Saturday, October 25, 2008

Roll Tide!

FINAL - Alabama 29, Tennessee 9
Not a bad game, but not a great one either. The defense was strong, but Alabama didn't really drive the ball consistently on offense. The Crimson Tide is now 8-0, and that's nothing to complain about, but they're really going to have to play better Nov. 8 at LSU. Next week, 'Bama hosts Arkansas State for homecoming -- and let's hope there's no shocking upset.

4th Quarter -- 7:26 -- Tennessee goes 63 yards in six plays for a touchdown. Two-point conversion attempt fails. Two 15-yard pass interference penalties hurt 'Bama on that drive. Alabama 29, Tennessee 9

9:43 -- TOUCHDOWN! -- Now 'Bama's really wearing out the Tennessee defense. Strong running by Glenn Coffee and Roy Upchurch key an 80-yard drive for the Tide (with another big penalty against Tennessee). Upchurch runs 4 years for the TD. Alabama 29, Tennessee 3

14:14 -- Tennessee gets a first down, but then a penalty sets them back. Punt. Alabama takes over at their 20.

3rd Quarter -- 1:38 -- TOUCHDOWN! -- Now that's what I'm talking about. Alabama goes 79 yards in 12 plays, burns more than six minutes off the clock. The key play was Wilson's third-down pass that got a first down at the Tennessee 36. Then five carries by Roy Upchurch pounded it down to the 1-yard-line, where Wilson carried for the TD. A two-point conversion attempt failed. Alabama 22, Tennessee 3

8:03 -- Three downs and punt for Tennessee again, and Alabama starts from their own 21. Man, a good solid drive would be an excellent idea now.

10:28 -- 'Bama picks up a first down, then faces a 4th-and-1 at the Tennessee 13, decides to bring on Leigh Tiffin for the field goal. Alabama 16, Tennessee 3.

13:44 -- Three downs and punt for Tennessee, Alabama returns the punt down to the 33.

HALFTIME -- Tennessee put together a drive all the way to the Alabama 14 before two costly penalties set them back, and a field-goal attempt was blocked. So we dodged a bullet. But at halftime, Tennessee's leading in time-of-possession (16:06 to 13:54), and if it keeps up like that, the Tide defense will start getting tired. 'Bama really, really needs to get its running game on track.

2nd Quarter: 3:10 -- TOUCHDOWN! -- Finally, John Parker Wilson gets the passing game going with two quick connections to Julio Jones. On 4th-and-1 from the Tennessee 3, Glenn Coffee carries for the touchdown. (And that 66-yard drive puts 'Bama ahead once more in time-of-possession.) Alabama 13, Tennessee 3.

5:44 -- Tennessee can't move the ball, misses a field-goal attempt, Alabama takes over at its own 34.

6:40 -- Three running plays net 9 yards, so that at least Alabama doesn't have to punt from the end zone. But what a lousy punt! Tennessee takes over at the Alabama 32.

9:25 -- Tennessee puts together a drive, but stalls at midfield. Punt pins down Alabama at its own 3 yard line. Tennessee now leads in time-of-possession. The Crimson Tide offense needs to put together a good drive here.

14:39 -- Tennessee's defense is hitting hard, Alabama can't move the ball. Punt. Dang it.

1st Quarter: 0:21 -- Stopped 'em again -- 3 downs and out for the Vols. No complaints about the defense -- Tennessee's only got 11 total yards in the first quarter -- but Alabama simply must establish its ground game and put together a sustained drive.

1:37 -- Alabama kicks a field goal. We're still relying too much on the passing game, not driving it like we should. Alabama 6, Tennessee 3.

3:37 -- Tennessee goes 3-and-out, shanks a punt, Alabama takes over at midfield. Now, let's drive it, boys.

6:28 -- Alabama goes three downs and out. So far, nine of our 13 plays from scrimmage have been passes. This bodes ill.

Dang. We stopped Tennessee and forced them to punt, then Javier Arenas fumbled the ball and set the Vols up at the 'Bama 10. A turnover by special teams wastes a solid defensive effort. We managed to keep them out of the endzone, but they got a field goal. Alabama 3, Tennessee 3.

Alabama takes the opening kickoff and drives 50 yards down to the Tennessee 21 before settling for a field goal. Alabama 3, Tennessee 0

Tonight, 7:45 p.m. ET, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, ESPN. Tennessee (3-4) is having an off-year, but the Vols will be psyched up for the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide (7-0), which last week lost 362-pound nosetackle Terrence Cody, a potential all-conference player who had become the anchor of the Alabama defense. Fortunately, Cody's knee was only sprained, but he'll still miss this week's game. That means John Parker Wilson and the Tide offense will need to take it up a notch, control the ball and mount some clock-chewing drives in order to relieve the pressure on the 'Bama defense.

Being a Southerner means understanding that politics is not as important as football. America can survive an Obama presidency, but if Alabama loses, the terrorists win.

Self-jihad in Gaza

Three Hamas terrorist smugglers apparently blew themselves up in a tunnel under the Egypt-Gaza border. If a martyr for Allah succeeds only in killing himself, does he still get 72 virgins? Which is to say, it there an "E for effort" factor involved?

Behind the Ashley Todd hoax

Over at the American Spectator blog, I've got a brief report based on an interview with a source who couldn't speak for attribution:
There was "never any inkling" that Todd was dishonest or emotionally unstable, the source explained in a telephone interview. Todd reportedly told police that she has had prior mental health issues, but nobody at College Republicans -- for whom Todd was one of about 50 volunteers working in this year's campaign -- was aware of that background.
Nor were College Republicans aware that Todd had been kicked out of a Ron Paul group in Texas. I'm thinking that would have been a deal-breaker because -- let's be honest -- if you're too crazy for the Paulistas, you're just too damned crazy.

Palin goes 'rogue'?

BUMPED (UPDATES BELOW): And not a moment too soon:
Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain's camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain's decline. "She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.
I said early and often that the Palin rollout -- with the McCain campaign going out of its way to keep Palin away from the media -- was mishandled:
If she can't handle a press conference, how can you argue she's ready to be vice president? This fear-based, defensive, curl-up-inside-your-shell posture toward the press is killing the GOP. It's insane: Treat the press like the enemy and then complain about media bias. Oh, I wish Tony Snow were still alive to explain to these "senior campaign officials" why this approach doesn't work.
If nothing else has been gained in this campaign, at least the "Tucker Bounds School" of Republican media strategy has been exposed as the wrongheaded nonsense it is.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: A professional Republican Party operative strikes back against the candidate:
Palin spokesperson, Tracey Schmitt responded to the article, "Unnamed sources with their own agenda will say what they want, but from Governor Palin down we have one agenda, and that's to win on Election Day."
Professional political operatives -- the GOP's hired help -- think of themselves as more important than the candidates themselves, and infinitely more important than the voters. The Republican Party, you see, has been captured by its own bureaucracy. This top-down approach to politics is why rank-and-file conservatives feel so disempowered.

UPDATE II: CNN adds more:
A second McCain source says [Palin] appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign. . . .
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
The Politico reported Saturday on Palin's frustration, specifically with McCain advisers Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt. They helped decide to limit Palin's initial press contact to high-profile interviews with Charlie Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, which all McCain sources admit were highly damaging.
In response, Wallace e-mailed CNN the same quote she gave the Politico: "If people want to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most honorable thing to do is to lie there."
Oh, yeah, Nicolle Devenish Wallace, who thinks that candidates don't need to talk to reporters:

Another Republican media operative who -- so far as I can tell from her biography -- has never worked a day as a reporter.

Why Joe Biden hates beauty queens

Barbara West of WFTV in Orlando, Fla., is a former Miss Vermont who went onto an incredible career as a television reporter, covering such stories as the Chernobyl meltdown. So guess who decides to go for "viral video immortality" in her Joe Biden interview?

Michelle Malkin calls it "the best interview of Joe Biden ever," but the O'Biden campaign obviously disagrees. It's hard to choose a favorite question, but this one is definitely a standout:

You may recognize this famous quote: 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.' That's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist, if he intends to 'spread the wealth around'?
That ought to get her a free lifetime subscription to The New American.

Ashley Todd a Paulista?

The College Republican volunteer who perpetrated the Pennsylvania hoax appears to be a former Ron Paul supporter:
Ms. Todd's job as a field representative for the College Republican National Committee brought her to Pittsburgh about two weeks ago to recruit college students. She had worked for the committee since August. Yesterday, the organization fired her.
Ashley Barbera, the organization's communications director, said workers initially were concerned for Ms. Todd's safety.
"We are as upset as anyone to learn of her deceit. Ashley must take full responsibility for her actions," she said.
In March, Ms. Todd was asked to leave a grass-roots group of Ron Paul supporters in Brazos County, Texas, group leader Dustan Costine said. He said Ms. Todd posed as a supporter of former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and called the local Republican committee seeking information about its campaign strategies.
"She would call the opposing campaign and pretend she was on their campaign to get
information," Mr. Costine said last night. "We had to remove her because of the tactics she displayed. After that we had nothing to do with her."
About a month earlier, he said, Ms. Todd sent an e-mail to the Ron Paul group saying her tires were slashed and that campaign paraphernalia had been stolen from her car because she supported Mr. Paul.
"She's the type of person who wants to be recognized," Mr. Costine said.
A Paulista volunteering on the McCain campaign? I'd advise her lawyer to try an insanity plea. "Extreme ideological instability" might not be be recognized as a mental disorder in the DSM-IV, but . . .

Frum blames Palin

Don't let the facts get in your way, David:
A year ago, the Arizona senator's team made a crucial strategic decision. McCain would run on his (impressive) personal biography. On policy, he'd hew mostly to conservative orthodoxy, with a few deviations -- most notably, his support for legalization for illegal immigrants. But this strategy wasn't yielding results in the general election. So in August, McCain tried a bold new gambit: He would reach out to independents and women with an exciting and unexpected vice presidential choice.
That didn't work out so well either. Gov. Sarah Palin connected with neither independents nor women. She did, however, ignite the Republican base, which has come to support her passionately. And so, in this last month, the McCain campaign has Palinized itself to make the most of its last asset. To fire up the Republican base, the McCain team has hit at Barack Obama as an alien, a radical and a socialist.
Sure enough, the base has responded. After months and months of wan enthusiasm among Republicans, these last weeks have at last energized the core of the party. But there's a downside: The very same campaign strategy that has belatedly mobilized the Republican core has alienated and offended the great national middle, which was the only place where the 2008 election could have been won.
This narrative is so fantastically at odds with the facts that I hesitate to engage in a point-by-point rebuttal. Frum backed Rudy Giuliani in the primaries, and denounced Sarah Palin on Aug. 30. So it isn't like he waited to see how "the great national middle" would react before deciding she was the wrong choice.

It is impossible to argue that Palin hurt the GOP ticket. On Aug. 29, the Gallup Daily had Obama +8. A week after Palin's selection was announced, McCain led the Gallup poll by 5 points for three consecutive days (Sept. 7-9), and even after another week of relentless media pounding, McCain still led on Sept. 16, 47-46%.

If one had to single out any one factor, it was McCain's reaction to the financial crisis that destroyed his campaign:

From a 1-point Gallup lead on Sept. 16, McCain went to a 10-point deficit by Oct. 10 -- a period of time that covered all three Obama-McCain debates. And it was during that same time period that McCain repeatedly endorsed a big-government approach to the financial crisis.

As late as Sept. 24, it was still a three-point race. By Sept. 29 -- after McCain's push for the bailout and after the first debate Sept. 26 -- Obama led by 8 points. Attempting to hang this around Sarah Palin's neck is not merely unfair, it's absurdly counterfactual.

An odd invocation of Lincoln

Bill Kristol, seeking to castigate Obama-endorsing Republicans, quotes Abraham Lincoln in defense of the 1840 Whig ticket, when taunted by a Democrat:
Address that argument to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. .  .  . The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. .  .  . Let none falter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if after all, we shall fail, be it so.
Exactly what is so praiseworthy in Lincoln's Whig partisanship? And what an unworthy object that partisanship had! The candidate Lincoln supported in that election, William Henry Harrison, was just a political frontman for Henry Clay. Harrison was also a phony, posturing as a simple frontiersman when he was in fact born into the Virginia aristocracy. Harrison, who died within weeks of his inauguration, served the shortest presidential term in history.

Sound politic rhetoric ought to rest on something honest, and not be cluttered up with irrelevancies -- unless Kristol really does mean to compare today's GOP to the Whigs of 1840.

Moonshine liberty

At lunch today, my 19-year-old daughter mentioned seeing an advertisement promoting Question 2, which would legalize slot machines in Maryland. She seemed to buy the gambling industry's argument that slots should be legalized because they would generate tax revenue.

"No!" I said. "The last thing the government needs is more tax revenue!"

I then explained a discussion I'd had with a young Republican who argued for the legalization of marijuana on similar grounds, namely that it would provide the government with more taxes. "That's exactly the best argument against legalization," I said. "If they legalize it, they'll regulate it and tax it. Conservatives don't want government to have more revenue. More revenue equals more government. Having a billion-dollar tax-free black-market economic sector is far preferable to having a federal Bureau of Marijuana."

That led to a discussion of Prohibition which led to a discussion of moonshine, which led to me talking about the Whiskey Rebellion, a historic uprising against federal tyranny (a whiskey tax conjured up by Alexander Hamilton) that is recalled in the lyrics of the old bluegrass classic, "Copper Kettle":
My daddy, he made whiskey.
My granddaddy, he did too.
We ain't paid no whiskey tax since 1792.
At some level, being a friend of liberty means being a de facto ally of smugglers and outlaws. If you legalize gambling and dope, you are turning enemies of the state into clients of the state.

On 'lackluster candidates'

Peter Suderman:
Why hold your tongue when the party nominates a lackluster candidate? This tendency is no small part of what allows a problematic candidate like Palin to be nominated.
Palin is "lackluster"? How about John McCain? (Even if you don't like Palin, it wasn't she who put herself on the ticket.) I very much agree when Suderman says, "The conservative movement has gotten itself in huge trouble by trading message discipline for any functional self-criticism apparatus." But whatever the problem is with the conservative movement, Sarah Palin isn't part of the problem.

GOP Gotterdammerung

Gerard Baker outlines the factional infighting -- neocons vs. isolationists, libertarians vs. social conservatives -- that will inevitably follow John McCain's defeat Nov. 4. Crazy Cousin John is neither an isolationist, nor a libertarian nor a social conservative, so I fail to see how those factions can be blamed for his defeat. But the fact that the most prominent Republican pundits (Fred Barnes, Bill Kristol, Bill Bennett, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks) are all to some degree neocons means you'll see a lot of efforts at blame-shifting.

Baker notes that many pundits have already designated their scapegoat:
An intriguingly large part of the skirmishing already revolves around the person and politics of Sarah Palin. This is partly because she will presumably be a leading contender for the party's presidential nomination in 2012. But it is more that the Palin question goes to the heart of what Republicans are or should be. . . .
It's hard to make a reasoned and fair judgment about the Alaska Governor because she has been the victim of one of the nastiest, most sustained and comprehensive slime-jobs ever performed by a hyper-partisan national and global media. . . .
There's an unshakeable view among the coastal elites that real wisdom is acquired only by circulating between the ivy-encrusted walls of scholarship and the Manhattan and Hollywood cocktail set.
This was one reason why, on Oct. 7, I identified McCain's wrongheaded stance on the financial crisis -- particularly his Sept. 24 announcement that he'd leave the campaign trail to push for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout -- as the cause of his defeat. The Republican elites want to hang the defeat on Palin so as to conceal their own role in this debacle.

Recall that in February, Christopher Buckley denounced those who opposed John McCain's nomination as "Torquemadas of the right." Now, cleverly seeking to distance himself from the disaster that those "Torquemadas" tried to prevent, Buckley has endorsed Obama. In doing so, however, Buckley does not retract his previous slurs against those who opposed McCain when it was still possible to prevent his nomination.

Likewise, Obama endorser "Cakewalk Ken" Adelman -- if McCain would make a lousy president, as Adelman now says, why wasn't he saying so in January and February? (BTW, does anyone remember Colin Powell criticizing John McCain during the GOP primaries?)

Why is that, when an explanation is sought for the failure of the McCain candidacy, nobody seeks out the opinion of those -- including Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham -- who so vocally opposed McCain's nomination to begin with?

'Staunch conservative,' my foot

"Cakewalk Ken" Adelman headlines his self-justification, "Why a Staunch Conservative Like Me Endorsed Obama":
Granted, McCain's views are closer to mine than Obama's. But I've learned over this Bush era to value competence along with ideology. Otherwise, our ideology gets discredited, as it has so disastrously over the past eight years.
McCain's temperament -- leading him to bizarre behavior during the week the economic crisis broke -- and his judgment -- leading him to Wasilla -- depressed me into thinking that "our guy" would be a(nother) lousy conservative president. Been there, done that.
Keep in mind that this is coming from a supporter of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Bill Kristol's "National Greatness" outfit that pushed for the invasion of Iraq. It's one thing not to support McCain (I've said since February I would vote Libertarian this year), but to endorse Obama? Not conservative. And definitely not "staunch."

UPDATE: Matt Lewis observes:
[I]f Adelman values conservative philosophy above all else, shouldn't he consider a "competent" liberal be the worst possible combination? After all, an incompetent liberal might not be able to pass liberal legislation -- but a competent liberal would use his intellect and ability to pass tax hikes, create more departments, nationalize more industries, etc.
In 2000, the thing to value was character and integrity, because it was perceived that Clinton lacked that. In 2008, the thing to value is competence, because it is perceived that Bush lacked that.
Very good point. And it's remarkable the extent to which a supposedly minor patronage appointment -- GOP lawyer Mike Brown at FEMA -- helped destroy the Bush administration. Heckuva job.

That infamous family temper

The Republican candidate's brother, Joe McCain, called 911 in Alexandria, Va., to complain about traffic on the Wilson Bridge:

Operator: Alexandria 911, state your emergency
Caller: Well, it's not an emergency but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95 traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic's coming the other way across the drawbridge?
Operator: Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic? (pause)
Caller: "[Expletive]" (caller hangs up)
The operator called the caller back and received this message: "Hi this is Joe McCain I can't take this message now because I'm involved in a very (inaudible) important political project... I hope on Nov. 4th we have elected John."

Here's video of a news report about the incident:

And now Joe's resigning from his brother's campaign:

The brother of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said Friday he'll withdraw from campaign activities after calling 911 to complain about traffic. Joe McCain also apologized for making the call.

Traffic in the DC area could induce apoplectic rage in anyone, but cussing out a 911 operator -- well, that's not the kind of change we can believe in.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Big Brother vs. Joe the Plumber

Did Obamaphile officials in Ohio assist in smearing Joe Wurzelbacher?
Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.
Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.
It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.
If Joe Wurzelbacher were an anti-war activist, and his driving records were accessed by Republicans, you can bet the Left would be screaming "fascism." All Joe did was to ask Obama some questions when Obama was canvassing in Joe's neighborhood, and for that effrontery, he was smeared nationwide.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The problem with the future

The future has never happened before. Those who expect the political future to replicate the past will inevitably be disappointed. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have lived through an age of extreme political turbulence. The election of 1994 commenced a series of high-profile partisan battles -- the 1995-96 budget battle, the 1998-99 impeachment battle, the 2000 Florida recount battle, etc. -- in which the contending forces were very closely matched. After substantial GOP victories in 2002 and 2004, Karl Rove convinced many that the "permanent Republican majority" was at hand, a conviction that has rapidly unraveled since.

Beware, then, the confidence with which Marc Ambinder predicts the future:
[I]f there's an enormous Democratic sweep, the odds of a reverse sweep two years from now are slim. 2010 won't be like 1994, where Republicans allegedly punished a Democratic Congress and president for the health care debacle and gays in the military. (Would the nation dump 70-80 Republicans over two years only to return them to power two years later?)
We have no idea what voters will do in 2010 or 2012 for the simple reason that we have no idea what the political environment will be like in two or four years. Not everything that affects politics is within the control of the political class. Mohammed Atta and Hurricane Katrina were such transpolitical phenomena.

Obviously, the larger the Democratic majority in Congress, the more difficult it will be for Republicans to take away that majority. QED. Still, we have no definite idea what policy disputes or scandals will erupt over the next few years, or what transpolitical events might shape public attitudes.

Go back to 1964, and see if any pundit predicted, on the eve of LBJ's landslide, the coming Nixon presidency. Go back to 1976 and the triumph of Jimmy Carter and see if you find any predictions of the looming Reagan revolution. Or go back to 1988 and see if, in the ashes of the Dukakis debacle, anyone foresaw the future Clinton presidency.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

How to get Oscar buzz

Hold up a mirror to Academy voters:

Even if it were no good as a family-relationship drama . . .RACHEL GETTING MARRIED works as a completely-unintentional parody of Connecticut Upper-Crust Secular Multicultural Awareness. I began mentally ticking things off: there are four "parents" on Rachel's side of the family (the side the film focuses on); the marriage is inter-racial and this is never even alluded to in any form; every ethnic group is represented in this World’s Fair by Benneton wedding guest list (I had to stifle a giggle at the entry of the Latin America Booth in the form of samba-dancers dressed for Rio Carnival week and a short dumpy woman in Andean Indian garb); the bride announces she is pregnant during the weekend, and this results in unmitigated celebration; their religion is "Religion": the wedding cake was decorated by Hindu elephants, the wedding outfits are Indian-style, the walls are decorated by Christian-looking icons but done in the Hindu style, and Kym (the film's central character, played by Anne Hathaway) toasts "L'Chaim"; the marriage is not in a church or by any sort of minister and the couple wrote their own vows; they live in Stamford in a multi-storey home on a lot big enough to pitch a wedding tent in the yard; Kym drives an old-model Mercedes; rehab, psychology PhD’s, smoking-Nazism and [having sex with] someone the day you meet him are all considered unremarkable.

It's The Birdcage for heteros, in other words. Anything is acceptable, except being normal. Be part of the herd of radical individualists.

Joe the Plumber for Congress

He'd consider it. But the ever-pessimisstic Allah thinks Joe would have a hard time beating Marcie Kaptur. Hey, man, who knows what the political environment might be by 2010? Obama might generate a huge backlash by then, and you can't win seats if you don't challenge them. Besides which, the mere fact of running a blue-collar kind of candidate is good for the GOP, which so obviously needs more Joe the Plumbers and fewer David Brookses.

Obama (still) buying the election

I blogged about this two weeks ago, and the buying of the presidency continues. During the first two weeks of October, the Obama campaign spent more than $100 million -- nearly $300,000 an hour, about 10 times what the McCain campaign spent. (Hat tip: Hot Air.)

As noted in this post earlier today, this is one reason why all the conservative complaints of media bias and criticisms of McCain campaign tactics are moot: When the opponent is burying you in TV ads -- better than a 2-to-1 advantage in swing states -- no tactic can be effectivc, and media bias has nothing to do with it.


'It is a fact . . .'

From Maverick HQ:
It is a fact that Barack Obama was palling around with terrorists. It was a fact before Governor Palin said it in a fully vetted speech and it is fact today. It is bullshit to claim or write anything else.

The declarative English sentence is a thing of beauty. It would be nice if such clarity were more widely practiced.

Obama buries McCain in ads

According to Neilsen, measuring "ad units":
  • Ohio: Obama 13,289; McCain 5,606
  • Pennsylvania: Obama 9,546; McCain 4,740
  • Florida: Obama 15,887; McCain 4,662
It is pointless for Republicans to bleat about media bias at a time when Obama is out-advertising McCain by more than 3-to-1 in Florida, and more than 2-to-1 in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Obama raised $150 million in September. That's $5 million a day, which means that in the first 17 days of the month, Obama had raised $85 million -- more than McCain received in federal matching funds to last him from Labor Day to Election Day. There is no Republican campaign "strategy" that could possibly overcome such a lopsided cash advantage by the Democrat.

Ashley Todd's disgusting hoax

A lot of people jumped on this story with both feet, and now it's exposed as a lie:
Police say a campaign volunteer confessed to making up a story that a mugger attacked her and cut the letter B in her face after seeing her McCain bumper sticker. At a news conference this afternoon, offiicals said they believe that Ashley Todd's injuries were self-inflicted. Todd, 20, of Texas, is now facing charges for filing a false report to police.
Todd initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield [Pa.] and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car.
Police investigating the alleged attack, however, began to notice some inconsistencies in her story and administered a polygraph test.
Fox News Vice President John Moody:
If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.
Exactly how a 20-year-old campaign volunteer came up with this stupid stunt -- hey, they've got video cameras at ATMs, you moron -- remains to be seen. (Ashley Todd's "blog" is cached.)

Michelle Malkin thought the story was fishy from the start because Todd refused medical treatment.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey:
The College Republicans will have some explaining to do here.
Thursday, Ed interviewed two top College Republican officials who defended Todd's veracity:
I spoke with two executives at the College Republicans on the record about this story. Charlie Smith, the National Chair, and Ethan Eilon, the Executive Director, both say the photo is legitimate and that it came from Ashley Todd, the victim in this case. . . . .
Eilon spoke with her personally today about the incident and confirmed the above with me. He first met Ashley in June, when she came to DC for training with the College Republicans.
Did the training include how to file a false police report?

UPDATE II: Ace defended Ashley. Now, he's disgusted:
It's not just that she's corrupt and crazy. I mean -- obviously.
It's also that she's not even minimally competent at it.
The Republican Party is supposed to be Evil. Not "incompetent."
I assure you, Ashley, there is a difference.
This reminds me of the argument I make against people who want to legalize drugs. If you're stupid enough to get caught with dope, there is a Darwinian benefit to getting you off the street. If we can't outlaw stupidity, we can at least criminalize its consequences.

UPDATE III: Perp walk! And this:
"She hasn't really shown any obvious remorse," [Pittsburgh Police Lt. Kevin] Kraus said. "She's certainly surprised that it snowballed to where it is today."
Stupid people are always surprised by the disastrous consequences of their stupidity. If they weren't stupid, they would have foreseen the consequences. It is their lack of foresight that leads them to doing stupid things in the first place.

A rant remembered

Back in January, following the Florida primary, I uncorked a fusillade against the GOP Establishment's effort to shove Crazy Cousin John down the throats of an unwilling base:
Crazy Cousin John is to the conservative cause as a dog is to a fire hydrant. . . .
The GOP Establishment, attempting its patented "Harriet Miers Move," is trying to tell conservatives that we have no choice in the matter.
To which I proudly answer, "F--- You, GOP Establishment." . . .
Now, many of the same Establishment types who were reponsible for imposing the McCain campaign on the GOP are trying to muddy the water in an attempt to blame others for their own miscalculation. Hard-core McCainiac Tom Ridge, for one, and various anonymous McCain staffers, as well.

GOP to base: 'Drop dead'

No money for conservative candidates:
The Family Research Council's (FRC) political arm ripped Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) Thursday for withdrawing ad spending on behalf of two endangered Republican candidates.
FRC President Tony Perkins said in a letter to Cole, chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), that the committee "is abandoning social conservative candidates" by pulling ads from the re-election races of Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) and Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.).
Tom Cole is the chairman, but he's not making the decisions, which are made by the professional staff. This is a synopsis of the basic problem with the national GOP -- the hired help at headquarters is running the party. The hired help aren't red-state stalwarts, and have nothing in common with the ordinary rank-and-file of the party. This cultural gap between the party elite and the rank-and-file has existed for years and has only grown worse during the Bush years.

The objectivity of beauty

Conservatives are indignant today over Kathleen Parker's suggestion that John McCain chose Sarah Palin as running mate primarily for her looks.

Does any conservative really wish to deny that good looks are an asset in politics? After all, which party put a bona fide Hollywood movie star in the White House?

Back during the GOP primary season, I argued that the tall, handsome millionaire Mitt Romney would be a better nominee than the old, short, bald guy. Independent voters are superficial and, other things being equal, will generally prefer the guy who "looks presidential" on TV -- a test that John McCain spectacularly fails.

Palin's beauty is not a political deficit, so why does Kathleen Parker assert that because Palin is beautiful, she is to be presumed unqualified? It's envy, motivated by the same sour-grapes psychology that caused so many Republican pundits to dismiss Romney as "superficial" and "slick."

The fact that Romney was able to talk meaningfully about economics -- another woeful shortcoming of John McCain -- was scorned as irrelevant by those who believed that the heroic biography would conquer all. Just like Bob Dole . . .

UPDATE: Linked by Daniel Larison:
As for Romney, he was considered superficial and slick because he seemed to have no core political beliefs that he would not abandon at the drop of a hat if there was some advantage in it.
The accusation that Romney was an unprincipled opportunist -- a flip-flopper -- didn't bother me very much, since at least he was flip-flopping in the right direction, whereas McCain seemed to believe that his stubborn advocacy of bad ideas (including amnesty for illegals) was a virtue in its own right.

I would further add, in response to Larison's criticisms of Palin, that there was no one on John McCain's short list of VP candidates (Tom Ridge? Joe Lieberman?) who would have met with Larison's approval.

Ironic note of the day

McCain campaign aides are accusing Sarah Palin of not being a "team player":
This faction has come to believe that Palin, perhaps unwittingly subconsciously or otherwise, has begun to play Sen. McCain off of the base, consistently and deliberately departed from the campaign's message of the day in ways that damage McCain. . . .
The complaints extend all the back to Palin's vice presidential vetting. Major disclosures, issue positions and associations did not come up, and the campaign was so overwhelmed with new information early on, it largely abandoned an effort to defend them individually.
Ironic, eh? Supporters of John McCain -- who just a few years ago reportedly considered switching to the Democratic Party, who wanted to name Joe Lieberman as his running mate, who wanted to fire SEC Chairman Chris Cox and replace him with Andrew Cuomo -- accuse Sarah Palin of disloyalty.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Flaming skull at Ace's

Whenever he pulls out the skull, you know it's something big: Apparently, Team Obama disabled a verification feature in its online donation softway so that anyone (even "John Galt") can give money anonymously, or rather pseudonymously, or at least without a verified name and address.

Hey, man, $5 million a day, what do they care if it comes from "DooDad Pro" and "asdfadfqrew"?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When in doubt, blame Bush

Joe Curl gives Maverick a chance to do what he does best -- bash Republicans:
Sen. John McCain on Wednesday blasted President Bush for building a mountain of debt for future generations, failing to pay for expanding Medicare and abusing executive powers, leveling his strongest criticism to date of an administration whose unpopularity may be dragging the Republican Party to the brink of a massive electoral defeat.
"We just let things get completely out of hand," he said of his own party's rule in the past eight years. . . .
"Spending, the conduct of the war in Iraq for years, growth in the size of government, larger than any time since the Great Society, laying a $10 trillion debt on future generations of America, owing $500 billion to China, obviously, failure to both enforce and modernize the [financial] regulatory agencies that were designed for the 1930s and certainly not for the 21st century, failure to address the issue of climate change seriously," Mr. McCain said in an interview with The Washington Times aboard his campaign plane en route from New Hampshire to Ohio.
"Those are just some of them," he said with a laugh, chomping into a peanut butter sandwich as a few campaign aides in his midair office joined in the laughter.
Notice he doesn't criticize Bush for supporting amnesty. Wonder why? Curl is giving the McCain campaign a chance to blame their defeat on Bush. However, McCain led Obama as late as Sept. 16, before he started blaming greedy Republicans for the financial crisis. If Obama had led all along, it would have been another story, but clearly McCain controlled his own destiny into September, then blew it. The "blame Bush" explanation won't work.

Bailout damages Chambliss in Ga.

John McCain isn't the only one suffering for his support for the $700 billion bailout. Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss is paying the price, too:
[Democrat challenger Jim] Martin's surge in the polls coincided with Mr. Chambliss' support earlier this month of the Bush administration's $700 billion Wall Street bailout package.
"That's when things started to fall apart for him," said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.
Please note that the collapse of support for Chambliss is not because Georgia suddenly became "progressive." It isn't because his Democratic opponent is charismatic or has a brilliant campaign strategy. It is solely because Chambliss supported the bailout. When people try to figure out what went wrong in 2008, they should not neglect the fact that the big-government approach to the financial crisis was overhwelmingly unpopular.

Libertarian populism, anyone?

Undercover agent on Ayers

"Eliminating 25 million people . . . and they were dead serious":

People have forgotten the 1981 Nyack armored car robbery involving some of Ayers' proteges, including Kathy Boudin, whose son was raised by Ayers and Dorhn after she was convicted for her role in a crime that took the lives of two policemen. People have forgotten that the 1970 townhouse explosion that killed three of Ayers' followers was caused by a bomb that was planned for a dance at Fort Dix, N.J.

Ayers planned a bloody revolution. Real people were killed by his followers, and many others would have died had they succeeded in their plans for a Marxist revolution. But nobody knows, and nobody cares, and thousands of college professors take his side, and all the most powerful institutions of the media ignore the fact that Ayers has blood on his hands.

UPDATE: Oh, yeah, and did I mention that Bill Ayers is a communist? He has never repudiated his status as a revolutionary.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin has more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Academics support Ayers

Three thousand commie professors:
More than 3,000 educators nationwide, including six Brown University professors, have signed a statement supporting William Ayers -- the man Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain called a "washed-up terrorist" at the third presidential debate. . . .
In response to the McCain campaign's focus on Ayers' radical acts of the 1960s and 1970s, "Friends and supporters of Bill Ayers" are circulating a statement online to vouch for the professor he has become.
Check and see if your kid's professor is on the list. Meanwhile, Comrade Ayers and Comrade Dohrn have a new book coming out:
Arguing that white supremacy has been the dominant political system in the United States since its earliest days -- and that it is still very much with us -- the discussion points to unexamined bigotry in the criminal justice system, election processes, war policy, and education. The book draws upon the authors' own confrontations with authorities during the Vietnam era, reasserts their belief that racism and war are interwoven issues, and offers personal stories about their lives today as parents, teachers, and reformers.
Shut up, you racist honkies -- but keep signing those tuition checks so they can teach your kids to hate you!

Grrrrr. Palin on illegals

Interviewed by Univision, she says she supports a "path to citizenship" for illegals:
There is no way that in the US we would roundup every illegal immigrant -there are about 12 million of the illegal immigrants- not only economically is that just an impossibility but that’s not a humane way anyway to deal with the issue that we face with illegal immigration.
Gov. Palin, you have been deceived by the pro-amnesty crowd, who love to present this issue as a false dilemma, where we must choose between (a) amnesty for illegals or (b) a massive round-up of millions of illegals. This ignores the alternative favored by most opponents of amnesty, namely the attrition or "self-deportation" approach:
  • Enhance border security, to slow the influx of illegals.
  • Step up "interior enforcement," especially targeting major employers of illegal labor.
  • Authorize state and local officials to identify and detain illegals (which would result in greatly enhanced interior enforcement).
  • Disqualify illegals for public benefits.
We have seen, as in the example of Prince William County, Va., when local officials act to step up enforcement against illegals, the result is a net outflow of illegals. If similar measures could be enacted on a nationwide basis, many illegals -- unable to find employment, housing, etc. -- would leave the country (self-deportation) and there would be a corresponding decrease of new illegals arriving, as word-of-mouth spread in the sending countries.

Once a net outflow developed -- more illegals self-deporting than arriving annually, so that the illegal population was steadily decreasing -- two major benefits would become apparent. First, there would be decreased political pressure for amnesty. Second, voters would no longer feel that their communities were being overrun by an invasion.

If government at all levels could work toward this attrition strategy for a few years, it would alleviate the crisis mentality that has developed over the past 15 years. As long as our borders are so evidently out of control, with hundreds of thousands of new illegals arriving every year, citizens will rightly demand a crackdown, and it will be politically impossible to enact any kind of comprehensive overhaul of the system.

Even those who favor a "path to citizenship" for illegals (which I do not) must understand that voters will not support such a measure so long as the illegal population continues to increase daily. Those who dismiss voter concerns by talking about the impossibility of mass deportations are missing the point entirely.

House GOP fears a 'wave'

Paul Bedard at U.S. News:
A document provided to Washington Whispers from a House GOP official shows that they could lose a net 34 seats. That means the Democrats would have a 270-165 advantage in the 111th Congress. . . .
The tally shows several different ratings of 66 House Republicans in difficult races or open seats held by retiring Republicans. "Rating 1" finds 10 Republicans "likely gone." Those districts are New York 13, Alaska, Arizona 1, Virginia 11, New York 25, Illinois 11, Florida 24, Michigan 7, Nevada 3, and North Carolina 8. Under "Rating 2," nine Republican seats are listed as "leaning Democratic." Under "Rating 3," some 22 GOP seats are listed as "true toss-up." The fourth rating, "lean Republican," finds 15 seats in the category that comes with this warning: "If there's a wave, some could be in trouble."

A couple of weeks ago, a poll showed that only half of adults realized that Democrats are now in control of Congress. Nancy Pelosi is able to avoid blame by pointing the finger at Bush, a luxury she'll lose when Obama's president.

'Frenzied aggression'

Somehow, I missed this last week:
The real enablers are demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck, who have made careers out of inciting frenzied aggression at anyone to the left of Joe McCarthy. Only now it seems that even these right-wing pundits have been outdone by their formerly loyal listeners. Coulter, whose contempt for Muslims ("invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity") is surpassed only by her scorn for liberals ("even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do"), has yet to call for the assassination of Barack Obama. But if she genuinely believes that liberals are more dangerous than Islamic terrorists, she should follow the courage of her convictions and do so.
Via Jamie Kirchick, a gay liberal who nonetheless dissents from the Obamaphile line:
What about the left's conspiracy theories? A not insignificant portion of liberals in this country believe that a small group of Jews, er, the "neocons," took control of the government following 9/11 to fight wars on behalf of Israel. Is not this slander as odious as the Internet rumors about Barack Obama?
The Left's pretended indignation at conservative "outrages" is just part of the propaganda intended to dehumanize the opposition. If you think this is bad, just wait until people begin to criticize President Obama's actual policy decisions in office.

Tony Blankley names names

The "me-too" conservatives:
Now, on the cusp of what some think will be a major Obama victory, we are beginning to see emerge what I will call "me-too conservatives" - initially amongst conservative commentators (politicians to follow). I have in mind, among others: Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Chris Buckley, David Frum and Kathleen Parker.
Of course, they are not quite saying they are giving up conservatism for whatever it is Barack Obama would bring. They are initially focusing on style or, in the newly arrived cliche: temperament - a term made famous, interestingly, to describe FDR as possessing a second-class intellect but a first-class temperament.
They'll never forgive you for that, Tony.

Bay Buchanan banned from campus

Young America's Foundation reports:
Administrators at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota -- the nation's largest Catholic women’s college -- unexpectedly blocked young conservatives on campus from hosting Bay Buchanan, a popular conservative commentator and U.S. Treasurer under President Reagan. The speech was scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, but was abruptly canceled after college officials deemed Ms. Buchanan's remarks on "feminism and the 2008 Election" too politically charged, citing concerns about the school's tax status. "Because we are a 501(c)(3) organization, the College of St. Catherine has sought to avoid any appearance of partisanship during the 2008 political season," said College spokesman Julie Michener.
That Ms. Michener can say that with a straight face is remarkable, considering the actions of her school's program, Voter Education 2008. Program-sponsored seminars have highlighted student agitators protesting the GOP's convention and featured a representative from the Joint Religious Legislative Task Force, which pushes for universal healthcare and minimum wage increases.
Interesting how this bogus non-partisanship always helps Democrats, huh? I suspect that St. Catherine's actually opposes Bay Buchanan because she's a real pro-life Catholic -- and heaven forfend that students at a Catholic school should ever be exposed to any such thing.

UPDATE: You don't suppose this has anything to do with George Soros spending big bucks to fool Catholics into thinking Obama is pro-life, do you? (Michelle Malkin has more about that.)

The political wife as prop

Mrs. Mahoney says, "See ya in court":
Six days after sitting silently at Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney's side as he acknowledged causing "pain" in their marriage, Terry Mahoney filed for divorce Monday.
She filed a petition in Palm Beach County Court seeking the dissolution of their 23-year marriage, possession of their Palm Beach Gardens home and "a full accounting of all funds spent or dissipated by the husband within the last two years" -- the period since Mahoney was elected to Congress on a "faith, family and personal responsibilit" platform in the aftermath of the Mark Foley sex scandal.
Ed Morrissey comments:
In past political scandals involving sexual peccadilloes, the elected official usually hauls the wife on stage with him for the inevitable tearful apology. Eliot Spitzer and Jim McGreevy, among others, therefore managed to humiliate their wives even more by using them as human shields from the press. . . .
[W]hen the philanderer uses the betrayed spouse for political cover, that speaks volumes about the values that politician holds -- and "faith and family" aren't high up on that list.
(It should be noted that even Jesus recognized infidelity as grounds for divorce.) As with Spitzer and McGreevey -- and indeed, as with Bill Clinton -- it's obvious that Mahoney's promiscuity was habitual, not episodic. Mahoney wasn't a guy who fell prey to a moment of temptation and weakness, but rather a horndog who was continually on the hunt. Yet he found the married-man image politically convenient and so lived a life that was fundamentally false.

The Crisis in Pictures

Casey Research, a financial firm, has prepared a report called "The Crisis in Pictures," about the current financial crisis, which includes the chart below:

Following the collapse of the dot-com bubble and continuing into 2002, the Federal Reserve increased money supply by $1.4 trillion. To quote from the report:

[W]hen confronted with the bursting of the dot-com bubble, Fed Chairman Greenspan without hesitation poured unprecedented amounts of money into the economy, increasing the money supply at roughly four times the rate of GNP growth. . . . [T]he economic dislocations of the dot-com bubble went largely unresolved and, after a very brief hiatus, the credit bubble continued expanding… now with mortgage debt.

In other words, the underlying losses of 2000 were "papered over" by inflating the currency, but because the (debt-funded) money was funneled mostly into real estate, housing was essentially the only commodity that saw a price increase.

The full report is available via e-mail from Casey Research.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grant Olan behind PA poll leak?

I actually know this guy:
Steve Corbett, a radio talk show host in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, accidentally received a copy of an internal email sent by Grant Olin who heads the Wilkes-Barre headquarters of the Obama campaign. The email went to 627 Obama campaign volunteers in the Wilkes-Barre Scranton region, saying that Obama Headquarters reported an internal poll which shows that Obama is only 2 points up in Pennsylvania. Sean Smith, who is heading Obama's Pennsylvania campaign, was interviewed by Steve Corbett via phone at 5:35 today to discuss this. He said that Grant "went rogue", and aknowledged that Grant was "reprimanded" for this.
(Via Ace.) I'm finding it hard to believe Grant Olan (the correct spelling) "went rogue." He's a young lawyer from Chicago, about 29, intense, dark haired, a total True Believer in Obama.

I met Grant on the night of the North Carolina primary, which I liveblogged from the Obama campaign's Martinsburg, W.Va., headquarters. Late that night, the Obama crew went to a grocery store coffee shop to use their free Wi-Fi and file their nightly report on their canvassing effort. I spent a little time talking to Grant, who told me that he left his job at a law firm and took a substantial pay cut to work for the Obama campaign.

I next saw Grant in July in Wilkes-Barre, when I went to cover a McCain campaign event for Pajamas Media. Because I had difficulty logging onto the campaign's Wi-Fi system, I went to file my story at a coffee shop around the corner, where I ran into Grant. He was there doing a voter-registration event with his local Obama volunteers (I think they were trying to recruit more volunteers from the protesters who showed up at the McCain event). Again, we talked a while, and Grant told me a few stories about his canvassing experiences in the heart of Hillaryland (Luzerne County voted 3-to-1 for Clinton over Obama in the primary).

If Grant Olan released that internal polling data without authorization, I will bet it was because he was worried that Team Obama was taking Pennsylvania for granted. But if it's really a two-point race in Pennsylvania, the public polls have completely missed it -- six of the seven most recent polls show Obama leading by double digits.

However, Ed Rendell is reportedly worried, so maybe there's some kind of ginormous Bradley effect that the Obama campaign's internal polls caught, but the others didn't. Or maybe Grant Olan's just such a True Believer that a fit of Hope fever drove him into a state of paranoia. (Get well soon, man.)

CNN lies about Colorado pullout

Just plain wrong:
"It's not true," McCain spokesman Tom Kise responded to "I don't know what the hell they're talking about."
"We see the race tightening both internally and in public polling," said Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's national communications director, in a statement. "We are within striking distance in the key battleground states we need to win."
Via Michelle Malkin, who points out that Palin made three campaign stops in Colorado just yesterday.

And 'liberal' is code for 'stupid'

The paranoid hunt for racism in every possible criticism of Barack Obama reached new heights today, when a columnist for the Kansas City Star declared that "socialist" is "an old code word for black."

Next think you know, "Democrat" will be construed as a racist epithet.

'Bailout Ben' endorses Obama

Oh, this is rich. John McCain lost the election by making himself the No. 1 advocate of the $700 billion bailout cooked up by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Now that Bernanke's got his bailout, he endorses Obama.

First, it was Cakewalk Ken. Now it's Bailout Ben.

Douthatism, once more

Ross Douthat is laboring mightily to undermine the credibility of mutual friends who swear to me that Douthat is really a good guy. To wit:
[I]s opposition to wealth-spreading in principle really now a litmus test for being a conservative? I thought that being on the right meant that you wanted a welfare state that's small in size and limited in scope - that's what I signed up for, at least - and the most just and reasonable way to shrink and/or restrain the American welfare state that I can see is to make it more redistributive, rather than less so.
Over at AmSpecBlog, Phil Klein retorts:
Despite the best efforts of Douthat to turn conservatism into a watered-down form of progressivism, the term "conservative welfare state" is contradictory. Conservatism, at its core, abhors the welfare state . . .
Hear, hear! And I add my own commentary:
A very instructive phrase -- "that's what I signed up for" -- naturally leads to the question, when did Douthat sign up? Where? And with whom?
Douthat's problem is that he feels the need to describe a hypothetical condition, conservative governance as an ideal finished product: Exactly this much of a social welfare state, and no more.
Politics doesn't work that way. Politics is Newtonian, establishing an equilibrium between competing interests. Vis-a-vis the size-of-goverrnment question, you take your place on either side of the tug-of-war -- the federal government is either too big or too small -- and you start pulling as hard as you can.
I stand resolutely on the side of those who say the federal government is too big, too powerful, too expensive. It doesn't matter how small, weak or cheap I think the ideal government would be, since in living memory it has only grown, and grown, and grown. (One notices that progressive Democrats have never specified a final destination of "progress.")
If ever any meaningful reductions were made in the size, authority and expense of the federal government, then conservatives could argue over whether the next proposed round of reductions might be going too far. Since everything is now going in exactly the opposite direction, Douthat's hand-wringing over the ideal size of the social welfare state is moot.
It's too big now, and that's all that matters in practical political terms -- not that Douthat has anything useful to say about practical politics.
Since Burke first denounced the French Revolution, conservatism has always been a philosophy of opposition. and it looks like we'll be getting back to our roots soon enough. Jacobinism is once more triumphant, and if you listen closely, you can hear the tumbrels beginning to roll.

UPDATE: On reflection, I suppose this rant returns to my idea of how "Libertarian Populism" could appeal to Ordinary Americans. The argument that the federal government is too big and too expensive and too wasteful has the virtue of simplicity.

Since the federal government has been continually expanding since the 1930s, liberals essentially argue that government has not expanded fast enough or far enough. But every adult can remember a time when the government had not taken charge of some function that it now exercises.

Was life really so bad back then? Does the Ordinary American think that this increased federal role has really made an overall improvement in his daily life? Or, rather, does he sense that the federal government has generally made a botch of things?

There is a coherent argument to be made against the overgrown authority of Washington, D.C. This argument is both intellectually respectable and politically potent. When the conservative movement puts forward persuasive spokesmen to articulate this argument, the movement grows and succeeds. However, when the spokesmen are inarticulate or unpersuasive -- or when prominent spokesmen describing themselves as "conservative" begin making apologies for big government -- the movement weakens and fails.

If big government is "conservative," then exactly what is the conservative critique of liberalism? Where is the fundamental substance of disagreement? When conservatives abandon their critique of big government, the debate with liberalism becomes complex and confusing. Ordinary Americans are no longer presented with a conservative politics that is simple and coherent, and are easily attracted to another simple and coherent argument: Gimme, gimme, gimme.

The failure of Bush's "compassionate conservatism" is that, in abandoning a critique of big government, Republicans were left with no domestic-policy argument except cultural squabbles (e.g., Terri Schiavo) and, "Hey, isn't the economy great?" It's interesting to ponder whether this stance would have failed sooner, had it not been for 9/11, which allowed the GOP to win the 2002 and 2004 elections on the question of which party could best fight Islamic terrorism. But as the public wearied of (or changed its mind about) that issue, and as the economy soured, the GOP discovered it had no domestic argument at all.

If we are going to have big government no matter who wins the election, why not vote for the party that has been advocating big government all along?

Grover Norquist likes to talk about the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" -- that solid conservative constituency which stands resolutely against big government. The task of conservative commentators ought to be to persuade more people to join the "Leave Us Alone Coalition." If Ross Douthat wants to attack the "Leave Us Alone Coalition," he thereby makes himself an enemy of the only conservatism that can ever hope to exercise influence in American politics.

David Frum on 'terrible' presidents

The former Bush speechwriter speaks:
"The people who defend [Sarah Palin] have already given up any serious thought of Republicans' wielding governmental power anytime soon. . . . They have already moved to a position of pure cultural symbolic opposition to a new majority. The people who criticize her do so because we have some hope that we could be in contention in 2012, and there's some risk that she could be the party's nominee, and she'd probably lose -- and even if by some miracle she won, she'd be a terrible president."
For the record, David Frum spent several months as a "senior policy adviser" to Rudy Giuliani's GOP primary campaign, which finished with 597,518 votes. -- i.e., 4,102,270 votes fewer than Mitt Romney, 3,678,528 votes fewer than Mike Huckabee, and 562,885 fewer votes than Ron Paul.

Frum's ability to pick winning presidential candidates is not self-evident. As to his ability to determine exactly who would "be a terrible president" . . .

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Peace freaks vs. Palin motorcade

KCCO captured video of Obots attempting to block Sara Palin's motorcade in Grand Junction, Colo. CNN reports:
Eight to 10 protesters broke away from a larger group of demonstrators and darted into the street in front of Palin's car just after the first police motorcycles in her motorcade had passed, said Acting Chief Troy Smith of the Grand Junction Police Department.
Wearing bandanas and with faces covered, they blocked the path and held up a large banner. Officers in the motorcade stopped their motorcycles, and grabbed protesters, dragging several out of the path of the oncoming motorcade.
At least two demonstrators were tackled and forced to the ground before being pulled away. One officer fell backwards into the path of an approaching vehicle but he was able to get out of the way in time. . . .
Smith said officers saved the protesters from injury because "the motorcade likely would not have stopped" for them. He said "we don't know what their intentions were" in trying to block Palin's motorcade. . . .
The protesters were members of a group called "Red Pill," Smith said. A Web site that carried an announcement of the group's planned protest urged supporters to show Palin "that we as a community say no to war, no to corporate cronyism, and no to four more years of Bush-style leadership." Itencouraged people to bring "drums, noise makers, and your strength."
There is an ossified belief in the minds of certain people: When the U.S. is in a war, all enlightened people must protest. But "civil disobedience" -- i.e., criminal behavior to make a political spectacle -- is not First Amendment-protected free speech. Liberals are having paroxyms of indignation about morons at Republican rallies saying stupid things, but those GOP morons aren't throwing themselves in front of motorcades, are they?

UPDATE: Video via Hot Air:

AOSHQ Test, quantified

Scientific basis of the "I'd tap it" factor:
In the current study, facial and body characteristics of Playboy Playmates of the Year from 1960-2000 were identified and investigated to explore their relationships with U.S. social and economic factors. Playmate of the Year age, body feature measures, and facial feature measurements were correlated with a general measure of social and economic hard times. . . . These results suggest that environmental security may influence perceptions and preferences for women with certain body and facial features.
(Via Hot Air.) You've got to admire the genius of guys who can get a research grant to look through old Playboys. When I was 13, man, I was doing lots of research . . .

Monday, October 20, 2008

The final nail

UPDATE 10/21: McCain campaign denies it is pulling out of Colorado. My apologies for being deceived by CNN.

PREVIOUSLY: On Oct. 2, when Team Maverick pulled out of Michigan, I said it was over -- and all I got was a lot of angry denunciations from the True Believers. Now comes this headline from CNN:
McCain camp looking for way to win without Colorado
Do the math, people: Maverick's down by 5 points in Colorado, a state that Bush won by 5. So, according to CNN, now the brain trust is trying to figure out how to win (wait for it) Pennsylvania, a state Bush lost by 2, and where Maverick now trails by 12.

Pining for the fjords . . .

GOP's 'Cakewalk Ken' endorses Obama

A Nixon-era neocon, the guy who predicted a "cakewalk" in Iraq, and now he's all about Hope.

How's that knife in the back feeling, GOP? This guy was with Bill Kristol's PNAC, no less! A real piece of work, this one.

Folks down around Chattanooga have reported hearing strange laughter from Forest Hills Cemetery.

(Hat-tip: Ace.)

The media's anointed One

John McCain aide Mark Salter complains bitterly about how totally in the tank the media is for Obama, and Tom Bevan recalls that Hillary Clinton's aides had the same complaint.

The longer the Democratic primary campaign lasted, the more the national press corps acted like they were on Obama's payroll. I'll never forget that day in Shepherdstown, W.Va., right after the North Carolina primary, when this fat, obnoxious CBS reporter more or less told Hillary to quit:
Does her vow to keep fighting, asked one network TV reporter, mean that Clinton will continue her campaign all the way until the vote on the convention floor in Denver?
"I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee, and I obviously am going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee," she answered. "So we will continue to contest these elections and move forward."
The reporter fired back with a follow-up question: "But what do you say to those Democrats who fear that you're putting the Democratic Party's chances at risk by...continuing to stay in?"
Honestly, who were "those Democrats" whose fears that jerk from CBS was expressing? Him and his liberal buddies on the press bus, that's who.

Americans should remember this well. If the Obama presidency goes bad wrong -- and does anyone seriously expect it to go well? -- it was the media who elected him. Those biased bastards like that guy from CBS will bear a huge responsibility for the result.

Happy birthday, Michelle Malkin

She turned "the big three-eight" today, and posts a photo of herself at high school graduation with "Big South Jersey Hair."

Man, there's no hair like that '80s hair. You should have seen my spectacular mullet in 1988 . . .

Obama and GLSEN

Linda Harvey is asking questions:
I'd been wondering what Kevin Jennings was doing these days. Jennings is the founder and long-time head of the radical homosexual group GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. GLSEN's mission has been to plant "gay" clubs and training programs in as many schools as possible. . . .
He's now the Obama campaign fundraising co-chair for the "LGBT" community -- that's "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered." You can listen to Jennings lay out the rights-oriented rhetoric in two interviews with Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign, on the website "LGBT for Obama." . . .
Read the whole thing. BTW, the reason John McCain's campaign hasn't made a deal of Obama's endorsement of the radical LGBT agenda is that McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt is pro-gay.

Sarah Palin is no Harry Truman

And thank God for that:
Of all the dead Democrats who are now routinely praised by Republicans, none is less deserving of such plaudits than Harry S. Truman. In discussing Sarah Palin’s sudden emergence from obscurity last week, Peggy Noonan wrote: "But there was a man who came from nowhere, the seeming tool of a political machine, a tidy, narrow, unsophisticated senator appointed to high office and then thrust into power by a careless Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose vanity told him he would live forever. And yet that limited little man was Harry S. Truman. Of the Marshall Plan, of containment. Little Harry was big. He had magic."
Magic, bah! Truman was woefully unprepared for the presidency and was so immensely unpopular that he quite nearly destroyed all the goodwill the Democratic Party had accumulated during Roosevelt’s presidency.
Please read the whole thing.

Barack Mugabe?

Michelle Malkin uses the plight of Zimbabwe as an analogy for Barack Obama's "spread the wealth around" philosophy. Naturally, this induces accusations of racism from the liberal blogger Oliver Willis.

The only way to avoid accusations of racism in this election is either to (a) praise Obama or (b) say nothing at all. And the biggest undertow against Obama's otherwise inevitable election is the suspicion of some voters that an Obama presidency would mean four years of such hysterical finger-pointing: "Look! That guy said something bad about Obama! Racist! Racist!"

At least Oliver Willis is black. I don't so much mind when a black person says, "Hey, that's racist." If a man says he feels insulted, who am I to say how he should feel? What bothers me is these self-righteous white liberals parading around their fine-tuned racial sensitivity as if sensitivity were a moral virtue: Thou shalt kowtow to PC shibboleths.

Palin and the press

Guess what? She's great:
Though she often turns the "mainstream media" into a punching bag on the stump, Palin clearly enjoys interacting with reporters. She seems to relish the opportunity to demonstrate that her breadth of knowledge far exceeds what she offered to CBS News' Katie Couric in a series of interviews that were marked by vague, often convoluted answers to straightforward questions.
Via Joe at NoVaTownhall who sagely notes the most important point: I was right all along. Twenty-two years in the news business, but does any Republican ever ask my opinion about "media strategy"? No, but they'll shell out big bucks to "media strategists" who never worked a day in a newsroom. For want of a nail . . .

UPDATE: I just saw Frank Luntz on "Fox & Friends" say that it was wrong for Sarah Palin to do the Gibson and Kouric interviews -- and in this, Luntz is right -- but then he said she shouldn't have talked to any reporters until after the first debate, which is completely wrong.

Let me try to explain this briefly. The daily deadline reporters who are out there covering the McCain campaign every day should never be treated as the Big Media Enemy, except in those cases where an individual reporter commits some specific act of unfairness. Nor should the local and regional reporters who show up to cover specific events be confused with The Big Media Enemy.

The workaday journalist whose job it is to go out and cover campaigns deserves to be treated with respect. That reporter is supposed to be getting the news, and when campaigns don't allow reporters access to candidates -- when there's never a press conference, never any unscripted availability -- you can't blame the inevitable deterioration of the campaign's press relations on the press.

"You draw more flies with honey" -- that's the simplest summary of the secret to good press relations. "Walk a mile in my shoes" -- that's the simplest summary of why Republicans are so lousy at press relations. Because 90% of reporters are Democrats, there are very few people working in Republican politics who've ever been reporters. There is a lack of empathy, an inability to see press relations from the reporter's point of view, at the heart of the Republican Party's lousy standing in America's newsroom.

The liberal leanings of the press corps can't be helped (at least, not in the short term), but how Republicans deal with that problem is within their own control. "I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing," Reagan said, and today's GOP stands guilty of doing nothing about media bias -- except constantly whining and lashing out in paranoid rage, which is Nixonesque, not Reaganesque.

Republican campaign operatives have to get over their sadistic, punitive attitude toward the press. The Tucker Bounds School of GOP media relations -- where every interview is treated as an opportunity to show contempt for the interviewer -- is only making a bad situation worse.

Over the years, I have patiently sought to explain this to the Republicans I know personally. They nod in assent, but then . . . nothing. Maybe it's my fault they never seem to follow up on what I tell them. Maybe it's that I'm not a big-shot party operative like Frank Luntz or a 20-something know-it-all like Tucker Bounds. But with their mishandling of the Palin press roll-out, everyone can see how this blunderheaded attitude has cost the GOP a real political opportunity, so maybe something will change.