Comments Posted By Kevin T. Keith
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I'm not aware of any liberal commentators who criticized Palin's choice to carry her pregnancy to term. There was a small amount of ugly rumor that her pregnancy was a hoax to cover for her daughter, but that quickly died out. There was, and still is, richly deserved criticism for her desire to impose by force on all other women the choice she had the luxury of freely making for herself, but nobody I am aware of said she shouldn't have had the right to make that choice, or was wrong in making the choice she did.

Comment Posted By Kevin T. Keith On 13.06.2009 @ 11:20


On my reading of it, he lawfully became President, but can't exercise any authority until he gets it right.

The 20th Amendment (not the 25th) stipulates that Presidential terms end at noon on January 20, "and the terms of their successor shall then begin". So Obama became President at noon, yesterday.

But the body of the Constitution, in Article II, Section 1 (the part that specifies the oath of office), requires that: "Before [the President] enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation . . .". (emphasis added) This requires that the Oath precede actually "executing" the Presidency, which is to say exercising the powers of office. It does not literally say that a person who did not take the Oath would not in fact be President, but it implies they could not "execute that Office".

Implicitly, from Article II, and explicitly, from the 20th Amendment, Obama is President, but if he has not yet taken the Oath as the Constitution requires, he cannot act in that capacity.

Great analysis. That must be where the constitutional experts see the possibility of a challenge - theoretically. In practice, I don't believe any court would come within 10 miles of a case. As we saw with the ridiculous citizenship challenges, who would have standing to challenge? Congress? A Congressman? Biden?



Comment Posted By Kevin T. Keith On 21.01.2009 @ 17:54


Are you seriously trying to tell me that you can’t tell the difference between what was reported as “scattered laughter and applause” by a group of college kids who are rabid fans and the 40 million conservatives who vote in elections?

Of course not every conservative applauded her - there weren't 40 million people in the room. But the people who were in the room were conservatives and they applauded her. The fact that she has a rabid fan base speaks volumes by itself.

You seem to be working yourself into the argument that conservatives aren't responsible for creating the environment in which Coulter can flourish because anyone who approves of her isn't a "real" conservative. CPAC are not real conservatives because . . . they're young? Bozell's show isn't really conservative. The interview shows on Fox aren't really conservative. All those people driving her books up the best-seller lists time after time aren't really conservatives . . .

Look: she says it, people lap it up, those people vote and almost certainly they vote for the kinds of candidates she endorses and not the ones she trashes (not because she tells them to, necessarily - they've got Rush Limbaugh for that - but because their beliefs track with hers), and it goes on and on. That can't all be coincidence. Lots of people are buying her books and reading her column, and I would be they're almost exclusively drawn from within the ranks of those 40 million voters, or at least agree with them.

She's not a marginal character - she speaks to, and is lauded by, run-of-the-mill conservatives across the country.

Comment Posted By Kevin T. Keith On 3.03.2007 @ 16:52

Having commented on Coulter and the substance of conservative beliefs, let me change tack and offer and dissenting opinion on the boycott you propose.

I appreciate and admire your inclination to roust Coulter from conservative ranks (though, as I said, I think she is only the tip of the iceberg). But I am uncomfortable with boycotts and protests.

I have just been in a heated debate over the right-wing gun enthusiasts' mob action against Jim Zumbo. (Briefly: two weeks ago Zumbo, a prominent hunting writer, made an ill-considered blog post, on a Friday night while on a hunting trip, to the effect that assault-weapon-type rifles should be banned from hunting. Within a day, angry gun nuts had generated a blog swarm that flooded his sponsors and employers with threats of secondary boycotts, and before he even got home that weekend he had lost most of his sponsorships; by the end of the week he had lost the editorial position he had held for almost 30 years, his popular TV show was canceled, the NRA denounced him, all his remaining sponsors fired him, and he was unemployed, incomeless, and had received threats. Similar protests were suggested against the few who had merely spoken in his defense without endorsing his post.) I think it is perfectly appropriate to shun or boycott the products (books, speeches, etc.) of someone whose ideas you disagree with. I am uncomfortable with secondary boycotts - threats against those who merely do business with the offender - and demands for others to shun such a person. If the right of free speech includes the right to say hateful things - which it does, even for Ann Coulter - then it must include the right, not to be heard or agreed-with, but to say them without fear of harassment or retribution other than the disapprobation that the ideas themselves justify.

In the case of people whose product is speech - i.e., writers and speechmakers - the question is a little trickier, because to shun their products is to shun their speech, and to request that publications find better writers, simply because you want to read better ideas, is essentially to request that they fire offensive writers because you don't like the ideas they promote. It's hard here to draw a line between rejecting a professional writer's ideas and seeking financial retribution for their having spoken them. But I think that line at least includes not organizing a mass protest to demand that they be fired.

Certainly no decent person should read or listen to Ann Coulter. Reasonably enough, people can indicate to publishers or program directors that they want better ideas to be presented. But I think there is a difference between saying you won't read a publication because of the content it carries and demanding that they fire one of their contributors because you don't like that person's ideas. (It's understood that in most cases an opinion writer's ideas are not endorsed by the publication itself. That distinction does carry some weight, and should offer the publisher some protection.) That distinction, between an expression of opinion and a demand for appeasement, exists even if the end result - the publication will lose a reader if they continue to carry a certain author - is the same. And threatening boycotts of publications or programs because of just one person they carry is a means of using the economic leverage of a large corporation to give your personal grievance a heft it does not deserve.

Although these distinctions may be small, I would suggest that, while I enorse your point #1 above, points #s 3, 4, and 5 should be reworded from "demand that they drop" to "indicate you will no longer read them as long as they carry" the offending writer. Point #2, I think, is similar: the point to be made is that there are better guests to schedule, that you want to see them, and that you will stop watching the show if it does not improve; putting it in the language of "demand" simply makes it sound like you are being intolerant of them for tolerating Coulter's intolerance, which rather muddies the moral issue.

Point #6 is complex: I don't know if it's really a good idea to boycott programs at which hateful people appear. There may still be many other good people on the program, and why cut yourself off from them? To the extent that attendance implies approval of a particular speaker, that is a problem, but one that it seems to me should be worked out case-by-case. But the idea of punishing entire institutions or programs because you disagree with certain speakers is a dangerous one - it smacks of the refusal by the Eisenhower administration to allow Columbia University to hire Bertrand Russell, or the threats today to defund public colleges because they invite controversial speakers. If it's true that the right wing hardly needs more hateful crazies, it's also true that they hardly need more McCarthyism.

Comment Posted By Kevin T. Keith On 3.03.2007 @ 16:35

I am sick to death of this woman leading people to believe that she speaks for conservatives.

Well, she's hardly doing it by herself.

The reason we think she speaks for conservatives is that she regularly speaks to conservatives, at their invitation and to their approval.

She was not only a an invited speaker at the Conservative Political Action Committee, she was enthusiastically applauded for her "faggot" line, and the attendees then stood in line for over two hours to buy her book and get it autographed. And CPAC may not have know she was going to use "the f-word", but they had to have known she was going to do something crazy, hateful, and offensive - it's all she ever does. They invited and paid her for that reason.

So, I'll believe that, in her hate-filled and irrational spew, she does not "speak for conservatives" when you stop paying her to say those things in public in your presence. And by "you" I don't just mean a small handful of relatively sophisticated bloggers, but the CPAC attendees (not exactly marginal figures in conservatism themselves) who applauded her, and the dittoheads who buy her books and repeat her jibes. It's unmistakably clear that there is a huge conservative audience who like what she says just fine (if not, you wouldn't have to petition to keep them from hearing her). And even if you do succeed in your crusade to de-Coulterize the right, you will only have removed a visible embarrassment, not the root cause of the problem. All those people who applauded her and bought her books will still be part of your movement - just a little less visibly embarrassing to you.

Conservatism will be respectable when it is not inspired by vengefulness and hatred, not when it simply shushes the vengeful and hateful in its front ranks. Of course, then it will be liberalism.!

Comment Posted By Kevin T. Keith On 3.03.2007 @ 15:58



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