Daily Archives: March 10, 2007

Anti-War Activist Shames Himself in Obey Confrontation (Updated)

Alright. We’re all going to talk about Obey so let’s get it out of the way so we can go on to something substantive – the FBI’s ignorance of the Constitution and the Republicans’ contempt for it, maybe.

What bothers me about that video isn’t the fact that Obey’s frustration led him to a little name-calling (not of the people involved but of liberals in general). That’s understandable given what he and other Democrats have been up against with the Republicans.

They also seem to have waylaid him in a hall at the end of the day. Right from the beginning he looks tired, on edge, yet he stays patient with Richards for a couple of minutes before he snaps a little, and even then he barely raises his voice until the end when he’s somewhat wound up. And why not? These people are supposed to be on his side and they’re harassing him.

And it doesn’t bother me that they were harassing him a bit. A lot of Democrats deserve harassment. They sat on their hands for years or actively rolled over to Bush and Cheney and Ashcroft (remember him?) and Gonzales and Rice and so on and so on, allowing them to make patently false statements time and again without calling them on it. Nor has their cowardice under Pub rule earned them any points. And it shouldn’t. They’ve shown little in the way of backbone for two decades now (except in the area of fighting Bush’s outrageous choices for federal judgeships, for which they deserve full credit) and their shameful behavior during the run-up to the invasion was a low point in Democratic history, no error.

Nor does the fact that it was clearly a setup. With the bulk of the mainstream media in the pockets of the powerful, citizen guerrilla-journalism is eminently justifiable. The late Hunter Thompson invented the phrase “gonzo journalism” to describe a type of reporting that deliberately sets out to break the gentlemen’s agreement between reporters and their targets that there is such a thing as “off the record”, when politicians in particular can be as hypocritical and debased as they like secure in the knowledge that it will never see the light of print. In gonzo, nothing was off the record, especially in politics. In a time of extreme, authoritarian secrecy on the part of the govt, gonzo is an absolutely necessary counterbalance.

No, what’s disturbing isn’t Obey but the astounding ignorance of the two who accosted him.

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