Archive for November, 2008

Associating With Known Moderates
November 19, 2008

This shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement or anything, but I think it’s worth noting that the religious right is objecting to RNC chair candidate Michael Steele not on the grounds that he’s pro-choice (he’s not) but on the grounds that he’s trying to form a coalition with moderate pro-choicers based around the issues they agree upon.

You might recognize this as a tactic called “politics,” and it’s frequently employed in Congress to get shit done. For example, I might not like Democratic Senator X’s position on FISA, but I wouldn’t consider that sufficient grounds for keeping him out of the discussion on healthcare reform. In that case, his position on healthcare would be the relevant issue.

If evangelicals can’t reach across the aisle, or even to people on their side who are slightly closer to the aisle, then they’re going to find the inside of the Republican tent getting even lonelier over the next few years.


A Very Serious Secretary of State
November 19, 2008

“Mrs. Clinton is a serious person.”
Thomas Friedman, in a New York Times column dated November 19, 2008

I’ve been trying to largely keep out of the cabinet speculation, but when Tom Friedman uses the word “serious” in relation to anyone’s foreign policy credentials, that should be a very bad sign. Remember, Friedman’s idea of a serious foreign doctrine involves telling sovereign nations to “suck on this.”

Given Senator Clinton’s initial support of the Iraq War, her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, and the fact that during the primary she suggested all sorts of things that Iran could suck on, one can imagine that in Friedman’s estimation she is, indeed, highly serious.

More on
November 18, 2008

Following up on my last post on the subject, it’s pretty clear that Zogby isn’t the only problem with this site; John Ziegler, the guy who set it up to promote his new documentary, is quite a piece of work himself.

For one thing, if you check out the poll at the bottom of the site, you’ll notice that they only have stats on how Obama supporters scored on the questions, and not McCain supporters or Americans as a whole. I’m guessing that’s because the answer probably wouldn’t make the site’s thesis look so great; the general public isn’t terribly politically informed, and while partisans on either side are certainly more informed, they’re also more likely to swallow myths promulgated by their leaders. So I’m guessing that in a fair comparison, the Obama supporters would come out just as well, or perhaps slightly better than the national average.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver got a chance to interview the man behind the site. It’s pretty revealing. Not only does Ziegler reveal that he didn’t even bother polling non-Obama supporters, but he also refuses to say who’s bankrolling the site and documentary. When Silver asks if it’s the RNC, he gives an evasive non-answer.

For most of the interview, though, he’s just profane and needlessly hostile. I guess nobody told him that it’s those lefty bloggers who are supposed to be so uncivil.

Why Does Anyone Listen to Zogby Anymore?
November 18, 2008

Found this on a Facebook friend’s status: To paraphrase the site’s argument:

Obama got elected because Obama supporters are stupid/uninformed and the media was totally in the tank.

This, of course, is nonsense. Even if the McCain campaign hadn’t been terribly mismanaged, we were in an election year with a two-term, massively unpopular Republican president. It’s not like the Democrats had a huge hill to climb.

And the polling data that the site uses is extremely suspect. I’ll let Nate Silver (who’s so good at this whole polling thing that he predicted the ’08 election results with terrifying accuracy) explain.

Now, Silver calls this “push polling,” but I’m going to give Zogby the benefit of the doubt here. I don’t think Zogby is ethically bankrupt, I think they just suck. In fact, they’ve been sucking for quite some time. And in grading the accuracy of all of the final polls of this election year, they came in dead last.

But what the fuck do I know? I’m just an ignorant, trend-following Obama supporter.

Why Not Clean the Slate?
November 18, 2008

NYU Local’s National Editor-Elect Charlie quotes Howard Dean on the benefits of being magnanimous towards Lieberman:

My point of view is that Barack won. He can afford to be magnanimous. And if we happen to win both recounts and Georgia, Joe is the 60th vote. And…the fact is, he does vote 90 percent of the time with the Democrats. And no, he shouldn’t have said all those things. But why not clean the slate? Why not start all over again? Why not allow him to vote with us on the 90 percent of the stuff?

And yeah, I’m sort of inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt the first couple of times they screw me over, but by now that should have gone out the window with Lieberman. He’s been sabotaging the Democratic agenda at least since his hectoring speech during the Clinton impeachment hearings. And despite what Charlie says, I’m pretty sure Lieberman will continue to be a threat in his current position. I mean, if he does decide to start an anti-Obama administration witch hunt from his position as chairman, what does the Democratic leadership do? If they strip him of his chairmanship, it will look like they’re doing that just to protect the president from a fair investigation.

On the other hand, if Lieberman does decide that he owes Obama a few favors, that might compel him to do basically the same thing he did during the Bush years: namely, sit on his hands and refuse to hold oversight hearings when they’re actually needed.

Either way, the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is going to be a bad joke for at least the next four years.

The Ranting, Raging Left
November 18, 2008

Via Beutler, there’s this:

Asked what it would mean if Lieberman kept his chairmanship, one Senate Democratic aide said bluntly: “The left has been foiled again. They can rant and rage but they still do not put the fear into folks to actually change their votes. Their influence would be in question.”

Well, fuck you too.

Look, I don’t think Democratic leadership should be expected to represent the interests of their leftmost flank without reservation, but is it too much to ask that they go one goddamn week without demeaning some of their base?

On Lieberman Keeping His Chairmanship
November 18, 2008

You can probably predict what I’m going to say about this. Needless to say, I think it’s balls.

Shitty, shitty balls.

More at Pushback.

Doc Watson
November 18, 2008

He’s good.

Listening to this concert while I do work tonight. I had never listened to him before tonight, but now I want to hear more.

What Steel Guitar Looks Like On Bad Acid
November 17, 2008

Via Boing Boing.

“She’s 64 years young, she says she loves to shake her groove thang.”
November 17, 2008

If you haven’t been keeping up with Ben Craw’s Day in 100 Seconds montages TPMtv, you really should. Today’s is an absurdist masterpiece:

As we get further away from the campaign, there’s going to be less and less to talk about on the 24-hour news networks, and the filler stories are going to get dumber and dumber. That means that these 100-second things are only going to get more strangely zen-like.

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