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Archive for October, 2008

McCain the (Bull) Moose-Hunter?

“When T.R. spoke of ‘swollen fortunes’ and ‘malefactors of great wealth,’ socialism was a genuine force in American politics, perceived by many to pose a serious threat to the social order. When T.R. first called for a ‘graduated income tax’ in his 1907 State of the Union, he was proposing a measure that the Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional. Indeed, the federal income tax struck down by the Court wasn’t even ‘graduated,’ or progressive; it was a flat-rate tax.” One from a few days ago that Ted at The Late Adopter just reminded me of: As Slate‘s Tim Noah aptly points out, John McCain can either continue to decry Obama’s purported “socialist” tendencies, or he can continue to claim Teddy Roosevelt is his hero, but he cannot plausibly continue to do both.

At the very least, it would seem McCain, what with his coterie of lobbyist attendants, has either never read — or is flagrantly ignoring — TR’s “New Nationalism” speech: “There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done” (See also one of my favorites: “The prime problem of our nation is to get the right type of good citizenship, and, to get it, we must have progress, and our public men must be genuinely progressive.)”

Time to Lawyer Up.

“Briefcase-to-briefcase, wingtip-to-wingtip, the legal emissaries of both Barack Obama and John McCain seem to be taking their cues from the 2000 election, which — according to some accounts — was either decided in a Florida skirmish known as the ‘Brooks Brothers Riot’ that ended the manual recount in Miami-Dade County, or — according to more mainstream accounts — in the august halls of the U.S. Supreme Court along crassly partisan lines. Ready or not, here they come.”

How can you tell when Election Day in America is right around the corner? Sadly, it’s when both the Dems and the GOP feel compelled to ready their respective battalions of lawyers. With that in mind, Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick surveys the massing legal armies. “One can’t help but wonder what it says about public confidence in our voting systems, then, that despite our almost complete lack of faith in them, we will rely almost exclusively on lawyers to protect the integrity of this election.

Tipoff ’09.

While Philadelphians wait one more day (they hope) to end their 25-year losing streak, basketball-inclined sports fans such as myself are now focused on Beantown, where the 2008-09 NBA season tips off tonight on TNT. (And, hey, with zero games played in the season, this newest iteration of new-look Knicks are tied for best record in the league!)

Seriously, tho, while I expect another, ahem, “rebuilding” year in New York despite the best efforts of Walsh and D’Antoni, it’ll be good to have the NBA back in town — and Kenny, EJ, and Charles back in the studio. Particularly now with Mad Men in mothballs again, Inside the NBA is probably my favorite show on television…even if they don’t deign to show the Knicks this year.

The Unsinkable Movement.

“There’s something surreal about how fast the GOP has gone from arrogant triumphalism to its death throes. Just yesterday, the GOP’s mighty Titanic was cruising along, its opulent decks lined with fat-cat financiers and neoconservative warmongers, all smoking cigars, drinking champagne and extolling the deathless virtues of their fearless captain. The compliant media issued glowing dispatches. Karl Rove cackled with glee as he plotted out a permanent Republican majority. Then the luxury liner hit an iceberg known as reality…It’s a historic shipwreck, and the American people are diving off the foundering GOP hulk in droves.”

You already know the story by now. Still, at the risk of further wallowing in (highly dangerous pre-election) schadenfreude, here’s another timely obit for the conservative movement, by Salon‘s Gary Kamiya. Now I know that, no matter how good the polls look, linking these sorts of pieces before the returns are in (one week to go!) is a highly dubious proposition, karmically speaking. As Norman Wilson rightly warned Mayor Carcetti of Clay Davis, “You don’t dance on Clay’s grave until you’re sure the motherf**ker’s dead.”

Still, given that the McCain, Palin, and Dubya camps are now all openly shivving each other for spots on the lifeboats — Team McCain has now taken to calling the governor a “diva” and a “whack job,” Palin herself is now apparently eyeing 2012 (ooh, please run!), and everybody is naturally running from Dubya — the Titanic metaphor, however hoary a cliche, seems a safe bet regardless.

Hulk Smashed.

“‘In another state, he would be toast,’ said Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. ‘In Alaska, you gotta make him a significant underdog.‘” How’s this for a sign of the times? Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate (and the only one to famously favor a Hulk tie), is very quickly found guilty on seven felony counts of lying on his non-disclosure forms. As you may remember, the indictments broke in July, and Stevens — asking for a quick pre-election trial — got one.

And yet, despite the desperate entreaties of Senator McCain and the governor of his home state, one Sarah Palin, Stevens has vowed to fight on for re-election next week, thus further boosting the chances of a Dem Senate pick-up in the Last Frontier…and beyond. “‘It’s a horrible year for Republicans, in a horrific fall, and this is yet another horrific event,’ Cook said. ‘This throws them off message; it puts them back on the defensive again. It makes it harder to separate themselves from the party.‘” Well, thanks for that, at least, Senator.

Mudblood Aristocracy.

Don’t drink the water…With Michael Gambon looking and sounding more Gandalfian than ever, the international trailer for David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now online. Well, ok then.

The Empty Wagon is the Noisiest.

Another Greenville, another Magic Mart, Jeffer, grab your fiddle… So, pop quiz: What do old-school R.E.M. and Sarah Palin have in common? They’ve both sung paeans to “Little America,” or as Governor Palin rather awkwardly put it recently, the “pro-America areas of this great nation.” In case you somehow missed what she was trying to get at, NC GOP candidate Robin Hayes said it even more plainly: “Liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God.” Or consider Minnesota freakshow Michele Bachmann, soon after deeming Senator and Michelle Obama enemies of the people: “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.

Now, I realize the once-powerful conservative movement is now entering the late, terminal stages of its malignancy, that these floundering insults and echoes of McCarthy are all just part of the right-wing death rattle, and that it’s probably best just to look away from their interminable gesticulating and shrieking while the right melts away into electoral oblivion. But, really, eff these people. I’m so utterly sick of these conservative assholes wrapping themselves in our flag every time their narrowness and stupidity is exposed before all the world. America is so much more than the pathetic litany of grievances and bigotries these jokers trot out every time their flank is exposed. And if they truly loved America as much as they claim to, they’d know this, and stop embarrassing us all by conflating their ignorant and unprincipled antipathies with what’s good and true in our national life.

The consul a horse. Jefferson, I think they’re lost.

A Long Way Down.

As featured in the Spike awards last night, an extended version of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen trailer arrives online. I’m liking the Galactus-y feel of Dr. Manhattan’s moments, but the slo-mo Snyderisms here (the doomed flight of the Comedian notwithstanding) still give me pause.

Update: Speaking of which, said flight is now captured in a spiffy new Watchmen teaser poster, above.

He knows Hoover, and Hoover is no GWB.

Even revisionist historians who view Hoover kindly concede that his was a failed presidency. Still, it’s unfortunate that commentators and politicians are employing ‘Hoover’ as an epithet for inaction. His White House tribulations consumed only four of more than 90 years studded with extraordinary achievements- — as Great Engineer, as World War I Food Czar, and, above all, as Great Humanitarian.” In light of recent events, esteemed historian William Leuchtenberg rides to the rescue of the Great Engineer, and attempts to set the record straight on comparisons of Dubya to Herbert Hoover. “In contrast to George W. Bush,” he concludes, “President Hoover moved in unprecedented ways to cope with economic calamity.

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