Jerome Corsi and the Coarsening of American Politics

Stop the North American Union, Late Great USAJon Henke argues that the embrace, by both sides, of unsavory characters under the principle of the enemy of my enemy is my friend has “poisoned both the Left and the Right in American politics.”  Accordingly, he takes on one of his own:

The continued tolerance and prominence of Jerome Corsi – his books, columns and appearances – is just embarrassing.  It is embarrassing for the Right, embarrassing for Republicans, embarrassing for conservatives and libertarians, embarrassing for all of us.

It’s not just that he’s frequently, remarkably wrong – something pretty well documented and acknowledged by both the Left and (while less enthusiastically) the Right.  (and the Obama campaign (PDF), of course)  Both the Obama campaign and Hugh Hewitt acknowledge that Jerome Corsi is “fringe”.

Bad as his gross errors are, though, it’s not just that.  It’s also about who Jerome Corsi is.

I mean, c’mon.  Have some standards.  This guy does not deserve the platform, he does not deserve the publicity, and he does not deserve to be treated as member-in-good-standing on the Right.

Corsi’s got a new book out which, because of its provocative nature and the success of the Swift Boat effort in the previous cycle, is getting a lot of attention.  Because it’s Corsi, I just ignored it.

Henke’s right, though:  Honorable partisans should be more aggressive in distancing themselves from their prominent but less savory allies.  While I can’t speak to the veracity of all of those charges leveled in Henke’s post, having long stopped paying much attention to Corsi, he’s right on the fundamentals.

Politics ain’t beanbag and a certain amount of license in fighting for one’s cause is to be granted.  Outright sleaze, mendacity, and slander, though, deserves condemnation.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. SeniorD says:

    Mr. Joyner,

    Dr. Corsi has documented all of the claims in the footnotes of his book. The Obama campaign staff has released a 41 page refutation of Dr. Corsi’s allegations. Which side is correct? This argument is deja vu from the Kerry campaign (which have never been refuted) so here we are again.

    Here are some accepted facts:

    1. Barack Obama has no national or international experience beyond three (3) years in the Senate.

    2. Barack Obama performed community activism for one of Saul Alinsky’s (an admitted Socialist) organization. For that matter, Alinsky wanted Hillary Clinton on his personal staff.

    3. Barack Obama, in his Autobiography, names a man, arguably but not definitely, identified as another known and admitted Socialist.

    4. Barack Obama attended a congregation whose pastor has made anti-American or Black National statements in public.

    Now, like Kerry, Obama has not, directly or personally refuted any of the allegations by Dr. Corsi. He has left others to perform that duty.

    Are you, again, carrying water for the Democrat Party?

  2. Our Paul says:

    Ah yes, how to sugar coat slime:

    Politics ain’t beanbag and a certain amount of license in fighting for one’s cause is to be granted. Outright sleaze, mendacity, and slander, though, deserves condemnation.

    Time to turn to my trusty Apple Dictionary (a known leftist source):

    ):license |ˈlīsəns|
    noun ( Brit. licence)
    a permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade (esp. in alcoholic beverages) : a gun license | [as adj. ] vehicle license fees.
    • formal or official permission to do something : logging is permitted under license from the Forest Service.
    • a writer’s or artist’s freedom to deviate from fact or from conventions such as grammar, meter, or perspective, for effect : artistic license.
    • freedom to behave as one wishes, esp. in a way that results in excessive or unacceptable behavior : the government was criticized for giving the army too much license.
    See note at liberty .
    • ( a license to do something) a reason or excuse to do something wrong or excessive

    There is no license for politics that involve a trace of racism, slime, innuendo, or character assassination. Do not hold your breath for McCain to condemn or “distance himself” from Corsi or the other stuff that will be pumped out by the win at any cost patriotic defenders of democracy.

  3. RW Rogers says:

    Outright sleaze, mendacity, and slander, though, deserves condemnation.

    Indeed. Unfortunately, there is no low to which die-hard partisans of either side will not stoop, as we have seen.

  4. anjin-san says:

    Outright sleaze, mendacity, and slander, though, deserves condemnation.

    Well said. I do not expect to hear one from “straight shooter” John McCain.

  5. legion says:

    SeniorD,
    Noting that a number of bald-faced, easily-disprovable lies were not made up by the current author but actually made up by a totally different slimeball posting a a far-right nutball website does not actually count as “documentation”.

    Corsi is the sort of fungus that dreams of being as influential as Rove when it grows up, and the GOP will happily oblige.

  6. steve says:

    After voting Republican for 36 years, looking at our debt load and sorry foreign policy drove me out. The fact that the party had become so dependent on people like Corsi, Rush, Hannity and Savage just helped to make it easier to leave.

    Steve

  7. davod says:

    Steve:

    Rubbish.

  8. mannning says:

    Goodbye Steve, have a happy and socialist life.

  9. od says:

    It wouldn’t affect my vote, but I have to wonder if Corsi isn’t secretly being paid by the Democrats … defending against the errors made by someone like Corsi is much easier than defending against real problems in their program.

  10. Anderson says:

    Only slightly off-topic:

    (1) OTB is a moderately conservative blog; JJ and most of his co-bloggers are conservative and pro-Republican, but not partisan to the exclusion of common sense.

    (2) Yet, OTB regularly attracts commenters like those above, who think that the Democratic Party is “socialist” or who entertain conspiracy theories like “maybe the Dems are paying Corsi.”

    (3) Why is that, exactly? Anyone else struck by this?

  11. bains says:

    Ain’t it interesting that the left, so much more noble than Corsi, does not outright refute Corsi’s (sometimes stupid, sometimes factual) allegations, but instead attacks Corsi. Were Corsi not such an easy target, it would be considered character assassination.

    In effect, proving Henke’s point that for many, truth is dictated by fealty to party.

  12. Michael says:

    Dr. Corsi

    Has anyone else noticed that when someone wants you to take their hero seriously, and their hero happens to have a PhD or MD, they always have to point it out?

    Other examples I’m sure you’ve heard:
    Dr. Paul
    Dr. Dean

    Are you, again, carrying water for the Democrat Party?

    Yes, Dr. Joyner is <sarcasm>such</sarcasm> a Democratic party shill.

  13. Bithead says:

    Bains;

    Ain’t it interesting that the left, so much more noble than Corsi, does not outright refute Corsi’s (sometimes stupid, sometimes factual) allegations, but instead attacks Corsi.

    This is a pattern that’s been noted previously, here… and just within the last few days. Apparently, attacking the messenger is far easier than actually being analytical. Thinking about what Corsi is saying, after all runs the risk of the liberal actually being forced to agree with him. So, rather than actual thought, we end up being fed blind assertions from the left, as it it magically ends the discussion.

    By the same token, so busy are such as Henke complaining bitterly about how negative things get, that they still have yet to figure out that going negative isn’t the wrong thing to do. As I pointed out the other day, there’s a lot of untruth out there. How does one point out such untruths without the usual suspects crying about how the dialouge has been “poisoned’?

    Sorry, but I refuse to take such complaints, or complainers, seriously. Welcome to the world of politics.

  14. Michael says:

    (3) Why is that, exactly? Anyone else struck by this?

    Uh, because they’re crazy?

  15. anjin-san says:

    bains,

    Corsi has been extensively rebutted, both by the Obama campaign and others. Are you simply ignorant, or yourself a liar?

    http://www.truthout.org/article/obama-campaign-rebuts-corsis-obama-nation

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/invite/corsi

    This discourse tends to support the theory that McCain cannot win on his own merits, and that the only road to victory for him is to slime Obama. (Just as Bush once did to McCain)

  16. anjin-san says:

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/invite/corsi
    Unfit for Publication

    One of the most vile smear peddlers of the 2004 election has found a new target.

    Jerome Corsi just published a new book full of rehashed distortions and the same old lies about Barack Obama, and the right-wing noise machine is in full gear promoting it.

    In 2004, Corsi helped launch the Swift Boat smear campaign with a book of distortions and lies he wrote about John Kerry.

    It’s up to you to spread the truth, so here it is. We’ve posted some of the facts about Corsi and his desperate fabrications on this page, but there’s even more in our PDF: Unfit for Publication.
    A LITTLE RESEARCH DISPROVES EVEN CORSI’S MOST BASIC CLAIMS

    LIE: “The year 1995 was a banner one for Obama. He had just married Michelle and the couple bought a Hyde Park condo, the first home Obama ever owned.”[p 145]

    REALITY: OBAMAS MARRIED IN 1992 AND BOUGHT A CONDO IN 1993

    10/3/92 Obama And Michelle Robinson Were Married. [Chicago Sun-Times, 10/3/07]

    1993 Obama Bought a Condo for $277,550. [Chicago Sun-Times, 1/22/06]

    NONE OF CORSI’S DIVISIVE, REHASHED CLAIMS CHECKS OUT, EITHER

    LIE: “Senator Obama could claim to be a citizen of Kenya, as well as of the United States. Obama can trace his heritage back to his mother, who was born in the United States and was an American citizen when he was born, and to his father, who was born in Kenya and was a Kenyan citizen when Obama was born.” [p 103]

    REALITY: OBAMA CANNOT CLAIM KENYAN CITIZENSHIP

    Kenya Does Not Allow Dual Citizenship Applications for People Over 21 Years of Age. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management writes of Kenya, “DUAL CITIZENSHIP: Not recognized except for persons under 21 years old.” The Kenyan Constitution writes, “A person who, but for the proviso to section 87 (1), would be a citizen of Kenya by virtue of that subsection shall be entitled, upon making application before the specified date in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament, to be registered as a citizen of Kenya: Provided that a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years (other than a woman who is or has been married) may not himself make an application under this subsection, but an application may be made on his behalf by his parent or guardian.” [U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Kenyan Constitution]

    Even if Obama Had Applied for Dual Citizenship Before He Was 21—Which He Did Not—It Would Have Expired. ”A person who, upon the attainment of the age of twenty-one years, is a citizen of Kenya and also a citizen of some other country other than Kenya shall, subject to subsection (7), cease to be a citizen of Kenya upon the specified date unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and, in the case of a person who was born outside Kenya, made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament.” [Kenyan Constitution]

    CORSI CAN’T EVEN RECOGNIZE REAL RESEARCH WHEN HE SEES IT

    LIE: “Christopher Hitchens noted on Salon.com that Michelle announces in her Princeton thesis that she has been influenced by the definition of ‘black separatism’ given by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton in their 1867 book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America.” [p 232]

    REALITY: USING A DEFINITION IS NOT THE SAME THING AS HAVING INFLUENCE

    The Thesis Used Carmichael And Hamilton’s Definition Of Black Separationism In Her Study But Did Not Suggest She Was “Influenced” By It. Michelle Obama wrote in her thesis, “Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s (1967) developed definitions of separationism in their discussion of Black Power which guided me in the formulation and use of this concept in the study…Thus, Carmichael and Hamilton define separationism as a necessary stage for the development of the Black community before this group integrates into the “open society”. The idea of creating separate social structure and cultural structures as suggested by these authors serves to clarify definitions of separationism/pluralism as they function in the dependent variable which tries to measure the 26 respondents’ ideologies concerning political and economic relations between the Black and White communities.” [Michelle Obama’s Thesis]

  17. anjin-san says:

    Dr. Dean

    As someone who was once pretty involved with the Dean campaign, I can tell you that he was (and I suspect, is) generally referred to as Governor Dean, which is a title granted more with affection than anything else…

  18. od says:

    (2) Yet, OTB regularly attracts commenters like those above, who think that the Democratic Party is “socialist” or who entertain conspiracy theories like “maybe the Dems are paying Corsi.”

    Perhaps some of us are just being ironic rather than believing there actually is a conspiracy out there?

  19. sam says:

    Here some Corsiisms for your delectation:

    Corsi on Islam: “a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion”

    Corsi on Catholicism: “Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn’t reported by the liberal press”

    Corsi on Muslims: “RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters — it all goes together”

    Corsi on “John F*ing Commie Kerry”: “After he married TerRAHsa, didn’t John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?”

    Corsi on Senator “FAT HOG” Clinton: “Anybody ask why HELLary couldn’t keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?

    link

    Class act, this dude.

  20. Michael says:

    As someone who was once pretty involved with the Dean campaign, I can tell you that he was (and I suspect, is) generally referred to as Governor Dean, which is a title granted more with affection than anything else…

    Generally yes, and generally his supporters weren’t out to get people to approve of his person, but rather his ideas. However, those who thought he was God’s gift to politics, and that everyone should think as highly of him as they did, would bring out the “Dr” title. People who thought Ron Paul had great ideas referred to him as Ron Paul, those that thought he was a great person referred to him as Dr. Paul.

  21. SeniorD says:

    Funny, isn’t it? John F. (Kohn) Kerry gamed the system to get out of Vietnam and is considered by the Democrat Party and their Socialist enablers to be a war hero. I personally know several individuals who were wounded far more seriously that LTJG Kerry yet they came back for more tours. Some weren’t able to go back, they lay in the peace of the dead while their country men and women continue to sully their memory.

    Barack Obama has no experience beyond community activism in Chicago, Illinois State Legislature and a mere three (3) years in the Senate. His legislative accomplishments have only served to spend more tax dollars for little return. His public proclaimations promise to spend more money and increase taxes. Yet, again, the Democrat Party and its Socialist enablers view him as the next coming of Saint Franklin the Roosevelt.

    Now we see yet another attack upon someone who dares suggest the Democrat Presidential Candidate may be something less than advertised. Nothing is less tolerant than a lib/prog who thinks their ox is being gored. Maybe the Intolerant Left should look behind the curtains and see the truth behind their handlers.

  22. steve says:

    “Goodbye Steve, have a happy and socialist life.”

    I supported Paul in the primary. Do you even know what a socialist is? As a deficit hawk I will probably have to vote against McCain in the general election. The only question is making the symbolic vote or one that helps keep McCain out.

    Steve

  23. Bithead says:

    So, enabling Obama helps your cause?
    Gee, THAT makes sense.

  24. anjin-san says:

    Yet, again, the Democrat Party and its Socialist enablers view him as the next coming of Saint Franklin the Roosevelt.

    Let us remember what the noted far-left moonbat socialist Winston Churchill once said of Frankin Roosevelt. “He is the truest friend, he has the furthest vision, he is the greatest man I have even known”.

    Its no mystery that so many on the far right despise the memory of Roosevelt, his large shadow reminds them of just how small they are…

  25. SeniorD says:

    Quite right. FDR did cast a very large shadow. Just look how the Democrat Party keeps his policies, practices and cronys in operation. Like other facist thinkers of the time (Mussolini and Hitler) Roosevelt needed a real war, as opposed to his figurative financial ‘war’to re-make the social economy. Lyndon Johnson, learned his lessons at Roosevelt’s feet. Thus the dual ‘War on Poverty’ and Vietnam, every progressive facist’s answer to continuing the Cause.

    Obama (and Clinton) avail themselves to Groupthink and disdain individual achievement. That’s about as anti-American as you can get.

  26. anjin-san says:

    Obama (and Clinton) avail themselves to Groupthink and disdain individual achievement. That’s about as anti-American as you can get.

    Ummm. Yea. Thats why Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and President of the United States, and Obama the editor of the Harvard Law Review and a US Senator. Oh, and that Roosevelt fellow pretty much destroyed fascism, ending the reigns of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo.

    What have you achieved recently pal?

  27. Anderson says:

    So, enabling Obama helps your cause?

    Well, let’s see.

    (1) Steve says he is a “deficit hawk.”

    (2) According to the next OTB post, McCain plans to add $4.2T to the deficit through 2018, and Obama plans to add $2.8T.

    (3) Thus, the less bad candidate from Steve’s perspective is Obama, on the principle that 2.8T < 4.2T … or is that reality-based math?

  28. SeniorD says:

    Ah yes, William Jefferson Clinton – the man who, because he didn’t want to destroy his personal political viability, lied to get out of ROTC committments, spoke at anti-American rallies in England (but never in the US) and was a Rhodes Scholar. Who, after being elected to the Presidency, saw his personal pick for Arkansas Governor get removed from office and sent to joil for corruption (in the same land deal Clinton dodged).

    Barack Obama, who as the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, has never published any article on the law in any publication, let alone the one he edited. The Illinois State Senator that sponsored legislation that has resulted in the soon to be demolished massive public housing developments and is credibly linked to a convicted criminal and unrepentent Communists.

    Roosevelt was a fan of Mussolini’s activities in Italy (see Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Facism”). Roosevelt modeled some of his policies after pre-War Germany and acknowledged Howard Ickes, Sr. as the architect of some of the larger Socialist Programs that began the changes in the American economy. Roosevelt also wanted to keep the Armed Forces segregated (something not ended until the Eisenhower Administration).

    Please. Read your history.

  29. anjin-san says:

    Please. Read your history.

    History records that Churchill, probably the most prominent conservative of modern times, referred to FDR, as I mentioned above as “The greatest man I have ever known”.

    I will go with Churchill’s opinion over yours.

    Oh, and FDR did end segregation in our governments civil service. His credentials on civil rights are not the strongest, nor the worst. He tended to let his wife take point on civil rights issues, something she did with courage and relish. Roosevelt was too, a product of his times and class, and he probably did not have an understanding of the issue of civil rights in the sense that we do today.

    FDR has a tricky political problem during the war. His majorities on the hill had become fairly slim, and he needed the support of southern members of congress, who, unfortunate, tended to be bigots. He often deferred to them on matters involving civil rights.

    It is also worth noting that FDR’s administration took place during two of the worst crises in our countries history. He often had to push worthwhile issues on to the back burner, to deal with larger issues that threatened the very survival of the country.

    Howard Ickes, Sr. as the architect of some of the larger Socialist Programs that began the changes in the American economy.

    Ah yes, those would be the programs that brought the American economy back from the brink of disaster that FDR inherited after Hoover’s stubborn refusal to take any action in the face of economic disaster… Afraid I don’t really see your point. (Though it is certainly true that Harry Hopkins was a vastly more effective administrator of FDR’s economic programs than was Ickes, who tended to sit on his hands).

    Perhaps you should move your study of history beyond the talking points on right wing rant sites.

  30. Anderson says:

    Roosevelt was a fan of Mussolini’s activities in Italy (see Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Facism”).

    (1) The word is “fascism.” Even Goldberg was probably smart enough to spell that correctly w/out his editor having to do it for him.

    (2) So, what we got is this-here thread on the coarsening of American politics … and Senior-Moment D is trying to base his argument on Liberal Fascism.

    I rest my case.

  31. anjin-san says:

    It is interesting that you mention Ickes, when, in fact, FDR was dissatisified with his work at PWA, largely because he did not spend money quickly enough!

    Roosevelt’s intention for the PWA was to quicky inject large amounts of money into the economy. Ickes tended to be deliberate in his actions, and FDR wanted things to happen pretty much right away.

    Hopkins was much more successful in implementing the president’s policies at CWA & WPA, getting large programs up and running in remarkably short order, with almost no waste.

    Through sheer competency (certainly not by dint of his rather abrasive personality) Hopkins became one of the inner circle, filling to some extent the void left when Louis Howe died in 1936.

  32. seniord says:

    Once the ad-hominem attacks begin, Anderson, you prove the Left’s emotion based thinking can’t engage in any exercise involving objective, critical thinking. You’ve not spent any time refuting any of Goldberg’s thesis (or for that matter Corsi’s)and certainly didn’t contribute to the dialogue as did Anjin-san (whom I thank for a stimulating conversation).

    Calm, rational discourse can solve many problems and maybe even open some eyes on both sides. When it can’t, you need the Marines.

  33. Bithead says:

    History records that Churchill, probably the most prominent conservative of modern times, referred to FDR, as I mentioned above as “The greatest man I have ever known”.

    I will go with Churchill’s opinion over yours.

    I guess that depends on the definition of great. As an offhanded and fictional example to put the use of the word “great” into context:

    ‘Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember…. I think we must expect great things from you, Mr Potter…. After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great.’

    Within that contextual use of the word, I also suppose one could also say Stalin was a great man. Mao, as well, despite both of them being responsbile for killing millions.

  34. Bithead says:

    (The passage comes to mind because I just happened across it being used within the context of Milton Freedman at Delong’s place. Given that use, I suppose there’s enough precident to go with it… and Churchill was skilful enough with the language to make use of such subtle distinctions, I think.)

  35. Michael says:

    Can we make it a rule that quoting from pop culture sci-fi/fantasy works automatically means you lost the argument?

    Unpopular ones are still okay though.

  36. Bithead says:

    Well, look, obviously, the point here is that grreat does not equate with ‘good’, nor is it superior to ‘good’.

    The dictionary offers several defintions of ‘great’.. among them….

    Unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc
    important; highly significant or consequential

    The equating of “great” to “good” usualy is in the more informal use of the word, and that in American informal traditions and those being fairly recent….(Informal. very well: Things have been going great for him.)

    The obvious implication here is that Anderson is defining a word in a way that Churchill did not in that context, and thereby attaching the wrong meaning to the words Churchill used.

    To extend the conversation to an even more dispproved level,given the definitions above, who can argue that Hitler didn’t have some greatness about him?

  37. Grewgills says:

    Well, look, obviously, the point here is that grreat does not equate with ‘good’, nor is it superior to ‘good’.

    What do you honestly think Churchill meant?

  38. anjin-san says:

    “He is the truest friend, he has the furthest vision, he is the greatest man I have even known”.

    Winston Churchill, on FDR. This comment was made in a private conversation with an aid, it was not political hyperbole.

    I think Churchill’s meaning is clear. If bit wants to get in to big thing about what the meaning of “is” is, well, perhaps he has nothing better to do than to try and equate of of the greatest presidents our country has ever had to Hitler. His strange fixation with Nazis marches on…

    It is also noted that bithead continues to be unable to keep straight who is writing what post. Its not that hard daniel-san, try to focus.

  39. seniord says:

    We must remember that Churchill did have his priorities right in at least on respect: he started out each day with a snifter of brandy (or some other alcoholic beverage).

    I think Churchill would have defined ‘Great’ in much the same manner as most learned people do:

    Someone who sees the potential of a nation of individuals (or subjects in the English context) to either raise itself to new heights of achievement or plunge into the depths of dismal, gloomy, abject failure.

    The English people in Churchill’s time(s) we seeing their Empire starting to die, their homeland itself under threat of invasion and, most importantly, possessed of a government not able to see and confront evil in the world. Despite that, Churchill took on the mantle of Prime Minister and, under his government and ‘…blood, sweat and tears…’, England regained a large portion of their promise and past achievements.

    To put someone like a Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini or Amin in the same category of ‘Greatness’ as Churchill is mixing apples and lemons. Both produce trees only one produces fruit which is sweet.

  40. Bithead says:

    What do you honestly think Churchill meant?

    I suspect it was as I’ve indicated, the hyperbole that international relationships so often require.

    I think Churchill’s meaning is clear.

    Obviously…. (Rolls eyes) but then again, you would, given your argument falls flat if you assume otherwis, as does your hero worship of FDR, which I decidedly do not share. It interests me that you should hold FDR in such high esteem, given….

    1: He did more permanant damage to our constitution than any other presdient in our history

    2: and yet you make lots of noise about the damage Bush supposedly did to it.

    Its not that hard daniel-san, try to focus.

    They say shepherds can tell their sheep apart. To most folks, however, which sheep you’re addressing at a given moment hardly matters; their mindsets tend to be so identical as to defy seperation.

  41. Bithead says:

    To put someone like a Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini or Amin in the same category of ‘Greatness’ as Churchill is mixing apples and lemons

    I don’t accept that. Each did great things. If your’re to argue that Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini or Amin were not ‘good’, I’d tend to agree. FDR is a somewhat more arguable case.

  42. Bithead says:

    To put someone like a Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini or Amin in the same category of ‘Greatness’ as Churchill is mixing apples and lemons

    I don’t accept that. Each did great things. If your’re to argue that Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini or Amin were not ‘good’, I’d tend to agree. FDR is a somewhat more arguable case, particularly in the view of hindsight.

  43. Bithead says:

    darn proxy anyway

  44. anjin-san says:

    The obvious implication here is that Anderson is defining a word in a way that Churchill did not in that context, and thereby attaching the wrong meaning to the words Churchill used.

    Well, obvious perhaps in the case of someone who does not know what they are talking about, such as yourself.

    Let me put the comment in context. Churchill and FDR were leaving a conference (Morocco, I believe). Churchill escorted FDR to the airfield (it was the first time a president had traveled by air to attend an international conference, so that was something of a big deal).

    As soon as FDR boarded the plane, he (Churchill) asked his aide to drive them away quickly. The aide inquired about the haste, and Churchill replied that he did not want to see the takeoff because he could not bear the thought of something happening to FDR. (air travel was much riskier then), and went on to make the “greatest friend, greatest man” comment.

    There was no audience, no need for hyperbole, so your comment regarding hyperbole is clearly made out of ignorance. Churchill meant exactly what he said.

    It is worth noting that you do a disservice to Churchill, also a great man, by attempting to twist his words in order to fashion an attack on FDR, who Churchill respected and admired.

  45. Bithead says:

    There was no audience, no need for hyperbole, so your comment regarding hyperbole is clearly made out of ignorance

    Not at all.
    Churchill was smart enough to know that comments made in private have a way of becoming quite public indeed, and at the wrong times. Witness; Even you knew of the comment.

  46. Anderson says:

    So if SeniorD argues the earth is flat, I have to provide links to the contrary?

    Goldberg’s book has been beaten like the dead horse it is. If you’re genuinely interested, SD, you can find out for yourself via Google. If not, I don’t see why I should waste my time trying to inform someone so resolutely uninformed.

  47. anjin-san says:

    Well bit, since the two men are such large historic figures and so well documented, can you produce any evidence that Churchill held FDR in anything other than the highest regard? Many who observed the two men together in informal circumstances commented that Churchill’s affection for FDR bordered on love.

    Not at all.
    Churchill was smart enough to know that comments made in private have a way of becoming quite public indeed, and at the wrong times. Witness; Even you knew of the comment.

    Well, if we accept this hypothesis, nothing that Churchill said can ever be accepted for what it was, because he was always speaking to the gallery. Yet you seemed quite comfortable attributing a meaning to his words that suited your own purpose.

  48. Bithead says:

    Well bit, since the two men are such large historic figures and so well documented, can you produce any evidence that Churchill held FDR in anything other than the highest regard?

    Why on earth should I try to prove YOUR assertion? That’s YOUR job. Hint: You haven’t done it.

    Well, if we accept this hypothesis, nothing that Churchill said can ever be accepted for what it was, because he was always speaking to the gallery. Yet you seemed quite comfortable attributing a meaning to his words that suited your own purpose.

    (Chuckle) Yet, you seem to have no problem whateverattriuting YOUR meaning to his words, apparently ignoring in this case, Churchill’s own quote:

    Great and good are seldom the same man.

    Any more objections?

  49. Michael says:

    Bithead & anjin-san,
    Don’t you guys get tired of this?

    You’re not even arguing the original point anymore, you’re fighting about whether or not Churchill liked FDR, based on the definition of the word “great”. At what point does it become too ridiculous to keep trying to one-up each other?

  50. Bithead says:

    (Shrug)

    All good conversations .. even ones happening in the first person… wander a bit while exploring various aspects of the original point.

    Ankin made an argument with a hole large enough to drive a truck through it, and I made note of the hole. Instead of simply acknoledging the point, he dances. (Shrug)
    Goes with the territory of questioning the misconceptions of a liberal.

  51. anjin-san says:

    Bithead & anjin-san,
    Don’t you guys get tired of this?

    It’s the Itchy & Scratchy showwwwwwwwww

    But you point is well taken. Its a bit like the old line about trying to teach a pig to sing….

  52. Michael says:

    All good conversations .. even ones happening in the first person… wander a bit while exploring various aspects of the original point.

    There’s wandering a bit, and stepping into the Twilight Zone. I think that you and anjin-san, on this thread, have hit the later.

    Ankin made an argument with a hole large enough to drive a truck through it, and I made note of the hole. Instead of simply acknoledging the point, he dances.

    But it takes two to tango, as they say, and you eagerly followed his lead.

  53. anjin-san says:

    (Chuckle) Yet, you seem to have no problem whateverattriuting YOUR meaning to his words, apparently ignoring in this case, Churchill’s own quote:

    I am not the one arguing that his words cannot be taken at face value, in fact, I do take them as such, so your point is meaningless. I provided, in some detail, the context for the quote, which you initially claimed I had taken out of context.

    I almost never agree with you, but you are reasonably good at creating semantic smokescreens to obfuscate the fact that your arguments are not very good. Recommended reading:

    Language in Action by S.I. Hayakawa

    Its an excellent extension on the work of Korzybski.

    And yes, I do know Hayakawa was a conservative. There are more than a few conservatives I admire…

  54. anjin-san says:

    I think that you and anjin-san, on this thread, have hit the later.

    And what is that to you? Feel free to ignore our conversation. I like to argue about politics, and apparently, so does bit. It’s all in good fun, I make no claim to be a member of the Princeton Debate Team.

    As long as James does not object to our discussion, I see no reason why we should not have at it…

  55. Bithead says:

    I am not the one arguing that his words cannot be taken at face value, in fact, I do take them as such, so your point is meaningless.

    Here what this comes out at;

    I gave you a quote of Churchill, (One you apparently were not aware of, or you’d never have taken me on, on this point) which shows clearly he thought ‘good’ and ‘great’ to be two wholly separate things, instead of equating them as you suggest.

    You have ignored it.

    It’s easier to go that way, I suppose, than admitting you got his meaning wrong, and that thereby your entire read of the situation regards the reading of FDR by one of his contemporaries was incorrect as well. When one worships heroes, one can tend away from the logical, after all, and clearly you hold FDR a hero against all historical evidence to the contrary.

    Fine, if you want to play that way. Just don’t be thinking we don’t fully understand exactly why.

  56. anjin-san says:

    Great and good are seldom the same man.

    Words mean things, part 9:

    sel·dom /ˈsɛldəm/

    1. on only a few occasions; rarely; infrequently; not often: We seldom see our old neighbors anymore.
    —adjective

    2. rare; infrequent.

    Seldom does not mean never.

    It is also interesting that you postulate that, in one instance we can take Churchill at his word, and in one case not. Noted that you cherry pick to support your position.

    As for FDR being a hero, well he did pull our country back from the brink of economic disaster that Hoover and the GOP had left it in when he took office, and lead us to victory in WW2. I think I will leave those accomplishments to speak for themselves.

    He also created the G.I. Bill, which you Bushies appear to be against.

    It is also interested that you conveniently ignore most of the quote in question “the truest friend” “the furthest vision”. Do you have a theory that Churchill somehow equated the word “friend” with Satan worship?

  57. Michael says:

    I like to argue about politics, and apparently, so does bit.

    I hate to break it to you, anjin-san, but you and Bit have wandered very far from politics as the topic of your argument.

    As long as James does not object to our discussion, I see no reason why we should not have at it…

    I guess mutual respect for the other people who like to discuss on OTB doesn’t rank as a reason for you to remain civil. The police won’t stop you from being rude to waitresses in a restaurant, but I sure hope in real life that doesn’t cause you to abandon your manners.

  58. anjin-san says:

    Ok, we are arguing about arcane points of history and semantics. There are any number of posters who I simply ignore. It is an easy thing to do, and if you have no interest in our conversation, I suggest you simply disregard it.

    My sense of manners prevents me from trying to dictate what other people discuss in a public forum, but that is just me.

    The guy who sits next to me at work has horrible taste in clothes, but I do not give him fashion advice. Different strokes for different folks.

    Besides, pixels are really, really cheap…

  59. Bithead says:

    Seldom does not mean never.

    So, what you’re saying is, that there is a very small chance Churchill meant it as you read it. I guess I can agree to that.

  60. anjin-san says:

    So, what you’re saying is, that there is a very small chance Churchill meant it as you read it. I guess I can agree to that.

    Well, agreement is a beautiful thing, but what I am actually saying is that there is a a (very) small chance that Churchill said it as YOU meant it…

    And I mean small on the molecular level. Possibly sub-atomic.

  61. anjin-san says:

    I just tried to post some links but perhaps I overdid it as they were blocked…

  62. Bithead says:

    Well, agreement is a beautiful thing, but what I am actually saying is that there is a a (very) small chance that Churchill said it as YOU meant it…

    So, “Seldom” means “Usually”, or “Often”.
    And we’re supposed to accept your reading on Churchill’s use of words. You’re clearly squirming.

    End.

  63. anjin-san says:

    So, “Greatest friend” means “He really reminds me of Hitler”.

    Not squirming. Laughing 🙂