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Bland centrist Ron Fournier, who seems to aspire to be David Broder without all the edginess, has graced us with some standards for judging Barack Obama's State of the Union address tonight. Needless to say, he thinks the Republican takeover of the Senate presents America with a beautiful opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to "begin governing together" like good boys and girls -- if only Obama doesn't poison everything by trying to enact his agenda. Fournier tut-tuts:


The state of the union is the status quo.

If you're OK with that, stop reading.

And so we did, and then we crossed ourselves and said a brief prayer of thanks that he'd given us an excuse to not finish his dumb column, the end.

But then we figured we actually had a "job" to do, so we went on reading, damn our eyes. Fournier has a simple set of questions to help us decide whether the president is planning on getting something done, or just being political, which is similar to getting something done except that it involves trying to enact policies that appeal to a discernible side.

Fournier urges us to consider Obama's tone:

Close your eyes, set aside your opinion of Obama, and objectively listen to a chunk of the address. Does he sound like a college professor -- dismissive, dour, arrogant, and argumentative? Or does he sound like a preacher -- inspirational, inclusive, optimistic, and humble? The latter approach is the mark of a great leader.

Of course, if he preaches too vigorously, he's partisan, and we can't have that, now can we? Fournier also thinks that Obama's plan to tax the super-wealthy to pay for a tax cut for the middle class might have some promise, just as long as Obama doesn't do anything to alienate the super-wealthy and their Republican allies -- like raising taxes.

Fournier manages a pretty stunning inversion of reality in this next paragraph, where he warns us against the narcissistic tendencies of Barack Obama:

The pronouns: Count how many times Obama uses the words "I," "me," and "my." Compare that number to how often he says, "You," "we," "our." If the first number is greater than the second, Obama has failed. He needs to remember the lesson of Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign: Don't dismiss the 47 percent of Americans who disagree with him.

Um. Excuse me, but Romney didn't just dismiss those who disagreed with him in an opinion poll. He dismissed an entire swath of the population because they didn't make enough money to matter. That seems like a significant difference, somehow. But yes, shame on a president who wants to have his policies listened to.

Fournier closes with a pretty good observation about George W. Bush, who erred in "not asking Americans to sacrifice in the aftermath of 9/11." Similarly, he says, Obama never says anything about shared sacrifice -- and then Fournier notes that Obama has indeed given "lip service" to national service, what with the volunteer programs and all that, but apparently he's not sacrificey enough. Even worse, "In his hands, proposals for higher taxes smack of class warfare rather than shared sacrifice. Can he appeal to our better angels?" Gosh, if only Obama would frame that in terms of the rich paying their fair share, of all of us being in this together, or if he would somehow mention Warren Buffett's observation that it's absurd for a billionaire to have a lower tax rate than his secretary? It sure would be nice if Barack Obama would say exactly what he does say, only more bipartisanly, somehow.

Slate writer Jamelle Bouie noticed the real problem with Fournier's viewing guide -- and once he did, promptly got a very stern, completely predictable slow head-shake of disapproval from Ron Fournier, Guardian Of The Discourse:

Seriously, Jamelle Bouie. Why are you bringing such contentious, racially insensitive language to this serious discussion of our arrogant president?

[National Journal / Twitter]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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