Saturday, July 08, 2006

Crunchy Cons vs. Donkey Cons

Last I heard, Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons was in its third printing, having been promoted with its very own theme blog at National Review Online. But Dreher, not content with having pocketed fat royalty checks from Crown Forum (a division of Random House, which is in turn a division of the German conglomerate Bertelsmann), wishes to add to his wealth a reputation for wisdom and virtue, not surprising since the entire theme of Crunchy Cons is "more conservative than thou."

And so we now have Dreher's review of my review of Crunchy Cons. Because Rod is more wise, virtuous and conservative than me -- or you, or anyone else you might care to name -- his review of my review is, of course, negative:
By labeling the conservative moral case I make for, say, non-factory-farmed meat as mere elitism, he avoids having to confront the argument. But the argument remains unanswered, and even unengaged.
Correct. "Unengaged" because it is absurd. By "non-factory-farmed meat," Dreher refers to modes of production which add significantly to costs. It is all fine and good for the affluent educated elite to seek out organic vegetables and free-range meat, since they have the money, knowledge, and time to do so. This option is not really available to the poor, who must eat cheap or go hungry. Because there are (and always will be) more poor than rich people, the ostentatiously "moral" eating habits of the elite will have no measureable effect on the welfare of feed animals in general.

What Dreher's adoration of the organic diet is really about is Veblenesque conspicuous consumption. In this case, the status display involves moral virtue. Dreher apparently believes that his grocery shopping habits make him morally superior to those of us who just buy whatever's on sale at Food Lion. If I refuse to "engage" such an argument, it is because no sober person could take it seriously.

It was obvious to me, and I think Jonah Goldberg was close to nailing this, that Crunchy Cons is all about Dreher's alienation from his peers in the conservative movement. Certainly, I can relate to that. There is a certain sort of "cool kids" clique within Establishment conservatism, and if one isn't chosen for the GOP prom committee, the temptation toward a "Carrie"-like resentment is very real. This is even more true because those conservatives who are most successful in the Establishment aren't always the most principled conservatives, nor the most considerate and selfless.

But Crunchy Cons is more about a certain vaguely "organic" lifestyle than about politics. As such, it does not really examine what I think is the real problem of American conservatism, namely its failure to halt, much less to reverse, social and cultural disintegration. Paul Weyrich pointed to this in his famous "Moral Minority" essay in the wake of Clinton's Senate acquittal.

True, Dreher endorses home-schooling and criticizes the contraceptive culture, but these good points are subsumed in a larger argument which is mostly about ... Wendell Berry, E.F. Schumacher and an idiosyncratic reading of Russell Kirk.

This is from Dreher's conclusion:
The only solid point I could find in the review was RSM's charge that my book is ignorant of the finer points of economics. I plead guilty to that, and regret my ignorance. Because my knowledge of economics is so poor, I tried to avoid prescriptions. Still, I don't think you have to be well-versed in economics to have an idea of what makes a good society, and to see that certain economic practices we accept in our society work to the overall moral and civic harm of families and communities.
I hardly count myself "well-versed" in the "finer points of economics." But you don't have to read a lot of Mises and Hayek before understanding why the defense of free markets is a moral imperative. Dreher not only criticizes free markets, he condemns those who defend free markets as "exploiting and encouraging greed and envy." Considering that he is doing this while in the employ of Bertelsmann, I'd say Dreher was guilty of biting the Invisible Hand that feeds him.

In economics, freedom produces prosperity. It is prosperity that allows the common man the chance to take his nose away from the grindstone long enough to glimpse up at the stars and dream of better things for himself and his children. Economic freedom, and the prosperity that naturally ensues from this freedom, are thus blessings for which we ought to be grateful.

David Horowitz has written how, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Westerners finally beheld the withered fruit which had grown from the poisoned root of Marxism. Soviet citizens had been forced to stand in line for hours for basics like bread, meat, potatoes and vegetables. Meanwhile, in America, for less than an hour's wages for the average worker, we could walk into a Sizzler and get an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner with an almost infinite choice of entrees, salads, vegetables, breads, beverages, desserts.

Thus, capitalism does more to improve the condition of the proletariat than did the "dictatorship of the proletariat." And we see how, in the wake of the Soviet collapse, civil society has proven nearly impossible to establish in Russia. It's a kleptocracy now in the grip of organized crime and a corrupt government, ruled over by the quasi-dictator Putin. By relentlessly attacking private property as immoral, Soviet ideology destroyed one of the most basic moral virtues. After all, if all rich men (including the despised peasant kulaks) are de facto criminals and exploiters, then why not become a mafioso, a pimp, a pornographer, a dope dealer? Demonizing the capitalist, the entrepreneur and the freeholder tends toward the demoralization of economic life.

Dreher seems to think that ordinary people are incapable of distinguishing between virtue and vice in the pursuit of wealth, and that we are in danger of a world in which Americans cannot understand why what Ken Lay did was wrong -- or why Larry Flynt is less admirable than Bill Gates. I have a bit more trust in the common sense of the common people, and do not think that the common people are much in need of the sort of sermons to be found in Crunchy Cons. If that makes me a "populist," so be it.

But it is (still) a free country. Dreher may say what he will, and get paid for it. Like I said in my review, I earned $10 just by repeating his subtitle, since I was paid on a per-word basis. And I was grateful for that free-market opportunity. I simple can't see why Dreher is not similarly grateful.

UPDATE SUNDAY 7/9: Rod says my comments are "blustery, vapid" and make him angry. Remember that my original review was most gentle:
Hate the sin, but love the sinner. I’m praying for Dreher, who, thanks to the Invisible Hand, gave me the chance to write this greed-motivated review. God bless you, Rod. Go in peace.
In other words, I thought Rod's analysis was in error, and hoped he might remedy the errors. But then he responded here by claiming that I had failed to "confront the main thrust of CC's argument" -- i.e., I'm too stupid to understand what he's saying. But what Rod is saying is quite clear and simple to understand, and his key points -- that is, where "crunchy" conservatism parts ways with unmodified conservatism -- are cited in my review:
"The tragic flaw of Western economics is that it is based on exploiting and encouraging greed and envy." ...
"Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character." ....
Crunchies “orient their lives” toward “serving God, not self,” Dreher writes. “By way of contrast, a libertarian conservative sees the point of life as exercising freedom of choice to serve his self-chosen ends.”
These are broad, sweeping condemnations. Dreher felt no compunction about making such damning generalizations about people he's never even met. And then when he's served in kind, he cries, "Unfair!" Perhaps so. But I didn't get paid by an international conglomerate to write a book which, under the guise of "conservatism," derogates my fellow conservatives as motivated chiefly by greed and envy -- "money, power, and the accumulation of stuff."

I am sorry that Dreher is angered by my pointing this out. It was he who chose to profit by falsely insulting the rest of us. His childish response indicates that, in his mind, no one has any grounds to resent these insults. Or, if we think we've been insulted, this just proves how stupid we are.

I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from
The Outlaw Josey Wales: "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining."

UPDATE, 20 MINUTES LATER: The fury has passed. I don't know why I let these things get hold of me like this. At any rate, just to check my assertion that "free-range" food is expensive: Free-range eggs, $4/dozen. And free-range chicken seems to sell at about $4.50/pound.


New Orleans: Deals on Wheels

Hat tip to our Louisiana friend Jeff Crouere for this one:

Daimler Chrysler makes a donation to help with Hurricane Katrina relief and the result is: A Democratic city council woman gets a brand-new Dodge Durango. The FBI is investigating.

This is business as usual in New Orleans, where corruption is "endemic" and "notorious." We devoted an entire chapter of DONKEY CONS to examining how the Democratic Party's death-grip control of urban politics leads to corruption, rampant crime, and entrenched poverty. This pattern can be seen most clearly in Detroit, but has also plagued other Democrat-dominated cities, including pre-Giuliani New York and Washington, D.C., under the reign of Marion Barry.

What's truly tragic about this is that the urban poor -- whose lives are made desperately miserable by the policies of corrupt Democrats -- remain the most loyal Democratic Party constituency. The politicians enrich themselves while impoverishing their constituents, and the constituents love them for it!


DONKEY CONS: Rave review
DONKEY CONS: Another rave review
DONKEY CONS: Yet ANOTHER rave review
DONKEY CONS: Vilmar loves it!
DONKEY CONS: WorldNetDaily loves it!
DONKEY CONS: About the book
DONKEY CONS: On Capitol Hill
DONKEY CONS: About the authors

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Must See TV: Reed vs. Cagle

Here is Casey Cagle's ad hitting Ralph Reed on the Abramoff scandal.

Here is Reed accusing Cagle of being a successful banker.

Irony: Reed (net worth $4.5 million) is nearly three times richer than Cagle (net worth $1.7 million), yet Reed accuses Cagle of getting rich via shady dealings. As opposed to say, collecting $5 million from an imprisoned casino lobbyist.

Here's a Cagle "fact check" response to the Reed ad.

Why did Ralph attack?

The curious thing about this race: Reed, a former state GOP chairman, has the organization and the name recognition, and should have run away with it. So why, then, did Reed go negative from the start with TV ads attacking Cagle?

Six weeks ago, Cagle's pollster told reporters that their campaign's internal polls showed their guy 6 points ahead of Reed. Tuesday, a Cagle spokesman said their polls now show Cagle as much as 9 points ahead.

Reed's internal polling must have shown something similar. If Reed felt confident he was romping to an easy victory, he never would have launched such a relentlessly negative campaign in a GOP primary, especially because Cagle is supported by three-quarters of the Republican senators -- whom Reed would have to work with if he wins the lieutenant-governor's job.

Polling a down-ticket primary race is tricky. Matt Towery says he's seeing some strange dynamics in his numbers: Very high percentage (41%) of undecided, which probably indicates a low turnout in the July 18 primary. Cagle is strongest with women voters, but women show a lower level of interest in the Republican primary.

Towery says a high turnout -- with lots of women voting Republican -- would mean a win for Casey, while a low turnout would win it for Reed. Therefore, by going on the attack early against Cagle, Reed is purposely trying to drive down turnout in the primary and simultaneously increase Cagle's "negatives," since Reed came into the race with rather high negative ratings.

Fear Factor

After visiting Georgia over the weekend and talking to lots of Republicans down there, I can say this: People are afraid of Ralph Reed. Even staunch Cagle supporters are hesitant to go on the record criticizing Reed directly.

As a former state chairman, Reed is owed favors by lots of Georgia Republican officials. He's got a network of supporters -- he had people at a Cagle event in Henry County I covered -- who keep him informed. So anyone who is too outspoken in opposing Reed might find himself blackballed by Reed loyalists in the party hierarchy next time the local party picks its candidates, etc. And this would be true whether or not Reed wins on July 18.

Reed's tough-guy reputation has, in this sense, put a damper on Republican criticism, making it easier for GOP primary voters to think that the Abramoff allegations are just a liberal smear perpetrated by those lyin' Atlanta newspapers. (Being attacked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is a sort of backhanded endorsement for any Republican in Georgia.)

A house divided

The contest between Reed and Cagle has deeply divided the Georgia GOP, and the damage will long outlive this campaign, whoever wins. At the 4th of July Cobb County GOP barbecue in Marietta, I saw Republicans walk past Reed as if he were not even there, clearly intending to snub him. And when Cagle got up to speak, the Reed supporters in the crowd -- who probably outnumbered Cagle supporters in attendance -- made a point of loudly talking amongst themselves so that, even with a microphone and P.A., it was hard to hear what Cagle was saying.

Frankly, as soon as I read Matt Continetti's "Money, Mobsters and Murder" in The Weekly Standard in November 2005, I thought that Reed would be forced to quit the race. Given what I know about Christian conservatives in Georgia -- who went all-out in their efforts to defeat a state lottery in the 1990s -- I could not imagine that they would tolerate Reed's shameless sellout to a casino con man like "Indian Jack."

Yet Matt Towery tells me that Reed's support among evangelicals remains strong. Why? Cynicism? Personal loyalty? A lust for political power? If ever liberals needed confirmation that conservative Christians are "poor, undereducated and easily led" (as the Other Paper once described them) Georgia churchgoers giving Reed a free pass on the Abramoff affair might do the trick.

In the balance

It's now 11 days until the July 18 primary, and the contest between Reed and Cagle could go either way. It's like one of those football games that comes down to the two-minute drill, with victory hanging in the balance.

If the election were held tomorrow, I think Reed would win. Cagle's team has done well, but at this point it doesn't look like they've done enough to counter the overall advantages Reed brought to the campaign. Without some kind of a big break -- a surprise endorsement for Cagle, an unexpected blunder by Reed -- it's going to be hard for Cagle to pull off this upset.

Frankly, what Cagle needs is divine intervention. When you've done all you can do, and it's still not enough, the message should be clear: Get down on your knees and get humble before God. If the Cagle campaign doesn't have some prayer circles on their side, they need to get some, and get some quick.

I realize that intercessory prayer is not considered a legitimate political strategy by the punditocracy, but having personally experienced the power of prayer, I am inclined to say the pundits are wrong (as usual).


UPDATES: Linked by Basil's Blog and Peach Pundit.

The comments at Peach Pundit are interesting. Bull Moose contributes an interesting article from National Journal.

Here is Tobin Smith:
The facts are Reed has not been charged with a crime or wrongdoing and he has not been indicted or arrested. Had that occurred Casey would be waltzing to a win.
The reality is Casey gambled on the liberal media doing the job and that his “any body but Ralph” campaign would be enough.
In the end, it is not enough. Maybe enough for a close race, but not enough for the brass ring.
My prediction, Reed 52, Cagle 48.

Gus Boulis is dead. Boulis is dead because he sold his casino business to a partnership headed by Reed's friend Jack Abramoff. The Abramoff partnership falsified documents in order to defraud Boulis, and when Boulis began to complain ... well, Gus Boulis is dead.

Reed can say that he knew nothing of Abramoff's dirty dealing. Reed can say that, when Abramoff enlisted him to lobby to shut down competing casino tribes, he (Reed) had no idea that this was being done on behalf of, and at the expense of, gambling interests. "Plausible deniability," right?

So one of the most prominent Republican advocates of "family values" sold out to a crooked casino lobbyist, and this doesn't bother Tobin Smith in the least. As long as the winner has an "R" beside his name, that's all that matters.

Blog War: Reason vs. Malkin

Weigel vs. Malkin vs. Weigel vs. Malkin ... it's a blogospheric Somme!

Tensions over the long war have clearly resulted in frayed nerves. People on both sides are angry and frustrated.

I don't see anything to indicate that Malkin's criticism -- or communications from Malkin's blog readers -- caused the suicide of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton, who apparently jumped from a 42-story building.

Denton suffered from thyroid problems and depression, problems that may have been related. She was hired at $300,000 for the chancellor's job, and suffered some scandal when it was revealed that her girlfriend, Gretchen Kalonji, had been given a $192,000 UC job, perhaps in some kind of package deal for Denton. And then UC spent $600,000 to renovate the chancellor's residence.

Denton was under all kinds of pressure at UC Santa Cruz, but she knew all about pressure in academia, having been one of those who fiercely attacked Harvard's Lawrence Summers:
A month before becoming chancellor, Ms. Denton had landed in many newspaper articles for criticizing statements made by Harvard University's president, Lawrence H. Summers, in which he questioned women's abilities in math and science. ...
The outspoken chancellor traveled with a folder of material she used to counter Mr. Summers's points.
Denton on Summers:
“Here was this economist lecturing pompously to this room full of the country’s most accomplished scholars on women’s issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day.”
Denton stoked the outrage that ended with Summers losing his job -- but he has not committed suicide, so Denton and her feminist allies are not under suspicion of hounding the man to death.

Denton has committed suicide, and if you don't like Michelle Malkin, then this is an opportunity to scapegoat Malkin. But there is, I repeat, no evidence that harassment from Malkin -- or from anyone else on the right -- had anything to do with Denton's suicide.

Indeed, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Denton faced far more intense harassment from the campus left:
Critics, angry over student-fee increases and lower-paid staff members' wages, attacked Ms. Denton's own compensation package. ...

One element of the chancellor's compensation — a $30,000 dog run that was part of improvements made at her residence on the campus — made Ms. Denton a punch line and a symbol of excess in the systemwide compensation scandal that has unfolded since last fall.

Ms. Denton had begun to fear for her safety, according to news reports. On several occasions last year, groups of protesting students had tried to spend the night on her property, requiring Ms. Denton to "negotiate intensely" before they would leave, said David S. Kliger, the provost. A window in her office was broken last year. And at 3 a.m. one night in June 2005, a parking barricade was used to break her bedroom window.

During a campus protest on June 6 over staff wages and faculty diversity, students surrounded Ms. Denton in her car, sat on the trunk and hood, and struck it with placards, said Elizabeth M. Irwin, a university spokeswoman. The students also performed a skit about racism.

"The atmosphere," said Ms. Irwin, "was intimidating and disrespectful."

So, irrespective of the justice of Malkin's criticism of Denton, there is no reason to think that conservative criticism contributed to Denton's death. Nor, I think, does Malkin need to apologize to anyone for having suggested that her readers should express their disapproval of Denton's policies at UCSC by contacting Denton's office.

Denton was the chief executive of a public university, established by the government of California, subsidized by state and federal taxes. Having taken such a (highly remunerative) job, Denton had no more "right to privacy" than a senator, a congressman or any other government official.

If you're living on the taxpayers' dime, you've got to expect to get an earful from the taxpayers when you screw up. This is as true of a state university president as it is of Donald Rumsfeld. It's the "your tax dollars at work" principle.

Academics, with their ivory-tower pretensions and lofty talk about free inquiry, have failed to come to grips with the fact that -- because of the vast expansion of government aid to higher education -- they are now servants of the taxpayers. This brings educators under a regime of political accountability that may not be wholly compatible with the disinterested pursuit of Truth.

Then again, getting the taxpayers to pay you $300,000 a year to pursue Truth -- and getting a $200,000-a-year gig for your girlfriend as part of the deal -- is kind of a sweet gig. Excuse me, then, if I have a hard time accepting the notion that Denton was some kind of a martyr. Suicide is a terrible thing, but thousands of people kill themselves every year without having ever been attacked by Michelle Malkin.


Joe-Mentum: Live!

* UPDATED 11:30 p.m. *
Hot Air has video. Lieberman piles up fact after fact, Lamont comes across like a deer in the headlights. Total dominance for Joe, total embarassment for the Ned-roots.

Kos more or less admits Lamont got his butt kicked:
Joe Lieberman proved that yes, he is a politician, in both the good and bad meanings of the word ... a polished debator[sic] and looked like he had done this a million times before. ... Ned Lamont proved that no, he is not a politician. He was clearly nervous. ... Lieberman may have technically won the debate, but he did so using tactics so ugly that Lamont was the sentimental favorite. ... You could almost hear Ned thinking "calm down, take a deep breath, count to ten before you say something rash..." everytime Lieberman would barge in on his responses.
Translation: Ned's not ready for prime time.

Lieberman has such a low-intensity demeanor I figure he's got a resting pulse rate in the low 60s and will live to be 107. If he'd been this good in 2000 ... who knows?
* * * * *

AllahPundit's liveblogging the Lieberman-Lamont debate. The debate is also liveblogged by Outside the Beltway.

Lieberman attacks:
"Ned Lamont seems just to be running against me based on my stand on one issue, Iraq, and he is distorting who I am and what I've done," Lieberman said in his opening statement. "I know George Bush. I've worked against George Bush. I've even run against George Bush. But Ned, I'm not George Bush," Lieberman said. "So why don't you stop running against him and have the courage and honesty to run against me and the facts of my record."
Classic doom-and-gloom from Lamont:
"We're losing a lot of our good paying jobs here in the state of Connecticut, and I wonder about the opportunities for our kids as they get older."
Median household income 2003

U.S.: $43,564

Connecticut: $56,803

Lamont's running for Senate in a state with the 3rd-highest median income in the country, and you'd think it was Dust Bowl Oklahoma in 1932! And I just love that bit about "our kids": Ned's a graduate of Harvard and Yale, a millionaire cable TV entrepreneur, but he's worried about economic opportunity for "our kids." That's beautiful.

Ayatollah Kosola produces not one, not two, but three separate threads on the Lieberman-Lamont debate, with a total of about 1,000 comments. Oh, and if you click over to DailyKos to see what those clueless clowns are up to, that is counted as a "unique visitor" and your traffic is used to justify the ad rates that generate an estimated $832,000 in gross annual revenue for Kos.

Markos & Co. can call the president any name in the book, and no one dare "question their patriotism." But any Democrat who supports Lieberman is not "a loyal Democrat," according to Kos.

Like any loyal Republican, Mark Kilmer wants Looney Loser Lamont to win:
Ned would help to unite the party around the perfect message of weakness: Government as an all-controlling nanny who thrives on our country receiving continual comeuppance.

Philly Dem gets 6 years

The Associated Press can't be bothered to mention that corrupt Philadelphia pol Rick Mariano -- who was sentenced to 6 years in prison today -- was a Democrat, like the rest of the corrupt Democrats in Mayor John Street's "pay to play" machine.


Moonbat update 7-6

According to the rate sheet, Daily Kos generates gross annual revenue of $832,000.

So how much of that moolah does the Moonbat Mullah give to support Democrats?

According to FEC figures, $3,850 in the past six years.

Remember that, while you read the latest article from The Hill, about La Blogga Nostra's 2006 strategy:

Four of the most powerful left-wing political bloggers have developed a new joint strategy to steer financial support from the “netroots,” or Internet-based activists, to Democratic challengers, many of whom they know have little chance of winning their mid-term election races.

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of Daily Kos, Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers of MyDD and “DavidNYC” of Swing State Project have endorsed 16 candidates and posted their names at Act Blue, a website that allows visitors to contribute money to campaigns.

A Democratic challenger need not pass any policy litmus test to earn endorsement; the four bloggers merely need to agree to go ahead. The endorsements depend on the candidate’s having won a measure of support from bloggers in his or her district.

Crucially, the candidate does not have to have a good chance of winning. Bowers said their hope is to “stretch Republican defenses” and turn less-noticed races into top-tier races, which will encourage more activity on the Internet.

“The point of the netroots endorsement is to beat Republicans directly [in a few races], lock down their resources indirectly and support” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, Stoller wrote at MyDD, referring to Dean’s efforts to run strong candidates in Republican areas.

In other words: Let's pick a loser!

And yes, while Jerome "Vis Numar" Armstrong and his gang rake in the revenue, it really bothers Markos that he has to beg his blog visitors for money:

On June 30, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing deadline for money raised in the second quarter, Moulitsas pleaded for his denizens to make last-minute contributions.

“I hate doing this,” he wrote. “So let me get down on my knees and beg you to give something to someone.” ...

“Here’s the beauty of people-power — would you rather they be working their butts off to inspire you into giving more money, or would you rather they be talking to corporate donors to get them to open up?” he wrote in the same posting.

He continued, “[Once] a candidate can show broad support, he or she can do two things: 1) prove to the big money donors, labor unions, and PACs that the candidacy is viable and worthy of higher level support, and 2) build a list for future activism and fundraising.”

Despite their newfound fame and influence, left-leaning political bloggers have not determined the outcome of an election or raised significant amounts of money, several Democratic aides noted.

So what have La Blogga Nostra accomplished? Moulitsas has a big-screen TV, Armstrong's got consulting contracts and a big house. But ... victories? No, nothing like that.

Don Surber calls them "pawnmakers":
As fund-raisers, the blogs are pretty much a bust. Their top three fundraisers are $79K out of the $776K Lamont has raised, $39K out of the $846K Tester has raised, and $14K out of the $547K Webb has raised.
Right Wing News weighs in:

There's has been a lot of talk about Kos's big losing streak and to the best of my knowledge, he has never pushed a candidate who has beaten a Republican. But even if he did, looking at those numbers, what would make anyone think Kos deserved the credit for the win?

If, let's say, Tester managed to knock off Conrad Burns, why should the netroots get credit for that when they've only delivered about 4.6% of his funding?

Tapped notices that La Blogga Nostra is, in at least four races, going up against organized labor and mentions that Democratic "activists ... increasingly see [bloggers] as more interested in unwinnable statement races or knocking off conservative Democrats in primary contests (cough, Lieberman, cough) than targeting vulnerable Republicans."


7/4: Jerome: Astro-Freeper
6/30: Daily Kos: Let's pick a loser!
6/30: Daily Kos: We hate red (neck) states
6/30: Kos: $832,000 a year
6/28: Hype for hire
6/28: Stargate no problem?
6/27: How far is too far?
6/27: JeromeGate update
6/26: Dooming Democrats in '06
6/25: MSM notices Kosola
6/24: JeromeGate: Star Chart
6/23: Bad Moon(bat) rising

6/22: Chait '08
6/22: Mullah Moulitsas: JIHAD!
6/22: Lying about lies
6/21: Ko$ola/JeromeGate: Pandemic
6/21: Kosola or JeromeGate?
6/20: Kosola: The story so far
6/20: Kosola scandal goes viral
6/19: Will blog for $$$
6/19: Kos pay-for-play scam
6/12: Tin foil: The new fur
6/11: How not to win (Kos video)
6/9: The ultimate losers hit Vegas


Wedding bells for Jeff Quinton

My good friend and fellow blogger Jeff Quinton will be getting married Saturday, and I'd like to congratulate him on his success in having wooed the lovely Jennifer Lesko.

Jeff has recently relocated from his native South Carolina to the bride-to-be's home near Baltimore, and is looking for work in the Baltimore/DC area.

Jeff is a computer whiz, an Internet expert, and an excellent researcher who for several years worked on Republican campaigns in South Carolina. He also worked in South Carolina government. So if anybody's in need of a tech-savvy researcher, get in touch with Jeff. He's a good man.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay, R.I.P.

Former Enron CEO Ken Lay is dead.

Read the REAL story of Enron:

DONKEY CONS, Chapter 9
PDF format, 144KB

If you like the free sample, maybe you should ..

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jerome: Astro-Freeper

While I'm in Georgia enjoying Republican barbecue, pity poor Dan Riehl: Stuck in New Jersey with nothing better to do than to follow the amazing career of Jerome "Vis Numar" Armstrong, official astrologer/consultant to the Mark Warner '08 campaign and Free Republic troll.

Der Kommisar has a solid bust on the fact that the co-author of "Crashing the Gates" -- a veritable "icon of progressive politics" -- is one and the same as "Vis Numar," Democratic Underground activist. The sleuthing on this story was done by journalist Ron Brynaert, whose anti-war views don't stop him from asking some tough questions:

What are the odds that a frequent poster at Free Republic shares the same strange made-up nickname as a well-known Democratic blogger almost certainly appears to use?

What are the odds that a frequent poster at Free Republic would have mentioned attending a high school in the Los Angeles area not far from where a well-known Democratic blogger grew up?

What are the odds that a frequent poster at Free Republic would have mentioned going to see the Mariners play in Seattle at the same time a well-known Democratic blogger would have been living not too far from there?

What are the odds that a frequent poster at Free Republic and a well-known Democratic blogger would both be heavily addicted to political polling? ...

What are the odds that a frequent poster at Free Republic would write "Harris is the best, bar none, polling out fit out there, if they say it, I believe it, and your a fool to not" about a poll which puts Howard Dean only 5 points behind President Bush in January of 2004?

Jerome Armstrong wouldn't be the first person to get in trouble for posting at Free Republic, but you'd have thought -- with his mystical insights from the stars -- he would have seen this coming. Kind of like that BluePoint thing, I guess.

Brynaert observes:

And Donkey Cons has been relentless in his mocking attacks these last couple weeks, even if he he-thinks-ironically keeps on advertising a book that he wrote
in the process.
Hey, Ron: You don't know the half the irony I see in the JeromeGate/Kosola debacle, but I am absolutely unironic when I say: Buy DONKEY CONS! Buy TWO COPIES! You can even download a FREE CHAPTER.

DONKEY CONS is honest capitalism, you see? I see nothing wrong in writing for money, or blogging for money. But Kos has built an $832,000-a-year racket by hyping up his reputation as a "progressive" -- while various "diarists" pick most of the cotton on the Moulitsas plantation -- and DailyKos admirers don't seem to understand what's wrong with that picture.


GOP's Civil War in Georgia

* UPDATED 7/5 *

At the Cobb County Republican Party's annual 4th of July barbecue at Miller Park on the west side of Marietta, the smoked pork was provided by Williamson Brothers, but those who prefer their meat red and bloody were watching the increasingly bitter war between Ralph Reed and Casey Cagle for lieutenant governor of Georgia in the July 18 primary.

Suffice it to say that Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment -- "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican" -- seems not to apply in a Georgia GOP primary.

Reed's TV ads have accused Cagle of all manner of ethical and political wrongs. Pollster Matt Towery told me he thought it was a mistake for the Cagle campaign not to have beaten Reed to the punch.

But Monday, Cagle finally dropped what Towery calls the "hydrogen bomb" of the campaign: An ad highlighting Reed's connections to Jack Abramoff.

That was reported Tuesday -- Rob Huddleston blogged it and the AJC also reported it (h/t: Jeff Scott) -- and followed up Wednesday:

The new Cagle ad shows Mr. Reed being played as a face card in a poker hand, an allusion to the casino-lobbying scandal that has sent Abramoff and two associates to federal prison and caused Democrats to accuse the Republican Party of fostering a "culture of corruption."

"What's behind Ralph Reed's false attacks?" an announcer asks in the Cagle ad being aired statewide. "A record of betrayal he's desperate to hide. Reed said gambling is 'immoral' but took millions of dollars from convicted felon Jack Abramoff to help casinos." ...

The Reed lead is barely outside the four percentage point margin of error in that poll, however. The Cagle campaign's internal polling -- which includes what opinion analysts call "leaners" -- shows their candidate ahead by as much as nine percentage points, Mr. Alexander said yesterday.

Peach State blogs the story, and a commenter has this prediction:

"I predict ... Reed will win by a couple of points. Given what he has endured, Reed should be congratulated."

I like that word "endured." For $5 million, I think I could "endure" a lot, but I don't know that I would expect to be "congratulated" for it.

The Hill reports: Grover Norquist says the Senate report on the Abramoff scandal is retribution by Crazy Cousin John. I'll admit that some McCains have been known to do things like that from time to time, but I'm with John Boehner here: “I think I’ll stay out of this one.”

Don Surber doesn't think the GOP primary is exemplary of Georgia's famed friendliness.

Ralph Wobegone
Garrison Keillor (of all people) weighs in:
A true party loyalist would withdraw from the Republican primary for lieutenant governor of Georgia and say, "I will not allow this mess to distract people from the good work of my party." But Mr. Reed is no quitter.
"Had I known then what I know now, I would not have undertaken the work," he said, when the details came out in a Senate Indian Affairs Committee report. Mr. Reed insists he didn't know it was gambling money, which, given the e-mail traffic between him and Mr. Abramoff, is a thin twig on which to hang a defense. ...
Mr. Reed is running for office, and that's no time for repentance. Time to hunker down and hope that the prosecutors are occupied with other matters. Smile and shake hands and keep changing the subject. If a reporter mentions Abramoff, smile and say, "I've said as much as I'm going to about that, and now I want to talk about my plan to strengthen families in Georgia."
Gambling? "I've always been opposed to gambling."
Deceit? Greed? "No charges have been filed. I have been exonerated of wrongdoing."
Will it work? We shall soon see.
This is why Republicans don't listen to NPR. To Keillor and his audience, Reed's behavior merely confirms their own Blue State liberal prejudices: All conservative Christians are hypocrites and all Republicans are corrupt.
To Keillor, Ralph Reed is Huey Long and Jimmy Swaggart rolled into one, more proof of what liberals have always believed, namely that all Yankee secular liberals are morally and intellectually superior to all Southern Christian conservatives.
The fact that Abramoff's clients gave over $1 million in campaign cash to Democrats -- including over $40,000 to Sen. Patty Murray, and more than $30,000 each to Charles Rangel, Patrick Kennedy and Harry Reid? Myopic liberals like Keillor never seem to notice that.
What liberals also ignore is that there is no cover-up. Republicans don't give fellow Republicans a free pass.
Abramoff, Scanlon, Kidan? In prison.
Who put them there? Justice Department prosecutors appointed by Bush.
Tom DeLay? Quit Congress.
But there are yet a few holdouts, a few guys who didn't get the memo. What shall become of them? Mr. Keillor is at least correct in saying: "We shall soon see."

'Reactionary trash'
By the way, DONKEY CONS has been called a "reactionary trash book" by the blogger who posted an anti-redneck screed at DailyKos. Coming from such losers, we'll take that as a compliment! If we get to a paperback edition, we might even put that endorsement on the back cover ...