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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Evolution Of Bigotry
So here's Michael Medved, part-time film critic and full-time kook, bloviating on the controversy surrounding the NBA's Tim Hardaway. According to Medved, Hardaway isn't an homophobic bigot, he's just a normal, well-adjusted guy expressing his very appropriate revulsion at something disgusting:

Many gay activists suggest that this near-universal straight male repulsion at the idea of sex with another man is merely the product of cultural conditioning: a learned prejudice that ought to be unlearned. This represents the core message of gay pride parades and even the drive for same-sex marriage: an effort to persuade all of society that gay sex is as beautiful as straight sex, and to “cure” men of their visceral disgust at the very thought of what two (or more) male homosexuals do with one another.

According to the “enlightened” advocates of gay liberation, this disgust gets to the very essence of “homophobia” – an altogether unjustified fear and distaste for male-on-male physical intimacy. When Hardaway says “I hate gay people” what he suggests at the deepest level is that he feels revolted by the very notion of same-sex eroticism and that he’d prefer not to face the distraction of such thoughts in the locker room or on the court.

In this sense, the reluctance to team (in athletics or the military) with announced homosexuals isn’t bigotry, it’s common sense.

Interesting that Medved puts quotation marks around "homophobia". Apparently there is no such thing as homophobia to Medved, just manly disgust at what these degenerates are doing.

But this is not bigotry, Medved insists; no, no. Hatred of people of other races has been scientifically proven to be in error, he says. But hatred of homosexuals? That's just human nature.

Of course, if Medved had been writing columns half a century ago, he would no doubt have defended racial bigotry because it was also "human nature", but never mind that. The right-wing thinking on such matters has evolved over time. For people who don't believe in evolution, they certainly do a lot of it themselves.

Sunday, February 11, 2007
Obama: The Choice Of A New Generation
I watched Barack Obama's presidential announcement yesterday, and there is no question the guy has tapped into something. It's been a long time since I've seen a stump speaker who captures the yearning voters have for someone new, who sees right into the hearts of the people he's talking to. Bill Clinton had that gift, to some extent, but I think Obama is a greater talent.

I imagine that the Republicans are very uneasy today, because the top-tier Dem candidates this time around are the most talented bunch in recent memory. Clinton, Obama and Edwards are all top-flight candidates -- any one of them could make mincemeat out of the current slate of Republican candidates.

In more ways than one Obama reminded me of Gary Hart in the 1984 campaign.

Walter Mondale was the darling of the party establishment that year. Hart, you'll remember, was the upstart. He was young and untested, with a deliberately Kennedyesque cadence and a pitch designed to bring the Reagan Democrats back into the fold.

Among young Democrats, Hart caused quite a bit of excitement. He was a fresh face and he talked about the future instead of the past. He was cast, in the cola-war-crazy 1980s, as Pepsi (a drink that was billed as "the choice of a new generation") to Mondale's Coke (a soft drink that sported the non-specific slogan "Coke is it"). But in the halls of the DNC, his candidacy was seen as a problem.

1984 was supposed to be Walter Mondale's year. It was his turn, you see, and in the Bizarro-world of national party politics, it was believed that a spirited nomination fight would weaken rather than strengthen the anointed candidate. Therefore, Hart had to go.

I remember arguing at the time, what good is it to clear the decks for Mondale if he can't win?

In retrospect, it seems unlikely that any candidate could have unseated Reagan; and maybe it would have been in Hart's best interests to have held off and waited for the open seat in 1988.

But that 1984 race left me with a couple of unshakeable beliefs about nomination fights. The first is: no one is "owed" the nomination. You want to wear the gold tiara and walk down the runway with a dozen roses in your arms? Good for you. But first you're going to have to climb down into the mud with the other contenders and mix it up.

The second is: the American people don't vote for the most qualified candidate for President, any more than high school students vote for the most qualified candidate for Class President. They vote for the person they like the best.

It's a cruel truth, but truth it most certainly is. So if you want to get the nod, primary voters must consider not only qualifications, but undefinables, too: the ability to connect with people, the ability to get people excited about the future.

The best thing about 2008 is that the Democrats have an unprecedented pool of talent. This is not 1984, when Dems had to choose between a promising nobody and an accomplished but dull technocrat.

Nor is this 1988 or 2004, when Dems had to hold their noses and vote for the Last Man Standing. This time the Democratic primary voters will get a chance to consider some very good candidates seriously, with every reason to believe that the one they choose will be the next President. And that will be a welcome change.

Thursday, February 08, 2007
Anna Nicole Smith, RIP
This story broke less than an hour ago and, incredibly, it's already gotten too much coverage. CNN has a gigantic photo of her on its web site where she's clearly trying to look like Marilyn Monroe.

Coincidence? At CNN, there are no coincidences.

Meanwhile at The Corner, they're lamenting the passing of the "poor girl", so she must have been a Republican. If she had been a Democrat, they would be blaming her "Hollywood lifestyle" for her demise.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Breaking News: Chris Dodd Endorsed By Witless Scion Of Booze-Addled Political Family
Today was a big day, if you're a fan of mealy-mouth Connecticut senator (and DOA presidential candidate) Chris Dodd. Chris has received the ringing endorsement of -- wait for it -- the Kennedy family's official coke-snorting mascot, Patrick!

US Representative Patrick Kennedy yesterday endorsed the presidential campaign of his father's old friend, Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd.

In a statement released by Dodd's campaign for president, the younger Kennedy said he and Senator Dodd "share a special bond of camaraderie".

You know what this means: it's almost time for Patrick to crash his car into a stationary object and check into Hazelden again.

Monday, February 05, 2007
It Seems He Doesn't Want To Get Voted Off The Island
The Senate just finished voting on whether to proceed to a debate on the Warner-Levin anti-surge resolution.

The Republicans are filibustering the Democrat's effort to move the bill forward, so 60 votes were needed in order to go on to consideration of the resolution.

The Republican leadership threatened that all the Senators on their side of the aisle would vote no, even John Warner (D-Va), the co-sponsor of the bill.

Interestingly, to my knowledge the only Republican senator to vote "aye" was -- gasp! -- Minnesota's Norm Coleman.

Don't give Norm too much credit, though. He was one of the last senators to cast his vote, and it seems evident that he made sure the cloture vote was going to fail before weighing in.

Norm knows how to work both sides, if he knows nothing else. And believe me, he knows nothing else.

UPDATE: A number of news outlets have been reporting that Republicans were unanimous in voting "nay" on the procedural measure. Not true. However, I was wrong in stating that Norm Coleman was the only Republican to vote against the filibuster. Susan Collins of Maine also voted no. Here is a complete list of Senators up for re-election next year who voted to maintain the filibuster, according to TPM's Election Central:

Senator John Warner (R-VA)

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR)

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Senator Thad Cochran (R-MI)

Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO)

Senator David Vitter (R-LA)

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)

Senator Larry Craig (R-IO)

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)

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