Saturday, March 05, 2005

It took me long enough

I wanted to calm down a little before I opened up my own can of whoop ass on Ann Coulter. I should probably start by saying that it all has to do with the senior senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd. Among other things, Byrd is a former member of the KKK and was a fierce believer in segregation in his early career. He gave a speech Wednesday in which he said

But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler’s dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that “Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.” And he succeeded.
Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.
What has been part of the controversy is that many conservatives, especially Joe Scarborough, who we will get to in a minute, say this is Byrd comparing Republicans to the Nazis. Reading the text of the whole speech makes it easy to understand that he was drawing an analogy to what could happen without the fillibuster and what kind of abuses of power are possible if the minority is kept from expressing itself. He was making an argument, in a speech on the Senate floor, to how important it is to respect the minority party's rights. But what has really gotten out of control is how people like Scarborough have tried to link it to Byrd's past. I'm not, for an instant, going to try to defend Byrd against involvement with the Klan. For that, he should be utterly ashamed. But I'll leave it to the voters of West Virginia to decide what to do with that information. Scarbrough has used this as the centerpiece in his argument, however, that Byrd being a Klansmen, would know what Nazis are like, thus implying his word isn't worth anything. He had, of all people, Ann Coulter on his show Thursday night debating Paul Waldman, editor-in-chief of The Gadflyer, talking about this. I'm going to let Scarborough off the hook for now, since it was his show so he can decide what topics to cover. I'll finish up with him at the end. Coulter, on the other hand, is not off the hook. First of all, to her everlasting credit as a total idiot and an awe-inspiringly bad writer, she continually referred to Byrd as "ex-Klanners", which isn't even a real word. But it goes on in this talk to include
COULTER: No, he compared Republicans to Hitler, saying that this change in rules, yes, it can be done legally, but Adolf Hitler operated legally also. (CROSSTALK COULTER: That‘s comparing a change in rules to Hitler. ... COULTER: Not even a congressman. This was a speech that was given yesterday about something that‘s very important that‘s going on right now. He is hailed as a profile in courage in “Vanity Fair” just a few years ago. If you want to give us something else to talk to, I‘d love to, but this is the most the Democratic Party is giving us. All we get are ex-Klanners and nuts to argue with now. And, frankly, it‘s not really helping either my career or Joe Scarborough‘s career. WALDMAN: All we get are ex-Klanners? All we get are ex-Klanners? What are you talking about? COULTER: And nuts, and nuts, I said.
The really funny thing is that Trent Lott was brought up because of his "off the cuff remark" about Sen. Strom Thurmond. Lott said his statement in this century, Byrd said many of the things that Scarborough quoted back in the '50s and '60s, and has since renounced his racist past, unlike Lott who continues to give speeches to white supremacists or Strom Thurmond. Scarborough quoted a 2002 article in which it seemed Byrd preferred a segregated army. That article, if he had mentioned which article and from whom, probably would be found to have quoted something from Byrd's record, but not a recent quote. Just more of those cute little tricks Republicans pull when they are blowing something way out of proportion or lying (Coulter would know about that). The fact that Ann Coulter was talking at all about being civil and not calling the other side names, was the biggest joke of the show, however. Let's take a stroll through some of the things Coulter has said about liberals and Democrats.
As a rule of thumb, Democrats opposed anything opposed by their cherished Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not like the idea of a militarily strong America. Neither did the Democrats! ... Democrats always had mysterious objections and secret "better" ways, which they would never tell us. Then they would vote whichever way would best advance Communist interests. ... McCarthy's fundamental thesis was absolutely correct: The Democratic Party had fallen to the allures of totalitarianism. It was as if the Republicans had been caught in bed with Hitler. ... What we have now is the evidence from Stalin's agents in the United States -- evidence that was not released until 1995 and which Democrats sheltered, defended, ferociously attacked anyone who went after Soviet spies, agents of Stalin, a regime as evil as the Nazis. They were defended by the Democratic Party. It would be as if Republicans were caught in bed with Hitler. And thess old chestnuts Liberals become indignant when you question their patriotism, but simultaneously work overtime to give terrorists a cushion for the next attack and laugh at dumb Americans who love their country and hate the enemy. ... My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building. Oh, and do I really need to remind anyone of how she got booted from covering the Democratic National Convention this summer after her first day's column where she wrote "My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie-chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention."
Yeah, Ann's a regular repository of "rhetorical civility." This, people is a farce. It is hypocritical in its very nature, because people like Coulter will call Democrats communist spies and hail McCarthyism, then be shocked and offended if someone mentions Hitler in a speech that also mentions Republicans. They are some very irrational people and I've spent entirely too much time this morning writing about them. So I'll end the way Joe Scarborough ended his segment, short and without allowing the other side a chance to respond.


At 11:13 AM, Blogger inthepinktexas said...

Oh, come on. Give Annie a break. She hasn't eaten since 1988.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Rugo said...

How can you watch Scarborough? I usually only last about 2 minutes before I want to break the television. As for Senator Byrd, if I am not mistaken he was only in the KKK for about 15 minutes, and he has been perfectly consistent in his protection of Senate rules. When you realize that for him Senate rules are of the utmost importance, and that he has in the past fought his own party on changing them, then this speech while a possible unfortunate choice of words, is not that over the top for him.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Nate said...

I don't actually. But I saw the Omnimedia Notice at The Gadflyer at like 8:59 CST, so I rushed to my TV to start recording it. So I was actually switching between it and the Baylor v Texas Tech game.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...


You need to do a little more research on when and for how long Sheets was a Klan member...

From what I recall, he joined in 1943 to help the country fight Communism....but, in that era...weren't the Soviets our friends?



At 8:52 PM, Blogger MajorDad said...


Pithy reparte there...just about as good as Al Franken saying "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot."

I'd rather have someone give me a hard time about my ideas...not my appearance.



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