Sunday, November 29, 2009

Maybe Sarah Will Be The Next President

If you're a moonbat. I'll let you have a few moments to scream into a pillow.

There. Better now? Let's begin.

If you look at the Republicans lining up to run against Barak Obama in the next election, the short list includes Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. I have never thought either of them stands a chance of beating Barak Obama and I still don't. The question is whether the GOP will nominate one of them or someone else.

Tonight there was a tragic event in Washington state where a fellow murdered four policemen. The man being sought in that crime is no stranger to the legal system, having been convicted for several crimes including one with a 48 year sentence and another for a 60 year sentence. The man is 37 years old and did not pass through a time warp. Instead, Mike Huckabee, pardoned him.

I've long thought that Mike Huckabee would make a great Pastor, maybe a good Evangelist, but was a lousy Governor and would be a bigger disaster as President than Jimmy Carter. Not to worry, he'd lose as badly against Mr. Obama as Alan Keyes did.

Mike Huckabee's greatest impact in 2008 in Republican Primaries was splitting the Evangelicals from the rest of the Republican party. However, it is entirely possible that in 2012 Evangelicals voting in the Republican primaries might find Sarah Palin on the ballot. His influence would be diminished accordingly.

What I found particularly distasteful about Mr. Huckabee's campaign in 2008 was his rather blatant identity politics: Vote for me b/c I'm Baptist. Well, I'm a Baptist and I voted against him. Sarah Palin isn't a Baptist, her faith is a prominent part of her identity, but she isn't quoting Scripture as much as she's quoting Reagan.

Tonight Mike Huckabee suffered a severe setback. Years back Mr. Huckabee pardoned someone who should be safely locked up in prison, but (if indeed he is found guilty) instead has perpetrated a murder spree. This may speak well of his willingness to forgive others their debts, but it does not speak well of his judgment. It is bad theology and it is bad politics to confuse worldly and heavenly offenses. I suspect this sort of confusion also afflicts politicians who want to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

All Barak Obama needs to do in 2012 is dust off the Willie Horton ads that George Bush senior and Al Gore used against Michael Dukakis. And since Barak Obama is, by definition, not a racist, his photos of the pardoned cop-killer will run without criticism. Embed this instance of bad judgment into a narrative of running against someone just like George W. Bush and you've got the Obama '12 campaign.

This is a shame, because Mike Huckabee has one advantage over Mitt Romney: he didn't inherit his money. And there's one thing the Democrats have been fine tuning for the last decade: class warfare. If you run a rich scion of a prominent family, you're doomed. Ask Dick DeVos how his run for governor of Michigan worked. Jennifer Granholm's economic policies are as brain-dead as Barak Obama's. Yet she won re-election through pure class warfare. Blame the rich guy for bad economic times.

Here's another strike against Mitt Romney. He was for abortion before he was against it. Some claim that Evangelicals hold Mr. Romney's Mormon faith against him, but it is his changing positions on abortion that matter. If you go from pro-choice to pro-life, that's a Damascus Road change. Makes me kind of think he was pro-choice to get votes in Massachusetts and switched to pro-life to get votes in Republican Primaries. (Not that we haven't seen several Democrat politicians go the opposite direction.)

The third strike against Mitt Romney is RomneyCare. Mr. Romney knew that the Massachusetts legislature and electorate wanted health care reform. And he got a Health Care bill passed at a state level that is not unlike the one Mr. Obama has been pushing at a national level. It's not working out very well of late, or so I hear, but a year or two ago it was being hailed as a wonderful achievement of Mr. Romney. This'll make it hard for Mr. Romney to turn around and run against ObamaCare.

If Romney is the Republican candidate in 2012, this will take ObamaCare off the table. He'll have to find something else to run against. Given the choice between Obama and Yet Another Squish, a lot of Tea Partiers are going to vote for a 3rd Party candidate. Nevertheless, National Review and T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII is going to be pimping for Romney again.

So, name another Republican Presidential candidate? Newt Gingrich? He is the only one who thought he was presidential material, but after his endorsement of Dede Scozzafava in NY-23, he's toast. Tim Pawlenty, anybody ever heard of him outside Minnesota?

Then there's the girl everyone (if you've a Beltway Insider, or a Mainstream Media flack) loves to hate, but everyone most likely to vote in a Republican Presidential Primary treats like a rock star. I've talked to people who stayed in line overnight to get Sarah Palin's autograph on a book.

I've learned to never predict what Sarah Palin is going to do, because she has faked me out so badly when I've done so. It is altogether that Mrs. Palin is going to do nothing more than strike fear into the hearts of Democrat strategists and loathing in the hearts mainstream media Brahmans. And she could spend the rest of her days laughing happily to the bank. However, should she choose to run, she'll do very well with the demographic that's bought her book.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Who is Norah O'Donnell?

The television show, Babylon 5, had a race of aliens, the Vorlons, who would always ask the question, "Who are you?" This was in contrast with the darker aliens, the Shadows, who would always ask the question, "What do you want?" This was a metaphor to distinguish between the two aliens' approaches toward life. The question, "who are you?" isn't so much a request for identification, as a query about how one's moral compass is magnetized.

I went to lunch at On The Border outside Woodland Mall and watched the show going on outside as I ate my meal. (Sarah Palin was coming to town to sign books as I've recorded elsewhere.) It was a great day for people watching. I thought the most interesting people to watch were the acolytes serving the Network On-Air Talents. They were dressed normally, for New York City. But the Network On-Air Talents were invariably dressed most expensively. Out the window I noticed a tall, thin woman in a very expensive-looking pants suit. Definitely New Yorker, but I did not recognize her. But she did look like a Network On-Air Talent, except she was orders of magnitude more attractive than Andrea Mitchell.

I was parked on the opposite side of the Mall, so the path back to my car lay through Woodland Mall past the spot where MSNBC was camped out. This woman was striking, but I had no clue who she might be. She was being interviewed by a less attractive Network On-Air Talent from Access Hollywood, but that provided no clue. My friend with whom I had been lunching doesn't watch MSNBC, either.

Much later, after I'd gotten Sarah Palin's autograph & handshake, I was home and googling for news coverage of Mrs. Palin. I found a video on Media Matters. The interviewer was Norah O'Donnell. Yeah, same purple top & black pantsuit. I sent the link to two friends with the caption, "Norah O'Donnell picks on a little girl."

So, that's who Norah O'Donnell is.

Later, I read that the girl Ms. O'Donnell was persecuting was not a minor. BUT, just now I learn that this lie came from Ms. O'Donnell herself. Clearly, she understands that picking on kids is not an image enhancer and she lied about the girl's age to forestall blow-back. Happily, the web is such that even Network On-Air Talent can be fact-checked by little girls who are indeed age 17.

Don't take my word for this, read what Red, White & Conservative has to say for herself.

Who is Norah O'Donnell? She's a woman who doesn't let kids or the facts get in the way of her narrative.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sarah Palin in Grand Rapids, MI

Just got back from Woodland mall. I arrived at 7:00am sharp and made my way to the end of the line of people waiting to get in. The line extended from Barnes & Noble, back to the Information Desk at the center of the mall, and then snaked around a maze like you'd see at the airport for a while, and then extended back to the mall entrance.

Next to the entrance to Barnes & Noble is a media setup with lights and camera. When I got in line, it wasn't immediately clear which media outfit was there. Unlike local news coverage, there wasn't any scruffy camera guy and a "face." Instead there were some well-dressed underlings, including a fellow in a tie sitting crosslegged on the floor typing on his MacBook Pro. In the center was a short woman in a pant's suit. Heavy make-up. Looking somewhat long in the tooth. Walking past, I heard her saying that people were standing in line for Sarah Palin. Oh, that's what Andrea Mitchell looks like in real life.

So, how much of Mrs. Palin's bad press is a function of the jealousy of older, less-attractive women? And I'm not saying Ms. Mitchell appeared to be a crone, just that she looked as you'd expect of someone her age. I'm not as young as I used to be, either.

I stand in line for a half-hour and notice the fellow 20 people ahead of me is reading. I slap my forehead with my palm, "I have Mrs. Palin's book with me." Helpful advice: 1) buy the book the night before; 2) show up at whatever time your fanaticism moves you to; 3) while away the idle hours perusing Mrs. Palin's prose. I started reading. The line seemed to go faster.

90 minutes after getting into line, Barnes & Noble personnel had affixed a wristband to me. The girl advised me to return at 4:00pm. I thought this odd. I had the wristband... The signing isn't scheduled until 7:00pm.

Walking through the mall to get to my car, I saw folks waiting in a 2nd line. Their story is a little different. They drove down from Traverse City the night before. They'd waited in line since 9:00pm the night before. True fans. Now they had their wristbands. "What are you waiting for?" "To get into line again?" "What for?" "To get our books signed." Oh. They weren't going to go away and return at 4:00pm. Like I said, true fans.

(I was tired enough last night that I posted this as comments on Stacy McCain's blog. If you've read it there, this is largely the same.)

At Noontime:

I went back to Woodland Mall for lunch. The crowd had changed slightly. Parking is a zoo. This time I observed there are four shows like layers of an onion: 1) There's Sarah who's not there yet. 2) Then there are guys like me with the wristband who have been in line all day. 3) Camping out in a position of Great Honor are the Network Talents. I recognized Andrea Mitchell, but I did not recognize the statuesque brunette (who might induce me to watch network TV again) being interviewed by Access Hollywood. I don't know whether this means she was From Access Hollywood or whether she's someone Access Hollywood thinks important enough to interview. (I later discovered with a bit of googling that she is Norah O'Donnell. You can see a video of her picking on a little girl at the Media Matters website.) 4) Then there's the fourth show, the various acolites and minor deities attending to the On Air Talents. I think they were the most interesting people there.

If you see someone dressed in a black dress coat, s/he's probably from New York and is attending to some broadcast network's business. Conversely, if you see a kid in a Cornerstone University sweatshirt, s/he's been there since Oh Dark Thirty this morning.

Later that same evening:

Mrs. Palin is friendly and personal. She does retail politics flawlessly.

When I got back to the Mall to stand in line again, the line extended outside. (A mall guard told me the fire marshal said there were too many of us to wait inside.)

After a few minutes a pleasant girl from channel 6 in Lansing came by with cameraman in tow and interviewed people behind me. Others kept walking through ruining the shot and I heard the same line repeated 6 times.

When Mrs. Palin arrived, she gave a short speech (couldn't hear much) and a few minutes later the line began to move. The mall seemed warmer than it had earlier in the day.

Andrea Mitchell was camped out at the MSNBC spot directly in front of the Barnes & Noble entrance with Ms. O'Donnell that I'd noticed at lunch. Happily, I've no need to watch MSNBC to learn who that is. Ms. Mitchell looked tired; probably a long day for her, too. Ms. O'Donnell has the youth and looks to not be jealous of Mrs. Palin in those regards. Nonetheless, she may still be jealous of Mrs. Palin's audience.

My cell rang. It was a couple journalism students from Cornerstone University. (My wife had given their prof my number.) They have a Wednesday night class. You could tell by the navy blue "Truth Seekers" tee shirts in a Star Wars font. They came over and we had a nice chat about Mrs. Palin's star power. "Look at this crowd. It's a rock star crowd. She's a Political Elvis"

Their prof owns a small newspaper a couple towns over. This reminded me that newspapers are hurting financially. Mrs. Palin's ability to make old-media newsies irrelevant is an existential threat every bit as real as Craigslist classified advertising. Who needs to tune into MSNBC when you can surf to Mrs. Palin's facebook page and get her words firsthand?

These students went away and the line slowly wound its way toward the Barnes & Noble door. Another Cornerstone student came around holding a big foam core board and a few Sharpies. They were collecting well-wishes for Mrs. Palin. I had to sign it.

Eventually, we got into the bookstore. The clerks know me from the Thursday writers' group. One called, "It's not Thursday." and we laughed. I climbed the deactivated escalators and wended a serpentine route through the stacks.

Sadly, they didn't route us through Philosophy. The teenager ahead of me pulled a book off the shelf about being a gay teenager and handed it to her dad. NTTAWWT. She and I found it a lot funnier than he did. He added that his Facebook account had been hacked a few days back and defaced with a lot of homoerotic stuff. I suppressed additional sniggers.

They had a big cloth scrim set up around the desk where Sarah Palin signed books.

Within this Holy of Holies were cherubim wearing Grand Rapids City Police uniforms and seraphim in plainclothes with coiled wires going into their ears. A high priestess took my books and passed them to Mrs. Palin. She said Grand Rapids was treating her well in that perky, aw-shucks way that I love so much.

I shook the hand of a rock star.

I left slowly, savoring the moment. I spoke with a guy in black suit--Someone Important with Woodland Mall. The crowd control & security was handled professionally and everything went well. His people did a great job. He thanked me back.

The crowd scene was pleasant. Conservatives are all individuals. Some of us can be odd, but everyone was friendly. I detest waiting in line, but I did enjoy the crowd. After Dan's Bake Sale, Rush remarked that the crowd left things neat & clean whereas when the same number of liberals get together they trash the place. This crowd left Woodland Mall in fair shape.

Outside the store the guy in line behind me had his digital SLR out. He asked me to take his picture in front of the Barnes & Noble sign.

Walking back to my car through the mall all the stores had closed and just a few clerks were finishing up for the night. It was peaceful as I carried two signed copies of Sarah Palin's book home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyone Lies about Sex

When Bill Clinton was found to have lied about having sex with Monica Lewinski under oath, his perjury was excused with the spin, "everyone lies about sex."

A young lady named Carrie Prejean has achieved her 15 minutes of fame by competing in a beauty pageant, losing because she said she disapproved of gay marriage, becoming a darling of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and then getting in trouble for sexual immodesty. In particular, sex tapes have come to light. I was a little uncomfortable with my coreligionists making a hero out of her. Now they've dropped her like a hot potatoe. (Note the Dan Quayle spelling)

I've been sympathetic toward Ms. Prejean. And I'm still inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are fewer doubts. She claims these sex tapes were made when she was a minor. If she were 17 when she made the tapes, then she is guilty of distributing child porn. (Yes, every minor who engages in "sexting" is distributing child porn. This crime is rarely (never) prosecuted, but it is nevertheless black-letter law.)

In response to Ms. Prejean's claims of being a minor, her boyfriend claims she was 20 at the time. He has a strong motive to claim she was 20, b/c if she was a minor, he is guilty of a felony. But if she's 20, he's merely a cad.

I hope she was a victim of youthful indiscretion and bad judgment. And I hope that her Christianity moved her to repent of her pornographic videography. Happily, I'm not the judge of this matter.

Conversely, if Ms. Prejean was NOT a minor, she's lying NOW. And she's saying she's a Christian NOW. If so, she has a moral problem NOW. The Bible puts "bearing false witness" in the 10 Commandments, but sex tapes aren't exactly in the Bible. Though Bill Clinton claimed, "everyone lies about sex," Ms. Prejean is held to a non-Clintonian standard.

So, we still have doubts. Maybe she is telling the truth and her boyfriend is lying. Or maybe not. How would we know? I suppose the videos in question could be submitted to forensic analysis.

If Ms. Prejean is telling the truth, then she is a felon. She might seek her own prosecution for distributing child porn. It is a dramatic gesture that would screw up her life more than anything she's done so far, but it would demonstrate integrity.

Centuries a fellow named Socrates was found guilty of a bogus charge and sentenced to die. He had the opportunity to sneak out of Athens, but he didn't. He manned up, accepted the hemlock thrust upon him, and drank every drop.

Henry Cloud, the co-author of "Boundaries" wrote a book entitled "Integrity." One of its early lessons is that everyone needs 1) the competence to do the job, 2) the ability to connect with others and build trust, and 3) the integrity to not screw up.

Drink the hemlock, Ms. Prejean.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Don't pick on Gays

I think one of the biggest failures of the Religious Right has been that it has forgotten why it exists and this amnesia is hurting it and the Republican party to which it is enslaved.

I'm against abortion. I identify myself as a Social Conservative because I'm against abortion. I despised George W Bush first and foremost because he could not give a coherent case against abortion. He mouthed vague words about "sanctity of life" or something. Sanctity, that belongs in church, not the public forum. He got away with being squishy this way because where we going to go? Gore or Kerry?

Somehow the Religious Right has distracted itself with gays. If you're a Conservative and you think gay sex is wrong, don't do it. And if you're a member of the Religious Right, instigating against gays is bad for two reasons: 1) government has no business in the bedroom, 2) while you're lathered up about gays, you're doing nothing to stop abortion. Here's a clue: gays seldom have abortions. If someone needs an abortion, it wasn't because s/he engaged in gay sex.

I'm not saying gay sex is right or wrong, because you should look that up for yourself in the Bible. I won't change your mind either way. And while I'm talking politics, I think it's wrong for me to bring up bedroom activities. I think that kind of stuff is outside the proper role of government. (But if you're in church or some other social institution, that kind of stuff if fair game.)

Do I think gays have a right to use government de-legitimize my faith if it contains thou-shalt-nots about gay sex? NO. Do I think gays have a right to change traditions and institutions by force of political pressure and government? NO. You leave us alone; we'll leave you alone.

In yesterday's election an openly gay candidate for mayor of someplace won, but the Maine referendum stopping gay marriage won, too. (I think this exemplifies the Christian notion of "love the sinner; hate the sin." But that's too moralistic.) Rather, voters apply different criteria about gays when the question is personal or institutional. We care less about personal attacks predicated upon gay-rights, but we care more about preserving institutions and traditions in the face of gay activism.

Therefore, I think the Religious Right and the Republican party ought to take a more libertarian tack. Something that's been forgotten. Abortion is different b/c it takes a human life. That's nothing to be laissez-faire about. But sex, drugs and rock & roll. Meh.