Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Get in their faces

This weekend I was subjected to a fifteen-minute harangue by an Obama supporter, who apparently was following Obama’s advice to “get in my face.” Either that or he’s been watching too much Keith Olbermann. It seems probable that Obama was inspired by Alinsky’s tactical rule #4, to ridicule and “infuriate the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

My reaction, however, was to excuse myself from the conversation and remind myself to avoid this “friend” in the future. His effort made me far less inclined to change my vote to Obama.

I’m having trouble imagining a situation where this tactic would work. Discussing politics with friends—or strangers--is certainly not a place where ridicule will successfully lead to a re-evaluation of one’s political opinions.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Huntin' and snowmobilin'

Tom Brokaw makes a valid point in the title of his op-ed piece: “Lots of People Could Use a Cash Infusion.” The examples of small business owners he chooses, however, are condescending and not especially funny. Barney "Big Un" Baumgartner of Windblown, Wyo, owner of the Big Un 24 Hour Tow Service and Trophy Taxidermy? Darlene Dalrymple, owner of the Shear Joy Hairstyling and Tattoo Salon in Rockhard, Vt? Rural rubes who dream of winning “a fleet of new snowmobiles and lifetime hunting rights on Brett Favre's farm”? (Remind you of any particular vice presidential candidate?)

It takes great courage to open a small business. In a campaign where Obama and the mainstream media have been accused of elitist snobbery, Brokaw shows himself to be tone-deaf to the lives of ordinary Americans.

Monday, September 08, 2008


The Wikipedia entry for "UN Special Investigator" offers examples of the type of scandal that the UN might investigate:

In other cases it is a specific, politically relevant fact, scandal or event, such as Israel's construction of a security wall in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, how the US Bush administration spent Iraqi oil-for-food program money after the invasion.

It's no surprise that the anti-Semites at the UN would investigate Israel, but the second example--the UN investigating the Bush administration for fiscal improprieties in the Oil For Food program? Did I wander into the Onion website by mistake?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Letter to WSJ

Rahm Emanuel’s “Wal-Mart Thrives When Democrats Are in Charge” makes an argument similar to that of Larry M. Bartels in his recent book, “Unequal Democracy,” that the performance of the American economic in arbitrary four-year periods has a single explanation: the political party of the President “in charge.”

To begin with, this argument assumes--in true liberal fashion--that an economy responds immediately and in orderly fashion to the economic policy of the country’s leader, ignoring the many factors that go into economic performance—9/11 perhaps? The business cycle? War? Natural disasters? The growth of the Chinese and Indian economies leading to higher commodities prices?

Secondly it assumes that economic policies take effect on the day a President takes office and end the day he leaves—assuming therefore that Carter’s policies had no effect on the early Reagan years and that Reagan’s policies had nothing to do with the boom of the 1990s that Clinton presided over.

Thirdly, the President does not have unlimited power over economic policy. He appoints an independent Fed Chairman (and Clinton was wise enough to keep Reagan’s appointee, Alan Greenspan.) Congress writes the budget and it is common for Congress to be controlled by a different party than the President.

Finally, it might be helpful to analyze actual economic policy rather than simply the party affiliation of the President. Mr Emanual cites Clinton’s budget surplus to explain the robust economy in the 1990s, and Bush’s big spending ways to explain the slower economy. In his own article he therefore argues that fiscal conservatism is better for the economy. Perhaps I missed Barack Obama’s call for fiscal conservatism. From what I have heard, Obama seems more concerned with raising taxes and expanding government to assist the reputed victims of the Bush economy.

To say that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are both Democrats and therefore the economy will do better under Barack Obama is simplistic in extreme—with obvious political motivation.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Studies show conservatives are racists

A gem from the Wikipedia entry on "minority groups."

"Studies have consistently shown a correlation between negative attitudes or prejudice toward minorities and social conservatism (as well as the converse, positive attitutes and social progressivism).[2]"