February 23, 2008

"Hillary just seems like Jerry Lee Lewis to me. And McCain just seems like a complete wackjob. And I guess Obama seems to have some sort of sense..."

Says Penn Jillette:
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t agree with him on anything, but he seems like a person that’s not about to just explode. And Hillary and McCain really seem that way to me. So that makes the election kind of fun.
He's vlogging now.


rhhardin said...

Teller seems like the sensible one.

Ron said...

It's interesting that using Jerry Lee Lewis could mean 'Dionysian frenzy' or 'boozy, homicidal crazy.' Depends on how you spin it!

I would say with Hillary the sphincter is a bit too tightly would for true Killer status!

Alex said...

Obama is a skilled orator of nothing. However if you scratch him a little, you turn up the most left-wing senator around. The most anti-2nd amendment senator around. He's an uber-socialist in reform-clothing. The only reason he's winning right now is the absolutely pathetic competition he's up against. Hillary, McCain - you've gotta be kidding. Giants these are not. Well Hussein is a political midget himself, but I guess all of this is a sign that America is doing pretty well. When we truly need great leadership we elect a Reagan. When we don't we elect a Hussein.

joe said...

It is remarkable how every Obama supporter bases their opinion of him on the most shallow of reasons. He is nice, he is sensible, he speaks well, he is clean and articulate, yada yada. Hope change hope change.

AJ Lynch said...

Good arguments by Jillette.

But personally I prefer a candidate whose head is apt to explode!

You'd think a magician like Jillette would too. I guess he has not yet mastered that exploding head trick.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Well, he's just wrong when he says this:

"Obama and Hillary don’t even give the slightest amount of lip service to individual responsibility."

Again, he's just talking about lip service to individual responsibility, whether or not you think it's sincere.

Here's Hillary Clinton in the last debate:

"You know, nearly 36 years ago I came to Austin for my very first political job, and that was registering voters in south Texas. And I had the great privilege of living for a while in Austin and in San Antonio, and meeting people and making friends that have stayed with me for a lifetime. And I found that we had a lot in common, a lot of shared values -- a belief that hard work is important, that self-reliance and individual responsibility count for a lot.

And here's Barack Obama:

"there were rocky periods during my youth when I made mistakes and was off course. And what was most important in my life was learning to take responsibility for my own -- my own actions -- learning to take responsibility for not only my own actions, but how I can bring people together to actually have an impact on the world."

Trooper York said...

Hey, what's up with the three name thing? Don't you know that the greatest criminals in history always went by three names?

James Earl Ray.

John Wayne Gacy.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

joe said...

Hillary "It takes a Village" Clinton said that?
As for Obama, the one thing that has impressed me about him is his refusal (thus far) to play the race card. This week we have learned why - his wife, perennial victim Michelle, stands ready to play the race card at every opportunity. Very nice strategy.

Alex said...

I have always hated Hillary, but given a choice between the she-devil I know and this uber-socialist Hussein in sheep's clothing, I'd pick Hillary. At least she's predictable.

Middle Class Guy said...

"There’s this sense among liberals, and McCain too, that the government is supposed to protect us from rich people, and they seem to forget that rich people are supposed to protect us from the government, that’s part of the way it works."

I wonder what the anti-wealth, anti-greed, anti-corporate, Hillary Clinton- who now has vast wealth through greed- would say about that.

Alex said...

Blogger joe said...

Hillary "It takes a Village" Clinton said that?
As for Obama, the one thing that has impressed me about him is his refusal (thus far) to play the race card. This week we have learned why - his wife, perennial victim Michelle, stands ready to play the race card at every opportunity. Very nice strategy.

12:23 PM

His wife will certainly do him in. Why did he even marry that harpie? There's nothing attractive about her.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Trooper York: There's also John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Mark David Chapman.

I believe criminals go by those names because that's the way they're officially referred to in criminal cases.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a different story. She used to use Rodham as her last name, but she changed it to Clinton, presumably to appease those with retrograde gender views.

Trooper York said...

I know, but jokes work best when you keep them short and three beats is just right.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Oh yeah.

AJ Lynch said...

John Althouse:

In the examples you provided, Hillary is obviously pandering for the Hispanic vote who are knowm to value individual responsibility.

While Obama is NOT suggesting every American should take responsiblity for themselves; he is just giving the expected rote soundbites anyone would in a job interview.

Sloanasaurus said...

Get real Althouse Cohen. Sure, liberals like Barack talk about personal responsibility for themselves - they believe in it for themselves, just not for the rest of America. Believing in personal responsibility means believing that others should take personal responsibility for their own actions. Liberals in general frown on this, which is why they propose the nanny state and demand that criminals be released, etc...

MadisonMan said...

Meanwhile, we're only 3000 people from visitor # 12,345,678. The suspense is killing me. I'll check back in at 9:10 tonight.

sloan: If you don't believe them when they say they're all for personal responsibility, why do you believe them when they say they want Universal Health Care?

You should be generally cynical, not selectively, when listening to politicians.

Trooper York said...

See three names is very awkward. Nobody knows what to call you. You gotta get a nom de blog. Something catchy. How about: Number One Son?

John Althouse Cohen said...

To everyone who's responding to me, please re-read what I wrote a little more carefully.

AJ Lynch said...


Supporting universal hlth care actually is an argument for Sloan's and my view- that libs including Hillary and Obama would never espouse personal responsibility for all. Afterall, personal responsibility would require us to judge people. Libs don't do judgmental- you know that.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I have always hated Hillary, but given a choice between the she-devil I know and this uber-socialist Hussein in sheep's clothing, I'd pick Hillary. At least she's predictable."

I wouldn't.

The Presidency of Jimmy Carter was the worst I have seen in my life, and reading back further I would say the worst since the Great Depression. But we survived it, and it inoculated the country against some pretty bad ideas for several decades.

The risk with Obama is that he's another Carter-- further left than people realize, naive, etc.

The possibility, though, that he can help transcend the partisan nightmare that has been at the core of this country since the end of the first Bush presidency, is very appealing.

I am not sure the risk is worth the reward (I am still mulling it over; I am leaning towards thinking it is). If it is, then I will vote Obama. If it isn't, then McCain is a perfectly acceptable second choice. We don't have to accept a continuation of the politics of the 90s and 00s.

AJ Lynch said...

Madison Man:

Re sitmeter, the stats are really interesting. There are a good number of eyeballs from Madison of course. I think I am recorded as being from Narberth, PA via Comcast but that is not my actual location.

A couple from places I never heard of:

Bielsko, Slupsko and one from Poznan, Wielkopolskie!

Could they be new countries ??

Tor Hershman said...

Brown, black, white, male, female.....a rat is a rat is a rat is a rat.

AJ Lynch said...

John Althouse:

Jeez- now you sound a bit like your mother- are you headed into the law prof field?

Ron said...

Trooper: I once had a dream I had three kids and named them Lee, Harvey and Oswald. Poor Oswald -- stuck with a dumb name...

Trooper York said...

Ron, I once had a dream where I had three kids named Moe, Larry and Nunzio. But that was after some bad clams so I guess that don't count.

AJ, play nice.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Jeez- now you sound a bit like your mother

It's not my fault people misread things that I write and things that she writes.

Trooper York said...

I hate it when my wife says I am just like my mother. I mean ok I grant that I am pretty chubby and that I have a moustache, but I haven't worn a black dress since college. Oops! Too much information.

AJ Lynch said...

And sitemeter had one visitor from Cape Girardieau, Missouri.

Wonder if it was a relative of Rush Limbaugh?

AJ Lynch said...

Back to politics and personal responsibility. I would support a candidate who said he believed in personal responsibility of every Americans and so he decided to get rid of all social welfare programs and just give everyone a check every month for let's say $1,000.

Then you could buy hlth insurance or illegal drugs or get drunk everyday (like Trooper) or use to clothe and feed your family. Why don't they do that? Because they really don't believe in personal respnsibility?

And Trooper I am not criticizing your lifestyle; I am actually jealous of it.

Trooper York said...

That's ok AJ. A pleasant buzz is not getting drunk. It's a cultural thing you know. The Irish enjoy their pint at the end of a hard day. The Italians love a little vino with the meal. As long as you eat a hearty meal you will be good to go. Come by for a meal and some wine, and a little after dinner Sambucca or grappa. Life will seem a lot better, trust me for it is so.

AJ Lynch said...

Btw, I heard Glenn Reynolds is back and he had trouble getting Althouse to stop posting to his blog. She just would not stop. He had to get an injunction and pull the plug on her login ID. I am not making this up.

Middle Class Guy said...

The risk with Obama is that he's another Carter-- further left than people realize, naive, etc.

It was not how far left Carter was. It was his total lack of competency. The man was an abject failure because he was incompetent. He thought he could run the country like his peanut farm. He was nothin but a good ole boy who should have stayed in Georgia, just like the last good ole boy who should have stayed in Arkansas.

Middle Class Guy said...

Hillary is more like Bette Davis, IMHO.

Trooper York said...

That's crazy talk AJ. Who would obsessively post over and over again about every trivial matter? You would have to be half a nut job. It's obsessive-compulsive behavior...Wait a minute...someone is at the door...Hey, that’s a nice white jacket...why does it tie at the back..hey wait a minute..argh!

AJ Lynch said...

Trooper York - gone but not forgotten.

AJ Lynch said...

Hey Trooper - can you still use a keyboard when you are strapped into one of those jackets?

Trooper York said...

False alarm. It was just the pizza guy. Carry on.

(Margarita pie, tin crust, fresh mozzarella, basil)

Palladian said...

"Btw, I heard Glenn Reynolds is back and he had trouble getting Althouse to stop posting to his blog. She just would not stop. He had to get an injunction and pull the plug on her login ID. I am not making this up."

Didn't work too well. She just made some new posts. So did Michael Totten. Was there an injunction against him too?

Paul said...

"sloan: If you don't believe them when they say they're all for personal responsibility, why do you believe them when they say they want Universal Health Care?"

Yeah it's not like HRC ever tried to implement it in the 90s or anything.

Just because we survived one Jimmy Carter term does not mean we will survive another in the age of the suicide bomber + Iran's approaching nuclear capability.

And if the American economy is on such shaky ground how will it manage under a high tax, high entitlement, anti-business environment?

All you right thinkers here will appreciate this excellent essay by Dr. Sanity. Lefties...eh, don't bother. You'll never get it.

Kirby Olson said...

Request for info on Barack Obama to Ann:

Where would you place him within the legal tradition?

Would he be a legal realist, even though he argues that he is a Christian? Has he published law articles?

What do you think, by the way, of the tradition of legal realism?

I'm reading Harold J. Berman's Law & Revolution, about Luther's impact on the western legal tradition Harvard UP 2003. He complains a lot in the cracks about the tradition of legal realism and how it wiped out the ten commandments as the basis of law, and basically left the study of law in a vaccuum of values.

Wiping out those monuments about the Ten Commandments seems to be the last phase of that.

Where would B.O. stand on such an issue?

blogging cockroach said...

john althouse cohen is a hillary supporter just like i am
except ive been a hillary supporter
because i was afraid of getting squashed by the clintons et al
being only a cockroach and all
but now ive seen the light and have a better reason to support hillary

yes the reason is sandwiches
hillary spent 95k dollars on uneaten ham and baloney sandwiches in iowa
i have every reason to believe she will be just as generous
to us cockroaches once she is in the white house
and the federal govt will supply stale sandwiches to cockroaches
free of charge
oh hillary we have found a new reason to love you
and id like mayonnaise on mine thanks

Blake said...

I like this: I think there’s a big misunderstanding in a lot of people that think the elections are supposed to go smoothly. They’re too important to go smoothly, they should go crazy. And I’m hoping that Bloomberg injects some nuts into this.

Pal2Pal said...

Aaah, Penn Gillette, the political guru, who cares? The question is, can he dance?

Alex said...

EnigmatiCore said...

The possibility, though, that he can help transcend the partisan nightmare that has been at the core of this country since the end of the first Bush presidency, is very appealing.

1:07 PM

The thing is that the hyper-partisanship really began right after Watergate. It's been pretty toxic since 1973 in this country. It only gets worse every year. To tell the truth, the leftists are far more vitriolic then the right wingers. Daily Kos, Huffington are always more hateful then RedState and Free Republic.

Blake said...

MadMan wrote...sloan: If you don't believe them when they say they're all for personal responsibility, why do you believe them when they say they want Universal Health Care?

Because personal responsibility doesn't increase the government's scope and power. Insofar as it's reflected in action, it would reduce the government's scope and power.

You know, a lot of lefties play the "hypocrisy" game with the GOP, with things like Larry Craig or whatever, when the real hypocrisy is that (Reagan-and-after) they campaign on getting the government out of your way. But (post-Reagan) they haven't really done that.

"Trust us: When we get into power, we won't spend your money and we won't intrude into your lives."

Right. I wouldn't believe a Libertarian candidate who said that.

AJ Lynch said...


You are absolutely correct. The vitriol won't be eliminated until the boomers and I am one are dead and gone.

That said, if the country reaches the Tipping Point like California where more residents get tax dollars than pay taxes, then I predict more and lasting Vitriol. Why not call Vitriol -Round II.

EnigmatiCore said...

"The thing is that the hyper-partisanship really began right after Watergate."

I disagree. I was speaking about the latest bout. We have had bouts of this going back throughout the history of the country. Although frequent, it is not healthy, IMO.

The hyper-partisanship did not start with Watergate. I believe it hit the apex with Watergate. The Ford-Carter-Reagan-Bush years were lulls in the partisanship to my eyes. There was some partisanship, but it was significantly less (and more realistically grounded) than it was before then, or than it has been since then.

Whenever we get to where the accepted norms are the type of bullshit Eli Blake throws around or to nuttiness of Cedarford or any of the truthers or the rightwingers who won't vote for McCain because he isn't in lockstep with them, then it is time for us to relieve the pressure lest the boiler explode.

Obama offers that. And if he controls his leftist impulses, he could actually turn out to be a hell of a President. And if he doesn't, then his election will be the relief of the pressure build-up that is needed coupled with a few hard years where the country is reminded that leftism is a pretty bad idea and keeps getting rejected here for a reason.

caplight said...

In McLuhanesque terms, would it be true to say political speech and communication are now perceived more as a "cool" medium as opposed to a "hot" medium?

EnigmatiCore said...

"It was not how far left Carter was. It was his total lack of competency."

It is amazing just how few truly competent people there are who are believers in the furthest left philosophies. Every time these ideas are tried, it is always the fault of those incompetents that it didn't work.

I will concede, however, the Carter was incredibly incompetent. I believe though that had he tried to govern a bit more centrist, as he had campaigned, he would have found it easier to maintain a degree of competence that perpetually eluded him.

There are reasons most Americans yearn for good centrist leadership-- when tried, it tends to work. I am not talking about the mushy centrism of George W. Bush, but the more assertive centrism of Reagan and Clinton-- they each were off-center, but close enough at the end of the day to claim the middle, and they did it their way, rather than by being led by Congress. And yes I know that Reagan gave amnesty and signed massive spending increases, and I know Clinton signed welfare reform and other 'triangulations'. But for the most part, they took the initiative and gained the center's approval and governed from there.

EnigmatiCore said...

Correction--- the mushy centrism of George H. W. Bush. I would not characterize George W. Bush's Presidency as centrist.

AJ Lynch said...


Plausible theory but high risk involved. I like it and could even convince myself you are right. But I have concerns (if you are wrong) the country could be ruined in a span of just 4 years.

Back to Watergate- but it did ruin journalism. Never before had so many liberal wusses flocked to a field to "change the world". And they became bitter, frustrated middle class jerks who were jealous of the success of those they covered and deemed inferior: the dumber but richer athlete, the less worthy but richer businessman, the mediocre but more famous actor or sleezy but more powerful politician.

And they took out their frustration on the standards and practices of their own industry and became advocates for liberal policies. IMHO.

Ask yourself this - if the media are so altruistic why have they chased the big buck as hard as any other group? There is a reason many "journalists" now have multiple sources of income (i.e cable network, daily newspaper, radio show, book publisher). Ask yourself how they can possibly maintain journalistic integrity?

Trooper York said...

Ok, I finished my pizza and I have come to a realization. I would like to be refered to on this blog by my full name:

Trooper Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier York, the Marquis de Lafayette

AJ Lynch said...

Wolfed down that pizza fast- no wonder you are a little chubby.

As to your name change, I think we should just call you Alvin for short.

AJ Lynch said...


I was wrong- the injunction was refused. Ann must be a better lawyer than Reynolds who has now disappeared from the internets.

God help us all.

EnigmatiCore said...


I don't have that romantic vision of journalists. I don't think journalists ever had that romantic vision of themselves until the whole 60s/boomers/narcissistic generation. They said the same BS so often that they came to believe it about themselves, and had a whole next generation which believed it about them, when in fact it was never true.

Journalists write. They get to do so only as long as they have a way to get paid. They are not gatekeepers of the truth. They are not any more needed than people who pick up the garbage or clean the toilets or build bridges or design bridges. All the other romantic crap was nothing more than a myth. A self-serving myth.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper Marie...


Trooper York said...

Hey it's a family name, what can youdo? At least they didn't call me by my grandmother's name:Restituta.

Middle Class Guy said...

Gee Trooper,
I didn't know you were one of those highfalutin French fellers. A Marquis and everything. Whoda thunk?

Trooper York said...

Ssssssssh. I was just joshing captian serious. I'm really just a fat guinea. But some times when you blog you have to pretend to be someone else to fit in. That's why when I go on BO's blog I use the screen name:

Trooper Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo York.

dick said...

Althouse Cohen,

How do you equate Barack's statement about taking personal responsibility with the policies he is espousing. None of them mean people take responsibility. In fact he is taking responsibility for them rather than have them take any responsibility. Is he the only one who is allowed to take responsibility?

Middle Class Guy said...

Yeah, I know, but it is Saturday and Saturday is ball busting day.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo York.

Trooper wants African French cut pork chops with mayo delivered to New York?

somefeller said...

Every time these ideas are tried, it is always the fault of those incompetents that it didn't work.

It's interesting that you say that's some sort of attribute of the Left, because I hear that line a lot from conservatives when they talk about Dubya, DeLay, etc. It's not the movement or the ideas behind it that failed, it's the people in Washington who failed! Oh, but don't worry, if we get some real conservatives in there (if you introduce conservative policies and they are shown to fail, apparently that means those policies aren't conservative anymore) it'll all be different next time.

EnigmatiCore said...

somefeller-- you won't get me defending George W. Bush on incompetence charges (particularly on communications).

But Ronald Reagan had a very successful center-right Presidency. It can be done. It has been done. Just as a center-left Presidency has been done.

We haven't had a successful far-left Presidency in nearly a century, and other countries that have gone left have mostly had major problems.

Go further than center-left, and it doesn't work.

EnigmatiCore said...

In fact, since WWII, I would say that every left (as opposed to center-left) President we have had has been a disaster (Carter, LBJ). The Center-left have been good/decent (Truman, Kennedy, Clinton). The center-right have been good/decent (Reagan, Bush I, Ford).

And then there has been the current President. Not sure if I would call him right or center right, and I am not sure he'll look as bad in five years as he does now. But it really doesn't matter in his case for the argument above. Experience tells me that if we elect someone who governs from the left as opposed to the center left, we're going to have problems, it will be a one term Presidency, and we'll probably swing right for several terms thereafter.

Hopefully, that will be sufficient for Obama to realize the path to success lies towards the center.

Eli Blake said...


I'd consider Bush II as hard right. Reagan was more right than the others on your list though he did moderate a lot by the end of his term. Eisenhower on the other hand was a centrist. Nixon is so complicated I'd never be able to pin him down as either.

I take issue with your claim that LBJ was a liberal. He wasn't. True he advocated the 'great society,' but he also was a war-monger, though an inept one (which is why he lost his chance at a second term-- and it was ant-war leftists who chased him out of the race by supporting Eugene McCarthy).

EnigmatiCore said...

But Eli, you are a complete partisan wingnut who seems to think he is sensible when he starts saying that John McCain represents a mafia resurgence. So you taking issue with the way I categorize candidates really doesn't bother me much.

former law student said...

I would like to get a commenter-to-English translator, because I can't imagine in what sense:

1. Obama is a (an uber-) socialist
2. Michelle Obama played the race card.
3. Reagan provided truly great leadership
4. Michelle Obama is a perennial victim.
5. Universal health insurance is an abdication of personal responsibility. Right now, the lack of universal health insurance adds $1000 to the cost of an American-made car, making our products uncompetitive. Universal health insurance will lead to a boom in entrepreneurial activity, as many people cling to a job they hate for fear of major illness.

I do agree that Carter was the least competent president in living memory until W. came along. W.'s 100 year war in Iraq makes the Iranian hostage crisis look like an unpaid parking ticket. At least Carter did not spend the Social Security trust fund on an attempt to impress his daddy. And although the dollar sagged while Carter was in office, it did not give up 40% of its value against European currencies.

AJ Lynch said...


I will try to address the easy one.

The census data indicates there are 47 million without health insurance. About 25-35% of those are in households that make $75,000 and theoretically they could afford some form of minimal or catastrophic insurance. I personally know several folks like this and they have chosen to spend their money on something else while I chose to pay my family's premiums. That is what a commenter may have meant re the personal responsibility factor.

In addition, about 12-15 millionof the uninsured are not citizens yet. Should we cover people from Day One when they arrive here? Or should they take that personal responsibilty themselves? Lastly, about 10 million of the uninsured are the young 20-30 years old who could get insurance relatively cheaply (except in over-regulated states like New Jersey). Many of these young also have chosen to spend their money on other things. That is only natural but also a case of abdication of personal responsibility.
Re the automakers, they are full of shit in one way. They negotiated the programs in good faith with their unions and now the automakers are using it as s bargaining chip to puch for govt paid insurance figuring that could cut their costs somewhat. I do agree that they may be at a disadvantage with other countries but that is another issue entirely. If the govt goes to universal coverage, the taxpayers get stuckwith the premiums and i.e GM makes more money. Is that what you favor? I would support flatout govt subsidies to our car industry to match the foreign-govt subsidies the foreign carmakers get. But again you are mixing apples and oranges when you fall into GM/ Ford's lament that oh woe is them. They overpaid their workers and retirees contractually! And now they want out of those contracts.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I would like to get a commenter-to-English translator"

If you had completed your studies, or been a good student, you probably would not have needed one.

Unless you were the kind of person who could nail tests but was nearly illiterate and dumber than a box of rocks regardless.

AJ Lynch said...


Let me add this in respnse to your prediction that "universal health care will lead to a boom in entrepreneurial business because people will break the chains that bind them to heartless jobs but provide health insurance"(I paraphrased a bit.

What the fluff are you smoking? Entreprenuers in this country have never let a lack of health insurance stop them. You have been to too many cocktail parties where some balless cube-dweller bullshits you that he would be the next Microsoft if only this country was like Denmark and gave him health insurance. Let me clue you in on something- people who tell you that will never take a chance and that is what an entrepreneur does buddy.

What you are really saying is that if people had more capital (i.e fewer bills), they would take more chances and try to start a business. I agree with this sentiment and I guess I have to since I just wrote it.

But again you are mixing apples and oranges a bit but I like your spirit. Glad I could help.

EnigmatiCore said...

Dude, he's an idiot. Why do you think you can get an intelligible answer from him? He pretends to be something he isn't while his posts prove him to be something he is-- a moron.

AJ Lynch said...

Sorry E-core but I don't view him that way yet. Anyway, I like economics issues - bit of a sick hobby.

Middle Class Guy said...

"Hillary just seems like Jerry Lee Lewis to me. And McCain just seems like a complete wackjob. And I guess Obama seems to have some sort of sense..."

So, Hillary is going to divorce Bill and marry a fifteen year old relative, McCain will go nuts, and Barak will win the election and turn into a moderate Republican. Cool.