To Hell With The Republican Party

GOP dying? Good!”

Glenn Beck

Okay. I’m warning all of you who don’t like profanity to click away.

On Tuesday I heard yet another segment on television—perhaps the millionth by now— about what Republicans need to do to reform themselves.

Finally, I am here to say: Who gives a damn? Who cares what Republicans need to do to reform themselves? I used to. I used to care. Now I don’t. You know why? Because the party is beyond reform, that’s why.

As we get some bad economic news today—the economy didn’t grow last quarter—just think about why that is. The Republican Party has done its best to sabotage the economic recovery, mostly just because it hates Barack Obama and loves political power.

And think about this: My own senator, Roy Blunt, practically begged for funds for his constituents in Joplin, after a tornado ripped through our town in 2011. But then, when a super storm named Sandy ripped through the northeast, blunt2where all those goddamned liberals live, he said to hell with the goddamned liberals. He, and thirty-five other Republicans—most of whom have taken federal funds for disasters in their own states—voted “no” on Sandy relief.

Well, to hell with him, to hell with them, and to hell with the Republican Party.

I don’t like the GOP. I hate what it stands for. I want it to die and go away. I don’t want to waste time worrying if it can reform itself because those who mean to reform it sometimes sound as ridiculous as those who want it to remain the way it is, or, God forbid, make it worse.

Example: David Brooks is by all accounts one of the most reasonable Republicans on the planet and one who liberals love to cite. But when he can say that there ought to be a “second G.O.P.” and that this new G.O.P. would “be filled with people who recoiled at President Obama’s second Inaugural Address because of its excessive faith in centralized power,” there is no real hope for the party.

Did Brooks even watch that inaugural speech before he wrote that “excessive faith in centralized power” phrase? Are you kidding me? President Obama, in that speech, said this:

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.  Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.

Can David Brooks hear? Can he read? Is he having a love affair with Rush Limbaugh’s brain? Brooks said the new reformed group of Republicans would be one that “recoiled” at the “excessive faith in centralized power” that Obama expressed in his speech. Except that Obama expressed no such a thing.

What the President did do was explicitly acknowledge our national “skepticism of central authority” and called government-only solutions a “fiction,” and celebrated “initiative and David Brooks, serious typist for the Timesenterprise” and “hard work and personal responsibility,” which he called “constants in our character.”

Maybe David Brooks thinks only Republicans can seriously use language like that, I don’t know. But I do know there is something seriously wrong with a political party when a moderate member, one who gets accolades from Democrats like me for not being a crazy conservative, can grossly mischaracterize a Democratic speech and remain a respected “moderate.”

Okay, I admit I could tolerate a party full of David Brooks types, even if they say stupid things like “excessive faith in centralized power” when there was no excessive faith in centralized power.

But I can’t tolerate a party that would put a man like Reince Priebus back in charge. Priebus has been reelected as Republican National Committee chairman. He’s once again the official spokesman for the party.

Someone explain to me why a political party that supposedly wants to reform itself would put one of its most disgusting leaders of all time back on top. Oh, let me remind you of what this slimy bastard said while the tragedy in Benghazi was still warm:

reince priebus

If there were a God who gave a damn about this world, Reince Priebus would be putting out fires in hell about now. But instead, the creep has been put back in charge of the Republican Party, which may amount to the same job.

Not only is Priebus the leader of the Republicans’ War on Decency, he recently was auditioning for a part in the GOP’s War on Democracy. He favors Republican-controlled states “looking at” an outrageous scheme to thwart the will of the people by changing the way those states allocate Electoral College votes.

As if the Electoral College isn’t stupid enough without the Republican Party devising a way to make a future 47%-of-the-vote-getting presidential candidate the winner. Does anyone think a party that would even contemplate such a thing is redeemable? Huh?

Want more? I finally heard about remarks made last Saturday by newly elected Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz. The remarks were about two of President Obama’s picks for cabinet members, Democrat John Kerry—who has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star and a Bronze Star from his service in Vietnam—and Republican Chuck Hagel—who has two Purple Hearts and flesh-wrapped shrapnel from his time in Vietnam.

Here’s how HuffPo reported the remarks Cruz made on Saturday: 

“Okay, we’ve got two pending nominations, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel,” he said in responding to a question at the National Review Institute summit in Washington. “Both of whom are very prominently — “

Cruz took a pregnant pause. “Anti-us?” said a moderator.

“Less than ardent fans of the U.S. military,” he continued.

Can you believe that? Can you believe a man would first tolerate the moderator’s disgusting “anti-us” remark and then say that combat veterans and war heroes were not fans of the military? I can. That’s what this goddamned party has come to.

You can Google “Ted Cruz military service” and you will find that the arrogant SOB never served a day in the military, let alone won any medals, as did Kerry and Hagel. Cruz was, however, a champion debater at, uh, Princeton. Good for him, the brave asshole.

Lest you forget, Ted Cruz is one of the bright lights in the Republican Party. Political strategist Mark McKinnon, who like David Brooks gets credit for being a “moderate” Republican, called Cruz, “the Republican Barack Obama.”

That, my friends, is from the lips of a moderate Republican. There’s no hope for the party, is all one can conclude.

And there is no hope for a party that encourages law enforcement officials, in this case sheriffs, to disobey the law. All over the country these “lawmen” are saying they will not obey any of Obama’s executive orders related to guns. Here in Missouri, the Republican-drunk legislature may soon entertain a bill introduced by a gun-slinging legislator,

making it a felony to enforce any executive order or federal law that bans the possession of a semiautomatic firearm, among other provisions.

You tell me if such lawlessness by a political party can be fixed.

Finally, I will end this tirade with more on the gun issue and with what happened to Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old boy was killed at Sandy Hook. Heslin was testifying emotionally during a public hearing in Hartford, Connecticut. He was in favor of doing something positive, like changing our insane gun laws, sort of as a way to memorialize the dead.

Initial reports on Tuesday were that Heslin was “heckled by gun nuts” in the audience. That heckling meme made it all around the country in no time. Then what followed the heckling meme was another meme pushed by right-wingers:

No, a Sandy Hook parent did not get “heckled by gun nuts”

Well, I have seen the video. I watched Neil Heslin’s face. I heard his tortured words. I felt his pain. He was obviously still stunned by the death of his little boy. He was understandably full of emotion.  ‘THAT WAS THE LAST I SAW OF HIM’: Neil Heslin dropped off Jesse yesterday morning and planned to go back in the afternoon to help him make gingerbread houses.He was trying to find something good from the tragedy. He asked a rhetorical question,

Why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault style weapons or military weapons or high capacity clips?

Greeted with appropriate silence, Heslin then said,

And not one person can answer that question or give me an answer.

At that point, more than one person mouthed out ridiculous statements like “Second Amendment shall not be infringed” and “you will not infringe our rights.” Real classy folks.

Now, I don’t give a damn what you call this, whether you call it “heckling” or whether you call it something else. What I call it is indecent. And it is the Republican Party that has made the world safe for extremist gun freaks who don’t have the decency to respect a still-grieving father in a moment like that.

And it is the Republican Party that not only enables such indecency, but also enables those gun freaks who demand that they have the right to play with military-ish guns and fantasize about how they need those big-ass guns and clips to combat a tyrannical government. The Republican Party makes that possible.

Add all this up and more—I didn’t even mention the party’s still hot War on Women or that Marco Rubio had to kiss Rush Limbaugh’s ass and get his blessing on immigration reform—and, as far as I’m concerned, the once-great party of Lincoln is irredeemable, hopeless. And I don’t want to hear any more bullshit about its agonizing efforts to reform itself.


To sort of follow up on my outburst, I present below a stunning “Rewrite” segment from Lawrence O’Donnell’s Tuesday evening show. It’s about what happened to Neil Heslin:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
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  1. Duane,

    You are a little more extreme than I would have been in suggesting we dump the GOP. However, I think what we are seeing now is what John Dean warned us about in his 2006 book “Conservatives Without Conscience,” where he says:

    “Conservatism has noticeably evolved from it so-called modern phase (1950-1994) into what might be called a postmodern period (1994 to present,) and in doing so it has regressed to its earliest authoritarian roots. Authoritarianism is not well understood and seldom discussed in the contest of government and politics, yet it now constitutes the prevailing thinking and behavior among conservatives. Regrettably, empirical studied reveal that authoritarians are frequently enemies of freedom, anti-democratic, anti-equality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral. They are also often conservatives without conscience who are capable of plunging this nation into disasters the like of which we have never known.”

    It’s too bad the right wing extremists — the Tea Partyers, the American Taliban – cannot see themselves for what they are. They live in a bubble thinking it will protect them from their own paranoia and so that they won’t find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to show compassion or empathy, or anything that might be construed as altruism. We might call it Breitbartistan in honor of their altruistically challenged and modern day Machiavelli, Andrew Breitbart, who is the very embodiment of John Dean’s above description, or he would be if he hadn’t died last year.

    All that said, and as a now retired Republican, I do hope the party of Lincoln can find it’s way back to sanity.



    • Herb,

      Oh, I realize the piece I wrote was a little “extreme,” and I realize a lot of people feel the way you do (and I used to) that:

       I do hope the party of Lincoln can find it’s way back to sanity.

      But think about what you quoted from Dean’s excellent “Conservatives Without Conscience” :

      Authoritarianism is not well understood and seldom discussed in the contest of government and politics, yet it now constitutes the prevailing thinking and behavior among conservatives. Regrettably, empirical studied reveal that authoritarians are frequently enemies of freedom, anti-democratic, anti-equality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral.

      I read Dean’s book years ago and honestly I did not really take entirely seriously what he was trying to say. Now I do. And I would ask you, given that you apparently agree with Dean, how is it possible for a party to reform itself when it is not only full of authoritarian type personalities and pundits and politicians, but also embraces forms of authoritarianism as part of its philosophical foundation (for instance, on women’s reproductive rights or voter suppression tactics)?

      In other words, think of history’s experience with authoritarians and authoritarianism and tell me how many individuals reformed themselves or entities moved away from it voluntarily?



  2. The innocent patriotic folks who have clung to the GOP because they “think” it’s the party of patriots should be scared do-do-less (trying to clean up Duane’s bad language) by Republican efforts to thwart democracy with this insane voter-repression-electoral-college-gerrymandered-preserve-the GOP-at-all-costs plan. The elephants are not patriots. They are tools of big-business, the gun makers and the rich — and as such are classic fascists. They are. Get this straight, America: these people don’t give two poots about you needing jobs or education or health care or personal and national security. The GOP faithful live to serve the GOP. The current GOP is so riddled with gangrene that the amputations needed to allow it to live would leave it much smaller and immobile. So — let it die. Other groups will replace it: some rational, some weird and crazy. People can then pick from better defined positions with which to align themselves. That is better than embracing a “tradition” so radically co-opted by hate, greed, and repression that it bears no resemblance its own definition.


    • Generalist,

      Thanks, by the way, for cleaning up my bad language.

      Speaking of language, I resist the use of the term “classic fascists” to describe the party in general. I do so not just because of the historical connotations, but because I personally know a lot of Republicans who don’t fit that description and in fact are just as upset about the corporate influence in our society as many Democrats are, even though they aid and abet it by staying with the party (a lot of the Republicans I know, believe it or not, are union people, some of them union activists).

      Oh, I recognize why you or others are tempted to use such language, given what the party as a whole tends to stand for. I just don’t think using terms like fascist helps us make our point. It tends to make people ignore what we are trying to say, rather than address the specifics.

      Having said that, I certainly agree that letting the party die is preferable to people continuing to embrace,

      a “tradition” so radically co-opted by hate, greed, and repression that it bears no resemblance [to] its own definition.

      I think you succinctly described why I have given up on the Republican Party reforming itself.



      • Fair enough. No more use of the “F” word to describe the GOP as a body. Your point is (as always) well taken.


  3. Anonymous

     /  January 30, 2013

    You have to give the Republican Party a lot of credit here. They have turned the working man against his own welfare in so many ways. I watched the Henry Ford documentary on PBS last night. I was struck by the fact that Mr Ford looked at the wealthy investors of his many projects as the “leaches” and that beside money, they offered nothing. It was said he loathed them. Mr Ford was more in touch with the working man and the rural farmers, those that make up much of today’s Republican Party. His goals of affordable autos for everyone was truly admirable in my opinion. However, today’s working man Republican does not worship those that care to provide jobs and decent living conditions. They worship wealth, no matter how it is achieved. (Romney) They praise the talking heads such as Beck, Rush, and Hannity who only provide fear and anger for them. These men call anyone wanting decent pay and benefits the leaches. They have a large part of Americans convinced that Soc Security, which they have paid into, is nothing more than folks asking for a hand out. I find this truly amazing that so many find words of anger something to praise. Congrats to Beck and Co., I do not know how they do it!

    On a side note, I see Joplin (1-30-13 Globe) has secured some more of that useless, no- good, rotten, debt raising Federal money. Surely they plan to return it specifically to pay down the debt. NOT!



    • Kabe,

      Yes, it is amazing how the right has turned working people against their own interests. It is a monumental, if destructive, achievement.

      And your point about Joplinites, most of them not fans of big guv’mint, and their willingness to scramble after federal bucks is right on point. We have witnessed almost two years of such hypocrisy around here, haven’t we?



  4. RDG,
    A political party becomes brain dead when Sarah Palin, former half-term governor and VP candidate, can describe Raul Revere’s midnight ride like this without dodging long handled butterfly nets:

    “He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells, and, um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free, and we were gonna be armed.”


    • You know, Juan, the odd thing about what you posted is that I can’t tell if you made it up or she actually said it! That’s our Sarah!

      By the way, speaking of John McCain’s most important decision of his career, here is something you might like about Palin and her million-dollar-a-year-gig on Fox:

      A Smart Politics review of the more than 150 FOX broadcasts in which Sarah Palin appeared as a paid commentator from 2010 through 2012 finds that she spoke 189,221 words on air during this span, for an average pay rate of $15.85 per word.

      Worth every penny!



      • I admit I’m jealous over her former price-per-word pay. Someone with unlimited free time counted 110 “amens” tossed into her usual word salads. I’ll let Anson do the math on that one and determine if Fox News is living within their means. She did say that, by the way. But I believe she was holding a big corn dog at the time, so perhaps her train of thought was distracted by the fetching aroma of hot state fair Jiffy Mix.


  5. I agree entirely–let the Republican Party die. With greedy leeches like Roy Blunt, who went from a county job to Congress and is now a multimillionaire (on an average of 150,000 a year–add it up, folks), the party will fail. The changing demographics of the electorate will see to that.


    • Jim,

      I’m glad you brought up Roy’s rags to riches government career. We all need reminded of that now and then. Gov’mint has been very, very good to him!



  6. King Beauregard

     /  January 31, 2013

    In my more inflammatory moments, I sometimes describe the Civil Rights Act as the worst mistake the Democrats ever made, politically speaking. To be sure it was the right thing to do; nearly 100 years after the Civil War, much of the country (most of the South plus much of the North) hadn’t voluntarily opted to grant any measure of equality to blacks, so the Democrats spearheaded the effort to fix that. And in doing so, not only did the Democrats give up their solid majorities in Congress, they handed Republicans a new core constituency: angry whites.

    Any initiative that knocks one’s own party to secondary status for 50 years, while supercharging the other party, has got to rate as a mistake from a purely political perspective.

    In all fairness, Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly supported the Civil Rights Act when it came to a vote. So good for them for that; they were still decent human beings back then. It’s in the years and decades that followed that they let the Southern Strategy change the way they did business, appealing to the very worst instincts of the American voter. They put themselves at war with morality and basic human decency, and then finally with facts and intelligence. All in service to their new core constituency, all the while claiming to be champions of morality and American culture.

    So fine, Republican Party, you wanted your Culture War; you got it. And you are losing, badly. You are even doing what the aggressors in any war do when the tide turns against them: you seize on whatever new crazy strategy you think might defer your well-deserved reckoning for another day. It’s no longer about winning, it’s about postponing the inevitable, no matter how much damage you do to this country you profess to love.

    Time to put the Republican Party out of our misery. They will not be missed.


    • King B,

      Your mention of the role Republicans in Congress played on civil rights (not to mention the sad story of Southern Democrats) reminded me of Geoffrey Kabaservice’s excellent (and quite detailed) book: Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party (Studies in Postwar American Political Development).

      Reading that book one realizes how far the GOP has devolved from its post-war condition. And it gives one an idea of just how nasty and destructive is the element that eventually wrestled control of the party from those on the right who had embraced the need for New Deal policies.

      Oddly, reading that book last year helped bring me to the conclusion that the party’s attempts to reform itself won’t work. Once these extremist conservatives got control of it, they won’t let go without destroying it first. They don’t care about the party. They are using it much like the Ichneumonidae uses its caterpillar host, which I described in a piece I wrote in 2009, Darwin’s Wasp.

      It’s a sad state of affairs, really. Because the country needs two parties to check each other in terms of corruption, both of governance and of ideology. But the two parties have to have leaders who are willing to acknowledge the legitimacy of each other. Those who control the GOP today refuse to admit that Barack Obama specifically and the Democratic Party generally have any title to govern.



  7. ansonburlingame

     /  January 31, 2013

    No way can I rebut all of the above in a comment and will not try to do so. But I will write my own blog in rebuttal. All Americans share an “American Dream”. Some try hard to figure out a way to “buy it”, a Dream and others just think a “good dream” can be made real with sufficient government power!!.

    Dreams, hopes, aspirations can be made to “come true”. So can fears of failure, loss of things held dear, etc. The reality of life for any human is a mixture of achieving good things and doing without others, a balance if you will in anyone’s life. No government at any time in history has ever been able to provide the “dreams” for all and shielded all against the visicitudes of life. But for 230 + years America has made more progress in that direction than any other form of government, so far, with a two party democratic system.

    Conservative ideas have as much “right” in political debate as do liberal ones. God forebid that we lose that political balance. Just consider the French Revolution, the “reign of terror”. Then go read my blog (along with comments thereto) supporting gun control and the reaction of the right (locally) against that idea. Millions of Americans seem to believe today that armed insurrection is becoming the only choice. God help us all if or when that happens.

    But I will add that we are closer to such a flash point of resistance than I have ever seen in America in my lifetime.



    • Anson,

      I respect your stance on the gun issue, one of the few areas you and I can find any common ground.

      And as for your point about the two-party system, I direct you to my comments to King Beauregard above in which I said,

      It’s a sad state of affairs, really. Because the country needs two parties to check each other in terms of corruption, both of governance and of ideology. But the two parties have to have leaders who are willing to acknowledge the legitimacy of each other. Those who control the GOP today refuse to admit that Barack Obama specifically and the Democratic Party generally have any title to govern.

      If there is ever any “armed insurrection,” it will come because the Republican Party has not only demonized but has delegitimized Democratic governance. My biggest problem with the GOP is not its “conservative ideas,” but its insistence that those ideas must prevail or else.

      And time will tell whether “or else” means causing our economy to collapse or something worse.



    • King Beauregard

       /  January 31, 2013

      “Conservative ideas have as much ‘right’ in political debate as do liberal ones.”

      Just an observation. You know how you find your fellow conservatives utterly intractable and unreasonable when it comes to guns? That is how you (and your fellow conservatives) are ON EVERY OTHER TOPIC.


      • That, my friend, is spot on. It’s sort of like how Sam Harris is fond of saying to fundamentalists and other dogmatic Christian believers that the attitude they have toward Allah (they are cocksure he doesn’t exist) is the same attitude atheists have toward the God of Israel.



  8. ansonburlingame

     /  January 31, 2013

    Not intending to be self-promoting, just an attempt at dialogue. Go to if you can bear to read a conservative opinion, once in a while.



  9. To all,

    I watched some of the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing this morning on C-Span. What struck me is the vast gulf in worldviews between the Dems and the Republicans..

    And if John McCain is the titular head of the GOP, then he is a large part of the problems that exist in his party. McCain grilled Hagel about the “surge” in Iraq and whether he, Hagel , was wrong about it working and about saying it was a bad policy. Hagel tried to explain, but McCain kept interrupting him, demanding a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Hagel continued to say that he would “let history decide” that decision. But, McCain wasn’t having any of it. He’s firmly on the side of the right wing-nuts. He sees the world as black or white, right and wrong, you are with us or you are against us.

    Now most intelligent, educated adults know that the world is highly complex, that there are lots of gray areas not so easily dismissed, and that simple answers to complex questions are, as H. L. Mencken put it, “clear, simple, and wrong.”

    As long as this close-minded and “my way or the highway” mentality pervades the Republican Party, then it’s time for the GOP to grow up and act like adults. If they are incapable of doing that, which, sadly, now appears to be the case, then, as much as it pains me, I would have to agree with Glen Beck; the GOP is dying.

    I’m sure this confrontation between Hagel and McCain will be on tonight’s news, so check it out and you’ll see what I mean.


    p.s.; If you can find a profile picture of Ted Cruz somewhere, see if you agree with me that he looks exactly like a young Joe McCarthy. Scary.


    • I also watched part of the hearings. I saw the John McCain “questioning,” which wasn’t really questioning but McCain’s attempt to get a sound byte for Fox “News,” as well as make the world aware that Hagel disagreed with John McCain’s “surge” strategy.

      Hagel, by the way, refused to give McCain what he wanted, saying that it was much to complex to answer with a yes or no because, for God’s sake, the jury’s still out on the issue.

      Ted Cruz also made a fool of himself, which will make him very popular with Sean Hannity tonight, I am sure.

      By the way, I will post a picture of Cruz and McCarthy because I can see the scary resemblance. But I happen to think he looks more like Bono:

      cruz and mccarthey and bono


  10. ansonburlingame

     /  January 31, 2013


    I suggest you read my linked blog above and join the fray from such.

    But I will make one small point. Kerry was recently confirmed and should have been as he was a “reasonable” choice by this President. But it makes me SICK to hear him paraded around as a loyal and “decorated” American military man. What Kerry did in his protests against the American military while still in uniform was despicable to me. Was he a “traitor”. Of course not, any more than General McChrystal a “traitor” as well. But both men were wrong in what they did and said while still in uniform, in my view.

    I found Kerry, Lt. Kerry way back when to be a supporter of “hippies” running around naked on the Mall in DC.

    As for Hagel still awaiting the “results of history” to decide whether the Patraeus surge in Iraq was right or wrong, well BALONEY. NO decision maker can await history to make a decision. He has to ACT NOW when things go wrong, like in Benghazi. And you can bet your bippy our NCA under Hagel won’t have the luxury of waiting on history to decide when or how to protect and defend America or Americans. Bad things, for America, happen fast in today’s world and our leaders must be ready and willing to act accordingly, for the sake of America and Americans.

    Is McCain and “idiot” for probbing Hagel’s sentiments in such matters before he is confirmed?

    But in the end we all know full well Hagel will be confirmed as well do we not. After all elections do have consequences and if we get a SECDEF “waiting on history” to make a decision, well so be it!!!

    I would also point out that being wounded in battle does NOT make a national leader on its own. Some even believe Kerry shot himself, mistakenly and received a Purple Heart in doing so. So what in my view. HIS purple heart should not be a point, one way or the other in confirming him for the job of SECSTATE, or Hagel for SECDEF as well.

    All I want in both cases is a lack of dysfunction in the NCA, a position that both men will have strong influence upon in the next four years. No more “riding bicycles”, “McChrystal affairs” or “Benghazis” is my primary goal in the future.



    • Anson,
      Since this is a liberal blog, please provide color photos of “hippies running around naked on the Mall in DC.” As a historian, I would prefer examples of young naked female hippies. It is true there are “some” who believe Kerry shot himself in order to receive a Purple Heart. “Some” even believe that Kerry persuaded Jane Fonda to shoot him in order to elevate his anti-American status with Hollywood Liberals. The “some” could be be the same “they” who continue to beat the dead horse called “Benghazi.” I agree with you when you say, “So what.” We are in complete agreement.


    • Anson,

      If you have any evidence for the following statement, please present it:

      What Kerry did in his protests against the American military while still in uniform was despicable to me.

      Protests against the military while still in uniform? Kerry was on active duty until 1970, then in the reserve, which, as I understand it, does not obliged him to not protest unless on active duty. As I said, present your evidence or retract the statement.  John Kerry as suffered enough from the smear campaign on the right, including your suggestion here that,

      Some even believe Kerry shot himself, mistakenly and received a Purple Heart in doing so.

      I don’t think you would like it if I found someone in the Navy who didn’t like your leadership and slandered you, then I printed it for public discussion. Would you?

      I think you need to back up what you wrote here or revise it.



  11. Robert J Roberts

     /  January 31, 2013

    Just in case a radical NRA member is reading, this is a bit of sarcasm.

    The NRA folks have convinced me. To hell with regulation. We need more, bigger, nastier guns, not less. An occasional massacre is the price we have to pay for our Second Amendment rights. Neal Heslin and other parents of slaughtered children will just have to accept this. Maybe they can have more children, if not, that’s just too bad.


    • Robert,

      What you wrote is essentially the essence of the testimony Wayne LaPierre gave in that Senate hearing.

      How sad is that?



  12. ansonburlingame

     /  February 1, 2013

    Duane first,

    I recall watching clips of Lt. Kerry, testifying while in uniform before some committee in Congress. He was anti-Vietnam and stating the passions of “hippies” in that testimony, the details of which I would have to “research” to find applicable phrases.

    At the time of such testimony, I was a junior officer serving my country. The “despicablility” was my own reaction to Kerry at that time. Why in the hell does any Navy Lt. think they are so all wise to provide Congressional testimony on monumental national interests???

    To the lesser comments above,

    In about 1968 (maybe 69), I was in civilian clothes and with my wife visiting the DC area. We toured the Mall during a major “live in protest” with some 100,000 “hippies” camped out on the Mall, living in tents, etc. Many were naked as jaybirds, swimming in the reflection pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Others within the tents were in the same form of dress doing “things” other than swimming!!!

    Most of you are probably too young to have experienced such things long ago and certainly none of your did so with the same “training” that I had endured, training and education that contributed to many of my political beliefs. But even then I did not reject their rights to protest. I just hated the way they went about it and could not believe that such antics would influence popular opinion. I was wrong for sure, on the public opinion front but still thought such politics was “F….” crazy!!!

    Finally to Juan,

    I restrain myself in responding. I am sure you noted that your comment “over there” recently was simple trash talk and you got it right back in your face, not from me, but……

    If you really believe that the NCA should be allowed to flounder around and let Americans be killed in a crisis, then for sure you will consider Benghazi to be a “dead horse”. That is a typical political response to a problem, say it is NOT a problem!!! That way you don’t have to address solutions. Sure sounds like the Dem response to issues related to debt as well as a dysfunctional NCA in a crisis. Next consider what “our NCA” might do when……..

    Put the word “nuclear” in all those dots and think about it. The add “Iran” in there as well.

    To any others lurking,

    “This is a liberal blog…..” So what? Oh, I know. “To Hell with…….”



    • Sorry, Anson. But I can’t let you off the hook on John Kerry that easily. You wrote,

      …it makes me SICK to hear him paraded around as a loyal and “decorated” American military man.

      When you say something like that you have an obligation to explain why he wasn’t “loyal.” You did not so explain. As far as I’m concerned, you have slandered him and have provided no evidence to support your contention. That’s wrong and you should know better.



  13. ansonburlingame

     /  February 6, 2013

    OK, Duane, you asked and I respond, briefly, I hope,

    First my views about Kerry “back then” are personal views and based on my service in uniform at the time. Recall I was unable to wear my uniform in public in many cities to avoid physical confrontation with protestors in the early 70’s or so. I was deemed a “baby killer”.

    Then Kerry shows up IN UNIFORM and basically reenforces that concept of our men under arms in Vietnam. And he based such testimony on his own views while serving on river boats, a dangerous and very stressful job. Basically he was calling his comrades under arms a bunch of ……. THAT is what I saw and heard, far more than a critique of the NCA decisions to put those men over there in the first place.

    Mai Lai was in the “news” as well during that period, as I recall, and Kerry reenforced that view of our troops in Vietnam, all of our troops or so it seemed to me.

    Recall during the same era the Jane Fonda picture on a gun mount in North Vietnam. Both Kerry and Fonda were vehemently opposed to that war, and yes both had a “right” to stand and speak their views. But I as well get to object to such views, views that insinuated that my “comrades under arms” were “baby killers”.

    I had many college classmates that served in Vietnam and some, about 75 or so that died there as well. You can bet your bippy that NONE of them were as depicted by many that opposed that war. Go to Memorial Hall, a hallowed place, at USNA and read the names of men that have died in uniform, all of them alumni for my college, and some of them classmates that died in Vietnam. The go review the Kerry testimony. As far as I know not a single one of those names deserve being “spit upon”.

    Had Kerry as a young man, a LT in the Navy, the same Navy in which I was a LT at the same time testified before Congress to critique NCA decisionmaking only over Vietnam, then so what. My only comment about such was what the hell does a young LT know about such lofty matters.

    But Kerry attacked my “comrades”, my “friends”, people whom I had attended college with, and by extension me and the men with whom I was serving, honorably and working hard to do so at the time of his testimony.

    I did not like it then and still don’t like it. No, that does not mean he should not be SECSTATE. But trust him and his judgment, no way from me personally. And I did not need any Swift Boat ads to make me feel that way. But I will say that there were some grains of truth, at least to a degree in those old ads. Sailors in uniform should NEVER be politicans. Kerry did that and descredited me and many that I knew at the time.



    • Anson,

      You said that Kerry “discredited me and many that I knew at the time,” with his testimony before Congress in 1971. Yet, you don’t explain how telling the truth about Vietnam discredited anyone. Kerry poignantly asked,

      We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

      Are you telling me that such a thing discredited you? Huh?

      For your illumination, I am here posting his testimony and after carefully reading it, please explain to me how Kerry “attacked” your “comrades” or “friends” by simply relaying what Vietnam vets testified to both seeing and doing while there. In my opinion, such testimony eventually helped make for a better military:

      I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit – the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

      They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

      We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term Winter Soldier is a play on words of Thomas Paine’s in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriots and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

      We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out….

      In our opinion and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

      We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

      We found most people didn’t even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese or American.

      We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism – and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.

      We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

      We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.

      We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while month after month we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against “oriental human beings.” We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater. We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and after losing one platoon or two platoons they marched away to leave the hill for reoccupation by the North Vietnamese. We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn’t lose, and we couldn’t retreat, and because it didn’t matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point, and so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 81s and Fire Base 6s, and so many others.

      Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnamizing the Vietnamese.

      Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can’t say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be, and these are his words, “the first President to lose a war.”

      We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?….We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying as human beings to communicate to people in this country – the question of racism which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions such as the use of weapons; the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. That is what we are trying to say. It is part and parcel of everything.

      An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly. He told me how as a boy on an Indian reservation he had watched television and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, “my God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people,” and he stopped. And that is what we are trying to say, that we think this thing has to end.

      We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We’re here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They’ve left the real stuff of their reputations bleaching behind them in the sun in this country….

      We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission – to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more. And more. And so when thirty years from now our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say “Vietnam” and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.


      • Here’s the thing. Always! War is hell. We glorify it with holidays and “patriotism” and monuments, but for good men to kill other men (usually fueled by greed or a philosophical abstraction or religious fundamentalism — or some twisted combination of those) each side must dehumanize the other. That tole is demonstrated when the “killers” look into the actual human eyes of their victims and is felt in their own (the killer/defenders) self-dehumanization. My grandfathers both served in the Great War. My dad was a decorated WWII Army Air Corps vet, but he wept when he considered all the German fighter pilots he and his machine gun shot down (killed) from the waist of his B17. Without weapons, it’s hard to wage war. Oh, assholes will always figure out how to take from someone else, but mostly it’s hard to have swagger when you’re in a bare knuckles situation.


  14. ansonburlingame

     /  February 6, 2013

    Good research Duane,

    But go back and reread Kerry’s tales of what Americans did to the enemy and, yes, some civilians in Vietnam. Rape, cutting off ears, etc., etc. He was reenforcing in very vivid terms the horrors of Mai Lai and he blamed everyone from the troops doing so to the ENTIRE chain of command. The American public got the impression of every Army Lt. being a Lt Calley!!!

    Rereading that testimony, the all encompassing blame laid on many people in uniform at the time, well it makes me sick all over again.

    Duane war is hell as I am sure you have heard. The simple fact is those kinds of things happen in all wars from both sides. But the people in uniform that do so are few and far between (at least in the American military) and certainly the “entire chain of command” in no way supports such actions.

    I seriously doubt that the ILLEGAL actions by some of our troops was any more or less egregious tham past actions by our and other troops in just about any war. But TV and intense press coverage brought that war into American living rooms to a much greater extent than did previous wars.

    The HORRORS of war are just that, horrors, whether legal or illegal. Imagine if you can the “babies and children” under the bombs at Dresden or later Tokyo. THAT is WAR, horrible as it is. Vietnam was no different in that aspect based on my reading of history and the tales of comrades that in fact served in combat in Vietnam. I did not serve therein. I instead was on a submarine armed with 16 nuclear warheads pointed at the heart of Red China during many of those years.

    Kerry could have well limited his remarks to the geopolitical reasons why he thought Vietnam was wrong. But he chose not to do so, limit his comments to NCA directions. Instead he accused many men serving honorably for dishonorable conduct, at least by implication.

    It would be like me testifying before Congress launching a critique of Post Office problems (of which I know little about) and use crazy mail clerks as a basis for my views!!!

    At the time Lt. Kerry knew little or nothing about geopolitics. But he tried to “show his stuff” by exposing rape, cutting off ears, etc that he may or may not have observed. Such public condemnation of men trying to be honorable and MOST being honorable, was wrong, misguided, etc. IMHO and we still see Vietnam Vets suffering under that blanket condemnation today. Fonda, Kerry and others are on my “list” because of such unneeded condemnation of the TROOPS.



    • Anson,

      I have no argument with you that war, anyplace, anytime, is a horror.

      What Kerry seemed to be saying (at least as I read it) was that such barbaric incidents were more common in Vietnam than people wanted to admit. And he was actually standing up for the soldiers on the ground, some of whom, he claimed, did horrific things because of the nature of the Vietnam war itself and because of deficiencies in command.

      You said Kerry “accused many men serving honorably for dishonorable conduct, at least by implication.” I don’t see that at all. He chose not to limit his remarks to “the geopolitical reasons why he thought Vietnam was wrong” because he felt so personally the frustrations and dehumanization that those soldiers in Detroit testified to. I see exactly no “condemnation of the TROOPS” in his remarks, but instead see a plea for their rescue from an unwinnable and fundamentally misguided war.

      And speaking of your postal reference, there was some alleged relationship between the pressurized atmosphere in the Postal Service and the people who went nuts and gunned down supervisors and others in post offices. Much time was investigated to figure out that relationship. After the Royal Oak post office murders in 1991, the USPS even signed a “Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace” agreement with the union, which among other things said,

      We openly acknowledge that in some places or units there is an unacceptable level of stress in the workplace; that there is no excuse for and will be no tolerance of violence or any threats of violence by anyone at any level of the Postal Service; and that there is no excuse for and will be no tolerance of harassment, intimidation, threats, or bullying by anyone.

      Those things, for a time, defined the workplace conditions of post offices all around the country, even though any one post office might not have such conditions. And while it would be wrong to condemn the entire postal workforce as killers, the point for the postal shootings investigations—and for John Kerry—was that the nature of the environment had something to do with the outrageous and uncivilized behavior on the part of some.



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