Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging, Ethics, History, The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 9:44 am


A dragon lives forever
But not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings
Make way for other toys.

One gray night it happened,
Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon,
He ceased his fearless roar.

“Puff the Magic Dragon”
Lyrics and music by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow
Released in 1963

Social progress in America has never come easy. We are a nation in love with the past, wedded to tradition, and curiously schizophrenic about our notions of freedom and justice.

We were born proudly proclaiming our liberty from tyranny while at the same time, holding 3 million human beings in bondage - a situation that moved English author and compiler of the first dictionary Samuel Johnson to wryly remark during the Stamp Act controversy of 1765, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”

We spent more than 150 years glorifying American womanhood while denying them the vote and other rights. We patted ourselves on the back for a 100 years about how we had rid ourselves of slavery, only to hold their children through their great, great, grandchildren in the even more insidious embrace of Jim Crow. We put on our most iconic symbol - the Statue of Liberty - words of welcome to immigrants, asking the world to send “…Your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” — only to put up “No Irish Need Apply” and other signs, visible and invisible, to make their treatment a blot on our collective conscience.

We don’t keep our history locked in a closet, guarded 24 hours a day by CIA agents. Neither do we take that history out and dust it off often enough to relearn the lessons it teaches us about ourselves, and how social progress in America never comes cheap, or easy, or bloodless.

The point is not that we aren’t a perfect society and never have been. The point is that the revolutionary nature of our heritage and history has always held out the promise that we can be better. Not the absolute certainty of designed outcomes that enamors many on the left today. Not the “perfect” equality sought by the Utopians. Rather, simply the promise that if enough of us demand change — demand it loudly enough and long enough - progress toward making the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution mean what they say will occur.

These reflections were rattling through my head this morning after the news reached me that Mary Travers died. The New York Times may be decidedly biased in their political coverage, but few match them when it comes to obits of the famous:

Mary Travers, whose ringing, earnest vocals with the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary made songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” enduring anthems of the 1960s protest movement, died on Wednesday at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. She was 72 and lived in Redding, Conn.


Ms. Travers brought a powerful voice and an unfeigned urgency to music that resonated with mainstream listeners. With her straight blond hair and willowy figure and two bearded guitar players by her side, she looked exactly like what she was, a Greenwich Villager directly from the clubs and the coffeehouses that nourished the folk-music revival.

“She was obviously the sex appeal of that group, and that group was the sex appeal of the movement,” said Elijah Wald, a folk-blues musician and a historian of popular music.

Ms. Travers’s voice blended seamlessly with those of her colleagues, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, to create a rich three-part harmony that propelled the group to the top of the pop charts. Their first album, “Peter, Paul and Mary,” which featured the hit singles “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had a Hammer,” reached No. 1 shortly after its release in March 1962 and stayed there for seven weeks, eventually selling more than two million copies.

I have written previously of our family’s immersion into the Folk revival of the 1950’s and 60’s, commenting on the passing of the Kingston Trio’s Nick Reynolds and the Clancy Brothers Tommy Makem. (My brother Jim’s emotional tribute to KT’s John Stewart can be found here.).

And now, another link in the chain stretching back to my early childhood and my exposure to the Great American Songbook of traditional folk tunes has been broken with the death of Travers. We don’t realize at the time how childhood experiences shape our lives, our thinking, or our interests. My fascination with American history surely is at least partly the result of learning and listening to the traditional Scotch-Irish folk tunes, the sea shanties, the songs to which men marched off to war, performed backbreaking manual labor, dreamed of freedom, lived, loved, and died over the centuries.

They are songs mostly about ordinary people - a social history of the United States set to music - and it fired my imagination, spurring me to discover more about an America you don’t usually find in grammar school textbooks or High School reading assignments. What really happened in Harlan County, Tennessee Kentucky? How did the Underground Railroad work? Why are the Irish so fatalistic?

Mary Travers, Peter Yarrow, and Paul Stookey sang songs that posed questions about American society - and the human condition - that demanded answers. And around campfires, and library sing alongs, our family belted out the music, harmonizing and sharing our sheer joy of being together, learning, laughing, loving. This is why the death of these folk icons are almost like a death in the family to me. The memories the songs they wrote and sang are so powerful, so sweet, so full of the things that make life worth living for all of us, that I cannot help but allow a tear or two to course down my cheek.

As a musical group, Peter, Paul, and Mary were polished, professional, and chose their music with the utmost care. Their manager/producer, the legendary Milt Okun saw to that. With his keen ear and unfailing sense of a commercially viable package, Okun made Peter, Paul, and Mary into a hugely popular act whose success lasted almost a decade. Okun would go on to manage other iconic folk groups like The Chad Mitchell Trio, the Brothers Four, and John Denver.

It was their rendition of Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind that launched their careers. At once beautifully harmonized and featuring a driving rhythm, the song - along with their other huge hits If I had a Hammer and Where have all the Flowers Gone - became anthems of the civil rights and anti-war movements. It is perhaps telling that Hammer and Flowers were both written and originally sung by Pete Seeger and his 50’s era group The Weavers, who were banned in many jurisdictions for their left wing sympathies.

When you’re a kid, you don’t think much about the politics of a song. You sing it because it’s good music and stirs emotions in your breast. Today, I probably don’t agree with 90% of the politics promoted by Seeger, Travers, Baez, and the rest of the folkies from that time. But you can’t argue with the fact that they were dead right about civil rights, and I still think they were mostly right about the Viet Nam War.

I learned long ago you can love left wing writers, artists, singers, and actors by admiring the talent while ignoring the politics. Barbara Streisand is a putz about politics, but an extraordinary talented singer. Joan Didion writes achingly beautiful prose (as does John Updike), but I wouldn’t give a fig for their political opinions. That’s how I feel about Mary Travers and Peter Paul and Mary.

Perhaps our favorite PPM song was not about politics, or protest, but rather the magical imagination of a little boy named Jackie Paper who conjured up a friendly dragon with whiom he had wonderful, exciting adventures. No, Puff the Magic Dragon is not about smoking dope or tripping on LSD. It is a classic American folk song rooted in celebrating a child’s imagination and how, sadly, we all grow up and move on to other adventures.

Together they would travel
On a boat with billowed sail.
Jackie kept a lookout perched
On Puff’s gigantic tail.
Noble kings and princes
Would bow whenever they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flags
When Puff roared out his name. Oh!

Puff, the magic dragon
Lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist
In a land called Honah Lee. Oh!
Puff, the magic dragon
Lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist
In a land called Honah Lee.

Today, somewhere near Honah Lee, Jackie Paper read of Mary Travers death and is weeping.

UPDATE: 9/18

A shout out to all the good people at Kingston Crossroads who come here because I paid my brother Jim an exorbitant fee to promote my blog with all you left wing folkies. After all, he’s just a poor teacher, poisoning the minds of our young people with his Marxist claptrap and needs every cent he can get just so that his subscription to The Daily Worker doesn’t expire.

Don’t worry. There’s not much chance of contamination as long as you don’t breathe the air or touch anything. And please watch where you step. I recently slaughtered a few liberals and I haven’t had time to clean up yet…



Filed under: Ethics, Politics, cotton candy conservatives — Rick Moran @ 10:56 am

Face it, my fellow conservatives. We just don’t have what it takes to play the race card effectively.

This was amply proven by that ample talk show host, cotton candy conservative, and pop righty Rush Limbaugh who took a story about a beating of a white nerd by black bullies on a school bus and tried to turn it into a spiel involving dire portents of a coming race war enabled by our president:

RUSH: Hey, look, folks, the white kid on that bus in Belleville, Illinois, he deserved to be beat up. You don’t know about this story? Oh, there’s video of this. The school bus filled with mostly black students beat up a white student a couple of times with all the black students cheering. Of course the white student on the bus deserved the beating. He was born a racist. That’s what Newsweek magazine told us in its most recent cover. It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white. Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.

We can redistribute students while we redistribute their parents’ wealth. We can redistribute everything. Just return the white students to their rightful place, their own bus with bars on the windows and armed guards. They’re racists. They get what they deserve. Newsweek magazine told us this, post-racial America. I wonder if Obama is going to come to the defense the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard. I mean the assailants are presumed innocent due to the white racism we all know runs rampant in America. The Drive-By Media is ginning up all this criticism of Obama. Again today it’s all based in racism, the criticism of Obama’s health care plan or whatever, it’s all based in racism and so, if he’s going to apologize for America, Obama needs to apologize for the right reasons. White Americans are racists who have created what they call free markets that really just enslave the rest of America and her trading partners. It was white Americans that ran off Van Jones.

The amount of hyperbole in that snippet could fill the Superdome. There are so many straw men set up by Limbaugh (make sure you read the rest of this priceless rant), that one would think he was holding open auditions for the part of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.. Outright falsehoods, gross and unfair exaggerations, and the preposterous notion that Obama is responsible makes this sarcastic, bombastic, idiotic nonsense the reason that thinking people should not listen to Rush Limbaugh - ever. He makes my head hurt and my bowels churn when he takes off like this.

Yeah…but is it racist?

Sorry, no. The effect, however, as Ron Dreher points out, is bad enough:

It’s undeniably true that black males, as a group, are disproportionately responsible for violent crimes today (and blacks are disproportionately victims, too). This is important to talk about. This means something. I hate the kind of political correctness that demands we pretend not to see what we see. But as far as I’m concerned, if the Limbaughs of the world are going to be doing this kind of thing, and trying to blame, with no logical grounds whatsoever, a black president for black-on-white violence, and if they’re going to do this in an increasingly hysterical atmosphere of protest against that black president, I don’t want to talk about these things at all. Now is not the time. With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, they are quite simply tearing the country apart.

Where do they think this is going to go?

I think Dreher overreacts a little but his point is well made. I am not convinced that the “hysterical atmosphere of protest” against the president is increasing. Seems about the same to me as it was a few months ago. I think some of the opposition is irrational but I would not refer to it as “hysterical.”

But am I reading too much into Limbaugh’s rant by thinking he is talking about some kind of race war being started by Blacks? I think not. It seems that Limbaugh believes that this one incident that police now say did not have any racial overtones (and the video proves that) is the start of a pogrom against white school children - or something. Is he joking when he says,”You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering,…?”

What is the purpose of this out of control, hyperbolic, loony charge?

Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Hannity, Savage - they’re all jousting for attention. This leads to a syndrome that begs the question, “How can you top ‘over the top?”

I wrote about it when examining something outrageous Ann Coulter said a few years ago:

In the end, this is Coulter’s dilemma. And the great trap she has set for herself as she has climbed the ladder of success to achieve fame and fortune. In this celebrity, media soaked age where the ravenous appetites of the news nets, “lifestyle” shows, and political talk radio are constantly demanding more and more controversy, more and more outrageous personalities to fill the time and attract more audience, the danger for any one personality like Coulter is that yesterday’s jaw droppers and head shakers can’t be repeated. She must come up with entirely new derogatory sobriquets to call her political opponents and ever more outrageous metaphors to describe her political pet peeves. By definition, she must go “over the top” on nearly a daily basis.

Limbaugh is an expert at “over the top.” He knows full well rants like the one above will draw enormous criticism on the left and Huzzahs! on the right. He is no dummy. He is a seasoned entertainer who has been hawking his wares on radio for a quarter of a century. His planned rhetorical bombs are set to go off and splatter all over the media landscape generating controversy, noteriety, and ultimately, higher ad rates.

It doesn’t matter to him who gets hurt or what emotions he stirs in his 15-20 million daily listeners. All he wants is to get their heads nodding in agreement as he plays to their emotions while deliberately failing to engage their minds. For if his listeners paused in mid-Rush-rant to think about what he was saying - I mean truly examine his thesis, his arguments, and his logic, they would understand that Limbaugh, at bottom, is nothing but a clown. A clever, articulate, experienced clown - but a clown nonetheless.

Conor Friedersdorf:

Already Mr. Limbaugh’s behavior is raising the ire of folks who already dislike him, but this transgression against honesty and prudence is so obvious and grave that his audience members should take it upon themselves to contact the talk radio host, politely articulate why his commentary in this instance is so irresponsible, and request that he never engage in such behavior again. It is Mr. Limbaugh’s listeners who have the most pull here. Those who say nothing, and continue tuning into this kind of rhetoric, share partial responsibility for worsening the country in which they live, though the bulk of responsibility will always reside with the millionaire race agitator himself.

A racist clown? I refuse to toss that epithet about as casually as the left. “Race agitator” sounds about right. But what Conor Friedersdorf suggests is unrealistic. Those who have tired of having their emotions manipulated by Mr. Limbaugh have long since stopped listening to him and have seen through the bombast, the sneering put downs that passes for humor among many on the right, and the bilious sarcasm that drips so often, and so expertly from his lips.

I will go to my grave wondering how in God’s name so many people who think themselves “conservative” can find anything of value by listening to such a pompous lout.


Filed under: Blogging, Ethics, Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:21 am

The sanctimonious Jimmy Carter is lecturing America again about how scummy we are. This time, he is accusing you, dear readers, of being closet Kluxers - racist pigs - for opposing anything our Dear Leader does.

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,” Carter said. “I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that share the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans.”

Carter continued, “And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

It is a fact: Barack Obama was not qualified to be president of the United States. It is laughable to make the case that someone with such a sparse resume of achievement, failing to demonstrate any qualities of leadership, could possibly have the skill set to be president. To say otherwise brands you as a rabid partisan whose opinion can safely be ignored.

I honestly don’t know that if Barack Obama was white, he would have been dismissed outright as a candidate. Those who make that argument assume too much. For Obama is not without ability. He is not without intellect. And some would argue he has the right temperament to be president.

Is that enough to be president? Obviously, I think not. Without the leavening of experience, none of that matters. I have said the same of GOP candidates in the past so it is not a partisan matter. I think the idea that Gary Bauer was qualified to be president is equally laughable. Or Alan Keyes. Or any one of a half dozen Republicans who, for vanity’s sake or because they are true believers, threw their hat in the presidential ring with fewer qualifications than Obama.

Carter is a putz for saying that opposition to Obama is based on the idea that no black candidates are qualified. Perhaps because it became painfully obvious to all when he was in office that Groucho Marx was better qualified to be chief executive than some peanut farmer with one term as governor of a small state, that he can’t recognize what qualifies anyone to be president.

Carter has always had that magical ability to peer into the souls of men and glean their intent - as all liberals possess to some degree. It’s why they can play the race card with impunity. They just KNOW that opposition to Obama is based solely and exclusively on the color of his skin. There simply is no other explanation because, how can you oppose a liberal? How can anyone oppose a BLACK MAN?

It’s a shame that dueling has been outlawed. If it were not, I would gladly call Mr. Carter out and challenge him to prove his charges. Spitballs at 20 paces. At dawn.

If Obama was truly concerned about being “post racial,” he would condemn Carter in the strongest possible terms. But he won’t. And the reason he won’t is because Carter, Maureen Dowd, and other liberals who are accusing the right of being racist are helping him. Playing the race card - at the moment - is politically profitable for the president. It unites his base by giving those who support him the feeling that they are morally superior to the opposition.

It is also the most damaging epithet one can hurl at the opposition and serves the purpose of putting doubts into the mind of more independent and moderate voters that if opposing the president is tantamount to being a racist, best keep their complaints to themselves. The left loves to intimdate people in this manner; like a bully who gets off on playing with their victim before beating them up. Those who might have questions about the direction the president is taking the country feel constrained about expressing themselves lest the hammer fall on them as well.

The stink of being called a racist is impossible to remove - which is the whole point. Delegitimzing any - and I mean any - opposition to President Obama by dismissing the people who are against him by accusing them of being on the same plane as the Klu Klux Klan is monstrously unfair. There is no comeback to the charges. If you open your mouth in your own defense, you supposedly prove their point. And if you remain quiet, silence equals assent. You are well and truly trapped in the briar patch set up by unscrupulous, dishonest, and immoral dogs who know full well the charges are not true, but make them anyway.

And it’s damned effective - as its practioners know. The cold calculation that goes into deliberately smearing your opponent with the one charge in American politics for which there is no answer, no possible response, should scare even some honest liberals.

What gives anyone the right - liberal or conservative - to make such an outrageous statement as Maureen Dowd makes here, and try and pass it off  legitimate analysis:

Surrounded by middle-aged white guys - a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club - Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.

But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!

“Fair or not?” Okay, MoDo, it’s not fair. Now what? Do you apologize for your rank smear perpetrated against someone you don’t know, have never met, and only assume the worst based on the region of the country he comes from? Of course not. To do so would reveal your towering ignorance and beastial judgment, not to mention a sneering elitism directed against those who you see as being beneath you.

And how about this whopper from Rep. Hank Johnson:

Making an obvious reference to the Ku Klux Klan, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said Tuesday that people will be putting on “white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside” if emerging racist attitudes, which he says were subtly supported by Wilson, are not rebuked. He said Wilson must be disciplined as an example.

“Subtly supported?” Holy Jesus Christ on a pogo stick what the f*ck does that mean? It means anything that Johnson and his ilk want it to mean. Using his faux “moral authority” as a black man, Johnson is allowed this smear - this non-specific, egregiously unfair, and ultimately unprovable smear - because his kind of dishonesty is accepted by his liberal colleagues as “authentic” outrage against the white man.

After getting on my high horse to condemn this broad brush attack on Obama’s opponents, there will be those who will ask whether or not I believe there are any racists who oppose Obama? My answer is, of course there are. And I would gladly join any legitimate, specific, verifiable instance in which that kind of ugliness is demonstrated. There’s no room for it in American politics, the conservative movement, or the Republican party. I have already noted a significant, but still relatively small number of protestors at the 9/12 rallies who were truly fringe actors - racists among them.

But I would echo the late great Carl Sagan in paraphrasing “Extraordinary charges require extraordinary proof.” And baby, you don’t got any. There is no evidence that any but a small subset of protestors were opposing Obama because of his race. It’s just not there and for anyone to posit the notion that they can read people’s minds and peer into their heart to determine what they were thinking or feeling when protesting, I would call them a liar to their face.

But for Carter, or Dowd, or Johnson, or any other liberal to accuse the broad swath of Americans who oppose this president as being motivated by the color of the president’s skin in opposing him is impossibly dangerous to the idea of free speech, not to mention patently and grossly unfair. It’s not hitting below the belt. It is taking a pair of garden shears and cutting them off.

We must demand that President Obama make it absolutely clear that the patriots who marched on 9/12 as well as others who oppose him, do so not because of his race but because we strenuously disagree with the direction he is taking the country. And he must condemn all of his supporters who so casually, and so viciously attack their opponents so unfairly and with so little cause.

Not that he will do anything about it. But at least we’ll be able to reveal Obama as the cynical, political manipulator he truly is.

Some of this post originally appears in The American Thinker



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 4:22 pm

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, two of the best bloggers on the right will be joining me. Stacy McCain and Dan Riehl will discuss the latest on the Inspector General scandal and we’ll look at the shocking news about ACORN.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

The Chat Room will open around 15 minutes before the show opens,

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio


Filed under: Blogging, History, Media, Politics, The Rick Moran Show, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 10:17 am

As far back as 1999, it was apparent to anyone who listened closely to what he was saying that George Bush was not much of a conservative. This despite the lip service he gave to some conservative ideas (I wouldn’t say he was a study in advocating conservative principles), and his ability to excite the party’s evangelical base.

True, he was “more conservative” than Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. But so was about 70% of the country. It took about 5 years for the scales to fall from the eyes of many conservatives (some have never lost their true belief) for them to see that George Bush was a crony loving, big government elitist whose tangential connection to conservatism was more for convenience and political calculation than any belief in the efficacy of its principles.

Were we taken in? Partly, yes. But an honest appraisal of my former support for the man must include the fact that I was fooling myself more than anything. The writing was on the wall all along regarding the man’s faux conservatism - not to mention his many screw ups including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prosecutors fiasco, justification for torture, and his curious habit of promoting and appointing incompetents for important jobs in government who also happened to be big campaign contributors or other cronies.

Now a book has been written by a former Bush speechwriter which has pretty much confirmed what most on the right now think of the ex-president. Matt Latimer reveals Bush to be an arrogant, self centered, elitist who looked down his nose at the conservative movement:

Latimer is a veteran of conservative politics. An admirer of Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, for whom he worked for several years, Latimer also worked in the Rumsfeld Pentagon before joining the Bush White House in 2007.

The revealing moment, described in “Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor,” occurred in the Oval Office in early 2008.

Bush was preparing to give a speech to the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. The conference is the event of the year for conservative activists; Republican politicians are required to appear and offer their praise of the conservative movement.

Latimer got the assignment to write Bush’s speech. Draft in hand, he and a few other writers met with the president in the Oval Office. Bush was decidedly unenthusiastic.

“What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?” the president asked Latimer.

Latimer explained that he meant the conservative movement — the movement that gave rise to groups like CPAC.

Bush seemed perplexed. Latimer elaborated a bit more. Then Bush leaned forward, with a point to make.

“Let me tell you something,” the president said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement.”

Bush seemed to equate the conservative movement — the astonishing growth of conservative political strength that took place in the decades after Barry Goldwater’s disastrous defeat in 1964 — with the fortunes of Bauer, the evangelical Christian activist and former head of the Family Research Council whose 2000 presidential campaign went nowhere.

Now it was Latimer who looked perplexed. Bush tried to explain.

“Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say,” the president said, “but I redefined the Republican Party.”

Yes, Mr. Bush. You certainly “redefined” the Republican party by showing the GOP could be even more careless with the public purse than Democrats, as well as being a political cynic of the first order by pandering to the base of the party - the “movement” - while sneering at what it represented.

The charge of “patrician” made against his father back in the day should also be applied to the son. Here, the blue blood shows why you can’t trust elites. At bottom, their arrogance directed toward ordinary people is so profound as to cloud their judgment.

Given everything we now know about Bush, would I have pulled an Andrew Sullivan and voted for Kerry in 2004? Definitely not. But, as I did in 1992 when his father ran for re-election, the chances are pretty good that I would not have voted for president at all.

True, Bush’s fiscal profligacy was known back then, but weighed against the war on terror and what most of us believed was a slowly improving situation in Iraq, it would have been enough to dissuade me from voting against him.

Now we have a different story - that of Bush the hypocrite who had few, if any, guiding principles save “Whatever’s best for George Bush, is best for the party and the country.” That kind of selfish conceit may be endemic among presidents - it certainly was for Nixon, and probably Johnson - but it explains a lot as far as Bush’s cronyism as well as his cozying up to Wall Street, his sticking with Rumsfeld long after he had outlived his usefulness, and other stubborn acts that many conservatives still mistake for resolve. Quite simply, it didn’t matter if all the wise heads in government were telling him to change course in Iraq. He, George Bush, knew better. And the United States paid a bitter price in blood and treasure because of this hubris.

And, it explains Karl Rove to some extent. No doubt that Clintonites like James Carville had vast knowledge about the intricacies of American politics. But Rove is a human computer - a veritable font of information about the most arcane, and fractional tidbits of political trivia. There may never have been his like in the White House.

But Rove was decidedly not a creature of ideology. He possessed a burning desire to win as all good political consultants have. Beyond that, Rove eschewed the idea of using the movement for anything except what he termed a “permanent Republican majority” that combined massive numbers of evangelical Christians energized by relying on “wedge” issues like gay marriage and abortion to turn them out, as well as the foreign policy hawks. Fiscal conservatives could come along for the ride if they wished but it was clear that neither Rove nor Bush gave a tinker’s damn about them. Add supply siders and libertarians and Rove believed he had his “permanent” majority - a majority not based on conservative issues as much as on political expediency.

The results were predictable; a fracturing of the “permanent” coalition within two years of his 2004 victory. The corruption, the spending, and the war between libertarans and evangelicals over the Terri Schiavo matter exploded any hope that Rove’s makeshift, rickety political construction would outlast his boss.

So here we are in the wilderness with many conservatives still clinging to the notion that Bush made some mistakes but was still a good president. I have said in the past that fingering Bush as the “worst president in American history” is ridiculous. In the bottom ten, yes. But I abhor those who would use history for political purposes and the facts simply do not bear that judgment out.

Until conservatives can let go of Bush and his checkered legacy, we will not learn the lessons from supporting him and probably end up voting for someone similar. That is the mistake Democrats made when they were in the political badlands and we would do well not to repeat it.

(Note: Please do not crow in the comments “I told you so.” What - you expect me to listen to partisan lefties at the time? That’s unreasonable and you know it. Your verdict on Bush was reached looking through the prism of partisanship just as mine was. Just because the left was right about some of Bush’s shortcomings does not mean they had - or have today - a corner on truth when it comes to criticizing him. I would also add that their hate of the man - as virulent a hate directed against another politician I had not seen before, even against Clinton - disqualifies most on the left from making any rational judgment on Bush that a reasonable person could agree with.)



Filed under: Birthers, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 9:39 am

I have been taken to task in the past for railing against those whose rants against President Obama have crossed the line of reason and entered the dangerous world of paranoia. I include in this category the Birthers, of course, as well as those who believe Obama wishes to set up some kind of dictatorship, and those who believe our freedoms have been “destroyed” or are in the process of destruction.

As for that last charge, I don’t think it accurate to say that Obama wants to destroy freedom in America, but there is little doubt his policies “infringe” upon personal liberty. That’s the point of his “common good” agenda; that sometimes, individual rights must be subsumed for the good of all. The fact that the Supreme Court occasionally agrees with that idea is troubling but not indicative of any bent to eliminate constitutional protections for speech, religion, or assembly. The idea that the courts, or the opposition, would simply stand aside and allow our individual liberties to be “destroyed” is therefore, paranoid thinking.

There is a line between passionate, reasoned opposition to Obama and the kind of paranoid thinking that drives Birthers and others to oppose the president. The terms are not mutually exclusive but one kind of thinking is productive and effective while the other is poisonous and unbalanced. Equating the president with Nazis may be emotionally satisfying but is so far beyond the pale of rationality that it pegs anyone who uses such a cockamamie analogy as ignorant and not seriously engaged in debate. Ignorant because it is painfully obvious that anyone who refers to any American politician, right or left, as a Nazi” hasn’t a clue what Hitler and his thugs believed; and not serious about debate because the epithet is used to stifle discussion rather than encourage it.

Similar attempts to paint the president as a “Communist” are equally paranoid and stupid. (Using the term “socialist” may seem more accurate but there too, it appears that there is a deliberate attempt to exaggerate the effect of the president’s policies and incorrectly define the term.)

I saw a lot of passionate opposition to the president’s policies at the tea party at the Capitol on Saturday. Most of it was spot on and based on patriotic notions of the constitution as well as a fierce desire to protect our liberties from the “common good” brigade of liberals who seek to promote policies that infringe upon our personal freedoms.

Were these protestors, who eschewed labeling Obama as dictator, or a Communist, or illegitimate because of his birth, any less passionate in their opposition than the paranoids who hold those beliefs?

I think it is demonstrable that they were not. The fire that burns in their bellies against the president’s policies is no less bright, nor does their failure to join the kooks in their conspiracy theories mean that their commitment to the cause is any less total than those whose passion has allowed their thinking to spill over into the realm of the silly. To infer otherwise is not logical, nor is it very helpful.

“Passion” for a cause, by definition, engages the emotions and motivates one to act outside of themselves for a higher purpose. Those who believe that the president is wrongheaded, that his policies will lead to economic disaster, who can’t abide Obama’s prevarications, and see the enormous debt being piled on our children and grandchildren as preposterously unfair - without claiming the president wants to put his opponents in concentration camps - are channeling their opposition down a healthy, democratic path.

Not so much the paranoids. Despite evincing similar passion, all they are doing is giving the opposition the wherewithal to define all opponents to the president as crazies:

Amid a rebirth of conservative activism that could help Republicans win elections next year, some party insiders now fear that extreme rhetoric and conspiracy theories coming from the angry reaches of the conservative base are undermining the GOP’s broader credibility and casting it as the party of the paranoid.

Such insiders point to theories running rampant on the Internet, such as the idea that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is thus ineligible to be president, or that he is a communist, or that his allies want to set up Nazi-like detention camps for political opponents. Those theories, the insiders say, have stoked the GOP base and have created a “purist” climate in which a figure such as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) is lionized for his “You lie!” outburst last week when Obama addressed Congress.

They are “wild accusations and the paranoid delusions coming from the fever swamps,” said David Frum, a conservative author and speechwriter for President George W. Bush who is among the more vocal critics of the party base and of the conservative talk show hosts helping to fan the unrest.

“Like all conservatives, I am concerned about this administration’s accumulation of economic power,” Frum said. “Still, you have to be aware that there’s a line where legitimate concerns begin to collapse into paranoid fantasy.”

There was plenty of that on display at the 9/12 protest in Washington but a fair assessment of the tone and substance coming from the hundreds of thousands who were there would relegate the crazies and paranoids to a small, but significant minority. I would guess that up to a quarter of the protestors could be identified with those fringe elements. This is worrying but not as fatal as Obama supporters would have you believe. In some respects, the real problem is not so much their numbers, but their influence on mainstream politicians:

Insiders’ criticisms have been dismissed by some conservative leaders, who argue that the party needs an energized base — even if it’s extreme — to gain in future elections. Some analysts think that conservatives’ summer revolt against Obama’s healthcare agenda helped erode public approval of Democratic leadership enough that the GOP could pick up as many as 30 House seats next year.

Leaders in both the establishment and the base think that the tension could define the upcoming battle over the party’s 2012 presidential nominee.

“There’s a war going on, a pretty big one,” said Dan Riehl, a Virginia conservative whose popular blog, Riehl World View, has criticized those challenging the base. “Many of us distrust the elite Republican establishment.”

Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for John McCain’s GOP presidential candidacy last year, likened the conservative fringe to liberal activists during the Bush years. The antiwar group Code Pink drew headlines, for example, when a protester with fake blood on her hands accosted then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — but Democrats still won elections later.

A little refresher course in recent history; in 2004, Democrats played with their own kooks, catering to many of their conspiracy theories, lionizing fringe players like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, while trying to tap the “enthusiasm” of the netroots - as bonkers as any conservative crazies we have today.

That worked out well for them, didn’t it?

The point isn’t necessarily to purge the paranoids, but to marginalize them and deny them influence in the party. I know that Dan Rheil is not a paranoid and that his anger - justified at times - directed against GOP and conservative “elites” has both practical and ideological elements. But I think Dan would draw the line at some of the more paranoid beliefs held by those in the base and recognize the damage it does to reasonable, and wholly legitimate arguments against Obama and his agenda.

Passion does not equal paranoia. Those on the left who insist on equating “anger” with psychosis do so knowing full well that the passions aroused by President Obama’s policies take many forms and are not all outside the realm of legitimate debate. It is simply convenient for them to lump all opposition to the president as crazy, or “racist.” And it plays well among their own base as well.

Accepting those who are passionate in their opposition to Obama without having arguments meander into the fever swamps of conspiracy and fear would lead to the more rational elements in the opposition to come to the fore while de-emphasizing the kooks. That can only lead to more effective resistance to the president’s plans to “remake” America in an image none of us - kooks or rationalists - want to see become reality.



I penned a special column for PJ Media on the 9/12 protests yesterday, pointing out the historical significance of the event; that it represents the first truly mass movement of conservatives in American history.

A sample that will no doubt bring the wrath of the right down on my head:

It is definitely an opposition movement, however. Certainly there is mass unhappiness with President Obama and his policies. And there is opposition to the Democrats in Congress. But does this really translate into electoral strength for Republicans? I am going to go out on a limb and say no. The anger here is a reaction (reactionary?) against a growing government, higher taxes, and the sense that the country that they grew up in is slipping away right before their eyes.

This is all fed, of course, by the pop conservatives on talk radio who have ginned up outrage against Obama and the Democrats. I say “ginned up” because what the president and his party have already done doesn’t need the added fear mongering being promoted by Beck, Hannity, Rush, and Savage in order for conservatives to rally. Raised taxes, cap and trade, health care reform, bailouts and takeovers, and other liberal agenda items should be sufficient to outrage anyone on the right and motivate them to protest these horrific policies. It is unnecessary to brand Obama a “communist” or even a “socialist” to realize that his policies spell disaster for individual liberty and the free market economy.

Getting caught up trying to guess the number of attendees at Saturday’s protests (as I and many others are doing today and will continue to do) is irrelevant. This is history in the making, something the United States has never seen: a genuine grass-roots conservative mass movement, activated by the new technologies, communicating effectively using the new software and hardware — and it is growing.

I received an email from a long time reader yesterday who was concerned I couldn’t see that the protests were, at bottom, “anti-American, racist, and dangerous…” There’s nothing “anti-American” about protesting anything. We are, after all, a nation born out of protest, nurtured in the bosom of contrarianism, and defining progress by going against the grain in order to right significant wrongs in our society. This is not “dangerous” by any stretch of the imagination - except to the comfort of the elites who always believe it dangerous when the hoi polloi become restless and disagree that only they in their superior wisdom are fit to tell the rest of us what to do.

As for the charge of the protest being “racist,” well, that’s nonsense. If you’re going to tar an entire movement with that epitaph based on the beliefs of a tiny fraction, then you should have no trouble referring to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s as a “Communist” movement since the CPUSA played a prominent role in the SCLC and other civil rights organizations. The same holds true for the anti-war movement where you couldn’t attend a protest without tripping over a Communist or two.

This protest movement encompasses the right in all its contradictions, it’s factions, and its various conceits. From far right nullification supporters to Rand Objectivists, conservatism in all its glory was on display. The dominant theme as it appeared to me was “Don’t Tread on Me” - the words emblazoned on the iconic Gaddsen Flag. This is both a warning and a statement of fact. The truth is, whether due to agitation by talk radio hosts or the very real belief held by millions that President Obama is going too far, too fast, in his quest to “remake” America, there is a sizable segment of the population who has stood up and said “enough.”

In their struggle to define what it is they don’t like about the direction Obama and the Democrats are taking the country, I believe they mis-identify their concerns as fighting “socialism” or “Communism.” But at bottom, I believe above all else, that they wish to “conserve” their own vision of what America is and what it should aspire to be. This vision is no more invalid than that of the presidents’ despite attempts on the left to delegitimize it. It is Burkean in its roots, and has to do with classic conservative values that have been at the root of conservative thought for as long as the republic has endured.

Change is coming to America. Change always comes to America because we are a dynamic society that stands still for no one. But the value of conservatism has always been that, in Bill Buckley’s words, conservatives “stand athwart history yelling Stop!” It is always better to manage change, to channel the revolutionary nature of our society into acceptable, and accepted paths that lead to consensual change. Any other path leads to blood and revolution. Just ask the French.

President Obama and the Democrats are moving too far, too fast. They have exceeded the comfort level for change that many Americans - perhaps most - believe is right and proper. You can argue the merits of the president’s agenda. That’s politics. But the pace of change is structural in our society. We aren’t set up for the kind of rapid, dizzying alterations that Obama and the Democrats are proposing. This is especially true because some of what the president advocates would change the fundamental relationship citizens have with the government.

“Small moves, Ellie. Small moves…” was the advice that Elenore Arroway’s dad gave to the youngster as she fiddled with the dial of her ham radio in the film Contact. By moving the dial in small increments, she was much more likely to be rewarded by making contact with another ham radio enthusiast.

Hundreds of thousands of people at the Capitol yesterday gave President Obama the same message.



Filed under: Blogging, Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:56 am

Both the Times and AP are equating the crowds turning out in DC to protest Obama’s policies with crowds turning out to see the president later today at a town hall meeting. Both are saying “thousands” have turned out.

Here’s AP’s and the Times notion of “thousands:”

According to CNN, the event got underway an hour and a half early because so many people showed up at the bottom of Pennsylvania avenue, there was simply no more room for new arrivals.

Pictures supplied by Fox and CNN appeared to me to show a crowd stretching all the way from the Capitol steps, back many, many blocks, stretching off into the distance.

By any stretch of the imagination, such a crowd should have been identified in “the hundreds of thousands.” And yet. here’s the Times report by Jeff Zeleny:

As President Obama flew to Minnesota on Saturday to rally support for his health care plan, thousands of protestors from around the country arrived here to demonstrate against the White House and Congress for what they say is an ever-expanding intrusion of government.

On a cloudy and cool September morning, scores of people waved flags and carried signs as they arrived in Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington for a march to the capital. The event was being billed as the culmination of summer protests at town meetings, where opposition to the president’s health care plan boiled over.

“Scores of people…?” Are you kidding me?

The DC Park Police stopped trying to estimate crowds years ago. But given the  estimate for Obama’s inauguration by some (”more than a million people”), I would say the number of people out today comes close to matching the number on January 20.

More pics will be available later.

Most of this post originally appears at The American Thinker.


Stacy McCain just called and told me that Barbara Espinosa , a volunteer with Freedomworks, reports that the organization’s “metered” count of protestors is “more than 450,000.”

I think they missed a few hundred thousand but it won’t matter. The official media line will be “thousands” unless someone in an official capacity - police or otherwise - says differently.

My estimate was probably a little overenthusiastic, definitely not matching Obama’s inauguration crowds. But by any measure, an impressive turnout.


Michelle Malkin reports that Capitol Police are estimating crowd at 1.2 million. ABC saying 2 million.

Can’t say where Malkin got the “police” estimate. And the ABC website has only the AP story where they have now upped their estimate to “tens of thousands.”


Daily Mail hed - “Up to Two Million march to Capitol to protest Obama’s spending…”

Sorry, but that is certainly an exaggeration. This time lapse aerial sequence taken from where the march kicked off shows, in my opinion, less than a million marchers. A long time ago, a park policeman told me that 7 blocks of people shoulder to shoulder equals a half million marchers. Someone might want to correct me but it looked to me that there might have been 9 or 10 blocks of a massed crowd. Maybe less than that.

Of course, there were people already at the Capitol who didn’t participate in the march. And there were many late arrivals. It would be more accurate to place the total at between 750,000 and a million.

Impressive by any yardstick.


Well, there are estimates…and then there are, you know, estimates:

Carrying signs depicting President Obama as Adolf Hitler and the Joker, and chanting slogans such as “‘No big government” and “Obamacare makes me sick,” approximately 60,000 to 70,000 people flooded Pennsylvania Ave, according to the Washington DC Fire Department.

M’kay. That’s fascinating. To each his own, I guess.

They appear to be satisfied underestimating the number by a factor of 10. If there were on 60,000 marchers, I will run naked down Pennsylvania Avenue singing the Internationale while kissing an Obama poster.



Filed under: Blogging, Media — Rick Moran @ 9:24 am

I’m with the left all the way on this one. What Joe Wilson did by screaming, frothing at the mouth, and rabidly drooling while accusing the president of lying is the most destructive, the most ill mannered, the MOST UNPRECEDENTED occurrence in the history of this planet or any other.

“YOU LIE! the crazy man screeched at the top of his voice. Only his colleagues holding him back prevented him from assaulting the president in the House chamber with a bloody ax he had just used on his child.

What has happened to our country when Republicans, who obviously knew what he was going to do before hand, failed to stop this goober chewing yahoo from interrupting Jesus Christ on the cro…oh, wait. I mean President Obama during his VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, important speech on socialized (oops! sorry) I mean government mandated health insurance?

Surely we must come back to civility in our public discourse. Surely forms of etiquette must be preserved. Surely it should be a crime punishable by 20 lashes to not stare in doe eyed worship and hang on every word that our Glorious Leader imparts to us masses.

Absolutely. But please don’t call me Shirley.

I fully back efforts to investigate this rogue, this roue, this dunderheaded clodsop of an inbred Congressman who thought he was at a Gamecock football game and not the Sermon in the House Well. (”Blessed are the bureaucrats for theirs shall be the Kingdom of Obama.”).

How dare he? No one has ever, ever, ever interrupted another president or booed him, or called him a liar, or accused him of going to war for bloodlust and oil. What political party could possible countenance such evil?

If it were up to me, I’d banish him. Exile the fool. Send him to another country like…like…Utah or Montana or some other foreign country where his discourteousness would go unnoticed and he could mingle with those other bible thumping, straw eating, sister loving, gun toting, immigrant hating yahoos.

And while we’re at it, let’s send his friends with him; you know, the ones whose fear mongering and lies about GL’s perfect health care reform bill are causing the rubes out in rubeland to scratch their balls, spit, and then scream at their Democratic Congressman?

This kind of demagoguery is outrageously unacceptable. We shouldn’t stand for it - not for a second. DON’T THEY KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE DYING BECAUSE OUR GLORIOUS LEADER - WHO TRULY LOVES US ALL AND WISHES ONLY THE BEST FOR US - CAN’T GET HIS HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL PASSED? It’s a crisis, I tell you. A crisis. Forget war. Forget Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Floods, Wrack and Ruin. Forget Manmade Natural Disasters that we used to call acts of terrorism but don’t anymore because Our President has banished that scourge - or at least the word - from the face of the earth.

This is a REAL crisis - not a made up one like that other fellow had.

Perhaps we should consider executing Wilson. Hanging’s too good for him of course. Tar and feathering is environmentally unfriendly (Didn’t you know that tar is made from the Devil’s Brew - OIL? Besides, little birdies might eat the feathers and be unable to crap. Horror!). Waterboarding is illegal (but wouldn’t it be fun?) And guns…EWW!

I think Wilson should be sentenced to listen to our Glorious Leader’s inauguration speech - 10,000 times. It wouldn’t be torture. We’d give him one hour’s sleep every day and only make him stand for 12 hours at a time. Cheney said that kind of thing works wonders.

And after all, he’d be transformed. I’ve listened to it about 500 times and there’s nothing wrong with me - fit as a fiddle and twice as twangy. Listening to GL’s words of emptiness and nothingness fills the soul with sublime hollowness. It’s done wonders for my digestion and my bowels are as right as rain. Better than a high colonic in cleaning out the system. You should try it.

People like Wilson need to get out of the way and let our Glorious Leader fulfill his destiny. All of this talk is worthless and should be outlawed somehow. After all, we won, didn’t we?


Filed under: History, Homeland Security, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 7:58 am

No 9/11 remembrance post for me this year. I’ve done four 2000 word articles about where I was when it happened, how it impacted my thinking, how the attacks changed America - I even wrote a 9/11 post on 9/10 Democrats.

In other words, I’ve said it all. I’ve got nothing original to add. About the only thing I feel on 9/11 anymore is a wearying sadness to the bone brought on by the realization that it is going to happen again because we haven’t learned a damn thing. The borders are still porous, the enemy is if anything, more determined to cause us pain (yes - even with Barack Hussein Obama as president). And I’m still waiting for an intelligent discussion regarding civil liberties and security. The absolutist position taken by both sides is depressing to me as we careen wildly between too much in the way of security that infringes liberty and not enough which invites disaster.

So we are going to get hit again - not because Bush isn’t president and Obama is. Not because liberals are in charge and not conservatives. Not because anyone wants it to happen. And not because one side or the other in our childish and destructive politics is incapable of protecting us.

It will happen because our enemies are determined to make it happen. They are willing to die to make us bleed. That makes them impossible to stop. We can foil their plans a hundred times. They only need to succeed once. Torture doesn’t make us safer. Phone taps won’t make us safer. Increased cooperation with other countries won’t make us safer. Prosecuting terrorists - if any survive - after the fact won’t deter them or make us safer. Bringing economic development to poor countries won’t create fewer terrorists or make us safer - not when most terrorists attacking the west come from well to do, middle class families. Negotiating with them won’t make us safer.

Using law enforcement and international cooperation to break up their cells may give us the illusion of safety but for everyone we bust, of how many are we unaware? How many take their place?

The temptation to say “kill them all” is great, despite the fact that we couldn’t do it, even if it was politically viable. And we’d only end up creating an even bigger problem when the inevitable civilian body count inherent in such a strategy skyrockets. For proof of that theory, I present Afghanistan/Pakistan where we are making more enemies daily by striking at the heart of the jihadis.

For the time being, we just have to get used to the idea that there are some things beyond our control in this world and one of them is the timetables and plans of terrorists. It’s either that, or sacrifice our liberty in ways that aren’t necessary to survive as a nation - yet. Once the terrorists get their hands on weapons of mass destruction and use them on us - something almost every expert is predicting will happen - that will almost certainly change.

This may be pessimistic but I think it is well justified. We can’t kill them all, we can’t realistically stop them, and we can’t trade liberty for security in any way that might actually matter. We refuse to guard our own borders, or treat them enemy as “the enemy,” or prevent nations like Syria, Iran, Yemen, or Pakistan from harboring the very terrorists that might strike us at anytime.

If you can come to any other conclusion except we will be hit again, I’d be interested in hearing it.

Please take a moment today to remember the fallen. The least we can do is recall their deaths and vow never to forget how it felt to be an American that awful day.

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