Tag: Conservatism in the United States

Massholes Prepares to Elect a Masshole; Texans Reject An Idiot; Reich Has No Shame

A few more notes on the upcoming election.

First, the Massachusetts gubernatorial race is a tight one between Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker. I’ve mentioned Coakley before. I don’t generally like the term fascist but … gee, what do you say about a person who persecutes innocent people based on discredited testimony and junk science but thinks cops who rape toddlers with curling irons should be let out on their own recognizance? What do you say about someone who embraces trafficking hysteria and makes such appalling arguments for the destruction of civil liberties that she is routinely laughed out of court by hard-bitten conservative justices? If Massachusetts elects a power-hungry power worshipper like Coakley, they deserve what they’re going to get.

I’m starting to believe that the Wendy Davis campaign is a false flag operation by pro-life activists. How else to explain how it has become such a hilarious implosion. Last week, she accused her disabled opponent of not caring about disabled people. When criticized, she had a “some of my best friends are in wheelchairs” press conference. This week, she’s decided she can win because of dildos and interracial marriage.

I guess it makes as much sense as thinking you’re going to ride pro-choice sentiment into Austin.

That post criticizes Greg Abbott for not saying whether he would support a ban on interracial marriage and for arguing in the courts in favor of Texas’ restrictive laws on sex toys. What the author doesn’t seem to realize is that Abbott is talking about his role as attorney general. As attorney general, he won’t deal with an interracial marriage case because the Courts have already struck down anti-miscegenation laws unanimously. I seriously doubt that Abbott, who is married to a woman of another race, would support restoring the interracial marriage ban.

As for the dildos case … again, Abbott was acting as attorney general. As attorney general, he has to represent the state and defend those laws, whatever he thinks of them. I have argued in this space before that I don’t think the executive should defend laws that are blatantly unconstitutional, such as a ban on free speech. But (1) that decision is left to the President (or the governor, in this case). The attorney general pushes the President’s position, no matter what he thinks of it or he resigns; (2) Texas’ dildo laws, while stupid, aren’t exactly the suspension of habeas corpus.

Wheelchairs, mixed races and dildos. The Davis campaign think they are onto a winner. I think their offices need to be checked for nitrous oxide leaks.

Finally, I won’t post the video, but I will link you to Hot Air’s post on a Move On video, featuring Robert Reich, the Littlest Communist in Washington. Reich argues that Republicans are going to use a little known procedure called reconciliation to advance … well, the usual Left Wing mythical playbook: tax cuts for the rich, the end of healthcare, fossil fuel interests, deregulation and OMG, it will be the END OF THE FUCKING WORLD!

Those of you with memories longer than an episode of The Big Bang Theory will recognize this “little-know procedure” as the way Obamacare was passed. The hypocrisy of Move On, their belief that voters are stupid, their condescension … well, it would be surprising if it were someone other than MoveOn.

Right now, the Republicans hold a lead in the polls and look likely to take the Senate. Democrats, who two years ago mocked Republicans for claiming the polls were skewed, are claiming the polls are skewed. Maybe they are, but there is one indicator that tells me that the Democrat are about to lose the Senate and possibly the White House in 2016.


When I started blogging, way back in 2004, I noticed a pattern. If someone disagreed with me forcefully but respectfully, it was usually a conservative. If someone called me a fag, accused me wanting to suck George Bush’s dick, asked me how much money I was getting from the NRA and hoped I got beaten up in a dark alley, it was almost always a liberal (usually for something I’d written at Moorewatch).

That script flipped in 2006 and especially in 2008 after Obama’s election. Disagreements from liberals were … well, never respectful but better than they had been in 2004. It was disagreement from conservative that got nasty (although never as nasty as the liberals were in 2004). It was perfect illustration of Jane’s Law:

The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.

It’s changing again. It has been for the last year, maybe longer. If I have the temerity to dispute liberal talking points on a liberal board, I get pilloried, called names and sometimes banned. Liberal tweeters are on a hair-trigger for screaming and blocking those who disagree with them. Meanwhile, the commentary on conservative boards has been growing steadily more constructive and upbeat.

The liberals are scared. They think they are going to lose power and, even worse, those evil evil Republicans are going to get it. Actually, it might be even worse: a Republican party with libertarian tendencies, if you can imagine such a thing. Talking to liberals, you would be forgiven if you didn’t realize that Republicans — a few, at least — are the one driving the bus on criminal justice reform, police demilitarization, civil liberties and the end of crony capitalism. No, it’s all about teh gays (which no Republicans care about any more) and teh guns and teh abortions.

We have a few weeks before the election and politics can change very fast. But from where I’m standing, it looks like a good year for the GOP.

I just hope they don’t fuck it up again.

The Avalanche Has Already Started; It Is Too Late for the Pebbles to Vote

The dam has broken. No matter what our opinions might be of it, gay marriage is becoming a fact of life. On the heels of recent decisions by either judges or legislatures in Hawaii, Oklahoma, Nevada, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Idaho and Oregon, a judge in Pennsylvania today struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. That’s the fourth court victory for gay marriage advocates just this month. And this one, complete with a long and forceful opinion, was issued by a Bush 43 appointee whose appointment to the federal bench was approved by none other than Rick Santorum. (Judge Jones also wrote a long and stirring opinion against teaching creationism in public schools in Kitzmiller v. Dover). That makes 19 states where gay marriage is either legal or has won a recent court victory.

There is simply no putting this genie back in the bottle. Some of those overturns may be reversed by higher courts. Some may be turned over to referendums again. But even those are unlikely to pass. As I said when the Republican Party was pushing a wave of anti-gay-marriage amendments in 2004, their urgency was because they could see that they were losing support. It was then or never. The tide stopped in 2012 when Minnesota turned back an amendment in a tough battle. Now it has turned and is roaring back out to sea. California’s Prop 8 would not pass now. Some of the redder states would be able to keep it illegal, but even there, support is crumbling. Within ten years, gays will be probably be able to marry almost everywhere in this country. Maybe even less. This issue is basically dead (although, as I argued with the Brendan Eich case, I would prefer that people not gloat about it).

There is one question that sill lingers in mind however: whether this issue will haunt the Republican Party down the road. I’ve spoken of this before:

Back in the 1970′s, the GOP stepped back from their previous support for civil rights to support the so-called “Southern Strategy”: an effort to woo segregationists from the Democrats. The idea was not to embrace segregation, per se, but to jump on racially sensitive issues like welfare to build a power base in the South.

While it managed to get a few politicians to defect (Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond), it never really helped their electoral prospects. In Presidential races, they won the whole country in 1972, lost the South in 1976 and 1980, won the whole country in 1984 and 1988, split the South in 1992 and 1996. It was only in the mid-90′s that the South turned and, by that point, no one gave a crap about segregation issues. The turn was over economic issues. And by 2008, Barack Obama was able to dominate the South in the primaries and compete in the general election, winning three states.

Just to clarify this point: the Republicans took the South because the South was always conservative. The only reason the South hadn’t voted Republican up until the 90’s was because of the Democratic Party’s century-long history of racist politics. Growing up in Atlanta, I knew people whose family had never voted Republican. When George Allen was elected to the Virginia legislature, he was one of only a handful of Republicans. When the South went red in 1994, Republicans were winning elections in Southern states for the first time since the Civil War. The South was always conservative. They were going to go Republican eventually. It was only Johnson’s management of the Wallace faction that kept it blue for so long.

However, the Southern Strategy did have one palpable effect: both on its own and through liberal harping about it, the Southern Strategy alienated black voters to the point where the GOP is lucky to poll in single digits. This is despite a fair amount of conservatism among blacks, who are heavily pro-life and pro-school choice. P.J. O’Rourke said that Clinton’s popularity among blacks was because he allowed them to vote for a Republican without throwing up.

In the 40’s and 50’s, Republicans routinely drew support among black voters in the 20-30% range. If that trend had continued, more than a few elections would have gone differently.

I’m afraid the GOP is going down the same path again with their stance on gay issues. The country is shifting rapidly on these issues, especially among young voters — much more rapidly than it did on racial issues. Huge majorities oppose DADT, including a majority of conservatives. Gay marriage is closing in on majority support and large majorities favor at least civil unions. And barring gay adoption or gay sex simply isn’t on the radar for any but the most ardent cultural conservatives. Yet the entire GOP field supports DADT and DOMA, most favor the Marriage Amendment and Santorum favors just about every anti-gay measure you can think of.

Some of this support is in name only — the FMA, for example, has zero change of happening. But their vocal support for these policies is going to come back to bite them and probably not too far in the future. As more gays come out of the closet, as more people have gay friends and relatives, as more gays get married and have kids and as the world fails to end despite this, people are going to remember where the GOP was on this. People with gay kids are going to remember that the Rick Santorum wanted to deny their in-laws and take away their grandkids. People whose lives were saved by gay soldiers will realize they would have died had DADT been in place.

We are going to pay for this crap. And we are going to pay and pay and pay (literally, given the spending habits of the Democrats).

My fears have only strengthened in the three years since I wrote those words. While a number of Republicans have broken ranks — showing much more political courage than any Democrats, incidentally — I still fear that gay marriage will go down in history as a faint echo of the Southern Strategy debacle. A faint echo because the Republican opposition was at least partially built on principle. It was clear in 2004 that many Republicans were uncomfortable with their gay marriage position (you may remember a leaked phone call where Bush talked about how much he disliked taking the position) and that this was, at least in part, a cold political calculus from Karl Rove who thought opposing gay marriage would win a tough election. But most of the opposition was a principled opposition to changing one of the pillars of our civilization.

(The echo should be even fainter because Democrats opposed gay marriage until it became politically safe not to. But Democrats are never held to any standard, let alone the ones that Republicans are held to. Republicans still get beat up over their short-lived Southern Strategy; Democrats are absolved from their century-long embrace of Jim Crow.)

Still, I think the analogy holds. It will not be forgotten that Republicans were the face of the opposition to gay marriage and that the remaining opposition is from Republicans. Will this hurt them enough to matter in an election? There are a lot fewer gays than there are blacks and they are not as unified electorally. But considering how close some elections have been, it’s entirely possible that this will hurt us down the road, especially as the young people who support gay marriage today become the political force of tomorrow.

Asymmetric Arrogance

Over at Ezra Klein’s new venture, there is a fascinating piece about how politics make us stupid. Klein details experiments that show that both liberals and conservatives have a tendency to interpret facts so that they reinforce their own pre-existing biases. Or, more accurately, that people tend to interpret even objective scientific evidence in ways that support the ideas of their political tribe. It is worth your time.

Of course, the Left Wing never likes to be reminded that they are people just like the rest of us, not some uber-evolved ultra-enlightened homo superior. So Klein’s piece is being attacked by various left wingers, most notably Paul Krugman:

But here’s the thing: the lived experience is that this effect is not, in fact, symmetric between liberals and conservatives. Yes, liberals are sometimes subject to bouts of wishful thinking. But can anyone point to a liberal equivalent of conservative denial of climate change, or the “unskewing” mania late in the 2012 campaign, or the frantic efforts to deny that Obamacare is in fact covering a lot of previously uninsured Americans? I don’t mean liberals taking positions you personally disagree with — I mean examples of overwhelming rejection of something that shouldn’t even be in dispute.

Off the top of my head? I can think of the entirety of the Cold War, where massive factions of the Left Wing pretended that communism was not the evil oppressive regime that it was, that murderous communist guerrillas were engaged in a noble struggle and that Ronald Reagan was crazy to call a nation that murdered millions of its own people an evil empire. But if you want to go with current things, here is a short list of bullshit that the Left Wing believes. I will stick to thinks that are not really in factual dispute, rather than points of disagreement (e.g., Keynesian economics works).

  • Many believe that GMO crops are dangerous and should be banned despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe.
  • Many believe that vaccines cause autism despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe and the research that linked the two was fraudulent. Yes, some right wingers believes this. But it has for more respect and attention from the Left Wing.
  • It is almost universally believed on the Left that gun violence is worse than ever and mass shootings are on the rise despite massive drops in overall violence. I’ve done a series of pieces disputing Mother Jones’ completely bogus analysis of gun data. Mother Jones is not a fringe publication; it is one of the main voices of the Left.
  • Many lefties believe that the United States has been taken over by “rape culture” despite an 85% drop in sexual violence over the last 40 years.
  • Paul Krugman specifically claims that governments have cut spending, when spending has, in fact, increased. He has since claimed that the German government eschewed austerity despite their enacting more “austerity” than the supposedly skinflint UK. Krugman also used to push the idea that Herbert Hoover cut spending. For the record, Hoover jacked up spending so far that FDR denounced him as a socialist.
  • Many Left Wingers still believe that overpopulation is a problem. Almost no scientist believes this anymore. Yet Paul Ehrlich is still respected. Many also believe we are running out of landfill space and that recycling/composting are objectively good for the Earth. The evidence on this is mixed, at best.
  • On the subject of global warming, liberals might accept the science. But they are more than happy to engage in pseudo-scientific feel-good solutions to the problem that often do no good and sometimes make things worse. Examples: food miles, carbon offsets, “organic” farming, hybrid cars. All of those have been objectively shown either do little for the environment or even harm it, in the case of food miles. But a real solution to the problem, like nuclear power? Lefties claim it is a menace despite the astounding safety record of the nuclear industry, even if you include Fukushima and Three Mile Island.
  • And on the subject of Obamacare? I’ve spent the last week besieged by liberals claiming that Obamacare enrolled seven million uninsured (it enrolled seven million total; maybe two million were uninsured). Or that it has now covered thirty million people (ten million at best, possibly significantly fewer) or that it will decrease the deficit (the CBO now disputes this).
  • While we’re on the subject of the CBO, it analysis is praised when it supports liberal policy, condemned when it doesn’t. Krugman himself has done this.
  • Liberals spent years claiming that Bush as “gutting” spending, despite the most massive spending increases in American history. They spent years claiming Bush was “deregulating” despite Bush passing more regulations and more invasive regulations than any prior administration. This is not a matter of opinion. These are facts.
  • Lefties, like many Right Wingers, believe the United States has a massive sex slave trafficking industry despite a complete absence of any evidence to that effect.
  • The most popular Left Wing documentarian — Michael Moore — was so famous for his inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies that entire websites sprang up to dispute them. You may have heard of one.
  • And speaking of “unskewed polls”, many Left Wingers floated conspiracy theories about the 2000 and 2004 elections, which they lost. Many still claim that Al Gore would have won the recount, despite most studies concluding Bush would have won anyway.
  • That’s just off the top of my head. And not a single one of those is a judgement call. In all cases, liberals are refusing to accept facts — falling gun violence, falling sexual violence, the uselessness of food miles, the fiscal and regulatory record of George Bush, the safety record of nuclear power, the safety of GMO’s, the fiscal policies of European countries.

    I might be willing to concede that the Right Wing is a little crazier right now. But that’s mostly a manifestation of Jane’s Law (“The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”). Eight years ago, it was far different and far uglier. And, frankly, the Left Wing has recently starting to sound a little bit crazy even when they are still in power. The obsession with the Koch Brothers, the increasing calls to silence global warming skeptics, the wild claims about Obama’s economic and healthcare record. I can only imagine how bad it will be if the GOP has the reigns of power again in 2016.

    Anyway, Krugman’s piece is pathetic: a desperate attempt to convince himself that his political tribe is better than everyone else’s. We all have our biases and we all tend to find ways to reinforce those biases. Changing someone’s mind is hard; changing your own mind is even harder. It does happen. But it does not happen when someone, like Krugman, thinks they are magically immune to human nature.

    Vets March on Washington

    Yesterday, military veterans marched on Washington in protest of the closure of open-air memorials. Some conservative activists also joined in and gave speeches, which the Million Vet March has did not appreciate as they wanted this to be a non-partisan event.

    As you might expect, the media and the Left focused all their attention on the political speakers (and a few confederate flags that were displayed) than on the quite reasonable and mostly apolitical demand that open-air memorials be opened. In fact, they’ve put more attention on a few speeches there than they have on just about any of the petty bullshit going on with the shutdown, such as forcing people out of private homes and closing private businesses because they happen to sit on federal land.

    (The excuse being given for these closures is safety and liability. I’ve addressed this before, pointing out that the government has sovereign immunity from most lawsuits and no one is going to slip and fall at the Vietnam memorial who wouldn’t have slipped and fallen before the shutdown. The goes the same for the Lake Meade situation: the Lake is in no danger of flooding. Quite the opposite actually.)

    The protest — which was about as non-violent as you could get — has provoked the usual shock and outrage from the usual quarters. The political protesters made this easy with the confederate flags and a demand that Obama “put down the Koran”, which was unfortunate. But it’s also a deliberate confounding of the protesting veterans with a group of tag-along politicians.

    Still, even given that, the reaction to the political protest is disproportionate, to say the least. Andrew Sullivan said it was an act of rebellion and we are in a “cold Civil War” (as with most commentators he is taking the views expressed by the likes of Larry Klayman as representative of every conservative within a 3000 mile radius). Funny enough, these adjectives were not thrown out when much more aggressive and hysterical protests were held to protest the Iraq War. Or the Contract with America. Or for abortion rights. Or for gun control. Or all the way back to the Vietnam protests (when we really were in a cold civil war). To throw such epithets at a small group of political protesters is ridiculous. To throw them at a bunch of people who just want the memorials re-opened is absurd and offensive, no matter what you think of their cause.

    Even if you disagreed with what Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz were saying, so what? People peacefully marching on Washington for whatever reason is a good thing. It’s not revolution or disobedience: it’s our right and duty as Americans to express our views. Abortion protesters have been protesting Roe v. Wade for forty years. They know they have little hope of ever overturning the law. But they feel the issue is important enough that they have to say their piece and maybe persuade some people to their side. What on Earth is wrong with that? That Obamacare is “settled law” means nothing. As far as I’m concerned, if you think a law is bad, you can peaceful protest it all by yourself until the Sun goes dark. You don’t need anyone’s permission, approval, or sanction to go to Washington and say you think our leadership stinks.

    As far as the politicians go, I agree with Friersdorf, with the caveat that I only think this about the sub-protest with the politicians, not the main protest with the veterans. After supporting their overall intention of re-opening the monuments, he notes:

    What actually bothers me most about this little rally is what it says about the priorities of Tea Party leaders like Cruz and Sarah Palin, and the rank-and-file conservative activists who trudged out to the World War II Memorial to protest its closure. They speak the language of liberty in expressing outrage at the metal barricades, insisting that it’s an insult to soldiers who risked their lives to beat the fascists.

    Meanwhile, the Veterans Affairs Department has furloughed almost 8,000 employees (half are veterans). Its backlog of disability applications has been increasing for the duration. “The Pentagon says it no longer has authority to pay death gratuities—which is typically a cash payment of $100,000—to the survivors of servicemembers killed in action,” CBS reported last week. (Since then, Congress has passed and President Obama has signed a bill reinstating the benefit). And even when the federal government is functioning normally, it fails to adequately care for the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who are suffering from high rates of suicide, PTSD, and joblessness, in large part due to the wars of choice they were asked to fight and that conservatives, who are still allied with a faction of haws urging even more wars of choice, overwhelmingly backed.

    What I think, when I see that memorial closures are the thing that gets conservatives in the streets, is that movement leaders and rank-and-file activists alike cannot be counted on to identify and take on the most serious issues facing veterans, or the most serious threats to liberty. Instead they spend their time seizing on symbolic issues that promise to result in the best optics for a given news cycle—World War II veterans traveled to Washington and can’t visit the memorial dedicated to them! Think what victory would mean in this instance: The barricades would come down, which will happen anyway as soon as the government reopens. In other words, there’s no substantive upside for this particular rally, whether you’re concerned about benefitting veterans or safeguarding liberty. It was held so that Cruz and Palin could aggrandize themselves, so that conservatives could revel in their self-image as liberty loving patriots who honor veterans, and so that the Obama Administration would look bad. Protests are nothing more than political theater for these people. Or if they actually intend to effect change, their strategy verges on nonsensical.

    Veterans marching on Washington is great. I hope they come out more often … not just for this but for all veterans issues. I hope they also come out whenever our leaders are flogging a stupid pointless war or shredding our liberty with ever more surveillance. Good on them.

    Opportunistic politicians who helped create the problem in the first place preening for the cameras? No thank you.

    The Astroturf Study

    The Left is jumping with both feet on this study:

    A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.

    Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving climate disruption.

    The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party’s anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke.

    Taken purely as “science” — taxpayer-funded science incidentally — there are several problems with inhaling their conclusions without a hint of critical thinking. Sullum:

    The main evidence for this thesis is that Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a think tank co-founded by libertarian billionaire David Koch and economist Richard Fink in 1984, received donations from tobacco companies (mainly Philip Morris) between 1991 and 2002. A year or two later, CSE split into two organizations, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, that have helped support and organize Tea Party activists. How much tobacco money did CSE get? According to Glantz et al., $5.3 million over 12 years, which amounts to roughly 11 percent of CSE’s revenue as of 2002. That’s a substantial share, but was it enough to corrupt “a think tank dedicated to free market economics” and backed by an ideologically motivated billionaire? Glantz et al. show that CSE saw eye to eye with Philip Morris on issues such as tobacco taxes and smoking bans, which presumably is why the company supported it. But they do not present any evidence that CSE took positions contrary to its avowed principles because it was eager to keep the tobacco money flowing. Nor do they claim that FreedomWorks or Americans for Prosperity, the groups that have aligned themselves with the Tea Party, receive substantial tobacco industry funding, let alone that such money is important enough to sway the entire Tea Party movement.

    I didn’t realize that smoking rights was such a big deal to the Tea Party. I mean, every Tea Partier I’ve talked to has had that moment when his eyes glazed over and he mumbled, “People should be free to smoke anywhere. Tobacco taxes are bad. I like Phillip Morris better than Cats. I am going to smoke it again and again and again.” But I never thought anything of it.

    Incidentally, you know who else got money from Big Tobacco? Algore. Yet, somehow, this does not discredit his opinions on global warming.

    Sullum again:

    If these positions are so clearly indefensible, why does the money matter? “It is important for policy-makers to be aware of the corporate funding sources for organisations that work to influence public policy,” Glantz et al. write. “It is important for policy-makers,the health community and people who support the Tea Party to be aware of these complex and often hard-to-track linkages.” But they never really explain why. Surely it is possible to judge arguments and evidence on their own merits, without reference to the alleged financial interests of the people offering them.

    But rather than respond with arguments and evidence of his own, Glantz seeks to discredit his opponents by implying that they do not really believe what they are saying, that they are only in it for the money. “It is important for tobacco control advocates to anticipate and counter Tea Party opposition to tobacco control policies,” Glantz and his co-authors write, “and to ensure that policy makers, the media and the public understand the longstanding intersection between the tobacco industry and the Tea Party policy agenda.” In other words, if you don’t have logic and facts on your side, smear your opponents as Big Tobacco shills or dupes.

    Exactly. Ever since the Tea Party arose, the goal of the Left has not been to engage them or debate them or defeat them. It has been to discredit them. To claim that millions of people with concerns ranging from illegal immigration to Obamacare do not come by these views honestly, but are racists, sexists, idiots or shills in some sort of Koch-funded behaviorist experiment.

    Liberals, of course, come by their views honestly and with intellectual rigor. But anyone who disagrees with them must be insane, deluded or brainwashed. So … tobacco money! … or something. It is part of what I call the Grand Liberal Conceit: the belief that everyone is naturally liberal, that liberal views are intrinsically objectively correct and that the only reason anyone isn’t a liberal is because of some evil conspiracy. This view, of course, is the descendent of the “false consciousness” of Marxism, an idea that still extends its vile and vain tentacles into all branches of intellectual thought.

    Bullshit. I’ll repeat what I said in a slightly different context, when Bill Maher complained that Obama’s opponents were running against an imaginary straw man:

    not all of the complaints against Obama — not even a significant minority — are illegitimate. Obamacare is not a figment of the fevered Right Wing imagination; it’s an actual law that was actually passed and actually massively increases federal control over the insurance system. The crummy economy is not some specter conjured up by Rush Limbaugh. The massive deficit is not an illusion created by Fox News. We can argue over how much responsibility Obama bears for these things; but we can’t argue over whether they exist.

    If you ask people why they don’t like Obama, I guarantee you that, except for a handful of pundits, the words “Saul Alinsky” will never pass their lips. They will cite bailouts, which Bush started but Obama supported and manipulated to the advantage of his political allies. They will cite the economy and the debt. They will cite Obamacare. They will cite Dodd-Frank. They will talk about a man who looks at our ridiculous tax system and proposes more complications.

    These are not imaginary hobgoblins we attribute to some Barack X candidate who only exists in our diseased conservative minds (Maher, of course, thinking all conservative minds are diseased). These are things the President bears responsibility for.

    Yes, some of the organizations affiliated with the Tea Party have taken tobacco money at some point and some have been funded by David Koch. So fucking what. George Soros has been doing that for years and failed to get a real movement going. Ross Perot tried that and failed to get a movement going. All the tobacco and Koch money in the world would not not have made a lick of difference were it not for genuine and legitimate concern about the direction in which this country is headed.

    To be honest, this study and the reaction to it tells you a lot more about the Left than it does about the Right. All politics they disagree with is the result of shadowy conspiracies and rich oligarchs. The world is filled with fundamentally evil forces — Big Oil, Big Tobacco, the Koch Brothers — who infest and corrupt anything they touch. There are not legitimate Right Wing movements, only Left Wing ones. And if that all sounds familiar, it’s because those are views and prejudices that they constantly accuse the Right of having.

    Hell’s teeth, I tire of that attitude. I wish a thousandth of the energy spent investigating and spreading BS conspiracy theories about the Tea Party or any movement were spent engaging and exploring their concerns and ideas and how those can be addressed in a sensible way. But I guess that tolerance and patience only applies to Occupy Wall Street.

    Hey Mr DJ: Brass Balls Edition

    The GOP is in disarray!  Congressional Republicans are wavering on taxes as Speaker John Boehner’s eyes well up with tears at the sight of the oncoming fiscal cliff.

    What happened?  Obama found his backbone with nothing left to lose now that he has four more years to party it up.  The polls favor his tax increases on the rich and he knows that his media allies will assure that the GOP takes the blame for the resulting tax raises on the middle class, the resulting recession, or both.

    Never before has the GOP needed some balls more and yet found them in shorter supply.

    A day may come, when the courage of conservatives fails.  When we forsake our oaths to Grover Norquist and break the fellowship of the Tea Party.  That day is not this day.  That day will probably come in December.

    This week, we need to gather up and melt down some brass for John Boehner’s balls.  This will require:

    1. Any track that uses brass instruments (e.g.: trumpets, saxophones, tubas, trombones)

    2. Genres to consider include Big Band, Swing, Jazz, Ska, Blues, etc.

    Predictable first selection is In the Mood by Glenn Miller

    For last week’s smart shoppers:

    pfluffy, who elbowed me in the ribs for that XBox*: Night Boat to Cairo by Madness

    Iconoclast, who trampled over me at Best Buy* for the last Blu-Ray copy of The Complete Works of John Hughes Collection: Us and Them by Pink Floyd

    Biggie G, who delivered a crippling kick to my kneecap and ran off with the iPad I wanted at the Apple Store*: Super Bad by James Brown

    Mississippi Yankee…there I was at Toys R Us*, reaching for that super-cool Thomas the Train set. The second I touched it, MY emerged,  grabbed my hand, and bit it. He didn’t take the train set though.  Just wanted to share the pain. The true spirit of the holidays?  Green Hornet Theme by Al Hirt

    *RTFLC thanks its corporate sponsors!

    The Right Wing Meltdown: Knock It Off

    It’s been downright painful watching conservatives come to grips with the reality that Obama was re-elected. A couple of my favorite sites are about ready to go all Jonestown about it and I haven’t bothered to give them more than a cursory glance for the past week.

    Everywhere it’s “Why, why, why?” and “We have to change everything we believe!” and “We just had bad luck, it means nothing, nothing I tell you!” and even “We have to secede, obviously.”

    It’s a collective temper tantrum. Liberals think it’s all hilarious, I might add.

    At the risk of sounding like a big twat (ha, ha, ha: shut up), I’ve never been more ashamed of us as a movement or group or what-have-you. This is not the End of America, for fuck’s sake. If you’re waiting for the collective breakdown and war (or, worse, hoping for it), settle down.

    It’s not Morning in America either, mind you. Let’s not kid ourselves. This country is in for a brutal decade. But that doesn’t mean that America is fatally wounded. Our country has made a shitload of really bad decisions, run up too much debt, and divided itself on some ridiculous issues that never should have become government problems. We have the bad misfortune to be home when the papers are being served.

    We’re getting ready for the next act of The Great Devaluation.  Real estate and college got overvalued, made a bunch of people rich, and then it turned out to be unsustainable in the first act.  We’ve been in shit, but only ankle-deep.  The next wave hits EVERYBODY where it hurts: Our money.  We don’t have enough and what we do have is going to be worth less, if not worthless.  Stocks are going to take a major hit, companies are going to tighten their belts, and more.  This is all coming about because we built everything on crap and let our “leaders” get away with mortgaging our future with insane entitlements, limitless wars, and low taxes.    Well, welcome to the future.

    Emigration isn’t an option for me and I’m not really jazzed about the idea of joining up with some asshole warlord in Civil War Episode II: Attack of the Self-Entitled Douchebags.  If you’re good with all that, then go ahead and start digging your bunker and just start waiting.  I don’t care.

    The Democrats are not up to the task of handling what’s happening and frankly, I don’t think the GOP was either.  It’s too late and I think this is one of those disasters of American history that just has to happen before we can move on, like Pearl Harbor (the actual event, not the film).  I don’t know how else we break our bad habits without imposed austerity.

    Now, plenty of pundits and politicians are getting their silly asses on television talking about how we need to change this and that.  Stop apologizing for rape, let the Mexicans run wild, and admit that the wage gap is deliberately caused by evil, stinky men instead of market forces.  If you want to keep going for the two party system of Democrat and Democrat-lite, that’s a personal choice.  I don’t think we need to go that far.

    It is time to compromise though.  I still don’t know how to work out a “peace accord”, but I do know that we can call a truce and take the time to retrench without retreating

    First, taxes must go up on high earners.  We have to give that away and I see no way we win the Battle of Fiscal Cliff without some casualties.  Coddling the rich isn’t doing us any good if they can’t even buy a Romney presidency.   It’s totally symbolic, it’s not going to help the deficit or jobs, and it’s against our beliefs.  Too bad.  We’re taking a break from worshipping the wealthy while the American people enjoy having their demagogues to spread the wealth pain around.  I still think letting all of the Bush tax cuts expire is fitting, but we should “let” the Democrats talk us out of it if they throw in something worthwhile.

    Second, it’s time to end the War in Afghanistan and reduce and reorient the military to stick with what it has done best since the 19th Century: Defend North America.  Yeah, I’m going all Pat Buchanan on this.  Israel: I am really and truly sorry.  But if we’re really heading into a Civil War, it would probably be better to have our guys back here, right?

    Next, let’s bite our tongues when the President takes full credit for the deal.  Let him have this last big fuckin’ deal.  I think Boehner sucks, you do too, but lets go easy on him this one time.

    The unsustainability of Medicare, Social Security, and ObamaCare is not going to be seriously addressed or resolved by the federal government at this time.  Everything I’m proposing here is with the assumption that it won’t.  We get to watch and let the Democrats totally own the disaster.  When it’s time for them to give some things up and save what’s left of the Obama legacy, they’ll know.

    The one issue I don’t think we should compromise on is any immigration reform that requires amnesty for those already living here.  I think America’s natural xenophobia will kick back in as those lettuce-picking jobs start looking better and better as the unemployment starts to dry up.  Be patient on this one.


    Finally, screw the Constitution of the United States of America.   I think it’s time we all acknowledged that the Constitution needs a redo.  It is failing us and the American people clearly don’t believe in it or care anymore except when they want to cherry-pick one amendment or another to suit their causes.   It is almost a dead fucking letter and there are no longer any peaceful means of binding our current government back to it.

    You want to scare the hell out of the DC establishment?  It’s time to call for a Constitutional Convention, through the states.  They laugh at your pathetic secession petitions but they’ll stop laughing and choke when they realize that we’re about to change the rules to fuck them over.  This isn’t a temper tantrum.  It’s a cold, dead-eyed threat of a long-term solution.  Start demanding this at every turn.  Americans are going to love the idea soon enough, if the doomsayers are right.

    Conservatives and progressives simply do not agree on what kind of country we should be and what the Constitution means and independents in the middle are too brain-dead and disengaged to care.  We’re not going anywhere as a people until we firmly establish a new concept of the relationship between the federal government, the states, and the people.   Our government cannot do it at this point.

    The Culture Wars were driven by the Supreme Court making these decisions for us and they’ve done an awful job.  They’re completely unpredictable and they barely even use the Constitution as the basis for rulings anymore.  Congress has ignored its fiscal duties and its members serve to benefit themselves.  The Presidency is imperial in everything but name.  Whole industries are crippled with executive orders and psychotic bureaucrats.  This has to stop.  We need to accept that the old Constitution has done nothing to restrain all three out-of-control branches of government and quit acting like the Founding Fathers were flawless gods.   What they created was beautiful, but it isn’t working anymore.

    We stop the Right Wing Meltdown.   The game is still on and what is happening in Congress is everything right now (even though the Petraeus thing is the most awesome scandal of my lifetime).  My advice is to comment on the Jonestown Blogs that the histrionics are done and it’s time for a Constitutional Convention.  Start getting that into the public consciousness now.

    I’ve been preaching the importance of staying on task ever since last Tuesday’s electoral calamity.  This isn’t because of my sunny disposition or optimistic outlook.  I have neither.  It’s because the United States needs a vibrant pro-Liberty movement and we’re it.

    No more embarrassing theatrics.  Do it FOR THE CHIIIIIIILDREN, you bastards.

    I invite all denunciations and mental health referrals.   Sometimes, you just gotta rant.

    Election 2012: II. Why We Should Vote Against Mitt Romney

    (This is the second of five posts I will put up over the two weeks of the conventions, exploring my thoughts on the Presidential election. Parts 1 and 2 will be reasons to vote for and against Mitt Romney; Parts 3 and 4 will be reasons to vote for and against Barack Obama. Part 5 will wrap up. Keep in mind, this is my thinking as we go through the conventions. It’s likely that things will change between now and Election Day.)

    Next week I’ll put up two posts looking at Obama’s record. And I’ll probably get into a little bit now. But a fundamental principle, for me, is that Obama’s suckiness does not automatically make Mitt Romney a good alternative. Going forward for the next four years, is Mitt Romney the guy we want in charge? I can think of several reasons why electing Romney would be a bad idea.

    The Deficit

    Look, I’ll get into Obama’s deficit record next week. I’m not going to excuse his failures on this. But will Mitt Romney make the probem better or worse?

    There are many reasons to believe the latter. If we are to believe his campaign promises, Romney plans to increase defense spending, not cut Medicare or Social Security and cut taxes. The math simply does not work. It would mean cutting other spending by at least 40%. That’s 40% of federal law enforcement and border control. That’s 40% of education, which might sound fine but would mean many inner city schools would have to close. That’s 40% of science, 40% of infrastructure, 40% of intelligence. More if interest rates go up.

    Does anyone seriously think the GOP is going to cut spending 40%? Does anyone think they can cut enough to allow for tax cuts? Let’s take a look at the causes of the deficit in the next decade. The graph below is a little deceptive as it anticipates that stimulus spending will wane (it hasn’t and doesn’t) and does some other shady accounting about entitlements and taxes (e.g., bracket creep, SGR, etc.). But no matter how you slice it, Bush’s tax cuts are a large contributor to the debt (Obama has extended them and plans on extending them for everyone but the rich; so they are his now). After that, you get the economy, structural deficits and the war.

    That would be bad enough. But there’s something in that graph that the CBPP would rather not talk about: that spending increased massively on all fronts during the Bush era. This is hidden in the graph because we were enjoying a bubble-fueled boom in revenues. The graph then sees the lack of those revenues — due to the economy and tax cuts — as the cause of the deficit rather than the huge spending increases that accompanied them. It regards bubble revenues and bubble spending as the new normal. So parts of that orange and dark blue should be labelled “Bush era non-defense spending”.

    The simple fact is that the last time we gave the GOP unfettered access to the national purse, they went wild. And we are still paying the price for their profligacy.

    “Oh, shut up about Bush!” you say. OK. Let’s talk about the current situation. When the Republicans had both Congress and the White House, federal spending increased 6.4% per year. Under Obama, it has increased … 6.4% a year, including all stimuli, bailouts and automatic stabilizers. But in the last two years, it has increased about 1% per year. You want spending restraint? We’re getting it, thanks to a divided government.

    I’m drifting a bit into “reasons to vote for Obama” territory, but it is a simple fact that our government has exercised more spending restraint when it has been divided than when it has been united. Federal spending has been basically flat for two years now. The GOP has opposed all of Obama’s new spending initiatives. I do not trust them to have that same discipline when Romney is in the White House. Does anyone really think Romney and the Republicans will combine to keep spending growth at 1% per year as Obama and the Republicans have? With the promises they are making to increase defense spending?

    We are already hearing big-spending rumblings in the GOP, who now want to undo the sequester, at least as far as national defense goes. Here is a plot of the defense spending as currently envisioned under various scenarios:

    That sequester slice is the one Republicans are branding as “devastating”. They have even dragged out Keynesian arguments about how the cuts will “destroy jobs” as a reason to void them. In short, they have identified increasing spending as a top priority. Does that sound like a bunch of budget cutters to you?

    Look, you can posit that Obama wants to spend like mad. I’ll agree. So what? Congress controls the purse strings. And since Obama and the Republicans have had to share power, those strings have been the tightest in two decades. I have little confidence they will show the same restraint with President Romney.

    The GOP is Still Crazy

    I made this bullet point before the convention. And I am still worried about the GOP focus on cultural issues. I could see, without a veto threat, the GOP pushing forward personhood laws, more cuts to birth control and strengthening of DOMA. But the RNC ameliorated some of my fears, showing a GOP that was more optimistic, more plugged in and more focused on real issues like the economy. The impression was that they have done what I’d hoped: taken the best elements of the Tea Party and incorporated them into a coherent vision of constrained government.

    Still, I’m known to be optimistic about these things. And giving them power is a gamble that they’ve figured things out.

    Foreign Policy

    If we elect Romney, the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush years will return. He has surrounded himself with and the RNC highlighted neocons who favor a larger military and a more aggressive global engagement. There are many on his team who favor attacks on Iran and think getting involved in Syria would be a good idea. And the idea that we should aquiesce to whatever Israel wants — rather than treating them like every other ally with whom we occasionally squabble — was on full display.

    (To be honest, it’s sometimes hard to tell what the GOP wants on foreign policy. They’ve mainly been defined as opposing whatever it is Obama is doing. So we should get involved in Libya. No we shouldn’t. Well, we should, but we should lead from the front. But we don’t want to spend too much or get any American soldiers killed. And it’s unconstitutional anyway. There’s a good case to be made that no one knows what the fuck these guys will do on foreign policy when they’re in charge again. That’s not an argument for giving the State Department back to them.)


    If Romney wins this year, he’ll be running again in 2016. That means that Condi Rice, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley … will not be running in 2016. And I have far more confidence in those guys than I do in Mitt Romney (although Ryan would obviously still be VP).

    That having been said, you don’t pass up an opportunity in 2012 because of what might be available in 2016. Every election has to be decided on its own merits. Because, at some point in the next four years, the President might face a decision that could change the course of history.

    The Supreme Court

    Four years ago, I disputed the notion that Obama would radically tilt the Court to the Left by pointing out how much older the liberal wing was than the right wing.

    The two oldest judges on the court are liberals (and Ginsberg, in particular, is looking frail). The three youngest judges are conservative. The average conservative age is 60.8; the average liberal age is 75.5. Even if Obama is in for eight years, he is most likely to replace two liberal judges on the Court. And even if one of the conservatives were to be in a tragic blimp accident, that would shift the court to being as radically crazy liberal as it was during the Rhenquist years.

    The idea that Obama is going to leave us with a Burger-style radical liberal Court is frankly hyperbolic. Unless the entire Court is wiped out during a meth-fueled orgy, Obama will, at most, shift the court somewhat to the left. True, the Court won’t become more conservative. But considering how conservative is defined these days—a unitary executive, untrammeled federal power, the suspension of habeas—that’s fine with me.

    And, indeed, the only judges Obama has replaced have been liberals (Stephens and Souter). The new judges do not seem ridiculous radical. Liberal, yes. But the Court has produced good decisions recently on immigration, broadcast deceny and even a 9-0 decision reining in in the EPA. For all the pain of the Obamacare decision, it was the conservative Roberts who cast the critical vote.

    That math has changed a bit since I wrote that in 2008. Here’s the age of the various SCOTUS justices:

    Conservative: Roberts (57), Scalia (76),Thomas (64), Alito (62)
    Moderate: Kennedy (76)
    Liberal: Ginsburg (79), Breyer (74), Sotomayor (58), Kagan (52)

    The conservatives now average at 65, the liberals at 66. The Court is very well-balanced. But preserving that balance over the next four years will be tricky. Ginsburg, Breyer, Scalia and Kennedy are the oldest judges. And while Scalia will not leave the Court until the pry his dead body out of the bathroom, anyone over 70 has to be considered a potential replacement.

    Ginsberg and Breyer are probably the two that will most need replacement in the next two years. I would prefer that they not be replaced by conservatives and tilt the balance even further. That, of course has to be weighed against the danger that Kennedy or Scalia are replaced by Obama. (I’ll talk about this in the context of re-electing Obama in the next post).


    Looking over this list, it really boils down to two issues: the deficit and foreign policy. And that really boils down to one issue: Romney seems poised to give us a return to the bad old days when Republicans spent worse than Democrats, got us involved in foreign quagmires and focused on culture issues to distract from it.

    The last few weeks have reduced these concerns a little. The selection of Ryan is a big indicator that Romney intends to take spending seriously. But they are not gone. And that Romney is surrounding himself with Bush people, advocating Bush policies and pushing Bush rhetoric makes me nervous.

    One final note:

    Reasons not to not vote for Mitt Romney

    There are a number of things that have been thrown out as reasons we shouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney that I consider to be either bullshit or irrelevant. His Mormon faith is chief among those. His involvement with Bain financial is another. Putting his dog on the roof; some bullying incidents when he was a kid; his taxes; his interest in dressage. I consider all of these irrelevant.

    (Update: Late breaking something else that doesn’t matter: whether or not Paul Ryan is lying about his marathon time.)

    If you’re going to vote for Romney, the reasons are because he might repeal Obamacare, could keep the radical wing of the GOP in check, could get the economy booming and might even back off the War on Drugs. If you’re not going to vote for him, it’s because we might enjoy a return to big spending, tax cutting and war starting.

    And either of those are dependent on what you think of the other guy, who will be the subject of the next two posts.

    Republicans, debates, and the LSM.

    Last night there was a republican debate. Let me admit I didn’t bother to watch it. That’s because I knew CNN was moderating this, and I suspected that they would be far more interested in asking bullshit questions that have nothing to do with the abysmal job Obama and the democrats have been doing. I was nit disappointed. The bulk of the questions were idiotic ones that fire up the left and will allow the talking dickheads at CNN to spend hours demonizing conservatives while making idiotic contradictory statements. “Conservatives want to institute a theocracy! Conservatives want to do away with government of any kind and institute chaos! Conservatives want force women back into the kitchen where they are to remain barefoot and pregnant! Conservatives want to deny women birth control to prevent people from having sex! Conservatives want to throw grandma from a cliff! Conservatives are racist, homophobe, religious fanatics!“ Blah, blah, blah. Do you ever see democrat candidates subjected to this level of stupidity by the LSM, ever?

    I was not disappointed when I looked at transcripts or commentary about the debate. This bullshit CYA for Obama tactic is exactly what the CNN debate was all about. Important questions conservatives care about? Not a chance. A few, like the Iranian nuclear problem, got short shrift. Even more important ones like Obama’s energy policies and the direct resulting rises in the price of gas, or the disastrous impact of Obamanomics on our economy? Not a chance! Forget about Obamacare and how it will unravel our economy. Not a single serious question that conservatives, especially fiscal conservatives, would care to know about, because anytime one of these is asked it puts the massive failure of the last 3 years in contrast. The class warfare nonsense and how damaging it is? Forget that too. All you got was the tripe you always hear from the left when they know they have no real substantive and positive results to stand on, but hope to fool the idiots with the attention span of ADHD kids hopped up on meth, with stupid scare tactics.

    The republican candidates that keep letting the LSM set these things up and game the questions, played right into the hands of the left too. Sure, Newt finally got tired and went after the stupid questions, but it was still way too little too late. Seriously, republicans should just avoid the LSM completely. Do not give them a chance to rig these debates like they have to avoid the real issues and turn these debates into Obama campaign supporting events. I do not think there is much to lose by republicans simply saying that they do not feel compelled to help the LSM rig their primaries and help democrats whose policies have wrecked our economy and promise to bankrupt the nation, and that they are done with the LSM. The left will do its campaigning for democrats either way. Lets not make it this easy for them.

    Michelle Malkin – Plumbing Perry’s Objective Record

    Couple of things before I start citing the article to which the title refers:

    1) I have no problem with taking a candidate’s religious views and practices into account. In fact, I always do try to discern the veracity of the stated views that their actual practices expose. But I tend to do that privately, as my personal religious views and/or biases will always win out in reaching conclusions about a candidate over what others’ takes mean to them based on their own views/biases. So this post is not going to be about Perry’s religious or morality views, but rather his objective record of governance as Governor of Texas for the last decade or so.

    2) I have one problem with Malkin’s repeated use of the words “Tea Party” in this article. As I read it, every time it was used it should have been substituted with the word “conservative” or some synonymous derivative thereof. She is describing what any conservative should expect/demand from someone running on a conservative platform, and I personally see the Tea Party as nothing more than the collective memory of what the Republican Party’s platform always was up until GHW Bush, on through to W Bush and many, if not most, of today’s Republican candidates/office-holders. Perry, as well as all the rest, should be evaluated on their adherence (or lack thereof) to traditional, constitutional conservative values, not just on what the Tea Party espouses.

    So, with those caveats, here we go:

    Yesterday, the Washington Post asked me to comment on conservative concerns about Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s records.

    Here is what I told them in full:

    “The Gardasil debacle is just one of many concerns a wide range of grass-roots conservative activists have about Perry’s record as governor. He’s soft on illegal immigration despite a few recent nods to border enforcement. He’s prone to crony capitalism. And as the vaccine mandate scandal shows, he demonstrated Nanny State tendencies that are anathema to Tea Party core principles.

    A clearer, more forthright apology about the Gardasil executive order would have helped. But in the end, I don’t think there’s anything he can do to ‘fix’ his political/ideological instincts. They are what they are.

    The reaction to my criticism of Perry’s Gardasil mandate is mixed. Yeah, I’ve gotten heat for not falling in line with the latest GOP bandwagon. Many Perry backers will accuse detractors of being single-issue purists making mountains out of molehills. Some Texan readers will defend him to the death out of parochial loyalty. The majority of responses have been positive, though. If we demand that Obama answer for the glaring discrepancies between his rhetoric and his record, we must do the same for our candidates.

    The important thing is that we’re having the debate. It’s healthy. It’s necessary. It’s why we have primary battles for the GOP nomination and not coronations.”

    Michelle and I are simpatico here. I am not a registered Republican, so I guess it stands to reason that I would refuse to get on board with any GOP “bandwagon,” but Michelle Malkin is indeed a Republican, and I appreciate the standard to which she is attempting to hold all voters who will likely vote Republican in primaries and the General, regardless of party affiliation. As previously mentioned, “Tea Party” should have been substituted with “conservative,” but the message should be the same for anyone trying to scrutinize Perry’s record, even if they don’t consider themselves part of the Tea Party.

    Here is the article in the Post, which concludes:

    “Perry’s campaign is brushing off the criticism, saying there’s nothing in his record that a conservative wouldn’t love.

    “The governor has a conservative track record on fiscal issues, on social issues and on the border,” said spokesman Mark Miner. On the HPV vaccine, Miner, said, “this is a life issue and he erred on the side of life.”

    But on this issue — and others — Perry is only likely to get more scrutiny, not less.”

    Once again, the Perry campaign proves my point about the non-walkback-walkback. If Perry “erred on the side of life,” what his campaign continues to suggest is that those who opposed his Gardasil mandate from the beginning chose death. Instead of renouncing the human shield demagoguery he engaged it after the repeal, the Perry campaign has doubled-down.

    There is nothing — nothing — Tea Party about this.

    Nothing conservative about it either, and that’s the point. If you don’t know about the Gardasil controversy, please follow the link above or Google it and read up on it. Forced vaccinations by the state, whether federal or state-level, should scare the crap out of all of us. I realize Perry isn’t the first to implement such things, nor will he likely be the last, but I can’t see any argument that supports the contention that forcing a given medical treatment on kids against what their parents believe is in their best interest is in any way an “error” that any “conservative wouldn’t love.”

    It is no surprise — given the Merck ties — that Perry is a consummate practitioner of corporate welfare “public-private partnerships.” Tim Carney, who wrote the book on Obama’s crony capitalism, dissects Perry’s big government-big business collusion in the Examiner today. As with the Gardasil mandate, Perry exercised his habit of overriding the deliberative process, exercising unilateral executive authority, and benefiting donors and cronies.

    She cites quotes in the article supporting the above contention, which you can check those or follow the links above to, and which I will leave out here for brevity’s sake, but which, again, Michelle and I are simpatico on.

    The Wall Street Journal earlier scrutinized Perry’s crony capitalism here.

    Then there’s Perry’s troubling erosion of private property rights via the Trans Texas Corridor.

    Michelle goes on from there to link to articles of hers decrying “big government public-private partnerships” by Obama and GW Bush, claiming what I agree is the consistency high-ground in her cross-party government analysis over the years.

    Jennifer Rubin explains to knee-jerk Perry supporters why all of this matters — and why the vetting of Perry and every other announced candidate is imperative:

    “The downfall of the Republican majority in Congress in 2006 was the perception that conservatives had gone to Washington and become ensnared by lobbyists, donors and special interests who used the federal government and taxpayers’ money as a piggy bank. Republicans should examine candidates’ records and see not only if they have successfully created jobs but how they have done so, what the appropriate model is for the relationship between government and the private sector and whether that model is one we should adopt in Washington.”

    Has anyone noticed that, in the journalistic realm anyway, most of the steely-spined conservatives are women these days? I mean, yeah, there are exceptions, but many of the Tea Party notables are women and many of the most committed and deeply-convicted conservative bloggers are women. I’m not sure whether it’s refreshing or embarrassing considering I’m a man, but it sure does seem rather undeniable in any case.

    Anyway, back to Malkin:

    How are Perry defenders responding to criticism?

    This is typical:

    Richard Rekieta
    Richard.Rekieta@cityofhouston.net to malkinblog

    10:54 AM


    I am a fan of yours, but your hack job on Governor Perry was not necessary. Why are we dumping on our own? If you cannot say anything good about a Republican, shut the hell up. There are plenty of Dems around to trash our side. Overall, Governor Perry is the best we got.


    Ugh. Maybe those reports on the death of the Tea Party movement aren’t so premature after all.

    Someone give me hope out there, please.

    And no, I will not shut the hell up.

    I wish she would have couched it as the “death of the conservative movement” rather than the Tea Party, but other than that I say, you go girl.

    She concludes with:

    More on Perry and our favorite Latino supremacists at La Raza.

    From the American Thinker, Perry’s problematic jihadi-friendly pals.

    On the plus side, he’s saying the right things about global warming junk science. That’s an improvement over the climate change Republicans and GOP enviro-nitwits from the last presidential campaign season.

    For my own self, I am not posting this to pick on Rick Perry. I have major problems with all of the so-called conservative candidates. I do have a particular problem with Perry filing to run one day after avoiding a major debate, and the next day being the front-runner by double-digit poll points though. That fact alone seems to expose a rather disturbing dearth of thoughtful analysis of the candidates by voters. Of course, that dearth may or may not be manipulated by the polling agency in the way they conduct or weight their polls, but even if that is so, are “our” voters so easily manipulated, and if so, does that say anything more positive about them than what an almost complete lack of investigation of Perry’s record would say if the polls are accurate?

    Always question them, always scrutinize their records. Anything less makes us, as voters, the problem, not them as the entitled power-hungry overlords that they all see themselves as in the deepest, darkest recesses of their psyche.