Friday, November 08, 2002

Mort Kondracke reports that the voters deliberately voted Republican, reflecting the sudden upturn in the NYTimes and Gallup generic polls. If true, this is an opportunity that the Rs had better not squander. With the media against them, constantly spouting the siren song of government benefits, they have a hard time keeping their majorities, and leaders like Newt G. don't help.

I've heard all kinds of theories about what caused the sudden shift, but I think the biggest one was that "memorial" for Paul Wellstone. It turned off an awful lot of swing voters. After that, I'd say it was Bush's enegetic campaigning, making the case that he can't fight this war with Tom Daschle blocking bills he needs. Of course, that also casts a lot of blame on the Dems for handing him that issue, but they were pretty inept in making their own issues. The economy, for instance, was supposed to be their big issue, but they had no program. Their only real thought was to repeal the Bush tax cuts, but they knew that wouldn't help them at the polls. Beyond that, they were empty. Their only ideas for getting elected have always been to promise new programs, but they don't know anything about national security that Bush isn't already doing.

I knew Garrison Keillor was a Democrat, but I still liked his show. His humor was gentle and kindly, based on memories of his youth in a small town. He seemed to be in touch with that simple, self-deprecating sense of humor that most good people have.

But there were cracks in the facade and today it split wide open in a vicious attack on Norm Coleman, as reported on Best of the Web. I read his book, Lake Wobegon Days, a while back in which he penned a huge footnote, based on Luther's 95 theses, laying out his hatred for religion.

I didn't read his most recent book, since I'd heard him read a selection from it about farts and then another about his teenaged sexual fantasies. Maybe he's going through analysis (You can't have analysis without "anal.") or something, but this kind of stuff is not good literature. It gets laughs because it makes the audience uncomfortable. It's been done a lot better in Catcher in the Rye and Ulysses. It's even been done better by Buddy Hackett.

So now Garrison is emulating Michael Moore. So that's the news from the bitter Left, where all the women are loose, all the men are frustrated, and all the egos are above average.

Today I got a copy of a publication called "Funny Times." I had subscribed to it for 6 months a few years back. I decided that its ideas of funny differed from mine. It calls itself "A cartoon paper for people who think." Well, that is sort of funny. Mostly it's just a bunch of left wing nonsense, with cartoons by Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, Lynda Barry, Bizarro, Ruben Bolling, Lloyd Dangle, RAndy Glasbergen, Marian Henley, Nicole Hollander, Judy Horacek, Keith Knight, Carol Lay, Groenig, P. S. Mueller, Joel Pett, Andy Singer, David Sipress, Mark Stivers, Tom Toles, Dan Wasserman, Shannon Wheeler, Matt Wuerker, Juels Feiffer, Bill Griffith "and lots more!" It also features columns from Dave Barry, but also Michael Moore and Jim Hightower.

It always used to make me wonder what kind of a world these people live in, where everything comes through a lens that confirms their politics. They attempt to make fun of their political enemies, but so ineptly that it just leaves me wondering what the point is.

There are some clever and funny cartoons about life, but most of it is just dreary pseudo-satire about as hip and funny as Walter Mondale. It makes me think of gallows humor, but it isn't that funny.

Does the headline of this OpEd piece tell you anything about the mindset of its authors?

The Republicans usurped the center. Usurp, according to, means, " To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force and without legal authority." I didn't realize that Democrats have the only legal right to occupy the political center. Even if they did, they've vacated it by their partisan strategy of blocking urgent measures requested by the President. People didn't like it when House Republicans shut down the government, and they don't like it when Democrats do it.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Democrats lick their wounds.

Here's the basic problem:
"Tom Daschle is beloved in our caucus," Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

This, despite the fact that his basic tactic was to block everything the President tried to do. No program, no budget, no message, just obstruction. Maybe that's all that liberalism means anymore.

"The magic for Daschle is he listens," [Tony] Coelho said. "There are not a lot of politicians who listen."

How New Age.

Daschle for president? Hey, I'm on board! I'd love it if the Democrats nominate him.

I knew it all along!

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Tom Friedman is suffering from War on Terror fatigue. He notices that Bill Clinton is received in Germany like a rock star and concludes that our leaders are too "pessimistic." Why? Because we don't follow the EU lead on things like the world court and dealing with Iraq.

For the world, Bill Clinton is another J.F.K. and George Bush is another Thomas Hobbes, a man who, after witnessing Europe's religious wars, became deeply pessimistic about human nature and concluded that only one law prevailed in the world: Homo Homini Lupus � every man is a wolf to every other man.

This is B.S., of course. Friedman seems to have forgotten 9/11/01. The fact that we responded to that event with resoluteness and hellfire doesn't make us pessimists or any of the other insults that liberals and America-haters have hurled at us. Bush is the one who insists that Islam is a religion of peace, and that Saudi Arabia is being helpful in this struggle, after all.

This doesn't mean that a true American president would realize that Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il are basically good. They are evil. But other American presidents, like J.F.K., F.D.R. and Ronald Reagan, faced enemies more evil than Saddam or Osama without losing touch with American optimism and communicating that to the world. The Bush team has lost it � and it's a loss for them and for America.

Didn't JFK have the Bay of Pigs, and Reagan the massacre of our Marines in Lebanon? What was optimistic about withdrawing with our tail between our legs?

When the Bush folks sneer at things like the World Court or Kyoto, and virtually every other treaty � without offering any alternatives but their own righteous power � "they project an arrogance and obsession with power alone," said the political theorist Yaron Ezrahi. "This undermines the American idealism that made Europe aspire to emancipate itself from the history that brought us World Wars I and II, it delegitimizes American power as an instrument of justice and international order and it makes it impossible for the rest of the world to stand up and say: `I am a New Yorker.' "

Actually, they sneer because they recognize paper tigers when they see them. Show me when the U.N. or the E.U. has done anything to deal with racism, violence and genocide since World War II. They have been protected by NATO and American power so long that they think it was the inherent goodness of their political correctness that stopped Milosevich.

Al Qaeda's whole strategy is to encourage this, and turn America into a nation of pessimists, by attacking the symbols and sources of American optimism � from the World Trade Center to a Bali disco, to the U.S. diplomat in Jordan who was just shot by terrorists. Who was that diplomat? The C.I.A. station chief? No. He was the head of the U.S. aid mission in Jordan � the American helping Jordan make its future better than its past. The terrorists want us to shutter our windows, reject visa requests from Muslim youth and turn off our beacon of idealism so we will be less attractive as an alternative to their medieval fanaticism. Because the bin Ladenites know something Mr. Bush doesn't: that it is American optimism and soft power � not American hard power � that really threatens them.

No doubt after 9/11 we can't be na�ve optimists anymore. But optimists we must remain. We have to find a way of defending ourselves from others' weapons of mass destruction without losing our own weapon of mass attraction. Our ability to rally the world depends on it.

This is just the same old "the terrorists will have won" baloney dressed up for the New York Times.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

These guys say that the McCain-Feingold law won't clean up campaign finance. Well, DUH!

Did anybody really think any member of Congress would have voted for it if he/she didn't already have a plan for getting around it?

From Instapundit, this story about the FBI visiting a man who owns a .223 caliber rifle.
Since this was the type of weapon used by the snipers, I can understand the FBI's interest. The guy invited the press with cameras which apparently intimidated and irritated the agents.

I don't think this is as outrageous as Glenn Reynolds does. I would have given them my rifle to test but demanded a receipt. They were wearing out shoe leather in the absence of having other promising leads. I think that law abiding citizens have a duty to help the police, and I can understand why the FBI wouldn't want it to get back to the snipers that they were tracking down all the .223s out there to eliminate possibilities.

If they go beyond this, I'll agree it's wrong, but I don't see that from this story.

News Flash!

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and John Warner (R-Va-Unopposed) are projected to win their senate races by NPR. It's just amazing how they can do this!

Monday, November 04, 2002

A Small Victory speaks for me about voting.

Matthew A. Crenson and Benjamin Ginsberg write:
We are watching the slow-motion collapse of American citizenship.

I'm not sure I buy it, but if it's true, it has more to do with the news media than anything else. Journalists seem to take great delight in denigrating everything about government, then complain that people are losing their faith in it. The Education establishment seem to think that patriotism is a bad thing, and pump our kids full of all the failures and shame of the U.S.A., and these guys, both PolySci professors, seem shocked that people don't vote. Then there are the black "leaders" who've grown rich and famous by denouncing this country and demanding ever more from the government, and urging their followers to vote as instructed so that they can keep that gravy train running.

I vote because I see it as a duty of citizenship, not because I expect it to do any good.