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Howard Dean, Mark Warner, and a sneak peek at our foreign policy circa 2009: the mole returns, with photos.

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Dean’s speech

Howard wants a minimum wage, and a (snicker) balanced budget…

There are a lot of people floating the minimum-wage balloon with this crowd. I can see why. If they call for an increase in the minimum wage and don’t get it, the Republicans look like poor-hating plutocrats. But if the minimum wage goes up, it’ll drive employers to hire more illegal labor. And the Democrats would just hate that.

In response to a Diebold/election fraud question, he thinks that paper ballots are the only legitimate form of voting anymore. “We’ll restore reliable voting as they did in Mexico, in the villages.” What? Do the Democrats aspire to use Mexico as a model for reform?

I’ll make you a deal, Howard. You let us check photo ID’s on everybody votes, and we’ll let you have your paper ballots.

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I came out of Howard Dean’s speech and … well … wow:

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It’s a contest; the best-made tinfoil hat gets its owner’s picture on the web. No really. Someone thought this was a good idea for them to do. Someone probably named Karl Rove.

After that I went to a presentation by Berkeley Linguist George Lakoff, whose talk was the only one so far that got anywhere close to addressing the underlying ideas of progressivism and political philosophy. (When it’s all about taking power from the Democratic establishment, too much philosophy just muddles things.) It was also the closest I’ve come yet to standing up and shouting “You’re an idiot and this whole thing is a stupid onanistic farce!!!” and just mooning the assembled conclave of eager citizens. I’ll try and dissect it at greater length tonight. Or, hey, it’ll just depress me. I may take in the Wonkette Revue instead. I can see the sign from my window:

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I’m sitting in a foreign policy panel now and it is gripping. We are at war and there is one sparsely attended panel on foreign policy in the whole conference. I can just imagine the planning that went into this: “Let’s see, we have two journalists from publications never read by people who don’t drive a Toyota Prius; we have a former DIA guy who quit in disgust and obscurity over the Iraq War; we’re doing great, but we need someone to really anchor this panel down. We have some great new voices on there, but we need a big name with a lot of foreign-policy savvy… By Jove, I’ve got it!”

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Arianna Huffington.

I can’t wait to see who they get for the National Security panel. Carrot Top is in town this weekend…

Oh, wait. There is no National Security panel.

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Mark Warner woos Kosistan

Last night was very informative because I realized I had misunderstood the whole fundamental economic basis of this shindig. See, there are various liberal political candidates circulating around here, shaking hands, etc.—for example, a kamikaze candidate who wants to challenge Dennis Hastert. I had assumed these people were out here because they had been invited, or had some special ideological affinity that earned them a spot.

Not necessarily. Some of them have already earned an endorsement, I think. (Ned Lamont didn’t make it out to Vegas.) Some of them sponsored this convention—in other words, they gave the Kos organizations money to be here and have access to this crowd and get them to start some buzz. But others like [Wes] Clark and [Mark] Warner—they have not yet been vetted, but instead they came a-courtin’. (As for the Warner event, they were careful to say when I registered that it was a Warner event, not a Yearly Kos event.) This event is a bizarre mating ritual, in which candidates display their progressive plumage and strut around, trying to attract the head Kos Kids into a smoke-filled room, where the moonbats then give the candidate their “endorsement”.

A forced analogy? Consider Kos’s speech introducing Warner last night in the observation deck of the Stratosphere, which the Warner PAC had rented out. After pointing out that Warner is running for President “but he just can’t say it yet”, Kos stated that “we’ll evaluate candidates over the next year or so and watch very carefully. But I’ve got to say, this is a heck of a first date!”

It was, indeed, a pretty sumptuous date, especially for the Party of the Common Man. The Warner people really wanted to impress the Kos crowd. Among the swanky trappings they had a martini bar which featured the “Kosmopolitan,” the blue “Bloggertini” and an abomination called a “Kostini” made of Beefeater’s Gin, Triple Sec, and olive juice, which I felt I probably ought to try.

I wish I could say that the Kostini tasted “weak and watery” or “fruity” or “bitter and astringent” or maybe “like appeasement, madness and futility”. Candor compels me to admit it just tasted like salt brine with a faint hint of gin. I poured it out and walked around, watching the schmoozing, then I went up a level to the outside observation deck.

I walked past a couple who had been introduced at a panel I attended yesterday and I noticed he had his arm around her. Awww, moonbat wuv. I walked past to gape at the terrifying rides at the very top of the Stratosphere, rides which dangled you over the side of the building at 900 feet above the Strip. It’s a wonder after all the free liquor and sushi and cheese and coconut shrimp and the fudge-fountain dessert bar that people weren’t violently ill. I watched the ride for a while, hoping some hapless liberal would disgorge a brilliant metaphor for Democratic politics all over Las Vegas, but no such luck.

As I came back in, I noticed the couple was even closer together, and that her hand was resting right at the top of his rump. No word on how Governor Warner was getting along with Kos.

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Earlier today: Infiltrating Yearly Kos: “Heh, indeed” edition

Thursday/Friday: Infiltrating Yearly Kos: The taunting of Byron York; Infiltrating Yearly Kos: Now with photos!; Infiltrating Yearly Kos: “No, no, no, don’t call them a Nazi”; Infiltrating Yearly Kos: Post 1