Friday, February 29, 2008

No News Is Good News...for Democrats

Remember the war in Iraq? Last year, we were bombarded with stories--all negative--about the war. When President Bush announced the surge strategy, TV pundits and Democratic politicians alike denounced it as "too little, too late."

But, as Newsbusters points out, as the surge began working, fewer stories out of Iraq were put on the nightly news.

MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas helped tabulate all ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Iraq since the beginning of 2007, just as the surge strategy was being implemented. After heavy coverage of the shift to a new Iraq policy in January and February 2007, the TV coverage began to closely track the rising and falling death rates for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. When the number of U.S. fatalities jumped in May, TV coverage jumped, too. When U.S. casualties began to steadily decline, TV coverage of Iraq dramatically decreased.

While the amount of coverage has shriveled, the tone remains more negative than positive. So far this month, the three evening newscasts have aired just 41 items on Iraq, most (23) just brief items read by the anchor. A mere seven stories were field reports from Iraq. Only ABC’s World News (February 13) noted the passage of key legislation by the Iraqi parliament, followed by a unique story the next evening on the success of the surge. The CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News offered no such stories in February, but NBC did find time to report a visit to Iraq by actress Angelina Jolie.

Back in December, NBC’s Tim Russert conceded that the media were less interested in covering a successful U.S. mission in Iraq, telling anchor Brian Williams that “with the surge in Iraq and the level of American deaths declining, it is off the front pages.”

Surprising? Not really. Journalists like reporting disasters, death, and despair. They will tell you that good news doesn't sell. But the truth is, when your country is at war and winning the war, you should play that up at least as much as you played up body counts and Democratic demogogues.

I suppose the hope is that if our successes aren't reported, then people won't know about them and will vote for Mr. Hope & Change, who, laughably, promises to pull our troops out of Iraq so we can lose. Then he plans to put the troops back in when things are really bad. Good plan, Barry!

What's In A Name?

A lot if you are Barak Hussein Obama.

That's why a lot of conservatives, including my friend Dana at CSPT like to use it. But now, the Republican National Committee has declared Obama's middle name offlimits.

“The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics," RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. "We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation.”

I don't care whether anyone uses Barry's middle name or not. Personally, I think it's distracting. A better approach is, say, bringing up his endorsement by Louis Farrakhan or his association with Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Hope and Change has a few skeletons in this closet. Focusing on them will be more constructive than discussing his name. Although some people are already playing the race card.

UPDATE: Karl at Protein Wisdom shoots down Glenn Greenwald's defense of Obama.

About That Wind Power...


That's what the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said when it cut off electricity to some customers because of a drop in wind generation.

A drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers, the grid agency said on Wednesday.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state.

I always thought wind power in Texas was a great idea. Anybody who's spent time in Midland or Amarillo knows that the wind blows there. A lot.

But apparently, not always and not enough.

Seems like I've seen somebody touting wind generation before. Hmm. Where could that be? Oh, yeah. Here. Haven't seen any discussion there about this latest inconvenience, but that's not really surprising.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama's Defense Policy

Powerline has a terrific post, complete with video, of Barak Obama's plans to strip the American ability to protect itself. Keep this bookmarked for the next time Obama lovers are gushing about their man.

Orange Is The New Terrorist Color

As in orange jumpsuits. Or Hollywood supporters of terrorists wearing orange ribbons.

Can we question their patriotism now?

Blocking Debate...My Inner Liberal Steps Out

This article on Comcast's sleezy tactics to prevent the public from attending a meeting of the FCC (at which the future of the internet was being discussed) gets my blood boiling.

There was huge turnout at today’s public hearing in Boston on the future of the Internet. Hundreds of concerned citizens arrived to speak out on the importance of an open Internet. Many took the day off from work — standing outside in the Boston cold — to see the FCC Commissioners. But when they reach the door, they’re told they couldn’t come in.

The size of the crowd is evidence that many Americans don’t want giant corporations like Comcast and Verzion to decide what we can do and where we can go on the Internet.

But will the FCC hear these voices? For many people who showed up on time for the hearing, apparently not.

Comcast — or someone who really, really likes Comcast — evidently bused in its own crowd. These seat-warmers, were paid to fill the room, a move that kept others from taking part.

[Update: Comcast admits to paying people to stack the room in their favor. Read the report.]

They arrived en masse some 90 minutes before the hearing began and occupied almost every available seat, upon which many promptly fell asleep.

One told us that he was “just getting paid to hold someone’s seat.”

He added that he had no idea what the meeting was about.

If he was holding someone else’s seat, he never gave it up.

Many of this early crowd had mysteriously matching yellow highlighters stuck in their lapels.

Comcast payoff
We also photographed them outside the venue being handed papers by an organizer who had been seen earlier talking with several of the Comcast people at the hearing.

Public hearings should not be manipulated like this, and it is clear that Comcast was afraid of actual people being able to attend the event.
The Cambridge hearing is part of the FCC’s ongoing investigation into Comcast’s blocking of Internet traffic. But there’s much more at stake. We are at a critical juncture, where it will be decided whether we have a closed Internet controlled by a small handful of giant corporations, or an open Internet controlled by the people who use it.

Comcast wants the former — to dictate which Web sites and services go fast, slow or don’t load at all. And they’re backed by the other would-be gatekeepers at AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner.

Tell the FCC to stop Comcast from blocking Internet traffic and to permanently protect Net Neutrality:

The official deadline for comments in Feb. 28. has photos and more links. This is an important issue to anyone who believes the internet should be the marketplace of ideas for the 21st Century.

Copyright Law in the Digital Age

I know I'm a nerd, but copyright law has always fascinated me. It's not just that I despise the DMCA and its infringement on fair use, but I'm intrigued by the way these ancient laws protecting creativity are being twisted and bent in a digital age.

Take this copyright infringement case against National Geographic. National Geographic has released a CD-ROM library called The Complete National Geographic. The CDs are filled with stories and pictures from previous National Geographic magazines. The case has been brought by a photographer wanting royalties for his work.

My gut reaction is that photographers and writers should get royalties for such compilations both because such a reproduction would have been unanticipated and the CDs constitute a new product. According to the article, the courts have split over this, and it is likely that this case (or one like it) will head before the Supreme Court in the coming years.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Are Hillbillies a Protected Class?

As a bona fide coal miner's daughter (yes, my dad mined coal as a young man in his native West Virginia), I can't decide whether to laugh or be insulted at the casting call for a new movie depicting the Mountaineer State's "holler" people, also known as hillbillies:

A movie about to be filmed in Pittsburgh is casting Gothic characters -- including an albino-like girl and deformed people -- to depict West Virginia mountain people.
"'Regular-looking" children need not apply.

That's the gist of an open casting call for paid extras for "Shelter," a horror film starring Julianne Moore that will begin shooting in Pittsburgh in March.

The casting call scheduled for Sunday invites "men and women of all races, 18 or older," to try out as extras, according to the announcement from Downtown-based Donna Belajac Casting. But the extras wanted for the West Virginia scenes evoke images of Deliverance and The Hills Have Eyes.

"It's the way it was described in the script," Belajac said Monday. "Some of these 'holler' people -- because they are insular and clannish, and they don't leave their area -- there is literally inbreeding, and the people there often have a different kind of look. That's what we're trying to get."
Belajac said the announcement was not meant to stereotype people from West Virginia. But state officials and a history professor called it "unfortunate" that such unfair views of people are being repeated.

"They clearly are not trying to create the image of a quaint, homespun mountain family," said Kevin Barksdale, assistant history professor at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. "Clearly, what they're trying to establish is this notion of the hillbilly monster."

Maybe these two guys should apply.

It's hard for me to see why West Virginians can be insulted by this portrayal of them. Every roadside stand along Highway 119 from Charleston to Madison had some buck-toothed, big-eared, domed-forehead bearing hillbilly paraphernalia. Some were statues made of coal. Others were bumper stickers, posters, joke books, and more. True, it's not a flattering portrayal any more than all those redneck cowpoke portrayals of Texans are flattering. But if it weren't for stereotypes, where would Hollywood be?

Thinking of Mom

12 years. Still miss you, Mom.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Question His Patriotism?

Political campaigns do all sorts of strange things all the time, and coverage of such campaigns often take even stranger twists. Take this CNN poll question:

There's been a lot of innuendo and skirting of this issue for the last year (based largely on Obama's middle name : Hussein), but, as The Politico points out, this is a "largely whispered question that none of his main, named critics" have been willing to touch.

Personally, I don't care about his middle name one way or the other. He didn't pick it anymore than I picked mine. What does bother me is his cavalier attitude about the presidency (as evidenced by his opinions on foreign policy) and his (and his wife's) trashing of America in an attempt to make it to the White House.

It's difficult to believe the hyperbole when Michelle Obama says she's never been proud to be an American before her husband ran for president, or that she actually believes Americans are worse off today than in previous generations.

Were my father, as a Depression baby, able to discuss what actual poverty used to be like in America, he would probably scoff at squishy, privileged people like Barak and Michelle Obama. I don't hear either Obama talk about hunting squirrels to feed a family of eight like my father did as a child. And if affording college is the polio of this generation, then we are doing considerably better than previous generations where death and disease were occurances so common as to be expected. These days, college is the norm, regardless of its particular usefulness, but I've yet to hear of anyone dying because of a lack of government involvement.

Perhaps bluntly questioning if Obama is patriotic enough to be president may be unseemly, but if Obama wants the job, he needs to show a bit more respect for the office and the people. Unfortunately, the voters he courts don't really think America is a special place, either.

UPDATE: William Kristol has a nice column addressing this patriotism thing.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

There Is a God...And He Told Ralph Nader to Help Republicans

There's been speculation for a while about how Republicans can win in November. One scenario included Ralph Nader entering the race from the Left. I'm not too proud to admit that my heart did a little leap when I discovered that Ralph Nader indeed plans to enter the campaign as a third party candidate.

Ralph Nader announced on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he'll run as a third-party, anti-corporate candidate for president this fall, which would be likely to drain votes from the Democratic nominee and provide a huge boon to Republicans.

Democrats say they will work behind the scenes — and use court challenges, if necessary — to try to thwart his access to ballots.

There's a certain delicious irony that Democrats who have screeched for eight years about stolen elections and disenfranchisement would try to disenfranchise Nader supporters. I don't really blame them, but I have to wonder how much damage Nader could do to Democrats this time around. Surely there aren't that many fringies more interested in making a "statement" than in electing someone more to his/her liking.

Jeromy Brown Hearts Obama...And Don't You Dare Confuse Him with Any Facts!

Reading Iowa Liberal has always felt a little like revisiting middle school for me. I mean, where else does this or this or this pass as serious and thoughtful commentary?

All those posts were humorous enough, but Jeromy Brown's defense of Barak Obama has to take the cake for serious man crushing on a political candidate. Maybe reporters got it wrong and it wasn't a woman fainting over Obama like he was the second coming of Elvis. Here's a little of the post:

This really shouldn’t be necessary to write, but there is a slowly building concentration of defensive spin targeting Barack Obama coming from Clinton supporters, Beltway MSM hacktaculars, and people willing to vote for McCain (because watching one president decline into old age and senility wasn’t enough). So it is with profound regret that I have to say this.

Yes, you bleeding nitwits, I do understand that Barack Obama is not Jesus Christ.

Maybe taking into account that I don’t even think Jesus was Christ would have helped those who know me better avoid such accusations, but as one surveys the news scene it can be readily witnessed that the anti-Obama crowd thinks they’ve found a line of attack against him that will finally stick. Yes, Clinton fans, you’ve aligned with the likes of Charles Krauthammer and Jake “Ass” Tapper around this cynical joke: upon witnessing the American people daring to be halfway inspired and moved by a presidential candidate, even after they’ve suffered through two terms of President Clusterfuck, the only logical conclusion is that 22 states and the majority of Democratic voters now belong to a cult, and they think Obama is the messiah.

Perhaps Jeromy doesn't spend any time at all listening to what Obama supporters actually say about their candidate, but I have. As I've written before, Obama supporters--at least those that call shows or will discuss politics with you one-on-one come up with the most emotional, vapid, and vacuous reasons for voting for them. Most of them can't name you one Obama policy, and those that can rarely can tell you why that policy has greater merit than other policies offered by either Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

The bottom line is that Obama's appeal is based almost entirely on his personal charm and charisma (gee, we've seen this one before). Supporters can't even name a single legislative accomplishment of Obama's.

Even Jeromy Brown doesn't bother trying to explain Obama's qualifications for leading the free world: at 47, the junior senator from Illinois has none. Instead, Jeromy argues that being likable is a gosh darn good enough reason to want him in charge of foreign policy, where he promises to talk to loose cannons like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On one side, you have people who have decided Obama would bring a fresh approach to the White House and speak in non-divisive language that would bring independents and weaken rightwingers enough to get a practical progressive agenda carried out. They aren’t signing loyalty oaths, a Bush II practice that went virtually ignored. They find him, much like those who oppose Obama politically, to be charming and likable. If one can reasonably determine Dick Cheney to be the bastard lovechild of Darth Vader and Dr. Strangelove, deciding Obama’s a good fellow isn’t much of a stretch. Indeed, trying to find anybody in Obama’s past dealings that hates him is a fool’s quest.

We're not electing Prom King here, Jeromy. I'd like to vote for someone who has some experience and a history of accomplishments, some of which even Jeromy Brown should favor (here and here are a couple of other examples).

Instead, Jeromy just continues in the typical Obama supporter manner: talk about how he makes them feel good and how Rush Limbaugh is evil. Good argument!

As a conservative, I think Obama would be a disaster as president. If you bother looking at his record (such as it is), his positions are fringy left and/or completely unworkable (how does he plan to "Take China "to the mat" about currency manipulation"?). He essentially supports abortion till birth (that's what "Trust women to make own decisions on partial-birth abortion" means), thinks the government should do research on embryos, and thinks taxpayers should be paying for women exercising their right to choose. On gay rights, he's for civil unions and against marriage, wants to include sexual orientation in protected classes and ominously has said, "don't use religion to insulate from criticism," which could indicate an intention to force religious organizations to hire gay employees, regardless of the religion's teachings on the subject.

On foreign policy, as I pointed out here, Obama is willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il & Hugo Chavez and doesn't consider China to be our enemy. He's against free trade. He wants to tax companies as though such taxes won't affect employees or customers.

Obama's for gun control. He wants to register women for the draft. He wants to "grow the size of the military" (no details, of course), yet says he wants to end the war in Iraq. He's for illegal immigration. He wants them to have driver's licenses, ensuring that they will stay. He wants illegal immigrants to get Medicaid and welfare.

These are just some of Obama's stated policies and beliefs. If I can find them, surely cheerleaders like Jeromy Brown can come up with something better than the "Mr. Hope and Change" meme of the Obamamaniacs.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Do We Really Want This Guy to be President?

Mr. Hope & Change, Barak Obama, told an anecdote in a debate the other night about an American army captain in Afghanistan who says he had to poach ammunition from a captured soldier because he didn't have enough. You can read people who support this version here, here, and here (moonbats, attack!)

But, as The Weekly Standard points out, units virtually always deploy missing something or other, including some units and/or ammunition. Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom says Obama should apologize for the whole thing.

But here's my point. We already have Obama's wife admitting she's not patriotic and we have Obama showing he knows absolutely nothing--nothing--about the military, particularly in a time of war. And, psst, Barry (as my sister calls him), we're gonna be at war for a long time, regardless of what you tell the moonbats at your rallies.

Personally, I don't want a president who doesn't think America is the best thing on earth. I don't want a president who doesn't think meeting with the U.S. president is an honor and privilege. And I don't want a president who says gobbledegook like this about foreign policy:

Of the candidates left, John McCain is the only one who has met our enemies and knows that winning wars is more than just retreating when it is convenient. When McCain tells the hard truth--that we might be in Iraq for 100 years--it's not because he is relentlessly negative, but because he understands our security needs.

Unfortunately, like most Democrats, Mr. Hope and Change doesn't get that. Until the next attack. Then he--and moonbats--will try to blame Republicans. As usual.

UPDATE: Karl at Protein Wisdom smacks down Josh Marshall's idiotic claim that the military, somehow, doesn't have the right to defend itself against scurrilous and political accusations from the white flag wavers of the Left.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Foot-in-Mouth Disease and the Role of Spouses

One of the great things about presidential campaigns is you get to see the spouses mess up for the reporters. Bill Clinton's done it and now, so has Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama today said that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.”

For the first time? Really? I'm the same age as Michelle Obama, and I can think of all kinds of times when I was proud of my country.
--When an American first landed on the moon.

--When the Soviet Union fell.

--When we gave billions in aid to places suffering from natural disasters, from earthquakes to hurricanes, to tsunamis

--When Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court

And, as John Podoretz points out, there are things that happened in our lifetimss that we didn't remember at the time (like passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), but which shaped our lives and made her husband's run for president both possible and, in some ways, unremarkable.

Sure, it was a stupid, insensitive, off the cuff thing for Michelle to say, but too many of those and she'll be labelled the new Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Podoretz points out there are multiple problems with this mistake, The first is that it shows the near-messianic nature of Obama's campaign. Yesterday, I was listening to Michael Medved's program and he asked Obama supporters to name a single reason they think Barak Obama should be president. The response was stunning and pathetic. Not a single person had a logical reason--let alone a policy position--they could name for why Obama should be president. It all came down to the idea that he could "get things done" (even though they didn't know what they wanted doing) and that he would bring "hope" (although from what or for what they couldn't say). Along with the phony fainting woman at his campaign stops, it's apparent that Obama has become more of a cult figure than a political candidate.

Podoretz' second point was even more important.
Second, it suggests the Obama campaign really does have its roots in New Class leftism, according to which patriotism is not only the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the first refuge as well — that America is not fundamentally good but flawed, but rather fundamentally flawed and only occasionally good.

Do we really want a president who is ashamed of the U.S.? Lefties are reflexively embarrassed at flag-waving patriotism, but, it seems to me, that you don't run for president of a country that hasn't given you the best opportunities in life and of which you can't say is "the last best hope on Earth."

Michelle Obama's had a cushy life, complete with the sorts of opportunities her parents and grandparents would have been denied. It would have been unthinkable. Yet, rather than be grateful to America for its opportunities and freedoms, Michelle Obama says that only now is she proud of America.

Do we really want this attitude in the White House?

Monday, February 18, 2008

More on Why Women Don't Want to Be Feminists Anymore

All you have to do is read Echidne's blog for a while, and you'll come to understand why younger women don't want to be associated with the humorless feminists of the previous generation. Take this riff of hers on a Glenn Beck self-deprecating joke (care of Media Matters, of course!)

Here's the Beck joke:

Now, here's a story I found: "Surprising reasons you're not having sex"...

I mean, here are some other reasons. "You're ugly." Hello! I'm not a sex expert but I'm -- you know, I'm thinking, you know, you're ugly and, you know, that's a tough one to overcome especially if you're a woman. If you're a guy, that's not hard to overcome. I'm sorry. That's just the way the world is. Have you -- how many ugly guys have hot wives? Take me, for example. I don't know why she married -- I think it was low self-esteem. I do. No, really I think it was low self-esteem. I got in -- you know, you buy when the market is low. You know what I mean? While everybody else is selling, you buy. And I think I got in there right at the right time. Low self-esteem, low, wait a minute, could go a little lower, she might come down to my price. Hang on, OK, sold! Now her self-esteem is going up. And if my income wasn't going up, she would have ditched me long ago. She would have gone, "Wait a minute, I think I was depressed when I married you." I'm just -- look. I'm not Tania, but I am a thinker. I'm on to you, Tania!

Emphasis Echidne's.

I've come to the conclusion that Echidne and other feminist bloggers don't like humor, especially old-fashioned humor. You know, humor that husbands and wives tell each other when they are teasing. Men talk about the ball and chain and women talk about how incompetent their men are at something or other. Watch reruns of I Love Lucy, Home Improvement, or George Lopez to know what I'm talking about. At the end of the show, the couple always comes back with why they love each other so much. Perhaps that's what Echidne doesn't get.

Here is Echidne's humorless analysis of Beck's self-deprecating remark:
It's a joke but it isn't really a joke. The thinking goes something like this: Women want money and men want sex. So all women are in the market for a rich guy and all men are in the market for a beautiful woman. Then they trade. And that is called love, I guess. Of course, once you lose your looks or your money you also lose the love...

Anyone who has listened to Beck, watched his show, or read his books knows that he isn't saying this at all. Mainly what he says is that guys are shallow and women know this and accept it for reasons beyond the pea-sized brains of most guys. But even in this sweeping generalization, Beck typically points out how lucky he is that his wife loves him regardless of how silly or shallow he is. This has nothing to do with looks and everything to do with what real love is about: caring for someone when they are lovable and when they aren't. It's not about money or power the way feminists constantly declare it is. If it were about money or power, most of us wouldn't marry the people we end up with. Unless you are Hillary Clinton and can then deny that that's why you stayed with a skirt-chaser.

The Future of American Health Care

This Daily Mail article shows us the sort of health care we can anticipate with socialized medicine.

Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets.

Thousands of people a year are having to wait outside accident and emergency departments because trusts will not let them in until they can treat them within four hours, in line with a Labour pledge.

The hold-ups mean ambulances are not available to answer fresh 999 calls.

Who's brave enough to ask Hillary and Barak about these "benefits"?

Follow the Money

Robert Novak explains how torts trumpet terrorism for Democrats in Congress.

(House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi could have exercised leadership prerogatives and called up the FISA bill to pass with unanimous Republican support. Instead, she refused to bring to the floor a bill approved overwhelmingly by the Senate. House Democratic opposition included left-wing members typified by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, but they were only a small faction of those opposed. The true reason for blocking the bill was Senate-passed retroactive immunity to protect from lawsuits private telecommunications firms asked to eavesdrop by the government. The nation's torts bar, vigorously pursuing such suits, has spent months lobbying hard against immunity.

The recess by House Democrats amounts to a judgment that losing the generous support of trial lawyers, the Democratic Party's most important financial base, would be more dangerous than losing the anti-terrorist issue to Republicans. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the phone companies for giving individuals' personal information to intelligence agencies without a warrant. Mike McConnell, the nonpartisan director of national intelligence, says delay in congressional action deters cooperation in detecting terrorism.

Humorously, Christy Hardin Smith tries to argue that the fight over FISA was waged by low-paid do-gooders at the ACLU (*scoff*) and that this wasn't about the massive amount of money and power wielded by trial lawyers in the Democratic Party. You really do have to be a Kool-Aid drinker to believe this stuff, but it is Firedoglake, after all.

The truth is, trial lawyers gave to 24 of the 29 Democratic lawmakers who voted against the FISA bill. And trial lawyers have the money and clout to sway Democrats to keep the money flowing their way. That's why being able to sue the telecoms was more important than national security.

Why the Religious Right is Stuck with John McCain

Daniel Gilgoff has a very interesting column in USA Today on why the religious right must either support moderate John McCain for president or endure at least four years of Democrats who are worse on their issues than McCain.

I listen to a considerable amount of talk radio--not as much as I once did, but still a fair amount--and I try to mix it up to get a variety of opinions into my head. Call it putting my ear to the ground in multiple places. So, this means I not only listen to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Hugh Hewitt, but also more liberal programs from NPR like Diane Rehm and Day by Day. And, more to the point, I also listen to a little program called Point of View, a conservative talk show which broadcasts on hundreds of stations throughout the U.S. and on shortwave radio.

Point of View discusses current events, including politics, from an evangelical perspective. The variety of topics is remarkably wide-ranging, much more so that many other conservative talk radio programs. Some of the topics sound nutty to less evangelical conservatives (before the seventh Harry Potter book was out, POV spent a week bashing the series as "encouraging occultism," and every Halloween there are a host of books, CDs, and pamphlets against the holiday), but politics is where POV shines a light into the minds of evangelical voters.

That's why, even before reading Gilgoff's article, I wasn't the least bit surprised to hear how conservative Christians backed the more liberal Mike Huckabee over establishment guy Mitt Romney. It wasn't that these Christians like Huckabee's stances on immigration or foreign policy, but that they trusted Huckabee on the social issues most important to them over Romney or candidate-elect John McCain.

Gilgoff discusses the Herculean efforts of Nancy French, the Evangelicals for Mitt blog, to persuade evangelical Christians that it was acceptable (nay, preferable) to vote for a Mormon. French knew the job was an uphill battle, but it wasn't until the southern primaries that she knew the battle was lost.

Given how much hate mail French had received about Evangelicals for Mitt, she wasn't exactly shocked by Huckabee's wins. Instead, Romney's dramatic loss among evangelicals, whom he had been courting for more than a year, confirmed her fears about being able to change relatively few minds herself. For millions of evangelicals to be convinced that it was OK to support a Mormon, French concluded, high-profile Christian right leaders would have had to engage in a serious conversation about how faith should and shouldn't affect voting decisions.

"I would have loved for some Christian leaders to have said, 'We have a Mormon running for president and we have a Baptist preacher ... but who really reflects your values?' " she says. "Should you vote only for a Christian?" French is right. Such a conversation would have made it harder for Huckabee to ride evangelical support to so many early victories. And it might have helped Romney garner enough evangelical support to still be challenging McCain today.

But the conversation never happened. Which helps explains why evangelicals are stuck with Huckabee, who has less than a third of McCain's delegates and needs more delegates than are currently available to win the nomination. Socially conservative evangelicals are now all but certain to have to endure McCain — who backs federally funded embryonic stem cell research, opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and famously denounced the Christian right as "agents of intolerance" — as the GOP nominee.

I've said before that John McCain wasn't my perfect candidate, but that he was close enough on the issues most important to me (the war in Iraq and judges). And I also can agree with McCain's federalist philosophy regarding things such as gay marriage (it's a state issue, one I've defended constantly for months).

Unfortunately, for many, Romney's ever-evolving conservatism wasn't the issue; his Mormonism was. I was always convinced that if Romney supporters didn't keep bringing up Mormonism, then it wouldn't have been an issue, but I'm willing to admit that I was wrong on that one. For many on the religious right, it was Romney's religion that bothered them most. I find that disturbing on multiple levels, but the worst part of the evangelicals is that this election is sure not to be about any of the social issues they care most about. And that was the choice they made by letting Romney's religion get in the way of their politics.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Feminists Hate on Maureen Dowd

It's amusing watching feminist blogs rant against Maureen Dowd. Certainly no friend of conservatives, Dowd still manages to pull feminsts' chain and pinch their cheeks time after time. Take the absurdity at Echidne's site over a recent Dowd column.

I'm not sure if I could write an anti-feminist piece as well, and that would be the comparable assignment for me. Though naturally Maureen has some help from the fact that the point of her column isn't that different from all the earlier "I Hate Hitlery" columns she has penned. It's not to get Hillary elected to anything because she is a horrible monster. Only this time Maureen explains carefully why agreeing with Hillary's monstrosity will not make you a bad feminist at all.

Which, in fact, as usual, isn't at all what the column says.
As a possible first Madame President, Hillary is a flawed science experiment because you can’t take Bill out of the equation. Her story is wrapped up in her marriage, and her marriage is wrapped up in a series of unappetizing compromises, arrangements and dependencies.

Instead of carving out a separate identity for herself, she has become more entwined with Bill. She is running bolstered by his record and his muscle. She touts her experience as first lady, even though her judgment during those years on issue after issue was poor. She says she’s learned from her mistakes, but that’s not a compelling pitch.

As a senator, she was not a leading voice on important issues, and her Iraq vote was about her political viability.

Echidne fails to remake Dowd's column into an anti-feminism screed because Dowd's criticism of Hillary Clinton is true. Dissecting why Hillary Clinton has been eclipsed by Barak Obama is not simply about discussing her womanhood. Hillary's problems with the populace are in large part because we have watched both Clintons work for the better part of 15 years. After all, Bill's presidency wasn't merely his own (remember the 2-for-one comment?). Hillary has tried to parlay eight years as First Lady into "experience," even as it is obvious that her greatest accomplishment was losing--er, finding her billing records from the Rose Law Firm.

As Dick Morris has pointed out, Hillary Clinton's campaign is crashing and burning because she misread the electorate, thinking "experience" would be the quality they want, as opposed to "change." But Echidne and her readers don't get that. No, any criticism of Hillary is a criticism of women in general. Some samples from her comments:
"There is no woman who could please Maureen Dowd because she believes in herself that women are the competition. Somewhere her psyche is twisted."

"The perfect female candidate would be somebody who didn't make Maureen Dowd jealous and insecure about her own choices."

"I've been saying for years that MoDo had a serious crush on Bill Clinton back in 92-93-94: she loved his politics, his wonkishness, and his skills as a politician. And she was always jealous of Hillary. When bimbroglio broke out, MoDo wrote as if Bill had been unfaithful to her, not to Hillary. It's as if MoDo believed she was the only woman worthy of Bill. And she's been trying to write poison pen letters to Hillary since then."

Notice how most of the criticism is aimed at Dowd personally, rather than anything she has said. That's because, for the brainwashed and braindead, criticism of Hillary Clinton--any criticism--is tinged with misogyny. Disliking the way Hillary has used and misused her own femaleness for gain--for example, complaining that she gets picked on 'cause she's a girl in debates or acting oh, so shocked when Rick Lazio approached her about her ethical violations--isn't merely the flipside of those patronizing boys who "Ain't you the cutest thing"'d you to death as a young woman. In other words, these people can't see that critiquing Hillary as a candidate--likable, believable, honest, nasty, lying, hiding, etc.--isn't simply a "hate on women" campaign. It's actually taking her candidacy seriously as an individual. In the same way most people don't look at Barak Obama's candidacy as a litmus test for the competency of black people as presidential candidates, so too, most Americans don't view liking or disliking Hillary Clinton as a litmus test for misogyny. She's just not a good candidate.

But don't tell Echidne that. She might ban you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Republicans Disrupted Lantos' Funeral?

In Unhingedland, it's said Republicans disrupted the funeral of Congressman Tom Lantos.

Even the dead are political pawns to the Republicans (then again, we already knew that post-September 11). House Republicans, at the bidding of the Bush White House, are upset that House Democrats are voting on contempt citations for Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton today. So the House GOP members are disrupting proceedings in the House today, calling for "protest votes" and the like that eat up 15 minutes of the day at a time. Well, they just called one such protest vote in the middle of recently-deceased Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos' memorial service, which they certainly knew was taking place. This is akin to forcing people to leave a wake on purpose. The House Republicans and the White House couldn't wait for Lantos' service to be finished before forcing everyone back to the House floor to vote for something silly. They intentionally disrupted a dead man's memorial service for political gain. But as was already noted, the Republicans have been abusing the memory of 3,000 dead for seven years now, so why expect anything new and better from them now.

As Michelle Malkin points out, no Democrat should discuss the idea of disrupting a statesman's funeral after this and this.

But, unfortunately for the residents of Unhingedland, Republicans weren't trying to disrupt the funeral.
A senior Republican aide, however, said the GOP was given no choice in asking for a vote because Democrats broke their commitment to keep the House in recess during the memorial service. Democrats are pushing a contempt vote against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Bush counsel Harriet Miers, and have bypassed traditional rules allowing an hour of debate on the matter, according to Jo Maney, a spokeswoman for Republicans on the House Rules Committee.

"The reason for the chaos is the majority," Maney said. "We made clear we would use every procedural rule" to delay the contempt votes.

"There was an agreement that there would be no votes during the service, but they [Democrats] rang the bells" to bring the House back into session, Maney said.

The scene in the Capitol was extremely tense as the procedural motion failed. The Crypt has already received several angry denouncements from both sides of the aisle as tempers flared this morning in the House.

Democrats are now debating the contempt resolution, which stems from an investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys.

“This is the height of disrespect and completely shameful," said one senior Democratic leadership aide. "... They just chose to vote at the most inappropriate time.”

But another GOP House aide complained that Democrats allowed no other option because Republicans have been denied the ability to offer any alternatives to the contempt votes.

In other words, this was a big faux pas. There was no disrespect intended. Apology?

Happy Valentine's Day!

One for those just starting (forget the video)...

One for the end...

(Ok, that wasn't slow and tragic, but you get the idea).

And one for those loves that go on and on (ignore the video...PLEASE)...

May everyone have this day with the one they love. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thinking of Dad

The video is kinda goofy, but I like the song.

And a song that used to drive Dad nuts...especially when I played it LOUD...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why Does Anyone Watch Bill Maher Anymore?

I may disagree with Rush Limbaugh from time to time, but only leftists seem to think wishing death on your political enemies is good comedy.

Here's the transcript:

BILL MAHER, HOST: Why is it, I was asking Amy this, why is it that the Republican establishment, I guess it is, have so much disdain, not just for McCain, but for the other guy who's still in it...Huckabee? They don't like either one of them.

P.J. O'ROURKE, WRITER: Well, I think a couple of things are going on. It's the it's the twilight of the radio loud-mouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy…

MAHER: …You mean Rush Limbaugh and Sean..?

O'ROURKE: …from the moment the fat guy refused to share his drugs (audience laughter). I was, you know…he never called, he never wrote. I'm ready to party, you know, come on! No, I think it's kind of over for those people. So…

MAHER: Right, you mean the OxyContin that he was on?

O'ROURKE: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that stuff's good!

MAHER: Why couldn't, uh, why couldn't have he croaked from it instead of Heath Ledger? (small audience groans)

O'ROURKE: Yeah, yeah.

I've enjoyed P.J. O'Rourke's writing, but why he would sink to the Bill Maher level is beyond me. After all, Bill Maher has a habit of wishing death on his political enemies. Worse, he's not even funny about it. Isn't "he's a comedian" one of the excuses liberals always give for why it's acceptable when Bill Maher or Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert says something outrageous?

The fact is, wishig for the death of people you disagree with is beyond stupid or childish. It's disgusting. Why does anyone even watch this guy anymore?

Barak Obama Needs to Police His Supporters

Ah, yes. We've reached the point where ideas just might matter. Take the idea that a Cuban flag with Che Guavara's image on it flies in Barak Obama's Houston campaign office.

These are the kinds of gaffes that will eventually sink the Obama candidacy. Not simply because it shows how little the Obama fans know about Che, but because, in defending the flag, they will turn off potential voters who will wonder how radical Obama actually is. Granted, a lot of his supporters might consider the Che flag as an asset, but remember, everybody has to run to the center to win in November. For Obama, that means leaving his lefty roots in the dust.

Monday, February 11, 2008

In Honor of My Birthday...

Tomorrow's my birthday and there's just no telling what will be happening, so I thought I'd post this tonight.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Anti-Illegal Immigrant Laws Upheld

The New York Times has an article detailing the victories of states and municipalities to police illegal immigration in their communities.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Arizona ruled against a lawsuit by construction contractors and immigrant organizations who sought to halt a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1 imposing severe penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The judge, Neil V. Wake of Federal District Court, methodically rejected all of the contractors’ arguments that the Arizona law invaded legal territory belonging exclusively to the federal government.

On Jan. 31, a federal judge in Missouri, E. Richard Webber, issued a similarly broad and even more forcefully worded decision in favor of an ordinance aimed at employers of illegal immigrants adopted by Valley Park, Mo., a city on the outskirts of St. Louis.

And, in an even more sweeping ruling in December, a judge in Oklahoma, James H. Payne, threw out a lawsuit against a state statute enacted last year requiring state contractors to verify new employees’ immigration status. Judge Payne said the immigrants should not be able to bring their claims to court because they were living in the country in violation of the law.

Locally, Farmers Branch passed a city ordinance requiring tenants to show proof of residency to rent within the city limits. The law has been stuck in the courts ever since, where liberals consider it cruel to enforce our laws.

Those in favor of illegal immigrants tend to argue that immigration is a federal issue and states and cities are barred from creating laws to enforce the feds' job. But many courts are starting to see the futility of preventing states and cities from protecting themselves in a situation where the federal government has been willfully impotent.
Judge Payne of Oklahoma, ruling Dec. 12 on state laws that took effect in November, went furthest in questioning the rights of illegal immigrants.

"These illegal alien plaintiffs seek nothing more than to use this court as a vehicle for their continued unlawful presence in this country," he wrote. "To allow these plaintiffs to do so would make this court an ‘abettor of iniquity,’ and this court finds that simply unpalatable."

It makes sense to me that states and localities should be allowed to police their own borders, particularly when the federal government has determined it will not do so.

Parental Alienation Syndrome

This article out of Science Daily (via, discusses an interesting phenomenon in divorce: Parental Alienation Syndrome.

One out of four children involved in a divorce and custody litigation undergoes the so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), consisting of the manipulation of children by the custodial parent, who incessantly tries to turn them against the other parent by arousing in them feelings of hatred and contempt for the target parent, as explained in the book Marital Conflicts, Divorce, and Children’s Development by professors José Cantón Duarte, Mª Rosario Cortés Arboleda, and Mª Dolores Justicia Díaz, from the Department of Evolutionary and Educational Psychology of the University of Granada...

According to Mª Rosario Cortés, "the so-called alienating parent is the one who has custody and uses it to brainwash the child, turning him or her against the alienated parent". In most cases, the process is very subtle the custodial parent stating such things as "if I just told you some more things about your father/mother…", or by making the child feel sorry for "abandoning" every time he or she visits the alienated parent.

As pointed out by the group of researchers of the University of Granada, there are many other factors which influence PAS apart from the unacceptable attitude of the custodial parent, such as children’s psychological vulnerability, the character and behaviour of parents, dynamics among brothers, or the existing conflicts between the two divorced parents. Very often children not only reject their father, but also his family and close friends. Grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and the new partner of the non-custodial parent are also affected by this syndrome, and children undergoing PAS can even "expel them from their life."

Oddly enough, I recognize the symptoms of this syndrome, even though my oldest child lived with me for years. Healthy adults try to support the relationships of their children with both parents, regardless of personal feelings or antipathy for the other parent. Unhealthy adults use their children as weapons against the other parent, showing little concern for how this affects the child later in life.
Among other symptoms, Professor Cortés points out that children tend to find continual justifications for the alienating parent’s attitude. They denigrate the target parent, relate negative feelings unambivalently towards that parent, deny being influenced by anyone (pleading responsibility for their attitude), feel no guilt for denigrating the alienated parent, or recount events which were not experienced but rather came from listening to others.

Here are the symptoms:
1. The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behavior.

2. The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger.

3. The child is sure of him or herself and doesn't demonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for the alienated parent, only hate.

4. The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this.

5. The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent.

6. The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent.

7. The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced.

8. Animosity is spread to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.

In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brain-washed against the alienated parent. The alienator can truthfully say that the child doesn't want to spend any time with this parent, even though he or she has told him that he has to, it is a court order, etc. The alienator typically responds, "There isn't anything that I can do about it. I'm not telling him that he can't see you."

This last article contains information on how to successfully fight PAS. It is highly recommended reading for anyone in this situation.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sharia Law Enforced in Texas!

In light of the recent flap over the Archbishop of Canterbury stating that The adoption of some aspects of Islamic Sharia law in Britain 'seems unavoidable," Eugene Volokh's revelation of Sharia law applications in the U.S. seems designed to bring some rationality and calmness to the debate. Volokh cites three different cases where judges accepted the application of Sharia law.

Oddly enough, the American courts treat this as a perfectly normal matter. In the first two cases I cited, the parties entered into a contract that provided for Sharia arbitration; the courts considered challenges to the arbitral process, and upheld the awards. The third case involved a contractual provision expressly stating that disputes about the contract would be resolved under Saudi Arabian law; the court then dutifully investigated what the Saudi rules (which are built on Sharia) would call for, and rendered judgment "based upon this Court's review of various academic texts, the testimony of the experts, the submissions of the parties, and the Court's understanding of the fundamental principles of Islamic law as they would be interpreted by a court in Saudi Arabia."

And of course the application of Sharia law was indeed a perfectly normal matter. American courts are governed by American law, but American law has long provided that parties to contracts can provide for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (such as arbitration). American law has likewise long provided that some contractual disputes would be resolved with reference to foreign law, especially when the law is expressly provided for by the contract. It doesn't matter whether the arbitration or the foreign law is secular or religious -- secular and religious rules are treated basically equally, on the principle that the parties' contractual choices should be honored unless some extraordinary circumstance makes it unfair to do so.

One could argue that American courts shouldn't be able to apply religious rules because of concerns about excessive entanglement of the government and religion. But even if that's so in some situations, it wouldn't apply when a court is merely asked to confirm an arbitration award rather than to applying the religious rules in the first instance, and it also wouldn't apply when the religious rules are part of the law of a foreign country (such as Saudi Arabia).

Now maybe Sharia law is more likely to be unfair than other systems in certain circumstances; and doubtless some people feel strong social pressure to enter into contracts endorsed by their cultural group. But people feel various kinds of pressure to enter into various kinds of contracts. American law usually enforces the contracts despite talk of pressure and unfairness. There are exceptions, but they are indeed exceptions, and the rule is enforcing contracts. Yet the skies haven't fallen, nor do they seem likely to fall even if more contracts end up being arbitrated or otherwise evaluated under Sharia law.

Volokh is right, of course. This seems to be one of those "gotcha!" cases designed to grab headlines, then fade quickly from view. In contracts, people are allowed to determine the legal basis of the contract with little interference from the authorities. It's one of our basic freedoms of choice. That some might choose a form of law with which we disagree is simply a normal consequence (there's that word again) of having the freedom to choose such things.

The Romney We Never Knew?

Howard Fineman has an interesting opinion piece on the fake campaign of Mitt Romney.

I have covered a lot of presidential campaigns, and I can't think of one that so lost its way-so expensively-as that of the former governor of Massachusetts. A board room and business favorite, a man with a Midas managerial touch, he was widely admired and even beloved. But he was a Republican of an old moderate school-that of his own father-and, like George W. Bush, Romney the Younger decided that he had to jettison all that he was to become something that he was not.

And so it was that this square peg spent perhaps $80 million-including at least $30 million of his own money-trying to pound himself into a round hole. It didn't work. The irony of his failed campaign: if he had just stuck to selling his managerial mettle, he might well have won the nomination, given the way the country's economic anxieties have become voters' number one concern.

Even as conservative radio talk-show hosts reluctantly settled on him as their savior, they were uneasy about it and about his previous record of social moderation and fiscal flexibility. They sold him hard in the last few weeks, but to no avail. Romney won his home state and the states in the West where Mormonism was familiar, but not much else.

The quality of being genuine is hard to convey, and deciding who should be president based solely on that basis can lead to disaster; you need brains and an ability to go with the flow as well. But voters know a phony above all and Romney came off as one from the get-go. Over the last decade he had changed his views in a rightward direction on so many issues to suit what he thought he needed to win the GOP nomination that he ended up standing for nothing but his own ambition.

I think that's as good an explanation for what had bothered me about Mitt Romney as anything. For me, he seemed fake. His recent (within the past decade) conversions seemed calculated to appeal to social conservatives with whom he might not have had much in common. It's not that it was impossible for him to have changed his mind about a variety of social issues--I swung from liberal to conservative over the course of a decade--but his reasons for doing so didn't ring true.

I always tell people that I gave up on Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party the day I heard that Clinton had told a group that perhaps his 1993 tax hikes had been too big. By that point, I'd spent the better part of five years defending those tax hikes in my very conservative family. It felt like a betrayal. Childish, I know.

My swing from pro-choice to pro-life was more complicated than that. I'd been pro-choice as a young woman when it was more likely I might want an abortion and at a time I was unwilling to really think about what abortion was or what it did. Like the Pandagon commenter who talked about it as just a 20-minute procedure, I didn't bother thinking about the longer term implications of abortion decisions.

What changed my mind about abortion was the partial birth abortion debate. It took place shortly after the birth of my son. My doctor had induced labor when he was 38 weeks along because he was just a big baby. Somewhere, I heard that they were doing abortions on babies at 38 weeks. So, the difference between a baby (like my son) and a "clump of cells" was the fact I gave birth. Not the gestation of the baby, nor anything else. Whether a baby was a person depended on two factors: luck and having a mother who decided to go through labor.

Once I started pondering that condundrum, it forced me to rethink everything else I'd thought about abortion. If a baby at 38 weeks of gestation wasn't ok to kill, what about 30 weeks? Or 20 weeks? Or 10 weeks? Was it ever ok to kill the baby? The life of the mother seemed to be the only reasonable exception. What about rape or incest? What about poor women?

That set of questions lead me to what I consider to be a core conservative value: personal responsibility and consequences. Liberals hate the word "consequence" because they think it is a synonym for "punishment," particularly where the abortion debate is concerned. They think stating up front that women should be extremely careful about whom they choose to have sex with because killing the baby because of its inconvenience is immoral is, in and of itself, immoral. They don't see having sex as a choice; like animals, humans simply mate without thinking in that rationale. Go visit any feminist site and you'll see the "people are gonna have sex" argument brought up quickly.

That's a rambling way of explaining my swing from liberal to conservative, but the point is that Romney never seemed to have a crisis of conscience like that to explain his own conversion. He belongs to a denomination with a history of racism, yet he seemingly never struggled with that (yeah, I know, he cried when they changed the rules). I never heard anything to explain his change from pro-choice to pro-life, nor many of his other changes such as on gay marriage.

In short, it never seemed plausible to me that Mitt Romney could change so dramatically on so many issues for any reason other than the political. It was as though there was a vacuum on the right, so Mitt went to fill it. Otherwise, he was just one of three guys who were center-left guys, which is what he always seemed more like to me, anyway.

Perhaps more than anything, that's why I couldn't understand the adoration Romney received by talk radio hosts that I considered smart enough to see through pandering. I guess if you are really determined to see a person a particular way, there are all kinds of hoops one is willing to jump through to do it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney's Out

And then there were two.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who sought to position himself as the true conservative choice for the Republican presidential nomination, announced Thursday afternoon that he had ended his campaign.

His chief rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, congratulated Mr. Romney on his efforts and reached out to conservative voters who had thrown their support to the former governor and whose support, Mr. McCain said, was "indispensable to the success of our party."

Romney made the announcement during his speech at the CPAC convention.

While disappointing to his supporters, it's a smart move on Romney's part to end the battle now. He can't win the nomination; there have been enough primaries now to see how they will pan out. All Romney would accomplish would be to spent his fortune and fracture the Republican party even more. Instead, Romney's taken the role of statesman.

Unlike the bombastic Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt tried to be gracious in defeat. He devoted the first hour of his show to Romney, and seemed frustrated with the McCain supporters who left him crowing e-mails. I don't know what else he could have expected after spending weeks bashing McCain (see here, here, and here for starters).

Sure, it isn't useful in the long run, but for one night, let the McCain supporters gloat.

Talk Radio Won Tuesday Night?!

Here's the coffee-spewer of the day: talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh were the big winners in elections Tuesday night.

Like me, that statement probably leaves you scratching your head. Only a real spin doctor could read John McCain's victories everywhere over Mitt Romney as anything but a repudiation of talk radio. Somehow, though, Brian Maloney (rhymes with baloney) tries to make that argument using this bizarre logic:

Regardless of what the mainstream media might have you believe, talk radio emerged as last night's biggest winner. It has nothing to do with actual election results, the medium simply has never been more influential than in 2008.

Don't take your Radio Equalizer's word for it: take a quick look at pre- and post- election coverage, it is truly difficult to find stories that don't mention talk radio. Its role has absolutely dominated discussions of this year's primary season.

Emphasis mine.

The reason every story mentioned talk radio is because conservative talk radio crossed the line and jumped the shark (there's some mixed metaphors for you). Talk radio hosts from Laura Ingraham to Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity to Mark Levin to Hugh Hewitt, morning, noon, and night bashed John McCain endlessly, distorting or lying about his positions and policies in a heavy-handed attempt to alter the Republican nomination process. Why, Hugh Hewitt had the gall to tell Huckabee supporters Monday night that voting for Mike Huckabee was voting for John McCain.

These same hacks would be all over liberals if they behaved this way about one of their own (and they have), yet none of them seem shamefaced about their ridiculous rhetoric. They would have their audiences believe that there's no difference between an abortion-backing candidate like Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama and a pro-life candidate like John McCain.

Worse, they may have lost the ability to think critically about the importance of this election and the candidates involved. Listening to Ann Coulter rail against John McCain like he is Satan (yes, she said that on Dennis Miller's program), actually trying to say he was more liberal than Hillary Clinton is a spotlight-catching moment. I guess maybe book sales have been slow for Ann lately. Or maybe she's got a new book coming out and needs another controversy to garner some attention for it. Either way, just like Rush Limbaugh, who has thrown daily temper tantrums since the Iowa caucuses, Ann Coulter's lost whatever credibility she had left.

Why has talk radio been in the stories? Because they've taken ridiculously partisan positions against their (supposedly) own party, lecturing listeners, belittling voters, and sniping at anyone who had the audacity to question their opinions.

Do they really think either sitting out the election or voting for a Democrat is good for the country? I've heard this moronic argument from more than one caller to any number of talk shows (to his credit, Hugh Hewitt has told listeners not to do it).

Most recently, I heard it yesterday morning on Mike Gallagher's program where someone tried to explain that "we wouldn't have gotten Ronald Reagan without Jimmy Carter." Sorry to break the bad news to that guy, but we didn't get Ronald Reagan because of Jimmy Carter. We got Ronald Reagan because of Ronald Reagan. Nobody voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 thinking it was going to "shake up" the Republican party so conservatives could take over. And anyone saying they want Democrats to win now because it will be good for the GOP later is being immature and not thinking about the country.

Two years (assuming Republicans could recapture one house of Congress in the off-term election of 2010) of Democrats running Congress and the presidency would be disasterous for conservative principles, causes and progress. As Hugh Hewitt pointed out yesterday, six Supreme Court justices will be over 68 years old during the next presidential term. In and of itself that's enough to cause most grown-ups to realize sometimes you vote for the guy who won't mess things up as bad as the other guy.

That's just one issue. I could tick off several more, including the possibility of redistricting (which would damage Republicans severely), the promotion of liberal legislation like the Fairness Doctrine, losing the war in Iraq, more business regulation, more promotion of anti-family agenda items, higher taxes and a takeover of the health care system.

Gee, Brian. Maybe the fact that talk radio has been behaving churlishly and immaturely is the reason it's been in the news. I wouldn't call that a win for the industry.

This Accuracy in Media article explains that the barrage of anti-Huckabee and anti-McCain rhetoric might have had the opposite effect of its intention. It also makes a point I've have:
It is highly ironic that Hannity now attacks McCain as too liberal when McCain has gotten the endorsement of Giuliani, who had been given so much favorable attention on Hannity's radio program and Fox News TV show. If McCain is too liberal to be considered as a Republican presidential candidate, why wasn't Giuliani rejected out of hand? He is far more liberal than McCain, especially on social issues. Could it have had something to do with Fox News chief Roger Ailes' personal and political ties to Giuliani? One analysis found that Giuliani was getting a disproportionate amount of air time on the Fox News Channel. He was getting more air time, for example, than Romney.

Conservatives pride themselves on their independence and sharp wit. Talk radio has insulted us by relentlessly attacking our Republican candidates. That's nothing to be proud of.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday Stuff

I watched a little of the early results from Dad's hospital room last night (he's doing a lot better, btw), and the early stuff, as usual, was nearly unintelligible. There was no pattern on the Republican side. On the Democratic side, it seemed to be an all Barak night, although this morning's stories say Clinton and Obama are in a dead heat.

I listened to Hugh Hewitt try to make a silk purse out of Mitt Romney's sow's ear all evening and should have to declare coverage as an in-kind contribution to the Romney campaign. Here's how Patrick Ruffini tried to twist the results:

what is clear that Mitt Romney battled to within a single digit deficit nationally of the frontrunner, making this the closest nomination contest since 1976. For a campaign that started at 3% in the polls, it came a long way.

Y-yes-s-s, it 's true that Mitt Romney came a long way, but as Keith Olbermann bloviated, Romney probably spent $1 million for every vote he's gotten. Let's face it: Mitt Romney is the poster child for campaign finance reform. True, it's his own money to spend as he likes, but Romney, who had little recognition, wasted his cash running slimy negative ads when he should have used the money portraying a positive image.

I guess Rush Limbaugh will be crying for three hours on the radio today. It makes me happy I can no longer stream him at work. After all, Rush endorsed Mitt yesterday and look at the results! I know Rush will declare that he doesn't speak for the party or that his audience makes up their own minds. To some extent that's true, but his advertisers obviously thinks he has some influence on them. Maybe not as much as he'd like.

In vote totals (according to Yahoo), McCain had 613 delegates, to 269 for Romney and 190 for Huckabee.

Listening to Hewitt last night, who sounded desperate for a Romney victory somewhere not expected, I heard over and over how a McCain nomination would split the Republicans and cause the GOP to have a meltdown. The truth is, the Republican party is already fractured, without either vision or a strong leader. And the mask slipped from the ugly side of the party with the anti-McCain rhetoric of talk radio which Hewitt has crowed about for three weeks.

The fact is, for all the people who hate John McCain, he is still more electable than Mitt Romney. Those self-same talk radio hosts should be spending at least five minutes of their shows examining why so many people would not ever vote for Mitt Romney instead of excoriating conservatives for choosing John McCain. At least some conservatives would vote for John McCain, but the independents and moderates Laura Ingraham sniffs at wouldn't vote for Mitt Romney were he the nominee. They would probably vote Democrat.

That may be acceptable to Rush and the gang. After all, they would rather be pure than enact any legislation. But for the rest of us, A candidate with a chance of winning is better than no chance of winning for the simple reason that there's far more at stake than just the presidency. There's judges. There's the war on terror. And there's redistricting, a point made by Michael Steele. If Democrats control the House, Senate, and presidency, redistricting will erase Republican gains of the last 20 years, plus give us every piece of bad legislation (2 words: Fairness Doctrine) in the Democrats' arsenal. For all the "there's no difference between McCain, Hillary, and Barak" crowd, that's something to think about.

Victor Davis Hanson has some interesting observations about McCain Derangement Syndrome, including the idea that there's no choice in trying to change any minds. Don't know that I agree with that assessment (I'm an argumentative sort), but he might have a point.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Why Back the Republican Candidate in November? Judges

I've said for a few weeks that I have couple of reasons I'm backing John McCain for president, but there are really three: the war on terror, electability, and judges. And yesterday's Wall Street Journal op-ed makes the case for backing McCain.

We believe that the nomination of John McCain is the best option to preserve the ongoing restoration of constitutional government. He is by far the most electable Republican candidate remaining in the race, and based on his record is as likely to appoint judges committed to constitutionalism as Mitt Romney, a candidate for whom we also have great respect.

We make no apology for suggesting that electability must be a prime consideration. The expected value of any presidential candidate for the future of the American judiciary must be discounted by the probability that the candidate will not prevail in the election. For other kinds of issues, it may be argued that it is better to lose with the perfect candidate than to win with an imperfect one. The party lives to fight another day and can reverse the bad policies of an intervening presidency.

I've always found this to be a short-sighted, imperfect argument, particularly where politics are concerned. This was the thinking that gave us a Democratic Congress in 2006, and there hasn't been much to like about that (although President Bush has brought out the veto pen more willingly). The idea that having all three branches of government in Democratic hands will somehow bring people back to the conservatism approved of by Hugh Hewitt and Rush Limbaugh is suicidal nonsense.

But remember: more than anything else, the reason to vote Republican in November is judges.
On Jan. 20, 2009, six of the nine Supreme Court justices will be over 70. Most of them could be replaced by the next president, particularly if he or she is re-elected. Given the prospect of accelerating gains in modern medical technology, some of the new justices may serve for half a century. Even if a more perfect candidate were somehow elected in 2012, he would not be able to undo the damage, especially to the Supreme Court.

Accordingly, for judicial conservatives electability must be a paramount consideration. By all accounts, Mr. McCain is more electable than Mr. Romney. He runs ahead or even with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the national polls, and actually leads the Democratic candidates in key swing states like Wisconsin. Mr. Romney trails well behind both Democratic candidates by double digits. The fundamental dynamic of this race points in Mr. McCain's way as well. He appeals to independents, while Mr. Romney's support is largely confined to Republicans.

With many more Republican senators up for re-election than Democrats, the nomination of Mr. Romney could easily lead to a Goldwater-like debacle, in which the GOP loses not only the White House but also its ability in practice to filibuster in the Senate. Thus, even if we believed that Mr. Romney's judicial appointments were likely to be better than Mr. McCain's -- and we are not persuaded of that -- we would find ourselves hard-pressed to support his candidacy, given that he is so much less likely to make any appointments at all.

I heard Hugh Hewitt last night actually trying to argue that Mitt Romney had a snowball's chance in hell of winning against either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama in November. The willful suspension of disbelieve by the far right is stunning to watch. Every poll has shown Romney crushed by any Democratic opponent, yet Hewitt harps on McCain's age as one more reason to vote for Romney. What will be his excuse in November? That it was ok to lose since it was his guy?

Regardless of your feelings about McCain-Feingold, the gang of 14, the Bush tax cuts, or immigration, the most important--and longlasting--reasons to elect a Republican in November are the war on terror and judges.

William Kristol writes about it in a column in yesterday's New York Times.
When the primaries are over, if McCain has won the day, don’t sulk and don’t sit it out. Don’t pretend there’s no difference between a candidate who’s committed to winning in Iraq and a Democratic nominee who embraces defeat. Don’t tell us that it doesn’t matter if the next president voted to confirm John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, or opposed them. Don’t close your eyes to the difference between pro-life and pro-choice, or between resistance to big government and the embrace of it.

And don’t treat 2008 as a throwaway election. If a Democrat wins the presidency, he or she will almost certainly have a Democratic Congress to work with. That Congress will not impede a course of dishonorable retreat abroad. It won’t balk at liberal Supreme Court nominees at home. It won’t save the economy from tax hikes.

If, by contrast, McCain wins the presidency — and all the polls suggest he’d be the best G.O.P. bet to do so — he’ll be able to shape a strong American foreign policy, nominate sound justices and fight for parts of the conservative domestic agenda.

None of this is to recommend that conservatives don't have a right to disagree with John McCain or any other candidate; they do. But when Ann Coulter lies and says John McCain is a liberal and she's not only going to vote for Hillary Clinton but campaign for her if McCain gets the Republican nomination, she does more to damage conservatism's reputation for rationality and logic than help it.

Dislike McCain if you must. But don't pretend that Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama will nominate more conservative judges than McCain will. It just won't happen. And judges are the legacy of any president.

Patterico has gone the anybody-but-McCain route, as well, arguing that people just don't like McCain. Yeah. That's a great argument.

Ann Coulter's Jumped the Shark...And CPAC Don't Love Her No More

Last year, I condemned Ann Coulter's nasty, stupid anti-John Edwards remark at CPAC and admitted a growing disaffection for Ms. Coulter. Last week's ridiculous statement that if John McCain were the Republican nominee, she would vote for and campaign for Hillary Clinton just pushed me finally, inevitably over the edge.

I've spent a great deal of time on various venues defending Ann Coulter, usually from moonbats more concerned about the size of her Adam's apple than anything she says (talk about sexism *ahem* you gonna write a post on that one, Echidne?), and used to think her abrasive, over-the-top style was interesting. But even I tired of it.

Evidently, CPAC has joined me, determining that since you can't predict what moronic statements Ann will make, it's better not to invite her to speak. From
Think Progress:

On February 7-9, conservatives from around the country will gather in Washington, D.C. for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). This year, one of the darlings of the far right’s oft-distasteful and unpleasant punditry will not be invited:

She’s always been outrageous, but when conservative Ann Coulter talked of 9/11 "rag heads" at the 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference and linked the slur "faggot" to Sen. John Edwards in a 2007 speech, CPAC’s organizers decided to cut her from the list of speakers at the February 7-9 conference expected to draw 6,000.

Ann is more of a liability than an asset to the party. Her over the top rhetoric, which was once tempered and controlled, has now spilled into the "sorry-I-didn't-take-my-medication-today" arena.

Founding Fathers Say the Darnedest Things

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?--Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, February 03, 2008

We're Relevant! We're Really, Really Relevant!

I'm so excited because I heard my first presidential campaign ad in a dozen years the other day. Texas's primaries are held March 4 this year. Usually, this March deadline means our primary is meaningless and the presidential nominees already have been chosen. But not this year. That's why I was happy to hear a real, live political ad.

Unfortunately, it was for Ron Paul.

Despair and Desperation of the Romneyacs...and Maybe a Little Resignation, Too

Mark Steyn has an interesting post (post-mortem?) on the lack of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney on the part of much of the GOP (myself included). He starts with an e-mail that, he says, typifies much of his correspondence.

Mark: I am a big fan of yours and I am sorry the Canadian bureaucrats are annoying and harassing you.
But get your head out of your ass about McCain. I get you do not like McCain. I respect that—McCain deserves a good horse whipping at CPAC. I don't like a lot of McCain positions either, but you claim Mitt Romney is the better candidate in the election? Where does that come from, listening to Hugh Hewitt? Mitt has had essentially every opportunity, outspent his competition 10:1, and has still lost the GOP primaries to McCain... I respect that Mitt Romney is a successful businessman and good family man, but I want a president with brass balls. We are still at war. Sometimes I think even Hillary has more of that mojo quality than Romney. Very few people of any political persuasion seem excited about Romney (even among conservatives). Some conservatives may like Romney over McCain, but that is about it.

This is much of my feeling about Romney. When I was actively seeking a candidate I could be excited about, I tried to like Romney. I tried to convince myself that Romney's flip-flopping on various issues was sincere soul-searching and that his massive health care mandate in Massachusetts wasn't going to follow him to Washington, D.C. (and this is from someone desperate for the system to get overhauled).

There were three things that turned me totally off Romney. First, I was skeptical of the love fest so many conservative talk hosts had had with this candidate or that one (particularly the non-campaign of Fred Thompson). I'm used to hearing a variety of perspectives when I listen to talk radio, not the same (down to quotes pulled and language used) arguments endlessly against certain candidates and for other ones. Talk radio hosts should be embarrassed by this but instead, they decided that they would behave exactly as they claim John McCain does to conservatives, and stick their collective thumbs in the eyes of all the Republicans who weren't crazy about Mitt Romney. In other words, instead of talking critically and objectively about all our candidates, talk radioheads decided to smear the more moderate candidates for whom they had contempt (Mike Huckabee and John McCain) even while glossing over the same issues with Rudy Giuliani (who, btw, ended up being my second choice). This election cycle has caused me to lose enormous respect for talk radio because the hosts have jumped the shark and lost all credibility with me. If I feel this way, there's probably some others who feel the same way.

The second reason I turned away from Mitt Romney is how fake he comes across. I used to spend a lot of time telling myself that I vote logically, but I finally decided to come clean: I vote for candidates I like. Not just guys I could have a beer with, but candidates who seem honest (the buzzword this year is "authentic") and not always in the most likable way. Barak Obama has this in spades (can I say that?). Mike Huckabee also has it. And so does John McCain, for all the negatives. Mitt Romney does not. As I pointed out in an earlier post, Romney seems willing to say whatever he thinks someone wants to hear, and that impression is probably borne out by his many conservative epiphanies over the last four years or so. Anyone who buys that he is pro-life is simply desperate to believe he has the bona fides. I don't like Mitt Romney. I don't trust Mitt Romney. He's a fake and if he were our nominee, the Republicans could have a Mondale-like Election Night.

Finally, and most importantly, I was turned off by Romney's nasty, negative, distorting advertising in Iowa during what had been an essentially positive campaign cycle. It's clear to me that Romney realized he couldn't outcharm Mike Huckabee in Iowa. So, what did he do? He took the low road, painting Huckabee's positions in the worst possible way. Ronald Reagan had one cardinal rule about campaigning: do not attack fellow Republicans. Ever. Mitt Romney broke that rule early on and I, for one, decided right then that I'd had enough. Has John McCain gone negative on Romney? Sure he has...since Romney decided to distort and lie about his record. Once the gloves are off, there's no reason to sit back and take it.

And perhaps it was talk radio's breaking of the Ronald Reagan rule, even while wrapping themselves in the myths about Reagan, that has disappointed me so completely. Like it or not, if John McCain is the nominee, these same pundits will have to reverse course and suddenly talk up McCain because, Glenn Beck's stupidity aside, there is a difference between John McCain and either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama.

Steyn tries to portray Romney as some sort of victim of McCain meanness. But the truth is, Romney is a victim of his own behavior, both past and present. It would be hard to knee him in the privates (so to speak) if he hadn't changed positions so publicly so often so quickly. Ten years ago, Romney was an independent running to the left of Ted Kennedy, supporting gay rights, abortion, higher taxes, and more. Now, suddenly, he's had a last minute conversion and, bizarrely, many conservatives are buying it. For all his warts--and there are more than one bottle of Compound W can cure--John McCain isn't like that. The supposed flip-flops of McCain aren't explained away as some personal Damascus Road conversion (as Romney seems to think he's had), but rather an acceptance that some of his ideas--such as the comprehensive immigration reform bill of last summer--were rejected by the people and he has to retool his thinking. That's being portrayed, unfairly I think, as "flip-flopping," rather than just being open to other ideas.

Powerline gets it wrong why McCain is leading in the primaries. It isn't about his inevitability. It's actually because of his legislative experience and his personal story. George W. Bush was not an inevitable candidate in 2000. The idea that Republicans just play by these nice rules is designed to cover up the fact that hardliners aren't running the party right now. John McCain is winning the primaries because he looks like a better candidate against the Democrats in the fall. It's still about electability, not purity.