Monday, May 12, 2008

The many moods of Jonathan Martin

OK, the two moods of Jonathan Martin--and you get to see both of them in less than twelve hours!

First, he wrote this about Mark Salter's complaints over the Newsweek article around 1 a.m.
I'm guessing Salter took umbrage (with some justification) at this, among other passages: "The Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968, when Richard Nixon built a Silent Majority out of lower- and middle-class folks frightened or disturbed by hippies and student radicals and blacks rioting in the inner cities."
But that argument is supported by contemporary statements of the Nixonites involved, as documented by very well by Rick Perlstein in Nixonland. For example read this, from an excerpt:
Nixon had tried to talk to the student demonstrators. He concluded he preferred the hard hats. "Thinks now the college demonstrators have overplayed their hands," Haldeman wrote in his diary, "evidence is the blue collar group rising against them, and [president] can mobilize them."
Add to that Ken Mehlman's 2005 apology for the "Southern Strategy" and you've got the whole rebuttal wrapped up in a neat little ball, all with evidence from Republicans.

But what cracks me up is that eleven hours later, Jonathan Martin wrote this about Barack Obama's statement that "One of the saddest episodes in our history was the degree to which returning vets from Vietnam were shunned."
This is language that will bring a smile to the face of the Jim Webb's of the world -- it accepts and confronts head-on one of the central reasons why ancestral Democrats in traditional parts of the country like West Virginia have moved away from the party. It's not the perception that the they were weak on national security -- though that was and is and important element -- but the lingering view that Democrats, by virtue of the actions of some in the anti-war movement, resented the grunt himself for doing his duty. Conservatives know this well, which is why they seized on Bill Clinton for his 60s-era statement that some in the country had come to "loathe the military' and hung John Kerry's "Genghis Khan" testimony about alleged Vietnam atrocities by U.S. troops around his neck.
In other words, Jonathan Martin thinks it's justifiable for Republicans to be pissed that someone would suggest they've been using a fear of radicals against Democrats since Nixon was in office, but then suggests that Republicans have been using a fear of radicals against Democrats since Nixon was in office.


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