Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

So today President of the United States George W. Bush, speaking overseas, compared the Democratic nominee for president to a Nazi appeaser.

He didn’t come right out and say that, of course, possibly because he thought he was being subtle, or perhaps because he doesn’t really have a firm grasp on the actual historical events or more likely because he’s clearly a coward. In any event, anyone and everyone over the age of consent knew exactly what he was talking about.

Never mind the enormous brouhaha over what the Dixie Chicks did lo those many years ago, and the main argument of the time, which was that their sin wasn’t so much in what they said as where they said it, namely, outside the borders of this great nation.

And never mind the long-standing tradition that when a president is overseas, political opponents here at home generally refrain from criticizing him, and vice-versa. A sort of gentlemen’s agreement, if you will. Not that being a gentlemen is something this uncouth frat boy knows a damn thing about.

But when it comes to Americans doing business with the Nazis…well, now, that’s a subject with which President George W. Bush should be intimately acquainted.

President George W. Bush got where he did in life because he was born a rich white American male. And the reason he was born rich?
Because his grandfather, Prescott Bush, was more than merely a Nazi appeaser. He was more than even just a Nazi sympathizer. He was even more than a Nazi enabler.

President George W. Bush’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator.

President George W. Bush’s grandfather was part of a failed military coup, attempting to overthrow the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Both of which means President George W. Bush’s grandfather was a traitor to the United States of America.

So before President Bush goes shooting off his mouth and accusing any Americans of a crime as heinous as…well, his own grandfather’s, he better look in the mirror. And be prepared to disavow his own family fortune.

Because it’s blood money.

President Bush is apparently not satisfied with being disliked by more Americans than any other president in history. And he’s not satisfied with being likely to go down as the worst president in American history.

Now he’s shooting for the most reprehensible and un-American ever.

Finally, something at which he’s not incompetent.

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About the other scott peterson

Writer of comics and books and stuff.
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38 Responses to Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

  1. Theresa says:

    Shooting for it? You are too kind. He is already there.

  2. Ed says:

    Finally something the fool can excel at; dang, what a national embarrassment; what a failure of our political system.

  3. DT says:

    Finally, Chris Matthews does something that pleases me. His shredding of Kevin James was pretty impressive.

  4. SassyBelle says:

    Oh, I really wish he’d just go choke on a pretzel!

  5. Ernie says:

    Yawn… Bush Bashing is so tired. Move on, people. Stop defining your lives by your hatred of another person. It isn’t healthy. (BTW, I said the same thing to the rabid Clinton bashers of the 90s.)

  6. scott says:

    Yawn…it’s all so mundane, really.
    I mean, for instance, abortion. I mean, really, it’s just such a tired topic. Seriously, who CARES whether a fetus is a baby or not? Who CARES whether abortion is murder or someone’s civil right? Either way, it just doesn’t matter.
    Move on, people. Nothing to see here. Sure our president admitted he’s a war criminal and, sure, his grandfather literally committed treason. So what? Who cares?
    I hear there’s a new Pixar film opening this weekend!

  7. scott says:

    I should add that there’s a new Pixar film opening this weekend if, you know, the scary Muslims under the bed don’t kill us all first. ‘Cuz they could. Any second.
    Any second now.

  8. DT says:

    (“Yawn… Bush Bashing is so tired. Move on, people. Stop defining your lives by your hatred of another person. It isn’t healthy. (BTW, I said the same thing to the rabid Clinton bashers of the 90s.)”)
    ———————-
    COOL! It’s always SO nice to get a sneak peak at the GOP playbook.
    They tried the Jedi Mind Trick with simple denial, in the hopes that denial will change the facts. – “Didn’t happen. Didn’t happen. Didn’t happen.”
    That didn’t work.
    They tried Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House, shrieking for subordination and submission. “REMAIN CALM!!!! ALL IS WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    That didn’t work.
    And of course, they tried Ted Knight in Caddyshack – the fear-mongering. “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber….are you my pal, Danny?”
    THAT didn’t work.
    So now they return to the Goldenest of Golden Oldies – The Wizard of Oz. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
    With a nice touch of the the old “Quick! Look over there” trick as they run and hide behind the couch. Call it the Three’s Company approach.
    So. How’s it working so far, Jack? Chrissy and Janet falling for it?

  9. Lissa says:

    Ernie, dude! Hatred, seriously? Is that where we are? Discussing the failings of a president is tantamount to hatred? Come on. And no, it’s not a tired subject. It should be talked about more. I voted for this clown once myself. I have seldom regretted a decision more. He has done very very bad things to this country, and to the world. Disagree if you like, but you gotta back it up with something better than dismissive snark.

  10. Ernie says:

    Lissa, I’m not trying to be a dismissive snark, and I’m sorry if it came across that way. But someone above wished Pres. Bush would choke on a pretzel and die. That seems like hatred to me. And even Scott, God love him, comes across as a little frothy-mouthed when it comes to President Bush. I don’t like seeing people defining themselves by their hatred or even deep dislike for another person. It reminds me of a story I heard about Mother Teresa. She turned down dozens of offers to come to anti-war rallies. Her reply was, “Hold a rally for peace and I’ll be there.”
    Scott, to hate abortion is to hate a sin. To hate President Bush is to hate a sinner. Big difference.

  11. Lissa says:

    But Ernie, my point is that you are labeling criticism hatred. It’s not. Much like you, Scott phrases things strongly, and perhaps you are confusing righteous anger and disgust with hatred. I think it is wise to be very, very cautious about throwing that term around.
    You say Scott comes across as frothy-mouthed when talking about Pres. Bush. Again I think that kind of statement is a convenient way to duck out of real discourse (and please read my tone here as earnest and friendly). He certainly doesn’t “define himself by his hatred or deep dislike.” That’s a very glib phrase, but did you think it through before using it?
    Perhaps you disagree with Scott’s (or mine, which are not exactly the same as Scott’s) opinions about the actions and character of our current president. Labelling a passionate statement “frothy-mouthed” does nothing to further the discourse.
    You’re reading such posts as being about bashing a person. The reality is that they are criticizing the actions of a President. Very big difference. If someone rips apart one of my books, he is not “bashing” me. He is critiquing my work.
    To deeply object to certain actions committed by President Bush is not to “hate a sinner.” It is to deeply object to certain actions he has committed.
    Haven’t talked any of this over with Scott, and my apologies to my hubby for commandeering his comments section!

  12. Ernie says:

    Lissa, worry not. I always read you as earnest and friendly. Please read me the same way, though it’s harder due to my penchant for bombast and overstatement.
    Now, let’s review Scott’s post:
    -Pres. Bush is like his grandfather who was a Nazi collaborator/enabler/traitor
    -Pres. Bush’s accomplishments are due to his being “A rich white male” who inherited all his money from a Nazi collaborator.
    -Pres. Bush is an uncouth frat boy
    -Pres. Bush in not a gentleman
    -Pres. Bush is “shooting off his mouth.”
    -Pres. Bush is “the most disliked president in history”
    -Pres. Bush is “likely to go down as the worst president in American history”
    -Pres. Bush is “shooting for most reprehensible and un-American” president ever
    -Pres. Bush is incompetent.
    You say “You’re reading such posts as being about bashing a person.” How could I not? Come on, now. Let’s be honest. There’s more ad hominem froth in that short post than in all the cappuccinos in all the Starbucks in all of California. You’re defense of your husband is touching, all the more so for being a bit love blind. I can’t blame you. Scott is as awesome a dude as I’ve ever met.

  13. Ernie says:

    oops, I mean your defense.

  14. Ernie says:

    Oh, and Scott also said Pres. Bush is a coward. That’s not arguing with a position. That’s attacking a man.

  15. Ernie says:

    Scott, you’re link titled “George W. Bush’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator” goes to a story that says: there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause.

  16. Lissa says:

    Oh good Lord, so now my position is “love blind”? LOL!! Way to insult my intelligence, dude. 🙂 But I’m sure you’re not the only person to make that assumption, so I’ll address it seriously. I have often told Scott that his heavily sarcastic writing style alienates people and prevents them from giving serious consideration to his arguments. But the thing is, when I parse the statements (working past the sarcasm), it is very seldom that I find a flawed argument. When I do, you better believe I call him on it. I am relentless that way. 🙂
    Working backward in your comments:
    “Scott also said Pres. Bush is a coward. That’s not arguing with a position. That’s attacking a man.”
    Calling him a coward is “attacking” him? Is saying a man comes across as frothy-mouthed “attacking”? You are stating an opinion (with hyperbole and sarcasm). Honestly, do you consider that an attack? Why is it an “attack” to state an opinion that a certain man is a coward? Is there no man in history whom you consider (judging by his actions) to be a coward? If you call him one, are you “attacking” him?
    You say “You’re reading such posts as being about bashing a person.” How could I not? Come on, now. Let’s be honest. There’s more ad hominem froth in that short post than in all the cappuccinos in all the Starbucks in all of California.
    As opposed to the ad hominem froth in statements like “Stop defining your lives by your hatred” and, for that matter, implied by the very word “froth”? Ahem. I am cracking up at your use of the term ad hominem because that’s my problem with your comments: that you are taking shots at the people rather than the position. (Including the people you label “rabid Clinton bashers.”)
    Where’s your refutation of any point Scott made (however sarcastically or sneeringly he made it)? (Since I know you aren’t fazed by sarcasm and hyperbole, favoring as you do a rhetorical style rich in “bombast and overstatement”) 😉
    Now, let’s review Scott’s post:
    -Pres. Bush is like his grandfather who was a Nazi collaborator/enabler/traitor
    -Pres. Bush’s accomplishments are due to his being “A rich white male” who inherited all his money from a Nazi collaborator.
    -Pres. Bush is an uncouth frat boy
    -Pres. Bush in not a gentleman
    -Pres. Bush is “shooting off his mouth.”
    -Pres. Bush is “the most disliked president in history”
    -Pres. Bush is “likely to go down as the worst president in American history”
    -Pres. Bush is “shooting for most reprehensible and un-American” president ever
    -Pres. Bush is incompetent.

    OK, so you’re saying these are ad hominem attacks which bash a person, not criticize the actions of a President. It gets muddy, though, doesn’t it, when the person is the President? Because his character directs his actions. Actually, that goes for all of us, to some degree. I think we have to examine each statement to see if it holds up as merely an ad hominem attack, which would be simply a sneer against George the man, or is in fact a criticism of how the man’s character and behavior has affected his ability to lead the country.

    -Pres. Bush is like his grandfather who was a Nazi collaborator/enabler/traitor

    Mm, you’re blending two points. Scott talked about the grandfather’s history, which is on record. He calls the grandfather a traitor, based upon the man’s actions and the definition of the word. He says “So before President Bush goes shooting off his mouth and accusing any Americans of a crime as heinous as…well, his own grandfather’s, he better look in the mirror.”
    This statement addresses a remark made by the President and offers the suggestion that the President might be guilty of the same or similar transgressions as those he is using to describe the actions of other people. In context, Scott is implying that our President may have been guilty of war crimes, treason, or both. Certainly that is a highly critical statement. Given events of recent years, it’s a reasonable question and the kind of question it is important to ask, always, about our elected leaders. Maybe you can offer facts which prove the suggestion invalid. That would be awesome. Seriously. It would be nice to be able to believe that Pres. Bush has made no dishonorable missteps. But however the argument comes down, I don’t see how Scott’s statement (which is NOT the same as your paraphrase) is an ad hominem attack.
    Scott said: President George W. Bush got where he did in life because he was born a rich white American male.
    You paraphrased:
    -Pres. Bush’s accomplishments are due to his being “A rich white male” who inherited all his money from a Nazi collaborator.
    I would argue that “accomplishments” and “got where he did in life” mean two different things. Personally, I don’t much care for this statement of Scott’s myself (told you we don’t agree on everything) because it contains a generalization, and as you may have noticed, I deeply dislike generalizations. But when I parse the statement, I must concede that Pres. Bush’s career path was in fact deeply influenced by his race, gender, family background, and wealth. It irritates me, but it is a generalization that happens, in this case, to fit. And the part about the family fortune coming from the grandfather who was a Nazi collaborator is, unfortunately, a matter of record.

    -Pres. Bush is an uncouth frat boy

    Exactly the kind of language I was referring to at the beginning of this comment–the kind that “alienates people and prevents them from giving serious consideration to his arguments.”. It’s inflammatory, and evidently it had that effect on you. When I parse it, well, it’s true that dispensing nicknames like “Turd Blossom” strikes me as a bit uncouth, and GWB was indeed a frat boy. Mostly I think it’s a slur against frat boys.

    -Pres. Bush in not a gentleman

    “And never mind the long-standing tradition that when a president is overseas, political opponents here at home generally refrain from criticizing him, and vice-versa. A sort of gentlemen’s agreement, if you will. Not that being a gentlemen is something this uncouth frat boy knows a damn thing about.”
    Nope, “not knowing a damn thing about being a gentleman” in this context is an opinion about character and actions, not a personal jab in the sense that jabbing him for being a frat boy is. Disagree? Refute it.
    -Pres. Bush is “the most disliked president in history”
    -Pres. Bush is “likely to go down as the worst president in American history”

    Not ad hominem. Both statements refer to polling data. Dispute the polls, if you wish. But how are these personal attacks?
    -Pres. Bush is “shooting for most reprehensible and un-American” president ever
    -Pres. Bush is incompetent.

    Not ad hominem. Statements of opinion about the job performance of the man we hired to run our country. Assessment and evaluation of our leaders is to be encouraged at all times. If you disagree with the many people who believe Pres. Bush has sanctioned torture, ignored the Constitution, misled the public, and made egregious mistakes as leader and that such actions are reprehensible, un-American, and incompetent, by all means state your case. But don’t say that the expression of such opinion is simply “Bush-bashing” committed by people “defining themselves by hatred of a person.” It isn’t.

  17. Lissa says:

    Scott, you’re link titled “George W. Bush’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator” goes to a story that says: there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause.
    Yes, the statement is: “While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen’s US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.”
    and:
    “George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
    The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
    His business dealings, which continued until his company’s assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy. ”

  18. Lissa says:

    I just want to add that the reason I am taking this so seriously (though by no means personally) is that I believe to the core of my being that when good, smart people like you, Ernie, start casually throwing around terms like “bashing” and “hatred” when people criticize our elected leaders, we have come to a dangerous and troubling place. Such labels dismiss the possibility that there is validity to the arguments and cast a negative light on stern critical analysis.
    It is so, so, so important to consider whether we believe the actions of our President to be good, honorable, and wise. It is just as important not to belittle a person’s attempts to examine those actions. Disagree with his conclusions, even take him to task for his manner of expressing his opinions–but to brand them with labels like “bashing” and “defining yourself by hatred,” even in jovial good humor, is to attempt to dismiss the discussion. “Oh, you can’t take anything that guy says seriously, he’s just a Bush-basher/rabid Clinton-hater.” You see?
    It’s a technique often used in the media and by politicians to shut down debate. But we ordinary joes, We the People, we’ve got to fight passionately for the open debate. Even when we bitterly disagree with another person’s position, we’ve got to respect the discourse. And by respect I mean take it seriously. Not brand it, dismiss it.

  19. Lickona says:

    Lissa,
    To call a president’s action cowardly is a criticism of his action. To call him a coward is an assessment of his character. You said Scott was critiquing the president’s actions. Ernie replied that calling him a coward was a critique of his character. You replied that his character directs his actions. Fair enough, but then don’t say Scott is just critiquing his actions.
    Personally, I think Scott’s post would have carried a lot more weight if he hadn’t stooped to name-calling (“coward,” “uncouth frat boy”) at the outset. I think that kind of name-calling damaged the discourse at the outset. If you take the discourse seriously – that is, if you are interested in furthering a debate/discussion instead of scoring points or venting – then you don’t use such terms. They themselves do much to “cast a negative light on stern critical analysis.” This is indeed an extremely important discussion, important enough that I think we ought to take care not to stoop to such tactics, lest they cloud matters of truth with the powerful forces of emotion. At least not when we’re attempting to engage in the discourse. I don’t listen to talk radio from either side of the spectrum for precisely this reason. They’re not interested in furthering the discourse. They’re interested in getting what Scott got here initially: the AMEN from the choir. I’m not suggesting that was what Scott was after; I’m suggesting it’s a risk you engender when you stoop to name calling, one that is deeply inimical to discourse.
    (I think you know this – hence your reaction to Ernie’s use of “froth-mouthed.” Though even there, Ernie was critiquing a particular action of Scott’s, and not his character. Ad hominem is against the man. Suggesting that Bush criticized Obama because Bush is a coward is an ad hominem attack. Saying that Bush was wrong to criticize Obama because of his own family’s history (among other reasons) is a reasoned argument.)
    I understand that emotions run high – mine as high as anyone’s.

  20. Lickona says:

    I would also venture to suggest that Ernie was speaking, to some degree, from experience. I went to college with him, and while we were there, we both encountered people whose loathing for President Clinton seemed to verge on mania – it was forever on their minds and on their lips, and it allowed them to believe the most astonishing and horrific accusations against the man. It was alarming to see, and utterly fruitless. It was full of stern critical analysis, but it was all done in an angry echo chamber. After a while, it did lead a body to think, “Dude. He’s a man. He has faults. He may even have done some terrible things. But for you, he’s become a cause, and it’s starting to warp you. You’re starting to feed on outrage, and that’s not healthy.”
    I’m not suggesting that outrage isn’t an appropriate response in the face of some things. But what Ernie did was not a page out of the GOP playbook, as DT suggested. I do believe it was born out of a response to certain of the GOP faithful. You may think it was inappropriately applied in this case (though I would say that, given Scott’s initial tone, what’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose), but it wasn’t ad hominem. Saying, “Scott Peterson is wrong because he’s froth-mouthed” is ad hominem – attempting to prove the truth of a claim by an attack on the man. Saying “Scott Peterson’s tone here is froth-mouthed” is not ad hominem – even if it’s wrong.

  21. Lissa says:

    To call a president’s action cowardly is a criticism of his action. To call him a coward is an assessment of his character. You said Scott was critiquing the president’s actions. Ernie replied that calling him a coward was a critique of his character. You replied that his character directs his actions. Fair enough, but then don’t say Scott is just critiquing his actions.
    I said Scott was criticizing his actions *and* character. “Perhaps you disagree with Scott’s (or mine, which are not exactly the same as Scott’s) opinions about the actions and character of our current president.” Then I added, “You’re reading such posts as being about bashing a person. The reality is that they are criticizing the actions of a President.” Having already mentioned actions *and* character as being under critique, I did not repeat the word character. I should have been more clear.
    But there really is a difference, you know, between “bashing a person” and discussing the character of a President. Bashing is a very loaded word. It has specific connotations, especially as part of the phrase “Bush-bashing” (or Clinton-bashing, or Obama-bashing), etc. It connotes a kind of blind and thoughtless trash talk about a certain figure simply because the “basher” dislikes the figure’s political agenda. Don’t like what someone is saying about your guy? Roll your eyes and call it bashing. Then it all becomes easy: no need to give serious consideration to what the rabid “hater” is saying, or to question whether his strident polemic is coming from a position he has, you know, actually THOUGHT about.
    Ernie replied, “Oh, and Scott also said Pres. Bush is a coward. That’s not arguing with a position. That’s attacking a man,” and I questioned his use of the word “attack.” I don’t see the word constituting an attack.
    To call a president’s action cowardly is a criticism of his action. To call him a coward is an assessment of his character.
    Ah, a fellow parser! 🙂 Hail, fellow, well met. How many cowardly actions does it take to make a coward? How many heroic actions does it take to make a hero? I’m not actually defending Scott’s use of the word coward in that context; like many of Ernie’s statements above, this one of Scott’s is an unsubstantiated claim–in this post, at least. But I do not believe that referring to a political leader as a coward is always and only an ad hominem attack. No way.
    I do see your point, but I think you’re *missing* the point. Ernie would have it that Scott’s post was nothing more than Bush-bashing. Whether he meant to or not (and an aside to onlookers here, we are great friends, all of us, Ernie, Scott, Matthew, and me, and this kind of discourse is fun), Ernie characterized that whole post as the passe rantings of someone filled with hate. I asserted that he was “reading such posts as being about bashing a person” and ignoring the serious criticism.
    Ernie listed or paraphrased (which is important, because it did alter the meaning in some instances) the many phrases in Scott’s post which struck him as ad hominem statements. I think he was incorrect on almost every single one.
    Personally, I think Scott’s post would have carried a lot more weight if he hadn’t stooped to name-calling (“coward,” “uncouth frat boy”) at the outset.
    Like I said, I have often told Scott I think the sarcasm does him no favors. Didn’t do Ernie any, either. I’m pondering, though, whether name-calling is an apt term. Have to mull on that for a bit.
    If you take the discourse seriously – that is, if you are interested in furthering a debate/discussion instead of scoring points or venting – then you don’t use such terms. They themselves do much to “cast a negative light on stern critical analysis.” This is indeed an extremely important discussion, important enough that I think we ought to take care not to stoop to such tactics, lest they cloud matters of truth with the powerful forces of emotion. At least not when we’re attempting to engage in the discourse. I don’t listen to talk radio from either side of the spectrum for precisely this reason. They’re not interested in furthering the discourse. They’re interested in getting what Scott got here initially: the AMEN from the choir. I’m not suggesting that was what Scott was after; I’m suggesting it’s a risk you engender when you stoop to name calling, one that is deeply inimical to discourse.
    Yeah, this is such an interesting topic to me. I’m quite sure the Amen from the choir is NOT what Scott “was after,” nor is ever what he expects to get. He knows his own mother can’t bear to read his blog. I know that his posts of this sort boil up out of a deep disgust over the actions of members of our government. (And other folks.) He’ll correct me if I’m wrong, if he ever gets to stop working long enough to catch up with all this (and I’m super curious to know what he’ll think when he does), but my sense is that he uses strong language because it expresses what he believes. He is that angry about the decisions the administration has made in the past seven years. But anger does not equal hatred, and that is the point I have been trying to get across here. Ernie labeled it hate. Not so.
    (I think you know this – hence your reaction to Ernie’s use of “froth-mouthed.” Though even there, Ernie was critiquing a particular action of Scott’s, and not his character.
    Ernie, God love him, said “Stop defining your lives by your hatred of another person” and “And even Scott, God love him, comes across as a little frothy-mouthed when it comes to President Bush. I don’t like seeing people defining themselves by their hatred or even deep dislike for another person.” Implying that Scott defines himself by hatred of GWB is a statement about Scott, not about the merits, or lack thereof, of THE POST.
    Ad hominem is against the man. Suggesting that Bush criticized Obama because Bush is a coward is an ad hominem attack. Saying that Bush was wrong to criticize Obama because of his own family’s history (among other reasons) is a reasoned argument.)
    Well, not to nitpick, he didn’t suggest that Bush criticized Obama because Bush is a coward. He suggested that Bush made the statement obliquely rather than directly because he is a coward. The quote: “He didn’t come right out and say that, of course, possibly because he thought he was being subtle, or perhaps because he doesn’t really have a firm grasp on the actual historical events or more likely because he’s clearly a coward.” He’s speculating about the motivation of an action, which motivation he is ascribing to a specific character trait. Not saying I agree with the suggestion myself.
    Anyway, I think you’re saying that Scott’s writing style and word choice killed his chances of a respectful response “at the outset.” I agree that he does not try to sway an audience. Scoring points has never been his objective; I know that reality all too well. I *think* he’s hoping to make people question their assumptions and seek to become more informed, even if only to come back and blister him with an articulate and supported refutation of the arguments he is so vehemently putting forth.
    It is SO not my preferred debate style. You catch more flies with honey and all that. But there really is a difference, I believe, between bluntly expressing disgust over your President’s actions and character in strong terms on your own blog, and calling such expressions of disgust “bashing” and “defining yourself by hatred.”

  22. Lissa says:

    I’m not suggesting that outrage isn’t an appropriate response in the face of some things. But what Ernie did was not a page out of the GOP playbook, as DT suggested. I do believe it was born out of a response to certain of the GOP faithful. You may think it was inappropriately applied in this case (though I would say that, given Scott’s initial tone, what’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose),
    See, this is where we disagree. There are two very different types of sauce here. “Yawn… Bush Bashing is so tired. Move on, people. Stop defining your lives by your hatred of another person. It isn’t healthy. (BTW, I said the same thing to the rabid Clinton bashers of the 90s.)” is not at all the same flavor of sauce as the outrage expressed in that post. That statement is, on its face, no matter WHAT you think of Scott’s post, a dismissive statement which implies that the discussion is not worth having.
    Scott’s language and opinions may be (are) offensive to many, but they are not aimed at shutting down discussion, or dismissing it as passe.
    but it wasn’t ad hominem. Saying, “Scott Peterson is wrong because he’s froth-mouthed” is ad hominem – attempting to prove the truth of a claim by an attack on the man. Saying “Scott Peterson’s tone here is froth-mouthed” is not ad hominem – even if it’s wrong.
    Well, I addressed this one above, but the ad hominem thing has not been my central point. I was simply amused that Ernie pulled out that term, given the terms he was lobbing at others.

  23. Lickona says:

    Wherever I am corrected, I humbly stand corrected.
    “Don’t like what someone is saying about your guy? Roll your eyes and call it bashing.”
    But this assumes that Ernie said what he said because he didn’t like what Scott was saying about his guy. I don’t know as Bush IS Ernie’s guy. Nor do I know that Ernie doesn’t like what Scott is saying about him. I think he called it bashing because of the vitriolic tone, not because of the content. But I admit that I am guessing here.
    “I don’t see the word [coward] constituting an attack.”
    I don’t know quite how to argue with this, except to say that as far as I can tell, for one man to call another man a coward is fightin’ words. It is at the very least name calling, since no evidence for said character flaw was given. The flaw was simply used as the explanation for an action. You don’t accept “Scott Peterson is a Bush-basher.” I don’t accept “President Bush is a coward.” Not without some argument given, anyway.
    “But I do not believe that referring to a political leader as a coward is always and only an ad hominem attack. No way.”
    Agreed. I ought to have been more precise. It’s only ad hominem when it’s used to prove the truth of a claim, as in “President Bush was wrong to criticize Obama because he is a coward.” That’s not what Scott did here. It is, however, in my opinion, unhelpful and often uncharitable – even if it is true. I am happy to grant that I am here governed by my father, who has spent many years in the trenches of political and moral debate in the public forum – he told me that it was not ours to make judgments of character, but that we *could* make judgments of particular actions. You may disagree, but I’m pretty sure that following that rule has made him a more effective voice on hotly contested issues.
    “I *think* he’s hoping to make people question their assumptions and seek to become more informed..”
    Well, I’ve had my fill of guessing after motives, so I’m happy to accept your account; but are there a lot of instances of this particular tactic working in this way?
    Here’s the thing. Bush is on his way out. Scott isn’t going to convince anybody not to vote for him next time ’round. So a certain sort of soul might be tempted to see this and think, “What’s the point of your anger? Unless you’re trying to stir up the call for an impeachment?” It’s hard to see what good can possibly come of it, so a person might be tempted to regard it as unhealthy indulgence in outrage. The language may express his feelings, but that’s not much of an argument for the virtue of said language. I could reply that Ernie’s language expressed HIS feelings, no?
    It’s an oddly personal sort of rage, as well: “How dare you question the foreign dealings of an opponent? Your grandfather was a traitor!” President Bush, whatever else he is, is not his grandfather. If I’m President, and my great-grandaddy was a Klansman, and I come from Southern money that got its start back in slave days, am I then prevented from speaking out against racism unless I disavow my family fortune? If my family money came from California gold obtained on land stolen from the Native Americans, am I obliged to keep silent on imperialism unless I disavow the family fortune? (I’m not asking rhetorically.) I think Bush was wrong in his criticism of Obama. But I don’t think he’s obliged to keep his mouth shut because of what his grandfather did. And it’s not immediately clear to me that “the family fortune” is blood money.

  24. scott says:

    I’m sorry, perhaps I should not have assumed people knew President Bush’s biography.
    As a young man, George W. Bush was a vocal supporter of the Vietnam war.
    Here’s a quote from the official autobiography of President George W. Bush:

    [At Yale in 1968], we discussed Vietnam, but we were more concerned with the decision each of us had to make: military service or not. I knew I would serve. Leaving the country to avoid the draft was not an option for me; I was too conservative and too traditional. My inclination was to support the government and the war until proven wrong, and that came only later, as I realized we could not explain the mission, had no exit strategy, and did not seem to be fighting to win.
    Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 50

    When George W. Bush was suddenly 12 days away from being drafted, however, he apparently decided going to war was not in his best interest, and took the opportunity afforded those in this great nation who have congressmen for fathers to jump a year and a half ahead on the waiting list and join the National Guard rather than acutally go to Vietnam—the war in which he believed.
    Back then there was little chance of someone in the Texas Air National Guard (known as The Champagne Unit, as it was where the well-connected hid from the war) going to Vietnam, where Americans were getting killed at the rate of 350 per week. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the situation today, where the National Guard makes up an enormous percentage of our brave men and women serving overseas. The results have been terrible for the National Guard, their families, and their normal designated duties, as we saw during Hurricane Katrina.
    This behavior strikes me as hypocritical and cowardly.

    cow·ard·ly (kou’ərd-lē)
    adj.
    Exhibiting the characteristics of a coward, particularly ignoble fear: a cowardly surrender.

    One who acts in a cowardly manner is a coward.

    cow·ard (kou’ərd)
    n.
    One who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain.
    [Middle English, from Old French couard, from coue, tail, from Latin cauda.]
    WORD HISTORY A coward is one who “turns tail.” The word comes from Old French couart, coart, “coward,” and is related to Italian codardo, “coward.”

    Therefore, I more than stand by my statement that George W. Bush is a coward.

  25. Lissa says:

    “Don’t like what someone is saying about your guy? Roll your eyes and call it bashing.”
    But this assumes that Ernie said what he said because he didn’t like what Scott was saying about his guy. I don’t know as Bush IS Ernie’s guy. Nor do I know that Ernie doesn’t like what Scott is saying about him. I think he called it bashing because of the vitriolic tone, not because of the content. But I admit that I am guessing here.

    No no no. Don’t pull it out of context. That quote of mine was part of a description of the connotation of the word “bashing.” I said, “It connotes a kind of blind and thoughtless trash talk about a certain figure simply because the “basher” dislikes the figure’s political agenda. Don’t like what someone is saying about your guy? Roll your eyes and call it bashing.”
    Ernie used a word that has exactly that connotation in contemporary discourse. I didn’t say that statement referred to him–I said he used a loaded word. That quote is part of what the word is loaded with.
    You don’t accept “Scott Peterson is a Bush-basher.” I don’t accept “President Bush is a coward.” Not without some argument given, anyway.
    Excellent. That’s what I’ve been saying to Ernie all along. “I don’t buy it, Scott. Back it up” is a far, far cry from “Yawn. Move on people. Stop defining your lives by your hatred of another person. It isn’t healthy.”
    Don’t you see the inherent danger in a dismissal like “Move on, people”?
    Here’s the thing. Bush is on his way out. Scott isn’t going to convince anybody not to vote for him next time ’round. So a certain sort of soul might be tempted to see this and think, “What’s the point of your anger? Unless you’re trying to stir up the call for an impeachment?”
    OK, Certain Sorts of Souls. Here’s my answer to that question. Because our President sanctioned torture, and he has played fast and loose with the Constitution, and and we are hardly even talking about it, much less doing anything about it. And by “do” I don’t mean impeach, though I absolutely believe his actions warrant that. I mean make it clear to our government and the world that AMERICANS DO NOT SANCTION TORTURE. And that’s just for starters.
    For God’s sake. Torture. TORTURE. We’re looking the other way.

  26. Lickona says:

    Well, now that I know the *word history*, I happily concede in toto.

  27. Lickona says:

    Many Presidents have presided over (I don’t know so much about sanctioning in all cases) governments that practiced torture, sometimes on our own, though it’s usually gone by other names. Operation MKUltra comes to mind. This is not a defense, nor a suggestion that we ought to shrug and move on. But no more battles will be won on that front re: Bush, and this post was not about torture, it was about Bush and Obama and Bush’s family history. ( And not all of us are looking the other way.)
    Even so, I’m happy to grant that going after Bush on torture makes much more sense, it seems to me, because it looks like a policy has been instituted, one that will endure after he is gone. That’s something that needs to be fought.
    Yes, I see the danger in dismissal like “Move on, people.” I also think you choose your battles.
    Speaking of choosing battles, I choose to depart the field and watch a movie with my wife. Good night, all.

  28. Lickona says:

    The wife has required that I note that she was forced to ascend to our boudoir with a bag of Cheetos and a shot of tequila before I realized I was in enough trouble to necessitate my departure from the field. No more Blogging Matilda for me!

  29. DT says:

    Not to pile on, and I understand that the four writers involved in this debate are all friends. (Well, I sort of understand. After all, I have no friends. Sob.)
    But the line that started this whole debate was this – “Yawn. Bush-bashing is so tired. Move on people.”
    That is not political debate.
    It sure does seem like Ernie was not trying to engage in healthy discourse here, but rather to simply say, “I don’t juana hear it anymore. Talk about something else. This is old.” Which, of course, is a consummation devoutly to be wished, but ain’t gonna happen.
    It can’t happen. The next four months will be a nationwide debate on two things: 1) The failed Bush Presidency, and 2) Who is the best person to start to clean up all the damage. Scott’s original post spoke directly to the first one – granted in harsh tones (but tones that I personally – this is just me – find necessary). And it mentioned the hypocrisy of Bush casting his aspersions on Obama and comparing him to a Nazi sympathizer – which, BTW, is a HORRIBLE and IRRESPONSIBLE thing for a President to say about someone on FOREIGN SOIL, and a statement the President knew full well would be treated as major and incendiary news – when his own ancestry had in fact deep questions about involvement with Nazi Germany.
    The way I read it, Scott was bringing harshly worded but necessary political criticism. Ernie was saying he didn’t juana hear it. That’s not debate. That’s evasion.
    Again, my 2 cents.

  30. Lissa says:

    Yes, I see the danger in dismissal like “Move on, people.” I also think you choose your battles.
    What, and this one is not worth fighting? I disagree. Ernie’s comment (and DT is correct in noting that’s what this “battle” is about, not Scott’s post) was a dismissal. I thought a lot about this after I went to bed last night. You described Scott’s post as vitriolic . Vitriol and dismissal are two very, very different things. You better believe I’ll keep crying foul when someone tries to dismiss the discourse.

  31. Ernie says:

    DT, I’ll be your friend.
    Lissa and Lickona, I loved the discussion. Thanks for taking it to a higher level than Scott and I started it on.
    Lissa, I think you’re being a little unfair to characterize Scott’s post as political discourse and my response as an ad hominem attack on Scott. I maintain that I responded to my old friend Scott’s post — and to my new friend DT’s wish that our president choke on a pretzel — in pretty much the same tone they their’s in. Are Bashing and Hate loaded terms? Yes? Did I use them too flippantly? Well… yes, I admit it. My old penchant for overstatement bit me in the ass again. Mea culpa. But “coward” is an equally loaded term. So are uncouth, frat boy, reprehensible, and incompetent. Lickona’s characterization of the Clinton bashing we were subjected to in college is spot on, and Scott’s Bush-obsession (is that too loaded?) reminds me of it. It’s the same words being used: coward, uncouth, frat boy, incompetent, worst president ever, reprehensible, ungentlemanly, yadda yadda yadda. It’s not the language of cool-headed political discourse. It’s not about the politics at all. It’s about the man. (ad hominem)
    And let the record show that I said Scott is as awesome a dude as I’ve ever met. He’s a Great man. Great American. Great Dad. Great Husband. Great Friend.

  32. DT says:

    “…and to my new friend DT’s wish that our president choke on a pretzel…”
    Thanks for the shout-out, pal. But check the thread. I didn’t say that.
    I wouldn’t say that.
    I love pretzels too much.

  33. Ernie says:

    Sorry, D.T. Will you still be my friend?

  34. Lissa says:

    Lissa, I think you’re being a little unfair to characterize Scott’s post as political discourse and my response as an ad hominem attack on Scott. I maintain that I responded to my old friend Scott’s post — and to my new friend DT’s wish that our president choke on a pretzel — in pretty much the same tone they their’s in. Are Bashing and Hate loaded terms? Yes? Did I use them too flippantly? Well… yes, I admit it. My old penchant for overstatement bit me in the ass again. Mea culpa. But “coward” is an equally loaded term. So are uncouth, frat boy, reprehensible, and incompetent. Lickona’s characterization of the Clinton bashing we were subjected to in college is spot on, and Scott’s Bush-obsession (is that too loaded?) reminds me of it. It’s the same words being used: coward, uncouth, frat boy, incompetent, worst president ever, reprehensible, ungentlemanly, yadda yadda yadda. It’s not the language of cool-headed political discourse. It’s not about the politics at all. It’s about the man. (ad hominem)
    And let the record show that I said Scott is as awesome a dude as I’ve ever met. He’s a Great man. Great American. Great Dad. Great Husband. Great Friend.

    It’s funny you should say that last part, because earlier today, driving home from the children’s hospital, I was mulling over your use (twice) of the phrase “defining yourself by hatred of a person.” I knew you couldn’t possibly mean it, and yet when called on it after the first usage, you reiterated it. Scott certainly isn’t “defined” by hatred of GWB or any other person. Good Lord. When introducing him, you’d never think of saying, “This is my friend Scott Peterson, the Bush-hater.” Why cling to that phrase? Why allow it into your vocabulary at all? I say this in the most loving way, Ernie: it’s worse than flippant. It’s foul. Really. And when called on it, you repeated it.
    You’re a little chagrined now at having perhaps “overstated.” But if you can’t see the difference between what you said and what Scott said, there’s probably no point in my trying to explain to you anymore how very different your methods were, the two of you.
    I get that you saw your comment as a fair and semi-humorous response to Scott’s vitriol, to use Matthew’s term. But honey, you are mistaken. I laughed over your use of ad hominem because it was so, so, so funny to see you walk into a room where people were having a discussion, so to speak, and to insult them, especially the host (“Yawn”), and accuse them of defining themselves by hatred. If you go back and reread this discussion closely, you’ll see that my comments contain two strands of thought: 1) Your comment was dismissive in a way that is becoming dangerously common; and 2) Your use of “ad hominem” was highly amusing under the circumstances. Someone who says “you’re defining yourselves by your hatred. It isn’t healthy” should hesitate to take aim at other people for making statements “against the man.” Glass houses, my friend.
    OK? We clear on point #2?
    I think you’re being a little unfair to characterize Scott’s post as political discourse and my response as an ad hominem attack on Scott.
    Scott’s post, like it or not, effective or not, IS political discourse. Your comment says nothing about the issues under discussion. It says “this is boring, it’s old, move on, you’re obsessing, it’s not healthy.” Again, vitriol (Scott) vs. dismissal (you).
    And as an editor and writer by trade, you should be able to tell the difference between those two tones.
    My old penchant for overstatement bit me in the ass again. Mea culpa. But “coward” is an equally loaded term. So are uncouth, frat boy, reprehensible, and incompetent.
    LOL. “My fault, but he had it coming.” Nice.
    Yup, coward is a loaded term, and Scott explained his reasoning for using it. If asked, I’m betting he’d be more than happy to explain his usage of the other terms, especially the latter two. Talking about whether the President has been reprehensible and incompetent IS political discourse. Could he ever convince you, or anyone, that his perceptions are correct? Who knows. But the fact is that he stands by those statements.
    You can’t possibly stand by “you’re defining yourself by your hatred.” You’ve already explained that you don’t. So yes, I do see a difference, a big one, between Scott’s post and your comment. One of you was being sincere, and one of you was being flippant. One of you meant what he said.
    I honestly don’t think it’s unfair of me to point that out–especially not after you came back and reiterated the statement.
    And yes, Bush-obsessed is a loaded term, absolutely. Obsessed implies “thinks about constantly to an unhealthy degree.” Obviously it’s another overstatement, because we all know how many other things Scott thinks about. Ahem. But spending considerable time pondering the actions of our President, especially the specific actions committed by this President? I’d say it’s unhealthy NOT to be thinking about them.

  35. Ernie says:

    With the utmost sincerity and non-flippancy, I apologize for any offense given. None was intended. I’m grieved that I seem to have hurt your feelings. Scott is (no flippancy) one of the friendliest, least hateful men I know, and you’re right to defend him on that point. In retrospect, I think the pretzel thing kind of set me off. I think you’ll agree THAT comment was hateful. But Scott didn’t make that comment, and I shouldn’t have lumped him in with the person who did. And I should have counted to 10 before typing.

  36. Lissa says:

    Ernie, I really appreciate this gracious response. You didn’t hurt my feelings; I was just increasingly mystified by your persistence in using inaccurate pat phrases. You’re absolutely right that the pretzel remark belongs to the same class of statement. I understand that it was an ironic reference to the actual incident in which GWB choked on a pretzel, but it’s still a glib and offensive stock phrase that brings nothing to the discussion. Either the commenter didn’t mean it literally, in which case, why say it? Or she did, which would be truly reprehensible. Either way, it illustrates the importance of choosing words you can stand by.

  37. :) says:

    Scott’s Look in the Mirror, Buddy approach didn’t resonate with me either, but I get where he’s coming from. I’ve always (at least since summer 1999) felt that there was something very dark and blood thirsty about the guy, especially given:
    1) His record with the death penalty in TX
    2) Most of his platform in 2000 was about increasing military expenditures
    3) He was inaugurated and then went on vacation until 9/11 even though CA (the 5th largest economy in the world and the center of most importing and exporting in this country) was caught in a major energy crisis. (To me, any political power that ignores CA is totally schizoid)
    4) His immediate response to 9/11 was military action, rather than embargo or cracking down on suspicious monetary activity. (If Ossama is just a wallet for terrorists, a team of forensic accountants would go a lot further than big guns.)
    5) We went to war with Iraq . . . AGAIN . . . even though it broke us the last time. It reeks of if-we-punish-them-harder-than-we-punish-us-then-we-win mentality. I can tell you that based on game theory and group problem solving research this mentality never works. Both parties commit too much. They both loose and loose and loose. See the dollar auction experiment.
    6) Surveillance, torture, policies that increase the rate and frequency of abortion despite pro-life legal stance, inattention to infrastructure issues not involving the military (levees, bridges, minimum wage and wage growth, energy efficiency and production, disaster relief, consumer safety, food and resource security), underfunding and impeding medical and scientific research within universities, defending his children’s use of illegal drugs while condemning others (even hospice patients), telling people that shopping is patriotic (rather than learning first aid, self defense or disaster management, donating blood, planting a victory [energy] garden, being healthy and happy), passing of inefficient new bankruptcy laws that only succeed in growing the GINI coefficient.
    Kinda makes you wonder if the man sided with The Big Bad Wolf in those bedtime stories his grandfather told him as a kid. His behavior makes it seem as if he likes perpetuating human suffering. I don’t think Scott’s writing reasoned argument. He’s writing from his gut. I bet Scott brushes his teeth after reading anything about the man. 😉
    BTW: If Prescott Bush had a large stake in UBC or CSSC, he could have recruited a bunch of other investors and forced liquidation of these companies if he wanted. Tangible assets during the war might have been worth more than the post war price. Ben Graham would have done it. I don’t think Prescott would have been interested, though. Along with the Rockefellers, he was a major supporter of eugenics and Social Darwinism. Nazi isn’t a far leap.

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