Archive for the ‘Political Animals’ Category
A great moment (maybe the only great moment) of the 2013 Oscars didn’t happen during the ceremony; it happened in the interview after with Jennifer Lawrence. In the interview, a reporter asked her: “You’re not worried that you’ll peak too soon?”
Jennifer Lawrence replied,“Well now I am!” [Go to the 1:12 mark for the funny.]
In the same way, Barack Obama has repeatedly introduced ideas that no one, save him it seems, had considered. President Obama has helpfully clarified the following:
“We don’t want to tax all businesses out of business,” Obama said. “But we do think that there’s a role to play for government.”
The truth leaks out. Everyone wants their true desires to be viewed as normative. The first step is to verbalize the desires–make them okay.
Questioner: “So, you didn’t get cookies and milk after school, then?”
Psychopath: “My mom wasn’t a bad person.” (No one had said she was.)
Questioner: “Did you have any sisters or brothers?”
Psychopath: “Children are safe with me.” (Who mentioned safety?)
Get the idea?
President Obama keeps answering questions no one is asking or no one is fearing–well, until he mentions it, of course.
Was I worried about him being a dictator? Well, I am now.
Was I worried about him taxing all business out of business? Kinda. But I really am now.
People have tuned out President Obama’s incessant droning. That’s a mistake. As he feels more emboldened and untouchable, he’s saying what he really thinks and it’s disturbing.
Shorter Dan Pfeiffer: It’s none of your business how the Prez handled Benghazi the night of and it’s a conspiracy theory to ask.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 19, 2013
The reason the White House won’t answer the question about where Obama was during Benghazi is because it speaks ill of him either way:
1. He was in the situation room the whole time and denied aid to our people dying in Benghazi.
2. He went to bed (or some other recreational activity) which would be interpreted as a dereliction of duty and reflect poorly on him.
If the buck stops at him (it does no matter where he was), he’s in trouble.
The buck stopping anywhere else during this fiasco makes him look like an impotent rube.
As Ed Morrisey says:
Out: “Bush read My Pet Goat for 7 minutes during a terrorist attack!” In: Where Obama was all night during a terrorist attack: irrelevant
— EdMorrissey (@EdMorrissey) May 19, 2013
You should know that reading to children for seven minutes and then getting to a secured location is totally like going to Vegas, baby!
BTW, George Bush read The Pet Goat to school children while we were being attacked then fled to La. rather than return to DC.
— Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) May 19, 2013
And the press will nod affirmatively and with full credulity.
When the BBC hosts pilloried me about remaining mute and not opinionating in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, I noted that it seems like we should at least be quiet until families are notified. It’s unseemly to be politicizing a very personal tragedy.
“This isn’t about politics,” one host shrieked,”it’s about GUNS!”
I responded,”Well, the solution to the gun issue the president brought up would be political.”
The host continued by saying that he felt the reason I hadn’t written about the tragedy and that the NRA hadn’t spoken about it was because we were ashamed. I countered with the fact that I was, presently, talking to the BBC about the tragedy and defending Americans rights to keep and bear arms. I was not ashamed to defend that.
But I was ashamed that defending the Constitution had to be done in this way at this time.
It was unsettling. It was too soon. And yet, someone had to push back against the philistines willing to ride on the backs of dead children to pursue their political agenda. And though sickened, I spoke up.
Jonah Goldberg captures this disgust nicely. Please read his whole post. Here’s a snippet:
I haven’t written much about the Newtown shooting. I did write my first column of the week about it because I felt I had to chime in. But I resented it. Maybe it’s because I’m becoming too sentimental about kids. Maybe it’s because I’m sick to death of death. Maybe it’s some other personal failing on my part, but I nonetheless resent being dragged into the political maw so quickly after a bunch of little kids were picked off by a madman with a gun. I agree with 90% of the things written by my colleagues about guns and gun control and the second amendment over the last week, but I nonetheless find it a bit grotesque that it’s necessary for anyone to be celebrating or defending guns before these little, little, kids have even been buried. It feels indecent to me.
It is indecent.
No, your ends do not justify these means.
I have to wonder: Do the folks indulging in this orgie of political posturing know loss and death? Are they so distanced from sorrow that they cannot empathize with the parents and suffering families? Are they such zealots for their cause that they’re willing to step on a heap of dead children to fight for it? Do they not see what they’re doing?
Maybe it’s just that when you’re a humanist, your instinct is to blame humans. If your worldview is that people are essentially good, that they’ve been nurtured wrong, or society failed, and then evil, evil guns were around, then blaming parents, doctors, teachers, gun manufacturers, “society” is the route one goes. And this time, the usual blamable subjects don’t quite fit that worldview. The boy’s mother, school officials, psychologists, everyone, were trying to do something to help him. The boy couldn’t be helped or wasn’t helped soon enough. Maybe he didn’t want to be helped.
So, it’s the guns and people who have guns who are evil. Someone must be blamed.
It is devastating to look at the deaths of twenty children and see the horror unfold in a lovely community (that did all the right gun control things) and for evil to still happen.
One feels helpless.
Helplessness is the natural human state. Humanists just live under an illusion — more laws, or better people, or the right resources will make all societal ills vanish. No, they won’t.
And so, we see folks fighting like badgers about guns, because it feels like Something Can Be Done. It’s better to be angry and active, then passive and helpless.
Rather than talking about guns or laws or even mental illness, Professor Kennedy talked about the nature of man, of suffering, and of our walk on the earth. To me, it seems like we should be talking about those things.
Instead, we’re talking about guns. It is, as Jonah says, indecent.
There is burying the lede, and then there’s burying the lede. In this case, the whole article can be flushed if only one reads the last line:
“When Republicans and conservatives once again start asking my opinion, I will know they are on the road to recovery.”
What could have been…. What could be…. If only….
It’s not that I disagree with everything Bruce says, because I don’t. It’s that he’s wrong enough about so much which causes me to question the areas where I agree with him.
P.S. I read the New York Times. Does the fact that I’m still searching for that Benghazi exposé make me a right-wing nutter?
P.P.S. That Krugman is being touted as a towering intellectual giant and some sort of litmus test for inclusive thinking, uh, please… And how, out of one side of your mouth do you dislike Medicare Part D but love Keynesism out of the other? Oh never mind, this isn’t about making sense. This is about feeling spurned and superior. It’s the same thing with his best buds Andrew Sullivan and David Frum. Maybe they can build a treehouse and decry epistemic cloture together. All by themselves. Just them.
You can watch election coverage hosted by Tony Katz and featuring commentators and activists across the country here:
Starts at 6 pm eastern. See you then!
When John McCain suspended his campaign after finally having some positive momentum post-Palin’s electrifying RNC speech, I knew it was over. It was quite possibly the dumbest political move I had ever seen and at that point, politics had been my focus for only three years.
Disheartened and discouraged, I soldiered on because Barack Obama would be, well, what he was: Bad for the economy, bad for international relations, and generally contemptuous of anyone who did not see things his way. It’s been worse than I imagined.
I joked on Twitter that I’d vote for a roasted turnip over Barack Obama.
My choice lost the GOP primary. I thought I was stuck voting for a turnip. I’ve been wrong. It has been a pleasant surprise.
Mitt Romney has shown himself to be an able, flexible, proactive campaigner. He’s had the press nearly universally against him and cheerfully plowed forward.
Strategically, Mitt is never put off by Obama’s silly mind games. The press’ obsession with Romney non-gaffes over Obama’s actual missteps has been … I’m at a loss for words. Put it this way: The press has so staked its existence on Barack Obama that it has decided to go down with the ship. No rats flee. No rats even attempt modest objectivity. And still, Mitt stays on his positive, pro-American message.
Policy wise, Mitt seems technocratic. That is, he doesn’t dislike government, per se, he dislikes how it is managed, and by golly, he’s going to do some restructuring.
Romney’s urge to reorder should comfort Democrats terrified that the business of government is going away with a Republican. President Romney sees a bureaucracy worth saving. That should inspire Dems, but no.
The Democrat position seems to be “Just as I am Lord.” Please, leave every bloated agency fat and inefficient. Keeping the agency and trimming the fat? Unthinkable.
Now, I go to the kill-the-agency-then-burn-it-in-a-fire school of government thought. I’m likely to be disappointed by Romney’s trimming of the verge.
Still, trimming is better than growing.
Here’s what’s surprised me about Mitt: I thought he was more of a nobless-oblige driven blue blood like George W. Bush. Oh, I know GW is from Texas. But underneath is a north-easterner who feels, like Obama, that the little people just can’t quite take care of themselves. It lead to many maddening policies.
Mitt is not that guy. Mitt’s midwestern sensibilities have hung on more than I thought. In addition, choosing to be a self-made man has given him confidence not only in himself but in people.
There’s an underlying lack of faith that statists have in people. They believe people incapable of self-sufficiency. Thus, laws have to be written to “protect” the citizen from himself. Mitt doesn’t seem to believe that. He has a live and let-live attitude and a firm faith in people. The attitude is refreshing.
When I get discouraged at the economic misery, I remind myself that multiple states have enjoyed quiet but quite solid turn arounds with good policy. Wisconsin and Indiana come immediately to mind. Bobby Jindal has been righting the Louisiana ship. This is happening all over America and it’s encouraging. California is a notable exception. Illinois seems to be a few disastrous steps behind.
Still, those turnarounds remind me that America is not lost. The situation is dire. There can be no doubt that whomever is elected faces some nearly impossibly difficult choices. My concern is that Barack Obama would just avoid them and his indecision would be a decision.
Mitt Romney will make the decisions. Some will be tough. They are bound to displease someone–all big decisions do, but what choice do we have? Doesn’t it feel like time is up?
So, it was easy for me to vote for Mitt Romney. Not as a defensive position, but as a positive decision. Maybe Mitt is just the man for the season. Maybe he can manage this failing state out of its bankruptcy. I say maybe not because I doubt his abilities but because the task is so formidable.
The media, left, and poll watchers seem 84% convinced that Barack Obama is a shoe-in. Or, it’s tied 48-48. 47-47. The models have Obama running away with the electoral college.
In my bones, I don’t believe this. Some states are going to be lost, no doubt. But this guaranteed result? Bah.
Vote. I feel good about my Mitt vote and you should, too.
After the amazing Ted Cruz triumph over Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, a couple political Twitterati including Rick Wilson and David Weigel mused that success has 1000 fathers . The implication, of course, that everyone wants to share in the success and no one wants to admit they were part of a losing effort.
That’s true, of course. As I tweeted: Winning > Losing. And it’s fun to be on the winning side.
In thinking about Ted Cruz’ win, though, his success really did have a thousand fathers. More, actually.
I could probably list 100 people, easily, who put it on the line, and early, for Ted Cruz. I’ll admit I came on board after Jim DeMint because of my love for both Michael Williams and Ted Cruz. Both are great conservatives. It was a matter of who could win. It didn’t take long for Ted to demonstrate that he was the guy.
Jim DeMint lead the way. Mike Lee pushed everyone far and wide for Ted. But that really wasn’t the beginning.
Ted Cruz spoke at Texas Americans for Prosperity events and was introduced to grassroots there. After that, Ted did the hard work of attending CPACs, multiple Tea Parties, and all sorts of conservative gatherings.
Every Texas Tea Party leader and many tea partiers themselves knew Ted personally. He and his campaign manager John Drogin gutted it up day in and day out doing the hard politicking that it takes to win when you don’t have millions to burn.
Club for Growth, Freedom Works, and Sarah Palin [her analysis here], to name a few, came in and fortified and energized Cruz supporters, pushing Cruz enough to rob Dewhurst of the primary victory and forcing a run-off.
And here is why Citizen United is so very, very important: Without SuperPACs, incumbents are nearly untouchable.
How many important donors could give to these PACs and not risk the wrath of the very powerful powers-that-be? Many. Otherwise, they’d have to curry favor with someone like the Lt. Governor or sit on the sidelines for fear of losing and being punished for disloyalty.
PACS give donors both big and small the ability to fight for politicians who represent them without fear of reprisal should their fight be lost.
So, Ted Cruz success had thousands of fathers, but mostly Ted Cruz succeeded because he is a great candidate, the right man for the time, and worked his tail off doing the old fashioned work of politics — earning one vote at at time.
Ted’s victory speech here.
This little shindig will be across the street from the hotel at a bar along the river walk. Meet up at the hotel lobby around 7 pm and then come over to the bar!
Past Blog Bashes have helped launch the political careers of folks like Mike Lee and Mia Love both of Utah. The Blogbash at Redstate will be a celebration of these successes!
Ted Cruz looks good going into the run-off election with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to be the Republican nominee for the United States Senate. How did this happen?
Well, Ted is a great candidate first of all: smart, principled, and hard working. He has been working the grassroots circuit for years. I first met Ted maybe three or four years ago when he was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity event in Austin. Since then, he’s faithfully attended Teaparty after Teaparty event. Ted knows every significant grassroots activist in Texas personally.
Ted’s hard work gave him name recognition among the around 30% of the most faithful, devoted conservative leaning political faithful in Texas. They came through and voted for him in the primary but Dewhurst still beat him with his higher name recognition and money, but I knew pretty assuredly that if Ted got into the run-off, Team Dewhurst was in big trouble.
Why? A couple reasons:
1. Most Republican voters have already voted and won’t come back out to vote.
2. The most dedicated will vote.
3. In a head-to-head, Cruz’s name recognition will increase.
The Dewhurst camp made a bad decision when they went so negative on Ted Cruz: The criticism was so outrageously over-the-top that people were forced to go look up the truth. When they went to investigate, many liked what they saw. I’m not sure if the negative ads didn’t help Ted Cruz.
Thursday night of last week, FreePAC, Freedom Works political action committee taught a stadium full of people how to get out the vote. [My interview with Matt Kibbe here.]
After that, there were rousing speeches from all sorts of Cruz supporters. Following the speechifying, Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, Republican usurper Richard Mourdock of Indiana (who beat incumbent Senator Lugar), and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe gave a press conference. There were a couple reporters there and then about 20 bloggers.
[Aside: Journalists ask stupid questions. I got to roll my eyes in front of them instead of online. Example: "Do Republicans want to win the Presidency more or the Congress more?"]
The FreePAC event lasted late and so early Friday, I drove back to The Woodlands, Texas and then went to the TeaParty event where many state TeaParty leaders showed up and endorsed Ted Cruz. Also there: Senator Jim DeMint and former Alaska Governor Ted Cruz.
Combined, these events and others like them around the state have the troops riled for a big turnout tomorrow. The energy certainly seems in Ted Cruz’ favor.
At #FreePac, the inaugural educational, inspirational event sponsored by Glenn Beck and Freedomworks, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe joined me to answer a couple questions.
It seems like FreedomWorks mission has shifted. What are you guys doing?
It’s a real shift away from coming up with an idea and just emailing it out to people and saying hey let’s do this. Now, it’s more driven from the bottom up and asking people, ‘what do you guys need to do to take the next step’.
It’s not a protest movement anymore. It’s not a get out the vote movement. It’s evolving into a real social movement.
That’s what different. This is more an institution building exercise.
It’s part community. It’s part values. And it’s part celebrating some of the elected officials that have actually stuck by their principles–guys we helped get elected in 2010.
Why are you harassing Dewhurst? [The Texas Republican in the runoff with grassroots candidate former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz]
In Texas, pretty good is not good enough. We are going need a deeper commitment to principle. Just voting right 70 or 80% of the time is not good enough.
We keep hearing that the Tea Party is dead. Is it?
A lot of it is wishful thinking. Bu I also think a lot of it is a little honest confusion about who we are today. We’re not a protest movement anymore, so if you’re looking for a big march on The Mall, you’re not going to find it. How do you report community by community, household by household, walking precincts for Ted Cruz? We won’t know until after the election.
They were shocked by Indiana. And they’re like that’s a one-time deal. Now they’re saying, ‘Of course Ted Cruz is going to win.’ Well, go back and read the record, nobody, …they were laughing at us.
How do you feel about the Teaparty guys who got elected in 2010? Some folks are disappointed in their performance.
I think that as a class they’ve outperformed any significant Freshman class, certainly the Class of 1995 which pretty quickly crumbled.
And this is what people need to understand, it’s not just about electing better people with better principles, it’s about creating a constituency who creates better incentives for them to do the right thing, because once you get into the Washington Bubble, all the incentives are wrong. Everybody comes to your office–they want an earmark, they want this, they want that…if we who believe in freedom don’t continue to show up and support them when they do the right thing, guess what? They’re going to change. So the burden is on us.
Don’t expect your Senator to do the right thing left to his own devices.
Is this the beginning of new events for FreedomWorks?
Yes. This an experiment but the key is to figure out how we can create institutions to bring people together. Can we do this on a regional basis, because Glenn [Beck] wants to do this on a regional basis, but you have got to find a way to do it that’s economical because the American Airlines Center is expensive.