Archive - Jun 2005

June 22nd

The Keystone Kops of Rhetoric Strike Again

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Memo to Dick Durbin: NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

Sweet fuck, it's like teaching a trash-talking class to a room full of crack babies who live downstream of the thermometer factory. If Katie Holmes can learn Scientology, you can learn how to talk shit. It's so simple DUBYA has figured it out! What is wrong with you? Let's run through it AGAIN.

STEP ONE: Say shit you can get away with. STEP TWO: Don't back down until you've gotten away with it. STEP THREE: Under no circumstances whatsoever violate Steps One and Two. STEP FOUR: Repeat until you win a fucking election.

Dick Durbin did not violate Step One when he said abuse of prisoners at Gitmo was more like Pol Pot than George Washington. Dick Durbin violated Step One because that's not how he said it. To come to Durbin's defense, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune posted the complete text of his remarks on the editorial page, so that readers could see the comments he was being criticized for in their full context.

Printing the text of his full comments took FOUR FIFTHS of a full newspaper page. Even with a big-ass picture, if you needed that much time to provide the context and the nuance, you're FUCKED. The ability of the opposing noise machine to twist your words is directly proportional to how many of them you use. It wasn't that long ago that we watched John Frankenkerry become the Election 2004 poster child for this basic concept. It should be at least as fresh in your mind as the last episode of Desperate Housewives. LEARN.

But he still could have gotten away with it. Because what he actually said was defensible. The well-worn tactic of turning his statements into an attack on our fine men and women in uniform is so fucking played out by now even the rubes are considering the possibility that they might roll their eyes at it in the near future. Stick it out! Defend yourself! Yes, it's a dangerous tactic in a party where fratricide is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Yes, you're opening yourself to one of your fellow Democrats pussying out and joining the chorus against you to make himself look better. Richard Daley, I'm looking at you. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I think it's a disgrace to say that any man or woman in the military would act like that." Did I miss something? Did we not, last year, discover that quite a few men and women in the military ARE acting like that? And did we not find this out because they were taking SOUVENIR PHOTOS? For. Fuck's. Sake. Daley. There are hundreds of Republicans who are more than willing to line up to throw bullshit like that out there. And you had to cut in line and get your utterly unhelpful two cents in? Get your ass back to Chicago.

OK. So let's say you tried to tough it out, only to get PANKed in the back from your side of the dodgeball court. And you've decided to apologize, even though all that will gain you is a brief respite from the news cycle. Because no matter how much you apologize or retract, the O'Reilly's and Limbaughs and Hannities and Bow-Tied Motherfuckers of the world will treat the worst possible twisting of your words as if that was what you said. You will forever get the comma phrase ", who once compared American soldiers to Pol Pot," attached to your name. Your apology won't change that, because that's not how the game is played.

But if you're still gonna apologize, please, I beg you, I beg all of you in the Democratic party, EVEN when you apologize, apologize with some balls. Apologize like you know political expediency is dragging the words "I'm Sorry" out of you. Sincerity is not your friend, becasue nobody believes politicians even when they ARE sincere. Do not, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER, make me read another sentence like this one in an Associated Press story.

"His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks. 'They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them,' he said." I'll tell you one thing. The Twin Cities metro area should thank its lucky stars that I didn't engage in dubious gamma-ray experiments before I read that sentence, because they'd be faced with one astronomical cleanup bill right about now.

You know why "Don't cry when you apologize" isn't one of the steps listed above? Because it's such a completely ridiculous concept that putting it in there is like printing REMOVE ITEM FROM BOX BEFORE USE on a new television. If you can't figure it out, you don't deserve to be messing with it in the first place. We simply cannot have the Democrats standing up for things one week, then bursting into tears a week later after they get yelled at for it. It's worse than not saying anything at all. It cannot happen. It's self-destructive, insane, and DUMB. But it just happened. We are so never going to win anything again ever.