Saturday, May 30, 2009
Fellow VA blogger Fisherville Mike posted some nifty Photoshoppery by Carol, of No Sheeples Here fame. The graphic, which I won't re-post, so that FM will score some hits, features a SCOTUS nominee and some frogs posing a question about her wisdom.
The frogs refer to some advertising from a beer company, circa ten years ago. Cut to YouTube, where I sought the original advertising, and found a six-and-a-half minute compilation: Perhaps it would have been funny to watch a pre-Sopranos, Chicago-on-the-bayou tale of thuggery and ineptitude ten years ago.
Today, the whole sordid affair resembles the Obama administration.
My bachelor friends are mystified by my assurance that they don't know what love is. When your wife sends you to the store, when you stride boldly into the feminine hygiene products aisle in search of the specific brand and style, when you find it and then go to the cashier and purchase that package of Always[TM] Ultra Thin Regular without embarrassment or explanation -- well, that, my friends, is love.
And let's talk hormone-induced mood changes, shall we? I realize we're already well past National Offend A Feminist Week, but doesn't this inescapable biological reality argue strongly against the kind of sexual "equality" (identical and therefore fungible) that is the basis of feminist ideology?
As blatantly reactionary as it was for my friend G. Gordon Liddy to discuss Judge Sotomayor's nomination in this light, it's not as if the G-Man was just makin' stuff up. We're talking about a genuine, biologically-based difference, are we not?
Even a wise Latina from the South Bronx could have a bad day or two every so often. If one were disposed to entertain dramatic hypotheticals, what might happen if one day Associate Justice Sotomayor decided, mid-conference, to put an end to an argument from Chief Justice Roberts by . . . well, putting an end to Chief Justice Roberts?
Even if her aim were imperfect, an 11-round clip in a 9-mm Glock semi-auto would give her sufficient margin of error that the next ruling surely would be issued by a uninamous court, because the deceased Associate Justice Scalia could not write a posthumous dissent (in which the dearly departed Chief Justice and the late Associate Justice Thomas would certainly concur from The Great Courtroom in the Sky).
Well, as I said, if one were disposed to think hypothetically, such a ghastly scenario could be imagined, just as a hypothetically-minded person might ponder what might happen if one day a PMS-afflicted female pilot at NAS Pensacola decided to download the GPS coordinates for Rush Limbaugh's home in Palm Beach and . . .
Fortunately, I never entertain hypotheticals, nor do I have any imagination. And shame on those who do!
My sexy wife, by the way, is convinced that at least 10% of my Facebook friends are girls who actually wanted to befriend Robert Stacy McCain Jr. Easy to tell the difference: Junior is the one who likes cats. It's OK, I'm still the King of Rock 'n' Roll. UPDATE: Everybody's a blog critic at my house.
Mrs. Other McCain: "Why did you use that picture with the nasty long hair?"Yeah, he is wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd hat. Which is definitely cool, even if not sexy.
Me: "Well, he's a rock star, right? Long hair. Besides, chicks dig cats."
Junior: "Wait a minute, I've got a sexier picture than that . . ."
We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through. . . .(Via Memeorandum.) You might also want to read this:
-- Ted Rall, "It's increasingly evident that Obama should resign," Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register, May 29, 2009
Details . . . were not the Obama campaign's strongest selling point. Rather, Obama succeeded by capitalizing on the kind of boundless Hope that prompted a Florida woman, Peggy Joseph, to her memorable declaration after a late-October campaign rally: "I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car; I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he's gonna help me."Of course, if Ted Rall becomes an ex-Democrat, he'll likely end up Green, but a complete 180 from far Left to far Right is not unimaginable. Whittaker Chambers and David Horowitz were both Communists once, and Ronald Reagan was such a "bleeding heart" liberal that in the 1940s he unwittingly joined two Communist front groups.
Such irrational expectations are inevitably followed by disillusionment. No prediction of what the next four years might bring is safer than this: The yawning gap between Hope and reality will produce a bumper crop of ex-Democrats. . . .
-- Robert Stacy McCain, "Future Ex-Democrats," The American Spectator, Nov. 24, 2008
Horowitz announced his departure from the Left with a conference called "Second Thoughts," which term aptly describes how one goes from disappointment to repudiation. And the weird thing is, it doesn't really matter what the specific disappointment was.
The point is, if you feel like you've been suckered -- hustled, flim-flammed, bamboozled, sold out, ripped off -- and you have both pride and curiosity, you will begin to wonder whether it was all just a scam from Day One.
Neither Stupid Nor Naive
A man like Ted Rall thinks of himself as intelligent and cynical. One reason he so stridently identifies himself as "progressive," is that the alternative -- becoming a conservative -- appears to him something that only stupid and naive people would do.
Whatever you might say of David Horowitz, however, he is neither stupid nor naive. Horowitz knew full well what he was abandoning when he left the Left, and he joined the Right with his eyes wide open.
I love Horowitz's Radical Son (one the most important memoirs of our generation) but the first book of his that had an impact on me was Destructive Generation: Thoughts About the Sixties, co-authored with his longtime Ramparts colleague, Peter Collier. Destructive Generation exposes, in specific details, the utter falseness of the "progressive" vision, which fanatically pursues what Friedrich Hayek called The Mirage of Social Justice.
That intelligent men and women would dedicate themselves to the lifelong pursuit of a mirage says something about how incredibly tempting that mirage is. Ronald Reagan was not the first, but certainly the most famous, to say that what the Left offers is the same thing the serpent offered in Eden: "Ye shall be as gods."
The Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools
It is my firm belief that Reagan's background as an ex-Democrat, a labor union leader, and indeed something of a commie dupe, accounted for his tremendous courage and clarity as a conservative leader. He not only knew what ideas he was opposing, but he had some insight into the sentiments and character of the people he opposed.
I've described the Democratic Party as the Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools. Reagan had been one of those fools, and he possessed a very canny understanding of the liars who had misled him into believing in that progressive mirage.
Progressives are utopians, and it is important to remember that Thomas More coined the word "utopia" from Greek roots, so that the meaning of the word is, "nowhere."
The progressive is marching down the road to nowhere, seeking an objective that does not actually exist and can never exist. The progressive claims to cherish liberty and equality, yet supports a policy agenda that, if fully implemented, would annihilate liberty and render the great bulk of men the servants of a political elite.
Claiming to be humanitarian idealists, progressives in fact have succumbed to a form of malignant narcissism that compels them to pursue their vision -- The Vision of the Anointed, as Thomas Sowell so brilliantly described it -- because it reinforces their presumptions of moral and intellectual superiority.
This vision is what the conservative rejects, and what makes the conservative convert such an effective leader is that he knows full well what he has rejected -- and he knows it personally, first-hand, subjectively. He knows the flattering deceit of believing himself more enlightened, more tolerant, more sophisticated than his fellow man, merely because he identifies as a Democrat, a liberal, a progressive.
The Stalinist Ice-Ax
Knowing the psychological motivations of progressivism so intimately, the erstwhile liberal reflects on his own experience and realizes that others might also be persuaded to forsake their uptopian delusion. Who better to reach out to Democrats than the ex-Democrat?
Elizabeth Fox Genovese was a Marxist historian who became the head of the women's studies department at Emory University. Her intellectual rigor -- for dialectical materialism is nothing if not rigorous -- eventually led her to question some of the sloppy self-indulgence of feminist thought and Mrs. Genovese soon found herself accused of sexual harassment.
Rather than become a feminist analog of Trotsky -- who tried to maintain his dissident Marxism and ended up with a Stalinist ice-ax in his skull -- Mrs. Genovese turned on her erstwhile comrades. (You may see one example here.) Like Chambers before her, she embraced Christianity and called the radical-egalitarian lie a lie.
The life of Trotsky proves the same point that the life of Danton earlier proved: The Left is always more dangerous to its friends than to its enemies. Just as the Jacobins ultimately sent the tumbrels for those who had made possible the French Revolution, so too did Stalin order the execution of the original leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution.
There are many conservatisms, but there can be only one Left. You either support the leadership cadre in whatever they say and do, or else you will be an outcast and a pariah. Just ask David Horowitz what his erstwhile "friends" said of him after he began to question the New Left's support of the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.
Many other things could be said on this topic, but I find that commenters in another thread have accused me of arguing ad hominem, and I must go there to update with my gleeful confession. A mastery of ad hominem invective is one of my more useful skills, and if some of these arrogant preppy sons of bitches would get out of my way, I might have more time to employ these arts against the Left.
UPDATE: Before I go over to that other thread and smack around the pompous wienerheads who have accused me of ad hominem, let me first throw some Rule 2 action on Moe Lane of Red State:
Ted Rall defines himself by what he hates; when he flips, he’s going to end up in some other internal head-space that’s just as tediously scary and banally ugly as the one that he was in for the last eight years. And when the next President takes office, he’ll hate that office holder, too; and so on, and so on, and so on. So let him rot where he is.Sorry, Moe, I disagree. Hate can be a useful force in politics, and if Rall's disillusionment with Obama causes him eventually to hate the Left, I will welcome him with open arms.
BTW, today is Rule 2 Saturday, when Smitty delivers the weekly Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around, an expression of what might be called the Orgasmic Theory of Traffic Enhancement: If you link them, they will come.
Doug at Daley Gator can explain, as he delivers a few loving caresses of linkage . . .
UPDATE II: Stop the ACLU takes a stroll down Memory Lane with some of Rall's most disgusting attacks on Republicans and says:
So, when he publishes a screed like this . . . you know things are not all fairy dust and unicorn poots in Liberal World.Indeed, the solidarity of the Left is the product of a unifying force-field of hatred. As much as they hate and resent each other, such intramural antagonisms are but the tiniest fraction of their all-encompassing hatred for everything right, decent and wholesome.
A failure to comprehend the depth and intensity of the Left's hatred is why so many Republicans (e.g., the Bearded Church Lady) make the mistake of thinking they can win with the Politics of Niceness. It's very easy to derogate the brashness of Mark Levin, but give Levin credit for being smart enough not to play that idiotic game.
Or, in the famous words of Rahm Emanuel . . .
UPDATE III: Welcome Instapundit readers! Please feel free to click around, visit the blogroll sites. Also, check out my Jacksonian ruminations at the Hot Air Green Room. And don't forget that it's Full Metal Jacket Saturday with the Rule 2 reach-around.
'Cause I'm the King of Rock 'n' Roll, baby! So hit the tip jar. Thankyuhvrrruhmuch.
This week's Full Metal Jacket Reach Around honors the female Latina woman of the opposite sex who will soon be feeling something about a Constitution near and dear to you.
We're working with a selection of links culled from Technorati. If you feel neglected, please direct the SMTP flamethrower at Smitty, where you will receive better treatment than a GM/Chrysler bondholder.
- The Blog Prof leads off with The Passion of the Crist, linking that GOP pink elephant. He also linked the pastor who was threatened out in California. Finally, he wonders aloud about Sonia S., after noting her educational credentials:
"Can anyone be named to the SCOTUS that isn't from one of these ivy-league liberal bastioons?"The answer is: No, and quit thinking about 'spitoons' while spelling 'bastions'. It's almost like you're disrespecting the cradles of your elite blue-state overlords, or something.
- Jimmy, proprieter of The Sundries Shack, liked my turn of phrase. His one-line take on Sonia is also painfully apt: If you need a one-line summation of Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, it seems to be this: to her thinking, the law is what she says it is.
- Stephen Green picked this blog for #2 in the cloudy-tubes Question of the Week: Tucker Freaking Carlson?. More to follow on that one.
- Robert, at the Camp of the Saints, joined the Not One Red Cent movement. He appreciates the optimism in the "Battle of the Bulge" line. He laughs at Freddie's stream of bile over on OG. He adds RSM to his excellent WWU-AM page. Juxtaposing the Illuminatus Trilogy with Richard Pryor is brilliant! Furthermore, he picked up the Nashville Muslim Protest Shutdown story. Best of all, he emailed me directly, as he flys below the Technorati radar.
- Apparently there is a place called "stapundit". Also, there is a blogger, "instapundit", who liked us on the bond post and he threw out a "Heh" at Stacy's suggestion of a Tennessee SCOTUS nominee. I think I may have heard of this "instapundit" once before, but I'm not sure where.
- The Daily Gator predicts a short fight. To recap:
- The Gator also thought the 'courts make policy' clip was a 'scream', of sorts, but you'll have to follow the link to see what I mean.
- Rumblepak couldn't wait for an RSM rebuttal to Dreher, so he provided one:
What conservatism needs is leadership and aggressive spokespersons who unabashedly advocate conservative ideas.He follows up here, with some bonus Jonah
- Donald Douglas links us On the Relevance of Intramural Ideological Disputes. He cued off of "What DealerGate Says About the Conservative 'Message' Problem" in On the Chrysler Dealergate Controversy. As an academic, I'm surprised that he didn't come at it from this angle: public sector is to private sector as educators are to students. Mixing the two is an occasion to call in The Police. I'm sure he's linked more, but the Technorati gawdz have fumbled the URLs. Sorry, sir.
- Dan Collins slid us some linkage on The Death of Literary Studies. The death of studies, in general, can be linked to the idea that you can deconstruct almost anything.
- The Troglopundit only came through with one URL, a holiday roundup. But I do love the Pig graphic, Lance. Mmmmm, bacon.
- Another Black Conservative picked up the because you're wrong post. Definitely a "follow" blog over there on Blogspot. A.B.C. also has The Black Sphere in the sidebar, which features some primo material.
- The New Republic has a blogger named Christopher Orr who observed the Levin fracas last week and quotes Freddie deBoer saying RSM:
...is most assuredly not one of the Ordinary Americans he is here glamorizing.Freddie: I've hung out with RSM in a dive bar. While he's better-read than 95% of the population, this has not mutated him into an Ive-league slack-jaw in the slightest.
- The Creaky Pavillion thinks that "offend a feminist" should reall be "offend a woman". The blog title looks Cyrillic, and the other posts hint that something may be getting lost in translation.
- The Fishwrangler liked the RSM phrasing:
"The idea that you pull back from a fight because someone is from a different ethnic group is part of the mistake Republicans made and how we got President Obama in the first place."
- Michael Doerr at the Race 4 2008 was massively unimpressed with RSM's pointing to rumors of homosexuality as a possible negative for Charlie Crist.
- The Rat Nest has "long maintained that [ Bill Clinton's] greatest ability in the economic sector was to keep out of the kitchen." This was in the context of 'What did I tell you about bonds?'
- Pat in Shreveport rounded up Sotomayor links, including this humble blog, adding an interesting Mark Rubio quote.
- Jason at The Western Experience "clear[ed] up the part about “double natural reflexes.”" in the Sean Penn post. It involved pressing "the button".
- Adam's Web published the blogger love note to Sen. Cornyn. This closing was thoughtful:
As Morrissey points out, a similar tactic is causing friction among New York Democrats even coming from the far more popular Obama White House. Already Cornyn is having to dodge questions on Facebook and in blogger conference calls and has a brushfire of anomosity building up. Now would be a good time for a graceful retreat to neutrality.
- Clark at The American Conservative liked McCain’s description of Dreher as “the bearded Church Lady”.
- Meanwhile, the full snore at The League of Ordinary Milquetoasts entitled "the ballad of RSM" tries to come to Dreher's defense. This ballad is so lyric as to leave one pining for The Other Other McCain doing Barbara Streisand. Freddie, you're teh best.
- QuoteGator says something that Freddie & ilk would do well to hear, in the context of Colin Powell's whinining about Bush and Cheney:
Being Democrat Lite has gotten Republicans nowhere. It’s about damned time that they man up and stand up for the values that made the Republican Party what it was.
- Dan Riehl linked us while commenting upon the sad isolation of David Frum. *mope*
- Roth & Company thank this blog for the link that brought the traffic. You're welcome.
Please fight the injustice by sending your links directly to Smitty. And hit the tip jar.
- Dustbury merges HillBuzz with RSM on the Dr. Utopia question.
- Politics and Critical Thinking responded to the URL bleg with two Sotomayor posts of the worth-your-time variety:
- Reasons Conservatives Might Use to Oppose Sotomayor Nomination
- Sonia Sotomayor and Legal Opinions on her Nomination If Smitty was on the Senate Judiciary Committee, here's what I would do. I would gather all of the absurd leftist blovinations from hearings for Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Bork, etc. I would edit them down to fit my microphone time. I would change the wording to fit the Sotomayor context. I would change the spirit of them such that they were clearly connected to the preceding hearing, but swerved at the last second to say gracious things about Sotomayor. Get all of the Republican Senators together, and have a group stand-up comedy routine that says: "Have your desired candidate. Know that we have laughed, in your face, at length, and in detail for what a circus clown act you've made of Senate Confirmation hearings." In other words, I think a protracted, leftist fight over Sotomayor runs the risk of pyrrhic victory. However, a well-crafted Thermopylae (if you will) could contribute to galvanizing "We the people" into further gallant acts in the face of our modern liberal/Persian invaders. Then again, I could be vastly overestimating the skill of the Senate GOP. But, as they say in Cockney Rhyming Slang, just a "tear in a bucket".
Update II:Carol at No Sheeples Here has a complementary FMJRA post of her own, well worth your time.
Update III:Chad: there is no excuse, but please accept a plea to push links so I can do The Right Thing. Purely a sin of omission, not commission, and your aid is sought.
Friday, May 29, 2009
That's what was so ridiculous about him announcing it at a bloggers lunch, as I explained yesterday:
If you’re going to start a new Web site, you don’t begin by holding a press conference or issue a press release declaring your intention to start a new Web site. You bring the page up in beta, work the bugs out before anybody’s seen it, circulate the word to your blogger friends via e-mail, and only when you’ve got it rolling good and steady do you issue a press release and start doing promotion. All of which anybody in the business would have told you, if you had bothered to ask.But of course, he didn't bother to ask, because he knows everything. After all, he's already worked at every cable-news outlet there is. If he flops at Fox (as he's flopped everywhere else) what next? Will he show up on Home Shopping Network? Yet if first-class free publicity is what he's looking for, he sure got it from the Wall Street Journal:
The site will take on the form of a general interest newspaper, he said, and will even attempt to be faster than the popular and speedy Drudge Report. . . .That's just it, you see: Tucker Carlson has never run a Web site. To my knowledge, he's never even run a group blog. And Michelle Malkin (averaging 7 million hits per month) tells Michael Blatt:
Mr. Carlson writes for the Daily Beast and was recently named to the Fox News position after a stint as a political correspondent on MSNBC. . . . How will Mr. Carlson balance the responsibilities of running a news Web site with his duties at other outlets?
It’s not as easy as some people think it looks. . . . You have to approach the whole enterprise with a healthy does of intellectual humility. It takes an enormous amount of time and energy to make something like this work. You're doing it 24/7. It takes more than money. I think that is the lesson of the failure of Culture 11.Oh, cursed dirigible! Oh, the humanity! Tucker Carlson is going to come strutting into Malkin's 'hood talking smack? He's going to aggregate faster than Drudge? He's going to do original reporting online and hasn't talked to any of the young reporters I know in D.C.? (Ask Dan Riehl: I know everybody.)
Over at Newsbusters, Blatt quotes Carlson's response to Malkin: "I hope Michelle will take a close look at the site when it's out. I think she'll like it."
Then why the big announcement at Heritage? He couldn't have called Malkin who, between her own site and Hot Air, grabs 22 million visits a month?
Hey, what about The New Ledger? What are those guys, chopped liver? Red State? What about Jennifer Rubin at Commentary? And never even mind the usual suspects: National Review, Human Events, The American Spectator, The Washington Times, CNSNews, NewsMax, WorldNetDaily, Townhall, The Weekly Standard . . . hey, they've got a few reporters, too, y'know.
When you start out with a big announcement, effectively giving the back of the hand to so many of your fellow conservatives . . . well, it had better not suck.
"Conservatives need to . . . find out what’s going on."UPDATE: At least one of the commenters has accused me of arguing ad hominem.
-- Tucker Carlson, Feb. 27, 2009
Guilty! And the commenter is guilty of the arrogant presumption that if I make an ad hominem attack, it is because I am incapable of making a point-by-point rebutal. But conservation of resources is one of the basic principles of warfare, and there are some arguments so ludicrous as not to merit the labor of constructing a detailed rebuttal.
My time is valuable, and if I make a point-by-point argument, the antagonist is thereby invited to reply with his own point-by-point argument. We might continue thus ad infinitum in a sort of intellectual trench warfare, overwhelming the spectators with a tedious re-hashing of minutiae. All fine and good for academic journals but for the blogosphere, not so much.
Tucker Carlson is an arrogant preppy who, according to Wikipedia, attended St. George's School (tuition $41K/yr.) and Trinity College (tuition, room and board $51K/yr. ). Let him rebut that argument!
Now, it happens that Friday evening I spoke by phone with a well-known Internet entrepeneur, a fellow who describes himself as enthusiastically "pro-Tucker." Having heard the explanation of my resentment over Tucker's presumptious bigfooting into the blogosphere, my friend said, "Well, why don't you reach out to him?"
"Dude, I did reach out to him. I kicked that bowtied son of a bitch right square in the knee."
Why is it that the Tucker Carlsons of the world expect the rest of us to kowtow to them, to admire and support them in such a way that it is our obligation to "reach out" to them -- cap in hand, tugging the forelock in reverent obeisance -- and never their obligation to reach out to us? Merely because my parents couldn't afford to send me to St. George's doesn't make me as a doormat upone which Tucker Carlson is invited to wipe his feet.
If you allow yourself to be a doormat, you can't complain about the footprints on your back, and just because Tucker Carlson doesn't know what I'm doing, he shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that I don't know what I'm doing.
...is about a dozen or so Presidents from the last century flipping in the graves:
It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.The source?
Holy f-bombing whiskey tango foxtrot, batman! The DailyKOS, sure, PuffingtonHost, maybe, but Pravda!?!
A tiny piece of my heart has just died.
Carol goes graphic on this one.
Sotomayor did not live her entire childhood in a housing project in the South Bronx -- she spent most of her teenage years in a middle-class neighborhood, attending private school and winning scholarships to Princeton and then Yale. . . .(Via Instapundit.) So, we can't trust her to tell us where she grew up, but we can trust her on the Supreme Court. More at Hot Air.
Sotomayor drew attention to cultural differences between Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans and between Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico and those born on the U.S. mainland, and narrowed her ethnicity beyond American, Hispanic and Puerto Rican to "Newyorkrican."
BTW, Jason "Big Sexy" Mattera is also "Newyorkrican," so maybe Obama should nominate Jason to the court. A "wise Latino man with the richnesses of his experiences . . ." Empathy, and all that.
The manager of a prominent Nashville hotel cancelled a contract with a conservative foundation to hold a conference this weekend on radical Islam, apparently after learning that the group would feature a keynote address by controversial Dutch parliamentarian and filmmaker, Geert Wilders. . . .Read the rest. Via Memeorandum, with commentary by the Blogprof, Pamela Geller and Eric Dondero.
Thomas A. Negri, managing director of Loew's Vanderbilt Hotel and Office complex in Nashville, told Newsmax on Wednesday that he had taken the extraordinary step of cancelling the conference at the last minute "for the health, safety and well-being of our guests and employees."
Chris Christie (R) 46%
Jon Corzine (D) 39%
Steve Lonegan (R) 43%
Jon Corzine (D) 40%
(Research 2000 via Taegan Goddard.) Corzine is in a world of hurt. Any time the incumbent is below 50%, that's trouble. If the challenger ever gets over 50%, the incumbent can kiss it good-bye.
This might be the first step in a GOP comeback. I keep telling these idiot "big picture" pundits that there is no such thing as a political "trend" apart from individual elections, individual candidates, and individual policies. Or to quote the Gipper:
"I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing."If any of the readers live in the Jersey area and can fill me in on what specific issues are hurting Corzine, please put the links in the comments. I'd also like to know more about the two Republican candidates. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Christie beating Longegan in the primary next week, but only by about 11 points, and there are still a lot of undecided voters.
Did the administration purposefully use its bailout-acquired influence to put the squeeze on Republican auto dealerships? It doesn't actually matter what the answer to that question is.
The point is, there was evidence to suggest that the Obama administration may have been wielding its economic power -- gained at future taxpayers' expense -- to punish political enemies. The accusation was serious enough to call for very thorough reporting, but the major media tried to dismiss the accusation before actually doing the reporting. Malkin says:
Some professional journalists, however, have shown obstinate unwillingness to get to the bottom of the decision-making process.Ask any good reporter. You get a tip that, if true, would be a big story, and so you check it out. I once spent two days in the Library of Congress trying to research such a lead. It didn't pan out, but until you've done the research, you don't know whether it's a story or not.
When auto dealers first claimed they were targeted for political payback by the Obama administration, the claim was a fact in its own right. Think about Valerie Plame's claim that she was "targeted" by the Bush administration, "outed" as a CIA operative. To this day, there is no conclusive evidence that this was the case (Robert Novak says it was not, and no one has contradicted his account). Yet the media made such a stink about the Plame accusation that a grand jury was convened and Scooter Libby was convicted of a "process" crime for making false statements to a federal investigator.
If Barney Frank told a reporter that he and John Cornyn had once had a one-night stand, the accusation itself would be a headline, even if Frank couldn't produce any evidence to support his accusation. If Frank then handed the reporter a Las Vegas hotel bill and suggested that this was the time and place of his rendezvous with Cornyn, don't you think the reporter would at least check Cornyn's schedule to see if he had been in Vegas on that date?
At some point, you see this pattern of the media doing the Jedi mind trick -- "This is not the scandal you were looking for" -- often enough that you can no longer accept the protestations of good faith. When Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post sneers "oh, please" at the DealerGate accusations, he forfeits the good-faith defense against conservative claims of bias.
This is why I grow weary of "conservatives" criticizing Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and other talk radio guys. If those guys weren't out there pounding away every day, it would be much easier for the MSM to ignore stories like this.
And this is also why I don't want to hear any lectures from Michael Goldfarb about a deficit of "online partisan reporting." If there is such a deficit, it's because (a) almost nobody in the GOP knows anything about the news business; and (b) conservative donors are either unwilling to pay for reporting or don't know who to hire to get the job done.
There are aggressive, smart conservative reporters out there -- Josiah Ryan at CNSNews.com, for example, and Matthew Vadum, for another -- and their work is routinely taken for granted by most Republican communications operatives. Instead, Nicolle Wallace shuts out conservative reporters and gives the first one-on-one exclusive interviews with Sarah Palin to Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric.
If I sound bitter about this, that's because I am bitter about it. When I was at The Washington Times, one of my colleagues pointed out how the GOP and conservative organizations expected the newspaper to carry their water, but treated us like an ugly girlfriend they were ashamed to take to the prom.
Once, I wanted to cover a certain seminar hosted by a major conservative organization and one my bosses said, "Hell, no." This kind of shocked me, and when I inquired why, this boss pointed to the line-up of speakers at the panel: A Washington Post columnist, a Weekly Standard editor, a National Review writer, and so on down the line.
"What? They couldn't think to ask Tony Blankley or Don Lambro or Wes Pruden?" said this boss. "They're not going to get jack from us, and if they ask, you tell 'em why."
This is not an isolated incident, it's a pattern that indicates a systemic flaw with the Right's "message" operation. The major Republican Party committees -- RNC, NRSC and NRCC -- spent $792 million in the 2008 campaign cycle, much of it to pay salaries and fees to media/communications operatives. And what did they get for that money? (Crickets chirping.)
Personnel is policy, and the standard GOP policy is to entrust its media operation to party hack types who've never spent a day in a newsroom. And when the Coalition of the Clueless try to reverse-engineer what the Left is doing, you end up with a colossal waste of resources like Culture 11, which imploded like the Hindenburg at Lakehurst because it was entrusted to David Kuo, a Republican hack who couldn't make a profit on the snowcone concession in Hell.
Like my grandma alway said, some people just got more money than they've got sense.
So Doug Ross and Joey Smith and guys like that do what they do, and Josiah Ryan and Matthew Vadum do what they do, and then one day it's announced that the "Huffington Post of the Right" has been entrusted to an arrogant lightweight.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
The data lend weight to the growing notion, supported by more than 90 percent of economists in a recent survey, that the deepest recession since the 1930s may be drawing to a close. . . .Please note this Associated Press graphic that accompanied the MSNBC story. If, as the MSNBC headline says, that's "Evidence . . . recession may be ending," I'd hate to see evidence the recession was continuing. The economy is still shedding jobs at a rapid pace and the percentage of people who are unemployed is still rising.
"The developing trend signals this recession — the longest and deepest of the postwar era — is losing momentum," Wachovia economic analyst Tim Quinlan said in a note to clients. . . .
In another mostly positive sign, the tally of newly laid-off people requesting jobless benefits fell this week, a sign that companies may be cutting fewer workers.
But the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose to 6.78 million — the largest total on records dating back to 1967 and the 17th straight record week, according to data released Thursday.
MSNBC's "90 percent of economists" consensus-mongering is offensive, as if economics were a popularity contest. Deb Cupples observes that Thursday, one top economist saw things much differently:
"One of eight U.S. households with a mortgage ended the first quarter late on loan payments or in the foreclosure process in a crisis that will persist for at least another year until unemployment peaks, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Thursday. . . .The Wall Street Journal tries to put a happy face on the bond-market jitters:
"'We clearly haven't hit the top yet in terms of delinquencies or the bottom of the housing market,' Jay Brinkmann, the association's chief economist, said in an interview.
Federal Reserve officials believe the recent sharp rise in yields on U.S. Treasury bonds could reflect a mending economy and a receding risk of financial catastrophe, suggesting the central bank won't rush to react -- even though some investors see danger in the government's rising cost of borrowing.Now, compare those facts to the giddy light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel tone of the MSNBC story. Is it possible that somebody at MSNBC doesn't get the significance of the upward trend in interest rates, and what it means for recovery of the housing market? As Instapundit noted Wednesday, Megan McArdle explains the inevitable impact of soaring deficits:
Bond markets continued to gyrate Thursday after a sharp run-up in 10-year Treasury yields the day before. The bond market pushed yields of 10-year Treasurys down to 3.674% from 3.70% Wednesday, but they remain well over mid-March's 2.5% level. Yields on mortgage-backed securities continued to climb, pushing 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to 5.44%, the highest since early February.
Eventually the treasury has to roll that debt or pay it off, and if interest rates spike, that can prove catastrophic -- just ask Argentina . . .. If the longer-yield debt again registers weak demand, the administration is going to have to address this problem.They'll "address this problem" one way or another. Let's just hope they don't go the Mugabe route.
UPDATE: Over at the American Spectator, I tell this story:
In March 2008, I attended a panel discussion where an economist for a private investment firm explained that rising bankruptcy rates pointed toward an impending financial crisis -- which was exactly what happened six months later. At last night's annual gala for the America's Future Foundation, I ran into the same economist, who shook his head and said of the current policy, "They're trying to re-inflate the bubble!"It's insane.
J. over at The Dead Hand is unimpressed with Dick Morris's latest on the subject of the (NSFW, double non-nucular f-bombs) Ronery One: "military action is off the table since [North Korea] already has the bomb."
So odds are the North Koreans aren't ready for nuclear war now, and if they are, it's by the slimmest of margins. But the one thing we now know is that they will be ready... and soon!I'm not so sure. It looks like the American public voted to ignore the problem. Or, if NK gets too uppity, we send Rahm Emmanuel galloping in on the unicorn to bury them with far more f-bombs than the Ronery One used at the beginning of the clip above.
And we know that, just as soon as the North Koreans are ready for nuclear war, so will be Al Qaeda and all the rest of them.
Less flippantly, His Oneness isn't likely to get too adventurous. O's superficial need not to appear like His predecessor (while substantially duplicating W's foreign policy) makes the dovish path tactically cheaper. Also, let's face it: while it's fun and games to liquidate a bunch of matériel on the chess board, no one in the sane category, least of all BHO, actively seeks the butcher's bill that military action will entail. You just about have to give NK the first strike, as unfortunately, W. used up the American taste for adventurism for a generation or two. The logic that the butcher's bill would be lower to take NK out earlier is obvious. We also know that eliminating bugs earlier in a software project lowers the overall cost. That happens how often, exactly?
Now, in terms of having the government seize totalitarian control of he economy to support a war effort, the idea of fisticuffs with NK has merit. Not that we'd, you know, declare war, or anything. We haven't done that since WWII. Smacks too much of following the Constitution. It's an interesting question, though: does BHO give sufficiently good speech to support a war? As a thought experiment, the idea of watching His mewling sycophants' heads 'splode as they try to reconcile their pacifism to their adoration of a newly minted war president is amusing...
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Trust what works:
North Dakota boasts the only state-owned bank in the nation. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) was established by the state legislature in 1919 specifically to free farmers and small businessmen from the clutches of out-of-state bankers and railroad men. The bank’s stated mission is to deliver sound financial services that promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. By law, the state must deposit all its funds in the bank, which pays a competitive interest rate to the state treasurer. The state rather than the FDIC guarantees the bank’s deposits, which are plowed back into the state in the form of loans. The bank’s return on equity is about 25%, and it pays a hefty dividend to the state, which is expected to exceed $60 million this year. In the last decade, the BND has turned back a third of a trillion dollars to the state’s general fund, offsetting taxes. The former president of the BND is now the state’s governor.Having states reclaim some control over their economic destiny would help to liberate us from the Federal Reserve, that favorite whipping post of Ron Paul.
The BND avoids rivalry with private banks by partnering with them. Most lending is originated by a local bank. The BND then comes in to participate in the loan, share risk, and buy down the interest rate. The BND provides a secondary market for real estate loans, which it buys from local banks. Its residential loan portfolio is now $500 billion to $600 billion. Guarantees are also provided for entrepreneurial startups, and the BND has ample money to lend to students (over 184,000 outstanding loans). It purchases municipal bonds from public institutions, and it backs loans made to new farmers at 1% interest. The BND also has a well-funded disaster loan program, which helps explain how Fargo, when struck by a disastrous flood recently, managed to avoid the devastation suffered by New Orleans in similar circumstances.
That's "Idiot Frickin' Naval Academy Graduate" (said the '95 example). They're on the march in PA. The one you may not have heard of is Ryan Bucchianeri (boo-shin-eerie, USNA'97).
Ryan Bucchianeri, 34, of Monongahela, announced plans Tuesday to run against the 35-year incumbent, stressing that his Navy service, experience in private industry and youthful perspective would better serve voters in Pennsylvania's southwest corner.So, the Mirthless One has been in office one year longer than you've been kicking, Ryan? Wow. Speaking of which:
Mr. Bucchianeri graduated in 1993 from Ringgold High School and in 1997 from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a placekicker for the Navy football team.Oh, the things left unsaid at this point...
Two Republicans, William Russell and Tim Burns, are already vying to run against [Murtha] next year.Hats off to you, Ryan, but I'd much prefer Russell or Burns. Although, to be a fly on the wall when Princess Pelosi delivers a good flaying could be entertaining.
In the upper chamber, we have Joe Sestak (USNA '74) going after Arlen Specter's seat next year:
In another sign of his determination to challenge Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary, Joe Sestak just told me in an interview that not even a personal plea from President Obama himself could dissuade him from making the race.Now, allow me to wonder aloud about the effect of this:
Without any assurance of seniority, Specter loses a major weapon in his campaign to win reelection in 2010: the ability to claim that his nearly 30 years of Senate service places him in key positions to benefit his constituents.on Sestak's calculus. The seniority system in both houses distorts elections. You trade the value of experience for the increasing likelihood of corruption:
Without that seniority, though, Specter, 79, would not even hold an appropriations subcommittee chairmanship in 2011, a critical foothold Specter has used in the past to disperse billions of dollars to Pennsylvania.Certainly the federalism amendment is important. If they screwed up and left me in charge, I'd randomize all of the committee appointments amongst the majority party in both houses, with a proviso against back-to-back appearances.
- The detailed knowledge is in the staffs, anyway.
- The talent amongst elected officials would get better distribution.
- When you've got the watch for a brief time, you're more likely to deal cleanly and professionally with the issues, and not leave a bag of skeletons for your relief to discover.
And I'll conclude with a shout out to my Hoosier classmate, Todd Young. Go, Navy!
Obviously whatever Republicans did in the last election was a failing strategy. It failed.Right. They nominated a short, old, bald grumpy guy. Failing strategy. Voting for the bailout? Failing strategy.
Next time: No bailouts and no bald guys. But is the GOP going to pay me as a campaign strategist to tell them this? No. And it's too short to sell as a book proposal. So there is no money in being right. The GOP "experts" spent $791 million to lose, when I could outline the "roadmap to victory" on a cocktail napkin.
Politics is a corrupt racket, I tell you. An honest guy like me hasn't a chance.
Reading Sotomayor’s 2002 “wise Latina” speech gives us real insight into this nominee. In this speech, she clearly states that judgements derive not from an objective consideration of the law and the facts of a case, but rather are inescapably colored by the experiences, culture and gender of the judge. This isn't even negotiable. It’s presented matter-of-factly as an axiom.You can read the whole thing. Being that I'm trying not to take this seriously -- for fear I might again succumb to another outbreak of Obama-Induced Tourette's Syndrome -- my question continues to be, what's her problem with the North Bronx? Is there some kind of North Bronx civic association that could point out that she's playing borough identity politics?
I have a distinct feeling that in today's academic legal community, this is not even a contentious viewpoint. It's just us non-legal experts (and presumably retrogrades like Scalia) who still think that it's possible to start from the law and the facts of a case, and arrive at a judgment based on established principles in both. . . .
There is no such thing as "equality." Never has been, never will be. U.S. laws on marriage are part of an Anglo-American legal tradition that far pre-dates the Constitution. To complain that these ancient laws impose an unjust "inequality" is to urge the abandonment of that tradition -- which is exactly what you could expect from a lying liberal scumbag like Kmeic .
Please read "Feminism, 'Equality' and Gay Rights."
UPDATE: Pundette is right. Generally speaking, what liberals propose, conservatives oppose. Let's try to keep that in mind, people. We're never going to get any gold stars for "plays well with others," and we shouldn't pretend to try.
UPDATE II: Gabiel Malor at AOSHQ:
Kmiec . . . is echoing a growing refrain from the more libertarian-minded: get government out of the marriage business. . . .Well, first off, what Kmiec advocates is not a libertarian (or "libertarian-minded") approach. Rather, the entirety of the gay rights agenda is egalitarian, demanding that two very different behaviors be treated as if they were the same.
Look, you can't have it both ways. Either marriage is important enough for soceity--most clearly represented by its laws--to encourage. Or it's not. Taking away government recognition of marriage as it has been understood to operate for some time now can only ever be recognized as a retreat, a diminution in the status of marriage in the United States.
The gay Left has seized upon an analogy to the civil rights agenda (particularly Loving v. Virginia) and have convinced many that homosexuals -- as a class, or as a sort of behaviorally defined pseudo-ethnicity -- are victims of prejudicial discrimination, as indeed they are, if you adopt the worldview of philosophical egalitarianism.
How many times have I urged readers to take a look at Friedrich Hayek's book, The Mirage of Social Justice? The real problem with egalitarianism is not the means (which are often horrid enough) but rather the end, i.e., the impossible objective of "equality." It can never be obtained, but even if it were possible, is it really desirable?
There are many egalitarians who like to think of themselves as "deep," philosophical and sophisticated, and yet they have obviously never thought very deep about what "equality" would mean. Hayek did that, and did it in such a way that if you read what he wrote -- and if you're really a very thoughtful, pragmatic person -- you immediately become very skeptical when people rail against inequality, or propose some "reform" they say will remedy social injustice.
All egalitarian policies ever do is to (a) replace one set of problems with another, and (b) empower those who enforce the coercive regime necessary to the egalitarian project.
If, in the matter of (a) you suppose that the existing ills you would eradicate is greater than the new ills you would create, then you may still favor the egalitarian project. Yet it is the problem of (b) that looms large here, since the swelling of the regulatory bureaucracy, and the inherent moral problem of coercion, are evils entirely distinct from whatever new evils you have created by the egalitarian reform.
Most people never think that deep. Their argument for any policy -- whether gay marriage or the regulation of greenhouse gases or bailing out General Motors -- is always simplistic: Look, here's something bad, let's fix it.
Yet public policy doesn't work that way. There are always unintended consequences, many of which are unforeseen. Even long after the enactment of new reforms, it is often a matter of fierce debate what are the effects of these policies -- to this day, for example, we're still debating the legacy of the New Deal.
And I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting sick and tired of being treated as if I were an ignoramus by people like Doug Kmiec who imagine themselves fit to lecture me, but who obviously haven't thought about the gay-rights agenda (or any other "progressive" agenda) in any critical way.
My opinions of U.S. foreign policy, especially in the most recent Iraq war, are nuanced. It is my staunch belief that no nation ever benefitted from military defeat and that the unquestioned invincibility of American arms ought to be the greatest security of our peace. Yet it is also my belief that Falkland's great conservative dictum -- "When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change" -- might also be applied to Arab despotisms. If we wish to overthrow vicious dictatorships, why not begin 90 miles from Key West? Cuba is an island, our Navy is up to the task, the Marines are ready, and such of the occupation troops as were not content drinking rum and Coca-Cola with the local jiniteras could take their weekend R&R passes in Miami.Read the whole thing, and keep one ear open for the sound of laughter.
Free the Cohibas! (What are you, some kind of un-American?)
The reader apprehends at once that it has never been my aspiration to be a "senior policy adviser" to any candidate, nor do I aspire to a Cabinet post or a think-tank fellowship. Je suis un journaliste, if I may be permitted what Dreher calls "faggy French." Others, alas, are not content merely to write for a living, but fancy themselves called to much higher avocations. It is this factor of ambition, not ideology, which accounts for the attacks of Dreher and Frum against Levin, and also against Rush Limbaugh. . . .
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I don't speak Obama and am having trouble getting a handle on this. "Office of Social Innovation" has an ominous ring.Read the whole thing, people. She is not making this up. This is not a drill. It's now law of the land:
The Social Innovation Fund was authorized in the recent Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. The Fund will focus on priority policy areas, including education, health care, and economic opportunity. . . .Remember after the 2004 election, when all the idiot lefties were talking about moving to France or Canada? Well, now they're turning us into France and Canada.
The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation will coordinate efforts to enlist all Americans –individuals, non-profits, social entrepreneurs, corporations and foundations – as partners in solving our great challenges.
And you thought I was joking about this: UPDATE: Honest, folks, I spent two decades in the newspaper business, a notoriously profane occupation, but I'm simply running out of obscenities to shout at my computer lately:
"While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers," said Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.This is a time for Effing Conservatives.
Still, Orszag has hired a prominent VAT advocate to advise him on health care: Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and author of the 2008 book "Health Care, Guaranteed."
UPDATE II: Velociman says he saw this coming. But how does this fit with tax cuts for 95% and all that?
"Oh wait: They are."
(Hat tip: WRSA.) UPDATE 11:58 p.m.: With some help from Instapundit, we are reminded that things only ever go one direction in the Magical Land of Hope -- from bad to worse: The bond market goes sideways, pushing up interest rates, and the DJIA loses 173 points.
IT WON'T WORK! UPDATE II: Linked at Protein Wisdom.
UPDATE III: "Bond vigilantes"? Hmmm. Sound like extremists.
Concur with Tigerhawk: the Goode Family was quite good. I'm going to be stingy and give it a B+, just so the don't get complacent.
- Dad works at the school, so there is much room for swipes at academia.
- Mom is a stereotypical granola-head, staring entranced at a billboard in the supermarket with products shifting from the "good" to the "bad" column, and back.
- The daughter, Bliss, seems the straight character.
- The adopted son, hilariously named Ubuntu, is old enough to drive but seems to have some developmental challenges. Tofu overload?
The family is all vegan, including the poor dog, but the dog is really the canine equivalent of the Junk Food Junkie,
wiping out all the local fauna.
The show made some fun of the religious right, mocking father/daughter purity balls as just a little creeped out.
Given the left's general non-capacity for laughing at itself, this series has excellent potential. The thought of a crazed, Andrew Sullivan-esque blogger character fulminating at the mouth over something inane could provide some quality belly-laughs, indeed.
Check Memeorandum and Not One Red Cent.
Updates to come . . .
UPDATE 8:39 p.m.: Crap! Donald Douglas, TrogloPundit and Townhall beat me to this, while I was busy working the phones on another story.
Getting beat on my own beat? It's really kind of embarrassing. Good scoop, guys. Congratulations.
Feb. 9, 2009: It Still Won't Work
May 4, 2009: Hey, By The Way, Just In Case You Didn't Notice, It Won't Work
May 27, 2009: OK, Now I Will Speak Very Loudly So Maybe You'll Understand: IT WON'T WORK!
Lather, Rinse, Repeat: IT WON'T WORK!
UPDATE: "Are the people of this country really that stupid??" Adrienne, did you ever hear of something called "the public education system"?
Of course, this means that I must be on the scene to get the real truth, to uncover the shocking scandal, to expose the hideous corruption, to let all my cheapskate ungrateful "friends" pay up on all the beers they owe me.
Fear and Loathing in Washington: Expect full coverage -- the exclusive inside story -- because this is a tax-deductible business expense. UPDATE: Someone points out that on the invitation they misspelled "Arts Club" as "Art's Club," as if a guy named Art owned the place.
"Home schooling is the empirical way to raise children into adults who are not neurotic drones infected and indoctrinated with a strain of virulent leftardism."In case you need empirical proof.
David Frum was never much of a thinker. Try as he might, he just can't seem to attract interest, let alone a following, even when stabbing his old boss, President George W. Bush, in the back with a rambling screed. Profiting from a confidential relationship with a president is about as low as it gets. But Frum, the ex-speech-writer turned self-hating blogger, isn't done descending. Now he spends his lonely days and nights at his keyboard trying to settle personal scores and demonizing those who dare to dismiss his ramblings as the work of an emotional wreck.(Via Protein Wisdom.) Go read the whole thing, but check back here in an hour or so, because I'll have an update I think you'll want to read.
Go read every blood-drenched word. See why I like Levin? He is perfectly happy to spend his days going after Democrats and ignore the occasional insult. But if you ever really piss him off . . .
UPDATE: Believe it or not, I consider David Frum a friend. He did me a favor once when I needed it, and I try not to forget a favor.
Nothing hurts me worse than to see two friends at daggers drawn, as with Frum and Levin, but Levin is clearly the injured party here. As I sometimes say when somebody gets cross-ways with me, "Buddy, you done pissed off the wrong redneck."
Frum wrote a truly excellent book about the 1970s, How We Got Here, and his wife, Danielle Crittenden, wrote a truly excellent book about feminism, What Our Mothers Never Told Us. I do not hesitate to recommend either book, even if you don't like David Frum.
So, what happened to Frum? He made the mistake of joining the Bush speechwriting team without thinking of what he was getting himself into. As Matthew Scully has explained, Bush made the mistake of assigning his speechwriting shop to Michael Gerson, a worthless, self-serving, two-faced, second-rate scoundrel.
There is something about working for a mediocrity like Gerson that injures a man's pride, which is why it is always dangerous to entrust managerial or supervisory duties to mediocrities. Gerson was a disloyal glory hog who was always leaking to the press. The rest of the speechwriting staff knew who was doing the leaking, they resented the hell out of it, and it destroyed morale.
That kind of stuff happens all the time in D.C.. When I showed up for my first day of work at The Washington Times in November 1997, I got talking to a guy named Michael Rust, a brilliant writer who died a few years ago of diabetes. Michael said, "Welcome to Washington, a town where people advance" -- and here he made a motion with his hands, as if climbing a ladder -- "on the knives stuck in the backs of their former friends."
Ah, would that I had heeded Michael's warning more closely! It was not until about 2006 that I began to understand what he meant. The specifics are irrelevant here, but the lesson that you must understand is that most feuds like this in Washington are not really about ideology, they're about ambition.
There is another excellent book you should read by -- surprise! -- David Brooks. Bobos in Paradise (2000) includes a chapter describing the means by which political intellectuals ascend the ranks of the punditocracy. It's a shrewd and devastatingly accurate analysis of how things work inside the Beltway, and the insightful reader realizes that Brooks followed his own cunning advice. ("Brooks, you brilliant bastard! I read your book!")
When I write about The Republicans Who Really Matter, I'm trying to explain how ambition accounts for the bizarre peregrinations of so many "conservative" operatives in Washington. It isn't that they don't have principles or that they don't have any core beliefs. Rather, it is that they stay in the game long enough to see how the game is played by the "winners" -- e.g. , David Gergen -- and decide to start playing that same game.
This is why I so admire Robert Novak. An excellent reporter who was originally a liberal Republican, Novak followed the facts wherever they led him -- which is why he became a conservative. But if a Republican was doing the wrong thing, he always had to worry about Novak, because Novak was fearless and independent, and he would blow the whistle in a heartbeat if he found out someone was running a scam.
In his ill-advised article "Unpatriotic Conservatives," Frum unjustly attacked Novak, and Rich Lowry should have been fired immediately for having had the bad taste to publish such a thing on the cover of National Review. (What did Ann Coulter call Lowry, a "girly man"?)
I've got friends on both sides of the paleoconservative/neoconservative divide. My paleo friends are laughing their asses off to see Levin and Frum going at one another. And half my family is Democrats, so you can imagine how they're enjoying this internecine Republican bloodletting.
It's just like when Charles Johnson goes after Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Who assigned Charles as the Torquemada to lead the Blogospheric Inquisition? In any large collaborative enterprise, these kinds of feuds and schisms are to be expected, but sooner or later somebody has got to say, "Hey, knock it off with this Urge to Purge power trip." I've got no personal beef with Charles, but at the point he accused Geller of being a pawn of Euro-fascism, he jumped the shark.
Same thing with Frum or Dreher or anyone else who wants to arrogate to themselves the right to say who is or is not a legitimate conservative spokesman. Like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin has earned what he's got by honest toil.
Levin's independence is a function of his hard-earned success, and he speaks to an audience that is always free to turn the station. Even if I don't always agree with him -- even if I sometimes think, "Hey, Mark, could you maybe turn it down to 11?" -- Levin is honest, and does not fawn or flatter or backstab.
If Levin's got a problem with you, he's going to come right at you. That's just the way the bad boys roll. Either roll with them, or get out of the way, Moe Green.
My advice to David Frum would be to admit his error and try to make amends, because like I said, "Buddy, you done pissed off the wrong redneck."
UPDATE II: Now linked at Memeorandum, and speaking of pissing off the wrong
BTW, Kathy perfectly illustrates what I'm trying to say about trying to bridge the paleo/neo divide. Kathy is pro-Israel, which would normally make her neo, but she's so bold in her political incorrectness, it's as if Sam Francis had been reincarnated as a sawed-off Canadian girl. (NTTAWWT.)
And, by God, she fights. That's what really counts with me. I admire conservatives who hate and despise liberalism with a primal ferocity, so that the minute the Left comes after one of our guys . . .
When you're Jet,Heaven help any fool who thinks he's going to cross Kathy Shaidle and walk away unscathed.
You're a Jet all the way,
From your first cigarette
To your last dying day.
UPDATE III: Just updated the right-sidebar headlines to link this post by Tigerhawk:
Sadly, it is fashionable among certain righty intellectuals to make a point of distancing themselves from Ann Coulter. . . .Like I said in the headline, "Watch it with that 'lowbrow' stuff, cracker." Coulter and Limbaugh are obviously quite intelligent, and I credit them with knowing exactly what they're doing. (See also: Dreher, Levin, and the Craft of Talk Radio.)
The offensive reason, of course, is to establish their bona fides as "reasonable" conservatives so that they do not destroy their social lives. . . .
The more legitimate reason is that Ann, along with Rush, has been so successful promoting a sort of "low brow" conservatism (see John Derbyshire on this taxonomic classification and Rush Limbaugh's impact on it) that the middle-brow version has been terribly diminished by comparison.
Some people like to imagine that they're more sophisticated than Rush, more sensitive than Coulter, more civil than Levin. And anyone who thinks like that is an arrogant son of bitch, in my book.
When someone is very successful at what they do, they must be given credit for knowing what they're doing. Don't try to tell Jimmy Page how to play guitar and don't tell Tiger Woods how to swing a three iron.
This is not to say that Page never misses a note, or that Tiger never shanks a drive, nor is it to say that Rush or Ann or Mark is immune to criticism. Rather, they have earned, by their demonstrable success, a certain level of respect for their judgment, and ought not be lectured self-righteously by some wannabe "expert" who never played the game. And I will repeat what I said before:
"One of the basic principles of military strategy is to reinforce success. If you see a man who fights and wins, give him reinforcements, and bid others to emulate his success."Conservatives who want to derogate successful leadership really need to ask themselves whether David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, Rod Dreher et al., have what it takes to inspire and lead conservatives to success. Evidence for such a proposition is lacking.
If Republicans had listened to Rush, John McCain never would have been the GOP nominee and Barack Obama would not have been the Democratic nominee. So if the Republican Party is in disarray, whose fault is that? It ain't the fault of us "lowbrow" conservatives, is it?
Tigerhawk, you're still a Jet in good standing, as far as I'm concerned. I've always liked John Derbyshire, but that was an article he never should have published. And if Rush or Ann see you quoting that kind of stuff, don't say I didn't try to warn you.