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Fanfare For the Common Woman

[ 16 ] July 11, 2008 |

Via Jesse Auguste, the late Clinton campaign’s turn to reactionary populism has produced a hilarious denouement courtesy of inevitably moronic PUMAs. A Clinton fundraiser claims on (natch) Fox News:

This is a hard decision for me personally because, frankly, I don’t like [Obama]. I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.

The fundraiser’s identity?

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild

OK, well maybe she’s a black sheep Rothschild down on her luck?

Sitting down with her on a recent afternoon in the new pad–an 18th-floor duplex in River House that was previously owned by Carter Burden and Libet Johnson–it’s hard to begrudge her the excess of good fortune, thanks to her affability and occasional self-deprecations. (The Chateau Lafitte she pours–“the family wine,” as she calls it–and the heaping bowl of beluga don’t hurt, either.)

Jeez, and I thought turning Crown Royal into an uber-populist beverage was bad…anyway, if McCain starts serving Waygu beef and truffles with Cheval Blanc on the Straight Talk Express I’m sure that will turn into a populist meal too. Maybe Lady Lynn can whip something up for him…


Where Are All The Women Bloggers?

[ 22 ] July 11, 2008 |

Here, for instance.

Are You Tough Enough?

[ 32 ] July 10, 2008 |

No. (I suppose this could work with other entries from the Maurice Starr oeuvre: “Step 2! There’s so much we can do! To capitulate to Bush and expand arbitrary executive power!”)

See Greenwald, CHS, and the ACLU. And all due credit to Clinton.

Just Say No To Crack

[ 43 ] July 10, 2008 |

In light of Flint’s attempt –and I mean, you can understand the priority, what with all of the city’s economic and serious quality-of-life problems a thing of the past and — to make particular diversion from white-bourgeois dress a criminal offense, I am immediately reminded of Holbo’s legendary essay on David Frum:

Even if you are the sort of person who feels deeply offended by funny, ethnic clothes (we’re off the deep end) – even if you think it is anything like your business to dictate fashion sense to everyone around you (we’re so off the deep end) – how could you possibly think it was so important as all that? And yet immediately we are off and running about after the bourgeois virtues, all dying out: thrift, diligence, prudence, sobriety, fidelity, and orderliness. I won’’t bother to quote. Why can I not exhibit all these virtues beneath and/or behind a beard, kente cloth and/or keffiyeh? Frum seems to find it too obvious to bear arguing that the trick is impossible. (Yet he can’’t actually think that.) Does Frum seriously believe there are no shrewd, sober businessmen in those parts of the world where businessmen wear beards and keffiyehs and kente cloths? (Obviously he doesn’’t. That’’s crazy.) So what does he think? I think he just has a powerful feeling that: things ought to be a certain way. And if they are that way, everything will be all right.

Bearded Guy: I like my beard.

Frum: You should shave it.

BG: Why?

Frum: Because it should have been the case that you were too afraid to grow it.

BG: But I wasn’’t.

Frum: But you should have been.

BG: Why?

Frum: Because you are wrecking the culture.

BG: Why?

Frum: Because the culture will decay and then the economy will fall apart and we’’ll all be poor.

BG: Because of my beard?

Frum: Just think about it. Our economy depends on a healthy culture.

BG: But you don’’t even care about the economy. You said you don’’t.

Frum: I wish you hadn’’t mentioned that.

BG: But I did.

Frum: Look, if you shave the beard, everything will be better.

BG: You’’re a moonbat.

Frum: It’’s all related to foreign policy and wheelchair access in public school, in ways that would take a long time to explain.

BG: Get away from me!

Frum: Look. Just shave your beard!

Given that the humidity has been sufficiently high and consistent to warp my floorboards, I’m just happy that Althouse left town before she could get an anti-shorts ordinance rammed through the city council…

A Test

[ 11 ] July 10, 2008 |

If ads prominently featuring McCain declaring that Social Security is a “disgrace” aren’t plastered over the airwaves — with special emphasis on Florida and Pennsylvania — the Democrats genuinely deserve to lose.

"Maureen Goes To Fantasy Camp? Her Whole Life Is A Fantasy Camp."

[ 9 ] July 10, 2008 |

Shorter Verbatim MoDo: “Fictionalizing historical figures is fine. Fantasies about public figures are inevitable.”

Unlike (it seems) Somerby, I don’t see the slightest problem with Sittenfeld using Laura Bush to write a roman a clef. I can’t say it sounds especially promising, but the idea will rise and fall with the quality of the work. Fiction writers aren’t under any obligation to stick to facts about historical figures.

When fantasy narratives become the basis for large numbers of columns on the nation’s most prominent op-ed pages, however, and the writers who push these fantasy narratives with disastrous consequences continue forever in their sinecures, that’s a rather different matter.

Liberals and the Courts

[ 22 ] July 9, 2008 |

Dahlia Lithwick has some interesting thoughts about why liberals tend to be much less focused on the courts than conservatives. I think she’s right that the (often nominal) upholding of Warren Court precedents has made liberals more complacent about the direction of the Court than its actual record justifies. This also, I think, helps to explain why the Roberts/Alito “minimalist” strategy of gutting and refusing to seriously apply liberal precedents is worse for progressives than the Alito/Thomas position that when the Court overturns precedents it ought to do so explicitly.

One thing to add is that, as Sandy Levinson notes with respect to David Broder’s bizarre claim that Anthony Kennedy is more powerful than Nancy Pelosi, in some ways the lower priority liberal voters place on the courts is actually more rational. This isn’t to say that the courts aren’t important, or that liberals wouldn’t benefit from putting more pressure on presidents and Senators in judicial appointments. It’s also important for liberals to be better informed that what the courts do matters in areas far beyond abortion. But it’s also worth keeping in mind that when it comes to health care reform, the courts are pretty much the last potentially countermajoritarian institutional veto point that progressives need to worry about.

A Thousand Points of Servitude

[ 49 ] July 8, 2008 |

It seems appropriate that on the same week the National Review is claiming that support for apartheid and white supremacy represents “one particular vision of civil rights,” Jonah Goldberg is claiming that Barack Obama “vows to run afoul of the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery.” Apparently, this is because of Obama’s plan for setting goals for volunteer work, which indeed is analogous to slavery in exactly the same way in which Jesse Helms supported any vision of civil rights.

The "PC" Dodge

[ 0 ] July 8, 2008 |

I suppose that this line from the National Review’s heartwarming tribute to unreconstructed white supremacist, homophobe, and enthusiastic supporter of brutal authoritarian governments Jessie Helms was inevitable: “Helms’s real offense was a stubborn and victory-making political incorrectness.” I’m not sure if I know of a better example of the current wingnut definition of “politically incorrect,” which seems to mean “bigoted arguments we’d prefer not to defend on the merits but want insulated from any criticism.”

Elsewhere, Jonah Goldberg claims that the “liberal line” on Helms isn’t true, although for some reason he can’t be bothered to actually refute the extensive and unambiguous evidence concerning Helms’s bigotry. Perhaps he can start by giving the non-racist explanation for his penchant for whistling “Dixie” around Carol Mosley-Braun. That sure was “politically incorrect!”

The Late-Term Abortion Diversion

[ 10 ] July 7, 2008 |

Professor B provides some useful data about late-term abortions in light of Obama’s dumb (and I guess now clumsily partially retracted) comments about abortion policy. Admittedly, the policy consequences of what Obama is proposing would probably be negligible; as long as the decision rests with individual doctors rather than a panel, the precise definition of a health exemption makes very little difference on the ground. (Pre-Roe, some states with very strict-sounding statutes had relatively easy access to abortion in practice, while other state with broader access on paper had limited access in practice.) Of course, this cuts both ways: because most women don’t choose to get post-viability abortions and most doctors won’t perform them, there’s no “problem” that needs to be solved here by changing the law.

So as Jill, Amanda, and Jan Crawford Greenburg point out, the problem with Obama’s statement isn’t so much a policy issue as that it plays into right-wing frames about the abortion issue. As Greenburg notes:

History shows that those proposals — offered and embraced by legislators who would call themselves “pro-choice” — have been seized by conservatives who oppose abortion. As Dailard wrote, the attacks on the mental health exception have had “significant repercussions beyond that significant issue, seriously reviving a legislative attack on abortion rights that largely has been dormant for two decades.”

Given the unpopularity of the Republican position of banning pre-viability abortions, it’s obviously in their interest to focus on the tiny minority of (already restricted) post-viability abortions, and pretend that women routinely seek them for frivolous reasons. The appropriate Democratic response is to note that the vast majority of abortions are pre-viability and there’s no reason to believe that the ;aw restricting the tiny fraction of post-viability abortions don’t work. The Democrats have to stop playing on Republican turf, and Obama’s comments show that he doesn’t seem to understand that. As with foreign policy but with even less reason, national Democratic politicians seem to think that the Permanent Defensive Crouch is the way to go.

And since this isn’t the only place I’ve seen the conflation, I suppose I should note yet again that 1)bans on “partial birth” abortion apply to some pre-viability abortions, and 2)don’t prevent any abortions at any stage of gestation from being performed, but rather require doctors to perform abortions with methods that aren’t as safe. And hence, not only do such bans have nothing to do with restricting post-viability abortion, they are facially irrational.

Party Of Helms Watch

[ 5 ] July 7, 2008 |

How morally twisted to you have to be to mobilize hatred against the idea of gay soldier during a time of war? I guess you have to be at a Fred Barnes level of degeneracy. Fortunately, Fred’s projection of his views onto a majority of the public is so 1993:

Polling consistently finds that the public supports allowing openly-gay people to serve in the military. In fact, that support is growing even stronger with time.

Well, prominent conservative Republicans keep saying that Jesse Helms was an exemplary figure of their movement. It’s hard to argue…

Don’t Forget the Mashed Potato!

[ 0 ] July 7, 2008 |

Avert your eyes!

Give Helms this: his embrace of the worst elements of wingnuttery was nothing if not comprehensive. Since it’s easier to laugh at than his more typical race- and gay- baiting and support for bloodthristy dictators, I also like this quote:

“The nation has been hypnotized by the swaying and the gesturing of the Watusi and the Frug.”

I, for one, would have been terrified.

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