Jeff Fecke

Post-Pennsylvania Analysis

So we're finally, mercifully, thankfully past Pennsylvania. Hill's the big winner, Barry's the big loser, Johnny Mac is still angry. But where do the candidates fall if one were to, say, rank them in order of power based on completely arbitrary criteria? Good question!
1. Sen. Barack Obama (Last Rank: 1)

The fundamentals of the race remain favorable to Obama. He's got the lead in delegates, and a 200,000 popular vote margin even with Florida factored in.* Yes, that's about 200,000 fewer popular votes than he led by yesterday, but Pennsylvania was the last chance for Clinton to significantly narrow the gap; Obama will likely gain a good chunk of that vote back in North Carolina.

Obama is still the front-runner. But.

But Obama hasn't been able to close the deal. He hasn't been able to effectively end the race. He didn't have to win Pennsylvania to do so -- even a narrow loss would have made it tough for Clinton to go on. But if he didn't get blown out in Pennsylvania, it was close -- and that has exposed a possible weakness.

Obama is now in the precarious position of needing to win Indiana to quell doubts about his campaign. If he loses there, especially if he loses big, it will feed into the Clinton camp's argument that he can't win white, working-class Democrats, and therefore can't win in November. Now, I find that argument somewhat unpersuasive, for the same reason I'd find an argument that Hillary Clinton can't win among African-American voters in November unpersuasive.

But the argument isn't going to be met with as much skepticism today as it was last week, and if Clinton can win in Indiana, and then go on to win West Virginia and Kentucky (as she should)...well, it's going to give that argument more and more credence. Enough to topple Obama? I doubt it -- as I said, the fundamentals are in his favor. But the longer this goes on, the more people are going to question whether he can actually win, and the more compelling Clinton's argument becomes. If Obama wins Indiana, I suspect the momentum of the argument will stall, and Obama will get the nomination. But if he loses...well, he'll still be the favorite. But he won't be inevitable.

Bill Kristol Becomes the Latest White Bigot to Lecture Us on Race

Bill Kristol, as usual, is wrong about something.

What he's wrong about today is race in America. Now, you, being a sentient human with eyes and/or ears that function to bring information to your brain, may have thought that racism was still a problem in our country. Au contraire! Bill Kristol, you see, thinks that racism isn't a problem at all. At least not one we should talk about:

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Fox News Demotes Heath Ledger Bashing Bigot John Gibson

Don't complain that sounds barbaric. We're fighting barbaric:
Fox News Channel, tinkering for the first time in eight years with its popular early evening lineup, is replacing its 5 p.m. news broadcast, “The Big Story,” with an election-theme program for the foreseeable future. The network confirmed this week that “America’s Election HQ,” a program that displaced “The Big Story” temporarily last month, would continue indefinitely. The program’s hosts, Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly, also anchor the network’s mid-morning newscast and are seen as rising stars on the channel. The change was first reported by the blog John Gibson, the longtime host of “The Big Story,” will continue to have a role on television, the network said, although it appears that his future for now lies mostly on radio.
As Crooks and Liars helpfully reminds us:
Gibby insulted actor Heath Ledger shortly after his death, accused outed CIA operative, Valerie Plame of being part of an anti-Bush cabal within the CIA, introduced the world to the dreaded Oogah Boogah Fever, and finally, who could forget the xenophobic “make more white babies” rant.

All true! But don't forget my favorite! John Gibson posted this beauty right after British police shot a man in a tube station, shortly after the 2005 bombings there:
Meantime, got to admire the cojones of those Brit cops to go after him like that. All of this trumps any of my other complaints that the Brits weren't making the right noises about fighting terror. They like to go about things a bit more quietly than us. Not my style, but okay, fine — as long as they get the five in the noggin of the right bomber boy. They do that and I'm fine.
So for the moment, alls well. Just catch the four bombers. Five in the noggin is fine. Don't complain that sounds barbaric. We're fighting barbaric.

Nasty Clinton-Obama Fight Descends to Plagiarism Claims

The Clinton campaign has a new line of attack on Barack Obama: he's a plagiarist. And it's hard to argue with the video to your right.

Pretty damning, right? Clearly, the Clinton camp has an open-and-shut case.

Well, except for one thing.

The person being plagiarized here is Deval Patrick, now the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Patrick is a strong backer of Obama, and...well, I'm sure you can see where this is heading:

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Did Huckabee Have His Stomach Stapled?

In 2005, I came very close to undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

I was enrolled in a bariatric program through a local clinic and had completed my major pre-operative screening. Those tests, however, showed that I was suffering from major depression; while it wasn't disqualifying (I could have had a psychologist sign off on my surgery-worthiness), it stopped me dead in my tracks. I decided to put the process on hold and pursue psychotherapy. After finding a good therapist and finally finding the right selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, I was no longer interested in pursuing bariatric surgery. Don't get me wrong -- I still was, and am, fat. But I didn't think that was the worst thing in the world anymore. And as time went on, I grew more accepting of me -- and realized that I had been insouciant about gastric bypass in no small part because, being depressed, it represented a chance for an "accidental suicide," if you will. It wasn't that I wanted to die, just that, well, I sure could, and that didn't bother me much. Once I was no longer depressed, I no longer thought that death was a minor concern. I'm not afraid of dying, but I'm in no hurry to do so, and I'm certainly not going to undergo major abdominal surgery so I can be thin and unhealthy.

I mention this because, as has been well-documented, fat people aren't exactly beloved these days. Take Mike Huckabee. There's no way he'd even be in this race if he was still the 300-pound governor. A fat president? Horrors! And so, given that he wanted to be president, he had to lose the 110 pounds that he lost. It's understandable.

But what isn't understandable is lying about how he did it. And I think that's exactly what he's doing.

Mike Huckabee claims to have lost his weight via good old-fashioned diet and exercise. And I suppose it's not impossible that he did. But folks, I've lost 50 pounds more times than I can remember, and I can tell you that it's incredibly hard work, and that eventually, the weight comes back. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, on the other hand, may not make you healthy -- indeed, it may kill you -- but it will make you thin.

Blogger Plutarch has a pretty devastating rundown of the many pieces of evidence that Mike Huckabee had gastric bypass surgery. The whole piece should be read in full, but this is the part I want to highlight:

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Ron Paul Competes For the Unabomber Vote

This post, written by Jeff Fecke, originally appeared on Shakesville

Now, Ron Paul often sounds like the most sane GOP candidate during debates. And who knows? Maybe he is. But that's not so much praise of Ron Paul as damning of the other nuts on the stage with him.

Ron Paul is a wacko. And I don't say that inadvisedly. Yes, there's the nuttiness of the generalized libertarian "eliminate the government/return to the gold standard" rhetoric, but the real kookiness lies in Paul's cozy relationship with the Patriot movement.

Now, you don't hear much about the Patriots anymore; they pretty much reached their peak when Tim McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. After that they went from being a bunch of nutjobs with guns and anti-government leanings (and, not for nothing, a number of fans in the Republican party) to, well, terrorists. But Paul remained a big supporter of the Patriots over the years, sharing their fears of a global elite seizing America away from the people and placing our nation under UN control.

You may object that the idea of the UN seizing control of America when they can't effectively control their own headquarters is a bit of a silly idea. And it is. But it's the common thread that unites the Patriots, the idea that America is going away, and will soon be in control of the brown hordes, and only good, upstanding, quasi-fascist white Americans can save us.

This is something that Ron Paul believes fervently. In a scrawled, rambling, psychotic-guy-on-the-corner fundraising letter, Paul states his case:
I don't need to tell you that our American way of life is under attack. We see it all around us -- every day -- and it is up to us to save it.
The world's elites are busy forming a North American Union. If they are successful, as they were in forming the European Union, the good 'ol USA will only be a memory. We can't let that happen.
The UN also wants to confiscate our firearms and impose a global tax. The UN elites want to control the world's oceans with the Law of the Sea Treaty. And they want to use our military to police the world.