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Matt Yglesias: Deranged Hyperbolist

Michael Totten debunks my assertion that "I don't believe I've ever heard a more disgusting speech delivered in the English language" than Zell Miller's performance last by quoting two speeches I have not, in fact, heard or, indeed, read until Totten brought them to my attention. Now that I have read them, the remarks he highlights were pretty bad, and I'm quite glad they were never delivered by keynote speakers at a Democratic National Convention.

Now as far as I can recall, the most disgusting speech I've ever actually heard was delivered in France (in French) by a guy who's name I don't recall who was leading some splinter party that broke away from Jean-Marie Le Pen's group.

UPDATE: See also Kevin Drum.

UPDATE II: Bruno Megret is the name.

September 2, 2004 | Permalink


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» The Zell Miller Speech from Michael J. Totten
The polarization during this election season makes me lonely. There are few centrists left. Most have hitched their wagons to one partisan train or another. Hardly any honest dialogue remains. When I see other people of a moderate persuasion writing... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 2, 2004 11:38:27 PM

» What Is It to Hear a Speech? from Opiniatrety
In comments over at Matthew Yglesias' site, Matt Austern raises a point which I am going to take as a pretext for some entirely unoriginal philosophy-geeking. (For obvious reasons, everyone in this post is going to get referred to by... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 3, 2004 1:46:20 PM


In other news, Michael Totten called John McCain a "liberal" Republican. Now there's a man either with no grasp of politics (after all, Republicans have been out in spades of late declaring that there's no difference between Bush and McCain on a host of issues) or a prevaricating spin artist. Either way, I wouldn't much worry about him. I mean, John McCain certainly isn't "conservative" if Bush is "conservative," but liberal? Maybe to Alan Keyes.

Posted by: whopundit | Sep 2, 2004 9:24:14 PM

never delivered by keynote speakers at a Democratic National Convention.

Hey, that's not fair. You're comparing apples to apples!

Posted by: son volt | Sep 2, 2004 9:28:02 PM

Uh, who the fuck is Molly Birnbaum, and why am I supposed to care?

Posted by: Duvall | Sep 2, 2004 9:30:57 PM

I find nowadays the evenhanded centrists preserve their evenhandedness by keeping out facts and perspective. They're not interested in understanding what's going on around them; instead their aim is to keep alive a certain idea of themselves.

Posted by: Kyle | Sep 2, 2004 9:34:54 PM

Hell, I have written stuff in comments a lot worse than that. Today. Which isn't over yet.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 2, 2004 9:42:09 PM

In case I haven't said it before, let me be clear: Bob McManus is my hero.

Posted by: praktike | Sep 2, 2004 9:43:15 PM

Matt hon, I wish I'd been there in NY to protect you and Matt Welch from those nasty Rethug fascists.

Posted by: QUEER EYE FOR STRAIGHT Y | Sep 2, 2004 9:49:52 PM

If they arent insulting you, you arent doing your job.

Posted by: Michael | Sep 2, 2004 10:16:11 PM

Re: Was the Front national dissident Bruno Megret? Yes, this man is even scarier than Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Posted by: ClaudeB | Sep 2, 2004 10:49:52 PM

Hm, this suggests Matt hasn't heard the speech that Hitler delivered (not in English) at the 1934 Nuremburg Rally, which would mean that he's never seen Triumph of the Will. He should.

Posted by: Matt Austern | Sep 2, 2004 11:38:23 PM

Please, the GOP is already trying to disown Zell Miller. He was disinvited from the VIP box for Bush's speech and LAura Bush said somehting like "he doesn't speak for the Republican Party". They know his speech was horrid.

Posted by: Eric | Sep 2, 2004 11:39:22 PM

Matt, I don't think you are deranged. Just over-reacting. (Then again, I have no idea what speeches you have and haven't heard.) Anyway, I didn't like Miller's speech either.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten | Sep 2, 2004 11:43:34 PM

You know, I read both the Bush and Kerry blogs every day, and the Kerry blog is uniformly nasty and negative towards Bush, while the Bush blog barely mentions Kerry, but instead talks positively about Bush.

So I think Totten definitely has a point, that the Democrats have been more viscous in general then Zell.

Posted by: Pierce Wetter | Sep 3, 2004 12:13:12 AM


Rather the real "fascists" are those who keep invoking Hitler images:

"U.S. Rep. Major Owens, a New York Democrat, warned a crowd of feminist protesters that the Bush administration is taking America "into a snake pit of fascism."

Owens also said the Bush administration "spits on democracy" and is leading the country down a path reminiscent of "Nazi Germany."

Owens made his remarks in New York City's Central Park at a National Organization for Women rally on Wednesday night."

And, as always, the Ur-liberal's condescension and contempt for the common man they purport to champion:

"Owens believes that if President Bush is reelected, it will happen because of voter confusion -- because the voters allowed themselves to "hoodwinked" and "swindled."

"[The Bush administration is] bringing tremendous sums of money and power to bear on our media systems, our communication system, and they are going to force people to vote -- put people into a state of confusion where they vote against their own interests," Owens said.


Posted by: furious_a | Sep 3, 2004 12:14:07 AM

Matt is just envious of Megret because Megret has a degree from a much more exclusive university (l'ecole normal superior). Seriously what is wrong with that place ?

"the Democrats have been more viscous". I agree viscous like molassas, slow sluggish etc. Certainly not mor viscious.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann | Sep 3, 2004 12:26:44 AM

I read the comments on Totten's site, and I'm baffled. The right wing has shifted so far to the right, that they can't even recognize the true center anymore. The Democratic Party is at best mildly to the left, which is about as far to the left as they can possibly be and still survive in this country these days. But even that is too far to the left for the pundits and the brainwashed. Remember, it was the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton that passed (admittedly against the wishes of some of the Democratic left) both NAFTA and welfare reform - which no Republican could ever have gotten passed.

John Kerry and John Edwards are simply not that far to the left, and anyone who thinks they are simply does not know what he's talking about.

If someone would please explain to me what the people commenting on Totten's site are thinking, I'd really appreciate it.

Posted by: Thomas Beck | Sep 3, 2004 1:22:30 AM

Also, I haven't read the Bush blog, but the Bush Web site is almost entirely about Kerry (highly negative, almost insultingly so), while the Kerry Web site is also almost entirely about Kerry.

Of course the blog is going to attack Bush - Kerry is RUNNING FOR BUSH'S OFFICE!!! How ELSE is he going to get people to turn out an incumbent except by attacking him? That said, I have not found the Kerry blog to be nasty in a personal sense. They attack Bush's failures as president, not him as a person. In my opinion, but I think if you're looking for nastiness (and only if you're really looking for it), will you usually find it.

Posted by: Tom Beck | Sep 3, 2004 1:25:37 AM

Thomas Beck: If someone would please explain to me what the people commenting on Totten's site are thinking, I'd really appreciate it.

I'm baffled by my own commenters sometimes. I'll bet Matt here can relate to that. :)

Anyway, here's a good answer, I think, to what many of them are thinking. (Keep in mind that I have liberal commenters, too. I can see that you are only baffled by the conservatives.)

This from a guy named Dennis the Peasant: [Zell Miller] is getting cookies for bitch-slapping John Kerry and Chris Matthews on the same night. If he had been able to kick Michael Moore in the nuts it would have been the evening of a lifetime.

I think that pretty much covers it. I listed plenty of objections to what Zell Miller said. I have not seen any rebuttals.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten | Sep 3, 2004 2:13:25 AM

>Michael Totten debunks my assertion that "I don't believe I've ever heard a more disgusting speech delivered in the English language" than Zell Miller's performance last by quoting two speeches I have not, in fact, heard or, indeed, read until Totten brought them to my attention.

I would consider that an attempted debunking, not an actual debunking.

Posted by: raj | Sep 3, 2004 7:56:03 AM

Totten claims he's trying to make the "liberal case for Bush." That would be something to see. I find these "former" liberal types the most frustrating. They seem intelligent, why can't they see what even Andrew Sullivan can see? Bush is obviously an incompetent. Even moderate Republicans are deserting the President. What is it with Totten, Roger Simon and their ilk? It appears they got so excited about a hawkish security policy they've lost all their bearings. And now that the events have proved that the mainstream liberals were, in fact, correct about Iraq, the cognitive dissonance has short-circuited their critical thinking. Are they just too embarrassed to admit they were wrong?

Posted by: Vanya | Sep 3, 2004 9:48:10 AM

Ok I get it: Matthew's "I don't believe I've ever heard" statement wasn't hyperbole for autobiographical reasons. Owing to Matthew's ignorance of history and lack of exposure to a wide enough array of speeches for that to be untrue. (Like a 12-year-old who proclaims "Blink 182 is the best band I've ever heard".) In which case he was really telling us more about himself than about Miller's speech.

But ok, good point. Touche

Posted by: Blixa | Sep 3, 2004 11:54:05 AM

Indeed, one can recall "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer!", "Segregation Now, segregation forever!" etc. but...

isn't it the soft bigotry of small expectations in the extreme?

Posted by: piotr | Sep 3, 2004 12:52:18 PM

Vanya: They seem intelligent, why can't they see what even Andrew Sullivan can see?

I do see what Andrew Sullivan sees.

Here's the deal with my "liberal case for Bush" thing. I told my readers I would write two essays: "the liberal case for Bush" and "the hawkish case for Kerry" and see which one convinces me most. I will be deciding my vote this way. (I am currently undecided. I was in the Bush column and now I'm out.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten | Sep 3, 2004 1:08:34 PM

Michael J. Totten, if you live in a swing state please consider what a good metric for fighting the war on terror-ism should be. Let me suggest that a good metric would be a product of [the number of people that want to do us harm] * [the strength of those convictions]. Higher is worse, obviously.
By that metric we can make a good deal of progress by either killing or detaining the most virulent, as long as we do not create breeding grounds in the process. We can also make a good deal of progress by spreading good will. Simplistic, but roughly accurate, I think.
I would suggest that Bush has been driven up both numbers, and not just in the short term
If you are not in a swing state, I think it matters little, as if GWB wins he will convince you or fail you in his 4 years. Likewise with Kerry.

Posted by: theCoach | Sep 3, 2004 2:52:02 PM

Did Germany still have even-handed centrists in 1939 ?

Posted by: ch2 | Sep 3, 2004 3:10:19 PM

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