Thursday, February 28, 2008

Name-Callin' Not Cool, Says Turd Blossom

Karl Rove, the man who leveraged the "wedge issue" strategy so far that it's finally going to split the Republicans permanently, is advising right-wingers to avoid calling Barack Obama "Barack Hussein Obama". From the linked article: Rove said that the use of “Barack Hussein Obama” would perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted and would hurt the party. And we wouldn't want to perpetuate THAT notion. Especially now that African Americans have finally acheived complete equality!

Then again, maybe it's important, just to distinguish the candidate from other Barack Obamas. You know, a clarity issue.

In the early nineties, George Bush Sr. ran a campaign against Bill Clinton that seemed to rest entirely on referring to him as "Slick Willy" whenever he spoke. "There goes Slick Willy," he'd say. How'd that work out for him?

I've called my wingnut blogger friends on this behavior. I probably should shut up, because it makes them look worse to keep referring to Hillary! and Hitlery and Juan McCain and the whole Obama/Osama thing. Name calling is a form of insult shorthand, and in a lot of these cases it's an empty meaningless reference. It's a way to be insulting without taking the trouble to know what you're saying, and people catch wise to that usually around 4th grade.

I invite examples of the same bad behavior to the left. This is not a challenge; I know we do it too. I want to be balanced; I just don't think I have to be the one giving the specifics.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Enough Dick Already

I just got back for the same l'il Italian place I went to Monday - Andy Dick was there again. This time he was stinkin' drunk; rude, obnoxious, and pawing every woman under 3o who passed close enough. The waitress brought him a glass of water, he demanded a margarita in a gravelly voice, and when she left Andy threw the ice at a blond who had her back to him. They tossed him out once but he wandered back in an hour later.

I'm happy to report that he showed zero interest in me, though. And I suppose it's good to see that the stories I've heard around town are true - sometimes people make stuff up about celebrities and you want to believe them even when they're not true, as long as they're entertaining. And frankly, the West San Fernando Valley is celebrity starved. This is the first famous person I've seen in this place who wasn't in porn. Though with that name...

Ironically, one of my drinkin' and singin' buddies is a staff writer for the National Enquirer, and he left early, because there's no money in Andy Behaving Badly stories any more.I wonder if Britney's still awake?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spotted Dick

I just want to report briefly that I went to my local italian restaurant/karaoke joint on Monday and there, with an entourage of about 4 guys, was Andy Dick. They were eating Italian food and listening to people singing Neil Diamond songs.

Happily, Mr. Dick and company neither seemed high nor drunk; there was no shouting, no fights were started, and they all left peacefully. Sadly, before I got up to sing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ginned-Up Phony Outrage - Or Misguided REAL Outrage?

Maybe I'm too charitable. I look at some of the things that the right wing gets upset about and I assume that, well, they must be kidding. Case in point: this recent Warner Todd Huston piece accusing a liberal media operative of slandering Dick Cheney by reporting he'd said something he didn't.

In one of the most egregious examples of MSM bias I've seen lately, Tim Rutten of the L.A.Times has blatantly lied about remarks that Vice President Cheney made at CPAC in a February 8th piece headlined "Bush's message for McCain." Rutten makes the outrageous claim that Cheney said he was "glad the administration had tortured people" during the Conservative Political Action Conference...
One of the commenters suggests that Ruttan should be fired for " advance (his) personal agenda."

Okay, so the outrage appears to be that the MSM misreported the content of Dick Cheney's speech. So I read Cheney's speech - it's true, he never said anything of the kind. But I also read Ruttan's piece, which starts as follows:
If you're one of the people who couldn't quite follow all the steps in the intricate little folk dance the Bush administration performed around the torture issue this week, don't feel left out.
Odd beginning for a straight news story. But since it's an editorial on the editorial page, it's a little less odd. What Ruttan is clearly doing is telling you what he thinks Cheney meant.

You can legitimately take issue with that opinion, but Huston is frothing at the mouth over the so-called "lie" perpetrated by the far-left media, furious that they're trying to fool you into thinking that Dick Cheney supports torture.

I tried to convince him otherwise, and I got a little snarky. Quoting myself here: There wasn't a LITERAL folk dance at the White House. That is a metaphor. Though the White House has held folk dances at times, it is seldom during discussions of policy issues. Metaphors are often an indication that the writer is expressing an opinion.

Another tip-off - Tim Ruttan is referred to as a "columnist" and not a reporter. Yes, sometimes columnists do break stories (Robert Novak famously did a few years ago, for example) but generally they try to not break the story and offer opinions about it at the same time. Novak didn't say "Valerie Plame is a CIA operative AND therefore Joe Wilson must have been lying." See how that works? Because it dilutes the impact of the story.

Here's another paragraph that might indicated that it's opinion and not reportage:
"It's hard to read this week's events as anything other than an attempt to put McCain on notice that he'd better acknowledge the unitary executive theory if he wants help with the conservative base."

Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, it's really hard to advance the idea that he's trying to fool you into thinking this is not an opinion piece.

Sorry I was so snarky in the early paragraphs, but I'm assuming you're not really serious either. You can't really believe this was an attempt fool readers, can you? You're better than that, Warner.

Honestly, I don't know if I've gotten through to him on this. He's changed the subject so either he agrees with me or feels he doesn't want to repeat himself. But again I can't help but wonder - is this stuff an attempt to whip up the base because he thinks they're dumber than him, or is he the base?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A President With Experience

First of all, put that idea out of your head. None of the people running for president have any experience in the job of President. And if George W Bush has taught us anything, it's that being in charge of the whole country is different than being in charge of, say, Texas. Or a baseball team. 

We're in interesting times right now, because all of the front-runners are Senators. Senators traditionally make bad candidates because of their voting records, which tend to be a little, um, nuanced. Because of the horse trading that goes into making laws, voting for any particular bill usually means voting for a hundred odious riders that can be used against you in ads. I suppose this is true in Congress also, but because there are less Senators one's options are more limited. 

This is why Obama is the most electable candidate, as far as I'm concerned. Clinton and McCain have both made voting decisions which probably were wise and sensible at the time but which have infuriated their respective bases. Hillary Clinton voted for (and vocally supported) a war which was obviously a horrible mistake even if you didn't have security clearance. McCain, well, everything he did that I like makes him unelectable to half the Republicans. Ironically, I probably would have voted for him if he'd gone against Gore because he seemed more honest. Now I have Democrats I like well enough to stick with.

Obama has almost no record. You can view this a negative or you can view it, as I do, as a savvy move by a smart, smart man. To me, it makes him the first nominee I wanted to vote for since 1996; as opposed to the choice after you decide who to vote against. And as sunny and naive as he seems, he's smart and vicious enough to sling a little mud back at Hillary Clinton when it becomes necessary. So I think we'd be in good hands.

Anyway I hope to God that he makes it to the finals, because the idea of sharing a candidate with Ann Coulter would depress the hell outta me.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Mitt Romney has announced he's suspending his candidacy. Behold the destructive power of Super Tuesday! I'm having trouble deciding which pundity to advance on this one, so I'll throw 'em all at you and you can pick the ones you want.

First of all, the undisputed conclusion - Romney was getting a terrible Return on Investment. He outspent his rivals 20 to 1 and saw an increasing downward trend in votes. He could still buy the Vice-Presidency, which is much cheaper but considerably less powerful; but even then he's likely to get trounced in the marketplace by the rival Huckabee brand and he will probably decide it isn't worth it. He is the Mitt who can't catch votes.

So what does it all mean?

Option 1: Americans don't trust good-looking white guys any more. They've fallen by the wayside one by one. John Edwards, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney - these are the WASP prom dates of politics, the White Alpha Males, and there is a feeling that that kind of guy will get the country drunk, take advantage of it, then not call the next day. We are thus left with the old white guy with the enormous cheeks, the younger white guy with the friendly jowls, the sexless battleaxe and the hot UN-WHITE guy. If the trend continues, I'm pretty sure the battleaxe will be running the country by this time next year.

Option 2: Americans are kidding about hating the illegal immigrants. That was Mitt's trademark, stopping the flow of illegals because the illegals are dismantling the country. And a lot of people claim that's at the top of their list of concerns, yet they voted for the guys who gave it the least lip service. Perhaps on some level we secretly LIKE paying less for vegetables and construction.

Option 3: Mormons creep the rest of us out. I have Mormon friends and they are perfectly decent folk, normal and friendly. But the Mormon narrative, with its Jesus in Utah tales and the cannibalism and the magic underwear and the aversion to caffeine (what kinds of monsters ARE these people) makes you question not just their faith, but faith itself. And when I say this remember I grew up Catholic, so I know a little bit about weird narratives.

Option 4: Americans saw through Mitt Romney. Cynics beware, this one is a hard option to swallow. To buy Mitt Romney's positions, you have to believe that all the positions he so fervently held as governor of Massachussetts were mistakes which he saw the light about just a couple of years before he ran for president. Sure it could happen, just as it's possible for Bill Clinton to believe he wasn't lying to the Grand Jury because he didn't think THAT was SEX. But, you know, c'mon. So voters may have heard him claiming he was a social conservative and simply didn't buy it. Ah well, at least Rush Limbaugh bought it.

Option 5: Americans didn't buy the name. Mitt Romney is the name of a character from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. It's not the name of a president. BTW, if this one is true it doesn't auger well for Huckabee, who is a better Theme Restaurant than a president. And come to think of it, Barack Obama doesn't exactly suggest leadership as much as Pebbles Flintstone's boyfriend.

Option 6: Ron Paul paid Romney off. I'm completely talking through my hat on this one, but Ron Paul is making so much internet money that who knows, maybe he saw a chance to narrow the field and Romney saw a chance to make a little cash back on a bad deal. And you can't tell me Paul isn't crazy enough to make the offer.

Option 7: Romney isn't actually pulling out. I think he said he's "stepping aside" and "suspending his candidacy". Language like that means at the last minute, he might step in again, maybe after Huckabee mysteriously comes down with Dioxin poisening.

That's what I got. Anybody have other analysis?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Coulter For Clinton!

Last night on Hannity and Colmes Ann Coulter said if McCain wins the nomination, she will vote for Hillary Clinton.

Yes she did.

If you consider Coulter to be a radical right failsafe device (if the crazy ideas catch on she's cutting-edge; if not she's just kidding) then this is big news. It represents a serious tantrum of the far right, and that's good for my side. If they torpedo McCain, then weirdo Mormon Romney is the candidate to beat. If McCain prevails, no matter who wins those guys will be so demoralized that they might keep out of our hair for the next four years. Cross your fingers, remaining 90 percent of the country! We're going to be making the decisions again!