Friday, August 11, 2006

Since When Did Common Sense Become "Extremist"?

Poor Mark Hyman. As the country increasingly turns against the policies of the Bush administration he champions, he grows increasingly reliant on hyperbole and propagandistic techniques in a desperate attempt to portray his own views as mainstream.

A great recent example is his
commentary on the Lamont/Lieberman primary. Speaking a couple of days before the vote, Hyman engages in a bit of preemptive eulogizing of the senator from Connecticut, praising him as his party’s “last gentleman” who is perhaps the only current Democratic senator “who stand[s] on principle over politics.”

How does Hyman define “principles”? Being a vocal supporter of continuing the Iraq war.

In an example of blanket ad hominem attack, Hyman suggests that anyone who raises an objection to the war is doing so for political reasons, not principles. Then, in a moment of unintended hilarity, Hyman turns around and chastises the Democratic party for becoming “intolerant toward a diversity of viewpoints.”

I can’t make this stuff up.

He also calls those who oppose the war “pro-surrender” and says that if they had been around during World War II, we’d all be speaking German and Japanese now.

Perhaps someone should remind Hyman that some of the very first and most vocal critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq folly were members of the military. If you read the recent book
Fiasco by Tom Ricks, you get a detailed picture of how opposed much of the military was to the invasion, complaining to Rumsfeld and others in the administration that such a move would hamper our efforts to combat terrorism, get us bogged down in a hostile region for years and years, and get a lot of people needlessly killed. Of course, the administration ignored the input of the guys who would actually have to carry out the invasion, and as a result, every dire prediction made by the folks in the military has come horribly true.

And now, over sixty percent of Americans also oppose the war. But Hyman would style this overwhelming majority as advocates of “surrender” who “don’t support our troops.”

Even if you are a proponent of the war, you can’t claim objection to it is an “extremist” position. It’s supporters of the war who are on the political fringes. As for supporting the troops, not only *can* one be against the war but support the troops, but I would argue one *has* to be against the war to support the troops at this point. In what way is championing an invasion based on flimsy “evidence” against a country that posed no immediate threat and doing so without the troops, equipment, or exit strategy that military planners insisted would be necessary for success “supporting the troops”?

Perhaps we should have “supported the troops” by listening to them before putting them in harm’s way. And perhaps we should get them out of harm’s way now that military force has done all it can, rather than letting them become sacrificial lambs to the neo-con idol of gunbarrel diplomacy.

Hyman, and others in the conservative prattle-sphere (including members of the Bush administration itself) are now engaged in therapeutic self-talk, trying to convince themselves that it’s the Democrats who are the extremists. The reality is, though, that Lamont’s position on the Iraq war is now not only the dominant view in the country, but is even being embraced by a number of high profile Republicans (e.g., Chuck Hagel).

These talking heads define “principled” and “mainstream” as agreeing with the agenda of the Bush administration and “bipartisanship” as supporting the right wing of the Republican party, even when prominent conservatives vilify Democrats and equate bipartisanship with
date rape. Only by granting these illogical premises can one spin the victory of Ned Lamont as a win for extremist, partisan politics.

Rather, it’s simply a sign of an electorate coming to its senses.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.78


At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Herbert Birdsfoot said...

'Hyman engages in a bit of preemptive eulogizing of the senator from Connecticut, praising him as his party’s “last gentleman”'

I wonder if Zell Miller was the democrat's "second to last gentleman".

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

According to Hyman, he was. Apparently you can't be a "principled" Democrat unless you bash fellow Democrats.


At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Lieberman's channelling of Dead-Eye Dick Cheney was truly revolting.

The wisdom of Connecticut voters was confirmed by Lieberman's nasty, desperate comments of late. Let's leave war-mongering to the War Monger Party.


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