Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 1, 2009

ALAN GRAYSON, RAISING EYEBROWS.... Ask Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) about the difference between his more provocative public comments and some of the shrills shouts from the right, and he'll point to a qualitative difference.

"What they have done on the right is make people fearful and make people divided," he said. "What I have done is call out the Republicans for having no solutions to American's problems. There is a sort of core element of truth that makes what I do effective."

That effectiveness has quickly made the freshman lawmaker a notable national figure.

On paper, Representative Alan Grayson, a freshman Democrat from Florida, seems a bit stiff: degrees from Harvard and Harvard Law; a resume that includes clerking for the United States Court of Appeals under Judges Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Robert Bork; an advocate for the aging.

But in recent weeks, Mr. Grayson has catapulted himself to national renown for outlandish rhetoric and a pugilistic political style that makes him seem less staid lawmaker than a character on the lam from one of his Orlando district's theme parks.

First it was his comment, "If you get sick, America, the Republicans' health care plan is this: Die quickly." Then, appearing on MSNBC, he said of former Vice President Dick Cheney: "I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he's talking." Finally, a radio interview surfaced in which he had called a female adviser to the Federal Reserve chairman "a K Street whore" -- a reference to her former job as a Washington lobbyist. That one forced him to make a formal apology.

Mr. Grayson could be the latest incarnation of what in the American political idiom is known as a wing nut -- a loud darling of cable television and talk radio whose remarks are outrageous but often serious enough not to be dismissed entirely. Mr. Grayson is the more notable because he hurls his nuts from the left in a winger world long associated with the right.

I'm not sure I buy the notion that Grayson is a "wing nut" -- part of the label has to do with combining outrageousness with stupidity, and dismissing him as an intellectual lightweight, along the lines of Bachmann, Broun, or Joe Wilson, is a mistake.

But I think the fact that Grayson doesn't pull left jabs is what makes him unusual. We're just not accustomed to liberal Democrats playing by these rules, and when it happens, the political world just doesn't seem to know what to do about it.

Matt Yglesias recently argued that Gray is "breaking one of the unspoken rules of modern American politics. The rule is that conservatives talk about their causes in stark, moralistic terms and progressives don't. Instead, progressives talk about our causes in bloodless technocratic terms.... [M]oralism from the left is very unfamiliar to American political debates."

Grayson doesn't see the value in the usual model, so he's playing by a new set of rules. After the "die quickly" story, instead of showing contrition, he went on CNN and called Republicans opposing health care reform "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals." It's one of those things the left just isn't supposed to do.

Not surprisingly, then, the conduct generates a variety of competing opinions. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who can probably be described fairly as a liberal, said Grayson risks contributing to a "corrosive process that drives reasonable people away." He added, "It breaks my heart."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) offered a different take: "I welcome Grayson's taking the fight to them. I think he has got to be a little more careful about his punches, but I am glad he's throwing them."

Sounds right to me.

Steve Benen 9:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

how completely insane some 'rational' commentary in american jourmenalism reads...

this ny times article is a scramble to justify its own piss poor attributes by besmirching the harvard yahoo from florida who is doing a fairly good job -- a lone ranger of the Dims...

Posted by: neill on November 1, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I welcome Grayson's desire to fight back and would like to see the Democratic party aggressively fight for what is right - although growing a spine might entail having awkward moments - The Democratic party needs an active voice in the debate to state the honest truth in simple words that get to the heart of the matter and expose rhetoric as being the house of cards it is built on.

Posted by: Dean on November 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Instead of "pulling the left jabs," as Mr. Benen nicely put it, Rep. Grayson punches away. Let 'em rip!, I say. I've always loved Rep. Frank's way with words; it's nice to have Rep. Grayson making a kind of rhetorical tag team with him for Democratic causes. Add in Obama, and finally we have Democrats who are willing to fight. It's taken way too long.

Posted by: sjw on November 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

We're just not accustomed to liberal Democrats play by these rules, and when it happens, the political world just doesn't seem to know what to do about it.

I'm used to Democrats who sheepishly apologize for any viewpoint that's to the left of Republican orthodoxy and who start "compromising" -- i.e. retreating -- before the Republicans utter their first word.

Obama captured America's imagination by campaigning on policies to the left of center and seeming to believe them. He should quit listening to Washington insiders and try governing that way.


Posted by: SteveT on November 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Grayson has catapulted himself to national renown for outlandish rhetoric and a pugilistic political style ...

We've reached the point where the NYT calls out an elected official for telling the truth in no-nonsense terms?

The truth is now "outlandish rhetoric." Wow. Just -- wow.

& someone should clue the writer in that the term "wingnut" does not refer to someone with progressive views.

Posted by: zhak on November 1, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

You don't even attribute the long quote, unless I click the link. I think that is poor reporting. It could have been any one from the right making those criticisms. As far as calling a former lobbyist a whore, whether male or female, I don't agree with his apologizing. Rush, et al, make such vile comments all the time with no basis in fact. At least there is a basis for calling lobbyists and those who take their money to advance the "John's" position, whores.

I think Grayson and Frank should do a tag team match against the Right, and see who falls.

Posted by: stjohn on November 1, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I'm not sure the solution to beating the Republicans is to become just like them. What's the point if we do that?

Barack Obama won an overwhelming victory last year, not by sinking to the level of McCain and Palin's fearmongering, but by rising above it. More of that, please.

Posted by: EarBucket on November 1, 2009 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

The lack of a pugilistic left in the MSM and in congress was what drove me to the blogs. Grayson is only saying on the House floor the same things that us DFH's have been saying for many years here in cyberland.

The most interesting thing in that excerpt was the fact that Herszenhorn had no idea that "wingnut" is a shortened form of "right wing nut," and is applied exclusively to those on the right. GOP partisans have their own analogous terms for us ("libtards" or "obamatons"), though if the writer wanted a more neutral term he could have used "bomb-thrower', which describes an inflammatory speaker without regard to political affiliation.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 1, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Grayson is a breath of fresh air from the Democrats. For too long the Republicans have bullied and kicked the Democrats around. The Democrats for their part seem weak, apologetic and on the verge of collapse. Grayson comes to the fray with fire in his eyes, tells it like it is and doesn't care what the Republicans say. He has knocked them back on their heels and has said what America needs to hear, the truth. As for the whore remark, he should not have apologized, she is a political whore selling her principals and integrity to the highest bidder.

Posted by: John Mullin on November 1, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

It "breaks my heart," breaks my head

When Grayson starts driving moderate candidates from political races, in favor of more hard left-wing candidates, like Palin's National Conservative Party is doing in NY, then and only then you can start remonstrating and bemoaning him.

That's about 20 light years away from happening...
So sit back and enjoy the show.

Posted by: koreyel on November 1, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

It's really an easy concept to understand. If you can't beat em join em and do as they do and say what they say. If they think Grayson is a wingnut, he's only doing what they're saying and doing. Pot meet kettle. I use this technic on wingnut forums and it drives up the blood pressure. I get a chuckle and lower mine. I also invoke the forum rules of engagement, calling them the law and order crowd, yet ignoring the rules they agreed to. I was called a coward for using rules against them. I said cowards run and I'll be right here and in the fashion of your idol "bring it on".

Posted by: Dave on November 1, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

What did Gandhi say? Something along the lines of "First they mock you, then they fight you, then you win."

He's right on schedule.

Posted by: Blue Girl on November 1, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

typo alert: ..."recently argued that Grayson is breaking".. not "Gray is breaking..."

Sorry. Just can't put the red pencil down.

Posted by: ML on November 1, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Ummm...I'm gonna go against the flow somewhat here, and just note that I believe Grayson could make many of his points better with less inflammatory language. Yes, the other side does it, and yes, it's an effective tactic with their base of dumbshits. IMHO, the most effective pushback against ridiculous rightwing bullshit is to calmly explain why it's ridiculous without resorting to name-calling or over-the-top rhetoric. Pigeonholing yourself as a bomb-thrower eventually leads to dismissal of much of what you say by most rational people. Example: I can't watch Olbermann anymore, because at some point he became so in love with the sound of his own voice that he started doing his "special commentaries" every other day. Any device of that type loses effectiveness when it is over-used, and Olbermann has way over-used the special commentary. Whereas in the beginning it denoted geniune outrage, through overuse, it now comes off as an act - whether Olbermann's outrage is genuine or not.

I like Grayson & agree with the underlying points he makes, but I do hope he'll tone it down a bit so he doesn't become a charicature.

Posted by: Jennifer on November 1, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

The right are nothing but bullies who at heart are cowards. When they run in a pack and give you trouble, all you have to do is turn on them and give one of them a bloody nose, and the others run off howling like the curs they are. Kudos to Representative Grayson for the bloody noses he's given these southern traitors masquerading as Republicans.

More! More! Encore! Encore!

Posted by: TCinLA on November 1, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

One of my pet peeves with liberals is their extreme reluctance to fight. This whole notion of "being better than they are" is usually a cop out.

What we liberals have to realize is that we have to fight these wingnuts (they don't really deserve the moniker CONSERVATIVE because they're not) on all levels, not just using intellect.

Why? It's neurology.

The average human brain has 3X more connections to emotional centers than logical ones. This means that an emotional appeal has a 3X more stronger reaction than a logical appeal. Of course, smarter humans have more connections to the logical centers than emotional ones, but to be blunt there aren't many smart people around and in a democracy, numbers mean everything.

I think the more successful "liberals" were those who stood up and fought perhaps not on a physical level but on an emotional and intellectual level for what was right. FDR, Lincoln, Truman, Kennedy. They called their opponents out for what they were.

As far as I'm concerned the vast majority of the wingnuts are bullies and cowards. As is on the playground, ineffectual and mealy mouthed sayings aren't going to stop them. You sometimes have to do the distasteful thing and trade them blow for blow till they stop. Bullies prefer a target that doesn't fight back.

As for the politeness pundits? FUCK THEM. Their words do more harm than good. Considering the vast majority's track record, why even bother?

Posted by: Former Dan on November 1, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Two thoughts:

1) I always thought that one of the primary qualifications for being a wingnut was being, you know, a nut. Grayson may be intemperate (and I grant that only for sake of argument), but he's clearly not a nut.

2) The MSM thinks that Grayson's comment on "the Republicans' health care plan" is beyond the pale. With their fetish for "balance", you'd think this would cause them to point out how outrageous the whole "death panels" thing was, and continues to be, if only reflexively. And yet . . .

Posted by: noncarborundum on November 1, 2009 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

IMHO...both Matt Y and Barney are totally correct...and the DEM from Oregon represents the wimpy soft center of the party! I just love it, though, how folks (media types mostly) like to tell us how unorganized and not uniform in thinking/action Dems/liberals/progressives are and in the very next breath LUMP them all together in some silly observation (except JOMENTUM of course)...Give us a ton more Graysons...it's beyond too late to worry about any semblance of decorum in our political process...W dumbed it all down and the RETHUGS of present day have nastied it up beyond reason...calling someone who lobbies on K STREET by the "W" word was perfectly appropriate (male or female). GIVE THEM HELL, ALAN

Posted by: Dancer on November 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Jennifer, Grayson was something of a hero for a while, but he has become so in love with the sound of his own voice, talking about "the blood dripping from Cheney's fangs" on Hardball for instance, that I now see him as a charicature.

Olbermann, who kept me glued to the screen for a considerable time, has turned himself into a clown with his endless hyperbole; another well-meaning liberal fallen in love with the sound of his own voice.

Posted by: Bill H on November 1, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Barney Frank has it right. Grayson's attacks are effective as long as they're on target, but sometimes he needs to be more careful; for example, he should have picked a male lobbyist (not a female one) to call a whore so he doesn't wind up with natural allies attacking him.

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 1, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

In spite of Alan Grayson's caucusing with Progressives, he's not really one of them. He's a plant, a DLCer, and has already announced that he's going to vote for whatever bill comes out of conference, even if it doesn't include a public option, or one with a trigger, or an opt-in, or opt-out.


Posted by: Jenna on November 1, 2009 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Let a thousand Graysons bloom.

The "Grayson is dangerously combative" meme is one more in the "responsible Democrats must distance themselves from . . . " ACORN, MoveOn, Michael Moore, Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, Cindy Sheehan, all mass demonstrations, and, well, the list could be longer.

I think all those interested in debating if we need more or fewer Graysons would agree that we definitely need fewer Liebermans, and more Graysons mean fewer Liebermans because more Graysons make ridiculing conservatism more mainstream.

Once upon a time, on the TV show "Happy Days", the cops tried to run Fonzie out of town for being too cool. The imaginary community of greater Milwaukee stopped the fuzz by adopting the same style as the Fonze--leather jackets, greasy hair, and the general white hipster motif.

The police had no choice but to lock up everybody or tolerate Fonzie. In that spirit we must all call Dick Cheney a vampire. Only then are we truly free. Plus, it's fun.

Posted by: angler on November 1, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK
Personally, I'm not sure the solution to beating the Republicans is to become just like them. What's the point if we do that?, and Grayson is a breath of fresh air from the Democrats. For too long the Republicans have bullied and kicked the Democrats around. The Democrats for their part seem weak, apologetic and on the verge of collapse.

It's all for naught if, as Representative Grayson intends, despite all of the punching bag attacks you broadcast your intent to vote for whatever is in the conference report.

What all of Representative Grayson's fire and brimstone tells me is that he's pandering to fire-breathing liberal voters without actually delivering anything to them.

Posted by: LavaLennie on November 1, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

I'm appalled....appalled I tell you, that Grayson has sullied the good know of whores everywhere by comparing lobbyists to them. Does the man have no decency?

Posted by: David Vitters on November 1, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Grayson is out in force this week promoting his Congressman with Guts website
Check out this interview on Friday 10/30

http://jefffariaskxxt.podbean.com/

Posted by: jeff farias on November 1, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

So, multiple Republican elected officials can talk about 'death panels', and Dick Cheney, after years of ignoring Afghanistan when he had power, can accuse Obama of "dithering", and that's treated as serious discourse, but Grayson is "outlandish"? Give me a break.

To those who worry that Grayson's tactic is "making us just like them", I must point out that the key to Grayson's comments is that they are exaggeration in the service of highlighting reality. The righties use their rhetoric in service of distortion and confusion.

The most corrosive part of right-wing discourse isn't the emotionalism, it's the intent to mislead and manipulate at its core.

Grayson is trying to shock people out of the Villager's insistence on ignoring ugly (but perfectly obvious) truths, not stir peoples fears and bigotry in an attempt to manipulate them. He's also expressing legitimate anger at the way the right has been leading this country, leading us into war and ignoring real need.

Grayson suggests there is an alternative to unwittingly accepting a rhetorical frame that still pretends the right-wing is being serious about making real policy in the interest of what's best for our country.

We shouldn't all adopt Grayson-style rhetoric, but we could use a few more like him, highlighting the way the current definition of conventional rhetoric only serves right-wing interests.

I'll start thinking it's time for Grayson to tone it down when the Times comments about John Boehner's 'outlandish' rhetoric, and refers to Senator Inhofe as the 'wingnut Senator from Oklahoma'.

Posted by: biggerbox on November 1, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

As a "reasonable" person who is sometimes not all that liberal, Grayson so far seems to be OK with me. It shouldn't just be the stupid party that gets to call them like they see them.

Posted by: qwerty on November 1, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I vote for biggerbox. Well said. More support for Grayson.

Posted by: st john on November 1, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

We need one hundred more Alan Graysons in the Democratic party.

Posted by: Glen on November 1, 2009 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

When Leahy let Cheney tell him to go fuck himself on the floor of congress, without retort, he helped establish the norm that led to Joe Wilson's "You lie!"

Democrats must not allow such conduct to stand. Wilson got a slap on the wrist, and then laughed about it.

I applaud representatives like Frank, Weiner, and Grayson who call bullshit when it's appropriate. I've watched Democrats allow Republicans spread misinformation without challenge for too long.

Posted by: Winkandanod on November 1, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK
a character on the lam from one of his Orlando district's theme parks.

But Lieberman changing his position on health care reform several times between the '90s and now and changing his reasons for opposing the public option several times is just ... ignored by the NYT?

The insanity that comes from the right has never been described by the NYT in such terms.

Every day I loathe the country of my birth just a little more.

Posted by: karen marie on November 1, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Jennifer @10:54

If Grayson had gone to the floor and said the Republican's have no healthcare plan (the truth), he would have been utterly ignored by the "liberal" media.

As it is, the only reason his "outrageous" remarks were covered at all is because, the media expected him to follow the typical DemocRAT script and beg forgiveness for his folly, granting the Repubs a news cycle victory.

As Benen sometimes notes, the Sunday talk shows are stocked with Republicans. The only time we see a Democrat is when the show bookersexpect them to defend or apologize for something.

Posted by: Winkandanod on November 1, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Grayson ran a 'money bomb" yesterday: if you like him, even $5 helps. The guy is loud, and I think he crossed the line with the "Holocaust" reference: that word, in this world, applies to one horrific time only. Otherwise: truth to power, bring it on! Truth in the face of horrible, ugly, shouted, moronic lies? Bring it on louder. And anybody who missed Grayson's very calm, very modulated, very totallly brilliant take down of an Obstructionist Republican (yeah, redundant, I know) over the Bill of Attainder should google "YouTube Grayson Bill of Attainder" and get set to enjoy the next five minutes immensely. The guy is an artist.

Posted by: SF on November 1, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of things about Herszenhorn's article that maybe speak more to big media's mind set than anything: Like everyone else, he claims Grayson's summation of the GOP health plan was "die quickly." Um, no. It was "don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly." That's certainly strong language, but not as outlandish as "die quickly" on its own...and actually, not too far from the truth (has anyone actually seen a GOP health care proposal?)

Herszenhorn also refers to a Democratic Party "inferiority complex" without questioning such an assumption. Gee, if that does have any element of truth, maybe it's because Democratic politicians have for years been forced to participate in ridiculous Kubuki theater type humiliation rituals following choreographed GOP hissy fits (e.g., Dick Durbin) with the media playing the role of amplifier. Funny, but the same media adopts a code of silence when the GOP engages in behavior that wouldn't be tolerated at your average middle school, what with screeching about death panels, socialism, treason, Terry Schiavo, Al Qaeda and therapy, Clinton's impeachment, etc. etc. ad nauseum, just to name a few things off the top of my head.

Posted by: Michael on November 1, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Joe Buck: whore's a word rooted in sexism so that - alone - was out of line and deserving of apology.

Thirty years from now, the Cheney fangs line will be quoted in history books simply because Cheney is a bloodthirsty murderer to anyone who's observed him carefully. He cloaks himself and his working groups in secrecy just like all crafty murderers have done throughout history.

Unfortunately, though, liberals like Barney Frank have been so effectively corrupted by the money and power flows of Washington that he's losing his capacity to get what tens of millions of citizens are thinking and wanting.

Sure, it's politically risky to do what Grayson does, putting the truth ahead of his own re-election chances. The best protection for him is not to shrink from what he's saying but for more and more to mimic him.

Unfortunately most reps put their re-election above blunt speaking. And "Vote for obfuscation!" inspires no-one but the officeholder.

Posted by: KevinHayden on November 1, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

It is interesting that Pete Stark has been similar in his attitude for a lot of years, but he might get less press because he is from such a safe district that Republicans probably could not even recruit a credible challenger. Grayson is throwing his punches from a traditionally Republican district.

Posted by: JGH on November 1, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

"I think he crossed the line with the "Holocaust" reference: that word, in this world, applies to one horrific time only. "

Excuse me, but it most certainly does *NOT*. Lower-case-h holocaust, which is the term Grayson was actually using in that particular context, can mean any horrible and destructive event. That is why, for example, you will frequently see people refer to a nuclear war as a "holocaust".

Let's not give in to the GOP's framing, OK? We can't give them even a single inch, or they'll take a mile.

Posted by: Shade Tail on November 1, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry apologists but Grayson for the win! The game has changed and a hot iron in the fire is something we need more of, not water. As long as the moral highground is indeed what is being endorsed and underscored I see no reason for Grayson to abstain from what the Republicans have been doing dishonestly and quite effectively since I've been aware of the process. Grayson FTW!

Posted by: Trollop on November 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think he crossed the line with the "Holocaust" reference: that word, in this world, applies to one horrific time only.

Bullshit.

hol⋅o⋅caust
  /ˈhɒləˌkɔst, ˈhoʊlə-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-]
-noun
1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire.
2. a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.
3. (usually initial capital letter) the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II (usually prec. by the).
4. any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.

Grayson used the "small 'h'" definition of the word (#4), which is a perfectly acceptable usage, except to the language police among us. Stop trying to re-write the dictionary to suit your delicate sensibilities. The word means what it means.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on November 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

@Screamin' Demon: not to pick a nit, but I believe the Nazi Holocaust was not just targeted at Jews. Weren't there a whole lot of other ethnic and religious groups involved?

Posted by: st john on November 1, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't agree more, Demon. Thanks for a little reality.

As for all the hand-wringing from those who think Grayson should just "play nice": I think that is a wonderful idea. After all, our opposition is so reasonable - and a calm, well thought out, assessment of the issues of the day from the left is exactly what the major media always clamor for. Grayson and the issues he is promoting would have gotten ever so much attention of he had just quietly made his points in a less controversial manner. He would have been invited to many more news and opinion programs to explain his philosophy about Republican obstructionism had he just been more moderate about it - right?

Posted by: UnEasyOne on November 1, 2009 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK
Grayson is throwing his punches from a traditionally Republican district.

And what's interesting is that, instead of making him a more attractive target, his attacks have made him *stronger* at home. That's what's so fricking maddening about the triangulation and "third way" rhetoric and cowardice amongst Democratic politicians: it just doesn't win elections. Stand up for what you believe in and for what's right and you'll be rewarded. It really is just about that simple.

Posted by: PaulB on November 1, 2009 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I don't think the hand-wringing about Grayson is warranted or justified. I don't want *every* Democratic politician or Obama to adopt that tone -- just enough of them to keep things in balance.

You really need both for a healthy political party: the passionate and the "bomb-throwers" plus the moderates and compromisers. There is room for all but the Democratic Party has had a woeful shortage of the former. If the "Overton Window" is to shift to the left, it will be because of people like Grayson, not people like Reid.

Posted by: PaulB on November 1, 2009 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic plan for success:

1. Have more guts, like Grayson
2. Watch the GOP die quickly.

Posted by: Ohioan on November 1, 2009 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Of all Grayson's (reported) utterances, only one strikes me as being inaccurate and, therefore, off-base. Cheney's no vampire; he's a murderous bureaucrat. Therefore, he had no blood dripping from his teeth. He doesn't even have blood dripping from his claws. He has little half-moons of dried blood under his -- otherwise perfectly manicured -- fingernails.

I expect Grayson used the other image because Halloween was coming and vampires were on his mind.

Posted by: exlibra on November 1, 2009 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Grayson didn't call Ms. Robertson a whore, he called her a "K-Street whore". Context makes a difference.

His comment was in reference to her being hired to advise Fed Chairman Bernanke after being a senior lobbyist to Enron before and during its implosion.

He should have called her a pimp, arranging for congress representatives, male and female, to whore themselves out to corporate johns.

The most annoying thing is that this comment was made on an obscure local radio talk show and passed unnoticed for weeks until Fox dug it up and gave this "breaking news" wall-to-wall coverage at which point the so-called-liberal-media followed along like the mindless sheep they are.

Posted by: tanstaafl on November 1, 2009 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

This is why the White House's so-called "war on Fox News" is so necessary. What they specifically asked the rest of the media to do is treat Fox "News" like the partisan propoganda machine it is.

When Fox "News" digs up weeks, months or years old dirt on a Democrat and blows it all out of proportion, the rest of the media needs to take the time to investigate the facts for themselves. Then decide whether the facts support the Fox "News" slant and whether it is a story they would have reported on if they had gotten the information first. If the answer to either of those questions is no, then they need to either ignore it, or else make it clear that Fox itself is part of the story rather than impartial observers.

This might have provided some useful perspective to the story of Kevin Jennings, who was accused of being enabling a pedophile and breaking the law based on 9-year accounts of a 21-year incident. Talking to the then 16-year old (now late 30s) man in question, they might have confirmed that the "child" in question was over the age of consent and in any case didn't actually have sex with the older man told Jennings he was in a relationship with. Which might have led them to question why Fox "News" and the Washington Times and other Republican mouthpieces spent so much time on the story without checking their own facts first.

Posted by: tanstaafl on November 1, 2009 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

There is a certain breed of Democrat that would sign on to a plan authorizing their own summary executions as long as the plan was drafted by a bipartisan blue ribbon commission made up of fellows from the Brookings Institution. These sorts of Democrats are the ones most upset by Grayson wondering why he can't just be polite until the Republicans finally decide to let Democrats pass a bill as a reward for being such nice people.

Posted by: Tyro on November 2, 2009 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I am disappointed in my Representative, Earl Blumenauer, for criticizing Alan Grayson. Finally we have a Democrat who will speak up and not back off. Finally we have a Democrat who is smart, articulate, clear headed and can question others because he knows his stuff. Like, you know, the Constitution.

I appreciate his declaration that health care is not partisan. It is a matter of life and death, so let's vote and pass the damned legislation that will give people better health.

Earl Blumenauer sounds like a wimp -- "It breaks my heart." Whatt? It makes my heart swell with hope. I know Blumenauer has worked hard in Congress, but to my knowledge he has never raised his voice with the moral outrage that Alan Grayson expresses.

Any Democrat still trying to make nice should get out of the road.

Posted by: Betsy Davenport on November 2, 2009 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

What makes a conservative a wing-nut is NOT JUST that they have a fighting style, it's that they're almost universally WRONG in their arguments. Death panels; socialism; global warming; the age of the earth... and on and on. They are wrong about policy, history, science, even the bible! There isn't a thinker among them.

In a NY Times article about the firey Democrat Alan Grayson, David Herszenhorn reports a James Carville quote that's not really right. But if it were said correctly would accurately reflect the differences between Democrats and Republicans.

Carville said, "There's always a feeling among liberals, a psychology that we are too apologetic; we see six sides to the Pentagon."

That's not right. Liberals KNOW for a fact there are five sides to the Pentagon. It's just that, if there is a problem with the Pentagon, liberals want to explain and fix all five sides thoroughly, we know that you can't fix a Pentagon without addressing all five sides.

It's correct, of course, but it puts the public to sleep.

But here are the wingnuts: A few conservatives know there are five sides, but claim that only one side matters and that doing the other four sides is socialism.

Some conservatives believe that science hasn't yet proven that there are five sides... it's a liberal hoax.

Others think that the five sided Pentagon is only a theory, not a fact.

There's nothing wrong with Alan Grayson's pugalism. As long as he keeps his science right!

Jim G

Posted by: Jim G on November 2, 2009 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

Winkandanod - I didn't find Grayson's comment about the Republican solution to health care over the top in any way, because it was in fact a short, accurate description of what Republicans actually believe - that unless you have a lot of money, you aren't "worthy" of medical care, that the fortunes of a handful of health insurer CEOs and shareholders are more important than millions of suffering a lack of care, hundreds of thousands going bankrupt, and tens of thousands dying each year. Totally accurate.

But I still say, I don't think it would be particularly productive if all Democrats were to go around talking about how Cheney's teeth drip with blood, and I don't think it's productive for this one Democrat to do it, either. The reason being that it's overblown rhetoric. Do I believe Cheney is an evil bloodthirsty bastard? Of course. Have I ever seen blood dripping from his teeth? No, I haven't. So I'd much prefer to hear Grayson refer to Cheney as a sociopathic, malevolent jerk with dictatorial impulses than I would to hear him say his teeth drip with blood, the simple reason being that the former is entirely supportable by the facts while at the same time not seeking to be overly inflammatory. It's not only more truthful, it will inflame the conservatives just as much as the latter statement, while not appearing to be overblown rhetoric to non-conservatives. It would be, as I said in my initial post, more effective - while still getting at and broadcasting the essential truth - Cheney is a monster.

That was all.

Posted by: Jennifer on November 2, 2009 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

It's nice to see another democrat with balls. I'm tired of all the mamby-pamby prissy rhetoric. When the wing nuts lie, call it what it is. It's high time to dump all this idiotic "political correctness" and get back to the simple truths like that. More power to Grayson. I hope he starts a trend!

Posted by: Otolaryx on November 2, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

It breaks my heart that any Democrat in Congress would try to muzzle Grayson. We need him alot more than we need any Blue Dog. He is an inspiration and the republicans are shitting their pants over the things he says. I will be remembering him during campaign season comes around. Other Dems should be taking note that we want fighters on our side. The traitors in the republican party have to be stopped at all costs.

Posted by: Patrick on November 2, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK
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