Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Who, Indeed?

Here, published in its entirety, is what Rod Dreher posted last night on his blog:
Who said this?

"It's time to stand up and vote. Is it al Qaeda or is it America?"

I would like to tell you it was Homer Simpson, inspiring a mob of Duff-soused poltroons massed outside Springfield City Hall. It would at least be funny. But no. That priceless quote, that ne plus ultra of ersatz demagoguery, was uttered on the floor of the House of Representatives last week by House Majority Leader John Boehner. The mind reels. I can understand the reasoning of those who believe that we must continue to support this war, but even they should be embarrassed by this cheap crap.

By the mercy of God, I missed this when it was first reported, but Daniel Larison did not.

The question of who said this is an interesting one, because it appears that Rod may have gotten the answer wrong. Here's an International Herald Tribune copy of an article from the highly respected New York Times.
"Many, but not all, on the other side of the aisle lack the will to win," said Representative Charlie Norwood, Republican of Georgia. "The American people need to know precisely who they are." He added: "It is time to stand up and vote. Is it Al Qaeda, or is it America?" [emphasis mine]

Here is CBS News:
Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., attacked war critics as defeatists who do not deserve re-election. "Is it al Qaeda or is it America? Let the voters take note of this debate," he said. [emphasis mine]

Here's a transcript of a video from CNN:

REP. CHARLIE NORWOOD (R), GEORGIA: This debate is absolutely essential to preserving the victories of our troops that they have won with their blood and their lives. It is time to stand up and vote. Is it al Qaeda or is it America? Let the voters take note of this debate.


This seems quite similar to a press release posted at Congressman Norwood's own website, a copy of his remarks:
"Mr. Speaker, this rule will allow perhaps one of the most critical actions to date in the War on Terror.

This action is not military in nature --– it is entirely political. But it will determine victory or defeat as surely as any battle.

Our troops can defeat any enemy on earth, under any conditions -- if we have the will. That is what we debate under this rule – do we have the will to win.

Many -- not all --– of the other side of the aisle lack the will to win. The American public needs to know precisely who they are. If there are any on this side of the aisle who hold the same view this will allow them to be found out as well. Then the public can decide the course of this war in November, by throwing the defeatists out of office.

This debate, under the rule, is as critical a fight as any our troops could have on the battlefield. No one has any doubt our soldiers will win any fight we send them to. The world’s doubt is entirely over the backbone of this Congress.

Because of the statements of Members of this body and the Senate that have given substantial propaganda assistance to the enemy, this rule, this debate, is absolutely essential to preserving the victories our troops have won with their blood and their lives.

Time to decide -- Al Qaeda or America? Let the voters take note."

One may note the phrase "time to decide," rather than than "It's time to stand up and vote." It's possible that the press release reflects the speech as written, not as spoken. It's certainly more plausible than Boehner saying this and Norwood's site -- and the NY Times, and CBS News, and CNN -- all getting it wrong.

Dreher quoted Larison citing the Wall Street Journal. It's possible the WSJ misattributed or that Larison misread the article; apparently Dreher took Larison on faith.

Regardless, I think I can safely say that Norwood made those comments, not Boehner.

I think I can also safely say that the context of the entire comments reveal that Norwood criticized those on the other side of this issue as being "defeatists," not "pro-terrorist traitors" as Rod implied in a subsequent comment.

It's also clear that Rod's credibility on this entire issue is strained, to say the very least.

UPDATE: (6/21, 1:28 pm ET) After Daniel Larison corrected his blog entry, Rod Dreher has now offered a correction for his error. Good for him.

"Dan Larison last night sent, along with an apology for his error, the original paragraph from the Journal story, with the correct attribution."

Other individuals and their quick but thorough research into the quote were apparently of no consequence. [smirk]


Blogger Pauli said...


(beat ya, Kathleen....)

2:14 PM  
Blogger Clark said...

You are right about the speaker, and I corrected myself where I linked to Larison. But I don't think the context redeems the quote. Norwood is clearly saying that voting against the resolution is voting for al Qaeda. That kind of vieww is pretty widespread on the right -- Google the words "murtha traitor" if you don't believe me. This is simply the Right's version of Political Correctness.

3:15 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

I'm getting tiresome, but I couldn't resist

...or, "That CUERVO frita I made this weekend was heaven on earth." Steve Bodio asked me in the weekend cooking thread below to post the recipe for the Cuban fried CROW I prepared last night. Happy to oblige. As Julie and I ate it last night, I said to her, "Is there any other dish that provides so much pure pleasure with so little effort?" .... you should make this; it's insanely delicious. I think the only reason Castro still rules Cuba is that a well-made CUERVO frita is the opiate of the people. I'm still pie-eyed from last night.

What you do is the day before you're planning to eat the CUERVO frita, take 2 1/2 lbs. of CUERVO, and let it simmer in a pot of salted water with a bay leaf or two for 90 minutes. When it's done, take it out and let the meat cool. Then, tear it into strips with your fingers. That done, you'll want to put the meat into a non-reactive bowl, and over that pour the juice of six limes and three lemons (at least), as well as three diced garlic cloves. Mix this together, and put it in the fridge to marinate overnight.

The next day, cut an onion in half and slice the entire thing into thin strips. Then, remove the marinated CUERVO from the bowl, and squeeze out all the marinade. Set the meat aside. In a deep saute pan or black-iron skillet, heat a half-cup of olive oil until fragrant, then put the beef in. Let it sizzle cheerfully for about eight minutes, stirring attentively, then put the onions in. Mix the meat and the onions well, and stir for about 10 to 15 more minutes, until the beef is crispy brown.

Salt and pepper to taste, and squeeze a couple of lime wedges over the top before serving, if you like. The thing to serve with CUERVO frita is white rice. The thing to drink with it is CUERVO. The thing to listen to while eating it is CHARLIE DANIELS.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...


Norwood is clearly saying that voting against the resolution is voting for al Qaeda.

What precisely do you mean? Do you mean that Norwood's saying a vote against the resolution is a vote in support of al Qaeda, or simply a vote that benefits al Qaeda and makes their victory in Iraq more likely?

There is a difference -- a huge difference, in my mind -- as the former implies treachery while the latter leaves room either for mere stupidity or cowardice. The former suggests that an al Qaeda victory is a goal, and the latter suggests that such a victory may be a consequence that is unintended though no less inevitable.

The two are not morally equivalent.

At any rate, I appreciate your posting a correction.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Speaking of posting a correction, Rod's back to blogging (including an entry about hypocrisy, if you can believe it), but he hasn't gotten around to commenting on my post, to which I linked in a comment at his blog.

He has neither acknowledged it with a correction, nor disputed it, nor in any other way responded to it.


4:11 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

As one last update before I call it an evening, Daniel Larison has corrected the entry which Rod cited.

"I have looked at the article again, and I stand corrected. I was mistaken when I attributed that quote to Mr. Boehner. It was Charlie Norwood who asked this offensive, ridiculous question."

I'm not sure how offensive and ridiculous Norwood's question was, or how Daniel could assert such a thing in light of the rest of his post.

Nevertheless: Daniel Larison corrected himself. I hope we will soon see Rod do likewise.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Nothing yet: a new blog entry about the squishy Episcopal church, and a comment in which Rod claims (with, I think, little credibility) that he wouldn't vote for the pious and upstanding Jimmy Carter. As I understand it, Dreher believes that Carter's big weakness was in foreign policy, but I challenge anyone to differentiate between Carter's rhetoric and Rod's.

But I digress: still no correction or retraction on Rod's part.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Check the update: Rod's made a retraction, but he's apparently having a little trouble cleaning the plate of his humble pie.

Heh. Heh. heh.

10:37 AM  
Blogger The Contra Crunchy said...

This is simply the Right's version of Political Correctness.

Nope. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Political Correctness means calling a thing that which it is not for the sake of creating false consensus. For instance, we do not call someone "disabled," we call them "differently abled," as if sitting in a wheelchair was not something any of us could do.

"PC" came to be infamous because of its uncanny parallels to Newspeak and the desire to win the debate by changing the meaning of language. In this sense, it deserves to be said that the essential concepts of PC have been discredited and repudiated by pretty much everyone not employed by a university or government agency.

What you are referring to in this case is more properly called a "taboo."

12:18 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Contra Crunchy:
> Political Correctness means
> calling a thing that which
> it is not for the sake of
> creating false consensus.

Exactly. Furthermore, "PC of the right" is not that safe an accusation for crunchy-persuaded folks to make for reasons of the glass-house variety. An opposite of politically correct lockstep can be seen in a "big tent" coalition-style "mainstream" conservatism. CCism avoids the problematic vocabulary of left-PC, but the nit-pickiness is there: "if you don't agree with us on _________, you're not really conservatively correct."

9:41 AM  

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