BOW Award for this Week

May 24, 2008

Time to give away this week’s BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award.  Unlike last week, which seemed to be filled with actos of buffoonery, this week was a bit quiet.  And in fact, I’d like to start by acknowledging an act of political courage that deserves some sincere recognition.  

Back in February, Mark McKinnon, a member of John McCain’s media team who also worked for George Bush’s campaigns, stated that if Barack Obama wound up being the Democratic Presidential nominee, he (McKinnon) would quit McCain’s campaign rather than be part of an effort to attack Obama.  Here’s what he said at the time:

“I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama. I think it would be uncomfortable for me, and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign.”

This week, amazingly, McKinnon made good on his promise.  He announced that he would be leaving the McCain campaign, though he stated that he would still be an “informal advisor” to the presumptive GOP nominee.  A political operative who takes a principled stand and then follows through on it.  How refreshing.

A few people have recommended that Hillary Clinton be given this week’s award for her awkward statement yesterday, in which she raised the 1968 assasination of Robert Kennedy, seeming to imply that she was remaining in the Democratic race just in case something terrible happens to Barack Obama.  Thing is, I really don’t believe that’s what she was saying.  Look, I’m an Obama supporter, and though I’ve liked Hillary Clinton for a long time, I feel that she has run a disappointing and at times ethically compromised campaign.  But this time I think she’s getting a bum rap.  She was answering questions about why she remains in the race, and pointed out that campaigns in the past  have run into June.  She made the same point nearly word for word in March, and no one batted an eye.  With the health problems of Ted Kennedy fresh in everyone’s mind, this time the comment seemed more jarring, but to suggest that she’s hoping for a tragedy is, in my opinion, unfair and unfounded.

I posted about McCain’s pastor problem yesterday, so I won’t bring that up again.  But that doesn’t eliminate McCain from BOW Award consideration!  No, sir!  This week, John McCain voted against the new GI Bill that passed the Senate by a veto-proof 75-22 margin.  Clinton and Obama voted for the bill, as did 29 of McCain’s fellow Republicans.  The central provision of the bill provides for vastly expanded educational benefits for soldiers returning from overseas and leaving the armed forces.  It seems to me, and to three quarters of the Senate, a fitting reward for the men and women who are risking their lives in a war that John McCain supports.  But though McCain is willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to wage an immoral, illegal war, he felt that the extra educational funding for veterans was too much.  Unbelievable.  But that’s not all.  The Bush Administration and the bill’s opponents also feared that by making life after the armed services too attractive to American soldiers, it might undermine recruiting efforts.  That’s right, guys.  You wouldn’t want to make veterans’ lives too easy.  Best to treat them like crap and keep them in line.

House Democrats nearly won the award this week for something so stupid it’s almost embarrassing to write about.  The House and Senate passed a farm bill this week, again by veto-proof majorities.  (I guess when the President’s approval rating is down around 28% you start to hear the phrase “veto-proof majority” a bit more often….)  Bush promptly vetoed the bill and the House voted to override.  But it turns out that the Democrats in the House passed the wrong version of the bill and sent it to the White House.  They had to have a re-vote on the “right” bill and restart the process.  Pretty embarrassing there, folks.  No wonder Congressional approval ratings are even lower than W’s.

But today’s winner is, believe it or not, even worse than that.  The account of what happened comes largely from a Media Matters talking point that was picked up by www.crooksandliars.com.  After it was made public that Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, there was an outpouring of sympathy and well-wishes for the Senator, from the left and the right.  Senate Republicans were commendably gracious in wishing Kennedy a speedy recovery, and many of them spoke of how great a legislator Kennedy has been during his 46 years in the U.S. Senate.  They made a point as well, of saying that he is also a fine person, who repeatedly reaches across party lines on personal and professional matters alike.  Cal Thomas, one of the most conservative columnists in America wrote a moving piece about his close friendship with Kennedy.  Everyone in the country, it seems, has been united in wishing Senator Kennedy the best.

And then there’s conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage, who responded to the news of Kennedy’s illness this way:  (Again, the quote comes from Media Matters and is repeated on crooksandliars)

“Following the announcement that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage opened his May 20 show by interspersing audio of Kennedy singing “Ay Jalisco No Te Rajes” with clips of news reporters discussing Kennedy’s diagnosis and audio from the 1990 film Kindergarten Cop in which Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character says, “It’s not a tumor.” Later, Savage played the Dead Kennedys song “California Über Alles” after stating: “The poor guy’s been suffering for years, you know? Unfairly he’s been accused of alcoholism, but we see now that it was something much more deep-seated. And so, to cut this out in some respect for Ted Kennedy, here’s a tune coming at you from the Dead Kennedys. Go ahead and play it, please.”

And so, for his mind-boggling insensitivity, this week’s BOW Award goes to syndicated radio talk-show host Michael Savage.  Take a BOW there, Michael.  And then please, taking a flying leap off the nearest cliff.

8 Responses to “BOW Award for this Week”

  1. Ned Allen said

    Savage was truthful, I heard his show, he did not wish Kennedy ill health or anything but the best wishes, yet he was clear on his dismal record Who today speaks for the Mary Jo Kopechne and her family? It is disgusting how biased bloggers like you, the network news, and the liberal media distort reality. Soviet Union USA.

  2. davidbcoe said

    Mary Jo Kopechne’s death was a tragedy and Kennedy’s behavior that night and in the aftermath was disgraceful. But now the man is dying. Savage “did not wish Kennedy . . . anything by the best wishes”? HE PLAYED A DEAD KENNEDYS SONG!!! How freakin’ insensitive can you get?!

    And if you find my blog disgusting then don’t read it. But it’s MY blog and I can be as biased as I want. I’m not trying to live up to any journalistic standard of impartiality. The “Soviet Union, USA” remark, I assume, refers to your attempt to censure my post and tell me what I can and can’t write.

  3. Jon said

    I’m in agreement with Ned Allen on this one, though by all means you have as much right to be biased as anyone else. I find the comment rather BOW-worthy in itself, though, Mr. Coe. You have frequently commented on media bias and how awful it is, yet you remark on something you OBTAINED FROM A SECOND-PARTY SOURCE, and did not even hear yourself, and then state “it’s MY blog and I can be as biased as I want. I’m not trying to live up to any journalistic standard of impartiality”. You can’t hold other people to standards you wouldn’t hold yourself to. To quote you, I think you’re unfairly giving Michael Savage “a bum rap”. The Dead Kennedys he played was a good one–so what the name of the band is DEAD KENNEDYS. Does that automatically mean he picked it to be disrespectful? No. I enjoy your blog immensely, but this is ridiculous. You lauded McKinnon for taking a stand and sticking by it, so you do the same. Hold yourself to the same standards you attempt to hold the media to. Otherwise, you’re no better than they are.

  4. davidbcoe said

    First of all, Jon, thanks for the comment. As to your first point: the only standard to which I hold myself on this blog is that I be respectful, that I keep the discourse on the blog at a level of sensitivity that does not offend people. By that standard, Michael Savage failed miserably. You can spin the playing of a Dead Kennedy’s song any way you want. In my opinion it was tasteless and crass. But read the description of what else he did and said. The “It’s not a tumor,” clip from Kindergarten Cop? The comments about Kennedy’s alcoholism? Give me a break! If you don’t like Ted Kennedy, fine. If you think that the jokes were funny, fine. I think they were offensive and I said as much. Second, I can’t help the fact that I have to come by some of this information second hand — I live in the middle of nowhere and get reception from precious few radio stations. Nothing I can do about it. And third, I will repeat again what I said to Ned: this is my blog. I can be as biased and opinionated as I want. I can absolutely hold journalists to a different standard because they themselves claim to be unbiased. Savage isn’t really a journalist; he doesn’t claim to be unbiased. I didn’t give him the BOW Award because he was biased. I gave him the BOW award because his remarks were disgusting.

  5. Kenneth Mark Hoover said

    Nothing makes me angrier than when a Repugs question the very fabric of our nation: freedom of speech. Last time I checked this is Mr. Coe’s blog. If you don’t like it you can lump it. Not surprising, though. Just goes to show you their endemic hatred for our country and its Constitution. It matters not to them that brave men and women died to defend this right of free speech. But, on to more serious matters….that of the maggot-infested hate that spews out of the mouth of one Michael Weiner, aka “Savage.” *rolleyes*

    Are you belted in? Good. Let’s get started.

    Don’t you just love it when narrow-minded, intolerant hate-mongering conservatives crawl out of the rotten woodwork they call their political foundation and DEFEND MICHAEL WEINER?

    C’mon. You gotta love it. These knee-jerk reactionaries, already without the capacity for self-reflection because they know nothing more than to parrot GOP talking points spewed like pablum from Fox and Limbaugh, along with their other slack-jawed propaganda outlets, simply don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to this self-hating little monster who now calls himself “Savage” when in reality his true name is Weiner.

    Now I want to make something very clear. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the name Weiner, it’s a fine upstanding name, but seeing as how Mr. Weiner has a deep (and, yes, well-documented) homosexual past he’d rather forget, perhaps the name speaks too closely to the self-hatred and self-loathing mixed with weaseled-pity that is in his heart.

    Here’s some more bon mots from this self-hating little goof these right-wing tools are defending. And if you think these quotes are made up or do not exist on tape and are not documented, then you’re simply living in the same delusional world you always inhabit:

    “Now we have an unknown stealth candidate who went to a madrassas in Indonesia and, in fact, was a Muslim” –This just proves he’s an absolute racist dumbass, as is everyone who supports and defends him.

    “Bring in 10 million more from Africa. … They can’t reason, but bring them in with a machete in their head” –this again proves he’s a racist little fuck, as, I maintain, is everyone who supports and defends him

    “[L]oving, kind lesbian” is “the type that stuffed ovens in Hitler’s concentration camps” –yet another indefensible statement from this little hate-filled shit, and those who fawn over him.

    “You’re telling me there’s no possibility of a conspiracy by the Democrats” to cause Roberts’ seizure?” –truly, an absolute fucking paranoiac with no ground-based sense of reality.

    And there’s tons more where that came from. And you can shitcan the bullshit head-up-the-ass Neocon arguments that these quotes are made up out of whole cloth. The only thing made up out of whole cloth is the Repuglican propensity to call themselves Christians when their entire party is predicated on fostering hate, racism, fear and division.

    Michael Weiner Savage is a putrid excuse for a human being. Some day he’ll do the world a favor and choke on his hate-filled pig vomit. And, no, the world will not mourn.

    Oh, and finally, in case you’re wondering? Goddamn right I hate Republicans. But, you see, I’m not like your usual weak-kneed milk-gutted Democrat who will roll over and show you his soft white underbelly. I’m more than ready to demand accountability from the racist Republican party for the damage you, and people like Mr. Weiner, have caused to our civil liberties and our Constitution.

    Seriously. Take my fucking word on this: I am NOT like other Democrats. Sucks for you, I know, but that’s your problem.

    Kenneth Mark Hoover

  6. Mark Wise said

    I have to say that as a consevative, I did listen to Michael Savage’s show that night and thought it to be rather tasteless. While Michael did go on later to make some valid points about Sen. Kennedy’s voting record and the personal issues in his life, I think to bring that up on the day that he announces that he has incurable brain cancer is disrespectful. And as already been pointed out, if you want respect, you gotta give it. At the time, I felt it was nothing more than a publicity stunt to get attention and I guess it has worked.

    By the way, this is a BLOG for those who do not understand the concept. It is not the New York Times or Washington Post. Blogs are places to express your viewpoint and not “report the news”. The supposed journalistic integrety doesn’t apply here. This is the realm of opinion, not news.

  7. Jon said

    “These knee-jerk reactionaries, already without the capacity for self-reflection because they know nothing more than to parrot GOP talking points spewed like pablum from Fox and Limbaugh, along with their other slack-jawed propaganda outlets.”

    Ok, that remark is entirely offensive to anyone and everyone. First off, not all Republicans are the way you seem to view each and every one of them, Mr. Hoover. And second off, I’M NOT REPUBLICAN. I am a staunch Democrat supporting Hillary Clinton. Where does your argument about “GOP parroting” stand now? And last I checked, our men and women in Iraq aren’t fighting to protect freedom of speech. They’re fighting to protect Mr. Bush’s image and his own personal battles, so don’t you DAR pull the military card. I served in Iraw for 15 months from 2004 until 2005, so watch what you say and who you say it to.

  8. davidbcoe said

    Hmmm. We’re getting a bit testy here. To Mark Hoover’s comments: I happen to enjoy Mark’s rants because he expresses the unfiltered anger of so many Democrats I know. That said, I don’t hate Republicans. I married into a family of them (though Nancy is a Democrat). I find the political discussions I have with my father-in-law, and for that matter the political exchanges I’ve had on this site with Mark Wise and Tina and others, incredibly enlightening. When we on either side of the political fence listen to each other, we can learn and compromise and perhaps move the country forward. Thing is, and Mark Hoover makes this point strongly, much of the noise coming from right wing talk radio and Fox News isn’t thoughtful or constructive. It’s venomous, bigoted, and therefore counterproductive. Savage/Weiner is among the worst in this regard, and I still believe that this week’s broadcast was a prime example.

    Jon, I’m sorry that this discussion took a turn that offended you. I’ve read Mark’s rants before and I alerted him to this discussion and asked him to weigh in. He came in with both barrels blazing, and that’s partially my fault. In case some of you don’t know, I get to moderate all comments on this blog. I could easily have left off Ned’s comments and Jon’s, since they were critical of my post. Clearly that’s no way to foster discussion, so I approved the comments. I approved Mark’s as well. I happen to agree with quite a lot of what Mark said, but I think Mark would be the first to admit that he doesn’t mince words.

    Your service to the United States is admirable, Jon, and we all owe you our deepest gratitude. Mark, I’m sure, would join me in expressing our thanks. I also think that you and he would agree on far more than you might think.

    It may be time to move beyond this discussion. I still welcome comments, of course, but we all might just need to agree to disagree on the recent remarks of Mr. Savage Weiner….

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