Goddamned right I'm mad.
Cory Booker's Meet the Press backstabbery was remarkable. And his Twitter-laced walk-back -- very unremarkable. He's fresh off of the new Booker/Christie comedy blog where he kicks it with a man who once pulled off a double-cross on the state Dems so cold that Tony Soprano sent tribute. Booker chose to rehabilitate Romney's Bain existence so well that the Romney campaign used him as an ally for fundraising. In a minutes-long confession, Booker flapped his "surrogate notes" and then showed up in a uniform for the other team.
Others followed suit. When asked about his support of Bain on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Ed Rendell robotically chortled,
"Look, in the end you and I know and John [Heilemann] knows that this election's coming down to the acceptance speech at the convention and the three debates. When it is as close as this is, those are gonna be the seminal things that decide it. No one's gonna remember Cory Booker, Rendell, Harold Ford, or even... what's the guy on Etch-a-Sketch?"
This is a problem. You know, using a metaphor while playing out that same metaphor. Why can't the Dems or even just the Left get -- and stay -- mad enough at the lying blather of the Right to just NOT be all, "Well, there's two sides to this..."? Especially when, to paraphrase White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, that's bullsh*t.
But Ed says don't get mad. No one will remember this one moment.
A guy tells a lie about you, you call him out. He does it on TV, and you call his mother a name and THEN call him out.
John Kerry was a decorated war hero who came home to champion the end of it. Meanwhile, George W. Bush had, somehow, leapt over a bushel of other applicants and was enlisted in the reserves here at home. Moreover, it's been said that President Johnson kept the draft going as to not bring up the reserves that would have introduced columns of Senators' sons to the neck-deep bloodmuck of Vietnam's misty war. Bush was exactly the man Credence Clearwater Revival howled about.
And Kerry knew it.
So did Karl Rove.
And he put together a smear campaign that questioned Kerry's honor, dignity, courage and service.
I am not a pacifist, but I am against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I will call out lame-brained jingoism that speaks of war as if it's a game of paintball only with cooler guns. I do not support the soldiers' mission thus I do not support their presence. But I won't call them sonsabitches for being soldiers.
But that is what Karl did... and I'm gonna tell you something -- it worked.
Somewhere deep in the back of our patriotism is a switch to NOT debase a soldier's honorable service. We can argue and even fight over the politics of war but you rarely hear someone call a soldier a coward for soldierin'. Partly out of respect but partly because, well, chances are they ain't no kinda yellow and you will be fat-lipped for it. Ok, you could win the fight, but would it be worth your torn jacket and freshly bitten nose?
That is what we expect of our military caste. To fight, balls to bone when it comes to honor. As wrong and arrogant as I feel Rumsfeld is, I don't think he's a coward. Cheney, yes... but Rumsfeld? No. And I think that if I were to impugn the grizzly mortician about his service record today, he'd throw up those colorless bows and take a swing right there at the screen. He'd have a moment.
Now, when you DON'T do that... when a crew of amateur actors make claims against your record and you don't take off your jacket, undo your tie, call someone a bastard while pushing open the back door into an alley and inviting all said line readers to a special party... no one feels safe.
Kerry's non-confrontational attitude laid some doubt on his record and the medals. He didn't angrily and passionately defend those things, and it got to the point where his "high-road" attitude looked more like avoidance. Soon the obvious question arose: If he won't stick up for himself, how the hell is he gonna stick up for us?
Somebody advised him not to get angry. Someone advised him to lose. And now we've all inherited simple-minded conservatism that has been steered into every tributary of our government's flow. From fake challenges to the lowest common denominator of candidates that think a demand for a command of the issues that surround being president is "gotcha" politics. The Left has allowed this. Years ago we opened the door, and now continuously seat ignorant hatred at the table of governance under some pedantic "we all have a say" model. Obstructionism based on lies isn't leadership or a "say".
It's okay to get mad. Let me show you how it can be done in a calm yet passionate way in an interview with Ron Kovic from thedarkroome.com's (my site) film FUSE: Voice of Occupation about the Occupy Los Angeles protest.
"I've been arrested 12 times. I'm not afraid to be arrested again."
Guy said that from a wheelchair.
Getting angry is not losing. Losing is losing. It's not about "going off" but about presenting facts with passion. It's not presenting chuckling or lane-jumping surrogates looking for a national opportunity to lay groundwork for 2014 or '16 or a future gig. It's not moronic birther tones or overspending lies but turning around slowly to the friend or foe who would besmirch you or your cause... and having a moment.