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Rich Lowry's Computer Wallpaper. You know it is!

I agree with Metavirus that Rich Lowry can’t be taken seriously, but I just can’t quit him. His columns are bizarrely fascinating to me, even though I never agree with them and they’re always poorly reasoned and argued. Then again, I’m a fan of bad movies, which probably makes me more of an ironist than most, and like Karl Rove, Lowry is an unintentional genius at irony. Here’s a segment from his latest opus (entitled “Whiniest President Ever”, which begs the question of what Lowry would call his starburst queen if she somehow won):

Pres. Barack Obama has belatedly joined the ranks of presidential fatalists. The job isn’t too complex necessarily; it’s too damn influential. According to the New York Times, Obama has been telling aides that it’d be easier to be president of China. No one hangs on Hu Jintao’s every word, or expects global leadership from a grasping, one-party state that has never been a beacon to the world. […]

Obama lacks executive flair. Talk to New Jersey governor Chris Christie and he will tell you at length how much he loves making decisions. It’s hard to imagine a Chris Christie enjoying life as a legislator. Obama came to the presidency after a political career spent marinating in senates, first in Illinois, then in Washington.

But, as always, I give credit where it’s due. Lowry actually cops to this: “The no-fly zone isn’t a panacea — realistically, it’d only be a way station to more robust military action.” It’s almost refreshing to see such candor, being as it makes his position that much easier to reject. Still, Lowry is a difficult person for me to gauge. As David Bowie said, sometimes you can’t tell the bullshit from the lies. Hu Jintao is a dictator, and yet nobody hangs on his every word? Isn’t that the “dict-” part of dictator, that what he says goes? The Christie puffery is obnoxious, but this is a strangely bipolar argument. On the one hand, there’s the clear implication that Obama wants to be a dictator with unlimited executive power because of an accurate (though uncomfortable) joke, on the other, he’s too much of a legislator. It’s almost as if Lowry just wants to criticize Obama with every Republican talking point he can cram into his article! And Obama’s remark, funny or not, was a joke about legislative gridlock and frustration. He doesn’t literally want to run China. It takes a special kind of obtuseness to take that remark seriously. One can imagine a 10 year old Lowry on the recess playground, dispassionately insisting that his mother is not at all overweight.

As usual, Lowry’s column is a mishmash of conservative talking points, haphazardly assembled in a way that falls apart rather than coheres when subjected to even a smidgen of logic, and that barely coheres to his ostensible theme. Like many of the right’s “thinkers” (a category that excludes people like Daniel Larison, who do actually think), his only talent is synthesis of various strands of Republican populism, and his talents at that are meager enough. Surely what Lowry’s done can be done better? I mean, I’m a liberal and even I could make better right-wing arguments than this guy. And Lowry’s considered to be one of the smarter conservatives in the Republican mainstream. The sad thing is, he is.



funny facebook fails - Big Brother Paranoia FAIL


Yes, those Crusades:

Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by “the American left who hates Christendom.”

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.”

He added, “They hate Western civilization at the core. That’s the problem.”

After asserting that Christianity had not shown any “aggression” to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator — who is considering a 2012 run for the White House — argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote “core American values.”

Is any parody capable of being as funny as the self-parody they foist on themselves?

h/t JC


Just so that you know, a bunch more bullshit is coming out of Arizona that will all be tossed out in court. Basically, it’s a lot of Prop 187-style stuff designed to deny any services to illegal immigrants. Not sure why Republicans are so deliberately trying to piss on Hispanic voters to pass stuff that has again and again been tossed out as un-Constitutional, just as Prop 187 was here in California. And not only did the right wing lose that battle in California, it turned out to be nothing short of demographic suicide for the Republican Party in the state, as it surely will in Arizona in the future. So, why? It’s not like these folks aren’t usually bought off with a little symbolism anyway. I don’t get it. Maybe they are just that stupid.

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This is really fucked up:

Louisiana, like most states, bars prostitution. But the state also has a 206-year-old law that carries special penalties for those charged with soliciting oral or anal sex — the so-called Crime Against Nature statute.

Those convicted under the C.A.N. law can be required to register as sex offenders.

Yesterday, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit in New Orleans, claiming the law unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and others who engage in the targeted acts. (Here’s a report on the suit from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and here’s a copy of the complaint.) […]

At a news conference in New Orleans, attorneys for the plaintiffs said the registration requirement erects “insurmountable barriers” to people who are trying to restart their lives, the Times-Picayune reports.

In New Orleans, according to the paper, nearly 40 percent of the people registered as sex offenders are on the registry because of a crime against nature conviction.

Louisiana is the only state where people convicted of selling their bodies can be required to register as a sex offender, the Times-Picayune reports, citing the lawsuit.


Good point.

Rich Lowry wrote a column last week about Jeb Bush that actually wasn’t that bad. Some points were right, some were wrong, but all in all it seemed like an honest attempt to figure out something about the world as it is. Having gotten that out of his system, he proceeds to unload some aggressively stupid commentary in this week’s installment (via FrumForum, an indispensable culler of wingnuttery and, alternately, its antidote as well). Here’s Rich Lowry on “Our Reactionary President” (no joke, that’s literally the title):

The man from “hope and change” wants, to the extent he can, to perpetuate the bankrupt and bankrupting structures of 20th-century government. His political genius turns out to be throwing a patina of daring over what is only an amped-up version of the status quo. Both his supporters and his critics hype him as something new under the sun, when nearly everything he does represents the brackish backwash of 1970s liberalism.

Now, I’m just a proggy blogger, so maybe I missed it. But I thought that “an amped-up version of the status quo” was more or less the definition of conservatism. Indeed, Andrew Sullivan has pointed out that Obama is actually conservative in many ways, if you construe conservatism as preserving institutions and practices that work and are worth saving. Which is what it is, really, but don’t tell Lowry.

Now, you might ask, what other examples of Obama’s reactionary nature are in the piece? Is he trying to bring back the gold standard? Reopen the 1970s-vintage debate on comparative worth? Bring back the horseless carriage? Of course not, it turns out he’s a reactionary for proposing a bunch of stuff conservatives dislike:

We had already tried a stimulus and deficit spending — Obama gave us more of both. We already had subsidies to green energy — Obama created more. We already were spending more than ever on education — Obama added more. We already had massive government health-care programs crowding out the private sector and tipping the federal government toward bankruptcy — Obama added yet another one. At a time when even some Democrats say spending has to be cut, when his own administration says that the debt is unsustainable, Obama’s budget stays resolutely anchored in the status quo

Apparently, “reactionary” means “incrementally following a progressive policy agenda,” which is a weird interpretation. Criticize the goals if you must, but seriously? And there’s the obligatory Wisconsin nonsense:

When the Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, proposes changes to put his state’s relationship with public-employee unions on a footing more appropriate to our straitened times, Obama instinctively sides with the unions, defending privileges dating from the mid and late 20th century.

Straitened times? What? I’m sort of at a loss here. Public sector unions have been around since the mid-20th century, so defending them is reactionary? Capitalism dates from the late 18th century. Seems like, if your criterion is the length that an institution has been around, you’re unwittingly implicating yourself in your own charge. And, once again, it is strange for conservatives to make the charge that you should ignore traditions and institutions because they’re old.

What interests me is how this turns a common gripe on its ear. Over the years, I’ve heard a number of complaints from conservatives. One of the ones that often crops up is that they don’t like it when liberals claim that their agenda constitutes progress, and that anything conservatives want to do is automatically considered moving backward. Personally, I think that complaint is silly, just an issue of rhetoric. Of course liberals believe that their agenda is progress. Otherwise, why would they believe it? By the same token, it’s true that some conservative ideas have moved the country forward, like welfare reform, so a purely partisan take on the topic isn’t always reliable. But the interesting thing about this column is that Lowry does exactly that here. He identifies a Republican agenda with progress, and anyone who opposes it must be doing so out of reactionary zeal. The problem is that what he really identifies is that Obama is a reform-minded incrementalist who wants to promote the rights of labor and environmentalists. If one identifies reactionary as synonymous with “something that’s been done in the past” then literally everyone is a reactionary, and the charge is meaningless. One suspects that Lowry wrote this for the same reason that Jonah Goldberg wrote Liberal Fascism, as an attempt to try to defuse a frequent charge against the right. But the import of this is that Lowry seems threatened by the conservatism of President Obama’s disposition, perhaps because it’s so damn strange to him.

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Oh the dangers of democracy:

Not only does whackadoodle Georgia state Rep. Bobby Franklin want abortion classified as murder, according to his latest bill, the police will have to investigate all miscarriages to ensure that they were “spontaneous.” Here’s the complete bill. Via Daily Kos:

Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can’t tell how it happened, than those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it. Yup, we’ve been waiting for someone to suggest this–and Franklin has. Needless to say, there are no exceptions allowed. Not for rape victims. Not for incest victims. Not to save the life and health of the mother (the fetus must get equal care).

via Joe.My.God

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