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Is Obama Finished?

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We are fourteen and a half months away from the presidential election, but the question needs to be asked: Is Obama already a lame duck? Gallup has a poll out today (based on a three day rolling average) that has President Obama’s job approval at 38 percent. His disapproval is at 54 percent. That is, as we political junkies like to say in our own opaque jargon, “not good.”

To put that into perspective, Obama was at 53 percent approval and 39 percent disapproval less than three months ago. That’s quite a steep decline: He’s lost 15 percent of the American public in about the same amount of time it takes me to finally do my next load of laundry. This is Dubya, circa 2006, territory we’re talking about here.

Rasmussen surveys likely voters instead of all adults. The results of his most recent poll show 45 percent of likely voters strongly disapproving of the way President Obama is performing his role as president. Just 19 percent strongly approve. If you include likely voters who somewhat approve, his approval number rises to 44 percent. But those who at least somewhat disapprove rises to 56 percent. That’s minus 12. Again, “not good.”

But, you may ask, how does he compare head-to-head against likely GOP challengers? Uh, not very well, for an incumbent president. According to a recent Gallup poll of registered voters, Obama loses to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by two points, is in a dead heat with current Texas Governor Rick Perry, narrowly defeats current Congressman Ron Paul by two points, and also barely defeats current Congresswoman Michele Bachmann by four points. So, two sitting members of the House of Representatives, both of whom are regularly ridiculed in the establishment media as being “fringe” or “extremist,” are within striking distance of a sitting president. Wow.

President Obama does, however, destroy former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by 17 points according to a recent survey of likely voters by Rasmussen Reports. (Sarah, please don’t run. Please. Pretty please with caribou on top?)

So. Is there any chance President Obama could turn his poll numbers around? Sure. But he’d need some very good economic news for that to happen, and my Magic 8 Ball is saying, “outlook not so good.” Hmmm. So what if President Obama pulls an LBJ, and just declines to run again? Well, I find this to be a rather unlikely possibility. But if it actually happened? Hillary vs. Mitt in 2012?

Stranger things have happened…

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About RJ

  • Cannonshop

    #187 and this differs how from your parroting DNC provided talking points, Handy? Let’s look at 1993 for a moment…

    The 1992 election was mainly impacted by George Sr. using the public treasury to rescue his boy Neil after said younger bush ran Silverado into the ground, but the damage was done and over with by 1993, and the economy was actually recovering. which is rather different from the phoney recovery of 2009.

    Further, there was the opening of access into the Internet and the technological changes that made it viable-a growing ‘industry’ with few regulations, acres of potentials, and the entry point was just low enough to be accessable to the average person (price wise), thus beginning the dot-com boom, which lasted through most of Clinton’s term in office.

    There is no accessable, new-frontier type emerging industry in the 2000’s to both draw in money from outside, and stimulate invention and job creation on that scale.

    IOW, the tax-increases then, weren’t even relevant to the economy the way they are today-no booming new business that will generate new economic activity to cover or reverse the negative consequences of taking more money out of the economy to put into a non-productive, badly run government that is, flatly, a parasitic entity on the economy at large at it’s BEST.

    Instead, we have an Administration that is blatantly anti-small-business, anti-venture-capital, anti-growth, and pro for shutting down utilities, pro for putting productive people out of work in the name of ‘saving the erf’, pro to the idea of looting the public treasury to keep multinational conglomerates from going bankrupt, and pro to raising taxes, and pro to expanding entitlements at a time when the balance of workers to non-workers is shifting radically toward non-workers and a social security system that is tottering on insolvency as a result.

    None of which were nearly as clearly present in 1993, as they are today. The EPA has just issued an order that will, if not rescinded, shut down 8+% of the electrical generation along the eastern seaboard states…without having a replacement on line (or even in the planning stages).

    Part of me hopes they’ll succeed in doing it, that the utilities won’t fight this, and that the East Coast has a really hard and nasty winter-now with rolling brownouts for flavour.

    Part of me thinks that would be hilarious. notably, I don’t let that part out much, as it’s not a portion of my nature that I’m altogether proud of, but it would be interesting to see the election day results of the companies just rolling over, laying off those power-plant workers, and letting the natural consequences trim the democratic voter base a bit the uncomfortable and hard way.

    Certainly, adding whatever percentage it’s going to cost to make up that 8% from outside sources to the bills would be…well, not good for the national economy, and rather bad for the Democratic Coastal economy around D.C.

    That’s all aside.

    There’s a problem with your soak-the-rich concept though…

    One of the main reasons that the wealth gap’s gone and gotten wider? is that there are FEWER ‘rich’ and ‘kinda rich’ people. ten thousand people with incomes of 1 Million Dollars are going to pay out more in taxes, than one guy with an income of a Billion dollars, even at a higher rate, Handy.

    You’re wanting to increase the pressure on a shrinking resource, while simultaneously doing your utmost to keep that resource from replenishing. That’s idiotic policy if you want to actually raise revenue, rather than merely punishing someone for having more than you think they need.

  • At the time the rates were increased [1993], we were in the process of recovering from the recession that cost Bush Sr. the presidency. Republicans sternly warned that Clinton would be wrecking the recovery and the whole economy by increasing taxes. The recovery continued and the economy was not wrecked.

    Even if [big if] taxes were increased, they wouldn’t take effect until 2013. Most Americans [even most Republicans in some surveys] think it’s logical to use both tax increases and budget cuts to attack debt and deficit. A stringent ideological line-in-the-sand approach accomplishes nothing except more partisan static and noise.

    The rich should pay more, because they can afford to. [Even many or most of the rich would agree.] They have paid more than they pay now for most of the last century. Any claims to the contrary are political rhetoric.

    Cannon claims to be non-partisan, but he ends up parroting GOP talking points nearly every time.

  • Cannonshop

    #184 You’re only taking one datapoint-that those rates did not SEEM to impact the prosperity of the 1990’s, but there is a contrary view: that those rates were only practicable in teh prosperity of the 1990’s, in the presence of a shitty economy, they’re not NEARLY as benign. That is, without a dot-com boom or equivalent to soak the damage, the increases may well have a serious NEGATIVE impact on revenues by damaging an already shaky situation not present in the last half of Bill Clinton’s term.

    y’see, the taxes could increase because of the prosperity, they did not create the prosperity.

  • I was hoping RJ was going to detach himself from the Tea Party mentality and speak with his own voice, so far to no avail.

    “Obamacare,” apart from being political rhetoric, was also a result of political decision, and that decision can be criticized in terms of timing, scope, and other factors. These are the terms in which I’m discussing it, at a remove from the fray of partisan politics.

  • Most presidents govern closer to the center than their “real” personal inclination might indicate. Thus Reagan and Obama governed less conservatively and less liberally, respectively, than their most rabid base would prefer.

    Obama, whether by necessity or choice or both, governs as a compromising centrist. Even if the Bush tax cuts expire, the rates would go back to those of that ‘socialist’ Clinton. Those tax rates didn’t seem to harm 1990s prosperity. If Obama governed by fiat, he might show his “true” “leftist” nature…or he might not.

    Companies are sitting on their cash because there is insufficient demand. “Uncertainty about taxes and Obamacare” is political rhetoric, not an economic explanation based on fact.

  • 182:

    He has continued many/most of Dubya’s foreign policies and “Homeland Security” policies. This is true. And I’m sure that enrages many on the left. But foreign policy isn’t really what animates the Tea Party.

    Bush’s tax cuts were temporarily extended because Obama pretty much had to extend them. The GOP (and the economy) forced his hand. Obama certainly doesn’t want to permanently keep Dubya’s tax cuts.

    Part of the reason the private sector is sitting on large stockpiles of cash is due to the uncertainty about taxes and the impact of Obamacare.

    I’ll ask this. Serious question. What president or presidents have there been in US history that were to the left of Obama? You could make a case for a couple, I suppose, but it’s debatable. He is, at the very least, the most liberal president in more than a generation – at least.

  • Come on, RJ. Foreign affairs, continuation of Dubya’s policies (except for Israel perhaps), with bin Laden as a trophy; same with the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. The pickle we’re in wasn’t exactly his doing; it’s doubtful anybody would have gotten us out of it. The Bush tax cuts were extended, the prime rate at zero percent and the banks and corporations are still sitting on mountains of cash and not investing in the US.

    So the only thing you’ve got is Obamacare, his major mistake IMO; even so, it was compromised from the start, never aiming at “single payer” plan, and it may still not pass the constitutionality muster, and the prospects of raising taxes.

    Sounds like a centrist to me.

    And BTW, what the left thinks of him is neither here nor there, not for the purposes of our discussion.

  • The right absolutely believes that Obama is taking us on the road to European-style socialism. Maybe not overnight, but with that as the ultimate goal. Intelligent men like Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson have written extensively on this.

    Obama has increased the size of government, increased federal spending, increased the deficit, increased the debt, increased energy prices, and wants to increase taxes. Meanwhile, unemployment remains very high and economic growth remains anemic. (Sounds like Europe to me!)

    I understand that folks on the left don’t see it that way. They don’t believe that Obama has been left-wing enough. But this is still a center-right country, and most Americans believe Obama is at least a left-of-center president, if not a full-blown leftist. Very few believe he’s not liberal enough.

    And I will say that some people in the Tea Party are hurting and/or have lost jobs.

  • The Tea Party constituents aren’t the ones who are hurting. They haven’t lost their jobs, nor are they on the unemployment rolls.

    Not sure about that – heads are rolling pretty much across the board.

    But one thing that isn’t happening is that they’re paying higher taxes, which is what got them into a tizzy in the first place.

  • But RJ. The Tea Party constituents aren’t the ones who are hurting. They haven’t lost their jobs, nor are they on the unemployment rolls. My question — why have things come to such a peak? What’s the greatest beef, in your estimate? You can’t say that O’s taking this country on the road to socialism. That would be a heck of a stretch.

  • 177:

    I think the reaction from the right to Hillary in the WH pursuing the same policies as Obama would be virtually identical. I suspect the main difference is that MSNBC would be denouncing the Tea Party as “sexist” instead of “racist.”

  • You really think we’ve become so polarized, the extreme, evangelical right and, I really view him as centrist, Obama and followers?

    Do you suppose you’d get the same reaction from the right today if it were Hillary in the White House, the exact same record? Or Bill Clinton (prior to the Lewinsky affair)?

  • Cannonshop

    #175 The problem is, I think the professional strategists aren’t reading the environment right, Roger. I don’t think ‘moderates’ or ‘centrists’ are going to do particularly well from EITHER side of the aisle this time.

    reason why, is I believe the voters are cheesed off and worried and the object of their discomfort IS the status-quo represented by those candidates the pundits like to refer to as ‘centrist’.

  • I was only speaking from the standpoint of a GOP strategist, Cannon, the main assumption being that taking the Oval Office in 2012 is the only priority.

    As to the kinds of alternatives you address we seem to be facing, that’s another matter and food for thought.

  • Cannonshop

    #168 That would require an actual CENTRE to exist, wouldn’t it Roger?
    Between the personality cult on the left, and the fed-up Grassroots on the right, there really isn’t much sign of a ‘centrist’ approach-

    And I’m not sure one is desirable at any rate-centrist in today’s environment basically boils down to defense of the status-quo, which neither side (nor the people in the 20% between) can rationally see as a viable state of affairs.

    The country’s credit is a wreck, (and don’t pretend it isn’t, folks. We’re broke-and-in-debt-and-diggging-it-deeper) Keynesian “solutions” aren’t working, haven’t worked, and won’t work. (there is a school of legitimate analysis that states they probably NEVER worked), the bankruptcy of the current regime (regardless, Republican OR Democrat) speaks to the failure of the status-quo in American Political and economic discourse-which basically boils down to a shit-or-get-off-the-pot situation:
    Either abandon Federalism for European-style Central Government by Socialist Means and accept Authoritarianism-by-Necessity,


    Abandon the admiration of hypercentralized European style government (with all that baggage-the outright and open partnership between big business and big government, eternal dole, etc.) for a less convenient, but more effective American system where the roles of Government, business, and religion are kept separated in a market held open by strong antitrust actions, limited regulation, and reduced quantity and complexity of law.

    ‘Centrists’ will do exactly as has been done since this thing started-failed ‘stimulus’ plans, ineffective ‘cuts’ to spending that neither reduce the spending to what the government actually collects in tax-reciepts, nor does diddly about the principle on the national debt and keeping the currency stable enough to actually PAY that debt down.

    The Malaise will continue until one or the other occurs-and we’re more likely to end up with a Greek situation if the European style is taken, than to manage a true recovery-the debts are piled too high, the expenses just keep racking up, and the number of “Rich” you can soak? is declining-which widens, not narrows, the “Wealth Gap” so harped upon by the Left.

  • Very honorable of you, JR. No worries.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You are correct about my intent with those quotes.

    In that case, I apologize, RJ. I misunderstood and tried to pull a fast one. I’m sorry.

  • From Wikipedia:

    “The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley within the Church of England. As such, the church’s theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It contains both liturgical and evangelical elements.”


  • Clavos

    GWB is a United Methodist.

  • I think Romney could win in a landslide. But I also think Perry could win as well.

    Bachmann and Palin, not so much…

  • No, George W. wasn’t. He just played to his base to defeat Ann Richards. Once he won governorship, Karl Rove persuaded him he could do likewise nationally. The rest is history.

    If Perry isn’t extremist, the day of prayer certainly is not going to sit well. I don’t have opinion on the matter, but it’s not going to score well with the electorate. Playing to one’s base is one thing; overplaying it is another. It’s not going to be forgotten. Even those who would not cast their vote second time for Obama — and we’re on the same page here — will do so because of Perry.

    Obama is definitely beatable, as you said, but not by any fringe, cook candidate. Not by Palin, not by Bachmann, not by Perry. It has got to be someone who’s pretty much centrist, down-to-earth and middle of the road.

    If I were a GOP strategist, I’d go with Romney all the way, fuck the rest. Only Romney, out of the present GOP candidates running, has a fair chance of defeating a do-nothing president.

  • 166:

    Dubya was an evangelical, wasn’t he?

    FWIW, I’m agnostic. I don’t vote based on the religion of the candidate running. But I know that some people do vote for/against a candidate for such reasons.

    I don’t see Perry as a religious extremist. Or Romney. Or Bachmann, for that matter.

    I fully expect the establishment media to attack the eventual GOP nominee for his/her religion, regardless of who that nominee is (I assume it will be Perry, Bachmann, Romney, or *shudder* Palin). And I’m sure those attacks will change some minds.

    But Obama is at 55% disapproval now, according to Gallup. And that’s a survey of adults, not registered voters or likely voters. He is a very weak incumbent.

    I think Obama is beatable by almost any potential Republican nominee, so long as that nominee is viewed as credible and not a raving maniac extremist. And I think you and I just disagree about Perry. You view him as fringe and fanatical, and I just view him as a pretty conservative Christian guy. *shrug*

  • @164

    I disagree. In spite of the reactionary moment in American politics, the Tea Party and so on, the bulk of the electorate is not going to elect an evangelical. The so-called base is a fanatical fringe, and mind you, I’m not putting down religion. It just so happens that the majority, even if sympathetic to religious/quasi-moral concerns, is not going to endorse a fundamentalist, And unless Perry will be able rid this monkey off his back, which I very much doubt, the future of his candidacy, and of the GOP, is doomed.

    I’m not being partisan here, understand. As a matter of fact, I’d like nothing better than for Obama to retire after his first ineffectual term. As far as I’m concerned, he’d betrayed the very values he ran on and campaigned about. Clearly, we’re on the opposite poles of the political divide. This alone should convince you of my sincerity and independence of judgment.

    The progressive element of America’s political leadership is definitely due for a setback, and I’ll be the first to second the motion, if only because it betrayed its first principles and sacred promise, and sold out. But this isn’t to say RJ, that the penance will be paid by any form of religious revival. We’re way past anything like that.

    Speaking for myself, and not as an atheist, I think it’s a good thing. And I’m certain in my heart of hearts, that you agree.

  • 160:

    You are correct about my intent with those quotes.

  • 159:

    In the (inevitable) Perry vs. Dubya comparisons, I believe Perry is actually a considerably stronger candidate.

    Perry served in the USAF, while Dubya served in the Texas ANG (under arguably questionable circumstances). Dubya was a poor speaker and a mediocre debater. Perry seems to be a better speaker, though it remains to be seen how well he will do in debates. Dubya was a rich boy and the son of a President and a drunken failure until he was almost middle aged. Perry grew up poor and has been successful at most everything he’s done. I don’t believe Perry has any DUIs, or any substance abuse issues in his past, like Dubya did. Dubya was governor of Texas for 6 years before being elected; Perry will have been governor of Texas for nearly 12 years next November.

    I don’t think Perry’s appeal is limited just to Christian social conservatives. He can appeal to the pro-business wing of the GOP, and is a credible alternative to Obama for independents who want some “change.”

    Of course, it’s still a long way off before we’ll even know who the Republican nominee is. The first debate featuring Romney and Perry should be interesting…

  • Igor

    RJ #145 tells me that RJ takes intellectual instruction from politicians running for office. Maybe that´s why he likes Perry.

  • Raising fears, RJ, in the hearts of the liberal camp.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Fair enough, Doc.

  • As to if RJ was “trying” to mislead with his quotes, I’m not sure. Was he being misleading? Absolutely.

    No, I don’t think so. (And I’m no huge RJ fan, so hear me out here.)

    What I think RJ was trying to demonstrate with his quotes is that there have been a number of prominent presidents who were of the opinion that Christianity is central to American life and the American state, so it doesn’t make sense to be prejudiced against candidates like Perry and Bachmann just based on those views.

    My objection, and the reason I posted the Madison quote in response, is that the above-mentioned twosome aren’t made of the same stuff. American government in general has become much more bill-happy in recent times. The average number of pages of legislation passed by Congress annually has more than tripled since World War II. Going back further, in the pre-Civil War era it was by no means uncommon for Congress to go through an entire session without passing any new laws.

    So I think it’s a near-certainty that a President Perry or a President Bachmann wouldn’t be happy with simply saying that the United States was a Christian nation. They’d try to get it onto the statute books.

  • Sure are a straight shooter, RJ. Appreciate that. I still think it’s highly doubtful he’d carry the electoral vote even if nominated. Evangelical base isn’t enough. George W had much more going for him, and quite smartly, downplayed his religiosity during the general elections. Perry won’t be able to do that; he’s too deep into it.

    IMHO, the GOP is shooting itself in the foot if it’s serious about 2012.

  • 155:

    I do find you to be an earnest commenter, and so I’ll respond earnestly.

    Perry is the instant front-runner because he’s obviously conservative and obviously credible. He’s been governor of the second-largest state in the country for over a decade. The economy is doing well there, while the economy nationally is pretty awful. He looks like a President. And he’s got support from social conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Christian conservatives. So he’s got a good rapport with the base.

    Romney is obviously credible and looks like a President, but lacks a strong connection to the base. He’s a Mormon, from New England, signed Romneycare, and flip-flopped on abortion. This doesn’t much bother me, but it does bother some.

    Michele Bachmann is obviously conservative, but possibly not all that credible. She’s never won a statewide race, has no executive experience (as an elected official), and is somewhat gaffe-prone. And of course the establishment media has given her the Palin Treatment.

    The rest of the GOP field isn’t polling well enough to be considered top-tier.

    So. Perry filled a perceived void in the GOP primary field. That’s why he’s suddenly the front-runner.

    As to your question about my comment, I was being sarcastic. Left-wing atheists are, in the grand scheme of things, a very small percentage of the overall American voting public. But they probably comprise the majority of the commenters here. So the hysteria about the fact that Rick Perry is a *gasp* proud Christian is amusing to me. And the disinformation they present in a desperate effort to discredit him sort of disgusts me. Hence my sarcasm.

  • I asked in earnest. Am not familiar with the idiom.

  • And RJ, what exactly do you mean by “thanks for the heads-up, left-wing atheist commenters”?

    Don’t encourage him, Roger. The sophomoric sarcasm is just a reflex. He is unable to control himself.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I probably wouldn’t have completely trusted a website called “infidels.org” …

    The quotes weren’t from that site, RJ, and there is a deeper meaning/lesson here worth exploring if you’re up for it.

  • I find it amazing that Perry became the front runner the moment he announced his candidacy. It’s a telltale of where we still are insofar as a great bulk of the electorate is concerned.

    And RJ, what exactly do you mean by “thanks for the heads-up, left-wing atheist commenters”?

  • 148:

    Thanks for posting that info. I wouldn’t have otherwise known that those quotes were out of context, although I probably wouldn’t have completely trusted a website called “infidels.org” …

  • Jordan Richardson

    In the sake of fairness, here’s the full quote:

    “Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!’ But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.”

    And about halfway down this page is some context.

    As to if RJ was “trying” to mislead with his quotes, I’m not sure. Was he being misleading? Absolutely.

  • Jordan Richardson

    On the second quote, Article 11 of the treaty has obviously been a bone of contention for a while. I think it’s reasonable to think that there’s some truth to the “buttering up” of Libya and, by extension, other Arab states (although that’s all shot to hell now), but I also think it’s reasonable to suggest that Article 11 was an assertion that there was no state religion.

    Suggesting that America was founded on a set of principles is one thing; suggestion it is a “Christian nation” is another altogether.

  • Jordan Richardson

    All of the above quotes are taken out of context, Doc, that’s the trouble with using ’em in the first place. They hardly accomplish much at the best of times.

    The “more” link is probably the most serious on the subject, though, and the most comprehensive retort.

    The main thrust is the Adams wouldn’t suggest America to be a Christian nation; most of the founders held a view more consistent with deism.

  • I notice that we haven’t heard any enthusiastic endorsement of Perry from commenters yet…just ‘the religious stuff doesn’t bother me.’ There are plenty of other reasons to object to the guy.

  • Jordan, that’s an unfortunate set of quotes to choose from.

    The first one is taken out of context in a manner that completely changes Adams’s meaning, and the second one was written in precisely because America was signing a treaty with a “Mohammedan” nation, and wanted to butter their treaty partner up.

    As for the third, Adams was a passionate Unitarian, and the “awful blasphemy” he refers to is the doctrine of the Trinity, not the Christian faith itself.

    So unless you felt that RJ was trying to mislead with his quotes – and I’m not satisfied that he was – I don’t think you’re accomplishing much here.

  • Jordan Richardson

    This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it. – JOHN ADAMS

    The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion…The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation. – JOHN ADAMS from the Treaty of Tripoli

    God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world. – JOHN ADAMS

    And more if you’re up for it.

  • The above men were probably conscious of, or would have concurred with, James Madison, who gave this warning:

    “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?”

    Perry’s and Bachmann’s public utterances to this point don’t demonstrate that they have taken this lesson on board.

  • The general principles on which the [founding] fathers achieved independence were … the general principles of Christianity. – JOHN ADAMS

    The teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally … impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teaching were removed. – TEDDY ROOSEVELT

    America was born a Christian nation; America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture. – WOODROW WILSON

    American life is builded, and can alone survive, upon … [the] fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior nineteen centuries ago. – HERBERT HOOVER

    This is a Christian Nation. – HARRY TRUMAN

    Let us remember that as a Christian nation … we have a charge and a destiny. – RICHARD NIXON

    It’s interesting to learn that all of the above men were insane, theocratic, and unqualified for high office. Thanks for the heads-up, left-wing atheist commenters.

  • zingzing

    “The Response’s website, it looks like the officers and honorary co-chairs are mainstream evangelicals.”

    that’s not what i understand. from what i’ve read, it was not only mainstream evangelicals, but also members of the american family association and the new apostolic reformation movement.

    “Either way, the ties don’t worry me.”

    maybe they should. do you believe in separation of church and state? apparently, these people don’t. some of them supposedly believe that christian law should rule the land, including death sentences for homosexuality, adultery and blasphemy. even a hint of that kind of thought should be troubling.

    perry also may have called himself a “prophet” on fox news.

  • “recommending prayer in a situation where there really ISN’T a damned thing you can do about the situation, isn’t a harmful thing.”

    Using prayer as meditation is fine. Suggesting prayers can magically change things can be harmful. Madeline Kara Neumann of WI died at the age of 11 because Christian Scientist parents believed in prayer over medicine.

  • Baronius

    Zing – I did look it up. The thing you have to understand about evangelicals is that they don’t have any kind of formal organizational structure. They believe that if you have the fundamentals right, then you’re saved. The rest doesn’t matter. (And yes, that’s where the name “fundamentalist” came from.)

    Of course, that’s not how it really works at all. They keep close tabs on each other and always know who’s straying into dangerous territory. It gets gossipy.

    Anyway, back to the story. After a quick look through The Response’s website, it looks like the officers and honorary co-chairs are mainstream evangelicals. People you wouldn’t agree with, but not lunatics. The really crazy ones are on the list of 82 “endorsers”. That’s probably unavoidable, or maybe they donated a pretty penny to get their photos included. Either way, the ties don’t worry me.

    And the negative coverage seems to reflect this. They couldn’t quite close the deal with one certified nutbar in the Perry camp. Just people who had connections or who had attended the same conferences. Well, all evangelicals have connections.

    But my mind is open.

  • zingzing

    the unexpected ladyboy? i kid, i kid. i know that you didn’t. lies! all lies!

  • Clavos

    jesus, clavos… sense of humor, please.

    I lost mine in Vietnam, zing.

  • zingzing

    and where do you get this idea that the left wants to get rid of checks and balances?

  • Further, it would require a depth of Statism that you really only find these days on the LEFT to be universal and prevalent, AND they would all have to be of the same religious ‘brand’.

    Then how do you explain things like the Defense of Marriage Act?

  • Cannonshop

    #135 Unlikely, Doc, and even if there were, there is zero guarantee that they’d be of the same (or even compatible) form of Conservatism. Further, it would require a depth of Statism that you really only find these days on the LEFT to be universal and prevalent, AND they would all have to be of the same religious ‘brand’.

    which is unlikely. It would have to require a systemic failure across the board in the civilization and culture.

  • Cannonshop

    #133 Are you claiming he doesn’t believe, (which, I suspect, would require telepathy or somesuch to verify) or that he believes in something you believe to be false, sir?

  • And, like I tried to remind you, there are constitutional checks on the power of the White House, and its occupant(s), checks designed to prevent things like the abuse of office to promote any single religious view over others.

    Not necessarily if there’s a conservative president, conservative Senate, conservative House and conservative Supreme Court, as may well be the case come January 2013.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “…you fucking cracker. Um, isn’t that bigotry?”

    jesus, clavos… sense of humor, please.

    baronius: “If Perry were hanging out with the crazy ones, that would bother me…”

    look up his connections with dominionism. (and recognize that this was all brought up in the context of obama’s relationship with wright.) bachmann also has ties to the same fringe movement. now i’m not sure if dominionism even exists, although the sentiment (a “christian nation” taken another step) certainly does.

    cannonshop: “As Baronius mentioned, the Left and their pet media don’t make the distinction between ‘weird’ and ‘crazy’ when it comes to Evangelicals.”

    um, you really haven’t been paying attention. or being honest.

    “Which makes the hue-and-cry about a man’s honest religious beliefs something of an expression of bigotry, and in some cases, Bigotry to the point of being rabid.”

    no, it’s just you missing the point.

  • There is no such thing as “honest religious beliefs”…

  • Cannonshop

    #128 No, I’m saying that, given that there is no technology that would provide rain in a drought, that recommending prayer in a situation where there really ISN’T a damned thing you can do about the situation, isn’t a harmful thing. The man’s religion is pretty much irrelevant for the same reasons that I mentioned before, and pillorying him because he happens to HAVE that religion, and doesn’t hide it, try to deny it, or otherwise demonstrate lack of moral courage about it, well…

    As Baronius mentioned, the Left and their pet media don’t make the distinction between ‘weird’ and ‘crazy’ when it comes to Evangelicals.

    But we’re not interviewing candidates for the position of Autocrat or King (at least, not yet).

    Which makes the hue-and-cry about a man’s honest religious beliefs something of an expression of bigotry, and in some cases, Bigotry to the point of being rabid.

  • Baronius

    Evangelicals are weird, and a small number of them are crazy. You’ve got to understand their language to know the difference. If Perry were hanging out with the crazy ones, that would bother me, so I looked at some of the articles about the recent prayer rally. The things written from the left don’t distinguish between the two types; they have quotes from the main participants which are odd, and from the more distantly-affiliated which are insane. As near as I can figure, Perry is hanging out with the mainstream evangelicals, and the nutbars are trying to hang out with him. I’m ok with that. If I see anything that worries me, I’d say something.

  • Clavos

    …you fucking cracker

    Um, isn’t that bigotry?

    Nuthin’ wrong with crackers, zing. Aren’t you originally from NC?

  • zingzing

    “Of course, if the Statist folks like yourself get their way, those checks are going to be a thing of the past”

    i have no idea why you’d think to ascribe such beliefs to me. you obviously have no clue who you are talking to. it doesn’t help you make your point by just making shit up. it’s like arguing with your mother that your dick is bigger than hers. grow up.

    “And, like I tried to remind you, there are constitutional checks on the power…” blah blah blah.

    for fuck’s sake, cannonshop. what you did above was make a total non-sequitur. i had no fucking clue why you brought up congress. it made no damn sense. i don’t need a fucking civics lesson from you.

    “I do find your bigotry to be rather refreshingly honest compared to your usual refrains of ‘tolerance’-a tolerance you clearly only apply to those whom you approve of…”

    he’s free to be who he wants to be. i just don’t like that quality (nutsy christian) in a president. is that bigotry? no, it is not, and you know it. unlike bush (who said god spoke to him and told him to flush trillions of dollars down iraq), perry seems to really believe that shit. why on earth would i say, oh, let’s let this clearly delusional man lead our country despite his delusions? i wouldn’t. he’s perfectly free to do whatever the fuck he wants, but i find that to be a turn off for the voter in me.

    and don’t call me a bigot, you fucking cracker.

  • “What’s scary, is someone who can’t figure out that doing what failed before is failing now, so doing more of what failed is probably the wrong thing to be doing.”

    What’s scary is you don’t know that’s Rick Perry. He asked Texans to spend three days praying for rain. Or would you have us believe Perry’s gotten everything he’s prayed for?

  • Cannonshop

    #116 Okay, Zing, since you confess confusions..

    My issue is not with El Presidente’s religious background-I could actually care less about that, since I’m aware that our system is designed to provide checks and balances to limit the ability of the chief executive to impose his will as he wishes.

    I brought it up solely because the man let himself be chased away from a twenty-plus-year relationship with a church, by the Media and the ‘threat’ of SCANDAL.

    Conversely, Gov. Perry’s religious ideas, nutty as they are, aren’t that far out. The guy ain’t Jim Jones, and he’s at least not trying to hide/rewrite his social, religious, or political background because some blogger found something someone might take offense to.

    The job is a management position, Obama’s demonstrated he’s a poor manager, Perry’s got a record as a GOOD manager. Where or if someone gets their church doesn’t matter as much as JOB PERFORMANCE.

    And, like I tried to remind you, there are constitutional checks on the power of the White House, and its occupant(s), checks designed to prevent things like the abuse of office to promote any single religious view over others.

    Of course, if the Statist folks like yourself get their way, those checks are going to be a thing of the past, but they’re still there for the moment, therefore even a rolling-on-the-floor-tongues-babbling KRISCHUN isn’t that scary to me.

    What’s scary, is someone who can’t figure out that doing what failed before is failing now, so doing more of what failed is probably the wrong thing to be doing.

    I trust the congress and the courts to put a check on the President’s wilder aspirations-at least until they grant the position yet MORE power than they already have. That’s how our system works, and why back in the 1960’s it was kind of absurd for people to worry about JFK’s Catholicism.

    I do find your bigotry to be rather refreshingly honest compared to your usual refrains of ‘tolerance’-a tolerance you clearly only apply to those whom you approve of…

  • Since you and Dave seem to be wedded, RJ, I congratulate you on your comment numbers. The answer to your title question is, of course, no. The comments are chin music.

    The attempt to go “viral” is weak, however.

    “There’s too much chin music an’ too little fightin’ in this war, anyhow.” [The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895.]


  • Here’s more fun, from Jim Hightower:

    Perry is Bush, only not as smart or ethical. And Bush at least professed to be a “compassionate conservative.”

    None of that sissy liberal stuff for Rick — he actually brags that, hey, we stick to it to the middle class and the poor, so the rich can get richer.


    So, when Perry promises he’ll do for America what he’s done for Texas, pay attention ?” it’s no idle threat.

  • Perhaps RJ can’t think of anything praiseworthy to write about him either. I do love this Molly Ivins quote:

    “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”

    I’m sure the late, lamented Ms. Ivins would have many amusing things to say about all this.

  • I can’t quite put my finger on it, Handy, but something tells me you’re not altogether fond of Gov. Perry…

    The guy is a tool, but he can get away with being one in ultra-conservative Texas. I have a feeling that once his presidential campaign gets into full swing, he’ll quickly learn that the country as a whole doesn’t have quite such a dense concentration of Republicans. He’ll likely moderate his platform and rhetoric quite drastically.

  • If that’s all you can think of to talk about, you have my sincerest sympathies.

    A potentially more constructive use of your [and everyone else’s] time might be to tell us what you think is good about Rick Perry, other than that he’s a Republican who might defeat Obama.

    Is it his views on evolution? They are certainly attention-getting.

    His expansion of government employment in Texas? His starving of the education budget in Texas? The rich network of favoritism and patronage he has set up, giving numerous powerful government posts to big contributors? His use of federal stimulus money to balance his budget, to the tune of $6 billion, while unceasingly telling us how awful and useless Obama’s stimulus is?

    Or is it his comparison of Fed quantitative easing to treason? His assuring us that he would never raise the debt ceiling, whatever the consequences?

    How about his generally empty rhetoric? His overripe accent [can it be real?]? His flirting with secession? His urging the nation to “call upon Jesus” to get us through our current crises? His eager speed in signing a bill requiring all women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound first [including a very invasive type of probe for those 8 to 10 weeks pregnant]? His blatantly political and utterly unnecessary Voter ID law?

    Or do you just like his hair?

  • zingzing

    “Facts don’t have an expiration date.”

    neither does baseless guilt by association, i guess. if i ever see you giving money to a homeless man or listening to him talk, i’m going to assume you agree with everything he thinks and promote every one of his ideas.

  • 117:

    Facts don’t have an expiration date. But I certainly understand why leftists would like certain inconvenient facts to go down the memory hole.

  • zingzing

    sorry, baronius, that was rj (104, a reference to,) and cannonshop (106, directly), not me. go back and reread.

  • Baronius

    Handy, take it up with Zing. He’s the one who brought up Wright.

  • The fact that several regular commmenters on here think Rev. Wright and even Bill Ayers are still issues is just…crazy-making. You just repeat the same meaningless stuff over and over, convincing yourself that it is meaningful. When you have designated someone your Political Enemy, anything goes, the more hyperbolic the better.

    Has any policy issue during Obama’s term to date had anything to do with Wright or Ayers? Shall we talk about Swift Boat Veterans too? How about John McCain’s black love child? Whitewater? These things are ammunition for expensive and despicable ads. Do they have anything to do with running the country?

    The thought of a Rick Perry frightens me because I think he’s, to coin a phrase, an empty suit who will take the country backward. What he is good at is raising money from businessmen and giving them favors in return, and doling out red-meat sound bites of dubious sincerity. Governing? Not so much. Name an issue, I differ with him on it, usually 180 degrees — if indeed his stated positions are for real, which I seriously doubt.

  • zingzing

    i have no idea what that last line refers to.

    but i guess you readily admit that perry’s crazy religious beliefs (which have manifested themselves in crazy ways) don’t bother you, while obama’s supposed crazy religious beliefs (which haven’t been an issue probably because they’re not real,) do bother you.

    so where’s the difference? purely political, i’d bet.

  • Cannonshop

    #113 Nope. Not considering who he’d be replacing. Not in the least.

    There’s this body of people, you might’ve heard of it, it’s called “Congress”…

  • zingzing

    “you simply can’t deny the fact that he could have done the first 8:20 of that episode at the Democratic Convention without reworking the material.”

    was there any comedic effect to the reworking? there was, wasn’t there? IT’S COMEDY.

  • zingzing

    “Just…doesn’t that kind of strike you as a bit weird?”

    if that’s true, then look at perry’s dominionism and tell me he doesn’t look like a scary fuck. if he gets away with it, why does obama not? answer me that.

    and i really don’t think obama gives a fuck about christianity. i could be wrong. but i think it’s just a product of the fact that politicians have to be “religious” in this great fucking country of ours. i don’t think it really shows up in his policy at any rate.

    not like perry. praying for rain as some form of governing and believing that christians should rule the earth sounds a little bit crazy to me. does it not seem so to you?

  • Obama’s whole running-away-from-Reverend Wright schtick is worrisome both because he apparently is ashamed of a twenty-some-odd year relationship, and also because he let the media exposure make him do it.

    Yes, it wasn’t his finest hour. In hindsight, he would probably still have flattened McCain even if he’d stood his ground and told Wright’s critics to go fuck themselves.

  • You have to admit that if a political reporter, political comedian, political science professor, whoever, could do a random sample of his material in front of the DNC, he’s probably reflecting an ideology.

    Like I said, Baronius, Stewart makes no pretence of being unbiased.

    His is, nonetheless, a comedy show.

  • Baronius

    Handy’s right that a lot can change in 14 months. For one thing, we’re all working under the assumption that the economy is going to be the main issue. Personally I hope it is, because let’s face it, if North Korea or Department of Agriculture food inspections would be the top issue in November 2012, something terrible would have happened. So who knows.

    Remember that in summer 2008, everyone knew that the election was going to turn on foreign policy, not economic. And 2004 exit polls indicated that social issues were higher on voter’s minds than the pollsters had expected. Kerry might have lost the Ohio swing voter when his home state of Massachusetts legalized gay marriage earlier that year. And the 2000 election – when it’s that close, one campaign ad could have made the difference.

  • Clavos


    Well said, Cannonshop.

  • Baronius

    It’s been a while since we’ve had a good digression on the BC threads. I regret nothing.

    I tried again to watch that episode of Stewart’s show. I made it to about 8:20 before I fell into a buffering dead zone. I don’t know why the site’s not working for me.

    But here’s the thing: like Stewart or not, agree with Stewart or not, you simply can’t deny the fact that he could have done the first 8:20 of that episode at the Democratic Convention without reworking the material. Maybe that was the most unrepresentative 8:20 of his career (I’ve actually seen him quite a bit, and it’s not). You have to admit that if a political reporter, political comedian, political science professor, whoever, could do a random sample of his material in front of the DNC, he’s probably reflecting an ideology.

  • Cannonshop

    Oh, and Zing, what is so bad about someone going to church, or attending services in the rain?

    Seriously, considering the number of people who not only believe in that extraspecialmagicalfriendinthesky, there are also folks who practice polytheistic ritual (not even touching on the ultimate mainstream example of Hindu, which has many gods and goddesses, I’m talking about your rather bland, average pagan practices…) or who attend Native American services (which are NOT fixed on a weekly schedule laid down by a bunch of goat-herders in the middle east).

    Is knowing someone’s limits really that scary?

    Seriously. Evangelical, passionate believers include Jimmy Carter (iirc, Southern Baptist).

    Obama’s whole running-away-from-Reverend Wright schtick is worrisome both because he apparently is ashamed of a twenty-some-odd year relationship, and also because he let the media exposure make him do it.

    The trait’s called “Moral Courage”, it means being unafraid of your own beliefs and the reaction of the public to those beliefs.

    Perry’s not ashamed of his faith-well, that’s a positive mark, it means that it is possible to KNOW what he believes, which makes engagement and cooperation much, much easier than trying to guess at where and what limits are on a man’s personal behaviour and morality, as well as where and how to approach him to obtain cooperation and (gasp!) Bipartisanship to get things DONE.

  • Cannonshop

    #105 I don’t know, Zing, twenty years of attenance, seems to me to be a pretty good indicator of endorsement-there ARE other churches in Chicago, after all, so it’s not like just showing up on holidays and election time to kiss babies and make-believe you’re religious…

    and REv. Wright doesn’t seem to be the kind of droner that can be comfortably slept through, but I could be wrong on that.

    The scary part for me, is the denial-it indicates a certain nervousness and lack of moral courage to stand there and say “Yeah, I went to this church for twenty years, took my kids there, the pastor’s baptized ’em and everything, but I really didn’t care for it or listen to the sermons…”

    Just…doesn’t that kind of strike you as a bit weird?

  • zingzing

    he held a public prayer meeting for rain, rj. at a stadium. and that whole dominionist thing (which is kinda like saying obama attended an “anti-american hate cult,” except perry actively endorsed the beliefs of the dominionist cult).

  • 103:

    And how, precisely, does the Governor of Texas frighten you, handy?

    Did he launch his political career with a fundraiser in the home of an unrepentant domestic terrorist, perhaps? Did he choose to attend an anti-American hate cult for 20 years of his adult life?

  • The prez is not in an enviable position right now. But 14 months is a very long time in politics. And Rick Perry is ridiculous and scary enough to motivate a lot of Democrats.

  • Most of those comments were in response to the dubious things you and Baronius were writing about Stewart.

  • So. Now that the Jon Stewart Fan Club

    (with no small assistance from the author)

    has jacked the comments on this article up into the triple digits, does anyone…I dunno…want to comment on the article?


    Q: Is Obama finished?

    A: No.

  • So. Now that the Jon Stewart Fan Club has jacked the comments on this article up into the triple digits, does anyone…I dunno…want to comment on the article?

  • Citing Bill O’Reilly on the subject of fairness is…well, it says a lot about the citer. The clips are not out of context just because he says so.

    And if the examples O’Reilly shows really seem egregious or even unfair to you, you must be on the hypersensitive side. In each case, they made a comedic point that was valid; “out of context” only to the very literal minded.

    [And didn’t O’Reilly himself take HuffPost out of context, quoting an unpleasant bit from the comments section as if it were editorial content and then comparing it to Nazi propaganda? There have been a few unpleasant things written in the comments section here at BC; I think maybe you wrote a few of them yourself.]

    And the edited Goldberg interview was not a comedy segment. The show routinely now shows full unedited interviews on their web site, since only 6 or 7 minutes can fit on the broadcast. Only 1 out of 10 interviews requires this, because as I said, most are authors of non-political books or actors promoting movies.

  • zingzing

    “Say what you will about Stewart, but his show definitely doesn’t have an ideological agenda.”

    the letter, which is referenced in the link you gave, comes from a producer and says “we never book conservative pundits.” that’s obviously not true. maybe the guy didn’t get the dig.

  • zingzing

    “The best thing about Jon Stewart is that he never selectively edits or takes things out of context. Never. He’s cool like that.”

    it’s pretty rare that a full unedited version does not make it to the web. obviously, some stuff must be edited to fit into the program’s limits. that said, i can’t find an unedited version, which is strange.

    but since you’re on taking things out of context, you may be getting closer to one of the more prominent parts of the program… selective editing is often part of the program, but it’s pretty unusual in the interview portion at the end of the show (other than for time constraints, and the full interview is usually available).

    that said, the clips at the beginning of the show (there are readily identifiable segments, if you don’t know, and clearly you don’t seem to,) are almost always put within their proper context (that’s kind of the point), unless there’s some specific comedic reason not to.

  • Say what you will about Stewart, but his show definitely doesn’t have an ideological agenda. He’s totally balanced and fair.

  • Right, RJ, and he never does things for comic effect either. You gotta love him for that.

  • zingzing

    “That may be overstating it a bit, zing, but “My Baby Just Cares for Me” and “Sugar in My Bowl” are pretty amazing.”

    yes, but then there’s “the black freighter” and “chilly winds don’t blow” and “sinnerman” and her version of “house of the rising sun,” the last two of which make every goddamn thing that came before them look like silly shenanigans, and then put the future on display for everyone to see.

  • The best thing about Jon Stewart is that he never selectively edits or takes things out of context. Never. He’s cool like that.

  • Jon Stewart never takes any conservative out of context, and that is to his great credit.

  • I’m glad he never takes stuff out of context. He’s pretty much perfect.

  • And one more thing: the first segment of the show is usually political, but the second and third vary a lot. There are some very funny real ‘on the road’ interviews with various odd people, done by the other comedians on the show, including John Oliver; and at least half the guests in the final interview segment are authors of non-political books or actors promoting a movie.

  • Of course zing and I like Stewart in part because we are on the same side of the political fence as Stewart. But if he weren’t also brilliant and witty I wouldn’t bother to defend him on here. At its best the show is really fantastically good.

    PS The clips are rarely [never?] “out of context.” That is just nonsense.

  • 82: That may be overstating it a bit, zing, but “My Baby Just Cares for Me” and “Sugar in My Bowl” are pretty amazing. I’m also a big Dinah Washington fanatic.

    I seem to remember a story about Nina Simone slapping Dusty Springfield because Dusty sang ‘too black,’ but I can’t find this anywhere so maybe I am mixing up two stories.

  • @83

    Correct. Is that the precursor of Groucho’s famous quip about country clubs et al?

  • zingzing

    republican hypocrisy is only part of the show. can you name any other parts? (other than monkey faces or drug references, which are actually pretty rare.)

    you’re missing the actual thrust of the show.

  • zingzing

    yes, like actually having watched the show. and paying attention to it. and accurately describing it.

  • 78:

    Set up seemingly reasonable proposition, show out-of-context video clip of Republican/conservative saying something contrary to said proposition, cut to monkey face, set up another related seemingly reasonable proposition, show another out-of-context video clip of another Republican/conservative saying something contrary to said proposition, cut to another monkey face, make bizarre drug reference, drop f-bomb, soak up applause, smirk.

    Am I missing anything?

  • Will Rogers did monologues that could be called ‘stand-up political comedy.’ His best line: ‘I am not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.’

    Twain also did comic lectures that touched on political satire.

  • zingzing

    “Sinatra’s singing had an extra dimension, a smooth, unforced quality that Martin just didn’t have.”

    and nina simone made them both look like hacks.

  • I should have said, our fascination with people like … you fill in the blanks.

  • IMO, Old Blue Eyes (at his best) was light years better than Deano.

    True dat. Sinatra’s singing had an extra dimension, a smooth, unforced quality that Martin just didn’t have.

  • A lot of Shakespeare’s comic monologues could easily pass muster as stand-up comedy routines, particularly Falstaff’s and the various clown characters’.

    Real stand-up as a distinct artform, though, didn’t come about until the development of music hall and vaudeville in the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • zingzing

    “And Shakespeare’s comedy is infinitely funnier and more clever than Stewart’s shtick.”

    the great clavos has spoken… shakespeare’s comedy falls somewhat on deaf ears these days, but some of it remains universal. and he set up wonderfully complex jokes and situations.

    but i challenge clavos to describe stewart’s “shtick.” if he does indeed have one, clavos ought to be able to describe it with ease.

  • John Lake

    We needn’t be overly concerned about the decline and fall of Obama. The truth is, as a lame duck he could probably make some valuable change. But that’s not likely to happen. Obvious reasons for the economy slump (kind of an anti-hyperbole) such as wars in oil producing nations and the obstructionist Republicans will win out in the end. Obama is going to announce plans for job creation; the rental plan which I itemized in a recent article is just one example. The trouble is that if foreign investors get in quick, the money will go overseas.
    Perry is hot now. Tea party people are highly savvy, and know a good looking guy when they see one. He just has a few changes to make to the Constitution, is fanatical about giving the states the full authority to do what they please, and as a Karl Rove confidant, he will be sure to bring in the big bucks. Limbaugh and twenty-first century radio are a cryin’ shame. Talk radio was good for the first few months.
    Tea Party people actually believe all that rhetoric. Give the county back to the people. Right. People are people too.
    More government control, not less is a step beyond “more regulation” and just exactly what we need. We have one hope to avoid regulatory extremes; The Supreme Court reverses its ill-advised decision about contributions, and the Congress finds the where-with-all to get rid of all special interests. Probably won’t happen. But on that one, there is hope.
    If someone would itemize all the regulations (in banking, mortgages, insider trading, and the more populist kinds of things … air pollution…) we could really begin to discuss them.
    Someone mentioned pot. Could that be the key to some new found popularities? I hope not. When that plan failed in California, that movement ended. Cities don’t realize that if all the gun totin’ baby killin’ gang members were provided with a little pot, the killing would drop dramatically, and music would fill the sweet air, Dude. But it ain’t likely to happen.
    Did like George Carlin. Things to worry about: Global Thermonuclear War. He was one of the greats.
    I saw a headline somewhere today that said the uneducated are losing their religion. Does that mean the smart people are keeping theirs? Stephen Hawking and Einstein agreed that we should go more with the pragmatic. Myself, some day’s I’m religious as heck, some days I’m not.

  • troll

    nonsense — he frequently performed standup down at the pub for pints…at least that’s what I heard

  • Clavos

    When did Shakespeare perform stand-up?

    Never, but we were talking about “comedy,” not stand-up specifically, and in any case, what Stewart does is not stand-up.

    And Shakespeare’s comedy is infinitely funnier and more clever than Stewart’s shtick.

  • Jordan Richardson

    “stand-up” is but an expression of modern-day celebrity cult


  • Further yet, Clav, Aristophanes for one. But I don’t want to task the imagination of the hoi poloi.

    Seriously, though, “stand-up” is but an expression of modern-day celebrity cult; and this dig isn’t meant to detract from the noble or not so noble profession of an actor.

  • zingzing

    “Costello without hostility?”

    it’s rare to see someone get so worked up over comedy. i’ve been in some heated music arguments, but that’s taking it to a whole new level. one must wonder about someone’s sense of humor at a moment like that… unless it was some attempt at carlinian indignitude that wen right over my head.

  • zingzing

    baronius: “I think Stewart is coasting.”

    it’s pretty well impossible for him to be coasting. he (and his writers) have to react to whatever’s happening. your reaction to him may have more to do with your political persuasion that it does your sense of humor. stewart’s a potent comedian, if even politicians do hand it to him on silver platter.

  • Costello

    Actually, he has a few bits where he scolded certain groups of people. Why not next tell us he didn’t swear to show how well you know the material you are commenting about?

    I have had plenty of conversations with people here, so save your tired bitterness routine for your Obama rants. When did Shakespeare perform stand-up?

  • Clavos

    …check the hostility as well.

    Costello without hostility?

    Good luck…

  • Clavos

    He was as good as Dean Martin, but I always think of Dean as much better, because you always hear him at his best.

    IMO, Old Blue Eyes (at his best) was light years better than Deano.

  • Clavos

    I think political humor goes back a lot further than that, Roger.

    Shakespeare comes to mind, e.g.

  • zingzing

    costello, my reaction to carlin is my reaction to carlin. i never claimed it was anything different. i can easily accept that others found it funny. you should check your ego, mindreader. check the hostility as well. we’re talking about comedy, for fuck’s sake.

    and i think he was a big fan of letting people have their own opinions and speak their mind without someone scolding them.

  • Baronius

    After hearing him cough up his old classics for 20 years, it’s easy to forget that he was talented. It still does surprise me to hear those original recordings. He was as good as Dean Martin, but I always think of Dean as much better, because you always hear him at his best.

  • Costello

    How hysterical. Baronius, considering you just discovered how good a singer Sinatra is, why should anyone trust your assessments?

  • Costello

    Why do you think Carlin would agree with you? He didn’t seem to be a big fan of ill-informed opinions. Your assessment of why people were laughing is evidence you don’t know what you are talking about unless you are a mind reader. You didn’t think it funny but can’t accept others did. Check the ego

  • … this genre …

  • Lenny Bruce had started the genre of comedy. Mort Sahl was the next in line.

  • Baronius

    Handy, I think you’re a bright, well-intentioned guy with a couple of blind spots you could hold a football game in.

  • Baronius

    I’ll say this for George Carlin, he didn’t coast. Some comics do. I think Stewart is coasting. Carlin kept coming up with new material, and was constantly changing his old bits – I remember hearing a “seven dirty words” piece that had none of the original material. It’s just that usually his newer material wasn’t as good.

    I heard some Sinatra recently. He was fantastic. The problem was, I grew up during his long declining years. I never realized what a great singer he was.

  • zingzing

    maybe i haven’t seen the right stuff, but (especially later in his career,) he just grates on me. he preached to the choir and absorbed their thunderous applause while getting more chuckles and rib-poking “he saying what we all think” moments rather than actual laughs (you could say that about stewart as well, but i tend to laugh a lot more at his stuff than i do at carlin’s). i could be wrong. i just haven’t liked much of what i’ve seen.

    other than that, no, i will not (and i bet carlin would have told you where you could stick that sentiment). i love comedy. but it’s hard to do right.

  • Costello

    If you don’t think Carlin was funny, do yourself a favor and stop talking about comedy.

  • Apparently he just decided to buy Bank of America whilst taking a bath. Or something.

  • From my point of view, you are an extremist who sees everything through a warped prism. I’d guess you perceive me in somewhat the same way.

    But in the larger picture of all current US political discourse, this particular Stewart bit is right down the center, not way over to one side. Just as affable, mild Warren Buffet just about never comes across as unreasonable. To me, anyhow.

  • Baronius

    I didn’t argue that it’s controversial. I said that it’s (a) partisan, which you acknowledge by reference to Democrats and Clinton, as well as by saying that I don’t agree with it because of my partisanship; (b) unfunny, and I think it’s obvious why I said that; and (c) spoon-feeding the audience that Stewart apparently doesn’t trust enough to realize that they’re supposed to laugh at Fox News. It’s also – and I know this term is overused online, but it’s the right term in this case – disingenuous for you to depict my statement as a wildly inaccurate description of Stewart’s statement.

  • #52: It’s hard for me to understand how that would be a controversial statement.

    Most Democrats, most moderate independents, in fact most Americans think it’s just common sense to use both sets of tools — tax increases and spending cuts — to achieve the very large target of deficit and debt reduction.

    Most of the proposals discussed involve 2:1 up to 5:1 ratios of cuts to tax increases. [That’s why Stewart’s mild riposte to Democrats is funny.] Why is that objectionable?

    When that radical liberal Bill Clinton passed a deficit reduction package in 1993 with zero GOP votes, it was a 1:1 ratio of cuts to revenue increases. One of the most prosperous periods in US history followed. You have to watch out for those socialist Democrats.

  • Baronius

    “I’ve watched the episode twice, and “Stewart informs the audience that Buffett’s statement is sound, reasonable policy” is a wildly inaccurate description.”

    The passage I was referring to was, “Warren Buffett’s op-ed was a thoughtful treatise on the advantages the super-wealthy currently enjoy at the hands of the tax code”.

  • Cannonshop

    #42 A lot of conservatives would say (and have said) the same about Jon Stewart or Al Franken.

    The bit that gets me, is how partisans fail to recognize their opposite numbers.

    Stewart, not Franken, is the Left’s answer to Rush Limbaugh-why?

    Because Stewart’s actually funny. Al just went from unemployed actor to strident activist, no funny without 30 Rockefeller’s staff to help him.

  • zingzing

    “Beck can be hilarious. Oddly, leftists don’t seem to find much humor in either man.”

    are you kidding me? beck is a fucking gold mine. (oh, the puns…) he’s an evil prick, but he’s also shockingly funny. the things that come out of his mouth…

    you really need to educate yourself on what the left thinks before you spout such nonsense. nonsense, i tell you! (and it was the sponsors themselves that pulled out of his show… he went deliciously too far, i suppose, for their tastes.)

  • zingzing

    (and if you think my opinion of carlin sucks, i don’t like bill hicks for the same reason.)

  • 45:

    Miller’s show is pretty good. But IMO he’s funnier in his appearances on O’Reilly than he is on the radio.

  • 44:

    Rush can be quite funny. Beck can be hilarious.

    Oddly, leftists don’t seem to find much humor in either man. In fact, they find them so unfunny that they occasionally try to get them kicked off the air, or go after their sponsors.

    But, remember, it’s conservatives who can’t take a joke…

  • zingzing

    i think stewart is peaking and has been doing so for a while. carlin was annoying. so preachy. miller is terrible and schticky. rush as a comedian… maybe by proxy…

  • Baronius

    Again, to be fair, no comedian stays fresh for 20 years. Rush hasn’t, Stewart hasn’t. George Carlin was was funnier and smarter than both of them, but he didn’t stay fresh for as long as he stayed in the business. Now, Dennis Miller, also a smart and funny guy, seems to be breaking the rule. I haven’t heard his radio show much, but what I’ve heard has been solid.

  • Baronius

    Rush can be hilarious. I haven’t listened to him in a while, and his show goes through good and bad phases, but his show is very funny when he’s not taking himself too seriously. But I wouldn’t blame any of the lefties around here for not finding him funny, because it’s tough to laugh when someone’s making fun of your own principles.

    There’s one thing I don’t like about Rush, and it’s a problem I have with Stewart as well – they both hide behind their roles as entertainers when anyone calls them on their politics. I say, man up.

    Now, to Handy’s comments. My reation to Stewart isn’t ideologically-driven. I remember him from his stand-up years. He’s funny. He was on Newsradio, and that carries a lot of clout with me. I’m inclined to like his material. But he just grinds away, day in and day out, on his tiresome politics, and as much as I’d like to be amused, I just can’t get there anymore.

    By the way, what gives you the right to tell me why I don’t like Stewart?

    As for the comment about socialism, you’re right, I worded it badly. I was thinking that he said it to “them” (the anchors), but it was just to one of them. And look at what Buffett was saying. At least as Stewart set it up, Buffett was talking about raising taxes as an alternative to cutting spending. That’s directly supporting a larger government over a smaller one. That’s statist at a minimum, probably socialistic. A total socialist? No. Stewart was right on that point, and there’s nothing funnier than being technically accurate in defense of your ideology.

  • Arch Conservative

    Obamabots will will change the subject to just about anything to avoid having to face the reality of the impending doom of their chose messiah.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I didn’t really ever think Rush had an ear for comedy.

  • Cannonshop

    #40 Some conservatives don’t, just like the tidal wave of Democrats who think Rush Limbaugh is serious enough business that he actually draws fire from “Serious” commentators.

    (of course, to be fair, Rush stopped being funny, but that happens to ALL commedians when they get off the drugs…)

  • Jordan Richardson

    He interviews real politicians and political figures.

    David Letterman and Jay Leno do too.

    They discuss real issues.

    So did Roseanne.

    He reports real news.

    So do most comedians who cover current events, although the extent to which they’re “reporting” is up for grabs.

    He offers his real opinions.

    Sometimes. He also has a small army of writers, so it’s hard to know who’s “opinion” is behind a certain joke. The rule is, at least according to Stewart himself, “if it’s funny, it goes in.”

    He’s almost certainly more influential in the national political discussion than anyone at MSNBC, which is supposedly a real news network.

    That would be your problem. Nobody in Canada turns to Rick Mercer or This Hour Has 22 Minutes for news.

    his defense is always “hey, it’s a fake news show, I’m just a comedian, *monkey face*, lol.”

    Who gives a shit if a comedian has a “bias” or a viewpoint? Shouldn’t they? What kind of humour would be found in objective reporting? Why hold a comedy show to these asinine standards?

    Like Doc mentions, conservatives in the United States don’t really seem to get satire…or humour in general (An American Carol, anyone?).

  • Yes, there undoubtedly are people who get their news from Jon Stewart. There are also people who believe that Africa is a country, and who think the (mis)adventures of their favourite daytime soap stars are real.

    Stewart makes no pretense about not being a liberal, and that’s why his show is so effective at pissing (mostly) conservatives off. The sign of good satire is that it’s difficult for those who are being satirized to distinguish between the humour and the reality. That RJ thinks The Daily Show is a news program and not a comedy show indicates to me that it’s doing its job.

    Americans in general tend to have a hard time with satire; American conservatives in particular. It requires the sort of looking at yourself from a vantage point just beyond your own shoulder (and noticing while you’re there that the back of your ear looks like a profile of Ben Franklin) that confuses the American straight-shooter mentality.

    While there are some conservative satirists (P. J. O’Rourke is probably the best known), it’s not an artform that sits well with the combination of my-way-or-the-highway right wing thinking and the American either-black-or-white mindset.

  • I don’t want to further derail the comments here, but I can assure you, from personal anecdotes, that there are a number of people out there who get a large part of their “news and information” from Jon Stewart.

    He interviews real politicians and political figures. They discuss real issues. He reports real news. He offers his real opinions. He has a sizable audience. He just throws in some silly faces and the occasional f-bomb so that it’s technically “comedy.”

    He’s almost certainly more influential in the national political discussion than anyone at MSNBC, which is supposedly a real news network.

    But, when called out on his influence or his bias, his defense is always “hey, it’s a fake news show, I’m just a comedian, *monkey face*, lol.”

    Clown nose on, clown nose off.

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s a political news program with a left-wing bias where the host occasionally makes monkey faces and drug references.

    Suuuuure. And South Park is an informational program with a libertarian bias where the characters occasionally poop and make fun of celebrities.

  • RJ misses the really big clue that The Daily Show is on a channel called “Comedy Central”.

  • “Seinfeld” was a witty show.

  • It is really too bad your own concrete ideology keeps you from enjoying one of the wittiest shows on the air. I think you watch it with your defenses raised, so you perceive things that aren’t there.

    I’ve watched the episode twice, and “Stewart informs the audience that Buffett’s statement is sound, reasonable policy” is a wildly inaccurate description. And his ‘you have no f–ing clue what socialism is, do you?’ is aimed, quite accurately, at the idiotic commentator who called Buffett a socialist — not at the audience. Good grief.

    Having a point of view does not prevent comedy from being comedy. It makes it sharper. As a thinking, feeling adult, you can choose to respond accordingly. Instead you in effect group Stewart with The Enemy, and your reaction is purely ideological.

    Aren’t you just criticizing the left from the right, and the right from the further right? Except when you do it, somehow it isn’t funny.

    PS Buffett’s op-ed piece was indeed sound and reasonable. Just thought I’d point that out. I’d guess about 70% or more of the public agrees, possibly even a majority of Republicans.

  • Baronius

    Yeah, it’s a comedy show, and a Christian rock concert is a music show – but there’s gonna be preaching.

  • zingzing

    you guys just miss out on the joy. sour pusses.

  • 30:

    Not really. It’s a political news program with a left-wing bias where the host occasionally makes monkey faces and drug references.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You guys know it’s a comedy program, yeah?

  • Clavos

    Then my internet connection broke

    That was the best part of the show…

  • Baronius

    I figured I’d watch the latest episode of Jon Stewart.

    After the intro, the first joke was that Republicans want to fix the debt by cutting programs, but Democrats want to fix it mostly by cutting programs. A perfect illustration of my comment #19, that he rips on the right from the left and rips on the left from the farther left.

    Next he plays a clip from Warren Buffett’s call for higher taxes on the rich. Buffett says that he gets tax breaks that his maid doesn’t get. Stewart has a funny line here, that to be fair, Buffett’s maid is also a billionaire.

    Stewart then informs his audience that Buffett’s statement is sound, reasonable policy. Now, I understand that he does that to set up the next bit. But it’s kind of pathetic, first of all because he’s unfunnily advocating a policy stance, but also because he doesn’t trust his audience to be able to figure out the next bit without being spoon-fed.

    Now that Stewart’s told his audience what reasonable people should think, he shows three clips of media (presumably Fox News) calling Buffett’s statement “class warfare”, “class warfare”, and lastly asking if Buffett is “a complete socialist”. Stewart mugs to the camera. The audience monkeys smack their hands together and hoot. Stewart says that they have no idea what the word “socialist” means. Then my internet connection broke.

  • I couldn’t live here w/o A/C.

  • Actually, the link above is only the second half of the Stewart bit.

    The full segment has more impact, especially the juxtaposition of earnest choirboy Marco Rubio complaining that the president’s “class-warfare” “demonizing” of corporate jet owners is worthy of a third-world leader.

    Of course, says Stewart, no one would call the US a third world nation…unless you look at stats for income equality, where we rank…64th, right behind Ivory Coast and a couple of notches above Rwanda.
    World of Class Warfare [full version]

    Plus: keep watching and you get to see a charming Anne Hathaway interview.

  • Baronius

    In Florida?

  • Clavos

    I didn’t have air conditioning in my (or my parents’) homes here in Florida until I was well into my twenties. It’s nice to have, but not really necessary.

  • Well, in context, the mock ‘campaign slogan’ definitely didn’t come across as pro-Obama. It followed a series of clips of the president’s recent bus tour speeches, highlighting the ‘inspirational’ message the president carried: in each case, Obama slammed the GOP. That’s when Stewart inferred the new campaign slogan.

    Anyhow, do watch the clips of clueless Fox anchors reciting factoids to ‘prove’ how ‘well off’ the ‘so-called’ poor are as they get a ‘free ride.’ It is masterful.
    World of Class Warfare

  • Maybe once in a lifetime will a person experience what we are! When has there ever been such a spontaneous and enthusiastic response by the everyday hard-working people of America to one person. She is not an elitist. She is not arrogant, proud, condescending, typical politician which are a dime a dozen. She is one of us! We are in the midst of a historical event. A political revival! The hard-working everyday people are waking up. Were watching our beloved nation crumble at our feet because of self-centered, self seeking, self loving politicians. Turn your plows into swords, (spiritually speaking) grab your helmet and your shield. Let us rise up and go forth. I hear the sound of a mighty army marching as to war. Sarah Palin will not have to do the typical down and dirty political ploys! This is Destiny! We are at a cross road! America must decide! Choose you today the good or the evil? Righteousness or wickedness? Freedom as our forefathers experienced it, or slavery as socialism and communism would have it. Self-governance or government control? What will it be? Let us rise up in the name of freedom and go forth! Sarah Palin is not the answer, she is simply the instrument that God is using to give us a choice. Choose Well, it may be our last choice!

  • 19:

    Thank you.

  • I think that gives a fairly clear indication of just how poorly you comprehend what he does — if indeed you watch him enough to have an informed opinion.

    I’d say he makes fun of absurd people for saying ridiculous things. There just happens to be a bumper crop of eccentrics and loudmouths on the right at the moment. His perspective is definitely from the left — but his primary goal is laughter, which he gets by pointing out and mocking silliness in public figures — including CNN reporters and Pres. Obama as well as Fox and Michele Bachmann. It is a time honored tradition.

  • Baronius

    Yeah, Stewart cuts both ways. He makes fun of conservatives for being conservative, and makes fun of liberals for not being consistently liberal enough.

  • Stephen Colbert is also very funny, but keep in mind that everything he says on his show is said “in character” with a big dose of irony: he plays an absurd but Fox-like conservative commentator.

    The actual quote is “Donating to Obama is like smoking pot. Everything feels new at first, then you realize you haven’t gotten anything done.”

    Mr. Colbert of course now has his own SuperPAC, which he used to promote “Rick Parry” to Ames, Iowa straw poll voters. Great stuff.

  • Yes, Stewart may be a liberal, but his humor cuts both ways.

    Although the best thing he has done recently was to lacerate conservative commentators for being blatantly anti-poor. It was brilliantly funny and devastating. “These people don’t seem so badly off — 25% of them have air conditioning! 99% have refrigerators!” [actual Fox News ‘journalism’ at work]

  • Jon Stewart? Blaming Republicans for Obama’s failures and calling them names?

    No, that’s not Stewart, that’s Stewart’s caricature of an Obama campaign slogan.

    Your nuance detector needs new batteries, RJ.

  • Jordan Richardson
  • Stephen Colbert said it best: “Having Obama for President is like smoking pot. Its all cool and interestin­g in the beginning but at the end of the day you realize you didn’t get anything done.”

  • 7:

    Jon Stewart? Blaming Republicans for Obama’s failures and calling them names?

    You don’t say.

  • Arch Conservative

    The mainstream media and the establishment would rather have anyone other than Ron Paul. Apathy and ignorance are their lifeblood. Ron Paul is the antidote.

  • It comes down to obama or Ron Paul.

  • Arch Conservative

    Anyone who believes historical trends to have any credence in predicting whether or not an incumbent president will be reelected would have to admit that if the unemployment situation doesn’t improve dramatically by next summer Obama is finished.

    As to who the GOP nominee is at this point….well that is anyone’s guess.

    Perry and Romney are just two more run of the mill big government, globalist new world order neocons. Bachmann recently guaranteed that if elected she will ensure gas does not go above two dollars a gallon…right after she turns a pitcher of water into wine at her first White House press conference.

    Palin is still getting way to much attention given the fact that she has not declared and is not likely to run.

    Huntsman’s campaign is a complete joke as are the campaigns of Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Chester Copperpot.

    So who does that leave? You guessed it. The man everyone loves to ridicule for actually having principles and acting on those principles. Ron Paul.

    Paul is polling well in my home state of NH and may very well surprise if not shock some people in our primary. I’m hoping that he will win it. A win for Paul is not entirely unreasonable despite what some would have the American people believe. Paul’s libertarian, non-interventionist message plays well in NH. He may indeed not win the NH GOP primary but I don’t see him doing any worse than third behind Perry and Romney. As far as I’m concerned Bachmann is a nonstarter in NH.

    The NH primary performance of Paul will certainly beg the question as to whether he is electable. I say if he wins or comes in 2nd in NH he will definitely be taken seriously and viewed as electable on a national scale.

    We have just had a terrible Republican administration followed up by an even worse Democrat administration. We’ve witnessed both parties in Congress playing gotcha politics, putting aside the good of the nation in favor of the good of the party. Now is the perfect time for a man like Paul to come along. Now is the time for someone who actually cares about the nation and would at the very least attempt to implement policy that would benefit all Americans.

    If Paul were to win the GOP nomination there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would annihilate Obama in the general election. The question remains..can he win the GOP nomination. Or will we be stuck with George W. Obama part three come 2012.

  • A little more analysis might help. Here is the link you can use to make comparisons from the source.


  • Jon Stewart’s guess at Obama’s revised campaign slogan:

    Instead of “Yes We Can” —

    “I Thought We Could, But the Other Guys are Assholes”

  • Perhaps. But I can’t prejudge her would-be stance on the basis of her performance as Secretary of State.

  • Roger, if anything, Mrs. Clinton is further to the right on foreign policy — more of a hawk — than Obama. You’d be complaining about her too.

  • The latter of course.

  • Roger,

    You mean Obama vs. Palin? Or Mitt vs. Hillary?

  • Pretty please …

    Mr. Wolf’s famous line.

  • I’d love to see that race.