Wednesday, September 30, 2009

President Obama: An Army of One

I'm reading this story about Republican attacks on Obama for traveling to Copenhagen in an effort to woo the Olympics to Chicago in 2016, and all I can wonder is if there's anything they won't attack Obama for and whether they'll finally attempt to start wooing non-Obama haters to their side. 

And this is just insane.  According to Republicans, nothing can get done in Washington unless Obama does it.  To hear their complaints, Obama's some sort of one-man army solely responsible for fixing the economy, reforming healthcare, and saving our country from terrorists within and without.  And if Obama takes a brief trip to a foreign land, nothing can possibly get done until he gets back. 

But of course, if Obama were to even suggest such a thing himself, you can most assuredly count on Republicans to attack him for it.  Even as it is, they attack him for daring to suggest that he's the Messiah, the One True Savior who the world revolves around.  And now they're saying that themselves and insist that Obama needs to focus on fixing our problems or they won't get fixed.  Bush had more vacation days than any other president, spending over 1,000 days at either Camp David, his parent's home in Kennebunkport, or his "ranch" in Crawford (and that doesn't include his other vacations), yet Obama is neglecting his official duties if he goes to Europe in an official capacity. 

But of course, we were always assured by conservatives that Bush only took "working" vacations, while Obama is clearly only interested in using his popularity to help his country; which the article describes as "a boondoggle for Obama's hometown allies."  And it definitely is, assuming we completely flip the meaning of the word "boondoggle" into being the exact opposite of what it normally means.  Seriously though, the word they were looking for was "boon," which rarely has negative connotations.

Counterproductive Attacks

And as they did during the Clinton days, because they reflexively attack their opponents for everything, they completely swamp their attacks, as it's too difficult to keep track of what Obama supposedly did wrong.  And even if they had a reasonable attack on him, nobody would remember it a week later, as they would have jumped on twenty more attacks in the meantime. 

And that's something the Bushies used to their advantage.  We became so accustomed to hearing new Bush scandals breaking every day that nobody remembered the old ones.  Fortunately, Obama is copying the Bush way of dealing with this instead of the Clinton way; as the Bushies knew how to ride out scandals until they disappeared, while the Clintons always tried to push back on each one, which would only make them more noticeable.

And so all these stupid attacks are making people who don't reflexively hate Obama immune to the attacks; just as Clinton was largely immune to attacks.  Clinton got impeached, yet still the public didn't care.  And every day, the Republicans are yelling about the stupidest of stupid attacks on Obama, which only gain traction with the 30% of people who already hate him. 

And anyone else paying attention is going to read an article like this and think "Huh?  They're attacking him for trying to bring us the Olympics?  Well, it's obvious that Obama is a powerful man."  And so they're just reinforcing the image of Obama as an influential power player, while making themselves look like complete boobs for attacking him.  Seriously, what rational American could possibly be upset at Obama trying to get us the Olympics?  And if he succeeds, it will only make Obama look more powerful, while marginalizing Republicans further.  I see no upside for Republicans with these attacks.

Conservative Bubble

And yet it's obvious that Republicans are too locked-into this to even give a damn about what non-haters think.  They're still trapped into their little bubble of Obama-bashing that it doesn't occur to them that appealing to the base's hatred is a rewardless endeavor.  They don't need to be egged on any more into hating Obama.  They've gone so far past the level of sane opposition that it's now considered rational to believe that the military will bless us with a bloodless coup against Obama.  Obama hatrers have already gone over the cliff and each attack will only make Republicans look worse.

So the GOP continues to whip the choir into a frenzy, while the rest of America is slowly realizing how cuckoo these people are.  And good for them.  The more they smeared Clinton, the more popular he became and Obama is even more adept at handling these sort of attacks. Even if Obama truly did something wrong, I can't imagine how Republicans could possibly capitalize on it. 

I'm now putting in my prediction that, unless some super-major event changes our political landscape before the mid-terms next year, that Democrats will easily hold onto both houses of Congress and could possibly gain new seats.  Even a complete block on healthcare reform and a continuing poor economy isn't enough to save these freaks now, and only an unpredictable catastrophe could possibly help them.  And the only reason I'm not predicting a definite gain in seats is because there really aren't many more we can realistically grab.

Obama the Miracle Job Maker

While looking for something else, I happened to stumble upon the American Thinker Blog, which imagines it makes a point when it posts an AFL/CIO quote saying that Obama would be good for jobs, and then posts this from the NY Times:

And as anyone can see, the problem started well before Obama took office and continued at the same pace as before.  And then towards the end of the graph, things appear to be leveling off.  And for the record, this graph ends in July.  That's right.  July.  This dude's basing his attack on Obama's first six months in office, even though the recession clearly had been raging for much longer than that and he still hasn't even gotten all his people approved by Congress yet.

And of cousre, none of this is news.  This guy just saw a picture that he thought was damning to Obama and posted it without comment.  Because of course, if he had commented on it, he'd have had to admit that his attack was unfair as he's blaming Obama for not being able to stop Bush's recession immediately.  So instead, he gets to pretend that this is so damning that no comment was necessary.

Easy Snark of the Day: If this is what the American thinkers are thinking, I'd hate to see what the morons come up with.

And as a final note, what is with the "..." between the sentences on the first two graphs?  Yes, if there are more unemployed people for fewer job openings, that means the number of unemployed people per job opening increases.  It's implied as if these are two separate events which combine to make an even worse event, yet they mean the same thing.  I'm telling you, I read that damn thing about twenty times to make sure I wasn't wrong about that, but I'm not.  The NY Times just made their readers a little bit dumber.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spirtualism in Materialism

I regularly take the Zogby Interactive poll and just got this question:
I believe God is angry and will soon begin punishing sinners in ever greater numbers.
 Wow.  I'm a tad frightened to think that Zogby thinks this question warrants asking.

Another question I've seen a few times asks about whether I think "the American Dream" involves material success or spirtual success, as well as questions asking me which I prefer.  But while I'm not into material success, I'm not into any sort of spirtualism either.  So I have no clue as to how I'm supposed to answer these questions.  If you saw the way I dress and the old car I drive, you'd know that materialism isn't my bag.  I live for comfort, not to score points with my neighbors; and I definitely could earn a lot more money if I wanted to. 

I'm about happiness and enjoyment.  And oftentimes that involves material stuff.  I like the internet and my computer.  I LOVE my Wii.  I'd be nothing without my music and I hate going without my iPod.  Material goods help give me the happiness I seek.  I wouldn't be the person I am today without my material possessions and if I were to be transported into a time long in the past, I'd be one unhappy dude. My stuff brings me happiness, yet I have no plan to accumulate much more of it (beyond the Wii Motion Plus, an essential I'll probably get next month).

But spirtualism, that's a bunch of hoohaw to me.  If it makes other people's lives better, than I'm happy for them.  But it sure ain't for me.  I don't believe in religion, don't understand what a soul is, don't commune with nature, and don't understand why anyone else does.  I'm genuinely happy.  Isn't that enough?

Overall, I'm offended at the paradigm that Zogby is offering me.  If I choose material goods, then I'm a soulless suit who doesn't understand the futility of seeking happiness in material goods.  So if I want to consider myself "deep," I need to say that I'm a spirtual fruitcake who doesn't need material goods.  But that would be a lie.  I'm a happy dude made happier by my stuff, and for as unhappy as many materialists are when they seek happiness at the bottom of a credit card, I've seen just as many unhappy spirtualists who have to pretend to eschew materialism while latching on to the materialist world they pretend to reject. 

But the right answer is to ignore what everyone else thinks, enjoy the stuff that makes you happy and not give a damn what John Zogby or anyone else thinks.  Trust me, no one was ever made happier by rejecting their Wii.  And if there's some higher power that has a problem with my life, then he can suck my tough titties, cause I'm doing the best in the situation I was given.  And honestly, I'm quite confident that if there is some higher being that judges us based upon how we live our lives, any truly intelligent one would have high respect for how I'm living mine.  Happiness has got to be a top goal for everyone.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yet Another Victory for Biobrain

Hey bitches, I won another carnival!  Not that there was any surprise about this, but hey, I knew you'd be excited to know someone as successful as myself.  That's why I do this stuff.  It's all for you, my loyal readers.

Conservative Elitist Guilt

NRO's got a piece by Victor Davis Hanson in which he accuses Barack Obama, our Commander-in-Chief, of being (gasp) a college administrator.  The horror!  And his evidence: Obama does things which can be compared to things a college administrator does.  Like surround himself with smart people and ignore conservatives who attack him.  Obama also thinks he's better than other people (apparently unaware of the presidential tradition of being on-par with the common man) and keeps trying to convince people that he's right and that they should adopt his policies.

And no, I'm not joking.  This is it.  He wrote two fucking pages worth of this crap, and this is the best he's got.  Oh, and czars.  Obama uses czars, just like college administrators do.  And overall, Obama's an ivory tower intellectual who just doesn't know how the common man thinks.  Commen men, like Victor Davis Hanson.  And oddly, I was thinking about the fact that Hanson is writing for the National Review, and they're generally not known for hiring Schlitz-drinking schlubs to write for them.

So I looked up his Wiki page and lo and behold: Hanson's a college professor educated in the classics.  He's even written books that would bore me to tears.  Get a load of this:
His mother was a lawyer and judge, his father an educator and college administrator.... Hanson received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1975 and his Ph.D. in classics from Stanford University in 1980.
Indeed.  Hanson's mother was a judge and his father was a (gulp!) college administrator.  And mind you, that's the exact phrase he used to describe Obama, both in the title of the piece, as well as throughout the post.  And Hanson is a PhD from Stanford.  Stanford.  I sure wish I was elitist enough to get into Stanford.  And a doctorate in the classics, no less.  I was dumb enough to get a workingman's degree in accounting.  Needless to say, Dr. Hanson's a career professor.

And this is the guy criticizing Obama for being a college administrator.  I mean, the whole piece is dripping in scorn against Obama for being a dreaded "college administrator," while ridiculing university culture.  He even attacks Obama for being a community organizer, because professors also complain that they're not paid enough.  Except...Hanson was the underpaid professor, while Obama was actually helping people.  And unless I missed it, it doesn't seem that Hanson mentioned his college background in any of this.

And before you type a comment suggesting that this is standard projectionism, I assure you, you're wrong.  This is yet another self-loating conservative who wishes he was a beer-drinking, NASCAR-watching, tobacco-chewing, hardworking, real American schlub, because that's what the Republican Party has been reduced to.  They've so thoroughly adopted Southern Inferioty Complex as a party platform that their most accomplished people are simply embarrassed at their own accomplishments. 

So guys like Hanson write long articles attacking their opponents for their own faults, simply as a way of atoning for not being a white southern slob.  His column was a fairly pointless attack, as the only folks who might possibly see the connection Hanson's trying to make are people who already hate Obama.  So the whole thing just serves as a sad admission of shame on Hanson's part, because the person he's heaping scorn on is most assuredly himself.  Yet another conservative intellectual bites the dust.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Obama Loves Our Enemies

When conservatives are right, they're right.  And when it comes to Barack "Hussein" Obama, they were right.  (And yes, Barry's middle name is important to me now.)  They warned us that Obama would be soft on our enemies and softer on our arch-enemies, and I just wouldn't listen.  And now here we are, needing to confront a nuclear Iran, and what does Obama want to do about it?  He wants to talk about it; without preconditions, no doubt.

From the AP:
"My offer of a serious, meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue remains open," Obama said, urging Tehran to "take action to demonstrate its peaceful intentions."
Meaningful dialogue?  This guy doesn't have a clue!  These are nuclear Arabs we're talking about here, not wayward teens.  The only "meaningful dialogue" we should have with them is the type that can be written on the side of a missile.  Let them have their dialogue from the rubble we leave them in, as we wipe their country off the map!

And sure they have "peaceful intentions."  After all, we're all reminded every day that Islam means peace in some languages.  Unfortunately, it's the sort of peace we can only have once their global caliphate has completed its stranglehold on freedom.  That's why we need to bomb the shit out of them, so we can institute our freedom on them before they can do it to us.  History shows that only democracies can promote peace, and that's exactly what our bombs will do.

So, yeah.  It looks like I'm changing teams at this point.  Sorry, but I just can't deny reality any longer.  Thanks to the brainwashing I've received from the liberal media, I really wanted to stay on-board the Obama Express.  I really did.  After all, I've always felt so guilty about what our forefathers did to his forefathers, and felt giving them the Whitehouse was the right way to atone for our sins.  But I can no longer idly sit by and watch as Obama attempts heartfelt dialogues in his futile effort to love the nukes out of our enemies.  I'm sorry, but you can't hug evil, Mr. President.  You can't hug evil.

Oh, in addition to demanding that the bombs begin to drop on Tehran, I'm also going to pay $30 to have a justice foundation send faxes on my behalf which will finally force Obama to prove his Hawaiian birth.  And if he can't, then he needs to step aside and give McCain his rightful victory.  Oh, and I'm also going to demand to hear the truth about what happened in Chappaquiddick.  Americans have the right to know.  The liberal media might not care, but I do; and I'm now a real American.

Update: I've been informed by a reliable source that I'm an idiot, and I have now rescinded my conservative viewpoints.  Sorry.

The Art of the Understatement

For as much as I enjoy being loud and absurd (and if you knew me personally, you'd know what I mean), I truly appreciate the art of the understatement.  And as it turns out, the guy who built Gitmo definitely understands that art.  I really liked the last two sentences of this:
"I wanted to run it close to Geneva Convention rules," Lehnert said. "Our job was to take them out of the fight, and once we had done that, I felt we had a moral responsibility to take care of them."

However, another task force was put in charge of interrogating detainees, and there were disagreements over their treatment, Lehnert said.

"I think it is extraordinarily important how we treat prisoners," he said. "Obviously, there were other views."

"I came to the conclusion very soon that this probably wasn't the right way to go," said Lehnert, who served just 100 days at the base.
Obviously, there were other views.  And no, torture probably wasn't the right way to go.  But I don't know what to make of this statement:
"Probably before I left Guantanamo, I was of the opinion it needed to go away as soon as possible," he said.
Probably before he left Gitmo?  He's not sure of when he came to this conclusion?  I suspect this is the sort of speech mannerism one needs to develop to rise to the rank of general.  No sense in committing yourself if you think you're only probably right.

Senator Bond Hearts Torture

Alright, Obama said that he wanted to look forward, not backward, and therefore wasn't going to investigate the Bush torture policies.  I got that.  But the Justice Department is the one that investigates crime, and they want to open a limited investigation of crimes that went beyond Bush's torture policies.  I got that.  Republicans don't want this, as they fear that an investigation will let everyone know that they were lying about how we were torturing folks all these years; and just want the whole mess to be forgotten about.  I've got that.  This all makes sense to me and was to be expected.

Senator "Kit" Bond of Missouri is upset because Obama pledged to not look back and now his Attorney General is looking back.  I got that.  Senator Bond is now arguing that having the DOJ investigate this is bad because it might hinder the Senate Intelligence Committee's own investigation into the matter.  Huh?  I understand if his argument is that he doesn't want us looking back, but he doesn't want us looking back so that his committee can keep looking back?  That doesn't make sense to me. 

And what he's saying is that, if these criminal tortuers believe they'll be prosecuted for their criminal activities, they won't want to confess their criminal activities to his committee.  And because they'll be reluctant to confess their criminal activity, it'll slow down their investigation, which will distract them from taking care of more important stuff; like Afghanistan and Iran.  And that's a bad thing, because he just doesn't think the work his committee is doing on this is of any particular importance, so the DOJ needs to step aside on its investigation, so his committee can rush through its own investigation and put the matter to rest.

In other words, it's wrong for the DOJ to do a thorough investigation which might lead to people being prosecuted for criminal activities because it could hinder his committee's less thorough investigation which will ignore confessions of criminal activities and probably shouldn't be done in the first place.  Right.  Look, I understand the need to have an opposition party, but could we please get an opposition that wasn't so entirely stupid?  Or a media that wasn't so shallow that they actually think these boneheads are geniuses?  Is that too much to ask for?  I mean, I understand why Bond's doing this.  I just can't figure out why he's comfortable saying this out loud.

And on a sidenote: If it's super-important that a few low-level ACORN employees attempted to aid a self-described pimp in his criminal activities, might it be at least a little important that a few Senators want to aid the criminal activities of torturers?  Probably not.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bob McDonnell Loves Guns and Unborn Babies

And speaking of Virginia Governor candidate (and Biobrain advertiser) Bob McDonnell, his jobs link wasn't the only place I read.  Oh no, I saw on his issues link that he had a page on "Protecting Families" and just couldn't leave that one alone.  And sure enough, Bob McDonnell does believe in protecting families; just as long as those families consist of fetuses with shotguns.  Everyone else is going to have to wait until he gets this matter resolved.

Here's a brief recap of Bob's page on protecting families.  He starts with a lofty George Washington quote which he lamely summarizes as "values matter."  He quotes Jefferson's "life, liberty, and happiness" line, insists that it applies to the unborn, and vows to defend them against the born.  He says the Founding Fathers wanted us to have guns and vows to defend the 2nd Amendment.  He lets us know that he's "pro-life" (in case we hadn't already guessed) and mentions how he protected unborn babies from partial-birth abortions as Attorney General.  He also did so as a legislator, as well as fought for parental notification, informed consent, and adoption.  Bob defended marriage from the gays.  And finally, he won "Legislator of the Year" twice from the Virginia Family Foundation, as well as receiving an endorsement from the Virginia Society for Human Life.  And that's it.  That's his entire "Protect Families" issue page.

And all this brings up the question: What the hell does this have to do with families?  Seriously, I've had a family for quite a few years now and none of these issues have come up even once.  Hell, I was born in a family and this stuff didn't apply then, either.  And let's not forget something here: McDonnell has clearly established that he wants the government to interfere in the decisions a family makes regarding childbirth, as well as preventing certain folks from having a family.  Oh, and guns.  Can't forget the guns.  And just so it's clear, Bob already has another section labeled 2nd Amendment Rights. So his pro-gun stuff in the family section is just more padding.

And all this shows what a total shame the whole "Family Values" movement was.  It wasn't about values at all.  It was a cheap ploy for scoring political points, and based upon Bob's dearth of info on it, a ploy that has pretty much run its course.  These guys aren't even trying anymore.  These aren't values.  It's all about sticking their noises in other people's business, and everyone seems to realize this by now and they're just going through the motions. 

And so instead, we're stuck with Mr. Virginia Family Foundation tossing out a few nothing tidbits on "values," and then stealing a liberal platform while promoting tax cuts.  And as I said last time, that's why they're stuck attacking us personally with everything they've got.  They call us socialists, so they can use the taxpayer money of the unborn in order to fund their liberal big government agenda.  Oh, and guns.  Gotta protect the guns.  Values matter.

I Insult My Advertisers

I don't know why, but some Republican named Bob McDonnell has ads on my blog pertaining to his bid to be governor of Virginia.  And I can't imagine why he'd bother, as I don't even cover Texas politics, let alone politics in one of the lesser states.  But I went to his site just to see if maybe this guy fit in with my blog and while he most definitely did, I doubt it's in the way he meant.  After all, I enjoy targeting hypocritical know-nothing blowhards and this guy definitely fits the criteria.

First off, he's anti-tax (big surprise, right?).  And if you click on his Taxes and Spending link, you get a quote of him saying how he's going to "conduct a thorough audit of how your tax dollars are spent," citing increased government spending as a huge problem.  But of course, who's going to perform this audit?  Magic fairies?  No, expensive accountants and/or government bureaucrats, that's who.  So right off, his plan to cut spending will involve higher government spending.  But of course, there's no mention of how much he thinks this is going to cost the state.

And his site has the standard stuff of what a "Friend of the Taxpayer" Bob is, by showing how many taxcuts he voted for.  Yet, his list of spending cuts involved trivial amounts which look better for political reasons than budgetary reasons.  For instance, he cites his time as Attorney General, in which he cut his office budget and perks and saved the state $4 million; which may be admirable, assuming they were good cuts.  But as he says, the state budget is $80 billion a year.  So his $4 million is hardly a dent in the bucket.  He even touts $2 billion in taxcuts during his term as a state congressman; yet shows nothing comparable in spending cuts.

And that's the thing: Tax cuts aren't free money.  If you cut taxes without cutting spending, then you're just a political coward trying to score cheap points.  And Bob seems to know this, as he quotes himself saying "We have a spending problem more than we have a taxation problem."  And I agree with him on that.  Cutting taxes is super easy and fairly pointless if you're not cutting spending; as you're just putting the taxes off for another day.  Yet Bob's Tax & Spend page is all dessert and no liver.  Big surprise.

Bob's Expensive Jobs Programs

But hey, that was then, this is now.  Surely Bob has some great spending cuts in mind if he's elected governor, right?  No.  As usual, he's a Big Government conservative who seems oblivious to how his policies will increase spending.  As with his magical spending audit, he never bothers explaining how much any of his policies will cost or how they'll be paid for.

For instance, Bob's jobs page is full of great ideas for increasing jobs in Virginia.  Great, expensive ideas which rely upon government to save the day.  His "job initiatives" consist of spending more on a job creation fund, using the Lieutenant Governor as a Job Creation Czar, dedicating another government bureaucrat as Rural Economic Development Czar, and finally, another bribe for job creation in the guise of a tax credit.  And yes, that's everything. This is the strongest part of Bob's platform and it consists entirely of expanding existing programs.  And hell, the main piece of this expands a Democratic program that he voted against repeatedly.  His defense of this flip-flop?  What else: That was then, this is now.

And these aren't Bob's only Big Government solutions.  No, he's planning to help small businesses by making it easier to start new businesses in Virginia by streamlining the processes online.  No word yet if he'll be using the same group of magic fairies to do the programming on this.  And here's a brilliant one: "Promote Virginia as the 'Best State in America in Which to Open a Small Business.'"  Yes, I'm sure all the other governors are kicking themselves for not thinking of that one.

Bob also has plans to increase tourism by spending more money on a tourism group, preserving more land for outdoorsmen, and spending more money to promote filmmaking in the state.  He's also going to spend money to further develop a commerical spaceport, as well as spend more on education and job retraining.  He has a specific section on "Economic Vision for Rural Virginia," which largely just reprints what he already said before.  And shit, I'm going down the page and see that most of this is just repeated from before.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Bob was padding his jobs page.

And needless to say, most of Bob's plans involve him expanding programs which already exist.  Brave man, Bob McDonnell.  Never saw an idea he wasn't ready to steal.

Bob McDonnell: Free Lunch Liberal

And the thing is, looking over Bob's list, I really can't disagree with much.  While it all depends on how he implements it, I think the ideas sound pretty good.  But of course, I'm a liberal and Bob's a Republican in a purple state.  I'm not supposed to like his ideas.

Overall, Bob comes off as a moderate-lib Democrat who has ambitious plans for helping Virginia, but which he refuses to pay for.  He's got lots of expensive ideas, yet also wants to cut more taxes.  In fact, the only item on the list that makes him a Republican besides tax cuts is that he's firmly against card check; which he misrepresents.  But beyond that, Bob's job plan is fairly liberalish.  Bob McDonnell clearly doesn't think that businesses will stimulate the Virginia economy unless the government bribes them to do it.

And this is exactly what I've been saying for years.  There are no real conservatives anymore.  Everyone understands how useful the government can be.  Even ultra-right conservatives understand that military spending is good for their local economy.  And so the only real difference now is that Democrats understand that they need to pay for their spending, while Republicans continue to believe in the free lunch.  Well, except for the ones who are merely trying to turn the government into their personal cash cow; but I suppose there are Dems who do that too.

And that's the reason Republicans are reduced to making personal attacks against us and completely misrepresenting what we stand for.  It's not that they truly believe we're socialists trying to take over the country.  It's just that they've got nothing better to say and are jealous of our platform.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Republican Identity Politics

Over at The Palmer Lyceum (which I believe is named after a new nighttime sleep aid), I read a post suggesting that Romney might have a problem in 2012 if Obamacare passes as a similar program to what Romney did in Massachussetts, and blogger Steve P asks:
...what will he do if there is no public option included in the eventual bill? What cover will he seek then?
And the answer, of course: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.  Let's bomb Iran.

Seriously though, Romney's biggest problem is that he's Mormon and lots of evanglicals think that Mormons are scary cult members. (And honestly, you do too, so you've got something in common with them here.) And his next rhree problems are that he's not a Southerner, not a war hero, and looks like the sort of guy that most conservatives would want to spit chewing tobacco on; and that includes the women.  And yes, even though most conservatives are city folks who don't chew tobacco, they all like to imagine themselves as being the sort of people who do.

But Romney's shift on the issues isn't any bigger problem than the shift these people took with their own positions; and how they went from Small Government Conservatives to Big Government War Mongers and back again, all based upon the occupant of the Whitehouse. These people would vote Stalin-Mao if they vowed to bring some of that purge action to our coastal regions.  This isn't hypocrisy; it's self-deception.  They believe what they need to believe in order to support the people they want to support.

The Base Hated McCain

McCain didn't win the nomination because he slanted to the right.  He won because he was a war hero who wanted to double-down on Iraq.  And that's why he found himself dead in the water once Obama won his nomination, as McCain didn't have any real platform that would work in a general election.  Obama's sales pitch was a fine-tuned machine by the time he beat Hillary, while the only things McCain could talk about were Iraq, Vietnam, and Obama.  And the only change in that was after he nominated Palin, and had to keep defending that boneheaded decision.

And that's the weird thing about that election: McCain didn't move to the center after the primaries, as he hadn't been running an issue campaign.  Rather, he moved to the right in order to appease the righties who were upset that he won.  Because they never supported him.  And that needs to be remembered: For as all-powerful as the conservative base is perceived as being, they hated McCain.  It was all the other Republicans who supported him; the ones we rarely hear from.  They preferred the tough talking war hero over all the others.  The base lost that primary contest.

That's what all the big fakery with Palin was about: They knew they were going to vote for McCain in November and needed some political cover for doing so.  So they pretended that Palin was such a brilliant choice that she overcame their disdain for McCain.  But that was all fiction.  They were going to vote for McCain and Palin provided them with the excuse to do so.  And for as much as they're still in love with her, it's merely because she's telling them what they want to hear because she thinks they're her meal ticket. 

But they're not in love with her; they're in love with the person she's pretending to be.  But she doesn't understand conservativism any better than she understood the Bush Doctrine.  Palin's not a conservative; she's a shape-shifter.

Fitting the Suit

And getting back to the point, it doesn't matter what Romney says.  All that matters is who he is.  And if they accept him, it'd be because he showed that he can spit tobacco on people too.  It's not about adopting the right positions, but adopting the right attitude.  They accepted a phony like Bush because he pretended to be a Texan and a born-again (plus, they wanted to avenge the loss of the first Bush), but that was a one-time deal they lucked into. 

And I agree with Scott that things don't look good for Republicans at this point; as anyone short of the zombie Ronald Reagan is going to have a hard time being conservative enough to get the nomination, yet mainstream enough for the general.  McCain made it only because he was a wounded vet who said encouraging things about our chances in Iraq, and even he got trounced by Obama.  Unless Romney gets an arm blown off while saving his platoon in Iraq, I don't see what chance he has of getting the nomination. 

But if they got someone with the proper bio, they can be as liberal as they want to be.  That was Palin's big mistake.  The base already liked her, as she was supposedly a rugged hockey mom who ate, she was sort of hot and these guys will take whatever they can get.  So she should have posed as a rural social conservative who supports big government liberalism; which is what she actually was in Alaska, so it wouldn't have been difficult.  The krazy konservative routine was total overkill, which not only hurts her in a general election, but with the people who picked McCain, as well. 

Again, it's not about supporting the base's issues.  It's about making the party believe that you're good people.

Defending Republicare

In a previous post, I mentioned the GOP's plan for healthcare, which may include provisions banning the use of toilets, as well as mandatory childbirth for females over the age of fourteen.  And that's all true.  Republicare might include such provisions, as well as a cost saving provision which may eliminate the use of underwear.  And I would applaud such a move, as I'm a toilet paper guy and have always found underwear to be redundant.  After all, a recent report by the CBO puts America's underwear expense at $1.5 trillion over seventy years (inflation adjusted) and that may have been the amount Republicans were referring to when they spoke of cutting costs.

But then a commenter on that post really went too far, writing:
But I think you forgot the amendments about the mandated conversion of homosexuals and denial of health care to anyone with a skintone darker than John Boehner.
And yes, Republicans are smearing the hell out of Obama's plan, but that's no reason for us to engage in the same sort of vile lies and blatant distortions.  For instance, the bill absolutely does not mandate anyone to convert to any other sexual orientation. Rather, it has a voluntary lifestyle perference measure which encourages hetro tendencies using a financial-based incentive written into the tax code and enforced by the IRS. That's all.

And hey, if the gays don't want to take advantage of this great opportunity to convert back to their natural sexual orientation, nobody's forcing them to.  Instead, they can choose to pay ten percent of their AGI to the newly formed Public Church (or any of the other churches in the religion exchange) and continue to engage in all the anal ramming they can take.  And that just makes sense.  After all, why should the rest of us have to shoulder the burden of God's wrath just because these people don't feel like taking care of their own resonsibilites?

The New White

And it's nothing but a cheap smear for anyone to suggest that Republicare will be using John Boehner's skin color as a measure of healthcare worthiness. That was just in one early draft which has since been withdrawn. The new litmus test is Gary Bauer in wintertime (as seen here).

While some on the far left insist on implying that there is some race-based motive for this policy, the real reason is that research has shown that dark-skinned (or swarthy) people tend to either fall into the category of super-human athlete (eg, Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt) or lard-assed welfare queen (eg, all the others); so they either aren't in need of health insurance or they're such walking disasters that no one should insure them.  And this fits well into the conservative theme of personal responsibility, as it encourages the lard-assed welfare queens to become super-human athletes so they won't die.  Seriously, isn't it time we stop coddling our fat asses?

And besides, even the most portly of blacks still looks healthier than a pasty little toad like Bauer.  I mean, come on, it's creeping me out just looking at that picture.  Anyone worse off than that guy is clearly in dire need of our assistance.  Remember, this dude's had health insurance for years and still looks like that.  Everyone else can take care of themselves.  This guy needs his insurance...and possibly a shift back to his natural sexual orientation.  And who knows, maybe some day we might actually find a cure for whatever it is this guy's got.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chuck Norris is America

One of the odder parts of the Bush era was that I remembered how much conservatives hated America during the 90's.  Oh, they hated America for the "right" reasons (ie, a commie controlled the government), but they hated it all the same.

I remember one time in particular when a conservative co-worker of mine muttered "I hate this country" completely out of the blue.  I honestly was speechless, as he was an otherwise quiet guy and we never discussed politics together.  Based upon that job, I'd say that was the summer of '95, so it was while anti-Clinton hatred was still on the rise, before Republican hubris killed the movement.  And as a reminder, this was just a few months after two conservative terrorists taught the government a lesson by killing 168 people in Oklahoma.  And then there was their movement to protest the government by placing American flag stamps on their mail...upside down.  Yes, I'm sure the Postmaster General had trouble sleeping at night whenever he saw one of those coming through.

And so it's no big surprise to see Chuck "Fucking Crazy" Norris suggest that all true patriots begin using a "revolutionary" flag in lieu of flying the American flag.  Or if you have to fly a real flag, to use one that's been desecrated stained with tea instead.  That's right, they're screwing up the flag to make a political statement.  Damn it, where's that flag burning amendment when you need it?

Here's Chuck's "reasoning" on this:
Of course, patriots know that the 50-star flag truly represents one nation under God and our Founders' republic, but modernists simply don't get it. So what do you say we make a statement by flying a different flag and educate our neighbors when they ask us, "Why are you flying that flag instead of the contemporary Stars and Stripes?"
But honestly, I can't imagine any neighbor being dumb enough to walk into that hornet's nest.  If you see your neighbor proudly flying the Navy Jack, just keep on walking.  You don't want none of that conversation.  Particularly not when your neighbor is Chuck Norris, who isn't even able to offer any semblance of reality in a written argument, in which he's had time to think about what he's saying.  I can only imagine that any actual argument with him would end with a roundhouse kick to the liberal noggin just as soon as he realized that your stunned silence wasn't a sign of respect.  He'd knock off your gaping jaw quicker than you can say "wildly inaccurate."

And only a fool can't see what's going on here.  When a Dem controls the government, it's evil to support the government; and when Repubs control the government, it's evil to oppose the government.  And so right now, they hate the government, and if they have to diss America to diss the government, so be it.  After all, they're the true patriots while we're the "modernists" who don't get it, so whatever they say goes.  America is they and vice versa.  Never forget it!

A Few of My Favorite Palins

On a previous post in which I chastised the media for being oblivious to its role in perpetuating the myth of Sarah Palin's Facebook empire, a commenter named Maria chastised me for not doing more to hightlight what a ninny Palin is.  And looking through my blog, I realized that Maria was correct and I never have cited a list of statements which explain why I think she's a ninny.  And so here are a few of my favorites, based upon's list of Palinisms.  Enjoy!

"I think on a national level your Department of Law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out." --Sarah Palin, referring to a department that does not exist while attempting to explain why as president she wouldn't be subjected to the same ethics investigations that compelled her to resign as governor of Alaska, ABC News interview, July 7, 2009
But of course, there is no Department of Law, the DOJ isn't in the Whitehouse, and it can't dismiss ethics complaints.  But besides that, she nailed it.
"It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: 'Sit down and shut up,' but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out." --Sarah Palin, announcing her resignation as governor, July 3, 2009
Yes, we wouldn't want to take the "quitter's way out" when we're quitting.
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media." --Sarah Palin, getting First Amendment rights backwards while suggesting that criticism of her is unconstitutional, radio interview with WMAL-AM, Oct. 31, 2008
Yes, because the Constitution was written to perserve our right to ask questions without anyone referring to it as negative campaigning.  And no, this wasn't her only quote in which she suggested that the 1st Amendment was meant to protect us from free speech.
"[T]hey're in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom." --Sarah Palin, getting the vice president's constitutional role wrong after being asked by a third grader what the vice president does, interview with NBC affiliate KUSA in Colorado, Oct. 21, 2008
Wow, even Dick "Fourth Branch" Cheney never got in there with the Senators and made policy changes.  But perhaps that's because he knew it'd just be easier to have Bush do it with signing statements.
"I would hope at least that those protesters have the courage and the honor of thanking our veterans for giving them the right to protest!" --Sarah Palin, confusing supporters at a campaign rally who had shouted "We can't hear you!" and "Louder!", Richmond, Va., Oct. 13, 2008
Yes, because it's our military that gives us the right to free speech and not, say, the Constitution.  And we all remember the war fought to preserve the 1st Amendment.  And finally, I'd like to thank Palin for having the courage and the honor of acknowledging that it takes courage and honor to thank our veterans.  Normally, only the vets are seen as having courage and honor in this scenario, so I'm glad to see that the great sacrfices made by those who thank these people has finally been noticed.
"All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years." --Sarah Palin, unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, interview with Katie Couric, CBS News, Oct. 1, 2008 (Watch video clip)
For the record, I've read every newspaper that has Garfield in it.
Katie Couric: "What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?"

Sarah Palin: "Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are -- those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know -- going through the history of America, there would be others but--"

Couric: "Can you think of any?"

Palin: "Well, I could think of -- of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today." --unable to name any Supreme Court decisions other than Roe v. Wade, CBS News interview, Oct. 1, 2008
Note to Palin: Stalling makes you look even less intelligent.  And yes, Katie Couric ate Palin's lunch.
"When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, 'Man, that doesn't do us any good, women in politics, or women in general, trying to progress this country." --Sarah Palin, on complaints from Hillary Clinton's campaign about sexist coverage, Spring 2008
No, the woman candidate with the perceived whine about that excess criticism and sharper microscope doesn't do women any good.  Honestly, this stuff is too easy.  Once you remove the verbal garbage from her statements, all you're left with is sheer nonsense.

And speaking of which, here's one of my favorite clips, which has to be seen to be fully appreciated.  When asked by Katie Couric why we should give $700 billion to bailout financial institutions instead of middle-class families (an answer I could easily give in just a few sentences), Palin responds, saying:
That’s why I say, I like every American I’m speaking with we're ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the tax payers looking to bailout.  But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy– Helping the — Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. Shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive scary thing. But 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Indeed, while in our reality, the bailout was necessary because the banks were about to go under, in Palin's reality, the purpose of the bailout was to help those concerned with healthcare reform, as well as to aid in job creation, healthcare reform, reducing taxes, reining in spending, tax reductions, tax relief, trade, and job creation.  Honestly, the fact that Couric's head didn't expode during that answer is the reason she makes the big bucks.

And hey, no list of Palinisms would be complete without a clip of the one person who can truly do justice to the unnatural poetry of Sarah Palin.

Ex-Governor Chatbot

And please note, none of these quotes were mere tongue slips or tough answers to trick questions.  In fact, were one to look for a common theme among all of these statements, it would be that the speaker hadn't the slightest clue what they were talking about and was forced to substitute complete and utter bullshit for coherence.  And indeed, I have no doubt that this is the case.  Palin was so full of nonsense that she isn't even aware of how nonsensical she is.  At least Bush knew when he was bullshitting.  I'm afraid Palin never does.

As I've suggested in the past, Palin is little more than a poorly trained chatbot, filled with lots of meaningful phrases, but lacking any real ability to connect them together into rational thought.  As I said previously, the wonder isn't that she's incoherent, but rather, that anyone imagines she's making any sense at all. I submit to you that anyone who believes that Palin can convey rational thoughts simply isn't paying attention.  Even when she's right, she doesn't know it.  She's simply happy to have gotten to the end of the statement.

Palin isn't a dumb person, per se, but merely one who has such a superficial understanding of the universe that the concept of attemping to comprehend reaility is entirely lost on her.  She's a shark who knows how to survive, but doesn't really put any thought into how that happens.  But perhaps I'm mistaken about this, and someone can point to me all the truly intelligent things she's said, and I will stand corrected.  Your move, Maria.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oppose Republicare Now

It looks like the GOP's healthcare plan may include a provision that makes it illegal for people to use the bathroom, as well as requiring the elderly to sacrifice a newborn child to Jesus in order to receive any organ transplant.  There's even some talk about mandatory child birth for any female over the age of fourteen.  Isn't it about time we put a stop to the far right's ultra-capitalist agenda?  Isn't it about time we said no to Republicare?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Palin's Social Media Circus

It's truly amazing that, for as self-important as the media is, that it still imagines that it's somehow an outside spectators looking in, with no real impact on what they're describing.  It's as if a spectator at a golf tournament was oblivious to the effect his airhorn was having on the golfers and couldn't figure out why they were doing so poorly or why everyone was glaring at them.

Case in point: Politico's article on how amazing it is that Sarah Palin can remain influential while only using social media outlets like Facebook to spread her message.  For example, Palin's Facebook entry on "death panels" was widely read and influenced the debate on healthcare.  But of course, most people didn't read about this on Facebook.  No, there was some other source I remember getting that from.  What could it be?  Hmm, let me think. 

Oh yeah, I read it in the mainstream media.  That's where.  As it turns out, the media loves everything Palin says and will repeat it endlessly until she says something else.  That's not to say that they're supporters of hers or anything, as I don't think these people have enough interest in politics to even support a superficial ninny like Palin.  But the media loves a circus and Palin is one of their favorite clowns. 

In What Respect, Charlie?

And throughout the article, there's only one reference to this most obvious fact, and it came from a former Palin staff member, who said:
She loves the unfiltered medium because she can make her statement and not be questioned directly about any nuances.  It speaks to the power of Facebook and social networking in general. Here’s a case where Facebook postings are being picked up by [the Associated Press] and the national media. As politicians—we’re taking note of these media based on how well they’re working for her.
Indeed, I'm sure she loves not being questioned about any nuances. Now, instead of having to explain her insane ramblings, she has a loyal cadre of followers who are perfectly willing to morph anything she says into something almost sensible.  Remember, this is someone who had her lunch eaten by Katie Couric!  It's no wonder the trappings of Facebook are more her style.

And yes, this was the only mention in the entire article that even hinted that the media is the primary force spreading Palin's influence.  Indeed, there were several quotes in the article insisting that she was succeeding in spite of the media; as if she truly had some grassroots popularity which the media had shunned.  But of course, she was a media creation from the get-go, and while they certainly wanted to like her at the beginning, she's actually more popular with them as a target of derision.  Finally, they've got a player on the national scene who has an even more shallow understanding of reality than themselves. 

But all the same, they'll reprint what she says and that's all she's really interested in anyway.  And that includes articles in Politico which express amazement that her social media efforts are succeeding as well as they are, without noting that she'd be a non-entity without articles like the one they just wrote.  Facebook is the only forum lightweight enough for a bozo like Palin, but she'd be nothing if the media ignored her.  And as someone who's always looking for something to blog about, I hope they never do.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Counter-Productive Charges of Racism

Regarding the accusations that the strong opposition to Obama is based in racism, I've got a big question: Whether or not this is true, what's the point?  Where's the strategy here, exactly?  Is it that we're trying to influence people into supporting Obama's agenda by making them think that it'll repudiate the racists?  Is that the plan?  Or do we imagine that these accusations will make Obama's critics stop criticizing him?  Is that it?

I mean, if there's some wise strategy here, I'd like it explained to me, because I'm just not getting it.  And from my viewpoint, this is a BIG LOSER for us.  Because Republicans and the media don't WANT a substantive debate on healthcare reform.  It bores the media and Republicans know they'll lose that debate. So they both want a really personal debate full of insults and smears, and this "Obama's critics are racist" debate is right up their alley.  And rather than discussing the merits of Obama's proposal, the Republicans gleefully attack us for "playing the race card" and insist that we're unfairly smearing all "real" Americans; while the media has fun describing the mud fight that ensues.

And that's exactly what we're getting.  Jimmy Carter could cure cancer and the media couldn't care less, but if he mentions that Republicans are racist, it's frontpage news.  Similarly, as Carpetbagger points out, Obama is making an aggressive push on healthcare reform, yet the media is entirely focused on his statement that he doesn't think these accusations are true.  So instead of pushing his agenda on healthcare reform, he's stuck refuting a dumbass comment that Carter made.

And just as a reminder, Carter said that Joe Wilson's "You Lie" comment was proof that people hate Obama because he's black.  Because yeah, Republicans never accused Clinton of lying or, ya know, impeach him for it.  And is it possible that Carter doesn't realize how widely despised he is among conservatives?  It's not just black presidents from Illinois they hate.  They hate southern white presidents too...if they're Democrats.

Obama Gets It

And why is Obama saying that he doesn't think this is racism?  To hear some liberals tell it, it's because he screwed up and decided to not go there; and this gives conservatives free reign to be as racist as they want to be.  And these libs inexplicably believe that this is a winning hand for Republicans, for reasons I can't possibly fathom.

I mean, if racist attacks on Obama are good enough to sink healthcare reform with people who would otherwise support it, this country is screwed up far more than anything Obama can do.  Sure, racist attacks will work on racists, but uh, we weren't going to get the racists anyway.  And everyone else will be offended by them, whether or not Obama labels them racist.  But all the same, these libs insist that Obama is the only one who can stop these attacks, and is too wimpy to do so.

But that's not it all.  Whether or not Obama thinks his opponents are racist, he won't say it because he gets it.  He understands that if he accuses his opponents of racism, that's all the debate is going to be about.  Once he opens that can of worms, that'll be the only can he's allowed to open.  And even when he refuses to play along, he's still besieged with questions on racist attacks and it's all the media wants to report.

And while they gleefully report that Obama rejected such accusations, they'd be even happier if he supported them.  They don't want to report the news; they want a bloodbath.  They want a knockdown, drag-out, no-holds barred fistfight and nothing does that better than a good old fashioned race war.  That'd really give them something to talk about when they get drunk after work.

Making it Personal

And while Obama is wise enough to avoid that mess, some liberals continue to knock him for that perceived error.  But I'm fairly sure that this is because they're also not particularly interested in policy debates.  They also enjoy a knockdown, drag-out fight; and for as much as they take strong policy positions, it's because it makes their political attacks easier.  They support an immediate switch to a single-payer plan, not because it's the best idea (I don't think it is), but because it's the strongest position which would ensure the biggest fight.  Worst of all, they really don't care about winning policy debates (in fact, they generally dismiss the very idea that such victories are possible); they just want to attack their opponents.

And they'll attack anyone who suggests otherwise as being a weak-kneed sellout who won't take the fight to the Republicans.  Because, deep down, that's all they really want.  And so they'll continue to knock Obama for not joining them in smearing conservatives as racists, not because they have some grand strategy in doing so, but because it makes them feel better to call their opponents racist.  And rather than seeing any strategy in Obama's move not to (because strategy isn't anything they're interested in), they'll see his denials as being more of the same weak-kneed appeasement they see in everything he does.   And if you defend him in this way, then you're a sellout apologist for Obama.

And hey, if I'm wrong, feel free to explain this strategy to me.  I'd love to hear how a race war will improve our chances of getting healthcare reform.  But again, I can't imagine how that could possibly work.  Liberals have the advantage when we can make substantive policy debates, while Republicans have the advantage when we have personal mudfights.  Not that we win every policy debate or lose every mudfight; merely that, in the grand scheme of things, liberalism is about the issues while conservativism is about fighting.  And if we go toe-to-toe with them on every battle, even if we win that fight, we lose the debate.

And so while we shouldn't ignore the attacks on us, we shouldn't make the debate about the attacks; and a debate on race will most assuredly suck all the air out of any other debate.  So far, Obama has been quite deft in remembering this.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Redstate: Obama Lied, No One Died

The dopes at RedState are definitely my favorite conservatives.  While some conservatives are just badly informed because they only have a cursory interest in learning the truth, the RedStaters have it as their mission to really know what they're talking about.  And as such, they're filthy fucking liars who have to engage in copious amounts of self-deception on a daily basis to continue to believe what they believe.

But of course, labeling someone a "liar" is difficult, as it's hard to know what someone truly believes.  But self-deception is still lying, and there are definitely a few tells which give it away.  And one of those tells is when someone repeatedly makes an aggressive claim which they insist is true, but when a better claim arrives, they latch onto the new story and say "See?  I was right after all!"

And so it is with their support of Joe "You Lie" Wilson.  While I'm sure there are lots of folks in Limbaughland who truly believe that Wilson was right, the RedStaters know it's not true.  Deep down, anyway.  And you can see the self-deception in this post defending Wilson, in which they have to confuse the issue by pretending as if allowing illegal immigrants to purchase their own insurance is the same as taxpayers funding it.  From reading that post, you'd think these were the same thing, and all their commenters are on-board with that too.  And instead, they act like it's a no-brainer that doctors should force people to prove citizenship before they can be treated, and use the lack of this provision as proof that Obama lied.

And hell, if illegals using our emergency rooms without paying is a huge problem for us (and conservatives insist that it's one of our biggest problems), then why wouldn't we want them to buy their own insurance?  This makes no sense.  But we're talking RedState here, so it doesn't need to make sense.  It just has to hate liberals.

They Got Proof

But all the same, they firmly wanted to believe that Wilson was right and Obama was lying, so they repeated the claim all the same.  But now (ah ha!) they have proof that he really was lying.  You see, Obama told a story about a guy who had his insurance rescinded because he had an unrelated gallstone that he hadn't known about, and that he died for lack of insurance.  And this is a story that had been reported in the media.

But (ah ha!) the guy hadn't died.  His sister fought the recission and got the Illinois Attorney General involved and the insurer ended up reinstating his insurance three weeks later, after the Attorney General sent them a nasty letter.  And this leads to Erick Erickson's gloating post:
Barack Obama Did Lie in His Speech: He Got the Facts Wrong In His Tear Jerker Story.

See?  Because Obama's speech contained an error that had been reported in the media without correction, he's a "liar."  Erickson's got the proof.  Joe Wilson was right, even if he was wrong about his specific claim.  And yes, a president is now "lying" if he doesn't have his people fact check every anecdote that they read in the media.  I wonder if this is the same standard for lying they use when they declare that Bush didn't lie about WMD's in Iraq.  I'm sure it is.

Erickson Lies!

Oh, and just so you know, nowhere in Erickson's post does he mention that Obama was repeating a story that had been reported in the media, or mention that the insurer had rescinded the guy's policy.  In fact, he lied to his readers by pretending that the entire story was false.  I quote:
There’s just one problem. The story Obama told is not true.
Obama aides say the president got the essence of the story correct. Mr. Raddatz was dropped from his insurance plan weeks before a scheduled stem-cell transplant.
Except not really. Mr. Raddatz’s sister testified before Congress that Mr. Raddatz got a life saving treatment that extended his life for three years. And the insurance company covered it.

Except...not really.  Raddatz really WAS dropped from his insurance plan weeks before his stem-cell transplant, and it was only because his sister got the Attorney General to complain to the insurer that "the insurance company covered it." 

In other words, YOU LIE!, Erick Erickson.  And that's the funniest part: This guy's life was extended for three years due to government intervention, while Erickson misleads his readers into believing that it wasn't necessary because the insurer hadn't tried to screw this guy out of coverage.  Perhaps Erickson thinks it's cool to spend three hectic weeks fighting your insurance company to stay alive, but I doubt he'd feel the same way if it were him.

And just to be clear, all this is in the article he quoted from, so he definitely knew about it.  But he had to leave it out because it ruined his story.  Erickson even mocks the Whitehouse's claim that they "got the essence of the story correct," without noting that they did get it right. The point of the story wasn't the death, but the rescission; whereas the death of the man accentuates the story by making it more powerful.  But Erickson can't mention any of that, as it would ruin his point.  So he's sticking with his new "You Lie" claim; at least until a better lie comes along.

And yes, he derisively referred to this story as a "tear jerker" in the title, as well as in the post.  Lovely people, conservatives.

A Principled Opponent of SAFRA

I mentioned Cato's Neal McCluskey earlier, who thinks the biggest problem with higher education is that too many people are getting one. But I wanted to highlight one big difference between him and other Republicans: He actually understood that the subsidies we were giving to banks for student loans was a bad thing.

And I'll admit, I was disappointed by this, as I went to him hoping he would give me some juicy quotes I could use regarding the inability conservatives have in understanding what "free markets" are.  Apparently, some conservatives do understand.  As he explained in nerdspeak, "guaranteed lending is about as close to a free market as a biplane is to the Starship Enterprise."

But all the same, McCluskey hated SAFRA.  Why?  Because it means more students will receive more money to go to college.  Not just more loan money at better interest rates, but free money, as in the Pell Grant kind.  And that's the worst type of money to a conservative.

As McCluskey explained:
So SAFRA's major problem isn't that it would kill guaranteed lending. It's that it would replace it with federal direct lending--which currently amounts to about a quarter of FFEL's size--and completely cut out private capital markets, making Uncle Sam your sole choice of lender. With the government acting as lender, there is no reason for economic realities to constrain student loans.
You know, economic realities like having a bank gouge you with high interest rates.  That'll keep those a-hole borrowers in line.  But of course, banks aren't actually being cut out of student loans; they just won't have their profits and principal guaranteed anymore.  But they'll still be able to make loans, if they think there's a market for it.

But McCluskey believes that, without the government handouts, these banks will "have to shutter their non-government arms."  That's right.  A conservative just argued that it's ok for us to throw away $8 billion a year in taxpayer dollars so that private companies will keep their tiny non-government loans available, which are so insignificant that the banks wouldn't even bother if they weren't doing the subsidized kind.  Call me crazy, but I think this guy is reaching for straws.

Big Government Sux

But McCluskey's biggest outrage isn't that the government is saving money.  No, his big problem is that they're spending it...on education!  While he'd prefer that we sock all this money away to pay off debt, SAFRA is using the savings to (horror!) help students and schools.  That's right, he's a conservative to the end, so he's naturally outraged that we're spending money on anything.  He's mad that they're giving money to community colleges and fixing buildings.  He's even upset that some of it's going to pay for pre-k classes.  Yeah, he's against pre-k.

And of course, he's upset that half the money will be given to low-income people as Pell Grants.  Not that he's against poor people going to school, but with the extra money they're getting, tuition will keep going up.  So it's just better to keep the poor people out, so the rest of us won't have to pay so much.  Forget about any possible benefits these people might be adding to society by getting an education they couldn't otherwise afford, this will make everyone else pay more; so it's an abomination. 

(Full Disclosure: I received Pell and Direct Loan money to get my accounting degree, and look what that got me: A CPA license and my own accounting business.  Woohoo!)

Small Government Sux

And you know what, that's fine. If he opposes this stuff based upon his small government principles, I'm ok with that.  But he seems to be of the impression that the rest of us share these principles and are being hornswaggled in all this, as if it's a big con for us to spend money on education.  He doesn't even bother explaining why it's wrong for us to fix buildings and fund pre-k; it's just wrong, ok?  Case closed.  Everyone hates pre-k, so his job is merely to alert us to these horrors and we'll all jump on board and oppose the bill.

But of course, that's where all this "small government" ranting falls apart.  For as much as conservatives act as if politicians have hijacked the country and are spending our money like crazy, that's exactly what a large majority of Americans want.  Sure, tax cuts are always popular with voters, but they'll gut you like a fish if you try cutting popular programs; even in the so-called red states.  And there ain't a Republican who turns down Pell money when it comes their way.

So yes, college tuition is absurdly expensive and something needs to be done, but all the same, McCluskey's approach is to burn the students with the buildings.  Remember, the accountant funded by Pell might just be your own.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Freedom to Gouge

I've written before about how clueless most Republicans are when it comes to their supposed love of "free markets," as they don't seem to have any real understanding of what it means beyond "Government Sux," and even oppose many regulations designed to make the markets work better. And so I couldn't believe it when The Atlantic named Carpetbagger (AkA Steve Benen) as the 44th most influential political commenter in the country and wrote this in his bio (emphasis added):
His blog posts—advocating for universal health care, calling out centrist Democrats, decrying the GOP’s dedication to free markets—frequently drive coverage for left-leaning bloggers, who spread his takes across the Web.
The GOP's dedication to free markets?? What a joke! I'm not sure I agree with the "calling out centrist Dems" line, but to suggest that Benen is upset about free markets is to imply both that Benen is a socialist jerk and that Republicans really care about the free markets.  Hint: They don't.

And sure enough, we get yet another example of the GOP's confusion over the free market, via Benen, no less. He writes about how the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) was likely to pass the House (it passed), which is great because it cuts the moronic middlemen out of the student loan business and instead spends the money to students and schools.

Government Takeover of Middlemen

And the whole issue highlights the GOP's idea of what "free markets" are. They insist that it makes more sense for the government to pay banks to process the paperwork while guaranteeing their loans, rather than just directly making the loans ourselves. And in their eyes, this is capitalism. This is the free market. They might not be able to explain exactly what "market" is at play here, but by god, they're going to protect it.

As Rep. John Kline (R-Minn) said,
First, we saw a drive toward complete government takeover of our nation's health care system.  Now, we see government seizing control of student lending, forcing the private sector out and welcoming in a mountain of public debt.
And mind you, this guy is the highest ranking Republican on the Education and Labor Committee, so he's supposed to know what he's talking about.  But no.  He's actually arguing that removing the middlemen from the student loan industry is an infringement of freedom.  He ended with "I’m almost afraid to ask: What part of our lives will be handed over to government next?"  With any luck, it'll be Kline's maudlin rhetoric.

Too Many Bachelors

I'm writing a seperate piece on student loans and happened to catch an article in Forbes by Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey, who argues that the main problem with higher education is that too many people are getting it. And here's his proof for that:
This is especially troubling because too many people are pursuing degrees. About a third of college students take at least one remedial course, only 56% graduate within six years and 29% of Americans have bachelor's degrees even though only a quarter of American jobs require them.
First off, are we agreed that the reason he didn't write the number 25% was because he was hoping people wouldn't notice that 29% is close to 25%? "Only a quarter" makes it sound much more dire.

And secondly, huh? Assuming these numbers are correct (and who knows, as McCluskey avoids any links or sources), I fail to see the problem. Specifically, how is it a problem for 29% of people to have bachelor's degrees when 25% require them? Even if all 29% received the degree in order to get a job that required them, that'd still be a good statistic.

Hell, I'd be a bit concerned if we were using every damn bachelor's degree in the country. After all, some of these degreed people are retired, while others are stay-at-home moms or others who no longer need their degree. And I'd rather have 4% too many college grads than 4% too few. After all, we're not at 100% employment, either.

Overall, this strikes me as the typical conservative view of all our problems: Life's too good. Thanks to the stupid government, we've got too much healthcare, too much job safety, too much retirement protection, and now too much education. Damn, why does my government have to keep taking care of me like this? Why can't they just leave me hurt, dumb, and poor; like all the other second-world countries do? It's as if having a well-rounded population is the biggest mistake we can make.

And the irony: Neal McCluskey works for the Cato Institute, which means his degree most definitely went to waste.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

They Impeached President Clinton

As a follow-up to my last post, I'd like to reiterate something in regards to comparing Obama hatred with Clinton hatred: They fricking impeached President Clinton. They impeached him. They spent almost his entire presidency investigating everything he did, starting with the firing of seven travel office employees (which Congress had the GAO investigate in July 1993), then impeached the guy. That can't be emphasized enough. And as a reminder, the last time a dude faced impeachment, he resigned.

And it's not that Clinton was wildly unpopular and Republicans had some great political gain to make by hitting him. On the contrary, the impeachment was fueled almost entirely by the wingnuts and the media. Clinton, on the other hand, was extremely popular throughout the entire ordeal. I looked up the numbers and here's how things looked, according to Gallup.

He starts the year at 59% approval. It jumps to 67% approval after his famous "with that woman" denial-lie in late January, a week after Drudge broke the Lewinsky scandal. It was back at 61% in August after he admitted in court to having lied to everyone. In November's mid-term election, Republicans were expected to win seats, but instead, they lose five seats; and this is after they lost eight seats in the previous election.

After the election, Clinton's approval was 66%. Immediately after he got impeached in December, his approval jumped to 73%. That's right, 73%! And finally, after he got acquitted by the Senate in January, a full year after the scandal broke, his approval rating was 68%. Clinton finished his term with a 66% approval rating. By contrast, Bush never had numbers that high after May 2003, and Clinton had been impeached.

And so they impeached an extremely popular president who only gained in popularity after the impeachment. For a second-term president to be routinely in the mid-to-high 60's is incredible, and it was the first time since 1822 for the opposition party to not gain seats in a mid-term of a second term president. Yet even after they lost seats, the lame duck Congress went after him all the same. Not because they needed to, but because the crazies were insisting upon it.

And mind you, Newt Gingrich lost the Speakership after those mid-term losses, meaning that he got booted from his leadership position before they could even impeach Clinton.

Republican Crazies, Then and Now

And you can see who drove this: Republican crazies. As these poll numbers show, this was a Republican thing. For example, in a Newsweek poll the day before the impeachment was announced, 66% of Republicans thought he should be impeached, while only 30% disagreed. Meanwhile, 45% of Independents thought he should be impeached compared to 52% who disagreed.

And while that doesn't sound like only Republican support, that corresponds fairly closely with Obama's current approval numbers. Per CBS's latest polls, 69% of Republicans disapprove of Obama, while only 19% approve. Meanwhile, 39% of Independents disapprove of Obama, while 50% approve. Uncanny, eh?

And for as much as these numbers look slightly better for Clinton, remember, these were people who hated Clinton so much they wanted him impeached. I don't think 66% of Republicans would currently want him impeached. And another thing, Republicans are more concentrated with conservatives now than they were then. So Clinton's Republicans included Republicans who have since abandoned the party because they thought it was too unprincipled and crazy.

They Were Always Crazy

And sure, there is nothing conclusive here. I just wanted to add some historical perspective on why I don't think this is a racial thing. They HATED Clinton. They didn't just think he was a socialist or commie, they actually believed he was a real Soviet spy, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years earlier. And they insisted he was a murderer who killed anyone who got in his way; they even sold a video about it.

And perhaps his biggest offenses were dodging the draft and lying about smoking pot. Even in the heady days of impeachment, conservatives were adamant that the "I didn't inhale" line was of immense importance. And that's not to mention that two crazies blew up a fucking federal building, killing 168 people, in order to give the Clinton government a black eye.

So before we jump the gun and label all these people racist, perhaps we should hold off until they start blowing up buildings and impeaching Obama. They've got a WAAAAY to go before they catch up with Clinton derangement. And again, Clinton only made it to July before Congress was having him investigated; while Obama has made it all the way to mid-September (knock on wood). It's not a black thing. They're just crazy assholes. Some things never change.

History's Greatest Monster is Wrong

Ok, I don't actually have a problem with Jimmy Carter, but I definitely think he was wrong to suggest that Joe Wilson's "You Lie" comment was at all rooted in racism. In fact, I don't think the opposition to Obama is race-based. Because I remember the 90's and these people were just as crazy about Clinton. He was a mass murdering Soviet spy, they told us. They investigated every damn thing he did, including his Christmas card list. They f-ing impeached him, for christ's sake!

And let's not forget that they still hate Carter, and Mondale, and Dukakis, and Kerry. Please, show me the prominent Democrat they don't hate. One of the oddest bits of modern politics is how Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are demonized by both the right and left. The right says they're leftwing extremists while the left insists that they're weak-kneed conservative sell-outs; and both sides say this because Pelosi and Reid are obstructing their agenda.

And who amongst us can forget how much they hated Ted Kennedy? It's not even just that they disagreed with Kennedy; the very mention of his name drove conservatives bonkers. Back when Yahoo had messageboards, any story which remotely involved Kennedy would be avalanched with attacks on him as a slobbering drunk and remorseless murderer. It was absolutely impossible to discuss the actual news story because any defense of Kennedy would bring multiple accusations of defending drunken murderers; and I'm not exaggerating in the least.

Hating All Liberals

As the great Michael Bérubé once snarked:
“Everything changed for me on September 11. I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick."
It's funny, because it's true. Being conservative isn't really about believing in fiscal restraint or small government; it's about hating liberals, including any Democrat who doesn't worship conservatives. And so I fail to see how this is any different when it comes to Obama. And if there is anything different, it's not his race that outrages them, but that he just keeps on kicking their butts in a cold-assed fashion.

As a reminder, the "small government" meme was originally a codeword for opposing liberal policies that helped minorities. But soon enough, it simply became a slogan to attack liberals and that's what it remains to this day. That's why conservatives found it so easy to pivot towards big intrusive government during the Bush years; because that government was being used to help their team. And all the purist Ron Paul conservatives who denounced that were just naive simpletons who bought into rhetoric that had no basis in reality.

Keyes for President

And on the other hand, I have no doubt that Republicans would elect Alan Keyes as president, if they could. Or Michael Steele. Hell, I bet they'd elect an Islamic lesbian from Kenya as president, if they felt assured the person would rain hellfire on liberals. Remember, they were all outraged by Clinton the Draft Dodger, until they elected a draft dodger of their own. After that, it became a non-issue.

Because when you get down to it, racism is just part of their team warfare. It's about exclusionism and exceptionalism and everything else that assures conservatives that they're number one and everyone else sucks eggs. They've all got giant inferiority complexes because the world isn't begging them to be Number One Commander Extreme. It's not enough for them to win elections, they've got to have complete subservience or they just can't be happy.

And overall, I think the whole "Obama haters are racist" thing is simply a distraction. It's the sort of attack that conservatives relish, as they view it as a typical unfair attack and helps distract from the fact that they're wrong about everything and live in a fact-free bubble. They'd much rather play Who's the Bigot than to discuss any policy issues.

Team-Based Racism

Besides, not only are not all Obama haters racist, but even the racists aren't really racists anymore. They don't hate blacks. They just hate blacks that are on the wrong team. But they hate everyone who's on the wrong team, regardless of race, creed, or color. Seriously, where is the racist who hates Michael Steele more than they hate Nancy Pelosi? I doubt you'll find one.

That's not to suggest that racism isn't real, as I know it is. But it's merely to say that, at it's core, racism isn't really about race. It's about hating someone for being on the wrong team. And even your hardcore blatant racists all know some "clean" negro who they respect, and wish the rest of them could be like that one. And sure, they say racist things when their target is a minority, but they say sexist things when their target is a woman, and again, there isn't a prominent Democratic white male who gets a free pass from offensive attacks. They hate us all! Racism is a by-product of their attacks; not the source of it.

Dave Chappelle had a skit about a blind black white supremacist (Warning: Not work friendly) who didn't realize he was black, and it implied that such a person wouldn't be accepted in racist culture. But I honestly don't think he'd have a problem, as many racists would find such a person to be the best spokesman for racism; for the same reason that some conservatives think it helps to cite black conservatives as their source for anti-Obama attacks. These people will accept anyone, just as long as they're on the team and tell them that they're the best.

And if Obama came out and announced that he had a change of heart, was switching to Republican, and was locking all the liberals up in Gitmo, you can rest assured that all this Obama derangement would end just as soon as the waterboarding of Pelosi began.