Patterico's Pontifications


Coons’s Possible Free-Speech Thuggery Fits a Leftist Pattern

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:38 pm

Blogger Hube — a former colleague at a long-defunct blog called “Oh, That Liberal Media!” — raises questions about Alan Muller, the fellow I interviewed last night who accuses Chris Coons of anti-free-speech thuggery. Hube’s post cites nothing that particularly concerns me; mainly, he quotes a man who had some run-ins with Muller and considers him quite difficult to get along with. OK, and?

But I’m still glad for the post, because it gives me the chance to make some points that need to be made:

1) I obviously don’t know Muller and can’t tell you his story is accurate. He did not seem like a kook on the phone; just someone whose politics are wildly different than mine. But the point of my post was not to say: hey, look! Based on this post we know for a fact Coons is a thug! It was mainly to say: hey, look! These are serious accusations, backed up by some documentary proof of overbearing government action, and someone in the media ought to look into it. It’s a disgrace that, in this highly visible election, the first person to pick up the phone and call the guy making accusations like this was . . . me.

2) The man who had the run-ins with Muller wrote a comment on Hube’s post saying: “I sure would like to hear Chris Coons[‘s] side of the story before I would believe [Alan] Muller’s representation of him.” That’s a fair point. I sent the campaign an e-mail tonight and essentially told them I would print any response he has, within reason.

3) The bigger context for that post is the willingness of Democrats to use the power of government to intimidate those who are engaged in speech they don’t like. I went on Tammy Bruce’s radio show today at lunchtime to discuss the piece, and we discussed how my piece fits into that context. Regular readers know that I am (RINO that I am!) mostly skeptical of any notion that leftists are intrinsically bad people who display worse character traits than conservatives — with exceptions for things like responsibility and adherence to principle. But anti-speech thuggery is one way we’re different. Whether it’s Democrats’ threatening to pull Fox News’s broadcast license because they don’t like the content; or Harry Reid & Co. writing a mafia-style letter threatening ABC’s broadcast license over “The Path to 9/11”; or the DNC threatening Sinclair Broadcasting’s broadcast license over an anti-Kerry documentary; or Obama’s thugs threatening networks’ broadcast licenses over criticism from the NRA; or, most recently, Kathleen Sebelius suggesting that insurance companies had better not claim they’re raising rates because of ObamaCare, or they may find themselves regulated out of existence . . . based on these examples and many more, the public has a special need to fear Democrats’ bringing down the hammer when they engage in free speech.

And if Chris Coons is that type of thug, best we find out now.

Big Media, do your job.

UPDATED to correct the gender of the person who had had run-ins with Muller.

55 Responses to “Coons’s Possible Free-Speech Thuggery Fits a Leftist Pattern”

  1. I’ll ask it again: is this a character issue or a policy issue? And if it’s a character issue, is it an advisable can of worms to open in light of O’Donnell’s own apparent shortcomings?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  2. Leviticus – Let’s assume that everything claimed about Coons and O’Donnell is true true true. Do you think O’Donnell’s come anywhere close to what people have claimed that Coons has done with the power of the State behind him?

    JD (8ded14)

  3. It ia a winning argument because of what I just said. It is an abuse of power issue that fits into a broader narrative about Democrat anti-speech thuggery.

    Patterico (1bc552)

  4. You can’t deny there is truthiness here.

    imdw (150cd7)

  5. Leviticus – You could probably rationalize it as a policy issue if that makes you comfortable, that Democrats seem to have a policy of abusing government powers to shut down speech which is in opposition of measures they support. Coon’s may have been a practitioner of that policy and it is worth investigating.

    Work for you?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  6. Yes you can deny it. I deny it. There. It is denied. Do you deny that Patterico documented at least 5 recent incidents of the Left attempting to use the power of the State to trample on political speech they do not agree with?

    JD (8ded14)

  7. Okay, then – Christine O’Donnell’s evasion of student loans is evidence of a widespread systematic hypocrisy on the Right, demanding fiscal responsibility for others but refusing to adhere to it themselves.


    But do you see what I just did there? You can turn anything from a personal issue to a policy issue if you expand the scope from a personal one to a political one – and Coons won’t hesitate to do what I just did. If it’s “the Left” demonstrating a tendency to abuse power, then it’s “the Right” demonstrating a tendency to shirk responsibility – and if it’s just Coons being a power-hungry bastard, then it’s just O’Donnell being a hypocritical weasel.

    So take your pick, or stick to explaining why more taxes are bad and why Coons will vote for them nonethess.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  8. evasion of student loans? This is not about some random issue involving personal finances. It is about specific acts taken within the course and scope of their elected office, and how they chose to wield the power of the State against their political foes. You can trivialize it, or try to explain it away, that does not make it any less noxious.

    JD (8ded14)

  9. Leviticus,

    Why do you suggest this is a character issue for Coons instead of (for instance) an abuse-of-power issue?

    It seems to me that anything a person chooses to do arguably reflects on his or her character, but there is a larger issue when a person intentionally acts abusively in an official capacity as Muller alleges Coons did here.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  10. What makes a personal issue a personal issue, then?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  11. I told Leviticus earlier I can see the “catch-22” here, and I believe he states it correctly above, where he shows that “one person’s character issue is another’s policy/legal/political issue.” I can also see DRJ’s point; I made a similar point to L earlier in another post.

    Part of the problem becomes “WHO” gets to define the issue of character vs. legitimate political issues. The two candidates can debate it out, but most narratives are “media-driven” which means that there will be a bias given to all of stories behind any “character vs. politics” issue.

    Leviticus may have it right: fight to make points on policy/legitimate political issues, and gloss over/avoid using the character point against your opponent (but that doesn’t mean you can’t point at your opponent’s abuse of power…lol)

    reff (176333)

  12. Do you not understand the difference between a personal issue, and a professional issue? Or the difference between something done in your capacity as a person, and something done in your capacity as a public official?

    JD (8ded14)

  13. As long as you’re just making stuff up, how about spreading a rumor that Coons was assigned to Kenya by George Soros to destroy all evidence that Obama was born there and kill everyone who might possibly spill the beans?

    Or, how about doing a riff off that name: Coons; like a magic word: say it over and over and over …

    Or, or … how about having COD challenge Coons to a Master of My Own Domain contest, like in that Seinfeld episode. Who knows: he may even lose.

    Better: televise it.

    Or, or, or … how about planting a rumor that Coons is a secret homosexual and letting COD spent a week or so saying she’d take him at his word. That was a big gainer last time; stick with what works.

    Could be; who knows; shoulda woulda coulda; maybe: compelling stuff, patterico. Classic, really.

    shooter (32dc25)

  14. Leviticus,

    I don’t view personal issues (i.e., things like family matters) as necessarily the same thing as character issues. Character impacts virtually everything a person intentionally does. Thus, character matters to me whether I’m choosing a local leader or a President, regardless of whether it involves their public or private lives.

    However, if a leader or official abuses their power, then I view that as both a character issue and a larger issue regarding how they would use their power. It’s no different than pointing out that Obama and other Chicago politicians come from a culture where officials abuse their power to benefit their cronies at public expense. Is that a character issue? Undoubtedly, but it’s also a systemic policy issue.

    As I read it, that’s what Muller alleges Coons has done here.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  15. shooter – People are actually talking about the topic of thread. Rub a few out for Coons.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  16. Making stuff up? That is quite the fanciful statement. shooter is really invested in all of this. And not in a good way.

    JD (8ded14)

  17. ==how about planting a rumor ==

    You are really being insulting now. This is not the journolist fabulist button men crew you are addressing, shooter. Planting rumors is primarily a modus operandi of the left.

    elissa (f8fbfe)

  18. “the willingness of Democrats to use the power of government to intimidate those who are engaged in speech they don’t like.”

    Nothing new about that. They’ve been doing that ever since their political party crawled out from under a rock.

    If they have to murder hundreds of people to keep control of good old Dixie, they’ll do that. If they have to throw people in prison for telling the truth about military conscription they’ll do that, if they need to round up dozens of communists and toss them into dungeons just for being communists they’ll do that. Hell, they’ll even throw thousands of Japanese-Americans into concentration camps…and they never said a word!

    Why should anything have changed?

    Dave Surls (ff0ac3)

  19. Notice how shooter, in every thread, in every comment, wants to talk about anything, and I mean anything except the topic, the economy, jobs, etc … The left is frantically searching for their new bright and shiny object to point at. I would point out that JD’s 1st Rule of Trolls, and the 2nd Restatement of JD’s 1st Rule of Trolls have yet to be refuted.

    JD (8ded14)

  20. Or, or, or, or … send daleyrocks to Delaware as a surrogate to debate Coons and appear on Face the Nation and Fox whatever; the rapier-like wit, the dashing presentation — no one can even imagine hoping to withstand it. Coons would cry for his mommy and quit.

    shooter (32dc25)

  21. “People are actually talking about the topic of thread. Rub a few out for Coons”

    – daleyrocks

    Yeah, seriously dude. Stay out of it for a sec.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  22. “Do you not understand the difference between a personal issue, and a professional issue? Or the difference between something done in your capacity as a person, and something done in your capacity as a public official?”

    – JD

    I seem to recall Patterico mentioning ISI alleging that O’Donnell was fired for running a for-profit PR firm on company time. Is that a personal issue, or a professional one? Wonder what sort of business she’ll run out of her Senate office…

    See what I did there?


    With that distinction in mind, should character issues be fair game in an election? And should abuse of power issues be even fairer game? That is, should abuse of power issues be fair game where character issues more generally are off limits.

    I know that Patterico and I and others have issues with O’Donnell’s character, generally. And I know there are at least hints of an abuse of power in that ISI allegation.

    That’s the thing with this lady: it’s a “pick your poison” situation. No matter what ground rules you set – no matter how strict the call for a restraint from mudslinging – she’s got too much baggage.

    I don’t care, personally – I’ve not no horse in this race. Coons wins, O’Donnell wins – either way, it’s sending another weasel to DC to screw me out of representation. But it’s interesting to watch the debate around O’Donnell unfold.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  23. See what I did there is a rather mendoucheous tactic, especially for you, Leviticus.

    It is not at all interesting to watch the debate about O’Donnell unfold. It is interesting to see how others will deflect and divert from actual issues, and would prefer to talk about masturbation and Halloween and mouse brains than the fact that Coons is an objectively bad choice, Hairy Reid’s pet Coons.

    Do you really think that an allegation of doing outside work on company times compares to using the weight and force of the State to bear on political opponents?

    JD (8ded14)

  24. Sorry, Leviticus.

    JD (8ded14)

  25. “See what I did there?”

    Sure. You mentioned one of many reasons why O’Donnell never should have been a candidate.

    Anyone can see that.

    Dave Surls (ff0ac3)

  26. Character always matters to me but that’s just me. It doesn’t have to matter to everyone. I also favor inquiries into both candidates. Ultimately, though, no candidate will be perfect so most voters pick the one that espouses the policies they like and whose character is most acceptable. It’s a trade-off and I guess everyone calibrates that in their own way.

    However, I know I would be especially leery of someone who has abused a public trust for personal gain, to help a crony, or to harm the people they are supposed to serve. Of course, my guess is a leader willing to do that will have a lot of character flaws, too.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  27. Sorry – it’s a little much, I guess.

    But yes, I do think it compares. Because character is everything when it comes to representation. If I could guarantee the good character of a politician – guarantee, as in I’d known them for years and trusted them – I would vote for them over a stranger whose politics I agreed with with few exceptions.

    Frankly? O’Donnell has demonstrated a lack of character, and a lack of brains. It’s perplexing to see her defended so insistently.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  28. I know that defense comes out of a fear of a negative balance of power, by the way, and I understand it – it’s just that I don’t share the fear, at some level.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  29. Who is defending her, Leviticus? I am not. You can go back and look that my position on her has remained quite the same. The DE Reps were given a choice between a crap sammich and a steaming crap sammich. But either of them are better than Hairy Reids little pet Coons, and that was before we started seeing some orignal reporting from people like Patterico showing the character that Coons brings to his position where he has been giving the public trust.

    JD (8ded14)

  30. goodnight.

    JD (8ded14)

  31. JD–it’s kinda like the “equivalency” between a campaign spending a couple thou to buy nice dresses for TV appearances and a congresswoman channeling thousands of taxpayers’ federal scholarship money directly to her own relatives.

    elissa (f8fbfe)

  32. Actually, elissa, it reminds me of people wailing and gnashing their teeth and rending their garments over the evil Bush spending, and then when given power, increase the deficit more in a matter of months than the evil spending did in 8 years, and blame it on the deficits from the prior administration, which pale in comparison.

    But yeah, yours points it out pretty well too.

    JD (8ded14)

  33. “Character always matters to me…”

    Me too.

    And, I feel sorry for the people of Delaware because they have to choose between an individual who has repeatedly demonstrated poor character, or a man who belongs to a political party that has done the same.

    Tough choice.

    Dave Surls (ff0ac3)

  34. A crap sandwich is a crap sandwich is a crap sandwich. And unless you put a fucking gun to my head, I’m not going to eat a crap sandwich.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  35. As long as you’re just making stuff up . . .

    Uh, shooter, by saying that, YOU’RE the one who is just making stuff up.

    I’m reporting a man’s allegations. That is not making stuff up.

    Coons’s side has been given the chance to respond. Let’s see if they do.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  36. Or, how about doing a riff off that name: Coons; like a magic word: say it over and over and over …

    It’s a coonspiracy!!!!!!!!!!

    (yeah, I know he meant the racial slur).

    Funny that saying his name over and over and over is enough to tick off some of these folks. Don’t set yourself up to take offense and watch how you’re not offended so much, shooter.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  37. Leviticus,

    Let’s pretend this is a pure “personal character” issue. I disagree; I think it’s a public trust issue, but let’s go with the assumption for the sake of argument.

    I know I offered the opinion that we should make this about the issues. However:

    A significant number of people will always care about character.

    Also, I have been guilty of hyperbole when I say I don’t care a whit about O’Donnell’s character. I engage in the hyperbole because, when I say it, I MEAN I really, really want every vote.

    But having someone with terrible character can end up hurting the movement.

    It’s s shit sandwich and I’m trying to pretend it tastes good, OK?

    Frankly? O’Donnell has demonstrated a lack of character, and a lack of brains. It’s perplexing to see her defended so insistently.

    Frankly, you are correct.

    I’m not allowed to say that out loud, of course. So pretend I lied or hid the truth. It’s just between you and me.

    This is why certain bloggers who pretend to be for her say they are for the “idea” of her and not necessarily her. Because they know she’s a real problem. Well, guess what? I’m for the IDEA of O’Donnell, if by that idea we mean an attractive, honorable, fiscal conservative candidate. However, the reality does not live up the idea, and we must deal with the reality.

    This is easier to accept the more you deal with outside reality on a regular basis.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  38. I guess, all in all, there’s a fair (though subtle) distinction to be made between character issues and public trust issues. If people want to walk that line, I’ll concede the fairness of it and quit bringing it up.

    But you know as well as I do that Coons is going to destroy this woman on character issues, whether it’s fair or not. But he’s going to do that whether or not she fires the first character-assassination salvo, so she might as well start doing inventory on her ordinance.

    It’s the politics of the day, I suppose. But I’ll reiterate: this isn’t what William James would call a “genuine option” – it’s live, at least for most of us (that is, it’s important), and it may even be momentous, but it’s not forced for any of us. It’s perfectly reasonable to tell both of these candidates to go fuck themselves – to tell them that they don’t deserve to sit in our legislative chambers.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  39. One thing I see a lot is that we can’t abandon our principles.


    Except, can you define what you mean by that?

    See, you and I might not agree on what that means.

    For some, it means losing election after election after election, and that is fine with them, as long as they never ever have to vote for anyone who is ideologically impure.

    For others, it means keeping one’s eye on the ball and doing what is necessary to achieve their goals.

    It is pointless to talk about “principles” in the context of electoral voting. Say, instead, WHAT YOU ACTUALLY MEAN, and stop draping it in self-righteous language.

    I mean, if it’s an actual discussion you’re after. If it’s venting your spleen, then go ahead, but I’m not interested.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  40. What’s self-righteous in saying that I wouldn’t vote for either of these assholes, or any of them? Fuck them. Christine O’Donnell isn’t going to save this country. A Republican majority isn’t going to save this country. Even conservatism – in its best and purest sense – isn’t going to save this country.

    The only thing that’s going to save this country is a change in the values of the citizenry – which neither party is going to affect.

    I’ll accept your first definition, with a caveat – I’ll lose election after election, and that’s fine with me, as long as I never ever have to vote for someone who is ideologically impure a manipulator, a cheater, a dishonest man, or an outright fucking liar. Is that so much to ask? Or are we supposed to lower our standards so far as that in the interests of… something? This isn’t about ideology for me – I know there’s no one ideologically “pure” enough to justify a vote on the grounds of ideological purity. Ideology isn’t what’s going to save this country – values are what’s going to save this country. So we should start demanding some from our leaders.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  41. And, for the record, I’m not one of these people that’s trying to slap some self-serving label on you for having an opinion that differs from their own. I understand your perspective – and I can respect it. I just disagree with it.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  42. A party that was able to cultivate a reputation for honesty in all its dealings would dominate the politics of this country for as long as maintained that reputation. I think.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  43. Oh. I wasn’t talking to you, Leviticus. Sorry. That was a general rant.

    I think a lot of what you’re saying makes sense.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  44. One thing I see a lot is that we can’t abandon our principles.

    A party that was able to cultivate a reputation for honesty in all its dealings

    Principle #1 is integrity. None of the other ones work if you’re not honest. I hesitate to bother with Levin again, just because I find it so aggravating that those jerks destroy my faith in the Republicans ever being this fantasy party Leviticus is talking about (I realize that Leviticus is way ahead of me here and had no illusions about the GOP).

    It’s not a little petty thing to tell the truth. Preaching about ‘his principles are negotiable’ while showing no interest in actually walking the walk, is commonplace BS. But millions of people love that.

    I could go on with this, but it all boils down to how dishonesty about the news in this day and age is deeply unpatriotic. Covering for Waters, Rangel, Bush, Clinton… it’s all an attack on democracy.

    It’s not like a political party could possibly filter out the weasels without the free exchange of information during the vetting process.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  45. “Do you deny that Patterico documented at least 5 recent incidents of the Left attempting to use the power of the State to trample on political speech they do not agree with?”

    Nope. That’s the truthiness. You can’t deny it.

    imdw (a544ba)

  46. FYI Patt: Dana Garrett is a guy. 🙂

    Hube (feb6af)

  47. … and thanks for the link, too.

    Hube (feb6af)

  48. No, truthiness suggests that it is not true, imdw. The documented instances happened. You can deny them, just like you can deny the sun rises in the East.

    JD (8ded14)

  49. Leviticus:

    Again, 37 was directed at you, 39 was an out-of-place rant against other people who are constantly talking about “principles” without defining their terms. It was not at all meant to be directed at you, though I can see why you thought it was.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  50. It’s good that the conservatives want the best candidate possible. I find it irritating that O’Donnell’s considerable negatives are examined with a microscope while sitting members of both chambers have far greater issues that get relatively relaxed coverage and scrutiny. We worry about her gaffs and misstatements … get real, it’s Biden’s seat (so to speak), it goes with the territory. I’d rather vote for someone who was slow paying debts that someone who uses the force of the government to silence a political opponent. I’d rather vote for someone who turned away from witchcraft than someone who has not retreated from Marxism.

    I’ve voted for crap sandwiches before (here’s to you John McCain) when the alternative was a steaming crap sandwich covered in dog vomit and hair balls from some stray cat (here’s to you Barry). I’d probably vote for the crap sandwich again given a similar choice. I think that is how she got through the primary and how she might win the general.

    quasimodo (4af144)

  51. “No, truthiness suggests that it is not true, imdw”

    Do you ever look up what words mean, or do you just know everything already?

    imdw (0275b8)

  52. I know you are a mendoucheous twatwaffle that sockpuppets and is a shiil for leftists, and a general sophist. That is generally a good starting point. As to what Patterico outlined above, there is nothing truthy about them. They are simply facts.

    JD (8b5ad0)

  53. Or, or, or, or … send daleyrocks to Delaware as a surrogate to debate Coons and appear on Face the Nation a

    This individual seems to have a complete incapacity for actually discussing the subject on each thread – the attempts at jacking are becoming tiresome, to say the least.

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  54. The truthiness is in the connection of these “facts” to the new “fact,” in construction of a narrative, of a propensity to do what we have no evidence is being done, other than the statement of that lefty activist that, by golly, this is how it just happens.

    imdw (017d51)

  55. “It was not at all meant to be directed at you, though I can see why you thought it was.”

    – Patterico

    Sorry if my reply seemed overly defensive – I was very tired when I wrote it. I couldn’t tell who else the comment was addressed to, in the context of the thread – and at some level, your criticism was pertinent to my argument. If my standard were ideological purity, it would leave me grasping at the wind for the rest of my days. I’ve realized that it’s necessary to demand something simpler. Complete ideological replication is more or less impossible to achieve, and unreasonable to demand. Character is perfectly reasonable to demand.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

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