Saturday, July 31, 2004

"We have turned a corner, and we are not turning back!"

Georgie's new slogan. Sounds like a music cue to me:

Prosperity is Just Around Which Corner?

from 1932

[This song involves two people, the first is a loud-mouthed politician, the the other is supposed to be a man on the street.]

Everywhere you go, everyone you meet, All they talk about is this depression. They blame it on the war, they blame it on Wall Street, On politics and this administration. For two years now we've been assured good times are on the way, I wonder how much longer we must hear them talk this way?

Prosperity is just around the corner! What we'd like to know is which corner? We've turned so many corners now we're dizzy. But still I'm positive we'll soon be busy!

Why I read in Monday's paper that 10,000 men were hired! Yes, but Tuesday they forgot to say 12,000 more were fired. Well, I insist that this land of ours is stable! Stable? sounds like horses to me!

Prosperity is just around the corner! Did you say corner or coroner? Our credit is still strong, no one can doubt it! I guess my landlord don't know about it.

I see the market is going up, now you can't call that a joke! I recollect one time before it went clear up in smoke. This slump is just mostly imagination! Yeah, well you just try to pay your grocery bill with that!

Now everyone is sure that they could find the cure, If they could be the one to run this nation. They'd put a bill right through, and show us what to do, To get the money back in circulation. They say if we would spend our dough bad business soon will end But they forgot to tell us where to get the dough to spend.

Propserity is just around the corner. Around the same corner with prohibition, I reckon. Why, can't you understand why I'm so cheery? Yes, just like I understand the Einstein theory. But look at all the bumper crops the farmers have to sell, And every time they get a crop the price goes plumb to ****. [They couldn't record "hell" in 1932 for morality reasons] Well, every cloud still has a silver lining. But that don't line the pockets of your pants.

Still, prosperity is just around the corner. And we still would like to know which corner. Our nation will go down in history's pages. We're going down all right, especially wages. Why our banks are full of money, now you have to say I'm right. Then we can get all we want if we just use dynamite. You should fill your mind with optimism.

(Original here. I copied it because this link doesn't seem to be working.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Continuing with the RedState fluff piece, the "folksiness" secion (as opposed to the "character" section, which is actually most of the post) goes off into fearmongering:

Out here we have rattlers, big ones, that if you approach will sink their venomous teeth into your leg without hesitation.
Rattlesnakes are generally pretty harmless. Leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. Normally, on the desert, you'll never see one. They can sense you long before you see them -- and they want nothing to do with you. (You're too big to eat.) The urban equivalent is broken bottles-- nasty if you tangle with them, but easy to avoid.

The traditional Republican approach to issues is based on fear. Fear of terrorists, fear of crime, fear of drugs, fear of foreigners. Most of the Republicans' bogeymen are like rattlesnakes -- dangerous, but much less dangerous than presented. You'd never know from watching TV, for example, that violent crime has been going down lately. Read James Lileks for an example of somebody who is pants- pissing terrified by the Republican bogeymen.

Now, one of the oddities of "the fear card" is that politicians never seem to get called on it. "We elected you. We don't feel safer. Goodbye" just doesn't seem to happen. Reminds me of old- time medicine -- if you're sick, attach leeches. If you don't get better, you need more leeches.

When Democrats try to play the fear card, they generally sound whiny instead of scary. I don't know if this is an advantage or a disadvantage.

Top Down

(To the tune of Streets of Laredo:)
I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy,
You see by my outfit I am a cowboy too.
We see by our outfits that we are both cowboys.
Get yourself a cowboy suit and be a cowboy too!

— The Smothers Brothers

TBogg dredges up this rather remarkable bit of fluff at

The thrust of this piece is character. Georgie Bush has it; nobody else does. It's impossible to define, but he has it.

The introductory rhetoric is simply silly:

I like George W. Bush. He's a good guy. In a world where most folks wear grey hats or black hats -- he's wearing a white one.

Thereupon follows some corny pseudo- western folksiness:

Out here in the rugged desert, where I live, one develops an ability to judge a man or a woman and their character rather quickly. I can spot a less than sterling character in a few moments. I can tell a genuinely kind woman from a fake smile and countenance at thirty yards.

"Out here in the rugged desert"? "Fake smile and countenance"? Look. I grew up in a teeny- tiny town in western Kansas and lived in Arizona for many years. Nobody talks like that. (Except, possibly, Hollywood screenwriters brought up on Gene Autry movies.) Also, show me somebody who claims to be able to size up somebody at a glance like that and I'll show you somebody who has nothing left to steal. Con men of all persuasions just love that mindset.

This shows one of the main problems with the Republicans' top- down political organization. Their successes are due to their relentless hammering at a common set of points; you do not want to be a dissenter in the Republican party. However, this is not the image they'd like to project -- they'd like to show themselves as being receptive to people's concerns. ("Screw the electorate" attitudes don't win elections.) So you have the problem of trying to appear "folksy" through messages written by political writers who, seemingly, never step outside of their gated communities in Connecticut. As a Republican advocacy site, RedState runs head- on into this. They're trying to be both "grass roots" and "Party talking points" at the same time. I bet if they got off- message, they'd get their noses whapped in short order.

So the message is "character". Of course, after three and a half years in the White House, we might expect some accomplishments to go with all that character. It's impossible to hide the fact that Georgie Bush has been an utter disaster in every area. Hence the "character" business.

Your assignment for today is to find a picture of Georgie Bush on a horse. Extra credit if it's white.

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