Saturday, February 21, 2004
...has administered a Royal Fisking to an article about disaffected Republicans in tomorrow's New York Times. Apparently, one George Meagher, who was an independent voter in a story that ran two weeks ago, has become an instantaneous Republican with the release of Sunday's paper. This while he has decided that Bush deserves the heave-ho.
So why hasn't Mr. Meagher become a Democrat instead of a Republican in the intervening two weeks?
Gosh, if Bush Lied and They Died, you'd think Mr. Meagher would join the Democrats, wouldn't you?
Okay, there's that sound of crickets again. How come the Times can't hire a stand-up guy as a staff writer anymore? You know, like Jason Blair?
Not everyone is happy with the Old Grey Battleaxe these days...
"You know, if I see that fishwrapper on my doorstep one more time, I might have to hold some of the men in this room responsible..."
Friday, February 20, 2004
It looks like the Jack of Hearts, Prince Harry, has got nothing better to do than live a life filled with grabass, loose women, and plentiful drugs. Looks like Papa has his work cut out for him. Of course, I'm not holding out too much hope, given Charles' taste in women. I'm sure you'll agree with me that if Jesus could tap-dance, we would say "Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ!". Personally, I'm all for shipping Prince Harry and his devastated psyche off to the Royal Navy as soon as humanly possible. There's an outfit that will get him in shape. It is not for nothing that Mr. Churchill referred to the Royal Navy as an institution built on "rum, buggery, and the lash".
Prince Harry should fit right in.
Prince Harry, Duke of Excrement, after a long night of drinking, cocaine, and grabass, staggers aimlessly around Knightsbridge in search of a place to vomit.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
George Bush is still a sound bet to win this election, Andrew Sullivan's misgivings notwithstanding. Sullivan dismisses as ersatz a CNNGallupUSAToday poll that came out yesterday showing Kerry at a double digit lead over Bush. Bush still stands at 51% approval rating, however. Sullivan is arguing that the President hasn't set out the argument for a second term, and therefore is losing by default. I would argue in return that Bush has been making his arguments, but they have been in the background, as the Democrats have been making all the noise. It is rather odd to point out, as Andrew does, that some of Bush's troubles are due to Democrats soaking up all the media oxygen in the room, and then farther down the column go postal on Bush for not getting his message out.
Not to be snarky, but let's try not to have it both ways.
Both Andrew Sullivan and the High Tory backbenchers over at National Review Online think that Bush needs to get going, but NRO's editorial brings a bit more to the table than does Sullivan. Naturally, they have their own criticisms of Bush (many of which are quite similar to Andrew's deficit hawkishness), but they also see an opening for Bush to debate the war and the question of gay marriage. The latter point I suspect Andrew would rather not see debated, so eager is he to create a new right out of whole cloth. However, I suspect it will be. And Bush will be on the Conservative side of both issues. NRO sees the Republican concern as overdone, and I tend to agree with them. Bush hasn't spent a dime of his 150 million dollars, and has suffered a relentless pounding from the DNC and the candidates. It's who wins November, not who wins February, that counts.
A final insight to the President's character going into the game is given by Peggy Noonan in her piece in today's WSJ Opinion Journal. Noonan, among several others, met with the President recently. She reports that he is supremely confident in both his own skin and in his policies. That is all to the good. This tells me that Bush is neither panicking nor uncertain, and is ready to go on the offensive.
GW can't begin to attack until after the Edwards boomlet (hat tip: John Ellis)has played itself out. That won't occur until after Super Tuesday in March, when the Pimp Media realizes that buyer's remorse won't get Edwards the nomination. On that day, the pimps will realize that they have to peddle dour John Kerry to the electorate in the fall. I predict they will not like having to do that at all. So, Kerry should wrap everything up by the second week in March. He should also be out of money-while the smart little squirrel George W. Bush will be sitting on 150 million dollars to spend between now and the Republican National Convention in New York. When the assault begins, Kerry's free ride will come to a sudden end.
Meantime, a couple of good things:
First, Howard Dean is gone for freaking good. Best comment on this?
A mournful Dean sock puppet meanders down State Street in Madison, Wisconsin, jacked up on speedballs and booze.
Then, there's the Fresh Faced Young Man. Best comment on the Edwards boomlet? Well, a huge hat tip to Wonkette for pulling this one out of cyberspace:
That's it, I'm outta here.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
...is an out-and-out Holocaust Denier. Now Mel will be forced to issue a denunciation of his father and his father's beliefs.
As well he should. This kind of pig-ignorance:
"It's all - maybe not all fiction - but most of it is," he said, adding that the gas chambers and crematoria at camps like Auschwitz would not have been capable of exterminating so many people.
...must be answered immediately. This is the kind of anti-Semitic sentiment that has come to animate the Left in this country as a result of its unholy alliance with Muslim jihadi. It does no good to ignore it just because it comes from Gibson's father.
...has Kerry down six points in 24 hours against George W. Bush. The Shrub now beats Herman Munster by five points, 48% to 43%. I'm almost ready to say that the hemmorhaging has begun at Shrum Central, but not quite yet. Here's why...
In the 2000 cycle, people such as myself and others over at FreeRepublic.com got taken in by Scotty Rasmussen's prediction that Bush would win the election by three to five points. In all fairness to Rasmussen, the Tarrance Group's Battleground Poll was saying about the same thing. Only Zogby called Gore's narrow win in the popular vote.
But don't go running over to kiss the feet of the Z Man quite yet. Zogby blew Wisconsin big time.
...comes from John Ellis' update to the Wisconsin aftermath. Money shot:
William Safire points out today that Kerry has not said one interesting thing since December. Others might say that Kerry has not said one interesting thing (that he hasn't subsequently retracted) in years. What will Kerry say now?
After watching John Kerry step all over John Edwards' speech last night, I am prepared to call this election for Bush now and get it over with. However, that's my inner asshat speaking. The economy must be improving measurably by the fall for Bush to be secure in his post.
However, I do know this. Edwards is talented enough to give Kerry a good bloody nose as Boston approaches. I am not sure that Edwards has the funding to compete in Super Tuesday's Southern Comfort contest. My home state of Florida is one of the states. Edwards could run into money trouble, but I figure that the trials will start pumping money into Edwards' coffers soon enough. What I think this gets down to is that the primary battle is renewed and Kerry has to kill off Edwards as soon as possible before the Clintons smell blood and throw their support to their protege from North Carolina.
...but David Brooks' piece in yesterday's New York Times gave a fine recounting of the foreign policy schism that has afflicted the Democratic Party since 1968. Reading for meaning, if you know what I mean.
...begins to lose axles, wheels, hubcaps, and assorted campaign rodents in the wake of Wisconsin, John Ellis figures that the Kerry people will begin to unload on John Edwards real quick. Ellis believes that the Pimps over at Mainstream Media Central are about to do a 180 and start praising this slick, oily ambulance chaser as the Second Coming of the Christ.
John Forbes Kerry, you are no Pontius Pilate!
Two weeks ago, these clowns couldn't praise John Kerry enough. The entire Bush AWOL smear was an attempt to help Kerry seal the nomination by contrasting brave and intrepid John Kerry's Swift Boat experiences in the Mekong (all four months of them! Ach! I have to control my snarky side...) with drunken, vomit-spewing, skirt chasing, draft-dodging Bush's experiences in the Air National Guard in 1970. And Bush was a heavy boozer, too! Oh wait, I wrote that already.
Now watch as the press awards John Edwards that crown of thorns called "momentum".
Or was it, "Joementum"?
Ecce Homo anyone?
...Safire kicks unholy ass in his piece dissecting Kerry's less that overwhelming showing in Wisconsin. Edwards, you have new life!
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is due for continental release on February 25th, Ash Wednesday. Aside from the content of the film, which I have yet to see, an interesting political phenomenon has built up around Gibson's work.
For a time, Gibson couldn't find a distributor. The action star had trouble finding anyone who would take the film, given early 21st Century sensibilities about offending this or that interest group. Jews have voiced concerns that Gibson's interpretation of the last twelve hours of Jesus' life would lead to a resurfacing of the "blood libel" that Jews were responsible for the death of the Christ. I am told that this charge is groundless, but that Gibson concentrates on the physical suffering that Jesus underwent as penance for our sins, and that is not quite the doctrine of the Roman Church these days. Throughout the last year, Gibson fought a guerilla campaign against the major studios, showing the film to dozens of clerical and lay groups. In that year, Gibson built up a following among cultural and political conservatives as a result of his orthodox interpretation of the Passion. Interestingly enough, to defend Gibson was to attack social and political liberalism and a relaxed, malleable view of Scripture.
If I may hat tip Ed Kilgore at NRO, a "Popular Front" in defense of Mel Gibson's work has developed among conservatives. Money quote:
And third, I'm a bit concerned, though not surprised, by the sort of Popular Front thinking that has so many conservatives from every religious background expressing total solidarity with Gibson's faith, which is by any standard a bit eccentric, and by Catholic standards specifically, heretical or at least schismatic. I realize that many conservatives share the Left's eagerness to transfer political and cultural ideological labels into every realm of life, including religionÂ conservatives should beware embracing just anyone who calls himself a conservative.
Read the whole thing, and take in Ramesh Ponnoru's response to Kilgore's concerns, as well. Andrew Sullivan doesn't trust Gibson at all, but I strongly suspect that Gibson's orthodoxy is a huge turnoff in that regard.
My take? Not having seen the movie, I confess that I speak out of school. On the one hand, it is reassuring that the social conservative forces in this country were quite capable of getting this movie out. What I await is what Gibson does with all the attention that this movie will garner. There is an undercurrent in Hollywood that is murmuring "blockbuster". People who have seen this movie have remarked that at the end of the film, there is silence in every audience, in addition to some weeping. The reactionary impulses of many on the left in this regard commend any conservative to at least view the film. Pannoru remarks that concerns about Gibson's rather orthodox take on Scripture are misplaced, and there is little in the film that runs counter to Catholic liturgy, or Protestant liturgy for that matter.
In the film, Jesus dies and Rises again in accordance to the Scriptures (that's my lapsed Episcopalianism getting out...). Some people will actually be put off by that.
And some people will probably find a way to blame Bush.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
...is calling for mass arrests in San Francisco. Andrew sees this as a huge opportunity for civil disobedience to transform itself into the law of the land. Now it's not that Sullivan wants to see Mayor Newsom and a gaggle of gay and lesbian (don't even get me started on the "transgendered") newlyweds arrested just for the sake of it, but he is being consistent in a Constitutionalist sort of way, which is a pleasant turn of events. Sullivan is correct in his conclusion that, as of now, the marriages have no legal standing in California law. Right now, the situation is in the hands of a superior court judge, who has put off taking any action.
The situation may end up in Governor Schwarzenegger's lap, however. I predict a manful straddle on the part of the Terminator. The Human Rights Campaign and other GLBT ("Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered") outfits have been wonderfully over-the-top in provoking a civil-disobedience contest with the help of an ambitious mayor. What will happen will be a judicial contest between the forces which passed a marriage law several years ago (with 61% of the vote, I might add) and reformers and Gay activists who look to the Courts to rule that its interpretation of the codicils of the California State Constitution override the mere will of the voters. Arnold will wisely stay out of the line of fire unless both sides in this dispute decide to take it to the California Assembly. Then he'll have to sign on to civil unions, at the very least, to maintain his bona fides with independent voters and Urban California. Such an action will play hell with the Republican base vote, and will be dicey with culturally conservative Mexican-Americans, however.
I consider the legislative route to be unlikely, however. As that is the case, matters are worse.
This is exactly what I was afraid of in the wake of the Massachusetts court ruling. The Gay Community is taking this to the Court instead of playing a long game, building coalitions, and winning in the State legislatures. There is no effort to form a consensus within the body politic: rather, there is a unilateral assertion of rights, an assertion that is not accepted by most of the population. It is apparent to me that the Gay community has yet to learn the lessons of Roe v. Wade.
Smoke 'em if you got em.
In a reprise of Milwaukee's famous "smokes for votes" scam from the 2000 election, a hamburger chain in the city has decided to give out free hamburgers to those who vote and get the "I Voted" sticker as proof.
I liked the idea of handing out a pack of cancer sticks to voters that the Wisconsin Democratic Party came up with during the runup to the Bush-Gore contest. It seemed much more appropriate to the efforts of an urban political machine.
I kid you not. Some of Saddam's oil wealth was steered to Eurotrash peace groups by Western oil men who had dealings with Saddam. I simply cannot believe that of all papers, The Guardian published this.
What's next, a column in praise of the Patriot Act by Robert Scheer?
(Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan, of course)
...Lawrence Jacobs has a tonic for all of the Democrats enthused by Bush's sagging poll numbers of late. Coming out of a Minnesota paper, this is pretty good for Bush.
Meantime, USAToday has several interesting stories. Indeed, given the fact that they appear in USAToday, I find their content shocking.
First is a straight-down-the-middle analysis of Bush campaign strategy by staff writer Judy Keen, giving a quick review of some of the pluses and minuses of the tactics that the Bush people will use. Hint: Bush will go after Kerry's consistency and his tendency to waffle. Smart move. The "L" word will only be used in passing, if at all.
Next up is a fairly liberal analysis of where Bush stands by USAToday political columnist Richard Benedetto. While it reeks of the kind of Beltway conventional wisdom that has become the bane of political writers everywhere, Benedetto cautions the reader that the campaign will be decided by the "big issues". In that respect, he has a clue.
Which surprises the hell out of me. I suppose that the mainstream media's honeymoon with John Forbes Kerry is coming to a close. Now they will actually have to peel back his record, which is not something they really wanted to do, I suspect. Nobody likes to find out that their knight in shining armor has less going for him than they originally thought. It's part of the dilemma the Democrats and their outriders in the media find themselves: Kerry is the default candidate; he's the one left standing after Dean imploded.
This situation suits President Bush just fine. He's sitting on a 200 million dollar war chest. Kerry isn't. For a better analysis of all this, check out Fred Barnes' piece in Monday's online edition of The Weekly Standard. As Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit might say, read the whole thing.
Monday, February 16, 2004
...is Paul Johnson's survey of the Twentieth Century, Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Eighties. Although not as ambitious in scope as, say, William H. McNeill's 1961 masterwork, The Rise of the West, Modern Times remains one of the great critical studies of the most violent century in human history. When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Empire collapsed, the Paul Johnson was compelled to revise his history in the wake of happy tidings. But not by much. As the Twenty-first Century unfolded, old Tory suspicions about the unchanging nature of man would be reinforced. Johnson's work was, in part, a view of the Age of Ideology and Science by a skeptical Tory.
Johnson's work was a product of its time. When it was first released in 1985, the world had passed through the collectivist nightmare that was the 1970's. Ever since the last American helicopter had lifted off from Saigon in 1975, the United States and the West had been in retreat before the advancing Soviet Empire. Prior to the ascent of Margaret Thatcher in late 1978, the West appeared to have turned in on itself in the wake of America's defeat in Indochina. As a culture, it appeared that we had forgotten Churchill's prescient words of warning in the wake of Neville Chamberlain's return from Munich in October of 1938:
"And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."
Only rearmament and reassertion of Western (mainly British and American) power had halted the Soviet conquest, giving Johnson reason to title the last chapter of his book, "Palimpsets of Freedom". He had been witness to the will of two free peoples, the Britons and the Americans, to defend their lands and liberties against the ambitions of Soviet Power. It was tempting to conclude that history had ended and the Whig Theory of History had been reaffirmed.
The morning of September 11th, 2001, brought a ferocious assertion that history as we knew it was still with us, and so it seemed, always would be.
It is with this introduction that I commend the reader to Paul Johnson's latest observations of the American political season that is upon us. Writing in Forbes Magazine's online edition, Johnson begins with a conclusion about George W. Bush that is not widely shared by the chattering classes: that Bush is an uncommonly gifted leader who deserves to be ranked with Reagan, Eisenhower, and DeGaulle. Johnson's thesis is that Bush's greatness is guaranteed by Bush's own habit of focus on a few, great ideas: unrelenting offensive war on Islamic fascism abroad and tax relief at home. This is an appreciation of Bush's leadership qualities that I had figured out for myself in the wake of Bush's 2001 tax-relief triumph. In a further display of focused war-leadership, Bush relentlessly applied American military force to the dislocation of the Taliban regime, the pursuit of Al Qaeda, and the destruction of the Middle East's prime example of bloody-minded Stalinism, the Hussein Regime in Baghdad.
Johnson's piece has given me a personal insight into the present goings-on in the early stages of the campaign. Challengers always look like worldbeaters because they are the "something new" on the block. The probable Democratic nominee, Senator John Forbes Kerry (D-MA), has dominated the news ever since his come-from-behind victory in the Iowa Caucuses in January. Kerry has drawn even in electoral popularity with Bush, and has drawn ahead in some polls. Bush's people anticipated this
as early as November of last year. Matthew Dowd, one of the Bush campaign's staff officers, had sent an email out to all the Team Leaders across the country warning of a Kerry lead in the polls and a huge push from a friendly media. Dowd was correct on both counts. This did nothing to stem the panic of some Republican leaders in the wake of the bogus AWOL story that by this writing had been roundly discounted by numerous sources and a White House document dump.
Yet to me, these past weeks have shown me Bush at his best. The President has remained focused on the twin issues of war and economy, betting that solid strategy will pay off at the polls in November. Notice that Bush emphasizes either tax relief, a growing economy, or the War on Terror, while Kerry is trying to get his positions together as a coherent whole for the fall campaign.
Bush has a few Big Ideas. Kerry has a lot of Little Ideas. Therein lies the difference. Take a look at a snippet from Kerry's webpage:
"We will put jobs back at the top of the national agenda, and return prosperity to America. I will fight for manufacturing jobs by giving real incentives to keep jobs in the United States, making sure manufacturers can compete by making health care more affordable and assuring that these companies can compete on a level playing field."
Aside from the campaign boilerplate at the beginning of the paragraph, just how the hell is Senator Kerry supposed to:
1. give manufacturers more incentives to stay onshore?
2. make health care more affordable?
3. assure that American manufacturers?
Well, just to prove that there is a chicken in every pot, the good Senator gives us the meat of his proposal after jumping ugly on GW:
ÂWhen I am president, we will put jobs back on the top of the national agenda, and return prosperity to America.Â I will start by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and instead invest in education and affordable healthcare for all.Â I will fight for manufacturing jobs by giving real incentives to keep jobs in the United States, making sure manufacturers can compete by making health care more affordable and assuring that these companies can compete on a level playing field. Unlike the Bush Administration, I want to repeal every tax break and loophole that rewards any Benedict Arnold CEO or corporation for shipping American jobs overseas.Â
This from a guy who never turned down a contribution from a CEO in his life, Benedict Arnold or no Benedict Arnold.
Notice the two bolded sections? Whenever a liberal promises to increase taxes only on the "wealthiest" Americans, I can guarandamteeya that taxes will increase across the board. Bill Clinton promised a middle class tax cut in 1992. Instead, there was a tax increase in 1993. And there was no reduction in taxes for the Middle Class. However, that is somewhat beside the point. Notice the paragraph seems to hit a lot of buttons at once:
-tax increases for the wealthy
-tax incentives for businesses
-health care affordability (this comes out of left field, but they throw it in the stump speech, anyway)
-unfair competition from zillions of little Chinese Mens.
Now this is one paragraph from a speech given in Wisconsin on Monday. There's a lot in that speech, a lot in that paragraph, as if Kerry believes he has to hit all the interest groups at once. Two weeks from now, the speech will probably be significantly different, depending on which interest groups appear to be weakening for Kerry in the polls.
George W. Bush doesn't do this thing. Bush hits on a few themes in each speech, over and over again. Which brings me back to the title of Johnson's piece in Forbes online, Strong, Silent Men make Good Presidents. Bush is a few Big Ideas, relentlessly applied and relentlessly repeated. He doesn't panic, he doesn't waver; he makes a decision and sticks with it come hell or high water. That is his strength, and I suspect that as a result of Bush's personality, this will be another Fox and Hedgehog election.
The Fox knows many things and runs very fast. While he knows many things and tries many different things at once, he doesn't always finish what he sets out to do. The Hedgehog knows very few things, but the few things he does know, he knows better than anyone else, especially the Fox. He does those things that he knows how to do over and over again. He always finishes what he starts.
Bet on the Hedgehog.