On Nov. 22, I offered a very specific critique of the Calbuzz boys. I gave ‘em their due — they’re about the best, most entertaining writers in the Cali online politics world — but said this should be below them: their “shrill insistence that Republican and public disappointment and anger with Obama are driven by ugly motives, not genuine dismay over the course of the nation. … It’s possible to look at the world and not presume one side is the good guys and the other side has no good guys, just naifs and racists and partisans.” Today, they responded.
We have a soft spot for writers who mainline invective as food and diatribe as strong drink, so it’s good to have Reed’s boisterous voice back in the mix, shrillness, stridency and adolescent petulance be damned. An arsonist running wild in a field of straw men, Reed has a huge and proven talent for afflicting the afflicted and easing the burdens of the embattled 1%, all the while woefully misreading and willfully misrepresenting the words of his elders.
I didn’t misrepresent Calbuzz when I linked to the Calbuzz item depicting tea party disdain for Obama as being driven by racism. I didn’t use shrillness, stridency and adolescent petulance in making the case this was wrong. I quoted historian Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the N.Y. Times Review of Books. During the debt ceiling fight in July, he noted that antipathy toward government debt has been a key part of American political thought since day one:
In one version or another, this conflict, centered on protest against the federal debt, has been going on almost since the beginning of the Republic.
America’s first elected opposition party, the Democratic-Republican Party formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the 1790s, promised a “second revolution” whose axioms included “the general principle that payment of debt should take precedence of all other expenditure,” as Henry Adams put it in “History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson,” his monumental study.
Calbuzz responded to me, which I appreciated. But they dismissed my points instead of actually responding to them. And as for me “afflicting the afflicted and easing the burdens of the embattled 1%,” I see K-12 students as the afflicted, not the CTA. And as for me defending the “embattled 1%,” how many other editorial writers in California have made this specific point over and over again?
We find it hard to believe anyone would defend the tax status quo, in which the amount of taxes many individuals and companies pay depends on the skill with which their lawyers interpret the tax code.
That’s the main reason the richest of the rich pay relatively little in taxes, not breaks granted by Congress, as David Cay Johnston laid out in his mind-boggling book, “Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich—and Cheat Everybody Else.”
Going forward, let’s see if the Calbuzzers continue to claim that Obama critics are bad people who know his policies would work if only they would enact them. That was the substance of my critique. If the Calbuzzers say that’s an attack on straw men, let’s see if their writings henceforth bear this out.