Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jonathan Cohn, snob

In the fantasy world where I'm the generalissimo whose junta has seized totalitarian power in a coup d'etat, Cohn would die a painfully violent death for writing parenthetically, "A guy named John Rawls once wrote a thing or two about this."

If you wish to make a reference to Rawls, go ahead and make the reference. Don't be such a freaking snob as to offer a Cliff Notes thumbnail of A Theory of Justice and then give the reader that condescending fake jocularity, implying that anyone who disagrees is so ignorant as not even to know who Rawls is or else unable to recognize his theory without your sneering aside.

Hello? They're reading The New Republic! Isn't it best to assume that readers of a high-brow journal are sufficiently intelligent and erudite that the writers might address them as equals?

Most annoying is how Cohn offers Rawls' views as if they were self-evident. Why is random chance "unjust"? Whence the "moral" obligation to equalize outcomes? This idiotic liberal tendency to equate inequality with injustice is indefensible as logic. "We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one." (A famous guy said that. Maybe you should look him up, Jonathan Cohn.)

The purpose of taxation is to collect revenue for the government, not to reward or punish various classes of citizens. The fiscal action of government is never equal, and inevitably divides the population into taxpayers and tax consumers (as another famous guy said), and tax consumers will always argue for the expansion of revenue. If left unchecked, government become nothing more than organized theft, plundering one part of the population in order to enrich another part. "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." (Another famous guy to look up, Mr. Cohn.)

Cohn goes on to say "median wages have been stagnant for a while; inequality is on the rise." These are separate phenomena -- the stagnation and the inequality are not necessarily caused by the same factors -- and there is zero evidence for Cohn's flat assertion that "Obama's policies would help stop and perhaps even reverse these trends," especially since we don't know what those policies would be. We know what Obama has said he will do; what he will actually do is entirely unknown. I certainly have my doubts that he'll put a dent in the pocketbooks of his wealthy supporters, and even greater doubts that his administration will be marked by an end to the "stagnation" of which Cohn complains.

When the junta seizes power, however, do not doubt what the generalissimo will do to any writer who insults the readership of political journals the way Cohn has done.

"Prick him down, Antony." As a guy once said.

Oscar buzz for Anne Hathaway

So says Christopher Orr in the New Republic, who writes of "Rachel Getting Married":
". . . perhaps the most elaborately multi-culti Bobo wedding ever committed to celluloid. . . . Depending on your own politico-cultural inclinations, you may wish to respond to this extravaganza by imitating it or by voting a straight Republican ticket."
Heh. I'll resist the temptation to discuss my "politico-cultural inclinations" and instead just accept the opportunity to blog about one of my favorite Hollywood hotties, who (a) loves the bad boys, and (b) has had some excellent "wardrobe malfunctions."

UPDATE: Just called a film-buff friend to try to figure out the "family tragedy" that the critics keep hinting at without ever expressing specifically. It's this: Hathaway's character Kym was in a DUI accident that killed her and Rachel's younger brother.

So this is what explains all of the angst that looms through the film. Nothing like unloading a spoiler on a highbrow Oscar-buzz movie.

Urban legend?

(BUMPED -- UPDATED BELOW.) This is likely to be one of the most famous quotes of the 2008 campaign, and is told by liberal pro-Obama blogger Sean Quinn, so don't blame me:
So a canvasser goes to a woman's door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she's planning to vote for. She isn't sure, has to ask her husband who she's voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, "We're votin' for the n***er!"Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: "We're voting for the n***er."
The mere fact that this story is being told by a liberal leads me to believe it's bogus. If a liberal tells me it's warm and sunny outside, I put on a coat and pick up my umbrella before going out.

UPDATE: The Politico's Ben Smith finds evidence that Bush fatigue and GOP "brand damage" may be so severe as to negate the so-called Bradley Effect:

Anecdotes from across the battlegrounds suggest that there's a significant minority of prejudiced white voters who will swallow hard and vote for the black man. "I wouldn't want a mixed marriage for my daughter, but I'm voting for Obama," the wife of a retired Virginia coal miner, Sharon Fleming, told the Los Angeles Times recently. One Obama volunteer told Politico after canvassing the working-class white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are … undecided. They would call him a [racial epithet] and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."
Meanwhile, despite the evidence that racism won't prevent Obama's election, a liberal blogger is still doing the Captain Ahab trip:

The raw racism on display this election season is probably more educational for whites than for blacks, who have had a more accurate picture of reality all along. But, either way, it's deeply painful to see these suspicions confirmed in such a brazen way. It's not so much that racist attitudes are being confirmed. It's that so many people live in microcultures where racism is so accepted that they openly profess their racism to Obama canvassers, reporters, and other perfect strangers. It's the lack of shame that I find most disturbing.
And it hurts me to know that black people all over the country are being traumatized by these hate-filled expressions of intolerance. It doesn't help a bit that a racist is going to vote for Obama. That can't take the sting out of their statements.
Thar she blows! The Evil White Racist!

Jammie Wearing Fool is not intimidated:
Naturally, it's fine if 105% of blacks (with ACORN's help, naturally) vote for Obama. We can't call that racist, because we'd be racist for pointing that out.
It's also racist to notice that liberals aren't worried about "hate-filled expressions of intolerance" against Allen West. Or against Michelle Malkin. According to liberals, all racists are not created equal.

John McCain still pushing amnesty

Interviewed by John Gizzi for Human Events:
Q: You were in the forefront of the comprehensive immigration package that died in the Senate in '06. Now you are saying 'border security' first...
That's the reality. The reason it was rejected by the Senate was we didn't give the American people the confidence that the borders would be secure. But, in all candor, you need to have a path to citizenship [for those] who come here illegally. And you need a temporary worker program.
Q: So will you send the Senate a "border security only" package?
I'm still open to a comprehensive package. But I understand we have to sit down on this. We must secure the borders, we have to have a temporary worker program, we must round up and deport 2 million people who are here illegally and have committed crimes. But people who have gotten here illegally, obeyed the laws, learned English, lived here all their lives and have lived decent lives -- they have to go through the naturalization process. They are God’s children.
He lives in an alternative universe, where one can (a) enter the country illegally yet (b) still be said to have "obeyed the laws." Our immigration laws are laws, and violating the law is a crime, Senator. As they say on talk radio, "What part of 'illegal' don't you understand?"

We had an amnesty in 1986, so who are these illegals who have "lived here all their lives"? Are we talking about 22-year-olds who crawled across the border in 1987? And people only "go through the naturalization process" when they desire to become citizens. So now he's saying that not only are we going to stop deporting illegals, but they're going to become citizens, too. If they weren't willing to "go through the process" to get here legally, what makes him think they're going to bother with the naturalization process?

If his pigheaded refusal to think clearly about this issue -- must all "God's children" live inside our borders, Senator? -- ends up costing him the election, he will have no one but himself to blame.

The belated S.2611 referendum

Let's look at the Senate polls compared how this year's Republican incumbents voted on S.2611, the 2006 Bush-McCain amnesty bill:

TN: Lamar Alexander +24 (NO on S.2611)
AL: Jeff Sessions +31 (NO on S.2611)
KS: Pat Roberts +19 (NO on S.2611)
OK: James Inhofe +18 (NO on S.2611)
TX: John Cornyn +6 (NO on S.2611)
GA: Saxby Chambliss +2.8 (NO on S.2611)
NC: Elizabeth Dole -3.4 (NO on S.2611)
NH: John Sununu -5.9 (NO on S.2611)

OR: Gordon Smith -3.3 (YES on S.2611)
AK: Ted Stevens -3.2 (YES on S.2611)
MN: Norm Coleman -2.2 (YES on S.2611)
KY: Mitch McConnell +6.5 (YES on S.2611)
SC: Lindsey Graham +11.3 (YES on S.2611)
ME: Susan Collins +15.0 (YES on S.2611)

So, of those on the list who voted NO on the Bush-McCain amnesty in 2006, six are ahead and two are behind. Of the six on the list who voted YES, three are ahead and three are behind. To Gordon, Ted and Norm, I say, "Good-bye, and good riddance!"

Roll Tide!

Ole Miss at Tuscaloosa. The Rebels beat Florida, so this is likely to be a tough one for 'Bama. Temperature at kickoff is 73 degrees -- a beautiful sunny October day for football. The Crimson Tide may be No. 2 in the rankings, but they're No. 1 in my heart.

My brother (who underwent quadruple bypass surgery in Ferbruary) just called to say, "Well, I guess they didn't get the note about me having a bad heart."
A likely season-ending knee injury for nosetackle Terrence Cody is very bad news for Alabama. The junior-college transfer was on his way to an all-conference season.
3rd Quarter -- Just did the math, and was correct about Alabama dominating time-of-possession, 18:50 to 11:10 for Ole Miss. The key was that one TD drive that took 5:18.
Halftime -- CBS doesn't provide a time-of-possession statistic and I'm not in a mood to do the math myself, but Alabama is doing exactly what it needs to do. Control the ball, keep the Ole Miss defense on the field, and capitalize on turnovers. We've got to watch out for a second-half letdown like we had against Georgia.
2:51 2nd Quarter -- Roll Tide! John Parker Wilson throws a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mike McCoy. Alabama has intercepted Ole Miss twice. Alabama 24, Ole Miss 3.
6:34 2nd Quarter -- Roll Tide! 360-pound Terrence Cody comes in as a blocking back, blowing open a hole for Mark Ingram's 2-yard touchdown run. This caps an 11-play, 60-yard drive. 'Bama's starting to dominate time-of-possession, keeping the Ole Miss defense on the field. Alabama 14, Ole Miss 3.
4:10 1st Quarter -- Roll Tide! Touchdown pass, John Parker Wilson to Marquis Maze, who then cost Alabama a 15-yard penalty with a stupid, no-class stunt in the end zone. About an hour of running sprints Sunday evening ought to fix that attitude problem. Alabama 7, Ole Miss 3.
8:48 1st Quarter -- Told you it would be tough, didn't I? Still scoreless. Ole Miss has got a strong defense and they're reading 'Bama very well. My brother Kirby says 'Bama needs to get some misdirection going to take advantage of Ole Miss's tendency to overpursue.

Pundit war!

Ross Douthat and Patrick Ruffini and Mark Steyn go at it in a cage match of punditry today over accusations of establishment elitism in the conservative pundit class. There's so much action it's hard to know where to start, but let's try Ruffini:
In the midst of the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression, conservative establishment pundits appear to blame John McCain's inability to seal the deal not on the misfortune of being the candidate of the in-party of his thin track record on economic matters or his jarring response to the crisis, but on a hockey mom from Alaska. Who just happens to be part of the grassroots conservative / outsider / Mark Levin circle. Who, from a conservative point of view, happens to be the one bit of relief we've gotten from this crap sandwich of a political
environment that's been going on for three years now.
Feel free to read the whole thing. Meanwhile, Douthat responds by arguing (naturally) in defense of the GOP elite:
[I]f you want Sarah Palin as your standard-bearer, you need a Brooks, or someone like him, at the table when her speeches are being written and her policy positions are being hashed out. You need elites, and you especially need elites who work and live outside the conservative cocoon, and who have a sense of how to talk to people who aren't already persuaded that a vote for Obama is a vote for socialism and surrender.
I'm sure I've said this before somewhere, but just in case you missed it: F--- you, Ross Douthat. F--- you and your imperious assumption that only Harvard-educated a$$holes like yourself are capable of writing speeches and policy papers.

Listen to me, you arrogant punk: I used to be a Democrat. When you were still in diapers, I voted for Walter Mondale! Sixteen years ago, I had a Clinton-Gore bumper sticker plastered on my old Chevy Impala. Don't you think I know a thing or two (and a helluva lot more than you) about what can persuade born-and-bred Democrats to abandon their class-warfare ideas and embrace limited government as the better answer to their grievances? "Libertarian populism," look it up.

Something else, Ross: I've got T-shirts older than you, kid. Nothing has corrupted the conservative movement more than this tendency to grab super-bright 20-somethings right out of elite universities and elevate them to positions in the commentariat before they've passed any markers of adulthood other than graduating school. No wife, no kids, no mortgage, no work experience in any field outside journalism or public policy, and long before you're 30, you -- yes, you, Ross Douthat -- are assumed to have the insight to tell the rest of us what's what.

When I was your age, Ross, I was covering high-school sports in Calhoun, Ga., having previously worked as a forklift driver, nightclub DJ, rock-and-roll singer, furniture delivery man, and in just about every sort of food-service gig you can imagine. So when it comes to figuring out how to sell a conservative message to blue-collar voters, I'm not going to seek answers from a soft-handed punk from Connecticut sharing insights based on his experiences as an intern at National Review.

OK, my spleen feels much better now. So I'll quit pounding on Douthat and let Mark Steyn take his turn:
[O]ur chattering classes are uniquely concentrated in Ross Douthat's DC/NY corridor. Isn't this a little odd? And doesn't it pose particular problems for Republicans? Conservative elites live in liberal jurisdictions. . . . Whatever one feels about what Ross Douthat calls the "conservative cocoon", it elects conservative mayors, conservative school boards, conservative road agents, conservative state reps, and conservative governors: it's the only place to go to experience conservatism as applied in practice. On the other hand, Mr Douthat's aforementioned corridor will once in a while elect a Michael Bloomberg or a Christie Whitman, and that's it: conservatism remains strictly a theoretical proposition.
That's why the metropolitan sneers about the size of Wasilla were extremely ill-advised, and not just because of the implication that the mayors of, say, New Orleans, San Francisco or Detroit are therefore more qualified to be in the White House. If it weren't for small towns, suburbs and rural districts, there would be no conservative government at all.
Dead on target, and please feel free to read the whole thing. But Douthat -- who is, in all truth, quite nearly as smart as he thinks he is -- then comes back to clarify:
Sarah Palin's Alaska is not the conservative cocoon. Neither is Tim Pawlenty's Minnesota, or Mike Huckabee's Arkansas, or any other place out in flyover country where a populist conservative became a popular and successful governor. The cocoon is the constellation of mutually-reinforcing conservative institutions - think tanks and advocacy groups, talk-radio shows and websites - that can create the same echo-chamber effect that the liberal media has long produced, and that at times makes it difficult for the Right to grapple with reality.
Here, then, Ross actually make a valid point. There is in fact a double echo-chamber effect, one where Republicans listen only to themselves, and another caused by the institutional biases of Washington:
See, Washington is like a big echo chamber. People sit around talking to their friends, and reading their own press releases, and next thing you know, they start thinking they're so smart, and so powerful, and so important that they don't have to pay attention to those microscopic pygmies called the voters. . . .
(That's from a speech I gave to a Republican banquet in Winston-Salem, N.C., in December. I point this out, just in case anyone was harboring an illusion that only Harvard-educated a$$holes can write speeches.)

Republicans in Washington lost touch with the voters, but still kept winning elections for a while, and in the process, they developed a contempt for the people who elected them. This is the only possible explanation for the GOP's repeated push for amnesty in 2006 and 2007. The people in Ohio who elected Mike DeWine to the Senate didn't want amnesty, and when he voted for amnesty, the people in Ohio decided they didn't want Mike DeWine.

It would be in the best interests of the Republican Party if all supporters of amnesty were defeated in GOP primaries. (F--- you, Chris Cannon.) But if the party elite prefer cheap illegal workers to Republican voters, the GOP will find itself losing general elections.

So any discussion of why Barack Obama is winning this election must begin with a discussion of . . . personnel. And let me give you a clue: Sarah Palin is not the problem.

UPDATE: A third-party spoiler might cost Republican Sen. Gordon Smith re-election in Oregon. F--- you, Gordon Smith.

UPDATE II: Daniel Larison:
One of the most important populist goals ought to be entitlement reform, since there are few things more threatening to the long-term well-being of the people than exploding entitlement costs, but that would entail controversy, political risk and telling the public unpleasant truths about the unsustainability of existing entitlements and the folly of adding on more. What distinguishes real populism from cheap demaoguery, among other things, is the willingness to tell people that they cannot have it all and to govern as if that were true.
Very good point. But Alabama's playing Ole Miss now, so there's no time to talk policy. I'll leave that to the pointy-heads.

UPDATE III: Jennifer Rubin:
[C]onservative pundits in the NY-DC corridor should sneer less and learn more from "practicing" conservatives in the heartland. Put differently, if it there weren't a lot of Sarah Palins, there wouldn't be many people reading what the pundits write, let alone implementing their ideas. The alternative is that conservatism goes the way of Latin -- a dead language.
There is a tendency of blue-state Republicans (and I'm thinking of Rudy Giuliani here) to think that the secret of GOP success is to impose their liberal views on cultural issues (immigration, gun control, gay rights, etc.) on the red-state majority of the party, while trying to pacify social conservatives with symbolic gestures (e.g., Terri Schiavo). This is what we call bass-ackward.

UPDATE IV: Linked at the American Thinker and Daniel Larison cracks back at "reflexive obeisance to whatever ill-considered Republican policy was being pushed by the leadership or administration at the time," etc. Larison also throws in a dig that appears to reference my pan of Rod Dreher's "crunchy conservatism."

The crunchies can't shake Dreher's conceit (borrowed from the Keynesian Buddhist, E.F. Schumacher) that to advocate economic freedom is to endorse "the culture of acquisition and consumption." Conservatism is a philosophy of government, not a matter of lifestyle preferences. Conservatism isn't about buying organic groceries at Whole Foods or sitting around quoting Russell Kirk, it's about constitutional government.

I'd love to argue more about this, but right now Alabama is fighting to hold on against Ole Miss in the fourth quarter, and if nothing else, I am a loyal Bamacon.

UPDATE V: Making enemies and influencing people -- now Conor Friedersdorf is taking exception to my "I've got T-shirts older than you, kid" stance about the "corrupting influence" of young know-it-alls. I would remind Conor that Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff got their start together in College Republicans. By the time Reed was 28, he was executive director of the Christian Coalition.

Immersing yourself in Washington right out of college might be a shrewd career move, but it narrows your horizons. There is a whole 'nother world beyond Washington, where nobody gives a damn about the stuff that people in DC take so seriously.

It is an undeniable fact that Washington has a surplus of ambitious young people with degrees from elite institutions who don't want to pay their dues -- as if they believe their SAT scores entitle them to an exemption from the ordinary drudgery of learning the ropes, crawling before they walk, etc. They consider themselves failures if they're not some kind of big shot by the time they're 30.

That kind of fanatical ambition is dangerous, and its superabundance in Washington is one reason the place has such a reputation for treachery. They're all so busy seeming, nobody dares merely to be.

Thank God, I was a 38-year-old married father of three before I got here. And thank God none of my kids has shown interest in that high-pressure fast-track treadmill that breeds today's Young Meritocrats.

UPDATE VI: Linked by Matt Lewis at Townhall -- thanks.

BTW, I have friends who are friends with Ross Douthat, and who assure me that Ross is genuinely a nice guy. Sorry, but anybody who gets a contract from Harper Collins at age 24 to write a book about "what it's like to go to Harvard" has committed a cosmological injustice for which atonement must be exacted.

At any rate, if any reader wants to see a less vituperative exposition of what I'm actually trying to say here, try this mini-essay.

World's biggest idiot

Some clown spent hundreds of thousands in what was apparently an effort to artificially bid up the price of John McCain's InTrade stock. When I read that, I immediately recalled what I wrote on Oct. 3, after the McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan:
If you've got any InTrade futures on McCain (now trading at 34%), sell them immediately for whatever you can get, because they're not worth a nickel. . . .
If my prognosis is mistaken, and somehow Maverick pulls the greatest comeback in modern political history, well, OK. But if I were you, I'd dump those InTrade shares for whatever any fool is willing to pay for them, because they're going to be worthless pretty soon.

In the two weeks since I wrote that, McCain's stock has dropped to 17 percent.

Video: GOP voters in Pa.

Liberal blogger Josh Marshall calls the comments by these people, waiting in line for a McCain-Palin rally Oct. 11 in Johnston, Pa., "rancid." The audio's not working on my laptop right now, so I don't know whether that's a fair description or not, but I post it here just because I'm not afraid of the truth, however "rancid" the truth may be:

I'm not real big on the whole "gotcha" video genre, but if people say stupid things, they say stupid things. I was certainly happy to record the words and actions of idiot anti-war protesters at the DNC in Denver, so I guess fair's fair.

Soros and the economic crisis

John Cassidy has a review of George Soros new book about financial economics. While I don't share Soros' dim view of long-term American economic prospects, his analysis is certainly worth reading, as is Cassidy's thumbnail of how we got here:
As house prices shot up between 2001 and 2005, credit standards deteriorated sharply. Rather than restricting their lending, mortgage financiers deluded themselves into believing that the collateral for the loans they were making would continue to rise in value. The very act of extending more and more credit, on easier and easier terms, kept demand for real estate buoyant, which, in turn, ensured that for several years the lenders' optimistic expectations were validated. It was only when borrowers who had taken out loans they couldn't afford started to default in large numbers that the housing bubble finally burst.
This is why I disagree with government intervening either to write down loan values or artificially propping up home prices. Even if banks are forced to sell off foreclosed homes at a loss, and even if many people who stay in their homes are temporarily in a negative equity situation, all that will be lost in general is the value accrued during the bubble. A substantial loss, certainly, but it is real -- that is to say, these results will reflect genuine market conditions -- and the sooner the economy is based on reality, the better.

Here is Soros:
Eventually, the US government will have to use taxpayers' money to arrest the decline in house prices. Until it does, the decline will be self-reinforcing, with people walking away from homes in which they have negative equity and more and more financial institutions becoming insolvent, thus reinforcing both the recession and the flight from the dollar. The Bush administration and most economic forecasters do not understand that markets can be self-reinforcing on the downside as well as the upside. They are waiting for the housing market to find a bottom on its own, but it is further away than they think.
This mixes truth and falsehood. These homes are not worthless. If they were sold at auction, the winning bid would not be zero. There is a real bottom to the market, in other words. So why does Soros say the government "will" have to intervene in the market?

Government efforts to prop up housing prices are tantamount to taxing Americans in an effort to fool the market. No matter how far down the true bottom of the market is, the sooner we get there, the sooner recovery can begin. A swift, sharp recession -- what used to be called a "panic," where the market suddenly plummets to the bottom -- would be more painful in the short term, but it would be more likely to avert the long, drawn-out misery we had in the '70s, where government intervention brought about stagflation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lobster, caviar and champagne

Just a little snack at the Waldorf:
THOUGH he's battling GOP accusations that he's an Ivy League elitist, Barack Obama has a lifestyle of the rich and famous, like TV show host Robin Leach, who always signed off, "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!" While he was at a meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Michelle Obama called room service and ordered lobster hors d'oeuvres, two whole steamed lobsters, Iranian caviar and champagne, a tipster told Page Six.
Take that, Joe the Plumber!

Dear media: Please ignore this

Greta Van Susteren notices that Wade Rathke, the guy who founded ACORN and also founded Local 100 of the left-wing labor union SEIU, got his start as a college draft-resistance activist with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the organization from which Bill Ayers created the Weather Underground.

It is vitally important that major media organizations ignore this. Do not look into this possible connection between Rathke and Ayers. Also, don't anyone at the New York Times or the Associated Press get any clever ideas about trying Googling search terms like "Rathke ACORN embezzlement" or "Rathke SEIU Soros" or "Rathke Soros Obama."

No news to see here. Move along.

Confession of an unlicensed journalist

Howard Wolfson was just on Fox News ranting that Joe the Plumber isn't licensed as a plumber by the state of Ohio.

This caused me untold heartache because, you see, I am an unlicensed journalist.

That's right: Although I have worked as a journalist since 1986, I have never been licensed to practice journalism in any state. So to all of those who may have been misled by this deceit -- including Howard Wolfson's former boss Hillary Clinton, whom I covered during the primary campaign -- I guess I owe you an apology.

Howard Wolfson also exposed another evil right-wing deception that relates directly to me. Like "Joe" Wurzelbacher (whose actually first name is Sam), I have been fraudulently going by my middle name since I was a baby. My first name is the same as my uncle Bobby, and so I have always been known to family and friends as Stacy. (In college, my nickname was "Spacey Stacy.")

While falsely passing myself off as journalist, however, I got in the habit of using my full name as a byline because if I wrote stories as "Stacy McCain," people would call the office and ask to speak to "her." And so even though I was a phony unlicensed journalist, my byline was accurate. It was the real me that was fake.

I guess it's only a matter of time now before the Federal Bureau of Blogging notices I haven't completed the proper paperwork.

Maverick on Letterman

Very funny, but calling the mortgage crisis "a drive-by shooting by Washington and Wall Street" is just wrong. There are specific culprits in this crisis, and to blame the entirety of the American financial industry is to promote a fundamental misconception that only helps Obama. Leave the Wall Street-bashing to Democrats.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Future of the GOP!

Jim Treacher finds some interesting anti-Joe action at (where else?) Daily Kos, including this comment:
I am sick and f****** tired of being told that, because I live in California (used to be SF), that I am somehow LESS of an American than these "average Joe" types. . . .
And I'm sick, as an educated, gay, urban-dwelling American, of being unfavorably compared to these fake, lying, wife-beating, tax-cheating, racist, immigrant-hating frauds.
F*** him. F*** them. It's my America, too.
The true voice of today's Democratic Party. If you're an "average Joe" type, this is what today's Democrats think of you.

Joe the Plumber pays the price

Cause trouble for Obama, and you can be sure that Obama will cause trouble for you:
The progressives have made a very definitive statement today. They have said that if you dare to speak out against their Chosen One, they will not only smear you and broadcast the details of your life to the world but they'll also deprive you of your livelihood.
A couple of days ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just a regular guy with a house and a son and a dream of one day seeing his hard work pay off with a better life. Then Barack Obama showed up in his front yard. Now, thanks to the Obamessiah's brownshirts, he is likely to lose his job as a plumber.
This massive left-wing attack has caused Michelle Malkin to identify a new "progressive" disorder: Joe the Plumber Derangement Syndrome. Frankly, I'm not worried about Joe, who can obviously take care of himself. I'll be surprised if he doesn't have a book deal and his own talk radio show by Election Day.

UPDATE: Jules Crittenden has got an excellent roundup of Joe the Plumber news, including this from the Toledo Blade:
"Everyone's more worried about what Joe the Plumber has to say than what Obama or McCain has to say."
Jules has some savvy media advice for Joe:
Don’t talk to any more reporters. Just pretend like you're a Norman Rockwell painting. Strong, silent, earnest type. A "go jump in the lake" or two will only further endear to the heartland.
The public-relations consulting firm of Crittenden & McCain would be only too happy to get a contract from the Palin-Wurzelbacher 2012 campaign.

Look on the bright side. The media’s finally starting to vet acquaintances of Barack Obama.
Yeah, if they spent half as much effort investigating Bill Ayers, the Annenberg Challenge and ACORN, Obama would be in single digits.

What the GOP is up against

It's very hard to explain to conservatives in Washington that independent voters don't fit easily into the prefabricated compartments with which ideologues are comfortable. Independent voters, God bless 'em, are a cantankerous bunch, generally ill-informed about the stuff that political junkies take seriously, but very certain about their hatreds.

Keep that in mind as you read what a Republican consultant said in an e-mail to Ben Smith of the Politico about a recent Midwestern focus group where people were asked to watch and react to a Republican TV ad:
The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:
54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another god-damn Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this country like we used to when Reagan was President."
The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."
I felt like I was taking crazy pills. I sat on the other side of the glass and realized...this really is the Apocalypse. The Seventh Seal is broken and its time for eight years of pure, delicious crazy....
There are several things going on here. Notice that the white male was a stout enough Republican to vote for Dole in '96, and also voted for Bush in 2000, but went for Kerry in '04. What happened during the first four years of Bush's term to switch this guy to Kerry? We don't know, but now he uses "god-damn Republican" as an epithet and advocates the nationalization of industry as something that Reagan would have done.

And what of this woman who (a) is pro-life, but (b) supported the Clintons, then (c) turned against Al Gore, yet now (d) supports Barack because (e) she's upset about health care?

These reactions seem bizarre and irrational to the Republican consultant, but reflect two basic facts about independent voters:
  • They are radically disconnected from the political information system. There is a strong correlation between partisanship, political involvement, and news consumption. The less news you consume, the less likely you are to be politically involved, and the less likely you are to have a strong attachment to a party or ideology. Thus, the woman is pro-life, but voted for the pro-choice Clintons, while the man is a hunter but voted for gun-control advocate Kerry. They simply don't follow politics closely enough to know which candidate supports their issues.
  • Their political passions tend to be personal in nature and negative in orientation. We don't have enough background on these two people to know what's going on with their lives, their jobs, their marriages, their finances, etc. However, if you talk to independent voters one-to-one, you'll find their politics are usually motivated by their own direct experiences. Did this middle-aged white guy get his truck repossessed? Or did his wife leave him? And is the woman's complaint about health insurance related to some specific medical problem she's got? Did her employer just get a new health plan that raised her premiums? Whatever the root of their grievances, these grievances translate to negative reactions: I'm against X, and therefore I'm voting against the opponent of whoever I blame for X.
This is where the "brand damage" of the Bush era comes from, and it's one of the downsides of having a Republican in the White House. People who aren't politically involved don't pay much attention to Congress (a recent study found that 41% of CNN viewers don't know that Democrats have a majority in Congress), but generally they do know who the president is and what party he belongs to. So when these politically uninvolved people are unhappy, the guy in the White House takes the blame, and his party along with him.

Thus the apocalyptic revelation for the Republican consultant: These independent voters don't know a lot about politics, but they do know they're not voting Republican -- and ideological coherence be damned!

Jon Stewart on the Mahoney scandal

Jon Stewart is a liberal, but he obviously doesn't mind busting on a Democrat now and then. He just did a segment on the sex scandal involving Rep. Tim Mahoney. Noting that Mahoney was elected to replace Rep. Mark Foley, who was similarly felled by a sex scandal, Stewart said that the slogan of Florida's 16th District is, "Where Old Jews Vote for Perverted Irishmen."

Bandwagon psychology

Conservative blogger ZombieTime has an essay in which he discusses the influence of polling, media, suggestibility and peer pressure in politics:
Will the exaggerations become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as assumed, or are Obama supporters spinning further and further away from reality, constructing one unsupportable exaggeration on top of another -- only to be stunned on election day when the actual results, once again, don't match either their pre-vote opinion polling or their post-vote exit polling? Yet it may very well be that an army of glum, dispirited and pessimistic conservatives will reluctantly trudge to the polls on November 4, each one imagining they are the only remaining person in the entire country voting for McCain, and lo and behold -- they'll turn out to be a silent majority after all.
We didn't hear Republicans pushing the argument that all the polls are wrong in early September, when John McCain was ahead by 5 points in the Gallup daily tracking poll. All polls inevitably include some error, but when you look at the RealClearPolitics compilation, what you're looking at is surveys of tens of thousands of voters, conducted by several different organizations. They all show Obama ahead, and only differ about the size of his lead. Now look at the RCP compilation of battleground state polls. It's the same story in state after state.

There is no doubt that voters -- especially independent "swing" voters -- can be manipulated by bandwagon psychology, as Zombie suggests. And media bias (including the way the media reports poll results) is part of that equation. At some point, however, those swing voters finally do swing one way or another, and the huge shift from Sept. 10 (McCain +5) to Oct. 9 (Obama +11) took place during the post-Labor Day period when independent voters are traditionally wooed and won. True, the polls have since tightened (now Obama +6), but it's very difficult to imagine how the bandwagon could roll in the opposite direction far enough and fast enough to produce a GOP victory.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Dave Weigel calls the ZombieTime essay "a great big wedding cake of stupid" and adds:
I talked to Republicans this week who were utterly convinced that at this point in 2004, Kerry was winning as big as Obama is now. He wasn't!
I've heard that line myself, and think it must be coming from some talk-show hosts. And even if it were true, it still fails to overcome certain fundamental problems: Conservatives who are living inside an echo chamber of Fox News and talk radio are getting a one-sided message, and don't seem to realize that the average swing voter isn't tuning into Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. I get tired of explaining this, but let me repeat myself once more:
  • ABC World News -- 7.9 million viewers
  • NBC Nightly News -- 7.9 million viewers
  • CBS Evening News -- 5.9 million viewers
  • Fox: O'Reilly Factor -- 4.0 million views
That is to say, the three broadcast network evening news shows have a combined viewership of 21.7 million -- FIVE TIMES LARGER than the audience of the highest-rated Fox News show. And let's look at the morning news shows:
  • NBC Today -- 5.0 million viewers
  • ABC GMA -- 4.3 million viewers
  • CBS Early Show -- 2.7 million viewers
  • Fox & Friends -- 1.5 million viewers
So the combined broadcast network morning audience (12 million viewers) is EIGHT TIMES LARGER than the Fox & Friends audience.

The vast majority of TV news consumers are still getting their news from the same old biased liberal media. Conservative alternative media have been very successful, but they don't reach more than a fraction of the voting population.

If you're inside the conservative echo chamber, it's going to be difficult for you to believe that a majority of your fellow Americans could vote for Obama, but they're not seeing what you're seeing or hearing what you're hearing. This is why so many conservatives were shocked by the 2006 results. They were inside the echo chamber where Sean Hannity was yelling, "Don't believe the polls! Rick Santorum's still got a fighting chance!"

Denial is not an effective political strategy, and neither is preaching to the converted. Unless Republicans can get over their recto-cranial inversion and develop some effective means to get a fair hearing for the conservative message outside the echo chamber, they're never going to reverse this electoral decline that apparently began almost as soon as the 2004 election was over.

Viva Las Vegas!

Little Miss Attila has mounted a tip-jar fundraiser to pay her way to Nevada as a volunteer GOP election observer.

She says this is a matter of "national security" and, despite my cynical suspicion that it's really about gin and blackjack, it's a worthy cause either way.

Joe the Plumber: Racist?

Katie Couric got the "get" with Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, now the world's most famous plumber. Wurzelbacher said:

You know, I've always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them and get them to answer a question of--for once instead of tap dancing around it. And unfortunately I asked the question but I still got a tap dance . . . almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.

This obviously got a huge blog reaction, with lots of liberal bloggers implying that Joe is a racist. Of course, he applied the tap-dancing metaphor to both candidates, and while I suppose it might have been possible to compare Obama to Fred Astaire -- a skinny guy with big ears -- it's kind of hard to find bigoted malevolence in the comparison to Davis, who (a) was universally beloved and (b) supported Richard Nixon in 1972.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin does a column on JTPDS (Joe The Plumber Derangement Syndrome) and says:
There are now tens of thousands of hits on the Internet for “Joe the Plumber racist.”
One of the top links? Me. But I still don't understand how it's an insult to compare someone to Sammy Davis, Jr., one of the most beloved entertainers in American history who was -- brace yourselves for a neutral, objective fact here -- a helluva tap-dancer, and proud of it:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Senator Government

A flub by Maverick is the tagline of the night, according to Michelle Malkin, who is surprisingly pleased with Juan McAmnesty. Considering her profound contempt for the man -- oh, yes, she really does hate him -- this is a rave review from her.


Most effective ad of the year, according to Frank Luntz:

If you're a right-wing gazillionaire and want to give these guys a couple of zillion bucks to saturate the airwaves with this message, please do so immediately.

Also, while you're handing out zillions, how about hitting the tip jar with a few bucks for me? "Spread the wealth around," like Obama told Joe the Plumber.

The final debate

10:30 p.m. -- John McCain was much, much better tonight. He stayed on the attack, and Obama spent a lot of time on the defensive. I don't think this debate was the cliched "game changer," but it's certainly a vast improvement for McCain over his previous performances.

10:22 p.m. -- Obama just said you have to be specific about how federal programs are going to be paid for. DAAYYUMMM.

10:21 p.m. -- Obama just advocated higher teacher pay. BTW, did you know that public-school teachers make more than journalists? And teachers don't have to blog boring debates.

10:18 p.m. -- McCain's talking choice and competition in education.

10:17 p.m. -- Obama wants to "recruit ... an army of new teachers." Why? I don't get why this line is considered a winner. Is he just pandering to teachers unions?

10:14 p.m. -- Obama is still talking abortion. Let him have all the time he wants. Now he's talking about "appropriate [sex] education." How about, "Keep your britches on, kids"?

10:10 p.m. -- Obama: "The court has to stand up when no one else will." In other words, a 5-man majority of appointed-for-life justices is more important than every elected official in the country.

10:08 p.m. -- They've got Obama talking abortion. "I think the Constitution has a right to privacy in it that shouldn't be subject to a state referendum." Where is that right, Senator? And why didn't anyone notice it before 1973?

10:04 p.m. -- Did McCain just say, "Senator McGovern"?

10:03 p.m. -- Linked by Pam at Right Voices. Thanks.

10 p.m. -- Who are these large businesses who don't provide health care that Obama is talking about? McDonald's? Wal-Mart?

9:58 p.m. -- McCain's down in the tall grass talking about health care and poverty, then suddenly -- Joe the Plumber to the rescue! Joe the Plumber for President!

9:55 p.m. -- McCain hits Obama on Hugo Chavez. ¡La educación es revolución!

9:53 p.m. -- Obama: "Highly fuel-efficient car of the future." Meet George Jetson ...

9:52 p.m. -- McCain: "Senator Obama, who has never traveled south of our border . . ." And? What's the point?

9:49 p.m. -- Obama: "We should look at off-shore drilling." Look at it. Not do anything about it, but just look at it.

9:46 p.m. -- Give us a number. Any number will do.

9:45 p.m. -- 850 ZILLION DOLLARS!

9:41 p.m. -- Obama speaks of government spending as "investing in the American people." I always hated that "investment" rhetoric when Clinton used it -- Clinton invented it, as far as I know -- and I don't like it any better now.

9:40 p.m. -- Biden vs. Palin. Schieffer pitches one into Obama's wheelhouse.

9:38 p.m. -- Obama just spent 2 minutes talking about Bill Ayers and ACORN, which is 2 minutes more than he's talked about them in any previous debate.

9:34 p.m. -- McCain strongly defends his audiences. Very feisty. Where was this candidate during the first two debates?

9:32 p.m. -- Obama is on defense tonight.

9:30 p.m. -- McCain, who had interrupted to say "that's not true" on Obama's Big Lie, forgets to come back and bust him on it it when his turn comes.

9:27 p.m. -- Again, Obama the excellent liar accuses McCain of running 100% negative ads. And outright lie, and he says it with utter confidence that nobody in the media will call him on it.

9:23 p.m. -- McCain's talking "climate change." Ick.

9:22 p.m. -- Obama voted for tort reform?

9:21 p.m. -- If McCain had been this sharp in the first two debates . . .

9:18 p.m. -- Obama wants to "focus on the programs that work." Ick.

9:15 p.m. -- Obama is an excellent liar. He lies confidently, boldly, and in such a way that, unless you actually know the facts, you'd never guess he was lying.

9:12 p.m. -- Dang, Maverick's feisty tonight.

Sorry to be joining it a little late tonight. Liveblogging at Ace of Spades, Hot Air and Michelle Malkin.

200K bad registrations in Ohio?

Flaming skull at Ace over this story:
Since Jan. 1, Ohio has 666,000 newly registered or updated voters -- all of whom fall under scrutiny by this latest court ruling. [Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer] Brunner said an initial review found that at least 200,000 of them might have mismatched information. Once the office identifies all of the mismatched voters, Brunner will send the list to the county boards of election where the individuals have registered.
According to the Census Bureau, Ohio's population grew by 125,000 from 2000 to 2006. The state's adult (18+) population in 2004 was about 8.7 million, and the statewide total vote for president in 2004 was about 5.6 million.

Ohio's new registrations are thus equal to 12% of the 2004 total vote in the state, whereas the state's population has been growing about 0.2% annually. The sheer size of the increase in registration -- dwarfing the population increase -- is suspicious.

It is quite likely that very aggressive methods (conducting registration drives in public places like malls, etc.) meant duplicate registrations for people who were already registered (e.g., via motor-voter) but hadn't voted recently and so weren't sure whether they were registered or not.

Studies consistently show a high correlation between voting and socio-economic status. The higher the income and education level, the more likely you'll vote regularly. Therefore, people who seldom or never vote -- which will be most of those genuine new registrations gathered by aggressive methods -- will prove to be people with very low income and education, including 18-to-24-year-olds. The farther you go down the socioeconomic scale the more you find people with unstable habits (including drug addicts and criminals) who change residences frequently, making them difficult to target through canvassing and GOTV efforts.

Dreher on the Crusader State

He makes very good points:
[T]he thing that people now call the neo-con foreign policy is actually American foreign policy, and it goes back generations. And this idea, the shining city on a hill, as you know, goes back to the very founding. And I think it is a real American temptation to see America as a sort of secularized Israel, speaking in a biblical sense, and that we are that special nation set apart from all other nations to fulfill God’s providence. And that is a very, very common theme you hear in political discussions among Evangelicals on the right. But I think if anything, the last eight years and our experience in Iraq should have taught us Americans not to be so full of hubris, and that the idea that we know better than the rest of the world is just madness and folly. Unfortunately, it’s a bipartisan folly.
The interviewer repeatedly misspells David Rieff's name, but I think Dreher is making reference to Rieff's essay in World Affairs, which is critical of the policy implications of "American exceptionalism."

Conservatives, having opposed so long the Left's "American the Evil" ideology, have in many cases succumbed to a counter-fallacy, deifying "democracy" and "human rights" in such a way as to justify almost any policy in an ends-justify-the-means rationale.

A perfect example is how some conservatives celebrate women's suffrage in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not even sure women's suffrage is such a good idea in America; I'm certainly not such an enthusiastic suffragette as to believe that "women's rights" should be imposed worldwide at the point of a bayonet. (Singapore is not a democracy. Should we invade them, too?)

American foreign policy should have exactly one object: The advancement and protection of America's national interests. It can be argued that the spread of democracy and free markets is in our national interest, but we simply don't have enough troops to do this by force.

The whole point of John Winthrop's "City on a Hill" metaphor was that the Massachusetts Bay colony would be an example to the world, for good or ill. Winthrop certainly wasn't envisioning America as a Crusader State, imposing egalitarian universalism on an unwilling world.

BTW, considering how Massachusetts has turned out, I'd say that Winthrop -- a devout Puritan -- would be thoroughly disappointed at the result of his endeavor.

Heckuva 'swathe' there, Ross

Ross Douthat describes "a large and diverse swathe of the right-of-center intelligentsia," and elsewhere, he writes that "center-right scriveners who work for institutions more liberal than they (or merely exist in a climate more liberal than they) have both personal and professional incentives to criticize their own side as often as they do the other one, and to advance arguments and strike attitudes that drive more committed partisans up the wall."

Until rather recently, the think-tank "intelligentsia" of which Douthat speaks has concerned itself mostly with policy, as opposed to politics. Conjuring up data-filled arguments about taxes, health care, etc. -- that's policy. Figuring out ways to win elections or to gain public support for policies -- that's politics.

The problem with the conservative intelligentsia is that their elite backgrounds, which prepare them so well for policy debates, separate them from the ordinary voters whose sympathies must be enlisted in political debates.

The think tanks of Washington (and the offices of political journals) are crammed full of people who don't personally know any voters in Ohio or Florida or Colorado. Almost all the Republican intelligentsia are blue-staters. And their close friends are like them: Graduates of elite universities and residents of the urban Northeast. They are thus ill-equipped to understand what makes swing voters swing.

Writing about politics is easier than writing about policy. But understanding politics -- why is McCain losing? -- requires an insight into the lives and minds of ordinary people that they can't teach you at Harvard, and that you're never going to learn in dicussions with policy wonks.

Policy wonks are necessary to the conservative project, but it has been a major mistake of the conservative movement over the past 15 years to blur the distinction between policy and politics, so that on the one hand, Karl Rove was dictating policy to the Bush administration and, on the other hand, you have people who've never set foot in Ohio providing analysis and commentary about election campaigns.

Quote of the day

A reader e-mails Ross Douthat:
Anyway, I agree that if conservative punditry was all Hugh Hewitt we'd be sunk.
We're sunk anyway. Next question?

Amazing vote fraud in Ohio

Michelle Malkin has the story of a group of out-of-state "activists" who went to Ohio for a voter-registration project and registered themselves.

Motor-voter and "early voting" have destroyed the integrity of the American election system. The whole idea is to make voting so easy as to require no effort at all. But if someone is so slothful and uninvolved that they can't be bothered to go to the courthouse and register, then go down to the polling place on Election Day, what sort of informed decision do we expect that person to make?

Mass voter-registration projects tend to inflate the registration rolls, thus creating "phantom" votes (i.e., names on the roles of people who won't actually show up on Election Day) that can be manipulated in fraudulent elections. This is the Chicago Way.


Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Is it me or is the media setting it up so that if McCain wins, it will be immediately declared racism? We know this, but I don't sense enough outrage?
We're better than this nonsense. Can't we have a fair-and-square election, based on debating actual issues and worldviews? I'm sorry to be Pollyannish. But we're three weeks out and time is of the essence.
Two quick points:
  • A. McCain will lose, and
  • B. The mere fact that it might be close is sufficient cause for the MSM to make accusations of racism. They've been saying so since at least August.
This election is, to the MSM, a referendum on race, and you'll see an avalanche of op-ed articles after Nov. 5 about "what it means." If Republicans wanted a debate about "actual issues," perhaps they should have nominated a conservative.

For Maverick before he was against him

Christopher Buckley -- Bill Buckley's son --recently endorsed Obama. But back in February, he was slamming conservatives who refused to get in line behind John McCain:
It may strike some conservatives today as odd, if not absurd, to see John McCain being subjected to an auto-da-fé conducted by such Torquemadas of the right as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity. The other day, he even endured jeers at a conservative gathering in Washington, by otherwise well-behaved exemplars of conservatism. Indeed, turn on the TV at any hour of the day and you’ll find Mr. McCain being excoriated in harsher terms than he endured from his jailers at the Hanoi Hilton -- variously denounced as a) not conservative, b) really, really not conservative, or even c) so not-conservative as to make you wonder if he isn’t just the latest re-issue of the Manchurian Candidate.
In response, let me offer a thoughtful, considered, carefully worded comment: Would you all please just...shut...up? (I’d insert an intensifier, but this is a family newspaper.)
Why was Buckley so enthusiastically pro-McCain in February? Open borders:
It’s also true -- odd -- that Mr. McCain is popular among Hispanic voters, who are themselves paradigms of cultural conservatism and without whose support any "conservative" candidate for president may be doomed to failure. . . . Is the "conservative" position on immigration that the only solution is a wall and midnight roundups by Border Patrol agents at Wal-Mart?
Virtually everything in those two sentence is wrong. John McCain is not popular among Hispanic voters, who are not paradigms of cultural conservatism (e.g., Hispanics have higher rates of abortion and out-of-wedlock births). The notion that Republicans can win the votes of Hispanic citizens by pandering on illegal immigration is not supported by data. Notice, however, that the word "illegal" is not part of Buckley's terminology.

I was never a John McCain supporter (I'm voting for Bob Barr), but I have been consistently anti-Obama. Friends don't let friends vote Democrat. Buckley was only for McCain when the McCain campaign was sticking its thumbs in the eyes of Rush, Coulter, et al.

Palin on Limbaugh

A rare live interview with Rush:
Rush, I've got nothing to lose in this, and I think America has everything to gain by understanding the differences, the contrasts here between Obama and McCain. So, you know, I'm going out there and I'm just simply speaking. So be it that I'm a simple talker, but I'm just going out there and letting people know the differences and how absolutely paramount it is that voters are paying attention and that voters are understanding candidates' records, their associations, their plans for the future; instead of being kind of wrapped up into all this rhetoric of Obama's and buying into it and not holding him accountable for the things that he's done, the things that he's said, his associates, and where he wants to take America.
God bless her.

Obama beating McCain in ad wars

I mentioned Saturday that the Obama campaign's massive advertising was overwhelming the McCain campaign in kry swing states. Now the Politico:
As of close of business last week, Obama had spent approximately $195 million on primary and general election ads compared with $99 million by the Arizona Republican and the Republican National Committee, according to the Competitive Media Analysis Group. And the gap is widening in the final weeks. . . .
The spending figures are significant because they demonstrate how Obama’s
fundraising advantage has helped him drown out his opponent and maintain a
longer -- and more positive -- presence in the living rooms of voters in critical swing states. "Obama is spending $3.5 million a day on television ads," said Evan Tracey, CMAG's chief operating officer. "If he does that through Election Day, it will be more than McCain got from the government for his entire general election campaign."
This is what all the complaints about "media bias" miss. In the major swing states, Obama's generally running twice as many TV ads as McCain. Even on Fox News, Obama's running more ads. So no matter what they're reporting on the news, the Obama message is getting out there.

Annenberg's Afrocentrism

How could the Chicago Annenberg Challenge spend tens of millions of dollars without producing any improvement? Maybe it was what they were teaching:
Not only did Barack Obama savor Wright’s sermons, Obama gave legitimacy — and a whole lot of money — to education programs built around the same extremist anti-American ideology preached by Reverend Wright. . . .
In the winter of 1996, the Coalition for Improved Education in [Chicago’s] South Shore (CIESS) announced that it had received a $200,000 grant from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. . . .
This network, named the “South Shore African Village Collaborative” was thoroughly “Afrocentric” in orientation. CIESS’s job was to use a combination of teacher-training, curriculum advice, and community involvement to improve academic performance in the schools it worked with. CIESS would continue to receive large Annenberg grants throughout the 1990s.
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ace endorses Obama

That's what he says, right after noticing that former conservatives Christopher Buckley and Kathleen Parker became darlings of the liberal intelligentsia just as soon as they endorsed Obama.

Ace is trying to hawk a "screenplay" (which is in fact a skit based on a third-season episode of Battlestar Galactica, but his friends have to humor him).

Exit, lying

Christopher Buckley accuses National Review of firing him. Not so, says Rich Lowry. Buckley just inherited a fortune and doesn't need the money now. Apparently, he decided to go out dramatically -- and dishonestly. Sad.

Video via Hot Air:

Maddow vs. Frum vs. Maverick

He's against "whipping Republicans and conservatives into a fury," but also manages to throw a tu quoque at his hostess:

Note Frum's use of "my party." That sort of proprietary phrase always bothers me for some reason -- I don't like it when conservatives speak of the Republican Party as "we" -- but there's something else going on here. It's his party, not your party? By what right?

Obama >50%

A basic rule of poll interpretation among campaign strategists is that when the incumbent is under 50%, he's vulnerable. When the challenger is over 50%, the incumbent is toast. If the Republican candidate is the de facto incumbent this year, guess what's for breakfast? Wake up and smell the despair.

ACORN: 100% fraudulent

The undefeated champions of vote fraud:
More than 2,000 voter registration forms filed in northern Indiana's Lake County by a liberal activist group this week have turned out to be bogus, election officials said Thursday.
The group -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN -- already faces allegations of filing fraudulent voter registrations in Nevada and faces investigations in other states.
And in Lake County, home to the long-depressed steel town of Gary, the bipartisan Elections Board has stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony."All the signatures looked exactly the same," Ruthann Hoagland, a Republican on the board. "Everything on the card filled out looks exactly the same."
The forms included registrations submitted in the names of the dead -- and in one case, the name of a fast-food restaurant, Jimmy Johns.
Video, via Ace:

But John McCain can't talk about this on the campaign trail because (a) it would be divisive and mean-spirited, and (b) ACORN loves 'em some Maverick.

Biden, botoxed

So obvious, even the MSM can't ignore it:

Karen Bradley, a University of Maryland professor who studies politicians' body movement and what it conveys to voters, says it's "a little strange that nothing moves from his eyes on up" -- since she otherwise finds Biden a compelling communicator who powerfully telegraphs his conviction on a topic via other body language.
Barry Cohen, a Rockville plastic surgeon, is more blunt. "He clearly has had Botox," the doctor, a Republican, told us. "The lines are gone on his forehead. . . .
"Completely untrue, completely unsubstantiated," said Biden spokesman David Wade. "A lot of Americans will have fewer worry lines on their faces" when George Bush is out office, he added.

Hakuna matata!

Campaign Pre-Mortem, Part II

VodkaPundit loads up on lasagna, gets philosophical:
Libertarians/Conservatives . . . underestimate liberals/progressives -- and what we're guilty of is projection. But when we're drunk and honest, we have to admit: We're effing pikers. To restate more plainly: We don't want power, and don't know how to wield it. We're pikers.
Progressives have no such qualms. Given power, they'll take more and they'll exercise it ruthlessly. Look at the Democrats in Congress these last two years. In not even 24 months, they've sunk to depths it took the Republican Congress six or more years to sink to. Their unpopularity levels are even worse than the Republicans' in 2006. And what will happen in November? The Democrats will win seats -- because they know how to wield their power to deliver the goods to please their corrupt, greedy, grabby, needy base.

Yes, but don't you think the failures of the GOP have something to do with the Democrats' prospects for picking up seats this year? Excuse me while I mount my hobby horse.

Back during the 2006 pre-mortems, I argued that the Republican-led push for amnesty destroyed the enthusiasm of the conservative base. So what happened in 2007? The GOP pushed for amnesty again. And what did they do this year? Nominated Mr. Amnesty himself for president.

I hung out with Vodka during the Denver convention, so I know that the man earns his sobriquet every day. I also know that he is sincere in opposing the Lou Dobbs/Pat Buchanan/Michelle Malkin position on immigration (heckuva a coalition there). But I also know that open borders is a deal-breaker and a buzz-killer for most of the Republican base. You can't do as much talk radio as I've done and believe otherwise. Except for maybe the La Raza people, all the passion on this issue is anti-amnesty. And screw the La Raza people.

Conservatives who oppose amnesty see quite clearly that illegal immigration enhances the power of the progressive/liberal/Democratic bloc. Not only does it give them millions of impoverished, ill-educated warm bodies to mobilize on Election Day, but it also provides them with victims to celebrate, and the liberal/progressive agenda is dependent on the victimhood narrative.

All this glib Emma Lazarus-quoting nonsense about decent, hard-working people just trying to grab their slice of the American Dream overlooks the plain fact that at least 80% of these people are automatically going to vote Democrat, and their children (thanks to public-school education) are going to vote 90% Democrat, and the immediate addition of millions of votes to the Democratic bloc is a far more important political fact than the theoretical possibility that in 2060 perhaps a large percentage of the grandchildren of today's illegals will be sufficiently affluent to think about voting Republican.

Damn, that was a long sentence. But the point is that Democrats aren't bashful about pursuing the expansion of their electoral power, while some Republicans -- because of an abstract ideological or sentimental attachment to the idea of America as a "nation of immigrants" -- keep chasing the "outreach" will-o'-th'-wisp.

I remember in 2006 being told over and over by certain Republicans, "But Bush got 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2004!" Right. And now explain how the continual augmentation of a bloc that votes 60% Democrat is going to create that "Permanent Republican Majority" you keep talking about, Karl.

Advocates of free markets and limited government see anti-amnesty fervor as ideologically inconsistent with their core libertarian principles. Fine. But your core libertarian principles are going to be trampled into smithereens after your pro-amnesty Republican loses this election to a Democrat who's not going to be picky about whether his Hispanic voters in Florida, Virginia and Colorado are here legally or not.

¡Si se puede! ¡La educación es revolución!


ACORN loves 'em some Maverick

John McCain, ACORN ally:
Bertha Lewis, Acorn's chief organizer, said in a statement . . . "It has deeply saddened us to see Senator McCain abandon his historic support for ACORN and our efforts to support the goals of low-income Americans."
"We are sure that the extremists he is trying to get into a froth will be even more excited to learn that John McCain stood shoulder to shoulder with ACORN, at an ACORN co-sponsored event, to promote immigration reform," she said.
Michelle Malkin:
“I’ll rely on people to judge me by the company that I keep,” McCain said in February.
That’s not working out so well now, is it?
Marc Ambinder has more. including this video of the pro-immigration rally in Florida where McCain spoke:

This rather demonstrates why Bill Kristol's "fire the campaign" advice won't work. The problem isn't the campaign, it's the candidate.

Obama's 'sex rebel' mentor

Rather lurid:
For seven years, the presidential candidate had a "father-son" relationship with Frank Marshall Davis, who has confessed to having sex with children, sadomasochism, bondage and practicing a wide array of deviant sexual activities.
In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Obama identifies his childhood mentor only as "Frank," but Obama insiders later confirmed he was referring to Davis, a journalist and poet who was a pal of Obama's maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham.
Frank Marshall Davis admitted in his private papers that he had secretly authored a hard-core pornographic autobiography called Sex Rebel: Black, published in 1968. . . .
The appalling catalog of admitted real-life decadence is laced with perverted sexual activity, bisexuality, rape - and the seduction of children.
More important, interesting and relevant is that Frank Marshall Davis was a Communist Party member. But mentioning that wouldn't be "respectful" enough for the McCain campaign. And, "deviant" and "perverted" are rather judgmental words, aren't they?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Criminals for Obama

More than 30,000 convicted felons are registered to vote in Florida. Democrats always win big in prisons and graveyards.

School field trips, 2008

More important than ABCs:
Eighteen first graders traveled to San Francisco City Hall Friday for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The school sponsored the trip for the students, ages 5 and 6, taking them away from their studies for the same-sex wedding.
As Michelle Malkin says, "reason number 9,999,987 to homeschool." We didn't wait for the list to get that long. We started homeschooling in 1997 because our daughter was falling behind in math. As I'm sitting here typing this, our daughter -- now 19 and a college sophomore majoring in education -- is reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to three of her younger siblings.

Video: Van load of illegals

Via Hot Air:

The story behind the video:
PHOENIX -- Several people were caught running through a Valley neighborhood after bailing out of rolled van near 27th and Southern avenues.
The Department of Public Safety had been following the van as it drove erratically through Phoenix. The pursuit started in the area of Interstate 10 and 44th Street. DPS initially started following the van in the hope that it would lead them to a drop house.
After getting off the freeway, the driver of the van refused to stop, plowing though barricades and over medians. DPS said the van even tried to ram one of its cruisers.
DPS said it suspended the chase when the van entered a school zone.
The van was eventually involved in a wreck. It ran a stop sign, and then slammed into another car and rolled over. As soon as the van rolled, about two dozen people, suspected illegal immigrants, bailed out and ran through the neighborhood.
I love that "suspected" illegal immigrants. Gee, Sherlock, where'd you get the first clue?

Democrat's ugly (alleged) mistress

Say what you will about Eliot Spitzer, but at least he lost his career over a hot hooker, whereas Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL) is crashing and burning because of a post-menopausal Hill staffer:
West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.
Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising, the staffers said.
Associated Press:
[T]he congressman began his affair with Patricia Allen, 50, in 2006 while he was campaigning for Congress, promising to return morals to Washington. . . .
Friends of Allen's told ABC News that she wanted to end the affair, but Mahoney threatened to fire her is she did so.
This is not a sex scandal. A sex scandal requires a $300-an-hour hooker, an Argentinian stripper or a 19-year-old intern. When a congressman is exposed for an affair with an unattractive 50-year-old staffer, that's a stupid scandal, not a sex scandal.

Whatever you say about Patricia Allen, she's certainly no Ashley Alexandra Dupre. At $300 an hour, and four hours per "date," Mahoney could have had Spitzer's hooker 100 times. So Mahoney is not only an adulterer, he's a stupid adulterer.

Team Maverick turns on Kristol


Kristol's latest column:
It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign.
He has nothing to lose. His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s. The Obama team is well organized, flush with resources, and the candidate and the campaign are in sync. The McCain campaign, once merely problematic, is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional. Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic. If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed.
Actually, I think the main problem in the McCain campaign is . . . John McCain. He's always happiest when he's bashing fellow Republicans and has neither the instincts nor the appetite to campaign as a conservative Republican against a liberal Democrat.

The best campaign staff in the world can't save a bad candidate and I think it has become plainly evident that John McCain is a bad candidate.