Archive for April 7th, 2009

April 7, 2009

Too Easy

by Smitty (hat tip: Kathryn Lopez)

One is tempted to build a jape out of “in that head”, and “finally, something”. But that’s just too easy. Utterly common. Beneath the Olympian standards of this blog, in fact. Your thanks may be offered below.

Hot Air has less snark and a couple of clips.

April 7, 2009

Former Chris Dodd speechwriter to Republicans: ‘You’re doing it all wrong’

From PW Pub, I followed a link to this Politico column by Michael A. Cohen:

Over the years, the GOP scored political benefit by playing on the resentments and fears of voters, but after the wreckage of the Bush years, Americans seem more interested in solutions than scapegoats. Conspiracy-laden rhetoric is unlikely to resonate far beyond the party’s core base of supporters. . . .
Republicans need to make a decision: Are they going to cater to the paranoid fears of self-styled “truth tellers” like [Glenn] Beck, or are they going to present a substantive policy alternative to Democratic rule? For the good of the party, and the country, let’s hope it’s the latter.

“For the good of the party,” he says, which prompts me to Google up his biography:

Previously, Mr. Cohen served in the U.S. Department of State as chief speechwriter for U.S. Representative to the United Nations Bill Richardson and Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat. He has worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Foreign Policy magazine, and as chief speechwriter for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).

Yeah, buddy, when Republicans want lectures about “the good of the party,” you’re the go-to guy, ain’t ya?


It’s Easy to Call Someone a Conspiracy Theorist When You Can Just Make Up What They Believe

(Via Memeorandum.)

UPDATE II: “Isn’t it comforting to know that left wing Dems are looking out for conservatives?”

April 7, 2009

It’s David Brooks Fisking Day!

Having failed to say anything useful about politics, now he fails at saying anything useful about morality:

Today, many psychologists, cognitive scientists and even philosophers embrace a different view of morality. In this view, moral thinking is more like aesthetics. . . .
Most of us make snap moral judgments about what feels fair or not, or what feels good or not. We start doing this when we are babies, before we have language. And even as adults, we often can’t explain to ourselves why something feels wrong. . . .
What shapes moral emotions in the first place? The answer has long been evolution, but in recent years there’s an increasing appreciation that evolution isn’t just about competition. It’s also about cooperation within groups. Like bees, humans have long lived or died based on their ability to divide labor, help each other and stand together in the face of common threats. Many of our moral emotions and intuitions reflect that history.

This isn’t a newspaper column. It’s an English-comp theme that any bright college psych major could have written. There is no attempt at reporting, no effort at timeliness or relevance.

One gets the mental image of Brooks reclining on a divan, reading an article in Psychology Today and saying, “Oh, I’ll write about that.” And — voila! — second-hand expertise.

As always, Brooks approaches his subject with the general idea, “What do the ‘experts’ say? What is the prestigious, fashionable, high-status thing to say about this?” He is merely a mirror of the attitudinal dispositions of the elite, a sort of living sociological treatise on the current mood of our decadent intelligentsia.

More comment at Memeorandum.

April 7, 2009

GOP ‘brand damage’ not repaired

Since I don’t want to be accused of existing inside an “echo chamber,” I feel obligated to link this item by Christopher Orr at TNR:

The latest New York Times poll is loaded with good news for the Obama administration and news that would be devastating for the GOP if it were ever able to penetrate the conservative-media echo chamber. . . .
Obama has a 66 percent approval rating, which is the highest this poll has recorded, while the GOP’s favorability is at 31 percent, the lowest the poll has recorded in 25 years of asking the question. Arguably more remarkable still is that, asked whether Obama or the GOP Congress would be more likely to make “the right decisions about the nation’s economy,” respondents broke for Obama 63 percent to 20 percent. That means that even within the 31 percent rump that holds a positive view of the GOP, at least a third trust Obama’s instincts on the economy equally or more.

Uh, “the GOP Congress”? Was this a “push poll”? But never mind that. What did the polls say about Bill Clinton in April 1993?

We are barely five months past the last election, the biggest Democratic victory since 1964, and Obama’s been in office less than 90 days. It would be truly startling if polls showed Republican Party voter ID surging in popularity at this point. More importantly, economics is not public relations:

Don’t you people understand that it doesn’t matter how “popular” you and your policies are, if what you are doing is the wrong thing to do? And that it doesn’t matter how clever and persuasive your arguments are, if your policies bring disaster?

As a question of electoral politics, it matters not a whit, in April 2009, whether a poll shows that people “trust Obama’s instincts on the economy,” if Obama’s instincts are wrong, and they are. It Won’t Work.

Opponents of Obamanomics ought not be worrying about polls at this point. Organize! Raise money! Identify and support promising candidates in promising districts. When the Dow is below 6,000 and unemployment is near double digits on Labor Day 2010, then we’ll see what the polls say about who’s been living in an “echo chamber.”

April 7, 2009

Who is to blame?

I am neither advocating, nor even predicting, civil war; neither am I advocating civil disobedience. I am simply pointing out that if the shooting ever does start in earnest, the blame can be laid squarely on the doorstep of those leftists whose mendacity, bad faith, criminal tactics and violent rhetoric will have contributed so much to the perversion of our democratic form of government and the destruction of our individual rights.”

April 7, 2009

Public education and liberal guilt

Following up on my writings about the problems of public education, a reader thoughtfully sent me a Slate column with this hand-wringing appeal from “Eloise”:

My family lives on the west side of Los Angeles. I face the same choice as many urban families: Will the kids attend public or private schools? Should one minimize opportunities for one’s own child in service to the greater good?
In our desire to protect our children physically and academically, we send them to very expensive schools that are inherently segregated ethnically and economically. We, being white, educated, and comparatively affluent, are the agenda-setters in society. The agenda does not include fierce protection of the public school system we value in general terms but abandon in our own specific cases.
And so we’ve let down our future fellow citizens by turning our backs on them. And we’ve certainly let the government off the hook yet again, by individually shouldering the burden of quality education for our own children and letting the public schools crumble. Advice?

Never mind whatever advice she got from the Slate columnists. Here’s what I wrote back to the person who sent me the column:

Very interesting. “Eloise” . . . has obviously bought into the collectivist liberal mentality and cannot think clearly. In terms of one’s own children’s education, how is the interest of “society” best served? Obviously, by providing them with the best possible education, so that they may be productive citizens. If every parent would only do that — concentrate on making their own child the best they could be — then “society” would be much better off. But “Eloise” has apparently bought into the collectivist mentality to such an extent that she feels guilty about her choice of private education. She thinks she should be supporting public schools by entrusting her own child to their misguided hands.
Their worldview is a house of cards, and they dare not examine any premise of their syllogism for fear that the whole thing will come crashing down. So they lie to themselves and ignore the contradictions and blame others for their own unhappiness. Ayn Rand had these people pegged.
Oh, and I guarantee you, “Eloise” chose a private school where the overprivileged children are all indoctrinated with the same self-contradictory liberal worldview. (Monica Lewinsky received such an education at John Thomas Dye School and Bel Air Prep, and certainly exemplified its principles.) The phenomenon of guilt-ridden rich liberals is somewhat mystifying, but their habits are utterly predictable.

I say that guilt-ridden rich liberals are mystifying, in that I cannot understand successful people who don’t strive to support and strengthen the system of free enterprise whose blessings they enjoy. But the habits of such people — who always seek to exempt themselves from the disastrous consequences that liberal policies inflict on others less fortunate — are, as I said, predictable. Thomas Sowell wrote a whole book about it.

April 7, 2009

To Live Free

“I deeply yearn to live in an actual free society, not just to imagine a theoretical future utopia or achieve small incremental gains in freedom. For many years, I enthusiastically advocated for liberty under the vague assumption that advocacy would help our cause. . . . My new perspective is that the advocacy approach which many libertarian individuals, groups, and think tanks follow (including me sometimes, sadly) is an utter waste of time.”

April 7, 2009

Explaining New Media

When I wrote “Blog habits and the need for speed,” I was communicating something I’d learned while working with bloggers at The Washington Times: New Media rewards speed.

There is no substitute for being first, and you’re only going to be first by being fast. This means that hierarchical, top-down organizations that focus on control are going to lose, because in their attempt to control information, they delay information.

Furthermore: New Media rewards innovation, and innovation can only occur by trial and error. You have to take an improvisational approach — “Hey, let’s see if it works this way” — then measure the response to see which of the various approaches works best. You have to constantly strive for improvement in method, and constantly monitor feedback.

New Media rewards communication. You can’t be inaccessible, secluded behind barriers to incoming information, and expect to succeed in the New Media environment. You can’t function effectively by hiding in your office, with a private phone number and an e-mail address known only to a few chosen associates, because the piece of incoming information you miss — the person who can’t get past your receptionist — is going to go somewhere else.

Hugh Hewitt’s “Bear in the Woods has obviously seen the same things, and experienced the difficulty of trying to explain New Media to executives accustomed to the hierarchical control-based style of management.

April 7, 2009

Important Hope and Change Development

by Smitty

John over at The Purple Center has some Rule 5 for Ashley/Kirsten/Call-me-whatever-just-pay, as well as some Spitzer data.

Spitzer took his rehab campaign to the “Today” show where he couldn’t manage to sound minimally contrite in answering Matt Lauer’s questions about his sneaky expensive whoring. “I’ve tried to address these gremlins and confront them,” he told Lauer. The “gremlins” made him do it!

Lo and behold: Spitzer managed to discuss his non-command of his wedding tackle without blaming George W. Bush! You say jackass, I say Progress!

April 7, 2009

‘Is Suzanna Logan a lesbian?’

Got an e-mail yesterday:

That girl you introduced me to at CPAC …. is she really a lezbo? If so, what a waste of lipstick.

My reply:

No, she’s not a lesbian. Perhaps you’ve misunderstood a joke.

His reply:

Phew. You’ll have to explain the joke at some point. Is she in on it?

We’ll let Suzanna explain all this. After she strips nude at the Tea Party in Richmond, Va., and Jello wrestles Monique Stuart (with right-wing lesbian Cynthia Yockey as the neutral, objective referee) for romantic rights to Jason “Big Sexy” Mattera.

Also, Ace of Spades has never actually killed any hobos that I personally know of.

How do these silly rumors get started? Maybe my close personal friend Terry McAuliffe could explain it. He’d probably blame the Brian Moran “smear machine.”