Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Truths we can't handle ...

Chad Hermann is a well known and apparently greatly admired local blogger, as I’m sure you all know. In yesterday’s post, at his blog Teacher, Wordsmith, Madman. he printed an email to him (the second of an apparent series) about the presidential race, and he also pointed out (perhaps humbly) how he has no dog in that hunt:

“Unlike many other bloggers, I'm not playing partisan hack or shill or biased, blindered cheerleader. I'm sticking to a core set of beliefs and principles that have not changed in the almost four years I've been writing this blog. All I'm doing is calling the truth as I see it.”

And then: “It's just that this time, as Colonel Nathan Jessup once famously noted, some people can't handle it.”

Let’s keep in mind that Mr. Hermann (Dr. Hermann? I don’t know) printed a six part analysis of Barack Obama’s speech on race from Philadelphia, analyzing/criticizing it literally word by word. He has accused Mr. Obama of overly florid prose, of incoherence and of course of lying. He was incensed when Obama would not renounce Jeremiah Wright when those videos hit the media rotation, and then also incensed Obama did renounce the Reverend when Wright came forward on his own power to call Obama a slick politician. Keep in mind when the Wright controversy erupted the first time, the media was using video out in the public, out of Wright’s control. The second time, what Wright said was in his control. The first time, Obama used the issue as a teaching moment, to remind white America that most of black America has not made that much progress. The second time, Obama indicated he does care about loyalty.

This is Mr. Hermann’s non partisan, truth telling nature, to spend the vast majority of his posts on presidential politics bashing Obama, yet not indicate why Obama treated Wright in the way he did (both times). To claim not to be a “partisan hack or shill or biased, blindered cheerleader” (on his blog), while his day job is as a speechwriter for Republican candidates (one of whom, Mark DeSantis, I also supported on my blog).

Colonel Nathan Jessup is an interesting choice to reference for Mr. Hermann. What is the truth that Colonel Jessup thought the naval Judge Advocate General Corps attorneys could not handle? That Colonel Jessup ordered the torture and accidental death of a marine, who may have been sick and in any event was not keeping up. That Colonel Jessup then lied about the “training” procedure, denying having ordered it, content to leave two enlisted men holding the bag (so to speak), so Jessup could advance to an important political position.

Actually, for Jessup the truth, as he saw it, was that real men have to do things, difficult things, so that pussies can sleep easy at night. I think that’s what the European and European-descended settlers told themselves as they rolled over the Native Americans. That’s what colonists and later citizens told themselves as they chained blacks. That’s what the military told itself as it rounded up Japanese Americans in World War II. And that’s what the neocons told themselves as they ordered detention without end and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

We can’t handle those truthes. You are damn right.


Schultz said...

I think TWM has been overly harsh on Obama because of the way the media has been "fawning" on him. Here is the problem - people claim that the media is biased for Obama. I disagree. I think the amount of coverage Obama has received on the news shows, on the magazine covers, is indeed over the top and quite frankly, I think overexposure is a huge negative.

So,yes, the amount of coverage is biased for Obama, because let's face it, and old white guy running for President isn't anything new and exciting. Now, in terms of how critical the media has been on the candidates, McCain has gotten away with so many lies and flip flops it is unbelievable. Obama says he is open to listening to the 'commanders on the ground" and next thing you know the media is spending days talking about his "move to the center" or "is Obama a flip flopper." Meanwhile McCain keeps launching ads that tell lies (that Obama is against Nuclear power, for example, is a lie), and every week there are examples of him "flip flopping" but he gets away with it.

So is the media biased for Obama? Hardly. He is relatively new in Washington so he is getting much more scrutiny.

UPDATE: McCain's flip flip list count is up to 66

EdHeath said...

I agree, overexposure is a big risk for Obama. I think people have built up big expectations, and hope he will meet all of them, for each individual person. Other people looking at this from outside the Obama movement (so to speak) see a bunch of fawning idiots who do not see Obama for the (insert your particular bias here). I think the blog I Luv Luke has a near brilliant take on it. I hate to condescend to “average” voters, ie people who take their real lives more seriously than I take mine, but I think the number of people who are in mental meltdown about whether to vote for an African American is quite large. A majority of the Democratic primary voters of this state, for example.

I would actually say that during the primary the exposure Obama got was appropriate, because he was, and is, pulling in big crowds and attracting a lot of new voters. Newsweek and Time and all the rest would like new voters who haven’t read their magazine to pick up a copy. Now, he is the candidate, and the media is simultaneously soft pedaling and attacking both candidates (consider your list of McCain flip flops). They still set up unreasonable expectations for Obama.

But I think TWM has attacked Obama the image, not conceding that Obama the man could have only controlled the image by dropping out of the race. And I think TWM gleefully controls his part of the attack on Obama, by pulling apart speeches and comments word for word and by having comments emailed instead of posted, so no actual debate or back and forth could erupt on his blog. Then to claim to be non-partisan? Give me a break. I think referencing Colonel Jessup, who’s comment in the movie about not being able to handle the truth is extremely self-serving (for Jessup) is for TWM a slap in the collective faces of his readers.

Burgher Jon said...

Ed got to my point at the end of his comment. I used to get all hot and bothered by comments Prof. Hermann has made on his blog that are over the top, I even wrote a particularly long response once. What I have since resolved is to enjoy his eloquence (he is an English Professor at CMU after all) but not to bother taking him seriously on politics. After all, what is the likelihood that a professional wordsmith occasionally employed by republican political candidates is anything more then a minor propagandist when he won't forward the debate by allowing commenters to disect his disections?

EdHeath said...

Yeah, just to be accurate I believe Mr/Dr Hermann was some kind of "Management Communications" instructer in the business school at CMU. I think he is either on leave or has left CMU to work full time on campaigns, but really I have no idea. Apparently he used to post/comment on the Huffington Post, which boggles the mind.

EdHeath said...

Er, ..."instructor"