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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Before he became head of the RNC, I only knew of Michael Steele as a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher. On the Annoying Guest Scale, he stood somewhere between David Frum and craphound Frank Luntz. But lately he has become much more entertaining.

billmaherguest

Steele always works hard to identify with his audience. At a recent NRA conference, he showed a keen command of talking points and an uncanny ability to add together two premises that are so factually flawed that you have to clap your hands in wonder at the leap of logic it took to create the final sum.

Of course he repeated the NRA mantra that the government is going to take away their guns. Because you know it’s almost impossible to get your cold, dead hands on an AK-47 around here. But then he whipped his audience into a frenzy by showing them how the need for guns is more critical than ever. Echoing that brilliant statesman, Mitch McConnell, who said that Obama is going to let the Gitmo detainees–all 250 of them–run amok “in our neighborhoods,” Steele told them:

It is ironic, to say the least, that at the same time Democrats in Congress are threatening to deny Americans their second amendment right to own a firearm and defend their families and homes, they are considering bringing terrorists like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Al Qaeda detainees to our communities once the President follows through on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay.

Bravo, Michael Steele! When those detainees come a’creeping into our yards in the wee hours of the morning, we will all be ready, thanks to you.

terristkeepout

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A study by Ohio State University examined the “biased message processing” of Stephen Colbert’s satire. The study found that individuals’ political ideology determined their perceptions of Colbert’s meanings and that their perceptions varied widely.

I don’t know how anyone watching, say, Colbert’s performance at the Correspondents’ Dinner could see anything but a biting criticism of the Bush administration and its enablers in the press. But on his show, I suppose, he can be as manic and annoying as any of the top blowhards like Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly.

So the study concluded:

. . . there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert’s political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.

So, if you are a rightwinger, you will think that Colbert’s extreme self-love

twopcolbertrockwell

is manly, delightful, and as American as Norman Rockwell, and

twopcharlene

that his song, “Charlene” is a beautiful expression of pure, undying love.

Considering this strange inability of such people to see beyond the literal, Keith Olbermann said, “So I shouldn’t tell guests that Colbert greets them backstage with” —

It's French, bitch.

It's French, bitch.

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Digby has posted the full text of David Broder’s April 26 piece called, “Stop Scapegoating.” It is an appalling argument, one Glenn Greenwald has rightly called “a tour de force of Beltway sickness – even for him.” Here is a representative excerpt from Broder’s response to calls for investigations into those who justified and ordered torture:

. . . now Obama is being lobbied by politicians and voters who want something more — the humiliation and/or punishment of those responsible for the policies of the past. They are looking for individual scalps — or, at least, careers and reputations.

Their argument is that without identifying and punishing the perpetrators, there can be no accountability — and therefore no deterrent lesson for future administrations. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.

The “voters” to Broder are those over-emotional filthy masses who cannot see reason and will erupt into violence at any moment. They want vengeance, you see. Not justice. What justice would it be to make our political class accountable for their grotesque crimes?

Broder has a long history of making such specious arguments on behalf of the powerful. As Digby shows, Broder was defending Richard Nixon in 1969 against those miscreants who wanted to “break the President.”

This, bizarrely, is how Broder then described the anti-war movement:

There is . . . a vital distinction . . . to be made between the constitutionally protected expression of dissent, aimed at changing national policy, and mass movements aimed at breaking the President by destroying his capacity to lead the nation or to represent it at the bargaining table.

Anyone familiar with Doonesbury will remember the anti-Vietnam war student, “Megaphone” Mark Slackmeyer, who threatened the Establishment with protests, the occupation of the university president’s building, and the like. Thirty years later, Slackmeyer has yet another kind of establishment to contend with.

Slackmeyer Returns

Slackmeyer Returns

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There have been complaints in the blogosphere that Chuck Todd is being his usual hackish self in trivializing the discussion of torture, calling it a “political food fight” and blaming the so-called “hard left and hard right” for making a big deal over nothing.

It’s not his fault. He can’t help simply repeating what other pundits say. Because journalism isn’t his field — he is actually that guy that manages Flight of the Conchords.

Murray talks about how tough life is

Murray at a meeting with Brett and Jemaine.

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On ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Peggy Noonan, discussing the recent release of the torture memos, said,

It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that.

Some things in life need to be mysterious . . . Sometimes you need to just keep walking.

Russ Feingold said he never heard anything quite as disturbing. Disturbing, Senator?  How about monstrous? or batshit crazy?

I wonder if anything can change her mind . . .

Some things should be mysterious

Some things should be mysterious

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