Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I could not believe the abject display of tongue-bathing NPR and CNN was giving the Huntsman campaign announcement yesterday evening. Are they capable of this sort of calculated sabotage, or are they so utterly detached from the attitudes and emotional temperament of the conservative side of the country that they honestly can't anticipate the reactions of the average GOP primary voter, and think that a disloyal former ambassador - whose main policy positions in the Obama era (cap & trade, the stimulus) are vehemently despised by libertarians and TEA Party types - will somehow find a constituency?

Look, his social conservative credentials - pro-life, pro-gun rights - are going to be crippled by two other factors:

1) *Everybody* is pro-life this time 'round, unless Giuliani makes another pass at being rejected.
2) *Everybody* is pro-gun rights this time 'round. It's not as if this is policy rocket-science, especially with the Gunwalker scandal brewing.

He'll split the anti-war, isolationist vote with Ron Paul. At this point, the way to distinguish yourself from the pack is to be *pro* interventionist - I'm not saying that there's a vast majority of primary voters who *aren't* tired of the Terror War, but everybody else seems to have been flirting with war-fatigued voters.

He *won't* attract religious social conservatives because of the whole Mormon thing - I'm not saying that it's a dealbreaker, but it isn't exactly a selling point, either. They'd fall in behind the nominee, Mormon or not, but they've got their own tribal candidates - Bachmann, Cain, Pawlenty, Santorum, or maybe Perry. Romney is supposed to bring in the secular fiscal conservatives, except that the RomneyCare thing has pretty much crippled him among those who pay attention. Which basically leaves the Rockefeller liberal rump, if there are any remaining above ground... I guess Huntsman is the Rockefeller Republican candidate. That gets him, what, a dozen or so primary voters?

Friday, June 17, 2011

And now that it's a "Democratic" amendment, most of the non-farm Democratic Senators piled on & brought the Coburn anti-ethanol-subsidy measure past cloture. This article is pretty muddle-headed, as far as I can tell, they actually *lost* one Republican on this vote - Chambliss apparently went squirrelly on the second vote. And our pet imbecile, Casey, went and voted with Chambliss. But anyways, the exact same set of corn-belt Republicans voted against the measure as earlier in the week, it was just the coastal Democrats finally voting their constituents' interest that brought it over the hurdle. But the Hill is bound and determined to sell the Democratic spin that it was the Republicans that came around, rather than themselves. In reality, this was a straight-up regional vote, the corn belt against the rest of the country, with Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky delegations falling in with the majority.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sigh. On the plus side, the only Republican votes for this were from the Greater Corn Belt, if you include Mississippi, which since the advent of the Great Ethanol Subsidy, has been increasingly shifting from cotton cultivation to growing corn for ethanol. Although Arkansas should technically be making the same move as Mississippi, and yet both senators, the Democratic Pryor *and* the new Republican Boozman, voted for the Coburn amendment. Kentucky's a minor member of the corn belt as well, and yet both of Kentucky's Republican senators piled into the "yes" column; if Rand Paul had voted against this, he probably would have been eaten alive by his supporters. The Maine Sisters, the Alabama Porkbarrellers, the Republican West - they all went anti-ethanol. Hell, even Brown kept to the straight and narrow.

So, in short, what we have here is a *corn belt* Republican problem, not a whole-party problem.


Update: apparently this was the fruit of Grover Norquist's demented anti-genius. He's so petrified of the spectre of anything anyone could possibly characterize as a "tax increase" that he's stomping about, defending distortive corporate-welfare abominations like the ethanol "tax credit". Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform is an abscess on the conservative movement, a corruption. The best construction to place upon his organization's activities is that they've slid from pro-capitalist tax reform to pro-big-business tax-credit farming. A more likely construction is that he was always in this for the lobbying opportunities, and that his little cottage industry is built upon lobbying and rent-seeking under the color of "tax reform".

Anyways, his obnoxious insistence on characterizing the elimination of subsidies as "tax increases" gave most of the corn-belt Republicans enough cover to do the locally expedient thing instead of the principled thing. Damn him, anyways.

Friday, June 10, 2011

If the idiots in charge provoke a second Falklands War, I want their heads on pikes along the National Mall. But you don't always get what you want, and it is amazing what they can do without actually producing legal cause for impeachment. Actual war-mongering against a stalwart ally not being technically a violation of oath or established law, to my knowledge...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I’m more disgusted by a congressman’s unpaid parking tickets than I am by his sexual fetishes.

- Bob Turner, the Republican challenger Rep. Anthony Weiner defeated in the 2010 congressional elections, in his response to Weiner's disgrace. He's surprisingly eloquent for a defeated candidate in a no-hope congressional district. And you can't help but love a guy who uses Animal Farm to discuss a sordid political sort-of-sex scandal.
There was some talk a while back about whether high student debt was a factor in whether you'd want to date someone.

Appropos of nothing in particular, did anyone know that the Department of Education has a SWAT team?

I just got around to reading Walter Jon William's newish novel, Deep State, a sequel to his This Is Not A Game. Basically, it's a novel about someone provoking an Arab Spring-style social-media revolution in a post-coup Turkey written just before the Arab Spring broke out. I spent part of the book arguing with his Turkish politics and history - he seems to buy into the "evil drug-running Kurd-slaughtering Military" narrative of Turkish politics. The AKP doesn't even seem to exist in his world-construction; even more weirdly, some off-the-cuff details here and there strongly suggests that the entire war on terror never happened - there's some suggestion that there was never an invasion of Iraq, given some of the geographical and basing details of the CIA or Company-like organization sponsoring the revolution.

Still and all, Williams can build a functioning political universe, even if I have to re-classify it as an alternate-present story in order to get over some details. I wonder if he was irritated to have the Arab Spring disorders so closely mimic his story, or delighted?
I suppose I should unpack that: anyone who aspires to the possession of a "cathedral-like personality" is a walking case of malignant, intellectual narcissism. And I wasn't joking about the man's post being too damn long; I indeed, did not read it all. It read like the standard war-cry of the disinherited intellectual: Respect Mah Authoritah!


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Add this to the pile of "unexpected anti-Green screeds from nonintuitive sources". Although Michael Lind isn't a movement Greenie like Monbriot, Salon is certainly part of the old-guard bien pensant Left - the Nation on Internet Time, rendered sclerotic and irrelevant inside of a decade instead of the generations it took that hoary old publication of the red-diapered left. Hell, this Lind article declaring an end to Peal Carbon Fuel is actually to *my* right - I'm not 99% certain the way he seems to be on the subject.

Found this in the Ace of Spades news sidebar which is unlinkable, still.