Pete Stark’s Moonbat Minstrel Show
I honestly can’t say I’m outraged or even shocked by Stark’s comments here. He reads from notes enough to convince me he just went around to lefty blogs and collected their talking points. A few times he tries to dramatize them, but not very convincingly, because he keeps having to go back to the list. None of it was original or surprising, to me at least. Perhaps it’s of concern that he’s using his bully pulpit in Congress to give wider voice to such strange political views, but it cuts both ways. It’s not always good to get a message out.
Some interests expressing concern about the consequences of Stark’s tirade are, ironically enough, those lefty snarkpits from which he undoubtedly seeks inspiration. Just to refresh your memory, here’s the part of his speech that’s generated the controversy:
“They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have money to fund the war or children but you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.”
Again, that’s just standard, boilerplate Moonbat rhetoric. But here’s the catch: It’s not shocking to me because I’m someone who regularly reads political/activist blogs and politics in general. People outside this demographic will react differently upon hearing him.
One left-wing site, Crooks and Liars (in liar mode?), commented on the controversy by putting up a post called Right Wing goes bonkers over Rep. Pete Stark’s comments: Take the C&L Poll. Here’s how Stark is quoted:
“I’m just amazed that the Republicans are worried that we can’t pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal War in Iraq.” ”President Bush’s statements about children’s health shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the War in Iraq. The truth is that that Bush just likes to blow things up – in Iraq, in the United States, and in Congress.
Hmmm…which part is left out? What John Amato (C&L) quoted was indeed said by Stark in the video above, but it’s not the part at issue. Amato apparently agrees with me that he really crossed a line. Why else would he pretend it wasn’t said? Here’s Amato’s take on the matter:
After Rep. Pete Stark made his harsh statements against the Republicans and Bush over the SCHIP veto, the right wingers are trying to change the subject again by feigning outrage against him.
After giving a few examples of how Republicans are supposedly feigning outrage, he puts up the poll. At some later time, it’s not clear when, the transcript for the entire speech was added to the bottom of the post. Apparently a software glitch caused the delay, but there’s still nothing noting just which statements made by Stark are controversial.
Around the same time as that posting, another popular left-wing blogger, digby from Hullabaloo, put up some commentary as well. Battered Spouses repeats the talking point used in the Amato piece, that Republicans are feigning outrage, but doesn’t take the further step of trying to hide what he actually said. Instead it’s presented as if the writer just can’t understand why anybody would be offended by it:
Are these macho tough guys really offended that some congressman made these comments in a debate? Are their feelings hurt on behalf of the president? Does CNN really believe that’s what’s going on? Does anyone think that what Pete Stark said on the floor yesterday truly upset the Republicans?
As I said before, what political operatives and others accustomed to such heated rhetoric think isn’t the issue. His comments weren’t posted on a blog likely to be seen only by those familiar with memeorandum. People not familiar with Moonbat sites don’t know what actually goes on in them, and they’d probably be appalled if they were ever to find out. To their ears, what Stark said sounds very different from how it’s perceived by digby.
Since we’re on the subject of faux outrage, let’s take a look at what these two blogs had to say about last week’s smear campaign in the run up to the vote to override Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bill.
C&L: “The wingnuts have been in full force attack against the family of Graeme Frost, the twelve year old boy that gave the Democratic radio address a couple of weeks ago. In their typical ignorance of the facts, Malkin and the rest on the right side of the blogosphere are trying to paint this family as phonies. Think Progress has noted the important facts the attack monsters are forgetting.”
“This is sick. The right is going after the 12 year old who gave the Saturday Democratic address supporting the SCHIP program. Remember him? Think Progress reports that the pathological rightwing freakshow has accused this family of being “rich” because Graham earns a scholarship to go to private school, and his sister goes to a special school paid for by the state because she was handicapped by the accident. Oh, and they have a house they bought years ago for 55,000 when the neighborhood was dicey. Apparently, they should be living in their car and the handicapped daughter should be selling pencils on the street corner. That’s the world these empty souls want to live in.
I believe they’ll find that attempting to dismiss controversy over legitimately outrageous statements, going so far as pretending they weren’t said, is even more difficult than their previous gambit trying to gin up faux outrage of their own.