November 30, 2011

Newt Gingrich Accuses Obama of Left-Wing Alinskyite Tactics
— Ace

From Truman North, in the sidebar, Newt played to the party's anger at the media and Obama.

On the campaign trail, Newt Gingrich is trying to make some new inroads on President Obama by reviving an old charge, suggesting that the president’s past as a community organizer ties him to a “radical” tradition.

“Obama believes in a Saul Alinsky radicalism which the press corps was never willing to look at,” Gingrich told a standing room-only crowd at Tommy’s Country Ham House here. “When he said he was a community organizer, it wasn’t Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It was radicalism taught on the south side of Chicago by Saul Alinsky.”

Why is this smart? I think the media will cover this, and will try the "extremism" card and all that rot with Gingrich.

And what effect will this have? Well, the immediate effect is to electrify the Republican base, isn't it? The media will be essentially running primary campaign ads for Gingrich if the media takes the bait. (And can they resist it?)

And if they think that this will poison the general electorate against Obama-- not so much. The middle doesn't really like Obama, and are not going to be making decisions not to vote for Gingrich based on him talking smack about someone they don't particularly like (and may in fact feel they've been sold a bill of goods about). At worse, it's an arrogant guy doing some smack talking about a really arrogant guy who doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

And what's even more clever than this? Well, this is the time when the media turns to vetting Gingrich and trying to take him out. And they are doing so. And of course his rivals turn to him as well, as we saw with the Ron Paul ad.

I don't know if it's going to work, but if Gingrich's "intemperate, extremist" statements do crowd out the stuff about him lobbying for Fannie and Freddie, it's win-win-win for him. The base likes the allegedly "intemperate, extremist" attack on Obama -- who is in fact a disciple of Alinsky, and that is not even in question -- and he knocks the lobbying stuff out of the consciousness of the party as it goes into its "Are we really sure about this guy?" phase, it's "Maybe we should take a closer look before we commit" phase.

I don't know if it will happen that way. But it could. It seems a decent likelihood this will be much yapped about in the next 48 hours.

And I don't know if Gingrich calculated that he needed a nice juicy bit of red-meat chum for the dumb sharks of the media to snack on, but if he did -- pretty clever.


Posted by: Ace at 08:48 PM | Comments (126)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

The Top Ten Most Overrated Actors/Actresses of All Time

According to Ben Shapiro at Big Hollywood:

Here are my criteria: are they considered great actors/actresses? If not, they can’t make the list (sorry, Rob Schneider). Are they actually great actors? If so, they can’t make the list (sorry, Laurence Olivier). Only those who are considered great actors but are not, in fact, great actors can make this list. Even then, I’m not claiming that these are bad actors unless I explicitly say that I am.
I would quibble with some of his choices and think he's flat out wrong on at least one of them, but yeah many of these actors are overrated. See if you agree. And if you disagree, please, please forward all your hate mail and rudimentary pipe bombs on to Ben. Thank you.

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Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:00 PM | Comments (893)
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Nasty New Ron Paul Ad Hits Gingrich Hard
— Ace

Incidentally, let me go on the record here: For any Paul fans who are thinking "This is his time," I heretofore state I will not support, or vote for, Ron Paul, under any circumstances whatsoever.

That's where I'm coming form. Under no circumstances whatsoever will I vote for this reactionary, anti-semitic peacenik "We brought 9/11 ourselves" pacifist Chomnskyite crank.

And I'll say it: I will, yes, be amenable to Barack Obama being re-elected under those circumstances. As members of the Purity Brigade used to tell me-- Sometimes you win by losing.

I would decide at that point to use my own "Sometimes we win by losing" chits at that point. As was said of Mike Castle -- it's better that we lose, because at least the guy in office won't be one of our own, making those bad decisions.

Anyway, that's my line in the sand. I figure a lot of people agree. Might as well just put that on the record, that for some of us, Ron Paul is not an acceptable third, fourth, or fifth choice.

Paul thinks he can possibly win, and so goes after Gingrich.

A lot of this stuff is stuff that I am frankly thankful to Paul for outing, since a lot of the party just seems to be on Anti-Romney Autopilot, and jumps in support without really giving the new candidate much of a look-see.

There are some things that aren't fair. I was pro-TARP, if you remember (and some of you will never let me forget). So I have a good idea of who was pro-TARP. Gingrich was not pro-TARP. I remember thinking he was guilty of playing clever politics, as usual (this is my general objection to Gingrich, clever in politics, but not nearly as sound in judgment).

But the point is, while I disagreed with him at the time (and currently neither disagree with him nor agree with him), he wasn't pro-TARP. He was frequently on the air, for example, advising Congress to suspend mark-to-market rules for banks with lots of bad mortgages as an alternative to a bail-out.

He did, if I have this right, say that if the only thing on the table was TARP, he would have ultimately reluctantly voted in favor of it; but he was a pretty strong advocate against it.

Again, this sticks in my memory, because at the time I thought he was a playing-politics douchebag for it.

On the other stuff: Look, if you don't believe Gingrich was a "lobbyist," well, scenic bridge in Brooklyn, graced by the decades, frequently photographed, must sell.

Personally I can forgive him for pushing for Fannie and Freddie and Medicare Part D, just as I can, if needed, forgive Romney for ObamaCare.

See, I keep saying this, but I'll say it again: The party has changed dramatically in the past three years, but a lot of people seem to forget this, or to say "Well I was always on the right, Tea Party side of things."

Well maybe a lot of people were, but not everyone was. From the 1990's into the 2000's, the dominant strain of Republicanism was neoconservatism, and here I am not talking about foreign policy, but domestic policy. Neoconservatism was invented by the original "neoconservatives," who were in fact liberals who deserted the Democratic Party when it became a special-interest Sugar-Daddy soft-socialist creature.

But the basic underpinning of neoconservatism was this: We shall address most of (or even all of) the major policy goals of liberalism; but we shall do so using market-based principles and sounder, conservative-tilting economic principles to do so.

This proved to be a politically popular movement, and we tended to win a fair amount during this period.

But Tea Partyism -- the current dominant mode of thought in the party -- is an explicit rejection of the old neoconservative line, which can in fact be fairly criticized as "just arguing the liberals down from $800 billion on free health care to $400 billion on free health care."

I have said this before, but personally, I am willing to forgive deviations from the Tea Party line in the past, because, well, I guess I'm more understanding. I was more of a neoconservative than many here. Not wholly, because I did not understand why we were continuing to spend, spend, spend and increase the scope and range of government intervention in our lives, but I also thought that a citizenry which insists on being paid off for its votes will get its way, one way or the other, and, the citizenry being basically corrupt in this sense (Give us more free stuff, taken from other citizens!) would produce, necessarily, a political class which curried to that corruption.

In the case of Gingrich and Romney both: It is worth remembering that during the mid-90s to 2000s there was a widely agreed-upon urge that we must "do something!" (anything! do something!) "about health care." And of course the hated individual mandate was created by the the conservative Heritage foundation, as a supposedly "conservative, market-based, no-free-riders, individual responsibility" initiative towards the general gauzy goal of "doing something!" about health care.

We all know how this think-tank idea went over when it was actually imposed on us, and we had the chance to examine it, and weigh the supposed benefits (no free riders on my health insurance policy, which is inflated in cost to pay for the uninsured) versus the serious objections to it (since when can government boss me around? Why are we further expanding government's power to make up for the problems with its current exercise of power?).

Still, this was, in fact, considered a "conservative" response. Not everyone believed in it. Very few tried it. But it was bandied about as being "conservative." And few objected when it was so characterized.

In fact, this proposition was in fact so non-controversial that most people don't even remember it. There was not a big argument in the early-mid 2000s whether an individual mandate was "conservative."

Point is, the party has changed, and the overton window has moved, significantly. Stuff that was a clear submission to the ever-growing socialist state was given a quick paint-job and branded a "conservative" solution.

Medicare Part D? Bush did that, and a Republican Congress passed it.

And Gingrich lobbied for it, calling it "conservative."

Do you forgive?

I don't know. Personally, I can forgive this stuff, but what I can't do is pretend that this fundamental inconsistency will not be a very, very handy talking point for Barack Obama during a debate, or during the campaign.

It's going to be quite hard for Romney or Gingrich to make any sort of political attack on ObamaCare when Obama can say, correctly, "The individual mandate? Oh right, the idea I got from you."

Does that mean they won't sign the repeal of ObamaCare, if given the chance? No, they probably would, assuming they had the chance. Arguments, after all, require intellectual consistency, but actions really don't.

The base wants this repealed; they'd probably, I assume, repeal it, if they had the chance.

But arguing about it in a debate? Don't expect Mitt's textbook perfect memorized answers to overcome the simple and powerful point But you did it yourself and called it a "model for the nation" and don't expect Newt's glib gray-cell rolodex of interesting but half-baked policy ideas to rebut Obama's You mean the individual mandate you cooked up at Heritage?

As for Freddie and Fannie, honestly, the media refuses to note the role these played in the Great Meltdown, so the fact that Newt can't bring it up himself doesn't really lose us all that much.

But... to the extent it comes up at all... It's going to be hard to make the case that Fannie and Freddie caused the implosion when our candidate lobbied for them.

And no I don't believe he just wrote "historically-oriented white papers" for them.

People say I'm in the bag for Perry. I'm not in the bag for him, exactly; I support him. But the reason I talk about this stuff is that while everyone knows the problems with Perry -- these problems are notorious and palpable -- no one ever seems to know the problems with the current NotMitt Flavor of the Week, as Palin called Cain.

And you have to know these things. My pretending that Perry doesn't have an immigration problem, or a debate problem, doesn't make those problems go away, and similarly, not knowing that Herman Cain doesn't seem to read the newspapers, even the front pages, doesn't make that problem disappear, either.

Gingrich would not be a bad candidate. Although I don't think he'd be as good a debater as many seem to, no doubt, it would be nice to have a candidate who was inarguably an intelligent man, well-versed in federal policy wonkery.

But as far as the next Great True Conservative Hope -- as with the previous ones, sure, as long as you don't bother to actually do much inspection, and keep him a blank slate upon which you can project your hopes that this guy is a Pure Conservative.

We don't have a Pure Conservative in the race. (Possibly the unelectable Bachmann, but only because she's only been in office since shortly before the outbreak of the Tea Party, and really has never been asked to do anything except play to the Tea Party. And, meanwhile, she and her husband's clinics scooped up all the federal and state money they could.)

I guess I don't have a point except to say I really don't think it is useful or true to debate these guys in terms of "The True Conservative I Can Get Behind."

None of them are that. None. So the Quest for the Pure True Conservative can and should end, and we should stop talking about such nonsense and start talking, seriously, about the imperfect candidates we have.

Gingrich would be an okay imperfect candidate. So, I guess, would Romney.

But this idea that someone here must be a True Conservative, because, gosh, someone must be, is just plain wrong.

The Great Shift On Immigration: Let's not forget, either, that prior to the Shamnesty melt-down, most conservatives at least talked up the possibility of some kind of deal or pathway to citizenship.

Bush was elected as president, twice, expressly running on this platform.

I never liked that. I suppose most of you didn't, either. But we didn't object to it so vigorously we chose some other candidate, or even argued with him about it.

Sometimes I just think people are little bit nutty when they expect politicians to have always subscribed to Circa 2011 Conservative Orthodoxy, when this orthodoxy is, in fact, pretty dramatically different than the 2007 Conservative Orthodoxy.

People change. They bend with new winds. Most conservative voters have done this -- despite protestations, no, 75% of the party was not really diehard Tea Partiers in Training in 2006; they were mostly just standard Orthodoxy of 2006 conservatives.

If voters changed -- if half of you have shifted rightward -- it's kind of nuts to go berserker-pants over politicians who did, too.

They're whores. That's what they're paid to be, idealistic ideas of Men of Resolve be damned. That's 1% of them. What about the other 99%?

At any rate, since I'm talking about Great Red Shifts on Medicare and Fannie and Freddie, it's only fair to point out this happened on immigration, too.

Yes, a Texas Governor signed a politically-popular piece of legislation that allowed the children of illegals to attend Texas schools at the same cost other Texas residents paid. There was, I think, two dissenting votes on this, in the whole legislature.

Politically Popular Governor Makes Move That Continues His Political Popularity; Film at 11.

We'll be right back with breaking developments in what analysts are dubbing "WhatTheHellDidYouThinkHeWasGoingToDo?Gate."


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Posted by: Ace at 02:45 PM | Comments (557)
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It's Been An Eventful Week In Fast & Furious News
— JohnE.

The Daily Caller caught up with Eric Holder to get his reaction to the growing list of members of Congress that are calling for his resignation (52 as of today). Holder's response was to demand that the Daily Caller stop publishing articles about it. Just in case you think I might be exaggerating by saying "demanded", check out this picture.

As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.

Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”

So, mystery solved. Audio of the exchange is below the fold.

Meanwhile, Fox News reported today that the whisteblowers that testified before Congress are seeing some retaliation from the Justice Department. More on that here.

"The only people who have been damaged from Fast and Furious, short of the obvious victims, are the people who tried to tell truth and blew the whistle," Dobyns said.

Dodson was told he was toxic and could no longer work in Phoenix. With sole custody of two teenagers and under water on his house mortgage, Dodson found himself with no place to be and nowhere to go.

A supervisor suggested he'd be treated fairly at an office in South Carolina. Wanting to keep his job, protect his pension and pay the mortgage, Dodson had no other choice. He and his family now live in a small apartment, facing financial troubles, still labeled persona non grata by the very agency he carries a badge for, and regularly assaulted by leaks from "ATF sources at headquarters."

Dodson has tried to remain out of the public eye, has not filed suit and says only that he wishes to return to his work as an ATF agent.

The White House's Thanksgiving visitor log document dump produced some interesting names, including Rachel Maddow and convicted felon Robert Creamer. Doug Ross dug a little deeper into the data and found four face-to-face meetings between President Obama and Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler:

Item 1: In March of 2011, President Obama denied knowledge of 'Operation Fast and Furious' -- the Justice Department program that sent thousands of murder weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

Item 2: According to documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler was keenly aware of all aspects of Operation Fast and Furious as early as March 2010.

Item 3: Newly released White House Visitor Logs list Grindler as having visited the White House 40 times, but only four times with the President himself. All four meetings with the President occurred over a two-week period, between 7 May 2010 and 19 May 2010. According to The Los Angeles Times, these dates just so happened to represent the run-up to "the height of [Operation] Fast and Furious"

Also today: The Obama Administration has sealed all records relating to Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder.

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

This is how innocent people behave, right?
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Posted by: JohnE. at 01:25 PM | Comments (168)
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Interesting Point By Dennis Miller On The Ego Of The Gut
— Ace

I have written about this about eight times, usually in comments, I think.

I will get complaints that this is another Cain-bashing post. Well, Miller does un-endorse Cain, but that is honestly not the reason I'm posting this.

It's because of a theory I've been fumbling towards which Miller endorses here.

I have wondered why some arguments get so heated, especially on the Internet, even among friends, or, at least digital acquaintances of long standing and some amount of mutual goodwill.

The way I put it is that the arguments that get the most ferocious are those which should actually cause the least amount of heat and fire -- arguments in which the fact-set is substantially unknown.

In situations where most facts are unknown or only partly known, that really should, if we're being all logical and intellect-based, cause the least emotional involvement in one side or the other, because both sides are, if they're being completely honest, both pretty much ignorant.

I don't mean "ignorant" as it generally applies-- ignorant of things, generally. I mean that in specific situation where facts are barely known by anyone, all parties are groping in the darkness, and hence are ignorant of the true facts.

And they should know they're ignorant, and should know that the facts of the matter can only be guessed at, and ergo any conclusions they draw from the mostly-hidden fact-set must be tentative at best, and, being tentative at best, should produce the least emotional heat, for such tentative, provisional, contingent, weakly probabalistic best-guess conclusions should have the least certitude behind them, and, if they have the least certitude behind them, the least emotional and egotistical investment in them.

Right? I mean, this stands to reason. If I'm arguing with you about, say-- well, let's say Cain, since Miller is talking about Cain here -- we're both ignorant. I don't know, and you don't know. We are both guessing, relying on rules of thumb, patterns of human behavior, general worldview, general cynical vs. idealistic factory setting, etc. We are relying entirely on proxies to find an answer, because the actual direct evidence, which we'd both gladly admit is necessary to really answer the question, is entirely absent.

So we are forced to resort to secondary, indirect, inferential evidence, and general rules of thumb.

And so we should both be rather modest in our confidence in our conclusions, as our conclusions are built on foundations of sand.

And we both know that.

And so this discussion should produce almost no heat, no anger, no cursing, no frustration. We're both sitting here taking stabs in the dark, and we both, if asked, have to confess the complete inadequacy of

That's not true, though, is it? In fact, this specific situation seems to consistently produce the most anger and heat.

I'm including myself -- I am not saying "You suck and here's why." I am not saying "Here's why you suck." I am analyzing a specific set of human responses, which are common to myself as well, and wondering about them.

Why are we getting so angry and emotionally invested in stuff that we actually have the least information about, and therefore the least confidence as regards conclusions based on our meager information?

I have guessed previously that it's precisely because these discussions are not about information that can be readily determined and assessed that makes them so personal.

Because facts and data are, by their nature, impersonal. If tomorrow it's proven -- proven -- that all of Herman Cain's accusers were recruited by David Axelrod, I will promptly admit "Man did I get that one wrong."

And similarly I imagine if proof emerges of impropriety on Cain's part, most of his defenders will similarly confess error.

But in that case, it would have been taken out of the realm of the personal. It's not personal, anymore, once it's about proof and facts. Now it's a purely intellectual affair -- no heat. No anger.

Less of a bruised ego. Because people don't get invested, as far as emotional and egositiscially investment, in facts and data.

What they get emotionally and egotistically invested in is probabilities and guesses based upon underlying worldview.

It's this -- the gut, the "psychic vibe," the horse-sense, the common-sense, the cunning, the read on people, the ability to predict the future based on incomplete information -- that people really get personally invested in.

It really makes no sense. Everyone knows there is no such thing as psychic vibes, everyone knows the "gut" is a decent instinctual device but hardly something you'd want to start betting big money on, and everyone knows that predicting the future is a job for charlatans and fools, but when we start making predictions -- "Sarah Palin can't win!"; "No, Sarah Palin will dominate!" -- all of a sudden we start speaking with a level of assuredness and confidence and emotional investment that we are too smart to apply to virtually any other situation.

And this keeps happening. No matter what the topic, the less that is known about a situation, the less intellectually confident we can each be about our tentative conclusions, the more emotionally confident we will become.

The Intellect is detached from each of us. It is impersonal. The Intellect is a separate thing, a place we visit but do not live in.

We call upon the Intellect to answer some questions (but not most); but we're just tapping into this impersonal thing called logic. It's not us.

But the gut? The gut is us. The gut is really us, and it is really personal to us.

So when someone contradicts your hunch, they're not just making an intellectual observation (about which we'd shrug and just say either "Eh I agree" or "Eh I disagree" without much passion).

When someone's gut is contradicted, that is, in a real way, a personal slight, because that's saying that someone's inborn sense of things is flawed.

Anyway, this is something that interests me (and must interest you, as well, if you've made it to this line). So I'm interested to see Dennis Miller talking about just this, the ego we each invest in the never-stated-but-definitely-assumed proposition that of all the gut-senses and psychic antennae in the world, our own gut-senses and psychic antennae are the most finely tuned, or, at least, top 0.1%.

Certainly it's terribly unlikely we'd ever actually meet someone with a better gut-sense than our own. Sure, it's mathematically possible, but statistically very unlikely, so we should just always assume that whenever a gut-sense is involved, we're totally right and our opposites are completely wrong and not just wrong, but likely immoral, stupid, and acting in bad faith and with a hidden ulterior motive.

Posted by: Ace at 12:20 PM | Comments (336)
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Shockingly, Morning Joe Transcript Actually Worth Five Minutes of Your Time
— Ace

But only five minutes.

Down on Obama, and that includes the liberals, who are beginning to get as distracted and depressed as he is, over the burden of having to spin his failures.

Video at the link, but here's some good parts. All emphases added.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Tina, what has happened to this president, the president from hope and change? What has happened?

TINA BROWN: Well it's so interesting. I think that Obama doesn't like his job, actually. I think that he is genuinely of a professioral disposition in the sense that I think that he's interested in chewing over the pros and cons, and he doesn't like, he doesn't like power and he doesn't know how to exercise power.

This is spinning for failure, of course -- trying to cast Obama's failures in the most laudatory ways possible -- but still, strip that away, and it's still acknowledging failure that must be spun.

[BROWN, CONTINUING:] And I think knowing how to exercise power is absolutely crucial. He doesn't understand how to underpin his ideas with the political gritty, granular business of getting it done. And that kind of gap has just widened and widened and widened. And so that every time there is a moment, a window where he can jump in, like something like a Simpson-Bowles as well, he just doesn't do it. He hangs back at crucial moments when you have to dive through that window.

This is Tina Freakin' Brown.

SCARBOROUGH: And regardless of your ideology, it is very safe to say, I think most people would agree: LBJ he is not, Bill Clinton, he is not, when it just comes to understanding how to make Washington work.

MIKE BARNICLE: It appears off of what Tina just said, you just said, it appears that you could make a case that Barack Obama doesn't like politics.

BROWN: Right. I absolutely feel that.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well who would today? I mean, I think it's great that --

SCARBOROUGH: Oh come on. If you don't like medicine, don't be a doctor. If you don't like politics, don't put yourself out there to run the free world, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: You know what? Politics today need to be changed.

SCARBOROUGH: Stop the apologizing!

BRZEZINSKI: I'm not apologizing.

SCARBOROUGH: You're apologizing. [Sarcastically imitates Mika's voice] Who would like politics today? You know what?

BRZEZINSKI: Who would?

SCARBOROUGH: He is running the free world. He better know a lot of people love politics. Bill Clinton loves politics. FDR loved politics. Ronald Reagan loved politics. Great leaders love what they do. So who would love politics?

BROWN: Isn't it really also about, well the other word for politics is just doing what it takes to get it done. Like, one of the things that's interesting about Obama is that he kind of, and I think he does believe in this, that his idea of being a transformative figure who can cross many persuasions and orientations and aisles. And yet when it is actually taken to reaching out and really bringing that in, and trying, I don't think that it really --

Although Tina Brown never completes the thought, it seems like she's headed towards the idea of, "Obama has a false sense of his abilities and temperament."

Joe Scarborough completes the thought, which he really shouldn't have done. But then, that's why his "expanded" radio program did not in fact return to crush the competition that's so afraid of the scary one-two combination of Joe and Mika.

SCARBOROUGH: He doesn't do that.

JON MEACHAM: The analogy to 1979 is something we should explore a little bit more, for all the obvious reasons: a technocratic president who thinks he's really smart and perhaps above it all. And a slightly unsettled Republican field. Sounds somewhat familiar.

SCARBOROUGH: It does sound familiar.

Jon Meacham, former editor of Newsweek and ridiculous liberal, is also noting that Obama thinks he's really smart and perhaps above it all. In 2008, of course, that crucial word -- "thinks" -- would not have been part of this sentence.

The spin being offered is "Obama is too smart and too full of goodwill to actually be good at politics." That is certainly not new; we've been hearing that for years.

But the new stuff liberals are tentatively adding is that he just "hangs back," "doesn't understand," "thinks" he is truly an important figure. Amid the spin, something closer to the truth reluctantly emerges.

How about "Obama has never had a position of genuine responsibility before in his life?" How about "Obama believes in false ideas which should not be believed?"

Okay, they'll never admit that last one. Because at the end of the day the spin will always be "The ideas are sound, we had a bad messenger/exectuor."

Not even Lord God King Barack will escape the blame if things should come crashing down around him.

Liberalism never fails. Liberals just fail liberalism sometime.


Posted by: Ace at 11:23 AM | Comments (246)
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As Brit Hume Might Say, Mitt Romney Really Threw Up All Over Himself In His Bret Baier Interview
— Ace

I hope this isn't telling tales out of school, but I flagged this as important when DrewM. couldn't stop talking about it.

I had missed it. Drew watched it. I am only now watching it, but apparently Romney comes off badly here.

@jpodhoretz, who might be expected to be naturally inclined towards Romney, tweets:

If Romney loses the nomination, this interview will mark the moment at which the slow-motion collapse began.

Allah highlighted the immigration answer, in which he strains to distinguish his position from Gingrich's (at 5:05):

. In fact, Romney has the same basic idea about immigration now as he had in 2006. We’ve been over his dispute with Gingrich over immigration before: Essentially, Mitt thinks Newt’s plan to let some longtime residents attain legal non-citizen status is “amnesty” even though his own plan imagines letting some longtime residents become citizens provided they go to the back of line. Why one of those ideas should be deemed significantly more lenient than the other is beyond me. Romney’s has the advantage of not creating any “second class” status for longtime illegals, but he’s willing to grant full citizenship benefits to those who stick it out whereas Gingrich is not.

Romney does come off sort of bad in the interview. He fake-laughs at Bret Baier's straightforward question about whether he thinks the individual mandate is a good tool for states to employ, for example, and disputes having called the Massachusetts plan a "model" other states could look at in designing their own plans. (He claims he didn't, and, if I understand this, says states could merely look at in designing their own plans -- in other words, he agrees he says it after denying he said it.)

I'm going to write a post about the New Conservative Thought Police, in which we're not permitted to mention a candidate's flaws when debating among ourselves who should be our challenger to Barack Obama. I know Rush Limbaugh is talking about rightwing blogs which are helping the left, he says, by repeating their "talking points," and not going Full Clinton in defending each and every candidate on each and every charge.

Okay. So apparently we're not to speak honestly to each other, but only speak in terms of politically "helpful" strategic communications; our audience shall never be our actual correspondents, but, apparently, the wider world who will, it seems, be reading each and every one of our comments, so we have to counterfeit our thoughts in order to influence this hypothetical world of independents and moderates who are, for example, combing the Ace of Spades HQ blog for guidance in voting in the general election of 2012.

Okay, I've got the premise.

So my question is:

By mentioning Mitt Romney's flip-flops and poor handling of questions about them in this question, am I violating the We Cannot Speak Honestly But Only In Terms of Coordinated Strategic Communications rule?

Is this a useful topic? Or is it not helpful, given that Romney continues to be a likely (if no longer the most likely) nominee? Am I helping the left by repeating their talking points?

Or does this special Non-Disparagement Agreement which all of us are expected to sign on to and honor for the next year in every public utterance we make not apply to Romney?

Does it only apply to "True Conservatives"?

Then a question: What if I don't really believe in "True Conservatives," and don't believe that Herman Cain would be a "True Conservative" even if I did believe in the category?

What do I do then? Shut up because King Rush told me to?

Posted by: Ace at 10:04 AM | Comments (464)
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Adam Carolla: OWS Represents The First Fruit From 20-25 Years of Esteem-Building "There Are No Losers, Both Teams Win!" Coddling
— Ace

Hmm... he makes some good points.

I should mention he curses a lot, in phrases like "there are no f***ing Participation Trophies in f***ing real life, you f***ing moron." more...

Posted by: Ace at 09:11 AM | Comments (207)
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Thomas Sowell: Whoever Won by Seizing the Center?
— rdbrewer

At Real Clear Politics:

Talk show host Michael Medved, for example, apparently thinks the Republicans need a centrist presidential candidate in 2012. He said, "Most political battles are won by seizing the center." Moreover, he added: "Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the electoral experience of the last 50 years."

But just when did Ronald Reagan, with his two landslide election victories, "seize the center"? For that matter, when did Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a record four consecutive presidential election victories, "seize the center"?

There have been a long string of Republican presidential candidates who seized the center -- and lost elections. Thomas E. Dewey, for example, seized the center against Harry Truman in 1948. Even though Truman was so unpopular at the outset that the "New Republic" magazine urged him not to run, and polls consistently had Dewey ahead, Truman clearly stood for something -- and for months he battled for what he stood for.

That turned out to be enough to beat Dewey, who simply stood in the center.

I've been arguing for a while that Reagan won over the Reagan Democrats without pandering to them at all. He was a great leader and a man with real conservative convictions. People knew what he stood for, and they loved him for it. I think the Bushes fostered the modern false idea that one has to be kinder and gentler to appeal to the center to win. And now we have a huge crop of former Bush employees constantly on the airwaves trying to thwart Reagan's conservative message just as Bush 41 did beginning in '89.

Follow me on Twitter.

Posted by: rdbrewer at 08:51 AM | Comments (103)
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Romney On FNC: You're Either Uninformed Or A Democrat If You Think I've Changed My Positions
— DrewM

He gets points for chutzpah.

Bair asked Romney about his changing positions on climate change, abortion, immigration, and gay rights, and asked him how the American people could trust him on the important issues.

"Your list is just not accurate," replied Romney to an visibly surprised Baier, "So, one, we're going to have to be better informed about my views on issues."

Baier pointed out video ads released by Romney's opponents attacking Romney as a flip-flopper.

"I'm glad to see that the Democrat ads are breaking through," Romney said cynically adding that most videos took "only snippets of his remarks, taking them out of context."

Video at the link.

Romney was also unable to explain how his position on immigration (which at one point included a path to citizenship) was tougher than Gingrich's which Romney labels "amnesty" even though it doesn't include a path to citizenship (though it does include the dumb "citizen board" idea).

After watching him last night in the one on one with Baier, I understand why Romney has refused to do the Center Seat segment on Special Report.

Video of the full interview is here.

BTW- I know you can say Newt has flipped on a number of issues as well. That's true and it's certainly a valid hit on him. But at least he doesn't insult your intelligence and motives by denying it.

Posted by: DrewM at 07:34 AM | Comments (359)
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CNN: Solar Prices Collapsing, Bankruptcies To Follow
— DrewM

Welcome to Obama's "Green Economy".

Two high profile companies have gone bankrupt in the United States -- government-backed Solyndra and Evergreen -- and analysts anticipate more failures ahead.

"Solyndra was just the beginning," said Jessie Pichel, head of clean energy research at the investment bank Jefferies & Co. "We're going to see a lot of companies go bankrupt."

Just how many? Of the few hundred or so solar panel makers worldwide, just 20 to 40 are expected to remain standing in a few years time, said Mark Bachman, a renewables analyst at Avian Securities.

...

But just as all these new solar panels were making their way to market, the debit crisis hit in Europe. The generous subsidies offered to solar power by European governments and utilities were cut. Demand for solar panels fell.

Plus, solar project developers were having a hard time getting credit to build new power plants, further cutting into demand. Prices for solar panels began falling rapidly.

A year ago solar panels were selling for $1.50 to $2 per watt, said Ramesh Misra, a senior analyst at Brigantine Advisors, a research outfit. Now they sell for half that, and the decline hasn't stopped.

It's almost as if an industry built on government subsidies for producers and industry and government subsidies for consumers is doomed to failure. So naturally the liberal response will be...more subsidies!

Posted by: DrewM at 06:03 AM | Comments (244)
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DOOM: Cry your blues away
— Monty

DOOOOM

World central banks might be worried about another "Lehman event" in Europe. The Euro crisis keeps going from bad to worse. EDIT: Teh Bernank to the rescue? Hey, we've got plenty of money, right? If not, we can just print some more! Here's a rule, investors: never gamble with people who can print their own money.

Italian borrowing costs are higher than they’ve been for more than a decade. This can’t continue for much longer.

The future of jobs. Given that human intelligence and ability fall into a bell curve, it's going to be a tough world for those on the left side of the curve...but really, hasn't that always been the case?

The Great Job Massacre.

Curing the unemployment blues:

If one government program had its rough edges, a second government program could ride to the rescue. Implicit in this argument was the tantalizing, but fatal, assumption of economic abundance: The government has the power to tax, and with that power, has access to a cornucopia of public funds that never runs empty—at least until it does.

10 things that (honest) capitalists really believe.

The Eurozone: 10 days to live?

A credit rating is just an opinion, and often a mistaken one. It is not a performance guarantee, a fact that many financiers and investors either forgot or deliberately ignored. There’s no substitute for due diligence as a risk-abatement strategy.

Time was that as a kid Junior would eat all the cookies and beef jerky in the house and leave you none. Then Junior went off into the world and you thought, “Now, I can have the cookies and beef jerky to myself!” Alas, no: Junior has slunk back to the ancestral manse, is camping in the basement, is drinking up all your beer, and is sitting around in his underwear playing Battlefield 3 all day. (I figure we’ve done enough Boomer-bashing lately; let’s bash on some of those thankless lazy good-for-nothing kids for a change.)

When things stop making sense in the bond world, it’s a good sign that a big shock is not far off. The bond markets crave stability above all else, and when the behavior of that system becomes chaotic, it signifies some pretty bad things.

If the Eurozone crisis is worse than it looks, the citizens of that region are in for a world of hurt, because it looks pretty damned bad. (Also, see my post on the bond markets above: when things stop making sense in the bond world, bad things lurk nearby.)

I’ve said it many times: “Europe” is not a nation like the United States is a nation, and it never will be.

Standard & Poor’s to 37 global banks: BAM!

The problem with America’s spending is only partly debt that we’ve already accrued; the bigger problem is future obligations -- in particular Social Security and Medicare.

McConnell two days ago: “I say no to an extension of the payroll tax holiday!” McConnell yesterday: “I give an extension of the payroll tax holiday a good, firm maybe.” I always love to see a public servant of stout conviction and firm principle. It gives me hope for the future.

UPDATE 1: Those crazy kids from Taiwan explain the Euro crisis to you as only they can.

UPDATE 2: For many heavily-indebted cities, even bankruptcy may not provide an escape from their problems.
more...

Posted by: Monty at 03:47 AM | Comments (256)
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Top Headline Comments 11-30-11
— Gabriel Malor

Some news items to get you started:

Police have mostly cleared out Occupy L.A. The city is officially "renovating" the park for the conceivable future. As of 30 minutes ago, there had been 104 arrests and 2 minor use-of-force incidents.

In the Senate, a bipartisan vote kills the progressives' attempt to strip a measure from the defense bill that will put most Al Qaeda terrorists in military custody. Obama bitterly opposes keeping Al Qaeda detainees in exclusive military custody and has vowed to veto the bill. Cloture vote is scheduled for today, with final passage predicted for tomorrow.

It will be telling if Obama goes through with a veto. As with his desire to close Gitmo, a majority of public is against him. He flinched on Gitmo. Complicating his decision now is that he risks further alienating his progressive base just as the election winds up. And if he truly is abandoning the white, middle class in favor of a coalition of the yuppified progressive elite and minority groups, he's going to have to throw them a bone every now and then. This explains his recent anti-prosperity Keystone XL decision.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 02:00 AM | Comments (174)
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November 29, 2011

Very Good New NRSC Ad Calls Obama... Malazy
— Ace

Yeah it works better in the commercial than in print. more...

Posted by: Ace at 07:51 PM | Comments (69)
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Overnight Open Thread - Boredom Edition
— Maetenloch

50 Things Every 18-Year-Old Should Know

Well this list is more general principles and advice than specific skills. Though I would add to the mix being able to change a tire without assistance and general first aid plus CPR. You may not need these skills very often but when you do, you'll probably need them very badly.

Oh and learn to type. If I had known how much of my later life would be spent pecking at a keyboard, I would have skipped computer programming in high school and taken typing instead.

einstein18.jpg

9) College is a lot more work than high school and your job will be a lot more work than college was.

10) Start looking for a new job BEFORE you quit your old job.

16) If you're not happy with the job market, the government, or the schools in your area, remember that you can always move to another city or another state. Lots of Americans do just that every year.

17) "I wish that I had known to check the oil in my vehicles and to have changed it regularly. It would have saved a lot of money that I spent on repairs -- directly due to my lack of changing the oil per the mechanic." -- Ann H.

34) If you get into a business deal with someone who goes to unusual lengths to convince you of how honest or Christian they are, watch your wallet and make sure you have an iron clad contract. They "doth protest too much."

35) "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." - Jim Rohn

39) Nobody owes you a living.

40) You are not a victim.

more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:51 PM | Comments (816)
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Bill Ayers Talks About The Fundraiser He Hosted For Obama (The One Obama's Campaign Claimed Was a "Debunked" "Myth")
— Ace

Here. "An ambitious young man," Ayers thought.

Ambitious, but not industrious.

In other Blasts From the Past -- although it was widely known already that Obama took the title of his one book (he only actually wrote one) Audacity of Hope from his pastor and "spiritual adviser" Jeremiah "God Damn America" Wright, video of Obama stating this has just surfaced.

Bonus: Eric Holder tells the Daily Caller to stop reporting on calls for his resignation, claiming that the desire to remove him from office is not "organic," but rather contrived by "you guys," meaning the Daily Caller, or Republicans, or the conservative-leaning media.

Or something.

Posted by: Ace at 01:31 PM | Comments (317)
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Run, Sarah, Run! Please Write-In Palin In All Caucuses and Primaries!
— Ace

...if that's who you actually want. Don't look for surrogates; vote for the person you actually want.

C4P is running an ad in Iowa urging Palinites to draft Palin via the write-in, and for once -- finally -- I agree. more...

Posted by: Ace at 12:59 PM | Comments (379)
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NFL Pickem Stats
— Dave in Texas

*slippin this in between posts, I hope.

It's been a dismal NFL season, and by that I mean I cannot get a break. Not one. Dallas won two in a row, didn't cover.

I'm beginning to suspect it's you, and not me.

SO here are Ben and CDR M's reports...

Omega Theta Pi

Muletrain2016 103
CountryBlumkins 97
Purity Repulican 96
Portnoy: 95
FMG: 95
Scott: 95
Chemwonk: 95
Moochelle's Large Butt: 95

Delta Tau Chi

RD Brewer: 92
DrewM 90
Russ from Winterset: 89
Gabe Malor 89
Ben 87
Andy 86
CDR M: 85
DiT 78

My advice to you all, is to start drinking heavily.


Posted by: Dave in Texas at 12:46 PM | Comments (27)
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Is Bachmann Really Running For Mitt's VP Slot?
— Ace

This has been mentioned a lot here. It's not really my own pet theory; it's cobloggers' and commenters'.

A Time writer makes the case:

Michele Bachmann abruptly canceled scheduled events in Iowa on Tuesday to do nine conservative and Christian radio programs. Her No. 1 topic? Newt Gingrich’s soft stance on immigration. Which candidate does this most help? Mitt Romney.

Throughout the summer and fall, Romney has hardly needed to attack any of his rivals; Bachmann has done it for him. When Rick Perry was rising in the polls, it was Bachmann who went after him for supporting a HPV vaccine mandate. When Herman Cain was on the ascent it was Bachmann who shot down his 9-9-9 plan and his “inconsistencies.”

Sure, the Minnesota congresswoman has taken an occasional dig at Romney. On Nov. 9 she called him a “frugal socialist.” But in debates and in comparison to the vehemence with which she’s attacked other rivals, she’s gone easy on Romney. In fact, the two seem to have a pact of mutual non-aggression. Remember that roundtable debate last month when Romney lobbed that softball question to Bachmann about her jobs program?

If Bachmann’s former campaign manager Ed Rollins is to be believed, she’s gunning to be Romney’s No. 2.

I had never heard that Ed Rollins claimed that. It's not a solid thing -- it's that he reportedly told "associates" this (i.e., it's second-hand at best).

But, yeah, it is strange that Bachmann is essentially debuting for the role of Mitt's attack dog.

What's especially interesting is that Bachmann signs up so willingly for Sacrifice Attacks. Some attacks are kind of over the top and involve a lot of blowback; they hurt the person making them as much or more than the target of the attack.

Gardasil, for example. That more or less took Bachmann out of things.

And that wasn't entirely unforeseeable. A lot of people -- including Republicans -- are not so jazzed about the anti-vax swamp that a lot of the animus there seemed to be coming from. And her cloyingly emotional appeal -- "Little. Girls." -- came off as shameless.

Plus, her convenient My Daughter Came Out a Retard mystery witness.

But still she made the attack.

Did that help her?

Not really. It did begin to damage Rick Perry. But that attack damaged two of Mitt's rivals. Pretty good for Mitt.

My own opinion is that my enthusiasm for a Romney ticket could scarcely be any lower... unless it was a Romney-Bachmann ticket. In which case it would be as low as possible.


Via @allahpundit and @baseballcrank.

Posted by: Ace at 11:48 AM | Comments (333)
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Three Things The GOP Field Can Learn From Herman Cain
— Ace

These are pretty damn fine points.

Here's number one:

If you want to sell a pie, you need a good hook: Cain has taken a lot of heat over how often he mentions his 9-9-9 plan, but it’s beating the stuffing out of all the other candidates’ plans right now. Why? Because Cain, a corporate marketing expert, knows deep in his bones what most politicians still can’t figure out: if you want people to remember you, you have to give them something simple on which to hang that memory. There’s a corollary here, by the way, that probably should get its own point: If you don’t build the hooks for your campaign, your competition will, and they won’t be good.

Mitt Romney has a fine economic plan, but it’s spread out over 59 points and has no unifying theme he can put into one short sentence. Rick Perry has a strong three-pillar plan but his hook, “Cut, Balance, and Grow”, is not only boring but so close to “Cut, Cap, and Balance” that it makes him look lazy and unimaginative. Newt Gingrich knows how to write a good hook — remember “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less”? — but he hasn’t gotten around to writing a good one for his own plan.

Cain put a strong hook in front of a plan that turned out to be less than half as comprehensive than any of the other candidates’ plans and his is the one that still dominates the tax reform discussion.

Point 2 is keep it positive -- I guess I agree with that, generally -- and Point 3 is related to point 1: If you want your supporters to sell your plan, you'd better sell it strongly yourself (Nine! Nine! Nine!), and not just treat it like a Check That Box thing to get out of the way, just to say you have a plan.

Posted by: Ace at 11:10 AM | Comments (252)
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