Archive for October 10th, 2008

October 10, 2008

Christopher Buckley, snob

He’s voting for Obama. Hates Sarah Palin. Yet thinks John McCain’s “instincts remain fundamentally conservative.”

Long story short: Buckley’s a snob, and Obama has successfully courted the snob vote.

It’s fundamentally irrational. Buckley says he’ll be voting Democrat for the first time in his life. And why? Because of Obama’s personality.

You’ll often hear this from independent voters: “I vote for the man, not the party.” But the presidency doesn’t work that way. When you vote for the man, you get the party, whether you like it or not. That’s what Bill Clinton taught me. In 1992, I thought I was voting for a conservative “Sam Nunn Democrat,” and instead I got the Dukakis administration. Clinton permanently destroyed my allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Buckley cannot distinguish between what Obama seems and what Obama is, namely a front man for DFA, DailyKos, MoveOn.org and George Soros. If Obama becomes president, he will owe his elevation to the most radical and most corrupt elements of the Democratic Party, who will control his administration. Even if Obama were not himself a radical — and he’s the most radical member of the Senate — his allies would force his administration in a radical direction.

Buckley (a former GOP speechwriter) is another example of what’s wrong with Professional Republicans. Once they’re off the payroll, they often seek employment as Professional Ex-Republicans. John Dean, Kevin Phillips, David Gergen, Arianna Huffington, David Brock — there’s a long roster of these opportunistic types who flocked to the GOP out of careerist motives and then, once they saw better prospects on the other side of the aisle, had a lucrative “epiphany.”

October 10, 2008

Secret of my success?

Little Miss Atilla:

For what it’s worth, the man can also hold his liquor better than most; that’s probably how he gets his scoops.

She’s grading on a curve. “Better than most” is a term of art when you’re talking about bloggers. Last year in Santa Barbara, Miss Atilla and I were present when Jeff Goldstein got into the whiskey and went berserk like Led Zeppelin on their ’71 tour. And then in February at CPAC, Miss Atilla ended up at a private after-party with some of my friends and she went berserk like Zeppelin in ’71.

So unless you get hammered like a sophomore at a Teke kegger, that counts as “holding your liquor” in blogworld.

October 10, 2008

Britney, you’re half-right

“I sit there and I’ll look back and I’m like: I’m a smart person. What the hell was I thinking?”
Britney Spears, in an MTV interview

Sweetheart, stupid is as stupid does. Marrying a no-talent loser like Kevin Federline? Stupid. Running around with no panties and flashing the paparazzi? Stupid. Shaving your head? Stupid. Losing custody of your kids? Stupid.

Your stupid actions clearly contradict your assertion that you’re a smart person. In fact, your actions are so stupid that even stupid people can only shake their heads in agreement with the other half of your quote: What the hell was she thinking?

October 10, 2008

Jessica Alba is pro-Bush?

Well, maybe not, but she showed up for the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards wearing jeans so low . . .

October 10, 2008

Fisking Dana Milbank

John Leo notes that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank portrayed a Sarah Palin rally in Florida as a dangerous mob scene, even though other reporters at the event saw nothing unusual or menacing.

October 10, 2008

Too much time on your hands

Programmer/political junkie Andy Baio has developed a program that renders links at Memeorandum in blue or red, depending on whether the blogs are conservative or liberal.

Andy: Put down the Red Bull and step away from the computer. Politics is important, but it’s not that important.

October 10, 2008

‘The invisible foot of government’

Can the federal government fix the economy? Reagan biographer Craig Shirley says “no”:

There is such doubt in America about government’s ability to do anything that the more they do, the worse they make the situation. As far as Americans are concerned government bureaucrats and Wall Street executives working together is simply a perfect storm of ignorance, incompetence and corruption. . . .
Adam Smith wrote of the “invisible hand of the marketplace” and how left alone it would create wealth and opportunity. What we now have is Milton Friedman’s send up of Smith, when he spoke of the “invisible foot of government”; whatever government sets out to do—declare war on poverty, make the world safe for democracy—the exact opposite happens.
This mess was cause by bad government policy, starting with the politically correct, but nonsensical notion of putting people with bad credit risks into homes they never should have been in in the first place.The market has dropped almost thirty percent since government came up with their solution to bailout all of Wall Street.

Read the whole thing.

October 10, 2008

‘Concern trolls’ at Maverick HQ?

One of the useful phrases that the blogosphere has contributed to our lexicon is “concern troll” — the fainthearted naysayer whose modus operandi is a fretful concern that the home team’s basic strategy is wrong. A specialty of the concern troll is to worry that attacks on the opposition are too harsh. It seems that there some of these weak sisters are top advisers to John McCain’s campaign:

Top McCain campaign officials are grappling with how far to go with negative attacks on Sen. Barack Obama in the final weeks of what is turning into a come-from-behind effort. . . .
Some McCain campaign officials are becoming concerned about the hostility that attacks against Sen. Obama are whipping up among Republican supporters. During an internal conference call Thursday, campaign officials discussed how the tenor of the crowds has turned on the media and on Sen. Obama.

Maverick wouldn’t be in the dire situation he’s in if his campaign had been in attack mode from the start. He effectively clinched the nomination in February, when Mitt Romney dropped out, then spent the next four months doing . . . what? Nobody knows. The Obama-Hillary contest dominated the media, and McCain couldn’t focus his attack on either one without being accused of interfering in the other party’s nomination process.

After Obama clinched the nomination in early June, however, the McCain campaign should have gone on the attack and didn’t. It was not until Steve Schmidt took charge of the campaign that it began to be effective in July and started getting traction. The campaign got off-message in September, deploying a defensive media strategy around Sarah Palin and then scapegoating capitalist “greed” and SEC Chairman Chris Cox for the financial crisis.

Now, with scarcely three weeks left in the campaign and their candidate way behind in the polls, Team Maverick not only has to “take the gloves off,” as the cliche phrase goes, but they have to take the gloves off, put on a hockey mask and pick up a chain saw.

Welcome to Nightmare on Election Street, folks. Like it or not, the only conceivable way John McCain can win this thing is to be as relentlessly vicious as a horror-film monster. If the concern trolls don’t have the stomach for bloody slashing, they’d best find a new line of work.

October 10, 2008

On the future of journalism

Does journalism even have a future, and why should anyone care? Paul Farhi says journalists are victims, not perpetrators, of the collapse of the newspaper industry. Jeff Jarvis begs to disagree:

The fall of journalism is, indeed, journalists’ fault.
It is our fault that we did not see the change coming soon enough and ready our craft for the transition. It is our fault that we did not see and exploit — hell, we resisted — all the opportunities new media and new relationships with the public presented. It is our fault that we did not give adequate stewardship to journalism and left the business to the business people. It is our fault that we lost readers and squandered trust. It is our fault that we sat back and expected to be supported in the manner to which we had become accustomed by some unknown princely patron. Responsibility and blame are indeed ours.

I think the key idea here is Jarvis’ accusation that journalists “left the business to the business people.” The overwhelming majority of journalists simply never think of what they’re doing as a business.

That a newspaper is a business — that it exists to generate profit by providing a product to consumers, in the same sense that a shoe store sells shoes — is an alien concept to most journalists. Notions like value-added, market share and comparative advantage never enter the minds of most journalists, who conceive of themselves as pursuing a profession that has nothing whatsoever to do with commerce.

So much of what newspapers have done, they’ve done at the behest of consultants, or by following the conventional wisdom doled out in ASNE conferences and journalism trade publications. In the ’80s, I remember, everybody was into page re-design, trying to emulate USA Today — every section front had to have a color chart of something, and it didn’t really matter what it was. In the early ’90s, the reigning idea was that newspapers needed to get away from straightforward just-the-facts “breaking news,” since TV would always beat us to the punch. Instead, newspapers should deliver “context,” in-depth, background, etc. Thus was born the ponderous five-part series, the award-bait special feature.

Then along came the Internet and blew all that crap out of the water. Charts? Drudge don’t give a damn about your charts. He wants the good old-fashioned scoop. And that five-part series is a waste of manpower, a frivolous luxury in an age where there’s scarcely enough staff to do basic metro coverage. Besides which, most of those five-part series were targeted at the awards judges, not ordinary readers.

There is still a public appetite for basic meat-and-potatoes news, if only so many editors and reporters weren’t obsessed with serving up eat-your-broccoli journalism.

October 10, 2008

Iceland for sale

Bankrupt island nation. Low mileage. Recent repo. Cash preferred, but terms negotiable.

Fifty-first state, maybe? C’mon, compared to Puerto Rico, Iceland is a bargain.

UPDATE: A commenter says Iceland has the “best looking women in the world.” This called for some research on my part. Ladies and gentlemen — especially, gentlemen — I present Miss Iceland 2006, Sif Aradottrr:

Surely some Saudi sheikh will bid for that.