Dispatches > The Buzz


Issue: "Pryor commitment," Sept. 13, 2003

Nine for nine

When Kevin Schmidt (ninedwarfs.com) had his picture taken with Carol Moseley-Braun, he went home having successfully posed with all nine Democratic presidential hopefuls. Mr. Schmidt towers over the candidates in his photos (hence the name of his site) and pokes fun regularly at them: "Listening to these guys fight is like listening to Mike Tyson talk, it's painful and I'm waiting for someone to lose an ear." Mr. Schmidt gained notoriety throughout Iowa for his website: Staffers with the John Kerry campaign circulated "wanted" posters with his picture and refused to let him into their event, so he posted a picture with Mr. Kerry's head replaced by a chicken's. But he finally got a picture with the Massachusetts senator.

While the Democratic candidates were gaining attention, Andrew Sullivan (andrewsullivan.com) returned from a month-long vacation and wasted no time assaulting the Bush administration from a low-spending, fiscal-conservative perspective: "The Bush administration is not interested in restraining the size of the federal government, but in expanding it to serve its own ends.... Nixon II?... You can argue whether this return to debt was avoidable, after the bubble and 9/11; but you can't argue that Bush has shown even the slightest concern about it." c

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Arnold's universe

While the summer box office has been slower than usual, Americans are still rabid for one type of West Coast entertainment: California governor recall news. That Arnold Schwarzenegger led a wild life during his Mr. Universe days is common knowledge. Still, when news spread across the blog world about an old Oui magazine being sold on eBay that contained a candid interview with a 29-year-old Mr. Schwarzenegger, media headlines followed. The interview contained many salacious details, including descriptions of drug use and explicit stories about his promiscuity, as well as body-building secrets (whiskey in protein shakes?) and politically incorrect language. But Matt Welch of the "Hit and Run" blog, (reason.com /hitandrun) didn't think the revelations would hurt the candidate: "He professes easy-going tolerance and comfort [and] argues that homosexuals are unfairly stereotyped."

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Cruz Bustamante has been on the attack over immigration, for reasons Daniel Weintraub (sacbee.com /static/weblogs/insider/) described: "What do you do when you are running against an immigrant who happens to be white and have considerable appeal among Latinos? You try to paint him as anti-immigrant." Mr. Weintraub saw no problem that Mr. Schwarzenegger voted to limit welfare benefits to illegal immigrants and opposed a measure that would give them driver's licenses, but noted that in today's politics "disagreeing with the left on issues of race is not allowed.... An immigrant candidate with a positive outlook on the role of immigrants in society must be slimed." c

Casualty counts

Good bloggers are known for skillfully weaving satire into their posts, so it comes as no surprise that one of the darlings of conservative bloggers is Scrappleface (scrappleface.com), which parodies news stories. Blogger Scott Ott provides fake news stories such as "CNN said today that it would begin announcing daily casualty tallies related to America's various tax-funded government-run operations.... Senator Tom Daschle said that Democrats will not be deterred by 'the constant drip, drip, drip of these statistics. Despite mounting casualties, the federal government will continue to fund public education, welfare, subsidized housing, and various other entitlement programs for the good of the country.'"

Other Ott targets include the French: "Hamas, the Palestinian social-services agency, has merged with the French Foreign Legion, according to sources at the European Union (EU) offices in Brussels, Belgium.... The move by France comes as the EU debates whether to classify Hamas as a terrorist organization in the wake of last week's bus bombing in Israel."


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