A poor excuse for a blog post, but read it anyway

David Broder, dead at 81

Today on NPR, I listened to a very brief obituary for David Broder, the Washington Post columnist. (Remember, under my own rules of “Conservative for a Month” I am allowed to listen to NPR in the car so I don’t get road rage? If you don’t like my rules, go write your own damn blog that no one reads.) What I was moved by was the eulogizer’s praise of Broder’s ability to listen. She recounted how Broder would go from door-to-door in a town and actually ask residents about their views. In a sound clip, Broder, with good humor recounted how people would feel sorry for him, seeing an old man traipse around in all kinds of weather, and many of them would invite him for a cup of tea. I smile as I read this, seeing Broder’s old face, knowing that we’ll all be there soon, and hoping that I will be able to use my age good-naturedly for some positive purpose other than getting a seat on the bus or being excused for passing gas without seeming to care.

Therefore, in honor of David Broder and the virtue and art of listening,  I bring you snippets from the conservative sites I’ve been visiting lately.(That’s why this post is such a poor excuse–I merely copy and paste and then praise myself by calling it “listening.”)

I was debating whether or not to provide links to the sites. At first I figured that I didn’t want to increase their traffic even one iota, but in the end I decided that context was more important.


I apologize for the editorializing caption. Blame Chris Matthews, not me.

It’s a message narcissistic journalists need to hear again. A decade ago, Heston chastised the media in a National Press Club speech for its collective ignorance, apathy and open hostility toward gun owners’ rights:

“Clearly, too many have used freedom of the press as a weapon not only to strangle our free speech, but to erode and ultimately destroy the right to keep and bear arms, as well. In doing so, you promoted your profession to that of constitutional judge and jury, more powerful even than our Supreme Court, more prejudiced than the Inquisition’s tribunals. It is a frightening misuse of constitutional privilege, and I pray that you will come to your senses and see that these abuses are curbed.”

Alas, Heston’s prayers have yet to be answered. While courts have recently bolstered Second Amendment rights, endangering gun owners in the name of free speech continues to be the blood sport of the Fourth Estate.

Click here for full article


Walker’s calm comportment in this crisis is reminiscent of President Reagan’s during his 1981 stand against the illegal strike by air traffic controllers, and Margaret Thatcher’s in the 1984 showdown with the miners’ union over whether unions or Parliament would govern Britain. Walker, by a fiscal seriousness contrasting with Obama’s lack thereof, and Obama, by inciting defenders of the indefensible, have made three things clear:

First, the Democratic Party is the party of government, not only because of its extravagant sense of government’s competence and proper scope, but also because the party’s base is government employees. Second, government employees have an increasingly adversarial relationship with the governed. Third, Obama’s “move to the center” is fictitious.

Click here for the link


(My favorite part is the reference to “Mary the Riveter.”)

Can we go through this again?  What we have here is a money laundering operation.  You have public sector employees.  They are members of public unions.  These public unions support Democrats 95% to 100% of the time with money.  Who pays the salaries of state unionized employees?  Taxpayers do.  Not some evil CEO fat cat.  Joe Six-Pack.  Joe the Plumber.  Whoever it is, Mary the Riveter.  These people living in Wisconsin, their taxes hire and pay the salaries of public sector unions which are already twice as high as what they make.  Then, the dues from these union workers go to the Democrat Party.  So the dues originate in the wages earned by private citizens.  So it’s Joe Six-Pack and Joe the Plumber and all the other taxpayers in Wisconsin whose money is going to the Democrat Party via a money laundering operation through the unions.  That’s what’s happening, pure and simple.  That’s the real question.  That’s what’s going on.

Click her for the link

Ooops! Sorry for the bad link.

Conservative Vacationing: How to have a holiday free from dissenting opinions

Oh, it was so hard not reading Paul Krugman this week! Instead, I turned to the BostonHerald.com where the lead “article” was by Mitt Romney on why Obama is a failure. However, I am surviving buoyed by the thought that one can….

Vacation without Liberals!!!!!
I should be grateful (to myself, who made this stupid dare in the first place?) that I actually gave myself a rather easy foray into my liberalism fast and conservativism pig-out. If I had any real backbone,  I’d have taken the opportunity to go on a Conservative Cruise. Yes, such a beast actually exists. Imagine: warm breezes, tropical cocktails, and being stuck on a ship with nothing between you and liberalism except miles and miles of the deep blue sea. Chained to conservative fellow Americans for 10 straight days, much of it with no land in sight. The delicious possibility of being stuck in a lifeboat for days with 2nd amendment fanatics. Who wouldn’t want to go?
Old Europe with Neo-Cons
Perhaps, if I really wanted to see the Neocons party hardy I could take the Weekly Standard’s 10-night European cruise. After being waited on by earnest and hungry young Eastern European workers—giving me a level of luxury that I could never afford in the United States  (damned minimum-wage law) I could settle my stomach while listening to New York Times dropout William Kristol, Ambassador Who Was Never Confirmed, John Bolton, and Terry Eastland, whoever the hell he is.
If I wanted revel in irony, there’s the Young America’s foundation 10-night European cruise, which features superannuated Reagan relic/resigned in scandal Edwin Meese III.   You can hit the late night buffet with professional Reagan bootlicker and monster truck fan Steven Hayward, or token African-American Dr. Walter Williams, best known for sitting in for Rush Limbaugh and writing in the WSJ that welfare finished what slavery started.
Cruising Con in the Land of the Free
CPAC’s cruise is going to Alaska,  America’s last frontier, this July. I don’t suppose that their highlighted speaker, Donald Rumsfeld, would be interested in a Mediterranean cruise, floating among the the ruins of “old Europe.” But as much as I would like to see the grandeur of our country’s wildest state, you’re not going to catch me on a ship with our ex-Secretary of Defense.  It just seems like courting bad luck, especially if there are icebergs around. Moreover, overexposure to the Palins over the last few years has diminished my desire to see the great North. The only possible upside I could see to Alaska trip would be the possibility of meeting Willow Palin, getting her pregnant and not having to work anymore (quiet down, it’s a wealth fantasy, folks, not a sexual one. Private school tuition has reached $52,000 a year, and I have two children: do the math. Also, Willow has reached the age of consent in Alaska). The problem is that  I’m not particularly fond of opportunist hillbillies, and millions of dollars seems small recompense for being joined to Sarah Palin in some way for the rest of my life.
Con-ga in the Caribbean
I think the cruise that I really want to go on is the one sponsored by the National Review. I can  smoke stogies while grooving to the retro stylings of Ralph Reed (living proof that more Americans believe in the Devil than in evolution), Victor Davis Hanson (“I read Homer in the original, so I must be right”) , John Yoo (cheerleader for torture from the Bush Jr administration) , and Dinesh D’Souza (the adult Shirley Temple of the movement). Also appearing is S.E. Cupp, , an ex-ballet dancer and atheist who wants to be a person of faith (What a shame for her Fox News career that her name isn’t Debra Denise). By shunning contact lenses for the more IQ-augmenting spectacles, she attains that sexy librarian look that wonky cons just can’t resist.(Note to Sarah Elizabeth: keep your distance from O’Reilly, or wear a wire.)
Can’t We  Rent a Destroyer for this Cruise?
I have to admit that I don’t have the  cojones to go on the 2011 freedom cruise. Although it is staying in the Caribbean, i.e., within firing range of the homeland, having just a railing separating me from convicted felon Ollie North and Davy Jones Locker is just too frightening. Pair that with the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, and the nightmare scenario seems just too close to reality.

I have to wonder what inspired these conservative cruises. Presumably, these people can mingle on terra firma just as well as they can at sea. I suppose the appeal is being able to go on a vacation that won’t   be sullied by having to look at or listen to liberals. On a regular cruise, one might be forced to actually sit down at a table with one of those godless latte-sipping libs. It could ruin the whole vacation. The cons on these trips can book their vacations, secure in the knowledge that they won’t be exposed to any offensive ideas.  Being isolated on ship with  a limited number of  people on it, the Conservative Cruise is the most reliable way of knowing that you’re  on a ship with the highest percentage of “real” Americans short of booking a trip on an aircraft carrier.
NB:The cruises only book a percentage of the ships’ rooms, which number in the thousands.

Contemplating my 2nd day as a Conservative: I read the National Review

"Now, now, surely you’re not implying the phenomenon is more prevalent among entertainers than among other blacks, uh, Afro-Americans, uh, whatever phrase is current among you coloreds."

I am doing quite well, 2 days away from the Times, NPR, and of course, the dulcet tones of Rachel Maddow, whose voice lulls me to sleep as I lie on the couch after a hard day of unsuccessfully trying to save the world. Tonight, instead of entering into my liberal cocoon, I  am collecting sap from the maple trees and boiling it down into syrup–it makes me feel like a very useful engine.
March 4
Today I decided that I would go with a more “intellectual” source of conservatism, and I went to the National Review online. I am glad for online magazines, because unlike the olden days   (ironically those days when I was a novice in the church of the free market, somewhere out in the hinterlands) when I would have had to either go to a library (this wasn’t so bad–libraries were heaven then) or shell out some of my ill-gotten gains in order to buy a hard copy of the rag, I could get what I wanted with only a few ever-so-subtle movements of my fingers, all accomplished from the privacy of my own house.
This is the world being made better. Before, not only would I have regretted helping to pay Michelle Malkin’s salary—though I suppose that each click I made today does help  her and the publication in a tiny way–but I would have had to put the magazine in the recycle bin when I was finished. The recycled product might have ended up in the coffee filters I use, and then I might have ended up drinking my free-trade coffee after it had actually passed through all of that bad karma. Imagine the  consequences to my atman, not to mention the public in general if say I had operated a vehicle or some other heavy machinery while the beverage’s bad energy was still inside me.
Anyway, I read an article by Jim Manzi  on whether or not universal health care would improve overall health. Despite my quest for something less strident and more logical than yesterday’s visit to talk radio, I couldn’t help thinking that  calm, rational Jim completely missed the point: The point being that even if health care didn’t improve, at least a large number of our fellow citizens wouldn’t end up in the poorhouse if they got sick. Oh, and those with preexisting conditions might actually get treatment.
If I may adopt the patronizing attitude of the magazine’s founder,  I would say that the danger in an article like this is that by throwing around terms like “randomized experiment”  and quoting RAND studies and oh-so-generously conceding the shortcomings of the information while giving mincing credit to one’s opponents, the already-convinced (most readers of this article, libs are too upset these days to pick up a copy) believe that they are getting some sort of scientific proof for their prejudices.
Enough highfalutin shit, let’s go to Facebook !
Because I am still trying to capture the essence of my new conservatism, I felt an urge, nay, an obligation to see the up-to-the-minute passions of my compatriots on Facebook. It’s like so immediate, it’s so right there. I mean, some of these posts were only seconds old when I read them.
They looked something like this (these are in response to a Facebook posting on Fox News using footage of a violent protest in California while talking about the ongoing demonstrations in Madison):
•    Not sure why conservatives are on here – it’s common knowledge only complete morons watch Ed Schultz and arguing with them is about as useful trying to get Ed Schultz to have a rational conversation.
•    I love FOX news. THE ONLY reliable news . I hate the rest media outlets. They are only one sided.
•    And st…op blaming Walkerr. He’s trying to do a good job. Ant most of protestors  are lazy s.o.b. trying to fight the right to have more from the golden pot (our tax money) Roll down sleeves and go to work. 100.000 salary for 9 months is not enough? it’s moire then 10.000 a month or 500 a day. I work my butt running my small business to get less then half that and only dream about 3 week vacation.
•    Look your morons,they are talking about protesters in general.I didn’t see one place on that photo where they said it was wisconsin.Maybe an idiot camera man put up the wrong photo but whats the big deal?

It’s tough, but I think I am learning.

I survive the first 24 hours with no liberal media! I’m OK, but this is going to be a challenge.

I have finished the  first 24 hours of my month-long liberal news fast, and I am happy to report that I have noticed no discernible change in my disposition.

Day 1

I listened to some AM radio station where a guy named Howie Carr complained about state workers. I guess he has been a gadfly around Boston for some time, but not being from here and not listening to AM talk radio, I had no idea who he was. I checked out his column in the Boston Herald as well, where he also railed against state workers.

He seems to engage in the rather common Conservative practice of attacking by anecdote and emotion. He doesn’t say, for example, how many state workers are on disability compared to workers in the private sector. He likes phrases like “pinky-ring public-sector unions,” but the people I know working for the state don’t seem to wear any more jewelry than anybody else, perhaps even less. The guys might have worn a watch, but nothing fancy. I did see some  quite regularly on the women, but not on the men. I know that there is the association of wise guys and mafiosi with the pinky ring, but I don’t see how that applies to state employees earning what by any standards is more than reasonable wage.

Segueing from state employees to federal without a distinction, Howie was particularly incensed, as were his listeners, that the employees of the TSA are about to unionize. No one brought up the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were allowed on the planes by private contractors, but whatever. Like Bush, your gut is what counts.

The two things that struck me most about his column were 1) he’s not funny, and 2) his column requires no research. If one is going to be satirical or try parody, it’s important to be really funny. Otherwise, it’s just a lazy, as well as an ineffective way to make an argument: if this is the truth, I must be right. Not being funny, not pointing out any real ironies, but just making up anecdotes, Howie just looks a hack past his time, airing his personal complaints to the already converted and too indolent to do any real investigative reporting that could lead to policy change. Well, he’s on AM and in tabloid. Res ipsa loquitor.

Tonight I attempt Hannity.

Conservative for a Month!

This is Ann Coulter (shudder!)
This is Ann Coulter on french fries, hot air, and illegaly obtained Viagra and pain killers

Lest I be accused of only listening to those who agree with me, I am going to be a conservative for a month. Not like Mr. Colbert (wish I had his talent, if only so I could get a chance to vomit on the tarmac after getting a ride in a fighter plane (sigh)), but more like your average angry Georgian. I am not going to listen to MSNBC, or read the NY Times (well, maybe a little), but I will rail at the Wisconsin unions, and complain that Obama is a communist Kenyan Manchurian candidate.  I am still going to listen to NPR, but only in the car: I do not wish to develop road rage. Nor will I read David Brooks. He is a sixth-string intellectual trying to pass for fourth-string, and usually falling on his face. Besides, he’s in the Times. Instead, I will read the Boston Herald, watch O’Reilly and Hannity, read Milton Friedman, and say that Anne Coulter passes for really hot. I may even undertake the Ultimate Challenge: Listening to Glen Beck.
I understand the need to listen to people with the same views. I know the scenario:  It’s the end of the day. You’ve been stuck in traffic behind some fellow American , perhaps driving a Cadillac Escalade or a Hummer or one of the other gas guzzlers that give good profits to our country, emblazoned with bumper stickers that say, “God, Guns, and Guts Made This Country Great!” or “Why the Hell should I have to press ‘1’ for English?” Meanwhile, someone else with an NRA sticker and one that reads “WAR never solved anything except slavery, oppression, genocide, communism, fascism, and nazism …now for terrorism!” gives you the finger just because she doesn’t like the way you drive. Annoyed, you flip through the stations and you can’t get NPR, but yet there seem to be a hundred Country-Western music stations with someone either whining about his cheating wife or his drinking problem (family values!) and while being tortured by these omnipresent philistines you contemplate that the music program was just cancelled at your kids’ school while the police work details seem to be spreading like the fusarium wilt that’s attacking your heirloom tomatoes. You know what you need: you need the comforting voice of Tom Ashbrook or Rachel Maddow. You need the indignation of Keith Olbermann. You need the unsurpassed humor of Gail Collins, or Tina Fey being all mavericky. You just need to hear somebody that agrees with you for crying out loud, that shows the world how the other side is not only full of idiots, but evil idiots. And not just evil idiots, but evil warmongering  evolution-denying wife-beating Huddle House-eating gun-toting bass-boating undereducated or country club elite overarmed child-hating red-baiting selfish Chicago-school worshipping odious IDIOTS!
But therein lies the rub. America, at least the America I was taught to love, buddy, doesn’t gather under the balcony to raise our arms in agreement. Not us, Mack. We argue. We contend. We listen to the other side, before respond with a body blow to the spleen. Metaphorically speaking, naturally . We entertain long moments of self-doubt in which we wonder, “Jeez, what if I am wrong?”
This shouldn’t be too hard. I came out of college all ready to believe the disciples of Hayek (Friedrich, not Salma, whom I am still prepared to believe in) and pumped to vote for the Gipper. We all make mistakes, and my life since the Iran-Contra revelations began to edge me further left—culminating in a full break when Pat “I’m not dead yet!” Buchanan declared a culture war—until I ended up as the unabashed liberal (not a progressive, thank you very much) that I am today.
So that’s it. March Madness. Let’s see if I survive.

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