Posts Tagged ‘Jane Hamsher’

It’s No Surprise To Me…

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

Jane Hamsher is our own worst enemy. Now she’s trying to whip up opposition to the war funding supplemental:

I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who is taking time out of their day to make calls and stand by their commitment to end the war. When I look over the lists and read about the thousands of calls people are making to the offices of members of congress, and I see people like Toby who called 25 offices in one day, it makes it all worthwhile.

We really appreciate the efforts of everyone who has called, and who continue to call.  It’s a highly fluid situation, and Rahm Emanuel is furiously horse trading for votes.  Sources on the Hill say that they’ve never seen this kind of full-court press from the White House.  Members are being bribed, bullied and cajoled into abandoning their commitment to vote against any war funding that doesn’t include a time table to bring the troops home.

There’s some controversy about giving money to the IMF, which I’m not really as familiar with as I should be, so I won’t comment on that yet, but Hamsher doesn’t address that here either. Instead, she talks about “war funding that doesn’t include a time table to bring the troops home,” which is just bizarre. It’s not bizarre because we shouldn’t have a time table, of course, it’s bizarre because the US has already agreed to a time table for withdrawing troops from Iraq. It was one of, if not the, key point of the status of forces agreement we signed with the Iraqi government. So insisting on including something you already have in order to vote for something is just odd.

And that’s without even pointing out what a political disaster it would be to have Democrats killing funding for American troops in combat. Say what you will about public opinion about the Iraq war, people just aren’t going to be comfortable with cutting off funding for supplies while troops are in the field. Nor should they be. If Democrats do kill this, and I doubt they will, they’ll lose a lot of ground for it very quickly. And I doubt that much matters to Hamsher who, like a Rush Limabugh or a Sean Hannity, is much better served, personally, by being in the minority.

Talk Radio Liberals Watch: Always Right

Monday, March 9th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

With the budget coming out and some more substantive things in the hopper, I promise I’m going to scale back these type of posts, but this missive from Jane Hamsher is simply too egregious to let go. The matter in question goes back to the run-up to the fiscal responsiblity summit, when a lot of progressives, notably Hamsher and Digby, were absolutely foaming at the idea that the Obama administration was going to cut social security. Someone in the administration talked to Ezra Klein, and told him that social security was not going to be on the table, and that they were going to explicitly argue that healthcare reform was a much more pressing need than anything related to social security, which, coincidentally, is exactly what happened.

Without sugarcoating things, what Hamsher is doing is straight out of Orwell. Ezra’s source was completely accurate, at multiple points, but Hamsher makes multiple references to Ezra being “lied to.” Karl Rove couldn’t pull off that sort of up-is-downism with a straight face. Moreover, Hamsher references a completely unsourced, even anonymously, throwaway line from a New York Times report about Obama’s relationship with labor as evidence that she is really right, which is, obviously, pretty ironic, but also underscores the real point to Hamsher’s post.

Hamsher is employing an old right-wing trick, in which the writer is always right, no matter what happens. If it turns out that they’re spectacularly wrong, it’s really just proof that they’re right. Digby, I’m sad to say, has been using the exact same slight of hand to avoid facing up to, well, being completely, loudly, wrong. To wit, most people would look at the discrepancy between what Ezra reported and what Digby/Hamsher were screaming about and conclude that Ezra is well sourced, and Digby/Hamsher were somewhere between wildly inaccurate and slightly paranoid. But, to hear Hamsher and Digby tell it, they were never wrong, rather it was their efforts who forced the administration to change course. So, on top of being right all along, they’re also Very Important People. There’s a word for this; delusional. I like Digby as a writer (Hamsher not so much), but she doesn’t have the political influence to push a local state legislative candidate, let alone to move the White House. I mean c’mon.

I don’t really care much about the anonymous source question (and neither does Hamsher, as she lays bare, she ust picked up Greenwald’s critique to take another shot at Ezra because she’s pissed off he was right). I think Greenwald is being a bit flippant, and doesn’t seem to have considered the fact that the sources can always hang up on the reporter if the latter refuses to grant them anonymity. Or maybe Greenwald thinks that’s a preferrable alternative, although I wouldn’t agree. I also tend to agree with Ezra; there’s no reason to burn a source that’s giving you accurate information. If you feel like you have a source who is routinely lying to you, then yes, you should probably burn them, because that’s a story in its own right. But in this case, not only was Ezra’s source not lying, he wasn’t even mistaken. He was exactly right, something that is understandably a foreign concept to Hamsher.  But what really disturbs me is the reaction. Hamsher’s post has nearly 70 responses, mostly uncritical of her ridiculous post (and glaring contradiction). Ezra’s response has 30 responses at the moment, nearly half of which are critical of him. And again, for posterity’s sake, in the initial question Ezra was right, and Hamsher was spectacularly wrong. But at least in the narrow segment of commentors on the matter, opinion seems to have lined up behind Hamsher anyway. And that’s very troublesome, and makes me question whether the progressive movement will crumble on itself even faster than the conservative movement did.

A Pony? For Real?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

I don’t always agree with Jane Hamsher, obviously, but I usually feel she makes strong arguments whether I agree with them or not. But her latest argument against appointing Caroline Kennedy to Hillary Clinton’s vacated Senate seat isn’t just weak, it’s downright offensive. She starts:

It seems Caroline Kennedy has decided she’d rather have a  US Senate seat than a pony for Christmas[…]

And it really doesn’t get much better from there on. Jeff Fecke responds:

A pony? “Getting her nails done?” Really, Jane?

If this were Jim Kennedy, would you suggest he was getting a manicure, asking for a pony? Of course not. You might pick out other symbols of idleness, but those quintessentially feminine grace notes would be left out. It’s not enough to suggest Kennedy isn’t a good pick for the seat — she has to be derided as idle and, most damningly, an idle woman.

That’s ridiculous. To Kennedy’s credit, she hasn’t been idle. She’s been active. I don’t know if that activity is enough to merit her a seat in the U.S. Senate (though if Tom Coburn can function there, she’s probably smart enough to handle it), but it’s not as if Kennedy has been living in a secluded mansion since 1963.

To wit, Caroline Kennedy has been a director for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, raised over $65 million for the NYC public school system, and is the vice-chair for the Fund for Public Schools, among various other (less impressive) boards and foundations. If Jane Hamsher or Ross Douthat don’t find those to be compelling qualifications for the office of unior Senator from New York, they ought to say so and make the argument. If they think they’re fine qualifications, but think Kennedy a bad pick anyway, or feel someone else to be more qualified, then they should say so and make the argument. But couching their opposition in such sexist and dismissive tones indicates that they’re either unaware of Caroline Kennedy’s resume, or simply don’t have better arguments to make.