“I spent five days crying in Argentina!”

And so another right-wing warrior, swimming in the detrius of Reaganism, having railed and thundered faithfully for the One True Way is brought down by what we all agree is, if not often the “One” or “True,” certainly the Way. The usual suspects will circle the wagons, doing their demeaning best to spin away while the Governor recites his “I apologize to my family...” minstrel show. Do any of Sanford's staff possess a conscience?

I for one am glad and laughing. This continuing Domino-like collapse of the “family values” crowd should have happened a long time ago, and if this accelerates the implosion, good on it. Personally, I'm sick and tired of living in a country where, depending on which Fourth of July show you're at, people can blather on about “the free and the brave” when their own government even now freely discriminates against its own citizens.

Of course, I'm absolutely sure Sanford will be given the option to resign, rather than be impeached. Though he certainly is guilty of excessive dereliction of duty -- leaving his hurricane-prone state for six days unannounced during hurricane season -- the ability of the GOP to simply “erase” certain events cannot be understated.

Finally, A President

Now that was a speech. If pundits are calling it his “unofficial” State of the Union Address, I’ll be front and center for the real one.

It still feels a bit strange and exhilarating that we now live in a world where the President of the United States can speak clearly, forcefully and eloquently on any number of topics and also walk and chew gum at the same time. Like many of us who were unwillingly dragged across the harsh terrain of Bush’s rough, disgusting “presidency,” I’d forgotten what actual talent, competence and vision sounded like.

In Which I Give You CNN’s House Idiot, John King:

Campbell Brown: For those people who have been worried about the possibility of one party controlling Congress and the White House, the last president to do that, of course, was....?

John King: Ah, that was Bill Clinton, and...

Brown: Jimmy Carter! Jimmy Carter had... Bill Clinton had Democrats in the House and in the Senate?

King: Very briefly.

Brown: Very briefly. [Crinkles her nose] Didn't go so well.

King: No it didn't.

As Atrios notes, where in the hell did these people spend the last eight years?

McCain's supporters

It's a point to listen to them as McCain at least accepted his defeat with some decency, that they were booing and acting like jerks. It's a good thing he didn't have Palin speak, because she probably would have encouraged them, not only pounding the final nail in McCain's political coffin of shame, but encouraging them and their more unhinged elements to commit acts that the rest of the nation would consider unconscionable.


I'm literally speechless, and in tears of happiness, that the Reagan Revolution is over, that the last eight years of Shrub and his grotesquely incompetent, morally repugnant administration are over, and that this man will now be our new, democratically and honestly elected President. We've seen history tonight, and I'm humbled to have been here to see it, and honored to have voted for Senator Obama. It's a bit like the moon landing, watching the election of the first black President of the United States of America. Such a great and necessary thing for the country and the world, as America has finally joined the 21st century. Yes, we did.

Photo courtesy The Huffington Post.

The Unhappiest Anniversary

Shrub ignores news of impending attack

Seven years ago today, on August 6, 2001, this exchange occured:
The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."
Seven years later, Osama Bin Laden is still alive, al-Qaeda is stronger than ever, and 2,974 American civilians, 4,000 (and counting) American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead. Two countries lie in ruins; Iraq physically and the U.S. financially. And these people have dragged us down to the point that actual discussions have been had as to what constitutes torture.

And do keep in mind that the so-called “adults” were “back in charge” (see photo above of Harriet Miers and Shrub at his “ranch” in Crawford) on the day—this day—seven years ago, when they got full warning of and still had a chance to avert this avalanche of depravity. Instead Shrub stayed on vacation.

h/t Digby


Rachel trumps Keith

The producers of MSNBC’s Countdown need to give the show to Rachel Maddow. She’s been filling in for Keith lately, and I think she’s a better host. I like Keith Olbermann well enough, but if he keeps Countdown, MSNBC ought to at least give Rachel her own show. Schedule it right after Countdown and put Dan Abrams' ridiculous show on at 11, when most people are online or asleep.

UPDATE: Someone comes to their senses and Rachel gets her own show!

The Academy Awards

Hollywood shows some taste

Like others who’ve grown tired with the overwrought nonsense of the whole thing, I TiVo’d the show and made it through in about an hour and twenty minutes, liberally using the fast-forward button. They all went pretty much as I thought, though I’ve got to give a big shout-out to my faves the Coen brothers. Also Javier Bardem and the lovely Marion Cotillard, two individuals for whom the word sexy is too small a complement. Their speeches were heartfelt, deeply human and lifted the whole evening up several notches. Same with the adorable couple from Once, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Special props to John Stewart (or whatever producer) for calling Ms. Irglova back out onto the stage and letting her have her moment (the gruesomely tacky Bill Conti and the orchestra he was “conducting” cruelly cut her off before she’d had a chance to say anything when the couple originally accepted their awards.) A nice moment of true class from a show not known for it in recent years.

Otherwise, Tilda Swinton gave a hilarious ribbing to Gorgeous George; Julie Christie looked smashing, befitting the cinematic royalty she is; and Ellen Page and Saoirse Ronan are born stars. Laura Linney (and, for that matter, Julianne Moore) should have at least two Oscars (each), and Daniel Day-Lewis’ fearless genius was in good company with Viggo Mortensen.

And, of course, then there’s the sublime force of nature that is Cate Blanchett, for whom I’d pay SuperBowl-ticket-level money to see merely sitting on a blank stage on a Saturday afternoon reading out loud various entries in the phone book.

Photo courtesy www.oscar.com

Some Perspective on St. McCain

His candidacy as a “maverick” is a Potemkin charade

Those who know me personally, or have met me online, know I have absolutely no use for John McCain, whether he runs as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, a Green; whatever. He could run as a Communist for all I care. And to be clear: I’m not, nor would I, disparage the fact that he was a genuine P.O.W. who suffered horribly in another useless war for no purpose. Ten or twenty years from now the nation is going to see large numbers of men and women running for office with a background very similar to his.

Why I find him so repulsive is all this nonsense about him being a “maverick.” The press (who unsurprisingly can’t get their minds around the fact that this is real life and not an endless replay of “Top Gun”) has gone overboard with this ridiculous, Potemkin storyline, and McCain’s eager adoption of it as truth puts him—as hardcore and stalwart a GOP loyalist as they come—into parody territory.

But beyond that comes the heart of the issue: his constant playing in every campaign he’s run of the “torture” card for cheap votes. A bizarre reflection of Guiliani’s endlessly and tastelessly trying to leverage the events of 9/11 in which he played only a peripheral part, both men have managed to crudely degrade wide-scale tragedy and intense personal agony into simply another tacky campaign slogan; undiluted bullshit repeated endlessly for no other reason than to stroke each man’s ludicrously outsized ego in the hope that enough gullible voters would buy into it and shovel them just over the edge into office.

Take a glimpse of the photo at right for all the proof needed about how much of a “maverick” McCain supposedly is. It’s all a media creation, just like the cypher he’s disgracefully hugging (even after this same man and his nasty political hit team were responsible in 2000 for destroying McCain’s candidacy and slandering his wife and adopted daughter). What kind of “maverick Marine” would dare put up with that? And what type of “maverick” would embrace the individual responsible for signing off on that ugly Rove-led Swift Boating except one who could easily sweep his own principles—and family—under the proverbial carpet in service of his own desire for the ultimate trophy, the ultimate medal?

John McCain has arrived at what most would call the “sunset” of his life; most men would accept that with some dignity and repose and not turn themselves into a caricature. But McCain is unable to stop; he’ll keep talking up his grim experiences under torture on the campaign trail while turning his head away as he votes to keep soldiers in Iraq for “a hundred years.” The requisite platitudes will be mouthed opposing the administration’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” but he’ll vote like he’s told on the Senate floor.

There are a good amount of people in the country who will vote for him because he’s not only the (likely) Republican nominee, but because he’s a former P.O.W. But that card has already been played out; he has no business ascending to the nation’s highest office, considering the amount of destruction wrought over the past eight years by his party and his apparent willingness to continue policies that have long since proven to be abject failures. It is time for John McCain to quit the charade he’s continued—in the dark, long after the music has stopped and the parade has ended—and exit the stage along with whatever “beliefs” he happens to hold at the moment. A weary nation would be grateful.

Agitprop has more thoughts, worth reading.

The G.O.P. Closet Just Keeps... Um... Bulging!

At CPAC, life is undoubtedly better “under” a conservative...

DownWithTyranny braves a look at this year’s rotten CPAC convention (and yes, Ann Coulter apparently found a way to sneak in, though accounts are unclear as to whether, with John Edwards [thanks to the media freezing him out] having dropped out of the race, she was so keen on throwing the word “faggot” around) and finds a poster there so sublime it makes parody of these hardcore (ehem) rightwing men, at least, beyond impossible.*

Go see. And be sure to follow the links about McHenry.

*Yes, I’m sure there were probably a few far-rightwing women there; but, let’s face it: this “conference” is essentially a place for a lot of pasty, insecure white guys with relationship, money and identity issues to grouse and piss and moan about how they need to “fight back.” This, despite how every big G.O.P. speaker there has–in some way or another–been the primary architects of the downfall of these guys’ “world” precisely because of their own predictable myopia in the voting booth.

h/t: Digby