Thursday, May 20

The Calm Confidence Of A Christian Holding Four Aces

George Eff Will, "American politics of late: Now that's entertaining". May 20

WILL gets paid to do this stuff, as I, justifiably, do not. This confers upon me the advantage that whenever all this dreck becomes too taxing I get to turn it off, and am not required to think of something to say about it anyway just so Cokie and Peggers won't have to fill a bunch of dead air on Sunday. Though that prospect, now that I mention it, would be sufficient.
The candidate who on Tuesday won the special election in a Pennsylvania congressional district is right-to-life and pro-gun. He accused his opponent of wanting heavier taxes. He said he would have voted against Barack Obama's health-care plan and promised to vote against cap-and-trade legislation, which is a tax increase supposedly somehow related to turning down the planet's thermostat. This candidate, Mark Critz, is a Democrat.

Another thing: I live in Indiana, not Head Up My Ass To The Level Of My Symbolic Haberdashery, ℅ The Beltway, Washington, D.C. This means I'm not required to pretend that cap-and-trade is too arcane or convoluted for me to understand the justifications offered for it, and I'm not required to be shocked! shocked! when a public Democrat turns out to be located somewhere to the Right of Professor Chomsky. In fact I'd be at risk of a coronary if I found one who wasn't, almost as much as if I found some professional pundit behaving as though the supposed ideological divide between our competing major political parties wasn't broad and inviolate, or displaying some basic understanding of precisely how four years of Democratic majorities in both Houses have behaved on the five issues Will suggests we use in place of litmus paper.
And that just about exhausts the good news for Democrats on a surreal Tuesday when their presumptive candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut -- the state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal -- chose to hold a news conference at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall to discuss why he had falsely said he fought in a foreign war.

Say, buddy, could you spare some eyeball deglazer?

Bob Somerby has been good on this; there's plenty of reason to at least question whether Blumenthal really claimed to be a Vietnam vet; he's said twice--twice--in the past seven years "I served in Vietnam". While extemporizing. He didn't put it on his cv, or bold it in campaign literature. He didn't begin a standard speech with "One thing I learned from Charlie.…" You'd think that maybe a leading "conservative" intellectual would be rushing to the defense of language, if nothing else. My god, the shit that came out of George W. Bush's mouth had to be translated into English before the Post could even typeset it (though Bush, wisely for once, pretty much chose to keep mum about his military experiences).

But, look: beyond that, it's the Democratic primary for a New England Senate seat. The reverberations didn't exactly shake us out of bed in the Midwest.
National Democrats may try to find a less damaged candidate for Connecticut, but first they may have to do that in Illinois.

Corrupt Illinois politics is to the right-wing pundit with column inches to fill what Stupid Texas Legislation is to the Left, or airline food to the stand-up comic.
Proving his credentials as a disciple of the president, Giannoulias blamed the bank's failure on George W. Bush.

Zing! Look, George, why don't we make a list of all the things The Second Execrable Bush is blamed for, and if we find anything he should be exonerated of we'll apologize. Soon as y'all take responsibility for all the shit that does belong on that list.
Democrats and, not amazingly, many commentators

A man who parades around in 19th century finery paid for, for the last thirty years, by ABC and the Washington Post Company, despite the fact that the record of his public dishonesty predates the former association and neatly coincides with the latter is carping because some commentators appear to lean Democratic.
say Republicans are the ones with the worries because they are nominating strange and extreme candidates. Their Exhibit A is Rand Paul, winner of Kentucky's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

Well. It may seem strange for a Republican to have opposed, as Paul did, the invasion of Iraq. But in the eighth year of that war, many Kentuckians may think he was strangely prescient. To some it may seem extreme to say, as Paul does, that although the invasion of Afghanistan was proper, our current mission there is "murky." But many Kentuckians may think this is an extreme understatement.

Y'know, somehow, I don't think that's the sort of kookiness they have in mind, exactly.
Recently Utah's conservative three-term senator, Robert Bennett, was eliminated from contention for this year's Senate nomination by two even more conservative candidates. Many Democrats and commentators who had not hitherto been histrionic about their high regard for Bennett mourned his loss as evidence that the Republican Party, the health of which they say concerns them greatly, is becoming unhealthy.

Whereas Republicans (and commentators) would never ever stoop to offering falsely sympathetic advice to their opponents.
One of the two Utah candidates, Mike Lee, a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, has been in Washington espousing such strange aspirations as the repeal of Obamacare and No Child Left Behind. He is extremely eager for the Supreme Court to stop construing the Constitution's commerce clause as a license for Congress to do whatever it wants as long as it asserts that what it wants involves regulating interstate commerce. Lee and Rand Paul will get along.

Which is good, since they'll be sharing back-marker status until forever. (It's curious, ain't it, how Libertoonians--even those with legal degrees--always seem to imagine that the last century-and-a-quarter of precedent regarding the Commerce clause can be hurled aside without affecting their cherished laissez-faire notions which that precedent ushered in. And how you never hear a principled peep out of 'em about the Fourteenth amendment? Shit, do you really want the Texas legislature, let alone the Arizona legislature, controlling commerce within their borders? Really? How 'bout if you lived there?)
Ron Paul's book "End the Fed," which explains his animus against the central bank, has on its dust jacket just one blurb. It is a famous name, but given a million guesses you would not hit upon it: Arlo Guthrie.

Shit, George, if the game was "Name a Folksinger" I wouldn't get Arlo in a million guesses. But at least that explains why all the kids are talkin' about it...
More than four decades later, Arlo evidently decided he shares Ron Paul's hot dislike for the subject of Paul's book, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Has American politics ever been this entertaining?

Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of "entertaining". Though I think we can all agree that that's about as entertaining as Arlo's ever been.

Every so often, and generally in response to The Stupidest Thing Jonah Goldberg's ever said, someone will raise the specter of what St. Buckley would have made of his progeny. But we have the clear example of George Eff Will: the appreciation of abject ignorance depends on whether you expect your side to win or lose the next election cycle.


Scott C. said...

Arlo Guthrie? Quite a coup. Mr. Paul's success gives me hope that my forthcoming book, The Commerce Clause in Navigable Waters: A Study of Riparian Rights Under Common Law may yet garner that plumb cover blurb from Charo.

Chris said...

Can I say "Bushwar" every time Mr. Will -- or anybody else -- says "Obamacare"? It'll make me feel better, plus it accurately describes both his stock in trade and what his party gave us.

DocAmazing said...

Bush, wisely for once, pretty much chose to keep mum about his military experiences

The guy talked about having been to war (as compared to raising twin daughters), his Air Force service--and let's not forget Mission Accomplished. If that's keeping mum, Blumenthal's a Trappist.

desertscope said...

Right wing kooks can be readily divided into categories:

1) People who are wealthy or think they might be someday and who think they are voting in their own interest.

2) Cousin-fucking hillbillies who still buy into the notion of "states rights" (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).

From this second group, we occasionally see strange bedfellows such as Rand 'Ayn' Paul and Arlo 'Not Woody' Guthrie. I have a colleague that recommended I look up Arlo and his "Alice's Restaurant." To me, it was a mildly amusing story that would probably have been greatly improved if preceded by no fewer than four bottles of low-quality American beer.

... but I digress...

Folk music was practically born in the lamentations of the abused and downtrodden working class. Contrast this with the "Fuck you, I've got mine" motto of the Libertarian party.

Julia said...

Oh, I see someone is still all peevish about that CPAC straw poll.

That's got to be galling for our boy George - the rank and file of the Republican party already wrote the Paul family out of serious consideration. The people who won't let go of him are movement conservative activists and the Club for Growth's pet red state primary voters.

You have to expect him to be peevish. He's the fringe now.