Archive for February 23rd, 2009

February 23, 2009

Striking a blow against American Zionist imperialism . . .

. . . by killing French schoolgirls.

Remember this the next time someone tells you that the only reason Muslims hate us is because of Israel, or because we’re in Iraq, or because we’re not sophisticated like the Europeans.
Why do they hate us? Because They Hate.

February 23, 2009

‘Billionaire Social Security slasher’?

That Jane Hamsher would use such language to describe an honest and decent person like Pete Peterson tells you much more about Hamsher than about Peterson.

February 23, 2009

Eric Holder vs. Ordinary Americans

“There is a cottage industry of race consultants, hucksters and political flame-throwers who talk about race endlessly because it serves their hidden agendas. . . . And there is the vast majority of people in this country who simply go about their lives treating everyone fairly without regard to, or need to comment on, race.”

February 23, 2009

‘Media Malpractice’

Smitty cues me to John Nolte’s Big Hollywood review of John Ziegler’s new documentary, Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.

Also at C4P, frequent commenter Ramrocks has a rundown on Townhall’s Carol Platt Liebau succumbing to Kathleen Parker Syndrome. So go there for all the juicy “Strange New Respect” catfight goodness.

UPDATE:  “If you like Gov. Palin, buy one and feel your blood boil. Then pass it on to a liberal friend and watch them either curl up in the fetal position and cry or they will violently deny all the evidence and bury head in the sands of Hope and Change.”
February 23, 2009

The Brooksian method

Described by Jim Antle:

This is just mindless babble, centrism without substance, “responsibility” as a pose. There is just nothing here. And yet this is considered highbrow commentary.

To describe the originator of “National Greatness” as “some strange cross between Michael Gerson and David Gergen” is to understate the damage Brooks has done to the conservative cause over the past dozen years. His Bobos in Paradise was a splendidly funny work of sociology, but his political instincts inerrantly point the way to a sterile cul-de-sac of impotent moderation.

February 23, 2009

Rick Moran takes counsel of his fears

From Rick Moran’s much talked-about post:

I have read some speculation in the last few days that it may be possible for the GOP to make big gains in the House and Senate in 2010 if they “tap in” to the rage being felt by ordinary taxpayers against the savior based economy being created by Obama and the Democrats.
As a tactic, it would probably be a winner. But is there another way to achieve the same result without exacerbating the already deep divisions in American society? . . .
The inevitable populist backlash is predictable. The problem is that mass movements based on populist rage have generally led to untoward and unanticipated consequences. . . .
Tapping in to the rage of taxpayers by exploiting their fears then, would almost certainly result in unanticipated problems for the GOP. But beyond that, is this the way the Republicans wish to return to power? The Rovian strategy of using wedge issues to cleave the electorate over gay marriage, abortion, and other social issues got Republicans elected but also sowed the seeds of their own destruction.

Rick Moran is a nice guy, and you know what Leo Durocher had to say about that. But in addition to his “let’s don’t be divisive” problem of niceness, Rick’s analysis is profoundly flawed in other ways.

Who is it that says “Rovian tactics” hurt the GOP? Uh . . . liberals, that’s who. A basic problem with conservative punditry is that too often it admits the premises of liberal arguments and yet expects to reach different conclusions. This is a fatal rhetorical trap. If one accepts the premise that the objects of government are to achieve liberal goals — “world peace,” “social justice,” “economic equality,” etc. — then trying to find “conservative” answers to those problems is a snipe hunt. So it is with the will-o’-th’-wisp pursuit of “bipartisan civility,” a euphemism employed by Democrats to mean, “Republicans lose and shut up.”

Ask yourself this: “What really hurt the GOP in the post-2004 era?”

  • The disastrous sequel to “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. More than 3,000 GIs were killed in quelling a terrorist resistance that Bush either (a) never anticipated, or (b) neglected to warn Americans about before the invasion. Through sheer power of repetition, liberals sold the “Bush lied, people died” argument to America. And one need not be a commie peacenik to believe that the entire rationale of the Iraq invasion was misbegotten.
  • The botched Social Security reform effort. Simply put, Republicans pissed off the geezers and gained nothing for it. Bush should have had Tom DeLay ram through an actual bill in the House, so that the specific facts of the proposal could be debated in the Senate. Instead, Bush tried to get the Senate to act first. Wrong move. Nothing conservative ever starts with Republican senators.
  • Amnesty for illegal aliens. Anybody who doesn’t understand how poisonous this idiotic idea is with “Reagan Democrats” needs to listen to more talk radio. In early 2006, when the first amnesty was being debated in the Senate, I happened to be doing the talk-radio circuit to promote Donkey Cons. And although the book was not about immigration, the radio hosts would inevitably ask me my opinion on the issue, because audience interest was through the roof. And talk-radio callers were about 99-to-1 against amnesty. I don’t care what the polls say; all the intensity on this issue is anti-amnesty. Open-border Republicans are destroying the party’s support among working-class voters by pushing amnesty.
  • The economy, stupid. In retrospect, we see that the housing bubble peaked in 2006, and that economic angst was actually being felt much earlier. The Fed started pumping money into the economy in 2001, repeatedly lowering the prime rate, and the only reason we didn’t notice the inevitable inflationary effect of that policy was that the CPI didn’t count as inflation (a) the zoom in home prices during the bubble, or (b) the rise in stock prices. There was a “hidden inflation,” concealed as rising asset value, and when everybody was complaining that college tuition was rising “faster than inflation,” somebody should have thought to ask, “Hey, why isn’t college tuition — a basic expense for many middle-class households — calculated into the CPI?”

None of these issue-specific failures of the Bush administration were the result of “Rovian tactics.” So far as Rove was part of the problem, it was mainly that the big Republican wins in 2002 and 2004 convinced some people that Rove had a magic mojo that could win elections no matter what. In a word: Hubris. Or to add a few more descriptors: Arrogance and recto-cranial inversion.

If I were commissioned to write a book called Everything The Republican Party Did Wrong 2005-2008, that would be a very large book. However, since this is just a freaking blog, I’ll limit myself to three quick additional observations about GOP errors:

  • The Fox Trap — Media-wise, the GOP made the mistake of putting all its eggs in one basket. I enjoy Fox News, but it has created a syndrome where Republicans watch Fox all the time and delude themselves into thinking, “Hey, our message is getting out! We’re winning!” Fact: The evening news broadcasts of ABC, NBC and CBS reach a combined audience of about 22 million; the top rated Fox News show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” reaches 4 million viewers. So if the three broadcast networks are viciously biased against Republicans — and they are — then that anti-GOP message is reaching more than 5 times as many TV viewers as Fox.
  • Making Bush the face of “conservatism” — As former Reagan administration official Bruce Bartlett documented in his book Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, our 43rd president was most definitely not a conservative. His original signature issue, No Child Left Behind, was the antithesis of a conservative education policy, and Medicare Part D — well, where to begin? Bush’s unpopularity created “brand damage” for the GOP, but what he did to the public understanding of what it means to be a “conservative” was far, far worse.
  • John McCain — How he ever got the Republican presidential nomination is one of the great mysteries of modern politics, especially considering that he got only 47% of the GOP primary vote, even though his top rival, Mitt Romney, quit the race after Super Tuesday. The chief lesson of the 2008 presidential campaign could be summed up in five words: No More Old Bald Guys.

So I’ll have none of Rick Moran’s concern-troll worries that there is some sort of disastrous potential in “exploiting” taxpayer outrage over the Obama/Reid/Pelsoi economic agenda. The real disasters — the Bush administration and the McCain campaign — are in the rearview mirror now and, as to the neo-Keynesian nonsense of “stimulus,” it’s never a bad time for Republicans to speak economic truth: It Won’t Work.

Rick Moran sings from a familiar hymnal:

The party needs new ideas, new solutions that can be presented to the people as evidence that they have gotten beyond the past and are ready to lead the country to a bright future.

No. Wrong. What the GOP needs is not “new ideas,” but rather some very old ideas, like limited government, fiscal responsibility, and economic common sense. Republicans need to be reading some Mises and Hayek — and some Thomas Sowell — and stop being so afraid of their own shadows.

Excuse me for recycling something I wrote in December, but in a series of American Spectator columns before and after the election, I laid out six key points about the road to Republican recovery:

  1. Don’t blame yourself — Candidates win or lose elections. Good candidates win, bad candidates lose, and John McCain was a bad candidate.
  2. Don’t overthink it — Intellectuals like to depict politics as something so complex that only they can understand it, with “big picture” themes and demographic trends that don’t really translate into useful strategies. Ignore that crap.
  3. Libertarian populism — Widespread opposition to the Wall Street bailout demonstrates that free-market ideas can be presented in a populist context that draws broad support.
  4. The morality of markets — Don’t buy into the myth that libertarians and religious conservatives are natural enemies. There needs to be a concerted effort to persuade religious conservatives to understand why limited government and free markets are consonant with Christian belief.
  5. Future ex-Democrats — Many who voted for Obama will be disappointed at his failure to fulfill the Hope and bring about the Change he’s promised. Turning that disillusionment into opposition is the basic project the Republican Party must focus on.
  6. The Obama agenda won’t work — Republicans need to re-learn the skills of opposition that have been weakened by disuse during the Bush era. Being a conservative means, among other things, believing that liberalism is wrong. Obama is a liberal, Nancy Pelosi is a liberal, Harry Reid is a liberal. Therefore, every measure that Obama, Pelosi and Reid propose is wrong, and conservatives need to say so.

John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things.” The salient fact now is that the Democratic Party’s economic plan cannot lead to economic recovery. We’re on our way to a 6,000 Dow, we’ll see double-digit unemployment by 2010, and nothing proposed by the Democrats can possibly fix it.

In the “Revolt of the Kulaks,” we see a hopeful sign that American taxpayers understand these stubborn economic facts. The task of conservatives is to supply the brains and courage to turn that fundamental understanding into an irresistible political floodtide. If an ex-Democrat can be forgiven for quoting that frontier populist Andrew Jackson: “Never take counsel of your fears.”

UPDATE: “Indeed. Why would anyone get fired up about voting for a supposed alternative to liberalism that does little if anything to resist…liberalism?” Wherefore Phyllis Schlafly titled her immortal classic, A Choice, Not an Echo.

UPDATE II: Jules Crittenden has a roundup of thoughts on what’s wrong with the GOP and how to fix it.

UPDATE III:Playing nice is not a strategy (at least not a winning strategy).”

February 23, 2009

Breitbart gets it

CPAC, culture and Hollywood:

The timing of the yearly Conservative Political Action Conference could not be better suited for evaluating the strategies of the standard bearers of free markets and limited government as free-spending and nanny statist Obamaism runs amok with nary a media check or a legislative balance.
Attendees of the wonky three-day forum should pay close attention to what their ideological counterparts had to say earlier in the week at their annual get-together in liberalism´s capital, Hollywood.
On Sunday night at the Kodak Theater, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama debated each other in front of the same prideful crowd a year earlier, the political left convened to celebrate its progressive political agenda. The Oscars communicate post-modern, post-American liberal values more effectively than elected Democratic officials themselves. The liberal establishment understands this and uses the glamorous Hollywood elite and its incessant stream of left-leaning product and promotional vehicles as its proxy messenger. . . .
If “the medium is the message,” as Marshall McLuhan formulated 45 years ago in “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man,” then Hollywood-style liberalism is America´s current and future message. And conservatives have no one to blame but themselves for not investing their collective efforts in the pop cultural and the greater media experience.

Read the whole thing. And speaking of CPAC, please don’t forget to hit the tip jar. It’s for the children!

February 23, 2009

Ace now uses ‘rather’

A few days hanging around Hitch in Beirut, and suddenly he’s all Old School Tie and I’d-fancy-a-pint-mate.

Lord Ace of Spades, Viscount Ewok?

February 23, 2009

Oscar winners: ‘Slumdog,’ two hotties, dead guy, and Hollywood’s most anti-American actor

(BUMPED; UPDATE) Hurray for Bollywood! Slumdog Millionaire takes eight — count ’em 8! — Oscars, none of them in the acting categories: Muy caliente Penelope Cruz got Best Supporting actress, room-temperature Heath Ledger got Best Supporting Actor, Sean Penn won Best Actor, and the Academy Award for Best Nude Actress went to Kate Winslet.

Sorry I didn’t live-blog the ceremony but — as Jules predicted — the tedium was just too overpowering.

PREVIOUSLY: Jules Crittenden predicts utter ennui. And yet there is the Best Actress nomination for Kate Winslet, who has appeared nude in 10 films, beginning with Heavenly Creatures in 1994 and continuing through this year’s Oscar-nominated turn in The Reader.

Which is to say that, on average, Kate’s gotten nakies for the camera every 18 months since she turned 18. Is Jules trying to tell us he doesn’t like Kate nakies? Or that he’s bored with the whole kinky-Nazi genre? Or does he mean to tell us that Kate nakies is such a prohibitive favorite that there is no suspense?

Clarification is necessary. Meanwhile, if you want to clean up with late bets in Vegas, put your money on Victor Morton’s choices. Because Victor is always right. Far right.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas picks Penelope Cruz for Best Supporting Actress (Rule 5 alert).

UPDATE II: Steve Mason picks ’em at Big Hollywood.

UPDATE III: Jules is liveblogging the Oscars. Also, I corrected the spelling of Winslet’s name. (Why did I think it was 2 T’s?)

UPDATE IV: Ed Morrissey has some Oscar gossip. Also, the ratings and ad revenue suck this year, and Noel Shepard has more.

UPDATE V: E-mail from my best source:

Yes, Kate is a prohibitive favorite to win, as a career Oscar … though naturally the Academy not only is gonna honor her for a bad movie, but even the weaker of her two performances in December Oscarbaition releases this year (she was much better in REVOLUTIONARY CHOAD).
I think playing a Nazi helps you more than being naked (otherwise, Marisa Tomei would win every year).

UPDATE VI: Vox Day nurses a grudge:

I concluded very early on that the movie awards were a complete charade when the greatest movie in the history of film-making didn’t win an Oscar for best movie. Since Star Wars was spurned by the Academy voters . . .

Via Memeorandum (Rule 3).

UPDATE VII: Mary Katharine Ham just Twittered:

Although, I will say that Daniel Craig is like a really sexy Mr. Potato Head.

No, I don’t know what that means, either.

February 23, 2009

Just ask me

Q. Who just missed a perfect joke?
A. Don Surber.
Q. What’s the hottest part of the sun?
A. Page Three.