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Mike Huckabee is sometimes labeled as being a funny guy, so the next time someone mentions it, just recall this. Jokes about women bein’ different for going to the bathroom together are so 1986, if they weren’t already hackeneyed by then. Also, Community handled this subject matter much more intelligently:

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Bruce Braley implicitly insulted farmers in Iowa a few weeks back. That’s about as bad a gaffe as you can get. And guess how it’s hurt his campaign: “A new Suffolk University poll in Iowa finds Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) leads all five potential Republican opponents by between 6 and 13 points.” That’s right, an open-seat in purple Iowa is not even really competitive after one of the more disastrous gaffes imaginable. It’s almost as if a candidate’s gaffe is almost always irrelevant.

Just goes to show that a headline with “gaffe” in it is most likely bullshit. Thinking back over the past few years, it’s hard to think of many races that turned on them: Martha Coakley obviously demeaned Red Sox fans in her disastrous run, but that was amid terrible fundamentals for her party (and it was really just one part of an epically bad, arrogant campaign). Other than that, the best they can do is to set back a candidate’s message until the Twitter world moves onto the next thing, as was true of virtually every gaffe in the 2012 election cycle (“47 percent” included, which immobilized Romney’s campaign during a downward slope). Obviously, political reporters still cover them, but at this point I’d argue that the whole idea of a gaffe turning an election is quaint, an artifact of the pre-polarization world in which voters had far fewer points of difference upon which to choose for whom to vote. And, to be honest, it really is stupid to base a vote for any office based on a single misstatement by a politician. So I see this as basically a positive thing.

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The Achilles Heel of conservatism is thinking that everything boils down to a simple, easy to understand explanation that you don’t need some Harvard Ph.D. to explain. If you really think about it, it’s this belief that enables the FOX News type of worldview more than any other. It is, of course, highly similar to tribalism in its binary thinking, and at this point conservatism and tribalism are interchangeable concepts.

The Achilles Heel of liberalism is thinking that human beings are essentially rational creatures and that all that’s needed to win is to amass evidence and arguments. It doesn’t work because of the endlessly impressive human ability to rationalize and preserve, and it stems from an unwillingness to engage power dynamics, as Loomis says. But it perseveres, and Aaron Sorkin, Ezra Klein and Barack Obama are among its most famous proponents. Say what you want about Communism, but those folks were entirely aware of this problem and frequently chided contemporary liberals for not realizing it. Despite so much changing since the mid-19th century this problem really hasn’t.

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Being as I have recent experience on the topic, I can absolutely second Dave Brockington’s diss of Heathrow. The Burberry shops right after customs seemed more than a little ham-handed to me, and getting there is not easy. Also, one of the better things about the socialist paradise of San Francisco is easy, direct connection to transit, no expensive buses or trains to transit where they can get you with a $20 dollar charge. Really, San Francisco is not by any means a socialist paradise, but my experiences with travel there continually show a surprising relative lack of willingness to pinch a person’s pockets. This is so far as I can tell rather atypical.


I don’t get Australian politics at all:

Labor’s lead candidate in Saturday’s West Australian Senate rerun says “working people” are right not to trust the Labor party to look after their interests and he thinks Tony Abbott has good “core beliefs” and could “potentially be a very good prime minister”.

In a disaster for Labor’s WA campaign, right-wing unionist Joe Bullock, the No 1 on Labor’s ticket, has also questioned former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s Christian faith because “he’d change his mind over a cup of coffee” and says he is not sure whether Louise Pratt, No 2 on the Labor party ticket, is actually a lesbian.

Bullock said he would rather be expelled from the ALP than vote for same-sex marriage – if the party made it a matter of policy rather than a conscience vote – and said Pratt was “a leading advocate of homosexual marriage … she’s a lesbian I think, although after her partner’s sex change I can’t be sure”. […]

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, has said Bullock is “exactly” the kind of person who should represent the Labor party and after the speech emerged it was reported said he stood by that endorsement.

Putting aside the substance here for a second–perhaps Australia has a lot of Stephen Lynch-style voters that he’s appealing to? Who knows?–one is left with a few nagging questions. Such as: why would a party leader say that someone who opposes the Labor party is exactly the type of person who should represent the Labor party? Why would a political party provide any support for someone who displays contempt for official party policy and leadership and vows to disrupt it if elected? How did this guy manage to get this far into the process without this stuff getting out to the public, or party functionaries taking note? It is possible, after all, to find labor leaders who aren’t nasty, belligerent, unreliable bigots to run for office. And how on Earth did this incompetent a party actually manage to win elections and govern the country for seven years without the fucking wallabies and koalas taking over? (Cheap shot.)

Really, everything I read about Australian left politics leads me to believe that Joe Lieberman would probably be one of the more liberal politicians there. I really wish I was kidding.

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Is basically the same as the meaning of conservatives deliberately altering Andrew Cuomo’s inescapably accurate quote about the electability of staunch conservatives in New York State* to sound like he was telling them all to move out of the state. This is the way I see it. At this point, it could be argued that the entire conservative movement (including its elected politicians) has become little more than a support structure for the multibillion dollar conservative media industry. People pretend to run for president in order to make a living from it. Powerful Representatives straight-up quit in order to join it. Plausible presidential contenders would rather keep their cushy media gigs rather than bother to attempt the highest office in the land. And so on. And given the prospect of making Limbaugh money, why wouldn’t you? But the problem is basically that conservative media has already peaked. Actuarial tables suggest a deep hit to business over the coming decade, which invariably means that a lot of rich, famous, successful people will find themselves fighting each other for shrinking pieces of the pie. Don’t think I mean that it’ll all fall apart immediately–Lawrence Welk ran for forty years playing music that was obsolete when the show began, after all, and future angry elderly people might well tune into the sweet sweet sounds of Bill O’Reilly for some time to come. But it seems a good guess to bet on steady decline. Which means they’ll need to come up with more red meat, of course, and since there’s only so much fresh stuff made daily, these folks are going to have to chance it with marginal, unhealthy looking stuff, stuff past its expiration date, and so forth in order to fill their viewers’ plates. (You get the metaphor.) And we shouldn’t talk about this as though it hasn’t already started.

* Forty years since the last one depending on how you rate Al D’Amato. Who was sort of a Peter King type if I remember correctly but I could be wrong.

I forget if I’ve done this before:

It really is one of my favorite songs of all time, and an inflection point for the artist. Westerberg’s ambivalence is what powered the stratospheric accomplishments of The Replacements–had he decided whether he wanted to be just another rock star or to be the sensitive deep-feeling alt-rocker picking up the banner of his generation (or to be neither one), it’s probable he would have become a big star. Instead he vacillated between all options. At this point The Replacements are easily understandable since we can see them through the lens of all they inspired, but in the ’80s people couldn’t make heads nor tails of them, and I think the ambiguity was what was hard to understand. But that ambiguity makes the music so much more lasting and interesting–even into his solo career, album by album, even song by song, it’s interesting to look at how that particular battle was waged. In any event, by this point I think the ambiguity was gone, and this is comfortable, gentle and beautiful. Didn’t go anywhere in 2003 but it obviously should have.

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