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The Liberal Prism of Condescension

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:54 pm - February 8, 2010.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites

Welcome Instapundit Readers!!

Like many intellectually-inclined individuals born in the Midwest, I chose to attend college in New England and settle in cities outside my native region, first living in the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area and now in Los Angeles.  And while many of my peers who made similar journeys share my politics, most do not.  It seems that when they pull up stakes, they lose all allegiance to their place of birth–and the people who live there.

They behave as if because they’re so much smarter than the folks they left behind, they know better how to run their lives than they do.  They heap scorn on those who don’t know the difference between Hegel and Heidegger and can’t name a single German film director from the 1920s or a French one from the 1960s.  In fact, most of the folk left behind probably couldn’t name more than one or two American directors for the 200os.

We conservatives, most of us at least, are a tad more humble.  While we appreciate the company of those with whom we can share our intellectual/cultural pursuits, we recognize that our supposed smarts don’t give us the qualifications to run the lives of our youthful companions or to question their world view.  Sometimes, we’re even aware that these folks have more practical intelligence than we do; we even turn to them for advice on matters of running our households and managing our money.

Yet, many of our left-wing counterparts just can’t accept that those in the hinterlands just don’t trust the judgments of their betters.  How, they exclaim, could anyone find the Blind Side entertaining or, in generations past, couldn’t get enough of John Wayne movies?  Just take a gander at Jacob Weisberg’s latest lament:  “what may be the biggest culprit in our current predicament: the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.

He then goes on to tell us just what it is that makes the American people so ignorant and incoherent:  “We want Washington and the states to fix all of our problems now. At the same time, we want government to shrink, spend less, and reduce our taxes.”  Guess he missed the latest Gallup poll.  The American people don’t want the the government to solve our problems, well, most of us don’t and I would dare say the better part of the 38 percent who do lives in regions near Mr. Weisberg and, well, myself.

But, I guess he just can’t let go of his prejudices.

In the past few days, I have read two columns taking on people like Mr. Weisberg.   (more…)

More Evidence of Democratic Prejudice Against Republicans

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:10 pm - February 8, 2010.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites

Take a gander at this statement from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee communications director Jen Crider

This is not the time for political opportunism,. . . .  Out of respect for Congressman Murtha’s family and his decades of service to our country, Republicans should put their partisanship aside and allow Mr. Murtha’s family, friends, and constituents time to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.

First of all, she’s right.  We should put aside partisanship.  But, why did she feel the need to say that, instead of focusing on the life she believes people should celebrate.  She’s lecturing Republicans on how to behave, assuming we’ll be dancing on this man’s grave.  She’s on this guy’s side and should focus on his accomplishments.  Let his opponents note their political differences, provided they do so in a manner appropriate at the time of a man’s passing.

Now, contrast her revealing statement with that of a man who had been running against the Pennsylvania Democrat: (more…)

Sarah Palin Treated as Political Equal of President?

Even if I did not admire Sarah Palin’s accomplishments as Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and as Governor of Alaska where that charismastic woman did more in short tenure to reform the corrupt politics of that great state than did the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee before he launched his bid for the White House, I would love her for how she gets under some very unhappy people’s very sensitive skin.

So obsessed are they with this good woman that she only need open her mouth for them to criticize her.  Or write something innocuous on her palm.  They practically wet themselves trying to engage in a speculative divination.  And trying to deride her intelligence when she, as many orators do, scribbled notes to herself to remind her of issues she wanted to address, they neglected to pay much attention to what she actually did say.

“The far left,” Jim Hoft opined, “The far left absolutely freaked over this non-issue rather than focus on her brilliant speech“.  They prefer to treat her as a circus sideshow that a woman with accomplishments and ideas.

At least, the mainstream media did take note of the speech and so helped elevate the former Governor of the Last Frontier.  Indeed, it often seems she gets as much attention as he.  And her supposed gaffes get more attention than his actual gaffes.

What does it say when “the losing candidate for Vice President [is] for all intents and purposes, treated as the political equal of the President of the United States“?  (Quote via Instapundit.)

Is Obama Holding Health Care Negotiations in Good Faith?

Seems I may have been a bit premature in being optimistic about Obama’s health care “summit” with Republicans.  He may not be looking to have an open discussion with both sides putting their views forward on how to proceed with health care reform, but instead in using this as a back door to pick up some Republican support for his massive health care overhaul.

He has, as law professor William A. Jacobson observes, “imposed the precondition that the negotiations start with the Democratic versions of health care legislation:”

White House aides quickly rejected the idea that Obama wants to start over after nearly a year of contentious legislative haggling among members of his party.

Officials said the president will come to the health-care summit armed with a merged version of the two bills that Democrats strong-armed through the two chambers with almost no GOP backing.

“This is not starting over,” one White House official said, who requested anonymity in order to discuss administration strategy. “Don’t make any mistake about that. We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan.”

The problem is that right now, while there are a number of Republican ideas are on the table, there is no one Republican plan.  And unless Republican settle on a single plan, the White House will try to use these negotiations to try to cast aspersions on the GOP for not having such a plan.  If the White House comes with their plan (which is something it should have done last summer), they’re all be certain to make it the focus of negotiations.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  And indeed, if Republicans come well-prepared, it may be a good thing.  They can press on removing certain provisions particularly unpalatable to them (and the American people) that Democrats would be loath to remove.  And on inserting such things as tort reform that remain popular with the American people, but are anathema to Democrats. (more…)

John Murtha has died

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 pm - February 8, 2010.
Filed under: Congress (111th)

I would offer a retrospective on the Pennsylvania Democrat‘s legacy, but they say one should not speak ill of the dead.

Instead of touching on his congressional record, I will remember him now by his military service: “he volunteered for combat” during the Vietnam War after having already served in the Marines in the early 1950s.  He gave more to this country before his 40th birthday than most of us give in our entire lives.

Obama’s Smart Move in Health Care Debate, but it’s fraught with risks for Democrats, huge risks

First, gotta give credit where it’s due.  The president made a very smart political movie when he called the opposition’s bluff, “inviting Republicans in Congress to a half-day summit” on health care  to be”televised live later this month.”  He “challenged Republicans to come to the discussion armed with their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system”:

I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues. . . .  What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table… I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.

Let’s hope he means what he says and instead of using a a proposal reconciling the House and Senate bills which passed last year as the basis for discussion, he really solicits Republican viewpoints.  Perhaps because he’s wary of the president’s sincerity, House Republican leader John Boehner welcomed the discussion, but cautioned,

The best way to start on real, bipartisan reform would be to scrap those bills and focus on the kind of step-by-step improvements that will lower health care costs and expand access.

Exactly.  If the president does just that, this move could really redound to his benefit.  He would show that like the Gipper, he’s teachable, able to make course corrections where necessary.

He’d also look good if Republicans are scattershot in their opposition, saying “No” for the sake of opposing the president instead of rejecting a proposal on its merits (or lack thereof).  That is, I believe, what Obama is banking on.  And it could work if congressional Republicans are (as Democrats believe them to be) too shrill in their opposition. (more…)

Sarah Palin’s Laugh or a Clever Photoshop? UPDATED

Welcome Ann Althouse Readers!  We welcome, nay, we encourage your comments!!!

If this picture is not a photoshop, then Ann Althouse got it right. Sarah Palin is “laughing at how absurdly fascinated everyone is with her.

One of our commenters mentioned it last night and I found the above picture over on Michelle Malkin’s website.  Loved her commentary.  After spending the weekend with her family, she finds out what’s got the blogosphere buzzing:

The wall-to-wall coverage leads with exclusive” investigative reports from a HuffPo “independent journalist and foreign correspondent.”

Plus: Breaking updates on the “crib notes!”

Seriously?

What is it about Sarah Palin that gets her adversaries whipped into such a frenzy.  Given this latest froth on their mouths, maybe we should make a crime to say, “Sarah Palin,” in a crowded room full of liberals.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  BREAKING NEWS!!! It’s not a Photoshop.  Karen Schell provides the details!

Actually, in the Zimbio photo album titled “Sarah Palin Attends Campaign Event For Texas Governor Rick Perry” on February 7, 2010 you’ll see the”Hi Mom! Hand” in at least several pictures (Getty Images).

Not a photoshop :)

Hi Mom! Hand – photos

Yup, looks like Sarah Palin had the last laugh.  What’ll she write next?

UP-UPDATE:  Now Yahoo! has come down with a severe case of PDS.  Logging on at 7:30 PM PST, their website leads with a piece wondering what was written on Sarah Palin’s hand!

Inglourious Basterds: Enjoying a movie I wanted to hate

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:32 am - February 8, 2010.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

Ever since I saw Quentin Tarantino on TV about the time Pulp Fiction was released, I have been reluctant to watch his films.  He struck me as arrogant, juvenile and just plain rude.  Not a guy I’d like to meet or with whom I’d like to spend time. A few years later, I read a review of his performance in Wait Until Dark on Broadway and thought he had taken the role just to grandstand in his new found fame.

Reviewer Ben Brantley said he had basically just phoned in his part:

Playing a sadistic, murderous thug to Ms. Tomei’s beleaguered young blind woman, Mr. Tarantino seems menacing to nothing except possibly Mr. Knott’s script. Whether raising his voice in deranged fury or softly promising to commit unspeakable tortures, he registers at best as merely petulant, like a suburban teen-ager who has been denied the use of his father’s Lexus for the night.

He seemed the worst type of person, rude and arrogant, convinced he was the greatest there was in any endeavor he attempted.  When I moved to LA and started watching and discussing movies with a circle of Hollywood wannabes, one of my closest friends insisted I watch Pulp Fiction, certain that I would enjoy it.  He even offered to pay for the video rental if I didn’t like the flick.   So, I relented.  And had to agree it was a darn good movie.  Tarantino made brilliant use of his, shall we say, skewed chronology, chopping sequences up and moving them around to keep us engaged.

Now, I certainly wouldn’t call it one of my favorite films.  I don’t think I’ll watch it again.  I do acknowledge that it keep me entertained and was brilliantly made.

I should have remembered that inexperience when Inglourious Basterds was still in theaters.  I didn’t go to see it, not because I had heard it was bad, but because Tarantino kept behaving badly.  Well, a friend loaned me her DVD; I finally got around to watching it Saturday night.  I reluctantly popped it in, feeling I “needed” to see it so I could talk about it.  I was just going to watch a few minutes while I ate my late-night snack.  I wanted to hate it because it didn’t seemed right that someone so rude could make a movie so good.

Well, I didn’t get my wish.  I watched it until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

And there were some masterful performances.  Brad Pitt was entertaining with near perfect comic timing.  It took me a while to realize how good Christoph Waltz was because I hated his character so much, then I realized that the reason I hated him because he was doing his job.  It did not surprise me when I read that he received an Oscar nomination for this performance.  I do think that two of the women in the movie were shortchanged. Mélanie Laurent was good as Shosanna and I particularly liked Diane Kruger‘s interpretation of a 1940s German film star. (more…)