Thursday, September 25, 2008

Facts evasion

Succinctly, by laying out the facts, Bob Somerby explained how the so-called liberal blogosphere aka SCLB has transformed into Village idiots:

SEEING AN SS PROPOSAL HALF EMPTY: If you round 28 percent off to “half,” you may be misleading the voters. And you may be squandering a large advantage you enjoyed with the mainstream press. That seems to be what Obama did with the recent ad which is “ad-watched” in today’s New York Times. We highlight two key words from the text of the ad—two words which seem to be hard to defend, two words which were wholly unnecessary:

OBAMA AD: I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message. A broken economy. Failing banks. Unstable markets. Families struggling. To protect us in retirement, Social Security has never been more important. But John McCain has voted three times in favor of privatizing Social Security. McCain says, “I campaigned in support of President Bush’s proposal.” Cutting benefits in half. Risking Social Security on the stock market. The Bush-McCain privatization plan. Can you really afford more of the same?

Aarrgh. The Obama campaign can’t seem to defend two key words: “in half.” And Obama has been criticized for making a similar claim on the stump. (For two posts from, click here and then click here.) Because they stuck those two words in that ad, the Obama campaign has been widely assailed. For one example, see this column by the Post’s Ruth Marcus.

Last week, Marcus—like many mainstream journalists—was hammering McCain, quite hard, for his long string of “whoppers.” In this column, Marcus says Obama has started to even things up.

A bit of background on the issue discussed in Obama’s ad:

Marcus is part of the DC establishment’s center-left contingent. If she votes, she will almost surely vote for Obama, not for the saintly McCain. But by the time of Campaign 2000, virtually everyone in the Village was affirming the virtue of private accounts; Gore was hammered, remarkably widely and remarkably stupidly, for challenging Bush’s proposal. (Link below.)

To this day, Marcus tends to buy her cohort’s sky-is-falling approach to SS; when she writes about the issue, she tends to be ardent—and murky. Her column included some outright nonsense, such as her passing complaint about Obama’s use of “incendiary language” (that is, the word “privatization”). And the column ended up in the weeds; Marcus isn’t very good at clarifying this issue. But her basic complaint was basically accurate, a point you may not have understood from work churned by some on your side.

This childish post by Josh Marshall is a case in point. Much of the short post is incoherent; much of it is loud and childish. (“It’s apparently a big lie,” Josh childishly snarks, as he offers a reinvented account of what Obama has actually said.) But his whole post ignores a central point—Obama and the Obama campaign seem to have misstated a key, central fact. On our side, we tend to get extremely upset when McCain does this sort of thing.

Is this what we all signed up for when the liberal web was born? Were we secretly seeking the chance to bleat and cry and ignore central points? Did we want to be like Sean Hannity? If so, enjoy Josh’s post.

Hey! Look over there! Pay no attention to the title of Marcus' column, "Closing the Whopper Gap," which examines Obama's false ad claim. The SCLB via CDS-sufferer Josh Marshall overlooks Obama's "rank misrepresentation" and his "stooping to the kind of scare tactics he once derided" so that WKJM can meander about the Social Security privatization quadrangle obscuring those two points among others.

And that is Josh's point--change the subject and disregard the substance of a criticism--a Village-like maneuver as if a child obedient to the defense of The One denies the fact that Da-Da is misleading.

Just as right-wing media have defended King George and the conservative movement for decades with blatant lies, juvenile rants, and sleight of hand, the SCLB rush to the aid of their Precious with misdirection, an evasion of the facts, and on other occasions, to spread faux racial smears and misogyny. That's not what I "signed up for when the liberal web was born."

The problem for the latter "progressive" cohort is that their appeals to a critical voting bloc--Democratic women--comes delivered with a slap in the face and dismissive snarls. Still! Anglachel handily addressed the latest sexist insult (read her entire post for details) and articulated what the Blog Boyz seem to be incapable of grasping. With emphasis added:

When Democratic women say "The Obama camp has run a sexist, mysogynistic campaign," we are told we're wrong, no such thing, there was not any sexism there, except maybe some from Tweety. When Democratic women say, "No, it's not his race, it's his lack of commitment to the programs that matter to us," we are told that, no, we're all just racist bitches, and that it's our fault if he doesn't win.

What does it mean to electoral outcomes if what we Democratic women are saying is simply true? That there is too much encouragement of and reliance upon misogyny as a campaign tactic? That our objections to this candidate really are based on rational economic self-interest, and are not due to his race?

Using shame (shame of being female, shame of being racist) rather than offering benefit is a tactic that may intimidate some, and perhaps win some over who would rather be part of the pack that attacks than one who is attacked, but mostly it engenders resentment. It is nothing on which political solidarity can be founded. Hasn't the Democratic Party learned that it is not enough to run on "I'm not [insert opponent here]"? That was a losing argument against Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Shouting "The other party is worse!" does nothing to address the weaknesses and failings of our own. Put on top of that a very public contempt for the concerns of a large and (until now) unswervingly loyal constituency and this is a recipie [sic] for long term, nearly permanent loss of electoral power.

I'll never vote Republican, but for the first time in my life, I feel no desire to vote Democrat, either.

I've written reams of analysis of why the current election is shaping up the way it has and I may be wrong about my judgments on those things, but I know my own thoughts. When I say I won't vote for Obama after the revolting campaign he has run and because he doesn't have anything substantive to back him up, I mean exactly those two things, nothing more, nothing less.

It's just the truth.

I couldn't agree more. As a lesbian, I include another unpleasant contradiction over Obama's campaign affiliation with homophobes. Again! How dumb does he think LGBTQ folks are?

Does Obama think we're too ignorant to notice how the underside of the bus looks?

Good thing you rarely see the SCLB touting that they are members of the "reality-based community." With Obama's campaign, reality must have become too mind-boggling to handle.

POSTSCRIPT: The "Precious" was coined by Anglachel and "WKJM" (Whoever Kidnapped Josh Marshall) was originally minted by Bob Somerby and recognized by the senior fellows of the mighty Corrente building.

Speaking of Corrente, in response to Anglachel's spot-on post, Lambert asks again:

How can a “movement” built on misogyny and false charges of racism be considered “progressive”?

Riddle me that, Batman.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Worth another look

Gov. Palin and Senator Clinton address the nation, a Saturday Night Live parody available at Hulu.


NOTE: Updated to Hulu link because the YouTube was no longer available to embed.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Sapphocrat provided a good round-up of summarized links on Gov. Sarah Palin's record and ideology -- from her inexperience to Troopergate to her stance on abortion and creationism.

One snippet that caught my attention illustrated the ol' GOP razzle-dazzle: positioning their political opponents' strength as a weakness and converting their, um, how can I say this... wingnutty hypocrisy into a new, improved feature. They like having it their way:

The Bristol Stomp
“Jake Tapper asks: ‘What would the response be if Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and his wife Michelle had a pregnant unmarried teenage daughter?’ I can answer that. Mona Charen, Ann Coulter, and Michelle Malkin would sprout bat wings and fangs and start divebombing, Peggy Noonan would issue a pained sigh that would ruffle nun’s robes from here to Hoboken, Laura Ingraham and Bill Bennett would engage in a finger-wagging contest to condemn our loose licentious liberal culture, and Jennifer Rubin at Commentary’s Contentions would crash into the wall doing cartwheels. …”
James Wolcott, Vanity Fair, September 1, 2008

Oh... so... true!

In 2004, Republicans and their wacky-doodle allies swift-boated Sen. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam war vet. Kerry married a rich widow and critics tagged him a "kept man" or the more unseemly "gigolo." This election, they gush over McCain, a POW during Vietnam. John married a wealthy beer heiress but... *crickets*

For more than a decade, the right-wing has lashed Hillary Clinton with a thousand cuts, using sexism as a divisive political weapon. With Gov. Sarah Palin in the picture, “The Republican Party will not stand by while Gov. Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.”

A McCain ad attacked Obama's rockstar celebrity. Palin has become a rockstar sensation as McCain's veep but IOKIYAR. Just ask about The Gipper.

How many presto-change-o's can you name?

Why Democrats lose

Our most reliable witness Bob Somerby explained. Go read his entire post, "WHY YOUR PARTY LOSES! We won’t take it, the GOP said. Dems and libs constantly do," to comprehend the situation. The gist:

Press corps inanity to the side, has the media greeted Palin’s selection with sexism and elite condescension? Yes, there has been some of each–and there has been some exaggeration of same by major Republican honchos. But in all the events of the past few days, the major difference between the two parties has been made abundantly clear. It’s captured in this Politico piece by John Harris (for the record, the headline is grossly deceptive). If you want to know why your party loses, consider the highlighted passage:

HARRIS (9/4/08): As the controversy over her qualifications and McCain’s vetting process overwhelmed events here, hypocritical rhetoric was flowing at full tide on all sides of the debate.

Many conservatives, who spent a generation ridiculing the politics of victimhood and group identity, are now zealously invoking both in the Twin Cities. A common GOP talking point here is that Palin’s gender and experiences as a mother should be counted as an asset among her qualifications. At the news conference, former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift condemned “an outrageous smear campaign” against Palin, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said, “The Republican Party will not stand by while Gov. Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.”

Let’s repeat what Fiorina said: “The Republican Party will not stand by while Gov. Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.” Remove the limiting term there–“sexist.” Thus adjusted, Fiorina’s statement explains our electoral politics over the past twenty years.

The Republican Party will not stand by while its candidates get attacked. The Democratic Party, and its major affiliates, have done just that. For years.

Fast forward to Somerby's conclusion (after he exposed the Democratic non-response to 1999 smears that President Bill Clinton was a murderer):

Now! Go back and reread Fiorina’s statement, and consider the conduct of the past several days. If you still don’t understand why your party loses, then let’s face it–you never will.

By the way, what else transpired as these Dem/liberal elements kept their traps shut in August 1999? On Fox, a gang of male pundits went on the air and mocked the way Hillary Clinton looked back in the 1970s. (They had a photograph, and it looked very funny. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/6/08.) And of course, all across the political landscape, the RNC and the MSM kept inventing new, bogus tales about the vile Candidate Gore. The Democratic Party never said boo about those matters either. Neither did those liberal journals. Nor those liberal columnists.

How does your political world work? Here’s how:

Sally Quinn and Maureen Dowd played the fool about Palin–and the Republican Party fought back hard. They’ve played the fool about Big Dems for years–and the Democratic Party said nothing.

Yep! There was some sexism in the coverage of Palin–and the Republican Party fought back hard, exaggerating as it did. But then, during this same campaign, a major Democratic woman was gender-trashed from December 2006 on. Eighteen months later, Howard Dean explained why he didn’t speak up. I don’t watch that much cable, he said.

As recently as last evening, some of our fools continued to say that they feel “insulted” by Palin’s selection. If they had an ounce of sense, they’d instead feel insulted by Dean.

Insulted by Howard Dean? Yeah, he thinks we're dumb sweeties. Point taken.

What should have been a Democratic cakewalk into the WH this year now rests on convincing swing voters in the upcoming debates.

The best debater the Democrats had was Sen. Hillary Clinton. She could have beaten McCain handily during the debates and in November because no one--no one--articulates the Democratic brand with more strength and persuasive conviction than Clinton.

No matter how much Obama turns to Hillary and female surrogates "to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain," the problem is...

Hillary Clinton is not on the ticket.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sexist attacks on Sarah Palin help McCain

Just when I didn't think the SCLB could not sink any lower, up pops John Aravosis, king of tabloid trash-blogging, to vilify Gov. Sarah Palin's private life:

The 'progressive' men are actually counting the months of the woman's pregnancies! That's right folks. The formerly progressive netroots is trying to bring Sarah Palin down by proving that she is a slut! The menz over at Americablog (and followers) fervently hope to prove that one of Sarah Palin's children was conceived "out of wedlock!"

This story is not to be confused with the ongoing netroots effort to shame the Palin family by proving that Sarah Palin's teenage daughter is a slut.

A woman enters the presidential race and suddenly the progressive mission is to shame and mortify Sarah Palin, her children, her husband, and every woman who has ever found herself in a similar situation. And then no one will ever vote for Sarah Palin again because she's a slut!?!?

John Aravosis imagines that we are still living in the Victorian Era when women were so devastated by public shaming that they committed suicide. Way to go John Aravosis! And we thought you already held the record for alienating women voters with your vile misogynistic posts about Hillary Rodham Clinton. There's just something about ambitious women that brings out the inner misogynistic creep.
Employers would shun a potential employee like Aravosis because his unseemly conduct would put them at risk for a sexual harassment lawsuit... well, with exceptions like MSNBC and Faux News. Aspiring to work for Don Imus or the National Enquirer, eh? Why do I get the feeling that John and his buds have a Bro's before Ho's T-shirt in the closet?

Argue against Palin's policies, her record, and her ideology. But the despicable tactics of Aravosis and his reptilian-brained fellows prove fauxgressives don't have a lick of sense or decency.

The "she's a slut" line of attack will fuel the classic persecution complex of conservatives (Palin married, sweetie darthlings) plus mobilize Independents and Republicans lukewarm to McCain, giving them enough reason--the least of which, the hypocrisy of unity-schumunity, the double standard and sexism of the Left--to defend Sarah Palin... to ferociously GOTV.

Leave it to fauxgressives dumber than a box of lug nuts to "[do] Karl Rove's work for him." Go read Zuzu's entire post at Shakesville with updates for the scoop. The lesson (with emphasis in bold):
Let's look at how McCain's selection of Palin fits in to the Rovian playbook. Already, feminists on the left are asking whether McCain thinks that women vote with their vaginas -- but that only allows the GOP to turn that back on the Dems and ask why feminists think that Palin was chosen only because she's a woman. Same with all the "what kind of mother" talk -- aren't Democrats the ones who are supposed to be all for working mothers?

Then there's all the "Governor Barbie," bimbo, golddigger, VPILF, CUNTRY, etc. crap. Oh, the Republicans will undoubtedly say, look how much the Democrats value women. All that unity business was a steaming pile of bullshit; they don't value you when the chips are down.

And what the Republicans will do that the Democrats will not is call out the misogyny against their candidate. I've said it before -- the Republicans would never, in a million years, stand by and let the media and the party rank-and-file treat one of their female candidates the way that Clinton got treated during the primary.

Thus, they turn a Democratic strength into a weakness. Or, rather, expose it as a weakness.

Now, as to why I don't think that McCain actually thinks that disaffected Democratic women will flock to him just because he picked a wingnut gun-nut creationist woman with some ethical problems as a running mate: because he doesn't have to get them to vote for him. He has to get them to stay home in swing states.

And what better way to get them to stay home than pick a running mate who not only helps him with his own base, but whose very physical presence he knows will bring out the misogynist bully boys who made Hillary's life (and those of her supporters) such hell? The ones who never tire of making it perfectly clear that women who want attention paid to their issues in this election are not welcome in the Democratic Party?

Making it all the more perfect is the fact that Obama is boxed in -- if he fails to rein in the football hooligans who comprise his rabid fan base, he will be (rightly) accused of supporting the misogynistic attacks against Palin, but if he publicly reins them in, he will be (rightly) accused of failing to do the same when those attacks were directed against Clinton, which will allow the Republicans to question the legitimacy of the process that put him over the top on the delegate count.

That genie isn't going back into the bottle, not now.

And all those football hooligan fanboys who've turned their unleashed ids onto Palin now that Hillary's out of the race and in the fold? They're doing Karl Rove's work for him. And so are the astroturfers and concern trolls.
Somewhere Matt Drudge is smiling.

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