The short straw

SCENE: A secure, undisclosed location somewhere deep beneath Washington, D.C. Representatives from every conservative PR tank and farm team have gathered for an emergency meeting.

Tony Perkins looks nervous, unsure if he should be glad he gets to go first. He reaches out and makes his choice. Grinning broadly, he holds up the long straw for the others to see and, chuckling to himself, makes his way to the back of the room.

“It’s not fair,” says George Weigel of the Ethics & Public Policy Center. “We had to take Santorum. We should get a pass this time.”

“Just pick, George,” says the intern from Heritage. They sent an intern just to show up the others. Heritage is cocky like that.

Weigel picks a long straw and almost begins to sob with relief.

Gingrich picks next, another long straw. Then the lady from AEI and then a guy from the Petroleum Institute. They both get long straws too, but the oil lobbyist tries to act like he hadn't been worried. “It might have been OK for us,” he says. “You know, ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ and all that.” Nobody’s buying it.

It’s the Club for Growth’s turn next, and Stephen Moore looks like he just drank curdled milk.

“Do we really have to do this?” he whines. “Why not talk radio? Or Fox?”

“Have you seen her in interviews?” Gingrich says. “We stick with the plan – cushy think-tank post, ghost-write some books and buy ‘em back. Instant best-selling author and elder stateswoman. You know the drill. Now pick.”

Moore gets lucky, another long straw. And a string of long straws follows – for Dick Armey and Michelle Bernard and Mark Tooley from the Institute on Religion & Democracy, looking even twitchier than usual.

Brent Bozell is up next. The odds are getting worse and he hesitates.

“Look,” he says, “let's work something out here. What if we just agree to take Sanford instead? …”

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  • Daughter

    Lee, I’m with you in your concerns about the Dems. I waver between trying to be patient, since change takes time and you want it to stick, and feeling like they just need to plow forward and make it happen. Part of my fear is that I’m uncertain about the American people. Someone somewhere recently made this point about gay marriage: a majority of Americans don’t care about it (and so would be OK with it passing), but also aren’t emotionally committed to it (and so would also be OK if it doesn’t). Meanwhle, those opposed to it are rabidly committed and crazy.
    I feel like that same phenomenon may be true of other issues as well. For example, I think most Americans want some form of universal health care, but if people are currently insured, they may not have the emotional investment to support universal health care in the face of the crazies that oppose it. Maybe the White House feels this way as well, and that’s why they think they need to tread slowly.

  • Leum

    My fear is that Obama’s plan is to consolidate power in his first term, and then build a legacy in the second. Well, Mr. President, assuming you’ll get a second term is a bad idea, and don’t count on my support for that term unless you’ve already begun building in this term.

  • Leum

    My fear is that Obama’s plan is to consolidate power in his first term, and then build a legacy in the second. Well, Mr. President, assuming you’ll get a second term is a bad idea, and don’t count on my support for that term unless you’ve already begun building in this term.

  • Raj

    I personnaly believe that U.S. American Sarah Palin is unable to do so because she doesn’t have maps such as her education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as and I believe that her education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so she will be able to build up our future. For our children.
    :D :D :D

  • Raj

    I personnaly believe that U.S. American Sarah Palin is unable to do so because she doesn’t have maps such as her education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as and I believe that her education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so she will be able to build up our future. For our children.
    :D :D :D

  • Raj

    Yes, I know it’s “personally”, not “personnaly”.

  • Raj

    Yes, I know it’s “personally”, not “personnaly”.

  • Comrade Rutherford

    cmjr’s husband said, “Cheney taking a bribe from Halliburton.”
    Bribe? No, he was Halliburton’s payroll for at least the first two years. They called it some euphamism, like ‘deferred pay’, but he was still getting Halliburton checks on a regular basis for quite some time. That is apart from the stock options that he criminally used his influence as Vice President to greatly increase the value of.
    The long list of High Crimes that the Bush Administration committed in broad daylight still shocks me.
    After eight years of anti-Constitutional governance and blatant open corruption of the Bush Regime really makes me wonder just what Palin did to get her removed. The way she went on it makes me think it has something to do with her family. I’m specifically thinking of the ‘Trig’s not actually her baby’ story.
    That is like the 9/11 story, 4 commercial jets off course and the FAA/NORAD don’t lift a finger for over an hour, it’s just totally unbelievable. High risk pregnancy, her water broke in TX and they let her board a commercial flight while in labor? Then, back in AK, she bypasses well-equipped hospitals and goes all the way out to her tiny local facility? Wow, how many plot-holes in that crazy nonsense?

  • Comrade Rutherford

    cmjr’s husband said, “Cheney taking a bribe from Halliburton.”
    Bribe? No, he was Halliburton’s payroll for at least the first two years. They called it some euphamism, like ‘deferred pay’, but he was still getting Halliburton checks on a regular basis for quite some time. That is apart from the stock options that he criminally used his influence as Vice President to greatly increase the value of.
    The long list of High Crimes that the Bush Administration committed in broad daylight still shocks me.
    After eight years of anti-Constitutional governance and blatant open corruption of the Bush Regime really makes me wonder just what Palin did to get her removed. The way she went on it makes me think it has something to do with her family. I’m specifically thinking of the ‘Trig’s not actually her baby’ story.
    That is like the 9/11 story, 4 commercial jets off course and the FAA/NORAD don’t lift a finger for over an hour, it’s just totally unbelievable. High risk pregnancy, her water broke in TX and they let her board a commercial flight while in labor? Then, back in AK, she bypasses well-equipped hospitals and goes all the way out to her tiny local facility? Wow, how many plot-holes in that crazy nonsense?

  • hapax

    Umm. Comrade Rutherford, y’know…
    Oh, never mind.

  • hapax

    Umm. Comrade Rutherford, y’know…
    Oh, never mind.

  • ako

    You know, I find the proven behavior of the current major figures in the Republican party bad enough that I don’t feel the need to chase down conspiracy stories on sketchy evidence. Now, any conspiracy that’s proven is a different deal, but fussing over “But it could possibly be true!” just gives off the impression that the truth isn’t bad enough.

  • ako

    You know, I find the proven behavior of the current major figures in the Republican party bad enough that I don’t feel the need to chase down conspiracy stories on sketchy evidence. Now, any conspiracy that’s proven is a different deal, but fussing over “But it could possibly be true!” just gives off the impression that the truth isn’t bad enough.

  • Lori

    My argument against most conspiracy theories boils down to, “Look around you.” A conspiracy, especially one as complex as faking the moon landing or 9/11 being some sort of inside job would require a fairly large group of people to exhibit a tremendous level of smarts, coordination and ability to keep a secret. How many offices have you worked in were you could pull together a group of you coworkers who could do that?
    Even if you could get the first two I don’t see anyway you could get the third. It’s not human nature to be able to keep big secrets like that. Someone would give it up. Especially since DC is the leak capital of the world. Killing people to keep them from talking would require yet another complex conspiracy, and on and on.

  • Lori

    My argument against most conspiracy theories boils down to, “Look around you.” A conspiracy, especially one as complex as faking the moon landing or 9/11 being some sort of inside job would require a fairly large group of people to exhibit a tremendous level of smarts, coordination and ability to keep a secret. How many offices have you worked in were you could pull together a group of you coworkers who could do that?
    Even if you could get the first two I don’t see anyway you could get the third. It’s not human nature to be able to keep big secrets like that. Someone would give it up. Especially since DC is the leak capital of the world. Killing people to keep them from talking would require yet another complex conspiracy, and on and on.

  • Leum

    After eight years of anti-Constitutional governance and blatant open corruption of the Bush Regime really makes me wonder just what Palin did to get her removed. The way she went on it makes me think it has something to do with her family. I’m specifically thinking of the ‘Trig’s not actually her baby’ story.

    I hate to defend my soon-to-be-former governor here, but no. No, I don’t believe Trig isn’t really her baby. I know the manner of what happened at his birth was weird, but I don’t think it justifies that particular accusation.

  • Leum

    After eight years of anti-Constitutional governance and blatant open corruption of the Bush Regime really makes me wonder just what Palin did to get her removed. The way she went on it makes me think it has something to do with her family. I’m specifically thinking of the ‘Trig’s not actually her baby’ story.

    I hate to defend my soon-to-be-former governor here, but no. No, I don’t believe Trig isn’t really her baby. I know the manner of what happened at his birth was weird, but I don’t think it justifies that particular accusation.

  • Daughter

    High risk pregnancy, her water broke in TX and they let her board a commercial flight while in labor? Then, back in AK, she bypasses well-equipped hospitals and goes all the way out to her tiny local facility? Wow, how many plot-holes in that crazy nonsense?
    Speaking of conspiracy theories, an awful lot of medical professionals would have their jobs on the line if they were covering up a “Trig isn’t Palin’s baby” conspiracy.
    No, my opinion is that the truth is sadder and more mundane. Some have suggested that her crazy behavior was an attempt at a “fundamentalist abortion.” She was 44, already had four kids, in a high-power position and ambitious for more, and expecting a special needs baby. She has even admitted (post election) that she wasn’t sure she wanted to go through with the pregnancy.

  • Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!

  • Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!

  • …And they’re so useful for selling crap on other people’s websites, too!
    [iow, NJLL spots spam at jul 6 2009 8:28 AM]

  • …And they’re so useful for selling crap on other people’s websites, too!
    [iow, NJLL spots spam at jul 6 2009 8:28 AM]

  • Comrade Rutherford

    Lori said, “A conspiracy, especially one as complex as faking the moon landing or 9/11 being some sort of inside job would require a fairly large group of people to exhibit a tremendous level of smarts, coordination and ability to keep a secret
    I don’t agree. It would only take a few people in key positions.
    There was one recording released after 9/11 where an FAA controller was practically begging his boss (a high-up FAA official) to call NORAD. That FAA official refused to do so. The controller was frantic, the official was cool and calm as he refused to follow standard procedures. Just that one FAA official was all it took to slow down the whole process and delay any kind of response.
    When I was a kid I lived in Washington, DC. It was common knowledge (and on the front page of the Andrews Air Force Base until 9/12/2001) that that air base was tasked with defending our nation from surprise attack. Everyone (my age) knew that Andrews kept 2 armed fighters on the runway ready to fly instantly to protect the Nation’s Capital. It is impossible for any air craft to approach the capital unchallenged. It is simply impossible for a known incommunicado and off course aircraft to approach DC, circle the White House, Congress, the Pentagon without Andrews airmen defending those installations.
    The FAA and NORAD knew that plane was headed for DC for a long time, and they did nothing to stop it. How is that remotely believable? And if we are to believe that insane nonsense, then that means that everyone involved is guilty of gross negligence and incompetence. Why, then, were all those people in those key positions given promotions and raises?
    I don’t subscribe to any ‘theory’. I don’t believe any of the differing theories as to what happened. All I do know for sure is that facts of the events of that day, the planes that took off, their routes, and where they came down, and that all the rules of the last 50 years were studiously ignored by a handful of people in key positions for only one single day, who were all rewarded for their allowing the planes to reach their targets. The official story makes no sense at all. I don’t have any answers, but I have too many questions to find the Bush Administration’s mythology to be even remotely believable. Indeed, their official story is the biggest ‘conspiracy theory’ of all.

  • Comrade Rutherford

    Lori said, “A conspiracy, especially one as complex as faking the moon landing or 9/11 being some sort of inside job would require a fairly large group of people to exhibit a tremendous level of smarts, coordination and ability to keep a secret
    I don’t agree. It would only take a few people in key positions.
    There was one recording released after 9/11 where an FAA controller was practically begging his boss (a high-up FAA official) to call NORAD. That FAA official refused to do so. The controller was frantic, the official was cool and calm as he refused to follow standard procedures. Just that one FAA official was all it took to slow down the whole process and delay any kind of response.
    When I was a kid I lived in Washington, DC. It was common knowledge (and on the front page of the Andrews Air Force Base until 9/12/2001) that that air base was tasked with defending our nation from surprise attack. Everyone (my age) knew that Andrews kept 2 armed fighters on the runway ready to fly instantly to protect the Nation’s Capital. It is impossible for any air craft to approach the capital unchallenged. It is simply impossible for a known incommunicado and off course aircraft to approach DC, circle the White House, Congress, the Pentagon without Andrews airmen defending those installations.
    The FAA and NORAD knew that plane was headed for DC for a long time, and they did nothing to stop it. How is that remotely believable? And if we are to believe that insane nonsense, then that means that everyone involved is guilty of gross negligence and incompetence. Why, then, were all those people in those key positions given promotions and raises?
    I don’t subscribe to any ‘theory’. I don’t believe any of the differing theories as to what happened. All I do know for sure is that facts of the events of that day, the planes that took off, their routes, and where they came down, and that all the rules of the last 50 years were studiously ignored by a handful of people in key positions for only one single day, who were all rewarded for their allowing the planes to reach their targets. The official story makes no sense at all. I don’t have any answers, but I have too many questions to find the Bush Administration’s mythology to be even remotely believable. Indeed, their official story is the biggest ‘conspiracy theory’ of all.

  • Diez

    I have soft spot for Sarah Palin, possibly because she looks like my mother. Regardless, whatever she is doing, I wish her well (so long as she isn’t in a position of power or authority, because quite frankly, she doesn’t seem terribly smart).

  • Diez

    I have soft spot for Sarah Palin, possibly because she looks like my mother. Regardless, whatever she is doing, I wish her well (so long as she isn’t in a position of power or authority, because quite frankly, she doesn’t seem terribly smart).

  • Comrade Rutherford

    Anyway, back on topic:
    Palin’s own statements show her to be bat-shit insane, one of the John Birch type crazies (talk about conspiracy theories!). Palin is a prime example of exactly what is wrong with this country since the Republicans took over in 1980.
    Everything that used to be a colossal joke is now the most important thing ever:
    Country Music
    NASCAR
    Southern ‘Culture’
    anti-Christian ‘christians’
    Willful ignorance
    Palin is a walking example of what this country has become: intentionally stupid

  • Not Really Here

    I’m with Comrade Rutherford on this (although Daughter’s “fundamentalist abortion” theory makes sense, too.)
    I mean, “doesn’t look pregnant, doesn’t look pregnant, doesn’t look pregnant, announces she’s seven months gone and looks it”?
    And WTH, I thought airlines wouldn’t allow pregnant women to fly once they were past their seventh month?
    And getting on a plane to fly from TX to AK while in labor? I mean, don’t they have small, isolated rural clinics in Texas that could handle a premature birth in a high-risk pregnancy? And going to the Governor’s Convention to give a speech after her water had broken?
    Hmm, actually I think Daughter may be right. After all, some women do “pop” later in their pregnancies, after not looking pregnant for a while (my mom didn’t really start looking pregnant with my little sister until well into her sixth month).
    If Trig hadn’t made it, Palin could simply have claimed she went into labor suddenly on the plane. But then, she would have had to explain the missing amniotic fluid when her clothes weren’t soaked and her water failed to break at the hospital/clinic.

  • Not Really Here

    I’m with Comrade Rutherford on this (although Daughter’s “fundamentalist abortion” theory makes sense, too.)
    I mean, “doesn’t look pregnant, doesn’t look pregnant, doesn’t look pregnant, announces she’s seven months gone and looks it”?
    And WTH, I thought airlines wouldn’t allow pregnant women to fly once they were past their seventh month?
    And getting on a plane to fly from TX to AK while in labor? I mean, don’t they have small, isolated rural clinics in Texas that could handle a premature birth in a high-risk pregnancy? And going to the Governor’s Convention to give a speech after her water had broken?
    Hmm, actually I think Daughter may be right. After all, some women do “pop” later in their pregnancies, after not looking pregnant for a while (my mom didn’t really start looking pregnant with my little sister until well into her sixth month).
    If Trig hadn’t made it, Palin could simply have claimed she went into labor suddenly on the plane. But then, she would have had to explain the missing amniotic fluid when her clothes weren’t soaked and her water failed to break at the hospital/clinic.

  • e. nonee moose

    Comedy Gold!

  • e. nonee moose

    Comedy Gold!

  • Spearmint

    Poor Palin- nobody wants to play with her anymore. XD
    I agree with Lee- the Dems are utterly useless. We need to start mounting serious challenges from the left in the primaries to scare people into line. I have my sights set on Specter- if Sestak challenges him I think we have a shot to take him down.
    The problem is that with the mass defection of former Republicans, the Dems are only going to get more center-right than they already are. Even if the Republican party completely implodes we’re not going to be able to accomplish anything because we have zero party discipline.
    Although maybe now that we’ve broken the filibuster we can actually pass the stuff that has 55% backing in the Senate; that would be progress.

  • Spearmint

    Poor Palin- nobody wants to play with her anymore. XD
    I agree with Lee- the Dems are utterly useless. We need to start mounting serious challenges from the left in the primaries to scare people into line. I have my sights set on Specter- if Sestak challenges him I think we have a shot to take him down.
    The problem is that with the mass defection of former Republicans, the Dems are only going to get more center-right than they already are. Even if the Republican party completely implodes we’re not going to be able to accomplish anything because we have zero party discipline.
    Although maybe now that we’ve broken the filibuster we can actually pass the stuff that has 55% backing in the Senate; that would be progress.

  • Hawker Hurricane

    Spearmint: I’ve been hoping for the disintergration/drop to 3rd party status of the Republicans, and the rise of a left wing party to challenge the Democrats.

  • Hawker Hurricane

    Spearmint: I’ve been hoping for the disintergration/drop to 3rd party status of the Republicans, and the rise of a left wing party to challenge the Democrats.

  • GailVortex

    It seems to me that the Occam’s Razor explanation regarding the heap-of-crazy-and-unlikely story Sarah Palin gave about the circumstances of Trig’s birth is that She Made Shit Up To Make Herself Look Heroic.
    I mean, we’ve got nothing but her word as to the whole “water broke in TX” thing, and she’s not exactly a paragon of precision/honesty.

  • millstone

    This was absolutely brilliant.

  • millstone

    This was absolutely brilliant.

  • Everything that used to be a colossal joke is now the most important thing ever:
    Country Music
    NASCAR
    Southern ‘Culture’
    anti-Christian ‘christians’
    Willful ignorance

    Um… I agree with most of this, except that I love NASCAR and I like at least some country music (altho my musical tastes run more to alt-rock). And as the Slacktiverse’s resident NASCAR fan, let me take this opportunity to point out that of the top 12 drivers in the Sprint Cup standards, only two (Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin) even come close to being Southerners (Edwards is a Missouri native and Hamlin is a Virginia native). The rest of the top 12 include two Hoosiers, two California natives, two boys from the State of Washington, two brothers from Fabulous Las Vegas!, a Wisconsin boy and a former F1 driver from Colombia…

  • Everything that used to be a colossal joke is now the most important thing ever:
    Country Music
    NASCAR
    Southern ‘Culture’
    anti-Christian ‘christians’
    Willful ignorance

    Um… I agree with most of this, except that I love NASCAR and I like at least some country music (altho my musical tastes run more to alt-rock). And as the Slacktiverse’s resident NASCAR fan, let me take this opportunity to point out that of the top 12 drivers in the Sprint Cup standards, only two (Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin) even come close to being Southerners (Edwards is a Missouri native and Hamlin is a Virginia native). The rest of the top 12 include two Hoosiers, two California natives, two boys from the State of Washington, two brothers from Fabulous Las Vegas!, a Wisconsin boy and a former F1 driver from Colombia…

  • Original Lee

    I have 2 theories for Palin’s resignation:
    1. I’m not waiting 2 years for the money from my book.
    2. My Scientologist friends have told me how to be a successful candidate in 2012.
    Brilliant post, Fred.

  • Original Lee

    I have 2 theories for Palin’s resignation:
    1. I’m not waiting 2 years for the money from my book.
    2. My Scientologist friends have told me how to be a successful candidate in 2012.
    Brilliant post, Fred.

  • Froborr

    General rule of thumb: Never assume a conspiracy where a Nash equilibrium will do.
    The core of Nash’s Nobel-winning discovery: It is possible for a number of people, each pursuing their own individual selfish interests, to create the same effect as a conspiracy, without coordinating with each other at all.

  • Froborr

    General rule of thumb: Never assume a conspiracy where a Nash equilibrium will do.
    The core of Nash’s Nobel-winning discovery: It is possible for a number of people, each pursuing their own individual selfish interests, to create the same effect as a conspiracy, without coordinating with each other at all.

  • Jason

    Does traditional and progressive bluegrass count as “Country music”? Because if it does those are fighting words!!! You must not speak ill of Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, and Gillian Welch.

  • Jason

    Does traditional and progressive bluegrass count as “Country music”? Because if it does those are fighting words!!! You must not speak ill of Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, and Gillian Welch.

  • Jason

    Also what about classic country?
    You cannot speak ill of Johnny Cash!!!!

  • Jason

    Also what about classic country?
    You cannot speak ill of Johnny Cash!!!!