Friday, September 21, 2007

Today's "Roll Over and Beg" Award Goes To ...

Today's "Roll Over And Beg" award, which will be awarded at random times to politicians whose pandering to absurd constituencies really honks me off, goes to the twenty-two Democratic Senators who voted for this piece of trash yesterday. You may remember this picture of a dog rolling over for a pat on the belly from my essay "It's The Weakness That Makes You Look Weak". In that spirit, here is the inaugural version of this award, which I suspect Democrats will earn frequently. Winners of the award are entitled to an extra large dog biscuit, procurement of and payment for which is the responsibility of the awardee.

A few weeks ago,, a liberal political organization, took out an ad (PDF) in the New York Times that referred to Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of the Iraq Multi-National Force, as "General Betray Us". The Washington Post reports:

In a conference call with MoveOn members last night, [executive director Eli] Pariser acknowledged that some of the group's members did not like the ad. But, he said, "MoveOn is going to be as strong as ever." He added, "We definitely will be putting pressure on Democrats, and especially those who voted against us, in the near future, and we are currently working on the best way to do that."

MoveOn Unmoved By Furor Over Ad Targeting Petraeus

I'm not sure if I'm a member of MoveOn or not. I occasionally get e-mail that says "Dear MoveOn member", but don't remember ever giving them money. Whether I'm a member or not, count me as one of those who think that this was a boneheaded move on MoveOn's part. A group of civilians, many of whom undoubtedly have never served in the military or risked their lives for anything not related to their own interests, calling a combat veteran "Betray Us" strikes me as disrespectful. Some have objected that his soldiers call him that. Of this I have little doubt. Soldiers are apt to be harsh when discussing commanders who seem to be working at making their lives miserable. Unfortunately, the ad never mentioned that fact, so to me it's irrelevant. It wasn't part of MoveOn's message, so most people wouldn't get the point.

I think much of middle America feels as I do about the ad's name-calling. All that headline was likely to do to them was turn them off from reading the rest of the message, or to not take it seriously if they did. Thus, it was also a stupid ad, because all it did was appeal to the already converted. Pariser claims it put pressure on Democrats in Congress, but I think all it did was make it harder for them to do what's right when it comes to Iraq.

Disrespectullness and stupidity are a rather common combination of traits these days, but there's no doubt of one thing - it was MoveOn's right to place this ad. As citizens of this country, they're allowed to criticize the government. General Petraeus gave political cover to the Bush Administration, and made himself a political figure as a result. That's how it works in America - high government officials get the good parking spaces, the free office space, and they get to schmooze with all those lobbyists. We citizens get to criticize them when they screw up. That's the deal, and those who don't like it should stay out of politics.

So, in addition to playing into the Republicans' hands on this issue, these Democrats violated one of the most basic principles of American government - the government doesn't get to criticize its citizens for criticizing it. That goes for MoveOn just as much as for Ann Coulter.

Playing into the Republicans' hands, you say? How's that? It's because without them, this worthless piece of crap wouldn't have passed, and the Republicans wouldn't have gotten to stand there acting like they are supporting our people in uniform when they quite clearly are not. I'm sure some of them thought this would give them political cover, but as usual, they were just being fools. Here's what President Bush had to say today at a press conference:

In response to a question at a news conference yesterday, the president said that few Democrats had condemned the ad, "which leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like, or more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military."

MoveOn Unmoved By Furor Over Ad Targeting Petraeus

Even though almost half of the Democrats voted in favor of this resolution, Bush lumped them in with those who didn't. How's that political cover working for you guys? And I hope you enjoyed that kick in the crotch, because you richly deserved it. You forgot who works for whom in this country. I hope that you ponder that point while you're nursing that bruise, given to you by one of the folks who feel most entitled to avoid criticism.

Senator Barack Obama handled this the right way, as did many of the Democrats who either voted against the resolution or didn't vote:

Between the two measures, nearly every member of the Senate had repudiated MoveOn, including Democratic presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Obama, who both voted for the Democratic version that did not include MoveOn's name but said there had been an "unwarranted personal attack" on Petraeus.

MoveOn Unmoved By Furor Over Ad Targeting Petraeus

Obama stated his opinion without resorting to an un-American resolution, as could the losers on this list had they chosen.

Courtesy of TPM Election Central, here is the list of awardees.

Max Baucus (MT)

Evan Bayh (IN)

Benjamin Cardin (MD)

Thomas Carper (DE)

Robert Casey (PA)

Kent Conrad (ND)

Byron Dorgan (ND)

Dianne Feinstein (CA)

Tim Johnson (SD)

Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Herb Kohl (WI)

Mary Landrieu (LA)

Patrick Leahy (VT)

Blanche Lincoln (AR)

Claire McCaskill (MO)

Barbara Mikulski (MD)

Bill Nelson (FL)

Ben Nelson (NE)

Mark Pryor (AR)

Ken Salazar (CO)

Jon Tester (MT)

James Webb (VA)

Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your biscuits. I'm sure MoveOn appreciates how you've distorted the curve. Compared to you, they look like geniuses.

Incidentally, the official roll call seems to confirm this count. If anyone has reached this list in error, please let me know.

UPDATE: Corrected to say that Barack Obama handled this correctly. An earlier edition had mentioned that Hillary Clinton was the one who criticized MoveOn but didn't vote for the resolution. I found her handling of this satisfactory as well, but she wasn't the one to whom the quote belonged.

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