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March 03, 2005

Comments

But, he makes C-SPAN incredibly funny.

Brendan,

Just so I understand your rules...

If I oppose the "nuclear option" on the very reasonable grounds that it gives the majority largely unbridled power, and if I want to explain my position by means of historical comparison, how am I allowed to do that under your rules?

In other words...

You apparently believe Senator Byrd's choice of historical parallel was extreme. Fine. Please provide us with an alternative historical allusion that he should have used which would have aptly illustrated his point, yet would not have been offensive.

Or - by your rules - are all historical comparisons now out of bounds?

Just wondering. Not trying to pick a fight.


Brendan,
I am a Democrat and have become a huge fan of Senator Byrd as one of the most courageous voices of opposition to the Bush Administration's foreign policies. He is also the most vigorous defender of the rights of the legislative branch.

I respectfully disagree with you about his comments and about whether he should "go" or not. I have read the entire text of the Senator's remarks and they provide a valuable history as to the role of filibusters in the Senate's procedural history. The Senator cites the method by which Hitler validated his rise to power to point again to history and try to learn a lesson from it--a method of reasoning that has been the hallmark of Senator Byrd's work in the Senate. http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_speeches/byrd_speeches_2005_march/byrd_speeches_03012005.html

Those who have jumped on his comments are doing so for their own partisan reasons, and we are seeing done to his comments what have been done to others when they oppose the Majority. First you lift one or two words or a phrase out of context. Then you point to that as proof that their patriotism and/or their sensitivity and/or their judgment are doubtful. Then the same figures who engage in this distortion campaign go on to bemoan the collapse of civility in our discourse.

Perhaps with far different intentions, you seem to be joining that chorus. I hope you will reconsider.

It defies my understanding how we can be committed to not repeating the mistakes of the past if the lessons of the past cannot be mentioned in polite company--for that matter, how can we agree on the lessons if we can't even discuss them?

From the Congressional Record... because it is perfectly acceptable to equate an argument with Naziism as long as the argument is uttered by a Republican.

"Now, forgive me, but that is right out of Nazi Germany. I don't understand...why all of a sudden we are passing laws that sound as if they are right out of Nazi Germany."
-Sen. Gramm, R-TX, September 5, 2002 (speaking in opposition to a Democratic tax plan)

"That, Mr. Speaker, is a modern-day equivalent of the Nazi prison guard saying 'I was just following orders.' It was all legal in Nazi Germany at the time."
-Rep. King, R-IA, September 8, 2004 (speaking in opposition to a legal ruling on abortion)

"We certainly have all seen the rejections of Nazi Germany's abuses of science. As a society and a nation, there ought to be some limit on what we can allow or should allow."
-Sen. Sessions R-AL, October 11, 2004 (speaking in opposition to stem cell research)

"He also said that imposition of the Kyoto Protocol 'would deal a powerful blow on the whole humanity similar to the one humanity experienced when Nazism and communism flourished.' And that was the chief economic advisor to Russian President Putin. The world has certainly turned on its head that we Americans must look to Russians for speaking out strongly against irrational authoritarian ideologies."
-Sen. Inhofe, R-OK, October 11, 2004 (speaking in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol)


I can't help but admire the blatant hypocrisy.


Thanks to Wonkette for these examples.

Why would all historical comparisons be out of bounds? That's taking what I said to extremes. I'm not trying to establish "rules" -- these things have to dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If someone was discussing an unstable regime on the verge of tipping into authoritarianism, Hitler's takeover might be an appropriate analogy. It's not here.

As for Paul's comment, see my new post.

Brendan,
I enthusiastically agree with you that all historical comparisons should not be out of bounds. But we disagree on whether Byrd's was, or was not. Perhaps if you provided an example of an acceptable historical comparison to convey Byrd's argument, I would be better able to discern between acceptable ones and those that are offensive. Could you please do that?

This feigned outraged masking political agenda is puerile, regadless of who is spearheading it. If words bother you so much, you really ought to find yourself a sound proof room to live in.

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