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The law of the jungle
Posted by: McQ on Friday, October 27, 2006

The Webb novel gems that have been posted around the blogs from novels he's written have been seen to fall, unsurprisingly, on the usual two sides.

It's no big deal:
This is nothing like Foley. I agree that the Foley attacks were blown out of proportion. But it's also clear that Foley was a sexual predator. Jim Webb was writing about a remote, foreign culture. The two aren't remotely comparable. Nor is it legitimate to say there's some sort of "unseemliness equivalence" between chastising the GOP for Foley, and implying that Webb is a pervert because of passages from his books.

The scene everyone's up in arms about isn't remotely titillating or sexual. It depicts two Americans in an exotic and foreign locale. The penis-kissing incident involves a native man and his son in a remote, rural part of South Asia. It's clearly scene-painting, and both characters are shocked and troubled by it, and return to it later in the book.

The genital-kissing custom, by the way, is fairly common in many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia. It isn't sexual. Yes, it seems odd to Americans (there have been several cases where Asian adults in America have been prosecuted for it — none have been upheld, with courts clearly finding the practice customary, not sexual) — and it seems clear from the book that Webb thinks it's odd, too. It isn't as if he made it up as part of some latent perversion.

It's entirely likely that Webb saw this happen while he was in Vietnam, was struck by it, and is relaying what he saw in the book.

I wasn't suggesting that Webb is some sort of pervert — as I said, it's a novel — but only that this would be likely to play badly. I like Webb, and my earlier impression of Allen as a bit of a dim bulb has been amply borne out by this campaign. Nonetheless, when you get down in the mud, as the Webb campaign has certainly done, you get dirty too. And if Imus thinks it's bad, then it's likely to hurt him.
And it is a big deal:
In my opinion, having this story break big will mean the end of James Webb's chances to be a Senator. Know why? Because even though it's fiction, it's so depraved that a lot of people will have a visceral negative reaction to it — and to Webb.

Intellectually, people may know it's fiction, but when you start describing and talking about grotesquely racist comments, incest, pedophilia, and women slicing up bananas with their private parts, there are just a lot of people who will find that disgusting, whether it's fiction or not, and they will believe it reflects what Webb really thinks in his private moments. Is that fair? Maybe not. But, that's people and that's politics.
So why am I so late into this game? Because I wanted to do a little research. I've come to a two-part conclusion.

A) Reality:
it's no big deal. Thankfully Radly Balko did the research I was concerned with:
Thira Srey, office manager for the Southern California-based Cambodian Association of America, said it is acceptable for a mother or caretaker in Cambodia, especially those from rural areas, to kiss the penis of an infant or put it in her mouth as a sign of respect or love.

The child is usually 1 year old or younger, "but no more than 2 years old," he said.

The act has nothing to do with sexual feelings, he said, noting that it can be viewed as a sign of high respect by a caretaker for a future "master."
And:
Such kisses are signs of affection, not sexual abuse, ruled the Maine Supreme Court in 1996 when it overturned a sexual assault conviction of an Afghan immigrant who was similarly photographed with his 18-month-old son. The court ruled that the father kissing his son's penis was a common cultural practice and not a sexual act.

"Kissing a young son on every part of his body is considered a sign only of love and affection for the child," the court said in its ruling. "There is nothing sexual about this practice."

"It shouldn't be looked at as a crime," said Ludwig Adamec, a professor emeritus of Middle East history at the University of Arizona's Center for Near Eastern Studies, who testified as an expert in the Maine case.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not accepting or condoning the custom. And, in fact, custom or not elsewhere, it isn't a custom here and certainly wouldn't be tolerated if an American did it with his or her children. But that's a subject for another time.

I simply wanted context for Webb's writing. He's since said, in an interview, he actually observed this in Bangkok, Thailand (which if he were a Republican would be evidence enough that he was there on a sex junket, but I digress. /snark). Given the above, I have no reason to doubt him. So, in the real world, no biggie ... something he observed and wrote about.

B) Political reality: Not good. Not good at all.

Doesn't matter what he observed. Doesn't matter what he says, there are the words and context is for chumps. Spin, spin, spin. And, as Balko observes "when you get down in the mud, as the Webb campaign has certainly done, you get dirty too." Webb and his campaign have had absolutely no problem going to the bottom early and often.

Well he's into the middle of the pig pen now, isn't he? And frankly, while I think this is much ado about nothing, it doesn't matter. Both sides have set the tone and now get to live with the results.

Will Webb suffer because of this? Possibly. And I'll be honest, listening to the man defend this isn't helping his cause.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Democrats think this is over the top, but as our own Jon Henke reminded Glenn Reynolds today (and no I haven't communicated with Jon on this at all and happened upon the comment on Instapundit like everyone else):
Something to remember about the Webb/book story — here's Keith Olbermann talking about the sex scenes in Scooter Libby's book:

"we have beaten the hell out of Libby for this, and deservedly so. If a Democratic White House official had written this book, his head would be on a pike somewhere."

Well, now a Democrat HAS written that kind of book. So it's funny to see how quickly the Democrats have rediscovered the irrelevance of fiction writing. If voters are not bothered by Webb's work, fine....but it's not a 'smear' to cite the public record that Webb himself talks about in commercials, interviews and on his campaign website.

It's true that the Dems have gotten mileage out of steamy Republican novels in the past. Though "steamy" isn't quite the term I'd use here.
Touche'. Goose, Gander, sauce.

Nope, what this all boils down to is a perfect example of the level at which politics in America now operates.

Encouraging, isn't it?
 
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Nope, what this all boils down to is a perfect example of the level at which politics in America now operates.

Encouraging, isn’t it?
And your approach seems to be to balance the two parties out with divided government and keep them both going longer, and for that matter, to keep them going longer as is.

You’re a funny man, McQ.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
And your approach seems to be to balance the two parties out with divided government and keep them both going longer, and for that matter, to keep them going longer as is.
And, of course, you have a much better approach don’t you Tom?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And, of course, you have a much better approach don’t you Tom?
If the odds of success are at worst the same, but the payoff is bigger, why do you go for the penny ante option?

And I don’t know the odds are the same. The Democratic party is a loose grouping of consituencies with no shared principles, although many individuals in the party may share many of them (ei, they think of themselves as being in more than one constituent group).

Nevertheless, as opposed to being a party of common principles, the Democratic Party is a patronage party—if they don’t win they fall apart.

Denied a national level win in 2006, and I believe likely also a no-win for them in 2008, I think they reform themselves without moonbats or, that a 3rd movement will become successful.

I see no hope for actual improvement with the two parties as is, and actual improvement—as opposed to being killed more slowly—is what we need.

Divided government is being killed more slowly.

So kill one of the parties, and the now Dems are more vulnerable.

And with such different but high power personalities as Paglia and Carville saying the Dems need to win now or change, I think odds are good they crack up or a 3rd party statrs making gains.

Can you explain why you are so sure I’m wrong?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Well, live by the sword, die by the sword. Maybe the Dems will dissolve first simply because they no longer seem to know how to *win* elections, only hope that the Republicans lose them.
 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
I have two minds about this. While I certainly do not think anyone should be held responsible for something they wrote in a fiction book where they are not clearly advocating something. On the other hand, a trashy group of novels (and I don’t know if these are) might indicate certain prurient interests from the author.

That in and of itself would not be a problem unless he was running on a strong
"family values’ platform.


TOM I would love to see one of the old parties die, and a new one rise up, but it is likely to be the Republican party.

If the Dems don’t get rid of the nutroots crowd they will become more and more irrelevant, (even if they manage a slight majority this election). That will cause ever deeper divisions in the Republican party until it splits into traditionalist/libertarian factions.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I think that if anything can really sour America to the Democrats by 2008, it’ll be shrill Speaker Pelosi for the two preceding years. Maybe Republicans can clean up their act in the interim so as to avoid a repeat.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
TOM I would love to see one of the old parties die, and a new one rise up, but it is likely to be the Republican party.

If the Dems don’t get rid of the nutroots crowd they will become more and more irrelevant, (even if they manage a slight majority this election). That will cause ever deeper divisions in the Republican party until it splits into traditionalist/libertarian factions.
If the Dems become more irrelevent, they will loose more elections, and in loosing elections they will loose any reason for remaining in a coalition party. Consequently they will break up.
I think that if anything can really sour America to the Democrats by 2008, it’ll be shrill Speaker Pelosi for the two preceding years. Maybe Republicans can clean up their act in the interim so as to avoid a repeat.
Right, they can loose either way. Their fundamental problem is that they don’t have any answers, at least none that have not been tried and found wanting.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Something to remember about the Webb/book story — here’s Keith Olbermann talking about the sex scenes in Scooter Libby’s book:

"we have beaten the hell out of Libby for this, and deservedly so. If a Democratic White House official had written this book, his head would be on a pike somewhere."

Well, now a Democrat HAS written that kind of book. So it’s funny to see how quickly the Democrats have rediscovered the irrelevance of fiction writing. If voters are not bothered by Webb’s work, fine....but it’s not a ’smear’ to cite the public record that Webb himself talks about in commercials, interviews and on his campaign website.

It’s true that the Dems have gotten mileage out of steamy Republican novels in the past. Though "steamy" isn’t quite the term I’d use here.


I owe Jon one, so I won’t spell out why I’m dissapointed him, both in his new take on what (misrepresentation and associational mindf*cks, apparently) is or is not fair in love, war and politics, or the specifics of how it contradicts both positions he has taken on here and the general persona he tended to present on here as well.

But I am.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I think that if anything can really sour America to the Democrats by 2008, it’ll be shrill Speaker Pelosi for the two preceding years.
Bingo. Give that man a kewpie doll. Smashing, thundering, shattering defeat. In the meantime, big spending Republicans have to get past Democrats to do so. Not gonna happen just out of partisan spite.
Maybe Republicans can clean up their act in the interim so as to avoid a repeat.
The best hope in town.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Somehow I get the feeling that both parties are actually trying to lose this election
 
Written By: Bill
URL: http://
It’s amazing having read Jon’s posts here for quite some time to see him coming out defending this in the way he did. I agree with glastnost, it’s disappointing. If the only goal is to win (and that’s what Allen is paying him for), it’s the right move. It’s just that while I’m pretty much used to seeing politicians engage in context shifting association games to defend their dirty moves, it’s strange to see it from someone I’d read for some time and thought to have more integrity. As McQ said, this is "the level at which politics in America now operates". It’s just disheartening to watch someone entering into it and descending to that level in the course of a single campaign.

I agree that in reality this is not a big deal (Balko’s take on it seems spot on to me), but I also think that this could easily move the few percent of people necessary to seal things for Allen. I guess Jon is doing a good job.
 
Written By: Larry Cushner
URL: http://
I think that if anything can really sour America to the Democrats by 2008, it’ll be shrill Speaker Pelosi for the two preceding years.
Bingo. Give that man a kewpie doll. Smashing, thundering, shattering defeat. In the meantime, big spending Republicans have to get past Democrats to do so. Not gonna happen just out of partisan spite.
Bingo? No. Bullsh!t. Two years of Pelosi just means efforts that might possibly be effective in fighting the Islamists are defunded, and the Democrats only complaint about spending will be that the Republicans aren’t moving decimals to the right on New Dealish programs, instead they’re just holding growth to 25%. And at that price, the Democrats don’t get any messages to the effect that they need to change—they’ll assume they won on the merits—not Republican demerits.

Did I understand you to mean you think the Democrats will slow down Republican spending? You’re effing dreaming. Never in million years. Although they may make taxes progressive enough to stagnate the economy and temporarily pay for a slower growth of the debt, that’s no healthy solution in the long run.
Maybe Republicans can clean up their act in the interim so as to avoid a repeat.
The best hope in town.
No. The only thing that actually provides hope is change in the two party duopoly, which mean a 3rd party supplants one of the current two or one of the two changes it’s skin.

What you offer isn’t hope any more than an oncologist saying he thinks he can give you another month or two if you’ll let him drug you out of your mind.

Some hope.

Save it McQ, until you can offer the real stuff.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Three utterly surreal races. Talent-McCaskill...and Michael J. Fox. Corker-Ford...and a blond bimbo nobody touched. Allen-Webb...and macaca, the "n" word, talking down female Navy pilots, touching male genitalia. And these three races will probably decide the future of America. Great system we got. But it’s all just free speech, I guess.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
Maybe the Dems will dissolve first simply because they no longer seem to know how to *win* elections, only hope that the Republicans lose them.
To be entirely fair that’s also been the GOP M.O. for awhile now ;)
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Jon Henke obviously has no regard for liberty, nor any sense of dignity. He has aligned himself with a racist candidate who has no regard for propriety. The best thing to come out of this campaign is that we all now know the true George Allen and we all now know the true Jon Henke. Both are old-style southern racists who will do anything to win.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
I will also note for those interested, that the contents of Allen’s sealed divorce may soon be exposed. It is being reported that Allen spit upon his first wife.(How’s that for family values?).

I would also say that anyone in the Virginia area or who has knowledge of this or any of the other Allen incidents involving sexual degradation and racism should bring them forth. As a libertarian, Jon Henke believes that all information should be brought forth.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
I agree that in reality this is not a big deal (Balko’s take on it seems spot on to me), but I also think that this could easily move the few percent of people necessary to seal things for Allen. I guess Jon is doing a good job.
As far as I know, Jon had nothing to do with breaking the story. So I’m not sure what job Jon has done in regards to this story.

And you may be right, it may indeed move a few percentage points to Allen. But, as noted, Webb most likely wouldn’t turn them down if they came to him under the same circumstances, so it’s a bit difficult to get all riled up about this.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Do us a favor, Jon. No more using our name. You are a Rush Limbaugh conservative.
Oh, william, buy a clue will you ... you’re about as libertarian as Joseph Stalin. And that’s on a good day.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Two years of Pelosi just means efforts that might possibly be effective in fighting the Islamists are defunded, and the Democrats only complaint about spending will be that the Republicans aren’t moving decimals to the right on New Dealish programs, instead they’re just holding growth to 25%.
What are they going to do it with, Tom, smoke and mirrors? Cause they sure won’t have the votes. And with a Republican in the WH, they won’t get the signatures. So then what?

Geez, your doom and gloom scenarios about this election sounds much like the Democrats do on Iraq.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"It’s just that while I’m pretty much used to seeing politicians engage in context shifting association games to defend their dirty moves, it’s strange to see it from someone I’d read for some time and thought to have more integrity."
If you had ever attempted a serious discussion of principles with him, none of this would be a surprise in any way.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
What an idiotic comment McQ, comparing me to Stalin. What about Hitler? How about Castro? Rush Limbaugh would be proud. Well, at least, you didn’t compare me to George Bush. But you did hear it here, people. McQ believes that anyone who opposes George Allen is a Stalinist.

First of all, all of your asinine comments aside, they have nothing to do with the vile, turncoat, Jon Henke, who is doing everything he can to promote a racist, pro-war, candidate. So all of my observations abount Henke stand.

McQ comes on here everyday and pretends to deride both parties, but we all know that when push comes to shove he is a Republican (not to mention a jerk) at heart.

One can only wonder how many young boys have died in war due to the actions of warmongers like McQ.

Finally, unlike you, McQ, I believe in minimalist government. I am against torture. I am against efforts by you and your ilk to deride the 4th and 5th amendments. When the country is finally free of pathetic Republican phonies like you, perhaps, those of us who actually believe in small government and not in taxing people through the nose to support foreign wars can take back our country.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
William, I can ignore. He’s a fool and a troll, anyway. Billy has never attempted a serious discussion with me, nor have I seen evidence that he’s capable of doing so.

Glasnost and Larry appear to have read other people writing about me, rather than reading what I wrote. All I wrote was that citing Webb’s public work which he has invited people to consider is fair, and that many Democrats seem to have had a sudden change of heart on the subject of fiction. I invite you to cite something I’ve written in the past that is contradicted by that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
What an idiotic comment McQ, comparing me to Stalin.
Well when addressing an idiot it is often useful to use an idiotic comment. Seems to have hit home, huh Joe ... er, I mean william.
One can only wonder how many young boys have died in war due to the actions of warmongers like McQ.
Bye, william. Lines are there for a reason and you just managed to cross one. Go troll elsewhere. You’re no longer welcome here.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Editing the blog is the first sign of its demise. I have many IP addresses, so no worries, ace.

Written By: william
URL: http://

No doubt. A normal person would be satisfied with one, but a stupid, blind, ideologue troll has to have many, because spewing his venom is the only way he has in his pathetic existence of feeling like a big man.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
"And with a Republican in the WH, they won’t get the signatures. So then what?"

I think the only way the President can prevent a bill from becoming law is the veto. You may be thinking of the "pocket veto", but that only happens if Congress adjourns and thereby prevents the bill from being returned within 10 days.
"If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law."
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Sorry, accidentally edited out the cite, which is Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I think McQ vastly overstates the degree to which if the dEmocrats take the House, that them minority Republicans will be able to restrain growth of governemnt if they choose to do so.

In order for their districts to recieve pork—let alone make progress any other issue they feel to be of consequence—the Republican would then have to deal with the Democrats running the House in order to accomplish anything. And deal they will.

Government will go on, government growth will go on.

That’s why divide governemnt is really not such a great deal. Especially with this President, who is not as conservative as I would like in the areas I would like a conservative to be.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Jon,
My response was based on the instapundit quote comparing Allen’s attacks to Olberman’s. This struck me as the sort of "but some people on the other side are just as bad" response that really bothers me in political discourse. Now, I completely agree that Webb would have done the same thing, as would most candidates. I agree that what you said wasn’t even that bad in the context of this election cycle. So let me try to explain.

There’s an odd possessiveness you start to feel towards writers you’ve liked or agreed with. In the scheme of things, your comments weren’t that big of a deal and from any other pol, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. My reaction was more of the emotional "but I thought he was one of the good ones" than a comparative indictment of your actions in the context of the political process. Since it was primarily an emotional response, I probably should have not posted anything since it says more about me than you.
 
Written By: Larry Cushner
URL: http://
I think McQ vastly overstates the degree to which if the dEmocrats take the House, that them minority Republicans will be able to restrain growth of governemnt if they choose to do so.
It’s not just republican restraint. Democrats politically assume that they can take for granted the liberal wing of their party. To win, they tack center which means grabbing republican issues. Plus, they recognize that their greatest electoral weakness is being labeled as big spenders. For that reason, they have tended not to actually push the big government programs they talk about while republicans have pushed those programs while talking about small government.

Additionally, the republicans are far better organized. The democrats are fragmented (and have been for decades) and so have been unable to even push programs they have some agreement on. The republicans are able to machine through pretty much any idea the leadership decides on.

Consider the prescription drug benefit, the largest new entitlement since the Johnson administration. The democrats, with house, senate and presidency wouldn’t have been able to pass that. The republicans pushed it through with barely a debate.

Focusing on the emprical record, look at the overall numbers. Compare that to the democratic record in the 80’s and 90’s under republican presidents and even toss in 92-94 under a democratic president. The last six years dwarf them.

The final thing that most people point to is the tax cuts. To my way of thinking, we haven’t had any tax cuts, just tax deferments. Being told that putting things on a credit card is a savings plan is somewhat galling. Looking forward to who’s going to be left to pay the bills more than somewhat ticks me off.

Anyway, that’s my take. I also think that the best defense against a full takeover by the dems in ’08 (something I do view as more of a danger) is to let the show the country what they can do. People are sick of the republicans and two more years will just increase that. Better to release some pressure now.
 
Written By: Yorvium
URL: http://
Yorvium, if I pay less tax now than I would have otherwise, then that is A) a tax cut and B) the money will neccessarily be better spent the more private as opposed to political hands it passes through, making the economy grow more efficiently than does government spending and so making your supposed "deferred tax" payments easier.

Also, I recall that the last time a President had to fight a war and the house opposed his spending on that, he gave them a bye on substantive welfare reform in trade. Reagan got his cold war victory and the welfare reform had to wait for Clinton.

Why won’t that happen this time?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
My response was based on the instapundit quote comparing Allen’s attacks to Olberman’s. This struck me as the sort of "but some people on the other side are just as bad" response that really bothers me in political discourse.
I wasn’t comparing Allen’s attacks to Olbermann’s, though I understand where that misunderstanding came from. The point I made was simply that (a) merely disclosing the work that a candidate (Webb) has asked voters to consider is not unfair, and (b) Democrats seem to have suddenly reevaluated their position on the relevance of fictional work.

I leave to your own judgement the merits of the writing or of the criticisms of that writing. I have not weighed in on that subject.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
"Billy has never attempted a serious discussion with me..."
That’s a goddamned lie, you rotten little dirt-bomb.


 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The point I made was simply that (a) merely disclosing the work that a candidate (Webb) has asked voters to consider is not unfair, and (b) Democrats seem to have suddenly reevaluated their position on the relevance of fictional work.
Sure, it’s fair game. Of course it is. Now, having said that, the manner in which it has been "disclosed" suggests that it hasn’t been a matter of public record all along and that Webb has been making some effort to hide it. He hasn’t.

Indeed, Jon’s use of the word "disclose" is telling. One cannot disclose a matter of public record. Here is how the Post characterized what happened:
Allen campaign officials provided excerpts from the books — some of them depicting acts of incest and graphic sexuality — to the Drudge Report Web site Thursday night. Matt Drudge’s Internet blog often breaks or promotes stories with sensational angles, most recently the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.). Allen’s aides, who have been trying to get other news organizations to write about the excerpts for weeks, issued statements saying the fictional scenes in Webb’s novels reflect poorly on Webb’s character and fitness for office.

Allen told reporters after a campaign stop in Harrisonburg that Webb’s books are demeaning to women. "My opponent hasn’t been in public office," he said. "But he talks about the books he’s written and his creative writing, his novels. Those are some of his writings. . . . People can make that judgment."

Allen’s aides would not say whether the senator had read Webb’s books. They said he did not know about the books’ contents six years ago, when he accepted Webb’s endorsement for his first Senate campaign.

Webb said the graphic scenes in his novels, many of which are set in wartime, are taken out of context and do not accurately reflect the books or their content: combat. He said he has written about disturbing scenes that he witnessed on the battlefield or as a journalist in Southeast Asia.

"It is an observation about how the human species lives," Webb said after Mark Plotkin, the radio show’s host, read one of the more lurid passages, prompting objections from the candidate.
Shopping it to Drudge to make it look like a breaking story? Why didn’t the Allen campaign simply issue a press release weeks ago about the books, when they first the knew about them?

Answer: Because misleading folks into believing that the novel has somehow been hidden away and needs to be "disclosed" at the last minute is the goal. Therefore, they need to shop it to sleazemaster Drudge. The goal here is not to show what the novel says. That could have been accomplished weeks ago. The goal here is to deceive the voter who does not follow the campaign closely into believing there is something new here, something salacious, something that the Webb campaign was trying to hide (which is wasn’t).

Of course, the truth will eventually come out. But not in time before the election. At least that’s the hope.

Now, the one problem I see is that the Allen campaign went to Drudge about 4 or 5 days too early. Gave Webb too much time to recover and gave Webb too much time to explain. This story should have come out around 10/31 or 11/1.

But would it be the first time the Allen campaign has misstepped? Hardly. Like I have said before, Allen should go down in defeat simply on the basis that he has revealed himself to be incompetent to run a campaign. At this point he should be cleaning Webb’s clock, given that Webb seems to lack a charisma gene. If Allen can’t competently run a campaign that should be a slam dunk, what business does he have being in the Senate?

What the episode does highlight is that while Webb was out earning his Navy Cross, defending the United States against its enemies, and, in the process, gathering information for his novel, Felix was stateside, on a deferrment, learning to love the Confederacy, which, ironically, was an enemy of the United States.
On 10 July 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb’s platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex which appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out.

Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers.

Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel.

Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade.

Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body.

Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker.

By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Can you even imagine Felix showing even a tenth of the courage? Of course not.

Vote Webb for a better America.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
That’s a goddamned lie, you rotten little dirt-bomb.
We’ve never had a point/counterpoint discussion. We’ve begun a couple, and you always immediately resort to this kind of angry insult. Perhaps name-calling is a serious conversation of principles for you, but I don’t find it particularly compelling. If you recall a serious conversation of principles that you and I have had which hasn’t immediately devolved, please remind me.
the manner in which it has been "disclosed" suggests that it hasn’t been a matter of public record all along and that Webb has been making some effort to hide it.
Please cite one thing I’ve written that has suggested that.
Shopping it to Drudge to make it look like a breaking story?
How does the location of a press release affect whether something is "breaking"?
What the episode does highlight is that while Webb was out earning his Navy Cross, defending the United States against its enemies, and, in the process, gathering information for his novel, Felix was stateside, on a deferrment, learning to love the Confederacy, which, ironically, was an enemy of the United States.
Allen graduated college in 74. He got out of high school in 70, well after the US was drawing down. He did get a draft number, but it was so high that he was never called. In any event, nobody has maligned Jim Webb’s service.

But speaking of the Confederacy, you might want to be careful about using that. Have you ever read Webb’s defense of the Confederate Army? I distinctly recall you being very angry about people who would defend the Confederate Army. "As for those people who killed my ancestor while he defended the United States, I loathe them", you wrote. But Webb has given a speech to "honor" them (his word), arguing that "there truly were different perceptions in the North and South about" the reasons for the war. He attributed the Southern motivation to "sovereignty rather than slavery."

You would call any Republican who said that a neo-confederate. But you defend Webb. So maybe you shouldn’t be in such high dudgeon about a fellow who once owned Confederate flags.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
wtf is a dirt bomb?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I wasn’t comparing Allen’s attacks to Olbermann’s, though I understand where that misunderstanding came from. The point I made was simply that (a) merely disclosing the work that a candidate (Webb) has asked voters to consider is not unfair, and (b) Democrats seem to have suddenly reevaluated their position on the relevance of fictional work.
Fair enough. I apologize for mischarecterizing.
I leave to your own judgement the merits of the writing or of the criticisms of that writing. I have not weighed in on that subject.
I guess that was a part of what bothered me (and, as you’ll see, why I’m not really bothered at this point). Given the chance to respond, the piece of it you chose was the seemingly tangential issue of democratic standards rather than the main issue. From my perspective on the outside, I see what appears to be a misleading attack. You respond to it by making a point which, while correct, seems designed to move the debate onto other democrats’ problems and so leave the original attack hanging there. From the perspective of how I’ve seen you write and respond on this blog, I was bothered by that move.

But you weren’t writing for this blog. You’re working on a campaign and your job isn’t to provide an ideal detached analysis or defend your opponent (who has slung as much or more mud). I have the luxury of viewing this in the abstract. For you, it is part of a back and forth of a real political fight. So, the problem is that I was failing to apply the correct context. While I am sad about the state of american political discourse (and, from what I’ve read of yours, I think you’d agree), the decision to enter into the process doesn’t leave one the option of living in an ideal abstract world. You did respond honestly and, perhaps, by avoiding those main issues I mentioned, found a way to maintain both your duties and your integrity (a difficult balance in politics).

Which is all my way of apologizing for responding the way I did. I think I’ll go back to just being a reader now :).
 
Written By: Larry Cushner
URL: http://
How does the location of a press release affect whether something is "breaking"?
When it is located on Drudge, and the siren/light is flashing, it obviously makes it look like more of a breaking story.

You are being intentionally disingenious. And you know it.
Allen graduated college in 74. He got out of high school in 70, well after the US was drawing down
In 1970, there were about 1/3 of a million US military personnel in Vietnam, more than twice the number currently in Iraq. His services would have been helpful.
But speaking of the Confederacy, you might want to be careful about using that. Have you ever read Webb’s defense of the Confederate Army?
I don’t have to worry about Webb’s loyalty to the Union. He has proved his mettle in war in defending the United States. Do I disagree with him about the Confederate army? Yes. Do I loathe him on that point? Sure. As I would anyone who does such a thing. But do I question his loyalty? No.

Allen, on the other hand, is a different story.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
"We’ve never had a point/counterpoint discussion..."
That is not true.
"We’ve begun a couple, and you always immediately resort to this kind of angry insult."
What you just called an "insult" is actually the truth. And this sort of anger is a natural and righteous repsonse to what you are. It’s too bad if you don’t like it, but you’re not entitled to this pussy little indignation over it. You’re about two steps shy of the notorious Mr. Mercury in the ways you slide, and nobody is obligated to but up with that with a smiley-face.

You’re the one who is "devlolved", Henke.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
First, a little peeve...
You are being intentionally disingenious. And you know it.
Why the second sentence?
-=-=-=-=-=-
Billy -
*sigh*
We’ve never had a point/counterpoint discussion...
That is not true.
Great, Billy. Can you point to the discussion? Do you have archived emails? Blog posts? Letters you can scan and post on the ’net?
Billy Beck: ... you rotten little dirt-bomb.
Jon Henke: We’ve begun a couple [discussions], and you always immediately resort to this kind of angry insult."
Billy Beck: What you just called an "insult" is actually the truth.
... Billy. You must realize that "rotten little dirt-bomb" is not the kind of objective fact you can call "the truth" with that italicized level of confidence. It’s ridiculous.
And this sort of anger is a natural and righteous repsonse to what you are.
Of course it is, Billy. It’s your behavior. Therefore it can be nothing but a "natural and righteous response." It can’t possibly be, oh, your consistently self-assured, pompous, insulting attitude.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
What you just called an "insult" is actually the truth.
Perhaps you find ’you’re an idiot’ to be a responsive, powerful and relevant argument. That pretty well makes my point, though.

In a few areas, we don’t share similar premises. You might try to make a logical or scientific argument that I could evaluate, but instead you merely assert and then insult, as if your mere assertion was persuasion enough, and the insult, a logical follow-up.

At this point, your anger and misanthropy are more of a curiosity than something worthy of actual consideration. You’ve had ample opportunity to make your case, but you prefer to do...this. Well, noted. I’m as persuaded by your inexplicable and irrational premises as I am by those of Aristotle and Mill. They seem like interesting ideals and they may be logically plausible if I accept the premise...but I see no evidence that the premise is true. And no amount of insults will change that.

Apparently, you get some joy out of complaining at and about me. I have no idea why I’m so important to you, but everybody has their own hobby. Good luck with that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
When it is located on Drudge, and the siren/light is flashing, it obviously makes it look like more of a breaking story.
I fail to see your point. I suppose it’s "breaking" in the sense that it’s the first time he reported it. Since the quotes were in his book, you can’t be suggesting that anybody said Webb "hid" them, though. Perhaps you think Drudge should only put out stories that nobody could have found without him, but that’s a bit of an odd standard. In any event, it has nothing to do with what we’ve done.
In 1970, there were about 1/3 of a million US military personnel in Vietnam, more than twice the number currently in Iraq. His services would have been helpful.
(shrug) Ok. You know I’ve never really cared for the chicken-hawk argument, but since you make it: are you suggesting that it was actually dishonorable to get a deferment for actually going to college? Are you suggesting that it was dishonorable to sign up for the draft only to get a draft number that wasn’t called? (as in his case)

Hell, I find the draft itself incredibly objectionable. I don’t think anybody should be forced to join the military. Apparently, you feel differently. You might be glad to know that Jim Webb does, too. In fact, he’s frequently lobbied for the return of the Draft, and says that the end of conscription was a huge loss for America. That’s your candidate.
Do I loathe him on that point? Sure.
Well, congratulations! You’ve managed to subsume your loathing quite admirably! I barely even noticed.
Allen, on the other hand, is a different story.
Oh, I see. It’s ok again to question people’s patriotism. I wondered when that would happen.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
In 1970, there were about 1/3 of a million US military personnel in Vietnam, more than twice the number currently in Iraq. His services would have been helpful.
Hey MK - Did you make the same arguement about Clinton? Where are your posts saying his services would have been better used in Viet Nam vs. being in school in London?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I always love it when people are suprised and disgusted with the nastiness of politics. Politics has been that way from day one. Complaining about election smear campaigns is like despising rare meat because of the blood.

 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
To the original post, the thing that surprises me the most is that nobody’s come up with this kind of argument before. The democrats as Bruce points out, have been employing this kind of slime throwing for quite a few decades. Yet, they always seem to feel it’s untrod ground, when the Republicans use the same tactic.

There are two political realities happening here.

The first is that this contest is taking place in Virginia. Virginia, is, culturally speaking, not New England, or California, and as such Webb’s numbers will undoubtedly go higher as a result of this. I.e., for one, cannot imagine this kind of controversy scoring points in either direction in California, for example.

Secondly, Given the Democrats were the trailblazers in this tactic, the very ones who set the standard, they have nobody to blame for this tactic being employed but themselves.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Virginia, is, culturally speaking, not New England, or California, and as such Webb’s numbers will undoubtedly go higher as a result of this.
... why will Webb’s numbers rise? I think you meant to type something different, or I’m just way out of the loop.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
"I have no idea why I’m so important to you,..."
You are prominently stealing concepts to which you have no right. There is nothing "libertarian" about you.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I fail to see your point. I suppose it’s "breaking" in the sense that it’s the first time he reported it
Drudge uses the siren to announce breaking stories. That was the point that he was trying to make. Again, no one argues with that proposition. Why are you?

The point was to suggest that Webb’s novels - which he wrote years ago - are somehow breaking news.

To argue the contrary is just stupid.
(shrug) Ok. You know I’ve never really cared for the chicken-hawk argument, but since you make it: are you suggesting that it was actually dishonorable to get a deferment for actually going to college?
It is when (a) you are running against Webb and (b) you are questioning, broadly, Webb’s character based on writings that were, in turn, based on his experiences while serving his country in Vietnam. By bringing up Webb’s writings based on what he saw in Vietnam, you, not Webb, are bringing up Vietnam. As a courtroom lawyer might say, you opened the door.

If you attack Webb, and if your attacks are based on his writings about his Vietnam experience, then it is more than fair to point out that Allen could have gone to Vietnam, but chose not to. Again, to argue to the contrary is stupid.
Well, congratulations! You’ve managed to subsume your loathing quite admirably! I barely even noticed.


Ha ha. When there is one or two thngs to loathe about one candidate, and a hundred or so to loathe about the other, it is easy. You so-called libertarians should know that by now.
Oh, I see. It’s ok again to question people’s patriotism. I wondered when that would happen.
Well, it is when they refuse to enlist in their country’s own armed forces, in a time of war, and instead repeatedly express, by word and deed, their admiration for an enemy, an enemy that declared war on their own country.

When you refuse to fight for your own team, and express your admiration for the other team, it should hardly come as a surprise that your patriotism might be questioned. Indeed, it should be expected.

Again, to argue to the contrary is silly.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
re: whether webb’s novels are "trashy":
"fields of fire" is on the marine corps professional reading list for the ranks of corporal through sargeant.
http://www.usna.edu/Library/ Mari...Marineread.html

or how about what these “pinkos” think of it:

NAVAL WAR COLLEGE REVIEW: “The sound and smell of combat permeates FIELDS OF FIRE with a completeness that is extraordinary and a realism that is almost eerie. … at the end the reader is disappointed only because there is no more good reading. … While the reviewer has not read all of the books about Vietnam, he has read most of them. FIELDS OF FIRE is unquestionably the best. The rest aren’t even close.”

SOLDIER OF FORTUNE MAGAZINE: “If a grateful government wished to extend a meaningful GI benefit to the infantrymen who fought in Vietnam, it could simply send each a copy of FIELDS OF FIRE. They would then know that their suffering, courage and seemingly limitless endurance will be forever recorded. James Webb has immortalized them. …certainly a classic war novel, among the best of the past 35 years.”

these are serious books written by a serious man for serious (adult) readers. george allen is the one who’s plastering the airwaves and newspapers of virginia with stuff that was never intended for a family audience.
 
Written By: sam sherwood
URL: http://
... why will Webb’s numbers rise? I think you meant to type something different, or I’m just way out of the loop.
No, I simply screwed that one up.... bad edit.

It should read "Allen’s numbers will go up."

(I had intended originally to also say that were it happening in one of the afore- mentioned states and not VA, that Webb’s numbers would have gone up instead, but decided against it for several reasons... and I clipped the wrong portion of the line.)



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
You are prominently stealing concepts to which you have no right. There is nothing "libertarian" about you.
From whom am I stealing the concept? Moreover, who is deprived of the concept by my own political persuasion? Are you equally angry at McQ for "prominently" stealing the concept of ’libertarian’, since we espouse very similar policies?

In any event, I’m alternately kicked out of, and welcomed into, the libertarian fold about as often as you get worked up about the latest ’fascism descending’ moment. Which is to say, at least 3 or 4 times a day.

I’ve considered your philosophy and found it lacking. In the absence of positive evidence for its basic premise, it’s merely another subjectively constructed preference; and you, as inexplicable as so many other of faithful. Your approval is unwanted.

There are thousands of others as ’prominent’ as me calling themselves ’libertarian’, yet you choose to spend your time on me. You can justify it to yourself and others by talking about your deep devotion to the term ’libertarian’ — though you are not a libertarian — but the fact that you’ve spent so much time on me, personally, suggests that your interest goes beyond mere defense of the faith. As I said, we all have our hobbies.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
The point was to suggest that Webb’s novels - which he wrote years ago - are somehow breaking news.
(sigh) Let me try to explain this using small words. Drudge was not "breaking" news of the existence of Webb’s books.

If you know of another news organization that published the graphic scenes in Webb’s books prior to Drudge, let me know of them. If you think that "breaking" only refers to information that has heretofore been undiscovered by anybody else, you should also try to explain how that works. Drudge was the first news outlet with those particular quotes. In that sense, it was a story. "Breaking" is your own word, and I’m not really sure why you consider it important.
you are questioning, broadly, Webb’s character based on writings that were, in turn, based on his experiences while serving his country in Vietnam. By bringing up Webb’s writings based on what he saw in Vietnam, you, not Webb, are bringing up Vietnam.
Nobody has questioned Jim Webb’s service in Vietnam. Quite the contrary, nobody has anything but positive things to say about it. Quoting Webb’s fiction writing is not questioning his service in Vietnam.

Incidentally, idiot, Webb claimed he saw the penis-kissing incident in Thailand, not Vietnam. Don’t be ignorant in public.
it is more than fair to point out that Allen could have gone to Vietnam, but chose not to.
Sure it is. Allen chose to go to college and the military gave him a deferment. You imply something dishonorable about that, which is absurd. I find the draft — which Webb has frequently supported and called for, and the loss of which he has regretted — far more morally objectionable. But you are more worked up about going to college in the 70s. So be it.
Well, it is when they refuse to enlist in their country’s own armed forces, in a time of war, and instead repeatedly express, by word and deed, their admiration for an enemy, an enemy that declared war on their own country.
How’d the Gulf War go for you? And Bosnia. I bet those tours of duty must have been tough.

And if your Democrats carry out the regime change in Iran that they have claimed to support should Iran try to acquire a nuclear weapon, you’ll be at the recruiting station, right? Or when we send troops to Darfur? Where should I send your care package?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net

 
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