My LTE – The Politics of Name-Calling

Letters To The Editor
Letters To The Editor

Last Week the Liberal activist organization “MoveOn” ran a half-page advertisement in the New York Times against the pending September 11 Iraq report. The report was previously planned to be presented by the U.S. Army General Field Commander, General Petraeus. MoveOn used a clever play-on-words with the General’s name, referring to the General as “Betray Us” to make Their Point. Their Point being that MoveOn was simply asking the General to be honest in his report, not parrot President Bush’s talking points.

This ad has caused an uprising of angst and outrage amongst Conservatives all across these United States of America.

Apparently, a Liberal group insulting a U.S. Army General in this way is over the top, beyond the pale, and completely reprehensible. I mean, we’re talking a really fine, exemplary, exceptional example of army generalship. A hero amongst heros. A general so fine that his commanding officer Admiral William Fallon has glowingly described him as “an ass-kissing little chickenshit.”

Conservative outrage has now spread to our own Potomac News in the form of an opinion by columnist Charles Reichley.

Charles Reichley is not nearly as obnoxious as columnist Ken Concannon, of whom I’ve previously posted on. But, Mr. Reichley is obnoxious enough in his “lets all just get along,” Kind of way; As long as the way we get along is in the finest tradition of Mr. Reichley’s right wing view-of-the-world. Yesterday, Mr. Reichley wrote about the MoveOn “controversy.”

The focus of his column seemed to be about how it was so terrible that people are publicity insulting each other. Although he mentioned MoveOn’s “insult” several times, he was strangely vacuous about insults Conservatives routinely make towards Liberals – other than working in an insult towards Senator H.R. Clinton. So I submitted a letter to the editor concerning this column, hoping I could set the record straight.

My letter:

I read Mr. Charles Reichley’s column of September 13 “The Politics of Name-Calling” with great interest. He seemed quite upset that the liberal organization MoveOn publicity insulted General “Betray Us” Petraeus by using a play-on-words over his name.

Yes, it’s a terrible shame that people are calling each other names in public. Yes, it’s a terrible shame that we can’t have a rational discussion of the issues, debating the pros and cons of cost-benefits and needs for greater good. A terrible shame we can’t just get along and solve all pressing public policy issues with opposing viewpoints in a friendly way.

However, methinks Mr. Reichley doth protest too much. Maybe I missed it, but where was he during the 2002 elections when decorated and wounded Vietnam War veteran Senator Max Cleland was being called a traitor by a Republican non-Vietnam war veteran opponent and the opponent’s Republican supporters?

– Or during the 2004 presidential campaign, when twice-decorated Vietnam war Veteran Senator John Kerry was being routinely mocked on his military service, mostly by non-Vietnam War Veteran Republicans?

– Or more recently, when Conservative spokesperson (R-Goddess) Ann Coulter called former Senator and current Presidential Candidate John Edwards a “Faggot” at a gathering of leading Republicans, and the Republicans all cheered?

Did Mr. Reichley criticize Former Republican Senator Allen when the Senator used the ethnic slur “Maccaca” at a dark-skinned man during a public rally, and most (Republican) participants cheered?

I haven’t seen Mr. Reichley even once criticize Conservative (R-drug user) Rush Limbaugh over Limbaugh‘s 20-years long mocking of liberals and Democratic leaders. Mocking people whose personal reputations are mostly above reproach, as opposed to such Republican luminaries as Senator “Wide Stance” Craig, Senator “Diapers” Vitter, and Senator “The Hulk” Stevens.

As upset as Mr. Reichley was about MoveOn’s name-calling, Mr. Reichley didn’t comment on General Petraeus’s superior officer, Admiral William Fallon, previously calling the General “an ass-kissing little chickens–t.”

It seems to me the only time Conservative writers get vapors over name-calling is when Democrats fight back. Boo Hoo

I also wrote a variation of this as a letter directly to Mr. Reichley. As always, I’ll follow-up if I receive a response to Mr. Reichley, or get this LTE published.

Update September 15, 2007: Oh my! Now the good Senator John McCain (R-AZ, Nutcase) is calling for MoveOn to be “Thrown out of the Country” over their horrendous advertisement. I guess that “free Speech” thing is just so old fashioned. Good to know the Republican party are staunch advocates of our constitutionally protected rights.

As a member of MoveOn, I guess I’ll be making my next news post from whatever part of the world Senator McCain has me exiled to. SEE YA!

Update September 17, 2007: YES!  This letter was published in The Potomac News yesterday, Sunday Septemebr 16.  This makes the second time my Letters to The Editors (LTE) of this newspaper was published, for three total submissions.  Perhaps this newspaper is more willing to publish viewpoints contrary to Conservatives than I first gave credit for.

Update, October 8, 2007: Seems my rebuttal may have left marks on Mr. Reichley.  In his October 4 column, he opened with:

“Two weeks ago I used MoveOn.Org’s “General Betray-Us” advertisement to highlight the lack of civility in our political conversation. While some found my “outrage” one-sided, my point wasn’t about sides, but about how sound-bites and clever name-calling substitute for civil political discussion.”

Weak, but I’d like to think I am among the “some found” group of people.

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