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A NUT AND A CULT! We’ve learned to push back at nuts like Liddy. It’s time to push back at a Cult: // link // print // previous // next //
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2009

A NUT AND A CULT: The lunacy of the past twenty years has been on vivid display this week. Finally, Crackpot Liddy spoke up, on his nationally syndicated radio program. He discussed the version of Judge Sotomayor which crowds his tormented, crabbed brain:

LIDDY (5/28/09): Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

Truly, that’s just stunning.

We’ve long used terms like “gender nut” to describe public figures like Liddy. And yes, these people have played a very large role in our discourse in the past twenty years.

Liddy, of course, has seldom failed. We all recall his ludicrous conduct in the wake of the “Mission Accomplished” speech; he went on Hardball to ooh and aah about the appearance of Bush’s manly parts in that form-fitting flight suit (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/4/09). By that time, the liberal world had recovered from the sleeping sickness of the 1990s. When Liddy behaved like such a buffoon, many liberals noticed.

But then, Liddy had played the gender nut on Hardball four years earlier. In November 1999, Matthews had Liddy on the show to recite the press corps’ scripted complaints about Naomi Wolf. (Wolf was advising the Gore campaign, as the press had recently learned.) Gender-nut Matthews popped the question to his crackpot, gender-nut friend: “Can we believe Al Gore growing into this protean new person, this new today's man-woman, whatever the hell he's trying to become?” Gore was becoming the new man-woman! Thus cued, Liddy knew the relevant scripting—scripting which was being repeated all over the mainstream press:

LIDDY (11/4/99): You, you, you can't—you can't lead people with the uncertain trumpet. If you don't know who the hell you are, if you're not comfortable with yourself, if you've got a girl trying to teach you how to be a real man, how in the world—I mean, do we want a person like that for the leader of the free world? I don't think so.

[...]

But a woman like that, whom I have to say that, at its most charitable, is a bit bizarre, to be, being paid more than the vice presidential salary per month to tell this guy how to be a real man, that's—that's scary. That really is—the fact that this guy is actually in contention for president of the United States should disturb people.

Everybody knew they must say it! Al Gore hired a woman (or a “girl”) to teach him how to be a man! Matthews quickly evoked Roseanne Roseannadanna and exulted at the way the press had been able to “catch [Gore] with this girl.” With their lunacy thus further inspired, the boys were soon saying this:

LIDDY: Yeah, but he's obviously—he's obviously listening to her. Look, the next time you meet a real guy from Tennessee, you know—

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

LIDDY: —like Senator Fred Thompson, all right—

MATTHEWS: All right

LIDDY: You ask him if any of the real good old boys in Tennessee go around wearing brown suits with blue shirts.

MATTHEWS: I love the three buttons! Would somebody explain? I thought we were down to one or two—

LIDDY: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: —that you didn't button the second one. He's got all three buttoned up. It says, “My name is Al, and I'm your waiter tonight.” You know, I can't quite figure this out.

Imagine! Gore had worn a brown suit—and the suitcoat had three buttons! Matthews, and the rest of his world, spent the month of November talking in these crackpot ways about these crackpot topics. (He told the “joke” about “Albert the waiter” on five separate Hardball programs.) By the end of the month, he was comparing Gore’s three-button suits to the buttons “Navy guys” wear on their pants, which he described as some sort of sexual come-on to women. Throughout the month, Wolf was attacked, in remarkably smutty ways, all over the mainstream “press.” (She looked like Lewinsky, of course.)

These people were blatantly out of their minds—but just name the liberal who said boo about it! We know of two major pundits who defended Wolf during this sexual trashing. Their names are Safire and Kristol.

Ten years later, Liddy is playing the crackpot again. By now, though, the liberal world routinely takes note of such crackpot behavior. (The mainstream press still looks away.) That said, it’s stunning to see how demented these people are—and to see how many are tragic non-survivors of mid-century East Coast Catholicism. (Growing up in Hoboken, Liddy attended Catholic schools right through his graduation from college.)

We grew up East Coast Irish Catholic ourselves. Most East Coast Catholics have moved beyond that era’s unfortunate, confused gender culture. Unfortunately, the several dozen who didn’t move on all play major roles in the media, with Maureen Dowd as their broken-souled regent.

Back to 1999: When they trashed Wolf for a month, the liberal world ran off and hid in the woods. Today, the liberal world stands and reacts to a great deal of such conduct—gender-based and otherwise. But how intelligently do we react? Last night, Ed Shultz moaned and complained because Obama was walking back Sotomayor’s comment—her now-famous 32 words:

SCHULTZ (5/29/09): Instead of defending his nominee, and a comment that she made as a Latina woman, Robert Gibbs backed off his comment today at a press briefing. And now the president throws fuel on the fire and really validates critics who are never going to side with him on anything.

Got to get tough against these people.

[...]

Now, I come from the school of tracks—the side of the tracks, you can`t give these righties an inch because they will take a mile.

That’s great. But Obama comes from the side of the tracks where you end up a widely respected president. Presumably with Sotomayor’s consent, Obama merely stated the obvious: that one lone statement, as it was rendered, is pretty much hard to defend. (That’s why Sam Stein said she made her statement “in a poorly formed rhetorical way.” See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/28/09.) There’s a great deal more to be said about that statement—for example, about the longer speech from which it has been so lovingly plucked. But when Schultz sees a bunch of loudmouth crackpots, he wants to get in a shouting match with them. He gets mad at Obama for saying the obvious, presumably with Sotomayor’s consent—that the statement, as rendered, doesn’t express the way she has lived her life.

To his credit, Schultz has been running an adult, if pedestrian, cable program. To his vast credit, he talks about a range of issues, even those which effect the interests of average American people! But many Obama supporters don’t seem to have the slightest idea why he’s so widely respected. In part, Obama is widely respected because he does give the occasional inch. He gives the inch when giving that inch makes fairly obvious sense.

As they were rendered, Sotomayor’s 32 words are hard to affirm. There’s nothing wrong with saying that, as she herself will apparently do when she’s asked to explain what she meant. But the real inanity continues to escape the people who run our public discourse—the inanity that’s involved in our endless tolerance for The Cult of the Offhand Comment.

This week, The Cult has seized on 32 words—out of a 54-year life. They rummaged all through those 54 years, looking for something to scream about; they seized upon those 32 words, then began to bellow and wail. We’ve let The Cult play this game a long time—they used it to send George Bush to the White House—just as we once let those gender nuts act out their sick, blatant lunacy.

We’ve learned to challenge the gender nuts now. It’s time to tell this moronic Cult that its days are numbered here too. This type of “analysis” is dumb beyond dumb. It’s time to say this to the public.

Visit our incomparable archives: For a five-part report on the trashing of Wolf, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/10/03.