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Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Conservative Thanksgiving Day Hypocrisy Parade™

by folkbum

Yes, it's that time of year when we blow conservative talking (or typing) heads full of helium and march them through the streets so the kids can point and laugh. My only regret is that I lack, say, Al Roker to provide his inimitable off-beat commentary as we watch the gasbags roll by. So instead, I will sometimes rely on members of the Cheddarsphere to offer their comments. Anyway, let's start the Hypocrisy Parade™!

First up is my BFF, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Patrick McIlheran. Nick describes the balloon as it wafts past our cameras:
Wow... this takes a lot of [helium] for Patrick McIlheran to say:
Milwaukee School Board member Jennifer Morales wants the schools, for benefits purposes, to treat people who are shacking up as if they were married -- "domestic partner" benefits, it's called.

It's supposed to be the epitome of progress. Morales says it's a matter of fairness: "Fairness for employees is fairness for employees," she told the Journal Sentinel. "It's not about me, it's not about Tina."

Tina would be the woman to whom Morales says she's married. If the schools approve this deal, Morales and Tina Owen, who works at an MPS charter school, would be considered spouses for benefits purposes.
That would be the same guy who wrote pretty passionately to pass the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Wisconsin, and then wrote about how such a ban wouldn't affect benefits for same sex couples, so they need not worry. Ummm... yeah... right. It especially takes a lot of [helium] to use the phrase "shacking up", and then immediately talk about about Owen and Morales. So first Patrick fights to prevent committed couples like Owen and Morales from getting married... and the criticizes them because they're not married... saying they're just "shacking up"... and aren't deserving of the benefits that any other married couple might receive. That's not just arrogant on his part, but insulting.
For anyone interested in a different description of that balloon, you can check out capper at Whallah! or Mike Mathias.

Next up is one I've been looking forward to for months. Former Wisconsinite Kevin Binversie moved to the Death Star Washington, DC, earlier this year, but he has been posting regularly at the Badger Blog Alliance. Here we see his puffy head floating by, because over the summer, a favorite topic of his was the Democratic National Committee's insistence that its rules be followed. Specifically, the rules about when states could hold primaries. "Democrats Disenfranchise...Democrats," he wrote. "Gee, I thought from all the crap Jay, Xoff, and the elected gang in Madison have been telling all of us for years; only our side can do that." You'll notice that what's blowing out the tail of the Binversie Balloon is smarm. (Kevin returned to the topic again later.) Well, Kevin's silence is deafening since this from the Republicans:
Republican Party leaders [. . .] recommended punishing five states for shifting their nomination contests earlier, moving to strip New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming of half their delegates.

"It's very important that our party uphold and enforce the rules that we unanimously voted into place at the Republican National Convention in 2004," said Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee. The rules ban holding votes before Feb. 5.
The ropes of apologies unposted are dangling from Kevin's balloon. I sure hope the marching band walking behind him doesn't trip over them!

And bringing up, aptly, the rear of our Hypocrisy Parade™ is the biggest gasbag of all, Charlie Sykes--not that his head needs any additional inflation for the holiday! Sykes is always good for outrage, and when the Catholic League yelled "jump," Charlie opened his valves and flew into the air. See, Miller Brewing Company put its mug (get it? mug?) on a poster advertising a street fetish fair in open-minded San Francisco, and Charlie Sykes led the Cheddarshpere's outrage parade. (The outrage parade, by the way, is not affiliated with this Hypocrisy Parade™.)

In the end, Miller buckled like a spaghetti bridge built by the kids insulted in this post by squeaky-clean Owen Robinson, who next year might get his very own balloon (keep reaching for the sky, Owen!). Miller's logo came off the poster, the Catholic League notched another victory into its bedpost, and Sykes was triumphant.

But when the Milwaukee Interfaith Conference complained about something Sykes had posted on his own website--a "parody" of the now-common "Coexist" bumper sticker that, among other things, replaced the Star of David with a Swastika--Sykes did not lead any kind of parade, outraged or not. Now, there's a difference between the Catholic League and the Interfaith Conference. The New York-based CL has basically become a front group for Republicans, and the IC is made up of actual and real church, synagogue, mosque, and temple leaders from around the Milwaukee area--so it doesn't take a genius to figure out which Sykes will align himself with.

So, long story short, Sykes spewed his noxious gas right back at the IC, claiming that he was drawing a "line" in defense of free speech and artistic expression. I know! It's the funniest balloon out here! Brawler, what do you think?
It's a Sykesian masterpiece of taking a principled stand on free speech while at the same time denying accountability for controversial implications of said speech. Which is classic Sykes -- and is the antithesis of Journalism 101.
Paul Noonan has some thoughts on the matter. Oh, and Jim Rowen, what make you of this cartoon balloon?
Charlie is framing the issue as one of free speech. His free speech. And I've got no complaint with that. I want him to have free speech, but to exercise caution, like we all do, so we do not commit libel, slander, or needlessly poison the public debate.

What's the point, even if it's profitable, wins ratings, notoriety, celebrity? It's a drag on the community. What's wrong with a little effort to be uplifting? To be a real uniter, not a 50,000-watt divider.
And, briefly, we can roll the film on some historical footage from Bill Christofferson of Charlie Sykes's "free speech for me but not for thee" attitude.

Well, every Thanksgiving Day Hypocrisy Parade™ has to end, and the 2007 version has now finally gone past. Thanks to all who participated, whose hard work makes all of this possible. Great job, everybody! See you next year!

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