Patterico's Pontifications


Aftermath of the Philly Confab

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:40 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Here are a couple of items of interest we can discuss as the Democrats pack up and leave Philadelphia:

1. Chuck Todd and his enablers at NBC News fall all over themselves to salute the Democrats on a supposedly “powerful” convention. They contrast what they declare was a unified party front in Philadelphia with what they clearly believe was a mess in Cleveland. Bringing unctuousness to the appropriate heights to equal their elite level of asshattery, the authors write:

In totality, the Democratic convention itself was flawless — with two exceptions: 1) the Debbie Wasserman Schultz mess; and 2) the few dozen Sanders delegates who disrupted Clinton last night. Taken together, the two conventions matched the persona of their nominee: Cleveland was chaotic; Philadelphia was disciplined.

So everything was grand except for the fact that the head of the party had to be fired when it emerged that she and her lieutenants placed their thumb on the scale of the nominating process and when the supporters of the candidate who was hurt by that involvement raised justifiable complaints. Todd and his colleagues would no doubt tell us that the staging of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater was a success except for the unforeseen and random assassination of a President. Reading Todd’s grating flattery reminds me that a few days ago I took an MSNBC promo banner and made a few additions:


2. I mentioned last night how much I hated Hillary!’s wretched speech. I even took the bold move earlier this morning of actually listening to her deliver it in that nasally hectoring screeching voice that reminds you of your least favorite middle school teacher. It’s not just that her speech consisted of a bunch of vapid platitudes (“Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart.” “No one gets through life alone.”), it’s that it sounded like she was reciting it to a group of adolescents of middling intelligence. So I thought it might be interesting to run her speech through the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability Formula test to see exactly what grade level at which she pegged her stilted oratory. For fun, I also thought it would be interesting to subject the Republican Party nominee’s convention address to the same test. You only have to import the transcript into Microsoft Word, and in the settings on the Spelling and Grammar function you can set it to peg the Flesh-Kincaid level of the text. Here’s what came up:

Reading Level comparison

So there you have it. The Democrat nominee speaks to her rapt following as if they were sixth-graders. That explains a lot about how the party feels about its voters, does it not? The GOP nominee speaks to them as high school freshmen. To put it into perspective, the Gettysburg Address registers at an eleventh-grade level.

Some other fun facts: Barack Obama’s address in Philadelphia came in at a seventh-grade level, Michelle Obama’s speech fell between a ninth and tenth-grade level, and Ted Cruz’s speech in Cleveland was at a seventh-grade level. Make of that what you will. (Interestingly enough, I could not find an online transcript of Bill Clinton’s speech in Philadelphia. If anyone finds it, feel free to run the test and let us know where it stands.)


Your Vote Does Not Matter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

So you really don’t have to be a jerk to your friends because they’re not voting the way you would like.

No individual vote ever matters in a presidential election. We learned this in Florida 2000. If it’s close enough that your vote could theoretically matter — which is far less likely than your winning the lottery — a swarm of Democrats will swoop in and start reinterpreting the votes of people who could not vote competently to begin with. The brief moment when your vote seemed to matter will pass, and your vote will be swallowed up in all the phony reinterpreted votes.

So your vote simply doesn’t matter. To use the language of the beloved alt-right: you are “virtue-signaling” by announcing for whom you will vote. Some of you are signaling the virtue of being on the team or part of the tribe. Some of you are signaling the virtue of adherence to abstract principle rather than group membership.

But none of it really matters. So just relax.

GOP: People Who Donate to Democrats Are Not Republicans; Also: Caption Contest

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The GOP has a post titled Doug Elmets: Not Really A Republican because “Elmets Has Contributed To A Number Of Democrats In The Last Twelve Years.”

Who wants to tell them?

Meanwhile, caption this.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 7.27.30 AM


The Post in Which JVW Admits Defeat

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:08 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Are you serious? Are you absolutely serious? There was no way on God’s Green Earth that I was going to subject myself to the blarney that Hillary! Rodham Clinton (the Once and Future. . . and all that) vomited on the stage in Philadelphia in real time. And yes, I got drunk instead and am only now reading the transcript (though, I promise you, I am having fun trying to hear it in my mind in her awful honking voice that pushes me to move from the beer to the gin). But let me make a snap judgement based upon the transcript: this was awful, this was the Clintonian mixture of puffery and horseshit, and there is no way that his hodgepodge of garbage will move the needle on her likability.

In reading the transcript of her speech, I swear to God this was the most unambiguous pile of excrement ever let loose by a major candidate. I missed by miles the idea that she might at least make allusion to her well-known foibles and at least address the idea that 57% of the country dislikes her. All of you who bet the Hillary Hiding! at 4:1 win. She is so truly awful that it defies explanation.

Yeah, I have been pretty open as to why (along with our host and some other co-bloggers) I won’t vote for the GOP nominee, but for the life of me I can’t ever take seriously someone who votes for this woman who is singularly the worst major party nominee who has ever been forwarded for consideration.


Melania Trump Scrubs Website After Being Caught in a Lie About Her Personal History

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am


The professional website of Melania Trump, wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has apparently been deleted from the internet as of Wednesday afternoon.

The disappearance of Trump’s elaborate website comes just days after news outlets, including The Huffington Post, raised serious questions about whether she actually earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana, which is in Trump’s native Slovenia. Her online biography claimed she had, but a book about her life published earlier this year says she left the university after one year so she could pursue a modeling career.

Melania Trump, an adult, put herself in the spotlight by giving a speech at the GOP convention in which she plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech. (Melania laundered Obama’s words through a Trump stooge who was somehow made to seem the guilty party, because the plagiarized words passed across the stooge’s desk after coming from Melania and then returning to Melania — who delivered the lifted passages knowing they were Michelle Obama’s.)

Melania Trump’s accomplishments include being a reasonably pretty woman who married a rich old white con artist, knowingly plagiarizing a speech, and now lying about her educational record. Commence treating me as if I am the jerk for noticing.

P.S. No, Trumpers, this is hardly that important a story. Trump’s and Clinton’s lies matter far more. As you go searching for a sufficiently large rock with which to stone me, contemplate how you have studiously focused on The Real Issues over the years, never once saying a word about Michelle Obama, ever. Your selfless dedication to sticking to The Real Issues is nothing short of a miracle, dear Trumpers, and a testament to what great people you truly are!

Guess Who Now Seems Serious and Non-Buffoonish? Joe Biden! Because Everything Is Relative

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

I am old enough to remember when the epitome of a clueless old white guy politician was Joe Biden. Now, Joe Biden stands on the floor of the Democrat convention and says things like this about another clueless old white guy politician:

“He [Donald Trump] has no clue about what makes America great,” Biden continued, adding, “Actually, he has no clue period.” At this point Biden’s speech was interrupted by enthusiastic delegates chanting, “Not a clue.”

Biden also talked about foreign policy saying, “No major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security.”

It’s remarkable that we have come to the point where we hear these things said by Joe Biden . . . and instead of saying: “You have got to be kidding me! You’re saying that about someone else?” our natural reaction is instead to shrug and say: “He’s not wrong.”


Big Media Distorts Trump’s Appeal to Russians to “Find” Hillary’s Emails

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:47 pm

Here’s what he actually said:

Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you would probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

This was followed up by a similar tweet:

Now here is how Big Media portrayed the Con Man’s comments:

Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton’s email — Politico (cached link; no links for bullies)

Donald Trump to Russia: hack and publish Hillary Clinton’s ‘missing’ emails — Guardian

Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Hack Hillary Clinton’s Emails — Time

Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Hack Hillary Clinton’s Email — US Weekly

Bullshit. Hillary, remember, wiped her server. With a cloth, some say! So there’s nothing left to hack. Trump was just saying: if you have the emails, release them.

The Washington Post has corrected their original headline — “Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton’s emails” — to “Trump invites Russia to meddle in the U.S. presidential race with Clinton’s emails.” Here is the original headline:

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 5.29.48 PM

NPR has corrected its original headline — “Trump Calls On Russia To Hack Into Clinton’s Emails” — to “Clinton Campaign Says Trump Encouraged Espionage With Hacking Comment.” Here is the original headline:

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 5.34.55 PM

How is it that so many outlets rushed to accuse Trump of asking the Russians to “hack” Hillary, and then (in some cases) decided to backtrack? Well, because that was the Democrat spin, you see.

Clinton’s senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in an emailed statement: “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

Yeah, that’s not the facts. That’s just hyperbole.

I feel absolutely no obligation to defend Donald Trump. Screw Donald Trump. I think what he did here — essentially laugh at the possibility that Russia might have hacked the emails of the Secretary of State — is typical Trump irresponsibility. Although his comments were nowhere near as irresponsible as the decisions made by the former Secretary of State that put these emails at risk.

The left flipped out about this so much that they were even talking about how Trump should be charged with a felony for musing about Russia and the emails. But unless Stupidity in the First Degree is an actual felony, they should be talking about charging the candidate who actually committed a crime with respect to these emails.

Police Prosecutions in Freddie Gray Death Come to a Merciful End

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:17 am

[guest post by JVW]

Faced with their dismal record in court thus far, the Baltimore’s State Attorney’s Office has dropped all charges against the last three officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Trials of the four officers that had previous taken place ended in one mistrial and three acquittals.

Beleaguered State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby played the feminine card at a news conference earlier today, telling reporters that “as a mother” this decision to halt the prosecutions greatly affected her. She also once again accused the police of protecting their own, claiming that there was “a reluctance” on the part of police to investigate and “an obvious bias” that they brought to the investigation. Standing next to Ms. Mosby, Gray’s mother Gloria Darden accused police of lying, claiming “I know they lied, and they killed him.”

After having 211 homicides for the entire year in 2014, Baltimore’s number rose to 344 last year and stands at 167 year-to-date for 2016. Gray’s arrest and death took place in April 2015.

The Baltimore Sun has an interesting run-down of reaction to these developments. It would appear that Ms. Mosby retains significant support in Baltimore’s African-American community, notwithstanding the wasted resources devoted to these prosecutions. Ms. Mosby declined to answer questions at her news conference, citing civil lawsuits that have been filed against her.

Previous posts concerning the sad Freddie Gray situation can be found here.


John Hinckley to Go Free

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

Not to worry. He’s all better.


Handicapping Hillary’s Huge Homily [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:13 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Barring some weird and unforeseen (but entirely welcome) developments, Hillary! Rodham Clinton will take to the podium on Thursday night to accept the nomination of the Democrat Party for President of the United States of America. While the race appears to be neck-and-neck, she is fighting against the dual and intertwined perceptions that she represents the unacceptable status quo in Washington, DC and that she is largely dishonest and untrustworthy to occupy the office one held by revered giants like Franklin Pierce and Jimmy Carter. Indeed her rising unfavorable ratings are only somewhat ameliorated by the equally poor favorability ratings of her main opponent.

So Mrs./Senator/Secretary Clinton has a pretty Herculean task in front of her come Thursday: to soften her image as a scheming yet reckless shrew who feels entitled to the office she seeks by sheer virtue of her longevity on the Washington scene. To accomplish this goal, she needs to firm up support among dissatisfied backers of Bernard Sanders (who now know that the playing field was titled against their candidate from the get-go) by reinventing herself as a progressive reformer, while still sending clear signals to moderates and independents who increasingly appear to be the ones who will decide this election that she is not enthralled to the far-left agenda of the Occupy crowd or to Black Lives Matter and other discredited grievance groups.

The biggest question then is how does she address the issue of the massive distrust she has engendered through her (and her husband’s) history of influence-peddling, feather-nesting, vindictiveness, and perfidy. I see a number of possibilities here, so let’s take a look at some of the major ones.

1. Avoid It Altogether — Hillary! Hiding
Advantage: She avoids bringing up the reasons why she is so largely disliked. She can instead focus on her — cough, cough — qualifications for office and list her lifetime accomplishments (such as they are).
Disadvantage: It would be seen as the dog that didn’t bark. Even her media sympathizers would have to point out that she remains defiant and unapologetic at a time when she is strongly disliked. It could end up turning off the very people to whom she needs to appeal.

2. Address It Ambiguously — Hillary! Hints
Example: “We are a party with the compassion for forgiveness and new starts. Heaven knows none of us are perfect and at times we have all needed forgiveness, and I want you to know that I appreciate the great support you have shown me this week.”
Advantage: It allows her supporters to claim she has addressed the elephant in the room. They can claim that she has “apologized” (even if she hasn’t) and it is now time to move on.
Disadvantage: It may be seen as too cute, a sort of “you know what I’m talking about but I won’t say it out loud” kind of message. People trying to make up their minds about her might see it as personifying her arrogance and reluctance to admit wrongdoing.

3. Blame Others for Her Wrongdoing — Hillary! Hater
We all know that she has a history of blaming others for her various foibles. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” is out to get her. Monica Lewinsky is a deluded stalker. Every other Secretary of State used private email.
Example: “You know, I have spent the last 25 years enduring partisan investigations into every aspect of my professional and private life, and I’ve been accused of pretty much everything including breaking up Destiny’s Child [that’s a semi-current allusion for all you young minority types to show that I’m a with-it grandma]. But in the end all the nasty things I am supposed to have done never turn out to be true, even if they keep talk radio and all the right-wing blogs busy for a few months.”
Advantage: Absolutely none, but her arrogance, self-regard, and moral blinders could potentially lead her to ad-lib something like this. Her staunch supporters would loudly cheer, but they’re already voting for her anyway. I’m sure her advisors would do their best to steer her away from this path.
Disadvantage: It would show the Hillary! that so many of us have come to hold in such high contempt.

4. Acknowledge Her Sins and Demand That Others Repent — Hillary! Hectors
When the Clinton/Gore campaign was busted taking illegal campaign contributions in their 1996 reelection, Bubba attempted to deflect attention away from their troubles by proposing strict new campaign finance laws. If memory serves (and I can’t find an online citation), he made passing reference to the irony of his serving as a campaign finance reform advocate by admitting he was an imperfect messenger. His wife might want to borrow that line.
Example: “And that is why I will propose new regulations governing the ability of powerful interests from Wall Street to use their wealth to lobby for favorable laws and to use their influence to avoid accountability when they violate our public trust. Now I know that I may be an imperfect messenger for this sort of reform, but I am committed to seeing it happen because the people from Main Street should be just as well represented as the people from Wall Street.”
Advantage: She would be laying it out there that yes, indeed, she regrets her past actions and vows that going forward she will at last be more virtuous than Bubba’s Girlfriend (or however that saying goes). It would be a daring outreach to moderates and independents who may find her positions to her liking, but firmly distrust her.
Disadvantage: It would put her various lies and shady practices front-and-center and would decidedly expose her as a first-rate hypocrite. You mean to tell us that you and your husband can amass $200 million from influence-peddling, but now that you have your nest egg you’re going to make sure that no one else can follow in your footsteps? Her opponents would have a field day asking her why she doesn’t renounce her ill-gotten wealth, and even the media would probably be goaded into looking more deeply into the operations of the Clintons.

5. Own Up to Her Malfeasance — Hillary! Honorable
Example: “I’m sure you are wondering why my $12,000 Armani jackets have been replaced tonight by sackcloth and ashes. [. . .] I know now that in pursuit of winning elective office I have compromised all of the principles that largely drew me to a life of public service. [. . .] And that is why I am tonight announcing that I respectfully decline our party’s nomination as President and will retire from public life and dedicate my remaining years to serving people in need.”
Advantage: It would probably raise her favorability rating by 40 points. Tina Fey would make a movie based on this situation which would get great reviews but do mediocre box office. Dems would probably get a nominee that would crush the GOP candidate.
Disadvantage: We might yet end up with President Bernard Sanders. Bubba would file for divorce immediately.

Naturally there are other scenarios that I did not cover, as well as combinations of the above scenarios (Hillar!y Hints or Hillary! Hectors would almost surely be combined to some degree with Hillary! Hater, for example). But just given those five, I see the odds of each one being part of her Thursday address as being the following:

Hillary! Hiding — 4:1
Hillary! Hints — 7:5
Hillary! Hater — 30:1*
Hillary! Hectors — 5:1
Hillary! Honorable — 1,000,000,000:1

* Odds that it would be all she has to say on the matter. Separately, it’s a 1:20 proposition that she will complain at least to some degree about being persecuted.

Disagree? Have another scenario for how she might address the fact that she is unlikable. Leave them in the comments.

[UPDATE:] I guess there’s another scenario I didn’t mention just because it seems so damn unlikely, but here you go:

6. Address the Situation Forthrightly and Apologize — Hillary! Honest
Example: “I know that some misguided choices I have made in my career of public service have let you down. Many times I have been in favor of ideas or policies that once seemed reasonable and practical, but have turned out to be misguided or even downright wrong. And yes, I have made personal mistakes that have caused honest and decent people to question my commitment to fairness and justice. I regret the times when I have fallen short of my ideals, I pledge to do better, and I invite you to hold me accountable.”
Advantage: It seems like that would be a pretty powerful statement. She could at once appear humble and contrite, while vowing to change. It would win plaudits from liberal editorial boards which otherwise are struggling with the issue of how to endorse her without looking like sniveling simps.
Disadvantage: It could seem yet another pivot, in which she adopts the tone of the day without any real commitment to it. It forces her to humble herself in front of others, which she has shown no inclination of ever doing. Inviting anyone to hold her accountable would be perilous for someone as fundamentally dishonest as she is.

Odds: 50:1


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