Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin has a son named Trig. Trig was born roughly four months ago. Trig has Down's Syndrome. Sarah and her family have a tough road ahead of them, as my grandparents did when my uncle was diagnosed with what is, apparently, a much more severe case than Trig has.

Sarah Palin is pro-life, and unabashedly so. Given that ninety percent of children diagnosed with Down's are murdered in utero, and that she is a woman in her mid-forties staring at a challenge for which she must plan not only the rest of her life, but beyond -- Trig will need certain kinds of medical and everyday life assistance for the rest of his existence -- she is rather walking the walk.

Sarah Palin is, by all accounts, a devout, or at least a frequently-church-attending, Evangelical. This probably influences, or at the very least, overlaps with, her pro-life views.

Sarah Palin is a Republican, and she is about to be formally nominated for the Vice Presidency of the United States. That alone would make her a hate object for the mouth-breathing Left. That she's a Christian, an ardent pro-lifer, and had the temerity to withstand the eugenicist impulse that animates the modern Left has driven them to apoplexy.

Sarah Palin has, based on what we know, three weak points for attack in the modern political world. The first is her relative lack of significant political experience. Given the empty suit at the top of the Democrat ticket, this is a profoundly unwise avenue on which to launch a frontal assault. The second is a "scandal" in which her husband apparently said mean things to a corrupt Alaska politician to coerce said corrupt Alaska politician into doing damage to the career of a police officer who, married to Ms. Palin's sister, had taken it upon himself to beat the living Hell out of her. If the Democrats and their pet yard apes in the media and blogosphere want to finish off the Lifetime-viewing demographic as Democrat votes, they are welcome to do so; if not, they'd probably need to stand clear of that.

So now it's family, everyone's weak point -- well, everyone not named Kennedy, anyway. The eliminationists cannot bring themselves to blame her publicly for not murdering her son in the womb, so they've decided instead to assert that (1) Trig is not her son but (2) her teenage daughter's and (3) Mrs. Palin chose to hide this from the world and lie about Trig's parentage.

As proof, they offer the following (no links; I don't generally link hate sites): Ms. Palin's pregnancy was not revealed until she was seven months along with Trig; she "doesn't look pregnant" with Trig in photos around that time; 43 year-olds have a hard time getting pregnant; and Mrs. Palin's daughter was out of school for mononucleosis for five months around Trig's birth, and everyone knows that mono only lasts three months, tops.

Pretty much all of these "facts" stem from a combination of basic scientific illiteracy and unfamiliarity with childbirth. Given that the average reader/diarist at Daily Kos is in her seventies and spent her entire life making sure that the percentage of the population that buys into Lefty fantasies decreases as a result of differential birthrates, the latter cannot be helped. The former is simply yet another reflection of the American public school system, and indeed, how science is taught and portrayed in our culture. Fortunately, some of us paid attention to science in high school (and college!) and some of us still have children.

It falls upon us to teach the barren, frigid Left a few things.

First, let's deal with how much Mrs. Palin was "showing." You folks may not be aware of this, but different women carry different ways. Generally speaking, for a healthy, full-term, ~8 pound baby, the mom is going to add an average of twenty-five pounds -- baby, amniotic fluid, placenta, breast engorgement, and, yes, some fat. Folks differ, though. My wife puts on around forty pounds, no matter how much she exercises or controls her diet. My mother put on fifty. My longest-running female friend has had three children, with add-ons of 15, 17, and 16 pounds. Her children came in at almost exactly 7.5 pounds each time, well within the healthy range.

But this is her fifth child, they say. Surely that would make her show more! The answer is Probably, but not definitely. By all accounts, Mrs. Palin is a determined athlete even in middle life. A big part of why women show more with more children is that their abdominal muscles get detached during their first pregnancy. (I'm sparing the science because I try not to confuse the reality-based community with things more elementary than a third-grader can comprehend. I'm therefore pushing them to reach up a grade.) However, as my wife, who was on a vigorous martial arts and exercise program well before our latest (our fifth) started coming along will attest, exercise can help correct this somewhat; and with a little rest and a break from childbearing, the situation is corrected even more.

Regardless of all that, if Mrs. Palin carries low and inside generally -- or even carried low and inside this time -- then this is a nonsensical point. Indeed, and this is ungentlemanly of me (even though I think it quite attractive): You'll note that photos of Mrs. Palin from around the time she announced Trig's incubation show a, er, softening under the chin and jaw. This happens to pregnant women, and rarely happens to other women without fat gain elsewhere.

So, um, given that her waist looks a scotch wider that before and now in those photos, and she gained that extra tissue under the chin, and that her activity level remained high, and that she looked like about fifteen percent of women look when having a child, we're going to have to chalk those remarks about her appearance to ignorance.

Now, the next one is going to skirt dangerously close to a human biology lesson, so any Lefties reading this, I strongly advise you to pop a couple of Excedrin before we start. Come back and read after you've given them about twenty minutes to take effect.

The next "fact" is that forty-three year olds have a hard time getting pregnant, ergo, it is unlikely that Palin spontaneously got pregnant with her fifth child. It is true that women trying for the first time to get pregnant in their forties encounter enormous difficulties. It is true that some women trying on their second, or third, child, have trouble conceiving in their forties. It is not true that women with multiple children have a hard time conceiving in their forties. This was a well-known thing just a couple of generations ago, as my grandmother could have attested when she bore my aunt at the age of forty-three, her twelfth child; as one of my oldest friends' mother could have attested when he, her third, was a pleasant surprise at age forty-four; or, throughout history, when women would find themselves with a fifteenth, a twentieth, or a twenty-seventh child on the way in her forties. Multiple long- or full-term pregnancies prolong a woman's fertility.

This is elementary medicine. My wife and I -- we try to be devout Catholics, though God alone knows if we're succeeding -- are trying to figure out how to stop having children before our forties hit. My solution is quiet contemplation. Hers is Smith & Wesson. Regardless of which method we choose, given how many we've already had, and how young we were when we started, an age basically identical to Mr. and Mrs. Palin's when they first got running, we know that births in our forties are not a small likelihood if we don't find some other way to channel our energies.

That leads to a point missing in all this: The older a woman is, the more likely she is to conceive a child with Down's. The statistics are skewed on live births, with the majority of Down's children being born to younger mothers, but this is influenced by (1) higher overall births to younger mothers, (2) the lower rate of conception among older mothers overall, (3) the higher affinities for abortion among the older segment relative to the younger, and (4) relatedly, a stronger cost:benefit ratio to those already inclined to exercise abortion, given the difficulties attendant in raising a retarded child with numerous physiological impediments. But when conception occurs, older women are significantly more likely, starting around thirty-five (decreasing somewhat with more prior children) to conceive a child with Down's Syndrome.

So, just to summarize this in one sentence: Is it really more likely that a seventeen year old girl raised in an extremely healthy environment with no history of fragile X or any other inherited condition of which we're aware would conceive a child with Down's than her forty-three year-old mother?

Now, this might be -- and will be, by the illiterate -- dismissed as ascientific ranting by some wingnut Quiverfull (or whatever they're called -- we're Catholic, not Protestant) theocrat. Concededly, I haven't bothered to cite or link anything in all of this, because I'm already spending valuable time offering basic science and human biology lessons to yard apes. But, as a sign of good faith, I'm going to offer you a resource that will show you that all of this is pretty elementary: Williams Obstetrics. Concededly, it's right-wing propaganda cloaked as the most-used obstetrics textbook of the last 100 years, updated every few years in a new edition. But check it out, just for giggles.

That leads to the third point: Mrs. Palin's daughter was out of school for mononucleosis for five months, and that's way too long, ergo, this is something like the average Daily Kos reader remembers from her youth in the Roaring Twenties, when diseases like that were used as cover for when a girl got herself in a family way.

I had mono. I was twenty-two years old and in law school. At the time, this was my daily regimen:

Wake up. Eat breakfast and two Snickers bars. Run two miles. Wind sprint one mile. Lift weights and do weighted situps for forty-five minutes. Jog a mile to cool down. Go to class, eating a candy bar or Power Bar on the way. Class, then lunch, then class, then home to read/study/play a video game/whatever. One hour of martial arts. Dinner. Read Shakespeare. Do 200 situps. Sleep. Repeat.

I was in, if I dare say so myself, damned good shape. I hadn't even had a cold in a year and a half.

I got mono just as I was writing on to journal at the end of my 1L year, so around May 20th or so. I weighed 170 pounds. I felt kinda feverish, a little tired, couldn't seem to muster enough energy to do everything I needed to. No big deal. Finished my write-on (and got my first pick!), went home.


I don't remember most of that summer. I remember losing twenty-five pounds. I remember sleeping and watching The Bold and the Beautiful. (TAYLOR!) I remember trying to pick firms to interview with when I got back to school. I remember breaking up with my girlfriend of the time.

I got back to D.C. in early August, and was still sleeping around 19 hours a day. I could barely eat. I started classes in August. I don't remember most of that. I remember meeting the woman who is now my wife. I remember our first dates. I was barely back up to 150 pounds. I ran fevers at odd hours. I was soaked walking half a mile in the cool mornings. This went on through November, six months later. I was never able to get back in the kind of shape I'd been in before.

Mononucleosis, more even than most infectious diseases, has a lifespan based on a host of factors. It is not a rote disease. It is not the common cold.

And more importantly than that, if anyone thinks folks in rural America are still using the "she went to the country" excuse to hide a teenage girl's pregnancy, well, that leads to the next point.

I know Lefties are very bitter, still clinging to their BUSH LIED sandwich boards and their Alinsky, but I have to offer them a warning nevertheless: It is a profoundly bad idea to attack Mrs. Palin on this route, even if it's true. Out beyond the limits of whatever city or suburb they're currently in, there are still a lot of Americans who live in unincorporated areas, or who live in cities of 20,000 or fewer. Many, many of these people are Democrats. Many, many of them, perhaps as a result of their own clinging, urge their daughters not to murder their grandchildren in the womb. Frequently, their daughters, obviously filled with false consciousness, heed this urging. Those rural Democrats then go on to raise said grandchildren either as their own, or virtually as their own.

Now, the bad part: A lot of those rural Democrats are -- in the parlance with which Daily Kos readers are most familiar from their upbringing -- Negroes. Coloreds. Darkies. (I'm trying, and failing, to remember what you people called blacks in the 1910s, without using the N-word or the equivalent. Comments are open. Help me out, if you can clear the cobwebs from your minds.) Your entire electoral strategy this year is to energize blacks and stupid college students/young professionals who haven't lived as adults long enough to realize how stupid voting for "change" really is. Do you really want to shave a few points off the former? How about those young voters who maybe had their idiot grandparents and parents save them from the abortionist?

And don't forget the Lifetime voters who might do the exact same thing you allege that Mrs. Palin did. Probably don't want to lose those, either.

(I presume you guys are cool losing poor white voters. God knows you've thumbed your noses at them every other way possible.)

Eh, then again, continue down this path. I love our odds this way. Life always beats death, in the end.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Arguably the worst series of ideas I've heard in a while, I'm ever impressed to find the short-bus riding Chuck Hagel on board for the dumbest of the ideas presented. Let's see: Our goals are apparently (1) to increase government spending (2) increase Federal subsidies of local concerns (3) increase Federal ties to local concerns and (4) give urban political machines the tools they need to expand their usual raft of graft, corruption, cronyism, and electing Democrats.

Yup. Exactly what you'd expect out of a Republican.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Donatism is one of the oldest, most tempting of heresies. It posits that the spiritual value of a sacrament is in direct relation to the spiritual worthiness of the dispenser; in shortest form, a corrupt priest cannot give an effective sacrament. There is something intuitive -- which is not to say correct -- about this heresy, which of course makes it all the more dangerous. It is a heresy, its intuitive attraction notwithstanding, because it suggests that there are limitations on God's desire or ability to share the incredible spiritual gift that is a sacrament, and the one performing the sacrament is capable of effectively interposing some taint on God's gift by virtue of being the channel through which the sacrament is provided. Over fifteen hundred years later, we still owe St. Augustine thanks on our knees for sending that heresy screaming into the night, even if it does come back even more often than Gnosticism.

Put Donatism to the side for a moment. It'll be back. (It always is.)

Properly, but for a self-imposed and -enforced ban on commenting at RedState, this post would be a reply to this comment at RedState. The subject to which the commenter was responding was Barry Obama (just this once, I'll refrain from calling him Kitten) and his poll-tested decision to renounce, sorta, more or less, his pastor of twenty years, for that pastor's unfortunately unoriginal take on liberation theology. (More on that here.) As von isn't here to defend himself, I'll at least do him the courtesy of quoting his text in full:

I can't and won't ask anyone else to subscribe to this view.

Having backed McCain for years, and advocated for him in these virtual pages, I intend to vote for Senator McCain. Why accept Cleon or Nicias when Pericles is available?* Yet, I have always found Obama's comments on race & Wright (the two are inseparable) sincere. He has repeatedly arose above an impossible situation. You can quibble with Obama's speech in Philadelphia, but the fact that one can only raise honest quibbles with such a serious subject is testimony enough to Obama's insights.

I respect that my view may not be widely held on this site. That's fine: I never was a particularly good Republican. Still, I want this written down -- even if, in this decadent age, writing consists of electrons pausing between states:

Barack Obama is a good man. He doesn't deserve this.


*Hi, Pretentiousness? Thy namesake is in my tagline (special expanded version; all that is good about western civilization is in the Funeral Oration):

If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful in our tastes and our strength lies, in our opinion, not in deliberation and discussion, but that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.
No, Barack Obama is not a good man, and he does deserve this -- this being public scrutiny and ridicule for the ills with which he has associated himself. But that's two different things, albeit ones related at some level, so let's unpack them.

Now, in point of fact, I would offer that Senator Obama is a bad man. He is a bad man because on perhaps the simplest, basic test for common humanity -- the willingness to stop others from slaughtering mewling infants -- he fails. He proudly fails. On an issue that does not remotely touch on whether a woman's right to maintain control over her body is more important than her child's right to continue living -- that is, on the simple question of what happens to an infant who escapes the birth canal alive after a failed abortion -- it is Barack Obama's position that the law should turn its eyes away as the mother is delivered of her right to a dead child. Good men do not partake in that kind of barbarity. Good men do not treat a sobbing infant's right to life as conditional, or as a matter of mere politics. Good men -- indeed, men of even mediocre decency -- stand and say The least among us deserves his next breath as much as the greatest, and when given the chance to affirm it in law, do so unhesitatingly.

Senator Obama may or may not believe that the statement is true, but he explicitly refused to enshrine it in law. For that, he is a bad man.

But put that to the side.

Good men do not stand quietly by while scandal is performed before their eyes. Ordinary men of common decency might remain silent in the face of a leader -- a political leader, a spiritual leader, what have you -- portraying evil as good, and setting moral ills forth as morally neutral or morally good acts; you would expect that of an ordinary human, because to do otherwise is to risk shame, and excommunication, and a host of ills that rational, selfish men have no desire to inflict as pain on themselves. The lesson of every demagogue's rise, every tyrant's grasp of power, every flock led astray by an unhinged priest, is that the overwhelming majority of men who might otherwise object, who might cry out This is not right in fact remain silent, and even acquiesce, because there are terrible consequences for a social animal to reject the way of the herd.

I presume -- an abundance of evidence to the contrary -- that Senator Obama does not believe that America is damned for its collective sins, and does not believe that the American government and its (white) population continue to perform acts of extraordinary depravity (and, in the creation of the AIDS virus, magic) on its black population. I do not despise Barack Obama for being a social animal, or for being a man who is -- let us be honest here about the best possible interpretation -- too weak to reject the views of those whom he loves and befriends, from his wife to his preacher to his friends to his political allies, because in that way, he is very ordinary. Expecting heroism -- or, if you prefer, goodness -- out of men is a losing proposition on almost every level possible, and it is perversely easier to expect when the only danger is to a man's life and well-being, as opposed to his social standing. Funny world.

But good men do not sit idly by while malice and evil are taught as moral goods. Taking Senator Obama on the most generous, most reasonable possible interpretation -- that he sat, for two decades, in the pews of the church he has frequently lauded as his spiritual home, with his two young daughters -- then he has not, in fact, been a good man. He has been a small man, a mediocre man, an ordinary man. Good men do not sit idly by while evil prospers.

About twelve years ago, I was attending Mass at the church near my family's house, while I was home from college on summer vacation. The Pastor was expounding on the Gospel, trying manfully to tie it together with the First and Second Readings in a way he hadn't before, when out of nowhere, he began discussing abortion. We weren't talking about the little children, or millstones, or the rock on which I build, or anything even remotely related (if memory serves, Christ had fed the masses with bread and fish); instead, out of nowhere, this otherwise pleasant Dominican launches into what he clearly believes is a reasoned discussion on the licitness of abortion. No big deal, except he then goes on to offer that there's nothing in Catholic teaching that forbids procuring or inducing an abortion, and that there's a lot of misinformation out there. From there, it's off into a discussion about how we don't really know that an embryo (he used the words zygote, fetus, and embryo interchangeably; I've simply settled on the middle stage for this recitation) is human, so performing or procuring an abortion exists in that moral gray area in which the Church teaches that the informed conscience leads.

So I got up and walked out. I was four rows from the front, a couple of spaces in, and I left. I didn't say anything, though I drew looks. I didn't think I was doing anything heroic, because I wasn't; I simply refused, publicly, to be part of scandal. I never went back. I don't think anyone else got up.

I'm not a good man; in fact, I think I'm a pretty despicable, low, contemptible man. My act was almost certainly made easier by the fact that I had only an intermittent relationship with that Parish, and so had no real ties to break when I left. But I couldn't simply sit there and give tacit assent to a very, very bad thing.

Barry Obama never got up and left -- or more accurately, he claims he's now more or less, sort of, gotten up and left, but when it mattered, when he could have quietly refused to be part of something demonstrably wrong, he remained silent, and simply sat there. That doesn't make him a bad man; it makes him an ordinary man.

Before I go any farther, let's talk about Donatism. I'm Catholic: It is the teaching of my Church that one priest is as capable of ministering the sacraments as the next, because of the office and Order invested in them by God. (An Orthodox priest in one of the Churches in the line of Apostolic Succession is similarly empowered.) Thus, while I might prefer one parish over another, because of convenience, the presence of a cry-room, the style of the liturgy, the blessed absence of banjos, what have you, there is no greater and no lesser value to any Catholic Church I might attend.

I say all of that because I don't understand the concept of a personal, spiritual relationship with one's pastor. It literally makes no sense to me. I understand the idea of a priest as spiritual companion and to a very limited (but usually overstated) extent, intermediary; I understand the idea of a priest's words, or teaching, or example, being so important that it brings one to, or closer to, the Risen Christ. But I don't understand the idea of having one's spiritual identity so tied up in a priest's teaching that divorcing yourself from the priest is tantamount to, if not synonymous with, divorcing oneself from one's spiritual identity. Yet this was Obama's defense, until it was no longer politically expedient: I could no sooner repudiate this man than I could repudiate my left leg.

And that is Donatism. It is an explicit union between a mortal and the delivery of God's grace. And it is another sign that, at best, Barack Obama is not a good man, but an ordinary, weak one. The Change That We Have Been Hoping For is incapable of effecting the very least change imaginable to protect his daughters from venom; the only evil that can be repudiated is that of Republicans.

So don't tell me that Barack Obama is a good man. Good men are rare, incredible treasures.

And even good men deserve the consequences of their actions.

Or has not the good Senator tied himself to his pastor, in his published works, in his public image, in his speeches until the last? Has he not gone out of his way to associate with the man, and made his faith a cornerstone of his public person?

And has he not run for the Presidency of the United States, a contact sport where bean bag is not even in the exercise routine? Does he not sleep in cheap motels, eat indifferent and greasy food, sneak quiet cigarette breaks where possible, shake thousands of hands, and ritually avoid hard questions from reporters, all in the pursuit of the most powerful office in the world?

Barack Obama has pledged his health, some portion of his wealth, and years of his life grasping for near-ultimate power. He deserves scrutiny, because he wants that power badly enough to do serious damage to his life and the lives of those close to him. That last is extraordinary only relative to the general population; almost every other human to run for the Presidency does so. However, that simply means that they're all borderline insane, and they deserve the probing their psyches receive, for fear of what else lurks under that incredible ambition.

So the attempt to decouple a man's actions from their consequences -- a coupling vital to our laws, our ideas of right and wrong, the very fabric of our society -- is not merely wrong, it is insulting to the men who would trace effect to those consequences, and the good man who set them in motion.

So don't tell me that a man who has bent the last two years in a run for the Presidency of the United States, who would allow newborn children to die in trash cans, who sat silent for two decades as incredible venom was hurled at the pews in which he sat, does not deserve the consequences of his actions.

Tell me instead whether anyone can experience the consequences of their acts, if this man cannot.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Don’t be surprised if many of the young people enthusiastically supporting Paul today wind up crossing the line in a general election and using some of that enthusiasm in support of Obama. I’m sure there are many who gravitate to Paul because of individual issues or out of anger against the establishment. Those followers will drift to third-parties or sit out the election altogether. But there are more, like me, who gravitate to him because of his faith in personal freedom and in the fundamental belief in the human spirit such conviction implies. Obama may not satisfy our thirst for liberty, but he certainly appeals to the human spirit.
A mighty fortress is Obama,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.

I am blessed to be standing in the city where my own extraordinary journey began. A few miles from here, in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant, is where I learned what it takes to make change happen.

I was a young organizer then, intent on fighting joblessness and poverty on the South Side, and I still remember one of the very first meetings I put together. We had worked on it for days, but no one showed up. Our volunteers felt so defeated, they wanted to quit. And to be honest, so did I.

But at that moment, I looked outside and saw some young boys tossing stones at a boarded-up apartment building across the street. They were like boys in so many cities across the country - boys without prospects, without guidance, without hope. And I turned to the volunteers, and I asked them, "Before you quit, I want you to answer one question. What will happen to those boys?" And the volunteers looked out that window, and they decided that night to keep going - to keep organizing, keep fighting for better schools, and better jobs, and better health care. And so did I. And slowly, but surely, in the weeks and months to come, the community began to change.
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Barack that brought us safe thus far...
and Barack will lead us home.

We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. We are the hope of those boys who have little; who've been told that they cannot have what they dream; that they cannot be what they imagine.

Yes they can.

We are the hope of the father who goes to work before dawn and lies awake with doubts that tell him he cannot give his children the same opportunities that someone gave him.

Yes he can.

We are the hope of the woman who hears that her city will not be rebuilt; that she cannot reclaim the life that was swept away in a terrible storm.

Yes she can.

We are the hope of the future; the answer to the cynics who tell us our house must stand divided; that we cannot come together; that we cannot remake this world as it should be.

Because we know what we have seen and what we believe - that what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored; that will not be deterred; that will ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest - Yes. We. Can.
Just one touch and He makes me whole,
Speaks sweet peace to my sin sick soul,
At His feet all my burdens roll,
Cured by the Healer divine.

That is who we are. That is the Party that we need to be, and can be, if we cast off our doubts, and leave behind our fears, and choose the America that we know is possible. Because there is a moment in the life of every generation, if it is to make its mark on history, when its spirit has to come through, when it must choose the future over the past, when it must make its own change from the bottom up.

This is our moment. This is our message - the same message we had when we were up, and when we were down. The same message that we will carry all the way to the convention. And in seven months time - right here in Denver - we can realize this promise; we can claim this legacy; we can choose new leadership for America. Because there is nothing we cannot do if the American people decide it is time.

So I run to Obama
Please help me Obama
Don't you see me prayin'
Don't you see me down here prayin'

I ask you to take this second path - this harder path - not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, although you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all of those who helped you get to where you are, although you do have that debt.

I ask you to take it because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on our collective salvation. And because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.
When Barack's folk was in Red State land
Let my people go!
Disenfranchised so they couldn't stand
Let my people go!

I've now listened to and read dozens of his speeches, on television and in person and in print. Tonight was, in my judgment, the best. He was able to frame the attacks on him as a reason to vote for him. He was able to frame his foes as the status quo - beyond the Clintons or the Bushes, Democrats or Republicans. He was able to cast his candidacy as a rebuke to the Balkanization of the American public, a response to the abuse of religion for political purposes, a repudiation of the cynicism that makes all political commentary a function of horse-races and spin. It was an appeal to Democrats, Republicans and Independents to say goodbye to all that. It was a burial of Rove and Morris. And it was better than his previous speeches because he kept bringing it back to policy specifics, to the economy and healthcare and, movingly, to this misbegotten war. The diverse coalition he has assembled - including an ornery small-government conservative like me - is a reflection of the future of this country, its potential and its irreplaceable, dynamic cultural and social mix.

This is the America we all love. He is showing us how to find it again. That's leadership.

And, yes. We can.
Go, tell it on the mountain!
Over the hills and everywhere!
Go, tell it on the mountain!
That Barack Obama is born!

It is extremely disturbing to hear, not that Obama admires Reagan, but why he does so. Reagan was not a sunny optimist pushing dynamic entrepreneurship, but a savvy politician using a civil rights backlash to catapult conservatives to power. Lots of people don't agree with this, of course, since it doesn't fit a coherent narrative of GOP ascendancy. Masking Reagan's true political underpinning principles is a central goal of the conservative movement, with someone as powerful as Grover Norquist seeking to put Reagan's name on as many monuments as possible and the Republican candidates themselves using Reagan's name instead of George Bush's in GOP debates as a mark of greatness. Why would the conservative movement create such idolatry around Reagan? Is is because they just want to honor a great man? Perhaps that is some of it. Or are they trying to escape the legacy of the conservative movement so that it can be rebuilt in a few years, as they did after Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I?

I don't know. But if you think, as Obama does, that Reagan's rise to power was premised on a sunny optimism in contrast to an out of control government and a society rife with liberal excess, then you don't understand the conservative movement. Reagan tapped into greed and fear and tribalism, and those are powerful forces. Ignoring that isn't going to make them go away.
Obama, Obama, lama sabachthani?!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

When I was at RedState, there were only three bloggers who I felt should never have been given posting privileges of any sort, for different reasons. Each was a Josh Trevino addition -- but let me be absolutely clear about something here: So was I. (Er, that doesn't make anything better.) Let me try it this way: Josh scores so many hits, you'd expect a few misses along with them. Moreover, given that his intent in his part of the creation of the site was to create a broad coalition of center-right writers, you have to give him credit for actually following through, even though the results were uneven.

One, Sebastian Holsclaw, left after the changeover from the Scoop platform to the Drupal model RedState is getting ready to abandon. Sebastian's problem, as far as I was concerned, was that he was so out of touch with the community as a whole that his posts were like dropping a snare drum solo into a performance of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Bright fella, nice guy (from what I could see), decent-but-not-great writer, but just really out of step with the other writers and commenters.

The second, Charles Bird, still writes there. Frankly, I'm leery of sharing too many of my thoughts about him given his reaction to my departure, but that reaction is illustrative of two parts of the problem: Charles is and was a plodding, dim, extraordinarily conventional thinker, and his writing reflects it; but aside from comforting me that I wasn't the least capable talent on the front page of RedState, there's not much wrong with that. Bird's issues are two-fold, but inextricably intertwined: (1) Charles's blogging belongs first and foremost to that left-wing moron factory, Obsidian Wings, and it shows not only in his I-don't-expect-intelligent-reply style (and that he can't be bothered to change the hyperlinks in his work to redirect to his work on RedState), but also in the essential thrust of the work, which tends to be explicative to, for, and from the perspective of center-lefters. (2) Charles is more naturally comfortable with the Left, partially out of reflexive ideological sympathy, and partially out of the absence of two functioning prefrontal lobes; this in turn is why Charles has spent more than his share of time on his home site (the moron factory) taking shots at RedState. (I wasn't the one to whom he gave his cherry, if you catch my drift.) That post-semicolon part was the biggest reason I wanted him gone; sadly, as with my efforts to ban the (other) below-I.Q. 100 commenters at RedState, I was as much a miserable failure as Charles's teachers from kindergarten on.

(Yes, that's "not sharing too many of my thoughts.")

But I'm not here to address Sebastian or Bird. Instead, this is about John Cole.

A good friend of mine forwarded this a while back with the notation, "Pot, Meet Kettle." There's no point in excerpting it or commenting on it -- by now, anyone familiar with how John has degenerated will be able to sing along with it by knowing that he's upset with The Dread Rises for obsessiveness -- except to say that it's what prompted me to write this.

Flash back a loooong way. H.D. Miller -- remember him, anyone? Traveling Shoes? (H.D. has taken that blog private.) -- turned me on to him back in 2002 or 2003. Professor Miller would doubtless qualify as a wingnut in Cole's current lexicography, but back then, during an email exchange, he told me I should check out Cole's work.

I got a kick out of it. It was a fun read, he clearly didn't like my political priorities, but he clearly didn't like a lot of others', and he used to turn the odd good phrase. I was tickled when I found out I'd get to write with him at RedState, about two years later.

Now, this may surprise those of you whose experience with Cole is from mid-2006 on, but at one time, John was a fairly critical thinker. He pretty much always considered me a theocrat in waiting -- which isn't fair, I'm a monarchist if I'm anything -- but he was pretty up-front that (1) if I didn't bother him about it, he wouldn't bother me about it, and (2) that notwithstanding, common ground could make common fronts possible.

So: I recognize that abortion is murder, as is dehydrating one's wife to death; he thinks people should be free to commit these kinds of murder. Fair enough. At one time -- back before he voted for, and endorsed, Alan Mollohan and Bob Byrd -- we could agree that the growth of the Federal government is, ceteris paribus, a bad thing, and that efforts should be made to stop this. Of course, at one time, he wasn't actively opposed to winning in Iraq, either.

The critical issue, though, wasn't whether he and I agreed, so much as that you could tell he'd thought things through before he wrote, at least a large percentage of the time. Here in blog-land, that's a fairly rare event.

(Dark, funny secret: One of my posts that most set off the orangutans who inhabit the American Left was actually a composite work of the then-RedState crew, including, probably most heavily but for yours truly, John as the foremost contributor. Hint: Think late-summer 2005, and "yard ape.")

What's particularly hard about all this is that John is now just one more lefty. I can read the few bright lefties out there and think, Hm, maybe I don't agree, but that is a good insight, or even, Ya know, I think I agree with that. It says something that there is now nothing interesting about Cole except his on-again, off-again fascination with RedState. Basically, he's turned his site into a group-blog, slightly-wider-ranging version of B. Fred State.

John left around the same time Sebastian did -- sadly, Charles chose to stay after the switchover, and curiously, continued to post to the front through all of the 2006 and 2007, even though he now claims his work was purely in the diaries -- which more or less dovetailed with when I was agitating for him to leave. (There was no connection between my attempts and his voluntary parting.) The common theme for the three was that all spent a fair amount of their time shooting at RedState from their home blogs, only to turn up at RedState and pretend nothing had happened. At the founding of RedState, the operating principle was that only what's done on the site matters as to fronting privileges; however, I took that to mean that political positions taken elsewhere were not taken into account. Maybe it had changed two years later, and maybe it hadn't; maybe I was right, and maybe I was wrong. Regardless, it says something about a man if he'll tell one public audience something awful about you, then pretend in front of another public audience that there's nothing amiss.

Why did John go nuts? I dunno. I sometimes think it's ObiWi disease; sometimes, I think John's meds have failed; yet other times, I suspect he's simply grown senile.

For whatever reason, there's really no intellectual or substantive difference between anything he writes and the sort of pedestrian work you can find any time Markos Moulitsas writes for his page, or what the intellectual pin-cushions at Obsidian Wings spew at theirs. He's become an indistinguishable howl in the crowd, and I don't think his broken principles, such as they were, sting him any more.

Damned shame, really.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dear Idiot Supporters of Ron Paul:



If you can't even place higher than any of the Republican candidates who bothered to campaign in New Hampshire, it's time to consider that maybe, just maybe, you're not wanted in polite company.

Toss off, you Nazi sympathizers. You're well gone from my Party.

Never any of the best,

Thomas H. Crown

Thursday, January 03, 2008

People, people, nominal people: You're not paying attention.

To the morons at ObiWi: Keep them coming, and keep it classy.

UPDATE: I'm apparently using words a tad too large for the neo-Nazis who infest Ron Paul's support base. Look, with moderated comments, in a sense, all comments become for my amusement; I only publish them if I think they'll specially amuse me. Your comments never appear unless I let them. Get it?

FURTHER UPDATE: Apparently, 80% of my troll traffic lately comes from Ron Paul sites. Obsidian Wings has something bigger to stew on (and my sincere condolences). An inordinate number of the comments I've recently come from a fellow I banned at RedState for having problems with Mexicans. If he wants to keep wasting his time, he's welcome to it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A farewell from a midget.

Worry not, hilzoy: I hold you in just about as much respect as you hold me. What brought us together? This:

This is not the only time that Thomas has committed the sin of presumption by claiming to know God's will not just in general cases -- e.g., His disapproval of murder or idolatry -- but in specifics as well.
Your ability -- demonstrated time and again -- to reason from the general to the specific (not to mention your honesty about it!) has brought Mohammed to the Mountain. Well done, hon.

UPDATE: I love you too, Charles. I'm impressed that you shared this with the folks at Obsidian Wings, where because of Moe, few of us ever went, rather than, say, in an email to me.

If you ever want to say that to my face, you know where to find me.
This was originally posted at RedState as Just a drop of water in an endless sea. I was going to leave it there, and only there, but given the warm reception that Nazi-coddler's acolytes have given it, I really don't have much choice but to put it up here, too.

Oh, and Lonewacko: Lying doesn't help your case, even when it's more sophistry than an outright lie.

I thought about calling this And thanks for all the fish, but that's been done. I confess to being tempted with The Wrath of the Valheru, but only because it's the coolest phrase in English ever. I also thought about The Bad Wolf, but that would be lost on the non-geeky.

So, I'm leaving.

Traditionally, diaries such as these tend to focus on how awful everyone's been to the diarist; how the blogosphere is a great, teeming mass of unfairness that stalks the land like a great, teeming, unfair, massive thing; and they tend to be interesting only from an anthropological perspective. We've been blessed with relatively few of even the truly interesting type -- the great kowalski's numerous successes in defying convention notwithstanding -- so I'm hoping this one will at least do all the budding archaeology majors a service.

One last time, please, read on.

I've been with RedState since just before it went live, and it's been one helluva ride. In honor of that ride, there are some things I need to get out there.

First and foremost, whenever someone leaves, there's the inevitable Why? followed by the even more inevitable I know the real reason. This isn't helped when the person leaving is coy about the rationale, as some have been, so let me put the record straight, right hand raised, left hand on the keyboard, gripping hand on the Bible.

I'm so tired. That's pretty much it. I don't mean this to be a Waah, waah, woe is me moment -- if what follows doesn't make clear how enjoyable all this has been, nothing will -- but it really does take a lot of effort to make this nominal hobby work, and balancing that against a job that eats, and has always eaten, a lot of my time, and an ever-growing brood, is a balancing act without easy parallel. Moreover, it has been driven home to me by everyone's decision to focus on the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination, forsaking Congress and local government, that my voice carries a lot less weight than it once did -- a good thing, I stress, because that means the community has several hundred minds of its own, but a tiring thing, nevertheless.

I have lost a few friendships as a result of my work here, including one that I treasured, of someone I admire and respect (and rather like) to this day. I'm by nature a fairly darkly cynical fellow, and the occasional cheerleading that is needed for good Party efforts has become harder of late.

I am, until the end of this diary, a Director of this site, and I am honored to be one; but my chair is a rotating one, and it will soon be filled by another. My production on the site has become limited to behind-the-scenes work, some nasty troll-killing, and the odd bit of meta-site work to keep the comments and diaries from getting out of control. In other words, my real value to the site has plunged to very close to

And, I must confess, I no longer take the great joy in troll-killing that I once did. It's a short, grim smile, where before I'd have a grin that would last whole minutes.

The intra-site bloodfest that has been the 2008 primaries has been ... hard. No matter what someone says about your preferred candidate -- or their own voting tendencies -- it would have been nice if most folks had remembered that we're gonna wake up next to each other the morning after the primaries, and that we can't do that thing where we awkwardly pause before mumbling something, grab the keys, and never making eye contact, hurry out the door. Basically, it's been like having a year of Schiavo and Miers all bundled up into one big lovefest that never ends: Obsessive ranting and spinning and condemnation among folks who normally share politics, conversation, and hobbies is enough to drive anyone who cares about this site bonkers.

I have the option to remain a Contributor and moderator; but I don't do halfsies.

Because the seat is rotating, this is probably the best possible time to hang up my holster, smile, softly sing A Wanderin' Star, and leave.

So, that's why. Nothing romantic, nothing special, just being ready for a break at the right time.

That leads to thanks where due.

First, I owe Ben, Mike, and Josh a sincere thanks for bringing me on board as the least talented, affirmative-action Cajun Editor three and a half years ago; and an even deeper thanks for opening the toolkit to me, while I was making fun of Mike's shirt, no less.

Second, I owe Ben, Erick, Clayton, and Mike, a thanks for this turn at being a Director. It was worth the wait, guys.

Third, I owe my fellow Contributors a hearty round of thanks for putting up with, befriending, and offering encouragement and jibes to me when I needed both. I'm privileged to have been part of such a wonderful group, and don't ever think I don't know it.

Fourth, I owe every diarist and commenter whom I haven't banned (permanently) a sincere round of thanks for the good arguments, the repartee, and Tbone's Cajun jokes. Actually, that last leads to an important point: A lot of the smiles, laughs, and happy cackles of determination I've experienced these last three years are due in no small part to all of the wonderful members of the community that have made their online home here. Naming Tbone doesn't take away from the hundreds of others whose words I've treasured; I could name them all day, and still not finish.

Fifth, I want to take a moment to thank Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Duncan Black, Oliver Willis, the whole crew at Obsidian Wings, and the writers of any other far-left wing moron factory I've inadvertantly omitted, for sending us the waves of cretins who've, between them, managed to make target practice a sport for the whole family again. A special thanks for MKS, acupuncture-boy.

Sixth, Rachel: Thank you for sending me one email that kept me going when I thought I shouldn't. And congratulations again.

Now, a few remaining administrative notes.

First: I have withheld any statement of support for any GOP Presidential candidate because it seemed like bad idea, as a Director of the site, to make such an endorsement, and -- God, how I've waited to say this -- because the whole damned lot can go to Hell. What an incompetent mass of horse rear-flesh bound up in what, on paper, is one of the most talented groups the GOP has ever had. I could go on, but the full thing is in my concurrently posted piece, And the horses you all rode in on, one at a time, then rotate.

Second, Lonewacko Blog, if you're reading this -- and based on your obsessively repeated tirade across half the blogosphere and Wikipedia, you are: I banned you, you dirty little racist. I banned you for being a racist, and for showing us that you are a racist. I did not ban you for criticizing George W. Bush, in no small part because where you disagreed with him, I have publicly disagreed with him, you diseased piece of rhinoceros pizzle; I banned you because you decided to share your problems with brown people on this site.

Speaking of whining, puling little men without chests: Dear Adam Bonin: You pathetic excuse for a mockup of a pigtailed little girl. You were banned because you were an obnoxious ass who liked to drop off-topic bank shots into comments whenever you didn't like the way a thread was going; because you lacked more than infrequent courtesy in how you treated a place that doesn't resemble the asylum you call your community home; and because whenever you felt threatened, you went running for Mommy and Daddy as loudly as you could. Your weaselly attempt to frame (I used a word with which you're familiar to bring this back into the realm of the comprehensible for you) your banning to any and all who would listen is replete with a priori conceptual, logical, and, best of all, factual errors on a nearly unparalleled scale. The next time you want to whine about getting a richly deserved punishment, save yourself the embarrassment of making up new facts you like, and just cry into the hindquarters of a baboon at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Speaking of little girls: To Matt Stoller: One day, you're going to learn that there are consequences to pathetically seeking friendship from people offline, then knifing them in the kidneys online, not least of which is that when those pictures of you and the obese, naked clowns come to light, there's no one there to defend you. I will come out of retirement the day that happens, Stinky, to pee on the burial site of your reputation.

Third: Oh, how I've longed to say this -- to the astroturfing advance scouts of certain political campaigns, many of whom alternate between singlehandedly driving the collective IQ of the site from above 100 to just above 1, and to suddenly turning out pieces that magically change writing styles and abilities: I hope your conscience lets you sleep well at night, because were I the little angel on your shoulder, I'd be trying out an Ogre Battle style halo shot on your skull nightly.

Fourth, because no one else will say this: Mitt Romney belongs to a cult. Not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; that's no cult. His freaking political campaign is a cult, and I could have been one of his supporters but for the cult he founded. A pox on everyone formally associated with the campaign, and indeed, everyone ever formally associated with that cult.

Fifth: Guys, when commenting, please hit preview. Please.

Sixth: To all the banned Ron Paul supporters who've filled my inbox lately: Go worship your Nazi-coddler in the privacy of your own home, and stop wasting my Party's time with it. Oh, and **** Ron Paul.

Final, random notes:

These will be the last words I ever write at RedState. I can say that with 99% certainty, because I'm a horrible sucker for nostalgia. I sometimes, on long road trips, pass the old Publix where my wife and I shopped for the first couple of years after we married, and I tear up and start choking just driving into that parking lot. Dropping three-point-five years of commitment into a website means that if I don't want to bawl like an Adam Bonin, I need to stay away.

I've transferred my best content to my old site, now three and change years quiescent. I may write there again; I may not. I'd say comments are welcome -- and they are -- but I can't get any commenting service, neither Blogspot's, nor a third-party's service, to function there, and I'm too cheap to spring for private hosting.

The email address on the contact form is going to go inactive right after I hit "Submit" on this diary, so don't use that if you want to get in touch. My old blog has my current email address on the left bar.

I have five regrets, in total, one of which, no one knows but yours truly. One is known to three people, and can be guessed by about four more. One is known to every Contributor, each of whom is sworn to secrecy. Aside from those, I regret not being able to see RedState 3.0 -- you guys have no idea the work that's going into that. It's gonna rock. The fifth, and most poignant regret, is that I never had the chance to properly beg Ramesh Ponnuru to write something for the site. National Review may have slipped a peg on the old respectability scale, but not because of any work of Ramesh's. The man is one of my heroes, and this regret stings.

There's so much more, but I don't want to make this diary any longer than it already is. Thanks again, folks: It really has been an adventure. So:

I don't know half of you as well as I should like, and like less than half of you as well as you deserve.

Always all the best, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year,

Thomas H. Crown

This was originally posted at RedState -- my penultimate work there -- under the title And the horses you all rode in on, one at a time, then rotate. Interestingly, it produced one of the more insightful ... er, make that the insightful comment I've read at Daily Kos here.

You all have no idea how long I've wanted to write this. For the reasons set forth in my next diary, I can, and am; but I've been saving this up for a while. Pardon the spleen.

Dear Senators Thompson and McCain; Governors Romney and Huckabee; and Mayor Giuliani: You all suck.

Read on to see why. Or don't; I figure only two of you are smart enough to care why a conservative, Mass-going Catholic would personally drive the buggy to take you all to Hell.

Before I go any further, to any outraged supporters of any of these candidates: Toss it. So many of you have spent so much time shilling for your preferred choices, you've lost track of first principles. I have no time for far too many of you, and those of you with the brainpower to actually merit notice have picked the wrong company in which to travel.

Let's start with my favorite: Mayor Rudolph "Voting for Me is Material Cooperation with Evil" Giuliani. I owe you a sincere and hearty congratulations: You have taken what should have been a commanding lead in the primaries and run it into the ground through a combination of provincialism (you're a New Yorker, I guess I shouldn't expect any better), leftism on social principles, and the sort of rare political sophistication that comes from thinking that because you've faced down what New York has to offer, you are entitled to support. But what you've really done -- where you've truly shined -- is offered Republican voters a lesson in why not to vote for a liberal Catholic, a lesson they heretofore always thought could be summarized as "because he's a Democrat." Bravo, cretin.

The problem, at base, is two-fold: Part One: Your policy positions and natural inclinations would have left you a Democrat anywhere but New York City or San Francisco. Being honest with yourself is the first step on the road to recovery: Admit it. Deal with it. Move on. You are not a fiscal conservative (hint: fiscal conservatives do not adore the progressive tax structure). You are not a social conservative (oh, you are not a social conservative). You are not a small-government conservative (never, ever that). What you are is some guy who decided he didn't like crime and disorder. Bad news, buckaroo: This isn't the 1970s. 'Round these parts, even Democrats figured out -- heck, even the Clintons figured out -- that criminals are bad people years before anyone called you anything but "challenged by a combover."

You're a Democrat running for the Republican nomination. Admit it -- yell it to the Heavens -- and move on.

The second part is related. You are a liberal Catholic. I know, I know, my identification of this disqualifies everything I say hereafter; that's why you're not one of the two candidates smart enough to understand that there's a problem.

The problem with liberal Catholics is a flip of the problem with conservative Catholics who seek ecclesiastical support for their every preferred policy position: Instead of trying to stick a square peg in a round hole, as the latter do, the former insist that the peg is really round, and that it's their right to change the entire structure of everything in Creation to fit their preferred outcomes. This is a problematic attitude to hold in a Church that teaches that things simply are sometimes, and it's a horrible attitude to carry into trying to be the national standard bearer for an American political party.

Now, Republicans know that to run a campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination in the post-Reagan era, one must do at least minimal obeisance to the three pillars of modern Republicanism: Strong national defense, fiscal conservatism, and social conservatism. We also know that we have to speak in optimistic, glowing terms about the American Republic, because it really is the best nation on God's green Earth, and people would like to be reminded every so often; and following from that, our national candidate must speak of national beliefs and goals.

As a liberal Catholic Democrat with a bad tendency to provincialism, you have spent your entire campaign going on about the "two legs" of the Republican platform, omitting social conservatism, and your entire campaign has been spent talking about New York. You have tried to insist that the peg is really round, refusing to even speak of its angles, and you have run with the sort of provincialism that kills a political campaign. I know New Yorkers are convinced that they are uniquely qualified to be God because of where they live; and I know that you are convinced as a theological matter that everything should bend before you; but grow the Hell up.

We are a coalition defined by conservatism of every manner and method. We expect our only national candidate to at least sorta pretend or at least kinda project a vague belief in all the kinds of conservatism, of which, bad news, Mayor, social conservatism is a vital part. What we require is so damned minimal it's not funny: We don't ask that you support executing abortionists, that you tattoo gay men with bar codes, that Federal marshals enforce Bible study time in public schools: We ask that you support the right of the people to choose socially conservative practices for themselves, or not. But because you're a Democrat (and a liberal Catholic), you just can't swallow that, can ya?

I personally know very smart people who have advised your campaign on how to avoid all of the problems your social policy preferences would yield, and because the freaking peg is round, their advice wasn't given the time of day. That worked out well, huh?

Relatedly, there's the whole "busted family" thing. One of the critical insights Republicans have offered is that a private life is suggestive of how a public life will work. It's something a lot of people instinctively understand. Now, your personal life is, let's put this delicately, FUBAR; but your decision not to deal with it early in the campaign is, as near as I can discern, not a function of dengue-fever level stupidity, but rather an insistence that the world reorder itself to you. That, too, has worked out pretty well.

The net result is that you have paved the way for Mitt Romney (below) to slide to the nomination, and to drag us all to the bottom of the ocean against Queen Thickankles. Oh, and if you somehow get the nomination, you'll break the Party in twain. Wonderful. Thanks, Mr. Mayor.

Now, for Governor Willard "Mitt" "Astroturf" Romney: God, what a waste you are. You know, I actually could have supported you, and have toyed with it. You seem like a nice, competent fellow. Were you like this the whole time, I'd have been with you from day one. Somewhere in there is a real human being, with real fire in his belly, and I would be proud to call that man "Mr. President."

Unfortunately, that guy's not running. Instead, we have Al Gore's anima infused in a Ken Doll, and gifted with actual business sense. You're clearly smarting from your Dad's self-destruction all those years ago -- an understandable impulse -- and so you've decided to be all things to all Republicans, and to run your political campaign like a modern business enterprise. Bad idea.

Our own Dan McLaughlin has extensively covered the numerous reasons you'd give us heartburn (here, here, here, here, and here), and on those counts, I don't think there's any point in repeating, less eloquently, what he's said. Instead, I'm going to tell you why a lot of grassroots Republicans want nothing to do with you, and it has nothing to do with you being Mormon.

Stephen Green, or perhaps Jonah Goldberg, noted that watching you campaign is like being asked, What do I have to do to put you in this BMW today? I think that's emblematic of the way your campaign has been run, and it's why those of us who pay attention to these things (and those of us who, unlike I, actually have the ability to influence opinion, have turned off on you) want nothing to do with the cult you've founded.

You sent astroturfers out into the blogging world, as bloggers, commenters, and, here, diarists. On its face, this sounds like a good business practice: Build demand and awareness for the product, then unleash the product. In real life, this is stupid. Like the fake websites that some PR companies set up for large corporations, anyone who's actually paying attention sniffs these things out in short order, and then you end up with egg on your face.

Your campaign is run like a cult-of-personality version of Amway. I don't want to steal anyone's thunder here, but let's just say it's possible to criticize your policy positions or record without caring what your religious beliefs are; it is, however, impossible to criticize your policy positions or record without being called a bigot, or having your livelihood threatened. (Oh, and Stephen, if you're reading this: You're part of the problem.) I loathe everyone and everything associated with your campaign, and by extension, this means I have to hope to Almighty God you don't take the nomination, because I know you will not only die in the general, you will do enormous collateral damage in your death-throes.

You lie about your record and your past. Don't do that. That's Al Gore's way of dealing with a disappointed father. I understand that this is an attempt to rebrand the product, but you aren't [bleep]ing Coca-Cola: We don't care about New Coke, we care that you pretend that public funding of abortions is taking a pro-life stance.

And yet, we're probably stuck with you, because of the incredible incompetence of your opponents. On the Wonder Years, an otherwise awful and highly forgettable show, the narrator once noted that his parents faced a conundrum when deciding how to decorate the kitchen. Dad would insist on some tile he liked. Mom would insist on some tile she liked. They'd compromise on some tile no one in our species liked.

You are that tile, Mitt. You are the "Eh," Candidate. Congratulations.

Now, for an old nemesis: St. John the McCain. Man, you just never got it. You were, by rights, the front-runner. You had your shot in 2000, missed, said and did most (but, critically, not all) of the right things, and you lined up for your coronation. But you never really internalized that there is a difference between saying what a reporter thinks is a good thing, and saying what the average Republican voter thinks is a good thing. I would say this is merely a form of error, but repeated over the course of eight years, I'm forced to conclude that it's actually a form of powerful stupidity. This sucks, because I think you're our best chance to beat the Hildebeest.

Think it through: Does the average Republican voter like that you helped form a compromise on judges that left some very good judges out in the cold? Does the average Republican voter like restrictions on his political speech near election time? Does the average Republican voter like that you've all but accused American soldiers of torturing others? Does the average Republican voter like that you side with the Democrats on global warming? Does the average Republican voter like that you've all but called anyone who disagrees with your immigration stance a bigot? If you've answered any of these questions (or, apparently, all of these questions) "Yes," then I'd respectfully submit that you deserve the drubbing you're about to get.

You're going, I'll bet, to win New Hampshire, thereby proving once and for all that New Hampshire Republicans aren't. And after that, you're going to go down in flames, helping The Chief Astroturfer take the rest of us down. You're going to do this because you've so enjoyed playing up the maverick part of "maverick Republican" that you've neglected to show Republican voters that you're actually much more Republican than maverick. Instead, these last seven years, instead of publicly mending bridges burned in 2000, you have Schumered to every camera you could find whenever you wanted to share your latest deviation from the Republican Party. As a way to get free press, it beats everything but public human sacrifice to Moloch. As a way to win the Republican nomination for President of the United States, it's up there with public human sacrifice to Moloch. (And, as you at one point endorsed worship of Moloch for scientific purposes, you already lost that portion of the base that understands the allusion.)

That you're clearly nuts isn't the problem; I don't know that we'd mind a nutter for the Presidency. The problem is that, to paraphrase a wag at the Washington Post Online seven years ago, you keep alienating a key constituency in the Republican Party: Republicans. Put differently: The general election happens second. You have to win the primaries first.

I really think you could have squared the circle and made everyone understand what you brought to the table; but history is sometimes prologue, and for you, it's every damned chapter.

Now, for the second coming of Huey Long: Governor Huckabee. I'd like to congratulate you on getting a core component of the Republican base to forget one of the most vital lessons of modern American politics: Never vote for the governor of Arkansas for anything. Now, as Texan, and son of Louisiana, I have to confess I'm perhaps disproportionately amazed at this feat, as we get to see you and yours on an unfortunately consistent basis. But credit where due: You're offering a lot of my fellow conservatives a cyanide pill, and they're begging for the chance to swallow it.

Your problems are two-fold, and in a sense, it's not fair for me to criticize you: You've only been on the radar for a little while, and haven't had the chance to lie yourself into a pretzel the way Mitt Romney has.

But, let's just get them out there: Your foreign policy instincts smell like Matt Stoller. I don't care what your positions are: You can, if you somehow miraculously secure funding, hire gurus to tell you what to think on each policy position; heck, hire a whole Potemkin Village of eminences grises for foreign policy, much as Giuliani has done for judges. Your instincts -- what you say off the cuff -- suggest to me that you should never be allowed near the big, shiny red button, and that you cannot be trusted not to Carter your way through foreign affairs.

The second problem -- and why I'm frightened you could win with enough funding -- is that I think real populism sells. The Democrats' immoral approach to human life and the social ills of our nation probably only buys them about a third of their general election support. Where they cash in is being massive redistributionists, and, as a son of Louisiana, I can see that healthy sparkle in your eyes. Combine an economically liberal approach to the world with social conservatism, and I think there's a guaran-damn-teed election winner right there.

And I'll go to my grave before I support you. Because even if that blood-marker Roe is overturned on your watch, I'll be fighting that war all over again in two decades. The growth of the welfare state and Federal power was a necessary precondition to Roe's dark birth. When you trust the government to tell you what rights you have and have not, it will give you whatever will keep you most passive. And dead children don't spark revolutions.

I stress that I don't doubt your pro-life bona fides in the slightest. I simply know as surely as I know the gray in my beard that your success would spell the death of the modern Republican Party, and that in turn would lead to the death of the Republic, together with those altars to Moloch I mentioned above.

No dice, preacher man.

And now, most painfully, we come to Fred! Ah, Senator Thompson. I say painfully because I would have loved to support you. Now I'm glad I didn't.

I have only two questions to ask.

(1) What the Hell is wrong with you?

(2) Why are you running some weird amalgam of Phil Gramm's and Bob Dole's 1996 campaigns?
Let's deal with the first. You had a ready, built-in, national base of support begging you to run. They waited. You waited. They waited. You announced and...

...let everyone decide you didn't want the job.

Now, before I go any farther: I think not wanting the job is a good thing. Part of what scares me about Mitt Romney, as with Al Gore, is that they have clearly wanted this job for basically their entire adult lives. That is unhealthy, and frightening. Bless you for not being unbalanced.

But the morons need to think you want the job, in no small part because they are morons. Humans, depressingly, want to be led. They want to think their leader wants to lead them. And unfortunately, far too many of these people watch the evening news, and vote in all sorts of elections where, were we a sane polity, we'd give them toy voting machines to use instead of allowing their votes to count. (All upside: Flashing lights and bells go off when they pull the lever, so they feel good, and their votes don't count, so we feel good.) And you have allowed the evening news to portray you as lazy and uninterested. You slept through the first debates after you entered.

Aphrodite's teeth and painted toenails, what is wrong with you? I mean, all of this bleeds into your campaign and how it's been run. (Second question segue.) Do you maybe remember that neither Gramm nor Dole won the Presidency, against one of the weakest Democrats to have the Presidency in a century? Your ideas and your positions are simply awesome. Your campaign is the weakest, most directionless, poorly organized thing you'll see outside of Ted Kennedy's bathroom every morning. Your run to the Presidency is not a coronation, and the media must be manipulated as any good campaign -- Hillary's, George W. Bush's, Ronald Reagan's, even the first Bill Clinton campaign -- does.

One of our Contributors, Bob Hahn, noted that how one runs a campaign tells you something about how the man at the head will run his Administration. (A better reason to stop Mitt Romney I can't imagine.) If this is true -- and the longer I think on it, I'm sure it is -- this is not only a searing indictment of every man running for the nomination from our side of the "v," it is a giant, glowing warning sign about your potential Presidency. We have had seven years of a Presidency that doesn't do message control. We don't need four more years of that.

In order words, with the last shreds of the respect I once had for you: You don't deserve to be on the stage with the other men, poor, sad, and wanting though they may be, because they did their homework. You have not.

You fail.

I could go on like this for days. I'd like to finish by noting where the fault for all this truly lies: In the voters. We allowed these men to think they had a chance. We encouraged them to be as weak and pathetic as they are, when on paper, we should be sitting in our best position in decades.

On our own heads shall be the results of the 2008 election. God have mercy on our souls, though we don't deserve it.
Just a quick note on comments:

When I was at RedState, I had to put up with a lot of sub-I.Q. 100 comments, and was limited in my ability to ban those commenters as the morons they were.

Here, I own the place. Your comments exist solely for my amusement. If you don't amuse me, I delete your comment.

In the last couple of days, following from a RedState link, I have received a handful of comments, some from RONPAUL!! supporters (one of whom was a RedState user I banned), and one from someone who simply didn't like me. These comments are no longer with us, because they didn't amuse me.

I know, I know, all of you really dedicated libertarian Ron Paul supporters check your belief in private property at the home page of any web site you visit; but I can, and will, delete your comments as fast as you can make them.

Amuse me, or don't bother.

Thanks in advance.