Where Liberals Fail

Goldberg, Behar, and O'Reilly. Who Lost, and Why.

This past week, on October 14th of 2010, the Liberal Blogs would fill the Internet with prose of “indignant glee” – as a notably odd, bi-polar combo that many conservatives frequently engage in, but only my fellow liberals have truly mastered.

The controversy would unfold on the ABC daytime program of the frivolous, ‘The View’ – designed by Barbara Walters to make the female side of the Pringles-chomping unengaged feel … engaged. And, in that endeavor, it would – to its credit – offer a period of relief from the other waking hours more commonly occupied and depleted with impulse purchases by way of The Home Shopping Network.

But all Hell would break loose when guest, Bill O’Reilly, as part of a larger discussion that included the planned mosque near the 9-11 site, opined that “Muslims killed us on 9-11”.

Technically … Bill O’Reilly was factually correct. The terrorists were, indeed, Muslims. They also were all of brunette coloring – as well as of male gender, in addition. But do take a quick moment to note, however, that O’Reilly said that “Muslims killed us” – and not “The Muslims killed us”. Again, on a technical and academic level – that’s a notable point of distinction. But while the former was spoken … the latter was heard. And, in what may be regarded as ill-advised and careless words, there was the oblique implication that The Towers fell at the hands of the Muslim faith, itself, at the core of its thesis, as interpreted.

But this isn’t the point. It’s the background. The setup.

I’ve often had to remind my ‘Liberal Fellows’ that I am – yes – a fellow liberal, but I am an objectivist first, no matter how sarcastically I often couch my final and considered appraisals. And objectivity – true to form – will, over time, displease all. But I sometimes seem to usher the greatest “disappointment” – sometimes maniacal in its manifestation – within the tribe of my own liberal brethren who generally allow no more than an off-script tolerance of 0.1%.

But this particular consideration, presented here, doesn’t favor Bill O’Reilly. And, moreover, it doesn’t favor Whoopi Goldberg or Joy Behar of ‘The View’ as it relates to their indignation – whether real or affected – concerning O’Reilly’s remark. Read on …

First, let’s get a couple of personal perspectives out of the way … I’ve already been on record stating that the proposed mosque near the 9-11 site should not only be allowed, but – by all rights – it has to be permitted. Whether popular or not (and the technical majority do currently disfavor the selected location, as O’Reilly correctly stated), it doesn’t matter. As often told, the US Constitution was created more for the protection of the unpopular, than it was for the fashionable. Case closed. Done.

As to the parties involved in this particular controversy … Bill O’Reilly is what he is: A blue collar Levittown kid, with a stern father, who got his daily dose of Catholicism at Chaminade, and joined friends from Mastic at Jones Beach on the weekends. Those not entirely familiar with Long Island culture may not ‘get it’ – or what certain sociological combinations can beget, but Bill O’Reilly is but one such product of a particular mix. And the potential of next-generation enlightenment is sometimes trumped by the incessantly ringing bell of Pavlov conditioning.

Whether putting forth words of implied bigotry or xenophobia … or misogyny, these are often quite inadvertent, without consciously hateful intent – and often wholly unrecognized by the perpetuator, themselves. I’ve likely encountered over a hundred of them in my lifetime. Evil, no. Of an ilk, yes. I’m not making excuses for O’Reilly, mind you. I’m merely indicating that I “recognize him”. In the Levittown of the 1950s and 60s, in which O’Reilly was raised – and formulated, he’d be termed as … ‘regular guy’. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Joy Behar: I find her to be generally likeable and, while I don’t watch ‘The View’, I think Behar has done an admirable job with her own light – if not sugar-free interview show on the HLN network, of what I’ve seen. Perhaps she merely seems personable and marginally refreshing after the hour of Nancy Grace that precedes her.

Whoopi Goldberg: Reasonably articulate in the general sense, I suppose – yet doesn’t communicate arguments or support positions particularly well. Frequently shy on the details, but still remains steadfast in her puddle-deep understanding of the issues, nevertheless. Highly dependent on the visceral, with little reliance on veracity. Internalized audience participation in the two-dimensional ‘View’ is encouraged.

But the issue being debated among these three Couch-ateers centered around O’Reilly’s “Muslims killed us” remark. With that, Whoopi Goldberg would shoot back – with argumentative cunning, “that’s fucking bullshit”. But that was just the warm-up. For Goldberg would next launch an additional counter-attack, frequently used by my fellow liberals the world over …

“What religion was Mr. McVeigh?” … Yes, the argumentatively crippling implication that the Oklahoma bombing, triggered by Timothy McVeigh, was executed by … a Christian. Save one nagging detail …

He wasn’t.

While raised as a Catholic in his childhood, by his own admission in a ‘Time’ magazine interview, he had left the Catholic faith – along with Christianity – many years before and, moreover, would cite himself as an agnostic – at best – in ‘The Guardian’. He additionally professed that the universe was “guided by natural law”, energized by a “universal, higher power” – the closest, according to McVeigh, to “a God”, of some sort. Or, said another way, his ‘faith perspective’ would be rather reminiscent of what is commonly associated with … well … liberals, such as myself.

Yes, the most cursory and casual of fact-checking by Goldberg – among other liberals – would have revealed this. But they just wanted to know – or assume – enough about McVeigh to invoke his name in a hopelessly flawed and profoundly erroneous counter-argument, at its core. Good thing that O’Reilly wasn’t apparently privy to the details, either – or Goldberg could have been road-kill in the space of time it took you to read the above paragraph.

I can’t even begin to calculate how frequently the argumentative prowess of my own liberal tribe has been entirely dependent on the lucky-starred life-blood of many conservatives being even more ignorant and ill-read than they are. But encounter a conservative who has done their homework and … you’re toast.

Point of fact – and I get no pleasure from saying this – there are liberals among us who have successfully gotten away with slaughtering the truth, shy of actual details … simply because conservatives weren’t on their toes in several instances. The discussion here is but of only one example.

But okay … let’s give you some breathing room, and say that McVeigh was an active Christian at the time of the bombing in Oklahoma. As a comparative, tit-for-tat argument, you still lose …

For, as it relates to motive – no matter how perversely interpreted, as one may argue – the Muslim faith nevertheless played a principle motivational role in 9-11. With McVeigh – as our newly anointed and conveniently revived Christian – there would be no “Praise to Jesus”, just seconds prior to detonation. There was no ‘larger plan’ to “advance the cause” of Christianity. No matter how deranged in its interpretation and application, the Muslim faith was the centerpiece of the 9-11 terrorists. It is for this reason that many Americans – even if unfairly, even if incorrectly – associate and identify 9-11 with the Muslim faith, and those who practice it. And therein … is the difference.

But given this notable distinction, there is no ‘equivalency factor’ between 9-11 and Oklahoma, outside of both being a terrorist attack with an agenda. If this hadn’t been debated on ‘The View’, but was instead a topic among two college debate teams, whichever college advanced the Whoopi Goldberg argument would have absolutely lost the contest – no question. Don’t take my word for it. Any college debate coach or team captain would tell you the very same thing, even if hailing from the most liberal of colleges or universities.

Even Joy Behar – on her evening program – couldn’t get Jesse Ventura to agree with her on citing the O’Reilly’s remark as being an example of “hate speech”, as she had assessed. And Bill Maher – on his ‘Real Time’ program – was also unable to sign on to such, wondering “what the big deal” was.

But back to ‘The View’, there Whoopi Goldberg was, clearly ready for a continued, ‘fucking bullshit’ fight with O’Reilly … until … until she glanced up to see that her own, ‘Oh, my God’ indignation was about to be trumped and upstaged by Joy Behar, readying to walk off the stage in protest. With that, Goldberg would have little choice but to fall silent and join Behar in the walk-off …

You see, in certain liberal circles there’s a mystical belief that one can elevate one’s own stature within the liberal community by being more outraged than the next guy … or girl. There’s a fierce competition among liberals to be the most indignant of the tribesmen. For those who have already seen a clip of the O’Reilly confrontation on ‘The View’, that’s precisely what you were bearing witness to. At that very moment, it was no longer a contest with O’Reilly. It was between Goldberg and Behar – no matter how ‘chummy in solidarity’ they may have seemed in their in-unison, waddling Walkathon. Trust me on this one. As a longtime and continued member of the liberal community, I’ve seen it more times than I can possibly recount. It’s where reason, often lacking intellect, becomes subordinate to theatrical posturing. And in that competitive escalation … lives bullshit.

So no, I don’t celebrate the “owning of O’Reilly” (a current term of popular culture), as many would perceive it. I see the confrontation as an embarrassingly incompetent and cowardly moment for liberals. This, as Bill O’Reilly left no additional impression – whether good or bad, depending on allegiance – relative to when he first walked in the door. A net zero-sum walk-away, versus a negative-two walk-out. Not that either Goldberg or Behar would ever see it as such, mind you. For liberalism has its patches of egomaniacal self-delusion every bit as strong as the O’Reilly ilk on The Right.

I offer these appraisals not to embarrass my fellow liberals, understand. I do it for a greater good: To point out the vulnerabilities of my own liberal ilk, when they’re not particularly well versed or schooled.

Yes, I know that there are several of the liberal camp who regard me as a turncoat whenever I “go all objective” on them. When I point out the folly of their feeble arguments – and do so with actual specifics. Truly … these wanna-be, suburban, wash ‘n wear, lounge chair liberals – on both sides of the pond – throw a royal shit-fit – without having even once actually worked those liberal trenches. For them, liberalism is a fashion statement. These, in fact, are the very ones who occupy much of their time trying to “out-outrage” one another as the perceived, easy-path shortcut to stature. The very genre I spoke of earlier.

But some of us have actually done our homework – endured the tedium of actual fact-checking ... and without the exclusive reliance of chronically-liberal sources where no game of telephone can possibly have an accurate outcome, with self-serving folklore legends being whispered ear to ear – especially when the information is flawed at its source. And no, I don’t care that the Right Wing does the same thing. And I don’t care about FOX News. That’s them. But this is my fucking house. I’ve lived in it for a long time – and I really don’t need amateur handymen working on it, no matter how well-intentioned their quick and sloppy work.

So shape up, go back to school … or get out.

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