Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 1, 2009
POLITICS: Silly Sarge Strikes Again

I follow a handful of writers on the Left to keep tabs on their latest pathologies (and, on rare occasions, to get out in front of stories when they actually have a point), and I must say that few of them provide such a persistent source of entertainment as Greg Sargent, formerly a paid left-wing activist employed by the Soros-funded Talking Points Memo family of sites, and now a paid left-wing activist employed by the Washington Post. While the WaPo has always been admirably even-handed in its selection of op-ed writers - unlike the New York Times, it not only gives a decent amount of airtime to conservative voices but uses talented intellectual combatants like Charles Krauthammer, not Washington Generals "conservatives" like David Brooks. The WaPo's news coverage, however, has remained stocked with the same sorts of establishment liberals who staff all the big-city newsrooms. But hiring Sargent as a full-time blogger was something different: there's no hiding the fact that he's a professional activist, and many of his blog posts are uncritical reprints of Democratic press releases without even the usual effort to cloak them in the garb of a news story. It is sadly telling that the WaPo felt no need to hire a professional activist on the Right, but then most of the online Right consists of part-timers with day jobs, anyway.

One of the more ironic of Sargent's hobbyhorses, therefore, is his participation in the Left's campaign to rid the airwaves of any remaining conservative voices or coverage of their arguments. In today's installment, he makes the self-evidently ridiculous argument that the media shouldn't cover criticism of the Obama Administration by Dick Cheney, who if you recall not only just completed 8 years as the Vice President of the United States, but has also served as Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, and House Minority Whip during his decade in Congress:

Politico is only the latest outlet to grant Cheney a platform to defend his legacy and to launch political attacks on the current president. The amount of airtime that has been granted by the networks and other news outlets to Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, has been nothing short of extraordinary. Why is it happening?

Is Cheney a lead spokesperson for the G.O.P. on foreign policy? He's a private citizen with no policymaking role whatsoever -- leading G.O.P. Senators more properly hold that role. What's more, Cheney's foreign policy views are far out of the mainstream. Is he a contender for the 2012 G.O.P. nomination? Nope. He has flatly ruled out a run, and the recent Washington Post poll found that he's not on the radar of the G.O.P. electorate at all for 2012.

Is he the lead spokesperson for the previous administration? Yes, Cheney was a key architect of many of Bush's best known and controversial national security policies. But so what? Some of the policies he's all over the airwaves defending have been canceled and simply don't exist anymore. Why are we even debating them, when some of the new administration's most important national security initiatives haven't even been announced yet, let alone been subjected to the test of time?

The only conceivable justification for granting Cheney so much airtime would be to allow him to defend himself in the event of a real accounting of Bush-Cheney's interrogation program. But that's unlikely to happen. In any case, why not wait until it does before booking Cheney for more interviews?

One might ask why Greg Sargent is more qualified to get his views in print than Vice President Cheney, but let us ask a few questions here about how things would have gone down when George W. Bush was president.

What if Bush was criticized by former Vice President Al Gore, then a private citizen who signalled fairly early that he wasn't running again in 2004? We know that Gore generated tons of headlines. We know he was given an Oscar, and Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize as a reward for his criticisms.

What if Bush was criticized by former President Jimmy Carter, a figure rejected by the American electorate as firmly as anyone in memory? Carter, too, generated scores of column-inches and was also awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

What if Bush was criticized not by a former elected official but by a left-wing filmmaker with no political standing whatsoever? Michael Moore certainly got tons of play for his bizarre rants against the Bush Administration, as indeed did numerous Hollywood figures who represent nobody but themselves.

I could go on, but as usual with these kinds of "arguments" from the Left, a little examination is more than enough to get the point: during the Bush years, nobody tried to enforce Sargent's rule that press coverage of criticisms of the Administration should be strictly limited to officeholders and potential presidential candidates. As an activist, Sargent wants to limit the universe of critics, partially to limit criticism and partially because current officeholders and future candidates always need to be more constrained in what arguments they make, more hemmed in by calculation and less free to take a stand that moves the center of public debate.

Nobody who writes for the purpose of giving an honest opinion rather than activism would defend Sargent's point with a straight face. He's just trying to help his side.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:37 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (41) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Sargent's a clown.

OTOH, I anxiously await your statement about how Rep. Maurice Handy should be shouted down about telling the truth about the Bush Administration deliberately allowing OBL to escape from Tora Bora for political (support for his wars) reasons.

Posted by: Berto at December 1, 2009 2:14 PM

Yes, Crank. You should blog about what insane people think is important.

Thorazine: Wonder Drug or Threat to Speech Rights of The Little Voices in My Head?

Posted by: spongeworthy at December 1, 2009 2:29 PM

Or, Berto could read my Twitter feed first ;)

Hinchey (get the spelling right!) helpfully outed himself as a lunatic in claiming that Bush purposefully let bin Laden get away. But at least he dispensed with the notion that you're not supposed to question the other side's patriotism.

Posted by: Crank at December 1, 2009 2:32 PM

I have to wonder who Sargent's even talking to here. Who's going to read that and think, "I'd better blacklist Dick Cheney or Sargent will not like me."? Is he hoping to circulate a new lefty talking point, create a concensus that formidable guys like Cheney are radioactive to committed Donk-slobberers?

Cheney eats guys like Sargent for snacks. I just can't see how Sargent expects to sell this.

Posted by: spongeworthy at December 1, 2009 2:38 PM

"outed himself as a lunatic"
-------------
The truth will do that to him.

But, so Crank doesn't get too upset, let's make believe the obvious truth Hinchey spoke isn't really true.
Do we really want to spend one more cent on a military that is so F'd up they couldn't catch OBL?
On a military that has been fought to a standstill by a handful of middle eastern teenagers?

C'mon Crank. Tell us how throwing good money (and soldiers lives) after bad shows how tough we are.
If you really are that f'n stupid Crank, remind me not to let you run even my 5-cent lemonade stand.
You obviously know as much about business as you do about fighting wars.
(i.e. Nothing)

Posted by: Berto at December 1, 2009 2:50 PM

Berto,

After searching your last post for a credible, defensible statement, I finally found one: you operate a 5-cent lemonade stand.

Posted by: MVH at December 1, 2009 3:32 PM

Cheney has every right to speak, but the words that come out of his mouth are despicable. James Fallows gets it exactly right.

"Since the results of the 2008 election became clear, the 43rd President of the United States has behaved in a way that brings honor to him, his family, his office, and his country. By all reports he did what he could to smooth the transition to his successor, including dealing with the house-is-burning-down world financial crisis. Since leaving office he has -- like most of his predecessors in their first years out of power -- maintained a dignified distance from public controversies and let the new team have its chance. He has acted as if aware that there are national interests larger than his own possible interests in score-settling or reputational-repair.

The former vice president, Dick Cheney, has brought dishonor to himself, his office, and his country. I am not aware of a case of a former president or vice president behaving as despicably as Cheney has done in the ten months since leaving power, most recently but not exclusively with his comments to Politico about Obama's decisions on Afghanistan. (Aaron Burr might win the title, for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, but Burr was a sitting vice president at the time.) Cheney has acted as if utterly unconcerned with the welfare of his country, its armed forces, or the people now trying to make difficult decisions. He has put narrow score-settling interest far, far above national interest.

The mystery is that Cheney has been through this process before. As chief of staff in Gerald Ford's White House, he was in charge of the transition to the Jimmy Carter team after Ford narrowly lost in 1976. Anyone who dealt with him then was impressed by his openness, his awareness of continuing national interest, his lack of bitterness -- and overall his resemblance to the George W. Bush of 2009. Whatever happened to that Dick Cheney is a matter of mystery. If only he would, for one moment, just shut up and follow the post-transition example of all three presidents he served: Ford, Bush, and Bush. "

Posted by: magrooder at December 1, 2009 3:33 PM

Magrooder - Did you have the same problem with Gore?

I think it's a good thing that Bush has been quiet, as befits his former office, but the VP's role is different. A former VP doesn't need to refrain from criticizing, especially when his criticism is aimed at the Administration being insufficiently interested in the interests of the United States.

Posted by: Crank at December 1, 2009 3:41 PM

Re: 5-cent lemonade stand

That would put me way ahead of Wall Street in production of tangible assets.

Posted by: Berto at December 1, 2009 4:12 PM

Correction: That should be "my first glass puts me way ahead of Wall Street in production of tangible assets."

Posted by: Berto at December 1, 2009 4:15 PM

A war criminal doesn't need to refrain from criticizing, especially when his criticism is aimed at the Administration being insufficiently interested in the interests of the United States.
--------------
Corrected for accuracy.

Posted by: Berto at December 1, 2009 4:21 PM

Crank,

Yes. I thought and continue to think that Gore is a simple-minded fool. As with Cheney, he has the right to speak and, as with Cheney when he says stupid and irresponsible things, he should called on them.

My beef is with the words Cheney (and his daughter) say; IMO, they don't give a damn about policy or country, they care only about his legacy and keeping him from the hangman's noose.

As for, "just trying to help his side," if the shoe fits, . . . .

Posted by: magrooder at December 1, 2009 4:59 PM

I checked and there is a full moon out tonight. I guess that is why the loonies are out in full force!

Posted by: Lee at December 1, 2009 5:02 PM

"On a military that has been fought to a standstill by a handful of middle eastern teenagers?"

This might be the most retarded thing I've ever read on the internet. Coming up with enough cannon fodder to maintain a 10th rate insurgency= a standstill? Berto, are you sure you're getting enough oxygen to the brain?

Posted by: andrew at December 1, 2009 7:03 PM

andrew,
The most powerful military in the history of mankind has fought two wars against a handful of insurgents. One war has lasted 8+ years and there is no end in sight (I even hear another 30,000 soldiers and $30 billion is needed to even give them a chance). The other has lasted 6-and-a-half years and counting. Not to mention the only reason it's starting to swing our way is because we have (gasp) negotiated with terrorists.
Be thankful we haven't faced an army yet, or the US would have their asses handed to them in a rout.

BTW, IF (yes IF) we can beat the 10th rate insurgency, what do we win?

Posted by: Berto at December 1, 2009 7:50 PM

Counterinsurgencies are always time-consuming and frustrating. (I note that Berto isn't even counting the fact that in the conventional military phase, we conquered two countries with a combined population of about 75 million people, each in a matter of weeks). Anybody who knows the first thing about military history knows that. The British experience in Malaysia is a prime example of that.

Posted by: Crank at December 1, 2009 7:53 PM

Crank, cut berto a break-he is all bunched up from the govt cheese diet.

Posted by: dch at December 1, 2009 8:32 PM

Berto, skirmishes take longer than conventional bloodbath wars. Even ones as lopsided as these.

"Be thankful we haven't faced an army yet, or the US would have their asses handed to them in a rout."

Hahahahahaha, you're so psychotically anti-American you should be taken away in a straitjacket. Do you remember what happened to Saddam's army?

Posted by: andrew at December 1, 2009 8:56 PM

Crank:

Hard to discuss a topic with all the trolls dumping their trash everywhere.

Of course Sargent's just trying to advance the ball for his side.

Lefty Rule #1 - never, ever concede your political opponents are acting in good faith.

Lefty Rule #2 - Never, ever debate the issue itself; contest your opponent's right to participate in the debate.

Posted by: BD57 at December 1, 2009 9:49 PM

So, the list of "conservatives" who the left does not believe is unworthy of acknowledgment continues to consist of Rod Dreher, Andrew Sullivan, Buckley's son (who I never knew existed until last year) and Don Larison (internet commenters stand by Charles Johnson and John Cole).

Gee, what do all those "conservatives" have in common?

Posted by: RW at December 1, 2009 11:43 PM

Great news for the Crankers.
With that speech last night Obama solidified his position as a one-term President (despite the fact the GOP used to say you don't change Presidents during wartime).
Now if he would just attack Iran, we can end this empire once and for all.

Posted by: Berto at December 2, 2009 10:35 AM

Berto, I shudder to think of what a president you would approve of would be like.

Posted by: Paul H. at December 2, 2009 10:48 AM

Andrew,

Crank just raised your ante on the most reatrded thing ever written on the internet:

"in the conventional military phase, we conquered two countries with a combined population of about 75 million people, each in a matter of weeks"

That's great, Crank. That and $4 will get you a lattee at Starbucks. Unless, you (still) believe that we were "greated as liberators" and that Iraqi oil revenues would be so great it "would pay for itself," Bush, Cheney, et al. left us bogged down in two wars and, on top of that, started the unnecessary one so that we would be stalemated in the war that mattered. Nice work, guys.

Posted by: magrooder at December 2, 2009 11:07 AM

Hey, Maclooney, we can scoot any time. When is your boy going to suck it up and bring our troops home? How come your Congress keeps funding these debacles? Ever think they might have our security in mind but need to throw you moonbats a bone now and then by moaning how :The war is lost!"?

This seems to be the great tragedy of your life, that we're still fighting wars you don't approve of. Yet you still support those who have the power to remedy the great tragdey of your life. There's a name for guys like you, and they come along every minute.

Though your gullibility is amusing...

Posted by: spongeworthy at December 2, 2009 12:31 PM

Paul H.,
No doubt you would shudder at the thought of a President who put the interests of the American people ahead of the interests of defense contractors.
Wear that badge proudly. That's what makes you a great conservative.

Posted by: Berto at December 2, 2009 12:33 PM

How come your Congress keeps funding these debacles?
----------------
Because they are looking out for the economic best interest of the constituents who pay them (defense contractors).

Tune in next week for another episode of simple answers to stupid questions.

Posted by: Berto at December 2, 2009 12:38 PM

Berto, I'm pretty sure we don't agree on what constitutes the best interest of the American people, but I'll happily admit to being a great conservative for not wanting to imagine what a president sufficiently left for you would look like (a statement that had nothing to do with defense contractors, but a nice non sequitar nonetheless).

I would also suggest that your view likely takes you beyond liberal, so what badge is it that you wear? Socialist? Communist? Anarchist? Whatever badge it is, you continue to wear yours proudly too!

Posted by: Paul H. at December 2, 2009 12:56 PM

Re: Berto's That should be "my first glass puts me way ahead of Wall Street in production of tangible assets."


Now we know. Berto is two glasses short of a profit.

Posted by: TanstaafLunch at December 2, 2009 1:35 PM

but a nice non sequitar nonetheless

Berto hasn't got the foggiest idea what a non-sequiter is. The voices all speak at once, and over each other and sometimes they mumble.

He is left to transcribe their cries as best he can, whether or not they remain on subject.

Posted by: spongewworthy at December 2, 2009 3:23 PM

Now we know. Berto is two glasses short of a profit.
------------
So if I was a free-market conservative, this would be a good time to ask for a government bailout.

Re; non-sequiter
Paul H. asked what kind of President I would approve of.
I answered, one that would put the interests of American citizens before the interests of defense contractors.

Now he and spongey whine that he didn't ask about defense contractors. What part of the question didn't I answer?
Ahh, the jumbled mind of a free-market conservative. They can't follow a conversation even when they're controlling it.

Posted by: Berto at December 2, 2009 5:04 PM

You boys should stick with what you do best:
---Supporting an ideology (Conservativism) which has failed EVERY time it's been tried.
---Making believe 9/11 is important.
---Rooting for the GOP like they're a sports team (no matter how much your hypocrisy shows), whose actions really don't affect citizens of the nation and the world.
---Calling for more US wars and/ or expansions of war you have a 0% chance of fighting yourselves.
---Trashing the Constitution because you're pissing your pants in fear of imaginary bogeyman.

Posted by: Berto at December 2, 2009 6:12 PM

spongeworthy, you might try taking the sponges out of your ears and off your eyes. Like the President, I have always supported fully our war efforts in Afghanistan. You know, the place where the 9/11 plotersw came from.

Posted by: magrooder at December 2, 2009 10:32 PM

You boys should stick with what you do best:
---Supporting an ideology (Conservativism) which has failed EVERY time it's been tried.
---Making believe 9/11 is important.

Thanks, Berto, for letting me know up-front that there is no reason to ever read another word that you type. Take this as a heads-up that you needn't respond to me - ever - should I comment on any topc, as I'll never read it. Goodbye.

Posted by: RW at December 3, 2009 9:23 AM

Whereby Magrooder once again establishes that he is infinitely saner and more intellectually honest than Berto.

Posted by: Paul H. at December 3, 2009 1:20 PM

That isn't saying much.

Posted by: spongeworthy at December 3, 2009 2:50 PM

And this is where I point out that RW's hero, George W. Bush, underfunded and stonewalled the 9/11 Commission. This is where I also point out that he made Condi Rice his Secretary of State after she flat out lied to the comission.
This is also where I ask RW to stop clutching his pearls and finally answer the question with a modicum of honesty (I know, fat chance--he's a conservative living in his dreamworld) to explain why the President of the US on 9/11 wouldn't want to understand what really happened on and leading up to 9/11.
I say it's because it wasn't important. If RW was a man he'd explain why it is.
Thanks RW, now I know you are too big of a baby to address this simple question.
Happens every time. Ask a Conservative to be a man, and the first thing they do is cut and run.

Posted by: Berto at December 4, 2009 9:42 AM

Whereby Berto doubles down on both the ad hominem and the crazy...well played!

Posted by: Paul H. at December 4, 2009 10:44 AM

"...George W. Bush, underfunded and stonewalled the 9/11 Commission"

As a point of fact, the 9/11 Commission was funded by Congress, not the President.

As to if Bush 'stonewalled" the commission, I don't think so. The 9/11 Commission had access to all documents-except those stolen by Clinton's National Securtity Advisor. It was Sandy "the Burgler" Burger who stole the documents from the National Archives and hid them in his pants. I wonder what those docs had in them?

Posted by: Lee at December 4, 2009 12:15 PM

Lee,
I'm waiting for the explanation on why he made a woman who lied to the commission his Sec. of State.
Explain to me why the commander in chief allowed NORAD to lie to Congress and the 9/11 Commission. Isn't he the Commander in Chief?
While we're at it, why didn't Bush and Cheney answer the commission's questions under oath?
Were they hiding something (are you a Truther?), or was it really not that important (and you agree with me--Crank and his band of 9/11 fetishists be damned)?
I'm on the side of Bush---it wasn't (and isn't) important.
If you want to make the argument it was (and is important), make it.
Explain to me why Bush stonewalled the commission. Explain why he promoted those who lied to them.
Go ahead.

In the meantime, I'll stick with my contention (the obvious truth) that Conservatives are just making believe 9/11 is important.
RW can make a huff and act like he's insulted. What else is he going to do--face the obvious truth and agree with me? (BTW, I would have loved to have seen his face when he realized I was on to his charade).

Posted by: Berto at December 4, 2009 12:55 PM

Berto,

Just what lies did she tell to the 9/11 commission? I searched thru all of your postings for this topic and nowhere to you actually detail what she said that was a lie.

So before I respond to your question "I'm waiting for the explanation on why he made a woman who lied to the commission his Sec. of State.", please detail the things she lied about first.

Thank you!

Posted by: Lee at December 4, 2009 5:14 PM

The voices in his head told him to wrote that, Lee. He doesn't know what lie the voices were referring to.

Berto, ask the voices for an example of a President testifying before Congress under oath.

Posted by: spongeworthy at December 4, 2009 6:19 PM
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