Ahmadinejad's bag of tricks is eerily like that of Karl Rove - the constant use of fear, the exploitation of religion, the demonization of liberals, the deployment of Potemkin symbolism like Sarah Palin . . .Really, Sully? I mean, really? WTF goes through someone's mind when they dream up an idiotic comparison between (a) Karl Rove, a Republican political strategist, and (b) Mahmoud Ahmadinejed, a Jew-hating genocidal maniac?
You might as well compare Rove to Charles Manson or Pol Pot. Please note that Sullivan's comparison involves no hypotheticals. It does not appear to be any sort of parodic humor, except unintentionally. He evidently means to suggest in all seriousness that Ahmadinejad and Rove are similar in some meaningful way.
Whatever you think of Karl Rove -- and I am certainly not his biggest fan -- there is something absurdly puerile in the suggestion that his political strategies involve "the deployment of Potemkin symbolism like Sarah Palin" (???).
WTF? How did Palin become involved in this? It's as if Sully is merely reacting at some kind of Rorshach level of subconsciousness.
More from William Jacobson and Donald Douglas. Via Memeorandum.
UPDATE: I went outside, smoked a cigarette, then took a shower and ate a pizza and now, an hour later, I'm still agog at the wretchedness of Sully's phrase, "Potemkin symbolism like Sarah Palin." Sully attributes this to Rove -- as if the governor of Alaska were self-evidently a signature "Rovian" tactic -- and then says it is part of a "bag of tricks is eerily like that" of Ahmadinejad. Or vice-versa, actually, but the idea of moral equivalence is there.
How? Why? I'm scratching my head. Given that hyperbolic extremity of ad hominem is sort of a speciality of mine, and that I am a three-time nominee for Sully's "Malkin Award," you might think I'd have the kind of insight necessary to reverse-engineer a thing like this.
This morning, I ignored Frank Rich's column, in which he cited Shep Smith as having "tied the far-right loners who had gotten their guns out in Wichita and Washington to the mounting fury of Obama haters." A flimsy theory of causality -- a connection asserted rather than demonstrated -- and I thought to myself, "Well, other people will tear that to shreds. No need for me to get exercised over it."
So now I'm wondering why this particular excursion by Sullivan made me react, whereas Rich's idiotic column did not. Perhaps it is that Sully boils his slander down to a single sentence so transparently false.
Or perhaps it is that Sully decided to throw in the name of Sarah Palin. Remember, my Donkey Cons co-author is now collaborating on Palin's autobiography. I actually covered Palin during the 2008 campaign. So I have a concept of Palin as being an actual human being, rather than some kind of "Potemkin symbolism."
WTF? I look at phrase, and try to figure out exactly what Sully means by it.
It is a meaning, and a connection, that exists only in Andrew Sullivan's febrile imaginings. He evidently aims to denounce a certain style of Republican political rhetoric, and grasps randomly to pluck the names of two pet bogeys -- Rove and Palin -- out of thin air. To him, these people are indeed merely symbols, and it doesn't occur to him that there might be anything offenisve in mixing them together in a comparison to Mahoud Ahmadinejad.
If a supposedly serious political commentator like Sullivan doesn't hesitate to say such things, why are we shocked when a late-night comic jokes about A-Rod having sex with Palin's 14-year-old daughter?
UPDATE II by Smitty:
I think a better title would have been: "If Sarah Palin is a Karl Rove production, does that mean Andrew Sullivan is Trig?"
UPDATE III: * Struck the incorrect sentence about "Potemkin villages," a concept which several historical-minded commenters tell me dates to the time of Catherine the Great, and not the Soviet era.
UPDATE IV: And welcome Instapundit readers. Insty links Ann Althouse working over Sully on the Palin front. I think Althouse misses the basic dynamic of what Sullivan (and others) are doing. It's as simple as this: "Bush sucked. Therefore, we can say anything we want to about any Republican."
Go back to that Frank Rich column I ignored Sunday morning. Everybody in the news business gets e-mails from cranks. Shep Smith reaches a television viewership of a million or so, and gets crank e-mails, whiich he mentions in relation to the Holocaust Museum shooting. This, says Frank Rich, is the smoking gun proving that Republican "Obama haters" have blood on their hands.
Well, no, it doesn't. Here's a little clue for the clueless: The Holocaust Museum shooter used to send crazy letters and e-mails to The Washington Times when I worked there. He probably sent the same kind of crap to lots of publications. That's what crackpots do. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party.
In the current political climate, the liberal media have some kind of Bush = Nixon = Hitler formulation in their minds that justifies them saying anything they want about Republicans. And do you know who I blame for that? Republicans.
The GOP's media operations are third-rate. Cynthia Yockey is running a one-woman campaign against Letterman. Where are the Republican Party media operatives lending her assistance and support? Nowhere.
If the Republican Party even has media operatives, that is. They certainly don't have good ones. And when you run a bad media operation, you get bad media.
UPDATE V: Also linked by Nice Deb, who notes that CBS compared Ahmadinejad to Bush on June 8.
UPDATE VI: Wow. Linked twice by Insty on the same post. George Carlin called it "vuja de": When you get the feeling that nothing like this has ever happened before. Did I mention that Bill Kristol is wrong?