25 September, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

My darlings, let's start Happy Hour right. Let's start with some unabashed Glenn Beck bashing. What else do you do with a man who shrieks that the President has a "deep seated hatred of ... white culture," but can't define "white culture"?

During the interview, Couric posed a question from a Twitter user who wanted to know what Beck meant by “white culture” in his attack on Obama. Beck responded by stuttering: “Ummmmm, I don’t know.” He then suggested that he had already answered the criticism on his website, and therefore didn’t want to “make news” by responding to Couric.

“Can you explain what you mean by the white culture?” Couric insisted, “because some people say that sounds kind of racist.” Beck complained that he shouldn’t be the “target” for “asking” if Obama is a racist. Then he turned snarky as Couric persisted with her line of questioning:

COURIC: People just want to know. What is white culture?

BECK: I’m going to see if I can play your game. People just want to know.

COURIC: You know, well, [Twitter questioner] Adrian wants to know.

BECK: That’s good for Adrian.

When Beck said that he’s “not going to get into your soundbite gotcha game,” Couric noted that the interview would be “completely unedited so if you felt like you wanted to explain it, you have all the time in the world.” But Beck still wouldn’t give an answer.
I rather suspect he can't. So he turns to boiling rubber frogs instead:

Glenn Beck has intimated previously that President Obama wants to destroy you -- after all, who could forget the time he doused another Fox weenie with "gasoline" and then held a match in his vicinity, saying he was Obama?

He did it again last night, by way of explaining why he said he thought John McCain would have been worse than Obama. He put out a pot of boiling water, playing off the old scenario about boiled frogs, and how they can't tell they're in lethally hot water until it's too late if you turn the heat up slowly. That, he argues, is what has been happening to us, and McCain just would have continued the process.

Beck thinks what Obama is actually doing is turning the heat up all at once and then tossing the frogs (that is, the American people) in. So he grabbed a supposedly live frog and tossed it into the water. (Later, he had John Bolton declare that it was actually a fake rubber frog.) Gosh, he says, he was hoping the frog would jump out.

No wonder the Mt. Vernon city council wants nothing to do with him:

On September 26, Bud Norris, the mayor of Mt. Vernon, WA, will award the ceremonial key to the city to Glenn Beck, who grew up there. Norris’ decision to declare “Glenn Beck Day” has led to demonstrations “on the streets and in city council meetings over the conservative commentator’s visit.” Last night, the city council voted unanimously to distance itself from honoring Beck:

On Wednesday night, the City Council of this town of 32,000 distanced itself from Mayor Bud Norris, who plans to give the keys to the city to talk-show personality Glenn Beck on Saturday.

The seven-member council unanimously passed a resolution proposed by member Dale Ragan that stated, “Mount Vernon City Council is in no way sponsoring the Mayor’s event on September 26, 2009 and is not connected to the Glenn Beck event in any manner.”

And his fellow right-wingers seem to be feeling the same way. Can't say as I blame them.

Of course, some just seem like they're competing for Beck's position as most mentally ill right-wing media personality:

Michelle Malkin was the featured guest on Sean Hannity's Fox News show last night to talk about President Obama's address to the United Nations, and it was a sight to behold. A wretched, horrifyingly ugly sight, but yeah, a sight:

Malkin: He doesn't like this country very much. And I think you did a great video tour there of all of his wonderful hits on his "We Suck '09" tour, ah, so far. And this latest speech before the United Nations and its cast of villainous characters -- it was really a Legion of Doom parade that he dignified with his presence -- and he solidified his place in the international view as the Great Appeaser and the Groveler in Chief!

Hannity finds it "almost shocking" that "Obama was saying we're not going to force our values on you." Malkin correctly calls this "a rejection of American exceptionalism" -- as though that were a bad thing. Maybe that's one of the differences between movement conservatives and sane people: The latter do not harbor megalomaniacal visions of American power ruling the world and forcing our values on other nations.

Ah, but we liberals are so naive, Malkin says, because "hatred of America is never going to go away" -- which is probably true. On the other hand, policies that arrogantly inflame and deepen that hatred are not, you know, really in our best interests.

She's got some insane idea that the world's laughing at us because we're no longer playing cowboy and riding roughshod over them. That, boys and girls, is what we call delusional. But still, it's no rubber frog boiling.

As entertaining as this is, we must now turn our attention away from media assclowns and examine the law of unintended consequences as it applies to David "Diapers" Vitter:

The Louisiana Democratic Party has a funny new online petition, targeting Republican Senator David Vitter, and his campaigns against ACORN.

The petition calls upon Congress to defund David Vitter, citing Vitter's own past involvement with prostitutes. From the party's press release:

Last week, admitted criminal Vitter introduced an amendment that would have kicked innocent families out of public housing in New Orleans if one member of that family committed a crime. Vitter said the federal government should not fund centers of crime.

Just yesterday, Vitter asked the U.S. Justice Department - whose investigation turned up Vitter's phone number in the DC Madame's phone records - to investigate an organization recently implicated in a prostitution scandal. Think about that one for a second.
Let this be a lesson: those who linger in houses of ill repute should not throw anti-crime amendments.

Also in the department of unintended but fucking obvious consequences, Cons and their media lapdogs probably shouldn't whine that the current President is "too" interested in policy:
There's been an odd trend in recent months in which mainstream media outlets criticize President Obama for caring too much about public policy. I tend to find it a refreshing change of pace after the Bush era to have a curious, intellectually engaged leader, but a surprising number of observers feel differently.

MSNBC's First Read, for example, recently suggested the president "knows too much" about health care policy. Soon after, the Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman also complained that the president cares too much about policy details.

David Broder raises a similar point today, riffing off a piece from William Schambra in National Affairs.


The pitch, in a nutshell, is that the president cares far too much about facts, reason, and evidence. He insists on shaping policies based on their effectiveness. This White House, like the two other Democratic White House of the last 40 years, is convinced that problem-solving is possible through coherent policymaking.

And that's a mistake, Broder suggests, because politics is messy. It's better, the argument goes, to take policy matters far less seriously.

Joe Klein had a good response to this: "Yes, it is possible for liberals to go too utopian, to lose sight of the importance of private entrepreneuralism, to be deluded into believing that government can impose perfect justice and perfect order. But neither Clinton nor Obama -- moderate liberals, at best -- seem even vaguely utopian. The real question is this: if liberals are in favor of policy solutions to chronic societal problems, what are conservatives for? ... It's not liberals who have an existential problem right now. It is conservatives, who believe in nothing, it seems, but winning...and winning at all costs, even at the expense of truth, civility and honor."

I have nothing to add except "Brav-fucking-o!"

And, finally, let's hop into the wayback machine for a glimpse of what the White House was like when the incumbent wasn't a policy wonk, but a total fucking fool:

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civil award, and is given to individuals who have contributed to: 1) the security or national interests of the United States, 2) world peace, or 3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

In his new book, Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer reveals how politicized the revered Presidential Medal of Freedom became during the Bush administration.

Latimer writes that administration officials objected to giving author J.K. Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because her writing “encouraged witchcraft” (p. 201):

This was the same sort of narrow thinking that led people in the White House to actually object to giving the author J.K. Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged withcraft.

Now I think I understand why a DOJ official found it "surreal" to be thoroughly grilled by Sen. Franken on policy and Constitutional questions raised by the Patriot Act. It's not because Franken used to be a comedian. It's because under the previous administration, the White House turned our nation's government into a joke.

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