Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Company They Keep

I don't know about you, but I always thought that the concept of "guilt by association" has gotten a bad rap.  I think you can judge a person -- certainly a politician -- by who they choose to hang out with and use to advance their political careers. In fact, as secretive and unknown as some of these people are, sometimes that's all you have. 

Take right-wing darling Rep. Paul Ryan from Janesville.  Ryan has been a rising star in the Republican galaxy for some time now, if only because he is one of the shrinking party's' few congressional members who can appear on TV without triggering the gag reflex.  At least that's what I hear from others. I still have throat trouble when I see his slick head of hair and boyish smirk appear on yet another talk show, but then I have always had trouble laughing and swallowing at the same time.  If you want a good laugh, check out his recitation of the GOP's health care "plan" to maintain the status quo.  It's a riot.

Anyway, in this morning's paper it is reported that Ryan has caught some flack from his constituents for attending an event presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.  FAIR has been called out by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its racist leaders and funding sources, but continues to be one of the many questionable places where Republicans like Ryan go to soak up attention and contributions.  You might even feel sorry for GOP glory-hounds like Ryan who have to patronize the well-funded rapid-right activists in Washington to gain street-cred with their dwindling base. I mean, you can't swing a stick in a room full of those people without hitting someone who is racist, homophobic, anti-feminist or some form of offensive. 

For his part, Ryan blamed his FAIR appearance on a radio talk show host in St. Louis.  It's an interesting defense.  I suppose if Charlie Sykes invited Ryan to some other slimy greed-fest with a cast of unsavory charactors -- Citizens for Responsible Government comes to mind -- Ryan would go and blame it on the radio guy if somebody with any sense found out about it.  This is the way it works with Republicans these days, I guess, getting jerked around on a chain by wingnut radio hosts to take full advantage of the hours of free political advertising mainstream radio currently provides the GOP.

We should take the "guilt by association" meme and move it to its next logical step.  It seems incompetent part-time Milwaukee County Executive and full-time gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker has a free pass to call in to any right-wing radio show in the state any time to promote his candidacy.  It happens on almost a daily basis, on shows large and small. 

If the wingnuts are going to get that involved in the campaign, they should be held up to scrutiny themselves, and Walker should be held to account for the company he keeps.  Hey, Scott Walker -- when you spent a half-hour getting stroked by Mark Belling, did you sit around with him during the breaks and tell wetback jokes and talk about how to prevent obnoxious minorities from creating another Crimeville? Tell us, Scott, do you agree with Sykes that black leaders like Al Shaprton should be referred to as "pimps" and that Lee Holloway is a "thug"?   All of these are fair questions, I think.  And, if the answer is "no" to each, what are you doing hanging around people like that?

Actually, the problem may be for the radio squawkers hanging around with Walker.  Do they really want to be associated with someone who would soak up all these in-kind political contributions from your radio stations without reporting it on his campaign forms?


Anonymous said...

Then why didn't you care that Obama hung out with a domestic terrorist and sat in the pews while listening to a racist spew hate toward whites and America?

Mike Plaisted said...

You know, I was going to include a preemptive strike on this kind of drearyly predictable comeback in the post. Right-wingers never deal with the substance of an issue. They always deflect to their tiresome talking-points.

There is a difference between "associating" and "associating". If Obama got up with Rev. Wright in the pulpit and joined in the supposedly offensive hyperbole (not to me) and used such an appearance to advance his political career, then you might have something. If he did more with Ayers than being in the same room with him during a couple of board meetings and used a meeting of the Still Terrorist Club to endorse their existance and promote himself, we could talk about that.

But he didn't and wouldn't. Scott Walker uses wingnuts and racists like Belling and Sykes as an integral part of his political strategy. He is not only in bed with them, he happily serves them breakfast in bed after long nights of passionate political lovemaking.

There is no comparison.

Jim said...

Love that last line! Keep it up Plaisted!

Anonymous said...

So agreeing to go on a radio show means that you're completely in bed with the host of that show whether he/she shares the same beliefs or not?

Mike Plaisted said...

No, simply "agreeing" to go on a radio show doesn't mean that.

However, accepting daily wet blowjobs from every wingnut under the sun, as Walker does, signifies a sufficent commitment to the agenda of those buffoons -- and they to yours -- such that a certain unity of purpose and harmony of disposition can and should be assigned.

Anonymous said...

So Walker ought to tell Belling and Sykes to quit saying anything about him on-air? I'm sure you'd be fine if Belling and Sykes only said bad things about him. You sleigh me Mike, you really do. Wow.

Mike Plaisted said...

How Sykes and Belling and the rest of the wingnuts campaign "on their own" (Hah. The idea that these people are independent is hilarious) on the public, government-regulated airwaves is one thing, I suppose. Freedom of speech (only for them), they call it, although no one with any sense can get a word in edgewise.

But most of the love-making with Walker -- when they are not reading his e-mails verbatim -- is done with him in the studio or on the phone with them on the air. So what they say in the erotic anticipation before he gets there and the afterglow after he's gone is not really the issue, is it?

Anonymous said...

The issue is that you want Belling, Sykes, and Harris off the air because it's not "fair" that they get ratings and your liberal counterparts, whom have tried and failed, don't. Since when have Belling or Sykes claimed to be 'independent?' They wear their political affiliation on their sleeve, you know what you're gettign when you listen to them. Belling rarely endorses candidates and Charlie is fairly obviously in the Walker camp...again, so what?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike.

Anonymous said...

Virginia and New Jersey elect Republicans, Virginia no surprise. New Jersey? Mikey the Republican onslaught begins!! Reid saying socialized medicine won't even get a vote this year. It will never happen in 2010 an election year, as it will embolden Conservative democrats to just say no to the obamination. in 2010 85 seats will go to Republicans, affectively ending any hope and change the obamination will try to jamm down the throats of americans. Guess us Republicans are just rising from the ashes.lmao

Roland Melnick said...

@Anonymous...this is really about wading through the guilt-by-association despite how deliciously hypocritical Mike is being about that. You have to understand what Mike is really about.

Mike, as usual, maintains a narrow-minded view when it comes to examining this "issue." He could easily have talked about how Obama recently dictated to the various TV talk shows when he would appear on their shows to stump for his own political agenda. But, Mike doesn't really have an issue with politicians making media appearances in general, he is only interested attacking talk radio.

This isn't an intellectual exercise. He is acting as a political strategist. The mission is to silence talk radio or force radio stations to put liberal talkers on. The Fairness Doctrine is dead (for now anyway), so Mike needs a new strategy. His final paragraph hints at the new strategy: Government should control talk radio content because it is an "in-kind political contribution." I've surfed Mike's blog for a while now. While his arguments against talk radio have come from different angles, the goal remains the same.

Roland Melnick said... should know by now that a Democrat attending a church run by a controversial character for 20 years pales in comparison to a Republican going to a luncheon sponsored by, what Mike calls, a controversial group.

Okay, that was tongue in cheek, but Anon, you won't get a straight answer from Mike because their is no comparison in his mind. Hatred against white people is not racist, it is deserved. So, Anon, if you're white, Mike wants you to just shut up and take it. That's the real difference between "associating" and "associating."