Straight-up brutal

In case you managed to miss it, feast your weary eyes on this editorial from the largest daily paper in Nevada, via Instapundit (and every other blog I’ve read in the last two days):

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in a well-planned military assault on their diplomatic mission in Benghazi seven weeks ago, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So why are details surfacing, piecemeal, only now?

The Obama administration sat by doing nothing for seven hours that night, ignoring calls to dispatch help from our bases in Italy, less than two hours away. It has spent the past seven weeks stretching the story out, engaging in misdirection and deception involving supposed indigenous outrage over an obscure anti-Muslim video, confident that with the aid of a docile press corps this infamous climax to four years of misguided foreign policy can be swept under the rug, at least until after Tuesday’s election.

…..

Based on documents released by the committee, on the day of the attack the Pentagon dispatched a drone with a video camera so everyone in Washington could see what was happening in real time. The drone documented no crowds protesting any video. But around 4 p.m. Washington received an email from the Benghazi mission saying it was under a military-style attack. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA were able to watch the live video feed. An email sent later that day reported “Ansar al-Sharia claims responsibility for Benghazi attack.”

Not only did the White House do nothing, there are now reports that a counterterrorism team ready to launch a rescue mission was ordered to stand down.

The official explanation for the inadequate security? This administration didn’t want to “offend the sensibilities” of the new radical Islamic regime which American and British arms had so recently helped install in Libya.

The official explanation for why Obama administration officials watched the attack unfold for seven hours, refusing repeated requests to send the air support and relief forces that sat less than two hours away in Italy? Silence.

An open discussion of these issues, of course, would lead to difficult questions about the wisdom of underwriting and celebrating the so-called Arab Spring revolts in the first place. While the removal of tyrants can be laudable, the results show a disturbing pattern of merely installing new tyrannies – theocracies of medieval mullahs who immediately start savaging the rights of women (including the basic right to education) and who are openly hostile to American interests.

…..

This administration is an embarrassment on foreign policy and incompetent at best on the economy – though a more careful analysis shows what can only be a perverse and willful attempt to destroy our prosperity….

…..

To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion, like Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb to its target at the end of the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” would be disastrous.

My favorite parts are bolded. I almost bolded the entire damn thing because, damn. You just don’t see major newspaper editorials going there like that. Bravo, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It is absolutely fantastic that they hammered him so hard for Benghazi. God knows they’re one of the few doing so.

Hot Air has more today on what was known, and when, as the attacks unfolded. It’s genuinely disturbing stuff.

As someone who lives on non-American soil, this kind of information gives me an extra little jab of fear, because I always thought that, in worst case scenario, if I could find my way to the closest U.S. embassy or consulate, I’d have the full force and concern of American might behind me trying to do whatever it could for me, as an American citizen. I’m not sure that was ever a realistic belief but now I know it absolutely is not. I’m not even an ambassador or an ex-Navy SEAL or anybody important – if they get left behind, why on earth wouldn’t some regular chump like me? Thinking about it makes my stomach bleed.

I lifted this from a friend’s Facebook page. It was captioned, “What a difference party affiliation makes.”

44 comments on “Straight-up brutal

  1. Mrs. Hill

    You have to wonder how many of their readers will be learning details of the Benghazi nightmare for the first time, especially in light of reports like this. That cartoon is spot on!

    In a crisis, you might be better off looking for the nearest LDS mission! I hate to think how this has affected military and diplomatic morale worldwide – makes me heartsick.

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  2. RG

    This whole incident has pegged my outrage meter so hard, I think the needle is bent. Virtually everybody involved screwed up and rather than admit fault, put it in the best light they could and take their lumps, they decided to try to cover it up. Not just cover it up, but cover it up by attacking a fundamental American right. And the lickspittles and toadies in most of the largest media outlets, who rely on and only exist because of that right go along with it. These dimwitted propagandists think they’re anybody’s intellectual and moral superior?

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  3. George Pal

    from the editorial:
    “To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion”

    The line begs the question. Is Obama more the incompetent, by way of his being a narcissistic amateur, or more a malevolently motivated fifth columnist (hope that’s not too melodramatic) whose goal from the start was to ride the country into economic chaos and international humiliation?

    The man’s animosities against wealth, the wealthy, the productive, the successful, whites, Christians, Israel, Britain, Europe, Western Civ, and the first World are palpable. It can’t surprise anyone that his hatreds and desires find a way directly or indirectly into policy. The president not only wishes to redistribute wealth and influence in this country but throughout the world from the first world to the third – most specifically the Islamic world. His insistence the Muslim Brotherhood be invited and seated front row at his Cairo speech was not a courtesy but a policy. The Muslim Brotherhood’s growing role in Obama’s administration is not incompetence but a policy. Benghazi was not incompetence but a crime.

    I await the editorial that will say as much.

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  4. mockmook

    Yeah, reading this editorial never gets old. Looks like they turned the writing of it over to Mark Steyn :)

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  5. LibraryGryffon

    A great editorial, though one has to wonder at the disconnect between a state with a major city’s paper which can produce this, and at the same time keep sending Harry Reid back to DC.

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  6. Paul T

    A liberal Facebook friend posted a link this morning to an NBC article written by Rachel Maddow all about Mitt Romney’s LIES!!! Amused that she considered Maddow an impartial journalist, I clicked on it and read about how Romney claims that unemployment is over 10% when obviously its below 8, anybody knows that. The rest of it was just as ridiculous. This is what Desperation smells like 3 days from sending their boy back to Hawaii.

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  7. Libby

    This is an AMAZING editorial. Bless them for printing it.

    Is Obama incompetent or a malevolently motivated fifth columnist? Yes (both).

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  8. Chris

    I think Rachel hit the nail on the head when she spoke of how it feels to be an American living outside the borders. Can you imagine how those doing medical mission work in central Africa feel knowing that the US government won’t even come to the aid of an ambassador? What chance do they have of getting help if it is needed?

    What is required in the US now is another Ronald Reagan. NOBODY messed with his country. Iran released the hostages the day before he officially took office because he warned them that if they didn’t, he would attack to get his countrymen home. I am not sure but it may have been him that said, “No one ever attacked the US because our armed forces were too strong.”

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  9. Jim Carson

    I only have so much energy for my outrage, and I reserve most of it for our indefensible SecDef, Leon Panetta, who said there wasn’t enough information to rescue our own people. Asshole! Coward!

    I would like to poll every last soldier in this great country: “Your countrymen are currently being attacked by Islamic fundamentalists on sovereign American soil. How much information do you need to come to their aid?”

    The answer that would come back from nearly 100% of them would be: “Their location.”

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  10. Tully

    You could do that same bottom cartoon with Katrina vs. Sandy. The lonely 2012 figure would be Staten Island.

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  11. mockmook

    Hey Rachel, there is something wrong with your webpage.

    I clicked on the “Menu” button on the top of the page and I still can’t find nachos and beer.

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  12. Jeff Bonwick

    @LibraryGryffon: True, but you have to remember that Reid’s opponent was the truly hopeless Sharron Angle. We do ourselves no favors when we profess that a moron we happen to agree with is not, in fact, a moron. Bush and Palin come to mind: we defend them because they’re good people with sound principles, but when we pretend that they are not alarmingly dim — that we are not biting our nails every time they speak, praying that they will somehow find safe passage to the end of the sentence — we discredit ourselves and our cause.

    I’m glad we didn’t repeat that mistake with Todd Akin this year. Yes, I’m glad we threw him under the bus, because that’s where he deserves to be. Akin v. McCaskill is this year’s dumpster-dive in the gene pool, and I’m pleased that Romney, the Tea Party and the GOP are as far away as possible.

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  13. Tully

    @Jeff Bonwick: I’m actually uing the Akin/McCaskill election as a bellwether. If Akin can manage to come close despite his well-deserved under-bussing, then the odds of any Obama surge are nil. Except in parts of St Louis, of course, where they shut the poll doors and add up the non-voting entries in the log and then open again so random strangers can vote on behalf of those who didn’t.

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  14. mockmook

    @Jeff Bonwick:

    Angle, Bush, and Palin all dim?

    I didn’t know that inarticulate, non-glib, meant dim.

    Angle used her personal funds to defend the state constitution’s two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes and, with Eastman, took the case to Federal District Court in Nevada, which referred it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and finally to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Legislature subsequently passed the $836 million tax increase by a two-thirds vote.[15] Angle ultimately prevailed in the suit; in 2006, the state supreme court reversed its 2003 decision and restored the Nevada Constitution’s two-thirds vote provision.

    Bush, a two term “failure”. MBA. Flies jets. Dim.

    Palin, reformist governor. Loses teleprompter during convention speech, and still kills it. Beats Biden in debate (low bar?). Successfully negotiates oil deals. All the right conservative “instincts”, but dim.

    OK

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  15. Doug

    I read the entire arcticle and it blew me away.

    But….I have a question about something no one in the media has addressed (including Fox News).

    Did Obama ever issue a “Cross Border Authority” ???

    A CBA is required by law anytime US forces enter a foreign country to rescue and/or take military action (whether with or without their permission). The president and ONLY the president can do that (for very good reasons of course). Without a CBA our rescue forces could only fly racetrack patterns over the Med. Sea.

    Obama publicly stated that he had done everything necessary to protect our people. Did he sign a CBA?

    Just wondering………….

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  16. Jeff Bonwick

    @mockmook:

    Bush, a two term “failure”.

    Sorry to say it, but yes. He’s a good man, and infinitely preferable to Obama, but that’s not saying much.

    North Korea went nuclear on Bush’s watch.

    China’s attack on one of our planes went unanswered.

    He was a deer in the headlights when we were attacked. I know all the talking points — he kept reading My Pet Goat because he didn’t want to alarm the children, etc — but there was something deeply unnerving about seeing the president of the United States just sit there passively after being informed by Andy Card that the nation is under attack. Thank God we had Dick Cheney, because Bush was not able to function.

    He started a necessary war in Afghanistan, but then showed no interest in figuring out how to actually win. After seven years we had neither won nor lost, and could not even state our mission.

    Ditto Iraq. It took three years of sustained failure before Bush finally permitted David Petraeus to try a new strategy. We damn near lost that war because of Bush’s inability to see that things were going badly and adapt.

    He added Medicare Part D, when we couldn’t even remotely afford our existing entitlement burden.

    He gave us No Child Left Behind, a massive waste of money on liberal wish list items.

    He added $4 trillion to the national debt due to all manner of reckless spending.

    He gave us the financial bailouts, a trillion dollar reward for the very people who created the problem. Too Big To Fail is no longer a snide remark, it’s public policy. When you institutionalize private profits with socialized losses, it should be no surprise that people make wildly irresponsible bets — they face no downside risk, either monetary or criminal, so they are simply acting in their own rational self-interest.

    Obama has been far worse on all of these fronts, but I do not pine for the Bush years. There’s a famous billboard showing Bush waving, captioned “Miss me yet?” It makes a point, yet the answer is no. Not at all. I want someone who’s actually good. And I think that Romney and Ryan will be very, very good.

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  17. Physics Geek

    You know what I’m going to do? Post this on Facebook. I want all my lefty friends to sputter about how it’s unimportant compared to me paying for their (*%$%^$&^ $10/month birth control habit. And if they complain some more I might be tempted to tell them to eat a bowlful of… no I won’t, but I will really want to.

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  18. Physics Geek

    And done. Because I’m racist and shit.

    I swear that this Benghazi thing more than anything else done by this collection of incompetents, assholes and narcissists has pissed me off royally. I don’t mind as much when screws up occur. Humans are fallible and no one can predict or prepare for everything. But to send out your minions to out and out lie about the deaths of our citizens when you a) knew that you were sending them out to lie and b) you might have prevented the deaths if you care more about our citizens than the delicate sensibilities of some medieval Islamist scum makes you not only fit to serve as president, it makes you unworthy to lick the dingleberries off my rear end. It makes you unworthy to lick the bathrooms clean at Grand Central Station. It makes you unfit to self-test a regeneration drug after lopping off your own head.

    Suffice it to say that my anger at this administration this incident pales in comparison to the rage suffusing every cell of my being at the press trying to hide this information because it might hurt their guy. Right now, the editors of Pravda, currently roasting in Hell, are petitioning to have their sentences overturned, rightly arguing that the current crop on the Potomac is far more egregious in their lies.

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  19. T Rich

    @Jim Carson: Oh, Jim. I think you get a slow clap (standing, of course) gusset award. “Their location!” Perfect. And, undoubtedly, accurate.

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  20. T Rich

    @Jeff Bonwick: I am going to have to agree with MockMook on this one, Jeff. You lay out a sadly accurate bill of particulars on the errors of GWB; however, I think you were wrong on the whole 9/11/01 unfolding as Bush as a deer in the headlights. The information given to him by Andy Card was, I believe, that an airplane had flown into the WTC. There was some room to believe it was a terrible accident at that point. I had the opportunity to tour the White House with GWB’s director of religious outreach, Jim Towey, and he laid out the 9/11 morning for me in some detail. Bush was not a deer in the headlights, he was bridling against his security and eventually overruled them to fly back to DC.

    Where Mock is particularly correct is in equating glibness and a smooth tongue as the only barometer of intelligence. Yes, you and I wanted Bush and Palin to more eloquent many times when the chips were down. Regrettably, that was not their strength, although I believe Bush was a fairly adept strategist at times. As to Palin, I have said it before on this forum that like US Grant, she fights. Think about how much she has multiplied her effectiveness since after McCain’s failed bid for the White House – name the last losing VP candidate to have that kind of enduring impact on the national scene. She has great instincts and the guts to keep sticking her face into the fight — knowing full well that the douchebags in the press and the Donkeys would love to punch her as hard as they can. She is a goddamned honey badger in that regard, and God bless her for it. I will take her instincts and balls any day of the week over some mamby pamby ultra-intellectual David Brooks or Peggy Noonan conservative.

    And that’s the way I feel. But, I still really respect Jeff’s thoughts on just about every subject.

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  21. Jeff Bonwick

    @T Rich: “And that’s the way I feel. But, I still really respect Jeff’s thoughts on just about every subject.”

    Likewise, my friend.

    I rarely allow myself to engage in red-on-red violence. Every fiber of my being is inclined to defend Bush, Palin, whoever because the people attacking them are such vapid ignorant douchebag cheerleaders for the unbridled power of the state. The deck is so stacked against us, it seems we can hardly afford not to stick together. Yet doing so ultimately hurts us, because it causes us to lower our standards. When all you have is principle on your side, the one thing you cannot afford to sacrifice is principle.

    Take the Akin case. The normal GOP response would be to defend him, explain away his remarks, insist that it was no big deal, and blame media bias for overblown coverage. After a week of hammering “legitimate rape”, another GOP star would explain that Todd was distinguishing from “bogus claims of date rape that happen on college campuses all across America when girls regret the consent they gave while drunk”, and it would all re-explode even bigger. And the consequence would be that one candidate making one stupid remark would derail the entire party, as we all got sucked into defending the indefensible on Blue turf using Blue language. And thus normally, in a desperate attempt to save one senate seat, we would lose a dozen others and throw away the presidency as well.

    But we learned this year, and didn’t take the bait. We threw Akin under the bus not only for what he said, but for putting his own ambition above the absolute existential imperative of retaking the Senate. And today, because we showed voters in Missouri and across the nation that our party stands on principle, we not only contained the damage, but appear on track to win that particular race anyway.

    I agree with everything you said about the character and decency of Bush and Palin, and about the spineless, feckless, dickless, useless David Brooks, and the culture-emotive pop-psych drama queen Peggy Noonan. The latter are textbook examples of the limitations of book-smarts. So is left-wing Unabomber-in-waiting Paul Krugman, whose brilliance in one particular sub-discipline of economics not only doesn’t translate to more general problems, but doesn’t even translate to neighboring areas of economics.

    But having character doesn’t mean we get a pass on competence. For example, it was disingenuous of the McCain campaign to argue that Sarah Palin was “ambushed” by Katie Couric, when all Couric did is ask Palin’s views on topics that any politically sentient person should have considered throughout their lives. I’m no expert on the Middle East, but it’s not a trick question to ask my view of the ’67 borders or the right of return. This is not Henry Kissinger level material, this is driver’s ed.

    All I’m trying to say, really, is that we’re better served by being honest about the limitations of people on our side, because it makes everything else we say that much more credible and persuasive.

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  22. Jeff Bonwick

    @T Rich: “The information given to him by Andy Card was, I believe, that an airplane had flown into the WTC. There was some room to believe it was a terrible accident at that point.”

    Sorry, I forgot to address this particular point. Card approached Bush twice. In Card’s own words:

    I opened the door to the classroom and the press pool was gathered at the back of the classroom. I walked up to the president and leaned over and whispered into his right ear: “A second plane” — I was very very succinct, very purposeful with my diction — “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.”

    That was Bush’s deer-in-the-headlights moment. He didn’t do anything awful like head to Vegas fundraiser, but those ten catatonic minutes were surreal and terrifying.

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  23. Rachel Lucas Post author

    @Mrs. Hill: Exactly – if I, a regular civilian expat wife of a corporate worker, am losing sleep over the Benghazi thing, I can only imagine how service personnel and other embassy workers feel about it. I would, honestly, quit my job if I worked at an embassy and- if Obama wins reelection. Or, like @Chris says, imagine being a medical worker in Africa. Egads.

    @RG: ” dimwitted propagandists” – perfect description. My outrage meter needle has already shattered and disintegrated at this point.

    @George Pal: I agree. I think most of his actions have been thought-out and deliberate. Personally I’d describe him as “incompetent” purely in the sense of being incapable of running America the way America should be run. He is not competent to do that, because he doesn’t want to. He is perfectly competent at what he does want to do. Like @Libby says, he’s both incompetent and malevolent.

    @Hurricane Mikey: Ha! I’ve missed that word, “funemployed”. I too hope he enjoys his retirement at his new mansion in Hawaii.

    @LibraryGryffon: ” one has to wonder at the disconnect between a state with a major city’s paper which can produce this, and at the same time keep sending Harry Reid back to DC.” I KNOW! I’ve wondered at that, too. I think it’s just more evidence that way too many voters are way too low-information.

    @Paul T: Some of my liberal FB friends have been posting similarly ridiculous links and I have given up on them. If they think anything from MSNBC is factual while referring to Fox as “Faux”, they’re hopeless.

    @Physics Geek: RACISSSSSST!!!! I’m struggling to decide if I’m more angry at the administration or the media, myself. I’m sure there’s some academic consensus on who is actually more important or more responsible to the people, but at the moment I just hate them all. I am angry at them all and I sincerely, genuinely do not comprehend how they sleep at night.

    Now to try to keep up with and weigh in on the discussion about the dimness-level of Dubya and Palin…

    @Jeff Bonwick:

    We do ourselves no favors when we profess that a moron we happen to agree with is not, in fact, a moron. Bush and Palin come to mind: we defend them because they’re good people with sound principles, but when we pretend that they are not alarmingly dim — that we are not biting our nails every time they speak, praying that they will somehow find safe passage to the end of the sentence — we discredit ourselves and our cause.

    I’m about 70% in agreement on that. I try not to make my true feelings about Sarah Palin too public because people go absolutely batshit crazy over her, but I will say it: I find her alarmingly dim, or at least to have the appearance of being alarmingly dim. I’m sorry, Palin fans. It is what I see. Even though I agree with her, on principle, about almost everything.

    But Jeff, I’m not sure I agree about Bush. I think his was more of a limitation in elocution and presentation skills. He never struck me as actually stupid – as Palin, sorry to say, has – and I don’t know if that’s because I lived in Texas for 20 years and knew men who spoke like him and acted like him but were, in truth, brilliant. Whereas I’ve never met a woman, anywhere, who spoke and acted like Palin and turned out to be brilliant. I mean no insult by that; it’s just what I think. Maybe because, as I’m told whenever I criticize her, I’m “jealous”. Oh, the tedium of that argument….

    @mockmook, your defense of her is:

    Palin, reformist governor. Loses teleprompter during convention speech, and still kills it. Beats Biden in debate (low bar?). Successfully negotiates oil deals. All the right conservative “instincts”

    Which I ALSO agree with, at least a little! This is why it hurts to be inside my head. But really what I think when I see a reasoned defense like that is, yes, but perhaps she’s a little overrated in all of those ways. Personally, I do not think she beat Biden in that debate. I was embarrassed for both of them. I have never seen her give a speech that I thought she “killed” even when I completely, totally, 100% agree with every point she makes. It’s her delivery – I have to be honest: I can’t stand it. It does not sound intelligent to me – and even though I agree with what she’s saying, I’ve never thought she was adding any insight to anything. She is good at reiterating very solid conservative ideas, but I’ve never for a minute thought she had any original thoughts about those insights. AND NEITHER HAVE I. I’m not saying I’m smarter than her, because I probably am not. What I am saying is that if I ran for office, and looked like Palin, a lot of people would say I am a lot smarter than I am. It’s what people do with women.

    If she were unattractive or overweight, do you honestly – honestly - think she would be nearly as popular as she is? To me, her popularity is very much like Obama’s for a lot of people – charisma and looks and charm go way further than they should. When you peel away those things, you’re left with the basic talking points of whichever side. Obama is just a regular, solid leftist, and would not EVER have gotten where he is if he weren’t conveniently “minority” and didn’t have that pretty pretty smile. And Palin is a good, solid conservative but there is no way in hell she’d be where she is if she had the exact same voice and said the exact same things she does now but looked like Rosie O’Donnell. That’s the beauty of Paul Ryan – ha, no pun intended – he’s extremely attractive BUT he also says extremely complicated and intelligent things in an extremely articulate way that can never, by any rational observer, be construed or represented as “stupid”. Sarah Palin – not so much.

    BUT. As @T Rich says:

    She has great instincts and the guts to keep sticking her face into the fight — knowing full well that the douchebags in the press and the Donkeys would love to punch her as hard as they can. She is a goddamned honey badger in that regard, and God bless her for it. I will take her instincts and balls any day of the week over some mamby pamby ultra-intellectual David Brooks or Peggy Noonan conservative.

    And I agree with that, too. She is the honey badger and I absolutely adore her for it. I could NEVER summon the thick skin or massive balls that woman summons when she goes out there and fights the fight the way she does. I admire her immensely for that. I guess I’m just saying…she seems dim nonetheless. She just does. And as great as she is in some ways, putting candidates like her out there makes it too easy for the Democrats and the press to frame the right as “stupid”. I fucking hate that they do that, but they do do it and it will never change. And if even someone like ME can’t bear listening to Sarah Palin talk because I am terrified, as Jeff put it, that she might not find safe passage to the end of the sentence, then that is a problem for our side.

    Also, while I’m on this rant….what Jeff said in @this comment:

    But having character doesn’t mean we get a pass on competence. For example, it was disingenuous of the McCain campaign to argue that Sarah Palin was “ambushed” by Katie Couric, when all Couric did is ask Palin’s views on topics that any politically sentient person should have considered throughout their lives. I’m no expert on the Middle East, but it’s not a trick question to ask my view of the ’67 borders or the right of return. This is not Henry Kissinger level material, this is driver’s ed.

    I agree with that so much it hurts. It was that Katie Couric interview back in 2008 that turned me off of Palin even after being a huge fan of hers to that point. I watched the whole thing, unedited, and she was not ambushed. She was asked basic questions that we should expect our VP candidate to answer capably. When I wrote something like that on my blog at the time, some people freaked right the fuck out and said I was being brainwashed by the media. It was mind-boggling and unspeakably depressing. The blindness of some people on our side to our VP candidate’s manifest unawareness of some pretty basic shit was terrifying. Again, I’m not saying I know more than her about that basic shit – I’m saying that’s why I don’t run for office. We need better, smarter people running. Like Paul Ryan, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, etc. They are just as brave and fearless, and a whole lot more capable of expressing conservative principles in a way that not only doesn’t make our own people cringe, but that stands up a lot better to media bias bullshit from the left.

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  24. mockmook

    @Rachel Lucas: I guess it comes down to what we call “dim”.

    If, say, being in the lower 1/3 of intelligence is “dim”, I can’t see how Bush, Palin, and Angle all fit that category (I don’t think any fit that). That was JB’s argument, they are all dim.

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  25. RG

    Is there some value to starting an intraparty fight 3 days before what may be the most critical presidential election in the nation’s history? Not seeing it.

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  26. Jim Carson

    @RG: In the late 70′s at my grandmother’s house in south Georgia, my Republican father and his Democratic mother would have protracted arguments at high decibels about Jimmy Carter.

    As soon as one of these fights began, I would come running from wherever I was to listen in. My mother would leave the room. I was too young to grasp many of the details brought up in their arguments, but I learned SO MUCH nonetheless. Mostly I learned that this stuff is damned important. I learned to care.

    By any reasonable standard, the ‘fight’ between @Jeff Bonwick, @T Rich and @mockmook, refereed by @Rachel Lucas was intelligent, thoughtful, polite and informative. And at least for me, it was entertaining.

    If this is what an intraparty fight looks like, I think we should have one every day.

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  27. Jeff Bonwick

    @mockmook:

    If, say, being in the lower 1/3 of intelligence is “dim”, I can’t see how Bush, Palin, and Angle all fit that category (I don’t think any fit that). That was JB’s argument, they are all dim.

    Fair point, and I should have clarified this. “Dim” is relative. I have fundamentally different expectations of the intellects of checkout clerks and brain surgeons. Before I left for startup life, I was a VP at Sun and later Oracle. I fired people who were smarter than 99% of the general population because for the problems we were solving, that wasn’t good enough. My standard for leader of the free world is not that they perform better than the average WalMart shopper on a Jay Walking segment.

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  28. Jim Carson

    As for the details of the argument, I agree with Bonwick with one major caveat: the use of the word dim. If he means to say dim compared to an average person, I violently disagree that Palin or Bush is dim by this standard. If he means to say they are dim compared to what a President should be, I violently agree.

    Articulation is a major prerequisite for a President, especially one who purports to be our standard-bearer. Bush really was a miserable failure in this important way. He damaged the credibility of the conservative brand.

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  29. Physics Geek

    @Jim Carson:

    Articulation is a major prerequisite for a President, especially one who purports to be our standard-bearer.

    And I disagree completely. Our current president sounds pretty eloquent when he’s reading the teleprompter. His actions display a profound ignorance of the way the world works. Since I assume he isn’t actually ignorant, I’ll call it willful stupidity.

    In my field (and my previous career and in by degree paths in college), I know/have known a great many exceedingly intelligent people, ones with a great grasp of facts and how they all fit together, plus a pretty good understanding of the results if different combinations of events occur. Some of them are in fact quite awful at articulating those things. It may be due to being painfully introverted, or speech impediments, or what have you, but they are the people who know how to run things.

    @Jeff Bonwick:

    I fired people who were smarter than 99% of the general population because for the problems we were solving, that wasn’t good enough.

    If we’re talking about managerial and/or presidential caliber individuals, high IQ is overrated and sometimes an impediment. What you want is someone with a) reasonable smarts, b) good common sense and c) knowledge of who actually knows the answers to particular questions. When I managed a kitchen, there were a lot of things that I did well. However, I knew who the people were who knew the things that I did not. That is -to me- far and away the most important quality for someone in management. I give you the example of Carter who was a very intelligent man. Ignoring his excessive love for dictators and his dislike of Jews, he was still a pretty awful manager-president.

    I’ll toot my own horn and say that I’m smarter than a lot of people I’ve worked for. However, most of them were far better at managing people, which was in fact their job. We as a country have fallen prey to the notion that the president’s job is that of All Knowing Philosopher King. What we should be looking for is someone who knows how to manage things, which is why governors tend to be better presidents than legislators. Not an infallible rule to be sure, but it’s a good way to bet.

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  30. Jim Carson

    C’mon @Physics Geek, an articulate liberal like Obama does not disprove the value of articulation in a conservative.

    Politics is persuasion, and no one can be an effective president without being persuasive.

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  31. Amelia in Texas

    I’ll throw in my 2 cents on Palin and say that I think a lot of people who are motivated to defend her are inclined to jump to her defense because of how horribly she was treated. And when I say she was treated horribly I don’t mean being slammed for doing subpar in interviews. I’m talking about the way the media pried into her family, snuffled all through her daughter’s business, hated on her for daring to birth not just 5 children but also a child with Down’s syndrome when some 90% of Down’s syndrome babies are aborted. The unfairness of digging through everything related to Palin – the VP candidate – with a fine toothed comb while completely ignoring the presidential candidate Obama’s past burned a lot of people up. Sure, life and politics are unfair, but the hatred dumped on Palin for being a conservative pro-life mom of 5 kids went beyond the pale.

    Hate on her for being dumb, fine. But the filth about her family was too much. The injustice of her treatment at the hands of the media is the reason, I think, for a number of people’s passionate support of her.

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  32. Jeff Bonwick

    @Physics Geek: “We as a country have fallen prey to the notion that the president’s job is that of All Knowing Philosopher King.”

    I agree, but in fact I think it’s worse: after several decades of the Me Generation bailing on their marriages and their kids the moment life became less than 100% orgasmic, a huge number of voters are simply seeking Dad. Whether they are seeking the absentee father who buys them anything they want, or the loving father who holds them to a higher standard, we’ll know soon enough.

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  33. Physics Geek

    @Jim Carson:

    Politics is persuasion, and no one can be an effective president without being persuasive.

    My point is that I do not equate eloquence with persuasive. Results matter to me -I’m a facts based guy- and somehow who manages to get things done well, but mangles his verbal syntax, persuades me a heck of a lot more than a glib huckster. I’m not easy to “huck”.
    @Jeff Bonwick:

    a huge number of voters are simply seeking Dad

    Remember that asshat ponytail dude in the Bush-Clinton debate who asked pretty much that question? I wanted to reach through the TV screen and beat him with a wrench.

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  34. Vivian Louise

    THIS:

    These behaviors go far beyond “spin.” They amount to a pack of lies. To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion, like Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb to its target at the end of the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” would be disastrous.

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  35. Jim T

    @Paul T:
    I didn’t read the article, I can’t stand Rachel Madcow. What Romney was talking about doesn’t usually need explanation: not the government’s claimed figure of 8.1%, rather the percentage you get when you add in the 15 million (yes, 15 million) long-term unemployed who have used up their 99 weeks’ worth of unemployment compensation and are no longer considered to be “actively seeking employment”, making them not countable as “unemployed” in so-called statistics that only Goebbels and the US Department of Labor could love. That Democrat propaganda machine has been working itself to the bone since last April or so.

    Get yer doodoo together, son.

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