Sunday, March 15, 2009

Calling a Horse a Horse

It occurs to me after the fact that the title of this piece could be construed as poking fun at Ann Coulter's face, which many people claim is horse-like in nature. I assure readers this was not intended and that while a certain part of a horse's anatomy does remind me of Ann Coulter it isn't the face.

Recently Meghan McCain had the audacity to call Ann Coulter "offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time" - which is longhand for "being Ann Coulter." As demonstrates conservatives did not take kindly to this. Even though Ann Coulter's entire schtick is to be offensive and insulting McCain somehow crossed a line by stating what everyone knows and what Coulter herself often brags about.

Jim Cramer is a clown, a literal clown with honking horns and thrown pies. But point his clownish antics out to the world and he becomes a very sad panda. Both Cramer and Coulter want to have their cake and eat it too. Make names for themselves by acting like loons then feign amazement and offense when someone calls them loony. It's an odd game.

I was very briefly a member of the Cornell Review, a college conservative paper whose alumni include both Coulter and Dinesh D'Souza. As part of my indoctrination into the world of angry white conservative males with too much hair gel I was mailed a lovely packet of information from some sort of conservative consortium. This packet included a list of dead white authors we should all be reading (no joke) as well as an explanation of conservative "journalism." And that explanation was essentially "we're rude, vicious, infantile and proud of it. We rely less on pesky facts than entertainment derived from bashing gays and blacks."

It was in no way coy. The message was loud and explicit.

Is it then wrong to call the Cornell Review infantile? Is it wrong to call Ann Coulter, who helped establish the mold for conservative college papers then turned that style into a successful career, offensive and insulting?

This site has no love for Meghan McCain. (Just do a search) She's a transparent schill for her father who bills herself as a "citizen journalist." Her website is funded and operated by her father's people and is little more than McCain boosterism. She appears less interested in politics than in keeping her name in the limelight and pretending that she's some sort of fresh new voice in conservatism. But all that said, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Of all the things to attack Meghan McCain over exactly describing Coulter the way Coulter presents herself is a little bizzare. And calling her fat? Really Republicans? That's your retort to accusations that Coulter is rude? Really?(Insert SNL "really" skit inflection here)

If you go on TV and throw pies and honk horns you're probably a clown. If you tell jokes about how Edwards is a faggot and claim that all Jews need perfecting you're probably insulting. This is neither rocket science nor brain surgery.

My question is this: are there Republicans who honestly believe that Coulter is a serious and sober analyst full of insight? That being offensive and insulting is not part of her act? Or do they know full well that she peddles vitriol and merely feign offense at being called out?

And which of those is worse?

Ann Coulter is an offensive nitwit, water is wet and the sun is hot. Shocking.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

I Remember Three Weeks Ago Like It Was Yesterday

But John Yoo and John Bolton don't. Their NYT Op-Ed, Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power, is a particularly sad example of Republicans doing a 180 with the election of Obama. The piece is an attack on Obama for making an end-run around the treaty process -- something he has not actually done, but could do at some point in the future, maybe. (Clearly a compelling subject for an op-ed.) You might remember John Yoo as the fellow who argued that no treaty or law on earth could stop the President from crushing an innocent child's testicles if he felt the urge. Or perhaps you remember him as the man who wrote that "our Office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations."

Yet here is that same John Yoo arguing that the power of the President should be kept carefully in check. Curious. It's almost as if his arguments were less a product of careful legal reasoning than a product of the former White House resident being a Republican.

There is a lot about the past eight years Republicans would like us to forget - including the philosophy of government they endlessly espoused. Pieces like the NYT op-ed read like the products of amnesiacs unaware of their own actions just weeks previous. Suddenly it's near impossible to find arguments that were commonplace only a month ago.

The President has essentially unlimited power during wartime, where wartime includes undeclared wars of indeterminate length against unnamed foes. Anyone remember that one?

How about that anything the President does is legal by definition? See many Republicans arguing that one these days?

Disrespecting the President is disrespecting the office, which is disrespecting America. And even if we disagree with the President it's our duty as loyal Americans to support him. If we bellyache about the actions of the President our enemies are embiggened. I seem to recall hearing that one more than a hand full of times.

The willingness to immediately cast off these arguments as soon as Obama was elected is a tacit admission that the arguments were never more than posturing. The true belief of Republicans is apparently not that the President deserves respect and power but that Republicans do. I suppose these hypocritical Republicans believe that "progressives" will immediately cast off their former arguments as well and invent an entirely different set of principles now that Obama is in office.

Perhaps on this blog I'll now argue that the Vice-President is both all and no branches of government, that the Bill of Rights is antiquated, and that anyone who criticizes the President should pipe down or move to France.

Sadly I actually believed most if not all of what I've written here, despite the change from (R) to (D) in our highest office.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Defending Sarah Palin is Hard Work

If this picture isn't enough reason to support Sarah Palin you're probably a Communist.

1: Conservative documentary-maker who called the media treatment of Palin a great injustice interviews her as part of a hit-piece on Obama voters and the media.

2: He posts clips of his Palin interview online in which she blames anyone and everyone for her failures and wallows in self-pity and hypocrisy.

3: The Palin people wallow in self-pity over the online clips and accuse said documentary-maker of more unfair treatment. Because the best way to fight the perception that Palin is an incessant whiner is with more whining. The GOP being the party of "personal responsibility" and all that.

Man, defending Palin is a tough gig when even a Palin super-fan is too full of insidious liberal bias to perform a proper interview.

C-SPAN recently televised a forum held late last year at Harvard where top Obama and McCain campaign officials discussed the race. When the subject turned to Palin the McCain people made the following points:
1: That the campaign needed a risky hail-mary.
2: That it doesn't matter who you choose as VP if you don't win - "you need to win first."
3: That Palin has strong positives among die-hard conservatives.

Notable was the complete absence of praise for Palin herself.

John Cole points out a similar defense of Palin, quoting Robert Stacy McCain:

Just as the conservative intellectuals once projected their hopes onto Dubya, now they project their disappointments onto Sarah. But the fault is theirs, not hers. And Sarah has something the intellectuals don’t have—an army. Brother, I’ve seen that army.

So you can take your David Frums and your David Brookses, and let Sarah take that army and, by God, we’ll see whose Republican Party this is.

Once again: Palin is popular among the hardocre Republican crowd. That's her list of strengths in total according to the McCain piece.

I keep reading the piece again and again, thinking I've missed the rousing defense of Palin's intellectual prowess and brilliant policies. Instead what I see is not one but two references to how sexy she is, including a photo of her from the rear that I gather is supposed to make proper red-blooded conservative men horny. (Shamelessly copied above)

I believe this is what's called damning with faint praise.

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