Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lamar Alexander Listing To The Right

[UPDATE]: Pith has video of Lamar's floor rant.


What is it with Tennessee Senators making bizarro comparisons? Yesterday Sen. Corker compared the American Medical Assn. to a prostitute.

Today Sen. Alexander compares President Obama to Richard Nixon:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Republican invoked the memory of the scandal-marred Nixon administration on Wednesday to urge U.S. President Barack Obama to "back up" and not "start an enemies list."

Senator Lamar Alexander told Reuters he has begun to see the Obama White House adopting an attitude similar to that of the Richard Nixon White House four decades ago, that "everybody is against us and we are going to get them."

Gee, you don’t say. Excuse me, but you kept your yap shut when the Bush Administration created its own de facto enemies list by politicizing the Dept. of Justice, outting a CIA agent because her husband called bullshit on pre-war lies about Saddam Hussein, and even engaged in its own long-running feud with the New York Times. Don’t recall you clutching your pearls about an “us vs. them” attitude back then, Senator.

Of course, he’s just reciting a Karl Rove talking point from three days ago. Which makes so much sense. The “enemies list” is one of those silly political mudballs one side throws at the other when they’ve got nothing better handy. It conjures up negative historical connotations (Nixon! Hoover! McCarthy! Bad!), negative social connotations (they must be paranoid! And a narcissist!) and emotional fears (A list! That means conspiracy!). It's also a great distraction from more pressing business--in this case like, oh, how the Republican Party is bleeding voters at the seams.

During the last presidential campaign the Clintons supposedly had one. So did, incidentally, the Obama campaign. Everyone from Michael Moore to Markos Moulitsas supposedly made George W. Bush’s list. Bill O’Reilly said his was real, and he threatened to post it on the internet.

There’s more:

Alexander made the comments at the Reuters Washington Summit, a series of interviews with key Washington figures, in advance of a speech that he plans to give later in the day on the same topic on the Senate floor.
Seriously? You’re going to devote a floor speech to a point Karl Rove made on Fox News Sunday?

All in defense of Fox News?

You know, not too long ago when the Republican base was frothy-mouthed about birth certificates and death panels and tea party “patriots” hung Democratic Congressmen in effigy, a few of us went to Sen. Alexander’s office in Nashville and asked why he was remaining silent. As a member of the Republican leadership, an elder statesman of the Republican Party, we viewed him as someone with the gravitas needed to influence his colleagues and urge everyone to dial back the rhetoric.

But now we know why he kept silent. He has no interest in being the measured voice of reason. That’s not how he rolls these days. He’s cast his lot with the wackadoodle wing of the Republican Party, proving his conservative bonafides by spreading nonsense about an “enemies list” right alongside Karl Rove.

Nice work, Senator.