Why You Have To Be Brave To Live Here

Stephanie Strom writes for the New York Times:

In the genteel world of bridge, disputes are usually handled quietly and rarely involve issues of national policy. But in a fight reminiscent of the brouhaha over an anti-Bush statement by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks in 2003, a team of women who represented the United States at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month is facing sanctions, including a yearlong ban from competition, for a spur-of-the-moment protest.

At issue is a crudely lettered sign, scribbled on the back of a menu, that was held up at an awards dinner and read, “We did not vote for Bush.”

By e-mail, angry bridge players have accused the women of “treason” and “sedition.”

Judging by Memeorandum, this is the hottest news item on the blogosphere right now. The wingnuts are spewing about Bush Derangement Syndrome. “Shut up and play cards” is a common suggestion.

The players have been stunned by the reaction to what they saw as a spontaneous gesture, “a moment of levity,” said Gail Greenberg, the team’s nonplaying captain and winner of 11 world championships.

“What we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends from other countries, was that we understand that they are questioning and critical of what our country is doing these days, and we want you to know that we, too, are critical,” Ms. Greenberg said, stressing that she was speaking for herself and not her six teammates.

The controversy has gone global, with the French team offering support for its American counterparts.

“By trying to address these issues in a nonviolent, nonthreatening and lighthearted manner,” the French team wrote in by e-mail to the federation’s board and others, “you were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality.”

Jimmie at the Sundries Shack disagrees.

What these ladies should have done is reminded the Bush-haters that they were at a bridge tournament and not a political convention and that good manners prohibit the discussion of politics at a table where it is not welcome. I’m fairly sure that reminding your fellow bridge players of their manners would have solved the problem.

Then you beat the stuffing out of them and taunt them relentlessly from the winners’ podium. Maybe you even stack the losers up in a pyramid and have one of your team point at them and laugh while you take pictures.

I assume that last bit was another attempt at levity. But what this tells me is that wingnuts don’t get out much. These days, for Americans, to go abroad is to be treated with, at the very least, caution. We may look normal on the surface, but at the least provocation we may grow tusks and root up the shrubberies.

But these ladies appear to have run into some outright hostility, and they were trying to diffuse the situation. Any emotionally mature person might have done the same thing, which is why wingnuts don’t understand it.

Gateway Pundit writes,

Did they not notice they were playing cards in Communist China?

China- The same country that harvests prisoner’s body organs- The same country that jails Christians and people of faith- The same country that murdered 30-40 million of its own citizens less than 50 years ago.

Do these pampered loons have any perspective of history?

Standard wingnut moral relativism — whatever we do is OK, because China is worse. But in the real world, people who claim a higher standard had better live up to it or face the snarking.

The bridge lady might have written this on her menu instead:

It is not fair for bridge players to criticize GWB. He exemplifies something essential to playing every hand of bridge.

The dummy.

But what does it say about a nation that allows a dummy to be its head of state for eight years?

Nothing Is Inevitable

At MyDD, Jerome Armstrong analyzes the most recent polling numbers out of Iowa and New Hampshire. In brief: For the Dems, Iowa is up for grabs. Senator Clinton is ahead by a nose, but her support is soft. Her position in New Hampshire is stronger, but much of this support comes from her perceived electability. I agree with Jerome that if she loses Iowa, which is very possible, New Hampshire could slip away from her also.

But I admit that I have a terrible track record at predicting what voters will do.

Just for some perspective, see Democratic candidate rankings for the 2004 nomination, taken in November 2003:

Not Sure 34%
Howard Dean 15
Wesley Clark 10
Dick Gephardt 9
Joe Lieberman 9
John Kerry 7
Al Sharpton 4
John Edwards 3
Dennis Kucinich 2
Carol Moseley Braun 2
Other 6

(Zogby America Poll, 558 Likely Democrat Voters Nationwide, Conducted 11/3-5/03, Margin Of Error +/- 4.2%)

New Hampshire only, also November 2003:

Howard Dean 38%
John Kerry 24
Undecided 21
Wesley Clark 4
Joe Lieberman 4
John Edwards 4
Dick Gephardt 3
Carol Moseley Braun 1
Dennis Kucinich 1
Al Sharpton 0

(American Research Group Poll, 600 Registered Democrats And Undeclared Voters, Conducted 11/2-5/03, Margin Of Error +/- 4%)

Here are the final results for New Hampshire, 2004.

Kerry 39%
Dean 26%
Clark 13%
Edwards 12%
Lieberman 9%
Kucinich 1%
Sharpton 0%

And the moral is, pre-election poll results are like dust in the wind.

For the Republicans, Mitt Romney is ahead in both polls. In Iowa, Rudy Giuliani is only 4th (after Romney, Huckabee, and Undecided). In New Hampshire, he’s tied for second place with John McCain.

So tell me again why the bobbleheads keep talking about a Clinton-Giuliani race in 2008?

As I remember, all through 2003 many professional television pundits kept saying Dick Gephardt or Joe Lieberman would be the nominee. And now exactly the same crew, albeit a tad more wrinkled, are talking up Clinton and Giuliani. And they get paid for this. I make wrong predictions just as often, but I do it for free. Such a deal.

At the Washington Post, Michael Shear writes about the Hillary phenomenon among the GOP.

They mock her proposals, utter her name with a sneer and win standing ovations by ridiculing her ideas as un-American, even socialistic. She has become the one thing the Republican candidates for president can agree on.

Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this year, the senator from New York was the subject of an occasional laugh line from former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Now, the trickle has become a torrent as the leading GOP candidates seek to one-up one another in a Clinton-bashing contest aimed at energizing their party faithful.

“The competition inside the GOP for who’s the most anti-Hillary is going to pay dividends,” said Greg Strimple, a GOP pollster and consultant who is not working with any presidential campaign. “Looking for that piece of anti-Hillary energy is what you’re seeing right now.”

I’m glad to see Republicans running an honest campaign for a change. But what will the eventual nominee campaign on if Senator Clinton is not his opponent? The poor dear will have to run on issues. Iraq, health care, the economy? God, guns, and gays?