It's Friday: Things I think about


Welcome to the tea party revolution and, like it or not, the fiscal conservatives are winning.

Despite how the Democrats want to characterize the government shutdown as a "hostage" crisis, it's a bad analogy. It's really a tea party revolution and it's a revolution that the tea party has won, no matter how it all plays out.

Or so argues Marc Ambinder of "The Week." He's not a government shutdown fan (who is?) but he makes points like this one:

"For one thing, and this is very important to keep in mind, Republicans are not in any way abusing the rules or breaking the law. Generally, hostage situations are easy to infuse with moral judgments. The bad guys break the law. They have violated norms that everyone has agreed to.

"What Republicans are doing is different. They are using the rules in a way that violates traditions and customs. They are breaking an agreed-upon covenant that, at the very least, the government should be open and operating as a precondition for all other political debates, even those about the nature of said government. Moreover, one person — the Speaker of the House — can change the rules on a whim.

"This is an important distinction. And it is a distinction, I think, that Republicans who want to hold out are fair to point out. The Tea Party movement was empowered to force the Republican Party to get serious about its own pledges and promises about reducing government. Until now, cutting government has meant something very different to those who actually governed: A trim here and there, an entitlement reform elsewhere. Governing Republicans never took their anti-government rhetoric to its logical conclusion. They also underestimated what years of denigrating the government would do to the public's perception of it. Being a "small government" Republican doesn't mean what it meant six years ago.

"How does this relate to the hostage metaphor? It means that the hostage-takers have already won. "

Give the whole piece a look here. He elevates the shutdown debate.

IRS scandal: It's baaack!

It's like a reoccurring nightmare for the White House. The scandal in which the IRS persecuted tea party non-profits just won't go away.

Now we're getting documents. According to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, it is clear that the top IRS Obamacare official, Sarah Hall Ingram, discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials. This is a potential felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

This scandal, which the president wishfully characterizes as "phony," is getting closer and closer to the Obama political inner circle and possibly Obama himself. If is made, all hell will break loose. There will be resignations. Indictments will be handed down. Household names will face prison.

Here's the Daily Caller piece on this latest piece of information. I think I hear the sound of a leak: Drip, drip, drip.

Big government in the bedroom

As if you needed another thing to worry about when it comes to Obamacare, the New York Post reports that you can thank the Obama health law when your doctor asks questions like:

"Are you sexually active? If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?"

It's all mandatory and it's all information that will be collected and stored by your friendly, transparent Obama Big Government.

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Harry Reid. Thank you, Nancy Pelosi. BTW, are you sexually active? If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?"

Be honest.

An unfortunate typo

White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer found himself in a very embarrassing situation last week.

Pfeiffer is a paid apologist for the White House. It's his job to hide the truth when necessary. But many wondered if he didn't have his Freudian slip showing when he tweeted this:

"@jmartNYT also a much nigger factor on the right. "

He corrected the typo right away, of course. You can get the full context here. It's worth noting, however, that unlike the political left in America, the political right in large part graciously accepted the idea that his use of the "N-word" was a typo and not a sign of his secret racism.

Paging Mr. Reid ... Mrs. Titus

The Review-Journal reported: "About 40 Nevada veterans toured the World War II Memorial on Saturday morning under a sunny sky that belied the stormy partisan battles at the other end of the National Mall that have left much of the federal government shuttered."

"Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Nevada Reps. Mark Amodei, Joe Heck and Steven Horsford were on hand Saturday to greet the veterans."

For the record, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Dina Titus were nowhere to be seen.

Jon bites John? Grrrr

If Jon vs. John were a boxing match, it would be the mismatch of the century.

Jon Ralston never made it to the national stage. He's a weird dude with a checkered record and a chip on his shoulder that indicates to me that he'd get out the hell out of Nevada if he could. If memory serves, he's actually said that he would have been a better choice than Al Sharpton for a show on MSNBC. No sh*t. My poodle would have been a better choice than Sharpton.

Anyway, Ralston is in the process of burning his last bridge in Nevada -- a local inside baseball political teevee show for Jim Rogers, 75. Based on history, it won't be long.

John L. Smith, meanwhile, is the best general interest newspaper columnist in Nevada and arguably the state's best writer. He treats readers with a special kind of prose that is rare in these days of newspaper austerity. He can make you laugh. He can make you cry. He tells a story like no other in Nevada.

So it was amusing to see Jon The Lesser attack John The Greater for a column on the recent re-election of Michael McDonald as the state GOP chair.

McDonald won despite opposition from most of the big Republican donors and officeholders. That's the kind of scrappy, man-bites-dog story in which John L. excels. Click here and read it.

Good, right? You bet it was.

But Ralston criticized Smith in his usual bi-polar-ish style, which is to say Jon was irrationally vicious in his "criticism."

But here's what Ralston didn't tell you. Ralston seems to have an ax to grind. He mercilessly derided McDonald's re-election bid. He blogged anonymously sourced dirt. Didn't call to verify the dirt. He just shoveled it. And he got called out on it. I'd say that he also got professionally embarrassed, but, you know, I think we're way beyond that on the PAS -- the Pompous Ass Scale.

So when Ralston hisses and spits at anybody, you might want to keep this story in mind. It's instructive.

DISCLAIMER: I don't like what Jon Ralston's behavior has allowed him to become (can you tell?). When I left the presidency of Stephens Media and the publisher's chair of the Las Vegas Review-Journal after almost literally giving my life to the newspaper I worked at all my life, he said some especially cruel things about me, about the newspaper and about the good and loyal journalists who worked for me. He still does it like it was a Tourette's kind of thing. It was, and is, the sadly "normal" kick-'em-while-they're-down, schoolyard name-calling Ralston behavior that too many people kowtow to for fear they might be next. I've recovered from my heart bypass, cancer surgery and two other major surgeries and am feeling good. I count my days carefully now. Today is a good day to call out this Ralston kind of behavior.

DISCLAIMER II: Both Jon and John worked for me for years. I know their strong points, personally and professionally. John L. Smith isn't perfect. But compared to what Jon Ralston has allowed himself to become, Smith is a cross between Damon Runyon and St. Francis. Believe me when I tell you that from a journalistic standpoint, a writing standpoint and an integrity standpoint, if this were a heavyweight fight, it would be the mismatch of the century.