Tuesday, May 09, 2006

[politics] "...x has always had a leftist bent..."

Pop quiz time! What organization is the value of x? Please show your work; there is no penalty for using calculators, your fingers, or other appedages. Cheating will not be tolerated, and those of you who already have your hands in the air can damn well wait until everyone's had a chance to answer. And I cannot say this strongly enough: show your work! Bing! Time's up. What have you got? The National Education Association? The Congressional Progressive Caucus? The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? AFL-CIO? SEIU? Nope. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? The Democratic Socialists of America? Nuh-uh. The National Organization for Women? No. The Urban League? Bzzt. Human Rights Watch? Amnesty International? Greenpeace? The National Rainbow Coalition? The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee? Public Citizen? No; oooh, good guess; wrong again; good try; who? Nope. What's that you say? The ACLU? You are so off. So, do you give up? Put down your coffee, and swallow what's in your mouth... This is gonna be good. Wait for it... We want this to be a surprise. (drumroll) It's the Central Intelligence Agency. Let that sink in for a while. And for those of you who didn't heed my warning, I'll wait for you to clean off your monitor and drain off your keyboard. Those of you who inflicted enough damage to require a quick run out to replace a keyboard are going to be out of luck; you'll just have to read this when you get back. Done? Good. Yup, the CIA is of "a leftist bent". Just this weekend, Digby predicted such a thing would occur - but she had no idea just how quickly it would come to pass. As she wrote, it was already in the works; yesterday National Review published the following editorial:
Too often the agency has performed [its] job miserably, the greatest example being its gargantuan miscalculations about the Soviet Union. In retrospect, this is perhaps unsurprising. The CIA has always had a leftist bent, well represented in its upper echelons even under directors of staunchly anti-Communist and pro-national-security orientation.
Wow. Just wow. Read it in full, and get a full understanding of what 'leftist' means to what is ostensibly a mainstream conservative (intellectual!) publication: leftist is anyone who disagrees with Bush. These are the bounds of the debate, as established in the mainstream: you aren't even liberal - apparently it isn't enough that you be tagged with this favored label of invective - now you're a leftist. Disagree with the Iraq war? Leftist. Disagree with the scale, scope, or timing of Bush's tax cuts? Leftist. Disagree with Bush's environmental policies? Leftist. Think Bush's pro-business policies might go too far? Leftist. Think that perhaps science should be the only thing taught in the science classroom? Leftist. Think torture is un-American? Leftist. This is no longer a rational position or a principled position - this is a cult. I haven't decided if it's a Stalinist-style personality cult or a tax-cutting cargo cult, but cult it definitely is. And I fear that its warped sensibilities have bent the current political scene so far off true that it will be decades before the damage is undone.

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