A Glimmer of Sanity on the Left

This was heartening. Some liberals are starting to express embarassment about the liberal media–particularly the network home of Keith Olbermann:

Both sides of aisle rip MSNBC

An excerpt:

 The cable news channel is “completely out of control,” said writer-producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat.

She added that she would prefer a lunch date with right-leaning Fox News star Sean Hannity over left-leaning MSNBC star Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann was criticized by many who attended Monday’s luncheon sponsored by the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The event was dubbed “Hollywood, America and Election ’08.”

Bloodworth-Thomason and others seemed especially critical of the way MSNBC — and other media — has attacked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin while demeaning her supporters.

I was wondering if were any intellectually-honest feminists out there with the courage to denounce what Gov. Palin has been subjected to since being named McCain’s running mate. It’s good to know there is at least one.

Two Quotes

Two very different writers. Two quotes. Very similar, timely messages.

Robert A. Heinlein:

The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a “warm body” democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction…. [O]nce a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader — the barbarians enter Rome.

C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

(hat tip:  Andy McCarthy and Jonah Goldberg)

Voting Early (If Not Often)

Went ahead and cast my vote today. Not that any of my favored candidates really needed my help. When you live in the reddest of cities in the reddest of counties in the reddest section of one of America’s reddest states–you don’t really get the feeling that your vote is making a huge difference. Votes in the primaries tend to be much more meaningful.

Female Offspring Unit #1 cast her very first vote today. That’s a significant milestone. I have it on good authority that she voted well.

I remember my very first presidential vote. It was for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and I was thrilled to cast it. My vote today didn’t feel like that one. It felt more like my vote for Bob Dole in 1996. The difference being, Republicans had taken control of Congress in 1994, the Internet bubble economy was rocking along nicely, and the prospect of a second Clinton term wasn’t remotely as troubling as the thought of an Obama presidency.

Today, the Senate and House are in the hands of irresponsible know-nothings. The world economy is teetering on the edge of a precipice. The Russians and the Chinese are actively making trouble for the U.S. all over world. And today a responsible source in Israel says the Iranians are considering a preemptive strike on Israel.

Today my daughter may have cast her first vote in the most important U.S. election since 1860.

"Paroxysms of Rage"

That’s a phrase NRO’s election guru, Jim Geraghty, uses to describe the reaction he gets from liberal readers every time he mentions a poll that shows McCain gaining ground on Obama.

And yet some liberal readers are driven into a fury each time I point to something that suggests their guy might not win, or might not win by a landslide. And it’s clearly ratcheted up in recent days. . .So what’s going on here? These folks are who they are; I’m not expecting discourse beyond their usual “YOU SUCK” level. But why are they so bothered by one guy saying that a landslide isn’t inevitable? Why does “your guy might not win” send them into paroxysms of rage?

Of course, as reader Ted points out in a comment on a previous post, this is nothing compared to the eruption of molten fury that will take place if McCain is miraculously able to pull this out (and it will definitely have involved divine intervention if it happens.)

We’ve had a couple of months now of the media establishment assuring the nation that Obama is going to win–in part as a psychological effort to discourage and suppress potential McCain voters. We have a huge majority of the African-American population deeply emotionally invested in the Obama candidacy. We have eight years of frustration at two previous super-narrow losses.

All that, coupled with the fact that Obama has energized a segment of the American populous that is semi-deranged (remember the anarchist protesters that were throwing bleach on grandmothers at the Republian convention in St. Paul?) adds up to a swelling caldera that will blow the moment the election is called for McCain (if it goes that way.)

There will almost certainly be riots and looting in many of America’s major cities. (Heck, there’s rioting and looting in Detroit when the Pistons win the NBA championship.) When the national guard is called out to restore order and protect property, it will fulfill all the dark fantasies the left has been entertaining over the last few years about Bush the dictator. “We knew he was just looking for an excuse to declare martial law!” they’ll scream.

The disruptive and scarring claims of election fraud that followed the Bush victories in 2000 and 2004 will seem like a Teletubbies love-fest in compared to the blizzard of litigation that will follow such an outcome.

In other words, it will get very, very ugly.

Of course, if Obama wins as predicted, it will get ugly in a very different way.

Thus, it seems that no matter what happens in two weeks, it will be a good time to know that you are a child of God and that this fact makes you a citizen of another Kingdom–one that knows no boundaries and functions in a different economy.

Nevertheless, wisdom and prudence would suggest that you may not want to be in the middle of a major city on election night. Just in case.

Don't Use Your American Express at Walmart

 I saw an astonishing little aside buried in a Wall Street Journal article about American Express. The article, headlined Delinquencies Mount for American Express, centered on how Amex has paid a price for being lured into the formerly-lucrative revolving charge business.

But the thing that caught my attention was this bit in the middle of the piece:

For example, AmEx recently slapped a $1,100-a-month spending limit on John and Monica Bell’s platinum AmEx charge card. The reason: AmEx customers who pay with plastic at the same places where Mrs. Bell shops and have the same mortgage lender have poor repayment histories, according to a letter sent by AmEx.

“They’re holding me accountable for someone else’s credit,” fumes Mr. Bell, a real-estate agent in Chadds Ford, Pa. His mortgage loan came from Countrywide Financial Corp., now part of Bank of America, and his wife uses the AmEx card at retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Marshalls unit of TJX Cos. and to fill up her tank at Sunoco Inc. gas stations.

The couple runs up about $5,000 a month on the card, which previously had no limit, and always pays on time, Mr. Bell says.

Just so you’re clear on the details here . . .  The couple has an American Express Platinum card which they consistently put about $5k a month on, and always pay the full balance on time. But because they occasionally use the card at a local Walmart and Marshall’s, and buy cheap gas, Amex has capped this couple’s monthly use at $1,100.

Why? Because that fits a pattern a computer has identified as being statistically more prone to default–even though they’re never late. I guess you could call this “financial profiling.”

So, the next time you see an Amex commercial that touts “no monthly spending limit,” make a mental note–“Unless you’re a discount shopper.”

This is just one of several indicators I’ve observed recently that the entire corporate world is very, very nervous right now. And this story points up how a recession in the information age might play out differently than any we’ve had in the past.

Obama Victory Less a "Sure Thing" Then We're Being Sold

At the end of a gloomy post last week about McCain’s chances, I wrote:

If the markets stabilize this coming week AND gas prices continue to come down AND some other unforeseen event actually works to McCain’s benefit (for a change)–the race could tighten back up.

Well, the first two of those conditions seem to have been met. And according to several polls, McCain has indeed gotten much more competitive. Today Zogby has McCain down by less than 3 points. If there is any degree of Wilder Effect at all, the race could be a dead heat.

But you wouldn’t know that by watching or reading the mainstream media. “It’s all over.” “It’s Obama by a landslide.” “Why bother with an expensive election, let’s just declare Obama President by acclamation.”

This is the dominant meme in the press. And it’s being put forth for a reason. The hope is to dishearten those who aren’t so much voting for McCain as against Obama (people like me, in other words)  so they won’t bother to vote. This is known as an attempt at voter suppression.

Barring any additional big, momentum shifting event, I think the race now hinges on two unknown factors.  How big will the Wilder Effect be among independents who have told pollsters they are voting for Obama; and how successful will the Dems voter fraud efforts be through organizations like ACORN.

The second factor is potentially huge. It is now universally known that in 1960, Joseph Kennedy used money to generate voter fraud to put his son over the top in a super-close election. The location of that election-buying crime?  Why, Barack Obama’s home base of Chicago, of course–America’s headquarters for crooked politicians and dead voters.

"Obama's Abortion Extremism"

At The Witherspoon Institute’s site, Robert George writes:

Sen. Barack Obama’s views on life issues ranging from abortion to embryonic stem cell research mark him as not merely a pro-choice politician, but rather as the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to have ever run on a major party ticket.

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.

Read the whole thing here.

McCain Believes He's Going to Lose

That’s my take on his sudden retreat from going after Obama on his shady associations and his “You don’t have to be afraid…” of Obama as President comment.  Why would McCain think he’s seeing the writing on the wall? Because this is what’s written on it:


This is a chart of John McCain’s tracking numbers overlaid with the S&P 500’s closing numbers.(created by State of the Union blog) It paints a pretty compelling picture. I have read that McCain’s internal polling paints an even grimmer picture.

It looks like Obama and the congressional leadership think he has it sewn up as well.

McCain, in his interview with Charlie Gibson (who managed to keep his frown and grimace rate to about a quarter of the Palin interview level) was asked: “Do you think this economic crisis is hurting you with voters?”  McCain’s answer was typically horrible and fumbling and unhelpful. Here’s how McCain should have answered:

“Well Charlie, in a fairer world it would be hurting my opponent, because it was the policies of his allies in his party that largely created this mess, while I and some of my fellow Republicans, including President Bush, have been warning about it for two years. But we don’t live in that fairer world. So, yes, it’s hurting my campaign, in part because you and your colleagues are in the tank for Obama and won’t report the truth.”

But McCain isn’t going to say anything like that because he’s a poor candidate. In fact, he’s the worst candidate the Republicans had for running against Mr. Cool.–just as Bob Dole was the worst choice among the contenders for running against Bill Clinton. Of course at the time McCain clinched the nomination, it wasn’t clear who the Dem nominee was going to be.

Of course, things could turn around. One wild card is the “Wilder Effect“–the tendency for many extreme sufferers of “white guilt” to tell pollsters they’re voting for a black candidate but do otherwise in the secrecy of the voting booth.

I suspect that the more the Democrats have shouted “racist” at every person who criticizes Obama, the more potentially pronounced the Wilder Effect has become. If the markets stabilize this coming week AND gas prices continue to come down AND some other unforeseen event actually works to McCain’s benefit (for a change)–the race could tighten back up.

If it does, it will be in spite of McCain the campaigner, not because of him.

The Childlike Faith of Christopher Buckley


“May you live in interesting times,” goes the old Chinese curse.

And things do indeed just get curiouser and curiouser. For example, today I see that the son of William F. Buckley, Christopher, a writer of humorous novels and self-described conservative/libertarian, has announced his intention to vote for Barack Obama.

Read it for yourself but his reasons can be summarized as follows.

  • He’s disappointed in the strategy and ads of the McCain campaign over the last few weeks.
  • He loathes Sarah Palin with a deep and burning detestation– but for reasons that he doesn’t bother to articulate but assumes all sensible people share.
  • He thinks Barack Obama seems smart and that it’s cool that he writes his own books.
  • He’s saddened that John McCain has changed some of his positions on the campaign trail, ostensibly in order to help himself get elected. (Of course, Obama has done much more cynical triangulating since winning his party’s nomination than has McCain but this, for some reason, doesn’t bother Buckley in the least.)

So how does a smart man who claims to value small, non-intrusive government decide to vote for a guy whose entire political record and every utterance on the campaign trail has uniformly promised bigger, more-intrusive governemnt? That’s simple:

Blind hope and (faithless) prayer. Seriously:

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

Well, there you have it. Buckley hopes President Obama will “surely understand” that everything he has said and believed over the last 20 years is wrong-headed, once he is seated in the Oval Office.

This level of child-like (secular) faith would truly be touching if it didn’t involve my family’s finances and security. Why, it’s a faith so big that it can believe that when the new liberal Democrat super-majorities in the House and Senate led by Pelosi and Reid start sending President Obama bill after bill calling for a sweeping increases in the size and scope of government, he’ll courageously veto them.

Now that’s some audacious hope, right there my friend.

You can be sure that all of the liberals cheering Buckley in the comment thread below his little essay believe precisely the opposite. In fact, they are confident that any backtracking from ultra-liberal positions Obama may have done in the course of the campaign are purely expediencies demanded by the election process. They’re counting on the fact that Buckley’s faith is misplaced, even as they praise him for holding it.

Look into the url address window on the web site that published Buckley’s cry for help and you’ll see they named the file, “the-conservative-case-for-Obama.”

But there is no “case” anywhere to be found in Buckley’s words. Just emotion and pique. How very sad. I pray (non-secularly) that Buckley has a crisis of faith on election day.