Friday, September 01, 2006

Pomposity on Parade

Guest Post by Voolfie

Donald Rumsfeld has hit a nerve on the left – and not a small one.

While many were outraged by the SecDef’s comments, Keith Olberman ’s response is arguably the most representative of the pseudo-intellectual anti-war left in this particular case. Therefore, his verbal lashing of the SecDef last night deserves especial attention.

(N.B. Is it not depressing that I, or anyone, should feel it necessary to take the time to counter the political rantings of a moderately talented comedian?)

Though his rhetoric was at times high-flying, it was nothing new. Basically, he proudly marched into the leftist armory, broke out the shop-worn cudgels of McCarthyism and then equipped an army of straw men with them.

What Mr. Olberman no doubt considers high moral dudgeon and righteous indignation, is also arrant hypocrisy.

First, Mr. Olberman is appalled that Mr. Rumsfeld is criticizing those who disagree with the war and insinuating that they are morally deficient. Excuse me, but, is it not the case that the Mr. Olberman makes his living by calling the administration wrong and their actions unethical - every night? What is good for the goose, Mr. Olberman , is good for the gander. While I’m sure you believe you deserve it, you do not have a monopoly on the first amendment.

Mr. Olberman’s eloquent venom is spent decrying the sheer, unmitigated gall of an administration that dares to reply in kind to its critics when said administration has gutted civil liberties in this country, muzzled its opponents, embarked on an unjustified war of imperial conquest, attempted to kill the poor blacks of New Orleans, etc. etc.

Mr. Olberman’s chronicling of abuses would be stirring if it weren’t for the tiny fact that none of his statements are true.

You may not like the Patriot act, but if you believe that the government is listening in to Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat ’s phone conversations, you’re WRONG, period – end of story.

You may think our excursion to Iraq was a mistake, but don’t fool yourself that Iraq wasn’t - or couldn’t have become - a festering Islamic fever-swamp like Afghanistan .

You may, as I do, believe that the federal government’s response to Katrina was inept – but if you believe that the government blew up the levees, you need to get back on your medication.

While obviously quite fond of “ironies”, one that he missed is that the hated, demonized Senator Joseph McCarthy - was right. He was a grandstanding, self-aggrandizing blowhard – but he was right. There were Communists in our government and we were right to have been looking for them. The lesson we should take from McCarthyism is that it’s not what you say, but how you say it that determines whether you succeed or not. A lesson Mr. Olberman would do well to learn.

At the end of the day, Mr. Olberman and those like him are outraged because they KNOW they’re right and how dare anyone contradict them.

If we value the right to free speech and thus the right to criticize the government, then we cannot complain when they criticize us back.

Mr. Olberman, I’ll make you a deal: if the FBI or the Secret Service shows up at your door and takes you away for criticizing the government, I’ll be one of the first to storm the Bastille to get you out. But, we both know that the picture you paint is not a landscape, but a dreamscape.

Sadly, many people uncritically absorb that which comes from the talking heads on TV – even when that talking head is nothing more than a pseudo-journalistic comedian.

Or, maybe it's me. Maybe your rant was a sublime masterpiece of facetious wit that just went clean over my head.


((You can read Voolfie daily at The Further Adventures of Silence DoGood))

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