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Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 01/11/2011

George Will smears Howard Dean

By Greg Sargent

George Will has a column today denouncing those who are hoping to use the Arizona shooting to spark some introspection about the tone of our discourse. He calls such people "charlatans" and accuses them of "political opportunism" and "McCarthyism."

One of the primary pieces of evidence for the charge is Will's claim that Howard Dean supposedly called Tea Partyers racist:

Three days before Tucson, Howard Dean explained that the Tea Party movement is "the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity." Rising to the challenge of lowering his reputation and the tone of public discourse, Dean smeared Tea Partyers as racists: They oppose Obama's agenda, Obama is African American, ergo...

Let us hope that Dean is the last gasp of the generation of liberals whose default position in any argument is to indict opponents as racists. This McCarthyism of the left -- devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data -- is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas.

It didn't take long to dig up what Dean actually said:

Dean, the former Vermont governor known for his no-holds-barred demeanor, was careful at The Christian Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters to add that he didn't view tea party activists as "racist." But he suggested that discomfort with the election of the first African-American president and an increasingly diverse electorate largely fueled the movement.

"I think it's the last gasp of the 55-year-old generation...a group of older folks who've seen their lives change dramatically,'' he said. "The country is not the same...and all of a sudden it's here for them and they don't know what to do...Every morning when they see the president they are reminded that things are totally different than they were when they were born and I think that has a lot to do with it."

"Economic uncertainty fuels this but this is the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity,'' Dean added. "The tea party is almost entirely over 55 and white, and the country has changed dramatically as a result of what happened in 2008 and it's not going back. Every day that goes on, the demographic change continues, and that's what a lot of this is about."

In other words, Dean explicitly didn't call Tea Partyers racist. Rather, he was arguing that demographic change and economic uncertainty are among the factors creating the unease in Tea Party ranks. That's a blunt point, to be sure, but even those who strongly disagree with it would have to agree -- if they're being intellectually honest -- that Will's depiction of it has no basis in reality. I'd say Will's casual misrepresentation of Dean's words does far more to lower the "tone of public discourse" than anything Dean said.

By Greg Sargent  | January 11, 2011; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Political media, Tea Party, race  
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Next: The right-wing narrative about Clinton, the Oklahoma bombing, and Obama

Comments

Will has always been a supercilious hack masquerading as a "sensible" conservative. What Dean said about the Tea Partiers is irrefutable.

Posted by: filmnoia | January 11, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't like George Will either.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 11, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse


"What's government when words have no meaning"


This is a clear reference to Obama's 2008 campaign themes - and Obama's failure to follow through on any of them.

- Bipartisanship, when Obama meets few times with the Republicans

- Compromise - when Obama is dumping 2,000 page bills on the internet in the middle of the night and the democrats calling votes on weekends and holidays

- Post-racial - what is post-racial when the majority party is leveling FALSE CHARGES OF RACISM at their political opponents, acting more like a third world dictatorship than anything else


- Transparency - do we have to mention the hidden file in Hawaii again?


"What's government when words have no meaning?"


I found that phrase at the end of one of videos posted on Politico, however I thought I heard a report on tv that the suspect said that phrase on Saturday.


I would like to confirm that - because it would be significant if the suspect used that phrase more than once - especially in the context of all the stuff the suspect has out there.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 11, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

First, Dean suggested the Tea Party was mostly racially motivated (and seems to be suggesting that's true of most voters over 55), but that they aren't "racist".

Sounds like a distinction without much of a difference, to me, however Will should have pointed out the full context of Dean's words in his column.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 11, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The very BEST take of the day on the partisan aftermath of this tragedy is by George Will. His words are perfectly on the mark.

Of course, the Democrat media will protest endlessly. This is to be expected. The Democrat media is paid to promote the Democrat party.

But, look how fast the Democrat, media toadies jumped on the tragedy and used it as a weapon in an attempt to chasise and silence their political foes.

Speed of light!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 11, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@Will-

He calls such people "charlatans" and accuses them of "political opportunism" and "McCarthyism."

Apparently, Will sees only what he wants to see. We have posters *on this board* who have done exactly what Will accuses the Left of doing.

One of the greatest dangers afforded by this event was that folks would rush to judgement *about politics*. How is all of the sudden off limits to discuss politics?

To me the question is the rushing to judgement like I said on Saturday. Certainly no one should try and score political points (like Will is doing), but what can't there be a general discussion about over-the-top rhetoric and its possible effect on the populace?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

George Will remains the very definition of a hack.

Posted by: jbossch | January 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

Have you contacted George Will for a comment on this? It should be brought to his attention that his comments are factually inaccurate, and he should have the opportunity to retract them...or if not, be forced to explain why he knowningly lied in his piece.

He works for the same WaPo you do, so I can't imagine it's impossible for you to get a hold of him. And on that note, if he is not willing to retract his smear-job, I have to ask if you can get a comment from whoever runs the editoral board (Fred Hiatt?) as to why they would allow their writers to knowningly lie under the banner of the Washington Post.

I do appreciate you calling him out, though.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | January 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

How is saying Tea Party momentum is due to a discomfort with demographic shifts in this country, not implying that the Tea Party is racist? I don't think he's referring to a shift in median age.

It's like saying "I don't think Americans are fat. I just think they eat too much for their own good and it causes their bodies to expand beyond what's normally considered healthy."

Posted by: Simon_B | January 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

RainForestRising,
THERE HE IS!!!!
How you doing buddy?!

Please continue to bring the FUNNY today!!!

"the hidden file"

Hawaii 5-0!!!

Your comedy is magical!

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 11, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Saying that the tea party is made of white people who don't like diversity is pretty clearly calling them racist. Sargent didn't do Dean any favors by highlighting his remarks.

Posted by: tomtildrum | January 11, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Nobody would argue the fire in a theater example yet someone Angle wasn't even arrested, nor was Palin, and both should have been, in my estimation.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 11, 2011

-------

This tells about all you need to know about cao and why he is so comfortable in a repressive communist environment like Vietnam.

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Parsing words Sir. Howard Dean is smart enough to not say the word racist but merely suggest racist undertones.

BTW, none of the people (several) that I know to be active in the Tea Party are over 55 years old. If you saw any of the major rallies, you'd see how wrong Dean was.

Posted by: marisman | January 11, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Well, there are other forms of diversity, as we all know. Such as: sexual orientation...? So, maybe the Tea Party is homophobic? Oy.

I think Dean means *wink wink* racist when he says "every morning they look at the president...". Surely, he can't mean "yet another young, Ivy League-educated president".

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 11, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

We already talked about this, so many times. No Democrat has won the Presidency with a majority of the white vote since LBJ.

That matters, that is not an accident, nor some kind of coincidence. But it has nothing to do with Jimmy Carter's, nor Bill Clinton's nor Barak Obama's race. Howard Dean is correct.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 11, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is a medical doctor and a successful and popular Governor.

George Will writes an opinion column in which he is frequently wrong on the facts.

George Will... Bwwaaaahahahaha! What a joke.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

What if Dean was right? We're quick to blame the "race-card" as if racism doesn't exist. When the civil rights "ended," all of the feelings that those people had didn't just disappear into thin air. There are tens of millions of Americans who were young adults during that time, some may have changed, many probably didn't. Just because the laws changed and it was no longer "legal" to harass or attack minorities doesn't mean that those feelings went away. Let's be real.

Posted by: nsu1203 | January 11, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent:
So, Howard Dean's not saying these people are racist, just that they are "uncomfortable with an African American president and growing diversity," which seems to be ethnic or racial diversity.

If Tea Party Tom announced "I'm uncomfortable with an African American president, and I'm also uncomfortable with the increasing [racial or ethnic] diversity," Howard Dean and Mr. Sargent would decry him as racist. Ask NPR's Mr. Williams about that.

The non-denying denial is a cynical, transparent attempt to demonize one's opponent while ostemsibly staying above the fray. I'm not saying Mr. Sargent is a partisan hack. Instead, I am trying to point out that he is selectively choosing words that present only one point of view, and is uncomfortable that thinking, reational people can disagree with his point of view. It's easier to proclaim them as practitioners of smears, or small minded racists, or tools of some megabucks corporate pillager.

Posted by: ken100 | January 11, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

What else does the professional right do BUT smear Democrats?

"This McCarthyism of the left -- devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data -- is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas."

This is particularly hilarious, coming from the party of No Ideas. An interesting feature of the sociopathic right is the characteristic they all share -- that of projecting their own actions onto others, apparently with a total lack of awareness.

This lying, patently dishonest old fart should have been retired years ago for almost daily violation of the most basic journalistic standards and ethics.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 11, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

What's George Will if his words have no meaning?

Posted by: sneigwhblog | January 11, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I think Sargent Greg is protesting too much. He knows all his leftist comrads are stirring the political pot and slinging the murky contents at their political foes. They are using tragedy to further their political cause.

Naturally conservatives get defensive when the deafening roar of the liberal media is turned their way, considering liberals control about 90% of the media.

There's something to think about. 90% of the media were Obama lickspittles but the Obamacrats still got shellacked in November. The Marxist media has not been able to crush that proud yankee, indepenent spirit yet.

But it keeps trying!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 11, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis writes
"Sounds like a distinction without much of a difference, to me, however Will should have pointed out the full context of Dean's words in his column."


The nuance in Dean's statement is easily misinterpreted as being a cut and dried allegation of racism. The best metaphor I can think of in a short time frame is the concept of 'comfort food'. We're all comfortable with what we've grown up with. People that grow up in a homogenous environment - white, black, asian, whatever, tend to be more comfortable in that environment. Kindof like growing up with Mom's meatloaf and mashed potatoes. When you grow up, you can 'know' that food at a fancy restaurant is better than mom's food, but you might prefer Mom's food anyway, because that's what you're familiar with. If, when you grow up, everyone around you looks and acts in a certain way, it can be very disturbing to find yourself in a different environment, where people look, act and speak different from what you're accustomed to. I don't think that's racism.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 11, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Will has long settled into that "Senior Wingnut Hack" role - it suits him and it is certainly easier than actually having an opinion based on facts.

Posted by: LABC | January 11, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

shrink, it seems to me that a very logical explanation for the anomaly you continue to traffic is possible.

It seems to me that what you've got is a circumstantial "case" at best. If you have data that proves America's whites to be racially motivated at the ballot box, by all means share it.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 11, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Secondly, you'd still have to address that quantity problem. Why would it be the case that there have been so many acts of violence (as my list above, h/t Digby) perpetrated by individuals and groups associated with modern right wing politics and such a relative few from the left?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011
-------

I've made lists, too. But I doubt they've swayed Bernie from his preconceived world view. It all depends on who's making the list and what information he chooses to include. I left a post about Colin Ferguson yesterday. Then, there's the school board shooter in Florida. I wonder what the Fort Hood shooter thought of George W. Bush? I guess no one listened to all of the hate rhetoric directed at Bush from the left for eight years. Of course bernie isn't really into rational discussion of opposing political views. He just posts Boilerplate screeds and waits for the occasional compliment from the liberal peanut gallery. Some people call it trolling.

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

ken100,

I think the biggest problem that many people have with this "movement" is that these people sat by quietly while previous presidents caused the national debt and budget deficit to explode. They came out of the gate from day one of Obama's administration yelping about TARP and the debt, but when Bush was supporting many of these very same reforms (including TARP), they didn't say a word. When someone says things that are completely hypocritical, it's easy to question their motives, and that's what I think happened with the TEA Party. They were so quick to pounce on Obama, right from the starting line, that it makes you question their motives. That's really the issue here.

Posted by: nsu1203 | January 11, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Jaysus, battleground...have the lambs stopped crying, Clarice? You sound a bit like your comrade in jail now...

Posted by: LABC | January 11, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Sargent's argument is laughable on its face.

Which makes it pretty much like everything else he writes.

It must be sad for Sargent, so often having to defend the indefensible.

Posted by: etpietro | January 11, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Apologies for posting the whole thing, but this Benen post is along the same lines, starring Erick Erickson:

"On Sunday, President Obama issued a pretty straightforward statement, calling for a moment of silence to honor the shootings in Tucson.

"Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives," Obama said. "It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart."

If, reading that paragraph, you didn't see anything offensive about the president's statement, you're just not thinking like a right-wing activist or media personality.

The problem, apparently, is that Obama called on Americans to come together in "prayer or reflection." CNN's Erick Erickson said the president is "getting bashed" for this in conservative circles, and as far as Erickson is concerned, Obama deserves the criticism:

"He recently made people mad by quoting the Declaration of Independence and leaving out the bit about the Creator. During his inaugural address he mentioned atheists and subsequently proclaimed us not a Christian nation.

In yesterday's "moment of silence" he wanted prayer or reflection. Here's the problem -- when conservatives push for school prayer and advocate for a "National Day of Prayer," they include "or reflection" to get around namby-pamby atheist objectors.

But the left uses it too. The left uses it to accommodate atheists.

President Obama's statement stands out because it is just another verbal telling that he's ideologically of the left. He already has problems with a public perception of him and his faith. That things like this keep coming up suggests the general public is right in their skepticism of the sincerity of his faith."

I simply lack the ability to comprehend such abject stupidity.

In the wake of senseless violence, including the murder of a small child and an assassination attempt on a member of Congress, the president called for a national moment of silence. Whether one prays or reflects, Obama thought it appropriate to honor the memory of the victims.

And by doing so, Erickson believes the president deserves not only to be bashed, but to have his commitment to his faith questioned.

Keep in mind, Erickson is not some obscure figure -- he's a leading right-wing online voice, was popular in the Bush White House, and is a paid political analyst for CNN.

Anyone seeking additional evidence of the right's intellectual bankruptcy just got another example."

Posted by: BGinCHI | January 11, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, I am neither Imsinca's drive by neighbor nor have I wished death on any Democrats (Frum is a Republican ; )

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 11, 2011 10:35 A
-------

In cao's mind, you are JakeD, fiona5 is Drindl, and I was once Zouk. He hears voices, too.

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

ChuckInDenton writes
"Surely, he can't mean "yet another young, Ivy League-educated president"."

Why can't that be part of it? I'm specifically pointing to the 'young' aspect. Boomers had two presidents, in W and Bubba, and now life is passing them by - Obama is younger than the boomers, and biracial to boot; like W & Bubba, he has the ivy league education, but unlike W and Bubba, Obama speaks like an ivy leaguer (or a preacher). Why wouldn't those fuel people's discomfort with change? Again, it doesn't have to be 'racist' to interpret public reaction that way. Look at the first reaction to Bubba - a generation younger than his predecessors, his election amounted to a changing of the guard. The Repubs tried to roll it back with Dole's dismal candidacy, which didn't turn out so well. Now we have another generational jump to Obama, who's extremely popular with the under-50 set.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 11, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

claw I am working, so I can't write much today, but I have a book cite for you if you like?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 11, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

BG-

Yeah, Allah forbid that Obama be given credit for attempting to be inclusive when it comes to spiritual matters. Alas, that's how he rolls, and will continue to roll. Praise Buddha we have such an unflappable pres.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 11, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No one should worry about Pres. Obama's speech. Time and time again he has been able to walk the fine line, to take moments at their bleakest, and shine. He'll be the thoughtful, empethetic, and elegant speaker we all know him to be in these situations - and the country will be better for it.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | January 11, 2011
-------

As long as someone else writes the speech, doesn't use big words like corpsmen, and the teleprompter doesn't break, he'll be just fine.

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No one should worry about Pres. Obama's speech. Time and time again he has been able to walk the fine line, to take moments at their bleakest, and shine. He'll be the thoughtful, empethetic, and elegant speaker we all know him to be in these situations - and the country will be better for it.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | January 11, 2011
-------

As long as someone else writes the speech, doesn't use big words like corpsmen, and the teleprompter doesn't break, he'll be just fine.

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

MAJOR ALERT

WE are coming up on 1:11 on 1/11/11


This is a major event in the history of the world.


Actually, there are 16 points in time this year that have this characteristic.


So, while it is unique to this year, this point in time is actually happening 16 times this year.


Says a great deal about life, doesn't it?


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 11, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

bsimon-

Good points. More diversity, in fact. Thanks for the reply.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 11, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

ethan2010:
"I hope Obama gives an uplifting speech like his 2004 DNC speech about how there is not a Red America and a Blue America, but a United States of America."
-------

I hope you and Chris Matthews won't be getting thrills up your legs and cao won't be feeling that tingling in his rear end.

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

All, nice Adam Serwer post on the right wing narrative on Clinton, Oklahoma City, and Obama:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/clinton_obama_and_arizona.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 11, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

HEY GEORGE WILL!

Rush Limbaugh claimed that Democrats are looking to politicize the shootings in Arizona, according to Roll Call.

The Democratic Party, he said, is "a party that seeks to profit out of murder" adding that the political left "openly wishes for such disaster in order to profit from it."

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2011/01/11/limbaugh_says_democrats_want_to_profit_from_shootings.html

George Will,

When are you going to condemn Rush Limbaugh's comments that the Democratic Party HOPES for political assassinations so they can PROFIT off of them?

When will THAT be the subject of your article, Mr. Will?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Nobody reasonable is saying that Loughner shot Giffords because of Palin's map;

Posted by: caothien9 | January 11, 2011 9:35 AM
========================================

Actually, that's exactly what he said:

cao:
"And two Republicans, one a US Senate nominee in Nevada and the other a former governor and not much of anything politically but a rabble-rouser, spoke and wrote openly of "targeting" and "taking out" Democrats in language that would have to be wildly embellished and contrived in interpretation to take as anything but calls to murder.

And one of the people whose assassination was encouraged took a bullet yesterday."

Posted by: Brigade | January 11, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

George Will is extremely overconfident in his intelligence but he correctly has measured the low intelligence of his flock.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | January 11, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So, in essence, Sargent's BIG, HUGE, BREAKING NEWS about GEORGE WILL SMEARING HOWARD DEAN turns out to be that Dean said. . .exactly. . .what. . .Will quoted him as saying.

Yawn.

Sargent is just like most liberals who imply their opponents are racists, then vehemently object when they are caught doing so.

Hey Sargent, what happened during the Fort Hood shooting? Remember when people of your ilk called for people to "not jump to conclusions" about the shooter? Where was that same caution this weekend? Nowhere, because you and this newspaper are a bunch of hypocrites.

Posted by: octopi213 | January 11, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

sarg, dean said the 55 and over had a problem with specifically an "AFRICAN american president" and "DIVERSITY" of the electorate, what in the else in world could
he mean or allude to except that these older folk are RACIST ????????, stop splitting hairs, Will is correct. You sound like Clinton..."depends on the meaning of the word "is"..

Posted by: snapplecat07 | January 11, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The guilt that the right-wing feels about their metaphorical call to arms being taken literally is intense.
It would be better for the right to reform their language rather than reflexively attack the Democrats.
However, if they did deal with their anxieties by acting thoughtfully rather than lashing out they wouldn't be Republicans, they would be Democrats.

Posted by: karenfink | January 11, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

George also misrepresents the quote from the NYT when he leaves out the first line of the editorial. The first line expressly states that this tragedy CANT be blamed on republicans OR the tea party.

I guess quoting the little snippets out of context is more helpful to making his point which is rendered a lie, by the first line of the editorial.
What a jerk.

Posted by: wesg1 | January 11, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I remember someone in my office 15 years ago who really despised Jesse Jackson. She said he never earned an honest living and just went around stirring people up- like a profesional trouble-maker. I didn't realize until later that she was repeating like a parrot what she was hearing at the time on Rush Limbaugh. And why would Jackson be singled out for such criticism, as opposed to someone like Pat Robertson who was doing exactly the same type of thing that she criticized Jackson for? It's because people like her were deeply uncomfortable with the idea of power-sharing with groups who had different ideas about what it means to be an American and live in America. The two groups which are the most uncomfortable with this are those in their 70s who were born in the 1930s, and their children in their 40s and early 50s. Although neither Howard Dean nor George Will know two-hoots about sociology, this is the sociological demographic that Howard Dean was trying to refer to.

Posted by: armyofone | January 11, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I try hard to avoid blaming malice when plain old ignorance will adequately explain an incorrect action or statement. Here is an example:
==================
I think the biggest problem that many people have with this "movement" is that these people sat by quietly while previous presidents caused the national debt and budget deficit to explode
=============================

This is wrong on its face but it would be incorrect to call this a lie. After all the Democrats and liberals have worked hard to explain the election results of 06 to themselves.

That explanation says nothing about reality: that is that conservatives abandonned the old guard party faithful Republicans because they strayed from conservative principles.

Oh no, the explanation that the liberals and Democrats sold to themselves was that in 06 and then again in 08 Americans had a spasm of intelligence that allowed them to see the light of liberalism and be drawn to it in the voting booth. Sadly, the liberals and Democrats must conclude, this was only a spasm and the native stupidity of America's sheep returned with a vengeance, hence the shellacking in 10.

the simple fact is that the right was enraged by the behavior of congressional Republicans in recent years and refused to support them financially or with GOTV efforts. As a result the Republicans were fired in 08.

It is clear that Americans are in fact caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. If we express disgust with Republicans we simply permit a hoard of even more rapacious Democrats to sieze control of the treasury.

so nsu123 thanks for showing, once again, that man's capacity for self delusion is well nigh limitless.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 11, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I once asked, during the daily politics "chat", WaPo "journalist" Ruth Marcus why George Will was allowed to lie about global climate science in his columns.
Marcus said that Will could lie without repercussion because he had "latitude". Go figure.

Posted by: flounder2 | January 11, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

When are you going to condemn Rush Limbaugh's comments that the Democratic Party HOPES for political assassinations so they can PROFIT off of them?

When will THAT be the subject of your article, Mr. Will?

Posted by: Ethan2010
_________________________
When you condemn the Democrats who already have. Start with the "lawman" in Arizona, a Democrat that jumped to conculsions, in direct contridiction to his duties to enforce the law fairly. So much for investigations right Sheriff?>
Then we can jump over to the Daily Kos, where Markos whatever his name couldn't withstand himself when he blamed it on Palin "Mission Accomplished".

Then we'll look over this board at all the wackjob liberals like yourself that have been pounding on Palin and other Republicans for their role in the shooting.

But don't let the facts get in your way.

Posted by: Bailers | January 11, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I knew from the headline that this would be another instance of Greg's parsing nondistinctions. Classic leftist rhetorical tactics. "How dare you say I called you a racist! I only said you are prejudiced against minorities and hate them!"

Ethan, too, provides no end of amusement:

"Howard Dean is a medical doctor and a successful and popular Governor.

George Will writes an opinion column in which he is frequently wrong on the facts.

George Will... Bwwaaaahahahaha! What a joke."

George Will has a BA from Trinity College, a BA and MA from Oxford, and another MA and PhD in politics from Princeton. He's a Pulizter winning commentator whose been a national figure for decades, former editor of National Review, published in hundreds of newspapers, Newsweek and other major publications, and other of numerous books including Statecraft as Soulcraft.

Howard Dean is a former Gov of a small and out of the way state famous for shrieking about taking the White House before his campaign imploded under the weight of its own stupidity and pointlessness, and bragging about how much he "hate[s]" the "evil" Republicans. Oh, he led the failed Dem campaign of 2004, too.

Nice try, Ethan.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

[Scoffs] George Will was right in the first place. It all depends on which Dean comments you want to put in boldface.

Posted by: Ynot1 | January 11, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Dean is implying that he and his sympathizers have successfully overthrown white rule in American and we had better get used to it. He focuses on the over-55 crowd, and I daresay that most of those people were and still are pro-civil rights. So I do wonder how he got to the us versus them and shove it if you don't like it attitude.

Dean is the best of the race baiters. In fact he is the master. I suggest a new title for him: "Master Race Baiter".

Posted by: hipshot | January 11, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently, Will sees only what he wants to see. We have posters *on this board* who have done exactly what Will accuses the Left of doing."

all rightwingers sound pretty much alike, as they all parrot the same talking points.

'

Posted by: fiona5 | January 11, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent-- part of the requirement of a job writing a column for a great newspaper analyzing politics should be the ability to parse language for its true meaning, not just the literal words. What else could Howard Dean have meant by suggesting that people over 55 had a problem or were uncomfortable with Barack Obama as President, other than the notion that such people were, unconsciously or subconsciously (if not consciously) racist? I'm no Tea Psrty-er-- in fact, I voted for Obama, but George Will was right on point. Moreover, Dean's factual basis that the Tea Party is made up largely of over-55 folks also is wrong. There are a lot of younger Americans concerned about the mounting deficits, high taxes, government over-regulation, and the jobs moving off-shore, and about their ability in the future to do the very things their parents and grandparents did-- live the American dream. If all you can do is accept (or parrot) the literal word, your column is taking up space that should be given to a more analytical mind.

Posted by: agoldberg1 | January 11, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"The guilt that the right-wing feels about their metaphorical call to arms being taken literally is intense."

How does one feel guilty about one's metaphor being taken literally?

Especially when we all know it is "taken literally" only as a pretense.

Next.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If someone said "I'm not saying you're an idiot, but everything you think and say is idiotic," would it not be fair to say that he was calling you an idiot? This is Howard Dean's trick: to explicitly deny what he implicitly alleges, attempting to appear reasonable while giving full expression to sentiments which could not be defended if made explicitly.

Posted by: Mahon1 | January 11, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The Tucson Shooting's Most Important Questions
by: David Sirota

Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 09:00

Since the shooting in Tucson on Saturday, lots of important questions have been raised - questions that go to issues than transcend even the monumentally horrific shooting itself. In the interest of summation, here are the best questions I've seen on Twitter, Facebook, in the blogosphere, on radio and elsewhere.
- If after a calculated political assassination attempt we cannot talk about the downsides of a right-wing media that effectively endorses political violence, when can we talk about this subject? Or should we never talk about this problem?

- Aren't calculated political assassination attempts by definition "political?" If so, then how can anyone argue that anyone is trying to "politicize" the Tucson shooting?

- If Osama bin Laden prominently posted a graphic on the Internet with a target on a particular congresswoman, and then a Muslim shot that congresswoman, would the GOP and the conservative media call it terrorism and in part blame bin Laden? If the answer is yes, why isn't the same standard applied to Sarah Palin?

- Knowing that Rep. Giffords publicly worried about the "conseqeuences" of Palin's violent rhetoric, don't we owe it to her to now talk about those consequences in a sober and serious way?

- Since the shooting, has a single conservative movement leader denounced violence-glorifying political rhetoric?

- If cultural conservatives believe violent video games and comic books are dangerous because they can foment violence, why don't those same conservatives believe violent rhetoric broadcast on TV and radio won't do the same thing?

- Do conservatives really expect America to believe someone can't be both crazy/deranged and also motivated by a culture that says violence is an acceptable form of political expression?

- Even if there is no direct/literal connection between right-wing rhetoric that glorifies violence and the shooting in Tucson, wouldn't society be better off without such violence-glorifying rhetoric being so ubiquitous? What would be such a terrible tragedy if this horrific shooting resulted in less such rhetoric?

http://openleft.com/

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

George Will has always been a master of cutting and splicing any commentary to achieve "his" political point, with great intellectual flare. Facts have never mattered to Mr. Will, except as to how to manipulate them to construct his "conservative" point. George Will actually gives the conservative brand a bad name. People like Frum and Brooks are far more honest and grounded in reality. You may not agree with them, but you can, and I would argue, should respect them. Christopher Hitchens said it best, "often it is in the excuses and in the apologies that one finds the real offense". George Will is a cynic with superior vocabulary. He's a smart man with a dishonest heart. He is part of the problem America faces today with twisted and misleading political rhetoric inflamming discourse instead of helping to bring it to a higher ground. George Will is simply an intelligent Glenn Beck.

Posted by: rschaeffer1 | January 11, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

He didnt explicitly call them racist, he did so implicitly. Id say the difference between implicit and explicit can hardly be described as having "no basis in reality". Thats why sargent writes a blog and Will's nationally syndicated. And hopefully that is why sargent will soon be unemployed like many-a-WaPo liberal blogger.

Posted by: batigol85 | January 11, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

QB, yes, as I said and you don't deny, George Will writes an op-ed in which he is frequently wrong.

And as I said, and which you don't deny, Governor Howard Dean is a medical doctor and a successful and popular Governor.

Go ahead and continue to defend the ability to be wrong on the facts.

Go ahead and continue to attack those calling for civil rhetoric in this country.

These are the only things you're good at.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, those are really hard, wb. But I'll try.

1. False premise. (And I don't just mean the absurdity of calling a psychotic's mahem "calculated.")

2. See 1. Like this: Jared Loughner is a psychopath. No evidence links his crazed acts with Sarah Palin's map. In a sane world, we would detain people who postulate such for mental evaluation.

3. Because Palin is not bin Laden and has neither his agenda nor record of terrorism and terror cell organization.

4. Tautology/circular reasoning. You owed it to everyone not to falsely assert that A is a consequence of B.

5. Yes, as before. See, e.g., Glenn Beck. (You didn't know this?)

6. False premise, and false equivalency. (Palin map = Spec Ops? Really?)

7. Yes. Facts are facts.

8. False premise, misleading question. What would be terrible is engaging the accusations of the scurrilous left in any way that legitimizes them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

George Will is an example of what you get by educating stupid people.

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | January 11, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"Go ahead and continue to defend the ability to be wrong on the facts.

Go ahead and continue to attack those calling for civil rhetoric in this country."

Hilarious stuff, Ethan. You didn't know that about the "joke" George Will, did you?

Hahaha. Imagine that, Ethan again presuming himself into embarassment by the facts.

As for civil rhetoric, 'fraid you've got the wrong guy in Howard Dean. Whatever qualities he has, civility has never been remotely one of them.

Will accurately characterized Dean's smear. We know, it's such a routine smear from your side that it doesn't seem important to you.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"George Will is an example of what you get by educating stupid people."

That puts him at least one leg up on Howard Dean and 99% of liberals licking his spittle on this blog.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I read Dean's comments before I read the Will article. My reaction was that he called me a racist.

Posted by: hipshot | January 11, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The people who have slammed Governor Dean for speaking the truth are on the wrong side of history. With hindsight, historians will look back on America post-2008 and find it abundantly clear that a family of negroes moved into the White House and a large slice of America just went crazy. I think that calling it "trouble with diversity" is offering a very polite and careful observation.

Posted by: bouvier7 | January 11, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

the bigger problem with Will's article is that it is a complete non sequitur. The left's supposed desire to "explain" everyone's conduct with environment has nothing to do with whether lunatics are or are not motivated by rhetoric they take seriously.

you don't have to subscribe to the sociological explanation of all behavior to ponder, as Giffords did, whether invoking second amendment rights to take back the nation from anti-american tyrants in the spirit of Jefferson and putting crosshairs on the worst of the offenders is irresponsible

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 11, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"Aren't calculated political assassination attempts by definition "political?" If so, then how can anyone argue that anyone is trying to "politicize" the Tucson shooting?"

Just because a politician was shot, does not mean this was done for political purposes. She was targeted because he held a grudge because she couldn't answer his bizarre inquiry. It could have been anybody. We're trying to make sense of his motive because even evil is preferable to incomprehensible chaos. Evil we can fight back against and there's an order to it. We're trying to fit this guy into a narrative that makes sense to us. I don't think that's going to work. It's terrifying to think that we have no control -- much more comforting to force this guy into a box and define him on our terms. Gives us a false sense of control and order.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 11, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@QB: """Go ahead and continue to defend the ability to be wrong on the facts.

Go ahead and continue to attack those calling for civil rhetoric in this country."""

"Hilarious stuff, Ethan."

Yes. Watching you implode as you defend the worst elements in society IS hilarious.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

They will be gone in another 20 years. Glad I missed that demographic by one year, lol. My older bro is so tea party too!

Posted by: johng1 | January 11, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

George Will simply can't stand the fact that he is the epitome of everything he pretends he's pretending to fight against.

Just like the rest of the Republican party.

Posted by: dcp26851 | January 11, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I am a lot like Howard Dean. I have nothing against the Tea Party people. And I definitely don't think they are racist. They may not appreciate diversity but they are not racist. They may carry signs with racist slurs but that does not make them racist. The media generally may think of them of racist but that does not make them racist. I just want to be clear that I don't think Tea Party people are racist. They just are not as broad minded as we progressives and they don't appreciate diversity. But they are not racist.

Posted by: ppickardok | January 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense

"But he suggested that discomfort with the election of the first African-American president and an increasingly diverse electorate largely fueled the movement."

discomfort with....African-American...fueled the movement = charge of racism

Posted by: georgedixon1 | January 11, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Good for you Greg. It's not easy for a new guy like you to take on one of the "Old Bulls" at the WaPo like George Will who's way past his prime and living more on his reputation than the actual contributions he makes to the national discussion anymore.

And I say that not as a knee-jerk antangonist of Will's but as a life-long admirer who's read pretty much everything George Will has ever written over the past 30 years and still has a framed copy of the letter Will sent to me when I was just a young pup back on my college paper.

But more and more George Will has become just awful, abandoning his own principles and intellectual standards -- his reputation for nuance -- in favor of playing the predictable and reliable hack defender for right wing interests.

He's not even subtle about it anymore. Just one example: In a long keynote speech on "dependence on government," Will threw red meat to the conservative CPAC crowd with this simplistic, two-dimensional, cartoonish caricature of liberalism, which I cannot conceive even George Will, with his Ph d in political science, can possibly really believe: "Liberals today tend to stress equality, not equality of opportunity but equality of outcome and therefore they tend to regard the multiplication of entitlements and the entitlement mentality as enhancing the public good. Therefore, they are for spreading dependency. Dependency on government is not an unfortunate corollary of what they are advocating. It is their agenda and it is that where we must take our stand."

The whole point of liberalism is deliberately creating a dependent class of citizens who are permanently wedded to government services? Will can't possibly believe this rubbish is true. It's the sort of thing you say to serve a particular financial or poltiical interest, not to expand our understanding of politics generally.

And here is the proof. Not two pages later in his speech against dependency on government handouts, Will had this to say about a college loan program in which banks were paid $80 billion a year in fees by the federal government for taking no risk and managing money that belonged to the federal government in the first place. Democrats repealed this program and took the $80 billion that banks got for taking no risks and managing money that was not their own and gave it out to students who needed loans far more than banks needed another free handout courtesy of the federal government.

The bankers, being capitalists, predictably cried "fowl" at having their government benefit taken away.

And here is what the free market loving George Will had to say about it: "Very soon, the two most important decisions that an American family makes - to get a mortgage and to get a loan for college tuition will both be conducted with a government monopoly. The cradle to grave aspiration of the welfare state marches on."

As does George Will's hackery on behalf of America's most powerful financial interests.

Posted by: TedFrier | January 11, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

And supposedly George Will is one of the 'normal' GOP. ARE there any more 'normal people' in that 'partay'?

I say that *Quack Test for the Tea Party is pretty straight forward.

When you LOOK racist and ACT racist = you ARE.

Posted by: mommadona | January 11, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

It has been a feature of American history to fear the "other." The original English settlers feared the incoming Irish Catholics. The Irish Catholics feared the influx of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Even Abraham Lincoln argued that black men were not of the same "quality" as whites. I think that today we have become more aware that such outright xenophoic ideas are wrong, but that does not mean tey don't exist. Deep down I truly don't think those that are involved in the Tea Party movement are racist; yet I feel that they have an overall fear of "change." They feel that the government has changed against them and I think the "fear" of Obama isn't so much that he is part African-American, but that he has a "foreign" sounding name, that he lived in Indonesia, etc. I remember hearing an interview with a tea party organizer in Texas and when asked her view of Obama she said "I think he hates America." Really? She did not provide evidence, but said it was her "feeling."

Posted by: smith6 | January 11, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

1. It is a liberal wet dream that huge parts of America is overtly secretly racist.

2. When large parts of these racists voted for a black to be President, the liberals decided that it must be because the black President walks on water.

3. When liberals found out the black President doesn't walk on water, they go back to assuming that huge parts of America is racist, and that all their election problems are caused by a woman tweeting messages from Alaska.

Makes sense to me. And by that I mean ....

Posted by: Delongl | January 11, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"No Democrat has won the Presidency with a majority of the white vote since LBJ."

No Republican has won the Presidency
with a majority of the black vote - ever.

Posted by: LeePefley1 | January 11, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"Dean, ... was careful ... to add that he didn't view tea party activists as "racist." But he suggested that discomfort with the election of the first African-American president and an increasingly diverse electorate largely fueled the movement."

So Tea Partiers are not racists, but their racists ideas and discomfort have fueled their movement.

It's amazing that people actually have job security writing this kind of drivel.

Posted by: MDLaxer | January 11, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

This sad event has produced hundreds of thousands of comments ricocheting through the various media, to the media's great delight. Sharks sensing blood in the water are not more frenzied than pundits both amateur and professional after a tragedy. But this fact check rebuttal of Will's "wisdom" is very welcome.

Posted by: LHO39 | January 11, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@Delongl: "Makes sense to me. And by that I mean...."

...that you are delusional.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

George Will has a column today denouncing those who are hoping to use the Arizona shooting to spark some introspection about the tone of our discourse.

========================================

Greg is being deceitful here in the message of George Will's column. Will was writing about the intent of the actions of not only Howard Dean but of his Post colleague Dana Milbank as well.

Allow me to rewrite the first sentence more accurately:

"George Will has a column today denouncing those who are hoping to take advantage of the Arizona shooting to attack political figures they don't like while completely ignoring the tone of their own side in our discourse."

Posted by: bbface21 | January 11, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

the second someone steps outside of liberal orthodoxy, they're labeled a: bigot, saboteur, racist, murderer, fear monger, etc etc. America is fairly centrist, which means that most people will at some point be on the receiving end of a nasty Democratic insult. Attacking voters on a moral and ethical level so indiscriminately is a pretty horrible political strategy and the ramifications will be swift. As much as it pains me to see our political discourse disintegrate as much as it has, at least Dems will be out of the picture soon and for the foreseeable future. Milbanks column highlights this pretty well (although he doesn't speculate as to why the trends are what the are).

Posted by: batigol85 | January 11, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Sounds like a distinction without much of a difference, to me."

Me too. Imagine:

"Greg Sargent has difficulty writing the truth, he routinely and inevitably defends liberals and attacks conservatives even when their behavior is indistinguishable from each other, and his writing isn't frankly, very good. Now, I'm not calling him a lying, partisan hack or anything like that..."

Can you imagine anyone then proclaiming that "In other words, he explicitly didn't call Greg a lying, partisan hack. Rather, he was arguing that Greg didn't always express himself perfectly, and seemed uneasy defending those he disagrees with."

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 11, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@bbface21: "George Will has a column today denouncing those who are hoping to take advantage of the Arizona shooting to attack political figures they don't like"

Gee, that's funny.

Because Dean's comments were made BEFORE GIFFORDS WAS SHOT.

Idiot.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Do you understand english? If I say: I'm not saying you're stupid but there are signs you have trouble with logical thought. Guess what? I'm saying you are stupid.

This is leftwing 101: Anyone questioning the progressive religion must be attacked as an infidel of some sort (racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, islamophobe).

Posted by: leftwring | January 11, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Wingnuts have ZERO sense of self reflection. They just don't have it in them. Rather than to take a moment to think about the situation, they just lash out in every direction, and laughably try and cast themselves as the victims here.

They all sounds very very guilty don't they? Or else they wouldn't be so rabid in their defense of the violent rhetoric that comes from the right wing noise machine.

Of course the teabaggers wont admit to racism in their midst. It's so funny, they get more upset about accusations of racism, then the racism itself.

Teabaggers are nothing but old impotent white losers who crap their pants every day when the wind blows.

Posted by: BirchMan | January 11, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Dean certainly implies racism to me -- why else mention race - it is irrelevant.

Posted by: sarno | January 11, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

People who use words like "wingnuts" don't exactly exude probity and self reflection.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 11, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Read Will's article and pay attention!

He said progressives who think they can explain irrational behaviors with economics, sociology, politics, etc... are CHARLATANS.

Posted by: pgr88 | January 11, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

To "armyofone" -- right on the point!!

Posted by: fairness3 | January 11, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? Dean essentially says: "You are not racists, but your fundamental problem with America is that our black President keeps reminding you that things are not as you would prefer." Like a lot of politicians, Dean is trying to have his cake and eat it too. He generalizes by calling an entire political movement racist, but does attempting to blunt the political fallout. It gives him cover, that's all. This ridiculous commentary is unfair to Will.

Posted by: longbow1 | January 11, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

George Will is a self-important, egotistical, bore. The only people impressed with him and his right wing drivel are people who act and think just like him. It's sad that such an obviously articulate man cannot ever find it in himself to write something fair minded and important for all of us to learn from, instead he seems to be satisfied catering to people who think just like he does, which are wrong headed pseudo intellectuals that have fooled themselves into thinking that they know better than everyone else in the world in terms of how the world works. Honestly, other than his fairly accurate historical references that he is so fond of "sharing", everything else he says afterwards is just tortured and deluded crap.

Posted by: ruthella10 | January 11, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Greg is as dishonest as the rag paper in which he works for. Howard Dean has absolutely played the race card in the past. I recall his remark, "Republicans could not get this many black people in a room unless they invited the cleaning crew". For that, the left gave him a pass. The left always gives a pass to Liberals who make a so-called racist comments. Harry Reid got away with it. Biden got away with it. Clinton told Ted Kennedy that Obama would be getting them coffee two years ago and now he's running for President"? George Will has more intellect in his big toe then that of Greg. Just another in a long line of Liberal Hacks spewing their BS on the Washington Post. Cohen, Robinson, Dionne and now Greggy. Liberals Suck!

Posted by: Cobra2 | January 11, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't like George Will either.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 11, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

As you have half a brain, completely understand your feelings. Your just a typical Liberal Drone getting your news from the Washingtoncompost and moveon.stupid. You actually have to have a little education to understand George Will. That GED has not served you well...........LOL.

Posted by: Cobra2 | January 11, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

@Cobra2: clawrence12 = "Liberal Drone"

Soooo funny!

I love it when two knee-jerk idiot Republicans collide.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

On paper George Will often sounds intellectual. But when you see him and hear him speak on the Sunday news shows, it's pretty much pure pomposity.

Posted by: tzem | January 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing: we simply permit a hoard of even more rapacious Democrats to sieze control of the treasury.

Rapacious Democrats? Which party had the presidency in the 1980s? You remember, when the national debt tripled? Republican

Which party had the presidency from 2000-2008 when the national debt doubled again? Republican

Which party, since WWII, has the higher GDP growth when in office? Democratic

Which party when in control of the presidency, since WWII, has consistently lower GDP growth? Republican

Why? Because they're busy feeding their friends all the cash they can from the government trough.

Geez, you're dumb.

Posted by: tjmc2 | January 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I live in dc and have have ended up riding the metro with people coming from tea party protests on several occaisions. Many of them carried printed placards which read "Diversity is a Disease!" You can see how easily I might mistake this as a racist comment. I also so many carried hand made signs which referred to an "Arrogant Kenyan," which I took to mean President Obama. Again, I think you can cut me some slack if I accidently mistook this as being racist.

Posted by: mddg7771 | January 11, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

On paper George Will often sounds intellectual. But when you see him and hear him speak on the Sunday news shows, it's pretty much pure pomposity.
Posted by: tzem
--------------
Thank you tzem, I could not have said it any better. George Will is a pompous gas bag, masquerading as an intellectual. Here is a man who is as phony as a three dollar bill, or shall I say Will?

Posted by: samchannar | January 11, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Wills was joind by David Brooks at the New York Times...

David Brooks (New York Times) wrote: “the early coverage and commentary of the Tucson massacre suppressed this evidence (of mental illness). The coverage and commentary shifted to an entirely different explanation: Loughner unleashed his rampage because he was incited by the violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, the anti-immigrant movement and Sarah Palin. “

“Mainstream news organizations linked the attack to an offensive target map issued by Sarah Palin’s political action committee. The Huffington Post erupted, with former Senator Gary Hart flatly stating that the killings were the result of angry political rhetoric.

"Keith Olbermann demanded a Palin repudiation and the founder of the Daily Kos wrote on Twitter: “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” (ignoring his own earlier 2008 bullseye on a picture of the pro-gun Giffords) Others argued that the killing was fostered by a political climate of hate. “

“These accusations — that political actors contributed to the murder of 6 people, including a 9-year-old girl — are extremely grave.”

“They were made despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that Loughner was part of these movements or a consumer of their literature. They were made despite the fact that the link between political rhetoric and actual violence is extremely murky.”

“They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness. “

Posted by: pvilso24 | January 11, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

A liar is a liar is a liar.

Words have meaning. Mr. Will is smart enough to know the meaning. He abuses the truth regularly. And he has no excuse for his lies other than being another pseudo-conservative hack.

Posted by: kcbob | January 11, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

So you mean George Will is doing to Howard Dean the same thing that George is accusing Howard of? How poetic.

Posted by: LifeBeforePrinciple | January 11, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Dean said Tea Party followers are people having trouble with diversity. It doesn't take a genius to see "trouble with diversity" as Dean's code phrase for racism. Nevermind that the majority of Americans agree with the basic tenets of the Tea Parties; smaller government, reduced deficits, immigration control and less government spending.

Posted by: amazd | January 11, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Dean did NOT say Tea Partiers are racist. Nor did he imply it. Tea Partiers are VERY conservative. One of the basic definitions of conservatism is a resistance to change, or - at best - an embrace only of cautious and slow change. Obama's election was not only symbolic of racial and demographic changes in this country, but his policies also call for immediate and rapid changes to many of the fundamental policies conservatives embrace. No surprise here; Will jumped the shark in an attempt to score political points.

Posted by: Chaspari1 | January 11, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

What do we say about a president who advises his supporters to bring a gun to the fight?

Has this president publicly apologized for such inflammatory remarks that may very well have led to this latest outburst of violence?

It is time for the Left to end the hate mongering propaganda; to stop the lying and the propaganda and to begin to act like civil citizens instead of like some angry rabble.

Posted by: krankyman | January 11, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

1. It is a liberal wet dream that huge parts of America is overtly secretly racist.

2. When large parts of these racists voted for a black to be President, the liberals decided that it must be because the black President walks on water.

3. When liberals found out the black President doesn't walk on water, they go back to assuming that huge parts of America is racist, and that all their election problems are caused by a woman tweeting messages from Alaska.

Makes sense to me. And by that I mean ....

Posted by: Delongl | January 11, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, just wow! Do you really KNOW anyone who thinks this way? Do you really believe your point number 2? That people really think this?

Yup, I understand what everyone is saying, it's kind of uncomfortable, in fact, to be called a racist. Indeed.

But, I have a huge lack of understanding over why, people who I pretty much think of as intelligent almost literally lose their minds 6 minutes after President Obama is elected.

Really? - you're concerned about the deficit? You might want to check in with the last two Republican presidents, and check on the deficit when THEY began and left office.

Really? - you're concerned about President Obama being a "socialist"? It may just be me, but you might have wanted to pay more attention in government class. (Also, check into President Nixon's record while in office. If President Obama is a socialist, then Richard Nixon is Karl Marx)

Really? - Like Joe the Plumber, you're concerned that an increase in taxes will keep you from buying that fictitious plumbing concern? Did anyone bother to figure out just how much President Obama's raise in taxes would cost Joe? $2,500, yup, that's it. My thought is that Joe probably really didn't have a good head for business, if he couldn't figure out a way around that one.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | January 11, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Georgie Bow Tie is a known liar. Only a fool would take his columns seriously.

Posted by: ExConservative | January 11, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Sargent's hypocrisy is laughable. This partisan clown spends his entire troll-like existence bashing people who don't share his zeal for dorm-room Marxism.

The Post is a disgrace and hacks like Sargent are the reason why.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 11, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I left the Republican Party because of pompous liars like George F. Will

Posted by: ExConservative | January 11, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Great article, now, who is the charlatan?

Posted by: Chops2 | January 11, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Saying that the tea party is made of white people who don't like diversity is pretty clearly calling them racist. Sargent didn't do Dean any favors by highlighting his remarks."

I disagree that someone who is uncomfortable with diversity is a racist. There are many people who haven't met or been exposed to other cultures and when they are they may feel awkward or yes "uncomfortable" that is a normal human response from many people not just older white people. But if you then see those people as a threat to your way of life as you know it you may become defensive and hang on to those ways no matter what.

Posted by: bdhill11 | January 11, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to thank tjmc2 for demonstrating a complete and total ignorance.

The biggest problem faced by many doctrinaire liberals is that they hated Bush for so long and with such intensity they now can do little else.

tjmc2 completely, and I mean completely, missed my point. The fact is that we on the right KNOW that the Republicans overspent. THAT IS WHY WE FIRED THEM.

Smart Republicans like Cantor and Ryan know that the party was fired by the conservatives for its failure.

Now, back to tjmc2's hatred of Bush. this hatred has clearly robbed this person of all ability to grasp simple facts. Perhaps when this person went to school they didn't do "current events" like most other schools. Oh well, another failure of the public school system!

but I digress. By any measure currently in use the Democrats have outspent their nearest competitors by a wide margin.

This is just too easy. In '06 Obama was opposed to raising the debt ceiling to 8.6 trillion because he thought it represented a lack of leadership. Well guess what, it did. And guess what else, the Republicans were in charge.

Now fast forward to the current day. Austin Goolsbee wants to raise the debt ceiling past the current 14.3 trillion!! Wow, that didn't take long, now did it?

It is sad to see such ignorance on public display. It is even sadder to realize that is ignorance is coupled with bombast

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 11, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

iQuote: "...discomfort with the election of the first African-American president..."

If that is not casting racist aspersions, nothing is. You are a fool.

Posted by: BadNews | January 11, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Weak attempt, Greg. Geoerge just pwned you and all you can come up with is this childish rant? Your italics should have been around the word explicity, because Dean was using the old canard of stating that he was not explicity saying what he was certainly implying.

TO WIT: I'm not calling you stupid, Greg, but you are certainly an intellectual midget standing next to George Will.

It's also interesting that you cherry-picked one small item at the tail end of Will's column to dismiss the entirety of the column, which was much more than the idiosyncracies of one Howard Dean. In doing so, you missed the point for merely the chance to throw some more vitriolic gas onto the rhetorical fire that you're so desparately trying to pin on the right.

Posted by: braunt | January 11, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Who the f--- is Greg Sargent and why would anyone cares what he thinks?

Posted by: CubsFan | January 11, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The people who have slammed Governor Dean for speaking the truth are on the wrong side of history. With hindsight, historians will look back on America post-2008 and find it abundantly clear that a family of negroes moved into the White House and a large slice of America just went crazy. I think that calling it "trouble with diversity" is offering a very polite and careful observation.

Posted by: bouvier7 | January 11, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

This itself is a very racist statement. Obama would have never been elected by the black vote only. The problem that we have is that people like bouvier are closest racist but act like they are the purist of the pure. What BS.

Posted by: sales7 | January 11, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Even if we accept Sargent's version of what Dean said, that Dean was not talking racism but merely demographics, this still underscores how utterly wrong Dean is in his assertions. The Tea Party, according to Dean, is mostly made up of older people, but various surveys have shown, in fact, that the Tea Party is almost an exact mirror of the nation as a whole in terms of age, education, and employment. An April Gallup poll shows these results:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/127181/tea-partiers-fairly-mainstream-demographics.aspx

So what exactly was Dean talking about then? Actual demographics don't reflect what Dean claimed, so no matter how one slices it, Dean was wrong about something.

Posted by: blert | January 11, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Will put up so many phony "librul" strawmen arguments in that column, so he could shoot them down, that he should have his journalism degree rescinded (if he even has one). Talk about pure hackery. FAIL.

Posted by: B-rod | January 11, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone surprised that will, who does not even have the accuracy rate of a stopped clock, was lying? In decades of reading the Post I can only remember a handful of times when will wsa even close to accurate, and even fewer where the point he was trying to make made snese, or was even remotely tangentially related to reality.

Posted by: John1263 | January 11, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

George Will is a terrible columnist. I wipe with his opinion pieces.

Posted by: ExConservative | January 11, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

So Mr. Dean says that Tea Party isn't comfortable looking at a black president every day and also implies that they are uncomfortable with the growing Latino population (demographic change).

But that doesn't mean that they are racist? Then what does it mean?

Posted by: ptltd1 | January 11, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Will is a partisan hack. It's shocking that the WaPo can't do better.

Posted by: scientist1 | January 11, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at those two top conservative intellectuals, George Will and David Brooks. They are usually so far above the fray that they do not engage in such imbroglios but rather grace us with lofty thoughts from on high. But here, when the terror tactics of the right are exposed for all to see, they fly down from their perches and strain to twist the narrative.

Posted by: mmurray2 | January 11, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Geesh, Greg, that's a whole lot of dancing around the details. Sometimes, people say something by what they omit from their speech. It sounds, from the expanded context provided here, that Dean did everything BUT explicitly call tea partiers racist. And of course he did, because Will is right. The Left has been beating anything hinting of the Right with the racist club since 2008. Everybody who opposes the President is a racist. That's the standard Democratic talking point, echoed by Dean and thousands of others ad nauseum. The non-racist majority of tea party supporters must be getting pretty tired of such dishonest tripe. Stuff it, Greg. Try to get an internship sharpening Will's pencils.

Posted by: _BSH | January 11, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Dean's right. Yeaaaagh that.

Posted by: mattintx | January 11, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

It is a travesty that Conservatives or Republicans have to defend themselves from the rabid liberals who accused them of murder and then criticize them for their rebuttal. Conservatives are not accusing liberals of anything here other than being totally biased and political hypocrites. That is nowhere near as bad as calling somebody a murderer.

It is a fight that liberals started to gain politically and now that most Americans see them for what they are - bad losers in 2010, children crying for attention. They exaggerate and try to defend themselves by using illogical and unintelligent arguments. Will is one of the greatest journalists/thinkers we have today and while nobody is always right, he is far more intelligent and less biased than this idiot Sargent.

Hell, even the word "progressives" insinuates that everybody who is not a liberal is a backward looking, uneducated, old racist fool. That kind of thinking is why they lost Congress in 2010 and will lose the Senate and the Prsidency in 2012.

Posted by: chemiph | January 11, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't see George Will over in Afghanistan.

....

Guess he's a coward.

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 11, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It is a travesty that Conservatives or Republicans have to defend themselves from the rabid liberals who accused them of murder and then criticize them for their rebuttal. Conservatives are not accusing liberals of anything here other than being totally biased and political hypocrites. That is nowhere near as bad as calling somebody a murderer.

It is a fight that liberals started to gain politically and now that most Americans see them for what they are - bad losers in 2010, children crying for attention. They exaggerate and try to defend themselves by using illogical and unintelligent arguments. Will is one of the greatest journalists/thinkers we have today and while nobody is always right, he is far more intelligent and less biased than this idiot Sargent.

Hell, even the word "progressives" insinuates that everybody who is not a liberal is a backward looking, uneducated, old racist fool. That kind of thinking is why they lost Congress in 2010 and will lose the Senate and the Prsidency in 2012.

Posted by: chemiph | January 11, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Dean of course is absolutely right. Fear is the driving force behind the tea party hysteria. These are unhappy people looking for something to believe in, something to give their lives meaning. They appear very lost and sad.

Posted by: roadman671 | January 11, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Greg, why don't you do us a favor and provide us a moment of silence. Dean's conversation obviously was a covert, sly, and underhanded effort to define those he opposes as racist. The fact you can't see that demonstrates your obvious liberal bias and calls into question any journalistic integrity you might aver. Does the WP really pay you to write this garbage?

Posted by: JM80 | January 11, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Who is the Howard Dean fellow? Didn't he run for president or something? Can't quite remember....

Posted by: mateo_md | January 11, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Its the same thing with the gun control argument. If you make the point that the regulations must be too lax, if an obviously very ill schizophrenic can just casually buy a semi-automatic and ammunition, then the right immediately start screaming like school girls that you are trying to take everyone's guns away. Can we tolerate some subtlety in the argument, some complexity, or is the national IQ and attention span too short for that?

Posted by: underhill | January 11, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

"...was careful at The Christian Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters to add that he didn't view tea party activists as "racist." But he suggested that discomfort with the election of the first African-American president and an increasingly diverse electorate largely fueled the movement.'

This outrages me.
I refuse to believe that even you are this stupid.
So the only conclusion that can be drawn, is that you think the average reader is that stupid.


"In other words, Dean explicitly didn't call Tea Partyers racist. Rather, he was arguing that demographic change and economic uncertainty are among the factors creating the unease in Tea Party ranks. That's a blunt point, to be sure, but even those who strongly disagree with it would have to agree -- if they're being intellectually honest -- that Will's depiction of it has no basis in reality. I'd say Will's casual misrepresentation of Dean's words does far more to lower the "tone of public discourse" than anything Dean said."

I take it all back.
My God, you ARE that stupid.


Posted by: MrMeaner | January 11, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

George Will is so deluded that when he looks in the mirror he sees a healthy head of hair rather than an expensive toupee.

Posted by: HughBriss | January 11, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

George Will is a national known journalist and Gary Sargent is who? Try something other than being a back seat journalist and writer something original for once.

Posted by: DaveLopan | January 11, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, what did you expect, he's a Right-Winger... isn't he.

And, apparently he is no different than other Right-Wing Conservative Hacks out there, who are habitual liars, highly sensitive, highly emotional, highly delusional, highly ignorant, childish, and more importantly highly immature.


It's who and what he is. Did you really expect anything more?

Posted by: lcarter0311 | January 11, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent: Huh? An unbridgeable gulf.

Posted by: Whowathmam | January 11, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse


George F. Will: Pulitzer Prize-winner. MA from Oxford, PhD from Princeton University. Nationally syndicated columnist, 15 honorary degrees, author of more than a dozen books.

Greg Sargent: B-string blogger and minor WaPo hack.

Posted by: screwjob23 | January 11, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Saying Tea Partiers are uncomfortable with demographic change (i.e., uncomfortable with increasing number of blacks and hispanics) is just a weasely way for cowardly politicians like Dean to call Tea Partiers racists while attempting to maintain plausible deniability, which Sargent credulously swallows in an obvious attempt to score a cheap point against Will. Who does Dean think he's fooling (other than Sargent)?

Posted by: cjknew | January 11, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The market rates may have gone down, or remained the same. For the homeowner to get qualified for lower rates, there are certain prerequisites but I would recommend you search online for "123 Mortgage Refinance" before you decide because they can find the 3% refinance rates.

Posted by: betteparker123 | January 12, 2011 3:55 AM | Report abuse

The racism doesn't originate in the Tea Party. It originates right from the very top of the Republican Party and has for the past 5 decades.

Listen to the Nixon Tapes.
It's chock full of racism, hate and vitriol against blacks and Jews.

Reagan, starting his campaign for the Presidency in Philadelphia, MS.
"Welfare Queens".
Willie Horton.

But it's more than just a few egregious examples of flawed personalities at the top of Republican leadership. the racism and hate is deliberate and thought out, intended to motivate voters. The one consistent thing Republican political strategists have done is to pit one group against another; it's their only constant, it's their unspoken and unwritten National Political Platform, to inspire hate and hysteria.

Pretending that Republicans political strategy hasn't been to demonize ethnic, religious and gender groups in their bid to ramp up hate is the reason why people like this wackaloon go off the deep end. There's been no pushback from the media, from the near dead trade of journalism that is supposed to report truth: most of media are simply mouthpieces of a propaganda machine, a giant Wurlitzer.

No challenge, so it's allowed to fester and go on.

The hate genned up by people like Ailes, Buchanan and Rove has eaten away at the social fabric of this society. This is what they planned: this is what they want. They want to inspire violence.

The Republican National Party used to be ethical: a conservative party, with conservative ideals. Most Republicans rejected the Bircher hysteria of McCarthy and HUAC, so it's funny to see Will use that as an example.

But that thin veneer of respectability has worn off. Today's Republican strategists embrace hatred, it's their only core principle.

Republican political strategists like Roger Ailes, Pat Buchanan, Kevin Phillips, Lee Atwater and Karl Rove have deliberately gone after groups they can demonize: women, blacks, Latinos, gays, Native Americans, Asians, Muslims. Any group that could be used as a scapegoat to blame for Republicans being unable to lead the nation will do.

What happened in Arizona is collateral damage from decades of 'political' strategy of a Party that can't lead, and has no solutions. Ailes, Buchanan, Rove are good at painting targets on groups of people, and turning them into something beneath being human, though. It's easy to hate other human beings, when you are convinced that somehow they aren't fully human.

So congratulations to Republicans for adopting the tactics of the most heinous and vicious figures in world history. They've done a bang up job.

The Republican Party can't abandon 5 decades of this strategy of hate and divisiveness, they are simply stuck with it. They can't go back to being conservatives: Democrats have already taken that part of the political spectrum over, and they're not giving it back.

Republicans keep painting targets on the backs of people;
we wonder where the violence is coming from.

Posted by: shpilk | January 12, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

What do you expect from one of Jesse Helms' ex-aides/henchmen.

Posted by: thebuckguy | January 12, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I love all the name calling on the left. "George Will is a hack." "George Will doesn't know the facts." etc. Of course, the reason for the name calling is that they can't defend the substance of Mr. Sargent's article.

George Will is exactly right. Howard Dean suggested that the Tea Party was mostly racially motivated and is uncomfortable with looking at a black President . . . but he said they aren't "racists," so it's okay. It's not okay to suggest that the Tea Party is a bunch of racist, but then say that they aren't racists. That's what Howard Dean did, and it's Mr. Sargent who is being intellectually dishonest.

Let me try it. Liberals can't understand allusions, metaphors, and even the meaning of simple words and phrases . . . but I'm not saying their stupid. Come on! The Washington Post should just apologize for smearing and sliming conservatives for the Tucson murders and get over it. This article is just ducking the bigger issue.

Posted by: Jxbonehide | January 13, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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