Saturday, June 7, 2008

Marcus Epstein punks SPLC

Marcus is a young conservative who shows up at just about every party around D.C. This makes him evil, acccording to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

So Marcus buys a spot on the SPLC's "Wall of Tolerance," and gets a certificate lauding him for his "important contribution to the ongoing fight against hatred and intolerance in America."

Moral of the story? SPLC is a carnie hustle, a ripoff operation to scam rich old liberals out of their money by making them believe they're fighting "hatred and intolerance" by smearing conservatives like my young friend Marcus.

Hillary pulls the plug

Her endorsement speech:
The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States. . . .
Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him. . . .
And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.
Video via Hot Air:

(Link: The New York Times:

Many of her supporters watched, some weeping, turning out to witness this latest milestone for the Clinton legacy. . . .
Most in the crowd roared their approval when Mrs. Clinton mentioned Mr. Obama’s name, though there were boos and jeers from the upper levels of the three-tiered room. Several of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters tried to drown out those boos by clapping louder.
You know what I didn't hear? I didn't hear her say she was releasing her delegates to vote for Obama on the first ballot.

Behind the B.S. Wall

Via Postmodern Conservative (home of James Poulos and the big honkin' Elvoid sideburns), here's Daniel Koffer:
Campaigning on xenophobia, guilt by association, and red-baiting has desperate and unintentionally self-parodic qualities this year that it didn't have as recently as 2004. The likelihood is that John McCain will lose; if and when he loses, the multilateral truce among neos, paleos, reformists, and GOP hacks --- which is about as fragile as the truce in Basra to begin with --- is going to shatter before Obama's victory speech ends.
The neocons are in a decidedly weak position. Fairly or not, it's their foreign policy more than anything else that has made the name of the GOP radioactive --- and even worse for Republican partisans, has destroyed the party's nearly 40-year-old, frequently decisive advantage on national security. And though the Republicans somehow stumbled into nominating their only candidate with a prayer of victory, they exposed the neocons to even more risk by choosing, in John McCain, the most prominent exponent of their philosophy in American politics. Honest neocons like Lawrence Kaplan readily concede that neoconservatism's future rests on McCain's shoulders. Kristol, on the other hand, is trying to reframe the debate to obscure its ramifications for his ideology in case McCain loses.
Very perceptive, Mr. Koffer. Neoconservatives have, indeed, been adept at blame-shifting. The fact that Bill Kristol is still a regular at Fox News -- and that both he and his protege David Brooks landed full-time op-ed gigs at the New York Times -- suggests how successful they've been at this "It's Not Our Fault" Jedi mind trick.

I hasten to add that Koffer is dead wrong about one thing: There is not, never has been, and never will be, any truce between neo- and paleoconservatives. Going back to the earliest days of the Reagan administration, the necons have shown a zealous determination to hunt the paleos to extinction. Someone (me?) could write a book about this. Suggested title: "First They Came for Mel Bradford."

Of course, I'm a "Rodgers & Hammerstein Conservative": I believe that the farmer and the cowman can be friends, so to speak. But in the Neo-Paleo Wars, there can be no doubt that the neos have been the aggressors.

The root of the problem is the neos' insistence that they, and they alone, are fit judges of what is "acceptable" conservatism, and that no one may present himself as a conservative without their permission. They have relentlessly purged so many people -- Bradford, Pat Buchanan, Peter Brimelow, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, Thomas Woods, to name but a few -- from the ranks of "acceptable" conservatives that it's hardly surprising that now the Big Tent is looking kind of empty.

Perhaps worse than that, the neocon "Urge To Purge" creates a fear-based vibe within the GOP coalition. Who will be next?

'It was a different time'

"We went down to NASA and, to our surprise, they weren't hiring any Negroes."

Incoherent anger at GOP

Basic problem: People can't respond to your complaints if they can't understand what you're saying.
Paul is referring to a blog post at The Next Right where conservatives of all persuasions are gathering to discuss whether or not to abandon the GOP or try to rebuild it from the bottom up. I elect to rebuild it from the bottom up but that road is going to be long and hard seeing that the GOP/RNC leadership wouldn't know what a conservative was if one smacked them on the forehead with a baseball bat...or a moonbat.
As Paul stated above, the tuning out of the Republican message is due to several factors one of which is they sound more leftist in their estranged rhetoric. Another factor is silly things like working with - read that as reaching across the aisle - socialists and develop nonsense like the No Child Left Behind quagmire. This government program stripped States Rights away from the States - the theoretical United States - and placed the education dictates into the hands of career idiots (politicians) at the Federal Level. Conservatives don't like having States Rights stripped away. It's that simple.
That's just angry, incoherent noise, and it's not going to persuade anyone that you have a valid argument worthy of their attention. We get that you're angry at the Republican Party leadership, but you're not expressing your anger in the form of an argument.

The disorderly structure of your rant conveys a message much clearer than the message you intend to communicate. It tells people: "I am an unorganized, sloppy goofball, full of chaotic passion, but not capable of developing a rational plan of action."

People who want to engage in political communication must learn to express themselves in a coherent, persuasive manner, and they must learn that the form of communication conveys information just as much as the content does. You can't scrawl a misspelled note in green crayon on the back of a cocktail napkin and expect people to treat that as a serious message.

RNC says, 'Thanks, Democrats!'

So helpful for all those Democrats to tell the world that their own party's nominee isn't qualified to be commander-in-chief:

All that and more can be found at the new site,, which Sam Youngman of The Hill describes:
[T]he website . . . promises to be a one-stop site for everything the RNC sees as an Obama vulnerability.
The site features a section on "The Rezko Judgment," a running counter of how long it has been since Obama last traveled to Iraq and a mock-up of Obama's résumé.
"Learn the Real Story About Illinois’ Freshman Senator," the site boasts at the top.
At press time, attempts to reach the Obama campaign were unsuccessful.
That last line is telling. I've had my own exasperating experience trying to get through to the Obama press office. Hillary's media people were very accessible, but Team Obama? Puh-leeze. Try this yourself: Go to the Obama Web site, try to find a media contact number, and see how long it takes you to get in touch with a real human being in their press office. Maybe they figure with "Oprah" on their side, that's all the media they need.

Barr on Beck

Talking energy and leadership:

Celebrity update

Lindsay Lohan gets jiggy in a toilet with the son of Bobby Brown? A believe-it-or-not week for the red-carpet crowd, via We Smirch:
And finally . . .
Just when you think you've seen the low ebb of Western civilization, it always sinks a little lower. When wannabe celebrities now resort to this kind of stunt for the paparazzi . . . how desperate for fame can you get? Cue the Brad Paisley.

Hillary's Hope-haters

Neat quote from a Hillary supporter:
"You have betrayed us, our children, and our future," [Democrat activist Amy] Siskind proclaimed during her speech, "and you will learn the new meaning of stay-at-home moms!"
Probably just angry noise, but it might turn out to be more, if Team Obama doesn't placate Hillary, whose campaign debt is now reportedly $30 million. They want her to go away, but they don't want her to go away angry, stirring up discontent amongst her supporters.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New CNN poll

Results of the head-to-head matchup:
  • Obama 49%
  • McCain 46%
With other candidates:
  • Obama 47%
  • McCain 43%
  • Nader 6%
  • Barr 2%
Allahpundit says this is better than the McCain campaign had hoped, since they expect Obama to jump ahead by 10 points in coming weeks. As to the third-party showing, CNN says:
[I]ndependent candidate Ralph Nader and Republican-turned-Libertarian Bob Barr are both vying with the two major-party candidates for independent voters.
But at this point, it looks unlikely either will play a spoiler role: the margin between Obama and McCain is virtually unchanged, with the Illinois senator leading 47 to 43 percent. Nader pulls in 6 percent, and Barr 2.
Given that Nader has done almost no campaigning, it's likely that his showing is almost entirely a result of name recognition, rather than any deep left/independent (or pro-Hillary) animus toward Obama.

On the other hand, the CNN poll could be an indicator of how much work Barr's got to do in terms of his own name recognition. He's gotten an awful lot of "earned media" the past few weeks to be polling at just 2%.

Jim Geraghty of NRO from a McCain campaign briefing notes this:
Perhaps most ominously to those who would prefer a Republican presidential candidate who echoed talk radio on the issue, illegal immigration, [campaign manager Rick] Davis noted that McCain's history of stands on immigration that caused him such grief in the GOP primaries "may suit to fit him in a general election."
That Team McCain thinks their guy can ride the open borders agenda all the way to the White House shows how little attention they pay to the conservative base.

TNR on Barr

Michael Idov has a colorful story on the Libertarian Convention in the New Republic, much of it based on the unofficial Friday night debate, which the eventual nominee Bob Barr didn't attend.

Several of the LP delegates I spoke to in Denver who attended that debate said they thought Barr made a mistake by not participating, but the fact was that (a) he'd previously scheduled a Friday night reception for his supporters, and (b) the candidates who would actually be in contention for the nomination would be in the official Saturday night debate anyway.

As I explained in my first story from Denver, there was a paranoid vibe among the hard-core anti-Barr contingent. Barr's late entry into the race, and the fact that he'd officially been a Republican until 2006, had a lot to do with that. Understandably, he was viewed as an outsider by many longtime LP people, but some of the more freaky-deaky fringes of the party's grassroots are just paranoid anyway. Ivov captures the conspiratorial vibe:
By Sunday morning, all nerves are fraying. There's another persistent rumor -- cheerful to some, frightening to others -- that a last-minute busload of pissed-off anti-Barr anarchists, summoned by Kubby, is on its way to the Sheraton.
Nerves were also fraying in the Barr camp, after Wayne Allen Root's strong debate showing Saturday night, as Ivov notes:
Stephen Gordon, Barr's rail-thin, gloomy adviser, when the debate is over. He's staring at the convention hall's floor as he speaks. "Root won. Personally, it frustrates the hell out of me."
Rail-thin, yes, but "gloomy" is not a word I'd ever think to apply to Gordo -- most of the time he's a happy-go-lucky fellow. As the man in charge of organizing the Barr campaign's floor operation at Denver, however, he was definitely as stressed-out as I've ever seen him.

There's a certain Rashomon thing comparing my coverage to other reporter's coverage of Denver. For example, Ivov reports a lot of the wheeling-dealing among the campaigns during the presidential vote, while I was focused on live-blogging the balloting as close to real-time as possible.

Denver was a very competitive journalistic environment: Dave Weigel of Reason was also live-blogging it, as were Jason Pye and other Libertarian bloggers, and Aaron Gould Sheinin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was reporting the story in real-time. I was mainly concerned about trying to keep up with Weigel, an excellent reporter who knows the LP inside and out, so I was quite flattered when Rocky Mountain News columnist Dave Kopel credited the Spectator with providing the "best national coverage" of the convention.

Herd journalism doesn't suit me well. Whenever I go to an event that's being covered by a lot of other reporters, I usually feel like I'm out in my own little orbit. It's easy to get paranoid about this stuff: "Look at those other reporters over there, doing their thing -- should I be doing that, too?" But you can't let that stuff get to you.

During the balloting at Denver, I found it convenient to set up my laptop near the Barr booth in the exhibition hall, where Team Barr had a super-fast WiFi connection and a big-screen TV with a closed-circuit connection to the action on the convention floor. I'd go out to the convention floor to collect notes and get photos, then hustle back over to the Barr booth to file the updates as each ballot's results were posted.

Since I was the only reporter doing it that way, it seemed a bit weird, but it had its advantages. My laptop was in a safe and uncrowded space. I could leave it there and roam around to report, not have to worry about squeezing past the chairs of other writers on Blogger's Row, and file my updates without being surrounded by a lot of distractions. Doing it a different way apparently worked, but at the time, I was by no means sure this was how I was "supposed" to be doing it.

Here's my video of another media moment at Denver, with Barr responding to a question from Ivov at a Saturday morning media breakfast -- the camera pans over to show Ivov near the end:

Something else about Denver: Extreme sleep deprivation. Weigel and I talked about this afterwards. All the delegates had to do was to attend meetings, vote, hang out and party. We reporters had to cover most of that activity and then try to write coherently about it. Ivov had the luxury of being assigned this one big feature story, rather than constantly filing updates and liveblogging. We'll try not to hate him for that.

Another Obamessiah media apostle

San Francisco liberal Mark Marford asks, "Is Obama an enlightened being?" He means it as a rhetorical question, for who can doubt the enlightenment of St. Hopey?

Michael Goldfarb, ex-journalist

Formerly of the Weekly Standard, now writing online press releases for John McCain.

Crossing that line should be a one-way trip, but it's not. In Washington, there's a revolving door between the political press, campaign operatives, and administration officialdom. This is why so much political journalism reeks to high heaven -- this week's reporter is next week's speechwriter, next month's administration staffer and next year's columnist -- and it's kind of hard to do independent reporting about a candidate the day after you interview for a job with his campaign.

Sid Blumenthal traveled such a route, as did Bill Moyers, and similar routes have been pursued by, inter alia, Pat Buchanan and David Frum. There's nothing wrong with making the one-way trip -- leaving journalism to become a political professional -- but hopscotching back-and-forth is just not right, because having a stake in the political game interferes with independent judgment.
I was a bit chagrined a few weeks ago, when the Bob Barr campaign site put me on their "Bloggers for Barr" blogroll. I've done a lot of blogging (and reporting) about Barr's campaign -- I was the first to report on the "Draft Barr" effort that resulted in his LP president candidacy -- but that's different than being an advocate for Barr.

Of course, I'm not anti-Barr. I've known him a long time and have great access to some of his key staff, so covering his campaign has been a lot of fun, because all I have to do is make a couple of quick phone calls in order to scoop the daylights out of most other reporters.

If the Barr campaign were to do something incredibly stupid, however, I'd want the scoop on that story, too, so the "Bloggers for Barr" thing is kind of misleading. Althugh I'm not complaining or asking them to take me off their blogroll, because their Web site throws off a steady traffic of visitors.

If getting traffic from a candidate's blogroll makes me ethically compromised, so be it. We'll take this up at the next Bloggers Ethics Committee meeting. I'm much more objective about Bob Barr, however, than I am about Natalie Portman. (If somebody wants to put me on a "Blogs for Natalie" blogroll, go right ahead.)

Still, in the interests of full disclosure, I have tell you that Wednesday night in New York, Bob promised that if he's elected president, he'll appoint me ambassador to the tropical island paradise of my choice. Of course, Barr's a politician and you can't trust a politician's promises. In fact, if you asked him, he might even deny making any such promise. But he doesn't want to see that ugly headline:
So he'd better watch his step. I may be ethically compromised, but that doesn't mean I'm not still potentially dangerous . . .

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder, suck-up.

Holy crap!

James Bell is facing as much as three years in prison for removing campaign signs from a railroad right-of-way in my hometown of Lithia Springs, Ga. This is insane.

The area where the signs were posted, between Bankhead Highway (U.S. 78) and the railroad track, is known as "the dogwood strip," because years ago the local garden club planted it with dogwood trees as part of a beautification project.

The posting of signs in that area has never been permitted. It would defeat the purpose of "beautification," if this high-visibility area -- along the main east-west route through town -- were cluttered up with signs for real estate agencies, nail salons, garage sales, etc.

Bell volunteers with a local anti-littering group, and pulled up some campaign signs that had been illegal posted in the dogwood strip. Three Republican candidates filed theft charges, and the Douglas County Board of Commissioners is giving Bell the run-around, claiming not to know what the relevant ordinances are.

I went to school with James, who also just happens to be one of the Georgia delegates with whom I recently traveled to the Libertarian Party convention in Denver. His removal of the campaign signs was not politically motivated -- over the years, he's removed all kinds of signs from the dogwood strip -- but this prosecution might be.

Another take on newspaper decline

This guy is a "buyout baby" (and a screeching liberal with a bad case of BDS), but he makes a few good points:
When I came into the business in 1967 at the tender age of 20, most reporters and editors drank like fish and smoked like chimneys (on the job), lived and died for the news scoop, type was set on massive Linotype machines using molten lead, and when the presses of morning and evening newspapers rolled it was like printing money.
Today newsrooms are like vegetarian cafeterias, the scoop is most often the purview of cable news channels and more and more frequently Internet sites, the entire typesetting and printing process is electronic, and when the presses roll for the remaining morning papers (there are no evening papers as such anymore), one can only wonder how many years it will be before they are silenced. . . .
The tsunami of buyouts at the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and other big newspapers have not bolstered their stock prices (which plummeted an average 37.7 percent in 2007) or slowed the erosion of ad revenue and readership.
The print newspaper will not become extinct, but for the most part, major metro dailies have already ceased to be the thick, content-heavy glories they were two decades ago. Even if there were still enough ad revenue to justify a 32-page A section, the evisceration of newsroom staffs means that most newspapers are unable to fill those pages with fresh news content. If extra pages were available, they'd just be filled with wire copy.

Ultimately, as I've said before, the decline of newspapers is a consequence of declining literacy. People no longer read as a pastime; now, they watch TV or play video games. The less time people devote to reading, the less market demand there is for written material, regardless of the format. Journalism as an industry -- including online journalism -- cannot escape this fact of shrinking demand for the written word.

The prospect is bleak. As a newspaper editor buddy of mine said recently, "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!' "

'Obama On Your Shoulder'

A funny video by Mary Katharine Ham, as the Sweetheart of the Blogosphere(TM) demonstrates that her dad is the real talent in the Ham family.

See-Dubya points out that this is the last "Hamnation," since MK is leaving to become online editor of the Washington Examiner. This is a tragedy, since the Examiner is like the Bermuda Triangle for Washington journalists -- they disappear into a fog and are never heard from again.

The Examiner is an absolute non-entity in DC journalism. It's a free giveaway paper that commuters might pick up at the Metro station if they don't have change to buy a real newspaer, but nobody important reads it and it never breaks any important news. The last time I saw Bill Sammon's name in print, it was under his picture on a milk carton.

This isn't necessarily the fault of the Examiner staff, but rather of the newspaper's executives, who don't seem to know anything about journalism (a phenomenon that's surprisingly common among newspaper executives). This especially shows in the paper's design.

The Examiner is published in a tabloid format, but the paper is laid out as if it were a broadsheet. If you want to see what a tabloid is supposed to look at, pick up the New York Post or one of the British tabs: Big screaming headlines, lots of photos, a generally sensationalist approach to news. The front cover is devoted to exactly one story, with just a couple of teaser lines to other stories.

The Examiner looks nothing like that. The cover is like a jigsaw puzzle with a cluttery bunch of headlines and photos. And the interior pages of the Examiner look like a student newspaper at a Midwestern community college, with lame headlines and a general tepidity of presentation.

Nor, I think, do the news editors of the Examiner understand how to deploy their resources to maximum effect. You can compare their approach to what the Politico has done in terms of focusing on political news, and the Examiner loses badly by comparison, even though the latter is lavishly funded by the Anschutz fortune.

Anschutz is pouring out money to no good purpose, because the people running the paper don't know what they're doing. Whether or not MK will be able to make any difference in the long run, her new job at the Examiner means she'll lose a lot of visibility in the short term.

'I hate war'

A very effective message:

Part of an early "definition" strategy: Define yourself before your opponent does. Knowing that the Democrats will try to brand him a bloodthirsty warmonger, McCain gets up an ad conveying the opposite message.

This in some ways resembles how Nixon defanged the anti-war Democrats and did a ju-jitsu on McGovern in 1972. After 1969, Nixon pursued a "Vietnamization" process, sharply reducing the U.S. troop presence and the need for large draft call-ups. He simultaneously pushed hard for a peace treaty, so that by fall 1972, Nixon's "Peace With Honor" message was not only far more palatable than McGovern's "Peace Now" message, but in effect rendered the McGovern message moot.

Yesterday, Time's Mark Halperin accused McCain of underestimating Obama. But it is Halperin and other Obama enthusiasts who are guilty of underestimation, if they believe that the Republican message team plans to let McCain become a fixed target passively absorbing Democratic attacks. This ad shows Team Maverick's willingness and ability to shift the national-security debate away from the static "pro-war/anti-war" argument that the Democrats believe will win for them.

Team Maverick has also engaged in similar "repositioning" on domestic and economic issues, in an effort to prevent the candidate from being perceived as a Bush clone. It will be interesting to see how Team Obama reacts to their opponent's target-shifting tactics.

Inspired by Ace of Spades

Ace's first success as a screenwriter?

Executed by the Nose on Your Face and a cast of thousands.

'Crisis on Omaha'

(Via Michelle Malkin.) A major reason that modern media's war reporting is so awful is that most people don't understand anything about military tactics and strategy. Even the way we now view the D-Day landings shows this. We tend to obsess over Omaha Beach for the simple reason that this was where the Allies encountered the strongest resistance on June 6, 1944, and thus where the most first-day casualties occured.

However, even if the assault on Omaha had been stopped on the beach, this doesn't mean the Normandy invasion would have failed. The German defenders around Vierville and Colleville would have been outflanked to their east by the British and Canadian forces who landed at Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, and by the American forces who landed at Utah Beach to the west, to say nothing of the two U.S. airborne divisions operating on the Carentan Peninsula. Failure at Omaha would have been a very bad thing, but not likely fatal to Eisenhower's plan.

At the same time, it can be argued that Omaha was largely a failure, despite the fact that U.S. forces finally gained the beachhead. The assault was thrown hours behind schedule by the failure to move farther inland on the first day, and the loss of men and equipment (especially amphibious tanks) was so great that most of the U.S. forces in the sector were not fully combat effective for days afterward.

While the resistance and casualties at Omaha have made it a focus of non-military minds, the most important development on D-Day was the failure of the British to seize Caen as originally planned. Instead Caen, a hub of transportation in the area, became the strong point of German resistance. This prevented the envelopment of the key port at LeHavre, and delayed the breakout from the Normandy beachhead by weeks.

About casualties

The media's current fetish about casualties, especially the ideas that death in war is "senseless" and that heavy casualties indicate military failure, demonstrates how sadly our education system has failed to teach military history. As the D-Day experience shows, heavy casualities and military success are not incompatible, and the relative absence of casualities doesn't necessarily mean that operations are more successful. British losses on June 6, 1944, were light in comparison to those suffered by U.S. forces at Omaha, but this was in part because British commanders didn't push as aggressively toward Caen as they might have. A rapid, all-out assault toward Caen might have been more bloody, but if it had succeeded, it would have hastened the defeat of the Germans.

The modern media likes to portray military losses as "senseless" or "useless" unless these deaths are connected with the achievement of some great objective. But as Bruce Catton observed about the Civil War, combat deaths seldom occur in glorious situations. An incoming mortar shell hits or bullets find their targets, soldiers die, and that's it. There's no ostentatious heroism involved, and the soldier, by his death, did not contribute to the achievement any military objective.

This gets back to Patton's famous maxim: "The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other son of a bitch die for his." Casualties are inevitable in the process of destroying the enemy, but it is the destruction of the enemy (not the avoidance of casualties) that is the objective of military effort.

Many great generals -- including Patton, Douglas McArthur, U.S. Grant and "Stonewall" Jackson -- have been accused of being callous toward the suffering of their own troops, simply because they were aggressive in the pursuit of military objectives, and greater aggression often entails greater casualties, at least in the short term. But if aggression hastens victory, and victory brings the end of war, a willingness to sustain heavier casualties in the short term may save more lives in the long term.

A failure of education

All this is lost on modern American media, and on much of the civilian audience, because military history is not properly taught in our schools, which now focus almost entirely on political and social history.

The 21st-century American is permitted to think himself well-educated if he can recognize the preamble of the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address. Yet what does he know of Trenton or Yorktown, Chancellorsville or Chickamauga? Nothing. The eloquent words of Jefferson in 1776 would have been of no effect if the British had defeated Washington in 1777, and Lincoln's fine phrases in 1863 would have been forgotten, if the armies of Grant and Sherman had been beaten in 1864.

Why, then, are American children allowed to graduate and receive diplomas without having learned anything at all about military history or military science? The first and most obvious cause is the the feminization of education.

History lessons are now taught with the idea of engaging the attention of girls and, despite feminist fantasies about "equality," girls generally have little interest in military matters. Boys who might otherwise thrill to tales of Washington's daring Christmas night crossing of the Delaware or the Battle of Midway, are instead subjected to feminist-approved identity-politics lessons on the glories of the Niagara Conference, Susan B. Anthony, suffragettes and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The cultural legacy of Cold War-era pacifism is also heavily implicated in the abandonment of military education in U.S. schools. Campus Marxists and Soviet sympathizers (e.g., Eric Foner) entrenched themselves in academic bastions in the '60s and '70s, and have greatly influenced how history is now taught.

The flagrant anti-American bias of academia (e.g., Ward Churchill) is only the most gaudy fruit of this poisoned tree. Less noticed is the success of the campus Left in propagating the teaching of "social history," which focuses on the lives of the lowly and short-shrifts the achievements of great men, including military leaders. Marxist "social history" tends to celebrate subversion and to focus on the victimization of those who can be portrayed as heroic martyrs -- Sacco and Vanzetti, Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, etc. -- of America The Oppressive.

The treachery of the Left

The military ignorance of students educated in schools dominated by the Left is not accidental, nor is it without political consequence. One does not have to be a bloodthirsty imperialist jingo or a paranoid conspiracy theorist to see how U.S. military defeat fits into the Left's agenda. Defeat tends to demoralize a nation and to discredit national ideals.

No other nation in history has been identified so closely with free-enterprise capitalism as the United States. To defeat, demoralize and discredit America is therefore, in some sense, to discredit capitalism itself. This is why the harshest criticism of the U.S. military since the 1960s has come from advocates of an all-powerful Welfare State.

And this is also why any student of World War II ought to study the perfidious role played by the Communist Party USA and its "Popular Front" dupes in the years leading up to U.S. entry into the war. (Daniel Flynn's A Conservative History of the American Left might be a useful starting place.)

For most of the Thirties, CPUSA and its dupes cried out for opposition to fascism. But when Hitler and Stalin made their secret deal for the partition of Poland (and Soviet annexation of the Baltic states), suddenly the anti-fascist propaganda fell silent, and the same people now denounced as "war mongers" anyone who supported U.S. aid to the Allies.

This overnight conversion of the Left to the cause of pacifism was only temporary, however. It lasted 21 months, until June 1941, when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, his surprise attack on the Soviet Union. Immediately, the CPUSA-led Left went from denouncing "warmongers" to demanding U.S. entry into the war.

The Left thus had been successively pro-war, anti-war, then pro-war again (perhaps inspiring the latter-day flipflopping of John Kerry & Co). But while the American Left's position vis-a-vis war and peace had changed twice in less than two years, this was only because its Communist Party leaders had always been following orders from Moscow.

This is a lesson well worth remembering in our current era. While the hard-core Left was always anti-war -- the ruins of the World Trade Center were still smoldering and no U.S. military response had been announced when the Left mounted its first anti-war protest on Sept. 29, 2001 -- leading Democrats played a cynical game.

Remembering the 1991 Gulf War (where a quick Allied victory had tended to politically discredit the war's opponents), leading Democrats figured on a repeat performance and so, in 2002, voted to authorize force against Iraq. Yet as soon as U.S. forces ran into their first setback (the ambush at Nasiriyah and the sandstorms of March 25-26) Democrats began decrying a "quagmire" and pronouncing the war a failure.

The Democrats' motives in this were as transparent as those of the CPUSA in the 1930s and '40s. Failure (or, at least, the perception of failure) in a war led by a Republican president would tend to politically benefit the Democratic Party. This, and only this, was the explanation of the conversion of the pro-war Democrats of 2002 into anti-war Democrats in 2003 and thereafter.

It is one thing to argue sincerely against war, or to make honest criticism of U.S. foreign policy. Both in their original support for the war and in their current opposition, however, most Democrats have been neither sincere nor honest. And I strongly suspect that opponents of the war who now support Barack Obama will be in for a rude awakening should Obama be elected.

Democrats are now demanding immediate withdrawal from Iraq. If Obama becomes commander-in-chief, however, he will discover (if he does not already realize) that pursuing such a policy is as militarily impractical as it is politically dangerous. Nothing would benefit Democrats more than being able to claim they had "fixed" the Iraq war, correcting the failures of the Bush administration. The election of President Obama is therefore almost as likely to result in permanent occupation of Iraq as would the election of President McCain.

Those who don't know history . . .

UPDATE: Jimmie at Sundries Shack has a nice D-Day post. Online references for D-Day tend to be thin on details. The best is probably the Encyclopedia Britannica D-Day page. I'd recommend Cornelius Ryan's classic The Longest Day, a book I first read as a schoolboy. Another classic, William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, is also very helpful in understanding the origins of the Nazi regime, its initial military success and its subsequent defeat.

Jonah Goldberg's recent Liberal Fascism includes a pretty thorough debunking of liberals' revisionist postwar claims that they had always opposed Mussolini and Hitler. On the other hand, Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America offers an equally thorough debunking of another bit of liberal revisionism, namely the claim that the "America First" isolationists were motivated by fascist sympathies. It is worth noting how the Left, after spending nearly two years (Sept. '39-June '41) in the anti-war cause with the America Firsters, turned so viciously on its erstwhile allies, smearing them as anti-Semites and closet totalitarians, all the while ignoring the genuine totalitarianism and anti-Semitism of Stalin's regime.

Why air travel sucks . . .

. . . and why the suckitude is getting worse.

Anybody want to send me to Aspen?

If you know an editor who would like coverage of the 2008 NORML legal conference, please have them contact me immediately. Just book the flight, and I could be on the next plane out of Dulles.

Your tax dollars at work

NASA is fudging numbers to create the perception of global warming -- a statistical illusion!

This illustrates a very simple principle: If I get to say what counts as evidence, I will never lose the argument, since I can automatically disallow any evidence that you offer in contradiction.

That little game is beloved by self-important "experts," who love to belittle the common-sense arguments offered by ordinary people: "What do you know? You're not an expert!"

There is such a thing as real expertise. But real experts are not usually hostile to evidence the way the global-warming fanatics are.

Karl Rove on organization

Rove quotes Lincoln's famous advice about effective campaign tactics, and says this about John McCain:
Mr. McCain hasn't historically valued organization, dismissing its tedious requirements as unnecessary. Mr. McCain also has an "enthusiasm deficit" with
grassroots GOP activists who work the phones, walk the neighborhoods and register the voters. And he has no grassroots groups to match the Democrats, outside of the National Rifle Association and Right to Life. Mr. McCain will have to build coalitions of veterans, Catholics, Latinos, small business people, evangelicals and women in key states to close the enthusiasm gap.
Good luck with that. The only hope for McCain is purely negative: That people will turn out to vote against Obama. Pure fear-based voting isn't entirely implausible. LBJ beat Goldwater that way in 1964.

One sentence that particularly annoys me about this Rove column:
Mr. McCain has many obstacles to overcome this year, including a political environment that favors Democrats.
This environment is, to a great extent, the product of Rove's own influence within the Bush administration and the GOP, and there's never been a mea culpa from him. That the GOP is still taking advice from the architect of its most recent defeat does not inspire confidence.

I saw Rove speak at GWU, and also heard him at an informal get-together after that speech. He is a very effective speaker, as anyone who's seen him on "Fox & Friends" should know. But being persuasive is not the same thing as being right, and Rove's advice to the Bush administration was horribly wrong. To be persuasively wrong is a dangerous thing, and Rove's unwillingness to admit error fosters the suspicion that he can't learn from his own mistakes.

The mysterious 'we'

Having previously complained about Allahpundit's employment of the first-person plural in reference to the Republican Party and John McCain, I now notice that Allahpundit's referring to Bob Barr's "daring master plan to make his name as widely reviled among the right as Ralph Nader’s is among the left."

If John McCain fails to get 270 electoral votes in November, why should Barr be "widely reviled among the right"? Why not revile McCain instead? If Barr is really such an insignificant fringe character -- and if John McCain is the Savior of Conservatism -- then shouldn't we expect John McCain to win a Reaganesque landslide, so that the Libertarian Party's votes don't even matter?

John McCain is not a conservative, and is arguably the weakest presidential candidate the Republican Party has fielded since Gerald Ford in 1976. To portray him as some sort of sacred vessel into which conservatives should pour all their hopes and dreams -- the basket for all our eggs, so that conservatives must "revile" anyone who doesn't wholeheartedly support his election -- strikes me as the antithesis of political wisdom.

Conflating conservatism with the Republican Party, so that the electoral success of the latter is viewed as a barometer of the political merit of the former, is exactly how the GOP and the conservative punditocracy have reached their current nadir.

You can go back to David Brooks' "National Greatness" article and see how this happened: Brooks confused the electorate's rejection of Bob Dole in 1996 with a rejection of the limited-government philosophy that had animated the "Republican Revolution" congressional insurgency of 1994.

Bob Dole was never a limited-government conservative and, while Dole was en route to a feeble 41% showing, the Republicans were maintaining their congressional majority. Yet the GOP brain trust swallowed Brooks' confused notion that somehow the 1996 election could be viewed as a negative referendum on limited-government conservatism

This resulted in the Republican elite deciding to abandon conservatism. By 2001, a Republican president was cooperating with Ted Kennedy to enact the anticonservative No Child Left Behind Act. By 2002, a Republican president was signing into law the anticonservative McCain-Feingold bill. By 2003, a Republican president was signing into law the anticonservative Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit.

Each of these measures represented an expansion of big government; each was supported by Republicans. Yet where are the eminent conservatives denouncing these measures and calling for their repeal? Nowhere. They've punked out.

Having learned that conservatives would roll over and play dead so long as liberal ideas were advanced by Republicans, the GOP then twice tried to ram amnesty for illegals down the throats of an unwilling electorate.

And now what do we behold? Soi-dissant "conservatives" urging us to rally to the banner of John McCain, the darling of the "National Greatness" crowd and a key proponent of the abandonment of limited-government conservatism. "We" must support him, or else be "reviled."
If conservatives never stand up to the Republican Party, if conservatives just cheerfully accept whatever policies and candidates the GOP serves up, why should the Republican Party have any respect for conservatives? If you offer to be a doormat, don't complain about the footprints on your back.

If Republicans want to continue their steady fade into irrelevance -- becoming a big-government, open-borders, global-warming, entitlement-expanding "me too" party -- I confess that I am powerless to stop them. I'm neither a fat-cat donor nor a "key strategist," and thus have no reason to expect that the party bosses will pay any more attention to me in the future than they have paid me in the past, which is to say, none at all.

Yet it is worthwhile to declare the truth merely because it is true, and the truth is that if the Republicans continue on their present course, they'll go the way of the Whigs.

The Republican argument that "a vote for Barr is a vote for Obama" is self-evidently false, based on the bogus fixed-pie premise that there is some percentage of the vote to which every Republican candidate is automatically entitled. This is false, suggesting that elections are a process of subtracting from 50 percent. In truth, every candidate starts with zero votes, and each candidate's final total is the product of accumulation within a competitive electoral environment.

Heaping imprecations upon the heads of those who refuse to climb aboard the John McCain bandwagon will not fix what's wrong with the GOP. I reject as hopelessly myopic the suggestion that the election of a big-government Republican is a goal of such vital national importance that conservatives must "revile" anyone who might prevent it.

Mark Halperin's Obamessiah moment

Apropos of nothing -- a complete non sequitur -- Mark Halperin of Time magazine lists 15 ways in which he says John McCain "underestimates" Obama, e.g. :
15. How forcefully Obama will now move to the center as a mainstream, optimistic candidate celebrating both change and America’s greatness.
Carol Platt Liebau suggest this is wishful thinking on Halperin's part:
Halperin conveniently chooses not to address the fact that about half of Democrat primary voters didn't choose Obama; that he's having trouble in key constituencies including women, Latinos and blue-collar workers; and that deep divisions remain within his party.
More importantly, perhaps, it took Obama until June to win the Democratic primary against Hillary, who began the campaign with higher negative ratings than Charles Manson. If Halperin's hymn to Obama does nothing else, it should convince the McCain campaign not to underestimate the depth and intensity of the elite media's infatuation with Hopey.

I said months ago that John McCain was destined to lose in November. He's a wretched campaigner who's never won a seriously contested general election. But Obama's never beaten a real Republican, either, and the primary contest against Hillary has exposed his talent for blunders, gaffes and shady associates. This might make Obama especially vulnerable to attack ads, and his weak performance in the Philadelphia debate indicated that Obama doesn't play defense well.

The GOP attack dogs will go to work on Obama this summer (Citizens United is working on a documentary), and we'll see what kind of damage they do. The McCain campaign's "Not Obama" strategy may prove to be more clever than it looks at first glance.

UPDATE: McCain tells ABC's Charlie Gibson, "I'm surprised, frankly, to see the poll numbers as close as they are, given our 'brand' problems in the Republican Party."

Via Hot Air, where Allahpundit says:
We’re still well within striking distance. Had we nominated anyone else, we wouldn’t have been.
Has AP become a McCainiac? And who is this "we"? John McCain is not part of any "we" that includes conservatives, and nearly every conservative worth mentioning -- including The Boss -- was dead-set against McCain's nomination.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

How Obama won

A very good analysis at Larry Sabato's blog, including this interesting graphic:

Sabato's guest-blogger Justin Sizemore writes:
Obama's principal rival, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, won most of the season's biggest prizes, states that awarded a total of 1,835.5 delegates, more than the 1,574 selected in states Obama won. If the Democratic Party allocated delegates on a pure winner-take-all basis, Clinton would have ended the season 261.5 pledged delegates ahead of Obama. . . .
February 5 -- Super Tuesday -- gave the candidates a shot at inevitability: with nearly half the total pledged delegates chosen on that day, a lopsided victory would have been nearly impossible to overcome. Hillary Clinton won the biggest Super Tuesday prizes, but Barack Obama won the day's delegate race by a narrow margin of fifteen.

The whole idea of Super Tuesday -- stacking up 24 states on one day in February, awarding 1,681 delegates in one fell swoop -- was to end the nomination contest early. The powers-that-be wanted a 10-month general-election campaign, which is just plain crazy.

The rise of the "permanent campaign" since the '90s has wrenched the political machinery from its framework. The media thrives on conflict, and the constant partisan back-and-forth is great for ratings, but such an approach has two equal and opposite effects:
  • It causes a small number of political fanatics to descend into an Olbermannesque lunatic frenzy of hyperpartisanship; and
  • It turns off normal people, who become bored and jaded by the apocalyptic rhetoric and constant drumbeat of talking points.
Traditionally, the general election campaign began on Labor Day, and thus consumed only about two months every other year -- plenty enough to satisfy the appetite of all but the most stone-cold political junkies. The "permanent campaign" (which is, to a great extent, a consequence of the rise of 24/7 cable-TV news) is beloved by the political elite, but detested by Ordinary Americans.

By preventing the elite from making their intended premature shift into general-election mode, the drawn-out battle between Obama and Clinton was a blessing for Ordinary Americans.

Barr demands voice in debates

The New York Times reports:
Mr. Barr issued a statement challenging Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain to a series of weekly debates "in cities across America" . . .
At the moment, both the Obama and McCain campaigns are mulling over a proposal from Mr. McCain for a series of town hall-style meetings in the next few months. No mention, however, was made of including Mr. Barr in those events.
Mr. Barr, however, remains bold in his challenge:
"There is no need to limit the debates to the usual handful of carefully choreographed contests,’’ said Mr. Barr, in a statement. “Let us argue the issues, after which the American people can make their decision on Election Day. Surely the citizens of the greatest nation on earth deserve no less."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway notes:

Does Obama insist on Barr's participation -- as Bill Clinton insisted on making Ross Perot part of the '92 debates with George W. Bush?
I talked with one strategist earlier today, before this topic came up. He said the Democratic campaign is quickly coming to realize that Bob Barr is Barack Obama's best friend.
Galloway, like his colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin, is a great reporter. Too bad he's forced to work for that awful newspaper whose stupid editors thought that Rheta Grimsley-Johnson was a suitable replacement for Lewis Grizzard, a journalistic sin for which they can never be forgiven. (And yes, I'm going to keep repeating that statement every time I quote the AJC. I have a profoundly personal loathing for Anne Cox Chambers and the other idiots who ruined the AJC.)

'Whitey' video hoax?

David Weigel writes:
On Monday I blogged about the rumors of a video that shows Michelle Obama making hateful comments about "whitey." I'm now convinced that Larry Johnson, the blogger who's done the most to make the rumors public, is spreading misinformation.
Johnson is/was a pro-Hillary blogger, and if this was a hoax rumor, the purpose appears to have been to prevent an overwhelming shift of Democratic superdelegates to Obama before the June 1 RNC rules committee meeting. The rumor failed to accomplish that purpose, and is thus moot as a campaign story, except to wonder: Where did the rumor come from? Who started the rumor? Was Johnson himself responsible, or was he used by someone (Sid Blumenthal?) inside the Clinton campaign?

If such a video ever materializes, it will be big news. Unless and until it does materialize, we must assume it doesn't exist.

Video: Barr on Colbert

David Weigel assesses Barr's performance. In an earlier thread at "Hit & Run," many libertarians were critical.

I don't know what the critics expected. The way for a politician to be good on Colbert is, let him do his jokes. You laugh at his jokes, and if he tosses you a good set-up line, joke along with him. But don't go on that show thinking you're going to out-funny the funny guy; that's not how it works. Barr did well, made some good points, and showed he has a sense of humor.

Aaron Gould Sheinin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution transcribes some of the best banter:
"What's the difference between you and Ralph Nader other than you apparently own a comb?" Colbert asked, referencing the perennial third-party candidate who is running again as an independent.
"And the mustache," the whiskered Barr offered right back.
"Were you afraid the government might make you register that thing?" Colbert asked. "'Cause it's a lady-killer."
Sheinin is a great reporter. Too bad he's forced to work for that awful newspaper whose stupid editors thought that Rheta Grimsley-Johnson was a suitable replacement for Lewis Grizzard, a journalistic sin for which they can never be forgiven.

Don't mess with Moynihan

I commented recently on Megan McArdle's criticism of the Swedish welfare state. McArdle drew criticism from a know-it-all twerp, who just received an awesome smackdown from Michael Moynihan.

Moynihan lived for many years in Sweden. His wife is Swedish. Don't tell him about Swedes. He concludes:
Swedish social democracy, and its concomitant hostility to entrepreneurship and overly generous network of financial benefits for immigrants and asylum seekers, is a significant contributor to high unemployment rates.
Which is exactly the point that McArdle was getting at. Moynihan loves him some Swedes, but he sure hates him some socialism.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New York, New York

Today, I'm heading to New York City, to cover Bob Barr's appearance on The Colbert Report. I'll have green room access, but I'm told that what happens backstage at the show is strictly off the record. So if you're expecting lurid tales of Stephen Colbert snorting coke with naked Guatemalan hookers, tough luck. I'm saving that for the book.

Blogging will be light.

UPDATE THURSDAY: I'm back from New York, and very tired. The article's at The American Spectator:

NEW YORK -- When Stephen Colbert introduced the Libertarian Party presidential candidate last night, the audience for "The Colbert Report" cracked up when the studio monitors showed a picture of Babar, the elephant protagonist of children's storybooks.
The host of the popular Comedy Central mock-news program told his audience, "Full disclosure, folks: I myself am a Libertarian. I don't want big government to infringe on my right to tell other people how to think."
Jokes aside, Colbert's interview with the Libertarian nominee, former Rep. Bob Barr (not Babar), was surprisingly respectful. He gave Barr plenty of softball questions and allowed the candidate to answer at length.
Libertarians "are a big swing vote this time because Americans are finally realizing, at long last, that the current two-party system, the Democrats and the Republicans, have failed and failed miserably, and will simply give them more of the same," Barr
said. . . .

By all means, read the whole thing. Also, David Weigel has a feature on Barr's LP running mate, Wayne Allyn Root.

Abortion butchers

Michelle Malkin's latest column mentions a couple of heinous examples of the butchery committed in the name of "choice":
In Washington, D.C., the family of 13-year-old Shantese Butler filed a $50 million suit against Planned Parenthood after a botched abortion left the girl permanently injured and infertile. Students for Life of America reports that Shantese was left with “severe abdominal bleeding, severe vaginal injury, severe injury to the cervix, significant uterine perforation, and a small bowel tear.” In addition, parts of the unborn child were found inside Shantese’s abdomen.
In Nebraska, Planned Parenthood refused to disclose the terms of a settlement with another victim whose botched abortion resulted in a perforated uterus, massive blood loss, an emergency hysterectomy, permanent infertility, seizures, and lifelong pain and suffering.
It's sort of a medical corollary to Hayek's observation about "why the worst get on top" in totalitarian regimes. Because abortion is a morally repugnant practice, it does not attract highly-skilled and ethical practicioners. Women who go to abortion clinics are placing their health in the hands of a bunch of greedy hacks.

Sex, lies and Gina Gershon

Remember that Vanity Fair article about Bill Clinton's post-presidential shenanigans? Stolen, says Bob Tyrrell:
"Seventeen anecdotes and ideas are clearly lifted from my book, The Clinton Crack-Up," states Mr. Tyrrell. "Mr. Purdum's article did not make reference to the book once."
Purdum has unjustly deprived Tyrrell of the valuable publicity of a Gina Gershon lawsuit and a New York Post feature, describing Gershon as "famous for her lesbian liplock with co- star Jennifer Tilly in the flick 'Bound.'" How did Tyrrell miss that one?

'Trainwreck' of a speech?

Josh Marshall calls it "already legendarily awful":

Michelle Malkin says, "It’s pedestrian–and even McCain seems to have lost interest in his text," and links Mark Levin, who calls it "a mash and tough to digest."

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton spoke in New York:

(Via Hot Air.) Hillary says:
So many people said this race was over five months ago in Iowa, but we had faith in each other and you brought me back in New Hampshire and on Super Tuesday and in Ohio and in Pennsylvania and Texas and Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico and South Dakota. . . .
Now the question is, where do we go from here, and given how far we've come and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight. But this has always been your campaign, so to the 18 million people who voted for me and to our many other supporters out there of all ages, I want to hear from you. . . .
In the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way.
Hopey also gave a speech:

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again. . . .
America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.
Notice how completely free from any actual content this speech is. It's all just vaguely cheerful rhetoric. I especially like the part about "make this country great again" -- implying that our country is now not great. I suppose Democrats imagine that somebody turned off the Greatness Switch on Jan. 20, 2001, and that, on Jan. 20, 2009, as soon as Obama walks into the Oval Office, he'll just flip the switch again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

DiFi to Hillary: Give up

Wow, this has got to hurt:
Major Hillary Clinton supporter Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday the final primaries mark a "moment of truth" for the New York senator, who should end her campaign.
The California senator also repeated her view that Clinton should be tapped for the vice presidency.
"I think after the campaigns are wrapped up today, it is in fact a moment of truth," Feinstein told CNN. "I think a decision has to be made about whether keeping this nomination wide open is in the best interest of winning in November. I do not believe that it is, and I'm a very strong supporter of Hillary being placed on ticket as a vice presidential candidate."

Oh, she'll pay for that . . .

Obama clinches

Thanks to a super-delegate surge, as the Democratic Party elite choose a candidate other than the one who won the popular vote.

Over at the Spectator, Philip Klein describes Obama's planned "victory lap" -- a speech to AIPAC, then a rally at the Nissan Pavillion.

The media have their hand-picked candidates, and now have five months to try to shove one of them down the throats of an unwilling electorate.

Fireworks to survive in DC?

So says Jimmie at the Sundries Shack. The prospect of a ban on fireworks was troubling.

Lohan and 'Sex and the City'

Quoted by Dawn Eden in The American Spectator:
"Sex and the City changed everything for me, because those girls would just sleep with so many people." Lindsay Lohan told a reporter in 2006. The Parent Trap star was only 11 years old when the show premiered.
The show inspired Lohan to create a sexual double standard for herself: She would have sex with whomever she chose, but would draw the line at sharing her male companions. "If I'm going to give my body to someone, I'd rather them not be with other people," she explained. "But I want to be able to if I like someone else."
Dawn also notes that the original producer of the program was a gay man whose stated goal was to create "a show that objectified men." Which makes it ironic, perhaps, that Lindsay is now the subject of lesbian rumors. Maybe "objectified men" are ultimately uninteresting.

Stu Rothenberg, for the record

Making a note of this prediction:
This is a big country, and the Libertarians may well get half a million votes. But out of 120 million or so cast, that's a drop in the bucket. In presidential politics, the Libertarian Party has established itself as nothing more than a party of protest.
It's still five months to Election Day, and any "expert" who would quantify his predictions in such clear-cut declarative sentences at this point is a fool. Barr begins his campaign polling at 6%, which is a lot more than half-a-million votes.

BTW, some "expert" this guy is. He writes that "Barr . . . announced in December that he was leaving the GOP for the Libertarians" -- uh, no, Stu: Barr joined the LP in 2006.

'Crone Wars' update

My American Spectator article yesterday about Hillary Clinton's angry supporters drew a lot of reader mail, including a woman named J. Malone who objected to my use of the term "crone," to which I responded:
My 1967 Thorndike-Barnhart dictionary defines "crone" as "a withered old woman." I refer you to this video, and ask if I have applied the term unjustly. . . .
My apologies if I have offended you by my use of a term that (again, according to Thorndike-Barnhart) derives from a Middle Dutch word meaning "old ewe."
P.S.: I didn't think of that article as an "opinion piece" so much as an analysis, making the point that while older women may not be a trendy constituency, their wrath should not be taken lightly. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. Just ask my mother-in-law.
Meanwhile, I've offered to bet Phillip Klein that Hillary keeps fighting all the way to Denver.

UPDATE: Hillary says: "It's not over."

McArdle on culture & economics

She's definitely onto something:
It occurs to me that Scandinavia, with its homogeneous population, may have been spending down the accumulated social capital of its pre-welfare state society. . . .
I think we generally underestimate how much culture matters to economic success. It isn't even a matter of getting the rules just right; it's a matter of cultivating a hidden law, a sort of cultural operating system, that limits abuse of public and private trust.
Exactly so. First, the point about how homogeneity allows the welfare state to appear to work. A monoethnic society can foster the "we're-all-in-this-together" attitude, and it is less easy to notice how the welfare system divides the population into taxpayers and tax-consumers. Institute a welfare state in a homogeneous polity, and the layabouts and cheats appear to be random occurrences, so they can be shrugged off as anomalous.

Institute a welfare state in a multiethnic polity, on the other hand, and inevitably some groups will utilize the system more than others. People will notice this pattern, and a sort of "us and them" suspicion develops. And if, as conservatives believe, dependence on welfare is destructive of character, this destruction will be more noticeable to society at large if it is mostly isolated within certain ethnic communities.

Liberals don't seem to see the danger in this. "Well, it works in Denmark!" they'll say, when you try to point out the flaws of social democracy. And they seem not to grasp the deeper meaning of the response: "This ain't freakin' Denmark!"

The second point McArdle makes that I like is about "accumulated social capital" and the cultural influence on economics. The immediate benefits of instituting a program like Social Security are apparent: Old folks are no longer dependent on their children or on charity, et cetera. And for a generation or so, while the pre-existing cultural attitudes about hard work and thrift endure, all you see are the benefits. But then, as the program steadily erodes the pre-existing culture, the unintended consequences become apparent.

Take, for example, proposals for universal health care. We are told that the annual cost will be X-billion dollars. But that estimate is based on current rates of utilization of health care. What will the utilization become when health care is "free"? What will happen when people develop an entitlement mentality about health care? What about the scams, the malingering, the cheaters gaming the system for their own benefit?

Eventually, the welfare state creates its own cultural attitudes. And these attitudes are starkly opposed to those values -- diligence, thrift, sobriety, honesty, forebearance -- necessary to economic growth and civil society.

Lindsay: No lesbian tell-all

Having previously reported the speculation, we are now obliged to report that Lindsay Lohan's nixed a $1 million offer to spill the beans:
Lindsay Lohan has apparently passed on an offer by OK! magazine to say she's gay. Insiders told Page Six that Lohan and OK! are in talks to do a cover where Lohan "comes out" about her relationship with gal pal Samantha Ronson, and the mag has offered her "around $1 million to do the cover." One source said, "Lindsay really wants this to happen and she needs the money." Lohan's rep denies there's a deal, however, saying, "They sent offers and we passed." OK! said, "We don't comment on future editorial."
Dang, girl. For $1 million, you could tell them I was a lesbian. Tell you what: Cut me in on a couple hundred thousands, and I'll write the tell-all for you. I need the work, and this politics stuff is getting boring.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lott on Barr

Jeremy Lott assesses the possibilities for Bob Barr's Libertarian campaign:
Analysts understand that Barr could hurt Sen. John McCain in November. But they mostly miss the extent of the damage the former congressman could inflict. In the Republican primaries, John McCain showed himself to be vulnerable in the South, where the socially conservative former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trounced him. Since Republicans usually clean up in the South, that was assumed to be a non-issue.
Barr is now perfectly positioned to plunge an electoral dagger into that soft underbelly, starting in Georgia. If Sen. Barack Obama can max out black votes and Barr can peel off some white conservatives and antiwar voters, McCain will lose several Southern states. McCain is vulnerable in key Western states as well, including Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and possibly Montana, as Barr peels off some leave-us-alone votes that Republicans can usually count on.
As someone said at Denver, the really damaging thing from the McCain campaign's perspective is that a Barr candidacy could force them to expend campaign resources in states that would otherwise be a walkover for the Republican.

The Democrats will come into the general-election campaign with a big fund-raising advantage. Barr is already at 8% in Georgia and around 6% nationwide. If his campaign catches fire and he starts hitting double digits in some states, Barr's candidacy could make it very difficult for the McCain campaign to figure out where to invest their comparatively limited resources. Of course, the Democrats would face similar questions, but this year, the Democrats can afford to make mistakes that the GOP can't.

Everyone sees doom for Hillary

UPDATE: Will she fight on? Ben Smith:
A Clinton donor tells me that on a conference call . . . with major fundraisers this afternoon, Harold Ickes told them Clinton isn't planning to drop out. . . .
I've obtained a draft of the Illinois finance committee's letter, being circulated by a Clinton fundraising aide, Rafi Jafri, which stresses a fight until the convention, and a resolution in "August, and no earlier."

Never underestimate the Clintons.

PREVIOUSLY: James Antle, Allahpundit, Malkin -- everybody is eager to see that wormwood stake driven through her heart.

I don't know. People have been predicting the end for Hillary ever since Super Tuesday, and yet she keeps going. I've covered her campaign for The American Spectator -- actually had a brief chat with Chelsea in West Virginia -- and so I'm not necessarily objective.

A reporter always has an emotional investment in the story he's covering. You want to believe that what you're reporting is an important story, and if the Clinton campaign was hopeless and pointless, then it wasn't important, was it? So the notion that Hillary might somehow pull off a miracle comeback is appealing, even if it is completely irrational.

Still, as I've been saying for more than two months, Hillary might lose, but she won't quit. Even if she lays off her campaign staff, I don't expect her to concede and release her delegates. She'll at least insist on a first-ballot vote in Denver, and I expect her to try every little behind-the-scenes trick at her disposal.

My Spectator coverage of Hillary's campaign:
I would argue, by the way, that those who are crowing over the apparent collapse of the Clinton campaign have their own biases. Last year, when the Democratic primaries looked like a coronation ceremony for Queen Hillary, a lot of people started hoping she could be beat. Then, after Iowa and Super Tuesday, they started predicting that, in fact, she already had been beaten. (The spate of "it's over" columns in March were of this ilk.)

Since her final defeat would be the fulfillment of their hopes and predictions, these people had a bias toward bad news for Hillary. It wasn't a political bias, really -- there's not a dime's worth of difference between Hillary and Obama, issue-wise -- so much as it was the very common human desire to see the underdog upset the reigning champ.

Every time I went out to cover Hillary on the campaign trail, I'd talk with other reporters. None of them gave her a chance of winning, and they turned every press conference into a game of who could find the most novel way of re-phrasing the question: "Hey, Hillary, when are you going to admit that you've lost?"

One more point: Obama's appeal to youth impacted the press coverage. A lot of younger reporters especially seemed to have it in for Hillary -- it was like some kind of Freudian mother-hatred thing.

Assuming that Obama actually gets the nomination (and hey, anything can happen in June, right?) the general-election campaign will occur under a shadow of "what if?" Should Obama lose, the liberals in the MSM will be left to wonder what might have happened if they hadn't been so willing to participate in the Hillary takedown. If Obama wins, those conservatives who gloated over Hillary's downfall will have cause for remorse.

Barr disses neo-Nazis

The LP nominee releases a statement from campaign chairman Russ Verney:
The Barr campaign is not going to be a vehicle for every fringe and hate group to promote itself. We do not want and will not accept the support of haters.
David Weigel of Reason explains:
One of the bigger media blunders the Ron Paul campaign made was its handling of endorsements from the bigots at Stormfront. White nationalists slithered around the fringes of the Paul movement, and Paul refused to return a donation from Stormfronter Don Black. . . .
Team Barr moved quickly to avoid that mistake.

AmSpec: 'Crone Wars'

Inspired by Saturday's antics at the DNC meeting in Washington, my latest American Spectator article:
Because all the smart, hip, young “progressives” were enthralled by Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party elite were able to convince themselves that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had no real supporters – or, at least, no supporters with the kind of passionate intensity that Obama’s acolytes could bring to the campaign.
Wrong. Hillary’s most ardent supporters tend to be women of a certain age, but their intensity shouldn’t be underestimated just because they belong to a post-menopausal demographic. . . .
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Michelle Obama 'whitey' video?

That's what the buzz is about tonight. Larry Johnson says he has it. Steve in TN is waiting breathlessly. Ace of Spades is skeptical. Here's video of a Fox News discussion:

Nice watching Geraldo (!) lecture Roger Stone on ethics.

Stay tuned for further updates . . .

Hillary: Fight! Fight! Fight!

After her Puerto Rico win, Hillary gives a fighting speech in San Juan:
So, when the voting concludes on Tuesday, neither Senator Obama nor I will have the number of delegates to be the nominee. I will lead the popular vote. He will maintain a slight lead in the delegate count. The decision will fall on the shoulders of those leaders in our party empowered by the rules to vote at the Democratic Convention. . . .
I ask you to consider these questions: Which candidate best represents the will of the people who voted in this historic primary? Which candidate is best able to lead to us victory in November? And which candidate is best able to lead our nation as our president in the face of unprecedented challenges at home and abroad?
I am in this race because I believe I am that candidate, and I will be that president. . . .
Let’s keep fighting for our dream. Let’s keep fighting for what we believe. Let’s keep fighting for one another. Let’s keep fighting for America. America is worth fighting for.
Meanwhile, she unleashes a new TV ad in Montana and South Dakota:

All in all, Hillary doesn't sound like a candidate who's ready for a "negotiated surrender."

Hot Air has an open thread on Puerto Rico. The 100% totals:
Clinton 263,120 (68%)
Obama 121,458 (32%)