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Ow. My Awesometer just broke.

Sunday was Ronnie’s centennial, and here’s my take on his enduring popularity: Ronald Reagan was the last guy I voted for who didn’t give me the creeps.

We can talk philosophy and track record some other time. I’m trying to put my finger on a basic and near universal quality of our political figures — right, left and center. There’s something wrong with them.

Something creepy wrong. They give off the paste-eating-kid-from-kindergarten vibe.

Not out of touch. “Out of touch” implies normal people who have been isolated for too long. This is something fundamentally not-all-there. Not right.

In the interest of bipartisanship, let’s talk Bob Dole. Talkin’ about Bob Dole, in the third person. (I had a friend — a Republican — who called him Evil Grandpa). Or John McCain, who hums and fizzes with suppressed…ummm…I don’t know and I don’t want to find out. Just hinky, you know?

And ‘fess up — it was pretty hard propping up George Bush, wasn’t it? Particularly that last couple of years, when he couldn’t be assed to stick up for our principles and all we had to rally around was a man who talked funny and moved like a wadded up fist and gave goofy-ass nicknames to everyone he dealt with.

And, Jesus — Al Gore and John Kerry are just flying right off the Nutcake Scale. Linc Chafee. Alan Grayson. Joe Biden. Barney Frank — GAH! Even people in care homes wear their freaking teeth in public.

Political types are like performing animals, with your Axelrods and Roves just off camera poking them with sticks to make them do the tricks right. Gosh, when they stand up on their hind legs like that, they look just like a people!

Ronald Reagan wasn’t an ordinary person, of course. Neither is Sarah Palin. “Ordinary” is not a desirable quality in a leader. But they are among the few people in political life who don’t seem like they probably wet the bed until they were thirty.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 8, 2011, 9:40 pm

Pic stolen from here. And let’s pretend we haven’t noticed she’s clutching the horn with her right hand.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 8, 2011, 11:14 pm

Yep, Reagan freaked out the Washington mafia by proving that the people actually have some power in America…

BTW, did you catch the Taiwan News Animators take on the AOL/Huffpo Merger? 😉


Comment from Elphaba
Time: February 8, 2011, 11:17 pm

Yeah, I noticed the saddle horn, too. She’s probably much more comfortable on a snowmobile than a horse, but still, she looks good!

Stoaty, are you familiar with Herman Cain? He’s an Atlanta-based conservative talk show host and entrepreneur who is seriously considering running for President; I like him as much as Palin.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 8, 2011, 11:32 pm

I keep hearing about Herman Cain. Good things, always. If he throws his hat in the ring, I’ll have to take a closer look.

Has anybody worked out why the Taiwanese are so interested in the minutiae of American current events? Or do they just animate to someone else’s script? I have no idea of the backstory on these things.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: February 8, 2011, 11:42 pm

Is horn-grabbing not done then? I wouldn’t know as I ain’t never ridden no horsey neither.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: February 8, 2011, 11:54 pm

I rode a horse when I was about 6. Never since, so I don’t get the reference either.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 9, 2011, 12:00 am

I dunno, Stoatie. however, as long as they keep me laughing, I don’t care……

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 12:18 am

The horn is for tying off roped calves and such. Hanging onto it is usually a noob thing.

Though I generally used it for landing upon ouchily after a clumsy jump. Not a great rider, me.

Comment from JeffS
Time: February 9, 2011, 12:58 am

Stoatie, I’ve been puzzling out this subject for quite some time, why I’m comfortable with certain politicians, and hold my nose while voting for others.

“Creepy” is what I’m looking for. It’s the flip side of “comfortable”. It’s not exclusively an emotive reaction; it’s a gestalt of myriad factors, observations, and other data.

And, yes, Dubya is not my favoritist president. I found him more and more unpalatable after 2005 or so. He did a decent (not great) job up to then, and sort of slid downhill.

Intellectually (if I may use that term in the original sense), John McCain is a better presidential candidate when you consider his experience. But add in everything else, and I had to force myself to vote for him. Until Sarah Palin became his running mate, that is. But he still creeped me out.

And as for the clutching the horn…..I actually find that reassuring, in a sense. It implies (but does not prove) a certain degree of self-confidence, by not trying to fake better riding skills when she has to know that many cameras are focused on her. Instead, she relaxes, accepts her lesser skills, and enjoys the ride.

(BTW, I once rode a horse up a mountain on a guided tour, and the damned beast insisted walking on the very edge of the trail…..above a 100 foot fall. I was thinking about horse steak all the time. And there was another guided tour where the horse in front of me farted the entire trip.)

Comment from Allen
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:04 am

The technical term for taking hold of the saddle horn is, “grabbing leather.” Yep, I do it in a heartbeat when needed. On the horse is much better then flying through the air.

You can tell she doesn’t ride much, though there’s no harm in that. She’s kind of off kilter in the saddle and the stirrups need to be lengthened a bit.

That is one mighty fine horse though. Strong through the breast, and it pays attention to the rider. “How the heck can you say that Allen?” Secrets of the Horse. 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:08 am

I’m glad, JeffS. Sometimes I think it’s just me. There’s something about many politicians that makes the “he’s crazy – keep away!” bells ring.

You know, most of our pundit class are the same.

Part of it, I’m sure, is being on the stage all the time. God knows, I couldn’t stand the idea of millions of eyeballs upon me. But they never react like normal people, you know?

That’s what made Reagan’s “there you go again!” so refreshing. It’s like something a normal person would say.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:25 am

A contender for ‘the greatest motoring journalist evah’ was the late LJK Setright, who summed-up horses, thus:

“Any creature that is stupid enough to let me ride on its back is too stupid to be entrusted with my safety.”

As for Mrs Palin, what chance does she stand? She looks like a wholesome, female, member of the human race.

We could spend a lot of time debating how many ways that disqualifies her from office in the eyes of the Gramscian, misogynistic Left.

Comment from TexMex
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:48 am

I bet if you asked Palin how much a gallon of milk or gas costs she’d know.
Why is that a big deal to a mook like me? Because it’s nice to know that a potential presidential candidate knows how shitty it is to pay a lot more for things that didn’t cost that much a few years ago. Hell, she has to buy groceries for five folks. I just have to scrimp for one person: me.
So, yeah, knowing that things suck out there in the real world is a damn fine thing to have in a potential candidate.

Me gusta Sarah Palin, by the way.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:50 am

While the saddle horn is indeed used to tying off the rope for roping activities, it also is used as a balance aid when directing the horse to turn abruptly. MANY barrel racers will take more than slight exception to your “noob” description. And MOST of them are folks you REALLY don’t want to get into an argument with…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:50 am

Also, so very many politicians tell weird, easily-disprovable lies. Like Bubbah claiming to be a life member of the NRA (NRA says no) or watching a black church burn. Tony Blair claimed he hid out in the wheel well of a plane as a lad and flew to…shit, I forget where. Or Gore claiming to have cleared land with a fucking axe. Seriously.

What’s wrong with these people?

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:54 am

Hanging on to the saddle horn is highly recomended when working on a good cutting horse. Otherwise you’ll likely find yourself making awkward and painful contact with the ground.

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: February 9, 2011, 3:19 am

When riding a horse, I grab onto anything and everything available, just to make sure I stay topside, right side up and not broken. Landing hurts. And, yes, most politicians give me the creeps. Mostly they make me want to slam them up against a wall and scream in their face “YOU’RE NOT LISTENING”, repeatedly.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 9, 2011, 4:05 am

Why do so many women really hate Sarah Palin? The intensity of it really surprises me and has again and again.

As for Politicans and wierdness, Ronald Regan was the last President (or candidate) who sounded remotely human when giving a speech. It drove me nuts to listen to Bubba; W wasn’t much better, let me be perfectly clear about the one. Yuck.

Kerry was so bad that I actually stopped buying Heinz ketchsup for a while in protest (it was Hell by the way – what other ketchsup is there?). Ol’ crazy John McCain is just too random. Oh, and Silky Pony? If it wasn’t for the paternity suit, I’d still believe he was gay.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: February 9, 2011, 4:26 am

I like the look on the horse’s face. I don’t think he likes the press. I also like the idea of a weasel in her dressage uniform.

Comment from Sockless Joe
Time: February 9, 2011, 4:48 am

Red Pack ketchup is ok, if you can find it. It’s not Heinz, but, it’s better than Hunt’s, IMO.

There’s a lot to like about Herman Cain, but there are two big snags. #1 is his support for the “Fair Tax” plan, which is controversial even among Republicans, and has almost zero chance of ever being implemented. #2 is that he is VERY pro-life, as in no exceptions for rape or incest. I understand that position philosophically, but that could be a deal breaker for a lot of general election voters.

Otherwise Cain is fantastic. He’s like Milton Friedman with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

Comment from Deborah
Time: February 9, 2011, 5:02 am

What’s being done to Sarah Palin is nothing less than a “wilding,” and the institutional American press is complicit in the crime.

Comment from Roman Wolf
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:01 am


I know I don’t comment often enough but I think I might have a solution to your question. I think there’s two factors…

“There’s no there there.”
This is to say, most politicians are absolutely boring people who have never done anything interesting in their life. Hence they feel the need to act as if they’re extraordinary people. You see this in all the small embellished lies they tell about themselves. They want to present a superhuman superintelligent supervirtuous image to the public.

You see the extreme of this in someone like Kim Jong-il. How Kim Jong was meant to be born ontop of a mountain in North Korea(with the heavens opening up and the angels singing) instead of the real boring story of him being born in exile in the Soviet Union during WW2.

“Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Or to put it another way, Washington DC is like the Ring(from Lord of the Rings) for politicians and bureaucrats. They may go to DC with good intentions but most do not realize the corruption that goes along with power. Hence the ring slowly corrupts them until they are a Gollum like beast who can only focus on “the precious”.


There are of course exceptions to all these…Ron Paul doesn’t seem overly prone to corruption for instance. Lisa Murkowski is a little rich girl that always got what she wants.

Anywho, that’s my analysis of politicians more or less.

Comment from Carl
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:42 am

For those who haven’t heard it, here is the Blair stowaway tale. Sorry about the length.

From the Scottish Daily Record (December 1996):

“Tony Blair tried to run away to the Bahamas when he was 14 – to escape his Scots boarding school …

Young Tony was able to sneak through security and get on a plane bound for the Caribbean.

His plan was only thwarted when a stewardess realised she hadn’t seen his boarding card …

His daring escape bid came after a trip back to his parents’ home in the north-east of England. He waved goodbye to his mum and dad at Newcastle Station, got on a train bound for Edinburgh … then sneaked off again and headed for the airport.

Blair made his amazing confession on Des O’Connor’s TV chat show last night. He told an estimated 10million viewers: “It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever done.”

The Labour leader said: “My parents saw me off on the train. I went down the carriage and got off the other end, went into the gents, changed into my casual clothes and went outside the station.”

The unhappy schoolboy then made his way to the airport and managed to get on a flight bound for the Bahamas.

Blair said: “I snuck on to the plane and we were literally about to take off when the stewardess came up to me and said `I don’t think I actually saw your boarding pass’.”

At that point, young Tony blurted out: “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m running away.”

What the young runaway didn’t know was his parents had got on the train to say a final farewell – and panicked when they couldn’t find him.

Blair said: “They were pretty upset. When they found me at the airport I thought I was going to get into serious trouble, but they were very nice about it.”

His dad, Leo remembers the incident well. He said: “The headmaster rang us to say Tony was at the airport. We realised then how unhappy he was. Fortunately, he settled down soon afterwards.”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 12:50 pm

Oh. Hm. That sounds quite plausible, Carl.

How boring.

Comment from some vegetable
Time: February 9, 2011, 1:40 pm

Yeah- it ain’t exactly “10 weeks with the circus”

Comment from porknbean
Time: February 9, 2011, 5:04 pm

Hunts ketchup.

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: February 9, 2011, 6:03 pm

Horsie ears say “listening to human, keeping watch on rest of herd”. Ears are good for knowing the mental state and focus of said equine. I sometimes sing verses of the carrot song to the horse I ride to check him. The carrot song is extempore, and as one line has it “..horses can’t rhyme/wonderful carrots, carrots for me…”

He seems to like it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 6:49 pm

This just in: sheep are sooper geniuses. No, really.

Comment from tawny
Time: February 9, 2011, 7:52 pm

Stoaty, is it your birthday soon? If so you may want to ask Uncle Badger for one of these: http://www.weaselballs.com/

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:18 pm

Heh. One of my friends in Rhode Island bought me a weaselball.

Sadly, it was a defective weaselball. It didn’t fly around the room, it just sat and quivered. Poor bastard.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:59 pm

it probably saw the friggin’ Badger, for cripes sake! What would YOU expect it to do?

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:01 pm

It goes back to Nixon’s “fire in the belly” and Gresham’s Law (generalized).

If you have somebody who craves attention, plaudits, and the cheers of the crowd, and that individual isn’t pretty enough to go Hollywood, he or she will probably try politics. Since the person needs the attention as self-verification, he or she won’t care what’s necessary to get it. Expose all the business dealings? Sure! Grade school transcripts? Of course!

And since other politicians and wannabees are competing for the same attention, it starts an arms race. Nothing too silly, nothing too foolish, nothing too embarrassing to be fodder for the campaign. Along the way, any sane person will have long since thrown up his or her hands and abandoned the effort. It’s just not worth it.

The process has been going on for a long time, and is near or has reached what the biologists call “climax”. All the offices are held by people whose “qualification” is narcissism and an insane thirst for recognition, crowding out any and all who might have actually been able to perform the duties of the office. They’re all f*ing nuts, because anybody who isn’t f*ing nuts runs screaming on slightest contact with them, and nobody who isn’t f*ing nuts would put up with the c*p they had to go through to get in. The question now is how to break the cycle.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 10, 2011, 12:29 am

Lottery. I’ve often thought we ought to elect officeholders the same way we select jurors.

It’s one of the reasons I’m not as opposed to hereditary peerages in the House of Lords as a good American ought to be — it’s a kind of genetic lottery. Sadly, Blair replaced most of the hereditary officeholders with “lords” created out of his political cronies.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: February 10, 2011, 2:20 am

She, Palin, is the real deal.

Rode all kinda horse flesh on trail, herding range cattle and cutting feeders from breeders. The horn is there for more than one reason…..I know only to well.

Here in fly-over country, where foul colonies of libtard wingnuts have taken root, we are at war on two fronts…on our southern border and deep within the cities that were once our home guard castles.

Denver has become an ugly, mile-hi clone of Los Angeles.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: February 10, 2011, 2:32 am

I’ve often thought we ought to elect officeholders the same way we select jurors.

Um. Who gets to do the voir dire and who gets to exercise the challenges, both for cause and peremptory?

Lottery. . .maybe. For certain offices, it might be effective. . .

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:28 am

The worst of politicians (maybe 95% of them) are there because they have a sense of mission, they believe it’s their destiny, that God himself called them onto a mountain top and told them “I have chosen you for my instrument.”

The best ones started as ordinary people, people with jobs and families and life experiences outside of the modern day cursus honorum of law school, internships, staff jobs, running for office or getting an appointment, and even though politics makes them no longer ordinary, they remember that the reason they are there is to support the ordinary people who do things and make things and grow things and who, together, make up a nation and who do it even if there’s nobody watching. The good ones realize that the country goes on regardless and if DC were nuked it would make no real difference to the productive parts of this country and only really hurt the parasites.

I suppose what I’m getting at it a sense of humility. You are not a good politician if you believe the nation hangs on your every word and vanishes if you take your attention from it.

Pingback from Cold Fury » SCANDAL DU JOUR: the monster Palin caught flouting all human morality again!
Time: February 10, 2011, 2:00 pm

[…] sums up: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? Sunday was Ronnie’s centennial, and here’s my take on his enduring popularity: Ronald Reagan […]

Comment from j2
Time: February 11, 2011, 1:55 pm

i’ve had similar discussions recently…. the list of political types that don’t send out a “weird” vibe for me is very short….
Palin, Bachmann, West… (i’m sure there are a few more – but i’m drawing a blank)

I get the hairy eye every time i mention that there is something about Boehner that sets off the warning bell… it’s not a claxon (ala – Grayson, Frank, Schumer, Smirknowsky…etc)but there is something just slightly out of phase….

it’s the “Green Man” psychology issue… we may not be able to pin point the issue but we are “wired” to know that something is amiss.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 11, 2011, 11:44 pm

For j2:
You MAY want to rethink Col. West:
although that is just ONE article about him and it MAY misrepresent what he meant…

Comment from Goober
Time: February 14, 2011, 8:50 pm

Okay, let’s clear one thing up as far as “grabbing horn” is concerned.

Okay, yes, I’ll agree that it is a noob thing to do on flat ground on a well-mannered horse. I will also agree that the primary purpose of a saddle horn, or it’s original design intent, was to have a place to tie off whatever unlucky critter it was that you just roped…


I worked two summers at a dude ranch/outfitter running pack trains back into the wilderness. I have saved my butt from nasty falls numerous times by grabbing the horn when a horse tried to startle out from under me, or slipped, or we were going up a very steep slope, and so forth. The owner of the ranch, a man who literally spends more time on a horse than most city folk do behind the wheel of a car, will grab horn often in the same circumstances.

Which leads me to my point. The saddle horn was put onto the saddle as a place to tie off critters, but it is ALSO intended and designed to use as an emergency handle, as a place to hang front bags, pistols, or secure a rifle scabbard, as a place to tie off a pack animal, and so forth and so on. You are not a noob if you’ve ever grabbed horn. You are a noob* if you think that you can really ride a horse without doing so occasionally.

*Yeah, I don’t really care how much saddle time you have. If it has all been in an arena/fenced pasture/maintained trail, then you’re a noob. Sorry, but if you haven’t felt the sheer terror of scrambling up a 45 degree shale slide on the edge of a 500 foot cliff on the back of an unpredictable, very stupid animal, when the nearest medical attention is a two-day ride and a four hour truck ride after that away, then you aren’t in any position to give me crap for grabbing horn or defending those that do.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 14, 2011, 9:22 pm

<blinks at Goober>

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 15, 2011, 12:55 pm

Hey Goob – check out some barrel racing (YouTube and search “matismf”) and THEN tell us that being in an arena means you DON’T grab the horn…

And THEY usually drag after every 5 runs to keep the pen smooth.

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