Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why bullshit permeates our politics

The New York Times ballyhoos baldly hypocritical Republican threats to filibuster Obama nominees as "storm clouds."

Reporter Neil Lewis then tiptoes ever so gingerly around the hypocrisy with this bit of indirection: "These are certainly different times."

Office of Legal Counsel nominee Dawn Johnsen's language was harsh, the story says, but the strongest Lewis can find is "outlandish" and "shockingly flawed." Anyone following the OLC torture memo controversy and its companion pimping dictatorial Presidential power ("unitary executive") might be forgiven for finding her language too mild. If she had called a festering stew of lies, bullshit, and the will to fascism, she would not have been out of line.

For her language, now the consensus of non-wingnut legal observers, John Cornyn (R-Bushism) terms her not serious. This is well-known Beltway-speak for "unwilling to go along with the arrogant stupidity of the king in his new clothes."

Then the wingnut blogs weigh in, accusing Johnsen of equating pregnancy with slavery. Any moron who tries can see plainly that the comparison she made was between involuntary pregnancy and involuntary servitude. But this is a common rhetorical technique of the Republican noise machine. (Remember: If you're against Petraeus, you're against the military.) The fact that it's arrant bullshit is beneath the Times's willingness to observe. That wouldn't sustain the false equivalence between Republican crap and reality.

Last, Lewis grants Republican Senators anonymity to float their "strategy." He's either in on the game or contemptibly naive enough to think that his story is not part of their strategy.

Why does bullshit permeate our politics? Because the media makes no effort whatsoever to filter it out.

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