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Liberals Want Military Rule of U.S. and Conservatives Hate Democracy

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I can't believe you, Arianna Huffington. How dare you con me into blogging for your crazy militaristic propaganda-producing website?

Wait, what? The Huffington Post isn't a crazy militaristic propaganda-producing website? Well, you could've fooled Mark Steyn, everyone's favorite right-wing Canadian columnist. In a recent post over at The National Review, Steyn wrote:

The Huffington Post is now calling for military usurpation of civil authority and has volunteered General Peter Pace for the Musharraf/Pinochet/Master Sergeant Sam Doe role.

Steyn was referring to Martin Lewis' column calling for General Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to relieve President Bush of his military role as commander-in-chief. Lewis made clear in response to a commenter that his column was a satirical jab at President Bush's horrible mismanagement of the Iraq War. I can't blame Steyn for missing that the piece was satire; we often struggle with dry British humor like Lewis' on this side of the Atlantic. But Steyn's assertion that both the Huffington Post and "the American left" support Lewis' proposal is preposterous.

As Ben Regenspan, a blogger at Campus Progress with a knack for finding free crabcakes, points out:

"The obvious problem here is that everyone and their mother writes for Huffington Post...and that it's generally silly, even in the context of a joke, to argue that one opinion columnist represents a given media outlet (much less "the American left") as a whole."

Reminding us that Steyn called Vietnamese "gooks" on The Rush Limbaugh Show last year, Regenspan continues:

"One might as well argue that all right-wingers are "gook"-spouting Canadian paranoids who genuinely fear a radical Islamic takeover of the West in the coming years and think it prudent to bomb Iran as soon as possible."

Or that all right-wingers believe "Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government," and that President Bush should "empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans," which would enable him "to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America." I know, these sound bites sound too juicy to be true, but as Sam Boyd writes at The American Prospect's blog, they're so for real.

Steyn's shot at the Huffington Post doesn't really bother me. HuffPo is a site with a bunch of liberal political columnists and he's a conservative political columnist, so he's naturally going to player-hate, just as I might be a bit overeager to criticize the National Review or Bill O'Reilly might want to group DailyKos in the same category as Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. What's worrisome are Steyn's attempts to turn the mainstream media into a speakerbox for the right by crying "liberal bias" where it does not exist. Steyn has labeled Associated Press reporters "either dupes at best or actually semi-treasonous in colluding with the enemy in demoralizing America on the home front." The media has certainly been "duped" at times -- buying the Bush administration's false justification for hastily marching to war in Iraq seems as good an example as any -- but not by some socialist freedom-hating strawman Steyn and other conservative commentators love to use in their baseless assaults on the left. Then again, I guess facts don't matter much to a guy who has repeatedly claimed that Osama bin Laden "will remain dead."