Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Truth Revealed

Do you remember the State of the Union speech President Bush gave in 2003 to justify his planned attack on Iraq? Actually you don't. My GP covert ops team has uncovered incontrovertible evidence that this supposedly live broadcast speech was a sophisticated media hoax, pulling the wool over all our eyes. Fortunately GPCO was able to recover a copy of the actual speech, though we lost two guys in the process. (Not sure how. They tell me it's best not to ask about such things.) Compared to the dummy speech it's surprisingly short. Revise history accordingly.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To honor all mothers everywhere, here is Anita Renfroe distilling it all down for you. If you are actively parenting at this time, it might be useful to play this every morning at breakfast and get it all out of the way.

[Technical note: The subtitles, which are very helpful, are in English and Japanese because the English-only clip I found has lousy audio.]

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No Sympathy

So the folks in Michigan and Florida are all upset that they aren't getting any delegates to the Democratic convention. Doesn't matter that it's their own stupid fault. Doesn't matter that their state party leaders were clearly warned that this would happen if they broke the rules by holding primaries too soon. It's just wroooongg, they say, for them to go to all the trouble of holding illicit elections and not have the votes count for something. My response is much the same as Sara Robinson of the Group News Blog: Boo Fucking Hoo. (Go read, it's funny.)

Like Mrs. Robinson, I am a California native now an expatriate. Though I've been a diligent voter since I turned eighteen, I have never - until this year in Louisiana - cast a presidential primary vote that meant a damn thing.

Because until this year, California always held its primary on the first Tuesday of June, and the nominations were always decided by then. So, although I always followed the primary contests avidly, I never saw a primary candidate so much as set foot in California except to raise money. Until this year the most populous state in the union, with far more people in it than Florida and Michigan combined, has always had to watch the nomination contests from the sidelines.

Hey Michigan, Florida, doesn't feel so good, does it?

In fact, I thought it would be interesting to see how close we ever got to making a difference, by seeing when recent presidents secured their first nominations. George W. Bush ended John McCain's challenge with the South Carolina primary, second after New Hampshire in February. In 1992 Bill Clinton had it sewn up by Georgia, March 3. George H.W. Bush had it in the bag on Super Tuesday, March 8, 1988. In 1980 Ronald Reagan had a commanding lead almost from the start.

And so it goes. California joined the crowd at Super Tuesday this year, and when that actually didn't decide the race, Obama showed up to give a speech at Tulane. His first big cheer line was when he noted that the St. Charles Streetcar was running again, the first time since Katrina. If you live in New Orleans, you know what that means.

And it was nice to cast a primary vote knowing that it meant something. If the folks in Florida and Michigan want to get that feeling back next time, they need to tell their party leaders, in a clear loud voice: Don't fuck up again.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

History tells

There's been talk about whether Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal might be under consideration as a running mate for John McCain. He's a very conservative Republican, an up and coming politico, and the first elected Indian-American state governor. That's Indian as Punjabi, not Comanche.

I don't think it will happen, as I think Jindal's far too smart a guy to fall for this. Why? Aaaaaand that gives me my lead to mention a really interesting site: My History Can Beat Up Your Politics.

Bruce Carlson is a history buff whose passion is taking current political issues and looking at American history to see if it will give us any insights. He then makes a podcast about each issue, talking it all through taking anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. His thesis, which he supports with a lot of evidence, is that you'd do better to look at historical trends than current polling, if you want to know what's going to happen. It's very wonky, as he'll methodically go through, say, every single presidential election in light of his current question, but if you like that stuff (and I do) it's great.

About McCain, two of the podcasts I've listened to seem relevant. In Running From the President, Carlson notes that no candidate trying to succeed a president of his own party has ever done so without the enthusiastic support of his predecessor, which he cannot get if he repudiates or even just distances himself from his predecessor's policies. McCain has already tied himself to Bush's policies.

But in Presidential Pass-offs, he notes that nobody, starting with John Adams following George Washington, has gotten elected to succeed a president of his own party unless the outgoing president was very popular. Bush now is officially the most unpopular president since modern polling was invented around 1935.

That puts McCain between a rock and a hard place. He's handcuffed to Bush's hideously unpopular person and policies, which indicates he's sunk, according to history. But if he were to break away from Bush, Mr. Straight Talk Patriot Hero would look like a disloyal little fuck of a weasel, and history says he's sunk again.

This is why I think Jindal will pass. Think what you may of his policies, nobody thinks Jindal is stupid, and he's certainly not stupid enough to chain his Louisiana shrimp boat to a sinking ship called the USS John McCain.