Saturday, November 18, 2006

Where Were The Rednecks?

Hotline On Call:

“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their congressional majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.

Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks. But Putnam’s chief of staff insists that the remarks were taken out of context.

Examining the 2006 midterms, Putnam blamed the GOP defeat on “the independent vote, the women vote, the suburban vote.” He said that “heck, even the white rednecks who go to church on Sunday didn't come out to vote for us.”


Putnam’s chief of staff, John Hambel, said his boss has used the word “redneck” only in the context of sharing polling data from last week’s elections. Hambel said Putnam was listing off different constituencies and ended with saying: “Heck, we even had rednecks who go to church who didn't come out to vote.”

Maybe the "white rednecks who go to church" finally realized the contempt with which the GOP actually regards them.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Non-Viable Strategies for Living

Man shows up to DUI hearing drunk: A West Virginia man's second time around could land him in even more trouble with the law.

According to Charleston police, Stephen Lewis Skiles raised the ire of a judge after he showed up for a DUI hearing - drunk.

Skiles appeared at the administrative hearing at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 14. He had been charged with DUI after a May 19 incident in which he came through a seatbelt educational checkpoint with a blood-alcohol limit of .025, 'well over two times the legal limit,' according to Sgt. Terry Shawn Williams of the Charleston Police Department.

Although Skiles showed, his lawyer didn't. After a 15-minute grace period, 'Mr. Skiles told his version of the story,' Williams said. 'When he started speaking, we immediately detected the odor of alcohol on his breath.'

Skiles claimed he hadn't been drinking that day, but had consumed eight to 10 beers the previous night. He then promised he wouldn't drive home.

But when Williams - who, as the arresting officer in the May 19 incident, was present at the hearing - went out to his unmarked patrol vehicle in the parking lot, there was Skiles.

'[I] saw him pulling out,' Williams said. 'I didn't even have to get in my car.'

Williams stepped in front of Skiles' vehicle and instructed him to step out. He gave Skiles a field sobriety test, which he failed, Williams said.

Skiles now faces a second DUI charge, and a five-to-10 year suspension of his driver's license if he is convicted.

'He didn't learn his lesson,' Williams said.

Democrats: You Need "The Look"

You've seen the look I mean: That look of incredulity that indicates the questioner has asked an incredibly stupid and obvious question and the only reason you're not laughing in the questioner's face is because you're too polite.

It needs to be turned on every dolt who asks or suggests the the Democrats are in "disarray" or that they're "crippled by infighting", followed by "of course not. That's silly. We had an election for majority leader. One candidate won. The fellow that didn't congratulated the winner and we got to work," delivered in a tone which clearly indicates the pundit asking the question is a blithering idiot.

Maybe we could arrange for a half day seminar to tech the leadership how to do it. I volunteer my teenage daughter to teach it. She has that look down.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Your Liberal Media at Work

House Democrats name Hoyer to No. 2 post.

Let me be the first to say--"whatever." Two months from now, nobody's going to remember this. But right now, the so-called liberal media is spinning this as a crippling defeat for Speaker Elect Nancy Pelosi, who'd written a letter supporting Hoyer's rival for the post, Congressman John Murtha.

Of course, when Murtha was the front runner, that same "liberal media" was spinning that as a defeat for the Democrats on ethics reform, in part because somewhere there's an hour long videotape of Murtha from 26 years ago that shows him not accepting a bribe.

I'll also note that the same media types that were wringing their hands when Joe Lieberman didn't get the Democratic nomination for Senator in Connecticut and moaning that "the Democrats are intolerant of dissent in the ranks! They're marching in liberal lockstep to their doom!" are now claiming the Democrats are in "disarray" because there was a contested election for the #2 post. Of course, they're also trying to claim that the electoral victory of this party (which two months ago was in the clutches of leftists stifling all dissent) was actually a victory for conservatives. Or moderates. Just anybody but liberals.

"Heads Republicans and conservatives win, tails liberal Democrats lose" --that's your "liberal media" at work.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Very Very Deep Hole

Ever wonder where you'd end up if you dug a hole straight through the Earth from where you are? Well thanks to this nifty web page,
you can find out. Zoom in as far as you can, click where you want to dig and


I end up in the Indian Ocean WSW of Perth Australia.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Little Schadenfreude

Latest Newspaper Column

As I write this, it's the day after a historic election, the one in which the Republican Party managed to lose both the House and the Senate.

And at this writing, I just heard the news that Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down after his tenure as probably the nation's most clueless, yet arrogant, defense secretary.

Well, that whole Republican thing was fun while it lasted, but I guess I'll have to send back my GOP membership card. After all, if I can't get a bye any more for meanness, corruption and incompetence, what's the point?

It's all for the best, I suppose. Being a Republican is harder than it looks. I don't know how you guys do it with a straight face.

Well, now that that's over, I suppose I should write a deep and analytical column about what happened and why. Unfortunately, my mind is still in a mode that could best be described as "HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!"

I'm trying very hard not to give in to schadenfreude (a German word for an emotion defined as "satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune"). But I have to admit, it's been more than a little entertaining watching some of the nuttier right-wingers go into total meltdown.

Like this charming comment from the right-wing blog Little Green Footballs: "I just hope the nuke attack comes soon. Let it be on the East Coast where it belongs." And this one: "This will be a big one with many casualties only good news from it is President Pelosi will have to deal with a whole order of magnitude and more casualties than Katrina."

Nice, huh? I mean, all a few liberals threatened to do after the last election was move to Canada. Right-wingers want to see the country nuked, to teach us all a lesson.

OK, that was fun. Now on to the analysis. Why did the Republicans lose what they were claiming only two years ago was going to be a "permanent majority"?

Well, first there was the corruption. From money-laundering and influence-peddling to teenage-page-chasing and mistress-strangling, the Republicans seemed to be rocked by a new indictment, investigation, or scandal each week.

It's harder and harder to use the classic strategy of "playing to the socially conservative base" when you've let yourself become known as the party of grafters, adulterers and pedophiles. In fact, one AP exit poll showed that "most white evangelicals said corruption was very important to their vote -- and almost a third of them turned to the Democrats."

Iraq was also a huge issue for voters. On that one, the Republicans really suffered from the corner George W. Bush had painted his party into. As his rapidly shifting justifications for the war in Iraq crumbled, Bush resorted more and more to the equation that the war in Iraq and the war on terror were the same thing, despite the fact, as we seem to have to keep repeating, it wasn't Iraq who attacked us on 9/11.

Bush made the war on terror pretty much his sole reason for demanding we support the Republican Party. (Well, I suppose there was nothing left. Cutting government spending? Please. Effective governance? Do the words "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" strike a familiar note?)

Problem with that is, when the war in Iraq started going badly, how could people not then assume that the Global War on Terror was going badly as well? And since it was the Republicans, at least according to Bush, that were the only ones interested in fighting it, how could it not be their fault?

As I contemplated the magnitude of the Republican loss, however, one quote came back to haunt me, from the day after the 2004 presidential election. It was a widely quoted article by Republican blogger Adam Yoshida, that said, in part: "If anyone needs to work to 'bring the country together' it's those on the left who have divided it so badly. Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we'll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. ... Despite all of their tricks, despite all of their lies, the people have rejected them. They mean nothing. They are worth nothing. There's no point in trying to reach out to them because they won't be reached out to. We've got their teeth clutching the sidewalk and our boot above their head. Now's the time to curb-stomp the bastards."

And that's the main reason the Republicans lost, because that is exactly the way they governed. "To heck with you, we're the majority, sit down and shut up, we'll do whatever we want." As the Book of Proverbs says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

While the urge for payback is going to be powerful, I hope the Dems can learn from that mistake. If not, if it really does end up being a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss," then it's going to be a really short majority.

The Democrats have got two years to prove they can govern better than the Republicans. Let's hope they don't waste them.