I was extremely skeptical of the $16 muffin story when I saw it this morning, and Kevin Drum shows that my skepticism was warranted. It’s exactly what I presumed – funny invoicing on the part of the contractor. With the 250 $16 muffins and 300 $10 cookies came “15 gallons of coffee, 30 gallons of iced tea, and 200 pieces of fruit for free.” It’s like if a car dealer charged you $3,000 per gallon of gas but then gave you a free BMW to hold your 16 gallons.
How did I know this story was phoney from the beginning. 1.) I’ve been to some pretty nice bakeries and hotels, and I’ve never seen anything remotely approaching $16 for a muffin. 2.) Chuck Grassley is quite possibly the biggest blowhard in the Senate, which would place him high in the running for biggest blowhard worldwide.
Apollo posted this at 2:17 PM CDT on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 as Buffoon Watch
Is Tom Harkin delusional? Or is it going to forever be the case that for Democrats “the last eight years” will refer to 2003-2007, the four-year period when Republicans controlled the government? Am I actually the only person who has noticed that, technically, for half of “the last eight years” the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress? Democrats have now controlled the Senate for most of “the last eight years.”
I’m no fan of the 109th Congress, but if there were an election held today a Republican running for national office would be able to say, “The last time Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, the unemployment rate was less than half what it is today, and the budget deficit was 1/7 what it is today.”
Put in other words: Since the Democrats took over Congress, the deficit has increased seven fold, and the unemployment rate has doubled. On the bright side, the price of gas has only gone up by by 50%.
In short, Democrats have thus far gotten away with demonizing the Bush years in the abstract. But if you want to compare how well off the country was from 2003-2007 with how well the country did from 2007-2011, Democrats will not enjoy the comparison. That’s probably why, for them, “the last eight years” will never include the last four.
Update: I forgot that the question of whether Tom Harkin is delusional is, as we say in the law, asked and answered. So Tea Partiers should be pleased to be thought to be a “cult fringe” by someone with such a marginal connection to reality.
I hold no one blameless in this incredibly insipid brouhaha. First let me address the mistakes I think my friend Conor made in his original piece about attending a midnight showing of a Sarah Palin movie screening and finding the theater empty.
Conor’s original inferences were based on faulty assumptions about feature film distribution. Since theaters must pay studios for each print they exhibit (at great cost to the theater) they buy a set number of prints based on their expectations for the first 2-3 weeks of release. In other words the theater could not have screened more Harry Potter films in place of The Undefeated. Furthermore given that the theater was already open (most of the cost was being born by HP) and that the incremental cost of screening another film they had already purchased was negligible – it is not surprising that the theater manager chose to screen another new movie in one of the empty theaters hoping for some spillover traffic. He might have chosen poorly (more Green Lantern, please! I hate having to beg!), but I don’t see him caring much beyond the hundreds of thousands HP was likely to bring in.
I also understand Conor’s desire for an interesting puff piece of anecdotal political reporting and his thinking that a midnight screening would have the most dramatic impact. However, he fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the Palin Fanatic demographic and film entertainment. Sure Palinistas camp out for days to see her in person – but that is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. A movie is with us forever, in multiple formats, so there is no real rush to see it. Furthermore, since the Palin movie’s target demographic was 45 and older whites – people who don’t tend to go to any midnight screenings – I think his methodology was flawed.
All these flaws aside the vitriolic, moronic and I would think libelous attacks leveled Conor’s way by the alleged stewards of truth and liberty that constitute the right wing media these days is beyond the pale.
The conspiracy nutters like William Collier and Larry O’Conner should be ashamed of themselves. I honestly think we should just discardthem on the Trashheap of Conservatism but they are given forums by people like Andrew Brietbart. This is just the latest in the trend of conservative victimization. No one can find anything wrong with St. Sarah of Wasilla so it must be some sort vast conspiracy between Conor, The Atlantic and AMC Theaters. Seriously? It wasn’t that long ago that we all ridiculed HRC for the “vast right-wing conspiracy“. “Conservative” charlatans who engage in the same practices should receive equal treatment.
This brings me to two of their chief instigators:
Dan Riehl is nothing short pathetic bully, as I’ve said before, and he’s not even the head bully. He’s the sad best friend of the High School Quarterback, (Brietbart, Levin whoever he claims is his bestie this week) who gloms onto the accomplishments and bona fides of someone more accomplished than themselves to swing a big club. I would hope that intelligent conservatives who claim to uphold “traditional values” would dismiss him. Alas, my expectations of many modern “conservatives” are too high it seems.
Andrew Brietbart on the other hand is a different animal entirely. He is quite clearly a genius businessman, media mogul and internet entrepreneur. He absolutely deserves his elevated place on the right as a champion of right leaning opinion journalism. What is truly sad about the man is the way he squanders his gifts. He is completely uninterested in moving the discussion forward and instead seems to believe that making pathetic tit-for-tat gotcha moments will somehow elevate right wing journalism and usher in a new conservative era. Sorry, Andrew, but you are abjectly incapable of convincing anyone not already ideologically aligned with you. For someone with the balls to go out and challenge liberal media hegemony you are the first to fall back on conservative victim whoa-is-me-ism. I hoped you were better than the childish name calling you demonstrated in this case. I was wrong.
While skeptical of the identity politics issue, I’ve been mostly supportive of GoProud in the past, even if criticizing them over an ill-timed open letter. I am neither a social conservative, nor a member of the Christian Right. What I am is someone who believes, as does Mark Levin via RightScoop, that various official groups within the conservative movement should conduct themselves responsibly, especially in the press – and demonstrate tolerance for others.
Alter: If you look at social legislation, the health care bill is the biggest piece of social legislation since Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
Stewart (joking): Well, It’s a government take over of healthcare. It’s socialism.
Alter: (laughing): That’s right. We’ve been told. But, you know, insuring 30 million Americans and ending discrimination against sick people is not a minor thing. I think we will look back and say “Can you believe that we used to live in a country where if you got cancer, you used to have to sell your house?“ We’re not going to live in that country anymore and that’s a good thing.
This article, from some New York-based publication, is sheer enjoyment from start to finish.
Turns out, lots of Congresscritters who lost feel bad about it, and some are confused about why they lost. But if you’re concerned that the Democrats are going to learn any lessons from defeat, or even believe that they did something wrong, you can rest at ease.
Denial and bargaining are behind them, and some members who lost seem to have arrived at a shaky acceptance, shaped by their sense that the election was not about them.
I’m glad that they’ve stopped denying that “the election was not about them.” If there’s one thing that truly shows they’re moving along in the grief process, it’s the shifting of blame away from themselves.
“I don’t think the election had very much to do with me, and I don’t think it had much to do with my opponent,” said Representative Rick Boucher, a Democrat who had served Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District since 1983. “That frustration and anger and desire to send a message transcended the knowledge my constituents had of my work in the district.”
Yes, Democrats, your stupid constituents are to blame for this. Your ignorant, stupid constituents. I think lots of the remaining Democrats need to start pre-explaining their 2012 losses by calling their constituents ignorant before the election, rather than waiting until afterward when it just looks like rationalization.
Mr. Oberstar, who was tossed out with several state legislators from his area, said he was no match for the “upfeed” from the powerful Republican ground game that moved against him. “I expected to leave at some point, that I’d make that decision in due course,” he said. “I’m not angry; I’m disappointed.”
Is there any greater demonstration of our governing class’s sense of entitlement than for a Congresscritter, who faces an election every two years, to presume that he controls how long he’ll stay in Congress?
But my favorite comes from Mike Castle. Now if you’ll jump in the Wayback Machine with me, we’ll revisit 2006 and 2008. After (and even before) those elections, Republicans actually mouthed words that purported to show they had learned a lesson. Phrases like, “We’ve come unmoored from our principles,” or “We were elected to change Washington, but Washington changed us” were rampant, even from elected Republicans who stayed in office. There was a palpable sense from the party that understood they had done something wrong.
In hindsight, there are not many who better represents what Republicans did wrong than Mike Castle. His one saving grace (morally speaking) is that he never had any of the conservative principles that others in the party lost. But he was the sort of big-spending, bring-home-the-bacon Republican who we were blaming for our losses over the last two elections.
He ponders daily, he said, which is preferable: to falter in a tight race with a Democratic opponent, or to have lost in the primary, as he did, to the inexperienced Tea Party candidate who never had a shot in the general election.
“My wife argues it’s almost better to lose the way we did because it all seems so irrational,” he said. “But you lose, you lose. I wish I could say one way was fun. They’re both pretty bad.”
Can you think of a better example of someone just refusing to accept any personal responsibility? He lost to an “inexperienced . . . candidated who never had a shot in the general election,” and there’s absolutely no indication here that he thinks he had anything to do with the loss. O’Donnell’s inexperience and unelectability are here used to show how irrational the voters were, not to show how badly Castle failed.
It just up and happened. Had nothing to do with him not adequately representing Delaware Republicans, had nothing to do with him being a petty jackass (as proved by his refusal to campaign for O’Donnell), had nothing to do with him being part of our big spending problem.
Nope, it’s just “irrational.” Can’t understand it. Elections are as unpredictable as roulette wheels, and his number finally came up.
Good riddance. If I had to attribute our current problems to a single cause, it would be a lack of individual responsibility. Elected officials refuse to accept it, and voters refuse to force them to accept it. Show me a defeated Congressman who says “I lost because I failed to do my job properly,” and I’ll be sympathetic to that guy. As for the no talent ass-clowns quoted in this story, I hope they keep shedding those yummy, yummy tears.
P.S. Arlen Specter is going to be replaced by Pat Toomey. Not since Lincoln replaced Buchanan has a newly elected official been such a dramatic improvement over his predecessor.
I understand that “The Midwest” is not a clearly defined region, but David Brooks wrote a column claiming that it extends from New York to Arkansas. WTF? He writes about a lot of places, but I genuinely doubt that he knows what he’s talking about. If you can write that “central New York” should be included in the same geographic region as Arkansas, you either haven’t been to these places, or you’re a parody of east coast provincialism so preposterous that even St. Sarah wouldn’t believe it.
Here’s a good mocking of the Brooks column by Williams Easterly that points out how little Brooks knows about his subject. Particularly worth mocking is Brooks’s point that “The old industry towns in the Midwest were the epicenter of [the Republican victory].” Actually, it was the bustling suburbs and rural America that were the “epicenter” (I do not think that word means what Brooks thinks it means). With only a few exceptions, most of the blue specs remaining on this map in the midwest are in old industry towns. That’s why the red districts are so much bigger – they’re spread out burbs and small towns.
But the most clueless thing that Brooks says must be this:
On the one hand, people are living with the daily grind of getting by on $40,000 a year, but they’re also living with Xboxes and smartphones.
If you think that getting by on $40k in Indiana or Arkansas makes you some impoverished wretch who can’t afford an Xbox or smartphone, you really shouldn’t writing about such things. Brook’s observations in his “Red America, Blue America” essay regarding the different costs of living in different parts of the country were astute and interesting. He could probably get an education just by rereading his own work, but one suspects he’s too engrossed in his Balzac and speculating on what a long-dead Frenchman would say about Americans than to actually learn about the lives of his countrymen.
We can argue over whether Christine O’Donnell’s understanding of the 1st Amendment matches up with various Warren Court opinions, or we can stare mind-boggled as Barbara Boxer goes on national television and simply makes up numbers and has no clue how much “the stim” was.
This woman’s been in the senate for 18 years. She chairs a committee. She’s considered a leader of her party.
But don’t let me distract you with something petty like an elected official being clueless about the billions/trillions (eh, what’s the difference?) she votes on. Sarah Palin’s probably out there insisting that something interesting happened in 1773, so we should go make fun of her.
The most distressing thing about D’Souza’s book, to me, is that Newt has jumped all over it. Ferguson’s point is accurate – whatever the virtues of D’Souza’s theory, it’s not needed to explain Obama’s actions, and it comes off as the crazed ravings of a deranged partisan. Whatever happened to just pointing out that the people you disagree with are wrong? Why do they need to be part of some multi-generational cage match with Western Civilization?
In that light, Newt’s support for this book completely nixes him from my list of supportable 2012 candidates. The same intellectual curiosity and desire to be edgy that helped him become Speaker and made him open to a lot of genuinely useful conservative reforms also made him open to the sort of partisanship that helped re-elect Bill Clinton. Twelve years out of power haven’t changed a thing.
2012 needs a simple candidate for the Republican party. “Excessive government spending and regulation are strangling the American economy. We must fix both, and set loose the American entrepreneur.” There may be other issues at play, but they will need to take a backseat to that simple message. And, particularly, we will not want complex explanations for simple problems getting in the way.
D’Souza’s theory is politically noxious and utterly unnecessary. My ideal 2012 candidate would greet it with a shrug of the shoulders; my nightmare candidate would behave exactly as Newt has.
We had the strongest team by far back when I played junior league football. You couldn’t play school ball until 9th grade. My second year, our coach took us over to PA to play a much older and heavier team without telling us who they were. We noticed as soon as we pulled up to the field. We also sensed what was coming.
They kicked our asses up and down the field in a 2 hour full contact scrimmage. I was the go to running back that year and I still remember every kick-off and carry. lol I got hammered every time, even just blocking. But I probably played harder right to the end in that game than any other I had ever played in. Our whole team did. We were crushed as far as scoring and obliterated on the field. Even more, I still remember the pride we felt afterward from playing them hard on every down.
Tucker Carlson’s prep school doesn’t roll that way, along with too many other public and today, I imagine.
Look, I get that Dan Riehl is a big shit on campus when it comes to blogging, but this is seriously asshole-ish stuff even for him. Clearly this post of his gives me great insight into the character of Tucker Carlson based on the current actions of the prep school he attended 30 years ago. Brilliant insight, Dan.
Its pretty clear to anyone who reads Dan’s blog that he was “that” asshole football player in high school. Not the quarterback, or one of the wide receivers, or one of the stars of a program that even mattered. No he was the douche that thought he could act like an Alpha Dickhead simply because he hung out with people ten times more talented and accomplished than himself.
Artists Rendering: Dan Riehl in High School
Memo to Dan: Real alpha males don’t have to go around being dicks all the time to prove how manly they are. Grow up, asshole.
Jamie posted this at 1:30 PM CDT on Thursday, October 7th, 2010 as Buffoon Watch