From Jailbait To Hate

Well I don’t care if you’re just thirteen,
You look too good to be true
I just know that you’re probably clean
There’s one lil’ thing I got to do to you

—Ted Nugent, “Jailbait

I spent the morning thinking about writing something on Ted Nugent’s stupid and racist comments. I mean it isn’t that often that a Republican will confirm for us the racism we are pretty sure flows, mostly in subterranean channels, through the party.

So, when news got out that Nugent recently labeled President Obama, among other things, a “subhuman mongrel” and “chimpanzee,” and when important Republicans were quite reluctant to put a lot of distance between themselves and the elderly rocker, it was tempting to write another piece about how far the Republican Party has fallen, not only in moral terms, but as an intellectual force in our national politics.

But then what’s the point? The dissipation of the GOP is sort of becoming boring.

Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat running for governor against the state’s attorney general—who invited Ted Nugent to Texas to campaign for him—released this statement about Nugent’s remarks:

Greg Abbott’s embrace of Ted Nugent is an insult to every Texan — every man, woman, husband, and father. If this is Greg Abbott’s idea of values, it’s repulsive.

Would to God that “every Texan” was insulted by Ted Nugent or Greg Abbott’s embrace of him. But it ain’t so. Even though outside of Texas most people know that Ted Nugent is nuts, that he’s a hate-sick cat, that he is a racist freak, inside the state he is something of a folk hero for palin and nugenta disturbing number of people. But then in the Lone Star State it isn’t a good day unless some Republican legislator, state or federal, talks about impeaching President Obama or questions his citizenship or doubts his allegiance to the country. And that is when they are being Sunday Christian nice.

The party of family values in Texas and elsewhere has essentially embraced Nugent, a man who has said many vile and unprintable things about Democrats, a man who has written a song about having sex with 13-year-old girls—heck, a man who has admitted he had sex with underage girls—a man who has a pathological hatred for Barack Obama. It isn’t therefore strange that the man who wants to be the next Republican governor of Texas refuses to strongly and unequivocally condemn Nugent or his comments. And the sad part of all of this is that Greg Abbott is politically smart not to do so.

I suppose, as monotonous as all this is getting to be, that tells you all you need to know about how sick the Republican Party is, especially in Texas.

In case you haven’t seen the transcript of Nugent’s remarks, here is what he said during an interview on January 17 given to

NUGENT: I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame, enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago, communist raised, communist educated, communist nurtured, subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America. I am heartbroken but I am not giving up. I think America will be America again when Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Dick Durbin, Michael Bloomberg and all of the liberal Democrats are in jail facing the just due punishment that their treasonous acts are clearly apparent.

So a lot of people would call that inflammatory speech. Well I would call it inflammatory speech when it’s your job to protect Americans and you look into the television camera and say what difference does it make that I failed in my job to provide security and we have four dead Americans. What difference does that make? Not to a chimpanzee or Hillary Clinton, I guess it doesn’t matter.

I will end this sad post by telling you that those words were spoken during the interview after Nugent talked about “the gifts God gave me.” Yes. He talked about God blessing him with gifts. All I can say to that is this: If God is handing out those kinds of gifts, then faithful tithers should demand all their money back because God has obviously been misspending the collection plate booty on booze and behavior-altering pharmaceuticals. If gifting Ted Nugent with the ability to call the African-American President of the United States a subhuman mongrel and chimpanzee is the best God can do these days, then folks should spend their tithing dough more productively, like, say, giving it to the Democratic Party.

Cruzosaurus Tex: Sarah Palin With A Penis And A Princeton Pedigree

Every now and then some people will claim they have seen the Loch Ness Monster. Once in a while there will come forth folks who claim they have seen Bigfoot. And now, on the verge of a government shutdown and with the threat of economic doomsday hanging over the country, there are cryptozoologists in Washington who claim they have seen wandering around the capital an elusive creature called Republicanus moderatus.

All weekend I heard people claim they have seen this mythical being, one who is “reasonable” and wants to “govern” the country. But when more sober-minded people look around for evidence of such a being, it soon becomes clear that once upon a time there were Moderate Republicans roaming the streets of Washington, but they are now extinct. They’re all gone. What few there are left in the country at large are hiding out, trying to live off the land until civilization returns to the Republican Party.

Oh, I know that there are some people who want to keep the legend alive, who don’t want to admit that the disappearance from Washington of such a proud species of reasonable Republicans signals that American governance is in trouble, that our tradition of democratic rule is in danger of being lost. But the truth is that a new species, Republicanus extremus, is thundering around Washington like giant ideological lizards, with sweeping tails that awkwardly swipe at things like ObamaCare, which was created by democratically elected legislators and signed into law by a now twice-elected President of the United States.

These giant ideological lizards, with their survival-of-the-fittest mentality, have either stomped on or chased away from Washington any sign of Moderate Republican. And wishful thinking won’t soon bring that endangered species back to the capital to govern. It will take more than that.

cruzosaurus texThe most ideological lizard of them all is Ted Cruz, who is Sarah Palin with a penis and a Princeton pedigree. His day job is in the U.S. Senate, but he is also moonlighting as the de facto Speaker of the House, since the official Speaker has proven incapable of leading the reptilian rabble. Cruz is commanding a very noisy and destructive pack of giant lizard legislators on a quest to destroy democratic governance and tear down American civilization one law at a time, starting with the new law meant to bring tens of millions of Americans into the health insurance system.

The only hope we have, the only way orderly American governance will continue, the only way we can preserve the long-term well-being of the country, is if Democrats in Washington finally and fiercely stand up and fight Ted Cruz and those who have gone to Washington in order to turn the place into Jurassic Park.

Will they? Will Democrats stand and fight? Will they ignore the ridiculous questions from journalists who want to know if Democrats will “compromise” with Republicans, when in truth Democrats have already compromised to the point of near-surrender?

We shall see.

What Would Ronaldus Magnus Do?

The segment below from Saint Rachel Maddow pretty much says it all about the irresponsibility of not raising the debt ceiling and how none other than Ronald Reagan dealt with the half-nuts in his own party who thought about using the threat of default as a political instrument in the 1980s. Democrats should talk about this, leftish bloggers should post this, liberal columnists should write about this, until we are safely, if we can get safely, past this artificial, ideologically-inspired crisis.

And by the way, Democrats should dope-slap the next dumb-ass journalist who says John Boehner an Mitch McConnell have “tough jobs.” They don’t. People who shovel asphalt for a living without health insurance have tough jobs. There ain’t a damn thing tough about keeping the country from defaulting, from stopping the ideological terrorists from blowing up the economy.

All Boehner has to do is allow a clean debt-ceiling bill to come to a vote in the House—it will pass with Democratic votes and a handful of sane Republicans—and all McConnell has to do is tell his Tea Party colleagues to STFU and let the bill pass, all the while encouraging yet another handful of sane Republicans to vote with Democrats to overcome a filibuster.

After all, the worst that can happen to either of them—loss of their jobs—is nothing compared to what will happen to the country if the suicide bombers get close enough to the full faith and credit of the United States to blow it up.

And if the two Republican leaders aren’t patriotic enough to risk their government jobs for the well-being of the country, may they be forever cursed with listening to never-ending audio loops of IQ-killing Sarah Palin and Ivy League-deflating Ted Cruz defending Jesus-loving Rush Limbaugh’sgreat time in the Dominican Republic,” compliments of a secret supply of Satan-sanctioned, sausage-swelling, slut-seducing Viagra. Amen.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bye Bye Barracuda

I was starting to forget her, then comes the news:

The relationship between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Fox News has ended.

Some folks, like conservative Republican Joe Scarborough this morning, have suggested that, by this move, Fox “News” honcho Roger Ailes (who Scarborough claimed is the de facto head of the GOP) is trying to help the Republican Party become less, uh, stupid.

Hmm. Scarborough’s suggestion has the virtue of confirming four important facts about the American right-wing these days:

1) Fox “News” Channel is an arm of the Republican Party.

2) The Republican Party really has been “the stupid party.”

3) Fox “News” has been peddling stupidity for profit.

4) Peddling stupidity for profit doesn’t necessarily help elect Republicans.


“The Hounds Of Racism” Are Howling

As right-wingers begin to think the unthinkable, that Barack Hussein Obama just might serve another four years, we can expect the nastiness to escalate.

From The Washington Post:

RICHMOND — Virginia Republican Party officials on Tuesday ordered their Mecklenburg County affiliate to remove photos portraying President Obama as a witch doctor, a caveman and a thug from its Facebook page.

No racism there, right? The local GOP chairman initially refused to take down the photos, but I noticed today the Facebook page is dead. Defiant racists aren’t what they used to be, I suppose.

We’ve all seen the witch doctor photo, and here are the other two mentioned:

Classy stuff. But that’s just some rednecks in rural Virgina, so Republicans don’t want us to worry about it. It doesn’t reflect the party’s views about Mr. Obama, they say.

Okay. But maybe this does, from the lips of Romney surrogate Newt Gingrich:

He happens to be a partial, part-time president. He really is a lot like the substitute referees in the sense that he’s not a real president. I mean, he doesn’t do any of the things president do; he doesn’t worry about any of the things president’s do…he’s a false president…

Hmm. Not only is that disrespectful, but it sort of sounds like the old Georgian is calling our first African-American president a loafer. But that was on Tuesday. On Wednesday John Sununu, another Romney surrogate, clarified it for us, which I present from Fox “News”:

There. That’s better. The scary socialist Negro is lazy to boot!

As I always do in these cases, I will highlight with a box Romney’s response to such less-than-subtle racially-charged remarks uttered by his surrogates:

Oh, I forgot Romney fashions himself as a “No Apology” kind of guy.

In any case, I offer you an excellent observation by Geoffrey Dunn about how a lot of this dark stuff started with Sarah Palin:

when Palin accused then-candidate Obama of “palling around with terrorists” and of not being “a man who sees America as you see America,” she unleashed the hounds of racism in this country and in the Republican Party. She became the first serious candidate for national office since George Wallace to give both body and voice to the vulgarities of American right-wing talk radio and the pernicious racism that fuels it.

The “hounds of racism” are running quite free these days, and apparently Mitt Romney, who has had problems with dogs in the past, either can’t or doesn’t want to put them back in the kennel of shame where they belong.

In fact, Romney has often sounded like a hound himself, talking about “free stuff,” as in if you want free stuff “vote for the other guy.” And along those lines, I noticed today that Rush Limbaugh was playing a tape over and over—and over—of some hysterically sounding black woman yelling something about a phone. Immediately, I knew where to turn, since Matt Drudge is the source for a lot of Limbaugh’s material. Sure enough:

As I followed the link, I found a YouTube video recorded at a “Romney Event” near Cleveland, which had only 317 views when I watched:

Now, Limbaugh, who is one of those white-angst howling hounds unleashed by Sarah Palin, started talking about “Obama phones” and a website dedicated to telling folks like the woman above how to get their “free phones.”  Of course this plays into all the themes advanced by Republicans against our pigmented president: socialist, giver-of-free-stuff, all-around champion of the “permanent under class,” in Limbaugh’s phrase.

And that permanent under class, in the minds of a lot of Republican voters, looks like the woman above. That’s the point of those photos on that Virginia GOP website; that’s the point of Gingrich’s and Sununu’s comments; that’s the point of Drudge and Limbaugh promoting heavily that weird video.

In order to win, Romney has to get as many nervous whites to vote for him as he can, since he has lost any hope of getting much support from folks of color. That’s why he doesn’t say anything to shut down the obvious appeals to white angst by his official and unofficial surrogates.

That woman and her free “Obama phone” is just one more example for worried whites to consider in November, as conservatives see it. It turns out, though, that Obama had nothing to do with the free phones provided to low-income folks. The earliest version of the program was signed into law by, uh, Ronald Reagan!

But that fact won’t stop folks like Limbaugh, who said today that the phenomenon of people voting for Obama “is not about hard work.”

Go talk to the cell phone lady,” he said.

An Inspired Idea For Putting “A Human Face” On Mittens

A regular commenter, John McNight, recently offered Republicans a brilliant idea:

The upcoming Republican National Convention plans to reintroduce Mitt Romney to America; an effort will be made to put a human face on the nominee. I hope this staged endeavor features Mitt, Hank Williams Jr. and Donald Trump lounging around a cracker barrel, cracking ‘birther’ jokes with Sheriff Arpaio. After the laughter has died down they can then display genuine sadness that America has an illegal alien in the Oval Office. Even though drinking whiskey is against Mitt’s religious beliefs — as are releasing income tax documents — maybe he’ll send the Tennessee delegation into a flag waving frenzy when accepting Hank’s offer to take a pull. It’s too bad Sarah Palin won’t be in attendance. Having her jump over the old country store stage set on a red, white and blue motorcycle would undoubtedly set off a thunderous chorus of USA! USA!

My response:


Now that I think about it, what better way to “put a human face” on Mittens than, “A Relaxing Evening With Three Rednecks,” featuring a conspiracy-drunk fake billionaire from New York City, a washed-up country singer from Nashville nicknamed after a ventriloquist dummy, and a fascistic xenophobe-with-a-badge from Phoenix? That undoubtedly classy presentation of a real cross-section of Republican America would be one that Democratic convention planners could only hope to top.

As for Sarah Palin, there is a good reason she won’t be part of the act in Tampa and thus will not be jumping over “the old country store stage set” on a patriotically dressed hog, her Arctic-warming cleavage presented with all the on-air tastefulness of a Fox “News” “info-babe.”

The resulting erotic commotion among the Viagra-needy “sock monkey-waving social conservatives” (nice phrase you came up with, by the way; have you ever thought of blogging?) in attendance would be too much for local security to contain, what with SKIN Tampa—the city’s “only upscale Full Nude Ultra Lounge” and “home of the $10 lap dance“—a mere five minutes from the convention center. A thunderous herd of hopped-up, manly Palinistas seeking less wholesome titillating entertainment is not part of the contingency plans of Tampa’s finest, I’m sure.

And speaking of SKIN Tampa, the laissez-faire entrepreneurial spirit, so much celebrated by the Republican Party, is alive and well in Florida. Not letting an obvious profit opportunity pass it by, SKIN Tampa has an unassailable bidness strategy. It is offering:

FREE transportation and complimentary VIP for RNC Attendees and Press

How many times, do you suppose, that Bible-totin’, social conservative good ol’ boys get a chance to play VIP for a night, uh, for a night or three, in the presence of butt-nekkid small bidness gals as they freely advertise their best God-given assets?

From SKIN Tampa‘s website, you can see how much thought went into attracting patriotic teavangelicals:

My guess is that the jacked-up SUV in the picture above will spend a lot of time shuttling male folks hanging around the Elect Peter Kinder tent, or, when it is up and running, “curious” guys trolling near Dick Morris’ Free Pedicure booth.


Chain Reaction

Chains, chains, shackles and chains
No matter what it takes some day I’m gonna break these
Chains, chains, shackles and chains
These love taking, heart breaking, cold, hard, lonely making chains

Patty Loveless

 love Joe Biden.

Gaffe-prone, yes, but his remarks in Danville, Virginia, yesterday were not a gaffe. It was honest metaphorical language describing what Democrats believe the budget choices Republicans have embraced would do to a large swath of Americans:

They’ve said it. Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the—he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules—unchain Wall Street.

They’re going to put y’all back in chains!

Romneyland was outraged, I mean, outraged! Mittens, who now holds the American record for telling the most lies in a presidential campaign before the conventions, said of the remarks,

his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower.

I for one believe that using appropriate metaphors to describe what a bind many Americans would be in should Republicans take back the White’s House is long overdue. And for Republicans to say such talk disgraces the office of the Presidency is itself a disgrace, especially when one considers what Republicans have said about the President, strongly suggesting he is un- or anti-American.

From the beginning Mr. Obama has endured many nasty insults, whether it be Sarah Palin’s accusing him of “palling around with terrorists,” or Romney supporter Donald Trump suggesting he is not an American citizen—without a peep from Mittens—or whether it is Romney surrogate John Sununu saying the President’s roots are in the “political-slash-felon environment” of Chicago and that he wishes “this president would learn how to be an American.”

Indeed, Romney himself said Mr. Obama’s course for the country “is extraordinarily foreign.”

A simple metaphor to summarize what Democrats believe will be the results of Republican philosophy is not out of order. And the phony outrage expressed by Romney is laughable. Remember these remarks he made after he essentially became the Republican nominee:

With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.

Huh? Give me a break. What could be more outrageous than that? You’re ourtaged that someone uses a metaphor you don’t like and you accuse the President of killing free enterprise? And Romney wasn’t done:

This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars.

Chains, anyone?

The “Thugfather”

The vehemence they displayed was totally inappropriate. They seemed to adopt the tea party slogans.”

—Charles Fried, President Reagan’s solicitor general commenting on the tone of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices during oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act

uch ado was made over President Obama’s uncharacteristically maladroit remarkson the possibility that the Supreme Court might overturn his health care reform legislation:

And I just remind conservative commentators that for years what we have heard is that the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint; that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step…

Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

The Wall Street Journal was “astonished” at the remarks and wondered if the former constitutional law teacher ever taught Marbury v. Madison. Conservative Joe Scarborough found the remarks “unbelievable” and “disturbing.” He accused the president of “attacking” the Supreme Court and essentially undermining our judicial system’s independence.

The thundering Voice of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, called the President a “thug“—yep, he did— saying:

…he says things in these sound bites…and they’re chilling to me. “The court has to understand…” “The court must understand,” is one of his sound bites. No, the court must not — does not have to — listen to you. What is this, “The court must understand”? That is a threat! How many of you think it possible that Obama will make a trip to the Supreme Court before the vote, before the final vote? Can you see it happening? I can.

I can too. I can see Mr. Obama serving up a can of presidential whoopass to Justice Scalia. Yes, anyone can see that.

Here is a classy graphic posted as part of Rush’s transcript from Tuesday:

As I said, I can see that Obama busting the kneecaps of Antonin Scalia. I sure can.

There was also an orgy of Obama hate Tuesday night on Hannity—featuring constitutional scholar Sarah Palin! The learned Alaskan said (it is damned hard to transcribe her eruditeness),

So, how much more evidence does an American voter need to understand that this president is not only, just merely, over, in over his head [sic], as a constitutional scholar—this is the community organizer in him coming out.

How much more evidence do all of us need to understand that we cannot afford this “flexibility” that he is seeking in his next four years that he’s asking for, for his ineptitude the next four years, we cannot afford to go down this road.

Sarah Palin referencing someone’s “ineptitude” represents a special kind of chutzpah, don’t ya think?  Call it arctic audacity, but whatever you call it, she is sitting on a pile of cash that such garish gall has wrought.

For all the outrage on the right about Mr. Obama’s remarks, one would think that there had been no history of right-wing attacks on the Supreme Court. Does Roe v. Wade ring a bell? Anyone remember the “Impeach Earl Warren” movement across the South?

The John Birch Society, now once again on friendly terms with movement conservatism, wrote in 1963:

It is obvious that the Warren-led Court intends, step-by-step, to declare the whole Constitution of the United States unconstitutional.

Is that an attack on the Court?

How about this, from William F. Buckley, the father of modern conservatism:

The Supreme Court of the United States discovers every year or so something in the Constitution not only that hasn’t been discovered before, but something which the formulators of that particular article or amendment to the Constitution specifically rejected. But it becomes law. This is called casuistry, and casuistry is one of the diseases of a decadent order in which people refuse to rely on basic cognitive skills, and have no faith in sequential argument.

Hmm. That was written in 1977. I suppose the Supreme Court has recovered from “one of the diseases of a decadent order,” since conservatives are now so eager to come to its defense.

In any case, the right-wing hysteria over Obama’s remarks is interesting, since a) they don’t worry too much about disrespecting the executive branch these days, and b) I never thought I would live long enough to hear right-wingers so enthusiastically defend the Court’s honor.

The truth is, though, that they don’t have much respect for either the executive branch or the judicial branch (or for that matter, the legislative branch) unless those institutions are peopled by conservatives.

Example: A totally unsubstantiated rumor has been floating from conservative brain to conservative brain: “Does Obama Know How the Supreme Court Voted?” The deal is that some liberal justice leaked the bad news to Big O and he was trying to intimidate the conservative justices into submission, sort of opening up a long-distance can of whoopass.

Hannity brought it up last night and Limbaugh mentioned it earlier in the day (he speculated that it might be Justice Kagan).

I ask: Is suggesting that a sitting justice (they are the only ones allowed in during the vote) of leaking the result of last Friday’s conference tally—purely for political reasons—showing proper respect for the Court?

In the case of conspiracy-minded Rush Limbaugh, any leaking of the outcome—positive or negative—would do:

It’s easier to understand that somebody leaked to him that the preliminary vote went against him and that the mandate fell by whatever the preliminary vote was and that explains his attitude yesterday. But I can see him saying what he said if the vote went in his favor as well, as a means of further intimidation, making sure they don’t change their minds or whatever.

It must be nice to live in a world where all the roads lead to your destination.

But my favorite example of the newly-found (at least since Bush v. Gore in 2000) and quite fraudulent conservative respect for the Supreme Court was from Joe Scarborough. After bashing Obama for not showing proper deference to the Court, he said this:

I think Justice Kennedy is a conservative justice with a small “c.” He’s worried about his legacy more than the law that’s in front of him—just to be really harsh about it. And I think he’s going to be afraid to do the bold thing, even if the bold thing is the right thing.

Now, that, my friends, is real respect for the integrity of the Supreme Court.


*The President better explained himself on Tuesday during the Q & A after his AP luncheon speech:

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, you said yesterday that it would be unprecedented for a Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by an elected Congress.  But that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence.  If the Court were to overturn individual mandate, what would you do, or propose to do, for the 30 million people who wouldn’t have health care after that ruling?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, let me be very specific. We have not seen a Court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on a economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce — a law like that has not been overturned at least since Lochner.  Right?  So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre New Deal.

And the point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress.  And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.

Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there.  I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has.

How Obama Will Sell Out The Country

I suggested yesterday (Obama’s Planning On Selling Out the Country…) that someone on Fox’s evening lineup would question the “intelligence and patriotism” of Obama and that someone might wonder “what else is Barack Obama not telling us he’ll do after he’s elected.”

Sean Hannity did not disappoint last night. He played Obama’s “private” conversation with Dmitry Medvedev:

OBAMA: This is my last election, and after my election I’ll have more flexibility.

MEDVEDEV: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin].

Now, everyone knows that the term “more flexibility” means “more flexibility to screw the American people who just elected me,” right? And if you didn’t know that, then you did after Sean’s guest, Newt Gingrich, explained it all:

Well, it raises two questions. The first is, what other countries has he had this conversation with and who else has he said—to the Iranians to the North Koreans, to a variety of places—you know, give me a little time, give me some space, let me get reelected and then I’ll sell out.

And the second is, my interpretation of an American president telling a Russian president about our missile defense clearly indicates he’s going to sell out our defense system as soon as he gets reelected, which would fit his whole policy of weakness and appeasement…

He’s a hard-line left-winger…none of this is a surprise. The question is does the United States want to reelect a president with the worst economic record since the Great Depression, the highest deficits in American history, the rising cost of gasoline, a weak foreign policy, and he really wants to destroy the American defense system. That’s essentially what Obama-ism is.

Those aren’t the words of some obscure know-nothing in the bowels of movement conservatism. Those are the words of a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, who once was considered by many to be a viable contender in the GOP presidential primary.

And if that wasn’t enough entertainment for one night, the opening act for Gingrich was the toesucker himself, Dick Morris.

Hannity had played a Santorum ad the theme of which was: If we reelect Obama, the world will grow dark and the birds and Mitt Romney will stop singing. Asked to comment on the ad, the toesucker said it “understated” how bad things will be, should voters put Obama back in the White’s House.

He then outlined Obama’s second term for the lucky viewers, which I will quote at length because one has to plumb the depths of this Mariana Trench delusion to fully appreciate it:

First of all, I believe he’ll proceed to a single-payer system on health care.  I think Obamacare was just an intermediate step in his mind.  And if he’s reelected, particularly if he has a Democratic Congress, he will eliminate the private health insurance industry and all insurance will be from the government and it will all be according to one plan.

Secondly, I think that he will completely reverse the initiatives of the Bush 43 administration in opening vast new forms of oil drilling in the U.S., and will eliminate this incredible opportunity we have to dominate the global oil markets and put the terrorists out of business.

But thirdly, I think that his big focus will be to make the United States a vassal state to a globalist entity. I think that the G20 and the IMF will acquire sovereignty over our economy. I think that he will sign the international criminal treaty—Criminal Court treaty—that would oblige the United States to get U.N. approval, which is to say Russian and Chinese approval, before going to war.

I think he’ll sign—I write about all this in my book coming up in two months called “Screwed”—I think he’ll sign the Rights of the Child treaty, which would create a legal basis for suing to increase foreign aid to poor countries.

I think that he’ll sign the Gun Control treaty…I think that he’ll sign the global ban on small arms—back door arms control in the United States. I think he’ll sign away our royalties for offshore oil drilling by going along with the law of the sea treaty. I think that he’ll ban U.S. weapons in outer space, which will eliminate an anti-missile capability fiasco…

But the most important thing I didn’t get to: He’s gonna transform America into two countries. A small number of people who pay taxes and a large number of people don’t work and are dependent upon the government to create a permanent leftist, socialist base in the United States.

As you can see, Mr. Obama will have his hands full in his second term, as selling out America is no easy task.

And by the way, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Dick Morris’ book in a couple of months.

“Situation Ethics”

Truth is known by God and the rest of us seek it.”

Newt Gingrich, the day after he asked his sick wife for a divorce


Likely lying in his marriage bed, next to his extra-marital lover, Newt Gingrich would phone his wife of many years, Marianne, and tell her he loved her.

How sweet.

And how sweet too is the right-wing’s reaction to Marianne Gingrich’s charge that her husband was not just a cheater, but a hypocrite, who the day after he asked her for a divorce, spoke before the Republican Women Leaders Forum about “The Demise of American Culture.”  “How could he ask me for a divorce on Monday and within 48 hours give a speech on family values and talk about how people treat people? she asked.

In that speech on American culture, Gingrich blamed liberals for the Columbine shooting. Later he would blame liberals and Democrats for the tragedy at Virginia Tech and for Susan Smith drowning her two children. One of the reasons he gave was that liberals “created a situation ethics.”


On Thursday night, when CNN’s John King opened the GOP debate with a question about Marianne Gingrich’s charge that her husband asked her “to enter into an open marriage,” Gingrich, indignantly, turned on King:

I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that…

Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question for a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine…

I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate… The story is false…I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.

For that, the white Christian crowd gave him a standing ovation.

There are those of us out here in the non-Republican world who don’t understand that reaction. We don’t understand how a man who promotes the religion of Jesus can stand on a stage, as he runs for the highest office in our land, and instead of saying to the world that he was wrong so long ago, that he made a grave mistake, that he is sorry, could instead turn and attack the press, and essentially call his wronged wife a liar in front of the world.

We also don’t understand how a crowd full of Christians can raucously applaud a man who not only made a fool of his wife, but made a fool of them by mocking them with his lifestyle.  Even if, in their estimation, he deserves forgiveness, did he deserve an ovation?

Sarah Palin, who has made a fine living off the pious sentiments of folks on the right, said that the “dumbarse” media’s featuring of “a disgruntled ex” would cause Newt’s campaign “to soar even more.” You see, in Sarah Palin’s mind Marianne Gingrich is nothing more than a disgruntled ex, nothing more than an obstacle in Newt Gingrich’s way. She is not worthy of Jesus-loving Sarah Palin’s sympathy, of God-fearing Sarah Palin’s compassion.

Rush Limbaugh, as close to a national leader as the GOP has, hid his thoughts behind a “a good friend” of his, who allegedly sent him a note that read:

So Newt wanted an open marriage.  BFD.  At least he asked his wife for permission instead of cheating on her.  That’s a mark of character, in my book.  Newt’s a victim.  We all are.  Ours is the horniest generation.  We were soldiers in the sex revolution.  We were tempted by everything from Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice to Plato’s Retreat, Deep Throat to no-fault divorce.  Many of us paid the ultimate price, AIDS, abortion, or alimony for the cultural marching orders we got.  Hell, for all I know we should be getting disability from the government….Newt’s slogan ought to [be], “Hell, yes, I wanted it.”

Newt’s a victim.” Astonishingly, a bit later Limbaugh himself came close to blaming the real victim:

I think, of what we’ve seen so far from the Marianne Gingrich stuff, the thing I didn’t know… that Newt had asked for an open marriage…Most of the other stuff, I did know. I also know that Marianne Gingrich… I’ve been places shortly after Newt was made Speaker with Mary, social weekends and so forth, and she was never comfortable with the public eye — and that bothered him. He thought it limited his future.

She didn’t like the media, she didn’t like the focus on her life, so she just wasn’t comfortable with the public eye — and I know that he said, “Well, you knew what you were marrying.” So there’s two sides to all this..

It “bothered” Newt that his second wife “was never comfortable with the public eye.” So gingerly does Rush Limbaugh tiptoe around justifying Newt’s betrayal, his stunning lack of faithfulness. Gingrich twice divorced women who were sick and demanded of at least one of them that they share him with other women or else, and for this Limbaugh and Palin and the crowd of Christians in Charleston essentially celebrated him, affirming if not his infidelity, his indignation.

Look, if Newt Gingrich didn’t frequently stand in the streets and beat his Christian chest in righteous anger, if he didn’t haughtily shout from every housetop how morally corruptive is the liberal spirit, if he didn’t wave his flag of conservative morality in the face of Americans, then what he did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, to his ex-wives would be between them.

But he does hawk his moral wares in the public square and he has indicted liberalism for nearly all the ills of society.  But no liberal urged him to cheat on his first wife or forced him to lie about the nature of that divorce. No liberal joined him in bed with his lover and current wife Callista. No liberal put a gun to his head and forced him to phone his second wife, with Callista by his side, and tell her he loved her. No liberal tempted him to make a mockery of his faith.

The redemption of a human being is a beautiful thing in any context, religious or secular. Redemption is the solid core of Christianity, the summum bonum of Christian teaching, the raison d’être of the Incarnation. After Gingrich’s denial, Marianne Gingrich has reaffirmed her story and said her former husband never told her he was sorry. It seems to me, if the idea of Christian redemption means anything, if it is to maintain any respect in a civilized society, it ought to require of a man who seeks it to at least admit his crimes to the one he wronged and repent.

And those who say they believe in the religion of Jesus, but who have lately placed their faith in the Republican Party, ought to at least have the decency to sit quietly while a man on a stage who wants to be president refuses to humbly admit his sin and plead for mercy.

The Department Of Um

I took several pages of notes while I was watching the Republican debate last night on CNBC.  Fortunately, Rick Perry’s cringe-inducing performance made them all useless.  As soon as he had his moment of discomfiture, I stopped writing. 

It was just too sad and pathetic.  It’s as if the groom had passed a boisterous blast of noxious gas during the “I do” part of the wedding. Sure, it was unforgivable, obviously it was funny, but at the same time it was kind of like, “Hasn’t the guy suffered enough, God? Send down the angels and put him out of his misery.”

Of all the words I might have expected to hear at a GOP primary debate, “oops” wasn’t one of them.  But there it was, out of the mouth of Rick Perry, which may have been the most honest thing he has ever uttered in one of those silly debates.  Indeed, it may have been the most honest thing any of them have ever uttered.

I don’t know, but if you are talking about what you would do if people were dumb enough to elect you president, and you then begin a sentence—in your most authoritative and emphatic voice—with the words,

It’s three government agencies when I get there that are gone…

you might make sure that you had the names of those three agencies written on the palm of your hand, like Sarah Palin would. You don’t want to mess this one up. It’s your moment. It’s your chance to prove how decisive you are, how much you have thought about the subject, how committed you are to your small-gov’mint principles.

But, alas, Perry wasn’t even smart enough to come up with a Palin-palm cheat sheet. So, he continued:

Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there…Let’s see…So Commerce, Education, and, uh, the uh, um, um…The third agency of government…I would do away with the education, the, um, Commerce, and let’s see. I can’t think of the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

There it is in one word.  The one word that any fair-minded observer of the Republican primary process would use to describe the past few months, as these candidates have revealed themselves to the public:


A Scary Correlation

Nothing describes the current and unfortunate state of the Republican Party more than a simple fact: the dumber Herman Cain appears, the higher he soars in the polls. 

To put it more kindly, there seems to be a positive correlation between ignorance and popularity in GOP primaries.

Cain’s answers to allegations that he sexually harassed two female employees in the 1990s have been, uh, “evolving” for a couple of days now, from absolute denial to a Clintonesque technicality that has him now admitting he knew there was an “agreement” but not a “settlement” of the matter. He seems to be unaware that folks in the media might actually be keeping track of his obvious and various obfuscations.

In case you haven’t noticed, Mr. Cain, the Tea Party favorite, is b-l-a-c-k, which means of course that after all these years of conservatives accusing liberals of always playing the race card vis-à-vis criticism of President Obama, they now are free to deal from the bottom of the deck in support of Herman Cain.  Ann Coulter, herself not always playing with a full moral deck, told Sean Hannity:

If you are a conservative black, they will believe the most horrible sexualized fantasies of these uptight white feminists.

Charles Krauthammer, the George Will of Fox “News,” asked Cain if race had anything to do with all that sexual harassment stuff, to which Cain replied,

I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it.

Cain has a peculiar habit of believing things without evidence.  You may remember this statement he made about Occupy Wall Street three weeks ago:

I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration.

Now, I suppose it’s not all that surprising that a man who attaches little significance to evidence as necessary to support beliefs would be wildly popular in a Republican primary.  After all, Republicans brought us supply-side, trickle-down economics.

But while it is not surprising, it is disturbing. This morning Joe Scarborough made much of the fact that Cain didn’t appear to know that China had been a nuclear power for some 50 years now, suggesting that Sarah Palin would trounce Cain on a foreign policy edition of Jeopardy. “He makes Sarah Palin look like Averell Harriman,” Morning Joe said.

Cain has tried to preempt any attempt to ask him “gotcha” questions about foreign policy by admitting up front he knows very little about the world. His “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” comment is all the rage on the right.  His obvious confusion about what “right of return” means in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hasn’t hurt him at all. In fact, as Michael Steele said this morning, all that kind of stuff endears him even more to the base of the Republican Party.

But criticizing Herman Cain’s graspless understanding of foreign policy issues sort of suggests that he does better closer to home. Nope. He is just as clueless when his mind aimlessly wanders into domestic policy.

He has no clue what his position is on abortion, and his 9-9-9 tax plan (or whatever its current configuration is) is just as ignorant as his saying that China is “trying to develop nuclear capability.” His unfamiliarity with the neoconservative movement—which was largely responsible for the Iraq War—is much worse than not knowing the names of the leaders of foreign governments.

All of which, and more, serves to demonstrate that Herman Cain is not a serious presidential candidate because he has never taken the time in his life to take national and international issues seriously enough to actually learn much about them.

But the fact that so many Republicans do take Cain seriously says more about them than him. And what it says is really, really scary.

Fortunately for the GOP, Mitt Romney will rescue the party from silliness, but at a price: conservatives will have to gamble that his policy positions today—which have been re-tailored to fit a Tea Party electorate—will remain his policy positions tomorrow.

Sarah Palin And The End of Civility

Now that the fractional governor, Sarah Palin, has been exposed for all—even the gullible—to see (something I repeatedly maintained would happen), I think it is time to examine two uncomfortable details from the 2008 campaign that I shall never get over and that perhaps changed the nature of our politics for generations.

Number one: On October 4, 2008, Ms. Palin, a candidate for Vice President of the United States, said this about Barack Obama:

This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America. We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. If we can be that beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy and can live in a country that would allow intolerance in the equal rights that again our military men and women fight for and die for all of us. Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.

The Associated Press reported at the time:

The Republican campaign, falling behind Obama in polls, plans to make attacks on Obama’s character a centerpiece of presidential candidate John McCain’s message with a month remaining before Election Day.

But the attacks on Barack Obama were more than just desperate, last-minute campaign tactics. They turned out to be a glimpse into the post-election future, as the Republican Party and its extremist allies conspired to demean, delegitimate, and destroy the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.

And, oddly, I don’t completely or even largely blame Sarah Palin for the initial unprecedented attack—and suggesting that Barack Obama sympathized with terrorists “who would target their own country” is unprecedented as far as I’m concerned— on a political opponent who was aspiring to be President of the United States.

I blame people like Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, not to mention John McCain, who ultimately picked her.

Which leads me to the number two detail about the 2008 presidential campaign:

Steve Schmidt was the top campaign strategist for John McCain and Nicolle Wallace was a senior advisor. Today, you can see them both frequently on cable television.   Three years ago they were essentially Palin’s “handlers” after she was chosen for VP, and both of them came to find out that she was, essentially, unfit for the office she was seeking.

Ms. Wallace just confessed to Time magazine (in a stunningly strange interview that lacked proper follow-up questions) the following about the inspiration for a VP character in her latest book of fiction:

The idea of a mentally ill vice president who suffers in complete isolation was obviously sparked by the behaviors I witnessed by Sarah Palin. What if somebody who was ill-equipped for the office were to ascend to the presidency or vice presidency? What would they do? How long would it take for people to figure it out? I became consumed by this question.

Wallace went on to suggest that like the character in her book, Palin was in a “troubled state of confusion, despair and helplessness,” and,

Palin vacillated between extraordinary highs on the campaign stage — she ignited more enthusiasm than our side had seen at any other point — to debilitating lows. She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain’s running mate…

There certainly were discussions — not for long because of the arc the campaign took — but certainly there were discussions about whether, if they were to win, it would be appropriate for her to be sworn in.

Now, Steve Schmidt, who don’t forget was running John McCain’s campaign, was asked about Nicolle Wallace’s remarks and this is what he told Lawrence O’Donnell Thursday night:

…during the campaign after the economy collapsed we were essentially out of it. We were never closer than six or seven points again. But if the question is, did all of us, you know,  a bunch of us, who had been around the West Wing of the White House, did we see behavior that we found deeply troubling? And the answer to that question is,  yes, we did. Uh, did we talk about it? Uh, yes, we did. You know, was there, you know, legal considerations? No, there were not. But did we talk about a pattern of behavior that we found troubling during the campaign? Of course we did.

Now, forget, if you can, how  cold-dead frightening are the admissions by Wallace and Schmidt.  Let’s go back to Palin’s appalling and unprecedented remarks about Barack Obama.  They were made on October 4.  And remember that Schmidt referenced the economic collapse of 2008, asserting that after the collapse, “we were essentially out of it.” When did that collapse happen?  September 15, 2008.

So, we have Sarah Palin making her  famous “palling around with terrorists” remark after Schmidt recognized that the campaign was doomed, and after he and Nicolle Wallace recognized that Palin’s behavior was, in the words of Schmidt, “deeply troubling,” and in the words of Wallace merited discussions about whether “it would be appropriate for her to be sworn in.” 

Those aren’t my words.  Those aren’t the words of any Obama supporter. Those are the words of those closest to John McCain and his campaign in 2008.

Let the cynicism sink in.  Let it penetrate your brain like WD-40. 

These disgusting people were using Sarah Palin to trash Obama in unthinkable and country-dividing ways, even when they knew the race was lost, when they knew that their vice presidential candidate was profoundly and dangerously flawed.  For his part, to this day John McCain defends his decision to unleash the quit-in-a-fit governor on the rest of the country.

Just a few days after the 2008 election, when the anti-Palin stories were trickling out from “anonymous” campaign staffers,  I wrote a column for the Joplin Globe, partly defending Sarah Palin on the basis of her obvious ordinariness:

Ms. Palin’s naiveté included the fact that she did not understand how her Republican handlers used her; how they cynically chose her to appeal to women; how they disgracefully structured her stump speeches to question Barack Obama’s patriotism; and how they finally discarded her when she failed to convince a majority of the electorate to take her seriously as a candidate.

While she deserves part of the blame for such crass cynicism, the real culprits were the Republican Svengalis who, confident in their own ability to hoodwink the electorate one more time, plucked her from her Alaskan nest, knowing she could not fly.

I have little doubt that she honestly believed in what she was doing. That’s what makes it so sad and pathetic to watch her fellow Republicans cut her up and now suggest to the world that the whole Palin phenomenon was founded on a lie.

Using her anti-elitist persona as a hook to attract similarly lowbrow voters, the campaign insisted she was nevertheless qualified to be commander in chief. Turns out that presenting her as merely “common folk” wasn’t just a phony campaign tactic. Ms. Palin was as common as advertised, but she was uncommonly unfit to lead the free world.

That was November, 2008, and Ms. Palin, of course, has since learned a thing or two about how to manipulate those anti-elitist types for her own financial gain. But much of the fault for what Sarah Palin did—and continues to do—to our politics, lies with people like Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt and John McCain, who were willing to use the  ‘ill-equipped” “pit bull” Palin to  jump-start the prejudices and fears of part of the American electorate in order to win an election and achieve power.

And as the 2012 general election season approaches, those prejudices and fears will be stoked once again, and the campaign to come—largely because of what happened in 2008—will feature a cyclone of cynicism which will likely blow away what’s left of our political civility.

I’m Rooting For Radical Rick

Republicans are giddy over Rick Perry.

Me, too.

While most liberals and Democrats are upset with the intemperate Texan, I am excited. Remember during the 2008 campaign when that crazy lady in Minnesota stood up at a McCain rally and said, “Obama is an Arab“?

And remember when McCain grabbed the microphone from her and sort of tried to de-Arab Obama?  McCain said,

No ma’am.  He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.

Well, if that same thing happened during the 2012 election with Rick Perry as the nominee, we might have this happen:

WOMAN AT PERRY RALLY: Obama is an Arab.

PERRY: No ma’am. He’s not in love with America, that’s for sure. But an Arab? No ma’am.  Now, he is a socialist the troops don’t respect, and you can count on it when I’m president that the military will respect me, a white guy from the great state of Texas.  There won’t be a black cloud hanging over the country.

You see?  That could happen.  Wait.  It already has happened, sort of.

Perry has already—just a couple days into the primary campaign—questioned Obama’s love for America and his bona fides as Commander-in-chief.  And the underlying, as of yet unspoken, foundation for such things is this:


And to top it all off, Perry said this about Ben Bernanke, Fed chairman:

If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.

Treasonous?  What could he mean by that?

He told reporters, who ask him if he thought the Fed was playing politics on behalf of Obama:

If they print more money between now and this election I would suggest that’s exactly what’s going on.

Now, think about it.  If Bernanke’s actions help Obama, Bernanke is “almost” committing treason.  That must mean that Obama is an enemy to the country, right?  Helping The Scary Negro remain president is tantamount, or “almost” tantamount, to betraying the country.

Perry is merely saying out loud what a lot of Republicans say among themselves.

Thus, as the truth trickles out about Rick Perry’s dubious job record in Texas (by the way, why is Obama responsible for all the unemployment in the rest of the country, but not responsible for the employment in Texas?);

As the truth trickles out about Rick Perry’s constitutional hostility toward Social Security and Medicare;

As the truth trickles out about Rick Perry’s fondness for trickle-down economics, which has miserably failed Texas and the country;

I am rooting for Radical Rick to become the GOP nominee because he represents an embarrassingly large swath of the Republican Party these days, and the American people will have no clearer choice of visions for our country. 

If Americans want George Bush on Rovian steroids, if they want Sarah Palin with a Texas twang, if they want a pale-faced zealot who is dangerously certain of God’s calling and purpose, Rick Perry is their man.

And if fifty-percent-plus-one of the country want that kind of America, the rest of us will just have to suffer.  But it’s time we find out what kind of country we will have.


Although he tried to minimize the damage by cozying up to Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, John McCain, who ruined his reputation by, among other things, unleashing Sarah Palin on an unsuspecting world, did manage to slam the Tea Party on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

What is really amazing is that some members are believing that we can pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in this body with its present representation – and that is foolish. That is worse than foolish. That is deceiving many of our constituents.

To hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, it’s unfair, it’s bizarro.

Bizarro. I like that. McCain also dismissed any idea of rearranging payments after a default:

Today we are six days away from a possible default which could plunge this country into a serious crisis. There are those that argue somehow in a bizarre fashion that somehow we could prioritize our payments to the most urgent requirements, such as our veterans, such as Social Security.

Bizarro. Bizarre. Okay. But McCain also said the following, which is bizarrely bizarro in its own right:

This is the same kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP nominees.

What?  He’s dissing Sharron Angle?  Now, that is bizarrely bizarro because of this news story from October of last year:

LAS VEGAS – In her quest to topple U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republican challenger Sharron Angle introduced U.S. Sen. John McCain (Arizona-R) to a crowd of Las Vegas supporters at the Orleans Friday night. McCain took the stage and delivered a ringing endorsement for Angle.

“I look forward to standing side by side with Sharron Angle,” Sen. McCain said. “I look forward to fighting with her against this out of control spending, this mortgaging of our children’s futures, this generational theft that has taken place.”


[Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images]

Eric Cantor: “I quit.” John Boehner: “Who, me?”

House Republican majority leader Eric Cantor is quitting half way through the infamous debt ceiling negotiations at the White House.

Cantor, in the spirit of the former half-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, stayed around long enough to do only the fun stuff: cutting what he claims is trillions from the federal budget.  The rest of the job—negotiations over revenue increases—will fall on the shoulders of Cantor’s boss, Speaker John Boehner.

Cantor said,

I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts, and to date, we have established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order. 

That said, each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.

The good news in Cantor’s statement is that it appears that Democrats are hanging tough on the issue of taxes, something many of us didn’t think possible.  The bad news is that no one knows what “trillions in spending cuts” means at this point.

Cantor claims—falsely—that, “there is not support in the House for a tax increase.”  John Boehner made the same false claim on Thursday.  What they mean is that there is not support on the Republican side of the House for a tax increase.  But most people forget that there are 192 Democrats wandering around the House side of the capitol, most of whom would certainly be open to revenue increases.

That means that Boehner cannot claim there is not support in the House for a tax increase, unless he admits that there is no way he could get a handful of Republicans to join Democrats to do the right and rational thing and vote for some kind of revenue increase. 

Right now there are 432 occupied seats in the House, meaning 217 is the magic majority number.  Assuming some very small number of Democrats behave like conservative tea partiers, Boehner would only have to come up with somewhere around 30 votes on his side of the aisle to get a deal passed that included tax increases.

Now, think about that.  We are talking about the debt ceiling and the full faith and credit of the United States.  We are talking about default and a potential economic catastrophe.  We are talking about geezers not getting their Social Security checks.  We are talking about international embarrassment.

Yet, John Boehner can’t come up with 25 or 30 Republican votes to save the day? Huh?

What kind of leader is he? What kind of party has the GOP become?

And that’s just the House side.

Over in the Senate, it is far from certain that rational behavior on the Republican side is any more reliable than in the tea party-dominated House.  Mitch McConnell is placing the burden all on President Obama:

Where in the world has the president been for the last month? What does he propose? What is he willing to do to reduce the debt and to avoid this crisis that is building on his watch? He’s the one in charge.

Forget the fact that Mr. Obama established the debt-ceiling talks in the first place and that Democrats, according to Cantor, have been agreeable to “trillions” in spending cuts.  We just aren’t dealing with serious people here. 

Once upon a time, the dynamics of these kinds of negotiations would always feature a lot of grandstanding, but in the end, we could count on there being enough serious and rational people who would do the right thing for the country.

One wonders these days if there are any serious and rational people left in the Republican Party.

The bottom line is that Democrats need to stand their ground and continue demanding a more balanced approach to addressing our debt problems. And if the Republican Party wants to risk an unprecedented economic meltdown—and have the blame for such a disaster follow them for a generation—then there is little Democrats can do to stop them, short of surrendering.

And for now it looks like Democrats have no plans to surrender.

I said, “for now.”  We are, after all, talking about Democrats.

Remarks and Asides

Newt Gingrich’s staff has divorced him.


Rush Limbaugh, conservatism’s coronating coroner, has pronounced Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions dead.  The killer was Romney’s outrageously mainstream views on climate change and energy efficiency.  Reuters reported Romney, in a rare moment of consistency, said to a crowd in New Hampshire:

“I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he told a crowd of about 200 at a town hall meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”

Bye-bye nomination,” said climate-science denier and radio climatologist Limbaugh.  The good news for Romney is that Rush once pronounced Obama’s presidential ambitions dead in 2008. So, don’t take any shit, Mitt!


Speaking of Mitt, for strategic reasons he has decided not to compete in the decidedly undemocratic Iowa Republican straw poll this August.  You know, that’s the poll in which, thanks to the media and the deep pocket$ of hopeful candidates, a handful of extremist conservatives get disproportionate attention and nominate either an extremist loser like Pat Robertson (1987) or, God help us, George W. Bush (1999). 

Just to put things in perspective, the victory in the poll for George W, which he said, “jump-started our grass-roots organization for the main event, the Iowa caucuses,” was achieved by purchasing—literally, purchasing—the votes of 7,418 zealots.  Those are the folks we first have to thank for the costly disaster in Iraq and the costly disaster in our economy. 

The folks we have to thank last for those costly disasters are, of course, the Republicans on our laughingly impartial Supreme Court, who put W in office.


The state of Alaska is ready to release thousands of emails emanating from the fingertips of Sarah Palin during what the AP reports as “her first two years as governor.”  First two years?  That must be sort of an inside joke among those AP types.  Always kidding around like that.

In any case, I’m just guessing here, but I bet that we will find, upon release of the 24,000 pages of emails, that Sarah Palin is really an accomplished policy wonk. 

I’m betting that those emails will be filled with much technical analysis of the economic trends in Alaska, the United States, and the world.  I’m betting there will be back-and-forth on such macroeconomic issues as inflation/unemployment in terms of expectations-augmented Phillips curve equations, or how price and wage spirals relate to inflationary expectations. 

Stuff like that.

What? You don’t think so?  Have some faith. After all, she was the Republican VP nominee last time.  Jeeze.   


Finally, speaking of brilliant conservatives, there’s this report:

A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.

Get that? I guess I’m gonna have to stop sending this to my conservative Tennessee friends:

Freedom Works’ Crib Notes

While the national media foolishly and sadly follow Sarah Palin around the country, serious Tea Party people—Palin is not seriously thinking about running for president—are focusing on the battle ahead.

Dick Armey, former House Majority Leader and now Pooh-Bah of Freedom Works, has graciously supplied freshman House Republicans with a few simple points to make about the party’s plan to hold the debt ceiling hostage in exchange for some ideological candy and about the party’s plot to murder Medicare in its sleep.

Debt Ceiling:Key point: the world does not end if the debt ceiling is not raised. Treasury Secretary Geitner [sic] is not likely to default on our loans. Spending cuts will become a priority before default.”

Translation: We don’t have to worry about any fallout from our irresponsible behavior.  Geithner will either have to do our bidding or we will blame him for any trouble!  It’s that simple fellow Republicans!

Medicare Caper:Get out there and talk to people. Hold town halls at senior centers and other areas where the population is especially concerned about their benefits being cut. Take the lessons of ’94 and ’95 and get out there and explain to people that their immediate benefits will not be affected.”

Translation: Go tell the old folks who love their Medicare, and who vote in droves, that they have nothing to fear.  We’re not going to murder their Medicare, only their children’s and grandchildren’s Medicare. What old-timer wouldn’t buy into that plan?  No harm, no foul. The geezers get to keep (most) of their current bennies, while the younger folks will both pay for those bennies and cough up more scrilla for cost increases in their own health care coverage resulting from our stingy “new” plan.  Let’s hope the voters don’t figure out the unfairness of that part of our electoral scheme.

The Myth Of Doing Nothing: “We need to dispel the myth that if we leave Medicare alone it will stay the same. It won’t…Democrats do not have a plan of their own. Hold up a blank piece of paper as a powerful image of their do-nothing approach. Stick to your message.”

Translation: As long as Democrats are just trying to keep us from killing Medicare, we can win the message battle by simply saying our plan to kill it is the only one out there.

Barack the “Scary Negro” Should Listen To Bluegrass Instead Of Rap

They’re at it again.

As the fish gobble up the last of Osama bin Laden, and as President Obama enjoys a polling holiday with the public, the Right has returned to an old theme: Barack Obama is a Scary Negro.

Let me start with the family values/serial adulterer Newt Gingrich’s appearance on Fox’s Reich Ministry of Propaganda Hour Sean Hannity Show.  (By the way, if you are one of those who mistakenly think Newt Gingrich is an “ideas man,” then you should read the transcript from Hannity’s show and get yourself right.)

During the “interview,” Hannity ask Gingrich about Obama being “difficult to beat” in the upcoming election:

GINGRICH: He will be. Because first of all, he is going to say whatever he needs to win…they are going to try to raise a billion dollars for a very practical reason. He can’t afford to run in a fair election… If he was on an equal playing field, he would lose.

HANNITY: Just — you are saying on his record?

GINGRICH: Yes. On his record, on his values, on his beliefs…

You see, President Obama has different values, different beliefs. He’s the Scary Negro. That was the theme conservatives tried to push in the 2008 election.  In fact, Hannity mentioned “President Obama’s background and associations” during his talk with Gingrich and to this day Sean Hannity’s radio show still features audio of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. 

Which leads us to the so-called controversy over an appearance at a White House poetry celebration by Grammy-winning rapper, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., who calls himself Common.  

Conservatives in the media—particularly Hannity and Glenn Beck—have accused the hip-hop artist—who apparently attended Reverend Wright’s church—of essentially endorsing cop-killing and the assassination of President Bush, using as evidence some controversial words he has written for his music and performances.

You know the gittin’ is good when Sarah Palin chimes in. She told the refurbished host, Greta Van Susteren:

The judgment is just so lacking of class and decency and all that’s good about America with an invite like this. They’re just inviting someone like me or someone else to ask, ‘C’mon Barack Obama who are you palling around with now?’

But the news that Common is some kind of angry gangsta rapper is news to most people.  Here’s the way a commenter on RapRadar, a hip-hop site, put it:

RN (Real Nigga) says:

Common may be the squeakiest cleanest rapper in the game ever. This is some bullshit. 

 Here’s  how NPR described the largely unknown artist in 2007:

He shuns popular trends in hip hop and focuses on some of the art form’s core principles: storytelling and presenting music with a message. is part of a tradition of so-called “conscious artists” like Dead Prez, The Coup and Mos Def who try to bring social and cultural messages back to the airwaves.

An interviewer said this to Common last October:

…your music is very positive. And you’re known as the conscious rapper. How important is that to you, and how important do you think that is to our kids?

The interviewer who asked the telling question above was not some crazed lefty working for a radical news outlet.  It was Jason Robinson, a reporter for none other than  Of course, that was then, but now is the time to ramp up the Obama-Is-A-Dangerous-Negro meme:


JUST FOR FUN: As for me, I’m not one who appreciates the aesthetics of hip-hop music, although I can appreciate the fact that other folks do. I do know that a lot of conservatives love country music, with its cheatin’ and drinkin’ and fightin’ songs. Go figure.

And I know a lot of people, including myself, who appreciate a sub-genre of country music, bluegrass.  Some bluegrass songs feature the strangest—and most murder-drenched—lyrics imaginable.

One of my all-time favorites is the Ralph Stanley version of “Pretty Polly,” based on the old folk song about a young lady who is enticed into romance with a man who impregnates her and eventually murders her. Yep. He knocks her up and knocks her off all in one good ol’ timey, four-and-a-half-minute American tune.

That makes Ralph Stanley, and those who like this kind of bluegrass music, murderous thugs, I suppose.  Oh, wait. Can’t be. They tend to be white. Nevermind.

Here is the best version, featuring the greatest living voice in country music, Kentucky’s Patty Loveless:

Remarks And Asides

Newt Gingrich, the thrice-married, buffet-crashing, family-values, ethics slob, is about to announce his candidacy for the presidency.  In related news, Fox “News” Channel announced last week that it was terminating its contract with Gingrich, which allows Fox to now feature Gingrich on its various television shows for free.  Rupert Murdoch is one smart cat.


Speaking of potential GOP candidates for president who will never be president, Rick Santorum appeared last Friday at a GOP convention in South Carolina, a state still unaware that the Civil War is over, but very much aware that a Negro is president. 

Jon Ward, at HuffPo, wrote:

At this weekend’s South Carolina GOP convention, Republican lawmakers warned that a second term for President Obama would kill America’s independent spirit and guarantee a permanent big government welfare state.

Ward also reported that the word “socialism” was tossed around a lot and that Santorum,

even raised the specter of Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy in a speech here Friday night while explaining why his grandfather emigrated to the U.S. His uncle, he said, “used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good little fascist.”

There is no word from the birther-Right whether the fact that Santorum’s father was born in Italy, or whether Santorum may qualify for dual citizenship, disqualifies him from serving as our president.  Not to mention that Santorum may have some fascist blood in his veins. 

Oh, never mind. The fascist blood wouldn’t matter all that much to some of his supporters.


Gallup reports on a new poll that tells us two things most of us already knew:

Romney’s GOP Supporters Tilt Upscale; Palin’s, Downscale

Only 9% of Republicans who earn less than $24,000 support Romney, compared to 21% of Republicans who support him and earn more than $90,000. Romney also attracted more college graduates (21%) than non-grads (13%), which means the smart money is on Romney.


Most of us savvy political junkies know that Republicans love the idea of “local control.”  I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Nobody knows what’s best for the folks than those at the local level.”  Except that the notion is false.  Republicans are all about control at every level.

From an AP article last week:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that prohibits local governments from passing ordinances guaranteeing workers’ paid sick and family leave.

The Republican governor says it’s all about jobs: If you cut workers’ benefits, employers will flood the state.

God, I love Republicans.


Finally, I have often suggested that the popular Fox “News” morning show, “Fox and Friends”—which has been the number one show (1.3 million viewers) for more than eight years—will cause one’s IQ to atrophy, if one tunes in too often. 

Here’s video evidence just from this morning, courtesy of Media Matters, which features the busty and leggy Gretchen Carlson offering up the opinion that “one of those dudes who was waterboarded” could make the case for collecting the reward on bin Laden’s now-skeletal head:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

He’s Proud To Be An Okie From Manhattan

I don’t think I’ve ever quoted Ed Shultz on this blog, and some of you aren’t going to completely understand today’s offering, but here it goes:

Last night Shultz said something about the birther issue that may strike some folks as odd:

The President of the United States has had to put up with this honky-tonk conversation in the media for too long.

What a brilliant description of the goings-on regarding, among other things, the racist-infected doubts about President Obama’s birthplace, his college experiences, and essentially his love for his country.

“Honky-tonk” can be defined simply as, “a cheap, noisy bar or dance hall,” but in my (considerable) experience, there is a certain ethos that prevails in the kinds of bars I have known as honky-tonks. In terms of the politics of the patrons, they were, and remain, very conservative institutions.

Let me put it this way:  Honky-tonks aren’t the kind of places in which one would expect to find Barack Hussein Obama bellied-up to the bar.

While part of the etymology of the term honky-tonk is a little cloudy—”tonk” may refer to the brand name, Ernest A. Tonk, on the upright piano used in the old Tin Pan Alley bars—here is how Wikipedia describes the “honky” portion of the term:

The term honky was, as a term for whites, derived from bohunk and hunky. In the early 1900s, these were derogatory terms for Bohemian, Hungarian, and Polish immigrants. According to Robert Hendrickson, author of the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, black workers in Chicago meatpacking plants picked up the term from white workers and began applying it indiscriminately to all whites. “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy wrote of “Negroes and hunkies” in his autobiography.

Wikipedia further notes that, “honky tonk eventually became associated mainly with lower-class bars catering to men.”  The piano was replaced, for the honky-tonks I frequented, by a juke box, a juke box mostly loaded with country music. 

And the politics was, well, you can imagine.  Mostly uninformed, bigoted noise, spouted by people who don’t know what they don’t know, many of them I could politely call reactionaries, but because I’m still aggressively saddened about the events yesterday, I will call them classic rednecks.

Okay, so you get what Ed Schultz was trying to say. Which led me to thinking about Donald Trump, who I have called an Ugly American. I think a better description of him would be a Manhattan redneck.

Yes, a redneck from Manhattan.  They exist. And Donald Trump is their hero.  In fact, he’s a hero of rednecks everywhere.

I like this definition of the term redneck from the Urban Dictionary:

A glorious absence of sophistication (Part time or full time)

For the record, Donald Trump is “full-time.”

In his press conference yesterday, Donald Trump said,

I am so proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish.

It’s as if Trump was in a honky-tonk in 1964 Meridian, Mississippi, bragging to his buddies, “I showed that uppity negro. That’ll teach him to wink at a white woman.

And there on the bar stool next to Trump was his honky-tonk angel, Sarah Palin, egging him on:

Media, admit it, Trump forced the issue.

Which reminds me of an old Conway Twitty honky-tonk song, sort of Donald Trump’s plea to the world:

So tell me if you think it’s over,

And I’ll leave it up to you how it ends. 

‘Cause if you don’t want the love I can give you, 

Well, there’s a honky-tonk angel who’ll take me back in.

Makes me want to pop the top on another can.

The Gullible Americans

As I write this, here is the Number One book on

In case you don’t know anything about the book, here is the description from Amazon:

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton’s own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

Get it? “Told by the father,” with, by the way, lots of help from Lynn Vincent, a Republican writer who “helped” Sarah Palin write her own wild tale, Going Rogue.

The reason I mention the book is because of an article I read on The Washington Post, ‘Heaven is for real’ and the immature American mind,” by Susan Jacoby, in which the author explored what it might mean that a book like this is at the top of Amazon sales (113 days in the top 100):

This book, and its commercial success, remind us again of the effectiveness of religious indoctrination early in life…

What is truly disturbing about this book’s huge commercial success is that it attests to the prevalence of unreason among vast numbers of Americans. (The book is way down in the ranks on in the United Kingdom.) The Americans buying the book are the same people fighting the teaching of evolution in public schools. They are probably the same people who think they can reduce the government deficit without either paying higher taxes or cutting the military budget, Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Jacoby was right about the ranking in the U.K.  I checked and it wasn’t even in the top 100.  In fact, it was on the “Religion & Spirituality” bestseller list, for God’s sake.

Just what does that say?  I’m not sure, but I would guess that a significant number of the more than 1.5 million sold copies ended up in the hands of Christian folks who believe other charmingly useful fantasies, like President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim who hates America.

Remarks And Asides

Dear God,

Please talk Donald Trump into running for president. I take back everything I’ve ever said about Your Party, about Michele Bachmann, about Sarah Palin, even about Anson Burlingame.  Just please let him run and let the GOP pick him as its nominee.  Pretty please?




Everybody’s making a big deal out of Newt Gingrich’s egregious flip-flop on what to do in Libya. First he can’t wait to go in, then when Obama goes in, he says he shouldn’t have gone in.  If a man can’t make up his mind about which woman with whom he wants to live happily ever after, why should anyone think he can make up his mind about which dictator we should bomb?


A new Pew poll shows that “nearly half (47%) of registered voters say they would like to see Barack Obama reelected, while 37% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win the 2012 election.”  The overview of the Pew survey, though, says,

In part, Obama is benefitting from the fact that the GOP has yet to coalesce behind a candidate.

All the more reason, God, to get Donald Trump to run.  Please?


Speaking of Republican candidates for president, Herman Cain, famous for broiling Whoppers for Burger King (actually, he’s somewhat famous for running Godfather’s Pizza), attended a rally of home-schoolers yesterday in Des Moines. 

Along with other candidates present, he, of course, trashed the public school system, obligatory behavior for anyone wanting to be the GOP nominee.  But Cain, an African-American Tea Party favorite from the South, said something I found interesting. He reportedly denounced all government involvement in education and then said this:

That’s all we want is for government to get out of the way so we can educate ourselves and our children the old-fashioned way.

The “old-fashioned way“?  Hmm.  Was he talking about the real old-fashioned way, back when there were no schools, no books, and no teachers?  That far back?

Or was the 65-year-old Herman Cain, who admits to a working-class pedigree, talking about the old-fashioned days in the 1950s when he would have spent his formative years in Georgia public schools?  

The old-fashioned way in those days in the South was to segregate-then-educate kids like Herman Cain, and despite the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, some parts of Georgia did not even begin to integrate the schools until 1970.

According to Professor Michael Gagnon,

In defiance of Brown v. Board of Education, The Georgia School Board required public school teachers to sign a pledge that they would not teach in integrated schools in 1955 or they would lose their teaching license.

Is that the old-fashioned way the GOP candidate for president pines for?


Finally, James O’Keefe, the scoundrel whose creative video edits have killed ACORN and wounded NPR, while simultaneously giving Sean Hannity a Viagra-like boner, is in debt.  In fact, he claims he’s in debt up to $50,000.  Fifty G’s.  He has sent out a fund-raising email to supporters, saying he had to finance much of his wonderful work on the credit card:

We made a lot of sacrifices—personally and financially —because we fight for what we believe in.

It’s not clear to me how he can both claim he has sacrificed financially and yet beg others to pay his bills, but in any case, I am setting up the James O’Keefe Relief Fund here at The Erstwhile Conservative.  Just send in your donations and I will be sure he gets the money. No amount is too small.

Trust me at least as much as you trust him.

Remarks and Asides

Jason Linkins of HuffPo, previously a semi-supporter of Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, has changed his mind. Here’s why:

Snyder’s just lost me completely with his apparent desire to enact a law that would impose “financial martial law” upon struggling communities in the form of “financial managers” that would have the power to abrogate contracts at will and supercede the democratic process. There’s been a lot of recent media attention focused on a similar disregard for the public will in Wisconsin, but what’s happening in Michigan really makes Scott Walker look like an amateur.

Linkins quotes the Michigan Messenger:

According to the law, which has already been approved in the House, the governor will be able to declare “financial emergency” in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services.

Under the law whole cities or school districts could be eliminated without any public participation or oversight, and amendments designed to provide minimal safeguards and public involvement were voted down.

Czars, anyone?


Politico is reporting on the “conservative backlash” against Sarah Palin, including one Weekly Standard writer calling her an Alaskan Al Sharpton.  Wow.  That has to hurt the pale-faced Palinistas out there.


Speaking of Palinistas, I saw George Will, who admitted his wife “occasionally advises” the Lady Gaga of the Tea Party movement, Michele Bachmann, dismiss her presidential candidacy as not serious:

We know who settles presidential elections, they’re independent voters. Independent voters are not inflamed, and not inflamed in the way that some of the marginal Republican candidates are.

Oh, George!  “Inflamed”?  That is a perfect description of the Tea Party, whose “energies” you welcomed last year into your party:

But eight months ago, the worry was the worst case analysis for Republicans was that the Tea Party energies would be diverted in a third party candidacy splitting the conservative vote in this country. Sarah Palin, think of her what you will, has brought them into the Republican Party, and they are one of the main reasons for what is going to be probably decisive in November and that is the enormous enthusiasm and intensity gap that favors the Republicans this year.

You see? The unelectable teapartier Bachmann is “inflamed,” but teapartiers in general are endowed with “enormous enthusiasm and intensity.”

Only conservative intellectuals can weave these kinds of contradictions into a seamless defense of the indefensible.


Democrats have been damning Mitt Romney with praise lately. They have been reminding voters that Romney’s 2006 health care law in Massachusetts was sort of the model for the much-hated “Obamacare.”

Some worry it will backfire, should Romney win the GOP nomination next year and Democrats are left trying to convince independents that Romney is really, truly a scary sort of guy.

Well, I wouldn’t worry.  By the time Romney makes himself fit to win the nomination, he will be a really, truly scary sort of guy.

A Conservative Intellectual Punts On MSNBC

The Republican “News” Channel’s Bill Kristol made a rare appearance on MSNBC this morning on Morning Joe.  He was promoting a collection of essays written by his father, Irving, the New York intellectual who is credited with fathering neoconservatism.

Kristol was asked, of course, about his recent editorial, which criticized Glenn Beck for his “rants about the caliphate.” Kristol didn’t exactly take the bait and go after Beck:

I’m not gonna get in a debate with Glenn Beck here on MSNBC.  I’ll debate him on Fox where we’re  “fair and balanced,” where we have these debates among ourselves.

Ha.  Don’t put too much money on that debate materializing.

But Kristol did make some slight news regarding Sarah Palin, for whom he lobbied hard to make her not only the GOP vice presidential candidate in 2008, but, God help us, the Vice President of the United States.  Willie Geist asked Kristol if he overestimated Palin and if she was still “fit to be a national Republican leader“:

KRISTOL: Well, I think she’s still “fit” to be a national Republican leader. One thing I’ve never liked is a bunch of people like me telling everyone who’s fit to do what. If she wants to run she’s more that entitled to run. She’s earned the right, I think, to put herself before the voters…I have quite a lot of confidence in Republican voters to take a look at these ten or twelve or fifteen people who will be on the stage in debate after debate…and I think we’ll learn a lot as we go through that…I have a high regard for Sarah Palin, but I will say I’ve been a little disappointed since she resigned as governor.  I thought she had a real chance to take the lead on a few policy issues, to do a little more in terms of framing the policy agenda.  I don’t think she’s particularly done that, but she’s a shrewd woman and I certainly wouldn’t underestimate her.

GEIST: Has she lived up to the potential you saw in her in Alaska?

KRISTOL:  Maybe not quite.  But she’s young and she could do it in this campaign or she could do it four or eight years from now.

That, my friends, is the way it is on the intellectual Right these days.

Given a chance to thoroughly discredit Glenn Beck, who is clearly a citizen of a very strange and dark land, Bill Kristol punted. 

Given a chance to say what nearly all right-wing brains will admit after several glasses of Boehner-approved Merlot—that Palin is in over her head and will never become President of the United States—Kristol says he is “a little disappointed,” but she is a “shrewd woman,” who could still live up to her potential.

And so, the intellectual decline of conservatism continues.

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