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Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Gorebot decompensates (again) 

If Democrats wonder why it is that mainstream Americans perceive them as anti-American, or at least suffering anti-Americanism to exist in their ranks, look no further than this report of a talk that Al Gore gave in Sweden (CWCID: Power Line):
"We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," he said, referring to Iraq. "We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families."

"We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media. We would not be routinely torturing people," Gore said. "We would be a different country."

The first sentence disqualifies Gore to serve as president of the United States. We have not invaded a country that attacked us in any meaningful sense since 1812, when we invaded Canada no less than three times. We always invade countries that haven't attacked us. There is no more time-honored tradition in American foreign policy, and I, for one, am glad of it.

The second sentence is a lie. What money was "taken from" working families and "given" to the most wealthy families? The Bush administration cut taxes across the board, and the proportion of total taxes paid by the wealthy has increased. The top 10% of United States taxpayers pay 67.9% of federal income tax receipts after giving effect to the Bush tax cuts. Because of the earned income tax credit, the top 50% of taxpayers pay more than 100% of income tax receipts net of the EITF.

And who, pray tell, is trying to control or intimidate the news media? One hears this allegation all the time -- Paul Krugman claimed just this when he spoke at Princeton in May -- but I have not seen a shred of evidence to support it. What journalist has been roughed up, prosecuted, audited, or even screamed at by the Bush administration? Or is it that the news media are such total wimps that a whining phone call from the White House press office is enough to panic them in to self-censorship? It seems to me that one or the other must be true. Some of the controlled and intimidated news media should ask Gore which he means, if for no other reason than to get their story straight.

Finally, the claim that the United States is "routinely" torturing people is highly misleading. The United States itself exposed and investigated the abuses at Abu Ghraib long before any journalist uncovered them. To call this "routine" torture is to parrot the propaganda of our enemies, who do torture routinely.

It is one thing to take off the kid gloves inside the American democracy in a good faith effort to sway voters and win elections. It is another thing to travel to another country and emotionally and misleadingly attack the policies of the United States in front of an audience of foreigners. What possible motivation might such people have, other than to run down the United States (or to aggrandize themselves at the expense of the United States)? Foreigners, after all, don't vote. How can anybody who does what Gore did be properly considered a patriot? Frankly, it turns my stomach.

As long as Democratic icons like Jimmy Carter and Al Gore and Jesse Jackson insist on traveling abroad for the purpose of attacking the policies of the United States, they will properly be understood as anti-American, and they will fatally damage the image of Democrats in the eyes of middle American voters.

16 Comments:

By Blogger cakreiz, at Thu Oct 13, 05:03:00 PM:

I agree, hawk, that established Dem figures like Gore and Carter hurt their party with this kind of rhetoric.

I'm familiar with the federal income tax statistics you cite. Do you know what the breakdown is on social security taxes paid by wealthy and nonwealthy taxpayers? This tax is relatively regressive- and I wondered how the percentages looked there.  

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Thu Oct 13, 05:07:00 PM:

That kind of anti-American demagoguery turns my stomach as well. I'm sure you and I are not in the minority.

I'll make a prediction. The first Democratic candidate for President with the fortitude and plain common sense to stand up to the Al Gores and Jimmy Carters and Jesse Jacksons of the party and publicly disparage and renounce this kind of idiocy on the part of all Americans will win the office, possibly in a landslide. Until then, it just won't happen.  

By Blogger Final Historian, at Thu Oct 13, 05:29:00 PM:

I think you have a point Sirius. Any Dem would can get the nomination of his party who stands up to that idiocy will win in the general election. The problem is that such a Dem will have a great deal of trouble getting that nomination. The power in the primaries belongs to the social interest groups who provide most of the Dems money and hard-core support.  

By Blogger bill, at Thu Oct 13, 05:48:00 PM:

With Democrats the economy has always been zero sum game. The good news is AlGore will never get the chance to prove what kind of leader he really isn't. That was too close for comfort.  

By Blogger Dan Kauffman, at Thu Oct 13, 06:11:00 PM:

One meme that MUST be challenged every time it is uttered is the concept that
when I am allowed to keep more of what was already mine

(my taxes are lowered) I have been GIVEN something.

I despise the concept now, and I despised it when Tip O'Neal was using it.  

By Blogger honestpartisan, at Thu Oct 13, 06:49:00 PM:

Not enough space to rebut everything you wrote, but just focusing on the taxes: in the Bush years, the burden of taxation has shifted off of the rich onto everyone else (helpful link here: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_04/006194.php ). This is the result of tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy, like reductions of the top rates, and cuts/repeals of the estate tax and dividend tax. Whether you want to call this "taking" or not is rhetorical, but a lie it is most certainly not.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Thu Oct 13, 08:35:00 PM:

Gore used to have promise. He has become a complete fool. Even his own partisans ignore him.  

By Blogger Lanky_Bastard, at Thu Oct 13, 11:06:00 PM:

I too object to "taken money from working families". The major budget change seems to be taking money from the Chinese. Someday our children will pay it back with interest.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Fri Oct 14, 05:58:00 AM:

Nonsense TigerHawk.

We need real thinking men and patriots like Al Bore to remind us that if it were not for the EVIL LIES of the BUSH SHEEP, over ONE THIRD of Americans would not still believe THAT MUSLIMS WERE INVOLVED IN THE SEPTEMBER 11TH ATTACK ON THE WTC!!!

I demand the Commerce Clause be invoked and we see a real Taking of the Toad... from the Oval Office. Pppppbbbtt.

[and then her head exploded]  

By Blogger Screwy Hoolie, at Fri Oct 14, 08:46:00 AM:

"We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," - Gore was speaking specifically about Iraq, which has proven to be a mistake, despite Pollyanna assertions to the contrary.

"We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families." - Gore here explains that when taxes are cut for the wealthiest Americans then services are cut for the rest.

"We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media." - If you truly believe that the Bush administration hasn't worked vociferously to intimidate media sources, then I can't help you. Go watch Outfoxed.

"We would not be routinely torturing people," - Hallelujah. The pro-torture, pro-war Republicans have done more damage America's standing in the world and to enrage both our allies and our enemies than any speech by former Vice President Gore.

There is nothing anti-American in these comments. Nothing. This is opinion.

Your argument is that Gore shouldn't have an opinion in Sweden?

Also, you left this quote out: Gore: "My country is extremely attentive to the slightest increase in a risk from terror, and that's appropriate," he said. "But why should we be so tolerant of risk where the future habitability of our planet is concerned?" Too right, Al.


"Or is it that the news media are such total wimps that a whining phone call from the White House press office is enough to panic them in to self-censorship?" - You got it, Hawk. Seriously assert that a person's patriotism is in question, that asking questions is tantamount to treason, and then have that sensibility spread throughout right-wing media world who bombard a terrorized nation with the idea that questioning the President = allying with Al Qaeda.

Wimps.

Bush's approval ratings make it clear that your view has fallen out of the mainstream, Hawk. It's not sensible to continue to support a President who just can't get anything right. And it's sad to attack a former Vice President, now a private citizen, for having a dissenting opinion.  

By Blogger Catchy Pseudonym, at Fri Oct 14, 10:17:00 AM:

Since Hoolie articulated that so much better than I could, I'll just add my... Hell yea!  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Oct 14, 10:21:00 AM:

Screwy, I have no problem with dissenting opinions. I also have no problem with Al Gore having the opinions that he has -- such is the cut and thrust of politics. However, there is no getting around that expressing those opinions directly to a foreign audience serves no purpose other than (i) personal aggrandizement by pandering to the political views of foreigners, or (ii) to build foreign sentiment against the current policies of the United States. What could the third reason be?

Now, Al is certainly entitled to do this, especially given his current status as a private citizen. However, I do think that when he and Jimmy Carter and others of his ilk say these things to foreign audiences, it hurts the Democrats badly. Also, we must remember these moments lest Al change his mind and decide, perhaps, that being a "private citizen" is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Your argument about press intimidation is, I have to say, Screwy, ridiculous. I have heard this assertion countless times, yet I see no evidence. The "right wing media" world, as you say, has a fraction of the audience of the "left wing" media, with the possible exception of talk radio (which I do not listen to).

Finally, do not rely on presidential approval ratings to measure what is, and is not, "mainstream." And, in any case, since I am not a partisan and do not care in the least if history looks fondly on George W. Bush, I don't give a rat's ass what the "mainstream" thinks. Except insofar as I think it would be tragic if certain of the alleged "mainstream's" policies were adopted.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Oct 14, 05:19:00 PM:

"Your argument about press intimidation is, I have to say, Screwy, ridiculous. I have heard this assertion countless times, yet I see no evidence. The "right wing media" world, as you say, has a fraction of the audience of the "left wing" media."

THANK YOU. I have no idea what they're talking about when they say that the right-wing dominates the media. And here I thought I was crazy..  

By Blogger Catchy Pseudonym, at Fri Oct 14, 09:13:00 PM:

You are crazy. Screwy didn't say the right wing dominates the media. He said there was a concerted effort to intimidate the media. Try reading that again.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Sun Oct 16, 05:00:00 AM:

The media love to flatter themselves that there is some kind of concerted conspiracy to "silence" them, despite the complete and total lack of evidence to support this obscene and hysterical notion.

It makes them feel important. Whoopie.

Show me how they've been "intimidated". We all await with interest the uncovering of the mass graves where the BushReich has secreted the bodies of journalists who have accused the military of "targeting" them, the President of lying, etc, ad nauseam with impugnity for 5 years now.

A subjective decision to feel persecuted when no one is doing anything to you is not intimidation. They need to move to Europe or any other nation where there is true lack of freedom of the press - then perhaps they will understand how good they have it.  

By Blogger Catchy Pseudonym, at Mon Oct 17, 02:45:00 PM:

"A subjective decision to feel persecuted when no one is doing anything to you is not intimidation..."

That statement is coming from a right winger who's party's rallying blog cry is the constant whine "we're being persecuted by the MSM."

Who's truly playing the victim card here?  

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