Archive for ‘Grover Norquist’

June 25, 2009

Mary Jo Kopechne couldnot be reached for comment

Having suggested that Jenny Sanford should ventilate her cheating SOB husband with .38 slugs, I think I cannot be accused of making excuses for Republicans with zipper problems.

Well, what about David Shuster of NBC News? A friend was following Shuster’s Twitter feed yesterday:

Does Spitzer deserve more “credit” (wrong word choice, I know) because he resigned as opposed to Sanford who is staying in office?

To quote Andrew Sullivan, words fail. My opinion is that Sanford’s next office should be under a tombstone, and comparing the Last Tango in Buenos Aires to the sordid saga of Spitzer — the anti-prostitution crusader who found himself entangled in an FBI investigation of an interstate call-girl ring — tends to obscure, rather than enlighten.

What kind of perverse mind tries to use Sanford’s shame to rehabilitate the scoundrel Spitzer? Absurd.

Meanwhile, speaking of Twitter and Sanford, Dave Weigel just Twittered a quote from his story about the Sanford scandal:

“It proves men who oppose federal spending are irresistible to women.”
Grover Norquist

Heh. No wonder Dr. Helen keeps such a close eye on Glenn Reynolds. Keep that .38 handy, Dr. Helen!

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is definitely not a member of the Grover Norquist Fan Club:

Just what we need: Beltway conservatives showing how tone-deaf and insensitive they are for the sake of a self-aggrandizing soundbite.

Note Malkin’s mother-bear reaction:

I don’t find anything funny about the Sanford affair. It’s the mom in me thinking about four handsome boys on Father’s Day weekend abandoned by their stupid, selfish father, who was busy tanning with his mistress in Argentina. Heart-breaking. Yes. Nauseating. Yes. Maddening. Yes. Funny? No.

Sarcasm is my natural metier, and spending two decades in the newroom tends to put a keen edge on one’s cynical indifference to the foibles of the famous and powerful. In some circles, a big-shot politician is like a rock star, so when a politician behaves like he’s on tour with Aerosmith, it brings out my inner Mencken. (He once remarked that the only way a journalist should ever look at a politician is down.)

My cynicism is bipartisan. Sanford’s Argentine escapade is, to me, as ludicrous and deserving of scornful laughter as any shenanigans of Gary Hart, Ted Kennedy or Bill Clinton.

I was on the phone a few minutes ago with a Texas Republican, a Christian conservative gentleman with extensive experience in the blogosphere. As I explained to my friend, for 20 years I’ve had a saying: My wife has a kitchen drawer full of knives, and I’ve got to sleep sometime.

Humor can expresss truth. In an act of divine irony, God blessed an ugly old hound like me with a beautiful wife, a blessing deserving of eternal gratitude. If I ever cheated on Mrs. Other McCain, no jury would ever convict her. My well-deserved death (or grievous mutilation) would be the subject of a thousand jokes, and appropriately so.

UPDATE II: Weigel’s story is now on Memeorandum and if you’re offended by humor, let’s look at a couple of serious reactions to l’affaire Sanford. Erick Erickson:

What Mark Sanford did was wrong. He needs to go in a dark hole somewhere where no one can see him or hear him and rehabilitate himself. . . . The left is going to spend the next week making Sanford into the second coming of James Dobson to smear real marriage advocates and social conservatives — positions Sanford was rarely vocal on.

There are things from which a politician can “rehabilitate himself.” Flying off to Argentina to screw a “glorious” woman named Maria Belen Shapur? Nope. I caught a minute of yesterday’s press conference while at the American Spectator office. When Sanford used the word “forgiveness,” I shouted at the TV a two-word response. (Hint: The second word was “you.”)

Welcome to the private sector, sir. Resign now. Meanwhile, Sanford’s downfall contributes to the disillusionment of a young Washingtonian:

Forget shaking my faith in the Republican Party, after a while it just starts to shake your faith in men. I mean, are all men incapable of remaining faithful?
I’ve been following this story with fingers crossed, “Please, don’t be another Republican having an affair!” I guess that was too much to ask for. What a chump. It just leaves me shaking my head with a look of disgust across my face. It’s just so disappointing.

Question: What about the Marias of the world, who seem to have no compunction about affairs with other women’s husbands? Do such women bear no responsibility? Whatever sort of two-faced scumbag horndog Mark Sanford may be, even in Buenos Aires it still takes two to tango. Sanford is 100% responsible for keeping his own vows, but his responsibility does not exempt Maria from blame.

Amid all these serious considerations, I still defend my right to sarcasm. If Bill Clinton is a punchline, Mark Sanford is a Monty Python routine.

May 4, 2009

Ruh-roh: Malkin vs. Grover Norquist?

Oh, man, if this doesn’t make me forget my little go-round with Cassandra, nothing ever will. In targeting the gutless tax-and-spend California Republicans, Michelle Malkin calls out Grover Norquist:

Grass-roots activists have watched state GOP chairman Ron Nehring drive the party into the ground — and spend their money doing it. Nehring is a protege of open-borders, credibility-undermining Grover Norquist. It was under Nehring’s watch that the California GOP hired Norquist’s friend, Michael Kamburowski, to serve as the California Republican Party’s chief operating officer in charge of the multimillion-dollar budget of the nation’s largest state Republican Party — despite being here illegally with no work visa or valid work permit.
The episode became the butt of late-night jokes, but neither Nehring nor Norquist suffered any consequences.

Two giants of the Right, in open conflict. Stay tuned.

Show of hands: Who wants to watch Malkin and Norquist do an hour-long debate on Hannity?

UPDATE: In the comments below, Dark Horse doesn’t like my suggestion of a shout-show talking-heads debate on Hannity, wants a full live debate, and accepts my alternative suggestion of Andrew Napolitano to moderate.

Meanwhile, I’m looking at Malkin’s listing of the lavish expenses that California GOP boss Nehring ran up, prompting her to remark:

If he had something to show for it all, maybe it would be worth it. But what has he done? Flushed party dues down the toilet and the state GOP’s credibility and electoral prospects along with it:

Which reminded me of something I wrote in a very long piece yesterday:

Never mind whether Consultant Y actually delivers winning campaign strategies. He’s a longtime Republican who’s got all the right friends, says all the right things, and wears the right “Reaganesque” suits, so he keeps getting hired and keeps losing elections. . . .
If people don’t want to be in the “Big Tent” nowadays, maybe it’s because they can’t stand the stench of heaped-up bullshit.

If Malkin’s aim is to do something about this smelly problem, she’ll have a lot of support.

UPDATE II: Ed Driscoll on the “Golden State Mobius Loop.” You might also want to check out my post from February, “California: Zimbabwe U.S.A.” Republicans would do better if they were willing to lose elections by standing full-strength against the parasitical public-employee unions, instead of trying the Schwarzenegger compromise approach. It’s like trying to compromise with a shark — there’s no future in it for anyone except the shark.

October 21, 2008

Douthatism, once more

Ross Douthat is laboring mightily to undermine the credibility of mutual friends who swear to me that Douthat is really a good guy. To wit:

[I]s opposition to wealth-spreading in principle really now a litmus test for being a conservative? I thought that being on the right meant that you wanted a welfare state that’s small in size and limited in scope – that’s what I signed up for, at least – and the most just and reasonable way to shrink and/or restrain the American welfare state that I can see is to make it more redistributive, rather than less so.

Over at AmSpecBlog, Phil Klein retorts:

Despite the best efforts of Douthat to turn conservatism into a watered-down form of progressivism, the term “conservative welfare state” is contradictory. Conservatism, at its core, abhors the welfare state . . .

Hear, hear! And I add my own commentary:

A very instructive phrase — “that’s what I signed up for” — naturally leads to the question, when did Douthat sign up? Where? And with whom?
Douthat’s problem is that he feels the need to describe a hypothetical condition, conservative governance as an ideal finished product: Exactly this much of a social welfare state, and no more.
Politics doesn’t work that way. Politics is Newtonian, establishing an equilibrium between competing interests. Vis-a-vis the size-of-goverrnment question, you take your place on either side of the tug-of-war — the federal government is either too big or too small — and you start pulling as hard as you can.
I stand resolutely on the side of those who say the federal government is too big, too powerful, too expensive. It doesn’t matter how small, weak or cheap I think the ideal government would be, since in living memory it has only grown, and grown, and grown. (One notices that progressive Democrats have never specified a final destination of “progress.”)
If ever any meaningful reductions were made in the size, authority and expense of the federal government, then conservatives could argue over whether the next proposed round of reductions might be going too far. Since everything is now going in exactly the opposite direction, Douthat’s hand-wringing over the ideal size of the social welfare state is moot.
It’s too big now, and that’s all that matters in practical political terms — not that Douthat has anything useful to say about practical politics.

Since Burke first denounced the French Revolution, conservatism has always been a philosophy of opposition. and it looks like we’ll be getting back to our roots soon enough. Jacobinism is once more triumphant, and if you listen closely, you can hear the tumbrels beginning to roll.

UPDATE: On reflection, I suppose this rant returns to my idea of how “Libertarian Populism” could appeal to Ordinary Americans. The argument that the federal government is too big and too expensive and too wasteful has the virtue of simplicity.

Since the federal government has been continually expanding since the 1930s, liberals essentially argue that government has not expanded fast enough or far enough. But every adult can remember a time when the government had not taken charge of some function that it now exercises.

Was life really so bad back then? Does the Ordinary American think that this increased federal role has really made an overall improvement in his daily life? Or, rather, does he sense that the federal government has generally made a botch of things?

There is a coherent argument to be made against the overgrown authority of Washington, D.C. This argument is both intellectually respectable and politically potent. When the conservative movement puts forward persuasive spokesmen to articulate this argument, the movement grows and succeeds. However, when the spokesmen are inarticulate or unpersuasive — or when prominent spokesmen describing themselves as “conservative” begin making apologies for big government — the movement weakens and fails.

If big government is “conservative,” then exactly what is the conservative critique of liberalism? Where is the fundamental substance of disagreement? When conservatives abandon their critique of big government, the debate with liberalism becomes complex and confusing. Ordinary Americans are no longer presented with a conservative politics that is simple and coherent, and are easily attracted to another simple and coherent argument: Gimme, gimme, gimme.

The failure of Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” is that, in abandoning a critique of big government, Republicans were left with no domestic-policy argument except cultural squabbles (e.g., Terri Schiavo) and, “Hey, isn’t the economy great?” It’s interesting to ponder whether this stance would have failed sooner, had it not been for 9/11, which allowed the GOP to win the 2002 and 2004 elections on the question of which party could best fight Islamic terrorism. But as the public wearied of (or changed its mind about) that issue, and as the economy soured, the GOP discovered it had no domestic argument at all.

If we are going to have big government no matter who wins the election, why not vote for the party that has been advocating big government all along?

Grover Norquist likes to talk about the “Leave Us Alone Coalition” — that solid conservative constituency which stands resolutely against big government. The task of conservative commentators ought to be to persuade more people to join the “Leave Us Alone Coalition.” If Ross Douthat wants to attack the “Leave Us Alone Coalition,” he thereby makes himself an enemy of the only conservatism that can ever hope to exercise influence in American politics.