The Best Description of The GOP Ever

Every Sunday morning and afternoon, I like to spend a few hours plunging deeply into Arts & Letters Daily. It’s a great resource of articles about wonderful things that delight the mind, ranging from musicology to intellectual biography.  Think of it as RealClearPolitics without the Republican editorial position: they skim the various academic journals, newspapers, blogs, etc. to find the most interesting materials pertaining to the humanities and fine arts.  I’ve found several new magazines, journals and blogs to read by reading it, and I’d recommend it to anyone. Anyway, earlier today, I was reading along, and I came across an article from Commonweal Magazine describing the resurgence of religion as a phenomenon in the world, and I came across the best description of Republicans that I have ever come across:

Assured since the fall of the Soviet bloc that it could proceed with impunity to pursue its own global interests, the West overreached itself. Just when ideologies in general seemed to have packed up for good, the United States put them back on the agenda in the form of a peculiarly poisonous brand of neoconservatism. Like characters in some second-rate piece of science fiction, a small cabal of fanatical dogmatists occupied the White House and proceeded to execute their well-laid plans for world sovereignty. It was almost as bizarre as Scientologists taking over 10 Downing Street, or Da Vinci Code buffs patrolling the corridors of the Elysée Palace. The much-trumpeted Death of History, meaning that capitalism was now the only game in town, reflected the arrogance of the West’s project of global domination; and that aggressive project triggered a backlash in the form of radical Islam. [Emboldened by Dheeraj Chand]

I’m going to return to this at some other point (yeah, right), but I think that the most important thing about this description is not the fact that Republicans are crazy ideologues who can find any way to justify any thing that they do at any time (When Clinton was President, The Speaker of The House should have been more powerful. When Bush was President, The Speaker of The House had an obligation to pass the President’s agenda. When Clinton was President, a war to defend ethnic minorities in the Balkans was unjustifiable.  When Bush was President, any war, at any time, is the prototype of a just war. I can find a million more.), but the fact that they are finally being perceived by the population of the world as not the leaders of the other party, with a completely coherent and reasonable worldview, but as a completely insane group of cultists.

Given the ever declining numbers of people who identify as Republicans, this is entirely true.  Anyone who still identifies as a Republican falls into one of the following categories:

  1. He wears his party identification like a birthmark, and will not leave, no matter what.  His loyalty to his views is tempered by his loyalty to the party, and he feels as if it is his obligation to reform the party from within.  Such a person has quite a bit of honour, but is ultimately a useful idiot who gives this party cover.  In recent years, this is someone like Lincoln Chafee.
  2. He is a true believer in the "lost ideals" of the party. This is the person who believes that the "real" Republicans have been betrayed, and that while those pure ideals of Republicanism are what they agree with, the Republican Party as it currently is bears no resemblance to those pure ideals. Nonetheless, anything that these impure Republicans do is de fide better than anything that the Democrats would do.   This is the sort of person who talks about how the 2006 and 2008 elections were lost over earmarking and spending.  A great example of this person is Phil Kerpen.
  3. He is the sort of lunatic who actually believes that the last demonstrated periods of Republican governance were grand. A great exampleof this sort of person can be found….well, on the Editorial Pages of The Wall St. Journal and on the subscription lists of Human Events and Wingnut Daily.  Also, another point: anyone who has been a College Republican over the last eight years or is one now falls into this category.
  4. He is the sort of single issue fantatical voter who is quite willing to screw over everyone else so long as he gets his result on his issue, be it paying less tax or having his industry unregulated.  We all know people like this.

What is interesting to me is that not only is the size of each of these cohorts decreasing, the respectability of belonging to each one is disappearing, too. The country, at large, is rejecting these wingnuts and lunatics – you can no longer get away with saying, "Oh, I vote Republican because I think I shouldn’t pay so much tax that I cannot buy my mistress her own condo."   People who would have otherwise been sympathetic to (1) are more and more starting to look at them as fools, dupes or useful idiots, and the rest of them are either just purely despised or looked at as insane.

In any event, you should really read the article. It’s brilliant.


RedState blogger resurrects blood quanta

There are times when I look at what the Republican Party stands for today and I wonder how exactly it was that I was a Republican for so long.  Of course, given that they’ve virtually lost people like me, it’s unsurprising that people like this asshole at Red State are all that’s left:

Americans voted for Obama in some part to elect the first “black” president – although Obama is mulatto. Beyond that, they seem to like him, but they also are not going to cut him all that much slack for more than a few more months. They want results. 

So far as I know, there is absolutely no context in which the term "mulatto" is a neutral term. It most certainly is not a neutral term in American English.It is intended to be rude and demeaning, and to simultaneously convey contempt for President Obama due to the fact that he has non-white ancestry.

What kills me about this is that I’ll bet coffee to bourbon that it wasn’t consciously done – it’s just that this guy’s view of the world is one in which it’s taken for granted that negroes are of inferior status, and thus, it makes perfect sense to have a system in which we measure how much white ancestry a person has.  Gah. Someone else shoud take this up.  I have yet to finish my second cup of coffee.



Birds of a feather…

Dana Perino joins Mark Penn at Burson-Marsteller.

The problem with picking the subject heading for this is that there are so many directions you can take it in.

"All shit stinks."

"Regression to the mean."

"Anti-Obama forces merge."



Ubuntu Progress Report

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Those of you whom I consistently spam with too much information about my mundane life will know that last year, after using Mac OS X as my primary operating system, I went back to Linux.  And boy, had things changed.  When I was last using Linux, the big deal was Slackware. Yes, that should really tell you something about how long it’s been – five years.  And boy, have things changed since then.  These days, I’m using Ubuntu on my laptop as my primary OS, and I maintain a Windows partition for certain things that are too much of a pain to run in Wine. (SPSS and World of Warcraft, I’m looking at you.)

I’m one of the few people who’s consistently used Linux as a desktop and laptop OS for student and professional purposes since adoption.  I’ve never believed that it wasn’t "enterprise ready" (whatever the hell that may mean), and I’m sufficiently adaptable that having to learn a few different key commands to use Open Office never bugged me.  I mean, it was a pain in the ass to get Slack to recognise my Epson all-in-one machine, but after I spent the requisite fourteen hours doing so, it worked at least as smoothly on my Linux box as it did on my iBook, and both had better performance than my housemate’s XP machine.

I say all this because I was prepared to get back into the trenches, so to speak, and spend hours of my life trying to figure out what went wrong in a make file, going on IRC to get help with getting Ubuntu to recognise my Treo, etc. – it was a cost of ownership that I was willing to pay.  And I have yet to have to pay it.  Ubuntu just works.  It’s that simple. It just works.   The only hassles that I’ve had to date are:


  1. Flash updates are infrequent, and they also mess with PulseAudio,
  2. Firefox can be a bit of a pain, in that it sometimes forgets that I’ve got Flash and Java,
  3. WoW doesn’t like WINE.

That’s it. Ubuntu has become so well developed that even someone such as I, a tech hobbyist and enthusiast, can use Linux without any problems. And if a problem obtains, then I’m one website away from finding comprehensive and intelligible instructions on how to solve them. No more late night sessions on #linuxhelp being told "stfu n00b read teh man page" or the like.

So, really, if you’ve got some old hardware that you don’t think that you’ll ever use again, throw Ubuntu on there.  See what happens.



Maggie Gallagher encourages gay hookups, apparently

For all that she supposedly hates gay people, WIngnut Magna Mater Maggie Gallagher apparently thinks that it’s a good idea to brand her new anti-gay initiative by borrowing from the syntax of gay personal ads

Right on the heels of their much-mocked zombie ad sponsoring their Opus Dei buddy, NOM brings us their latest:

In just a few minutes, NOM President Maggie Gallagher and I will hold a press conference in Trenton, NJ, announcing an ambitious new nationwide “2 Million for Marriage” (2M4M) initiative.

C’mon. You’ve got to be kidding.

Surely her PR people are having a laugh at her expense. Can anyone really be in PR and not have at least done a quick google to see if your new acronym is going to engender giggles?

Although…. if I saw, “Hi, we’re 2M4M and we are against marriage”, it might make some weird sense.

But seriously, how is this even an accident. It’s not like M4M is new. They were using it in the personals columns before the first chat room ever lit up a green blinking curser on a solid black screen.

Yes, that’s correct. The same geniuses who named an internet based political organisation in such a way that it’s an acrostic for NOM are now branding an effort to rough up gays and then toss the bloody bodies into a closet as "Man For Man", syntax straight from the personal pages of….well, any major newspaper.  Most papers even have little boxes explaining what the codes are.

I wouldn’t try to read too much into this. Call this a corollary to Occam’s Razor: when discussing religious right figures, the simplest explanation is that they’re stupid.