Reading Hugh Hewit’s post this morning where he discussed his appearance yesterday in the Campaign 2008 panel at this week’s Los Angeles Book Festival of Books, I realized I had intended to blog on both and the fair.
Building on his point (which I referenced here) about the weakness of the two leading Democratic candidates, Hugh writes the “Dems look more and more like Thelma and Louise headed for the cliff.”
More on that panel anon. First, about the fair itself. Given my love for books, I expected to leave with an armful, but surprised myself in buying only one–and that deeply discounted.
Every time I go to such gatherings or just visit to a large bookstore, I am impressed by the diversity of the offerings. I saw booths selling books (in one case, offering free Qu’rans) about Islam, others specializing in fantasy (and science) fiction, others in graphic novels, several in Buddhism and related themes, a number selling mysteries and other detective stories. The list goes on. And on.
I took note of at least four booths hawking left-wing books and information, ACLU of Southern California, Haymarket books, Leftbooks.com and the Nation Magazine. Puts truth to the left-wing lie about the “fascism” of the Bush era. If our nation were becoming fascistic, then such booksellers would not be able to display their anti-Administration, in some cases, anti-American, wares so openly.
In the aforementioned panel, the LA Times (the organizer of the event) offered a platform to outspoken Bush critic Robert Scheer. Neither the former Times columnist’s mean-spirited rhetoric nor his frequent misrepresentations of fact deterred the paper from inviting this left-wing blogger and columnist.
And Scheer did not disappoint, offering servings of angry rhetoric laced with regular distortions of the Bush record–and of conservatives in general. And he repeated the liberal/MSM notion that Hillary’s campaign tactics are right out of Rove’s playbook. Original these people aren’t.
I thought Hugh and co-panelist American Enterprise Institute fellow and National Review blogger/columnist David Frum had the better of the argument, but will give credit to the other liberal on the panel, blogger and former Howard Dean webmaster, Garrett M. Graff, for at least attempting to keep the conversation civil and not engaging in the kind of factual fantasy and rhetorical overkill which characterized Scheer’s comments.
The audience, as Hugh noted, was clearly titled toward Obama supporters given their frequent applause whenever a panelist said something praising the Illinois Senator — or criticizing the incumbent President of the United States.
Noting this enthusiasm and building on Hugh’s point that Obama is “unelectable,” David Frum said those on the left need to distinguish between what they would like to be true and what is true.
He also noted that Hillary and McCain were among the most well-known figures in American politics (a notion I may get to in a future post). I thought he made a great point when he said that while part of Obama’s appeal is his claim he can transcend the cultural divide of the last forty years, his past associations, notably William Ayers, will make it impossible for him to do this.
Or, as Hugh put it in his post this morning, “Ayers destroy Obama’s appeal as a non-ideological reformer from the center of the American mainstream, especially in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.”
Scheer really seemed obsessed with Bush, almost as if he wanted the campaign this year to be about the incumbent who can’t run for reelection instead of the candidates who are running to succeed him. He called Bush “the biggest disaster in US history” (to enthusiastic and sustained applause). Guess he missed the Carter years. And didn’t study the Administration of James Buchanan.
I was impressed that Hugh and David Frum maintained their cool despite Scheer’s outbursts and accusations.
I just wondered why the LA Times would dignify such a man by inviting him to participate. Certainly, the paper could have chosen some more civil liberals, those who at least take the time to understand the arguments of the conservatives they critique. They did have one in Garrett Graff.
It is a sad commentary on the state of political affairs in America when such blowhards are given platforms. It may have made for more interesting political theater, but his presence there made a serious discussion increasingly unlikely.
Just something that intrigues me, how the MSM welcomes and encourages extremists from the left, but would readily dismiss (as well they should) those on the right with similar rhetoric — and a parallel disregard for the facts of the situations they consider and the ideas of the politicians and pundits they malign.