It’s so delightful to watch Republican apologists desperately try each daily controversy that emanates from the Palin/McCain campaign. Powerline dutifully trots out the talking points it has been issued:

The last 24 hours have been consumed by a media feeding frenzy over the fact that the Republican National Committee spent approximately $150,000 on clothes and makeup for Sarah Palin and her family. This is being peddled as though it were some kind of scandal. As a threshold matter, one wonders why: it’s not as though tax dollars were being wasted. Why is it anyone’s business? It isn’t, actually.

Oh, gee. I don’t know. Maybe because it’s unbecoming of Mrs. Main Street who asserted that “I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom” and “I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country” and built a campaign around Joe Sixpack and Joe the Plumber to have a wardrobe valued upwards of 3 times the median household income. It’s not like they gloated over Edward’s $400 haircut. The poor boys at Powerline then proceed to go off script and say something predictably insipid:

Palin is the exception. She and her family are not rich; they do not have clothes in their closets suitable for a run for the Vice-Presidency. So the RNC, entirely appropriately, fronted the purchase of clothes that will see them through until November. So why is this a news story, let alone some kind of “scandal”?

Parse that out.

  • “Palin and her family are not rich.” She earned $166,495 last year. That is 3.31 times more than the median nationwide household income. Cost-of-living adjusted to Washington, D.C. it rises to $181,475. If one were to extrapolate the fact that the average American household spends 3.0% of income before tax on apparel and apply that to her CoL-adjusted salary, that implies she should spend $5444 annually on clothes for a family of 7. Let’s say for the sake of argument that keeping up with the Joneses on the Washington social circuit requires triple that – $16332 annually. It would take upwards of a decade spending at this non-trivial rate to match Mrs. Palin’s new-found wardrobe.
  • “they do not have clothes in their closets suitable for a run for the Vice-Presidency” What clothes are suitable for a run for the Vice Presidency? The Vice President’s 2008 salary was $221,100, $39,625 (21%) more than her CoL-adjusted household income last year. Let’s just say you need all that difference just to keep up with the Washington fashions – six times the national average on household apparel expenditures – her new wardrobe is still almost 4 times more than this extreme “fashion discrepancy budget”.
  • “Why are they not concerned with how much money Joe Biden spent on his hair-plugs? …The answer is obvious: all of those other candidates are rich.” Joe Biden and his wife earned $248,754 in 2007, $82,259 more than the Palins. Even if Joe the Senator spendthriftly devoted this pay disparity to be spent only on clothes/grooming/appearances each year, it would take him 1 years, 9 months, and 26 days to spend as much as Mrs. Palin just demanded in the past month.
  • “So the RNC, entirely appropriately, fronted the purchase of clothes that will see them through until November.” Actually, this “uniform” doesn’t even pass the smell test in which the uniform “must be required at work” and “must not be usable for ordinary wear.”
  • “So why is this a news story, let alone some kind of “scandal”?” Draping a populist candidate in $150,000 worth of designer fashion seems to be newsworthy. Doing so in the midst of the most intense financial crisis in 79 years is scandalous.

Reax hacks


Powerline buffoons can’t even bring their heads far enough out of the sand to acknowledge or spin a single mainstream poll (CBS, CNN, etc.) showing that Obama absolutely trounced McCain by something like 60 to 30. What we get instead are Drudge Report and AOL:

Returns are coming in on the online polls. At the Drudge Report, readers think that McCain “won” by a three to one margin….That isn’t too surprising. More surprising is that at left-leaning AOL, readers say McCain won by a 48%-47% margin. That’s rather encouraging.

That’s the way to do it – maybe throw a College Humor, SlashDot, and FARK poll in there too since those clearly have no significance whatsoever as well. What’s rather encouraging is that their inability to acknowledge a knock-out will provide all the more fodder come November 5th when we get to hear them spin a 360+ electoral vote/8% popular vote landslide into something or other about ACORN and the economy being the only reason that Obama won. Just wait for it.

RedState, stooping to new levels of idiocy and apparently failing to get the “guilt-by-association attacks don’t work” memo, has this gem:

It’s a good thing Tim Mahoney is a member of a party that respects women and has an enlightened view on gender issues. You might conclude that Mahoney had treated his former girlfriend shabbily, but she’s being treated no worse than most other women that Democrats find inconvenient – from Sarah Palin, to Hillary Clinton, to Monica Lewinsky, to Chandra Levy, to Paula Jones. How long before the lamestream media begins to notice that Democrats are perfectly happy to destroy the reputations of women who stand in their way?

That’s right MSM, you never covered those three women involved with Bill Clinton 10-15 years ago!

Really? Is this how intellectually and morally bankrupt the GOP has become that they’re now attempting to link an adultering congressman to an adultering President into a faux/psuedo-feminist argument to never vote for Democrats? It’s too rich really that this is the best they’ve got after Wright, Ayers, and ACORN. Send these clowns to the silly house.

Nobel Prize? According to those geniuses at Powerline, it’s not that big of a deal:

In the case of the Nobel Prize, the money must be welcome. But as honors go, a Nobel Prize in anything relating to public policy is not much more meaningful than praise from the Daily Kos.

There you have it in a nutshell, boys and girls: in case the moral, intellectual, and historical evidence against these right-wing twerps wasn’t already legion, we now have it in writing from them that the Nobel Prize is no big deal. How many more moorings to reality need they sever from reality before we completely discount these idiocy-peddlers’ ability to engage in coherent arguments? Surely Ayers, Wright, ACORN, Soros, Rezko must also be members of the Swedish Royal Academy? God only knows what pitched jungle fever would have gripped the wingnutosphere had someone like Sowell won it.

It even more funny how Powerline still doesn’t have the intellectual honesty to address this now doubly infamous post:

It must be depressing to be Paul Krugman. No matter how well the economy performs, Krugman’s bitter vendetta against the Bush administration requires him to hunt for the black lining in a sky full of silvery clouds. With the economy now booming, what can Krugman possibly have to complain about? In today’s column, titled That Hissing Sound, Krugman says there is a housing bubble, and it’s about to burst… Well, if we believed anything Krugman writes, we’d be worried all the time… Krugman will have to come up with something much better, I think, to cause many others to share his pessimism.

With Krugman now vindicated in the very schaudenfreude-est manner, what can Hinderaker, Johnson, and Mirengoff possibly have left to convincingly spin? Ineed, if we ever believed anything these clowns wrote, by now they would be trumpeting “four legs good, two legs better.” These three GOP mouseketeers will have to come up with an ideology and worldview actually grounded in reality to escape being consigned to the trash heap of punditocric history. Rather, we can only hope that the ideological malignancy that is the modern GOP becomes irrelevant as quickly as the blowhards who parroted and embodied it are about to be.

History will record 2008 as the year that the unflinchingly hypocritical conservative/Republican paradigm of Shock Doctrine, Christianism, pro-torture, pro-wiretapping, pro-preemptive war, and rabid xenophobia dominating American political discourse since 1980, finally died. One need look no further than the principal cheerleaders and enablers of this catastrophe to see this collapse even before what looks to be an unprecedented landslide victory by Obama.

Michelle Malkin, the former Bill O’Reilly stand-in whose seething xenophobia got her kicked off Fox News of all places, has her head so far in the dirt that she’s been reduced to blubbering about some conspiracy linking George Soros to a canceled SNL skit. I shit you not – 4 separate posts in the past 3 days.

Powerline, which continues to trade on its reputation for discovering Dan Rather’s shitty hoax from 2004 to deliver verbatim talking points from the RNC and White House on a daily basis, even after Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG had collapsed on September 15 and 16, could only bring themselves to acknowledge that something had happened on Wall Street 3 times over the next week. No, they were too busy dutifully trotting out talking points about ACORN, railing against the suddenly sexist media bias against Palin, mischaracterizing Obama’s record, deifying McCain and Palin, moving from ACORN on to Ayers, and somehow finding the silver lining of Obama’s increasing lead over McCain.Ever the optimists, let’s review some choice quotes to ensure that they never fall into the memory hole:

Similarly, the Worst Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression is roughly a biennial event, occurring most often during election years. …The financial “crisis” is relatively manageable so far. While it has been disastrous for a few entities like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and possibly AIG, the broader market has been impacted only slightly… For most people, the biggest financial impact will be the cost of federal bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac and possibly other entities.

They’ve apparently metamorphized into a historical baseball blog revisiting old World Series matches. Yah, the past couple of weeks with an unprecedented financial collapse, huge government interventions into the market, the eve of a Presidential election, and two on-going wars aren’t occasion to discuss or opine on any current events. Oh, right and posting shitty Excel charts showing GDP growth since 1790 as though demonstrating our transformation from an agrarian economy 150 years ago somehow has some bearing on how governments and regulatory bodies around the world should address a unprecedented liquidity crisis arising from complex derivative instruments.

One has to go to RedState (the conservative counterpart to DailyKos) to find anything resembling the sobering realization that an entire political-economic school of thought has completely collapsed in the past month. In “Fixing the Credit Markets“, Blackhedd suggests that “It’s time to consider the option of a globally-coordinated move to nationalize essentially every major bank in the world.” Let that sink in. A blogger on one of the most prominent conservative websites arguing for the nationalization of every financial institution in the world. If something like this appeared on Kos, Think Progress, TPM, or Huffington a year ago, they would have gotten laughed off the stage, to say nothing of the ridicule and scorn that would have emanated from the right wing.

But, RedState, that bastion of mindless recitals of talking points and character attacks promulgated by the basest parts of the Republican party, featured a second article entitled “The conservative case for ‘Socialism’” scrambling to deconstruct and spin:

I do not believe that government intervention into the financial markets, particularly in cases of severe distress, is inherently socialist in any meaningful way. I assert that the financial recovery bill, and other interventions being made by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve are precisely that. We are not taking a planning role in the economy, outside of the bounds of the Constitution; we are taking control of our money supply, which is one of the duties of the government. We are not confiscating property; we are buying property at prices that are too high if anything. So please, to those who argue against the ‘bailouts’ going on right now, argue the policies on their merits. Talk about moral hazard, affordability, or the need for ‘creative destruction.’ But please, don’t talk about freedom, socialism or any of that, because none of it is at stake here. What we’re doing here is supply side economics. Just look closer and you will see.

I doubt The Onion or Stephen Colbert could have written the same. October 2008 is the month the music died for the GOP. The coming era of internecine warfare between the various constituencies of the GOP promises to be nothing if not entertaining. Just let them stay out of the way while the grown ups come in and clean up their mess.

While I empathize with the personal hardships many of them have to endure that motivate them to this advocacy, I cannot fathom how they would misplace that energy into a movement so selfishly motivated, intellectually dishonest, and socially destructive that all but guarantees that others will also feel the sting of tragedy. The continuing disregard for scientific and medical consensus that is exhibited by this movement places them in the same league as creationists, global warming deniers, flat earthers, and their ilk. The farfetched narratives invented to implicate pharmaceutical companies for demonstrably unrelated diseases likewise ranks them among 9/11 conspiracy theorists and Scientologists.

Moreover, I am absolutely floored by comments I have read that imply that efforts to develop an AIDS vaccine should be unless it is demonstrated to be completely free of risk and side effects — as though 1/100,000 of a chance might outweigh the deaths of 2.1 million people annually (including 300,000 children).

Do not think history will judge them kindly when the disinformation they promulgate causes ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE death, disfigurement, and pain to thousands of people, including those who had been adequately vaccinated. Have they all so little understanding of basic biology, history, and civics to say nothing of the reams of immunological and game theory research evidence to the contrary, that they continue to espouse this disinformation and sow mistrust? It appears that they would rather damage the epidemiological infastructure of the past 50 years that enabled billions of people worldwide to grow, live, and love while working their societies out of oppressive disease and poverty in the past century. Yes, we would banish this system and replace it with a (literally) catastrophically misguided system of “choice” predicated on unsubstantiated information and an arm-chair philosopher’s ideas of freedom and agency.

I just want to keep this nugget handy:

The “surge” of troops to Iraq has produced the signal foreign policy success of George Bush’s second term.

Some other nuggets:

There are a number of possible reasons why our government’s actions after September 11 may have made us safer. Overthrowing the Taliban and depriving al Qaeda of its training grounds in Afghanistan certainly impaired the effectiveness of that organization. Waterboarding three top al Qaeda leaders for a minute or so apiece may have given us the vital information we needed to head off plots in progress and to kill or apprehend three-quarters of al Qaeda’s leadership. The National Security Agency’s eavesdropping on international terrorist communications may have allowed us to identify and penetrate cells here in the U.S., as well as to identify and kill terrorists overseas. We may have penetrated al Qaeda’s communications network, perhaps through the mysterious Naeem Noor Khan, whose laptop may have been the 21st century equivalent of the Enigma machine. Al Qaeda’s announcement that Iraq is the central front in its war against the West, and its call for jihadis to find their way to Iraq to fight American troops, may have distracted the terrorists from attacks on the United States. The fact that al Qaeda loyalists gathered in Iraq, where they have been decimated by American and Iraqi troops, may have crippled their ability to launch attacks elsewhere. The conduct of al Qaeda in Iraq, which revealed that it is an organization of sociopaths, not freedom fighters, may have destroyed its credibility in the Islamic world. The Bush administration’s skillful diplomacy may have convinced other nations to take stronger actions against their own domestic terrorists. (This certainly happened in Saudi Arabia, for whatever reason.) Our intelligence agencies may have gotten their act together after decades of failure. The Department of Homeland Security, despite its moments of obvious lameness, may not be as useless as many of us had thought.

No doubt there are officials inside the Bush administration who could better allocate credit among these, and probably other, explanations of our success in preventing terrorist attacks. But based on the clear historical record, it is obvious that the Bush administration has done something since 2001 that has dramatically improved our security against such attacks. To fail to recognize this, and to rail against the Bush administration’s security policies as failures or worse, is to sow the seeds of greatly increased susceptibility to terrorist attack in the next administration.