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January 14, 2008

Michigan Democrats for Romney
Posted by Patrick at 11:25 AM * 105 comments

Best of all, he’s rich, desperate, and lashing out like a drunken fratboy.” Time for America’s Mitten to take off the glove.

Comments on Michigan Democrats for Romney:
#1 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:08 PM:

Oh, Lord. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to notice that Michigan's Lower Peninsula is traditionally known as the Mitten.

#2 ::: Lawrence Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:27 PM:

"Catch him on the right day and he's frickin' Che Guevara."


#3 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:34 PM:

So, the Mitten's admittin' they're smitten with Mitt?

#4 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 12:37 PM:

“Best of all, he’s rich, desperate, and lashing out like a drunken fratboy.”

So... he's really George W. Bush?

#5 ::: Erik Olson ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:09 PM:

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to notice that Michigan's Lower Peninsula is traditionally known as the Mitten.

The entire state can be modeled with both hands. One thumb is the Saginaw, the other is the Keeweenaw.

#6 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Erik Olson @ 5: The entire state can be modeled with both hands. One thumb is the Saginaw, the other is the Keeweenaw.

Now that I hadn't heard. But then, my source for the "mitten" image has always been citizens of the Upper Peninsula making (usually) mild fun of the Lower . . . the other half of the joke is what the Lower Peninsula citizens say when they try to figure out what "stuck" on their mitten.

#7 ::: DarthParadox ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 02:31 PM:

As a Michigan native (or close enough), it always amuses my friends from elsewhere in the country when I use my hand to point out where I'm from. (Ann Arbor being my hometown, and a point on my right palm right above my inner thumb joint.) It's gotten to the point where I'll hold up my hand as a convenient flat surface whenever I'm trying to draw out a map in midair.

#8 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:09 PM:

“Best of all, he’s rich, desperate, and lashing out like a drunken fratboy.”

We have abundant empirical data suggesting this is not a prudent choice. Boy, do we have data. And bodies.

#9 ::: Marc Moskowitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:12 PM:


#10 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:13 PM:

Darth 7: I do that too, but I use the back of my left hand. What non-Michiganders find really strange is that we say things like "he's from a small town in the thumb" and like that.

#11 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:25 PM:

Hm. I rather think they'll backfire. But whatever.

#12 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:34 PM:

What non-Michiganders find really strange is that we say things like "he's from a small town in the thumb" and like that.

Wisconsinites do it, too.

#13 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:55 PM:

or like my housemate from Frankenmuth, MI. "Frankenmuth? Where's that?" "Right where the thumb joins the hand"

#14 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Years ago I watched the debate in which Mitt Romney lost the election to Teddy Kennedy--Romney didn't have what it took to "win" the debate. Kennedy was in effect an experienced streetfighter willing to go out and going all out, and Romney was keeping himself far above that level, unwilling to go full-contact... and lost.

He didn't have the drive, the perserverance, and the guts.

#15 ::: Kristen ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Are you sure your housemate was from Frankenmuth? Cause where the thumb joins the glove is at least 500 miles east of Frankenmuth.

#16 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Meanwhile, the Democrats who freeped '00 for McCain to get Engler are backing Huckabee and a significant number of known Republican voters requested Democratic absentee ballots for a primary with two candidates - Hillary and not Hillary.

Yeah, big fun in MI.

#17 ::: myrthe ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:04 PM:

"I voted for him before I voted against him" sort of thing?

I have a theory that this is the *actual* explanation for anything that's wrong with U.S. politics. Primary Spoilers have completely infiltrated the major parties, and reliably nominate the least electable candidate on each side.

"Let's put up the Actor! haha, perfect! No one will ever vote for him!"

Sadly (a) This commits the famous sin of overestimating the taste of the American public, and (b) their preferred party is infiltrated too, "Lesser of two evils" indeed. So (c) the elections since are a material demonstration that there is no candidate who is sufficiently boring, criminal, or batshit crazy that the opposition will vote for your guy instead.

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 09:42 PM:

I know all about using your right hand to show where you're from. I was born in Lansing.

#19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2008, 10:12 PM:

The Democratic votes in this primary, if they're used to vote for a Democrat, are wasted. Same for Republican cross-over voters who pick up Democratic primary ballots.

There's only one candidate on the ballot--Hillary--and there are no Democratic delegates at stake. This primary yields no delegates at all on the Democratic side, win, lose, or draw.

So, for Democrats, the choice is: Stay home, or vote Republican.

#20 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:40 AM:

"I know all about using your right hand to show where you're from. I was born in Lansing."

I'm from the town of Onan, it's quite embarrassing.

#21 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 01:43 AM:

Is it utterly obvious that Romney is the correct choice here? The video makes arguments: He'll keep spending his own money in efforts to tear down other Republicans, and a Michigan win keeps him in the race longer, keeping the "circular firing squad" going.

Bruce Schneier was recommending Huckabee to a Michigan Democrat the other day in another blog, but didn't say what strategy lay behind this notion. Possibly he thinks Huckabee is unelectable in the general election.

The whole crossover idea works better if a lot of Democrats agree on a spoiler candidate. I think.

#22 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 05:22 AM:

Hand-maps: Quite a number of times I've used my spread-out thumb and a couple of fingers to try and explain parts of Sydney to disoriented travellers. There are many points and embayments between them round the harbour, which mean that it can be quite confusing to work out how to get from one place to another, or understand where you and they are in relation to one another. If you work out the layout of the ridges and valleys, you can save yourself walking quite a few hills, too.

Michigan Primary: (especially James' #18), there are things that passeth understanding. I'm just going to put it down and step quietly away while not making any sudden gestures. Here I'm the disoriented traveller.

#23 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 05:44 AM:

I use my right hand, curled into a C, to explain the San Francisco Bay Area to people. San Francisco is the thumb, Sausalito the index finger, and I grew up right on top of the bump where the first bone of the index finger sticks out from the back of the hand.

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:04 AM:

Abi @ 23... And where is Concord?

#25 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:32 AM:

Serge @24:
It floats in the air to the right of the first long bone of my index finger.

#26 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:36 AM:

bryan @#20: hee!

#27 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:21 AM:

myrthe @17 & Bill @21:
the argument for Mitt in Michigan, per kos, is that if Romney doesn't come out first in Michigan he'll be forced to drop out and the Republicans will solidify around McCain. Keeping Romney in the primaries keeps the in-fighting going.

#28 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Abi @ 25... Ahah! At first, I was afraid you'd make some offhand comment.

#29 ::: fjg ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:24 AM:

mayakda @27:

Also, Yglesias has been making the case that Romney would be the least worst President of the Republican candidates -- not that he wouldn't be utterly dreadful, but maybe ex ante likely to be less apocalyptically so than any of his rivals -- and so democrats can vote for him in the primary both strategically and in good faith.

#30 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:31 AM:

fjg at 29: No, no, no, no no!! I recall people making similar statements about George Bush in 2000, statements along the line of "He won't be that bad." He was worse. I can understand voting for Romney as a strategic move. (I don't think I could bring myself to do it.) But giving a rich Republican and his rich corrupt Republican friends 4 more years to loot the country, destroy what remains of the safety net, put more conservative judges on the Supreme Court, put a decent health care system farther out of reach... no.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:36 AM:

Lizzy L @ 30... And wasn't the same argument made in 2004 about McCain?

#32 ::: fjg ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Well, sure. I certainly wouldn't ever suggest that President Romney's anything other than a terrifying prospect, only that he scares me somewhat less than Giuliani or McCain or Huckabee.

Romney, being an empty suit, will be no better than the Republican Party as an institution -- which is to say that he will be a monster -- but maybe also no worse. The others are all insane in highly individualized ways, so they will be bad in all the ways you would expect of a Republican, plus they may also bomb Mecca or outlaw atheism or destroy the sun.

But I'm going to drop this line of argument now because it's making even me uncomfortable -- please don't take silence as rudeness.

#33 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:53 AM:

Via The Sideshow, Firedoglake says "This is why it's a good idea for Michigan Democrats to engage once again in the time-honored tradition of crossover primary voting to vote for Romney and deny McCain a win in the Michigan primary", but the Firedoglake article is also about polls showing Edwards as the strongest potential Democrat against most of the Republican possible winners (in particular, doing better against McCain).

#34 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Given his Massachusetts record, if Romney is elected president he'll spend years 2 through 4 of his term speaking to Chinese and Indian businessmen about how awful America is.

Then he'll run for pope, or something.

#35 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Yglesias has been making the case that Romney would be the least worst President of the Republican candidate

Yglesias is wrong, IMO.

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:39 PM:

I think any of the Republican candidates would be an unmitigated disaster. Huckabee would tempt me to flee to Canada to avoid being sent to a camp; Giuliani would tempt me to move to Australia to escape the retaliatory nuclear strikes. Romney--who knows WHAT he'd do; he can't keep a position for five minutes in a strong wind. McCain is bad in many ways, but seems to be the least obviously and immediately disastrous. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, however.

There are no good, or even non-terrible, possibilities on the GOP side. That means, for me, that picking the Democrat candidate who would actually make the best POTUS takes a back seat to picking the one with the best chance of being elected in November. ANY Democrat in this race is better than ALL the Republicans. Having a wonderful candidate who doesn't win, while clearly the preference of the Democratic Party for most of my lifetime, strikes me as a stupid strategy.

bryan 20: I'm from the town of Onan, it's quite embarrassing.

So you just show them either palm, and they know where you're from?

#37 ::: fjg ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Romney: "Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive. . ."

Oh god, I'd managed to forget that. I may revise my view out of sheer aesthetic revulsion at that turn of phrase.

#38 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:56 PM:

fjg 37: Yes, it does put one in mind of "Before you had freedom-to. Now you have freedom-from," doesn't it?

#39 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:03 PM:

Xopher @36. ITA.

Afaict, any of the Republican politicians who would have made a half-way decent president has had the common sense not to run in 2008.

The ones running are the ones who still have faith that the Democrats will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They might be right.

#40 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:23 PM:

"Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive. . ."

"... no matter how much abuse we subject you to. Because our pain specialists get upset when they lose a client."

#41 ::: Jen ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 02:55 PM:

You can model Colorado with two hands too: tip of right thumb to tip of left forefinger and tip of left thumb to tip of right forefinger (like directors do to see how a shot will come out). But you can also model Colorado with a piece of paper, which is easier to use as a map.

I am feeling smug because we get to vote on Super Tuesday, and it's just possible that my primary (caucus actually) vote could matter. First time ever.

#42 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 03:15 PM:

Xopher @38: From a kid's essay:

Our Four Freedoms are: Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from the Press and Freedom from Religion.

If we substituted 'Media' for 'Press' (and exempted the honest-to-god printed word press), this could be a winner.

#43 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:33 PM:

Serge @ 28

No, abi was just following a rule of thumb.

#44 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 40

Although, oddly, we haven't heard much wrong-wing screaming about assisted suicide this time around. We can still kill ourselves without getting charged with murder here in Oregon, and the Republigrunts haven't tried to twist federal laws in a knot to stop us since Ashcroft was exorcised.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 43... Better that than Abi nailing me.

#46 ::: little light ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 06:38 PM:

I do the hand thing too! I was a kid in Ann Arbor, and I've got a bunch of family out in Clarkston who talk, inexplicably, like Yoopers. ...and so do I, when I've been drinking.

Now, of course, I live in rectangly Oregon, whose only hand model is a sideways left hand, thumb curled flat against the side of the palm for the sticky-outy bit with Astoria in. That way the Head line is roughly the Willamette River; the Mounts of Jupiter, Saturn, Apollo and Mercury at the meeting of palm with fingers are the Cascades; and the Mount of Venus is full of delicious Tillamook cheese.

#47 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:14 PM:

Hmm, well I guess you could do Washington state with a hand, too - make a fist with the thumb sticking out to the side. If with your right hand, the back of the hand is facing you (the left, the palm). The thumb is the Olympic peninsula, the gap is Puget Sound, and the rest is the rest. The gap below the thumb is where Oregon sticks up.

#48 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:46 PM:

In early results, the Mittster is ahead!

Okay, 4% reporting. But still!

#49 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 08:57 PM:

6% of the vote in, and Mitt is still ahead! Can you tell how excited I am? (Um, no, that's really not true.) Oh, and Ron Paul is ahead of both Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.

#50 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:00 PM:

MSNBC calls it for Romney.

#51 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:07 PM:

So do CNN, Fox, and the AP.

With 9% in, Giuliani and Thompson both behind Ron Paul.

The voters of Michigan have spoken...and they've chosen hi-larious!

#52 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:08 PM:

Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to reflect "God's standards." Dry Sundays, and no more legal divorce, d'ya think?

Me neither.

#53 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:41 PM:

I indulged in YouTube Drift, as I often do, and found this comment below another film clip.

I will not allow any disparaging remarks against Dr. Ron Paul, M.D. He delivered 4,000 babies. These college drop-outs that call him a "racist" are acting on re-hashed propoganda. Paul is a physician and it is HIGHLY unlikely a physician would engage in direct racist remarks, it is more or less breed out of them in medical scool. I am a nurse practioner with five (5) years of formal education. Let the medical professionals handle this.

#54 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:02 PM:

#53 LMB MacAlister: Let the medical professionals handle this.

Funny, I've been muttering that very thing quite a bit lately.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:40 PM:

FIVE YEARS of formal education? I don't understand how someone who dropped out after fifth grade can be a nurse practitioner!

#56 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 11:05 PM:

It's okay, Xopher. That same medical school that has breed racism out of Paul has breed all kinds of professional into her.

#57 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:29 AM:

come on, she misspelled one word. There could be all sorts of explanations of the misspelling that have nothing to do with being inbred and imbecilic. I admit that she still wouldn't sound very smart with that word spelled correctly, but there really isn't enough data in that one comment to make a judgment.

#58 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 06:37 AM:


LOL. Better count again. There's more misspelled there than "breed".

#59 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 06:54 AM:

"propoganda"; "breed"; "scool"; "practioner" is all I spotted. It's more the sentiments, tho', that incline me towards suspicion.

#60 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 07:54 AM:

Those are the four I found too, Mez. I can sort of forgive propaganda since she probably doesn't use it all the time (and the o in place of a is easily mistaken), but school? Come on, that doesn't even LOOK right.

#61 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:23 AM:

oops, reading through it again I picked up propaganda. But I missed scool and practioner.

I think scool, practioner are pretty likely typos.

propaganda is a commonly misspelled word.

breed I would put as a typo if it wasn't for the other ones. Nonetheless people make all sorts of errors in typing in a little comment box that they might not make otherwise. I think it's a trivial thing to snark over. But I guess I'm in a less snarky mood myself today, other days I'd probably be piling on with all I got too.

#62 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:36 AM:

#21 Bill Higgins:

IMO, it's nuts to vote for an especially bad candidate for Republican nominee, say Huckabee. Even in a very one-sided race, there's always the chance for some massive disaster/scandal that destroys the Democrat and puts the Republican in. My (probably not all that well informed sense) is that McCain would be the least bad of the candidates running, in the sense that he might have some clue what he's doing in the job, he appears to be less overtly batsh-t nuts than the others, etc.

#60 John and others: Spelling flames help how?

The RP stuff is interesting. He seems to be a bit batty, but his rhetoric doesn't look to me to be much crazier than the average for Republican candidates. The difference is, he's crazy in a different direction. He's not ranting about how Islamofacism is a grave existential threat that can only be answered by giving the state unlimited power at home and murdering millions of people abroad. But instead, he's ranting about the UN and some weird crap about some kind of planned merger between the US, Canada, and Mexico.

I find it both refreshing and creepy that he's crazy in ways that don't track with the craziness of his community.

The racism stuff looks, from what I've seen, to be based on a pretty small subset of stuff from his newsletter, which he claims he didn't write. (Though when you're running on your ideas, it'd be nice if things written with your byline on them were things you were comfortable claiming as your own.) I think there's a broader set of stuff that is moderately rude or artless, not obviously racist to me, but which reflects a pretty odd picture of reality.

And I have to check myself when judging him, because I'm like the very ill guy at the quack cancer clinic--I really, really want to believe. I want to believe there's some way to get off the irreversible path toward a police state at home, toward bigger, more intrusive, less responsive government, toward us pretty explicitly owning and operating a worldwide empire. And maybe there is some way to do that, but I doubt RP is it. Damn.

#63 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:49 AM:


Spelling DOES matter. The written word is often the first contact you have with someone, especially in today's electronic bulletin board world, and misspelling common words (breed/bred, scool/school) even in a casual message says something about that person.

Maybe they did make all those errors due to haste, maybe it was carelessness, maybe it was a lack of emphasis on spelling in school, maybe it was something else. But, if you're trying to argue a point or rebut a comment, having multiple errors in your statements is no way to be taken seriously at first glance.

#64 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 01:48 PM:

bryan 61: She claimed to have only five years of formal education! She claimed that it's unlikely for a doctor to be racist!

Her spelling errors are the tip of the iceberg. What's below the water is deep, deep ignorance.

#65 ::: C ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:20 PM:

The Obama is a Muslim and was sworn into the Senate on a Quoran is in full flood, with at least 4 and 5 e-mails landing in every republican's e-mail boxes and lists and conservative website every day. When the post-convention campaigning gets going it will be monsoon upon monsoon. I encounter somebody every day now, and these are not republicans, who believe Obama is a Muslim.

Love, C.

#66 ::: pericat was wrong ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:34 PM:

My apologies, C. I misread "The Obama is a Muslim and was sworn into the Senate on a Quoran is in full flood" with an entirely different meaning than your intention.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:36 PM:

What is the big deal about Obama and muslin anyway?

#68 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 02:49 PM:

#65: Intentionally or not, people are conflating Obama with Rep. Keith Ellison of MN. He did, in fact, swear into the HR on a Quran. It was a controversy at the time, for reasons I can't begin to fathom. I mean, did they want him to swear by a text which had no relevance to him instead?
(The most apt text for me might be the Feynman Lectures on Physics. It's not an exact analogy though. Everything in the Feynman Lectures is testable.)

I'm trying to find a non-hateful reason why this conflation has any traction at all as an election year issue. So far, I'm failing.

#69 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Serge -- dunno, maybe some far-fetched Pride and Prejudice connection?

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:04 PM:

John @ 69

Part of the problem here is the assumption by this particular flavor of wingnut that an oath is not valid if it isn't taken with one hand on a Bible. That there is no such requirement (anywhere in this country, AFAIK, because there are some fairly sizable groups who won't swear oaths) doesn't register at all with them. An oath would be equally valid if you had your hand on a copy of, say, Making Book, and it would make Our Hostess happy.

#71 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:15 PM:

I just received a call purporting to be from the Obama forces that might reasonably cause one to conclude that his campaign is staffed by extremely disorganized amateurs with no previous telephone experience. Instead of introducing themselves ("Hi, I'm X and I'm working for the Obama campaign") there was a whole bunch of back-and-forth "Who are you?", "No, who are you?" straight out of the Marx Brothers, punctuated by a gross mispronunciation of my married name, which I do not use, and which has no telephone listing anyway. By the time I finally got the woman to the point ("Excuse me, I did not ask you to say you were sorry, I asked you who was calling, and why!") and finally said she was calling for Obama,I was so irritated that I just said "I'm profoundly disinterested just now," and rang off.

Did I miss some cue, or is this now standard campaign practice?

#72 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 03:24 PM:

joann (72): You have more patience than I do. If someone can't identify who they are and why they're calling in a single round, I hang up on them. Of course, I also hang up on politicians and pollsters as soon as they *do* identify themselves.

I understand why the Do Not Call lists exempt politicians and pollsters, but I don't have to like it.

I blame Hillary for all the political calls I now get before an election. Her first senatorial campaign was the first time such calls were used around here. In fact, if I remember correctly, I voted for her opponent largely because he (his campaign) was *not* calling me, and she/hers was.

Now everyone's doing it, so it must work. But not with me.

#73 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 04:52 PM:

Ooh, I would swear an oath on Making Book!

Er...on second thought, I guess it would depend on what the oath was, exactly.

#74 ::: ed g. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 05:19 PM:

#73: I blame Hillary for all the political calls I now get before an election. Her first senatorial campaign was the first time such calls were used around here.

Where is 'around here' for you? I'm in Manhattan, and I've gotten robocalls in every election since at least the early '90s. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard Ed Koch's recorded whine asking me to vote for a Republican...

#75 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 05:43 PM:

I keep a landline only to suck up spamcalls. I disconnected the answering machine from it a long time ago. Now it just rings endlessly. Needless to say, I have the ringer on the thing turned off. I use it very occasionally to test a cellphone, but I never answer it.

#76 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 06:42 PM:

ed g.: Long Island

I am constitutionally incapable of ignoring a ringing phone, so screening calls is not really an option for me.

If I lived in New Hampshire or Iowa, I think I would have to just turn the ringer off, and the volume all the way down on my answering machine, for a month or so. Might be a bit hard on the occasional legitimate caller, though.

#77 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Mary Aileen: Turn the ringer off, but leave the volume up on the machine. Then the first you'll know of a phone call is the voice of a friend—or the beep of a robocaller that didn't wait for your outgoing message to finish.

Human political callers will probably hang up when they get your answering machine. Not perfect, but better than answering every damn one.

#78 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 07:38 PM:

mary aileen #73:

Sometimes I answer the phone, sometimes not. I've been trying to track down the people who, when I was expecting a call several mornings ago, got on the line with elevator music after I answered. After several days in a row of this, all approximately at the same time, I decided I was by zeus going to get to the bottom of the charade.

#79 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Xopher (78): That wouldn't work. The political callers *do* leave messages. I just delete the ones that come in while I'm out, but I'd have to turn the volume waaaay down so they wouldn't disturb me when I'm home.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:08 PM:

Xopher @ 78... Human political callers will probably hang up

"Hi! I'm Shub for the Piscene Party, and I'd like to tell you more about our candidate, Charles Dexter Ward. Nobody has done more for public schools. Not only that but... (5 minutes later) ...and if you want to learn more about our candidate, simply call 1-666-555-7BEEP!"

#81 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:20 PM:

Serge #81: I, for one, would object to receiving a piscene phone call.

#82 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:28 PM:

Fragano @ 82... But think of the net benefits for the country.

#83 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:29 PM:

Serge #83: Don't feed me that line.

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:40 PM:

Fragano... Afraid that your beliefs, if assaulted, will develop some cracks and fishers?

#85 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 08:44 PM:

Serge #85: Nothing on that scale.

#86 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 09:28 PM:

Serge @ #68: I think he looks particularly nice in his unbleached muslin outfit. Though not as professional as Dr. Paul in his lab coat, fresh with the stains of 4,000 Libertarian deliveries.

#87 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 10:19 PM:

albatross: Read Dave Niewert for what's wrong with the Ron Paul campaign, and for good arguments as to why his racism is relevant.

His loopy ideas about abortion aren't signs of cleare thinking either. Add his rampant isolationism (not just a pulling back from interventionist activities, which I would agree with, but more in the vein of [though I am engaging in rhetorical excess] Japan ca. 1600.), and the idea of him in office is terrifying.

That said, for reasons of electability, I'd prefer to see him, or Huckabee running. Paul more than Huckabee, because I can't see him managing to get anything done on those lines; he can't even pull the troops back from overseas, because he can't; on his own, repudiate the treaties which bind most of them to those assignements.

#88 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 12:40 AM:

albatross, #62: I'd be more likely to cut this person some slack on the spelling errors if s/he wasn't claiming to be a medical professional. That sort of error can be lethal in a hospital environment; someone who's a practicing professional should have the habit of proper spelling to an extent that carries over even in casual venues. (I will also note, just to be nit-picky, that there are a significant number of male NPs.)

Mary Aileen, #73: I'm with you -- if I don't get a clear-cut identification fairly quickly, I hang up. I also tell political callers that I am on the state and federal DNC lists, and they need to put me on theirs. No Special Snowflake exemptions need apply here.

#89 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:01 AM:

John Chu, #69, I figure if I were to be sworn in, I'd use the Constitution.

#90 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 02:13 AM:

Technically, I don't think you need to swear in on anything at all. It's a tradition, a chance for a photo-op.

#91 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 06:37 AM:

"She claimed to have only five years of formal education! She claimed that it's unlikely for a doctor to be racist!"

The second is an opinion. It's the kind of opinion people often hold about various disciplines they see as enlightened or better educated, for example I suppose a lot of people would believe that scientists or philosophers can not also be racists. The five years of formal education is as a nurse I guess. I have no idea as to how many years of formal education one must have in the Nursing discipline so I don't know if it is ridiculous to assert such a thing.
Anyway it is sort of silly that I am defending this person that I don't know, that likely doesn't know that I am defending them, that I started defending in a fit of pique, and with whom I don't agree.

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Marilee @ 90

If there's no rule about the book one swears on, I'd use either "Origin of the Species", just as a poke in the eye to the fundies, or perhaps Kaufman's "Origins of Order" as a subtler poke*.

* Besides, it's a bigger book, so more impressive for the photo-op. If we're going for really big, I'd pick either my folio complete Shakespeare (don't need a magnifying glass to read it, but you do need a fork lift to get it around), or Barrow & Tipler, "The Cosmological Anthropomorphic Principle", not because I agree with their conclusions, but because there's more than a thousand pages of densely reasoned argument with all the appropriate equations. If you can't argue with them steamroller them, I say.

#93 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:40 AM:

All the old telephone gags are so tempting when you get hit by the liars.

Here in the UK, the rules on these callers seem to work and shut out the pests, although the rules do seem to be different on "business" lines.

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 11:55 AM:

Marilee @ 90... So would I.

#95 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:06 PM:

bryan 92: Most people have TWELVE years of formal education before they get out of high school. I know what s/he meant; what s/he said was stupid.

And "doctors can't be racist" may be an opinion, but it's a stupid opinion.

The larger point of the exclamations you quote from me was "Come on, we're not just twitting hir over spelling errors! S/he's an actual moron!"

#96 ::: Jae Walker ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 01:56 PM:

#18 Patrick Nielsen Hayden

OMG - I know it's a silly thing to squee about, but I'm always tickled to death when someone I admire is from my home town. Of course, I'm *still* there...

#97 ::: Lis ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2008, 05:13 PM:

Bryan @ 61 & 92--the problem is that she made all those mistakes in one rather short paragraph.

Plus, most people have twelve years of formal education before they get to college, even. Yes, we know what she meant, but people are commenting on what she said.

And if she's working as a nurse practitioner, she ought to have encountered enough doctors to know that advanced medical education doesn't automatically eliminate racism.

#98 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 02:06 AM:

Xopher, actually, a study was done that showed that both black and white doctors were better with white patients than with black patients. I think the WashPost article on it is too old to get, let me see... Yeah, too old. But I found the article on it.

#99 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 04:13 AM:

"-the problem is that she made all those mistakes in one rather short paragraph."

yeah, in a comment on YouTube. The strictness with which one is expected to adhere to grammatical rules is situational.

#100 ::: Lis ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Bryan @100

five (5) years of formal education

Any one or two of those might be dismissed on the grounds that it's an online comment. (Although, honestly, how many mistakes of that kind do you see here or anywhere else online where the commenters are generally literate?) All them together in one short paragraph start to strain credulity a bit.

Add to that the claim that it's wildly improbable that a doctor would be racist, and the blatant, mindless appeal to authority (Let the medical professionals handle this), as if doctors were a breed apart from and above use lowly mortals, whose (non-medical) behavior we are not equipped to judge--sorry, credulity shatters in to many small pieces.

#101 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 11:21 AM:

Ok that's acceptable reasoning, except I'm not sure what credulity is being strained?

Do you mean that it strains credulity to assume the person who wrote the comment is intelligent? Is a nurse? Thinks doctors can't be racist because it is bred out of them?

somebody might think it strains credulity to assume the poster in that thread is not a wingnut.

I actually think that is likely they are a wingnut, but that hasn't been brought up till now (or I haven't noticed it).

It's true I don't tend to see those kinds of mistakes so thick in a single comment, but I assume it does happen among statistical outliers. Maybe the chances go up when commenting about politicians one supports when arguing with the opposition. I have anecdotal evidence that such is the case.

Anyway I'm starting to feel this is too trivial to spend so much time discussing. I'm sure if I hadn't acted annoyed people would have forgotten about the youtube nurse practioner long, long ago.

#102 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 12:20 PM:

bryan :re spelling/grammar

Lesee... I make typoes. I learned to type OJT, on a job where the pencil was expected to fix typoes. I'm better than I was, but they still slip past me (always have, I know what I was writing, and my brain corrects the errors which I would see in a flash in other people's copy).

That I don't look at the keys as much when I type helps, but I make them.

So, some typoes don't bother me.

Maia didn't learn to read until late. She can't spell, properly. She does a fine job of phonetics, but no small part of my helping her through grad school is as copy-editor/proofreader, becauase spell-checkers are useless to her; all of the words look the same.

It's not the spelling which makes me think the woman isn't all that bright. It's the spelling, combined with the non-sequitor arguments (he's a doctor, ergo he's not a racist/sexist/idiot) and the structural mish-mash of the piece.

It's the lack of self-awareness. If Maia (who will have some eight years of formal, post-secondary education when she gets done at USC) wanted to write something like that, she'd have me look it over; because she knows she can't spell, and that it hurts how she looks.

This woman didn't do that.

She made at least several appeals to authority (RP is a doctor, she is highly educated, and in the same area as he is, so she knows he can't be "x", where "x" isn't related to the field).

She used some hot-button words (propaganda) meant to deflect the question of what it is RP does/doesn't believe, by accusing all who think his writings (or judgement in letting them go out over his name) are just engaging in cheap debate points, rather than dealing with a substantive issue.

She closes by saying, "the medical profession" has some means of "dealing" with this (after all, in med-school they have some litmus test to be sure they've trained racism/ssexism/idiocy out of doctors).

All that combines to make me think she's not the sharpest knife in the block, and is acting from motives which aren't what she is claiming (i.e. I think she does think Paul thinks the things of which he is accused, and that real conversation on the subject would bring all of that out, and hurt his chances. I am not speculating as to why she wants this to be the case. She need not be racist [which is the most likely spin for those who do such things] she may think he's best for the country depsite this, and tha America, as a whole, is past racism, and so he can't really do much damage because Congress; and the people, will keep him in check).

Grammar matters, spelling helps. Being able to string coherent thoughts together, and communicate them to others, is what writing does.

Failing to make them coherent means communication falls apart. I can (and do) forgive a lot of typing/spelling errors (at the same time I curse myself for making them, and am grateful to preview for letting me see some of them before they escape to the world), but combine them with the logical fallacies, grammatical oddities, and suchlike; I tend to dismiss the makers of such, combined, errors, as cranks, or clueless.

Becuase I can't decipher what they really mean.

#103 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 04:48 PM:

Can't imagine the Mitten making it all the way, but in any event, please join me in a new Friday countdown to the day the nightmare ends -- this Sunday, it will be one leap year until George Bush leaves office (at the latest, if he's not impeached first). TGIF Presidential Countdown: Just 368 days and finally our long national nightmare will be over.

#104 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2008, 09:29 PM:

I get fairly regular emails from my doctors' nurses. They almost always spell everything right but their doctor's name. (A lot of the staff prefer to call a doctor "Dr. A" rather than learn how to say Archutowska, and apparently they never learn to spell it, either.)

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