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How Sadly Appropriate

[ 13 ] February 27, 2008 |

It seems right that Chris Muir would have his half-undressed fantasy object cite the punchline of a sexist ad campaign for a crappy frat boy malt beverage. Ah, the intertwining layers of brain-dead sexism!


Democracy! Whiskey! Misogyny!

[ 11 ] February 26, 2008 |

Why, it’s almost as if the talk of liberating Afghani women was a cynical pretext abandoned as soon as they had another shiny new Islamist quasi-state to install!

I’m afraid that if Christina Hoff Sommers hasn’t written at least three books on the subject by the end of the year I’m going to have to continue not taking her seriously.

Today In Aesthetic Stalinism

[ 8 ] February 26, 2008 |

Shorter Verbatim stooge at Veritas Libertas — Conservative Thought (sic) About Film (sic): “You know what, I’m glad little Miss Julie -Close Gitmo- Christie lost. Acting like a anti-American pig on the red carpet waving her little Canadian flag (White, right?) and bitching about Gitmo… She can kiss our terriorist killing, UN hating, Iraq invading, Red White and Blue ass as she goes home empty-handed hoping she someday scores an HONORARY Oscar. See ya in Canada Julie– unless, of course you decent decent healthcare.”

I don’t know how much one has to hate art and hate life to harbor an intense, simmering resentment against Julie Christie because she made some mild statements opposing arbitrary detention and torture. Frankly, I don’t want to know. It’s the kind of market we can do without.

One might also think that a writer about film would be aware that Julie Christie has actually already won an Oscar, but of course the website in question has nothing to do with film so it makes sense.

[Thanks to Roy. I think.]

Oh No! A Turban!

[ 0 ] February 25, 2008 |

My assumption about the Drudge story was that the pictures of Obama dressed in a turban with the racist and/or xenophobic connotations that flow from that was that it was a right-wing smear he was trying to launder by pinning it on the Clinton campaign. But this non-denial denial suggests pretty strongly that it was, in fact, a Clinton smear job. I really hope it’s over next Tuesday….

an actual denial from Wolfson. I’ll take their word for it.

The Non-Sequitur Defense

[ 84 ] February 25, 2008 |

A commenter recommends this diary defending the candidacy of Ralph Nader, making an argument I’ve heard many times before. I agree strongly with the diarist that we should get rid of the electoral college and institute instant runoff voting, and mildly agree that a PR system would be preferable to first-past-the-post (although a PR system creates some serious problems with a separation-of-powers system.)

The problem, of course, is that Ralph Nader’s candidacies have done absolutely nothing to bring these things about, and at least two of them (direct vote for president and PR) are because they would require small states or incumbents to give up vested interests. It’s silly to defend Nader by saying that if we had a different electoral system he wouldn’t have thrown the election to Bush. We don’t, and he did, and I don’t see how putting George Bush in the White House took us closer to instant-runoff voting.


[ 47 ] February 25, 2008 |

Didn’t see the ceremony. Glad to see No Country win Best Picture; it wasn’t my very favorite picture of the year, but as I said last year it’s again the best movie to win Best Picture since Annie Hall, and the class this year was unusually strong.

More On Experience

[ 38 ] February 25, 2008 |

Kevin Drum objects to my argument about experience, claiming that Obama’s experience will be a disadvantage against McCain but Clinton’s would not. I’m not entirely convinced. It’s worth untangling the normative and empirical issues here. The heart of Kevin’s argument is this: “Like it or not, most voters have a sort of vague operational view of experience that means something like “involvement in big league politics.” And on that score, Hillary gets 15 years: 8 years as an activist first lady and 7 years as U.S. senator. Obama, conversely, gets a total of 3 years as U.S. senator.” The problem here is that this seems pretty arbitrary, with the general criteria selected to give Clinton maximum advantage. Do most voters believe that serving as first lady counts as full “involvement in big league politics” but Obama’s longer (and arguably more effective) history as a legislator doesn’t count at all? Maybe, maybe not. The difficult first lady question is particularly crucial, because without full credit Clinton is clearly at a major disadvantage to McCain if experience matters, and my guess is that voters not only won’t give full credit to this but will indeed give less credit to it than I would consider appropriate. At any rate, it’s even less clear that this qualified edge in experience matters very much. Consider not only this year’s Dem race but compare Bill Clinton (zero years big time experience by Kevin’s criteria) against the lengthy resume of George H.W. Bush, or the latter’s son against Al Gore. Either voters evaluate experience in a more nuanced manner than Kevin suggests, or it’s a pretty trivial consideration. Perhaps a little of both, but pols from Henry Clay to Robert Dole might suggest that it’s more the latter. (Or maybe the things that go along with experience in politics make candidates unattractive for other reasons.)

On the normative question, I have a hard time believing that Obama’s somewhat greater inexperience make him much riskier than Clinton. Clinton’s extra Senate term means pretty much nothing, especially since she got the most important question of her tenure wrong. Her first lady experience may be marginally more relevant than Obama’s good state legislative record, community organizing, and work in legal academia, but it’s hard to see that it would compel you to vote for anyone you otherwise wouldn’t. (And this cuts both ways; some Clinton supporters may think I’m underrating the importance of her experience in the White House, but I also don’t think that her husband’s general failure to mobilize support for major progressive reform is much of an indicator of what Hillary Clinton would do as president.) The Presidency is sui generis, and you really are rolling the dice either way (including McCain, even though he’s the most experienced.) None of the major remaining candidates has experience that really sheds much light on how effective they’d be. You pull the lever and takes your chances.


[ 66 ] February 24, 2008 |

Reactionary vanity candidate Ralph Nader is apparently pleased enough with record of the man he put in the White House that he’s running again in hopes that we can get four more years of similar policy outcomes. This time, of course, it won’t matter. Unlike in 2000, I believe that the vast majority of people willing to see the parties as indistinguishable after 8 years of Bush really are people unlikely to vote for any Democrat until they try to grab the true pulse of the American people and run a Chairman Bob Avakian/Mumia ticket. I’m more sad than angry about what Nader will do to his reputation with another pointless Republican-funded campaign at this late date.

Are You Experienced?

[ 0 ] February 24, 2008 |

Related to this point, arguments for Clinton proceeding from her allegedly greater experience have always been unpersuasive, precisely because if Clinton’s rather marginal and contestable experiential advantages over Obama should be decisive any of the other major Democratic candidates would be unquestionably preferable to either. (And, even worse, the same would be true of McCain in the general.) Fortunately for the Dems in November, I also agree with Yglesias that experience tends to be “the time-honored election argument of losers.” I think there may be exceptions in cases of long-time executive or high-ranking military experience, but no viable candidate has that.

Send Good Thoughts

[ 0 ] February 24, 2008 |

…to terrific blogger and friend of LGM Sara Anderson. Hope she’s well soon.

Carville: If Only Democrats Were All Southern Conservatives

[ 0 ] February 23, 2008 |

Of course person whose opinions nobody cares about James Carville wants Harold Ford to replace Howard Dean. After all, this is the man who thought that Zell Miller would be a great vice presidential candidate

…the context is that Ford is carrying water for New England Republican Chris Shays.

McCain Secretly Agrees With Me!

[ 6 ] February 22, 2008 |

The myth that never dies.

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