June 03, 2004

Columnist Fisks Self

Check it out. Jim Washburn literally fisks himself in his own Orange County Weekly article.

I am about to offend some of you by using the N word. I know it is a word so laden with emotion and historical horror that it should not be used lightly. But sometimes no other word gets the point across.

Nazi.

Thatís right, Iím adding my voice to the other hysterical-seeming Americans who are likening the current White House administration to Germanyís grim men in gray.

[...]

Bush would have to go a ways to even begin approximating the horrors of Saddam Hussein, let alone Hitler.

Just in case the self-fisking isn't totally obvious, let's just turn it around and see what happens.
I am about to offend some of you by using the C word. I know it is a word so laden with emotion and historical horror that it should not be used lightly. But sometimes no other word gets the point across.

Communist.

Thatís right, Iím adding my voice to the other hysterical-seeming Americans who are likening the Clinton administration to Russia's grim men in red.

[...]

Clinton would have to go a ways to even begin approximating the horrors of Fidel Castro, let alone Stalin.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 3, 2004 06:05 PM
Comments

Also linked in that same Instapundit post was a real head scratcher from Matthew Yglesias in which Matthew compares Bush to the Iranian Mullahs. Must be some virus going around.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at June 3, 2004 09:05 PM

Hey, you guys better watch what you drink then... The last thing I need is to see more asine Bushitler comments on the web. And BTW, nice inversion there Michael.

Posted by: FH at June 3, 2004 09:44 PM

That article is a classic. Not that there's anything wrong with "self-fisking".

Posted by: d-rod at June 3, 2004 10:02 PM

Roger wrote:
"Must be some virus going around."

It's the ABB virus infecting the nattering classes.

Michael, I liked the inversion, too, but it needs some fleshing out. That's hard to do given that Clinton never faced anything like the post-9/11 world. I don't think he would have done things a whole lot differently, at least not enough to escape this kind of boilerplate polemic worthy of the Democratic Underground.

Posted by: Rick at June 3, 2004 10:33 PM

Very sane and measured. There's no place for that sort of shit on the internet!

Posted by: DJ Morris at June 3, 2004 11:06 PM

Frankly, it's too bad that Glenn Reynolds had to turn over the rock under which this cockroach was hiding. There is a reason some writers are stuck penning their screeds in the Orange County Weekly. Anyone using the word "nazi" in relation to any politician in this country, no matter how obscure or clumsy the analogy, should be forced to view all the pictures here first. Memo to Washburn: It's not funny or clever now, and it never was.

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 3, 2004 11:47 PM

More Bush-hate noise, obscuring the important stories. Like genocide in Sudan. Like Bill Cosby's speech against bad black parenting.

But it's not even worth this time; why am I writing this? I'm so angry at Bush-hate noise.

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 4, 2004 02:44 AM

I love the Bush hate noise.

This elections is going to be the starkest comparison of American values in decades.

Are Americans consumed by a deep seeded hate of their President and all things he represents or are they not. Are they, instead, very concerned about Islamofacism and willing to understand that all leaders are men - and all men make mistakes.

Come November 3rd, we will know what kind of country we live in. Odds are we'll be able to predict that next few decades and how they go based upon reading the American outlook from the election results.

The Democrats have done a pretty good job of setting up the playing field. You are either mad at terrorists and are going to vote for Bush, or you are mad at America and are going to vote for Kerry.

It is moments of clarity like this that provide the chapter breaks of American history. I'm very interested to see where we go from here and in no small part I am very thankful to the Democrats for providing this clear and concise choice to the American people.

Posted by: Roark at June 4, 2004 05:32 AM

Roark: I think you are right, and it frightens me.

Posted by: Eric Blair at June 4, 2004 05:36 AM

At the heart of America, the will of the people is - and always should be - the only driving force behind government.

For the first time in a long time, this election will really offer the American people a chance to alter the direction of the country in one of two drastically different ways.

Democracy is scary. It should always be so.

Personally, I am thankful for an election of this importance to happen in my lifetime. I welcome either result because either result will represent the core value of America - the free will of its people made reality by our form of government. Of course I prefer one of the two, but.....

Posted by: Roark at June 4, 2004 05:48 AM
I couldn't help but send this guy a searing e-mail. The piece is poorly reasoned, of course, and is a victim of its author's tendency to practice proof by assertion. However, in addition to the self-fisking is the poor standard of writing. I wrote to Washburn that this piece reminded me of what Truman Capote said when he saw his first truly awful script:
"That's not writing. That's typing!"

I still have trouble believing that this guy gets paid real money by a newspaper after he submits crap like this for print. Of course, the OCW is an "alternative" newspaper, so we shouldn't be surprised. The "alternative" press gave Ted Rall his start.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

Posted by: section9 at June 4, 2004 06:42 AM

So, Bush = Hitler in all ways, except, for, you know, the genocide of the Jews part.

Posted by: steve at June 4, 2004 07:21 AM

Come on, Roark, do you really believe that the problem is that Democrats don't accept that Bush is fallible and can make mistakes? The real problem is that Bush believes he is infallible and refuses to either admit to mistakes or to change course either when the situatioin changes or when he is shown to be wrong. It happened with tax cuts first as the solution to a record surplus and then as the solution to a deficit. It happened with the invasion of Iraq planned before 9/11 and then proposed as the new solution to the war on terror post 9/11. And now we're seeing it with Chalabi (or "Chalabi who?" as Bush now refers to him). Bush is free to make mistakes, but to refuse to acknowledge them and pretend they never happened is no way to solve the problems they create.

If it helps reinforce your narrow view of the world to think that all criticism of Bush is rooted only in unreasoning personal hatred of the type conservatives generally reserve for those whose last name is Clinton, then go back into your hidey hole and stop bothering us with your tripe. But don't expect the "All Democrats hate America" line to fly with any thinking audience, any more than the "Bush is like Hitler" line would fly with any reasonable thinking liberal (and yes, such creatures do exist, though you won't see them acting as token liberal on any of the "fair and balanced" political scream fests).

I too am looking forward to the coming election, and I have faith that the people of this nation love America enough to ignore those of you who claim that anything but the party line amounts to self-hatred.

Posted by: Jeremy at June 4, 2004 08:04 AM

Roark: You are either mad at terrorists and are going to vote for Bush, or you are mad at America and are going to vote for Kerry.

I know people (like my wife, for instance) who plan to vote for Kerry who are mad at terrorists, Saddam, but not at America. They're just Democrats, so they're voting for Democrats. Most Republicans will vote for Bush because they're Republicans. That's pretty much how it goes for most people.

I also know people who really are pissed at America. I live in an Indymedia neighborhood. None of them like Kerry, either. (Then again, who does?)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 4, 2004 09:02 AM

Jermey--

Roark may overstate the percentage of Democrats who believe bile such as what Washburn wrote. The problem, however, is the left wing has the microphone.

Consider this roster of probable speakers for the convention: Ted "Under U.S. Management" Kennedy; Howard "Mad How" Dean; Hilary "Now Introducing Komrade Soros" Clinton; Al "All Israel's Fault" Sharpton; Al "Resign! Resign! Resign!" Gore.

It may not be self-hatred, but there sure is a lot of pure, unadulterated Bush hatred. It's not becoming and it's not constructive, but it's all the Democrats are offering this year. Instead of bashing Bush, free-thinking liberals should do what conservatives did when they were out of power: come up with some ideas to remake their movement, which at this point is not even tabescent; it's just dead.

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 4, 2004 09:06 AM

Jeremy somehow thinks that taxes should be raised during a recession (the cause of the budget deficit). Which economist did you consult on your plan?

I guess the advantage of Jeremy's plan it is would have ensured a much longer and deeper recession and would have allowed the economy to be an issue during this election, to the benefit of the Democrats.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at June 4, 2004 09:09 AM

There have been three presidents who ran for re-election in my lifetime whom the other side hated with a passion: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. All of them won easily, Nixon and Reagan in historic landslides.

Keep those Nazi comparisons coming!

Posted by: Brainster at June 4, 2004 11:11 AM

I guess the advantage of Jeremy's plan it is would have ensured a much longer and deeper recession and would have allowed the economy to be an issue during this election, to the benefit of the Democrats.

This in a nut shell is the Democrats strategy for 2004:

1 - Hope things get bad for America.
2 - Blame it all on Bush.
3 - Hope the voters don't notice that the Democrats offer nothing reasonable as an alternative.

Posted by: Seismic at June 4, 2004 01:35 PM

"go back into your hidey hole and stop bothering us with your tripe. "

Go blow yourself. Michael, do whatever you want but I am sick of this sort of condesending crap. You don't like what I'm saying? Rough Junior, get over it. I ain't leaving and i'm not shutting up. For the last three years every time I discuss anything (or try to discuss anything) with anyone who disagrees with me I have heard this, or something similar. You provide a half decent retort until this point but when you crank out the "he's a conservative, make him be quiet" line here you agitate me.

Democrats are totally focused on George W. Bush. Republicans are totally focused on terrorism. Come November 3rd, if John Kerry wins George W. Bush will be gone. The very fact that not a single Democrat has managed to put together a half idea of what to do with the country, the economy, the Middle East or everything else OTHER than George W. Bush tells me everything I need to know about their ability to lead the nation.

As soon as that party starts putting ideas into the marketplace, i'll listen. As long as they continue to spew George W. Bush hatred and tell people to "go crawl into a hole" because their viewpoints do not exactly match that of an overweight, beared, paranoid and grump USC @ Berkley teacher I, nor the rest of America, is going to listen.

Don't like it? Go crawl in a hole.

Posted by: Roark at June 4, 2004 01:49 PM

Thank you, Matthew, for an excellent demonstration of the standard conservative attack on liberal ideas:

make up a statement (i.e. we should raise taxes during a recession) and attribute it to your target (i.e. me), whether or not they actually said it. Be sure to make the assumption that your target is a Democrat, since anyone who disagrees with the President can only be motivated by partisan blindness.

-attack Democrats for their foolishness at suggesting whatever it is you pretend your target said

-get the echo chamber (in our microcosm represented by Seismic) to repeat the claim until it is accepted as fact

Do you have a response to anything I actually did say, or are you just jerking off on the keyboard?

Posted by: Jeremy at June 4, 2004 01:57 PM

And thank you Jeremy for demonstrating now, on two posts, the standard liberal position.

Insult, insult, insult.

Perhaps if you insult enough people you can convince them what a prince you are and how you are right. As it stands, you are convincing everyone what a hump you are.

Keep up the good work.

Love,

The guy in the hole.

Posted by: Roark at June 4, 2004 02:13 PM

Come on, guys.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 4, 2004 03:26 PM

Let's see if we can engage Jeremy in a debate of some ideas.

You said that, "It happened with tax cuts first as the solution to a record surplus and then as the solution to a deficit."

Neither the record surplus or the deficit were the reason for the tax cuts. The tax cuts were aimed as a solution to a recession.

You said, "It happened with the invasion of Iraq planned before 9/11 and then proposed as the new solution to the war on terror post 9/11."

Could you provide a little evidence for your claim that the invasion of Iraq was planned before 9/11? And how does this amount to "refusing to change course when the situation changes or when he is shown to be wrong"?

You said, "And now we're seeing it with Chalabi..." In what way has Bush refused to change course with Chalabi?

You said, "If it helps reinforce your narrow view of the world to think that all criticism of Bush is rooted only in unreasoning personal hatred of the type conservatives generally reserve for those whose last name is Clinton, then go back into your hidey hole and stop bothering us with your tripe."

Who said that all criticism of Bush is rooted only in personal hatred ala Clinton?

You said, " But don't expect the "All Democrats hate America" line to fly with any thinking audience..."

On this one I can at least see where Roark indicated something along those lines when he said, "...or you're mad at America and are going to vote for Kerry."

There is a difference between being mad at America, and hating America. I don't believe that all Democrats hate America. I do think that most of the Left hates America--not liberals, not Democrats, but the Noam Chomsky/Katha Pollitt/Howard Zinn/DU Left. And I do suspect that a healthy percentage of Democrats and liberals are mad at America (and they will be even madder come November 2nd).

Posted by: Brainster at June 4, 2004 05:19 PM

Can anyone deny many American laws are based on morallity. A morallity that stems from religious influence. Comparisons of Bush and Mullahs seem entirely correct and to the point, since Bush himself seeks to pass himself off as a religious leader, a man of God, who speaks to God.

The similarities are there. If people chose to ignore it then thats their fault.

Posted by: IXLNXS at June 4, 2004 06:18 PM

"The similarities are there. If people chose to ignore it then thats their fault."

This is the same logic Jim Washburn used:

Stalin was a secularist. The modern Democrat party is secularist. The similarities are there. If people chose to ignore it then thats their fault.

See the fallacy?

Posted by: Roark at June 4, 2004 07:36 PM

Yup, sometimes they just make it too easy. .

Posted by: Diggs at June 4, 2004 08:26 PM

Hey, did somebody mention the Bill Cosby speech? I heard about this one, too. Bill Cosby is a pretty honest guy. I'm glad someone with a little clout in the African-American community is finally calling it like it is: It's not racism anymore, it's a lack of dads (lots of fathers, not many dads).

And I saw him on Tavis Smiley's show on PBS, talking about it too. And a pretty interesting conversation it was. At least Tavis was pretty fair about it.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at June 5, 2004 12:48 AM

Grant, the Bill Cosby Brown v Board of Education speech was, essentially, censored by deafening silence by the media. Because, as NRO says, Bill is speaking against the PC party line, therefore he's becoming "an uppity ...".

Jeremy, tax cuts (& big deficit) were, quite likely, the optimal mix of gov't policies following Clinton's bubble pop market crash. I notice Brad de Long (like Krugman) keeps up the "Bushies lie about everything", but hasn't talked much about the lack of jobs in the recovery.

Black Americans are starting to realize the NEA has been lying to them for years, and that secular, multicultural, non-value (=pro atheist) gov't schools are not going teach most blacks to read, they're starting to want some real alternative. Like vouchers. When they prefer to have more of their kids graduate and able to read rather than support white guilt over prior racism, and have the opportunity to really choose better schools, the schools will get better.

blackgenocide.com leads me to think that in the coming 2-10 years there will be a movement, again, affirming that pro-abortion is pro-racism against blacks. I suspect the future PC position will be that Adoption is always preferable to abortion. Like non-smoking being preferable to smoking.

Jeremy, it is sick to NEED the president to apologize: like Clinton, 4 years after Rwanda, after he and Clarke refused to call it "genocide" while it was happening, though it was. Like Kofi's apology at the 10 year anniversary, with no word of the current genocide in Sudan -- he'll have another opportunity to apologize in a few years. Hundreds of thousands died, I'm so sorry, blah blah blah. The need for apologizing is nearly pathological. Course changes? Gardner was replaced by Bremer, who's Iraq plans were modified by Sistani's input. Gen Karpinski was relieved in January (no big news, then). [It's the pictures, not the facts.] Dean Bush-hate kept the Dems from discussing any real differences in policy in the primaries.

Michael JT (or any Dem)-- can you articulate any specific Kerry policies that you feel are superior to Bush policies?

Posted by: Tom Grey at June 5, 2004 10:22 AM

Jeremy has bought into a fallacy built on conflating plan with intent. Of course there was a plan for invading Iraq. I would hope it was in existence, and being updated, thruout the time Iraq was in violation of the cease fire agreement from Round One.

To assert that the existence of said plan proves that the War on Terror is a front for giving Halliburton Iraq's oil (and I am not putting those words on Jeremy's fingertips) is as foolish as asserting that the fact that the Pentagon commisioned a study regarding worst-case effects of global warming proves that the U.S. should bind itself to a treaty which would cost more than providing the whole world clean drinking water and not require China to stop burning mercury-bearing coal.

Posted by: triticale at June 6, 2004 06:30 AM

"can you articulate any specific Kerry policies that you feel are superior to Bush policies?"

I strongly support Kerry's plans to
1. Repeal the portion of the Bush tax cuts that benefit only the wealthiest Americans. (Though I wish that he would go further and repeal all of them except the marriage penalty, the 10% bracket and the child tax credit exemption)
2. Support for increasing CAFE standards for vehicles, and including SUV's and other "light trucks" in calculating the standards.

Just what is it about the contemporary Republican party's aversion to asking well-off Americans to make any sacrifice whatsoever for the country that has allowed them to be successful?

Posted by: Markus Rose at June 7, 2004 12:17 PM

1. Repeal the portion of the Bush tax cuts that benefit only the wealthiest Americans. (Though I wish that he would go further and repeal all of them except the marriage penalty, the 10% bracket and the child tax credit exemption)
2. Support for increasing CAFE standards for vehicles, and including SUV's and other "light trucks" in calculating the standards.

Im converted.

Posted by: mnm at June 7, 2004 03:27 PM

mnm -- i don't think it would be worth anybody's time to try to convince you to change your mind.

tom -- i don't see how forcing poor, unwed pregant black teens to raise unwanted children is going to reduce the problems in the black community. please explain.

Posted by: Markus Rose at June 8, 2004 10:54 AM

mnm -- i don't think it would be worth anybody's time to try to convince you to change your mind.

Ok, but if your two examples of superior Kerry plans above are the best you can muster, than forget me, I dont believe you'll convince anyone.

Posted by: mnm at June 8, 2004 02:43 PM
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