5/24/2005

A showdown on filibusters was narrowly averted yesterday, in what amounts to a promise from wussy Democrats not to filibuster in return for the right to do so, which (to be redundant) they promised not to. That's power politics at its finest. How did this happen? Whatever the doctrinal problems amongst Republicans, they've proven they can play hard-ball. The hand-wringing Dems, on the other hand, have done little more than whine about how they thought everybody'd agreed it was softball we were playing all along. "It's not fair! It's not fair!" Well, to quote my mama: "Life ain't fair."

I have to give it to ol' Howard Dean. He'll speak his mind. Which is more than you can say for anyone else in his lame-ass party. It's becoming abundantly clear that the real problem is NOT the GOP. It's the lack of spine in the opposition. The Democrats need a good old-fashioned purge. Get some fire in the party. Massachusetts libs should start by purging John Kerry, who's inconceivably considering another run for President in '08. He is the living embodiment of all that's wrong with his party. That they chose him in '04 shows just how deep the rot is. Get rid of him.

Just because the nutjobs on the right are so spectacularly scary, doesn't mean that the lame-asses on the left aren't almost as bad. Whining and waiting for the right to implode is not a strategy for success. It's not leadership. It's not conviction.

5/18/2005

It’s really no surprise that the administration is up in arms over this Newsweek report about soldiers at Guantanamo Bay desecrating the Koran (a story which if true would not be a bit surprising, considering other clever interrogation methods, including menstruating female soldiers in thongs taunting prisoners). The administration, and the rest of the mainstream press, has been near-apoplectic in its condemnation of Newsweek in this incident. Contrast this with the lack of outrage over Abu Ghraib. Even in the Abu Ghraib scandal, it was not the actions of soldiers that offended senior staffers and commentators on the right, it was the press’s willingness to publish their photos. This is another instance of the “liberal press” engaging in un-American activities, harmful to the war effort. That Newsweek is tripping over itself, for obvious political reasons, to retract the story, is telling of how utterly the mainstream media has become a collective American Pravda, serving at the pleasure of the Party leadership.

The approach here has been a little different than before. Before it was, leave our troops alone, you are hurting their efforts. Now we are hearing how the Newsweek piece (whether true or not) is bad because it has caused rioting and deaths of Muslims in the Muslim world. And lord knows we don't want that.

5/17/2005

Metro ran my Goodridge op-ed this morning, and reading over it in the paper it seemed muddled. There's only so much you can say in 500 words, and there were a lot of connections that were sort of tenuous, implied, like between gay rights and the filibuster debate. The filibuster debate is not about gay rights, of course, but Goodridge was, and it has been used by the right as proof of "judicial activism" on the left, which justifies the "nuclear option" so that they can ensure that their judicial nominees get in there as quickly as possible and start undoing the damage liberals are doing. So, the filibuster debate is about gay rights, but gay rights are about individual rights in general. My point was that these rights aren't radical at all--they should be givens. Reasonable conservatives should have nothing to object to here. This is a moderate agenda. It's the right, that is arguing for the state to arbitrate matters of life and death for individuals that we should worry about. That's the radical agenda right there.

The problem with the piece is that on one hand I'm saying that Democrats are milquetoast moderates, and on the other I'm extolling the gay movement for its moderate goals. I was distracted while writing, and got sloppy. I'm all for moderate. What I am saying is that you have to be able to argue passionately for reason. Slow progress towards social justice just ain't as exciting as the fire and brimstone on the right. What the right has been successful in doing is framing the debate in hysterical, apocalyptic terms. And the Dems are saying, well, if it works for them... It's kind of like in marketing when a campaign works for one fast food joint, the other ones hop on the bandwagon.

My roommate was telling me Kerry is making his way through the South campaigning for '08 (God help us) assuring everybody he's against gay marriage. That's the wrong way. Because gay marriage is not about gay marriage. He has allowed the enemy to define the terms of the debate, and he will lose again and again so long as he does. He should be defending secular democracy. He is treating the question as if we already lived in a theocracy. In secular democratic terms there's no reason to oppose gay unions. It's through the lens of the Mullah's and Jihadists of Colorado Springs that the issue becomes debatable. Unless we can widen the focus and put Goodridge in a bigger picture, connecting it to rights and responsibilities in a secular democracy we will continue to lose the debate. I guess that's what I'm saying.

5/04/2005

Yesterday, more on the vast left-wing conspiracy from the Slime’s newest editorialist, John Tierney. He replaced the noxious William Safire. I can’t really tell where he’s coming from yet. His op-ed pieces so far have been so bland and lifeless. And this latest was no exception. It seemed to have something to do with Laura Bush’s obnoxious stand-up routine at some Washington Press Corps roast where she painted a picture of her husband masturbating a horse to ejaculation. No kidding.

Tierney's point was that if blue staters thought this performance would hurt her or the president’s approval ratings among red staters they were sadly mistaken, because apparently, red staters, while more moral than blue staters, do have sex and don’t appreciate being sneered at by blue staters. I mean, that was basically how the argument went.

He concludes: ‘[Red staters] know what their image is in Manhattan and Hollywood, and they know they're not all that different from the Democrats in those places. They, too, watch "Desperate Housewives," and they're not surprised to hear Laura Bush doing Chippendales jokes. They've spent their own dollar bills there. They don't see anything the matter with that - or with themselves.’

Well, aside from the fact that he’s talking out his ass, that could be the problem.

The whole red/blue divide is an invention of media schmoes like Tierney. It gives them a false sense of their own power to define the cultural moment, but it’s largely a figment of their collective imagination. If there were truth in it (and there is a kernel) it is merely proof of persecution mania on the part of red America. I mean, last week you had David Brooks blowing hard about the condescension of the skinny liberal elites towards their fat, ugly red state brethren. And now we’re sneering at them for telling off-color jokes. I mean, it's pretty much all in their heads.

Actually there is truth that red staters have been encouraged by the press and politicians to feel victimized and persecuted, and to project their deficiencies onto various scapegoats and bugaboos. And their gullibility in this has earned them occasional sneers, but I don’t know what Tierney is talking about as far as Hollywood, since Hollywood glorifies mediocrity in all its myriad forms. As for Manhattan, it is the center of the free market globalizing utopia. But you have to admire people with the sheer tenacity to cling to victim status even when they’re winning. Kind of like the Nazis being victimized by the Jews. It was self-defense, right?