January 19, 2009

Christopher Hitchens Is a Horrible Excuse for a Human Being [Dan Collins]

What a terrible man Christopher Hitchens is, to throw this in the face of the O! celebration:

But, on the last day of his presidency, I want to say why I still do not wish that Al Gore had beaten George W. Bush in 2000 or that John Kerry had emerged the victor in 2004.

In Oliver Stone’s not very good but surprisingly well-received film W., there is an unnoticed omission, or rather there is an event that does not occur on-screen. The crashing of two airliners into two large skyscrapers isn’t shown (and is only once and very indirectly referred to). This cannot be because it wouldn’t have been of any help in making Bush look bad; it’s pretty generally agreed that he acted erratically that day and made the worst speech of his presidency in the evening, and why would Stone miss the chance of restaging My Pet Goat?

The answer, I am reasonably certain, is that it is the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that explain the transformation of George Bush from a rather lazy small-government conservative into an interventionist, in almost every sense, politician. The unfortunate thing about this analysis, from the liberal point of view, is that it leaves such little room for speculation about his Oedipal relationship with his father, his thwarted revenge fantasies about Saddam Hussein, his dry-drunk alcoholism, and all the rest of it. (And, since Laura Bush in the film is even more desirable than the lovely first lady in person, we are left yet again to wonder how such a dolt was able to woo and to win such a honey.)

We are never invited to ask ourselves what would have happened if the Democrats had been in power that fall. But it might be worth speculating for a second. The Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act, rushed through both Houses by Bill Clinton after the relative pin prick of the Oklahoma City bombing, was correctly described by the American Civil Liberties Union as the worst possible setback for the cause of citizens’ rights. Given that precedent and multiplying it for the sake of proportion, I think we can be pretty sure that wiretapping and water-boarding would have become household words, perhaps even more quickly than they did, and that we might even have heard a few more liberal defenses of the practice. I don’t know if Gore-Lieberman would have thought of using Guantanamo Bay, but that, of course, raises the interesting question—now to be faced by a new administration—of where exactly you do keep such actually or potentially dangerous customers, especially since you are not supposed to “rendition” them. There would have been a nasty prison somewhere or a lot of prisoners un-taken on the battlefield, you can depend on that.

We might have avoided the Iraq war, even though both Bill Clinton and Al Gore had repeatedly and publicly said that another and conclusive round with Saddam Hussein was, given his flagrant defiance of all the relevant U.N. resolutions, unavoidably in our future. And the inconvenient downside to avoiding the Iraq intervention is that a choke point of the world economy would still be controlled by a psychopathic crime family that kept a staff of WMD experts on hand and that paid for jihadist suicide bombers around the region. In his farewell interviews, President Bush hasn’t been able to find much to say for himself on this point, but I think it’s a certainty that historians will not conclude that the removal of Saddam Hussein was something that the international community ought to have postponed any further. (Indeed, if there is a disgrace, it is that previous administrations left the responsibility undischarged.)

Really? Well today’s a day for me to thank President Bush and his administration. And this will have to do. But if I ever meet the Man from Crawford or any of his family, I will let him know that I am one of those benighted few who thought that he was a good President. God bless and keep you, GWB.

Tomorrow belongs to Barack.

Posted by Dan Collins @ 7:00pm
62 comments | Trackback

Comments (62)

  1. I’ll demur on the “good President” evaluation. There were too many unforced errors, sins of omission and missed opportunities for that. But that Bush executed his primary task of keeping America safe after 911 is true, and for that I am grateful.

  2. I really like Bush. As a person (from what i know) and as a President. I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt that some of things he did that I wasn’t so fond of he did for reasons of give-and-take which can’t be discussed among the general public.

    And, I know for 100% that he did a better job that Gore or Kerry would have. 110%

  3. What the fuck would Hitchens know about being a dry drunk?

  4. And, I know for 100% that he did a better job that Gore or Kerry would have. 110%.

    Either that, or they would have done roughly what W did, only with the approbation of the MSM, Hollywood, and the eastern liberal elites, which would lead to our country being in great shape in Jan 2009 instead of being in lousy shape.

  5. Tomorrow belongs to me. Fuck Obama and his horde of zombies.

  6. Bush let me down in many ways, and came through in many more. As I’ve mentioned in other threads, I believe that he will ultimately be vindicated vis-a-vis the Iraq war; much like Hitchens says here…

    And i do feel that Gore and Kerry would not only have screwed the pooch with respect to the war on terror, but the financial meltdown would have proceeded exactly as it has; except for Soros and his offshore hedge fund buddies adding the exclamation point to it in September to ensure the election of their guy….

    Now we’ll see what it’s like when they own the situation. Oh to be sure, it will be like when Clinton took over from big Bush. The identical unemployment figures will suddenly be hope inspiring, and consumer confidence will always be rising. Further, instead of seeing doom and gloom on the evening news, we’ll suddenly be treated to an optimism that will seem absolutely foreign to anyone who’s kept up with the stories of the last 8 years. And, any opposition to Obama will be villified as obstructionist, contrasted with the principled stands taken by the actual obstructionist Democrats in congress between 2000 and 2006…

    But, I have faith that, although they haven’t seen this kind of behavior since the ’90s, after being treated to his hypocrisy, and actually recognizing Obama’s walk-backs and flip-flops, the American people will come to realize that they have been a victim of a vast left wing conspiracy…

  7. Curtis, best known for his dissenting opinion in Dred Scott, on visiting Washington during another failed war and presidency: “… It is painful to be here, because the ruin of the country & its cause
    & progress are meeting you at every turn. I know of no man of sense
    here who has any hope for the restoration of the union. I have seen a
    good many prominent men today, (Newyears being a festival, when
    everybody goes to see everybody & his wife,) & I have not seen one who
    does not say the country is ruined fe that its ruin is attributable largely
    to the utter incompetence of the Prest. … He is shattered, dazed &
    utterly foolish. It would not surprise me if he were to destroy himself.
    There are no longer any elements of safety, but in the State govern-
    ments. , . . I suppose Mas tts [Massachusetts] will be as self sufficient and
    self willed as ever. … It is quite certain that a very unfriendly feeling
    towards her now exists in the West & N. West, & a western member of
    the cabinet told me decidedly that if a division of the country should
    take place, it would not be an East & West line. He evidently had little
    hope. . . . This is but a gloomy picture: but it is the best I can find,
    as the country & its affairs are seen from this place. . . .”
    Kinda funny Obama is claiming the mantle of Lincoln when the press and pundits and Dem Copperheads of today have already, in word and deed, bestowed that gift on Bush. If anything Lincoln was more hated and more maligned. On the other hand a “mission accomplished” sign on an aircraft carrier is small turnips compared to closing down the recruiting service in April of 1862 because the war was all but won and who needs fresh troops. Bush is no Lincoln, but neither was Lincoln. Not sure what’s going to become of Iraq, but that in of itself is a major accomplishment and with keeping the terrorists out of the Union post 9/11, enough for me to wish President Bush all the best.

  8. “Soros and his offshore hedge fund buddies adding the exclamation point to it in September to ensure the election of their guy…”

    Ease up dude. Hope&Change is here! /sarc off

  9. Ill learn to work the saxophone
    Ill play just what I feel
    Drink scotch whisky all night long
    And die behind the wheel
    They got a name for the winners in the world
    I want a name when I lose
    They call alabama the crimson tide
    Call me deacon blues

  10. So going into this thing the right had Sullivan and Greenwald and they went to the left, and the left had Hitchens and he has went right? I think the right got the best of that trade.

  11. Comment by parsnip on 1/19 @ 9:55 pm #

    “And die behind the wheel”

    Is that a promise?

  12. Right on, Zelda.

  13. I swear I might just be drunk but the way I read that up there, Mr. Hitchens is thinking he’ll address the issue of Mr. Bush’s legacy with … logic. Bless his heart. oh. I tried that scotch stuff all you people are always on about. A very particular single malty one. —-ish something. It tasted like scotch. I really don’t get the scotch thing and you know what else? Goddamn expensive. As in I can’t expense that. Live and learn, really, which is probably where Mr. Hitchens should leave things. NG tried to get hip jewish new york bartender boy to put on the Laker game but you could see he was really reluctant to switch from CNN’s heartfelt lavings of The One. The giveaway was that he said that the reception for TNT was really bad in this hotel.

  14. the reception for TNT was really bad in this hotel

    reception? did you suggest he put tin foil on the rabbit ears?

  15. Right you are, feet. Scotch is overrated.

    Bourbon is the official drink of the United States. Try a Manahattan sometime.

  16. Manhattans I discovered last year. It was not without consequence.

  17. There’s a story there, sounds like.

  18. They call alabama the crimson tide

    Crimson Tide done got their carcasses kicked all over the field by da Utes. Just thought I’d say that.

  19. I like bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, but mostly I drink Irish. Try some Black Bush or Tullamore Dew sometime.

    Scotch I rarely drink. Never touch Canadian (too much exposure to the cheap shit when I was a kid).

    I don’t think I’ve ever had any good, authentic rye, but I heard it’s making a comeback.

  20. I’m just gonna stick to having a good time and not getting all refined about it. Maybe later. There’s time.

  21. Life is too short to drink bad liquor, ‘feets.

  22. B moe, Hitchens isn’t ‘right-wing’ in the least. Anti Traditional Athiest and mostly leftist in economic things. I tend to agree with him that Bush’s War to free Iraq started as a good thing…but it’s effectiveness was ruined by it’s execution…(letting millions of Iraqi’s suffer unnecessarily) and his ruination of the US economy…(cutting taxes for the rich while going to war…an idiotic thing to do..) leaves most of us So Glad the Bush Regime is leaving DC.

    tks for being mildly positive about Obama for a change, Dan. (We’ll have fun I am sure in the future debating his effectiveness.)

    “What the fuck would Hitchens know about being a dry drunk?” (charlie)

    I’ll drink to that! (My only good impression of GW is that he does have a first class sense of humor…and that’s the lone reason he was elected if that over humorless types like Gore and Kerry, who were obviously not ‘dry drunks’.)

  23. B. moeComment by B Moe on 1/19 @ 9:59 pm #

    “So going into this thing the right had Sullivan and Greenwald and they went to the left, and the left had Hitchens and he has went right? I think the right got the best of that trade.”

    For the most part, Hitchens gives me a woody up to here!

    But it matters no more. Obama will be our president as of tomorrow. And I am sick at what the people of this country are doing – kissing the Light Giver’s butt, WITH TONGUE!. To me, it tastes slightly Polynesian, and heavily Arabic, and totally clueless socialistic (which tastes like dog shit to me).

    B. moe

    itunes – “Tom Schulz 20 years late” I have no idea who put me there, but I do remember getting an 85 cent royalty check last year.

    I hope you are old enough to empathize with Buffalo-Best. All are my songs, and I wouldn’t do this, except for the fact that I am so old that I don’t give a shit anymore.
    Shameless. I think that is the word for this comment…

  24. “But that Bush executed his primary task of keeping America safe after 911 is true” = Good President Dear God, that should be entirely self-explanatory.

    Love him or hate him, but we will all have plenty of opportunities to miss W over the next four years, starting with tomorrow’s circus and 0gasmatron.

  25. I used to like Black Bushmills, until I tried the Green Label. It’s as much superior to Black as Black is to White Label. The purple of magenta is a bit fruity. Not what I look for in a good usquebaugh.

    My son Sgt Junior USMC, got me a bottle of 1608 anniversary, which I was scared to even crack open. I adapted and overcame the seal on the neck though. Mighty fine sippin right there.

    As for GWB, too bad he quit drinking, I would enjoy getting falling down drunk with the man. In fact, I may have done that at one time when I was living in Odessa. We were known to frequent many of the same establishments in Midland in the late ’70s.

  26. I’ll take or for three hundred, Alex.

  27. Comment by Roland THTG on 1/20 @ 3:34 am #

    As for GWB, too bad he quit drinking, I would enjoy getting falling down drunk with the man. In fact, I may have done that at one time when I was living in Odessa.

    Do you ever recall waking up with a salty taste in your mouth and a flaming sore ass after ya passed out? Then yeah.

  28. Bush never let me down. His greatest sin was to be the one who was going to shoulder all the responsibility, when everyone knows this is the “It was like that when I got here” generation. Or the “Leave it. Someone else will come along and fix it.” generation. Or my personal favorite: The “When you mix music and love, how can there be anything but peace?” generation.

    Shit…. The “Texting is gonna save this planet” generation is gonna make it all better.

  29. Good morning thor. Happy Inauguration Day! This is the day when Hope and Change are made manifest. Not just vague slogany things anymore. People wanted change and this is change and now there’s nothing for it but for them to be happy! Here we go!

  30. I really don’t get the scotch thing and you know what else? Goddamn expensive.

    Scotch is overrated.

    Scotch I rarely drink.

    Redumblican hicktards.

  31. Bruce Springsteen in front of a choir. I forgot to mention that one. That’s stimulus right there. “We are the World” wouldn’t have made a Brady Bunch episode without The Boss’s “WEEEAHHDAWOOO” ‘s sprinkled in there.

  32. I tried. I liked the scotch better than that room temperature horchata rum thing the guy made. I told him it was good. I just can’t imagine how he could possibly think sickly sweet lukewarm horchata and rum is something someone would enjoy. Odd. Very odd.

  33. And Miley Cyrus……..Man! I forgot her too. Nothing says “First Facial Expression Elected President” than a manufactured Disney Channel teeny icon belting out a musical big bowl of vanilla ice cream with marshmallow topping. *single tear*

  34. oh. Happy Inauguration Day to Jeff too. I hope all is going well. The first thing I did to celebrate Inauguration Day was I poured coffee all over my blackberry thinger. Auspicious.

  35. Be aware now, that most Scotch you get at bars is going to be a Highland Malt, many of which are about as tasty as a mouth full of potting soil. Be sure you try a good Speyside or two before you swear Scotch off completely, it tastes completely different.


  36. Comment by happyfeet on 1/20 @ 5:19 am #

    Good morning thor. Happy Inauguration Day! This is the day when Hope and Change are made manifest. Not just vague slogany things anymore. People wanted change and this is change and now there’s nothing for it but for them to be happy! Here we go!

    Morning Happy. Morning Alp. Today’s the day Obama can officially tell Bush and Cheney to get the fuck off his lawn.

    In a display of spiritual being-there, I’m going to put on my Gore-Tex jacket and pump my snow ski glove adorned fist in the air as I watch it on TV here in balmy Florida. Wooop!

    Colin Powell is coming up on Morning Joe if anyone wants to hear a real patriotic Republican’s thoughts. Hehe.

  37. oh. Speyside. I will endeavor. Scotch was the first alcohol I ever drank. Dad would give me sips of his when I was a little kid. But I’ve yet to find one that didn’t taste pretty much the same as those ones. Speyside. It’s a quest.

  38. thor,
    I thought you said the other night that you had an invitation to the inauguration. I took it from that comment that you’d be going to DC to attend and participate…

    Why’d you decide not to?

  39. Oh Baby Jesus, this is getting complicated!

    Thank God Obama is on it now. Because he is God Obama.

  40. In Oliver Stone’s not very good but surprisingly well-received film W…

    “Surprisingly”? Who does Hitch think he’s kidding?

  41. #

    Comment by Bob Reed on 1/20 @ 6:23 am #

    thor,
    I thought you said the other night that you had an invitation to the inauguration. I took it from that comment that you’d be going to DC to attend and participate…

    Why’d you decide not to?

    I was never planning on attending. I’m pretty sure my invitation was one they sent every contributor. For her concert I’d think about it, but I’ve seen U2 a couple of times.

    I also decided not to attend any of those $10,000 per plate fundraisers George W. Bush sent me invitations to back when he was hustling campaign $$, go figure. You send ‘em money once and both parties think you’re made of money.

  42. Hitchens may be a leftist, but he’s no sheep. Read “No One Left To Lie To” or “The Missionary Position.” The man is good, and all for turning sacred cows into hamburger.

    As to Bush, well, he ran the war well enough, but mostly he spent like a drunken Kennedy. This is all the worse for giving tax cuts a bad name. IMHO, He’ll get most praise in history for having put in place a framework for defeating radical Islam. Since that’s the only really existential threat we face, that’s what he’ll be remembered for.

  43. Re: # 24 – Don’t take the idiot exuberance personally. It’s in Americans’ nature to desire a quick fix, and that’s what this gushing is about. If we simply vote in the bright, articulate, clean candidate who sounds like he knows his stuff, it will all be OK. It is becoming clearer & clearer that O’s competence & is an illusion, due to post-election incidents that I hardly need to describe. However, people will bitterly cling to their “Neo-Camelot” ideal for as long as they can. It’s all they have. Buyer’s remorse is bearing down on them in a major way, and they are desperate to deny it.

  44. #43, the two are related. When you are having to buy war votes from RINOs like McCain, you can’t exactly oppose their pet projects. Hell, you can’t even hurt their feewings.

    If Bush had actually had a reliable conservative majority, let alone a filibuster proof one, I’d be a lot tougher on him.

  45. Anyone with a taste for bourbon, or rye for that matter, might want to check out Buffalo Trace Distillery. They make an extensive range of whiskeys, including a line of one-offs they call their experimental collection.

    http://www.greatbourbon.com

  46. Thanks, ThomasD. I’ve been meaning to try a classic rye.

    This is probably too obvious to point out, but compare and contrast our feelings about Bush to that of the Obama cultists. I see a lot of “Bush was good on but I didn’t like he did”.

    His Oneness, on the other hand, is PERFECT, even when he’s throwing campaign promises under the bus like they’re kitty litter on an icy driveway.

  47. Hmm… blog ate part of the comment.

    “Bush was good on (this) but I didn’t like (this other thing) he did”.

  48. “I think we can be pretty sure that wiretapping and water-boarding would have become household words, perhaps even more quickly than they did, and that we might even have heard a few more liberal defenses of the practice.”

    Bringing to mind the silence on (AG pick) Eric Holder saying in confirmation hearing last Thursday the FBI should retain records search powers (library, bookstore, business records) is stunning. Not a peep from the libs on this, while just think of the massive whining & moaning as to GWB’s “fascism” (as to powers granted in Patriot Act) we’ve been subjected to the last 6 years. …It’s a disgusting double standard and holds up the thesis, when it’s our guys (liberals) passing (whatever) laws to do whatever, have at it.

    Liberals have no shame at their massive hypocrisy at such kind of stuff. zip zilch nada

    “…paid for jihadist suicide bombers around the region.”

    In his waning days, when Saddam went to great lengths to look “Islamic”, he gave something like $25,000 to families of Palestinian suicide bombers and something like $10,000 to suicide bombers themselves (they could spend it on the virgins or something)

  49. he did his best in the wake of 9-11 to take a very hard line on radical islam; he radically pursued our safety. He will be largely treated kindly by history for this. there is an * however–Afghanistan and Iran. It would have been nice if he tried a little harder there.

    on everything else, he really, really sucked.
    A great guy I’ll warrant, but i really dont need another excellent guy at 1600 Penn.

  50. SDN, but Bush was a big government republican before eve being elected president. His dad was, too. As big as he became? No, and I get the having to trade domestic policy for foreign policy rationalizing, but he took it a bit too far, imo. But, I do think he got the “threat” of Islamists, even if I didn’t always 100% agree with the strategy to counteract it. That, at this moment in history was/is important.

    As for the Scotch. Happy, like B Moe said, try a Speyside. I think you had the Clynelish. Taste is subjective, but that’s kind of a shallower tasting whisky. I would try one of the Balvenie products. The Doublewood is great. Same with the 15 and 17 year expressions. Other Speysides that may be well suited for one trying Scotch to find a taste are The Macallan, Aberlour A’bunadh, or the Singleton of Glendullan. Happy hunting.

  51. I choose to renounce comment 50.
    I have reconsidered it.
    he did the best job he could; better than me.
    Ill leave him at that. Im sure there were things i never saw, choices I would dread making.
    This is a human job and only one man was ever perfect.

    My objections, farts from the pulpit as PJ O’Rourke would have it, are immaterial.
    its over.

  52. hf,

    Oban, Talisker and Dalwhinnie might change your mind about Scotch.

    The hopenchangenhappytude won’t pay anyone’s rent or put food on the table. Like it or not, with both houses and the white house – it’s ownership time… after 6 months, “everything is Bush’s fault” won’t really cut it with most folks.

    We’ll see.

  53. It always gives me giggles when people misspell atheist.

  54. Hitchens cannot be trusted. Simply put, I question his motives. But first let me back up.

    Obama is truly at a crossroads, and he is looking forward to the future like few others. Does Obama really value the free markets? I think not, at his core he is a top down socialist. Old style socialism was thoroughly discredited for its failure to even remotely deliver the material wealth that the West has been able to produce. Obama knows this will always be the case so he will not even try to ‘fix’ the economy in any meaningful way.

    Oh, he certainly will spend a lot of money growing government, but deep down he knows this will not be like other attempts to right the cart of commerce. He also knows you can never break the human desire for something better. Instead he will merely substitute something else, something other than material wealth, as that ‘something better.’ That something will be the progressive religion, and the progressive religion is government. Everyone will be expected to commit themselves in service to, and furtherance of that ideal.

    Your choices in the coming years will be to change your metric of something better, or continue to pursue material wealth. Should you choose the latter Obama’s solution is simple. You will be taxed.

    The progressive war on (some) religion has not been conducted blindly, it is part and parcel of the ultimate goal of converting the State into the one true religion. And there is a reason why Islam is last on the list of those being condemned. It is last precisely because it is the worst (and ultimately weakest) according to progressive dogma, meaning that it will be the easiest target when all others have been discredited. Christianity is the most strongly opposed precisely because it is the closest to, and strongest competitor of progressivism.

    Hitchens, is a greater atheist than he is a socialist, so Islam is the matador’s red cape to his bullheadedness. He cannot turn away and must engage, but he is still most welcome on the left precisely because he remains a committed socialist, a committed anti-Christian (like Sully,) and ultimately his atheism continues to serve their greater goal of one secular religion.

  55. Comment by thor on 1/20 @ 5:12 am #

    Do you ever recall waking up with a salty taste in your mouth and a flaming sore ass after ya passed out? Then yeah.

    No, sounds rather odd. Tell us about it.

  56. But if I ever meet the Man from Crawford or any of his family, I will let him know that I am one of those benighted few who thought that he was a good President. God bless and keep you, GWB.

    Hey, just y’all wait until you yourself have to be “perfect” – which itself is a noble striving but then also allows you to be attacked, since you tried – then maybe you’ll understand the whole thing, and also why Bush’s Perfect Record is such an amazing achievement.

    I presume that Obama is smart enough to “understand” it.

  57. Formatting test

  58. Aberlour A’bunadh

    I was trying to remember the name of that, this is my favorite of what I have tried so far. It was cask strength, so it is best with a splash of good water.

    And I didn’t like Talisker at all, one of the few things I disagree with Maj. John on.

  59. Those of you who like Bruichladdich might be interested to know that they age it in Buffalo Trace barrels. Most west coast/island malts use bourbon barrels instead of the sherry barrels favoured by Speyside distilleries. So, those who like west coast malts are really bourbon lovers.

  60. That was very white of you mcgruder.

    Oops.

    I’m kidding. It was cool of you to temper your criticism.

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