FROM BOTH SIDES NOW: Our own hate speech!


Part 3—Grayson removes all doubt: Conservative voters are often misled by their political leaders.

(In recent weeks, they were told it wouldn’t matter of the debt limit didn’t get raised!)

They’re often misled by the people they hear on the radio, by the people they see on TV. They’re badly served by our biggest news orgs, who tend to avert their gaze from this conduct, who let the dissembling go.

These voters have been aggressively misled for decades now. Increasingly, though, we liberals are being badly served by our various leaders:

In our view, liberal voters were badly served by Gail Collins’ latest column.

In our view, liberal voters were badly served by the way Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell opened their programs on Monday.

Liberal voters are badly served by the intellectual squalor which continues to grow at Salon. Also by the first cousin to hate speech which is on wide display at that site.

First cousin to hate speech? Surely we jest! That’s where Grayson comes in!

It’s always harder to see The Hate and The Crazy when they appear within one’s own tribe. It’s amazingly easy to see The Hate when it seems to pop up over There. Traditionally, it’s harder to see The Hate within one’s own ranks.

For that reason, we liberal voters have Rep. Alan Grayson to thank.

Grayson became a liberal hero in 2009. In recent years, we’ll have to admit, the bloom came off the Grayson rose for us here at this site.

Now, in a repellent fund-raising pitch, Grayson has removed all sensible doubt. In this highly tribal time, the liberal world is being drawn toward the most repellent types of conduct.

Yesterday, at USA Today, Catalina Camia reported what Grayson has done. We had the misfortune to see the visual on TV this morning.

Be sure to note the standard boast of the classic demagogue:
CAMIA (10/22/13): Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida sent a fundraising pitch equating the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, which includes an image of a burning cross for the letter "T."

The fundraising e-mail plays off an interview Grayson did last week with Al Sharpton on MSNBC after the federal government reopened following a 16-day shutdown. "The Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan," Grayson said in that interview—a transcript of which the Florida lawmaker posted on Twitter Monday night, along with link to a donation page.

“Ask yourself this: Who else in American public life today is as honest and as blunt as this? Congressman Alan Grayson deserves your support, like no one else," reads the end of Grayson's message. "He, and only he, is saying the things that you are thinking, and so much need to be said.”
We had the misfortune of seeing the visual on TV this morning.

In fairness, this mailer serves an important purpose. It helps us see where we’ve been headed, what we liberals seem bound to become.

To state the obvious, there are no hard and fast lines defining an act of “hate speech.” That said, if you can’t see that mailer as such an act, your vision may be a bit clouded.

Grayson’s mailer is hard to distinguish from vintage hate speech. It’s accompanied by the standard boast of the strutting demagogue:

No one else is willing to say what you and your tribe have been thinking!

So how about it—is Grayson right? Is that what our tribe has been thinking? Have liberals been thinking that the Tea Party is just a form of the Klan?

Grayson says that’s what you have been thinking. Is his statement correct?

Alas! We’d have to say there’s a good deal of merit to Grayson’s claim about the liberal world’s current thinking. In our view, his mailer is hard to distinguish from classic “hate speech.” But, as we have repeatedly noted, this has been the unmistakable drift of a great deal of pseudo-liberal expression in recent months.

In our view, that mailer is one step over from the conduct of people like Salon’s Joan Walsh. We would say it’s two steps over from Collins’ most recent column, which we’ll examine tomorrow.

We’d even be inclined to mention this front-page report in today’s New York Times. This morning, the Times gives us Bubba in his overhauls, in full glory and in full color, right on the paper’s front page.

He’s standing next to the grave of his wife, who he buried in the front yard. Inside the paper, we find four more photos (4) concerning this matter, and a map of Alabama.

Do we really not understand the message that’s being conveyed?

Is that front-page report a form of “hate speech?” We’d say it’s several steps over, but leaning. To use a term Walsh loves to employ, is it a type of dog whistle?

In a highly tribal time, what constitutes an act of “hate speech?” For a starter, we’ll offer two basic ideas. With apologies to a famous redneck, you might be flirting with hate speech if you satisfy these requirements:
You might be flirting with hate speech if:
You adopt the ugliest possible explanation for the other tribe’s beliefs and actions.
You apply your theory indiscriminately—if you apply the ugliest possible explanation to tens of millions of people at a time.
You might be flirting with hate speech if you satisfy those requirements! In this instance, Grayson slimes the entire Tea Party with an image of the Ku Klux Klan.

He says this is what you have been thinking. Is this classic demagogue right?

It’s very hard to distinguish that mailer from classic “hate speech.” But that mailer isn’t a whole lot different from the work which has routinely been appearing at Salon.

It isn’t hugely different from the speech being pimped by the red-faced Matthews, who used to direct his spittle-flecked speech at major Democrats. We’d say it’s two steps over from Collins’ column, which we’ll review tomorrow, along with the many depressing comments the column inspired.

All through the Clinton/Gore years, we liberals slept in the woods. Even as we dozed, we laughed at the haters and ditto-heads found in The Other Tribe.

Finally, after Iraq, we managed to rouse ourselves from sleep. In that mailer, Grayson removes all sensible doubt:

He shows us where we’ve been headed of late. He shows what the Walshes, who may be “well intentioned,” would have our world become.

Tomorrow: Two steps over from that

Update: When we typed this post, we weren't aware of this report by Salon assistant editor Elias Isquith.

Isquith quotes Grayson's reaction to criticism. “If the hood fits, wear it,” the fiery fellow concludes. We strongly recommend reading the comments.

More on this topic tomorrow. In our view, liberal exceptionalism is flagging badly at this point in time.


  1. I do think that using the KKK to smear conservatives is hate speech. I don't think the Times report on the man who wants to bury his wife in his yard is hate speech, but it is mean-spirited and ugly to ridicule someone who is grieving. I found that offensive when I saw it on Huffington Post and didn't realize it had come from the NY Times. Much of what I see on Huffington Post offends me and I think that kind of sensationalism to attract viewers has little to do with journalism. Perhaps our paper of record is still finding it difficult to pay the bills and must turn to this kind of thing to attract readers. Maybe they are in a slow slide into tabloid-style content because that is the only thing that is commercially viable any more.

  2. "In recent years, we’ll have to admit, the bloom came off the Grayson rose for us here at this site."

    For me the bloom was never on the Grayson rose. He first became famous for the so-called Republican health plan, which was to "die quickly." That was, in fact, the worst kind of scurrilous lie, since no Republican ever said or hinted that they wanted people to die at all, much less quickly, but liberals loved it and make him a hero for saying it. That was the point at which I began to be ashamed of calling myself a liberal, prograssive or anything related to that tribe.

    1. "For me the bloom was never on the Grayson rose."

      Well, according to the thesis of this post, Grayson must still be in full bloom.

      Here's the problem. The more outrageous a politician is -- from either side -- the more like it is that he will get face time on TV.

      From the well of the Senate, Ted Cruz called his Republican colleagues "Nazi appeasers" which is in effect to call Obama and the Democrats who passed Obamacare "Nazis."

      He was playing the same game as Grayson. Nothing more, nothing less.

      And both should be held accountable for the words that come out of their mouth.

      In other words, it would be just as wrong to ascribe Cruz's words to all members of the conservative "tribe" as would Bob's feeble attempt here to ascribe Grayson's words to all members of the "liberal" tribe.

    2. It wasn't wrong to ascribe Sen. Cruz' views to most Republicans (but not all).

      According to the 2016 presidential campaign strawpoll, he became the most supported candidate.

    3. So since you have the results of that 2016 straw poll at hand, Cecelia, tell us what percentage favors Cruz.

    4. By the way, this "straw poll" wouldn't happen to be the straw poll taken of people at the Values Voters summit, would it?

      I hope not, because it would be awfully dishonest of you to take that poll and apply it to "most Republicans."

    5. No, just the base of the party and the most active.

      Is your disdain for Somerby's heterodoxy worth your hedging on the Republican fav?

    6. So what is the "straw poll" that shows "most Republicans" favor Cruz for president, and why do you find it so difficult to answer that question?

      Your words, Cecelia: "It wasn't wrong to ascribe Sen. Cruz' views to most Republicans (but not all)."

      Even in the Values Voters straw poll, Cruz was not the choice of "most" people there. He was the choice of a robust plurality of 42 percent, far ahead of other luminaries including Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

      So is that your evidence that we can ascribe Cruz's views to "most Republicans". Or are you now backing off and claiming that those Values Voters attendees represent the "base of the party" and the "most active" which still might be quite a stretch.

    7. Anon12:41, and that in the face of a disastrous govt shut-down, and approval ratings down Boehner and McConnell who, along with Cruz, were pilloried in the media.

      Yes, winning that straw poll was sentinel for Cruz.

    8. So it is the Values Voters straw poll to which you refer.

      How dishonest then of you to claim that the 2,000 attendees represent "most Republicans."

    9. Shall we look at the record of the "Value Voters" straw poll to find out how "sentinel" it is? It is held ever fall except during presidential election years when the GOP nominee has already been chosen:

      2007: Mitt Romney.
      2009: Mike Huckabee
      2010: Mike Pence
      2011: Ron Paul, discounted because Paul apparently bused in 600 supporters on the final day of the conference to vote for him.
      2013: Ted Cruz

    10. Anon2:24pm,

      I wish you were right.

    11. So I guess you are now saying that the results of the Values Voters poll is not necessarily even an indication of how "most Republicans" favor for president?

      Or more to the point, that Ted Cruz speaks for "most Republicans" today?

      Interesting. Because if we can agree on that, then we get to the point of how the hell Alan Grayson ever became the spokesman for what "liberals" really believe?

      And if you agree therefore that Grayson is not, then we get to the question of what has got Bob's bowels in an uproar today if not that?

      I remember, right after 9/11, how Bob wrote a brilliant piece about conservatives were scouring the country for examples of "liberals" saying "America had it coming," and Bill O'Reilly came up with an editorial written in a high school newspaper as "proof" of the liberal agenda to brainwash our school kids into hating America.

      Bob was once quite brilliant in his expose of the dishonesty of holding up the most extreme examples as the representative of all on the "other side".

      And today, he does it himself with Grayson and his over-the-top fund-raising letter.

    12. Jayhawk,

      Of course no Republicans every said they wanted people to die for lack of heath care, just as no anti-abortion zealots say they want women to die getting illegal abortions. But just as the zealots' crusade to save every zygote inevitably leads to fatally septic illegal abortions so the result of Republicans' war against affordable health care leaves an early death as the only plan for the uninsured who run into health crises.

      Health insurance is a plan to lay off the risk of bankruptcy in the face of medical problems. Without that insurance, illness bankrupts. In fact, it's the leading cause of bankruptcy today in the US. For those who can't afford insurance and those who can't get insurance at any price, dying quickly is the only alternative to penury.

      Are you really from Kansas, Jayhawk?

      Don't kid a kidder now. There was never a point when you called yourself a liberal, now was there?

    13. Anon6:12, Oh, I most certainly believe that "Values Voters" and Ted Cruz "speak" for the Republican Party now.

      The Tea Party may contain a large contingency of "Green Eyeshade" republicans (low taxes, controls on spending, low deficit), but that these concerns are part and parcel with social-conservatives as well.

      Most social-conservatives support the Tea Party movement.

      Ted Cruz snd the Tea Party have the heft in the RNC to the tune of closing down the govt, despite the reservations and fears of its leadership.

      They have also put out of business, seasoned Republican pols, who know how to mediate and negoticiate between parties.

      Yes, Ted Cruz is the face of the party at this time.

      As for Grayson, my observation was that no one who says anything controversial seems to speak for liberals around here. However, one unelected regular-joe with a Confederate flag speaks for the inherent psychology/spirit of not just the Tea Party, but the vets and the vet organization as well.

      Yet a duly elected congressman, using imagery in keeping with the sentiments expressed here about about the personal threat inherent in waving a Confederate flag in front of the home of a black man (which coincidentally...happens to also be the White House), does not seem to speak for anyone in particular.

      Well, I'll go with the notion that Alan Grayson doesn't speak for you. Unfortunately, I think his burning "T" reflects the feelings of a great many liberals concerning the Tea Party.

    14. deadrat,

      How does one respond to the argument that unless we do such-and-such people will die?

      That something is undebatable because someone might die due to not being insured, and that we must have unrestricted abortion, otherwise some women will die in back-alley ones.

      It is impossible to have any sort of exchange with this bottomline argument. If no other consideration (for the short or long term) is considered valid or worthy, everyone must put down their fork, wipe their mouth, and leave the table. Dinner is done.

      As far as the ACA goes, I think dinner is done. There was debate, the policy was enacted. In my opinion, the shutdown was specious performance art.

      However, this bottomline argumentation is not conducive to reason, and it's far too convenient to be morally sound.

      It was an eye-opener to me to see pilloried the suggestion that experimental cancer treatment for children continue during the shut-down, based upon the premise that it was not in the longterm interest of the national good.

    15. CeceliaMc,

      How does one respond to the augment that unless we do such-and-such people will die? Easy. First you determine whether the conclusion is true, and if so, you consider alternatives and argue that banning such-and-such is worse. In the case of banning white phosphorous matches, the conclusion is true, and safety matches mean that no reasonable argument can be made against the ban. In the case of abortion, the conclusion is true, and there really is no alternative to giving women the right to control their bodies. The downside is thus giving up the idea of imposing one's religious views about souls and zygotes on everybody else. In the case of the ACA, the conclusion is true, and the alternative is, well, we don't know because no alternative is ever advanced.

      Now you try it. What's your argument against banning cars and sky diving?

      Done? Good. Now let's take on refusing to fund the NIH during the shutdown. First of all, let's get the facts straight: treatment continued for those in the programs; treatment was delayed for new admissions. In this case, there's an easy alternative -- keep the government open. Barring that, you just let no more than 150 teahadists in the House of Representatives dictate what gets funded and what doesn't. I'll leave it to you to figure out whether that's in the "longterm interest of the national good."

  3. "You apply your theory indiscriminately—if you apply the ugliest possible explanation to tens of millions of people at a time."

    Physician, heal thyself. You dig for the worst possible thing said by a "liberal" and apply that to tens of millions of "liberals" at a time.

    Is it just possible, Bob, that Grayson speaks only for himself and not all members of a so-called "tribe"?

    1. Grayson is sending this in a fund-raising letter. That means Grayson thinks it will appeal to his supporters and inspire them to send him money. That hardly suggests that Grayson thinks he is speaking only for himself.

    2. Well, if you are down to mining fund-raising letters sent to targeted audiences for examples of "hate speech," then you really are finding it tough to find it anywhere else.

    3. Why is it that any yahoo from Hooks, Tx, speaks for thousands of conservative people, but there doesn't seem to be a prominent or duly elected liberal anywhere who is either "truly" liberal, or who speaks for other liberals?

    4. Nice strawman, but who said the nincompoop from Hooks with his questionable backstory spoke for "thousands of conservative people."

      Since you have forgotten, the argument that went on ad nauseum was over Bob's point that you can't call an obvious symbol of racism an obvious symbol of racism unless we know what was in the nincompoop's mind.

    5. Evidently, you didn't watch CNN and MSNBC where it was widely reported that Michael Ashmore discredited both the Tea Party and the Million Vet March org.

    6. Yes, I did miss those. Care to provide a link so I can catch up?

    7. It isn't CeceliaMc's job to keep you informed on topics of discussion around here.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Opts..left out the word not and then put the right post in the wrong place.

      Once again with feeling...I am not looking up links to prove what we both know happened in the reporting of Michael Ashmore.

    10. But isn't it CeceliaMc's job to back up what she says is common knowledge.

      I mean, how hard could that be if it was "widely reported"?

    11. Anon11:13, not my job, it's my privilege to point out bullshit.

    12. Yes, Cecelia, I get it. Your mouth just wrote another check your brain can't cash.

      But read this post again. Bob is taking a crackpot statement from a fund-raising letter and blaming an entire "tribe" for it, while in the same breath decrying how awful it is to take crackpot statements and blame an entire "tribe" for it.

    13. No, Somerby blamed a duly elected partisan bomb thrower.

      It takes idiots like you to argue that the Million Vet March and the Tea Party wasn't broad rushed by one previously anonymous Mr. Ashmore.

    14. "No, Somerby blamed a duly elected partisan bomb thrower."

      To quote the Somerby:

      "Alas! We’d have to say there’s a good deal of merit to Grayson’s claim about the liberal world’s current thinking."

    15. Clearly all the hate is in this blogger - its amazing he hasn't had a frothing-at-the-mouth breakdown because of the money he thinks Maddow, Lawrence et al are making.

      There isn't a shadow of a doubt that he hates liberals - a hate that he constantly expresses while professing to be one himself. In a Freudian slip he lets out what he really thinks:

      "In this instance, Grayson slimes the entire Tea Party with an image of the Ku Klux Klan."

      How do you "slime" the Tea Party?

      It may be that the Klan comparison was over-the-top - but how do you slime something that makes no secret of it own vileness?

    16. It looks like this blogger is ALREADY on the right

      From National Review Online:

      "“Racism,” another preferred charge, is similarly ill-supported. In 2010, UCLA student Emily Ekins surveyed tea-party protest signs, an endeavor that revealed not racism but that

      media coverage of tea party rallies over the past year have [sic] focused so heavily on the more controversial signs that it has contributed to the perception that such content dominates the tea party movement more than it actually does.

      How many signs were beyond the pale? “5 percent of the total mentioned the president’s race or religion,” the Washington Post wrote in its story about Ekins’s survey, “and slightly more than 1 percent questioned his American citizenship.” A comparison study with some of the anti-Bush protests would be interesting here. Indeed, accusations of bigotry often reveal more about the accusers than the accusees. John McWhorter of Columbia University made the brilliant observation that “the idea that ‘racism’ is behind the Tea Partiers is based on a lazy and vain extension of the term ‘racism’ to meaning ‘that which many black people would not approve of.’” I would only add to McWhorter’s diagnosis — that some engaged in the slander are “lazy” and some are “vain” — that others, such as Victor Goode of the professional victimization website Colorlines and the endlessly boring and monomaniacal Joan Walsh of Salon are so desperate for the insult to be true that they are happy to beclown themselves awkwardly pretending that it is."

      5 percent mentioned the President's race on religion?

      This blogger is of course cool with that.

      Look at whose Kool Aid he's drinking (attacking Joan Walsh).

    17. By attacking Rep. Grayson, this blogger is endorsing this

      Yup - show an image of the president in a loin cloth and a bone through his nose - but of course that is not racist. It is only "hate - speech" if you call the Tea Party that.

    18. I wonder. Did the guy who came with a handgun strapped to his leg at the site of a presidential address while carrying a sing about "watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants" qualify as a sign that mentioned the president's race or religion?

      Here is the thing. I am sure that "UCLA student Emily Ekins" as well as the National Review and our beloved blogger, are just shocked, SHOCKED to discover that the media gives ink and time to the most extreme forms of speech at mass rallies.

      But as a veteran of the anti-Vietnam war movement, I suspect it's been that way for quite some time.

    19. To : AnonymousOctober 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      You nailed it!

    20. The blogger doesn't think the Tea Party is on par with the KKK. Neither do conservatives at National Review.

      This means the blogger is a conservative.

      The blogger doesn't think the Tea Party is on par with the KKK.

      Five percent of signs at TP rallies mention the President's race.

      This means the blogger is "okay" with that.

      The blogger doesn't think the Tea Party is KKK.

      Writer admits the KKK comparison "may be over the top", but is still incensed at the blogger for having the temerity to care.

      The blogger doesn't think the TP is comparable to the KKK

      Self-described anti-war movement vet disputes National Review article premise excerpted by commenter and lumps blogger in with NR's argument.

      Blogger doesn't think TP comparable to KKK.

      Commenter argues that this means that blogger is all for racist caricatures of president.

      You idiots make Lionel look like Mr. Spock!

    21. The blogger has fallen into the habit of repeating talking points that are indistinguishable from right wing talking points.

      What does that make him?

    22. Anon4:51pm, it makes him in agree with Anon12:24pm who agreed that the KKK reference might be over the top.

      The difference is that the Anon doesn't give a crap.

  4. Really? How many "racists" and their "fellow travelers" have been called to testify before either the HUAC or Senate committee?

  5. In my opinion being called a racist might be the fulfillment of Warhol's prophesy that in the future everyone would have fifteen minutes of fame.

  6. Actually, Anon11:02, nowadays you're just blasted endlessly on tv and the Internet, as Paula Deen has been.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The KKK weren't only racists, they were terrorists. Their crimes were physically attacking African Americans and others (immigrants, Catholics) in order to intimidate them, burning their homes and churches, lynching people, night riding in order to keep people frightened inside their own homes, and engaging in business practices that bullied others. That is quite a few steps removed from using the n-word or expressing politically unpopular views.

  9. People have been fired for being accused of racism. E.g., Golfer Fuzzy Zoller isn't a racist. He was a buddy of Tiger Woods. Nevertheless, he was fired from his TV gigs for a joke -- a joke that wasn't intended to be nasty. People on universities who are accused of racism are invariably found guilty and sanctioned in some way. This is the case, even when the person isn't racist and didn't do anything wrong. E.g., the people who used the word "niggardly" and "water-buffalo" and the person whose "crime" was to read a book about the defeat of the KKK where a black person could see the cover.

    Presumably, if you're the accuser, you get a pass. If some Republican had used a picture of burning cross, I think he's be severely criticized. In fact, I can't imagine a Republican Congressman using such a picture.

  10. Well, that's why you saw the capital "T" for TeaParty aflame, and it's why you heard all the rhetoric about a Confederate flag being waved outside of a black man's house (you know, the White House).

  11. For the record, Fuzzy Zoeller's "joke" was about serving fried chicken and watermelon at the Master's banquet should Tiger Woods win.

  12. Anon11:26, it wasn't a joke. It was anger masquerading as a joke.

  13. What? You are now reading Fuzzy Zoeller's mind over the span of several years and finding anger?

  14. Wait, until yesterday this blog was dedicated to media criticism, but now it's been repurposed to critical analysis of Democratic fund raising?

    Where's the fig leaf of media criticism to mask the lib-bashing? Standards are slipping at TDH...

    1. Surely tomorrow TDH will cover this rather public piece of rhetoric:

      Or maybe not...

    2. Apparently, our blogger is too busy scouring for the fund-raising letters of Democratic congressmen, reading Joan Walsh, Gail Collins, and Maureen Dowd, and watching MSNBC to be bothered with what the next self-appointed leader of the "Tea Party" movement says from the floor of the U.S. Senate.

  15. Anon11:53, sure am. Fuzzy wasn't happy over being beaten by a black man.

  16. OK, Cecelia. Then how is your conclusion about Zoeller's motivation any different than saying that someone waving a Confederate flag isn't exactly happy that the black man is president.

    You can't have it both ways, Cecelia, although that has been your M.O. for quite some time.

    In other words, if you can find racism and anger in Zoeller's crude joke, then kindly keep your mouth shut when people find racism and anger in Ashmore's actions.

  17. The question never was whether there was "racism and anger in Ashmore's actions," but whether using that individual as a signifier for many thousands of people was appropriate.

    You may not like Somerby's criticism of Grayson's campaign literature, but it is a fact that he is not merely some lone individual but an elected representative.

  18. Albert "Skippy" CamusOctober 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Grayson is enormously useful for Sean Hannity, et al. because 50% (estimated) of Fox programming is "look what those scoundrels on the other side are saying!" Of course the same is true of MSNBC, although the scoundrels are different.

    1. They certainly are different. Is Grayson the leader of a movement within the Democratic Party that will primary members of his own party who are not deemed "liberal" enough?

  19. And that is the straw man. If it were just one numbskull waving around a Confederate flag, there is no story. But you couple that with giving a guy a platform to call the President a Muslim and to say that he should "figuratively" come out with his hands in the air, when you got other speakers calling for impeachment for no known charges, and for a new "American Revolution," you got a pretty good idea of what that rally was really about.

    And no, rather than using it as a "signifier for many thousands of people" it was used to show what that rally was really all about.

  20. Tiger's only pal in golf has been Mark O'Meara-- never Fuzzy Zoeller who nearly everybody else liked. Many golfers disliked Tiger for (1) his philandering, (2) the way he treats his fans, (3) the way he always whines about being injured whenever he plays poorly, (4) his "bending" of the rules in a sport where you are supposed to report yourself for infractions, (5) his use of profanity and displays of anger, throwing clubs on the course, tolerated for him but not others, (6) his disdain for and avoidance of other players (much as he avoids fans), (7) the way he treated his long-time caddy. He conducts himself as kind of a jerk in the golf world. So there are other motives for Zoeller's remark (and he was known for making several other unfunny nonracial jokes), although I agree it had a racial tinge to it. Lots of golfers resented Tiger for lots of reasons. Other golfers knew about Tiger before the public found out about his lack of character.

  21. Here in New Jersey, Cory Booker just ran on hating the "Tea Party." Even if he didn't compare these ordinary people with the Ku Klux Klan, all he was doing was running on hate.

    Apparently it did not impress the voters as Booker's margin was about 10 points while Obama's margin was about 18 points. The mainstream media has been cranking up a big bogey man about the "Tea Party" for a while now.

    1. Nice try, Lionel. Obama ran in a Presidential election on the traditional Tuesday. Booker ran in an off-year, special Senatorial election on an off-day. I read that you have to go back to 1936 to find a winning margin larger than Booker's in a special election to fill a vacant Senate seat.

  22. Anon1:29pm, I never argued that the Confederate flag guy could not be a racist.

    I argued that his presence didn't constitute an endorsement of his actions by the rest of the protesters.

    I argued that he could be in denial of the flag's meaning because his letter indicates that and that the flag has unfortunately become a symbol of nonconformity and rebellion over the past 150 years.

    Zoeller made a joke about Woods having fried chicken served at the Masters Dinner, "or whatever the hell they serve".

    Zoeller may not be a racist, but that was no light-hearted jest. It was a belittling and racist remark, made out of anger.

  23. OMB

    BOB managed to omit the "Taliban Bob" commercial Grayson ran in the 2010 election he lost. We suspect it was one of the fallen blossoms he alluded to, but we just don't know.

    We think it is unfortunate and hateful for a Democrat to compare Tea Partiers to the Klan. Almost as unfortunate as it was for the Republicans in Louisiana to support a Klan leader for Governor in relatively recent memory. As the bumper sticker said at the time in the Pelican State; Vote for the Crook: It's Important.

    Now, Republicans in Louisiana have a Governor who is not white. Floridians had a Tea Partier who was in Congress who spewed hate speech who is black. And Democrats, they have Alan Grayson back.


    KZ ( K is for King, not Klan)

    1. Almost as unfortunate as it was for the Republicans in Louisiana to support a Klan leader for Governor

      You mean an ex-Klan leader. Of course, Robert Byrd, a former Klan leader, was a leading Democratic Senator for many years. Senate Democrats elected this ex-Klan leader as their Majority Leader from 1977 to 1981.

      Why do Dems get a pass for action that's considered abominable when done by Reps?

    2. Ummmm, because only an utterly ignorant and/or dishonest twit would fail to see any difference Robert Byrd and David Duke?

    3. KZ, a small correction, if I may be so bold.

      Grayson did not run a "Taliban Bob" ad in 2010, he ran a "Taliban Dan" ad against his opponent, Dan Webster, calling him a religious fanatic.

    4. Thanks irishguy. The devil's in the detail.


    5. Anonymous @5:50P,

      DAinCA is abysmally ignorant, but I think it's useful to point out what makes him so. Robert Byrd apologized for his membership in the Klan, calling it the biggest mistake of his political career. In the Senate, he became a strong supporter of civil rights legislation. The contrast with David Duke couldn't be starker.

      The fact is that Duke was always a white supremacist and antisemite regardless of the party label he adopted. He ran for various offices from 1975 to 1988 as a Democrat before changing his registration to Republican and winning a 1989 election to till a vacant House seat in Louisiana. By then he was out of the Klan, which accused him of embezzlement, and had formed his own organization the NAAWP. His House victory was his last, and in all the subsequent races, he was disowned by the Republican apparat in Louisiana. In his 1991 run for governor of Louisiana, Bush 41 went out of his way to denounce him. Edwin Edwards trounced Duke 61-39, but Duke was proud to point out that exit polls showed that he'd won 55% of the vote. The only reason that Duke won the right to get clobbered was Louisiana's open primary system, in which all candidates run in an initial round, with a run-off held between the top two vote getters only in case no one gets a majority. In 1991, sitting governor Buddy Roemer had switched from Democrat to Republican, and Roemer, Duke, Edwards, and the Republican convention pick, Holloway were all on the ballot.

    6. Let's also compare ages. Byrd was like a million years old, Duke like 10. Byrd lived to regret his earlier positions, Duke not.

      Bob these days is positioning debate in the most retrograde ways. I want to talk with a Dave in Cal and others (though Bob insists I don't, that I am part of some mythical "liberal tribe"), but the very way Bob constructs discussion precludes productive discussion, despite his calls for productive discussion.

      Bob is angry, confused, and finally a waste of my time and others', except on some aspects of educational policy and the press. (And even there, others talk about these matters insightfully.)

      In sadness....

    7. mch,

      When has TDH suggested that you not talk with people like DAinCA? How does TDH "construct discussion"? What do think TDH is confused about?

      If this blog is a waste of your time, what are doing here?

      I don't understand.

    8. "If this blog is a waste of your time, what are doing here?"

      Ah, the stock answer.

      FYI, it is none of your business why me, mch, or anybody else chooses to come here and even comment. So don't worry your feeble brain trying to figure it out.

      Second, and speaking only for myself, I come here because once, many years ago, this blog was brilliant until it jumped the shark during the Valerie Plame/"Sixteen Words" fiasco.

      I have since watched the continuing deterioration of this once find blog as Bob rails like a crank against people who are younger, smarter, and far more successful than he for reasons that I am certain Bob's analyst will find fascinating.

      These days, TDH has become a train wreck and I have a tough time averting my eyes.

    9. I'm lighting a candle of sympathy for the travails of both mch and Anon9:31am.

    10. Anonymous @ 9:31A,

      In the first place, I wasn't talking to you.

      In the second, I wasn't giving a stock answer. I was asking a question. You can tell because there's a question mark.

      I fail to see what's so secret about anyone's motivation for commenting here. You must not either in spite of your admonition because you volunteered unbidden why you do. Apparently it has something to do with train wrecks and Valerie Plame. I'm not really interested, but, gee, thanks for sharing.

      I may be feeble-brained, but I don' t do voluntary things that I find to be a waste of time. mch does, and that seems odd to me. That's not the only thing in his comment that I didn't understand, so I asked him some questions.

      In the third place, go back and read my first sentence. Then piss off.

  24. Nice try, Cecelia. But I suggest to go back and delete practically everything you wrote in that thread before others look it up to see what a liar you are.

  25. Then it ought to be easy for you to quote the passages where I stated that there was no possible way that Ashmore was a racist.

  26. I refer you to your post of October 20, 2013 at 7:21 AM, in which you link to some mea culpa from the guy which apparently proved in your mind that he was no racist, ergo there were no "racist" symbols at the rally, and that he (as well as Larry Klayman) were merely harmless, irrelevant dumb shits.

    You apparently spent all day Saturday hammering that very point home to several people. For those with as much time on their hands that you have apparently got, I would urge them to look it up, particularly if they enjoy watching a psuedo-intellectual have her butt handed to her in a debate about 87 different ways.

  27. A weak disapproval from DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    “Obviously I am disappointed in the use of that imagery. Both sides need to dial back that kind of rhetoric and look to bring more civility into politics,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

    However, she didn't call upon Grayson to discontinue the email. And, she made the same criticism about the Republicans, although she provided no examples of any comparable Republican rhetoric.

    Read more:

  28. So in your book,linking to Ashmore's letter was tantamount to declaring that there was no possibility that he could be a racist

    In the midst of many people declaring what he had been thinking with that flag, and that he was a racist, but my referencing the account from the horse's mouth was the unmitigated declaration of his intentions.


  29. CeceliaMc, tell the whole story.

    Klayman also called on the President of the United States to put down his Qu'ran, get up off his knees and to "figuratively" come out with his hands up.

    Yep such images reminded nobody but you of Gandhi and King.

  30. And Re: Ashmore. Your own words convict you, Cecelia.

    Try not babbling so much so you'll remember which lie you told and when.

  31. CeceliaMc too-carefully circumscribes her argument about the Confederate flag, demands absurdly high standards of evidence before reaching reasonable conclusions, is too literal-minded in the face of teahadist wink-nudging, and far too trusting in the self-serving screeds of teahadist apologia.

    I've even argued as such in my oh-so-cogent comments made in my oh-so-much time on my hands. But I think its best not to call her a liar over a disagreement on the proper perspective.

  32. deadrat, in the face of claims about whole groups of people (of any political persuasion I can think of) that were based upon references to wink-nudging, conclusions based upon interpretation, and political distrust:

    I'd do as much for them too.

  33. BTW, deadrat, when I linked Ashmore's explanation of his thinking, did that indicate to you that I was arguing that it is completely unreasonable to decide that he's a racist, or that such a conclusion is arguable?

  34. You mean when you offered Ashmore's "explanation" (Interesting choice of words. I don't think he explained anything), you weren't offering proof that he wasn't a racist because, after all, he said he had no racist intentions?

    Or how about the "explanation" that he was a 24-year-old Marine who spent four of the last six years in Afghanistan and was disabled, suffering from PTSD, so we must cut him some slack? That cock-and-bull story which you swallowed whole wasn't evidence in your little brain that he couldn't possibly have any racist intentions when he waved a symbol of racism and treason in front of the White House.

    Again, Cecilia, your very words convict you. Amazing how you want so much to disown them now. But the next time, think through what you say before you post, so you don't wind up looking like an idiot when you have to deny you said them.

  35. "in the face of claims about whole groups of people"

    Once again, the straw man. Exactly who is making what claims about which whole groups of people?

  36. Anon9:34, groups of people were broad-brushed by Ashmore's Confederate flag: Tea Party folks, the Million Vets March vets, and the Vet Org.

    The vet org was broad-brushed because they confined their public denouncement of the rally to the local organizer (who invited Klayman) two nationally prominent politicians, and didn't offer up a regular-Joe fellow vet to further public castigation.

    The vets were broad-brushed because there was no video of anyone confronting or accosting Ashmore.

    The Tea Party was broad-brush as being Conderates-in-spirit because of their history of PR secession actions (an argument that echoes Ashmore's in making the Confederacy merely about states rights and nonconformity, rather than actual slavery).

    Those are the groups that were broad-brushed as being confederate sympathizers and spiritual brothers.

  37. Anon9:38am, actually Ashmore's own letter affirms that the Washington Post report on him contains inaccuracies.

    If you're going to put forth the utterly idiotic argument that Ashmore's own explanation was of such little relevance in a discussion of his motivations, that linking it constituted an utter defense and support of him on my part, perhaps you can be pleased that it set straight the cock-and-bull story.

    You know, Einstein...the cock-and-bull WP story I believed in...while also linking to the letter that I expressly described as not comporting with the WP.

  38. Bob Somerby has been quite shamefully clear about this: sometime in the late sixties or early seventies, some laws were passed and any racial ugliness on the part of white americans simply vanished. Therefore, it is cruel and ugly of liberal americans to bring forth any comments about racism, which is quite clearly a painful part of America's past. Only happy stories of racial progress are allowed.
    On issues of race, Pastor Bob is a bit off the rails, and past being taken seriously.

    1. "Bob Somerby has been quite shamefully clear about this: sometime in the late sixties or early seventies, some laws were passed and any racial ugliness on the part of white americans simply vanished. "

      Fuck off douchebag Greg.

    2. Do you ever get bored of beating up straw men?

  39. Cecelia, the fact that you took the WaPo blurb as accurate, now call it cock-and-bull, and report the puported letter from Ashmore as real comports with your role here as head of the BOBcheer squad.

    I find you refreshingly consistent!

    You go, girl (so long as you are well behaved.)


  40. Uh huh, Oh Truth Seeker.

    Here's what I said:

    CeceliaMcOctober 20, 2013 at 7:21 AM
    Here's a letter Michael Ashmore wrote defending himself.

    He pretty well goes along with the cognitive dissonance about the flag's history that I've generally heard from older folks through the years.

    What he writes about himself doesn't seem to comport with the WP's blurb on him either.

    I addressed both Ashmore's cognitive dissonance and that what he wrote about himself (he references his military history and current civilian job) does not comport with the WP's report.

  41. My apologies. I misinterpreted what you meant when you wrote: "the cock-and-bull WP story I believed in"

    I take it when you praised Bob's call for pity for Ashmore in a post in which he quoted the WaPo article as saying he was a four tour vet with PTSD, your praise did not imply a belief in the accuracy of the WaPo.

    I hope you also grow to share my suspicion that the "letter from Ashmore" may not really be from
    the poor fool waving the stars and bars outside the White House.


  42. The letter may not be from Ashmore. Ted Cruz may have written it.

    I praised Bob wanting mercy for this guy before I ever saw the letter.

    I knew what he was saying about his tour of duty in Afghanistan and his current work patterns did not comport with how the WP reported his military history, and with his having a physical or psychological disability, and said so.

    Still it did take me awhile not to think if him as being that disabled vet.

    As to assuming he's a political scam or not, it's certainly not like the Washington Post has never gotten anything wrong on their own.

    After the letter, the only decision I made about this man's veracity is that I would rather treat him with mercy and be wrong, than to not give him that mercy...and it turn out that I was wrong.

  43. CeceliaMc,

    When you linked to Ashmore's "explanation," I thought you did so in an attempt to argue that Ashmore wasn't necessarily a racist, and that his story was the one we should accept in interpreting the meaning of his flag at the rally, and if we do that, it's unfair brand the Hundred Vet March as racists and CSA sympathizers.

    As I've explained, I don't think Ashmore's apologia is relevant. That's even if his explanation made any sense, which it doesn't. He thinks the flag is the symbol of his country. Which country is that? And that's even if I were inclined to accept his rationalization, which I'm not. When my eight-year old explains that it was his six-year old sister who ate the cookies, I'm not inclined to give him much credence either. Especially if he's got cookie crumbs around his mouth and has a history of being caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

    Or at least that would happen if I had any children.

    The Confederate flag is an apposite symbol for teahadists. This has little to do with the Civil War per se and nothing to do with slavery, but everything to do with the political positions and and rhetoric that have accompanied the flag to this day. If you don't want to be associated with what the flag represents, it's easy to make that clear. Just like the head of the DNC, who didn't want people to think that her party sanctioned KKK comparisons made by a Democratic Representative.

    The HVM was quick to disavow Ted Cruz when it became clear what a liability he was. I watched the videotape of Cruz' remarks to the HVM. He said nothing about his bizarre goals or his crazy tactics. He kissed the vets' asses and blamed the shutdown of the monuments on Harry Reid. Nothing that could be construed as "hijacking" their failed demonstration. The real hijacker was Ashmore (abetted by the media love of controversy, to be sure). But they said nothing about that, and they could have done so easily without inviting "further public castigation."