Close to a month ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ posted a long but excellent article about the so-called neutral story lines that the mainstream media regularly uses to bash Republicans while still giving the appearance of being neutral. Here’s a snippet of Ace’s full article, for people who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing:

Mickey Kaus often notes the media likes Neutral Story Lines, as they’re easy to write, but are supposedly nonpartisan, as they usually criticize some procedural defect in both parties.

What makes the “Neutral Story Line” not neutral at all is that the media seems most interested, each cycle, in the “Neutral Story Line” that hurts the Republicans more….

And this is how media bias works 75% of the time. Most of the time, the media is selecting between several possible “rules,” many of which are arguably correct, but which are contradicted by nearly opposite rules, which are also arguably correct. The media never decides which rule is correct in the most cases; instead, they choose whichever “rule” benefits the Democrats this cycle.

Are we too interested in personal scandals which don’t really have much to do with a party’s governing philosophy? The answer is “No” if you mean Mark Foley or Mark Sanford; the answer is “Yes” if you mean Eric Massa or John Edwards.

Is it out of line for a former vice president to toughly criticize a new president of a different party? Well, if you’re Al Gore criticizing Bush, you’re just being patriotic and expressing the frustrations of millions of Americans. If you’re Dick Cheney criticizing Obama, you’re deliberately weakening a new president and endangering national security.

Have you noticed that when Republicans are in power, there are lots of news stories about the homeless? But these stories dry up when a Democrat is president. It’s certainly not because homelessness ceases to be a problem; if anything, based on the increasing number of panhandlers I’ve seen recently, it seems to be getting worse. It’s just not deemed newsworthy when a liberal is in charge. Such stories might make the liberal look bad, and we just can’t have that.

Back in 2006, I got a mass mailing from my then-Congressman. In part of his letter, he was bemoaning the increasing price of gas as it was nearing $3 a gallon. Today, I bought some gas for my lawnmower, and I paid $3.059 a gallon. (Interestingly enough, gas prices are one of the few remaining usages of the mill, valued at 1/10th of a cent.) Do you remember the nightly news stories in 2006 about the rising price of gas? Do you remember newspaper articles about hypermiling and avoiding auto use, the vilification of the oil industry, and calls for a “windfall tax” to take away their evil profits? I sure do. But here we are under a Democrat leader, and the news stories about astronomically high gas prices have vanished.

My wife has suggested that Republicans should always be in power, for one simple reason: they keep the media doing its job. When Republicans hold the reins of government, the media carefully scrutinizes everything they do. But when Democrats are in power, the media seems to relax, then becomes lazy and fails to fulfill its Fourth Estate responsibilities. It’s almost as though the reporters’ drive has vanished away, just like those “neutral” news stories.

And now for some inadvertent comedy hidden in a survey of Republicans:

Americans who suggest Barack Obama should rot in hell are apparently deadly serious.

Nearly a quarter of Republicans believe the Democrat president ‘may be the Antichrist’, according to a survey.

Who actually asks these sort of questions? I do like the weasel word “may” in the quote, as in “Obama may be an American,” or “Obama may be the offspring of a Martian sheep pimp.” There’s lots of wiggle room in “may.” Anyway, any prominent person “may” be the antichrist, but we’d have to look at his actions and words to know. And as it says in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, the antichrist “sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Can you think of a prominent politician whom people see as God?

An even greater number compared him to Hitler.

The corollary to Godwin’s law should have stopped this poll right there.

More than half of the Republicans quizzed by Harris Poll, 57 per cent, believed the president was secretly Muslim, something he has consistently denied.

His favoritism to Muslim nations and his antagonism to Israel surely doesn’t indicate anything. Nor does the time Obama mentioned “my Muslim faith.” George Stephanopoulos was quick to correct him. It was a simple mistake, and one I make all the time as mistakenly call myself a Hindu instead of Christian.

And 67 per cent of Republicans who responded believed Obama was a socialist, despite his central leanings.

With the passing of socialized medicine, I believe the answer should be closer to 100% now.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave herself an “A” for effort, grading her performance in office. In a “This Week” interview, Speaker Pelosi told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, “I think I get an A for effort. And in the House of Representatives, my mark is the mark of our members. We have passed every piece of legislation that is part of the Obama agenda.”

Asked why nearly 300 bills passed by the House are stalled in the Senate, Pelosi blamed the “delaying tactics of the Republicans in the Senate.” [source]

I can’t answer for you, but I’m guessing the last time I was recognized for my effort and not for my results was probably back in grade school. In the real world that I live in, results matter. I don’t care that the postman has to work through all sorts of weather; I just want my mail. A hungry man doesn’t care that the baker started his day before dawn; he just wants his bread. Olympic judges don’t care how hard the weightlifter works at it; they just want to see the successful clean and jerk.

Isn’t “I tried real hard” almost always followed up with “but I didn’t make it”? Isn’t it just an excuse to explain why the job isn’t done?

But Speaker Pelosi has an answer for that: it’s the evil Republicans who are blocking everything. But that’s just another excuse. Until Senator Scott Brown was sworn in the beginning of February this year, the Democrats had held a 60-seat majority in the Senate. That was sufficient to stop any filibuster attempt by the Republicans. If the Democrats failed to pass anything in the Senate, they failed because they were not united behind the bill. You can’t blame the Republicans when the Democrats could have done it without them.

Well, obviously you can blame the Republicans. Speaker Pelosi gets an A for her efforts to do so.

Phil over at The Clue Batting Cage *plug plug* linked to an online news quiz. It’s short with just a dozen questions by the Pew Research Center, so it shouldn’t take you long.

 

I got a score of 12 out of 12. Does that make me super smart? Heck, no. But I will say that I don’t get my news from either the TV or print. I get my news from the radio and online. Make of that what you will.

12 out of 12

They published a breakdown of the twelve questions that’s worth reading. I found the breakdown of correct answers between Republicans and Democrats to be interesting. (I have blanked out the answers. No peeking.)

Republican/Democrat differences

10 out of 12 questions were answered better by Republicans, and one question was a tie. In only one question did Democrats answer better than Republicans. So if we take this small sampling and project it to the leadership in Washington, which party has a better grasp on reality?

The Democrats are using the phrase often attributed to Queen Victoria, “We are not amused.” What is the cause? A $3 bill that was up for sale at the Evergreen State Fair’s Republican Party booth. Here is part of the report from the local KOMO news:

A $3 bill has both Democrats and Republicans talking.

The controversial bill features Barack Obama wearing a headdress, propelling a widespread myth that he’s Muslim. Some call it a joke, but not everyone’s laughing.

Carol Ronken is, in fact fuming over the bill which she found at the Evergreen State Fair’s Republican Party booth.

“It’s racist. It’s disgusting,” she said.

On the bill the words “da man” are printed under his face, perpetuating the myth. Obama is, in fact, a Christian.

Uh, using “da man” perpetuates the myth that Obama is Muslim? I don’t know who wrote this story on the KOMO staff, but that’s just silly. I also find it silly that Carol Ronken got her undies in a bunch over the bill. How exactly is it racist? It has a picture of Obama on it, but that doesn’t make it racist, or all photos of the Obamessiah would also be racist. Is it the headdress, making a satirical link between the Muslim-born, Muslim-raised, Muslim-taught, but now Christian Obama and Islam that is racist? If that’s it, please explain how Islam has become a race.

But who is this concerned citizen, Carol Ronken? Could she be an impartial observer concerned about the tone in this Presidential race? The article doesn’t identify her party affiliation, but when the article quotes Geri Modrell later on, it clearly identifies her as the Republican county chair. So who is Carol Ronken? The article doesn’t say, but a quick search shows that she is the chair of the Stanwood Democrats. So of course she is upset about someone mocking The One.

Waaah freakin’ waaah.

Come on, folks! Making fun of our political leaders is a long-held tradition. There are plenty of bumper stickers mocking President Bush and other Republicans, and I remember seeing $3 bills for President Clinton and Senator Clinton. Here in the States, we don’t have touch-me-not royals who must never be mocked by the plebes. Instead we have the freedom of speech that allows us, among other things, to make fun of our political leaders–from the noblest to the most infamous.

I see your disgust, Carol Ronken, and I trump it with the First Amendment. Go peddle your imitation of Queen Victoria elsewhere.

I noticed a headline on the Drudge Report today that said the presidential debate audience is fading away. I’m not surprised. I have not watched a single debate so far, and I don’t think this will change as we get closer to the November 2008 elections. My apathy doesn’t come from a general disinterest in politics, but from the lack of debate in the debates. The questions are mostly insipid, and the 30-90 seconds allotted each person for a response gives us meaningless sound bites and mumbles.

When Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated during 1858, they met seven times and spoke for three hours each. The first speaker spoke for 60 minutes, the other spoke for 90 minutes, and the first then finished up with a final 30-minute address, with Douglas and Lincoln alternating for the first speaker slot. While they were speaking, reporters transcribed the addresses in full and published them in newspapers for people to read. These debates weren’t even for the presidency — they were for a Senate seat. When I look at the debates between Douglas and Lincoln, I have to laugh at what passes for a “debate” nowadays.

I can’t help but believe that our society just doesn’t have the patience for long debates anymore, based on the crappy formats we have now. How can politicians fully discuss a complex issue or stance when there are only seconds to debate it? The simple answer is that they can’t. We end up with short sound bites, sniping remarks, and politicians ignoring the question they were asked in favor of answering another question of their own choosing.

I also can’t get all that excited about a presidential election that is still more than a year away, especially when none of the current presidential hopefuls excite me much. Is it any wonder that people don’t care much about meaningless debates between third- and fourth-string candidates so early in an election cycle?

If you ever get in a debate argument with a liberal about WMDs at the level of “Bush Lied, people died,” there is a simple question to ask them:

If the U.S. military were to find deadly WMDs in Iraq with a note attached saying “To America with love” and signed by Saddam Hussein, would you support the war in Iraq to remove him?

If you get an answer of NO like I have, stop the conversation right there. There is absolutely no reason to discuss Iraqi WMDs when the presence of WMDs doesn’t matter to the liberal.

If the answer is YES, then you have two options: point out the WMDs that have been found in Iraq, or point out how the entire world, including the Democratic party leaders, were worried about WMDs in the hands of Saddam Hussein. Here is a video put together by the GOP about Democrats and using their own words against them. I bring this up because people are quick to forget what others say unless they are reminded.

Thanks to Instapundit for linking to the video in the first place.

We have an early crop of Presidential hopefuls springing up, but none all that exciting. Since Vice President Cheney has already said he won’t run, there will be no clear leaders for either the Democrat or Republican presidential candidates this year as we normally would with an incumbent President or Vice President running for the office.

What makes a good President? Well, the Constitution explains that the President is the chief executive of the country, so the President had better have good executive skills. There is no way any one person could juggle all the responsibilities of a modern American President, so a successful President ought to be able to delegate responsibilities to competent staff. But regardless of how few or many people there are to help with duties, the President is the chief executive who has to make the really tough decisions.

So what is the best way to prepare to be an American President? For the rest of this article I’ll look at the last 19 Presidents — the ones who have served from 1900 to the present — and take my calculations from their numbers. Of these 19 men, six were Vice Presidents first (G. Bush, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Truman, Coolidge). So is being a Vice President the best way to train for the job of President? I guess that would depend on the President. Some Presidents have included their V.P.s in the day-to-day workings of the Presidency, and others seem to have tolerated the office of V.P. as a necessary evil. John Nance Garner, twice Vice President under FDR, is reported to have said that the job of Vice President was “not worth a bucket of warm piss,” although the newspapers substituted the word “spit” to protect the tender eyes of their readers.

Of the six former Vice Presidents, four gained the office of President via death or resignation (Ford, Johnson, Truman, Coolidge), while two were elected President after having completed two terms as Vice President first (G. Bush, Nixon). Going solely by these numbers, you’re twice as likely to become President because of death or resignation than you are by showing how much you have learned in the Vice President slot.

What about being a Senator before running for President? Judging by the number of Senators who have announced their candidacy or who are expected to do so, you’d think the Senate would be the best place from which to launch a Presidential run, but recent history doesn’t back that theory. Only five of the last 19 Presidents had served in the Senate first (Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman, Harding), but of these five, only two left their Senatorial positions to become President (Kennedy, Harding). The other three served as Vice Presidents first. Ignoring the long odds, a Senator is a legislator and not an executive, so serving as a Senator doesn’t necessarily train one to be a good Chief Executive. This fact alone could explain the relatively few modern Presidents who were formerly Senators, and it also explains why I’ve not been excited about any Senator who runs for President.

Since the office of President is an executive position, it makes sense that people elect proven executives to that office. This could explain why so many state governors have been elected President (G. W. Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, F.D.R., Coolidge, Wilson, T. Roosevelt, McKinley). That makes nine the last time I counted them — nearly 50% of our Presidents since 1900. And whether the state is large or small, the office of Governor is an executive position. With all else being equal, I would prefer a candidate with proven executive experience over a legislator any day (but when do we ever have two candidates that are close to equal in belief and position?).

And now to prove how badly I cannot predict elections from 18 months out, I will now give my predictions for 2008. This prediction assumes (and it’s a big assumption) that there are no major upsets such as a shooting war breaking out with Iran or anyone else, another major terrorist attack on the U.S., or new revelations about the candidates popping up between now and Election Day 2008. Looking at the current crop of Democrat candidates for President, I have to give the nomination to Senator Clinton. Of the current crop of hopefuls, she has the greatest capability to raise money for her campaign, and she has the best name recognition. On the other hand, I think her biggest obstacle to being elected is her name recognition.

Of the current Republican candidates, I think it will be either Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both candidates have more executive experience than the Republican Senators who aspire to be President.

I can’t predict who would win if it came down to a race between Senator Clinton and Mitt Romney. She would have to overcome the large group of people who actively dislike, if not outright despise her. He would have to overcome the “I can’t vote for a Mormon!” hang-up some people have, although the argument sounds so 1960s to me. But I have to believe there are fewer people with a Mormon hang-up than there are with a Hillary hang-up.

I know I’d be much happier with another Republican in office, so maybe that’s coloring my prediction.

Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) said the following about the prospect of confirming John Bolton as U.N. ambassador permanently:

The American people have spoken out against the president’s agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy. And at this late stage in my term, I’m not going to endorse something the American people have spoke out against.

Sen. Chafee just lost his Senate seat to a Democrat challenger, so I could see his reluctance to confirm Bolton as sour grapes at losing. But while that is a possible motivation, I am more convinced that Sen. Chafee is just being Sen. Chafee. He failed to support Bolton earlier, “citing concerns at one point about Bolton’s tie to a government investigation into faulty prewar intelligence on Iraq.” The Fox News report continues to say that Sen. Chafee promised to block Bolton’s nomination “until the administration answered questions about its policy in the Middle East, which in effect delayed any vote until after the elections.” With Republicans like him, who needs Democrats?

While I don’t relish the thought (or reality) of a Democrat-controlled Senate, the knowledge that a RINO (Republican In Name Only) like Sen. Chafee has lost his Senate seat makes me feel better. Voters in Rhode Island have a better chance of electing a real Republican the next time around. Hopefully they will do so in 2012.

But did you notice how quick Sen. Chafee was to to bow to the Democrats’ “mandate” and use that as the excuse not to confirm Bolton? I find it interesting that he was so very quick to accept their mandate, but the press and the Democrats claim President Bush and the Republicans didn’t have a mandate despite being elected the previous three times in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Sen. Chafee has talked about leaving the Republicans before, and he’s not ruled it out even now. He should go ahead and make the official change to the Democrats, just to reflect what his real party affiliation has been for years.

Personally, I’m having a hard time deciding whether Sen. Chafee is more of a giant douche or a turd sandwich.

Bill Whittle of EjectEjectEject posted a very mature response to the Democrat victories this election year. Here are a few paragraphs of his post to whet your appetite before you go read the whole thing.

Remember one thing before you go. The most important election we are ever likely to see in our lives was not this evening’s election. Bush’s re-election in 2004 was the one we HAD to have, and we got it. Be grateful for that, acknowledge that this loss is no one’s fault but our own, congratulate the Democrats on their impressive wins and start figuring out how we can make sure this never EVER happens again. =)

I wish to tell my friends to be cheerful and especially to be of good will. Disappointments come and go, but moments of courage and integrity in dark hours will be there when the stars grow cold. We have lost the election, so let us maintain our determination, our dignity and our sense of humor, and let us take this moment to reflect upon how our actions have fallen short of our ideals. And then, finally, let’s act like the Americans we are, roll up our sleeves and start rebuilding. We who have survived Civil War, the Nazis and the Communists can probably manage to find a way to preserve the Republic in the face of Speaker Pelosi.

America is not only much, much stronger than you imagine; it is stronger than you CAN imagine.

If you are still feeling depressed, check out some of his longer essays. I would recommend Power as a great place to start off, but all his essays are well worth reading. Just don’t get scared at their length. These are not McNuggets of information, but a multi-course meal. As he suggests, get a cup of your favorite beverage and take some time to appreciate them. Before you look at the scroll bar and despair, realize that much of the page’s length comes from extended reader comments.

And others are optimistic. Brian Maloney has declared a no-sulking zone on his site, and he lists reasons why he is not crying in his beer over the election. Bryan Preston is looking at some silver linings from this election. Judging by the responses, some people share his optimism, while others are crying over the loss.

I’m optimistic, but that’s my normal nature. When I talked about the election with my wife, she mentioned that if we lived through eight years of President Clinton, we can certainly make it through these next two years. One thing is for certain — conservative talk show hosts will have plenty of grist for the mill, at least until the Dems resurrect the Fairness Doctrine.