Democracy Has Prevailed.

March 15, 2009

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack Kelly certainly earned his wingnut pay with this week's wingnut column. It's an amazing piece of wingnut work (as you'll see) so let's get wingnut started.

Jack begins:

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer owe much of their 15 minutes of fame to Saul Alinsky, a Chicago Marxist who died in 1972.

Mr. Alinsky is considered to be the father of "community organizing" as the path to social revolution. A year before his death he published a book, "Rules for Radicals," which distilled what he had learned from his experiences, his reading of Marx and Lenin, and from his associations with crime boss Al Capone and labor leader John Lewis.

Wait does this mean we won't be hearing any more from Messers Wurzelbacher, Santelli, and Cramer? Please God, if indeed there IS a God, let Jack Kelly be RIGHT about that!

While I am not sure Alinsky was a marxist, good for Jack for pointing out how long ago Alinsky died. In fact, Saul Alinsky died only five days before the Watergate break-in. 37 years is a long stretch to make, but Jack tries anyway.

First off some context on Jack's "Capone" reference. According to an interview Alinsky gave to Playboy magazine in 1972, he:
...was awarded the graduate Social Science Fellowship in criminology, the top one in that field, which took care of my tuition and room and board -- I still don't know why they gave it to me -- maybe because I hadn't taken a criminology course in my life and didn't know one goddamn thing about the subject -- But this was the Depression and I felt like someone had tossed me a life preserver -- Hell, if it had been in shirt cleaning, I would have taken it. Anyway, I found out that criminology was just as removed from actual crime and criminals as sociology was from society, so I decided to make my doctoral dissertation a study of the Al Capone mob -- an inside study. [emphasis added]
So THAT'S the "association" Jack was talking about! He hung out with The Outfit and met Frank Nitti, for his dissertation. Though I clarify something for Jack: Capone was a prisoner at Alcatraz at when Alinsky started studying the gang and so the two probably didn't actually meet.

Nothing like not letting the facts to get in the way of a good smear.

Alinsky also said that he was a "a nonparticipating observer in their professional activities." Activities which he didn't like and couldn't stop anyway. Nor was he any sort of threat. Even if he chose to turn the Capone gang in, who would he tell? Alinsky:
Capone was the establishment. When one of his boys got knocked off, there wasn't any city court in session, because most of the judges were at the funeral and some of them were pallbearers. So they sure as hell weren't afraid of some college kid they'd adopted as a mascot causing them any trouble. They never bothered to hide anything from me; I was their one-man student body and they were anxious to teach me. It probably appealed to their egos.
But that's not the point that Jack wants to make, is it?. He's looking to get YOU to think "Alinsky's association with Capone means Alinsky's criminal activity" and then once Alinsky's tainted, all the connections that follow (Alinsky to Obama, and Obama to the "Democrat party") are similarly tainted.

He then looks to trace Alinsky's influence (via one of his "Rules for Radicals") on the "character assassinations" of Joe the Plumber, Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer:
Rule 11 is: "Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don't try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame."

In other words, engage in character assassination. Your opponent is not someone with whom you disagree. He or she is an enemy who must be destroyed.
Listening to a conservative whine about "character assassination" is truly a surreal experience. Especially since Jack Kelly is the guy who wrote this column presenting, for all the world to see, the now debunked charges from the now debunked Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.


Then there's this:
White House adviser David Axelrod acknowledged in an interview with The New York Times that he'd authorized the attacks on Mr. Limbaugh. The ostensible reason was Mr. Limbaugh's expressed desire that President Obama "fail." Listeners to his program know Mr. Limbaugh meant he hopes the president's efforts to take over large segments of the economy fail, but Mr. Axelrod's minions spun it as if Mr. Limbaugh were hoping America would fail.

This was the pot calling the kettle black. In a 2006 Fox News poll, 51 percent of Democrats surveyed said they didn't want President Bush to succeed. Democratic strategist and CNN "news analyst" James Carville has been among the loudest critics of Mr. Limbaugh's remark. But in a television interview on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 (before the attacks on the World Trade Center), Mr. Carville said of President Bush: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."

Let's take a look at the Carville part. Here's how the article at Fox "News" begins:
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."
But a few paragraphs later, there's this:
Minutes later, as news of the terrorist attacks reached the hotel conference room where the Democrats were having breakfast with the reporters, Carville announced: "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!" [emphasis added.]
Changes things, huh? Interesting that Jack left that part out, huh?

Wonder why. Again, nothing like not letting the facts get in the way of a good smear.

Jack should know better than to quote Camille Paglia. Here's what he writes:
Mr. Limbaugh's already impressive audience has ballooned since the attacks on him began. But, said Obama supporter Camille Paglia, the attacks on Rush have "made the White House look like an oafish bunch of drunken frat boys."
But given this article in the Washington Post, that says:

According to what Limbaugh delights in calling "the drive-by media," the number varies wildly. Is it 30 million (Pat Buchanan on MSNBC), 20 million (Time magazine, ABC News), 19 million (Fox News), 14 million (CNN), or "14.2 million to about 25 million" (The Washington Post)?

Answer: Maybe.

Limbaugh is widely acknowledged to be the most popular talk-radio host, as evidenced by the record $400 million, eight-year contract he signed with his syndicator last July. But estimates of Limbaugh's nationwide (and overseas) audience are exercises in guesswork, slippery methodology and suspect data. Limbaugh himself has muddied the water with the claim that he reaches 20 million people a week, although there's no independent support for that figure.[emphasis added]

How can Jack seriously write (while still remaining attached to the world of empirical data) that Limbaugh's audience has "ballooned" recently?

Anyway, here's Paglia in that column:

Case in point: The orchestrated attack on radio host Rush Limbaugh, which has made the White House look like an oafish bunch of drunken frat boys. I returned from carnival in Brazil (more on that shortly) to find the Limbaugh affair in full flower. Has the administration gone mad? This entire fracas was set off by the president himself, who lowered his office by targeting a private citizen by name. Limbaugh had every right to counterattack, which he did with gusto. Why have so many Democrats abandoned the hallowed principle of free speech? Limbaugh, like our own liberal culture hero Lenny Bruce, is a professional commentator who can be as rude and crude as he wants.

Yes, I cringe when Rush plays his "Barack the Magic Negro" satire or when he gratuitously racializes the debate over Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is a constant subject of withering scrutiny for quite different reasons on sports shows here in Philadelphia. On the other hand, I totally agree with Rush about "feminazis," whose amoral tactics and myopic worldview I as a dissident feminist had to battle for decades. As a student of radio and a longtime listener of Rush's show, I have gotten a wealth of pleasure and insight from him over the years. To attack Rush Limbaugh is to attack his audience -- and to intensify the loyalty of his fan base. [emphasis added]

Huh? But wasn't Jack presenting the good Dr Paglia as a more or less typical "Obama supporter"? Can you tell me how many typical Obama supporters TOTALLY AGREE with Limbaugh about "feminazis"? How many have "gotten a wealth of pleasure and insight from him over the years?"

I can't imagine very many. But if all that's the case, then how typical can she be?

How the right wing pundits whine and wail, white knuckled and frustrated, when they're on the losing end.

It's silly and ridiculous on its face: SAUL ALINSKY! He's associated with AL CAPONE! He taught people who taught OBAMA! See? OBAMA's connected to AL CAPONE! They're committing character assassinations! We're the victims!

No wonder the GOP's falling apart. With this sort of reasoning to guide it...


Sherry Pasquarello said...

i'm going to be quite serious here.

this is the type of reasoning i used to hear back in the 60's when most of the people at a party were stoned and sitting around thinking they had it all figured out. they didn't make sense and neither does kelly.

i can remember these conversations because when you are one of the few people not stoned in the room the stupid stays with you like a tattoo.(i'm allergic to grass, never touched it, much less inhale)

Dave said...

Only in the Bizarro World Kelly apparently inhabits would Camille Paglia be considered an "Obama supporter".