A Specter is Haunting Washington

Arlen SpecterI’m a little concerned about this business of Arlen Specter switching over to the Democratic party.

It’s clear why he’s jumping ship — he’s openly admitted it: the Republicans have moved far enough to the right that he can’t expect their support in a primary campaign, so he’d never make it to the general election (which he’d have a decent shot of winning) if he sought the Republican nomination.

And Obama and the Democrats are agreeing to this (and most likely telling him they’ll support him over any other Democratic candidates) because it means that he’ll be a little more cooperative with them over the next year, leading up to the election. They figure a Specter in the hand is worth two potential real progressives in the bush. (How’s that for a shredded maxim?)

Personally, I have my doubts about whether it’s worth it. Sure, if Specter was going to try to get his old party’s nomination, he’d have to take a giant step to the right, and that would mean the Democrats would get just about no cooperation from him over the next year, “independent record” or not. I think he knows that that wouldn’t be enough to convince the party base to keep him. He could pull a Lieberman and declare himself an independent. He may have been one of the three most moderate Republicans in the Senate, but that was still pretty far to the right of your average Democrat. Is this deal going to change any of his votes in the next year?

It seems to me he’s getting a lot more out of this deal than the rest of us are.

And there’s more to it than that. Let’s not forget that this is about Pennsyltucky, a place I’m personally not so quick to trust. Think about some of the people who currently represent the state:

Congressman Joe Sleestak, 7th District — that’s him with his son, Joe Jr.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, 2nd District

If you don’t see what I’m getting at, maybe this will help:

That’s right — I think Pennsyltucky may be the Land of the Lost. And if that’s the case, it’s unwise to make deals with any politicians from there. When he goes home on a routine campaign expedition, what are the odds that he’ll be eaten by a dinosaur? Hell, the whole state could be swept off to some distant time and place at any moment. What’s the DCCC supposed to do if that happens?

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Those Changing Mavericks of Maverick Change

maverickMcCain and Palin, “the original mavericks,” as they’re described in the video below, (I know McCain is ancient, but Palin’s younger than I am. How is she one of the “original” mavericks?) have now announced that “change is coming.” That’s right — they’re not just mavericks. They’re mavericks of change. You betcha.

I was watching MSNBC today, and they had a couple of those dueling pundits (or as Palin calls them, “pundints”) segments. The big stumper question they hit the democrats with, after pointing out how McCain and Palin had ostensibly taken that tough as nails maverick stance and bucked the established powers that be in their party, was “What examples can you give us of Obama and Biden openly disagreeing with the rest of the Democratic party?”

What bullshit.

First of all, how many of the examples of McCain or Palin being “mavericks” — really standing up to their party — are true? Of those positions, how many do they still hold? Standing up to your party and then changing your mind and agreeing with the bosses doesn’t count as maverick in my book.

Mavericks, my ass.

And they don’t really talk about what they’re going to change. They just say “change is coming.”

Considering the fact that Republicans have been in power for almost eight years now, and that for all but about a year and a half that power was absolute, “change” is represented by the other party. Who says you have to be a maverick Democrat to represent change?

So when someone points out that McCain has voted with Bush 90% of the time, and the counter argument to that is that Obama voted with the rest of the Democratic party about 90% of the time, the proper response should be that that represents voting against Bush well over half of the time.

And that represents change, whether Obama chooses to strap on a six-shooter, hop on his horse and call himself a “maverick” or not.

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Country First

McCain and Palin
Thanks, agents of intolerance! If I’d been allowed to choose for myself, we all know I’d have reached across the aisle and picked some pro-choice heathen.

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Buzz Words

NosferatuI remember a day more than twenty years ago, back when I was a teaching assistant in a course on European cinema at a huge state university deep in the land of white bread and mayonnaise. The professor was lecturing on FW Murnau’s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens.

I’m just paraphrasing here, but this is basically what he said:

Don’t think of the vampire as a literal monster who can turn into a bat and who sucks blood from his victims. Instead, think of the foreigner, the other, the stranger, the alien, the carrier of unfamiliar diseases and strange customs… the Jew.

I watched him make this statement, and saw that he was making an effort to look out over the entire lecture hall, but that as hard as he tried, by the time he got to the end of it, his eyes were focused right… on… me. All I could do was smile right back at him, and that was enough to jar him into averting his gaze.

I was reminded of that incident while watching the Republican convention last night. The major speakers didn’t bother with even a sliver of subtlety. They polished up their old culture war buzz words and held them up like they were eternal truths.

Mitt Romney jumped all over the “eastern elites,” and proclaimed that the sun was getting ready to rise in the west. He left out the fact that he holds two post-graduate degrees from Harvard University, that he’s a leader of the eastern financial elite, that he has homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in addition to Utah (and maybe a few places I’m not aware of), that he claimed in 1982 to be a moderate who hadn’t supported Reagan-Bush, and that his own father was born in Mexico because his family had lived there in exile for a few generations due to the fact that a major tenet of their religious beliefs was deemed alien, immoral, and illegal in the US.

Mike Huckabee warned us of “European ideas,” leaving out the fact that this nation was founded by idealists who hoped to build a nation based on the ideas of a couple of European philosophers.

And Rudy Giuliani, life-long New Yorker, adulterer and three-time groom, multi-millionaire orator and security consultant to folks like Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, a supporter of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, further warned us that those bi-coastal elites — Hollywood and the East coast media — just don’t understand the real America.

And every time they mentioned the media, Europe, or Hollywood, I’d look in their faces and see that professor (who grew up in Los Angeles, by the way) who just couldn’t keep his eyes off the one Jew in the room when he talked about the Other.

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King of the Libertarians

I have to admit, this is pretty confusing.

It made perfect sense to me when he was a Republican. I mean, if you’re a member of the species that serves as the party’s mascot, it all falls right into place. You certainly don’t see any donkeys running on the GOP ticket.

But to see him running for president as a Libertarian? That doesn’t seem right. First of all, he’s a king. Would a sitting monarch join the Libertarian party? Do the rest of the Libs just go into laissez-faire mode and tell themselves he can be king as long as it doesn’t affect them in any way? Kings tend to live off moneys collected from their subjects as taxes. That is not what I’d consider a Libertarian ideal. What if he’s elected, and he decides some day he wants to invade the land of the giraffes and water buffalo? How is he supposed to raise an army?

Besides that, as a Republican, he was a member of the House. That’s fine. But how can he run for president? Isn’t he French, or Belgian, or some such thing?

Bob Barr as Babar

Pretty confusing.

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Time to Hang It Up

Mitt Romney and oven mitts

Gotta keep the kitchen nice and tidy…

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The Church Ladies

Guess where everyone’s favorite lying sack of shit was Sunday morning. While you’re at it, guess who was there with him. Yes, it’s true. Rudy, who considered the priesthood in his youth but apparently gave it up because he couldn’t stop thinking about super hot chicks (a problem we can only hope his third marriage will finally relieve), was at a church in Miami with Katherine Harris: the Hispanic evangelical El Rey Jesus church, to be precise.

I don’t know how often Rudy normally attends services, but the Daily News pretty clearly implies that he’s not a regular churchgoer these days.

For the mayor – who as a young man considered the priesthood – it marked the sudden discovery of God on the campaign trail, with a speech that was part sermon and part political pitch.

In other words, he’s pandering! Not only that, but Mr. English Only was pandering at a bilingual church. It’s almost as good as Romney speaking out against layoffs.

Rudy Giuliani and Katherine Harris at a church

Rumor has it that later this week he’s going to get a handgun and stand outside a Planned Parenthood clinic threatening anyone who’s walking in. Then he’s going to get those two gay men he used to live with and lock them up with one of those ex-gay counselors until they’re just begging for Rudy’s sloppy seconds.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars

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Concord Monitor: Anyone But Mitt

Mitt Romney‘Tis the season, as the saying goes, for newspapers, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire, to publish their endorsements in the current political races. This time around, the Des Moines Register endorsed McCain and Clinton, and the Boston Globe (which is pretty widely read up in New Hampshire) went for McCain and Obama.

In New Hampshire itself, it appears that just about every newspaper leans to the right, so they generally only give their endorsement on the Republican side. The Union Leader of Manchester declared McCain “the man to lead America.” The Concord Monitor chose to do something I’ve never seen before: rather than endorsing a candidate, they asked their readers not to vote for one of them. And that one is the former governor of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, Willard Mitt Romney.

Romney’s been leading all the polls in New Hampshire since he announced his candidacy, and that was no surprise, given that a lot of people in NH commute down to Boston for their work. A generally conservative state like New Hampshire is bound to have an affinity for a Massachusetts Republican — especially one as pretty as Romney. But a poll in the Globe from a few days ago shows McCain closing the gap, coming within three percentage points of Romney. Do we see a trend here, kids?

So this Just Say No to Mitt editorial in the Monitor is just a thing of beauty, as far as I’m concerned. You should definitely click through and read the whole thing, but I’ll give you the first two paragraphs and the last two, just to wet your whistle.

Romney should not be the next president

If you were building a Republican presidential candidate from a kit, imagine what pieces you might use: an athletic build, ramrod posture, Reaganesque hair, a charismatic speaking style and a crisp dark suit. You’d add a beautiful wife and family, a wildly successful business career and just enough executive government experience. You’d pour in some old GOP bromides – spending cuts and lower taxes – plus some new positions for 2008: anti-immigrant rhetoric and a focus on faith.

Add it all up and you get Mitt Romney, a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.


When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we’ll know it.

Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no.

I love it! Of course, it would be nice if they’d run a couple more editorials, one explaining that Giuliani is a lying sack of shit and the other pointing out that Huckabee is… well, he’s Huckabee. We already know Fred Thompson flashed before he even got into the pan, and Tancredo is gone, so what’s that leave us with? Ron Paul, who (sorry, interweb denizens) really doesn’t represent what the GOP has stood for since Reagan, and Duncan Hunter, who is such a hyper-Reaganite that even Reaganites find him comical.

I wonder — What if they held a Republican primary, and no one showed up?

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