Shorter Juan Williams:
The problem with Barack Obama is that he’s not Bill O’Reilly.
Williams’ hackery deserves considerably more attention than it tends to receive. Though his work on Eyes on the Prize seems to have given him a permanent and inflated custodial sense of The True Meaning of the Civil Rights Movement, actual historians generally regard him as a joke. When Timothy Tyson, for instance, wrote about the “sugar-coated confections that pass for the popular history of the civil rights movement,”
there’s no doubt in my mind that he was thinking about he provided what I regard as an apt description of Juan Williams, who is to the civil rights movement what the Stephen Ambrose was to World War II (though the comparison is probably unfair to Ambrose, who was infinitely less sanctimonious).
And though lately he’s spent most of his time accusing Obama of “pandering” to black voters, Williams as much as anyone has helped cultivate an image of Martin Luther King, Jr., that’s palatable to contemporary white conservatives who — given the chance — would have foamed at the mouth over speeches like “Birth of a New Nation,” “Beyond Vietnam,” or “Why America May Go to Hell” — the speech King was planning to give on April 7, 1968. Meantime, he’s perfectly content to “nod along” while his BFF O’Reilly recently compared Jeremiah Wright to the cops who sodomized Abner Louima. (Then again, Williams himself once compared David Letterman to John Wayne Gacy, so I’m imagining Williams had already noticed the obvious comparison.)
[ADDENDUM: Predictably, one of our finer trolls has shown up in the thread, this time towing a remora named "wow," whose role is evidently to remind everyone how far the functionally illiterate have come in recent years. Their bravery is to be commended, and I must admit I find their personal interest in me to be somewhat touching as well. That said, the thread appears to have served some other ennobling purpose, since Timothy Tyson has taken the time to correct the projection error I made in the original post. His view of Williams' historical work is more charitable than mine, and it was sloppy to insist that Tyson must have had Williams in mind when writing the passage I quoted.]
Kristol smears Obama. It’s almost as if hiring a unscrupulous propagandist famous for thoughtful analysis of why the editors of your paper belong in prison for revealing illegal government behavior has its downside!
Just so you know, Richard Perle really wishes we’d turned Iraq over to the Iraqi National Congress — which is to say the people who loaded the Bush administration’s trencher with all the bullshit they could gobble with a gigantic wooden spoon.
Having noted that, I’m not even sure that Perle’s offering is the worst in this lame NYT anthology of five-year reflections on the war. Danielle Pletka, for example, suggests that she’d have thought twice about the war if she’d realized the Iraqi people would suck so much at being free.
Julian Sanchez is probably right that in order to refute Andy McCarthy’s claim that the Sixth Circuit rejecting the ACLU’s standing to sue over the the Bush administration’s wireless wiretapping (and then the Supreme Court rejecting the appeal) demonstrates that the program is constitutional on the merits one needs merely to restate it. But just in case Tim Lee gives the long version. I’ll add that if anything the fact that the two Republican judges rested on standing if anything suggests that the program isn’t constitutional; if they believed the program to be constitutional they could have granted standing — as the dissenting judge plausibly did — and simply upheld the program on the merits. Although it’s possible in theory that the two conservative judges felt the program was constitutional but decided to rest on an illogical standing argument instead, it seems rather unlikely.
I’d have to say this may be my favorite example of McCarthy’s hackery since he suddenly reversed course and discovered in 2005 with no textual or logical support that filibusters of judicial nominees are unconstitutional. If all goes well, I think we can expect him to revert back to the correct position in roughly January of 2009.
Shorter Verbatim Hugh Hewitt: “McCain can’t be considered a frontrunner by any conventional standard.”
Sure, keep telling yourself that and you’ll…oh, actually, even he couldn’t actually convince himself of that.
The thing is, it’s not hard to find plenty of examples of anti-Clinton bias on the part of the EMM – ESS – EMM. However, the Times not trumpeting Clinton’s “victory” in the
Pajamas Media Straw Poll Florida non-primary really isn’t the example you want to go with, unless you’re outraged that the Times didn’t put the Tigers’s stirring 2007 Grapefruit League victory above the fold of the sports page. Jarvis also claims that the DNC’s decision was “unconstitutional.” While I agree that the draconian actions against Florida and Michigan were excessive, I must admit that I’m unaware of the constitutional provision that requires parties to seat delegates for their conventions irrespective of whether or not states follow their procedures. (Maybe it’s the same super-secret provision the Court relied on in Bush v. Gore.) And to once again point out the obvious, going along with the farcical spin of the Clinton campaign and pretending that a non-election was an election does not retroactively enfranchise Florida voters.
I would make fun of the Treason In Defense of Slavery Yankee’s arguments Roy also flags except that I don’t even understand them.
Jake Tapper decontextualizes and distorts the perfectly clear statements of Bill Clinton.
Hopefully most readers of this site are well aware at this late date that “judicial activism” in ordinary political discourse means absolutely nothing more than “judgifying conservatives don’t like.” Still, claiming that it’s unacceptable “judicial activism” for judges to adjudicate breach of contract disputes takes things to a new level of vacuity. Apparently, according to many conservative bloggers the only thing you need to know about the institutional role of courts is that if Dennis Kucinich wins a case the courts are exceeding their authority irrespective of how central to a judge’s function the underlying case might be.
…Treason In Defense of Slavery Yankee offers this penetrating analysis of the breach of contract claim:
Second, MSNBC claims that an invitation does not constitute a contract.
Well, yes, obviously, if a defendant makes a bare assertion that the suit is without merit a judge’s job is over — case dismissed! Especially if the defendant uses italics! What kind of judicial activist would believe otherwise? I’m not sure why the Supreme Court failed to rely on this well-known doctrine in its holding today; it would have saved a lot of writing…
It’s good that the severe gender issues of MSNBC’s election night anchor are finally getting some attention. The whole piece is worth reading, but I think Jamison Foer makes the key point here:
Think about this for a second: Chris Matthews is holding it against Hillary Clinton that her husband cheated on her. But he doesn’t hold it against John McCain and Rudy Giuliani that they cheated on their spouses. Matthews seems to think women are to blame when their husbands have affairs — and men who cheat on their spouses are blameless.
And then there’s Matthews’ fixation on Hillary Clinton’s “ambition.” In December 1999, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson appeared on Hardball to discuss Clinton’s Senate campaign. Matthews asked Wolfson eight consecutive questions about whether Clinton was “ambitious.” Finally, Matthews said, “People who seek political power are ambitious by definition,” leading Wolfson to tell him: “if you say so. If it will make you happy, I’ll agree.” If Matthews has ever displayed as much interest in the “ambition” of male candidates like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, or Mike Huckabee, he has done so in private.
Right. Somehow St. McCain’s extensive adultery, benefiting from family connections, and ambition strong enough that according to Matt Welch’s new book he bought a house in an Arizona congressional district the day the incumbent retired never get Matthews’s attention, but the fact that Clinton’s husband committed adultery is supposed to be a major issue. And I don’t mean to say that there’s anything wrong with ignoring these aspects of McCain — accusing a presidential candidate of ambition is tautological — but the double standard couldn’t be more glaring.
Mark Halperin awarding the GOP debate to St. McCain:
To his advantage, he stayed above the fray…
Whoa, whoa, whoa…so he “stayed above the fray”…while he was relentlessly insulting Mitt Romney? What the hell? What’s even funnier is that Halperin goes on to use McCain’s getting in the fray as another point in his favor:
Seemed to relish his engagement with Romney over immigration, slipping in a sharp jab over his rival’s fortune, and got in another zinger by twisting Romney’s message of change into a glib attack on the governor’s flipflopping history.
Only on the Straight Talkitude Express can somome stay “above the fray” while cutting his opponents to shreds with timely zingers! God, if McCain wins this is going to be a painful 10 months.
Of course Bill Kristol has been hired by the Times; why should having seemingly endless access to other media outlets despite having no discernible expertise about anything and being consistently wrong about everything stop him from getting a prestigious gig on an allegedly liberal op-ed page? And, of course, the response to this latest reactionary affirmative action hire will be that they need even more conservatives…