Archive for September, 2008

September 30, 2008

Over 500,000 visitors!

Between 1 and 2 p.m. ET today, the Site Meter rolled over on the 500,000th visitor to The Other McCain. The total traffic for September alone is nearly 290,000 visitors, monthly traffic having increased tenfold since June, mostly due to Palinmania.

Traffic has lately settled down to about 5,000 average daily visitors, which would portend an October “slump” to 150,000 monthly, but I’m hopeful that the stretch run of the presidential campaign will jack things up again.

And did I mention the Britney Spears sex tape?

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September 30, 2008

When in doubt . . .

. . . blog about Britney. Or Scarlett Johansson. Or Natalie Portman. Or Anne Hathaway. Or Lindsay Lohan.

All great bloggers understand that there is no such thing as a bad time to blog about famous hotties. But some times are better than others.

By the way, did you hear about the Britney sex video? Yeah, her ex-boyfriend claims to have one, and even though Britney denies it, no traffic-savvy blogger would ever neglect a legitimate reason to use the phrase “Britney sex video.” It’s just magic.

UPDATE: Linked by Jules Crittenden, who apparently appreciates my tastes in celebrity babes. Or, at least, the utter shamelessness of my traffic-baiting.

While I’m at it, I might as well point out that Lindsay Lohan is a lesbian. Eventually, some idiot will Google “britney+lesbian+sex+video” and — ping! — another hit. Pile up enough random-Google traffic like that, and you’re on your way to blogging greatness.

I learned the random-Google factor two years ago, when I was blogging to promote the book I co-authored with Lynn Vincent, Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party. Checking SiteMeter, I noticed we got a small yet consistent amount of traffic from idiots Googling for “donkey sex.”

And yes, while that story is true, the reason I mentioned it on this post because I don’t want to miss any random traffic from idiots who Google “britney+donkey+sex+video.” I am a capitalist blogger.

September 30, 2008

On Brooksianism

Consider this an expansion on my earlier rant against David Brooks. Over at AmSpecBlog, Wlady Plezscynski writes:

David Brooks lost me when, in starting out his never to be forgotten column, he wildly denounces the current “generation of political leaders,” including the pro-bailout George W. Bush (“completely out of juice”), Henry Paulson (“inept”), Barney Frank (a “too busy” “media darling”) and Nancy Pelosi (“did she have to act like a Democratic fund-raiser…?”) — yet attacks the 228 “nihilists” who voted against the Bush-Paulson-Frank-Pelosi bailout plan for refusing to follow such leadership.

Which prompted me to this response:

[David Brooks] lost me in March 1997, Wlady. Despite the self-evident and manifold failures of “National Greatness,” both as policy and politics, Brooks seems never to have entertained a second thought about his paean to “an affirmative view of the public realm,” his sneering dismissal of “populist resentment,” and his flat declaration that “American purpose can find its voice only in Washington.”
That infamous essay is one of the reasons I so fear the consequences of a Republican defeat on Nov. 4. The GOP has shown in recent years a habit of misreading its defeats. Bob Dole’s defeat in 1996 convinced not only Brooks but apparently many other Republicans that opposition to Big Government was a losing proposition. Not only the Brooks/Kristol “National Greatness” theme but also the Olasky/Bush “Compassionate Conservatism” were born from a Republican desire to escape the Spirit of ’94.
It seems never to have occurred to anyone that Dole’s defeat was largely the fault of Bob Dole himself. Certainly Dole — “the Senator From Archer Daniels Midland” and “the Tax Collector For the Welfare State” — was no anti-government firebrand. And yet, though the Gingrich-led insurgents maintained their majority in the 1996 election while Dole lost, the politics of Gingrich got blamed for the failure of of the Dole candidacy.
That counterfactual interpretation of the 1996 election led to “National Greatness,” and one heard a lot of talk at that time that the essential problem was that the GOP had become too “mean-spirited” and “partisan.” Ergo, the solution was the “compassionate” Bush, who would bring a “new tone” to Washington.
I fear that John McCain’s defeat in November will lead to a similarly disastrous misinterpretation, and the fact that Brooks and Kristol now have platforms at the New York Times and Fox News to spread such wrong-headedness only increases my sense of foreboding.

Being that Wlady, myself and other such anti-Brooksians as James Poulos are beneath the notice of Brooks, no response is to be expected from the Olympian heights, but I did want to put on record the root of my grievance with Brooks and “National Greatness.”

Brooks’ contempt for “populists” is obviously a residue of the Buchanan challenge that crippled Bush 41 in 1992, as well as of Ross Perot. Rather than attempting to harness populist resentment as a force to drive limited-government reform movement (which was what Gingrich and the ’94 revolution were about), Brooks sees populism as something tainted and unworthy.

Brooksian anti-populism leads to a conservatism that can never claim to speak for Joe Sixpack or stand squarely against the progressive vision of an all-powerful federal government. “National Greatness” is a one-way road leading backward, a retreat from Reaganism, a return to the Laodicean “modern Republicanism” of the Eisenhower era that so disgusted Bill Buckley.

September 30, 2008

Dana Milbank vs. America

If you want the consensus of the Beltway elite, Page 3 of today’s Washington Post is a good place to start:

After the shocking vote of 228 to 205, party leaders did their usual rounds of partisan finger-pointing, but it really wasn’t a partisan issue at all. The center had collapsed in favor of a coalition of far-right and far-left zealots. What was once the lunatic fringe was now a majority: 40 percent of House Democrats, going by yesterday’s vote, and fully two-thirds of Republicans. . . .
The new majority isn’t worried about ephemeral things such as 700-point drops in the Dow. “No, I’m not,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) declared after the vote. “The market may be down, but the Constitution is up!”

So, Nancy Pelosi can deliver only 60 percent of her caucus, and the problem is . . . Republicans. Be assured that, if the bailout had passed, Dana Milbank would have found a way to use the passage as an occasion to attack . . . Republicans. If the Republicans are going to be blamed either way, I’d prefer them to blamed for doing maximum damage to Milbank’s 401K. Congratulations, “lunatic fringe”!

September 30, 2008

Did Democrats blow the bailout on purpose?

Nancy Pelosi got only 60% of House Democrats to support the plan, and then used her final speech before the vote to lash out at Republicans.

It was as if the whole point of Monday’s vote was to embarrass John McCain. The GOP nominee having identified himself so strongly with the bailout, a defeat for the bailout was a defeat for McCain, and the Democrats saw a chance to make him look like an idiot.

UPDATE: The Prowler confirms my hunch:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered her Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, to essentially not do his job in the runup to the vote on Monday for the negotiated Wall Street bailout plan, according to House Democrat leadership aides.
“Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn’t want the push for votes to be successful,” says one leadership aide. . . .
During the floor vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democrat Conference chair Rahm Emanuel could be seen monitoring the vote on the floor, and gauging whether or not more Democrat votes were needed. . . .
Emanuel, who served as a board member for Freddie Mac, one of the agencies that precipitated the economic crisis the nation now finds itself in, had no misgivings about taking a leadership role in tanking the bill. “He was cheerleading us along, mothering the votes,” says the aide. “We wanted enough to put the pressure on the Republicans and Congressman Emanuel was charged with making it close enough. He did a great job.”

And Megan McArdle has a similar read:

Pelosi cut a deal in which, as far as I can tell, every single Republican in a safe seat had to vote yes so that the Democrats could maximize their no votes. Given that the Republican caucus is pretty much in open revolt, this was beyond moronic. She then spent a week openly and repeatedly blaming the Republicans and the Bush administration for the current crisis. The way she set things up, it was “Heads I win, tails you lose”: vote for the deal and I’ll paint you as heartless reactionaries bailing out your fat cat friends. If you’re going to do that, you’d better make sure you have some goddamn margin for error in your own party. She didn’t. Then she got up and delivered yet another speech blaming the Republicans for the bailout deal she was about to pass.

Megan actually favored the bailout, FWIW. Opposing the bailout, of course, was Michelle Malkin, who today observes:

Bailout fails. World goes on.

Hoovervilles and apple carts, it ain’t.

UPDATE II: Grapevine-worthy!

September 30, 2008

Worst. Column. Ever.

Forgive me, Andrew Sullivan. Please accept my apologies, Ross Douthat. Mea culpa, Rod Dreher. If ever I thought any of you had offended me, it was as a mere feather stroke, compared to what David Brooks has done:

House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.

Brooks has a problem, but it’s not with House Republicans. It’s Republican voters Brooks hates. It was Republican voters — not the gutless weasels in Congress — who drove the opposition to this bailout.

(Insert vituperative ad hominem rant here. Add colorful threats of physical brutality, suggestions of anatomically impossible acts, etc. Quote Cicero’s first oration against Catiline, Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees, Forrest’s denunciation of Bragg, etc.)

There, I feel better now.

UPDATE: James Poulos dismantles Brooks with valid logic and temperate language, as behooves a Greek philosopher. My Scots-Irish blood prefers the more direct approach: “You have played the part of a damned scoundrel, and are a coward, and if you were any part of a man, I would slap your jaws and force you to resent it. . . . If you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path, it will be at the peril of your life.” Such straightforward rhetoric, alas, is unfashionable in contemporary discourse.

September 30, 2008

Libertarian populism (the column)

Monday’s blog post becomes Tuesday’s full-length column at The American Spectator:

Nobody seemed to notice when Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr adopted as his campaign slogan “Send Them a Message!” — the same outsider theme that animated George C. Wallace’s populist third-party run in 1968.
Leaving aside the vast political and historical distance between the late Alabama Democrat and the former Georgia Republican, Barr’s slogan clearly seeks to tap into an enduring populist conception of the government in Washington as a corrupt insider racket controlled by special interests, in which both Democrats and Republicans are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans.
The defeat of the Wall Street bailout deal in the House yesterday was an amazing convergence between libertarian ideals and a resurgent populist sentiment. . . .

Please read the whole thing.

UPDATE: The column is linked today by Eric Dondero at Libertarian Republican, Tom Knapp (one of the “smelly libertarians” on the famous van ride to the LP convention in Denver) and the fabulously bewhiskered James Poulos.

September 29, 2008

‘Fear is running amok’

The Dow loses nearly 800 points:

“This is panic, and fear is running amok,” one trader told CNBC. “We are in a classic financial meltdown, and it’s panic-based. We’re seeing panic selling.”

Allah notes that today’s $1.1 trillion in losses exceeds the $700 pricetag of the bailout. Yeah, but at least people are losing their own money, rather than stealing it from the taxpayers.

September 29, 2008

‘Financial affirmative action’

Matthew Vadum explains the role of left-wing activists in fueling the mortgage meltdown:

When the history of the Great Economic Meltdown of 2008 is written, in-your-face shakedown groups like the Greenlining Institute will be held to account.
Greenlining, headquartered in Berkeley, California (where else?), is a left-wing pressure group that threatens nasty public relations campaigns against lenders that refuse to kneel before its radical economic agenda. . . .
Greenlining uses carrot-and-stick tactics to blackmail public agencies, banks, and philanthropists to achieve its objectives. The Institute brags it has threatened banks into making more than $2.4 trillion in loans in low-income communities. Was this a good idea?
Not according to University of Texas economist Stanley Liebowitz. He wrote that the current mortgage market debacle is “a direct result of an intentional loosening of underwriting standards — done in the name of ending discrimination, despite warnings that it could lead to wide-scale defaults.”

Read the whole thing.

September 29, 2008

Bipartisan bailout blowup!

The bailout is dead! Long live the bailout!

YEAS (207)

  • Democrats — 141
  • Republicans — 66

NAYS (226)

  • Democrats — 94
  • Republicans — 132

So, Nancy Pelosi could only deliver 60% of the Democratic House caucus in support of the bill. Leadership!

UPDATE: If Pelosi was trying to sweet-talk Republicans into supporting the bill, she sure had a funny way of going about it:

In looking at the House roll call, I was happy to see among the Democrats who voted for the unpopular bailout the name of Rep. Ron Klein, who’s facing a challenge in Florida’s 22nd District from Lt. Col. Allen West.