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SHRUM AND OATES! Democrats should be more like Rush Limbaugh, a famous Born Loser advised us: // link // print // previous // next //

VACAVILLE MEMORIES: Our favorite case of inane Sheehan-sliming occurred on Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor. Guest host John Gibson was speaking with the New York Sun’s Ira Stoll. How inane will a cable hack be? Try to believe that he said it:
GIBSON (8/11/05): I can't help but notice that Cindy Sheehan is from Vacaville, California, very close to U.C. Davis, very close to U.C. Berkeley, reasonably close to U.C. Santa Cruz, where I believe that a lot of those WTO protesters came from. What do the university anti-war protesters have to do with her?
Poor Stoll! Confronted with the world’s stupidest question from the world’s biggest fraud, he found a way to continue without taking notice. “Well, in some ways, she's a more appealing face for the anti-war movement than some eighth year PhD student in a nose-ring and pony-tail,” he told his inane host. “She's a mom. And so that's why all these groups would prefer to have her out there than their real face.”

At least she doesn’t have a nose-ring! But how inane was Gibson’s question? How far will a cable hack go to play a favorite pseudo-con card—the one about sneering “liberal elites?” In fact, Vacaville is 45 miles from dreaded Berkeley—and 115 miles from Santa Cruz! Pseudo-con guilt-by-association has never thrown so wide a net. Indeed, how deeply has Sheehan been affected by the sneering elites all around her? On CNN, Rusty Dornin described the ultra-hippy life-style of Sheehan’s late son, Casey Sheehan:

DORNIN (8/7/05): Twenty-four-year-old Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was one of eight U.S. troops killed in that ambush. Sheehan spent most of his teen years in Vacaville, California, about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco. A quiet boy, friends say he came alive on stage in the drama club at Vacaville High School. An altar boy at St. Mary's Catholic Church, he also taught Bible classes and was an Eagle Scout. Bob Valmer, a scouting mentor, remembers him planting more than 1,000 trees for a project.

VALMER (videotape): He just took charge. He was a great leader. He taught them a lot about the outdoors.

DORNIN: That love of the outdoors sent Sheehan to Camp Pendola, a Catholic retreat, first as a camper, then a counselor. Director Stephen Tholke remembers a young man always anxious to lend a hand.

THOLKE (videotape): Casey would be on the service team, which meant long hours, never out in front, but the ones who would set the stage, break down the stage.

In reality, Casey Sheehan was a Catholic altar boy and an Eagle Scout—and, of course, a U.S. Marine. But so what? Gibson wanted viewers perceiving the Sheehans a different way—so he dragged out the tired old cant about those Santa Cruz hippies. By the way—a person doesn’t have to be a Scout, a Catholic or a Marine to be a full, red-blooded American. Real Americans get to have nose-rings too. They even get to be big frauds—like Gibson.

You can’t get dumber—or faker—than Gibson. But when will liberals have the courage—and the intelligence—to stand on their feet, summon their courage, and tell the public about the John Gibsons? When will liberals tell the public that the Gibsons have played them for fools all these years? When will liberals have the smarts to stand up and fight against vile, scripted idiocy? When will liberal have the smarts to stand up and fight—and win?

SHRUM AND OATES: On Friday, we asked a question—and got a quick answer. Here was our question: Shouldn’t a real progressive politics start with the pledge to make accurate statements? (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/12/05.) Later that day, Bob Shrum answered: No! The biggest waste meat in American politics said that we Dems should lie too.

Shrum was discussing NARAL’s decision to drop its anti-Roberts ad. Many people—libs and cons—had said the ad was fake and misleading (even false). But according to the Post’s Dana Milbank, NARAL’s decision to pull the ad “has produced a fresh round of recriminations within the Democratic Party and a return to a nagging question: Has the opposition lost its nerve?” And Shrum? He’s on the value-free side. Republicans are willing to lie, he said. We Dems should go out and lie too:

MILBANK (8/13/05): "Republicans don't mind running an ad that's entirely false, but Democrats have never learned, and I'm not sure many of them want to learn, how to play that kind of politics," said Robert Shrum, an adviser to several Democratic presidential campaigns. NARAL had to pull the ad, he said, because "they weren't getting support from any substantial quarter."
Shrum was discussing last year’s Swift Boat Veteran ads—ads which slimed John Kerry’s war record. As Milbank continued, another major Dem, Chris Lehane, said Dems should get down-and-dirty too:
MILBANK (continuing directly): Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, who like Shrum favors hardball politics, protested that "we Democrats bring a well-thumbed copy of Marquess of Queensberry Rules while the other side unsheaths their bloody knives, with a predictable outcome." Lehane said the NARAL ad "was great, and exactly the type of offensive that breaks through in the modern age.”
Shrum and Lehane, tough to the core, said Dems should drop their silly old rules and play the way Rush and Sean do. Readers, you can be like Rush Limbaugh too! Bob Shrum knows you have it in you!

Of course, it’s amusing to see a loser like Shrum discussing those Swift Boat ads. Shrum is the hapless fellow who advised the Kerry campaign—the campaign which failed to prepare for the Swift Boat attacks (attacks which everyone knew were coming), then sat around, twiddling its thumbs, when the slanders finally hit. Is there any human being with less on the ball than this born crown prince of losers? But then, like many who are weak and inept, “Shrummy” likes to pose as a tough guy. But his total failure to know how to fight helps explain John Kerry’s defeat. And of course, he was also high in the chain when crackpot attacks against Al Gore put George Bush in the White House to begin with. What an amazing spectacle—to see this Born Loser giving this counsel. No one knows how to lose like Shrum—and his newest advice is just as stupid as his previous, born-loser work.

Should Dems and libs go out and lie too? No—that would be very stupid. For one thing, Dems and lib wouldn’t be nearly as skillful as Reps, who have spent the past forty years perfecting idiotic themes like the one that Gibson played against Sheehan. Liberal elites! Political correctness! Media bias! Moral equivalence! Pseudo-con screamers have a string of honed bumper stickers which fakers like Gibson can access and play with. In our view, it’s sad that Republicans have let their rhetoric be defined in recent years by the Rushes and the Seans—but it would be utterly stupid for Dems to try to play that game too. And of course, it would be something else; it would be grossly immoral, an abdication of the most basic principles. But so what? Born Losers like Shrum don’t care about that. They care about their fine wine and gourmet meals (see below)—and they love to go out there and posture.

Our view here has been clear for years (although it’s been utterly pointless to state it). We think that Dems should try telling the truth—attacking the cycles of lies and deceit that have defined our discourse for the past several decades. Of course, Shrum is the last man on earth to do that; he’s now a regular guest on Hardball, where he plays kissy-poo and huggy-hug-hug with his dim-witted host, Chris Matthews, who did more than any other broadcaster to defeat Shrum’s guy in Campaign 2000 and put George Bush in the White House. No one spread more disinformation or insulted Gore more than Matthews did; indeed, by the fall of 2001, Matthews was even saying, on the Imus show, that Gore "doesn’t look like one of us. He doesn’t seem very American, even.” But so what? Corrupted Born Losers—Born Losers like Shrum—have agreed to make a deal with all this. The mainstream press corps’ turn to the political center-right has only been part of the Democrats’ problems. But people like Shrum would eat live worms before they’d discuss the actual facts concerning press treatment of Clinton/Gore/Kerry. And now, having decided that Dems can’t tell the truth about that, Shrum has come up with a better idea. We should lie about everything else. We should be just like Republicans. Readers, you can be like Rush Limbaugh too. You can be just like John Gibson!

Shrum must be the world’s biggest loser. His latest advice is amazingly bad—and it’s an affront against basic values. But so what? To judge from a profile by the Washington Post’s Mark Leibovich, “Shrummy” just may not share your values. Instead, he “loves gourmet food and fine wines and has his suits handmade by a Georgetown tailor,” Leibovich wrote (more below). He also loves to be on TV—and doesn’t much care about telling the truth. You can be just like John Gibson. The born loser Bob Shrum now says so.

KING OF THE FOPS AND THE DANDIES: Are you surprised to learn that Shrum has such low, Rush Limbaugh-like values? In fact, the born loser Shrum is King of the Fops. In February, Richard Leiby discussed Shrum Values in the Post’s “Reliable Source:”

LEIBY (2/1/05): Movin' On Up: Just over a year ago, Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and his wife, Marylouise Oates, paid $1.2 million for a 13-room home on Cleveland Avenue in Northwest Washington. They put out a "For Sale" sign yesterday. Asking price: $2.6 million.

If they get it, that would seem like a tidy profit—which, as one wag in the local real estate biz noted, "makes up for the stunning loss in the presidential race, I guess." (Shrum advised John Kerry.) But Oates, describing the house as "perfect," told us yesterday, "We put an enormous amount of money into it." She cited various improvements since December 2003, including a remodeled kitchen with a custom French stove, a new guest suite and a breakfast room.

"Everything is beautiful," she said. "I spent an entire year redoing the house...This house was done to be the perfect house for the Kerry administration."

The power couple are moving to New York, where Shrum, a political fixture here for three decades, will teach and write as a fellow at New York University. He leaves behind an 0-8 record on presidential campaigns, with better luck in statewide races, and plans to write a book.

Oates, a onetime society columnist and veteran of real estate transactions, said they'll be renting in Chelsea. "I'd have to make a lot more money on this house to buy an apartment in New York," she told us. "Have you looked at New York prices? They're breathtaking."

Poor kids! “This house was done to be the perfect house for the Kerry administration,” the former society columnist said. But uh-oh! Unfortunately, her husband advised the Kerry campaign—a campaign which seemed to have no idea that the Swift Boat attacks were coming. Now, her foppish helpmate tells Dems they should lie. But are you surprised by these Shrummy values when you read about the foppish life styles of those who pose as liberal leaders? Here’s part of that Leibovich profile:
LEIBOVICH (9/10/04): Shrum and Kerry have been frequent social companions in Georgetown and Massachusetts. (Shrum has a vacation house on Cape Cod.) Teresa Heinz Kerry is friends with his wife, Mary Louise Oates, a former society columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Like many people of Shrum's acquaintance, Kerry calls him "Shrummy." As a duo, he and his wife are known as "Oatsey and Shrummy."

Shrum's tastes and quirks are a common topic of conversation in political circles. He does not drive, a fact his friends attribute to his horrifying skills behind the wheel. It is common to see him in the back seat of a car driven by a young aide, an image that reinforces a somewhat regal bearing. He loves gourmet food and fine wines and has his suits handmade by a Georgetown tailor.

Shrum doesn’t know how to drive? No kidding! Meanwhile, he loves his fine wines and his handmaid suits; and oh yes—he thinks that Dems should lie to the public! But there you see the dirty secret of our modern “liberal” politics. The people who front for the “liberal” party don’t have progressive values at all! The public deserves to be told the truth; it’s a basis of any progressive politics. But Shrum was too busy swilling fine wine to prepare for attacks that we all knew were coming, and now he has a perfect solution—hey, we should just go lie too!

Please understand these social transactions next time you see “Shrummy” mouthing on Hardball. Losers like Shrum will never discuss the press corps wars against Clinton and Gore. Those wars were run from within their own social circle—and they have no plans to abandon that world, or to walk away from its values. Hell, we should just lie too, the Born Loser now says. Let’s review his amazing statement again: "Republicans don't mind running an ad that's entirely false, but Democrats have never learned, and I'm not sure many of them want to learn, how to play that kind of politics,"

If there’s dumber idea on earth, we aren’t sure just what it is. By the way, let’s ask a question: What would a Vacaville Scout have to say about Bob Shrum’s disgusting new values?

WE WISH SOMEONE ELSE HAD SAID IT: We wish someone else had made the statement because we don’t want to beat up on Joseph Wilson. But we thought Wilson’s Thursday statement perfectly captured a problem we’ve noted—the pathetic defeatism of Dems and libs in the face of the hapless Bush-Rove “machine.” Yesterday, Tim Grieve discussed Wilson’s statement in Salon. And yes, we wish someone else had said it, because we think the statement captures a mood which infests a great deal of liberal politics:

GRIEVE (8/12/05: In a speech in Florida Thursday, Joseph Wilson said that if anyone is indicted in the case, it will probably be Rove or Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby. "The modus operandi of guys like Karl Rove and those around him is to engage in character assassination of those who oppose them," Wilson said in a talk at Tallahassee's Capital Tiger Bay Club, according to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat. “They cannot help themselves and may have succeeded, but for one thing. When they went after my wife, they may have broken a law."
For the record, we think Wilson’s statement is mostly silly. Did Rove and Libby engage in “character assassination” of Wilson’s wife? They may have broken the law by “outing” her—for ourselves, we’ll wait to find out—but it’s typical liberal boo-hoo-hooing to talk about “character assassination.” In fact, the initial columns by Novak and Cooper revealed an accurate fact about Valerie Plame—the fact that she played some sort of role (unobjectionable to us) in Wilson’s trip to Niger. In fact, these columns were far more accurate than Wilson’s outright denials about Plame’s alleged role in his trip. It’s hard to see why it’s “character assassination” when you make an accurate statement about someone, and as far as we know so far, Rove and Libby were making fairly accurate statements about Wilson and his wife. (Whether they broke the law in the process is a matter that hasn’t yet been determined.)

But what really caught our eye in Wilson’s statement is the part of the statement we highlighted. There it is—the sad, defeatist attitude that now infests so much of our elite liberal politics. Thank God! This time, Rove and Libby may not get away with what they have done, because this time, they may have committed a crime! To us, the underlying attitude seems clear—if these people don’t commit crimes, we are too hapless to ever defeat them! We can’t beat these giants straight up. Maybe Pat Fitzgerald will arrest them!

We talked about this attitude last week. And yes, we wish someone else had expressed it, because this isn’t a matter about Wilson alone—in our view, his statement reflects the defeatist notions which lie behind the liberal glorying over the possible indictment of Rove. In fact, Rove and Bush are a pair of nitwits; indeed, everything they’ve ever touched has been an absolute disaster. But modern Dem/libs are so inept and so defeated that they feel they can’t defeat these losers! Oh please, pretty please—won’t someone arrest them? This is the war-cry of a Born Loser—an attitude we discussed last week.

By the way, why can’t Dems and liberals win these battles against a total fuck-up like Bush? In part, because Democrats leaders—foppists like Shrum—have agreed, for the past dozen years, that they won’t discuss reality. Republicans get to scream and yell about the press corps’ “liberal bias.” Meanwhile, Dem White House hopefuls are savaged by this same press—and people like Shrum agree that they won’t discuss it! Indeed, they agree to kiss the boots of the men who slandered their candidates and arranged to defeat them! They want to be regulars on programs like Hardball, and they want to attend the finest Washington parties. It’s disgusting to see low men of this type advising us now that we Dems should just lie. But if you want to grasp current liberal impotence, just watch Shrum next time he plays Hardball. During Campaign 2000, Matthews insulted Shrum’s guy for two solid years, calling him every name in the book and lying through his teeth as he did. Later, he said Shrum’s guy doesn’t even seem American (just the way John Gibson would do it!). But so what? Now, “Shrummy” gambols and plays on his program. There you see the open face of modern liberal political impotence—the sad-sack, defeatist liberal impotence to which Shrum and Wilson gave voice to in their statements this week.