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Friday, June 27, 2008

What A Difference Five Months Makes

posted by on June 27 at 15:21 PM

As Glenn Greenwald points out today, MSNBC hack Keith Olbermann used harsh language to condemn the Bush administration for supporting warrantless wiretaps and immunity for telecoms in this year’s FISA bill. In a ten-minute “Special Comment,” Olbermann referred to FISA (inaccurately, but whatever) as “literally a textbook example of fascism, the merged efforts of government and corporations that answer to no government.” Then, noting Bush’s coziness with telecommunications lobbyists, Olbermann continued:

This is no longer just a farce in which protecting telecoms is dressed up as protecting us from terrorists’ conference cells. Now it begins to look like the bureaucrats of the Third Reich, trying to protect the Krupp family, the industrial giants, re-writing the laws of Germany for their benefit. There is not a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution or protecting the people from terrorism, Sir. This is a choice of protecting the telecoms from prosecution or pretending to protect the people from terrorists. Sorry, Mr. Bush, the eavesdropping provisions of FISA have obviously had no impact on counter-terrorism, and there is no current or perceived terrorist threat the thwarting of which could hinge on an email or phone call that is going through Room 641 of AT&T in San Francisco.

But now that Barack Obama is supporting those same provisions, Olbermann has lost his taste for outrage. Not just that: In a conversation with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter two nights ago, the MSNBC commentator openly praised Obama for his strength and bravery in “refusing to cower even to the left on the subject of warrantless wiretapping,” adding: “not cowering to Republicans is one thing in the Democratic, recent Democratic history, it’s a thing that I think anybody who has a “D” near their name cheers, but not cowering to the left, not going along with the conventional, the new conventional thinking on the FISA bill, that’s something altogether different, isn’t it?

Yep, that would be the “new conventional thinking” to which Olbermann so breathlessly subscribed, oh, five months ago.

On the other hand: The fact that Obama supports the death penalty for child rapists shouldn’t surprise anyone. As an Illinois state senator, Obama voted repeatedly to expand the list of crimes that are subject to the death penalty, including murdering a senior citizen; murdering a disabled person; murder related to terrorism; and killing volunteers in community policing programs, among others. I don’t happen to agree with him (and Scalia, and Clarence Thomas) on this one—I think the evidence from the Senator’s own state shows that the rate of wrongful conviction is still too high to justify killing anyone, and there’s ample proof that African Americans are executed in disproportionate numbers—but it’s not like he’s kept his feelings on the subject a secret. His support for warrantless wiretaps may have been pandering, but the death penalty statement seems to be the way Obama really feels.

RSS icon Comments

1

"inaccurately, but whatever"

Does not compute.

Posted by Ziggity | June 27, 2008 3:43 PM
2

The National Journal is going to be so embarrassed when this gets out.

Posted by elenchos | June 27, 2008 3:47 PM
3

oh man, screw obama then, this convinced me. lets vote for McCain!

Posted by meanie | June 27, 2008 3:50 PM
4

OK, except on all those votes Obama supported the death penalty as punishment for actual murder, not for the rape of children.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 27, 2008 3:57 PM
5

Why isn't elenchos, a regular Slogger for ages, listed under Friends or Enemies of Slog, yet Ms. I Never Even Knew Slog Existed Until I Was Asked To Slog And Shortly After Slogging I Gave Up And Came To The Conclusion That I Hate Slog is?

Posted by Hello. I have a question for either (in order) Ari, Amy, Dan, or Tim | June 27, 2008 3:58 PM
6

Yes I Can... disagree with Obama on a few issues, and still enthusiastically support him, work for his election, and vote for him in the fall.

And so can a whole lot of other people.

Posted by Andy Niable | June 27, 2008 4:03 PM
7

Okay, Olbermann is definitely a pundit, but "hack?" Because he has a political axe to grind? Wouldn't painting with such a broad brush also tend to condemn the sort of advocacy journalism that is one of the Stranger's trademarks?

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 27, 2008 4:06 PM
8

Hmmf, well, I actually agree with ECB for once. Facism means the state controlling the means of production; that the ruling party and power also runs the largest businesses. Getting cozy over (clearly unconstitutional) wiretapping is evil and wrong, but it is not facism.

But then she starts talking about Obama, and as usual, loses all perspective and intellectual honesty. Let's see, we shouldn't be surprised by Obama's stance on the death penalty for child *rape*, because he supported it for *murder*, *murder*, *murder*, and *murder*. Obviously, anyone who supports the death penalty for murder is bound to support it for other crimes.

By ECB's twisted and incoherent logic, we shouldn't be surprised if Obama supports executing jaywalkers. It's just part of his larger pattern, after all.

And she actually used the word "hack" with no sense of irony.

Posted by also | June 27, 2008 4:12 PM
9

I agree, ECB, we should be outraged and not vote for Obama, just to spite ourselves.

And while we're at it, how much do they pay you from the Clinton 2012 campaign for hit pieces like this, where you try to help Dems defeat themselves?

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 27, 2008 4:24 PM
10

oh please, Will. it's not a hit piece, it's a valid point to make. yes, obama's support of FISA is pure craven political ass-covering (he previously opposed it) and no, it doesn't mean anyone who points that out is secretly trying to rally liberals for McSame.

Posted by brett | June 27, 2008 4:31 PM
11

Hillary Clinton's opposition to FISA, the war in Iraq, and the death penalty is, of course, well-documented!

Oh wait...

Posted by AMB | June 27, 2008 4:52 PM
12

It takes a hack like you to call someone as brilliant as Keith Olbermann a hack. What shred of respect I had for you has at long last evaporated.

Posted by elswinger | June 27, 2008 5:21 PM
13

Obama is a pretty moderate candidate on many issues, but he has a strong record on death penalty reform in Illinois, where 13 later exonerated people had been scheduled to be put to death. As you know, one of his biggest victories in the state Senate was passing legislation that requires all interrogations and confessions to be videotaped to discourage coercion or intimidation.

In contrast with McCain's statement, "Todayís Supreme Court ruling is an assault on law enforcementís efforts to punish these heinous felons for the most despicable crime", Obama's is sensible:

"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes... I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution."
Posted by V | June 27, 2008 5:55 PM
14

Why is this a surprise? Keith Olbermann is the Bill O'Reilly of Democrats.

Posted by pragmatic | June 27, 2008 7:02 PM
15

@12 said it best!

Ok, ok, I get it you hate men, they are all mean and evil, they stole The Primary election from Clinton. You will not be satisfied until they are made to pay, Obama and Olbermann must be made to pay for all of the perceived slights against Clinton. Can we move on now?

Posted by Sad Comment | June 27, 2008 7:07 PM
16

@12 Even as a fan of both Obama and Olbermann I can see how colored and biased Keith is when it comes to Obama. His whole speaking truth to power Murrow/"Network" schtick is far more powerful if he holds his friends to the same standards that he holds his enemies to.

Posted by vooodooo84 | June 27, 2008 7:50 PM
17

I knew you read NO QUARTER. Your copycat post came 9 minutes after Larry Johnson's post:

"Keith Olbermannís B.O. Problem"

http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/06/27/keith-olbermanns-bo-problem/

Posted by cochise. | June 27, 2008 9:12 PM
18

We won't support NO-Bama whatsoever and will re-defeat him in November!!!

Posted by clintonsarmy | June 27, 2008 10:35 PM
19

@18
Ralph Nader is that you?

Posted by Sad Comment | June 27, 2008 11:04 PM
20

Hack? Fuck you, ECB.

I can't wait to read your post that attempts to justify your McCain vote.

Posted by pablocjr | June 27, 2008 11:37 PM
21

ECB's post is a textbook example of what happens when big-time hypocrites get all worked up over someone else's hypocrisy.

That said, I agree @16 - this wasn't Olbermann's best work by a long shot.

But "hack"? Please.

Posted by Mr. X | June 28, 2008 2:32 AM
22

Say "YES" to War on Iraq by Dan Savage Oct. 2002

"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times."

"The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves."

Washington Post June 27, 2008

"Bomb Kills Marines, Iraqi Tribal Leaders
At Least 40 Die in Two Separate Attacks"

Posted by danfansarewarmongersupporters | June 28, 2008 9:45 AM
23

Say "YES" to War on Iraq by Dan Savage Oct. 2002

"War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times."

"The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves."

Washington Post June 27, 2008

"Bomb Kills Marines, Iraqi Tribal Leaders
At Least 40 Die in Two Separate Attacks"

Posted by danfansarewarmongersupporters | June 28, 2008 9:58 AM
24

Wow, you are so right ECB! Thanks for opening my eyes, I'll vote for McCain just like you! That'll leave 1 liberal judge left on the Supreme Court, but it's worth it right?

By the way, I'd love to hear you address the coincidence cochise points out above.

Posted by Clinton 2012 | June 28, 2008 10:12 AM
25

The irony of ECB referring to Olbermann as a hack made me laugh out loud. I've not been able to read the slog that often lately, but I am happy to see that ECB's inanity is alive and well.

Posted by Good Grief | June 28, 2008 10:17 AM
26

I guess what I'm supposed to learn from this thread is that the 49% of us who supported Clinton but switched to Obama are NEVER supposed to say ANYTHING bad about him. Ever.

Do any of you Erica-haters honestly believe she would vote for McCain? Dumbfucks.

Oh, and Keith Olbermann *is* a hack. Read the latest New Yorker piece. He's a twitchy prima donna.

Posted by Big Sven | June 28, 2008 2:02 PM
27

Earth to ECB! Earth to ECB!

Hillary is out of the race. Get used to it.


Posted by montex | June 29, 2008 12:01 PM
28

Is there an ECB filter that I can turn on so that I don't have to see her hate-filled posts any longer? ECB, are you related to E.B. Hill?

Posted by Allen | June 29, 2008 8:40 PM
29

hacks who live in glass houses...

Posted by michael strangeways | June 30, 2008 10:32 AM

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