November 27, 2008

"He's a socialist, a Muslim, an actual love-child of Malcolm X."

"His birth certificate was missing, his book had been ghost-written by William Ayers, and his wife, 'Mrs. Grievance,' as a National Review cover dubber her, was perennially on the cusp of getting caught ranting against the white man. The only thing keeping the Illinois senator's infamy from going public is the quiescence of the liberal media."

Dubber? Uh, dub, that's how Michael Schaffer -- author of the upcoming One Nation Under Dog -- characterizes the beliefs of the Obama-haters out there, in a New Republic article that my "Today at TNR.com" email titled "Why Anti-Obama Hate Will Be So Different Than Anti-Clinton Hate." Dub, are we saying "different than" now? "Anti-Obama haters" -- are they different than -- I'm catching on -- plain old Obama haters or do they hate them too? Why are we contrasting Obama haters only to Clinton haters -- or anti-Clinton haters, if that makes more sense to you -- and not also to Bush haters?

It seems to me that hating the President has been an American tradition for a long, long time. I was going to say ever since the Kennedy assassination, but then I vividly remember people hating JFK. I was 12 years old when JFK was assassinated, and on that day, a school mate asked "Who would do such a thing?" I thought it was an easy question and the obvious answer was: Republicans.

So, yes, it's an American tradition to hate the President, and there are always going to be some people digging up reasons to hate the President -- reasons that are true and false and everything in between.

Schaffer writes:
Whatever its effectiveness ahead of Election Day, the right-wing hate campaign made for a nice exercise in nostalgia. For eight years, opposition politics have mainly involved attacking the president for, like, things he's done or wanted to do in office----and not, say, secret religious view he holds or convoluted murders involving his wife. Now, after an administration in the wilderness, they were back--the conspiracy theorists, the paranoiacs, the fringe figures whose dubious relationships with the truth weren't enough to disqualify them from star turns in the right-wing media. The last Democratic president had spent his White House years in perpetual battle against well-funded crackpots peddling far-fetched theories, and now this one would, too.
Oh, so Bush hating belongs in a different category because... the author agrees with it. It was "for, like, things he's done or wanted to do in office." Like, okay, I get it. None of that Bush-hating crap was paranoid, conspiracy nonsense? He was accused of blowing up the World Trade Center!

Skipping ahead in the article:
Once he was living in the White House and flying around on Air Force One, Clinton became a symbol of the country, for better or worse, and attacks on his love for America became a lot less credible. And for all his faults, he also became the rapidly graying man in a suit on TV every night rather than a bearded hippie whose (fake?) marijuana-smoking represented a Main Street worry.

The same thing will happen to President Obama. Once he's the man at the lectern with the presidential seal--the real one--he's pretty hard to dismiss as a frightening outsider... In 2009, Obama's [sic] will move elsewhere, too. But where?
As Shaffer sees it, Bill Clinton did some things in office that spurred new nutty conspiracy theories and promoting these theories was more difficult in the days before YouTube. Because of these differences, Shaffer says, Obama hate will leave behind all the crazy theories from the campaign and become what Bush hating has (supposedly) been: critique of any real failures of governing. Happily, then, "the only thing he has to do now is govern well."

Dub?

Of course, it would be nice if people were sensible and scrupulous about the facts and the conclusions they draw from them. But Shaffer himself falls way short in this very essay, in a respected political magazine, one that presumably has fact-checkers (and editors). I think President-hating will rage on, mixing truth with flakiness, fantasy, nastiness, and anything else anybody wants to offer in the marketplace of ideas.

What Shaffer is selling... I'm not buying.

90 comments:

Original George said...

We also have a tradition of giving the new kid on the block a break. As someone recently joked, first we have the swearing in. Then we have the swearing at.

I grew up looking at Herblock's cartoons of Nixon. I thought every President was dirty-faced sewer-crawling gutter-licking scumweasel. Then again, when Nixon was inaugurated Herblock drew a picture of him at the barber shop getting rid of his famous 5 o'clock shadow, and the caption read something like, "Every new customers gets a clean shave."

Original George said...

Oops, that's "every new customer..."

I gave my editor, copy-editor, and proof reader the morning off.

Lem said...

This sounds like a preemptive strike.

Preemption is back in vogue?

I love it. Now that they are on the other side, they seem to be embracing it wholeheartedly.

PeteDrum said...

Before W., FDR was the object of the most hate in my lifetime.

L. E. Lee said...

Any honest observer will acknowledge that this kind of kookiness happens on the fringes of both sides. My theory is that it ends up hurting its own. The worst thing that has happened to the conservative movement is Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. If Republicans spend the next two years like the past six months talking about whether President Obama is friends with terrorists or is a secret racist or the origins of his birth then they will become even more of a minority. Instead, they need a competitive political program.

downtownlad said...

Name one respected liberal magazine that gave any credence to the "Bush blew up the Twin Towers" meme. I can't think of any. In fact, I can't think of any liberal blogs that say that either.

But compare and contrast that with Bill Clinton. The Wall Street Journal must have had over a dozen editorials linking Clinton to drug dealers in Mesa, Arkansas, not to mention various murders (Vince Foster anyone).

I stopped reading the Wall Street Journal long ago, but I'd bet a lot of money they have written about Obama being a Muslim, Obama's birth certificate not being real, Obama is a Marxist, etc. Many conservative blogs perpetuate these lies as well.

There's nothing wrong with hating a President. There's something very wrong with spreading lies.

Original George said...

L.E....

You're right.

The problem, though, is that new ideas tend to percolate (or effervesce) from the fringes. Some are lunatic. Some gain popularity. It's hard to tell which, sometimes.

Coulter's new piece about the terrorist we fitted with a prosthetic leg and released (and who did more mayhem) is a head-spinner. She says we shouldn't have footed the $75,000 bill. We're going to have to toe the line somewhere.

I don't think the WSJ ran articles or editorials on the topics you mention, dtl, but it did run many pieces on his relationships with Ayers and Wright.

L. E. Lee said...

Downtownlad,

I believe the Clinton drug conspiracy local was Mena, Arkansas.

I think the difference between the left and the right is that the right has a more developed infrastructure in which to promote this garbage. There is no liberal equivalent to the American Spectator or an Ann Coulter.

Also, I do not believe "leftist kooks gets an audience from liberal publications and programs the way right wing kooks get promoted by some seemingly mainstream conservative publications and programs.

Darcy said...

Oh, a lecture from the fever swamp.
Brilliant.

Mark said...

Um, before dismissing the birth certificate controversy, the Ayers ghost-writing, and the Michelle anti-white rants, among other things, one MIGHT actually listen to what the people making those arguments are offering in the way of evidence. Some of it is disturbing.

For instance, have the skeptics actually read through the very detailed analysis showing that the certificate of live birth (which is not the same as a birth certificate) released by the Obama campaign is a forgery? There are very reasonable arguments that something funny is going on here. Why doesn't Obama just release a copy of his original birth certificate and put it all to rest?

It may all be baloney but at least consider the evidence before you dismiss it out of hand.

L. E. Lee said...

Original George,

I read the Ann Coulter article you linked to. When she refers to our next president through out the column she does so as "B. Hussein Obama". Get my point?

The partisan liberal in me is happy that Ann Coulter still has not been shunned by more respectable conservatives. It is a good thing for Democrats.

Richard Fagin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L. E. Lee said...

If President Elect Obama was a political genius he would not release a copy of his original birth certificate so that his more rabid political opponents will spend the next four years obsessing instead of promoting a competing set of solutions to our current problems.

Ann Althouse said...

"Name one respected liberal magazine that gave any credence to the "Bush blew up the Twin Towers" meme."

I can't answer that without research, but that is the most extreme theory I thought of at first. Obviously, there are a lot of theories about the motivation behind the Iraq war and the role of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove that you read in what look to be normal magazines. I don't know what counts as "respected" these days.

rcocean said...

Great post. I'm tired of reading pages of BS in respectable magazines and newspapers that whats good for the liberal goose is bad for the conservative gander.

And sometimes there's good reason to hate a POTUS. Unnecessary wars, lying under oath, mismanaging the economy, are three that come to mind.

SMGalbraith said...

Ann:
I don't know what counts as "respected" these days.

Presumably "The Nation" is considered, if not "respected", certainly popular in leftist circles.

Go to their site, search "9/11" (from 2003 on) and read. Robert Scheer et al. promote conspiracy theories about what Bush knew beforehand.

Some piece ask responsible "questions" while others are the "I'm just asking (hint, hint)" type queries.

L. E. Lee said...

I think "disagee" or "dislike" a POTUS is reasonable. I don't get it when people say they "hate" George Bush or they "hate" Bill Clinton.

I strongly disagree with President Bush, But I don't hate him. Heck, I don't even know the man!

Roost on the Moon said...

Q: Why doesn't Obama just release a copy of his original birth certificate and put it all to rest?

A: Because crazy people that hate you are more politically valuable when they're visibly crazy.

downtownlad said...

Trust me Ann - I KNOW that there are 9/11 Truthers out there. I happen to be good friends with some of them. And when they send me links they are always to some esoteric website never heard of. Granted - most of the "Obama is a Muslim" meme came from some stupid chain e-mail. But lots of conservative blogs picked up on that and repeated it as gospel.

My 9/11 truther friends aren't lying. They just actually believe these falsehoods, because I don't think they've spent any time to research it. And I have no problems with remaining friends with them - I just tell them point blank that their ideas are wacko (I'm not afraid to be blunt), and then try to avoid the subject, because you can't convince them.

I certainly hate President Bush. But that's because he decided that the way he would gain a 2nd term is by scapegoating gays. And I now have self-respect and refuse to tolerate that crap anymore (and yes - I used to tolerate it - shame on me).

Yes his policies were incompetent - but I don't hate him for those reasons. Although I will do everything in my power to demean and humiliate him, in every conversation where his name comes up, simply because he is an asshole. He chose to be condescending towards gays - I will be condescending towards him.

dbp said...

"Any honest observer will acknowledge that this kind of kookiness happens on the fringes of both sides."

How many people saw, "The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton". A 1994 film created by Patrick Matrisciana.

v.

How many people saw "Fahrenheit 911"

Fringe indeed.

Original George said...

L.E.-

I've got your point totally.

She's a satirist. A comedian. A bomb thrower. She wants to outrage people. It's her schtick.

And, really, the idea that US tax dollars went for fantastic levels of health care for a terrorist, including fitting him with a new leg, and then he was released to do more crimes. You either have to laugh or cry. It would be like treating downed Japanese kamikazes in WWII and releasing them so they could fly again. It's nonsensical.

Herblock drew pictures of Nixon emerging from sewers and crawling in gutters. And he was in the Washington Post. It's nasty free speech...the way we love it....Something to be thankful for on this day.

downtownlad said...

How is Fahrenheit 911 fringe?

That movie is about how Bush exploited 9/11 to get us into a pointless war in Iraq.

That view can only be considered "fringe" if you don't live in the reality based world.

Did you see the movie?

Here's my favorite scene:

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=0rO3F6mZUaE

L. E. Lee said...

While "Fahrenheit 911" was a strong indictment of the war and its causes it was not outside of normal political discourse.

"The Clinton Chronicles" surly was. It focused on individuals that Bill Clinton supposedly had killed including Vince Foster.

Comparing the two is like saying that someone who takes a paper clip at the office is just as guilty as someone who steals a computer.

bearbee said...

But that's because he decided that the way he would gain a 2nd term is by scapegoating gays.

scape·goat (skpgt)
n.
1. One that is made to bear the blame of others.

DTL, how did Bush scapegoat gays?

SMGalbraith said...

Apparently, we've now reached the point (as many of us thought) where the smears made against Bush are not really smears and not equivalent to the attacks against Obama because the ones directed at Bush are accurate.

E.g., Moore's 9/11 film was lie piled upon slander topped by smears.

Hitchen's accurately (for me) summarized Fahrenheit 9/11:

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-
pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.


And that, for me, is being charitable.

It is, after all, Thanksgiving.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"a school mate asked "Who would do such a thing?" I thought it was an easy question and the obvious answer was: Republicans."

The fact is that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist, something that still doesn't compute with much of the left, hence the 45-year quest to prove that the CIA killed JFK.

It doesn't help that Oswald has been labeled a "lone gunman" and presented that way in the press and in textbooks ever since. I attended school in the 70's and 80's and I don't recall ever being taught about Oswald's sojourn in the Soviet Union or his Bay of Pigs-era street protests in favor of Castro.

Thank god the era of media monopolies on news is over.

Michael said...

"It seems to me that hating the President has been an American tradition for a long, long time."

I don't think the hatred directed at Obama is quite the same as anything we've seen in the past.

I don't mean there aren't people out there that literally hate G.W., or hated Clinton, but in Obama's case I think much of it's more centered in race, and of course when you combine that with the insanity relating to rumors of him being a Muslim or even a terrorist mole...it gets pretty crazy and dangerous.

I'm still of the belief Obama will have attempts made on his life, possibly even before he's sworn in, and more after he takes office.

We live in a free society, it's easy to move around, and we have more guns than people.

BJM said...

L.E. Lee said: I think the difference between the left and the right is that the right has a more developed infrastructure in which to promote this garbage. There is no liberal equivalent to the American Spectator or an Ann Coulter.

You are kidding, yes? How about the NYT, LAT, WashPo, TIME, Newsweek, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, just to name a few from the media infrastructure promoting a liberal agenda while serving as attack dog for their preferred candidates(s) and against opposition incumbents.

Limbaugh would be the only outlet on the right even approaching MSM's broad reach and clout.

e said...

I think you're correct in assessing that those who are against the leftist illuminati are different than those who were for the conservatives. Do you ever remember, though anything being said about Clinton that was as vile as "my bush would make a better president?" That was on some bumper stickers. I mean really.

Michael said...

Jeff: "I attended school in the 70's and 80's and I don't recall ever being taught about Oswald's sojourn in the Soviet Union or his Bay of Pigs-era street protests in favor of Castro."

You're kidding, right?

There were all kinds of books and extensive articles relating to Oswald's connections to Communism & Castro...and you must remember the Warren Commission's report.

Michael said...

BJM: "Limbaugh would be the only outlet on the right even approaching MSM's broad reach and clout."

I ask this all the time and never get a response, but when you and others refer to the MSM...are you including Fox News, The Weekly Standard, the Washington Times, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage (the two mst popular behind Limbaugh) and other far right publications and radio talking heads?

Right now Fox News is the #1 cable news source (and they advertise it every day of the week) yet I never see anyone ever include them in the group of what you call the MSM.

Why is that?

Roger J. said...

I dont know about any other commenters, but President Elect Obama is inheriting some major crises--these crises were not caused by the misdeeds of the current president IMO; they are a function of the world we live in. And a world where the President really has very limited powers.

Barack Obama has to date been a tabula rasa--well, now he has to perform. Harry Stearns Truman rose to the occasion as did most people who become president. I have been encouraged by his selection of cabinet members, and I most sincerely hope that President to be Obama has every success. I will oppose him on some policies, but I will support him as my president in the largest sense of that term, and hope he takes seriously his responsibility to keep out country free and safe.

We have had enough of the petty, petulant, foolish and irresponsible politics of the last 25 years.

We really do need to get move on.

My .02.

Michael E. Lopez said...

We all do get that "dubber" is just a typo for "dubbed", as in "They decided to give her the name 'Mrs. Greivance.'"

Right?

Ron said...

A photo essay on Oswald was in Life (or Look, I'm not sure which!) magazine before the assassination because of his being a Marine, going to Russia, getting married and coming back to the US.

Steven said...

For eight years, opposition politics have mainly involved attacking the president for, like, things he's done or wanted to do in office----and not, say, secret religious view he holds

Oh, really? Bush hasn't regularly been accused of religious beliefs about being on a divine mission and such?

Hey, remember all the drug use claims backed by exactly zero evidence beyond one guy who claimed to have known Bush in college?

Of course, nobody used forged documents to claim Bush was a military deserter. Or, at least, nobody outside of some fringe outlets.

No, no, Bush was only ever attacked over policy issues.

Fred4Pres said...

Michael Schaffer is trying to be the Ann Coulter of the left. I find Coulter annoying and irritating and I find Schaffer to be similar, in a metrosexual, condesending, and leftist way.

SteveR said...

I'm waiting to see what happens when Obama turns out not to be the Markist the haters on the right have predicted but more moderate, and gets turned on by the left.

In any case, I'm not buying it either.

former law student said...

One more reason to hate Obama is that he grew up in Hawaii. The bulk of "real Americans," inured to shoveling snow and paying extortionate rates to keep their bodies from freezing solid in the winter, resent even lotos-eating Californians who have but to reach out their hand to pluck a Valencia orange from the backyard tree.

How much more do these resent those who lived in Hawaii, middle class Americans who according to Paul Fussell, have 'made Hawaii, as Roger Price unkindly designates it, "Roob Valhalla."'? How we resent those who grew up in Paradise and left.

(The rest of Fussell's passage describing middle-class envy and resentment: The middle is the class that makes cruise ships a profitable enterprise, for it fancies that the upper-middle class is to be mixed with on them, without realizing that that class is either peering at the minarets in Istanbul or hiding out in a valley in Nepal, or staying home in Old Lyme, Connecticut, playing backgammon and reading Town and Country. Tourism is popular with the middle class because it allows them to "buy the feeling," as C. Wright Mills says, "if only for a short time, of higher status. " And as he points out, both cruise (or resort) staffs and their clientele cooperate in playing out the charade that really quite an upper-middle-class (or even upper-class) operation is going forward : lots of "served meals," white napery, "sparkling wine," mock caviar. If you'll notice how often, in tourist advertising, the term luxury appears (as well as the word gourmet), you'll see what I mean. For what the middle class most envies in the classes above is their trips abroad, more than their houses, cars, or other items of local conspicuous consumption. And, as Richard P. Coleman and Lee Rainwater perceive in their book Social Standing in America (1978), the envy is more than economic-it's "cultural": "Cultural superiority is symbolized" by the uppers' experiences.)

Why doesn't Obama just release a copy of his original birth certificate and put it all to rest?

Who would have Obama's original birth certificate? Not the State of Hawaii or the County of Honolulu -- their copies were discarded when Obama's data was entered into the State database. Not Obama's dead mother. Not his dead father or dead stepfather. Presumably not his dead grandmother. That leaves only Obama might have a copy of his original birth certificate, and if he lost it -- that's it.

Personally, I couldn't fret or stew about Obama's original birth certificate, because nobody on Earth has an original copy of my birth certificate -- it was lost in a move decades ago. The official replacement from my brth county is formatted identically to Obama's.

How many people saw, "The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton".

The video was hawked on various "Christian" TV stations but not released theatrically as far as I know.

Steven said...

I ask this all the time and never get a response, but when you and others refer to the MSM...are you including Fox News, The Weekly Standard, the Washington Times, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage (the two mst popular behind Limbaugh) and other far right publications and radio talking heads?

The Weekly Standard isn't mainstream media, it's an opinion journal, all of which are non-mainstream. Similarly, talk radio isn't mainstream media, it's alternative media.

The Washington Times has a circulation of 100,000, which puts it at one-tenth the size of the New York Times, one-seventh the size of the Washington Post or LA Times . . . hell, only a third the size of Cleveland's Plain Dealer. The only reason you're conscious of its existence is that its politics make it stand out from the mainstream.

Fox News is #1 in cable ratings, which makes it a distant fourth behind the three broadcast networks news divisions.

And, "far right"? Seriously, they're about as "far right" as the New York Times and CBS News are "far left".

montana urban legend said...

I guess an added benefit for Christopher Hitchens when it comes to the quality of his writing is that some can't recognize when he is exercising boilerplate.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

resent even lotos-eating Californians who have but to reach out their hand to pluck a Valencia orange from the backyard tree.

Heeeyy!!! I resent this stereotype. :-)

I live in California. The temperature this morning is a cool 28 degrees. I left my turkey outside last night in an ice chest to marinate because the temperature is colder than my refrigerator. If we had an orange tree, it would have frozen solid oranges. We might warm up today to a nice 60 degrees since it is clear and sunny. Not all of California is Malibu.

I must admit that I did grow up with a lemon tree and orange tree in our back yard.

I dislike Obama because of his, so far, stated policies not because he grew up in Hawaii. It remains to be seen who he really is and how he will govern. If he can keep a lid on Michelle Obama's obvious disdain for America and governs from a middle position, he will do just fine.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"There were all kinds of books and extensive articles relating to Oswald's connections to Communism & Castro...and you must remember the Warren Commission's report."

I'm talking about my experience as a child being educated in US history during the 70's and 80's. (In response to Ann's 12-year old reaction to JFK's murder). The point is not whether the information was available to an adult but how the assassination was presented in public schools. And how the "lone gunman" became a general meme in the pop culture that I grew up surrounded by.

Michael said...

Steven: "And, "far right"? Seriously, they're about as "far right" as the New York Times and CBS News are "far left"."

You're kidding, right?

You actually think Fox News, the Weekly Standard, The Washington Times, The National Review, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage (one of the most disgusting assholes on the planet), and others aren't as far right as you feel what you call the MSM is to the left?

As far as "circulation" is concerned, you have to know that many more people read all of the newspapers and periodicals online versus delivery of hard copy so it's impossible to know what the real readership would be.

I subscribe to two daily newspapers, but read at least ten other publications right now, for free online, than I ever even thought about subscribing to.

Blaming the MSM for America's ills or the election of Obama is ridiculous and the margin of Obama's victory should tell you so.

Michael said...

Jeff, I have no idea how old you were or where you were educated, but where I grew up, in the Midwest, I heard plenty about Lee Harvey Oswald from my teachers.

I can still remember the very moment I heard about JFK's assassination, followed the capture of Oswald, the run up to Ruby killing him in the underground garage, and read all kinds of material via my school that related to Oswald's connections, etc.

Maybe you were just too young to remember, but it's hard to believe your teachers weren't well aware of Oswald's history.

*As an aside, I also happened to actually shake JFK's hand, running between a motorcycle escort during a motorcade.

rcocean said...

Jeff,

I had the exact same experience. I remember reading a book on the JFK assassination in the 80s and learning - FOR THE FIRST TIME - about Oswald being a commie and hating JFK because JFK was against Castro.

I had never heard about that before. All I heard about as a kid was the CIA, Mafia, the Grassy Knoll, 2nd Gunman, etc.

Many Kids today only know about the assassination from the movie "JFK" - which is full of lies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Maybe you were just too young to remember, but it's hard to believe your teachers weren't well aware of Oswald's history

Michael. They may have been aware of Oswald's history but teachers today do not actually teach history or much of anything else for that matter.

My daughter went to high school in the late 80's and early 90's. They didn't teach any of this information. In fact, much of what they taught was factually wrong....for example, she got graded down on an American Social Studies test because the teacher insisted that Houston was the capital of Texas, when she had entered Austin. She had an English teacher who did crossword puzzles during class.

The incompetence of many teachers (not all) knows no bounds. I blame the teacher's union and government interference into the education system.

If your children are reading this, it might be despite a teacher. Is it any wonder that home schooling is becoming more and more prevelant?

Host with the Most said...

Thank you, Ann, for a very reasonable examination of what is the beginning of the Liberal talking points about why Bush hate was reasonable, and Obama hate irrational.

The Bush White House did itself no favors in it's refusal to run a public relations counter-offensive like the Clinton and Reagan White House's so masterfully did.

Mandy Grunwald (someone for whom the word "Cunt" is too polite a description) and Ann Lewis (someone for whom the term "bitch" can also describe her physical appearance) spearheaded the daily constant media spin points against ANY Clinton criticism. Of course, they were loved by the MSM. Add to cast one of your favorites Ann - Sydney Blumenthal - and it's a wonder how any liberal today can say anything negative about an Ann Coulter or Michael Savage ( two people I detest as much as there liberal hating counterparts).

So, nice try Michael Schaffer. Go to sleep at night secure in your pre-ordained superiority.

I'll keep a copy close at hand to
refer to for the future lock-step-stupid-liberal talking points that are certain to follow Schaffer's lead.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

To original George's first post--if I recall correctly, that what was Herbert Block promised to do--but he never did--his next cartoon was of nixon in a santa suit with a santa beard covering nixon's five oclock shadow--what I am suggesting is that Herblock reneged on his promise.--I might be wrong on this, but I dont think so. Herblock had a major case of nixon hate and proved himself to be a liar as well as petty little asshole. That seems to a WAPO liberal thing.

Robert Cook said...

"She's a satirist. A comedian. A bomb thrower. She wants to outrage people. It's her schtick."

The problem is, most of her audience takes her completely seriously.

"How about the NYT, LAT, WashPo, TIME, Newsweek, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, just to name a few from the media infrastructure promoting a liberal agenda while serving as attack dog for their preferred candidates(s) and against opposition incumbents."

There's much to deplore in the MSM, for example their lapdog-like failure to criticize the Bush administration for its very real failures and criminal acts, as well as their inability (or unwillingness) to discuss the policy positions of our elected officials or candidates with serious thought, favoring instead superficial gossip about personalities and horse-race analysis of who's up or down. None of the news organs mentioned here can be considered even substantially "liberal" (whatever that means in this context), much less "left" or, more ridiculous, "far left."

"Thank you, Ann, for a very reasonable examination of what is the beginning of the Liberal talking points about why Bush hate was reasonable, and Obama hate irrational."

Bush hate was and is reasonable to the degree--very great--that it is a response to his disastrous policies and criminal acts in office; Obama hate is irrational insofar as it is based on...nothing...as yet. Once Obama's term in office begins, we will have to judge his policies for their effectiveness in resolving to greater or lesser degrees the problems they're intended to resolve; for the degree to which they follow or violate the law; for the degree to which they improve or degrade our nation's social, political, and economic health; and so on.

In other words, Bush has a record on which to judge his failure; Obama has no record, and thus his success or failure cannot even begin to be considered.

I'm skeptical of Obama and didn't vote for him, (didn't vote for McCain either, though I did vote), but simply because I prefer to live in a society that is improving rather than failing, I hope Obama can be effective in stemming our current ongoing collapse.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Robert Cook--my take is you may be a bit premature in judging what you consider to be Bush's failures--history will disclose whether his Mid East policy turns out to productive or not. You appear to looking at means and not ends, that is OK. I prefer to look at the ends. George Bush, irrespective or your views on him and his policies, has been responsible for keeping the country free of terrorist attacks since Oct of 2001. That is a fact; you may disagree with how he has done that, but the fact remains, he has done just that. And that in my opinion is precisely what I hope any president would do,

Synova said...

Bush hate was and is reasonable to the degree--very great--that it is a response to his disastrous policies and criminal acts in office;

Which would be a reasonable argument except for the fact that Bush hate (and extreme psychological distress requiring visits to doctors for anxiety and fear) began before George Bush ever took office.

It took a short vacation directly after 9-11, but quickly resumed.

The "criminal acts" are the new-speak to refer to anything that a person thinks is a bad idea. It's a circle-jerk... hating Bush means viewing anything he does as "criminal" and "disastrous" even though no real evidence can be given other than "we don't like that", and because he's accused of criminal acts means it's okay to hate him. But dude... the hate came first and the hate proves nothing.

Obama hate is irrational insofar as it is based on...nothing...as yet.

Only his stated policy... which everyone is counting on him not following.

Host with the Most said...

Robert,

I am awaiting your explanation of Bush's "criminal acts".

Your opinion alone does not qualify them as being criminal acts.

It's no wonder you have a difficult time seeing the liberal or left slant of the Main Stream Media members you listed. Your classification of "criminal acts" shows you to be on the far left.

Cedarford said...

L.Lee - If Republicans spend the next two years like the past six months talking about whether President Obama is friends with terrorists or is a secret racist or the origins of his birth then they will become even more of a minority. Instead, they need a competitive political program.

Yep. Though Althouse gives too much publicity and credibility to a Right-Wing "Truther" fringe that are laughed at and denounced even in Right-Wing blogs.

Especially the Truther tale of the Secret foreign Birth.

The 9 months pregnant Durham finishes her semester at U of Hawaii. Then takes an expensive risky series of flights halfway across the planet, despite airline and medical guidance in the early 60s against such acts - so she can have a "Secret Kenyan Birth" for young Barry. In unsanitary, rudimentary conditions in an African mud hut...Then she is immediately flying back to rejoin her husband in Hawaii and working on forging a false birth certificate for BO..

It's all so obvious! All so nefarious. The two plotting back in the early 60s to Violate the native-born provision of the Constitution Itself for who can be President! Thank gosh that Truther lawsuits are demanding the "true story" be revealed..It must be serious! Courts are involved!!

Michael said...

Dust Bunny Queen said..."Michael. They may have been aware of Oswald's history but teachers today do not actually teach history or much of anything else for that matter."

I think he was referring to his teachers in the 70's and 80's.

Michael said...

Synova: "Only his stated policy... which everyone is counting on him not following."

What in the world do you base this kind of statement on?

"...everyone is counting on him not following."

He hasn't even been sworn in yet and you've already decided he'll reverse everything he's said over the past two years?

THIS is exactly the kind of right wing blather that gives Republicans a bad name.

Synova said...

Here's a Thanksgiving related example of just how irrational is hatred of Bush and how *unrelated* to anything *real* that it is.

Plastic turkey?

How many YEARS of plastic turkey hate have we heard?

And in the end, the plastic turkey is just as real as Bush's "criminal" acts. A REAL turkey, but the display bird on the cafeteria line.

If there actually were real things to attack Bush for, instead of fantasies about his evil criminal deeds, who'd waste time telling lies about a plastic turkey?

Just as real as how Bush is planning to be King.

Just as real as the impending Theocracy.

Just as real as Cheney personally leading troops against our own citizens. (Thank you Erica Jong.)

Just as real as fire not melting steel.

Synova said...

No, Michael.

I think he'll do what he's said.

I think he told us the truth.

Michael said...

rcocean said..."Jeff, I had the exact same experience. I remember reading a book on the JFK assassination in the 80s and learning - FOR THE FIRST TIME - about Oswald being a commie and hating JFK because JFK was against Castro."

I have no idea how old you are either, but if you were at least 16 years old it's hard to imagine you never reading anything relating to Oswald's ties to Communism and Castro.

You do realize the Warren Commission Report was published in about 1968 and there were all kinds of books, articles, extensive reports in Time, Newsweek and other periodicals laying out all kinds of information about Oswald.

Blaming a lack of knowledge on your teachers is rather lame.

Michael said...

"And in the end, the plastic turkey is just as real as Bush's "criminal" acts."

Until Bush and his administration is actually investigated by an objective party, it's a tad early to be declaring him innocent of any "criminal acts."

Robert Cook said...

Roger,

I don't know that Bush is responsible for there having been no further terrorist attacks domestically; all I know is that there haven't been. There stood a gap of eight years between the first and second attacks on the World Trade Center. Was this due to successful prevention of other attackss by the Clinton administration? (We do know his administration successfully arrested and prosecuted the perpetrators of he first attack.)Or might it have been due to the great difficulty and expense involved in planning and successfully executing a substantial terrorist attack within America's borders generally? How do we know that there simply haven't been other attacks planned against us, or that there may be plots gestating that haven't reached maturity? We don't. In fact, I work mere blocks from the World Trade Center and witnessed much of the destruction first hand; among my thoughts as I walked the 7 miles home from lower to upper Manhattan was, "Well, at least they've shot their wad!" That they had to resort to such a crude and almost certainly unreplicable method as hijacking several commercial airliners simultaneously and using them as manned missles illustrated to me how limited were their real means to get at us. I figured, they can't substantially do anything greater against us.

Now, whether I was right or wrong cannot be determined, just as whether it is Bush's policies that have halted further attacks is also undetermined. Thus, you credit him with an accomplishment that hasn't been shown. On the other hand, he has launched an illegal war of aggression, instituted a policy of torture and indefinite detention of those not proved to be guilty of anything, has illegally evesdropped on our electronic communications, (including those, it was recently disclosed, of that great enemy of America, Tony Blair.)

On reflection, I have reconsidered my previous statements concerning Obama: there are reasonable bases to criticize Obama, even before his administration takes office. While posing as an "agent of change," one with a (presumable, if not stated or demonstrable) "liberal" stance, who has bragged about his opposition to the Iraq war, he has, while in Congress, voted largely in favor of Bush's policies, including voting each year in favor of the war against Iraq by voting for continued funding. Moreover, he recently voted in favor of the revised FISA bill, though it grants retroactive immunity to the telecom companies for their collusion with Bush's illegal wiretapping scheme, and against his own previously stated "opposition" to it. I still maintain hope that, as at least obviously a more thoughtful person than Bush, he may help forge some effective policies to forestall our complete collapse, but I am not really hopeful he will do much more than continue the agenda of the corporatocracy.

Darcy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darcy said...

Well, I for one am thankful today that, all of these years after 9/11, people like Robert Cook have the option to smugly refuse to give President Bush credit for keeping us safe.

Michael said...

Darcy said..."Well, I for one am thankful today that, all of these years after 9/11, people like Robert Cook have the option to smugly refuse to give President Bush credit for keeping us safe."

I assume you're repeating the canard relating to "attacks on American soil," but until 9/11 we were safe before Bush came into office, too.

Can I assume you've forgotten about the daily briefings announcing Bin Laden's imminent intention to attack America...and Bush ignoring them?

And do you realize that the period between the 1993 towers attack (on American soil) and 9/11 is still longer than the period we've experienced between 9/11 and today?

Bush has certainly done some things right, but when you're lugging around a 24% approval rating it should tell you did a lot more things wrong.

Seven Machos said...

There stood a gap of eight years between the first and second attacks on the World Trade Center.

1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia

1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia

1998. Bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa

2000. Bombing of the USS Cole

Seven Machos said...

Bin Laden's imminent intention to attack America...and Bush ignoring them

Bush prevented them.

bearbee said...

Host with the Most said...
Robert,

I am awaiting your explanation of Bush's "criminal acts".


Take a look at Lawprofs Jack Balkin and Eric Posner bloggingheads vid Althouse posted November 26, 2008, for comments of possible criminal acts involving violation of FISA and and violation of anti-torture statute.

Seven Machos said...

Until Bush and his administration is actually investigated by an objective party

Political action is not illegal. Bush will never be investigated. Ever. Sorry, loons.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

I was born in 1969 and was educated in midwestern public schools from 1975-1987. I heard lots about Vietnam and Civil Rights and McCarthyism and the Cold War but very little about Oswald's communism, the Soviet gulags, or the fact the Bull Connor and George Wallace were lifelong Democrats.

I leaned about the Jonestown Massacre from Walter Cronkite when I was a boy. When I was a teenager and the coastal culture was falling all over itself to mock televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart and Pat Robertson. Jim Jones would sometimes be cited as an example of the true nature of the charismatic white preacher- an evil charlatan who was only interested in power and the submission of his flock. I read several articles about Jonestown when I was a teenager and even own an audio recording of the massacre. It wasn't until last year that I found out the Jim Jones was a Marxist and was a popular figure among the Democrats of San Francisco, so much so that he was given a seat on the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission and had met with both Rosalynn Carter and Walter Mondale!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Blaming a lack of knowledge on your teachers is rather lame.

I don't think he was blaming a lack of knowledge on his teachers, directly. However, if your teachers don't "teach" or if they slant history and the topics to suit their own biases....I think you can blame them.

If your math teacher refuses to instruct you in the multiplication tables your lack of knowledge can be directly attributed to the lack of teaching. If your English teacher doesn't teach you the elements of grammar or punctuation, who is to blame for your (generic you... not you in particular) lack of writing skills?

Sure, you can go out and learn these things (math, english, history etc) all on your own after you are out of school. Why then do we even need a public education system that teaches nothing or teaches partial information.?

John Stodder said...

I don't even buy the initial premise of the article. There is not a whole lot of Obama-hatred out there now that he's been elected. It's interesting that instead of quoting an example of Obama-hatred, the writer was forced to make one up out of thin air, and assume everyone agrees that this is what they just must be saying. Just like DTL with his fantasies of what the Wall Street Journal wrote about him. He of course hasn't actually read the newspaper, but he just knows what those knuckle-draggers put in it.

It's considered intelligent now to avoid reading any material that you might disagree with, but holding forth with a critique on the contents regardless. I love how smart liberals are!

But anyway...I think there is an enormous amount of goodwill being shown for Obama across the political spectrum. Obama himself is cultivating it by governing so far as he promised, as a centrist figure who will incorporate ideas irrespective of their pedigree.

I understand that some prominent conservatives remain irreconcilable. That should not surprise anyone. However, all the attacks I've seen from that quarter have to do with what they suspect Obama's policies might be. The worst they seem to be able to say about Obama is that he's a "socialist." That's not a product of hatred, it's a concern about the future direction of the country, a well-founded concern. Obama is not much of a socialist from what I can see, but Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and many other Democrats in Congress are certainly socialists if the word means anything. Even Henry Paulson is a bit of a socialist. If that word is off-limits now, our political discourse is going to be severely stunted. The question of how much more socialism we can tolerate will be the focus of policy decisions for the next decade, to be sure.

Host with the Most said...

Take a look at Lawprofs Jack Balkin and Eric Posner bloggingheads vid Althouse posted November 26, 2008, for comments of possible criminal acts involving violation of FISA and and violation of anti-torture statute.

I did look at that yesterday, thank you.

I found it's entire basic premise specious. Political posturing, pure and simple.

Seven Machos said...

Good point, Stodder. Where were the articles about how ridiculous and creepy Bush hatred was? Funny. I don't remember any of those.

John Stodder said...

One more thought: The reason Bill Clinton and George W. Bush generated such hatred and so many idiotic conspiracy theories had to do with their personalities. They both wore shit-eating grins and looked like they were getting away with something. Even when what they did was noble -- and I think both presidencies will be judged by historians to have been more good than bad, with some splendid decisions by both of them -- they somehow undermined it by coming off as cocky, manipulative or not quite truthful.

I don't think Obama is that kind of person. He's got an ego, but he seems anything but smug. He's more like Bush's father. We'll disagree with him, but we'll respect him as we do.

Host with the Most said...

It's considered intelligent now to avoid reading any material that you might disagree with, but holding forth with a critique on the contents regardless. I love how smart liberals are!

John, you are the most readable - and reasonable - commenter of all on "Althouse".

But having lived through the self-righteousness of journalism majors beginning in the post-Watergate glow, I believe that it's been "considered intelligent" bu liberals for quite some time now.

dualdiagnosis said...

Original George said- She says we shouldn't have footed the $75,000 bill.



Her point was that the govt is portrayed as sadistic torturers when the reality in Gitmo is quite different. Handling the Koran with surgical gloves, putting weight on them with culturally correct menus, providing custom prosthetics for jihadis etc ..

L. E. Lee said- There is no liberal equivalent to.. an Ann Coulter.
Hell, you got Al Franken this close to being the new Senator from MN.

montana urban legend said...

Robert, Michael:

(Thanks for the insightful analysis on 9/11, BTW, which the flyover people might feel more qualified to pronounce on than they think the actual, native New Yorkers who witnessed and bore the brunt of the event firsthand should be).

Regarding Bush's allegedly untrumped-up and not so heavily airbrushed role in "keeping us safe", there is no accounting for the extent of a deep-seated need, that certain people exhibit, to see the head of state as a father figure. Daddy issues may run deep in some people. But regarding the trade-off between safety and liberty, I'll take what Benjamin Franklin had to say any day. As the tenth son of Josiah Franklin, he was bound to follow less conservatively in his father's footsteps than his older siblings. And along with his many, many other accomplishments, he ended up being tremendously influential in helping to forge the political consensus necessary for shaping the republic.

A smart, independent, diplomatic and effective patriot through and through, Franklin didn't believe in relinquishing liberty in exchange for safety. He thought that anyone who did deserved neither. But perhaps his daddy issues weren't as strong as those held by a few others - a shortcoming which apparently would have prevented him from empathizing with the RWA-sympathizers who continue to believe that Bush's bluster is a protective display of heroic nationalism. Oh well.

montana urban legend said...

Take away as many of our rights as you like, as long as you make us feel safe! Oh yes!

Synova said...

This sort of thing always makes me wonder how people get through the day without trying to put their shoes on their heads and their shirts on one leg at a time.

...there is no accounting for the extent of a deep-seated need, that certain people exhibit, to see the head of state as a father figure. Daddy issues may run deep in some people.

It amazes me.

Obama is going to solve all of our foreign policy problems simply by being Obama, he's going to pay our mortgages and put food on our table, and it's *Republicans* who look to the president to satisfy some emotional need?

Wow.

And proof that we want a Daddy is because someone points out that we haven't been attacked on US soil, and that maybe that can be attributed to Bush?

former law student said...

Her point was that the govt is portrayed as sadistic torturers when the reality in Gitmo is quite different.

What is the reality in Gitmo, and how are you privy to it? This is what the rest of the world knows:

Abuses left detainees mentally ill, study finds
Pamela Hess, Washington
June 19, 2008
MEDICAL examinations of former terrorism suspects held at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay found evidence of torture and other abuse that resulted in serious injuries and mental disorders, a human rights group says.

For the most extensive medical study of former US detainees yet published, Physicians for Human Rights had doctors and mental health professionals examine 11 former prisoners.

The group alleges it found evidence of torture and war crimes and accuses US military health professionals of allowing the abuse of detainees, denying them medical care and providing confidential medical information to interrogators that they then exploited.

--
Fresh allegations about a regime of torture and humiliation inflicted on detainees by their American captors at Guantánamo Bay have been made by a Briton still held there, according to British Foreign Office documents seen by The Guardian newspaper.

The claims by Martin Mubanga, from London, are the latest to surface from the prison where the United States holds 550 Muslim men it claims are terrorists -- in conditions that have sparked worldwide condemnation.

Mubanga (31) alleges that only months ago he was kept shackled for so long that he wet himself, and then was forced to clean up his own urine. He claims to have been threatened, that an interrogator stood on his hair, and that he was subjected to extremes of temperature rising to 36 degrees Celsius. He was kept chained to the floor by his feet for an hour during a welfare visit from a British government official.

--
Terrorism supporter David Hicks is suffering from severe mental illness following his stay of nearly five years at the US operated Guantanamo Bay prison facility.

--
Kabul, Afghanistan — A prisoner being held on suspicion of terrorism at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was flown back to Afghanistan because U.S. officials determined he was mentally ill, an Afghan official said Sunday.

Several detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have protested against the torture by American soldiers of a mentally- ill Algerian detainee called Abderrahmane Hamlili, said a lawyer on Saturday.

The Algerian detainee was tortured in a terrible way without mercy although he was mentally ill, said the same lawyer.

Synova said...

That's what the world knows?

Yeah, right.

The only details I see are an allegation from a former inmate that he got treated bad and the charge that someone was put in ankle shackles for a welfare visit?

Oh, yeah... when officials are scheduled to come for welfare visits the people running Gitmo performed torture just in time for the visit! Yay! How convenient.

All anyone can *know* from reading what you quoted is that people do not do well when locked up for 5 years.

And that prisoners *confidential* medical infor... wait... that prisoners *confidential* medi... um... that prisoners HAVE confidential medical information and that not keeping it confidential is... wrong?

OH MY FREAKING DOG.

You do realize that ANY person in ANY prison would report worse abuses and suffer from being locked up?

Tom Crippen said...

"...flakiness, fantasy, nastiness..."

Hey, it's Ms. Althouse!

dick said...

MUL,

sometime you might want to list all the rights you have had taken away from you.

From what I have seen you stand a much better chance of losing your rights by attending any college with PC regs than any rights you have lost in the past 8 years because of the govt.

All I hear is some unnumerated rights that have been taken away but nobody seems to list what they are. Wonder why that is. Guess maybe they weren't any?

Seven Machos said...

Synova -- A very good point. I think most normal, generally non-criminal males understand at some basic level that one good reason to avoid crime is that prison involves a lot of abuse by guards and other prisoners and a good change at an ass-raping most days.

But we're supposed to expect that terrorists and quasi-prisoners of war get treated with like they are at a comfy motel in Fresno. It's very odd.

montana urban legend said...

I didn't know that expecting competence from someone you've hired reflects deep-seated, unresolved, Freudian issues, Synova. But feel free to try to convince that of anyone you've worked for or who's worked for you at any point in your life, if it makes you feel better.

People can make the argument that Bush has "made us safer" all they want to. As Robert points out though, this is a pretty tenuous claim. When the same people who make that claim can defend against the weaknesses within it that he points out, then I'll be a little more convinced that their assertions are well-reasoned, and not just the sort of defensive and primal outbursts that we would expect to emanate from a region of the brain other than the neocortex.

And how long do you want me to wait for you and your fellow-travelers to agree to let me listen in on your personal conversations, just because I might work for the government? Oh, that's right. You already have. Glad to know that doesn't bother you, but your justification for it doesn't make me feel any safer. Maybe that would change if we were talking about taking away your right to own a gun instead of taking away your right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Meade said...

"I vividly remember people hating JFK. I was 12 years old when JFK was assassinated..."

I was 9. Back then, a fourth-grade teacher in a public school could still ask her pupils to pray - as Mrs. Hesselberth did after the principal gave us the news over the PA system that the President had been shot and killed. This would be the first memorable time in my short conflicted life when my Christian Methodist maternal side would overrule my pagan atheist Nixon-supporting paternal side.

I remember praying, "Dear God, please let President Kennedy's soul into heaven even though he's a bad man and a Democrat."

The next day, my dad and I drove over to a news shop that sold newspapers from everywhere. I heard my dad talking to the vendor and saying this was the worst thing he could remember since Pearl Harbor. Back in the car, I said, "Dad, why is it such a bad thing? I thought we hated Kennedy," and he explained that that was only when he was alive. Now that he was dead, we shouldn't hate him anymore.

Since then, I've really never trusted people who hate presidents.

Trooper York said...

Personally I hate Martin Sheen.

montana urban legend said...

If we can't feel free to hate Martin Sheen, then we're all screwed.

stepskipper said...

When Bill Clinton was president, local austin psychopath Alex Jones was an obscure public access cable crank. He is now an internationally famous whack-job. I'm wondering how the Obama presidency will affect his popularity, because I'm sure he's going to come up with all kinds of vile theories about how the new administration is continuing the U.S. march towards totalitarianism.
I suspect his audience will shrink considerably.