The Rude Pundit at EschaCon '08:
The Rude Pundit will attend his first gathering celebrating the joys of leftist bloggery and other full-contact sports when he shows up at EschaCon '08 in Philadelphia at the lamb side of March.

On March 29, the Rude Pundit will participate on the humor panel with other fine and funny bloggers and writers, and he will be performing that night as part of the evening's concert and party. One or two of the blow-up dolls may make an appearance, too. All at the intensely convenient location of the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown, where blossoming young bloggers may ask the Rude Pundit to return to their rooms to "show you my laptop."

And, sure, he'll enjoy the Americana wonders of Philly, demanding that he be allowed to drink ale out of Ben Franklin's skull.
In Brief: Things That the Rude Pundit Learned From the Attorney General Yesterday:
1. Just because it's torture for you, doesn't mean it's torture for everyone. See, waterboarding is like tickling in that, for some, tickling is absolute torture. For others, it's pleasurable to the point of sexual excitement. So the measure of what is and is not torture ought not be some objective standard of behavior. Nope - it should be the boner test. If you are getting drowned during an interrogation and you get a hard-on (if you are male), then it's not torture. How would this be determined? Well, that would take some kind of electrodes attached to the genitals of the prisoner.

2. America retains its moral authority in the world because its highest law enforcement officer says that it's wrong to rape prisoners during an interrogation. It's not unakin to saying, "Well, I fucked that corpse, but at least I didn't eat it." We should have bumper stickers that read: "America: We're Not Egypt." After Michael Mukasey said that the law prohibits rape of prisoners, Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions jumped in to say that, if some terrorist had planted a nuke in Dothan, he'd fuck the guy to get the location.

3. Shocking the conscience is a relative thing. Mukasey seemed to imply (since everything he said was coated in a fine goo of legal vagaries and bureaucratic obfuscation) that waterboarding might meet the "shocks the conscience" standard on some occasions, like if it was done for entertainment purposes, but not in others, like if it was done to prevent a mythical chemical attack. So, as a standard, the ends justify the means. Or it's only a crime if nothing good comes of it. Applied in other circumstances - meaning for you - it means that if you rob a rich asshole of his millions and donate all the money to faith-based initiatives, you have done a good thing. If you donate it to Planned Parenthood, your ass is getting dunked.

4. The conversation in the Bush administration is like a meeting of sadists and masochists. Everyone's just getting off on what they can and can't do, and the only ones without a safe word are the ones who have had it done to them.

(Migraine. Brain hurts. More possibly later.)


You Did Not Deserve Rudy (A Requiem): You bastards. Here we are, well into the 21st century, six or so years into what Patrick Ruffini, on the blog of Hugh Hewitt, a man whose smile rests in some discomfiting netherworld between guy-who-masturbates-under-his-desk and child molester, calls "the transcendent issue of our time," which, one presumes is eternal war, motherfuckers, with the brown people. Hewitt and Ruffini and Fox "news" and Chris Matthews and so, so many other wannabe tough guys and gals swooned over Rudy Giuliani because Rudy, alas, sweet Rudy, he stood tall as the Twin Towers fell. And somehow, despite the fact that he had no actual experience in actually fighting any enemy more powerful than a capicola-stuffed Mob enforcer and a homeless car window washer, he made all of them believe that because he was too stupid and arrogant to wear a mask at Ground Zero, he would be a great warrior. Goddamn, how cheap our heroes come in these Bush-befouled times. Oh, poor America, how bereft we are this morning, how we have abandoned our Rudy, the man we have been told again and again is mayor to all of us, an appellation shoved down our throats like so many other lies, like WMDs and yellowcake uranium and "Dead or Alive" threats. Rudy, our shiny-domed savior, yes, deigned to lower himself from his six-figure speaking gigs and at least distance himself from the security consulting firm that bears his name in order to run for President, not for Rudy, no, but for you because, obviously, the nation was clamoring for a man who believes so much in marriage he's done it three times, a man who was brave enough to observe homosexuals in their dens of sodomy, a man who understood women because he put on lipstick and gold lame' and let a rich dude rub his fake tits, a man who was so tough on crime and so in touch with the zeitgeist on enhanced interrogation techniques that he could dismiss the wooden stick rape of a prisoner by New York cops, a man who prized loyalty above competence because independent thinking and accountability merely get in the way of one's goals, a man who understood how the economy works by making multi-million dollar lemonade out of the 9/11 lemons, a man who...god, one could go on. Well, apparently not. Apparently, once people realized that Rudy Giuliani was a creepy, conniving, vindictive, incompetent, profiteering, self-aggrandizing, fearmongering motherfucker, a cocksucker of epic proportions whose gum-curling, face-eating grin made old people have heart attacks and babies cry, a tiny, scared lizard who swelled his cheeks to make himself look bigger than he was, well, they decided that, even though Rudy was walking on the earth, even though Sean Hannity and the rest of the Fox "news" cult were turning tricks for their Rudy pimp, America should not put its tenuous fate in the gnarled claws of the guy whose actual record on preventing terrorist attacks is somewhere between benign neglect and active harm. At least in this instance, God, Allah, Buddha, whoever or no one blessed us. No, no, you did not deserve him. However awful we may have behaved in this America, we did not deserve Rudy as our fate. Now Rudy can slink back to his cushy life with his codependent wife, get ready to be called to account when Kerik's on trial, and go fuck himself with his World Trade Center models. Rudy has lost in a hand of Florida Hold 'Em, the all-in bet where he was dealt a pair of aces and the flop, the turn, and the river were all fives, sevens, and jacks. Watching Rudy's stunning swan dive turn into one of the worst belly flops in recent political history has been marvelous. Dancing on his grave? Ask the firefighters, the cops, and the 9/11 families. That shit's fuckin' priceless.


The State of the Union is "Oh, Fuck, Am I Still Here?":
For a moment here, put aside the Raging Bill that's in the news right now and exult in a little trip down memory lane, back to President Clinton's final State of the Union speech, back in 2000, when the whole impeachment psychosis just a distant memory. Read it, whatever you thought or think about Billy J, however you disagreed with his policies, on the right or left, and remember, just eight years ago, how one could talk about an America that was such a place and not sound completely delusional:

"We are fortunate to be alive at this moment in history. Never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats. Never before have we had such a blessed opportunity -- and, therefore, such a profound obligation -- to build the more perfect union of our founders' dreams.

"Eight years ago, it was not so clear to most Americans there would be much to celebrate in the year 2000. Then our nation was gripped by economic distress, social decline, political gridlock. The title of a best-selling book asked: America: What Went Wrong?...

"My fellow Americans, we have crossed the bridge we built to the 21st century. Now, we must shape a 21st century American revolution -- of opportunity, responsibility and community. We must be now, as we were in the beginning, a new nation."

Now here's a little something from last night's State of the Union address, the final one by President George W. Bush: "Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could have imagined. We faced hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it's fair to say we've answered the call."

Well, what the fuck else was he gonna say? That eight years ago, America was prosperous and at peace and, goddamn, how he fucked that up real good?

Here's the world as a reflection of George W. Bush's tenure: "We've watched throngs of mourners in Lebanon and Pakistan carrying the caskets of beloved leaders taken by the assassin's hand. We've seen wedding guests in blood-soaked finery staggering from a hotel in Jordan, Afghans and Iraqis blown up in mosques and markets, and trains in London and Madrid ripped apart by bombs. On a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant." He views the world through a prism of blood and gore and destruction.

Actually, more accurate examples of the tone of the speech, a pissy little laundry list of "Shit What I Can Do," fall into two categories: The Premature Ejaculation - ideas that seem to have conclusions with no plan behind them, as when he said, "We must also find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally. Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved. And it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals." And then he changed the subject.

Or the No-Foreplay Dry Ass Fuck - a rejection of anything that crosses his arbitrary line in the sand, as when he said to the members of Congress, "[I]f you send me an appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half, I'll send it back to you with my veto." It doesn't even bear saying that earmarks didn't make an appearance in a State of the Union until Democrats took over the Congress.

Mostly, the speech was the rhetorical equivalent of watching a sad old man try to coax his cock into an erection while a particularly obese hooker falls asleep on the threadworn satin sheets of a squeaky heart-shaped bed in a faded red room in a decrepit whorehouse outside of Reno. The elderly john's just standing there naked, pants and shirt carefully folded on the mock art nouveau chair in the corner, fondling himself, cupping his balls, rubbing his dick on the whore's ample tits - she gave up trying to suck him to hardness a long time ago - getting alternately frustrated, sad, and angry, wondering why he paid a c-note up front. Sure, his friends cheered him on when he headed up the stairs with the hooker, but, mostly, you know the old bastard's just going through the motions so he can get home in time to watch reruns of Bonanza he's Tivo'd.

Bush didn't give a shit throughout the whole thing. He was bored, only waking up when he talked about blowing things up or about facing down the Democrats (and, bizarrely, Republicans) in Congress on such lofty goals as ensuring that tax cuts for the wealthy don't expire and that he doesn't have to get surveillance approved by a rubber-stamp secret court. It was forgettable in that one forgot about what he said almost immediately after he said it, and so did he. The speech asked us as Americans to do nothing but think about ourselves as individuals and get out of the way so he could get one or two more things "accomplished" before he's outta here. Basically, even more than last year, motherfucker was done, toast, hasta-la-fuckin'-vista; Laura, start the pick up.

Then you look back on the last Clinton speech. And you remember that a goal of the entire Bush presidency was to undo what Clinton had done. You contemplate how degraded the nation has become in the wane of the Bush years, and you think, "Well, shit, there's one mission Bush actually did accomplish."


Fun in the First Lady's Box:
Goddamn, Laura Bush's box hasn't been this busy since the last time Nolan Ryan pitched a no-hitter. Yep, George came home higher than a Chinese kite in monsoon season and said to Laura, "Lift yer apron there, Library, and lemme lick your little bookworm," going down on his wife for a full two minutes before he finally passed out between her legs. She thought about letting him suffocate. But, according to the White House website, the now-First Lady is gonna have mucho action in her box tonight at the State of the Union speech.

For what else could it be but labial good times with the guest list posted. Noted erection specialist Bob Dole will be there to make sure that everyone who is taking their turn in the First Lady's box is well-medicated. And Laura Bush's box is gonna be the site of one big party. What better way to say thank you or "goddamn, that fuckin' sucks" than to be invited to spend a little time in the First Lady's box.

Kevin Sterne may have been nearly shot to death at Virginia Tech in April 2007, but the lax gun laws George W. Bush supported that allowed a fucking maniac to get armed will be forgiven when Sterne gets a gander at Laura's box. Andrew Kinard may have lost both his legs from an IED in Iraq because he didn't have the right armor for himself or his vehicle while on patrol for God doesn't even know what reasons, but once he's had his turn at the First Lady's box, he will know that America thanks him. Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield may have lost his father and a good chunk of his New Orleans home in Hurricane Katrina, but, oh, when he gets to blow his trumpet in the First Lady's box, the saints will come marchin' in.

Yes, yes, yes, there's plenty of room in Laura Bush's box, room for double-amputees and black men, yes, black men. And let's not forget about women. How can one have a successful guest list to one's box if one is not going to include women, too?

There's black women and Hispanic women, soldier women and housewives. Laura Bush's box is a bipartisan space, for Donna Shalala will get to enjoy it, as will women who have kneeled down to demonstrate how much they deserve to be in the First Lady's box, like Indiana's Tara Kunkel, who wrote to Laura Bush to thank her for talking about cardiovascular health, despite George Bush's lack of commitment to making preventive health care a priority.

Oh, how they will have fun at the First Lady's box, sucking and fucking, and glazing their faces and fingers with First Lady juice from the First Lady's box so that they shine, shine, shine when the Klieg lights hit them, so they can wave to the members of Congress and the nation and say, "Look at me, I'm in the First Lady's box, and it's delicious," while her husband, calling out the people in Laura's box, speaks about themes and ideas and plans that will do in each and every one of those in the First Lady's box, but they will be distracted by the veils and layers and delights of Laura Bush's box so that they won't understand what poison they have been forced to lap up.
Late Post Today:
Professor Xavier has some clean-up duties for the Rude Pundit right now. Back later with more rudiliciousness.


The Republican Debate: No Sound, No Fury, Nothing Signified:
Holy fuck, that Republican debate last night was boring. Seriously, couldn't Romney and Giuliani have gang-raped McCain (to which a sighing McCain would have said, "Again?")? Couldn't Huckabee do some kind of Jesusy mumbo-jumbo to expel the demon that runs Ron Paul? They could have brought Ronald Reagan's skull up on stage and each taken a turn fucking the eyeholes, and the skull would have been more lively than the candidates. It would have been more interesting and politically enlightening to try to set fire to one's own farts. Jesus, it would have been more fun to keep punching oneself in the nuts to see if one passes out or coughs up blood first.

Here's some of the Rude Pundit's favorite insights from the night:

Chemical and biological weapons are as easy to lose as particularly well-hidden Easter eggs. So said Mike Huckabee: "Now, everybody can look back and say, oh, well, we didn't find the weapons. It doesn't mean they weren't there. Just because you didn't find every Easter egg didn't mean that it wasn't planted." The cool thing is that Saddam Hussein probably decorated the WMDs with those fun Paas color tablets and vinegar and we still couldn't find 'em.

We need to make sure pimps and ho's are paying their share of taxes. So said, well, fuck, Mike Huckabee about his national sales tax replacing income tax: "Everybody gets in the economy -- no more underground economy. Drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, non-Republicans -- (laughter) -- all of those people out there will be paying taxes. Nobody's working under the table." Mostly the Rude Pundit just wants to know if there will be a sales tax on drugs and prostitutes.

Joe Lieberman is still a Democrat in John McCain's old eyes: "Joe Lieberman...one of my favorite Democrats."

Florida, playground of retirees, causes senility in even the not-quite-elderly. Said Rudy Giuliani: "[W]e are going to come from behind, we're going to win here in Florida, and if you look at the races that are coming up after that, I think we're -- we're in good shape." It's not unlike saying that, after you've been beaten into a pool of piss, sweat, and blood in an alley behind a bar, that you can still win the brawl.

Hillary Clinton wants to start up the Spanish Inquisition, loves the Plantagenets, favors guillotines. So said Mitt Romney: "She takes her inspiration from the Europe of old."

God, really, truly, the Rude Pundit would rather listen to Bill and Hillary Clinton deny they are in attack dog mode than listen to Mitt Romney or John McCain discuss antyhing.


President Bush and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad War Lies:
Let's have some fun with the search engine for the Center for Public Integrity's War Card, a mind-numbing, heart-sickening, stomach-churning aggregation of all the lies just the higher-ups in the Bush administration spewed in the build-up to and while fanning the flames of the Iraq War. Let's start with the scary adjectives:

Plug in the word "horrible," and you get fun quotes like:
President Bush in October 2002: Iraq "has a horrible history of striking without warning."

Ari Fleischer, asked if the White House was using propaganda to "educate" the public about Iraq, in March 2003: "I think it's part of describing the horrible reality that Saddam Hussein is putting his people through."

Paul Wolfowitz, in May 2003: "I mean there is no question the regime was a horrible thing." And in June 2003: "[T]his regime was a horrible abuser of its own people and that there is no question the Iraqi people are far better off with that regime gone."

Howzabout for variation, the word "horror"? Here's Dick Cheney, a man who knows a thing or two about horror, in January 2003: "[I]t would take just one vial, one canister, one crate to bring a day of horror to our nation unlike any we have ever known."

And here's a cool one, from Colin Powell, talking comparing the motherfucking Holocaust to Hussein's brutality, in June 2003: "The full horror has yet to be exposed, but every day brings more evidence of the regime's crimes against humanity, and those responsible will be held to account."

Damn, this is fun. It's like a tour through our collective derangement. It's like a whole clip full of "told-you-so" bullets to put in our Glocks of sad recognition.

Here's some "terrible" shit:
Condoleezza Rice in February 2002: "It remains a dangerous regime, and it remains a regime determined to acquire these terrible weapons."

From that same month, here's one of the best quotes, from President Bush: "People who love freedom understand that we cannot allow nations that aren't transparent, nations with a terrible history, nations that are so dictatorial they're willing to starve their people, we can't allow them to mate up with terrorist organizations." So, not only no gay marriage, but no terrible mating, either. Consistency, thy middle initial is "W."

And to the U.N. in his great and mighty speech on 9/12 in 2002, Bush said, "With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow." At this point, "terrible weapons" became the operative phrase, used by Condi, Wolfie, and Colin.

It ain't even worth talking about how many times "terror" appears.

You could go all day with this. Sometimes you find big shitloads of irony in the simplest of searches. "Torture," for instance, reveals Colin Powell promising in March 2003, "[W]e have quite a bit of experience in not only conducting successful military operations but rebuilding a better society afterwards where the Iraqi people can be free of fear, free of torture, free of the kinds of crimes that Saddam Hussein has committed against his own people." Or President Bush, already in hominah-hominah justification mode in January 2004, saying, "Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims, terrified and innocent."

Or what George Bush's moral standards are: "We believe targeting innocent civilians for murder is always and everywhere wrong" (June 10, 2002).

And what about the word "lies"? Shall we get meta here? Ari Fleischer, a man who, even if truth was an armless war orphan who had seen both her parents disemboweled and hung by their own intestines, would bend it over his lectern and rape it in front of the gathered press (who would dutifully report that truth was asking for it with her seductive tears), blustered in September 2002: "Iraq also accused President Bush of engaging in lies and falsehoods." Or George Bush, describing, one imagines, Saddam Hussein, in that same month: "This is a man who continually lies. This is a man who does not know the truth. This is a man who is a threat to peace.

Or Rumsfeld, who, when in hell, and perhaps before, deserves to be force-fed an awful mush made from the bones of dead civilians until his gut ruptures, outraged by what Hussein would dare say, remarked in February 2003, "I mean, he said that Secretary Powell's words tomorrow are going to be lies. He says that the photographs that will be shown will be doctored. That's what he does. That's what he does. And then the world's press spreads it around the world as though it's true. It's utter—it's just a continuous pattern. This is a case of the local liar coming up again and people repeating what he said and forgetting to say that he never—almost never—rarely tells the truth."

It is nauseating, not just because, of course, they were wrong, but because, in almost every case, they knew they were wrong. The War Card is a catalog of the road signs on our American path to damnation. It should be stapled to the head of every complicit Judith Miller-esque reporter. It should be enshrined next to the goddamn Declaration of Independence, the yin and yang of how power is dealt with in this country.

By the way, the word "penis" does not appear. Neither "vagina." Nor do "cock" or "pussy." Yet, appropriately enough, "dick" seems only to reference Cheney. "Cunt" is nowhere to be found in the words, but, indeed, it's all over the document.


Clinton, Obama, and the Stink of Rove:
Our political landscape is haunted by the specter of Karl Rove, the bald, bejowled gargoyle who feeds himself on the viscera of Democratic candidates, his rotting gore-filled teeth emitting a stench that can be sensed from the Potomac to the Pacific. Rove is always there, in actuality or spirit, licking his sweaty upper lip at the possibility of dining on the next nominee. And as the race for the Democratic nomination gets nastier and nastier, the whole thing is spinning like a merry-go-round where Rove controls the levers. He may not be directly involved (although the Rude Pundit has his suspicions), but once you introduce a pollution to an ecological system, it's almost impossible to completely eradicate it.

For, at this point in the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton kerfuffle, which Rovean narrative do you want? The battle of the white male fears: the castrating, vindictive bitch-hag (who, as an added sexist bonus, is constantly photographed in high-def as a way of highlighting her severe-looking wrinkles-how dare that bitch age) versus the angry black man (who, as an added racist bonus, is so handsome that it just looks like he wants to rape him some white pussy-how dare he have abs)? The white plantation owners slapping down the uppity nigger who wants to own some land? Or, just looking at Clinton, the wannabe strong woman who needs to have her man get her back? Fuck, it's like a script written by the man himself.

Rove himself has not been inactive here, penning articles where he advised Obama how to beat Clinton and then turning around and trying to bitch slap Obama for not beating Clinton and for being "trash-talking" and "lazy," like a stoop-sitting thug-lifer. Rove sees them both as spineless wimps, and, clearly, both are now attempting to show they are ready to tussle, which makes them reveal their weaknesses, which is where Rove will come back into the scene. Remember: This is the shit he's saying publicly. You can bet that behind the scenes, he's whipped off his pants and danced a little grotesque jig, yanking his tiny cock in glee for the coming battle. He's prepping the ground, man, like a malevolent farmer who knows you gotta get the equipment ready in the winter and do the planting in the spring so you can harvest in the fall. He had a shitty year in 2006, but that's just made him sharpen his plows and get more radioactive seeds to set those fields ablazing with turd blossoms.

Really, Clinton and Obama are playing into Rove's hand. Much of the blame here rests with the Clintons, who, truly, are campaigning as a single, buy-one-get-one-free unit, for when Bill says that he consulted Hillary on every decision he made when president, the implicit promise is that Hillary will consult him and, c'mon, don't we want Bill back in the White House? They are fighting a campaign that is better suited to 2000 or 2004. Someone needs to kick Bill Clinton in the nuts and say, "Down, boy." He's playing the short game, which used to be the way you win elections.

At this point, the Democrats could nominate a sock monkey or a slice of provolone and it would beat John McCain or Mitt Romney. As long as that sock monkey wore a "Bring the troops home" t-shirt. But the Clintons are waging the slash and burn war of tiny marginal advantages here and there that'll let them conquer 51% of the territory and declare victory, very much like the way Rove operates, very much like how Clinton adviser Mark Penn sees marketing. (Rove, by the way, must be chafing at the bit to go after consultant Howard Wolfson and other Glover Park Group members.)

That ain't the zeitgeist this time. The population craves unity. The citizens want someone they can rally around. Yeah, yeah, it's true that any nominee will face a fucking firestorm of negative bullshit from Republicans, that putting candidates through the paces now helps inure them to repeat attacks. But the Rude Pundit doesn't believe it's gonna play now. Not with this war, an economy in the shitter, and a bunch of desiccated corpses as the only options over in the GOP.

The question is whether or not Hillary Clinton can be that rallying figure. It's whether she and her husband are willing to shift their rhetoric to transform her into it. It is up to her. Obama is, for the most part, in reaction mode.

The way to real victory that leads to real potential changes in the nation is not to play Rove's game. He is the master. Win or lose the battle, who cares, the true master knows, the real essence is what happens during the arc of the war. Don't believe it? Ask yourself how much that thrillingly new Democratic Congress actually got done that wouldn't have been done under a Republican one.


Of Democratic Candidates and Gay Lovers:
Let us say, and why not, that you are a thirty-something openly queer guy, and you are cruising one of your favorite South Carolina gay bars - say, and, indeed, why not, Time Out over on 8th in Myrtle Beach. Oh, and you're a bottom. You can't wait to get fucked in the ass, especially since you just broke up with a closested dude who became so impotent at the end, you just sent him back to his mama. So you're checkin' out the off-season scene, the regulars, your prostate aching for some tickling, and you notice at the end of the bar a semi-nice-looking guy, who really just seems like another you. He lifts his glass to you, as if saying, "Hello," but you just wave him off. Fuck him. You want something new and exotic. You wanna get fucked by someone who you think is gonna do it to you in a way you never thought you'd experience.

You scope out the black skinhead dancing with the leatherman, the twink and the bear, the cross-dressing feather fags and the yuppie studs and the club kids. You're thinking about how hard you'd get fucked, feeling it all the way in your throat, if you bent over for the skinhead, whose pants wad looks like a tumor on his leg. You're thinking the bear might just be in it for a one-shot, bang and outta there, which ain't bad, and it's what you'll settle for if that's what you get. Truth be told, you're not really into them, but you think it's time for you to expand your anal horizons.

You shoot some tequila for confidence and limb looseness and head out to dance as that awesome Rihanna remix kicks in. The secret truth is, though, that looks are deceiving. For, you see, what you fail to realize is that the one whose cock is gonna rock your rectum and have you begging for more is Mr. Ordinary-Looking at the end of the bar. He's sitting there, toasting away, waiting for someone to sit down next to him so he can order that lucky dude a mixed drink and tell him all the hot shit he's gonna do. But no one notices him. And chances are, Mr. Ordinary's gonna go home alone. It's sad, really, that the thirst for symbolic difference makes us overlook the obvious.

So it was, speaking of obvious, that the winner of last night's Democratic debate was John Edwards, the odd average man out. While Obama and Clinton went at each other in an entertaining slap fight, there was Edwards, calmly speaking for the vast majority of Americans, even if that majority won't ever get to hear him. The only candidate to mention New Orleans during a Martin Luther King Day debate hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, Edwards articulated again and again the vision of economic justice and empowerment that eluded his rivals. And he had to fuckin' beg for air time while the other two squabbled over who hates Republicans more.

Edwards should have jumped into the pit bull ring more than he did to assert his ideas. That he didn't doesn't take away from the power of them. That the moderators and the media refuse to take his candidacy seriously, however, does leave him, alone, at the end of the bar, waiting for someone to notice.
The Awesomest MLK Day Photo Featuring a White President and a Black Child:

Oh, yeah, yeah, he was doing some shit no one cares about. But that girl? Her eyes speak for us all.

Side note: Doesn't the white girl have the haunted look of a child about to be molested again by the skeevy elderly uncle who won't stop touching her?

(Tip o' the hat to rude reader Serge for the photo.)


Martin Luther King Would Fuck Bush's Shit Up (2008 - and Final - Edition):
Here's some excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr. on "The Domestic Impact of the War," a speech delivered on November 11, 1967 to the National Labor Leadership Assembly for Peace:

"Now what are some of the domestic consequences of the war in Vietnam? It has made the Great Society a myth and replaced it with a troubled and confused society. The war has strengthened domestic reaction. It has given the extreme right, the anti-labor, anti-Negro, and anti-humanistic forces a weapon of spurious patriotism to galvanize its supporters into reaching for power, right up to the White House. It hopes to use national frustration to take control and restore the America of social insecurity and power for the privileged. When a Hollywood performer, lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the Presidency, only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events...

"In the past two months unemployment has increased approximately 15%. At this moment tens of thousands of people and anti-poverty programs are being abruptly thrown out of jobs and training programs to search in a diminishing job market for work and survival. It is disgraceful that a Congress that can vote upwards of $35 billion a year for a senseless immoral war in Vietnam cannot vote a weak $2 billion dollars to carry on our all too feeble efforts to bind up the wound of our nation's 35 million poor. This is nothing short of a Congress engaging in political guerrilla warfare against the defenseless poor of our nation.

"Thank God we have John Conyers is Congress. I only wish that we had more like him.

"The inflation of war cuts the pay of the employed, the pension check of the retired, and the savings of almost everyone. Inflation has stopped creeping and has begun running. Working people feel the double impact of inflation and unemployment immediately. But Negroes feel its impact with crushing severity because they live on the margin in all respects and have no reserve to cushion shock. There is a great deal of debate about the nation's ability to maintain war and commit the billions required to attack poverty. Theoretically the United States has resources for both. But an iron logic dictates that we shall never voluntarily do both for two reasons. First, the majority of the present Congress and the Administration, as distinguished from the majority of the people, is single-mindedly devoted to the pursuit of the war. It has been estimated by Senator (Harkey) that we spend approximately $500,000 to kill a single enemy soldier in Vietnam. And yet we spend about $53 for each impoverished American in anti-poverty programs. Congress appropriates military funds with alacrity and generosity. It appropriates poverty funds with miserliness and grudging reluctance. The government is emotionally committed to the war. It is emotionally hostile to the needs of the poor.

"Second, the government will resist committing adequate resources for domestic reform because these are reserves indispensable for a military adventure. The logical war requires of a nation deploy its well fought and immediate combat and simultaneously that it maintain substantial reserves. It will resist any diminishing of its military power through the draining off of resources for the social good. This is the inescapable contradiction between war and social progress at home. Military adventures must stultify domestic progress to ensure the certainty of military success. This is the reason the poor, and particularly Negroes, have a double stake in peace and international harmony. This is not to say it is useless to fight for domestic reform, on the contrary, as people discover in the struggle what is impeding their progress they comprehend the full and real cost of the war to them in their daily lives.

"Another tragic consequence of the war domestically is its destructive effect on the young generation. There cannot be enough sympathy for those who are sent into battle. More and more it is revealed how many of our soldiers cannot understand the purpose of their sacrifice. It is harrowing under any circumstance to kill but it is psychologically devastating to be forced to kill when one doubts it is right."

When President George W. Bush spoke about the economy last Friday, he did not mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For most Republicans and many Democrats, the economy and the war exist in separate, vacuum-sealed rooms. (Let's be clear here: None of the viable Democratic candidates for president make that leap. Hillary Clinton's economic stimulus proposal makes no linkage to the hundreds of billions spent on the wars. Barack Obama and John Edwards do not, either.)

When Bush makes whatever bullshit little speech he makes today, it will be like John Wayne Gacy praising the work of Marian Wright Edelman. Once he began to speak out against the Vietnam War, King knew, fucking knew, that economic justice was inextricably bound to the grotesque exercise of a nation fighting a war that was to the detriment of and against the will of the vast majority of its citizens.

Everyone in power knows goddamn well the easiest way to make all economic dreams come true. King saw that inaction on the domestic front was a natural consequence of warmongers and their cowardly complicitors. It would fuck Bush's shit up to have a voice out there that couldn't be marginalized by the media (a la Kucinich or Paul), calling out the morally spineless for their failure to act.


Magazine Covers That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Shoot Up Morphine While Drinking a Mint Julep:

Did no one think to point out to Golfweek magazine editor (now tarred and feathered) Dan Seanor that he worked for a fucking golf magazine? Did anyone point out to him that it was coming out on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend? Did anyone point out to him that if you wanna discuss race in the golf world, that perhaps a little bit of subtlety would be appropriate?

Well, shit, we oughta be grateful he didn't do a mock-up of Tiger Woods hanging from that noose, in an alley, castrated, set aflame, with white golfers madly dancing with a burning cross made of drivers in the background.


Why Bill O'Reilly Ought to Be Sodomized with a Microphone (Swingers Edition):
It is a truism of the Fox "news" universe that, as much as they attempt to set themselves up as Doocy-led upholders of some kind of sexual morality, in the end, they're as perverse as the New York Post on its most freaky day. Or, to put it another way: Fox "news" loves the fucking. Lots of the fucking. They love the titties and the strippers and the fucking.

Of all of the Fox "news" hosts, no one loves him the fucking more than Bill O'Reilly, everyone's favorite Obama security-smacking falafel fondler, a man who can claim, with a straight face, that there's no homeless veterans. If there's a stripper in trouble, O'Reilly will be there. If girls have gone wild, O'Reilly will be there. If a beauty queen has had mildly suggestive pictures posted on the Internet, O'Reilly will be there. He's the goddamn Tom Joad of sexual exploitation.

And usually, O'Reilly justifies his flogging his meat on a sexy story by framing it with community standard outrage. Like last night on his Fox "news" show. In telling the story of a swingers' club in a private home in the Texas town of Duncanville, one whose comings and goings has neighbors all atwitter, O'Reilly had one of his "producers" go into the club with a secret camera. There, lens no doubt camouflaged by spewed jizz, he films a brief tour through the house, where a female leading him there says, "This is what we call the fantasy room. We like bondage. We do gang bangs. This is the public room. (INAUDIBLE.) You know if somebody is here playing they need to ask you to join or ask — you know, you understand. This is the hot tub room. I always say no clothes, no bathing suits." Then O'Reilly interviews the lawyer for the owners of the Cherry Pit, who is fighting to keep the place open.

Now, the Rude Pundit doesn't actually give a fuck about the house or the neighborhood. He doesn't give a fuck about the lawsuit or the ordinance that declares the place a business.

What's just goddamned funny is how much O'Reilly pretends to give a damn about whether or not the Cherry Pit is a business. How much he must take the uncensored footage of his producer's tour back to his house and tell his wife, "Hey, honey, come over here and lick my balls like that bitch just did to her husband." How much he pretends, as his balls are being suckled by his wife, that he's a newsman.
Yeah, Yeah, Another Late Post:
Hey, the Rude Pundit's got a fuckin' job. Rude punditry doesn't pay as well as one might like it to. This afternoon: Why Bill O'Reilly Ought To Be Sodomized With a Microphone (Swingers Edition).


Evidence That Jesus Doesn't Give a Sandy Shit About Gay Marriage:
Let's say you're some evangelical nutzoid who needs to show everyone just how much you think the hot dude on dude action is icky. Or chick on chick. Either way, there's matching genitals and an unholy hole in use, and you, being more than likely a closeted queer who has to punish others to overcome your lusty urges 'cause someone told you that Godjesus is gonna get all wrathful on your ass if you don't act, decide to get an anti-gay marriage amendment voted on. So you starts yourself a little organization, tells everyones yer protectifyin' marriages in the Sunshine State of Florida, and gets a whole bunch signatures on petitions so that it can get on the ballot, 611,000 of 'em needed. And then, just when it seems you've got it made, a combination of technology and fuck-ups shows you're 22,000 short. And you've got only two weeks to git 'er done or you ain't gonna get your vote on how everyone wants the homos to die alone. Which is exactly what happened.

Fuck, that's gotta hurt. Seriously, if, say, Jesus was on your side on this, wouldn't he have done some magical sky wizard shit to make sure it happened? As far as signs go, this one's gotta be up there with burning shrubbery about WWJD. Seems like J would say, "Dudes, let it go."

But lettin' it go, that ain't part of the evangelical style. Motherfuckers will keep humping that cause like a tumescent chihuahua fucks a really big sponge, thinking it'll teach that bitch sponge a thing or two about fucking, not realizing a sponge generally doesn't care who or what fucks it. The sponge-humping chihuahuas over at the Family Research Council demonstrate this on a weekly basis, with their list of things to be prayed over by we members of the Super-Duper Prayer Team. The Rude Pundit joined the SDPT under a nom de rude, and he receives his prayification orders in his e-mail in-box.

This week, the FRCSDPT is supposed to kneel and supplicate to Godjesus about the Florida marriage amendment. Our script: "May God stir up His church in Florida to get the necessary petitions and motivate people across America to help with financial support and encouragement to Floridian believers. May the Amendment be placed on the ballot and may Florida become one of many states that have enshrined one-man, one-woman marriage in its Constitution." Thing is, if God was really that damn concerned about stirring up his church, would he have made it a desperate last minute scramble for the pathetic losers involved to get their hate enshrined?

Bizarrely, the FRC suggests a reading from Matthew 19, which goes a little something like, "'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female..."'" That's from a passage on divorce. In fact, it's in answer to the question, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" So, is the marriage amendment really a way, a backdoor way, if you will, for gays and lesbians to avoid the pain of divorce? Or are they just fuckin' stupid all around?
Late Post Today:
Commissioner Weston has a crime that needs solving, so the Rude Pundit will return later today.

But enjoy what one man with a domain name and a color copier can do to get attention. Stay classy, Republicans.


The President Assures Arabs That "God" Is Great, Loves Oil, Arms:
Here's a few quotes from the President's trip to the Middle East, also known as the "Well, What the Fuck Else Is He Gonna Do With His Time? Read?" tour:

In his "Roundtable with Saudi Entrepreneurs," Bush said, "[T]he best way to achieve better understanding in the world is for folks just to get together, and get to understand that we share the same God." Somewhere, Jesus and Mohammed looked at each other and cracked up laughing, guffawing so hard that they could barely catch their holy breaths. God just shook his head and cringed as the Saudis chopped off another criminal's head and the United States waterboarded another innocent man. Well, fuck, God thought, maybe those fuckers do share the same God.

In his big ol' speech on freedomification in Dubai, also known as "Bush's True Spiritual Home," the President said, "A great new era is unfolding before us. This new era is founded on the equality of all people before God," and later, "The fight against the forces of extremism is the great ideological struggle of our time. And in this fight, our nations have a weapon more powerful than bombs or bullets. It is the desire for freedom and justice written into our hearts by Almighty God -- and no terrorist or tyrant can take that away."

Here's the thing: obviously, Bush is playing to his Allah-ululating masters of the U.S. economy (what happens if OPEC dumps the dollar? Your 401k will be like a forgotten dream, man, and that pocket change you kept from that trip to a Canadian strip club will be the only thing that saves you). But enough of the God shit. The Rude Pundit's not 100% on this, but he's pretty fuckin' sure that "Freedom of speech" ain't in the Bible, so Bush and all the politicians that have dropped the Jesus acid are on some kind of fucked-up trip. In other words, they're just makin' this shit up. Just like the terrorists or tyrants make up shit that says God wants 'em to suicide bomb the shit out of people who don't believe in what their God wants 'em to do.

The cool thing about invoking God as your justification for anything is that, as long as enough people say, "Oh, man, that sounds cool to me," you don't have to prove jackshit. "The equality of all people before God"? Sure, why the fuck not. You may as well say that fairies are more powerful than djinns. Who the hell knows? Who the hell cares? It's just goddamned embarrassing to have a President who'll so readily spout this bullshit. The Rude Pundit doesn't want his rights from God. He wants his rights from people. 'Cause God hasn't commented on the Patriot Act.

Tomorrow, as proclaimed by the President, is Religious Freedom Day, where we're supposed to "recognize the importance of religious freedom and the vital role it plays in spreading liberty and ensuring human dignity." He proclaimed it from Saudi Arabia. If it was any other President, we could read it as a slap in the face to a repressive regime, a gutsy stand. Instead, it just seems like another way to assure our oil-coated demigods that we're more like them and the United States will worship accordingly.

(Note: Still working on the Karl Rove thing mentioned yesterday. Never fear: Rove is always lurking.)


In Brief: Someone Tell Hillary Clinton That Barack Obama Isn't Part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy:
Let's be grown-ups here for a second. When Bill Clinton said, "The whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," he was talking about Barack Obama's stand on the Iraq War, not Obama himself. When Obama said during a debate that Hillary Clinton was "likeable enough," it was a stupid attempt at a joke in response to an idiotic question on Clinton's likeability. And, yeah, you know what? No shit that Martin Luther King couldn't actually sign anything into law, that only Lyndon Johnson could do that in 1964 since JFK was RIP'ing. Whatever the hell Senator Clinton was trying to say by bringing it up, it was simply the statement of a patently obvious fact.

People are the sum totals of their treatment by the world. When you adopt a dog that's had the shit beaten out of it again and again by its first owner, no matter how gentle and kind you are to it, that poor beast's got scars that'll never heal. And sometimes when you reach your hand out to pet it, it'll recoil like it's about to get smacked once more. Or it might even lash out, maybe bite, maybe get back at that motherfucker that pounded it day after day, even if that motherfucker isn't in the picture anymore.

Thus it is with the Clintons. Back in the 1990s, there was a vast right-wing conspiracy out to destroy Bill, often through savagely ripping into Hillary. That slavering horde is drooling puddles at the idea of another President Clinton to sink their decayed teeth into. So, yeah, the Clintons are always ready to arch their backs and attack in self-defense. It's the only way that Bill Clinton's presidency survived.

But in Bill's sad self-debasement of his legacy as his anger flashes again and again in going at Obama, in Hillary's depressingly content-free interview with Tim Russert, whose Meet the Press interviews with candidates have nearly solely been about cult of personality than shit that actually will have an effect on people's lives, the Clintons are reverting to that form, seeing the persecuting Scaifes and Starrs where there are but low-level operatives, at best, and phantoms at worst. They can't help it, even if they should, even if they could, because it's what we did to them for so very long.

The slow creep of sexism and racism into the Democratic nomination campaign stinks of Rove. More on that tomorrow.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Drink Manischewitz Until He Pukes:
We forget, perhaps willfully, in the midst of this never-ending political season, that we still have a President, George W. Bush, and that, without a doubt, given a microphone and no teleprompter, he will say something totally fucktarded. During his visit to the Middle East, Bush said many idiotic and blindingly obvious things, and that doesn't include his Hail Mary pass of a legacy-saver, peace between Israel and Palestine in the next year.

Speaking of Hail, Mary:

The dead stare, the uncomprehending demeanor, the ape-like stance, it all adds up to a religious moment for Bush. As he said, "[N]ot only was my soul uplifted, my knowledge of history was enriched." This was during his visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where the fictional character "Jesus" was born. It's not unlike visiting a shrine where the train to Hogwarts supposedly arrives. That's not to mention how it sounds like he's telling a schoolteacher how much he loved that filmstrip.

And, speaking of idiotic things Presidents say, here he is today:
"I would hope as many people in the world would come to this place, it would be a sobering reminder that evil exists and a call that when we find evil we must resist it," he said after his visit to the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, where, politician emotion watchers, he allegedly cried like a bitch puppy twice. Essentially, the Holocaust exists for him to be able to tell everyone to support his war. Good thing all those Jews and others died so he could say, "See? See?" Everything, all history, all horror, it's all about him.

It's Friday. Mostly, the Rude Pundit just wants to let Jimmy Carter take care of the rudeness for the day.


Because It Needs to Be Said (Regarding Ann Coulter's Dead Father):
Let's keep this brief so as not to be too unseemly: in her latest column (if by "column," you mean, "a chronicle of internal damnation and derangement that makes Dante's Inferno seem like a perfectly nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon"), Ann Coulter mourns the death of her father by writing a brief biography of the man. Yes, it is sad to lose a parent, but, and it's gotta be said since Coulter celebrates her dad's accomplishments, this guy was a douchebag of the first order whose life explains a lot about Coulter's own insanity and cruelty.

You can read the whole bizarro thing, about how John Coulter judged Ann's dates, about how he shot squirrels in his backyard, about how he threatened his son if he took some fruity sociology course in college, about how he was a real-deal hunter of Soviet spies for the FBI, no doubt contributing to his daughter's perverse desire to fellate Joseph McCarthy's tibia. But most telling is Coulter's description of how her father helped break the Arizona Copper Mine Strike against Phelps Dodge in 1983. Scribbles Coulter, "In the early 1980s, as vice president and labor lawyer for Phelps Dodge copper company, Father broke a strike against the company, which culminated in the largest union decertification ever -- at that time and perhaps still. President Reagan had broken the air traffic controllers' strike in 1981. But unions recognized that it was the breaking of the Phelps Dodge strike a few years later that landed the greater blow." That included the eviction of striking families from company houses. The later decertification of the union is described by Coulter as a "happy ending." But, don't worry, because, as Coulter says, despite his hatred of unions, "he had more respect for genuine working men than anyone I've ever known." In other words, John Coulter huffed deeply from the crotch of J. Edgar Hoover's pantyhose, and he liked what he smelled.

The most fucked-up thing is that anyone normal reading this obituary would think, Christ, what an asshole. But Coulter's oblivious, and the joke's on her and on her father's corpse. Obviously, Coulter's life has been an attempt to live up to her father's legacy of paranoia and propping up of the powerful. But he at least walked the walk, motherfucker though he may have been. Coulter carries on his tradition by providing cover and comfort for savage conservatives, the rhetorical equivalent of a talking diaper, begging to be shit on. No man was good enough for Ann, according to Father, but she kept trying to please him by going after those fucking liberals, since there's no commies left. Alas, the entropy of hatreds, instilled by dear old Dad of the Greatest Generation.

Oh, tender eyes and ears, is this a bit cruel, to beat up on Ann Coulter when her father kicked less than a week ago? Then you didn't read Coulter's column to the last line, where she says, "Now Daddy is with Joe McCarthy and Ronald Reagan. I hope they stop laughing about the Reds long enough to talk to God about smiting some liberals for me." Tee-hee, it's a joke, innit? How Coulter wishes us all dead? The kind of thing that'd probably make the old man laugh. Fuck her and her brute of a father. He's in hell now, alongside Reagan and McCarthy, getting raped by barbed-dick demons with his daughter's face. Kind of like the rest of us.


Goddamn, Democracy at Last?:
Last night, Hillary Clinton earned the right to touch herself. She had been like a pugilist, denying herself any pleasures of the pussy until after the primary. Of course, it would have to be masturbation; she can't be near Bill without whiffing the stench of skank on him. She had been prepared for a vicious, punishing session with a particularly long, ridged vibrator, the better to exhaust the failure out of her. But, no, after her victory speech, she decided to go for the gentle, but vigorous, application of finger to clit. Clinton's fantasy was simple: standing in the Oval Office, telling Vice President Obama to get over to her desk, get on his knees, and eat her out, and he better be good. As for Attorney General Edwards? Well, maybe if he begged, she'd let him give her a rim job. And U.N. Ambassador Bill was, as ever, sucking a stogie, weeping, and jacking off for his sins. It's what he deserves, even if he was the only one who got it right about New Hampshire. Oh, shit, what bliss.

There's very few rational conclusions to make about last night's results in the first primary, except, perhaps, and it can't be said enough, "Fuck Iowa." Reaching conclusions about candidacies based on the Iowa caucuses is about as intelligent as dangling your balls over a bear trap. As rude reader Lynn just pointed out, we could say that Obama's win in Iowa had as much to do with his state (Illinois) and its proximity to Iowa as with his superstar status. As for the strangely temperate night in New Hampshire, sure, we can be cynical and say, "Shit, if all one has to do to win a primary is get a little dewy-eyed, then expect Mitt Romney to weep like a little girl who fell off her My Little Pony bike come Michigan." And we can add that the womens don't like it when the menfolk pile on another woman.

Sure, we can say that polling independents is not unlike asking a desperate alcoholic with the shakes if he'd rather Johnny Walker Black or Red. We can also say that, while the lovely weather in the Northeast contributed to the overall turn-out, that for the youth voters so crucial to Barack Obama, a sunny day in January in a New Hampshire college town means there's less time to vote and more time to sack some hackey. And, if we wanna get all divisive, we can say that New Hampshire voters took a step backwards in embracing the politics of the past, but that sounds like a goddamn focus group-tested line, and, you know, agree or disagree with Clinton's politics, electing a woman would still be one giant friggin' frog leap forward in this America.

Instead, why don't we go with this: last night was a continuation of what happened in 2006, where voters got sick and fucking tired of being told what they're supposed to do and supposed to believe. Inasmuch as we can read tea leaves from two tiny states, it looks like it'll be a mighty amazing time, if all of a sudden the citizens of the nation decide, "Hey, you know what? This is a democracy, and, goddamn, if it ain't time we started acting like it is."

Because one thing we can say for sure after last night is this: this fucker's wide open. And even as it gets nasty, if Clinton continues her Sherman's march to the nomination, if the religious right gets its crazy going over the idea of a McCain win, people may actually have to pay attention. And, what's better, they may even want to. There is no inevitability at the moment. And, holy Christ, that's exhilarating. It's like a toke on a pipe filled with really good opium: you don't know where it's gonna take you, but, oh, yeah, it promises to be a helluva trip.

Meanwhile, over in Nashua, John McCain went back to his hotel room after his victory speech and asked to be alone. He wanted to celebrate in the way that made him get off best: he took out his homemade bamboo dildo, the one with a handle crafted from the femur of one of his captors at the Hanoi Hilton. He smiled as he looked at the Straight Cock Express, remembering the good times the two of them had had, especially back in 2000 in this very state. Awkwardly dropping his pants, for the old aches are always there, McCain broke out the vaseline and lubed up the dildo, his prostate aching in anticipation, ready to ram that big boy home for America, for the people of Iraq, for Republicans everywhere, thinking about making Mike Huckabee fuck Mitt Romney in the ass, Thompson doing Giuliani, fucking for his pleasure at watching their debasement before his rise in the polls.

Correction: An earlier version of this mentioned smoking peyote. Opium was the intended drug. One eats peyote, of course. Ignorance? Brain fart? Secret desire to find some peyote? You decide.


Heading Back Down the Aisle: The Rude Pundit Bites His Own Nutsack:
Today, the Rude Pundit declared Hillary Clinton's candidacy dead, about to be swept aside in Obamaramamaniapalooza. He was wrong, so very wrong. The fucked-up thing is that he was right before he was wrong. He should have listened to his correct self that said, "Fuck Iowa," and not gotten swept up in the coronation of Obama.

You wanna know the funny thing? How many people wrote in to declare the Rude Pundit wrong with his Iowa-spurning post. Oh, ho, the joke's on them.

The Rude Pundit still thinks Obama's can win the nomination, but it's gonna get so very ugly. More tomorrow. For now, at the bar, there's good whiskey; on the coffee table, there's good blow; and, yes, the Rude Pundit's gonna have to be the bitch tonight. But come the rest of the primary season, he will be wiser and angrier, and he will get his rude back.
The Jilting of Hillary Clinton (A Fantasia with Comment):
There came a point yesterday when Hillary Clinton realized it wasn't enough. When the Portsmouth woman, Marianne Pernold, asked her, simply, "What about you?" Clinton couldn't contain herself. "Me?" she wondered. "Haven't you been paying attention?" She teared up as the wave of revelations hit her: how one can't present oneself as an agent of change if one has always been there - if everyone knows you as the status quo, you can't claim you'll lead a revolution; how she made so many political calculations when she sucked the bile down in her throat and she voted, time and time again, for war and war funding, for policies and spending she knew were utterly and completely dunderheaded; how the work of much of her adult life made Barack Obama's candidacy not only possibly, but his surge inevitable; how she had suffered so long, under such hideous scrutiny and attack, building up such a sense of entitlement to the nomination, if not the presidency, that the very idea that some uppity - no, let's say, "upstart," with biceps and a smile would halt her coronation is still simply...impossible. Of course she teared up. What person wouldn't?

It wasn't enough, goddamnit, it wasn't enough. And it all flowed over her in this frozen moment, with her aides and supporters surrounding her, with the signs that scream her name always in her sight, in her periphery, that tide, that feeling that no matter how much pain we endure in this life, it doesn't mean that we will be graced with redemption, with triumph. What's frustrating to Clinton is that she knew this, she saw it with Bill. Jesus Christ, Bill - the callowest calculation of all. Now, getting him to put his prestige on the line in order to campaign for her so vehemently, she has used up her last chit, called in her last favor that she had in exchange for sticking by him a decade ago. Yes, she knew the price to be paid, that one is not truly owed anything in this life, but that doesn't make it hurt any less.

And worse, even worse, she thinks, staring into Pernold's eyes, this undecided voter who wants to know on a gut level, not in the mind, not policy or plan, but in the heart and the stomach, why she should vote for Clinton, is that she listened to men who told her to attack Obama and to become what she held in contempt for so long: the purveyor of fear, like the petulant president or the pustular vice, saying, threatening, "Gordon Brown comes in, the very next day, there are terrorist attacks. Thankfully, they were unsuccessful, from London to Scotland. So, you've got to be prepared on day one with everything ready to go." Even that didn't work, and she can't shake the taste of Karl Rove's ball sweat on that one.

Yes, Clinton says when she finally speaks to Pernold, it is personal: "It's not just political. It's not just public. I see what's happening, and we have to reverse it. And some people think elections are a game. They think it's like who's up or who's down." A lovely revelation of self, to be sure. But, knowing that she's always campaigning, she adds, in a less-reported part of her response, "You know some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds. But some of us are right some and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready and some of us are not." And the moving moment is transformed into nothing more and nothing less than some old lady whining that the youngsters are gonna ruin this country.

Hillary Clinton moves on. She knows only one form of politics, the kind practiced on her, the kind she witnessed from Nixon to Reagan to her husband. You are either slashing and burning or you are the one who is cut down and set aflame. It is impossible to move beyond your experience of the world, and that is why she continues to alienate as Obama continues to reap.

Even as those around her will say that she should go gentle into that good night when she loses today's primary and not remain on the beach hoping that she's still standing when the tidal wave passes, she will fight on. It is what she knows. It is the way she has been forced to live for her entire life, the cruel reality of our unconscious-driven behavior. She will use connection and money to try to bring Obama down, and it will be awful to behold, to see her fall, to see who she drags with her.

It will be over, though, after tonight. Because voters have realized they don't have to cast their lot in with her. The forced march to the altar with Hillary Clinton has been halted. As much as some will try to make it into something sexist, it won't be. It'll be because, fairly or unfairly, we just got tired of what she represents. And, yes, we do write obituaries early, even for the walking dead. So here's Clinton's, in a quote from Katherine Anne Porter: "Her body was now only a deeper mass of shadow in an endless darkness and this darkness would curl around the light and swallow it up. God, give a sign!

"For a second time there was no sign. Again no bridegroom and the priest in the house. She could not remember any other sorrow because this grief wiped them all away. Oh, no, there’s nothing more cruel than this – I’ll never forgive it. She stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light."


Great Moments of the Pundoconsultocracy (Updated):
If you've never had the pleasure, you ought to read "1601", a little-known work by Mark Twain. In the story, William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon and others are before Queen Elizabeth at court, and someone farts. Each man there declaims about how the fart could not be his until, finally, Sir Walter Raleigh owns up to it by saying, "It was nothing--less than nothing, madam--I did it but to clear my nether throat; but had I come prepared, then had I delivered something worthy." It's pretty obvious why, when thinking about your mainstream pundits and your hack political consultants, the Rude Pundit cast his mind back to Twain's "who dealt it?" classic.

For instance, given a huge ass megaphone and the imprimatur New York Times respectability, Bill Kristol, he who, it should always be reminded, was Alan Keyes' campaign manager once upon a time, wrote a column that is the rhetorical equivalent of a dry turd. In essence, Kristol says, "[T]he fact is that the Republican establishment spent 2007 underestimating Mike Huckabee. If Huckabee does win the nomination, it would be amusing if Democrats made the same mistake in 2008." So, wait, wait, here. You mean conservative Bill Kristol wants the Republican to win. That's pretty much the entire goddamn thing: "Huckabee nice, me feeling comfortable with Huckabee, Obama bad, Clinton worse, ugh." Christ, Kristol even quotes Michelle Malkin. That's not even getting into his description of George Bush as "well-born" when he, as much as anyone, pimped this myth of W as regular guy. And thus the real reason Kristol was selected to write for the Times becomes obvious. David Brooks wanted someone to make him look smart.

Of course, Kristol, having been wrong about so very much in his life (going back to the aforementioned Alan Keyes campaign), has tons of company. Look at the man who destroyed Hillary Clinton, alleged marketing genius and Clinton adviser Mark Penn. In an awesome post at the Hillary Clinton blog this weekend, Penn asked where is the bounce in the polls for Barack Obama in New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses. Aw, yeah, this badass motherfucker declared on Saturday, "New Hampshire voters are fiercely independent. They will make their own decisions about who to support." And, according to nearly every poll today, they decided on Barack Obama, by 10 points now, which, unless the Rude Pundit's unclear on the term, pretty much qualifies as a bounce. Like the ghost of Bob Shrum, Mark Penn keeps haunting the once-leading Democrat and until Hillary's willing to grab him by his balls and toss him into the streets and let Bill kick him out of the city, Clinton's gone, baby, gone.

Every once in a while, though, some pundit or other mea culpas, usually way too fucking late, as when members of the press looked into their "hearts" and decided they were just too hard and unfair with Al Gore. That happened in about 2004 or 2005. Yesterday, though, on Reliable Sources with Howard "Behold My Toupee of Integrity" Kurtz, Mark Halperin said, "I'm embarrassed about the way we treated Mike Huckabee. I include myself. I gave a speech in Arkansas several months ago, and I completely dismissed his chances when asked about him on his home turf. I'm embarrassed personally about that and I'm embarrassed for our profession. I'm also embarrassed at the way, as we talked about in the beginning of the show, the way we careen back and forth between inevitable and dead. You know, you talked about it in the context of Hillary Clinton. Look at the coverage of John McCain. People just want to write his obituary for no good reason, not look at his ideas, not look at the possibility of a comeback. It happens all the time in politics, and yet we careen back and forth. And again, I find it embarrassing that we do it." Wow. A goddamned bit of ethics. 'Course, Halperin probably is just trying to ensure himself access to the campaigns he dissed, but, still, a dissonantly honorable moment.

"1601" ends with discussions of sex, with talk of "cunts" and "pricks." In one tale, a young maiden avoids being deflowered by telling the man about to rape her, "'First, my lord, I prithee, take out thy holy tool and piss before me'; which doing, lo his member felle, and would not rise again." Ah, that our pundoconsultocracy would give in to such tricks.

Update: Remember: Bill Kristol is wrong about nearly everything, including who he quotes in his columns. The Rude Pundit thought that line sounded a little too non-batshit insane to be Michelle Malkin.


In Brief: Five Intensely Obvious Things We Learned From Iowa:
Calm down there, people. Yeah, the media and the campaign spin machines are gonna be prognosticating like elderly gypsies who got into the crack stash, all about what Obama's win means, about whether Huckabee's got the mo'. All in all, other than braggin' rights, we didn't learn a holy fuck of a lot. Indeed, as yer CNNMSNBCFox scream the obvious at you, it's not unlike being at a bar and listening to a particularly hot but dumb piece of ass pontificate about the world and all you wanna do is scream, "Duh, motherfucker, duh."

1. White people will vote for a black person, especially if that black person is not nearly as liberal as the second place white person.

2. Evangelicals will vote for an evangelical, especially in a state with about 40% self-identified evangelicals, especially if those evangelicals aren't busy on a Thursday night in early January.

3. The Hillary-bot is not popular in the rural Midwest, but when such a creation has money and connections, the landscape will be scorched and bloody bodies will quench the thirst of the parched ground before it's done. (And, really, and, c'mon, Hillary, if you want a chance, ya gotta bring Mark Penn out to see the rabbits.)

4. Robo-Romney creeps out farmers.

5. Any of the top three Democrats will kick the ass of any of the Republicans. And while the Iowa caucus oughtn't matter, seeing the glum fuckers who populate the GOP side versus the optimistic faces of the Democratic side ought to be reason enough to pull ourselves out of our Bush-induced torpor and say, "Yep, finally, this time, at last."


Can't Wait to Hear What the White People of Iowa Have to Say:
There's many, many reasons to despise the Iowa caucus. Gail Collins and Christopher Hitchens have covered the fucktardery of the entire process, a backwards ass clusterfuck of meetings where about 10-15% of the voting shit kickers of Iowa - who, we are constantly told, are kind, decent, thoughtful people, really, it's true - drink coffee, eat donuts or homemade brownies (because decent, kind farm folk make their own goddamn brownies, you urban assholes), and talk about who should be their party's nominee, voting until there's a winner in the room.

This comes after months and months of what can only be described as a kind of competitive brainwashing that enriches the local TV and radio stations (most of which are owned by giant corporations elsewhere), and makes the residents, the 90% or so of voters who don't give a flea's fart about the caucus, dread going to a downtown diner for the gut-wrenching fear they might be forced to shake hands with some damn Romney or Clinton. And the increasingly desperate-for-a-story media, who will hype anything, including the latest security cam video of a purse snatching or Paris Hilton's snatch, treat this like it's Sparta versus Athens.

Fuck Iowa, man. Fuckin' Iowa's the reason John Kerry became the nominee last year (which, by extension, means it's the reason, at least in part, that the nation is so Bush-fucked). And fuck Iowa for being so goddamn filled with its inflated sense of self-importance that its parties moved their puny damn caucus up to January 3. And fuck everyone who pumps up Iowans into believing they deserve to be kingmakers.

See, the Rude Pundit's problem with Iowa is one of demographics. Iowa's white, so very, very white, 91% white. 2.5% black, 3.8% Hispanic (not counting the number of illegal migrants who harvest in those archetypal farms). In other words, Iowa ain't us. The attention to the Iowa caucus is based on a myth of America, a lie that hasn't existed in decades, maybe even a century or two. It is a vestige of the rightness of whiteness. It ain't about the way that good, decent, hard-working blah-blah-blah American citizens think. It's about what that isolated island of white people says.

Oh, sure yeah, there's a great deal of good in citizens going to gathering places and talking about who might be the next president, no matter where it happens or who is doing it. People should do it more. But just because they do it doesn't mean it matters to anyone who isn't in that classroom or townhall or wherever. It really ain't news that "they came together on a snowy night last week to get up the courage to caucus" for Mike Huckabee. If that's what passes for courage these days, then, hell, when the Rude Pundit decides to go to the independent coffee shop instead of Starbucks, it must at least qualify for "strength of character."

Essentially, the whole nation is now forced to wait to see what the shit kickers of Iowa have to say. It's like everyone gathering around the Thanksgiving table and when stroke-victim Grandma starts to slurringly, slurpingly speak, the rest of the family grows silent to hear what she thinks of the meal. And if you agree with Grandma just because she's Grandma, goddamnit, then the Iowa caucus might be meaningful to you. But if you nod and smile and say, "That's fine, Grandma. Pass the gravy," then you are ready to grow up.


Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Tell Patti Davis to Blow Him:
Several readers have sent links to Ronald Reagan's spawn, Patti Davis, dissing Republican presidential candidates for daring to compare themselves to her apparently above reproach father (also known in his later years as "the pudding that was President"). Giddy, some are, that the product of the Gipper's spooge is telling Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, "OMG, STFU, guys."

Davis, Playboy model and author of the wannabe erotic book Bondage, offers a stunning statement talking about Romney's "Mormons won't eat you" speech: she says it was "something my father would never have dreamed of doing because his faith was, well, personal."

To rebut this ludicrous-on-its-bukkakked-face sentence, the Rude Pundit offers the following three thousand words:

Reagan's own faith may have been personal, but that motherfucker poured buckets of Jesus jizz into the political well, poisoning it for good. As the Associated Baptist Press put it upon Ronnie's big move to Hell, "Reagan is credited with bringing the Religious Right fully into the Republican fold." And he did it because he didn't want to lose the Republican nomination for a second time. When Romney, Huckabee, and all other desperate, craven politicians invoke faith as a reason to vote for them, they are reading from the first chapter of the Reagan playbook.

Davis asks, as if she's making some kind of mighty point, "Can't we go back to respecting the privacy of religious faith and stop using God as a campaign tool?" To which one can only answer, "Sure would love to, Pats, if only your dead Dad hadn't fucked it up to begin with."


End of the Year Haiku, Part Two: Rude Readers Write Poems:
On this first day of 2008, the Rude Pundit awoke, his sheets still damp with sweat, champagne, and MILF juice, wondering if that was his condom stuck on his leg and how much water it'll take to wash the remnants of ecstasy out of his system. Still thinking about how many subjects he didn't even begin to address in his year-end haiku-fest yesterday, like torture and torture tapes, like any of the hideous and mad Republicans running for president, like the degradation of the global climate, like Alberto motherfucking Gonzales, he began to compose lines in his head while making really strong coffee, showering various fluids off him, and drinking the first glass of what would probably be gallons of water. Then the Rude Pundit checked his e-mail, and, lo, a New Year's miracle, dozens of haiku from rude readers, ready and waiting to make January 1 a communal celebration of rudeness looking back on that herpes-scabbed whore of a year, 2007.

Here's a few of the best (with minimal edits):

From Epiphenita:
the year of living less freely
didja see those guys
gang-bang the constitution?
motherfuckers all.

election year sports
we brown folk and queers-
neocons' fav boogeymen-
sick of being used.

From Kenny T:
Double crossed again!
Voted them into power,
then they turned their backs.

From Sefu:
Giddy Subserviance
Kristol and the gang,
certain they're sucked from below,
have lips stained with ass

From Stuart:
Blessed be our soldiers
Who have gone off to die for
Bushes goddamned lie

From BA:
The blood of Iraq
Spilled for a generation
While we play X-box.

From Peter:
Orange and silver
The steady drip of justice
Torture brings freedom

And if you're gonna have one from Peter, you better have two from Paul:
Cheney fucks the corpse
Of waterboarded victim
While Bush beats his meat

New Orleans drowns
In neglect we never see
Halliburton rules

Ahh, rude tips o' the hat to everyone who submitted, even to the people whose work was vaguely retarded or not even close to haiku. Your efforts have helped to slake this godawful thirst. Let us head into what is sure to be a vicious 2008 with a snarl on our faces, our fists clenched, and our boots ready for asses.