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KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Rudy Is Right: Barack Obama doesn’t even like America.

Questions about patriotism and love of country are, according to our self-appointed referees, out of bounds, déclassé, boob bait for bubbas, etc. Those are questions that we are not allowed to ask in polite society. Why? Because polite society does not want to hear the answers.

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign events — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc.

A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it. Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question.

Though it’s one that our media folks might have done a better job exploring in 2008.

But here’s why Democrats, and their media protectors, are so unhappy with this question with regard to Obama in particular: It turns 2008 on its head. Obama’s appeal in 2008 lay in no small part in xenophilia: We’re so open-minded, we’re not just electing a President with a Muslim-sounding name, we’re electing a President with the same name as our most recent wartime foe! It let people feel enlightened, and progressive.

But all those differences that seemed so appealing can quickly flip into grounds for suspicion, especially when the object is behaving suspiciously. After all, if — like me — you believe in evolution, you might think that xenophobia, as such a well-established human trait, must have had beneficial functions: Maybe the xenos couldn’t be trusted, or even expected, to have the polity’s best interests at heart. Maybe, when people start getting worried about the polity’s future, those novel characteristics that once seemed so appealing now seem threatening. So while there’s a general reason the establishment wants to take the patriotism question off the table — patriotism is unsophisticated, and so limiting — there’s also a specific reason, which is that it’s something Obama’s vulnerable on right now, and it’s something the establishment can’t afford to cast Obama loose on, for reasons internal to its coalition.

But of course, the more they attack Giuliani on this, the more attention they draw to it. And even those who are, at first, repelled by Giuliani’s argument may find doubts lingering, and perhaps even growing, as they look at Obama’s presidency in a new light. . . .

And what are those reasons internal to the coalition? Williamson explains:

There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans, and it has a name: Holden Caulfield. He is adolescent, perpetually disappointed, and ever on the lookout for phoniness and hypocrisy. His is the sort of personality inclined to believe in his heart the declaration that “behind every great fortune there is a great crime.” (He also believes that this is a quotation from Honoré de Balzac, whose works he has not read, when it fact it comes from Richard O’Connor’s The Oil Barons: Men of Greed and Grandeur.) He believes with Elizabeth Warren that the economy is a rigged game based on exploitation and deceit rather than on innovation, productivity, and competition. He believes with Barack Obama that the only reason (e.g.) Staples does not pay its part-time associates more or schedule them for more hours is so that it can pad its executive pay and protect its “billions” in annual profits.

(He believes that Staples, whose financials he has not read, makes “billions,” when in fact it does no such thing.) Say an admiring word about Steve Jobs and he’ll swear that there are four-year-olds working 169 hours a week in Chinese sweatshops producing iPods at the point of a bayonet. He believes that most people get into Harvard and Yale because they have influential parents (that’s the University of Texas, unfortunately), that rich Americans mostly inherit their money (in reality, about 15 percent of their assets are inherited, less than for middle-class families), that the U.S. goes to war abroad to enrich contractors at home, and that the entire history of Latin America must be understood through the prism of the United Fruit Company’s maneuverings in 1954.

Give Holden Caulfield a television show and you’ve got Chris Hayes.

Barack Obama has a great, big, heaping dose of Holden Caulfield in him. That and chutzpah: When as a candidate he was in trouble because of his association with the racist lunacy of the Reverend Wright, he responded by giving the American public at large a lecture on racism and its culpability therein, while his minions began proclaiming that the only reason to oppose this politician with the racist associates was — presto-change-o! — racism.

Yep. Read the whole thing.

THOU SHALT NOT CONTRADICT THE NARRATIVE, ESPECIALLY WITH ICKY PATRIARCHAL FACTS: Angry protesters denounce George Will at MSU; called ‘rape denier,’ backs turned. Hey, they’ve been turning their backs on the truth for a long time. But the biggest joke: signs stating “rape is not a pawn to be politicized.” Uh huh.

Even more delicious: “At Michigan State’s ‘alternative ceremony,’ one speaker was professor Ruben Parra-Cardona, associate director of MSU’s Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. Ruben, in a speech, criticized Will for seeing sexual violence ideologically. The scholar also checked his own privilege.”

Related: Charles C.W. Cooke: Does Truth Matter to the Feminist Left? The reactions to the unraveling of the Rolling Stone story suggest not. “Where most readers accepted with alacrity the possibility that Sabrina Erdely could have got it wrong, the tireless archaeologists of our supposedly ubiquitous ‘rape culture’ took to remolding their position every six-and-a-half minutes and to carrying on in public like a bunch of frothy peanut-gallery-voyeurs at a backwoods 17th-century witch trial. Just a few short weeks ago, when Rolling Stone’s story was almost universally believed to be true, we were urged to read each and every sordid detail of the case so that we might better acquaint ourselves with the broader problems that are presented by ‘rape culture.’ Today, as the story continues to collapse, the opposite view is regnant, and the very same people who pointed excitedly to Erdely’s work now contend that we should not be focusing on an individual case such as this in the first place.”

PETER SUDERMAN: Jonathan Gruber is a Liar. Was He a Liar Under Oath?

He seems to have spoken “glibly” on multiple occasions.

As The Hill notes, in a late 2010 lecture to students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Gruber is a faculty member, he talked about the health law and described his role in its creation, saying, “Full disclaimer: I’m going to describe it objectively, but I helped write it.”

In another 2010 video, captured by C-SPAN and posted at Townhall, Gruber also noted his bias in favor of the law while claiming to have helped write it. “Once again, unabashed, I helped write the federal [health care] bill as well,” he said. That remark was made the same month that Obamacare was signed into law.

Two years later, Gruber hadn’t changed his story. In a now-infamous 2012 lecture on the law’s health exchanges at Noblis, Gruber not only said that states that don’t set up exchanges don’t have access to tax subsidies, he also referred to the “the one bit of the bill I actually wrote.”

The issue isn’t whether those statements were glib. It’s whether they were true. (Notably, when asked by Rep. Scott Desjarlais (R-Tenn.) whether other embarassing videotaped statements were lies or not, Gruber would only say that his remarks were “glib and thoughtless and really inexcusable.”)

There is no way to reconcile his multiple past statements with the statements he made this week while under oath. Either Gruber spent two years lying about his role in writing the law, or he was lying this week in his sworn congressional testimony.

Will the statute of limitations run before Attorney General Kurt Schlichter takes over DOJ under President Cruz?

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Health Care to Suppress Wages Even More.

Forget the raise: health care will cut even more into the paychecks of many American workers next year. . . .

When Sen. Chuck Schumer sought to distance himself from the ACA he said that the timing for the law was wrong because “and if health care costs were going up, it really did not affect them.” That continues to be untrue. Even if you get insurance from your employer, the lost wages are significant. Anyone who tries to downplay the seriousness of the health care problem is missing the reality of costs that eat more and more into American incomes. In 2009, for example, David Goldhill calculated that even on conservative estimates, a company would put a little under $2 million towards an employee’s health care plan over the course of an employee’s career. If you are concerned about wage stagnation, you have to be concerned about health care.

Related: Gruber Took The Measure Of The ACA:

Gruber’s attempt to downplay his role in the ACA is unconvincing, for reasons we suggested here. But the most damning comments by Gruber were not his “glib” words about the American public but his accurate analysis of the Affordable Care Act. For instance, in one of the videos that became controversial, Gruber is taped saying “What the American public cares about is costs. And that’s why even though the bill that they made is 90% health insurance coverage and 10% about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control.” That is not glib; regardless of whether you think the law was sold deceptively in the way Gruber suggests, his understanding of the law’s focus on coverage over cost is correct. Whether or not Gruber was “the architect” of the law, whether or not his more noxious comment can fairly be associated with the law, he understands the law—and that is damning enough.

It’s damning stuff all the way down.

I THINK THE “TORTURE REPORT” RELEASE WAS SET FOR TODAY TO DISTRACT PEOPLE FROM THIS: Prez health care architect Jonathan Gruber to feel heat at hearing.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber — the gaffe-prone MIT professor who boasted that Democrats purposely deceived the American public about the health care law — is expected to break his silence this morning in a much-anticipated congressional hearing Republicans predict will undo the Affordable Care Act.

“This is the beginning of the unraveling of Obama-care,” U.S. Rep John Mica (R-Fla.) told the Herald. “The hearing clearly will focus on the deception, some of the false information given to both the American public and the Congress in instituting it and getting it passed. … It may not be the repeal, but the rewriting of it and looking at how we can cover more people with less bureaucracy and less federal mandates.”

Gruber, an MIT economist who also sits on the Massachusetts Health Connector board, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner are slated to testify at a congressional hearing called “Examining ObamaCare Transparency Failures” before the GOP-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today.

Recently surfaced videos of Gruber bluntly stating that Obamacare passed thanks to a purposeful lack of transparency and the “stupidity of the American voter” gave critics new fodder for their feud with the White House. . . .

Democrats, meanwhile, are treating Gruber like political poison. A lawyer for the Obama administration last week asked committee chairman Darrell Issa for Tavenner to testify separately from Gruber, according to a report from Politico. The unusual request suggests the Obama administration is deeply worried about Tavenner and Gruber being photographed sitting side by side.

Relax guys. The press will cover for you. They don’t want to be on the receiving end for another of Obama’s profanity-laden diatribes.

UPDATE: Tea Party Group To Greet Gruber Wearing “I’m With Stupid” T-Shirts.

STEPHEN MILLER: Memo To Reince: Enough is Enough. Boycott NBC and ABC. “ABC and NBC have instituted a three-week blackout — on network broadcasts, websites and social media pages — of the devastating admissions of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. The ACA architect repeatedly boasted of deceiving the American public about legislation that cost six million people their family doctor. This should be the final straw in any relationship the GOP and RNC leadership has with these networks, period. No more debates, no more appearances on ‘Meet The Press,’ ‘Morning Joe,’ or ‘This Week’ on ABC. . . . Boycott both NBC and ABC over failing to report on Gruber’s revelations and put CBS on final notice over the revelations that they coordinated with the Obama administration to tank Sharyl Attkisson’s Benghazi reporting. Network news is a dying religion becoming more ideologically rigid, forgoing any attempt to stay relevant in a media landscape that no longer needs them. Leave them behind. We’ve already shown that it works. Marginalize them and label them progressive news outlets and make them live by it. MSNBC came out of the progressive closet fully earlier this year and their ratings and web traffic got worse. Air America is no more and Current TV is now an unloved stepchild Al Gore gave away for oil money.”

UPDATE: A reader points out that ABC News did cover Gruber, though, of course, not in the saturation-bombing way they would have covered it if parties were reversed.

YOU’VE BEEN GRUBERED! If You Like Your Obamacare Health Plan, You Can Keep It, If HHS Doesn’t Pick a New One For You. “Here’s a Friday Obamacare news-dump for you: In a 300-page regulatory proposal released late this afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is considering changing Obamacare’s auto-renewal rules so that, within the health law’s exchanges, instead of being automatically renewed into your current health plan, you’d be moved into the lowest cost plan from the same service tier. . . . It’s not just auto-reenrollment. It’s auto-reassignment. Basically, if you like your plan, but don’t go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan—perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options—for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There’s always next year. A hassle? Maybe. But have faith: They know what’s best.”


On Wednesday, Portland, Ore. police arrested Terrence Patrick Bean, who has been charged with two felony counts of having sex with a minor last year. This man is not just any old guy accused of having sex with a 15-year-old – he’s a big-money Democratic donor and liberal political activist with connections inside the Obama White House. Bean raised more than a half-million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. . . .

A search of the Federal Election Commission’s campaign-finance database turns up thousands in donations every cycle by Bean to the Democratic Party’s most powerful leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Barney Frank, among others. Photos of Bean posted online show him flying on Air Force One with Obama.

Although this report is in USA Today, I assume the major TV networks — which haven’t even covered Jonathan Gruber — will give this story a pass. Remember: Making sure you know what they want you to know is job #2 for them; making sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know is job #1.

DAVID DAYEN: Why Gruber-Gate Is So Devastating To Democrats. “The growing impression that politicians don’t play straight with their constituents is completely toxic, particularly to Democrats, who actually want to use government to improve people’s lives. It’s one thing to downplay unpalatable choices made in the law; it’s another to never disclose the consequences of legislation until it’s too late for anyone to react. Combine that with the moustache-twirling of a Jonathan Gruber, saying that the idiots should be happy for what they got, and you have basically every conservative stereotype about liberal elites confirmed.”

JAMES BOVARD: The Closer Intellectuals Get To Power, The More They Deceive.


So let me finish by noting what I actually find disturbing about the whole Gruber episode. It is not that voters aren’t particularly well-informed; voters could not possibly be well-informed about all the issues that our government deals with. No one can be, which is why, when people ask me my opinions about foreign policy nowadays, I say, “I don’t know. Looks like a hard problem to me.”

Nor is it that politicians lie to voters. We reward them for lying, because we want to be told that we can have everything we want, plus a pony, and the only cost will be that some undeserving layabout will get their benefits cut off, or some very rich person we don’t like will have to sell the second yacht and pay higher taxes instead. We should not be surprised when they tell us exactly that. I’m not saying that I approve of this, mind you; I’m just saying that the way to stop it is not to tut-tut at the politicians, but for voters to stop demanding that they give us the pretty moon.

No, what really disturbs me is the sight of so many journalists acting like insiders. . . .

That politicians should try to exploit the accounting rules was inevitable; that is what people do with accounting rules. I’m not saying that’s what the rules are for, or that they do no good; I’m just saying that about eight seconds after your rules are made, some bright Johnny will start figuring out a way to game them.

What is not inevitable is that journalists should effectively sanction this by saying it’s no big deal. We don’t have to get elected, after all. And those politicians and policy makers aren’t our bosses; the reading public is. We shouldn’t act like we’re part of the insider clique that decides what other people need to know — no, worse, that decides what other people do know. If we knew this all along and voters didn’t, that doesn’t mean voters don’t have a right to be outraged. It means that we’ve lost track of whose side we’re on.

On the contrary, I think it means that most journalists have chosen a side, and are sticking with it come hell or high water.

Related: ABC, NBC Nightly Newscasts Now 10 Days into Ignoring Gruber Scandal.

CHARLES BLAHOUS: Gruber and Barro Are Wrong to Assume the Public is Stupid. “Jonathan Gruber, Josh Barro and others are trying to persuade you that others’ failures of integrity, analysis, and policy design are your fault, simply for wanting a better healthcare market. Do not believe them. They are wrong on the ethics and wrong on the substance.”

THE PALACE GUARD MEDIA ARE STILL AT WORK: Major media mostly giving Gruber ‘stupidity’ videos the silent treatment.

Half a dozen videos have exploded online showing Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber calling the American people stupid, but most major media outlets are downplaying the controversy or portraying it as little more than partisan Republican noise.

Only a handful of major news organizations have devoted significant coverage to Gruber’s “stupidity” remark and his other admissions, including his saying the law’s “lack of transparency” was key to its passage by Congress and that the measure was vaguely written so the Congressional Budget Office would not score it as a tax.

The Washington Post and CBS News have published several stories on the Gruber videos, but they have also downplayed his role in writing Obamacare and focused a great deal on the GOP’s response to the controversy in partisan terms.

As a result, the Post’s reporting has included these headlines: “Did Jonathan Gruber earn ‘almost $400,000’ from the Obama administration?” “Obamacare consultant under fire for ‘stupidity of the American voter’ comment,” “Despite what Jonathan Gruber said, Romneycare didn’t ‘secretly’ rip off Medicaid” and “GOP’s anti-Obamacare push gains new momentum in wake of Gruber video.”

Kristine Coratti Kelly, Vice President of Communications for the Washington Post, said in an email to the Washington Examiner that she disagrees with the notion that the news group has focused too much attention on the GOP’s reaction to Gruber’s comments.

“[W]e have done a great deal of reporting on the matter covering a wide variety of angles,” she said.

Meanwhile, CBS News has focused on the Republican reaction:

“[W]hen the bill was being written, the administration paid Gruber almost $400,000 for technical advice on drafting the law,” CBS reported Thursday. “Republicans, for their part, turned Gruber into an all-important player.”

Other CBS Gruber headlines have proclaimed “GOP gets more fuel in fight against Obamacare” and “Found footage fuels GOP’s fight against Obamacare.”

ABC News’ sparse Gruber coverage included this headline: “How Little-Known MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber Shook Up Washington This Week,” which ignored Gruber’s prominent role in crafting the law.

NBC News, for its part, has all but ignored the story, with only a discussion on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” penetrating the blockade.

Coverage has also been light among the nation’s most widely circulated newspapers.

They’ve got too much invested in Obama to report honestly on him.

SEAN DAVIS: It’s Time For Leftist Gruber Truthers To Give It A Rest. “Gruber was an Obamacare architect who helped draft the law. This is a fact regardless of whether it’s currently convenient for the Left.” Nonsense. Things that are inconvenient for the left aren’t “facts.” They’re things “Republicans claim.”

NEW WHITE HOUSE SPIN: Those Gruber Videos About How We Were Lying To You In 2009? They’re From Way Back In 2009!

HEY, DON’T LAUGH — BY DARWINIAN STANDARDS, HE’S A BIG WINNER: Memphis Man Reportedly Fathered 26 Children But Reportedly Remains At Large With Child Support Violations In Multiple States.

WAIT, A REPORTER ASKING A REAL QUESTION? YOU CAN SEE WHY THEY WOULDN’T KNOW HOW TO RESPOND. Reporter’s Gruber question prompts Obamacare flack’s eyeroll.

THE PROBLEM WITH CAMPUS RAPE POLICY HAS REACHED THE PAGES OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, WITH JED RUBENFELD WRITING: “They are simultaneously failing to punish rapists adequately and branding students sexual assailants when no sexual assault occurred.”

BYRON YORK: GruberGate Shines Spotlight On ObamaCare Profiteers.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi declared that Obamacare was a jobs bill? “It’s about jobs,” Pelosi said in 2011, during a news conference to mark the first anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act. “Does it create jobs? Health insurance reform creates 4 million jobs.”

Like many other promises about Obamacare, that hasn’t worked out. But there is no doubt that Obamacare created a lot of work for at least one American — MIT professor Jonathan Gruber. Gruber’s frank admissions that he and others deceived the public about Obamacare have drawn a lot of attention in recent days. But the money that Gruber made from Obamacare raises yet another issue about his involvement in the project. Throughout 2009 and 2010, he energetically advocated a bill from which he stood to profit. And when it became law, the money rolled in.

In 2009, as Obamacare was moving its way through Senate committees, Gruber, who had achieved a measure of fame as the architect of Romneycare in Massachusetts, was a paid consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services. In March of that year, he received a contract for $95,000 to work on the project, and in June he received a second contract to continue that work; it was worth $297,600. Together, they comprise the “nearly $400,000” that critics have said Gruber received to work on Obamacare.

But after the bill became law, Gruber made a good deal more from it. The Affordable Care Act provided for states to set up exchanges to sell taxpayer-subsidized insurance coverage. For those states that chose to do so, exchanges would have to be built from the ground up. Studies would have to be done. Contracts would be let.

Just another argument for my revolving-door surtax!

HEH: “For five years, Republicans have been searching for the perfect messenger to speak out against Obamacare. They have finally found him. His name in Jonathan Gruber.”

HEY, THESE POSSIBILITIES AREN’T MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE, YOU KNOW: The Nancy Pelosi possibilities: lying, suffering from serious memory loss, or a facade whose power is exercised by unelected others.

Plus: “A sign of the times: Lefty website FireDogLake attacks: ‘Trying to pretend Gruber had no part in crafting Obamacare or that you have never heard of him despite considerable evidence to the contrary does sound like someone who is relying on a lack of transparency and the stupidity of the American voter – doesn’t it?'”

Related: Lefties Deceive As They Try to Distract from Gruber’s Praise of . . . Deceit. “This is who they are and this is what they do.”

KEITH HENNESSEY: ObamaCare Architect, MIT Economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber’s Honesty About Lying. Quoth Gruber: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass. It’s a second-best argument. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

See, they have to lie about their policies, because if they told the truth no one would support them.

SO NOW IT’S THE 13TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Back then, InstaPundit was shiny and new new. Now it’s not, and some people have been warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

This year, as in most past years, it’ll be blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have much new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well. Which is too bad.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.

Now, of course, with the Syria debacle last year, leading into this year’s Iraq rerun, it seems like we’ve gone from tragedy to farce and back to tragedy. Are you feeling the hope and change? I’m not.

God bless America. We need it.

TYLER COWEN: The Real Import Of The Gruber Fracas. I like this from the comments: “All I can say is, if you’re going to pass a law with zero bipartisan support, you should be very careful in the drafting, since they aren’t likely to help you out if you muck it up. In this case, haste and arrogance is biting them in the ass.”

USA TODAY: ObamaCare Court Defense Crumbles: Key Affordable Care Act architect tangled in his conveniently changing story..

In other words, Congress did mean to use the subsidies to overcome state resistance and pressure them to set up their own exchanges. That is precisely what the plaintiffs in Halbig asserted. Of course, Obamacare’s supporters didn’t anticipate that the backlash against the law would be so intense that 34 states would actually decline the subsidies, almost as an act of civil disobedience.

On Friday morning, an embarrassed Gruber insisted to The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, “I honestly don’t remember why I said that… I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake.”

But a second speech, this time in the form of audio, surfaced this morning in which he makes the same claims before the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco at around the same time. In it, Gruber actively acknowledges that should if states revolt en masse, they’d bring down the law. But, he said, that he had enough faith in democracy to believe that even the states that didn’t like Obamacare would eventually succumb to the “ultimate threat” that “if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.”

Gruber would like everyone to ignore, not just the plain text of a law that he had a major hand in crafting, but also the plain meaning of his own words explaining why the law was written the way it was – not once, but at least twice.

Who is being “screwy” and “really criminal” here?

They took a crappy bill that they hadn’t read, they rammed it through on a party-line vote using a budget-reconciliation technicality, then they did an “I won” victory dance. Now it turns out the bill sucks and they’re blaming Republicans for not stopping them.

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE — ME, OR YOUR LYING EARS? Gruber: My 2012 remarks were “a speak-o — you know, like a typo.”

This answer is not a “speak-o” any more than the statutory language on subsidies and exchanges was a “typo.” Gruber explained the coercive policy correctly and in detail, along with the stakes involved in seeing the coercion succeed. It’s not a case of just using the wrong terminology, like “market” instead of “exchange.” Gruber clearly understood the statute at this time — in January 2012 — to provide the arm-twisting needed to get states to launch their own exchanges by stiffing consumers in states without them, which would then create more pressure on those states to get them the federal subsidies that they were funding but not receiving.

That is exactly what the plaintiffs argued in Halbig, and what the court ruled to be the intent of Congress as well as the statutory reality of the ACA. Just because that arm-twisting policy failed in its goals doesn’t mean it wasn’t deliberate, rational, and very much a part of the ObamaCare strategy then, and it doesn’t make it a “typo” now — or a “speak-o” either.

You can watch the video and see if it seems like a “speak-o” to you. More background here.

UPDATE: And here’s Gruber saying the same thing on another occasion. Meanwhile, Vox has been spinning the “mistake” angle. Oops.

See, the problem with Ezra, Gruber, and these other lefty “wonks” is that a real wonk is supposed to (1) understand the policy better than anyone else; and (2) care about getting the policy right more than about partisan political posturing. Double fail, here. But then, Ezra’s having a bad year.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more on Gruber. “I’ll just add that for all the left-wing pundits who called the plaintiff’s arguments in Halbig vs. Burwell ‘ridiculous’ and such, I’ll gladly barbecue some crow for you.”

MORE: Making the rubble bounce.

DIVORCE, BELTWAY STYLE: The Democratic breakup that exposes Washington’s rotten core.

The documents, which you can read below, did not become available to the rest of us until yesterday. They tell stories not only of a May-December romance gone sour, but of how obscene wealth can be amassed through rent-seeking and influence-peddling in Washington D.C., and of the hoary means by which the princelings of the capital and their consorts maintain and grow that wealth. They tell stories not only of an ugly divorce, but of the power of lobbying, of how one family maneuvered to the center of the nation’s dominant political party, of the transactional relationships, gargantuan self-regard, and empty posturing that insulates, asbestos-like, the D.C. bubble.

That the broken couple now uses the tools of their trade—the phone-call to a friend, the selective leaking of documents, the hiring of attorneys, the launch of a public-relations campaign—against one another is more than ironic. It is fitting. Tony and Heather Podesta reached the pinnacle of wealth and influence in Barack Obama’s Washington. Now they, like he, are in eclipse. . . .

Corporations give to Democratic politicians, avoiding the scrutiny of liberal attack dogs in the media and nonprofit sectors, and enjoying the ego boost that comes with being on the “right side of history.” Then those corporations hire the Podestas to get them out of the Rube Goldberg traps the Democrats have enacted into law. John’s innovation was to establish a corporate-funded think tank where the burdensome policies would be concocted, and whose staff would go on to man the regulatory agencies that put their wool-headed ideas into practice. And to whom do the corporations turn when they find themselves on the receiving end of all this uplift, all this do-goodery, all this progress, hope, and change? Why, to the man in the red Prada loafers, and to his flamboyantly patterned wife.

Read the whole thing.

MORE RUBES SELF-IDENTIFY: Unions Suffer For ObamaCare:

The first problem is that Obamacare regulations are already pushing up the cost of multiemployer insurance plans. Moreover, many of the regulations don’t really fit the plans — for example, many multiemployer plans do not distinguish between single and family policies, offering everyone the same insurance at the same cost.

The second problem is that the 40 percent excise tax on especially expensive plans — the so-called Cadillac tax — is going to hit union plans especially hard. Unlike most people negotiating compensation, union negotiators make an explicit trade-off between wages and other benefits, and the benefit that they seem most attached to is generous health plans. Union plans are made more expensive still because union membership is heavily skewed toward older workers. They are thus very likely to get hit by the Cadillac tax, which takes effect in 2018.

And the third problem is that Obamacare undercuts one of the key benefits of being in a union. Take a low-wage service worker who is currently insured through her union’s multiemployer plan. If she went to work for a nonunion shop, she could get a substantial wage hike, use part of it to buy a heavily subsidized exchange policy, and still be better off. As I heard one expert say, Obamacare turns health insurance from an organizing tool to a disorganizing tool.

Oft evil will shall evil mar.

JAMES TARANTO: 1930-Something: Old-school leftists are unhappy with Obama’s America.

Reed disdains what he calls “the cult of the most oppressed,” the idea “that there’s something about the purity of these oppressed people that has the power to condense the mass uprising. I’ve often compared it to the cargo cults. . . . As my dad used to say, ‘If oppression conferred heightened political consciousness there would be a People’s Republic of Mississippi.’ ” (This all seems a bit out of place in Salon, whose usual stock in trade is exotic identity-based grievances. Last week the site ran an article by Randa Jarrar, an Arab-American novelist, titled “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers.”)

Conservatives share Reed’s and Frank’s aversion to identity politics, though of course for different reasons. They (we) see it as anathema to the classical liberal ideas of individual freedom and equality of opportunity. Reed pointedly rejects what he calls “a neoliberal understanding of an equality of opportunity.”

What Reed wishes for instead, in his Harper’s article, is a radical “redistributive vision,” which “requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement.” There’s more than a bit of nostalgia here: He opens by observing that the left “crested in influence between 1935 and 1945, when it anchored a coalition centered in the labor movement,” and that “at the federal level its high point may have come in 1944, when FDR propounded what he called ‘a second Bill of Rights,’ ” including “the right to a ‘useful and remunerative job,’ ‘adequate medical care,’ and ‘adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.’ “

What we actually have is a coalition of Wall Street — they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing — and gentry liberals, with enough minorities included as electoral fodder to provide key votes. But look who’s getting richer these days. It’s the .1 percent. A few rubes are just starting to catch on.

THE RUBES ARE CATCHING ON: The Uninsured Are Turning Against Obamacare. That’s A Problem. “Fifty-six percent of those who identified as uninsured in a new poll conducted in February by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a research institution, had an unfavorable view of the health care reform law, compared to just 22 percent who said they view it favorably. The uninsured now see Obamacare less favorably than they did when the enrollment period began in October. As recently as September, more uninsured approved of the law than disapproved.” Well, that was before people knew it was a train wreck.


Watching Season 2 of “House of Cards.” Not to be a scold or humorless, but do Washington politicians understand how they make themselves look when they embrace the show and become part of its promotion by spouting its famous lines? Congressmen only work three days a week. Each shot must have taken two hours or so—the setup, the crew, the rehearsal, the learning the line. How do they have time for that? Why do they think it’s good for them?

“House of Cards” very famously does nothing to enhance Washington’s reputation. It reinforces the idea that the capital has no room for clean people. The earnest, the diligent, the idealistic, they have no place there. Why would powerful members of Congress align themselves with this message? Why do they become part of it? I guess they think they’re showing they’re in on the joke and hip to the culture. I guess they think they’re impressing people with their surprising groovelocity.

Or maybe they’re just stupid.

But it’s all vaguely decadent, no? Or maybe not vaguely. America sees Washington as the capital of vacant, empty souls, chattering among the pillars. Suggesting this perception is valid is helpful in what way?

I don’t understand why members of Congress, the White House and the media become cooperators in videos that sort of show that deep down they all see themselves as . . . actors. And good ones! In a phony drama. Meant I suppose to fool the rubes.

Or something.

THEY NEED IT EVEN WORSE THAN WE DO: European Tea Party Movements On The March.

According to The Economist, this “insurgency is doing well partly because the mainstream has done so badly. Governments encouraged consumers to borrow, let the banks run wild and designed the euro as the pinnacle of the European project.” And “in the past five years ordinary people have paid a price for these follies, in higher taxes, unemployment, benefit cuts and pay freezes.” As a result, more Europeans are viewing the modern state as being “designed to look after itself, rather than the citizens it is supposed to serve.”

Uh oh. The rubes are catching on. And the term “global superclass” aptly summarizes the ambitions of transnational progressivism.


There’s a simple explanation for that one, too. Birmingham is one of those cities that shuts down at the faintest hint of snow. Again, this isn’t because we are rubes who wonder why God’s tears have turned white and fall slower. It’s because the city does not have the infrastructure in place to handle snow, and is self-aware enough to realize it. If you don’t know how to swim, just stay out of the pool. Easy.

This time, though, the city did not shut down. Schools were open. Places of business kept businessing. That’s because as of Tuesday morning, we were being told that all that was coming was a light dusting.

That’s no disrespect to James Spann, who is a wonderful weatherperson and a bit of a local legend. But reports like that meant that when the snow actually started in earnest—and it became clear that it was going to stick—people were in offices and kids were at school, instead of being at home like they normally would.

That, in turn, meant that everyone was trying to get home at the same time, on snowy, icy roads that had not been treated, in cars that do not have four-wheel-drive (why would they?). These are, for the most part, people who do not drive in snow very often, which means that accidents like this one were common.

We got off much lighter here in Knoxville, but it was the same thing, basically: When I went into work, my weather app showed a 30% chance of light snow. By late morning it was already getting icy. I canceled my class and wound up being glad I did. Personally, I have four-wheel drive and snow-rated tires (they’re only all-seasons, but they’re good ones) and I know how to drive in the snow. I got home okay, but a lot of people had problems — and, of course, it doesn’t matter how good your car is, or your driving skills are, if you’re stuck behind jackknifed semi.

SO NOW IT’S THE 12TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Twelve years ago, InstaPundit was new. Now it’s not, and some people are even warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

This year, as in most past years, it’ll be blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have much new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well. Which is too bad.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.

Now, of course, with the Syria debacle, it seems like we’ve gone from tragedy to farce. Obama tried to channel W. last night, but he didn’t have it in him, and Syrian gas attacks on Syrians aren’t the same as Al Qaeda attacks on Americans. But a farce, however farcical, at least isn’t a tragedy. Yet, anyway.

HEY, RUBE! “As a Democrat, I am disgusted with President Obama” – Leading New Media Guru Jeff Jarvis. “Did I mention that Jarvis voted for Obama?”

ACLU TO OBAMA: “We are tired of living in a nation governed by fear.”

Under President Obama, the United States is “a nation governed by fear,” the American Civil Liberties Union says in an open letter that echoes the criticisms Obama has made of George W. Bush’s national security policies.

“[W]e say as Americans that we are tired of seeing liberty sacrificed on the altar of security and having a handful of lawmakers decide what we should and should not know,” the ACLU writes in a statement circulated to grassroots supporters and addressed to Obama. “We are tired of living in a nation governed by fear instead of the principles of freedom and liberty that made this nation great.”

It’s strange to read in light of Obama’s disavowal of Bush. “[T]oo often — our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions,” Obama said in 2009. “Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And in this season of fear, too many of us — Democrats and Republicans; politicians, journalists and citizens — fell silent.”

The ACLU is circulating that statement in response to the Justice Department’s efforts to prosecute Edward Snowden.

Hey, Rube!

YA THINK? Obama’s Scandals Help the Tea Party, Hurt His Friends.

President Obama had big plans for this second term, but they’ve been pulverized by a slew of controversies that have erupted all at once.

The White House’s defensive crouch only tightened after revelations last week about Top Secret government programs to track Americans’ phone and Internet activities.

In addition to justifying those programs, it must also resolve the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, satisfy inquiries into the death last year of four U.S. officials in the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack, and balance its claims of transparency with the Justice Department seizing the records of reporters at the Associated Press and Fox News who cover classified security issues. The president tried instead on Friday to sell Obamacare’s rollout as a success, yet he had to devote a fair share of his appearance in San Jose, CA to a reporter’s question about the government accessing phone and Internet records. . . .

Taken as a whole, these controversies have re-ignited the Tea Party movement, while also offending liberal supporters who believed that Obama would dismantle the national security state he inherited from George W. Bush.

Hey, rube!

HEY, RUBE! Americans Are Outraged Because in Voting for Obama, They Thought They Were Rejecting Bush. Meet the new boss, yada yada.

UPDATE: Heh. Obama’s Apology Letter To George W. Bush. “I am sorry that, as a United States senator and presidential candidate, I was critical of you about so many things I now, myself, am doing. . . . You can take heart that, even though I am a Democrat, I decided to keep going nearly all your vision and plans on national security and even take it to all-new levels.”

THE TELEGRAPH: Not superhuman Barack Obama, just a very naughty boy.

This, so Barack Obama used to say in his stump speech of 2008, “is not who we are”, and the thousands who ecstatically cheered that slightly glib line instinctively knew what he meant. “This” was shorthand for George W Bush, and for those oppressively dark and fetid corners of government activity with which his name was synonymous: Guantanamo Bay, drones, the surveillance powers granted to the state by the Patriot Act, and the other measures taken in response to the atrocities of 9/11.

As for the “we”, in its royal or imperial usage that of course meant “I, Obama”, but it also referred to the wide-eyed disciples who worshipped him as a deus ex machina, floating down from his Illinois Olympus to cast healing sunlight on all those dirty little nooks and crevices, and allow America to call herself the land of the free without inviting sardonic smirks.

Five years on, Guantanamo Bay survives, the teenage computer gamers of the US military guide ever more drones to deliver remote control destruction, and we now learn that the government’s use of electronic surveillance is so wide-ranging that the default adjective of Orwellian barely seems adequate.

There is no form of communication or online activity – phone calls, emails, web page visits, Skype, social networks, and so on – that the National Security Agency, under its Prism programme, may not follow as and when the fancy takes. It can track users’ activities in real time. Assuming it has the technical capability remotely to activate lap top cameras, the age of the telescreen has arrived.

Hey, rube!

MATT YGLESIAS SAYS 401KS SUCK. Instead he calls for “a much more forceful, much more statist approach to forced savings, whether that’s quasi-savings in the form of higher taxes and more Social Security benefits or something like a Singapore-style system where ‘private’ savings are pooled into a state-run investment fund.”

The problem is, those approaches suck, too. Social Security is going broke. If you want to see a pooled state-run investment fund, look at CalPers. It’s going broke amid horribly politicized mismanagement. And state-run pension funds are subject to all sorts of politicized investment decisions that have nothing to do with the interests of the pensioners. At least with 401k plans, the politicians aren’t involved — though I sense a political move to change that, too . . . .

Ultimately, there’s no magic solution to retirement savings, though a higher economic growth rate would help a lot. But the solutions being peddled all seem to involve putting more power into the hands of the people who have created the problems we face now.

UPDATE: A cynical take from reader John Koisch:

Do you get the feeling this is all battlefield preparation for Obama to start implementing his limitations on retirement savings? We never heard of this as a problem until Obama took office.

The real problem here is that, just as in Healthcare, my sense is that Bambi is going to turn to his friends, the “experts” to manage these funds on behalf of the state. And we will inevitably come across the 401K version of the IPAB … the group who removes funds from your account because of your 18% return and gives them to the other guy’s account who only got 5%.

The common theme in all of these is the co-opting of the corporate world. What government can’t do well, it borgs from the free-market. And when captains of industry face declining rates of return, they turn to the government to protect their fiefdoms and provide “guaranteed” rates of return. And the little guy and small business is left out of all of this … rubes.

Yes, if you’re not connected you get the shaft.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails this link: “It takes two words to show Yglesias’ statist approach is massively unwise: Chrysler bondholders.”

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): The Scary Thing Is That This Bad Jobs Report Wasn’t Even About The Sequester. It’s caused by the end of the payroll tax cut. Wait, does this mean tax cuts help employment, and tax increases hurt it?

UPDATE: Jobs Report? What Jobs Report? Hey Look, Gay Marriage!

We are, however, thrilled that we don’t have a Republican in the White House, because if we did, the press would be incessantly yammering about this bad news until we were all sick of it. As it is, they are likely to say as little as possible about what appears to be a massive failure of economic policy and go back to covering the really important issues, like gay marriage.

If a Republican president got very busy on social issues at a time of economic stagnation and disappointment, there would be earnest hand-wringing of the “What’s Wrong with Kansas” variety about how American rubes were being diverted from their true economic interests by the skillful manipulation of emotionally charged social issues and identity politics. This would be taken as a sign of the cynicism of the ruling party and the clueless credulity of the hypnotized voters.

Fortunately, we aren’t going to have to listen to any of that depressing rhetoric now. Social issues are good and important; economic questions like jobs and incomes and growth are a distraction from the real business of the people.

Indeed. Plus, from the comments: “Most important number: 63.3% labor force participation rate – lowest since 1979.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Administration’s Jobs Debacle.

MORE: Austan Goolsbee: Jobs Report A “Punch To The Gut.” But gay marriage!!!!

STILL MORE: March jobs number are ‘a punch to the gut’ as Americans flee workforce and young people lose optimism.

When Dow Jones asked a group of economists to predict the number of new jobs the US economy added in March, the average answer was about 200,000. Friday’s numbers, released by the US Department of Labor, were just 44 percent of that figure, an 88,000-job showing that paled in comparison to February’s 268,000 and represented the lower number since June of last year.

And although the official unemployment percentage figure decreased slightly from 7.7 per cent to 7.6 per cent, analysts say that only happened because, as in past months, so many Americans dropped out of the workplace entirely.

Young workers in particular are feeling the pinch of disappearing opportunities.

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?

NICK GILLESPIE: State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time?

Listen up, kids! Your parents are robbing your futures blind and you’re chumps enough not only to go along but to say – like the adorable title orphan in the classic baby boomer musical Oliver! – please, sir, I want some more.

From virtually every possible angle, Obama is helping to diminish the prospects for today’s younger generation. First and foremost, his response to the Great Recession – stimulus and the massive piling up of debt – is slowing the recovery. Ginormous regulatory schemes such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of huge new soul-and-bucks-sucking programs such as Obamacare weigh heavily on the economy now and in the future too. His refusal to discuss seriously old-age entitlement reform – Medicare and Social Security and the 40 percent of Medicaid that goes to old folks – is a massive storm front on the economic horizon. His preference for secrecy and overreach when it comes to executive power won’t screw young people as obviously as his economic policies, but when he leaves office in 2017, he will have created far more terrorists than he needed to.

Yet The New York Times reports that not only did 18-to-29-year-olds vote for Obama by far-higher-than-average percentages than folks over 30 years old, they believe that by far-higher-than-average percentages that the government needs to be doing more, not less. This, despite record levels of government spending and debt – and awful results – for the whole of the 21st century.

Hey, rubes! Related thoughts here.

BEN SMITH: Obama Prepares To Screw His Base: Young people re-elected the president. Now they get to pay disproportionately for ObamaCare. “The near-total silence on this issue is a mark of a class that is either utterly selfless (hard to believe, honestly) or, as usual, singularly bad at seeing and defending its interests.” Hey, rubes!

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION EXPERIENCING BLOWBACK ON ITS CAYMAN CAMPAIGN ISSUE: Cayman Islands investment snags Jack Lew nomination. “An investment Jack Lew made in the Cayman Islands has been flagged as an issue in the Treasury secretary nominee’s vetting by the Senate Finance Committee, according to multiple sources close to the confirmation process.”

Hey, the campaign’s over. You’re not supposed to take that stuff seriously. It’s just for the rubes!

HEY, RUBE! Obama Has Three Big Priorities This Term, and Ending the Drug War Isn’t One of Them.

OUR PRO-TORTURE PRESIDENT: Barack Obama’s Department of Justice Railroads CIA Torture Whistleblower Into Reduced Guilty Plea.

President Obama has said that waterboarding is torture, as has Attorney General Eric Holder, who runs the DOJ. Given that, combined with Obama’s repeated insistence that his administration must encourage whistleblowing, you would think that the administration, led by the DOJ, would celebrate a CIA agent who exposes such practices, and seek to punish those who carried them out.

Instead, we have the reverse.

Yeah, it’s like all that stuff was just a bunch of malarkey to fool the rubes or something. All the Democratic apologists who are still riding Obama’s bus might want to rethink. Oh, who am I kidding — they’ll want to avoid thinking about this at all. And, I predict, they’ll succeed entirely. Probably while saying something bigoted about Mormons.

SO HOW TO NOTE THE ELEVENTH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11? In the past I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party.

This year, as in most past years, I’ll just keep on blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have much new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.

You should also watch this memorial, made shortly after the attacks. It’s still quite powerful.

UPDATE: Sarah Hoyt: “Has it really been eleven years?” A must-read post that’s more about the present than the past.

GOTCHER “HOPE AND CHANGE” RIGHT HERE: Obama “Will Pivot to the Drug War” in Second Term, Claim Anonymous White House Sources.

Hey, rube!

UPDATE: Reader Alan LeWinter snarks: “How many terms needed before Obama pivots to the economy?” Heh.

HOW’S THAT ARAB SPRING WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Egypt’s Liberals: We Were Duped. “We met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Feb. 14, and they were very cute. They smiled and promised us many things and said, ‘You are our children; you did what we wanted to do for many years!’ Then they offered the same smiles and vague promises the next week, he said, and the next month after that.”

Over here, we use the term “rubes,” but “dupes” works just as well. . . .

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE’D SEE THINGS LIKE THIS IN THE NATION. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Assassin-in-Chief in the Oval Office. “Assassination as a way of life has been institutionalized in the Oval Office, thoroughly normalized, and is now being offered to the rest of us as a reasonable solution to American global problems and an issue on which to run a presidential campaign.”

Hey, rube! Feel the change!


The left was mostly raptured into political heaven four years ago when they elected Obama on bended knee. He spoke about things dear to their hearts: closing Guantanamo Bay. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Getting tough on bankers.

Guantanamo is still open. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, but the military presence remains. (Smacks of imperialism. That’s something the left hates as much as libertarians do.) Then there’s the president’s bit about getting tough on bankers. Where has the White House come down hard on Wall Street? Fuhgeddaboudit. This is New York!

More at the link.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, Glenn Greenwald would be mocking the White House for prosecuting leakers while engaging in self-serving, politically-motivated leaks itself. And they were right! Hey, rube!

HEY, RUBE! Rolling Stone: Obama’s War on Pot: In a shocking about-face, the administration has launched a government-wide crackdown on medical marijuana.

Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration’s high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush.

You f*cked up — you trusted him.


The American Catholic Church, from left to right, is now being handed a lesson in the hierarchy of raw political authority. One hopes they and their supporters will recognize that they have not been singled out. The federal government’s forcings routinely touch other groups in this country—schools, doctors, farmers, businesses. The church’s fight is not the whole or the end of it.

Since he appeared, no other word has been invoked more often to describe Barack Obama’s purposes than “transformative.” Last year, Mr. Obama began to be criticized by some of his supporters for being insufficiently transformative while holding the powers of the presidency—this despite passing the biggest social entitlement since 1965, an $800 billion stimulus bill, raising federal spending to 24% of GDP and passing the Dodd-Frank restructuring of the U.S. financial industry. Naturally an interviewer this week asked Mr. Obama why he hadn’t been more “transformative.” The president replied that he deserved a second term, because “we’re not done.” In term two, it will be Uncle Sam, Transformer.

Transformed into a place where what Washington wants matters more than what you believe.

Related: Eleanor Clift: Did Obama Pick The Contraception Fight To Fire Up His Base?

UPDATE: The Anchoress: You Bet It’s War.

Next: A requirement that mosques sell bacon.

MORE: Hispanics jumping Obama ship over contraception flap.

MORE STILL: A steaming pile of sexism from Hillary Rosen: “This public debate on whether or not the Obama administration’s sensible policy on covering birth control has turned into a boys against the girls fight. And the boys are out of touch and out of line.”

Shut up, boys. This issue is owned by women.

Related: Senate Democratic Women Are Boycotting Morning Joe. Join the club, ladies. Although for most of us, it’s not so much boycotting as forgetting it exists.

FINALLY: Another Rube Self-Identifies:

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan says President Barack Obama hasn’t kept his promise, when it comes to the new White House policy on contraception.

Sources told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer that Archbishop Dolan feels betrayed after his meeting with the president on the issue late last year.

“All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.”

HEY, RUBE! Obama Is on the Brink of a Settlement With the Big Banks—and Progressives Are Furious.

SO MUCH FOR THAT E-TEXTBOOK DEAL: Apple’s mind-bogglingly greedy and evil license agreement.

UPDATE: Reader David Rubenstein disagrees:

I have to disagree with your implication that Apple’s E-textbook deal is a bad deal for authors – and with the sentiment of the article you linked. That was my initial reaction when I originally learned the terms. But last night I watched the keynote product launch and changed my mind.

First, Apple is giving away the tool to create the e-textbooks. So they need to make money somewhere.

Second, watching how you can use the tool to create the textbook, it is clear that it is a tool for formatting rather than creation. (Though it can be used for both.) The text and images can (and should?) be created in other applications (such as Word, Pages, Keynote, etc.), then dragged and dropped into the new text book creating application for final formatting. Done this way, authors will not be precluded form selling the materials as dead tree text books, epub books, etc.

Based on this, why should Apple give the application away and then let you sell the final product elsewhere? Let others figure out ways to create quality e-textbooks on their own dime. But publishers should be smart enough to create their content in a way as to not tie it up with Apple – just the format. Now let Amazon and B&N create similar tools and launch an e-textbook arms race.

Just my two cents. And I reserve all rights to question the effectiveness of e-textbooks over the dead tree variety. Though I certainly would not have minded lugging fewer texts around with me back in the day.



6:11PM A SOPA question!

6:12PM Newt: “You’re asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood.”

I think Newt has been reading Instapundit.

6:12PM The GOP, by and large, is so RIGHT about SOPA — and techies will still give and vote overwhelmingly to Democrats who love SOPA.


6:14PM Every single candidate on this stage hates SOPA. Damnit, techies, what’s wrong with you?

6:14PM Excuse me. Rick Santorum only mostly hates SOPA.

And the techies will latch on to that as they write their checks to Obama 2012.

Rubes. But there’ll be fewer than in 2008.

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-HOLLYWOOD): Unbowed by protests, Lamar Smith to move ahead on piracy bill. He’s an honest politician: He stays bought.

UPDATE: Speaking of SOPA Phonies: Chris Dodd’s paid SOPA crusading. “It’s behavior like Chris Dodd’s that makes it rational not only to be cynical about our political culture, but outright jaded. What makes Dodd’s shilling for this censorship law so galling is that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, he postured as the candidate who would devote himself first and foremost to defending core Constitutional freedoms and civil liberties. When Dodd led the 2007 fight against warrantless surveillance and amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms as part of the FISA debate, I, along with several other blogs, helped raise close to $250,000 in a few days from small donors for his flagging presidential campaign. . . . Apparently, the person Chris Dodd scorned back then as someone ‘wanting to be president of a trade association’ was . . . Chris Dodd, who is now President of Hollywood’s trade association.” Hey, Rube!

A more serious point: You can scorn bought-and-paid-for shills for Big Media like Lamar Smith and Chris Dodd. But the real problem isn’t their lack of morals, but an oversized government that inevitably lures people with loose morals. When government has the opportunity to make or break industries, industries will find people to lobby it to make their industry, and break their competitors’. The solution is to return the government to its — much, much smaller — intended constitutional scope.


To recap: An American cop is dead because Holder’s BATFE sold weapons to known drug lords.

This dereliction of the most basic law enforcement responsibility – to promote the safety and property rights of Americans – would have led to Holder’s resignation already if he were any kind of man.

Here are two comments to the committee from the most prominent accessory to Brian Terry’s murder:

“Some people have not let facts get in the way.”

“I’m a big guy. I’ve been in Washington a long time.”

Holder is also using his testimony to make the case that you should not be able to have a gun yourself.

He makes a better case that we shouldn’t have an Attorney General.

UPDATE: Moe Lane says hey, rube! “Being a functional adult, I didn’t care for Tim Cavanaugh’s reasons for voting for Obama in 2008: so I don’t particularly care for Cavanaugh’s laughter at a situation in 2011 that he himself helped to create.”

Well, let’s hope a lot of other people who voted for Obama in 2008 are experiencing a similar epiphany about now. That’s me — glass-half-full!

Plus, give Cavanaugh credit, as he did admit that his reason for supporting Obama was “indefensible.” More than you knew, Tim. More than you knew. . . .

#OCCUPYFAIL: Chris Christie heckles ‘Occupy’ protesters in Iowa.

“Here’s the way I feel about it: They represent an anger in our country that Barack Obama has caused,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd. “He’s a typical cynical Chicago… politician who runs for office and promises everything and then comes to office and disappoints, and so their anger is rooted not in me or Mitt Romney, their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed in this hope and change garbage.”

Christie called them disillusioned and said he “feels bad” for them.

“Now they are angry but they’re not mature enough to know they should be angry with themselves,” he said.

In other words: Hey, rubes!

SO HOW TO NOTE THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11? In the past I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party.

This year, as in most past years, I’ll just keep on blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up.

Here’s a picture by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.

You should also watch this memorial, made shortly after the attacks. It’s still quite powerful.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Vinoski recommends this 9/11 column from John Derbyshire. “This is civilization versus barbarism.”

HOPE AND CHANGE: Obama Wins Nobel War Prize. “Among Obama’s list of war accomplishments, the committee highlighted Obama’s decision to double the number of troops and expand the number of private contractors in Afghanistan, as well as his dramatic escalation of drone strikes and targeted assassinations in Yemen and Pakistan. . . . Obama’s speechwriters are hard at work preparing the his acceptance remarks, and PolicyMic managed to obtain a preview of the speech from a source inside the White House. The president will begin by thanking congressional Democrats ‘for campaigning in 2006 on the antiwar agenda, and then turning around once in office and funding the war they claimed to oppose.’ He will also thank Congress for ‘stepping aside and allowing me to go to war in Libya without Congressional approval and once again approving the Patriot Act despite years of supposed opposition.'”

Hey, Rube!

JACK BALKIN: Hey, the Obama Administration is looking a lot like the Bush Administration on this whole War Powers Act thing. “Obama’s strategy, like Bush’s, also short circuits the normal process of seeking opinions from the OLC; it simply does so in a different way. . . . Obama came into office promising to reform the abuses of the Bush Administration and its manipulation of the OLC. The best way to do that is not to create entirely new abuses of one’s own.” They told me if I voted — oh, hell, that’s too easy.

Obama is, of course, not bound by the opinions of any lawyers in the executive branch other than himself. However, when he does this sort of thing he’s not able to hide behind such opinions, either. Which is why this sort of behavior by presidents is “extraordinarily rare.”

Meanwhile, Greenwald says the Obama lawyers are worse than the Bush lawyers:

That George Bush would knowingly order an eavesdropping program to continue which his own top lawyers were telling him was illegal was, of course, a major controversy, at least in many progressive circles. Now we have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping in a way that his own top lawyers are telling him is illegal, but waging war in that manner (though, notably, there is no indication that these Obama lawyers have the situational integrity those Bush lawyers had [and which Archibald Cox, Eliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus had before them] by threatening to resign if the lawlessness continues).

All I can say is, you expected respect for legal niceties from a Chicago machine politician? Hey, Rube!

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE’D SEE THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY EXPAND: And they were right! “Civil libertarians once looked to this president to right the constitutional balance. But what Obama has wrought is the same old ‘Terror Presidency’ with new rhetoric.” You were expecting a Chicago machine politician to support civil liberties? Rubes!

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN, THE FEDS WOULD BE USING SECRET LAWS TO SPY ON AMERICANS. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says. “Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a ‘dragnet’ for massive amounts of information on private citizens.”

Related: Patriot Act renewal too important to debate. Hey, Rube! Feel the change!

MICKEY KAUS: “The idea that President Obama is playing Latinos on the immigration amnesty issue has now become near CW. . . . It’s a good thing if Latino commentators and voters now feel Obama played them, because it’s true. . . . But the ‘we were played’ meme has also become an excuse that absolves Latino immigration activists of any culpability, avoiding the annoying need for introspection or self-criticism. To read Navarrette’s piece you’d think Latino pols and lobbyists were at worst innocent rubes (at best noble civil rights leaders) waiting for Obama to deliver long-sought justice–when they were cruelly and cynically betrayed.”

JED RUBENFELD: Yes, the Bin Laden Killing Was Legal. “Under any sane construction of the laws of war, his killing was lawful regardless of whether he ‘raised his hands in surrender’ or whether U.S. troops weren’t to give him the chance. . . . Most of the laws of war depend on a modicum of reciprocity: We give our enemy’s soldiers certain rights in the hope that they will do the same for ours. Men who make war on innocent civilians and behead their prisoners live by a different law. They should expect to die by it as well.”

RUBEN NAVARETTE: Six Reasons Why Latinos May Stay Home On Election Day.

Related: Mickey Kaus: Let’s Play Pretend:

Rosario Dawson, Eva Longoria and other “stakeholders“ “influential Hispanics” were at the White House yesterday ”in another behind-the-scenes effort to enlist support and build momentum” for President Obama’s “vision of immigration reform,” according to Jake Tapper. Unless Obama knows something I don’t know about Republicans in Congress, these meetings have a near-pathological air of unreality about them, as if they were taking place in an alternative universe in which the 2010 election didn’t happen.

That seems to be the case on a lot of fronts.

ADAM SERWER AND ELI LAKE ON BLOGGINGHEADS TV: Was The “Progressive Movement” A Mirage? Pretty much, judging from Obama’s actions since he got elected. Or, for that matter, from what’s happening to the Huffington Post. . . . Hey, rube! Can you say “bait and switch?”

HEY, RUBE! Paul Krugman Wonders Where The President He Thought He Was Voting For Went To. “Krugman seems to think that he voted for Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman in November 2008 rather than Barack Obama. This, I suppose, is the problem with hooking your trailer onto a guy who was only in the United States Senate for a year and a half before he started running for President.”

CONN CARROLL LOOKS AT JOHN YOO’S THE OBAMA DOJ’S MEMO ON THE WAR IN LIBYA. “The Justice memo fully embraces the Bush administration view of Executive Power and directly contradicts then-Senator Obama’s 2007 statement.” Feel the change, baby!

UPDATE: Obama Administration still running secret detention/interrogation centers in Afghanistan. Hey, rube!

HELL, GREENWALD, I was just angling for a Nobel Peace Prize. But it turns out you have to actually bomb people for one of those, not just post blog entries.

Who knew? I guess I didn’t put in enough hope and change! But by all means, bash me if it makes you feel better about how things have gone under Obama. My skin’s thick enough, and there are a lot of rubes out there suffering cognitive dissonance as they self-identify. If I can ease the pain that comes from realization of how you were played, I’m glad to endure a few blog attacks. Unlike Tomahawk Missiles, those don’t actually draw any blood. But if all this bombing stuff is so bad, well, I just blogged about it. You voted for the guy who’s doing it, and — despite the occasional criticism now — you know you’ll vote for him, and blog for him, again in 2012. So sorry if I’m unimpressed with your moral posturing. . . .

UPDATE: Again? Why not?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Nathan Wood writes: “Mission accomplished for Greenwald. I just clicked on Salon for the first time in maybe three years. You were too kind to link it, Professor!” Yeah, I knew I was being trolled — but on the other hand, I couldn’t resist rubbing it in again on the whole hope-and-change thing. So, win-win! Yay, blogosphere!

MORE: Obama and Executive Power: How’s that Hope and Change Working Out? Meh. A few pundits are squawking, but they’ll still support him in the election. Call me back when Maddow endorses Nader or Kucinich in the primary. Or Paul (either one) in the general. Most of the Obama supporters are saying, “Those are our jets now!”

NEW PARASITE COALITION FORMS: Momentum building for online piracy legislation.

A recent list of legislative recommendations from White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel included controversial measures such as expanding federal wiretapping statutes to include copyright offenses and mandating longer prison sentences for offenders.

With leaders in both parties and the White House all marching in lock step toward the need for increasing enforcement efforts, the small but vocal opposition appears unlikely to gain enough traction with its warnings of potential censorship to derail the legislative momentum.

Hey, rubes: Is this what you voted for when you voted for change? Because it’s what you got.

HEY, RUBE! SO MUCH FOR THE FIERCE MORAL URGENCY OF CHANGE: “As a candidate, Obama defined his approach as the opposite of everything Bush. Whatever the issue, Obama would be the photographic negative. But as president, Obama’s foreign policy has been slowly evolving toward the views of his predecessor. Obama’s pride will not allow him to admit it. His rhetorical imprecision obscures it. But behind the fog is the Bush Doctrine.”


HEY, RUBE! Andrew Sullivan: “King Barack I.”

Little Miss Attila is gloating.

And Stacy McCain is . . . well, see for yourself.

UPDATE: Brian Dunn enjoys the lamentations.

And, well, meep-meep.

HEY, RUBE! Useful Idiot Shocked Over Obama’s Covert Actions in Libya.

HEY, RUBE! Also, here.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, WE’D SEE CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS ELIMINATED IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECURITY. And they were right! “New rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades. The move is one of the Obama administration’s most significant revisions to rules governing the investigation of terror suspects in the U.S. And it potentially opens a new political tussle over national security policy, as the administration marks another step back from pre-election criticism of unorthodox counterterror methods.”

That criticism was just for the benefit of the rubes, apparently. Hey, rube!

UPDATE: A reader emails:

And regarding rubes: yes, those on the right who supported Obama, and those on the far-left who believed in Obama’s campaign promises, were clearly rubes. But the rank and file Democrats who are now silent on Libya? I think it’s important we call them what they are: liars.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that many times over the last eight years, I would see the intensity of the moral outrage on the left over Iraq and say to myself, “Gee, these people sure do feel strongly about this. What if they’re right about it?” This caused me many times to reexamine my reasons for supporting the war, and my conscience. We now know, however, that it was all quite simply bullshit. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. I must admit, I’m feeling a bit like a rube myself.

Yes, taking them seriously was a mistake.

ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: YOU CAN CALL ME “SMUG” AS LONG AS YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THE STING. You were played. I told you so at the time. The whole hope-and-change thing was an obvious con, and you were among the rubes who fell for it anyway. And yeah, I’m rubbing it in.

And, heck, I’ll link this while I’m at it. How things change. Given what’s going on, why wouldn’t I be smug?


ANOTHER UPDATE: Moe Lane emails: “I will admit to a certain amount of smug, myself. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t tell these rubes, over and over and over again. Jim Geraghty especially, back in November 2008…”

And Moe’s rubbing it in, too. Why not? It’s the chief pleasure offered by this miserable administration. And, as I said right after the election, you’ve got to take your fun where you find it.

MORE: Reader Michael Hankamer writes: “So I guess that recognition that Obama is a dunce, was always a dunce, and forever will be a dunce is the new definition of ‘uber-partisan.'” So it would seem. But since that characterization seems merely to increase the sting, I’m okay with it this time. . . .

And Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “By all means, rub their whole faces in the facts of this latest intervention. To be clear: if the left and Democrats generally do not savage this President in much the same manner they savaged Bush, if they are not out in the streets protesting, if they are not opposing his reelection, if they are not demanding his impeachment and trial, if they are not hoping for his very death, then they will have shown themselves to be every bit the craven hypocrites that many have long claimed.” I have not yet begun to rub it in.

SHANNON LOVE: How many real “rubes” were there? “Did Obama and other major leftists ever truly think that Bush’s policies were unnecessary or did they just adopt a position of opposition to differentiate themselves in the political marketplace? Did any of these people oppose Bush’s policies on principle after careful study or did they just see hysterical criticism of Bush as a useful political tool they could use for selfish purposes?” Well, I’ve got my own theories on that.

RANDY BARNETT HAS ARRIVED: The New York Times editorialized against his “Repeal Amendment” today. That should give it a nice boost in the polls. . . .

And only the New York Times editors could call a time when federal power was limited a “mythic past.” Is limited federal power one of those long-dormant ideas from dusty bookshelves? But, really, the NYT editors seem disappointed that this economic crisis is going to waste:

In past economic crises, populist fervor has been for expanding the power of the national government to address America’s pressing needs. Pleas for making good the nation’s commitment to equality and welfare have been as loud as those for liberty. Now the many who are struggling have no progressive champion. The left have ceded the field to the Tea Party and, in doing so, allowed it to make history. It is building political power by selling the promise of a return to a mythic past.

Ignorant rubes! Don’t they know that the answer to this crisis is more of the same?


My family was damn poor when I was growing up on Long Island. There were no food stamps, no Medicaid, no welfare. If you were poor, you were poor. You didn’t have a TV, you didn’t have five pairs of shoes, you didn’t have Levi’s, you didn’t have a phone; you ate Spam, hot dogs and spaghetti. We all survived! I am not against food stamps, welfare or Medicaid, if only they would oversee these programs properly!

I am also against the government taking over the student loan program, car companies, bailouts and the White House taking control of the census (what the hell is that all about?); [about] any First Lady telling (I know, I know, “suggesting to”) us what to eat, the mayor of New York City declaring “no salt” (screw you, pal!), the mayor/city commissioners of Anytown, U.S.A. declaring you can’t fly a flag, can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance and can’t sing the National Anthem. I’m against a President dismissing any and all who dare to disagree. . . .

I am against the government now thinking about bailing out unions. The unions made the contracts which include insane pensions; the U.S. government didn’t. I’m against the government closing down offshore drilling in the Gulf with one hand and with the other giving (lending?) Brazil money to help them do way deeper offshore drilling — rather curious. I’m against a government that will not defend our borders; and on and on and on.

Read the whole thing. And “Screw you, pal!” is the perfect response to a lot of nanny-state bossiness.

UPDATE: Reader Don Zeiter writes:

I think you should have pointed out the most important point she made.

“No country can provide all things for all citizens. There comes a point where it just isn’t possible, and it’s proven to be a failure everywhere it’s been tried.”

Those two sentences encapsulate why the Tea Party took off and the difference in thinking between the people in D.C. and us rubes in the rest of the country. It’s the difference between those supporting Christine O’Donnell and those supporting Chris Coons. Heck, it’s a concept that escaped George W. Bush and every president back to Calvin Coolidge.


MORE RUBES self-identify. “There is another explanation, of course. Obama was never serious or sincere about faith-based outreach, any more than he was serous about going ‘line by line’ through the budget. . . . As with so many other disappointed voters, faith-based voters, it is fair to conclude, were misled by candidate Obama, who has turned out to be, as his critics predicted, a run-of-the-mill leftist.”

Yeah, it’s funny how all those ignorant mouth-breathing troglodytes were right about Obama, while the political gentry were wrong, about pretty much everything.

UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails:

I have no way of knowing, but I suspect the political gentry thought Obama was in on the joke like they were. They had no idea that he intended to govern the way he had lived. If they had known…Sarah Palin would be distancing herself from a badly faltering president McCain right now. At least I hope that is what would have happened. At least that way we could console ourselves with the knowledge that the political gentry were stupid not delusional.

At this point, that would be some small consolation.

NOTHING NEW HERE: Press Decides Not To Cover News. They’re always deciding to spare those excitable rubes in the hinterlands information that might further inflame them.

ILYA SOMIN: Errors In Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Article Attacking the Kochs.

The thing to understand is, this article isn’t about the Kochs at all. It’s about preparing a narrative for the New Yorker’s readers about why Obama has failed. It’s not because they were rubes who voted for an underprepared, under-skilled candidate who then proceeded to alienate the electorate. It’s because Obama was beaten by a right-wing billionaires’ conspiracy so vast as to defy understanding. That’s all. Relax, New Yorker readers. No need to feel bad about yourself for being overwhelmed with hope-and-change fever and voting stupidly. It’s not your fault. It never is!

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Obama Is Barely Treading Water. “There is a widespread feeling that the government doesn’t work, that it is incapable of solving America’s problems. Americans are fed up with Washington, fed up with Wall Street, fed up with the necessary but ill-conceived stimulus program, fed up with the misdirected healthcare program, and with pretty much everything else. They are outraged and feel that the system is not a level playing field, but is tilted against them. The millions of unemployed feel abandoned by the president, by the Democratic Congress, and by the Republicans. The American people wanted change, and who could blame them? But now there is no change they can believe in.”

Jeez, not long ago Zuckerman was writing Obama’s speeches, now he’s writing his political obituary. Dan Riehl notes that he shoulda thought things through sooner.

UPDATE: A reader who works in Human Resources and requests anonymity writes:

I would be hysterical, if it wasn’t so sad and frightening, that all of these supposedly intelligent, perceptive, savvy CEOs, e.g. Mort Zuckerman, have come to the conclusion that the President has no demonstrated competency in leadership or execution.

If in my role as the HR guy at their respective organizations I had presented the President for an executive position which required managing for any sort of productive, value added outcome I suspect I would have been told to clean out my office.
Some jobs require you to DO more than talk.

It does seem that the President was inadequately vetted pre-election. So we’re doing the vetting now, instead, which is somewhat more expensive.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Stephen Clark writes:

“The Democratic party is the vehicle through which, after a populist interlude, the governing classes are proposing to take their country back. Obama is a restoration candidate but that doesn’t mean he has a plan. “ So wrote Christopher Caldwell in the last two sentences of his piece in The Spectator dated 29 October, 2008, Describing Obama as the restoration candidate for the governing classes may well capture a large part of the motivation behind a whole swath of people like Zuckerman.

Zuckerman, Bloomberg, and a very long list probably understood that Obama did not have enough experience. So much the better! Naturally, Obama would turn to the likes of them to help manage the country; except, it doesn’t look as if Obama and the people around him feel a great need for their help. If there is any shock to poor Mort, it’s that Obama, if only out of a sense of self-preservation, hasn’t recognized his need for the likes of him.

I would say that not listening to them is a mark in Obama’s favor, but the results suggest he should have taken any help he could get . . . .

THAT ARIZONA BOYCOTT REALLY GETS RESULTS:  Utah’s governor cancels plans for a special session intended to weaken his state’s restrictions on hiring illegal workers:

Amid the fallout from Arizona’s aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration, Gov. Gary Herbert has scrapped plans to call a special session to water down a bill requiring businesses to verify the legal residency of employees.

Legislators balked at making the change and some wanted to go in a different direction, adding tough new penalties for not checking a worker’s legal status and even suggesting Utah should adopt Arizona’s law requiring residents to prove they are in the country legally — an unsettling prospect for business leaders.

The boycott might seem like a miscalculation on the left, unless the whole point is to lose — noisily

And how likely is that?  Why, it would make millions of immigration reform advocates look like rubes …

DAVID BERNSTEIN: Let’s Not Get Too Excited About Kagan. Conservatives and libertarians may get excited, but if the judge-pickers in the Obama White House thought she really had any conservative or libertarian sympathies, they would have picked someone else. So — who are the rubes, this time? I have my suspicions. . . . .

And Bernstein’s Calabresi analogy is good, but in Kagan’s favor, unlike Calabresi she never compared Bush to Mussolini. So she’s got that going for her, anyway.

On the other hand, folks on the left are comparing her to Harriet Miers.

THEY TOLD ME THAT IF I VOTED FOR MCCAIN, we’d get an Attorney General who’d want to curtail Miranda rights. And they were right!

Attorney General Eric Holder said that Congress should “give serious consideration” to updating the Miranda warning which requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their rights – including the right to remain silent.

In an interview on “This Week,” Holder said that the U.S. needs to exam whether the current rules regarding Miranda warnings give law enforcement agents the “necessary flexibility” when dealing with terrorism cases.

Ah, remember all that talk about the “lawless Bush Administration” trampling civil rights, and the fierce moral urgency of change? Well, if you believed that stuff when they were peddling it. . . hey, rube!

Meanwhile, Christopher Fountain writes: “If only we had elected Obama, we wouldn’t have this travesty of justice.”

I don’t think it’s going over well: “Put George W. Bush in blackface and what do you get? Evidently, Barack H. Obama. Why not? Obama and his team have sold out on Iraq, Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, Gitmo, military tribunals, health care reform, financial reform, DADT and offshore drilling, so what’s the big deal about throwing Miranda into the pile? And by the way, what is the ‘new threat’ Holder is talking about?”

THE NETROOTS: So who are the rubes, again?

Rahm Emanuel insulted Nutroots types by calling them “retards,” also claiming they could be taken for granted on Obama Care and mostly ignored. Of course, the Netroot bloggers were furious.

So, what did they do about it? Precisely what he said they would, nothing.

No surprise there.

OBAMA REINVENTION EFFORTS FACE A PROBLEM: “Something more fundamental is going on here: Obama seems not to respect his fellow citizens — the uninformed rubes who crashed the health-care town halls — nor care what they think. All his energy now is devoted to disregarding their strong aversion to his idea of health-care reform and forcing through a vote on something the public doesn’t want. It’s hard to bond with the American people, which is what Myers is suggesting, when your agenda conveys disdain for their concerns.”

HEH: “Is it okay if I stand back and watch… or heckle with stuff like: Don’t you know 100 human beings are dying every day because of you?

Related: “What’s Spanish for ‘Hey, Rubes!'”

JOE HICKS: Hey Rube!

ANN ALTHOUSE: Hey, rubes!

They can’t handle the truth.

HEY, RUBES! Report: Obama considering indefinite detention of terrorists without trial. “Exit question via David Frum: Why does Dick Cheney continue to attack Obama instead of pointing out that, in some respects on terrorism, The One is actually out-Bushing Bush? No wonder the White House wants to tangle with Cheney. The more they squabble with him, the easier it is to convince their base that they’re actually high-minded civil libertarians who would never do anything as nefarious and neocon-ish as, er, detaining people indefinitely without trial.”

They told me if I voted for McCain we’d be locking up people and throwing away the key without even the thought of a trial. And they were right!

FOMENTING VIOLENCE: Huffington Post: “Obama Better Start Breaking Kneecaps.”

Well, if a Republican said it, it would be beyond the pale. Hey, rubes!

RUBES: Europeans “Shattered” by Obama’s Indifference: “Bush Was Not the Problem, Obama Is Not the Solution.” Some of us tried to point this out at the time, amid all the fashionable Bush-hatred, but we were ignored. You know what they say: To see what is in front of one’s nose requires constant effort . . . .

UPDATE: Jim Bennett emails: “Next Le Monde headline: ‘Au moins je n’étais pas la fille d’Edwards’!'”