Preparing for the Inevitable

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I think it's really kind of bad form for commentators on any topic to announce that they predicted something when they can't point to a prediction in writing. So I won't make a point of having thought, when I first heard of Rep. Murtha's "conversion" to the anti-Iraq-War position[1], and then Senator Kerry's speech in which he said he "will not stand for the 'swift-boating'" of Murtha, I thought to myself, "This was pre-planned. They're reacting to the Republican attacks before any attacks have happened. I should write something about that now."

But, even though I predicted it, and I swear, my hand on the Enchiridion, that I was going to write about it, I didn't. So I can't take credit, and it would be untoward to make a point of it.

But I predicted it.

In any case, though, Howard Fineman writes in Newsweek:
In a long chat with an Irish colleague, he talked about his congressional hero and mentor, another blue-collar Irishman, Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill. No liberal on defense, in 1967 O'Neill had stunned President Lyndon B. Johnson by telling him that the Vietnam War had become a lost cause. Now, Murtha mused, it was his turn to confront a president with harsh truths.

Which was precisely what the Democratic leadership wanted Murtha to do. A close ally, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, was anxious to open a second axis of attack on Iraq—and was aware of his growing antagonism toward the war. The two met and agreed that he would make his case in private to the party conference. After that, on his own, he would introduce a resolution calling for withdrawal of troops from Iraq "at the earliest practicable date." Pelosi and the other liberals would keep their distance, while their own Marine charged up the Hill. Framed by long rows of American flags at a press conference, he denounced the Iraq war as a "flawed policy wrapped in an illusion."

Murtha had known he would set off an explosion. He did. His arrival on the House floor was greeted with cheers from fellow Democrats, by dagger glances from Republicans.
(All emphasis mine.)

"After that, on his own"? After planning meetings with Pelosi, with the pre-planned response being that "liberals would keep their distance", and a pre-established cheering section (do you think the Democrats cheer every time Rep. Murtha comes on the floor?)

(Oh, and Fineman also includes this bit of psychic reportage: "An Ohio backbencher named Jean Schmidt, eager to demonstrate coldbloodedness,...." Wow. How do you suppose Fineman found out about that? Did someone leak him a memo from Schmidt to Hastert saying "Dear Denny, I'm eager to demonstrate coldbloodedness. Yr friend, Jean"? But I digress.)

In any case, it's clear that, far from being a moving moment of conviction (which we really knew anyway, since Murtha had been on record as saying the "war is unwinnable" in May of 2004), it turns out to have been part of a planned media play.

Which, even though I predicted it, I didn't post about. So I can't take credit for it.

But I knew it.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

"psychic reportage" Now there's a great phrase. And it's so easy for the mind to slip right past it and have it wedge itself into the subconscious, with no rational thought filtering it out. How a meme gets created and inserted. Good find.

terrye said...

Oh yeah, all this was planned.

Bush lied, Iraq is hopeless so let's run away etc. And of course let's get the Marine to do the dirty work. Ever notice how the use the military when it works for them?

This is why I got so pissed when conservatives turned on Bush because of Miers and immigration. I thought then these clowns are just waiting for those approval ratings to go down, don't make their job any easier.

But of course the conservatives did just that.

I guess that was kind of psychic too.

I think the whole Murtha thing kinda blew up in their faces.

Americans are tired of the war and the partisan bickering and the back stabbing, but they are not ready to see Zarqawi and Saddam running Iraq just so Pelosi can preen. Not yet anyway.

conservative democrat said...

I find the outrage puzzling. The Dems actually staged an event. Republicans, of course, never do that--oops, forgot about the President's 'town hall meetings"
in the 04 campaign for which audiences were preselected; or
flights to aircraft carriers to
declare, "mission accomplished;"
or--well, I suspect you get my drift.

Seneca the Younger said...

CD, I think the outrage is in two parts: first that the whole thing was staged, not as a pre-arranged event, but as a "spontaneous expression", and of a "liberal hawk" at that; second, the degree of mendacious co-operation in it.

On the first, i'd note that first of all, Bush is President and has a responsibility to do that kind of thing in wartime; second, that the whole thing was announced days in advance, including his plan to fly on; and third, just because I get so tired of this trope, i'll note that the "Mission Accomplished" was for the ship's crew, which was returning, its mission accomplished. In opposition to this, you've got an event that was staged, wasn't publicized ahead of time, and was misstated as a turnaround when in fact Murtha had been demanding withdrawal for 18 months.

On the second, compare the press coverage of the "plastic turkey" --- which was real --- and the press coverage of the Murtha "conversion" --- which was fake.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the thoughtful response. I see far too little of that in contemporary political discourse.

I still don't understand the outrage. In the first place, it is not established fact that the sign was hanged by the crew. If that were the case, which mission
was accomplished?--sailing 25 miles out to sea from San Diego to
the cameras would not pick up the
skyline and it would appear that the President (in a flight suit for God sakes) had joined the troops at sea? It's POLITICS and it's a shame we have gotten to this point, but to suggest that it is a uniquely democratic phenomenon is myopic at best.

Compare the wording of the Republican resolution on withdrawal with the proposal Murtha
laid out. Is it honest to say, as the Republicans have, that the ensuing vote consituted a rejection of Murtha's position?

Believe it or not, I have some credentials in this. I voted for President Bush in 2000 and, because I am conservative, I held my nose and voted for Kerry last year. Why--because I learned that the pattern of deceit and manipulation I see embedded in almost everything this administration does began in 2000.
Compassionate conservative my ass.

Buddy Larsen said...

And a Bush2000 voting Kerry2004 voting conservative MY ass.

The USS Lincoln was coming off a double tour--the war, y'know.

The crew had been TWICE as long deployed as planned, and the Pres of the USA--responsible among other things to keep the nation bucked up in wartime (this is the "morale" factor, one of the known-by-every-10-yr-old factors of human nature that for obvious reasons you people never will be able to acknowledge), flew out to the carrier during its approach to the mainland.

OF COURSE the scene was 'staged'! What could be more obvious? Don't you realize that CAMERAS capture those events, they don't just appear in your head?

ALL presidential appearances are staged--and, thinking about it, I'm sure you pretend that ALL of them are attempts to 'fool' you.

In a way they are--just as your smile at work when your head hurts is an attempt to fool your co-workers. Jeez. Wot a crayola world you must inhabit.

If you think the Lincoln landing was to fool you into thinking Bush was coming in from a combat mission--as you imply--then you are not only a paranoid but an utter dumbass.

The only--ONLY--dishonesty involved is you people hopping aboard an absurd DNC-prop bandwagon, as if you all came upon it on your own, and thus are suffering personal outrage over the whole thing. What a load o' crap.

You're just another partisan, pretending to be otherwise--a ploy you people use often, for some reason. Can't see any difference between bin Laden and Bush, can't see how obvious your limp dirty trix are.

Thank God you keep losing elections.

Buddy Larsen said...

Sorry, ambis--I know--I read your post--we all need to dial down the heat. But this "I'm a conservative who has seen thru the lies" bit is just too creepy-crawly. If he can't weigh Bush's ounce of mendacity (AKA 'presentation") against the whole national Dem leadership's forty destructive, dangerous tons a day of it, then, the accuser-of-lying is a prime liar.

Anonymous said...

Dear Buddy,

Thank you for your not so thoughtful response. I'm amazed
that you (as well as the crazies on the left) can't argue without
impugning the character/ motives/ honesty of those with whom you disagree. That is what truly scares me about the political climate in this country. I leave you now to rant at each other.

Conservative Democrat

Buddy Larsen said...

"...the pattern of deceit and manipulation I see embedded in almost everything this administration does began in 2000.
Compassionate conservative my ass."

7:10AM, 11/24/05

" I'm amazed
that you (as well as the crazies on the left) can't argue without
impugning the character/ motives/ honesty of those with whom you disagree."

9:50AM, 11/24/05

(Yeh--I'm amazed, too.)

Well, Happy Thanksgiving, anyway (grudgingly).

gumshoe1 said...

it's an older saying
and i can't refer to a source.

goes something like:

"the Devil is an accuser".

the protestations of
Bush lying a "fooling" the Left
are disputed by the public record.

i hesitate to label
all current political harrangues
as "projection",but this "lying"
thing is gonna bite the Dems hard.

Able Danger and Atta
are shifting and rumbling a bit.

people are naieve enough to imagine
the policies of the Clinton Admin
didn't pave the way for the WTC attacks.

as though bureacracies and
intelligence policy turns on a dime
with the passage of an Inauguration.

this pic,while polemic,
has more truth to it
the more i look at it:

Buddy Larsen said...

shucks--got a 404 error...twice.