I can pretty much tolerate most right-wing hacks, at least on a personal level – not that I know any of them personally. I’m not disgusted or appalled by them – don’t have a visceral reaction one way or the other. Now that the good guys and gals are in charge, the radio pipsqueeks, cable nimrods and blogging boneheads are mere annoyances. When they are really on their lame game – like Glenn Beck currently is – they are mildly amusing and slightly facinating to watch, as we watch them spin themselves ever deeper into their own sad delusions of false righteousness and legitimacy.
It’s the same with most of the right-wing politicians who, not so long ago, were actually relevant and even held some power in the country, believe it or not. For instance, regardless of how much the wing-nuts tried to convince everyone that the opposition to Junior Bush’s disastrous policies were based on irrational rage, I never hated the little punk and I don’t know anyone who did. He was an empty-suited front for a bunch of manipulative but, ultimately, failed and sad white guys who are now justly losing the rewards they never deserved. Even Dick Cheney fails to get my blood boiling, as he continues his legacy tour of lies and pathetic self-rationalization.
In other words, it’s the issues – not the people who are so wrong about them – that deserve our passion and emotional connection. People come and go through politics and the various media noisemakers, but the important issues of the past several generations – civil rights, war and peace, protection of the environment and economic justice – remain. That’s why it’s easy – for me, anyway – to be at least polite with people I might run into on opposite sides or the fence, the political divide or the courtroom. Even if it is sometimes not reciprocated by a certain self-righteous member of the Marquette law faculty, or others.
Bipartisan and legal comity being a virtue, then, I’ll get to my point:
Screw Ted Olson.
Ted Olson is the lawyer who led the Bush campaign’s legal team that succeeded in shutting down the Florida recount in 2000, resulting in the worst U.S. Supreme Court decision with the most disastrous consequences (i.e.: the entire Bush legacy) in history. I can still hear his voice arguing in the Supreme Court in those dark days, when democracy was stolen in broad daylight. Using the most tortured interpretation of the equal protection clause anyone not named Scalia could imagine, the hyper-activist Rehnquist bare-majority (thanks for nothing, Sandra Day O’Connor) bought Olson’s snake oil just enough to install the worst president in American history before the votes were properly counted.
Last week, Olson popped up in a weird pairing with David Boies – who righteously represented the Gore campaign in the same historic case. For perhaps the first time in his career, Olson this time is on the Right Side, promising to join forces with Boies to challenge California’s Prop 8 anti-gay marriage amendment in the Supreme Court.
Boies and the Prop 8 opponents are too gracious in letting Olson tag along, even if he does lend his nut-right, Federalist Society credentials to the fight. What Ted Olson needs more than anything, if he is indeed trying to sneak his way back into polite society, is a good shunning. And, yes, I know his wife died on the plane that slammed into the Pentagon on 9/11. And, no, the justifiable sympathy from that personal tragedy does not get him off the hook for Bush v. Gore.
And, while I’m at it:
Screw Christopher Ruddy.
Ruddy is the pretend-journalist who provided fodder for Clinton-haters throughout the ‘90s with fabrications, lies and fantasies regarding the supposed crimes of the then-president. It was he who provided the gullible with the "facts" they needed to think the worst of Bill Clinton. He drove the phony "controversy" over Vince Foster’s suicide by claiming Foster was, instead, murdered in some dark Clinton conspiracy. He also pissed on the grave of another Clinton compatriot, Ron Brown, who died in a plane crash, but who Ruddy claimed died of a gunshot wound (during the plane crash, I guess). Ruddy’s smears were financed by right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife, and happily distributed throughout the wing-nut echo chamber, poisoning the political atmosphere for an entire decade and unjustly impugning the reputation of a fine and - in spite of him and them - successful president.
How strange, then, to read that the repulsive Ruddy is palling around with...Bill Clinton. In an otherwise heartening essay in the New York Times Magazine this weekend, Ruddy pops up as a most unlikely F.O.B. "I guess we thought, This is just politics," says the sleaze merchant, who remains in the bullshit business on NewsMax. "But looking back at my role, I was probably over the top. And if I knew then what I know today, I wouldn’t have pursued some of that stuff as aggressively as I did. I did an honest reporter’s job [ha]. But I have a different take on it now." Thanks for letting us know, asshole. Now, get off the stage.
David Boies and Bill Clinton need to use a little more discretion before they go around legitimizing their tormentors after-the-fact. Shake hands during a chance meeting in public? Sure – that’s what hand-sanitizer is for. But befriend and work together? Never.