Contrasts Revisited

June 4, 2009

Did anyone catch Dick Cheney’s speech to the National Press Club the other day, in which he casually admitted that in fact there had never been any connection between Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks?  This despite the fact that for the previous eight years Cheney had stubbornly clung to the fiction that such a connection existed, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Did anyone catch Andrea Mitchell’s interview with Liz Cheney, Dick’s daughter, in which the younger Cheney denied that her father had contradicted himself and then reasserted the fallacy of the Saddam-terrorist connection?

Did anyone notice that while the Cheney family was running around on television, desperately trying to rehabilitate Dick Cheney’s hopelessly compromised legacy, Barack Obama was in Cairo, giving a thoughtful address, seeking to undo some of the damage done to U.S. relations with Muslim countries and attempting to restart a long-stalled Middle East peace process?  I’ve said this before, but really it never gets old:  How glorious it is to be represented at home and abroad by a President of whom I can be proud, a President who speaks forcefully and eloquently about and for American values, a President who is respected and admired throughout the world, rather than reviled.

Now, if only the Cheneys would crawl back under their rock and leave the rest of us alone.

I’m still not ready to return to the full-length BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award entries I was posting during the political campaign.  But I did want to give out this special Inauguration Week BOW Award, because it seems so richly deserved.

No, I’m not giving it to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, for his mangling of the Presidential Oath on Tuesday, though I could.  Nor am I giving it to Vice President Joe Biden, for his ill-advised joke about the Chief Justice which seemed to annoy President Barack Obama (first time I’ve typed that — I like it!) so much the following day, though I could.

Instead, this BOW Award goes to America’s number one talk radio clown, Rush Limbaugh, for announcing to the world that he hopes Obama fails as President.  Limbaugh was asked by “a major American print publication” for a 400 word essay on his “hopes for an Obama Presidency.”

Here’s his exact reply:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” … See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

First off, who knew that liberalism was responsible for all that’s gone wrong in the last eight years?   And here I thought George Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress for most of the last decade were conservatives.  Silly me.  Second, this is the same guy who just two years ago said, with respect to people on the left who he perceived as rooting for George Bush’s failure, “I’m getting so sick and tired of people rooting for the defeat of the good guys.”  For the record, I never wished for George Bush to fail.  I never wanted American soldiers to die in Iraq because of his misguided policies.  I never rooted for the economy to tank, costing millions of Americans their homes and their jobs.  Mr. Bush managed to preside over all these things without encouragement from me, without any of us rooting for him to fail.  Was I an enthusiastic supporter?  Never.  Did I support him in the aftermath of 9/11, when for one brief, shining moment he actually expressed the mood of the nation and seemed to be responding responsibly?  Yes, I did.  Then he attacked Iraq.

If Rush wants to root for Obama’s failure, that’s fine.  Right-wing ideologues have been marginalized already.  By publicly calling for the failure of a new President with 75% approval ratings, in a time when people are truly suffering, Rush furthers that process, and makes it clear to all just what a buffoon he is.  And so this week, he wins the BOW Award.  Take a BOW there Rush; you’ve earned it.  And then see if you can get the other foot in your mouth, too.  Maybe that will shut you up for a while….

BOW Award Time!

October 5, 2008

First of all, a belated Birthday shout-out to my friend Mark Wise!  Sorry I didn’t do this the other day, my friend.  Hope it was a great day.

We’re into the silly season of this campaign, and today’s BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award is going to reflect that.  What do I mean by “silly season”?  Well, we’re less than a month away from election day, and despite what conservative commentators and pollsters on television might say, these are desperate times for the McCain-Palin campaign.  It’s not that they can’t win — of course they still can.  But the number of Presidential candidates who have been down this far (between 6 and 8 points in most national polls) this late in the campaign and have come back to win is pretty small.  So it’s time for McCain and company to “go negative.”  And it’s already begun.
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No Coincidence

August 27, 2008

Yeah, okay, I’m in political mode.  But this is just too outrageous to ignore.  Want to know why David Petraeus is John McCain’s BFF?  Just check today’s news headlines.  It was announced today that U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq will be handing over military control of the Anbar Province to the Iraqi Army on Monday, thus marking the culmination of the military’s one great “success story” of the Iraq conflict.  What’s the big deal you ask?  Well, as I said, this was announced today — and today the themes of speeches at the Democratic Convention will be focused on national security and foreign policy issues.  Think I’m being paranoid?  Monday, the day of the actual withdrawal of U.S. Forces from Anbar, marks the opening of the Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities.

Keith Olbermann has spoken often of the “nexus of security and politics” on his wonderful news program, “Countdown.”  This is a perfect example.  With the Bush Administration, the tail always wags the dog.

Return of the BOW Award

August 16, 2008

Today I bring back the BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award, after a hiatus of several weeks.  I feel a bit refreshed and I’m ready to go after Buffoons wherever they may hide.  Fortunately, Buffoons are no better at hiding than they are at doing much of anything, so this shouldn’t be too hard.  And, as it happens, there was enough Buffoonery on display this week to fill up a book, much less a blog entry. 


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This will be my last BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award for a few weeks.  I’m going on vacation and the BOW is going on hiatus.  I’ll get back to it eventually, but I have to admit to being a little burned out on the award right now.  Why?  A couple of reasons.  I put a lot of work into the weekly posts and after a week of writing whatever book I happen to be working on the Saturday post can be a tough mountain to climb.  Some weeks (like last week) are easier to write than others (like this week).  I mean, between Jesse Jackson and Phil Gramm, last week was just flat out fun.

But it gets tiring and discouraging to hit the same points every week and see that nothing changes.  John McCain flip-flopped this week on gay adoption and Afghanistan, he made disingenuous claims about the safety of offshore drilling, and he unleashed a barrage of unfounded attacks on Barack Obama, even going so far as to imply that Obama is a socialist (which, of course, is utterly ridiculous).  And yet the so-called “liberal” press covered none of it.  Just as they have covered none of McCain’s previous flip-flops, of which there have been many.  But Obama says that he’ll be pulling out troops from Iraq over a 16 month period (which he has said since January 2007) and mentions that he will continue to refine his stance on Iraq withdrawals as he gets information from commanders on the ground (which he has said since January 2007), and the press runs story after story about how he has changed his position.  It’s enough to make a person crazy.

Anyway, I need a break.

But first, this week.  Read the rest of this entry »

What a week!  It seems that with this being an abbreviated work week because of the 4th of July holiday, the usual idiots in the media and politics went out of their way to fit in a full week’s worth of buffoonery.  So we have lots of choices for this installment of the BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award.

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I have been asked by a few how it’s possible that I’ve been giving out BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Awards for so many weeks now, and have yet to give one to our Buffoon in Chief.  I have to admit that I share their astonishment.  I would have thought that Dubya would have earned one of these babies long, long ago.  But this week is the perfect example of what happens. The week began with a spate of bone-headed moves from Ole George, and I thought, “Great!  This is the week!  We’ll have a special George W. Bush Lifetime Achievement Award.”  But wouldn’t you know it, fate intervened, and a dark-horse has run away with this week’s award.

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The BOW Award Returns

June 8, 2008

Well, I just spent an hour or so writing up my BOW Award entry for this week.  I’ve been on vacation and I missed last week’s BOW Award, and I didn’t get to write this week’s yesterday, when I usually would have because we were driving home from the beach. (Topsail Island in North Carolina.  Great place.)  Anyway I had a good entry going and was nearing the end of the post — it was a long one, too.  But my browser closed unexpectedly and the autosave restore thing didn’t work, so I lost the whole entry.  I just don’t have the energy to write the whole thing over again.

Suffice it so say that I mentioned the McCain campaign worker, whoever it might have been, who allowed McCain to go on television Tuesday night without makeup and then had him stand before that horribly garish green backdrop.  McCain’s delivery is bad enough — wooden, boring, and that fake smile of his gives me the creeps — but add in the venue and the lack of makeup and he looked awful.  When Fox News comments on how bad the Republican Presidential nominee’s appearance went you know you’ve got problems.

I mentioned Fox News’ E.D. Hill, who referred to a little fist pump Barack and Michelle Obama shared at Obama’s speech that same night, as “a terrorist fist jab.”  A terrorist fist jab?  Are you kidding me?

Right wing radio host Mike Gallagher interviewed disgraced former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay, the other day, and the two of them agreed that Barack Obama is a Marxist.  Yep.  I blogged about this sort of thing the other day and there’s a long discussion of it on my WordPress blog for June 3 ( so I won’t go into it in much depth here, except to say that if this is the best the Right can do in their campaign against Obama, they don’t have a prayer come November. 

Then of course, we have the McCain campaign advisor who, apparently tired of hearing a possible McCain Presidency referred to as “a third term for George Bush” suggested that actually Barack Obama’s fiscal policies were much closer to George Bush’s than are McCain’s.  A couple of thoughts on this one:  Apparently this advisor is ignoring McCain’s willingness to expand and make permanent the disastrous Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, as well as Obama’s promise to end those tax cuts, which we can’t afford.  This person is also ignoring the fact that while McCain wants to keep on spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the Iraq War, Obama has promised to end the war.  Also, I wonder how Delay, Gallagher, and others who are calling Obama a Marxist feel about this….

There were a couple of other nominees, too.  I’ve forgotten them.  I’m giving the award for this week to Republican Senator Pat Roberts (Kansas) who had been chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee until the Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2006.  As chair of the committee, Roberts managed to exert influence over the committee’s report on the Bush Adminstration’s misuse of pre-war intelligence in the buildup to the Iraq War.  He never counted on the GOP losing control of the Senate though.  The second round of reports on pre-war intelligence has now come out, and it not only shows that the Bush Administration misused intelligence leading up to the war, and that the Administration embarked on a carefully orchestrated campaign to deceive the American public about Iraq (just as former WHite House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said in his recently published memoir), but it also shows how much Roberts did to keep these facts from coming to light.  So this week’s BOW Award goes to Senator Pat Roberts, Republican from Kansas, for his role in deceiving the nation about the Administration’s Iraq policy.  Take a BOW there, Senator.  You’ve earned it.  And good luck with that reelection campaign…..


June 3, 2008

It’s 9:00 Eastern.  Polls are about to close in South Dakota, and within a few minutes, the networks will be able to proclaim Barack Obama the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.  

Yes, I’m an Obama supporter, but this is not about gloating or self-congratulation.  The talking heads on TV often use the phrase “historic moment”.  They use it to talk about baseball games and golf tournaments and, yes, political events.  But this truly is a momentous occasion, one that, quite honestly, I never believed I’d see.  Our nation is only three generations removed from Brown v. Board of Education, two generations removed from the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  And as of tonight, we have an African American representing one of our two major political parties.  Remarkable. 

To my many friends (among them my closent friends in my home town and my wife) who supported Hillary Clinton, I’m not going to go through all the “Clinton ran a spirited campaign” and “Clinton has broken down gender barriers” stuff.  She did and she has.  I began the campaign as a Clinton supporter.  But Obama changed my mind.  I feared that he couldn’t win.  He proved he could.  I feared that he wasn’t tough enough.  He proved he was.  I wondered if there was more to him than great speeches.  I believe with all my heart that there is.

I do want to say though, that I feel Senator Clinton was treated terribly by the media throughout the campaign.  She has been on the receiving end of a disgusting and sustained assault from misogynist elements in the press including not only Fox News and the right-wing bloggers, radio hosts, and commentators, but also such “mainstream” media figures as Chris Matthews and the crew at CNN.  They use different language to speak of her campaign — comparing her to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, dissecting her laugh, her tears, her clothing, her figure, her voice, using gender-loaded terms like “shrill” to describe her.  She didn’t lose because of any of this, but she did have to put up with it.  It was shameful and she and her female supporters have every right to be offended.   Further, she was the presumptive nominee, and so the press was looking for a story, trying to figure out who was going to be her main challenger, and when it turned out to be Obama, they gave him a great deal of positive press.  Only when he actually became the frontrunner, did they turn on him, and then they did so with gusto.

I hope, though, that after dealing with their disappointment and taking time to get used to the idea of an Obama candidacy, they will take a close look at the policy positions of Barack Obama and John McCain.  I hope they will think about what a McCain Presidency would mean to the future of the war in Iraq, the composition of the Supreme Court, the state of the economy, the prospects for health care reform, the ballooning of our budget deficit, improvements in public education, and a host of other issues.  The differences between Obama and McCain are far greater than any differences that exist between Obama and Clinton, and when it comes right down to it, these and other issues are what this election ought to be about.