The Stink Bomb


There is so much messy farting going on, the political arena smells like an outhouse. Of course, why should it not? It is an outhouse.

Between the craven opportunists and the reflexive ideologues, even a dash past the entrance with cotton plugs in your nose will not spare you the stench.

The Muslim world has a problem. Clearly. Is it all Muslims? No. Is it most Muslims? Check with Gallup. Is it a lot of Muslims. Yes. What’s a lot? I don’t know. I didn’t take statistics. But something is going on in the Muslim world, has been for a long time, that is not quite going on in any other religious culture. It’s a problem. You do not see a problem?  I’ll be seeking insight and advice elsewhere.

American conservative – that’s GOP – foreign policy talk is simpleminded. Talk tough – solve the Muslim problem. No one thought of that before. President Obama does not talk tough enough. (He just kills the enemy.) He does not posture tough enough. (He just kills the enemy.) The Israelis talk tough. They posture tough. Hell – they are tough. They kill the enemy too. And I’m not saying they should not be or do any of those things. But. Solve the problem? No.

Tina Brown’s Newsweek thinks Muslims have a problem. The magazine called it Muslim Rage. Newsweek these days, along with co-0wned and published online sibling  The Daily Beast, cannot separate itself from sensational, opportunistic journalism and covers, the way a boy grown too old cannot unsink his teeth from his mother’s tit. Tina Brown is angling for a Pulitzer. No, not that Pulitzer. The first one. The yellow one.

Culturally sensitive leftists think Muslim Rage headlines and generalizing are more of a problem than, well, Muslim Rage. I guess you have to be there.

The culturally sensitive created a Twitter hashtag to represent their scorn and ironic superiority to any conception of, well, you know, Muslim Rage. They called it #MuslimRage. (Why didn’t you think of that?) At least they have identified the true problem.

Maureen Dowd (how’d she become part of this) inked, penned, tapped out digitized a column decrying quite angrily the influence of neocon advisers and that simpleminded policy talk on the Romney-Ryan campaign. Maureen (we called her “Mo” back in the hood) (I made that up) thinks this is not a good thing. I don’t agree with all of her particulars, but in support of her general message, I offer you the two thousand oughts. Some people thought they caught, in Dowd’s column, a whiff of something. That is probably because when you live in an outhouse, your nose is going to be full of it.

Wrote Dylan Byers in what I can only, unfortunately, call the most dishonest blog post of the day,

Dowd … asserted [Romney and Ryan’s] strategy was orchestrated by a “neocon puppet master” who was leading the neocon effort to “slither back” into power.

“Puppet master” and slither” are supposed to be, according to some, including Byers, references to Jews. Except the only reference to “slither” in Dowd’s column is by Paul Wolfowitz in regard to the first Jewish president, Barack Obama. But that’s okay, because Byers also wrote, characteristic of the entire post,

Dowd’s assertion that Jewish neoconservatives — chiefly Paul Wolfowitz — dictated the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq also ignored the influences of the other individuals most often credited with that responsibility, namely Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice — none of whom are Jewish.

You would be forgiven for concluding – in truth, you would be expected to believe – from the above that Down made an “assertion [about] Jewish neoconservatives.” Says it right there – move your eyes up – “Dowd’s assertion that Jewish neoconservatives….” You would not know that neither the words Jewish nor Hebrew nor Brothers-in-the-bagel appear anywhere in Dowd’s column. Byers certainly leaves the impression they do, does he not? From here on, if ever before, you trust not what Dylan Byers writes to characterize the words of others. If you do, it’s on you Bubbies and Babes.

Whence cometh this concerted attack on Dowd after her attack on neocons, Jewish or not? We have it from none other than The Times of Israel that

Republicans have launched unprecedented efforts to attract the Jewish vote this year, including funding television, print and billboard ads criticizing Obama’s policies on Israel and the economy. Last week, the Republican Jewish Coalition conducted a large grassroots canvassing campaign in Jewish communities in the battleground areas of South Florida, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

The nature of these “unprecedented” efforts we see in the smear of Dowd, the now daily GOP smear of Obama – counter to the whole historical record –  as having “thrown Israel under the bus” and as having apologized for the United States, which, actually could stand to apologize for some things, but not for defending without flinching the right of anyone to express any idea no matter how offensive to anyone else.

Anyone who has a problem with that has – a problem. Like Muslim Rage, and misguided cultural sensitivity, and simpleminded jingoism, and dishonest reporting, and all of it stinks. It stinks – how would my mother have put it? To high heaven. It stinks to high heaven. And if I’ve offended anyone, I apologize.



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13 thoughts on “The Stink Bomb

  1. I would point out that Dowd did write, “Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor.” Certainly, such a formulation as “adjective noun” can be antisemitic (or racist) without explicitly noting that “noun” is Jewish (or Black/Latino/Arab/etc.). Neither is it surprising that that adjective would raise suspicion only in a particular context — consider “well spoken.”

    Further, while the puppet-master analogy is widely used in a variety of situations, it is strange that the sort of muscular foreign policy the US has generally had for several decades and in relation to all parts of the world because it is widely (and unfortunately) popular with the American people would need to be explained by reference to a puppet master at all.

    I would also note the oddness of her writing, “You can draw a direct line from the hyperpower manifesto of the Project for the New American Century, which the neocons, abetted by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, used to prod an insecure and uninformed president into invading Iraq..” It would seem to position Cheney and Rumsfeld as mere accomplices, though both were prominent in the PNAC and prominent in pushing the PNAC agenda in Bush’s administration. This gives me pause, in part, because it’s hardest here to believe what I would tend to, that she was merely copying someone else’s thoughtlessness. Someone else who, in turn, was copying someone else’s racism.

    So I’m not surprised people (including people strongly opposed neoconservatism) read different things in her column than you do.

    1. Matt, I don’t really see anything new or additional in your argument here. You’re emphasizing the puppet master trope, but you offer no evidence that it was intended as an antisemitic slur, other than, again, the fact that many, not all, neocons are Jews. Cheney and Rumsfeld are not, properly speaking neoconservatives – they are good old-fashioned conservatives in the belligerent, militaristic vein whose views converged with those of neocons. What fits the puppet master trope perfectly, and which you don’t address, while Dowd did, is that Romney is unschooled in foreign policy and has clearly become the vocalizer of ideas not originating from his own deep consideration. Finally, I just ask – does Maureen Dowd have a history in this regard? Faced with such a history, I would be hard pressed not to reconsider my analysis here. Or did she somehow transform into an anti-Semite in the space of a single metaphor?

  2. Excellent post.

    Very good dissection of Byers’ lies. But Dowd’s piece is appalling too, with the nonsense about “neocon puppetmasters”. It’s true that the “slither” quote comes from Wolfowitz, but the NYT editors put it in her title too, so she is representing the neocons (of whom at least Senor & Wolfowitz are Jewish) as slithering puppetmasters, which is… problematic.

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