Friday, October 14, 2005


Has Bush Lost Freeperstan?

Not quite yet, but it's getting there. The sheer volume of the defensiveness elicited by a few threads daring to question Bush is amazing, even for the ban-happy Check out the wacky reaction to the media's refusal (for once) to play along with Bush's botching a photo-op. Doug from Upland, longtime Freeper, is reduced to posting a bizarrely irrelevant hate-filk about Hillary Clinton (set to the tune of "I Want To Hold Your Hand") in order to try to kill the topic. It gets better: Over in this thread, several posters go into full-bore Clinton-hatred mode, trying to clutch at any wet straw that presents itself in order to minimize the possibility that some poor widdle Freeper's brain might have been forced open by exposure to the truth about Bush. I wonder how long it will be before the people who started those threads get banned from FR, if they haven't been already?

What really struck me is how totally moral relativity and situational ethics have taken hold on the right, in a way it never has on the left. The Freeper arguments go something like this:

Bill Clinton (maybe) set up a photo op of him arranging rocks on the Normandy Beach or dancing with Hillary. Therefore, it is OK for President Bush to have an impromptu press conference that was actually rehearsed using carefully selected members of the US and Iraqi military to say things like "I like you!"

In other words, outright lying is ok as long as Bill Clinton was once deceptive.

Situational ethics on the left go something like, "You can't blame people for stealing if they are hungry." or "American attitudes toward sex are very old-fashioned compared to most of the industrial world." I've never heard anyone say, "Killing is ok because horrible, hateful people do it."

Yet that's what the Freeps have been reduced to saying.
Another point that I wanted to raise separately. People have been saying that the troops are used in this way by politicians of all parties. This statement was made by someone claiming to be a soldier on the Ed Schultz show.

If it's true, it would reprehensible. But I don't think it's true. Sure, the troops are told, "Senator Clinton is coming. Be on your best behavior and treat her with respect." I'm sure that canny politicians select soldiers to talk to, perhaps ones who they are sure agree with their politics. But they don't have the troops say, "I like you!" the way that Iraqi soldier did or put together a minidocumentary, the way Bush did.

What bothered me most was that Bush's show amounted to taxpayer-funded propaganda, which would be illegal. There's a difference between political advertising, which is disgusting enough, and using troops to sell an unpopular foreign policy.

This graveyard the Freeps are whistling past is getting bigger and bigger.
A crucial difference between Clinton's staged photo ops (e.g. dancing with Hillary on the beach) is that nobody denied they were staged photo ops. The Busheviks expect us to believe that the Potemkin Town Halls and the appearances with soldiers are unrehearsed and completely authentic.

Situational ethics on the right is "The end justifies the means, as long as the end is me getting what I want."
True that there were no denials (or admissions) that those photos were staged.

I'm not even sure these were staged. The dancing photo was before the Jones deposition. I suppose Clinton could have been clairvoyant and realized he needed a photo of him and Hillary, but it's also possible that a papparazi did sneak by Secret Service protection.

Celebrities are filmed almost continuously and they learn to live their lives as if the camera is running. Those who don't end up with photos of them picking their nose splattered over the Internet. So, in that sense, everything a celebrity does is staged.
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