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Thanks, but no thanks

One of the less-than-thrilling perqs of being a member of such a high-profile blog as Wizbang is that I get added to a LOT of mailing lists. Folks from all over the political spectrum think that I just can't possibly survive without knowing their thoughts and observations -- and don't bother to ask first to see if I might be interested, because of COURSE I'll be delighted to be the recipient of their insights and wisdom. I've blocked a few, excoriated a couple (including one rabid anti-abortion kook who inspired new-to-me levels of venom when he simply WOULD NOT QUIT), and sighed and trashed scores more.

But every now and then, I am reminded of just why I don't get rid of them all.

At some point, someone decided that I needed to be included in the inner council of some of the country's top Democrats. I ended up on the mailing lists of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and the Democratic National Committee.

Yesterday, I received a breathless missive from a fine fellow named Tom McMahon, who happens to be the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. McMahon is upset about something Dick Cheney said last week, and wants all of us to share his outrage and let everyone know we're not happy with Mr. Cheney.

Mr. McMahon wants all of us to write letters to the editors of our local newspapers expressing his -- I mean "our" outrage. And to help us properly give vent to his -- I mean "our" -- feelings, he includes this link to a handy list of talking points. And by filling in my ZIP code, I also get a handy list of those local newspapers.

I needed a good laugh, and Mr. McMahon, you gave me one. In fact, you gave me several.

First, who the hell reads letters to the editor any more? Newspapers are a dying breed, and I don't think even the editors read letters to the editor. They're free content, fluff that fills up space without any real effort expended by the staff.

But that's just the appetizer. Let's MoveOn to the real substance of the meal, the talking points.

Vice President Dick Cheney and others in his Party have smeared people who disagree with Republicans.

Let's see. A Republican official has said mean things against his political opponents. That does it. I'll never vote for Dick Cheney again!

These patently untrue smears are meant to scare Democrats and the American public away from legitimate criticism of how the Bush administration is handling national security and the war on terror.
The Democratic Party welcomes a fair debate on the war on terror and our homeland security, and will no longer stand by while our candidates are needlessly skewered by the unbalanced media coverage of the war and upcoming elections.

Mr. McMahon, this is the reality: we are engaged in a war. There are many ways of fighting the war. The debate about how to fight the war is going to be unpleasant, and the essence of the argument is going to be the same for both sides: "our way will make you safer." The logical extension of this is "their way will make you less safe." That is the crux of the situation, Mr. McMahon, and whining about it is hardly a good way to impress people with your strength and resolve.


The Democratic plan: fight the war on terror by taking the target off the backs of American troops in Iraq; capture or kill Osama bin Laden; and be ready for threats to our safety and security here at home, whether it's terrorism or hurricanes.

OK, three points here. First, the "taking the targets off the backs of American troops in Iraq."

Mr. McMahon seems to think that those trying to kill our troops are dedicated to that goal -- killing our troops. They are not. They are dedicated to killing. That ain't gonna change. They're the same ones -- in spirit -- as those who struck on September 11, those who nearly sank the Cole, those who fired the missiles and rockets into northern Lebanon, and so on.

Right now, they have pretty much eased up on killing American soldiers in Iraq. This is because they've found it's pretty damned challenging. American soldiers shoot back -- with far more accuracy. They've shifted their focus to Iraqi civilians.

And here's where I get a bit brutal and seemingly insensitive. Our forces are all volunteers, and one of the key reasons they do so is they believe that they want to put themselves between their family, their friends, and their fellow Americans and those who wish to do us harm. Consequently, they are the best-trained, best-prepared, best equipped among us to meet such threats -- and withstand them. They are the sweet-smelling glue of the "flypaper" theory -- and they know that and accept that. More than that, they willingly embrace that burden.

We are the targets. All of us. We are not the only targets, of course, but we are the biggest. And simply moving the targets out of their easy reach will not change that in the least -- it merely means they'll start shooting closer to our homes.

"Capture or kill Osama Bin Laden." Oh, that's nice, but not really significant. Bin Laden is not THE enemy. He is, to be blunt, yesterday's news. He's been irrelevant for several years now.

More importantly, Bin Laden himself is a form of "flypaper" for us. If we focus our efforts on him, we run the risk of thinking that once he's gone, everything will be sunshine and flowers. He is not the major threat. He was, briefly, but his day is gone. The real enemy is, as President Bush most recently described it, "Islamic fascism." Bin Laden is one head of the Hydra, one tentacle of the octopus. To get rid of him does not mean victory.

Also, just how do the Democrats plan to catch or kill him? Where the hell is he? As another commentator pointed out (I've misplaced the link), finding one individual in this world is pretty damned hard. Look how long Eric Rudolph stayed at large, and he was caught only a few miles from his home. Ted Kaczynski stayed at large for years, occasionally sending out his little ticking presents. And Whitey Bulger, Boston gangster extraordinaire, spent years subverting the local FBI and running organized crime until he was tipped off that his indictment was finally coming down -- and he's been on the lam for almost 11 years now.

Finally, "be ready for threats to our safety and security here at home, whether it's terrorism or hurricanes."

Mr. McMahon apparently has not heard of the concept of "posse comitatus." That ain't the job of our military, and it shouldn't be -- except in direst emergency. Their job is to keep such threats away from our shores -- we have other agencies and means of dealing with domestic problems.

I've said before that much of the world only likes America when we're on our knees -- knocked down by an attack, or begging for forgiveness. I'm starting to wonder if the Democrats -- as exemplified by Mr. McMahon, their Executive Director -- only like our military when they're doing anything but their primary function: killing people and breaking things.

So thank you, Mr. McMahon, for your suggestion I write a letter to the editors of my local papers, and the helpful list of things to bring up, but if I feel the urge to utterly waste my time and resources, far more entertaining options spring to mind. In fact, I feel the urge to do one of them right now -- my toenails need clipping.

(Full text of Mr. McMahon's letter below)

Dear Fellow Democrat,

Here's what a CNN Headline News anchor asked a Washington journalist on Friday during an interview about the British terror arrests:

"How does this factor into the Lieberman-Lamont contest in Connecticut? Might some argue, as some have, that Lamont is the al Qaeda candidate?"

You would expect this kind of disgusting and inappropriate suggestion from someone more like Dick Cheney. In fact, it was Dick Cheney who said last week that electing people who question the Republican war in Iraq encourages "the al Qaeda types".

The anchor later apologized to Lamont for misquoting Cheney -- but then went on to question Lamont about the same ridiculous accusation. He's not alone -- commentators and journalists have mindlessly repeated Cheney's remarks over and over again, reporting on it or inquiring about it over the past week as if it's a real question for debate.

Journalists have a responsibility to do more than regurgitate the most desperate and most extreme talking points. When journalists allow these defamatory and un-American suggestions to infect their coverage of the news, we have to act swiftly to call on them to stop it.

Democrats offer a new direction. We'll do a better job of fighting the war on terror by taking the target off the backs of American troops in Iraq; we'll get serious about capturing or killing Osama bin Laden; and we'll be ready for threats to our safety and security here at home, whether it's terrorism or hurricanes. We'll sit down with journalists and answer the tough questions about our nation's security any time -- but there's no excuse for resorting to repeating desperate Republican talking points.

Write to your local newspaper and let them know where Democrats stand, and that we're not going to allow our party and our candidates to be smeared.

http://www.democrats.org/speakout

The American people have woken up.

Everywhere people are saying, "Enough is enough" -- rejecting the extremist ideology and total incompetence of the Bush administration, and rejecting their desperate, scorched-earth political tactics.

Democrats are energized and ready for change. We want this administration to get serious about protecting America, our troops and our citizens.

It's deeply irresponsible for journalists to repeat these ridiculous smears. Democrats are going to do a better job at keeping America safe, and you can tell them so in your own letter:

http://www.democrats.org/speakout

Thank you,

Tom

Tom McMahon
Executive Director, Democratic National Committee


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Comments (27)

JT, your little hiatus has ... (Below threshold)
epador:

JT, your little hiatus has worked wonders! I had to check the bottom line to see who the writer was. Keep up the good work.

I am almost moved to register Democratic in the State of Oregon, just to get the same free entertainment delivered to my mailbox...

Almost.

As somebody pointed out els... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

As somebody pointed out elsewhere, why are the Dems whining that the GOP is saying that their policies will make us less safe when they've made that exact argument against Bush for years now?

Is "whining" the same thing as "leadership" now?
-=Mike

Epador-Do what I d... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

Epador-

Do what I did and sign up for MoveOn.org's mailing list. You get great reminders of when to write your congress critters on a whole host of interesting issues. They are prolific, however so I recommend using a secondary e-mail account for this activity.

The best part is if you fill out the little report form after you contact the congresscritter, they will thank you for doing so even if you accurately report that your e-mail to the critter was 180 degrees off what they asked you to write like mine consistantly are.

Democrats are goin... (Below threshold)
Democrats are going to do a better job at keeping America safe
How? Goddammit HOW??

By yanking the troops out of Iraq and sitting on our hands at home while Islamists continue in their long range plans to retake the Waqf?

Couple this idiot letter along with the one from ::::ahem::::"21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials" that says our problem is that we just are too "beholden" to teh Jooooos Israel, and you get the real flavor of the Democratic party's moral bankruptcy.

Goodbye JFK, hello Charles Lindbergh.

don't you mean "those who f... (Below threshold)

don't you mean "those who fired the missiles and rockets into northern israel? although i actually made a similar mistake a while back.

"First, who the hell reads ... (Below threshold)

"First, who the hell reads letters to the editor any more?"

I do. And the other contributing writer on my Albany media bias blog certainly does - which now gets several hundred hits per month, mostly, I am glad to say, local hits, including from the newspaper's own server on a regular basis :). This contributor been contacting the editorial staff, politely, with facts, for about the past year each time they print a letter that violates their own written policies regarding inaccuracies, accusations, etc. It's interesting to see how often moonbat letters were being printed with outright lies and unfounded accusations. And, quite frankly, the number of such letters has definitely gone done since this campaign started.

Everybody out there can do the same thing with their own local paper. If they won't hold themselves to their own standards, we have to do it for them. You might not usually read those letters, but a lot of people do and it's an easy way for a paper with an agenda (any agenda, not just liberal) to print lies they like without, they think, accountability. Don't let them get away with it. It's not enough to bring down CBS News when they lie, more people read their local paper than watch nightly news or MSNBC or FoxNews, this has to be essentially a grassroots thing. Read those letters, JT, especially if they have written policies on what they print and especially if they violate them.

Dear Mr. McMahon:O... (Below threshold)
langtry:

Dear Mr. McMahon:

Once you decided that any Democrat who thought we needed to fight aggressively against terrorists and Islamic facism, in other words that we ought not wait to be attacked again before we fight back, was persona non grata, you lost your Terrorism Cred. Period.

You and your ilk think this war ought to be fought in the arena of the courtroom, and not in the area where we are most likely to have success: the streets of the countries that promote, finance and export terrorism.

When your designated Rock Star, Sen. Barack Obama, is incapable of articulating beyond the idea that the Iraq war is "dumb", as he did Monday in a town meeting in Gallatin, Illinois, and a man with real character and wisdom, Sen. Joe Leiberman, is the victim of a DNC-orchestrated smear job, the democrats have officially reached critical mass. The collapse of your party 's national prospects is imminent, and I for one will be handing out candy to kids (like your heroes, the Palestinians) when the inevitable event occurs.

You and Howard Dean can kiss my ***!

With loathing,

langtry

Just as an aside, I wouldn'... (Below threshold)

Just as an aside, I wouldn't miss the letters to the editor in my local paper. Valuable informed commentary, no but always good for a laugh.

The reason that Whitey Bulg... (Below threshold)
Bob Muller:

The reason that Whitey Bulger has been allowed to stay on the lam is because he has info about me that could confirm my knowledge about murders committed in the 80's when I was a D.A in Boston and was kept abreast of the dealings with Whitey Bulger, William Bulger and Stephen Flemmi.

We, at the FBI, have recieved, some years ago, from Brit intelligence in Ireland, photo's of Whitey Bulger meeting his brother William Bulger in Ireland during 2002, as well as photo's of Whitey Bulger in South Armagh/County Louth, mixing with senior IRA figures.

Also my agents have been alerting Whitey Bulger when the Bulger squad are ready to visit Ireland, giving Whitey time to flee to France, before returning to Ireland when the Bulger squad returns to the U.S.

Whitey had control of the stolen Gardner art including the Vermeer and has tried to return them on several occasions for the $5 million reward.

As the Gardner museum is lying and there is no reward, (ask the Anne Hawley where the money is??)
the Gardner art remains elusive.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has acted like a professional victim and relished the title of being victim of America's greatest art theft.

The Gardner art is ready to be handed back but the authorities are trying to set up those in Ireland with the Vermeer (Thomas Slab Murphy, IRA Chief of Staff, from Home Place, Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, County Louth, Eire, has taken possesion of the Vermeer and is willing to trade the Vermeer for Sinn Fein to be allowed to fund raise in America again.

We shall see how eager the authorities are to recover the Gardner art, and how committed they are in convincing Sinn Fein to accept policing as part of the deal on offer from Sinn Fein.??????

The only letters to the edi... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The only letters to the editor I read are in the Wall Street Journal. They are usually from successful people in government and industry, not a bunch of lazy, no-nothings who have to be told what to write.

What is all this about Whit... (Below threshold)
Concerned Boston Citizen:

What is all this about Whitey Bulger, FBI, Gardner Museum?????

I have always thought FBI Director Muller was involved with Bulger.

Gardner art in Ireland how bizarre!!!!!!!!

Vice President Dick Chen... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Vice President Dick Cheney and others in his Party have smeared people who disagree with Republicans.

Someone has got to tell Joe Lieberman!

Right now, they have pre... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Right now, they have pretty much eased up on killing American soldiers in Iraq. This is because they've found it's pretty damned challenging. American soldiers shoot back -- with far more accuracy. They've shifted their focus to Iraqi civilians.

Jay, you really ought to keep up on your Iraq reading. First of all let me note that it is pretty simplistic to refer to all fighters in Iraq as "they", and ascribe motives or tactics to "them". There are several groups fighting in Iraq, including but not limited to Coalition forces, Iraqi security forces, Shiite militias, imported Al Qaeda, and Iraqi Sunni Insurgents. All of these groups have different targets and motives, with two opposed sectarian groups fighting each other, and several groups fighting Americans. But let's deal with you claim that "they have pretty much eased up on killing American soldiers." Absolutely wrong:

Along with a sharp increase in sectarian attacks, the number of daily strikes against American and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January. The deadliest means of attack, roadside bombs, made up much of that increase. In July, of 2,625 explosive devices, 1,666 exploded and 959 were discovered before they went off. In January, 1,454 bombs exploded or were found.

The bomb statistics — compiled by American military authorities in Baghdad and made available at the request of The New York Times — are part of a growing body of data and intelligence analysis about the violence in Iraq that has produced somber public assessments from military commanders, administration officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“The insurgency has gotten worse by almost all measures, with insurgent attacks at historically high levels,” said a senior Defense Department official who agreed to discuss the issue only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution. “The insurgency has more public support and is demonstrably more capable in numbers of people active and in its ability to direct violence than at any point in time.”

...

An analysis of the 1,666 bombs that exploded in July shows that 70 percent were directed against the American-led military force, according to a spokesman for the military command in Baghdad. Twenty percent struck Iraqi security forces, up from 9 percent in 2005. And 10 percent of the blasts struck civilians, twice the rate from last year.

Sounds to me like the focus of insurgent attacks, at least bomb attacks, is still very much against American forces. This of course does not mean that sectarian fighting has not also increased, and it has. It's getting worse on both accounts.

We are the targets. All of us. We are not the only targets, of course, but we are the biggest. And simply moving the targets out of their easy reach will not change that in the least -- it merely means they'll start shooting closer to our homes.

This is just silly talk. That there are groups that wish to harm us here and abroad is not affected by the fact that there is an anti-American insurgency in Iraq. Do you really believe all the Sunni's fighting the Coalition forces in Iraq would be boarding planes to the U.S. if we were to withdraw? Even if that were true, why wouldn't they send them here to attack us while they were fighting us there as well? After all terrorist cells are just small groups and would not significantly lessen their strength in Iraq. What's stopping them?

Mr. McMahon apparently has not heard of the concept of "posse comitatus." That ain't the job of our military, and it shouldn't be -- except in direst emergency. Their job is to keep such threats away from our shores -- we have other agencies and means of dealing with domestic problems.

He doesn't suggest that the military be the instrument making us "ready for threats to our safety and security here at home, whether it’s terrorism or hurricanes." It has long been a Democratic assertion, and one that I agree with, that we institute the recommendations of the 911 Commission, which Congress and the Bush Administration have largely neglected to do. I urge you to read Kean and Hamilton's Without Precedent and visit this site to see how badly we are doing regarding those recommendations.

For instance, from Kean & Hamilton's 12/05 statement on the final report card:

-- It is scandalous that police and firefighters in large cities still cannot communicate reliably in a major crisis.
-- It is scandalous that airline passengers are still not screened against all names on the terrorist watchlist.
-- It is scandalous that we still allocate scarce homeland security dollars on the basis of pork barrel spending, not risk.

And don't forget all those unsecured uranium sites in former Soviet states and elsewhere.

The war in Iraq has dominated the attention of the White House and the project of making our country more safe from terrorist attacks, which can and will come regardless of the war, has been woefully neglected. Does this not concern you? Or are you more interested in criticizing Democrats than the safety of our country? Shall we coin the acronym DDS?

Don't you just love old "pr... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Don't you just love old "praying mantis"'s looooong posts. It makes him look soooo "smart".

I just flushed a letter (em... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I just flushed a letter (email) from Ted 'the drunk' Kennedy whining about the same thing. I guess if you have no plans and no programs you have to complain about what the other guy does. Reminds me of my Volunteer Fire Department, everyone whines about what the officers do but no one will run for the offices come election time.

According to the 'Ohio Flash' (former presidential canididate joke), the demorats do have a defense plan. They will remove all U.S. troops from the middle east and give the money to the Police, Fire and Rescue in the U.S. That way they can always say they provided the capability and the 'body bags' to pick up the hundreds of thousands of bodies from the terrorist attacks that will result from their idiot actions.

A few year ago in PHILADELP... (Below threshold)
krazy kagu:

A few year ago in PHILADELPHIA a brother and sister who were protesting against a appearence of former dictator BILL CLINTON were beaten by TEAMSTER thugs they later sued not only the TEAMSTERS but also the then mayor of the city as well and the boss of the local union and these unions always support the demacratic canadates

"Vice President Dick Cheney... (Below threshold)
JannyMae:

"Vice President Dick Cheney and others in his Party have smeared people who disagree with Republicans."

Coming from the party that has been smearing President Bush and the Repubs for the last 6 years, this is absolutely hilarious.

We're back to the liberal mantra:
"Freedom of speech for me, but not for thee."

Liberal dissent? -- Good thing. Patriotic, even.

Conservatives criticize liberal dissent? -- An attempt to squelch the dissent of liberals.

I'm still having trouble understanding how to make logic out of this. On second thought, maybe I don't want to.

Don't you just love old ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Don't you just love old "praying mantis"'s looooong posts. It makes him look soooo "smart".

Good one. I have no choice to concede to your brilliant argument.

Thank you for your article,... (Below threshold)
Russ Buchanan:

Thank you for your article, JT. It is a true knee-slapper. That someone seemingly up on his current events could actually believe the "we're fighting them there so we won't have to fight them there" nonsense is a great example of ideology triumphing over the facts. Do the phrases "sectarian violence" and "civil war" mean anything to you, or are those just some concepts dreamed up by the liberal press?

Russ Buchanan

Thank you for your article,... (Below threshold)
Russ Buchanan:

Thank you for your article, JT. It is a true knee-slapper. That someone seemingly up on his current events could actually believe the "we're fighting them there so we won't have to fight them there" nonsense is a great example of ideology triumphing over the facts. Do the phrases "sectarian violence" and "civil war" mean anything to you, or are those just some concepts dreamed up by the liberal press?

Russ Buchanan

Thank you for your article,... (Below threshold)
Russ Buchanan:

Thank you for your article, JT. It is a true knee-slapper. That someone seemingly up on his current events could actually believe the "we're fighting them there so we won't have to fight them there" nonsense is a great example of ideology triumphing over the facts. Do the phrases "sectarian violence" and "civil war" mean anything to you, or are those just some concepts dreamed up by the liberal press?

Russ Buchanan

Nice to know I got your und... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Nice to know I got your undivided admiration.

Poor Russ, he's developed a... (Below threshold)
JannyMae:

Poor Russ, he's developed a stutter.

Russ, are you suggesting that, "civil war," in Iraq is a fact? Are you suggesting that we are not fighting al qaeda in Iraq?

"Current events," aren't exactly your strong suit, are they, Russ?

I actually think Russ has t... (Below threshold)
Candy:

I actually think Russ has the hiccups. Maybe if he sticks his head between his knees and holds his breath for seven or eight minutes, they'll go away. If nothing else, there will be one less moonbat voting.

"Bin Laden is not THE enemy... (Below threshold)
unrepentant masshole:

"Bin Laden is not THE enemy. He is, to be blunt, yesterday's news. He's been irrelevant for several years now."

WHAAAHUUUHH??!! And Saddam was relevant? Did you ever have a debate with someone that was incredibly frustrating, becuase they kept shifting the focus of the debate?

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."
- G.W. Bush, 9/13/01

You've got a point, Candy.<... (Below threshold)
JannyMae:

You've got a point, Candy.

The biggest problem with Russ and the rest of these dems is they don't understand the value of blindly trusting our President. If our President says we're fighting al qaeda in Iraq instead of an insurgency, I have no reason not to believe him. He's never lied to us before.

I may not be that smart, but I know one thing - George Bush is a Godsend to this country and the most honest person on the planet and if I could have him inside me I'd be in heaven.

""The most important thing ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

""The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."
- G.W. Bush, 9/13/01"

Phony quote.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/918437/posts




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