Okay, I know I’ve neglected the blog for a few months now, but I’m ready to jump back into it. A lot has happened in the political world since I dropped off the face of the Earth, but I hope to catch up as soon as I can. To my readers (all 3 of you), I’m sorry I left with no notice, but I do appreciate you and I won’t let you down in the future.
What’s a Democratic House Speaker, eager to appease her lefty, BDS addled base to do when news stories come out that look like this –
Democrats Bow to Bush’s Demands in House Spending Bill
Dems cave on spending
Deal would give Bush victory on war funding
While at the same time some of the biggest mouths in reality based community are putting up posts like this:
Time For New Leadership in Congress
I’ll vote against my liberal Democratic Congressmen
“There is No Democratic Party in Congress”
Now keep in mind this is just over the last couple of days and doesn’t include all the waterboarding stuff from earlier.
Well, here’s one way to deal with it. Pelosi: Republicans `like’ Iraq War
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public’s priorities.
“They like this war. They want this war to continue,” Pelosi, D- Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans’ ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.
“We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we needed a new direction in Iraq,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. “But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is not just George Bush’s war. This is the war of the Republicans in Congress.”
That ought to keep them happy for a couple of hours anyway.
From Captain’s Quarters, where Ed Morrissey obviously paid closer attention to the Democratic debate today than I did, comes this bit of Hillary:
HC: We’ve got to enlist the American people the way we did in a previous generation for the Apollo program. As a little girl, I remember being thrilled about that, and feeling there was something I could do. [Shrugs] My fifth-grade teacher said it was to study math and science, but it gave me an idea of actually contributing to my country.
What a nice and inspirational anecdote. There’s only one problem with it, as Morrissey points out:
Hillary Clinton was born in 1947. Assuming she started the first grade as a six-year-old as most kids do, she would have been in the fifth grade in 1957-1958. The Mercury program didn’t start until 1961, and Apollo started in 1966. John Kennedy didn’t even make his speech about going to the moon until she was a teenager, not a “little girl”.
Why spew out a BS story like that when it’s so obviously a fib? Does she think nobody knows how old she is or when the Apollo program was going? Good grief. Maybe she thinks her audience consists of the people in this video. Keep in mind she’s done the same thing before when she claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, famous for climbing Mount Everest in 1953 when Hillary was 5 years old. You’d think she’d learn her lesson and stop doing that!
This reminds me of something Maureen Dowd did in her column the other day. There was a discussion of the piece at Ann Althouse’s place when I decided to look around to see what other people were saying about it. I found this over at Instapundit:
CAUGHT YOUTHENING: Maureen Dowd’s latest column begins:
When I was a kid, we used to drive on the Beltway past the big Mormon temple outside Washington. The spires rose up like a white Oz, and some wag had spray-painted the message on a bridge beneath: “Surrender Dorothy!”
But if you’re imagining Dowd as a pigtailed six-year-old in the back of the family station wagon, think again. The temple was finished in 1974. Maureen Dowd was born in 1952. So she was a “kid” who was old enough to vote and drink. (According to this source, the graffiti first appeared in 1973, when Dowd would have been 21.)
Granted, Maureen Dowd isn’t a politician running for office and some people might write it off as just a woman lying about her age, but come on – does she not realize people know how old she is?
If you’ve never read Dr. Sanity before, here’s a chance to see some of her excellent work. I’ll quote a sample, but it should be read in its entirety. I also recommend looking through her archives for past gems.
Psychological denial and the avoidance of an unpleasant reality are certainly not confined to one side of the political spectrum or the other. But what I find endlessly fascinating is how the political left has created and fully integrated specific ideological tools that facilitate ongoing psychological denial.
It reminds me of all the paranoid patients I have observed over the years, who effortlessly are able to dismiss or explain away those facts that don’t fit in with their carefully constructed conspiracy theories. If you get too assertive in pointing out those uncomfortable facts, you find yourself in no time fully integrated into the theory. For the paranoid, the case is closed and the argument is finished.
The political left has been utilizing the same psychological strategies inherent in the paranoid style since the end of the cold war and the 20th century. The rise of politically correct speech and the dogma of multiculturalism; the insistence on cultural diversity while enforcing a profound homogeneity of ideas and lack of intellectual diversity in academia; as well as the distortions and rationalizations that are currently the hallmark of intellectual debate within our institutions of higher learning and politics– have all combined to dissuade those on the political left from pursuing a course of intellectual honesty and/or emotional insight.
This is what makes it so frustrating to debate or argue with today’s typical postmodern leftist. Some are willing to engage in discussion, but you can always count on their complete dismissal of any fact that does not conform to their ideological perspective. No matter how many times you debunk their position (e.g., no matter how many times evidence of Saddam’s WMD’s are found and documented; that evidence has been either ignored or poo-pooed using a variety of rationalizations–and the goalposts are then changed to ensure the safety of the denial).
When it suits their purposes (i.e., when they are losing the argument), they will resort to the claim that reality and truth are merely subjective constructs anyway, and that any evidence you present is only someone’s “opinion” and that their opinions are as good as anyone else’s.
Such a position should logically disqualify their position to begin with, but of course, it doesn’t.
Generally they use this as their argument of last resort–when they cannot bring any facts or logic to support their position. After a brief escape into the relativism noted above, they will then usually proceed directly to the usual ad hominem attacks. Q.E.D.
Again, that’s just a snippet. Read it all.
As has been the case for most of the debates, most of the chatter is about how the event was handled instead of what we actually learned from the candidates. Dean Barnett at the Weekly Standard has a scathing column at the top of memeorandum:
HERE WE WERE on Wednesday, a nation of political junkies gathered around our televisions to watch the candidates debate each other one last time, and we had as a moderator one Carolyn Washburn, the editor of the Des Moines Register. I don’t mean to go all East-coast-elitist on you; I’m sure there are people in Iowa who could capably moderate a presidential debate. Unfortunately, and obviously, Carolyn Washburn is not one of them.
The bulk of the post-debate analysis will probably focus on how maladroit Washburn was at the job. She did the impossible–she moderated the last Iowa debate between the Republican candidates before caucuses and yet saw to it that none of the candidates engaged each other. In other words, the moderator ensured that the debate would be as lively as a 12 part PBS series on “How Grass Grows.” A personal aside to the Des Moines Register–“boring” is not synonymous with “serious.”
The problems went beyond Washburn’s lack of mad moderating skillz. From the outset, Washburn announced that the candidates would not be discussing either Iraq or immigration. Swell! It’s the biggest debate of the season, so let’s take the two biggest issues off the table. For what it’s worth, Washburn brought all the charm to her assignment of a latter-day Nurse Ratched.
Ouch, I sort of feel sorry for Ms Washburn because her performance has received nearly universal derision. Barnett goes on to give his opinion of who did best in the debate, such as it was. He thinks Fred Thompson came out the winner and he liked Romney’s performance, which is pretty much the consensus. However, I see that Rick Klein at ABC news is still pushing Huckabee: ANALYSIS: Huckabee Shines in Lackluster Debate
Well, that was … thoroughly uninteresting. And that is fantastic, spectacular news for new Republican front-runner Mike Huckabee, and a giant missed opportunity for Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and all the rest of the would-be Iowa contenders.
Mike Huckabee: Nothing happened to slow his momentum, and plenty happened to suggest that it will continue.
Ron Paul: Loved the focus on questions of national debt, the Constitution and an overreaching federal government.
Fred Thompson: Provided a highlight of the ho-hum debate by slapping down the debate moderator, refusing to raise his hand or answer a yes-or-no question. Guess he can kiss that Des Moines Register endorsement goodbye …
At least he agrees the format was awful, but honestly, how in the world can his take on the winners and losers be so off?
Oh, I should mention at least one reaction to the debate format, as well as the host, was positive. Moderator wins Iowa GOP debate:
Well, much to my surprise, I made it through the whole thing and found the format if not perfect, at least far improved from the circus atmosphere that usually has me reaching for the clicker. Since it’s customary to do so, I’m declaring the winner to be Carolyn Washburn who did a great job on the moderation. She was unobtrusive, but asked good serious questions and kept the time hoggers gently but firmly in line.
To the extent that any of them ‘won’, I’d say Huckabee came off as the most confident, no doubt due to his rising poll numbers and Ron Paul came off as sane and serious, rather than shrill, probably because he was treated with more respect by Washburn than is customary at these events and he wasn’t forced to compete for face time. This was a good format for him.
This was a good format period. It’s not that it was all that much more informative. Politicians being what they are, ignore the questions to make their preferred talking points and I imagine many will find it boring without the glitz. But for me, it beat the hell out of watching Chris Matthews preen for the cameras for the better part of two hours, while he decides who gets to talk.
I should note that comes from a blog that apparently just sees what righties are saying and immediately disagrees, but it’s interesting that there’s agreement with Rick Klein about who did the best in the debate.
Oh, I almost forgot! Watch the video of Charles Krauthammer at Hot Air. Excellent. “The worst debate in western history.”
Congressman Steve King reacted this morning to the nine “NO” votes on his resolution to honor Christmas and the Christian faith. The vote shocked Capitol Hill observers because votes on similar resolutions honoring the holidays of Islam and Hinduism passed without any NO votes.
Appearing this morning on the Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends, King said, “The [nine] naysayers didn’t make it to the floor to debate. I would like to know how they could vote Yes on Islam, Yes on the Indian Religions and No on Christianity when the foundation of this nation and our American culture is Christianity…I think there’s an assault on Christianity in America.”
The nine Members voting NO were Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) (FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). None of the nine voted against resolutions honoring the Islamic holiday of Ramadan and the Hindu holiday of Diwali.
Now I don’t want to get into a discussion about whether or not any religious holidays should get official government recognition, but what are these people thinking who vote YES on every other religious observance but NO on the Christian one? The only explanation can be that they really do think separation of church and state only applies to the majority religion and it simply exists to prevent the establishment of a theocracy, without any fundamental principle behind it.
Perhaps as an indication of the degree of debate fatigue I have, I wasn’t even aware that the Republicans were debating in Iowa today.
Here’s a cursory roundup of information I’ve been able to glean on short notice:
Michelle Malkin is liveblogging.
The Des Moines Register’s Carolyn Washburn (a.k.a. Schoolmarm) is the moderator of the debate. She’s no plant, but she sure is a stick in the mud. Her line of the debate so far: “A little snappier, gentlemen!” An hour into the debate, there’s no pile-on on Huckabee. There’s no time for one. Schoolmarm won’t allow it! She did, however, find time to show time-wasting videos of the candidates answering questions from Register reporters–even though the candidates are standing in front of her on the stage.
Congratulations, Schoolmarm: Washburn managed to suck all the life and color out of one of the most contested, exciting, unpredictable campaign fields in recent history. She stamped out any attempts between the candidates to engage each other. Not a single question on immigration.
I think, quite frankly, I preferred the plants!
Over at The Corner a consensus is developing that Romney and Thompson did well, but McCain and Giuliani didn’t get much in because Ron Paul and Alan Keyes were so disruptive.
Hot Air has video highlights, including Alan Keyes as his usual unhinged self.
The following video, from Hot Air, is great. I now wish I would have watched the whole thing.
Yikes. Malkin was right about the moderator, and BRAVO to Thompson for saying NO to yet another stupid “show of hands” question.