July 28, 2006

Oscar plunges into anti-Bush blogging.

I'm always bugging my colleague "Oscar Madison" to write some more political things. Like last week, when he did a nearly non-existent post about participating in an impeach-Bush teach-in -- an impeach-in -- I crabbed in the comments:
Why such a skimpy post here? The material must have been rich. If it wasn't, the fact that it wasn't should be milked. Why are you holding back? If it was iced coffee or something pestering you in a train station, we'd have six block paragraphs! Come on! I mean [another commenter] is right that the idea of impeaching Bush is stupid. (Did you analyze the downside of success, quite apart from the miniscule likelihood?) This post is so frustrating!
Now, I see, he's responded with a meaty post! Let's all go read it. Excerpt:
If the argument is that successfully removing Bush from office has the downside that somebody worse will take over -- an argument that contradicts the critics' point that impeachment won't succeed -- then the answer is that the impeachment process will significantly hamper the Bush administration's ability to (mis)govern for the next year to eighteen months. And after the hypothetically successful conclusion to the impeachment process, there would not be enough time left for a mortally wounded Cheney administration to do much damage.
I don't like the idea of making the work of the President even harder than it already is. These are dire times. How about trying to help? If Congress thinks he's gone wrong, let it produce explicit legislation limiting his power. Impeachment proceedings are a temper tantrum.

I'd still like to hear descriptions of the teach-in itself. How many people were there? What did they look like? How did they act? What was the mood? Did anything funny happen? Were people reasonable or did they spew inanely? (Not that I expect Oscar to write posts to order for me....)

Speaking of Oscar, I loved his post on the Kevin Barrett controversy:
[W]ho is best served by the controversy now swirling around Barrett and his ilk?

Next to the crimes alleged by the grotesque circus of the "9/11 Truth" movement, the stuff Bush has actually done -- invading Iraq based on lies, illegal electronic surveillance, presiding over and justifying the use of torture and illegal detentions -- doesn't seem nearly so bad.

So here's a conspiracy theory: how much of the "9/11 Truth" movement is actually being fueled by agents provacateurs [sic] sponsored by the Bush administration to distract the public?
Conspiracy theories can be amusing. I like the idea of Kevin Barrett as a Rovian plant. And it's true that crazy anti-Bush theories dilute the serious criticisms. The outlandish charges are distracting, and the real criticisms go into matters too complex to understand -- at least without the heuristic device of already knowing whether you're pro-Bush or anti-Bush.

ADDED: A little tweak on the Barrett as plant conspiracy theory. The students are being lured to take the class. The CIA will take that class roster and investigate the hell out of them. (But you don't need Barrett to be a plant for that to happen.)

AND: How could anyone who believes the administration is evil enough to take down the Twin Towers not feel completely paranoid about being on the roster for that class?

UPDATE: The article on Barrett that the Isthmus published has been republished here, so now I can give you a link for the quote I was referring to back here, where Barrett expresses his utter certainty that his theory is true:
Does Barrett believe there is even a teensy-weensy chance he's wrong? This he rejects as too outlandish.

"It is inconceivable that anyone could read the [9/11 Commission's] report, alongside David Griffin's critique, and accept the report as a trustworthy account of 9/11," he says. "I am convinced that any reasonable person who takes the time to read Griffin's critique, and look into the background sources and context, will agree, and admit that a prima facie case for รข€˜inside job' exists."

15 comments:

Richard Dolan said...

A "teach-in"? Omigod, are those things still around? Oscar's teach-in/impeach-in sounds like it has that essential theatre-of-the-absurd quality that was de rigeur for such things in the Vietnam-dominated long-ago world when I was an undergraduate. If Oscar is going to have a "teach in" on the BusHitler meme, he might as well go the whole way and have a "teach in" instructing the unlettered and unwashed on how to vote, how to tell right from wrong, how to live, when and to whom to pray.

Like you, I'd like to know who showed up for his teach-in -- assuming anyone did, was it a group of equally out of touch academics, a cross section of the student population, or something else.

Academics have such strange ways of amusing themselves, compounded by the equally odd habit of taking themselves and their opinions far too seriously. It just proves once again the wisdom in Buckley's observation about the benefits of being governed by the first few thousand names in the local phone book than it would be by any university faculty.

tjl said...

Do these impeach-in people have any powers of memory at all? Those who actually have an attention span will recall the Clinton impeachment and its disastrous impact on domestic politics and national security. Few would look forward to a reenactment.

I'm at a loss in trying to understand the thought process that concludes that a "mortally wounded administration" is a good thing to have at a time of such dangers as we now face.

Sean said...

That is one silly man. Does he teach at University of Wisconsin? It seems to me that having a discussion with him is time about as well-spent as time spent in discussion with a Ghost Dance adherent, or Gus Hall.

Of course, if I were a student, I would be assuring him of what a political genius he is, and how insightful I found his analysis. Maybe even go to the teach-in. At least I would have as an undergraduate (exams at Boalt were graded blind, and classroom participation didn't count, so you didn't have to suck up the way you did at Yale.)

Gerry said...

"And it's true that crazy anti-Bush theories dilute the serious criticisms."

Is it true?

Or is it true that the mega-crazy anti-Bush theories make just plain-old-crazy anti-Bush theories seem like serious criticisms?

Take, for example, the idea that "Bush lied" to take us to war-- by saying the very same things this government and politicians on both sides of the aisle had been saying for years, by saying things that intelligence agencies (our own and ohters) were saying (some times for years), and by saying the very same thing that various UN resolutions said. That is not a serious criticism; it is shameful demagoguery and a conspiracy theory unto itself. But because of repetition by some quarters and because other theories are being expressed that are so much more outrageous, it has slipped to respectability.

Simon said...

"the argument is that successfully removing Bush from office has the downside that somebody worse will take over ... [but that] argument [] contradicts the critics' point that impeachment won't succeed"

I don't really see a contradiction there. It seems not only uncontradictory, but perfectly reasonable, in fact, to say that something won't work, and that even if it did, the result would not be nearly as beneficial as proponents suggest. The word "arguendo" presumably holds no meaning for this fellow...

Oscar Madison said...

And I thought you wanted me to blog more about baseball.

knoxgirl said...

how much of the "9/11 Truth" movement is actually being fueled by agents provacateurs [sic] sponsored by the Bush administration to distract the public?

oooo... now *that's* deep

sparky said...

Well. The term teach-in does bring to mind certain unfortunate detritus, bell bottoms and avocado-coloured formica, for example.

But...as I am a difficult lad, I thought I'd put in my nickel....

I don't like the idea of making the work of the President even harder than it already is.

How exactly would impeachment proceedings do that? If one thinks that the besotting sin of this administration is reckless adventurism then tying it down would be all to the good.

These are dire times.

Some might say that the adminstration has had no small hand in bringing about that state of affairs. From that perspective it is unclear why exactly the administration should be given a pass on the basis of its own ineptitude.


How about trying to help?

It's rather difficult to help when you're being kept in the dark and someone has removed the batteries from your flashlight on national security grounds.


If Congress thinks he's gone wrong, let it produce explicit legislation limiting his power.

What might the odds be of that happening when the President and the Congress are controlled by the same political party, and that party has made it abundantly clear that dissent will be punished?

Impeachment proceedings are a temper tantrum.

Agreed. The voting booth is better.
Pete McCloskey posted a letter stating that while he intended to remain a Republican he would be campaigning against them this fall. It's a rather blistering indictment of his party.

Ann Althouse said...

Oscar: Blog about everything!

Robert Fovell said...

Oscar was quoted saying...

So here's a conspiracy theory: how much of the "9/11 Truth" movement is actually being fueled by agents provacateurs [sic] sponsored by the Bush administration to distract the public?

This reminded me of Loren Singer's "The Parallax View", the ultimate paranoid conspiracy fantasy novel.

Good rule of thumb: when the conspiracies get about eight layers deep, the story's as cumbersome as Ptolemaic epicycles, and it's time to look for simpler explanations.

PatCA said...

A teach-in is one of those 70's things that is taken seriously only on campus. My favorite this year was sponsored by the Marxists. All points of view were welcom, come one and all, the flyer said. The asterisk after the all* read "as long as it is from a Marxist perspective." LOL!

aaron said...

But the CIA doesn't care about the roster, they're on the roster themselves. They go to see who shows up who isn't on the roster.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, students, you need to suspect each other of being the CIA agent.

Gerry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gerry said...

"Yes, students, you need to suspect each other of being the CIA agent."

Que up Charlie Daniels!

They all started laughin and I felt kinda sick
And I knew I better think of something pretty quick
So I just reached out and kicked old green teeth right in the knee

Now he let out a yell that'd curl yer hair
But before he could move I grabbed me a chair
And said "Now watch him Folks cause he's a thoroughly dangerous man!"

"You may not know it but this man is a spy.
He's a undercover agent for the FBI
And he's been sent down here to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan!"

He was still bent over holdin on to his knee
But everybody else was looking and listening to me
And I laid it on thicker and heavier as I went

I said, "Would you believe this man has gone as far
As tearing Wallace stickers off the bumpers of cars.
And he voted for George McGovern for President."

"Well, he's a friend of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko fags!
I betchya he's even got a commie flag
tacked up on the wall inside of his garage."

"He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys.
He may look dumb but that's just a disguise,
He's a mastermind in the ways of espionage"