Archive for January, 2008

Lord knows, Glenn Beck has said some outrageous stuff in the past. But I’ll be damned if I can find anything to get hysterical about here:

On the January 28 edition of MSNBC’s Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck the “runner-up” in his “Worst Person in the World” segment for Beck’s recent comments — documented by Media Matters for America — on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and race. On the January 25 edition of his show, Beck responded to National Public Radio commentator John Ridley’s statement that “questions about ‘Is Obama black enough?’ ” are “ridiculous” by asking: “[C]an you imagine a white commentator saying that? Can you imagine if I said, ‘Is Barack Obama black enough?’ … I don’t see that man as black. Of course I do, because I’m not blind. I don’t see him as black or white. He just is. He’s an American. He’s a man.”

However, on the February 12, 2007, broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Beck commented that Obama is “very white in many ways,” adding, “Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, ‘What does he mean, “He’s very white?” ‘ He is. He’s very white.” Later on the February 12 show, Beck claimed that Obama “is colorless,” adding that “as a white guy … [y]ou don’t notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?” After contrasting Beck’s January 25 comments with his February 2007 remarks, Olbermann said, “Sometimes it’s not just the dumb, it’s the hypocritical.”

OK… so, what? If you didn’t know who was supposed to be the good guy and the bad guy, could you tell? After all, Glenn Beck over the course of several statements has accurately illuminated some interesting contradictions about public perceptions of Barack Obama’s race. But Olbermann without substance and extreme hyperbole has just called someone the “worst person in the world.”

Does Media Matters want to encourage a media landscape where people are afraid of discussing matters of race and politics? If they’re conservatives, yes! That’s the whole point.

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It’s been a real pleasure watching the Democrats argue over Reagan’s legacy. Finally it’s not just conservatives talking too much about Reagan, who was great but isn’t coming back or likely to be matched anytime soon.

Republicans are trying in vain to follow up Reagan, but right now it seems Democrats are having a harder time grappling with his legacy. It’s also split the Democrats, which is fun. And it’s revealing Paul Krugman to be a ridiculous Clinton shill. Not just a Democrat shill. We knew that. Let’s go back to Krugman’s Monday column:

Historical narratives matter. That’s why conservatives are still writing books denouncing F.D.R. and the New Deal; they understand that the way Americans perceive bygone eras, even eras from the seemingly distant past, affects politics today.

And it’s also why the furor over Barack Obama’s praise for Ronald Reagan is not, as some think, overblown. The fact is that how we talk about the Reagan era still matters immensely for American politics.

Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Oh yeah? Here Mr. Krugman is undercut only today in a column by his fellow liberal columnist, E.J. Dionne:

It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn’t allow to pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan’s “rhetoric in defense of freedom” and his role in “advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back.”

“The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containment strategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I think it hastened their undoing,” Clinton declared.

Let’s recap: On Saturday, Krugman bashes Obama for allegedly praising Reagan, and cites Bill Clinton from his 1992 campaign. Then today, Dionne points out that Clinton said some very favorable things about Reagan himself during the 1992 campaign.  So Krugman’s anti-Obama tendencies lead him to write hackish things in the same way his anti-Bush tendencies lead him to write hackish things. Conclusion arrived at once again: Paul Krugman is a hack.

What’s that sound you hear? Not the pop of Krugman’s reputation. That happened along time. Maybe what you heard was a rustle of wind causing his already deflated reputation to rustle just a tiny bit. Not that much, though, it’s been deteriorating a lot from being exposed to the elements.

Oh, the heart-ache:

No, I don’t agree with McCain on everything. But if it’s a choice between him and Limbaugh, there really is no contest. McCain makes all the right people on the right angry. McCain represents a chance to remake the GOP on reformist lines, just as Obama represents a chance for the Democrats to escape the sleaze and cynicism of the Clintons.

Wait, Limbaugh is on the ballot? Sullivan will throw his support to a candidate based on who the candidate makes “angry”? What is “reformist lines” supposed to mean? Does Andrew Sullivan now support campaign finance “reform”? Did I miss something?

N.B. An oldie but a goodie, WuzzaDem‘s Andrew Sullivan EmotionAlert color chart:

Andrew Sullivan EmotionAlert Level

This is a day old, but worth calling attention to:

Yeah. That is why he didn’t address the studies. Anyone with half a brain would not find that even remotely controversial. Hell, perhaps we can ask Mr. Yankee to point us to all those WMD we found. Or maybe he can discuss the Office of Special Plans a bit. Or maybe not, as they have already had a pretty bad week at Red State, what with Fred dropping out of the race and all.

John Cole is LYING. Well, no he’s not. But why afford him the subtleties of such distinctions when his entire blogging mission since about 2004 is to smear the bloggers he once counted as allies? In his own mind, he’s the one being reasonable. In reality, he’s borrowed a page from David Brock and answered what he thinks were execesses on the right and “made up” for them with excesses now on the left.

You want to see a serious response to the same study, John? Here, James Joyner will show you how it’s done:

This is the crux of the matter. Being proven wrong is not “lying.”

The study is entitled, “False Pretenses: Following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.” Quite clearly, then, the authors contend that the statements were made with full knowledge that they were wrong in order to lead the nation to war.

The study finds no such thing.

If John Cole was intellectually serious, he might have written the same thing. But fat chance of that. He’s too busy trying to be Atrios.

Forcing himself to confront another serious-minded conservative blogger, which Cole might in fact have been at one point (it’s hard to recall) he goes with snark over smarts again:

Captain Ed finds the real villain- GEORGE SOROS!

Whoo — you really showed Captain Ed! John Cole, you may not be a liar, but you are dishonest.

N.B. Much less surprising but still stupid is DownWithTyranny, on the same Soros-funded report:

STUDY FINDS THAT BUSH… LIED… ABOUT IRAQ! CAN YOU IMAGINE!

LIBERAL BLOG INTERPRETS WEAK REPORT TO CLAIM BUSH… LIED… ABOUT IRAQ! CAN YOU IMAGINE!

Think they’ll say anything about this? From Reuters:

U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur came to a House committee hearing on Thursday prepared to ask U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tough questions about his involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Unfortunately, she was questioning the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

SNIP

She then asked: “Seeing as how you were the former CEO of Goldman Sachs …” But the only person testifying at the hearing interrupted.

“No, no, no, you’re confusing me with the Treasury Secretary,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“I’ve got the wrong firm? Paulson, Oh, OK. Where were you sir?” Kaptur said.

Bernanke noted that he was head of the Princeton University economics department.

“Oh, Princeton, oh, all right, sorry. I got you confused with the other one … I’m glad you clarified that for the record,” she said.

You can IMAGINE the firestorm of contempt that would erupt of Ms. Kaptur was a member of the Republican Party.  Instead…. silence.

Last August, Marcy Kaptur showed up at the wretched hive of scum and villainy (that’s Daily Kos) to promote some misbegotten bill or another. And she apparently had nothing better to do that day than hang out in the comments and accept their obsequious fawning respond to their sharp-minded policy questions. Here’s my favorite:

nice first diary! Quick question on your opinion of Bill O’Reilly who has been attacking dailykos alot lately….what do think of his comparing this community to the KKKs and the Nazis?

Ms. Kaptur didn’t respond. So maybe she isn’t a COMPLETE idiot. Wait, here’s more:

  •  and not here just to hit us up with requests 

    for donations! Very refreshing!

    Thanks for the list of books to read. I thought Sleeping with the Devil would be authored by either Dick or Lynn Cheney..but alas, that book is a different book altogether- found in a different part of the book store!

    As a Californian, I can tell you that emissions regulation make for cleaner air, and healthier lives! You’ll find much interest in your energy proposals here at this site.

    Welcome!

    “Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.” Mort Sahl

    by maggiemae on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 03:34:37 PM PST

OK, sorry. Yes, complete idiot.

In a comment on this blog’s first post, lo these many hours ago the brilliant young mind Ezra Klein offers a weak defense not far off the one he gave to Wonkette and Fishbowl DC yesterday:

You’re absolutely correct that this was patently offensive. It was a private text message to friends, an inside joke we have because it’s so over-the-top obscene. It was never, ever meant to be public, and I’m deeply apologetic that it crossed that barrier. It’s not the sort of work I publish as a writer, and not what I seek to contribute to the discourse. The other examples of my writing, those that appear on my site, were meant to be in the sphere, to be argued with, even mocked. But the Twitter was ripped from my private life, and it was never meant to brought out of the bar-like context in which it was born. Guess those privacy settings are more important than I realized.

Well, maybe. Compared to his post WORST. MODERATORS. EVER you know, it’s hard to be sure this wasn’t his true feelings, expressed in a “spiky tipped” manner. And that’s still how I see it. HOWEVER, “deeply apologetic” is more than we’ll get out of most left-wing bloggers, so, fine. Ezra Klein is in fact smarter and more intellectually honest than most of those who we really mean when we say “nutroots.” That’s why such invective from him was worth making the first post of this blog.

For more interesting insight along these lines, see a couple comments on Hot Air yesterday:

Don’t you get the feeling he’s trying to endear himself to the nutters, get on their good side by being as hate-filled?

Topsecretk9 on January 16, 2008 at 6:47 PM

——————————–

Topsecretk9

I think you have hit the nail on the head. Klein’s early writings are not so crazy. He actually gives a fair opinion. He has pieces on the net about Bush, Iraq, AQ and Vietnam. He actually says everyone thought Iraq had WMD, just US was the only one willing to do something about it.

He has another piece about Heath Care. He does not attack the other side as you can see here

“The question, of course, is why this goes on. Conservatives, enmeshed in their current push for so-called consumer-driven medicine, would have you believe that patients are to blame—they demand the surgeries, excited as all get-out to spend a couple weeks on a luxurious hospital cot. Under this analysis, all the system needs is more patient vulnerability. As Arkansas governor and likely 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee puts it, “One of the reasons we have a health-care crisis is because, as a consumer, I don’t have that much skin in the game. A lot of us feel there needs to be a transformation from a third-party [insurance] system to more [financial] participation by the [patient].”

Mahar neatly dispenses with that excuse, reminding readers that patients don’t actually know what they want. The doctor-patient relationship, indeed, is built on a trust akin to deification—we rely on their extreme training and vast knowledge to navigate an organism that we inhabit but don’t understand, and we take their recommendations as the unswerving expressions of their education and oath. Forgotten in this analysis is that medicine is a business like any other, and profit matters. Even the motto of non-profit hospitals has become “No margin, no mission,” to express the reality that their capital comes from bond investors, and if the investors aren’t happy, there won’t be a hospital left to treat either the poor or the rich.”

It seems he is changing, like they all do to win the hearts and minds of the left.

WoosterOh on January 16, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Food for thought. Or, closer to my own interpretation:

Itchy Twitter finger.

Jim Treacher on January 16, 2008 at 8:17 PM

 

There’s really no other way to look at this. So today, Huckabee goes on Morning Joe and like he usually does, tells a goofy story, this one about eating fried squirrel in college. Everybody has a good laugh. Josh Marshall thought it was funny enough to post:

It’s funny, and so is the good-natured laughing along with him from Scarborough’s co-host Willie Geist, apparently on loan from Tucker. And so Marshall’s headline is fairly understated: “Fried Squirrel: I’m Loving It!”

Fine. But you know who’s going to take it too far? Well, here’s one of the ever-multiplying gang of B&W avatared morons at at that oh-so-tolerant blog named for one of the worst pop groups of the 1990s (or maybe The Smiths, or maybe Virginia Woolf) laying on the condescension as thick as possible:

Mike Huckabee was on Morning Joe to discuss how he was going to win the South Carolina primary. Since all southerners are backwoods-raised rednecks scouring the highways for dinner, the only way to win our votes is eating fried squirrel, grits and firing up the Ford Bronco to cook some possum. Since I am a good southerner let me hook you up with some squirrel recipes. My cousin Leroy says the Squirrel Dumplings are better than his wife Jenny Bob’s creamy thighs.

Harharhar! Them Southerners sure are stupid! And this is a special kind. The author himself (if it is a him) claims to be Southern, too. A white liberal Southerner playing to white liberal Northerner’s stereotypes? Gee, where have we seen THAT before?

There’s also The Liberal Journal, a blog I’ve never heard of but has a sidebar longer than a stretch of Texas highway, who writes, and I am not removing any text between paragraphs:

Apparently, Michael Vick has nothing on Michael Huckabee.

After conducting a little google search I found out that this is, in fact, a common Southern dish.

Let’s take a trip inside this blogger’s head, or how I imagine it must have gone:

Mike Huckabee shooting, cooking and eating varmint, now that’s disgusting. In fact, it’s so unthinkably disgusting that Michael Vick turning his loving pets into vicious machines to kill or be kill almost sounds normal. Let me write that down. Uh, maybe I should Google this first. [type type type] Oh, so it’s fairly common. I’m not going to bother changing my initial reaction, or thinking it through. I better give it a headline that makes Huckabee sound like he should be in prison instead:

One Sick Huckabee

Perfect!

And Democrats wonder why they keep losing the South. Here’s a hint: It’s because the major organs of the national media are controlled by elite Northerners, or in some circumstances, Southerners who feel guilty about awful things done by their grandparents and other ancestors, and feel compelled to make fun of anyone south of the Mason-Dixon line. But hey, don’t let me stop you.

“Big Media Ezra” Klein is well-known to bloggers and some media pundits as a sort of wunderkind — a lowly blogger who quickly rose to a perch at the little-read esteemed American Prospect and to appearances on the little-watched influential “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC. He’s half your age, but his book will be out before yours.

He is important enough to command his own special blog on the Prospect’s website, cleverly named “Ezra Klein” and with the so-clever-it-kills-me tagline “Momma said wonk you out.” [Special note, Prospecters: LL spelled it “Mama”] Last night he said this about the moderation of the Democrat debate on MSNBC:

It’s almost impossible for me to convey the damage Tim Russert and Brian Williams are doing to the republic this evening. So far, the questioning has gone something like: “Hillary, are you a racist?” “Barack, are you a scary black man who will continually remind us that we are racists?” “Senator Obama, why are you such a dick?” “Senator Clinton, would you like to comment on Senator Obama’s past drug use?” “Senator Obama, you say you want to move us forward, but your press people have released documents mentioning Hillary Clinton. Please explain.”

It’s “almost impossible … to convey the damage [they] doing to the republic”? Hyperbole, good to see you, too.
But that’s nothing. Klein also maintains a publicly available account on the short-message blogging service Twitter, where he wrote, and forget quotes, here’s the screen shot:

Ezra Klein on Twitter

Now that’s what I call contributing to the public discourse!

Of course, Russert is the managing editor of NBC News, the top NBC man in Washington, so he has a lot of control, if not complete sayso over who appears on the air. Don’t you think he’d like to hear about this? How about his fellow “Hardball” guests? What are the chances they would let him back on the air to share his nutroots wisdom with the cocktail party chattering classes? Well, they won’t have to make a decision if they don’t find out about it. And they SHOULD find out about it.

If a conservative was caught fantasizing (or even joking about fantasizing) about committing murderous sodomy against the management of a TV show he or she frequently appeared on, what is the likelihood that blogger would be invited back? You can bet the nutroots would be crowing about this on Daily Kos. We should be able to do the same.

If you have time, please send an e-mail to these e-mails below. And if you do, please be polite. Our strength is in reason, their strength is swearing up a storm. We have reasonable demands. Ezra Klein should not be invited back to “Hardball.”

Tim Russert, NBC News managing editor
mtp@msnbc.com

Chris Matthews, Hardball host
hardball@msnbc.com

Chuck Todd, NBC News political director
chuck.todd@nbcuni.com

Steve Capus, NBC News president
steve.capus@nbc.com

UPDATE – Yet Ezra himself finds “Clinton hatred” to be “baffling.” Really? Sounds like he understands hatred pretty well.

UPDATE II – Welcome, Kausfilers! You’ll notice this is the first post. I’ll be back.

UPDATE III – Oh well, looks like Ezra has locked up his Twitter account. I wonder what secretive, Townhouse-style rants he will be cooking up next. If anyone knows, leave a comment.

UPDATE IV – Welcome, everyone. This post has been much more popular than I expected. This was the first post launching the blog, but only that. Click here to visit the main page and see the latest posts at The Unpopular Front.