Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gerson the Ignorant

Thank you, WaPo, for moving Michael Gerson's column to the Saturday paper, thereby giving me an easy target to ridicule on a Saturday morning. He'd like to think he's trashing Obama's acceptance speech the other night, but he's only making himself look bad, of course.
In substance, Barack Obama's convention speech could easily have been given by Al Gore or John Kerry -- and, in various forms, was given by Kerry and Gore. It was all in there: the lunchbox economic populism -- based on the assumption that most Americans are filling their lunchboxes with scraps from Dumpsters. The attacks on corporations, millionaires and other sinister job creators. The touching faith in the power of diplomacy.
Well, you know what, Mike? America still has every problem it had in 2004 and 2000, plus a few more: global warming, which your old boss, George W. Bush, conceded was real but never did anything about, is now clearly upon us. New Orleans is still a mess from Katrina, and we can only hope and pray that Gustav goes somewhere else. We got attacked on September 11, 2001, in part because we had a President that was focused on rogue states and ignored terrorism - as demonstrated by his using the terrorist threat as an excuse to invade Iraq, where we're still bogged down, 4,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and a trillion dollars later. Meanwhile, people are losing their jobs, the values of their houses that they can't pay the mortgages on are plummeting, banks are failing, and we're back to the era of mammoth deficits that we'd supposedly left behind forever by the end of the Clinton Administration.

And the result of all this is that Americans, by a wide margin, prefer a generic Democrat to a generic Republican. Maybe it bothers you that Obama's policies are largely generic Democratic policies, but that's what America wants - has wanted for years, in fact, but has been denied by your crew.

Your friends have fucked. things. up. It's that simple, Mike.

Generic Republican ideas - wars, tax cuts for the rich, less regulation - have gotten us into this mess. So maybe it's time to try generic Democratic ideas, to get us out again.
And some of the attacks were simply unfair. Is it really credible to blame McCain for a tripling of oil imports during his time as senator?
Unfair? Awwwwwwwww. Look who's talking about unfair: a shill for a party of smear merchants. Awwwwwwwww.

What is unquestionably fair is to point out that John McCain has voted against everything that might've reduced our dangerous dependence on oil and other fossil fuels: he's voted against higher fuel efficiency standards for cars. He's voted against wind power and other renewables. he abandoned the carbon cap-and-trade proposal that used to have his name on it.

He didn't create the entire problem, but he damned sure did his best to make sure we did nothing about it. As Obama said the other night, it's time for the GOP to own the failure.
What does it mean that McCain "won't even follow [bin Laden] to the cave where he lives" -- that McCain is cowardly? that he knows where bin Laden hides, and won't tell the rest of us? that he doesn't believe in fighting al-Qaeda?
Apparently, Gerson doesn't know that McCain, who said he'd follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, also said this:
KING: If you were president and knew that bin Laden was in Pakistan, you know where, would you have U.S. forces go in after him?

MCCAIN: Larry, I'm not going to go there and here's why, because Pakistan is a sovereign nation.
To the gates of hell, but not past the gates of Pakistan. If bin Laden's in a sovereign nation that won't capture bin Laden itself, and won't let us in, then McCain says our hands are tied.

Now excuse me, but isn't that why we invaded Afghanistan - because they wouldn't let us pursue bin Laden in their country?

There was a bit of a flap about this when McCain said it. Did Gerson entirely miss it? Apparently so.

At any rate, Obama doesn't think these circumstances tie our hands. He believes we need to bring bin Laden to justice, even if he does happen to be hiding in Pakistan.
Obama said nothing interesting about race in America at a moment when that might have been expected. He made no serious effort to reach out to religious conservatives, something that now seems more like a ploy than a project. He offered no creative policy proposals that might transcend partisan divisions.
Maybe Gerson listened to a different speech than I did. The one I listened to (last night via YouTube, since I was sound asleep when Obama's speech began on Thursday night) mentioned some preacher from Georgia at the Lincoln Memorial - who the fuck could that have been, Mike? was that too subtle for you? - and pointed out some things to learn from his example. And if reducing the number of unwanted pregancies, which Obama also mentioned, isn't a place to find common ground with religious conservatives and transcend partisan divisions, then maybe religious conservatives should admit that all their talk about abortion is mere posturing.

Oh, wait: that's not a creative policy proposal. It's a perfectly mundane Democratic idea - part of the backbone of Dem beliefs since Clinton's "safe, legal, and rare" formulation 16 years ago - that the GOP has done its best to keep America from actually trying.
The Democratic ticket [now] offers the purest message of partisan aggression and class resentment.
I guess only the GOP is supposed to practice partisan aggression, and only the rich are supposed to practice class resentment. Whatever, Mike.

The weird thing is, the speech that inspired this "partisan aggression" bullshit is one that went after McCain and the GOP on the issues, rather than attacking their character. If you can't take being on the receiving end of a vigorous debate on the issues, Mike, maybe you should give up politics and take up shuffleboard. Because that's what politics ideally should be about - that's what politics looks like when it's being played cleanly, rather than with all the mud your side slings.

Mike, you claim to be a religious sort of guy. So if GOP attacks on Obama based on Ayers, Rezko, 'celebrity' status, and so forth, don't bother you, but attacking McCain on the issues does, then hear the word of the Lord from Chapter 25 of Deuteronomy:
13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 16 For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.
That's right, Mike: God says not to apply different measures to one side than you would to the other. Seems like a simple enough message. But I don't think you believe it - to you, God is just another cudgel to use on the other guy.

God's bigger than that, Mike. And you're smaller.


ellroon said...

Excellent use of the biblical measurements in an argument btw. The Republicans seem to be startled when you use the Bible against them as they feel they own it... Like how they feel they own our flag.

Thanks for the linkage, I have returned the compliment.

ellroon said...

And blessings upon you for adopting. May your dealings with Russian bureaucracy be easy, your baby be healthy, your travels be pleasurable.

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
low-tech cyclist said...

ellroon - thanks for posting (and linking!), and especially for your good wishes about our upcoming adoption. It's going to be quite the adventure!