Lawrence O’Donnell speaks out on dressage!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2012

Strangest known person on earth: Before our eyes, cable “news” keeps devolving into two tribal camps. Example:

Last night, Fox viewers saw tape from Poland presented as a boost to the Romney campaign. On MSNBC, we were told that the tape was very bad for poor hapless pitiful Romney.

On the tape, we hear journalists yelling extremely dumb questions at Romney after a solemn event. We then hear the voice of a Romney aide telling them to shut the fig up.

Does anybody really think that voters side with the journalists in a case like that? That’s what Rachel told us last night, pretending that she was offended by the Romney aide’s naughty language.

Rachel likes to con us rubes. She’s paid huge bucks to do it.

That said, the saddest performance of the evening belonged to Lawrence O’Donnell. Lawrence lives in Hollywood, where he writes fatuous scripts. But despite his own fatuity quotient, he’s simply appalled by dressage.

Last evening, Lawrence devoted a segment of more than six minutes to the offenses of dressage. You will assume he was kidding.

But actually, no. If you watch the full tape, you’ll pretty much see that he wasn’t.

Lawrence ended with a brief moment of silence in memory of the man who invented wind-surfing. Earlier, Lawrence said this:
O’DONNELL (7/31/12): So Charles Krauthammer thinks that John Kerry’s wind surfing is more hoity-toity than the Romney’s dressage. All right, let's look at the facts.

The Romneys’ dancing horse is worth $500,000. John Kerry’s wind-surfer? Eighteen hundred dollars out the door, brand new and loaded, but you can pick up a used one for a fraction of that.

“Dressage” is a French word. “Wind-surfing” is English. And the French language is the most hoity-toity language on Earth. It is now, it always will be. And dressage is a French word, because dressage was invented in Europe centuries ago.

The great pioneers of dressage include the likes of Antoine de Pluvinel, Michael Cavendish, first Duke of Newcastle, and of course, François Robichon de La Guérinière. The inventor of wind surfing was Jim Drake. He created the wind surfer in his spare time in his garage in Santa Monica, California. He patented his invention in 1970, and created the company, Wind Surfing International, based a couple miles down the road in Marina Del Rey, California.

[...]

Imagine! Imagine if a Democratic presidential candidate had ever even attended a dressage exhibition. Fox News would be all over that. Rush Limbaugh, who lives the most elitist of lives, flying around in his private jet while he rakes in his 50 million dollars a year, would be screaming about elitism, just like he did when John Kerry was photographed wind surfing.
Fox News would be all over that! And so, as these guilds continue to merge, Lawrence got all over it too.

Go ahead—watch the tape all the way to the end. Lawrence seems thoroughly serious.

A minor note on political strategy: Republicans have had to pimp “character” themes of this type because they’re constantly on the wrong side of most basic issues. Lawrence pimps this stupid shit because he’s the world’s dumbest man.

Liberal brains are being turned to mush on The One True Liberal Channel. Rachel was offended by the Romney aide’s words!

You will believe a story like if you’re seven years old.

39 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Cause it was under the wrong damn topic...

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  2. "But despite his own fatuity quotient, he’s simply appalled by dressage."

    This is utterly false. In no way can what O'Donnell said can even be stretched to a condemnation of the sport of dressage.

    In fact, what O'Donnell is doing here is exactly what Somerby has done for lo, these many years --- pointing to the hypocrisy of right-wing news sources who made a big deal out of the so-called "elitism" of Kerry spending a day wind-surfing, while remaining utterly silent on Romney's Olympic-level dressage.

    Double standard at work here? Of course, but the double standard is practiced by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, so Somerby couldn't care less.

    And the guy pointing out this double standard is the vile Lawrence O'Donnell, so he couldn't possibly be right, even this one time.

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    1. Oh, this bullshit has been going on forever and a day on both sides.

      Nixon once said something about a cloth coat being good enough for his wife (but not for Jackie, was the implication) , and Nancy Reagan was Marie Antoinette ( as is Mrs Romney now).

      The difference is that nowadays this stuff is the essence of our political discussion. This utter campaign bullshit, rather than being disdained, is served up night and day.

      Is pointing out irony or hypocrisy ALL the media should do now? Is this it? Are we to be consigned to an eternal food fight driven by media numbskulls to the advantage of some of the worst and tyrannical ideologues?

      For goodness sakes, don't you want anything that might actually help us?

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    2. Stickler for accuracy that you are, Cecilia, Nixon's comment about Pat's cloth coat was part of his famed Checkers speech of Sept. 23, 1952.

      JFK and Jackie were married Sept. 12, 1953.

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    3. Thank you very much. I'm glad to have been wrong in this criticism of Pres. Nixon.

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    4. "For goodness sakes, don't you want anything that might actually help us?"

      Yes it would. And some insightful analysis by one of the pioneers of political blogging of how one of the worst presidential candidates emerged from a field of terrible candidates would be extremely helpful.

      Yet Somerby doesn't seem to be as interested in that as he is in kicking Lawrence O'Donnell one more time for something he said only in the mind of Bob Somerby.

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    5. With bloggers (rather than with the professional press), we must be disposed to take our help as it comes.

      Today it is about the DIRE consequences of our media (albeit from the perspective of an insider's take on how it has effected his own).

      Tomorrow we may be regaled on what has caused the utter derth of leadership and courage within the GOP.

      I suspect it has it's roots in the same things that have caused what Chris Hayes bemoans as the decade of...something or another...

      I'm content to get there sooner, later, or not at all. I'm content to read Mr. Somerby, and I suggest you be the same.

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  3. Note that the silly wind-surfing attacks on Kerry were against the candidate himself. The silly dressage attacks are against the candidate's wife. Also, dressage is a means by which she copes with her multiple sclerosis.

    Making this kind of attack against a disabled spouse means we've crossed two frontiers in ugliness.

    P.S. My niece suffers from MS, so perhaps I take it more seriously than some. But, I'm shocked that people would criticize a woman who found a way to deal with the progressive development of this horrible disease. On the contrary, I'm most impressed that someone suffering this disability could reach a high level of skill in this sport.

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    1. I'm very sorry about your niece, and don't wish to offend any heightened sense of concern that you have because of her suffering.

      That said, it's up to Mrs. Romney to explain herself here.

      When we do, we can't help but make her condition a political prop, fairly or unfairly.

      That's why this bullshit is so corrupting for everyone concerned.

      That's why it matters that we talk about it from the standpoint of it being especially deplorable as the easy offering of a highly educated and highly paid media.

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    2. David, once again, there is no "silly attack" on dressage itself, nor of Ann Romney.

      There was, however, Lawrence O'Donnell wondering why wind-surfing was an indication of Kerry's "elitism" to the right-wing chattering class, while it has remained silent on dressage, a sport that only the incredibly wealthy can participate.

      Now from that, Somerby spins an attack on dressage, and you willingly drink the Kool-Aid.

      And on top of everything else, as a commenter below notes, the Romneys actually claimed an income tax deduction in 2010 on the horse.

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    3. O'Donnell is embarrassing scum.

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  4. Maybe if the Romneys didn't treat the horse as a business expense worthy of a tax deduction rather than as a hobby his wife indulges in there wouldn't be quite so much criticism. Also since when have politicians wives' been off-limits as targets? Review the reprehensible things said by conservatives about Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton and then tell me with a straight face that what they're saying about Ann Romney is out-of-bounds.

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    1. The horse can be a business expense and a hobby.

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    2. Maybe I'm wrong, but I assumed Mrs. Romney's horse was a medical expense, rather than a business expense. That would be a horse of different color.

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    3. David, if you don't see a problem with a horse as a medical expense, then I don't really know what to say.

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    4. Anonymous August 1, 2012 4:31 PM -- If you don't think a horse should be tax a deduction, don't blame Romney. Blame your elected representatives who wrote the tax code that way. You can't fault someone for utilizing a legal tax deduction.

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  5. That's a different argument isn't it?

    Is O'Donnell making the point that a rich guy has worked a system predisposed to rich guys, or is he making some endless point about the hypocrisy of conservatives in general?

    We aren't for sure because he doesn't want to bore you ( or make you mad... ) by doing a piece that isn't solely partisan polemics.

    That's the rub. We can't get a segment about about tax issues on tv, we're left to the media handing out stale bread for us to throw.

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    1. @ceceliamc

      "Is O'Donnell making the point that a rich guy has worked a system predisposed to rich guys, or is he making some endless point about the hypocrisy of conservatives in general?"

      >>> both.


      'We can't get a segment about about tax issues on tv, we're left to the media handing out stale bread for us to throw."

      >>> besides the fascinating analysis of the elitist origins of dressage as contrasted to the very american and wholesome origins of the windsurfing, he also had on david cay johnston*, an award winning economics and taxation investigative journalist.

      *David Cay Boyle Johnston[1] (born December 24, 1948) is an investigative journalist and author, a specialist in economics and tax issues, and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting. - wikipedia

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    2. So between the rant and the moment of silence, did Mr. Johnston get to say much?

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  6. I'm pretty sure that if elected, Ms. Romney's love of dressage won't affect any American in any significant way.

    Her husband's tax policies on the other hand...

    Which is why it's dumb for Lawrence to obsess over "the hypocrisy". By the way, it's not hypocrisy if the goal all along was to distract from policy/issues.

    Victims of violent crimes are often given the advice: "Don't let this make you a victim more than once." In other words, don't let this awful incident continue to haunt you so much so that you suffer for it time and again.

    That's what we're doing here. We ought to be smarter than that. The goal of the swift-boating of John Kerry, of bringing up the cheese steak issue, the wind-surfing, etc. was to distract all of us from conversations about issues.

    Who knew how cheaply the Republicans could plant the seed which got our "liberal media" off their game this far in the future?

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  7. @oldmancoyote22

    “I'm pretty sure that if elected, Ms. Romney's love of dressage won't affect any American in any significant way.” -omc

    >>> it would further normalize aristocratic rule in america.


    “Which is why it's dumb for Lawrence to obsess over "the hypocrisy". -omc

    >>> he's not. he broadcasts 12 hours a week.


    “Victims of violent crimes are often given the advice: "Don't let this make you a victim more than once. … don't let this awful incident continue to haunt you... " -omc

    >>> this is a political issue, not an individuals psychological problem. *we* should learn from past mistakes and adapt appropriately. this is what odonnell is doing here by using the gop anti-elitist meme against them.

    “The goal of the swift-boating of John Kerry... was to distract all of us from conversations about issues.” -omc

    >>> the goal was to neutralize the huge advantage kerry, the decorated combat veteran, had over the awol bush.

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    1. 4 hours, not 12. i was thinking in terms of radio shifts i guess. still, 4 hours is a lot of time to fill.

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    2. At no point do you give off even the illusion of understanding the point of my argument. You're simply picking words at random and responding with nonsense.

      Just answer this question - does it ultimately make a fig's worth of difference whether Ms. Romney is a fan of dressage?

      If so - then I'd love to see someone tell me why. Lawrence did not.

      It's trivial. If the First Lady fell in love with dressage, it would not change a thing about her husband's political approach.

      So if it doesn't make a fig's worth of difference, why (when there are so many things worth more of a liberal's time) spend ANY time on it? Why stoop to the same horrible level the Republicans did against Kerry?

      If we feel confident that if the election were about the issues we'd win, why talk about anything else? The Republican playbook is not the playbook that ultimately wins us the public discourse.

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    3. Adding - using the Republican playbook allows the politically disinterested to say we're all the same. When that happens, who do you think wins more often than not?

      I hate to say it but the people defending this sort of stuff when our side does it only seem to reinforce the idea that liberals have no values. That's a Republican meme pushed through the ages, that they're the Values-oriented party. It's nonsense but we play right into their hands when we become them.

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    4. "Just answer this question - does it ultimately make a fig's worth of difference whether Ms. Romney is a fan of dressage?"
      ...

      "If we feel confident that if the election were about the issues we'd win, why talk about anything else?"


      >>> the glowerer, uncharacteristically smiling cheerfully, says,

      ultimately people vote emotionally, not strictly rationally. the dancing horse will effectively connect with people because its a tangible explication of the elitist charge.

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    5. There you have it.

      Calling someone an elitist was wrong with gazillionaire John Kerry, but it was okey dokey with Poppy Bush, John McCain, and now Mitt Romney, cause it might work.

      This guy could care less about elitism. He'd vote Prince Phillip in office if he ran on the Democratic ticket.

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    6. ceceliamc,

      youre mind reading notwithstanding, i do care about elitist or aristocratic domination of the society. *at the same time* im a political partisan.

      you on the other hand seem solely concerned about right and wrong. this is a civic election, not an academic exam or religious judgment.

      im a partisan and i want to win. what is your interest?

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    7. My interest is that we don't become a nation of dumbed-down amoral twits, capable of suggesting that ethical behavior is less important than winning elections.

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    8. I'm a liberal partisan but I am not tribal. I'm a liberal because I believe that liberal values make for a better society.

      This notion that people vote emotionally is sickening and in most cases false. They vote for people who present a narrative framework which appeals to them.

      The only framework you seem to present is win at all costs. I'm not sure how that's a winning approach.

      The conservatives have been developing their narrative framework since the 1960s. Reagan made it a winner. Liberals have yet to provide their own coherent and consistent narrative framework after dropping the FDR/LBJ vision that had worked so well.

      Your strategy, my friend, is a loser overall because it embraces Rovian tactics without the overarching value system to make it more palatable to voters. It's the kind of approach which makes it harder, not easier, to pass universal healthcare, to push back against the anti-tax crusade, to protect civil liberties, to regulate the financial industry, and help those with high-levels of personal debt.

      Lawrence's childish segments are transparently and disingenuously in bad faith. The problem is he fits perfectly the conservative notion of what a liberal acts and sounds like. He crowds out real liberal voices.

      My interest is in winning too. Don't think for a second you have a monopoly on that.

      Liberals have to win in such a way that it inspires faith in a governmental role in society. When we play the cynical game, we sell ourselves as cynical people. When we play the game by being better, governing better, and keeping faith with our voters, we win more than just the arguments over the issues. We win the philosophical debate about the good role government can play in people's lives - not by sniffing around their underwear drawers, by by representing consumers against the excesses of the market.

      This is not a game. This is a discourse of ideas. If you come to it without holding any of your own, and are motivated purely for the sake of competition, you are the worst kind of partisan. You should spare us all and quit now before you actually have to be responsible for anything.

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    9. “This notion that people vote emotionally is sickening and in most cases false. They vote for people who present a narrative framework which appeals to them.” 

      >>> that is voting emotionally and the dancing horse fits very well into an anti-elitist narrative which appeals to many.


      “The only framework you seem to present is win at all costs. I'm not sure how that's a winning approach.”

      >>> your framework seems to make the perfect the enemy of the good. 


      “The conservatives have been developing their narrative framework since the 1960s. Reagan made it a winner. Liberals have yet to provide their own coherent and consistent narrative framework after dropping the FDR/LBJ vision that had worked so well.“

      >>> i agree with that.

      “Your strategy, my friend, is a loser overall because it embraces Rovian tactics without the overarching value system to make it more palatable to voters. It's the kind of approach which makes it harder, not easier, to pass universal healthcare, to push back against the anti-tax crusade, to protect civil liberties, to regulate the financial industry, and help those with high-levels of personal debt. “

      >>> my strategy is to defeat the opposition first and then figure something out.


      "Lawrence's childish segments are transparently and disingenuously in bad faith. The problem is he fits perfectly the conservative notion of what a liberal acts and sounds like. He crowds out real liberal voices." 

      >>> im not a mind reader but he seems sincere to me. and he is doing a tv show, not a graduate level political science seminar. and i disagree that he fits the con stereotype of a liberal. he gives off a casual f-u vibe evoking strength . . . and is not at all shy about telling them they are full of it. the cons fear someone like him exactly because he doesnt fit their image of the weak-kneed liberal which has emerged dominant in the last 40 years.

      but I do agree that he, like the whole of the non-republican part of msnbc so far as I can tell, is of the new or cultural left and thereby his first instinct is not to advocate for the economic good of the society as a whole. there is only so much political capital to be expended and priorities matter greatly.



      “Liberals have to win in such a way that it inspires faith in a governmental role in society. When we play the cynical game, we sell ourselves as cynical people. When we play the game by being better, governing better, and keeping faith with our voters, we win more than just the arguments over the issues. We win the philosophical debate about the good role government can play in people's lives - not by sniffing around their underwear drawers, by by representing consumers against the excesses of the market.”

      >>> you are under the illusion that the opposition is policy based. they say they are, but if you notice, their policies continually change as they push the country rightward. the true goal, at the grass roots level, is to eliminate non-realamerican, as they see non-germanic-heritage/non-english-heritage/non-protestants, influence on the culture and government of this country.


      "This is not a game. This is a discourse of ideas."

      >>> a discourse of ideas is more akin to a game. the reality unfortunately is more akin to war.

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    10. "Your strategy, my friend, is a loser overall because it embraces Rovian tactics without the overarching value system to make it more palatable to voters."

      Anybody who would write that sentence clearly doesn't know what Rovian tactics are.

      Here's a refresher course: Rovian tactics involve using surrogates to conduct a FALSE (emphasis added) campaign attacking an opponent's greatest strength, the truth be damned, while the candidate him/herself remains above the fray. And very easy to do in these days of 527s, PACs and Super PACS.

      The classic example is the "swiftboating" of John Kerry -- the notion that Kerry somehow skated through Vietnam and didn't really earn the medals he earned. All the while Bush himself claiming he has no issue with Kerry's war service, while delegates to the GOP convention were wearing Band-aids decorated with Purple Hearts -- which should have been an insult to any veteran who earned a Purple Heart.

      Now if Mitt Romney is going to claim that the tax burden on the wealthy is so onerous that they need another tax cut, there is nothing "Rovian" about demanding that he release his tax returns.

      There is nothing Rovian about building a narrative that Romney really doesn't understand the problems of the middle class while he is expanding his California house to include an elevator for his cars.

      There is nothing Rovian about looking into Bain's record of savaging pension funds, or its outsourcing of jobs when Romney was in charge.

      There is nothing Rovian about wondering if Romney has any principles he won't abandon for political expediency when we compare what he said in his previous campaigns to what he is saying now.

      And there is nothing Rovian about asking why, if he hates "Obamacare" so much now, that he signed "Romneycare" into law, especially while he is promising to repeal "Obamacare" and replace it -- with what? we might ask.

      That is not "Rovian tactics." That's called the truth.

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  8. >>> it would further normalize aristocratic rule in america.<<

    See this is what you get when you try to argue with people who avow that political tactics are necessary because all fair in love and war and getting the good guy to win. Alternating with an argument that they are necessary quid pro quo.

    Some illogical and morally rudderless drivel like the above.

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    1. @CeceliaMc

      the scowler, smiling broadly, says,

      do i detect a queen cecelia "you people" tone? are only the 'to the manor born' fit to rule? are you looking down your nose at me with your arms crossed?

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    2. No, a mere commoner is looking down at you with her arms crossed because you're arguing out of both sides of your mouth.

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    3. Nothing common about you, CeceliaMc. ;-)

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  9. lowercaseguys casemanagerAugust 2, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    A Pres' wife participating in dressage is very significantly bad because "it would further normalize aristocratic rule in america."

    This insanity is brought to you, of course, by lowercaseguy.

    And some folks are actually getting into it with him?

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    1. Once again for those who didn't see the O'Donnell segment and are merely taking Somerby's interpretation of it as fact, O'Donnell never attacked the sport or Mrs. Romney for participating in it.

      He did, however, raise the issue of the hypocrisy of the right-wing echo chamber for making such a big deal out of the "elitism" of Kerry's wind-surfing while ignoring Romney's dressage.

      In other words, O'Donnell has done EXACTLY what Somerby has been clamoring for "liberal" pundits to do for years now.

      And Somerby's response? Well, since it came from the vile, hated Lawrence O'Donnell, it had to be bad.

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