Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:16 am

It’s days like this that make blogging so much fun…

We on the right have had precious little to laugh about lately. The Republican party seems intent on going ahead with the suicidal Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that is guaranteed to comprehensively alienate the base while comprehensively leading to a Democratic sweep at the polls in November of 2008.

We were promised a comprehensive reform of the Republican party. What we didn’t realize is that it would involve shrinking its numbers and losing elections - comprehensively, of course.

And of course, the din from the netnuts over the continued non-scandal at DOJ, the Scooter Libby sentencing, and a variety of other “ethics witch hunts” as Goldstein refers to them, has contributed to the overall feeling of ennui felt by most conservative bloggers. Especially since it is clear the GOP brought much of this upon themselves due to their unmitigated arrogance. Not breaking the law and acting ethically are not mutually exclusive, although making each mini-breach of ethics into a threat to republican government is as silly as it gets.

So here we are, our “black dog” getting the better of us as Winston Churchill liked to say, when all of a sudden, a gift from heaven. Harry Reid tells liberal bloggers that retiring General Peter Pace is “incompetent” and makes similar observations about General Petreaus. This according to Politico - a publication already derided by the netnuts as part of the right wing noise machine. That may be true. I have yet to see any acknowledgement that the dozens of conspiracy theories spouted by the left have any validity on that publication. So obviously, they are right wing Rethuglican theocrats.

But did Harry Reid really say that about our generals?

Not so fast says Greg Sargent of Election Central at TPM Cafe:

The story has already sparked an uproar, and the conservatives have jumped all over it. It was linked on Drudge, and John McCain sent out a press release attacking Reid over it. And White House press secretary Tony Snow use it to hammer Reid as anti-military in today’s White House briefing. Snow brought up the Politico story himself, saying that it was “outrageous” for Reid to be “issuing slanders” toward commanders “in a time of war.”

But we’ve just spoken with three of the prominent liberal bloggers who say they were on the call, and they all say they don’t remember Reid saying anything like this. One flatly denies that he said it.

And just to set this delicious story up a little more, here’s what those “prominent liberal bloggers” told Mr. Sargent about their teleconference with Harry Reid:

We asked Joan McCarter, who blogs at DailyKos under the name McJoan and wrote about being on the call here, if she recalled Reid calling Pace “incompetent.”

“I don’t remember him saying anything like that,” she answered. “I can’t swear he didn’t say it. But I have no memory that he actually did. It’s not in my notes.”

Asked if Reid had disparaged Petraeus at all, McCarter said: “No. He said something about [Petraeus] coming back in September to deliver a report.” But on the question of whether he’d said something disparaging, McCarter said: “Not that I recall, no.”

“I don’t even recall Pace’s name specifically being mentioned,” adds Barbara Morrill, who blogs at Kos under the name BarbinMD and says she was on the call. “If it was, he did not say that he was incompetent.”

Asked if he’d criticized Petraeus, Morrill said: “Not that I recall. I checked my notes,” and there was nothing like this. “He mentioned the report that Petraeus is supposed to be coming out in September. I only recall him saying something along the lines that the Bush administration had run the war poorly. Any criticisms were against the Bush administration.”

Finally, here’s what MyDD’s Jonathan Singer, who wrote about the call here, told us: “I don’t remember him calling Pace incompetent.” He added that while he couldn’t promise that he hadn’t done it, “I just don’t recall those statements.”

There are more “I don’t recalls” above than there were at the Scooter Libby trial. And that guy was trying to remember stuff that he said 4 years ago not a couple of days like these tireless champions of truth and justice.

Case closed. After all, if you can’t trust a liberal blogger to tell you the truth, who can you trust?

And based on those denials, the netnuts went absolutely ballistic on conservative bloggers who dared quote the Politico story as if it were - well, a story. They skewered Politico reporter John Bresnahan, basically accusing him of being a liar.

Except it turns out, the story was true:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is “incompetent.”

Reid also disparaged Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

The netnuts, forgetting that their original triumphalism about catching conservative bloggers goosing a false story, were quick to respond that even if Harry did say it, the fact is, it’s true isn’t it?

Everyone is now going to be talking about the “context” of Reid’s remarks, which is important. He has supposedly told Pace to his face what he thinks of him. Good for Reid, that’s what any person of character should do. Senator Reid has many supporters in the military. He’s earned them and I’m sure those who support him will continue to do so.

However, it doesn’t make this event any less newsworthy. “Context” doesn’t matter to most people when you hear the quote. Reid said it. It’s confirmed. Cable news and talk radio will now be using it forever against Reid and the Democrats. In addition, when you weigh the Congress, which has a 23% approval rating, against what the American people think of the U.S. military, let’s just say Congress loses. You don’t get anywhere by calling a chairman of the Joint Chiefs “incompetent.” If you’re going to level a charge make it specific and cite the situation in which the soldier failed. Letting bin Laden go at Tora Bora comes to mind. But blanket charges just won’t get the job done.

Even my level headed lefty friend Taylor Marsh fails to mention what Reid said about General Petreaus. Evidently, our Harry has more information about what is going on in Baghdad sitting on his ass in his Washington D.C. office than General Petreaus has by virtue of him actually being in Iraq:

The Senate majority leader took aim yesterday at the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who until now has received little criticism from Capitol Hill over his statements or performance.

Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) charged that Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who took command in Iraq four months ago, “isn’t in touch with what’s going on in Baghdad.” He also indicated that he thinks Petraeus has not been sufficiently open in his testimony to Congress. Noting that Petraeus, who is now on his third tour of duty in Iraq, oversaw the training of Iraqi troops during his second stint there, Reid said: “He told us it was going great; as we’ve looked back, it didn’t go so well.”

Reid seemed most provoked by an article in yesterday’s edition of USA Today, which quoted the general as saying that he sees “astonishing signs of normalcy” in the Iraqi capital. “I’m talking about professional soccer leagues with real grass field stadiums, several amusement parks — big ones, markets that are very vibrant,” Petraeus told the newspaper.

Did Reid make similar criticisms of Petreaus to the netnut bloggers?

The Politico story would seem to indicate the affirmative. There is silence on the matter from those who actually were involved in the call in addition to the “non-denial” denials of Reid calling Pace incompetent.

I share some of Reid’s concern about Petreaus glossing over the violence in Iraq but at the same time, the General has a point. Baghdad is a very large city and it is more than probable that big parts of it are returning to “normalcy” as a result of the increased troop presence. So far, that increase hasn’t stopped the terrorists although it has apparently slowed down the death squads. What the surge hasn’t done, of course, is get Prime Minister Maliki to give up his imitation of a bronze statue and move his government toward meeting the political goals he agreed to with President Bush last year in Jordan.

But the real kicker in this story is what Reid told the press after admitting he referred to Pace as incompetent. “”I think we should just drop it,” the leader of the Majority Party in the United States Senate said.

Good advice. I recommend that the following should be “dropped” from discussion on the internet:

“Bush lied people died.”
“No blood for oil.”
The Administration “twisted” pre war intel on Iraq.
Dick Cheney actually runs the government, not Bush.
Diebold helped the Republicans steal the election of 2004.
Gore actually won Florida in 2000.
9/11 was an inside job.
Bush is trying to set himself up as a dictator.
America is now a theocracy - or almost there.
Conservatives are racists.
Glenn Greenwald never used sockpuppets.

I could think of a couple of dozen more, but you get the picture. Why not leave your “Harry Reid Sanctioned Dropped Memes” in the comments? It just may make you feel better today.


I’ll give Bryan at Hot Air the final word:

Sen. Harry Reid is a dishonest shill for the nutroots whose approval rating stands at 19%. He is the incompetent leader of a pathetic Democrat-led Senate, the approval rating of which stands at a whopping 23%. For Reid to disparage either Gen. Peter Pace or Gen. David Petraeus, both of whom have given their entire adult lives in service to their country, is a disgrace.

If Reid had any sense of honor or decency, he’d resign. Which means he’ll be in the Senate until the voters of Nevada finally tire of him, or he retires at a ripe old age.


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    Trackback by Pajamas Media — 6/15/2007 @ 10:16 am

  2. So now the elected representatives of the people of the United States are not allowed to criticize the leaders of our military? And if they speak up, they should resign in disgrace?

    Who then should be running the country? Do you believe this should be a military dictatorship? Or should we pretend to have elected representation as long as all our elected leaders promise to submit to the military at all times?

    Comment by WR — 6/15/2007 @ 11:32 am

  3. WR:

    You are a ninny. Criticize is one thing. Insults and name calling is quite another.

    And at 19% approval, should Harry be calling ANYONE incompetent?

    Comment by Rick Moran — 6/15/2007 @ 2:52 pm

  4. You’re deleting comments after the white-knuckle pan-handling here of recent weeks? You must have been a Hubert Humphrey Democrat.

    Comment by Semanticleo — 6/15/2007 @ 2:53 pm

  5. WR,

    Rick’s point was that it’s irresponsible for elected leaders to be levelling baseless criticism at American military commanders during a time of war. Unless of course you agree that our esteemed leaders should insult the troops as a way of scoring cheap political points, like Senators Lurch and Turb… err, Durbin did.

    Try to avoid reading too much into things - you’re liable to hurt yourself.

    Comment by Sirius Familiaris — 6/15/2007 @ 3:02 pm

  6. Of course Harry Reid didn’t insult “the troops.” He made a comment on the performance of one of the highest ranking military officials in this country. I’m sure Peter Pace wouldn’t feel compelled to hide behind soldiers when someone criticizes him — why do you feel compelled to make the ludicrous claim that somehow criticizing the commanders is the same as attacking the soldiers on the ground?

    Beyond that, this was anything but a “baseless criticism.” Pace is a public official doing a highly public job — and doing a pretty terrible job at it, if we’re going to measure by results instead of sticking our heads in the sand. At what point are out elected leaders allowed express an opinion on the appointed military commanders? When the war is over?

    Comment by WR — 6/15/2007 @ 5:23 pm

  7. “You are a ninny. Criticize is one thing. Insults and name calling is quite another.”

    Yes, I agree. Insulting people is simply childish and shouldn’t be accepted in polite society. Criticism is, of course, acceptable.

    An example of criticism : “You are incompetent, I don’t trust you to report facts accurately”

    An example of an insult : “You are a ninny”

    I assume that I would be banned pretty quickly if I called you an idiot.

    Comment by Drongo — 6/16/2007 @ 2:33 am

  8. WR said “Of course Harry Reid didn’t insult “the troops.” He made a comment on the performance of one of the highest ranking military officials in this country.”

    So you’re not insulting a group when you insult it’s leadership?

    What a load of BS.

    “I’m sure Peter Pace wouldn’t feel compelled to hide behind soldiers when someone criticizes him—why do you feel compelled to make the ludicrous claim that somehow criticizing the commanders is the same as attacking the soldiers on the ground?”

    Here’s the thing: If folks support the “chickenhawk” argument, and say that only those who have served in the military are justified to command the military, then it follows that only those who serve are justified to criticize.

    And I don’t think Sen Reid has served in the military.

    Comment by Jeff B — 6/16/2007 @ 11:38 am

  9. Drongo hit the nail on the head. Military leaders have always been judged by their competence. Pace is a empty, stuffed shirt, that basically a yes-man for Rummy. He had no original thoughts, and from what I’ve read, thats how you climb the ladder in the Bush administration.Because Iraq has become such an unmitigated disaster, the neo-cons have assumed their bunker mentality, which requires them to attack anyone who speaks out against incompetents like Bush, Rummy, and his ventriloquist dummy pace.Politico has become a “Fox News Lite”, I take what they report with a huge grain of sand. If the good people of Nevada wish to remove Senator Reid, they can do so with the voting process. The rabid dog neo-cons can cry for his removal till their blue in the face. The hardright elements in this country have become a fringe movement. No one but the Limbaughs and their ilk pay any attention to them. To them Reid’s comments were like some battle cry, how pathetic they have become. Bush is a clown, the neo-con movement died in Iraq, along with 3500 of our finest. Pace should be in Leavenworth for his stupidity, or maybe with the traitor Libby.

    Comment by Joe Helgerson — 6/16/2007 @ 12:01 pm

  10. Okay Rick, if you say Reid said it and he confirmed he said it I believe you. But, like rightwing-nut-jobs–nutroots hear what they want to hear and dismiss off color remarks by there own as throw aways between friends. It doesn’t necessarily follow that they are lying or deliberately trying to deceive.

    The same is true of you and tribe. Like dogs that catch Frisbees you wait crouched for the Frisbee to be thrown, i.e. a liberal to say something–anything, and you chase it hoping to catch it in mid-air and bring it back trotting to your master.

    Just remember it H.R. McMaster that wrote “Dereliction of Duty” and when history settles down it will be as poignant of Iraq as it was of Viet Nam.

    Comment by neoconhunter — 6/16/2007 @ 4:53 pm

  11. Harry Reid, shut your big mouth and let this nation’s generals do their job. Quit being a backseat driver, and quit insulting high ranking generals because you don’t think we belong in Iraq.

    Harry Reid is a joke. His antics are turning him into a point and laugh politician. How is anyone supposed to take him serious when he spews this kind of garbage out. It’s his own reputation he is destroying, I say carry on. 19% approval rating speaks for itself.

    Comment by Tim — 6/16/2007 @ 6:51 pm

  12. American generals have been sheep in wolves clothing for the entire Iraq war. We have been getting our asses kicked for almost five years and we should be screaming for an accounting of our leadership failures. From what you read about this war the opposition is too much for us. Our failure is due to “bad faries”, not our fault. Someone referred to Pace as the parrot on Rumsfeld’s shoulder. We have never had the right number of troops, the right equipment, or the right plan and our generals have gone along without objection until they retired. After retirement these stud mice became critics. we have been too kind to these losers.

    Comment by Carlyle Perry — 6/16/2007 @ 8:29 pm

  13. I would like to thank our military leaders for the “poor” job they doing. Losing only (yes I said only!)3500 of our boys with the death toll dropping each of the last few years is quite an accomplishment - especially in view of the evil terrorist/guerilla enemy they are fighting (yes I said evil!). It speaks to the preparation and the care with which our forces operations are led. The fact that they have brought about the end of a murderous dictatorship and given two countries a chance for liberty makes me proud to be an American. Likewise, if we bail on Iraq the way we did in Vietnam, I will be ashamed to be an American. Pushing for immediate/near future withdrawal can only come from the hopelessly naive or those seeking political gain.

    Comment by Rick Campbell — 6/17/2007 @ 7:29 pm

  14. “We have never had the right number of troops, the right equipment, or the right plan and our generals have gone along without objection until they retired.”

    That’s not strictly true. Several generals objected to the initial Pentagon plan and called for many more troops to secure Iraq in the all important initial weeks after the invasion. These generals were sidelined, or pushed into retirement in favour of Rumsfelds small footprint invasion.

    You get the generals you create. If you promote the yes men and fire the dissenters, sooner or later you get a bunch of yes men.

    Not to mention the obvious (or at least it should be) fact that generals tend to get their position not because they are great leaders of men, but because they are good political players, and are good at playing the DoD budget game.

    Comment by Drongo — 6/18/2007 @ 8:25 am

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