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"Our Greatest Vulnerability is that We’re Complete Morons Willing to Spend Unlimited Amounts of Time Developing Insane Theories About Trivia" Part II

[ 5 ] October 20, 2008 |

Remember that exclusive “African Press International” story? Where Michelle Obama was supposed to have given a Hate Whitey interview to a press organization manifested in a cheap-looking wordpress site? Fortunately, it’s all been explained:

The circle was completed by Jammie Wearing Fool, who suggested that the API report may be “a clever bit of astroturfing by the Obama camp trying to dupe people into running with bogus information.” (Why would they bother?)

Yes. That must be it. Although I can’t argue with the proposition that right blogosphere is very, very easily duped.

Meanwhile, for bonus fun we can also see the Corner going back to the anonymous letter writer/apocryphal cab driver or cocktail party with sneering liberals genre. Always stick with the classics! Combining the two is even better…


I Would Like to Think This is Stating the Obvious, But…

[ 6 ] October 19, 2008 |

“Income taxes” are a subset of the category of “taxes,” but the former category does not in fact fully encompass the latter. Republicans like to pretend that you can’t give a tax cut to people who don’t pay federal income taxes because this conveniently ignores the regressive taxes that constitute a much higher percentage of the ordinary person’s tax burdens. This is greatly aided by hack journalists who let this ridiculous bait-and-switch pass without comment.

Amateur Night

[ 24 ] October 19, 2008 |

Fox’s MLB coverage is so abysmal that it inclines me to some charity towards TBS — fewer nose hair and E-list celebrity shots, less Tim McCarver, you have to give them that — but what a dog and pony show. Pre-empting the first inning for “Dick Clark’s Funniest Home Celebrity Bloopers” probably isn’t going to help them get the ratings they need to attract a second outside advertiser to permit them to cut the anti-smoking and mediocre impression ads show down to 80 a game or so.

Tonight’s game will be fascinating if TBS will deign to show it.

We’re Going to Talk About the White, That’s What We’re Going to Do

[ 15 ] October 19, 2008 |

I suppose it’s not news that to Republicans “real” America is white America, but it’s probably useful to have a candidate on a Republican presidential ticket be so explicit about it.

It’s very appropriate that this weekend would see yet another piece about Obama chasing white votes from Matt Bai. The print edition is headlined “Can Obama Close the Deal With Those White Guys,” thereby borrowing the both the exceptionally irritating “close the deal” buzzphrase and the arbitrary division of the electorate into groups with white people somehow being more important from the Clinton campaign. Apparently, Obama’s majority coalition won’t be quite majority enough if it doesn’t get whiter. But as both Clinton and McCain have or will soon demonstrate, white votes really don’t count more.

Of course, the problem goes beyond any one writer and editor. There’s nothing wrong, in isolation and in theory, with a lengthy article about attracting particular groups of voters per se (although I could do without such features as conflating “working class” voters with “rural whites.”) The bigger problem is the obsessive focus on white male voters in particular. The real issue is that the Times would publish an interminable article about, say, John McCain trying to appeal to single women and pointing out that the GOP is doomed among this demographic until they repudiate their extremely unpopular anti-Roe position when there’s a blizzard in hell.


[ 8 ] October 18, 2008 |

Spackerman on Fred Barnes:

Fred Barnes might be the only reporter who’s actually stupider and less coherent than Sarah Palin. Longtime New Republic staffers would reminisce around the office about how Barnes, a former TNRer, used to rewrite GOP press releases with minimal revisions. It’s actually easy to pity Barnes, as he lacks a basic self-respect. After all, the guy wrote a fawning Bush biography after Bush nicknamed him “Barney,” which is what Bush calls his dog.

That’s all background to establish a general principle. While I see in theory the logic of sending a borderline-retarded journalist to lionize a particularly vapid politician, with Barnes, you’re just going to end up accidentally running something that reveals Palin’s basic unfitness for public life.

I always wonder — does anyone take the guy seriously? Even to preach to the choir, the preacher needs a modicum of credibility. Although I suppose the very existence (and editorship) of the magazine he answers for answers the question.

6CA Participation in Vote Fraud Fraud Overruled

[ 16 ] October 17, 2008 |

Excellent news:

Earlier today, the Supreme Court effectively reversed a Sixth Circuit decision which required Ohio’s Secretary of State to implement new procedures which could purge thousands of voters from Ohio’s rolls. The Sixth Circuit’s decision is a stunning piece of results-based judging, as the court not only divided entirely on ideological lines, it also flatly refused to apply a binding Supreme Court precedent to one particular plaintiff: the Ohio Republican Party. Yet, while it is completely inexcusable for the Sixth Circuit to exempt the Republican Party from following a binding precedent, that precedent has unfairly slammed the courthouse doors shut on numerous low-income Americans, so it is no surprise that the Republican Party did not want to be bound by it.

Like Millhiser, I find the rule created by the Rehnquist Court in Gonzaga problematic, but nonetheless while it remains good law federal appeals courts are bound to apply it, and the 6th Circuit conspicuously failed to do so in this case. It’s good to the the Supreme Court reject this unprincipled support for Republican vote suppression efforts.


[ 46 ] October 17, 2008 |


Michelle Malkin is excoriating “liberals” for attempting to destroy Joe the Plumber. It isn’t just the pot calling the kettle black, it’s the pot wandering into the pot store and declaring all other pots black-tinged traitors to our great nation, then offering to run the pot reeducation camp to bring them in line with acceptable and decent container values.

…to be clear, I also endorse this from John Cole:

“Granted, the right-wing whinging is particularly rich after the Beauchamp/Schiavo/Graeme Frost incidents, and the attempts to blame media conduct in regards to Joe the Plumber on the Obama campaign are stupid and predictable, but just leave the guy alone. I don’t agree with him on a lot of issues, but the guy deserves the privacy I would want for myself and for the rest of you….there is a marked difference between reacting to stupid things he tells the press and rooting through shit on the internet speculating about him. Comment all you want to any idiotic things he says.”

Deep Thought

[ 25 ] October 17, 2008 |

If, after blowing a 7-0, 7th inning lead in a potential elimination game the Devil Rays come back and win Game 6, there will still be dozens of sportswriters who will adduce the importance of “momentum” in the subsequent month.

McCain On Abortion

[ 1 ] October 16, 2008 |

I think Dana makes two very good points here. Indeed, not only are health exceptions popular, the dismissive tone of McCain’s scare quotes were instructive in a way that (to put it mildly) isn’t going to help him among moderate women. Obama was also clever to follow-up with the Ledbetter case, which McCain was equally dismissive about. I also agree that Obama’s refusal to cede the moral ground on the abortion issue to McCain was important. It’s true that I wouldn’t be inclined to describe sex as “sacred” or to care whether a woman consulted her “religious adviser” before deciding about whether to continue her pregnancy — but I’m not the median American voter. Sending comforting signals to committed religious voters in ways that don’t compromise on substance is important.

The one thing I’d add is that McCain, as one would have expected, attempted to defend his highly unpopularRoe should be overturned” view by saying that abortion policy should be “left in the hands of the states.” This is, of course, a complete fraud, starting with the fact that McCain has voted for every federal abortion regulation to come down the pike. An even better way to point out the contradiction would have been for Obama to challenge McCain on his position that there should be a constitutional amendment making abortion illegal in all 50 states. This would force McCain to either defend an extremely unpopular policy that makes a complete hash of his “federalism” dodge or to repudiate a position that matters to a lot of his party’s base, and I’m not sure why Democratic candidates never attack this vulnerability. But otherwise, I think Obama did very well.

…More here. And here.

Joe the Plumber!

[ 9 ] October 16, 2008 |

If I understand John McCain’s key message, the average millionaire who benefits from GOP tax cuts is a manual laborer. Why do you all hate Joe so much? If you lie about Obama’s health care plan, the plan will really hurt him! Leave Joe alone!!!!!!!!!

…perhaps he should co-star with Lucky Ducky in an upcoming cartoon….

An Army Of Morons

[ 5 ] October 15, 2008 |

Citizen jornamalism!

I sure wish I had a piece of whatever company is sending Nigerian remittance spam to Bob Owens’s inbox

The Meaninglessness of "Mandates"

[ 0 ] October 15, 2008 |

This is exactly right:

Not me. Or, rather, I think the evidence suggests that mandate is a meaningless concept. America went to the polls in 2000 and whatever you think of what went down in Florida, clearly more people overall voted for Al Gore than for George W. Bush. What’s more, a substantial minority of people voted for a candidate who thought Gore was insufficiently leftwing. And the exit polling made it clear that Bush had the edge over Gore on a bunch of “character” issues. This series of facts, combined with the regnant ideology of mandate-ism, led a lot of pundits to conclude that Bush would, due to his lack of mandate, curtail his agenda. In fact, he did no such thing. And while that was bad for the country, the lack of a mandate wasn’t a practical problem.

Say what you will about Bush, the one thing he understood is that the only meaning of “mandate” is “whether you have the votes in Congress.” And of course the even better example is that FDR — almost certainly the most transformative president of the 20th century — ran essentially as more-Hoover-than-Hoover in 1932, which didn’t seem to affect his actual governance. For this reason, the number of Democrats in the Senate and the number of progressive Democrats in the House will be much more important to whether health care reform can pass and what form it will take than the precise proposals made by candidates during the Democratic primary.

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