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I have to admit I wasn’t fully onboard with the concept of “Ron de Jeremy Rum” (see previous post). I assumed the marketing was a gimmick, and it was hard to have expectations for the product. Plus which, I really didn’t want to taste anything named after Ron Jeremy.

I smirked as much on this blog, and was contacted by a distributor for Ron de Jeremy rum, offering to “make sure [I] get a sample”. I thought that was cool, and generous, and took him up on it. It’s only fair to report my impressions, and to admit where I was wrong.

My first mistake was underestimating Ron and his company. When I was offered a “sample,” I expected a little airline bottle or something. Two days later, I checked my mail to find a full 750ml bottle of Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum as a gift from the “Ron de Jeremy rum crew”! Yep – they sent me a full fifth of rum for free, just to let me make up my mind about a product I had already joked about! Class move, guys.

It showed a lot of confidence, too, and I soon realized they had earned it. As Robert German, of the “crew,” pointed out, the rum has done better than well in competitive tastings against other quality rums, and has won good reviews and a number of awards. It’s a serious product. And apparently Ron Jeremy is serious about marketing it. They don’t downplay that his name brings it a kind of titillating brand recognition, but at bottom it’s a good product and he can be proud of being associated with it.

Another thing I misunderstood is the name. Ron Jeremy (the man, not the rum) proudly proclaims that “Ron means rum!,” which at first I thought was a schlocky advertising slogan. Not only was I being ungenerous, I was being ignorant, too. “Ron” is in fact the Spanish word for “rum,” which I did not know. “Ron de Jeremy” not only incorporates Ron’s name, but it literally means “rum of Jeremy” – which it is! That’s clever, and I was an idiot.

So I owe Ron and the crew an apology for being snobby. They’re serious about their rum and they have a real rum to be serious about. How could I have ever doubted them (other than the fact that it has a porn star’s face on the bottle – which, in Ron’s world, is not a drawback)? I’m sorry to have talked down your product, and thanks to you all for being cool about it.

But how good is the rum? That’s the real question. And when Ron and the crew find out that they express-shipped an expensive bottle of quality rum for evaluation by a non-drinker, they’re going to be pissed. But I felt I owed it to them – and to you, our loyal readers – to get around enough of the bottle to be able to offer an informed opinion. Conscious of my duty, I bit the bullet and have been drinking as much award-winning rum as I could, for free, for you. You’re welcome.

And the bottom line is – it’s good! I’m no expert on this, but real experts have given it awards, which is a good clue. As to my own impression, I liked it more than I expected, and more in fact than I normally like flavored drinks.

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum is smooth and tasty. It has a pronounced vanilla odor and flavor, with a spicy aftertaste. At 94 Proof, it’s got enough of a bite to make itself known, but it’s a mild sipping rum, not in the least harsh, complex enough to be interesting. Other than the vanilla, the spices are clearly evident but not aggressive; I don’t know enough to identify them by name. Let’s say a sharp cinnamony taste and a tiny kick that stays on the tongue but no real fire. It goes down very smoothly when drunk neat, and is pleasant and tasty with mixers.

Oh, hell, if you like spiced rum, or mixed drinks of whatever kind, just wrap your lips around The Hedgehog’s best and settle in for a good time. I can guarantee satisfaction!

(By the way, they’re also marketing an aged “Ron de Jeremy Adult Rum” – not spiced. I’m sure it’s just as high quality, but I can’t really know without having tasted it . . .)

Special Note: Just today news came through that Ron Jeremy was hospitalized with a serious aneurysm. Reportedly he came through surgery and was in an ICU. Best wishes to him and those close to him.

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Margaret Thatcher, the posturing far-right ideologue provocateur who was Prime Minister of the UK at the same time Ronald Reagan, posturing far-right ideologue dumbass was President of the United States, conducted a life-long political love affair with Reagan and shared his delight in empty rhetorical blustering, coddling of fascists, and aimless anti-communism. For the rest of her life she basked in the same mindless right-wing praise that Reagan lapped up for “winning the cold war” after delivering his trademark slogan at the Berlin Wall: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Turns out, now, that, two years after that event, during East German unrest just before the Wall actually did come down, Thatcher met with Gorbachev and personally begged him to do whatever he could to prevent East Germany from merging with West Germany, guaranteed protection for Communist rule in Soviet-bloc nations, and offered a unilateral non-aggression pledge to the Soviet Union itself. George Bush and Francois Mitterand, right-wingers who also presided over noisy anti-communist parties in their countries, backed her assurances to the Communist leader and pledged themselves to prevent German re-unification in any way they could, including with military alliances with the USSR against their official ally West Germany.

(more…)

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So some of the wingers finally figured out that there was a drawback to calling their weird and incoherent anti-government demonstrations “tea bag parties“. Commentators from across the spectrum have been yucking it up at their expense for weeks, and Rachel Maddow and Anna Marie Cox had an epic piss-take on the whole thing last week on MSNBC. Now Powerline’s not just upset but offended . . . offended, mind you.

An obscene insult

. . . notoriously derided the tea party demonstrations . . . reference to the practice of teabagging (which I had never heard of before they brought it up) . . . “journalists” used the rallies as an occasion for childish sexual innuendoes . . . obscene teabag “joke” was repeated 51 times . . . like a juvenile student . . . he seems to think the phenomenon is a big ball of fun [Well, I'd be tempted to say it's two big balls of fun . . . but that would be juvenile - KTK] . . . Cooper is widely reputed to be homosexual. Maddow and Sullivan are of course public homosexuals. It is funny in an ironic sort of way that these folks choose to disparage the tea party protestors from somewhere inside the homosexual subculture . . . rather seriously insulted the citizens who colorfully took to the streets to air respectable views . . . If they had any decency . . . vile reference to sexual practices . . .

Oh, my. Oh, my.

But really, you can relax. Nobody is insulting you. Certainly nobody is being “obscene”. They’re making fun of you because you’re prissy, oblivious, self-absorbed morons. It’s different.

And please spare the “homosexual subculture” your no doubt sincere concern. It’s not “disparaging” to compare you to teabaggers. It’s just hilarious that you’ve been calling yourselves that without knowing what it means, and you are so obviously the kind of people who would be aghast to realize it. (Um . . . refer back to your own quotes, just above. See? Like that.) It’s not an ironic insult for gays to call you teabaggers; it’s open mockery.

The point is that you’re a joke. That’s why it’s possible to use your own chosen name for your movement as a joke. Nobody needs to insult you. Nobody cares. But you’re good for a laugh!

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So these two unbelievable morons at a Domino’s Pizza franchise in North Carolina did what pretty much every fast-food employee does, or so I’ve heard: dicked around with the food because they hate their jobs. In their case, it wasn’t all that bad – they did it as a joke, and, they now insist, didn’t serve the food to anybody. It was unusually bad in one way, however: they videotaped themselves, using their real names, and posted it on YouTube. So thousands of people got to see “Michael” putting cheese up his nose and blowing his nose on a sandwich before sending it out to a customer, or so “Kristy” jokingly says on the video. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for Michael and Kristy to be recognized, identified, fired, and arrested for felonious “delivering prohibited foods”. Domino’s apparently has been fielding thousands of disgusted complaints, and it’s having a noticeable effect on business.

Now, of course these two dipshits are way out of line, in addition to being too stupid to live, and of course they deserve punishment. I’m not impressed with the crime of “defaming a corporation”, that the cattle ranchers of Texas tried to hit Oprah Winfrey with years ago because she said she was a vegetarian – if Domino’s takes its lumps, well, boo fucking hoo. (I just wish right-wing asshole Tom Monaghan still owned the company, so I could take comfort in the fact that it was his money being lost. Too bad.) But still, this sort of thing is bad biznai, and I guess something should be done about it. The “delivering prohibited foods” bit won’t stick – there’s no proof they did deliver it – but I’m sure the authorities will turn themselves into knots trying to find anything to charge them with, for the wounded virtue of a public stock corporation; losing their jobs goes without saying.

But I have just this to point out: This kind of shit happens this often for a reason. (Nobody has posted it on YouTube before, but everyone’s heard the stories.) If working for a living weren’t such a dreary grind, often physically and almost always to the mind and dignity, workers would behave better in their turn. If employers gave the slightest shit about employees’ welfare, employees wouldn’t deliberately undermine, or at least not care about, their employers’ welfare. An industry that pays its employees the lowest legally possible wage and frequently cheats them on that, that actively lobbies to reduce even that wage while claiming it is for the sake of the employees themselves, and that tasks its employees with demeaningly mindless and repetitive tasks while goading them like drill sergeants and watching them like thieves, is an industry that is going to be the target of employee resentment, dissent, and petty vengeance. (And you customers: mistreating or insulting underpaid teenage counterdrones making minimum wage slinging stinky crap for you all day is just asking for something unpleasant to happen. I’m just sayin’.) These companies make a decision to treat their employees the way they do. There is no reason they can, or should, be immune to the inevitable consequences.

This sort of thing almost never happens in “real” restaurants, and is unheard of at very good ones – where, not incidentally, the wait staff make pretty decent wages. Deliberate customer mistreatment (not bad service, but deliberately abusive service) is pretty much nonexistent in most other industries, and especially well-paying ones. Even sabotage is rare, and almost always a component of labor disputes. People with decent working conditions don’t try to make them worse. People who actually like and value what they’re doing will go beyond duty voluntarily. You have to try to create conditions in which workers deliberately harm their own company and drive away customers with consciously offensive behavior – conditions that are roughly that offensive to the employees themselves. That can often be a profitable endeavor, and for some employers that is enough to justify it. But like any business decision it is not wholly without cost, and if the employers are going to make working at a company an actually offensive proposition, well, you can hardly blame the employees for keeping their end of the bargain.

You can certainly say these two Domino’s dunderheads should not have done what they did. You probably can’t say Domino’s didn’t deserve to have it happen. I’m absolutely certain that the people who are the most outraged at these employees are also the ones most vehemently opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act. They want employees to always serve their employers’ interests, while also not having the right to act on their own. And for that they deserve a nice big snot sandwich. As for Domino’s, it seems they probably already got what they deserved – but they can easily keep it from happening again, if they want to.

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There’s an unofficial “Conservatives for Palin” Web site that exists to extol all things Sarah. Bizarrely enough, this is not run by people paid by or related to her. That’s not to say they’re not nutty as all get-out, though.

Current “Featured Posts”:

  • Who is Sarah Palin?
  • Despite It All, Palin’s Got “It”
  • Anything They Can Do, She Can Do Better
  • Another Attempt to Marginalize Governor Palin
  • How Is Track Palin Doing?
  • “My Cyber Day” by Gov. Sarah Palin

And, #1 with a bullet . . .

  • Associated Press of Mordor Attacks Palin Once Again

These be some freaky-ass mofos, fo’ real!

Man, nothing says “self-parody” like a Palin supporter!

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Paul Krugman has an interesting speculative comment on today’s WSJ article on the difficulty former Bush henchmen are having in finding work. Putting aside the gleeful chortling (him, I mean – not me), he suggests that this could be one of the signs of cracks in the right-wing bulwark, and the impending breakup of the vast right-wing conspiracy:

As an economist, I’m supposed to believe in incentives; and the remarkable cohesiveness of conservatives has a lot to do with incentives.

Show some independence, and you’ll face a lavishly financed primary challenge from the Club for Growth. Be a loyal soldier, and you will be taken care of — through what’s commonly referred to as “wingnut welfare.”

Thus, lose an election, and a think tank with the usual funding sources will create an America’s Enemies program for you to direct. Mess up the occupation of Iraq, and you’ll be appointed to run the World Bank; mess up there, and there’s still a chair waiting for you at AEI.

But it appears that wingnut welfare is breaking down when it comes to former Bush officials. Is this the beginning of the end for movement conservatism?

We can only hope so. There certainly are hopeful signs of the GOP beginning to fracture, especially of a re-thinking of the relationship between “fiscal conservatives” and the religious ultra-nutters. The fingerpointing has in no way died down after the election debacle, and the Republicans still in elective office are simply acting insane over the stimulus and the economy generally. There’s a lot of hurting still to be done on the right wing, and we can only hope it goes on as long and as deeply as possible.

But all that is too obvious. What interests me about this post by Krugman is that he would go out on that kind of a limb. To be sure, he’s not risking anything, and it’s not an important story by itself, but he’s not someone who makes wild predictions. That someone who generally shows sensible and considered judgment would speculate on consequences as far-ranging as he does above gives pause for thought. (Gleeful, savagely joyful, and much relieved thought!)

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I keep wondering what the deal is with Megan McArdle. A more or less self-taught libertarian economics blogger who turned that into some big-league writing gigs, she shows much more facility with the technical aspects of the issues she discusses than most bloggers, which still leaves a lot of room for improvement. My impression has been that her posts are generally coherent (in the sense of being understandable – the first hurdle for most bloggers and many libertarians), but not especially well thought-out. In particular, I think she pretends to a degree of technical sophistication that she doesn’t fully command.

(more…)

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Woody Allen has an amusing short story about a man who goes to the theater and accidentally falls out of the balcony into the Orchestra seats below. He therefore goes back to the same theater every night for a month and deliberately throws himself out of the balcony, just to prove the first time wasn’t a mistake.

George Bush is now raising money to spend the rest of his useless, failed life doing the same thing in the Middle East.

In a desperate bid to make his Iraq fiasco look less like a completely incompetent blunder, Bush’s babysitters are designing an “institute” – carefully staffed with hand-picked sycophants and devoid of scholarly expertise – to promote similar policies in the region after he leaves office. The idea is apparently that if he keeps yammering about the situation he created, and something eventually goes right there, he wasn’t wrong to cause the problem in the first place.

Bush and his handlers are mapping out this phase of the president’s post-White House years. Plans are well under way for a “Freedom Institute” that will aim to promote democracies abroad.

The institute, where Bush is expected to play a significant role, is expected to be unaffiliated with an academic institution. Its members are expected to be analysts whose views are in line with the neoconservative outlook that shaped the president’s approach to foreign policy.

“This is going to be Bush vision.” Brinkley said of the institute. “Bush has never liked the academics, and this is a nonacademic institute aimed at cutting to the core of things: only pro-democracy foot soldiers who are green-lit by George and Laura Bush are in the mix.”

It’s under the auspices of this think tank that the president might try to improve his legacy, in hopes that Freedom Institute might reveal virtues in the foreign policy vision that led to the most defining decision of his presidency, the invasion of Iraq.

“This president’s low approval rating is overwhelmingly connected to Iraq. It will rise and fall depending what turns out to be the history of that country and that part of the world,” said Stephen Hess, a former Eisenhower aide and a scholar at the conservative Brookings Institution. “That really is what his legacy for future historians is all about.

For God’s sake, can’t he just leave? Take his oil-company-and-mercenary-contractor payoff, retire to his fake ranch, fuck off and die quietly? He and Jeb can sit on the porch together and whine “I coulda been a contendah!” to each other to the end of their days. But please, spare us – and the more misfortunate who have to live in the hell-holes he creates in his toy sandbox world – any more of his stupid meddling and self-pitying justifications.

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The foaming-mouth contingent has been flogging their latest self-created scandal: the LA Times ran a story in which Obama made some polite remarks at a reception for Middle-East scholar Rashid Kalidi, whom the right calls a “terrorist” for not hating the Palestineans. They’re convinced that some major bombshell exists on the videotape of that gathering, that will blow this thing wide open if only the public sees it, and the press is colluding in not releasing the tape. As Fox News (!) itself points out, (a) there’s no evidence that there is in fact anything scandalous on the tape – they’re just making this up, and (b) LAT is perfectly correct to withhold the tape because they promised their original source they would do so, when they first carried the story months ago. But of course this is just more evidence of a conspiracy for the wingers, who waited until the weekend before the election to make an issue of it and then claimed that the failure of everybody in the country to take their nonsense seriously is proof of “press bias”.

Now apparently they’re just e-mailing random figures, demanding that they force the Times to burn its own source to satisfy the wingers’ demands. There’s no explanation why they’re contacting anyone on their list – they seem to imagine that anyone they believe is part of the “conspiracy” has an obligation to indulge their fantasies for them.

So, some asshat from the Little Green Footballs insane ward randomly e-mailed somebody from the Columbia Business School (apparently they couldn’t even locate the journalism school), informing that person that “as journalists [sic], you have a moral obligation” to violate the LA Times‘s promise to its confidential source.

From: [redacted]
To: [redacted]
Sent: Mon Oct 27 18:28:41 2008
Subject: Please release Khalidi’s 2003 tape

Dear Madam or Sir,

It has come to my attention that the LA Times in in possession of a tape recording a 2003 farewell party for Rashid Khalidi. In an article, the LA Times said:

“The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.”

This event was attended by Senator Barrack Obama. As this is an election period, as journalists, you have the moral obligation to release any and all information you possess about both candidates.

I would be grateful if you can release the videotape. It’s our right as Americans to learn about our candidates.

Cordially,
[redacted]

Now, how this person could possibly do anything about it, or why a letter obviously intended for the LA Times was sent to an obscure professor in an unrelated department at Columbia, is answerable only by way of what would certainly be a thoroughly distasteful psychological study of LGFers’ mental processes. But the hapless prof’s response was perfect:

Subject: Re: Please release Khalidi’s 2003 tape
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 06:02:41 -0400
From: [redacted]
To: [redacted]

Yeah, right…loser

Sidney Jackson
Director, Marketing and Admissions
Columbia Business School
Executive MBA Programs
Sent via Blackberry wireless

Good goin’, Sid!

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We’re hearing a lot of last-ditch delusion from the right in the closing days of the campaign. Most of it, of course, is just whistling past the graveyard. But whether these people believe their own bullshit or not, they present themselves to the world as ostensibly knowledgeable and clear-headed political thinkers. So, just for the record, let’s note what prominent right-wingers are saying, not about ideological issues or personal preferences, but about basic factual questions such as who is ahead in the polls, and who is going to win the election, now less than 48 hours before the voting booths open. Let’s keep this in mind when these people try to sell us their nonsense over the coming 8 years:

American Thinker (10/25):

Signs Point to a McCain Victory

Despite there being an entire cottage industry devoted to exposing the liberal bias of the mainstream media, Republicans and conservatives continue to allow themselves to be unduly influenced, and even demoralized, by what they read and hear in the big city newspapers and on network television. . . .

Well, there is another story out there that the MSM refuses to address.  A huge story.  One that could, and I think will, significantly affect the outcome of this race.  I’m referring to the widespread phenomenon of registered Democrats openly supporting John McCain. . . .

[T]here are real signs pointing to a McCain victory this year, whether or not the mainstream media wants to acknowledge them.

Rush Limbaugh (10/31):

Talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh says that Sen. John McCain will score a stunning upset over Sen. Barack Obama and win the presidency on Nov. 4. . . .

Limbaugh’s response: “No, I don’t see [an Obama win,] Nigel. I think [Obama has] been dead in the water since the primaries. He is going to need to be up 10 to 12 points to win by 3 or 4.” . . .

“My gut hadn’t been giving me any indication on this race, but it started talking to me last night,” he told listeners. “Barack is headed back to Iowa. That should be a lock; it’s a dead heat.

“Florida, Ohio, and Nevada look like pretty good McCain certainties here. Obama still has to run ads in California.”

[NB: This comes at a time when "538" is predicting Obama win probabilities in OH and NV of 76% and 79%, respectively.]

Donald Douglas, Wake Up America (10/18):

Trial-Heat Election Model Predicts 52.7% McCain Victory

[Based on a complex meta-analysis of poll results and a statistical prediction model incorporating economic factors,] given uncertain market trends (up-and-down again stock rallies), the potential effect on the polls from John McCain’s improved debate performance, and the unknown impact of party mobilization and youth turnout on election day, this race is going down to the wire as a potentially 50-50 election. Given this analysis, the GOP ticket is performing much better than would be expected . . . .

[NB: This is while "538" is running a 10,000-iteration Monte Carlo simulation that gives an Obama victory 94% of the time (and has been over 90% for Obama for months), and some guy from Franklin & Marshall College has a 50 million-iteration simulation  that gives a 99.98% probability for Obama. Intrade currently offers (the equivalent of) 89:11 for Obama; the University of Iowa market has it at 85:14.]

Dick Morris (who really ought to know better) and Eileen McGann (10/30):

Hope for McCain: Polls Say He’s Closing the Gap

Iraq isn’t the only place where the surge seems to be working. John McCain’s gains over the last five days are remaking the political landscape as Election Day approaches. The double-digit leads Barack Obama held last week have evaporated, as all three of the top tracking polls (the most current and reliable measurements out there) show McCain hot on Obama’s heels. . . .

So we approach Election Day with the possibility of a rerun of 2000 plainly before us. McCain has closed to a point where the race will likely be very, very close – and we’ll have to stay up very, very late on Election Night.

[NB: This comes at a time when "538" and "Real Clear Politics" are predicting 333 and 353 Electoral College votes for Obama, respectively. Allahpundit also points out that polls close in all likely "battleground" states by 10:00pm EST - 9:00pm for all but IA, NV and MT, which aren't really battlegrounds. ]

Kathryn Jean Lopez (10/31):

48-47 for McCain

The latest Zogby, via Drudge. This is still competitive. Thank goodness …

[NB: "538" and "Real Clear Politics" have the overall multi-poll national average at 52/47 and 52/44, respectively - their closest figures for some time. Also, here is what John Zogby himself says about his own final poll (11/2):

"Obama has consolidated his lead over McCain. His single day lead today was back to 52%-42%. He leads by 10 among independents and has solidified his base. He leads among Hispanics by38 points, African Americans by 88, 18-24 year olds by 36, 18-29 year olds by 25, 25-34 year olds by 16, women by 8, and men by 3. He has a 17 point lead among those who have already voted, 22 by those who have registered to vote in the past 6 months, Moderates by 34, Catholics by 10. He even receives 21% support among Conservatives.

"So what happened to give McCain a one-point lead in the one-day polling on Friday? It was a day of consolidation for him, too. He had been losing support among key groups and began to regain some of his own base. He now leads by 21 points among NASCAR fans, 9 among investors, 6 among voters in armed forces households, and 2 among voters over 65 years old."

"Remember, as I said yesterday, one day does not make a trend. This is a three-day rolling average and no changes have been tectonic. A special note to blogger friends: calm it down. Lay off the cable television noise and look at your baseball cards in your spare time. It is better for your (and everyone else's) health."]

Lisa Schiffren (10/31):

It seems pretty possible that there will be more than one state in contention for a while. This time the GOP is prepared in many places to contest the kind of election fraud that the Democrats have been known to run against us — and each other.

Jonah Goldberg (10/30):

[A]s someone who always predicts  that liberal prophecies of a tidal wave of youth votes  will not pan out — and I’ve always been right — I’m still betting that the Obama Youth corps will not be as impressive as the left hopes.

[NB: Gallup currently shows Obama leading by 29% among under-30 voters - compared to a 22% advantage for Democrats in the 2006 mid-term election results,  and a 9% advantage for Kerry in 2004.]

American Sentinel (self-described “traditionalist” “McCain Democrat) (9/24):

Polls Debunk Obama Voter Myths

Obamapologia is pretty much mythical.  There is no un-polled reservoir of Obama voters . . . ready to jump out from the shadows on election day.  The race really is close – - and may well be decided by the same factors that carried the day for the Republican ticket in the last two elections.

Melissa Clouthier (oh . . . excuse me . . . “Dr.” Melissa Clouther) at Right Wing News (10/28):

McCain Will Win
When John McCain wins, won’t the world, Democrats and even establishment Republicans be shocked? I still say that McCain will win.

Dan Perrin at RedState (10/28):

The Seven Reasons McCain-Palin Are a Lock to Win
There are seven serious, historic, demographic and other wise culturally compelling reasons Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin will win the election on November 4, 2008 – a date of defeat that will sear itself into the Democratic Party’s collective consciousness. ["reasons" follow]

Geoff Metcalf at NewsMax (10/20):

McCain Will Win
Obama will lose to McCain, and it will be close — very close. Unless ACORN and co-conspirators are successful in implementing massive voter fraud, John McCain will win. . . .

Ultimately, John McCain will defeat Barack Obama . . . because a majority of likely American voters don’t believe or trust Obama.

D.J. Drummond at Wizbang (10/21):

 Gallup and New Coke

The polls are wrong this year, very wrong. I have been saying this for months, and I have backed up my claim with both statistical and anecdotal support. The claims I have made have inspired some, caused others to laugh in derision, and brought others to test their assumptions and revisit the hard data. Along the way, there have been a lot of questions about how and why the polls could be wrong. [NB: The answer? Almost all polling organizations are headquartered in heavily Democratic towns, and therefore they write skewed poll questions. Really.]

And from further back this summer, there are these high-minded theoretical analyses:

James Pinkerton of Fox News (8/6):

The Simplest Explanation for Why McCain Will Win This November
Is McCain destined to win a lonely victory at the political pinnacle, while other Republicans sink further into minority status in lesser competitions? The answer, to be blunt about it, is probably “yes.”

One obvious reason is the fact that McCain is doing well; he has thrown Barack Obama onto the defensive, and he is now ahead in the latest polls. [NB: Look, nobody forced him to make election predictions based on polls taken 3 months in advance.] . . .

Now to the second reason: Americans like divided government. . . .

Democrats hoped that their triumphant 2006 election would be just an overture to an ever bigger win in 2008, but, as we have seen, that doesn’t seem to be shaping up. If the voters don’t want Republicans to have all the power in DC, maybe they don’t want Democrats to have all the power, either.

Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator (8/19):

OK. I’ll walk out on a limb.

This election has already been decided. It’s over. The winner is John McCain. . . .

First, The Dark Knight broke movie records with first day earnings of over $66 million. . . .

Second. . . . Rush Limbaugh has celebrated his 20th year as the host of his nationally syndicated number one radio show, signing an 8-year contract for a reported $400 million. . . .

[W]ithout question, the research shows again and again that whether the subject is picking cars, coffee or presidents, people respond with their instincts. When this fact of life is overlaid with culture — in the case of voters for president of the United States, American culture — the result is easy to see.

While other cultures put a premium on thinking (the French) or order (the Germans), Americans want our presidents to respond just as we do in our culture — with their gut. An American presidential candidate, [advertising guru] Rapaille says, “doesn’t need to be extremely reptilian, only more reptilian than his opponent is.” In particular, and he says this in terms of a cultural observation as opposed to a subjective condemnation, Americans are not culturally disposed to thinking. We prefer, as the Nike commercial has long said, to “just do it.” We are a culture of action, of rebellion, of instinct. When Europeans or American liberals deride a George W. Bush or a Reagan as a “cowboy,” they think they are hurling an insult. Yet most Americans see cowboys as heroes, so the insult effectively backfires. When it comes to choosing between two candidates for president, we gravitate instinctively to the one perceived as more “reptilian.” Rapaille puts it this way: “We don’t want our presidents to think too much.” . . .

COMPETING IMAGES of McCain as the man of action and Obama as the egghead thinker are slowly sinking in with the American electorate of 2008. The same electorate that has rewarded Batman and Rush with millions of viewers, listeners and dollars. The same electorate that gets up every single day in this country and looks in the mirror to see their own personal hero or heroine, their own version of Batman or Rush, someone who is fighting with everything they have in their reptilian brain to survive and thrive.

[NB: He's serious.]

As if that weren’t enough, the New York Post invited a couple of pet wingers to take a flyer at “looking back” at Obama’s first term from the perspective of 2012. Granted, they were Jonah Goldberg and Ralph Peters, but, still, that’s what passes for mainstream conservative thinking these days. What did they – apparently seriously – come up with?

Goldberg:

Discussions with leaders within the Democratic Party, including prominent former members of the Obama administration, give a kaleidoscopic picture of missed opportunities, wrong turns and embarrassing blunders. . . .

[N]othing prepared the country for some of former Vice President Biden’s comments while in office. Early on, when he told the Russian foreign minister he’d “rather punch a nun in the throat” than cooperate on an Iranian nuclear deal, the Obama administration knew they had a problem on their hands.

. . . [H]e accused the Dalai Lama of issuing a “brain fart,” he phoned Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts at home and called him a “[re]tard in short pants,” and of course the several stories – clearly leaked by aides to the president – of Mr. Biden sitting in the president’s chair in the Oval Office and being more than reluctant to get out when asked to do so by the president.

The last straw was Biden’s complaint, emphatically offered at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, that he would have more influence over foreign policy if he were black. . . . Biden shouted “I am not joking!” two dozens times in speech that lasted less than 10 minutes. . . .
Ultimately, the embarrassment became too much and Mr. Biden became the first vice president to resign from office since Spiro Agnew. . . .
[T]he Congressional Progressive Caucus . . . colloquially known as the “big swinging caucus” after an unfortunate joke by then-Republican Minority Leader John Boehner after a scandal involving Rep. Barney Frank (see side story), pushed Barack Obama on a wide array of fronts: they demanded very large cuts in the military budget, a sweeping government expansion into the role of healthcare, and in a move that experts agree caused the Wall Street Panic of 2010, they persuaded Mr. Obama to make the government’s partial ownership of the remaining “Big Five” banks permanent. Representatives Frank and Charlie Rangel argued that the stakes, bought by the Bush treasury department, in the banks provided, in Frank’s words, a “once in a lifetime opportunity to inject some social justice into the capitalist system.” Or as Senator Jesse Jackson Jr. said, “if we’ve got them by the b – - – s already, why let go?

Americans also don’t like it when White House press secretary Keith Olbermann tells them that complaining about higher taxes is “racist.”

So now we know one thing: in four years, Republicans will still be fearfully obsessed with gay and black sexuality, and completely unable to tell the difference between people they don’t like and policies they don’t like. In other words . . . nothing will change. But what about the international scene?

Peters:

President Obama was the first world leader to welcome Jewish refugees after Iran’s nuclear destruction of Israel’s major cities (his only caveat – a fair one – was the refusal to accept Zionist military officers and their families, in light of Israel’s excessive retaliation). . . .

[H]e overruled the obstructionist advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ordered our military to cross the border into Pakistan in force. The subsequent debacle, as Pakistan cut off supply routes to Afghanistan and threatened a nuclear response, was entirely the fault of our generals on the ground, not of the administration. Fortunately, President Obama’s willingness to talk to our enemies rescued the situation. After laying down their arms, our troops were allowed to evacuate Pakistan and Afghanistan in peace. . . .

Our relations with the Muslim world have rarely, if ever, been better. The current $320 per barrel price of oil allows long-oppressed states to develop themselves . . . .

Ah, yes: Obama will cause nuclear war in two countries, succumb to nuclear blackmail in a third, surrender militarily to the dictator George Bush helped into power, and personally guarantee the destruction of Afghanistan, “Kurdistan”, and Iraq, as the price of oil increases to more than 3 times the highest value it has ever reached in over 150 years. All from the failure to start or maintain wars in at least 3 countries that haven’t attacked us, while ignoring the one that is harboring Osama bin Laden.

Remember: this is how their minds work. These are the predictions they make when the facts are available to them for direct inspection.  Limbaugh says Nevada “looks like [a] pretty good McCain certaint[y]” when Obama is outpolling him there 4:1. Dick Morris says the election will be decided “very, very late” when all the states McCain has to win will be done polling before Law & Order comes on. Jonah Goldberg predicts a close race for McCain because the youth turnout will not be heavier than usual – while completely ignoring the fact that Obama is polling 10% more than any recent Democrat in that group regardless of turnout. They can’t make simple declarative statements about obvious facts without sounding like morons. When they actually try to think about anything the results look like a Marx Brothers movie (Goldberg plays the Margaret Dumont role).

We’ll see the results of these predictions (all but the last two – but do keep your eyes peeled for the coming Iran/Israel nuclear war) Tuesday night, before 10:00 pm. But remember that when these clowns – or any of their ideological fellow-travelers – try to tell you anything about anything from now on. They’re suffering from an inherent cognitive disadvantage: they’re conservatives. Their minds simply don’t work right.

Never believe anything they say. Trust me – you’ll see why the day after tomorrow.

UPDATE: Too delicious to pass up: “Vox Day”, an immensely stupid right-wing Christian who makes misogyny and general asshattedness his profession, and who possesses a haircut that, by itself, should make it legal to punch him in the head on sight, chose to post this less than 24 hours before the polls open:

[B]ased on my observations [and some pet theory of electoral dynamics that he cooked up], I am forced to conclude that despite the way things superficially appear, John McCain will win the election. The two key states to watch are New Hampshire and Virginia, with a particular emphasis on Virginia. If either of them go for McCain, you can safely conclude that it’s over in the GOP’s favor.

[NB: 538, whom he quotes, is currently putting the Obama victory probabilities for HN NH and VA at 99% and 93%, respectively. Remember: this is how their minds work.]

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