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June 07, 2005

Another Welcome New Recruit to the Order of the Shrill

Joe Gandelman is a professional voice. His schtick on the internet is that of a professional moderate voice, someone who is reasonable, who avoids the excesses of partisanship, who takes a deep breath and realizes that there are two sides to every story and that we need to be... calm, reasonable, and thoughtful always.

He reads Peggy Noonan.

His brain explodes.

Now he is one of us! Embrace your destiny! Feel the power of Shrillness!

Welcome to the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill, Mr. Gandelman--those of us who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by the mendacity, stupidity, incompetence, recklessness, and idiocy of the Bush administration and its allies. Your personal copy of the Krugmanomicon (along with additional promotional material containing many valuable offers) is on its way. Do not read more than ten pages a day, under pain of falling even further into shrill unholy madness. Your rank is Palaeozoic Tentacled Swamp-Dweller, 2nd Class. When in your non-human form, remember not to devour any endangered amphibians. Pray vainly to the dead, uncaring stars at least once a month, preferably when the moon is in the second decant.

Clear the weekend of July 37 for the annual Miskatonic University summer conference, barbecue (don't ask), and wine-tasting. Driving directions to picturesque Arkham, Massachusetts will follow. A side-trip to Tanglewood for the concerts is recommended, but beware Shoggoths on the road near South Campus at moonrise. And remember: Yog-Sothoth is the Gatekeeper!

Joe Gandelman: Peggy Noonan's latest Wall Street Journal column reads as if it's a satire piece— but, no, folks it is 100 percent for real. It's truly hard to believe it is. Before we even discuss it we MUST say a few things:

  1. This is the last column of her's we'll read. We already subscribe to Mad Magazine and although her writing is a bit funnier, we get more variety in Mad. And we suspect if the column below was submitted as a satire, Mad would reject it for being too off-the-wall. The Onion? Her column isn't quite cutting edge enough.
  2. In all seriousness, her newest column echoes the bitter, angry, attack-mode words of former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein and overall near-hysteria on the part of far right conservatives, Watergate-era officials and talk show hosts who are using the revelation of key source Deep Throat as a chance to rebattle Nixon's impeachment, argue it was all liberal plot, a media plot and suggest that the REAL villains weren't the people in the administration abusing the American people's trust by misusing the government and lying (the word is ACCURATE here because the tapes proved it) but those who dared to bring Nixon down. These GOPers convieniently forget the Republican PATRIOTS such as Barry Goldwater who let Nixon know it was time to go.

...Here are a few excerpts for the latest attack on the 91-year-old former second in command at the FBI who we now know was Deep Throat:

Was Mr. Felt a hero? No one wants to be hard on an ailing 91-year-old man. We're SURE, Ms. Noonan was shedding tears as she began to start her part of the parade of GOPers seeking the equivilent of revenge on Felt for his role in the Watergate stories. MORE:

Mr. Felt no doubt operated in some perceived jeopardy and judged himself brave.

No, Ms. Noonan: MILLIONS of Americans even today consider him brave. That includes many in the Republican party who, to judging by our emails, are aghast at the spectacle of fellow GOPers going after Felt and defending Nixon's Watergate behavior. It's GOP hacks — those who put loyaly to their party and to one man before the country's sacred democracy — who are out there using every argument possible to go after Felt and try to polish up the buried corpse of Nixon...

He had every right to disapprove of and wish to stop what he saw as new moves to politicize the FBI. But a hero would have come forward, resigned his position, declared his reasons, and exposed himself to public scrutiny. He would have taken the blows and the kudos. (Knowing both Nixon and the media, there would have been plenty of both.) Heroes pay the price. Mr. Felt simply leaked information gained from his position in government to damage those who were doing what he didn't want done. Then he retired with a government pension. This does not appear to have been heroism, and he appears to have known it. Thus, perhaps, the great silence.

A hero who was President... wouldn't have put the country through the agony that Nixon put the US through — until patriotic Democrats and REPUBLICANS had to march into his office to his office to tell him there was no hope due to the "smoking gun" tapes that had just come out.... Doesn't she and Stein realize what they're saying? Republican Gerald Ford REPLACED Nixon. So she and Stein are suggesting Ford was incompetent. Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State under Ford. She she's suggesting Kissinger was an incompetent. The fallacy of this argument is so stupifying it defies description.... The GOP has many thoughtful people, who cooly make their party's arguments with logic. Noonan, Stein and Buchanan, in particular, now deserve a room on Mars with Dennis Kucinich and Alan Keyes. They are entertaining but truly not to be taken seriously as thinkers or analyists anymore. They have become self-parodies.

But HERE is where Noonan has made yours truly decide pass on reading anything she writes in the future (of course, she may threaten to stop reading The Moderate Voice, but we will press on with life somehow):

Were there heroes of Watergate? Surely many unknown ones, those who did their best to be constructive and not destructive, those who didn't think it was all about their beautiful careers. I'll give you a candidate for great man of the era: Chuck Colson. Colson functioned in the Nixon White House as a genuinely bad man, went to prison and emerged a genuinely good man. He told the truth about himself in "Born Again," a book not fully appreciated as the great Washington classic it is, and has devoted his life to helping prisoners and their families. He paid the price, told the truth, blamed no one but himself, and turned his shame into something helpful. Children aren't dead because of him. There are children who are alive because of him.

So COLSON is the hero [of Watergate]. Note that Colson went to prison FIRST and was born again, wrote a book, etc. Colson didn't do anything in the White House to come forward with what he knew. Nor did he do anything to halt the unfolding scandal. Nor did he march into Nixon's office and tell him the proper thing was to resign.... [Colson] is a Republican, worked for Nixon and isn't a liberal. He is on Noonan's "team" while Felt was working against her "team."

Do THINKING conservatives realize how badly this makes people in their camp look?.... Hero? Maybe Felt wasn't perfect. But, no, Peggy and Ben, don't blame Felt for genocide, since Ford and Kissinger WERE THE ONES running foreign policy when Nixon resigned.... No matter what charges you throw at this 91-year-old man, he proved more of a patriot in the Watergate era than the people who were abusing government power, lying to Congress and in front of television cameras and who eventually had to go to jail because they were CONVICTED of crimes — or who didn't go to jail because they were pardoned...

Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Gandelman R'lyeh Wagn'nagl Fhtagn!! Ganelman Fhtagn!! Gandelman Fhtagn!!

Posted by DeLong at June 7, 2005 10:13 PM