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If it weren't for straw men, straw issues and straw ideas how else could the oh-aren't-I-so-insightful insular-ites in DC meet their respective deadlines for finger-on-the-pulse of America columns?

Michael Barone is but the latest. His June 12, 2006 Democrats Are Winning...Except at the Polls (http://tinyurl.com/...) is chock full of undocumented 'facts' that are curiously convenient for his asinine projections. The link to Barone's article:

Here are some highlighted excerpts followed by my takes:

After bashing Pete Stark, Jim McDermott and Dennis Kucinich for minimizing the importance of the death of Zarqawi (he also noted that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and John Kerry were appropriate in their respective reactions), Barone writes:

"...the Stark-McDermott-Kucinich reaction, echoed and amplified, often scatologically, by dozens of commenters on the popular dailykos.com and myDD.com left-wing Websites, tells us something disturbing about the Democratic Party -- and provides a clue why Democrats were unable to eke out a win in last week's special congressional election in the 50th congressional district of California..."

Michael: please provide the analysis you conducted that demonstrates that dailykos.com and myDD.com sites are strictly left wing? Also, are the 'scatological comments' on these sites the sole 'clue' you perceived regarding the inability of the Democrats to win a Republican stronghold seat? Do you have anything else in your bag o' tricks? Who was the Democratic candidate and was she a so-called leftist?  Also, why not mention the very large amount of money the Republicans had to rush and spend to retain this safe district?

"It comes down to this: A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W. Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there -- a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women -- and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton. "

Michael: please provide the names AND evidence of the politicians and supporters who want the U.S. to fail in Iraq. Or is this just a 'gut' feeling that you have and such makes it A-OK to print blasphemy?  And Mike, why are we building military bases in Iraq? Just how does turning large portions of Iraq into a satellite of Iran benefit us? A "vibrant free economy" is quite the stretch.  Paul Bremer's 100 Orders dictated various changes to the Iraqi economy, all beneficial to the United Sates and to the 'interests' of our corporations.

"Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over; the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored."

Michael: please detail the successes you mention? Spin civil war as best as you can. Spin daily carnage. Spin less electricity. Spin less water. Spin the death of a soldier from your hometown, a death from a war built on lies and deceptions, a wat that didn't have to happen. Tell that soldier's family that the casualty rate in Iraq is nothing comapred to earlier wars.

"In all this they have been aided and abetted by large elements of the press. The struggle in Iraq has been portrayed as a story of endless and increasing violence. Stories of success and heroism tend to go unreported. Reporters in Iraq deserve respect for their courage -- this has been an unusually deadly war for journalists, largely because they have been targeted by the terrorists. But unfortunately they and the Bush administration have not done a good job of letting us know that last pertinent fact."

Michael: "aided and abetted" by much of the media--are you actually confused here, thinking instead of the Bush Administration and the Pentagon--seeJessica Lynch and the late Pat Tillman. Yes, unfortunately, some press corp members have been targeted and killed but others have suffered death and maiming through random IEDs and some were even killed by coalition forces. "Success and heroism" is near impossible to report on when one cannot leave the Green Zone without inviting death and destruction. And just how in your mind can the Bush Administration scores points by better getting the word out that the media is being targeted? What parallel universe do you reside in? Iraq is a living and dying hell for everyone and somehow, some way the public is going to be assuaged because the Bush Administration tells us that the media are in the bulls-eye, that he can't do a thing about it and, because of that, good works are spreading through Iraq. Michael, order up bon-bons for us all as we dreamily accept your heavenly vision.

"The angry Democratic left set the tone for the 2003-04 campaign for the party's presidential nomination, and John Kerry hoped that it would produce a surge in turnout in November 2004. It did: Kerry got 16 percent more popular votes than Al Gore. But George W. Bush got 23 percent more popular votes in 2004 than in 2000."

Michael: Is your "angry Democratic left" a reference to Howard Dean? Planet Earth to Michael Barone: Do notice that John Kerry won the nomination, not Howard Dean, and Kerry set his own tone. Please, this is getting pathetic .

"In California's 50th, both parties made mammoth turnout efforts, but the balance of turnout and of opinion seems to have remained the same, even though Democrats had a seriously contested primary for governor and Republicans didn't. The angry Democratic left and its aiders and abettors in the press seem to have succeeded in souring public opinion, but they haven't succeeded in producing victory margins for the Democrats. Maybe they're doing just the opposite."

Michael: regardless of your reference to a contested Democratic primary for governor, turnout is ALWAYS much, much less in non-November elections. And again, please cite your specific evidence that "the angry Democratic left and its aiders and abettors in the press" soured public opinion? How? When? Where? Might the inanities and incompetence of the Republicans currently in power possibly have discouraged a large number of people from participating politically? Anyone can pick out hackneyed thoughts and opinions from thin air--well-paid political pundits should hopefully possess some greater insight and have at least a somewhat higher bar to reach than the average Joe or Josephine. Raising non-existent straw men, straw phrases, straw ideas--these are the domain of Karl Rove and the boys who have no level to which they won't submerge themselves. Division is their speciality. And angry? Try watching F-X NEWS and its bilious crew going uber-ballistic.  Now THAT'S raging for you.

Michael: you either had an off column or you're simply full of s__t. Seeing as your column had me grabbing for the nearest shovel, I'm leaning towards the latter.

Originally posted to Cogitator on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 11:09 AM PDT.

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