Crazy Uncle Joe

August 15, 2012

Ha! That lovable rogue Joe Biden has done it again! You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. This week, on Oh, That Biden!, he slipped into that down home, faux-black accent that Democratic politicians love to use when they’re speaking to black audiences. It’s a way of saying that they’re down with the Negro dialect, that some of their best friends might be black, or at least have black household help. And what did Biden say while he was patronizing those people by talking like a guest star in a Tyler Perry movie? Why, he implied that Mitt Romney wanted to bring back slavery! Oh, that Biden!

Speaking to a largely, though not entirely, black audience, Biden said that Mitt Romney wants “to let the big banks once again write their own rules—unchain Wall Street!” Then, slipping into that black dialect: “They gon’ put y’all back in chains.” Das right! He went there, girlfriend! Good Lord, the condescension is so thick you could walk on it.

Now the fact is that some of Biden’s gaffes are nothing more than the harmless side effect of having too much speaking time and too little brainpower. Lines like “The President has a big stick” when discussing foreign policy, or telling the nation that President Roosevelt went on TV to address the nation four years before he became President…well, it’s kind of like watching Homer Simpson in the real world.

This should make anyone, regardless of party affiliation, nervous. Homer Simpson is one of the funniest characters in TV history, but he’s a cartoon. On TV. I.e., he doesn’t exist. Joe Biden is one heartbeat away from being the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world.

He does exist. He’s not a cartoon. And he is a blithering idiot.

Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle were persecuted by the media for far more innocuous statements. Dan Quayle was forever branded as a moron because he misspelled “potato.” It’s 20 years later and the only thing people remember about Dan Quayle is that he can’t spell “potato” and he was involved in an imbroglio over some liberal wet dream television show that nobody can remember.

Joe Biden? The Human Gaffe Machine is considered a statesman and foreign policy expert by the same media. A little eccentric, maybe, but that’s just Joe being Joe. In fact, Barack Obama selected Biden as his running mate because of Biden’s foreign policy acumen, despite the fact that Biden has been wrong on every foreign policy issue for the past 30 years.

Personally, I don’t care about Biden’s legitimate slips of the tongue. He gives a lot of speeches, and everybody flubs their lines on occasion. For example, in the same speech where he implied that Romney is a preppy version of Simon Legree, he proudly proclaimed “We can win North Carolina!” Unfortunately, he was speaking in Virginia. Anyone could make that mistake.

But Biden’s lengthy string of idiotic statements are more than just the drunken ramblings of Uncle Nutty at the family reunion. What Biden said about Romney was more than just a gaffe. From the faux-black accent to the nature of the aside, it is clear to me that this was not a gaffe at all. It was a dog whistle, meant to be heard only by a select few. Biden’s eternal idiocy gives him cover to speak in code to the base. If caught, it’s only “Crazy Uncle Joe meant to say something different and it came out wrong.” If not caught, so much the better.

Not every gaffe is a slip of the tongue. Some of them are messages. What Biden said in Virginia was one of the latter.



August 13, 2012

One of the (many) knocks that Mitt Romney has had to endure is that he is unfailingly dull and cautious. Most of the talking heads on the news programs were convinced that Romney was going to pick either Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman as his running mate. The conservative base, meanwhile, was crying out for Marco Rubio and, to a lesser extent, Paul Ryan.

From the beginning, it was clear to me that Romney was going to have to choose a running mate who would meet with the approval of the Tea Party. A dull, safe choice like Pawlenty or Portman was going to neither inspire nor invigorate the conservative base of the GOP. It’s exactly why I feared those two choices. Portman is reliably conservative, and Pawlenty was a successful conservative governor but let’s face it: they’re as dull as dishwater.

To me, Rubio seemed the smartest choice. Young, handsome, Hispanic, from Florida, and completely Tea Party-approved. Rubio may still be where the future of the Republican Party lay. Right now I’m picturing him as the second half of the 2020 Ryan/Rubio ticket.

But Romney chose Paul Ryan, a lightning rod for the Democrats, a man who was accused of trying to destroy the social safety net, who has gone on record in great detail about cuts he wants to make to government, a man who has been visually represented in an advertisement literally throwing an elderly, wheelchair-bound woman off a cliff.

Bravo, Mr. Romney. Bravo.

Say what you will about Romney, the choice of Paul Ryan was the politically riskiest pick he could have made short of hauling Sarah Palin away from Sean Hannity for another attempt. Was it a smart choice? Time will tell. The Democrats are already blasting the choice, trying to paint Paul Ryan as an extremist right-wing nut. The hatchet job they are trying to pull off will make the character assassination of Sarah Palin look tame. I fully expect the lunatic Andrew Sullivan to write blog posts claiming that Ryan’s children are Midwich Cuckoos.

But Ryan’s place on the ticket proves one thing: Mitt Romney understands the stakes of this election. For a long time, I was unsure whether he fully appreciated the gravity in the black hole of debt with which Obama and George W. Bush have saddled us. Romney in the primaries talked a good game, but it seemed that he considered our rising debt and deficit as just another problem that needed solving, not an impending crisis of nation-shattering proportions.

Paul Ryan is the serious face here. There is nobody in Congress who understands the budget, the deficit, and the debt more than he does. And he has gone on record with his solution. What Paul Ryan does as Romney’s running mate is force this election to be about genuinely big issues. This is a debate the Left claims they want, but in fact they are terrified of this. Ryan has a plan. It is not a perfect plan, but it is an excellent starting point. Ryan is not a perfect conservative, either, having voted in favor of some of the debt he now is trying to curb. But that is in the past and Ryan has seemingly seen the error of his ways and emerged as a budget hawk without sliding into the fantasy fringe of Ron Paul. The Democrats will scream and point fingers, accusing Ryan of everything from trying to destroy Medicare to forcing old people to eat cat food. Ryan will counter as he always has: eloquently, with facts and figures, charts and graphs, and a smile. I’ve watched Ryan on news shows for years now and he has never come across as someone who is less than completely reasonable and rational. The liberal opposition, meanwhile, has no facts, no charts, no graphs, and only vituperation. Most telling, they have no opposing plan of their own. As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Paul Ryan when asked about the debt: “We don’t have a definitive solution. We just don’t like yours.”

In their zeal to attack Ryan, the Democrats have moved away from their campaign strategy to keep this election about anything except economics. The Democrats have tried to make the election about birth control, about Mitt Romney’s taxes, about whether Romney put a dog crate on his car in the early 1980s. They have been loath to discuss anything to do with the economy because it is a losing issue for them.

By picking the poster child for entitlement and budget reform, Mitt Romney has shifted the focus of the election back to the issues that really matter. And while Romney is not comfortable with conservative speech, Paul Ryan makes the case for budget and entitlement reform with great eloquence.

The Democrats are falling all over themselves now in a rush to tell the world how happy they are that Romney has picked such a polarizing figure, that Romney’s choice is even worse than John McCain’s in 2008. This is a lie. The truth is they’re scared. They should be. Ryan is not some sort of monstrous ogre who wants to throw grandma into the snow. He is what the Left fears: a living, breathing rebuttal to the vapidity of their rhetoric and the absence of their ideas.

Rick, Rolling

January 6, 2012

Who would have thought, just a few short months ago, that it would be Rick Santorum and not Rick Perry that emerged triumphant from the Iowa caucus?

Not that Santorum actually won (or did he?), but finishing in second place behind the hair apparent Mitt Romney by just eight votes classifies as somewhat more than a moral victory and somewhat less than true triumph.

The race for the Republican nomination is considerably narrowed now. It’s really down to four: Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry. Perry and Gingrich are hanging on like Sergeant Snorkel hanging off a cliff-side tree branch. There’s no visible way up, but down is a very real possibility. Perry has all but given up on New Hampshire, and clearly staked out South Carolina as his Alamo. He will be victorious in South Carolina, or he will be gone. Gingrich is liable to stay in the race as long as his money, ego, and love of television cameras allows him to do so. His ego and autagonistophilia (there’s a $10 word I thought I’d never use!) are inexhaustible, but his money is distinctly finite. It’s likely that unless he somehow pulls off a victory in either New Hampshire or South Carolina, he’ll probably be gone by Super Bowl Sunday. Gingrich’s only chance is that he can so dominate future debates, and so thrill the conservative base with a steady diet of red meat, that voters will overlook his many foibles in their lust to see Gingrich and Obama go mano-a-mano.

The current resident of 2nd place in the New Hampshire polls is Ron Paul. I don’t count Ron Paul as a serious candidate. I like to joke that I agree with Ron Paul 97% of the time…95% on domestic policy and 2% on foreign policy. I am the conservative base, and would vote for Ron Paul over Obama. But I’d vote for Jon Huntsman over Ron Paul in the primaries. That’s how noxious I find Paul’s foreign policy views: a vomitous stew of blame-America-firstism, trutherism, and conspiracy nut musings. His foreign policy views are considerably farther to the Left than even Barack Obama’s…the guy who wants to decimate the U.S. military. Ron Paul has no chance of winning the primaries. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. Fugghedaboudit.

I eagerly await the hate mail, but in your heart you know I’m right that there will never, ever, ever be a President Ron Paul. Nor should there be.

What all of this means is that at this moment there’s a two-man race going on between Mitt Romney and, surprise, Rick Santorum. Which means the time has come for Republicans to decide who is the best candidate of those two men to defeat Barack Obama in November. William F. Buckley’s rule of thumb was to support the most conservative candidate who was electable. In choosing between Romney and Santorum, the choice at first appears clear: Romney is the less conservative of the two, but is a polished debater, smooth talking, quick on his feet, the frontrunner with lots of name recognition, a former Republican governor of one of the bluest states in the country. Surely it’s Romney. Virtually every media talking head assures us that Romney is the only Republican who stands a snowball’s chance in Hell of defeating the suave, debonair, charming President. Even the conservative media is beating this drum. My friends The Gormogons posted a wickedly sharp treatise by Ghettoputer that called Romney “the turd in the punchbowl that is the Republican 2012 presidential primary field with the best chance of beating President Obama in the general election.” But is ‘Puter right?

Mitt Romney has been running for election for nearly 20 years, starting with a Senate bid in 1994. During that time he managed one win: governor of Massachusetts in 2002. He didn’t run for reelection in 2006 so that he could concentrate fully on a 2008 Presidential run. Had he run in 2006, he almost certainly would have lost. Romney’s failure to break out of the pack of Republican candidates this year is indicative of just how little emotion he stirs in the base. In the 2008 campaign, he lost to John McCain…the least inspiring Presidential candidate since Bob Dole stammered his way to slaughter in 1996. That’s right: Romney inspired the base less than John McCain, a man who infuriates Republicans on a daily basis.

Republicans need to ask: if Romney is so electable, then why doesn’t anybody want to elect him to anything?

Then there’s Rick Santorum, a man who the enlightened assure us is not electable. The intelligentsia present this assertion as if it were an indisputable fact, with the proof being that in his last race (Senate, 2006) Santorum lost by an 18% margin. Surely, they say, anyone this unpopular could never be elected President. But Santorum has won more electoral victories than Romney has. In a blue state with red tinting, he campaigned as a hardline conservative and won…first as a two-term Representative, then twice more as Senator. The 2006 election that is being held over his head was something of an anomaly: he was campaigning against a blue dog Democrat who shared a name and family heritage with a former, well-liked, governor, Bob Casey. The 2006 election was also the first election suffering from Bush fatigue, and a powerful anti-incumbent sentiment. It was a wave election, carrying the Democrats into power (they gained 30 House seats and 6 Senate seats). Santorum had also deflated the base with his endorsement in 2004 of the wretched and loathsome reptile that is Arlen Specter. To conservatives, this was akin to watching Harry Potter putting a “Vote for Voldemort” sign on his front lawn.

Whether or not a candidate is electable is a difficult thing to ascertain. All candidates have their issues, both pro and con. Romney is an uninspiring flip flopper with an unfortunate, and transparent, tendency to tell audiences whatever they want to hear. The fear is that he has no core principles, and it’s a valid fear. Santorum has come across in the debates, especially the early debates, as annoyed and surly, complaining about his air time. America does not want a whiner for President. Santorum is also intent on focusing on the social side of conservatism. At a time when millions of Americans are out of work, when there is instability throughout the Middle East and Europe, when our nation is so deeply in debt that a bankrupt future looks all too possible, Santorum makes sure we know where he stands on abortion, contraception, and gay marriage. These are important issues, but I’m far more concerned about reforming Medicare than I am about contraception. Sometimes Santorum’s deeply felt Catholicism gets the best of him. He needs to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs, debt reduction, jobs, debt reduction, debt reduction, and jobs. Instead he lets a media that hates him trap him into answering questions designed to make him look like a kook (because that’s what the media thinks of devout Catholics).

Note to Rick: When some pinheaded reporter asks you if you want to ban contraception the answer is not a treatise on your faith. The answer is “That’s a ridiculous question you should be ashamed of asking. Of course not. Now can we please talk about the economy?”

I don’t know who’s more electable. That will become clearer as the primaries continue. But it’s clear to me that Romney is less of a sure-fire win than his proponents would like us to believe, and Santorum is a greater threat to Obama than his detractors would argue. Rest assured, though. The Obama campaign is rolling down the streets like Megaweapon, ready to viciously and unfairly tarnish anyone the Republicans nominate. The Republicans need a conservative champion, a Beowulf to slay Grendel (and Grendel’s mom…I’m looking at you, Axelrod!). They need a man with the rock solid principles of Rick Santorum, and the business/economy-related focus of Mitt Romney. A bit of the carnivorous style of Newt Gingrich wouldn’t hurt, either. That combination would be truly unbeatable in November.

Consider that a word of advice to all the candidates.

Today’s Lesson In Progressive Politics: Bev Perdue

September 28, 2011

Bev Perdue, the Governor of North Carolina, has come out in favor of suspending elections for a few years. She thinks this will allow lawmakers to concentrate on fixing the economy and not worry about getting themselves elected.

“You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It’s a little bit more contentious now but it’s not impossible to try to do what’s right in this state. You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

For the Left, this is nothing new. Suspending or denying elections has been the pathway to dictatorship for Leftists from Lenin to Hitler to Castro to Chavez. It speaks to the mindset that the people who vote are the rabble, and that the elected officials are the wise intellectuals who can solve problems through Brain Power and, in Obama’s case, Word Power.

This Kinsleyan gaffe comes on the heels of former Obama budget director Peter Orszag’s commentary in The New Republic that, to achieve our goals, we just need less democracy. It also follows about a billion columns by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman where he wishes that America were more like the Communist dictatorship China, because China can mandate and enforce policies without fretting over any political fallout. Even the President of the United States has made several comments about wishing he could “work around” Congress, displaying a total lack of understanding in the concept of co-equal branches of government, as well as a desire to concentrate considerably more power into the hands of one man (himself, coincidentally).

For the Progressive, society and government can be perfected. The history of bloody tyranny dovetails with the history of trying to create Heaven on Earth (“immanentizing the eschaton” in Eric Voeglin’s words). Progressives believe their ideas can shape human destiny only for the better, that a Utopia will be created if only we would do what they want us to do. They disregard the play in Thomas More’s word “Utopia,” that it comes from the Greek words meaning “no place.” For the Progressive, Utopia is just another mandate away, virtue can be ordered and enforced, and those who oppose their ideas are obstacles that must be overcome by whatever means are necessary. From the baseless slanders of Tea Party America on one end of spectrum to the horrors of the Holocaust and the Holodomor on the other, Progressives view their opponents as an enemy that must be marginalized, vanquished, or destroyed. From “individual mandates” to suspended elections, creating a perfect society must be legislated and enforced to overcome those who think they know better than their more enlightened Progressive leaders.

Of course, the media provides cover. The headline of the article about Bev Perdue’s wish for less democracy is: “Perdue jokes about suspending Congressional elections for two years.” Jokes? It’s crystal clear from the quote, presented above in context, that this was not a joke. “I really hope someone can agree with me on that,” she says after calling for suspending elections.

Well, har-dee-har-har.

Hot Air has more.

Obama Is Awesome

March 26, 2011

H/T: Jonah Goldberg in The Corner.

Kinetic Military Action, Inert Presidential Leadership

March 24, 2011

From the folks that brought you “overseas contingency operation” as a new name for the War on Terror, we now present “Kinetic Military Action” to describe the War on Libya. Somewhere out there, George Orwell is applauding a job well done.

I’m not a Constitutional law scholar like the President claims to be, and I’ve read opinions on both sides about whether the action we are taking in Libya is legal or illegal. According to Vice President Joe Biden, since the President didn’t seek Congressional approval first it’s clearly illegal and impeachment hearings should commence immediately. Oh, wait…wrong president. Never mind.

The most compelling argument in favor of the shelling of Libya being unconstitutional is that the situation on the ground there has no American interests. Had Gadhafi been threatening the United States in some way, the Constitutionality of these actions would not be in question because it would rise to the level of defending the country against a clear and present danger.

Still, I believe that what the President is doing is allowed under the law, which states that he has 60 days to get Congressional approval. Whether what Obama is doing is a wise thing is another matter.

Aside from the fact that America is so diminished under this Presidency that we were shamed into military action by the French, the humanitarian goal here of protecting the rebels from Gadhafi’s bombs is laudable. I don’t buy the argument that because we are not pursuing similar actions in places like Darfur we are constrained from acting in Libya. No, we can not get involved in all of the world’s various hot spots and basket cases, but that doesn’t prevent us from acting when and where we can. We can not aid the citizens of North Korea simply because there is no good opportunity or time to do so. That is not the case in Libya, where the opportunity has presented itself.

Admitting that the goal here is worthy, the execution of this operation has been a bungled mishmash worthy of Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour. For weeks when the rebels were advancing Obama sat on his hands and did nothing. That was the time to get involved, when Gadhafi was back on his heels. Instead we waited until the French and British got a UN resolution to establish a No-Fly Zone. This makes it look like Obama’s getting his marching orders from the United Nations, enhancing the perception of him created by the treacly “citizen of the world” rhetoric he spouts.

Since the minute the jets hit the air Obama has been taking time out of his busy schedule to reassure everyone that we don’t really mean it. Yes, Gadhafi must go immediately, but it’s okay if he stays. Yes, we are bombing tanks, compounds, and roads but we’re not at war, it’s just a kinetic military action. Yes, the American military is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting here but in the next few days we’ll be turning over the lead to the first country willing to stand up and take it. Yes, we are doing this because the Arab League gave us their blessing, even though they apparently didn’t understand that enforcing a no-fly zone might require kinetic military action. Even the name of the operation screams wussiness. “Operation Odyssey Dawn”…what the heck does that mean?

To the surprise of nobody except the true believers out there, Obama wants to appease everybody and instead alienates everyone. His actions are those of a man used to voting “Present” whenever he might be held to account for an unpopular position. He knows the Left is generally in favor of using the military for humanitarian purposes, so he couches the attack on Libya as being for these purposes, he knows many on the Right want Gadhafi’s head on a platter, so he coordinates these attacks with the rebels. The world seems to be going to Hell in a handbasket between the tragedy in Japan, unrest in the Middle East, and now a brand new war in Libya, and where is Obama? Filling out his March Madness brackets, playing golf, appearing on ESPN, taking the family to Rio for a speech/vacation. Not once has he sat behind the desk in the Oval Office and addressed the American people about how we are helping in Japan or in Libya. His statements, when they don’t flatly contradict each other, are mealy-mouthed and incoherent. There is no real, stated goal to this action. This proves yet again that Obama does not take foreign policy seriously, that he views it as an inconvenience getting in the way of his domestic agenda. This is a trait he shared with his Democratic predecessor in office, and is the flip side of George W. Bush.

We are committed to this policy now, and the men we are sending into harm’s way (don’t worry, there will never be boots on the ground, Obama assures us this week) deserve our full support and I wish them Godspeed and pray for speedy success. But the political side of this situation has been an absolute bungle and for that there’s no one to blame except the feckless amateur in the White House.

UPDATE: I’m behind the times. According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, “kinetic military action” is so yesterday. Today’s term is “time-limited, scope-limited military action.” That’s better.

Today’s Lesson in Progressive Politics: Rolling Stone

November 15, 2010

Rolling Stone, the magazine that brought you a five-star review of Mick Jagger’s Goddess In The Doorway album, is featuring in their upcoming issue a political roundtable to discuss the results of the midterm elections. The roundtable consists of Peter D. Hart, who is “known for his nonpartisan poll for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal,” every Democrat’s favorite sage David Gergen, and Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi.

Gergen, as is his wont, tries really hard to be as bland and faceless as a Journey Greatest Hits album and succeeds admirably. The nonpartisan Hart maintains that the results are “hard to stomach.”

But it is Matt Taibbi who gives the real lesson in What Progressives Think:

Taibbi: To me, the main thing about the Tea Party is that they’re just crazy. If somebody is able to bridge the gap with those voters, it seems to me they will have to be a little bit crazy too. That’s part of the Tea Party’s litmus test: “How far will you go?”

Gergen: I flatly reject the idea that Tea Partiers are crazy. They had some eccentric candidates, there’s no question about that. But I think they represent a broad swath of the American electorate that elites dismiss to their peril.

Hart: I agree with David. When two out of five people who voted last night say they consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party, we make a huge mistake to suggest that they are some sort of small fringe group and do not represent anybody else.

Taibbi: I’m not saying that they’re small or a fringe group.

Gergen: You just think they’re all crazy.

Taibbi: I do.

Gergen: So you’re arguing, Matt, that 40 percent of those who voted last night are crazy?

Taibbi: I interview these people. They’re not basing their positions on the facts — they’re completely uninterested in the facts. They’re voting completely on what they see and hear on Fox News and afternoon talk radio, and that’s enough for them.

Gergen: The great unwashed are uneducated, so therefore their views are really beneath serious conversation?

Taibbi: I’m not saying they’re beneath serious conversation. I’m saying that these people vote without acting on the evidence.

Thank you Matt for being honest. This is what Progressives think: those who disagree with their agenda are crazy and ignorant. And they call us intolerant.

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