Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

February 3, 2005

by J

Haven't They Cancelled This Show Yet? Part II

Paul Begala is pro-torture.
BEGALA: Well, I have to say, I think, ultimately, they should confirm Judge Gonzales. But I don't have a problem with asking tough questions about really outrageous legal interpretations that Gonzales had. At the end of the day, he's the president's guy. He should go there.


BEGALA: And I'm angry with the Democrats who voted with Condoleezza Rice, who lied to us. Al Gonzales never lied to us.


BEGALA: Condi Rice lied to us. And she is unfit for her job.


BEGALA: But I say give Judge Gonzales a proclamation.
There's been lots written about why to oppose Gonzales. Begala, as usual, either didn't do his research, or doesn't care about fundamental American principles. See, for example, Ted Kennedy's speech the other day. Or Armando's statement at dKos. Or check out Durbin's floor speech on the issue. Is Begala truly representative of a Democratic party or "left" perspective? He, once again, should be deeply ashamed. If Dean gets the DNC job, I hope like hell I never see another DNC solicitation with Begala or Carville's face on it again.
Posted by J at February 3, 2005 05:08 PM

I heard Begala frequents S&M clubs, so he doesn't understand what the big deal about testicle clamps is.

Posted by: NTodd at February 3, 2005 07:55 PM

Screw Dubya, never mind the GOP...Fight the REAL power, Carville & Begala. Never mind getting Clinton elected twice -- they're the true enemy, make no mistake.

I've tried to stay agnostic 'cause y'know, I've got enormous respect for y'all, J & V...but really, Value Judgment had of this afternoon THREE solely Carville/Begala-bashing links on the front page. Isn't there anything else going on that merits your attention?

Last I checked, this site remained agnostic about the Dems and had a "plague on both your houses" approach to the 2 major parties. I understand that...so why all the unnecessary venom for C&B? You're not Dems, apparently, so why such a sense of personal betrayal? Trust me, snark against those you distaste is relished in these parts, but, really, it seems at times that the only posts here now are about further antagonizing these two pundits whose show is already cancelled, replete with idiot comments like the S&M one above.

I know better to try to change your mind about C&B -- and, as I've said before, I won't deny that in many ways they obviously seem behind the zeitgeist. But, regarding Begala -- I think he'd be the first to admit that he's not as liberal as he's made out to be -- In many ways he's always been a cultural conservative from Texas. The fact that he counts himself among the Dems rather than the GOP, despite this conservatism, to my mind speaks very highly of him.

Look, Dean's the presumptive DNC Chair, Crossfire is cancelled...post-election Dem events seem to be going in the direction this site has long advocated. So why so much internecine spite? To quote the inimitable Hudson in Aliens, "Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked." In sum, we're in full-on rout right now -- it's big tent time.

Posted by: Kevin at February 4, 2005 12:12 AM

My opinion is, if Begala had said that Bush deserves to have his cabinet confirmed as a whole just because he's the Prez, that would have been one thing -- a typical keep-a-good-working-relationship-with-Bob-Novak kind of thing; unremarkable.

But to single out Condi's crimes as deserving a No while explicitly contrasting her with (and excusing) Gonzales?

That's a pretty hard idiocy to just let go by, especially since he's STILL the most frequent face of the Democratic Party to a part of the public. You're OK with that?

Big Tent's nice; but without some semblance of Party Discipline about crucial moral questions, what exactly is a party? I'd find it much easier to declare myself a Dem if they didn't aggressively compromise themselves like this.

Posted by: V at February 4, 2005 08:45 AM

I'll concede that Begala's distinction between Rice and Gonzales isn't one I would make. (And I also agree that, in general, the president usually has the prerogative to choose whom s/he wills in the Cabinet.) Begala probably made it because he knows Gonzalez personally from the Texas politics days (Sorry about the link to GOP.com.)

But I'm not sure why Begala's endorsement of Gonzalez makes him any more of a sell-out (or any worthier of note here) than the countless other Dems who supported him. And I definitely don't know how Begala became "the most frequent face of the Democratic Party." To who? As I've said before, Crossfire is/was a PTI-type fix for inside-the Beltway political junkies (who already know how they feel about Gonzalez, as with most issues)...if anyone else actually watched the show, CNN wouldn't be cancelling it.

I guarantee that if you took a poll asking Americans to name 3 Democrats off the top of their heads...some might say Carville, but nobody would mention Begala. So the amount of vitriol at his expense around here (and we're not just talking about this one post) seems totally out of proportion to his actual influence. I mean, I don't see y'all ripping Alan Colmes or Eleanor Clift a new one for similar transgressions, and, trust me, they both say idiot things all the time. Why not decry their lack of party discipline?

Posted by: Kevin at February 4, 2005 02:19 PM

Lots of implicit assumptions to respond to here and interesting debates to be had (point the first: it is not the case that what's covered on any particular blog is necessarily indicative of what the author believes is the most important issue of the day), but, as usual, I'm short on time.

So, to be very brief and answer one question: For whatever reason, Begala and Carville irritate me the most. There are lots of reasons for that, but I'm not sure it matters why, they just do. I can't possibly devote myself to covering the complete annals of pundit asshattery for all pundits, everywhere, so, since these two do so well at symbolizing to me the deep and systemic problems with the media, with the pundit culture, and (to some extent, given their chosen role as spokespeople) with the Democratic party, I use them as my exemplars. It doesn't hurt that they make it really easy.

And, to turn Kevin's critique back: is it more important for you to criticize this site for poking at your friends and their harmful public personae than it is to call them up and criticize them for hurting your country? (It's a rhetorical question, I just found the irony interesting.) I mean, ok, I can be all bitter and nasty in front of my wee small audience about media personalities and their dumbed down disingenuous discourse, but Begala's comfortable supporting torture as U.S. policy because the torture-aficionado happens to be from Texas!?! Who deserves the bigger criticism about their priorities, again?

Posted by: J at February 5, 2005 03:16 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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