Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 4, 2008 - August 28, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Idiots Inside the Beltway:

Peggy Noonan, Case in Point

NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTES. I don't want to be mean, but I've been tired of this precious poseur for a very long time now. She had the misfortune last night of mouthing off into an open mic, which you can eavesdrop on here:

Then she managed to get permission from the Wall Street Journal to explain it all away. Apparently, she wasn't talking about the McCain campaign when she declared that "It's over." Fine. It's what came afterwards that really annoyed me:

I do not think the campaign is over, I do not think this is settled, and did not suggest, back to the Todd-Murphy conversation, that "It's over."

However, I did say two things that I haven't said in public, either in speaking or in my writing. One is a vulgar epithet that I wish I could blame on the mood of the moment but cannot. No one else, to my memory, swore. I just blurted. The other, more seriously, is a real criticism that I had not previously made, but only because I hadn't thought of it. And it is connected to a thought I had this morning, Wednesday morning, and wrote to a friend. Here it is. Early this morning I saw Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and as we chatted about the McCain campaign (she thoughtfully and supportively) I looked into her eyes and thought, Why not her? Had she been vetted for the vice presidency, and how did it come about that it was the less experienced Mrs. Palin who was chosen? I didn't ask these questions or mention them, I just thought them. Later in the morning, still pondering this, I thought of something that had happened exactly 20 years before. It was just after the 1988 Republican convention ended. I was on the plane, as a speechwriter, that took Republican presidential nominee George H.W. Bush, and the new vice presidential nominee, Dan Quayle, from New Orleans, the site of the convention, to Indiana. Sitting next to Mr. Quayle was the other senator from that state, Richard Lugar. As we chatted, I thought, "Why him and not him?" Why Mr. Quayle as the choice, and not the more experienced Mr. Lugar? I came to think, in following years, that some of the reason came down to what is now called The Narrative. The story the campaign wishes to tell about itself, and communicate to others. I don't like the idea of The Narrative. I think it is ... a barnyard epithet. And, oddly enough, it is something that Republicans are not very good at, because it's not where they live, it's not what they're about, it's too fancy. To the extent the McCain campaign was thinking in these terms, I don't like that either. I do like Mrs. Palin, because I like the things she espouses. And because, frankly, I met her once and liked her. I suspect, as I say further in here, that her candidacy will be either dramatically successful or a dramatically not; it won't be something in between.

But, bottom line, I am certainly sorry I blurted my barnyard ephithet, I am certainly sorry that someone abused my meaning in the use of the words, "It's over", and I'm sorry I didn't have the Kay Baily Hutchison thought before this morning, because I could have written of it. There. Now: onto today's column. [emphases mine]

This is interesting. Not surprising but interesting. What could be more indicative of the fact that it's possible to be so close to presidential politics and still be a total cloth head? Which Peggy Noonan has been for quite a while now. Her enthusiasm for Obama has been so gushing at times that one must wonder if she has a cougar crush on the lad. Her on-again, off-again support for the Republican Party is so unpredictable as to seem almost random. But people still praise her. Why? Because she works so very hard for the semi-felicitous phrases she insists on loading into her columns? Sorry. To me, she usually sounds forced, like a middle school English teacher who once had a poem published and keeps having to prove her rhetorical talent to each new class of adolescent girls. When she speaks, it's even worse -- it's like you're a footman and she's Abigail Adams explaining the immaculate conception to you from her carriage.

Now I'm pretty sure she suffers from Dowd Disease. She doesn't really know or care that much about the political currents she comments on. They're only the backdrop for her own performances. "Look at me writing. I do it so well, don't I? Everybody says so." How else could it be possible for a DC insider to be so monumentally stupid about the easiest possible political questions? Anyone who actually believed the speeches she wrote for Reagan would never go so far adrift as to be smitten by the empty, smarmy rhetoric of Obama -- unless she didn't know the difference between empty smarmy rhetoric and the wisdom of one of America's greatest presidents.

Sound too partisan? Then consider this. Noonan's political aptitude is so dim that she honestly wonders why George H. W. Bush wouldn't choose Richard Lugar as a vice presidential candidate. Richard Lugar. Possibly the most boring man ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. That's not an issue? Nothing the right brilliant speechwriter (toss of the head) couldn't fix with a few well crafted paragraphs? Are we looking at mental retardation here or pure unhinged ego? You tell me.

Kay Bailey Hutchison -- anonymous, unaccomplished, drab, and squishy on abortion -- versus Sarah Palin? Jeez. And wasn't it Peggy Noonan who got such high marks from pompous Ed Morrissey a couple weeks ago for quipping that people wouldn't use condoms if life didn't begin at conception? Yeah. I thought it was her. At the time I thought she meant it. Oh. It was just writing. (And, no, I don't think Ed really cares that much about abortion, either. He's more into being the objective Republican skeptic and all that shtick.)

I guess it's just another writer's pose. Peggy knows that all politicians are blank canvases, mere receptacles for the luminous -- nay, numinous -- verbal creations of their puppetmasters. Lugar is Reagan (flip of the hair), Hutchison is Palin ( becoming simper), and Quayle is somebody else's problem (smirk). It's all words. The Narrative is bullshit [Excuse me: barnyard epithet]. The actual content of a person's life is nothing more than raw material, generally a waste unless the right gifted writer dips into it now and then for a dramatic turn of phrase (batting of eyelashes).

If I have a vote, here's how I'd cast it. Let's trade Noonan to the Obama camp for a draft choice to be named later. If anybody bothered to read her columns over the last year, they'd learn she has absolutely nothing to say, although she says it at some length, with enough big words left over to start a high school spelling bee. She doesn't know anything about the Republican Party, what ails it, or what might fix it. She has no perceptive insights about the candidates, although she'd probably like to cook a candlelight supper for Barack Obama. I say let her.

We don't need her. Besides, I'm tired of trying to figure out how a Brooklyn girl got that snotty finishing school accent at Rutherford High School and Fairleigh Dickinson College.

But that's just me. If you like her, by all means keep reading her [barnyard epithet].

RNC Convention Notes

THE DAY AFTER. Tonight is John McCain's big night. Tomorrow everyone will be talking about his speech and the convention will be over. So this seems like a good time to make a few stray observations about the proceedings and the media coverage of them.

I understand the political calculus, but how tawdry is it that the Republicans could allot their sitting two-term president only eight minutes for his final convention speech in office? Worse than that, every other speaker seems to be pretending that there is no Republican in the White House. They're running against President Obama and his, so far, miraculously accomplishment-free administration. That this should happen during the week when the hugest presidential gamble in decades finally paid off -- the handover of Anbar Province is being compared in military quarters to the conquest of Berlin -- seems especially classless on the part of the Republican Party.

I know it can't help him politically, but I'm hoping, for honor's sake, that McCain acknowledges the courage, leadership, and significant accomplishments of George W. Bush. At the moment our Commander-in-Chief seems reminiscent of Churchill, unceremoniously dumped out of office within weeks of winning a war that represented a daunting test of national character. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, he's made life easier for those who follow him. The governments in key western democracies are more pro-American in their policies than they were when he took office. Other governments have learned that the threat of American military force is not something they can ignore with impunity. And al qaeda has been very badly damaged by American military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. There. That's more than any Republican has said about George W. Bush at the convention. Hell, the Democrats mentioned his name more times than it's been heard in St. Paul. What an embarrassment.

On to other matters...

The losing presidential candidates proved to be an interesting bunch. Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, and Rudi Giuliani all gave better speeches than I'd seen any of them deliver on the campaign trail. Thompson's account of McCain's Vietnam experiences was riveting and moving without ever being mawkish. Huckabee's shots at Obama and Democrats came from his usual eccentric perspective and worked beautifully for that very reason. I loved his routine on the fallacy that Republicans are all born rich; he told his audience the only soap in his house growing up was Lava -- and explained it wasn't till he got to college that he learned taking a shower wasn't supposed to hurt. Giuliani was way fired up, ad-libbing with unconcealed merriment about such topics as Obama's 130 "Present" votes in the Illinois state legislature. It was as if his speech was the very first time he had really come to grips with the implications of Obama's record and he was genuinely surprised at just how meager and comically indefensible that record was. Watching him, you almost expected Giuliani to guffaw suddenly and shout, "Hey, I just thought of something else! Wait till you hear this one! I'm cracking myself up here!"

The long row of morose media pundits at CNN didn't find Giuliani particularly funny, and they warned the rest of us that we shouldn't, either. They were convinced that a majority of voters would find it mean-spirited to make fun of the job title "community organizer." I think they're wrong about that. Most people in this country actually work for a living.

I left Mitt Romney off my list of losing presidential candidates. I've got two good reasons for that. First, he seemed to be the frontrunner for the VP slot, at least in the minds of the big brains in the Republican Party, which makes him more than just a losing presidential candidate. Second, his speech was so unspeakably, unwatchably terrible that it seemed like vindication for all the conservatives who failed to get behind "the only true conservative who really has a chance of winning this election." He never had a chance of winning the election or even of helping McCain win it as a VP candidate. On the podium he seemed impossibly lightweight, artificial, and jumpy, as if flinging his head around was the only way he could think of to seem dynamic and interesting. I really tried to watch him. But I could only bear one or two sentences at a time before compulsively changing the channel to Fox, where they apparently knew better than to show Romney on stage. Then I'd go back and try again. Same thing. Eventually he finished. Which is also the right word to describe his career in presidential politics.

There's no need to add much to InstaPunk's reaction to the Palin speech, but since he wrote it the media counterpunching has begun in earnest. Boxing does seem to be the right general metaphor. The angry denials by the pundits that Palin's speech actually means anything to the campaign remind me of the way a prizefighter who has just taken a wicked combination to the body defiantly shakes his head at the other fighter to show how little it hurt, even as his knees wobble and he takes a step back.

Combination is also the correct term for the double whack the MSM received last night. The first to connect was the open slamming of media bias by the speakers and the Republican mouthpieces interviewed on the various cable news shows. Then the real cruncher was, obviously, the Palin speech itself. Consider it from their viewpoint. The assembled powers of print, television, and internet "journalists" had spent close to a week bombarding this hick neophyte with the full fury of their disdain, contempt, and embarrassingly below-the-belt speculations. How dare she absorb all that punishment and then sail serenely onto the stage with a wicked twinkle in her eye and a pulverizing offense of her own. It must have been more than they could bear.

It certainly disconnected their mouths from their brains. Tom Brokaw, unapologetic cheerleader for the rank propaganda of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, actually had the dumb-ass temerity to denounce Republican criticisms of the media as "just a tactic." He was hardly the only TV journalist to throw a tantrum or a snit on the issue of Palin and her speech. For example, the eminent Brian Williams managed to see a racist angle in Palin's speech (must be his fancy new 3D glasses). If you're a glutton for punishment, go to and scroll, scroll, scroll for these and similar lunacies.

The print guys are just as chafed. Roger Simon (the socialist asshole one) is mad. He pretends to be offering an apology for media treatment of Palin, but only gets around to really scurvy stuff in his final paragraph or so. I'm sure he sees nothing objectionable when he looks in the mirror. But what's wrong with him won't necessarily show up there. It shows up in his words.

Some other dude named Fred Kaplan, at Slate, is also incredibly ticked off. He wants it on the record that he knows for a fact, and has always known, that Sarah Palin is a horrendously unqualified choice for VP. In particular he wants us to know that a speech is not a substitute for actual credentials. Uh, what happens then if we subtract all the speeches from Obama's record, smart dude? Does what's left of his CV give you any qualms? And he's actually running for President.

Mary Mitchell, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist, is prepared to concede that Sarah Palin has proved to be a gutty streetfighter, but needless to say, Mary doesn't approve of streetfighters (except maybe Joe Biden?).

And so it goes. The miasma is spreading wider across the breadth of the Internet even now. You'll find all of it you can handle, whether you look for it or not. There's a pretty simple principle at work here, well known and religiously practiced by "journalists." If you hit someone with a chair and they don't go down, get a bigger chair. So now they're using the Internet for its purest possible purpose... shopping, shopping, shopping... for a chair that can blindside a mother of five. Noble, noble calling.

I'll close with something you may have missed -- a review by Fergus Shanahan, a correspondent from the U.K's Sun newspaper

A WEEK ago nobody had ever heard of her.

Today she is the most talked-about woman in the world. And with good reason.

Sarah Palin's sensational performance at the Republican Party Convention may turn out to be the tipping point of this rollercoaster American election.

Obama fans hoping she would fluff her big night were in for a nasty shock.

This speech has turned the election upside down. It was simply stunning.

Democrats and their Lefty media backers had been sneering that she was a small town nobody, a hick from the Alaskan sticks put into a job way beyond an inexperienced woman.

Believe me, you will not be hearing that again.

Palin turned out to be an electrifying mix of intelligence, passion, energy, optimism and plain speaking.

Full of self-assurance and aggression, she popped Barack's balloon big-time.

From the moment she walked on stage in this cavernous bear pit, bandbox smart in cream jacket, trim black skirt and black heels, she proved that John McCain knew exactly what he was doing when he picked her as running mate.

There's more and it's all good except for the line, "you will not be hearing that again." Oh yes we will, Fergus, but thanks for the sunny thoughts.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

SHOCK! Palin's a Woman

THE STORM. There's been a lot of criticism of the mainstream media and the lefty blogosphere for their reaction to John McCain's choice of Alaska's Governor Palin as his running mate. I tend to think, however, that they just got caught off guard. Who knew that the Party of Old White Men contained any female members, let alone a successful woman politician? After all, it's pretty generally understood by the media that all women outside the beltway are pro-choice single mothers who depend on government assistance just to get by and are therefore Democrats.

The result is that they were slow to realize what had happened. They were overwhelmed by a series of stunning disclosures which were initially impossible to process in their massively educated brains. The announcement event must have been traumatic in the extreme. First, there was the skirt. Why would an old white man be wearing a skirt? Wait. The Republicans wouldn't be nominating a cross-dresser, would they? No. Of course not, but... is he a transgender then? You can just see the waves of confusion storming through their skulls. Then a reference to a baby, and children, and a husband...?! It just... couldn't... be... the case... that Palin is... a woman. Impossible.

So they freaked. They momentarily forgot everything they had learned so painfully from feminists over the last half century. In a vain attempt to see the choice from that peculiarly perverted perspective called Republicanism, they fell into a black hole of conservative bigotry and hatred their gentle upbringings had left them woefully unprepared to handle. If, as seemed to be true, Palin was a woman approved of by conservatives, then she should obviously be a barefoot, pregnant, dirt-eating brood sow safely penned in a backwoods trailer park. And like all Bible-beating hillbillies, the huge extended family would all be sleeping together, every gap-toothed one of them, indiscriminately dropping infants between rows of the okra patch because there was no one to tell them what caused it and how to safely, uh, terminate it. And the absolute final proof of all this would be the fact that one of the babies wasn't wholly, well, right, if you know what we mean.

This is the point at which they began to get carried away. In their temporary simulated Republicanism, they were outraged by the fact of an unmarried pregnant teenager (more -- a teenager cruelly waterboarded into a decision to carry the baby to term) and horrified that a woman with five children (Is that even physically possible?) would have the gall to flaunt her disgusting fertile self in public and even dare to aspire to public office. She might even be breastfeeding. (Ew. EW. Pass us that bottled water, please, to get that awful taste out of our mouths...) This eventuality has to be prevented at all costs. She must be compelled to quit and go meekly home to the icy frontier wastes that spawned her -- and leave governance to the political class of feminized men and masculinized women who have no breasts (at least not lactating ones) and no desire to produce more than one androgynous, green, and vegan child as late in life as possible, at the end of a long line of precautionary abortions. That's modern womanhood. Isn't it?

Do you see now how it all came to pass? If I'm right, they'll gradually return to their senses and resume, somewhat sheepishly, their usual more politically focused style of campaign character assassination. In a week or two they'll forget they ever hated and despised Sarah Palin just because she has breasts and a uterus, just as they've forgotten they ever hated Michael Steele of Maryland for being black when he ran for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.

The vaunted inconquerable tolerance of the left will return. Count on it. Unless it never existed in the first place.

But that would be your call.

P.S. A palate cleanser for you. Back before Palin was an unspeakable pariah and an insult to the American political process, Craig Ferguson seemed to recognize immediately that she was a woman, and a darned attractive one at that.

Maybe he should give lessons to his many Dem friends.

Who's Afraid Now?...

...And who's more comfortable with powerful women?

LISTEN UP. I want to clear up one possible misconception. My early support for Sarah Palin was never based on the notion that she would appeal principally to women voters. I always thought of her as a choice that would energize men. As funny as LocoPunk's post was as a comment on the recent 'feeding frenzy,' he had one point coldly and brutally right:

She must be compelled to quit and go meekly home to the icy frontier wastes that spawned her -- and leave governance to the political class of feminized men and masculinized women who have no breasts (at least not lactating ones) and no desire to produce more than one androgynous, green, and vegan child as late in life as possible, at the end of a long line of precautionary abortions. That's modern womanhood. Isn't it?

We're being given an opportunity here to see into a great cultural divide that has been mischaracterized for close to half a century. It is left wing feminists who have been given carte blanche to define for the rest of us what a "powerful woman" is. But the definition they have promulgated and embedded into the public consciousness is, in fact, the precise opposite of powerful. It is one that views the entire history of women in terms of oppression. Thus, we are supposed to accept continual resentment, hostility, and the vengeful accumulation of rights that effectively bestow legal superiority on women as evidence of their empowerment, which always somehow requires government intervention, special privileges and dispensations, and in one critical area -- abortion -- an exclusive legal right that cannot be justified in terms of any religion, morality, or legal system based on principles of equality.

We are expected to believe that it is the powerful women who are so ambivalent about their own sexuality that they are offended by the sexual attentions of men, who seek to deprive men of explicitly anonymous sources of sexual stimulation, and who desire to castrate (at least figuratively and sometimes literally) men who dare to notice the natural sexual attractiveness of the female body. We are required to accept that the cultural emancipation of women must also somehow result in the dilution of masculinity, even in young boys and especially in adult men. We are to be docilely obedient in permitting even our own college-age sons to be programmed in seminars and other propaganda instruments to believe they are genetically flawed, actually a species-level mistake, in their normal response to the females of their kind.

These are not the acts of powerful people. These are the acts of frightened inferiors who employ the powers of the state and other cultural institutions to hand them a structural advantage in areas where they know they can't compete on equal terms. Liberal feminists are not strong or independent or powerful. They are simply clever authoritarians who have connived to brainwash a generation or two of gullible dupes into accepting an invented right to the claim of gender superiority.

The shame of men is that so many of them have swallowed all this bilge without fighting back or given it lip service without articulating all the obvious rebuttals.

That's why it is men who are responding most dramatically to Sarah Palin. She is a powerful woman, and the most masculine of men are automatically drawn to genuinely powerful women. Every wolf pack is run by an alpha male and an alpha female. It's hard-wired. If the feminist delusions about female oppression were true, we would never have heard of Cleopatra, who was not so much beautiful as intelligent, ambitious, and passionate enough to earn partnership with both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Does anyone think Napoleon raced home to Josephine because she had mopped the floors and cooked him a nice meatloaf? Did men swear allegiance and give their lives for Elizabeth I of England because she convinced them it was her turn to be a monarch?

Do we imagine that the conspiratorially murderous patriarchy of Islam is really something western men yearn for, that they don't see it as one of the most malignantly evil of the reasons for a thousand years of muslim backwardness and failure? Really?

The minions of the left are reacting with near-psychotic hysteria to the candidacy of Sarah Palin because she is the living refutation of a lie that has spayed their women and neutered their men. They do not dare contemplate the implications of a woman who has come from nowhere, with no special privileges, to outperform men in a land of men while retaining all the most deeply feminine attributes of her sex -- motherhood, marital longevity, beauty, and charm. She has no need to make herself more girly by ostentatiously refusing to learn the rules of football or which end of a rifle the bullet comes out of. She feels no need to be a foul-mouthed insurgent in the continuing war against men. Like all powerful women, she likes men enough to compete with them in their most cherished pursuits -- and feels no need to lose just because letting men win offers that low, sneaky, catty feeling of female superiority.

Has it occurred to any of the superior liberals that the pre-teen boys who participate in "junior bull riding" and the young men who compete in X-Games events involving motorcycles executing 360-degree flips have mothers? Who are those mothers? They love their sons, but they also value the importance of letting them be men, just as soldiers are men and not the infants of impotent female fantasies. Are such mothers a threat to the hypothetical nanny-state matriarchy being plotted by the sexless New Age feminists of our self-indulgent era? Absolutely. They are the worst of all possible threats. Because they can chew through a feminist in four seconds flat.

That's the reason so many women in the early polling say she can't be ready to be president. They'd rather be ruled by another damn dumb male than a woman who makes them feel inadequate. (They find Hillary's pantsuits as funny as the men do, but more significant; they can like her because she could never attract another man....) But Palin is scary. She can compete on equal terms with men in politics and hunting and fishing, and she can still steal your man. Damn. No wonder Sally Quinn and Campbell Brown think she should be exiled to St. Helena, Alaska, and spend the rest of her years looking after her children.

But a lot of the men -- conservative, Republican, Independent, and even Democrat -- know that she's hot in the best possible way. You could talk to her about something other than the kids and dinner. You could admire her. You could even work for her and, if the opportunity arises, follow her. Because she's something most men haven't seen for much of their lifetimes -- the alpha bitch in the pack.

Which means, for the rest of you (i.e., the lefty eunuchs), don't be expecting her to run whimpering into the weeds. Ain't gonna happen. Far more likely that she'll tear your throat out. What Boadicea would do.

But you knew that already, Even if you didn't.

Meanwhile, the powerful women -- dangerously silent in their calculating rage -- are massing in the dark, a Hillary-free pack of their own whose fury could also wreak unimaginable havoc. Especially if any man contemplates throwing Sarah Palin to the wolves. The consequences of that would not be pretty. Think snarling, growling, flashing teeth, biting, and then the yipping of the beaten betas.

You've been warned. All of you.

ADDENDUM. Are the libs playing with fire? Yes. It can and will burn them. Real life isn't what the alienated losers of DailyKos and DemocraticUnderground live. It's what ordinary Americans live. What do Obama and Michelle know about that? Grrrr.

UPDATE. The pack is forming. (Buy your T-shirts here.) Incidentally, Ace [scroll] is, as usual, wrong. Palin doesn't need to give a policy wonk speech, nor should she. She needs to make it clear she is a Republican, a conservative, an executive who has made decisions in real time, a hard worker, a balls-to-the-wall patriot on national security, a never-say-die wingman for John McCain, and, oh yes, a woman with no fear of cosseted DC blowhards. The audience can fill in the rest of it. She doesn't need to pretend she has a masters in Tedious Public Policy Minutiae  from the Kennedy School at Harvard. In fact, that's the worst thing she could do. Although I do think she would score points if she pronounced the word 'nuclear' correctly. But that's just me.

AN OBLIQUITY. Apropos of the "O." You'll get this or you won't. Not my problem. A new computer game called Portal, described here. Our future? That's the implication at least. Here's the theme song. Note the "O" on the title screen. We here at InstaPunk just love the future. Only maybe not other peoples' idea of it so much as our own. (h/t Chain Gang.)

Uh, Obama....?

ZERO It was all very nice and admirable that you said a couple days ago the media should lay off the family of Sarah Palin. But the evisceration of her and her family still continues and intensifies while you remain silent. It's interesting that the embedding code of your disclaimer has been withdrawn from YouTube. I guess you don't want your disincentive to trash this woman repeated endlessly across the Internet. That might discourage your deranged followers from digging through her garbage cans and stealing her social security number, credit report, empty beer bottles, and discarded tampons.

In the meantime, you have ludicrously insisted on referring to her as a mayor rather than a governor, preferring to cite your multimillion dollar campaign budget as an example of your "executive" experience while refusing to acknowledge her gubernatorial responsibility for the $10+ billion budget of the state of Alaska. I'm no longer impressed by the "grace" and "class"  the habitually dumbass Republicans like Noonan, Morrissey, et al ascribe to your vacant gestures. If you were ever serious about not seeking to destroy this woman and her family, which I doubt, it's time to show that you, too are an executive.

Here's what executives do. They lay down the law. They say, "ALL THIS NASTY, DESPICABLE, DISGUSTING, SEXIST BULLSHIT STOPS NOW. OR I WILL HUNT DOWN AND REPUDIATE EVERY SINGLE SOURCE AND PERSON WHO HAS EVER ENGAGED IN IT, EVEN REMOTELY." And then they follow through. They find the malefactors, fire them, and turn them over to the authorities to determine whether they have broken any laws in addition to the crimes they have committed as human beings.
But you're not going to do that. You're a Chicago gangster pol. This is what you do. Pretend to be outraged while you lean back and reap the benefits of slander, libel, and felonious stalking to do your dirty work for you.

So much for the new politics of the post-racial New Age Obamatopia.



(And Giuliani was brilliant, too.)

A STAR IS BORN. Never a wince or even a squeak of pain. She was poised, confident, eloquent, fearless, and funny. All the pundits were quick to point out that she had a speechwriter (gasp), but they all had to concede that she ruled the hall and most likely the TV audience too.

Krauthammer is still grumpy, but he's one of only two beltway insiders (the other being Sowell) who are so smart they deserve to live inside the beltway with no outside input. It's just that the lack of such input sometimes makes them wrong. American politics are not always about the most perfectly reasonable choice. Sometimes they're about the best choice under the circumstances.

That would be Sarah Palin, She's an absolute natural of a politician, endowed with the perfect pitch of Bill Clinton and the authentic populist appeal of, well, herself. She's a true original.

Sarah Palin is not intimidated by the tornado of malice that has been launched against her. Tonight, she was Ali in his prime, impervious to all the body blows levelled against her. She hurled herself joyfully into the fight for the presidency of the United States, firing off jabs and uppercuts and even her own occasional body shots against Obama and her MSM persecutors. Not even the analysts at CNN could offer anything but praise for her performance before the Republican Convention. With something very like astonishment they had to concede that she was in charge of the crowd from first to last, credible about her own accomplishments as governor, tough without ever losing her femininity, sharply critical of the Democrats without ever sounding shrill, and -- all too frequently -- devastatingly effective with her well timed delivery of blasts at the Obama campaign.

I told you the libs were afraid of her. They are. And they have good reason to be. (As I write this, Greta is searching desperately for weak points, what with her being a brilliant lawyer and all; she's resigned to hoping that Bozo Biden can level Palin in a debate. Good luck with that.) If you didn't see it, McCain came out on stage immediately after her speech. He looked exactly like an elderly father who had just been presented with a newborn child he sired unexpectedly. Unmitigated joy.

The game is afoot. The spinners will spin and the pundits will pund, but the people who saw her speak are going to like her in ways the pollsters don't know how to measure. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but there will be a backlash against the attempt to abort her candidacy before it drew first breath. Wait for it.

(Now, Juan Williams is talking... about knife fighting... and just how deadly Palin is at it...)

Enough. You've got the idea. Told you so.

Friday, August 29, 2008


There's hope for the old dog after all...

THE COOLEST BABE EVER. It was back in May that we made this suggestion:

If he weren't a rock-headed, egomaniacal old coot, McCain would know that the best decision he can make in the 2008 campaign is to leave Bobby Jindal right where he is. And if he weren't a pandering tool of the Luddite, mankind-hating environmental lobby, he'd know that the best possible VP candidate he could find isn't a man at all, but the only governor in the country who has the guts to stand up and fight against last week's catastrophically corrupt designation of the polar bear as a threatened species.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Something about Alaska. Maybe something
about women, too. Knowing that humans and animals are in this together,
not pawns to be manipulated
against one another in a lose-lose shell game.

I'm not even going to make the case for why Palin is the best choice. There's no point. It doesn't matter what anyone says this year about integrity and responsibility and principle. Absolutely everybody in the middle of the national political game right now -- including McCain, Obama, Hillary, and all their supporters, staff, and hangers-on -- is really just one laughably transparent character. But don't worry. I'll never tell who it is. [You'll have to visit the original post for the punchline...]

It just keeps getting better. Her Wikipedia bio is so cool that if you pitched her character as the basis of a TV series even the alphabet networks wouldn't buy it because nobody is this cool:

Brought to statewide attention because of her whistleblowing on ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders, she won election in 2006 by first defeating the incumbent governor in the Republican primary, then a former Democratic Alaskan governor in the general election....

Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, the daughter of Charles and Sally (Sheeran) Heath.[3] Her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.[4] Charles Heath was a popular science teacher and coached track.[4] The Heaths were avid outdoors enthusiasts; Sarah and her father would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school, and the family would regularly run 5k and 10k races.[4]

Palin was the point guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors, in Wasilla, Alaska, when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982; she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" because of her intense play. She played the championship game despite a stress fracture in her ankle, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds. Palin, who was also the head of the school Fellowship of Christian Athletes, would lead the team in prayer before games.

In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, winning a scholarship to help pay her way through college. In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality....

Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup'ik Eskimo. Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP at an oil field on the North Slope and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times. The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street. The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.

She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart. One summer when she was working on Todd's fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers.

On September 11, 2007, the Palins' son Track joined the Army. Eighteen years old at the time, he is the eldest of Palin's five children. Track now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome. She returned to the office three days after giving birth. Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"

Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane. Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.

I can't wait for the VP debate. If Biden gets snotty with her, she can either point out that Delaware would fit a thousand times over into one little corner of her state. Or she could just break his arm.

I know which alternative I'm rooting for.

And then she can arm-wrestle the One. Any doubts about who would win?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Preview of Tonight's Speech?

Of course not. It's a JOKE.

O - BAA - MAAA! All right, everybody... One, Two, Three, Laugh!

UPDATE. Maybe we shouldn't be laughing quite so hard. If you've been following the Ayers ad dustup, it's been taking a sinister turn in the past few days (for more, see here, here, and here). It makes it easier to imagine Obama muttering wistfully, "If only the Republican Party had but one neck." (uh, don't watch this if you're squeamish.)

The Clinton Speech

RERUN. The consensus seems to be that Bill Clinton did what he had to do in his speech endorsing Obama last night. I suppose that's so in political terms, but there are some deeper underlying issues he touched on himself, if only to paper them over. It's those things which make me believe he didn't do nearly what he had to do as a former president of the United States.

By now there's a pretty abundant record of Clinton's antipathy to the new Democratic nominee. He has in various interviews and candid outbursts made it clear he doesn't like Obama personally, resents the racial cast of the criticisms levelled against both Clintons in the campaign, and has more than once damned Obama's qualifications for the presidency with (very) faint praise. So when he mounts the convention podium to unite his party by publicly exalting Obama in stronger terms than his wife could bring herself to do, his appearance is already predisposed to be more performance than revealed wisdom.

As a performance it was both thrilling and steeped in nostalgia. "Look at me," he was saying. "I can still do it. I haven't lost my touch. I can say absolutely anything and you will believe it even if you know I can't possibly mean it." He's right. He still can do it. But he nevertheless looked like a thing of the past, dusted off and brought back for one final star turn. In this sense I was reminded of Roy Orbison's 1988 Black and White concert. The voice, the talent, the emotional appeal intact, but the vibrant colors of times past are fading into the shadows.

And all the while he was invoking the authority of his unique presidential perspective to bless Obama with the mantle of readiness the candidate hasn't yet earned for himself, I kept hearing two sides of every point he made. As a former president and commander-in-chief, he must know better than we can imagine how difficult and punishing the job can be. As one of the country's political elders, doesn't he have a responsibility to talk to us about that, regardless of party considerations? This could be the reason for his many unofficial derogations of Obama, a way of letting us glimpse the truth if we want to, but does that really meet the requirement? One fact is clear. He said nothing last night about the overwhelming challenges involved in being President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.

Instead, he made his best Bill Clinton case for why we shouldn't worry about Obama's one-page resume. It's okay because Bill Clinton was also too young and inexperienced to be President of the United States. And look at what a great president he turned out to be. Smile. Preen. Wink.

There's a very serious other side to this argument as well. The truth is, we Americans have been extraordinarily lucky in the last decade and a half. Because of the abrupt end of the Cold War, we embarked in the early 1990s on a brief, much-needed pause in the immediate life-and-death importance of foreign policy matters. That's the only reason Americans could rationalize electing two successive presidents with no foreign policy credentials whatever. Clinton had none in 1992. Bush had none in 2000 (a big reason I didn't vote that year). Now just as he claims without evidence that Obama is ready to lead us at home and abroad, Clinton can claim that he himself was a great president, but particularly with regard to foreign affairs, history will judge that he was not. The Islamic terrorist threat was building unchecked for at least seven years of his glorious administration.

For whatever reason -- his loathing of all things military, his distaste for the CIA, his domestic agenda, preoccupation with his various scandals -- President Clinton chose to ignore the sequence of events that led inexorably to 9/11. Would he have done this if he had come into office with real foreign policy and/or military experience? We'll never know. But it's a legitimate question to ask, and it's one he shouldn't dismiss with an airy sound bite. ("The power of our example is mightier than the example of our power..." Give me a break, Bill.)

Another thing Bill can't mention without indicting himself at least indirectly is that George W. Bush also caught a lucky break. He famously didn't know the names of a long list of world leaders when he was running for the presidency. He got elected anyway, largely because of the Clinton precedent. Fortunately for all of us he had almost a year of on-the-job training as commander-in-chief before 9/11 permanently changed the nature of his presidency and all our lives for the foreseaable future. [Go ahead -- insert your Bush jokes and hateful invective here, but we are still better off than we'd be if the Twin Towers attack had occurred on January 11.] If you look back at Bush's first nine months in office it's amazing how little was going on internationally. Sampling the press from the period just prior to September 11, 2001, is like peering into a musty time capsule -- the biggest controversy was Bush's proposed 30-day vacation in Texas.

Clinton himself stumbled badly out of the gate in his initial encounter with matters military. The first major initiative of his presidency was his attempt to force gays on the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. For an incoming commander-in-chief it was a move so naive, arrogant, and needlessly provocative as to seem almost self-destructive. Whatever chance he had to secure the respect of the nation's armed forces was lost permanently with that one early misstep.

All this is history now. The only part of it that's important to the current poliitical decision America has to make is that Obama will not be as lucky as Clinton and Bush were. He will face major foreign policy crises, both sudden and long-term, from the first day of his presidency. It matters a great deal if he's as unready for that responsibility as his two predecessors were. For example, it's much more serious that Obama in 2008 doesn't know Russia can't be disciplined through the U.N. Security Council than it was that Bush in 2000 didn't know who the president of Pakistan was. Bush had time to learn. Obama doesn't. (Though, yes, it goes without saying that if Bush hadn't wasted nine months ignoring the Islamic world as thoroughly as Bill Clinton did for two terms, the catastrophe might have been avoided. But that only reinforces my main point.)

That's why, as I watched Bill Clinton reprise his old oratorical conjuring tricks last night, I couldn't help thinking, "Same old Bill." He's too smart not to know what he's doing, what an enormous risk he's asking all of us to take, but he's still too political and too self-involved to see where his duty lies.

So bravo for the show, old-timer. And God help us all if Obama's as much a tyro as you were in '92.

Yes, it's all been prophesied...

The One.

THE WORD. It's not so hard to predict that at some point people grow tired of making their own decisions, taking personal moral responsibility for their own lives, and being, well, conscious. It's so much easier to hand over the responsibility to someone else, a messiah, the guy who insists most loudly that he's the smartest person in the room, the One. In many respects, the scripture of Obama has already been written. Here are the first three chapters (1, 2, 3) of one of his gospels, and here are additional indispensable excerpts:

Chapter 4
Harry showed up one day where a bunch of the Great New Generation were sitting around on their commune,
2 Wondering what to do next,
3 Now that the electricity had been cut off and they couldn't listen to John anymore,
4 And Harry drove right into the front yard,
5 In a Silver Cloud,
6 And jumped out, saying, Cheer up, everybody!
7 I am the One you have been waiting for.
8 And then the children surrounded him happily, asking him many questions,
9 Such as, "Do you have any spare change?"
10 And "Do you know anybody at the electric company?"
11 But Harry merely laughed at their questions,
12 And said, I will explain everything,
13 If you will go and seat yourselves,
14 Downwind.

Chapter 5
And then the children seated themselves in the tall grass,
2 And Harry spoke right up, saying, What is it you all think is so blessed about being poor?
3 Truly this is an idea that has only one buttock,
4 And there is much you need to learn,
5 Which is why you are so lucky I am here to teach it to you....

Chapter 6
...Whereupon all the children cried out to Harry, saying,
24 "Wow!
25 "We are ready to listen now."

Chapter 7
As I was saying, said Harry,
2 What is it that you think is so great about being poor?
3 Is this the way you're planning to live forever,
4 With no electricity for your Great Music,
5 And no food for your Great Appetites,
6 And no excrement for your Great Minds?
7 Surely, this is a sorry state of affairs for a Great New Generation like you,
8 Who deserve everything you could possibly want,
9 Just because you were born.

Chapter 8

When Harry had said this, one of the children replied to him, saying,
2 "Yes, we are a Great New Generation,
3 "And, like, we know we deserve more than this,
4 "But we do not buy into the whole capitalist trip,
5 "And the exploitation of the masses,
5 "And so we believe in peace and love instead,
7 "And, like, sharing,
8 "And, you know, sharing,
9 "Which is better than, like, taking the food out of the mouths of the masses,
10 "And other oppressive excrement like that."

Chapter 9
Very well put indeed, returned Harry,
2 And a telling blow to those who say that you are not a Great New Generation,
3 But a spoiled, ignorant, inarticulate pack of unwashed children who mistake platitudes for philosophy,
4 Cant for political science,
5 Slogans for ideas,
6 And self-indulgence for righteousness.
7 Truly I am overwhelmed by your exalted morality...
12 And now, I have nothing left to say to you but farewell,
13 And have a nice life,
14 For as long as it lasts.

Chapter 10
Then Harry turned to reenter his Silver Cloud and depart,
2 But the children stopped him, saying,
3 "Wait!
4 "Hey, don't go!...

Chapter 12
And they surged forward eagerly when, just before closing the door, he poked his head out to say,
10 If you care about having money and things,
11 Do not lie to yourselves about it,
12 And cloud your heads with lots of stupid ideals,
13 Because you are not that smart anyway,
14 And if you want money and things, you had better admit it to yourself,
15 And do whatever is necessary,
16 No matter who gets hurt...
24 If you want to share something, share the wealth,
25 Because the Most Chosen Nation on Earth has plenty of it,
26 So much of it that you can share it without even really working for it,
27 But not if you'd rather share poverty instead,
28 Which is completely free,
29 Because nobody with any sense wants it,
30 At all.
31 And then Harry drove away.

Chapter 13
In this fashion did Harry visit many communes located in the Most Chosen Nation on Earth,
2 And never once did he charge money for the lessons he gave out to the youngsters of the Great New Generation...
6 Proving that he was truly the One who had been prophesied,
7 The One who knew the way to be,
8 As dreamt of by all the VIPs.
9 And wherever he went in the Most Chosen Nation on Earth, Harry left youngsters scratching their heads,
10 Because age-old desires were blooming in their hearts,
11 And a new kind of certainty was incubating in their brains,
12 And a new breed of blame was taking root in their mouths,
13 Which meant that the time indeed had come,
14 For the Way of Harry.

Enjoy Obama's speech tonight. AND his adoring halfwit audience. At last, the One is here in the flesh.

Bill Clinton, Jr.

LIKE FATHER.... A spectacular event, yes. A tour de force, certainly. A well written speech, beautifully delivered, absolutely. I predict a net ten point bounce for Obama. I'm tempted to call it a homerun. If it was a homerun, John McCain is toast and needn't bother with the rest of the campaign.

BUT. Just like Bill's speech, we know this one was a performance. All the way from the masterfully misleading introductory video narrated by a reverential David Strathairn (Jeez, is there no end to disappointingly stupid actors?) to the closing peroration invoking Martin Luther King, it was a fine piece of show business. The Teleprompter King at his best. There's no question that many in the audience had tears in their eyes at the beginning and at the end of the, well, performance.

Call it a hangover from Bill Clinton's address the night before. I kept thinking, the son has learned his lessons well. And afterwards he will boast the same boast, "I made them believe."

He probably did. Most of them. Just not me. Some thoughts:

The litany of programs to save the American Dream was the same old one. But bigger. Much bigger. Obama is promising to fix absolutely everything -- education, the deficit, nuclear proliferation, mortgages, jobs, energy, the military, foreign conflict... (Can he also fix the marriage in which the husband admits that his wife's new slacks make her look fat? Yes!). Does anyone really believe he could do all that in four years or eight? Coming from a guy with practically zero federal legislative experience, this seems a bit too much to promise. He'd have to be a god to accomplish all that. But his confidencee is absolute.

He went out of his way to honor John McCain's military service and to declare that we can disagree on political issues without condemning each other's characters. But why do Democrats find it so impossible to accord this basic courtesy to George W. Bush? I'd have been mightily impressed if Obama had acknoowledged that our current president is also a brave patriot who has continuously done right as he saw it. If you can't do the latter, then the former is only a response to political exigencies.

Like his wife's fraudulent "We are the Huxtables" presentation Monday, Obama's depiction of himself contained no reference to or hint of explanation about why he would ally himself with a rich, racist preacher like Jeremiah Wright -- or a smoldering unrepentant terrorist like Bull Ayers. If he loves America and its opportunities so much, why would he join forces with people who hate not only white people but the entire American political tradition?

Nothing in the introductory video or his speech explained why his wife is so resentful of her country, her student loans, or her lot in life as a well paid health care executive.

Now he loves and reveres the grandmother he has described as a "typical white person." Why?

Don't get me wrong. The speech was far better than most conservative columnists and pundits will ever admit. My contention is only this -- that it was a Clinton speech, a calculated and highly effective attempt to tell multiple untruths for the stark purpose of winning an election.

Net net? There's no way he can deliver on all his promises or even a subset of them. He has no intention of reforming the political system because the current system works so much to his advantage. What he loves is not America but himself and his own sense of destiny -- meaning he has found within himself the ability to deceive vast numbers of people to his own purpose.

If we give him enough rope, which we hopefully won't, he could become an American Castro, Hugo Chavez, or, perish thr thought, an American, uh, I don't even want to say the name. But his need for idolatry and his fixation on oratory as a substitute for accomplishment is surely suggestive. The camera angles tonight were kind. He was inviting us, though, to leave it all up to him. Because he knows the change we need. Which is to put him in charge.

No, I'm not trying to overdraw the analogy. Sorry if you're offended. But a movement -- as opposed to a political perspective -- becomes irrational very quickly. It can easily become a personality cult. Which Obama is on the verge of being. That's how it seems to me. All those adoringly uncriitical faces and tears. All those worshipful (f___ing mindless) celebrities. All the truly excessive emotions from everyone, including the brownshirts of MSNBC.

And wasn't there at least a hint in the final third of his speech of something we might call the "Obama Youth"? You know there was. Serve Him and go to college free. Or something like that.

What does it take to unnerve an American these days? Damned if I know.

I admit it. He scares me. He could win. He could do more than that. The MSM has castrated itslelf on his behalf. They've given away the power to criticize him in any terms at all. With their implicit blessing, he could do anything. He could stack the Supreme Court the way FDR couldn't. He could hunt down "enemies lists" the way Nixon couldn't. He could polish off the the Constitution once and for all and convince us, via MSNBC documentary, it was for our own good. He could utterly silence a press that never showed the least inclination to criticize him in the first place. He could end the American Experiment. In the name of a higher calling known as social justice.

Unless we say no.

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