How Stupid Do These People Think We Are? And More Importantly, How Often Are They Right?

Buckle up folks. I’ve been away from blogging for a while, so you know I’m coming back with a long post (but oh so good).

I’ve had an idea for a column for the last few days, and I would like to thank my friend Stephen (not that Stephen), for giving me the opportunity to kick-start that idea. The other day I was on Facebook when I noticed this picture from Stephen:

Now I don’t know how well you can read it on this “poster”, and I want you to read these words carefully, so let me reprint them here for easier reading:

What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act.

What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.

And of course this quote is then attributed to liberal commentator Lawrence O’Donnell Jr.. But the problem is, this quote does not come from a speech or from a monologue or commentary on O’Donnell’s MSNBC show. It doesn’t come from a commencement speech or the last Democratic National Convention. So where does it come from? Would you believe “The West Wing“. That’s right, the NBC Show “The West Wing“.  These words were not  spoken by O’Donnell, but rather by actor Jimmy Smits, in an episode entitled “The Debate”.

So why are they attributed to O’Donnell? Well, the fact is these words WERE written by Lawrence O’Donnell, because in addition to his role as a political analyst, he has also worked as a television writer and also a sometimes actor (he had a reoccurring role on HBO’s “Big Love). So in other words, this beautiful speech is actually a piece of fiction. And while there is a lot of truth behind some of these words, there is also a more than fair amount of fiction, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

What prompted me to write this post was something I’ve been thinking about for the last few days. Now in my recent past I have been involved in political and social debates with a group of people who are basically hate-filled, partisan idiots, and these are not the kind of folks I choose to waste my time on any longer. I love a good political debate or discussion, but there is nothing more frustrating than a discussion with someone who has their head up their ass. fortunately, I have a number of left-leaning friends who actually have brains and are capable of intelligent discussions, BUT I’ve started to notice that more and more of my friends, both on the left and on the right, are moving more to that fringe “my side is always right, your side is always wrong” group. And that scares me.

I think the O’Donnell quote fits perfectly in this fringe thinking. Think about it: If you were totally unfamiliar with what a liberal and a conservative was, you would think that Liberals are probably the closet thing there is to God’s on this planet, while Conservatives are Satanic Scum. And while partisan, agenda-driven propaganda like this doesn’t surprise me, I am blown away by how easily otherwise intelligent people are sucked in by this crap.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not just picking on my liberal friends here. No folks, it’s just as easy to find right-wingers making similar outrageous statements of how God-like the right-wing is, even while having to deal with those Satanic left-wingers. And these statements are just as asinine as O’Donnell’s script.

Look at it this way. We are told everyday by one liberal “pundit” or another that Republicans are racist, homophobic war-mongerers  who want to deny even the most basic services to anyone with an annual income under six figures. They are selfish, greedy bastards who want to end medicare, social security, food stamps and any form of social safety net, while relegating women back to the kitchen and bedroom (where they belong), while calling for the execution of anyone unwilling to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior.

Flip the channel, and you’ll have more than a fair share of right-wingers preaching that Democrats in this country are brain-washed communist, fascist, pinko-socialists who want to have everything given to them but wouldn’t know a hard days work if it bit them in the ass. They would like to see any expression of religion outlawed, would require all women between the age of 15 and 23 to undergo an abortion to understand the empowerment that it brings you, and preach civil tolerance towards the poor and minorities, as long as they preach such tolerance without actually having to mingle with “the unwashed”, or God forbide (I’m sorry, Earth Mother forbide), a member of the neo-nazi imperialistic American military.

Now let me ask you a question, and understand that I have no idea what your political affiliation is. If you are a conservative, do you agree with the above assessment of the right? How about those of you on the left side of the aisle, do you agree with the description of the “average” Democrat? I’m guessing – in both situations – the answer is probably “No”.

But the real question is why are so many of who know that 90% of what the “other side” says about us is B.S., so willing to believe what our side is saying about them? And I’m not just talking the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers out there, but real, otherwise intelligent human beings. And I think this quote by Lawrence O’Donnell proves that very point. Look, I don’t know Lawrence O’Donnell, I’ve never watched his program, but I have to think this man is probably pretty intelligent. You don’t get to his level by being an idiot, although I must say there are plenty on the right that believe O’Donnell, Schultz and the like are just that: idiots. And plenty on the left will say the same about Limbaugh, Beck & Hannity, that they are brain-dead morons. Well, the truth is, all of these folks – whether you agree with their politics or not – are pretty smart individuals. And those who argue otherwise, well that tends to say a lot about their intelligence.

So let’s go back to O’Donnell’s quote. Now I don’t want to go through the entire comment line by line, but lets just look at a few of the claims. And remember, according to O’Donnell, liberals alone were responsible for all of these great achievements, while conservatives “…opposed them on every one of those things, every one”

Lets start with civil rights. So liberals and liberals alone ended segregation, got African-Americans the right to vote and passed the Civil rights and voting acts, while conservatives did everything in their power to stop these actions. Makes for a great and powerful speech (or, in this case, line from a television script). As long as you ignore some of the facts.

Let start with the biggest fact of all concerning civil rights: The liberals wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do all of these wonderful things in the name of African-Americans if Abraham Lincoln – A Republican – hadn’t ended slavery and freed the slaves in the first place. Right? Read your post-civil war history. It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

Lets look at some of the glorious and illustrious contributions that the Democrats have given us with regards to civil rights, despite the Republicans trying to block them at every turn (and as you read through the list of historical bullet points that dispute Democrat claims of civil rights support, remember that on the Democrats own website (http://www.democrats.org/issues/civil_rights) they claim they “are unwavering in our support of equal opportunity for all Americans. That’s why we’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws”):

October 13, 1858 During Lincoln-Douglas debates, U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) states: “I do not regard the Negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother, or any kin to me whatever”; Douglas became Democratic Party’s 1860 presidential nominee

April 16, 1862 President Lincoln signs bill abolishing slavery in District of Columbia; in Congress, 99% of Republicans vote yes, 83% of Democrats vote no

July 17, 1862 Over unanimous Democrat opposition, Republican Congress passes The Confiscation Act, stating that slaves of the Confederacy “shall be forever free”

January 31, 1865 13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. House with unanimous Republican support, intense Democrat opposition

April 8, 1865 13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. Senate with 100% Republican support, 63% Democrat opposition

November 22, 1865 Republicans denounce Democrat legislature of Mississippi for enacting “black codes,” which institutionalized racial discrimination

February 5, 1866 U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (R-PA) introduces legislation, successfully opposed by Democrat President Andrew Johnson, to implement “40 acres and a mule” relief by distributing land to former slaves

April 9, 1866 Republican Congress overrides Democrat President Johnson’s veto; Civil Rights Act of 1866, conferring rights of citizenship on African-Americans, becomes law

May 10, 1866 U.S. House passes Republicans’ 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the laws to all citizens; 100% of Democrats vote no

June 8, 1866 U.S. Senate passes Republicans’ 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the law to all citizens; 94% of Republicans vote yes and 100% of Democrats vote no

January 8, 1867 Republicans override Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto of law granting voting rights to African-Americans in D.C.

July 19, 1867 Republican Congress overrides Democrat President Andrew Johnson’s veto of legislation protecting voting rights of African-Americans

March 30, 1868 Republicans begin impeachment trial of Democrat President Andrew Johnson, who declared: “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government of white men”

September 12, 1868 Civil rights activist Tunis Campbell and 24 other African-Americans in Georgia Senate, every one a Republican, expelled by Democrat majority; would later be reinstated by Republican Congress

October 7, 1868 Republicans denounce Democratic Party’s national campaign theme: “This is a white man’s country: Let white men rule”

October 22, 1868 While campaigning for re-election, Republican U.S. Rep. James Hinds (R-AR) is assassinated by Democrat terrorists who organized as the Ku Klux Klan

February 3, 1870 After passing House with 98% Republican support and 97% Democrat opposition, Republicans’ 15th Amendment is ratified, granting vote to all Americans regardless of race

May 31, 1870 President U.S. Grant signs Republicans’ Enforcement Act, providing stiff penalties for depriving any American’s civil rights

June 22, 1870 Republican Congress creates U.S. Department of Justice, to safeguard the civil rights of African-Americans against Democrats in the South

February 28, 1871 Republican Congress passes Enforcement Act providing federal protection for African-American voters

April 20, 1871 Republican Congress enacts the Ku Klux Klan Act, outlawing Democratic Party-affiliated terrorist groups which oppressed African-Americans

October 10, 1871 Following warnings by Philadelphia Democrats against black voting, African-American Republican civil rights activist Octavius Catto murdered by Democratic Party operative; his military funeral was attended by thousands

October 18, 1871 After violence against Republicans in South Carolina, President Ulysses Grant deploys U.S. troops to combat Democrat terrorists who formed the Ku Klux Klan

January 17, 1874 Armed Democrats seize Texas state government, ending Republican efforts to racially integrate government

September 14, 1874 Democrat white supremacists seize Louisiana statehouse in attempt to overthrow racially-integrated administration of Republican Governor William Kellogg; 27 killed

March 1, 1875 The Civil Rights Act of 1875, guaranteeing access to public accommodations without regard to race, signed by Republican President U.S. Grant; passed with 92% Republican support over 100% Democrat opposition

February 8, 1894 Democrat Congress and Democrat President Grover Cleveland join to repeal Republicans’ Enforcement Act, which had enabled African-Americans to vote

January 15, 1901 Republican Booker T. Washington protests Alabama Democratic Party’s refusal to permit voting by African-Americans

May 29, 1902 Virginia Democrats implement new state constitution, condemned by Republicans as illegal, reducing African-American voter registration by 86%

February 12, 1909 On 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, African-American Republicans and women’s suffragists Ida Wells and Mary Terrell co-found the NAACP

May 21, 1919 Republican House passes constitutional amendment granting women the vote with 85% of Republicans in favor, but only 54% of Democrats; in Senate, 80% of Republicans would vote yes, but almost half of Democrats no

January 26, 1922 House passes bill authored by U.S. Rep. Leonidas Dyer (R-MO) making lynching a federal crime; Senate Democrats block it with filibuster

June 2, 1924 Republican President Calvin Coolidge signs bill passed by Republican Congress granting U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans

October 3, 1924 Republicans denounce three-time Democrat presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan for defending the Ku Klux Klan at 1924 Democratic National Convention

June 12, 1929 First Lady Lou Hoover invites wife of U.S. Rep. Oscar De Priest (R-IL), an African-American, to tea at the White House, sparking protests by Democrats across the country

August 17, 1937 Republicans organize opposition to former Ku Klux Klansman and Democrat U.S. Senator Hugo Black, appointed to U.S. Supreme Court by FDR; his Klan background was hidden until after confirmation

June 24, 1940 Republican Party platform calls for integration of the armed forces; for the balance of his terms in office, FDR refuses to order it

August 8, 1945 Republicans condemn Harry Truman’s surprise use of the atomic bomb in Japan. The whining and criticism goes on for years. It begins two days after the Hiroshima bombing, when former Republican President Herbert Hoover writes to a friend that “The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul.”

September 30, 1953 Earl Warren, California’s three-term Republican Governor and 1948 Republican vice presidential nominee, nominated to be Chief Justice; wrote landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education

November 25, 1955 Eisenhower administration bans racial segregation of interstate bus travel

March 12, 1956 Ninety-seven Democrats in Congress condemn Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and pledge to continue segregation

June 5, 1956 Republican federal judge Frank Johnson rules in favor of Rosa Parks in decision striking down “blacks in the back of the bus” law

November 6, 1956 African-American civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy vote for Republican Dwight Eisenhower for President

September 9, 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republican Party’s 1957 Civil Rights Act. Among those voting against the act were Senator Al Gore Sr., and Senator John F. Kennedy.

September 24, 1957 Sparking criticism from Democrats such as Senators John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, President Dwight Eisenhower deploys the 82nd Airborne Division to Little Rock, AR to force Democrat Governor Orval Faubus to integrate public schools

May 6, 1960 President Dwight Eisenhower signs Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1960, overcoming 125-hour, around-the-clock filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats

May 2, 1963 Republicans condemn Democrat sheriff of Birmingham, AL for arresting over 2,000 African-American schoolchildren marching for their civil rights

September 29, 1963 Gov. George Wallace (D-AL) defies order by U.S. District Judge Frank Johnson, appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower, to integrate Tuskegee High School

June 9, 1964 Republicans condemn 14-hour filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act by U.S. Senator and former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd (D-WV), who continued to serve in the Senate until his death two years ago.

June 10, 1964 Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) criticizes Democrat filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act, calls on Democrats to stop opposing racial equality. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced and approved by a staggering majority of Republicans in the Senate. The Act was opposed by most southern Democrat senators, several of whom were proud segregationists—one of them being Al Gore Sr. Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson relied on Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader from Illinois, to get the Act passed.

August 4, 1965 Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) overcomes Democrat attempts to block 1965 Voting Rights Act; 94% of Senate Republicans vote for landmark civil right legislation, while 27% of Democrats oppose. Voting Rights Act of 1965, abolishing literacy tests and other measures devised by Democrats to prevent African-Americans from voting, signed into law; higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats vote in favor

February 19, 1976 President Gerald Ford formally rescinds President Franklin Roosevelt’s notorious Executive Order authorizing internment of over 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII

September 15, 1981 President Ronald Reagan establishes the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to increase African-American participation in federal education programs

June 29, 1982 President Ronald Reagan signs 25-year extension of 1965 Voting Rights Act

August 10, 1988 President Ronald Reagan signs Civil Liberties Act of 1988, compensating Japanese-Americans for deprivation of civil rights and property during World War II internment ordered by FDR

November 21, 1991 President George H. W. Bush signs Civil Rights Act of 1991 to strengthen federal civil rights legislation

August 20, 1996 Bill authored by U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R-NY) to prohibit racial discrimination in adoptions, part of Republicans’ Contract With America, becomes law

So we have these – what was it that Al Gore called them – oh yeah, Inconvenient Truths regarding civil rights and equal rights for all Americans. But what of some of O’Donnell’s other claims, such as the fact that it was Liberals alone that got women the right to vote. Great achievement, as long as you ignore the fact that Women first legally voted in Wyoming on September 6, 1870 , in the FIRST election after women’s suffrage signed into law by Republican Gov. John Campbell.

In August of 1920,  Republican-authored 19th Amendment, giving women the vote, becomes part of Constitution; 26 of the 36 states to ratify had Republican-controlled legislatures

And have you ever heard of Susan B. Anthony? You know, the one that was on those horrible dollar coins several years back? On November 18, 1872 Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting, after boasting to Elizabeth Cady Stanton that she voted for “the Republican ticket, straight”

Less than six years later, on January 10, 1878, U.S. Senator Aaron Sargent (R-CA) introduced the Susan B. Anthony amendment for women’s suffrage. The Democrat-controlled Senate defeated it 4 times before an election of Republican House and Senate guaranteed its approval in 1919.

So I’d say your “We got women the right to vote” bucket holds just about as much water as your “We’ve worked to pass every one of our nation’s Civil Rights laws” bucket.

The Clean Air Act? It was passed by a vote of 89 to 11. Of the 11 voting “no” were 6 Republicans, and 5 Democrats. Hardly a landslide of democratic power against a unanimous onslaught of Republic opposition.

Lets step outside of Lawrence’s diatribe for a minute. Lets talk about Women’s rights, more specifically, women’s reproductive rights. Again, the company line here is that Republicans want women to die in back alley abortions while all the left is concerned about is the right to choose (of course the one who that “choice” affects most – the fetus – doesn’t have much to say, does s/he?). Well let’s not forget the words of liberal icon Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood…

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population….

Wow, do you still believe that Liberals are the saviors of the universe, fighting against those evil conservatives? Sadly, some of you probably do. And while we are on the subject, I want to make sure that you understand that I am also not saying the opposite is true, that it was the right who have been unjustly vilified, and the left who are in fact responsible for any problems we face today. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Look, I doubt that in my lifetime or the lifetime of my children or grandchildren we will ever see anything close to a positive, effective socially and fiscally moral government, but I can tell you this: What that day does come, and that government comes into existence, it will not be a liberal government nor will it be a conservative one. Neither of these ideals are capable of ruling all people effectively. We need a combination of both liberal and conservative ideals, as well as other points of views as well, and we are never going to get there if we continue to believe that “My side is right and your side is wrong”, no matter what that side may be.

Oh, one more thing: Take a look at that poster at the beginning of the column again. Heck, you don’t even have to scroll back up, I’ll reprint it here:

Who is responsible for this poster? Not the content, we know that came from Lawrence O’Donnell by way of one of his fictional scripts (and I think we’ve proven that, despite being a very elegant and moving tome, it is in fact, fiction).

Look in the lower left hand corner, and you’ll see that this lovely little gem is brought to you by the “Anti-Republican Crusaders”. I think the name says it all, doesn’t it?Oh not just this group and this message, but more importantly the general tone of political discussion today.

I remember a time when proud Democrats and proud Republicans stood for something in this country. You asked a man or woman their political beliefs, and they told you what they stood FOR what they believed in. Sadly, those days are behind us. We don’t believe in anything these days, but we know damn sure what we’re against. We’ve become an “Anti” nation, driven not by what we believe in but rather by what we oppose, and oppose it we will at any cost. We don’t vote “for” a president (or senator or congressman) anymore, we vote “against” the other guy. That is how we end up with presidents like George Bush and Barack Obama, self-serving rudderless “leaders” whose greatest accomplishments are that they are not the person they replaced.

If you believe that the path to a better nation is to prop up one point of view and one point of view only, while doggedly opposing the other side just because they are the other side, then keep it up. Sadly, if too many of us follow that road, we’ll either end up with no country at all, or worst yet, we’ll get the country we thought we were fighting for.

But the truth is, almost every great accomplishment that we have made as a country has been made not as democrats, and not as republicans, but as Americans, working together. In every important arena of this country’s history, be it civil liberties, freedom, advancements in medicine & science, and general improvements in ANY area, there have been great successes on either side of the political spectrum, and there have been abject failures on both sides of the aisle. The intelligent among us realize that, the lazy and hateful among us don’t, and the unscrupulous and immoral among us use edited history to manipulate the laziest and most hateful among us.

Think about that the next time that someone says “You know, the Conservatives always….” or “Those liberals never….”. In politics, as in life, there is no “always” or “never”….. except on FOX and MSNBC……

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33 Responses

  1. The (disingenuous?) error that undercuts your entire argument is the idea that “liberal” = “Democrat” and “conservative” = “Republican.” To choose just one such bit of nonsense, Abraham Lincoln, while claimed today by the Republican party as one of their shining lights (and I don’t disagree with the idea that he was a great man) would surely be disowned by the party if he were currently running for office. “Liberals,” regardless of party affiliation, were who did all the things O’Donnell mentions; “conservatives” opposed them. That part really is that simple.

    • @Rob,

      Did you READ the blog? Seriously – you could have written your (“guess what side I’m on”) comment without bothering to actually read and absorb it. This is right down the middle and your response is exactly the defensive, knee jerk reaction that Bob is trying to address…

    • Rob, I have to agree with Ky, did you even read the blog? You say ““Liberals,” regardless of party affiliation, were who did all the things O’Donnell mentions; “conservatives” opposed them.”, which just isn’t true.

      Yes, I understand that liberal does not automatically equal Democrat anymore that conservative automatically equals Republican, but the fact is prior to the 60’s the left had a horrible record on race relations. And sadly, starting in the late 50’s the right took a wrong turn on race relations. But the bottom line is, no, everything O’Donnell says is not true.

      There seems in political circles to be this sad need to “win” any and all arguements. The truth is, very, very little – good or bad – was ever passed simply by the left or the right – even when 2/3rds of one party vote for something that only 1/3rd of thre other party vote for, it’s still a combined effort that gets it past.

    • I totally agree, Rob. The comments that followed yours implying you hadn’t read the blog made me smile because the truth was that they either didn’t read your post, or perhaps just didn’t comprehend. Lawrence O’Donnell used the terms “liberal” and “conservative” specifically to speak truth. There have been times in our history when the “republican party” would have accurately been called “liberal”, because it was they who were promoting the most progressive ideas. During those years the democrats were resisting change (progress) and were therefore the conservatives of that era. While the point by point description of historical events is both useful and interesting, it DID NOT refute the words written by Lawrence O’Donnell. It has always been the “Liberals” (no matter their party affiliation) who have brought positive change to our nation.

      • Sorry Kathleen, I mean it was a real nice attempt at spin, but it rings a little hollow. Yes, I agree that both parties have changed over time, but to even try to entertain the thought that O’Donnell was talking about liberal Republicans is beyond absurd.

        Look, even if everything you say is 100% true – it’s not, but lets pretend it is – O’Donnell was not talking about ideologies, he was using great misinformation to try to paint the Democrats as wonderful, the Republicans as scum. And sadly, most of the sheep reading this tripe bought it hook, line and sinker.

        Look at one simple line from his comments: “What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?” Right there he is defining liberals as the opposite of Republican’s, therefore none of the wonderful things that liberals supposedly did could have been done by Republicans.

        Again, nice attempt at saving face for O’Donnell, but it doesn’t pass the smell test. And the first person to disagree with your take would be O’Donnell himself.

    • Thank you Rob, it is this simple.

  2. Oh Jynessa, I could say something, but I don’t want to embarass you further than you have already embarassed yourself. I mean, it’s not like I hide the fact that O’Donnell wrote that episode, it was in the very next paragraph.

    I will give you credit for admitting your mistake. Now if only O’Donnell would admit his (not that I’m holding my breath….).

  3. I was looking to start researching the claims from the poster, and came across your well-written piece. Thanks for saving me bunches of time and keeping my head from exploding! –DC

  4. THIS, my friend, is brilliant!! Nuff Said!!

  5. is exactly the pot calling the kettle.
    I remember when conservatives were interested in governance for the good of the entire people of the US… but the current “conservative” meme is primarily interested in protecting financial exploitation and resource extraction.
    I suggest some honest reflection on morality.

    • Okay pdmikk, not sure how to respond, but let me give it a shot.

      Pot calling the Kettle, huh! What exactly are you referring to? The basis for this post was the O’Donnell “Poster”, and addressing the so-called “truths” that he put forth. I think I did a pretty good job of blowing a hole in his claims. Now, was I saying that the exact opposite is true, that in fact it was conservatives who were responsible for all those great accomplishments? No, I don’t believe I said that.

      What about the part where I said “No folks, it’s just as easy to find right-wingers making similar outrageous statements of how God-like the right-wing is, even while having to deal with those Satanic left-wingers. And these statements are just as asinine as O’Donnell’s script.” So no, I’n not sure it was a pot calling the kettle black, but even if it was, that only works when the pot and kettle both ARE black, meaning there are falsehoods on both sides.

      As for your assessment of the current conservative crop, I’d say your pretty much right on the money, the current state of the Republican party is pretty sad. But what you left out is the fact that the current state of the Democratic party is equally sad. Face it, both of these parties are currently being controlled by the fringe elements.

      Don’t believe that? Then maybe I could suggest some honest reflection on morality.

  6. POB, your post here has been part of quite the Facebook conversation. I feel like I could do a better job articulating, but for a lack of ice-cream. Nevertheless, I’d love your input on what’s transpired. Here’s the conversation: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=196542007111849&id=723793004&notif_t=share_reply

  7. Okay, having read the entire entry, now, I feel like, again, you missed the point of what was being said (And yes, I know the poster has the (Anti-Republican-Crusaders mark in the corner. That’s not something that I happen to subscribe to, so we’ll leave that part alone).

    When I read the word “liberal”, I do not immediately make the assumption or reach the conclusion that we are talking about “democrats”. To me, what that means is someone whose thinking is not limited by things like prejudice, sexism, racism, etc. I have friends who are democrats who are anti-abortion, and friends who are republican who are for marriage equality. Trying to put people into those little boxes is both counter-intuitive and self-defeating. I am a registered democrat, but there are plenty of things that I believe that are more in line with GOP values. Despite that, the overwhelming majority of my beliefs and sympathies are with the democratic side of things.

    Now, yes, most of what is written in that poster is the kind of stuff that the democratic party would support today, even if this was not always the case. If, however…. if you read those words once again, and think about – REALLY think about – what they are saying, then it becomes difficult to argue with the facts that yes, at the time those changes took place, the people who made them happen? They were – by the dictionary definition of the word – liberals. To wit:
    Liberal: (Adjective)
    1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

    2.( often initial capital letter ) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.

    3.of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.

    4.favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

    5.favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.

    Reading those definitions, I see nothing – NOTHING – that says anything at all about democrats or republicans, nor, for that matter, whigs, libertarians, the green party, anarchists, fascists, socialists, communists, etc. When I read those words, what I saw was a pretty simple statement: the people who made those changes happen, who pushed for those beliefs and shifts in policy, were the ones who looked at the world as it was and said “We can do better.” The ones who, when they were told by the status quo “blacks/women don’t deserve the vote”, they said, “yes they do.” When told “It doesn’t matter how we treat the earth,” they said “yes it does.” When told “it’s not our responsibility to take care of the elderly”, they said, “yes it is.” That, to me, is what being a liberal is all about. Not a political party, POB, but an idea, and an ideal.

    When I say that I am anti-conservative, I am not saying that I am anti-Republican. I am saying that I am anti-anything that takes away from any citizen of the United States of America the rights and ideals that we are all supposed to have. That is what I believe, and what I stand for, and why that poster is, to me, the truth.

    • I agree with Bob. Simply stated, if I was once called Red and now I’m called Blue and vice versa for those who were once called Blue, it does not mean my agenda is any different now, than when I was called Red. It also doesn’t mean I have to be exclusively Blue nor others exclusively Red. The issues at hand are so overwhelmingly diverse, the result may be various shades of Purple.

      I think Mr. O’Donnell’s point is that there have always been those that are primarily focused on the plight of the downtrodden in society and those that tend to be more inwardly focused and primarily concerned with a more personal agenda. Put in that prospective, his statements are correct. I prefer the term “progressive” to “liberal” since the term “liberal” has become skewed. However, the end result is the same. Those who believe one way or the other fall naturally into two groups and in present times the divide is sharp. That “Purple” may be the more intelligent way to reconcile these differences seems obvious, but the referee doesn’t actually play the game.

      That the cornerstone in the poster is representative of a group called the “anti-republican crusaders” is unfortunate. It’s a spit-in-the-face kind of stance. The alternative? The anti-people who don’t seem to care about anyone else crusaders? I don’t know. But, to use the organization the poster represents as a basis to declare it’s statements inaccurate is false. Other than the logo, there is no other mention of Republican or Democrat in Mr. O’Donnell’s script. He may just as well have said, “Good people do good things and I’m with the good guys… these days we call them Democrats”.

      • Oops, meant to say I agree with Steven!

      • Colette, while you apparently don’t actually agree with me, I’ll just ask you the same thing I asked James Roy: Why did Lawrence O’Donnell feel the need to LIE to paint the left as someone they are not? And again, I’m not trying to say that the opposite is true either, that the right are all heroes and the left are all goats. With very few exceptions, most of the legislation that has been passed that has benefitted this country have been the result of efforts on both the left and the right. And, the same truth holds for the legislation that has been detrimental to this country.

        Look at your comment “I think Mr. O’Donnell’s point is that there have always been those that are primarily focused on the plight of the downtrodden in society and those that tend to be more inwardly focused and primarily concerned with a more personal agenda. Put in that prospective, his statements are correct”. Sorry Colette, but that’s B.S.. Oh, it’s a nice comment, but O’Donnell knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and it was pure lies and distortion.

        And what about your comment “Other than the logo, there is no other mention of Republican or Democrat in Mr. O’Donnell’s script.”The “Logo” of course was the poster being presented by the “Anti-Republican Crusaders” (we’ll get to them in a moment). This too is wrong. Look at the very first sentence: “What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?” Right there he separates the Liberals and the Republicans as being on opposite sides, which makes your entire argument moot. Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s a good argument, and I actually agree with a lot of it, but this was 100% NOT the point O’Donnell was trying to make. He was playing the politics of distortion and personal destruction, and the truth be damned.

        As for the Anti-Republican Crusaders, you state “? I don’t know. But, to use the organization the poster represents as a basis to declare it’s statements inaccurate is false.” I never did that. Sure, I think you could use this organization to cast doubt on the validity of the movement, or not. But the fact is, I stated DOZENS of actual examples to show that O’Donnell’s claims are false. Maybe not all of them, but at least a portion of all of them. And remember, O’Donnell is using this all or nothing language, such as “What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. Except, as we now know, that’s not the truth, is it?

        What I find most interesting about this is that the left is always screaming and yelling about groups like FOX news doing stuff like this, and I get it, I really do. But then, once presented with proof that their side is doing the exact same thing, the EXACT same thing, they jump into super spin mode and try to justify the very behavior they are fighting against on the other side. And don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate it when folks – be they on the left or the right – do this. Why? Because it lets me know right away that this person is not to be taken seriously. That, in fact, they talk a good talk, but they aren’t really interested in right over wrong, they aren’t interested in true progress. They are interested in promoting their party over the other, regardless of the outcome.

  8. Hey Bob! Been awhile.

    I think that one big flaw in the argument of “the Democrats fought against civil rights”, is that back then the parties were reversed. Back then the “Democrats” were what we now view as Republicans and vice versa. In fact it was the civil rights issues that basically initiated that switch.

    Here is a video by The Young Turks (who I’m sure many conservatives don’t care for, but it makes it no less a good video source) who explains the situation, in relation to a Republican congresswoman saying that the conservatives are the ones who passed civil rights legislation with no help from those across the aisle.

    He explains this a bit better than I could. Interestingly enough sometimes when I post videos by these guys, every now and then a conservative will suggest that it’s automatically discounted because they’re “ultra liberals” and whatnot and all they do is praise Obama and demonize Republicans. To that I’d have to say they must never watch the show because that’s CLEARLY not the case. lol.

    Anyway, hope you have a good day Bob!

  9. […] couple of weeks ago I did a post titled “How Stupid Do This People Think We Are? And More Importantly, How Often Are They Right?“, regarding a poster that has been making the rounds on Facebook from MSNBC Commentator […]

  10. I checked out the historical voting records of one of statements to see the facts. The 15th amendment was passed by a republican mayority, almost all democrats voted against it. Its history.

  11. Side note to Dave and Miguel who are doing a great job debating this article over at Miguel’s Facebook page. There has been recent discussion recently regarding the title of this article which originally read “How Stupid Do This People Think We Are? And More Importantly, How Often Are They Right?” There is of course a simple typo in the article, the title should read “How Stupid Do THESE People…”. It has since been corrected.

    Now Miguel claims that because I made a mistake in the title – and I did – that the article holds no merit. After all, I’m stupid, right? Dave counters saying that I purposely used “This” instead of “These” to play off of the “stupid” angle. His retort to Miguel was (and I love this): “It’s like Zoolander’s Center for Children Who Can’t Read Good.”. No Dave, I wish I was being that clever, but in fact it was a simple typo.

    Miguel also looks for a lot of reasons to ignore my facts, such as “many or the article’s examples, as I said, are copy and pasted word for word from conservative websites” Okay Miguel, where did you expect to find this information, liberal websites? But here’s how this whole thing breaks down: Are these facts indeed facts? I mean I can give you “facts” that say anything. I can tell you that 76 million jobs were created under George Bush, and Barack Obama starts each day drinking the blood of a newborn infant. The fact that I stated them as facts does not make them true.

    So are my facts factual or not. Did, for instance, President Eisenhower sign the Republicans’ Civil Rights Act of 1960, and did in fact 18 Senate Democrats filibuster that bill around the clock for 125 hours.

    Suppose in fact it was the Republicans who filibustered it. Present that information, and if truthful, my “fact” goes out the window and becomes a fabrication. But Miguel doesn’t do that, does he. he chooses instead to slander the messenger and make some comment about a spelling error nullifying the entire argument.

    But if that’s important to you Miguel, let me point out a couple of things from your Facebook discussion. You should capitalize Ku Klux Clan, and also it is Klan (hence the term KKK, not KKC). Also, when discussing the political parties they too should be capitalized, as should be “South” and “Lincoln”. Also, sentences are suppose to start capitalized. Now that may be a cheap shot, and I admit it, but it was in fact your rationalization.

    Not that Miguel doesn’t make some good points. He writes: “I agree that saying one side is always right and one is always wrong is dangerous, but can you really provide me with a coherent argument that the current republican party is at least equally as legitimate, with respect to ensuring the country’s well-being in the future, as progressive or liberal values?” But Miguel, I wasn’t saying otherwise either. The fact of the matter is that it was O’Donnell’s words that are INTENTIONALLY misleading. Yes, you may argue – rightfully or not – that in fact it was the Republican party that were the liberal ones at the time in question, but that is not the point O’Donnell was trying to convey. Remember again that these are words spoken by a Democratic candidate (fictional) during a debate, and the fact that his very first sentence is “What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?” implies that the conservatives in question are Republican.

    I love that Miguel adds “furthermore, site a single point in history when conservatives have furthered human rights?”. Um, how about in the actual founding of the country, Miguel. How about the creation of the EPA during the Nixon Administration, or the Americans with Disabilities Act signed by President George Bush the first. How about you go back a couple of months ago to the 1st of December and World Aids Day, where president Obama pledged $50 million dollars to the fight against Aids. How is that an example of conservatives furthering human rights? Well, it’s not, it’s just there to serve as a comparison. Comparison to what?

    Do you know who Bob Geldof is? Former singer for the Boomtown Rats, Geldof is probably best known for putting together “Live Aid” to raise money for the poor in Africa. He was also a driving force behind “Band Aid”, whose hit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” raised millions for African relief.

    In 2008 Geldof traveled with George W. Bush to Africa. I’ll let Jon Ward, White House correspondent for the Washington Times, describe the trip:

    …Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.

    Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, “has done more than any other president so far.”

    “This is the triumph of American policy really,” he said. “It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion.”

    “What’s in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing,” Mr. Geldof said.

    Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed “to articulate this to Americans” but said he is also “pissed off” at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.

    “You guys didn’t pay attention,” Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers…

    It’s a shame they didn’t pay attention, because it’s quite a good story, and a shame that the press never decided to tell it to the American people. After all, we were the ones paying for it. It was Bush who initiated the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, more than 1.5 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid. All of this funding was greater during the Bush Administration than any previous administration.

    On the African trip with Geldof, Bush announced a $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.

    All to help a continent and regions that hold zero national strategic interests. I think Bush said it best on that very same trip when he stated “One thing I will say: Human suffering should preempt commercial interest.”

    So it’s real simple Miguel. You can ask a foolish question like “site a single point in history when conservatives have furthered human rights?” because A) you are not a student of history, and B) trumpeting conservative achievements gets about as much play in the mainstream press today as coverage of liberal scandals. In other words, practically none.

    I think a better question would be this: While the Republican party is far from perfect, it has had it’s share of successes to go along with the failures. So why is it that the opposition, the Democrats, feel it necessary to eliminate all history of Republican while white-washing the failures of their own past?

    And for that Miguel, I do not have an answer.

  12. Ack! I’m crushed that the Zoolander theory is out the window! Ah, well. I’m finding Mr. Miguel’s argument to be more rhetorical, arguing for an outdated semantic of the word, Liberal, to which conservatives would likely back the meaning (someone up in this comment thread did the same; is this taught in school, now?). However, the practice of liberalism fails to live up to the definition. I wonder if that is because by definition we’re looking at Classical Liberal rather than modern-day liberal. Certainly, if progressivism has overtaken liberalism, whether by happenstance or by design, the definition given no longer holds true.

    Anyhow, thank you for your comments. –DC

  13. The republican party that pass the early civil right bills was a progressive liberal party.There is nothing progressive or liberal about today’s republican party, just ask newt Gingrich who skewered Romney for being too liberal to represent the party against Obama.There are liberals, moderates and conservatives in both parties. It was that way before 1970 also. The conservative dixiecrats of the 60s are today’s republican, The philosophy of both party has change. The repulican for the worse. Neither Abraham Lincoln, or Ronald Regan would be considered consevative enough to lead today’s Republican party, which is dominated by the voice of the extremist tea baggers.

  14. James, this seems to be the same spin that everyone seems to want to put on that, but the bottom line is this IS NOT the point that O’Donnell was trying to make, and you know that.

    Look at the first line of his little diatribe: “What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?” Right there he is saying that the Republicans are the enemy of the liberals, so I doubt that when he was talking about all these glourious things the liberals did, he was talking about the “Liberal Republicans”.

    Naw, just another load of lies from the left, all ginned up to keep their sheep happy. And judging by the number of times I’ve seen this reprinted, the sheep are very happy…..

    • So let me get this straight.

      First you point out that this is a line from a TV show, then you take the line completely out of context.

      You realize this is a direct response in that fictional debate to an accusation that “liberals” are to blame for the countries woes at the time in that show. The accusation comes from Alad Alda’s character Arnold Vinnick, the Republican candidate for POTUS. The first line of this quote is directed at a fictional Republican so OF COURSE the first line indicts that Republicans have a problem with liberals.

      By taking the quote out of context, you are able to stir up a liberal=democrat corollary when in fact the word “Republican” HAS to be used there to maintain the flow of a well written television show…..

      but I think you already knew that….otherwise I would have to think you are an idiot.

      • E., you are correct that this is a line from a television show BUT it is not being represented as such, is it? Show me on the poster where it states this is a line from a fictional character? I’ll save you the time, it doesn’t.

        And I don’t even blame O’Donnell per se, since he didn’t post this, but rather some anti-Republican group. But did that group say “Hey, here’s a great line from the West Wing”? No, they simply said it was written by O’Donnell, and anyone familiar with O’Donnell at the time of the posting would think it was a legitimate political commentary.

        As for your analysis of why it had to be written as it was, it was a little weak and lame. Sure, this is part of fiction – and I acknowledge that in the beginning of my post, but the fact is so much of it is pure lies, and I think I proved that.

        Suppose a conservative blogger tried his hand at television fiction, and wrote a liberal character who was ultra corrupt, racist, and dozens of other negative things, and when the left complained about the characterizations, his response was “it’s just fiction”. You think that would fly? No more than your weak attempt (and fail) at a save.

  15. […] I wrote a post describing a post from Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC that was making the rounds (https://planetofbob.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/how-stupid-do-this-people-think-we-are-and-more-importan…) that did exactly what these other posts were doing: Putting out false, misleading information that […]

  16. So if Lawrence would have written “What did Liberals do that was so offensive to the Conservatives?” would that have made his statement more true?

  17. Lauril, how he phrased the question has nothing to do with whether his list is true or not. The fact of the matter is O’Donnell tried to portray liberals as the only ones supporting these advancements, while – as O’Donnell states “What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one.”

    As I pointed out, these issues were passed almost entirly by both conservatives and liberals – some with more support than others, and some – including the early civil rights advancements – being almost universally opposed by the left.

    So no, changing the wording doesn’t make O’Donnell’s post more truthful, because his statement is only half-truths at best. And O’Donnell is a smart man, one who knows his history. He can only hope that those following his words don’t know theirs.

  18. Thank you for this article, Bob. I try to research anything that fits too neatly into my personal political philosophy since one should never believe everything they hear/read. I wish more did the same.

  19. Reblogged this on chrislaracruz and commented:
    This is very informative. Too many times have people just taken the word of a meme and ran with it. This shows us that we need to really pay attention, do our own research and make our own conclusions all the while having discussions with other people to learn more.

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