The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

While I Was on My Way Home, Apparently, Everybody Went Crazy

Posted on | February 2, 2012 | 50 Comments

Wednesday was one of those Hell Days that remind me why people told me I was crazy for even trying to cover the presidential campaign in such an improvisational low-budget manner.

The cheapest modes of transportation are seldom the most convenient. But I’ll spare you the nerve-wracking details of why I was in transit (and thus offline) for more than 12 hours, except for the few minutes it took to dash off a single blog post.

However, during a frantic day of desperate haste, there were certain moments of serenity. I was racing from Tampa toward Jacksonville in the rented Impala and talking on the phone to my editor at The American Spectator when I heard the rented GPS unit (an extra $10.99 a day) say: “Re-calculating.”

“Uh-oh,” I told my editor. “I think I just missed my exit.”

And I was unfortunately right. The GPS “re-calculated” that I should drive to another exit 17 miles north, but before I got that far, there was an exit with a billboard promising the joys of “Jim’s BBQ,” and I was hungry, so I got off at that exit instead. My nerves were so jangled at that point, I needed some time to get my head together anyway. Service at Jim’s BBQ was kind of slow, but while I waited for my order, I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and enjoy the Florida sun.

Within a few minutes, the order was ready and I got back in the car with my sandwich, chips and large sweet tea, happy to discover that the GPS had once more re-calculated to determine that this exit would do just fine — just drive eight miles east on Marion County Road 318.

What a lovely drive it was. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that some clever landscape architect had designed the scenery along County Road 318. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss shaded the route, overarching the road in a picturesque canopy. If a busload of Japanese tourists had taken this scenic byway, they’d have shot 437 gigabytes of photos and videos in the 10 minutes it took to drive from Jim’s BBQ to the crossroads town of Hawthorne.

By the time I turned left and headed north on U.S. 301, I’d finished my sandwich and was in a much mellower mood, sipping my sweet tea, and searched the radio dial until I found an Ocala talk radio station. Rush Limbaugh was talking about the ginned-up media furor over something semi-stupid Mitt Romney said on CNN:

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

OK, semi-stupid, but politicians say much stupider things every day. And Rush explained that people were trying to turn this into The Greatest Gaffe Ever. It wasn’t until many hours later that I got home and saw the ginormous Memeorandum aggregation showing how many people were hyperventilating themselves into a coma over this, among them Erick Erickson:

The National Review’s Candidate
Won’t Stop Digging

Yeah, wow. Candidates who say stupid stuff on TV? I could name three reasons why nobody should ever support such a candidate, but . . . oops. And there was also this news:

BREAKING NEWS: Trump to Endorse
Newt Gingrich Tomorrow

How many influential conservatives now supporting Newt have previously denounced Donald Trump as a scurrilous, untrustworthy, publicity-seeking fraud? The number is certainly larger than zero, but we will now be expected to forget about those earlier denunciations and instead pretend that Trump’s endorsement is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Conservative Approval.

As I continued checking the headlines, the news just kept getting crazier and crazier:

The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee’s own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012.

Does anybody else remember how, in 2000, we all hated Florida Democrats for trying to change the rules of the election after the election was over?

Then there was Ann Coulter praising RomneyCare’s individual mandate — the same kind of individual mandate that conservatives are demanding that the Supreme Court declare unconstitutional.

But it isn’t just politicians and pundits who have succumbed to this mass psychosis. Everybody’s gone crazy all of a sudden, so that there was this headline:

Accused teacher’s behavior was
reported decades ago, students say

Crazy, right? And also this:

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Detectives in Cumberland County have charged a Greensboro doctor with seeking sex from someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
Vijaya-Prakash Boggala is charged with felony solicitation of a child by computer to commit unlawful sex acts.
A spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office says the 31-year-old doctor was wearing hospital scrubs when he was arrested Tuesday in Fayetteville parking lot where he had arranged to meet an underage girl. Authorities say that person was an undercover sheriff’s deputy whom he met on Internet.

This guy is smart enough to get a medical degree, but apparently too stupid to know that every “teenage girl” on the Internet is either (a) an undercover cop, or (b) Chris Hansen of Dateline NBC.

That’s crazy, but not nearly as crazy as the rumor that Smitty told me. I’d arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, with about a half-hour to change planes for Washington, and was waiting for my next flight when Smitty called to say that he got an e-mail saying that CPAC — the annual conservative conference in D.C. that I’ve been covering every year since the late 1990s — had decided to set up a “credentialing” process where you have to apply in advance merely to be allowed to cover it.

“What? Are you kidding me?” I said. “The folks at CPAC are my friends. I’ve been doing this gig for years. They love my coverage. All I do is show up and they give me credentials — carte blanche, wherever I want to go, whatever I want to do. Somebody must be pulling your leg.”

“No, I think this is official,” Smitty said, and recounted a bizarre tale about how CPAC had decided to outsource the credentialing process to some non-profit outfit, which had been granted authority to decide who was permitted inside the so-called “Bloggers Lounge.” And so, according to the rumor Smitty heard, unless you filled out an application and submitted it by a certain deadline, you wouldn’t be allowed to cover the conference.

“But Smitty,” I said, “that’s completely insane. Do you have any idea what a public-relations nightmare they’d be dealing with if, for example, they tried to ban Andrew Breitbart from CPAC because he didn’t submit his application on time? It’s silly. Who told you this crazy stuff?”

Then he told me. But it’s so crazy you wouldn’t believe it if I told you.

Anyway, I’m going to CPAC, and all my friends at CPAC will be happy to see me, and if anybody tries to “ban” me from anything, don’t worry: You can always find me in the lobby bar, or wherever the cool private parties are happening.


50 Responses to “While I Was on My Way Home, Apparently, Everybody Went Crazy”

  1. Brian D Paasch
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 7:15 am

    “Then there was Ann Coulter praising RomneyCare’s individual mandate — the same kind of individual mandate that conservatives are demanding that the Supreme Court declare unconstitutional.”

    Please read the column. Don’t just stop at the (typical Coulter) sarcastic headline. Besides being a pretty good column, she gives a nod to Santorum for NOT being a useful fool for Democrats. (But she makes it pretty clear that Romney IS a useful fool for Democrats.) Again, read the whole thing, not just the headline.

  2. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    Yeah, the mandate idea, whether from state or federal governments makes me really uncomfortable.  And it’s important to remember the history, so that we recall that it really was considered a respectable idea in conservative circles.

    The problem is the free rider issue, of course.  The law says hospitals have to help people, regardless of ability to pay.  Especially given the often time sensitive nature of the decision to treat, this seems like it’s probably better than the alternative.

    But what about the consequences?  Currently, I think that the mandate was an interesting idea as a way to deal with it, but unworkable in today’s health care environment (not to mention unconstitutional at the federal level).

    Newt’s previous (current?) position regarding the posted bond is a variation on this that might be an improvement, especially given the massive mandates on what health “insurance” has to cover.

    Still, the free rider problem is not really our biggest issue any more (was it ever?), and there are a lot of other things we could do to improve the system by increasing freedom rather than reducing it.

  3. Anamika
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    This guy is smart enough to get a medical degree, but apparently too
    stupid to know that every “teenage girl” on the Internet is either (a)
    an undercover cop, or (b) Chria Hansen of Dateline NBC.

    No, that guy is an Indian who has been staying in America for a relatively short period of time and hasn’t learned to respect the American ways yet.

  4. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 8:10 am

    I’m afraid all of the dog whistling lately may have deafened me, but was Anamika being racist?

  5. Dave
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    No, the free rider problem turned out to be way over estimated. Turns out it’s like 2-5% of medical costs. It’s the shoplifting of medical care, (Strangely enough, it’s a much bigger problem in hospitals close to our unsecured border with a third world country, but I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. Coincidence, no doubt.) but initially it was thought that it was going to be a much, much larger cost. The mandate was a possible response to this problem that at least had some “conservative” aspects (namely as a way of  having people responsible for paying for care they used) and a lot of not conservative aspects (that Coulter ignores). This is why places like Heritage initially supported it. Then they did further studies, found that the free rider problem wasn’t all that big and realized that such an obtrusive solution to a non problem was the furthest thing from conservative and abandoned it. Libs, with their penchant for authoritarianism,  still love it, however. I don’t know why candidates can’t explain just this simply, it’d only take about as much time as saying “I don’t care about the poor”. Coulter’s really sold her soul and credibility because she’s desperately bought into the myth that Mittens is the only one “electable” in November. It’s sad, she’s beclowned herself for nothing, and tossed away a decade of bona fides for this weak sauce crap (her column today).

  6. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Yes, thanks for expanding on my point.

  7. Patrick
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Not doing C-Pac… Too Much $$ and I don’t fly so…. 

  8. Patrick
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 9:49 am
  9. Ann Coulter flips her cork | Thoughts and Rantings
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    […] when Conservatives go into the tank for a candidate. This is living proof.Others: Campaign 2012, The Other McCain, The Right Scoop, Riehl World View,, Hot Air, The Gateway Pundit, Mark America, […]

  10. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    You might take thirty minutes and listen to Mark Levin’s takedown of Coulter’s article.

  11. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Depends.  Tech Support Indian or Mazola Corn Goodness Indian?

  12. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    Just flash The Shirt.  They won’t dare stop you.  Jeez, this is like a Trek Con wanting to “credential” Jimmy Doohan or something.

  13. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    To be fair, I’d wonder about the Trek Con that didn’t check the credentials of any Jimmy Doohans showing up.

    Or did I miss the The Other McCain becoming The Undead McCain?

  14. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    Brian: I skimmed the column, which is not the same as reading it, but sufficient to gather the meaning. Miss Coulter points out that, prior to 2009, the individual mandate was advocated by many conservatives, including a leading health-care wonk at the Heritage Foundation.

    OK, true, in which case many conservatives, including a leading health-care wonk at the Heritage Foundation, were wrong.

    This isn’t the first time “many conservatives” have been wrong about something — e.g., the presidential prospects of Rick Perry — and it probably won’t be the last. But we do not foster a culture of accountability by making excuses for people’s errors, especially when they refuse to admit that they have erred.

    Miss Coulter is a master (or should that be, “mistress”?) of rhetoric, who can make an eloquent argument even in defense of a bad cause. We call such an argument “playing the Devil’s advocate” and I will leave it to you to determine who the Devil is in that argument.

  15. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    The Trump endorsement will hurt Gingrich more than it will help him, I think.  It pretty much balances out his gains from that whackjob Bolton’s defection to the Romney camp.

  16. Fight the (Conservative) Power, Stacy! | Daily Pundit
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    […] the (Conservative) Power, Stacy! Posted on February 2, 2012 7:42 am by Bill Quick While I Was on My Way Home, Apparently, Everybody Went Crazy : The Other McCain “No, I think this is official,” Smitty said, and recounted a bizarre tale about how CPAC […]

  17. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Back when I worked TrekCons Jimmy was still surprisingly lifelike.  Nice guy.

  18. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    There’s a Trump thread now.  But in Bolton’s defense, at least he’s met a foreign person who’s not marrying him for a green card or cleaning his toilet.  Not sure you can say that about Trump.

  19. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:56 am

     mcenroe ftw!

  20. Pathfinder's wife
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    Either one; we should not coerce the brown/red man into following the ways of the unnatural and poisoned white man!

    Anamika: please, really? get over yourself — the guy was a doctor, not some villager fresh from living in a mud hut (which is how you seem to picture non-white, non-American people all living); he is sophisticated enough to know that sort of thing is frowned on in America (actually, it’s doubly frowned on in other parts of the world, except in the prostitution trade).
    I think you’re being kinda racist.

  21. Bob Belvedere
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Let’s put it this way: Saruman now signs her paychecks; they’re made out to Grima Wormtongue.

  22. Bob Belvedere
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:07 am
  23. Bob Belvedere
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    Ahhh…more of your past leaks out.

  24. Patrick
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:08 am

    Thank You Mr. McCain, if you read these comments. called your cell, but it was off.

  25. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    Actually, Stacy, you apparently drove several MORE people apeshit while sitting on an airport toilet…

  26. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    This was way back in the 70’s before it all got industrialized.  Remind we sometime when we’re not on Stacy’s bandwidth to tell you the story of Shatner and the Commodore Hotel.

    Think “The Third Man” crossed with the “Niagara Falls Sketch”

  27. Bob Belvedere
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    Can’t wait, Cousin Richard.

  28. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Aha!  Turns out I already had! 

  29. Brian D Paasch
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Stacy. I guess we see different main points in her column. The points you make are certainly there but I saw her primary point being the difference between Federal power versus States power. That a Federal level Obamacare is clearly unconstitutional but a State level Romneycare is not under the authority of the US Constitution. (I don’t believe she addressed the question of whether if fit within the framework of the MA State Constitution but that would be a separate discussion.) I understood her argument was that Romneycare is valid under the US Constitution because it is at the State level whereas Obamacare fails that reasoning. BUT, then she went on to say that while Romneycare may have been pretty good as originally proposed by Romney, he let the Democrats modify it into something awful. And somewhere in there she gave a positive nod to Santorum for observing that Romney let himself be played by the Dems. So I saw her main point, her “three cheers for”, being that Obamacare at the Federal level violates the US Constitution. Romneycare, at the state level, does not violate the US Constitution. To try to match Coulter’s sarcasm, I’d propose that, based on those considerations, Romneycare deserves one-hand clapping.
    And her rather blistering point that Romney let himself be played by the Dems has HUGE, negative implications for what he will do if installed at POTUS.

  30. Finrod Felagund
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    Florida already broke the rules by having their primary so damn early in the first place.  But since they already broke the rules once and RNC rules put a maximum punishment at losing half their delegates, Florida figured ‘hey let’s break all the rules’ and made their primary winner-take-all (no primary or caucus before April 1 should be winner-take-all according to the RNC).

    What’s so wrong about at least forcing Florida to obey part of the rules?  Fuck Florida with a chainsaw, those buggers are constantly clogging Atlanta expressways anyways.

  31. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

    And from Florida’s perspective it’s maybe kinda weird, since the winner take all format reduces the incentive to compete for votes in their state, except for those with a decent chance to come in first.

    ObEstablishment: meh

  32. Bob Belvedere
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    Damn! I missed that last year. Great stories by you and Deborah and JeffS.
    I confess: I prided myself at one time on being able to name Star Trek episodes within five seconds of seeing any clip.

  33. Pathfinder's wife
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    hey, don’t be a trollist…they are an endangered species and are deserving of our care (besides, their natural habitat is being lost with the crumbling of our infrastructure)

  34. Bob Belvedere
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    They seem to have found fruitful homes in The Ether.

  35. Florida Conservative to Limbaugh: ‘I Don’t Think That I’ve Ever Been Accused of Being an Establishment Republican!’ : The Other McCain
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    […] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}As I said this morning, everybody’s gone crazy, and it seems that even Rush Limbaugh drank the kooky Kool-Aid, inspiring a paranoid outburst that […]

  36. Mass Insanity « Catholic Bandita
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

    […] This morning, Stacy McCain wrote, “While I Was On My Way Home, Apparently, Everybody Went Crazy” […]

  37. lonely conservative
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    I applied for and received CPAC credentials but they didn’t even give contact information for a pass to the bloggers lounge. Sigh.

  38. Anonymous
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    “Fuck Florida with a chainsaw”

    Bumper stickers should be issued!

  39. richard mcenroe
    February 2nd, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

    Well, they knew you comment here.

  40. Anonymous
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:23 am

     The Bloggers Lounge access was a checkbox on the first page of the media application, and there is an e-mail contact on the “pending confirmation” e-mail they send you after you jump through all the hoops.

  41. Anonymous
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:24 am

    And gets linked frequently! *nodsnods*

  42. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:32 am

     I find the term “fruitful homes” to be homophobic and hereby denounce you, and myself.  I hope they have a decent bar and grill at our reeducation camp.

  43. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:39 am

     Love the chainsaw, but I can’t blame the Floridians for Atalanta traffic.  Honorable mention to the Georgia Department of Highways, though.

    Florida’s primary was always winner-take-all, they just didn’t change it when they took their Great Leap Forward.  The RNC decided early on there would be no further penalty – the rules apparently never anticipated any state would violate two major rules in the same cycle.

    The issue then becomes similar to the Virginia case.  Even if you are right on the issue, you can’t wait and see how things come out and then decide to sue.  Just over a week before the primary Newt had a double-digit lead in the polls.  He didn’t file suit then, for some reason.

  44. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:44 am

     Only for marginal candidates who have no hope of winning.  Winner-take-all states are attractive targets for the big chunk o’ delegates at stake.  Especially in larger states, only the sure losers won’t compete.

    It may have deprived people of hearing Buddy Roemer’s message, but I think it’s just an ad for an online gumbo site.

  45. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:45 am

     You could make millions in the SEC states alone.

  46. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:49 am

     Hold your head high, keep your back straight and your pace quick but calmly steady, and act like you are the hotel owner come to check on the riff-raff.  Smile warmly, if you can spy a name tag on the “security” greet him by name, and walk straight through.

    That’s the best way.  If you are chicken and have a confederate, have him set a small fire in a trash can down the hall, and go in while the door-keeper rushes to save the day.

  47. Adjoran
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 3:59 am

     Wow, they must have tons of terrorists or Kos Kids trying to sneak in or something.  Do approved official “bloggers” get to use a secret entrance to avoid the papparazzi paparozzi photographers?

    Hey, I love the ACU for all their great work over the decades, but to pretend this is anything but a glorified fundraiser is silly.  No great decisions are taken, no new initiatives introduced.

    Now, if they offer an open bar and omelet chef in the Bloggers’ Lounge, I humbly retract.

  48. Bob Belvedere
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    They damn well better – with cable.

  49. Bob Belvedere
    February 3rd, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    …cable and Victory Gin.

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