Jessica Alba Outsmarts Bill O’Reilly


Jessica Alba has shown that she can defeat Bill O’Reilly as easily as she can beat the Silver Surfer, especially if the challenge is a history quiz:

Jessica Alba is setting the record straight: Sweden was neutral during World War II.

Alba and Fox TV show host Bill O’Reilly traded punches last week after the presidential inauguration. After Alba told a Fox reporter that O’Reilly was “kind of an a-hole;” he retaliated by calling her a “pinhead” for telling a reporter to “be Sweden about it,” assuming she meant Switzerland.

“I want to clear some things up that have been bothering me lately,” Alba blogged on MySpace Celebrity. “Last week, Mr. Bill O’Reilly and some really classy sites (i.e.TMZ) insinuated I was dumb by claiming Sweden was a neutral country. I appreciate the fact that he is a news anchor and that gossip sites are inundated with intelligent reporting, but seriously people… it’s so sad to me that you think the only neutral country during WWII was Switzerland.”

Although Switzerland is more frequently cited as an example of neutrality, Sweden did indeed follow a policy of neutrality during World War II. History point to Alba.

Somewhat Related Post: Mathematicians Prove Jessica Alba’s Perfection

Can Republicans Benefit From Redistricting When They Are Down To Only Five Red States?


Republicans are hopeful that they can improve their chances of retaking the House following redistricting in 2010, just as they used redistricting to solidify their majority in 2000.

Republicans could benefit due to the move of people towards states Republicans used to dominate, especially if we see the usual gains for the party out of power in off year elections.

On the other hand this might not work out well for Republicans if current trends continue. Gallup shows an overwhelming advantage for Democrats in party identification in most states. The poll found that “only five states had solid or leaning Republican orientations in 2008, with Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska in the former group, and Nebraska in the latter.” Click on above map for larger version showing the shrinking of red America.

The Democratic Conspiracy To Prop Up Limbaugh and Palin

First Read sees identifying Republicans with Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin as an effective strategy:

One of the things Republicans did very effectively during their 24-year run from ’80 to ’04 was define who the opposition was, whether it was raising the profile of a Michael Moore or a Jesse Jackson or someone from the most liberal or divisive wing of the Democratic Party (see Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton). Well, it appears Democrats in general, and President Obama specifically, seems to enjoy propping up two of the more divisive figures in the Republican Party, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. The more attention a Palin or a Limbaugh gets right now, the harder it will be for the Republican Party to pitch itself as a Big Tent party again. This is a dangerous period for the GOP, the party is, well, without definition. Is it a less-government, low-tax, fiscally responsible party? It’s hard to make that case after the last decade of governing. Because it’s hard to define the GOP on issues right now, it becomes easier for the Democrats to paint the GOP with the brush of a personality like Limbaugh and Palin.

If this was a conscious strategy it would make sense. Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin both represent the worst of the conservative movement. Expressing a hope that Obama fail is only the most recent example of how much Limbaugh despises America and the values this country stands for. A party led by Sarah Palin is far more likely to go the way of the Whigs than ever win a national election as long as the average I.Q. of the voters is greater than 70. As Michael Tomasky wrote in ranking her as the second Worst American of 2008:

Never in my adult lifetime has one politician so perfectly embodied everything that is malign about my country: the proto-fascist nativism, the know-nothingism, the utterly cavalier lack of knowledge about the actual principles on which the country was founded.

It would certainly be beneficial for the Democrats to identify Republicans with Sarah Palin, but can the prominence of Limbaugh and Palin really be written off as a Democratic conspiracy to prop them up? Rush Limbaugh has had a large following for years. In the previous post I noted that Limbaugh is Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini’s choice to replace William Kristol at The New York TImes.

Sarah Palin has also attracted considerable support among those on the extreme right. While polls at this point are more a measure of current interest than predictive of future success, a recent poll showed Palin a close second to Mike Huckabee for the 2012 Republican nomination. Now we even have SarahPac, which is certainly not a Democratic plot  to ensure that Palin remains prominent in the GOP.

My Vote For William Kristol’s Replacement: Megan McArdle

The New York Times made the correct choice in dumping William Kristol. That’s not because he’s a conservative. I would hate to see them do the same to David Brooks, who can write excellent columns on the days when he doesn’t feel obligated to bash Democrats as opposed to dealing with ideas. William Kristol turned out to be a terrible writer whose entire columns consisted of writing which was too much like the portions of David Brooks’ work which I could do without and none of what makes Brooks worth reading.

It certainly makes sense for The New York Times to include conservative or libertarian thought on its op-ed page to provide for a diversity of viewpoints, especially with the current Democratic domination of government. A number of names are now being thrown around.

The worst suggestion was from Patrick Ruffini for Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh shares all of Kristol’s faults and adds still more. William Kristol at least had a chance to promote conservative beliefs before quickly demonstrating that his column was not worth reading. Limbaugh’s reputation, and past work, will guarantee that nothing he writes will be taken seriously.

Some conservatives like the idea of driving liberals nuts, thinking that they derive some benefit from people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin who liberals (and all other thinking people) will not take seriously. Conservatives would be better off with a conservative columnist who does not immediately turn off a liberal readership, and who has a chance of influencing readers if they should make a strong argument.

Of the names floating around I like Megan McArdle, a blogger at The Atlantic,  the best. To a considerable degree this is because she leans libertarian as opposed to being a social conservative. New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal has said he admires the work of Megan McArdle, along with Byron York (and I certainly prefer Megan of the two).

While writers such as Kristol and Limbaugh (and Brooks on a bad day) primarily seek to demonize liberals, Megan can engage liberals in serious debate as she seeks to understand their views even when disagreeing. Her objection to liberal views can be seen as providing value in forcing liberals to answer tough questions and perhaps refine their views. An example can be seen in yesterday’s post on the stimulus plan.

If forced to move on to other names under consideration and to move to more conventional conservative as opposed to libertarian thought, Peggy Noonan would be a fine choice. While I might often disagree with her, I would never say she is a terrible writer as I did about Kristol. Having a prominent conservative columnist exposing Sarah Palin’s deficiencies is also of value. The biggest problem is that this would just be a lateral move for Noonan from one major New York paper to another. It would not provide another conservative columnist worth reading a national audience.

Among other names being floated which are far better than Rush Limbaugh are David Frum and Ross Douthat (also of The Atlantic).If we are going to consider bloggers from The Atlantic, how about going with a conservative who actually drives many conservatives nuts–Andrew Sullivan?

The McCain Campaign vs. The Press

While John McCain might not have had any real chance at winning the 2008 election, his campaign made a number of extremely poor decisions which made victory. While the choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was by far the greatest blunder of this (and possibly any) presidential campaign, other mistakes also seriously hurt the campaign.

One such mistake was to eliminate McCain’s early advantage of being liked by the press attacking them. Michael Goldfarb was assigned the job of handling the attacks on the press. Goldfarb was interviewed by The Columbia Journalism Review. This is his response to a question about what he was expecting when he took the position with the campaign:

[The McCain campaign] assured me that they were looking for someone to attack the press. And that struck me as a really bad idea, but when a presidential campaign calls up and offers you a job you take it. I didn’t think they’d follow through on the claim the way they promised, and I expected to be reined in pretty quickly—end up working on statements and the like. I didn’t expect to have free reign to do what I wanted Occasionally they would task me with something and I wouldn’t get to follow through. Like they were going to throw The New York Times off the plane, I wrote the memo explaining that [decision], and then they changed their minds. But day to day, in terms of picking lines of attack, I was giving a great deal of latitude. I was working with other communication guys—but there was a tremendous amount of latitude and that persisted well beyond the convention, which was surprising.