The Party of (assassinating) Lincoln

Rand Paul’s social media director and co-author thinks that the bad thing about the murder of Abraham Lincoln was that it made Lincoln a hero, when he was actually not only “the worst President” but “one of the worst figures in American history.”

Rand Paul – not, of course, to be confused with his racist, anti-Semitic, crooked gold bug of a father, but a serious candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016 – hired as a “co-author” (i.e., ghostwriter) and “social media director” a neo-Confederate former shock jock who regards praising Lincoln as equivalent to “worshipping Satan” and who every year toasts John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.

Naturally, the silence from Paul’s libertarian admirers has been deafening.

Update Matt Welch at Reason Hit & Run calls Paul’s co-author on his “weird crap.” (See this earlier Welch post – directed at Ron Paul rather than his slimy son – for the weird history of libertarian flirtation with white-populist resentment.) A commenter points to an earlier post (by a Cato Institute staffer but not on the Cato website) disowning the Paul candidacy based on the new revelations.

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

82 thoughts on “The Party of (assassinating) Lincoln”

  1. And Democrats associate with Al Sharpton. The President was pals with an unrepentant terrorist, I’m pretty sure you can’t say that of Paul. Is guilt by association only for Republicans?

    Oh, wait, you’re a proud political hack, who revels in over the top partisanship. Of course it is.

    Lincoln was somewhat of a mixed bag, liberty wise. He freed a lot of slaves, for all that he denied that was his aim in pursuing the war, and aspired to export them to the new nation of Liberia, as he was a separatist. He didn’t have much tolerance for trifles like freedom of the press, or the great Writ, either.

    So, while on net he might have advanced the cause of liberty, I for on have no confidence of where that bottom line would have stood had he lived to rule longer, and can little argue with Booth’s battle cry, “Sic semper tyranis”. Indeed, thus to tyrants, and Lincoln was certainly one, though not only one.

    1. The neo-confederate impulse really isn’t far from the surface in folks like Brett, is it?

    2. I’m sorry, Al Sharpton???? Oh, right, he once was part of an unjust accusation launched at a white man. Even though that was, what, 25 years ago? “Once an uppity n****r, always an uppity n****r” should be Brett’s motto. If it isn’t already.

      1. If you think that’s the only problem with Al Sharpton, I suggest you do a little more reading.

    3. Jefferson Davis also suspended Habeus Corpus. Despite many truthful things you said though Brett, do you think it a good sign that Paul signed a neo-confederate to ghost write his book?

  2. There is this thing called google, and all it takes is about 30 seconds to find a prominent Cato libertarian building on the Free Beacon piece and shitting all over Paul and Hunter. But I guess Kuznicki’s post doesn’t jibe with the way in which you want your ideological opponents to act. EPIC Ideological Turing Test FAIL. I’d say I’ll wait for you to update this post but that would require some level of intellectual honesty to admit that you might have let your personal feelings towards libertarianism (excuse me, what you think libertarianism is) in making an absurd and easily refutable claim. http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2013/07/rand-paul-the-confederacy-and-liberty/

    1. Is the piece you refer to on the Cato site? I don’t like to visit websites I’ve never heard of. I have NIS, but still you never know.

      I might enjoy watching someone on the right denounce racism.

      1. The piece is posted by Jason Kuznicki a research fellow at Cato but on the League of Ordinary Gentleman blog not Cato’s. See below for another critique of Paul/Hunter at Cato’s libertarianism.org. Kuznicki and libertarians are not on the right, of the right, or anything close to it. The philosophy of libertarianism is rooted in the Enlightenment Liberalism of Hume, Smith, Locke, etc. Just because modern day people call themselves liberals does not mean they are classical liberals in accord with what liberalism actually meant up until the last 50 years when it became essentially egalitarianism. Classical liberals/libertarians are actually natural allies with the left. The vast majority of the intellectual heft and those within in the classical liberal/libertarian movement are in fact bleeding heart libertarians and neoclassical liberals who basically despise the right, advocate for alliances with the left and would call people like Paul, Paul Ryan, Jack Hunter, and the whole cohort of right-libertarian/phony constitutional conservatism vulgar libertarians/Rothbardians.

        Oh, and Mark, here is one more for you..http://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/why-libertarian-defenses-confederacy-states-rights-are-incoherent

        1. Yes, yes, the important thing about Libertarianism is the purity of a few of its most intellectual adherents. We should all ignore that in the real world Libertarianism is a well-funded, tightly controlled front for the worst impulss of the Conservatives, it’s the tool they use to crush workers and despoil the environment; they have other tools for their Evangelical impulses and other priorities inconsistent with Libertarianism. Sure, there are principled libertarians – some, like Balko, even get on the Wingnuts’ payroll, to camouflage the true nature of the organization they serve.

          In other words: all your impassioned nonsense about the “real” Llibertarians really shouldn’t distract us from the actual purposes to which actual existing Libertarian narratives and organizations are put.

        2. I will check out that second linked piece, but I have to say, the self-described libertarians I know are in no way anywhere close to being liberals. So I wonder, at what point does it make sense to cling to what a label meant 50 years ago? Unless you enjoy constantly having to explain yourself! Sounds tiring.

          Anyway, thanks for the link. It used to be, when I was feeling lethargic, I would read anything by Mickey Kaus and instantly feel enraged. But that thrill faded. Maybe this will be a more positive version.

          1. I would read anything by Mickey Kaus and instantly feel enraged.

            How? Mickey Kaus’s positions may be enraging, but the only feeling his writings created in me was an immediate urge to read something — anything — else instead. No matter what the subject, he is a terrible writer. And not even in the “so bad it makes me angry” sense.

          2. It *was* his positions that *energized* me. I didn’t find his writing style problematic. For some reason, the trick doesn’t work anymore. I’ll have to find something else.

    2. Well, excu-u-u-u-se me! The “prominent Cato libertarian” is someone I’d never heard of, and the post isn’t on the Cato site but on a blog I’d never heard of. Memeorandum shows no libertarian site picking up the story. My Google search for “libertarian criticizing Rand Paul Lincoln” gets only the same Kuznicki post Dino found, and on the basis of which he chose to impugn my intellectual honesty. Nothing on Volokh. Nothing on Instapundit. Nothing on the Libertarian Party site. Nothing on Cato. Nothing on Reason Hit & Run. That still sounds like fairly “deafening” silence to me, but Your Hearing May Vary.

      1. The “prominent Cato libertarian” is someone I’d never heard of… So he’s obviously nobody. Of course, many libertarians are quite familiar with his work. I’ll bet you know a lot of progressive think-tank authors that I’m not familiar with. Nobodies, I say!

        and the post isn’t on the Cato site but on a blog I’d never heard of… Well, the League (one of my favorite blogs) has heard of you! I guess you’re more famous than Jason K (or infamous, as the case may be). Congratulations.

    3. Boyfriend can write.

      “There is only one legal term that seems quite to do them justice. That term is hostis humani generis: The founders of Confederacy were the enemies of all mankind, as admiralty law holds slave-takers to be.”

      Nice.

      1. oops, should have said — this quote is from the first linked, Kuznicki(?) piece.

        The second one is okay too. But boy was it news to me that there *were* people who claimed both libertarianism and support for the Confederacy. Um, what the foxtrot????

        1. As a semi-response to Brett: I do recognize the possibility of redemption. Especially for the stupid stuff we all (mostly) did in our 20s, say.

          The thing is, redemption comes after repentance and restitution. It’s not to be handed out for free. If you do that, it becomes meaningless.

          And I’m thinking that Paul could’ve found another ghost writer. It can’t possibly be that hard to find one. So, no deal for him … as of yet.

    4. Dino is correct. The RBC’s caricature of libertarians as right-wing racists is every bit as dishonestly distorted as the right’s misrepresentation of liberals as left-wing communists.

      If you want to know how a liberal really thinks, would you ask a Tea Partier? One should take any outsider’s depiction of other parties with the same fine-grain of salt.

      I find “liberals”‘ open disgust for libertarianism fascinating, given that fact that libertarianism is closest to classical liberalism than any other common ideology. It goes to show how far the “progressive” movement has distanced itself from liberalism, and taken a lot of the left with it. Substitute classism for racism and you can’t hardly tell them from republicans these days. Sadly, both major parties seem to have completely forgotten about liberty.

      1. When libertarians start criticizing – and voting against – the pervasive racism and misogyny of the contemporary Republican Party, come back and tell me about how close they are to classical liberalism. Until then, what Warren Terra said.

        1. Well, excu-u-u-u-se me for not being critical enough of the Republican Party for you. And how do you think you know who libertarians vote for? We have our own candidates, ya know?

          It’s clear to me that Mark probably can’t be bothered to do so, but for those honestly wanting to know what the libertarians are all about, (as opposed to accepting the third-hand opinions of those openly hostile to the party), the Libertarian Party’s platform is publicly available. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to visit some right-wing sites to learn the truth about you “libruls”.

          1. Thanks for the link, but this stuff is not surprising to me in the least. It is pretty much what I would expect to hear from a libertarian.

            I think some of you have misinterpreted Mark’s post. He’s just trying to criticize a *specific* libertarian, Sen. Paul. He did not say that all of you are a bunch of racists. No one here has said that. I didn’t even know there was a weirdo subgroup of Confederate libertarians!!! Guess I need to get out more.

          2. All he said that could be taken that way is that the rest of the Libertarian establishment — on which, I am no expert — was being too quiet.

            I have no idea who is or isn’t a prominent enough libertarian to refute this.

            I suppose though, that perhaps one ought to give some sort of handicap to a group of people who don’t like structure?

          3. NCG: I think some of you have misinterpreted Mark’s post. He’s just trying to criticize a *specific* libertarian, Sen. Paul.

            Rand Paul is a member of the Republican party, not the Libertarian party. Most libertarians I know (myself included) hold him in no higher esteem than Mark does. We don’t identify with him and he doesn’t identify with us. He’s simply not a libertarian, never has been, and his father wasn’t even one for long, having left the party decades ago for not being racist enough for his tastes.* Why should libertarians give a crap who he hires? Part of being a libertarian is understanding the value of minding our own business and letting fools fail on their own.

            He did not say that all of you are a bunch of racists.

            No, what he said was that some republican hired some racist creep and “Naturally, the silence from Paul’s libertarian admirers” (whoever he thinks they are — he didn’t bother to name any) “has been deafening”.

            All he said that could be taken that way is that the rest of the Libertarian establishment — on which, I am no expert — was being too quiet.

            So we agree on that.

            I have no idea who is or isn’t a prominent enough libertarian to refute this.

            It doesn’t need refuting — it’s too silly to refute. Should I scold you for your silence next time, say, Joe Leiberman does something I don’t like and many people might find objectionable, playing “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” to link you and those you identify with to the BAD THING? Anyone over the age of 12 should be able to see through that nonsense.

            * From Mark’s second link in his update:

            “In 1988, when I ran for president on the Libertarian Party ticket,” the Ron Paul Political Report stated in January 1991, “I was berated for hours by LP members because I had refused to vote, while in Congress, for a Martin Luther King national holiday.

            The Pauls said goodbye and we said good riddance a long time ago. You can all quit pretending libertarians have any need to distance ourselves from what they do now — the distance is already there.

          4. Charles:

            Perhaps I should have quoted the rest of the paragraph for those who decline to follow the link and read for themselves:

            I didn’t know then about his plagiarism, but the rest of King’s crimes were clear. J. Edgar Hoover once called him ‘the most dangerous man in America.’ Who would have known the danger would continue after his death and threaten to strangle our culture?”

          5. You can all quit pretending libertarians have any need to distance ourselves from what they do now — the distance is already there.

            This would be more convincing if I didn’t know a bunch of people who call themselves libertarians who also love Ron Paul.

          6. Freeman: thanks. I actually didn’t realize Paul was a registered Republican. This will be a fun fact with which to badger my libertarian friends. (Note: I don’t know that they are members of your party either though, come to think of it.) I think it is the Tea Party that has confused me. You probably don’t want to talk about them!!! Ha ha, me neither.

            I confess, from my perspective, I am a bit relieved, since it means libertarians are even farther from ever taking over. Sorry if that hurts your feelings. But, we can still mostly agree on certain things, like drug policy.

          7. NCG: I think it is the Tea Party that has confused me.

            You are not to be faulted for that. Most Tea Partiers I know seem to be confused about it as well. The ones I know are, every one, registered republicans. They claim a kinship with libertarianism when libertarian principles advance their arguments, but completely ignore liberty in their efforts to oppose their opponents (you know who).

            I confess, from my perspective, I am a bit relieved, since it means libertarians are even farther from ever taking over. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

            Not at all! I should have been more clear in my earlier posts. I am not a registered libertarian, I remain the independent voter I have always been. Right now I identify closest with the Libertarian Party principles, but I’m well aware of the corrupting influence of power (just look what happened to classical liberalism!), and I’ve always said that if the Libertarian Party ever came to power, I would have to start looking elsewhere for candidates to support.

          8. J. Niel: This would be more convincing if I didn’t know a bunch of people who call themselves libertarians who also love Ron Paul.

            I’m a pretty big fan of Ron Paul’s VOTING RECORD, not so much his personality. In that sense, you have a point — there is little distance between Ron Paul’s voting record and how most libertarians might vote on the same issues. But the topic of discussion isn’t Ron Paul’s voting record, it’s the personal history of Rand Paul’s ghost writer. There’s all kinds of distance between libertarian ideals and the crap he’s been saying, and it’s disingenuous to the extreme to say libertarians need to distance themselves from THAT.

        2. P.S. Some relevant parts:

          3.5 Rights and Discrimination

          Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. This statement shall not be construed to condone child abuse or neglect.

          4.0 Omissions

          Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.

          1. Hi Freeman,

            As the One True Socialist, I welcome your commitment to not ask me to defend Stalin, Mao, Bill Ayers, or capital C communism when debating the merits of “liberty” and “private property”. Fair is fair, right?

            Politics is messy and brutal. We all (yes you, too, Doc Kleiman) have our ghosts and blood on our hands. But we do what we can do.

          2. Bobbyp: I welcome your commitment to not ask me to defend Stalin, Mao, Bill Ayers, or capital C communism when debating the merits of “liberty” and “private property”. Fair is fair, right?

            Absolutely right. I wouldn’t think of asking you to defend anything but your own statements.

    1. Does attacking Obama make Rand Pauls’ choice of a neo-Confederate shock jock a good one?

      Hint, by the way: normal people got barraged with the garbage about Obama “pallin’ around with terrorists” and gave it the bums rush. Twice. The fact that this didn’t work in two consecutive presidential elections would buy most people a clue. And ranting about Communists in 2013 is roughly the equivalent of ranting about Free Silver or the gold standard. Do try to keep up.

      1. Hint, by the way: normal people got barraged with the garbage about Obama “pallin’ around with terrorists” and gave it the bums rush.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardine_Dohrn#Role_in_policymaking.2C_ideology_and_public_statements_for_Weather_Underground
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers#Involvement_with_Weather_Underground

        You can’t overturn a historical fact by reciting an election result. Do try to keep up.

        Reality-Based Community 4 Life!!! (Or until Mark kicks me out – which is probably imminent.)

        1. Bernardine Dohrn is like Michelle Bachmann; if they had looked like Barbara Mikulski, no one would ever have heard of either of them.

    2. Barack Obama’s political career was launched by a rag-tag group of terrorists, communist sympathizers, anti-white extremists and slum-lords

      Can you be more specific? How, exactly, did these people “launch” Barack Obama’s career? What roles did they play in this supposed “launching?”

  3. I was tempted to remove both Brett’s and LOL’s posts, since they consist mostly statements false-to-fact. But since Brett has been well spanked, I’ll leave them up, on the Jeffersonian principle of allowing error as long as truth is free to combat it. But just for the record: Rand Paul’s actual current collaboration with, and hiring of, someone who celebrates Lincoln’s murder is not in fact equivalent to right-wing fantasies about Barack Obama’s past connections with various bogey-men.

    1. Mark, if you’re denying that Obama has associated with Ayers, then I’m not the delusional one here.

      1. Brett,
        You are asserting an equivalence between, on the one hand, a young Chicago lawyer (with higher ambitions) getting invited to join a prestigous local charitable organization that also features Ayers as a member – and on the other hand a sitting US Senator choosing as his ghostwriter a long-time advocate of racism.

        Ayers was and is slime, but Obama didn’t hire him, and the organization Obama joined may have featured Ayers but wasn’t defined by him. Paul could have chosen any of many dozens of conservative or libertarian intellectuals to ghostwrite for him, and this was the guy he not only felt most comfortable with and akin to, but felt was appropriate to attach his name to.

        1. Brett, like everybody else on the rabid right, is caught in an endlessly repeating narrative loop that’s been playing nonstop since 2008. It’s The Song That Never Ends.

          1. Funny that you found time to respond to stratplayer, Brett, but not the Warren Terra comment that they were replying to. I wonder why.

        2. Just one further item in furtherance of Warren’s point: if you read the stories about Mr. Hunter’s antics (and with me having spent a fair amount of time in “The Treason State” I’m not unfamiliar with his ilk), you’ll notice this is all relatively recent stuff, a goodly part of it within one of the most public of forums, commercial broadcast radio! There is no reason the actions of “The Southern Avenger” now being discussed shouldn’t have been daylighted with even the most cursory web searches, prior to his employment as a ghostwriter.

          Oh, and in response to Brett’s 1st comment: I am registered as a Democrat. I have never “associated” with Al Sharpton in any way, shape, form or fashion. I think your claim is that some specific individuals, but not all, Democrats associate with him. Rand Paul positively chose Mr. Hunter to do this work. And so the equivalent claim is not possible to make in an honest fashion. By definition, he had both a political and business relationship with the man.

          As we used to say in the Carolinas, “Lay down with dogs…”

          I’d rather not wade into the “are the denunciations strong enough from the right (ahem) quarters” emphatic enough portion of the argument, for I don’t feel it’s very productive.

    1. I don’t read Reason regularly (ever). Are the writers always so wishy-washy?
      “Stepped away?” What the foxtrot is that? I think it means, “total failure to account for himself, and I am giving it a pass. He’s such a nice guy otherwise…”
      What was Paul’s vetting process? Um, either there *wasn’t* one, or he’s “overly comfortable” (euphemism for either a fellow traveler or just batsh*t) with, um …

      You know what? I’m not even sure what to call it. “Confederate multiculturalist.” What IS that? Because it *seems* to mean, random Anglo-y person who really, really wishes there were some intellectually respectable way to be a Confederate in this day and age, and has cognitively collapsed under the strain.

      Give it up, fellas. The South had to lose. It deserved to lose. And it did. (And yes, we can all still be sorry about all those dead people.)

      1. Oops, before we get into a huge thing, I should clarify. The South deserved to lose because it was trying to kidnap thousands of innocent black people.
        At the same time, I have never believed the Civil War was over anything besides slavery. I know, that may be a huge issue for the “Confederate multiculturalists,” but oh well. No way I am investing the time on that. Back under the rocks you go! She said, very very rudely.

    2. […]
      Reason is firmly in the anti-neoconfederate camp. In 2008 they reported on the racist newsletters put out under Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s name and criticized the presidential candidate for allying himself with that strain in libertarianism. In response, they received scores of angry letters accusing them of selling out the movement. The neo-confederates are largely centered around libertarian author Lew Rockwell (who worked with Paul and is widely suspected to have written the offensive newsletters), his website LewRockwell.com and his think-tank the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

      It’s difficult to police any political movement — but especially one that prides itself on championing freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas.
      […]

      The libertarian war over the Civil War

  4. Let’s see; we need a way to compare the “observed” libertarian comments on the situation with the “expected” number. The story appears to have broken earlier today, perhaps 8 hours ago. We need to know (on average) how many postings a particular website has per day, how many posts they have entered since this information became public, and how many of those deal with this story. A Tea Party blog that posts only twice a week, for example, would have an expected total number of posts about 0.1, while a blog that posts 12 times per day would have an expected number of posts on all topics of about 4. If the latter has had no posts in the last 8 hours, the absolute value of (observed-expected) is 4.

    It would be a tedious exercise to make this calculation across a large number of conservative websites, but it ought to be possible in principle. One could count the total number of postings in the past 8 hours on all topics and count and categorize their topics. Red State has 10 postings between 10 AM and 5:22 pm, none of them about Rand Paul but several about Obama and other favorite right wing grievances.

    That looks like the start of a pattern.

  5. I kind of appreciate the Paul family, because they help to illuminate the relationship between extraordinary hostility towards the idea of Jewish self-determination in Israel — i.e., anti-Zionism — and plain old anti-Semitistm and racism.

    The gold-buggery and it’s relationship to conspiracy-theoretic conceptualizations of modern banking and the Federal Reserve are of course icing on this cake. One has to wonder whether this would be quite so … relevant… if the Chair of the Federal Reserve didn’t happen to be named Benjamin Shalom Bernanke.

    But, hey, maybe there are people who love this blog who feel exactly the same way as the Pauls about Israel… not to mention Bernanke.

    Mark et al. keep thinking this is some kind of co-ink-e-dink.

  6. I think some of the sympathy that Ron Paul generated from Libertarians was due to his opposition to the War on Drugs. Sometimes it’s more important to consider someones policy choices rather than than their character. There are a lot of black people in jail for drug offenses. There has been a lot of harm done to the black community due to the drug war. Does it matter if Ron Paul might have some questionable personal beliefs but has taken a position to curtail the drug war? Or is it better to follow a liberal like Hillary Clinton who believes that the style of cocaine preferred by black people (smoke-able rock) deserves to be punished 18x more harshly than the white preferred cocaine (powder).

    I’d vote for the racist with non-racist policy, rather than the non-racist with a racist policy.

    1. Or you might search for a candidate who is racist neither in character or policy. Hint: they tend to be labelled “Democrat” on the ballot sheet.

      1. No, that’s a non-starter, because it’s not even remotely true. Democrats, once you set aside the Aryan Nation and the like, are about the only people in the US who openly SUPPORT racial discrimination. Racial quotas in admissions and hiring? An explicit Democratic policy position, you’re not trying to get them overturned, you’re defending them.

        Now, you won’t admit that favoring racial discrimination is racist, but those of us who want genuine equal treatment aren’t obligated to humor your tendentious definitions of things like “racism” or “civil liberties”, which automatically make you the good guys in any comparison.

        1. Ah ha. In the face of the historical record, in denial of all evidence of the extent of current white racism (both personal and institutional), assume a definition that any policy to correct this is racist. Where does this lead? Democrats support racist policies! Black voters are overwhelmingly Democrats! Hence blacks are the real racists. QED

          Al Sharpton!!!!

      2. Can’t agree with that one James: for the last 25 years, since the ascendency of the neoliberals and the Washington Monthly crowd, mainstream Democratic politicians have been voting heavily in favor of the War on (Some) Drugs, harsh penalties for personal drug use, militarization of police forces, etc. It is part of the ‘being realistic’, hippie-punching strategy of the DLC plan to defeat Republicans by voting for their policies.

        Cranky

    2. If you read Caro’s LBJ bio in progress, it is clear that one can be personally repellent with gigantic character flaws and failures to a historic degree … And to be among the best persons in history for the policy, even on plocies where you are personally the most repellent. Tis a wonder, for sure, but tis so nonetheless.

      And I want to ask whether this post upholds the “don’t vilify people” standard that I’m told obtains around here. At least for some people.

  7. Obama has his own shock-jock, the foul-mouthed and hateful Dan Savage, who for some bizarre reason has become some sort of anti-bullying guru. Savage has been a guest of the White House and his project, “It Gets Better” is given a special page on the White House website. President Obama, VP Biden, Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials have all recorded videos for the project.

    Among other utterances, Savage has:

    seen an “upside of oral cancer” should a former vice-presidenital candidate contract the ailment;

    expressed a wish that the Republicans “were all fucking dead”;

    of a Green Senatorial candidate who might have taken away votes from the Democrat, wished that “he should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope”;

    said that he wanted to “hate-fuck” a ring-wing GOP senator.

    I understand the desire to stand up against bullying, but isn’t there a way of doing it without jumping into bed with Savage?

    I don’t think it does much good discussing which one is worse, Hunter or Savage. As Alice remarked regarding the Walrus and the Carpenter, “Well! They are both very unpleasant characters.”

    Where’s the criticism of Savage from the left? Or of Obama for having anything to do with him?

      1. OK. I read your comment below, and here’s one response.

        I wouldn’t defend the comments rachelrachel quotes, but Savage’s It Gets Better campaign is extremely worthwhile. Hunter’s white supremacist advocacy is loathesome.

        If you are going to compare his shock-jock stuff to anyone maybe it should be Limbaugh, who likely has a much larger audience, and certainly is much more influential in GOP circles than Savage is in Democratic ones. Indeed, he attracts top GOP’ers, including Cheney, to his show. In addition, as we’ve seen, woe betide any GOP politician who criticizes him, yet he is vastly more toxic than Savage. In addition, Savage has apologized for at least some of his comments. So the tu quoque, which of course is no defense of Hunter, is a little weak on its own terms, it seems to me.

        1. This is not unreasonable, but there are, after all, other responsible people out there spreading the same message that “It gets better.” The same message unalloyed with bitterness could serve the intended audience better than a statement which seems to show that the speaker is still hurting, however vociferously he proclaims that it is better.

          Dan Savage’s excesses seem to come from blurting things out (maybe coming from the “reptilian” brain) rather than writing things out (which comes more from the cerebral cortex). This would give them a less premeditated character and therefore a less sinister aura than comes when a man sits and intentionally writes things that cannot be attributed to a sudden surge of emotion.

          Nevertheless responsible persons in the Democratic Party need to disavow hate speech whatever its source. Politicians distance themselves from inconvenient supporters all the time; it is as routine for them as cutting ribbons and kissing babies.

          1. I’m can’t speak for Savage, but I would have to suspect that his “excess” comes from growing up in a time and place where “certain factions of society” would have beaten him to death if had revealed his sexual orientation, and later where conservatives in general and Republicans in particular worked (and work) very hard to prevent him from marrying his partner and to take their child away from him. Dealing with that is _just like_ the Paul family dealing with disapproval of their Confederate sympathies I’m sure.

            Cranky

          2. That sounds pretty reasonable too. A recent attack (and an ongoing one as well) on Savage’s freedom can be expected to provoke a response which ought not be expected from someone today responding to an insult the Yankees delivered to Jeff Davis 150 years ago.

  8. Ok, let me sum up my opinion: I don’t freaking care.

    Sure, in an ideal world, politicians who courageously champion causes which desperately need championing, like drug relegalization, or a restoration of constitutional limits on federal power, would hire only saints for speach writers.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, politicians who’ve hired people you’d approve of, (Or had no cause to inquire about, or DID have cause to avert your eyes from…) are responsible for putting how many people, yeah, including a disproportionate number of black people, in prison? And you’re obsessing about THIS?

    Oh, yes, so much better to hire the right people, and condemn a generation of black youth to growing up in single parent households because their dads are locked up in a Supermax.

    You’re the party that was ok with Byrd having been a Grand Keagle of the KKK, and THIS is beyond the pale? That’s rich.

    You’re the party that was ok with Barnie Frank hiring a HAREM, and this is beyond the pale? The border of the pale must be weirdly gerrymandered, that’s for sure.

    Your outrage is so laughable in the context of the evils you’ll tolerate in your own, that words don’t exist to express how little I care about it.

    And that, by the way, is what’s really going on here, and why the Pauls hire people like this. (And they really shouldn’t, as little as I care about your synthetic outrage.) The Pauls have been subject to such a constant, absurd din of over the top outrage, that they’ve grown a bit tone deaf. They ignore things that will outrage you, because they know you’ll be outraged no matter what they do, short of repudiating everything they believe in, and changing their party registration to Democratic. But this causes them to ignore things they shouldn’t ignore, too.

    It’s acute tone deafness caused by all the five minute hates, that’s what it is.

      1. Of course I’m angry. The Pauls have not been perfect, that’s for sure, but they’re a lonely voice in Congress on some very important topics, and on any rational scale their imperfection pales compared to some Democrats I could mention, with their intern/harems, Irish cottages, actual KKK leadership history, and so forth. I’m supposed to repudiate Rand Paul over his speech writer, and you don’t need to repudiate, oh, half of your caucus over their own personal acts?

        Screw this.

    1. OK shorter Brett: “there is so much and so strong Democratic or liberal criticism of the Repubs/Libertarians for their racism that the Repubs/Libertarians just can’t listen or respond to it and it’s fake anyway and therefore they simply don’t care about racism in their ranks.” OK

      Or, even simpler “accuse us all you want of racism. your criticism is fake, annoying and constant. but plus, we don’t care if we are racist, anyway”

      Or, even shorter “your criticism is fake. Therefore, we don’t have to respond. And we don’t care if we are racists”

      we get it loud and clear, thanks for clarifying for everyone

    2. It appears that Brett is reaching a bit far with the late Sen. Byrd having been in the KKK before most Americans were born. The comments of rachelrachel are closer to the point, in that they apply to a current activist with actual ties to the Obama administration. It appears that he quickly apologized for some of his statements, but rachelrachel has quoted him accurately. She asks where is the criticism.

      To me, this is a genuine question and not necessarily a rhetorical one. I do not read enough political blogs to know how the blue blogosphere reacted to his statements, nor do I know whether he is still in the Obama administration’s good graces.

      Her question does seem to warrant a reply; it is in a different class from Brett’s.

  9. Paul’s supporters have done a semi-decent job throwing mud at other people here (fe, didn’t know Savage had a potty mouth problem. I used to like reading his column years ago, but I pay less and less attention these days to what *anybody* says. I am kind of more into actions now than words. And certainly, overall I am crankier and a bit checked-out. So take me with a grain of salt!)

    However, in politics, it seems the problem is almost always the coverup. More and more, all I want is (semi-)honesty. And while Sen. Paul may have reason to be annoyed or rebellious with regard to media b.s., which will always be with us, it doesn’t excuse his failure to act here.

    And that failure is the real problem. His judgment is now seen to be quite poor, and what’s *much* worse is, he doesn’t have the character to own up to mistakes. I hope he changes this, because if he doesn’t, it will just hurt him more in the future, and undermine anything good that he has done or will do. I for one don’t foresee any time soon when the GOP will retake the Senate. All Paul will have is his integrity and ability to make people think he is worth a listen.

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