Saturday, September 06, 2008

Comic Relief III: Triumph the Insult Dog at the RNC

Motherhood as a Source of the Political

Over at Slate, there is a very good article that discusses the transformation of Motherhood under Evangelicalism, especially from the Murphy Brown era to the Sarah Palin days. While once it was inappropriate for a woman in power to become a single mother, right Dan Quayle, it is now authentic for a woman in power to have a pregnant daughter before the daughter is married. The reason for this change is that Motherhood is an important source of Evangelical politics:
Starting in the 1970s, leaders such as Dobson began rewriting the rules of the traditional Christian marriage to make it more palatable in an age of feminism. Domestic work was elevated to a special calling; Christian women were told their child-rearing decisions had national implications, as they were raising a generation of righteous soldiers. Mom took on a political tinge. Home-schooling mothers dragged their large broods to volunteer in campaigns. Like with many Christian moms of her generation, Palin's résumé starts with the PTA.

Conservative women became a powerful tool for the party, and everyone was willing to overlook the cost to their personal lives. If a conservative Christian mother chose to pursue a full-time career in, say, landscape gardening or the law, she was abandoning her family. But if she chose public service, she was furthering the godly cause. No one discussed the sticky domestic details: Did she have a (gasp!) nanny? Did her husband really rule the roost anymore? Who said prayers with the kids every night? As long as she was seen now and again with her children, she could get away with any amount of power.

The article reads as a form of synthesis of ideas: a traditional lifestyle in the realm of politics means that the "elites" do not need to lead by example because they advance the cause of political Evangelicalism. However, even as the "elites" in politics lead to greater visibility for the movement, the loss of authenticity with "Evangelicalism" creates room for "slippage" in the masses as they see that they do not need to follow the rules the elite expound. The article suggests that this contradiction between elites/masses helps to explain why the divorce rate is on the rise with Evangelicals.

If the later is true, splinter groups from the movement may weaken Evangelical power, opening up the door for another political reform in the Martin Luther sense. For better or for worse, the new-age Puritans may form competing factions. However, as long as abortion remains legal and in tact as is, there will always a political devil for Evangelicals to fight against.

Comic Relief II

From the NY Times, (Hat tip Andrew Sullivan):
“The churches that Sarah has attended all believe in a literal translation of the Bible,” Ms. Kincaid said. “Her principal ethical and moral beliefs stem from this.

Prayer, and belief in its power, is another constant theme, Ms. Kincaid said, in what she has witnessed in Ms. Palin. “Her beliefs are firm in the power of prayer — let’s put it that way,” she said....

In the address at the Assembly of God Church here, Ms. Palin’s ease in talking about the intersection of faith and public life was clear. Among other things, she encouraged the group of young church leaders to pray that “God’s will” be done in bringing about the construction of a big pipeline in the state, and suggested her work as governor would be
hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.”

She also told the group that her eldest child, Track, would soon be deployed by the Army to Iraq, and that they should pray “that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”
Oh wait. Faith-based reality is not that funny. And this is the modern day GOP.

Comic Relief

Count this in the category of Stuff Harrogate Likes. It never fails to amuse him. Perhaps because on this day he, too, feels pretty, and witty, and gay.

This moment also classically exemplifies what is meant when academicians speak of The Rhetorical Situation. Perhaps Readers would like to Break it Down in the Comments....

"Move your Ass, dipshit!"

Friday, September 05, 2008

New Blogroll Addition: Balloon Juice

Harrogate announces the newest addition to Our Reading List. A blog he's been visiting for a few weeks now, very good stuff, pithy, gets lots of comments, hopefully ye will all consider visiting.

This was Contributor John Cole's reaction to the convention and to the ticket. He dubs McCain and Palin's post-convention campaign, "The Suspension of Reality Tour." Could it be said any better, except maybe by Board Members here?

A snippet. He quotes this from McCain's speech last night:

The—the constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause. It’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not for you. Again and again—again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again.

Then he joins Solon's call for people to please, please, please notice the grotesquely cynical contradiction of it all:

Is he serious? Did he not watch his own convention? Did he miss the nasty, snide, and condescending presentations from Romney and Giuliani the night before? Did he pay no attention to Lyndsey Graham, just an hour earlier, claiming Obama’s entire campaign is based around a loss in Iraq? Did he miss the untested and unproven running mate of his, Sarah Palin, launch vicious and snide remarks about Obama? Has he not paid attention to the last 3 months of his own campaign? Does he forget repeatedly accusing Obama of choosing to lose awar to win an election?

The blogosphere is on fire right now. Get your work done. But smoke more blog.

Happy Birthday Google

Today, Google turned 10. This morning, while getting his car fixed, Harrogate watched some business show on cable news where pundits talked about how over that time Google stock and shares created multiple millionaires, and not a few billionaires either.

But setting aside the question of shares for a moment. It really is staggering when ye think about it, what a huge cultural force the Google search engine has become in such a short period of time. Doesn't it feel like it has always been with us, that we have always been able to run searches for song lyrics the second we need to know them? Or to find other things, on demand?

Thinking about Google's birthday today, Harrogate dwells a bit on human innovation, and how Harrogate himself often fails to admire the positive side of material ambition as well as the entrepreneurial spirit. Yay to information, even if you have to wade through streams of bilge sometimes, to get it.

The Assy McGee Award®

Sorry Harrogate, this ups your post on Michelle "Internment for Everyone" Malkin.

In an online conversation between David Lat, a former federal prosecutor and Hillary supporter, and Marc Ambinder, a writer and blogger at Atlantic, Lat discusses his transition from Hillary to Palin because, "A Star is born;" "Behind those librarian glasses" she is "playing a role beautifully;" it is time to have a a female president or VP.

Who cares about issues because, with Palin, it is "like being in love -- reason flies out the window! You just have a visceral reaction to someone, and you're off to the races."

For Southpaw, Especially: World of Warcraft Forum Bloggers Debate Palin Sex Scandal

As far as we have gathered from Andrew Sullivan's objective fact-hunting, "Todd Palin's former business partner, Scott Alan Richter, who is now divorced and was reportedly accused of an Affair with Sarah Palin," tried--and failed-- to get an emergency measure for his divorce papers to be sealed. See the Salon story here (hat tip to salon for the Palin image).

Well, if the effort to get the papers sealed has failed, then Harrogate guesses we'll know soon enough whether the Enquirer just nailed its second political hide to the wall in a month.

See the World of Warcraft bloggers doing journalistic work, here

I want one. . .

For Harrogate

Your GOP VP Nominee

Troopergate. It sounds like a bad 1990s or 2000s teen movie, like Starship Troopers or Super Bad.

But seriously. Say if you wanted to vet a candidate on the cheap. If you googled her name before you nominated her, you could find out this information. She certainly fits in with the modern day GOP- let's post the ten commandments everyone even if we do not know them, right Westmoreland?

The Importance of Not Letting Abortion Be a Sleeper Issue

Harrogate is going to write a lot about this issue in the coming weeks. He hopes Media with big audiences will do the same, but if they insist on continuing to shield Independents from thinking about the Abortion Issue, then little bloggers like us must do the work.

So here's something interesting. Yesterday Harrogate and Roof Almighty met a self-described "Right Wing Christian" who considers Abortion to be murder, and a very fruitful conversation about abortion followed. This person said something to Harrogate that very rarely makes it past the shouting or enforced silence, when the subject is broached.

In the most affluent society on the face of the Earth, he told Harrogate. It is offensive that so many women who get pregnant feel that they have no choice but to get an abortion. That it is offensive that in America 2008, world-class health care is not available to such women not only during pregnancy, but in the years before and in the years that follow; that financial assistance is not always and immediately accessible to those who need it.

If the country was really interested in lessening abortions, he argued, it would put its money where its mouth is.

He followed up this argument by insisting that the thing he hated most about his own Republican Party, on the issue of Abortion, was its implicit and explicit opposition to contraceptives (Witness Sarah Palin). One does not have to give up on Appealing to Abstinence as a Value, simply by acknowledging that Abstinence Education doesn't cast a wide enough net.

This man candily told Harrogate he doesn't yet know who he will vote for, but he is pretty pissed at the Palin selection, and he is tired of his demographic being used by the Wall Street Republicans (his words).

Everything he said was great, and how shameful that the points he raised almost never make it into the Big Media discourse. Because the Abortion Issue is controlling our politics to an extent that we are unwilling to admit. We all know that not every abortion comes down to economics or to a lack of sex education, but isn't it reasonable to say that many abortions are tethered to these problems, and isn't that something we can all agree is sad?

Well, say what you want about him, and Lord knows Harrogate has said his share (and will continue to do so), Obama knows it is sad. Obama made the same damned argument on his Thursday night acceptance speech before some 38 million viewers, even though McCain (did you know he was a POW) snuffed it all out with the Palin pick. And that is why when you look at the options presented to you, Harrogate argues that if you care about lessening abortion rates, Obama is the right choice for President.

"let me explain to them what the job involves": Making War and Banning Books

John McCain closed out his speech last night with rousing, Henry V-style calls for America to "Stand up" and to "Fight," words he used over and over again. The convention-goers went nuts. After all the ballons were dropped, at the top of the ticket what we were left with was, Fight, Fight, Fight; Did you know John McCain was a POW? He wasn't scared to fight! Now its our turn to Fight! Always Fight!

Speaking of fighting, in presenting us with Sarah Palin, a red-meat throwing politico who makes George W. Bush seem intellectually curious, John McCain started a big ole fight against our republican institutions as well.

Wednesday night both Rudy (noun, verb, 9/11) Giuliani and Palin made much of her mayoral record as part of her "executive experience." And then Palin, playing the victim, offered to "explain to them what the job" of Mayor involves. But she said nothing about her time as Mayor, opting instead for trashy, snarling, sarcastic derogations of Obama.

But, Harrogate will help Palin out. Her on-record urge to ban books as Mayor will nicely complement McCain's urge to stoke nationalistic fervor and start wars. What a team the McCain Administration promises to be, if we are ignorant enough as a people, to let them in the door.

Palin the book banner link. It also shows how she made abortion a central issue in a small-town MAYORAL race.

This bitch is a nutjob, people. The GOP's kind of nutjob.

But anyway, here's the book-banning blurb. Too bad this isn't a huge story already:

as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them.

A good time to summon up some of this feeling right here, the opening seconds of this clip from the third greatest sports movie ever made:

"Ray, I just halted the spread of neo-fascism in America."

Gloria Steinem: "Wrong woman, wrong message"

In an LA Times editorial, Gloria Steinem succinctly explains why Sarah Palin is the wrong person for the job.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

Personally, I don't get the whole "I'm gonna vote for someone else to protest the fact that my candidate got nominated" argument. Frankly, I don't even get the whole "I'm not gonna vote at all because there are no candidates I'm interested in" argument. Both seem like a cop-out on the part of the voter. Voting for McCain (and let's be real here; few people vote for a VP candidate--although Palin is being touted as a real reason to vote for McCain for some odd reason) to protest that Clinton didn't get the nomination is not stupid; it is asinine. And, as I think Harrogate would argue, is tantamount to agreeing to kill more people in the Middle East and God knows where else many Republicans would like to start wars in the name of protecting our freedoms.

What Steinem does so eloquently is remind us that we're not electing Palin. McCain is the one who needs to be held responsible for this poor choice, for treating the American public--and American women in particular--like we're stupid, and for putting our country at risk. As she points out, if he wanted to put a woman on the ticket, he had lots of other options--elected officials with real experience, who wouldn't make the rest of us cringe, and, despite their status as Republicans, actually work for the cause of gender equality. Instead he chose a woman who mirrors every single one of his policies.

If identity politics is all that matters to us, then I suggest we look past what the candidates look like and listen to how the present themselves and what they say. Both Barack Obama and Joe Biden argue that women can't be equal outside the home until men do an equal amount of work inside it. That seems like a message most women would want to pay attention to.

Contradiction of the Past Two Days

On Wednesday, Sarah Palin delivers a partisan address to rev up the base. Last night, McCain attacked partisanship, saying that occurred because of self-interest.

Do they think that the American people are so stupid that they cannot remember receiving conflicting messages within a 24 time frame? Do they think the American people are so stupid that they do not realize that Palin has always been partisan?

It is as if they wrote McCain's speech for the selection of Joe Lieberman as his VP and never bothered to change it. Damn facts!!!

I remember teaching debate one year and a student attempted to persuade the class to vote for a particular candidate. The problem of course is that the election occurred the day before her speech and her candidate lost, badly. Technically, it was a good speech. However, it possessed no relationship to reality.

The modern day GOP is that student.

Michelle Malkin Explains: They Weren't Denigrating Community Organization, Just Obama

Thanks for clarifying things, Michelle. And while you're certainly worthy of consderation for today's Assy McGee Award®, we must be patient--'tis early, yet.


Because After All, John McCain Was a POW

Normally Harrogate only posts the one song by this band, the same song, every year. But tonight demands a second one by them, for 2008. It is so fitting it hurts.

"Captive Honour" indeed.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

More TalkLeft Sycophanting, And More Solon Kindredness

Harrogate can't help it. He's just so damned happy to see Jeralyn and TChris swinging for the fences and in peak form. Their synopses are of course not as good as Solon's, but they're pretty awesome nonetheless.

Gems from TChris:

I respect Sen. Obama. We're both Americans. But only one of us was a POW.

I know it's tough to be unemployed. If we didn't have a government, you'd all still have jobs. Sarah Palin will help me do away with government.

Jeralyn is still the Champ, though

Some samples from her Live Blog of the McCain Orgy:

Update: The video. Did you know John McCain was a POW?

Update: No podium. He waves to the crowd. Sure looked like he raised his arm above his chest to me.

And look at this sequence. This is the kind of stuff that explains why we smoke blog in the first place:

Throws Obama a respect bone. What's going on. Did a protester just get in? "Please Don't be diverted by the ground noise and the static? Did they plan that or did he ad lib that?

He mentions Palin and she gets more applause than him. You can't even hear him over the applause. That shows you how desperate the evangelical radical right is to get their hands on the White House.

Update: 10:33 pm. This is one of the worst speeches ever. It's boring and not saying anything.

( Note to readers: Don't forget to leave song suggestions in the comments.)

Clap clap. Keep swinging away. Everybody everywhere, keep swinging away.

Video of the Day II: The Double Standard

Video of the Night

"A copy of a copy of copy."

Random thoughts....

We believe in communities [but not community organizers... The people can't stand up for themselves....]

I can't even comment on this speech. I can't even take it seriously. His arguments are just not even believable. It's better than Romney's (What we need to get rid of is liberal toast and replace it with conservative English Muffins) but this speech is just not realistic.

Drill Baby Drill. Choice in Education but not for Women. Blah, Blah, Blah. I was a POW so elect me president. I don't know anything but I will act with determination and from the gut. That is what this country needs, right?

Why is Obama on Fox

Vanity Fair has a piece on Rupert Murdoch that discusses the truce between Obama and Fox. The portion on Obama is halfway through the article?

Bad move Jackasses...

Let the man speak, even if he won't say anything. It is too easy to redefine the situation.

As War Dog McCain Takes The Stage

Springsteen's Rendition of this Irish Antiwar Folk Song, "Mrs. McGrath," seems the appropriate response.

Or you could just quote Megadeth:

Kill one, you're a murderer;
Kill many, you're a conquerer;
Kill 'em all, you're a God.

Captive Honor aint no honor.

Preview of McCain's Speech....

There is a bear in the woods...Wait, wrong script.

Tonight will be one long non-sequitur:
The 2008 election is the most important in our lifetime because of the dangers in the world. I was a POW. Vote for me. Also, I believe in tax cuts, well now I do. And to social conservatives; see my VP. Reform, reform, reform.

Just don't ask me about the issues such as the economy, the nuances in the war on terror, abortion, and a host of other issues I know nothing about. Just focus on my character because character, not knowledge or judgment is the most important characteristic in this election. See character is part of characteristic.

George Who?

Tell me if I am wrong, the NFL began tonight. The game between the Giants and Washington Ethnic Slurs will be as intellectually stimulating. Oooooooh Commercials.

Thursday Caption Contest!!!

(Thanks to Ted Casablanca's The Awful Truth on E! online for this tasty image)

Obama camp responds on "community organizing"

According to Politico, here is the Obama campaign's response. This is a very important contrast as it exemplifies who the elitists are:
Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

And it's no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America's promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it's happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.
This response shows the Conservative dislike of democracy.


The Enquirer's response to McCain's threat to sue over the reporting of Palin's alleged extramarital affair:
The National Enquirer's coverage of a vicious war within Sarah Palin's extended family includes several newsworthy revelations, including the resulting incredible charge of an affair plus details of family strife when the Governor's daughter revealed her pregnancy. Following our John Edwards' exclusives, our political reporting has obviously proven to be more detail-oriented than the McCain campaign's vetting process. Despite the McCain camp's attempts to control press coverage they find unfavorable, The Enquirer will continue to pursue news on both sides of the political spectrum.

The Republicans and Democracy

Today on Morning Joe, Nicole Wallace from the McCain Campaign asked: What is community organizing? Isn't it about getting people together to protest? Of course, the cast of Morning Joe never challenged those statements because they do not discuss democracy, only voting. But I digress...

Yet, Wllace's statements are important for the way in which they represent the Conservative view of democracy. We can explore these questions in many ways yet it seems that the questions Wallace raises involve the breakdown of "order" through "democracy." Isn't community organizing about "protesting," i.e. disrupting order? Isn't it about disrupting community? Isn't Obama just an outsider? All of these questions return us to the struggle for Civil Rights and the Culture Wars of the 1960s.

At the base of her complaints is a vision of democracy that Wallace, and conservatives detest. Any form of community involvement, except for religion, is not to be accepted. "Politics" concerns the virtue of great leaders, which is then transferred down to the people. "The people" themselves do not possess the virtue to act on their own or to engage in "democracy" as they will only cause trouble as they disrupt the proper forms of "authority."

The contrasting visions of democracy, between elite and participatory, is one of the reasons why I supported Obama in the first place. In the Democratic primary, Clinton presented herself as a technocrat in policy- elect me and I will solve your economic problems, etc. In the presidential race, we face the same contrast- elect John McCain because he possesses the virtue to lead, regardless of whether or not he possesses any knowledge on the topic. Even Clinton possessed the sense to demonstrate knowledge on the economy and we knew her to be authentic.

This contrasting visions of democracy is an important contrast. And the hostility of the conservatives toward "democracy" needs to be called out.

For M: A Huge Helping of Fucking Awesome

What country do these people live in?

I'd like us all to take a minute to examine this image taken yesterday at the Republican Convention.

These are the people who are supposedly representative of the entire country. Am I the only one who sees anything incorrect about this image?

Oh, and I found the image in an article entitled "In a diverse U.S., a mostly white RNC."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Jeralyn and Solon Are Kindred Spirits But Don't Know It

See her post-Palin speech thread. A hilarious video followed by very brief, very biting prose. First sentence: "Here's to Gov. Palin and her PTA experience."

A bit later:

For her cheap shot at Miranda rights, my gloves are coming off.


Culture Wars are alive and well....

I will be brief and pay as much attention to her speech as she supplied substantive comments. Oh, I have exceeded my limit.

She is incredibly condescending. All she has is one ad personam after another. And, if you are going to attack you opponent for elitism, it is counterproductive to attack your opponent's activities as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago. When you do this, you appear like... an elitist.

"Character is the measure of the election..." What about the issues?

If you are going to spend ten minutes introducing your family, you cross the line on the public/ private distinction, especially when they exemplify your "virtue."

Your "proud" to be an American? Do you want to discuss families, maybe over drinks?

If you are going to deliver a speech of self-introduction, you should introduce yourself. Tell us what your real beliefs, or any beliefs are. Tell us your views on creationism, sex education, abortion, etc., even if your views are beyond extreme. Make sure those beliefs match your deeds. When you say you didn't support the Bridge to Nowhere and we saw photos that show you did, we don't believe you.

Only sixty days of identity politics left.

A Quick Recap of the Republican Convention:

This is a sad convention. It is a mix of we hate democrats and USA! USA! I think Homer Simpson wrote each speech and the themes of the convention.

Here are the most important topics in case you decided to do something better with your time.


Islamic Terrorism is Bad.

G-D. G-D. G-D. G-D. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Barack Obama is Bad.

Sarah Palin is a saint. (Look at this shiny trinket.) She is the future!

John McCain was a POW.

Drill here, drill now.

John McCain is going to personally defeat all terrorism on the face of the Earth. He will crush it against the Gates of Hell.

Taxes are bad. Prosperity is good.

Country first, (just ask all are CEOs who are speaking tonight).

Because of John McCain's virtuous character, the American people will become better just because John McCain will be president.

Unmentioned tonight:
George W. Bush. Abortion. Same-sex marriage. Any substantive issue.

Well, the speech of the century is about to begin.

For Fun, Watch Mike Murphy & Peggy Noonan Attack Palin on a Microphone They Thought Was Off

GOP Mouthpiece malfunction, indeed.

In the Midst of the TalkLeft Pyrotechnics, A Heroic Comment Emerges

The heroic comment in question appeared in response to "miriam," who huffs in Response to the recent thread about the interview in which Cindy McCain disagrees with her husband and with Sarah Palin on Rape and Incest Victims having access to abortion (although, Cindy of course would lock it down in any other context). But where were we? Oh yeah. In response to that thread, "miriam" huffed:

Then the "Choice" Issue will have to be fought all over again. But this time all the younger women who have genuflected before Obama can fight the battle. God knows they deserve some consequences for dismissing and dissing Hillary Clinton and the concerns of those of us who fought the last battle.

(But now the Tide is Turning on TalkLeft. Jeralyn has been swinging for the fences against McCain all along, and this has only intensified of late. Awesomely, she has been no less pointed in her attacks on Palin. At one point yesterday she reminded a particularly angry commenter that hers is "not a feminist blog," but a blog concerned primarily with criminal justice issues. This was important for some to remember. The world is not a perpetual graduate theory course where everyone is obsessed with race and gender, however so much some would like it to be.

Meanwhile, comment wars continue to rage. Fascinating to check in on, Harrogate definitely recommends it [but don't act like you know him, if you run into him running his mouth, there]).

So that was the brilliant ruminations of "miriam." Good God, it was wondrous to see the following vociferous, eloquent refutation of "miriam," appear courtesy of "IndiDemGirl"

So women who didn't support your candidate deserve to lose power over their own bodies? What about Gitmo -- do people there deserve to be tortured because your candidate didn't win? Do the soldiers in Iraq deserve to stay there longer because your candidate didn't win? Does the entire world deserve the consequence of a McCain/Palin presidency because Hillary didn't win the nomination?

The more of this kind of Talk that makes it out there, the better.

Quote of the Day

Robert Gibbs, the communications pro for the Obama Campaign:
"If executive experience is really important on the Republican side, maybe she should run for president and John McCain should run for vice president.”

Palin/ McCain 08

In Honor of the GOP Convention and the People At the Top of the Ticket, Part Deux

Three Themes that Sum Things Up Pretty Well.


War Dogs:

And, it Being Governor Palin's Historic Night, Fatal Amusement:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In Honor of the GOP Convention, and the People At the Top of Their Ticket......

Harrogate humbly offers this joke, a popular one of late:

What's the difference between apathy and ignorance? "I don't know and I don't care."

Assy McGee Award®: Many TalkLeft Commenters

In BTD's Open Thread tantrum, mentioned earlier by Solon, and in which BTD scolds Jeralyn and everyone else who has had the temerity to critique Governor Palin. In that thread, a commenter who goes by the moniker "rise hillary rise" offered the following piece of Rhetorical and Philosophical brilliance:

my thoughts exactly. what I want to know: "Is there ANY woman good enough for you people?"


Let this stand in as a representative of what is going on over there, for those not interested in surveying the cartoon rhetoric that has stormed its gates.

Another brick falls out...

Will McCain challenge the patriotism of his VP because of the VP's views on Alaskan secession?

I understand that this is not as serious as whether Obama wears a flag-pin, but someone should ask McCain.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Police State 101: Amy Goodman at the RNC

From Talk Left: Police Arrested Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, at the RNC. She was charged with "conspiracy to riot."

There is video of the footage.

This is what democracy looks like.

A few musings on Sarah Palin's baby mama drama...

  • The baby mama/grandmama "scandal" rumors are just gross. If someone demanded that I produce evidence that I gave birth to my son, I would certainly tell that someone to go fuck him/herself.
  • Bristol Palin's pregnancy does not make Sarah Palin a bad mother (as some comments on the Daily Kos--and probably elsewhere--suggest). Yes, abstinence-only sex education is bullshit, but plenty of women who know all about birth control still experience unplanned pregnancies.
  • This revelation, I think, can easily be twisted to further Palin's pro-life agenda: "See--my daughter is keeping her baby and marrying the father. And our family loves and supports them no matter what. This is what everyone should do."
  • All of this worthy business is detracting from the real issues at hand (once again).
  • The "liberal" blogs that pushed the rumor that Sarah Palin's infant son is actually her grandson have provided Fox News (and their friends) with more "evidence" that feminists are full of shit (we don't actually care about women--only a liberal point of view) and that Democrats are a bunch of hypocrites (how can we complain about the sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton, then attack Sarah Palin's motherhood?). And I have to say that the points made by Laura Ingraham and Bill O'Reilly tonight regarding these rumors were not completely off-base--and it's very painful for me to admit this!
  • I can recognize that Palin's role as VP candidate for the Republican party is a noteworthy moment in women's history. However, the circumstances under which she was selected undermine any feminist goals because I fully believe that she is being used as a manipulative tool and that she was selected only because of her gender and social conservatism--not because she is the best person for the job.
  • I feel bad for her daughter. I wonder if she even wants to marry that boy--and if she has a choice in the matter?

A Survey Question

Name a song that you

A)Think is a Really Bad Song, but;

B)Love anyway

Harrogate kicks things off with one of his very favorite songs that suck:

Next time you're teaching figurative language in a lit class, why not break out:

With you I'm not shy to show the way I feel
With you I might try my secrets to reveal
For you are a magnet and I am steel

There Was Always Plenty to Attack About Her Politics, Without 'Going There'; or, an Open Letter to Andrew Sullivan

Let it go, Andrew Sullivan.

Your outrage at McCain's selection of a hard right, red meat, social conservative is understandable. Many of us share that outrage. But you've got to get control of yourself on this thing before you lose any ability to persuade audiences beyond yourself and that multitude of other Reaganites who support gay rights.

Drop it. Even Kos is dropping it. Demean her politics. Not her motherhood.

What Role Will Hill Play From Here on Out?; or, In Politics, Politics is More Important Than the Personal

New York Times, on Hillary Clinton in Light of the Palin selection.

A snippet we've been waiting for, though it's too watered-down, and we wish it was coming from the Senator herself:

Mrs. Clinton’s friends said she was galled that Ms. Palin might try to capitalize on a movement that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, built among women in the primaries [. . .] Guy Cecil, the former political director of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, said it was “insulting” for Republicans to compare Ms. Palin to Mrs. Clinton.

Meanwhile, from the "no shit" category, although again, we'd rather here it from Obama himself in front of cameras:

Mr. Obama’s advisers sharply disputed the argument that Clinton supporters might be drawn to Ms. Palin on the basis of sex, given that Ms. Palin opposes abortion rights and other commonly held positions for Democrats.

And then from the "depressing as it gets, if this is true" category:

But Clinton advisers presented a more nuanced view, saying that some of her supporters — they could not specify how many — could be open to the McCain-Palin ticket depending on how Ms. Palin performed and whether she appeared to be a forceful, sincere advocate for the concerns of working women, their families and for policies that would help them.

Here's the Real "Money Line" from the article:
“It is insulting to compare Hillary’s lifetime of service and her commitment to progressive causes with that of a novice, right-wing governor,” Mr. Cecil said.

Perhaps the Palin selection will give some people pause before they assert so assuredly from now on, that "the personal is political." The conviction behind this statement is often attributed to the more theory-leaning academics, but it has arguably infected the popular culture as well.

Certainly, the Republicans are banking on the likelihood that it has.

Happy Labor Day Musical Tribute

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Abortion Issue's Not-So-Secret, Secret Stranglehold on American Politics

Most people know it. Abortion has its foot on the throat of American politics in a way that no other issue does. The Culture Wars in general are bad. As Solon remarked to Harrogate on the phone the other day, Obama seems earnestly hopeful to tone down the culture wars, to get rid of the hate and the zealotry and to do the hard work of finding compromise on these boilerplate questions. But sadly, "Maverick" John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin pretty much demolished any possibility that the Culture Wars can be toned down any time soon.

Yea and verily, the Palin pick reinforces the fact that once again, Republicans will be given a reprieve, among many human beings in America, for any kind of accountability at all with respect to questions of war and peace, questions of economic justice, and questions of governmental transparency.

Now, as the New York Times has reported, and as TChris posted today on TalLeft, the Republican Party retained in its official platform bans on Abortion with NO EXCEPTION, including cases of Rape, Incest, or Even if the Life of the Mother hangs in the Balance.

This, despite the fact that McCain in 2000 and again as recently as May, argued that exceptions should be made in those cases.

(BTW, you have to give it to TalkLeft, especially Jeralyn Merritt and TChris. Both of them supported Hill full-throttle during the primary, and now, despite the persistent deluge of craziness in the site's comment box, Jeralyn has been calling McCain and Palin out on ideological grounds, wire to wire. She is, in other words, unlike the cartoonish "Hillary supporters" among her commenters, actually credible as a Hillary Clinton supporter. What has happened to that site, via the comments, is a sad, sad thing; under another moniker Harrogate used to post there copiously, and enjoyed the banter. Now it is on the verge of collapse. It is one of many things that makes Harrogate, who voted for her in the primary, wish that
Hillary Clinton would go on a little offense against the people who are overtly and cartoonishly exploiting her, and mocking her supporters. Sigh.)

But anyway. Seriously, where is this Abortion Train taking our politics? One very possible scenario is this:

1)McCain and Palin win. It is a vindication for those who see abortion as murder. (As per the status quo. Any Wars McCain starts along the way, any damage he does to the economy, he will not be held accountable for);
2)McCain puts two to three justices on the High Court. He has already stated that Scalia and Thomas are his models;
3)Roe v Wade finally goes down.

But what then? Guerilla warfare state-to-state. Hand to hand combat, literally.
Harrogate has come to believe that one way or the other, the Abortion Divide is going to lead to widespread outbreaks of violence and will further strangle our politics along the way.

Compromise would have been nice. Reasonable efforts to lessen unwanted pregnancy. Efforts to put in place social programs for the poor. Comprehensive sex education.

You took a laudable shot at it, Obama, but you failed on this one, even if you win the election. And solon is damned right. John McCain has shown himself bereft of even a scintilla of political or personal honor.

Palin the Feminist

Always look on the cancerous side of life, eh?

Palin and Institutionalizing Creationism; or, A Paraphrased Transcript From "Meet the Press"

Brokaw: Palin argues that Creationism and Evolution should be taught side by side in the public schools. Do you agree with that?

Pawlenty: Why not expose children to both views, or even more views than that?

Brokaw: Do you think that in the scientific community, that Creationism and Evolution are given the same weight? Is it wise to given them equal tracking at a time when American public education is already falling more and more behind.

Pawlenty: Well, it's a local decision. Personally I believe in Creationism. It does seem that the scientific community doesn't think much of Creationism. But why not teach both theories side by side, if that's what they want to do at a local level?

Sunday Funny :)

Maverick Politics: Ending the War

And the bankrupt intellectual tradition continues.

Over at The Weekly Standard, the Neo-Cons rejoice with glee over the Palin nomination, which makes as much sense as the nomination itself. "She turned me into a Newt" Gingrich states that this pick represents the "authenticity" that Obama-Biden does not as she relates to the common people since she played basketball, hunts, and is a hockey mom; she reformed Alaska, even as Troopergate hangs over her head. Read: she is a real religious conservative.

Stephen F. Hayes writes how unconventional the pick is. And when you think about it, the selection of a white, evangelical, Pro-Life, anti same-sex marriage, hunter is a very unconventional pick for a Republican. McCain could have selected Joe Lieberman, a Pro-Choice, Jewish Democrat-- a pick that would have challenged the Religious Right and the Conservative base and still made "sense" in terms of the War on Terror, remember that? However, as you can see, McCain bucked tradition with the selection of Palin, to advance its own form of identity politics. But this time it is better because she's a woman; her family represents her faith.

Rather than select Romney, wait the base would not approve of that choice. Rather than select Pawlenty, which would fulfill the desires of the base and nomiate someone who is known nationally, he chose Palin, a person that McCain met with only once before she was vetted. I wonder...I know it is for Palin's support, no rejection, no her keeping of money even though she eventually would not support the "Bridge to Nowhere." Nope, it is solely to attract the "Hillary" voters. And the best way to attract these voters is not to offer them policies they desire or represent their interests, but to nominate a woman.

Next on the list is William "more sophist than Plato" Kristol. He writes that in opposing the Pick of Palin, "liberals" will, "appeal, sometimes explicitly, to anti-small town and anti-religious prejudice. All of this will be in the cause of trying to prevent the American people from arriving at their own judgment of Sarah Palin." Kristol may be correct on this as there is absolutely nothing else on which to criticize. Since she has very little experience and there are few examples in which we can question her judgment, though Troopergate comes to mind, we can only wonder if she speaks in tongues and why conservatives believe religious tests are necessary for office.

Strangely enough, I must have missed the part where Kristol discussed her judgment to lead the country during the War on Terror and how her qualities represent that judgment. It must have been on the third page of a two page article.

Only Charles "I want war and I want it now" Krauthammer questions the pick because it ends the "is Obama ready to lead" argument.

The more I think of this pick, the more I despise the pick, especially the way in which the Republicans have destroyed the country since March of 2003. This pick is a symbolic end to the war on terror as it admits that judgment on foreign policy is not necessary as a prerequisite for office. This pick means that the existential threat of terrorism matters only in relation to winning an election. This pick means that the religious qualification is more important that knowing something about Iraq and Islam. There is no legitimate argument for the War on Terror if your number two person expresses no judgment on how to conduct the war and, consequently would not be able to conduct the war from day one. Appease the base and G-d will provide, I guess. Non-Republicans knew this, even if independents were to scared to vote for a Non-Republican. But this selection is more banal than banal; it represents the failure of War on Terror as it argues for how unnecessary it actually is.

The Neo-Cons love the pick because they know with McCain and Palin they will have two empty vessels to fill with noble lies; two people with no knowledge on the difference between a Shia and Sunni; two people that will follow ideological pursuits regardless of empirical consequences. Like they did with the Bush administration, the NeoCons can rely on the executive to make the world safe for Democracy even if spreading Democracy occurs from the barrel of a gun. This is the consequence of religious tests, faith-based realism, and the noble lie. This is what happens when education concerns whether or not there is prayer in public school rather than understanding the world.

And they way in which McCain is using Palin to advance an argument seriously disrespects Palin and reveals an arrogance that is unmatched. For McCain, Palin represents the argument if you object to a VP because of little experience you must then object to a President. Judgment does not matter for the presidency, only experience in terms of who has been elected the most, right President Lincoln? No matter how many errors, no matter how lapses in judgment or ethics, no matter how many of John McCain's laws get struck down by the Supreme Court for violating constitutional standards, experience to some is the most important qualification. Even though it is almost impossible to vote an incumbent out of office and experience refers only to time in office, "experience" still matters to people as if it is self-evident qualification for office.

If Palin does not bring votes because she is a woman and does not energize the Religious Right because she speaks in tongues, then the inexperience that she represents may help diminish votes from Obama. This demeans Palin- you bring very little to the ticket except for conservative identity politics and the possibility you can attract "Hillary" voters. Affirmative action in the face of racial discrimination is one thing. This is a Religious Right Legacy Nomination, which is similar to a legacy admission for college, an affirmative action policy that conservatives ignore as it helps them.

This is another sign the McCain lacks the judgment to be president and, most likely, lacks the judgment necessary to be a US Senator. The election of McCain represents an existential crisis for this country. Even President Bush showed some limits; McCain has yet to show any limits. He will contradict his "honor" to win an election no matter how devastating it is for the county.

And just think, his motto is "Country First." The selection of Palin is a rejection of Country First. It is McCain first, as it always is.

In a sense, McCain is a maverick. Yet, it is not because he selected a woman; it is not because he selected an "authentic" member of the Religious Right. McCain is a maverick because he undercuts the War on Terror and the reason for his nomination in the first place. For a temporary increase in enthusiasm, he selects someone he undercuts McCain's argument for being a president in the first place.

It may just be the economy, stupid.