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Thursday, October 21, 2004

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» Zero support from Harry's Place
Christopher Hitchens makes a (probably) brief return to the pages of The Nation. I thought this passage might be of interest: One of the editors... [Read More]

» Quote of the Day from The New SteveSilver.net
From a commenter on Marc Cooper's blog:And if David Horowitz' brand of political pathology - a formulaic hysteria that routinely feeds readers the spew of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Dick Morris and John O'Neill - is what you consider "formidable",... [Read More]

» Christopher Hitchens Writes for the Nation One Last (?) Time from The Young Curmudgeon
Christopher Hitchens was allowed to make the (slightly) pro-Bush case in the pages of the very-super-ultra-extremely-far-left magazine The Nation, a magazine with which Hitchens famously has a complicated history. Micky Kaus had this to say about the p... [Read More]

Comments

Ken

I realize Mr. Hitchens is a friend of yours Marc, but I can barely begin to express my deep and abiding dislike for this man before I begin to froth at the mouth. Am I supposed to shed a tear that a man who has spent the last three years impugning the patriotism of American citizens (and isn't in fact an American citizen himself), and who supports a president who has launched a failing imperial crusade in the Muslim world, initiated massive and irresponsibly cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans at a time when we can't afford our domestic or foreign policy commitments, trampled on civil liberties, installed all manner of neandrathal judges to the federal courts (and who would no doubt have the chance to remake the Supreme Court in a similiar image, threatening womens rights, gay rights, worker protections, environmental protections, and civil liberties for a generation or more), diminished cultural freedoms, did nothing about energy independence or global warming, lavished subsidies and tax breaks to favored corporate contributors, and gave end times Christians a key to the White House?

Hitchens wasn't to be trusted as a Troksyite and isn't to be trusted now, much less liked. He and Andrew Sullivan should go back to their country and spend their latter days masturbating to images of their beloved Thatcher.

steve

Actually I suspect that Marc distorts the real motivation behind Nation editors not being excited about giving Hitch 1,000 wordspace to babble about why progressive Americans should vote for Bush, namely that that space could be given to other writers who could do much more with that valuable space that serves other ends that are consistent with the Nation's goals.
But nope, much easier to cast such concerns as 'afraid of internal dissent'. And, of course, yet again Hitch is a clear victim of being purged by the Left, eh? Invited to give a long speech to left-liberals about why the should vote for Bush. Ya see, Hitch is a victim of the Left after all!!

brucds

Marc, Hitchens' piece is barely coherent. That is a truly awful piece of writiing, assuming it's meant to persuade. If there's a rational reason for supporting Bush buried in all of the self-congratulation, circumlocution and total avoidance of any concrete analysis of the actual outcomes of Bush's endeavors in either Iraq or in Afghanistan - much less Bush's impact on the country of which Mr. Hitchens is not a citizen - it flew past me. In deference to Hitchens, I'm sitting here re-reading his piece with a second glass of whiskey in my hand, just as I used to unfailingly smoke pot when listening to the Grateful Dead. Still nothing...

Full disclosure: Although he always had seemed almost as much of a crank and far-leftover as Cockburn when I occasionally read his stuff in the nineties , I was actually inspired by Hitchens for a few months when he took on the flakes at The Nation who opposed taking bin Laden down in Afghanistan. But it became apparent within a matter of months that he was becoming deranged on the subject of Iraq. What makes me suspect that Mr. Hitchens is truly a hopeless case is the appearance that what he lacks in good judgment is more than compensated by his self-regard. Hitchens and his new friends have the blood of a needless war on their hands and have made America less safe and less strong in confronting terrorism and rogue staes. His "relief" is astonishingly irresponsible. One might even call the man clueless. As far as any future encounters are concerned, he can keep his paw to himself. Or at least reserve it until he meets Henry Kissinger in Hell.

brucds

Marc, Hitchens' piece is barely coherent. That is a truly awful piece of writiing, assuming it's meant to persuade. If there's a rational reason for supporting Bush buried in all of the self-congratulation, circumlocution and total avoidance of any concrete analysis of the actual outcomes of Bush's endeavors in either Iraq or in Afghanistan - much less Bush's impact on the country of which Mr. Hitchens is not a citizen - it flew past me. In deference to Hitchens, I'm sitting here re-reading his piece with a second glass of whiskey in my hand, just as I used to unfailingly smoke pot when listening to the Grateful Dead. Still nothing...

Full disclosure: Although he always had seemed almost as much of a crank and far-leftover as Cockburn when I occasionally read his stuff in the nineties , I was actually inspired by Hitchens for a few months when he took on the flakes at The Nation who opposed taking bin Laden down in Afghanistan. But it became apparent within a matter of months that he was becoming deranged on the subject of Iraq. What makes me suspect that Mr. Hitchens is truly a hopeless case is the appearance that what he lacks in good judgment is more than compensated by his self-regard. Hitchens and his new friends have the blood of a needless war on their hands and have made America less safe and less strong in confronting terrorism and rogue staes. His "relief" is astonishingly irresponsible. One might even call the man clueless. As far as any future encounters are concerned, he can keep his paw to himself. Or at least reserve it until he meets Henry Kissinger in Hell.

Bruce Schmiechen

Sorry for the double post. Not sure why it happened.

Mike Turmon

The Weekly's endorsements seem particularly party-line this year. All Democrats are good (is there a need to endorse a demagogue like Dymally?), all new taxes are good. The endorsements in the LA Times, although much terser, actually provide more usable information about both sides.

PS I would add that what really raises my temperature about both Hitchens and Sullivan is their demagoguery. Neither are American citizens, and have spent the better part of the past couple years impugning the patriotism of Americans who don't support Mr. Bush's imperial crusade in the Arab world. If I hadn't been a wee bit of a thing in the 1980s, and had gone to live in Britain, and spent my time railing against "treasonous" Brits for not supporting the Faulklands war I should think that a few folks might have been a little uneasy. The point is that as soon as things become particularly unpleasant here both of these guys can simply catch a noon Virgin Atlantic flight to London, and go home and enjoy the cushy British welfare state, and something resembling freedom. Most of us are pretty well stuck here with this SOB if he's reelected.

Ken

Oops. That last post was by me.

brucds

PS I would add that's what's most disingenuous about this piece is the comment, in passing, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict standing a better chance of being settled under Bush than Kerry. A bizarre assertion, considering that the ONLY progress that has ever been made on the issue has been by Democratic Presidents. On that one, the absurdity and dishonesty of his remarks are so manifest that Hitchens doesn't even rise to the level of being wrong.

Ken

Now that I've actually read the piece, I want to move to Britian and become a British subject so I can help to replace the neo-imperialist Blaire with those "cretins" the Tories.

ahmed

Marc, a certain poster on this list is always chided, often with accuracy for being obseesed with the endorsement and/or personalities of douug henwood and others on the radical left. Well as a reader of your blog, may i ask that you give your hitchens obsession a rest. I was once a great admirer of Hitch's insight, his style, wit and greatly respected his talent as well as political outlook. for the record i think the most accuarate assesment of his political transformation is found here http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/id138.htm (a thoughtful as well as devastating critique by finkelstein) what im asking you though is why the bizarre obsession with the man and his latest writings. i mean how many posts does hitchens really deserve on your site. surely there are issues that are of more interest to a capable progessive writer such as yourself.


ahmed

GMRoper

Bush analysis posted in the "Kerry: Where's The Populist Pivot?" thread. Thanks for everyone's kind words and comments regarding the Kerry analysis.

steve

Ahmed, I'm not obsessed with what you believe me to be obsessed with. I am fascinated however that I am attacked in the most nasty fashion for having political stands taken by people whom Marc tells us he is good friends with. Henwood happens to be one of them, thus the reference to Henwood. If you paid attention, you'd also notice I have often referenced Jerry Lembcke, hardly a 'celebrity', but another person Marc has expressed respect for...I could think of others as well, but would it be necessary for me to list every person who has similar politics as me that Marc is friendly with to make the point?

brucds

Marc, I can't help but make two observations on the links you provide at left.

I have never read anything written by Mickey Kaus that could even remotely be considered a "must read". (Presumably you consider his snarky, random Kerry-bashing a vital contribution to the critique of "terminal caution". Frankly, with terminally caustic friends like you guys, liberals don't need etc. etc. )

And if David Horowitz' brand of political pathology - a formulaic hysteria that routinely feeds readers the spew of Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Dick Morris and John O'Neill - is what you consider "formidable", god forbid that you ever pick up a copy of The Weekly Standard. Those guys actually trade in ideas - crazy ideas, but ideas nonetheless. Horowitz will print any damn thing that serves his unbridled contempt for a promisciously defined "Left" - contempt that boils down to little more than self-hatred in a time-warp. Of course, in Horowitz' case, the self-hatred isn't entirely irrational.

(I'm all for reading stuff I don't agree with - hell, I subscribe to both The Nation and The American Conservative. Incredibly, I find myself agreeing with almost as much stuff that I read in AmCon these days as I do in The Nation. Their analyses of the neo-Cons and the war have actually been more enlightening and on-the-mark than the neo-pacifist screeds by Jonathan Schell that have been the post-9/11 centerpiece at The Nation. But both magazines rise above the level of political hit pieces by people with huge chips on their shoulder, which I can't say for either Kaus or Horowitz. Also, if you can find room to promote those two frauds, why not add Andrew Sullivan to the menagerie ? Or is he too pro-Kerry ?

JP

Hello?
He's "taking the piss" on you angry leftists, or whatever you call yourselves. He's making fun of you. Its not an earnest polemic. Your comments here make his piece even funnier, b/c clearly you don't get it.:)
Marc,
One of the reasons why I read you more often than I should, is the feeling that you will be one of those dissident types to whom Hitch has extended his hand.

BTW - I think Hitch is pursuing citizenship, if he isn't one already. Certainly his children are Yanks. The xenophobic slurs above, by Ken, are unwarranted in Hitch's case, not-to-mention heretical to y'alls' international socialist mass consciousness, no?

My guess is that Hitch hates Thatcher as much as he apparently hated Reagan. I don't think he's jerkin it for Lady Blue-hair.;)

Also: In case you hadn't noticed, Sullivan doesn't dig girls in that manner; and furthermore, he's flipped on the war, dubya and neo-cons.

Always a pleasure :-*

JP

brucds

JP -" International socialist mass consciousness ?" Fuck that. What planet do you live on ?

As far as Hitch goes, it's pretty obvious to anyone who actually follows the news critically and has read anything serious coming out of the Iraq debacle (Hersh, anonymous, Clarke, etc. etc.) that if Hitchens has pissed on anyone, he's pissed himself. He's also the idiot operating out of some rhetorical "international left" bullshit. And speaking as a mild xenophobe, or at least someone who can recognize the difference between immigrants who seek assimilation and mere residents driven by opportunity - usually monetary - he's more than welcome to take his Brit ass back to the land of the dreary. He can pursue U.S. citizenship if he so desires, ruminate on Jefferson, drive red Corvettes across the Midwest for Vanity Fair or whatever, but he'll never really be an American anymore than my immigrant grandfather ever truly was. He thinks and writes like a fusty twit. Pure Brit. Always has been...always will be.

FOR THE RECORD, FROM AN INTERVIEW HITCHENS DID WITH "REASON" MAGAZINE ("REASON" is one of those outposts for folks who gained their poltiical consciousness from reading Ayn Rand).


"The thing I've often tried to point out to people from the early days of the Thatcher revolution in Britain was that the political consensus had been broken, and from the right. The revolutionary, radical forces in British life were being led by the conservatives. That was something that almost nobody, with the very slight exception of myself, had foreseen.

"I'd realized in 1979, the year she won, that though I was a member of the Labour Party, I wasn't going to vote for it. I couldn't bring myself to vote conservative. That's purely visceral. It was nothing to do with my mind, really. I just couldn't physically do it. I'll never get over that, but that's my private problem.

But I did realize that by subtracting my vote from the Labour Party, I was effectively voting for Thatcher to win. That's how I discovered that that's what I secretly hoped would happen. And I'm very glad I did. I wouldn't have been able to say the same about Reagan, I must say. But I don't think he had her intellectual or moral courage."

brucds

Sorry, that "Hitchens Heart Thatcher" transcript was from me.

Marc Cooper

I have several short responses... first I find even the mild xenophobia disgusting and unbecoming. More than anything it undermines the authors' credibility. I dont think Hitchens knows how to drive, let alone drive a red corvette.
As to Mickey Kaus-- each to his own. Mickey is far to the right of me (though not as far as Fidel Castro is) and yet it would be stupid to deny his intelligence and his insight. I also know him personally and find him to be a great guy-- oh lord Im a sinner. This might come as a shock to some of the more monochromatic among you, but I often find that by reading smart people I disgaree with -- like Hitchens or Kaus-- I better understand and shape my own views.
As to Horowtiz-- old David is indeed quite off the deep end. I agree with almost nothing he says though we speak the same language, comning from similar political origins. We have an odd friendship that crosses all ideological lines. For those of you who dont like it-- well.. then.. try to lump it.
To the charge I have an obsession with Hitchens... ha! Let me repeat.. ha! I have a friendship that's all. And a cerrtain respect for his vast intelligence. I post a lot of his stuff because of what appears to be the obsession many of you have with him.. he merely drives you mad and I am amused to watch all the frothing when it happens, cynical bastard that I am. It's a bit like tossing some garlic cloves into a coven of vampires.
As to steve.. you're a god-damn broken record and you ought to do something about YOUR obessesion with Doug Henwood!

Mavis Beacon

At this point I don’t understand how anyone can take Hitchens seriously. If there is a benchmark in this campaign season for irrational, opportunistic partisanism, surely it is support for the Swift Boat Veterans nonsense (which Marc refers to as, “the lowest, filthiest campaign maneuver I’ve seen in my adult life”). In this interview http://hwinker.home.att.net/TR.htm, Hitchens does everything he can to promote the legitimacy of their charges short of, “making their case for them.” He then accuses Kerry of volunteering for a dangerous post in Vietnam (and then rushing for the exit) only to score bravery points. Next he’ll accuse Kerry of intentionally wounding himself and consorting with the enemy under the watchful bosom of Jane Fonda – look out, he’s got photos!

Surely there are enough negative true things to say about Kerry without promoting the fictions of these Rove-scum. I find the intellectual dishonesty behind this party-line position appalling enough on Bob Dole. In Hitchens, it is the last straw.

brucds

Hitchens wrote an article for Vanity Fair premised on his driving a red Corvette across America. As for the rest, lump it.

steve

"As to steve.. you're a god-damn broken record and you ought to do something about YOUR obessesion with Doug Henwood!"

It's nice to see you and Lou in agreement, but seriously, there really is no obsession, merely the notation of the irony that you attack me for taking political stands of friends of yours or people you've praised recently, not only Henwood, as I've only mentioned him in conjunction with others, Lembcke, Reed, etc. Frankly, I find it amazing that you attack someone for having the same political take as people you praise elsewhere. A remarkable contradiction, no less than deleting a post from me that praises you.
My own sense is the claim of "obsession" from Marc is just a diversion from the discomfort felt when someone points out that he attacks someone as a "Stalinist" when they take political positions the same as other people whom he praises and regards highly. WHen exposed, divert...

steve

Mavis, almost, you forgot Hitchens will likely be telling us that Kerry spat on soldiers when he came back from Vietnam...

brucds

Marc, let me add one more thing, re: Horowitz. Although I find your need to distance yourself from Kerry for various reasons as bordering on the cynicism that you ascribe to more traditional Democrats (I, for one, am more pro-Kerry than I've been "pro" any Democrat running for President - post-primaries - in recent memory), I think you do yourself a terrible disservice by stating that you and David Horowitz "speak the same language". Horowitz' political language is strictly from the gutter. I've had extensive emails with the guy, calling him on lies he's printed, and while he'll revert to civil discourse one-on-one, his political project is a disgusting hoax, driven by some very unseemly demons. If you find my (ironic) "mild xenophobia" disgusting, how can you recommend Horowitz' webzine, which currently promotes the little bitch who thinks that Japanese-Americans deserved to be rounded up and imprisoned for their ethnicity. The man is beyond any redemption. Whatever my differences, jabs and pokes at marccooper.com (which are more good-natured than they sound), your political language is in a completely different league from David H. It's the difference between pure ideological zeal unrestrained by any principle that isn't partisan, extremist and hatefilled, versus thoughtful contrarianism that at it's worst is a bit self-righteous. I served some time in the radical left myself, and I have absolutely no nostalgia for it. What I see in Horowitz - and to a lesser extent in Hitchens - is precisely that manichaen leftist mindset transplanted into a post-conservative, right-wing landscape.

I'm as patriotic and proudly pro-American as the next guy from Missouri, which is precisely why I detest advocates of neo-imperialism who'll gladly send our kids out to die for the ideologies and interests of elites. So I find an authentic, old-fashioned xenophobic isolationist like Pat Buchanan less of a danger to the Republic - and the rest of the world - than a smarmy "internationalist" like Hitchens or an America-uber-alles crackpot like Horowitz.

Jack

Yes, I appreciate the "prisoner's dilemma" aspect of Hitchens' piece too, but...

While Hitchens acknowledges Bush is a moron, Hitchens supports Bush because he's a big believer in Hitchens' new God: The War on Terror. I guess Hitchens missed his chance to be on the neo-con Cold War bandwagon during his Trotskyite days and has now gleefully hitched his wagon to Paul Wolfowitz's star (a man Hitchens referred to as a "bleeding heart" in a recent interview). Ultimately, it's sad that a self-proclaimed "contrarian" no longer brings the same sharp, poignant criticism to bear on this administration that he brought to past administrations. The pro-Bush rhetoric conjoined with his sweeping generalizations about "the left" make his essays read like standard conservative newspaper editorials. Unlike many others, I don't feel that Hitchens betrayed anyone or anything in his writings after 9/11 - except for his own intellectual rigor.

I agree with Hitchens that we need to fight all forms of religious fundamentalism and superstition, but I can't figure how supporting a Christian fundamentalist president will advance secular humanism. It's Hitchen's "yes/but" position. Yes, Bush is incompetent, BUT do you want the Islamo-fascists to win? Yes, Bush supports "faith-based" initiatives, school prayer, and is anti-family planning, BUT it's better than living under Islamic law. As if those were our only options. As if Bush would be the only president who would support US military adventures in the name of the War on Terror.

Hitchens faces no "prisoner's dilemma" as he volunteered to put himself in the neo-cons jail and either willfully ignores, or barely touches on, what the Bush admin has done to this country and its constitutional liberties and freedoms.

That said, I still enjoy and learn from Hitchen's essays on topics not involving Bush (his literary/cultural essays, even his skewering Michael Moore).

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