Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Smoking Kippers

A commenter recently showed up on a post of mine from February titled Moose Hatred, in which I had blasted the aptly named Bullmoose for being full of bull.  Specifically, the commenter slightly took me to task for not understanding that Bullmoose wasn’t criticizing people who disagree with Bush; only the ones who hated Bush.  

And this had me somewhat perplexed, as that was one of the main topics of my post; how completely absurd it is to suggest that there is this huge irrational Bush Hater group that is somehow more troublesome than Bush himself.  Hell, Bush had already given us so many rational reasons to hate him that you’d really have to work to find an irrational one.  It’s like blasting into a barrel of fish and trying not to hit any.  Impossible.

And sure, there are crazies out there.  But really, are these people who are normally rational who become irrational only when it comes to Bush?  Or is it that they’re somewhat irrational people who are also somewhat irrational when it comes to Bush.  Of course.  And they’re on all sides of the political spectrum, which only makes sense.

So does that mean we need to paint all people with the same broad brush, simply because they happen to have a some basic points in common?  Or that we need to waste our time debunking the crazies??  Of course not.  And yet the Bullmoose clearly spends more time denouncing small-time liberal “haters” than addressing his problems with the Republican president.  And while he pays lip service to the idea that there are also rightwing crazies, it’s only to justify his attacks against the lefty ones.

Here was the first line I had quoted of Bullmoose:
The Moose does not hate George W. Bush. That is a very controversial statement in almost all of the left and in much of the Democratic Party.

Now, come fucking on.  Even beyond the idiotic third-person device, that’s not a serious statement.  It’s an insult.  A cheap insult designed to make Moose feel superior to the people who keep proving him wrong.  I mean, nobody hates the Moose because he doesn’t hate Bush.  We hate the Moose because he’s an insulting twit who is helping to screw up our country.  Much like the man Moose doesn’t hate.  But instead of acknowledging our position or ignoring us, he lobs another of Rove’s insults at us.  Great.

Dueling Monologues

And that’s about what I wrote at the time, saying:
And what serious person could believe such nonsense?  Sure, there are lefties who supposedly ascribe to the “Bush hatred” idea, but I don’t believe them.  Because the word “hatred” typically means that the feelings are irrational.  And there are too many good, rational reasons to not like Bush.  You don’t even have to be paying attention and you’ll quickly be offended by what he does.  So I just don’t see exactly what the problem is with not liking the dude.  But if this is what passes for “hatred” these days, then I believe the intelligent position is to hate Bush.

Now I’ll admit that it was a damn long post, but that was only the third paragraph I wrote, and was clearly the main point.  And yet, my commenter writes:
Hey, the issue is not whether or not someone disagrees with Bush--it's whether or not someone HATES him.  The rhetoric of HATE comes from both sides, and is totally counter-productive. Hate is a personal issue, not a political one, and it has no place in constructive dialog

Constructive dialogue?  How about trying to read what someone writes before disagreeing with them?  How’s that for the opening of dialogue?  Call me crazy, but I think that if you’re not listening to the other side, then it’s only a monologue.

I don’t mean to be picking on my commenters.  God knows I have so few of them, and I suppose this might be just the reason.  But this really sums-up the problem with these centrist “non-haters”.  Because they’re just being used as tools by the Republicans, and continue to slowdown their own team.  I mean, who gives a shit if we hate Bush?  Why should that matter?  Shouldn’t it be about what we say, not the reasons we say it?  

Of course.  The whole “Bush Hater” line was a ruse devised by the Whitehouse as a catch-all to attack Bush’s critics and put them on the defensive.  No longer are these disagreers.  They’re irrational haters.  But this wasn’t a valid argument.  It wasn’t even intended as a direct insult against the so-called haters.  The real purpose was to convince “centrist” Dems that they need to distance themselves from the “crazies” on the left.  And to do that, they had to insult the “haters” and constantly denounce them and convince them to come down from the ledge.  And only after they got their liberal ducks in a row could they finally take-on the extremists on the other side.  It was like a never-ending primary for a general election that never happened.

And so they’ve spent the last six years attacking us and trying to get us to shut-up, so they can finally get down to criticizing Bush.  Because as long as us “haters” are denouncing Bush, these guys can’t.  And the centrists adopted the line all the way.  And by doing so, they are doing Bush’s dirty work for him.  The centrists continue to slander millions of Bush’s harshest critics, and by doing so, have only enabled him in his quest to divide the nation to his advantage.  And they dare to blame us for this polarization.

Anti-Bush Forces

The Washington Post’s dope-in-chief Richard Cohen admitted to this in his embarrassing review of Fahrenheit 9/11, writing (emphasis added):
The case against Bush need not and should not rest on guilt by association or half-baked conspiracy theories, which collapse at the first double take but reinforce the fervor of those already convinced. The success of Moore's movie, though, suggests this is happening -- a dialogue in which anti-Bush forces talk to themselves and do so in a way that puts off others. I found that happening to me in the run-up to the war, when I spent more time and energy arguing with those who said the war was about oil (no!) or Israel (no!) or something just as silly than I did questioning the stated reasons for invading Iraq -- weapons of mass destruction and Hussein's links to Osama bin Laden. This was stupid of me, but human nature nonetheless.

That’s right.  A supposedly respectable journalist actually wrote that in a bigtime newspaper.  That the reason he didn’t question the most important assertions in modern history was because he was too busy fending off the unimportant crazies on his own side.  Needless to say, Cohen did not actually collapse any conspiracy theories in that column.  Instead, he just stated that it was easily done while insulting millions of Democrats and insinuating a few falsehoods of his own.  Stupid, indeed.  

But maybe he’s right.  Perhaps it was my anti-war posts on the Yahoo messageboards in early ’03 that were to blame for making Cohen say this of Colin Powell’s career-ruining presentation to the UN:
The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise.

Sacre bleu!  If only I hadn’t already said that Bush was lying, Cohen would have been a touch more diligent about Powell’s bogus presentation.  Talk about bone-chilling.

And here he is in September 2004 explaining why he can’t be a true blue Democrat:
In fact, Bush haters go so far they wind up adding a dash of red to my blue, pushing me by revulsion into a color I otherwise would not have.

Interestingly, Cohen started by explaining why he’s not a blue or a red stater, but rather a purple state of his own.  And then spends one paragraph saying why he doesn’t like Bush’s policies, and the remaining five paragraphs explaining why he personally dislikes the Bush Haters, and how folks who merely disagree with Bush but don’t hate him are not blue staters, but purple ones, like himself.  Color me unimpressed.

And here he is still blaming the crazies several years into Bush’s presidency, as this column from March shows, where he has to first mock the “Bush lied” people, before concluding that he finally caught Bush in a lie.  (Bravo, Mr. Cohen.)

But why was it necessary for him to do that?  Why did he admittedly spend so much energy fighting his own side, rather than combating the real danger in his backyard?  It’s for the same reason why almost all of the bigtime “liberal” pundits had to denounce Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore, and almost anyone left of the DLC.  Because they had become convinced that they had to disassociate themselves from the freaks before they could be taken seriously.  And to do that, they had to spend a lot of time, energy, insults, and generalizations to publicly denounce these people whenever they got the chance.  And for that, they blame the lefties they attacked.

Circular Backstab

And that’s exactly how the Whitehouse planned it, and it’s still working.  “Centrists” have to constantly backstab their own people to prove their non-hatred for Bush, despite the fact that we’ve been explaining this to them for years.   Sometimes we say that it’s not hatred and sometimes we say that the hatred isn’t irrational; but it all works out to being the same thing.  This is a trick.  They were tricked, and they’re still tricked.  And so they spend five paragraphs of precious newspaper column to denounce the people they agree with on most issues.

But they don’t need to denounce us.  They don’t need to insult us.  They don’t even need to notice us if they don’t want to.  But if they feel they must address us, they could surely do so without impugning our motives or slandering us with Rove’s beloved slur.  Even one “Bush Hater” line is too many.  They continually denounce the vilification of enemies by vilifying their so-called allies.  And yet they rarely hurl this charge directly at anyone.  Michael Moore got blasted in that column I cited, and yet Cohen never directly labels Moore a “hater”.  They just keep using the same line denouncing generic “Bush Haters” that Rove gave them.

And now I’ve got this on my commentboard.  Again, I’m not trying to pick on one of my few commenters.  I just can’t help it.  Had he read my post and understood what I wrote, he wouldn’t have said what he did.  But he couldn’t bother.  I quoted the Bullmoose in yet another of his anti-Bush-Hater idiocies, and this guy had to defend him.  Not because I said anything wrong.  But because he believed the Bullmoose hadn’t said anything wrong and I had disagreed with him.  And that meant that I hadn’t understood the Moose’s delicate point of denouncing large swaths of generic people for having the wrong motives.

But I did understand and the Moose was wrong, for the reasons I said before.  Bush hatred is a red herring.  And unfortunately for Democrats, that’s about the only fish the DLC’s bait is any good at catching anymore.  But I guess that’s somehow our fault too.


Daniel said...

Of course you'd say that, you're just one of those Moose haters!

Anonymous said...

I get so sick of folks whinin aboout Bush hatred. What, after all, is the big problem with hating Bush? I mean here's a short list of what he's done and what he's still doing: The guy stole the presidency in 2000; sat on his ass for a month while the attacks in 2001 were looming and did nothing to stop it; lied us into a pointless, war; has overseen it so badly and let his underlings run it so badly that we've helped al qaeda immeasurably; screwed up our economy so badly with his dumb plutocrats' tax cuts that it will take my lifetime to pay back our debt; sat on his ass while a major American city drowned, and hundreds of poor Americans drowned with it; he still impugns the decency, wisdom, patriotism and courage of half of the American people; he still lies about why we went to war in Iraq, and what he said at the time about why we were to go to war...
I could go on but I won't.
The thing I have to ask is what the hell is wrong with those who DON'T hate Bush? I mean, this is our country he's screwing up. He's turning the U.S. into a toilet. Is that not enough of a reason to hate him? If not, then what would be? What more would Bush have to do before Cohen stops wasting our time and the newspaper's paper whining about how badly behaved and uncouth we are and starts hating bush himself? What the hell is wrong with these people?
God I hate them.
Bush, too.

Anonymous said...

The folks shovelling the "hater" meme would flunk out of any Intro to Debate class. They're using and abusing the old stand-by logical fallacy, Appeal to Motive. Stated quickly, it is an attempt to dismiss arguments out of hand by attacking the motive of the argument rather than the arguement itself. It's an effective rhetorical trick, but it's piss-poor logic. Unfortunately, most Murkins also have piss-poor logic skills, and fall for the easy rhetoric.