Friday, December 05, 2003

Is Christopher Hitchens doing this on purpose, or is he just nuts?

Hitchens slams critics of the Iraq war for their "dogged literal-mindedness." According to Hitchens, these pedants say the Bush administration promised that troops would be greeted with "sweets and flowers," and that anything short of literal candy and rose petals renders the promise void.

Yeah, that's the ticket. That's why people blame their government for irresponsible hucksterism.

It's not that some Iraqis, at least, are greeting our troops with rockets and bombs. Not months of bloody attacks eroding the ol' cakewalk meme. Couldn't be. Most be those literal-minded dictator lovers. (Hitchens actually aims his argument at "opponents of the regime-change policy in Iraq," because, y'know, opposing any part of the war and occupation means you secretly miss Saddam.)

Presumably, reports of the attacks on US soldiers make their way to Hitchens. He just doesn't take them literally.

2:54:29 PM    comment []

One of our far-flung correspondents reports from a Dean fundraising event in Chicago:

"Good stump speech. He did a terrific job getting the crowd excited, though it didn't hurt that John Mellencamp showed up to sing four songs."

Perhaps 75 people turned out for the Lincoln Park event, which cost $500-$1,000 per head. Dean reportedly held two other fund-raisers in Chicago yesterday, one more expensive and one less expensive than this one.

1:34:19 PM    comment []

Have the Republicans stolen the Democrats' mojo?

I'm looking for the South Park Democrats.

All this talk about South Park Republicans makes it sound like the Dems aren't any fun any more -- that one party is full of partiers and the other one is full of nags, scolds, and wet blankets.

How does the party of Falwell and Santorum get a better rep for fun than the party of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?

Maybe it's because the power of the old-style bluenoses who congregate on the right is perceived to be on the wane (look at the culture, not the Senate), while the do-gooders on the left are seen as a continuing menace to demotic pleasure.

The Democrats should try to relax a little, and work on being a party that's pro-choice on many issues -- not maddeningly PC, but not Trent Lott, either.

Can any of the current candidates bridge the gap?

Howard Dean, who tried to walk the line with his Confederate-flag-on-the-pickup comments, manages to come off as blunt and relatively unscripted, which is a good start.

Wesley Clark has the mililtary thing working, which is probably good, but he needs to loosen the old uniform a bit.

John Edwards could do worse things for his image than lighting up a cigar onstage after his next campaign rally.

Kerry needs more than a motorcyle. Gephardt needs more than a gay daughter. Lieberman? Um, probably not, even if he hired Al Franken as a speechwriter.

I have written before about an emerging libertarian majority, but maybe it's not a majority at all, but a swing vote that's up for grabs, depending on which party is more annoying at the moment. To quote one of the actual creators of South Park on Bush and Gore, "(E)ither one of these guys totally sucks."

Cultural conservatives will do what they can to sabotage the GOP's current advantage. If the Democrats are smart, they can be the party that sucks less.

1:21:28 PM    comment []

The League of Women Voters takes a very uncritical look at the issue of electronic voting.

No paper trail needed, they say, trotting out many of the usual arguments: printers are inconvenient, machines can be rigged to cheat on paper, etc. Right. Paper ballots don't make the system perfect, they just make it better.

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

12:27:57 PM    comment []