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Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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  1. Translation of Queen Bab’s Blabbering For Commoners Consumption –

    “How DARE Sarah Palin stand in the way of and endanger my boy Jeb’s chance to take his rightful place as President of the United States the way it has been ordained! Sarah Palin needs to learn her proper place and keep her ass up in Alaska where she belongs!!”Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to ThePaganTemple says:

      The old Bush’s are RINO’s/Neocons which makes them only slightly superior to librul commie-Dems. With God’s help they will all be exiled shortly.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        I’m new here and don’t really know the terrain yet. Is this Cheeks guy a bit of a clever Poe, or really one of those blindly ideological righties?

        That is, is calling G.H.W. Bush a RINO meant as a serious statement that inadvertently reveals Cheeks’ wholesale ignorance of the history of the Republican Party (If GHWB is a RINO, so, obviously, were TR, Ike, Tricky Dick and Gerry Ford), or is he subtly mocking the old southern Dem (Boll Weevil) takeover of the Republican Party?

        Unfortunately when I came into this stadium, nobody was at the gates selling programs. I can’t tell the players apart without a program.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to James Hanley says:

          I’m old here and I still couldn’t answer that question.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to James Hanley says:

          Oh don’t mind Bob, James. He’s sortof the League curmudgeon and he does love tweaking liberals with over the top rhetoric. I believe there’s an ongoing philosophical debate about how much of his own shtick he believes much like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

          Bob is extremely knowledgeable about theology and philosophy (more than I am) and he argues seriously and coherently on the subject. That his gleeful polemic liberal bashing undermines his serious attempts at soul saving is a contradiction that I leave to his own conscience and to the council of his wonderful wife who is, I have on excellent authority, praying for me.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to North says:

            I just find it odd that those who truly have the spirit of the old Boll Weevil Democrats are the ones most likely to scream “RINO.” And I’m a bit bitter about it, because in my heavily Republican congressional district, we had a good traditional Gerry Ford-style Michigan Republican defeated a few years back by one of these religious reactionaries.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

          James, I’m not sure what it is about my comment that mystifies? Of course, the gentlemen you mentioned were indeed RINO’s/Neos in that they were participants in the elite functionings of the party that by definition was anti-republican.
          I have a lotta fun here as the beloved and much prayed for North has told you, slapping incoherent and inchoate libruls around but I am a serious about my anti-statist opinions, not to mention, one of the last of the Randolphian, anti-Federalists, true republicans.
          Politically our problems are related to the “…Stoic conception of apostrophe (the turning away from the ground)”, the abandoment of the theological which opened the door to social disorder that has at this time reached denouement as a “deconstructon of reality.” We have become a disparate people who have willfully and willingly (of our own free will) chosen to turn away from the Ground of existence.
          Also, I’m harmless!Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Robert,

            I have no doubt you’re harmless. More or less like the gnats I have to deal with when camping. And all that really mystified me was whether you are a poe or not (by definition, a good poe is indistinguishable from a real nut).

            But I am serious about you not understanding the history of the Republican party if you think Poppy Bush is a RINO, and if you really think there was ever a serious consonance between the big-R Republican Party and small-r republicanism. I guess the great centralizer Lincoln was not only the first Republican president, but the first RINO one, eh?Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

              Yes! And, now I see why the H-man fires on you….you’ve got to learn to be compassionate, like me.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

              “More or less like the gnats I have to deal with when camping.”

              How do you envision yourself here, James?

              Do you see yourself dressed as a general, sitting on a horse, giving orders to a rag-tag band of irregulars?

              Do you see yourself as a minister standing with all of God’s Authority giving a sermon to a bunch of weeping congregants weeping and shaking in the aisles?

              Do you see yourself as a teacher trying to explain The Truth Of The Universe to a bunch of juvenile delinquents that had been bureaucratically shuffled into the special education track when, really, they needed a good paddlin’?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                Now, JB, don’t get your righteous anger up. Give the guy a little rope before you deliver the ever popular elitist bitch-slap.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird,

                I blog because I like to engage in intelligent conversations with other reasonable and thoughtful people. I camp because I like to be in the great outdoors. In each case, it’s impossible to receive that benefit without paying the cost of gnats.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                “reasonable and thoughtful people”.

                If I weren’t deeply suspicious that your definition categorizes people who have fundamentally different premises *out* of the “people” set and into the “gnat” set, I’d find it a lot easier to believe the “reasonable and thoughtful” part of that.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird,

                In truth, it depends on what those different premises are. Given my occupation, it’s no surprise that I have colleagues with strongly liberal premises that I don’t agree with. Nevertheless, most of them are distinctly reasonable and thoughtful (and for those that aren’t, it’s not their liberalness that moves them out of the category, but their own personal attributes). Likewise with conservatives. Although my profession has fewer of those around, the adjunct I hired in my department last year is a Republican, a former Legislative Director on Capital Hill and GOP campaign consultant. We have some premises on which we fundamentally differ, but he’s intelligent and thoughtful, and he’s not only a very good teacher but has become a good friend.

                People who distort objective reality, on the other hand, set off my “Acme Nonintelligence and Thoughtlessness Meter” (TM). The problem is the meter isn’t sophisticated enough to distinguish between those who are being tongue-in-cheek and those who are sincere in their distortions. People who do it tongue-in-cheek can be lots of fun, because they’re almost always intelligent and thoughtful. That’s why I’m asking who is who here. The Acme Meter has triggered several alarms here, but I have to figure out which ones are false and which are real.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

              OH jeez, James, are we going to do the Lincoln thing?
              If you wanna…write some blog or something, I’m sure we can get 70 comments or so! I love ya man!Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

          Dude, there were a group of folks who pointed out that Eisenhower was a communist and “respectable” Republicans (e.g., anti-Communists who were willing to burn the Constitution in order to stop the Reds) kicked them out of the party.

          Now we’re asking “where are the folks who stood up against Eisenhower?”

          Buckley got rid of them.

          Also: Gerry Ford doesn’t belong on that list. He was the best president we’d seen since William Henry Harrison.Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

            et tu JB?
            Ok, I’ll bite: Why was Gerry the best president since Harrison?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              Did he do much of anything? Anything of note?

              He used his bully pulpit to tell people to get flu shots, he pardoned Nixon, and he nominated some judges. He didn’t exceed his enumerated powers.

              Would that more were like him.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yep, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. Plus, his wife was an alcholic and he had to deal with that, also you never hear/heard about his kids! How about the economy JB, was he a good boy there, my memories fading but then there were no big things going on, where there?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                My personal recollection of the era was that there was a ’76 gas station down the block from my Grandparents’ and I was certain that it was related to the bicentennial somehow.

                From reading history, I remember “WIN” buttons and swine flu and pardons and Squeaky Fromme.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                JB, Squeaky Fromme, man did you ring a bell. I gotta an old grade school chum, who I haven’t heard from in 50 years or so. Anyway he is seeking the hand of one of the Manson girls in matrimony. You should read his ‘letters,’ …kinda scary.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                The past is another country, Bob.

                A freer one, sadly.Report

              • Avatar Annelid Gustator in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                The past is another country, Bob.

                A freer one, sadly.

                Sure, if you weren’t black or brown. Or a woman seeking employment.Report

              • Avatar dexter45 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Pardoning Nixon was wrong for so many reasons. I think Nixon tried to rig a presidential election which, in my world view is the same is treason. I think treason is a very serious offence. Since Nixon got away with it, Reagon tried and succeeded. Things have only gotten worse for the factory people since that day. Other than that, I agree.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dexter45 says:

                Pardons aren’t for people who didn’t do anything wrong, Dex.

                They’re a power given to the president.

                If you think that they give the president too much power (there are arguments there), then let’s think about how we could get rid of the power.

                But he didn’t do anything that wasn’t explicitly enumerated that he *COULD* do.

                I’m a fan of Presidential Pardons.

                (Lord, I wish they were used for citizens instead of for freakin’ cronies…)Report

              • Avatar dexter45 in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t think Ford overstepped his powers in pardoning Nixon. I merely think it was the wrong thing to do. It is kind of like I don’t think congress is overstepping their powers in giving a tax write off to corps that move jobs to China, I merely think it is the wrong thing to do. I hold Ford in higher reguard than any Republican since. And yes, I do wish that the powers that be would quit pardoning their friends. I would love to see Scooter Libbey serving tea to a 400 pound serial rapist.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dexter45 says:

                (insert rant about rape here)

                It probably *WAS* wrong to pardon Nixon. I think that a trial *MIGHT* have been better. However, in the scenarios that I imagine where the trial would have been worse, the trial would have been a lot worse… like “National Guard in the Streets” worse (don’t forget: Kent State was in 1970, not in the 60’s).

                But since there are scenarios where the Republicans are decimated, the Democrats are decimated, and there is a real third party movement in 1980 (go Anderson!), I remain torn.

                I think that the pardon was the most “conservative” option insofar as it seemed to be an attempt to rock the boat the least in the wake of great turbulence (Vietnam, the serial resignations, the national disgust at the political process…).

                I, for my part, find it difficult to get too incensed about it when I look at it like that.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

            there were a group of folks who pointed out that Eisenhower was a communist and “respectable” Republicans (e.g., anti-Communists who were willing to burn the Constitution in order to stop the Reds) kicked them out of the party.

            Now we’re asking “where are the folks who stood up against Eisenhower?”

            OK, I’m really struggling to figure out the terrain here at tLOG. Is Jaybird serious, or tongue-in-cheek? It’s so hard to distinguish between sarcasm and sincerity on the interwebs.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

              Have you never heard of the Birchers, James?

              They were a group of folks who pointed out that Eisenhower was a Communist (they really, really, really wanted FDR’s “enhancements” rolled back).

              Buckley kicked them out of the party. Surely you remember him joking and laughing about how “Eisenhower isn’t a communist… he’s a golfer!”

              And the anti-Communist right ascended while the isolationist right was marginalized and Buckley thought it far more enlightened to court the Southern Interventionists (remember the editorials in support of Segregation?) than those who wanted no part in the rest of the world.

              Surely none of this is comes as new information to you…Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                Have you never heard of the Birchers, James?

                They were a group of folks who pointed out that Eisenhower was a Communist

                Since you can’t “point out” something that isn’t actually true, I would say the Birchers only “claimed” Ike was a commie. Are you trying to say he actually was one?

                See my note on this thread about distorting reality and the difficulty of distinguishing tongue-in-cheek from sincerity. I’d like to believe you’re just putting me on, here.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Since you can’t “point out” something that isn’t actually true, I would say the Birchers only “claimed” Ike was a commie.

                Sure you can.

                Medieval doctors pointed out the humors.
                Phrenologists point out the strange bumps and depressions in the “benevolence” or “self-esteem” regions of the skull.
                Christian Ministers point out Divine Providence.

                It takes an assumption of bad-faith to say otherwise.

                Dude, I’m quickly reaching the conclusion that you quickly assume bad faith. Reassure me.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird,

                I do hope you’re just playing with me. Medieval doctors claimed the humors. They had nothing to actually point to. Phrenologists could point to actual bumps, but they couldn’t point to actual behaviors or characteristics associated with them, since none actually were.

                But when people make false claims about history or current reality–particularly claims that are the known territory of whack-jobs–then yes I normally assume bad faith. If that’s not reassuring, so be it. I’m not exactly new to the intertoobz, and I’ve enough experience with the type of ideological whackjobs that populate them to be comfortable dismissing them completely*. The only trick, as I keep trying to emphasize, is distinguishing between those who just enjoy play-acting at being whackjobs, and those who really are.

                (*And, I’ve noticed, it is those whackjobs who react most angrily and frantically to being so dismissed. It’s actually one of their defining characteristics, so that the very act of loudly objecting to being so dismissed is a fairly reliable indicator that the dismisser was correct in his assumptions.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                There’s that bad-faith reading again.

                I would say that, at the time, the accepted conventional wisdom was that there were humors and that phrenology was a developing science.

                What is required to “point out” is a belief on the part of the person pointing out and not some Kantian familiarity with the noumenon in question.

                Feel free to categorize me as “whackjob” however. We’ll both probably be happier.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                Just tell me straight up. Do you think the people who called Ike a commie were whackjobs, or do you think they may have been right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                er, I should have said “pre-Kantian familiarity”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Do you think the people who called Ike a commie were whackjobs, or do you think they may have been right?

                You know what, I’m not going to answer that.

                I will, however, say that there are a few obvious answers to that question and that it’s possible to read my statements in light of each one of those answers.

                I’d ask you to read my statements in light of each of those answers and then check to see if, in any of those lights, I have a point worth addressing.

                If there are points worth addressing, please address them.

                If, under any reading, you find that only a whackjob would have said what I said, then please categorize me there secure in the knowledge that if not today, tomorrow.

                Again: We’ll both be happier.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                I’m just trying to figure out whether you’re a reasonable person worth continuing to talk to or whether you’re not.

                You’re definitely giving me the impression you’re not.

                That actually doesn’t make me happier. But I can live with it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                I’m sure you’ll be complaining about the sheer number of gnats on this website before long.

                The worst part is that I suspect it will be entirely without irony.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

                Remind me JB, not to get on your bad side. Dude, you should be writing script for Jay Leno…though his audience wouldn’t get the rich irony and sarcasm.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                R. Cheeks,

                Are you under the impression that his comment was a successful smackdown?

                Remember, nobody invites gnats to the picnic.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Bob, the closest you’ve ever come was here:

                ordinary-gentlemen.com/2010/08/the-old-testament-and-modernity/

                Ryan took on the role I feared that you would take on.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Dr. Hanley, I was not trying to smack you down.

                I was trying to have a conversation with you in which both participants did not automatically leap to bad-faith readings of the other’s arguments.

                I failed dramatically.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

                James, lighten up, dude.
                We don’t take ourselves all that seriously here, all the time…or at least most don’t. Every once in a while you’re permitted to mount your ethical high horse and have at it…but, jeez, not all the time. Them folks fall into the ‘anal rententive’ category and end up drooling somewhere.
                And, yes JB smacked you down…gave you a refrigerator moment, but don’t feel bad he’s given me.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                The “smack down” phrase was only meant in response to your comment @10:37, and “smack down” was a poor choice of words. I meant something like, “thought he’d struck a telling blow,” or “said something remotely meaningful.”

                As to the rest of your argument, I simply couldn’t follow you. I’m quite confident I didn’t give a bad faith reading of what you were saying, as that would have required me to actually understand WTF you were saying. Since I kept asking you what it was you were trying to say, I thought that my confusion about what you were saying was made abundantly clear, but perhaps you find it confusing when someone says that you are confusing?

                Honestly, I just have absolutely no idea what point you were trying to make, despite repeatedly asking for clarification, so it’s a bit of a stretch for me to believe that you were trying to engage in a good-faith argument. I truly have no idea just what you were up to, but being tongue-in-cheek was the most charitable interpretation I could think of.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Dr. Hanley, you expressed surprise that anyone could consider Herbert Walker a RINO and gave examples of other presidents that would also have to be considered RINOs… as if considering the other examples to be RINOs would be absurd. I skipped over TR (the founder of the Progressive “Bull Moose” party), Nixon (wage and price controls, the EPA, the War On Drugs), and Ford (for whom I have a soft spot), and went to who I think was the toughest to paint as a RINO but gave an example of how Eisenhower had vocal opposition from the Right.

                And you got hung up on how one can only “point out” something that is actually there despite examples given to the contrary.

                And you still seem to have no idea what I was saying.

                Might I suggest reading what I wrote in good faith? It might make the reading less confusing.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                One can hardly be cognizant of the history of the Republican Party and at the same time honestly call those figures RINOs. One can wish the Republican Party was historically different, and that those men were not representative of it. But the fact is they are very indicative of what the Republican Party traditionally was. I’m not surprised people make that mistake. I’ve now encountered it far too many times to be surprised. But the fact that so many people make it doesn’t mean it’s not a mistake. The undeniable historical fact (undeniable by those who bother to understand the relevant history, that is) is that the Republican Party began to change dramatically as southern Dems began to shift to it, out of their disgust with the growing liberalism of the northern wing of their party. The southern Dems were traditionally the most conservative and reactionary group in the country (although there were variations within that group, of course, as it was composed of individuals who could differ, and there were some who were very much FDR Dems), whereas the Republican Party was traditionally based in the north, with adherents who were predominantly moderate-conservatives, what we might call the center right, as opposed to the hard right. These hard right conservatives have taken it upon themselves to define who is a true Republican and who is not, and ironically they have chosen to reject the traditional Republican identity and use identification with old southern Democrat-style conservatism as the alleged characteristic of “true” Republicans. It’s amusing, in a way, but it’s not historically accurate.

                And you still seem to have no idea what I was saying.

                Wow, such stunning insight! How did you ever figure that out? Was it, perhaps, that I openly said so in almost every single response I’ve made to you?

                So some people could call Ike a RINO (or the equivalent for the time period), even though he is, to accept your claim, the hardest to paint as such. I still don’t get your point? What does that signify? That people can say ridiculous things? We all knew that, and so I’m assuming you’re saying something reasonably more meaningful than that. But for the life of me I still can’t figure out what it is you’re really trying to say. And when I ask you directly, you get all coy.

                Flat out, Mr. Jaybird, what is the point that you would like me to get from what you’re saying??

                Might I suggest reading what I wrote in good faith? It might make the reading less confusing.

                Whatever you may think, I certainly have not been trying to read you in bad faith. But you repeatedly claim I am, which ironically is quite the bad faith assumption itself.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Dr. Hanley, sure, ever since the Republicans picked up the Dixiecrats, the Republican party has flipped from being the “progressive” party (which TR perfectly encapsulates) to being the “conservative” (if not “reactionary”) party.

                But, and here’s the point, it is within the more recent “conservative” incarnation of Republicanism that “RINO” has come to fruition. It is *ONLY* within this incarnation that “RINO” even makes *SENSE*.

                As it is used, it’s a term that gets thrown, from the Right, against Republicans who are not sufficiently “conservative” (for whatever the flavor of conservative happens to be… Dubya, for whatever reason, was never a RINO while in office though hindsight is resulting in a handful of his most full-throated defenders at the time hemming and hawing about his conservative legacy in the shadow of Obama).

                As such, Herbert Walker would very much be a “RINO”. As would Nixon, as would Eisenhower, as would Teddy, (and we’re building up to the big finish), AS WOULD LINCOLN.

                It should not be surprising at all that anybody but Ford and Reagan (and maybe Dubya) would qualify as non-RINOs.

                The majority of affinity for Lincoln, and TR, and Eisenhower, and Nixon, (and maybe Dubya) comes from the fact that they defeated Democrats.

                As for your series of questions: “What does that signify? That people can say ridiculous things?”

                Well, this has to go back to what “RINO” signifies.

                It’s what insufficiently doctrinaire Republicans are called by people who consider themselves to be to the right of those they’re criticizing.

                The center-right used to be called “communists” (back when there were Communists). Today? They’re called “RINO”s.

                And, of course, serious people are once again doing what they can to kick those who use such slurs out of the conversation by painting their criticisms as ridiculous.

                (Aside: I suspect that such things are among the reasons that Palin is doing so well… the ridiculous are finally organizing. Pity that she’s a RINO too.)Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                OK, so you’re not really saying anything you couldn’t have said explicitly about ten comments ago? Lovely.

                For the record, I don’t believe these folks are making the distinction you suggest. But that’s a matter where reasonable people can disagree, so I’m not going to try to flatly argue that you’re wrong. But I really don’t understand why it took such a long discussion to actually draw out such a very very simple point.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                I don’t think they have the vocabulary to explicitly make these distinctions, more’s the pity.

                They aren’t even “conservative” as much as “born again early 20th century progressives”.

                As for why it took so long, the “gnat” thing really, really pissed me off, Doctor.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

                “Dubya, for whatever reason, was never a RINO while in office though hindsight is resulting in a handful of his most full-throated defenders at the time hemming and hawing about his conservative legacy in the shadow of Obama).”

                Dude, I think in your desire to extrapolate equivilance in the ongoing political debate you believe the above, but I sure don’t. I didn’t vote Bush II because I didn’t vote Bush I because he was a RINO. I bitched and moaned about Bush II’s commie-Dem spending and starting two wars to ‘take democracy to the Middle East.” So, no, I nailed Bush everytime he acted like a free spending, war mongering commie-dem.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                As for why it took so long, the “gnat” thing really, really pissed me off, Doctor.

                So your response to being pissed off about what I said to someone else is to be obscurantist? How interesting.

                I do hope Mr. Cheeks appreciates your, ah, let’s say esoteric defense of him. For my part, I was only trying to humorously respond to his statement that he was “harmless,” by hinting that I had never seen him as harmless, only annoying. But now that I apparently have to explain the joke, whatever minuscule amount of humor it might ever have had is thoroughly evaporated.

                At least, however, we finally agree on something, namely the limited vocabulary of the hard right.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                Oh, Bob. I know that *YOU* did. You’re a conservative.

                The Republicans, on the other hand…

                Doctor Hanley, no. I actually tried to engage and you got hung up on my use of “pointed out”. The conversation is on this very page, even.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                Your “pointed out” made it appear that you believed, along with the Birchers, that Ike was a communist. I was seeking clarification on that point, and you could easily have clarified your point, had you chosen not to take the obscurantist route to satisfy your self-righteous pissed-offness (or whatever it is you were trying to do). I misinterpreted you, which apparently was clear to you, but you chose not to make yourself clear. And then you want to claim that I am to blame for the on-going misunderstanding?

                Lord, but you’ve made quite an impression on me today!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

                If you believe that only someone evil or stupid would believe that X, and you are asking me to clarify whether I believe X, can you not see how “wait, do you think X?” is an irritating question, not worth answering, Doctor?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Jaybird,

                As I said repeatedly, I am new here, and don’t know the players. There are an astounding number of evil and/or stupid people participating on blogs, and not knowing the players here was trying to ascertain whether you were one of them or not.

                Had you paid just a little attention to my repeated statements of uncertainty, you might politely have explained to me that, no, you weren’t one of “those” people.

                So I come away now thinking you’re neither stupid nor evil, but that you are a bit of a bore. But you seem quite satisfied with yourself, and I suppose that’s what really matters.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to James Hanley says:

                Dr. Hanley,

                I ignored your ‘gnat’ remark simply because we sometimes say stuff for reasons that are less than helpful. I know I’m guilty, but to be honest I enjoy poking the self righteous, who also consider themselves ‘learned.’ As I’ve said, historically people with 8th grade educations have out produced phd’s.
                Actually, you are rather a typical (at least as far as I can tell) librul bloviator who happens to be so perfectly derailed by a failed culture (edumacational system) that you have lost the words and the symbols to engage in the dialectic. And, what makes it worse is you appear to be proud of your ignorance.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

              Robert,

              I respect you for ignoring the “gnat” comment, which seems to have taken on rather more significance than I intended, and for which perhaps I should apologize, just for causing, however inadvertently, things to go that direction. (Note: that’s not a “non-apology apology.” I haven’t decided whether to apologize yet.)

              As to the rest of your comment, your beliefs are your own. You’ve certainly given me little reason to re-evaluate myself based on your un-evidenced assertions.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to James Hanley says:

                “Are you under the impression that his comment was a successful smackdown?”

                I’m under the impression that you’re the one attempting the smack-downing. If that’s right, attempting the smackdown and at the same time absentmindedly ruminating on whether the other party is worth responding to is pretty much lame. One or the other dude.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Heath says:

    I would agree if their replacements were more capable but in fact they’re not and fail even to perceive reality. Give me H.W. Bush any day over Sarah Palin.Report

  3. When did Barbara Bush become a Democrat?Report

  4. Avatar Michael Heath says:

    Barbara Bush’s comment reminds me of the dying breed of Republican who primarily prioritized their country’s interests well ahead of mere partisan concerns. That demonstrated character is unlike the current set of cowards unwilling to accurately describe Ms. Palin’s obvious lack of both character and qualifications.Report

  5. Bush the Elder is a model of the kind of decent, sane, totally-unskilled-politician-but-great-leader that we will be hard-pressed to ever see again. Accordingly, he was undone by the enterprising weasels of Congress, his own lack of political skills, and voters blaming the bad economy created by the last President on the sitting President (see mid-term elections of 2010).

    Bush the Elder signed the ADA, Clean Air Act, and Immigration Act of 1990, which makes him socially very progressive. Bush was very cooperative internationally, signing START I and organizing the sane coalition which fought the Gulf War. Economically, he signed the NAFTA agreement and muddled through a recession (as opposed to spending our way out of it).

    That reads like a list of best post-World War II policies ever enacted. Why did we vote Bush the Elder out of office instead of making him King?Report

    • Because as King he would have denied citizenship to athiests?Report

    • Avatar Mattholomew in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      Wouldn’t that have made Bush the Younger heir to the throne?Report

      • Heh. We could have done worse in 2008 than Jeb Bush, a successful 2-term—and still popular there—governor of a populous swing state. In fact we did, electing a 2-year senator with no executive experience, a pop star, a demography wonder.

        But his name was Bush, and after 8 years of his less-qualified brother, Bush Fatigue if not Bush Derangement Syndrome prohibited Jeb from even running for his party’s nomination.

        His name was Bush. Otherwise, he’d have been the GOP nominee easily, and IMO, would have beaten the pop star. Instead, the GOP ran a cranky old man and a similarly underqualified pop star for VP.

        In 2012, Jeb will be 59, b. 1953. Dunno if he’ll want to expend his considerable political capital on it. I still see Barack Obama as an acceptable figurehead, head of state, winning reelection in 2012 if he stops pissing us all off with his leftist agenda and triangulates like that consummate American politician, Bill Clinton.

        My dream matchup remains Evan Bayh [b. 1955] as the Democrat in ’16 or ’20 against Jeb. I could go either way, depending on the campaigns, and be confident either way that we elected the right man.

        ’12 remains problematic. I have not a good word to say about Barack Obama’s presidency except where he’s followed Dubya on national security [mostly], or the man himself. I have enough faith in my party that Sarah Palin will not be on the ticket. She won’t if I have anything to say about it. And I do.Report

        • Actually, I think, at least since Carter, the two Presidents who seem to most resemble each other are Bush the Elder and Obama. Both passed progressive agendas quietly, while taking heat for the actions of the last guy. Both made politically poor decisions regarding how to solve inherited problems. I’d be willing to give Obama a second chance, unless Mitch Daniels somehow got the Republican nomination and didn’t become a talking meat puppet like McCain. If Palin gets the nomination, I might go on the road for Obama. If Huckabee gets it, I’ll be severly nonplussed.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to tom van dyke says:

          Heh. We could have done worse in 2008 than Jeb Bush,

          Yeah, Sarah Palin, Pat Buchanan…no, just joking. TvD is right.

          I still see Barack Obama as an acceptable figurehead, head of state

          Yeah, our combination of Head of State with Head of Government entails two entirely different and incompatible roles. Obama seems reasonably well cut out to be head of state, but not really cut out to be the head of government.

          My dream matchup remains Evan Bayh

          Is that because you like Bayh, or because he’d set up an easy win for the Republicans? Bayh’s not even very popular in Indiana. After decades in politics he’s really still trading on his dad’s name. Bayh is an exceptional example of the politician who stands for nothing except re-election.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to tom van dyke says:

          “…stay outta the Bushes.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      Because of H. Ross Perot.

      Clinton got elected with 43% of the vote… it was called “a mandate”.Report

  6. Avatar Scott says:

    Barrett:

    I guess you would not be ranting about this if your boy, John “I’m a commoner” Kerry had won? Do you only rant about the Repub WASPs.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Scott says:

      “…stay outta the commie-Dems!”Report

    • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Scott says:

      No, I think it’s a shame that the Vietnamese didn’t finish him off. Why the fuck do I have a stream of half-literate toy fascist douchebags coming in here to explain to me who I support and who I don’t? And how does someone miss an exclamation point? My “boy” Kerry. Jesus fucking Goldwater.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        Uh, Barret ol’ Chum you’re waxing a tad ungentlemanly there don’tcha think?

        For what it’s worth I really wish Kerry had been shot and buried head down in an unmarked grave in ‘Nam too. Bush minor would’ve been a one term President then I imagine.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        Barret, dude, we have enough assholes here, we don’t need any new ones. Your language is abysmal.Report

      • Avatar Michael Heath in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        Barett Brown stated:

        No, I think it’s a shame that the Vietnamese didn’t finish [John Kerry] off.

        James Hanley and Jon Rowe – I assume you didn’t do sufficient due diligence on your colleagues’ character prior to moving-in. I won’t be visiting this blog anymore in spite of my respect for the two of you and the value your blog posts bring to me.

        Mr. Brown – you could have named nearly any American currently recently or currently serving their country and my reaction would have been the same.Report

        • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Michael Heath says:

          Then it was only a matter of time.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Michael Heath says:

          I doubt I will be returning either, especially with the southern bashing, then this. Too much juvenile leftism and cultural posturing.Report

          • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to MFarmer says:

            Someone criticized the south? Like, in writing?Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to MFarmer says:

            I only bash the south’s bad qualities, like their love of iced tea, mayonnaise, and a tendency to authoritarianism (which, by the way, one of my southern-heritage and southern-loving friends unhesitatingly agreed with just a couple of days ago). If you can’t handle criticism of the bad aspects of something, you may not be cut out for the interwebz.

            On the other hand, I’m inclined to agree with Michael Heath’s criticism of Barret Brown’s comment. Wishing a particular person had been killed can, in some instances, be legitimate (i.e., let’s trot out Hitler as our case study). But it’s tremendously illiberal to say that, except when deep in one’s cups, about someone who is demonstrably non-evil, regardless of how much one disagrees with that person’s politics.Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley says:

              Actually, there’s no doubt. Goodbye, gang — it was fun. You’re right –I’m not cut out for this.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

              James Hanley.

              The gnat-slayer.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

                damn, …I’m going to miss Farmer! Am I the only one left who thinks Bobby Lee was America’s greatest citizen?
                Hey, these new guys are like barbarians driving off the poor old Jutes.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Am I the only one left who thinks Bobby Lee was America’s greatest citizen?

                Unfortunately, no.

                OK, to be fair, I respect Lee. As I understand it, which side to go with was a tough choice for him, and ultimately he chose the side of his nation. Given that most folks back then identified more with their states than with the federation as a whole, I think that was a legitimate choice (as I think succession, if done properly was legitimate, and maybe still is). Far from our greatest citizen, perhaps (does anyone deserve that accolade?), but even this south-basher wouldn’t consider suggesting taking the opposite line and suggesting that he was one of America’s worst citizens. I’d rather have lunch with him than with Jeffrey Dahmer, for sure.

                But it’s hardly barbaric to drive off southerners. More like a successful defense of civilization.Report

              • Avatar dexter45 in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                At the risk of proving how damaging my public education was, would you please tell me who Bobby Lee was? I do want to tell you how much fun I had thinking of you sitting on your back porch listening to John Prine with a great big illegal smile on your paleocon face.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to dexter45 says:

                Robert E. Lee.

                And we can be pretty sure you didn’t go to school in the South!Report

              • Avatar dexter45 in reply to James Hanley says:

                Sorry about that. Definitely not the first or last time but I did not get the joke. I went to google and all I got was many pages about a Chinese comic. The public education line is from an old joke between Mr. Cheeks and I. I know who Robert E. Lee was. He was the man that thought it would be a good idea to charge an entrenced force at Gettysburg.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to dexter45 says:

                D-Man, “…if you see me tonight with an illegal smile
                it don’t cost very much, but it lasts a-long while
                Won’t you please tell the man I didn’t kill anyone
                ….hell, I’m just tryin’ t’ have me some fun….”
                That crack about Longstreet’s assualt hurt, dude! C’mon, the guy had angina, had just lost the beloved and brilliant Jackson, and wasn’t getting much co-operation from Longstreet and Hill.
                But, my of my, if’in he’d have listened to Maj. Gen. Longstreet and stolen a march between the Army of the POtomac and Washington and thrown up an abattis and works before the slow movin’ Yankees arrived…well, hell, we might have a place to flee to.
                I love ya’ Dex!Report

        • Avatar Jim51 in reply to Michael Heath says:

          I think I’m with Mr. Heath on this one. The rhetoric of wishing death upon someone that you politically disagree with is pretty weak and vile stuff. It should be strongly and explicitly shunned by other participants to the discussion.
          JIm51Report

    • Avatar lukas in reply to Scott says:

      Kerry? Papists get to be WASPs now? What is this country coming to…Report

  7. Barrett,

    Why exactly do you hate wasps? I’d be interested to hear your reasons.Report

    • Avatar Barrett Brown in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

      I don’t think the Anglo-American establishment has done a particularly good job of running things in anything approaching an ethical manner. The sort of values that get incubated in that environment just aren’t compatible with what I’m after.Report

  8. Avatar Scott says:

    Then I guess you prefer the values that Marion Barry brought to city governance? Can you try to get a broader brush to paint with?Report

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