Sunday, March 29, 2009

The GOP Re-Discovers Free Speech

Barack Obama got elected president, in part, because he promised to bring change to America. One of the major changes he's wrought, one that seems to go unremarked in the press, is this: He's made the Republicans believe in free speech and open dissent again.

Take Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who first came to national attention when she suggested that Barack Obama had "anti-American beliefs" and called for a media investigation of said anti-Americanism. Lest you think that sort of thing was a one-time fluke, Ms. Bachmann has, since that time, proved that she can reliably and consistently bring the crazy.

Recently when discussing President Obama's energy proposals, Bachmann stated, and I quote: "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people -- we the people -- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country."

Wow. I seem to remember when even the mildest questioning of the Dear Leader Bush's plans and schemes was described, in so many words, as "treason" and "support of terrorism." In fact, I still have the e-mails people sent me in the run-up to the Iraq War, including a memorable one "reminding" me that "they hanged Benedict Arnold, you know" (thus managing to be both vaguely threatening and historically ignorant at the same time).

Can you imagine if any Democratic commentator, let alone a Democratic member of Congress, had even rhetorically talked about wanting people to be "armed and dangerous" in opposition to a president's legislative initiative? There'd be Republicans calling for their removal from Congress at best and for their immediate incarceration at Guantanamo Bay at worst. Ms. Bachmann should be glad the Republicans aren't in charge any more, I guess.

Then there are the remarks made by conservative author Tammy Bruce who was subbing for nationally syndicated talk-show host Laura Ingraham one day. It appears that Ms. Bruce is, to put it mildly, not a fan of First Lady Michelle Obama.

"You know what we've got?" Bruce sputtered about Mrs. Obama. "We've got trash in the White House."

I was curious to see if any prominent liberal-leaning commentator had referred to former First Lady Laura Bush as "trash." Fortunately, I'm pretty handy with the Google, so I put in the words "Laura Bush" and "trash" and came back with a number of hits. Most of those, however, dealt with various speeches Mrs. Bush had given on the environment.

There was one reference to Mrs. Bush as "trash" in an article entitled "First Lady, or First Slut?" But that was on a self-described "Right Wing Pro-Life Christian Conservative" Web site called that was taking the former first lady to task for supposedly "off-color remarks" made at an unspecified event.

Besides, that was just some nutty blog site, not a nationally syndicated radio show. (It's a favorite dodge of wingnuts to justify the rhetorical excesses of their national leaders by pointing to something they vaguely remember reading in some deleted post by some anonymous commenter on some obscure blog, but that's not the way we roll here in this column.)

Anyway, I couldn't find one example of a published liberal author, or a liberal host or guest on a national broadcast, referring to a Republican first lady as "trash." Not one. Not the much-maligned Keith Olbermann, not MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, certainly not the liberal castrato Alan Colmes, whose sole function on Sean Hannity's show seemed to be to get verbally slapped around by the host and smile about it.

I can pretty much guarantee you that if anyone had called Mrs. Bush, or the other Mrs. Bush (Dubbya's mom), or Mrs. Reagan "trash" in any kind of nationally broadcast forum, we'd still be hearing about it. A lot. We'd also be hearing a lot about how that kind of thing just goes to show how terrible and tasteless and hateful the "angry left" is.

But free and unfettered speech, angry and hateful and tasteless though it may be, seems to be a newly discovered passion for the wingnuttiest of Republicans. Glad they've finally come around to the idea that dissent is important.

Too bad it took them six years and getting their butts kicked in two consecutive elections to do it.


Lisa Krempasky said...

You're kidding right? Democrats control 90% of the media and spent at least the last 7 years continuously bashing Bush. They viciously attack anyone conservative and I'm not about their politics. It's personal.

And now the same liberal media has circled its wagons around Obama he has engaged in politics as usual all the while saying he has not. He supports things in private and when they come out in public he denies them and throws people under the bus so as to divert attention to his culpability. No criticism of him is valid in the eyes of the liberal media. It reminds me of the FDR days for sure. Those were the days when the media hid things about the president from the public...only in those days they were only hiding physical infirmaties and not gross mismanagement like they are hiding and even covering up today.

Gerard said...

No one else has written anything, so I will. That crazy lady is kind of hot. Since she is a crazy Republican you can figure she is also... Well, you know.

JD Rhoades said...

Democrats control 90% of the media

Cite, please? Care to back that figure up?

And now the same liberal media has circled its wagons around Obama

Oh please. Do the name Jeremiah Wright strike a familiar note? Have you forgotten about the "Obama went to a Madrassa" story? How about Chris Matthews recoiling in horror because Barrack Obama ordered orange juice instead of coffee in a diner? Or didn't order a cheeseteak in Philly? How about Cokie Roberts criticizing Obama for vacationing in his home state because it made him seem "foreign and exotic"? How about NBC's Chuck Todd excusing McCain's gaffes on Iran (where he apparently, even after several tries, couldn't distinguish between Shi'ite and Sunni) by saying "McCain has credibility in the bank" on foreign policy?

"Liberal media" my ass.

Charlie Stella said...

Here we go again, arguing over something as mundane as media coverage while BOTH PARTIES bend us over a bench without lubricants for corporate america (unless their outsourcing, then we get it from participating countries, too).

The reason (Long Hair), I break Dusty's shoes (and those on the right as wel) is because while everybody is so passionate about party nonsense, the country is going down the shitter for those who pay for it (in case you haven't noticed). Instead of charging up san juan hill for Obama/McCain or anybody else from the two main parties, maybe it's time to take a look-see at alternatives ... because so long as Obama voted for and then enacted Bush economics, I just don't see the difference between the two as regards the people paying for both their messes.

If I had to vote on which has a heavier influence media wise (since you're holding that gun to my head) ... there's no doubt in my mind it's more liberal than conservative ... but the point is who cares? The media (both sides) have us fighting squabbles that mean nothing while the gov't hands failed millionaires billions of our dollars.

Now, Long Hair ... how about that haircut ... you know you want one.

Stacey Cochran said...

Dusty, give us an update of the talk down in Carthage. What's the latest about this gunman?

JD Rhoades said...

Hey, Charlie, I'm just asking Lisa to back up her claim with some, you know, actual facts n' figures on who control the media, and I just thought I'd show some actual, real-life examples of how they're not "circling the wagons" around anyone. Correcting sloppy thinking and mindless parroting of right wing PR about "liberal media" is part of our educational mission on this here blog.

Stacey: latest word is the gunman has been moved to the hospital at Central Prison and the cop who got wounded is recovering at home. The young officer (who I know from court), apparently decided to go in alone rather than wait for backup, caught the gunman in the hallway, and shot it out with him. If he'd waited for backup, more people might have died.

The nurse who was on duty at the nursing home at the time was reportedly shot 27 times. The theory is he was trying to stop the shootings.

This has been another episode of ordinary guys doing extraordinary things.

As for motive, there are reports that the gunman's ex-wife worked at the nursing home. He'd told his relatives he had cancer and was going to die, so he was getting his affairs in order. No word as to whether the cancer story is true.

When I heard the name, I thought for a bit that the gunman might have been the ex-husband of a woman I represented om several domestic violence cases. Different guy, though.

Charlie Stella said...

JD ... all of us could give similar examples to prove our invididual points, except it proves nothing (how caroline kennedy (vs. sarah palin) was given a HUGE pass on her exit from the NY Senate race ... how the "bonus" fiasco took center stage while nobody held Obama's shoes to the fire for not taking care of that crap up front (not to mention outsourcing (yet again)).

Cites work in briefs and essays ... and in this instance all they do is prove we're all fighting over the sideshow rather than the bigger issues (which is what I'd blame all the media for at this point--letting Obama slide on the fact he's extended and expanded George W. Bush's idea of economics). Remember George? He's the guy you loved (and still do) to bash six times a day. Well, your guy is sitting on George's economic policy with absolute abandon, it seems.

Okay, enough ... I gotta stop. Takes too much energy.


Charlie Stella said...

One more last shot ... the CEO we just nuked from his job at GM is walking away with $20 million.

Okay, here's how Obama can become MY MESSIAH. He goes on ESPN and says:
"No fucking way. We all have to chip in so I don't care when your contract was signed. You sucked at your job and we're not going to pay for it. Tough shit. Go and collect unemployment like the rest of us."

Obambi does that, he's my God.

John McFetridge said...

You know, Charlie, a lot of people will tell you that you're absolutely right, what you see happening is inevitable in capitalism (maybe it is too bad FDR saved it).

Be careful when they start offering up the alternatives, though.... ;)

JD Rhoades said...

Whenever Charlie gets into his "hang the law, void the contracts" mode, I keep thinking of that speech from A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

charlie stella said...

Funny, JD, how much speeches impress you.

John: we voted for change ... what's wrong with change? Be nice to see some.

Here's the reality check. The GM scumbag is getting paid with bailout bucks because nobody in Congress (or the president) bothered to put a little clause in there that precluded bailout money to failed CEO's, etc. Forget bill of attainder. If the company's had gone bankrupt, he'd of gotten squat. No money, no bonus. And if his particular golden parachute allowed for some loophole, then a bill of attainder is fine and dandy. During times of "crisis" sometimes you gotta break the eggs to make the fucking omelette. Are we really that concerned the laws of the land will be disbanded for a short period of common sense?

Please. Talk about paranoia.

There is such a thing as being too liberal, JD ... the greater good in this instance is served by precluded these never ending slaps in the face to the workers who are footing the bill.

Bottom line: Obama et al (including the morons on the other side of the aisle) once again didn't protect the working men and women (who they're taxing to pay these bonuses/bailouts). Thanks, Mr. President.

And the 99 people at my wife's firm that were laid off today (round 3) thank him, too, I'm sure.

Stacey Cochran said...

I figured you'd know a lot of these folks.

Damn dude. That cop is a hero. No back up.

He saved people's lives.

Now, there's a protag for a novel.

For those who have no idea what we're talking about here's the story of the shooting in Dusty's town.

JD Rhoades said...

Charlie, for a guy who likes to ride me about going after George Dubbya, you seem determined to blame every single layoff on a guy who's been in office two months. This economy didn't get this way in two months, or two years, but to hear you tell it, Barack Obama's personally filling out every pink slip.

charlie stella said...

JD, I can't call the last guy a moron enough ... I'm guilty of voting for the loser ... twice ... but one of the reasons I voted for him twice is because the Democratic party failed me a long ass time ago. I'm not blaming Obama for where we are (Bush gets 3/4 credit for this economic disaster and Barney Frank and the Democratic Congress for the other 1/4 for their "oversight"), etc.

I'm upset with Obama for his lack of "change", brother. Where is it? When does he look out for the little guy? I don't mind the march to socialism (it the right feels the need to label it thus) so long as it's for the people/workers. I have a huge problem with socialism for corporate America and that's exactly what he's engaged in.

I blame him for continuing down the road George Bush put us on a few months ago. Remember that ditch speech Obama like to use?

Well, right now he's spinning his wheels in the same damn ditch but at OUR expense.

On another note: Sorry to hear/read about that stuff in Carthage, brother. Very tough stuff.

Tom Panek said...

Charlie, how come you haven't mentioned outsourcing in your current diatribes yet?

You just seem to pound out the same crap all the time. Your rants all seem the same. Are you happy with anyone in our government, or are they all incompetent assholes?

As for abrogating the law, "nuh-nuh-nuh- nooooo!", to quote Billy Bibbit. With as many unprincipled politicians and corporate bigwigs willing to break the law for personal gain (chief among them George Bush), it's about time we got someone in there who at least explores the legality of what is "right" before he acts. Obama seems like a reasonable and pragmatic voice to me. he doesn't rush in with guns ablaze.

It seemed like the last decade or so was filled with wingnuts willing to throw people like me in jail for merely expressing an opinion. More than once I was called unpatriotic for not supporting, among other things, our invasion of Iraq. I still consider going through airport security an unwarranted search that illegally tramples on my rights ( I keep my mouth shut only because I want to get to where I'm going). But it really cracks my ass when I hear people like Ann Coulter and the King of Blowhards (Rush) and Michelle Bachman spout off with their shit and no one gets on their ass about being unpatriotic. Thing is, we've all gotten our rights back, which is what the current administration is about - protecting people's rights and leveling the playing field. What we need is not a stifling of the nutjob voices on the right, but more intelligent pundits on the left like Jon Stewart and Chris Colbert, who take them ALL on. I think Dusty's on the right track in our community. You should see the nutjob's comments about his columns. He's as close to a Communist as anything in our blood-red county, the way they put it.

The great thing about the GOP rediscovering their right to voice is how ridiculous their opinions appear these days. They're on a sinking ship. I say, Fire Torpedo One! Fire Torpedo Two!

charlie stella said...


You just seem to pound out the same crap all the time. Your rants all seem the same. Are you happy with anyone in our government, or are they all incompetent assholes?

The bulk of our government is 1 of 2 things Tommy boy: incompetent or corrupt. A guy like Kucinich (who has something to say but his party laughs him off the primary stage every presidential primary) is probably legit. So are some others (I hope). You say this gov't is about getting our rights back. How about the right to make a living, champ?

I didn't bother mentioning outsourcing because my fingers were tired of typing it.

The "crap" you mention (people losing their jobs while the party of the people funds millionaires and overseas operations) is why it has to be mentioned ... so it penetrates your inane defense of a party that is every bit as useless as the one you poked fun at the last 8 years.

Convince yourself Keith Olbermann has something to say. Keep convincing yourself. It's exactly what keeps the two parties in power ... choosing the lesser of two evils rather than voting for genuine change.

I suspect you don't like my hammering the facts because there's just no defending it, is there? I speak of Obama's recycling bush economics ... amongst other things.

JD Rhoades said...

Hey, where's Lisa? I asked her for some backup on her claims about the liberal control of 90% of the media, and POOF! she's gone.

A drive-by wingnut who can't back up her wild claims and bullshit. Imagine that.

charlie stella said...

This, Tom, is the "crap" of which I spoke ...

U.S. Jobless Claims Rise Unexpectedly

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people filing new jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, while those continuing to receive benefits hit a record for 10th straight week.

Both figures showed that the labor market remained weak and was unlikely to recover anytime soon.

The Labor Department says initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 669,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 657,000. That total is above analysts’ expectations and is the highest in more than 26 years.

The tally of laid-off workers claiming benefits for more than a week rose 161,000 to 5.73 million, setting a record for the 10th straight week. That also was above analysts’ expectations and indicates that unemployed workers are having difficulty finding new jobs.

The right to work, champ ... the right to work. Not a single stipulation in anywhere in the "stimulus" to protect workers.

Herbert Hoover would get wood from this "stimulus" ...

"Change" from what, exactly?