Slacker Friday

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Eric A. has a new "Think Again" column here called "The Rise and Rise of Netroots Nation" and a Guardian column on Rudy the family guy here.

And Eric R. on why liberals and libertarians alike should quit burnishing the memory of Barry Goldwater, here: "But once you declare war on an idea, you've declared endless war: Once you've committed yourself to maintain a permanent war footing and a first-strike capacity anywhere at will, you've no kind of libertarian principles at all."

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc --

"People around every corner, they seem to smile and say/we don't care what your name is, boy. We'll never turn you away."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "The Blues I Love" (George Porter, Jr.) -- Once again, I have failed to hire out the white cliffs of Dover for the purposes of inscribing on them in gleaming purple-and-gold neon how much I love New Orleans. (Note -- there is no more poignant moment on the radio as when the DJs at WWOZ talk about something in reference to "The Storm." Something very important cracked then and was lost forever.)

Note to Keith Olbermann: You know I love you madly, and John Gibson is indeed a pompadoured hack with a grin like a Gaboon viper, but giving an autographed photo to a political organization so said organization can raise money off it really is a very big no-no for a newsperson. And the Bonds question to Obama? Let it go, dude. If you're worried about "cheaters" holding hallowed records, don't hallow baseball records in the first place. They're just numbers and it really is only a damn ballgame. Yeesh.

Well, with his most formidable competition having bailed on the whole business, and with enough money to buy air-conditioned trailers and a couple of corn dogs each for all those good Iowa Methodists who might otherwise think he worships the head of a goat, Mitt Romney looks as though he might carry the day at the quadrennial Votes-For-Sale Auction this weekend. Good thing, too, because it has been a tough week for the onetime Only Governor We Had Here -- pace Molly Ivins -- in the Commonwealth, God save it. He has spent the last month pretty much acting like a clown amid the cornfields. Blowing up at a Christian radio host. Forgetting how many counties he once governed. Pointing out that his five strapping spalpeens have been serving their country dodging IEDs -- Improvised Excremental Devices -- in every farmer's field from Sioux City to the riverboat fleshpots of Davenport. (Some men are born great, some have dungboots thrust upon them, I guess.) And, as always, reneging on every public position he held in his life prior to embarking on his presidential campaign. I mean, while he was in France, he was tormented by his desire to be in Vietnam? He became "pro-life" when confronted with an attempt to institute cloning here in the Commonwealth, god save it? (We don't need cloning. We have the Kennedys, after all.) Does he honestly think anyone believes this horse hockey? I repeat my standing offer -- I will bet all the money in my pocket against all the money in his that he can't find one person outside of his family to whom he confided these two dark nights of the soul. Mitt Romney is approximately as introspective and afflicted with self-doubt as those terra cotta soldiers they used to bury with the Chinese emperors. And most of them were better public speakers.

In short, and I know that I'm taking a big chance in saying this, but Mitt Romney is without question the biggest and most obvious fake ever to attain public office, and that includes Jesse Ventura and Caligula's horse. The larger point is that, to win the nomination of the clown college that is the modern Republican Party, he almost has to be. Why this is the case, it would seem to me, is worth a few minutes on our television chat shows, which seem now endlessly devoted to the topic: The Democrats -- What In Hell Is Wrong With Them, Anyway? There's a really big fish in a really small barrel over here, kids.

p.s. -- The Democratic Party's invertebrate performance last weekend lit my hair on fire as much as it did anybody's. But one interesting point was that a lot of the D's elected in tough places in 2006 went over the side when it counted. This caused some loud foot-stomping from the netroots, mostly from people who should realize what they did to help elect some of these people. Heath Shuler was always a Blue Dog, and so was Ellsworth in Indiana, and Jim Webb, for all his marvelous outrage, has been a critter of the national security state for his entire public career. And let's not even start with the Casey family of Pennsylvania. You got what you voted for. Just as much as did Rahm Emanuel, the netroots triangulated. Deal with it. And big props to Jon Tester for standing tall. I admire a man who loves the Constitution and who also looks like Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski.

Name: Dr. Hank Karin
Hometown: Tiberon, CA

Eric B.,

I was at the game and you are completely wrong. What were you watching? Not only were the Nationals applauding and respectful during the 10-minute ceremony, Bonds thanked them all for their class. Several of their players knelt on the field and applauded the whole ceremony. The rest were up against the dugout fence applauding. As for the Giants, after Bonds was greeted by his son, many of the players came out on the field and congratulated him. The rest hugged him in the dugout. Dave Roberts replaced him in left field and gave him a big hug and sendoff to the game. I don't know what you were watching but I sure hope your analysis and observations of all things political are a little more accurate.

Name: Kelly Cameron
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

You say that if the Netroots had existed in 2000 Gore would have been elected.

Problem is, he was.

Name: Mark Shotzberger
Hometown: Dover, DE

On LTC Bateman's blog on the Warrior vs. Soldier, I can say I agree with him 100%

I enlisted in 1978, served 4 years active duty in the Army and went into the reserves eventually earning a commission via OCS.

I used to cringe when I heard the term "warrior" or the even more infantile "War Fighter" used to describe the Army's Combat Arms.

I know that most, if not all of the Vietnam Vets I served with in those years would agree. They were Soldiers!

The difference to me is a Soldier fights because it's his duty. A "Warrior" fights just to start a fight.

By the way, Colonel. You forgot to mention the 12B's in your Combat Arms Spiel! You remember them, they are the ones that clear out the mines, obstacles, etc. for the Infantry, Tanks, etc.

Name: Kevin
Hometown: Seattle

"Did you see during the replays of No. 756 how Bond's son was pretty much the only person in the Giants' dugout who reacted with instant joy to Barry's home run? Same with another TV angle that captured the Washington Nationals' dugout; players appeared to be completely nonplussed by the milestone."

You see what you want to see I guess. Did you see the shots before the HR where both the Giant's and National's dugouts were all standing at the rail in anticipation? Did you see the empty Giant's dugout when Barry reached home plate? Did you see pitcher Mike Bacsik tip his cap as Barry rounded 3rd?

I saw all of that.

For the Nationals, of course no one wanted to see Barry hit 756 against them, but they were all on the edge of their seats (dugout) in case he did. For the Giants, mired in a bad season, they celebrated at home plate appropriately. It was the best moment in a season going nowhere. Everybody out of the dugout, hug Barry like it's a meaningful solo home run, but it still ended in a loss. Ho-hum.

What I saw was the son of a great ballplayer, the godson of one of the greatest ever, getting teary for the first time in public mentioning his father. I saw Barry Bonds' humanity for the first time. A man finally living up to his own expectations and not having the person he most wanted to witness the event present.

The only thing that could have made the moment better would have been a bottom-of-the-ninth walk off.

So it goes.

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