Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jann Wenner, shmuck

Re-reading Gonzo, the Jan Wenner-Corey Seymour oral biography of Hunter S. Thompson, I just read this Wenner quote from pp. 137-138, about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
Then we were haggling over expenses. The magazine was on a shoestring at the time, and I had to say, 'No, you can't rent a Cadillac.' . . .
His first book of letters is consumed with correspondence about money and expenses. It's embarrassing. . . .
He was really trying to maximize the money coming in. I guess as a young and struggling writer with a wife and kid, he had to do it. . . . Hunter loved to live well, so he was constantly spending money. He was always in debt to four or five or six people. He was always in debt to me.
What a selfish, cheap bastard you are, Wenner. Thompson was out there doing genius work, some of the finest writing of the decade, work that helped establish Rolling Stone as a first-class publication, and what did you do?

"Haggling"? That's not "haggling." A journalist incurs expenses during an assignment for your publication, those are your expenses, plain and simple. You were cheating Thompson out of expense money. And then you claim that he was "in debt" to you!

Tony Rodham for Barr?

Hillary's brother is ... er, bitter:
[Tony] Rodham, a self-described “yellow dog Democrat all my life,” is unsure who he would support in November if Clinton is not the party's standard bearer.
"If my sister doesn’t end up with the nomination, I gotta take a look at who I’m gonna vote for,” he said.
Does that mean, Fiore asked, Rodham would vote for Republican John McCain.
“I didn’t say that. It could be Bob Barr,” he said, referring to the Libertarian presidential candidate who, as a House member from Georgia, was a prime player in the impeachment of Rodham's brother-in-law, Bill Clinton.
Yet more fallout from The Big Screw-Over. And Harold Ickes says, all the way to Denver, baby!

UPDATE: E-mail from Team Hillary:
Today’s results are a victory for the people of Florida who will have a voice in selecting our Party’s nominee and will see its delegates seated at our party’s convention. The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.
We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.
The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.
We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.
Bitter, bitter, bitter! I love the bit about how this "violates the bedrock principles" of the Democratic Party. Pray tell, what principles are these? The shameless pursuit of power? OK, that's one "bedrock principle." Can anybody name another?

Did Hillary get ripped off?

By her own campaign staff?
"There was financial mismanagement bordering on fraud. A candidate who raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the years had to pump in millions more of her own money to stave off bankruptcy."
This is why I say it always pays to be cynical about politics. If you get operatives into the kind of high-level positions where they can hire their friends, funnel campaign cash to their own consulting firms, negotiate contracts with outside contractors, and get their expense accounts OK'd without close scrutiny, it's like trying to fill up a leaky bucket. No matter how much the candidate raises, it's never enough, if you've got those kind of hot-dog consultants on your payroll.

From the beginning of the Hillary Clinton campaign, one thing was certain: Win, lose or draw, Mark Penn was going to walk away a very wealthy man.

A fool and her money . . .

Charlie Sheen gets married again

To a "real estate investor" named Brooke Mueller who, we presume, doesn't mind Charlie's habits of hookers, porn and cocaine, or his uncanny resemblance to Reason magazine reporter David Weigel.

Comrade Obama

See-Dubya fisks a Los Angeles Times article about the Che Guevara/Barack Obama iconography connection:
Look, you just can't hide from Che’s history. It's like putting a David Duke for President bumper sticker on your car and then explaining that for you, personally, it's just about traditional values and not about white nationalism. It’s like flying a Hezbollah flag and just claiming that you're not for terrorism or wiping out Israel, you're just opposed to Zionism. This swastika tattoo? Why, it's just a Hindu/American Indian good luck symbol, friend -- not a Nazi thing at all. Shame on you for thinking so.
Remember the victims of Che Guevara? Of course, no responsible journalist would ever suggest that Obama is a Marxist. But no one's ever accused me of being responsible.

The Big Screw-Over

It's a long, slow screw:
[T]he Clinton campaign said Saturday it was unwilling to concede the "concession" offered by the Obama team during morning remarks.
Florida Rep. Robert Wexler, a supporter of Barack Obama, told the panel Saturday morning the Illinois senator's campaign was willing to make a "concession" by agreeing to the plan presented by Jon Ausman that would cut the state's delegate voting strength by half.
Outside the room where the RBC gathering is already running nearly four hours behind schedule, senior advisers for Hillary Clinton said the Obama campaign wasn't making a concession to the New York senator, but to reality.
When it comes to one Democrat screwing over another Democrat, they're now willing to disenfranchise half the Democratic voters in Florida. Funny how their standards change according to circumstances.

Patrick Edaburn thinks Team Obama risks alienating some Democrats by playing hardball against the Clintonistas.

UPDATE: Inevitably, liberals resort to rhetorical escalation:
Arthenia Joyner, a Florida state legislator who is making Hillary Clinton's case to the Rules and Bylaws Committee, opened by comparing the struggle to get the Florida delegates counted to the civil rights movement and the fight against apartheid.
Yeah, you tell 'em, sister! I love the way liberals always leap to these outrageous analogies, intended to portray their adversaries as minions of Beelzebub. We await comparisons to:
  • Selma;
  • Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner;
  • The Spanish Inquisition;
  • Auschwitz;
  • The Rape of the Sabine Women;
  • The crucifixion of Christ.
Remember, the whole point of this is not whether their arguments are fair or logical, but that this dispute among Democrats become so acrimonious that they are permanently embittered against one another. Having been on the receiving end of irrational liberal venom for so long, now conservatives get to sit back and watch the Democrats turn on each other, like scorpions in a jar.

UPDATE II: At AOSHQ, Drew M. says he thinks Team Hillary's willing to take their argument all the way to Denver. Which reminds me: Please hit the tip jar, so I can afford to go cover the Democratic convention in August.

Quit? She can't even SPELL 'quit'!

This is simply beautiful:
Sen. Obama is 44 delegates shy of clinching the nomination and leads Sen. Hillary Clinton by 200 delegates, according to the Associated Press tally. He has 1,982, to her 1,782, and 2,026 are needed for the nomination under current rules.
But that doesn't mean Sen. Clinton will be delivering a concession speech next week. The former first lady is favored to win the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday. A big victory there, combined with strong showings in Montana and South Dakota where Sen. Obama is favored, would put Sen. Clinton ahead in the popular vote, according to her campaign, which counts the votes from the disputed contests in Florida and Michigan and excludes caucus states. . . .
"Voting will be over [on Tuesday] but it's very unlikely the nomination will be secured," says Clinton campaign strategist Geoff Garin.
Beautiful. Whatever happens at the DNC meeting today, Hillary just says, "We were screwed! It was unfair!" and keeps right on campaigning as if nothing happened. All the way to Denver, baby.

DNC screwing over FL, MI

How easy would it be to say, "Seat the delegates"? So all the hemming and hawing means they won't seat the delegates:
Democrats went behind closed doors until 1:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, but they did not reach their goal of developing a unified proposal regarding Michigan and Florida.
Twenty-eight of the 30 members of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee were joined by DNC Chairman Howard Dean for the marathon dinner meeting that took place in a hotel ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Today's it's raining cats and dogs in D.C., as The Big Screw-Over continues:
In the opening hours of a daylong meeting of the convention's Rules and Bylaws Committee, Clinton's designated spokeswoman urged the panel to grant a full vote for each of Florida's 211 disputed delegates.
"In life you don't get everything you want. I want it all," California State Sen. Arthenia Joyner said with a smile.
But moments later, Obama's campaign called for half-votes for each of the 211. Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida said that marked an "extraordinary concession, in order to promote to promote reconciliation with Florida's voters."
Florida Democrats ought to learn a lesson from this: Anything that doesn't fit with the DNC's pre-ordained conclusion will not be tolerated, including democracy.

UPDATE: Some shmuck at TPM contends that the Florida and Michigan primaries don't really "reflect the will of the people."

The Will of the People! That's one of those Jacobin conceptions that you don't hear much anymore. Do I hear tumbrels rolling, Madame DeFarge?

UPDATE II: Lanny Davis makes his final plea to the superdelegates, and Ed Morrisey gives it a through fisking. Frankly, I don't care if the arguments are logical or fair, so long as they keep arguing. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination, it's important that the losers feel like they got ripped off and reamed out by the DNC. Liberals have a natural tendency to fall into the victim mentality, and I want them to feel -- no, I want them to know -- that this time they are victims of the Democratic Party.

Go, Cynthia!

Cynthia McKinney is close to wrapping up the Green Party presidential nomination. I've been saying it for years: America needs more crazy people from Georgia in national politics.

I'm just sayin' . . .

A New York Times blog post about the Barr candidacy that is mostly attitude and very little news. And perhaps not wholly original:
His path to the nomination was secured when a rival, Wayne Allen Root, a Las Vegas odds-maker, swung his support over and took the vice presidential slot.
Compare to this:
His nomination was secured with the help of rival candidate Wayne Allyn Root, who endorsed Barr after being eliminated in the fifth round of balloting. A high-energy Las Vegas oddsmaker, Root was subsequently nominated for vice president. . . .
OK, I've done my share of re-write work, and I know how to crib facts and quotes off the Web when necessary. That's not plagiarism, it's research. But some of that language is a bit too close for pure coincidence, don't you think?

Whatever. It's kind of flattering to think the NYT's cribbing off me now. And they misspelled Root's middle name.

Speaking of flattering, here's Dave Kopel in the Rocky Mountain News:
The best local coverage of the convention came from The Colorado Independent, while the best national coverage was provided by The American Spectator magazine.
Score! (Take that, Weigel!)

Franken's 'Porn-o-Rama'

Poor Al. First it was the unpaid taxes, then it was unpaid workman's comp, now it's his 2000 Playboy article:
On Thursday, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., called the sexually explicit article offensive and potentially damaging to Franken and other Democratic candidates in Minnesota. . . .
"As a woman, a mother, a former teacher, and an elected official, I find this material completely unacceptable," McCollum said of Franken's piece, published in 2000 under the headline "Porn-O-Rama!"
"I can tell you it's not playing comfortably in St. Paul, and I can't imagine this politically radioactive material is doing very well in suburban and rural districts," McCollum said.

A bit of background:

At one point in the Playboy piece titled "Porn-O-Rama!" Franken called the Internet a "terrific learning tool," writing that his 12-year-old son was able to use it for a sixth-grade report on bestiality.

That there's funny, I don't care who you are. He's good enough, he's smart enough and, doggone it, people like him!

Some of the raunchy excerpts here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

MSM idiocy on Ron Paul and Bob Barr

I've been covering Bob Barr's Libertarian Party campaign since Feb. 11, and because of my continuing coverage (e.g., April 14, May 20, May 23, May 25, May 27) I've been invited to appear on several radio talk shows to discuss the campaign. I've also closely followed the MSM coverage of Barr. Over and over, I keep running into various feeble-minded confusions over the relationship between Barr's LP effort and the Ron Paul GOP primary campaign.

The essence of this confusion is typically expressed by radio hosts as a question along the lines of, "Is Ron Paul going to endorse Bob Barr?" However it is worded, the question signifies a profound misunderstanding of who Ron Paul is, what his campaign has done, how political movements and coalitions are structured, and how the Barr campaign hopes to capitalize on the Paul phenomenon.

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, here is Newsweek's know-it-all novice Andrew Romano (folks, I've got T-shirts older than this kid) who expresses his confusion not as a question, but in pseudo-informed declarative sentences:
Barr's goal is snag the support of 15 percent or more of registered voters and participate in this fall's presidential debates. That's unlikely to happen. One big reason: Ron Paul. With his cult-hero bid for the White House, Paul has done more this year than any of his predecessors to popularize Libertarian ideas. . . . But the trouble is, he ran (and is still running) as a Republican, and shows no signs of abandoning his party. If Paul continues his campaign through the GOP convention, as he's already promised, he'll monopolize much of the newly-unleashed Libertarian energy -- the record-breaking donations, the clever online organizing, the passionate activism -- at least through September. At that point, he could (belatedly) pass the torch the torch to Barr. But Paul has shown little enthusiasm for his ostensible heir, and it's unlikely that his followers . . . will abandon their guy for a relative unknown. . . . No matter what happens with Paul, Barr's going to have a tough time attracting the grass-roots and financial support necessary to reach double digits in the polls.
This kind of nonsense on stilts will take a while to deconstruct, so pull up a chair and get comfortable.

First, look at Romano's statement that "it's unlikely that [Paul's] followers . . . will abandon their guy for a relative unknown." Wrong. Many of them already have. Were you paying attention? I repeat:
Many Ron Paul supporters already have been active in the Bob Barr LP campaign for weeks.
This is what Romano and other MSM people don't get. Campaign contributors, operatives and volunteer activists -- to say nothing of ordinary voters -- are not required to devote their support exclusively to one campaign, one party or one candidate. There is considerable overlap between LP activists and the anti-war conservatives who backed Paul in the GOP primaries.

I know these people personally. I talked to them at the Libertarian convention in Denver. There were lots and lots of veterans of the Paul campaign among the delegates, some of them still proudly wearing their "Revolution" T-shirts and Ron Paul buttons. In fact, some of the Georgia LP delegates with whom I traveled 1,400 miles to the convention ("a bunch of smelly Libertarians," to quote delegate Lance Lamberton) had actively campaigned for Paul.

To cite just one example of this phenomenon, Barr's online team is headed by Martin Avila of Terra Eclipse, who also did Ron Paul's Web design. A few more examples with which I am personally familiar:
  • Austin Wilkes -- Featured in Paul's "Supporter Spotlight," helped organize Paul effort in Alabama GOP straw poll; now coordinating meetup groups for Barr.
  • Bradley Jansen -- Former Paul congressional staffer and presidential campaign activist; recently came to the defense of Barr's LP candidacy.
  • Shana Kluck -- Former "Homeschoolers for Paul" coordinator; now serves similar function with Barr campaign.
  • Stephen Gordon -- Former LP political director, served as media coordinator of Paul's Alabama campaign; now working for Barr campaign.
Such examples could be cited almost endlessly. But just try this: Go to the Barr for President Facebook group, and see how many members are also members of the Ron Paul group.

The MSM types don't get this. They keep acting as if what Ron Paul does personally -- whether he endorses or supports or gives money to the Barr campaign -- will have a determining influence over Barr's success. Not true. As one LP convention delegate explained it me, "The Ron Paul movement wasn't about Ron Paul, it was about a movement."

Now, with that in mind, go back and read the Romano article, where he says, "Barr's going to have a tough time attracting the grass-roots and financial support necessary to reach double digits in the polls." Wanna put money on that proposition, kid?

Barr hit 6% in the first national poll that included his name in the survey -- a poll taken just one week after Barr officially announced his candidacy. Since then, Barr's appeared on C-SPAN's "Morning Journal," CNN's "American Morning," Neil Cavuto's Fox News show and Bloomberg News, while Barr appeared with his running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, on Fox Business News.

Most laughable of Romano's misconceptions is his description of Barr as "a relative unknown." Barr was a high-profile figure in the 1994 "Republican Revolution" Congress, helping lead the impeachment of President Clinton. Barr was a prominent conservative leader back when Andrew Romano was still an elementary school kid who'd never even heard of Ron Paul.

And, hey -- Barr was in "Borat." How many movies has Ron Paul starred in? This coming week, Barr will show up on Glenn Beck's CNN show and on "The Colbert Report."

Keep in mind, now, that Barr only officially declared his candidacy on May 12. As "tough" as it may be for Barr "to reach double digits in the polls" (though, remember, he's starting at 6%) does all this media attention look like the campaign of "a relative unknown"?

Over and over, radio interviewers have asked me what I think of Barr's chances in November. I say two things:
  • First, I don't have a crystal ball. Who knows what can happen? We're more than five months away from Election Day. Five months is a long time in politics. Five months ago, Hillary Clinton was still the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination.
  • Second, people close to the Barr campaign keep using the phrase "perfect storm." Congressional approval is at 19%, and 79% of Americans say the country's headed in the wrong direction. Gasoline is at $4 a gallon, and no major-party candidate -- neither Obama, Clinton nor McCain -- is over 47% in head-to-head polls. Such omens of deep discontent in the electorate certainly could indicate the kind of political environment in which a third-party campaign might catch fire.
No crystal ball, like I said, but anyone who parrots the MSM conventional wisdom and underestimates the potential of the Barr campaign does so at his own peril.

Is the Politico a neocon plot?

That seems to be Glenn Greenwald's argument: Anybody who is critical of the Left is automatically "right-wing."

Amnesty in '09?

The forecast is grim, says Robert VerBrueggen:
Despite the daunting task of defeating [an amnesty for illegal aliens] bill in the Senate, it will be the restrictionists' best hope. The House will become more Democratic than it already is, and an open-borders advocate will reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
All three major-party presidential candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain -- voted for amnesty in 2006 and '07. The choice between Democrats and Republicans in November is no choice at all for opponents of amnesty.

Hotties from outer space

Glenn Reynolds, intergalactic babe-magnet.

50 Cent and a 'highly suspicious' fire

Fire destroys the home where rapper 50 Cent's baby-mama lived. Investigators call it "highly suspicious." The rapper and his baby-mama were spotted quarreling in the street a couple of days before the fire started. Also, a lawyer's office got trashed incidental to a deposition in a lawsuit between 50 Cent and the baby-mama, Shaniqua Tompkins.

Since doing prison time is a vital part of the "street cred" thing for gangsta rappers, a conviction for arson would be a big career boost for 50 Cent. Imagine his next big hit:
Wanna have me locked up,
'Cause I got you knocked up.
Coulda had an abortion,
Now it's like extortion.
She took me to her lawyer.
I told her when I saw her:
This is my crib.
This is where I live.
B*tch, you want half?
Listen to me laugh.
Got a can of gas,
You can kiss my a$$.
You wanna play games?
I'll send it up in flames.
I'll tell 'em I was framed,
'Cause you know that you're to blame.
But I'd rather do the time
Than let you get what's mine.

Iggy & the Stooges contract rider

Apparently, this is the real deal. Because the seminal punk band doesn't travel with its own sound gear -- apparently, not even their own guitar stands -- they require a detailed appendix to their contract (known as a "rider") specifying everything, including how the monitor mixes should be set up:
For the sidefills, can we have two great big enormous things please, of a type that might be venerated as gods by the inhabitants of Easter Island, capable of reaching volumes that would make Beelzebub soil his underpants, and driven by amplifiers that could provide the power for a Monster Truck Rally.
(Via Hit & Run.) Having spent much time in my teens and early 20s knocking about as a singer in a series of dead-end garage/party bands, I sympathize with the roadie's obsessive attention to having quality stage monitors.

Garage bands, at least back in my day, tended to be dominated by a--hole lead guitarists. You'd go over to audition as a singer, and the a--hole lead guitarist would be playing through a Marshall stack, the bass player would have at least a 200-watt 2x12 amp, and maybe -- maybe -- your vocals would be miked through the B-channel of a 100-watt Fender amp. Once the drummer (and perhaps a rhythm guitarist as well) joined in, your vocals would be almost completely inaudible above the din. After four or five songs, you'd be hoarse from trying to sing loud enough to hear yourself.

It always amazed me that these a--hole lead guitarist characters, who could afford to invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars into guitars, amps and effects, never thought to spend a few hundred bucks for a small P.A. set up, sufficient to let the singer hear himself in practice. After years of frustration with these experiences, I bought my own 260-watt system for such purposes.

There is some sort of testosterone-driven obsession with sheer loudness -- the old Spinal Tap "turn it up to 11" thing -- that warps the minds of many rock musicians, especially lead guitarists. I have seldom encountered a rock guitarist who didn't suffer from this personality defect.

An illustrative anecdote: I once played a pool-party gig on the south side of Atlanta with a band led by a lead guitarist. We got there early, set up our gear, did a sound check, then the guitarist and his girlfriend went swimming an hour or so before the party was to begin.

This band wanted to perform Journey's "Loving, Touching, Feeling," which was at the very top of my vocal range. So I said, "OK, but we'll have to do that song first, because once I've sung a few songs and my voice starts getting ragged, I'll never be able to hit those high notes." And I warmed up my voice beforehand with the idea of taking the stage, then going right into the song.

So, we go out, get onstage, the lead guitarist picks up his guitar and hits a few notes to test it and says, "Wait a minute, there's something wrong." For the next 20 minutes, we all stood around, looking like moron amateurs, while the lead guitarist tried to figure out what was wrong with his equipment. Finally, the drummer got fed up and yelled, "Just forget about it. We're gonna play now, or I'm out of here."

Well, we struggled through, but the guitarist kept having these tantrums, stopping for five minutes between songs to try to figure out why his equipment didn't sound right (to him). It was August, I was sweating like a pig and getting dehydrated, and by the end of the gig my voice sounded like Joe Cocker on a bad night.

Of course, afterwards, we all figured out what the guitarist's problem was: He'd gotten water in his ears while swimming. It wasn't his equipment, it was his ears.

Nightmare experiences like that were routine as a singer in the garage-band circuit of the late '70s and '80s. Looking back on it, I realize that for a lot of those hard-rock guitar-god wannabes, playing in a band was mostly a egoistic macho thing. They never thought of music as show business -- i.e., entertaining the audience -- and so they never tried to see it from the audience member's perspective. Rather than trying to produce an entertaining performance that would please the crowd, the guitar-god wannabe was more interested in demonstrating his superior awesomeness.

It's a completely unprofessional attitude. Whatever the medium -- music, dance, drama -- a show-biz professional is always most concerned with pleasing the audience. The lead guitarists of my garage-band youth never seemed to have an adequate grasp of the show-biz aspect in rock 'n' roll.

Bob Barr on homeschooling

In a press release, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr defends California homeschoolers:
Education is a state and local issue, notes Barr, but “even more so it is a parental responsibility.” For good reason, he explains,“more than 80 years ago the Supreme Court upheld the right of parents to determine their children’s schooling, calling it an essential liberty under the 14th Amendment.”
He urged the California courts to look to that case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, in which the Court stated that “the child is not the mere creature of the state.” If the courts fail in their duty to protect the parents’ constitutional right to educate their children, he adds, then the California legislature and governor have a responsibility to act.
Homeschooling is one area in which libertarians and social conservatives see eye-to-eye. Government schools are an abject failure, and most Christian homeschooling parents have long since grown weary of the "let's take back our schools" rhetoric of some Religious Right leaders.

There was a time, about 25 or 30 years ago, when homeschooling was considered extremely radical. Now, more than 1 million American children are learning at home, and homeschooling a demonstrably success, with Harvard grads and bestselling authors among the alumni of the kitchen-table classroom. My own 18-year-old daughter, who was homeschooled from age 8 to 14, is now a college sophomore studying in a full-immersion Spanish-language program in Argentina. (Come to think of it, Saturday is her 19th birthday. Happy birthday, Kennedy!)

Nothing so undermines the argument for omniscient government as the failure of public education and the success of homeschoolers. One of Barr's rivals for the LP nomination, Steven Kubby, was strongly impressed by the speech that 16-year-old Dakota Root gave at Denver for her father, Wayne Allyn Root, who is now Barr's running mate.

Gallup Poll on McCain, Obama, Hillary

Very interesting, if you look at the matchups:
Obama 52%
Clinton 42%

Obama 46%
McCain 45%

Clinton 47%
McCain 45%
In other words, while Democrats prefer Obama by a 10-point margin, this preference makes no difference in the matchups between the two Democrats and the Republican nominee, John McCain.

Qu'est-ce que c'est? The answer is simple. More than 90% of black voters are Democrats; nearly all independent "swing" voters are white. Therefore, the strong preference of black voters for Obama weights the Democratic survey toward him. But white "swing" voters (independents, who were not polled for the Democratic preference survey) are more anti-Obama, thus rendering him no stronger than Hillary against the Republican.

Obama wins the blue-on-blue matchup, but when it comes down to the blue-on-red matchup, it's apparently a wash. I say "apparently," because the so-called "Bradley effect" may conceal the level of white voters' resistance to Obama.

And the Rev. Michael Fleger's rantings aren't likely to improve Obama's standing among independents.

Gersonism redux

The execrable Michael Gerson is back with another "compassionate conservatism" sermon, prompting James Antle to observe that Gerson "has turned support for activist government into a test of one's compassion":
Compassionate conservatism's biggest problem is that is seeks first to establish the good intentions of the compassionate conservative and only secondarily to actually have any results for the poor.
In its moral narcissism and its preference for good intentions over effective results, Gersonism is indistinguishable from the liberal attitude so brilliantly limned in Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed.

What is striking in all this is how Gerson and his ilk are starkly different from Ronald Reagan, who was able to dismantle the charitable pretensions of liberalism with a few simple phrases. For example:
We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they are going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning.
-- "A Time for Choosing," Oct. 27, 1964
Reagan grew up in a home plagued by his father's alcoholism. Reagan would not have been able to go to college without an athletic scholarship. Reagan managed to find work as a radio announcer in the depths of the Great Depression.

Having lived through tough times and succeeded despite hardship and disadvantages, Reagan was able to see through the liberal rhetoric that portrays the poor as helpless victims whose greatest need is sympathy. Reagan liked to say that the best welfare program in the world was a job. Government can thus do more to help the poor by pursuing free-market policies that foster economic growth and job creation than it can by welfare disbursements.

Gerson seems not to understand this essential Reagan insight. Knowing that his boyhood idol was Jimmy Carter tells us most of what we need to know about Gerson's ideological leanings. However "compassionate" he may be, Gerson has never been a conservative.

I hasten to add that it is important to distinguish Gerson's nonsense from neoconservatism. David Frum can't stand Gerson. Whatever their faults, most neocons are sound on basic issues of political economy. On the other hand, Frum has not yet denounced Gerson as "un-patriotic."

Bill Murray's divorce

Celebrity news:
Academy Award-nominated actor and comedian Bill Murray . . . is accused of drug addiction, abandonment, adultery and physically abusing his wife of more than 10 years, according to a recent court filing in Charleston County [S.C.]. . . . The Murrays married in 1997 and have four children, all minors.
Well, one would certainly hope that a couple married only 11 years ago doesn't have adult children.

As to the allegations, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a former associate of Chevy Chase and John Belushi is a dopehead. The adultery is also standard-issue Hollywood stuff.

But the physical abuse doesn't sound like Murray, does it? He certainly doesn't strike me as a belligerent bully type. Whatever. Eleven years and four kids for a show-biz couple is a relationship of unusual duration and solidarity.

Speaking of show-biz divorces, can you believe that Shania Twain's husband allegedly lost that fine hottie over an affair with the woman pictured at right? Has the insanity defense ever been used in a divorce case?

Who is this 'we,' Kemosabe?

I had never heard of Josh Kahn -- a Republican campaign operative -- until about 15 minutes ago when I saw a post at The New Republic, linking his blog at Next Right, in which he says:
Republican voters like the Democrat’s message more than their own party’s message by a large 14% margin when they don’t know which party it comes from. Just as disturbing, numbers among independents drop by another 10%... giving the Democrats a massive 28% advantage. Even our horrifically damaged image is better than our message on the economy.
"Our message"? OK, so what is "our message" according to the NPR survey Josh cites?
[F]ixing the economy requires both immediate action and longer term action to keep and create jobs. To start, we need stop all federal taxes on gasoline from Memorial Day to Labor Day to make gas more affordable, provide new guaranteed federal mortgages for people facing foreclosure and new funds to protect student loans. In the long term, we need to cut middle class taxes, double the federal tax credit for children, and make permanent the research and development tax incentives needed to create the new ideas and technology that will help keep and create jobs in America.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? New guaranteed federal mortages? More money for student loans? How the hell did this become "our message"?

The problem with the economy is simple: GOVERNMENT. To the extent that the economy is screwed up -- and one can argue that most of what's going bad right now is just cyclical correction -- it is the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT that screwed it up.

The Federal Reserve Board is especially due blame for its undisciplined monetary policies, but the Bush administration and Congress either did nothing (e.g., not drilling ANWAR) or did the wrong thing (e.g., mandatory ethanol) in terms of the biggest problems people are complaining about.

The reason "our message" is unpopular is because it is wrong. It is not a conservative message. It is not a free-market message. It is nothing that Hayek or Mises or Friedman would recognize as sound policy. Cal Coolidge would laugh himself silly if he were to imagine that this gobbledygook could ever be the Republican Party's economic message.

If this NPR survey question accurately characterizes the current GOP position on major economic issues, then it's not hard to see why the GOP's image is in the toilet. Oh, and let's examine what NPR uses as the Democrats' message in this survey:

[T]his economy has worked well for CEOs but not for the middle class, and we need a big change in direction. Income is down, but the cost for food, gas, health care and college are through the roof. We should repeal the special tax breaks for companies moving jobs overseas and for the oil companies. We need to cut middle class taxes across the board, limit drug prices and make health care affordable. We should partner with business to rebuild our highways and transportation infrastructure, and invest in clean alternative energy to create the jobs of the future.
Notice that this "position" begins with a series of specific complaints. Complaints are not policies. Class warfare rhetoric is not a policy. And to the extent that policies are stated, they're fictional or utopian.
What are these "special tax breaks" that Democrats propose to repeal, how much revenue would the repeal produce, and how would the repeal of such tax breaks (assuming they actually exist) improve the economy? Is it not a cold fact of economics that government price-fixing ("limit drug prices") inevitably causes shortages/rationoning? And if government can "make health care affordable," why can't they make everything affordable? I'd like a new computer and my wife might want a Jaguar -- can the Democrats make those "affordable," too?

And don't even get me started on Democrats and middle-class tax cuts. Bill Clinton promised middle-class tax cuts in 1992 and left office in 2001 never having cut any tax, anywhere, for anybody.

Democrats lie through their teeth, rhetorically conjure a fictional economy where government has a magic wand and pixie dust to fix every problem and complaint, and this "message" gets high ratings from voters -- and is anybody surprised?

Whatever happened to the limited-government, free-market rhetoric of Reagan/Gingrich Republicans? How is it that the GOP message on economics has departed from message of Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm and Dick Armey, so that it's now the kind of muddled mess it's become?

Josh says that Glen Bolger (another person I never heard of until 15 minutes ago) actually urges Republicans to steal the Democrats' rhetoric of economic ignorance. Please, can someone tell me why people will vote for a dishonest class-warfare Republican over a dishonest class-warfare Democrat? I didn't think so.

Bolger's memo is a white flag, an admission that the GOP has fumbled away all that conservatives have fought for since the Goldwater era. It's disguesting.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Joker in the deck

The clueless MSM thought Bob Barr would win the Libertarian Party nomination by acclamation; it took six ballots. Now, the clueless MSM thinks of Barr only as a "spoiler" for John McCain. Better think again:
A simplistic "spoiler" conception of Barr's LP bid ignores certain wild-card scenarios. For instance, what if Barr takes advantage of the "Hillbillies for Hillary" phenomenon and capitalizes on Barack Obama's weaknesses by campaigning in West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania? (The "Bitter for Barr" vote?) Ex-Libertarian Ron Paul got 16 percent of the vote in the Pennsylvania Republican primary, and 128,000 votes is nothing to sneer at in a key swing state.
It is possible (though by no means certain) that by appealing to disaffected voters of both major parties, Barr could force Republicans and Democrats alike to alter their campaign calculus. As Barr's running mate, Vegas oddsmaker Wayne Allyn Root, might say, it's like playing Texas Hold 'Em with a joker in the deck.
David Weigel is also tired of ignorant "spoiler" talk.

BTW, this morning I spoke to Georgia LP Political Director Doug Craig, who said, "When we got back [from the Denver national convention] we had a ton of e-mails and voicemail from people wanting to get involved with the campaign and join the party, so it's already having an impact."

Right now, I'm using Wi-Fi in a McDonald's in Calhoun, Ga., having spent the last two days visiting friends and family in Georgia. In 20 minutes, I'll be on Jeff Crouere's "Ringside Politics" radio show in Louisiana.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lindsay Lohan, lesbian?

That's what the gossips are saying. And there are photos of Lindsay and her alleged sapphic paramour Samantha Ronson strolling hand-in-hand.

I don't know. I have competing theories:
  • A. She's been gay all along. The substance-abuse episodes were basically a cry for help -- the actress known as Little Miss Wholesome, forced to suppress her inner dyke, resorted to drugs and booze in an effort to quell the psycho-sexual pain. Career advantage: Most likely to produce a bestselling tell-all memoir and an hour-long "Oprah" episode.
  • B. She's going through a phase. She's been burned and used and dumped by guys, so she decides to give the other side a try. Kind of like college girls who go LUG (Lesbian Until Graduation). Career advantage: Most likely to produce nasty "palimony" lawsuit, generating valuable media buzz.
  • C. It's a publicity stunt. Lindsay's trashed her own acting career so badly, her agent suggested this faux-lesbo shtick as a way maybe at least to get her some auditions for bimbo roles in straight-to-video flicks. Career advantage: Most likely to produce an Internet sex video that will easily eclipse Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in terms of total viewers.
(Via WeSmirch.)

Barr on Cavuto

In an interview Wednesday, Neil Cavuto repeatedly mentioned the Rasmussen poll showing Bob Barr at 6 percent -- a poll taken a week before Barr won the Libertarian Party nomination:
CAVUTO: Six percent, that's a pretty good number, considering you haven't done squat yet. I mean, you just got nominated. So, how do you become a Ross Perot phenomenon?
BARR: Well, I'm interested in being more than a Ross Perot phenomenon. . . .
CAVUTO: All right, you know the argument against you . . . that is that you are going to siphon votes away from John McCain. What do you say?
BARR: Not so. I cannot think of any reason why somebody who is predisposed to vote for John McCain, a big-government Republican, would choose instead to switch from John McCain to Bob Barr, a small-government Libertarian. It would make no sense. There are a number, a large number of disenfranchised, disenchanted Republican voters that we hope to pick up and appeal to. But those are voters that would not vote for McCain in the first place.
Read the whole thing. I expect as Barr gets more media, and more polls include him in their questions, you'll see him steadily polling in the 6%-8% range in June. Which in turn will generate more media. Shampoo, rinse, repeat.

'In it to win it'

Bob Barr Monday morning on CNN:

Today's GOP = tomorrow's Whigs?

Bad news gets worse for Republicans:
A flood of recent polls supports Democratic arguments that the party will win a larger majority in the Senate in the next election.
Democrats have now polled ahead or within the margin of error in 11 Republican-held seats. . . .
The most recent numbers, released Tuesday by independent Rasmussen Reports, showed businessman Bruce Lunsford (D) leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) 49-44 in the race for McConnell’s Kentucky seat.
Prompting John McCormack to note the possibility that "the Democrats could win control of a 60-seat filibuster-proof Senate majority in November.":
Just a couple months ago, Republicans really weren't expecting they'd have to invest significant resources in Kentucky, North Carolina, or Texas. But now Democratic challengers have emerged from recent primaries, and they're running neck and neck with GOP incumbents.
(Via Ace.) Remember that Republicans are on the short end of a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats. Remember that Republicans have given up hope of recapturing the House, and will most likely lose more seats in November.

President Barack Obama? Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? Get ready for Soviet America.

Since 1998. Republican leaders have made the quest for power in Washington their only political principle. Now, Republicans are just months away from having no power in Washington. They're dead men walking.

The coroner will conclude that the Republican Party died a decidedly unnatural death, inflicted by many hands. Karl Rove, Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, George Voinovich, Jack Abramoff, Mitch McConnell, Larry Craig, Ken Mehlman, Lincoln Chafee, John Boehner, Mike DeWine, Mark Foley, Arlen Specter, Alberto Gonzalez, Chuck Hagel, Michael Gerson, Trent Lott, Andy Card, Mel Martinez, John McCain -- these are but a few of the more prominent knife-wielders in the band of assassins who killed the party of Reagan.

We're headed to the elephant graveyard. GOP, R.I.P.

Barr campaign in Atlanta

Barr slammed the Bush administration today:

Bob Barr blasted the Bush administration on Wednesday for eroding the privacy of U.S. citizens, which he called the most fundamental of American rights.
"Obviously, under this administration, the right to privacy not only isn't important, it doesn't exist," Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, told the Clayton County Rotary Club.

(Via Jason Pye.) I'm in the Atlanta area today, but didn't go to the event in Jonesboro, because I was visiting with friends and family, including my high school drama and chorus teacher, Carolyn Hansard, whose son Bart Hansard has built a career as an actor.

Something else from the AJC story:

[Barr] already has campaign events planned in Washington, New York, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., with more to come, he said.
I had a brief phone conversation today with a Barr operative, who told me the campaign staff is currently busy meeting the legal requirements, doing necessary paperwork, "dotting the i's and crossing the t's" of establishing the campaign infrastructure. The candidate will continue doing media -- he appeared on Neal Cavuto's Fox show today -- and fundraising for the general election will get underway. Expect to hear a lot more from Team Barr in June.

Meanwhile, a clueless MSM report from Newsweek:
Barr's goal is snag the support of 15 percent or more of registered voters and participate in this fall's presidential debates. That's unlikely to happen. One big reason: Ron Paul. With his cult-hero bid for the White House, Paul has done more this year than any of his predecessors to popularize Libertarian ideas--no foreign interventions, minimal government, a return to the gold standard. But the trouble is, he ran (and is still running) as a Republican, and shows no signs of abandoning his party. If Paul continues his campaign through the GOP convention, as he's already promised, he'll monopolize much of the newly-unleashed Libertarian energy--the record-breaking donations, the clever online organizing, the passionate activism--at least through September.
Moron. Paul's campaign makes it more likely (not "unlikely") that Barr will reach double digits in the polls. Paul's campaign within the GOP is effectively over. Paul's delegates will make noise at the GOP convention, but as fair as advancing the goal of his supporters -- to dethrone their pro-war conservative adversaries -- the Paul campaign has failed, where Barr may yet succeed.

Dozens of delegates at the Denver LP convention had been active Ron Paul supporters in the GOP primaries. Now their support (their time, effort and money) will be devoted to Barr.

Don't believe anything the MSM writes about Barr. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Aaron Sheinin is the only MSM reporter who has even really tried to be fair to Barr. Otherwise, go to Third Party Watch.

The decline of newspapers, cont'd

Ex-newspaperman John Quaid notices that Tribune Media has hired a former radio executive, who is paid big bucks to issue memos. Wonderful how newspaper companies can spend the big bucks for memo-writers, even while newsroom layoffs continue.

Tuesday, I was talking to an old friend who's a newspaper editor in Georgia, and he predicted:
In 10 years, this business is going to be run by 18-year-old girls with cellphone cameras. "It's on MySpace! Hee-hee-hee!"
The dire situation for the newspaper industry has exactly one cause: People don't want to read newspapers anymore.

An e-mail from Texas

A retired Army colonel in Texas sent me the following e-mail:
I strongly disagree with Bob Barr running for President. A third party candidate has NEVER won the White House. Every third party candidate in history has simply become the SPOILER, putting the other party in the White House. Barr could make his points better by working closely with the Republicans to ensure at least some of his points are included in the platform.
I can only assume that Bob Barr’s ultimate intent is to ensure a Democrat sits in the White House for that will be the outcome of his candidacy.
I responded:
Thank you for writing, sir. I've heard Barr address the "spoiler" question at length several times. He has said that voters who vote for him probably wouldn't vote for McCain or Obama anyway, and if it weren't for his candidacy, these disaffected voters would just stay home.
The problems facing the Republicans in the coming election -- as indicated by the party's lackluster fundraising and polls showing strong disapproval of the Bush administration -- are, after all, the Republicans' problem. That Bob Barr could take advantage of those problems may be worrisome to Republicans, but they should have thought of that possibility when they were nominating the co-author the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill.
In point of fact, a third-party candidate has won a presidential election. His name was Abraham Lincoln, a former Whig congressman.
I have many friends who, like my Texas correspondent, are inclined to support Crazy Cousin John because of fear that a Democrat will win the White House. Their essential argument -- that conservatives must automatically vote for any Republican candidate -- gives license to the Beltway GOP Establishment types who think they can pursue unconservative policies without electoral consequences. Conservative voters have got "nowhere else to go," the Beltway cynics say.

For six years, I lived in a Maryland district represented by Connie Morella, a liberal Republican. I voted for Morella because I understood that (a) this was a liberal district, and it would be difficult or perhaps impossible for a conservative Republican to be elected there, and (b) as Newt Gingrich once said, the only vote of Morella's that really mattered was her vote to caucus with the Republicans, thus to establish their power as the majority.

Eventually, of course, Morella was defeated by a liberal Democrat -- the inevitable fate of all liberal Republicans.

If John McCain were a conservative running as a conservative, he would have no concern about a third-party challenge from the right. However, as his American Conservative Union ratings clearly demonstrate, McCain has spent the past 12 years distancing himself from conservatives.

As recently as 1996, McCain scored 95 from the ACU; since then, however, his ACU rating has never been higher than 81, and has three times fallen below 70 -- 68 in 1998 and 2001, 65 in 2006.

That McCain's ACU ratings are much higher than Barack Obama's or Hillary Clinton's, there can be no doubt. But those who urge conservatives to vote to elect one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress to the White House are in effect endorsing a leftward drift of the GOP.

BTW, Barr's lifetime ACU rating: 98.

Sacrifice vs. selfishness

David Boaz of the Cato Institute points out the hypocrisy of millionaire politicians telling students not to be selfish:
Sen. Obama told the [Wesleyan University] students that "our individual salvation depends on collective salvation." He disparaged students who want to "take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy." . . .
During a Republican debate at the Reagan Library on May 3, 2007, Sen. McCain derided Mitt Romney's leadership ability, saying, "I led . . . out of patriotism, not for profit." Challenged on his statement, Mr. McCain elaborated that Mr. Romney "managed companies, and he bought, and he sold, and sometimes people lost their jobs. That's the nature of that business." . . .
Mr. Obama, who made $4.2 million last year and lives in a $1.65 million house bought with the help of the indicted Tony Rezko -- and whose "elegant suits" and "impeccable ties" made him one of Esquire's Best-Dressed Men in the World -- disdains college students who might want to "chase after the big house and the nice suits." Mr. McCain, who with his wife earned more than $6 million last year and who owns at least seven homes, ridicules Mr. Romney for having built businesses.
How very easy for rich people to talk about goals more lofty than making money.

The Un-Democratic Party

Top Democrats will meet Saturday to screw over voters in Florida and Michigan:
The Democratic National Committee is bracing itself for protests outside its Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting on Saturday in Washington, where the fates of the Florida and Michigan primaries could finally be decided.
Supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton are organizing to march and then gather on the street outside the panel’s meeting, scheduled for Saturday morning at a hotel in Northwest Washington. . . .
The Rules and Bylaws Committee is expected to address the primary votes from Michigan and Florida, which moved up their primaries in violation of national party rules. The Clinton campaign has pinned its hopes on the Michigan and Florida votes being added to the totals, giving her a much-needed boost in the final days of the primary campaign.
If voters in Florida and Michigan are screwed over because of the party bosses' rules, the Democrats will have abandoned whatever right they might ever have had to complain about about "disenfranchisement."

Huck: Conservatives 'heartless'

Mike Huckabee is campaigning for the GOP running-mate spot, and muddying the waters:
The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it's this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it's a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says "look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that
elderly people don't get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids
go without education and healthcare, so be it." Well, that might be a quote pure
economic conservative message, but it's not an American message.
Huckabee is so wrong in so many ways. First, he absurdly suggests a conflict between "classic Republicanism" and limited government. Conservatives don't want to "eliminate government"; we want to eliminate unconstitutional government, i.e., the federal Nanny State bureaucracy, womb-to-tomb Welfare State entitlements, and so forth.

Huck is wrong on the specifics. Medicare is an LBJ-era "Great Society" program, one that didn't even exist until 1965. How is opposition to Medicare Part D thus incompatible with "classic
Republicanism"? Why didn't Goldwater or Reagan push to provide taxpayer-funded prescription drugs for senior citizens?

Considering that John McCain has frankly confessed to being an economic ignoramus, Huckabee's own contempt for economic conservatism makes him a likely choice for the No. 2 spot.

'Feral Confederate chihuahua'?

It's OK, Tom, I've been called worse. Nice account of the LP convention in Denver:
It's hard to describe just how hectic the convention was. On Sunday evening, Mary Ruwart took her staff out for a casual "thanks for making a fight of it" dinner at Chipotle. While ordering, it occurred to me that the only things I'd ingested since breakfast on Saturday morning were a few hospitality suite finger-food offerings and a lot of bourbon, cola and Starbucks iced white chocolate mocha latte.
I managed to eat enough during the convention. It's the lack of sleep that got to me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Conservatives in play?

This dead elephant logo is one that Michelle Malkin uses to highlight blog posts about the GOP's abandonment of conservative principles, such as Tuesday's post in which a reader replies to Republican National Committee fundraisers:
I have not left the Republican Party. The party has left me. . . . Why should I contribute to you, when I can have the same type of leadership [from Democrats]?
How widespread is such sentiment? Friday's post from John Hawkins at Right-Wing News:
I cannot back John McCain, encourage others to vote for him, or contribute any
more money to his campaign . . .
Tuesday, I was interviewed by New York's WBAI radio -- a "progressive" station -- and the host asked me whether Bob Barr could take advantage of conservative disaffection with the GOP. I told the interviewer I don't have a crystal ball, but I mentioned Hawkins' post as evidence of the depth and breadth of conservative rage at current GOP leadership.

Barr had to "walk the plank" on Libertarian issues like medical marijuana and gay rights in order to secure the LP nomination. That's going to limit his appeal to conservatives, even to many of the anti-war conservatives who have backed Ron Paul. Still, conservatives' intense dislike of John McCain and their growing contempt for the GOP Establishment in Washington creates the real possibility that more of them may jump ship as Hawkins has done.

November is still more than five months away, and anything can happen. A poll last week indicated Barr could put Georgia in play. Considering that Georgia went 58% for Bush in 2004, that's significant. There's also the matter of all those "Hillbillies for Hillary" Democrats who won't vote for Barack Obama (more about that here). With disaffected voters in both major parties, we are clearly looking at a volatile political environment.

Post-Denver Syndrome

Having spent the past five days covering the Libertarian Convention in Denver, I'm shell-shocked. I rode round-trip from Georgia to Denver and back in a van with "a bunch of smelly Libertarians."

My wrap-up story is at The American Spectator, as is my Friday "Fear and Loathing in Denver" article, and I also blogged at the Spectator. For nostalgia's sake, there's my preview, and my April coverage of Barr's appearance at the North Carolina LP convention.

David Weigel has a wrap-up analysis, and Georgia LP delegate Jason Pye compiles his own coverage. LP delegates Tom Knapp and Doug Craig were on the "smelly Libertarian" van and have coverage.

I'm so exhausted now, I can barely think, so I'm going to take a long nap.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Barr wins LP nomination

Bob Barr has just won the Libertarian Party presidential nomination in the "Denver Dogfight." Complete coverage of the six rounds of balloting at the American Spectator.

UPDATE: Just enjoyed celebratory refreshments with Barr operative Stephen Gordon. Gordo managed Aaron Russo's 2004 Libertarian campaign, which lost on the third ballot at Atlanta, and today's victory for Barr was a major vindication for Gordo. The fact that it took six ballots for Barr to win (with just 54% of the vote in the end) should stand as a permanent rebuke to those MSM outlets that seemed to believe that Barr's LP nomination was a done deal.

I'll try to get up some photos later. I'll have to write a story for Tuesday's Spectator Online. The agenda for this evening? The Barr campaign staffers say tonight they're planning to put the party back in Libertarian Party. And I have to cover that story. Work, work, work.

UPDATE II: USA Today's political blog relies on Associated Press coverage of the convention, which erroneously describes Mary Ruwart as having previously been the LP's presidential and vice-presidential nominee. Jim Antle corrects.

Exhaustion begins to overtake me, after hustling to cover such an exciting story all day. My first post at the AmSpec blog was filed before 9 a.m. MT, the second post two hours later, then about noon, I began reporting the six rounds of balloting, which continued until almost 4. All of that on about five hours' sleep.

I don't mind the hours, but it hacks me off to see people relying on the AP, which can't get the story straight, when I've been covering this story for more than three months. God forbid USA Today should bother linking the guy who first reported the beginning of the "Draft Barr" movement in February.

UPDATE III: Memeorandum links, with links as well to Weigel, Vox Day and Radley Balko. Instapundit links my Spectator blogging as well as Weigel. Noting the accusations of a "neocon" takeover of the LP, Insty says: "Funny, Barr doesn't look neoish."

Jason Pye has a good chronological liveblog of the Sunday action, including the vice-presidential balloting, where it appears that the radicals wanted to get California marijuana activist Steve Kubby for the No. 2 spot. Actually, Kubby is a funny and engaging guy, although I'm sure he'd be viewed as a liability in the general election campaign, where Mr. and Mrs. Middle America wouldn't get it. But it looks like Wayne Allyn Root will get the running-mate gig. And Lord, can he run! That man is energy personified.

UPDATE IV: The VP race was razor-close, Root winning with just 50.6% of the vote. Many delegates had left the convention floor after the presidential race, and Barr came within an eyelash of ending up with Kubby as his running mate.

Afterward, Kubby told his supporters, "Spark up!" No ... wait. No, that's wrong. What he actually told his supporters was, "Please, I don't want anyone trashing this ticket." So he's apparently an LP loyalist, uniting behind Barr and Root.

On the sidewalk out front of the Sheraton, I happened to run into Jim Burns, one of the third-tier candidates who didn't qualify for the presidential debates. I asked Burns how he felt. "I'm a Libertarian -- I'm used to losing. And we're going to keep on losing until we win!"

Team Barr is now getting organized for the general-election campaign. I spotted Russ Verney at the Barr exhibition booth, making phone calls to delegates who'd donated to the campaign, inviting them to a private reception that starts in a few minutes. Work, work, work.

UPDATE V: Daniel McCarthy calls Wayne Allyn Root "the poster child for ADHD." That's unfair. Root is extremely high-energy -- someone said last night, "I feel like he wants to sell me Ginzu knives" -- but he is also very focused.

Tim Lee is nervous. Brendan Loy notes the child-pornography issue that damaged Ruwart. And perhaps the damage was unnecessary. It would have been the simplest thing in the world for Ruwart to have said (about a book she wrote in 1999), "No, I don't believe child pornography should be legalized. What I really meant was ..." blah, blah blah. Or else say she'd changed her mind, realized that her argument could be misconstrued as an endorsement of things she hadn't meant to endorse. But she didn't do that; she just cried "smear," which won't work in such a circumstance.

Stephen Littau offers parting thoughts on the LP convention.

Sunday: The Big Vote

Bob Barr's most distinctive supporter at the LP Convention, at last night's post-debate reception.

Going into today's presidential vote, the Barr campaign staff says they're feeling good, but nobody really knows what the result will be. I'll keep blogging at The American Spectator. You should also check out Jason Pye's blog, David Weigel's blogging at Hit & Run, and Third Party Watch.

UPDATE: LP Chairman Bill Redpath has just reminded delegates of changes in the rules. Nominating speeches are about to begin.
Weigel has a good post about the early losers.

Just saw Barr's assistant Jennifer Chambrin sneaking a cigarette before going down to the convention floor for the vote as an LP Georgia delegate.
Barr talks to Matt Harris, a West Virginia delegate who supports Mary Ruwart, at the sidewalk cafe outside the lobby bar Saturday after the debate. Barr has spent at least four hours a day talking one-to-one with delegates, including delegates for other candidates who might be persuaded to support Barr on the second ballot.