The (Non-Crazy) Case Against Palin
August 31, 2008, 6:13 pm
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Kudos to the always-biting Oliver Kamm, who shows what a true liberal (small “l”) case against the Palin pick should look like: Resurrecting Rove

Lefties, stop studying photos of the woman’s daughter, read the link, and learn. This is how it should be done.

Why Palin Pains
August 31, 2008, 5:28 pm
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Another word on Palin. I’ve been thinking about the line of criticism that goes like: ‘This is an obvious ploy to try to win the votes of disgruntled Clinton-supporters, and it’s insulting, and it won’t work. Therefore it’s a bad choice’.

The problem is, there was approximately 0.0% chance that, at the end of the day, those disgruntled PUMA-type Clinton supporters weren’t going to vote for Obama. Right? Does anyone really believe that any significant number of those people had any realistic chance of crossing the line and voting….for McCain?

No. This was rhetoric, and one understands why they engaged in that rhetoric, but come November, they were always going to fall in line and vote for the (D). And that’s my point: in modern politics, the letter (D) trumps all. Forget about any notions of ‘gender solidarity’, or breaking glass ceilings, trailblazing….it still all boils down to (D)s vs (R)s for most people.

And it seems to me that this is a big reason the Palin choice has caused so much anxiety and consternation on the left. The bottom line is that she is an (R), therefore as with all (R)s they are duty-bound to say bad stuff about her and be against her. But this automatic, predictable stance of theirs puts the lie to a lot of lofty idealistic rhetoric they’ve been telling themselves was behind their support for Hillary Clinton. Hence the need to play up a lot of distinctions between Palin and the ‘real women’ they would support; in essence, to write Palin out of the female gender by fiat.

Boil this down and all that’s going on is that she’s an (R) and they’re (D)s. But a lot of people who participate in and follow modern politics need to nurture the illusion that it’s about something more, something loftier than raw power-politics battles of ‘us’ vs ‘them’.

Governor Palin, a strong woman who (unlike both Obama and Biden) holds an executive leadership position, but has an (R) after her name, is giving those people a bad case of cognitive dissonance.

Matthew Yglesias: Genius II, Or: Consistency
August 31, 2008, 3:23 pm
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Everyone knows that Bush was wrong for not visiting New Orleans soon enough after Katrina. He was supposed to rush there right away! That totally would’ve helped!

Meanwhile, Matthew Yglesias explains why it’s bad for Bush McCain to…visit New Orleans in advance of Gustav.

Too late, or too soon. Can’t you find the sweet spot, President Bush Rethugs? The perfect time?

The More Things “Change”
August 31, 2008, 2:30 pm
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The left side of the political spectrum is tired of the same old nasty politics. Everyone knows that. Right?

They decry “Swift-Boating” (which, as far as I can tell, means: ‘coming forward and giving one’s opinion of a candidate one knew in the past’). They hate “Rovian” tactics. They want a new kind of politics. They want hope and change. This is what the Obama campaign is about.

In that spirit, just for the record, I offer up a non-exhaustive list of tactics I have seen lefties use in just the first 48 hours since the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate:

  • Criticizing the names of Governor Palin’s children.
  • Calling her a bad mother.
  • Criticizing her fashion sense (furs, etc.)
  • Belittling her executive experience based on the number of people she has governed over (so only people with executive experience in New York, California, or Texas need apply? There’s something inferior about smaller-populated states?)
  • Saying it’s ‘insulting’ and ‘sexist’ that McCain picked her because she’s a woman, which if taken seriously implies they would have accepted no female VP pick from McCain whatsoever.
  • Spreading a nasty rumor about her 16-year-old daughter, scrutinizing the daughter’s physique in old photos in the process. (Classy, people.)


UPDATE: Another substantive point against Palin from the ‘new kind of politics’ left: DID SHE TAKE PROPER PRE-NATAL CARE??!? Two words: Class. Sy. HT: Beltway Snark

UPDATE II: Now, it seems that Palin must be sleeping with John McCain. Of course! That’s the only way women get to the top.

UPDATE III: Just for contrast, lefties, this is what a reasoned and intelligent critique of the Palin pick looks like: Resurrecting Rove by Oliver Kamm.

Almost Escherian
August 31, 2008, 12:24 am
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These seem to go hand in hand:

  • disliking President Bush
  • disliking “neocons” who supposedly want wars all the time
  • having all sorts of sinister views about secret things done (primarily plotted/spurred on by “neocons”) for oil/fossil fuels
  • defending the invasion of Georgia, a country with a key natural gas pipeline, by Russia, a country whose economy is virtually entirely based on fossil fuels and which is overtly led by former members of its secret services

Disliking President Bush, it seems, has quite powerful effects on the brain.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting triplet.

1. These two go hand in hand:

  • disliking Bush/defending Russia as per above
  • citing the US action against Serbia ten years ago as part of the case for defending Russia’s actions (which, by the way, have led to ethnic cleansing in Ossetia & Abkhazia).

2. These also seem to go hand in hand, of course:

  • disliking President Bush
  • having liked President Clinton

3. Finally, these almost always go hand in hand:

  • having liked President Clinton
  • having been totally, 100% in favor of the US action against Serbia. (After all, we had to stop ethnic cleansing!)

Fascinating. Just fascinating.

Point: McCain
August 30, 2008, 4:24 am
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The more frenzied rhetoric I read from the left today regarding how inexperienced Sarah Palin is, their digging up stats on how small Alaska is, digging up old quotes and clips, grasping at scandals, etc., etc., the more convinced I become that this choice of running-mate has them scared to the bone.

Grab some popcorn.

It’s In The Price Already
August 29, 2008, 9:18 pm
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I liked this post from Arnold Kling at Econlog about whether people need to ‘behave more responsibly’ at the dinner table (e.g. eat less meat):

To argue that you need to “behave more responsibly” is to argue that there is something wrong with prices. If externalities are present (so that carbon-intensive consumption is under-priced, for example), then you need (a) a Pigouvian tax or (b) to be able to work through the input-output table. And I don’t trust even research specialists to do (b) accurately.

This strikes me as exactly right.

In our society many people to have their own list of behaviors that (they think) people – meaning you and I – ‘should’ do (or reduce/abstain from) in order to ‘be more responsible’ in one way or another. Whether it’s use less gasoline, recycle, eat less meat, whatever. And most such people are willing, if not eager, to use social policy and government fiat to force others to adjust our behavior to their liking.

Essentially none of the people who form such opinions have actually done the necessary calculations – worked through the input-output table, as Kling puts it – to be in a position to dictate what others ‘should’ do.

Whether I’m using ‘too much’ gasoline, whether I should recycle, whether I should ‘eat local’, whether I should take into account the ‘carbon footprint’ of this or that – if these are considered to be questions that are separate from the actual price signals that are already involved in these choices, none of the people with strongly-held views on these subjects have any real idea what they’re talking about. They just haven’t done the math – and most of them couldn’t if they tried.

Which doesn’t stop anyone from letting loose the little dictators inside them, of course.


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