Cogito, Ergo Blog

Adam Nagourney:

As became clear from the rather large and diverse crowd here, the blogosphere has become for the left what talk radio has been for the right: a way of organizing and communicating to supporters. Blogging is nowhere near the force among Republicans as it is among Democrats, and talk radio is a much more effective tool for Republicans.

“We don’t spend a lot of time in cars, but we do spend a lot of time on the Internet,” said Jerome Armstrong, a blogging pioneer and a senior adviser to Mr. Warner, who has been the most aggressive among the prospective 2008 candidates in courting this community.

Hmm, could that be because righties like to be told what to think, while we lefties like to express what we think?

On the whole, the crowd here is older than I had expected it to be, which certainly cheered me up. I was afraid I’d be the only matronly lady in a sea of twenty-somethings. I’m guessing the average age is 40-ish, and there are plenty of gray heads in the crowd. It’s an earnest and sometimes rowdy group, and I believe most of the people who came to the conference actually, you know, attended the conference and didn’t get sidetracked into the casinos.

Shorter Hot Air: “I came to Las Vegas to ridicule the straw man liberal who lives in my head.” Really, dear, if you came to make fun of figments of your own imagination you could’ve saved yourself the plane fare. Next time just sit in front of a mirror and pretend you’re interviewing a liberal; you and your readers will be no less enlightened than you all are now.

I like this part:

The mole sent this along last night after returning from the big nutroots celebrity blogger panel, but he couldn’t chat long: “I’m going to a Mark Warner party at nine o’clock at the Stratosphere. It’ll be fun to see progressives swishing around in swanky settings, compalining about the minimum wage.”

I went to the Mark Warner party, which was held at the top of a tower that resembles the Seattle Space Needle. The event was considerably less swanky but a bit more rowdy than most company Christmas parties I’ve been to. I was in awe of the view of the Las Vegas lights and of such culinary delights as mashed potato martinis and a chocolate fountain that served as a fancy-schmancy fondue. But if drinking fruity drinks out of plastic cups and eating cheese cubes off paper plates is one’s idea of “swank,”perhaps one should spend more time outside the Stix. I assume the writer missed Bush’s second inauguration:

Dallas businesswoman Jeanne Johnson Phillips is proud of the work she is doing as chair of the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee. “We know the world will be watching,” she said.

Yes, they will, and I suspect the world will be disgusted.

Usually, inaugurations for a second term are toned down a bit from the first term. But not for George W. Bush. The upcoming four-day celebration promises to be the most expensive inaugural in U.S. history.

Maureen Fan of the Washington Post interviewed the head concierge at the Hay-Adams Hotel. “We’re not calling it an inauguration,” he said. “Because the president’s supporters believe he has a mandate, there’s going to be, in effect, a coronation.”

“People are coming from all over the world for the world’s biggest prom,” said the concierge for the Ritz-Carlton. “It’s like a prom gone crazy.”

According to the events calendar, there will be nine official balls. There will be three official candlelight dinners. Plus a Chairman’s Breakfast, a Youth Concert the traditional parade, and a couple of “salutes” and “celebrations.”

I bet every ice sculpture artiste in America has been called upon to do his bit.

And I bet those Republicans swished up a storm.

Today, the tsunami death toll approaches 150,000. Today, U.S. military fatalities in Iraq, a war most Americans now believe is a mistake, total 1,333. Today, a Staff Sargeant injured in Iraq in 2003 is still waiting for surgery. He has been waiting for 18 months. Yesterday, insurgents killed 17 Iraqi police and National Guards.

But a triumphant George W. Bush plans to party. And, contrary to what the Bushies tell their critics, historically presidential inaugurations held during times of war or disaster have been muted, solemn affairs.

Elisabeth Bumiller writes in today’s New York Times,

    … last week two pockets of the capital were humming: the State Department, where officials were trying to coordinate aid to the tsunami victims in Asia, and the fifth floor of the old Department of Education building on C Street, headquarters of the inaugural committee, where 450 paid staff members and volunteers buzzed about concerts and balls.

    The contrast between the two sites was not lost on inaugural organizers, who have already had to justify their plans to spend as much as $40 million on partying at a time of war. Last week they came under new questions when the United States initially offered only $15 million to aid the tsunami victims, although by Friday Mr. Bush announced that the American aid would be at least $350 million for what he termed an “epic disaster.”

    In either case, the organizers were ready with an answer to critics who questioned the price tag on the merriment, which is similar to what was spent for the inaugural in 2001. A presidential inaugural, they said, has never been canceled, even during world wars. Mr. James, who has staged events for both President Bushes, went back and checked. “The celebrations went on, that’s the lesson we learned,” he said.

You can count on the Bushies to miss points. Yes, there were inaugurations during the world wars, but according to this New York Times article from 1989, “Franklin Roosevelt held no ball in 1937, 1941 and 1945 in recognition of the Depression and World War II.” Woodrow Wilson held no ball for either of his inaugurals, because he thought dancing inappropriate for a solemn occasion.

On the other hand, Richard Nixon’s Vietnam-era inaugurals were glittery and gaudy. Clearly, the Bushies prefer Nixon to Roosevelt as a role model. And what lessons, pray tell, were learned?

Bush likes to prance around in military costumes; he fancies himself to be a “war president.” He makes speeches about “resolve” and “service” and “sacrifice.” But for the Bushies, service and sacrifice are, like taxes, for the little people.

I’m exhausted and have to get up early to get to the airport, so my Las Vegas adventure is pretty much done. Tomorrow, back to New York; and then Monday, on to Washington for the Take Back America conference (help!).

8 thoughts on “Cogito, Ergo Blog

  1. I wonder who got that contract? Halliburton – re porta-potties.

    I thought that Shorter Hot Air’s straw man comment was ridiculous when I read it the first time.

    I love potato martinis!

    It sounds like it was a tacky affair – plastic & paper and cheese cubes. I’ve been to nicer affairs at art opening night receptions.

    I love your comment, Maha about Bush- “Bush likes to prance around in military costumes. He fancies himself to be a war President.”

    It makes me sick how he has used the military in light of his missing military records. He is the last person who should be doing this. Bush is always talking at military locations. He’s the Decider and those people have to sit there and put up with his bullshit. Most have blank looks on their face.

  2. Shameless digression:

    One indicator that most Republicans are off in fantasy land is the nature of the liberal straw men that they embrace. It seems no image is too ridiculous. Remember Howard Dean was a “merlot drinking, Volvo driving, body piercing” liberal. Now I don’t know if he drives a Volvo or not. But, it seems that any string of “negative” images can be grafted to the liberal straw man without ever being questioned. I also find it interesting that the language of the market state is so pronounced. The market state is comprised of different consumer alliances. So to tag someone as “the other” you simply point out that the buy different products than you do. Most people who harbor resentment probably resent their neighbor who drives a newer car and makes 10K a year more than they do, rather than the CEO’s of the corporations that live in some distant gated community. The Republicans are great at this tagging and sadly, most Americans are affected by it perhaps without knowing it. So, if I drive a Prius and drink wine instead of beer, I am instantly some elitist liberal whose desire to “promote the general welfare” is hipocrisy.

    The guy in the outrageously expensive Hummer with the “W” sticker is a down to earth pal of the common man. He is definitely not a hipocrit because he doesn’t even pretend to give a rat’s patoot about the working class. (Of course this image is an example of market state thinking on my part. But then I am supposed to be a hipocrit anyway. )

    Madison Avenue type thinking has grown to an overwhelming force in our political system. You can almost imagine the phrase “new and improved” presidency being trotted out to describe Bush’s power grab. The “meritocracy” gave us a bunch of incompetent cronies. The “small government” turned out to be no government for corporations and Big Brother for us. The whole list of “conservative” products turned out to be a pair of “X-ray Specs” and one of those “real log cabins” that comic books used to advertise. The “log cabin” came in an envelope and turned out to be a plastic bag.

    Madison Avenue type promotion of politcal figures has contributed to what William Blum called “ruined words”. Words that no longer have their original meaning or any meaning at all. “liberal”, “christian”, “democracy”, “patriot” the list goes on and on. So debate and even conversation become virtually impossible because subjective definitions have become so disparate.


    Sorry I just needed a midmorning rant. I feel a lot better and the goats need tending. If anybody actually read this I hope you didn’t waste to much time.

  3. Comment no 3

    My daughter drives a Prius, also. She loves it and she also works for Toyota and she gets a discount on any car but picked the Prius. She and I both love wine over beer. Beer is way too heavy on the stomach.

    I think that it’s the first year that you buy the Prius that you get a discount on your Income tax.

    Hey, don’t apologize for what you called “rant”. I didn’t really consider it a rant.

    What do you do with the goats? Do you make goat cheese? It sounds like they could have used some in Vegas since poor Maha had to eat “cubed cheese”. Probably “yellow” cheddar which has had food coloring added since the natural color is white.

    Why couldn’t they have served pea pods stuffed with goat cheese or something like boursin with garlic and herbs?

  4. comment no 3 -goatherd

    I intended to ask if you ever read a book by Vance Packard about image makers? It was required reading when I was in college in mid-60’s. I forget the title but he was the author. It was about packaging and imaging and markets that are targeted.

    It is still applicable today. Oh, a title just popped into my head- “The Status Seekers” by Vance Packard.

  5. Wait… mashed potato martinis?

    I didn’t drink one. I don’t know what was in them. I’m just sayin’ they were there.

  6. I know that you didn’t say that you had one but just mentioned that they were there. I’ve had them at a fundraiser. The one I had was mashed pototoes in a martini glass with cheese, green, onions added. The one good thing about them – portion control! Actually chocolate mousse would probably look good in a martini glass, too.

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