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GOP War on Warriors [Jul. 4th, 2012|12:23 am]
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The GOP has a long and disgraceful history of disrespecting veterans who aren't Republicans--disrespecting their service,  attacking their service records,  repeating lies about them.   I don't know when it started--but I do know that by the time I was finishing my own active duty,  the GOP was both lying about Democratic candidates who were veterans and lying about the relative number of Democrats and Republicans serving in 'Nam.  (There were more Democrats.  The Republicans--as Phil Gramm said, as Newt Gingrich said--decided they were too valuable to the country to risk.  So the Republicans with any pull--politicians' sons for instance--were largely found sheltered in those National Guard units whose governors weren't releasing them for service abroad--such as the Indiana Air National Guard, which was Dan Quayle's haven, and the Texas Air National Guard, which was George W. Bush's.   Dan Quayle actually admitted he joined the Indiana Air National Guard because he didn't want to go to 'Nam--and he gets half an honor point from me for honesty, though it ticked off his GOP masters. ) 

But back then, when these conservative white boys were flag-waving for other people to serve and doing their best to evade service themselves (while sneering at 'draft dodgers', hypocritical infants that they were)  the process of dissing Democrat veterans was gaining traction, and was soon in full swing.   I was there.  I saw it happen--both the draft-dodging of prominent conservatives, and the dissing of Democrats in and just out of the military.    I saw what their vicious attacks did to Lewis Puller, a combat vet and amputee from service in 'Nam.  I saw other Democratic candidates--military veterans--attacked with the same kind of sneering bile.  Those attacks continued, and still continue, up to the present day.  Republicans sneer at Presidents who have no military service record--but they attack Democrat politicians who do.  Kerry and Gore, among the better known, but many others as well.

Remember earlier in this campaign, that debate among Republican candidates, when a soldier asked candidates their position on gays in the military and said he was gay?  Republicans booed him.  Booed a combat vet.  Yeah, that's a lot of respect for the military, right there.   Newt Gingrich flat out told gay military personnel to vote Democrat, because he wasn't going to do a damn thing for them.   Once again, that's a lot of respect for military service, yes sirree bob. 
The Texas GOP's 2012 platform (which has many more faults than this, but this is pertinent here)  asserts that gays should not be in the military, that it's against tradition (dudes...gays have been in the military  in every war the U.S. has fought, and if you don't know that, you're just plain stupid.)  Republicans have sneered at women in the military, hinting (in some cases) and flatly saying (in others) that women just aren't good enough, women can't do the job, women have these issues, etc.

So now we have a Republican Congressman from Illinois, a fellow by the name of Joe Walsh (a deadbeat dad, too, just to put icing on this lily-white cupcake of a man), who is not a combat vet, or a vet of any kind...who apparently thought himself too good, too valuable, to risk his pretty pink backside in a uniform, right out there in public dissing the service of a 20+ year veteran combat vet, his opponent who's a double amputee from a combat injury (she was a  helicopter pilot whose chopper was hit by an RPG), saying she's not a "true hero" because--get this--she talks about how she lost her legs and that gives her some understanding of how important health care is for people.   This is Tammy Duckworth we're talking about.   LTC Duckworth,.  Who lost both legs in combat, an injury you can't hide by re-tailoring a jacket sleeve.   Who since 2004; when it happened, has been experiencing life without legs, and what that means to other people who may have lost their legs in other ways (or in combat) and what it's really like to need a whole boatload of medical care just so you can function.   And this is wrong why?   Oh, because Mr. Knows-All says it is, because he's met combat vets who don't talk about it.  (The notion that a combat vet has a right to talk about it, or not talk about it--that they've earned the right to make that choice--seems to have slid past him, because--like other GOP candidates and spokespersons--he can't resist attacking a Democrat on any--even ridiculous--grounds.)

And this...person...(I am doing my best not to use the language I learned in the Marine Corps, though I make no promises for the future)...tries to wrap himself in the service honors of John McCain (because McCain didn't, he says, talk about his service.   McCain, of course, had the entire publicity industry of the GOP talking about it for him.)    This person...feels completely qualified--and entitled--to say Duckworth is not a true hero because she doesn't shy away from talking about what it's like to be a double amputee female veteran. 

This person....needs a solid dose of reality.   Wrap this little...person... in a blanket and take him away, stuff him in a uniform, drop him (with a parachute; I'm not fussy) into Afghanistan and let's see what kind of hero he is.  (Come on--that's better than chopping off his legs with a dull hatchet, so he can experience double amputee life for himself and decide whether he'll ever talk about it.)   Ensure that he sees enough combat to squeal like a baby pig, because I'm sure he will, and if he's injured give him the treatment he would accord others.   And if he dies, no loss to the nation, not a person who runs out on family responsibilities and disrespects wounded warriors. 

Now there are Republicans who have chastised the person for what he said.   Veterans themselves.  Good for them.  But I wonder if they will now vote for Duckworth (since a number of them say they're "rock-ribbed" Republicans) or whether they'll yellow-dog-down on Walsh and vote for him because after all...you just can't vote for a Democrat.   I wonder if they'll take a long hard look at what their party has done, and is doing, to disrespect the service of Democrat candidates and Democrats in office....in the ways their party's lack of support for the military and wounded warriors--in the name of "fiscal conservatism"  in cutting funding, and in the name of "social conservatism" in special disrespect for women in the military (both straight and lesbian) and gay men in the military.   I wonder if they'll take a long hard look at the pattern of behavior the GOP has demonstrated for the last fifty years now, and try to steer their party back to the moderate positions that allowed respect for non-GOP Americans. 

I guess we'll find out on election day.   I guess we'll find out if the pressure on Walsh (who has refused to apologize) stays on, or if it all goes away by the end of the week and he's once more the darling of the far, far right.  One comment I saw said that his managers shouldn't have let him say that...a typical GOP notion that if you can hide the truth about something (remember the Abu Ghraib mess?  When the first reaction of  Bush's White House was not that something horrible had been done, but that people found out?) then it doesn't matter.   The concealing rug is supposed to be kept permanently raised on one side, so anything untoward can be quickly swept under it.

But once more there's this large pile of elephant poo, steaming and stinking,  inconveniently large to hide under any rug, let alone an elephant hide.   This is what the GOP is about--Joe Walsh isn't unique--he's just another one whose smooth gray elephant hide slid off enough to show the festering hatred of the bigoted hyena within.  

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[User Picture]From: controuble
2012-07-04 06:06 am (UTC)

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I admire your restraint in calling him a person. I live in that district and I don't think he's entitled to it.

Several months ago I tried emailing him about an issue I felt strongly about and all I got back was a Tea-Party platform form letter that didn't even touch on the issue I had brought up. His voting record is atrocious and he is proud of it. He sends out postcards bragging about it even.

Once Chicon is over and I have some free time I fully intend to volunteer to help get Tammy elected.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:15 pm (UTC)

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My Congresscritter (John Carter, R, TX) is the same way with written comments from constituents who disagree. Form letters basically patting you on the head and saying "There, there, little idiot, we know what we're doing."

I write him anyway, call his office anyway, but have pretty much quit reading what he sends me because it churns my stomach every single time.
[User Picture]From: iphinome
2012-07-04 08:16 am (UTC)

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If you'd like to add bonus jerk points, his 24 year old son is on the mother's healthcare plan. That's right, his opposition to the affordable care act would deny his son health insurance. So he doesn't limit himself only to avoiding child support payments.

Let's give it up for father of the year and soon to be ex-congressman Walsh.

Walsh is a tea party darling, the Illinois state house is controlled by democrats. When redistricting came up, he was targeted, he knows this. The newly drawn Il-8'th district went a little over 61% for president Obama in 2008. Add in that Tammy Duckworth is well known and popular in northern Illinois and Walsh has a habit of yelling at his constituents in town halls. He knows he's going down in flames no matter what, no incentive to act human.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:18 pm (UTC)

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I sure hope he goes down in flames. I wish all those "rock-ribbed Republican" vets who think he "overstepped" would realize it's time to vote for a different party. I've voted for candidates in both parties, over the years--my conscience is attached to issues, not party labels. When those coincide, then...they get my vote. The Republicans have lost my vote entirely for decades now, but that's their own doing.
From: rdmaughan
2012-07-04 11:12 am (UTC)

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Overhere I would expect any of the main stream parties to suspend his membership until he had apologised.
From: (Anonymous)
2012-07-04 11:32 am (UTC)

Joe walsh et al

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Lady, you should be running for Congress! I say Congress because President right off the bat might be too much. Not that I wouldn't deeply miss your most wonderful of books, but the awareness you display of how the world works is phenomenal. And you don't mince words

Talk about "speaking truth to power" you've got it down to a science. The phrase "Elephant Poo" will stay with me for a long time,

Of course running in Texas might be a problem.

Thanks for clearing out the cobwebs!
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:19 pm (UTC)

Re: Joe walsh et al

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Thanks, but I am not suited for being in office. Moderate face-blindness is a problem for anyone who needs to recognize a lot of people on sight. I confuse friends with strangers and strangers with friends. Otherwise...(evil grin...)
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2012-07-04 11:42 am (UTC)

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We have our own share of dirty political fighting and social injustices here in Canada but I have to admit I'm glad I'm not living in America. At least no one (that I've heard of yet) bashes veterans because of their political leanings.

We do still have our idiots who bash based on gender, sexual identity, race, religion, culture, etc. Can't seem to get away from that.

Although, as much as I like the analogy, I think you're doing hyenas a disservice. They are at least honest to their natures. :)

I think the hardest thing for me to understand is why so many people refuse to change which party they vote for. If the party you were a member of/believed in/followed stops being the party with the policies you want in place, why not vote for the other one?
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:21 pm (UTC)

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Yes. This last. And combined with the purity doctrines of extreme political positions, it's a serious problem for any representative government. Not limited to any one party, religion, or group, either. Purity/loyalty tests are bad cess.
[User Picture]From: meirwen
2012-07-04 12:14 pm (UTC)

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Wow.

I thought I'd seen the lowest a politician can go, but this exceeded my expectations by orders of magnitude. I like the simple elegance of your proposal--if only it was possible.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:23 pm (UTC)

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I started to say, initially, if ever anyone deserved rendition and waterboarding, it's this guy...but I disapprove 100% of rendition and torture. No one "deserves" it. But losing an election and being hollered at? Yeah, he deserves that.
From: paulliver
2012-07-04 12:54 pm (UTC)

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The Bushes also did this to McCain about a decade ago during the primaries, claiming that his adopted child was actually his biological child from an affair.
[User Picture]From: sunfell
2012-07-04 02:13 pm (UTC)

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This needs to be spread far and wide, Elizabeth. Seriously. I'm a veteran (non-combat), and this really pisses me off, too. Fucking hypocrites. They'd shit themselves if they were in a firefight.

Oh, and you forgot the thing I heard when I was still serving, the words that still echo in my nightmares, the thing I kept silent about for 20 years, but no more:

"You're a woman. What did you THINK would happen to you? You deserved it... Shut up."
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:24 pm (UTC)

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Yes, and the GOP is still saying that--though at the moment it's slipped my mind which of their Grand Old Politicians said it (I was up until 4 am watching the CERN videocast of the Higgs announcement.)
"you deserve it" - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2012-07-04 02:49 pm (UTC)

Well said!!!

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Well said Ms Moon!!! What happened to all the moderates in America? Oh yeah they have been proclaimed as liberals by the leaders of the wacky farm. Those moderates who are Republican need to stand for office and help turn their party around. Republican arty leaders that are not of this sick lying ilk need to stand up and cut this cancer from their party before it causes more damage to America. How sad that a party that had the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower has fallen to this level.

I am a left leaning moderate who is proud to

Say the Pledge of Allegiance, knows the proper handling and display of the flag, and votes for the best candidate for office (I have voted for people in both parties, though lately the only ones who are worth their salt seem to be Democratic).

Thank a veteran for their service (especially the VN Vets)

And celebrate our country's birthday. It is not perfect by a long shot, but it still deserves our love and attention.

Time for us to stand up and fight for our country by voting, encouraging others to vote, work to get those who may not feel they have a voice to register and to realize they have that voice by voting.

Happy Birthday American and thank you and your husband for your military service to this country.

Ed Bunyan
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-04 05:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Well said!!!

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Thanks, Ed. And thanks for identifying yourself, too. I know LJ makes some people post as Anonymous, but it's sure nice to see people not hiding behind that.
[User Picture]From: tryst_inn
2012-07-04 06:36 pm (UTC)

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Navy wife here, hubby has 19+ years active duty service to date, going for 20.

What I want to know is why haven't the VFW and American Legion come out like damn gangbusters against this guy? And the answer is - because they back the GOP platform!
[User Picture]From: seticat
2012-07-06 04:50 am (UTC)

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Sadly, your right. It feels like they're hedging their bets against the possibility of pissing these idiots off and losing even more vet benefits.
From: (Anonymous)
2012-07-04 07:54 pm (UTC)

Your blog

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Not really Anonymous, but it won't connect via Facebook.

First time reading you, will be back.

Needs a GI bath, but I expect Marines have a better version.

Warner
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-06 05:06 am (UTC)

Re: Your blog

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Not necessarily better, but as efficient, I would say.
[User Picture]From: James Wright
2012-07-04 07:57 pm (UTC)

Well said.

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Well said, Elizabeth.

I had intended to write something very similar myself today, instead I'll point my readers at your post here, if you don't mind.

Semper Fi, Marine, Semper Fi

Jim Wright, CWO, USN(ret)
www.Stonekettle.com
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-06 05:06 am (UTC)

Re: Well said.

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Thanks--send 'em here.
[User Picture]From: kk1raven
2012-07-04 09:36 pm (UTC)

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Gosh, and here I thought my Congressman was bad. As much as I disagree with him I've never heard him spouting stuff like that. The idea that veterans shouldn't talk about what they experienced and that it is somehow noble to not want to talk about combat injuries and is very wrong-headed. Then again, the Republican Party does seem to think they can change reality by pretending things don't exist/didn't happen. I really wish that old-fashioned Republicans would stand up and take their party back.

I think we need a viable third party so that there are more options beyond the extremes on either side. I think people who are moderate often just keep voting for the party they've always favored even though they no longer agree with that party's candidates because they don't agree with the other party on some major issues either.
[User Picture]From: see_tree_me
2012-07-05 12:04 am (UTC)

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Why oh why aren't you writing this as an op/ed? This needs to be published widely.
[User Picture]From: Elaine Dowling
2012-07-05 02:17 am (UTC)

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Tsk, tsk, Elizabeth. I'm sure this good Republican patriot wears an American flag lapel pin on his suit coat, and if wearing the flag as jewelry isn't patriotic enough for you. . . well, what else is there to say?

BTW, I just got reamed by a Republican for not flying a flag on my house -- and everyone knows that is the ultimate litmus test for patriotism. Silly me, I thought that donating 20+ hours of otherwise billable time a year to represent pro bono deploying and returning veterans and their families might count for more than a cheap flag. Evidently, I also didn't understand proper American values.

Elaine
Norman, Oklahoma
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-05 02:25 am (UTC)

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The Republican who reams me out for something like that is going to be gaining another exit from his gastrointestinal tract. "If you were such a patriot, you'd understand the concept of FREEDOM. It's only in DICTATORSHIPS that people HAVE to fly a flag."

I hope you gave him as good as you got. Of course, when confronted it's often hard to think of anything coherent to say.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: entp2007
2012-07-05 07:47 pm (UTC)

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Duckworth isn't the only amputee veteran Republicans have attacked. I remember when supporters of Saxby Chambliss went after Max Cleland. They must attack Democrat veterans because it doesn't fit in with their narrative. They reject the idea that people from all walks of life can serve in the military. Republicans have no qualms about playing up their veteran candidates. Allen West and Jesse Kelley come to mind. When I criticize them I don't criticize their service. I point out why they are not fit for public office (one reason being they don't appear to be particularly bright). Some people may be very competent in one line of work but terrible in another.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-06 05:09 am (UTC)

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True: no particular occupation or experience means a person is competent to be elected to Congress. You're right that someone can be brilliant at one thing and lousy at another.

I didn't know about Chamnliss going after Cleland...grrrr.
[User Picture]From: zhai
2012-07-06 12:35 am (UTC)

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Thank you for writing this. I saw Walsh on CNN today by accident and was more furious than I've been at anything in politics in a long time. He was abusive toward the interviewer, too (called her "kiddo"! Unbelievable!), and had a level of hate for Duckworth that reeked of misogyny. How dare this woman call herself a military hero! How dare she run for public office! How dare she talk about how her legs were blown off in combat! The clear subtext was that she should be "back in the kitchen", and he was so busy dancing around NOT saying what he really thought that he plowed right into all of these other problems. I was shaking with anger just watching him. And now will be paying much more attention to Duckworth's career, so I guess that's something of a silver lining. And I do hope that his example shows the true colors of the Tea Party to change a few minds.

I worry that the Democrats have themselves given too much ground in allowing the GOP to make military service, patriotism, family values "their thing", and that opposing the GOP has quietly ostracized religious and military family Democrats. The GOP needs to be called on its hypocrisy, but I think the dems can step up on reclaiming these things, too, in more than the usual platitudes thanking the troops.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-06 05:15 am (UTC)

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It's up to those of us who are military vets and Democrats to speak up, loudly and firmly and take back our own heritage. I used to be more reticent, having been brought up that you don't brag about yourself at all. But that just lets the ones who do seem like they're all there is. So I'm more vocal about it now. Not bragging about what I did, which was REMF stuff (necessary and useful, but nothing spectacular) but just saying yes, I'm a vet: a female vet. A Democrat female vet. And where were you, exactly, Mr. Bigmouth? I'll take 'em on family values, too, starting with "Hate is not a family value."


[User Picture]From: Barbara Buchanan
2012-07-06 01:21 am (UTC)

Thanks for this

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I have sent this to my cousins who live in Illinois - don't know if they're in Walsh's district. I'm sure they voted against him last time and will again. My cousin was in the Air Force for 6+ years, though was blessedly uninjured in the time between active conflicts.

Thank you for your post today and other days. I always enjoy reading them for their clarity of thinking, for sane and reasonable comments. Walsh has no good points in his favor, so just apparently figures he should 'dazzle 'em with bullshit', just like far too many of the GOP present and past.
[User Picture]From: paksenarrion2
2012-07-06 04:41 am (UTC)

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Well said.

I'd like permission to link this on my Face Book. This person is lower than a piece of pond scum. Wait, that is insulting to pond scum.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-06 05:15 am (UTC)

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Please do link to it. Thanks.
[User Picture]From: seticat
2012-07-06 04:48 am (UTC)

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I guarantee that I wouldn't have word one to say about my military time to the Walshs of the world. Other then to say that they better see if the military would even take them.

Don't tell me how my boots should fit or why I wore them if you've never bothered to get a pair yourself.

A vet doesn't always share what's happened to them. With me I need to get to know something about the person I'm talking to first. And as a women vet, I tend to share even less because where I'm living right now the general attitude still seems to be 'the only reason a women joins the military is to find a husband to take care of her.'

A guy who raises his had and goes 'off to war' is someone. A woman is an 'also ran' who couldn't do better on the outside world.

I really, *really* hate Redneckia.


[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-06 05:29 am (UTC)

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I spent years saying nothing much because I was getting slammed by both sides in the aftermath of 'Nam. Pretty much said to heck with 'em all and just went and got another degree, went to grad school, did what I thought needed to be done.

You're right, it's damned unfair that military service has weight when it's a man's service--if he's of the right political persuasion, at least--and a woman's has less, none in some people's estimation. And nobody has a right to say a vet must talk about it, or must not talk about it. What you want to say is what you want to say and that's that. I have come to a point where I say what I want to say. And don't say what I don't want to say. My life, my decisions, that's the rock people can bash on if they want to.
[User Picture]From: pecunium
2012-07-07 05:20 am (UTC)

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I talk about my service. Not to toot my horn, but because it's relevant to who I am. I spend a lot of time talking about it because it's relevant to causes I care deeply about (civil rights, and torture... they, sadly overlap in ways I didn't think they would ten years ago).

The Joe Walsh's of the world, can kill my ass. I'll even shave a patch of it. Because they don't to me and mine when we can talk about it, or not.

They have the right to think what they like of us, but we have the right (we fucking earned it; in a way that most speaking rights aren't earned), to speak about it, or not. To be quiet in the back of the room, or shout it from the rooftops.

I'm not all that coherent on the subject, because to make the points seem reasonable ends up sounding trite. I don't want to be reasonable, I want to toss it in his face, I want to rub his nose in it like a puppy who's just shat in the middle of carpet.

Maybe I will. I've got a blog.
From: (Anonymous)
2012-07-07 04:01 pm (UTC)

Joe Walsh

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Great article! One thing you left out was what that ineffable puke Saxby Chambliss did to Max Cleland in Georgia.
John Murphy scobey, Montana

[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-07 06:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Joe Walsh

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I didn't know about it before I wrote this. But yeah.
From: Scott Ellsworth
2012-07-09 01:34 am (UTC)

+1000

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I started life rather conservative, but have since become really quite liberal, partially because of people like Walsh. I refuse to be counted as the same kind of person as that.

I am greatly offended by nut jobs who wrap themselves in the flag, while simultaneously disrespecting the people who defend it. Soldiers are neither paragons of virtue nor villains by nature, but having served, having put yourself at risk for the people at home deserves respect, regardless of your other actions and opinions.

I am also getting more and more tired of the "only conservatives value freedom or are patriots". The Lee Greenwood song has started setting my teeth on edge, thanks to the Tea Party people who have taken it as an article of faith that they are the only true patriots.

Sigh.

Scott
[User Picture]From: Christopher Bonham
2012-07-16 11:45 pm (UTC)

Re: +1000

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I've never had the misfortune of being conservative, Scott. I'm in lockstep with you in agreeing on every point you make, and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has their teeth set on edge by Lee Greenwood's song being taken by Tea Party "people" as meaning that they are the only true patriots in existence.
[User Picture]From: redaxe
2012-07-09 05:28 pm (UTC)

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Here via Stonekettle Station to thank you for writing this and join the crowd wishing they could vote against Mr. Walsh.
From: (Anonymous)
2012-07-10 03:01 am (UTC)

Thank you.

(Link)

Thank you for the fine article. May I humbly suggest one correction? The proper name of the majority party in America is the Democratic Party. Only right-wingers call it the "Democrat" party because they don't like the idea that the name of our party sounds better than theirs.

Well done. Thanx again.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-07-10 03:26 am (UTC)

Re: Thank you.

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You have a point there...bad habit of using the noun form instead of the full adjectival title for the party itself.
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