Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Raving Idiots

John Derbyshire, who seems to be the only cornerite who hasn't become a raving idiot over the elections, threw a little cold water on the Kerry "insult" hysteria overcoming the right.
He may regard them with contempt (my personal impression is that JK regards most of the human race with contempt); he may despise them; he may think they're dumb crackers; but T-H-A-T-'-S N-O-T W-H-A-T H-E S-A-I-D.

The best responses are from Ramesh Ponnuru and K.J. Lopez who both seem to be saying that since they can misinterpret Kerry's remarks, that's what they will do.

I have a feeling that one day soon, Derb is going to wake up and wonder why he is associating himself with such boobs, or NR will deem him to be yet another Unpatriotic Conservative. Larison has more.

UPDATE: Ramesh Ponnuru takes me to task, and I probably did overinterpret his words. He did note that Republicans would continue to make a stink about what Kerry didn't say and didn't mean:

Kerry may have meant to make an anti-Bush crack--he probably did, even--but the plainest reading of what came out of his mouth was an anti-troops crack. So he should have said that he botched the line and never meant to insult the troops. That wouldn't have ended the story, since it's too good for Republican partisans to let go, but it would have caused it to die down considerably. As for John Derbyshire, he needs to learn to take criticism as well as he dishes it out. (emphasis added)
Meanwhile, the phony controversy continues in the Corner.


katie said...

Pretty sure you've just proven yourself to be the "raving idiot"

Magister Aurelius said...

And Ramesh thinks that he's posted a witty biting retort. But a more important question, if the Republicans do lose the election big, what will these shills do? They don't have the honor to fall on their swords ala disgraced Roman senators.

Bubba said...

Aurelius, Ramesh's "witty biting retort" is simply that Clark is himself guilty of distortion. That does seem to be accurate, and it wouldn't be the first time Mr. Stooksbury seemed to be more interested in scoring cheaping rhetorical points than in ascertaining and relaying the truth.

Pondering American said...

I have to give NR a little break. At least most of the Corner folks realized that the whole WEBB book sex scandal was a stupid move. I have enjoyed the Corner more recently since they have not been screaming the Tancredo immigration line 24/7 liek a deranged parrot. I have alwasy thought that having a John Tanton boy over there as a contributor(CIS) was a bad move that always made me doubt their objectivity on the issue. But I digress

But I do respect Derbyshire. It is nice to see a little honesty or at least a demand for it. Nothing wrong with that. That being said I am not sure what Kerry meant at this point. In the end it will not matter much because the voters will have forgotten about by Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Misinterpret? How, exactly?

Let's see...we have a U.S. Senator with a history of comments denigrating the troops during wartime (accusing his Vietnam colleagues of war crimes, accusing the troops in Iraq of "terrorizing" children, etc.), who says that [if you don't study] "you get stuck in Iraq" and you think that the most reasonable interpretation is to take Kerry's word that his intent was to insult the President? The same President, btw, who was at Yale with John Kerry, and whose GPA, while nothing to be overly proud of, was nonetheless higher than Kerry's?

I don't buy it, and I think referring to those who believe that Kerry meant what he said, even if he didn't realize what a stupid thing it was to say, as "raving idiots" is most certainly unjustified by the actual facts.

Dave in VA said...

Nice job, Clark--you made Ramesh cry. No doubt Derb's scathing review of Ponnuru's "Party of Death" manifesto has made the latter a bit prickly.

Ponnuru, you stoop to conquer.

CB said...

Ramesh, cry? Dave must be at the end of a six day gunja weekend. I'm always amused by those who think because they type something in a blog, no matter how ridiculous, the matter is settled.

As to the point about Derb's interpretation, it's not an unfair one, but as Derb admits himself on reflection, neither is the alternative reading.

The real problems with taking Kerry at his word that it was a botched joke are:

A) It was included in prepared comments. The Kerry people are trying to assert now that the written comments were different, but how do you get from a joke about Bush's intelligence to a comment that offends massive amounts of the military? Also, wasn't John Kerry supposed to be the Presidential candidate who didn't misspeak?

B) Kerry's attitude has been that he did nothing wrong. Jonah Goldberg hits what I think is an important point in that, even if the remark was unintentional or misinterpreted, there's obvious potential for soldiers to read it differently and take offense. If Kerry were truly concerned about offending the troops, he should have apologized immediately, or better yet, taken greater care in wording the comment (like actually mentioning President Bush, as Warren Bell has pointed out). Instead, it's been all about Sen. Kerry and how he has been defamed. The man is so narcisstic that his handler must put a bag over his head every time they drive past the Reflecting Pool.

BTW Casey made a major mistake in not at least acknowledging that Kerry should apologize. Rick Santorum has his talking points for this week now.

C) The audience response was, from all accounts, not the kind of response you'd expect from a withering joke about an unpopular president. If Kerry were as smart as he's supposed to be, and if he had an ounce of concern for feelings of the troops, he might have picked up on that and clarified he was talking about the President.

All in all, that makes Derb's read less plausible, despite the understanding that initially it's a fair option.

And Clark looks embarrassingly silly for suggesting otherwise and in the way he did so.

PS I thought Ramesh's retort was pretty biting. It's obvious that he and Derb's relationship is strained, but Derb's review of Ramesh's book was pretty nasty-tempered and the reasoning it contained was uneven at best.

Dennis Dale said...

The "terrorizing children" comment was taken out of context and distorted; Kerry said that having our troops conducting house to house searches "terrorizing children" is incredibly unwise policy. Characterizing that as equating our troops with terrorists, as many did, is absurd. Of course children are terrorized by combat troops searching their homes in the middle of the night. The only thing Kerry's guilty of is stating the obvious.

As far as his recent comments, I fail to see how they're denigrating to U.S. troops. As someone who enlisted years ago for the same reason most do, because I had few attractive prospects, I can tell you that few enlisted servicemen find this offensive. Rather, many are asking themselves what they (or more accurately, their leaders) have gotten themselves into. Those who presume to take offense on behalf of others are usually full of it.

Kerry merely said out loud what thousands of parents are telling their kids every day in this country.
Of course this tempest in a teapot is an attempt at distraction, and as such deserves our ridicule. More importantly, all of this coordinated false outrage seeks to chill public discourse. We already have too much timidity there. Somehow I think the troops are surviving the imagined insults of John Kerry. Enough already.

This is barely more relevant than Goldberg et al fretting about Google's Memorial Day logo.

Pauli said...

The troops respond hear.

Anonymous said...

Can't say I'm familiar with "gunja," cd, and never implied that the "matter was settled." Just putting in my two cents' worth. Try decaf.

My point was that Derb's read of the comment was sound, and that Ramesh, who is known for his cranky rejoinders, has risen to the bait again.

CB said...

I take it that you're familiar with the concept of a "joke" though, right? Maybe not...

Ramesh cranky in comparison to Derb? Derb, God love him, is sometimes like a literary version of the impression Dave Letterman used to do of a crotchety old neighbor - "You kids get out of my yard!" What you view as Ramesh "rising to the bait" I view as Ramesh giving as good (or often, better) than he gets. As entertaining as Derb is, for someone so convinced of the scientific reasoning and rationalism, he's awfully "gut feeling" in many of his arguments. Ramesh has always struck me as far more rigorous and disciplined in his approach. That's why I find your characterization so off-key.

Maybe Derb enjoys getting the bile to rise in Ramesh when he can, but I suspect it's an unintentional side effect of his gloomy and somewhat reactionary approach to many arguments. There's no question that can be entertaining sometimes, but sometimes it comes across as a bit petulant - like the insistence in sitting out the elections this year, for instance.

Quite frankly, they strike me both as honest, sincere guys...but man, they've been at each other like cats and dogs lately.