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He's not just a jerkwad, as if that weren't bad enough. - Zer Netmouse
September 13th, 2009
09:39 pm

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He's not just a jerkwad, as if that weren't bad enough.
Things you might not have known about Joe Wilson

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From:coppervale
Date:September 14th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)

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Holy crap.

Edited at 2009-09-14 02:17 am (UTC)
From:nicegeek
Date:September 14th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
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Some of these points may hold water, but this last one is a blatant attempt to smear by association:

[Joe Wilson] has close ties and a 100% approval rating from the Family Research Council, an evangelical organization headed by Tony Perkins, a former politician who has worked with David Duke of the KKK and spoken before the Council of Conservative Citizens, a major white supremacist organization that battled desegregation.

Okay, so JW's an evangelical, but so are most of his constituents. This is a sentence designed purely for the purpose of associating someone's name with a bunch of evil-sounding words.

Here's an equally bad example from the other side of the political spectrum:

Barack Obama today received an endorsement from the Choson Sinbo, an organization known to have ties to Kim Jong Il, the dictatorial ruler of North Korea, a country known for its brutal repression of its own population and the development and sale of nuclear weapon technology. (June 20, 2008)

Or one could look to the whole Tony Rezko fiasco. IMHO, citing this kind of "evidence" just makes its author seem like a partisan hack.
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From:netmouse
Date:September 14th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
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While it is definitely a statement about association, the two statements you quote seem very different to me. The one about Obama only says he was endorsed by some group with which he himself has no personal ties. The one about Joe Wilson suggests he does have personal ties to The Family Research council, as well as their support and approval (and an approval rating from that organization means something specific with regard to how a politician votes).

That's not just associating someone with evil words, that's identifying an actual association with people who have organized themselves to do what I would consider evil things.
From:nicegeek
Date:September 14th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
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That might be the case if the cited articles supported the assertion of "close ties", but I looked through them all and did not find any. The article from "The Nation" was the only one that mentions that organization, but it didn't mention Wilson. The FRCs PAC may have donated to JW, but they donate to most of the social conservatives.

Even if the assertion of "close ties" is true, its evidence against the FRC itself is highly tenuous. It's a conservative evangelical organization, no doubt, and if that's what you mean by "evil", I suspect JW would plead guilty. But it insinuates that the FRC supports racism because its leader since 2003 gave a talk to an organization with supremacist ties in 2001, and bought a KKK mailing list in 1996. Even if true, that evidence doesn't suffice to establish that Perkins is a racist, let alone the FRC as a whole.

Regarding Obama, while it's true that the endorsement from Choson Sinbo was one way, his association with Tony Rezko was much closer. Yet I would maintain that it means very little when evaluating Obama's character, and hope that we can all do our best to be even-handed when applying such standards across the political spectrum.
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From:netmouse
Date:September 14th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
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One of the easiest things to point to that the FRC has done recently that I consider evil has to do with opposing equal rights for LGBT folk and furthering political nonsense about what the left is trying to do in that regard - under the rubrick of "research" (references here and here).

They also spread lies like "Risk avoidance or abstinence messaging serves as the best primary prevention approach for those who both have and have not been sexually active outside of marriage" (frc site).

And they clearly support the perspective that Obama and others are trying to pull some sort of fast one and hide things in the health care plan that the administration asserts are not in there.

From:nicegeek
Date:September 14th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
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The first two points make them social conservatives, not racists, and it was the latter insinuation that I was calling foul on. And since social conservatism is pretty likely to be a prerequisite for getting elected in JW's district, I doubt he'd try to refute the charge.

As to the last point, it's altogether likely that the FRC spreads poorly-sourced half truths about liberals. However, that's not a justification for using the same tactics in return. Slinging mud around only gets everyone dirty.
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From:netmouse
Date:September 14th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
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I concur with your point about the difference between demonstrated racism and demonstrated social conservatism in the references listed (which doesn't mean there isn't other evidence about racism), but myself, I look at the first two points and the biggest thing I see that it makes them is liars.

They present themselves as a research organization and then they present statements that actually research demonstrates to be false. Believe that abstinence education is morally the way to go all you want, but if you go around pronouncing that it is effective, you are not just deluding yourself and others, you are actively setting up young people to be ignorant and pregnant (as we see in Florida and Texas). Which is morally reprehensible in my book.

As to racism, there are some interesting comments here on both the FRC and Perkins, especially regarding some comments Perkins made in 2007 that are quoted in the last few paragraphs. Something like the story of Phineas is a way for religious conservatives to couch a racist message in language that pretends to be about religion and is in fact about race.
From:nicegeek
Date:September 15th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
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By all means, confront the lies and present the research (in general, not necessarily here and now). But if the goal is to actually influence events, as opposed to just having a group gripe among like-minded bloggers, the arguments will have to be targeted toward JW's constituents. Establishing that JW is not a man of his word, or that he irresponsibly shoots his mouth off is more likely to be effective on that audience than showing he's GLBT-hostile.

As to the FRC being racist, these attacks on Perkins are a straw man. Even if he is a bigot, the person is not the organization. IMHO, to show that the organization is racist, one would have to show that it endorsed a racist platform, or intentionally supported a racist cause. And even then, it wouldn't taint the people they'd endorsed unless it could also be established that their endorsement criteria were designed to favor racists.

This may seem like it's setting the bar high, but racism is a serious charge, and I don't think it's a good idea to level it without pretty solid evidence.
From:sethb
Date:September 14th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
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That the FRC is evil isn't the issue. What has Joe Wilson done on their behalf, to support them, in conjunction with them, etc.?
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From:novapsyche
Date:September 14th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
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Joe Wilson expressed his disapproval about the fact that the mixed-race daughter of Strom Thurmond decided to go public about it. I believe the word he used was "unseemly".

That seems to lend more weight to the implication that Mr. Wilson holds views that could be reasonably considered prejudiced, if not bigoted.
From:nicegeek
Date:September 14th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
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It's a valid point to criticize, which is why I didn't include it in my objection.
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From:novapsyche
Date:September 14th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
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Well, my point was that the sentence (to which you objected) strengthened the hypothesis that Mr. Wilson associates with bigots because he is a bigot himself.

[Joe Wilson] has close ties and a 100% approval rating from the Family Research Council, an evangelical organization headed by Tony Perkins, a former politician who has worked with David Duke of the KKK and spoken before the Council of Conservative Citizens, a major white supremacist organization that battled desegregation.

When I read that sentence, "evangelical" is not the word that sticks out. Nor do I connote to it the overtones of some of the other terms that do catch my eye. I believe your objection to the sentence as it is structured has missed the main point and instead targets something rather tangential.
From:nicegeek
Date:September 14th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
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Well, my point was that the sentence (to which you objected) strengthened the hypothesis that Mr. Wilson associates with bigots because he is a bigot himself.

I disagree. Quite to the contrary, the attempt to use Guilt By Association undermines the author's credibility. They would have a stronger argument if they omitted such straw-grasping, and focused on JW's own words and deeds.
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From:shsilver
Date:September 14th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
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He also attacked a California Congressman as an Anti-American who hates America who stated that the US had provided chemical and other weapons to Saddam Hussein during the Reagan/Bush years. When called on it, Wilson claimed he hadn't meant any insult.
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From:netmouse
Date:September 14th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
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Ha! wow.
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From:cos
Date:September 14th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
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Got a link or other reference?
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From:shsilver
Date:September 14th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
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Washington Post, Politico.

I believe you can find the clip on Youtube, but as I'm at work, I can't confirm.

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