How We Stomach Elitism

Sully notes that Laura Bush was “the most decent person in the White House for eight long years” and proffers this quote as evidence:

In 2004 the social question that animated the campaign was gay marriage. Before the election season had unfolded, I had talked to George about not making gay marriage a significant issue. We have, I reminded him, a number of close friends who are gay or whose children are gay. But at that moment I could never have imagined what path this issue would take and where it would lead.

I agree, she was decent. By all accounts, her husband was decent, too, and both treated all the gays they knew well. So fucking what? Tell it to the millions of gays who don’t happen to be “close friends” of the Bush family –the people who bore the brunt of the retrograde policies Bush used to ride to election. And, while you’re at it, be sure to send it in a letter to John McCain’s adopted daughter.

I don’t mean to pick on Sullivan, who probably just meant this as nothing more than to compliment to a decent lady. But there are plenty of members of the journalistic elite who justify their shitty journalism by saying that some monster is actually decent “in person”.

One of the things I really appreciate about Glenn Greenwald is that he’s one of the few top-flite bloggers who doesn’t care if someone’s “decent” or “nice” in person. I mean that as high praise, and would like to see more of it. If we replaced the DC press corps with a bunch of misanthropes who want to spit every time the President’s name is mentioned, we’d be a hell of a lot better off than we are with the current bunch of fawning, preening wanna-be elitists.

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170 replies
  1. 1
    Gregory says:

    If we replaced the DC press corps with a bunch of misanthropes who want to spit every time the President’s name is mentioned, we’d be a hell of a lot better off than we are with the current bunch of fawning, preening wanna-be elitists.

    Hunter S. Thompson, we hardly knew ye.

  2. 2
    TR says:

    Some of My Best Friends are Gay™

  3. 3
    psychobroad says:

    Call me difficult, but in my book being “decent” is not synonymous with “not being horrible”. To me decent is proactive–it involves doing good, not just refraining, in the most convenient way possible, from doing evil.
    Laura Bush is not decent.

  4. 4
    mellowjohn says:

    so laura was the most decent person in the bush white house?
    ever hear the expression “damnig with faint praise”?
    btw, i originally typed “bush shite house!”

  5. 5
    Cat Lady says:

    Typical right wing approach to everything – if it doesn’t impact me or my close friends and family directly, then it’s not a problem so fuck you.

  6. 6
    kid bitzer says:

    “And, while you’re at it, be sure to send it in a letter to John McCain’s adopted daughter.”

    and lynn and dick cheney’s biological daughter.

    yeah, i saw a press interview from south africa about a week ago, where the interviewer just kept doggedly, almost belligerently, questioning the politician about facts.

    http://i.imgur.com/yDk8C.jpg

    got that via balko via sully himself.

    it was a thing of beauty. you would never see it here in the states. and why the f not?

    to my mind, every journalist ought to think of him or herself as a prosecuting attorney, questioning a witness. keep to a line of questions, don’t accept irrelevancies, press until you get a definite answer.

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I was just reading about Newt Gingrich’s comments that Obama is the “most radical” president we’ve ever had, and it reminded of Al Hunt saying about a year ago that he was disappointed in Newtie and Karl Rove, because they engaging in cheap demagoguery when he had expected them to be among the more thoughtful Republican voices under Obama. Hunt should ask Max Cleland about Rove’s thoughtful voice. As for Gingrich, Gary Trudeau helpfully reminded anyone paying attention last Sunday, Newtie is, even more than Rove or Rush, the Godfather of contemporary gutter politics, but I’m sure Al and Judy know him socially, and he’s “not really like that.”

  8. 8
    Decadant Coastal Fifth Columnist says:

    Sully gives self-absorbed, finger-in-the-wind, just-doesn’t-get-it wankers a bad name. Wanker. He has this much talent [holds thumb and index finger close together].

  9. 9
    ed says:

    Typical right wing approach to everything – if it doesn’t impact me or my close friends and family directly, then it’s not a problem so fuck you.

    Yes. This is a key difference between Right and Left. Important to remember.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    Yeah. In a just world, there’d be a shoot on sight order on Bill Kristol if he ever tried to cross the Beltway, but apparently since he’s a good dinner guest and nice conversationalist, the minor issue of him being a continuous cheerleader for catastrophic wars never seems to come up.

    dms

  11. 11
    grandpajohn says:

    also remember the old addage ” The road to hell is paved with good intentions, to which we might add ” held by decent people”

  12. 12
    JasonF says:

    News flash for Sully: Most people are nice to their friends. It’s kind of implicit in the nature of friendship.

  13. 13
    Osprey says:

    You know who else was a decent person when not barbecuing Jews and invading other countries?

    Hitler.

    As for Laura…she just strikes me as somebody with the I.Q. of a toaster.

  14. 14
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @psychobroad: I agree. Otherwise, we are really setting the bar exceedingly low.

    @Cat Lady: So true. It’s one of my problems with Sully himself. If it can’t happen to him or his, then it doesn’t register. Same with Nancy Reagan and stem cell research or Limbaugh himself after he got caught out as a druggie.

  15. 15
    gnomedad says:

    Somewhat OT, via @jayrosen_nyu: Meet the Facts.

  16. 16
    El Cid says:

    And hey, Frank Luntz is a GREAT guest to have on lots of liberal TV shows because he’s such a great, nice guy in person! And also Uncle Pat!

  17. 17
    LarsThorwald says:

    The thing that drives me absolutely nuts with regard to Greenwald is more often than not he tends to be right. Goddammit.

  18. 18
    r€nato says:

    “Hey gay people, it’s nothing personal; just politics.”

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Bob says:

    And, while you’re at it, be sure to send it in a letter to John McCain’s adopted daughter.

    Fixed.

    Our kids, who were adopted, are just our kids. Having been adopted does not make them lesser, so they should not be described any differently.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    rob! says:

    A couple weeks ago, I finished the book The President’s Secret Service by Donald Kessler, and it goes through how each president treated the members of the Secret Service.

    Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush were, generally, very kind to the service, in varying degrees. Johnson, Clinton, and Carter were, most of the time, total dicks. There’s enough stories in the book–with attributions from former Secret Service staffers–that I tended to believe what I read.

    Maybe that’s why Washington press corps is so enamored of Republicans? Republicans may, on a one-to-one basis, be kinder and friendlier, and that’s all the village cares about. Who cares if Dick Cheney used his office to demonize gays, he’s nice to Mike Allen?

    (Thankfully, the tail end of the book says the Obamas are VERY nice to the Secret Service, seemingly breaking the mold)

  23. 23
    slippy says:

    For evil to succeed, it is merely required for decent people to sit there and do nothing.

    Or, something to that effect. Laura Bush’s non-participation in the ravening evil racism and bigotry of her husband’s political movement don’t make her a decent person. All that it means is that she kept her mouth shut and any vile opinions she may or may not have had to herself while an incredible amount of hatred was spewed out of the man standing RIGHT NEXT TO HER at near-infinite pressure. And she DID NOTHING TO STOP IT.

    As usual. As usual. AS USUAL, Sullivan is a god-damned imbecile.

  24. 24
    cay says:

    If Laura had said anything about a woman’s right to choose, sully would have shot her down as some kind of monster.

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    fame throwa pass out the gold,
    the diamond watch the last reward,
    all the things we had before
    you sold us out and took it all
    head-borne cries from zenith sluts
    astral rites from dead-end ruts
    these ends are sickened wars

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob: In this case, the use of the word “adopted” was to identify the particular McCain daughter, the one who was the subject of scurrilous rumors.

  27. 27
    slippy says:

    Upon closer examination, it seems that Laura Bush is a pearl-clutching whiner who thinks her lying sack of shit husband was treated unfairly for lying constantly about everything all 8 years of his term, getting thousands of Americans killed, destroying our nation’s economy with his incompetent policies, and allowing his wealthy asshole buddies to steal our future.

    So, I’ve downgraded her to spoiled rotten bitch.

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    Some years ago I knew a DC reporter who was following Buchanan’s ‘pitchfork’ campaign. He treated it as a big joke– Old Pat would wink at the reporters, and everything would be OK. Well, Old Pat is not a decent person. And this is the case, even though he lives in Chevy Chase and owns a cat.

  29. 29
    Glenn Beck's Chalkboard says:

    Bob wrote:

    Our kids, who were adopted, are just our kids. Having been adopted does not make them lesser, so they should not be described any differently.

    You miss the point mistermix was making. In the 2000 primary campaign, in South Carolina, Karl Rove (working for Bush) cooked up a whisper campaign that John McCain had an illegitimate, mixed-race daughter. That was, presumably, spinning off the fact that the McCains had adopted a dark-skinned child from Bangladesh, named Bridget. She would have been around ten years old at the time of this particular smear. Making reference here to McCain’s “adopted” daughter was relevant to distinguish her from his older daughter, Meghan, because this odious smear was explicitly about the younger child.

    I understand (and agree with) your position that there should be no distinction between natural and adopted children, but in this specific case that fact that Bridget McCain is not John McCain’s biological child is central to understanding mistermix’s point.

  30. 30
    Randy P says:

    I mostly got through the Dark Years of 2001-2008 without paying much attention to Laura Bush, so I have very few impressions. One of those few is what I consider a telling incident about a lie.

    At some small group or other, she says she’s going to read a love poem that George wrote to her, and she does so. Much later, somebody discovers that George did not write that, and she knew it, and she knew that was a false statement when she made it. It was a lie. A pointless one. It served no purpose whatsoever at that function.

    Somewhere I heard the definition of a pathological liar as someone who will do that kind of thing, lie about even small meaningless things for the sheer purpose of lying. So that’s my impression of Laura Bush: a pathological liar, almost clinically so. And that’s pretty much my impression of George W, too.

    Edit: Ah, I love Google. Here’s the poem on a page that breathlessly repeats the “George wrote it” story.
    http://politicalhumor.about.co.....shpoem.htm

    And here’s the actual story:
    http://www.democraticundergrou.....15;2070702

  31. 31
    jackie says:

    s I think she enjoyed all the nice things than came from being a Bush, I think she was amazingly good at not seeing anything she didn’t want to see. When George turned to her and said’ Oh honey, this is just politics and no one really believes this stuff.” She said “Oh OK. I won’t worry about it then. ” Half the time she looked drugged to me but that could just be a side effect of selling her soul.

  32. 32
    Jim C. says:

    I agree completely.

    I don’t care if someone is nice in person. Chances are that, living in Idaho which is not exactly a swing state, I’ll never meet any of these people in person. And, frankly, who cares about an in-person meeting that will last five minutes?

    It is the policy positions that a person takes that matter. It’s the speeches that they give on national television. It is what they DO that matters, not who they ARE.

    To say Laura Bush was “the most decent” person in the Bush White House is the very definition of damning by faint praise.

  33. 33
    El Cid says:

    Apparently I missed the entire previous post. Never mind.

  34. 34
    Kryptik says:

    I don’t care if you act like Mother-fucking-Theresa to those you’re acquainted with, it honestly should have no bearing on how you do your job as a public official or a journalists or what-not. This is one of the things about politics that makes me tear my hair out. Clinton was harassed and bashed for his personal indiscretions but was a pretty good Prez otherwise, aside from the fact that he was a better Prez by Republican standards (you know, if they were consistent) than Democratic standards.

    And Bush….fucking ‘he’s a guy you wanna have a beer with’ crap that was used to justify the fact that he started two unsustainable wars, went to his legal council to rule lawyer up justification for torture while still trying to be ‘legal’, and was much more partisan than the so-called ‘radical’ Obama.

  35. 35
    Jim C says:

    @Cat Lady:
    Typical right wing approach to everything – if it doesn’t impact me or my close friends and family directly, then it’s not a problem so fuck you.

    Why would Laura Bush possibly need a reminder of how to treat people, friends or no? Remind me, Wikipedia:

    In 1963, Laura ran a stop sign resulting in a fatal car accident that killed her friend in another car.

    Sure it’s a cheap shot. But she did it.

  36. 36

    Not to wander onto the patch of another regular commenter here, I’d just like to shout out to I. F. Stone, who disdained the DC village, the better to be able to discern what was actually going on, which he did, for discerning readers of his I.F. Stone’s Weekly for 18 years. (Notably, the Weekly was the unintended consequence of his having been blacklisted.)

    Money quote:

    “I made no claims to inside stuff. I tried to give information which could be documented, so the reader could check it for himself… Reporters tend to be absorbed by the bureaucracies they cover; they take on the habits, attitudes, and even accents of the military or the diplomatic corps. Should a reporter resist the pressure, there are many ways to get rid of him… But a reporter covering the whole capital on his own — particularly if he is his own employer — is immune from these pressures.”

    He was an American hero, and he is one of mine.

  37. 37
    Zifnab says:

    Ah, conservative rehabilitation. This is how it starts. We’re going to nit pick virtue in a den of evil and find all the little ways the Bush Family was really just a bunch of very decent, friendly people (unlike those god damn Clintons).

    Sure, anti-gay marriage bigotry amendments chewed up months of time across the country, as Republicans pandered to the fundamentalist Christians and the raging homophobes on the eve of an economic collapse. But let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about how Laura Bush said a nice thing about one of her gay friends to her husband in the privacy of the White House living room that one time while they were watching Dancing With the Stars.

    What a bunch of rhetorical filth. Does Laura’s book mention how nice Boy George was to his black staffers at the height of the Katrina debacle? Maybe go over her $20 contribution to NPR, while the Bush cronies were trying to defund public television and radio? Perhaps highlight how supportive he was to that one soldier he meet in an army barracks, dismembered in the bloody 7 year war we continue to engage in Iraq or the 9 year war we’ve got going in Afghanistan?

    Filth.

  38. 38
    Yossarian says:

    The problem with the media isn’t that they’re incapable of criticizing authority figures. They are.

    The problem is what they choose to criticize authority figures about. You can shit all over the country, but if you hold up your end of the Palace Intrigue game, the elite DC press corps will never truly turn on you. Conversely, if you’re making people’s lives better in a meaningful way, but express disdain or even indifference to the cocktail party crowd, you’re a monster. See Gibbs, Robert.

  39. 39
    The Moar You Know says:

    Laura Bush is a horrible human being, and has been one from day one. No amount of literary whitewash is going to cover that up.

  40. 40
    The Moar You Know says:

    In 1963, Laura ran a stop sign resulting in a fatal car accident that killed her friend recent ex-boyfriend in another car.

    @Jim C: Edited to reflect the ugly truth. Laura Bush has never been a nice person.

  41. 41
    monkey.dave says:

    But at that moment I could never have imagined what path this issue would take and where it would lead.

    Yes, Nobody Could Have Predicted [tm] that empowering bigots would make them more powerful and demanding.

  42. 42
    Bob says:

    Omnes Omnibus wrote:

    @Bob: In this case, the use of the word “adopted” was to identify the particular McCain daughter, the one who was the subject of scurrilous rumors.

    I would recommend “eldest” or “youngest” daughter, or perhaps “Bridget”.

    Glenn Beck’s Chalkboard wrote:

    You miss the point mistermix was making. In the 2000 primary campaign, in South Carolina, Karl Rove (working for Bush) cooked up a whisper campaign that John McCain had an illegitimate, mixed-race daughter.

    I now understand what you are saying and am familiar with the smear. I thought mastermix was inferring that Bridget McCain might be gay.

  43. 43
    someguy says:

    @ Rob

    Who cares if Dick Cheney used his office to demonize gays, he’s nice to Mike Allen?

    You mean this Dick Cheney?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5817720/

    Hey, I’m all in favor of a lie in service to the truth, but it’s got to be a better lie than that. Cheney is reasonably teh Ghey friendly.

  44. 44
    Dork says:

    By all accounts, her husband was decent, too

    lolwhut?

  45. 45
    Cat Lady says:

    @Jim C:

    But Chappaquidick was worse, because Ted Kennedy ended up having to give up his presidential ambitions and instead work on realizing his lifelong dream of forcing a soshulist health care package down everyone’s throat instead of unquestioningly supporting a torture and warmongering regime for the Murrican people.

    Now watch me this drive.

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Bob: As GBC noted, the fact that Bridget McCain was adopted was only mentioned because it was central to the rumor campaign. I don’t disagree with your sentiments as a general principle, but this appears to one of the occasions where an exception applies.

  47. 47
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix @ top:

    If we replaced the DC press corps with a bunch of misanthropes who want to spit every time the President’s name is mentioned …

    Don’t we already have this in the form of Fox News?

    .

  48. 48
    Karen S. says:

    @Cat Lady:
    This. Again and again. This is the measure of the right wing’s indecency. It cannot see humanity beyond the tip of its nose.

  49. 49
    I have issues with Baltimore says:

    But there are plenty of members of the journalistic elite who justify their shitty journalism by saying that some monster is actually decent “in person”.

    Anybody else read this article on the teen LI hate-crime killer?

  50. 50
    artem1s says:

    Typical right wing approach to everything – if I can pay someone off so it doesn’t impact me or my close friends and family directly, then it’s not a problem so fuck you.

    fixt

  51. 51
    Punchy says:

    Clinton, and Carter were, most of the time, total dicks

    I worked with a guy who was in the Marines and had the duty to guard Clinton at various times (not sure of his exact title), who claimed Clinton was a complete and utter asshole to people around him. This was just prior to MonicaGate, so maybe he knew his world was about to implode.

  52. 52
    Jim C says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    I knew that, but I decided to let Wikipedia tell it their way.

    @Cat Lady:
    “Now watch me drive.” Love it!

  53. 53
    YellowDog says:

    “the most decent person in the White House for eight long years” is, first of all, a low bar to set. But, more to the point, what does it matter? She was not “the decider,” and clearly her admonition to W was not passed on to Rove et al. As first lady, she chose a low-key style and will be remembered for her literacy campaign. Otherwise, who cares? Pat Nixon was a decent person; her husband was still a paranoid, rat-fucking, son-of-a-bitch.

  54. 54
    matoko_chan says:

    my split with conservative “ethos” was Bush lying about science for political gain.
    you can give everything else he ever did plausible denial by saying “he was just trying to do the right thing as he understood it”.
    But not stem cells.
    He knew about mouse-feeder-cell, about Johns Hopkins, about the devolution of the blessed lines, about telomere length and pluripotent cells.
    He fuckin’ lied about SCIENCE so he could continue to scam his low-information (read low-IQ) religious base and cling to power..
    i was still young and naive enough to believe american presidents didnt lie about scientific truths.

    I will hate him forever and I’m going to try to be sure that history acknowledges what he did.

  55. 55
    rob! says:

    @someguy:

    Cheney is reasonably teh Ghey friendly.

    Are you SERIOUSLY going to suggest the Bush Administration–which, if memory serves, Cheney was a pretty big part of–was gay friendly?

    Your link, in my mind, only underlines my point. Personally, Cheney might be a nice guy–nice to gays, etc.–but the policies his administration espoused were disgusting. Guys like Mike Allen only care about the former, not the latter.

  56. 56
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    If we replaced the DC press corps with a bunch of misanthropes who want to spit every time the President’s name is mentioned, we’d be a hell of a lot better off

    I’m sure you had good intentions when you wrote that. Okay, I’m not really sure, I’m just giving you the benefit of the doubt. Aren’t you the ‘friend of DougJ’ who had all those nasty things to say about some retiring member of congress sometime in recent months, before you got this gig? Anyway …

    I’m sure what you meant was that we should replace the DC press corps with people who spit when the the truth is glossed over in favor of deference to an official, or something else that sounded like it might have a place in journalistic ethics. Not just people who spit at the mention of an official’s name, not just a bunch of mindless barking hyenas … otherwise they’d just be bloggers, would they not?

    And … monsters? Is Balloon Juice now officially the place where crass demonization of officials, adversaries, maybe whole states full of people, is now the standard for editorial speech in the medium?

    I’m really not interested in fostering more people who spit when they are chagrined (I can sort of do that myself, if you know what I mean) as much as I would really like a press that puts a premium on facts and truth over things like access, controversy, false “balance,” and the like.

    Just saying.

  57. 57
    Michael says:

    OT – Somebody at Reason talks about the AZ law. Surprise of surprises, they’re just not real sure about what to think about it.

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....gration-la

    Given that even the governor doesn’t know what an illegal immigrant looks like, police may often have trouble articulating a reason for interrogating someone. In that case, the law may be largely irrelevant. If the most obvious grounds for reasonable suspicion are race-based—and thus illegal—cops may elect to do nothing more often than not.

    That may be what some officials would prefer. The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposes the policy. Winslow city administrator Jim Ferguson told The Los Angeles Times, “If we enforce this new law, we are not going to be able to afford to take care of some other pressing law enforcement issues.”

    So the measure could mean that overaggressive cops will put legal Hispanic residents in chronic fear of arrest. Alternatively, police may not do their jobs much differently from before.
    ….
    Maybe the new law is a menace. Or maybe it’s more of a hoax.

    We need a rolling-around-on-the-floor-and-laughing graphic to apply to every glibertarian article that gets posted here. Fuckers. They need to get punched in the neck and tazed by a cop every time they step outdoors. And that includes Radley Balko.

  58. 58
    Paris says:

    I used to think Laura Bush was decent. The quotes and stories coming out from her book make her sound as petty an asshole as her mother in law.

  59. 59
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Cheney is reasonably teh Ghey friendly.

    That’s why the Cheneys acted so put upon when their gay daughter was mentioned in a debate in the 2004 campaign?

    Got it.

  60. 60
    Cris says:

    But there are plenty of members of the journalistic elite who justify their shitty journalism by saying that some monster is actually decent “in person”.

    Not only journalists. This has been my mother’s last defense for voting Republican since at least GHW Bush. “He’s such a nice man.”

  61. 61
    Noonan says:

    I’m calling bullshit on Laura. At that point she’d seen her husband and Rove run two campaigns for governor and a campaign for president. She knew exactly what was going to happen.

  62. 62
    russell says:

    The Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Hannah Arendt, from her discussion of Eichmann in “The Banality Of Evil”:

    Arendt concluded that Eichmann was constitutively incapable of exercising the kind of judgement that would have made his victims’ suffering real or apparent for him. It was not the presence of hatred that enabled Eichmann to perpetrate the genocide, but the absence of the imaginative capacities that would have made the human and moral dimensions of his activities tangible for him.

    Being “nice” is not the same as being morally or ethically good. And when the shit hits the fan, “nice” is not only useless, it’s harmful, because “nice” people don’t have the sap to either recognize or say when something is wrong.

    So, yeah, Laura Bush is a nice lady. A hell of a lot of good that did anyone.

  63. 63
    russell says:

    The quotes and stories coming out from her book make her sound as petty an asshole as her mother in law.

    My take on Barbara Bush is that she has always resented, and will always resent, the fact that she only got to be First Lady. She was hoping for Queen.

  64. 64
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Michael:

    Howard Dean, on MSNBC minutes ago (paraphrase, transcript not available):

    “Arizona has a legitimate (border control) problem, they just passed an unconstitutional law to deal with it.”

    I’m glad Dean recognizes the problem. That puts him about seven light years ahead of Balloon Juice. But, I’m not sure he’s the authority I want to go to for a constitutionality determination, unless maybe he is judging its medical constitutionality?

    Call me crazy, and I’m sure someone will or be tempted to, but it seems to me that a law is unconstitutional when a court says it is, if that’s okay with you, Howard. Howard went on to make a pitch for immigration reform, but I fear that the Democrats are going to wimp out this year and leave this issue to the shithead Republicans to demagogue and generally screw up.

  65. 65
    Syndicalist says:

    “top-flite blogger.”
    Thinking of playing some golf, are we?

  66. 66
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    I used to think Laura Bush was decent. The quotes and stories coming out from her book make her sound as petty an asshole as her mother in law.

    That is a mighty big pair of shoes to fill.

    Literally.

  67. 67

    Yeah until Rock Hudson dropped dead St. Ron wasn’t concerned about the AIDS epidemic (to put it mildly).

    If you can’t give a damn about a group of people unless you happen to be friends with a member of that group, you’ve got problems.

  68. 68
    El Cid says:

    @thomas Levenson: I.F. Stone on the ‘free press’ as a conduit for White House spin, November 12, 1962:

    Devoted as I am to free enterprise in journalism, I still find it hard to bleed in unison with my colleagues over the new restrictions on press contacts with officials at the Defense and State Departments. Nor am I surprised by Mr. Sylvester’s avowal of the government’s use of the press as weaponry. This has been going on in Washington for years, and it has been facilitated by the readiness of the press corps to be the willing conduit of all kinds of official misinformation and mischief as dished out in the capital’s 57 varieties of off-the-record-but-please-use-it press conferences. The so-called information officers of the government have long been engaged in brainwashing and most of the reporters here have been as eager inculcators of the U.S. cold war party line as their opposite numbers are to dish out the official view in Pravda or Izvestia.

  69. 69

    The two daughters prove that she had physical relations with George at least two times. That alone should be grounds for exclusion from the company of “decent people”.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    … but it seems to me that a law is unconstitutional when a court says it is …

    Are you suggesting that no one can, or should, offer an opinion about the constitutionality of a law prior to a Supreme Court ruling on it? Would that apply to lawyers challenging the law in court as well? I doubt that is what you meant. Dean was offering his opinion about the law. What is your problem with that?

  71. 71
    El Cid says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: He’s not ahead of Balloon Juice, and, as usual, you’re simply mischaracterizing your whinings here.

    The United States — and not particularly or especially Arizona — has a border control problem, one that will not be easily addressed no matter what’s done, and few here have denied it.

    What a load of bullshit. All this from people clearly stating that in no way should the rest of our taxpayer funds go to paying for this absolutely absurd, useless, apparently extra-Constitutional law.

    (And you can take that to Rancher Patagonia John if you want.)

  72. 72
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’m suggesting that I should offer my opinion of Dean’s opinion.

    What is your problem with that?

  73. 73
    Cris says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Call me crazy, and I’m sure someone will or be tempted to, but it seems to me that a law is unconstitutional when a court says it is, if that’s okay with you, Howard.

    Okay, you’re crazy. A law is unconstitutional when it’s contrary to the constitution. It stops being law when a court recognizes the fact.

  74. 74
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    All this from people clearly stating that in no way should the rest of our taxpayer funds go to paying for this absolutely absurd, useless, apparently extra-Constitutional law.

    Really? I basically agreed with that point yesterday. You should keep up.

  75. 75
    mistermix says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I’m sure what you meant was that we should replace the DC press corps with people who spit when the the truth is glossed over in favor of deference to an official, or something else that sounded like it might have a place in journalistic ethics.

    No, I think that you need to be a certain kind of asshole to be a good reporter, specifically the kind who doesn’t give a damn what the subjects who cover you think about your reporting. A little bit of contempt for politicians is part of the necessary personality — someone who spits when s/he hears the President’s name is probably the right kind of asshole. It’s nice to believe that someone can do a job as dull as reporting without this sort of personality, but I don’t think it’s the case.

  76. 76
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Cris:

    No, I think a law is unconstitutional on tv, or at Balloon Juice, when somebody says it is.

    But I’d say it’s unconstitutional in the law when a court says it is.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @El Cid: Really the US has an immigration problem, not a border control problem. Official immigration policy does not match the situation on the ground leading to a wide variety of problems, including mistreatment of migrant workers, violence on the border and others. The AZ law, however, does nothing whatsoever to remedy any of the underlying problems and, at the same time, adds a layers of racial profiling, resource wasting, and unconstitutionality on top of the existing issues.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: My problem is that you seemed to be suggesting that Dean has no right to make his statement.

    Also, what Cris said.

  79. 79
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @mistermix:

    Well, when there aren’t any actual decent journalists around, I suppose we can be generous in our standards. But in the ideal world, I would prefer a zeal for the truth over a generally cranky attitude. People who are just cranky and hate government officials remind me of tea partiers and tax protesters … they just don’t like anything. But I guess I would settle for your Mr. Cranky as being better than what we have now.

  80. 80
    El Cid says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: I know you agreed with that. From that, you have mischaracterized other peoples’ opposition has having denied that there was a border control issue.

    That’s what you just said. Try to keep up with what you just typed here.

    And yes, there is an immigration, economic, and trade issue complex, not a border control issue, and no amount of attempts (rational & necessary or emotional demonstration) at border control will solve the rest.

  81. 81
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Dean and I have the same right. Okay, I will even include you, too.

    I’m nothing if not generous.

  82. 82
    El Cid says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Agreed. This silly AZ law is an expensive waste of time gratifying peoples’ need to look like they’re getting tough on illegulls while doing absolutely squat to control ‘the border’ or the immigration problem directly or indirectly.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    @Michael:

    police may often have trouble articulating a reason for interrogating someone. In that case, the law may be largely irrelevant. If the most obvious grounds for reasonable suspicion are race-based—and thus illegal—cops may elect to do nothing more often than not.

    Hah! As if.

    The people at Reason need to Google “Terry stop” and see if the police have any trouble at all articulating many, many reasons to stop someone on “reasonable suspicion”. The only difference here is a Terry stop relies on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

    This is reasonable suspicion of a state of being, or something.

  84. 84
    PurpleGirl says:

    Dick Cheney was only gay friendly to his daughter, her partner and their child.

    In the 2004 election he said that marriage rights should be decided by the state and not the federal government. Yeah, a patchwork of 50 different policies will really be good. That’s why President Obama issued that order recently about hospital visitation rights because a same-sex couple had all the documents to be considered a couple and the hospital still refused to let the one person see the other in ICU.

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Then you are nothing.

  86. 86
    slippy says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Having a “legitimate” border control problem would start with recognizing that decades, I say DECADES of allowing BUSINESSES to get away with hiring undocumented workers has created that border control problem.

    If businesses faced being shut down and dismantled for hiring illegals, they wouldn’t hire illegals. They would probably lobby for more rational naturalization procedures in order to get the labor they wanted. But this whole problem is CAUSED by companies who want cheap labor they can treat like shit, and EXCABERATED by xenophobes and maniacs who gleefully exploit the problems their own representatives have created and promulgated.

  87. 87
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    From that, you have mischaracterized other peoples’ opposition has having denied that there was a border control issue.

    Not sure what you mean. I don’t do a very good job of keeping track of who said what, but are you suggesting that those border issues were not being dismissed by commenters the other night in favor of turning up the heat on the infamous law?

    I don’t think you were one of those, but like I said, I don’t track that sort of thing much.

  88. 88
    dollared says:

    Nancy Reagan: Ferdinand and Imelda can’t have stolen five billion dollars from the people of the Philippines, and then assassinated their biggest political rival. No, we’ve had them over for dinner and they are the nicest people….

  89. 89

    […] place where you’re particularly likely to see “but would he/she be fun to have a beer with?” standards applied is Supreme Court nomination hearings and the surrounding discourse. You may remember, for […]

  90. 90
    MattR says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    but are you suggesting that those border issues were not being dismissed by commenters the other night in favor of turning up the heat on the infamous law?

    I am stating exactly that. There may have been one or two exceptions, but pretty much everybody on that thread recognized that there are issues at the border. However, there were quite a few commenters who doubted any claims that the violence in Juarez was causing problems in Arizona.

  91. 91
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @slippy:

    Well, you have packed a lot into that comment. I can’t just go along with the “treat like shit” charge, as a generality. A good deal of the employment of illegals here involves illegals working under false IDs and being hired, administered and treated as if legal. There are reportedly 400-500k illegals in this state, and I am pretty sure that there are not that many people working as known or tacit illegals and being treated like shit here. It’s a pretty compact population (most of the population being in two cities).

    One of the things that struck me when I started reading the infamous bill was the aggressive (maybe nutty, I don’t know) and involved provisions aimed at cracking down on illegal employment. For my money, that is the real candy center of the law, the money part. Whether it’s legally sound or doable, I have no idea, that area of law is not something I know a lot about. But the people who wrote that law were definitely interested in slamming illegal employment.

  92. 92
    someguy says:

    Your link, in my mind, only underlines my point. Personally, Cheney might be a nice guy—nice to gays, etc.—but the policies his administration espoused were disgusting.

    So what, Rob!? He said his beliefs that we should treat gays decently, and that gay marriage is a state issue, is disgusting? What do you make of Obama’s stance, which from where I stand is damn near identical? What is your fucking point – I hate Cheney so when he says what a guy I happen to like says, it’s disgusting, but when my guy says it, it’s cool?

    So are you going to damn Obama now for taking the same approach that Cheney said he preferred? Or do you have some nuancy difference you can point out here and enlighten us with, to prove how Obama isn’t disgusting on the issue while Cheney is?

  93. 93
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @MattR:

    Well, you might be right, as I said yesterday, I didn’t read all of the posts, so maybe I was focussed on the people who were dismissing the border disaster. I will have to take your word for it.

  94. 94
    El Cid says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Yes, many commenters were dismissing the raising of border control issues as a pertinent comment set because the subject of the post was Arizona demanding that the rest of us taxpayers pay for their ridiculous, useless, grand-standing, and likely un-Constitutional law, and you were one of those mostly trying to change the subject to border control issues. This is not complicated. It doesn’t mean that people are necessarily opposed to ‘border control’, though many people reasonably hold that such efforts are not likely to drastically alter the situation.

  95. 95
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’ll be the judge of that.

  96. 96
    kay says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I’m generally in agreement with you, for what it’s worth.
    I don’t know that there’s any data that says undocumented are responsible for more crimes per capita (I saw data showing the reverse, but I didn’t look hard) but there should be effective law enforcement. Always. That’s the best argument against this law, IMO. It damages the credibility of the law enforcement process.
    I would just suggest that, Democrats will take it up, and they’ll be the only people who can take it up, because Republicans have discredited themselves with these dumb laws, so there will be a presumption that Republicans are biased and racist.
    I actually agree with that presumption. Republicans shouldn’t write immigration law, and they did it to themselves. All we have to do is look at this law and we know they can’t write immigration laws.
    I think there is tons and tons of evidence that these laws are meant not as an immigration control or crime control mechanism, but instead as harassment to drive a certain group of people out of the state, starting with the predicate to the Arizona law, which says as much.
    So, we have Republicans and Democrats, and Republicans have proven over and over they can’t address this issue without stupidity and ignorance, so that leaves Democrats.

  97. 97
    georgia pig says:

    A friend of my comes from an old, wealthy, conservative southern family. She’s wonderfully polite and friendly, but utterly clueless about anything outside of her social circle. She was born in the 1920’s. I remember talking to her after the NBC miniseries Holocaust aired. She had no idea all that happened to the Jews in Europe!

    Point is, we all live in at least partially closed worlds. The few ways to project out of your closed world include intellectual curiosity and empathy. Conservative politics tend to reject both, liberal politics don’t. Conservatives can be quite nice and thoughtful, because they tend to avoid moving out of their comfort zone and don’t instinctively wonder why you’re in their world or what your world might be like outside of the context of their lives. If you’re gay but in Laura Bush’s social circle, your an “approved” gay person simply because you’re there, i.e., it is categorical that you’re not one of those horrid gay guys in some parade in San Francisco because Laura Bush does not hang around those kind of people. So, of course, Laura will be all nice to you, because she can’t contemplate that you might be, for example, a fan of teabagging or barebacking. She won’t get that from an immediate interaction with you, and why should she dirty her beautiful mind with such thoughts? You’re certainly not going to bring it up and, if you did, you might get a different reaction. This is why Sullivan can be such an idiot. He doesn’t get this dynamic.

  98. 98
    El Cid says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: A significant problem has been that in a lot of places, like here in Georgia, laws cracking down on illegal employers have fairly lackluster enforcement, particularly given that local legislators and officials typically either are or are closely connected to and supported by the types of businesses frequently hiring non-legal labor. From personal experience I can tell you that not one employer I ever encountered during the bubble-era construction boom ever feared authorities investigating them for their workforce, while the actual migrant employees kept a close eye out for raids. Risks aside, they had money to send back home.

  99. 99
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    and you were one of those mostly trying to change the subject to border control issues.

    I was putting the attention on the issues that are driving the politics here, which is where the infamous bill came from. It didn’t spring out of the air, it came directly from public unrest which is being seized upon by opportunistic Republicans to advance their war on immigration. Unless those issues are addressed, the law is just one shot being fired in a larger war.

    Republicans trade on disgruntled citizens’ fears and anger, and this border situation is going to be the next Big Scary Thing these guys are going to use to get their way.

    In the long run, the mess at the border is far more important than the stupid law. The law might be deferred by referendum or injuction in 90 days. The border situation is only getting worse.

  100. 100
    Jules says:

    It is easy to be “decent” to the people you know…but for people in power in this country what is more important is how decent you are to all the people you don’t know but who’s lives are affected by your actions.

  101. 101
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @El Cid:

    I don’t disagree with any of that.

    Just a reminder, I’m generally an amnesty advocate, and I don’t like the idea of jobplace sweeps and throwing people out of work. I also don’t go in much for throwing employers in jail or any of those sorts of draconian measures.

  102. 102
    Persia says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: I suspect mistermix is just holding out for Spider Jerusalem.

  103. 103
    IndyLib says:

    @rob!:
    I can see Johnson being a dick to his secret service personnel, he was seemingly a dick to everyone except Doris Kearns Goodwin when she was writing his bio. I can believe it of Bubba – he didn’t want them interfering in his nookie, but Carter? What was issue with his SS and what did he do?

  104. 104
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    So, we have Republicans and Democrats, and Republicans have proven over and over they can’t address this issue without stupidity and ignorance, so that leaves Democrats.

    I know. To coin a funny, Democrats are the worst politicians in the world, except for the Republican alternative.

  105. 105
    T in Texas says:

    There were a few decent people associated with the Bush administration in the beginning, but along the way they resigned or were forced out. Laura would have to divorce him to vacate the “most decent for 8 years” position. After all she had been thru before he entered politics it seems that she is either incapable of seeing herself divorced, or was willing to ignore the devastation of his politics to continue the ride. She just never seemed ignorant to me.

  106. 106
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @El Cid:

    Well you have just described Republicanism in a nutshell.

  107. 107
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Persia:

    Sounds good to me. Heh.

  108. 108
    El Cid says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: Except in Republicans’ case, it’s usually an actual malevolent move to favor the elite interests they love and do long-lasting damage at any attempts at sane and humane reforms.

    Phil Gramms’ Commodity Futures’ Modernization Act was to destroy any chance at regulating derivatives, to make loads and loads of money for financial elites, and reinforce all the Reaganite propaganda about liberating business from big gubmit byurokraps which is what’s holdin’ us all back.

  109. 109
    kay says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Democrats are (now) the only people who can say “border enforcement” without all kinds of horrible mental pictures popping up.
    It’s akin to how Democrats can cut spending on Medicare, which they just did. They can do that, because they haven’t been yammering about destroying Medicare for 40 years, so the charge didn’t stick.
    You need a little trust on good intentions, ya know? Comes in handy, when you have to trade on it.

  110. 110
    Ed Drone says:

    @mistermix:

    No, I think that you need to be a certain kind of asshole to be a good reporter, specifically the kind who doesn’t give a damn what the subjects who cover you think about your reporting. … someone who spits when s/he hears the President’s name is probably the right kind of asshole.

    Wrong. That kind of person has already made up his/her mind, and will bend the presentation of facts to create the required image — witness Faux Noise — rather than be objective. Spitting whenever you hear someone’s name is not an “objective” response. Neither is crossing oneself or reaching for your wallet.

    I will allow that heaving a sigh might just be “objective” — I know I did it a lot whenever I heard “George W. Bush,” and I feel I would have been objective had I had to write a news account of his activities. Of course, “objective” in that case might have looked quite “critical” compared to the Washington steno pool, but that, to me, is objective. Reporting facts and not cheer-leading, now that’s objective.

    Ed

  111. 111
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @kay:

    I will make a note of your latter suggestion!

  112. 112
    kay says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    We already knew. Republicans tried immigration reform in 2005. The wingnut base went insane, lied about the bill, and the whole thing went up in flames.
    I don’t know if they can draft anything at all at this point without including something about Obama’s birth certificate. They’re held hostage by lunatics.
    Imagine the debate on the House floor among the GOP on immigration. The bill to change the law on what a “person” is according to the 14th Amendment has 80 signers, in the House GOP. They can’t do this. They’re too crazy.

  113. 113
    Polar Bear Squares says:

    Word.

  114. 114
    Tom Hilton says:

    One of the things I really appreciate about Glenn Greenwald is that he’s one of the few top-flite bloggers who doesn’t care if someone’s “decent” or “nice” in person.

    That can be a useful approach, but in Greenwald’s case there are two problems with it: first, he sees it in a very reductionist way, as either ignoring policy because you see someone as ‘decent’ or looking only at policy and rejecting any consideration of character; and second, it comes from the basic Greenwald assumption that anyone who does something with which he disagrees is by definition a bad person (which assumption, IMO, is really not useful).

  115. 115
    aimai says:

    I’d like to remind everyone that a) none of these stories about various presidents and the SS are necessarily at all true. b) Clinton, for one, and I suspect Carter were under severe attack for the crime of trying to president while democratic. Clinton’s SS guys were the subject of massive interference from Congress when they tried to force them to testify, under oath, about everything and anything they’d seen in the White House. In other words, the relationship of protector to protectee may be very, very, very different as between Republican and Democratic Presidents. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Clintons both felt spied on and attacked by Bush holdovers at every level of the White House. Why shouldn’t they? They were.

    aimai

  116. 116
    DougJ says:

    Mark Halperin believes the continuing popularity of Laura Bush is one of the two greatest political accomplishments of our era.

    (EDIT: it’s actually one of five.)

  117. 117
    maus says:

    Anyone who thinks Bush wasn’t an “elite” because he was functionally retarded needs to watch Boogie Man, the Lee Atwater story to see just how efette that clan is.

  118. 118
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @El Cid:

    Phil Gramm aka Mister Burns …..

    Again we agree.

  119. 119
    fucen tarmal says:

    i think laura bush needs to be treasured the same way rank and file conservatives venerated ted kennedy.

  120. 120
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @DougJ:

    God, I hope that’s a joke.

    If it is, damned good one.

  121. 121
    WereBear says:

    Funny… when the Laura Bush book contract was first announced, I was discussing it with a friend, and it led to my last political post on my now defunct political blog. (Still lots of good stuff there, methinks.)

    I might have been too kind to her: but I have my prejudices, and loving librarians is one.

    But I did write this:

    Does she have nightmares of the blood and pain and death those around her brought about? Does she wonder if she could have made things, different? No, I don’t think she does. She was “the wife.” There to sacrifice, support, suggest, sanction, and smile, smile, smile. She had nothing to do with policy. Whether it was good or bad was not her call to make. If W made orphans, her job was to send them food and clothes.

  122. 122
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Thadeus Horne: Well, at least once, as the girls are twins.

  123. 123
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @kay:

    I wonder if they would invent the undocumented zygote.

  124. 124
    liberal says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I also don’t go in much for throwing employers in jail or any of those sorts of draconian measures.

    If one wants to control immigration, what is wrong with draconian measures against employers? It would actually be effective, unlike measures against immigrants.

  125. 125
    scandi says:

    Who are these putative gays still friendly with the Bushes?

    “That George, he may believe we’re second-class citizens, but he always treats us first-class all the way!”

  126. 126
    The Fool says:

    Decent people don’t steal elections, loot the Treasury for the benefit of their rich friends, perpetrate WMD hoaxes, launch illegal wars of aggression based on that hoax that get hundreds of thousands killed, or torture people.

    I’m sorry. Like many sociopaths, George Bush may be capable of putting on an affable front when it serves his purposes but “decent” is something he is decidedly NOT.

  127. 127
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @liberal:

    I don’t like to throw people out of work. The impact on families, etc. I’m a rescuer by nature.

  128. 128
    WereBear says:

    @liberal: Effectiveness is such a Liberal concept :)

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:I also don’t go in much for throwing employers in jail or any of those sorts of draconian measures.

    It’s draconian? Enforcing the law on business owners, who are squeezing every last penny of profit by hiring people for dirt and not caring if they get hurt?

    And they are actually responsible for the illegal immigrant problem, as without scofflaw business owners, there wouldn’t be an illegal immigrant problem?

    Those people you don’t want to get Draconian on them?

    Odd sets of priorities you have.

  129. 129
  130. 130
    liberal says:

    @slippy:

    If businesses faced being shut down and dismantled for hiring illegals, they wouldn’t hire illegals.

    Exactly.

    If someone things illegal immigration is a problem, then an obvious gauge of their seriousness is whether they’re emphasizing sanctions against employers.

    If they instead emphasize sanctions against workers, they’re either grossly ill-informed or are racist/panderers.

  131. 131
    liberal says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:
    Rescuer? What about the wages of the people who already live here?

  132. 132
    liberal says:

    @WereBear:
    Just as an aside, measure against immigrants possibly strengthen the hands of employers, allow them to more easily steal illegals’ wages (threat of blackmail), etc.

  133. 133
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @WereBear:

    See my 127.

    My preferred solution is amnesty, followed by a drastic reduction in border penetrations. If the border can’t be controlled, then increase the allotment of immigrants so that they are legal when they get here. I do not believe that more people is a drawback to the country.

    As I have said several times during the immigration phase of modern BJ history, most of the illegal employment around here is the false-document kind. Throwing an employer in jail for being fooled by fake docs doesn’t seem too user friendly.

    I see that the infamous AZ law is pushing e-verify. I don’t know how effective that is, it looks pretty cheesy to me.

    My “priorities” are to make things favorable to the working guy, avoid gratuitous exclusion, don’t have a border war, be more respectful of the land mass we stole from Mexico, and pump up the Dem voter base. Also promote better Mexican food.

    They may be funny looking, but they are mine.

  134. 134
    WereBear says:

    @liberal: Yep.

    People here illegally are lawbreakers. But it’s one thing for poverty to drive someone across a border; desperation is a strong driver.

    It’s another thing for someone who is already doing well risking other people’s lives and limbs for yet more money. Greed is not an allowable driver.

    That’s one of my priorities.

  135. 135
    liberal says:

    @aimai:
    I find it hard to believe that anyone who rises to the rank of president is a “decent” person, in terms of one-on-one contact. Not that I care about that.

    That being said, the idea that Nixon and Reagan was decent at the personal level is funny. IIRC Reagan has been described as “oddly distant” at the personal level, and Nixon, well…

  136. 136
    eemom says:

    @Thadeus Horne:

    The two daughters prove that she had physical relations with George at least two times.

    Dude, they’re TWINS. Tee hee.

  137. 137
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @liberal:

    Wages are not a zero sum game. A larger workforce means more consumers, more taxes, and more jobs, assuming that you don’t mistreat the workers and keep them poor for political purposes, or whatever the hell it is they do in Mexico.

    The more the merrier. There’s plenty of room for everybody out here.

  138. 138
    liberal says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    …followed by a drastic reduction in border penetrations. If the border can’t be controlled…

    If you think that controlling the border directly is even a reasonable hypothesis, then you’re a laughingstock.

    then increase the allotment of immigrants so that they are legal when they get here. I do not believe that more people is a drawback to the country.

    It’s not a drawback to people who won’t have their wages come under competition, and it’s not a drawback to people who own land (whose value will on average go up with increasing population). It is a drawback for people in the working class, and people who have to rent.

    As I have said several times during the immigration phase of modern BJ history, most of the illegal employment around here is the false-document kind. Throwing an employer in jail for being fooled by fake docs doesn’t seem too user friendly.

    The idea that it would be incredibly hard to devise a good system to check legality is laughable on its face. Most employment of undocumented workers involves not checking any documents.

  139. 139
    eemom says:

    I like Laura Bush better than that godawful old gargoyle MIL of hers…….and I like HER better than Sarah Palin.

    Which just shows ta go ya, if you try hard enough you can think of something nice to say about almost anybody.

    So do I pass the “decent” test?

  140. 140
    WereBear says:

    @eemom: Dude, they’re TWINS. Tee hee.

    Actually, this was an in vitro fertilization, so… not even once, necessarily.

    Actually, someone can be polite in person, and still be an absolute monster. Aren’t the monsters in fiction even more scary when they are polite?

  141. 141
    kay says:

    @aimai:

    BERLIN (AFP) – A German hotel where then US President George W. Bush stayed in 2007 angrily rejected Thursday claims by his wife Laura Bush of possible poisoning, accusing her of a publicity stunt for her memoirs.

    “We see absolutely no evidence to support (these allegations) at all,” said Christian Ploeger, a spokesman for the Fundus Group that owns the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm in northern Germany where the Bushes stayed for a G8 summit.

    “The food was checked by security staff,” Ploeger told AFP.

    “I suspect that this may be just to try and sell more copies of the book.”

    Laura Bush is attacking Germany.

  142. 142
    aimai says:


    mistreat the workers and keep them poor for political purposes or whatever the hell it is they do in Mexico?”

    I think what you mean is “whatever the hell they are doing in AZ and Texas, you jerk. The abuse of the poor goes on on both sides of the border. What’s our excuse?

    aimai

  143. 143
    eemom says:

    @WereBear:

    “Is it safe?”

    Hannibal Lecter, also too.

  144. 144
    Paula says:

    She had the WH executive chefs serve the family organic food but kept her preference a secret.

    She sympathized with the women of Afghanistan but didn’t make a case about amending her husband’s policies to other countries in that region.

    She was a good wife to her husband and a good enough first lady for making appearances, but given that she was generally inclined to sit @ the back and not say anything I doubt she deserves much of either praise or damnation.

    Also, I’ll give her props for defending Michelle Obama during the 2008 campaign about the “proud of my country” non-troversy.

  145. 145
    liberal says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Wages are not a zero sum game.

    In particular industries, and in the short and medium term, they certainly are. It’s a matter of supply and demand. More supply = lower wages.

    The more the merrier. There’s plenty of room for everybody out here.

    In plain physical terms, yes, there’s room. (Though the amount of room in economic useful locations is limited.) In economic terms, much or even most of the gain will go to people who own land in valuable locations.

    If land value was taxed at very high levels (which I favor for other reasons), then allowing nearly open immigration (which you seem to favor) might be a reasonable idea. But under the current tax regime, it’s mostly going to fatten the wallet of landowners, and perhaps owners of capital, while driving down wages.

  146. 146
    liberal says:

    @WereBear:

    Actually, someone can be polite in person, and still be an absolute monster.

    Which one would think would be the most important thing to keep in mind when discussing “decent.”

    Actually IIRC the nomenclature I’ve seen on blogs is “civil” being used as decent is here, meaning nice on a personal level, and decent being used to refer to whether the person does good things regardless of their superficial civility. Maybe I have that backwards…

  147. 147
    eemom says:

    actually if you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that this much cyber-ink is being spilled over a nonentity like Laura Bush.

    That said, I recommend TBogg’s most erudite review of her book, which he posted yesterday. Damn but that guy is effing brilliant at Teh Snark.

  148. 148
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    It is a drawback for people in the working class, and people who have to rent.

    Sorry, I don’t agree that more people is a bad thing.

    I am not a believer in scarcity. This is America.

    I don’t think that the Statue of Liberty has a plaque that reads “Give me your fully vested, your professionals ….”

  149. 149
    twiffer says:

    @Michael: not to mention that this:

    That may be what some officials would prefer. The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposes the policy. Winslow city administrator Jim Ferguson told The Los Angeles Times, “If we enforce this new law, we are not going to be able to afford to take care of some other pressing law enforcement issues.”

    is expressly forbidden by AZ SB1070. any AZ resident can sue if they feel the law is not being enforced to the fullest extent possible.

  150. 150
    JSD says:

    Whoa, Mr. Mix just reached in my brain, pulled out my thoughts, typed ’em up, and posted them. Damn.

  151. 151
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @liberal:

    Whatever. Tax schemes can be rearranged.

    A border war is no good. Xenophobia is no good.

    Ellis Island processed in a million a year at its peak, when a million was a million (US population was a little over a quarter of its present size).

  152. 152
    NobodySpecial says:

    Speaking as a lower class guy who rents, I’m all for amnesty and open borders.

    Every single person who comes across and lives here will find some form of work, buy things, increase the tax rolls. If they’re already here illegally, then you gain a benefit with no downside, since they’re already here using up resources.

    Seeing how some urban areas are dying, I got no problem with hard-working, industrious folks getting a chance to become homeowners in those areas. Homeowners drive up property values, and tend to be more interested in the fate of their community – which illegals can’t be, almost without exception, even if they work two, three jobs.

    Shorter me: Better mass amnesty than an increase in the American neo-Gypsy population.

  153. 153
    binzinerator says:

    One of the things I really appreciate about Glenn Greenwald is that he’s one of the few top-flite bloggers who doesn’t care if someone’s “decent” or “nice” in person.

    Could be that as a constitutional lawyer and civil rights litigator he’s seen plenty of people who seemed “decent” or “nice” in person even as they were doing really horrible and criminal things to other people.

  154. 154
    Kiril says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: I believe The Medium Lobster had the ultimate response to that outrage:

    The Medium Lobster was appalled, just like the rest of perpetually-outraged America, to see John Kerry mention that Dick Cheney has a gay daughter Wednesday night. For there is no greater offense one can make to an openly gay person than to make note of their gayness.

    Dick and Lynne Cheney are right to be outraged, as are sincere and heartfelt gay rights’ advocates Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus. And this outrage comes not because they feel that homosexuality is shameful or icky or full of cooties. It is because they know that the greatest shame one can bring to a lesbian is to note their existence.

    Before John Kerry’s terrible words, Mary Cheney only had to be gay to her family, her friends, the Coors Corporation, the staff of Bush/Cheney Re-Elect, and the gay community at large to whom she acted as a liason. But John Kerry made her gay to the entire world, effectively making her more gay than ever before.

    There is an obvious solution here – but only part of it involves the trial of John Kerry as a thought criminal…

    http://fafblog.blogspot.com/20.....on-to.html

  155. 155
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @kid bitzer: That’s what they do in India too. Our beltway press is way to fawning.
    They are like courtiers not reporters.

  156. 156

    […] At Balloon Juice, we find a common complaint about The Village expressed: I don’t mean to pick on Sullivan, who probably just meant this as nothing more than to compliment to a decent lady. But there are plenty of members of the journalistic elite who justify their shitty journalism by saying that some monster is actually decent “in person”. […]

  157. 157
    Church Lady says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: This place has slowly turned into a refuge for a snarling mass of vitriolic vicious jackals. Since they’re all pet lovers, that makes it ok.

  158. 158
    Fred Sanford says:

    Hermann Goering was known for his wonderful sense of humor and was beloved of journalists from other countries. Even at Nuremberg, old Herman was known to trade pleasantries with the press corps.
    Such a nice, decent man…shame he had to go and take cyanide before he could be hanged for war crimes.

  159. 159
    r€nato says:

    @Jim C: no more of a cheap shot than a military deserter having his cronies and minions smear the military record of a decorated war hero who volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam.

  160. 160
    dww44 says:

    @slippy: As part of the discussion around GWB’s attempt to legislate new policies to deal with this altogether complex issue, I remember reading that during the Clinton administration, the INS showed up in the nearby (to me) Vidalia Onion Fields and rounded up a whole bunch of likely illegals ( who still work those fields, mind you), but were forced to back off due to the hue and cry on the part of our state’s business and government leaders (mostly Dems at that time). Since that time, as the recounting went on, the INS simply gave up trying to inforce the law and thus we find ourselves in our current predicament.

    I predict, though, that we are far more likely to get corrective policy and reform from Dems than from Republicans, since the latter are incapable of pitting one segment of their base ( the anti- immigrant/nativist one) versus another (the business one wholly dependent on cheap and illegal labor).

    Yep, it will be hard, but I actually think that collectively most Dem politicians have more moral and ethical cojones than the current breed of Republican ones, and I particularly include Senators Graham (I read Bobo/Collins opinion piece on his courage yesterday), McCain, and my own 2 spineless ones.

  161. 161
  162. 162
    Mike Kay says:

    @binzinerator: not necessarily, at least one of his clients was a racist/anti-Semite who tried to kill a judge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_F._Hale

    Glenn didn’t seem to have a problem with representing a person doing really horrible and criminal things to other people. But I’m sure Glenn took the case because he found him to be “nice” and “decent”

  163. 163
    Radley Balko says:

    OT – Somebody at Reason talks about the AZ law. Surprise of surprises, they’re just not real sure about what to think about it.

    First, that’s a piss-poor reading of Chapman’s column.

    Second:

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....kdowns-bac

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/04.....d-town-shi

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/04.....ou-arizona

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/04/23/arizona-ice-tea

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/04.....a-they-cou

    And as for:

    We need a rolling-around-on-the-floor-and-laughing graphic to apply to every glibertarian article that gets posted here. Fuckers. They need to get punched in the neck and tazed by a cop every time they step outdoors. And that includes Radley Balko.

    And here I’ve been told the last few months that it’s the Tea Partiers who wish violence upon people with whom they have political disagreements . . . .

  164. 164
    KRK says:

    @Mike Kay:

    I’m pretty sure you know that’s not how criminal defense works.

  165. 165
    John Cole says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts: No one here said there was no border control problem, you strawman building mofo.

    What I was against was Arizona passing a stupid bill that wouldn’t do anything about border control and then asking the feds to pay for it. They probably should have thought of the cost and a way to pay for it before passing the stupid damned law.

    Quit your damned lying. You’re like one of those god damned moderates in the Senate lying about everything someone said in order to stake out a position for yourself that makes you “reasonable.” Bullshit.

  166. 166
    Church Lady says:

    @Radley Balko: Many of the commenters here are quite violent in nature and always quite anxious to use a rusty pitchfork for one thing or another. They make the “teabaggers” look like a bunch of wusses.

  167. 167
    Mike Kay says:

    @KRK: that’s not the point.

    the author idealizes Glenn by saying he would never cut a horrible person a break, yet in reality, atleast one of his clients was demonstrably horrible.

    This is not to attack glenn, as he did not say he was morally superior, rather to say Glenn is human like everyone else, not some myth.

  168. 168
    scav says:

    @Church Lady: Sweetheart, you’re an inspiration to us in this.

  169. 169
    Colleen says:

    @Bob:

    I am a mother of two wonderful children, both were adopted. I think his point was that no one implied McCain had sex out of wedlock to have Meghan. It was because Bridget was adopted that the McCains were victimized by horrible slander in the South Carolina primary- by the oh so nice Bush family.

  170. 170

    […] Laura Bush was “the most decent person in the White House for eight long years.” That inspired Mistermix at Balloon Juice to complain about “the journalistic elite who justify their shitty […]

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  1. […] Laura Bush was “the most decent person in the White House for eight long years.” That inspired Mistermix at Balloon Juice to complain about “the journalistic elite who justify their shitty […]

  2. […] At Balloon Juice, we find a common complaint about The Village expressed: I don’t mean to pick on Sullivan, who probably just meant this as nothing more than to compliment to a decent lady. But there are plenty of members of the journalistic elite who justify their shitty journalism by saying that some monster is actually decent “in person”. […]

  3. […] place where you’re particularly likely to see “but would he/she be fun to have a beer with?” standards applied is Supreme Court nomination hearings and the surrounding discourse. You may remember, for […]

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