You Don’t Blink

Washington. An alley. Night.

Op #1: So what do we do about it?

Op #2: About what?

Op #1: The Problem.

Op #2: What problem? It’s not my problem.

Op #1: It will be your problem if we don’t do something about it.

Op #2: Did I tell you there would be a problem?

Op #1: You did.

Op #2: And?

Op #1: It wasn’t a problem.

Op #2: But now it’s a problem.

Op #1: It’s our problem.

Op #2: When did it become our problem?

Op #1: When it became a problem.

Op #2: So what do we do about it?

Op #1: I’m asking you.

Op #2: If I tell you, will you listen?

Op #1: I’ll listen. But I may not hear you.

Op #2: Fair enough.

Op #1: So what’s the solution?

Op #2: Ignore the problem.

GOP concerns about Palin grow [Politico]

Some on the right are joining a chorus of criticism over Sarah Palin [LAT]


If I wanted to hear people repeat themselves and sound like morons, I would listen to the people around me in my real world life. Why would I go to a movie and listen to Mamet’s bad imitation of how people talk in real life? (they’re not as dumb as he portrays). The only Mamet I can stand to see is the Mamet-inspired Gil the salesman character on the Simpsons. Mamet sucks shit, and House of Games sucked beyond sucking.

They can’t dump her. The Jeebus lovers will stage a revolt.

They’re setting expectations so low so that if she walks out on stage on Thursday and can say her name out loud, she will be declared the debate winner.

@Promnight: My visceral reaction to Mamet is the same as my visceral reaction to Bush. I don’t want to hear even two seconds worth of anything written by Mamet or spoken by Bush. And I’m starting to feel even more strongly about McCain. I think now that he has always been a fraud and poseur. Maverick, HAH! Ne’er-do-well and loose cannon.

Two things pundits and spinners will say Thursday night:

“She’s the GOP’s choice and they’ll have to stick with her.”

“Of course she doesn’t have all the stock catch phrases that a Worshington insider would.”

SanFranLefty: The sexist pundits out there are falling into this trap. Sully, for instance, is repeating a report from Ed Schultz. (Why I should trust Ed Schultz more than, say, other AM radio guys, beyond the fact that he is playing for the right team, is unclear.) But anyway:

Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin.

The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as “disastrous.” One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, “What are we going to do?” The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is “clueless.”

This has to stop. By Thursday, the consensus will be that if she comes out and speaks a single complete, non-fragmented sentence, she wins.

And another thing: what are the options at this point? There are only three conceivable escape routes — none of which are realistic.

One is Bobby Jindal — who, from all accounts (and please correct me if I am wrong) — handled the hurricane reasonably well. This would keep the fundies all nice and lathered up (and, unlike Mittens, would avoid any unease about the whole Mormon thing). But kiss the white-women vote goodbye.

Another option is Joementum, because it would look all mavericky and stuff. The thumpers would be less than pleased.

Finally, I think that Olympia Snowe might be a real solution. She would give Geezer a chance of holding white women, and puts Maine into play (while perhaps locking down New Hampshaah). But this risks a total revolt among fundies.

But the Geezer would have to spend a full week (a) introducing the new guy and (b) explaining away the bad pick. This gets conceivably easier if The Cheerleader breaks down and cries when she gets bounced, which drives up sympathy. But the bottom line is that Geezer’s stuck with her for the duration.

@Promnight: @lynnlightfoot: Aww, you guys! You wound me. I love Mamet, and all of his typewriters-talking-like-humans micromanaging of speech patterns.

Nojo, a brilliant selection of quotation.

@BRB: It’s, um, not a selection. But I’m quite tickled it’s being read as such, even to the point of Mamet-bashing.

@lynnlightfoot: Up until the GOP turned into the machine it is today, when Reagan ascended, the GOP offered some room for interpretation of conservative politics. By the mid-1980s Goldwater was calling its fusion with the fundies dangerous to the party and to liberty. After Gringrich’s assembly of the clone army during the Clinton Administration, it was reduced to a cult with a set program of principles (if you can call them that.) All through that McCain blew with the wind and put on his chador like everyone else. He is worse than a fraud. He is a collaborator to an alien invader he knew was toxic to the principles of his party and country. He at least had the guts to pipe up about it in 2000 briefly but then went on to gobble theofascist schlong with abandon for political expedience, and finally ate the panties of the first, end-timer theofascist veep candidate in the history of America. There’s a word for people who knowingly betray country and its principles for personal gain but it’s been so overused by the GOP noise machine, I am loath to use it here.

@FlyingChainSaw: And before they became extinct, Rockefeller or Liberal Republicans still walked the Earth in the 1970s. Oregon Governor Tom McCall was one of them, as was Earmark God Mark Hatfield, even proto-Cocktober member Bob Packwood.

Heck, you could even make a case for Tricky Earth Day Dick in retrospect.

What happened since 1980 — especially this year — is that the fundie servants became the masters. I’ve been humming “Wrapped Around Your Finger” for months…

@BRB: The secret is to write a Dragnet scene and remove all the adjectives.

@chicago bureau: The only out is for baby Trigger to suddenly get sick and require numerous surgeries and she bows out for “family reasons.” That could keep the fundies in line because she’s bowing out to do her wifely duties but could still campaign for the ticket. While I dream of Snowe (or the other female Maine Republican senator, Susan Collins) as a running mate for PsychoGeezer, it will never happen because she has practically a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. The fundies will suck it up and still vote if it’s McCain-Mittens, and the choice of Mittens, who did his part buying up and blowing up companies, will reassure the last shred of Rockefeller Republicans still around that there’s someone on the GOP ticket who can at least draw the supply and demand curves, and will do Wall Street’s bidding.

@chicago bureau: Did you see this NYT piece that’s actually titled “Poor Sarah”?

Though it does have a link to those sublime Sara Benincasa Palin parodies, which, you’ve all seen those, right? If not, watch at least the first one right now.

@nojo: Oh, yeah, NE/NY Republicans of that stripe were target number one of the fundie-loving RNC. ChiBu is spot on with Snowe. Typically old line NE Republican that would have the base foaming at the mouth and chewing off their own legs.

@SanFranLefty: And then Tina Fey can return to her day job.

And speaking of being hoist on one’s own petard, I didn’t realize that long passage from last night’s SNL opening was verbatim from the Couric interview — even though I had already read it.

@BRB: I still can’t quite explain this coherently, but Friday night I went out drinking with friends, among whom was a very nice young woman who wanted to split her ticket — for Obama and Palin.

Yeah, she knew about the fundie shit, and she wasn’t down with that. And she knew Poor Sarah would face a learning curve. But Sarah was a woman, and wasn’t it about time? Wouldn’t it say something about America that we could elect people of strongly differing views to national office? And couldn’t we use a bit more morality in the White House?

I sipped my pint, and smiled politely, and next to me my friend was telegraphing to me over and over again, I told you so.

Rumor’s are a float that McCain’s going to use poor Bristol and baby daddy Levi as campaign props again with a shotgun wedding of the two kids.

Billy Idol’s White Wedding
Hey Sarah Palin what have you done
Hey Sarah Palin who’s that Levi kid
Hey Sarah Palin where’s your fiscal plan
Hey Sarah Palin who’s in charge here
Hey Sarah Palin shot gun!

It’s a nice day to spin again
It’s a nice day for a teen wedding
It’s a nice day to spin again.

Hey Sarah Palin what have you done
Hey Sarah Palin where’s that Levi kid
I’ve been stunned for so long (so long)
I’ve been stunned for so long (so long)
PG’s so wrong

It’s a nice day to spin again (come on!)
It’s a nice day for a teen wedding
It’s a nice day to spin again.

Take me back home
There is nothin’ fair in this world
There is nothin’ sane in this world
And there’s nothin’ smart in this world
And there’s nothin’ pure in this world
Look for something left in this world
Start again
Come on

It’s a nice day for a teen wedding
It’s a nice day to spin again.
It’s a nice day for a teen wedding
It’s a nice day to spin again.

@nojo: I’m glad to know you wrote the dialogue. After I read BRB’s comment addressed to Prom and me, I was thinking “well, you know, I did like the dialogue Nojo quoted, it reminds me of Beckett. It’s really Mamet’s worldview I hate.” But being both easily swayed and ashamed to be seen to be easily swayed, I decided to keep mum. Anyhow, kudos to you for the dialogue.
@BRB: Sorry to have poured scorn on an author you love. It always hurts when someone does that to me. I have gone gaga over Alan Furst’s books, which I didn’t discover until a couple of years ago. I have now read all of them (the WWII ones) at least three times each, and keep pressing them on my friends, and one or two of my friends are inexplicably totally uncaptivated, and none of them are as enthusiastic as I am. Baffling!
@FlyingChainSaw: Have you seen “McCain and the POW Cover-up” in the Oct. 6 issue of The Nation, by Sydney Schanberg? Another sorry tale. [I couldn’t help noticing that nowhere is Kerry’s part in it even mentioned, and since he and McCain worked together on the issue in the early nineties, he is probably implicated too.]

Little ditty about Levi and Bristol
Two american kids growin up in the northland
Levi’s gonna be a hockey star
Bristol done it in the backseat of Levi’s car

Suckin on moose burgers at the Tastee Freeze
Bristol sittin on Levy’s lap
He’s got his hands between her knees
Levi say, hey Bristol lets run off
Behind a shady tree
Out of the shadow of the TV
Let me do what I please
And Levi say a

Oh yeah make it stop!!
Long after the thrill of sex is gone
Oh yeah make it stop!!
Long after the thrill of sex is gone they walk on

Levi sits back reflects his thoughts for a moment
Scratches his head and does his best John McCain
Well you know Bristol we oughtta hide in Russia
Bristol says, my mommy will spot us quick
Levi say a

Oh yeah make it stop!!
Long after the thrill of sex is gone
Oh yeah make it stop!!
Long after the thrill of sex is gone

Gonna let it rock
Let it roll
Let old John McCain come down
And ruin our lives
Should have worn a condom each time we screw
Changes comin round real soon
Make us husband and wife

Little ditty about Levi and Briston
Two american kids gettin in a big big mess

@nojo: That reminds me of an old Stanley Fish (I know, I know, but in this column he had a point!) NYT column about how the weird glorification of the “independent voter” undermines the political process because it encourages people to separate personality from policy, and policy from party, even though in practice, party platforms are policy, no matter what this or that candidate seems to embody individually. Sarah Palin only makes sense as a candidate for national office in such a milieu, and the same goes for your very nice young woman’s views/dreams as well. I get frustrated talking to “libertarians” for this reason, who go on about their own personal tolerances of abortion and gay rights or whatever, but then insist on turning around and voting for a party whose platform is explicitly against all of those things. Independence, in these cases, is a type of willful blindness to the way the party system works, and is more destructive than partisan blindness in many ways, because it allows party politicians to tell the voters that they’re rough-hewn Kevin Costner everymen insofar as they ignore the platforms of the very party they’re getting them to vote for.

@lynnlightfoot: You’re absolutely right — the inspiration may have been Mamet, but I realized as it was taking shape that I was pulling a Beckett. Both of which surprised me, since I don’t normally do pastiche. I blame Wittgenstein.

@nojo: You also have to make everyone who is asked a question repeat the question back to the questioner, and then the questioner repeats the question back to the non-answering question repeater. Then the askee repeats the question again, this time prefacing it with “what do you mean,” for example, “what do you mean what was I doing with the vaseline and the hot sauce and that blowup doll?” The asker then repeats the question again, prefaced by a double “what do you mean, “what do you mean what do I mean, you know what I mean.”

Ah, Mamet. Such genius. Lyndsay Crouse, such acting, if by acting, you mean the ability to suck up all the acting of all the other actors in the room, so that not only is she not acting, but they also lose all ability to act, and the only thing left is the words of mamet, spoken in afectless monotones, like a play put on by the semi-catatonic inmates in the day ward, the day after they had electro-shock, and while heavily medicated.

@nojo: Mamet and Beckett are two sides of the same dark coin, in my view (I mean, I don’t think they’re equals or anything [I’m not that delusionally in love with my Chicago boy], I just mean in general worldview).

@Promnight: And now that our Lit Crit seminar is open…

I don’t care either way about Mamet’s Man’s Man persona, but when he’s on his game, there’s a poetry to his (very deliberately) clipped dialogue, especially when delivered by top-notch actors. He’s not even pretending to be realistic, he’s doing Philip Glass with language.

Which, of course, can cut both ways. Many folks consider Glass to be a droning bore.

@nojo: I liked Die Hard. And I think its real cool they named it after a car battery, ya know?

Who’s Phillip Glass? Was he in J. Geils Band?

There’s a kind of poetry to be found in the worst of badly translated instructions that come with many importad japanese products, too. Really, I mean, really. For some reason, the japanese have a unique ability to mistranslate into english in beautiful ways.

@nojo: Aaron Sorkin did a decent homage to Mamet with the dialogue in “The West Wing” but if not performed by excellent actors it rapidly becomes too precious for words.

@BRB: it encourages people to separate personality from policy

People aren’t entirely wrong about that, only the question is always posed the wrong way.

Candidates can promise all they want — this includes Barry — but we know that once they actually achieve office, that Golden Policy will get dumped into the congressional sausage mill along with everything else. Unless they have sixty votes in the Senate (and decisive polling to back them), There Will Be Compromises.

And, well, shit happens. I don’t recall the 2000 platforms of either party including a plank for dealing with passenger jets running into the World Trade Center.

So while, yes, policy is certainly important, it’s not unwise to look beyond policy and into the character and judgment of the person whom we expect to do something more useful than read My Pet Goat for seven minutes while all hell breaks loose. Or, in less dire circumstances, judge which compromises to make and which to reject.

This isn’t “personality”, this isn’t “identity politics”. But a candidate is more than the sum of his talking points, and I have no problem including a gut call in my evaluation criteria.

@SanFranLefty: I was thinking of Sorkin while watching Sarah & Katie do their walk & talk prior to the sit-down…

And watching the sit-down — as much as I could stand of it, anyway — I had this sneaking suspicion that they both were faking it. Only Katie’s had more practice.

Meanwhile, praises for Manchu’s lyrics must not go unsung!

@Promnight: Let us not forget fortune cookies. My favorites: “Alas, you are the apple of my eye.” and “Lucky is coming your way.”

@nojo: Now you had to go and let Wittgenstein in. We’ll never get home.

@lynnlightfoot: All my roads lead to Wittgenstein, except for the Aristotelian scenic routes. Bring it up during a party, watch how fast I can clear the room.

And I need Manchu’s lyric-blog link so I can add it to the Stinquette list. I seem to have misplaced it during the shuffle, and Google just turns up a ton of Gawker comments to wade through.

@Promnight: Who’s Phillip Glass? Was he in J. Geils Band?

Session keyboards for “Centerfold.”

@nojo: How could it still be J. Geils without Peter Wolf? Though one of my favorite lines of poetry of all time is “she was kicking the habit, of scoring in cars.” Ah, simply sublime.

@redmanlaw: And RML wins the award for Stinque’s First Akismet Sting!

@nojo: Not sure what’s going on, so this may be the third post of the URL for Manchu’s blog. If so, sorry.

@homofascist: We all go to Noel Coward plays and chuckle knowingly.

@lynnlightfoot: Looks like Akismet just woke up — all of a sudden it’s starting to flag “spam” comments.

I think Promnight discovered the Secret Trick back at the old joint: Enclose the address in quotes. Or just wait for me to check the spam queue.

@nojo: No, I get that. I just like the way that Stanley Fish sets it up – disagreeing with parts of both parties’ platforms is one thing, but pretending that there is somehow no real difference, that voting for one party is just the same as another, and that the best form of government is actually a union of both parties, a bipartisan rush toward a middle that doesn’t really exist, is silly and destructive; as Fish puts it, it’s a wishing away of the political part of a political system (a move that historically always ends up rewarding the status quo). You might as well have Japan’s perpetual rule by the LDP since the war if you want to think that way. But you’re right, thinking about the candidate as a person with judgment, etc., is not the problem – in fact, I think Fish’s and my point is more that this “independence” thing actually accentuates the unimportant chracteristics of a politician’s character by exempting from discussion the important ones, like how they position themselves in relation to their party.

Here’s an old Tom Tomorrow cartoon that’s a little closer to what I mean (also, I like to link to the non-current, as you can see. History!):

@homofascist: I’ve got to learn – boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. I’ll go put in my contacts now!

@BRB: Tom Tomorrow is always timeless.

But you’re right: parties exist for a reason, that reason isn’t going away, and there’s a strong case to be made for a two-party system that forces compromise within and between in order to achieve a governing majority.

(Pauses to remove cotton balls from cheeks.)

And as I sat there in the pub, letting the nice young woman strongly explain that if we only had real choice in our politics everything would be better, I thought my this Newcastle tastes good and I’ll never understand rugby.

@nojo: Thanks for the tip. From now on, I’ll put any URL in quotes.

@SanFranLefty: If we could only get Nelson Rockefeller. Not afraid to flip people off, a lib and a skirtchaser.

@nojo, lynnlightfoot: It’s like speeding on a familiar road. You do it all week long without any problems and then you get nailed on a Sunday morning.

@nojo: @BRB: I’m counting on that party/personality divide to bolster my HopeTM for this election. I spent a good part of my 2 1/2 hour phone converation with my mom this evening trying to suss out her voting intentions. She believes this country is on the wrong track and that we’re worse off now than 8 years ago, plus she doesn’t particularly like McCain. Her big hangup though?: “I just feel like a can’t betray my party.” I went on a rant about how, through Dubya, her party had already betrayed her and encouraged her to set aside party considerations and honestly think about which candidate was more likely to use good judgement, make wise decisions, and put us on a track to reverse the mistakes that have been made.

My mom is easily the most susceptable to conversion among my Michigan-dwelling family members, so maybe just maybe she’ll pull the blue lever and “betray” the Repubs in a state where it actually matters which way you vote. Then again, that may have all been wasted breath.

@SanFranLefty: How’s the hand sweetie? I’m so sorry to hear you had the double pain Friday of being bitten and having to watch PG smirk on the teevee.

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