The Daily Sandwich
"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper
- Name: Matt Sandwich
- Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
There's a reason the progressive blogs had a huge laugh over this. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say it's because we tend to know our scripture better than... well, better than the sort of people you'd expect to find A) laying hands upon a golden idol B) on a street known the world over for being Wall Flippin' Street (with all that implies for those of us with three-digit IQs. C) Comic books are typically read by teenage boys, and even they make fun of the concept that you have to put your hand on something in order to employ any special mental abilities.
D)I know, I know. Why even bother at this point? Things have actually gotten this stupefyingly stupid. But it's still sad to see something this phenomenally, aggressively, misguidedly.... imbecilic? Asinine? Mondo retardo? Feel free to suggest your own negative superlative to describe "a spectacle this-- BLANK, Charles Nelson Reilly."
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Of course, one GOP trick that's still working entirely too well is purging state voter rolls. Why the press still doesn't seem to get worked up about this is beyond me-- particularly with all the attention they gave to bogus accusations against ACORN.
But what I'd like to mention today is that I think Obama and Biden are doing exactly what they should be in the face of the increasingly surreal attacks coming from all quarters. And I'd like to mention it in no small part because it's something I've been promoting for years now: using their hysterics against them with a little verbal aikido.
I thought Biden's example on the Florida news channel was brilliant. A local anchor asks him-- with all the psuedo-gravitas she can muster-- if Obama isn't actually a closet Bolshevik who wants to turn the country into a communist state. This being one of the most retarded questions he's probably ever been asked, Biden simply laughed and asked if she was joking. Awesome.
Now Obama is joining in:
"[B]ecause he knows his economic theories don't work, he's been spending these last few days calling me every name in the book," Obama said. "Lately, he's called me a 'socialist' for wanting to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don't know what's next. By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
Brilliant. There will always be a (disappointingly large) number of Americans who'll swallow whatever baloney the right-wing serves up. DLC types have-- by treating these ideologues and their puppet masters seriously-- played into their hands by legitimizing their nonsense at the expense of the nation's health and wealth. But beyond the hopelessly-blinkered, there are always people who will believe the hype. Especially when the fringe is legitimized by sane people. But if the fringe is rightly perceived by them as the fringe, they won't want anything to do with it.
That's why I love to see moments like this: people have come to see Obama and Biden as the serious, thoughtful people in this campaign, and when they (rightly) dismiss this "red scare" goofiness with malice-free humor, it serves to highlight the lack of seriousness and thoughtfulness on the part of the accusers. This will, in turn, encourage sensible people to cringe when they hear these things. I'm really pretty impressed with most people's willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I think this technique will help Democrats quite a bit in moving the country away from the disastrous economics of the post-Reagan GOP.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
As hopeful as things look for the coming election, I'm afraid that it could go horribly wrong. If the rage and racism McCain's campaign is now aggressively courting erupts into violence, or if their disturbing attempt to disenfranchise voters becomes the final, desperate front in the attempt to maintain their empire of greed... well, I fear for the nation. But principled conservatives have already rejected their party leader, even if they've been overly timid in their convictions. The press is clearly uncomfortable with Republican attempts to exhort the party faithful to blind rage. And America appears once again to be demonstrating the unity that has made it a great and powerful nation, as well as a beacon-- thought it may flicker in stormy times-- of the Enlightenment values that have been our greatest legacy.
Still, I am afraid. The noblest thing we can do now is to assist our fellow Americans in exercising their rights as citizens. Our fellow countrymen shall not disappoint us if we ensure that all may exercise their birthright.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
E.J. Dionne takes a look at it all and suggests that maybe this is it-- the last time we'll see the right campaign on the bitter legacy of the 1960s. The embarrassing idea that fighting in Vietnam was a brilliant plan somehow subverted by treasonous hippies. The lingering fears that a racially integrated/non-theocratic/equitable society will cause national collapse before you can say "bust up this chifforobe."
Ayers has been dragged into this campaign because there is a deep frustration on the right with Obama's enthusiasm for shutting down the culture wars of the 1960s.
Precisely because Obama is not a baby boomer, he carries none of that generation's scars. Most Americans (including most boomers) are weary of living in the past and reprising the 1960s every four years.
Yet culture war politics is relatively mild compared with the far right appeals that are emerging this year. It is as if McCain's loyalists overshot the '60s and went back to the '50s or even the '30s.I disagree with his larger point that a new hard-right is rising phoenix-like from the ashes of McCain's presidential bid. After all, the "mainstreaming of the far right" is a process that began in the Reagan years and reached its zenith under the current administration. Sure, if you were to hang around with a group of College Republicans you'd hear them making the same tired remarks about Vietnam and the Black Panthers, but from footage of McCain and Palin's campaign appearances it looks like the faithful are more AARP than UCLA.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Sorry, Dad, I'm Voting for ObamaI have to say, I find his writing style to be too precious by half for my tastes, but it's worth a look.
Sensing this, wingers are doing just what extremists throughout history have done when their diabolical plans start to unravel: undertaken serious introspection, put the welfare of mankind above personal ambition and greed, and rolled up their sleeves to get to work on the business of making things better.
I'M KIDDING!!! Like extremists throughout history, they're letting the facade slip away in their anger, exposing themselves as loathsome cowards and avaricious miscreants who are more than happy to spread hatred, fear, and misery because they think it might be to their advantage.
On CNN last night, David Gergen, a Republican advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, commented on the "anger" evident at McCain/Palin rallies of late. "There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence," Gergen said. "I think we're not far from that."
When Anderson Cooper expressed skepticism about whether violence was likely, Gergen said he "really worries" given "the kind of rhetoric" coming from the Republican ticket.
When a mainstream, Republican presidential advisor goes on national television and expresses concern that Republican voters might literally become violent in response to the Republican presidential ticket's rhetoric, it's safe to say we've reached a rather dramatic point.
This week has been unusually incendiary. The McCain campaign has deliberately been whipping the angry, far-right Republican base into a frenzy. That includes increasing frequency of "Hussein" references, but it also includes looking the other way while campaign supporters exclaim "treason!," "terrorist!," and "kill him!" during official rallies.
On Wednesday, during a McCain harangue against Obama, one man could be heard yelling, "Off with his head!" On Thursday, Republicans erupted when an unhinged McCain supporter ranted about "socialists taking over our country." Instead of calming them down, McCain said the lunatic was "right."
The Republicans want an angry mob, they need hysterical supporters, and so they've stoked the fires of hate, fear, and ignorance. It's become a surprisingly toxic cocktail.
Both the Washington Post and the Politico have good items today on the explosive, enraged emotions at this week's Republican rallies. Slate's John Dickerson described the participants' "bloodthirsty" tone.
Lord forbid that we see any violence, but that's the next thing you'd expect from a group of people who've been deliberately whipped into a frenzy by opportunistic politicians and talking heads. If you hear anything about pitchforks and torches being handed out at Palin's rallies, you'll know...
Thursday, October 09, 2008
The sound and the fury. And plenty of both
The MSM has been showing signs of not playing along this time out. Seems like a good time to write letters to the editor to ensure that people are paying attention, getting angry, and trying not to let it happen again. After all, the wingers are doing all they can:
Groups looking to register new voters, and to get out the vote, took advantage of this window and killed two birds with one stone. One group in particular focused on a group of people who might not normally be expected to turn out. From the New York Post:
Volunteers supporting Barack Obama picked up hundreds of people at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and drug-rehab centers and drove them to a polling place yesterday on the last day that Ohioans could register and vote on the same day, almost no questions asked.
Some bloggers on the right, having read the Post’s article, are crying voter fraud. Obviously, there are some class issues in play here, and most bloggers who responded to the story focused on the homeless angle — not surprising, given the headline, “Homeless ‘Driven’ to Vote Obama.”
RedState’s Pejman Yousefzadeh, however, had a slightly different complaint — he noted that the Post’s report quotes a convicted felon who was driven to a polling place as part of the effort. In a post titled “Tell Me Again How Voter Fraud Doesn’t Exist …” Yousefzadeh wrote:
Because this story would beg to differ. Note that you are not supposed to be able to vote with a felony conviction.
Voter fraud regularly gets denied by our friends on the other side of the partisan divide. If they open their eyes, they will see that it is all around them … If there was any justice in the world, every media establishment would be flooding into Ohio asking just what kind of shoddy oversight was allowing convicted felons to register to vote.
(His emphasis.)There’s just one problem with Yousefzadeh’s argument — the entire thing is based on a false assumption. In fact, if he had just paid closer attention to the Post article, he would have seen that felons who’ve served their time are now allowed to vote in Ohio.
UPDATE: Watch closely, because this is the face of insanity. "secret left-wing radical". . ."wild-eyed radical". . . "Maoist". . . "What Obama is about is infiltrating (and training others to infiltrate) bourgeois institutions." All excellent examples of why progressive bloggers use the term reality-based community. The trick, you see, lies in being a functional adult even if you're not fighting battles that ended decades ago.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Yesterday, in anticipation of the event at good ol' Washington University, I quoted Martin Lawrence by suggesting that her cutie-pie ignorance might not play too well in the debate because "shit just got real." Watching the debate, I was surprised to see that Biden defied the bloggers by hitting fast and hard. And he managed to completely avoid sounding condescending or bullying at the same time-- especially when she tried to use her scripted "laugh lines." In retrospect, it was amazing to see her visible discomfort when the "wait for big laffs" cue didn't result in actual laughter. (Trying to combine 'say it ain't so, Joe' with 'there you go again' and having it all fall like a gosh-darn souffle. You could almost see her thinking 'But that was supposed to be my big moment!')
Anyway, we'll see what happens when we all wake up. But between Biden's 'shit just got real' approach, Palin's continuation of the Big Lie strategy that hasn't been playing so well lately (unlike the last two presidential campaigns), and her clear inability to come across well without a stacked deck, I think-- and I think conservatively about these things these days-- it won't hurt the Obama-Biden ticket at all. And given the shift in public opinion this last week, that's nothing to galdurn sneeze at, don'cha know.
BONUS: On the question about the ding-dang veep being part of the executive branch, when Biden said that Cheney was 'most dangerous vice-president in history,' the bar erupted in applause. It was great.
Oh, and the link. Liveblogging from the WaMo. Just 'cuz you've got to have a link, right?
Special prize to anyone who can identify the source of my title.
Afterthought: How do you suppose it would've played if Biden had dealt with Palin's awkward phoniness--and the GOP ticket as a whole-- by saying "These aren't the droids we're looking for"?
Monday, September 29, 2008
Nope, instead I'd like to direct your attention to a little something that's appearing in the latest issue of Newsweek.
Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin's speech was the most effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could.
Then came Palin's first television interview with Charles Gibson. I was relieved to discover, as many were, that Palin's luster can be much diminished by the absence of a teleprompter. Still, the problem she poses to our political process is now much bigger than she is. Her fans seem inclined to forgive her any indiscretion short of cannibalism. However badly she may stumble during the remaining weeks of this campaign, her supporters will focus their outrage upon the journalist who caused her to break stride, upon the camera operator who happened to capture her fall, upon the television network that broadcast the good lady's misfortune—and, above all, upon the "liberal elites" with their highfalutin assumption that, in the 21st century, only a reasonably well-educated person should be given command of our nuclear arsenal.It really is a frightening measure of just how much damage the right wing's decades-long propaganda war has done to bring out the absolute worst in their most committed supporters. Do you know what else is a frightening measure of how successful they've been? Newsweek's spineless pseudo-disclaimer accompanying the article: