So long, and thanks for all the fish

Whew. This is a tough one for me to write.

Okay, let’s get the hard part out of the way first. Hanlon’s Razor, in its current incarnation, is basically going dormant, on hiatus, if not an “unofficial retirement”.

The reasons for this are several, and I’ll try to tackle them fully. Before that, though, I need to go into a little context as to why and how this site first began. Back in 2005, I was a plucky college student for political science and English, stars in my eyes, and the various Bush scandals plus the 2004 election had gotten me heavily interested in the field. I began Hanlon’s Razor under a number of names (the original BlogSpot site was “A Pandora of Political Ponderings,” ugh).

Initially the site was intended to keep my thinking process and writing as sharp as I could. Daily, repeated postings meant I practiced my writing side while staying educated on current affairs for the political side. Professors gave me tips and I once or twice submitted an article to the site that I’d used in class, or vice versa. All the while, I had aspirations of turning what would eventually become Hanlon’s Razor into a “big boy” blog like AmericaBlog or Hullabaloo (do people still read either of those?).

I just poured myself into HR. I read news during downtime at home, listened to various news stations in the car, and spent a good chunk of time on social networking sites trying to get myself seen. But as Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw once said, trying to get yourself seen on the internet is like throwing a message in a bottle into a sea comprised of messages in bottles. Still, I plodded on.

For a while, it seemed to work. I’ve been in multiple papers (The LA Times being my biggest accomplishment), I was interviewed by MTV Magazine during the Chris Wallace interview with Bill Clinton, and readership grew. Things were going okay.

Then we hit a brick wall. It seemed as though I’d tapped out my capability for readership. You can see my little chiclet there for RSS readers. It hasn’t changed in four years, and I suspect it’s mainly because people who stopped using RSS feeds never bothered to unsubscribe. To a very real extent I have no idea how many people will even read this, because I know from the stats that my reader base is much smaller than it once was.

The 2008 election helped buoy my spirits again. The monstrous page about Sarah Palin and the attention the site got as a result made me feel relevant again, but shortly after the election things went right back down. At the same time, my enthusiasm for politics began to decline sharply. Oh sure, I cared about the issues and I still do, but my ability to put on my waders and clamber through the muck has diminished greatly, to the point that even when friends of mine who normally bullshit about politics with me have stopped doing so because I just don’t have it in me any more.

Posting slowed down, and with a project like this, the further back you get, the harder it is to start up again. Over the past year, the site has looked less like my little baby and more like a monument to my inability to grow beyond “low-level blogger” in seven years. Maybe it’s my writing, maybe I wasn’t good at publicizing, or maybe I just fell through the cracks. It’s hard to tell with these things. Maybe anonymity wasn’t my best choice. The reason I adopted the name Hanlon was that I wanted the site to stand on its own, rather than me being some personality, and perhaps that was my downfall. I write academically for a site that has no face. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, maybe that was a poor choice.

In 2012, there’s an election coming up, and I know who I’m voting for, I know why, but every time I see an ad on TV my stomach starts to turn. I can’t read Cagle comics like I used to, and honestly I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually read another political blog. Half because my tolerance for idiocy has collapsed, and half because every moment I find myself wading into the cesspool again I’m reminded of this goddamned blog and how far it hasn’t gone since I first began with those doe-eyed aspirations of writing books and being a syndicated columnist somewhere.

Funny side story: long-time readers, if any exist, may recall that roundabout 2006-2007 I hinted at some “big project” I was working on. I wrote a 250+ page book on the effect of religion on modern America, sourced and annotated to a level I’m still proud of, and then went nowhere with it. That word document, complete with formatting for printing, is sitting on an external hard drive somewhere as another reminder of what I just plain didn’t manage to accomplish with all the time and money I’ve sunk into these things.

What hasn’t helped is that I’ve fallen into a job that doesn’t allow me much time for side projects. I don’t have the kind of job that allows me to have the web open here while I putter with work there (writing this post is even eating into my time), leaving me with a solid 8-10 hours of my day wherein I cannot read, hear, or watch any news, not counting the work I do from home. To catch up for posting in the evening means a concentrated effort to find out whatever I missed, something I just simply cannot do without sacrificing a number of things in my personal life.

The site has sat basically inactive, but still requiring hosting money, for some time now, and it’s with a surprisingly heavy heart that I’m putting the ol’ girl down. The site will be mirrored at its old free address, http://hanlonsrazor.wordpress.com, although I have yet to fully transition it over. I’ll be scrapping the hosting and domain registration fairly soon (possibly even today), so that only increases the odds that this particular post will vanish into the ether and, a month from now or so, a few readers will punch in hanlonsrazor.org and wonder where the hell it went.

I can’t say I won’t write any more, but it won’t be with nearly the frequency that I did before. Maybe I’ll resurrect the whole thing at a later date with a new name, new image, and new scope. I don’t know. I thank all of you, dearly, for the time you’ve spent with me, for your comments, for your help in keeping this site afloat (your donations were NOT in vain, they went directly back into hosting), for everything really. I might wish I could change how I did it all, but I wouldn’t change that I did it.

Toodles,

Zach Gates, aka Hanlon

On the Colorado shooting

Yes, it’s a tragedy.

No, it’s not terrorism.

I keep seeing people bring up the admittedly cogent point that if Jason Holmes was Mohammad Rezadeh the media would be crying terrorism faster than you can say “double standard”, but the problem isn’t that this is terrorism not being called such because it’s a white dude, but that it would have been called terrorism incorrectly.

What we have is a lunatic going on a killing spree. No political motivation, no grand vision for which instilling fear in the populace was necessary. Just a man with a broken mind who wanted to hurt a lot of people. Not terrorism.

Weekend conspiracy theory

Maybe Romney won’t release his tax returns because that would prove he doesn’t give the required 10% to the Church of Latter-Day Saints and he’d get kicked out.

Thank Ryan for this one.

So let’s strategize for Mittens…

After Will sent me a link with Ann Romney’s almost “let them eat cake” moment, he and I got to thinking about where his campaign goes from here.

We all had a lot of fun watching the Santorum, Gingrich, Perry, and Cain campaigns collapse on themselves, watching how they went from breathing fire about fighting this until the bitter end to shuffling away, tail between their legs. It was great entertainment, and something unique to the primary season. No matter how bad things get for Romney (and right now the betting money is 2:1 against Romney), he can’t duck out. He can’t say “okay we had a good run, but I’m gonna concede to my opponent.” He’s carrying the flag of the party and is duty-bound to go through to November.

Right now, he’s in the worst position possible. If there’s one thing Mitt Romney needed in July of 2012, it was for the race to be either neck and neck, or for him to be decently ahead. The GOP knows that Barack Obama is a magnetic speaker along the lines of Reagan and Kennedy. This September will mark eight years since his landmark speech at the 2004 Democratic convention when he first made his big splash on the national scene. A junior senator that was relatively unknown gave the keynote address that was good enough that Al Franken said it was the only speech in the entire convention that he wouldn’t want to have changed. Debating Barack Obama is like playing tennis with a wall. The only way to end it is to not actually hit it to him.

And it’s not like he’s behind for standard political reasons. It’s not that he’s supporting unpopular ideas or struggling against an anti-Republican political climate. He’s floundering because he is ever Democratic stereotype wrapped up in a red sheet. He’s a teetotalling, non-Christian, Massachusetts wealthy elite from a state with gay marriage and socialized medicine who’s incapable of saying things without sounding like a cartoon stereotype of rich snobs. His myriad tax havens and offshore accounts and refusal to give up his tax returns only makes him look that much worse.

So right now, Mittens has two choices in front of him: keep on trying to appeal to the base a la John McCain or take the blue baton and run like a motherfucker. The odds are he’ll do the former, pick a running mate that’s a FOX darling but with more heft than Sarah Palin. Think your Rand Paul and Paul Ryan types who are kinda dull but represent the conservative movement well.

But let’s imagine that he doesn’t. Let’s imagine that Mitt Romney does something insane and hooks up with a RINO for the election. He lands on the ticket with an Olympia Snowe, Charlie Crist, or even Ron Goddamn Paul. He embraces his time in Massachusetts, doesn’t hide his wealth, and doesn’t try to appeal to the base. Instead, he takes the (relatively safe) bet that the far-right won’t just abandon him and let Obama win, and instead spends the bulk of his time trying to burrow into the center and center/left, specifically the libertarian movement of social liberalism with economic “free marketism”. His outsourcing and tax havens would almost make him a poster boy for it.

This is a scenario Mitt could actually win. He could, in theory, etch away pretty hard at the younger voters, on the fence voters, and still existing racist Democrats while resting easy knowing that the odds of the Tea Party letting that Communist Foreigner Negro (CFN) win are slim to none.

So let’s say he wins. Romney/Paul or Romney/Hutchison or something wins office. What will have happened? In one fell swoop, the Tea Party will die. Whereas losses only fuel the fire by continuing to paint them as an underdog who needs to defeat the tyranny of socialism, if the party itself not only moves toward the center, but also wins, suddenly the TP loses all relevance. The far left will be more inclined to work with the new administration, and even if Teabaggers continue to try and work their way into the legislature, they’ll have far less actual pull.

The media would have no choice but to be behind the guy. MSNBC would have their liberals assailing him, but the network by and large won’t hate a corporatist, and for all of FOX’s yammering they’ll rally behind a GOP president no matter what. It’s not inconceivable that he’d enjoy some impressively high approval ratings. Would his presidency be as beneficial to the United States as an Obama one? Of course not. At least not for the duration of his term. But it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that 10, 20, 30 years down the road our two parties are more progressive and more like their “forward thinking but principled” roots.

A caveat: I’m in no way endorsing Mitt Romney for president. This is just a rumination about what would happen if he was suddenly infected with a vial of common sense, integrity, and political intellect. I’m talking more of what Mitt Romney could be, not what he is and will be or will do. Barack Obama 2012, y’all.

Romney ad thought

Anyone else find it weird that in this ad, the first thing he mentions is the Keystone Pipeline?

Pipeline and repealing Obamacare. That tells you everything you need to know about the guy. Priorities, eh?

An ObamaCare thought

I’ve seen a number of posts around the internets going into which states are the most against ObamaCare (for example, the fat ones) and asking about whether someone would have a heart attack and refuse free care for it.

These people are missing the point. It’s not about people wanting to refuse care for themselves; it’s about not wanting the undeserving to get free care on the taxpayer’s back. The John Galt “I will never work for another man” sentiment. This is a fundamental left/right divide, and it’s important to remember that when discussing opposition to ObamaCare: even if it worked flawlessly and didn’t crush the deficit, the problem is that it hands free care to people who aren’t paying for it. That is what riles the right.

Today’s zinger

“Since it’s actually been discovered and observed, we should stop calling it the God particle.”