Monday, April 30

Slam Dunk, James Taranto!

James Taranto, "Obama the Unseemly". April 27

ONE of my recurring ideas--and one I'd be glad to discuss with Norman Ornstein--is that the American Right, not exactly the paragon of collating data from diverse sources to begin with--its modern fucking intellectuals claim to read three authors, fer chrissakes, fewer than your average fundamentalist--stopped talking to, listening to, or basically acknowledging the existence of, anybody who disagreed with it around the time that "Watergate was a third-rate burglary" became inoperable. And not to the good, just in case anyone had any delusions of Jesuitical competence:
There's been a lot of talk of late about how "cool" Barack Obama supposedly is. But people are starting to notice the man has no class. "Blue collar Democratic voters, stuck taking depressing 'staycations' because they can't afford gas and hotels, are resentful of the first family's 17 lavish vacations around the world and don't want their tax dollars paying for the Obamas' holidays, according to a new analysis of swing voters," reports the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard. 
A group of Republican pollsters conducted focus groups of swing-state swing voters, mostly Democrats and independents, and John McLaughlin "handled blue collar and Catholic voters" in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He found that they tend to think Mitt Romney is "too rich," but "there is a start of resentment of the government." In Bedard's words, "voters were also lumping in the president's vacation spending in with the General Services Administration's Las Vegas scandal and federal spending for those who aren't looking for work."
Okay, so let's be charitable and assume that part of what grammarians call the "utter fucking incomprehensibility" above is the result of bad editing or balky cutting-and-pasting. Else, let us allow that, if your point is as flaccid as Taranto's, maybe incomprehensibility is a reasonable ploy. But, please, you base a conclusion on "an analysis of swing voters" in the Washington Examiner? You think the working poor are going to flock to the Republican party because the President stays in nice hotels? The results certainly are unassailable. But only in the sense that you can't argue with the reflection in the cracked Funhouse mirror of James Taranto's mind. Wait, it's going to get better. Count to twelve:
Obama is also notorious for his golf outings.
No, he isn't.
Blogress Ann Althouse,
I believe they prefer to be known as "blogerettes".
another swing voter
(she has admitted supporting Obama in 2008)
"Swing voters" have to admit supporting a candidate?
notes that George W. Bush was "savaged" for going golfing "when Americans were fighting and dying."
We are, as much as possible, going to leave the practice of using Ann Althouse as a source, let alone accepting the Choking Hazard-level ruse of Ann Althouse, independent political thinker, without comment. But, frankly, sometimes the broad side of the barn deserves hitting. George Bush wasn't "savaged" for golfing "when Americans were fighting and dying." He was savaged for golfing while, according to him, and his party, and his party's hacky mouthpieces, the fate of Civilization Herself hung in the balance. And for showing a Patrician insensitivity to it ("Watch this drive.") which makes Mitt Romney look like Helen Keller.
Michael Moore made hay of it in his 2004 agitprop film "Fahrenheit 9/11," notwithstanding that Bush had given up golf in 2003 on the ground that it was unseemly: "I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong message."
Y'know, it's too bad (for y'all) that he didn't think of this until after there was an uproar.
Althouse opens her post with a story about the latest casualties in Afghanistan.
I'm sure she does. Listen, this country's political situation would be improved considerably if "much of the distance between Ann Althouse and how far off the mark she is" was the new centrism. Which is not saying much for this country, I know.

This is highly reminiscent of the willful misunderstanding of the term "chickenhawk" from, not surprisingly, the same era, by, not surprisingly, the same people. Nobody expected, nor wanted, Jonah Goldberg to volunteer for the Marine Corps. No one expected George W. Bush to avoid golf, nor vacations altogether. In fact, the only people demanding a "serious" presidency are people who voted for Bush twice. Nobody ambushed George W. Bush. He was speaking to reporters; it's they he recommended admire his drive. At the time, the public had been subjected to a full year of fear mongering over 9/11, and twenty months of PR reassurances that George W. Bush, Commander-in-Chief, was not the overripe frat boy his every appearance suggested.

Context matters. If you don't understand this, then perhaps political punditatin' is not for you. If Barack Obama on the Jimmy Fallon show gives you the fantods, maybe you just don't like Barack Obama. Maybe you should work to raise the voting age to 65. Maybe you've forgotten that Nixon went on Laugh In, Clinton went on Arsenio, George W. Bush went to the Daytona 500, and Ronald Reagan went to Bitburg. If you're silent when your own do it, when Bush II breaks Reagan's vacation record, then could you at least be a little circumspect about your outrage? I got no problem with you being partisan; hell, what value would there be in measured responses from James Taranto or Ann Althouse? But constantly insulting everyone's intelligence just so you can fail to make a point? If that doesn't tell you anything, maybe it's time your friends did.


Robert M. said...

"But constantly insulting everyone's intelligence just so you can fail to make a point? If that doesn't tell you anything, maybe it's time your friends did."

If I weren't already a fan, that couplet would have done it.

ErgoDan said...

James Taranto and Ann Althouse have friends? Wow! I learn something new here with every post.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe anyone would say that the president has no class. They've said everything from, "You lie." to "I can't wait to put him in his place." to ensure that he knows that he isn't "one of them." The fact that he forgives them ALONE shows he has class.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Ronald Reagan went to Bitburg.

Play it, Sam.

hells littlest angel said...

Blogress Ann Althouse,

I believe they prefer to be known as "blogerettes".

No, the correct term is "ogress."

But anyway, I think blue collar workers relate better to Mitt Romney, who lives in a crappy little apartment and eats Swanson dinners, and whose idea of a vacation is sleeping on the fire escape on hot nights.

Sator Arepo said...

"Context matters."

Every time I think they've got this figured out, it turns out that they're not quite clear on the concept. Not every two-bit pundit [Taranto; Althouse; & al.] has a Rove-ian grasp of postmodernistic relativism and the Art of Framing Shit for to Make Your Opponents Seem Like the Ogres Here.