Hope springs eternal Archives

October 19, 2005

Democrats with machine guns (and knives in their back)

This year, it's all about Marines.

Yep, the Great White Hope for the Democratic party, according to Daily Kos among others, is something called "Fighting Democrats". Meaning former soldiers running for Congress on the Democratic ticket.

The most prominent of these men-on-jeepback is of course Paul Hackett. I don't quite know what to make of Hackett yet. He has gotten closer to advocating a rapid pullout from Iraq than any other aspiring Democratic officeholder, but if he 's serious he needs to be a little less coy about it.

Anyhow, whether he's the real goods or just another flash in the pan, he's getting quite a shafting from his party. After a surprisingly good (though losing) effort in a special Congressional election back in August, Hackett set his sights on the Senate. Seems that he made the rounds of all the usual consiglieri and capi -- in particular, the vile (up)Chuck Schumer, godfather of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) -- pronounced discock, I think. Hackett also sought, and says he received, the blessing of Ohio congressman Sherrod Brown, who seems to have been a good enough soldier -- metaphorically speaking -- that the Ohio party organization considered the Senatorial nomination his if he wanted it. Hackett says Brown told him, go ahead.

That was then, this is now. With the spectacular implosion of the Bush administration, and the Democrats' new-found optimism about 2006, they don't want a sacrificial lamb any more, a la McGovern; they want a real Democrat in there, not some loose cannon. So voila, Brown now wants the nomination after all. And Don Carlo Schumer seems to be telling Hackett to bow out gracefully and let Brown have it.

It's not at all clear to me yet whether this tussle is about anything more than Brown's and Hackett's career plans. I'm skeptical about Hackett, who seems a little too good to be true. But I've been wrong before.

Here's one thing would convince me: Hackett loses the nomination to Brown, who will certainly waffle and temporize on the Iraq issue. So Hackett runs a third-party campaign based on bringing the troops home right away. Now wouldn't that be fun.

December 12, 2005

Dr. Feelgood

Stop the presses. "Our" party -- as the KOSniks and Move-Onskis refer to the Democrats -- has a strategy for '06 and beyond. They're going to be the Heartwarming Party.

Leading contender for the face on the Hallmark card is Doctor John Edwards, who observed, "There is a hunger in America, a hunger for a sense of national community, a hunger for something big and important and inspirational that they all can be involved in." Dr. Edwards didn't say so, but I presume he no longer means a war -- that would be sooo 2004.

January 5, 2006

K street plus fine print = revolution

I almost -- almost -- have to feel sorry for the Democrats. Here's this incredibly juicy Abramoff story unfolding, and they are clearly just not gonna find any way to spin it as a "Republican scandal" -- a phrase which is being mumbled perseveratively by the toothless faithful over on Daily Kos these days in the the machine-gun way old Irish ladies used the repeat the Ave Maria. God has left the building, but the congregation are still robotically, fervently at prayer.

The first line of defense was a positively Scholastic distinction between money given by Saint Jack himself, and money given by the tribes who were Abramoff's hapless clients. The Kosniks loved this one -- it appealed to their wonkish mastery of technical minutiae. Jack himself -- pay no attention to those tribes behind the curtain -- didn't write any checks to Democrats, so hey, "we" are in the clear. (Incidentally, I love the way Kosniks and other fleas on the donkey carcass refer to the party as "we". Yankees fans do the same thing -- Mr. Steinbrenner's team is always "we". There's a lesson in this.)

Unfortunately, and to the surprise of every three-year-old, it soon became clear that the public was not going to be very interested in this convoluted pettifoggery. Yikes! What do "we" have to fall back on?

Well, gotta hand it to Rahm Emanuel -- even when he's holding a really bad hand, he'll bluff like a sonofabitch:

"He's not an aberration," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, head of the House Democratic campaign effort, referring to Mr. Abramoff. "He's a super-sized version of what you get when you put the K Street project on steroids."
You heard it here first, folks. Hot-button issue for '06 will be ... the K street project. Dad has just been downsized, Mom is working 25 hours a week at Wal-Mart, they've got no insurance, and their son Joey is starting his third tour in Iraq. But they'll lie awake nights fuming about the K street project.

January 7, 2006

The ghost of Jimmy Carter walks again

According to a recent AP-Ipsos poll, the country is ready for a change -- and who could blame 'em? Respondents favored, by 49% to 36%, the idea of Democrats taking control of Congress. Talk about a Desperation Index.

Looks like a minor Jimmy Carter moment in the making -- one of those cases where the Democrats, quite undeservedly, get a turn at the trough, thanks to some spectacular series of blunders on the part of the Republicans.

I have argued that this is the rule rather than the exception -- that since the Civil War, the Republican Party has been for all practical purposes the ruling party, and the Democrats only get a turn when the Republicans screw up. On one occasion -- the Roosevelt era -- the interval of Democratic hegemony lasted long enough to look like a change in the pattern; but in retrospect, this was clearly the exception that proves the rule.

The current crop of Democrats don't have anybody in the hopper with FDR's gifts, and the public -- alas -- is still not in quite such an insurrectionary mood as they were in 1932. And if they were, the Democrats -- authors of NAFTA and the current health insurance nightmare, co-authors of the Patriot Act, the Iraq war, and CAFTA -- would quite rightly have as much to fear as the Republicans.

January 31, 2006

The donkey, rampant

This is both a confession and revelation:

I recently discovered something unexpected whilst reloading my data bank for a series of posts I'm preparing on the past peregrinations of our dear little House donkeys. (Part One is already here on the site.)

It just popped up in front of me, thanks to that damn old parlor cat Vann Woodward, and it's been haunting my inner nights ever since, like I'm a murderer in a Poe tale.

Well here I am, unable to take any more, unloading my burden:

In the annals of donkey-controlled Houses, there is one stark, bright counterexample to all our ravings, here at Stop Me, about donkeys having brays but no kick -- eclair-like spinal systems that sway like that mountain in a recent movie, etc. There was, in point of fact, a moment when a donkey-controlled House actually stood up, yes stood up, and against a Republican White House and a Republican Senate -- stood up against 'em and damned if they didn't prevail.

And there's still more pertinence here. These Democrats were opposing an armed occupation by US troops -- and in a real drama, like we can only dream of today, this fearless band of House Democrats refused to pass any legislation to fund the army. None at all, even with strikers rioting in the streets of Pittsburgh -- not a penny would they vote, till that occupation force was removed.

They held their ground for 9 months, steadfastly refusing to budge, even as one Republican president suceeded another. They held their ground till finally the other side caved in and those troops were removed.

So yes, the Daily-kosnik dream of an end to our Iraqupation, just by taking control of the house, has a solid precedent....

If the congressional Democrats of today can take on this outrageous oil-patch Republican reign of darkness in the Middle East with the same gumption that their predecessors, back in 1877, showed against the extremist, bloody-shirt Republicans' armed occupation of -- ahh, you guessed it! -- the defeated Confederacy.

February 4, 2006

The party of... the professional class

How's it go -- "When Birnam wood doth come to ...?" Well, whatever.

A ways back, I said the house donkeys (even if they, as one, transmogrify into army mules) wouldn't retake the House next November -- "till St. Hillary is burnt at the stake."

Well, let me clarify. Okay, I exaggerated, not purely for effect, but what I should have written (and what I still believe) is this:

I'd keep the prophecy line: there will be no Democratic retaking of the House till Hillary's head is in Barbara Lee's basket. But I should have added, by way of concise explanation, not all Democrats are democrats -- in fact, the inner party is quite something else.

Yes, the party per se might fall back into control -- the lesser of two drunks, after all, only has to fall asleep a few minutes later.

To put a label on what types run that party now and will if it wins next fall, it's... neo-liberal elitists. That probably gets it fair enough, if a trifle too abstract-sounding.

Glossing Mr Paine

JSP's last post here was characteristically gnomic, but I've known the guy for a long time and I think I know what he means. Mind if I tag a little Talmud onto your Torah, J.S.? Feel free to tell me if I've got it wrong.

The Democratic Party has had several phases of existence, which you can define with reference to its dominant constitutencies. There was a phase when it was almost exclusively the party of the Bourbon "courthouse gangs" and lynchers down South. That picture got complicated a bit by Northern ethnic urban political machines, and really complicated during what you might call the Bryan years. Technocratic, instrumental-rationalist progressives and liberals later made their mark, and labor unions.

But recently -- with the decline of the unions and the Republican takeover of the white-sheet bloc -- the only really controlling constituency left in the Democratic Party is, well, liberals in the current meaning of that term. That is to say, people with graduate degrees, who work in management or the professions or academia or the media, who make better-than-average salaries and have higher-than-average cultural standards; rational, disciplined people, unmoved by unruly passions; cool-minded trader-offers and honest brokers; people motivated neither by greed nor by a Jacobin or Jacksonian chip on their shoulder. Reasonable, pragmatic, secular, Benthamite -- if you had to carve this class's face on Mount Rushmore, it would be the face of Hillary Clinton.

Now Hillary, in her Triangulationist style, is doing her best to look like anything but a liberal. Nevertheless, that's what she is -- and both her friends and foes know it. Her foes know it and hate her to the point of frothing at the mouth. Her friends know it and stick with her in spite of her support for war, and government snooping, and ethnic cleansing in Israel. The friends may deplore these compromises, but they stick with her because they trust her, and they trust her because they know, at bottom, she's one of them.

The larger public doesn't trust her, though -- and with all their fondness for awful TV shows, and dismal cuisine, and NASCAR races, and downmarket churches -- when it comes to Hillary and her ilk, the public is right.

February 5, 2006

My prediction for 2006...

... low turnout.

February 6, 2006

Go ahead, tap my phone

Bad news, fellow lefties:

The thundering wage-earning multitude that makes up the bulk of white America doesn't fear in the least the "national security" arm of the state. And I say -- why in hell should they?

If our traditions of civil liberty mean anything, this free, white, and twenty-one fearlessness is its daily testament.

Fear the payroll tax arm -- fear the undeclared income arm -- them they fear... maybe. And maybe they fear, or rather resent, the red tape spun around 'em by the pointy-headed tight-assed entitlement bureaucrats if they dare try to get what Uncle owes 'em. But not, definitely not, the national-security arm. Not the guys charged with foreign bomb freak detection detention and extirpation. No indeed. "Hey uncle, if you do anything untie another such arm -- no, make that a dozen -- and let 'em fly everywhere like bats on an August evening." White wagery are not about to tremble and rage over a painless overtap or two.

Law-abidin' patriotic native-born white folks don't figure they got much to fear from Bush and his rampantly lawless security state. So this being a settled fact, obviously the loyal-opposition Demos need to... turn the page here. Right? We may have a unitary presidency headed toward Octavian's villa, but we don't have a unitary state, not by any means. For each of the many mugs of uncle there's a different clutch of popular hate frats and fan clubs.

I expect the lead donkeys have taken trillions of sample polls since that New York Times article came out 14 months too late. I bet they know way better then me the relative sizes of votes on this topic. I think they have put aside the loud cries of the belt way's ingrown hate frats and fan clubs, and polled the vast whiteness of middle America, and that they have digested where stands Mr and Mrs Whitey on this tappy-tap crap, this Aunt Polly issue of warrantless snooping on aliens. The top Demos know damn well that to bleat and bray and snort mist serves no purpose. It's at best just a base warmer where the base is molten already.

Now if this is so then doesn't one obvious question pop out? If its not a majority vote getter why don't they ignore it? Why not face elsewhere for now? Go ahead and let Bush/Cheney put the Bill of Rights under martial restraints. Sure it's illegal. So's smoking pot. At least for now, shut up about it. Put the high treason horse back in the stable. Don't keep pushing it. And even worse, don't split your pants over it. Don't waffle it around like Kerry has. Keep your traps shut, at least till you've regained control of the House. Then, well, then -- you'll try impeaching the bastards anyway, right? So why, instead of coming off like a bunch of wet hens here -- why don't you fire off your best shots?

"Out of Iraq now!" first, of course. Even if Mr and Mrs W don't agree, they will respect clarity and a show of absolute values.

But then go on and hit 'em with the bread-basket issues -- "Elect us and we'll raise minimum wage rates. We'll increase overtime pay We'll protect the industrial base by kiboshing the foreign-exchange fiddling that keeps foreign wage rates underselling yours. We'll make uncle take over your health insurance completely. We'll cut payroll taxes from the bottom up...." And so on.

Why is none of this high up on, say, Rahm Emanuel's or senator Bidenbone's or St Hillary's must-do list? Well, you know why, of course: because it ain't on their donors' can-do list. Hence the pragmatics of symbolism -- futile posturing, beautiful losing, and praying for such a huge pile of elephant plops by November, that the electorate has no choice but to broom all that shit -- and its makers -- right off Capitol Hill.

Savaged by a dead sheep

These Dem senators going after AG Gonzales -- can anyone call this righteous fury?

It's pure gummery practice. They're like a bunch of toothless old hounds, falling all over themselves trying to worry a cheap boot.

February 20, 2006

Pick the low hanging fruit

One guy's view:

Runs against the likes of St Hill and Feinstein are the bunk. We need to avoid token runs -- symbolic quests -- gestures of goodness and light.

I say pick 15 toss-up House races -- races with a chance to be tipped to the elephants by a good third candidate run from the left, in the general election next November.

My belief -- '06 is a warning shot election. We need to make our points:

  1. We can beat you Orthrians;
  2. The donkeys retaking control of the House don't mean doodle to us.
Anybody agree?

February 28, 2006

Labor embraces its betrayers (again)

The AFL-CIO is set to spend $40 million of its members' money -- a record for an offyear election -- on putting Democrats into Congress this year, according to the New York Times.

"Union leaders said they would concentrate their efforts on 15 Senate races, 40 House races and governors races in California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania," says the Times. I'd sure like to know which House and Senate races those are.

March 6, 2006

The next not-so-big thing

I wrote a few days ago that the DLC Democrats are no longer fit even to be the alternative head of Orthrus. Was this too gnomic, as MJS would probably say? I'll elaborate.

As a political movement, New Democrats with their neo-liberalism are yesterday's cop-out -- today they don't sell well. They're dead on their feet. Locus classicus: the Kerry petrified-forest '04 limbo act.

It's pretty bizarre, really. How come these bumbling, self-important showboats are in the funny papers, instead of mounting some kind of real challenge to Bush/Cheney and their wall-to-wall spying torturing pillaging and bloodletting? You'd think cutting a bunch of ghouls like that down to size would be child's play -- what with caudillo Bush and company acting like a bum-of-the-month Argentine junta.

But they haven't. A dog that doesn't bite isn't news, I suppose, but that's the real story: why haven't they been able to take any real advantage of a made-in-Heaven opportunity?

Long story, much discussed here. It leads to a further question: given their abject failures, why isn't this band of patchers and fillers, this bunch of missionless chorus boys and opportunists, already in the trash can?

My answer: it's just too soon.

The evidence is vague as to what will be the next incarnation of Orthrus' second head, when he decides he needs one again. At best the replacement mind set is today no more than a nagging nightmare rattling around the donk brain's left hemisphere. But just for kicks I'll make a crime scene sketch:

Let's call 'em the Neoprog movement -- a working title only, of course; believe me the final, for-publication label will be more... innovative. It damn well has to be, since the product is a shabby recycle.

As a quick take here's a few contrasting characteristics of the two -- Neolibs vs. Neoprogs:

Neolib Neoprog
Markets deregulation Markets re-regulation
Globalization full tiltGlobalization slow-mo
Open union pandering and minority pandering are both verboten Guardians of America's vast lump of jobsters
Business/government "partnership" Redistribution!

For now, obviously, all is nebulosity. Beyond the obvious DLC eye-rollings -- evidence of massive disturbances in "the force" -- for the moment the party pros are hoping to hang on without a new credo, since they figure, or at least pray, that by doing absolutely nothing substantial between now and November, they may simply fall into power again.

so with all these deeper running morphs still un-emerged and unfledged, let's wait and see. My guess: regardless of all else that may seem bold and change-for-the-betterish in the next vision, we'll still need only a small skeleton key to unlock the door to its essential fraudulence. Like all prior donk mindsets, the next one will obey one rule: no matter what's talked up and rattled overhead no action will ever be taken to impede corporate "wealth accumulation."

PS: Soon I may be bold enough to try a historical parallel: a new Bryanism may be what's on tap -- how many cycles away? Three, maybe four?

March 8, 2006

Rahm's Rangers in Texas

( A bulletin from Alan Smithee)

As you're no doubt already aware, the first of the bi-annual ballot box stuffings we call 'primaries' has concluded in Texas. Since The Yee-Haw State is also the state with the most candidates from Rahm Emanuel's Sockpuppet Army, (nine out of 66) it's been of particular interest to me. The results:

  • Duane Shaw (TX-01) - LOST PRIMARY
  • Dan Dodd (TX-03) - NO CHALLANGER
  • Charlie Thompson (TX-05) - NO CHALLANGER
  • David Harris (TX-06) - NO CHALLANGER
  • David Murff (TX-07) - LOST PRIMARY
  • Ted Ankrum (TX-10) - PRIMARY RUNOFF
  • Roger Wuan (TX-13) - NO CHALLANGER
  • John Courage (TX-21) - NO CHALLANGER
  • Rick Bola??os (TX-23) - NO CHALLANGER
Of the nine Rahmpuppets, as you can see above, only three had challangers. And of those three, two Rahmpuppets lost outright to the homegrown candidate and a third was so close (Ted Ankrum 36.75% / Paul Foreman - 35.83%) that a costly runoff will have to take place next month.

One might be tempted to think that the local populace's rejection of Rahm's Sockpuppets, like a body rejecting an incompatable kidney, is bad news for Dr. Rahm. Au Contraire!

Near as I can tell, the TX "fighting dem" contingent are mere second stringers, johnny-come-latelies to the Sockpuppet Army, with little real DCCC support. The real primary test is coming up in a couple of weeks, when two of Rahm's Prowar Pets, Tammy "Lots of Local Support!" Duckworth (IL-06) and John "War Salesman" Laesch (IL-14) will be up against homegrown antiwar primary challangers. (A third, Dick Auman (IL-16), has no challanger.)

What does the future hold for Rahm's Rangers? Who will survive? Who will bite the dust? Stay Tuned!

Bring me the head of Tom Lantos

Turning on a dime here --

I now want the donks to take the House back this fall. Go ahead gang, go ahead. I know the razz-berry is in order. Feel free. But right this minute if druthers were horses... I'm praying for the very same two-year theatre of cruelty I scorned right here on this site only months ago.


It's personal -- like all my generation's politics. I'm bored, bored to death, with both sides of the present gig. Bored with the press peek-a-boo, I see you. Bored with the pampas macho, the clownish White House menace. Sure its a vicious stand off that's left us all wondering what will Bush and Co. do to try to pull out of this preposterous nose dive? What's next -- "Bush drops further in polls -- approval rating in single digits outside of the Jim Crow south"?

It's the wrong kind of suspense. That's why I say give me two years of George and Dick teetering about on an impeachment tightrope.

Come on, tell me -- operators are standing by -- am I just being irresponsible here?

I say no, 'cause there'd be a whale-size side effect to all this theatre: once those two gunks out of Grimms' tales are up there on the high wire, what else can they do but try like hell not to fall off?

Exhibit A: the pending hot war with Iran becomes impossible -- right? -- ...after impeachery begins in the House.

That being said, how can i still continue my five year mission to destroy all donkey monsters?

Simple: zero in on a single paradigmatic big-enchilada wacko. Switch from my lovely dirty dozen gimmick -- the grand "not this time, fellahs" majority squelcheroo, to a tightly focused Judas goat trip.

And my guy -- the Orthrian kingpin bum to be fitted for a trip to the sacrificial mountaintop? Who else -- Tom Lantos.

That's right. I'll sell my soul just to see the last of this slimy cryptmaster. I'll pledge to use none of my exotic powers to stop the donk charge next November, at least House-wise. Oh hell, I'll even lay off the Senate races too. Nope, citizen Paine won't touch even a single hair on a single blue dog's back side. That's it straight up -- my arms go to the folded position till January '07 -- if if if you give me Lantos' cottony scalp to toss into my three ill-mannered dachshunds' portable kennel. That'll satisfy my bloodlust. The house can be yours to do with as you will for at least two years -- all yours, honorable ladies and gentlemen of the jackassery.

March 10, 2006

Q: How do you make a Republican look intelligent?

A: Act like a Democrat.

AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the Republican Party, launching a broad indictment of the Democratic Party six months before midterm elections, is expected to charge Friday that the opposition can't find an election-year slogan, let alone agree on a broad agenda.

In an address to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Tennessee scheduled for Friday afternoon, Ken Mehlman will single out party leaders and two potential 2008 presidential candidates - Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Kerry - for criticism on a range of issues, from national security to the economy to judicial nominees.

And of course he's absolutely right. Wanna know why the Republicans have had it all pretty much their own way since 1968 (at least)? One word: Democrats. They're not just part of the problem, they are the problem.

Run silent, run deep: The Hank Cuellar story

My guess is, this Hank the Crank  Cuellar guy is a deep plant job, set to emerge at a key moment as turncoat of the decade -- the Chicano Strom Thurmond.

He's whipped the more "mainstream" Democrat Ciro Rodriguez twice now in close calls, which only shows that our screw-the-primaries strategy probably works better.

Though the Cuellar story has some interesting wrinkles. Rodriguez used to be the rep in the 28th CD, but Tom  Delay actually worked with this Bush-lovin' Hank in the '04 primary, which Cuellar won by 58 votes -- no, that is not a typo, 58.

In this year's rematch, at nearly the last minute, finally moved -- they came crashing  after Hank, a gesture that was either too belated or downright fatal.

Bright light : the district gave almost 40% in the general last time to Hank's  Republican opponent, but strangely, this year there seems to be no Republican running.

CQ Politics analyzes Cuellar's victory this way:

Cuellar comes from Laredo in Webb County at the southern end of the elongated Hispanic-majority district, while Rodriguez comes from San Antonio in Bexar County near the northern end, and both ran up huge percentage-point victories on their home turf. But turnout was much higher in Cuellar's home base, giving him the raw vote numbers he needed to clinch victory.
Sounds like Rodriguez couldn't get anybody very... enthusiastic.

Except the Kosniks, of course, who were all atwitter over this one -- you'da thought they were Leonidas and the Spartans at Thermopylae. Now that the Persians have gotten round them and burned Athens -- or at least San Antonio -- the former Spartans are busy constructing self-consolations -- walls against reality rather than against the enemy. Here's the Uber-Kos himself:

The bottom line: we helped a campaign that was the walking dead and gave it new life, pumped in resources, and made it competitive. We did much to even the playing field even if ultimately we came up tantalizingly short.

And yeah, I know "tantalizingly short", alongside "moral victories", is about as desirable as the Bubonic Plague. We want more. But this is a long-term movement, building from nothing. And we are sending notice to Democrats that they can't be Bush's bitch and expect a pass.

So we didn't kill off Cuellar, but we gave him an ass whooping where none was expected and made him sweat. That's the reason why Lieberman is sweating in Connecticut and lining up his dog and pony endorsement shows to flex his muscle. He can't take for granted that a no-name businessman with no political experience and zero connections in his state's political establishment will be a non-factor, not with what we've done for people like Dean and now Ciro.

"What we've done for Dean and Ciro?" With friends like these....

Kos concludes his ruminations with this observation:

...If Cuellar had a Republican opponent in November, I would support Cuellar for the general. The time to fight for the soul of the party is in the primaries. Once the primaries are over, I'm happy to get behind whoever wins.
Which just about says it all.

March 11, 2006

First time as tragedy, second as Kos

Recall the recently posted quote from Don Kos-o  hizzseff:
...If Cuellar had a Republican opponent in November, I would support Cuellar for the general ....

The time to fight for the soul of the party is in the primaries. Once the primaries are over, I'm happy to get behind whoever wins.

Isn't this the very hub of the whole rumpus? Party loyalty, party solidarity. Please. Loyalty to what? After the temple has turned whorehouse, it's time to cut out the genuflections.

I can guess  the raison d'Kos -- he doesn't plan to be the impossible  losing end of a possible winner party for ever. No indeed. Some  dreamy  day, fortunes will be reversed and we progs will dominate, and the trogs will cravenly crouch at our feet. We'll be the ones grabbin' the high handle bars of the chopper, and Hillary and the Joes will be stuffed into the sidecar.

You might think Kos has got good company with this loyal trudge-on shtick -- after all, didn't the great Byran prove to be  a party man? Look at that Wall Street flat-rail Alton Parker he supported for Prez in the '04 election.

This isn't Bryan's America anymore. In fact, it wasn't anything like Bryan's America even when it was Bryan's America.

Now i can entertain myself trying to see the value of loyalty to the party of Jackson (if the Mexican war hadn't happened yet) and the party of FDR (if Harry hadn't kissed Churchill's iron-curtain ass yet) -- but today's Democracy? It's an in-name-only replica. The resemblance to anything remotely like a party worth supporting vanished while Stalin was still emptying his pipe on Malenkov's head.

The only way to restore the donkey is to destroy it -- or at the very least thrash its entrenched Trog-ery, in election after election, like a string of carnival ponies during the 'tween-show break.

March 12, 2006

The point, however...

So what's our strategy here? I suggest:

Step one: call a few shots. Get their attention by calling, publically -- a few kills target a small select group of horrendous house donkey incumbent trogs, from districts that can actually tip against 'em unless all the progs that turn out to vote, vote for 'em.

This is about kill ratio, not body count -- showing, under certain clear conditions, we can wreck a scamster's gig.

To me, those flying cross primary runs against senators are pure agitprop, and not very successful agitprop at that. No, the key is actually to beat some donk black hat.

Now I haven't seen any real challenge out there with that specific mission. The Ciro gig in Texas CD-28 was a perfect example of how to totally not do this thing. From what I can see, if Rodriguez, instead of loyally getting shot down in the party primary, had run as an independent, not only might he have won himself, or at least denied Cuellar the seat by electing a Republican, he would have scared the balls off the blue dogs. But by playing by party rules, he fucked not only himself but everything the donks claim on their label to stand for.

Here at the blog, can play paper hat general -- but if we want our activity here to be more then a recreational memory hole, we need to find a way to help a few folks draw some real dishonest blood.

This site is not intended to be just a sounding board, but a node in a network -- an angry snarling network for sure, but no matter how many thousands we slay virtually, we need to actually help cut a few real trogs' legs off, too.

November fast approaches, but surely we can connect with a few real left side challengers -- get our eyes focused into a few actual districts -- join the bucket brigade behind some plausible knockoff outfits.

That's our goal -- right mates?

March 15, 2006

Warner, as in Brothers

It's a very good thing I didn't see the cover of the Sunday Times magazine until mid-afternoon:

This thumbnail doesn't do it justice -- the image, at full scale and lovingly calibrated color, was disturbing in the extreme. I originally thought it was some kind of Animatronic or computer-generated image of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Kept the mag away from the kids, of course -- don't want to give 'em nightmares.

The cover was (as usual) a lot more interesting than the interminable, tedious, inside-baseball story (by Matt Bai) inside the legendarily vapid advertising supplement. Indeed, it was such a grisly visual hatchet-job that the Times took the unusual step of printing a photo retraction:

The cover photograph in The Times Magazine on Sunday rendered colors incorrectly for the jacket, shirt and tie worn by Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor who is a possible candidate for the presidency. The jacket was charcoal, not maroon; the shirt was light blue, not pink; the tie was dark blue with stripes, not maroon.
But the man's teeth really are that ogreish? Surely not.

I guess the Bai article was really just a pretext for the photo, given the low literacy level of the Magazine's readership. It was pretty hard to tell what Matt's point was. But after reading through it a couple of times -- the sacrifices I make for this blog, let me tell you -- and reducing it at a slow simmer like veal stock, two points come into focus.

  1. Warner is the only alternative to Hillary
  2. Warner is even worse
So what we seem to have here is a political version of one of those Ukrainian matrioshka dolls: A Lesser Evil within the Lesser Evil, and like the nice lady said to Sir Arthur Eddington, it's Hillary all the way down.

March 16, 2006

The light dawns...

... thanks to the New York Times, of all the unlikely sources:
Republicans, worried that their conservative base lacks motivation to turn out for the fall elections, have found a new rallying cry in the dreams of liberals about censuring or impeaching President Bush.

The proposal this week by Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, to censure Mr. Bush over his domestic eavesdropping program cheered the left. But it also dovetailed with conservatives' plans to harness such attacks to their own ends.

With the Republican base demoralized by continued growth in government spending, undiminished violence in Iraq and intramural disputes over immigration, some conservative leaders had already begun rallying their supporters with speculation about a Democratic rebuke to the president even before Mr. Feingold made his proposal.

In other words: what the Democrats are scared of is that impeachment (or even censure) will increase turnout. Life's little ironies, eh? Used to be, turnout was thought to be good for the Democrats. Now, however, the party of the common man is reduced to hoping most of 'em stay home.

March 22, 2006

A real hot button

JSP's last post sent me running off to look at Louise Slaughter's report. It really deserves a thorough exegesis, but staying awake might be difficult. My favorite item -- much dicussed of late in our comments here:
Americans have no confidence that their government will be able to adequately respond if a disaster (natural or man-made) strikes their community, because its agencies are staffed not by professionals, but by political cronies and lobbyists....
I got a fine, salutary, cardiovascular laugh out of this. The public will turn out in droves to vote for -- "professionals"? I think the public might be happier to hang 'em from the nearest lamppost.

But it's really pretty telling, isn't it, that this endearing, earnest folly is right up there in the bullet points of the press release. It says a lot about what the party of Jefferson and Jackson has become -- namely, the party of the diploma rentiers.

March 25, 2006

Rahm's Angels

This New York Times item got my gizzard burbling some. Here's the lead:
If the Democrats have their way, the 2006 Congressional elections will be the revenge of the mommy party.

Democratic women are running major campaigns in nearly half of the two dozen most competitive House races where their party hopes to pick up enough Republican seats to regain control of the House. Democratic strategists are betting that the voters' unrest and hunger for change - reflected consistently in public opinion polls - create the perfect conditions for their party's female candidates this year.

Seems Rahm not only has a team of army mules, but a hareem of CARE commandos too. (There are overlaps -- Duckworth in Illionois for example.) No doubt Rahm has reasons  for all of 'em, like any ruthless casting director, but the Times, as usual, relegates the most important piece of solid information to literally the last graf:
Emily's List, which essentially recommends female candidates who support abortion rights to its 100,000 members, reports a much heavier roster of House races than it carried two years ago. Getting recommended by Emily's List, whose members were responsible for $10 million in donations in 2004, is a major help to a campaign, candidates say.
And what Is the Rahm's Moms platform about? Iraq -- out now? Save our jobs?

Nope: it's "ethics reform, fiscal responsibility, affordable health care, more sensitivity to the environment." But hey, it's "connecting with moderates in both political parties."

Rahm himself, who is really a surprisingly candid guy, makes the calculation pretty clear:

"In an environment where people are disgusted with politics in general, who represents clean and change?" asks Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Women."
The chorus faithfully sings the refrain, in perfect tune and tempo:
[Rahm-Mom Lois Murphy, a 48-year old lawyer, says] she senses an electorate that is "really, really" ready for change, tired of the ethics scandals, and convinced "that their government has been letting them down...."

"It's about change on so many levels," said Ms. Duckworth of her campaign, which she said would focus heavily on the need to improve and expand health care. "If being a woman underscores that, makes it clear that I'm going to be an effective agent of change, that's great."

Translated from spinspeak into English, this means that having more female faces in the party lineup is a way of suggesting change without having to change anything.

March 26, 2006

Send in the clowns

Throw in the terrible towel, progs -- 2006 is already over. Rahm and company have swatted down the beautiful souls' primary challenges, and they may very well fulfill their dream of recovering the House -- after all, they're running against the gang that literally can't shoot straight. Once more the prog left has taken the gaspipe, caved in, shut up, made the florid but futile primary run, and with a bittersweet smile, packed the hard bloody truths away till -- the next time; and the next slapdown.

And the necessary left spoiler move in enough "right " CD's this November is not gonna happen either .... not this time. Nope, for what, the twelfth electoral cycle in a row, the Democrats have once more rope-a-doped their all-too-loyal internal opposition.

Won't it be something if the Rahm strategy actually works -- hold still, do nothing, don't even breathe, and wait for the other side to screw up so bad that the prize falls in your lap. That'll be the major political backflip of the generation -- bring America back to where it left off being donk-tranced, back to a world that can pretend it's still after 1989 and before 1994 -- just the pet fantasy DLC/ humanist empire donks conjure every night at bedtime -- a chance to replay the post-cold war front 9: the Clinton years.

Sippose they do succeed -- what then? Matter for another post.

March 28, 2006

Progs: ready for their closeup?

Since there's obviously not going to be any fun in November -- since the blue dogs and stooges of empire cannot be chased out of office, let alone the Democratic party -- then the seatholding donk progs must threaten a bolt, and no time better to get the word out than right now, as we all start contemplating the donk majority next congress. If that happens, then the progs will actually have some leverage.

So you 50 or so real long-eared progs need to start rehearsing among yourselves the "either this this and this, or else" gambits.

March 29, 2006

Secure security and the securing securers who secure it

Here's a garbled leak of the donks' security counter-plan, both in national and homeland flavors:

The gist ?

We -- the donks, that is -- will run the empire better in five ways:

  1. Our Rome will honor its legions with parades and treasure -- in fact our Rome will build more legions, and better breastplates and longer spears and sharper swords and ...
  2. Our Rome will keep us secure by (among much else) checking every incoming galley for incendiary contraband.
  3. Our Rome will stop relying on levantine wheat and oils by growing more homey cereals and fibers.
  4. Our Rome will clean up the Mesopotamian mess ASAP, if not even sooner. Check with us in 12 months... You'll see. By then our legions will be on their way home... as opportunity allows... unless something happens....
Summing up: our Rome will root out the root problems by diligent real root removal, right at the roots themselves over there where the roots of the roots are.

Postscript: This half-risible, half-sinister document was of course greeted like the Second Coming on Daily Kos

April 8, 2006

Romantic comedy

Seems I can't get out of my own head the image of Orthrus' two heads kissing each other -- the party totems, kiss kiss kiss. Ohh those donkey lips -- ahh the elephant's trunk.

It's the real gimmick -- the ever-postponed Hollywood ending, consummated love between the leads at long long last....

But we all know this remains a never-to-be seen final shot, in a scene never to take place. We'll never see the two get it on inside a closing red-white-and-blue backgrounded heart. This obscene apache dance will forever stay at least two scenes from consummation. Thank God for conflict and complication, eh?

* *

The latest donk bray has been in the making since last fall, and now the hills are alive with it: "Come November, Congress is ours ..." or at least so sayeth the polls. And boy will we see a cleaning -- of both houses. Now it's to be mop the elephant plop. Dum Daddy Dum do-ed it.... so Dee Nanny Dee scoops it, enough to carry thru to the White House in '08.

But that's a few episodes away, not written yet, obviously. For now, it's just how do we define mommy-dearest style rectification -- put the coat hangers to the elephant's backside. "All this doodoo at home and abroad .... naughty, naughty!"

April 24, 2006

Next comes viola solo(*)

JSP beat me to it -- I was pondering a post on the strange ominous silence in the political world just now.

My diagnosis, and I expect JSP would agree: the Democrats' idea is to inherit some congressional seats, without doing anything to earn them, solely because the Republicans have fucked up so badly. Anything the Democrats could possibly say or do would work against this faute-de-mieux strategy, so they're maintaining a tomblike silence that would make the Sphinx look like a chatterbox. No doubt the Republicans, for their part, have an October Surprise up their sleeve, as usual.

But to my vast delight, it appears -- if the New York Times is to be believed -- that there is one issue the Democrats are willing to let peek out: stem cell research. Thus the Times:

Democrats are pressing their support for embryonic stem cell research in Congressional races around the country, seeking ... to exploit a division between conservatives who oppose the science and other Republicans more open to it.

The question of whether the government should support or limit stem cell research has cropped up... especially in suburban swing districts.

"What Democrats want to do is gin up their turnout in the suburbs and divide Republicans, and right now they may do that," said Jennifer E. Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "This is the first real wedge issue Democrats have had with Republicans."

The topic may not have the power of those frequently used by Republicans to rally their... base, like same-sex marriage and abortion....

On Tuesday, [Democratic Senate candidate Claire] McCaskill appeared in the central Missouri town of Fayette, population 2,793, for a wine-and-cheese reception at an antiques shop....

What a delightful grace note: wine and cheese in the antique shop. This is a pretty good story by Times standards; somebody has almost a novelist's touch here. The wine and cheese among the bibelots says the same thing, a lot more compactly and vividly, that the stem-cell strategy tells us: this is a party that has absolutely given up on any kind of appeal to the mass of Americans -- a party which has consciously decided that its core constituency is the well-educated, the white-collar, and (of course) the suburban.

In fact I wonder whether we haven't seen an epochal flip-flop here. Maybe the Democrats' goal is to reduce turnout -- they've learned the lesson of '04, with its high turnout and very disappointing implications for the donks. Maybe the idea is that a race run on stem cells will be so soporific that only the brainiacs will show up to vote -- and of course, brainy souls that they are, they will pull the donkey lever, as always, just like the merest fool.

(*) In case you're wondering about the viola solo reference:
A man (call him Horace) went on a safari in darkest Africa with some native guides. They traveled on foot, going deep into the jungle where they could hear the screeching of birds and howling of wild cats and other fierce wild animals.

After a few days, Horace noticed that there was a constant drumming noise in the background. He asked the leader of the guides what the drumming was. He got no answer, just a stony silence. As they traveled deeper into the jungle the drumming got even louder. Horace tried again to find out what the drumming meant by asking the other native guides, but he still got no answer.

Finally one morning, after days of marching to this drumming (which by now was sounding quite ominous), the drums suddenly stopped. The native guides screamed and ran into the jungle to hide in the undergrowth. The leader remained, but he was trembling with fear. Horace asked "What is wrong? Why have the drums stopped?"

The native guide replied "Very bad."

"What?" asked Horace, who was expecting the worst.

The guide answered "When drum stops -- next comes viola solo!"

April 25, 2006

Surprise me

ddjango writes, a little cryptically:
Methinks the October surprise will be surprising, but will not be in October.
Maybe we should start a pool. What will the Administration do between now and November to take what little wind there is out of the Democrats' shabby, patched, frayed and mildew-stained sails? And when will they do it?

Let's see, what are the options --

  1. Produce the head of Osama bin Laden (without the rest of him, I mean)
  2. Nuke Iran
  3. Nuke Manhattan and blame Osama
  4. Subsidize gasoline
  5. Indict Hillary Clinton -- for something -- anything! (Please let it be this one!)
C'mon gang, let's have some more suggestions here.

April 26, 2006

Those fabulous Fabians

There's a nice label for the donk master strategy between here and November -- "cunctation," as in the wise feats of Fabius Maximus "Cunctator" against the original elephant man:

Hannibal and friends crossing the Rhone, en route to the Alps

That's what friends and supporters of Neville Chamberlain called what history calls appeasement.

Though maybe I'm a few years behind the curve here. Maybe by now we're really into that second great act of pusillanimity, the Sitzkrieg, better known as the phoney war -- the period from Danzig to the Ardennes, when the Franco-Brit juggernaut faced down the Fuehrer mostly with loud farts.

May 2, 2006

The meek, mild-mannered Democrat is really...

According to my personal idol of the moment, Amy Sullivan, the conventional wisdom on the donkery-do is all wrong.

Amy's clips a few fourth-estate samples:

"For Democrats, Many Verses, but No Chorus"

"Democratic candidates for Congress are reading from a stack of different scripts these days"

"Scattershot messages reflect splits within the party"

"Democrats Struggle to Seize Opportunity"

Not so, says Amy. Far from being led by Jacob Weisberg's "Three Stooges" (Dean, Pelosi, and Reid ) -- far from being "lame, feckless, timid, and hopelessly divided, with no ideas, no vision, no message, and no future" -- far from being Jon Stewart's party of "Ewoks" -- the congressional donk cadre are actually buff, cut, and ready for a midnight rut. Finally, they've got the hang of being an opposition party. Instead of playing Charlie Brown to the Repubs' Lucy, they've mastered the art of cunctation and rope-a-dope, plus the odd bit of sabotage.

Why after 72 years of big-horned statesmanship have the Dems gone so back-door-to-history? Amy says, "Perhaps ... they have little left to lose." She works up quite a dossier -- if you read the article, I promise you'll be amazed to find just what masked marvels, what these caped and cowled crusaders the congressional Democrats really are.

Amy seems to think the Democrats have prove wrong the old maxim that you can't beat something with nothing; to hear her tell it, the donks are poised to re-take Congress in November. Of course she culminates with the inevitable -- "Leading this charge" to power is the Redeemer Maximus, who else, pitchfork Rahm Emanuel himself. As Amy adds breathlessly, he is after all "the man they call Rahmbo."

Cactus Jack walks the corridors

There's a spectre haunting Rahm and Nan -- it's Cactus Jack Garner.

In 1930 the Depression broke the elephantarians of the day for a generation -- no, two generations. The fall election produced a donk house, if by a razorish margin. The House top jackass was John Nance Garner of Texas.

Cactus Jack still faced a Hoover White House, so instead of aiding "efforts by the administration to bring relief to the people," Jack led a very clever obstructionist donk flank fire -- two more years of "let the elephants boil in their own mud bath." A kind of domestic "let it get even worse," a "cunctation" with bite-your-ass partisan spite.

Is this the Rahm and Nan plan?

The story has two stages: stage one -- donks gain the white house two years later. Enter the New Deal era, as Hoover flees the stage of history festering from scalp to groin with stink worms. Cactus Jack got maneuvered into what he famously called a "bucket of warm piss" -- i.e. the Vice Presidency, for a two-term hitch.

Second stage: this clever feller from the land of sage and sidewinders becomes, in FDR's second term, a leader in the resurrection of old-style white-sheet dixie donkery -- a new confederacy of reaction, anti-worker, anti-civil rights, anti-FDR -- ultimately anti everything without a white pecker and a plug of chaw in its cheek. In short, a full-bore cotton-country counterpart to New York's Al Smith.

So let us absorb this clever gent's legacy, and beware his avatars.

May 8, 2006

Washpost: Dream on, donks

The Wash Post reports more horse race analysis on this year's biennial Fall classic.

The popular sea change may still not be enough for a House change, given the Repub lock system. According to one academic study, the Repubs are way better distributed CD-wise. A majority of CDs are Repub-friendly -- while Dems are lumped on top of each other in a minority of CDs. Kind of a minority-majority, majority-minority gig

And oh, this just in too...

The old Dixie split ticket voting (CD donk / Repub prez) is down from a high in the 60-70's of 40% to a mere 13% today -- practically random error range. Is that a gerrymander effect too -- and if so, how?

May 9, 2006

Is there justice after all?

Our friends at Angus Reid report a new poll:
Democrat Lead Down to Three Points in U.S.
May 9, 2006

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – The congressional election in the United States could be closer than expected, according to a poll by Opinion Dynamics released by Fox News. 41 per cent of respondents would vote for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, while 38 per cent would support the Republican contender. Two-in-ten voters would vote for other parties, or remain undecided. Support for the Democrats fell by seven points since March, while backing for the Republicans increased by four points.

I don't know anything about Opinion Dynamics, though the Fox News connection makes one wonder. Still, I hope they're right. An undeserved plum falling into the Dems' lap this fall would depress me more than I can tell you.

The Nan plan

The Washington Post reports:

If the donks recapture the House this fall, Nan Pelosi says they'll...

...quickly vote to raise the minimum wage for the first time since 1997.
Great ....late but great....
... roll back a provision in the Republicans' Medicare prescription drug benefit that prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services from negotiating prices for drugs offered under the program
Good. maybe better than good.... to fully implement the recommendations of the bipartisan panel convened to shore up homeland security after Sept. 11, 2001
Clown show politics as usual.
...reinstate lapsed rules that say any tax cuts or spending increases have to be offset by spending cuts or tax increases to prevent the federal deficit from growing.
A hideous backward looking vicious monstrosity worthy of the Bourbon restoration.
...launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Thin end of a neo-Watergate wedge -- another orgy of hypocritical self-congratulation and congressional hot air -- a theater of ham-fisted buffoonery.

Of course, so long as they aren't veto-proof in the House, or impeachment-proof in the Senate, they can shoot as much lava and brimstone at the White House as they want, knowing it's all turning into hot air long before its half way up Pennsylvania Avenue.

Meanwhile, Slate's top politico says Nan blew it by suggesting a donk house would investigate the Bush mill -- he fears she'll fire up the elephant base with such hooey. More horse-race horseshit, if you ask me. I had a visit last night from the ghost of Hunter Thompson, who says it's in the bag -- donks 221, 'pubs 214.

Theater of cruelty

Sometimes we do their job for 'em.

Take this puff of sulfurous vapors at my dear darling Nan:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi... made a snarky comment on NBC over the weekend when asked about impeachment.... Pelosi reportedly said, "Democrats are not about impeachment--Democrats are about bringing the country together."

...Pelosi is in for a big surprise.

Please, little Bo-Peep -- of course she'll put Bush and company on trial in her kangaroo court. What better way to waste two years?

What possible result can this fellow expect from such proceeedings? Have we at long last no shame? Have we not even now digested the waste and folly of throwing all that energy into the crucifiction of Dick Nixon?

What did we get -- Jimmy's peckerless Truman reprise and... the Reagan Republican restoration.

And for gosh sakes -- Nixon himself, the original man from brokeback ridge -- he didn't even stay crucified. And when he made his return, it lasted hell of a lot longer than 40 days.

May 10, 2006

If it walks like a clown...

Hey, the people know a clown when they've seen his act.

Sure, the donks as an ahistorical, destructuralized, pureed abstraction look better than the Bush tumbleweeds -- but actual donks they've seen run over a stretch of ground.

Check the latest NY Times poll numbers:

Sure Georgie is down to 31% approval, but

The political situation has not helped some of the more prominent members of the Democratic Party. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.... had a lower approval rating than Mr. Bush: 26 percent, down from 40 percent in a poll conducted right after the election. And just 28 percent said they had a favorable view of Al Gore.
Who knows what evil lurks... the peeeeeople know!

May 11, 2006

It's a horserace, folks -- Part LXXIV

Bout of the week: Dean-Emanuel III.

The Washpost has our boys Howie and Rahm at it again. Gist:

  • Rahm: "This fuck is blowing our resources chasing gun-rackers and mountain goats."
  • Howie: "Sure I am ... that's where the red votes are."
Sounds like an '08 guy versus an '06 guy -- anybody want to guess which side the Hill is on?

Howie, thank God we have ya -- to piss away this personal empire of favor-owing elected clients Rahmses the First is trying to build.

Squalls ahead

This may have a Kos-a Nostra feel to it but....

Are the donk cadre ready for Karl's summer blitz?

Well no, blitz isn't the word -- more like Frontier Fremont-type trap-settin' -- popular mental hollows easily filled with sand and tar, like human-animal marriage, 4th trimester abortion, the death penalty for truancy. You know, the basic body punches to the belly of real red-state base-warmers. Freedom, blood, and flag stuff -- what the DLC calls cultural populism.

Watch the Rover boys lure 'em into landing a good hard right hook on all the the usual cult-lib donk tarbabies -- challenges to progressive right-minded values that no self-respecting jackass can resist.

Dropping my Kos mask -- I can't wait for the fun, though the shock and awe crowd are looking mighty ragged lately.

Could it be a rope-a-dope?

May 12, 2006

That government is best which...

From my local hot-air machine, the Boston Globe:
A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that by 49 percent to 29 percent, those surveyed favored having the party that doesn't occupy the White House control Congress.
So I wonder -- do the folks really want gridlock with all the shit that doth now shower upon 'em? Or is this merely a restraint out of desperation and despair -- hoping that each loathsome Orthrian muzzle will clamp the other?

The same sentence was passed on chicken-lickin' Clinton in '94. They gave Clint and his DLC posse just 2 years, as opposed to the 6 (at least) that the Bush/Rove/Cheney gang have had.

Three to one pretty much reflects the balance of forces between Repubs and Demos.

May 16, 2006

Doing well by doing... less evil

It's clear enough why pros inside the Democratic party want to win -- they personally do much much well-er when they win. A party of electoral success, it's called in poli sci. They're all, as Brother Smiff calls 'em, soup hounds.

But why should anybody else want a donkey win?

So the Republicans lose -- to punish Bush/Cheney -- toss the bums out.

I used to like that idea. After all, it's about as close as you get to ye olde chopping block, round these parts; and over a few in-and-out cycles, at least both party elites come to respect the fury of the electorate.

We done just that in my youth -- we forced out LBJ and Nixon through extra-electoral means -- and then the ballot box took over and whacked Ford and Carter.

A nice run, eh? But where'd it end -- with sir Ronnie of the runny red dye, Ronnie the master of unstately greed manor.

Now chop chop chop, its nothing rare -- the Poles seem to have been into a one-try-and-you're out bit, ever since the Stalinoid curtain fell. But this one-trick pony will never be enough by itself, as the Reagan counter-reformation proved so well. If the whole damn deal is drifting right, tossing one party out for the other just makes the swing of the tick-tock tighter. If you set a course to hell, and along the way move into ever tighter zig-zags -- by my plane geometry, that only gets you to the fiery furnace all the faster.

If we want to break out of this ever-narrowing corridor to Hades, we need a bust-out strategy, and a party that wants to win every race every time can't bust out of its own barf bag, let alone chart a 180-degree course back home.

Want a sea change? Want a major shift in the power balance between contending social groups? Well, that'll take a catastrophic event, nothing less. My best guess, if you give the party of Reagan rollback and reaction enough rope -- yes, 4, 8, 12 more years of Dick Cheney (nothing in the constitution says we can't have the same veepire till he croaks ) -- give him enough running room, and boom! we'll have a blowout that'll make Hooverville look like Scarsdale.

May 17, 2006

Nothing versus less than nothing

Tim D calls our attention to this item in the UK Guardian, by American Spectator mad-dog Quin Hillyer:
Ancient wisdom says you can't beat something with nothing, and on Monday presidential adviser Karl Rove said, in effect, that's what the Democrats are trying to do this year to the Bush administration and its Republican allies.
So far, what's not to like? But then:
There are those of us on the right who miss the days when centrists and even centre-right Democrats provided a bridge between the two parties in Congress. In the effort to woo those centrist Democrats, both sides kept their rhetoric in check. Meanwhile, the very nature of trying to appeal to a centrist group had the effect of keeping all lines of communication open, including those from the hard left to the hard right. A collegiality that once existed in Congress is now lost - notwithstanding a few Democratic throwbacks such as the famously independent and courteous Sen Joe Lieberman of Connecticut or the relatively junior Rep Jim Marshall of Georgia.

But Lieberman and Marshall probably have the right idea: Goodwill and moderation, especially in demeanour and rhetoric, could serve the Democrats politically at the same time as serving the national interest. I sense that American voters right now yearn for good old-fashioned problem-solvers, for people who talk and act like statesmen.

I sure wish we had a branch of this wild-eyed hard-left Democratic Party in my state. Anybody else seen any sign of it, or is Hillyer on acid?

May 29, 2006

Wake me up when it's over

Okay, I've fallen off the wagon, and gone on a Daily Kos bender. So sue me. Here's the latest Great White Hope being touted by the Kosniks: one Francine Busby. She is running for Congress in California's 50th District, which is usually Republican, but since the incumbent is actually in jail at the moment, the Donkey Party thinks it might have a chance.

A few highlights from Francine's very lengthy "issues" page:

  • Provide Tax Credits for Small Businesses and the Self-Employed to Lower the Cost of Health Insurance
  • Oppose Amnesty [for illegal aliens --ed.]
  • Oppose Increases in the Gas Tax
  • Fund and Reform "No Child Left Behind" to Make It Less Punitive and More Productive in Holding Schools Accountable
  • Create Opportunities for More Students to Afford College by Letting Families Save for College Tax-Free Loans and by Restoring Funding for Loans for Middle Class Families
  • Start Withdrawing Troops [from Iraq] as Soon As Benchmarks are Met
  • Get Tough on Countries Sponsoring or Harboring Terrorist Like Iran and Syria
  • Restore Military Experts' Input to Decisions in the War On Terrorism Instead of Relying Only on Washington Politicians
  • Cut Taxes for Small Businesses and Working Families ....
Oh, And Fully Fund The Capital Letters Protection Act of 2006 -- sorry, sorry, that was a little acid flash there. They don't happen very often any more, but they're quite vivid when they do.

June 7, 2006

Heh heh

A few days ago we noted the pwogwessive euphoria over the candidacy of doughface immigrant-bashing War Democrat Francine Busby in California's ultra-reactionary 50th District.

The Republican incumbent is behind bars, the national Republican administration is about as popular as chlamydia, the Democratic Party has spent money like water in this classic angry white middle-class-asshole district -- and dear Francine seems to be losing, as we go to bed, by 50-45%.

The only thing remaining to complete my happiness would be if a third party were to blame for "spoiling" Francine's predestinate path of least resistance to Congress -- but alas, not so, apparently. The Dems have no one to blame in this case but themselves.

June 8, 2006

Better a bad candidate than a good initiative, anytime

Instead of wacking away for Busby, maybe Prop 82 needed the spotlight.

It failed, and with it the cause of universal free preschool for California's 4-year-olds -- paid, for, N.B., by a rich mans' tax.

June 10, 2006

Full fathom five the Kerrys lie

It's nearly a consensus now -- Clinton was the Dems' Ike, a me-tooer calling his version of Repub-lite "triangulation", and that's good news ...sort of.

Because me-too never survives a sea change, when even opportunists jump on the new bandwagon.

The locus classicus: Tricky Dick Nixon. His two Dem counterparts, Bill's twin veeps, St Hilland Green Al, both have that je ne sais quoi -- a kickaround undaunted resentful relentlessness that's quite Nixonian.

But then Kerry's '04 was no Goldy '64 -- but so what? Imagine if it had been Scranton or Rocky who had tumbled to LBJ in '64 -- either way, there'd have been the exact same '68. What with the 'Nam quag and the kneejerk pleb white sense of civil wrongs, the Dem cold war liberal hegemon was sure to blow apart. The donkey show boat was going over the falls, come rain or come shine, once and for ever.

So by analogy -- stick with me here -- even if we get sellout triangles in '08, like Gore or his sister solider St Hill, either one will have to be something other than Kerrywood II. It's another sea change time. Change, progressive change, is in the air. Six years after Dick took his plank walk in '74, we got the real total con deal when little red Ronnie Hood took center stage.

Extrapolating the parallel, we'll get a real prog in... 2020.

June 28, 2006

The boys of October

Here's a headline for this fall -- expect it on or about October 28th:
Redeployment is at hand
How nice it would be to hear that variation on Super-K in '72 coming out of Rumsfeld's lipless mouth -- or better still, thru the piano-key teeth of her eminence Madame Sec.

Bottom line : now tell me who's incompetent, bub? It would be a total el squelcho for any donk dreams that the voters would go into the booths with the thought "the Democrats are the last best hope to win the peace over there."

So what's needed to get there from here? Really, nothing -- just the proper box and wrapper. To wit: some slideable withdrawal schedules for our boys and girls, that leaves a sufficient notion of a concept of a predicate that some form, or way, or shape, of a residual presence will be "requested" by the native state office holders.

This kind of "deal" could be made to fit almost any size reality. But oh yeah -- there's one hitch: what if there were a request to "leave ... now that we the Iraqi people thru our democratically appointed government can take it from here"? Well, that would be safely in the post-November future -- recall that the Christmas bombing of Hanoi and the subsequent summer carpet roll of Cambodia all lay ahead in the dim unforeseen, when Super K told us peace was at hand in October.

That "hand" proved to have a large palm, and long fingers.

July 12, 2006

What's old is new again

Alan Smithee writes:
Over at the mighty headquarters of the DNC one must be able to smell the flopsweat for a country mile.  Having no other issues upon which to challange their corporate rivals, the donks are determined to bray long and loud about this bit of old news:

Democrats to highlight Social Security in mid-term elections

Social Security privatization is back on the political agenda, this time with Democrats leading the way by reminding voters of the differences between the Republicans and Democrats in the management of the government retirement program, today's ROLL CALL reports.

Can't you just hear the dem policy rodents scurrying frenziedly about?  And this stale bit of cheddar is all they could come up with.  I'd feel bad for them if I weren't enjoying the schadenfreude so much.

July 23, 2006

Here's the new Democratic Party base

From the Wall Street Journal:
ELMHURST, Ill. -- At her home in this Chicago suburb, 68-year-old Alice Doyle has a sign in her front window for the Republican candidate for governor. But on a recent morning, she joined a small group at her neighbor's house to lend support to the Democrat running for Congress in this historically Republican district. The candidate, Tammy Duckworth, 38, is an Iraq-war veteran and double amputee. Her subject at the coffee this day is public funding for medical research using embryonic stem cells. She endorses it....

While Mr. Bush's position cheers religious and social conservatives in the Republicans' base, nationwide it has alienated many moderates and has some questioning their fealty to a party increasingly defined by its cultural conservatism....

Moreover, as the party has grown more socially conservative over the past quarter-century, the suburbs where many Republicans live have become more diverse and politically independent, marked by a mix of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism....

That, in turn, has Democrats hoping to capture some of their foes' strongholds, by picking up disgruntled Republican moderates as well as independents....

[State senator Kirk] Dillard illustrates the way the stem-cell issue has split his party. He switched to support funding for research in the state Senate, imploring, "How can you not be for this?" In an interview, he says he was influenced by advocates from nearby Children's Memorial Hospital and a local pediatrician.

Mae Pearson, a 77-year-old widow at the Duckworth coffee, [said] "I was raised Republican -- strong Republican -- and I thought it was so wonderful to move to DuPage County after I got married" in 1950, she says. "But it's just too hard to be a Republican anymore because it's not the Republican Party I grew up in."

"Embryos count, people don't," complains George Strejcek, 62. He and wife Elizabeth, 58, describe themselves as former Republicans. "Goldwater I could tolerate," he says. "But with these Republicans, they forget we live in a democracy, not a theocracy."

"They're not fiscally responsible either," his wife says.

There you have it. The Democrats are pinning their hopes on people who really respect doctors, and who believe in "fiscal conservatism," and who used to be Republicans, and are even older than I am. Alas for the party of Andrew Jackson and William Jennings Bryan.

July 24, 2006

The oracle inhales the vapors...

When I venture to make a prediction, I'm always wrong -- well, nearly always -- but sometimes a guy just can't resist the urge to make a fool of himself. I've sat down again on my tripod over the navel of the earth, and the gods have vouchsafed me a vision of the October Surprise. The details are hazy, but here are the broad outlines:

Sometime late this summer or early in the fall, the War On Terror opens a new front. Maybe it will be Iran, or Syria, or maybe just US troops back in Lebanon, conducting fraternal Indian wars with the Israelis at our side, Huck and Jim in flak jackets.

Yeah, that's the ticket -- Lebanon. The Israelis will be the new Brits, and Beirut the new Normandy. There'll also be a NATO figleaf -- Tony Blair will send a few yobbos from Manchester, and maybe the Germans will get with the program this time, if Merkel's neck isn't still out of joint.

But the main point of it is that Israeli yobbos and Americn yobbos will be standing shoulder to shoulder, pouring ordnance into Lebanese apartment buildings. From the electoral point of view, that's the beauty of it: the Democrats will have to -- not just shut up, but applaud, and fall into line, and cheer on the Commander-In-Chief, because it'll be a joint Israel-US project, and you can't attack it without attacking Israel.

All Bozo has to do is send the Marines to Lebanon again -- part of a joint expeditionary force with the light-unto-the-nations -- and the Democrats will be hogtied, gagged, and hamstrung.

Maybe Israel will even take a few casualties -- lose a little ground -- contrive, if necessary, a sanguinary rocket attack on Haifa. So Uncle will have to go in and save 'em. Yeah! That's the ticket! Save Israel! That's why the censorship is letting out all this stuff about how Hizbollah is proving tougher than anybody thought.

You heard it here first.

July 27, 2006

Why does this seem so funny to me?

From The Note:
After gathering for a rare joint caucus, House and Senate Democrats will join together in the Russell Senate Swamp at 1:45 pm ET to call for a New Direction for America. Speakers will include Sen. Reid, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Pelosi, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).
I'm trying to think of analogies here. Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, and Stegosaurus announced today a New Direction for Ornithischia?

August 5, 2006

More of the same

Wanna know today's advice to the Dems from the boys who brought you that part of Bill Clinton (the Antichrist from Hope) that Dick Morris didn't? read and enjoy.

My image, and it's a joyous one -- these flightless gobblers are in full mad flap, racing to get under the peace tree before base lightning strikes 'em dead.

September 16, 2006

Rahm & Schumer, LLC, Cosmetic Surgery

Reconsider if you will an earlier post of Father Smiff's. In it, the reverend father pastes up passages from an article in The Nation by some eager ambitious elf. I point it out because I think it answers an important musical question: "how is the donk party preparing itself for the day half power is restored?"

It's answered with one nice phrase turn, and I suggest you notice it with care: the phrase "the Democratic Party's renewal."

I claim that sez all -- renewal as in not reformation, not resurgence, not even quest, let alone transformation -- just... "renewal".

Back a while ago I read somewhere a soc sci piece that divided midnight America into two very distinct Weberian types -- those who salivated to the cry "social justice," and those who did the same to the call "social renewal." I'm sure I needn't bore you all by explicating the fairly obvious implied content of this distinction -- not for you lot. But lets call 'em blue-lighters vs. red-lighters. Now, we may have the two lights and two types out there among the people, but we got only one kinda party -- and it's not a blend; it's not purple party politics. We got a pair of me-too grapplers trying to square the circle, or at least circle the square.

Nope, the big two have drifted so far right, they're both red-lighters now -- social renew-ers, and social justice be damned.

So if your a renew-er you got nothin' to do but look like a fresher breath of renewal. Hence the TV makeover show treatment, as applied to the look of the party. Yes, the war mules and the mommy dearests, fresh blood, but also the goose-up of the old guard too, as in an all-surfaces rejuvenation. Boytox and girltox too. This is really all there is to today's donkery-do.

And then of course comes The Nation. Is it too turning into nothing other then a renew-er outlet, a Kosnik senior citizin circuit? Hackneyed images of rebottled old wine ought to be poisoning Katrina's pert head. How can she endorse this beggars' opera... and with teared eye too?

The Nation! Nursery of I.F. Stone and Alex Cockburn. Oh, as Fr. Smiff would say, quomodo ceciderunt potestates in proelio -- how are the mighty fallen.

But I'm sure the Nationistas are convinced they're being very courageous, and in a way it is. I mean, think a moment -- ain't it courageous to face the electorate like an aging gladiator facing a trio of hungry lions, and act spry and ready to rumble? Sacrifices have been made! Faces have gone under the knife! No more Teddy trusswork -- fat cells, real live fat cells have been vacuumed away, and by the tons.

What we are witnessing here is the major minor party of public repute under the care of doctors without mercy -- tough love doctors -- those crazed and sadistic surgeons of cosmetic politics, doctors Rhambo and Mushschooom.

"Let's get the look of victory added to this chin -- the look of frontier vigor -- nurse, get me the Tank Mcnamara implant!

"Dutch, for fuck sake, you're Lardass Incorporated -- how is this gonna look? Get the blubber sucker, Ms Pinch -- the industrial strength blubber sucker.

"What, she only has one limb gone? Jesus, do I have to do everything around here? Okay, it's way too late to find a three-off now. We'll just have to harvest the other leg. What are you waitin' for? Now, soldier, now!

"I said pimp pouch, asshole, not mouse pouch! Look at the decrepit old fucker -- shit, he looks like a tumbleweed. We gotta give him some soul-on-ice fury here. We need an Eldridge Cleaver body here, with a 65 year old white head on it. Make him mean and horny. Yes, the royal extra large pimp pouch."

No matter what they take off or add on, its the same old same-old under the hood. But no more the defeatist look! No more Tom Daschle and the castrato chorus, no more old college try.
"Listen up, you duffers. If we donks are coming back, it's gotta look like a hard charge. We can't stumble up the hill. We can't play it for nostalgia. This is not an oldtimers' game. It's gotta look like we're new, we're mad, and we're takin' no prisoners."
Imagine the Herculean task that must be, trying to pass off these retreads, these sour-patch kids, as a stem-to-stern party transformed. A single look at the lineup of faces (and behinds) shows they're just a juiced-up, steam-bathed, rouged-over pack of casino clowns. But hey, they're ready to... ahh -- ready to what? Hobble, that's what -- hobble and heehaw. Put this string of sorefooted swaybacks (albeit with arrow-straight fiberglass spinal implants) under a full pack of legislation and they'll... founder. But then, imagine how just that one charge up the Capitol steps will task those old flaccid muscles.

Ah the pain of the aging glamour girl. Ronnie Reagan knew about it -- all about it. But potbellied, brew-breathed Tip O'Neill never did -- and ain't that the story of the early 80's? Lesson: when you plan on putting the country into neutral, look smart and gustoized while you're doing it. And give 'em a lot of twinkle, and snort some, too -- make fierce faces, fierce but kindhearted, like Ferdinand the Bull.

So we await the curtain rise this November, and do we dare hope Tip's party will now know the pain of looking good outside, when inside you're a senile fucking wreck?

"Paging Doctor Rahm...Doctor Rahm. Mr. Rangel is ready for his white soak."

September 21, 2006

It'll be a walkover: dead guys can (and will) beat Republicans

Here's whistling past the graveyard:
Following yesterday's release of a USA Today-Gallup poll showing President Bush's approval rating up to 44 percent (still bad, just not terrible) and Democrats and Republicans tied on the generic congressional ballot question among likely voters, many began to fret that the Democrats' chances at big gains were flying away. [But] the Rasmussen Reports tracking poll, which has found the President at or below 41 percent for the past four days, and now a CBS News-New York Times survey ... finds Bush at just 37 percent [and] it seems pretty clear that Gallup's numbers are at least a tad bit too optimistic about Republicans' chances.

... just 53 percent of Americans approve of the job their own member of Congress is doing, a number that is actually lower than was registered in September or November 1994. Approval for Congress, overall, is exactly what it was in September '94.

When asked if they can remember a significant action taken by Congress in the last year, more than two-thirds of Americans responded "nothing."

Just 39 percent of Americans believe their member of Congress deserves reelecction while 48 percent believe it's time to give someone new a chance. These numbers are worse than they have been in the past two midterm elections and are not substantially different from those found at this point in 1994 (37-45). When asked if "your own Representative in Congress understands the needs and problems of people like you," just 47 percent say yes while 45 percent say no (worse than in 1994).

The thinking seems to be that people are so bummed that, as my grandmother used to say, they'd vote for a hound dog if he was running on the Democratic ticket. In fact, that seems to be precisely the experiment that's about to be tried.

September 29, 2006

Dept. of October surprises

Has Bob Woodward provided one for the Democrats?
Rummy blasted in book
Woodward rips secretary as clueless

Bob Woodward's much-anticipated new book paints a devastating picture of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as an arrogant, indecisive bumbler who won't take responsibility for his mistakes - or even admit any.

Dovetails nicely with the Democrats' idiotic strategy of running against Rumsfeld, and may get them, oh, three or four more votes in Novermber.

October 6, 2006

The kids may be all right, but fuck 'em anyway

Thus Nancy Pelosi:
In recent days, Pelosi said, [the Democrats'] prospects have improved by the discovery that former Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida had sent sexually explicit computer messages to teenage male pages....

"It's an opportunity for growth among women" for the Democrats, she said. "They don't always vote and this could be a motivation."

With married women, in particular, it's a huge issue, she added.

Among older voters, too. "If there's an ethical issue, seniors take a hike" and abandon politicians they blame, she said. "If we hold onto seniors we win the election."

October 10, 2006

Okay, okay, BRING the fucking horse in, see if I care

Laocoon, you remember, was the Trojan priest who warned his townsmen against the famous horse. Poseidon, who had an interest in the outcome, sent serpents out of the sea to eat him up for his ill-timed negativity. He is shown above, looking remarkably buff for a guy who lived before there were personal trainers, in the mortal agony that made him immortal.

I don't have Laocoon's pecs, but otherwise, I'm feeling a lot of sympathy for the old boy. My fellow Trojans are pretty giddy. The Greeks -- and I do mean Greeks, as in Sigma Chi -- appear to be gone or going, and on the shore there remains a mighty horse -- or no, look at the ears, it's a donkey! It has Sherrod Brown's face and Hillary Clinton's hindquarters, and there's something about the expression on its face that brings Joe Lieberman to mind. The chittering Trojans have hooked up the ropes, and spat on their hands, and are preparing to drag it into the citadel -- and oh shit, here come the snakes. It hadda be snakes.

Well, look on the bright side, old ancient contrarian. Once the horse is in town -- if you can just get away from those goddam snakes -- you will have the pleasure, not to be underestimated, of saying "I told you so. I told you, and I told you, but did you listen?!..."

October 20, 2006

Uphill to the Hill

The House repubs, with the help of friendly state legislatures, have built themselves a nice "levee system," as Paul Krugman calls it, against any "slosh up" in Dem voting, according to some Columbia types:
After their stunning loss of both houses of Congress in 1994, the Democrats have averaged over 50% of the vote in Congressional races in every year except 2002, yet they have not regained control of the House. The same is true with the Senate: in the last three elections (in which 100 senators were elected), Democratic candidates earned three million more votes than Republican candidates, yet they are outnumbered by Republicans in the Senate as well. 2006 is looking better for the Democrats, but our calculations show that they need to average at least 52% of the vote (which is more than either party has received since 1992) to have an even chance of taking control of the House of Representatives.

Why are things so tough? Looking at the 2004 election, the Democrats won their victories with an average of 69% of the vote, while the Republicans averaged 65% in their contests, thus "wasting" fewer votes. More formally, we estimated the seats-votes curve for 2006 by constructing a model to predict the 2006 election from 2004, and then validating the method by applying it to previous elections (predicting 2004 from 2002, and so forth). We predict that the Democrats will need 49% of the average vote to have a 10% chance, 52% of the vote to have an even chance, and 55% of the vote to have a 90% chance of winning the House.

October 26, 2006

Insufficient hysteria

Bobw writes:
Cursor links an article by Robert Parry from Consortium News suggesting the Dems are making a mistake in believing they can ride to victory merely on Republican bad news, instead of saying loud and clear what's wrong with the Republican vision, domestic and foreign.

Of course, maybe they dont know what's wrong with the Republican vision. But I suspect it's just their instinctive fearfulness and toadyism.

The Parry piece is a little odd. His main point seems to be that the Democrats are insufficiently hysterical:
As Democrats go through their biennial rite of premature victory celebrations, they are inviting defeat again by obsessing on polls about how many congressional seats are “in play” rather than on explaining to the American people what a Republican victory on Nov. 7 would mean to the nation.

If the GOP keeps control of Congress, Bush would be strongly tempted to double up on his bloody wager in Iraq with military attacks on Iran and Syria. That expanded war would guarantee reprisals by radicalized Muslims around the world and thus draw the United States into a virtually endless conflict.

At home, the consequences of indefinite war would be fatal, too, to the already wounded American democratic Republic....

Of course, what Parry oddly overlooks is that it would be a little bit surprising for the Democrats to start objecting now to policies they've consistently failed to oppose, or even actively supported. Not to mention that the type of Democrat on which the party seems to be pinning its hopes is a Democrat like this:
A right kind of Democrat
GOP-held House seats are threatened by a crop of conservative foes.
By Janet Hook, Times Staff Writer

He is pro-business and antiabortion. He is an evangelical Christian and an avid hunter. But, unexpectedly, Heath Shuler is a Democrat, and he is running for Congress in North Carolina.

Shuler is part of a phalanx of unusually conservative Democratic candidates who may deliver crucial victories over GOP incumbents and help their party win control of the House.

...[O]f the Democratic candidates most likely to be elected....[s]ixteen of them have been endorsed by the Blue Dogs, a coalition of conservative Democrats. Several used to be Republicans. Shuler was recruited to run as a Republican a few years ago but opted not to.

... With so many conservative-leaning candidates at the forefront of the Democratic effort, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has, at least for now, stuck to a minimalist agenda that steers clear of grand, liberal ambitions. Instead, Democratic leaders are focusing — and almost all serious Democratic candidates are campaigning on — a more limited, six-point agenda that includes raising the minimum wage, repealing tax breaks for oil companies, restoring college tuition tax breaks, cutting Medicare drug costs and other plans they believe could draw bipartisan support.

You will note that there is nothing in the six-point program about torture, civil liberties, privacy, war, or any of the other things that Parry is worried about.

I fully endorse Parry's own hysteria; indeed, I'll call his hysteria and raise him one torchlight parade. But if the Democrats aren't hysterical, perhaps it's because they're just fine with all the things that worry Parry and me.

The real puzzle, I think, is why on earth Parry considers this election so world-historical. Granted that things are headed in a very bad direction, what on earth makes him think that putting Democrats in Congress would make a difference? The best he can come up with is the claim that Republican victory would encourage Bush to persevere in his wicked ways, which is undoubtedly true; but does Parry seriously believe that a Democratic victory would have the opposite effect -- or indeed, any effect at all?

October 27, 2006

The sky is falling, as usual

This just landed in my mailbox, from The Nation:
At issue in the coming election, Jonathan Schell writes in The Nation magazine's cover story this week, is nothing less than the future of our constitutional government, which the President and his party have put in serious jeopardy.
This earnest, breathless, civics-class stuff, from supposed Lefties, about the Constitution, utterly baffles me. What do these people think the Constitution is for, if not to produce and reproduce precisely what we now confront?

November 1, 2006

John Kerry, November Surprise

J Alva writes:


Kerry says sorry for 'botched joke' on Iraq
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Democratic Sen. John Kerry said on Wednesday he was sorry for a "botched joke" about Iraq, but Republicans and some Democrats demanded he apologize directly to U.S. troops as a bitter fight for control of Congress entered the final stretch.

Kerry canceled campaign appearances for Democratic candidates in three states to avoid becoming a distraction. He said his remarks to a college crowd in California were aimed at President George W. Bush and his Iraq policies, not the military.

See also

I don't what you make of my theory that Democrats deliberately demoralize their constituents, and I'd be willing to concede that they're just such awful people that they can't help themselves. But I do think they cultivate an inability to learn.

MJS observes:

Kerry's fluffed line was clearly a Freudian slip. He -- and everybody who will pull the donk lever next week -- does in fact believe that if you don't work, study, get ahead, and do OK on your SATs, you'll get the end of the stick that smells -- and deserve it, too, though they don't like to come right out and say so.

November 3, 2006

Hysteria vs. hysteria

We wuz robbed, and will be again -- it's a great theme for the Democrats, and the introduction of Diebold voting machines has poured much kerosene on the flames. They've been hacked, or they will be hacked, and the Dems will be robbed again -- because theft, of course, is the only conceivable reason why they keep losing.

The contradictions of this mentality are inexhaustibly fascinating. The game is rigged -- but, but! it's nevertheless vital to keep playing. Here's a characteristic specimen of this Sisyphean logic:

Don't Let "Hackable" Diebold Machines Give You A "What's The Use In Voting" Mindset

There are many who think that an Administration who has lied to us about WMD is perfectly capable of launching massive "stolen election" initiatives. I mean, this Administration hasn't exactly been trustworthy with us, and for some who feel the most passionate about this lack of trust to envision all sorts of Rovian-Dieboldian conspiracies doesn't take a huge leap of faith....

[But] I seek to counterbalance the notion from some of my friends - and maybe some of yours too - that "the vote will be rigged anyway, so why bother?"

...Enough of this "what's the use" toxin, and the Republicans could remain in control of one or both chambers.... [W]hat "could" happen-voting machines hacked without a trace - [doesn't] necessarily mean it "has" or "will" happen.

What I implore you to think about instead is what definitely will happen if you sit this one out, and we get two more years of an Bush Administration unchecked with a counterveiling balance.

May I have a drum roll please ... Now everybody try to guess what the big threat is going to be... right the first time!
The Senate confirms Supreme Court justices, the oldest sitting justice is the most liberal, and we're only one to-be-nominated Supreme Court Justice away.... Do you really want your "what's the use" meme to result in a Supreme Court that makes a decision that leads to coat hangers and back-alley abortions?

November 8, 2006

Hope springs eternal

Some of my Lefty acquaintances can't resist looking for good news in the Democrats' midterm gains. Here's a sample from one of my mailing lists:
The Democrats will be pushed by their supporters to launch investigations of the Bush regime and that will totally block the ability of the Bushites to continue their crazy imperial policies.... I think this political change will carve out some important space for the radical left.... The challenge now is to organize our side and figure out ways to push against the Democrats.
I fear my comrade is whistling past the graveyard here. Any "pushing against the Democrats" that might have been possible (and it wouldn't have been much) should have been done before they got into office. Now that their cunctatorian strategy has "worked" to the extent of getting some of their muzzles into the feedbag, they will be utterly impervious to pressure from the likes of us.

Their goal was to get inside the fortress, not reduce it. Now that they're inside, we will simply find the fortress more numerously manned. At least when they were outside, they couldn't have a complete insider mentality. Now that they're inside... well, you see my point.

P.S. -- I had hoped that at least I could find in consolation in the fact that Kinky Friedman had spoiled the Dems' chances at the Texas governorship, but it's a hard case to make based on the numbers I've seen. Ralph's laurels apparently remain unshared.

Sic transeunt sockpuppets

Alan Smithee writes:

No doubt you're desperate for post-election news of Rahm Emanuel's Sockpuppet Army. Well wait no more! Were I to write the headline for this story in today's newspaper it would be something like: "Rahm's Recruits Bite The Big One!"

After a brusing primary in which a large percentage of beltway favored "Fighting Dems" were shot down by local partisan democrats, all but five of the surviving 34 "Band of Brothers" brothers were massacred in yesterdays general election.

Yes, a one handed pipefitter could now count the number "Fighting Dem" victories on his fingers. Two of the five survivors, congressional wannabe & Kosniki fave-rave Patrick Murphy in PA-08 and Virginia senatorial candidate James "Jim" "Jim-Bob" "Bomb's Away" Webb, are still in races too close to call. That leaves three with clear wins, Joe Sestak & Chris Carney in Rahmbo's home state of Pennsylvania and, this Minnesota resident is ashamed to say, Tim Walz in MN01.

(In our own defense, I feel compelled to point out that we Minnesotans did just send a real antiwar democrat to the House (and Congress' first Muslim) Keith Ellison from MN05. So it kinda balances out.)

Thus it's safe to say that DCCC poobah Rahm Emanuel's Sockpuppet Army has well and truly had the crap beaten out of it. In California, where a four of the original eleven Rahmbots survived a brutal primary battle with local partisan democrats, not a single Fighting Dem was left standing on the field of electoral battle. While in Texas, with seven of ten Rahm Recruits still in there shootin', all were gunned down at high noon yesterday.

And so it went for the Sockpuppet Army across the country. Five were filleted in Florida. A trio were keistered in Kentucky. A couple were cooked in Colorado. A pair were mauled in Maryland. Another three were nuked in New York. You get the idea.

Indeed, of the 97 original "Fighting Dems", (including 59 of Rahm's heavily DCCC funded Band of Bros.) a paltry five have survived to see the day after election day and two of those are in doubt. Outside of Rahm's home state, only two (2) Rahmbots are still kicking. (And if Webb loses to Allen in VA, that'll leave exactly one.)

To say that Rahm's "Fighting Dem" strategy is the biggest flop since Battlefield Earth would be to insult John Travolta, Scientology and extraterrestrials with cornrows and extraordinarily enhanced codpieces. Though not exactly a ringing repudiation of the Donkey Party's overall "We can manage the war better" message, only the wingy-est of wingnut Kosniki democrats could claim their hero Rahm's warmules have had any positive contribution to the dem majority in the House.

Heads I win, tails I win too

Must admit, I was hoping for a Democratic debacle yesterday -- hoping the great expectations would fizzle and the Kosniks would all go on a two-week Prozac bender. In this, of course, I was disappointed.

But as I sauntered up the street to the subway this morning, with the Times' forty-point headline rattling around in my cranium like an overlarge iron clapper in a fragile old bell, I found myself tranquil in spirit, and even mildly disposed to hope that the Democrats get the Senate too.

I'll now have two years, at least, to vituperate the donks for the misfeasance, malfeasance, and -- especially -- nonfeasance that I confidently predict they will deliver. And by the time '08 rolls around, they'll have as much egg on their long-eared, bucktoothed faces as the Republicans. They'll be as bogged in some war or wars, they'll be as servile, or more servile, to the Israel lobby, they'll be up to their elbows in the lifeblood of the working man and woman. They'll keep Star Wars going, and the police state -- in fact, dollar to a doughnut they expand the latter. They'll have the FBI combing through your hair for evidence of intellectual-property violations. It goes without saying that they won't have delivered a blessed thing that all those people who voted for them were hoping for, and they will have made themselves active collaborators -- active because now they have legislative majorities -- in further, yet-undreamed-of horrors. Oh, I can't wait.

In fact -- call me a conspiracy theorist, if you like -- I bet this thought must have occurred to at least some Republican strategists. Better to take a little hit now, and give the Dems two years to discredit themselves before '08. I don't think they threw the fight, but I bet they're not entirely disconsolate with the outcome.

November 10, 2006

Too late

Gird your loins, lamb chop -- here comes the trumpet call for the new Jerusalem: "pressure from below." Or as our dear father and lead gruff billy goat, M J Smiff sez, "Pressure?! How the stinky hell can we pressure 'em now?"

Its a free dance for two years, on the fingers of the repugs as they cling to the cliff edge.

My battle cry: "Purge the progs!" If you caucus with Lantos and Lieberman, you are in the crosshairs of history, budzoh.

But "pressure from below?" Please, spare us the lame-duck hoochy-cooch.

February 9, 2007

Drop Bombs, Not Feminist Bloggers

Life couldn't be better. Mr. Smith called about a week back for us Stop Me readers to float him some actual stories. Like magic, the Edwards Campaign Blogger story lurched onto the scene. If you missed the uproar, there's a helpful encapsulation here. Plus an entertaining follow-up here.

To make a long story short, Southern Gentleman John Edwards (or rather, his handlers) hired a pair of liberal feminist bloggers to work for his campaign. His ostensible goal was to tap the vein of young, hip "netroots" bloggers-- not to mention their bales of money. What could go wrong? Both Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon) and Melissa McEwen (Shakespeare's Sister) are popular bloggers and thoughtful, often humorous writers. They love to wittily rip on Bush and his cronies.

Both aparently went ga-ga for Johnny's Neo Society brand of faux-healthcare for all and promises to bomb Iran to smithereens for its own good. Naturally these do just about nothing to set him apart from the rest of the hopefuls the Prog Blogs drool over, but no matter. Perhaps he paid the best, had the nicest teeth, or something like that.

The liberal blogosphere loves nothing more than a doomed recovery project, as we all remember from 2004. Proggies don't want a straighforward path to their supposed goals of peace, harmony and an iPod in every back pocket. They don't want an actual anti-war candidate. There's romance and intrigue in backing a candidate like Edwards, with his aw-shucks charm and skill at stirring oratory;Not to mention his borderline Himmler-esque vow to gently persuade a war-weary public that a few million more bloodied corpses on our hands are just what we need to boost our self-esteem. Every Liberal/Progressive feminist blogger worth her salt would kill for such an abundance of drama in the Tammy Wynette-Patsy Cline vein. There's nothing like being handmaiden to a handsome, slick-haired hawk who has clearly given much deep thought to the efficacy of dropping bombs on helpless foreginers. You can feel something real for a guy like that.

Poor Dennis Kucinich. If I wasn't so justifiably pissed off at him these days, it would be easy to spare him some pity. The poor fellow is as close to bonafide Left as you can get in the Big Tent these days. Yet time and time again he stands alone by the punchbowl with only his pocket protector for company while the pretty girls run off to drool over some yob in a DLC varsity sweater. Weird Al tried, but aparently even he couldn't make nerds cool enough for the in-house Prog set. Maybe if you got that guy who used to be half of the White Stripes to remake your image, Dennis. But I digress.

Everything was going great for a few days-- Until a couple of Right Wing clowns decided to kick up a fuss about the obvious moral depravity of any God-loving, bomb-dropping family man who'd think of letting potty-mouthed liberal feminists anywhere near his campaign. Within a day, the cry went up all over the liberal blogosphere to rally to the bloggers' defense and, of course, all that is good and right in Progville. It was so beautiful that even an avowed Crank like myself could only maintain her cynical, stone-hearted fascade for so long. In the name of the Sisterhood, I sat down and I wrote Johnny the Churchy Southern Hawk this email:

Dear Johnny,

Please do not bomb Iran. It's too expensive and very rude and it won't make your penis grow any bigger. Really, it won't. Can't you just invite Bin Laden and AIPAC and the Saudi royal family over for a barbecue and a few rounds of poker instead ?


The Crank

P.S. --Please do not fire Ms. Marcotte and Ms. McEwen. They are stand-up feminists and surely two of the finest minds the blogosphere has to offer. You will find both women invaluable as you dupe their peers into surrendering yet more money to giant insurance companies who will in turn cover our illnesses and anti-depressants. If and when they feel like it. These two savvy thinkers will also help to place the most humane, feminist spin possible on bombing the bejeezus out of nuke-loving, terrorist-coddling women and kids overseas. Plus they probably have bills to pay. Senator, have a heart !

Well, the story had a happy ending. Johnny has, as of this writing, backed away from any plans to fire my blogging sisters. My Inbox brought the following (clearly personalized) response:
Dear Progressive Blogging Friends,

Thank You for your thoughtful email. I love you and your money, The talent and resources you spend ceaselessly and unquestioningly on behalf of the Democratic Party are invaluable to me. Rest assured that I plan to keep the two bloggers on at least until I've gotten as much cred as I can possibly wring from them. Once I have at least the Veep nomination sewn up, they will be quietly hustled out the back door. I will never so much as mention them again.


Johnny Edwards

P.S.-- You write pretty good for a filthy Nader-worshipping Yankee.

Like I said, life couldn't be better. Unless... unless...

Mr. Smith, am I getting paid for this ?

(BTW -- I want to thank the folks at the excellent blog Opera Glasses and Popcorn for helping me get my thoughts straight.)

April 2, 2007

The New Frontier is old again

Been thinking lately about the Kennedy Camelot -- because its avatar is even as I write this marching relentlessly and effortlessly toward the White House in the person of Barracado Obama.

To think this careful gray flannel man is the incarnation of the one fear the late J Edgar Hoover never wrestled to the ground. Why, he'd laugh like a hyena if he could see the way it turned out, after all those sleepless hours of dread: the real thing is just like a black Jack Kennedy, instead of whatever the unholy hell our nation's ugliest-ever transvestite conjured in those tiniest hours of the night.

Somebody wrote a piece a few days back on Barack as "magic Negro" -- google the phrase if the concept isn't already over-familiar. JFK, of course, was a magic Catholic. Maybe its time to review the vision of that earlier messiah, and in particular, examine just what his new frontier was all about -- since it looks like history is about to attempt one of its rhymes.

Let's make it brief -- Walter Winchell brief:

After the '60 election was stolen from Richard Milhous Nixon by the mob in Chicago, and cactus hacks along the tex-mex border, JFK moved into the White House along with Walter Reuther, Frank Sinatra and Robert Frost. Besides these notables, he also brought with him -- to help him perform the biggest and toughest job on earth -- as many new and terribly bright heads as his minions could collect from Ivy League campuses and Manhattan think shops.

But to what end?

One thing was clear from the get-go: anything new -- I mean really new -- might be dangerous, and wouldcertainly cost money needed for missiles and carriers and the like. So better recycle some spiffed-up old hats. Reblock 'em, stick in an exotic feather or two. In a word it was all to be cosmetics on the domestic front.

The concept, like the candidate, was straight from Madison Ave -- "do nothing new but do it with plenty of style, or, to be more precise do it with plenty of vig-ah!" Look full of bustle, but run strictly in place. Retain the old party platitudes that had kept this nation in a trance since Yalta, but teach 'em to do the peppermint twist. Bring in as many new bright heads as you can find, so long as they don't mouth a single original idea in public.

Of course mistakes were made. New ideas leaked out. In retrospect it seems that what with all that brighness running in place, it was inevitable something was bound to break a few old eggs. Unfortunately Kennedy got shot before he could put a stop to them.

And then... a miracle rode in, on the back of an old giant plug called LBJ, and the rest is signing ceremonies. The future was out of the box, and we've lived with it and through it ever since.

May 28, 2008

Another tragedy in the marketplace of ideas

But... we have not done the Big Job, not even close. The conservatives' Big Ideas about government, taxes, security, the market, and the rest still dominate political discourse. Democrats in Congress still cringe at attacks based on these Big Ideas, and many have been intimidated into voting for conservative policies—on funding for Iraq, on government spying without a warrant, on taxes, on bankruptcy, and on and on. The Big Idea intimidation is still working. Changing that is the Big Job.

Rockridge says goodbye

Perhaps the underlying problem is that Democrats are not cringing and not intimidated, but are -- instead -- very enthusiastic in their support for the "conservative" ideas. Perhaps the countering progressive values and ideals that were to be framed into dominance would have fared better if they actually existed and were actually championed outside the drivel of Democratic Party marketing campaigns. Perhaps there's more to lending dignity and significance to ideas than the profligate use of capital letters. We may never know!

December 23, 2008

Could be worse. Could be worse.

Matthew Yglesias has found something to like about Obama's cabinet and staff appointments:

[Obama's appointments are] on average to the right of the average Democratic member of congress. It’s worth understanding, however, that the same methodology would lead to the conclusion that Obama’s cabinet is to the left of the veto points in congress.

Those points are the median member of the House (a Blue Dog) and in the Senate either a centrist Democrat for things requiring a majority or else someone like Susan Collins to break a filibuster. It’s those characters who determine the scope of what’s possible legislatively. And though I think progressives will have many disappointments in the coming years, many more of those disappointments will come because something good Obama proposes gets watered-down in congress than because congress wants to do something good and somehow gets thwarted by the White House.

In other words: Obama may be dismayingly right-wing, but he's still not as bad as Congress. What a relief! We sure dodged a bullet there!

August 2, 2009

A Rebel Alliance? Guest post, by Cal Zero

A rebel alliance?
by Cal Zero


And now, your highness, we will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base...

Most people who follow labor news already know about the loud denunciations of Andy Stern at last month's UNITE-HERE convention.

"Piracy on the Seas of Labor!" proclaimed AFSME head Gerald McEntee;“Deplorable!” lamented Laborers President Terrence O’Sullivan; and, most colorfully, Vince Giblin of the Operating Engineers' repeatedly referred to Stern as "the Darth Vader of the labor movement."

Many would-be labor leftists are applauding the news, some of them cheered by what they regard as a lifting of the indifference with which labor watched Stern's quashing of UHW President Sal Rosselli and the busting of the Puerto Rican teachers' union; some have even wondered if this might not presage a "reunification of the labor movement".

What a pipe dream!

For leftists to believe, however cautiously, that this new "solidarity" of labor can put us on the road to "build fighting, democratic unions" is a feel-good delusion of the highest order.

It's just too easy to put a black hat on Stern, too easy to beat up on SEIU as "the bosses' lackey union," too flattering to bask in the press attention that any attack on labor's most powerful leader will inevitably garner. Just ask Jimmy Hoffa.

There's so much lazy thinking going on - and an understandable reluctance to dig into this stinking pile - that it's easy to lose sight of the basic facts:

1) The "sanctity of jurisdiction" is never, but never, really about organizing strong unions. It is about not having your union's cozy deal with the employers disrupted.

2) "Democracy" is fine as a value, and occasionally important as a rallying cry, but it is a very easy claim to manipulate, and down-right pathetic as a cover for weakness and demoralization.

3) Raising an outcry against SEIU's "organizing at any price" is a handy distraction if you're not doing any organizing at all.

4) Strong unions are built, not in an rarified atmosphere of political peace, but on hard-won common ground. Some rivalry between unions is not only unavoidable, it can be a good air-clearer.

5) This fragile anti-SEIU "unity" will amount to nothing.


Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?

My question: is a policy of all-out war against the SEIU is a real option, or just an ideological red herring? What, other than union busting, would "all-out war" even mean? Should we bust the SEUI "just to see it die"? It's important to be clear that this is what Wilhelm and his supporters advocate.

I don't see how this can be a viable strategy for unionists. As I see it, the only consistent policy is one of constructive engagement and mediation at the top, and cooperation and organizing under both flags at the grass roots. To counter Stern's opportunism with demagogic covictioneering won't make strong unions - it will only create political space for a new opportunism.

This, then, is what is being revealed: that the UNITE HERE merger - and the Change to Win coalition - were never based on sound principles. The cash-strapped HERE wanted to sieze UNITE's assets; Bruce Raynor saw HERE's jurisdiction as a road to political prominence; and the CtW unions most of all just wanted out of the AFL-CIOs per capitas and legacy costs.

And to think, these "leftist" dunderheads - surveying the havoc caused by these ill-concieved maneuvers - see a "new hope" in more opportunism!

Perhaps a real wave of labor militancy is rising, but this is still just chop; we ain't surfin' USA yet. Until then, keep your head, and don't miss the comic side of this political theater.


Bruce Raynor: the Bib Fortuna of the labor movement

August 15, 2009

Liberal Fury

America is even more on the brink of fascism than ever. It would be hard to get closer to the brink of the edge that tips the scales controlling the pendulum. Fortunately, liberals have taken notice. At Daily Kos, DarkSyde, an avenging progressive, heaps scorn on one Mr. John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods and opponent of Obamacare.

This is great stuff. The caricatures involved are behaving true to form. It's a showdown. The feckless liberals, shopping their way to a better world, are challenging the cretinous spokesman for the rugged individualist hive mind. Both have a problem. The cretin's business model consists of catering to shopping liberals. He needs them. The shopping liberals have to fend off fascism, but they need premium grade food first. My money is on a half-assed apology from Mackey and a boycott that's verbally supported, but never materializes.

Addtionally, "Jonah Goldberg" provides a timely reminder regarding liberals, conservatives and fascism. Liberals are not fascists, they're not socialists, they're not social democrats or indeed much of anything at all. The goading from the dim, fetid recesses of the right wing mind offers some insight into what they really are. They're timid right wing meliorists whose moments of courage produce tedious, self-indulgently prolix essays in defense of their social status. In the ideological scrum, they occupy whatever middle ground they're assigned by the opposing brand. In their actual political practice, they're adamantly opposed to corporate millenarian policy, if and only if it's branded Republican, and peevishly supportive of it, if and only if it's branded Democratic. The lese majeste offered by yahoos and wackos in the pre-fab town halls has ruffled their feathers. The market has spoken and the invisible hand has moved their perception managers, who cry "fascism" right back at the yahoos. They do it for love, of themselves and their brand identity, but they'd do it for money if it was offered and donate a sensible amount of the proceeds to the ACLU.

November 30, 2009

All Those Young Werthers

At every stop on my mini-book-tour... someone asks a variation on the question of what’s gone wrong with Obama. Usually it’s asked in a tone of bewilderment verging on panic, as if the aircraft’s engines were shutting down one after another at thirty-five thousand feet. I don’t have a pithy answer because I don’t think there’s a simple explanation, and, what’s more, I don’t completely accept the premise. But if the President is looking less commanding than he did ten months ago, these might be a few of the reasons:

And he proceeds to hazard a few guesses.

I usually get called a vulgar Marxist for what I'm about to write. It's a harsh characterization, even or even especially because there's some truth to it, but could the disillusionment be rooted in things President Obama has actually done? Not his failure to deliver magic job-creating ponies, eco-sensitive unicorns, peace on earth with good will towards all except the banksters, but in the very real, very harmful and often lethal things he's done? Is there something depressingly and inescapably factual about those things?!

March 5, 2010

Incontinent Spiteful Dithering

Just like old times. The highly touted return of the rule of law must yield to exigent circumstances. Or maybe not. But it's still the Republicans' fault if and when the tortured terror suspects may or may not have to be tried in military kangaroo courts.

The Democrats' neurotic mockery of proceduralism is the dry, sadistic, technocratic version of the Republicans' sweaty, sadistic, technocratic mockery of proceduralism. Neither of them can produce anything remotely plausible as justice. Order is out of reach for them both, because they have no idea what it is. So...

Why not simply murder them? Cut through the dithering! Murder is sufficiently spiteful, and surely there's room in the president's "Just War" theory for a murder or four. He could authorize a predator drone if that would sit better with the focus groups.

June 9, 2010

The Myth of Competence

Here's something to place stress on the responsible, neutrally technocratic, delegating procedural heart. Obama is neglecting the federal court.

Can Obama Do This Job?

Evidence from appointments suggests not.

In my inbox this morning:

a majority of federal court vacancies remain without a nominee (only 46/104 -- so let's not blame the Senate), and of the 21 known vacancies that will appear in the next year or so, there is only one nominee in place...

A president is, first of all, chief of the executive with the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully exacted. That means, first of all, hiring people to execute the laws. A good president hires people--or makes sure that people are hired. If hiring people does not interest Obama then, as i have said before, he needs to go to a Chris Edley or a John Podesta or an Erskine Bowles and give one of them the baton and his proxy to make sure that the bureaucracy can function.

So far he has not.

Professor DeLong

Adjudication is just not that important to modern corporate management. It suggests a struggle for relatively clear epistemic lines, or at any rate winners and losers, which arrive through a process that circumscribes executive needs and actions. Management is much easier to handle through administrative fiat. No mess. No fuss. Very efficient. The only difficulty lies in marketing the outcome. And that can be outsourced, most often for free.

It's helpful to think of it in business terms. As a rational self-maximizer, Obama would be a fool to spend precious time inserting more middle men. He's the Decider. There are opportunity costs to consider. Selling an appointment, and the intense search for appropriate human capital, consume resources better spent on selling the necessary outcome. Small "r" republicanism is messy, right? It entails small "d" democratic participation, which means (theoretically) that the tin foil hat people have as much say as the cognitive interventionists. We could wind up with laws that mandate the grant of honorary degrees in economics to fainting goats. Groundhog Day could become a federal holiday. The occupations could be defunded. Legislators could face cavity searches before congressional sessions. There's no end! Better to keep the focus focused on core competencies and leverage them into full spectrum market-ready solutions.

To add a touch of clarity to the imperial logic, which one would you prefer to see advising the president on important matters?


* * * * *


There now.

August 28, 2010

Corporate Performance Art

Is there a qualitative difference between "Restoring Honor" and "Change We Can Believe In"? Their respective enthusiasts are equally sincere and have the same chance of achieving their notional goals. In practice, the notional goals will evaporate into a bad smell. Once they've achieved it, they'll feel the same maudlin sense of victimhood. The difference is one group will be sore losers and the other will be sore winners. Both will then want to "take back the country". The only thing that comes close to being real is the soreness.

I can sympathize, but only up to a point. Suffering caused by persistent, freely chosen victimhood is real suffering, and the degree of it is wildly unjust, but dragging everyone else down too is simply vindictive; the sufferers' ignorance and vulnerability to peer pressure notwithstanding.

September 4, 2010

Condensed Cock A Doodle Doo

This is, in its way, perfection.

I have a personal story that might help. In my native land, we rise at dawn, stuff beans up our noses, mount our pogo sticks and hop to work. None of us asked to be born into that. Some of us can see the imperfections. A few reject the beans and the pogo sticks, bless their hearts, but what do they offer in place? Fantasy, that's what. And what they fail to take into account in their fantasies are the people who wear underpants on their heads.


Those of us who are sensible, like woodchucks, don't especially enjoy the beans. They hurt. They make our eyes water. Sometimes we fall off our pogo sticks and writhe in agony. Hence, Obama. His proposals make sense. We can't have perfection, but we can have better beans and better insertion methods. Admittedly this hasn't worked out. In consequence, some people are dispirited. They asked, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood, and the answer was provided by Robert Gibbs: urine samples and mental hospitals. Discouraging, yes, I can dig it, man. But does this mean we should abandon our program? Does this mean we should hand our country over to the people who wear underpants on their heads? Because those are our choices.


The tyranny of empiricism is a dead end. A failure of morale is our greatest threat. Let us renew our hope for change instead. It's time to hop.

About Hope springs eternal

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Hope springs eternal category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

History as bunk is the previous category.

How are the mighty fallen is the next category.

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