Today’s opining on the public discourse.
Karl Rove flapped his yap again, and the results are highly entertaining:
Karl Rove cracks me up. Consider what he told Fox News this morning:
“This White House has carried pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted events to a new height, and they’re getting away with things that in any previous White House, the media would have eviscerated the press secretary and the White House for it.”
As a substantive matter, Rove was criticizing the president’s forum in Virginia yesterday on health care policy. Amanda Terkel contacted the White House about the logistics of the event, and it turns out, Rove’s criticism is just factually wrong.
But it takes an extraordinary amount of chutzpah for Karl Rove to complain about anyone hosting “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted events.”
Perhaps Rove doesn’t remember the “Bubble Boy” policies used by Bush White House, but these folks quite literally wrote the book on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted events.” We’re talking about a White House that screened public audiences at public events based on bumper stickers and lapel pins. We’re talking about a White House that would limit ticket distribution to presidential events to local Republican Parties, and then still require “loyalty oaths” to get a ticket. We’re talking about a White House that would literally rehearse events in advance to make sure attendees said the right things to the president.
And don’t forget these greatest hits:
In March 2005, people seeking tickets to a Social Security event were quizzed about their support of President Bush and his Social Security plan ahead of time. In April 2005, Bush’s security detail threw out three people from an event in Colorado because they had a bumper sticker reading “No More Blood For Oil.” White House spokesman Trent Duffy said that if there’s any evidence people might “disrupt the president,” they “have the right to exclude those people from those events.”
Bush even screened the assembled group of soldiers he would meet in Iraq during a 2003 Thanksgiving visit: Soldiers had to fill out a questionnaire asking whether they supported Bush.
Is there a graduate school these fuckwits attend where they learn to perfect their hypocrisy? Or are they just naturally talented?
And let’s not forget that the party that likes to preen over their supposed patriotism is the party that practically worships this assclown:
One of the problems with trying to track the flood of wingnuttery emitted daily by Rush Limbaugh is that there’s so much of it, and it’s so ceaseless, that one becomes overwhelmed trying to keep up with it. But there’s been a thread in his commentary this past week that’s particularly dangerous, and it needs calling out.
It began on Monday, after the military coup in Honduras. Limbaugh went on the air and said this:
Limbaugh: So we’ve got hell breaking loose in Honduras. You know what we learned about Honduras? We learned the Obama administration tried to stop the coup. Now what was — the coup was what many of you wish would happen here, without the military.
The next day, describing Obama talking to troops about the withdrawal from Iraq, he described the president thus:
“This is a guy who sought their defeat.”
And then yesterday, he expanded on these thoughts even further:
This is Barack Obama, who led from the United States Senate his party into doing everything he could to ensure the defeat of the U.S. military. … This party was doing everything it could to impugn and dishonor the military.
This thread of commentary clearly is pushing toward a single thought — to push people in the armed forces into seeing Obama as a usurper and traitor, just like the Honduran president, and toward the idea that a similar military-based removal of him from office might be justified.
Today Limbaugh added to the litany in a much more explicit fashion:
Limbaugh: And if we had any good luck, Honduras would send some people here and help us get our government back.
Let me get this straight. The people who whine and moan and complain about how Obama’s Europeanizing America, who foam at the mouth over immigrants, and who all hyperventilated when Obama shook Hugo Chavez’s hand don’t bat an eyelash when their hero Limbaugh advocates foreign soldiers coming in to overthrow our duly-elected government? Interesting. Could it be because their patriotism is completely fucking fake (h/t)?
What you have, in both cases, is a hustle, a bait and switch, in which one claims to be hawking patriotism, but in fact, is selling jingoism. If patriotism is love of country, then much of the unquestioning GOP rhetoric fails on the rudiments. Is love of kin, love of siblings, love of spouse, telling your beloved, that they are the best person that’s ever existed in history? Or is that sycophancy, fast talk proffered by loose friends, who in your darkest hours, appeal to your worst self.
There’s a difference between being an actual patriot and an unhinged fucking fanatic. I’ll leave you to decide on which side of the line Rush Limbaugh falls while I turn the Smack-o-Matic on another unhinged fucking fanatic (oops, gave away the answer there, didn’t I?):
Time‘s Joe Klein notices that a certain former U.N. ambassador has a preoccupation with bomb
ing a certain Middle Eastern country, and manages to keep finding major newspapers to publish his thoughts on the subject.
In the Washington Post today, screw-loose wingnut extraordinaire John Bolton has a column in which he advocates an Israeli strike against Iran. This would be shocking, except that…
On June 26, Bolton had an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which he advocated bombing Iran. And, well, er…
On June 12, he had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he advocated bombing Iran.
And that’s just three op-eds in three weeks. We could go back a little further and find Bolton — in op-eds, on Fox News — advocating military attacks on Iran for years.
Would you believe this fanatic is unhinged enough to think we’d be welcomed with open arms? He does:
Significantly, the uprising in Iran also makes it more likely that an effective public diplomacy campaign could be waged in the country to explain to Iranians that such an attack is directed against the regime, not against the Iranian people.
Because, as we all know, that’s exactly what went so well the last time. I mean, the Iraqis loved us so much for bombing the shit out of their country that they declared a national holiday just to wave goodbye. I’m sure the Iranians would be just as happy if we encouraged Israel to bomb the shit out of their country, too:
Spencer Ackerman suggests there’s a problem with Bolton’s approach.
Yes, the Israeli bombs will only kill the bad Iranians. When patriotic Iranians of the opposition see Israeli F-16s raining death from above on Iranian targets, Bolton actually expects them to think, “Boom shack-a-lacka! Here come our Israeli liberators! Let them bomb whatever they like, since even though Mir Hussein Moussavi supports a nuclear program as part of a consensus opinion, I believe Israeli propaganda that says it has our best interests at heart! That’ll show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Did you hear that, Aunt Marjam? Aunt Marjam…?”
If there’s one thing that a Bush official should understand, it’s that people under attack from a foreign enemy don’t rush to embrace their more moderate leaders.
You don’t say.
Suppose we shouldn’t be too suprised the WaPo gave Bolton a platform for such dangerous dumbfuckery. I guess they took one look at Glenn Beck, decided crazy sells, and are just desperate enough for money that they hoped Bolton would deliver. Y’see, they had another little cash cow in the works:
The Politico reports that the Washington Post, for a price of $25,000 to $250,000, is “offering lobbyists and association executives off-the-record, non-confrontational access to ‘those powerful few’ — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.” While the Politico notes that on-the-record events and conferences are becoming a trend in the newspaper industry, this type of closed, pay-for-access event raises serious ethical concerns.
Which didn’t matter much until news of the scheme broke, and a few folks at the paper realized that the old saw about any publicity being good publicity may be just a little bit untrue:
In light of this morning’s revelations, the Washington Post‘s executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, said he is “appalled” by the proposed “salon,” and said the newsroom will not participate in the event. “We do not offer access to the newsroom for money,” Brauchli said. “We just are not in that business.”
The Post went on to tell staffers that the scheduled event was put together by the corporate office’s business operation, without the knowledge of the editors. But just to remove any questions of impropriety, the scheduled “salon” was cancelled altogether this afternoon.
Oh, yeah. Blame it on the business unit. As if heads of other departments were snow fucking white, right? Go on, pull the other one – it’s got bells on.
I find it amusing that they were selling access they didn’t yet have.
But it’s not quite as amusing as Sean Hannity’s latest desperate reaching:
Sean Hannity usually just smears President Obama for the things that he says and the policies he puts forth, but on this segment he actually attacks him because someone in the audience had a quacking duck ring tone.
You know that the right is completely fucking deranged when their favoritest faux news outlet is attacking the President of the United States because of a private citizen’s ringtone. I mean, we already knew they were deranged. But that, my darlings, is pretty much the epitome of pathetic lunacy. Some kind people need to take Sean off to a nice padded room where he can sleep it off.
Yesterday, we ended Happy Hour with some of the most unhinged, outrageous, and completely disgusting rhetoric ever to come from the right (and that’s saying something, considering how unhinged, outrageous and completely disgusting their rhetoric is on a daily basis). We say the spectacle of Michael Scheuer, a former CIA official, pining for Osama bin Laden to come and blow Americans to smithereens, just to teach Americans a lesson, while Glenn Beck nodded happily in agreement. That Steve Benen made a prediction:
I’d just add that there will almost certainly be no consequences for this. Two nutty conservatives can talk about the advantages of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil — indeed, they can long for it — without facing any real pushback at all. There won’t be any suspensions or boycotts. No sponsors will withdraw. None of Beck’s or Scheuer’s allies will distance themselves, and neither one will be excluded from polite company.
How right he was:
Yesterday, on Alan Colmes’ radio show, Scheuer made similar comments about the national security stance of the U.S., saying that he doesn’t believe that President Obama wants to protect the country “if it costs him votes”:
COLMES: You don’t think the President of the United States, Barack Obama, cares about protecting this country.
SCHEUER: No, I don’t. Because I don’t think he realizes what the world is like outside the United States. [...]
COLMES: You don’t think he wants to protect the country?
SCHEUER: I don’t think he can, sir. [...]
COLMES: He doesn’t want to protect the country?
SCHEUER: Not if it costs votes.
I just did a Google search for Michael Scheuer. The only condemnation I see is coming from the left. The right, on the other hand, seems perfectly fine with a man calling for Osama bin Laden to blow up Americans. In fact, they’re more exercised about quacking duck ringtones than a man calling for a terrorist attack upon the United States of America.
That says all that needs to be said about the priorities of the right.