Patterico's Pontifications


What’s Worse: the Silliness or the Deceit?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 11:31 am

Yesterday, a friend asked me: “Who is this Rosa Brooks person, and why does she have a column in the L.A. Times?” After reading Brooks’s inane and deceptive column today, I am wondering the same thing.

The piece is titled “She’s paid for her access in blood.” Its theme is summed up in the first two paragraghs:

LAST WEEK, the Bush motorcade sped by Cindy Sheehan on the way to a Republican National Committee fundraiser, literally leaving her and her fellow protesters in the Crawford dust. Sheehan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, was left wanly waving her hand-lettered sign: “Why do you make time for donors and not for me?”

She should have known that this is how it works in America. Only those who fork over the big bucks can count on getting an invitation to President Bush’s Texas ranch. That’s why Republican donors struggle to raise the $200,000 needed to gain the coveted RNC honorific of “Ranger.”

Brooks never mentions that Sheehan has met with Bush before. Instead, the column implies (but never explicitly says) that Bush 1) never meets with non-donors, and 2) has never met with Cindy Sheehan. Proceeding on those two false premises, Brooks makes an incoherent argument that Cindy Sheehan should put a monetary value on her son’s life, and call it a contribution, since that’s the only thing that will get Bush to meet with her:

Trying to place a monetary value on her son’s lost life is an appalling calculation for any mother to have to make. But with an eternally vacationing president who can’t be bothered to meet with non-donors, it’s the only language he’ll understand.

Actually, Ms. Brooks, Newsweek reports that “Bush has met with about 900 family members of some 270 soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Brooks’s column ends with this:

So what do you say, Republican National Committee? Sheehan donated her son’s life — and his lifetime earnings potential — to Bush, and he squandered both. She’s not asking for a refund, or a “Ranger” badge, or a favor for her oil company, just a meeting. Isn’t she entitled to a few minutes of her president’s time?

No, she’s not entitled to it, Ms. Brooks — but she has already gotten it. Are you the only person in the country who hadn’t heard that? Or did you just not feel like mentioning it, because doing so would destroy the premise of your utterly silly piece?

What a total waste of valuable op-ed space.

P.S. Also (as commenters have pointed out), while Ms. Sheehan has certainly suffered a loss with the death of her son, it twists the English language beyond recognition to suggest that she “donated” her son’s life. What drivel.

12 Responses to “What’s Worse: the Silliness or the Deceit?”

  1. Besides Sheehan did not “donate” her son’s life. He did of his own free will. Voluntarily enlisted, voluntarily re-enlisted and volunteered for the mission that cost him his life.

    rls (0516f0)

  2. Exactly true.

    Patterico (756436)

  3. To your criticism, I would add that Cindy Sheehan didn’t donate her son’s life – any ‘donation’ was Casey Sheehans and his lifetime earnings potential was his, not hers.

    What makes the op-ed even more offensive is that people such as Rosa Brooks have never valued those serving in the military… and certainly not to the tune of $200,000 per. To them, soldiers are idiots whose pay and equipment is a waste of money that should instead be spent on social welfare programs (when was the last time a majority of Democrats voted in favor of a weapons program?).

    Nor do they care about the families of those in the military. They’ve never sat with the families of those killed in combat. They’ve never donated to the charities that support the wifes/husbands and kids of those killed in combat. They’ve never visited wounded troops at WRAMC. They don’t read casualty reports praying they don’t find the name of someone they know.

    So Ms. Brooks, please spare us the crocodile tears. If you didn’t think you could use the soldiers and their families to score some political points with which to bash Bush, you wouldn’t give them even a second of your time.

    steve sturm (d3e296)

  4. “What a total waste of valuable op-ed space.”




    Rick Ballard (8d87ce)

  5. A lot of people read this paper. And the op-ed page is nowhere near as consistently bad as the news coverage. I really think it’s a shame to hand over an entire column to someone who writes drivel like this.

    Patterico (756436)

  6. OK. I wasn’t aware that you considered LAT op-ed space to be valuable. At least the editors are being consistent in their treatment of stockholders property.

    Btw – the live preview feature is very cool.

    Rick Ballard (8d87ce)

  7. Hey, I have a piece coming out tomorrow in the LAT that I sweated over for a week. I wouldn’t have worked so hard on it if I didn’t consider the space to be valuable.

    Thank One Fine Jay for the live preview feature. I love it.

    Patterico (756436)

  8. 900 * $200,000 = $180,000,000.
    Ms. Brooks is making the discusting calculation that if President Bush spends as much time with family members of dead soldiers as he does with the $200k “RNC Rangers”, he is wasting $180 million worth of campaign donor time. Someone needs to slap her for that discusting insinuation. The Left is getting wackier and wackier every day.

    And once again Ms. Brooks, the question is not whether Bush should meet with Sheehan once, it is how many more times you want Bush to meet with Sheehan. It is amusing that Ms. Brooks needs to pretend to be totally stupid to make her point here.

    Shredstar (532850)

  9. You know, if Mrs Sheehan had her fifteen minutes of fame, conservatives (especially here at Powerline and on Rush Limbaugh’s show) have managed to extend her fifteen miserable minutes in a way that the left really never could have.

    Dana R. Pico (0f4734)

  10. Dishonorable mention also goes to the Times headline writer who thought up the idea that Cindy Sheehan “paid for her access in blood.” Nothing could be further from the truth. We know for a fact that Cindy Sheehan has not shed one drop of blood that entitles her to either the special access she seeks or the special celebrity in which she revels. As for her heroic son, the few facts we know about Casey Sheehan suggest that he willingly gave his blood, and his life, to protect this country and to help liberate the Iraqi people. I don’t think he ever intended that his sacrifice should somehow “pay” for his mother and her anti-war supporters to attack this country and his commander in chief. The Times headline writer should apologize for even suggesting such a thing.

    Blue State Red (f701d4)

  11. Do you think that perhaps there is more going on here than merely incompetent/slanted commmentary? I wonder, considering the last 12 years of political reporting and electioneering, if we aren’t witnissing the demise of the Democratic party and its appendages in much the same way that we witnessed the demise of the Soviet Union and maybe for the same reasons. The left has been devasted by the failure of communism/marxism and is now enduring the failure of socialist Europe (old Europe). It’s beginning to look to me as if the radical left has captured enough of the Democratic party to remove the conservative and moderate Democrats, leaving the Democrats with an unworkable leftist ideology. Perhaps that is why they are so angry and over the top time after time. Why did the Democrats lose the House of Representatives in 1994? Peter Jennings said it was because the “voters threw a tantrum”. Well the voters threw that same tantrum in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. Why the permanent change to Republicans? Far from the country turning more conservative, I believe that the Democrats have become more radical in their leftist politics because they have written off the South and no longer have a cultural,economic or political tie to that most conservative of regions. At the same time, the MCgovern wing of the Democratic party has become the whole bird and the leftist college professors have gained so much power in influence that the blue collar men and women and the middle class men and women have no representative. The Union movement is primarily a Government Worker movement, representing almost no interest of the blue collar workers. Hence in 2004 most of the blue collar workers, high school graduates voted republican (note all the poor states went Republican and all the rich state went Democratic). We have seen Ed Koch, former Democratic Mayor of New York, and Zell Miller, former Democratic Governor of Georgia and sitting Democratic Senator from Georgia, both publicly endorse Republican President Bush even though Bush was reviled, despised and fanatically hated by the Democratic party leadership and rank and file. What’s up with that? The Democrats are LOSING THEIR MODERATES. They’ve already lost their conservatives, which is why they started losing the House of representatives each election since 1994. Consider the massive Democratic political effort in using Ms Sheehan to hurt Bush. Week after week, the liberal press, the Domocratic party and their operatives presented Ms. Sheehan sympathetically as a grieving mother who had objections to President Bush on a personal level and on a policy level. The amount of money to create this much press coverage had to be in the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, and yet she gained only a 35% approval rating and had a devastingly high 38% disapproval rating. What happened? The American people recognize the radical leftist views of the Democrats and their MSM supporters and reject those views. Just recently there was a blog written by a democrat in which, because of Ms Sheehan, the writer changed his allegiance from the Democratic party, saying something to the effect that the good democrat man iside him stood up, put a rope around his neck and jumped. I am starting to believe that the Democratic party is going the way of the Wigs, because they are trapped by their radical leftist fringe at the very time that history is proving that leftist economics aren’t workable and that leftist social programs lead to falling population numbers and poverty.

    john (fb05db)

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