Tuesday, July 27, 2010


You remember Newt Gingrich, pop-culture critic, don't you?

During the 1992 Democratic National Convention, Gingrich said, "Woody Allen having nonincest with a nondaughter to whom he was a nonfather because they were a nonfamily fits the Democratic platform perfectly."

Maybe that didn't come to mind for you last month during this John Boehner moment:

Looks like Rep. John Boehner just won't let it be: The House Minority Leader (R-Ohio) is demanding an apology from musical legend Paul McCartney, who poked fun at former President George W. Bush earlier this week. During a tribute concert at the White House, McCartney joked that the American people finally have a President "who knows what a library is." Boehner "was surprised and disappointed by the lack of grace and respect he displayed at the White House," and said in a statement, "I hope he'll apologize to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House and President Obama."

But perhaps it should have, because Boehner's on the culture warpath again:

The top House Republican John Boehner (Ohio) on Tuesday called comments about Jewish control of the media made by movie director Oliver Stone "hateful, uninformed and deeply offensive."

In an interview Sunday, Stone said that Jews' grip on the media has prevented a free debate about the Holocaust and argued that dictators Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin have been misrepresented by the U.S. press....

"The United States and Israel share common values and fight common enemies in the form of violent Islamic extremism. Minimizing the horrors of the Holocaust is unacceptable," Boehner responded. "His comments lend support to our enemies, such as Iran and terrorist organizations, who seek to expand their power in the region at the expense of democracy, human rights and freedom. The United States has no better friend and ally than Israel, and we remain committed to our long-standing bilateral partnership."

You don't have to agree with Stone to ask what the hell his comments have to do with Boehner's job. Right? Why is Boehner doing this?

Oh, yeah, I forgot: All prominent pop-culture figures are, by definition, honorary members of the leadership of the Democratic Party unless proven otherwise. Never mind the fact that Stone once planned to film Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, collaborating on the screenplay with Maggie Betts, a close friend of the Bush twins. Never mind the fact that Stone recently defended his Hugo Chavez documentary by describing Richard Nixon and George W. Bush as "underdog[s]" who have been unfairly "demonized":

"People who are often demonized, like Nixon and Bush and Chavez and Castro, fascinate me," Mr. Stone said in an interview this week during a tour to promote the film... "It's a recurring thing," he added, that may suggest "a psychological attachment to the underdog" on his part.

Earlier today, I was reading the exchange between Mark Schmitt and Ezra Klein on the question of what Republicans will do if they take over the House. Well, this is a big part of what they'll do: try to distract the public from their absolute unwillingness to work toward real solutions for America's problems by finding a thousand variations on "Michael Moore is fat."

Schmitt seems to think Republicans will seek to cobble together some semblance of an agenda. I don't think so -- not in any real sense. They're not going to try to have a real plan for reducing budget deficits or fixing health care or bringing back jobs -- instead of a coherent agenda, they're just to generate Fox/Breitbart-style hatefests, and hope the distraction is enough to keep the public from blaming America's ongoing malaise on them. What I mean is that they won't make a serious attempt to cut spending -- they'll just launch showy efforts to defund lefty and nonwhite groups that Fox et al. can demonize. They won't fully restructure health care -- they'll go for health-insurance sales across state lines, and beyond that they'll try to repeal real or imagined policies permitting "death panels" and abortion funding. Every one of these big, showy efforts will be coordinated with right-wing media.

And so will Boehner's entertainment critiques.

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