Thursday, October 01, 2015


I'm still stunned that Carly Fiorina -- aka Wendell Willkie If He Sucked at His Job -- is doing so well in GOP Presidential polling. It's hard to imagine that many people saying, "That's who I want running the country -- someone who wrecked a big company and has an inspirational backstory."

I do understand her appeal to rightwing factota, though, as a female conservative in the Age of Hillary, so I'm not shocked that Fiorina campaign talking points would appear in outlets like National Review under reporters' bylines ("Secretariat also had what’s called the 'x-factor,' a gene located on the X-chromosome that causes an unusually large heart. Fiorina says she identifies with this").

But by and large these don't take a lot of effort -- just put the press release in the Hackit app and you're done!  Megan McArdle, bless her, seems to have expended some effort to explain why Fiorina's horrible record is no reason to count her out, and that makes it all the more poignant:
Critiques of Fiorina’s tenure seem excessively focused on the outcome.
Look, if you guys bailed right now, I wouldn't be upset.
People are far too prone to confuse outcomes with good decision-making. Surgeons who do everything right will sometimes see patients die anyway -- and many doctors who fail to wash their hands send a happy, healthy patient home at the end. The important thing is to know whether you followed a process that gives you the best odds, not what happened in an individual case. Too many of Fiorina’s critics pointed out that the company lost shareholder value, then settled back with a satisfied QED.
How can we ever really know whether bad outcomes mean bad decisions? By daring to judge her, we risk being unfair to this person who has never held elective office and ended her biggest job in the center of a flaming crater, holding a burnt match. Look at the situation from her point of view -- not that of a citizen whose future will be strongly effected by the outcome of a Presidential race. Think of someone besides yourself!

It's like that Iraq War thing: Just because McArdle was wrong and you were right (" you get credit for being right, or being lucky? In some way, they got it just as wrong as I did...") doesn't mean you should be the Bloomberg columnist. Hmmph!

UPDATE. In comments (always read the comments! Here, I mean; elsewhere, never), mortimer2000 pulls out this bit from McArdle's column...
But there’s another point to be made, too, which is that I’m simply not sure how much this matters. Fiorina could be the best CEO in the world, or the worst, and that wouldn’t give us much insight into how she’d do as president.
...and asks, "So Fiorina is running for president based on her background and experience as what? A person?" No, silly, as a Republican. Credentials not necessary!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Regular readers will be familiar with the work of David French, National Review's current occupant of the Dreher Chair for God-Bothering. Today he's taking a little break from testifying for The Lord and the Confederacy to tell you how back when he was growing up in Kentuck, his teacher encouraged him to fight his fellow children --
"He said I hit like a girl," I told her. "Is this true?" She asked my friend. Rubbing his face, he nodded. "Well then, you deserved it," she said. 
-- and that's why he's not a sissy like you liberals:
Raising boys to be whiny victims isn’t exactly new. When I first moved to the Northeast in the mid-1990s I noticed that many of the boys raised by the liberal elite weren’t “men” in any sense I could recognize. They were whiny, petulant, hypersensitive, and incapable of either physical self-defense or even the most rudimentary tasks of manual labor. 
It's hilarious in and of itself that the author of "Why Does ‘Organized Religion’ Get a Bad Rap? Because the Elite Lies About It" and other essays about how gays are oppressing Christians is complaining that other people are "whiny." But I find more interesting that French feels he was redeemed as a man by youthful homosexual panic. How many other people still feel this way, I wonder  -- that if a boy isn't constantly terrified of being compared with women, he won't be able to stand up for himself, or do manual labor? Maybe he doesn't believe it at all, but thinks trash-talking liberals' masculinity is an effective way to scare Americans out of their growing support for gay marriage. If only he can convince them that the gay wave will render us incapable of manual labor, and then we'll all be overrun by the Mexicans who've been imported to do it for us!

I think that must be it. He can't possibly take this butch talk seriously -- after all, he's one of the most outspoken supporters of America's most famous single mother.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Sarah Jones in The Federalist:
I Went To Planned Parenthood For Birth Control, But They Pushed Abortion
Inadvertently omitted subhed: No one's gonna call me a liar like they did Carly Fiorina, because there are no witnesses!
I’ve always gotten an odd sort of pride from the response when I tell my Democrat friends I’m Republican. They’re always so surprised. I relish the “you’re not like the rest of them” comments that I receive...
Owens is one of those groovy libertarian conservatives; for instance, she finds seat belt laws "a personal affront that government would dare tell me I have to take a life-saving step that affects no one except for my own body." Fun! You may suppose that, unlike her colleague A.D.P. Efferson, Owens doesn't tell her Democrat friends they're all murderers -- but, record scratch:
Usually I lose my “cool Republican” card once I tell people I’m pro-life. It’s even shocked some people. The coolness evaporates once I note I do not stand with Planned Parenthood.
And that's when her Democrat friends start saying this to her:
“You don’t come across as anti-woman,” they say. “How can you have such archaic thoughts about women’s rights if you support personal rights so vehemently? PLUS, YOU’RE A WOMAN.”
She must have met these Democrat friends at a Mallard Fillmore cosplay convention. Anyway, flashback to Owens at 17; she wanted birth control and, being a free spirit, drove down to Planned Parenthood to get some, but they botched the job, she claims -- no exam, and the stuff they gave her "gave me awful mood swings and what I can only describe as rage." (Apparently she never recovered.) That's the kind of lousy customer service that would have put Planned Parenthood out of business if it weren't for Big Gummint! Well, at least Owens knew better than to ever go back oh wait one day she thought she might be pregnant and, instead of asking Nick Gillespie what she should do, she actually went back to Planned Parenthood, and of course they were monsters to her:
“Why won’t you consider abortion?” the representative asked. “You realize what a strain on your life parenting would be, don’t you?” I explained that abortion just wasn’t something I personally believed in. She scoffed at me before finally telling me I wasn’t pregnant. 
I left the office and cried...
If only she'd listened to those nice clinic protesters! To this day Owens is haunted by the memory:
What if I had been pregnant -- would she have been able to sway me? How many others have passed through those doors and were swayed to terminate, who felt the strain -- financial, physical, or mental -- that parenting might cause so decided it would be easier to just “fix the problem”?
Think about all those pregnant women who come to Planned Parenthood every day, never once expecting they'd hear about abortion!

Yeah, I know, it sounds unlikely, but what are you going to believe -- statistics, or the latest attempt of a rightwing propaganda mill to do that "personal narrative" stuff their advisors tell them works great on the suckers?

Friday, September 25, 2015


I didn't know so many Carole King demos were available online. 
Life in this modern world isn't so horrible sometimes.

•   I haven't heard what he has to say yet, but I can understand why John Boehner wants to GTFO. Who needs it? I'm more interested to see whether this actually dampens rather than exacerbates the crazy among the House Republican fringe. I mean, they won't have Boehner as the Establishment Daddy to blame for the eventual collapse of their zany maneuvers, and that may spook them; also, Kevin McCarthy doesn't seem like a Cromwell. What do you guys think?

•   I listened to the Hamilton musical score on NPR (there's now a crowdsourced lyric sheet, too!) and like it a lot. I am as regular readers know a sucker for this kind of musical pastiche. (Hamilton is mostly well-padded crossover rap, crossing further at times into pretty pop.) It's like the best Schoolhouse Rock ever, but with a genuinely interesting POV: that while the top-tier American Revolutionaries certainly had commendable ideas, they were also about getting over -- and in fact the getting-over was mainly where they lived, because there was just too much competition and urgency to play the philosophe much. It's kind of a nice joke, and also a relief, to see Thomas Jefferson portrayed as a cut-throat snob rather than the Sage of Monticello, and to see Washington's cabinet meetings played as rap battles. I can see why this excites people, and I agree with Frannie Kelly's conclusion on NPR about the coming high-school productions.

•   Need a laugh? Rod Dreher's always good for one. Today he's read something about a forthcoming authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, in which the Eminence allegedly claims he was "part of a secret club of cardinals opposed to Pope Benedict XVI." You may recall Benedict resigned the papacy, so either Danneels is taking the piss a la Bill Ayers or this anti-Benedictine movement forced him out with footage of Ratzinger fucking a horse or something. But of course that's what I'd think -- here's Dreher's take:
This is the first confirmation of rumors that had been going around for years about Benedict being thwarted by a liberal conspiracy, one that eventually forced him out. These men — Danneels, Van Luyn, Kasper, Lehman, and Hume, at least — all preside over dying churches. And they killed the Benedict papacy. Danneels, you will note, was given by Francis a prominent place at next month’s Synod on the Family. 
I am glad this came out now. The orthodox bishops and others going to the Synod now know what a nest of snakes they are working with, and how high up the corruption goes. Poor Pope Benedict. My heart breaks for that good man.
Poor Pope Benedict! I wish I could be there when Holiness Emeritus Benedict steps his Prada shoes out of Castel Gandolfo and finds Dreher and his fellow nuts kneeling there, bewailing his martyrdom. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015


We all know from years of bitter experience how conservatives feel about Lena Dunham, right? Well, imagine how they'd feel about a Dunham/Hillary mashup in the form of an friendly interview. Feel the incoherent, seething hate from's John Nolte!
Just months after recanting a phony rape charge against an innocent man and apologizing for making light of what many have described as the sexual abuse of her younger sister...
If you need it, here's an explanation of why "phony rape charge" and "sexual abuse" don't mean what Nolte wants you to think they mean (though regular readers will have already assumed that). Anyway, Nolte goes on churning these charges against Dunham -- in fact there's almost nothing else in the column but bitter froth -- until he brings it all back home:
If you think about who Hillary Clinton is married to, no one should be surprised she shrugs off charges of sexual abuse. She’s had a lifetime … of … practice.
Eccentric use of ellipses in original. One imagines Nolte reading it aloud to himself several times, trying to figure out what typography and/or punctuation best communicates his rage-stresses. Em-dashes? Boldface? Interrobangs?
And while we haven’t yet seen the full interview...
Talk about premature ejaculations! Well, sometimes the fantasy is enough.

UPDATE. On a daffier note, Ann Althouse reacts to Clinton's anodyne definition of feminism ("A feminist is by definition someone who believes in equal rights... It just means that we believe that women have the same rights as men") as if AT LAST SHE'S GOT HILLARY ON THE STAND WHERE SHE CAN'T WRIGGLE OUT OF IT!
Who writes the definition? We're still saying what X is "by definition" after all these years of scoffing at the anti-same-sex-marriage people who kept saying, tediously, marriage is by definition between a man and a woman? 
Even if we are still doing "by definition"-style arguments...
If you like logic puzzles that end in enigmas ("Put that way, the resistance itself [to calling oneself a feminist] sounds feminist to me"), just follow the link and God go with you.

UPDATE 2. Oh for fuck's sake: Bre Payton at The Federalist:
Clinton thinks it’s really odd when women think that it’s important they have the same rights as men, but resist the feminist label. Clearly the two don’t understand why some women are hesitant to associate themselves with some of the extreme aspects of feminism that the movement has become known for. 
Perpetuating fake campus rape statistics, insisting upon access to abortion on demand, and outright man-hating have become major attributes of the more vocal elements of modern feminism.
No supporting links, alas.
But those probably don’t bother Clinton or Dunham, as they both are huge fans of Planned Parenthood...
I'm seriously trying to envision the target audience for this, but I keep seeing wild, hairy creatures howling YOU MADE US IN THE HOUSE OF PAIN! NOT MAN! NOT BEAST! THING! It's like you're talking to people who think Pope Francis seems like a nice guy, but you're anti-Catholic so you go, "Clearly the Pope doesn’t understand why some people are hesitant to associate themselves with some of the extreme aspects of Catholicism that the movement has become known for." I mean, you may be right and you may be wrong, but you sound to a normal person like you're trying to put one over, or new to the planet Earth.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Remember at the last GOP debate, when Carly Fiorina described a Planned Parenthood video where evil abortionists threw living fetuses into a whirring blender, then drank it? Okay, so she described (as revealed by Sarah Kliff) some other bullshit that wasn't there. Anyway, to the rescue of her fantasy rides Jonah Goldberg:
And they have a point. The exact scene, exactly as Fiorina describes it, is not on the videos. But anybody who has watched the videos would find Fiorina’s off-the-cuff account pretty accurate. 
It's fake but accurate, in other words.
Most of the center’s videos involve hidden-camera conversations with current Planned Parenthood managers, as well as interviews with veterans of the abortion industry, discussing the selling of fetal body parts for research purposes. The video Fiorina probably had in mind included eyewitness descriptions accompanied by borrowed footage of a fetus dying in a metal bowl, its leg kicking, to illustrate the witness’s recollection of seeing precisely that in another case.
Probably! She might be talking about "videos of fetuses moving and kicking" that "were not shot at a Planned Parenthood clinic," which Fiorina's staff sent Kliff in her defense. But there's no need to nail it down, because we're looking at a wider truth:
That sort of juxtaposition might not fly on the nightly news, but it’s the sort of dramatic device used in documentaries all the time. It’s akin to a documentary maker interviewing a witness to Cecil the Lion getting shot, and using footage of another lion getting shot as an illustration...
I know how that is. There was that documentary where I was described as being an asshole to people (which I freely admit I have been at times, I'm not proud of it), followed by that famous clip of an South Vietnamese cop shooting a guy in the head. I tell you, I got some shit for that! More than a few people said they were with me until that scene.
The larger problem is that people are talking past each other. Fiorina’s remarks — and these videos — are really aimed at the abortion industry and its Achilles’ heel, late-term abortions. None of these videos would strike a chord if the only images were of blastocysts.
Likewise, Roy Edroso, Asshole, wouldn't have stirred much interest if it merely contained my drunken tirades and pathetic attempts at fisticuffs, but throw in a summary execution and we're cooking with gas.

On Goldberg goes till the Otteresque summation (the abortion lies of Hillary Clinton are "a far greater distortion of the truth than anything Fiorina said") and the traditional fartcloud, and we are left with the inescapable conclusion that abortion is gross and shut up.

UPDATE. From comments:

Well, I'm convinced. I mean, look -- they're right next to each other. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I wouldn't go so far as to say I feel sorry for Scott Walker. He's a monster, best known for his scheme to destroy the Wisconsin teachers' union. Conservatives loved that about him, of course, because he was fulfilling their most earnest wish to humble those moocher cloth-ears who dared demand a living wage for work that didn't generate dividends or rightwing propaganda. Also he's been trying to get rid of tenure at the University of Wisconsin, which really sets their hearts on fire. And he loves Jesus and Reagan.

Many conservatives chose to imagine that ordinary people would love Walker just as much as they loved him -- though he always seemed to my unstarry eyes to be in a constant trance state and perhaps developmentally disabled. When Walker was caught eating some barbecue he'd just been serving to people with his latex serving gloves still on, it looks weird to some, but at The Federalist Peter Cook claimed it only looked weird to liberals because they never did an honest day's work -- unlike Walker, who once briefly did marketing for the Red Cross before entering politics. Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review found Walker a perfect candidate for a "Return to Normalcy" campaign "with his homespun tales of one-dollar sweaters, his quiet Midwestern roots, and his down-to-earth everyman appearance..."

Did ordinary people see him that way? It now appears ordinary Republicans didn't even see him that way. Or maybe they did see it, but decided it wasn't enough. Walker was doing okay in the polls until Trump broke out. And suddenly there went Walker's whole reason for being. It turned out his dollar sweaters and latex gloves and his lack of schooly airs weren't what appealed to them -- it was his willingness to be mean to the people they hated; and if you want a candidate to be mean to the people you hate, isn't it much better to have one who seems confident about it? (And if you want one who seems to be in a daze, there's always Ben Carson.) What's the point of ressentiment in a minor key? In April, when Walker tried to excite the crowd by harshing on Mexicans and people found it offensive, National Review's Rich Lowry said, "Walker should take the shots as a compliment, and hopefully, the rest of the field will begin to think and talk about immigration the same way." This was before Trump started calling Mexicans rapists and sweeping the field.

Anyway, now the brethren are wandering away from the scene of the crash with their hands in their pockets, whistling. Byron York was a big booster back in the day. In January he said, "Scott Walker doesn't have to be great on the stump to do well," because  his union-busting was so electifying that "GOP voters will cut him a little slack in the charisma and oratory department." Now, York sees more clearly Walker's "limitations" -- first, there was his "lack of foreign policy chops"; then, said York, "an even bigger problem was domestic policy. [Walker] just wasn't very up on some of the key policy and political issues that a president has to confront..." That wouldn't seem to leave much. Trump doesn't know anything, either, but nobody cares because his ignorance is so dynamic.

Like I said, I wouldn't say I felt bad for the guy, but it must be something to have pandered your ass off for months and then discover that it wasn't enough to be a bully -- you had to act like a bully, too.