If youda ast me, I coulda toldjah

After Elliot Abrams lands on Newt Gingrich, The American Spectator discovers that Abrams is a congenital liar.

When scoundrels fall out, honest folk get to laugh. The American Spectator suddenly discovers that Elliot Abrams is a $%&#ing liar.


The bad news is that, absent yet another unexpected plot twist, Romney is going to win in Florida, and that Santorum might well – based on his strong performance last night – get enough votes to keep him in the mix. Intrade is now showing Romney as 87% likely to be the nominee, and I can’t say the bettors are wrong.

The good news is that when Gingrich looked as if he were finished after Iowa, his response was to go kamikaze after Romney. I’m not sure what game Adelson is playing – at this point the Gingrich campaign is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Adelson operation – but if Adelson continues to shell out, Gingrich might do a lot of damage to Romney on the way down.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

12 thoughts on “If youda ast me, I coulda toldjah”

  1. The American Spectator may be right … or maybe not.

    But quoting the Congressional Record for the words of a speech is surely a funny way to make your case, isn’t it? Considering that Senators and Representatives get to edit their words prior to publication.

  2. That’s the strangest piece of conspircay theoretic, badly-written-and-argued gibberish I have read in a long time. Note to self: Reading The American Spectator destroys brain cells and reduces intelligence.

  3. One unintentionally interesting thing about the Spectator’s little piece is that in retrospect the conservative critics of Reagan’s approach to Russia ere proven massively wrong. Not that being wrong was unusual for them, but it is sweet to read it in the American Spectator.

  4. It is true that Gingrich was actually saying the Reagan administration should have been more substantively anti-communist to match its rhetorical anti-communism, but the American Spectator article is full of so much indignation over Abrams and the media that the actual factual content is buried near the middle of the article. When the factual content is finally presented, it looks like Gingrich mostly did say what Abrams said that Gingrich said. The spirit of what Gingrich said was different from the anti-Reaganism that Abrams said but also from the irrelevant and simpering hero-worship of Reagan’s persona that the American Spectator article suggests.

    The American Spectator then points to a critical remark made by Gingrich 25 YEARS AGO about ABC News as being related to ABC News decision to interview Gingrich’s ex-wife about what Gingrich’s treatment of her 20 YEARS AGO. It seems much more likely that ABC News thought that (1) viewers would like to learn about Gingrich’s past treatment of women and (2) the public should know about Gingrich’s treatment of women than that there is some intergenerational vendetta between ABC News and Gingrich. Additionally, the American Spectator revels in Gingrich’s supposed demolition of ABC News in the debate when he was asked about his treatment of his ex-wife, while current evidence suggests that Gingrich’s angry claim that ABC News refused to interview family friends who would vindicate Gingrich on his treatment of his ex-wife was not true, and that he merely suggested that they interview his daughters from his first marriage. Now what Gingrich said seems to be an actual and flagrant mistruth about something that would have happened in the past few weeks as opposed to Abrams’ misrepresentation about something that happened in the 1980s which is realy too trivial to be indignant when the mainstream media do not follow up on it, even if it makes sense to be offended about what Abrams himself said if you are pro-Gingrich.

    The American Spectator = The Nation
    National Review = Mother Jones
    Weekly Standard = The New Republic
    American Conservative = The Progressive
    Wall Street Journal = New York Times
    Is that right?

    1. Wido, shouldn’t we also mention that ABC News didn’t seek out Newt’s wife; rather, her lawyer *called a press conference.*

    2. While I’m not terribly familiar with the conservative magazines listed, your list is cockeyed in a number of ways.

      I doubt The American Spectator is as far from the Republican Party as The Nation is from the Democratic party. I also doubt it runs serious investigative reporting of the sort that The Nation does – albeit that The Nation only does so a few times a year.

      Mother Jones seems to be wholly unlike anything else on the list in that it mostly does reporting, all over the world. Mostly on issues of interest to liberals, but not necessarily ones with a lot of partisan political valence. It also isn’t terribly close to the Democratic party, except by default. I don’t know if Mother Jones has any parallel on the right, but it’s for damn sure not the National Review. You might consider The American Prospect, which is a magazine about politics and policy (and little else) from a highly-institutionalized-center-left perspective, and might in that way be the mirror image of The National Review.

      When I ended my subscription in disgust a decade ago, The New Republic was a right-wing rag only notable for once having been close to Democrats and still not being terribly fond of most Republicans. Unless it’s changed dramatically, the notion that it’s comparable to the fanatically partisan Weekly Standard is absurd.

      I read neither The Progressive (I like what I’ve seen, but there is only so much time) nor The American Conservative. My impression from what I’ve seen of the latter is that it’s not terribly close to the current Republican Party, so those may indeed be mirror images of each other.

      When it comes to the newspapers, you have to separate the news reporting from the editorial pages – if you can. I’d argue that The New York Times’s news plays it straight, sometimes pathologically so as when their ombudsman recently asked whether lies in the statements of politicians should be exposed in the story reporting them; the Wall Street Journal used to be famous for doing a fine job of impartial, honest reporting despite its frequently dishonest editorial page, but there have been concerns and anecdotes since Murdoch took over. Surely you don’t think the New York Times editorials are even nearly as liberal as the Wall Street Journal’s are conservative?

      1. “The New York Times plays it straight” What the hell are you smoking? As a liberal I have no use for the Pro Israel, pro war, pro bailout, anti Palestinian New York Times. No paper with Brooks and Douthat can be considered playing it straight. The New York Times has changed from their once liberal position many years ago into what I as a liberal would call complete conservatism, they have absolutely no honest liberal positions whatsoever. As for the American Spectator it is nothing more then total right wing propaganda…The folks who put that magazine out should be shot for treason.

        1. Ten points for passion, none for reading comprehension. I explicitly separated the news coverage of the New York Times from the editorial pages, which would account for the bailouts, Douthat, and Brooks, and might account for Israel/Palestine (depending on whether your complaint was about their editorials or the tendency of their news coverage to ignore the Palestinian perspective). I didn’t really say much about the Times‘s editorial stance because honestly I don’t read their editorials, or any of their columnists other than Krugman. I’d probably guess they’re down-the-line DLC Democrat – i.e. nominally Demoratic, and in favor of most of the Democratic accomplishments of the last u80 years, but far too friendly to Goldman-Sachs, Northrop-Grumman, Archer-Daniels-Midland, and the MPAA.

          As for The American Spectator, I probably haven’t looked at a single copy in at least a decade; I was talking more about Wido’s skewed perspective on liberal (or in the case of TNR “Even The Liberal”) magazines.

  5. Romney as 87% likely to be the nominee, and I can’t say the bettors are wrong.

    Yep. All Gingrich had to do was keep it simple stupid: Whatever you do dummy just don’t howl at the moon.
    But that was like asking Romney to do a whole debate without preening on about “firing” someone.

    Good grief.
    What a cock-up of clowns.

  6. Let’s recall that Gingrich, Kruathammer, Kirkpatrick and George Will were ripping Reagan in 1986 because he had gone dovish. They said his dovish policies would only make the Soviets stronger. As we know, the dovish policies were the ones Nancy Reagan pushed because she liked Gorby (hated his wife Raisa, though) and because she was truly afraid if Reagan did not, there might be an accidental nuclear exchange. And those dovish policies proved far more effective than the bellicose policies of the first Reagan term. See jim Miller’s book on this, and anything from George Kennan in the late 1980s or 1990s. If anything, the only argument the conservative elements in the Soviet Union had against Gorby and his reformers was Reagan’s insistence on SDI (cutely called “Star Wars” technology). Only when Gorby convinced the military it was a boondoggle for American military contractors did they relent from their opposition to Gorby’s policies of further talks with Reagan and beginning to limit nuclear weaponry, and ultimately releasing Eastern Europe from Soviet military domination.

    Mark Kleiman is caught up in the silly season to some extent here. The Spectator will soon forgive Abrams as they are clearly birds of a feather.

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