Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 24, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PRIORITIES....First we got two solid weeks of Republicans screeching over the MoveOn ad. Then we got Republicans screeching over the possibility that maybe the New York Times didn't charge MoveOn enough for their ad. Now we have Republicans screeching about cutting off Columbia University's funding because it provided a forum in which people could laugh at the inanities of Iran's current president.

That's a lot of screeching over trivia. Don't Republicans have anything better to do?

No? Well, OK then.

Kevin Drum 6:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (70)

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All that screeching gets a lot of media attention.

Admittedly, it starts getting a little "boy who cried wolf" after a while, and it also starts bringing down the credibility of the media in addition to that of the Republicans, but insofar as the media set frames, promulgate narratives, and anoint winners, you gotta admit that the Republicans are outplaying the Democrats in this regard, to the point that it's not even a contest.

A good example of this, as Digby pointed out, is that the "MoveOn" ad has been in the news for WEEKS now, while they haven't even registered the Republican rewrite of "God Bless America" that TRASHES America.

I think it's way too soon to be getting snarky or smug about this...

Posted by: bleh on September 24, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

[Content deleted. IP check verifies a banned commenter.]

Posted by: Jake D. on September 24, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Inanities aside, the guy was more coherent and informed than George Bush.

Posted by: bmaz on September 24, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

NYT makes it sound like lots of folks got to pile on Ahmadinejad and raise concerns about Iran. Moreover, Ahmadinejad showed he was an idiot (maybe fanatic is a better word). What is everyone complaining about? I score it US 1, Iran 0.

Posted by: Bush Lover on September 24, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the "Speaker Ban" imposed on the University of North Carolina under the influence of Jesse Helms while he was the editorialist for a Raleigh TV station.

Thinking of speaking engagements, I somehow doubt that prospective ex-president G.W. Bush will get very many outside of the US.

Posted by: David Martin on September 24, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Now, exactly when did the GOP call for congressional investigations into the Swift Boat Vets false claims?

Never?

What I thought.

And, no, they aren't raising valid questions.

There has already been disclosure of the facts, neither incident is subject to governmental action (there are no laws governing media advertising rates and the government has no right to censure, much less make illegal, speech at universities, unless they repealed the First Amendment), and both are less than trivial, not to mention conservatives are wrong on both issues.

Columbia is perfectly free to let anyone it wants speak at their university if they are legally in this country.

The New York Times is perfectly free to give special advertising rates to anyone it wants to.

No laws have been broken.

No journalistic standards have been broken that FOX hasn't broken a hundred times without any call by conservative liars like Jake D for investigation.

Posted by: anonymous on September 24, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK
Posted by: Al on September 24, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't Republicans have anything better to do?

Method to the madness. Time spent on this crap is time not spent contemplating the disaster of Republican governance. IOW, they are using their best asset (media dominance) to disguise the magnitude of their failures.

The problem for them is that this sort of diversionary tactic works at the margins, but it can't rescue a full-blown catastrophe. The electorate has now had several years (and will be treated to an additional year) of lessons in why they should never EVER allow the GOP to run things. And all this handwaving over trivia really does is discredit the media organs they've spent so long putting in place.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 24, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, I don't think Columbia U. should have invited Ahmadinejad, but having done so, I think the best thing would be for Holocaust survivors to come to that event, and the moderator call on them and give them the opportunity to tell their own personal stories about how their families and neighbors were all murdered by the Nazis. This would be a powerful response to a prominent Holocaust denier.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on September 24, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe someone could have read this for the guy:

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at morning and midday we drink you at evening
we drink and we drink
A man lives in the house he plays with his vipers he writes
he writes when it grows dark to Deutschland your golden hair Margeurite
your ashen hair Shulamith we shovel a grave in the air there you won't lie too cramped
He shouts jab this earth deeper you lot there you others sing up and play
he grabs for the rod in his belt he swings it his eyes are blue
jab your spades deeper you lot there you others play on for the dancing

-from "Death Fugue" by Paul Celan

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 24, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

A true story, as a parable: about 25 years ago, I worked for a Senator who is now a candidate for the Presidency. He had his choice of veteran foreign policy staff, so he hired a fellow who is utterly unknown to the public, but was an insider's insider in the Senate. Still, the guy WAS an insider, which meant that he had only genuine expertise in the ways of the world (not to mention the ways of the Senate) rather than any political constituency as such. This obviously laid the ground for some friction, and it wasn't long in coming.

Cuz the Senator had also hired an international law specialist, an emigre from Eastern Europe who had a bit of a constituency for ethnic and other reasons. The two of them had a vague understanding that the one would do human rights (except for...), and the other would do foreign policy (except for...); it was only a matter of time before something hit the fan. And I was there when it did.

Another Senator, personally close to our guy, announced he would soon introduce a non-binding resolution calling for American support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan, and was circulating a "Dear Colleague" looking for original cosponsors. In the Byzantine ways of Senate offices, the letter went to the emigre. He took one look at it, thought it an innocuous non-binding bit of hufflepuff against Soviet aggression but -- out of a sense of collegiality -- he walked it over to the more senior, insider guy.

Who looked it over, handed it back, and said: so?

Still thinking this was collegial, the emigre said, well, I think I'm going to put our guy on it.

The senior guy replied in measured, clear tones that everyone could hear without causing a scene: "You see, that's what I have against you Soviet refugees. You're so fixated on sticking it to the Soviets every chance you get that you don't know shit from sunshine."

The emigre was stunned -- then OUTRAGED, at this personal insult. He insisted on bringing the issue directly to the Senator, who naturally agreed, why, yes, of course, this is YOUR department, it's about, um, human rights, and naturally THIS is why I hired you....

And from then on, the emigre got all the bullshit non-binding resolutions, and the senior guy got everything that was important: the most brutal and efficiently effective victory in smalltime politics I ever saw.

THAT is how to handle all the GOP wedge issue symbolic bullshit.

BTW -- there's another lesson here, too: I asked the insider guy -- so, what's up with this resolution? NINETY-NINE Senators cosponsored the damn thing, the only exception between Mac Mathias of Maryland. And he told me, look -- who are these people we're supporting? Aren't they getting money from Saudia Arabia? Are THEY our friends? He said, that's why Mac Mathias is regarded with genuine respect around here -- cuz HE knows shit from sunshine.

It's been a quarter century, and now and again, I remember that conversation: so, FWIW. When they make it out that a nickname for a general (Dugout Doug?) is a threat to national security, or who gets to speak at some Ivy League college, well -- let 'em have it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 24, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

I read something in Newsday today about The Times admitting it didn't charge MoveOn enough money, compared to what they charged for the Giuliani campaign to run its ad. In response, MoveOn sent a check for the difference.

Still, you'd think they'd have something better to do. But then, you'd think they'd learn that trying to protect those who break the law isn't going to win them votes. Not so much, apparently.

Posted by: Brian on September 24, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting that McConnell, a government official, lies under oath about FISA, and congressional Republicans would rather investigate the NYT which disclosed the truth and apologized for erroneous information about an incident which is not within the jurisdiction of Congress or has anything to do with their responsibilities.

Posted by: anonymous on September 24, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy is turning out to be another Tom Delay and/or Richard Cheney.

Rudy tries to hard to let his fellow Repugs know how ugly he can be to liberal American. Maybe it's fun for him and all the rabid dogs he hangs out with but really, I don't see how this behavior wins elections?

Rudy needs a bumper sticker that says he is "the far right-wing of Repug Party".

As campaign prop, Rudy will push his self-detonation button anytime now and go up in a big ball of snark. The sooner the better too.

If all else fails Rudy, than just go crazy.

Posted by: Me_again on September 24, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to thank the GOP for reminding me to give money to MoveOn - which I did last night.

Boneheads.

(or should that be bone-heads?)

Posted by: craigie on September 24, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on September 24, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

I wish President W. Bush would visit Tehran and subject himself to the kind of ridicule President Ahmadinejad was given today in New York. President W. Bush is too much of a coward to subject himself to public criticism by a foreign population. He is too much of a coward to do it with a domestic population, too.

Posted by: Brojo on September 24, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by Al:
"Why shouldn't it? If leaders of the KKK can't speak at Columbia, why should one of the leaders of the Islamofascists be able to speak at Columbia? This is liberal hypocrisy."

The difference is that a leader of the KKK is not even remotely politically relevant. The KKK is hated ultra-minority that propagates the theory that white men are inherently superior to all other people. The court of public opinion has already made it's decision on it, and there is no reason to rehash old trash.

President Ahmadinejad is massively relevant, and there is a lot to learn from seeing him speak. He represents a mind-numbingly alien viewpoint to many of us. He also represents a growing power in the middle east and so it also represents a great opportunity for young Americans to 'get it straight from the horses mouth'. There is much to be learned for the future politicians/analysts/pundits etc by seeing Ahmadinejad face to face and hearing him speak.

It's also a way for Ahmadinejad to paint himself into a corner with his own rhetoric. By letting him speak directly to Americans, the country can make it's own decisions in the court of public opinion. After all, if all the propaganda Bush feeds us is absolutely Right, then they have nothing to fear... right?

*note: I'm assuming it's also pretty safe to say that what KKK members do vote, are pretty much all card carrying republicans. I can't ever imagine one of them voting Dem.

Posted by: Aaron on September 24, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Tonight on Hardball, a Congresswoman screaming about the Moveon Ad had her head handed to her when the reporter asked her a simple question. What is the name of the last soldier in your district who died? She couldn't name the soldier and looked awful. Memo to Congress - when you spend more time debating a stupid ad than the actual war policy - where real human beings are dying -you are really ticking off the voters.

Posted by: aline on September 24, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: Republicans point out that an extreme left wing organization paid for an ad that implied that the US general in charge of Iraq is a traitor.

Lie. The MoveOn add did not imply that Petraeus is a traitor.

Now, that out of the way, let's count the many times that extreme AND moderate right wing organizations and individuals have publically called various Democrats and liberals traitors.

Then Republicans raise a real stink about Columbia's giving a tyrant a forum . . .

Repugnicans prefer to give tyrants monetary and political support, to supply them with the means to torture, murder, rape, and steal, and to help them build WMDs; just providing a forum for them on the world stage is never enough.

So insignificant that he makes them a topic to be discussed.

Hmmmmmm. And how many issues labeled as "insignificant points" have conservatives raised as topics . . . e.g., charges against Libby.

Posted by: anonymous on September 24, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

They don't have anything better to do, but they do have more mischievous things to do. Well, first: I can't be the only one to note the hypocrisy of those right-wingers agitating to sack the entire Columbia University just for allowing A-jab to speak, and even after the CU Pres. got after A-jab worse than even a centrist would be inclined to do. That same crowd is always griping about "speach codes" and "political correctness" on campus, and why can't so and so talk (like Ann Coulter, who has genuinely insulted more Americans than A-jab.)

Second, you should look at this in juancole.com about the hypocritical Israeli Foreign Minister now complaining hysterically about A-jab. She has some reason to worry about him, but as for her own background:

"
Tzipi Livni Aboutface: Now Against Terrorism

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, now grandstanding at the UN, is the daughter of Eitan Livni, the chief operations officer of the Irgun terrorist organization. Among Irgun's most spectacular operations was the blowing up of the King David tourist hotel in Jerusalem, which killed dozens of innocents (also some British intelligence officers). Just to give you an idea of how things change, the Irgun bombers disguised themselves as Arabs. Obviously, in 1946 Arabs could be presumed not to be dangerous, which explains the disguise; it was people who looked like they might be violent Zionists that would have attracted suspicion. Later generations of rightwing Zionists have attempted to convince the rest of the world that the Arab kaffiyah is an icon of terrorism; but their parents were perfectly willing to display it as a sign of innocence (and perhaps with the intention that the Arabs should take the fall)."

Posted by: Neil B. on September 24, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

What a medieval spectacle (on all sides, with my apologies to medievalists). The president of a major university shouldn't invite foreign heads of state to speak and then insult them, no matter how repellent their ideas are. There is such a thing as "diplomacy."

Posted by: sara on September 24, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the MoveOn business got way too much press, but since the Republicans are the minority party, why would anyone expect they have something "better to do"? Minority parties can't set legislative agendas, so their job is to critique the majority party to persuade voters that they should be the majority party. Sure, their grasping at straws, but that's probably their best angle until they get a nominee...

Posted by: P on September 24, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

President Ahmadinejad is massively relevant, and there is a lot to learn from seeing him speak. He represents a mind-numbingly alien viewpoint to many of us.

I agree, except that the viewpoint is not all alien; it is here in North America. I have many students with variations of that viewpoint. We have to learn to separate the wheat from the chaff, to learn who has something valid to say and who is too far out there. After all, a good deal of politics is making friends with the right people.

Otherwise, when the shit hits the fan, you don't know who is who.

Posted by: Bob M on September 24, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a buffoon who holds no real power in his own country, so all this GOP squawking sounds suspiciously like Lyndon Larouche whenever he villifies Queen Elizabeth II.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 24, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

aline: "Tonight on Hardball, a Congresswoman screaming about the Moveon Ad had her head handed to her when the reporter asked her a simple question. What is the name of the last soldier in your district who died?"

Reminds me of the time Steven Colbert asked a Georgia GOP congressman who was defending that silly "10 Commandments" sculture in the Alabama Supreme Court building, to name but three of the 10 commandments. He couldn't.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 24, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Don't Republicans have anything better to do?

Don't Democrats?

Posted by: Shelby on September 24, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

The president of a major university shouldn't invite foreign heads of state to speak and then insult them, no matter how repellent their ideas are.

A-fucking-men.

What a compromised piece of shit this Bollinger proved himself to be.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 24, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

"We have come to wreck everything, and ruin your life."

Posted by: Swan on September 24, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

I can just imagine how this idiot Bollinger is going to react to the right wing harpies coming after him to deny Columbia federal funding.

"But didn't you see how I insulted the man? Didn't I do plenty enough to show how disgusted I was with him? Didn't I do everything in my power to humiliate him and make sure nobody but nobody listened to a thing he had to say? Truly, what more could I have done?"

Posted by: frankly0 on September 24, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

It is time to move on folks. You guys want something to be outraged about. It was reported today that a "senior White House official" said during an interview that Barack Obama is too lazy to be president. The NRC followed up by saying Obama is all razzle-dazzle lacking real substance. Folks calling a black man lazy invokes a really ugly racial stereotype. We ought to be calling bullshit on the "senior white house official" for invoking a racial stereotype.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 24, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK


To Kevin: no.

To Shelby: no.

This "Betray Us" ad brouhaha is just as important a story as the original OJ trial. The importance of the underlying facts is infinitely smaller than the importance of the Rorschach-test quality of the controversy.

Either you believe this nation exists to serve its military, or you believe the opposite. It's a simple, but absolutely fundamental question. Dubya told us, in his press conference, that American politicians should "fear to irritate" the US military more than they fear to irritate a large group of American citizens. So he nailed his colors to the mast, on that one.

-- TP

Posted by: Tony P. on September 24, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

It was the Dems' job to ask for the investigations into the Swift Boat attack ads and the ads smearing the veteran senator from Georgia.

That they did not even attempt to do so is a black mark on the Democrats.

Posted by: gregor on September 24, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

When Bush claimed that if we didn't fight them over there, we would have to fight them here, I never realized that he meant Ahmadinejad.

That also raises the question of why Bush was AWOL when an evil-doer like Ahmadinejad just waltzed into the US.

Posted by: FS on September 24, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

It is time to move on folks. You guys want something to be outraged about. It was reported today that a "senior White House official" said during an interview that Barack Obama is too lazy to be president. The NRC followed up by saying Obama is all razzle-dazzle lacking real substance. Folks calling a black man lazy invokes a really ugly racial stereotype. We ought to be calling bullshit on the "senior white house official" for invoking a racial stereotype.

Please quote this person more accurately: The WH called Obama "intellectually lazy," not simply "lazy." This is certainly something of a racial stereotype (though less frequently employed than the slur of physical laziness), but is also fucking hilarious considering the source.

Posted by: shortstop on September 24, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Now we have Republicans screeching about cutting off Columbia University's funding because it provided a forum in which people could laugh at the inanities of Iran's current president.

What, because the President of Columbia ridiculed him and basically put him in the modern version of the stocks?

I'd just like to distinguish this from the KKK or Fox News, groups who we liberals would like to see talking less. It's different because Ahmadinejad is a head of state (really powerful / controls a lot) and because a lot of Americans don't know what he stands for. It's already common knowledge what Fox and the KKK stand for, but they want captive audiences so they have more of a chance to convince people. Ahmadinejad wasn't given a captive audience, and he's not going to have the chance to win people over in the future. America got the chance to see for itself whether all the things the media said about Ahmadinejad were true.

Posted by: Swan on September 24, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows that Republicans have to screech as much as they can about everything just to hold back the tide of libruls' evil. After all, libruls want to force all of our underage girls to take LSD so they can then be forced to get pregnant so they can they be forced to get abortions so they will have free time to give oral sex to all of their male friends at school, at those wild sex parties that are going on at all of the schools across this once proud nation of ours.

No one wonder Senator Stevens likes to squawk. What's a little graft compared to the death of the American way of life at the hands of the dionysian orgies that our devil-worshiping children are indulging in?

Posted by: Anon on September 24, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't mention the war! I only mentioned it once but I think I got away with it."
--Basil Fawlty

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 24, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

The WH called Obama "intellectually lazy," not simply "lazy." This is certainly something of a racial stereotype (though less frequently employed than the slur of physical laziness), but is also fucking hilarious considering the source.

Well, I've certainly been critical of Obama, but I have to agree with the idea that calling him "intellectually lazy" is nothing but an invocation of racial stereotype.

The qualifier "intellectually" should be understood for what it obviously is: a verbal fig leaf to cover the true payload of the slur, namely that he is lazy.

Further evidence it's meant as a slur is how utterly contrived and baseless the accusation is on its face. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, and was editor of the Law Review. He was a professor. He's written two books already. How do you naturally come by the notion that such a man might be lazy in any way, least of all intellectually lazy? Whoever came up with this phrase clearly started with the slur, and worked back to some kind of case, however absurd, to justify its utterance.

And the very hilarity of the accusation, coming as it did from Bush central, is in fact only further evidence that it was a slur they felt some overpowering urgency to utter. Its palpable absurdity coming out of those mouths, and the gales of laughter it would inspire, would have stopped it in its tracks had it been an ordinary political statement about the man.

It's all quite remarkable and breathtakingly vile.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 24, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

As the lawyer said: When you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. When you don't have the facts, pound the law. When you don't have the facts or the law, pound the table.

The Republicans don't have any of these things. So they're only response is to scream "WHERE'S THE TABLE?? THIS CASE CAN'T GO ON UNTIL WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TABLE!!" They know damn well that if enough of the country paid serious attention to what's going on, they're doomed. Their only escape is to distract people just long enough so they can blame their messes on a Democratic president.

Posted by: a1 on September 24, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Davis Shuster of MSNBC just interviewed a Republican congresswoman who was all up in arms about the ad, and absolutely destroyed her. Take a look.

Posted by: TR on September 24, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, and was editor of the Law Review. He was a professor. He's written two books already. How do you naturally come by the notion that such a man might be lazy in any way, least of all intellectually lazy?

"Intellectually lazy" is a criticism you can make of someone who writes books, went to Harvard, is a prof., etc.

I think that the real subtext they want to carry is the "lazy" part, but I disagree that it's any of the above that put Obama out of the category. The criticism is bad just because it's unsupported by the person making it, no one thinks it, Obama seems real smart and well-put-together. He hasn't articulated a lot of his policy as early as some wanted, but that could be being busy or it could be strategy, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with intellectual laziness. This is all circumstantial evidence; but coming from the WH, the criticism is especially ridiculous because based on the same kind of circumstantial evidence of what we know about him, Bush seems like the epitomy of intellectual laziness.

Posted by: Swan on September 24, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a buffoon who holds no real power in his own country,

Yeah. I thought the pinnacle of stupidity was when the Columbia Univ President referred to Ahmadinejad as a "cruel petty dictator". Cruel and petty maybe, but a dictator?

Yeah, I know, he felt the need to exaggeratedly insult the guy in order to pander to all the buffoons who continue to misquote and mistranslate Ahmadinejad as being a holocaust denier when all he has really done is Asked The Question That Must Not Be Asked -- Why in the fuck were a bunch of innocent Palestinians made to pay for the crimes of Europeans? -- but all the Univ Pres demonstrated was that he is as ignorant as everyone else when it comes to Iran, and only cares about furthering his own agenda, which in this case was to keep from getting his ass fired.

The whole situation is just filled with lie on top of lie on top of distortion on top of piles of steaming crap. And all of it in the service of making it easier for American morons to accept the slaughter of Iranians when Cheney decides the planets are correctly aligned to maximize his oil profits.

Gawd do I hate stupid.

Posted by: Disputo on September 24, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Please quote this person more accurately: The WH called Obama "intellectually lazy," not simply "lazy." This is certainly something of a racial stereotype (though less frequently employed than the slur of physical laziness), but is also fucking hilarious considering the source.

You should be even more accurate. These kind of slurs first came from the pseudo left -- think Matt Stoller and friends -- and as I said back when I was still allowed to parry his bullshit, before he had me banned from his site, I predicted that as Obama became more of an immediate threat to GOPers, that they would eventually pick up on these slurs that had been road tested by the pseudo lefties, who pretty much hate Obama for the same reasons that the GOP twits do.

Posted by: Disputo on September 24, 2007 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist wrote "about 25 years ago, I worked for a Senator who is now a candidate for the Presidency."

Current presidential candidates who were senators
about 25 years ago:
Joseph Biden (D-DL), senator 1973-present
Christopher Dodd (D-CT), senator 1981-present
Mike Gravel (D-AK), senator 1969-1981
John McCain (R-AZ), senator 1987-present

Potential candidate who was a senator about 25 years ago:
Al Gore (D-AR), senator 1985-1993

I'm going to rule out McCain because January 1987 was 20 years, 8 months ago, and I don't think you would have said "about 25 years" for that.

I'm going to rule out Gore because you said "is now a candidate" and Gore is not now a candidate.

That leaves Biden, Dodd, and Gravel.

If I could get a a Congressional staff directory from the early-to-mid 1980s, I'd see which of these three had an aide with a Russian-looking name.

And I wonder what that resolution was. Unfortunately, Thomas goes back only to the 101st Congress (1989-1991), so I'd have to search that some other way. There was Joint Resolution 237 by Tsongas (D-MA) in 1983, which Mathias managed to hold up until 1984. Might have been that, but need to find out more about it.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on September 24, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I should have defined "intellectual laziness" in my last comment. Intellectual laziness is failing to do your homework or failing to imagine the relevant possibilities or failing to confront inconvenient questions in your inquiries, thought, and work.

Posted by: Swan on September 24, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Intellectually lazy" is a criticism you can make of someone who writes books, went to Harvard, is a prof., etc.

That may in principle be a criticism an academic might register against a fellow academic with such a background. In the context of American politics, it's pretty much absurd on its face.

I think one can call Bush "intellectually lazy" in that context with little discomfort (to say the least). Saying it about Obama stretches credulity way past its breaking point.

It's such a blatant slur that it's like nobody can hear their dog whistles anymore, and they have to resort to foghorns and jackhammers.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 24, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's such a blatant slur that it's like nobody can hear their dog whistles anymore, and they have to resort to foghorns and jackhammers.

Now that made me laugh....the only thing about this incident that has.

And it's good to know, I suppose, that everyone here can recognize a racial stereotype when it's a flat-out, in-your-face insult. The ones that are dressed up as patronizing compliments do sometimes get past parts of even this crowd.

Posted by: shortstop on September 24, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

A true story, as a parable: about 25 years ago, I worked for a Senator who is now a candidate for the Presidency....

... and I was wearing an onion on my belt, you see, because that was the style of the time.

That leaves Biden, Dodd, and Gravel.

Has to be Dodd. CT is the only state big enough to have a large eastern european emigre constituency with enough pull that the senator would feel obligated to offer a job as a sop to the constituency.

Posted by: Tyro on September 25, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Dont give them anything to screech about. Its what they have been trained to do by marketing folks such as Luntz. They dont want logical rational thinkers, they want screechers.

Moveon, foolishly, gave them a screech point. I have been telling democrats for a while to drop the name calling and wordplay, such as Betraeus was, yes I know its only an alphabetical switch of one letter, done mostly from wordlplay, but it gives them a platform to screech from.
Yes, I know Petraeus fudged the numbers...

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 25, 2007 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK


George Bush knows you gotta bite down on the mule's ear to get the bit in its mouth.

Republicans are schooled in the art of diversion.

The media should ignore the screechin' and report the substance of the message whether from General Petraus, Moveon.org,or Ahmadinejad. I am amazed at how few complete sentences from the primary sources are presented.

The biggest worry is the demonizing of Ahmadinejad as a prelude to widening the Iraqi war into Iran to save the Republican Party.

And stupid , too. We don't need a half million well trained combatants from Iran spilling into Iraq challenging us.

Posted by: deejaayss on September 25, 2007 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

I have been telling democrats for a while to drop the name calling and wordplay

You have? Why don't you tell the Republicans to do the same. Hate to say it, but name calling and wordplay works. Republicans are simply better and more persistent at it. (The first civilian to use the term "Betrayus" was Rush Limbaugh, to describe Sen. Hagel. Many in the military had coined the term for Sen. Petraeus before then, of course).

Posted by: Tyro on September 25, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

What terrible manners. Invite Ahmadinejad to speak and then insult him. The fools at Columbia have undoubtedly created a backlash in Iran, which will strengthen the man there. And Columbia is one of our top universities? I find such pandering and buffoonery to be far beneath a top university.

Posted by: James of DC on September 25, 2007 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

The common thread in all the recent Republican screeching is that the GOP has a problem with free speech, particularly when it differs from their own views. But they have no problem with the right to free screech.

As a group the GOP is innumerate. Their problem is painfully evident when they count the amendments in the Bill of Rights. They always skip one and go straight to two.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 25, 2007 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine that Columbia receives much federal money anyway.

It's a private school.

Posted by: Thunderbird on September 25, 2007 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

All this hoopla does is make Hunter look as childish as Iran's leader. Good job Hunter.

I for one am happy that Columbia had him speak. It certainly put to rest any notions people in this country had that this man was in any way sane. I feel sorry for the people of Iran with this nut job as their leader.

But, I also feel sorry for my country since we also have a nut job as our leader. I wonder if the people in Iran identify with us.

Posted by: Kate Henry on September 25, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see them try to weave a law about the ad buy that wouldn't bankrupt Fox.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 25, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Times deserves the screeching. Sunday the public editor said the ad violated Times policy and the price was only half the price it should have been.

Posted by: Richard Nicholls on September 25, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Via Talking Points Memo: Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki says the threat of civil war in Iraq is now over and Iranian interference in the country has "ceased to exist."

Someone should tell Georgie, so he and his GOP henchmen can devote even more time to attacking MoveOn.

Al Queda was in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so Georgie attacked Iraq.

Al Queda is still in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so Georgie attacks MoveOn!

Georgie has apparently never learned that when you have an actual enemy attacking you, it is counterproductive to turn away from those attacking you to attack those who have not attacked you.

Posted by: anonymous on September 25, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Nicholls: Sunday the public editor said the ad violated Times policy and the price was only half the price it should have been.

So what?

The Times is perfectly free under the law to charge any amount it wants to for ads and to do business with any private advertiser it wants to.

It's called the "free market."

In other aspects, it is called "free speech."

I'm sure you've heard of these concepts.

Posted by: anonymous on September 25, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I read something in Newsday today about The Times admitting it didn't charge MoveOn enough money, compared to what they charged for the Giuliani campaign to run its ad.
The NYT public editor stated that Guiliani was charged the same amount as MoveOn. To my knowledge, only MoveOn has paid the difference. That case is closed. Why aren't the Dems saying so?

Posted by: Lynn on September 25, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Swan: Intellectual laziness is failing to do your homework or failing to imagine the relevant possibilities or failing to confront inconvenient questions in your inquiries, thought, and work.

In other words: Bush and the neocons.

Posted by: anonymous on September 25, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Well..they could always engage in a serious policy debate on some valid issue...

Or not.

Posted by: azportsider on September 25, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine that Columbia receives much federal money anyway.

Lots of the researchers receive grants through various government agencies, and Columbia hospital receives money in the form of Medicare reimbursements: that's right-- the Republicans are agitating to cut of National Institutes of Health research funding from Columbia biology professors and Medicare payments to doctors at Columbia University's hospitals because Ahmadinejad gave a speech.

I don't claim to understand what they're thinking.

Posted by: Tyro on September 25, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK
That's a lot of screeching over trivia. Don't Republicans have anything better to do?

No?

They certainly have things more important to their agenda, but the screeching over trivia gets attention and reduces the number of people paying attention to and challenging those more important things.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 25, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

We'll just have to get back at the Republicans by cutting off all federal funding to Dartmouth.

Posted by: Vincent on September 25, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why no one has started asking a simple question of the Republicans, in this and so many other matters they take a position on. It's a question that reveals a whole lot about their approach to governance and even more to their approach to campaigning.

The question is (and it should be asked continuously):

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?

Honestly, I can't see how the "party of security" can be so damned namby-pamby with this high-dudgeon, southern-matron-getting-the-'vapors' approach they use.

C'mon, folks! You're the tough guys, ain't ya? What the hell is so scary about letting a tin-pot dictator spout off about his crack-pot ideas (other than it might remind the people of our home-grown tin-pots and their enablers)? Really, I'd almost think these folks had an ulterior motive.

D'ya think?

But seriously, every time one of 'em opens his or her mouth, someone -- everyone -- should ask:

WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?


Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on September 25, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta run so I'm going to post without reading prior comments.

I have a degree from Columbia University ("Who Owns New York" = best fight song ever), but I am so pissed at Bollinger I may cut them out of my will.

What is did will assure Ahmadinejad will get in increase in stature in Muslim countries, where treating even unwelcome guests well is a cultural imperative.

You loathe the guy? Then don't invite him to speak. Or just introduce him as President of Iran.

Don't go out of your way to insult him to his face. And especially don't insult him stupidly. (Subtly might be OK if it's subtle enough.)

To equate Ahmadinejad with a dictator is just stupid. He has basically on PR power in the Iranian government.

Everything about Bollinger's rant makes me ashamed to be associated with him, even if the association is as distant as that of a mere alumna.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 25, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Several Iranian University Presidents have signed an open letter to Bollinger denouncing his insults and asking him 10 questions:

1- Why did the US media put you under so much pressure to prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from delivering his speech at Columbia University? And why have American TV networks been broadcasting hours of news reports insulting our president while refusing to allow him the opportunity to respond? Is this not against the principle of freedom of speech?

2- Why, in 1953, did the US administration overthrow the Iran's national government under Dr Mohammad Mosaddegh and go on to support the Shah's dictatorship?

3- Why did the US support the blood-thirsty dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war on Iran, considering his reckless use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers defending their land and even against his own people?

4- Why is the US putting pressure on the government elected by the majority of Palestinians in Gaza instead of officially recognizing it? And why does it oppose Iran 's proposal to resolve the 60-year-old Palestinian issue through a general referendum?

5- Why has the US military failed to find Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden even with all its advanced equipment? How do you justify the old friendship between the Bush and Bin Laden families and their cooperation on oil deals? How can you justify the Bush administration's efforts to disrupt investigations concerning the September 11 attacks?

6- Why does the US administration support the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) despite the fact that the group has officially and openly accepted the responsibility for numerous deadly bombings and massacres in Iran and Iraq? Why does the US refuse to allow Iran 's current government to act against the MKO's main base in Iraq?

7- Was the US invasion of Iraq based on international consensus and did international institutions support it? What was the real purpose behind the invasion which has claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives? Where are the weapons of mass destruction that the US claimed were being stockpiled in Iraq?

8- Why do America's closest allies in the Middle East come from extremely undemocratic governments with absolutist monarchical regimes?

9- Why did the US oppose the plan for a Middle East free of unconventional weapons in the recent session of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors despite the fact the move won the support of all members other than Israel?

10- Why is the US displeased with Iran's agreement with the IAEA and why does it openly oppose any progress in talks between Iran and the agency to resolve the nuclear issue under international law?

Hell yeah. I'd like to hear the answers to these questions as well. It'd be a nice change from all the anti-Ahmadinejad propaganda the war pigs have been flooding the airwaves with.

Posted by: Disputo on September 25, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Listen, I'm no conspiracy nut, but as soon as Howard Dean gained momentum in 2004 from MoveOn, I imagine and Rove and the RNC began to strategize about how to delegitimize it, and this was their opportunity.

It very easily could have been on their strategic calendar for September 2007, 14 months before the election, for the past few years.

Can you imagine a bipartisan censure of Hannity, Rush, or the Swift Boat folks?

Posted by: Eazy on September 27, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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