ONE: Brainy Nights in Georgia
In the wake of the Newtown massacre and other recent mass gun murders, the NRA helpfully busied itself with supporting secession for Wisconsin, decrying the “vicious, violent videogames” that they insist provoke (conveniently well-armed) people to indulge in vicious violence, and, um, rolling out their new videogame.
In vivid contrast, Georgia legislator Paul Battles, being a pragmatic guy, thought and thought and thought about how best to protect children, and after all that thinking came up with House Bill 35:
The Georgia House of Representatives Rules Committee will consider a bill this week that would let school systems arm their staff members. House Bill 35 allows school systems to designate administrators, teachers, or other staff members to carry concealed weapons.
Now, before you go making any mistaken assumptions about Battles, a – surprise! – Republican, he emphatically rejects the suggestion that he’s, you know, a gun nut or something:
“From the very beginning, I’ve said this is a school security piece of legislation,” said Battles. “It’s not about guns. It’s about securing our schools.”
House Bill 35 immediately made me think of Mrs. Hale, my 6th grade teacher, who had a pronounced esotropic strabismus. Forgive me, Mrs. Hale, but I’m very glad you were never packing in our placid Savannah classroom. That I know of, anyway.
The bill passed out of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee last week. And Rep. Battles says that was the biggest hurdle, adding, “I’m sure we’ll have a lively debate on the floor, but I feel like it has great momentum.”
Oh. Great, then.
But inane legislation in Georgia is often a bipartisan thing. State Rep. Earnest Smith, a – crap! – Democrat, is all riled up about Photoshop, especially when it’s used to make fun of Earnest Smith:
… Smith pointed, as proof of the problem, to a picture of his head that was recently edited onto a porn star’s body. That image was created by a blogger who used the image to mock Smith.
Last word to Andre Walker of Georgia Politics Unfiltered, the pixel surgeon responsible for the digital transplant:
“I cannot believe Rep. Earnest Smith thinks I’m insulting him by putting his head on the body of a well-built porn star.”
TWO: “Nothing has changed.”
Attendees at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference can expect to see the likes of Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Allen West and Marco Rubio whip up the sort of rank gumbo of exaggerations, distortions, outright falsehoods and nutrition-free bromides that has kept previous CPAC crowds in drooling thrall.
But wait, there’s more!
Someone named Mitt Romney, who apparently once ran for President, will speak, as will someone named Sarah Palin, who apparently once ran for Vice President.
Of course, I’m being facetious. While I really have no idea who Mitt Romney is, I do remember Sarah Palin. She’s the former mayor of Wasilla who burdened the town with astonishing municipal debt, before going on to become the former Alaska governor who resigned halfway through her term, after burning through many thousands of dollars of public money for no good reason. She did leave her successor a tanning bed, though.
Indications are that Alaska voters have put down their bongs and would now prefer Hillary Clinton over Palin by a 16-point margin in a hypothetical presidential election cage match. Even better, Public Policy Polling also asked respondents to choose their preference of Congress or Palin, and Congress, for all its legendary disapproval ratings, beat Palin 50% to 35%.
And wait, there’s less!
AMERICABlog pointedly notes that CPAC 2013 will again feature the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, a man determined to live the rest of his wretched life being less popular than gonorrhea, but the conclave has once again barred GOProud, a high-profile gay conservative organization.
“We got kicked out last year because we are gay,” tweeted GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia. “Nothing has changed. We won’t be at CPAC.”
However unintentionally, Mr. LaSalvia has just given CPAC a perfect new slogan. “Nothing has changed,” indeed.
THREE: Squawking Heads Redux
In light of recent news that Palin and Fox News have parted company, followed shortly after by the network axing Dick Morris (the World’s Wrongest ManTM), you might be concerned that Fox is going to suffer an acute stupidity deficit. Fear not. They’ve announced with great fanfare that both Herman Cain and Scott Brown have joined the Fox conservative commentator crew.
Proving that he has never actually watched the network, Cain enthused:
“I’m excited about joining the FOX family as a contributor because it is an opportunity to be one more voice for intelligent thinking in America.”
Cain hit the ground running, which is to say he ran aground, in his first appearance with Bill O’Reilly. When the discussion turned to President Obama’s popularity, Cain gave viewers this taste of his intelligent thinking:
“We have a severe ignorance problem with the people who are so mesmerized by his popularity that they are not looking at the facts…
“Martin Luther King Jr. said 50 years ago in 1963 something that is so appropriate to today… There is nothing more dangerous than serious ignorance, and that’s what we have and he gets away with it with the help of establishment media.”
Really? Cain’s new employer has spent more than a decade atop the cable news network heap, which strikes me as pretty much about as establishment as you can get, but maybe I just have a severe ignorance problem.
As to Brown, his first appearance was with Sean Hannity, who asked him why he didn’t want to run for John Kerry’s vacated Senate seat:
Brown… told Hannity that the pace of special elections would have put him in five campaigns in six years and that he might have had to raise another $30 to $50 million, only to “participate in a Congress that’s really dysfunctional and extremely partisan.” Instead, he said, “I felt I could make a difference being on this show…”
Mm-hmm. Far better to participate in a “news” network that’s really dysfunctional and extremely partisan than a Congress that is. Presumably, the Fox gig pays better. Continue reading Take Five (Busyness as Usual edition)
RE your appearance on The Daily Show, August 15, 2012
I was at once appalled and amused by your comments during your appearance on The Daily Show. But then, I am always appalled and amused when it comes to the topic of the so-called “news media” these days; appalled by the lack of actual news reporting, and amused that people like yourself continue to pretend that what you offer is even remotely connected to actual journalism.
Stewart opened the interview with, “Let’s talk about Paul Ryan. All I have heard from the news divisions across network platforms is how thrilled they are to have Paul Ryan – now they can finally talk substance. When is that going to start happening?”
Your response, “As soon as we exhaust all of our reporting on his driving of the Wiener Mobile while a young man,” was witty and laughter-inducing, as is appropriate for a “fake news” program. The problem is the remark is much closer to the truth than it should be. And that, sir, is no laughing matter.
The Wiener Mobile story is just the kind of nonsense we have come to expect from the TV news media – not in addition to actual news, but in place of it.
As Mr. Stewart pointedly asked: “What is preventing the media from discussing more substantive issues before the introduction of Paul Ryan, and then since the introduction, and then, let’s say, you know, after the election?”
That is the very question on the minds of millions of viewers who are tired of the fact that the mainstream news has become news-o-tainment – replete with snappy graphics, eye-catching effects, and very little of anything of substance.
Your reply, “Well, as you know, there are a lot of distractions in this world …,” was appropriately countered by Mr. Stewart’s comment: “No, I don’t.”
More to the point, sir – “No, WE don’t.” We have difficulty understanding how the so-called news media is so easily distracted away from the actual goddamned news it is purportedly your job to report.
“Wait until people get a bite out of (Ryan’s) voting record. Wait until more people understand the vote on TARP. Wait ‘til we get down the road.”
With all due respect, sir, why should the viewing public have to wait for the facts about Ryan, or the facts about anything else? Oh, that’s right – you were distracted.
“Today, specifically, as I said tonight, was a terrible day for discourse in a democracy. With eighty-four days left to go until the election; you had Biden’s comment last night. Rudy Giuliani comes out today, says Biden isn’t smart enough to be president. You had Romney upset because of Biden last night. And you had Team Obama hitting back at Romney. We can’t, as a country, keep doing this.”
The truth of the matter is that the country isn’t doing this – you and your colleagues are. The many distractions of which you speak are of your own making. How often have we seen these types of non-stories completely overtake nightly news broadcasts?
So Rudy Giuliani said Biden isn’t smart enough to be vice president? When was the last time anyone actually cared about what Rudy had to say about anything – other than TV news journalists who treat every utterance by people like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump as though they matter?
And yet this is what we are subjected to, day in and day out, by people like yourself – sixty seconds of what went on in the world today, followed by an endless stream of opinions, comments and remarks by people only the media itself finds fascinating.
Look, Mr. Williams, it’s simple. When I tune into the news, I actually want the facts about what happened today, and just the facts. I am not the least bit interested in what any pundit, political strategist, has-been politician, or reality show fifteen-minutes-of-famer has to say.
Given the facts, I am more than capable of forming my own conclusions. But it is the facts that are invariably dismissed by the media as not sexy enough, not grabby enough, and somehow not important enough to be proffered without being jazzed up for the viewing public, who – or so you and your colleagues seem to think – want to be distracted by the he said/she said war-of-words between political camps. We don’t.
There is one event that I knew heralded the decline of TV news journalism, and that is the fact that newscasters such as yourself did not immediately distance yourselves from what Fox News was doing from its inception. I would have expected real journalists to decry the concept of an alleged “news network” skewing the news in such an obvious way, and blatantly acting as the propaganda arm of the Republican party. I would have expected journalists with integrity to state, without hesitation, that such obvious bias in reporting the news was contrary to the principles of true journalism.
Instead, the other news broadcasters looked at Fox’s numbers and began to emulate their techniques: offer opinion rather than fact, offer commentary in place of an unbiased presentation of current events, offer airtime to politicians without ever questioning their statements of alleged fact. So much for putting journalistic integrity above ratings.
Your reference to Sy Syms, and his hallmark phrase that “an educated consumer is our best customer,” was dead on the money. Said you: “And I thought, well good on the late Sy Syms, because he was right about being a haberdasher, but he was also right about our business.”
That begs the question, sir: just how educated are the consumers of TV news these days? Do they know what’s going on – or do they only know about the “distractions” you serve up as news? Do they know Joe Biden’s accomplishments or failures as a vice president – or do they only know what Rudy Giuliani has to say about the matter?
Was the TV news viewing audience apprised of the facts before the invasion of Iraq – or were they spoon-fed opinions by newscasters wholly-owned by corporations with lucrative government contracts that would result in increased profits if the nation was at war?
It’s said that politics makes for strange bedfellows. What makes for stranger and much more dangerous bedfellows is corporate-sponsored news programming that tailors the news to fit their own agenda. I’ve no doubt that Sy Syms would be appalled at such a state of affairs. Continue reading An Open Letter to Brian Williams
While the gulf between the ideologies of the left and the right has often been a wide one, there is something more at play these days, and that is the downright stupidity of Republican voters.
One can debate the virtues of big government versus small government, the distribution of wealth, fair taxation, the handling of deficits – and any number of things the parties tend to disagree on. But you can’t argue with stupid. And I, for one, refuse to even try.
I admit to being an intellectual snob, especially when it comes to politics. I have no patience for people who literally know nothing about how government works, but ramble on incoherently as though watching FOX News makes them experts on the topic. I have no patience for FOX News either: a collection of bobble-headed idiots who spew GOP propaganda on a 24/7 basis to those too dumb and/or lazy to find a legitimate news source, or investigate the outrageous “news” stories they are fed day in, day out.
I have no desire to interact with people who believe that Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim – despite all evidence to the contrary – simply because that’s what they want to believe, the facts be damned.
I have no want to discuss anything to do with the governance of my country with those who insist that the USA was founded as a Christian nation, and who view the separation of Church and State as something dreamed up by liberals, rather than being something enshrined in the Constitution.
I cannot be bothered to try and persuade the oh-so-proudly ignorant that signs and bumper-stickers that say “Keep the goverment’s hands off my Medicare”, “Inglich is our offical langage,” or decry the idea that healthcare should never include a “pubic option” that their stupidity places them in the category of the embarrassingly laughable.
I have no compulsion to communicate with those who cherry-pick random quotes from the Bible as support for their bigotry and their prejudices, while at the same time ignoring the words and teachings of Jesus Christ – whom they profess to love and revere, but only when convenient.
I have no time for those who cling to ever-changing rewritten history on an ongoing basis, those who have access to the hard facts as to which president, with the overwhelming support of his party, plunged the nation into unprecedented debt, but simply accept whatever ludicrous fabrications are proffered by right-wing sources to contradict the realities of George W. Bush’s disastrous administration and the consequences thereof.
I give no credence to those who consistently vote against their own best interests, simply because some loud-mouthed know-nothing has convinced them (without too much convincing necessary) that their best interests lie with the party that has devoted its every endeavor to legislation that favors corporate power over that of the hardworking citizen.
I cannot bring myself to debate the necessity of social safety nets for the homeless, the poverty-stricken, the sick and dying, with people who are literally one paycheck away from financial disaster – and yet cling to the belief that they are somehow immune from the consequences of electing a POTUS who would gladly dissolve those safety nets once in office.
I will not discuss the concept of :Supporting the Troops” with those who happily vote for representatives who deliberately choose to ignore the plight of our veterans, or those who believe there are more important things to spend our money on – like preparing to wage the next war with troops who will again be abandoned once the fighting is done.
Over the past few decades, I have watched in wonder while GOP supporters have devolved into being mindless, shallow, don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts lemmings,
ever anxious to follow their fellow locksteppers off the nearest cliff.
But what was once a matter of idiotic voters has now become a matter of equally idiotic GOP candidates: a VP candidate who couldn’t even fake having read a newspaper while running for the second most important position on the planet, presidential wannabes who pull non-facts out of their asses on a regular basis and tout them as the truth, representatives who run for office on the I’m-as-stupid-as-you-are platform – aided and abetted by a mainstream media that has dumbed itself down in order to appeal to the yes-I-am-TRULY-stupid contingent as often as possible.
What the upcoming election boils down to is not a clash of ideology; it is a clash between the informed and the willfully ignorant, the fact-seekers and the deliberately factually impaired, the intelligent citizen versus the stupid citizen. It’s as simple as that – and it’s a concept that the stupid voter is just – well, too fuckin’ stupid to understand.
As Democrats, we are fully aware that this what we’re up against. This is what we have to focus our attention on and strive to defeat: not a difference of opinion, or an alternate way of seeing how government can best work for all citizens. What we are up against is stupidity, in all its ignorant, misspelled, misled, misinformed, ungrammatical, fact-free glory.
Our candidate is articulate, intelligent and well-informed. He has proven, time and again, his grasp of issues both foreign and domestic, his ability to visualize long-term policies and the benefits thereof, an undeniable desire to move towards humanitarian ideas and ideals, and has garnered the respect of the international community based on all of the aforementioned.
Your candidate, on the other hand, is as blatantly stupid as they come; a man who is incapable of holding a position on any issue for more than twenty-four hours, or articulating a single thought without insulting the very people he is hoping to persuade. And he will no doubt be voted for by the equally stupid, who recognize and support one of their own. Continue reading An Open Letter to Republicans (from an Insufferably Snobby Democrat)
For anyone with a modicum of common sense and an IQ above that of the average house plant, it is difficult to discuss anything that gets said on FOX News without literally laughing your ass off.
With an audience comprised of the incredibly gullible, the proudly ill-informed, and card-carrying members of the Yes-I’m-A-Complete-Dumbass Club™, one can only assume that FOX News watchers have come to expect the kind of baseless, devoid-of-fact rhetoric that its hosts spew on a daily basis.
And, as always, FAUX never fails to disappoint – and Monday morning’s Fox & Friends is just another case in point.
According to F&F’s Steve Douchey (sorry – did I get that name right?), the current outcry that Republicans are waging a War on Women has been fabricated by the Democrats, in an attempt to distract the citizenry from the failure of Obama’s stimulus package.
“The stimulus didn’t work out so well, he’s got a lot of problems. So in the last couple of months, what they have done, the Democrats, is they have invented this phony war on women. They say Republicans are against women, there’s not really a war on women, there’s a war for women because they would like to have as many women vote for their candidate.”
Aside from the fact* (* an inconvenience that is never allowed to see the light of day on FAUX) that the stimulus has created/saved millions of American jobs and avoided another depression, and the fact that Obama isn’t having the kind of “problems” that Douchey’s rhetoric would imply – especially when one looks at the Obama v Romney numbers – we are left with the bald statement that the War on Women is merely a figment of the imaginations of millions of females who are suffering a momentary attack of the vapors, led by the Democratic powers-that-be to the nearest fainting couch where they can bemoan the non-existent assault on their persons, their bodies, and their rights.
Well, Douchey, as an American citizen of the female persuasion, I can tell you that the GOP’s current view of women, and their recent attempts at legalizing not only violations of my body, but my decency as a human being and my equality as a citizen, is real. And the party that sowed that war is about to have what it will inevitably reap shoved firmly up its ass at the polls in November. And you might want to brace yourself, because it’s going to hurt – big time.
There is nothing imaginary nor fabricated about forcing me to submit to invasive vaginal probing as a prerequisite to my obtaining an abortion (which is my legal right), nor forcing me to carry a dead fetus to term despite the emotional and health issues involved, nor forcing me to view ultrasound images of an in-utero fetus I have determined I do not wish to give birth to – the reasons for same being none of anyone’s goddamned business.
In truth, Douchey, what isn’t working out is the GOP’s ill-fated, ill-advised notion that a bunch of Viagra-addicted manly-men sporting drug-induced hard-ons would rally behind the concept of putting little ladies in their place (which seems to be somewhere between a pre-Victorian kitchen and a 1950s episode of Father Knows Best). Bad call. Very bad call. And now they have to live with it. Continue reading Once a Douche, Always a Douche
TO: Rick Santorum, Presidential Wannabe
I just received an email from you and, given that it starts off with “Nance”, I’m assuming we’re now on a first-name basis.
I am still a bit perplexed as to (a) how you got my personal email address, and (b) why you would be sending your campaign literature to me, an until-death-us-do-part Democrat.
However, being as you took the time to contact me, I thought it appropriate to respond.
“Our campaign continues to pick up steam and generate press. In just the past four days, we won the Louisiana primary, received national attention for calling out the New York Times, and received kind words of support from Governor Sarah Palin.”
Well, here’s the thing, Ricky, right off the top: generating press can be a real positive for a candidate hoping to win his party’s nomination for the presidency. However, since most of the press coverage I’ve seen is due to your inane remarks, your abject stupidity, your total non-grasp of the issues, and your blatant hypocrisy, I wouldn’t exactly put that coverage in the plus column.
That being said, I especially appreciated the publicity you, the holier-than-thou Christian boy, garnered by yelling “bullshit!” in response to a reporter’s query. No doubt that went over really well with the Fundies you have been pandering to.
As for the support from Sarah Palin, here’s a word to the wise: She’s a whackjob. I wouldn’t go bragging about her support. That kind of endorsement is something you want to keep under your sweater-vest – if you get my meaning.
“Mitt Romney and his liberal media machine would like nothing better than for us to go away.”
Mitt Romney has a “liberal media machine”? I’m not quite sure what that statement means – along with most of what you say about anything, to be perfectly frank. Mitt Romney is in no way a liberal, and there is no such thing as the “liberal media” – so I’m a bit confused as to where you thought you were headed with that comment. And I have a feeling you’re equally confused – well, you always look so confused, I just assume that you really are.
“But conservatives know we can win — and across the country they are calling, emailing, and telling us they want us to redouble our efforts. You can help us do that — and reaffirm your support for the campaign – by making an online donation of $5, $25, $50, $100 or more right now.”
At this point, I have to ask: If conservatives from all over the country know you can win, and are calling, emailing, and telling you they want you to redouble your efforts, why aren’t they putting their money where their mouths allegedly are? It would seem that if you’re really the people’s choice, they’d be more than happy to cough up a few bucks.
“Today only, we are going to send all online donors a special token of our appreciation. Donate $5 or more before midnight Eastern time, and we will send you a campaign bumpersticker via mail.”
Well, that’s a major disappointment. Here I was ready to send you a million or two – kind of along the lines of a pity fuck – but the check won’t clear until tomorrow, so I guess I’m shit out of luck. And I really wanted that bumpersticker, too. My neighbors already think I’m nuts – I would have enjoyed confirming it for them.
“It’s time conservatives take a stand. We don’t need to accept what the mainstream media and establishment tell us to think.”
It’s not the mainstream media who are telling Republicans what to think, Ricky – it’s FOX News. Maybe you should ask your party’s own propaganda network to give you a break, and extol your many virtues – oh, except they’re too busy telling everyone that Romney’s nomination is a done deal. We all know what sheep Republican voters are; too bad the shepherds aren’t the least bit interested in what you have to say.
“I am convinced that whoever can activate grassroots conservatives will not only secure the nomination – but will have the honor of defeating Barack Obama in the fall.”
I don’t know what you’re smokin’, dude, but it’s obviously some primo shit. At this point in the game, your party can’t even count on your conservative base. Now that the GOP has pissed off women, union members, the unemployed, the college-educated, the disabled, veterans, and everyone who is benefiting from Obamacare, even your once loyal voters are dwindling down to a precious few. Continue reading Ricky, PLEASE Lose This Number
You never heard of the O. J. Simpson syndrome? Maybe the literary tradition of the tragic mulatto is familiar? Have you seen the late night or Black History Month reruns of the movie classic, Imitation of Life? Or perhaps you have read Richard Wright’s powerful novel, Native Son?
What all of these ideas, experiences, and creative works have in common is race and sex. They mark the attitudes and norms of different points and plateaus in our national dialogue about the meaning and acceptability, and the failures, when race and sex share a common social ground.
Up until fifty years ago, the thinking and tragedies of race and sex all ran in one direction. Culturally it was assumed the mix of race and sex resulted in toxic failures and always involved white males with black females. From slavery, this tradition produced what was called “the yard child,” a child who lived among the enslaved who had been parented by a white slaveholder. This tradition enters Presidential politics with Thomas Jefferson, and was later vigorously denied by both the historians and descendants of Jefferson, who concocted all sorts of alternatives to Jefferson parenting children by Sally Hemmings (the DNA virtually proves he did), she herself the daughter born of a relationship between holder and slave.
Thus, the tradition of the tragic mulatto emerged, generally a woman of refinement, grace and manners, thoughtful, caring, light-skinned to the point of easily passing for white, but denied opportunity because she was legally black. The implied loophole was that discrimination and oppression were acceptable to darker-featured blacks, but those whose who resembled whites should be given a pass. A foot in both worlds, today called multiracial, was historically seen as tragic, a source of alienation and rejection—and highlighted and projected unequal treatment for a woman, as a lover, mistress, wife, or worker, albeit slave or free. In the movies, Imitation of Life and later Queen (with Halle Berry) brought tears, with no change or challenge to the norm.
Harlem’s former Congress Representative, the legendary Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. spoke in his autobiography of his grandfather accepting and raising the child of the man who had whipped him in slavery, and marrying the woman who had sired the child. His family history had a deep impact on his faith and politics and his impatience with injustice.
But Richard Wright, the Mississippi-born writer, saw the problem from a profoundly different viewpoint. His socially marginal literary character, Bigger Thomas, unskilled, impulsive, poor, kills and cuts off the head of a young white woman, stuffing her body in a furnace in one of the most provocative and unsentimental scenes in American literature. It foreshadowed the O.J. Simpson syndrome.
The broad idea of the O.J. Simpson syndrome is that interracial love leads to personal destruction and bad societal ends. It is countered by the cult of white womanhood, especially strong in the civil rights era, when a rallying cry against equal opportunity pointedly asked: would you want your daughter to marry one [a black]? White women were not to abandon their own kind. To do so invited peril.
What has this to do with Presidential politics in 2012? Aren’t we past these outmoded considerations? Besides, the Obamas constitute a strong black family unit. I may be overreaching, but I see a cultural embed in Newt’s wife standing next to him. I see a subtext in the ferocity of political attacks which are visceral and invasive against women and their bodies. I see in very ugly and scatological tweets aimed at Michele Obama and even her children. I see an impotence that is hate. I see it in the way that has made the greatest family unit ever to occupy the White House into a sexless, invisible couple, when all their forms of love, from agape to eros, are so transparent that we watch astounded by this relationship which is as solid as a rock and ridiculously, obviously hot. Continue reading Digging Deeper: Race, Sex, and the Obamas
ONE: Gaffe Riot
As his campaign careens toward Iowa, Rick Perry continues to astound audiences with his comprehensive knowledge of nothing and his uncanny inability to open his mouth without saying something ridiculous. As Perry staggers, stumbles, slips, skates and slides, gaffe by gaffe, from presumptive nominee to predictable punch line, it’s increasingly nerve-wracking to hear the gears grinding in his head whenever he speaks.
The candidate ended November by pleading with a young crowd in New Hampshire to vote for him next year if they will be at least 21, apparently ceding the 18-20 demographic to his rivals without a fight. He also asked that they cast their votes on November 12, 2012, a bold but ill-advised strategy, since that will be six days after the election.
The next day, he told Fox News about his preparations for the New Hampshire caucuses, but New Hampshire, of course, has a primary, and I suspect Rick Perry won’t be cleaning up in it, not least because he’s too busy preparing for non-existent caucuses.
Easing into December, the candidate criticized the Supreme Court’s “eight unelected and frankly unaccountable judges” and referred to one of them as “Montemayor” in an interview with the long-suffering editorial board at the Des Moines Register.
For further reading, The Daily Beast has helpfully catalogued some of Perry’s most noteworthy gaffes. They don’t list them all, of course – very few sites have that much server capacity – but it’s instructive to review the list and reflect on the notion that Perry was initially considered the savior of his party’s sweaty quest to take back the White House.
Perry discussed his penchant for pratfalls with the Fox and Friends team in some detail:
“Look, I’m a human being; I’m going to make some mistakes from time to time in my remarks… but here’s how I look at these issues, generally speaking, over the course of my 10-plus years of being the governor of the state of Texas: When someone doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues, when they don’t want to talk about the flat tax that I’ve laid out, when they don’t want to talk about a major overhaul of Washington, D.C., like going to a part-time Congress, which most of the states operate very well with, they want to find some little error that you made and go talk about that.”
What Perry doesn’t appreciate is that proposals like a flat tax and a part-time Congress are, in and of themselves, intellectual gaffes of the meanest order. Hell, even a lot of Republicans find these ideas ineffably silly, which is why they turned their lonely eyes first to Herman “I never met a woman I didn’t like” Cain, and, when that didn’t work out, to the enormous sentient gasbag that calls itself Newt Gingrich.
Perry’s best bet would be to pack his bags and return to Austin right now. After almost 17 years of being governed by George Walker Bush and Rick Perry, Texans are a little more forgiving of gaffes, verbal, intellectual and otherwise, than most Americans. Or at least more resigned to their inevitability.
TWO: Dumb, Dumber and Marginally Less Dumb
Last March Chris Matthews said something stupid. And of course he’s said thousands of stupid things since, but the March comment is in the news again because it led someone else to say something even more stupid.
Matthews had this to say about Newt Gingrich just before the former Speaker put a toe in the water for the GOP nomination:
“He looks like a car bomber, he looks like a car bomber … he looks like a car bomber,” Matthews said, interjecting when Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page suggested Gingrich might just have the stuff to win the Republican nomination.
Matthews continued: “He’s got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing. Look at the guy. This is not the face of a president.”
Uh… yeah. This inanity resurfaced Thursday when Mark Steyn, guest hosting on Fox News, aired the Matthews clip and asked Brent Bozell for a comment. Bozell was all too happy to oblige:
“How long do you think Sean Hannity’s show would last if four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States, and said that he looked like a skinny, ghetto crackhead?” Bozell wondered. “Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does.”
Uh… yeah. You might also want to say that Bozell has the intellect of a horse tick, but you won’t, because you’re a smarter and better person than Brent Bozell. So is Mark Steyn, just barely, although he gamely tried to out-stupid Bozell by offering his own remarkably odd portrait of Gingrich:
… a “big, cuddly, slightly older Winnie the Pooh.”
Uh… yeah. Ten days to Iowa, folks. It’s only going to get worse from here…
THREE: “Pout, damned snot!”
Well, now those Republicans have gone and done it. They’ve driven Donald Trump right out of the party! The Republican turned Democrat turned Republican turned independent this week:
… he did so because he is “disgusted” with the way Republicans are handling matters in Washington, including the recent payroll tax cut deal. But the move also sets Trump up for a potential third-party run for president…
Trump has sought to reach out to the group, Americans Elect, an online, independent presidential nominating organization that has already made it on the ballot in several states, including California.
“Couple Donald Trump’s name recognition with his extraordinary wealth and Americans Elect truly becomes a viable force in determining who the next president will be,” Trump’s top political adviser Michael Cohen told ABC News.
Of course he’s only doing this to save face after being snubbed by all but two GOP candidates (Santorum and Gingrich) when it was announced that he would moderate a debate on December 27. Trump being Trump, he would never admit to having been made to look foolish, so he loudly made himself look even more foolish from behind this elaborate smokescreen:
“The Republican Party candidates are very concerned that sometime after the final episode of The Apprentice, on May 20th, when the equal time provisions are no longer applicable to me, I will announce my candidacy for President of the United States as an Independent and that, unless I conclusively agree not to run as an Independent, they will not agree to attend or be a part of the Newsmax debate scheduled for December 27, 2011. It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate. Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate. The American people are embarrassed by the gridlock currently taking place in Washington. I must leave all of my options open because, above all else, we must make America great again!
So now Trump has to continue the possible independent candidacy charade, at least until he can figure out some other way to keep his name in the headlines. That’ll take about a week, I reckon. Continue reading Take Five (Uh… Yeah edition)
ONE: “If at first you don’t concede, lie, lie again.”
Five days ago, when the world was a simpler, happier, more innocent and decidedly less informed place, I ran across a piece entitled “Confident Cain plans to cut back campaign events” in which the surprise Republican frontrunner was described as brimming with confidence but also wary about excessive media availability and the possibility of more gaffes detracting from his, uh, positions:
Cain… said he plans to “dial back” his campaign and media appearances in order to avoid missteps. Since climbing in the polls, he has had a series of fumbles, forcing him to clarify comments on abortion, immigration and terrorism suspects.
Cain has chalked up the mistakes to a grueling campaign schedule jammed with media interviews…
At least one Cainophile was willing to cut the candidate some slack:
“I like that if he says something, he’s not afraid to turn around and admit he’s wrong,” said Phil Andrews, of Birmingham, who tried without success to reach the candidate and have him sign his Cain t-shirt.
“He’s human and that’s just fine.”
He’s human, all right, Phil, but whether that’s fine or not is very much an open question. Last weekend, stealth right wing site POLITICO, of all organs, broke the story of sexual harassment allegations leveled against Cain back in the late 90s when he was president of the National Restaurant Association. Suddenly, Cain’s ideas (such as they are) are no longer of interest to anyone at all.
The Cain campaign went into immediate damage-exacerbation mode, with Chief of Staff Mark “Smokey” Block emphatically blaming the Perry campaign:
“The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable. Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology.”
Bret Baier asked Block what kind of evidence he had of this being linked to Perry’s campaign. He said that Curt Anderson, Rick Perry’s advisor, is the source to these lies and believes it’s an “outrage.”
Block might want to have a word with his boss, whose suspicions tended elsewhere in a Monday conversation with the noxious Charles Krauthammer:
… we believe that, yes, there are some people who are Democrats, liberals, who do not want to see me win the nomination.
Cain did, however, leave the door open to other possibilities:
And there could be some people on the right who don’t want to see me because I’m not the, quote/unquote, “establishment candidate.”
Cain’s most immediate problem, though, is not who to blame as long as it’s not himself. It’s that his recollection of the harassment allegations changes nearly as often as Mitt Romney’s policy positions.
Monday on Fox:
When [interviewer] Jenna Lee asked whether there was any sort of settlement, Cain stressed that if there were, he was not aware of it. If the Restaurant Association made a settlement, Cain said, “I wasn’t even aware of it and I hope it wasn’t for much because nothing happened.”
Same day, later, on Fox:
“My general counsel said this started out where she and her lawyer were demanding a huge financial settlement…I don’t remember a number…But then he said because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement.” When van Susteren asked how much money was involved, Cain said, “Maybe three months’ salary. I don’t remember. It might have been two months. I do remember my general counsel saying we didn’t pay all of the money they demanded.”
By Tuesday, the candidate’s story changed again:
… he said in an interview with HLN that it was “in the vicinity of three to six months.”
He was, again, incorrect:
The National Restaurant Association gave $35,000 — a year’s salary — in severance pay to a female staff member in the late 1990s after an encounter with Herman Cain, its chief executive at the time, made her uncomfortable working there, three people with direct knowledge of the payment said on Tuesday.
By Wednesday, even Cain’s memory of his memory seemed faulty:
“… even though I hadn’t had 24 hours to process exactly what I was going to say or I hadn’t had 24 hours to try to recollect some of the details, I wanted to go out in front of it.”
Cain admitted that he wasn’t totally blindsided by the news because his campaign was made aware the story might break 10 days prior… “Could we have started earlier so that I would have been better prepared to be more crisp with responses? Yes, but I still didn’t want to wait because I wanted my supporters to know that I was not about to duck this issue.”
Oh, so it’s just a crispness issue, then? Got it. Just one more thing about this story that makes me think of toast.
TWO:”I know just what you mean, Herman. May I call you Herman?”
If you’ve never checked out The Daily Caller, a website co-founded by former bow-tied-but-now-tieless-asshat Tucker Carlson and former Dick-Cheney-policy-adviser-and-thus-epitome-of-all-that-is-evil-in-this-world Neil Patel, let me spare you the aggro and spare them the hit.
Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a virulent pox on the nation’s body politic in her own proud right, is a regular contributor to The Daily Caller. Just yesterday evening, she sat down with Herman Cain for a little chat. In response to the first question – “Are reporters setting you up to be ‘guilty until proven innocent’?” – Cain responded:
“That is the D.C. culture… guilty until proven innocent.”
After swatting away a question about his recent comments on nuclear-power-since-1964 China seeking nuclear capability, Cain rendered a classic “guilty until proven innocent” judgment on Attorney General Eric Holder over the Operation Fast and Furious affair:
“I have not followed it close enough to say that I want to pile on, but I happen to believe that 30 Congressmen can’t be wrong, in terms of the determination that they have made that suggests that it may be better for him to step down. I trust those 30 Congressmen and the analysis that they have done.”
Oddly, Ginni Thomas’s questions don’t actually appear in TheDC’s video clips, nor is there even an indication that she was in the same room as Herman Cain, but I have no doubt that she personally conducted the interview and deserves every penny of the thousands of dollars she was probably paid for it, and that every bit of that remuneration will be declared by her husband on his mandatory financial disclosure forms, just as he’s always done. Continue reading Take Five (Black Walnut Toast edition)