Friday, June 27, 2003

Apocalypse

I have blogrolled a Republican.

As in, someone who reads National Review Online and supports George Bush. Without laughing.

Go say hello to Max, who has been a VeryVeryHappy honored correspondent since mid-February, when I introduced myself to him by trashing one of his posts and he responded with class and good humor.

His is a smart Rightie college blog, and while he is of course Wrong About Nearly Everything, I don't hold it against him, and neither should you. Besides, I suspect he would say the same thing about me.

It seems to me that, in the interests of true bipartisanship, I should approvingly link to his Ann Coulter post. He says nice things about Jonah Goldberg, but the thrashing he gives to Ann more than makes up for it.

So. Party on.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Explanation

For those of you curious as to why my contribution to Appropriate Michael Savage's Name For Your Own Purposes Day is broken up into two posts, the explanation is simple: Blogger frickin' sucks. For whatever reason, it won't allow me to publish the whole thing as one post (this after not allowing me access to my own damn blog all day yesterday while they fiddled around with their user interface).

Hence, two posts. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Riding In Cars With Weiners, Part 1 of 2

~A Real* Conversation With Michael Savage~

(Dedicated to Neal)

I’m still not entirely clear about the circumstances that led to my driving through the middle of Chicago in a rented convertible with Michael Savage riding shotgun.

I was driving through Wrigleyville on my way to the Cubby Bear to meet some friends. As I sat at the light at Addison and Clark, I started to hear what sounded like an angry mob.

Assuming that a Cubs game was going on, I ignored the sound and casually turned my head to get a better look at the girl in the car next to me and a little behind. To my surprise, I saw that the sounds of an angry mob were in fact emanating from an actual angry mob that was making its way up Clark, chasing what looked like Dom DeLuise if Dom had been a KGB agent out of a noir spy thriller.

I was weighing the risks versus the rewards of blowing the red light to get out of the way when the round black-clad gentleman leapt into my backseat from behind, cannonball style. He shoved his face between the two front seats and said, “Rat stinking pinko verminist journalists!”

“Is that who those people are?” I asked.

Instead of responding, he heaved himself up and into the passenger seat, his legs dangling out the side of the car.

As he tried to right himself, he frantically motioned for me to drive. I was about to lean over, open the door, and shove him out when a hardcover book sailed right past my head and cracked the rearview mirror.

“Dammit! This is a rental! You’re paying for that, jackass!” I screamed at the mob. Then I saw the cover of the book, and I understood.

“You’re Michael Savage!” I accused my new passenger, who had managed to pull one leg into the car while at the same time wedging his head under the ashtray.

“I am a visionary,” he grunted, grabbing his headrest to pull himself up.

I started to kick him in the ribs, trying to force him out.

“Get out of my car! Crazy people are not welcome here!”

Since I was sitting down, I wasn’t getting much leverage, so he managed to grab my leg and hold on.

I started to panic, because the mob was closing in. I repeatedly tried to pull my leg back to hit the gas, but his fear gave him strength, and he desperately clung to the leg with all fours, resembling nothing so much as a massive black-coated mutant Chihuahua in heat.

When I woke up that morning, I hadn’t planned on having my leg humped by Michael Savage while a kill-crazy mob howled for his blood, but sometimes life gives you little surprises like that.

After careful consideration, I decided that I really didn’t want my friends and family to open up the papers the next day to find the headline “Young Man Performs Deviant Act With Right Wing Radio Host In Public, Torn Limb From Limb By Righteous Citizens” with my driver’s license photo next to it. That’s a bad way to go out.

So I hit the gas with my left foot, and away we went.

After much swerving and avoiding of pedestrians, we were out of sight and far away from the mob. I pulled over.

“Get off of my leg.”

His only response was a hog-like grunt and a snarled “Pinko!”

Given the circumstances, I wasn’t thrilled about having this man associate my leg with the color pink, so I grabbed the tire iron that was conveniently laying on the floor of the backseat and proceeded to pry him off of me.

Once we were both situated in our own seats with a comfortable two feet of space between us, I asked him what had started the riot in the first place.

“Damn judges side with the perverts instead of the boyscouts.”

Deciding that this was the most coherent answer I was going to get from him, I left the matter alone. I was thinking about calling the police, but with a speed that I would not have thought physically possible for him, he grabbed the tire iron from me, waved it in my face, and demanded that I start driving again. I did.

“You have to escape, huh?” I asked.

“There is no escape,” he replied, “Today in America, we live in a she-ocracy where a minority of feminist zealots rule the culture.”

“I see. So, what is it you want me to do, then?”

“Go to your nearest CD store and buy some crack music. Just put some crack music on about raping women, killing police, and burning down houses.”

“Um…I have Disco Inferno on a CD right here in the car. Is that close enough?”

He was distracted then by something we passed, so I decided to comply with his request, trying to soothe his nerves. I popped in the CD.

“Look at the bisexual clothing stores,” he sighed, “Look at the multi-colored condom stores. Look how the young mallrats rush to assume the Calvin Klein waif-on-drugs or Abercrombie & Fitch lesbo of the month club persona.” He sounded tired, like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.

“Back when America was still moral and whole, our meatballs were big, soft, and tasty. Today, thanks mainly to the Demoncats, the libs, and the Commu-Nazis who rule the courts, America’s meatballs are small, hard, and tasteless. In other words, we have replicated the Swedish meatball, which is what Socialism brings.”

I definitely did not want to be discussing balls of any sort with this man, so I tried to change the subject.

“How about that Pledge of Allegiance, huh?” I said.

Brandishing the tire iron, he muttered something about the “Ninth Jerk-it Court of Schlemials.”

Thinking of how heavy that tire iron looked, I laughed nervously, and tried to sound convincing when I said, “That’s a good one.”

“Comedy is what I sometimes do,” he shrugged. “That’s what God gave me the gift for.”

“Sure did!” I said, too loudly.

He looked at me suspiciously, then continued.

“You know, the kind of stuff you see at comedy workshops, where they talk about bodily functions – that’s not comedy. That’s just stupid vaudeville. That’s what passes for humor and comedy.” He paused. “It’s like one of those Turd World countries.”

I thought perhaps he was being ironic, so I chuckled.

Bad move. He started hitting the dashboard with the tire iron, screaming about “certified, dyed-in-the-dung liberals.”

Burn, baby burn… went the radio.
Riding In Cars With Weiners, Part 2 of 2

“Hey, man,” I yelped, “I’m not one of those crazy liberals. Those guys suck!”

“LIBERALISM,” he screamed, spittle flying, “Like a backed up toilet, offends me!”

Oh shit I thought. He’s going to kill me.

“Your Nazi liberal friends will tell you that if only the Jew would die, the world would be a better place!”
“Actually, Mike, I don’t-”

“Hitler is alive and well!” There was no stopping him. “Only he speaks Arabic and wears a headscarf! And this time, he has the American liberal media on his side. They don’t know it…Or do they?!?”

The music wasn’t helping. I turned it off, and Michael grew calm again. In a quiet voice, he told me that the liberals were everywhere.

I stopped at a red light, and he turned his head to scan the area, as though some liberals might jump out at him at any moment. After a few seconds, he nudged me, and nodded towards a group of pretty girls who were walking down the street.

“On February 14, 2002,” he began, sounding disgusted, “Secretary of State Colin Powell trotted out a line from the liberal playbook, telling an audience of teenagers on MTV to use condoms!”

The fact that Michael Savage prefers bareback is not something I wanted to know.

After whispering something that sounded like “little sluts” under his breath towards the girls, he went on.

“Women are afraid of angry men,” he said bitterly, “Particularly in this homosexualized, feminized America. An angry man frightens a woman. If a boyfriend can’t be like a girlfriend – with the exception of a male appendage,” here he grabbed himself for emphasis, “she doesn’t want him. If a boyfriend can’t be like a sister putting on nails with her, she’s offended by him.

“I can’t help but have a fantasy…”

Internally, I started screaming.

“I imagine that women like those three little swingers are sent to one of the Muslim Fundamentalist countries, where they’re taught some of the sobering, Old Testament truths about their behavior.”

He was sounding way too excited about this. I tried to put a few more inches between us.

Desperate, I tried to change the subject again.

“Man, how about those Bulls? Do they suck or what?”

He ignored me and continued gazing longingly at the girls.

Queasily, I noticed his hand hadn’t moved away from his crotch.

Dreamily, his eyes half lidded, he whispered, “You can masturbate in public.”

I froze. Nothing moved but my eyes as I searched the street for someone, anyone, who could save me.

Dear Lord, I mentally prayed, Please kill me now.

“You can rub against a sheep in public.”

Nevermind, Lord. Kill him.

Then the light turned green, and I automatically punched the gas.

“NO!” shouted Savage, the spell broken. He started slapping his own wrists and babbling about being a bad boy. He kept saying he was sorry, that he wasn’t really going to do it.

“I’m a very good writer. A very good writer!” He grabbed my shirt, pleading for me to understand, to forgive.

“My chicken is no Bill Clinton!” he whined, “My chicken is mine!”

After a few minutes of this, he got a hold of himself, and reverted back to his arrogant, worldly fa├žade.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he chortled, “I’m all for dating, and I know how young guys always want to know how to pick up women.”

He continued on as though the last five minutes hadn’t happened.

“But with the changes in the culture, you’ll need an old fox like Michael Savage to give you some tips.”

I would rather stick my penis in the cigarette-lighter socket.

“There are a lot of little sex shops around, and I’ve poked my head into a few of them from time to time.” I nearly swerved off the road. “Remember, I’m a social commentator!” he quickly added.

Apparently, he decided to change the subject.

“My book is selling big in Nevada.”

We drove in silence for a while then. Eventually, driving south from the Loop, we came upon a rather unpleasant section of town. Unfamiliar with the area, Savage started talking about the different people he saw walking around. I kept trying to turn around, but he was having none of it.

We hit another traffic light. I looked around, and noticed that several young men wearing similarly-colored clothing were approaching the car. One of them pulled out a gun.

Savage didn’t quite seem to grasp what was going on.

“I want to see kids running around with guns going ‘B-b-b-b-bang, you’re dead’!” The young men seemed momentarily taken aback by this.

He continued, “You know, instead of putting on a dress and an earring.” Several of the young men reached up to touch their earrings, and their expressions darkened. “For ten years, kids were told to be sensitive, you know, come to school in a dress.”

At this point, I realized that I had to do something fast.

While Savage was looking the other way, I grabbed the tire iron from him, and in one smooth motion opened his door and shoved him out.

With a roar, he started yelling at everyone in sight, accusing them all of being liberals and red diaper doper babies.

I slammed the door shut, and started screaming at him, “I’m not sharing my ride with a dirty Vice cop! Damn undercover bastard! Cop! Cop cop cop!”

Like magic, everyone’s gaze focused on Savage. They did not look happy.

Finally realizing the gravity of the situation, Savage got on his knees and started shaking his folded hands at everyone.

“Back!” he screamed, “Prayer frightens the Lefties!”

Fuck this, I decided, and hit the gas, watching Savage shrink to a tiny, insignificant speck in the rearview mirror.

Just the way he should.

* Every line attributed to Savage is an actual quote taken directly from either his radio show or his ridiculously poorly-written book, The Savage Nation. Some lines may have been taken slightly out of context. Possibly.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Ann Coulter's New Book Treason

Dude, seriously, fuck it. I don't even care anymore. It's like watching a bad movie over and over again, but getting pissed off at the bad guy everytime.

"Motherfucker! Why'd he have to go and break Jean-Claude Van Damme's brother's back like that? Again?"
Heroes

[Removed because it was just too damn depressing, and we're all very happy here]

Monday, June 23, 2003

The Dean Post

Why Dean?

Well, it's still early, so I of course reserve the right to alter/modify/completely reverse any position I lay out in this post, but here are the ups and downs of it:

Guns - Dean's position on second amendment issues puts him in the strongest position a Democrat can hope to be in regarding this issue. While it would be naive to think that the NRA is going to endorse him and campaign for him, it is possible -- given Dean's stance and just a touch of luck -- that rural, single-issue gun voters won't be scared into a massive turnout on election day. The Governor is not coming for their guns, and so hopefully a good portion of them will sit this one out. While this obviously isn't going to turn Red states like Nebraska and Alabama Blue, it can help a lot in retaining big number Blues like Michigan and Illinois and gaining Reds like Ohio, all nominally industrial states with large rural populations that prevent Democratic dominance.

Gay Rights- After several months, Kevin Drum has won me over to his side in thinking that gay rights can be an effective stick with which to hit Bush. Civil Unions, which will, in this campaign at least, be strongly associated with Dean, are the perfect tool for both ensuring proper rights for ten percent of the population that has traditionally been neglected or actively oppressed, and for making the far Right look extremely bad.

Like Kevin, I say force Bush into a corner by making him either support Civil Unions, enraging his base, or oppose them and alienate the swing voters who, even if they aren't big fans of homosexuality, can at least appreciate the granting of equal rights to fellow citizens.

Like I said, framing is critical on this issue, but if it can be done right, it can be a winner.

Energy - Dean has it, and in much higher quantities than Kerry, Lieberman, and Gephardt. I'm willing to cut Kerry some slack here, as he is still recovering, to some degree, from major surgery. But, from what I've seen, even at full strength, he can't match Dean here.

In a time when Americans are looking for a strong (dare I say "bold"?) leader, perceived vitality will be key, and I just don't see anyone besides Dean and Edwards putting out enough wattage to beat Bush.

Straight Talk - The quality that made McCain the darling of the media in 2000, and one of the primary qualities that makes me favor Dean over Edwards. While Dean hasn't so far been quite as accessible to the media as McCain was, that can (and should) change. Also, this is where the conventional wisdom "Dean has chronic foot-in-mouth disease" comes in. While a lot of Democrats seem to view this as a weakness, I see it as a strength.

After all, he hasn't said anything offensive. At worst, he's been mildly insulting to his opponents, and this many months before the Primaries, nobody really cares that much. So there's really not much downside to it. On the other hand, this tendency of his is the perfect remedy to the single most harmful perception of the major Democrats: that they are phony.

A lot of reasons can be cited for Gore's loss in 2000, but I don't think there's much disagreement that the storyline of "Al Gore: Liar" was particularly devastating. As we've heard so many times before, that's why people liked Bush so much- he's a straight talkin' dude (a meticulously maintained perception).

What those of us who are paying attention now view as an inability to shut his mouth, a lot of people during the general election will view as Dean speaking his mind without artifice.

This is so critical, I cannot emphasize it enough. If the Democratic nominee is seen as fake and manufactured, he will lose. It's that simple. It's not fair, but the reality we have to face is that the Democratic nominee automatically is at a disadvantage in the "genuine" category, and Howard Dean seems to be the best equipped to deal with that.

Grass Roots - Of all the candidates, Howard Dean has so far been the most successful at developing a grassroots following, and has been most effective in using the web as a campaign tool. While this does not guarantee victory (remember that McGovern had a spectacular grassroots operation in '72), it certainly helps fill a gap that Gore had in 2000. "Gore Meetups" would have been a joke, and a very bad one at that.

The key is passion; Gore did not inspire it, Dean does. And far from being a liability, a legion of passionate Dean supporters can create a very good storyline in the media. I am firmly convinced that Dean's fortunes will increase dramatically once a critical mass of journalists see Dean pack house after house with fervent supporters. Once that becomes a storyline, it has the potential to snowball into something big.

Good Looks - This shouldn't be a factor, but because of the way the media works, it is, and Dean's only rival here is Edwards. The other contenders look old (Kerry, Lieberman, Graham) or plastic (Gephardt).

I'm not saying that the election will be decided on sex appeal, but being a good looking guy certainly can't hurt.

***

So, what about Dean's biggest perceived weakness, national security?

Again, this is a weakness that I think can be turned to his advantage, primarily by selecting Wesley Clark as his running mate (and Gary Hart for National Security Advisor, perhaps...). This way, he has the advantage of having a decorated General to fill in any perceived gaps in national security expertise, while at the same time avoiding the "opportunism" label that the GOP is already hurling at any Democrat who voted for, or otherwise supported, the Iraq war but is now demanding an accounting of the WMDs.

All of these issues are, of course, a lot more complex than I've indicated. Each one of them could, in fact, be the subject of its own post. There are also a few other reasons I like Dean that I want to look into a little more carefully before I write about them like I know what I'm talking about. For now, though, this will do.

The floor is now open for dissenting opinions.

Update: I should make clear that, of the six candidates who have even a microscopic chance of winning the nomination (Kerry, Dean, Lieberman, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham), the only ones I am actively against are Lieberman and Gephardt; Lieberman because he is too indebted to his corporate masters (whatever did end up happening with that silly little Enron investigation, eh Joe?), Gephardt because unless the sun rises at midnight and the lion lays down with the lamb, he will not beat George Bush.

Unless Graham does something really spectacular really soon -- something like making public concrete proof that Bush lied about Iraq -- he will remain the marginal candidate that he currently is, so I'm writing him off.

Also, contrary to what a previous post may have implied, I actually like John Kerry. I just don't think he can win. Right now, his public persona is way too reminiscent of Bob Dole, and unless he does something spectacular to change that, I think it's going to sink him; if not in the Primaries, than in the general election for sure.

So, for me, it's Dean or Edwards. As I've stated before, I think Edwards needs to establish some heftier credentials before he can make a serious run, so Dean it is. If Edwards has a fantastic summer, that may change.

But I guess we'll see, won't we?

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Passion

I'm doing yardwork today, and so I will have to write my promised Howard Dean post later tonight. However, before I do that, I wanted to address an ugly phenomenon that I've noticed in regards to Howard Dean's detractors.

It seems like any time one enters into a discussion here in the blogosphere about Dean, you get a lot of people who accuse Dean supporters of a fanaticism that turns people off and blinds them to "reality."

I want to settle this right now, before I get written off in some people's minds as a witless Dean supporter.

I am not blindly, passionately devoted to Howard Dean. I am not blindly devoted to any candidate, nor will I be.

What I am passionate about is removing George Bush from the White House. What I am passionate about is regaining a Democratic majority in Congress. What I am passionate about is preventing the Federal Judiciary from becoming a franchise of the Federalist Society. What I am passionate about is moving the Democratic Party, not to the far Left, but away from their current quasi-Republicanism. What I am passionate about is a politics that does not cater to the whims of "dumb brutes and rich people," in Hunter Thompson's words. And what I am passionate about is returning the word "liberal" to its roots as a label worn with pride, rather than the derogatory epithet it has become.

Therefore, I will support whichever candidate I think has the best chance of either achieving these goals, or making significant progress towards them. Right now, for various reasons, I think Howard Dean is that man. That might change, and it might not. If I thought Kerry could do that, I'd support him. If I thought Lieberman could do it, I'd support him. If I thought Sharpton could do it, I'd support him. Hell, if by some strange practical joke of the gods, Jesse Helms looked to be in a position to do it, I'd support that old son of a bitch.

So, by all means, let's all have a discussion about which candidates have the best chance to achieve our goals. That's the whole damned point of the Primaries. But the lashing out and the evil rhetoric against Dean supporters for displaying passion, an absolutely critical quality that has largely disappeared from the modern Democratic Party -- and one that the Republicans, for reasons fair and foul, have in spades -- is wrong-headed and needs to stop.

Update: With the news that Strom Thurmond has died, I changed an offhand reference to him in this post. Speaking ill of the dead and all.