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"Democratic Realism"

I somehow managed to miss the consistently disgusting Charles Krauthammer's effusive praise for Augusto Pinochet which somehow proves that "the left" is composed of hypocrites. Democratic realism indeed.

March 21, 2005 | Permalink


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No argument from me about Krauthammer in general, but I don't see how you get "effusive praise for Pinochet" from anything in the linked article.

Posted by: orin | Mar 21, 2005 1:39:30 PM

Krauthammer, like Coulter, trolls. But trolling has long-term goals that deserve some attention, building on the he said-she said media routine. Should torture be legal? Is evolution likely? Watch the US split 50-50, while the rest of the planet spirals off into reality. I see this as central to the GOP agenda.

Posted by: John Isbell | Mar 21, 2005 1:39:46 PM

No "effusive praise" for Pinochet in Krauthammer. Time for a retraction.

Posted by: Honesty_is_such_a_lonely_word | Mar 21, 2005 1:51:26 PM

As a general rule, I've found the craptasticity of a column is the square of the number of times the word left (cubed if it's a capital L), divided by the number of total words, multiplied by 100 (call it the J. Evans Pritchert method).

Krauthammer's score of 8.13 is impressive for a someone at that hotbed of leftism (oops) the WaPo, but he's going to have to raise his game and his ctrl-v skills if he wants attention over people like DenBeste and Hewitt.

Posted by: SamAm | Mar 21, 2005 1:52:24 PM

"But trolling has long-term goals that deserve some attention, building on the he said-she said media routine. Should torture be legal? Is evolution likely? Watch the US split 50-50..."

Of course, the GOP's goal is to polarize any disputed issue into conservative and liberal camps. And since there are many more conservatives than liberals, the US won't split 50-50, but instead will split toward the GOP.

Check PFA's new SS ad, trying to polarize SS by talking about how "the national Democrats have no solutions".

The answer to this, of course, is to play defense by trying to de-polarize social issues while going on the offense to try to polarize the issues that can split toward the Democrats - aka economics.

I'm disturbed that Ickes and the unions haven't gone on the air yet to try to slam the GOP over SS. This is a golden opportunity to move the larger debate in the country away from the GOP.

Posted by: Petey | Mar 21, 2005 2:00:25 PM

I don't find praise for Pinochet in the column. But hell, I'll praise him. He saved Chile. --s

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Mar 21, 2005 2:03:49 PM

"He saved Chile."

...from the scourge of democracy.

Posted by: Petey | Mar 21, 2005 2:31:17 PM

The only possible reason to describe Pinochet as "pathetic and near-senile" is to divorce the current glorious moment from all others and proclaim victory and vindication. Who is it again that's engaging in moral grandstanding? Oh that's right, the left.

Posted by: fnook | Mar 21, 2005 2:39:28 PM

""He saved Chile.'

"...from the scourge of democracy."

Not only that, but let's also not forget, Pinochet was behind acts of state-sponsored terrorism, committed on American soil, with American citizens as victims.

See, e. g.:


Posted by: rea | Mar 21, 2005 2:46:02 PM

It appears the RBC needs a little reality check. No one is declaring victory, but the unscripted positive events of the past few weeks provide a lot more than an illusory light at the end of the tunnel. Even if they do take 50 years to come to fruition, the seeds planted have sprouted.

History may argue forever as to whether Bush was lucky or good, but that in itself is not very significant. Bush has plenty of warts to spare.

The Krauthammer(whom I have always loathed) column has many unpalatable but possibly correct assertions. Next thing you know, Coulter is going to say something civil.

Posted by: Michael7843853 | Mar 21, 2005 2:48:52 PM

This link confuses me. Where is the praise, let alone "effusive" praise for Pinochet? Or did MY link the wrong article?

Posted by: Utter | Mar 21, 2005 3:03:51 PM

Understood, but "unpalatable but possibly correct assertions" aside, the man writes like he's channeling Hannibal Lecter on a country club bender. What's not to loath.

Posted by: fnook | Mar 21, 2005 3:05:39 PM

A point that Krauthammer makes that I have seen many conservative commentators make is that people on the "left" were opposed to the Iraq invasion because of a belief that Arabs do not desire or are incappable of democracy. I never see evidence to back this up. Who are they talking about? Which large organization, political party, advocacy group, or media outlet on the left made this case?

Posted by: catfish | Mar 21, 2005 3:05:51 PM

Actually, the most egregious part of this column is that he's denouncing Charles Krauthammer, circa 1993.

Posted by: praktike | Mar 21, 2005 3:18:07 PM

Ah, so the loathing is of the self-directed, early nineties variety.

Posted by: fnook | Mar 21, 2005 3:26:06 PM

Let us not forget that Castro killed more than ten times as many people as Pinochet. And imprisoned more than ten times as many. And caused >1M people to flee. And uses cradle-to-grave indoctrination. And has yet to turn government over to an elected regime.

Yet Castro gets feted as a hero in Spain while Pinochet gets an arrest warrant.

Krauthammer says "Shame". Spot on.

Posted by: ronb | Mar 21, 2005 3:32:59 PM

Ladies, Gentlemen,

I take Mr. Krauthammers point to be that the "left", which exists as a genuine though fuzzy phenomenon, is hypocritical.

As for the existence of the left, I like to think of it as a diffuse tribe that tends to think alike on all sorts of seemingly unrelated topics. Some people are leftier than others, but once you know where someone stands on topic A you have excellent odds of predicting their opinion (though perhaps not their intensity) on topic B.
Its something of an international brotherhood - lefties find that their foreign brothers have much in common with them, unlike with conservatives, where there is no such automatic commonality.

I think it may also be a natural gravitation of certain personality types to certain positions.

And it is hypocritical of course. In Spain there was a large constituency in the press and mainstream political parties for the prosecution of Pinochet.

There was no such consituency for similarly prosecuting Castro, in spite of wry suggestions to this effect in the righter parts of the press, even though he was actually in Spanish hands (visiting) as Pinochet was not. And this applies to all sorts of "protected" figures like Mugabe.

Thats just one situation. As for the rest, ask why thousands of people can and always could be organized to protest anything the US does, or anything capitalist, while there was very rarely anthing so strenuous done regarding the former Soviet Union, China, or any of the dozens of misbehaving Communists in the world.

One would almost conclude these people are biased.

Posted by: luisalegria | Mar 21, 2005 3:35:21 PM

Either MY is referring to a different article than the one he posted or he has different definition of the world "effusive," than I do.

Posted by: J | Mar 21, 2005 3:53:07 PM

"I take Mr. Krauthammers point to be that the "left", which exists as a genuine though fuzzy phenomenon, is hypocritical."

But HE'S hypocritical. HE was the one who argued for a crackdown in Algeria and Egypt, which it can be reasonably argued -- and has been (see Noah Feldman's After Jihad -- that the violent foreclosing of electoral politics in Algeria led the Islamists to conclude that they had to attack what they perceived as the enablers.

Posted by: praktike | Mar 21, 2005 4:01:23 PM

Hey, let's put Castro on trial, too. You don't get points for saying "Looky! Commie Dictator Makes it Better!"

Let's be clear, here. In 1976, members of Augusto Pinochet's government blew up Chilean exile leader Orlando Letelier and his passenger, a young woman named Ronnie Moffit, and turned Ronnie's husband into a paraplegic. Blew them up in a car in Washington, DC, on Massachusetts Avenue. Until 1993, this was the worst terrorist act perpetrated on American soil. The connections between the Miami Cubans who set the bomb, their two Chilean secret service contacts, and Pinochet have never been completely explained. Whatever evil Castro has done, I'm not aware of a murder he's sponsored here. Pinochet is your garden-variety fascist. He's gotten a better ride than any tyrant should. Put him in the cell adjoining Saddam's. Let's go for a twofer.

Posted by: Brian C.B. | Mar 21, 2005 4:05:25 PM

do you buy anything that says made in china?
if so then you objectively support communism, torture, mass starvation, and tyranny. This is your logic. Now live it.

When do you protest what other people do?
When do you protest that the mcrib isn't available everywhere?
Because it doesn't involve you.
Anything the US gov't does involves your hypothetical protesters.

Posted by: ladder | Mar 21, 2005 4:06:44 PM

I too don't know what Mathew is talking about here, but Krauthammer's column is a perfect example of the utter uselessness of political punditry. No new information is given. No reporting. Vague acusations are made against a nebelous and undefined group of leftists. The only thing that is vaguely of interest is the loose historical analogie to 1848 or 1989. Even this is not really fleshed out. A literate person with access to a TV set that was stuck on FOX news or CNN could have written it. No specific skills are needed beyond a basic familiarity with polemic. I know that this is par for the course for many pundits, but why is he syndicated?

Posted by: catfish | Mar 21, 2005 4:10:07 PM

Didn't Castro overthrow one of the tyrants you guys hate so much (you know, a tyrant who was torturing and killing 'his own people') and liberated Cuba? And for that wasn't he viciously attacked by a huge superpower a few miles away - and by the terrorist means you hate so much? When are you going to start protesting all that evil-ness?

Posted by: abb1 | Mar 21, 2005 4:42:43 PM

Nice Matthew, but you forgot to make a wheelchair joke while you were at it...

If you disagreed with his argument, make the case but seems to me "the always disgusting Charles Krauthammer..." is a bit gratuitous not to mention beyond unnecessary.

Posted by: Paul in AZ | Mar 21, 2005 4:48:33 PM

In short abb1. The US creates its own devil.
smart! isn't it.

without the blocus, Castros would have been long gone.

Posted by: remi | Mar 21, 2005 5:01:54 PM

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