Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
January 31, 2008 - January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No Republicans Left in the Race

Peggy Noonan didn't write "The Speech." Ronald Reagan did.

I WARNED YOU. The damage control is underway. Glenn Reynolds is already publicizing the term "McCain Derangement Syndrome." Okay. Apparently we're not allowed to criticize the Democrat who's going to win the Republican nomination.

Is it derangement to say I don't like him? My own dad is dead, but I know what he'd have said because he was a lot like McCain, only his straight talk was straighter, which is why I liked him more. I can tell you he would never have trusted McCain. Why? Because my dad would have summed up McCain's whole heroic military career in two words: "He talked."

McCain is a liberal. So is Romney. They've got each other dead to rights on this. Who's the loser? Us.

And, no, I'm not buying Peggy Noonan's choice to blame it on George W. Bush. Unlike his father, George W. never lied to us. He never pretended that he wasn't at heart a Texan who was willing to give his State of the Union speech in two languages. We elected him. If the Republican Party has lost its soul, it's because there aren't enough Republicans left to find, support, nominate, and elect another Ronald Reagan.

Here's what I suspect. The archetypal American today is a single mother. Not too bright. Not moral at all, because women rarely are. They finally have their candidate. "Look what I found in the pantry. Everything. Get in line. Everyone's going to get her share. And if you're really really good, my husband will fuck you in the mud room. Later."

What does "later" mean? It means after he's done fucking Peggy Noonan. She's been waiting for quite a while.

Afterwards, she'll be all breathless and happy. We won't. That's the difference.


GIVE US A MOMENT. The sophisticated hypercomputer M.A.L.K.I.N. 4700 (affectionately nicknamed "Michelle" by the brilliant team of men and women who built her), searching the entire internet every 3/1000ths of a second, has collated an exhaustive report on "inevitable" GOP nominee John McCain's thorough, if not complete, ideological bankruptcy.  This is not a shotgun blast of slander from cranky, unreasonable right"er"-wingers.  If you think older ideas of government were better, if not perfect, at preserving freedom than what we have to put up with now, you owe it to your ideals to educate yourself about November's likely "conservative" option.

But, like Ron Paul's platform, this is academic.  This Presidential election is, again, an exercise in damage control.  Since there's no candidate to get enthusiastic about, or to even want in the White House at all, it's time to start doing some Radon Math.  Since we're doomed to some amount of poisonous gas, which choice will pump the least into our basement?  Not only that, but how much of said gas can we dissipate by opening windows and doors and fanning?  What respirator masks are available that filter Radon, and what's the limit of said filtration?  Is it safe for kids and adults to make brief trips into the basement, and how brief need those trips be?

Whoever takes the oath next January is going to be toxic to whatever life of your own you might be aiming to cultivate.  The question for every voter is, who is the more manageable disaster (and who is going to foster a political climate more amenable to whatever freedoms you're going to work up the nerve to try to get back).  Dust off those Y2K plans and use them to metaphy how you're going to live your life come 2K9.

The 2KNanny approacheth. Be you ready? Bettabee, baby.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Grim Countdown
to the Super Bowl

Love means never having to say you're sorry. Or some crap like that.

THE CHARLES RIVER BLUES. Anyone with cable or satellite TV knows that the drones who program movies for broadcast seize on any topical excuse to make their lame old selections seem current. Sadly, for example, if there's a Heath Ledger movie you ever missed, you'll likely be able to see it several times in the next week. The other bad news is that you'll also have to do some nifty broken-field channel-hopping to avoid movies set in the Boston area. For that you can thank the already over-exposed Patriots, who are poised to crown their perfect season with a ritual slaying of the Giants. The problem is that almost all the movies set in Boston are bad, because there's almost nothing in Boston worth making a movie about.

Well, there's Harvard. Which is why Turner Classic Movies committted the mortal sin last night of showing Love Story, the shudderingly awful tearjerker about a romance between a Harvard boy too dumb to have gotten into Harvard and a Cliffie too good looking to have gotten into Radcliffe. I suppose their real purpose was to get everybody up to speed on Harvard geography, because it's all in there -- from Harvard Square to Harvard Yard to the IAB to Lowell House, Eliot, the Leverett Towers, and the Law School campus. Which is going to be a huge help in enabling us to appreciate the other Boston movies they're planning to inflict on us before Super Bowl Sunday.

Like the Paper Chase, which is all about how tough it is to be a good-looking first year student at Harvard Law School. And Legally Blonde, which is all about how tough (and funny) it is to be a brilliant but beautiful Valley Girl at Harvard Law School. And Good Will Hunting, which is all about how tough it is to be a good-looking janitor at Harvard when you're smarter than all the students and all the professors too. And Harvard Man, which is all about how tough it is to be a Harvard basketball player who throws games for money. And Stealing Harvard, which is all about how tough it is to pay Harvard tuition at $29,000+ a pop. And Homeless to Harvard, which is all about how tough it is to, you know, not to mention the $29,000 tuition.

And, yes, there are at least one or two movies set in Boston that aren't about Harvard. But let's face it. The tiny percentage of folks who live in Boston and don't go to Harvard are really really low class, and the movies about them are so depressing they'd have made Dostoevsky envious. Movies like Mystic River and the Friends of Eddie Coyle. Actually, that's all of the movies set in Boston that aren't about Harvard.

The big question is this: Why couldn't the movie programmers just pretend that the big story of this year's Super Bowl isn't the Patriots but the New York Giants? There's a whole bunch of movies set in and around New York (and 'bunch' is one of the biggest understatements in the history of words in this context) that are actually good movies, filled with interesting characters who do interesting things in highly entertaining ways. Given the alternative, even diehard Patriot fans might be willing to go along with the pretense if it meant being able to watch something besides one more dreary campus tour of Harvard.

Enough already. Nothing's happening there worth watching.

Would it help if we circulated a petition?

The Better Candidate

President Psmith. It's Perfect. Psee?

PSAYINGS.5A.13. Rachel Lucas, the insouciant Eloise of bloggers, has nominated her dog Sunny for President. Sunny is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and has quite a lengthy platform reflecting the rightwing views of her mistress. For example:

“I’ve got a fevah, and the only prescription is more cowbell.”

Sunny admits she has limited experience with the medical establishment, mostly consisting of having something put in her bottom once a year and then being told she is obese. But it’s never to late to learn, so we recently sat down and watched Michael Moore’s “Sicko” because everyone knows the right solution is the exact opposite of whatever that stupid asshole says. So clearly the only way to go is to privatize the entire health insurance system.

If you’ll review Sunny’s plan to eradicate abortion, you’ll see the real genius behind it: it solves so many other problems at the same time. Why are there so many uninsured children? Because too many people breed before they have financial security. Really, it’s very simple. If you can’t afford health insurance not only for yourself but for your whelps, you don’t get to have whelps. We’ll be adding this condition to the sterilization reversal requirement list.

Sunny is also much more attractive than the other female candidate in the race:

Nevertheless, we can't help feeling concerned that Sunny, especially in light of her platform, might actually do something as President. We believe the American people deserve more, meaning less, than that. It's precisely when they take actions of various sorts that Presidents get into so much trouble. Psmith is the perfect antidote to that problem. He has no platform except for his own mammoth deerhound posterior. He has no ideas of any kind. If elected President of the United States, he would serve by standing (and sitting) there quite handsomely. He might want some gingerbread, but a multi-trillion dollar economy like ours ought to be able to handle that.

And just imagine how soothing and reassuring it would be to the America people to know that their President is snoozing on his great big couch in the Oval Office rather than talking to people, giving orders, making speeches, signing bills, and getting dangerous folk the world over all riled up about problems nobody can really fix.

We're running Psmith (the 'p' is silent) on the Do-Nothing Party ticket, and nobody can beat his experience. He's been doing nothing with imperturbable consistency all his life. He's not even asking for your vote, because that would be doing something. You see how demanding Sunny already is by comparison?

If you want to stop that government clock and have absolutely nothing nasty ooze out of Washington, DC, to infect all our lives, VOTE PSMITH!

If you don't, we'll run Izzie the Bengal (scroll down)  instead, which would be very very bad. Take our word for it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Surge McCain Doesn't Support

PSAYINGS.5A.17. Many of the most 'reasonable' pundits seem confident that McCain will be able to squeak through his campaign with the Republican nomination and then go on to unite party in the fall. They base this on the fact that it's too late for Giuliani, Huckabee's out of money, and Romney just hasn't closed the deal with conservative voters or the party apparatchiks. The New York Times has all but declared Mitt dead in the race. In a piece titled "Romney Leads in Ill Will Among G.O.P. Candidates," political reporter Michael Luo writes:

"The glee the other candidates go after Romney with is really unique," said Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist who worked on Mr. McCain's presidential campaign bid in 2000 but is not affiliated with any campaign now.

A senior adviser to Mr. Romney, Ronald C. Kaufman, pointed to his vast personal fortune and upstart status in the political world as breeding resentment.

"They think he didn't pay his dues," said Mr. Kaufman, who argued that Mr. Romney had done so by working tirelessly in his campaign.

In stark contrast to Mr. Romney, Mr. McCain seems to be universally liked and respected by the other Republican contenders, even if they disagree with him.

Mr. Schnur used a schoolyard analogy to compare Mr. Romney, the ever-proper Harvard Law School and Business School graduate, to Mr. McCain, the gregarious rebel who racked up demerits and friends at the Naval Academy.

"John McCain and his friends used to beat up Mitt Romney at recess," Mr. Schnur said.

However. More and more these days, NYT headlines are not really reporting but wishful thinking. Is it really Romney who "leads in ill will among GOP candidates"? The answer is a decided "no." Of course, we've already seen that the Times doesn't believe in the efficacy of surges, which probably explains why they can't seem to understand the size and import of the surge that is presently building against John McCain.

The redeployment of conservative troops has been underway since McCain's candidacy rose from the dead in New Hampshire, but its scale was effectively camouflaged by the diversionary squashing of Huckabee, which has been expeditiously completed. Now, with Thompson also out of the picture, the fog of war should begin to lift on the battlefield. What will be clear when the sun starts burning away the smoke is just how massively arrayed and reinforced conservative forces are against a McCain presidential nomination.

The signs should have been clear long before this. Michelle Malkin has been beating the drum for the advance all along, principally on the basis of his views on immigration. Laura Ingraham, who tends to be the most soft-spoken of the three Republican Furies, has launched a surprise attack on McCain's supposedly stellar right-to-life record. Mark Levin has mounted a devastating precision assault on McCain's "Gang of 14" judiciary judo.  NRO's Andrew McCarthy and Roger Kimball of Pajamas Media have opened yet another front on the topic of McCain-Feingold and freedom of speech. The Club for Growth has battered McCain's fiscal stands and performance. Hugh Hewitt -- admittedly a Romney partisan -- has nevertheless executed a shrewd flanking maneuver on the question of McCain's outright hostility to conservatives, using the subject of ANWR to great effect. General Limbaugh has been incorporating all these lines of attack into an ideological framework that poses McCain as an unconscionable choice. The sum of the arguments is exceptionally potent even if it will take time to permeate the base. But even now, anti-McCain fever is flowing steadily downward through the layers of the blogosphere, where it will eventually reach critical mass and loose the dogs of war.

The MSM and other purveyors of Conventional Wisdom would like to dismiss all these recent deployments of anti-McCain argumentation as mere grumbling and sniping. But they're as guilty of wishful thinking -- and yes, blindness -- as the NYT piece quoted above. By and large, both sides of the aisle in the mainstream beltway establishment want McCain to be the Republican nominee.

The beltway Republicans wants him because, as usual, they've been gulled by the media into believing that the media have regard and respect for McCain and might actually treat him fairly in the general election campaign. They also believe that all his disagreements with conservatives will make him more attractive to independents. They're wrong on both counts. Recent elections have demonstrated conclusively that there are precious few "independent" voters. It's a 50-50 country, and the winner will be the party that generates the greatest turnout for its candidate. McCain is a loser on that score. Just as importantly, it's not true that the MSM will be fair to McCain in the general election.

They're just holding their fire. Which will be withering indeed. They'll harpoon him on the subject of his age, and every verbal slip will be transformed into hints about dementia, as will the outbursts of typical McCain wrath that are inevitable when the press questions him too sharply. Political reporters will suddenly remember an ancient scandal nicknamed the "Keating Five." And as McCain attempts to placate his conservative base, the MSM will brand every shift in position as a flip-flopping disproof of "straight talk." Then there's the matter of his not completely exemplary personal life, which is off limits with Democrats but fair game with those hypocritical Christian Republicans. Even his much vaunted Vietnam POW status will be used against him to raise suspicions about his mental stability.

Where the Democrat establishment is deluding itself is in failing to acknowledge the importance of the Surge. (Sound familiar?) It's going to keep building, and the more the MSM holds it fire, the more McCain's "darling" status will motivate his conservative opponents. The long-term beneficiary will be, as Hugh Hewitt likes to say about every political development, Romney. McCain is actually the best if unlikeliest incentive for the Republican base to become enthusiastic about Mitt. Which is the last thing the Democratic establishment wants.

Are you underestimating the Surge? Well, the 'Shock and Awe" phase was initiated this morning by the Queen of the Furies. Ann Coulter is now officially on the warpath. Her polemic begins thus:

John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most "electable" Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn't lie all the time while claiming to engage in Straight Talk.

Of course, I might lie constantly too, if I were seeking the Republican presidential nomination after enthusiastically promoting amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, crackpot global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws.

I might lie too, if I had opposed the Bush tax cuts, a marriage amendment to the Constitution, waterboarding terrorists and drilling in Alaska.

And I might lie if I had called the ads of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "dishonest and dishonorable."

McCain angrily denounces the suggestion that his "comprehensive immigration reform" constituted "amnesty" -- on the ludicrous grounds that it included a small fine. Even the guy who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy didn't fall for this a few years ago.

You can read the rest for yourself. It only gets harsher. As will the conservative counterattack in the weeks and, if necessary, months ahead.

Don't say nobody warned you.

Mars Image Not an Alien, NASA Says

XOFF NEWS. After flurries of wild speculation about a photograph it released earlier in the week, NASA has announced that this human-shaped figure on the Martian landscape is "not an alien" but only a trick of light and shadow. In reality it's nothing more than a rusted transmission assembly from the ancient Martian minivan in the foreground.

Needless to say it's a disappointing development. We'd gotten our hopes up too.


The End Days Have Come.

Click on the image for the whole nightmare.

The Cure? Comotude.

RELAX. We'd hoped it wouldn't come to this, but it has. Here's just a selection of key Drudge headlines today (quite similar to what they've been ever since the first of the year):

More Russian nuclear fuel delivered to Iran...
GORE: Climate change 'significantly worse' than feared...
Soros: Worst crisis in 60 years...
Dutch Braced for 'Koran Insult' Backlash...
Rice offers Iran 'normal ties' if it drops nuclear plan...
UPDATE: India battles worst bird flu outbreak...
PAPER: Bill risks tarnishing his global brand...
Michelle: 'They will say anything'...
POUND FOR POUND: U.K. considers paying obese adults to lose weight...

So absolutely everything in human affairs has gone insane, including the global arms race, the climate, the economy, religion, international diplomacy, contagious diseases, Bill Clinton, racial strife, and voracious nanny state social engineering. Should we just wait pitifully for the merciful end of everything? Or should we resort to our last-ditch defense against world-wide lunacy?

We opt for the latter. It's time for a global wave of Como-ism. You may think Perry Como was just an Italian crooner and TV star, but the truth is he was the most advanced mystic of late western civilization. He was also the Cary Grant of American music, without the five wives. He had grace. He knew how to deal with all the stress. He could reconcile responsibility and ease of mind, Christianity and cardigan sweaters, fame and fidelity. If you listen to his music -- and I mean really listen -- you'll hear a truly luminous spirit of precisely the sort we all need to persevere through the silly season we're experiencing now. Perry had political views, but he never wished a painful death by cancer on the opposition. He may even have had concerns about things like global epidemics and total nuclear war, but he never went bug-shit about it. He was, in the earliest and truest sense of the term, cool.

You probably think we're kidding. We're not. Here's an excerpt from his Wikipedia entry:

A popular television performer and recording artist, Perry Como produced numerous hit records with record sales so high the label literally stopped counting at Como's behest. His weekly television shows and seasonal specials were broadcast throughout the world and his popularity seemingly had no geographical or language boundaries. He was equally at ease in live performance and in the confines of a recording studio. His appeal spanned generations and he was widely respected for both his professional standards and the conduct in his personal life. In the official RCA Records Billboard Magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: "50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all."

Well known American composer Ervin Drake said of him, " . . . occasionally someone like Perry comes along and won't 'go with the flow' and still prevails in spite of all the bankrupt others who surround him and importune him to yield to their values. Only occasionally."

What we really need as a culture right now is an end to the Internet string-jokes about how murderously tough Jack Bauer and Chuck Norris are, and a replacement obsession with just how cool and enlightened Perry Como was.

But it all begins with a simple first step. Whatever your musical preferences, put them aside long enough to get the feel of Perry Como. It's more than music. Yes, he had enormous talent as a light tenor, but his singing is also creating a philosophical atmosphere you can't begin to appreciate without taking a deep breath, leaning back in your chair, and letting go of all the tension and angst you carry with you from day to day and minute to minute.

We're going to give you a couple of YouTube clips to get you started, but the real healing will begin when you dig into his discography and procure the albums that will enable you, through repeated listening, finally, to quit being so goddamned pissed-off about everything. We call that attaining Comotude. Step One:

Note that his mien is beatific but far from dumb.

Step Two. Just his voice. (YouTube is predictably weak on Perry.) Use this clip to practice your breathing, leaning back, relaxing, not taking things so damn f___ing seriously. We really can get through all this.

Step 3. Go to the discography and start saving your soul.

P.S. He's no longer with us now, obviously, but do yourself a favor and remember him while you listen to his recording of "O Holy Night." You'll feel better for it. We promise.

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