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February 25, 2005
Be deliberately obtuse
One might imagine that all of this had the makings of an old-fashioned, months-long, television-friendly Washington scandal—not as important, obviously, as, say, the Iran-contra affair of the nineteen-eighties, but more so than, say, the flap about the dismissal of several employees of the White House travel office in 1993. One would probably be wrong. The non-Fox cable news outlets began to pick up on it last week; msnbc even assayed a special logo, “Gannongate.” A better name for it, though, would be “Nothinggate,” because nothing is what is likely to come of it. What all the memorable scandals of the past thirty years—real and fake alike, from Watergate to the Clinton impeachment—have had in common is that the opposition party controlled at least one house of Congress, which gave it the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. If Bush ends up having an easier time of it in his second term than any of his two-term predecessors since F.D.R., it won’t be because the scandals aren’t there. It’ll be because the tools to excavate them are under lock and key.
However, in order to Argue Like a Conservative™, you have to ignore Hertzberg's obvious point and focus solely upon his coinage of the word "Nothinggate", as if that coinage settles the matter: "See! Even liberal Rik Hertzberg thinks this is a big 'Nothinggate'!"
Oh, and one more thing that's been bugging me: why do so many rightwingers seem to think that being gay is exactly the same thing as being a gay prostitute--i.e., bringing up G/G's sordid past is somehow anti-gay? Doesn't that say more about how the righties view gay people than anything else?
And somewhere, Republican strategists are cringing.
February 23, 2005
The plot thickens
Another G/G update at Salon:
Just how blatantly the White House press office looked the other way in regard to Guckert and his dubious status as a legitimate reporter comes into stark relief when examining his attempt to secure a similar press pass to cover Capitol Hill. Guckert submitted his application in December 2003 to the Standing Committee of Correspondents, a press group in charge of handing out credentials. In April 2004, the committee denied Guckert's request. Writing to Guckert, committee chairman Jim Drinkard outlined three clear deficiencies in Guckert's application:
Also, you've probably seen this elsewhere but it seems quite significant: what exactly is Jeff Gannon's connection to Rathergate?
Gannon bragged about passing a scoop on who obtained the troubled Bush National Guard memos to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on the conservative forum Free Republic.
I suspected from the start that the whole CBS memo fiasco was a setup, and it seems increasingly likely that this was in fact the case.
February 22, 2005
Mr. Language Man
I understand the etymology of "wingnut"--it's obviously a diminutive of "right wing nut," but works as an effective piece of slang because it also repurposes a common noun.
But what, in god's name, is a "moonbat"? Let alone an "asshat"? I suppose the former must somehow vaguely have something to do with people being "batty," but as for the latter, well, I'm just stumped. "Asshat"? Do rightwingers just sit around combining words at random to create new derogatory terms? "You, sir, are a real testicle-antennae! And you, over there--you're a digestive-tract-picture-frame!"
I would spend more time thinking up funnier examples if this were for a cartoon, but you get the idea.
...okay, judging from first reader responses, "asshat" is a sort of illiterate and/or inarticulate attempt to suggest that your head is up your ass. I guess I missed it because it's so clumsy--if you "are" an asshat, doesn't that mean that someone else should be wearing you? Therefore isn't someone else's head up your--
--oh, never mind.
...and as for "moonbat"--sorry, that's just stupid. The sort of thing that's created by people who have heard of humor, but have no firsthand familiarity with it.
Further updates: various readers insist that "asshat" originated as a non-partisan slur, though the righties have clearly made it their own these past few years. And my friend Greg Saunders had some similar thoughts last year--and came up with two lists of random words so you can mix-and-match your own utterly meaningless right-wing insults. "Turd burglar", anyone?
February 21, 2005
Oil for money
As Bob says, it's like a new Watergate every day with these people:
The Treasury Department provided assurances that the United States would not obstruct two companies' plans to import millions of barrels of oil from Iraq in March 2003 in violation of U.N. sanctions, according to an e-mail from one of the companies.
Ann "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building" Coulter disses Ted Rall for--I kid you not--"(just doing) things to upset people so his name will get in the paper."
A perfect example of the technique described in the final panel of this week's cartoon.
You dumb shit, he didn't get access using a fake name, he used his real name. You lefties' concern for White House security is really touching, but you know what, you stupid asshole, I think the Secret Service has it covered. Go crawl back into your hole, you stupid left-wing shithead. And don't bother us anymore. You have to have an IQ over 50 to correspond with us. You don't qualify, you stupid shit.
That's how the guys who write Time magazine's "Blog of the Year" respond to some fairly mild criticism from another blogger.
The lion in winter
Hunter S. Thompson, a renegade journalist whose “gonzo” style threw out any pretense at objectivity and established the hard-living writer as a counter-culture icon, fatally shot himself at his Colorado home on Sunday night, police said. He was 67.
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