Tag Archives: rhetoric

What I Learned

3 Aug

So far, I’ve learned that the Democrats capitulated to tea party hostage-taking, abetted by mainstream Republicans; I’ve learned that the Republicans have sold out the tea party; I’ve learned that Gabby Giffords’ appearance on the House floor was a brazen stunt, concocted by Democrats to inject sympathy into the process; I’ve learned that Gabby Giffords’ appearance on the House floor was a brazen stunt, concocted by the White House to embarrass Democrats into voting in favor of the debt ceiling deal; I’ve learned that the debtpocalypse deal will guarantee a second recession because the government’s hands are now tied; I’ve learned that the debtpocalypse deal is horribly awful, and that anyone who took Econ 101 could tell you so – that you never pull trillions out of a recession economy; I’ve learned that the debtpocalypse deal is a return to fiscal sanity and responsibility, and that Washington is finally getting its fiscal house in order; I’ve learned that the supercommittee that will be constituted to establish cuts will be responsible; I’ve learned that the supercommittee that will be constituted to establish cuts is just a “catfood commission” that will determine how much more awful it can make the lives of Medicare-dependent seniors.

I do, however, agree with this:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/RBReich/status/97890093695647744″%5D

I did learn that the Dow dipped 2% yesterday upon news of a debt deal, and that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I also learned that Senator Mitch McConnell has never worked a day in his life in the dreaded private sector.

In short, the country is well past having an honest discussion about fixing the economy, and both sides have become radicalized. This compromise is precisely how the country was founded to run. If we wanted to guarantee that policies or bills would be introduced and passed, we’d have a parliamentary system.

I learned that the Democrats have no game, and don’t know when or how to play a good hand. I learned that the Democrats suck at messaging, and the President makes a nice speech, but can’t – or won’t – advocate for what he believes in.  This country is ruled right now by the tea party.  Progressives, meanwhile, are pissing all over President Obama rather than Republicans and their tea party dog waggers.

I’m no economist, so I’m not going to pretend to inject my own opinion about whether this compromise is a disaster or not. I’m returned to the notion that re-election is the matter of tantamount importance in Washington. I also get the sense that President Obama’s entire raison d’etre is to prove to the tea party that he’s not the soshulist Kenyan usurper they think he is, which is as pointless as it is unnecessary.

The Land of Make-Believe

12 Jan

While explaining how bad it is to “politicize” the attempted assassination of a politician by a madman with odd political views, the right wing has further politicized it by trying to create a “Loughner was a leftist” meme.  Have it both ways, you can’t.

With that said, one would have hoped that a bullet going through the skull of a congresswoman targeted by a hit list may have given people pause and contributed to a soul-searching about violent rhetoric that’s been quite popular on the right, especially in the last year.

No such luck.

Instead, the right has denied, denied, denied that (a) its rhetoric was in any way overheated;  (b) that overheated, violent rhetoric is perfectly ok; and (c) the left is as bad if not worse.  Oh, well.  We all know that this right here is absolutely what happened on Sunday.  Attempts at equivalency have been uniformly lame and unpersuasive, pointing to apologized-for Olbermannian metaphors, or Obama quoting from the Untouchables (ignoring the fact that, in that particular instance, the other side would have already come armed with knives).

Since it’s clear that the right wing absolutely refuses to accept any blame for anything, ever, here are some handy tips provided by Josh Marshall for what ought to be generally acceptable political behavior.  Conservatives are welcome to ignore them, I suppose, since there’s nothing wrong with any of it, or because the left-did-it-too-but-there’s-really-no-proof-of-that.

1. Refrain from telling supporters that winning the election may require active exercise of their “second amendment” rights.

2. Refrain from suggesting it’s time for “armed revolution”, even if Thomas Jefferson once kinda sorta suggested that.

3. Refrain from holding political fundraisers focused around use of automatic weapons, especially target practices with initials, name or images of your political opponent.

4. Refrain from telling supporters you want them to be “armed and dangerous.”

5. Refrain from making campaign posters with opponent’s head in gun sights.

6. Refrain from saying that bullets will work if ballots don’t.

7. Suggest that supporters not bring weapons to opponents’ political rallies.

All seven of those examples are genuine things that happened in 2010.  There was no problem whatsoever in 2010.  The Republicans are going all Barbrady on everyone’s ass.

[HTML1]

Say what you will about the Buffalo News, but its editorial yesterday was exactly on target.

…with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Fox News taking up the cudgel. Today, no slander is too vile, no lie too pernicious to be leveled as conservatives, in and out of government, thrash at President Obama and his agenda. Coulter calls Democrats treasonous. Sarah Palin says the health reform law creates “death panels.” Her website put cross hairs on the districts of elected officials she was targeting for defeat. One was Giffords’.

It happens in New York, too. Last year’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, repeatedly charged over the line in criticizing his opponent Andrew M. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and even former Republican Gov. George E. Pataki.

Against that onslaught, the liberal insults of Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow seem almost benign, though some on the left have this in common with their right-wing adversaries: They, too, have a stake in casting issues as black and white, driving the sides further apart and making compromise ever more difficult. Why didn’t Republicans work to improve last year’s health care reform bill instead of working to subvert it? Because in the current climate there is no percentage in making government work.

There’s a lot of sowing, but not enough reaping.  I sure wish that the Republican mainstream would stop egging dummies on with rhetoric that basically equates Obama and the Democrats with SatanHitlerMao, but they won’t because it helps shore up the whackjob vote they apparently so desperately need.  I sure wish that the Republican mainstream would stop fetishizing guns in conjunction with their “the other side is a bunch of death-panel-making commienazi” rhetoric, but to do so might mean that they’d have to participate in a government with Democratic majorities.

Let’s just put it this way – it’d be swell if no more lawmakers were shot through the head.  Have a great day!

Related articles

Tyrannic Totalitarian Representatives

23 Mar
Washington, DC "Taxation Without Represen...
Image via Wikipedia

Whilst tea party Republicans bleat and whine about Congress being the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and health insurance consumer protections and universal coverage being the second coming of Marx and Hitler and Stalin, I wanted to point something out.

The tea party in Boston in 1773 was about taxation without representation. It was about colonists being treated unfairly by their King and mother country. Are you really saying you’re not represented? Because the candidate who would have ostensibly voted against this bill wasn’t elected, that’s the same as subjugation under an imperial master?

Because I wanted the bill to pass, and my representative didn’t listen to me. Chris Lee ignored my desire that this become law so that I can have health insurance portability, no rescission, and access to insurance for pre-existing conditions should I lose mine at some point. I also think it’s critically important that every American have access to affordable, quality insurance.

Chris Lee didn’t listen to me. I wasn’t “represented”, by your argument.

So, should we elect two representatives to the house – one Democrat and one Republican? Well, then the Greens and the Communists aren’t represented. That’s not fair.

If you don’t like the system, then your faux, ignorant fawning over the founding fathers is bullshit, isn’t it? Because this is how they set it up. Representatives get elected. They vote their conscience – they lead by principle, not by taking a poll of their constituents and going along with the majority.

So, frankly, I won’t be taking to the streets in colonial garb to rail against the totalitarianism of Chris Lee. The guy didn’t vote the way I want. That means I’ll do what I can to get his opponent elected, should one ever emerge.

But this whole nonsense about tea parties and dictatorship and the end of America? I swear, there’s another Timothy McVeigh out there brewing, and he’s going to strike sooner rather than later. You’re just enabling him and feeding him. I’ll be the first to say “I told you so.”

Have fun with that.

Global War on Terror

25 Mar

Terrorism has existed since Bible times, so it’s pretty fecking unlikely that we’re ever going to “win” a “war on terror”. War on al Qaeda? Sure. War in Iraq or Afghanistan? Okee dokee. But a “war on terror”?

One of Buffalo Bean’s 2,934 other blogs today mocked Obama for ending the “GWOT” – something that is, evidently, patently untrue.

But every time I hear “war on terror”, I think of this David Cross routine, key bits start around 5:13: