electoral politics

Jan 192009

Karen Agness asks: Why Did UVa Cancel Classes Only This Time?

On Jan. 20, 2005, George Bush was sworn in as president of the United States. On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. The University of Virginia decided to suspend classes on only one of these important days. Can you guess which one? … Based on the actions of the UVa administration, George Bush’s Inauguration Day was somehow not “an educational moment” or an “exercise in democracy.” This explanation is suspect. Furthermore, neither Garson’s e-mail nor the official press release announcement that the suspension of class on Inauguration Day is a new policy that will be implemented well into the future regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat is elected.

I’ll be busy working during the inauguration ceremonies. I’ll be no more giddy about this inauguration than I have been about any other. I certainly hope there won’t be anything memorable about the day. With any luck, Obama’s supporters will be too busy celebrating to start the pogroms just yet.

The only time I watched an inauguration was in 1961, and that was because my teachers took the same approach as UVa.


I attended the District #3 school at Bazile Mills, Nebraska. The school, a frame two-room building that had been built in 1884, no longer exists, but I’ve marked its location on the above google map. The boundaries of the schoolyard are still visible, as they were in 1995 when I visited the area at the beginning of my first-ever multi-day bike ride.

I was in 7th grade that year. The teachers arranged for the entire population of the school, from grades 1 through 8 (if I remember correctly) to go to a neighbor’s house where we could watch the inauguration on television. I’m pretty sure it was the house at the location shown at the bottom of the route that I’ve marked. We all sat in the living room and watched. I’m not quite sure how we could have all fit in that house, so maybe I shouldn’t be so sure that the lower grades went, too.

I don’t remember much about it other than the walk to the house and all of us sitting on the floor of the living room. I do remember Robert Frost trying to read a poem. Well, there was the line about “Ask not what your country can do for you…”, which was a good one. The memory of that has been reinforced by many subsequent retellings.

I’m still angry that during the election campaign, our teacher told us that only one of us was thinking for ourselves. This was an eighth grade girl who supported Kennedy, while her parents favored Nixon. The rest of us favored whichever candidate our parents favored, and our teacher took that to mean none of us were thinking for ourselves. I credit that incident for saving me from becoming a typical 60s radical. I decided then and there that I was going to agree with my parents whenever I felt like it, and was not going to be obligated to rebel against them.

Anyway, it was obvious that our teacher (of whom I have otherwise fond recollections) favored Kennedy. I am pretty sure we would not have made a field trip to watch the election on TV if Nixon had won. We certainly would not have gone to that particular home to watch it.

I had favored Nixon during the election and just rolled my eyes at this display of “educational moments” and “exercise in democracy” or whatever terms were used at the time.

Some years later I was cheering for Nixon’s impeachment. Watergate turned me against him well before the 1972 election. (I say this because of all the people who say Watergate didn’t become an issue until after the 1972 election.) That was just the beginning of a string of impeachments that I favored. If Obama abuses his power the same way the Clintons did, I’ll be favoring his impeachment, too. But who knows. He could surprise us all. Maybe he’ll even give a good speech (as Kennedy did that day in 1961). If so, I’ll be able to read about it afterwards.

Jan 122009

Haley Barbour says, “The Republican Revival will start in the states.” Well, that’s not actually what he said. That’s what a headline on a WSJ article about him said.

Whatever the case, there is a problem with that statement. It betrays a set of misordered priorities.

I really don’t care whether there is a Republican revival, and maybe Republicans shouldn’t care so much, either. I care a lot about whether we can avoid sinking further into a welfare-police state, and whether we can regain a government that protects rather than destroys human rights. Whether that’s done with or without a Republican party is of minor importance to me.

If someone wants to make the case that the only way it can be done is through a strong Republican party, fine. Just so long as that is not the end, but the means.

Nov 072008


“Office of the President-Elect.” Barak Obama seems to be in a big hurry to have the pomp and glory of his new job. Does that mean he takes responsibility for the way the stock market tanked this week?

It’s the biggest post-election drop ever on a percentage basis, bigger even than the loss in value when Franklin Roosevelt was elected. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the subsequent decades the leftmediaestablishment spun the 1930s as “Happy Days are Here Again” to impressionable young people like myself whom they hoped wouldn’t know any better.


From the change.gov web site: “President Elect Obama Meets with Economic Advisers, Calls for ‘Swift Action’ on the Economy.”

Barack Obama today held his first press conference as President-Elect to call for “swift action” to fix the nation’s economy.

“Immediately after I become president I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity,” President-Elect Obama said.

In other words, he still doesn’t have a clue what to do.

Yeah, that’s how to get swift action, all right. Spout a bunch of tired cliches to inspire the troops.

In other news, Scott Orr at Scrappleface says Barak Obama is his president:

After George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, and later John Kerry, for the presidency, countless Democrat-owned cars bore bumper stickers with clever phrases like ‘Not My President’ or ‘Don’t Blame Me I Voted for Kerry’.

As a conservative evangelical Christian who voted for McCain-Palin, and for every other Republican on the ballot yesterday, let me say for the record: Barack Obama is my president.

Orr talks as though the election is over. But Obama knows it isn’t, which is why he’s still campaigning. The days when an election settled the issue of legitimate succession are long gone, and he knows it. But there are Republicans who are still stuck in the old days.

Nov 052008

I didn’t think the day after the election would reveal this: There really ARE a lot of people out there who think of the election of Barak Obama in terms of race. There are conservatives who ought to be concentrating on Obama’s fascist proposals; instead they think of him as a black man. And there are liberals who think their vote was somehow an expiation of white guilt.

These are nice people, the ones who probably won’t take part in the pogroms. They are people I link to in my blogs.

I hate it when people live up to the stereotypes.

I don’t even want to analyze what’s going on. It’s too embarrassing.

Nov 042008

It’s now almost 11pm on election day. In an effort to prove that we don’t need the traditional radio and TV news, I haven’t listened to a stitch of either all day. I got home from my Russian class a half hour ago, and didn’t turn on the radio the entire way there or back. (It’s a drive of about 1.25 hours each way.) I figure that when there are any results, some blogger will let me know. So I’m keeping half an eye on my RSS feeds.

If I thought the pogroms might begin already tonight, I’d want to know right away. But I find it hard to believe that they will begin before inauguration day. So it should be safe to take a little nap before checking back.

P.S. Somebody might ask, “Where do the bloggers get their news. Don’t they need the traditional media in order to have something to report?” The answer is no, we don’t need to think about that. Politicians now think of wealth as something that just exists to be confiscated and distributed. If they don’t need to worry about where it comes from, neither do we need to concern ourselves with where bloggers get the news they disseminate. It’s a non-issue.

Nov 012008

Ever wonder what the moonbats say to each other when they think there are no conservative liberals around? Check out Wonkette’s post about Sarah Palin’s baby. Yes, it’s disgusting and will make you throw up. But she’s actually nice compared to the people who added their comments. I see that comments are now closed — it was apparently too much even for Wonkette — but I saved the whole works — 23 screenshots worth. (Her blog posts don’t print properly.)

Here are some samples:

  • Such a cute picture of the proud mom…sister…whatever
  • Ugh. I hate that look people get on their face when they are happy to be holding a baby. It is all domestic and other disturbing things.
  • How mean to dress the down syndrome kid as Dumbo
  • I thought an unaborted mongoloid baby was the symbol of the Republican party.
  • I know–it’s not his fault his parents are the 2 dumbest, conniving-est, corrupt, selfish people on the planet.
  • It’s so sad how Sara Palin is using her family as a sympathetic cover up of her ill knowledge of the world. An elephant outfit for the American People who cannot pay their mortgages. I wonder what she defines as happiness but the only conclusion I can come to is more money to the GOP and nothing for me?
  • Welcome to Sarah Palin’s soul: It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
  • I’ve learned to read the comments before I personally spew, but I’ve got to violate my rule and just say: STOP WHORING YOUR BABY ON THE WORLD STAGE. I have zero tolerance for your shit at this late stage. FUCK OFF, PALINS!!!!!!111!!!!111
  • Can we just get Bristol hooked up wtih Kevin Federline after she gives birth? This (and a ticket to Vancouver) would immediately give that Levi guy a break and in about twelve years solve Alaska’s underpopulation problem.
  • May I please report child endangerment? She may not have aborted, but I assure you she’s spent the last few months trying to kill this poor baby!!!
  • And all the Palin inbreds must be so proud that Baby Daddy dropped out of high school to go work on the pipeline. Really? That’s what the fundy cretins want for their kids? If the Palins represent family values, I’d like to know whose family, exactly? The white trash of Tobacco Road?
  • You’re just pissed that nobody dressed you up in an elephant costume. But there’s still hope. Put down your bible, climb upstairs from your basement bedroom and ask mommy if she’ll dress you up as an elephant and massage your trunk.
  • What is the difference between Sarah Palin’s ass and her mouth? Not everything that comes out of her ass is moose-scented diarrhea. And her baby’s stupid.
  • Attention pious ‘pug troll losers: Please fuck right off back to townhall.com or wherever it is you vile fucktards hang out nod and spew gibberish at each other….Posting here is for “reality-based” thinkers and that means you don’t qualify. I am tired of arguing with you ignorant, racist troglodytes. You morans aren’t educated enough for us to waste the time. All one has to do is look at the misspellings and bad grammar inherent to most wingnut troll posts….I’ll tell you what is TRULY reprehensible… (2). Bringing a retarded child into the world knowing that it will never be able to take care of itself or have a normal life just to validate your nutty God-botherer credentials to teh [sic] other nutty God-botherers.

But in case anybody gets the idea that all the hate-filled crazies are now on Obama’s side, there has to be one commenter who comes along to prove otherwise — a right-wing hater wishing the left-wing haters to die of AIDS.

Oct 312008

The College of St. Catherine bans Bay Buchanan from speaking on campus. The reason? Because as a 501(c)(3) organization it has to avoid any appearance of partisanship. (Buchanan is not running for office or campaigning for anyone, so that isn’t really the reason, but you know what they mean.  If not, see below.)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., on the other hand, goes into a fourth grade classroom and tells the kids that in Lincoln’s time, “Republicans used to be the good guys.” One mother was not amused, but Kennedy says it’s OK, “since those children struck me as exceptionally bright and capable of making their own political determination.”

Does this mean that the children attending the College of St. Catherine are exceptionally dumb?

Does it mean Murch Elementary School now has to start paying taxes?

h/t to The Weekly Standard

Oct 232008

Today I realized one more thing that’s irritating about the way the left is treating Joe the Plumber. They keep talking about what would happen under Obama’s plan. It’s that word plan.

In the olden days it wouldn’t have been called a plan. It would have been called a campaign promise.

We all know what those are worth. But some people somehow think calling it a “plan” somehow makes it legitimate. Under Obama’s plan, he’s going to tax us a lot and somehow that is going to generate magic revenue that he is going to graciously bestow on people. We know it’s all pie in the sky, and we know he knows it, because he’s dressing up his handouts and calling them “tax cuts.”

But that’s not what’s really annoying about all of this. What’s annoying is that people think the economy can actually be planned. But the only part that’s a sure thing is the tax increases. That we can count on. In fact, we can count on getting even more of those than are being promised. There is a huge government constituency that will hold Obama to those promises. As for the rest of it, that part can no more be planned than affordable housing can be planned. And we now see what all of the plans to give us affordable housing got us.

BTW, I googled “Obama’s plan” and “McCain’s plan” (with the quotes). “Obama’s plan” gives 516,000 hits, and “McCain’s plan” 310,000. That would be a reason to vote for McCain over Obama, especially when you notice that there are a lot more web pages that talk about Obama’s plan as though a plan is a good thing. That’s a good reason to vote for McCain (but it’s not a good enough reason).

Oct 052008

Jimmy Orr at The Christian Science Monitor gives a catalog of media criticism of Sarah Palin’s “You betcha, darn right, heckuva lot” kind of talk. What I keep waiting for in all of this is a comparison to Bill Clinton’s way of biting his lower lip and “feeling your pain.”

So I’ll have to do it myself. I can’t say I like one of these techniques a lot more than the other. I would probably like them even less if I had ever seen or heard them myself. But I say that those who criticize Palin need to show their anti-Clinton credentials. Did they criticize him for his faux-folksy-empathy? If not, they should shut up. If they did, they should feel free to criticize Palin, too.

And the conservative commentators who made fun of Clinton’s schtick might want to watch their step in defending Palin on this topic.

Oct 052008

Nostalgia is in the air. The presidential campaign is reminding those of us of a certain age of our youth, when McCarthyism roamed the earth.

“Senator Obama, is it true that terrorist Bill Ayers is a fellow traveler of yours?”

“Governor Palin, are you now or have you ever been a member of a traitorous secessionist party in Alaska? ” (This was an accusation being flung around in the comments section of Strangemaps.)

“Senator Obama’s health care plan is socialism.”

“The Big Bailout is socialism.”

These are all good topics of discussion, but to reduce them to labels and guilt-by-association is not exactly discussion.

Instead of just crying “socialism!” Obama’s opponents ought to explain that his health care plan is bad for the same reasons that socialism is bad. And they should tell us what those reasons are. The same for the big bailout. It’s more work that way, but it’s necessary work.

Palin’s association with a secessionist party is certainly worth asking about. Maybe some good discussion would come of it. Andrew Jackson hung around with secessionists when he was a Tennessee politician, before he became president and eventually became a strong supporter of union, as was revealed at the 1830 Jefferson Day dinner. (“Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!“) Maybe an inquiry into the topic would lead to a discussion of secessionist movements in Chechyna and Georgia, and of just what it is that makes a unified nation.

And if it turns out that Obama had friends and acquaintance from all walks of live and all ideologies, including terrorist Bill Ayers and Pat Robertson’s fan club, that would actually make me more respectful of him. I would hope he would have done more to influence them to moderate their ways than vice versa, but mere association wouldn’t be a reason to oppose him.

But for now it looks like we won’t get into those interesting discussions. We’ll have to settle for nostalgia for the good old days of the HUAC.