So often when a Big Shot is caught doing something naughty, this news is followed by admissions from his friends and colleagues: “We knew Mr. Big Shot was [choose one or more: taking bribes, cheating on his wife, in the closet, addicted to painkillers, addicted to porn, soliciting minors, a giant bloodsucking worm] but we all hoped he would get over it before he harmed himself [i.e., got caught].”

After reading Wolcott (via Avedon), my prediction is that someday we’ll find out that so-called recovered alcoholic George W. Bush was drinking the whole time he was in the White House, and the White House staff and a big chunk of Republican leadership and some Democrats and half of the White House press corps knew about it, but were just hoping (for his sake, of course) that he’d straighten himself out before he got caught harmed himself.

Wanna bet?


You know the VRWC is off the sexism chart when even Ann Althouse notices. But apparently the Right’s brilliant plan to “get Hillary” is to “get Nancy Pelosi.” Because, you know, one Democratic woman is just like another.

Hans Nichols and Philip Sherwell write in The Telegraph:

The Republican strategy is not only to undermine Mrs Pelosi’s control of the House but also to associate her in voters’ minds with Senator Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination.

“Two years of Pelosi gives a good idea of what four years of Hillary will be like,” said Tom DeLay, the Republican powerbroker who ran his party in the House before he was caught up in a lobbyist corruption scandal. “They are both committed liberals and we will make that clear to the American people.”…

…A senior Republican operative who planned the damaging advertisements against Sen John Kerry, the Democrats’ presidential candidate in 2004, predicted that it would not be easy to turn Mrs Pelosi into a surrogate target for Mrs Clinton.

“If Hillary has been able to separate herself from criticisms of her own husband, she’ll try to do the same with Pelosi,” he said. “She and her people are very smart and they will try to highlight the difference between the two women. You will see Hillary move more to the centre.”

But a former strategist for a Republican House leader said: “If Pelosi comes across as not ready for prime time, that’s going to hamstring Hillary. Fair or not, people can’t help but make that comparison… Even Hillary’s people are recognising that their fates are linked.”

Oh, jebus, where to start …

First off, Republicans are acting like a loser ex-boyfriend who turns homicidal; the guy who thinks “If I can’t have her, no one will.” Apparently this isn’t just the stuff of TV serial drama. It’s a syndrome, called “male sexual proprietariness.”

It is manifested in the dogged inclination of men to control the activities of women, and in the male perspective according to which sexual access and woman’s reproductive capacity are commodities that mean can “own” and exchange. This proprietary point of view is furthermore inextricably bound up with the use of threat of violence in order to maintain sexual exclusivity and control. [page 259]

Substitute “government” for “women,” and I think you’ll see the point. Republicans are jealously stalking the Dems, shrieking “If we can’t govern, no one will!” After four years of complete control of Congress and the White House — four years of utter incompetence, please note — voters rejected them, and they can’t deal with it. They’ll foul up any attempts by Democrats to govern rather than accept the will of the voters. We should call this “wingnut governmental proprietariness.”

They were the same way after Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election. If you read David Brock’s Blinded by the Right, you’ll remember his descriptions of wingnut hysteria that Clinton was not “legitimate,” in spite of the fact that he had just won the bleeping election. Clearly, there are some aspects of republican government that wingnuts don’t grasp. The street sweepers were still cleaning up after the inauguration when the VRWC “punditocracy” were all over news media declaring that the Clinton Administration had already failed. Nothing the President did was too trivial for the wingnuts to blow up into a scandal. And as documented by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons in The Hunting of the President, U.S. news media willingly allowed themselves to be tools for the VRWC cause.

The ever-alert Digby has documented symptoms of wingnut governmental proprietariness in news media for the past several days, albeit framed as the female equivalent of male sexual proprietariness — Queen Bee syndrome; see “Shrinking the Kewl Kids” and “Toxins.” Queen Bees are “mean girls” who control their friends and enhance their social power by social intimidation; see also Sara Robinson, “Kewl Kidz and Queen Bees.” As Digby says,

This kind of derisive babble is not simply a bunch of overgrown frat boys ‘n sorority girls disrespectfully talking about these women’s looks. It’s designed very specifically to trivialize them. It’s right out of the Spring 2000 Earth Tones catalogue.

And the Kewl Kidz, anxious as ever to prove their sophomoric Spite Girl bona-fides, are more than happy to “pass it on” …

The “pundits” already are picking Pelosi apart with comments about botox and designer suits. Her failure to get Jack Murtha elected Majority Whip is being blown up into “proof” that Pelosi will fail as a Speaker, in spite of the fact that she was elected unanimously. You know if something like this had gone on with Republicans ca. 1992, no one would have noticed. [Update: Michael Stickings reminds us that the same thing did happen when Newt G. was elected Speaker in 1994; see also Specious Reasoning.] Just as there has been little mention in media of the discontent over the election of John Boehner and Roy Blunt as House Minority Leader and Whip, a development that could prove to be more significant in the long run.

Back to the sexism angle — other than Althouse, rightie bloggers so far haven’t noticed their own biases in this matter. My favorite comment is at Macsmind:

Both Pelosi and Hillary have one distinct problem. Call it an identity crisis. That is that they – like most democrats – will not run for office on who they are – liberals. They are constantly trying to remake themselves appear “conservative” or if you will – republican. The problem with that is that they can do either because liberals cannot lead – except haphazardly, and they haven’t a clue about what conservatism is – therefore, they can screw up quite nicely on their own.

It’s all there, folks. Implicit sexism and explicit ideologism (liberals try to act like conservatives; think feminist women try to act like men). The dig about “liberals cannot lead,” which is a five-alarm hoot after the abject failure of movement conservatives (who had all the power) to lead. “They haven’t a clue about what conservatism is” — like this guy would recognize real liberalism if it bit his butt. Actually I doubt he knows what conservatism is, either, or at least what it used to be. The people running around calling themselves conservatives these days are mostly of the pseudo variety.

The wingnut definition of liberalism is, of course, is “whatever we want to diss.” The actual philosophical foundation of liberalism is irrelevant.

Likewise “women.” I think women are individual human beings, but when wingnuts think of women, they are thinking of something else entirely.