Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Even More Bull

The other day, eebmore hassled me in comments about why I keep posting about stuff from the The Bull Moose. I gave some sort of glib answer, but here's the real reason: The man embodies the worst impulses in politics. To wit: It is not what people do that matters, but what you can get other people to believe (and how you can capitalize on people's desire to believe things), that matters. In other words, image matters more than anything. Perpetuating this kind of thing is bad for our country, and the Moose is its most guilty practicioner. For instance, while he likes to play the populist, he is in fact elite university educated. He likes to use culture war rhetoric about "sanguine sophisiticates" and "elites", yet he is the most quoted "anonymous staffer" in the country (truly a mark of insider status if there was one). He pretends to care about "progressive values" but will never fail to speak up in defense of any administration flexing its executive muscle. But worst of all, he likes to pretend he takes the high-road, prefering "statesmanship" to "the fever swamp".

Except when he doesn't, and unleashes his inner wingnut. While linking to a post at TAPPED he writes:

And courageous leaders like Blair are viciously slandered by Lilliputians who would rather see America and the West defeated than genuine progressives vindicated.

Now given the nature of the above, you'd think the piece the Moose is linking to was something along the lines of Noam Chomsky calling for the arrest and trial of Tony Blair for international war crimes. Except it isn't. Click the link. First of all, while the TAPPED post is a little snarky (especially about another Moose favorite, Joe Lieberman), there's nothing untrue in the TAPPED post - the Moose even says so. Second, the Moose pulls - out of thin air - an accusation which can't be inferred from the text of the post itself, and that is "the guy who wrote this wants to lose the War On Terror." In progressive cricles one would be expected to provide some evidence for this assertion, especially when they follow it up with:

Some of the the lefties who trumpet their own moral superiority increasingly find themselves objectively serving the interests of the Zarqawis who seek to drive us out of Iraq by weakening our will. They virtually celebrate every American setback while remaining mute in the face of the homicidal terror of the enemy.

Never mind that by saying "you know, lots of people are dying because of the insurgency" could be interpreted as pointing out the homicidal terror of the enemy; this is Wingnuttia Specius Freepus. Only someone who lives in the fever swamp could possibly jump from the TAPPED post to this, especially without evidence. Unfortunately for the Moose, the TAPPED post didn't say anything false. But the Moose has made claims which are demonstrably false at worst and unsupported at best. Who's engaging in vicious slander?

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