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    Drink up the melody/Bite the dust, blues

    Damn. Phoebe Snow has had a stroke. According to the short message from her manager, the prognosis is good. Glad to hear it. She’s been one of my favorites since I was little.

    *******

    This parody is as predictable as they come, but it’s still good, wicked fun (via The Unreligious Right). Write to “Ask Nanny State,” and she explains—very clearly and carefully so that it’s understandable even to, well, you—how abandoning silly old self-reliance and giving the government power over yet more of your life will make things work out better. Funniest post of all, IMO:

    Dear Nanny State:
    Like most Americans nowadays, I pay no income tax. So it really gets on my nerves when I read about the Nazi wingnuts wanting tax cuts to encourage economic growth or some such malarkey. What the hell is a tax cut gonna do for me? I don’t pay any taxes as it is! I may have failed math 5 or 6 times but ain’t nuthin’ lower than zero?????

    And another thing: why do rich people need ENCOURAGEMENT to make more money? Ain’t making lots of money encouragement enough? I mean, if I were married to some beautiful babe and having sex three times a night, would sending another beautiful babe over to my motel room encourage me to have MORE SEX? Is that idea stupid or is it me?
    – Progressive Tax

    Dear Progressive:
    You have a keen and perceptive mind like most people who agree with me. Tax cuts for the rich are just like taking Michael Moore to an all-you-can-eat buffet. I mean, what’s the point? And since people like yourself are no good with money (if you were, you’d have some, if you catch my drift) there’s nothing to be gained in giving you any. The best thing to do is to let government keep the money and do things with it that will benefit society instead of letting rich people spend it on themselves like the greedy b*st*&ds they are.

    Think of it this way: when Bill Gates buys a 757 airplane, it is Bill Gates’s airplane. When Nancy Pelosi buys a 757 airplane, it is the PUBLIC’S AIRPLANE and Nancy Pelosi just gets to use it for awhile. Only really smart people can grasp the subtle difference.

    Naturally, there’s a big Nancy Pelosi theme running throughout the page. American statism without Pelosi would be kind of like The Far Side without cows.

    *******

    This is the first article by Jonathan Rauch that I’ve run across in a long time, but it’s a good one (via Hit and Run). I’m not sure that I agree that the parallels Sarah Palin and George C. Wallace—seriously, read it before you decide what Rauch is trying to say—illustrate much more than that all politicians turn on the same shtick when courting voters, but it’s impossible to state enough how much disgust with the GOP comes from its fiscal irresponsibility:

    The House Republican leadership “distanced the party from the road map [by Rep. Paul Ryan] almost as soon as it was released,” writes the Cato Institute’s Gene Healy, who points out that Republicans’ recent rush to position themselves as defenders of Medicare makes it “pretty clear that the GOP isn’t serious about reducing spending.”

    It does seem serious about pandering to cultural resentment. Speaking to a conservative conference in February, Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota and a possible 2012 Republican presidential contender, denounced “elites” who “hang out at… Chablis-drinking, Brie-eating parties in San Francisco” and who look down on conservatives as “bumpkins.” The only substantial difference from Wallace’s resentful rhetoric is that Wallace did it much better (“They’ve called us rednecks…. Well, we’re going to show, there sure are a lot of rednecks in this country!”). When Pawlenty called on the crowd to “take a nine iron and smash the window out of Big Government in this country,” you knew you were deep into Wallace territory.

    I am not saying that today’s Republicans are a bunch of Wallace clones. Or that everything Wallace did or said was wrong, or that Republicans should shun all of his themes just because he used them. I am saying three things.

    First, with the important exception of race, not one of Wallace’s central themes, from his bristling nationalism and his court-bashing to his anti-intellectualism and his aggressive provincialism, would seem out of place at any major Republican gathering today.

    Second, and again leaving race aside, any Republican politician who publicly renounced the Wallace playbook would be finished as a national leader.

    Third, by becoming George Wallace’s party, the GOP is abandoning rather than embracing conservatism, and it is thereby mortgaging both its integrity and its political future. Wallaceism was not sufficiently mainstream or coherent to sustain a national party in 1968, and the same is true today.

    Of course, Palin’s record as governor is better than Wallace’s was (to extent that I know it), but the question of when she would stand firm and when she would strike deals remains operative.D

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