Does Bernie rule in Oregon and Kentucky? The polls say otherwise

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The chattering classes latest take on the Democratic presidential race is that, while Hillary Clinton will surely clinch the nomination on June 7 in California and New Jersey, Bernie Sanders’ sweep of such interim contests as Indiana and West Virginia and his probable upcoming victories in Kentucky and Oregon on May 17 will leave her a badly wounded candidate against Donald Trump in the November contests.

Of course, not long ago these same infallible oracles assured us that neither Sanders nor Trump were serious candidates.   And already there are strong reasons to doubt their confident conclusions about Bernie’s “winning streak.”

For one thing, Bernie’s streak is already over! After he won in Indiana and West Virginia, Hillary won the Guam caucus May 7 and the Nebraska primary May 10.  Tiny Guam only netted her one delegate and Nebraska — which was purely advisory — awarded no delegates at all.   But if the “momentum” so beloved by the pundits matters, Hillary’s 59-40 win in the Cornhusker primary is a marked reversal over Bernie’s 57-43 edge in that state’s caucuses, with their much smaller voter turnout.

But assuredly, sayeth the conventional wisdom, Bernie will regain his balance with a thumping victory in Kentucky, where so many out of work coal miners are expected to take out their woes on Hillary — as West Virginia miners already have.   That may yet happen but the only recent survey, a Public Policy Polling effort, has Hillary ahead  by five points, 43-38.

Five points isn’t much of a bulwark against Bernie’s patented tactic of sweeping into a state, holding large rallies to fire up voters, then leading a surge of independent voters to an upset victory.   But as we have noted in the past, that tactic only works in an open primary, where those fired up Independents can vote for him.  Alas for Bernie, Kentucky is a closed primary — and he has never beaten her in such a contest.   West Virginia was an open primary where Bernie’s 15 point final margin stemmed solely from his yuuge popularity among Independents.  Hillary beat Bernie by 4 points among Democrats living in “almost Heaven.”

These facts are no surprise to a now-aroused  Team Hillary, which has already dispatched the “Big Dawg” to campaign for her in Kentucky and which is also belatedly increasing its spending.  As much as it would love to pivot wholly against Donald Trump, Hillary’s  campaign seems resigned to fighting a two-front war at least until California and New Jersey settle things on June 7. None of this means Bernie can’t win in Kentucky but it does mean he can’t catch Hillary napping there, as he did in Indiana where she spent nothing on advertising to counter $1.6 million in Sanders’ ads.

But even if Hillary does hold on in Kentucky, Bernie will pummel her in mostly white and traditionally liberal Oregon, the pundits purr.   It could happen.  But once again the chattering class is ignoring both the polling and the format of the contest — another closed primary.   The most recent survey puts Hillary up by 15 points, 48-33.

A 15 point lead in a closed primary looks formidable.  But the primary might not be as closed as it looks because  there is a major wild card in those calculations — newly minted Democrats. Between January and April, 140,000 Oregon voters are said to have changed their party affiliations – with an estimated 90,000 having switching to the Democratic Party.  If those newbies lean heavily to Bernie and vote in higher than expected numbers, Bernie might yet overcome the odds.  But again, if he wins Oregon, he’ll have to fight for it.  Hillary Clinton seems determined not to give him any more free passes in this nomination fight.

Even if Hillary gets the majority of Kentucky’s 61 delegates and Oregon’s 73, she’ll still need delegates from California and New Jersey to lock up the nomination — though a trifling ten percent share of those two states’ delegate bounty would put her over the top.  Her all-but-certain victory in the final contest, the June 14 District of Columbia primary, would be a delicious frosting on another of those chocolate cakes African American voters love to give her.

But Sanders’ fund-raising fell off precipitously after he lost New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut,  Delaware and Maryland.  His once overflowing money machine has since been forced to lay off staff and cut back on advertising in ultra-expensive California.  And if Hillary does defy the pundits by winning both Kentucky and Oregon, her triumphs will be a hard rain that could  put out the Berne even before its first flames reach the Golden State.

Steadman beer & wine reform shows value of legislative process

Elsewhere on this blog, our beloved Blue Cat expresses sympathy for me in the belief that the legislature’s passage of Sen. Pat Steadman’s SB 197 forestalls the far-reaching reform of our antiquated liquor laws I have advocated in numerous posts over the past few weeks.

In fact, my response to the passage of this reform is to flash a “V” — for victory, not for Voyageur.

The bill, after all, does begin to address the problem, albeit at a glacial pace, taking 20 years to fully phase in!  But remember that the cartel system that I abhor has been around for 80 years.   There is a special problem with such government-granted privileges.   They are windfalls — wholly unearned — to the original recipients.  But as time moves on and business are sold and resold, they become capitalized as a cost of doing business to the new owners.

Consider the New York taxicab medallions.  Their only purpose is to limit competition, ergo they are just a license to overcharge customers.  But their value rises over time and if you buy one now to enter the business, it costs more than a million dollars.

Say our own Mama Jama buys one from her Uncle Louie for $1 million.   He retires to Florida with an unearned fortune.   Now along comes Voyageur, the economic rationalist, who simply wants to lower prices and improve service by making medallions free.  Consumers rejoice, but our dear friend is now headed for the poorhouse,  because competitive rates can’t possibly recover the cost of her now-worthless medallion.

From what I read, Lyft and Uber are wreaking just such havoc on established taxi firms, without accepting any of the regulations taxicab drivers operate under, including fair and transparent pricing.

Unquestionably, many, perhaps most, of Colorado’s existing 1700 liquor licensees are too small and inefficient to survive in a competitive market.  Yes, they benefit from being in a cartel, however much that economically accurate term enraged some of the defenders of the status quo when I used it in my posts.  But the unearned  increment of profit provided by the ability of their licenses to shield them from the full pressure of free-market competition, in most cases, doesn’t buy them shiny new Porsches.  It just keeps them in business and maybe pays for an overhaul on that eight year-old Honda Accord they get by with.

In short, for most cartel members, their license is the difference between profit and loss.  It may even have helped pay the tuition payment for their daughter Suzie to attend CU Denver where she can — or could have a few years ago, anyway — hear me lecture about why economist Joseph Schumpater called the bankruptcy her parents face in a free market  part of the “creative destruction” of capitalism.

Yes, it’s indisputable that such destruction ultimately frees capital and labor for more efficient uses.   But if you’ve ever been through a bankruptcy — a real one, not a Trumpian defrauding of your investors —  you know it can inflict life-long trauma.

This fact was well understood by the Great Adam Smith, who wrote the “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”  a decade before his classic “The Wealth of Nations.”   Smith didn’t even use the term “economics.”  He was so aware of the social consequences of economic change that he used the term “political economy.”  And that means that fine old English gentleman was cool with using the political system to smooth out some of the rougher edges of of the free-market forces unleashed by capitalism.

Yes, this compromise delays a free market for 20 years.   But we get free-er markets in 2019 when some chains, like Soopers and Safeway and probably (ugh) Union-Buster Mart can start buying licenses from existing license owners.  The inefficient booze store katy-corner from Queen Soopers — as my gay friends jocularly call the market that anchors our diverse Capitol Hill neighborhood — might sell its license for, say $100,000.

The owners may be in their 60’s and just decide to retire, or maybe use the cash to remodel their building (they only sold the license, not their other assets) into a pet store like the one immediately west of Queen Soopers or open a law office specializing, as I once considered doing, in gay marriage and divorce.

(This is a coming field.  Gays and Lesbians now have  the right to marry but, sadly, some will run into the same problems so many opposite sex couples do and the heterosexual marriage dissolution template doesn’t always fit their needs.  In the event, a family disability forced me to abandon what I think could have been a successful field.)

Such successful transitions are what Pat Steadman, an old friend I have long admired, tried to midwife with his bill.  I will probably not live to see the 20-year phase-in completed.  But while Schumpater may grumble that an immediate reform would make us all richer “in the long run” I think my friend Pat’s approach would satisfy John Maynard Keynes, who wisely noted: “In the long run we are all dead.”

Of course, the supermarkets can still run their initiative. and push for immediate deregulation of the market.  If they do, I might yet vote for it.  But I doubt it.

Initiatives are an old populist idea designed to let the people bypass legislatures dominated by special interests.  In this case — and many others — we see a wealthy special interest funding an initiative to bypass a legislature that paid perhaps too much attention to those portions of the public that would lose in the reform.  But while the  legislature may have given too much solace to the many now economically obsolete liquor stores, the initiative as drafted gives them none at all.

Initiatives are best used as a two-by-four to get the legislature to act — and use its ability to craft worthwhile, albeit imperfect, compromises among competing interests.  If after being banged on the head by that two-by-four, the politicians still ignore  the public will — as they did with marijuana reform — then by all means bypass them and reform our corrupt and inhumane  “war on (people who use) drugs.”

But in the case of sales of beer and wine in grocery stores, the legislature did act — and there will be a chance in future sessions to further refine the reform if that proves necessary.  The consuming public has won a significant victory, albeit one whose benefits will be gradually phased in over two decades.

In politics, my great hero is Abraham Lincoln.   He was often called a moderate.  In fact, he was radical in his goals, especially his undying hatred for slavery.   But he was moderate in his means, seeking where possible to dull the pain of the radical changes he was seeking and working for a society characterized by malice toward none and charity toward all — even the former slave owners.

Obviously, the Cause Lincoln championed was far greater than that of consumer choice and convenience in the buying of wine and beer.  But in all things — including  the great passions that now threaten to rip the social fabric of America and turn us into a land chacterized by mass deportation, trampling on the rights of social and racial minorities, and aching economic inequality — we can benefit by emulating the patience and vision of the Great Emancipator.


Forget Moe Mentum. Ground rules decide elections.

(Good analysis from a local who knows stuff – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton.

The late quarterback/broadcaster Don Meredith often mused that “Old Moe Mentum is a fickle friend.” If nothing else, the 2016 political season suggests it is time to retire the concept from the ranks of the political chattering class and banish it to the even more hackneyed vocabulary of sportscasters.

Old Moe did put in an early appearance when Bernie Sanders did his “better than expected” photo-finish second place in the Iowa caucus. That validated his campaign and he roared to a big win in New Hampshire. But while the chatterers burbled about “Moe Mentum,” every contest since – beginning with Clinton’s second, and last, caucus victory in Nevada, appears to have followed two basic sets of political predictors: demographics and ground rules.

In terms of ground rules, Hillary has fared poorly in caucuses and open contests — those that allow voters who aren’t registered as Democrats. But she does well in primaries or closed contests.

So far, the New York Times Upshot column estimates she has done about nine percentage points better in primaries than in caucuses, and three points better in closed contests than in open ones. Unfortunately for Bernie Sanders, there is only one state caucus left,  a closed one, in North Dakota on June 7. And Sanders has never beaten Clinton in an closed primary.

Demographics have also been key as African-American voters favor Clinton by wide margins, as do Latinos by somewhat narrower ranges. Affluent voters also lean to Clinton. Sanders has never beaten Clinton in a primary where more than 25 percent of the voters are minorities.


Give Me Night or Give Me Blucher

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Hard pressed by Napoleon at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington cried: “Give me night or give me Blucher!” In the end, Blucher’s hard-marching Prussians fell on the French rear and won the day for the allied armies.

Hillary Clinton can be forgiven for voicing similar sentiments as she reels from a string of seven Bernie Sanders victories that have eroded, though far from erased, the lead she ran up in Southern primaries capped by her one-day sweep of Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, followed by a convincing win in Arizona.

But as the venue shifted to the West. Sanders showed his mastery of the caucus process where, after losing the first pair in Iowa and Nevada, he swept the next ten, including his recent wins in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii. This weekend, he also won a symbolic 55-44 percent win in Wyoming, although the two rivals split the 14 pledged delegates 7-7, according to the Washington Post.


Hey, It Could be Worse

(Promoted by Colorado Pols) 

 — THE BITTER Democratic presidential contest grew even more rancorous Friday as the candidates traded slurs on each other’s spouses.

A superpac backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders opened the exchange by tweeting a nude photo of former Sen.  Scott Brown that had been photo-shopped to show Bill Clinton’s head.

“Is this the slut you want to be first spouse?” the Bernfeelerpac asked voters.

Later Friday, Hillary Clinton retaliated by retweeting a photo of Jane Sanders eating a felafel next to a beatifically smiling photo of Bill Clinton scarfing a Big Mac.

“No need to spill the Secret Sauce,” the retweet proclaimed.  “We don’t need a radical vegan in the White House.”

A visibly angry Sanders called a press conference to proclaim “It would be a cold day in Sheol” before he would support Clinton if she does win the Democratic nomination against either Republican Front runner Donald Trump or his politically more moderate rival, Attilla the Cruz.

MSNBC columnist Chris Mathews immediately interrupted Sanders to point out that, “Sheol is a place of stillness and darkness cut off from life and from the Hebrew God. It’s supposed to be cold.”

“Oh, shut up and let the candidate talk, Chris,” commentator Rachel Maddow said. “For once in your life, just shut up!” she added to widespread cheering in the press corps.

Clinton quickly replied she would also refuse to support Sanders.

“I’m not in the habit of supporting candidates who distract my husband while he is eating a Big Mac,” the former Secretary of State said. “Besides, Bernie comes from a small state. What else might be small about him?”

Mathews immediately tried to interrupt Mrs. Clinton but his words were lost when Chelsea Clinton sucker-punched him, which triggered widespread high-fiving in the press corps.

Democrats weren’t the only feuding candidates Friday, however.   The long-decorous Republican contest was rocked when Trump suggested that rival Attilla the Cruz might be unqualified to be president because of their differences on banking legislation.”

“But if Attilla does get the nomination, I’ll support him because he is 100 times better than Clinton or Sanders, ” Trump said.

Cruz fired back in kind, saying he had never suggested Trump was unqualified but believed he had been poorly prepared in an interview where he appeared to mistake the International Monetary Fund for the new quarterback of the NFL champion Denver Broncos.   Trump was widely ridiculed for the blunder because nobody has any idea who the Broncos quarterback is.

“Even so,” Cruz said, “If the unthinkable happens and The Donald is nominated, I will support him because he is 100 times better than either a socialist or, shudder, a woman in the oval office.”

Republican chairman Reince Prius said he was shocked at the bickering in his party.

“Looking at the near total accord on the Democratic side,” I am terrified that this tiny difference on fiscal policy or over the Broncos quarterback, whichever it turns out to be, will cost our party the White House in the fall.’’



R.I.P. for a little country boy from Princeton

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

      By Bob Ewegen

            Former state rep. and U.S. Rep. Mike Strang – a “Little country boy from Princeton” who helped transform Coloradans attitudes toward their land and its legacy – died Sunday at his home in Carbondale at the age of 84.

            An Associated Press obituary focused on the fact that Strang, a Republican, introduced an unsuccessful bill in the Colorado legislature in the 1970s to legalize marijuana. Four decades later, Colorado voters caught up with him by becoming, along with Washington State, one of just two states legalizing recreational use of the drug.

            But Strang was no mere ahead-of-his-time idealist.   He used his engaging manners and Princeton-honed mind to become part of the “Great Triumvirate “ – along with Republican Rep. Betty Anne Dittemore of Englewood and then Democratic Rep. Dick Lamm of Denver – who revolutionized Colorado’s land-use policies.


The Constitution doesn’t grant your rights — it protects them

(Because the Constitution is important, I’d like to further this dialog. – promoted by Voyageur)

      A relatively new Polster, ElliotFladen, has distinguished himself among our starboard stalwarts by posting reasoned arguments to support his views, rather than cutting and pasting boilerplate from some right-wing websites.  But while I respect him, I profoundly disagree with some statements he made in a recent exchange, in which I defended the right to martial privacy doctrine established in Griswold vs. Connecticut.

    Griswold, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) for those of you who like to look up such things, established a a right of privacy in the process of striking down a Connecticut law that banned the use of birth control by even married couples.


  ElliotFladen attacked that ruling, the precursor to the more famous Roe v. Wade abortion decision, in part because he found it at variance with an obscure labor law ruling upholding minimum wage laws.  I won’t go into that argument except to state that I have a masters degree in labor relations and am quite sure my knowledge of labor law and history far exceeds his.  I do, however, challenge his ending assertion in that discussion:  

“You need to understand two very simple facts of constitutional law.  (1) The constitution does not enshrine your policy preferences or mine.  I like contraception.  My wife and I have used it.  My girlfriends in the past have used it.  But just because I like it and I think it is SMART to use it does not mean that there is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO IT.  (2) And if you believe that there IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to contraception, you need to figure out the SOURCE of that right.”

    Let me make a couple of preliminary points.   First, Mr. Fladen, all caps is considered “shouting” on blogs and is also a bit jarring to read.  The portions you capitalized would have been better served by italicizing.

  Secondly, you are quite wrong to say the Constitution does not enshrine policy preferences.   It was written by white men who owned property and displays a decided preference to property and capital over labor – even going so far in its original form as to enshrine the right of white men to own black men and women as slaves.   This background is significant because while right-wingers love to assail “Judicial Activism” as some sort of left-wing heresy, the fact is that judicial activism goes back as far as the birth of the Supreme Court and has usually been right-wing activism aimed at upholding the rights of capital over labor – such as the decisions Fladen cites in which courts prohibited minimum-wage laws or limits on hours of work as unconstitutional limits on the right of contract.  Page Smiths eight-volume “People’s History of the United States” makes this point at length and I commend it to any serious student of American history.

   But let us turn now to Mr. Fladen’s rather irrelevant discussion about his wife and past girlfriends using birth control, which sets up his dual-edged claim:


“But just because I like it and I think it is SMART to use it does not mean that there is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO IT.  (2) And if you believe that there IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to contraception, you need to figure out the SOURCE of that right.”

Actually, that’s wrong on both points, and suggests a serious misunderstanding of what the Constitution is all about. In point of fact, it is misleading to suggest that the Constitution confers any individual rights.  Most of the rights granted by the Constitution proper are granted to states, not individuals: such as the right of each state to have two senators, regardless of its population.

    Even the so-called Bill of Rights doesn’t actually “grant” individual rights.   It assumes God gave you your rights and that governments will eventually try to take them away.   The Bill of Rights is thus less a grantor of liberties than a set of chains set upon those governments to make it difficult for potential oppressors to take away your God-given rights.

    So, Mr. Fladen, it is not up to me to find a constitutional right to contraception.   It is up to you to find an enumerated power that gives the state or federal government the right to send its Sex Police into my bedroom and pull off my condom or flush our birth control pills down the toilet!   Good luck with that.  

On further review, as they say in the NFL, Bad Luck with that!

   Mr. Fladen does have the grace to recognize that the majority opinion by Justice William O. Douglas found the right to marital privacy in the “penumbras” and “emanations” of other constitutional protections not the precise language of the document himself.  But he is on shakier ground by trying to pin the decision on due process provisions of the 14th Amendment, which are cited only in the concurring opinions of John Marshall Harlan II and Byron White.

This brings us to my favorite part of Griswold — the concurrence by Justice Arthur Goldberg, which uses the Ninth Amendment to strike down the Sex Police.

Ahh, the Ninth Amendment, this cranky conservative’s favorite part of the Bill of Rights, and the one that forms the basis for my notions set above.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

   In both logic and math, the ninth amendment is followed by the 10th:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    So this, Mr. Fladen, is why I don’t waste time looking for a right to privacy, a right to contraception, or a right to abortion in the Constitution.   I don’t have to!  It’s up to you and anybody else who tries to take those rights away from me to find an enumerated power permitting you to do so.

        I’m an avid chess player.  Nowhere does the constitution give me the right to waste my days on the 64 squares.  But I don’t have to seek that right.   You have to find a way to take it away from me!  [And I must admit that, when playing White, the French defense has often robbed me of the pleasure of the game.  But that is the nature of this vicious game, not constitutional law;-)]

  The Constitution doesn’t grant anybody the right to be a Denver Broncos fan.  It doesn’t grant the right to watch Jeopardy.  It doesn’t guarantee the right to prefer Mozart to rap music. You have thousands of rights that aren’t mentioned in the Constitution – because they don’t have to be.

   Remember, whether the right you cherish is to birth control, abortion, chess, or rooting for the Orange Crush, you don’t have to look for a part of the Constitution that gives you that right.  It’s up to those who want to take your God-given rights away to search for the enumerated powers that allow them to take away those rights, and they have to get past the ninth and tenth amendments before they can even try.

  (FPE note:  As I said, I do respect Mr. Fladen.  If he would like to organize his own thoughts on constitutional law into Diary form, I shall happily promote it to further this discussion.)


Denver at-large council seats

I have plenty of information for the Denver mayor race.  But I’m pretty much at sea when it comes to the at-large city council races.

I invite polsters to offer their impressions of candidates for that office and why they are worthy of our support — or not, as the case may be.

[poll id=”1329″]

Michael Bender new Chief Justice of Colorado Supreme Court

From the Court.

               DENVER – Justice Michael L. Bender was named as Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday.  Justice Bender’s fellow justices named him to head the court, effective Dec. 1, 2010.

               Justice Bender succeeds Chief Justice Mullarkey, who announced her retirement in May, and whose last day on the bench will be Nov. 30, 2010.  Chief Justice Mullarkey joined the Court on June 29, 1987, and was named Chief Justice on Aug. 3, 1998


 “I am pleased and honored to be selected by my colleagues to serve in this capacity,” said Justice Bender.  “I look forward to continuing the important initiatives Chief Justice Mullarkey undertook in her remarkable career and working with the other branches of state government to ensure our courts are prepared to face the challenges of the future.”

               Justice Bender joined the court in January 1997.  He was in private practice from 1979 to 1997.  He also served in public defender offices in Denver, Jefferson County and for the State of Colorado and also worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1964 and his JD from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1967.  Justice Bender is married to Helen H. Hand, Ph.D., and they have five children and five grandchildren.

               “Justice Bender has been a great colleague and valued member of the Court,” Chief Justice Mullarkey said.  “I am confident Justice Bender will serve Colorado well in his new role.”

               Justice Bender is the 44th member of the Court to be named Chief Justice since Colorado’s statehood in 1876.


In his new role, Bender will be responsible for naming the four final members of the 11 member bipartisan commission that will reapportion the Colorado Legislature.  By law, no more than six members may be of the same political party.

Are we pahls or are we polls?

Not exactly an earthshaking issue, but I’m curious as to how our fellow polsters pronounce this blog.

  I refer to Coloradopols as “pahls”. In short, the pronounciation used for politics or politicians.

But a lot of polsters use the pronounciation “polls” as in “We got killed at the polls” or “a polled hereford.” (There is a great story about polled herefords.  A former state rep., Bob Eckelberry, if memory serves, was running for Congress against Ken Kramer in the Republican primary.  He appeared before the Colorado Cattleman’s Assn. prepared to answer a long list of public policy questions.  He didn’t expect the one question he got:

What’s the difference between a Hereford and a polled Hereford?

 He didn’t know.  And he didn’t get the endorsement.

   (For aspiring politicians, a polled Hereford has been dehorned.)

  Anyway, let’s vote on it.  How do you pronounce your favorite blog?

[poll id=”1283″]

Death of an amanuensis

I was 15 years old when John F. Kennedy gave the stirring call that summoned a generation to national service: Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”

The man who very probably wrote those words, long-time Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen, died Sunday.  You can read more about him at:…


Faithful to the speechwriter’s/publicist’s code, Sorensen insisted that Kennedy himself wrote those words.  Frankly, I doubt it – Kennedy’s writing skills seemed mostly limited to writing checks.  Sorensen was undoubtedly the principal author of  the 1955 “Profiles in Courage,” another book that stirred my youth and one still in use in college campuses today.  It won a Pulitzer Prize for Kennedy, who acknowledged Sorensen as a research assistant in his forward.  In fact, Kennedy probably did a fair amount of editing and writing on the book.  But scholars who have analyzed it regard the bulk of the writing as displaying Sorensen’s style, not that of the president.

Of course, Profiles in Courage wasn’t the only book that was influential in this era.  In 1960, Barry Goldwater’s “Conscience of a Conservative” was published.  It is generally believed to have been ghost-written by L. Brent Bozell, brother-in-law of the late William F. Buckley Jr. Having served as Goldwater’s speechwriter in the 1950s, Bozell – who died in 1997 – was quite familiar with the senator’s political philosophy.

Goldwater really did believe in individual freedom, unlike the Tea Party of today whose champions – like Ken Buck – want to free giant corporations from public oversight while inserting the bayonet of government into our most private decisions, such as our sexual partners or reproductive choices.  As he aged, Goldwater’s libertarian tendencies led him to champion gays in the military and other instances of  fair treatment for gays, reproductive freedom for women, and oppose efforts to impose a single religious viewpoint on American life.

So now, the real authors of the most influential political books of the post World War II era, Sorensen and Bozell, have joined the putative authors of those books, Kennedy and Goldwater, in whatever heavenly reward awaits the ink-stained wretches of this world.  I invite Polsters of whatever persuasion to recall those portions of Profiles in Courage or Conscience of a Conservative – or speeches of Kennedy or Goldwater – that stirred your youth and drew you into the great game of American politics.

 [poll id=”1274″]

Who will Bjwilson83 try to ban next?

UPDATE: We have a winner!  bjwilson83 has now called for the banning of Machiavelli for offending bjwilson83.  Machiavelli, as the tenth person bjwilson83 has attempted to ban, wins the coveted never-used Tom Tancredo campaign promise in which the five-term U.S. Congressman solemnly swore he would serve no more than three terms in the U.S. Congress.

bjwilson83 has two great passions on this blog.

1-Screaming that he is being censored.

2-Demanding that other polsters be banned for disagreeing with bjwilson83.

Beej has now demanded the banning of nine different polsters.   I think we should have some sort of ceremony for the tenth person he demands be banned, which will include the formal presentation of a brand new, never-used, campaign promise from Tom Tancredo.

So, put your nominations here for the polster you believe bjwilson83 will next demand be removed from this board. And say why he will face the wrath of beej.

Sig line of the month — and the winner is

“Never assume “shill” when “idiot” is available as an explanation.”  

 ajb nominated the winning sig line, a maxim originally postulated by Ralphie.  

  The race was tight, with ajb winning by one vote for a total of 14 votes (34.15%)

 Runner up was bjwilson83’s salute to our military history and his own intellectual curiosity,

I don’t know who Guidon is, nor do I care

which won 13 votes.

  I promised the winner a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon from my private stock and will deliver if ajb wants to contact me at the Mile High Law Office.  Meanwhile, I’m giving him a Tom Tancredo campaign promise in mint condition — since it was never used or acted upon.


I solemnly pledge to serve no more than three terms in the House of Representatives.

Tom Tancredo, five-term Congressman and third party candidate for governor.

Sig Line of the month — the final five

Due to popular demand — well, DaftPunk asked for it, anyway — the sig line of the month contest is back.  

DaftPunk was the winner of the last contest with his much apprecicated Bill Maher quote about Sarah Palin :”

She wrote tax cuts” on her hand.  A Republican so stupid she had to be reminded about tax cuts.  It’s like you looked at Wile E. Coyote’s paw and it said “Road Runner.”

Nominees can be an actual sig line used by a polster, or a comment by a polster that seems to cry out to be used as a sig line.  The latter can be either one of those occasional outbursts that we all make but don’t look so good on screen or a ray of simple brilliance.  


In the latter category, brilliance, I’m nominating ajb’s quote from Ralphie:

“Never assume “shill” when “idiot” is available as an explanation.”  

In the “wish I had that one back” category, the ever prolific bjwilson83 came through in response to an eloquent post from Barron X in which the Barron talked about Tom Tancredo picking up the guidon of the conservative cause and carrying on.  In a burst of pure Beejism, our resident math whiz, who was at that point still backing Dan Maes, parried

I don’t know who Guidon is.  Nor do I care.”

A guidon, of course, is a unit standard.  Carrying it, especially into battle, is a high honor, albeit often a fatal one, because it tends to draw the enemy’s fire.  In the Barron’s metaphor, Tancredo picking up the fallen guidon was a noble and courageous act, rallying the troops.  The beej can be forgiven for not knowing what a guidon is, of course — you probably have to be a veteran or at least know a bit of military history to recognize that.  But the

Nor do I care

portion just seemed to be pure Beejism.

  Needing no explanation, we come to the deft sally from Ardy39.  

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don’t.

That prompted marc sobel to nominate:


In order to understand Recursion, you must first understand Recursion

 And I was enchanted by this line from Gray In Mountains


BBQ is a religious experience. Confusing BBQ with grilling is much like confusing showers with baptism.

Let the voting begin.[poll id=”1261″]

New, Improved, Sig Line of the month contest

When is the next Sig Line of the Month contest?


  Your wish is my command, DaftPunk.  Of course, my commands don’t mean anything except to my ever-obedient sockpuppet BJwilson83 (boy do we have you polsters bamboozled on that one.)  But, anyway, DaftPunk’s quote, from Bill Maher, about Sarah Palin

“She wrote tax cuts on her hand.  A Republican so stupid she had to be reminded to talk about tax cuts.  It’s like you looked at Wile E. Coyote’s paw and it said ‘Road Runner.'”  

was the runaway winner of the last contest.  So, give me your nominations and in a few days I’ll post the five best and you can vote for them.  Winner gets a free six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon (I’m trying to cut down.)

My own nomination is the delightful

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don’t.  Ardy39