaching, guys, really reaching.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Right Now

I knew it!

When Van Halen's "Right Now" started playing during McCain's speech introducing (what's her name again?) Sarah Palin as his VP pick, I looked up at the video wall and said out loud, "Van Halen?"

But I was wrong. It was Van Hagar.

Turns out, the band is none too happy.
Van Halen management tells us the band had no idea McCain was planning on using "Right Now" during his big entrance in Ohio telling us, "Permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given."
I guess now they won't be able to use "Running With the Devil" at their next rally either, huh?

The Pick

I was originally hoping for Joe Lieberman, if only to ensure that partisan Republicans are forced to vote for a Democrat.

Or I was hoping for Romney, if only because I was really looking forward to the Dobsonite crowd whining that the Christian guy wasn't Christian enough and the religious guy was following the wrong religion. (You know those people are never happy.)

But then ole John McCain goes and picks...what's her name again? Sarah Palin?

Who the fuck is that?

I've never heard of her until today and I actually pay attention to politics.

I have no idea why McCain picked her, but I'm having trouble believing that he looked at all the options (Giuliani, Romney, Lieberman, Pawlenty, or any of the other GOP "names") and concluded that Palin would be the best pick.

Maybe he thought that putting a woman on the ticket would help with disgruntled Clinton supporters. The problem is that those people are fools. John McCain offers them nothing of what they like so much about Clinton. He's pro-choice, not all that passionate about healthcare, didn't get screwed over by Bill, and he has a penis. No doubt, John McCain wants to use their childish resentments to his advantage, but do the Clinton supporters really want to be Republican tools?

The really funny thing is that he's been running around for months saying that Obama is inexperienced and untested, no one really knows who he is, he has no foreign policy experience, and oh, he's a bit of a celebrity.

So for his VP pick, he gets an inexperienced and untested greenhorn that no one really knows, that has no foreign policy experience, has massive celebrity wattage. (Did you see her? The former beauty queen still has it!)

And you know, if he wanted to go with a governor pick, he could have picked one that wasn't under investigation by their state legislature. (Like Palin is.) Or he could have picked one that wasn't from Alaska, which is known for it's Republican corruption and federal boondoggles. (Although, from what I've read, Palin herself does at least has some anti-corruption bonafides.)

So what was John McCain thinking? Maybe he doesn't even know...

But from the news coverage, the comb over was looking particularly transparent today...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Speech

So I've been holed up in the house during the DNC circus, so I have no insights to the process.

But I'll live blog his speech.

Ah, the biography video, narrated by David Strathairn.

Barack Smith! Ha! That's hilarious.

...And there he is, the man. Sounds like an NFL game. If only Invesco got that pumped for the Broncos

The first ten pages of Obama's speech consist of the words "Thank you. Thank you so much."

Right after the acceptance, a little kiss-ass for the Clinton's. Aha! Proof that he's a politician!

And that rat Edwards has been whitewashed from the race...

"...that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes." You know, the dismissive attitude to Katrina still bugs the shit out of me.

I've heard a lot of this before.

Ah, specifics...

Tax policy. Cut taxes for 95% of the working class? Woah...

End our dependence on oil from the Middle East. Hmmm... Just from the Middle East?

Education, healthcare, blah blah blah. Important stuff, no doubt, but not very interesting.

And now...the War.

Woah, just saw a hottie in the crowd. There goes my prurient interests again...

Okay, so that's the speech. No biggie. It was like a greatest hits compilation of all his other speeches.

I hope the inauguration is better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Paradox That Wasn't

Andrew Sullivan doesn't think I'm so weird.

He writes:
There's no question that if you judge the candidates on their actual lives, rather than mythologies, the Obamas are extremely mainstream and conservative. Married for life, great parents, very humble beginnings, driven meritocrats. No divorce or adultery - and regular religious attendance and faith. And yet they are tagged as elitists and radicals. Yes, they're liberals in policy, although not radically so. But they're conservatives in their lives.

The same paradox can be seen in Obama himself: a policy liberal but a temperamental conservative. To see the Obamas as they are requires us to see them in these paradoxes. And to recognize that they may not be paradoxes at all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Letter to Cuz

I intercepted a strange e-mail from my Aunt Terri in Texas that was sent to a distant cousin in Oklahoma. I was surprised to see that the last paragraph was about me:
Hey, anything showing how wrong Obama's view is send it to Kae's son [ie, me]. He has a real problem understanding the conservative point of view. He is open to listen but guess no one has educated him and he hasn't been looking for information on his own. His e-mail is [redacted] so send him what you come across and maybe before Nov. he can might a better choice. I do think uneducated young people will really hurt this election. They only know change and don't see the damage his type of change can do. We can't afford him running things.
Did I say surprised? Make that shocked.

A few thoughts:

A) Calling me uneducated is guaranteed to get you taken off my Christmas list.

Just because I don't have that piece of paper that proves that I've been educated doesn't mean that I'm uneducated. I don't like to brag, but I'm a pretty sharp tack.

And my tolerance for using the "uneducated" charge in response to political disagreement hovers between zero and zero. I used to play that game with a dude who thought his degree was the trump card that would win all debates. I'm afraid the experience soured me on that "uneducated" bullshit for good.

B) I don't have "a real problem understanding the conservative point of view." I even have some "conservative points of view" myself! To paraphrase George Will, I'm so conservative I support gay marriage!

I think what she means is the "Republican point of view," and that I don't understand at all. Mostly because it's not all that conservative.

What's conservative about greasing the gears for the oil companies, either with money, tax breaks, or actual real estate? If there's one industry that doesn't need the government's help, it's the fucking oil industry.

What's conservative about invading Iraq but getting all bent out of shape when Russia invades Georgia? Are there no principles at play here beyond "Me good, you bad?"

Hey, if it's a small government you want, then maybe you don't want the government telling you who you can marry, what you can smoke, what you can do with your uterus, or what you can say on TV. But I don't see any "conservative" Republicans lining up for that kind of small government.

So I support Obama. So I'm a pro-choice, vegetable loving, semi-environmentalist pot-smoking latte-sipping bad-language-using God-hating liberal. That doesn't mean I'm not conservative. It just means I'm not a Republican.

C) And if I were to be mentored in the "conservative point of view" there's someone closer than Cousin in Oklahoma, who I met once fifteen years ago, who could do the job much better. He's someone I know, someone's who opinion I respect, and even more than that, someone I care about.

That would be Uncle Jim. And our political talks are well-documented here, as well in hundreds of voice mails and conversations that no one else hears. So as it turns out, there isn't even an opening in the mentor department anyway, but I'll keep the application on file.

The POW Trump Card

The joke lately is that in every sentence, John McCain uses a noun, a verb, and his POW experience. Like Rudy Guiliani's use of 9-11, McCain hopes his POW experience is the trump card that allows him to skate by any criticism.

But is it? I tend to agree with this Andrew Sullivan reader who wrote:
Real heroes don’t go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about their own heroism – particularly in order to satisfy personal ambition like this:

"I didn't decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I'd had the ambition for a long time." – John McCain, "Worth the Fighting For”, 2002.

The heroes I knew in my youth – the guys who came back from WWII and Korea – never said a word about it.
But then again, they weren't running for president.