The Spectacle Blog
Over at Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi first calls Democrats attacks on Rumsfeld, "one of those groan-out-loud coordinated media-sandbag jobs, now standard procedure in American politics, where the various politicians separately make exactly the same pre-prepared 'jokes' in their respective 'extemporaneous' public remarks, delivering their message with all the wit and spontaneity of a Speak N' Spell," and then turns his vitriolic cannon on Joe Biden for a lengthy volley, which begins thusly:
In today's NY Times column (subscription required) Paul Krugman writes:
We are, finally, having a national discussion about inequality, and right-wing commentators are in full panic mode. Statistics, most of them irrelevant or misleading, are flying; straw men are under furious attack. It's all very confusing -- deliberately so. So let me offer a few clarifying comments.
The trouble is, at no point in the article does he quote specific "panicking" conservatives. Instead, he makes statements such as,"Conservative commentators tell us about wage gains for one-eyed bearded men with 2.5 years of college, or whatever - and conveniently forget to adjust for inflation." But isn't that just -- dare I say it -- a strawman? Meanwhile, consider this bit of economic news from today's business section of Krugman's own employer:
When even your damage control is out of control, you're in the catbird seat for the slow-motion crash that is the American automotive industry. Waiting desperately for a click of my mouse -- aside a CBS web report indicating that Richard Armitage "feels terrible" "every day" about having "let down the President" and "Mr. and Mrs. Wilson" (!) -- is a Ford advertisement, one which you may have seen lately, too. The headline? BOLD MOVES. The text? "A video documentary series that takes you INSIDE FORD as it attempts one of the largest corporate turnarounds in history."
The drama! The passion! The -- wait, attempts the turnaround? Video documentary? A click on this link takes you to a full-blown publicity campaign -- sorry, internet documentary -- "documenting the future of Ford." (I knew it wasn't a documentary.) It's replete with exhortations to "tell a friend," "blog it," (!!) and "engage, debate, and get involved in what's happening at Ford right now."
Leave aside the question of whether his characterization of the contemporary GOP is accurate; consider instead the profound ignorance of American history betrayed by the comment that this would be "the first time" that "one of the major parties is, at its core, a religious organization." The Know-Nothings campaigned entirely on Protestant chauvanism. The Free Soilers -- and then the Republicans -- were organized around an abolitionist movement overwhelmingly driven by religious conviction. The Bryanists who controlled the Democratic Party from 1896-1908 explicitly grounded their populist ideology in faith. Those are just the most obvious examples. Can Andrew really know none of this?
The Democrats are the Party fighting for free speech and against the abuse of power!
From a Senate Democrats' letter to ABC about the airing of the Path To 9/11:
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
And if that don't work, a swim in the Hudson wearing cement shoes ought to do it!
I missed this earlier in the week (it's been a busy one of supplementary jurisdiction, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and mens rea), but Judge Harvey Wilkinson had an eloquent op-ed in the Post Tuesday arguing against the Federal Marriage Amendment from the perspective of judicial restraint.
I have struggled to see the necessity of the FMA, and Wilkinson cinched it for me. FMA would do what conservatives have decried for years: constitutionalize what is rightly the province of state law.
"There are some people, and I'm one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord," Tomanio said. "I don't care how he governs, I will support him. I'm a Republican through and through."
On the basis of this, Sullivan feels comfortable concluding, "For the first time, one of the major parties is, at its core, a religious organization."
The verbosity of the Kean-Hamilton "Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission" is forecast in its title: "Without Precedent." Couldn't they have said "Unprecedented" and hewn to similar economy in the remainder of the writing?
The LA Times reports:
After much discussion, ABC executives and the producers toned down, but did not eliminate entirely, a scene that involved