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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

There they go again

The Hard Right is like the consummate bully -- trying to force someone into submission with bluster, name-calling and lies. The problem has been the refusal or the inability of those on the Left to face the bully down.

Two more classic cases of the bully mentality: a new "Swift Boat" attack and an attack on "liberal media" that centers on the fact the Right, like all bullies, doesn't like being called on the truth.

Jack Murtha is the target of the latest "Swift Boat" attack -- a reminder of how the Chicken Hawks on the Right lied about John Kerry's war record in an effort to obscure the lack of service of Dick Cheney or the questionable service of George W. Bush.

The attack on Murtha appears to be one where the Right takes words out of context and turns them into a smear. Here's the apparent reason for the attack, a conversation with a former House colleague, Don Bailey, who Murtha defeated in a redistricting battle.

In a conversation on the House floor in the early 1980s, said Bailey, who won a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars in Vietnam, Murtha told him he did not deserve his Purple Hearts. He recalled Murtha saying: "Hey, I didn't do anything like you did. I got a little scratch on the cheek."
Context is everything and 20 years is a long time but what could have been a friendly conversation then has taken on a whole new meaning after the passage of time. And that's indeed the key to the Swifties, taking things out of context and twisting.

Even more important, though, is the fact that Swift attacks are a key to the Hard Right's modus operandi: demean, impugn and question the values of your opposition. Overkill, particularly if you don't have a solid ground to stand on (sounds like Dick Cheney, right?)

Then there's the liberal media canard. The shallowness of the argument is exposed in the response to a Knight-Ridder examination of Samuel Alito's record. In the words of Col. Jessep in A Few Good Men: "you can't handle the truth."

The piece by Knight-Ridder editor Clark Hoyt speaks for itself. What to most non-bullies sounds like "fair and balanced" reporting -- including an opinion piece written by a Democrat who used to clerk for Alito backing the soon-to-be justice -- must obviously be bias to the Right. Why? Because they don't like the results. Bully tactics.

As the lies of Bush and Cheney and the crimes of the GOP-controlled Congress continue to mount, expect to see the bullies out in force. Especially if no one has the guts to fight back and call 'em what they are.


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