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Ed Driscoll

Monthly Archives: January 2010

President Barack Costanza Obama

January 29th, 2010 - 1:59 pm

Back when Senator Obama named Joe Biden to be his running mate in 2008, there was only one logical explanation: Obama was channeling George Costanza’s “Opposite Theory.” Why else would Mr. Hopenchange, such a cool, cutting edge guy, choose such a boring establishment guy to be his veep?

Without mentioning the Seinfeldian Universe directly, Victor Davis Hanson writes that little has changed:

All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if “truth” is a mere problem of lesser mortals.

But remember, he’s not an ideologue!

(But if everything he says is the opposite of what is true…? Axelrod, coordinate! Axelrod, coordinate!)

Related: “I Can’t Decide Which Quote From The President Was More Unbelievable.”

Just another dispatch from the files of Police Squad!

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Related: Michael Knox Beran on “Obama’s Schizophrenic Politics –A deeply incoherent State of the Union address and the most riven presidential mind since Nixon’s.”

But remember, he’s not an ideologue!

Wait, Aren’t The New Dark Ages Here Already?

January 29th, 2010 - 1:18 pm

The Necronomicon — pick up your copy today!

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(Via Abdul Alhazred John Hawkins of Viral Footage.)

Filed under: Muggeridge's Law

Kurt Warner Retires

January 29th, 2010 - 12:19 pm

Details via AP:

The 38-year-old quarterback announced his retirement from the game on Friday after a dozen years in a league that at first rejected him, then revered him as he came from nowhere to lead the lowly St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowls, winning the first of them.

Written off as a has-been, he rose again to lead the long-suffering Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl a year ago.

Warner walked away with a year left on a two-year, $23 million contract, knowing he still had the skills to play at the highest level.

He had one of the greatest postseason performances ever in Arizona’s 51-45 overtime wild card victory over Green Bay on Jan. 10, but sustained a brutal hit in the Cardinals’ 45-14 divisional round loss at New Orleans six days later.

Warner leaves the game with a legacy that could land him in the Hall of Fame even though he didn’t start his first game until he was 28.

Class act. Though I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an even older QB back on the field (possibly for another team) this fall.

Filed under: Run To Daylight

Or as Greg Pollowitz quips, “I Was For John Edwards Right Before I Was Against Him.”

Jake Tapper writes,’”This Isn’t the Person I Campaigned With Back Then,’ Kerry Says of Edwards, Per Source:’”

A source close to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., says the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee has reacted with sorrow to the scandalous personal behavior of his former running mate, former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC.

In July 2004, Kerry announced that Edwards would be his vice presidential running mate, saying, “I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America [about as well as Kerry does -- Ed] …a man whose life has prepared him for leadership and whose character brings him to exercise it.”

Kerry said that Edwards, “like me, is blessed with a remarkable wife: a strong, brave woman, Elizabeth Edwards. And Teresa and I will be proud to stand with the Edwards family…Anyone who knows them — and America will get to know them — knows that this is a family that loves each other and loves America. He has honored the lessons of home and family that he learned in North Carolina. And he brings those values to shape a better America together with all of us.”

On 20/20 on Friday, former Edwards aide Andrew Young will speak exclusively to ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff regarding his upcoming memoir, “The Politician,” an insider account of Edwards’ pursuit of the presidency and the scandal that brought him down. Young gained notoriety when he falsely claimed to be the father of Rielle Hunter’s baby and then welcomed Hunter into the home he shared with his wife and three children.

Since the story of Edwards’ affair with Hunter broke, Kerry has been asked if in 2004 he saw any signs whatsoever of the duplicitous if not pathological behavior of which his former chum is capable.

“This isn’t the person I campaigned with back then,” Kerry has privately said, according to the source.

It isn’t? If this item by Paul Mirengoff of Power Line back in 2007 is true, then Kerry shouldn’t have been too surprised by Edwards’ duplicity:

It isn’t exactly news that John Edwards is a phony, but I suppose it’s news that John Kerry considers him one. According to Michael Crowley of the New Republic, Bob Shrum, Kerry’s campaign manager, will report in a forthcoming book that Kerry had qualms about choosing Edwards as his presidential running mate in 2004, and became “even queasier” after Edwards said he was going to share a story with Kerry he had never told anyone else. The story was that after Edwards’ son, Wade, had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home and hugged his body and promised that he would do all he could to make life better for people.

According to Shrum,

Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before — and with the same preface, that he’d never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn’t pick Edwards unless he met with him again.

Apparently, though, Edwards’ chilling insincerity was not seared in Kerry’s consciousness because, as we all know, Kerry went ahead and selected Edwards to be his running mate. Shrum says Kerry came to regret this decision, thinking that he should have followed his “gut” and gone with Richard Gephardt.

Chilling insincerity? Why would that concern Kerry?

Related: “Edwards aide’s book details trail of hush money.”

Update: Mickey Kaus, who did much to push L’affaire Edwards into the spotlight, while the L.A. Times was in full “keep rockin’” mode, writes:

Gawker Buries the Lede … well, the second lede, anyway:

Up until he discovered the DVD, says one of our sources, Young’s devotion was typical of the “cultish” fervor Edwards brought out in his staffers. This is why, says our source, who is close to Hunter, major media organizations could not stand up the affair story despite well-intentioned efforts. “They [staffers] would do anything to stop it coming out — they lied, they bullied, they called reporters’ editors and bad-mouthed them, they exchanged access.”

There’s your story! What aides told what lies and bullied and bad-mouthed whom? Names please. It wasn’t only John and Elizabeth who lied. …

Can’t answer the first part of the question, but I know one “reporter” who said he felt bullied — and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fella:

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As Ace wrote in early August of 2008:

The media has two jobs here, which I’ve been seeing all day.Job One: Reassure the public you knew all about this and are hardly surprised, because you don’t want them to think you’re so out of the f***ing loop this snuck up on you. So everyone’s in “Oh, of course I knew, it was all so obvious!” in-the-know cool-kid mode.

Job Two: The trickier one– attempt to explain how it can be you knew all about this but didn’t report it, or bother to do the minimum threshold of follow-up. Bear in mind, the National Enquirer is a small outfit. When they assign three or four people to a story, that’s a substantial fraction of their entire component of reporters and photographers.

It’s nothing for a network news organization to assign three or four people to a story — they’ve got hundreds of unpaid interns chomping at the bit to do something besides edit and fetch coffee, for God’s sakes. So even if they didn’t want to send a reporter, they could have sent a dozen recent graduates out there to get the story… which they would have gotten. This was not exactly a Phillip Marlowe murder mystery here.

Note that Job One and Job Two are basically impossible to square in any satisfactory manner. But they’re quite righteous and smugly self-complimentary about both.

In this video, David Shuster lets everyone know he knew allllll about this way before the Iowa primary, but failed to report on it — or, apparently, follow up at all — because “credible sources” within John Edwards’ camp assured him the story was garbage and that he’d be embarrassed to report it.

“You’re only as good as your ‘sources’ are,” Shuster says. Well, Dave, your sources are apparently s***, buddy, and you’re so f***ing credulous, stupid, or in the tank you deem them “very credible.” So I guess you’re not that good, eh?

Unable to let it stand there — with David Shuster looking pretty bad — he goes on to say how goshdarn angry he is about being lied to by his very credible people/crochet club buddies.

It’s their fault, you know.

Which is odd.

Edwards’ people were just doing their job. They did their job well.

It was Shuster who failed to do his job.

Why are they to blame? They never held themselves out as disinterested parties or objective observers. They’re supposed to be invested in their client’s/friend’s future.

Which dovetails with a much more recent story that MSNBC’s ace reporter — in sharp contrast to the Edwards affair — wasted no time getting in front of. Perhaps a Tweet or ten too far, but still, I’m sure that happened to Mencken and Murrow all the time, too.

As Tim Graham writes, “CNN analyst Paul Begala sure likes creating what liberals call a ‘climate of violence:’”

A week after insisting Barack Obama should deck Scott Brown on the basketball court — “throw him an elbow under the hoop” — he appeared on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report and joked about how Obama’s “going to clock John Boehner right in the face.”

They told me that if I voted for John McCain, it would just mean four more years of jingoistic cowboy rhetoric — and they were right!

The Boston Herald reports that the GOP’s Scott Brown, Massachusetts’ newest senator, is scheduled to be seated by February 11th:

U.S. Sen.-elect Scott Brown is expected to be seated in the U.S. Capitol by Feb. 11 despite past precedent that had U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) seated within two days of her election.

Brown isn’t concerned about the sluggish approval process because Washington, D.C., pols have promised not to try and ram through health-care reform before he’s officially sworn in.

“Scott appreciates that both President Obama and (Senate) Majority Leader (Harry) Reid (D-Nevada) have said that no major action will be taken on health care until he is sworn and seated,” said Brown’s campaign manager, Eric Fehrnstrom.

OK, fine. But at Big Government, SusanAnne Hiller asks, so why is Paul Kirk, his liberal predecessor, still voting in DC?

The Senate has voted on three pieces of legislation today that required 60 votes–to raise the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion, to reduce the deficit by establishing five-year discretionary spending caps, and Ben Bernanke’s confirmation–all of which interim Senator Paul Kirk (D-MA) has voted on. In addition, there have been other Senate votes since Scott Brown was elected as Massachusetts senator that Kirk cast a vote.

The main question here is: why is former Senator Kirk still voting on these legislative pieces? According to Senate rules and precedent, Kirk’s term expired last Tuesday upon the election of Scott Brown. Furthermore, Massachusetts law can be interpreted, according to GOP lawyers, as:

Based on Massachusetts law, Senate precedent, and the U.S. Constitution, Republican attorneys said Kirk will no longer be a senator after election day, period. Brown meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements in the Constitution to qualify for the Senate. “Qualification” does not require state “certification,” the lawyers said.

Additionally, as reported in the Weekly Standard and investigated and confirmed by GOP lawyers:

Appointed Senator Paul Kirk will lose his vote in the Senate after Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts of a new senator and cannot be the 60th vote for Democratic health care legislation, according to Republican attorneys.

As Hiller asks, “Why is the GOP allowing the Democrats to blatantly violate Senate and election rules and laws? Where is the GOP leadership? Will Kirk’s votes stand?  Massachusetts voters deserve an explanation as does the rest of the country for this blatant abuse of power.”

Pajamas Gets Results!

January 28th, 2010 - 6:06 pm

Ronald Radosh writes this morning on his Pajamas Express blog: “Historian Martin J. Sklar Makes the Case for Eric Holder’s Impeachment” for holding the trial of Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan.

There’s a 99.9995 chance this is entirely coincidental, but still, we might as well have some fun with this: the New York Daily News reports this evening, “White House orders Justice Department to look for other places to hold 9/11 terror trial.”

One of Ace’s co-bloggers suggests a possible location:

It’s not a done deal yet and this clowns could double down on stupid but this isn’t exactly how the day after the State of the Union was supposed to go.

If they are looking for suggestions, might I suggest this naval base we have in Cuba? I hear it’s lovely there this time of year.

You don’t say.

Update: Or maybe not. According to Fox News’ Major Garrett on Twitter, “Obama still committed to civilian criminal trials for KSM and co-9/11 defendants. [the question] now, or soon will be, [is] where.” Particularly since, “Military charges against 9/11 plotters have been dropped, ruling out military commissions. No timeline yet to resolve talks on alt NYC site.”

Related: “Obama to NYC: Drop Dead. Slowly.”

Updating The James O’Keefe Story

January 28th, 2010 - 1:41 pm

Patterico writes, “CBS News and the L.A. Times Owe O’Keefe Corrections and Clarifications:”

As I noted last night, the Washington Post yesterday retracted its claim that the feds are charging James O’Keefe with an attempt to bug Mary Landrieu’s phones:

Earlier versions of this story incorrectly reported that James O’Keefe faced charges in an alleged plot to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The charges were related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system. The headline incorrectly referred to a plot to bug the phone and a caption incorrectly referred to an alleged wiretap scheme.

Click over for screen caps of CBS calling O’Keefe’s actions a “Watergate-Style Break-in”, as did the L.A. Times (bolding below via Patterico):

James O’Keefe’s latest caper

Filmmaker James O’Keefe III is 25, meaning he was born about 13 years after five men were arrested for trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington. The subsequent scandal, which led to the resignation of the burglars’ boss, President Richard M. Nixon, was fodder for history books by the time O’Keefe was old enough to read them. Chances are, he didn’t.

O’Keefe, the Internet “journalist” who became an overnight sensation after his undercover reports revealed unethical behavior by the liberal activist group ACORN, now finds himself in the middle of his own bugging scandal.

Patterico responds “Uh, no, he doesn’t. As has now been made clear by someone in law enforcement:”

A law enforcement official says the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls.

Today, Andrew Breitbart was “interviewed” by David Shuster on MSNBC. If you’d like to watch the two them yelling at each other for eight minutes, click here. But as Ace writes, why is an “objective” journalist getting into a shouting matching with a declared partisan?

Breitbart goes right after him. There seems to be more to this clip, but we begin with Breitbart, as usual, going after a liberal like Michael Moore after a Krispy Kreme donut-tasting class.

Again: How is it that a supposed objective journalist so easily finds himself arguing with partisans?

Doesn’t it sort of take a partisan to get into a shouting fight with a partisan?

On Twitter, I just observed that David Shuster is the real sin at MSNBC. Olbermann and Maddow and Matthews are jokes, but they are commentators, and all commentators have an agenda.

Shuster, however, continues posing as a “reporter.” A reporter? The ass**** who grinned his stupid ass off as he made 30 rude references in a row regarding the word “tea bagger”?

Olbermann and Matthews are entitled to their opinions — this is the paradigm of cable news.

But what the hell is this “reporter” doing airing them all of the time?

He’s not a reporter. He’s a small-market shock jock they send to cover hurricanes and car-chases.

He should be taken off the reporter beat immediately and made a guest commentator. Lord knows he could never carry his own show.

But Shuster sure can carry a Twitter feed, can’t he*? At Big Journalism, Breitbart compares and contrasts Shuster’s tweets with the email he sent Andrew inviting him on for their warm and cordial conversation: “How David Shuster Lied to Get Me to Appear on MSNBC.”

Allahpundit notes the guest that Shuster had on immediately after his “interview” with Breitbart:

Needless to say, this is the stuff cable news dreams are made of. Oh, almost forgot: Right after Breitbart was cut off and this segment ended, Shuster brought in Eric Boehlert of Media Matters to play a few minutes of softball about what a shady guy Breitbart is. If you follow AB’s Twitter feed, you know that he regularly taunts Media Matters — and Boehlert particularly — for propagandizing for the left. I’m sure having him on here and giving Breitbart no chance to respond to him was pure coincidence.

* Even Shuster’s bosses at MSNBC have called him on his Tweet first, presume the suspect is innocent later style. But then, he’s not the only “objective” journalist at MSNBC to let it all hang out on Twitter, of course.

Related: “Shuster Jumps Shark, Shark Promptly Devours Shuster.”

And Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), has a little fun with MSNBC as well: “What an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make….You’ve got to have some integrity on your side of this camera, too.”

Update: “Correction Request: New Orleans Times-Picayune”; “Correction Request: Newsweek.”

Related: “David Shuster: Superfreak!”

Update: From Patterico: “Lawyer: O’Keefe & Co. Trying to Embarrass Landrieu Over Ignoring Calls Re Health Care.”

Truly, No Other Man Could Do It Justice

January 28th, 2010 - 11:29 am

Through a little judicious editing, Cuffy Miegs presents Obama’s response to his State Of The Union address:

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Meanwhile, a reader of the Corner notes that Obama’s upturned jaw is made of glass:

Obama hates being ridiculed.

At 48:45 on the cspan feed, Republicans laugh when he says the freeze will start next year. Obama pauses, clinches his jaw, and adds the off-script line “that’s how budgeting works.” Then Democrats laugh back at the Republicans and applaud.

If you saw the fox feed, it was on the tight shot when he said it. I remember being struck at how angry his face looked, much like it did after Joe Wilson’s comment last year.

That’s his greatest weakness. Republicans should just start laughing at him and making jokes.

Why not? It’s worked wonders before.

This Just In

January 27th, 2010 - 9:57 pm

“Mr Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted.”

– Bob Herbert of the New York Times.

Joe Wilson and Sam Alito could not be reached for comment.

Update: Former Bush #43 speechwriter Michael Gerson explores “Obama’s reality problem:”

Barack Obama has lost his promise. He has lost his momentum. He has lost his touch. He has lost his filibuster-proof Senate majority. He has lost his first year in office.

Tonight, he lost his grip on reality.

Which dovetails pretty well with the Hertbert quote above. It’s bipartisan consensus!

What Obama Can’t Bring Himself To Say

January 27th, 2010 - 9:07 pm

Bill Kristol (in the Washington Post) on the two words that Obama can’t bring himself to say about Iraq — We Won:

President Obama says he is “not interested in re-litigating the past.” Well, I am — at least to this extent: Would it have been too much for the president of the United States to have acknowledged and paid tribute to a truly remarkable recent American achievement — turning around the war in Iraq and putting that war on course to a successful outcome?

Here’s what Obama did say about Iraq:

As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as president. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. We will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: this war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home.

That’s it: “This war is ending.” But it’s ending in a certain way — with success. It could have ended with failure. Success rather than failure in Iraq has made a big difference elsewhere in the Middle East — including in Iran. Of course Obama didn’t allude to the possibility — let alone embrace the prospect — of regime change in Iran. But that possibility exists, and it exists in part because of the relative success of freedom and democracy in Shia-governed Iraq next door.

Yet Obama can’t bring himself to say that we prevailed in Iraq. He did say that “tonight, all of our men and women in uniform — in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world must know that they have our respect, our gratitude, and our full support.” But he won’t say that we are grateful for their victory in a war where defeat would have been disastrous.

As Bill McGurn, one of the former president’s speechwriters wrote in January of 2009 in the Wall Street Journal:

In a few hours, George W. Bush will walk out of the Oval Office for the last time as president. As he leaves, he carries with him the near-universal opprobrium of the permanent class that inhabits our nation’s capital. Yet perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on.

Here’s a hint: It’s not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush’s disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.

One year later, McGurn’s take is still looking spot-on.

Above quote from Jim Geraghty, via the Anchoress, who adds:

You know, one could argue that President Bush “inherited” Al Qaeda from Bill Clinton, who did little-to-nothing in response to all of Al Qaeda’s provocations throughout the 1990’s and unto the USS Cole bombing. But never, not once, did Bush ever say, “I inherited this…” It’s time for Obama to become a man.

Of course, Bush could have also mentioned what else he inherited, and the Democrats’ pivot away from it, but, for better or worse, didn’t as well:

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Related: Geraghty now admits “I Was Completely Wrong About Barack Obama…”

Mark Halperin: Obama Sounds Like Dukakis

January 27th, 2010 - 7:46 pm

As Mark Finkelstein of Newsbusters writes, “Call it the unkindest Dukakis of all . . .”

In the pre-SOTU kibitzing, Game Change co-author Mark Halperin, having read released excerpts of the speech, says it reminds him of the man in the tank, Michael Dukakis.

Halperin, who prefaced his punch by professing his respect for PBO et. al, was reacting to Andrea Mitchell, who claimed to hear echoes, of all people, of Ronald Reagan in PBO’s remarks.

MARK HALPERIN: I have great respect for the President, for David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs.  I confess, I come here telling you I have no idea what they’re doing. The way they’ve set this up, based on the excerpts that have been released.  If they have a strategy to change the game, I cannot discern it.

ANDREA MITCHELL: I’m suspending my disbelief, because from these excerpts, this is Barack Obama as Ronald Reagan.

HALPERIN: I see what Andrea means about the Reagan stuff in here.  I see as much Michael Dukakis in these excerpts.

Obama as Dukakis? Huh. Never saw that one coming:

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Update: And also from the wonderful world of MSNBC, despite an 70-minute SOTU by the president that probably seemed like 70 hours to some in the audience, Chris Matthews walks away with the soundbite of the evening.

Update: The Professor on Matthews:

Good grief. Why is this guy still on the air? Oh, wait, he’s not — he’s on MSNBC . . . .

Heh, indeed.™

Elsewhere, Lori Ziganto borrows a riff from another frequent on-air “personality” at the GE-owned network: “All I have to say, really, is: Dude. Your racism is totally showing. Straight up.”

The Semiotics Of The Anointed

January 27th, 2010 - 6:22 pm

The New Republic explores “Obama in the Balance”, asking, “How does this president handle a crisis?”

Thus far, the answer is not at all encouraging. The current crisis is the election in Massachusetts of Scott Brown, now the forty-first Republican senator. His arrival in Washington has sent Democrats into panic mode–fearful that they too will be swallowed by a seething electorate–and caused many of them to flee in the other direction from health care reform. In short, Barack Obama faces a moment where his presidency just might collapse or, rather, risks heading into a wilderness where it would accomplish next to none of its ambitious goals.

Of course, just as the allusion’s to the Goracle’s cri du coeur implies, it’s not a real crisis — Scott Brown, moderate New England Republican poses no existential threat to the nation. It’s an entirely self-inflicted one to the president, in which, once again, the ideology of the far left, and actually having to govern a center-right nation are proven to be entirely incompatible tasks. (See also: Bill Clinton, who ran to the right of President Bush #41 on numerous issues, attempted to govern from the hard left, and then skedaddled back to the center once the GOP gained control of both houses of Congress in 1994 due to the skewed center of gravity he himself had created.)

obaprompter_1-26-10Ann Althouse and the Anchoress explore the topic of Obama’s state of mind these days further, along with the semiotics of his presidency’s visuals. Let’s start with the former, who incorporates content from the latter in her post:

The Anchoress asks:

Is he clinging to his podium and teleprompters because he has lost his protective shields and does not trust himself without them? The starry-eyed adulation of the press has simmered down to a mere gaze of hopefulness and longing, accompanied by the barest of criticisms, and Obama translates that as the press being “against” him.

She’s analyzing a lot of those photos at the WH Flickr page:

… I keep seeing these awful White House approved photos, and they daily jar me because they seem to reveal the president in very unflattering, troubling ways, like the work of an obsessed and Obama-hating photoshop expert.

They are mostly unflattering when seen by people who don’t like Obama — admittedly, that’s an increasing group. People who like him look at those pics and think they are wonderful.

And this reminds me of something I was saying the other day about liberals. Liberals — I’m generalizing — are so engulfed in their belief that they are the good people, the smart people, that they forget to step back and look at things from the perspective of people who don’t agree with them.

Which dovetails nicely in a perceptive essay from Ace of Spades from 2007, that I may have linked to recently, but is worth revisiting in any case, titled, “The Toxic Self-Delusions of the Liberal Psychology:”

Liberals have a particularly large gulf between their cherished self-image and their realistic self-awareness. Everyone has this to some extent, of course. I’m not saying it’s unique to liberals, just that they often seem to have an especially big gulf between their idealized view of themselves and a more grounded self-assessment.Again, I don’t want to claim that liberals have cornered the market on inflated self-opinions. However, it seems to me that conservatives have far less reservation about admitting they often act due to simple self-interest. Oh, we’re not eager to offer that admission. But because we believe that human beings are inherently flawed — and on this point religious cons and non-religious cons agree, although not for the exact same list of reasons — we’re less hung-up about admitting we act in our own self-interest for no particular greater good or noble purpose.

Liberals have a big-time hang-up with this. Try extracting this admission from a liberal sometime even in the most nonthreatening way. Most will simply not admit it. Or it will take you two and a half hours you’ll never get back.This is, it hardly needs be said, an enormous bit of self-deception on the part of many liberals. (Generally, the less humorous ones, which is most of them; the funny ones, seeing the flaws of humans (including themselves) more clearly have a much easier time with this.) They have a large amount of self-esteem riding on the proposition that they act almost entirely selflessly and thinking only of others in their daily lives.

I’m not saying they’re more selfish than conservatives. I’m just saying there’s a much larger gulf between their actual level of selfishness and their admitted level of selfishness. Their emotional investment in their presumed near-zero level of mercenary impulse causes them to verge more wildly from reality on this point.

Indeed, many liberals seem to believe they have already pretty much acheived the Buddhist ideal of Nirvana, the complete self-abnegation of the soul so that the world is viewed entirely objectively, from an angle’s high-above-it-all point ov view, rather than subjectively, down on actual planet earth competing and striving against millions of other people doing the same. If you don’t believe me, ask them “Would it be preferable to save an American’s life or a foreigner’s?” They will usually decline to express a preference because the destruction of the self and joining of the universal oversoul admits of no feelings of tribal or sectarian loyalties whatsoever; they can’t say “I choose the American if I’m forced to choose” without admitting they haven’t quite attained Nirvana yet.

For serious Buddhists, it’s not hard at all to admit the non-attainment of the ultimate metaphysical state of Nirvana — it’s supposed to be hard, and can take a lifetime. (Or, you know, several lifetimes.) But liberals have this notion that believing in liberalism is itself a very efficient shortcut to that exalted state of emptiness of ego. A Kerry-Edwards bumper-sticker gets you pretty much as far as a lifetime of devotion to the teachings of Krishna.

And speaking of Edwards, nothing demonstrates the disparity between his internal worldview and reality than these  quotes from two people who perhaps spent the most amount of time on the campaign trail with the Silky one:

[Rielle Hunter] told him that he had “the power to change the world,” that “the people will follow you.” She told him that he could be as great a leader as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.

* * *

“S–t, they love me — they would do anything for me,” John Edwards would say after getting a big donation, Young writes. If refused, he would say, “What the hell — why are they wasting my time? I’m going to be president. I don’t have time for this s–t. Everyone wants to give me advice. I don’t want their advice. I want their money.”

Young says Edwards is an Atkins-dieter who hated making appearances at state fairs where “fat rednecks try to shove food down my face. I know I’m the people’s senator, but do I have to hang out with them?”

That last line sounds more than a little reminiscent of Harry Reid’s infamous quote in December of 2008, after the Capitol Visitors Center and its air conditioning system were upgraded:

“My staff tells me not to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway,” said Reid in his remarks. “In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”

So let’s tie it all together. Both the New Republic’s insistence that Scott Brown’s emergence represents a “crisis”, and the disparity of Obama, Edwards, Reid and other leftists between their vision of the anointed (to coin a phrase), and how they actually function back here in reality. As James W. Ceaser wrote earlier this month in “The Roots of Obama Worship” at the Weekly Standard:

Postpartisanship, we are told, never meant anything as mundane as dealing with the other party. It referred instead to working with those who embrace the consensus of the new era. It therefore explicitly excludes the bulk of the Republican party, which comprises those who cling stubbornly to their theology and metaphysics. Only those elements that have adapted or evolved qualify as potential postpartisan partners. The standard for inclusion is not an expression of popular will, but criteria supplied by the idea of progress. What has made many Americans increasingly suspicious of the office of leader of Humanity is their growing perception that it rests ultimately on contempt for the people.

The conflicting demands of the Religion of Humanity and the presidency of the United States have become most apparent in the administration’s approach to dealing with the threat of Islamic terrorism. The Religion of Humanity, by its own reckoning, admits to facing challenges from two quarters: from those who have not yet fully entered the age of Positivism, which includes the terrorists, and from those who are part of the advanced world but who refuse to embrace it, which includes the likes of George W. Bush. In the present situation, these two groups are understood to have a symbiotic relationship. The existence of the terrorists is regrettable, not only because of the physical threat that they pose, but also because, by doing so, they risk strengthening the hand of those in the West who reject the Religion of Humanity. Supporters of the Religion of Humanity therefore believe they have good reason to deny or minimize the danger of terrorism in order to save the world from the even greater danger of the triumph of the retrograde forces. This is the dogmatic basis of political correctness, and Obama and his team have gone to considerable lengths by their policies and by their use of language to hide reality. But reality has a way of asserting itself, and it is becoming clearer by the day that being the leader of Humanity is incompatible with being the president of the United States. No man can serve two masters.

Scott Fitzgerald’s belief in what constitutes a first-rate intelligence to the contrary.

Update: And speaking of the semiotics of the anointed

Related: From Steve Green’s SOTU drunkblogging soiree: “‘I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.’ Okay. Except you embraced the competence of Jimmy Carter & Herbert Hoover”

As the Rhetorican writes, it’s a case of “Taking Credit for Failure”

The STRATFOR’s Scott Stewart expands nicely on what I was tweeting about: “Claiming credit for failed attacks orchestrated by others and trying to latch on to the fight against Israel are just the latest signs that al Qaeda is trying almost too hard to remain relevant.”  Give it a read.

Of course, Al Qaeda’s relevance and the terrorist threat to our country are two different things.  The latter is not a function of the former.  You don’t have to be a “member” of Al Qaeda to be a Jihadi terrorist, either.

And it’s worth linking to this again, for further residual good news from what was once called the War on Terror.

Related: Michael Totten on “Why They Hate Us: Middle Eastern Politics and the Principle of the Strong Horse.”

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Photo Of The Day

January 27th, 2010 - 1:46 pm

While you’re waiting for the SOTU (rumor has it that our resident libationist will be drunkblogging it), found via Maggie’s Farm:


No word yet what Tim Blair thinks of this, or if it’s been Outback Border Patrol-approved yet.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Hide The Giant Decline For All Mankind

January 27th, 2010 - 11:48 am

We choose to fight global warming. Err, climate change. We choose to fight global warming — err, climate change in this decade and do the other things, not because they are hard, but because they are easy, because that goal will serve to protect our bureaucracy without having to actually accomplish anything, because that lack of challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to waste plenty of time on, to protect our phony-baloney jobs.

Actually going back to the moon? Ehh, not so much.

A Bush Too Far

January 27th, 2010 - 11:16 am
News of the War on Terror and the former president you might have missed from the MSM:

On the other hand, the New York Daily News had George W. Bush  being cheered whilst attending the Saints/Vikings NFC Championship game, when, as everyone who watched the game knows, it was his father. Whoops!

Tom Shales NBC’s The End

January 26th, 2010 - 11:48 pm

Never let it be said the Washington Post’s veteran liberal TV critic doesn’t dare to think big:

NBC is no longer owned by RCA; it’s owned, for now, by General Electric, a company that has been an ill-suited, penny-pinching guardian — sort of like Nicholas Nickleby’s. If current plans are approved, meanwhile, NBC will soon pass into the mighty clutches of Comcast, the giant cable conglomerate. Sadly enough, Comcast is much less interested in the NBC Television Network than in all of the little niche cable networks that NBC owns: USA Network, Syfy, Telemundo and more.

Might the trademark “NBC” be retired and the TV network become just another cog in a large, empty capitalist apparatus — one that plops out leisure-time product with the slick, chilly efficiency of an assembly line? It’s possible that Comcast could be even more tightfisted an owner than GE and that NBC might be the first network to prove that the whole idea of broadcast networks really is over. It could prove it by dying.

No wonder NBC has bled the Law & Order franchise dry, and returned middle America-pleasing Jay Leno to the Tonight Show to stem its ever-shrinking audience, as once mass mediums continue to fracture. But since NBC once asked the rest of us to turn our lights off, it’s only fair that they finish the job themselves.

I’m sure Gaia will thank them.

“Ah, Yes — There It Is”

January 26th, 2010 - 11:11 pm

Marty Peretz worries, “Maybe I’m Getting Paranoid … About Obama”:

I’ve just read the transcript of the president’s remarks about Haiti, the ones he made on January 15. He noted that, in addition to assistance from the United States, significant aid had also come from “Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others.” Am I missing another country that truly weighed in with truly consequential assistance? Ah, yes. There it is. Right there “among others.” Yes, the country to which I refer is “among others,” that one.

The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. The Israeli field hospital was the only one on the ground that could perform real surgery, which it did literally hundreds of times, while delivering–as of last week–at least 16 babies, including one premature infant and three caesarians. The first 250-odd Israelis were real professionals, and they were supplemented by others, also professionals. And to these can be added the many organized Jews from the Diaspora who, in solidarity with Israel, also went on a work pilgrimage, an aliyah, in solidarity with Haiti.

It’s not that Israeli participation in the Haiti horror was being kept secret. I myself saw it reported several times on television—on ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN.

So didn’t Obama notice? For God’s sake, everybody noticed the deep Israeli involvement. I understand that Obama doesn’t like Middle East narratives that do not contain “one side and the other side” equal valence. But he couldn’t have that here. The Arabs don’t care a fig, not for their impoverished and backward own, and certainly not for strangers. That’s why their presence in Haiti amounted to a couple of bucks from Saudi Arabia and maybe from some other sheikhs.

Meanwhile, regarding a more pressing issue that also emanates primarily from the Middle East, Jonah Goldberg posits that “it’s time for Obama to look at terrorism differently.”

Call me cynical, but such a course correction might just require more than 50 minutes to accomplish.

Related: While Peretz worries about The One’s take on Israel, the Anchoress asks, “What Does Obama Like About America?” And Fausta Wertz boils the argument down to its essential question.