Friday, December 4, 2009

A: 'I think it’s a fair question'

by Smitty

Now if the question has the form: "Is it possible that the Climate Research Unit is playing games with the research?" then you're cool.

However, if the question is along the lines of: "What if other people make Barack Obama's birth certificate an issue?" then Rick Moran thinks you may be among the "simpletons and paranoid conspiracy freaks".

Re-read the quoted section of the interview, Rick, emphasis mine:
Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?

I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue ’cause I think there are enough members of the electorate who still want answers.

Do you think it’s a fair question to be looking at?

I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting record — all of that is fair game. You know, I’ve got to tell you, too: I think our campaign, the McCain/Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were and perhaps what their future plans were. And I don’t think that that was fair to voters to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of the things that now we’re seeing made manifest in the administration.
For the record, (and I can't say whether Stacy would agree), the galactic coordinates where Barack Obama first drew breath have got to be the least important Constitutional threat at the moment. There are 12 trillion+ more sinister dangers (i.e., the national debt), than the question of whether Barack was born on Mars or in Hawaii. Even if you could conclusively prove otherwise, you'd require all three branches of the Federal government to admit they utterly tubed it when they installed BHO. So really, this isn't an issue likely to bear fruit, and therefore isn't worthy of attention.

Sarah gave it no attention. Can't you see that she's leaving it to "a small subset of the entire electorate cares?" She hasn't said anything more than "it's all fair game"
They are missing the point. Sarah Palin has said that these questions are legitimate, that voters have a right to know, and that "a lot" of citizens are concerned about it.

She didn't say what any rational person on the right or left believes: that questions about the president's birth have been settled by the state of Hawaii, that only a very small group of citizens are even concerned about the issue, and that an equally small number of people were even aware of the ridiculous controversy over Trig's origins.
Why, Rick, should she listen to you, me, or any other purportedly "rational person on the right"?

If anything, Sarah's biggest crime would seem to be cribbing from BHO's own playbook: leaving minions to do the rough work like pursue a birth certificate controversy, or a $400 haircut.

Maybe I'm in your "cotton candy conservative" category:
There is much wrong with many inside the beltway conservatives. I agree that they should be castigated for their hypocrisy; running as pious conservatives back home while playing fast and loose with conservative principles in DC. Such cynicism should be punished severely and I have no qualms about taking them to the woodshed for their sins.

But the world looks a little more complex to the "elites" than it does to most conservatives. In fact, many on the right reject complexity entirely, seeing it as just another excuse for a lack of adherence to principles among establishment conservatives, and others like Friedersdorf. It is their lack of fervency that is suspect, not necessarily any deviation from principle that riles the critics. That, and a slightly different interpretation of what "conservatism" is all about, convicts establishment righties of the crime of "not being conservative enough," and thus a target of the true believers.
So, Rick, if we can agree that every challenge, at a certain point in time, has some level of complexity, maybe we can agree that obfuscating is worse than oversimplifying. You can always add bureaucrats. Unlike a Danish whore, however, prostitutes of the organization chart nature won't go down or go away easily. They will, however, cook the books any way necessary to fulfill that great line from Civ IV: "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy."

Chatting with Stacy today, I threw out the idea that the Democrats are the Harlem Globetrotters, and the Republicans are the Washington Generals. The pressing question of American politics is not whether we like the Globetrotters over the Generals, but rather whether we think this last century of exhibition basketball, with its debt, deficits, incumbency, and socialism, is the preferred governmental sporting model. Lefties and moderates take turns cheering for the Globetrotters and Generals, since the Progressives sold us this exhibition basketball shinola.

Has Sarah Palin offered a substantial alternative to exhibition basketball? No. She started her national phase as a VP nominee for a Progressive, moderate squish of a presidential ticket. Since then, she's given us a ghosted book, of which I haven't read enough to comment. Posts responding to yours about Sarah are by no means a gushing endorsement.

The problem is, unless the GOP — and that includes Rush Limbaugh and the other cotton candy conservatives who wield a lot of influence — stand up and denounce her in no uncertain terms, birtherism will have gone completely mainstream in the Republican Party. If that happens, you might want to forget about any significant gains at the polls for the GOP in 2010.

By her stupidity, she is now going to force every GOP candidate for the House and Senate to come out and declare whether they are birther nuts or not. Even if they’re not, being forced to answer in the first place makes the party look even kookier than it has to this point in time. You can bet Democratic opponents of Republican candidates will be asking whether they agree with Palin or not — and they will do it every chance they get. The press will gleefully repeat the question, no matter how many times the GOP candidate answers it.

What a sad, tragic, maddening turn of events.
Short: No.
Medium: You're headed for Sullivan territory.
Long: Your bogus presumption of mainstreaming has led to an unhinged conclusion about the direction of the debate.

My suspicion is that you're deriving great traffic from extrapolating far-fetched conclusions from simple statements. I admire your capitalism, sir. Also, do you think Mitt Romney a viable 2012 Republican candidate? I figure that you must, given his suave executive demeanor.

In the meantime, Dr. Smith prescribes moderate exercise for all the tension coming through your posts. Also, a healthy diet.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl has a more reasonable response than Rick Moran's.

UPDATE II (RSM): As Smitty mentioned in his American Glob interview, the risk of a blog partnership is that you sometimes work at cross-purposes. Just the other night, as I recall, I warned Smitty not to give into his temptation to whack the Rick Moran tar-baby. And while he was working on this post, I was working on a post -- which I may yet decide to publish -- whacking a better target: Andrew Sullivan. But never mind that right now.

In my opinion, Sarah Palin gave the wrong answer to Rusty Humphrey's question. I don't know if I've been interviewed on Rusty's show before -- I did a lot of talk radio while promoting Donkey Cons in 2006 -- and certainly have no more desire to attack him than I do to attack Palin.

However, Rusty's question was as misguided as Palin's answer. As I've said before, there is simply no political payoff to Birtherism. If and when conservative score political victories in 2010 or 2012, it won't be because somebody's found a "smoking gun" about the circumstances of Obama's birth. Instead of asking questions about a birth certificate, conservatives need to be asking questions that don't lead into a cul-de-sac of fruitless speculation.

We might say something similar about Smitty and Rick Moran going at one another. Rick's problem, I've surmised, is that he is cued into certain liberal media outlets and has internalized their spin on these kinds of stories. It's a GIGO situation.

I've been on Rick's blog radio show several times and hung out with him at CPAC, and he's always friendly. However, he and I perceive different political realities.

Why? I don't watch much TV, almost never watch the Big Three network news, don't even get CNN on my cable selection, and am always on guard against bias in any news I read. I know nothing about Rick's own news diet, but from the stuff he writes I'm sometimes tempted to think he's listening to NPR, watching Anderson Cooper and reading New Republic. NTTAWWT.

Smitty's problem, on the other hand, is that he's got Rick's blog in his RSS feed, so he sees at least the headline of every post Rick writes and madcap hijinks ensue.

Through long years of writing and editing other writers, I've learned that what you read influences what you write. For example, academic historians are bad writers because most of what they read is the work of other academic historians. And a lot of women journalists write in a lightweight style because they spend too many leisure hours reading novels and women's magazines.

Well, we bloggers have a bad tendency to read too many blogs. We get into the habit of looking for excuses to grab our flamethrowers and incinerate anybody who disagrees with us.

Never mind that this leaves a lot of charred corpses lying around. It also leads to bad writing and pointless arguments that are only interesting to the two guys wielding the flamethrowers.

Smitty is a very nimble writer, so his stuff is interesting to read even in this kind of situation. And I've won a few fans at gladitorial exhibitions of this sort. But . . . eh, I don't know. I've sort of resigned myself to letting Rick Moran be Rick Moran. Is that wrong?


  1. Actually, K~Bob said...

    Smitty, she started her "national phase" in some interviews on oil and energy; notably with Larry Kudlow, where she showed command of complex infrastructure, policy, and environmental issues. She was quick to answer questions with impressive, brief summations, and impressed Larry a great deal.

    I swear, we have people that want to be wowed by Obama's pants crease, but so many on the right seem determined as hell to not notice Palin's appeal to intelligent, normal people.



  3. Most of America looks at Constitutional Issues as if they were 18th century courting rituals; quaint but irrelevant.
    No matter how pressing those issues are.

  4. In Update II, RSM said, "there is simply no political payoff to Birtherism." I don't think RSM really "gets" it. If other "Birthers" think as I do, it's not about "political payoff", it's about adhering to the rules of the game as defined by the US Constitution. When questions were raised about the citizenship status of Senator McCain, Congress was all over it, and Senator McCain provided long form documentation to support his candidacy. What happened when similar claims were brought up against Obama? His only support of his citizenship is a document that he couldn't use to get a passport. Any legal attempt to further verify his status as "natural-born citizen" has been met with challenges, getting thrown out of courts for such silly reasoning as "it's been all over Twitter" and "the plaintiffs do not have standing". Whatever happened to looking at the evidence?

    For me, it's not about "who wins", as long as the Law (especially the Constitution) is followed. If a proper investigation were to find Obama is indeed a natural-born citizen, fine. If he isn't, well we should know about that sooner rather than later.

    I can't help but wonder how many people (of those who so quickly accept Obama at his word) were among those that actually thought "The Day After Tomorrow" was a harbinger of things to come if the Great Prophet Al Gore's words about the climate were not heeded.

  5. Smitty, RSM and Moran are all missing the point. Once again Palin plays chess while these bloggers are playing checkers. The fact is that according to a kos poll 58% of the gop thinks that Obama's BC is an issue. These three bloggers wants the GOP to ignore the majority of their voters and accept the MSM and elite view that it "hurts more than helps the GOP" to talk about the BC issue.

    Since when do you take advice from your enemies on which weapons to use during war?

    What the MSM and the elites understand is that the BC strikes directly at the legitimacy of an Obama presidentacy. the more questions that are raised about if Obama is "fit to lead the USA" the better it is for the GOP.

    If more and more people start to question the fact that Obama might not be 100% american, then his actions (such as bowing to heads of state, his willingness to place US soldiers on trial in the Hauge, courtmartial Navy seals, The new ROE in AFGAN, his willingness to give over control to the UN, his open friendship with Castro and other dictators, etc) take on a harder edge with the voters. And then each of his actions are framed in a different light. The GOP needs to stop playing checkers.

    A good example of this is how the left linked Bush to the oil companies. By that linkage the left was able to make Bush decisions such as going into Iraq, his connections to Saudi Arabia, halibuton no bid contracts, even the USA going into Afganistian not about National security but about blood for oil. which increased opposition to those policies.

    The BC issue does the same thing to Obama. It links his actions in a different light. Makes people less likely to trust him and his admin to do what is right for the country. It makes people question the decisions and motives of the President. Which the more people question and look the more people will find fault and the more opposition they have to his policies.

    Which means it benifits the GOP to have the BC debate ongoing in the background. Just the fact that the dems and MSM wants the issue to go away by trying to paint supporters of the issue as kooks, wacko's etc should tell you all you need to know about the benifits of the issue for the GOP. If you remember they have done the same thing to Tea Party supporters, Palin supporters, Christians, home schoolers, gun carriers, Global warming "deniers" etc.

  6. "We get into the habit of looking for excuses to grab our flamethrowers and incinerate anybody who disagrees with us.

    Never mind that this leaves a lot of charred corpses lying around. It also leads to bad writing and pointless arguments that are only interesting to the two guys wielding the flamethrowers."

    Who the hell are you, and what have you done with Stacy?

  7. Though it pains me to say this: I have the same exact question as The Trogfather.

  8. Moran seems to be drawing traffic from needling conservatives -- a poor substitute for good content, but if it works for him, so be it.