Category Archives: Politics

The Quotable Editors

In commentary upon a post by fellow blogger dday, The Poor Man’s The Editors hurls a dense little ball of righteous fire:

I’d like to know, for example, how close intelligence subcommittee head Jay Rockefeller has been to the various Bush-era deceptions and shannanigans — partly for the health of the Republic and yada yada, but mostly so I can settle a bet as to whether he is simply the stupidest man alive, or if he is the stupidest man alive and a corrupt asshole. I mean, seriously: how fucking stupid do you have to be to get rolled by Pat Roberts? That’s like getting grifted by the Pepperidge Farm guy. Jesus.

Amen, and Rah!


Differences I’ve noticed lately:

  1. When Obama talks about his campaign, he tends to talk in the first-person plural: “we”. When Hillary talks about hers, she tends to do so in the first-person singular: “I”.

  2. When the Obama campaign is up, it generally seems to stop well short of gloating. When it’s down, as it notably was after New Hampshire, it does an admirable job of keeping its cool. When Hillary’s campaign is up, it seems to verge on the edge of unpleasantly smug. When it’s down, it seems to come completely unhinged.

    (Seriously. If this were a cheesy late-eighties cable movie, we’d have reached the scene where Supreme Commandantrix Clinton paces angrily before a line of nervous-looking lieutenants while barely able to keep from frothing at the mouth: “The next one of you idiots to say anything to the press about delegate strategies — anything at all! — will be lucky if all I do is fire him. Am I clear?”)

Aren’t the Clintons supposed to be running the most finely-tuned political machine of the last couple of decades? It needs oil, or something.

Suggestions to the Clinton Campaign

  1. If you’re going to accuse your opponent of plagiarism, it might be a good idea to check first that the alleged plagiaree is not, in fact, a friend of the alleged plagiarist, one who will readily tell the paper of record that not only do the two of them routinely kick speech ideas back and forth, but that in this particular instance he encouraged his friend to adopt the approach and rhetorical device used.

  2. Crack some windows at campaign HQ. Think about shelling out for a Vornado or two while you’re at it. (You do still have enough cash on hand for a couple of air circulators, right?) The stench of desperation has got to be giving some of your more sensitive staffers splitting headaches by now.

Stellar Displacement

In a field that has seen more than its share of shameless posturing, this still manages to impress me:

“If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,” Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

It’s like a neutron star of mendacity, a few inches of self-serving hyperbole layered atop a mind-bogglingly dense core of pure horseshit, the whole mess spinning thousands of times a second.

I haven’t seen this kind of devotion to the common good since Marion Barry expounded upon the virtues of smoking crack as an act of public service.

If we could only produce fertilizer of this purity on demand, we could make the deserts bloom.

I, for one…

The consistently-brilliant John Rogers takes most of what’s made me want to sob brokenly about this country and its politics for the last year, and actually manages to make it funny. Read it while you cry in your beer and practice saying, “Regular or synthetic, Master?”

Having it Both Ways

George “Slam Dunk” Tenet, on the tour circuit for his new book, is busy trying to sell a new dubious claim: that he was somehow the victim of circumstance, that all of the bad decisions about pre-war intelligence were made by somebody else.

Pause and admire that for a moment. The head of the CIA, the original black-bag outfit, a dupe, a pawn, a patsy. Savor it.

Various quarters, however, are noting that his protests and disavowals ring slightly hollow for as long as he keeps the Medal of Freedom George Bush hung around his neck, or profits — to the tune of $4 million — from the contract with his publisher.

Not to put to fine a point on it, a group of former CIA officials have penned an open letter basically pointing out that he’s full of shit.

For some reason it puts me in mind of a They Might Be Giants lyric: “Can’t shake the Devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.”

The Spirit of Cooperation

Surprising absolutely no one — with the possible exception of those kids in the back of the classroom whose steady diet of wall candy has rendered them too slow to figure it out from the previous several hundred instances — President Bush has recess-appointed a couple of party hacks to positions for which he knew Congress would never approve them.

Apparently no one inside the bubble has gotten around to disabusing him of his misapprehension regarding the word “bipartisan” — it does not, despite the presence of the morphemes “part” and “bi”, mean “you spread both cheeks while I do whatever I like.”

Here’s hoping his awakening is both rude and not long in coming.

Broken Aura

“You don’t hold elected office in this town. You run it because people think you do. They stop thinking it, you stop running it.”

Tom Reagan in Miller’s Crossing

One of the many things to relish about the political developments of this week — and there’s no shortage, believe me — is the end of Karl Rove’s reputation as some kind of invulnerable Machiavellian puppetmaster.

He was the baleful specter who cast a pall over your every effort. He was the whiff of impending doom than threatened to spoil the taste of every success you’d achieved. Each time you thought you’d managed to get a step ahead, you discovered that he was there waiting for you, that all of your hard work had in fact only succeeded in getting you right where he wanted you.

Toward the end, things had reached the point where the reputation itself was his most formidable weapon. All he had to do to paralyze his opponents, corrode their determination with the poison of doubt, was to stand off to the side of the room and smile.

You could see it the run-up to the election, even as the numbers pointed to a fairly resounding Democratic victory and Rove was testily informing Robert Siegel that he was in possession of the math. It was like watching the climactic scene in a third-rate monster movie, where terrified Democrats have barricaded themselves inside a dilapidated shack while Something


with leaden gait


makes its way


ponderously, yet inexorably


up the stairs


to the front door.


“Oh, dear sweet Jesus God! It’s Karl Rove!”


“He’s not human! He’s unstoppable!”


“He’s coming through the door! He’s going to kill us all!”


And then the monster shambles into the room, the audience gets to see it clearly for the first time, and the tension the movie has been carefully crafting leaks out of the theater like a sigh from a punctured balloon, as it dawns on everyone watching that the thing with the insatiable appetite for human flesh is really just a guy in a cheesy rubber suit.

Or, in this case, a pudgy little bastard with no chin and a receding line of ridiculously wispy hair. The guy in the rubber suit has the consolation of not having to keep it on after the shoot has wrapped. Karl Rove, on the other hand, has to spend the rest of his life looking like that.


But making cheap sport of Karl Rove’s looks, fun though it might be, is not the point here. The point is that the most lethal arrow in his quiver was just shattered into splinters, and neither he nor anyone else is going to be able to patch it together again. Once someone manages to take you down, however briefly, you lose the “unbeatable” label, and you can never win it back.

While that does not, unfortunately, mean that we’ve likely seen the last of him — it’s hard to lastingly humble a man who seems to have had his sense of shame surgically removed years ago, if indeed he ever possessed one — it does mean that he’s going to have to actually work to defeat his opponents, instead of counting on them to defeat themselves as they scramble out of his fearsome shadow.