Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

07/15/2009 (3:42 pm)

And While We're Talking Palin…

David Kahane, pseudonymous Hollywood writer, today has an explanation on NRO from the point of view of the Democratic Party regarding why they took (past tense, in his mind) Sarah Palin down. Mind you, I don’t think “Kahane” is really a Democrat; he just writes for one on TV. He’s telling it pretty directly, though. Listen:

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe now you’re beginning to understand the high-stakes game we’re playing here. This ain’t John McCain’s logrolling senatorial club any more. This is a deadly serious attempt to realize the vision of the 1960s and to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is the fusion of Communist dogma, high ideals, gangster tactics, and a stunning amount of self-loathing. For the first time in history, the patrician class is deliberately selling its own country down the river just to prove a point: that, yes, we can! This country stinks and we won’t be happy until we’ve forced you to admit it.

In other words, stop thinking of the Democratic Party as merely a political party, because it’s much more than that. We’re not just the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition. Not just the party of Aaron Burr, Boss Tweed, Richard J. Croker, Bull Connor, Chris Dodd, Richard Daley, Bill Ayers, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II. Not just the party of Kendall “Agent 202” Myers, the State Department official recruited as a Cuban spy along with his wife during the Carter administration. Rather, think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

There’s a lot more, and it’s very satisfying. He ends up where I won’t go, though; recommending a Rules For Radicals retaliation strategy.

Read the whole thing. It’ll get your juices flowing.

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July 15, 2009 @ 10:20 pm #

We really do live in different universes Phil. In my universe, Sarah Palin took herself down. Or more accurately, she had a melt down.

How does the internet connect our two universes anyway?


July 16, 2009 @ 2:18 am #

I’m not sure if Palin took herself down or if she actually has been taken down, but the article accurately described what we are up against and what we have been up against for some time. Don’t forget, Clinton wanted nationalized health care, but the Republicans had good leadership who were willing to fight. Do we have that now? Yesterday I watched a Republican senator argue with Harkin about cherry-picking. What a fool. The argument is not on the details. The argument is about what right does the government even have getting into the insurance business in the first place. I really think few Republicans in office know what they are up against. Either the Dems are really stupid and don’t realize that they are about to flush the country, or they know it, and what does that make them? And we should sit back and play nice?

July 16, 2009 @ 7:38 am #

For the record, and for chicon and Joe, referring to Gov. Palin as having been “taken down” is the one place where I disagree with the article to which I linked. She’s not down at all. As I wrote a few days ago, the move was her choice, was tactically correct, ends a useless assault against her state’s government, and frees her to take offensive action.

July 16, 2009 @ 8:50 am #


I agree with the article, and I would be interested if you’re ever casting around for a topic, in your take on why we should not Alinskyize ourselves. I have my views on this and am very interested in what you might bring to the topic.

I believe we are nearing the threshold of a realization that this is the way things are with the Democrats, and that this is what we are up against. I realized it some time ago and I think many others did, but the majority is watching American Idol, or has actually been hoodwinked into thinking the Dems are the good guys.

It’s like being in the middle of what you thought was a fistfight with the schoolyard bully that you figured would end when you finally showed the guy you meant business. You take a breather, and you’re warily circling each other, and the other guy pulls out a 10 inch Bowie knife.

Or when a wife who has been suffering through years of verbal abuse finally stands up to her husband, and the guy puts her in the hospital. And the Dr. tells her the only reason she isn’t dead is that she was unconscious and the guy thought that she WAS dead.

Or when the terrorists hit some embassies in foreign lands, strike at some of our soldiers, and in return we bomb an aspirin factory or puff up and say, “This will not be tolerated in a civilized world.” And then they drop a 9-11 on you.

These guys will do anything to win. It is power they want, the end justifies “by whatever means neccessary”, and if you try to stop them with a knife, they WILL grab a gun.

A few examples: 1. They have shown their willingness without hesitation to sabotage a war effort and have our soldiers killed so that they can gain some political advantage. 2. They control and have the complete sympathy of 98% of the cultural and media establishment, but they have no compunction about trying to stomp on the other 2% with their endless demagoguing of Fox News and the Fairness Doctrine. The ONLY reason there isn’t a Fairness Doctrine in place is because they know they may not have quite enough political capital right now. 3. Sarah Palin. She represents a threat. Bring her and her family down, and then after you’ve done that, salt the earth as an example to other heretics.


Do we continue to fight by the strict rules of boxing when we’re already bleeding, the other guy has lead in his gloves and knives taped to his wrists, and the grinning ref will give him a standing 20 count if he happens to go down? It’s working real well isn’t it?

But the other way lays madness. If we up the stakes and turn mean, I’m convinced they’ll simply go one better. They won’t realize we mean business and no more Mr. Nice Guy, and they will step back. By any means neccessary is their rule. It has served them well. I am truly convinced they would let the country slip into civil war to retain their power to implement their world view, and that they would do so in a heartbeat, wagging Clintonesque fingers at us while they do so.

I have no real idea what the answer is, but I do believe we may be nearing a brink of sorts.

July 16, 2009 @ 10:54 am #


People operate on their perception of reality, not reality itself. To you Palin might be an overwhelmed moron. An idiot who deserved all of the media venom and the scorn she has had to deal with. However, that does not necessarily make it so.

Black IS Black. Now you may see it as White, but it does not make Black anything other than Black. You might even get 51% of the population to agree with you that Black is really White, but that still does not make it so.

In my opinion Palin is a talented and just Lady. I agree with what several of the other commenters have said about her, in that all of the scorn and mania directed her way is a result of what she symbolizes to them (and you), not in fact what she is. Now am I right? Not necessarily, but that is where something else comes in.

There is no politician, no matter how I may dislike him or her that I would treat in a manner similar to the way Palin has been treated. I despise Bill Clinton, however under no circumstance would I go after his daughter Chelsea. It would not even occur to me. To me, what difference does it make who his daughter is, or what she does. One could almost see how it might have some bearing on his abilities as a parent, but that would also take away the culpability she(Chelsea) has over her own life and decisions. However, even if I could make this argument, I would subject no one to that type of attack, be it him or Pres. Obama. I just cannot get to that place, nor do I wish to.

Most of the venom directed at Palin has not been directed at Palin herself, but at her family. Her daughter Bristol, and her son Trig. To me this says far, far more about the people who say and print such things than it does about her. Her detractors have not gone after her policy decisions by and large, but have made cosmetic and familial attacks upon her. This says to me that they are not dealing in good faith and therefore any arguments they make against her have no weight.

And that is why RM, we cannot use the same methods that the Dems use. That is not who we are. To turn ourselves into the type of people who could do the same things to them that they do to us, would be to unmake the reason to fight them in the first place, and incidentally ourselves.

Black is Black and White is White. Or rather Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong, no matter what anyone says. No matter what is on the line. No matter how many of them say otherwise.

Just my two cents, for what that is worth.

July 16, 2009 @ 12:31 pm #

In my universe, Sarah Palin took herself down. Or more accurately, she had a melt down.

I’m interesting in hearing your answers to this line of questions, Joe:

Do you think it is morally acceptable for political operatives to utilize rules created to enforce ethical behavior to attack and stymie a sitting politician by filing a large number of spurious complaints, knowing that it’s most likely that most of their complaints will be dismissed but counting on the anonymity of the system and the cost of replying to the complaints, and hoping for the freak occurrence of a complaint that somehow gets treated as genuine? What is your opinion of those who use such a tactic, what is the effect of that tactic on the body politic, and do you approve of its use by those who work for politicians whose policies you favor?

This is not the first time we’ve seen it, btw. John Conyers launched 76 ethics complaints against Newt Gingrich over a 2-year period in an attempt to cripple him. That he failed is a testimony to Gingrich’s persistence. Seventy-five were dismissed as spurious; the 76th resulted in a large fine, but that was frankly ridiculous, and when the IRS got around to ruling on the very same issue, they found no violations and dismissed all investigations. Do you think there should be some penalty for John Conyers abusing the ethics system in this manner? Why or why not?

In my universe, such acts are the work of moral pariahs, enemies of truth who will gladly destroy the engines of justice just to obtain a momentary political advantage. Such people should be locked in public stocks for a month and pelted with rotten vegetables, then tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail — with a warning that if they should ever appear again, they will be hung ’till dead. How do you feel about them, Joe?

July 16, 2009 @ 1:23 pm #

The comments so far illustrate how different our factual universes are.

In my universe, Ms. Palin couldn’t answer simple questions about what news sources she read. She gave rambling incoherent answers to relatively straight forward questions. She whooped it up with racist political crowds – populated with people carrying stuffed watermelons and monkeys – suggesting that her political opponent was a “friend” of terrorists. She spent a great deal of energy as governor trying to get her brother in law fired from his post, and then fired the official who refused to fire him, and then gave several different accounts of why she fired the official. She lied repeatedly about other matters – like her support for the “bridge to no where” – and then continued to tell the same lie after it had been repeatedly debunked. She lied about firing Wasilla’s librarian for refusing to censor certain books – and only recanted when the librarian produced the termination letter.

I could go on, and on. But I think this short list illustrates why we can’t have a fruitful discussion about Ms. Palin. Most of the readers of this blog don’t accept these facts, or will readily accept any defense offered for them. The readers of this blog and I live in different factual universes.

I have no grudge against Sarah Palin personally, but she’s manifestly unfit for political office. That seems fairly obvious to me. So obvious, in fact, that it seems unproductive to try to convince someone who still disagrees. No offence is meant – its just that, if the evidence thus far doesn’t convince people that she is unfit for office, what evidence possibly could?

And no, it is not that I think all conservatives are unfit for office. Mitt Romney is clearly qualified to be President. In fact, he was the most qualified candidate of either party in the last election. Mike Huckabee is qualified to be president. Bobby Jindal is probably qualified. There are other qualified conservatives – just not Ms. Palin.

So I’ll leave it at that. We occupy different factual universes. But one thing to keep in mind is that Ms. Palin’s supporters spend most of their time explaining away her behavior. That’s telling.


July 16, 2009 @ 2:18 pm #

Most of your points are fair ones Joe, at least for debate. They have to do with what SHE did and how she governed which is what any discussion about a politician (or anyone for that matter) should be about.

Personally I was a Fred Thompson man myself. I “like” Ms. Palin. I think any of us who decide to be for or against anyone who runs for office start there, on a gut level. I do not harbor any illusions that liking someone means they are more than they are. I think I need to see more. I do not really consider the few interviews she has chosen to give to very partisan interviewers are a fair indicator of her views one way or another.

However, I will say this, my biggest problem was in her resigning as governor. To me it shows a weakness of character, if it is about the unceasing attacks directed towards her. Although a lot of the attacks have been toward her family as well. If she leaves because she want to protect them, then so be it, but she should not run for office by that reasoning because they will always be targets in this climate.

If it is so that she can then use her popularity to stump for other Conservative candidates, but not run herself, then I am more ambivalent.

If it is so she can run for President herself in 3 1/2 years then I have the same problem as I had with Obama who only served 4 years of his First senate term in order to run for President (and really was more involved in running for president for the last 2 years of that 4.) In short, it displays a lack of good faith to the voters who voted so that they would serve, to the best of their ability for the term they had been chosen for.

The one comment you made did catch my eye though and it bothered me:
-”She whooped it up with racist political crowds – populated with people carrying stuffed watermelons and monkeys – suggesting that her political opponent was a “friend” of terrorists.”

Now in the first part of the statement you use guilt by association. Saying that merely because she spoke to a crowd of people (none of which she invited personally) which contained some racists, she must therefore be a racist. Or do you just use the assumption that all Republicans or Conservatives must be racists?

In the second part you cast aspersion on her for using the same reasoning you yourself used in the first part, by saying it was wrong of her to say anything about Obama’s association with Bill Ayers (himself an avowed terrorist-when he was part of the Weathermen.) Even though this association is a much closer one than a speaker to a crowd, even if we simply use the argument Pres. Obama has used in the past, that he was, just a guy in my neighborhood whose house I have been to. (Even though he was on at least one board with Ayers.)

My original point being, we who like Palin (or others who are her strong supporters) are so used to hearing personal attacks on her, that we respond by reflex (never a good thing in reasoning.) However, you cannot argue that the Palin saga thus far has all been above board with respect to the media’s part in this. If they had left their arguments about her, and judged her by what she had done or not done. I wonder if her supporters might not be much less fierce than they are, perhaps for the reasons you argue, perhaps not. Instead, the attacks have been personal, and people have responded in an emotional way, rather than a reasoned one.

Passion rules Reason.

July 16, 2009 @ 5:12 pm #

By the way, the Democrats would have liked nothing better than for Sarah Palin to run for president in 2012, and for her win the Republican nomination. This was true long before she resigned as Governor of Alaska. Her political support is limited to the base of the Republican party, which is approximately 20% of the electorate. She has no political appeal beyond that part of the base and never will.

The Democrats would had to have been insane to intentionally take Sarah Palin down. Their interests were much better served by using her as a wedge between committed social conservatives and the rest of the Republican party – perhaps even encouraging her to form a third party.

The Democrats had every reason to keep Ms. Palin marginally credible. Thus, at lease in this case, crying foul makes no sense.

Joe H.

July 16, 2009 @ 7:25 pm #


I do not approve of the abuse of ethics rules, or any other process, for political purposes. However, I’m not convinced that abusers of rules are evildoers so much as overzealous partisans who convince themselves they are serving a noble cause in which the ends justify the means.

Surely you don’t think Republicans are above this sort of misconduct? Ever hear of the impeachment of Bill Clinton – obstensively about lying under oath when he was asked about a prior sexual encounter? Please!

I disapprove of all such abuses of power. When there is real corruption, I’m all for partisan prosecution. But otherwise, I’m with you.

But, as I said before, in the end we occupy different factual universes. In my universe, no one, and certainly not the Democrats, took down Sarah Palin. Harassed her, probably. But took her down, no way.


July 16, 2009 @ 8:20 pm #

Harassed her, probably. But took her down, no way.

We actually agree on the nomenclature here.

Surely you don’t think Republicans are above this sort of misconduct? Ever hear of the impeachment of Bill Clinton – obstensively about lying under oath when he was asked about a prior sexual encounter? Please!

Clinton deserved impeachment a dozen times over. In my humble opinion, no good citizen could possibly have slept with a clear conscience if they did not attempt to have that lying gangster removed from office. There was nothing frivolous about any accusation I made about him, and certainly nothing frivolous about the genuine felony indictments raised against him in the Congress. Clinton sold military secrets to the Chinese government in exchange for foreign policy favors, used the IRS and FBI for partisan political attacks, participated in a land scam that brought down a $60 million S & L, routinely destroyed the good character of anyone who dared cross him, corrupted testimony by bribery and threats, deliberately obstructed more than one federal investigation, was very likely a serial rapist (Juanita Broderick was by no means the only woman he treated in that fashion, I read of at least 7 similar complaints), and committed any number of other crimes; the one he was caught at was suborning perjury, and perjuring himself. If you don’t think suborning perjury is serious, you should have your law license removed.

There was no attempt to cripple Clinton by an avalanche of frivolous accusations; he brought those investigations on himself by his own criminal conduct, and we raised our accusations in good conscience. I would do it again any time; it’s what concerned citizens do.

July 16, 2009 @ 9:12 pm #


We don’t live in different factual universes; you just have two vastly different standards for facts, one for Republicans, the other for Democrats. Your criteria for dubbing Ms. Palin “unfit for office” include weak answers in a couple of interviews, attacks against her opponents, and alleged lies about her acts. How difficult do you suppose it would be for me to produce far more egregious examples of these from the careers of Barack Obama and Joe Biden? Biden can’t even order a freakin’ SANDWICH without embarrassing himself — and that’s after 35 years in the Senate. The Palin interviews you’re complaining about were her first and second national interviews, pretty much in her entire career. And apparently you’ve forgotten that the Obama campaign kept Barry hidden from reporters for almost a full year, because he drowned in verbal ticks when speaking without the teleprompter, and every time they managed to get in more than one or two unscripted questions, he embarrassed himself horribly (10,000 deaths in a Kansas tornado, 57 states, etc.)

As to lies, I honestly can’t believe that a defender of Barack Obama has the gall to suggest that lying makes one unfit for office — the man has a HABIT of lying when faced with an embarrassment, and he used it almost 10 times during the Presidential campaign. “That’s not the Rev. Wright I knew.” “I had no idea those pro-Palestinian activists were on my personal staff.” “Jim Johnson did WHAT?” “Bill Ayers was just a guy in my neighborhood.” “If they’d have submitted a born-alive act like the federal one, I would have supported it.” The man does not know how to tell the truth. If Palin is not fit to hold office, neither are Obama and Biden. But you accept their flubs and lies without batting an eyelash. Hypocrite.

As to your list of indictments against Palin, do you really need me to remind folks here concerning the facts of the matters you’re recounting? ’cause you’ve got a lot of them wrong. The “racist” crowds were actually orderly crowds of mainstream Republicans, with one individual carrying an offensive toy (he was most likely a progressive plant — we caught lots of plants in Republican crowds during the election, doing exactly this sort of thing). Her opponent was a friend of terrorists (Rashid Khalidi and Hatem al-Hady, among others), and I documented it pretty well right here on my blog; kudos to her for telling the truth about it. Her brother-in-law was a crooked cop, and it was completely appropriate for her to get him fired; I would have done the same, and I completely approve of her efforts to do so. She did not lie about the bridge; the final disposition of the project was just as she said. The supposed “lie” about the Wasilla librarian was actually the misuse of the world “rhetorical” when she meant “hypothetical;” for some reason I don’t agree that this disqualifies her to hold public office.

So, why don’t you just admit that you’ll accept the slightest quibble about Palin uncritically, but will pay no attention to the most dire accusation against the guys you like? ’cause from where I sit, that’s the case.

Ms. Palin’s supporters spend most of their time explaining away her behavior. That’s telling.

Hmmm… you don’t suppose this may have had anything to do with the deluge of baseless assaults against her, compared to the mild treatment Obama has always received from the press?

Good God, Joe, do you ever question your partisan impulses even a little?

I simply cannot believe you have the nerve to accuse ME of partisanship. My God, what a hypocrite you are.

July 16, 2009 @ 9:16 pm #

Wow! Clinton did all these things and charges were never brought?

That’s amazing! Clinton committed multiple felonies while in office, and the only charge ever brough against him by the obviously eager congressional Republicans was that he lied about having sex with Monica Lewinsky under oath?

For crying out loud! What the hell were the Republicans thinking?

Again, we occupy completely alternative factual universes. In my universe, none of these allegations were ever substantiated, despite the government spending millions and millions and millions of dollars investigating Clinton.

In your universe,they are uncontroversial facts.

However, before your head completely explodes, I do think there are grounds to believe that Clinton raped Juanita Broderick. Clinton certainly is not someone I’m comfortable defending.

Yet, I thought we were talking about abuses of power, not Clinton’s character. I pointed out that it was an abuse of power for congressional Republicans to impeach Clinton for lying about sex under oath. I did so to prove that Democrats are not unique in their sometimes williingness to abuse processes for political purposes. You changed the subject to Clinton’s character and alleged all kinds of felony crimes as fact – which, amazingly, the prosecution minded Republicans did absolutely nothing about.

I think I’ll stick with my universe.

But keep in mind that the the willingness to believe the absolute about someone tends to distort one’s analysis of the evidence.


July 16, 2009 @ 9:35 pm #


You don’t offer any proof that any of the things Obama said were lies. How do you know they were lies? You don’t believe his statements. Fine. But that doesn’t make them lies.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, repreatedly said that she oppossed the “bridge to no where.” But the evidence conclusively established that she actively lobbied in favor of it. And then, once her lie was PUBLICALLY exposed, she continued making the same claim. She did the same thing with many other assertions (like selling the state plane on EBAY).

Among her many other disqualifying features, Ms. Palin – in my universe anyway – is a pathological liar.

But enough already. I don’t really care about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama (who I’m sure lies once in awhile). If what I’ve said thus far hasn’t convinced you that your willingness to believe the worst about your political enemies is distorting your judgment and leading you to conclusions that make absolutely no sense – which was my point all along – then our universes are just too distant.

Joe H.

July 17, 2009 @ 7:32 am #


I “didn’t offer any proof” because I’ve spent the last year and half providing proof of this very fact. You’ve read this blog for a while. Do you really need me to rehash the incredible lies Obama tried to force down our throats? are you remembering selectively, or are you counting on the rhetorical power of “you provided no proof” to deceive other readers here?

If you want proof, just ask, pal. You don’t recall how he defended Rev Wright as being like a member of his family, and then when examples of Wright’s racist rhetoric surfaced, pretended that that changed everything? Does anybody really believe he sat in Rev Wright’s church for 20 years but never heard the liberation theology and the anti-white rhetoric? Do you really believe that Ayers was “just somebody who lived in my neighborhood” when documents show that Ayers and Obama sat on the same community development organization as early as 1988, that their wives worked together at the same law firm, that Ayers proffered Obama to chair the Annenberg project and then Obama fed Ayers’ activist group funds from the Trust, that Obama launched his first major candidacy from Ayers’ house, that they sat together on two different boards of directors, and so forth? Let’s all review Jill Stanek’s testimony from the Illinois legislature (factcheck.org confirms it here), where Obama claimed that he’d have voted for the Born-Alive Protection Act if it had had the abortion-protection provisions that existed in the federal bill — after he’d personally quashed precisely that amendment in the committee he chaired. I could go on for quite a while: Rezko, ACORN, Iraq policy, the achievements from his community activism, Malley, Pfleger… These are real, substantive lies on issues that speak to the President’s real intentions that he deliberately hid from the voting public, not like the picayune quibbles you’re raising about Palin while calling her “pathological.”

Regarding Palin, we’re back to the bridge to nowhere again, which is (incredibly) the best you can muster. Explain to me where the lie is, Joe. She favored the project at first, then she examined it, and then finally she scrapped it because it had overrun its budget by a factor of three and the federal money no longer covered even half the costs. In what way does observing “We said thanks, but no thanks” to the federal funds distort the record? That was, in fact, the final disposition of the project, just as she said. She continued making the same claim after “exposure,” Joe, because THE CLAIM WAS NOT FALSE, AND WAS NEVER INTENDED TO DECEIVE, and the “exposure” did not falsify the claim. What the hell is wrong with your head, that you don’t get this?

And you’re calling her a PATHOLOGICAL liar, with your objective, unbiased view of the facts and your professional expertise in psychiatry? You, who can’t admit what the entire world now knows about Barack Obama? You, saying that Palin’s “lies” make her unfit to hold office, but maintaining that Clinton’s perjuries were insufficient basis for an attempt at impeachment?

As to your sneering “rebuttal” to my brief diatribe about President Clinton, where do I start? Do you really expect us to swallow that you think we can’t say a thing about what he’s done unless it’s been tried in a court of law, when you routinely accused Bush and Cheney of felonies of which nobody’s even willing to attempt to charge them? Do you really not understand the distinction between what can be demonstrated as probable in public, and what can be proved in court, even though you’re an attorney by trade? Do you really think that the only plausible reason for impeachment is proof of a crime, when the Rodino Commission (with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Nussbaum serving it) concluded that mere impropriety or “deficient character” was sufficient? Did you genuinely forget that there were five separate complaints in the Special Prosecutor’s particulars against Clinton? Do you actually think the fact these are felony complaints does not mean they’re significant? Do you actually believe we’ve all forgotten the flood of apparent scandals that were simply overlooked by the press, so that you can now, with impunity, pretend they never happened and no wrongs were committed (even though, for one of dozens of examples, more than 100 witness in the Chinagate investigation plead the 5th, in a manner that reminded FBI Director Freeh of his days prosecuting the mob)?

And — let me treat this one separately, since you’ve already acknowledged the facts — tell me candidly, do you really think that a plausible accusation of rape is not sufficient grounds to remove a President from office?

There’s a great deal more, but I’ll stop there. Let’s be plain, though: I don’t even think a fair reading of the facts suggests that Gov Palin EVER lied about any substantive issue, although there’s a little room for saying she misstated one or two items; calling her “pathological” on such thin gruel is not just wrong, it’s insane. And saying of Obama “I’m sure he lies once in a while” while he systematically hid his radical roots and pretended to be a moderate in order to deceive the entire nation, is either evil, or deliberately naive.

And I’ll say it one more time: I’m orders of magnitude more objective than you, by any reasonable measure, so you’re no longer welcome to call me “partisan” on my blog.

July 17, 2009 @ 8:57 am #


“And that is why RM, we cannot use the same methods that the Dems use. That is not who we are. To turn ourselves into the type of people who could do the same things to them that they do to us, would be to unmake the reason to fight them in the first place, and incidentally ourselves.”

I agree with you. We are better than they are. But…

I’m not terribly familiar with religion, but isn’t there at least one religion whose beliefs hold that they believe in peace to the point that they will not fight even if attacked?

It’s all very well to say we cannot stoop to their tactics, again I agree. But there is a difference in how you fight an enemy like Al Q and in how you fight uniformed warriors. Both are direct threats, but one fights according to the Geneva convention rules and the other beheads people on video and bakes children in ovens as an example to others.

I’m not comparing Democrats to terrorists, but I will say they have convinced me that they will stop at almost nothing to maintain power and exert their will upon the country.

So I again say, I don’t have a solution, but we sure need one. McCain’s turning of the other cheek and refusal to take off the gloves with Obama did not work, pure and simple. Where do we go from here?

July 17, 2009 @ 9:39 am #


I don’t have an answer to this one, but I recognize the quandary. The problem is that a democratic republic presupposes parties that are willing to abide by the rules. Once a party has shown its intent systematically to abuse the rules to obtain and hold power, the republic is no longer viable.

Presupposing all parties will abide by the rules in turn presupposes that we all, regardless of our political views, hold a common moral basis for the nation. A democratic republic in which two or more moral systems compete, is not viable if the rules by which the players compete are part of the moral disagreement. Simply put, if neither side in the dispute will play by the other side’s rules, there can be no game.

That’s the destructiveness of Alinsky, and of modern Progressivism. They’re so convinced of their own morality — they’re classic “true believers” — that they literally condone any breaking of any rule, so long as it results in an increase of their power. They literally believe that moral “right” is defined by their political views, and moral “wrong” by their opponents’; and since morality is defined by the political truths, the rules have no moral power, they’re merely tactical obstructions. They admit to no moral failing when they break the law, since anything, no matter how vile by traditional moral views, is acceptable so long as it results in their increasing power. Such a party in a republic must, logically, demolish the republic simply by virtue of its existence if it ever gains power.

Simply put, Progressivism is a poison pill. Once it appears, the republic is doomed.

The cure, in the abstract, is simple: create a new nation without Progressives. Let them have theirs, while we have ours.

Sounds simple, but it’s practically impossible. It’s not just that the geographical mix would make a partition plan of the nation unacceptable to just about everyone; it’s that the Progressives would not leave it alone. If they would not invade to force us to do their bidding, they would infiltrate in order to subvert the non-Progressive nation. It’s of their nature. And establishing a nation in which Progressivism is illegal is tricky; how do you defend liberty of conscience while not permitting liberty of conscience to those who hold specific, forbidden opinions? I’d be willing to examine that question, but it’s an uncomfortable question.

The upshot is something I explained ‘way back in The Screeching Inversion: if the culture is not moral enough to resist the spread of a disease like progressivism, the inversion cannot be prevented. Ultimately, the fault lies in we who should know better, because we did not model moral virtue well enough, nor defend it staunchly enough.

Historically, I think we proceed as follows: the decent few stand for justice in the face of vile persecution, until the government run by the indecent many collapses. Immoral government always collapses after a while; the wicked carry with them the seeds of their own destruction, always. Once it collapses, the remnant of the virtuous may re-establish themselves, if they’re lucky.

We’ve been trying to hold the republic together here in America with two, competing moral systems since the 1960s. I’ve been saying since I became aware of it in the 1970s that this would not be possible. Turns out I was right. Damn. I wish I’d been wrong. I think the only avenue that has even a prayer of providing a measure of safety is partition; but in the end I don’t think that will work, either.

July 17, 2009 @ 10:35 am #

“Sounds simple, but it’s practically impossible. It’s not just that the geographical mix would make a partition plan of the nation unacceptable to just about everyone; it’s that the Progressives would not leave it alone. If they would not invade to force us to do their bidding, they would infiltrate in order to subvert the non-Progressive nation.”

Progressivism is not represented by a subset of people; it is fairly well present to one level or another in nearly all people. Like any cultural movement before it, it arose from the shortcomings of the previous culture (which also, like the others, also had incredible strengths).

The reason the creation of a non-progressive nation would be impossible is that you are quickly running out of people who would populate it. Forty years ago, the MLK’s civil rights movement represented progressivism to conservatives; now nearly all conservatives approve of MLK’s original goals.

Which thing which conservatives resist today will be fairly well accepted by everyone forty years from NOW? I think we’ll look back in our retirement homes and be surprised.

July 17, 2009 @ 11:06 am #

I’m not sure why you continue to respond to Joe – I’m convinced he’s a paid hack for the Progressives. It seems to me that they assign one to each of many of the conservative blogs I frequent.

Nevertheless, I’m glad you do. Your responses are always worth the read.

July 17, 2009 @ 11:40 am #

suek –

Joe is a friend of darkhorse, who is a friend of mine going back about 15 years or more from an email-based Christian discussion list. Darkhorse recommended Joe to me, and introduced me to him, in order to help me see the bias in my approach to political topics; Joe is a philosophy professor and an attorney. I sincerely doubt that he was assigned this blog by any progressive group, although I have wondered more than once whether he was at one time assigned by a progressive group to mingle with Christians in order to win them to the Cause.

I’m afraid that the sensitivity exercise has failed, though. Not only have I not seen the error of my ways, I’ve recognized that Joe, despite his philosophical training and careful argument construction, is a great deal more biased than I. I think this is primarily because he genuinely does not believe he’s biased, while I recognize my own biases and therefor can compensate for them.

Thanks, by the way, for encouraging me to continue answering. I was thinking it was really a waste of time, myself.

July 17, 2009 @ 11:51 am #


Do I really need to recite to you the assertions you imply with your argument? Slyly associating all progressive notions with the rejection of racism, a rhetorical touch worthy of the dev… of the likes of Malcolm X.

You sound like Nikita Krushchev: the flow of history is inevitable, you may as well surrender now. Or like Borg: You will be assimilated, resistance is futile. (I’ll imitate King Leonidas of Sparta in reply: “Molon labe.” Look it up.)

As to your assertion that there’s nobody left to resist, you’ve got a point at least this far: by taking over the education system, news, and entertainment, progressives have succeeded in setting the entire culture awash in poisoned notions, and may yet succeed in removing from us every last vestige of sanity. However, it’s a testament to the persistence of truth that if you go to American Solutions, you can still see clear evidence that about 85% of the nation still thinks more or less sensibly, while only about 15% falls squarely into the “progressive” camp. It’s currently a highly influential 15%, but by no means a matter of historical inevitability.

On the other hand, if progressivism has its way with us, you and I will not look back on it from our retirement homes at all; we will long since have been exterminated, either by starvation, by war, or by deliberate weeding out of “useless eaters.” Count on it, it’s coming.

July 17, 2009 @ 12:01 pm #

Phil said:

“I’ve recognized that Joe, despite his philosophical training and careful argument construction, is a great deal more biased than I. ”

This one comment has provided all the entertainment I’ll need for the rest of the day.

July 17, 2009 @ 12:17 pm #

This one comment has provided all the entertainment I’ll need for the rest of the day.

It’s a serendipitous confluence, that the truth is also so amusing to you. Enjoy.

July 17, 2009 @ 12:52 pm #


“Let’s be plain, though: I don’t even think a fair reading of the facts suggests that Gov Palin EVER lied about any substantive issue, although there’s a little room for saying she misstated one or two items; calling her “pathological” on such thin gruel is not just wrong, it’s insane.”



This pretty much sums up our universe differences. And for anyone who doesn’t realize this, Sullivan is a conservative.

Phil, let me also say, as a preemptive matter – your response, if any, should not be to smear Sullivan, or talk about his motives. If he’s wrong, explain why. Explain why what he calls a lie is not a lie.


July 17, 2009 @ 2:22 pm #


“What do we do about it?” is a good question from a practical standpoint. The thing is I do not think we can have a blanket approach to everything they do. If they make personal attacks, attack them on policy. If they illegally do things, do things within the legal framework. The system will work the way it should, but it is also missing the point.

We do not do a good enough job in teaching the “rules” in this country. From an early age children are taught by many who are clearly biased towards one side of the political debate. This is the most insidious of biases(sp?) apart from the in your face of an Olbermann or Dowd. Any type of bias flows from the thought of the speaker or writer. It flows from how they look at the world. EVERYONE IS BIASED. There is no way around it. We all make a thousand judgments every day, and how we judge is because of how we are biased.

I remember in College a history professor talking about the reliability of sources and grading them on trustworthiness. At the bottom of the reliability scale is First Person accounts. Because, since you have no window to directly observe events yourself, you see the world as they describe it, with their voice. For example, if you went back and read a diary entry from a slave owner from the 1840′s and he mentions his “property”, seeing Black slaves through his eyes (and especially if you had never had any context of who he was talking about) you would assume them to be only slightly different from cattle.

(Interestingly the Account that prompted the discussion with the professor was from a fur trader from the 1700′s I believe. She pointed out that if you really studied what he said instead of taking everything at face value, you could learn a lot about the man, which allowed you to evaluate his reliability as a source. Children do not or cannot do this, they pick up on everything a teacher says as well as body language, word choice, etc.)

The death of print news, which can be taken on a more intellectual level than televised, means that people pick up the bias just as much as the content of what they are saying.

Parents have to take a stronger role, there should be more school choice so that people can not just evaluate teachers, but have something they can do about it if they do not like the way their children are being taught. This is another reason why school choice, vouchers and so forth is such a vital issue. It is all of a piece with everything else.

However, Like Phil, I am pretty skeptical of what we can do in a gentleman’s contest with people who are not Gentle. As a buddy of mine is fond of saying- “Sooner or later it will all come down to Clubs.”

July 17, 2009 @ 3:35 pm #


As you say, about 85% of the population does have some sort of common moral perspective. Is the 15% enough of a poison pill that it is too late? As you have stated previously, if people knew the objective facts about liberalism and what liberals see as their goals for this country, it would likely be a fringe belief with a dedicated following of about the percentages the Libertarians now command. Howeveer, I am beginning to believe we are close, very close to the brink and point of no return.


My questions are rhetorical. I also think it may come down to clubs.


I do understand your point, but Phil beat me to it. I don’t think you can equate praying for the day a person is judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of the character, to the liberal notion of today that we need to accept Sondra Sotomayor’s worldview as expressed in her Wise Latina speech or the Ricci decision.

I was (I guess I had no heart) basically conservative as a child, and even then could not fail to recognize the fundamental truth and justice of what Dr. King said. But I never have, and never will embrace quotas and racial/identity politics. The slope is not that slippery, and one does not lead logically to the other.

I agree with you that we may be surprised at what has happened 40 years down the pike (I probably won’t be around but I understand what you are saying). And we may look back and say, “Gee, some of the changes we feared have occurred; and now, looking back, there really wasn’t anything to fear.”

But, no, I categorically reject that 40 years from now if I were around, I would have ‘evolved’ or been ‘reconstructed’ to the point of being OK with it when we are rationing healthcare based on some 22 year old government apparatchik’s actuarial scheme of the moment, when we lack a missle defense to shield ourself from the Kim Jong Il or mullah of the era because we have unilaterally disarmed ourself to be ‘fair’; when the government is the ultimate ‘decider’ in who derives what income and those decisions are made on a political basis; when a certain amount of terrorism within our borders is accepted as the price we need to pay for ‘diversity’ and our past sins.

I believe that is where the liberals want to take us, and I have no desire to go there. I heard someone comment today that “My dog knows the Ricci decision stinks to high heaven.” Amen. And my dog and I both knew 45 years ago that what Dr. King said was right. Common sense. Enough for now.

July 17, 2009 @ 4:00 pm #

Joe –

First off, you’ve apparently abandoned any defense of Obama’s systematic lying to deceive the nation. Can I infer from your silence on that topic that you’ve surrendered? And if so, will you admit that if you apply the same standard to Obama that you apply to Palin, that you must conclude that he is no better fit for public office than she, at best?

You also, I noticed, completely abandoned any defense of socialized education after I explained that a completely free market education system produced the most educated populace in the history of the planet. Again, can I take your silence on that subject as agreement, and assume that you understand that free market education does not, as you suggested, restrict access to education, but instead maximizes such access, whereas socialized education has created a nightmare for nearly everybody?

Next, regarding Sullivan’s rant about Palin’s “lies,” Darkhorse posted the link to Sullivan’s diatribe in the comments following the discussion of my article entitled “My Take on Palin’s Resignation.” My response to you now will be more or less the same as my comment then, time-stamped July 8, 2009 @ 5:48 pm. You can go read what I said there.

However, contrary to your pre-emption, I think Sullivan’s motives are paramount here. Sullivan is very well known on the blogosphere for a number of things, but among them, it’s plain that he’s simply gone berserk on the subject of Sarah Palin, and cannot let go of the insane notion that Trig is Sarah’s grandchild, not her child. The level of animus that we expect from Sullivan on all things Palin does come through loud and clear on that list, the link to which you’ve just posted.

I will reproduce just this much of my comment from back then, because I want to hear your reaction to just this part. The initial block is from Sullivan’s article; the outer block is my response:

Palin lied when she wrote in the NYT that a comprehensive review by Alaska wildlife officials showed that polar bears were not endangered; in fact, email correspondence between those scientists showed the opposite.

I’ve not read the research they’re referring to, but I know that it’s ordinary, in discussions of research, that when somebody states incorrectly the conclusions, it’s called an “error,” not a “lie.” And Sullivan doesn’t even say that she stated the conclusions incorrectly, just that “email correspondence between the scientists” showed the opposite; again, it’s ordinary in discussions that when positing counter-research to rebut your opponent, you call your opponent’s position “incorrect,” not “a lie.”

What I want to hear from you is your explanation for why Sullivan is calling Palin a “liar” because she has stated the conclusions from a study, and Sullivan happens to know that the scientists in the study discussed their results in a separate email to each other (which we have no reason to imagine Palin received) and said the conclusion was different from what Palin represented when she talked about their study. In what way does that set of circumstances demonstrate that Palin has lied? And please be very specific; simply identifying where Palin mistook the outcome of the research, or misunderstood, or even paraphrased in some ordinarily ambiguous way, will not explain. We need to know why Sullivan claims that she has lied — e.g., deliberately and with full intent to mislead, stated falsely the conclusions of the research.

It looks to me as though Sullivan has some ulterior motive to be calling Palin a liar; this would explain why he’s so eager that he calls it a “lie” when he’s simply positing an alternate explanation from a document to which Palin had no access. As I said, his information doesn’t get him beyond “mistake” (and given the topic, likely doesn’t even get him past “disagreement”) but it’s clear that he very badly wants to call it a “lie.” The animus we already know Sullivan carries on this topic explains the matter fully. What’s your alternative explanation?

July 17, 2009 @ 5:18 pm #

Phil said:

“You also, I noticed, completely abandoned any defense of socialized education after I explained that a completely free market education system produced the most educated populace in the history of the planet.”

No, I don’t believe you did. I believe you offered anecdotal evidence that it did in one case. Whether the experiment is repeatable may be something respectable to try; but guaranteeing the success based on anecdotal evidence is miserable science.

Phil also said:

“Again, can I take your silence on that subject as agreement, and assume that you understand that free market education does not, as you suggested, restrict access to education, but instead maximizes such access, whereas socialized education has created a nightmare for nearly everybody?”

Nothing like overstatement when you are trying to make a reasoned argument. I wonder if you gathered statistics, even among conservative Christian students who have attended public schools, about whether they thought their experience was a nightmare, if you could get even close to the numbers where you would be able to conclude “Nearly everybody”?

July 17, 2009 @ 5:41 pm #


My systematic silence is better understood as practicing law – this is my lunch hour.

I abandoned our discussion of socialized education because you’re defense of free market education did not address my point. My point was that a free market for education would, like any other market for any other good or service, price many people out. There are many children that cannot be profitably educated at a price their parents can pay, just as there are many people who cannot afford to drive an automobile. That’s why we educate people as a collective project – because the market will not accomplish this.

What’s wrong with that?

As a side note, I don’t think we can compare the educational needs and delivery systems existing in 1790 with those of taday.

As for your claim that Barack Obama lied, Sullivan’s form of proof is best. It goes something like this; P said Q. Q has been shown to be demonstrably false; P must have known that Q was false when he said Q (this is usually not stated – but implied by the context).

Let P stand for Obama, and fill in the rest. How do you know that Obama lied about the things you say he lied about?

Also, you are wrong about Sullivan’s motives or animus being paramount. The question we are discussing is whether Sarah Palin is a liar. The answer to that question hinges entirely on whether Palin lied, and how often she lied. Sullivan’s motive for pointing out her lies – if that is what they are – is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. Yes, Sullivan hates Palin. But part of the reason Sullivan hates Palin is he thinks she is a pathological liar. He is either right or wrong about this, irrespective of his feelings towards Palin.

Also, it will not suffice for you to show that one or two of Sullivan’s examples is over the top, as I readily concede. There are at least twenty examples of Palin’s demonstrable dupliticity in Sullivan’s post. And they are about important matters to boot.

So, as I said, we live in different factual universes. In my universe, the evidence is clear that Sarah Palin is a pathological liar. In your universe, she has never told a lie about anything important. All this stuff about Sullivan’s motives or my motives, or your focus on one questionable example in Sullivan’s long list of prevarications, is simply your method of staying in your universe.

Good luck!


July 17, 2009 @ 6:32 pm #


On the issue of Obama lying about his relationship with Ayers, I don’t know all the facts, but I’m pretty sure that their relationship was more substantive than Obama’s comments indicated. So yes, that was a lie.

But understating your professional relationship with a community official who was involved in domestic terrorism 40 years ago, in the context of confronting the more pernious message (lie by implication) that this made Obama a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer, is understandable to me. Obama had no reason to be ashamed of his relationship to Ayers – but he calculated that it could be politically damaging, so he understated it. “He was a guy in the neghborhood” is a misleading understatement. Any attempt to mislead is a lie. But substantively and contextually, it is a far different sort of lie than those told by Palin (or Clinton, or George Bush for that matter).

Same thing on the issue of his Pastor. Obama is not responsible for his pastor’s racist statements, if any – for my part, I’ve never heard any racist statements uttered by Reverend Wright. What’s more, Pastor’s say stupid things all the time.

Obama was responding to a guilt by association smear. I’m confident that he heard Rev. Wright say things that the average conservative voter would find offensive during the 20 years that Obama sat in his Church. So again, Obama statements that he had never heard Wright say anything controversial were probably lies.

I’ve admitted that Obama lies. We all do. But not all lies, and not all liars, are the same. Bald faced lying to hide abuses of power are different than lies about the extent of an association in the context of a political smear by association – particularly when the substantive message of the smear – that Obama was a terrorist sympathizer or a recist – is false.

The reasson you think Obama’s lies are so bad is that you are sympathetic to the substance of the smears. because I think the substance of the smears is baseless, I evelauate Obama’s lies more charitably.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, lies reflexively, just like Clinton and George W. Bush. They are pathological liars. All three of these people were unfit for political office, in my universe.


July 17, 2009 @ 6:35 pm #

Sorry about all the typos in the last post. I was in a hurry.


July 18, 2009 @ 12:30 pm #

Sarah Palin pawned the political opponents; she tore their Rules for Radical playbook to shreds.


July 19, 2009 @ 3:45 am #

Phil, regarding your account of Palin’s rejection of the “bridge to nowhere,” we once again occupy different factual universes.

Your explanation failed to acknowledge that Palin openly campaigned for the bridge when she ran for governor. She’s on tape doing so!

Palin didn’t oppose the bridge as a matter of principled opposition to pork, which is what she was claiming when she uttered her “I said thanks but no thanks” remarks. She clearly supported the earmark.

The project was eventually scrapped. Most people think the project was scrapped because John McCain, long before he was eying Sara Palin to be his running mate, made it illustration No. 1 of the abuse of earmarks. On this explanation, Alaska’s congressional delegation became embarrassed and scrapped the project, but still secured the money. You provided another account from Palin, which strikes me as ad hoc and self serving. But it doesn’t really matter. What she lied about was her principled opposition to pork spending. She did not, and had not, opposed pork spending for Alaska.

Telling us that she had opposed such spending as a matter of principle, like John McCain, who’s running mate she had just agreed to be, was a bold faced lie.

The only way to avoid the conclusion that Palin was lying, is for you to tell me that she was not claiming to have, as a matter of principle, opposed federal pork spending. But that is undoubtedly what she was claiming. We know this because John McCain had made his long standing opposition to pork spending a central plank of his candidacy. McCain’s message was “here is someone who shares my views on earmarks and has demonstrated her principled opposition to them by opposing the bridge to nowhere.” But Palin did not oppose the Bridge to Nowhere. She openly campaigned in favor of it.

Why you can’t see this is beyond me.

In my universe, she’s a pathological liar.


July 20, 2009 @ 12:05 pm #


We do not occupy different universes; you just interpret the facts improperly.

You’re mistaken (if I were using YOUR standard of interpretation, I’d be calling it a “lie”) when you claim I did not acknowledge that Palin campaigned for the bridge. It was the first thing I said: she supported it, then she examined it, then she tried to make it work, and then she scrapped it. After the fact, she included her handling of the project as her evidence of her fiscal restraint bona fides, using the phrase, “I said ‘Thanks, but no thanks, to the bridge to nowhere.’” I pointed out — twice, now — that this is, in fact, an accurate description of the disposition of the project.

If you are going to continue to call this a “lie,” your task is simple: explain how “Thanks, but no thanks,” fails to describe the disposition of the project. You have not done this yet, and since that’s all she said, that’s what you have to falsify in order to say that she lied. You keep saying “But before that, she… she… LIKED the project!” So? I loved Lori, I married Lori, then 26 years later I divorced Lori. Would I be lying if I said “I divorced Lori,” without mentioning that I also loved her, married her, and tried to make the marriage work for 19 years? Does the fact that I fell in love with her, but discovered some things along the way that I did not know at first, make my description of the final decision a lie? How?

Claiming that the fact that she approved the project at any time, proves that she is not opposed to “pork spending,” posits the interesting notion that all spending is pork spending. Do you really believe this? There is no such thing as a fiscally responsible federal spending dollar? To accept even a dollar of federal money for any project, even one begun before your term, even one you think is responsible, makes you a proponent of “pork spending?” Please defend that interesting position.

I said your task is simple, but in fact, it’s very difficult. Not only do you have to explain in what way “Thanks, but no thanks” misrepresents the disposition of the project, but you have to prove — prove, not suggest, not imply — that Gov. Palin KNOWS she is misrepresenting the outcome, and is doing so specifically to deceive. Otherwise, you can say you disagree, you can say “She has an inflated opinion of her own achievements,” you can say “She’s nuts if she thinks this is fiscal responsibility,” but you can’t say she lied.

All your other verbiage is wasted. The details you’re adding might be good explanations for why you don’t agree that the project history provides an example of the fiscal sense that she claims. That’s fine; you’re entitled to differences of opinion about policy. For the sake of argument, let’s grant every word of it (I don’t agree, but that’s beside the point). What you’re not entitled to do is sully the reputations of others by calling their disagreement with your interpretations “lies.” That’s what your complaint here amounts to; she advertised fiscal good sense, using the Bridge as an example. In your humble opinion, it does not really illustrate fiscal sense. You are free to say “It’s a poor example.” You are free to say “It illustrates the opposite.” But if you’re going to call her LIAR, you have to prove that SHE AGREES WITH YOU — that she KNOWS it’s a poor example, not a good one, and she’s using it anyhow. That, you have utterly and completely failed to do.

What you’ve done, in fact, is illustrated just what an inflated ass of a man you are. “She CONTINUED to lie after EXPOSURE!!!” you panted angrily. In other words, it’s simply not possible for her to hear your discussion and disagree with your interpretation of the facts. Once Gov. Palin has heard the infallible explanation of JOE, she has no excuse for continuing to call her own acts “responsible”; she should have hung her head in shame and acknowledged, “JOE showed me the error my ways.” There is NO PLAUSIBLE WAY that a human being — even in error — might think “No, I disagree, it was actually the fiscally responsible choice” after hearing your explanation.

What an inflated, self-infatuated, overblown, self-righteous, arrogant, horse’s ASS of a human being you are.

She was not the person responsible for the project when it was begun, but she was the person responsible for the project when it ended, and she decided it was too expensive, so she scrapped it. As a consequence of her actions, Congress stripped the earmark from the spending bill (but sent the money for discretionary projects that made better sense to the Alaskans.) Those are facts; if you don’t agree they’re facts, point out which of them is not a fact, and why. You don’t think it’s a good example of fiscal restraint, or of fiscally responsible government behavior? Then feel free to say so (and don’t be surprised when I disagree) — but PLEASE, learn the freaking difference between “I disagree on policy” and “My opponent LIED when she disagreed with me.” You’re all grown up now, this is not the playground. Misrepresenting things actually hurts people. Grow the hell up.

July 20, 2009 @ 3:01 pm #


I don’t have to show that Palin’s “thanks but no thanks” comment is literally false. If fact, I’ll conceed right now that its technically accurate. (I don’t know that it technically accurate, but I’ll concede the point in one last attempt to guide you in the way more proper).

What I need to show is that Palin uttered that statement in an attempt to mislead us about her prinicpled opposition to pork spending. To that purpose . . .

In my entire lifetime I have never heard anyone use the phrase “thanks but no thanks” to mean “thanks, I’m really greatful” but then later on “no thanks, I decided I didn’t want it after all.” And neither have you. That’s simply not how the phrase is used – and your struggle to fit Palin’s actions into the literal meaning of the terms, taken separately, looks ridiculous.

“Thanks but no thanks” is always a refusal. When Palin told us she said “thanks but no thanks” to the bridge, she was telling us that she oppossed it all along as part of her principled opposition to pork spending. That is what is demonstrably false.


July 20, 2009 @ 4:52 pm #

“Thanks but no thanks” is always a refusal. When Palin told us she said “thanks but no thanks” to the bridge, she was telling us that she opposed it all along


So, the blockbuster argument here is that her choice of phrase in a political ad denotes, in your mind, a stronger refusal than the refusal she actually made in real life. She did refuse, but not strongly enough to match the phrase she used, in your mind.

And this level of overstatement, from a politician in a campaign ad, strikes you as UNUSUALLY dishonest … so dishonest, in fact, that she is not fit to hold office, and you feel justified using the medical term “pathological.”

I don’t think I have to say another word. Even granting you your tendentious reading of a colloquial phrase, if this is the worst you can find on her, I’d say Gov. Palin is unusually clean. You’re clearly looking very, very, VERY hard to find something, anything, with which to slur her. I really wish progressives were good enough at self-reflection to give us a plausible, thoughtful opinion why. It’s clearly not because she really is that dishonest… if this is an example of what’s got you so agitated.

I do have one question that I hope you’ll answer seriously, Joe. How do you define “pork spending?” It seems to me that your real objection here is that Palin claimed to oppose “pork spending,” but in fact engages in it. Whether this is so, depends on your definition of “pork spending.” So, what does that phrase mean to you? Might her definition of pork spending be different from yours?

July 20, 2009 @ 7:17 pm #


Palin is unfit to hold political office for many reasons. She is vindictive, she abuses her power, she is proudly ignorant, and she lies pathologically. The evidence is clear for anyone willing to see it.

And I’m not agitated. I’m just stating the obvious. As I’ve said before, There are a number of conservative candidates who I think are qualified to be President. I’d consider voting for Mitt Romney. Virtually no one can claim his record for success in both the public and private sectors. He is clearly qualified. I say this to assure you that my rejection of Palin has nothing to do with her being conservative. It certainly has nothing to do with fear of her as a political force – she is far more likely to completely fracture the Republican coalition than to lead it to electoral success.

Also, the fact that this is the first time you’ve understood my “bridge to nowhere” argument is astonishing. What did you think those of us who were saying that she lied had in mind? To be honest with you, I never bothered articulating the argument because the nature of our complaint seemed obvious. When I read your response, that her words “thanks, but no thanks” fit the literal history (you’re version) of the events, I thought, here is someone who does not want to understand what we’re saying.

I also liked your reference to my “tendentious reading of a colloquial phrase.” That’s hillarious. “Thanks but no thanks” constituting a rejection of something offered is a “tendentious reading” of that phrase, whereas your reading – thanks! wait, on second thought – after further study – no thanks) is sound?

Come on Phil.

Phil, my objection is that Palin lied. She tried to tell us that she oppossed earmark federal spending when she did not. Moreover, it is not just that she lied that one time. She appears to lie reflexively – as her first response – about everything.

Now, I have no hope that we’ll ever come to an agreement about this. So, I’ll just admit that Obama has also told some pretty serious lies that I find troubling.


July 20, 2009 @ 7:29 pm #

I also think it should also be pointed out that you called me “an inflated, self-infatuated, overblown, self-righteous, arrogant, horse’s ASS of a human being” and then said, without any sense of irony, that I was agitated.

You’re beginning to talk to me the way my wife talks to me. That can’t be a good sign.


July 22, 2009 @ 12:57 pm #

She appears to lie reflexively – as her first response – about everything.

So, it should be an easy matter for you to produce several instances here. Have at it. (It would be entertaining for you to defend, say, two or three of Sullivan’s claims here; I think it would become immediately obvious just how strained the entire exercise is.)

However, you don’t get to claim the general case when your first attempt, presumably using the strongest and most easily defended instance of a pattern that you claim is pervasive, turns out to be a tendentious quibble over whether her wording is justified, given that she defended the project before she scrapped it, rather than opposing the project from the beginning. I’m finding it hard to call her claim “dishonest” even after granting you your entire claim. That does not seem like the behavior of a PATHOLOGICAL liar to me; at worst, she’s in a class with 95% of the politicians I know, and I honestly don’t see any good reason to include her even in that class.

And please don’t try the “we live in different factual universes” crap again. We did not substantially disagree on the facts; you’re simply going berserk over a fairly routine political ad, because you very badly want to find reasons to reject her. If I were in your shoes, I’d be wondering why I seem so badly to want to sully her reputation.

So, I’ll just admit that Obama has also told some pretty serious lies that I find troubling.

But which were not serious enough for you to conclude “he’s a pathological liar, and unfit to hold office.

I provided support for the claim that Obama lied when he declared that his only knowledge of William Ayers is that he’s a guy in his neighborhood. Documentary evidence has been produced showing a string of personal connections and common projects stretching back 20 years. It was clear that Obama was trying to hide his past association with this gentleman and his wife, Ms. Dohrn; not only did he deny any connection, but he roused his connections to block access to records, and his campaign followers to flood radio shows with threats to prevent exposure of investigative journalism proving prior connections, and other acts to obscure the path. This was not an exaggerated political ad, like the example you produced (and that’s taking your interpretation of the facts as the correct ones); this was a systematic and clear attempt to deceive the voting public, with multiple, coordinated acts aimed at suppressing those producing the true story.

I think that what I’ll do here is, for every specific example of Gov. Palin’s alleged “pathological lying” that you produce, I’ll produce an example of Barack Obama’s, and we’ll compare the strength of our cases. I suspect that at the end of a few rounds of this, we’ll have a small pile of policy disagreements between you and Ms. Palin, and four clear, unmistakable attempts by Obama to deliberately deceive the voting public. And after each, I will ask: why are you calling Palin a “pathological liar,” but defending Obama as fit to hold office? And I think it will be clear to everybody here who’s avoiding the facts, and who’s following them.

Take your best shot.

July 23, 2009 @ 2:10 pm #

Phil, when I said that Obama appears to have told lies that are “troubling,” I meant that he lied about serious matters related to governing. If this turns out to be the case, Obama would be, in my mind, unfit to hold office.

As to your challenge, I think it best that we let it go, given the nature of the discussion we’ve just had. Aside from calling me all sorts of horrible names, you developed this absurd defense of Palin’s “thanks but no thanks to the bridge to nowhere” remark, arguing that it fit the literal history of the events – as told by Palin – after being confronted with the challenge that she was originally a strong supporter of the bridge – events which you accept uncritically as fact.

As I said earlier, “thanks, but no thanks” always indicates a unequivocal rejection. You know this. But you persisted in your defense that what she said wasn’t technically a lie because she supported the project (thanks!) but later rejected it (but no thanks).

Imagine if I had responded to your challenge that Obama’s statement “Ayers was a guy in the neighborhood” by saying “that’s no lie – Ayers was a guy in the neighborhood.” You would have howled that I was ignoring your obvious point that Obama was misleading the nation about the extent of his relationship with Ayers. However, you seemed to genuinely not understand what Ms. Palin was being accused of (lying about her history with the bridge in an attempt to falsely present herself as a principled opponent of federal pork) even though it was contextually obvious what she was being accused of. When I finally articulated what should have been contextually obvious, you seemed genuinely surprised at the nature of the accusation.

I don’t have time for this sort of nonsense.

By the way, I agree with you that some of Sullivan’s “lies” are over the top interpretations of the events. But the vast majority of the lies he cites are clear examples of her lying. And there’s also the facts that she’s ignorant, vindictive, and prone to abuse her powers.

Believe what ever you want about Palin. I don’t care.

Best wishes,


July 23, 2009 @ 4:44 pm #

“Ayers was a guy in my neighborhood” was intended to obscure the fact that he’d been working hand-in-glove with the man for 20 years.

“I said thanks but no thanks” was meant to obscure nothing. It’s advertising shorthand for “I’m fiscally responsible” — which the event illustrates nicely. You’re making a big deal out of routine political advertising.

There’s an enormous difference — and you’re exercised about the harmless one.

I’m not the one who’s letting his biases influence his thinking. But I do agree, we’re wasting our time here.

July 27, 2009 @ 10:20 pm #

Can it be so simple, gentlemen?


August 2, 2009 @ 10:35 am #


What serious matters related to governing are you talking about?

August 2, 2009 @ 10:38 am #

“when I said that Obama appears to have told lies that are “troubling,” I meant that he lied about serious matters related to governing. If this turns out to be the case, Obama would be, in my mind, unfit to hold office.”


What serious matters related to governing are you talking about?


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