How Dare The President Run Out Of Damns To Give

Over the weekend President Obama had arguably his best stuff yet on display at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, ripping into Republicans, Democrats, and the Village alike. The annual scolding and pearl-clutching from the right is almost as hysterical, albeit for different reasons. This year’s accidental comedy routine comes from the pen of Assrocket himself, and it delivers loads of laughs.

There has been quite a bit of news coverage of this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Don’t ask me why. The annual lovefest between Democratic politicians and Democratic journalists hasn’t generated any actual news in a long time. But this year’s event was perhaps notable because it exposed our president’s bitterness, as he approaches the end of his term. Humor is often revealing. Obama began with a joke that would be considered crude in a junior high school locker room:

After the midterm elections, my advisors asked me, “Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?” And I said, “Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list.’” (Laughter and applause.)

Take executive action on immigration? Bucket. (Laughter.) New climate regulations? Bucket. It’s the right thing to do. (Laughter and applause.)

If I had said something like that when I was 12, my father would have whacked me. Now, we have a president so pitiful that he thinks such crudeness is appropriate humor.

Oh, how quickly we forget what actual crude humor from bitter presidents actually looks like.

Besides, when Assrocket was 12, George Wallace had just become Governor of Alabama, so if Barack Obama had said anything of the sort at the time in the state, he probably would have been lynched.

Oh wait, wasn’t he in Kenya at the time?

Ahh, but our friend grabs a shovel and digs deep for that cesspool at the bottom when it came to President Obama’s routine with Luther the Anger Translator on climate change, of course calling the president “uneducated”. and having “no idea what he is talking about.”

He then ends with this:

More stupidity. Every serious scientist says that adopting Obama’s plan of a 28% reduction in CO2 emissions would have no perceptible effect on the Earth’s temperature, even if the alarmists’ models are correct (which they aren’t). See, e.g., Dr. Judith Curry’s Congressional testimony to the effect that best case, if the bogus models were correct, Obama’s proposal would “prevent three hundredths of a degree centigrade in warming by 2100.” Obama is simply ignorant. And “snowballs in the Senate”? What is that supposed to mean? Just another gratuitous partisan insult, added on top of scientific fantasy. That’s our president!

At the Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama played the supposedly comic role of the lame duck. The end of his tenure in office can’t come too soon.

That sputtering “I found one scientist who says this so I win!” tirade has got to be pretty embarrassing for a guy so blockheaded that he was duped into thinking Harry Reid was beaten up by his brother and wrote an entire series of posts exploring how the “truth” was stifled by a compliant media.

The folks with the credibility and judgment problems really should keep their opinions to their damned selves, starting with this clown.

Dr. King Was Seeking Creative Accommodation, You Know

So what have you got for me today, NY Times, from our nation’s best pundits on the situation in Indiana?

David Brooks, you say?

Like a purty girl dancin’ to Both Sides music, and a mess of Mom’s Bobo, mess of Mom’s Bobo, mess of Mom’s Bobo-cue.

If the opponents of that law were arguing that the Indiana statute tightens the federal standards a notch too far, that would be compelling. But that’s not the argument the opponents are making.

Instead, the argument seems to be that the federal act’s concrete case-by-case approach is wrong. The opponents seem to be saying there is no valid tension between religious pluralism and equality. Claims of religious liberty are covers for anti-gay bigotry.

This deviation seems unwise both as a matter of pragmatics and as a matter of principle. In the first place, if there is no attempt to balance religious liberty and civil rights, the cause of gay rights will be associated with coercion, not liberation. Some people have lost their jobs for expressing opposition to gay marriage. There are too many stories like the Oregon bakery that may have to pay a $150,000 fine because it preferred not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. A movement that stands for tolerance does not want to be on the side of a government that compels a photographer who is an evangelical Christian to shoot a same-sex wedding that he would rather avoid.

Furthermore, the evangelical movement is evolving. Many young evangelicals understand that their faith should not be defined by this issue. If orthodox Christians are suddenly written out of polite society as modern-day Bull Connors, this would only halt progress, polarize the debate and lead to a bloody war of all against all.

As a matter of principle, it is simply the case that religious liberty is a value deserving our deepest respect, even in cases where it leads to disagreements as fundamental as the definition of marriage.

Morality is a politeness of the soul. Deep politeness means we make accommodations. Certain basic truths are inalienable. Discrimination is always wrong. In cases of actual bigotry, the hammer comes down. But as neighbors in a pluralistic society we try to turn philosophic clashes (about right and wrong) into neighborly problems in which different people are given space to have different lanes to lead lives. In cases where people with different values disagree, we seek a creative accommodation.

Because of course the history of various civil rights movements in America is filled with “neighborly problems” solved with “creative accommodations” like fire hoses, billy clubs, dogs, armed National Guardsmen firing into crowds of students, firebombings, lynchings, and assassinations.

At no point is anyone trying to “write Orthodox Christians out of history” here, but it’s a nice little fantasy necessary for justification of “Hey you know what, gay people?  You should probably be nicer to Republicans making laws to be used against you, and they would probably stop it, just like Malcolm X played a friendly game of Parcheesi with the Dixiecrats to end Jim Crow in the South.”

I mean come on, history is replete, if not goddamn gravid with examples of the ruling class happily giving rights to oppressed minorities when asked really nicely. You guys, people have lost their jobs being mean to gay people. When will the madness end?

Puppies and rainbows can live in harmony and crap before it turns into a bloody war or something. Suck it up and accept some structural discrimination for a while and eventually it’ll stop, because it’s hard being a white Christian guy in a state like Indiana, you know.

Just get you some of that there respectability politics and a mess of Mom’s Bobo-cue.

Ted Cruz Open Thread: “His tie does not match his speech”

The title is a Yik-Yak comment Gawker helpfully collated after Monday’s Big Reveal at Liberty University. It’s to be expected that us Demon-crat lie-brals have treated Senator Cruz less than respectfully, but he doesn’t seem to have many friends on his side of the ideological aisle, either. Charles C.W. Cooke, at the stalwartly reactionary National Review, carps that “Ted Cruz Should Try Speaking to People Instead of at Them“:

… Striking a pose that lands somewhere between the oleaginousness of a Joel Osteen and the self-assuredness of a midwestern vacuum-cleaner salesman, Cruz delivers his speeches as might a mass-market motivational speaker in an Atlantic City Convention Center. The country, he tells his audiences rather obsequiously, will be saved by “people like you” — people, that is, who are willing to text the word “Constitution” to the number 33733, and to contribute generously to his political action committee…

If I am not alone in my reaction, this tendency will damage Cruz more than it will help him, for as The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson observed trenchantly in 2013, he is pretty much incapable of turning it off. Indeed, by most accounts, Cruz speaks in exactly the same way when he is addressing CPAC; when he is meeting with small, friendly, informed groups; and, by Ferguson’s testimony, when he is “at close quarters, only a few feet away, in the back seat of a car.”… Sure, the man is probably sincere. Certainly, he is one smart cookie. But to my skeptical ears, there is always a touch of condescension in the pitch — a small whiff of superciliousness that gives one the unlovely impression that Ted Cruz believes his listeners to be a little bit dim

… Thus far, Ted Cruz has proven to be extraordinarily effective at corralling his own people, but far, far less persuasive attempting to convince the Senate to play ball. Is there any particular reason we should expect his campaign to play out differently?

For what it is worth, my prediction is that there is not. Rather, I expect that Cruz will push the Republican field a little to the right, but that he will ultimately fail to catch fire. Moreover, I’d guess that if Cruz does somehow end up as the nominee he will lose convincingly

Not-insane conservative Daniel Larison, at the American Conservative, on “Ted Cruz’s Latest Stunt“:

… Like many other Republican would-be 2016 candidacies, a Cruz presidential bid doesn’t have a realistic chance of succeeding, but then Cruz has already shown during his very brief stint in office that success in achieving tangible results is not what interests him. Cruz likes to present himself as the most committed opponent of Obama’s agenda, and it makes no difference that his stunts and tactics have had absolutely no success in making a dent in that agenda. What counts for him is demonstrating the intensity of his opposition and pandering to voters that care a lot more about affect than they do about policy substance.

Cruz is a skillful demagogue, and he’ll be able to put on quite a show during candidate debates, but that will probably take the form of accusing the other candidates of being sell-outs and attributing views to them that they don’t hold. That is normally how he responds to criticism from within his own party. He also repeatedly misleads his followers about what can be achieved by following his lead, and then denounces people on his side for “failing” to defer to his bad leadership and blames them for the failure he orchestrated. Since he claims to believe that the party must nominate a “real” conservative in order to win, he will be at pains to portray all of his rivals as anything but that. All of this will remind the voters outside of his core supporters why so many people that have dealt with him viscerally dislike him. If his favorability numbers are any indication, Cruz annoys more people than he attracts...

Since the purpose of the campaign is just to raise Cruz’s profile at the expense of his ostensible political goals, it will be like every other Cruz effort of the last two years. I would say that a presidential campaign is self-defeating for Cruz, but it actually serves his own narrow political interests while undermining the interests of conservatives more broadly…

Even Politico’s panel of anonymous Insiders “Pump the Brakes on Cruz“:

… Not one of the 100 respondents believes that Cruz would win the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary if they took place this week, though there is widespread agreement that he is much better positioned in the Hawkeye State than the Granite State. And nine out of 10 Republican insiders in the early states believe Ted Cruz couldn’t carry their state — both Iowa and New Hampshire are swing states, though relatively small electoral-vote prizes — against Hillary Clinton in the general….

“Announcing first is an advantage in that he was able to fill a news vacuum for a few days,” said an uncommitted New Hampshire Republican, who — like everyone else — completed the questionnaire anonymously in order to speak candidly. “He’s a tremendous orator with great stage presence … However, he’s still Ted Cruz — a polarizing person who is more interested in making headlines than making policy.”…

One can only hope Cruz’s flame-out will be swift, conclusive, and as damaging to the GOP “brand” as his conservative critics fear.

And for those of you who are so over Ted Cruz, get ready for further insults to your sensibilities. Paul Rand is expected to officially announce his candidacy on April 7th; Hillary Clinton will probably make an announcement in April; and now Marco Rubio is supposed to announce his official candidacy on April 13th (so at least we know he’s not superstitious).

Open Thread: Hawt New RWNJ Fantasy of the Evening

Ed Klein, prolific RWNJ political fantasist“Even Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk radio, told his listeners that the purported dialogue in some of Klein’s florid set pieces… does not ring true” — has sold a new conspiracy theory to the New York Post:

Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett leaked to the press details of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail address during her time as secretary of state, sources tell me.

But she did so through people outside the ­administration, so the story couldn’t be traced to her or the White House…

Six separate probes into Hillary’s performance have been ­going on at the State Department. I’m told that the e-mail scandal was timed to come out just as Hillary was on the verge of formally announcing that she was running for president — and that there’s more to come…

Last fall, during the run-up to the 2014 midterm elections, Jarrett was heard to complain bitterly that the Clintons were turning congressmen, senators, governors and grass-root party members against Obama by portraying him as an unpopular president who was an albatross around the neck of the party…

“Obama and Valerie Jarrett will go to any lengths to prevent Hillary from becoming president,” a source close to the White House told me. “They believe that Hillary, like her husband, is left of center, not a true-blue liberal.”

If she gets into the White House, they believe she will compromise with the Republicans in Congress and undo Obama’s legacy.

“With Obama’s approval,” this source continued, “Valerie has been holding secret meetings with Martin O’Malley [the former Democratic governor of Maryland] and [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren. She’s promised O’Malley and Warren the full support of the White House if they will challenge Hillary for the presidential nomination.”

If you can parse the highlighted quote — how does ‘left of center’ contradict ‘true-blue liberal’? — you have a better grasp of RightWingSpeak than I. But at least now you know where your dittohead office acquaintance or elderly Fox-watching uncle picked up the new scary-tale they’ll be offering you breathlessly tomorrow.
Apart from rolling our eyes, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?

It’s Both Who He Is And What He Wants

I wasn’t aware that Max Boot was still in the game (and writing for Time Magazine no less) until Zandardad emailed me Boot’s article this morning asking for my opinion.

Guess what Max Boot wants?

Back in 2007–08, when al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor, was pushed out of the Sunni-dominated northwest of Iraq, it was by Sunni tribal fighters working in conjunction with American troops. To inflict serious setbacks on ISIS today will require resurrecting that successful coalition rather than flatly refusing, as Obama has done, to put any “boots on the ground.”

It is in America’s interest to send as few troops as possible into harm’s way and to get our allies to do as much of the fighting as possible. But sending only 3,000 troops and essentially prohibiting them from leaving base, as Obama has done, is a recipe for ineffectiveness. If we’re going to have any impact on the fight against ISIS, we need to take off our self-imposed shackles.

It’s hard to know now what commitment may be necessary, which is why it’s vital not to pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that would prohibit “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” It is folly to tell ISIS in advance that it has nothing to fear from the best ground troops on the planet.

Credible estimates of how many troops we should send range from 10,000 to 25,000. Just as important as the troop numbers are the rules of engagement under which they operate. It is imperative that U.S. advisers and joint tactical air controllers be able to operate on the front lines with the local troops they support. This was the formula that made possible the rapid overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001.

“But Zandar,” you may ask, “isn’t Max Boot one of the leading voices that pushed for all-out ground war in Iraq while writing op-eds for the NY Times and helped paved the way for the decade plus and trillion plus we spent there?  Why is he still writing articles for Time Magazine, and why is he advocating the same, open-ended Permawar strategy from 2002?”

Good questions.  The answer of course is neocons can’t be discredited, just the wars they want the rest of us to fight.  And it’s always the rest of us who pay the price.  This time won’t be any different either, is my guess.