Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And now to play catch-up

Because I've focused so much on Alabama politics lately, it's time for some bite-sized looks at the latest hyperbole and spin on the national political landscape.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was right to apologize Tuesday for his recent overheated comparison of conditions at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba to the treatment of detainees in Nazi prisons. As The Washington Post notes today, Godwin's Law is still in full effect, and casual usage of such inflammatory and unwarranted language detracts from the valid point that prison abuses at Gitmo and elsewhere are hurting the United States' international image and our efforts to win the war on terrorism.

A new book about U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., makes some loathsome ad hominem attacks against her and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Conservative pundit Sean Hannity, commendably, shredded the author on air Tuesday, leading the writer to make inconsistent statements about his sourcing.

U.S. Rep. Jim Hostettler, R-Ind., proved Monday that he isn't above a little religion-baiting: "Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians." The Washington Post reports that Hostettler withdrew his comment later that day to avoid a finding that he broke House rules by making a personal attack against other members on the floor.

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean came under fire earlier this month when he said the GOP is "pretty much a white Christian party." Um, yeah, it is. Most prominent Democratic politicians are white Christians, too. It's not a criticism; it's just a fact. Dean's wisecrack that many Republicans "have never made an honest living in their lives," on the other hand, was uncalled-for.

Vice President Dick Cheney, responding to Dean's comments last week, said this of the DNC chairman: "Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell." Never mind that Dean won the DNC chairman election and five governor's races in Vermont; I'm offended that Cheney can't tell a funny "yo' mama" joke.

Why all the nastiness in Washington lately? A University of Notre Dame professor has the long answer: "More than anything, these statements are a reflection of this polarized and poisonous political time in which we live. It seems as though every outrageous statement is matched by a similarly outrageous reaction, which only amplifies the rhetoric and creates more of a problem for people trying to understand politics today."

I have the short answer: They don't much like each other.


Blogger Altoid said...

I think that Senator Durbin could have been a little more constructive with his language, but I think the points he made were valid. An FBI said he saw detainees "chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water," or deprived of a bathroom, or kept in extreme heat or cold. One was found "almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out." I am sorry, but in the context of Senator Durbin's comments, that is if you just read this memo and didn't know what governemnt it was from, one could assume it to be the Nazi's or the Soviets. Maybe he should have been a little more tactful, but I don't think his comments were invalid and Democrats should back him.

9:56 PM  
Blogger King Cockfight said...

From Media Matters:

KLEIN: First of all, let me make clear, I do not accuse her of being a lesbian in this book, as you know.

HANNITY: But it comes up on seven different occasions.

KLEIN: Right. It comes up because it is relevant to understanding the basis of her political point of view. It is a political question.

Dude, Sean Hannity defending a traditional value I agree with for once: the tradition of not being libeled by unprofessional, attention-seeking asshole.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They don't much like each other, but they're all sort of dicks too.

10:45 AM  

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