Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cultural Idiocy

It's astonishing how foolish our political debates have become here in America. Bill O'Reilly is often a classic case in point, but he outdid himself this week. Robert Reich explains:

Bill O’Reilly, the tumescent personality of Fox News, said on his Friday show “Robert Reich is a communist who secretly adores Karl Marx.” (This came after Fox News’ Neil Cavoto called me a “sanctimonious twit” for suggesting the rich should pay more in taxes.)

O’Reilly’s accusation is odd, to say the least. If we were living in the 1950s, amid Senator Joe McCarthy’s communist witch-hunts, the claim might have some bite and cause me injury. But these days it’s hard to find a full-throated communist anywhere in the world.

Why Anyone Should Care that Bill O’Reilly Calls Me A Communist

Then he punctuated that response with this picture:

Reich challenges O'Reilly to debate him
Image credit: Robert Reich

O'Reilly would be foolish to do that in any forum where he didn't control the mike button. A couple of rather different perspectives on why that is, first from Mad As Hell And..., a blog that is decidedly conservative in its outlook:

Since several of us here at Mad As Hell And… have had the pleasure of seeing Robert Reich speak on many different occasions and we have met Reich a handful of times going back his days of working for Brother Bill Clinton as U.S. Labor Secretary we have to agree that Bill O’Reilly if off-his-rocker on this one because if Robert Reich is a “Communist” then the word “Communist” has lost all meaning and is no longer effective in identifying REAL Communists like Fidel Castro and the Nutcake now running Venezuela into the ground!

One thing that we know for sure about Robert Reich is that he is smart and he has the ability to see forward into the future which is always a nice attribute to have when you are working on a college campus which is often filled with Complete Morons that are often lucky to get their shoes tied in the morning.

Look no further than Robert Reich’s ability to see the future than his great book from 1992 The Work of Nations which very accurately identified what was actually going to happen over the past two decades which has been dominated in OUR country by large American corporations that no longer see the United States of America as [anything but] just another market to be dominated and most certainly in many cases not a “home country” that should receive any kind of special attention over say….Burma, Brazil, India or any other country where consumers and/or businesses buy products in the marketplace.

Bill O’Reilly Says Robert Reich Is A “Communist?” – Come on Bill….Robert Reich May Be A Wacko Liberal Nut But He Is NO Communist! – One Thing We Know That Robert Reich Is….Reich Is Smart – Robert Reich’s 1992 Book The Work of Nations Predicted Almost Exactly What Has Happened Over the Past Two Decades and Although We Wouldn’t Agree With Reich’s “Fixes” For the American Economy Then or Today….Reich Sure the Hell Know What He Is Talking About – Robert Reich A “Communist?” – Please, That Is Just Dumb!

Yes, that really is the title of the essay. Another perspective from James Ala completes the thought that maybe O'Reilly's view of the world is from a much different time:

You may have missed it, but Communism, dead and buried since 1989 is back. Well, at least it is back in the fevered imagination of TEA Party Politicians and Fox News commentators.

It is passing strange that the Red Menace has returned, I thought that the Sainted Reagan had single-handedly torn down Communism, and its Berlin Wall with his bare hands in a feat of super-human strength and will. After all, Don Reynaldo had told the evil Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” and Gorby complied. How did the evil, rotten, feral, traitorous, soulless, and no-good Commies come back after the Gipper had stomped them flat?

But we have the word of Congressman Allen West that the nefarious Commies, those termites of liberty are at again. They have regrouped, they have reformed and true to character (or is that caricature?) have taken up false colors to fool the unwary. They have gained electoral office and become the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Commie, Pinko, Bedwetting Socialists

I've occasionally used the term "communist" here as sarcasm, trying to imply that the accusations someone is making are so wildly off the mark that they remind me of the days when people like Joe McCarthy made such accusations, because it was better than discussing their own failings as people, as intellectuals, or as leaders.

Now folks like O'Reilly and Allen West have willingly joined that class of politician, in an era when most of us, even the folks who might be inclined to agree with them, know better.

That's where we are in early Twenty-First Century America, when China is eating our lunch and our own population is slowly sliding into ignorance and poverty. We're debating nonsense as though we were idiots.

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