October 01, 2003


David Brooks on the new web warriors:

The quintessential new warrior scans the Web for confirmation of the president's villainy. He avoids facts that might complicate his hatred. He doesn't weigh the sins of his friends against the sins of his enemies. But about the president he will believe anything. He believes Ted Kennedy when he says the Iraq war was a fraud cooked up in Texas to benefit the Republicans politically. It feels so delicious to believe it, and even if somewhere in his mind he knows it doesn't quite square with the evidence, it's important to believe it because the other side is vicious, so he must be too.

The warrior goes out looking for leaders strong enough to crush the devil. Wesley Clark appeals to the warrior mentality when he declares: "This is war. It's a culture war, and I am their greatest threat. They are doing everything they can to destroy me right now." It doesn't matter that Clark doesn't yet have policies. This isn't about policies. So far the campaign has not been shaped by how much of the Bush tax cut this or that Democratic candidate wants to roll back. It's about who can stand up to the other side.

The warriors have one other feature: ignorance. They have as much firsthand knowledge of their enemies as members of the K.K.K. had of the N.A.A.C.P. In fact, most people in the last two administrations were well-intentioned patriots doing the best they could. The core threat to democracy is not in the White House, it's the haters themselves.

(Via contributor Zsa Zsa, who after reading this piece is reminded to say "Hi!" to frequent commenter Nemesis.)

Posted by Tim Blair at October 1, 2003 03:34 AM

Surely one of the key features of the web haters is a tendency TO USE TOO MANY CAPITAL LETTERS when promoting their pet theories about HALIBURTONS OIL CONTRACTS or indeed ABOUT ANY OTHER SPECIAL INTERESTS!!!. BUSH LIED!!!

Any nominations for the best left wing hate blogs?

Posted by: Ross at October 1, 2003 at 04:19 AM

Define "best."

Posted by: Angus Jung at October 1, 2003 at 04:52 AM

Some folk stand up to those who misappropriate FBI documents, release DOD personnel records for political purposes, sell dual-use technology to foreign countries whose agents just happen to contribute to a particular campaign, get themselves disbarred in multiple jurisdictions, rent out the White House for slumber parties, engage in wag-the-dog missile lobbing, develop selective amnesia, and conveniently can't get through a deposition without a dictionary to define certain two-letter words.

Others try to verbally frag the Nazi-in-Chief in time of war.

The moral equivalence just couldn't be more obvious...

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 1, 2003 at 05:00 AM

Oops! That's supposed to be:

Others try to verbally frag the Nazi-in-Chief in time of war.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 1, 2003 at 05:03 AM

It is really funny to see the Right in America worrying about crazy, conspiracy-fueled attacks on the president. Never in living memory have such attacks been made! It's a new era of rank partisanship! The Democrats have gone mad over Bush in a way that no party has ever gone mad against a president before!

How come I'm the only one who wasn't hit with the amnesia gas?

See ya later, I have to go pick up some drugs at the Mena Airport and then murder a White House aide at a Starbucks.

Posted by: Mike G at October 1, 2003 at 05:58 AM

Mike G:

"Worrying" is not precisely the right word. If you cruise the blogs of the VRWC and read conservative American pundits, you would have known to use at least one of the following verbs:


I encourage any further suggestions from fellow-members of the VRWC.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 1, 2003 at 06:51 AM

Any nominations for the best left wing hate blogs?

Best left-wing hate blog?

That's a piece of cake, because "Bartcop" is without equal.

The most recent "volume" of Bart (volume 1164) yet again trots out the over-elaborate, chicken shit GOP murder plots. In fact, no other "pundit" can crank out as much vitriol and lies and tawdry Photoshop.

From "Bart":
"The GOP is throwing everything they have at Clark.
His candidacy is a big, big threat to the hundreds of billions yet to be stolen.

John Kennedy Jr was a threat to them - as was Paul Wellstone.
We live in scary times."

Har-de-har. Political "humor" indeed. More by following the link above.

Posted by: Ryne McClaren at October 1, 2003 at 06:54 AM

yeah...who cares about the huge no-bid contracts given to Halliburton? The cronyism behind the way the spoils of war are being appropriated? The way Bush pissed in the face of the international community prior to the war then expects them to help clean up the mess?

Can't you see this is all about FREEEEDOM & LIBERAAATION!

From the NY times:

Cronyism is an important factor in our Iraqi debacle. It's not just that reconstruction is much more expensive than it should be. The really important thing is that cronyism is warping policy: by treating contracts as prizes to be handed to their friends, administration officials are delaying Iraq's recovery, with potentially catastrophic consequences.
It's rarely mentioned nowadays, but at the time of the Marshall Plan, Americans were very concerned about profiteering in the name of patriotism. To get Congressional approval, Truman had to provide assurances that the plan would not become a boondoggle. Funds were administered by an agency independent of the White House, and Marshall promised that priorities would be determined by Europeans, not Americans.

Iraq's reconstruction, by contrast, remains firmly under White House control. And this is an administration of, by and for crony capitalists; to match this White House's blithe lack of concern about conflicts of interest, you have to go back to the Harding administration. That giant, no-bid contract given to Halliburton, the company that made Dick Cheney rich, was just what you'd expect.

Posted by: bongoman at October 1, 2003 at 07:31 AM

Yo Bongoman--

Don't you think it would be only fair and balanced to cite hitman Krugman instead of the NYTimes?

Posted by: Alene Berk at October 1, 2003 at 07:53 AM

Bongoman concerning the so-called no bid contratct to halliburton please read: http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york070903.asp

It seems to answer alot of the questions that are raised.

Posted by: JimC at October 1, 2003 at 07:56 AM


Yup, quoting a paranoid Krugman rant sure opened my eyes. God, how could I have been so blind, so deceived by the BushCheneyHaliburtonRove Conspiracy? And since quoting fact-free (and did I say paranoid? I'm sure I did) Krugman is not yet a corollary of Godwin's Law (oh, that it were), let me say two words that certainly ought to be a corollary: Prescott Bush. Thread closed.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 1, 2003 at 08:37 AM

Nice bit of selective editing in you main post there Tim. Anybody reading your quotes would assume that Brooks is just referring to THIS president, and sees this as a phenomenon just of the left.
I think these Web Warriors, can trace their heritage back to the Limbaughs and the Drudges the Proto-RWDBs of the Clinton era

Heavens! It's just occurred to me aren't you exactly the type of Web Warrior that Brooks is referring to?

Oh no I forgot you're not after THIS President.


Posted by: Rex at October 1, 2003 at 09:53 AM

Oh, you mean where he quoted "In fact, most people in the last two administrations were well-intentioned patriots doing the best they could. The core threat to democracy is not in the White House, it's the haters themselves." (Bolds mine.)

Yeah, I could see how easy it would be for a stupid person to think that Tim was selectively quoting to make it look as if Brooks was only talking about "THIS president."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 1, 2003 at 10:03 AM

What a joke, Tim the Hater getting upset that people hate him and his ILK back.

You are such a playground toss Blair. Stick to lunch - with plenty of chicken.

Otherwise get down to Park St and beg some editor for an embed posting to Iraq.

Say you got the calling in the night.

And now you want to become a real journalist.

Posted by: Tim's Pet Hate at October 1, 2003 at 11:05 AM

the lunchboy's here everybody! put in your orders please.

Posted by: roscoe p coltrane at October 1, 2003 at 11:20 AM

What is it with the lunch? Is it some inside joke?
A fetish? Some psychological malady?


Posted by: Chris Josephson at October 1, 2003 at 11:27 AM

What?! There's people that search the web for selectively information to support their own particular political point of view? How ghastly. Good thing you picked up on this worrying trend, Timbo.

Posted by: Trust at October 1, 2003 at 11:33 AM

Hmmm . . . the last paragraph of the piece shows a little more self-awareness than Tim displays in his selective quotation:

And for those who are going to make the obvious point: Yes, I did say some of these things during the Clinton years, when it was conservatives bashing a Democrat, but not loudly enough, which I regret, because the weeds that were once on the edge of public life now threaten to choke off the whole thing.

Don't look too hard into that mirror, Tim.

Posted by: Mork at October 1, 2003 at 11:47 AM

I think the most salient point in Brook's column is his differentiation between the "culture warriors" who fought (and fight) over real issues and principles versus the "hate warriors" (Right and Left) in America who seem to have no larger purpose other than bringing down "the Other."

No one's hands in this are clean. We can sit back and say the Right started it or the Left is raising it (or lowering it) to another level. But those who engage in that tallying up are missing the point.

To toot my own horn: I used to receive from Rev. Falwell and other hard Right groups solicitations for funds with letters mentioning the "Clinton crimes" as "documented" in the Clinton Chronicles. Garbage. I wrote back to them on several occasions demanding that my name be removed. It was just garbage. I almost get ill whenever I see Rev. Falwell or Robertson. They are just awful.

Ten years earlier when I was on the Left, I used to received solicitations from Left wing groups promoting the "October Surprise" and "Secret Team" conspiracy theories that argued that Reagan et al. were smuggling crack into America and had stolen the election through a secret deal with Iran and the hostages. Ditto to them too.

So, after two decades of this, we're trapped. Both sides can legitimately claim victim status. But both sides are also victimizers, too. Neither is "more sinned against than sinner."

How the hell do we get out of this? Critical period in America's history? Or just a phase?


Posted by: SteveMG at October 1, 2003 at 11:50 AM

Hmmm. Am I the only person in here that thinks lunch boy is actually Michael Moore in disguise?

I bet no one ever sees the two of them in the same place at the same time!

Posted by: Wilbur at October 1, 2003 at 12:57 PM

Come, come Steve. The difference is that the haters on the Left have much more access to the mainstream media. In tfact great swathes of that media seem to have become Bush Haters. This is quite different from the anti-Clinton crusade which did at least have a lot of evidence of wrongdoing and corruption.

Posted by: Toryhere at October 1, 2003 at 01:20 PM

Gee, Tori, isn't it funny that all the lefties I know say the same thing about the right.

When you have no perspective, it always comes down to "I'm right, so whatever I do is good. You're wrong, so whatever you do is bad."

Posted by: Mork at October 1, 2003 at 01:33 PM

Well, we can debate who has greater access to this or that. I think you're generally correct; the lunacy from the Right was more "marginal" and not mainstream. I mean, there was no equivalent of a conservative Paul Krugman writing for a major newspaper.

Brooks' piece was a direct hit at Krugman; will be interesting to see how Herr Doktor Professor responds.

But his final point was absolutely correct: this hate ultimately erodes the very idea of democracy, especially in a huge, complex, diverse nation like the U.S. Compromise, conciliation, comity are essential in a nation like mine.

If you don't have that, then it's pure power politics. Lenin's maxim, "Kto, kgo" - who does what to whom is the only rule.


Posted by: SteveMG at October 1, 2003 at 02:24 PM

Bongoman and others who think they are upset about Halliburton -- I guess that includes Krugman, though I don't read his sophomoric rants any more -- ought to spend 10 minutes and learn something about the facts of the matter. Their snide comments reveal complete ignorance of federal contracting reality, and the specific facts of the case for Halliburton and Bechtel in Iraq. Krugman's allusion to WWII-era procurement issues reveals the depths of his ignorance. I suppose he also thinks the Navy still flies Hellcats off wooden-decked carriers and the Army grunts still carry M-1 carbines?

Posted by: IceCold at October 1, 2003 at 02:32 PM

... there was no equivalent of a conservative Paul Krugman writing for a major newspaper

You're kidding, right? Did you ever read the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal? Robert Novak? Bill Safire, who thought that Hillary Clinton should go to jail for the absurd whitewater "scandal"? In fact, the editors of the NY Times hounded Clinton throughout his second term, including making bizzare accusations, later discredited, over whitewater and the "chinese spies at Los Alamos" affair.

Posted by: Mork at October 1, 2003 at 02:52 PM

Hey you guys,
Whatever you think or might say about the politics & Democrats vs. Republicans inside the USA does'nt matter very much to this Aussie.
Fact is, the USA now has effective control over Iraq--the place which hold two thirds of the planet's remaining oil supply.
Getting rid of Sadaam, whose power & ambitions made him a threat to stability in the middle east area gives some, temporary, assurance of maintaining stable oil prices in the range US$29-31.
If instability in the region caused that price to rise towrds US$35 the economy of the USA (followed by Australia) would crash.

You guys would then be hocking your computers at 25 cents each.

Gadfly Biting The Bum Of The Unthinking

Posted by: Gadfly at October 1, 2003 at 03:46 PM

Gadfly: "Fact is, the USA now has effective control over Iraq--the place which hold two thirds of the planet's remaining oil supply."

Fact is, that isn't a fact.

Posted by: S Whiplash at October 1, 2003 at 04:01 PM

S Whiplash,

Which "fact"? "2/3 of the world's oil reserves" or "effective control". If your problem is with the latter, I did say "temporary".

What is your productive suggestion as to how stability in that region might become permanent.

I challenge you!

Gadfly Just Biting Your Bum Gently

Posted by: Gadfly at October 1, 2003 at 04:27 PM

According to the Deaprtment of Energy: OPEC nations have 80% of the world crude oil reserves and 41% of world petroleum production.

Iraq has 2/3 of world oil reserves?

Posted by: S Whiplash at October 1, 2003 at 04:46 PM


Posted by: sas at October 1, 2003 at 06:23 PM

Whiplash my friend,

You are confused. Reserves means reserves of oil still in the ground. Petroleum production means processing oil to produce petroleum spirit.
On the subject of oil reserves, you can get some more info at: www.dieoff.com/page140.htm.

Keep on learning. Gadfly

Posted by: Gadfly at October 1, 2003 at 06:49 PM


You stated that Iraq has 2/3 of the planet's remaining oil supply, that is, 2/3 of reserves. Iraq does not have 2/3 of reserves.

Saudi Arabia has proven reserves of roughly 260 billion barrels; Iraq's proven reserves are roughly 115 billion barrels. Please explain how Iraq's reserves are 2/3 of total reserves when Saudi Arabia's reserves are less than 30% of total reserves.

Gadfly, biting himself on the arse until it bleeds.

Posted by: S Whiplash at October 1, 2003 at 09:36 PM

There's more than just hate going on here. Some of it is the result of the relentless class warfare being demogoged and some of it is the result of the "balkinazation" of the US. At one time we were Americans, now it is almost impossible to find someone (other than a white male, and rarely even then) who identifies him/herself as an American. We're all Afro-, Hipancic-, Asian-, German- etc. Americans. It makes me sick.

Posted by: rabidfox at October 2, 2003 at 12:41 AM

No doubt that those elements you cited went overboard. I'd exclude the NY Times Editors. Howell Raines? Who do you think he voted for?

However, have you been following Krugman? He's saying things that are far beyond anything Safire, et al. said.

He says that the Bush Administration's actions have parallels to the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s? C'mon, tinfoil hat time. Says that elections will be canceled in the near future? Where did he learn that: from radio signals sent through the fillings in his teeth?

Safire et al. said the Clintons were dishonest and crooks. Krugman et al. say that Bush is a fascist, Nazi bent on destroying the nation. Quite a bit of difference there.


Posted by: SteveMG at October 2, 2003 at 01:16 AM

My initial posting was to draw attention to the underlying objective of the US intervention in Iraq -- to unseat Sadaam & eliminate his destabilising influence on the middle east oil producing countries---further to draw attention to the economic consequence to the western nations, particularly the USA, if oil prices were not stabilised.
I admit my reference to Iraq, where I meant all the middle east countries being inflenced by the Sadaam regime ,was misleading, but surely not so great an to incur your vitriol.
Is'nt it better to try to understand the big picture of someone's posting, rather than nit pick on a minor detail.

I'll continue to be polite to you; would you please reciprocate?


Posted by: Gadfly at October 2, 2003 at 01:24 PM


Commenting that I was confused, that you had something to teach me and that you were gently biting my bum was far from polite. You seemed determined to provoke a reaction so I obliged.

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