Thursday, August 18, 2005

While Bush plays, his smear machine leaps into action

Republican lies and smears aren't very imaginative, and they tend to be the same group of Frank Luntz-inspired verbs and nouns thrown into the air and burbled out of their assholes in the order in which they fall. Mindless, meaningless crap.

We'll start the Bush smears (yes, I know he's on his assigned playtime, but be assured - he does nothing to stop it, it's done on his behalf, and this "uniter not divider" deserves the full responsibility for his smear machine) with RNC toadie Ken Mehlman, who gave a nice speech full of racist code words in West Virginia yesterday:

WHEELING - Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told Republicans in Wheeling Wednesday that today's Democratic Party "isn't your grandfather's Democratic Party" of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 1940s.

Democrats "used to tell people you have nothing to fear but fear itself," Mehlman said. "Now they have nothing to offer but fear itself."

I'll be glad to translate the coded race-baiting, although it's fairly obvious. Now, when a Republican goes into a state like West Virginia, or any southern state, and claims that today's Democratic party "isn't your grandfather's Democratic party", he's issuing a not-so-gentle reminder that their grandfather's Democratic party supported segregation, Jim Crow, and German Shepherds set upon small children. Today's Democratic party does not. Horrors! What's a racist to do, where to go? Thank God for Ken Mehlman, leading them into the arms of today's racist lily-white GOP.

The ridiculous claim about fear - the Republicans specialize in a'fearin' the red states, what with visions of mushroom clouds and all - is simply padding. Mehlman had one message to deliver to his audience, and he did it. You can see in advance the filthy coded tactics they'll use next year trying to unseat Robert Byrd.

The Bush Vacation Smears take on an entirely different tone when it comes to Cindy Sheehan, for while the smears are all so alike they must come from the same playbook they're far more personal and mean-spirited.

Leading the charge - at least until he passes out from drink - is Chris Hitchens, a Brit who seems to feel he has the right to lecture Americans about their insufficient warlust. MSNBC gave him airtime - why? Ask their bosses at war contractor General Electric - last night on Hardball, and while the transcript is not yet available I can report that he raved almost incoherently that Sheehan is a "liar and paranoid" and "hysterical" and a "fraud" (funny coming from him, really), that Camp Casey should be renamed "Camp Nuthouse", repeating the discredited "Casey died for Israel" smear and, in the most bizarre accusation of all, kept trying to tie her to David Duke. I suppose that attaching himself to Bush's ass pays the bar bills.

I'll add that Hardball guest host Nora O'Donnell was soaking this up like the gin in Hitchens' gullet, throwing out inflammatory questions ("will Sheehan hurt the Democrats?" she brayed repeatedly, almost screeching) and getting herself worked up in an absolute froth over Cindy Sheehan. Considering that she calls herself a "journalist", and not a pundit, she might consider a less emotional approach in the future (as well as not being an open advocate for the Right).

Earlier in the day, David Horowitz had this to say, again on MSNBC (funny how MSNBC keeps giving these kooks airtime, isn't it?):

HOROWITZ: This is way beyond just criticism of the war. It's very hard to have respect for a woman who exploits the death of her own son and doesn't respect her own son's life. This young man volunteered twice. This is not a draftee. This is somebody who volunteered, did a tour of four years and volunteered back for Iraq, and volunteered for the specific mission. I haven't heard one word out of Cindy Sheehan's mouth that respects what her son did. She portrays him as an idiot who was used by deceitful liars.

...REAGAN: You've said some pretty tough things about Cindy Sheehan. I'm not sure how you know that she disregards her son. That seems like a pretty ugly thing to say, frankly. And, frankly, it doesn't do much credit to your side.

HOROWITZ: Well -- look, I've got eyes, and so do you, Ron. This young man -- if I had a son who died and I opposed the war --

REAGAN: But you didn't, did you, David?

HOROWITZ: The first -- look --

REAGAN: You don't have a son who gave his life, do you, David?

HOROWITZ: I -- I have -- I have, myself, lost dear friends to the left in this country, who were murdered by the left. I know what pain is. I don't know what it is to lose a child. That's a terrible thing. But I am telling you, if my child had gone into a war that I disapproved of and was heroic in that war, the first thing I'd do is pay credit to him.

Props to Ron Reagan, who correctly nails Horowitz that his children are not currently slogging through the streets of Baghdad. I saw this segment and it brought Horowitz up short. It's a tactic we should use relentlessly with these warmongers. The bizarre claim about people "murdered by the left" is a sign of the hysteria Sheehan is creating among the nutters on the Right.

And of course no discussion of nutters on the Right would be complete without hearing from Ann Coulter, a woman who's never been married and has no children, attacking a mother who has lost her son in Iraq in a piece tastelessly titled Cindy Sheehan: Commander in Grief

To expiate the pain of losing her firstborn son in the Iraq war, Cindy Sheehan decided to cheer herself up by engaging in Stalinist agitprop outside President Bush's Crawford ranch. It's the strangest method of grieving I've seen since Paul Wellstone's funeral. Someone needs to teach these liberals how to mourn.

Call me old-fashioned, but a grief-stricken war mother shouldn't have her own full-time PR flack. After your third profile on "Entertainment Tonight," you're no longer a grieving mom; you're a C-list celebrity trolling for a book deal or a reality show.

Nice of Coulter, who has no idea what it is to be a "grief-stricken war mother" to take time from her cigarettes and booze to lavish advice on a subject in which she has no first-hand knowledge.

This shameless right-wing hysteria - which Bush is doing nothing to stop, so it's on his doorstep - shows what a tipping point Sheehan represents in this country. And I believe this truly isn't about Iraq, but about the case they're laying for a war with Iran. The country attaching itself to Sheehan's peace movement would end the Iranian adventure before it begins, and thus the hounds from hell are on her trail.


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