Saturday, February 2, 2008

CPAC Fever!

Hot Air's got it! Michelle Malkin 's got it! Now we learn that even the President and Vice President have succumbed to the pandemic of CPAC Fever:
Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are scheduled to address the more than 6,000 activists attending the 35th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week in Washington.
Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, John McCain and Ron Paul also are slated to speak during the three-day event that begins Thursday at Washington's posh Omni Shoreham Hotel.
"For the first time, we will have both the president and vice president speaking in person," said Larry Hart, Director of Government Relations for the American Conservative Union (ACU), which has organized the yearly event since its inception in 1974.
News that both Bush and Cheney will speak at CPAC may add to the record-breaking attendance already expected this year for the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists.
"We're on pace to be higher than last year's 6,300, which was a record," said CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale. "Obviously, we don't know what on-site registration is going to be." ... (MORE)
Read the whole thing, because that is some damn fine reporting.

Trout Pout Pride!

Becky Banks is program coordinator for Students For Life, and a couple of weeks ago, she appeared in a Hot Air video talking about the annual pro-life conference at Catholic University.

As seems obligatory whenever a female appears online, some Hot Air commenters were doing the hubba-hubba routine for Miss Banks, with comments including "fantastic" and "her boyfriend is a lucky man." But then came a commenter called "Funky Chicken," who said:
You guys think she is attractive? I was thinking trout pout and kinda fugly.
Funky Chicken, this is for you:

Master Chief Scotty vs. Coulter

Oooooh, boy. Nothing I like less than to see my friends at odds with one another, but I just got off the phone with my old buddy, Scotty the Master Chief, a veteran Navy guy who voted for John McCain in the Florida primary.

To say the Master Chief is angry with Ann Coulter's "I'll campaign for Hillary" stance would be a huge understatement. A lot of what Scotty had to say is unprintable, but I'll quote some of the rest:

"You're either on one side or the other. ... What she has to say doesn't mean a damn thing to anyone who's ever spent a day in harm's way in defense of this country. But I'm happy she's got the right to run her mouth."

Well, Scotty, that "one side or the other" thing is part of the basic problem, right?

BTW, Crazy Cousin John's getting a lot of backup from Navy guys -- Captain Ed Morrisey, for example.

In the latest news, the polls are tightening, and a column in the Boston Globe suggests Super Duper Tuesday may not prove decisive.

Courtesy of Hot Air, here's video of Ann appearing Friday on Neil Cavuto:

The Master Chief just got back from a training mission, but he's got my personal invitation to join me at CPAC -- we haven't seen each other in about 20 years, and it will be a great reunion before I fly off Feb. 11 to The Very Dangerous Foreign Country.

By then, Super Duper Tuesday will be over, and maybe this ugly internecine Republican feud will be calmed down, too. Saturday night, Ann Coulter is speaking at George Washington University, and I'm sure my friend Sergio Gor would be honored to have the old Master Chief in attendance.

Oh, shut up: Gallup counting "leaners"

It is utterly irresponsible to do this kind of crap in a national poll in a primary campaign.

National presidential numbers are nonsense, period. A presidential election is not a nationwide popularity contest, OK? It's 50 contests in 50 states.

But publishing as "news" a graphic that measures "leaners" at this stage of the game? That's insane -- just completely insane.

America is cursed with a media establishment that doesn't understand electoral politics and doesn't understand how to apply poll data to the political process, and therefore ends up pushing nonsense numbers and tendentious spin into the public discourse as if it were scientific proof of something.

And look how bloggers are rushing to imitate the MSM they claim to loathe: "This poll shows ...."

Well, OK, what does it show, you morons? What do you know about the sample demographics, the order and phrasing of the questions?

How about LOOKING AT THE DATE OF THE FREAKING SURVEY, FOOLS! It's a three-day tracking poll, Tuesday through Thursday. Considering that Monday and Tuesday's news was all about how Obama whomped Hillary in South Carolina, until suddenly the news was the Beatification of St. John, those "trends" you're seeing reflect short-term preferences of people who are apparently pretty damned fickle.

What do these polls tell you about the professionalism of each campaign's organizing staffs in any particular state? Nothing.

What do these polls tell you about preparations for last-minute contacts and get-out-the-vote efforts by each campaign and in each state? Again, nothing.

Or, say, what about sign-placement? Absentee-ballot and early-voting efforts? Robo-calls? Dirty-trick e-mails? Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.

A party primary is not a general election. Get that through your thick skulls, people. Apples and oranges.

Year after year, election after election, I watch the same crap happen over and over again. Every Election Night, when the actual votes are counted, and the paper's finished, I compare the result to the polls and laugh.

Do you people have amnesia or something? I remember the week before the 2000 election, Bush was pulling away, the trend clearly in his favor. Then the Democrats sprang that little DUI trick on Thursday, and five days later, we were looking at the worst-deadlocked election in American history.

You can go state-by-state, year-by-year and cite similar examples. In 2002, no important pundit predicted the fatal disaster that struck the Georgia Democratic Party on Election Day. The GOP defeated Tom Murphy in his Haralson County stronghold. Nobody, and I mean nobody, had predicted that.

There is simply no reliable way to predict what is going to happen on Tuesday until it happens. David Weigel says the winner-take-all factor in the GOP primaries means that McCain has it locked up. He may be right. He may also be wrong.

With a hotly-contested Democratic contest to keep Democrats from crossing over in open-primary states, and given the traditional advantage in organizing strength of social conservatives, I have a hard time imagining that Crazy Cousin John will just waltz away with the nomination on Tuesday. With both Fred and Rudy gone now, and Huckabee short on cash, the dynamic has changed a lot in a very short time frame.

If the GOP nomination is still up for grabs on Wednesday -- that is to say, if McCain doesn't have enough delegates after Super Tuesday to be the de-facto nominee -- all bets are off. And I think there's a very good chance that Romney can win enough states Tuesday to prevent McCain from locking it up.

If I'm right -- and I could be completely wrong, of course -- then Huckabee will drop out on Wednesday. That would mean (a) Romney could finally consolidate the Religious Right voters, and (b) McCain will have to withstand yet more withering scrutiny, and be booed loudly if he dares attend CPAC.

Between my gut and Gallup, I always trust my gut.

Saturday AM Surfing

Not to be missed this morning:

(Y'know, if Alan keeps bringing the funny like this, they'll have to rename it "Colmes & Hannity.")

(Speaking of Michelle, have you noticed that she is actually on Fox more nowadays, despite her continuing Geraldo-inspired boycott of "O'Reilly"? She appeared on two different Fox shows Thursday. Fox needs to dump Geraldo and create a new weekend show, "Sunday News Foxes with Malkin, MK & KP.")

Super Tuesday may be the voters' last chance to bring the so-called "straight talk express" to a screeching halt.
This morning's surf ends with yet another brutal takedown on Crazy Cousin John, this one from Karl at Protein Wisdom:
As Karl Rove put it in the 2000 campaign, ” Senator McCain is a 17-year Washington insider whose accomplishments are few and far between.” Not much has changed in the interim.
That was then. Now, I suspect Rove is the "secret" strategist behind the McCain bandwagon. That's why so many Republican know-it-all types keep trying to tell us it's a lead-pipe cinch for McCain. Just like they told us that Senate passage of the Rove-McCain-Kennedy-Martinez amnesty was a done deal.

Friday, February 1, 2008

New on Fox! 'Hannity & Coulter'

Funniest. Video. Ever. Watch until the end:

(HT: Hot Air via Memeorandum.)

Alan Colmes deserves an award for that performance. Perhaps the best segment in Fox News history.

"Increasingly likely" bullshit

Clarifying what I was trying to tell Michael Weiss, my thesis in one sentence:
When, under pretence of reporting on a political contest whose outcome is uncertain, a journalist implies an outcome in such a way that an uninformed reader might believe that it's all over but the shouting, that journalist has ceased to be a reporter and has become a bullshit artist.
"Broderism" is the great bane of American political journalism, and is one of the routine errors that has driven the profession into such a state of ill-repute that smart young people now avoid the "news industry" altogether.

Young people don't read the news, and they sure as hell don't want to write the news. They'd rather turn on Comedy Central and laugh at a parody of the news.

Political reporters need to be waterboarded until they agree to sign a pledge:
  • Stop reporting opinion polls as if they were actual electoral results.
  • Stop telling the reader what to think while at the same time pretending not to care about the outcome.
If you are genuinely neutral as to whether McCain or Romney wins the GOP nomination, why are you "reporting" it -- at a time when its a margin-of-error race in many states, and the situation is ultimately dynamic -- in such a way as seems most calculated to (a) discourage wavering Romney supporters, and (b) encourage undecided voters to climb aboard the unstoppable juggernaut of the John McCain bandwagon?

Under the actual political conditions that existed Thursday, placing the phrase "increasingly likely" in front of the phrase "John McCain nomination" amounted to cheerleading for John McCain. If you don't get that, then you should go back and re-read your high school psychology textbook. It's called the Bandwagon Effect.

This kind of dishonest (or perhaps naive) reporting is bad enough when a blogger does it at Slate. But for decades, we've seen it practiced by the most eminent and "respectable" reporters, at the most influential news organizations, and it's simply bad journalism. In an apparent effort to see the "Big Picture," the Broderites (Broderists?) feign omniscience, writing in a tone both bland and authoritative, endeavoring to hypnotize the reader into a trance state where he is what a psychologist would call "suggestible":
  • Polls show ...
  • Observers believe ...
  • It appears increasingly likely ...

When those soft-sell tactics are employed in political reporting, journalism becomes a "profession" in the same sense that being a three-card monte dealer is a "profession." It's a racket, a con, a scam.

Suppose I were to try my hand at the scam?

Leading editors in Washington yesterday debated whether to report the unusual insights offered by a distant relative of Sen. John McCain.

This fierce critic of the Arizona Republican is himself an experienced journalist whose increasingly popular blog, dubbed "The Other McCain," has caused a buzz among political observers concerned that the revelations might stall the momentum of the elderly senator's campaign.

I should hope that any 10th-grader reading that sentence can spot the means by which "spin" is conveyed. (Pay attention, kids: This might be on your final exam.)

Reporters: Stick to reporting what has happened, and stop playing Carnac the Magnificent by pretending to see the future, OK?

A source close to J.P. Friere speculated that the recently-hired managing editor of The American Spectator might eat tacos at the National Press Club on Friday night. It appears increasingly likely that Mr. Friere will have a Corona beer with his tacos. ...

If Respectable Professional Journalists would stick to the facts, there might yet be hope for the future of Western civilization. Otherwise ...Hey, have any of you guys seen "Idiocracy"?

Dude, I got quoted in Slate

(Additional ranting here.)

How cool is that? Even if Michael Weiss's analysis is utterly wrong:
The conservative blogosphere is devouring itself over the increasingly likely prospect of a John McCain nomination. Party-line righties dislike the Arizona senator for his heretical views on immigration, campaign-finance laws and banning torture, while more moderate conservatives see his prescience about the surge, and his hawkishness in general, as true selling points.
Michael, I'm tempted to quote Mary McCarthy's famous remark about Lilian Hellman, but will refrain. A few brief points:
  • If I am a "party-line righty," my only question is: Where's the party? I'm having a party at CPAC next week, and though the VIP guest list is exclusive, the guests are quite ideologically diverse (although uniformly fabulous).
  • The conservative blogosphere is not, repeat not, "devouring itself." I have dear, close friends who are pro-McCain and others who are Pro McCain (in the sense that they're political professionals on the McCain campaign payroll). "Coalition politics" is an interesting concept, worth any amount of time you wish to invest in studying it.
  • I do not "dislike" Crazy Cousin John, and the issue-by-issue stuff is only part of the problem. The senator is politically unreliable and temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. He cannot be elected president in any imaginable scenario, and in the event of an unimaginable scenario resulting in his election, would be a bad president. But that doesn't mean I "dislike" him. Hell, he could say the same things about me, and none of my friends would argue.
  • Crazy Cousin John's nomination is not an "increasingly likely prospect."
This is what I don't like about MSM pundits, and I can't stand it when bloggers try to imitate MSM pundits by doing the same thing.

It's a form of journalistic malpractice called Broderism, a/k/a, Voice Of God Syndrome. It's why Americans hate the media, and if bloggers fall into the trap of Broderism, Americans will hate bloggers, too.

To quote my favorite conservative intellectual, Ace of Spades, "Stop telling me what to think!"

Now, Michael, I've gone way out on a career limb in my six-day campaign to prevent this allegedly "increasingly likely" disaster you're talking about. It's now 2 a.m. on Day Three, and your dishonest little game of using the loaded phrase "increasingly likely" is not helping matters at all.

(Introduction to Principles of Logic: Just because Bill Kristol believes an outcome is likely does not, per se, make that outcome likely.)

You got me, Michael? The senator is not the only crazy son of a bitch in the McCain family. I'm an obscure journalist with a crappy blogspot site, doing what little I can to help save the Republican Party from the worst mistake since ... well, I ain't got time for analogies right now.

Either get on this train, or get on the Crazy Cousin John bandwagon, but -- damn you, sir! -- don't try to play that "neutral objective" bullshit on me. Just because I'm not famous doesn't mean I'm stupid.

"Increasingly likely," my ass!

P.S.: Thanks for the link, Michael. God bless you. I'm sure you're a nice person, but us McCains are known to become abusively argumentative under duress. A deeply ingrained hereditary trait, which makes us great warriors, but lousy politicians.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ditto, Mark

The Great One speaks:
I have to say that I fear a McCain candidacy. He would be an exceedingly poor choice as the Republican nominee for president. ...
McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton. These are not good qualities to have in a president. ...
Read the whole thing. And pay attention, America.
UPDATE: Bryan Preston says, Ka-Boom, and Barney Quick says, "Time is short. Get a clue."

Hottest ticket in town

The DC premiere of Article VI: Faith, Politics, America is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Heritage Foundation, and it's going to be standing-room only.
I just got a panicked phone call from a top young activist today who had RSVP'd this morning only to be told the event was full.
Made a quick call to publicist Audrey Mullen, who informed me that yes, the event was SRO but, as to my activist friend, "If she's with you, she's in." Sweet.
Audrey also informed me that, despite my mention that Hugh Hewitt is the producer, Article VI is generally about religious tolerance in public life -- it's not just a pro-Romney film. I finally found a YouTube trailer:

Right now, with my, er, post-Florida jihad against Crazy Cousin John, I guess I'm going to have to try to mend some fences and unburn some bridges. Strange bedfellows ...

Far out, dude!

Jen Haberkorn gets a huge scoop:
"I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws," Mr. Obama told an audience during a debate at Northwestern University in 2004.
(Via Memeorandum) The Washington Times also has video.

I'd blog more about this but, dude, I gotta go get me some grow lights and potting soil ...

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.

Yo, man, I'm back. I forgot to get the grow lights, but I did get this cool Zeppelin CD. Anyway ...

Oh, yeah, so it's not like I have any inside sources at The Washington Times, or anything, but this looks like a classic Team Clinton smear job, if I've ever seen one, man.

And you've got to figure this little bit of oppo-research had already been rejected by the NY Times, CBS, etc., before Team Clinton would ever give anything to The Washington Times. I mean, Hillary's people -- Sidney Blumenthal and that bunch -- they always resented the very existence of such a publication.

So, congratulations to Jen Haberkorn on the scoop. And congratulations to Senator Obama, on having driven Team Clinton to such desperation tactics.
I'll blog more about this later, but right now, I gotta listen to my Zeppelin CD. Hey, man, where'd I put those Little Debbies?

U.S. to GIs: F.U.! (DOT CYA)

Want to lock our troops out of your airport terminal? No problem, says the Department of Transportation:
The Oakland International Airport did not break any laws or regulations when it denied 200 Marines and soldiers access to the passenger terminal during a layover last year from Iraq to the troops' home base in Hawaii, the Transportation Department says.
Calvin L. Scovell III, the department's inspector general, blamed the mix-up on security concerns and a communication failure between the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department.
A "mix-up"! Just a harmless glitch, y'see.
The contract to allow military layovers at the California airport "did not require that military personnel have access to the airport terminal; it only required that military personnel be allowed to deplane and stretch their legs on stops lasting over one hour," said a report released yesterday to House lawmakers who requested an investigation into the matter.
The Sept. 27 layover was the last stop for fuel and food, but the troops, who were returning from a tour in Iraq, were denied access to food and bathroom facilities.
A Marine reported the incident to Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and said it "felt like being spit on."
Airport officials were concerned that the flight's ground staff could not provide "an\ adequate level of escort and control of such a large group of military personnel in or around the terminal area," the inspector's report said.
There is nothing so predictable in life as the inability of government bureaucrats to act in accordance with common sense.

Equally predictable: When a glaring screwup like this happens, no one in the bureaucracy will be held accountable.

The Decider has decided

New! Improved! Ultra Media Hubris(TM):
Reading this morning's analysis on line, I'm a little shocked by the number of people writing about the GOP race who think that "It's still competitive, it will go on a long time, they're really going to slug it out. ..." I think, to the contrary, that absent any dramatic developments this week, McCain is likely to put it away next Tuesday.
Thus spake Bill Kristol, the Only Republican Who Matters. (Via Memeorandum.)

You little microbes over there -- you voter people in, er, Oklahoma or Missouri or whatever -- nobody cares about your opinions of this so-called "primary" thing. Certainly, your opinions are entirely irrelevant to the calculations of Mr. Kristol, and your votes don't matter at all.

He Reports, He Decides.

C'mon, somebody, jump in here and help me out. Ace? Jeff? Rusty? Allah? Marty? You guys just going to roll over passively and let Kristol run this kind of oligarchic Murdoch/NYTimes self-fulfilling prophecy game?

I'm picturing Kristol on the air chatting with O'Reilly:
"Yes, that's right, Bill. Broad, sunlit uplands for Fightin' John McCain; the abyss of a new Dark Age for everyone else. The polls clearly indicate ...."
Here's the weird thing: I'm not sure that Kristol even likes John McCain or thinks he can win in November. (Although, if I correctly recall Kristol's enthusiasm for the Triumphant Dole Juggernaut of '96, Kristol could be afflicted by an obsession with geriatric war heroes.)

Maybe Romney let his Weekly Standard subscription lapse or something. This unexpected boomlet of GOP establishment zeal to nominate the old, grumpy, bald candidate -- and not the tall, handsome multi-millionaire -- just doesn't make sense.

Objectively, that is.

Hugh? C'mon, Hugh, I got nothing here.

Joyner in HDTV high cotton

My buddy at Outside the Beltway suggests that declining ratings at Fox News are due to the network's "inexplicable failure to offer a high-definition (HDTV) broadcast":
It had been quite some time since I’d watched cable news, since I find the Internet much more efficient for information gathering, but I finally turned back to it for the New Hampshire returns and was shocked to find that Fox was still broadcasting in standard def, which looks especially bad on a large screen plasma. I switched over to CNN, which has a crystal-clear hi-def signal, and never flipped back.

And since he tried shade-grown, hand-picked, organic Guatemalan dark roast, he's never gone back to Chase & Sanborn, either.

Looking back, I've always been underinvested -- to the point of near-obsolescence -- in consumer electronics.

For 20+ years, I've generally had little time for (and perhaps unusually low interest in) watching TV, and certainly have never become a connoisseur of superior electronic performance.

I've almost always worked nights, so I'm seldom home to watch prime-time. Popular series (e.g. "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Ally McBeal," "The Sopranos," "24") would be all the rage for years, and I'd only know the shows by reputation, or perhaps seeing the actors and actresses show up as guests on "Letterman," etc.

Being a sort of involuntary guinea pig in a two-decade TV-deprivation experiment, I think I can offer a few general assertions:
  • The more you watch TV, the more you enjoy it.
TV-viewing is a type of skill, or perhaps a habit. The regular viewer develops customs and rituals, he learns to wield the remote adeptly, he can switch between programs or skip commercials with a deft flick of his thumb. Those who rarely view TV don't have that "groove," and sometimes cannot easily relax and enjoy a show.
  • The cleverness of recent TV shows is completely overrated.
The characters are flat, the plots predictable, the dialogue cliched, the productions unrealistic overall. I hear people (including my wife) rave about shows like "Desperate Housewives" or "Grey's Anatomy," then when I finally get a chance to watch an episode, my reaction is invariably, "How could anyone possibly enjoy this crap? I was writing better dialogue when I was a freshman in high school!"

I attribute this differential reaction to my spending decades immersed in a text career, avoiding TV, while my acquaintances -- through steady viewing of TV -- had their tastes and perceptions molded by that experience.

Slightly related: I have one genuinely intelligent friend, about 40, who can cite from memory the plots of entire episodes of atrocious '70s/'80s sitcoms like "The Facts of Life." My advice that he retroactively file suit against his parents for child neglect has so far gone unheeded. That anyone should have part of their memory cells clogged with such anti-knowledge strikes me as a species of irreversible brain damage.
  • Regular TV viewing cultivates an appetite for novelty.
My kids hate me because, despite our family's extensive collection of DVDs, I delight in watching certain favorites over and over. If I've gone more than a year or so without watching "Patton," I'll pop it in the DVD player and watch it again, enjoying it just as much as when I saw it in the theater at age 10. When ordering DVD's from NetFlix, however, my wife and kids never, ever pick some classic flick from the past. It's always new, new, new, and never mind how wretched, wretched, wretched.
  • Commercials are unbearable for the non-regular viewer.
Those two or three minutes of waiting for the story to continue -- it just drives me nuts. Wasted time, and hectored by some fool chattering on about a product in which I have no interest. My wife gets upset if I switch channels during a commercial -- I'm paying a cable TV bill, and when I watch TV, I want to watch actual programming -- but my wife can't stand the thought that, before I switch back to the original show, she might have missed a setup shot and a few sentences of dialogue.

Well, those are a few general assertions. It's not a snob at all. I actually like watching TV, and I'm sure if I had time to watch more of it, I'd find more of it that I'd enjoy. And my assertions about this subject are by no means original.

I was heavily influenced by media theorists Neil Postman ("Amusing Ourselves To Death") and Sven Birkerts ("The Gutenberg Elegies") -- and anyone could probably buy their both of those books off Amazon for less than the cost of a new DVD.

No one actually will do that, but you could.

Testing 1-2-3. Is this thing on?

John McCain: Dishonest or Stupid?

Those are the possibilities as Bryan Preston sees it, and it's kind of hard to argue:

This is why it's so easy to dismiss the assertions of Michael Medved, et al., that McCain's problem with conservatives is entirely the fault of conservatives.

In this instance, McCain's insinuations are false, as any direct examination of Romney's statements clearly reveals. Yet this does not stop McCain from going back and repeating the insinuation.

McCain is trying to cast Romney as John Kerry, a characterization with no basis in fact. He attempts to create the appearance of an important policy difference where no such difference exists. Romney is completely committed to victory in Iraq. Romney has never proposed a time-certain pullout, which is what McCain is trying to suggest.

People who have watched McCain closely over the years recognize this as the man's habitual method of attacking fellow Republicans.

He routinely accuses conservative adversaries of arguing in bad faith. If you oppose McCain-Feingold, then you are pro-corruption, a greedy minion of Big Money. If you oppose McCain-Kennedy, then you are a racist who hates the Latino community. Et cetera. Ad infinitum.

It scarcely matters what the issue is, or what the merits on either side of the argument might be. Any Republican who disagrees with John McCain can expect to have his motives impugned and his character maligned. Bryan says:
[T]he entire exchange underlines the problem that he has with the base. We don’t trust him because of episodes like this. ... It’s disgraceful. Every time I start to get used to the idea of McCain as the nominee, he pulls a stunt like this and proves that he can’t be trusted.
I think, in fact, what this exchange actually underlines is John McCain's massive sense of unlimited personal entitlement.

Mortals do not have the right to argue with John McCain. To disagree with him is to insult him, as he sees it. He is omniscient and cannot possibly have his facts wrong.

So when McCain repeats the fact-deficient accusation, and Romney tries to defend himself, McCain can barely resist shouting: "HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME, YOU GUTLESS PUNK!"

The temperament issue, you see.

And OMG, class warfare?

"I think that there's some greedy people on Wall Street that perhaps need to be punished."

-- Sen. John McCain, Jan. 30, 2008

This, coming from a man whose own political career was originally funded through his marriage to the heiress to an Anheuser-Busch fortune. Jaw-dropping hubris!

If McCain ever hoped to get any libertarian votes, he can kiss those good-bye. (Are you listening, young Paulistas?)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Mediocre Communicators

After reading Michelle Malkin's blow-by-blow of Wednesday's debate, it seems blindingly obvious Mitt Romney should fire whoever he's paying to write his talking points or coach him in his communications -- or whatever he's paying them to do -- because the governor's getting royally ripped off.

Governor, stop telling people you were an executive in the "real economy."

We got that already, OK? We're not small children to whom you must repeat things.

Governor, you would serve your cause better if you would try discussing the economy (and government's burdensome meddling in the economy) in a factual, concrete way. Rattle off some numbers and statistics, talk about the value of capital investment in job creation, talk in specific, anecdotal ways about how regulation and taxation drive out investment, thereby leading to job losses, to wit:

"When I was governor, Major International Corporation X was considering a new plant in the United States. But I couldn't get the tax-and-spend liberals in the Massachusetts legislature to reduce Burdensome Tax A, and we have a real problem with State Regulatory Policy B, because of the powerful environmentalist lobby in our state.
"We tried our best to get that plant for Massachusetts, to create jobs for our workers, but eventually, the company built their plant in Alabama, where they don't have those kinds of taxes and regulations. So I know first-hand how Big Government causes us to lose jobs."

In other words, don't tell the people "This is who I am." That sounds like you're just bragging.

Instead, talk in a way that demonstrates superior knowledge: "This is what I know."

Reagan was a master of this -- listen to the part of his 1964 "Time for Choosing" speech where he's talking about LBJ's policies and about budgets and spending and taxes in very specific ways.
Facts, facts, facts. Don't talk about yourself, talk about the issues.

It's the damnedest irony in the world: The party made great by the Great Communicator is in decline because nowadays Republicans can't seem to master the basics of being even a Fairly Decent Communicator, and the GOP's speechwriting teams seem to be composed entirely of Michael Gerson clones ...


Oops. Sorry. Nodded off at the mere mention of Gerson. Bad habit.

Hey, now that I'm awake again, how about some truly bold suggestions:

Would some Republican please, for the love of God, try to sneak in an informed reference to Mises or Hayek or Friedman? I mean, Bastiat might be asking a bit much, but couldn't you at least give a coded signal to the economically literate that you understand how markets work?

How I yearn to hear some Republican candidate at least mention the name of an author and a book (the Bible doesn't count, Pastor Huckabee), thus to signify to the world at large that not all conservatives are anti-intellectual troglodytes.

Just imagine the thrill if, while discussing terrorism, a Republican presidential candidate adroitly referenced Nonie Darwish or Robert Spencer or Ibn Warraq. Wouldn't that be totally awesome? "A Republican! Who reads books!"

It's probably too much to hope for, I know.

For some reason, the political system now seems to favor candidates who are anti-book. The last Republican I ever heard name an author in public was Newt Gingrich. And while the conservative movement has some of the greatest communicators on the planet -- e.g, Rush Limbaugh -- it's as if nobody anywhere near a campaign headquarters ever thinks of making a call:
"Hey, you think maybe our guy could come down to Florida some Saturday evening, have a brewski or two with El Rushbo, smoke some good cigars, and try to figure out how to get our message across better?"
Limbaugh is a brilliant phrasemaker, a master of rhetorical combat, a "highly-trained broadcast professional," as he often reminds his listeners, and yet it doesn't seem his advice is sought out by GOP operatives.

For want of a nail ...

Why Edwards (really) lost

A rather silly exchange between Ed Kilgore and Jonathan Cohn debating the metaphysical significance of the John Edwards campaign.

Five words, guys: John Edwards is a loser.

Does the title of a Zappa song, "Bobby Brown," ring a bell?

Who is John Edwards? A sharp lawyer who became immensely rich from his uncanny ability to persuade juries in tort-hell districts to award outlandish punitive damages in product-liability cases.

No one who knows anything about the dishonest craft of such legal parasites can respect them. "Punish the accused by making a lawyer rich" -- if they were for once ever compelled to reveal their true motives, they'd starve.

Ironically, Edwards then made a political career of blaming "corporate greed" for the loss of American manufacturing jobs. How stupid can people be?

Well, stupid enough to elect Edwards to the Senate in 1998. That was the year of the "Lewinsky backlash" against Republicans, and Edwards had the good fortune of going up against an exceptionally clueless (even for a Republican!) one-term incumbent, Lauch Faircloth.

For the next six years, Edwards was a non-entity in the Senate, and probably spent less time in North Carolina than he did in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As a presidential candidate -- which seems to have been more or less his full-time avocation after 2000 -- Edwards had exactly four strengths:
  • 1. He was fabulously rich, and thus could afford to travel a lot to Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as to fundraising events in California and New York. Campaigning on his AmEx, as it were.

  • 2. He was good-looking. Tall, slender, toussled hair, boyish face -- the kind of dime-store JFK knockoff that Democrats always swoon for.

  • 3. He was Southern. Ever since the Mondale (Minnesota) and Dukakis (Massachusetts) debacles of the '80s, Democrats have been almost hysterically obsessed with finding well-spoken, presentable Southerners who, they hoped, could enable them to break the electoral lock that the GOP supposedly gained because of Republican strength in the booming Sunbelt. The logic of this has been much-debated among Democrats in recent years, but we'll leave that.

  • 4. He could talk class-warfare populism like he invented it. His famous "Two Americas" shtick wowed 'em in Des Moines in 2003, and made him the darling of the union goons and other such nitwits who think Robert Reich is an important economist.
But for some reason, the Democrats who loved Edwards could never bring themselves to acknowledge his three glaring weaknesses:
  • His voice and mannerisms are not overtly masculine.
Bill Clinton has that hoarse, guttural voice, and that grizzly-bear physical presence -- he's roughly the size of a defensive end -- that together convey an inarguable masculinity. Even his political adversaries admit that Clinton dominates any room he's in. Edwards has none of that. He's the Barney Fife of politics, something that comes through very clearly on TV.
  • His biography doesn't fit his message.
Edwards does a lot of poor-mouthing about the circumstances of his raising. "Mah dadduh wukked in th' mill," he'd say in his deepest drawl, as if the Edwards family was living hand-to-mouth in a tar-paper shack. His father was, no doubt, a hard-working man, but he was in fact a foreman in the mill. By the standards of the South in the 1960s, the Edwards family was middle-class. And Edwards, the adult political candidate, was certainly never poor --he was very, very rich. If there is one thing that middle-class voters can't stand, it's a rich politician telling them how he wants to help the poor.

  • Class warfare is no long a winning political proposition in America.
No doubt, a politician or pundit (e.g., Paul Krugman) who serves up that "blame Corporate America" scapegoat rhetoric can attract many fans or followers. But in the wake of the Reagan revolution, in arguably the most free and prosperous economy in world history, it is difficult to hoodwink a majority about such things. This is why Democrats have resorted so often to identity politics in recent years. College-educated suburbanites making $100,000+ a year can be convinced by the pretzel-logic of identity politics that they are nonetheless "oppressed" because they are a member of some designated victim group. Identity politics thus functions as an electoral substitute for the waning power of AFL-CIO class-solidarity politics.

Ask anybody in North Carolina: Edwards was lucky to get the running-mate nod in 2004, because he could never have been re-elected to the Senate in his home state. He was a lightweight do-nothing, who only got 51% against the doomstruck Faircloth in '98. Anyone who ever expected him to do great things nationally -- including Edwards himself -- was living in a dream.

No liberal analyst would ever divulge such blunt truths to liberal readers, who resent the disturbance of their dreams.

Dear Uncle Jimbo

("Wisdom," she said!)

Uncle Jimbo of BlackFive is a great guy. But he seems to misunderstand the situation:

I am asking all of you to chill out and quit fanning conservative hate of John McCain. You can feature reader email outraged that the shamnesty King will destroy us all, but you all have spent months stoking those fires and made sure he was damaged goods.
So time to decide what's important to you, ideological purity or making sure we are not subjected to 8 years of President Obama.
With all respect, sir:

  • 1. The issue is not whether conservatives hate John McCain. The issue is that John McCain hates conservatives.
  • 2. Who has been "fanning conservative hate" and "stoking those fires," except John McCain himself?
  • 3. If he's "damaged goods," that's not my fault.
  • 4. "Ideological purity," my foot. I was actually willing to vote for Giuliani. No kidding. He was, at least, a tax-cutter who had cleaned up New York.
  • 5. Politicians must be accountable for their records. John McCain's record in public office is crystal-clear. And his record makes him unelectable. Period.
Right now the liberal MSM are playing all nice with Crazy Cousin John, hoping the grumpy, old, bald guy will get the GOP nomination. Once he gets the nomination, however, there will be no more playing nice, and every scandal and skeleton in his closet will be dragged out for public display.

If he gets the nomination, it will not be my fault. I am trying to warn you. He cannot be elected, under any imaginable circumstance. The Democrats know this, which is why they treat him with such "respect."

John McCain is a "lose-lose" candidate for the GOP: He will almost certainly lose the election if nominated, but even if he were elected, he would be a bad president, and thus his election would hurt the GOP in the long run.

I tried to explain in an e-mail to a friend earlier tonight: Loyalty must be based on mutual obligation. It is a reciprocal duty. I am loyal to you, you are loyal to me, and this mutual obligation creates mutual benefit.

Loyalty can be betrayed, and it can also be abused.

John McCain has repeatedly betrayed his loyalty to the Republican Party, disparaging its voters, its activists, its leaders, and its policies. How, then, is it possible for John McCain to turn to Republican voters and say, "Vote for me, out of loyalty to the party?"

If you offer to be a doormat, don't be surprised when people wipe mud all over you.

America is yet a free country. No one can silence me, and no one can tell me how to vote.

John McCain will never be elected president. The fact that he seems to think he can be elected president speaks ill of his judgment.

Meanwhile, I see that my dear friend Don Surber seems to have made the same mistake as Uncle Jimbo, in thinking that the problem between McCain and conservatives is somehow the fault of conservatives.

To reiterate: Politicians are responsible for their own records -- the votes they make, the bills they sponsor, the statements they issue. It is McCain's record that is the problem, and not something that Malkin or Ingraham or Limbaugh said about McCain.

What seems to be going on here is an attempt to transfer responsibility, so that McCain is not responsible for his own words and deeds. It's like Hillary claiming that Bill's problems were due to a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

A good old childhood friend of mine, a career Navy man, has met John McCain, likes John McCain, and voted for John McCain in the Florida primary. It's a free country, and I bear no ill-will against my old friend. In fact, I bear no personal ill-will against Crazy Cousin John -- I'm sure if it weren't for politics, I'd be happy to buy him a beer. But that does not change his record as a politician, does it?

A response is due to commenter "tgmb," who says I've "gone beyond the pale," in asserting McCain's unelectability, etc., and demands that I "prove it."

Dear "tgmb," there are several obvious points to be made:
  • McCain is old, bald and grumpy.
The last bald man to be elected president was Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose election occurred just seven years after his command of the Allied forces that defeated Hitler in Western Europe. In 1952, there were hundred of thousands of soldiers alive who had served under Ike's command, revered him as their victorious chieftain, and this alone virtually guaranteed his election. LBJ, Nixon and Bush each had thinning or receding hair at the time of their elections, but neither was bald.

Welcome to the TV age, for better or worse. If John McCain was young, cheerful and hirsute, he might become president. If I was good-looking, I might be Sean Hannity. QED.
  • McCain's record puts him at odds with large numbers of his own party.

What McCain has done with his "maverick" stance is sort of an inversion of Bill Clinton's famous "triangulation." Clinton stood against the Democratic Party's weakest policies -- especially its Dukakis-era rep as the soft-on-crime, pro-welfare party -- and was thus able to flummox the GOP. McCain has stood against some of the GOP's strongest policies (he voted against tax cuts!) and has caused nothing but joy in the hearts of Democrats.

You cannot win elections by running against the people, and McCain's three-year crusade for amnesty was -- as polls eventually revealed -- a direct attack on the basic sensibilities of about 70 percent of American voters who still hold to the old-fashioned notion that laws should be obeyed.

McCain's attempt to mimic Clintonian triangulation has gained him no real support among Democrats (who praise his "courage" and then go back to their partisan ways), while alienating a huge swath of the GOP coalition.

  • We've seen this aging war-hero gambit at least twice in the past 12 years.

In 1996, Bob Dole was the courageous war hero whose biography was supposed to be the only thing necessary to defeat that dastardly Clinton. Dole was a war hero! Clinton was a draft-dodger! Who could argue with that?

Look it up: Dole got a pathetic 40.7% of the popular vote. The Democrats, apparently learning nothing from that example, tried a similar gambit with the nuanced Sen. Kerry in 2004, with less than victorious result.

American voters nowadays just don't rush to the polling place, panting for the chance to vote for the hero of a war that happened decades ago. Whether voters should be so indifferent to military service is irrelevant to the fact that they are indifferent to military service. Being a decorated veteran doesn't hurt, but it doesn't really help that much either, especially when ...

  • McCain is a lousy candidate.
Some people don't get this. "But, wait -- the media love McCain! How can you say he's a lousy candidate?" McCain has never had to run for an election in a genuinely competitive partisan environment.

Arizona was for many years perhaps the staunchest conservative Republican state in the nation. The famous hero of a recent war, McCain had the backing of influential forces (the Arizona Republic and his second wife's family fortune) that helped him win a contested Republican primary for the 1st District seat in 1982, and he cruised to victory in the general election against a token Democratic candidate in an overwhelmingly GOP district. He was then practically anointed Barry Goldwater's Senate successor in 1986, and has never been seriously challenged since (as senior incumbent senators seldom are).

In this, you see, McCain is totally un-Reaganesque. California was no GOP haven when Ronald Reagan decided to run for governor in 1966. Pat Brown, the Democratic incumbent, was heavily favored to win. But Reagan was simply one of the most brilliant political campaigners in American history. To the extent that California was considered an electoral lock for the Republicans in the 1980s, it was the force of Reagan the campaigner that made it so.

Whatever his merits as a man or as a politician, McCain's biography does not indicate that he is prepared for what will face him if he wins the GOP nomination. In this, alas, he again resembles Bob Dole, who did just fine when campaigning for re-election as the folksy senator in Kansas, but proved dreadfully out of his league when facing Team Clinton in 1996. And finally ...
  • McCain's lacks the presidential temperament.
Good presidents, especially in the TV age of constant media scrutiny, tend to have a laid-back, easygoing manner. Ronald Reagan was the classic example of this. Though hard-working and energetic, Reagan had a certain sort of inner cheerfulness. He could become angry, but he didn't "blow up" and start screaming at people. He was neither nervous nor brittle.

Look, I've worked more than 10 years in Washington, DC, which is the world's largest small town. It's not hard to learn which people are the proverbial "bad boss" types, and John McCain's hot temper is legendary.

By all accounts, when he is relaxed, John McCain is a fun-loving, joke-telling sort of guy. But do some research and I think you will find abundant testimony that he is thin-skinned and tends to take criticism or opposition as a personal insult.

"tgmb," you say, "Fine, you don't like him."

That's not it at all.

It has nothing to do with liking or not liking somebody at a personal level. Hey, I'm kind of a hot-headed maverick myself, and if it weren't for the political thing, I'd bet I'd love to hang out with Crazy Cousin John. But he's running for President of The United States, and that is a whole different thing. I love my wife, but I don't know if I'd endorse her for president.

The 'ethics' scam

"Independent watchdog," my foot:
Several news stories ... have pointed out that much of CREW’s funding comes from liberal groups and big donors to Democratic candidates and causes. And all but a handful of its complaints against Members of Congress have targeted Republicans.
But in some cases, there appear to be deeper links between the agenda of the donor and CREW’s attacks.
In February 2006, CREW asked the Senate Finance Committee to investigate the Center for Union Facts, an anti-union group, and its sister organization, the Center for Consumer Freedom, which CREW claimed are “front organizations for for-profit industry entities.”
The complaint noted that the Center for Union Facts Web site had “negative information about unions,” including the Service Employees International Union. Later that year, CREW launched a Freedom of Information Act request, followed by a lawsuit, to get the Department of Labor to hand over documents regarding the department’s contacts with the founder of the two centers.
On Sept. 1, 2006, CREW received $75,000 from the SEIU, according to documents that the union filed with the Department of Labor.

In summary, CREW appears to be just another DC pay-to-play operation, fronting as an "ethics watchdog" outfit.
Scamming in the name of "ethics" -- brilliant!

There is a reason that the No. 2 religious faith in Washington is Cynicism. The No. 1 faith in DC? "In God We Trust."

Anti-McCain coalition building

"McCain Derangement Syndrome." Yeah, Roger, McCain is definitely deranged. It's hereditary, y'know.

"Some people on the right are starting to sound almost Kossack-like." Heh.

Had to drive to Bethesda today to get vaccinated for yellow fever and typhoid, preparing for the journey to The Very Dangerous Foreign Country, where if the mosquitos don't kill you, the water will. (Nurse: "The parasites have a cycle, so even after you come back, if you start getting a fever, go straight to the hospital." Oh, sweet.)

Listened to talk radio there and back. Rush Limbaugh wasn't really going all-out on "Juan McAmnesty," but he didn't have to -- his callers did the job. A Republican activist from Michigan named Laurie called up and ranted against Crazy Cousin John in no uncertain terms. She will not vote for him, period.

Limbaugh then took another call, and ended the segment by telling the second caller, "The people in the Republican establishment do not understand, Laurie's sentiment is widespread out there." Widespread, indeed.

After getting my vaccinations, I spoke briefly to a buddy at a public-relations agency (he's planning a send-off party in my honor). He was likewise bummed by the Florida result, but mentioned the Citizens United anti-McCain ad.

My friend said Citizens United is putting some serious money into the ad buy, which will naturally generate lots of "earned media."

Driving back, I heard Sean Hannity lead his opening hour with a mock "McCain was right, conservatives were wrong" routine, very deadpan.

Then switched over to Glenn Beck, who appears to share my "fight while there's still hope" sentiment, saying of McCain:
This guy is the biggest two-faced son of bitch you can ever imagine. ... A Republican president who's not a Republican. ... (If McCain is elected) we are dead ... taking us to a progressive Hell.
(Yes, I can drive and take notes at the same time)

Beck also had Michelle on his show today. From the Beck transcript:

GLENN: Have you ever seen such an audacious slap in the face to the American people as this?
MALKIN: I haven't felt one like this in a long time, Glenn. I'm still reeling from it. But I do hope that as more people find out about McCain's open border roots that they won't buy the dye job that he's given himself and the instant immigration makeover that he's trying to sell to conservatives and Republicans.
GLENN: Okay, I want you to lay it -- two pieces of audio, one from John McCain being asked about it and then another piece of audio from the gentleman that is now working with him. So you tell me the best time to play it while you explain what he's doing right now behind everybody's back.
MALKIN: Sure. Well, last month I received a tip from a concerned reader and she had listened to John McCain speak to the Hispanic Republicans in Nevada at a conference and apparently at this conference McCain was trying to tout his connection to a man named Dr. Juan Hernandez who has been named the national director of Hispanic outreach for the McCain 2008 campaign. This reader of mine was appalled when she learned of this hire and it had exactly the opposite effect that apparently McCain wanted it to have. This was supposed to be reassuring to Hispanic Republicans that this guy had been hired as outreach. My colleague at, Bryan Preston, confirmed this staff hire and, in fact, on John McCain's daughter's campaign website, there's a lovely, cozy picture of Juan Hernandez pivoting with Meghan McCain and Mark MacKinnon who is the campaign guru for John McCain. Well, who is this guy? I'm quite familiar with him. I've debated him several years on the cable TV circuit because he's one of the most ubiquitous ethnocentric open borders zealots on the scene.
Go read the rest.

Nearing home, I dialed up a young volunteer for the Romney campaign. She said she had been discouraged last night by all the defeatist rhetoric at The Corner and elsewhere, and that my "Despair is not an option" post was the first hopeful thing she'd read. She told me about an upcoming Romney event, the date and location of which suggests a bold strategy. She also mentioned that Laura Ingraham was "brutal" on McCain this morning. I told her to spread the word: Hold the fort, the cavalry's coming.

Bryan Preston summed things up pretty well:

First, we conservatives are the bedrock of the GOP and ... our values are the party’s engine. They’re the party’s future. They’re worth fighting for, even if we’re outnumbered by the influx of independents in what was supposed to be a closed primary, and even if we end up with an imperfect party nominee because of that.
So we fight on.
Here's what I see: Conservatives have been distracted for weeks now. First, there was the Iowa-related panic about Huckabee. Then there was all that stuff with the Ron Paul newsletters. Then, there was a detour into watching the Hillary-Obama-Bill race-baiting trainwreck. And, of course, the MSM's spin machine was chaffing the air with the notion that The Big Story in Florida would be Rudy's Last Stand.

Time was wasted, energy, emotion and resources dissipated. Then came Tuesday night. Conservatives who'd spent the past couple of weeks doing a schadenfreude dance over Hillary's meltdown suddenly turned on the TV, saw Crazy Cousin John with 36% in winner-take-all Florida and said, "Holy crap. How did this happen?"

That madman may be less than a week from locking up the GOP nomination and today, Wednesday, a lot of conservatives are bumfuzzled, bewildered and confused. They log onto someplace like The Corner and get a relentless drumbeat of defeatism, "reconciliation," and so forth.

Just wait. People will shake this Florida hangover. There is a debate tonight. In all likelihood, McCain will be overconfident, and Mitt knows the game is on the line. A gaffe by McCain and/or a few really solid punches from Mitt -- hey, by Thursday morning, Mitt might be sailing high again.

Something important: Stop quoting polls. Polls are not votes. With this short six-day run from Florida to Super Duper Tuesday, with Rudy dropping out and so many other dynamics in play, there is no way in the world that pollsters will be able to tell us in advance what will happen on Feb. 5. The reporting of polls can, however, have the effect of a self-fulfilling prophecy, tending to drive a bandwagon effect.

There is an anti-McCain coalition building, but it may take a day or two to show its strength. Be patient.

Finally, let El Rushbo demonstrate the proper attitude:

(HT: Hot Air)

UPDATE: Linked at Memeorandum. (Click that link, or a puppy will die.)

It. Is. Wednesday.

A friend of mine just replied to my previous question:
OK, we've got Rush, Levin, Ingraham, Malkin, surely we've got Michael Savage. Who else?
With ... this answer:
John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most "electable" Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn't lie all the time while claiming to engage in Straight Talk.
Read it all.

OK, let's see Crazy Cousin John withstand that -- Coulter blasting away 24/7 on Fox News all the way to the convention.

I remind everyone that Crazy Cousin John didn't even attend CPAC last year. He hates the conservative base.
UPDATE: Sorry, Stanley. No "reconciliation" is possible. Or desired. What is desired is his defeat, one way or the other. The man must be made a watchword for the ages, an enduring symbol of what happens to backstabbers.

Sexy vs. Grumpy

Look, if you're one of those people who fetishizes over "electability" (greetings, Mr. Podhoretz; howdy, Mr. Kristol), the now two-man race between Romney and Crazy Cousin John is a no-brainer.


Eh ... not so much.

I report. You deride.

Never, ever will I forget the profound sense of betrayal that I felt on May 25, 2006 -- a date that will live in infamy -- when Crazy Cousin John somehow persuaded 22 other "Republican" senators to join him in supporting the McCain-Kennedy Destroy America Act of 2006 (MKDAA06), the most heinous sellout since the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty of 1939. By comparison, Quisling, Iago, Catiline and Judas were men of honor.

At that time, I was blogging in support of "Donkey Cons" (buy TWO!) and dubbed "The 'Y' Party" those so-called "Republicans" who voted for MKDAA06. I wrote at the time:

The "Y" Party is a criminal conspiracy to defraud American voters of their country. And it is a vast conspiracy indeed, involving the president, the vice president, and 23 members of the United States Senate who -- it was revealed on Thursday, May 25, 2006 -- committed perjury the day they were sworn into office.

It was true then, it's true now, and the "Republican" author of MKDAA06 doubled down by pushing a gussied-up retread of the same duplicitous scam in 2007. He is a monomaniac, determined to "elect a new people," as Brecht said. Rejected by conservatives in 2000, he has returned the rejection with compound interest.

To make an analogy, Crazy Cousin John is to the conservative cause as a dog is to a fire hydrant.

I'm told that Mark Levin has resolved to quit talk radio if Crazy Cousin John wins the GOP nomination. Levin is a brilliant legal scholar, and surely recognizes these basic principles:

  • There can be no liberty without law.
  • There can be no law without sovereignty.
  • There can be no sovereignty without citizenship.
  • There can be no citizenship without borders.

Amnesty is the negation of fundamental legal principles. It is an insult and an injury to the rule of law.

Ronald Reagan signed an amnesty in 1986, but mercifully did not live to see the consequences. Surely, were he here today, Reagan would say of Simpson-Mazzoli that it was a mistake, just as was his 1967 signing of California's "therapeutic abortion" law.

While Crazy Cousin John has admitted that his 2005-07 "shamnesty" crusade was a political mistake, he has never admitted that it was a moral mistake. It was a solemn oath foresworn, a trust betrayed, an act of sadistic cruelty and treachery.

The GOP Establishment, attempting its patented "Harriet Miers Move," is trying to tell conservatives that we have no choice in the matter.

To which I proudly answer, "F--- You, GOP Establishment."

Look, my last day on the job was Monday. For good or ill, I am my own man now, and a week from now, I'll be on my way to a Very Dangerous Foreign Country. So if I never work another day as a neutral, objective journalist in Washington, so be it. But the neutral, objective fact is that, by sponsoring MKDAA06, Crazy Cousin John sold out his party, broke his oath of office, and conspired with the Chappaquiddick Swim Champ to destroy our nation.

The Neidermeiers of the GOP Establishment tell us that McCain's narrow victory amongst his fellow geezers in Florida means that it's over.


OK, we've got Rush, Levin, Ingraham, Malkin, surely we've got Michael Savage. Who else?

UPDATE: Long, long ago, when I was a newbie blogger, someone gave me some sage advice which can be boiled down to four words: Trackback like a mofo.

Nothing gets your name out there like trackbacking at those major blogs (including Malkin, Hot Air and OTB) that allow trackbacks.

On those slow days when you get Site Meter Fever with overtones of bloggernoia (defined as the irrational fear that your failure to get linked by Instapundit is the product of a vicious conspiracy) the traffic produced by trackbacks will comfort you.

Look, kids, I remember when Jammie Wearing Fool first started blogging, when that blog was just Marty, and he got maybe 500 hits a day. But he stuck with it, blogged regularly, and trackbacked diligently. JWF was always showing up in the Hot Air trackbacks. Pretty soon, he became a familiar presence in the blogosphere, part of the conversation.

It took JWF six months to get his first Instalanche, but now look at him: 80,000+ visits per month (projected 27K/wk.)* and growing. Heck, if he keeps it up at this rate, pretty soon Insty will be trackbacking at JWF -- and it's just a simple Blogspot operation!

Blogging is not rocket science, but it requires persistence and trackbacking like a mofo.

UPDATE II: Apparently, great minds think alike. (Rusty, you ought to give Vinnie a raise!) And that's another trackback.

UPDATE III: I originally goofed that figure (*) by misreading the Site Meter and failing to do the basic math. You don't want to know how stupid my original number was. The point is, now it's right.

UPDATE IV: Also linked at Memeorandum. (Click that link. All red-blooded patriotic Americans click Memeorandum links. If you don't click that link, you are un-American.)

UPDATE V: Linked at LGF. Thanks! Also linked by Jeremy Lott at AmSpecBlog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Despair is not an option

A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.
-- Vince Lombardi

Tuesday night, I took a break from cleaning out my desk to attend an event with some young conservatives. About 9 p.m., one guy checked his Blackberry to see the Florida results, and the reaction -- I said they were conservatives, didn't I? -- was disappointment at the news that Crazy Cousin John had narrowly edged Mitt Romney in the winner-take-all primary.

The next reaction was equally predictable: "Oh, McCain's got momentum ... going to be hard for Romney to recover by Super Tuesday" etc., etc.

In other words, despair and defeatism, an acceptance of what The Experts have said would be the inevitable consequences of this event.

Don't quit, boys. For God's sake, don't ever quit. So long as there is room for hope, so long as victory is a possibility, so long as you have strength for the fight, you owe it to yourself to keep hoping and keep fighting.

Hope and courage must always go hand-in-hand. If you will spread hope and encouragement in this dark hour of disappointment, you will do more for your candidate than you know.

"Look," I said to my young friends, "starting Wednesday at noon, Rush Limbaugh is going to pull out all the stops. He's going to hammer McCain with everything he's got. He's going to come at him from every angle, for three solid hours, and then he's going to do it for another three hours on Thursday, then Friday, then Monday, then Tuesday. You can count on 15 hours of Rush doing all he can to persuade conservatives not to vote for McCain, and that's got to have some effect. Romney made it close in Florida, and a week is forever in politics. ...."

Et cetera. There is room for hope, and therefore there is no room for despair.

Listen up, Romneyites: You've got Rush Limbaugh on your side, and that's the kind of message-power that no other candidate can match. Rush spent a couple weeks on a Stop Huckabee jag, and then he spent a couple of weeks messing around with the whole Obama-Hillary matchup. But that's over now.

John McCain may be only 6 days away from locking up the Republican nomination, and Rush Limbaugh is 100% dedicated to preventing that. Do not underestimate that, and therefore do not despair.

Huckabee got 14% in Florida. He's your biggest obstacle to defeating Crazy Cousin John.

I'm not trying to pull a Hugh Hewitt here. This year's crop of Republican candidates was never ideal. My favorite candidate (Duncan Hunter) never had a chance, and my next favorite (Fred Thompson) never gained momentum. So if Romney is my favorite of the remaining candidates, neither am I a starry-eyed true believer.

Still, many of my personal friends have been Romney supporters since 2006 (or even earlier) and even Romney's harshest critics must admit, he's got presidential hair.

Great hair + El Rushbo = ??

You've got a good candidate and a good chance. Commit yourself to victory, spread hope and good cheer among your comrades, and give it your best shot.

Besides which, Crazy Cousin John is crazy. He's got six days to bite his tongue and try not to say what he really thinks, and he might actually slip up and say something so crazy that he effectively defeats himself.

And then there's "Amnesty Mel" Martinez ...
UPDATE: Thanks for the Hot Air headline link. Malkin, of course, is all over it. And if you liked this post, here's something new that I promise you're going to love.

UPDATE II: Sorry if this was a dead link for a few minutes this morning. Meant to add an update and republish, and instead did "save as draft," a too-easy error on the new Blogger software. Bryan links, and Hot Air commenter BobH laments:
Seems like Bob Dole all over again….
Exactly, and brought to you by the same GOP Establishment who brought you that previous grumpy old loser. For some reason, the GOP Establishment has a predisposition to sourpusses who are disdainful of the party's conservative grassroots. It's almost like they want to lose.

Temper, temper

Ramesh Ponnuru sought confirmation of Crazy Cousin John's reputation for having a bad temper behind closed doors:
McCain stood in the middle of the GOP cloakroom and yelled at several of his Senate colleagues because they deigned to have a vote — to have a vote — on Inhofe's "English As the National Language" amendment to the 2006 immigration bill. He accused conservatives of being "divisive" and "insulting" Latinos for suggesting that immigrants ought to learn this language. He was nasty and unhinged. About 10 staffers witnessed this. He delighted in telling the conservative senators there that they were destroying the party with these efforts.
Via Dan Riehl, who says:
There are three things to be troubled with about McCain here, his disdain for conservatives, his temperament, and his problem with wanting Latinos in America to speak English.
Can you smell that pipin' hot Straight Talk crackling on the skillet?
Ace links to K-Lo:
I talked to Rick Santorum briefly tonight. He told me that he “can’t in good conscience give details about what happened in senator-only meetings.” ...
Senator Santorum stands by what he’s said about his former colleague. He went on Hewitt, Levin, and Ingraham, among others to warn conservatives about his experience working as a member of the Republican leadership with Senator McCain — an experience that he largely found frustrating, especially (but not only) on social-conservative issues.
It's the temperament thing. Never mind Crazy Cousin John's deviation on this or that issue, it's his stiff-necked, hot-tempered, go-it-alone attitude that has made him unpopular with Santorum and many others. If he's denied the GOP nomination, I'd almost expect him to do a third-party Ross Perot move, perhaps in cooperation with Bloomberg.
UPDATE: Almost forgot it's primary day in Florida, as Michelle Malkin reminds us, while exploring a supposed "enthusiasm gap" between Democrats and Republicans. I don't doubt the existence of the gap.
Republicans are in the final year of a two-term GOP presidency that has, in one way or another, managed to disappoint almost everyone. Think back to the Florida election lockdown of 2000, how hard Republicans fought to ensure that Bush wasn't cheated of his victory. Whatever the accomplishments of the Bush administration, they haven't exactly lived up to the desperate effort it took to get him elected. The way Bush dissed the party's base on amnesty was particularly galling: Hey, if we'd wanted open borders, we could have just let Gore win it.
Hard to get excited about the Florida primary. The big "news" is that Rudy Giuliani, having staked everything on this one state, is going to suffer a humiliating third-place finish. Or maybe fourth, if Huckabee can get a strong turnout of evangelicals.
As to whether Romney or Crazy Cousin John finishes first in this winner-take-all primary, I don't think ultimately it will be decisive in who gets the nomination. If Crazy Cousin John wins, that only means that he'll come under more critical scrutiny, generating a backlash heading into Super Duper Tuesday.
Just imagine what Rush Limbaugh will be saying on Wednesday, if Crazy Cousin John wins in Florida ...

KO disses MK

It was inevitable, I suppose. The Sweetheart of The Blogosphere(TM) has been named Worst Person In The World by Keith Olbermann.

As Allah says, MK's remark that President Clinton "got a lot of passes" from the media during his presidency makes her guilty of denying "the Olby Creation Myth" about the Lewinsky scandal.

Politics and show business often attract unstable personalities who engage in irrational behavior. For a middle-aged professional broadcaster like Olbermann to stake his career on being the most openly left-wing anchor in television was, and is, a very stupid and dangerous thing to do. The entire idea of the "Worst Person In the World" segment is absurdly childish. And picking on MK is symptomatic of a disordered mind.

James Joyner:

While I realize that “Worst Person in the World” is one of Olbermann’s shticks and that it’s meant to be hyperbole, it’s really a bizarre title to bestow for expressing an opinion on such a minor issue.

Like I said, symptomatic of a disordered mind. Give a guy like that a cable TV show, let him feed poison into the minds of a few hundred thousand similarly disturbed souls and what do you get? Well, consider the "fan mail" generated by Olbermann's attention, as MK herself describes it:

Ooh, the first of the enlightened liberal acolytes of Olbermann writes to tell me to go back to pole-dancing. Progressive!
Why is Keith Olberman so vicious? What prompts his rage? It's really simple: If you disagree with him, you are denying the validity of his vision. And his vision is what makes KO special, see?

To tell KO that he's not special, to deny his genius, his greatness, his absolute centrality to Life In The Universe ... how cruel can you be?
UPDATE: Linked at Memeorandum.

Monday, January 28, 2008

You know how those people are ...

Feminists, I mean:
In short, gang raping of women is commonplace in our culture both physically and metaphorically.
This past week, we witnessed just such a phenomenon involving men who are afraid of a powerful woman. Hillary Clinton, in her quest for her Presidential nomination, has in fact endured infantile taunting and wildly inappropriate commentary. Indeed we have witnessed almost comical attacks by John Edwards who in turn sided with Barak Obama as both snickered at Clinton's "breakdown," which consisted of a very short dewy-eyed moment. Now John Kerry, who should certainly know better after his own "swiftboating," has joined the playground gang.
Meanwhile a separate release accuses Ted Kennedy of "betrayal" of women for endorsing Obama. Hat tips to Hot Air and Ace of Spades, who observes:
In related news, Mary Jo Kopechne died of psychological vehicular manslaughter.
Lie down with crackpots, wake up with atrocious metaphors.

UPDATE: Marty at Jammie Wearing Fool writes:
It will be most curious to see the next card the increasingly desperate Clintons now play.
Given that Team Clinton just dispatched a surrogate to accuse a black man of perpetrating a "gang rape," I think the next card has already been played -- as usual, off the bottom of the deck.