How The Village Thinks

I know I always put my health at risk when I read the Moustache of Understanding, but sometimes I can not resist. Like today:

Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president “41,” will be remembered as our last “legitimate” president. The right impeached Bill Clinton and hounded him from Day 1 with the bogus Whitewater “scandal.” George W. Bush was elected under a cloud because of the Florida voting mess, and his critics on the left never let him forget it.

And Mr. Obama is now having his legitimacy attacked by a concerted campaign from the right fringe. They are using everything from smears that he is a closet “socialist” to calling him a “liar” in the middle of a joint session of Congress to fabricating doubts about his birth in America and whether he is even a citizen. And these attacks are not just coming from the fringe. Now they come from Lou Dobbs on CNN and from members of the House of Representatives.

Got it? Clinton and Obama are not legitimate because the lunatics say they aren’t.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






130 replies
  1. 1
    jibeaux says:

    Since when is Lou Dobbs not “fringe”?

  2. 2
    robertdsc says:

    Goddamned ridiculous.

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    Since when is a historic and flawed Supreme Court Decision stopping the vote counting and overturning a state election process not a sign of some level of illegitimacy? While, in the real world, nothing about Clinton and Obama’s actual election made those elections noteworthy or illegitimate.

    And, I might add, though some on the left *made fun* of Bush’s illegitimacy and used the horror of bumperstickers saying mean things Bush’s right to rule was never challenged, officially or unofficially.

    aimai

  4. 4
    beltane says:

    It is not enough to win elections by a commanding margin. A legitimate Democratic president must also be able to cure the mental illness of his enemies, and boost the IQ of the Washington punditry. Since Obama has not been able to achieve these two things, he is not a legitimate president.

    Is this what Friedman is trying to explain to us in his oh so eloquent way?

  5. 5
    Hunter Gathers says:

    How many Friedman Units does Obama have to possess to achieve ligitimacy?

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    Tom Friedman:

    And these attacks are not just coming from the fringe. Now they come from Lou Dobbs …

    I get the feeling that the phrase “a Potemkin Village” is about to be replaced by “a Potomac Village”

    .

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    The right impeached Bill Clinton and hounded him from Day 1 with the bogus Whitewater “scandal.”

    They impeached Clinton for the Whitewater bit? Really? Can someone show me and Friedman the facts?

  8. 8
    EdTheRed says:

    Actually, by the end of his second term, I’d gotten over questioning Dubya’s electoral legitimacy and moved on to the small matter of his being a war criminal. But hey, YMMV. Also, too.

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    The Villagers always hearken back to a Golden Age, when moderate Republicans were in charge. One problem with this vision is that right-wingers have always been been around and have always been crazy– e.g., Robert Welsh claiming that Dwight Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.” Did this de-legitimize Eisenhower? I guess not.

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    Potomac Village: Washington D.C. A Potemkin Village is a place where archictural facades are constructed to hide the peasants fiscal poverty; A Potomac Village is a place where social facades are constructed to hide its intellectual poverty.

    .

  11. 11
    JGabriel says:

    @EdTheRed:

    Actually, by the end of his second term, I’d gotten over questioning Dubya’s electoral legitimacy and moved on to the small matter of his being a war criminal. But hey, YMMV.

    I’ve maintained my ability to be equally outrage by both.

    .

  12. 12
    linda says:

    The right impeached Bill Clinton and hounded him from Day 1 with the bogus Whitewater “scandal.”

    i guess the moustauche of understanding (ooh — another one for the bjlex) forgot about his paper’s role in promoting that story … where is jeff gerth these days….

  13. 13
    PeakVT says:

    Sparkman/Riehl follow-up.

  14. 14
    TimO says:

    Of course they shut down comments.

    I don’t really care for Jim Rome, but he does have some good advice for his less than adept callers.

    1) You don’t HAVE to call.

    2) Have a take, and don’t Suck.

    To The Stache: You don’t have to write, you’re wealthy. Try bouncing your ideas off someone first and if they wince, or nod slowly as if they’re trying to follow you, your take sucks and you should go back to the drawing board, or thinking throne or where ever you go to incubate your genius and take another crack at it.

  15. 15
    Bootlegger says:

    @JGabriel: Me likey.

  16. 16
    Morbo says:

    Hey Cole, stop coarsening the discourse, asshole (see paragraph 12).

    He could’ve saved ink on those two paragraphs if he’d written: Both sides do it, nanner nanner.

  17. 17
    drew42 says:

    Technically, all three fall in the same category. Clinton and Obama are seen as “illegitimate” because of bogus crap spewed out by Republicans. And Bush is seen as illegitimate because of bogus crap spewed out by Republicans.

    The saddest part is how, even today, relatively few people are aware of the phrase, “Brooks Brothers Riot.”

  18. 18
    Shinobi says:

    So just to clarify, in order to be a legitimate POTUS it is important that you lose the popular vote by about half a million votes. Actually winning the popular vote on your first try with nearly 10 million more votes than your opponent is completely ridiculous and means you are some kind of socialist facist nazi trickster.

  19. 19
    Scott says:

    I am willing to buy pizza and beer for anyone who will go up to Friedman (or Broder or Richard Cohen or any of the other Villager assholes) and punch them in their horrible, horrible faces.

    Documentation required, of course. But it would be worth shelling out for pie delivery and booze money.

  20. 20
    4tehlulz says:

    Suck. On. This. Tommy.

  21. 21
    Bootlegger says:

    I say our last legitimate president was Jefferson because every president after that served the illegal constitutional construction of Marbury v. Madison.

  22. 22
    Cat Lady says:

    @PeakVT:

    I wish Friedman would be found naked and mustacheless tied to a WaPo kiosk with Broder’s balls stuffed in his mouth, Rove’s dick in his hand, and the word Villager scrawled on his chest. That’s the only way the Village is going to start getting the message. It all needs to be burned the fuck down.

  23. 23
    4tehlulz says:

    @Bootlegger: ‘sup Justice Thomas?

  24. 24
    r€nato says:

    @aimai:

    did you (or any of you) hear Taylor Branch interviewed on Fresh Air earlier this week about his secret interviews with Bill Clinton?

    Clinton predicted well in advance of the election that the Supreme Court would do everything it could to make sure Bush was installed in the White House, if it came down to it.

  25. 25
    r€nato says:

    @Shinobi: I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!

  26. 26
    Bootlegger says:

    @4tehlulz: No, I’m his motor home mechanic, he always comes to me for advice on his decisions.

  27. 27
    JGabriel says:

    Cat Lady:

    I wish Friedman would be found naked and mustacheless tied to a WaPo kiosk with Broder’s balls stuffed in his mouth, Rove’s dick in his hand, and the word Villager scrawled on his chest.

    Jesus, Cat Lady. That is just a cruel fucking image to put in people’s heads. Especially this early in the morning.

    .

  28. 28

    Obama is not a closet socialist, he’s a fascist. If you research fascism, you’ll note that he fits the mold perfectly.

  29. 29
    Comrade Mary says:

    Oh, yeah, still concerned.

  30. 30
    SpotWeld says:

    Wasn’t there a loud (but small) group that suggested that JFK wasn’t legitimally president since, as a Roman Catholic, he was beholden to the pope?

    I mean, if you want to spin fantasies you can gin up any group.

    Also, as an aside. Isn’t declaring Lou Dobbs fringe sort of an inverse “no true scottsman” fallicy.

    No true mainstream reporter would report “blah”, therefore Lou Dobbs is not meainstream beacuse he does report “blah” and is therefore fringe?

  31. 31
    Cat Lady says:

    @JGabriel:

    You’re lucky I didn’t say what I really think.

  32. 32
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    You know what. I really really do hate the republican party and most of their current members. In fact nearly all, because how can you claim to be a decent human American citizen and still belong to such a mean spirited, seditious organization. It just doesn’t wash anymore, the line of “we’re not all like that”. They may not be outwardly like Beck, Malkin, Limbaugh, House goopers etc…./ But you lay down with flea bitten dogs, and guess what happens.

    I also despise the ever dutiful press that tells me both dems and goopists do it, by comparing a single over ripe apple with a rotten worm infested orchard, and quake in fear that somebody might call them EGADS, liberal, like it’s somehow anti-American, when the wingnut hordes (and their dubious mudderfucking leaders) are calling a fairly elected dem president in good standing a foreign commie muslim terrorist loving traitor that needs to be removed by a military coup, or by whatever means necessary, and post intertube polls asking should he be killed.

    Fuck the whole rancid lot of them, they are the traitors, the Un-American haters of this country and it’s founders vision.

    I am just sick of this shit.

  33. 33
    PeakVT says:

    @Cat Lady: I’d settle for him working in an Iraqi trauma center for the rest of his life.

  34. 34
    zzyzx says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the point of the column isn’t that bad? In the era of the Internet [1] where we can generate communities based on shared beliefs instead of geographical proximity, beliefs are going to be more hardened and what were minor conspiracy theorists before are now becoming more mainstream. As a result, losers of an election don’t believe the winner should be respected.

    [1] The Republicans got a head start due to talk radio.

  35. 35
    Rick Taylor says:

    Meh. Poorly worded, but he puts legitimate in quotes, and if you read the whole column the point he’s making is one I’m glad he’s bringing up. It is disturbing to say the least that whackos are questioning the very legitimacy of the president. Via Atrios, at least one nut on newsmax is now speculating the military may stage a coup.

    There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

    America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.

    I do have a problem with Friedman’s column though. He avoids making the obvious observation that we only seem to have this problem of whackos attacking the very legitimacy of the President when Democrats are in power. Huh. Curious coincidence that.

  36. 36
    Rick Taylor says:

    Stupid block quote still doesn’t work and we’ve lost our preview button to check what our posts look like. The quote above should include two paragraphs. And there’s no reason it should be bolded.

  37. 37
    JGabriel says:

    Kevin @ The Liberty Handbook:

    Obama is not a closet socialist, he’s a fascist. If you research fascism, you’ll note that he fits the mold perfectly.

    Ooh, we have new troll to play with. I wonder if he’s a real or Memorex?

    .

  38. 38
    r€nato says:

    @Punchy:

    that’s not how I read that sentence… its meaning seems quite clear. They impeached him, AND they hounded him over Whitewater.

  39. 39
    Shinobi says:

    @r€nato: Whatever, I’m moving to Canada!

  40. 40
    bob says:

    General Winfield Stuck: “Fuck the whole rancid lot of them, they are the traitors, the Un-American haters of this country and it’s founders vision.”

    Excellent, though a bit mild in my view.

    IMO it is a disgrace to the sacrifices of our nation in WWII to even HAVE a political Rightwing in this country.

  41. 41
    Kryptik says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    Yeah, that’s how I read it. I’m far from a Friedman fan, but I understand where he’s coming from. He’s not talking about legitimacy in the legal or electoral sense. He’s talking legitimacy in the emotional sense, at least as far as Clinton and Obama go.

    The blanket refusal by Republicans to accept anything they do, simply because they’re not Republicans and thus “not legitimate” to them. My only quibble is that it was worded poorly enough that it could be taken as ‘both sides do it’ drivel (given his history it wouldn’t be beyond him). At least he recognized that there were much more grounded reasons behind questioning W’s legitimacy.

  42. 42
    Zifnab says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    Via Atrios, at least one nut on newsmax is now speculating the military may stage a coup.

    *wank* *wank* *wank* Yeah, that does feel better.

    A military coup in the US would be a phenomenal clusterfuck on so many levels. Setting the absolute insanity of such an event aside, it’s hard to not dismiss such a thing as “unrealistic” when the impending threat of said coup ranks right up there with the possibility that the lynched census worker was a pedophile.

    It all boils down to “it would be irresponsible not to speculate!” I’ll become more concerned when fringe bloggers from the 101st Chairborne aren’t the only ones chanting it.

  43. 43
    4tehlulz says:

    @JGabriel: Nah, he’s a blogwhore. The worst kind of troll.

  44. 44
    Napoleon says:

    @Zifnab:

    The first thing that would happen if there was a coup would be that it would scare every other nation on earth to death, such that the money flow into the country buying our debt would stop immediately, leading to depression 2.0.

    But the right is too stupid to think that far ahead.

  45. 45
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president “41,” will be remembered as our last “legitimate” president.

    The funny thing is Obama appears to be about slightly to the right of George H.W. Bush, politically. And yet, even that is too far left for these loonies on the right.

  46. 46
    Bootlegger says:

    @JGabriel: But I’ve always wondered where they keep the fascist mold. Or is the fascist mold that shit growing in my shower?

  47. 47
    Laura the Lurker says:

    I think most of you guys are totally misreading that column. He is not saying Obama (or Clinton) is not a legitimate president. He is saying that the sort of rhetoric that seeks to paint a president as illegitimate is bad, and needs to stop. Can you possibly say you disagree with that, or that he’s not right to say it? I know I can’t.

    He also points out that Obama detractors are taking it to a new level–and again, I think this is true. Also, that this talk is not only coming from a small fringe, but also from strong voices in the conservative movement–again, true, even if Lou Dobbs wasn’t the best example.

    Yes, he indulges in a bit of false equivalence right there in the quoted section, about how some Bush opponents saw him as illegitimate because of the election problems. I do think it is false equivalence–conservatives seem to see Democratic presidents as illegitimate simply by virtue of being Democratic, without requiring any election problems or anything else to justify it. But other than that one sentence, I agree with just about everything he has to say here. Are you sure you don’t?

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    George W. Bush was elected under a cloud because of the Florida voting mess, and his critics on the left never let him forget it.

    No, George W. Bush was selected because conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court halted the lawful election process in Florida. I’d say the mess happened in D.C.

  50. 50
    yet another jeff says:

    I think that in 6 months, Obama’s legitimacy should turn the corner.

  51. 51
    Qbert says:

    “The bogus Whitewater scandal”, as Friedman called it, originated with and was flogged by his newspaper, specifically Jeff Gerth, later of Wen Ho Lee infamy. Or has that now been relegated to the memory hole?

  52. 52
    AnotherBruce says:

    I’m not getting this John, I read the whole article and Friedman is not defending the deligitimization of Obama, he’s bemoaning it. It’s clear from his comparison of what happened to Rabin he thinks it’s very dangerous.

  53. 53
    jibeaux says:

    @JGabriel:

    If he doesn’t have bizarre rants interrupted by observations of squirrels or women he sees in Chinese restaurants, honestly I don’t see the point.

  54. 54
    Bootlegger says:

    @4tehlulz: And a lame blogwhore to boot. A gliberterian who hates Obama. Yawn.

  55. 55
    Bootlegger says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: Ohhhh, that mold. Yeah, it only appears on the right hand side of my shower.

  56. 56
    ellaesther says:

    @Laura the Lurker: At the risk of doing That Which Should Not Be Done, I will say only:

    This.

    Because you’re absolutely right.

  57. 57
    Shinobi says:

    @ellaesther: Seconded, on further reading.

  58. 58
    jibeaux says:

    @Laura the Lurker:

    Yeah, I think you’re right and your interpretation is correct, although I think there’s a bit of false equivalency going on with the comparisons to Bush 43 and Clinton. The denials of Obama’s legitimacy were immediate and actually preceded his election, and are completely and utterly irrational and indefensible. So I’m not really sure how much they have in common with those men, it seems to me to stand on its own as its own peculiar brand of crazy, but I also believe that a good quarter of the American population is probably clinically insane and has been that way for a while.

    I didn’t ever consider Bush 43 an illegitimate president even though the SCOTUS wrote a horrible decision, because that’s the Constitutional process. There’s no appeal from a SCOTUS decision. He’s the president unless he’s impeached and removed, and obviously we didn’t impeach and remove him. Pretty much all the liberals I knew felt the same way.

  59. 59
    jibeaux says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    Someone has obviously not taken their time with an argument that has never been made in such detail, or with such care. If you had, you would see that this is, indeed, central to his point.

  60. 60
    bayville says:

    Welcome to the Tom Friedman school of writing:

    “How to make millions mixing metaphors, apples and oranges.”

  61. 61

    @Laura the Lurker: This.
    @ellaesther: This.

    Hating on the M.o.U. is almost reflexive (and with good cause!) so it doesn’t suprise me a bit of reading comprehension fail occurred. I not just a matter of his false equivalence, its his general tone that grates on my last nerve.

  62. 62
    ellaesther says:

    @jibeaux: I think that there’s something valuable in seeing a general trend, even if the examples of the trend aren’t really equivalent — the trend is to doubt the legitimacy of the President of the United States, each for his own reason.

    I will say, however, that I’m not sure that this is a new thing. There were plenty of people who thought that Lincoln, for instance, wasn’t a “legitimate” President, and JFK came in for a lot of questioning as well. This makes me wonder if there are more such examples, and this kind of anger and doubting is a regular part of the process — and, like most people, we are only looking at the time period in which we have lived and thus know the most about.

  63. 63
    Chad N Freude says:

    Slightly OT but sort of relevant: Fiscally conservative health care.
    Be sure to read the three short paragraphs below the video.

  64. 64
    ericblair says:

    I didn’t ever consider Bush 43 an illegitimate president even though the SCOTUS wrote a horrible decision, because that’s the Constitutional process. There’s no appeal from a SCOTUS decision. He’s the president unless he’s impeached and removed, and obviously we didn’t impeach and remove him. Pretty much all the liberals I knew felt the same way.

    Well, Congress could have refused the electors from Florida. Which, of course, they didn’t, because every safeguard that was supposed to stop crap like this failed because the decisionmakers feared would have made the right wing go absolutely riot-in-the-streets apeshit and make the country ungovernable. We’ve been held hostage by the crazies for a lot longer than we want to admit.

    I think that the Republican party is in a death spiral, where every setback makes its leaders purge its ranks and concentrate the crazy even further, but I really doubt we’re going to get through four years without another OKC.

  65. 65
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Chad N Freude: Ooops. Wrong thread. Sorry.

  66. 66
    jibeaux says:

    @ellaesther:

    Yeah, you’re probably right. I just heard something the other day about how dramatically unpopular JFK was in Dallas, to the point where he was encouraged not to go, and how some schoolchildren cheered when they learned he’d been shot. There’s nothing new under the sun, as they say.

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    @ellaesther:

    There were plenty of people who thought that Lincoln, for instance, wasn’t a “legitimate” President, and JFK came in for a lot of questioning as well. This makes me wonder if there are more such examples…

    FDR, especially for his third and fourth term, Ford (to a smaller extent). maybe Grover Cleveland. No doubt there are earlier examples as well; 19th C. journalism was a frequently rambunctious exercise.

    .

  68. 68
    jibeaux says:

    @ericblair:

    Yes, but they’d be in violation of a Supreme Court decision. That’s not how it works. If the Supreme Court gets it wrong, you have to change the law, change the Constitution, or settle for changing the Court as that process happens. But you don’t get to trump them, I’m sorry.

  69. 69
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Scott:

    Documentation required, of course. But it would be worth shelling out for pie delivery and booze money.

    Every now and again the US public has to pick up a crappy little pundit and throw them against a wall just to prove we are serious.

  70. 70
    zzyzx says:

    @JGabriel: Don’t forget Hayes. The 1876 election fascinates me, in part because I had never heard about this until I read an alternate history story about it.

  71. 71
    Scott says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Just one? I like to think we live in a nation that could pick up all our crappy little pundits and throw them against a wall.

  72. 72
    zzyzx says:

    …and as for Gore, newspapers did the recount and he still would have lost if the Court had ruled differently. Gore made a tactical error of only wanting recounts of his best counties. If he had asked for a recount of the whole state, it would have looked better and only then would he had had enough votes…

    …and he would be referred to as illegitimate from the right by winning that way.

  73. 73
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @ellaesther:

    I will say, however, that I’m not sure that this is a new thing. There were plenty of people who thought that Lincoln, for instance, wasn’t a “legitimate” President, and JFK came in for a lot of questioning as well. This makes me wonder if there are more such examples, and this kind of anger and doubting is a regular part of the process—and, like most people, we are only looking at the time period in which we have lived and thus know the most about.

    This is something that most Americans are not aware of because for obvious reasons it isn’t taught in school, but if you look carefully at US political history it becomes pretty clear that the US has never really been a unified nation, that we are riven by ancient and intractable cultural divides which in most parts of the world would lead to something more akin to Lebannon or Yugoslavia or India/Pakistan, and in most decades US politics has been the continuation of civil war by other less violent means. But we use ballots as if they were bullets and with similar intent. We are only really united as loyal citizens of the same nation when facing an external threat that is greater than our collective fear and loathing of the internal “other”. Right now that isn’t the case, and it really hasn’t been the case since the fall of the Soviet Union, except for a brief period after 911 which quickly passed.

  74. 74
    Da Bomb says:

    @Laura the Lurker: I agree with you wholeheartedly Laura. That’s not how I read that either.

  75. 75
    native Son says:

    Cat lady, do you have real claws or are you just a puss? I was determined to be civil today, but your kind of rhetoric is what brings out the worst in everyone. No one needs to stick something in your mouth. Your words are so ridiulous they choke on themselves and take you down in the process.

  76. 76
    Ash Can says:

    @Kevin @ The Liberty Handbook: Oh, come on, you piker. Why choose one or the other? Call him a Nazi; that way you can get both soshalism and fascism for the price of one, along with all kinds of bonus mental baggage. Go on, live a little.

  77. 77
    Bootlegger says:

    @ellaesther: The entire South thought Grant was an illegitimate president because he was a war criminal.

  78. 78
    Bootlegger says:

    @zzyzx: I love alternative history, care to share the title?

  79. 79
    Bootlegger says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well of course, its called pluralism and its damned messy. Though a damned sight better than the Yugo method.

  80. 80
    celticdragon says:

    Meh. Poorly worded, but he puts legitimate in quotes, and if you read the whole column the point he’s making is one I’m glad he’s bringing up.

    I agree. The insanity of national discourse is what he is pointing out, so I can’t really jump on Friedman for this. It’s a legitimate point.

    As far as the military coup wacko speculation from Newsmax…I guess we can see what some of the wingnuts are hoping for:

    Godly military rule that will finally put teh geyzz and colored people back in their places while nuking Iran into a glowing parking lot.

    Lovely. They “love” America, but they hate 60% of the people who live here and democracy is only okay if they win.

  81. 81
    JGabriel says:

    Ash Can:

    Oh, come on, you piker.

    Looks like Kevin didn’t want to stick around and play. Nothing but a little blogwhore tease.

    .

  82. 82
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Laura the Lurker:
    Agreed here also, that you have the correct interpretation of Friedman’s intent; an intent he could have communicated more clearly if he had been able to avoid throwing in reflexive Villager false equivalence.

    OT, but is anybody else watching the Ken Burns series on the National Parks, and coming away with the impression that at least some of the filthy rich 100 years ago were a lot more patriotic and supportive of the idea of democracy and the general welfare, than are the crop we have now?

  83. 83
    zzyzx says:

    @Bootlegger: It was in a book called Alternate Presidents. The 1968 and 1972 stories were also really good, along with a really weird one in the 19th century where a fringe candidate won.

  84. 84
    Laura the Lurker says:

    Heh. You know, I was actually afraid I’d get jumped on there for going against the tide. Shows how much I know.

    Interesting comments about how long-standing the political divide is. Not for the first time, I wish I knew more about political history. I guess I should start reading.

    I don’t know how worried to be about all this stuff. The rhetoric about Obama seems different to me. It’s just an increase in intensity, but it seems like enough of an increase to actually make a qualitative difference. Some things, like the article yesterday(?) with the guy talking about a military “intervention”, scare me. (True to my name, I didn’t comment to say so, but it did.) But maybe it’s par for the course, and I should relax.

    Or maybe I should arm myself. I just don’t know.

  85. 85
    Stan says:

    Lou Dobbs is not fringe because he is on CNN. Evidently.

  86. 86
    JGabriel says:

    Laura the Lurker:

    Or maybe I should arm myself. I just don’t know.

    Arm yourself with knowledge. True, that’s not very useful when wingers let fly with the actual bullets, but that only happens a couple times, 2-3, maybe 4 -6, times a month, and … uh, this isn’t really very reassuring, is it?

    .

  87. 87
    Comrade Dread says:

    Now, it might be because I was living in Fox News land at the time, but somehow I missed the part during the Bush administration where liberals were suggesting or rooting for a military coup to unconstitutionally seize power.

    I mean, sure, I suppose they said a lot of nasty things about Bush, but that’s par for the course in politics. But as I mostly recall, the DFHs spent most of their time preparing for the next election by doing a lot of grass roots canvasing and trying to get ‘good’ Democrats selected to run for office.

    There’s a lesson somewhere in there and it’s this: when real patriots lose, they don’t wait for the start of the next match, they flip the game board over and threaten to stab you in the eye with a Pawn and shove a Rook up your butt.

  88. 88
    JGabriel says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    OT, but is anybody else watching the Ken Burns series on the National Parks, and coming away with the impression that at least some of the filthy rich 100 years ago were a lot more patriotic and supportive of the idea of democracy and the general welfare, than are the crop we have now?

    Maybe a little bit, not much. We have our filthy rich philanthropists too. They aren’t the majority, but they weren’t the majority then, either.

    .

  89. 89
    Xenos says:

    @Kevin @ The Liberty Handbook:

    If you research fascism, you’ll note that he fits the mold perfectly.

    You know, Kevin dear, I don’t need to research fascism. Because I already know what fascism is, and I have known for 25 years what exactly fascism is and is not. And how is that the case? It is because I HAVE A FUCKING EDUCATION, YOU FUCKING IGNORAMUS!

    Sorry for yelling, but that seems to be the only appropriate response to some people.

  90. 90
    Ash Can says:

    @JGabriel: And I’m sure I’m missing a lot by not visiting his blog.

  91. 91
    RobertB says:

    I’ll jump on the LauraTheLurker bandwagon; For once I think Friedman has a point. Compared to some of the crap that gets linked to here (and I don’t see how our gracious hosts can stand to read most of that nonsense), this is actually pretty good.

  92. 92
    JGabriel says:

    Comrade Dread:

    … when real patriots lose, they don’t wait for the start of the next match, they flip the game board over and threaten to stab you in the eye with a PawnPick-up Stick and shove a Rook Checker up your butt.

    Real Patriots don’t play fancy French/Russian/Commie games like Chess.

    .

  93. 93
    CalD says:

    “…And these attacks are not just coming from the fringe. Now they come from Lou Dobbs on CNN and from members of the House of Representatives.”

    There seems to be a rather large assumption being implied here. In what way does that last sentence support the one before?

  94. 94
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: The best way I heard it described was by Princeton Professor Reinhardt: Americans are a people that have a geography in common.

  95. 95
    ellaesther says:

    @Laura the Lurker: It seems different to me, too, and it really scares me — as I have gone on and on about here and at my own place, so I won’t go on and on about it again! But it scares the ever-loving shit out of me. (In no small part because the hate has the kind of intensity that surrounded Kennedy, intensified up by sheer unadulterated racism, and compounded by the volume achievable in the internet era). (But I’m not going to go on about it now!)

    Also: I have found that every time that I’ve said something contrary to what I’ve perceived to be shared wisdom here on the BJ, people jump in to say “Why yes, that’s what I was thinking, too!” Never be shy — though I do respect your right to lurk!

  96. 96
    wasabi gasp says:

    Shorter Friedman: owie, the world been dun flattened.

  97. 97
    ellaesther says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well, in all honesty, this is why democracy is such a great idea.

    The idea of a “unified” “people,” anywhere, anytime, is kind of ludicrous, not least in a country as diverse as ours. The fact that we haven’t devolved into anarchy is a sign of the strength of our institutions — and while I will be among the first to decry this failure or that betrayal of our values, the bottom line is that on an every.single.day basis, our founding documents and the institutions they created serve to keep us functioning, together. Together, even if not unified.

    (As a Jew, I tend to tell people that we haven’t been unified since the Golden Calf, and people should really stop looking for it!)

  98. 98
    slag says:

    I do wish we’d stop giving crazies television shows and newspaper columns. For reasons beyond my understanding, people have some vague notion that if you’re seen on the teevee or in print, you must actually know something. No matter how many times that’s proven to be untrue, people keep believing it. Right along side the longstanding myth that CEOs are the smartest guys in the room and that dogs are smarter than cats just because they can rollover on command.

  99. 99
    liberal says:

    @Qbert:

    …later of Wen Ho Lee infamy.

    Yeah, J.G. is a real scumbag.

  100. 100
    Xenos says:

    @zzyzx:

    Gore made a tactical error of only wanting recounts of his best counties. If he had asked for a recount of the whole state, it would have looked better and only then would he had had enough votes…

    The Florida election law stated that when requesting a recount a candidate had to specify the counties where he wanted a recount. Then after a certain number of days, his or her opponent had to specify any counties where they wanted a recount. Then both sides were barred from bringing any future counties into the recount.

    It was a sensible law, in that it preserved resources by making candidates pick their battles, and they would then be unable to expand the fight. In concordance with the law, Gore demanded a recount in the counties where he thought it appropriate. Then Bush, instead of picking his own counties, or demanding the whole state undergo a recount (which he had the power to do), challenged Gore’s recount demand based on a truly ridiculous equal protection claim on the grounds that Gore did not demand a state-wide recount.

    Lo and behold, weeks lated, that crazy back-asswards equal protection claim prevailed in a supreme court case that was to be somehow declared to be invalid for precedent in future cases. In short, the fix was in from day one – Scalia set the whole damn thing up and put it into play. The bastard really ought to be impeached.

  101. 101
    J. A. Baker says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    How many Friedman Units does Obama have to possess to achieve ligitimacy?

    None. Which just happens to be precisely the length of the “honeymoon” he had with conservatives and the media(but I repeat myself).

  102. 102
    sparky says:

    i am no friedman fan either but i do think he is saying “hey, wait a minute”, and to the extent the village starts to do that, it may have some utility. in other words, what i think he was trying to say was that people in positions of power and authority cannot talk loosely about legitimacy of political leaders because it makes political violence much more likely. so it’s a “stop” of sorts but the message is obscured by the need for anecdote and false equivalency. fsm forbid anyone come out and say STFU.

  103. 103
    Fleem says:

    False equivalence belongs in the lexicon.

  104. 104
    Ed in NJ says:

    Wow, just wow.

    I read this column this morning and thought to myself, “finally, someone writing what I am thinking”.

    I jump over here, see it referenced, and then have to wade through 75 comments by people either too eager to jump on Friedman without reading the column, or too stupid to understand it. It took a lurker to have to come on and stop the embarassment.

    It’s a shame, but some of the regulars here are getting a bit full of themselves, and the hangers-on are falling into the worst possible kind of groupthink.

  105. 105
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    So if there is a general consensus here that Friedman is trying to say “whoa, there!”, what is the larger significance of this?

    Is this a tipping point of sorts? Has it finally percolated into the tiny bipartisan brains of the Villagers that whipping up the emotinal climate of the early spring of 1861, or say October 1963, is not going be good for business? That some spectacles, as much as they make for good TV, might have a bad impact on their investment portfolios? Are they in their own inept and brainless way trying to stand athwart history, yelling “Hey there! What are you doing cooking meth in my kitchen?“.

  106. 106
    John Cole says:

    @Ed in NJ: Kinda why we have open comments, boss man.

  107. 107
    ellaesther says:

    @Ed in NJ: Hey hey hey! There are all kinds of polite ways to take issue — ref. Laura the Lurker! People can disagree reasonably, and in fact, it’s my experience that when one disagrees reasonably on this site, one winds up having a very fruitful conversation.

  108. 108
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Ed in NJ:

    It’s a shame, but some of the regulars here are getting a bit full of themselves, and the hangers-on are falling into the worst possible kind of groupthink.

    I think you must have skimmed over comments #34, #35 and #41 in your haste. Points to Laura the Lurker at #47 for putting it more clearly, but this thread is not exactly the best example I can think of the groupthink you find so troubling. Also keep in mind that due to time zone differences many regular commentors here who are not in the eastern part of the US scarcely have a chance to read the top level post, much less comment on it, until the thread count is already at 50 and growing. Try being a little less hasty next time.

  109. 109
    Morbo says:

    @Ed in NJ: To be fair, it was a decent column by Friedman standards. He wasn’t advocating bombing or occupying a foreign country, and he didn’t shoehorn in any plugs for his books. My only complaints with it are the usual “both sides do it” false equivalence and the obligatory “fuck you” to the bloggers.

  110. 110

    […] unit via John Cole: Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president “41,” will be remembered as our last […]

  111. 111
    TenguPhule says:

    Shorter Friedman: Oh Geez, the wingnuts I have sucked right tit for are getting into shit so out there that I myself might be in danger of actually getting in serious trouble now. Better break out the mustache of understanding and sing kumbaya!

    Also.

  112. 112
    Svensker says:

    @Ed in NJ:

    some of the regulars here are getting a bit full of themselves, and the hangers-on are falling into the worst possible kind of groupthink.

    And some of us regular hangers-on are full of ourselves while enjoying the worst kind of groupthink. Oh, woe, what to do, what to do?

  113. 113
    TenguPhule says:

    The insanity of national discourse is what he is pointing out, so I can’t really jump on Friedman for this. It’s a legitimate point.

    He just has zero credibility after contributing so much to the problem.

  114. 114
    satby says:

    @TenguPhule:
    And that’s it in a nutshell. Or did I miss all the columns Friedman wrote decrying the hounding of Clinton when it was happening?

  115. 115
    Seanly says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Epic win.

    Friedman’s take makes no fuggin’ sense. Whether I like the results of the elections or not, Clinton, Bush & now Obama are all legitimate presidents. I might be crazy, but I do believe the U.S. House of Representatives certified the election results for those 3 presidents. Clinton was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Sentate. Also.

  116. 116
    Catsy says:

    I’m no fan of the Moustache, but count me in the group of people who read the linked column, even the quoted bits, and thought, “I don’t see what you’re complaining about”.

    It helps if you read the scare quotes around “legitimate” as if they prepended the words “so-called”. Friedman is clearly bemoaning the practice of attacking the very legitimacy of the office of the President. He manages to draw false equivalences in the process, but note that while he describes the attacks on Clinton and Obama as “bogus” and coming from the “right fringe”, the questions about Bush’s legitimacy are ascribed to his “critics”. This is as it should be–the infamous SCOTUS decision that appointed him president was roundly criticized by more than just the left on strong legal footing, while the attacks on Clinton and Obama have been largely fabricated nonsense.

    So in short, I really don’t get the outrage, and John really ought to update his post, which at the moment is very misleading to the reader.

  117. 117
    binzinerator says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I really really do hate the republican party and most of their current members. In fact nearly all, because how can you claim to be a decent human American citizen and still belong to such a mean spirited, seditious organization.

    Fuck the whole rancid lot of them, they are the traitors, the Un-American haters of this country and it’s founders vision.

    That was the conclusion I came by the end of 2004.

    As I’ve said before, the real terrorists were in the Bush White House. The real destroyers to the underpinnings of this nation are republicans. This is because at their core Conservatives do not like real democracy.

    “Banana Republican” was a term floating around the intertubes a while ago, but it’s actually pretty damn close to the truth.

    It doesn’t matter how broken government becomes, or how dysfunctional society becomes or how badly average americans have it — as long as they can rule over it.

    And if they can’t, they see an advantage to destroying it. Better to have a chance at becoming the President of the New Confederate States than to have to play by the rules of this particular democracy, whose underlying premises they never really liked anyways.

    They really don’t like the part in that vision where it states all are created equal. Because everything that necessarily must follow from that if this nation is to be true to that vision — social and political emancipation of all groups — they are dead set against.

    What is it, exactly, conservatives are trying to conserve?

    It is an old kind of political and social system conservatives long for, one that is antithetical to democracy.

    These people can’t handle reality. They can’t even handle self-knowledge.

    No wonder they project so much. They are always pasting whatever demon is in their heads out onto someone else’s back.

    I suppose that means they must really hate themselves deep down. That’s OK. Because now I hate them too. Utterly despise them. At long last these dirtbags and I agree on something.

  118. 118
    Rick Taylor says:

    @Zifnab

    Well yeah, of course. The point isn’t that a coup is likely, the point is that there are right wingers nutty enough to take it seriously as a hypothetical. Actually in this case Newsmax is frantically moving to disassociate themselves from the fellow who wrote the article; it’s a tiny bit of a relief to see there are some things so nutty even they don’t want to be associated with them.

  119. 119
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I gotta side with the “he’s not saying, he’s just explaining” group. I skimmed the article, and he really is decrying the lunacy that exists (even if he makes the mistake of calling Lou Dobbs legit). He’s not saying Obama is not legit because the fringe is saying it–he’s saying that the discourse in our society has become so poisonous (and yes, he’s guilty of this, too) that no president will ever be considered legit by his/her detractors in the future. It’s not the best-written column ever, but I reluctantly have to defend Mustachio on this one.

  120. 120
    Wag says:

    So in short, I really don’t get the outrage, and John really ought to update his post, which at the moment is very misleading to the reader

    Second!

    john-please re-read the column and quit cherry picking quotes to support your pre-conceived biases. I don’t agree with TF very often, but today’s column is thoughtful. I would make an analogy to a Lambic beer. I prefer my Lambic without fruit, but if I drink a Kriek, I can appreciate the underlying beer without bitching about how much cherry there is in it. I drink a Kriek to get a different view of beer, and I can appreciate a well made Kriek, even if it’s not my usual cup of tea (glass of beer?). I can also appreciate occasional quaffs of TF, too.

  121. 121
    Wag says:

    all this talk of coups and bound naked cencus taker in the past few days makes me want to drink. Can we have a beer post soon?

  122. 122
    John Cole says:

    @Wag: I read the entire column once, and that was enough. In general, I do agree with him about the tone of national discourse and how crazy the right has become, but the part I selected still gave me chest pains. As many of you have pointed out, it was Friedman’s very paper (see the Daily Howler today on this) that pushed the Whitewater shit, but beyond that, the portion I quoted was one big false equivalency. Clinton and Obama handily won their elections, while Bush’s was razor thin in 2000. Yet he claims they are all perceived as “illegitimate.” There was reason for some to think the Bush 2000 win (not 2004) was illegitimate. None whatsoever for the Obama win or the Clinton wins. They are only “illegitimate” because the lunatics think any election won by a (d) is “illegitimate.”

  123. 123
    Wag says:

    perceived as “illegitimate.”

    The key word is perceived. Perception does not equate with truth. I think that TF is well aware of this distinction, and he in no way condones the people who are currently bashing Obama, nor did he condone those who bashed Clinton. He cannot answer for the sins of his paper in the Whitewater fiasco.

    If you’re ever in Denver, drop me an e-mail. I’ll go out with you and show you why Colorado (with over 100 breweries) is the Bordeaux of beer.

  124. 124
    Spot says:

    Tom Friedman: better than syrup of ipecac.

  125. 125
    Cat Lady says:

    @Spot:

    This. :- )

  126. 126
    Jill says:

    Thanks for this, John. I send a letter to the editor at NYT today over this kind of equivocation.

  127. 127
    Charity says:

    @Laura the Lurker: Yep, that’s how I read it. Even a broken mustache is right twice a day.

  128. 128

    @JGabriel:

    Do you want to refute the statement?

  129. 129

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    That’s a blatant misclassification by intellectually dishonest partisans.

  130. 130

    @Xenos:

    You know, Kevin dear, I don’t need to research fascism. Because I already know what fascism is, and I have known for 25 years what exactly fascism is and is not. And how is that the case? It is because I HAVE A FUCKING EDUCATION, YOU FUCKING IGNORAMUS!

    Sorry for yelling, but that seems to be the only appropriate response to some people.

    Well that was intelligent. I can see you got your money’s worth.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] unit via John Cole: Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president “41,” will be remembered as our last […]

Comments are closed.