Archive for April 22nd, 2009

April 22, 2009

Videos: Sens. Cardin, Kyl condemn DHS report on ‘Rightwing Extremist’ threat

Thanks to The Washington News Observer for these videos of Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona showing bipartisan agreement that Janet Napolitano’s DHS report was wrong:

April 22, 2009

Who’s purging whom?

Rick Moran thinks I’m trying to set myself up as “an arbiter of ‘true conservatism,'” or trying to read Charles Johnson out of the movement. This isn’t remotely the case. Obviously, I don’t even have that kind of influence.

I’m not angry at Charles Johnson and even if I were angry at him, so what? Compared to Johnson, I’m as inconsequential as a flea on the ass of an elephant — LGF has 10 times my average daily traffic.

On the other hand, Johnson is trying to kick Pam Geller and Robert Spencer out of the conservative movement, and I’m trying to understand, and to explain, why he’s doing it. Perhaps my understanding and my explanation are wrong. But I didn’t start studying politics yesterday, and I’ve seen this “urge to purge” scenario played out over and over again through the years.

You cannot build a successful political movement by a process of subtraction, and building a winning coalition is impossible if you organize on losing principles. Allowing your opposition to dictate the terms of acceptable discourse is a losing principle, as Jeff Goldstein has striven to explain. Ergo, Johnson manifests a defeatist tendency when he pronounces Geller and Spencer “untouchables” because they attended a European conference whose promoters included some unsavory characters.

Was there any genuine danger that Geller and Spencer would return from Brussels singing the Horst Wessel Lied as they goosestepped down Broadway arm-in-arm with David Duke? Or, as I think far more likely, was Johnston concerned that the presence of a neo-Nazi element at Brussels would be used by liberals to discredit mainstream conservatism?

This is the kind of Republican flinch reflex — “Oh, we can’t say that, it might make the liberals angry!” — that annoys the crap out of me. Look, we’ve all been officially branded “Rightwing Extremists,” so what’s the point of this fearful, defensive, cringing quest for “respectability”?

If we are confident that our policy goals are worthy and decent, and that our tactics are honorable and democratic, why should we give a damn what the sneering elitists and smearing propagandists say? Why allow liberals to decide what is scandalously “extreme,” while they ignore or dismiss all of Obama’s extremist associations? This is not to endorse a “no enemies to the right” strategy, but rather to advocate the pragmatic approach to coalition-building exemplified by Ronald Reagan.

During his 1966 run for governor of California, Reagan was endorsed by, and given campaign contributions by, a right-wing group whose members and leaders had a clear history of kookiness. The newspapers made a big deal about this group and its connection to Reagan. So Reagan called a press conference where he was naturally asked about this “scandal,” and his response was simple: “They endorsed me. I didn’t endorse them.” End of scandal.

Candidates for public office cannot be held responsible for the opinions or actions of every person who supports them. Nor can Pam Geller and Robert Spencer be held responsible for the opinions and actions of every person who attended the Brussels conference. The Left has certainly never applied that kind of standard to Democrats, and if conservatives are going to operate under self-imposed standards intended to pre-empt liberal objections, then liberals have won the game before the first whistle blows.

April 22, 2009

Freddie Mac executive: Suicide?

Libertarian Republican blogger Eric Dondero says he’s getting bombarded with traffic after linking the story of the apparent suicide of Freddie Mac Chief Financial Officer David Kellermann:

David Kellermann, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Freddie Mac, was found dead this morning.
Fairfax County Police officials tell 9NEWS NOW they responded to his home around 5 a.m. after his wife alerted them to his apparent suicide.
Police say Kellermann, 41 years old, was found in the basement of the home.

UPDATE: Via Memeorandum, more news reports from Associated Press, the Washington Post and CBS News. BTW, please say a prayer for Mr. Kellerman’s family, who must not only deal with the loss of a loved one, but also will now find themselves at a center of a massive firestorm of media speculation.

Expect further updates . . .

April 22, 2009

Carrie Prejean: Hateful Oppressor?

“The problem with the ‘homophobia’ smear is that this allegedly dangerous tendency does not correlate with any actual evil. Nearly all ‘homophobes’ are peaceful, law-abiding citizens who treat the objects of their supposed ‘phobia’ with civility and courtesy. It is the object of the Left to convince homosexuals that they suffer oppression as the result of the intolerance and prejudice of their fellow citizens, yet it is extraordinarily difficult to argue that homosexuals are oppressed — the annual income of gay households, calculated as a per-capita average, far exceeds the income of most married-with-children households — much less that their putative oppression is the result of discrimination at the hands of heterosexual bigots.”

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin:

Instead of apologizing for pageant judge Perez Hilton’s vile behavior, the pageant director of the Miss California contest, Keith Lewis, sent a note to Hilton throwing Prejean under the bus: “I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss CA USA 2009 believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman. . . . Religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss CA family.”

Ergo, Perez Hilton, OK; Carrie Prejean, not OK. Secular liberalism, OK; religious conservatism, not OK. The values of the media-culture mainstream are clear, and the price of publicly rejecting those values is equally clear.

Please allow me to call to your attention the continued shifting of the tectonic plates of American politics, as Michelle Malkin moves steadily into alignment with Robert Spencer and Pam Geller, while Charles Johnson drifts toward Meghan McCain. Meanwhile, Carrie Prejean comes out of the closet as a Tea Party conservative. I am once again reminded of Phyllis Chesler and The Camp of the Saints.

WOLVERINES!

UPDATE II: No Sheeples Here notes that, although Miss California didn’t win the crown, Perez Hilton is a total queen. Meanwhile, Donald Douglas is exploiting the controversy with admirable shamelessness.

Rule 5A — “Everybody Loves a Pretty Girl” — explains both the value of Miss Prejean’s courage in speaking up, and the rage of the Left against her. The Left knows very well what I learned more than two decades ago while working as a nightclub DJ: Wherever the pretty girls are, that’s where everyone wants to be.

This is why Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter drive ’em nuts. Beauty is associated with prestige, and when a beautiful woman declares herself a conservative, she effectively undermines the prestige of liberalism. If you’ve contemplated Thomas Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed, you understand that liberals think of themselves as more sophisticated and enlightened than the benighted “masses.”

This self-congratulatory liberal self-conception is contradicted when their ideology is not embraced by prestige-conferring beauties. Liberals have no problem getting their agenda endorsed by airhead Hollywood starlets, but whenever one encounters the confluence of beauty and brains, conservative beliefs are far more prevalent.

My beautiful and intelligent conservative wife is sufficient evidence of that phenomenon, but noting the “progressive” outrage over Tom Tancredo’s appearance at the University of North Carolina, perhaps Mrs. Other McCain won’t mind my adducing other evidence of the widespread appeal of Youth For Western Civilization:

Rep. Tom Tancredo and young extremist Clever S. Logan. (Better watch your step, Big Sexy, or these right-wingers will have you deported.)

UPDATE III: Linked at Memeorandum, with this observation from Dan Riehl: “It’s getting so one can hardly express a critical thought if it isn’t acceptable to the Left.”

UPDATE IV: Allahpundit has video of an interview with Miss North Carolina, who won the Miss USA pageant because of Miss California’s political disqualification.

UPDATE V:Sometimes you read something that makes you want to stand up and applaud. This is one of those!

UPDATE VI: Donald Douglas, all-around extremist.

April 22, 2009

Drudge vs. the media hacks

Over at The American Spectator, I demystify the alleged mystery of Matt Drudge’s reclusiveness:

If you’re not in the news business, you’ve got no idea how important Drudge has become. Getting your story linked at The Drudge Report is more important to a reporter’s reputation nowadays than getting a Pulitzer Prize. If Drudge spent his evenings and weekends on the cocktail-party circuit in Georgetown, Manhattan or Brentwood, his media “friends” who invited him to those parties would expect favorable treatment, and he doesn’t want to be compromised by such obligations.

Read the whole thing.

April 22, 2009

The Central Scrutinizer Lives, Your Freedom Dies

by Smitty (h/t Insty)

The madness of it all astounds. Are we going to have to repeat the Montana 2nd Amendment pattern for food, too?

Critics say that the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875), introduced in early February by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), will “effectively criminalize organic gardening,” conceivably outlaw “seed banking,” and will serve as part of a concerted Monsanto conspiracy to drive all but corporate agri-business out of the food production racket.
According to the office of Rep. DeLauro, the bill was inspired by a recent wave of contaminated food recalls and is supported by consumer groups both organic and non-organic. The bill should also, if it has the effect of increasing consumer confidence in the food supply promised, be of ultimate benefit to big food production companies whose livelihoods depend on public trust in the food supply.* (Which means that they have every incentive to police themselves, and in the enormous staggering majority of the time they manage to do business without killing or harming their customers.)

This calls for another Zappa moment:
[s/music/agriculture/ in the following quotation]

CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER:
This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER…it is my responsibility to enforce all the laws that haven’t been passed yet. It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be performing which could eventually lead to The Death Penalty (or affect your parents’ credit rating). Our criminal institutions are full of little creeps like you who do wrong things…and many of them were driven to these crimes by a horrible force called agriculture! Our studies have shown that this horrible force is so dangerous to society at large that laws are being drawn up at this very moment to stop it forever! Cruel and inhuman punishments are being carefully described in tiny paragraphs so they won’t conflict with the Constitution (which, itself, is being modified in order to accommodate THE FUTURE). I bring you now a special presentation to show what can happen to you if you choose a career in agriculture . . .

April 22, 2009

It’s David Brooks Fisking Day!

A commenter earlier chided me for having neglected our weekly ritual of abusing David Brooks, who today deserves as good a punk-smacking as ever:

America once had a responsible economic culture, Obama argued. People used to save their pennies to buy their dream houses. Banks used to lend by “traditional standards.” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used to stick to their “traditional mandate.” Companies like A.I.G. used to limit themselves to the “traditional insurance business.”
But these traditions broke down, Obama continued. They were swamped by irresponsibility. Businesspeople chased “short-term profits” over long-term investments. . . . Americans consumed too much and saved too little. America became corrupted by “excessive debt,” “reckless speculation” and “fleeting profits.”
Obama vowed to end this irresponsibility and the cycle of boom and bust. It’s time to get back to basics, he said. He embraced tradition, order and authority. He quoted the New Testament and argued that it is time that the U.S. built its economic house on rock and not sand.
If Republicans aren’t nervous, they should be. Obama is arguing for his activist agenda not on the basis of class-consciousness, which is alien to America, but as a defense of middle-class morality, which is central to it. Obama is positioning the Democrats as the party of order, responsibility and small-town values. If he pulls this mantle away from the Republicans, it would be the greatest train robbery in American politics.

It’s your fault, David Brooks. You aren’t part of the solution. You aren’t even part of the problem. You are the problem.

Let’s go back to 1997, Mr. Brooks. The Republicans in Congress had fought Clinton to a stalemate over basic economic issues. Clinton had been forced to declare that “the era of big government is over” and — after vetoing it twice — had finally signed welfare reform into law.

And what was your response to these hard-fought conservative victories? “National Greatness,” an unprincipled and dishonest embrace of the same big-government agenda that the GOP had spent so much political capital opposing.

Now that the GOP and the nation have reaped the bitter fruit of your big-government Republican agenda, with characteristic dishonesty you attempt to evade responsibility for the disastrous consequences of the betrayals of conservative principle you enthusiastically advocated for more than a decade.

You are a gutless crapweasel, David Brooks, and the only people you deceive nowadays are those few so ignorant of your long career of mendacity that they don’t burst into laughter at your latest prevarication. You are the living examplification of a treacherous bastard, inspiring contempt in the hearts of all honorable and decent people.
You are a colossal monument to what can be achieved in American by someone who believes in nothing except his own self-advancement. For centuries and millennia to come, generations of backstabbing swine will revere you as their idol.
April 22, 2009

David Weigel reports on LGF

I noticed the bad blood between Little Green Footballs and Pam Geller many months ago, and said nothing about it at the time. Now Dave Weigel of Washington Independent — perhaps the best young reporter in D.C. — interviews LGF’s Charles Johnson to get to the bottom of it all:

“I don’t think I’ve changed,” Johnson said. “I’ve always been pretty independent. This is something I’ve really tried to put out there on my blog. I don’t consider myself right-wing.” . . .
“I don’t think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore,” Johnson said. “It’s all a bunch of kooks. I’ve watch some people who I thought were reputable, and who I trusted, hook up with racists and Nazis. I see a lot of them promoting stories and causes that I think are completely nuts.”

Read the whole thing. No blogger wants to get in a pissing match with Charles Johnson. It strikes me that, like a lot of people who jumped onto the Global War On Terror (GWOT) bandwagon after 9/11, Johnson’s commitment to conservatism was very limited.

He was opposed to Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan and International ANSWER, and he supported George W. Bush over John Kerry. Evidently, however, Johnson cared nothing at all about opposing the Left as a political movement in general. In fact, he appears profoundly sympathetic to the Left’s domestic policy aims. In this, he is no different than, say, John McCain. Or Meghan McCain, for that matter.

Somewhere several weeks ago — I don’t feel like looking it up now — I wrote that it is a bad long-term strategy to base a political movement primarily on foreign policy. Wars come and go, alliances shift, old enemies fade and new enemies emerge and, quite frankly, most Americans don’t give a damn about foreign countries unless they’re at war with us.

Yet it cannot be denied that in 2002 and ’04, the Republicans won chiefly by presenting themselves as the party of get-tough foreign policy, committed to taking the fight to the Islamofascist foe. The post-9/11 appeal to patriotism always had a certain “Remember the Maine!” quality to it, and it was effective only so long as the Democrats were committed to playing the “me too” game.

After the 2004 election, however, the Democratic grassroots stopped listening to their “leadership” in Washington. Instead, left-wing bloggers, MoveOn.org, and the new Soros-funded operations (Center for American Progress, Media Matters, etc.) set about fomenting a “choice not an echo” response to the Mehlman/Rove strategy.

With their champion Howard Dean installed as chairman of the DNC, the Left demonized all Republicans, marginalized moderate Democrats, sought out plausible challengers in “purple” congressional districts, and built a machinery of opposition that was flexible, improvisational and well-funded.

Meanwhile, the Republicans were stuck with a top-down hierarchical political operation that left the conservative grassroots in the position of waiting for the RNC and Sean Hannity to tell them what the key issues were and what the message was. The GWOT, a winning campaign issue in 2002-04, turned into a liability in 2005-06. The Iraqi insurgents were de facto allies of the Democrats, and as the death toll in Iraq rose, so did the Democrats’ political fortunes. And the only response that Rumsfelt & Co. offered was, “Stay the course!”

Perhaps we might have stayed the course, if Bush and the Republicans had ever bothered to develop a conservative domestic agenda. Instead, from its very inception, “compassionate conservatism” was a policy of negotiated surrender on the domestic front. Can someone — anyone — please tell me what was “conservative” about No Child Left Behind or Medicare Part D? And let’s don’t even talk about S. 2611, OK?

So when Charles Johnson says he doesn’t consider himself “right wing,” he’s utterly sincere. He is what he always was, a pro-war liberal. Now that the Republicans are out of power and the “conservative” label has been permanently tainted by its association with the hapless Bush administration, Johnson cares nothing for the fate of the GOP or conservatism. Nor does he care anything for the reputations of erstwhile friends like Robert Spencer and Pam Geller, whom he now casually dismisses as racist Nazi kooks.

I’d like to explain to Charles Johnson why he’s wrong, but if he won’t listen to Robert Spencer, there’s no reason to expect he’d listen to me. Johnson supported the GWOT, which ended the day Bush left the White House, and thus ended Johnson’s only real interest in politics.

Johnson is not “political” in the sense of trying to calculate ways to build a broad, enduring coalition that amounts to at least 50-percent-plus-one. He cares nothing about, say, figuring out how to elect Lt. Col. Allen West in FL-22 or how to defeat Bud Cramer in AL-5. And since he’s never looked at politics in that way, he doesn’t grasp the connection between defeating the Left on foreign policy and defeating the Left on domestic issues like “card check” and health care.

You know who does see those connections? The Left. And they’ve won, because Bush and the Republicans never really understood the real enemy they were fighting. Charles Johnson is just collateral damage in this conflict, incidental to the Left’s triumph.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas has kept closer tabs on the LGF situation, and Gates of Vienna is even more directly involved. Both of them see the conflict as being “about Charles,” who is accused of banning any commenter who disagrees with him. Meh. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t want my bandwidth gobbled up by people who disagreed with me, either. So that’s not really much of an accusation, in and of itself.

UPDATE II: Linked at Conservative Grapevine. Meanwhile, Charles Johnson tells his side of the story with a post that describes leaders of the Vlaams Belang — the Flemish nationalist party of Belgium — as having “met with numerous extreme right wing personalities (including Pat Buchanan).” Well, if meeting with Pat Buchanan puts one beyond the pale, there goes Ronald Reagan, for whom Buchanan was White House Communications Director 1985-87.

UPDATE III: Pam Geller protests against being accused by LGF of promoting neo-Nazism for having posted video of demonstrations organized in the British National Party. This points toward a basic problem at the heart of the dispute: European politics is not like American politics.

European politics is parliamentary and, given the socialist bent of Europe, the mainstream “conservative” parties aren’t really very conservative at all. The staid, respectable British Tories are never going to make an issue of mass immigration and the attendant ascendance of Islamic extremism. Ergo, in Britain, the “extremist” BNP owns that issue, much the way that Le Pen’s National Front owns it in France and Vlaams Belang owns it in Belgium.

What this situation highlights, really, is the danger to America if the Republican Party refuses to side with its conservative grassroots on the immigration issue. John McCain and other moderate Republicans want the GOP to follow European conservative parties down the path to political irrelevance by distancing themselves from “populist” issues like immigration and abortion.

The problem with that approach is that, if you marginalize dissent — and look at what happened to Carrie Prejean, if you want to see how marginalization happens — then you abandon those issues to the real fringe kooks. The genius of the American two-party system has been its ability to channel popular unrest into mainstream politics, so that issues that might otherwise give rise to violent extremism are instead addressed via the ballot box and legislation.

And this is why I have such contempt for Republican elitists like David Brooks, who are always striving to push the GOP toward middle-of-the-road “respectability” and urging Republicans to disdain “populism.” That elitist approach will always weaken the GOP, and allow grassroots resentments to fester into genuinely dangerous extremism.

April 22, 2009

Saturday, 25April DC Tea Party

by Smitty

For all those so afraid of a drop of rain that they headed South (do shots get any cheaper?) there is a follow-up Tea Party this Saturday.
Protest early, protest often, say I.

beginning at 11:00 in the morning and dispersing by 1:00pm. Just a couple of hours out of a beautiful spring day.

April 22, 2009

Track-A-‘Crat on Feinstein: how does he feel?

by Smitty

He seems like he has a bone to pick with the good Senator:

I know that DC is Hollywood for ugly people but Sen. Feinstein is taking it a bit too far. I’ve seen more healthy looking corpses.

Ow.

So, in addition to criminal ugliness, Feinstein should also be charged with corruption and her husband with insider trading.
Two trends have damaged the popular perceptions of politics more than anything else.

  • The first is allowing anyone to run (and, worse still, electing them) when they have manifestly not achieved nor sacrificed anything for their country.
  • The second is the reduction of politics to a self-enrichment scheme.

Feinstein is, alongside the president himself, the epitome of both.

The question is, what do my three stooges, Moran, Warner, and Webb, have to do to earn your attention?