Slimy Talk Radio

OK in the past week I have heard two great examples of the vast right-wing conspiracy, or rather, the vast right-wing smear machine. (I don't use "smearbund" because I don't really understand the term. It sounds like a technique for applying sauerkraut.)

So last week, the great American Sean Hannity had on some pastor (I think?) that said Obama and Jeremiah Wright had had a long romantic relationship. Hannity asked what the guy's proof was, and he said, "I have rock solid evidence, Sean, but I'm not going to share it with you today." Hannity gave a good 10 or 15 minutes to this clown, all the while "defending" Obama against baseless, ad hominem attacks that do nothing except discourage good people from running for office.

I suppose if I called up Hannity and told the call screener I had rock solid evidence that George Bush hung out at Michael Jackson's ranch, they'd give me 15 minutes of air time.

The other issue concerns the supposedly shocking statements of Tom Harkin that I just alluded to. I kept waiting for the host to repeat the horrible comments impugning the service of the guy who called in his show, but I had missed them. (I.e. he must have read them / played the clip earlier in the show, and now they weren't actually repeating what Harkin had said.) But at one point the host told the young guy something like, "And the thing is, because you volunteered Harkin thinks you're 'dangerous.' It's OK if the government forces you to fight for your country, but if you volunteer to do it Senator Harkin thinks you're 'dangerous.'"

Well I did a Google news search and I'm pretty sure these are the remarks that so upset my (state-level, not a national figure) talk show host. This attack on Harkin is about the most out of context thing I have ever seen, er, heard. Here is the part about why Harkin thinks volunteers, as opposed to conscripts, are dangerous:

"I think one of, one of the problems John McCain has, is that his grandfather was an admiral, his father was an admiral. He comes from a long line of just military people so I think his whole world view, his life view has been shaped from a military viewpoint, and he has a hard time thinking beyond that, and I think he's trapped in that," Harkin says.

"And I think that can be pretty dangerous. It's one thing to have been drafted and served or volunteer and serve for a few years or something and get out and get on with your life. Quite another thing when you know, you come from generations of military people, that's just how you're steeped, that's how you, that's how you learned, that's how you grew up, it's hard to shake those things."


  1. Isn't it a good thing to discourage good people from running for office, for the same reason that it is a good thing to discourage anyone from running for office?

  2. Good point but I'm not sure. E.g. would you support a new law that only convicted felons could become president? I don't know. An easier case: What about a law that only members of the Communist Party could become president? That would discourage a bunch of people.

  3. True. I should use that example when arguing with libertarians who deny the importance of sequencing when deregulating/privatizing.

  4. The difference between that and other sequencing problems is that the amount of office-holders is already set and you are merely changing their composition. I think the end-result of passing such a law would amount to little if maintained because aspiring politicians would either get busted on a felony and/or join the communist party.

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