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February 08, 2008

Mitt! Mitt! Where Art Thou???

Having shuffled off to elysium last night in a deep state of Romney-induced funk, the Blog Princess sprang from betwixt the sadly vacant marital sheets this morning grimly determined to find something to be cheerful about. Thus, when the alarm clock commenced its detestable chirping, she smashed it with more vigor than was strictly necessary, donned her trusty red bathrobe, and began the long trudge towards redemption in the form of a massive infusion of caffeine and a smidgeon of good news.

Dropped by Grim's place as I usually do of a morning to see what trouble he was causing. Was reminded it is now The Year of the Rat. This got me thinking about all sorts of thinks I like; like fireworks...


China welcomed in the Year of the Rat Thursday with a bonanza of fireworks and festivals, but the celebrations for many were subdued due to ferocious cold weather that kept them from their families.

Explosions of colour could be seen in the skies of Beijing and across China in a centuries-old fireworks tradition that is meant to scare off evil spirits but this year also sought to raise national morale after the horror cold snap.

...and Chinese horoscopes. The Princess was (watch it, guys!) born in the Year of the Pig. This makes her honest and extremely loyal, but also stubborn and a bit naive:

The Pig is true to his goals and beliefs. Their natural simplicity makes Pigs popular and loyal - once a friend, they'll be your friends for life. Pigs can be stubborn, but they will give in for the sake of peace. A Pig is happy to share what he or she has but needs to be the one taking the initiative in giving and wants to be rewarded for it. Sensual and energetic, she is persuasive and perceptive. The Pig sees and remembers everything.

So just remember that, peoples. I know all, and see all. Downright omniscient, I am; from the tip of my cute little nose to the tip of my curly little tail...

As I sagaciously sipped my morning java, I pondered with piglike perspicacity the many hopeful signs portended by the incoming Year of the Rat:

Super Bowl Indicator? Whatever. The real coincident indicator to pay attention to is the Year of the Rat, which is the year the Chinese calendar is now in.

Phil Roth, chief technical analyst at Miller Tabak — with tongue planted firmly in cheek — notes in commentary today that “the rat is honest, popular, ambitious, clever, and inventive, at least according to Chinese mythology. That sounds bullish to me.”

Indeed. With a bit of backward-reconstruction analysis, Mr. Roth finds that in more than 200 years, there’s only been one very bad Year of the Rat — 1842, when stocks fell about 20%. Recent performance has been steady, including a 20% gain in 1996 and a 15.6% rise in 1972.

It would seem that Hope is just busting out all over the place!

Romney has been faulted for lacking "authenticity," but this is probably unfair. He is--authentically--a cool technocrat, a management consultant at heart. But a leader, as opposed to a manager, needs not just analytical skills but also intuition and emotion, not just information but also conviction. He needs to be able to consult his gut as well as the data when deciding how to proceed.

Romney, in the end, failed to inspire. By contrast, Barack Obama is nothing but inspiring--so inspiring that it is becoming deeply creepy. The Boston Globe reports on a new music video touting Obama:

Inspired by the speech Barack Obama delivered in Nashua the night of the state primary, will.i.am [of the Black Eyed Peas] set Obama's text to simple guitar and a soulful melody, recruited 36 artists to appear in a music video that was conceived, shot, and edited over three days last week, and posted "Yes We Can" online over the weekend. . . .

The split-screen video features clips of the candidate speaking alongside shots of R&B singer John Legend, actress Scarlett Johansson, rapper Common, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, actor-singer Nick Cannon, rocker Ed Kowalczyk, and others echoing Obama's spoken words in song. Will.i.am set the song's tempo to synch up with the New Hampshire audience, which supplies the song's rhythm with chants of "We want change, we want change!" . . .

"I do think it allows people an accessible way into politics," Jesse Dylan said. "Rallies can be dry, but Will has taken the words and dramatized them with these wonderful artists and it gives people an easy way to become passionate."

The video, which you can watch here, depicts people who appear to be in some sort of trance as they mouth along with Obama's various rhetorical flourishes from his speeches, then repeat the mantra "Yes, we can." The whole thing has the feel of a cult of personality.

We aren't the first to make that observation. The other day one Kathleen Geier, who says she voted for Obama and considers him "a good progressive," took to the liberal TPMCafe site to declare that she is "increasingly weirded out by some of Obama's supporters":

She quotes from a Sacramento Bee article that she (and we) found "unsettling":

"He looked at me, and the look in his eyes was worth 1,000 words," said [Kim] Mack, now a regional field organizer. Obama hugged her and whispered something in her ear--she was so thrilled she doesn't remember what it was. . . .

She urged volunteers to hone their own stories of how they came to Obama--something they could compress into 30 seconds on the phone.

As Geier notes, "this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign":

The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity--the Obama volunteers speak of "coming to Obama" in the same way born-again Christians talk about "coming to Jesus."

But he's not Jesus! He's not going to magically enable us to transcend the bitter partisanship that is tearing this country apart.

ABC's Jake Tapper notes other enthusiasts and detractors from the enthusiasm, all on the Democratic left. "I've been following politics since I was about 5," Chris Matthews tells the New York Observer. "I've never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament."

On the other side, Time's Joe Klein writes that there is "something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism" of the Obama campaign, which "all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is." Adds the dyspeptic leftist James Wolcott:

Perhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria. . . . I don't look to politics for transcendence and self-certification.

What are we to make of Obama himself in the midst of all this adulation? A cynic would say that he is a manipulator if not a demagogue, exploiting the gullible to further his own ambitions. A more charitable view is that his intentions are all to the good, that he has simply figured out how to tap into a genuine desire for inspiration in politics, and that if elected he will use his political powers to do good for the country.

I, too, find myself deeply disturbed; not only by Obama's vagueness and his followers' over-enthusiastic response to it, but by my own party's response to Mitt Romney's campaign.

Of course I knew he was fighting an uphill battle, but I hoped in my heart of hearts that people would see what I saw in him, the qualities that were so astonishingly plain to me that it made the choice over before it started. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was forming a theory about how the vast majority of people choose presidential candidates. In the ensuing weeks I have had many conversations on this topic and have seen nothing to dissuade me from this theory and much to bolster it. It is not a theory that inspires much confidence in an informed and rational American electorate:

As Barbara Poole of Greenville listened to presidential candidate John McCain speak at a campaign stop, she had a gut reaction.

“I can’t recall what he was talking about, but he really impressed me,” Poole said. “It’s kind of like when you meet someone and you immediately like them or don’t like them. It’s hard to put into words.”

As South Carolinians head to the polls Saturday for the Republican primary and Jan. 26 for the Democratic one, many voters will choose the primary to vote in and the candidate to vote for on the basis of something other than voting records, decision-making experience or position papers.

Poole, for instance, likes McCain’s talk about hard issues. She says it is honest and direct. “When he talks about war, he knows first-hand what it’s about.”

Being likable is a basic test on the road to the White House. But it’s a test that can make or break a candidate.

“Voters really don’t vote on the issues to any significant extent,” said Ken Warren, pollster and political scientist at St. Louis University. “It’s mostly because they don’t know how the candidates differ on the issues. The difference are so subtle, particularly in primaries, that even analysts have a hard time keeping them straight. So (voters) rely on the candidates’ persona instead.”

The confusion created by subtle differences is compounded this year by a crowded field of candidates and a quick-paced primary schedule. That leaves voters to ponder whether they simply like the candidate.

“We want a president who is (similar) to us but a little bit better,” said Betty Glad, a USC professor whose expertise is political psychology. “Someone who we can relate to, but without our flaws.”

In some ways, this may not be an irrational way to choose a candidate. Politicians have to make a lot of empty and contradictory promises to get elected; there is no way they can keep all of them. But on the other hand one has to wonder whether personal charm is really the best predictor of executive performance?

The current crop of candidates offers a particular compelling example of this problem. The two front runners are United States' Senators.

In over two hundred years of American history, we have only elected a Senator with no executive experience twice:

Abraham Lincoln
John F. Kennedy

Interestingly enough, both were assassinated. One has to wonder at the rationality of a republican base that utterly discounted a candidate with more quantitative and qualitative experience than the entire rest of the field: Mitt Romney, because he wasn't "exciting" enough. Hearing Romney talk about his experience running a state government, a successful company, and the Olympics was compelling to this author. When I hear someone interview for the job of the leader of the most powerful nation of the free world, I am not impressed by a candidate who thinks on-the-job training is any kind of substitute for a proven track record. I cringe when I hear the "exciting candidates" sneer at a man for being good at making money and giving other Americans paying jobs. Is that really what the "party of ideas" is all about? Not impressive.

It utterly mystifies me why anyone in my party thought the ability to quote from the Federalist papers and the Constitution was more important to running the Executive branch than the demonstrated ability to run a large organization, keep its budget out of the red, and work with the opposing party?

Yet demonstrably, it was. Because Mitt Romney wasn't "passionate" enough? "My" party has a long track record of fooling itself and rewriting history. George W. Bush ran in 2000 and again in 2004 as a compassionate conservative. These are ideas he believes in passionately. He was never shy about articulating them, and anyone in the Republican base who claims they were "fooled" wasn't paying their attention bill. The ugly truth conservatives don't want to face is that America is a centrist nation; neither a left wing, nor a right wing one. We are not, and have never been a nation of idealogues. We may poll one way, but when we are faced with the practical consequences of some of those harsh policies that sound so attractive on paper, we back down quickly. Like it or not, we do not live in a majority conservative nation.

And perception is reality for most people. Which is fine, until it leads to eye-roll worthy excesses such as likening the Bush presidency to a "national near death experience" or (as Peggy Noonan breathlessly informs us) pronouncing that "George W. Bush is responsible for the demise of the Republican party".

Give it a rest, Peggy. You're starting to sound like a reich-wing Randy Rhodes:

ANNOUNCER: The following is a paid advertisement from Republicans for Mitt Romney, or mass suicide. If John McCain is the Republican Presidential nominee, it will destroy the Republican Party. We’re Romney supporters and we know. Cause, if you vote for John McCain, we’re going to go on a killing rampage. Hey, better dead then moderate.”

REPUBLICAN CHARACTER VOICE: "Look, I for one don’t want to die in a hail of gun fire from crazed Mitt Romney supporters, but it’s better then nominating a man who opposed the Bush tax cuts. Hell, John McCain spent years in a North Vietnamese prison. A prison? That doesn’t make him a hero. That makes him an ex-con.”

ANNOUNCER: Exactly, and um, you know what men do in prison. You see if John McCain is President, he’ll make sodomy mandatory. Now, Mitt Romney, well, he believes all sex should be outlawed.

Can we all just give the hyperbole a rest?

The last eight years have been wearisome. It seems the only person who hasn't been a complete jerk is the object of most of this venom: George W. Bush:

Watch him - in a foreign and hostile land - go rescue the Secret Service agent who was being detained and kept from protecting him. See him shoot his cuffs, afterwards, and greet his host.

I don’t care what anyone says - Bush is one cool customer; This guy is due some serious appreciation, even if you feel “betrayed” by him. Name the president who got it all right, all the time.

A much-esteemed, long-neglected friend sent an email this morning, which was delightful to recieve. At one point he mentioned this post from yesterday and wrote:

I think (President Bush) has lost his bearings. but then, so did Moses from time to time, it’s quite understandable.

That made me wonder a little - has President Bush lost his bearings, or have we? Is it President Bush who has broken faith with “his base” or have they?

When I read my friend’s line, I thought of a line from Pride and Prejudice, in which Elizabeth Bennett says in new appreciation of Mr. Darcy,

“In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was.”

Perhaps I am a dim bulb, but President Bush has never surprised me, and that is probably why I have never felt let down or “betrayed” by him. He is, in essentials, precisely who he has ever been.

That was what I saw in Mitt Romney.

Something solid.

Something - at the core - true. Dependable. I didn't need to feel "excited" by him. I didn't need him to entertain me: to tell me bedtime stories, to motivate me. I can provide my own motivation. I don't need him to "sell" me the war on terror. I'm not a child who needs to be propped up every twenty seconds. I can read a newspaper. I have my own mind. Don't patronize me.

This is not what Presidents do. I don't want a cheerleader with pom-pons and a ponytail. I want someone who will be cool, calm and collected in times of trouble, not someone who will fly off the handle. I want steadiness. Bush had that quality. Romney has it.

I don't see it in John McCain. I'll say it bluntly: I think my party are fools, though I suppose I'll support them come election day, because I'm not a child and hope doesn't put dinner on the table:

Obama's whole campaign is based on some of the most noble and inspiring sentiments in political life: hope, togetherness, bipartisanship.

As he proclaimed last February at a Democratic National Committee meeting: "There are those who don't believe in talking about hope. They say, 'Well, we want specifics, we want details, and we want white papers, and we want plans.' We've had a lot of plans, Democrats. What we've had is a shortage of hope. And over the next year, over the next two years, that will be my call to you."

He's stayed true to that pledge. Not only does he talk about hope - a lot - he talks about the importance of talking about hope. He talks about how he hopes to talk more about talking about the importance of talking about hope. Hopefully.

He touts unity the same way. If we all buy into his "message of hope," he explains, then everybody - blacks and whites, men and women, Republicans and Democrats, lions and gnus, bears and park rangers, Superman and Lex Luthor - will be united!

But united toward what end, exactly? Or does it all boil down to being united about being hopeful and hopeful about being united?

...What if you disagree with Obama's ideas? Are you suddenly against hope?

Perish the thought. I knew what George Bush was when I voted for him. I didn't like the prescription drug bill, but I liked many of the other things he stood for. I took the good with the bad and I've never regretted my choice. Nor have I fooled myself about what the man campaigned on: a compassionate conservatism plank that was designed to appeal to moderates, not classic conservatives. This is precisely what won him the crossover vote and put him in the Oval Office.

Own it.

Posted by Cassandra at February 8, 2008 06:01 AM

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Great post, Cass.

I heard some bigwig in the Texas Republican Party talking on the tube about how we sure as Hell don't want to govern the way George W. Bush has governed, and I thought - whoa! Who's channeling Hillary Clinton?

Under GWBs governance we have matched and beat the halcyon days of the Best Economy Ever (Hillary Clinton's Bridge to the 20th Century), but in GWB's hands it has become Our Precarious Economic Situation. Gimme a break.

Six-plus years without a terror attack on our soil is simply unbelievable based on what I expected at the end of the day on September 11. I credit the Shrub.

It's been nearly eight years, and I'm still glad I voted for the man. I voted for him the first time because he'd chosen Cheney as VP, but he grew up on 9/11, and the second time I voted for him because he was George W. Bush.

After deciding that Mitt was my man, I was excessively bummed at the outcome on Super Tuesday. But did you hear and read his speech at CPAC yesterday? That man has every single "i" dotted and every single "t" crossed. He understands the true seriousness of the times, which is Islamofascism and all its offshoots, and knows that Republicans will face this and Democrats will too, because it will totally catch them by surprise when they were expecting that our gravest threat was that NY City is going to be under 20 feet of water, according to the Goracle.

I am frustrated as you are, by everyone's seven years of fun at the expense of GWB's lack of facility with everyday language. So, Mitt is exceptionally well spoken, and we think he's too, what? Well spoken?

Please take heart, Cassie. I was buoyed by Mitt's speech and his decision to quit, with his reasons, and it made me realize that John McCain is no Hillary Clinton. I'll vote for him. And I won't need a nose plug. Maybe he'll do the right thing and choose Mitt as his running mate.

Posted by: MathMom at February 8, 2008 10:33 AM

"Maybe he'll do the right thing and choose Mitt as his running mate."

That would be best case ... but I fear he's going to pick Huckleberry. The deal they worked together to deny Romney a win in West Virginia seems to indicate that.

Posted by: Frodo at February 8, 2008 11:09 AM

I read Patrick O'Hannigan's post, Peggy Noonan's column, and Jonah Goldberg's all in the same day (all linked in this post) and I had a funny thought: Bush has always been a man of his word. He has always pretty much said what he thought and done what he said he was going to do, and yet so many of the base feel 'betrayed' by him and the left are furious with him.

One thing is for sure. He ran saying he'd be a Uniter and not a divider. He united the far Left and the far Right: they both hate his guts.

Heh. Says more about them than it does about him, though, IMO.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 11:12 AM

I agree with you, Frodo. I can't see McCain picking Mitt.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 11:13 AM

Don't know how many of you saw that Fox special on the Shrub last weekend. It was really good.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 11:14 AM

And I was worried that your sense of humor, biting snark, know allness, see allness and general omniscientness might have been mugged in the last day or two... T'was nothing but a waste of good worry. =8-}

Posted by: bthun at February 8, 2008 11:36 AM

Well, don't feel alone, Cass. You're not alone in your *feelings* -- or lack thereof -- with regards to the remaining candidates. Fortunately, a cure has been found at the Castle.

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 8, 2008 11:40 AM

Seriously, I was pretty upset last night, bthun.

I am still upset today. But what are you going to do? I watched Romney and he wasn't blubbering and feeling sorry for himself, so I kind of thought "Get a grip there, buttercup - the world isn't going to end tonight."

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 11:47 AM

"Seriously, I was pretty upset last night, bthun."
Believe me, I understand.

My private stock of Maker's Mark is in need of replenishment. But while plumbing the depths of my old fashioned glass last night, I remembered that I'd been here once before. The day Jimmy Carter became POTUS. I can recall that whole freakin' dejected day. I was still in the USN and knew what his election meant.

Since we survived those days, I suspect that we can survive Maverick.

Posted by: bthun at February 8, 2008 12:04 PM

"What if you disagree with Obama's ideas? Are you suddenly against hope?"

What a campaign slogan, he will bring us hope ... our governor successfully used that in the last election, I remember one pathetic commercial with a cool aid drinker saying "Deval Patrick gives me hope for the first time in a long time" .... hope for what?

When he ran the state was looking at a deficit, Mitt vetoed spending sent from the legislature ... first thing Deval did was approve all the spending that Mitt vetoed .... then two months later admitted we had a fiscal crises in the state, and he didn't realize until now (the fact that Mitt and Deval opponent Kerry Healey told him during the election didn't count) ... he then killed a ballot initiative to let the voters decide on gay marriage (coincidently the guy who was his key advisor on this has just been arrested for molesting a 15 year old boy). Mitt implemented a plan for state police to turn illegal immigrants over to the INS if they were arrested ... Deval canned that, he now wants to give illegals in state tuition breaks for state schools and drivers licenses.

Like Deval, Obama is all flash no real substance ... promise everything to everyone with no idea on how to pay for it, or the social consequences. Fortunately, and surprisingly, our state legislature is keeping Deval relatively in check (now he is trying maneuvers to get around them) ... I wouldn't want to bet that the congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will do that for us with President Obama.

Posted by: Frodo at February 8, 2008 12:52 PM

I must be dead. Otherwise, I should be at least disappointed by Mitt's departure from the campaign trail. Truth be told, Mitt was never able to penetrate the deep skepticism I harbored for his political character. Sure, Romney was/is a pretty candidate, well spoken, graceful under pressure, and a consumate gentleman in a very ungentlemanly sport. But beauty is only skin deep, you've still got to play the game (ask Tom Brady). Mitt's campaign "conversion" into a Reagan Conservative never convinced me. A guy who signed in law one of the nation's biggest healthcare boondoggles as governor, and then touted its success ain't what I'd call the Real McCoy when it comes to talking about limiting the size and scope of the federal government. (I don't give two hoots about his alleged "flip-flops" on gay marriage, abortion rights, etc. Those issues are not what I elect a Chief Executive to worry about. BTW, if you want to read a real "hit piece" on Mitt, check out the Wikipedia entry here. Ain't the proliferation of anonymous open-sourced "facts" just grand? Remind me to tell you a story sometime about my friend who created his own Wikipedia entry just to win a bet... Oh. Never mind, I just did.)

I know, now all we've got to play with on the right side of the aisle is McCain, himself a less-than-stellar example of federalism is action, and that other guy who believes that we should all think just like him. (Spare me my intelligence, Reverend.) But, all is not yet lost. The little voice in my head is whistling “Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait…” Romney’s only “suspended” his campaign – not ended it. Mitt’s sitting on delegates that McCain won’t need for to get the nomination, but nevertheless may come in handy if McCain does a McCain meltdown before the Convention. Don’t think it can happen? I’d hedge that bet, because if McCain wears down far enough (campaigning is nothing short of a marathon), he might get sloppy. And if the polls show McCain getting slaughtered against Hill or The Big O, well… the Republicans aren’t going to be willing let the whole town burn just to wear a hair shirt for George Bush. Ta-da!!! Here comes the White Knight fresh off of the sidelines and ready to battle the forces of evil. Fortunately for the Knight, there won’t be much time to disagree with his ascendency.

I know that I’m making this all up. But then again, I took the Giants straight up. Fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you. When you're a crank at heart.

Posted by: spd rdr at February 8, 2008 01:20 PM

"The Big O" ? I like that! It's not Oscar Robertson, but yet, it fits.

"Now in, for the Democratic team, it's The Big O!"

But what is this "federalism" that you speak of?

It is, after all, a Friday, and it's only February. There are many months ahead for one of the so-called candidates to do something really .....stupid.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 8, 2008 03:25 PM

Death to McCain! I sat out the 2006 elections when the Repubs abandoned so many of the principles I hold dear, limited govt, fiscal responsibility, immigration, etc. Apparently, there is no room left for people like me in the GOP, except on election day when I am to provide a zombie-like vote for those who sneer at me. No thank you.

If the pendulum has swung back to the days when "country-club" liberal Republicans ran the party, then I give a hearty border-state "adios" to it. As an Arizonan, I have been embarassed by McCain for as lomg as I can remember. Like a Kennedy in Massachusetts, though, he has had an unbreakable lock on re-election because he trots out his Vietnam record every election and plays on the patriotism. In a lot of ways, he is the Republican John Kerry.

I remember some wild talk a few years back that he might switch parties a la Jeffords. Recent news stories seem to suggest that this was not merely speculation. At the time I was fervently praying he would do so as to get him the hell out of republican ranks. I obviously have no pull with God.

So, as I see it, my choice in '08 is a liberal democrat, or a liberal democrat masquerading as a republican. Whoopee! Looks like I will once again stay home on election day. I hope the republicans get absolutely creamed. Most of the present earmark-loving, illegal amnesty-giving, spending like a drunken sailor crowd will be no loss to the health of our nation.

Posted by: a former european at February 8, 2008 03:44 PM

Death to McCain!



Could you *please* try not to make me snort whatever I'm drinking?

It is not much to ask.

Thank you.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 03:49 PM

...it's only February. There are many months ahead for one of the so-called candidates to do something really .....stupid.


The entertainment value alone to be afforded by a McCain/F*ckabee ticket is considerable.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 03:51 PM

"There are many months ahead for one of the so-called candidates to do something really .....stupid."
Unfortunately, the precedent of calculating the political stupid factor has been on a sliding scale for so long, it's slid way beyond any semblance of what could be considered normal stupidity. They're in a league of their own. Maybe us too, for putting up with it/them.
"spending like a drunken sailor..."
Sir! That's one heck of a condemnation of our drunken sailors I'll have you know.

I'm heading out to replenish the Maker's Mark stock. I have a suspicion that I will be needing it. Drunken sailor's can't hold a swab to a former drunken sailor with over three decades of campaign season drinking practice under the ole belt.


Posted by: bthun at February 8, 2008 04:04 PM

It's Friday! Time for Friday Lyrics! Given the royal mood of late, perhaps she just needs some sleep. Perchance to not dream of Presidential candidates.


Posted by: Sly2017 at February 8, 2008 04:07 PM

Its Friday, my better half's birthday and the day before I head out to California for a week ... so what's with all the negativity?

Posted by: Frodo at February 8, 2008 04:18 PM

The sun'll come out
So ya gotta hang on
'Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You're always
A day
A way!



Posted by: spd rdr at February 8, 2008 04:22 PM

Always with the optimism and happy outlook. Sure, McCain is sometimes full of himself, but the alternatives are both disciples of Saul Alinsky.

And you can look it up. Food for thought. That'll make for a real funhouse ride.

And somebody take away spd rdr's cap gun. First with the Federalism, then making those loud gun noises. Geez, he's scaring the kids. :)

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 8, 2008 05:10 PM

You clown make me laugh - there is nothing better than being on the phone and having some ridiculous thing land in my Inbox. The perfect cure for a boring day :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 05:14 PM

The only difference I see between McCain and either of the Dems is he won't immediately announce the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq (& Afghanistan). He'll allow them to finish the job. Other than that, they seem pretty much the same: close GITMO, give terrorists Constitutional Rights, grant amnesty to 12+ million illegal aliens, tax the he|| out of carbon-based fuels in the name of global warming, view business - the lifeblood of this nation - as evil and worthy of harsh punishment. Tell me I'm wrong. Sadly, I don't think I am. Hell of a "choice" we'll have come November...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 8, 2008 05:16 PM

I don't get as close as many to the news. What you say about the "cult of Obama" is something about which we should be - in the immortal words of Mr Elmer Fudd, "Vewwy, vewwy afraid".

Maybe this sums up the attitude of the American Voting Public:

“I can’t recall what he was talking about, but he really impressed me,” Poole said. “It’s kind of like when you meet someone and you immediately like them or don’t like them. It’s hard to put into words.”

Too many seasons of watching "American Idol", too few seasons of watching "Firing Line".

Posted by: ZZMike at February 8, 2008 05:27 PM

Yeah, I got your happiness and joy right here, Don.:)

You forget, as an Arizonan, I have had more of an up close and personal experience with McCain than most of the rest of the country, so I have had more time to loathe him. Think about if you were a native Arkansan trying to warn the country what a slime Bubba was back in 1992.

I warn all you people, vote for him at your peril. He will be a disaster for our nation and take what is left of the GOP down with him.

Posted by: a former european at February 8, 2008 06:03 PM

afe, where is my beer?

It's Friday!

Posted by: Cassandra at February 8, 2008 06:05 PM


While painting last night, since there was no TV close as hand, I left the radio on after Hannity went off the air at 5pm. A caller to the local (well, San Antonio - not exactly "local" to me, but in the neighborhood) evening show hosted by Joe Pags said he attended the same high school as McCain in VA. I gathered it was a small, private boys school. The caller was a year or two ahead of McCain then, and said that McCain was an arrogant little prig back then, too, that his stay at the Hanoi Hilton hadn't been the cause of McCain's notoriously bad temper and attitude. Plus, I read what Chuck Z's wife had to say about when McCain came visiting at WRAMC while the good Major was still hospitalized after being blown up by an IED. That family doesn't like McCain, and all because of McCain's attitude during that visit in the hospital. I don't like McCain for a number of reasons. But, if I vote principal and help guarantee a Dem in the White House come January 2009, or do a vote pragmatism to try and forestall a Dem in the White House, no matter how distasteful I find McCain? Voting 3rd party (I won't not vote) would be a "wasted vote" since third party candidates never win in these presidential contests.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 8, 2008 07:05 PM

Always vote your consciense, Miss Ladybug. If someone feels a moral imperative to vote for someone because they have an (R) after their name rather than a (D), then I will not condemn them (at least not out loud, that would be ill-mannered). I am just giving everyone my heartfelt warning to the best of my ability. If I am ignored like the classical Cassandra of "Iliad" fame, then so be it. Troy will fall in any case.

Okay, which of you reprobates stole the shipment of virtual beer I had sent to Cass? I just had some chili beer they make up in a little microbrewery in Cave Creek. It is regular lager into which they put a small jalapeno chili pepper. Even when its ice cold its still smokin' hot. The icy/hot contrast is both interesting and refreshing. Careful, though, if you pound too many chili beers then you will experience what my friend Max christened the "Screeming Meemies" on the toilet the next morning. Not fun for him, but hilarious for the rest of the group.

Posted by: a former european at February 8, 2008 11:08 PM


I most often vote (R), but not always. It will just depend on what my conscience tells me come November... I feel either Dem candidate will act not in the best interests of the nation with respect to Iraq/Afghaniistan/GWOT. McCain, at least, I think would try to successfully finish what we have started in Iraq & Afghanistan, though I wonder how effective we'd be in the GWOT overall if we shut down GITMO and can't at least have the threat of more harsh interrogation methods. I shouldn't just vote anti-McCain in a fit of pique when that fit might not be in the best interests of the nation, either, given the choices we will be left with come November. But, that is still 9 months away, and a lot can happen in that time...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 9, 2008 01:30 AM

I'm entirely serious in stating that Chinese horoscopes are better than psychology for getting at truths about people: the methodology is an almost identical combination of empiricism and totally untestable assumptions. The difference is that the Chinese have been refining those assumptions with a thousand years or so extra empiricism, so they've improved with time.

One thing to know is that the 12-year cycle is actually a 60-year cycle, because each of the animal years run through elemental cycles: water, fire, metal, wood, air. I think you're an earth pig:

"Pig people are friends for life. Their relationships are very deep, devoted, and rich beyond measure. The Pig people are noble and give and receive lots of hugs. They are gallant and extend old-fashioned chivalries towards people they meet. Pig People are quiet, studious, and thorough. On the other hand, they have a quick temper and sometimes have to pay for their rash impulsiveness. However, no one can overcome their inner strength; they have such tremendous fortitude and jump the goal post very time. The Pig will have an abundance of good fortune and an abundance of years. The Pig will know a life filled with serenity and riches.

"The heart of the Earth Pig is something to behold, beating sweetly to the rhythm of love, and true friendship. So gentle and caring in their ways, they melt even the toughest of hearts, and have no trouble winning someone over into their web of love. This web is very enticing because it also promises financial security and a smooth sailing future without catastrophe. The Earth Pig, you see, is highly career minded. From early childhood days of lemonade stands and newspaper routes to holding high executive office, they have always had a strong sense of responsibility to get the work done, without complaining, without tiring. A strong work ethic always sees the Earth Pig through situations that might seem daunting to the weak in spirit."

Posted by: Grim at February 9, 2008 02:12 AM

Write in write in write in
Keep Mitt by write in...

Oh helk. I am too tired for a song parody.

Posted by: Cricket at February 9, 2008 07:59 AM

Well helk Cricket, let me provide an assist.

This oldie but goody comes to mind... Add some polyester double-knits, big hair for the ladies, a mullet on the skinny young gentlemen and it rocks with just that right touch of 80's panache.

Appropriate for this field of contestants on American Presidential Idol, 2008, if you ask me. =;-}

Posted by: Deuce Bigelow at February 9, 2008 08:23 AM

Oh why oh why did I watch that without the blog reading supplies?...


Posted by: Cricket at February 9, 2008 11:54 PM

And you keep wondering why I'm always telling you to get your disco ball fixed......
Is it safe to assume, then, that you will now be getting the trapeze checked soon?

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 10, 2008 01:51 PM


(that's for Sly)

Yes Grim. I am an Earth pig.

I seem to have a double dose of earth in everything - my regular horoscope is like that, too. I can't figure out why I am so impractical about some things.

I have always had a savings account though. Even when I was a girl. So I guess in that sense, I am 'earthy'. And if it were up to me, I would own land. Lots of it. It doesn't go away (unlike dumb things like the stock market, which I have never understood) and despite the fact that I get restless all the time, there is something in me that also wants to know that I have roots somewhere that I can return to.

More than anything else, I want some land in the mountains. With water on it somewhere. I want to leave it to my children and grandchildren so there will always be a place they can go if something bad happens. Also just a place that is peaceful and beautiful. I think every family should have a place like that.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 10, 2008 02:00 PM

Cass, years ago my uncle owned a piece of heaven like that. We spent every summer up there. We own a few pieces across the US and are consolidating a couple of things...preparatory to moving.

One of the best things about those summers is that was when we had our family reunions. I remember hauling water and wood, story telling under the stars...years later those family ties are still strong.

Our spot of sanity was in Duck Creek Village...

Posted by: Cricket at February 10, 2008 02:11 PM

We're now going to see whether America's destiny is determined by the people or by the ones in power at the top.

Can flawed leadership overcome the virtues of Americans? Can the vices of Americans, such things as arrogance and an all too certain belief that we are invulnerable to invasion, enough to overcome the virtues of those with leadership abilities at the top?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at February 10, 2008 02:39 PM

You can always depend upon Grim for that special mystic-warrior-philosopher hybrid force that is Beorn.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at February 10, 2008 02:41 PM

e has always pretty much said what he thought and done what he said he was going to do, and yet so many of the base feel 'betrayed' by him and the left are furious with him.

Bush said he was a compassionate conservative in 2000, and that's what he ended up as. Not a stone cold killer that could "fire" folks and drop an elephant on them for disobeying his instructions. Not someone willing to override Congress or the Supreme Court in cases of legal problems and GitMo. A person who tries to work inside the US Constitution, in order to make new laws about how to treat foreign and domestic enemies, instead of using the War Powers Act which automatically increases the President's reach in wartime. Which given this conflict, might never end. Thus Bush was always worried about the future and future Presidents.

The funny thing is, the few things I've heard from the MilBlog or MilBlog associated persons of interest were doubtful of McCain's national security imperative and ability. They had different reasons at times, but that just made them so dynamically different from the Republican primary voters who overwhelmingly believed McCain to be better at national security than Mitt Romney.

In this war, as I see it, domestic enemies in the form of the Democrat party, George Soros, and Leftist organizations like Code Pink are far more dangerous and in deed of disabling than somewhere over in foreign indian country ala Iraq. Romney showed some potential in handling folks like Ted Kennedy, which I tend to assume the rest of us would not have been able to sustain. And Romney didn't do it by choice, since he had to govern Mass. and he did not choose which laws to write in or not. That was the legislature, that was McCain. Senators can choose which laws to write in and help get setup.

And now in wartime, we will have a Senator as one of the leading nominees for the Republican slot for the highest office in the world?

We live in interesting times indeed. And it just goes to show, the best candidates for President don't even make it to become nominees in the political climate that we have today. And that's how people at the top like it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at February 10, 2008 02:50 PM

Well, I came around to Cass's thoughts on Mitt. I was willing to ride that horse after Rudy dropped the ball. But I did have a doubt in there like spd.

As for W, I'll give him props for sticking to his guns on the WOT when we needed him to. But I do not deny myself the right to be pissed at him, yes, even feel BETRAYED!

I've read the debates and campaign speeches. Not once did I see him promise (1) to give up immediately after re-election on the ideas of social security private accounts (2) give up immediately after re-election on any real reform in school choice initiatives (I mean, since he did take back federal control of our schools, something Republicans were getting the Feds out of during the Clinton administration) (3) increase various farmer/business subsidies, something again being slowly eliminated by the Congress of the Clinton years and (4) he NEVER EVER promised to use a Republican congress to grow the size and scope of non-WOT spending to such heights that even Democrats would blush. He didn't run on any of those things. I'd have remembered the campaign promise to make FDR look like a tight wad.

In fact, he promised (I believe, in so many words) to be a fiscal conservative while also being a compassionate conservative. Although those two concepts can clash, he didn't promise to increase spending in all aspects of government above previous growth rates and inflation. And he promised to do something about social security and to support school choice. He didn't even fight for those things.

He also promised to give us Judges like Scalia and Thomas. One effort to give us a political favor aside, he apparently has given us something close enough. Which is a good thing, cause last I checked, Scalia and Thomas are voting (sometimes in dissent) unconstitutional lots of laws that Bush signed or had his attorney general argue in favor of. So I guess more judges like them is good. Because W's AG takes the wrong side of many legal issues and W signs some unconstitutional laws.

I don't like McCain either.

After thinking about it, I don't think I like much of anyone that's a politician. Maybe I'm the @$$hole.

Naaahhhh!! It's them.

Posted by: KJ at February 10, 2008 09:54 PM


(that's for Sly)"

Wha'dn't me.
I'd like a fifth,..um..claim the fifth.

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 11, 2008 12:24 AM

It probably is KJ. In fact, I think I'd like to drink and hang out with W. Of course, he's now sober all the time because of his past, so he'd be drinking sparkling water, and I'd be on my third irish whiskey, then I'd start thinking, "what your problem! jerk. Can't drink with the common man? That's the problem with you politicians." But since I'm starting to get drunk, I'd actually say that out loud instead of just thinking it. Then he'd say, "don't be that way, man, just cause I'm sober doesn't mean I don't appreciate you in your progressively inebriated state. Let's split a baked potato and a t-bone." And I'd be like, "it's lent you protestant bastard! I'm not eating steak!" And he'd be like "fine, I'll get a salmon. Would you like to step that drink back to a beer maybe? I'll split an O'Douls with you." "O'Douls! That Irish traitor, making a beer without alcohol. His mother is rolling in his grave. Are you buying?" "You bet" says W. And he orders me a pint of real ale.

I knew I liked W.

Posted by: Father O'Malley at February 11, 2008 10:48 PM

On second thought, I'll have whatever the good Father just had.....


Posted by: Sly2017 at February 12, 2008 11:47 AM


Time to shutter the blog, man. Just hang it up.

Aside from that - weren't you going to send me the Trivet?

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at February 12, 2008 06:04 PM

I know, I know. I tried to point it out to her. But did she listen to me??
Where's my pointy hat......?
*shuffles off back to the corner*


Posted by: Sly2017 at February 12, 2008 09:56 PM