Saturday, August 3, 2002

David Horowitz’s God-awful Book

I finished reading David Horowitz’s new book How to Beat the Democrats And Other Subversive Ideas. It is a wretched mess in many ways. The laughable premise of the book is that Republicans are these Mr. Smith Goes To Washington-types and Democrats are ruthless power-hungry tacticians. Horowitz writes:

For Democrats, politics is permanent war. Every conflict is a contest for power; every battle is about burying their enemies. About burying you. Not just in this election, but in the next.

What bombast. This actually sounds like a good description of Karl Rove or James Baker. One of the things that disproves Horowitz’s premise is that he repeats the infamous Clinton-Georgetown-Speech smear. Here is what happened: several weeks after 9/11, Bill Clinton gave a sensible speech at Georgetown University. Moonie Times “journalist” Joseph Curl wrote a story about it entitled "Clinton calls terror a U.S. debt to past"—even though Clinton said nothing even close to this. Curl’s story on the speech grossly distorted Clinton’s words, giving the reader the impression that Clinton was calling the 9/11 attacks karmic payback for America’s past sins such as slavery. (Some good articles on the deception are by the nonpartisan Spinsanity and the Daily Howler (click here and here). Not surprisingly, the usual suspects on the right took Curl's story and ran with it. Limbaugh, Drudge, Taranto, Coulter, Sullivan, Hannity, Liddy, Fox News, Horowitz, and Sullivan all devoted space or airtime to spreading Curl’s libels. However, once the text of Clinton’s speech became known and it was shown that Curl had put words in Clinton’s mouth, to their credit, Sullivan and Taranto retracted much of their criticism (which didn’t deter the Moonie Times from publishing Sullivan’s initial slam against Clinton’s speech three days after Sullivan retracted it). To the others, the idea of apologizing is not in their blood—especially if it involves apologizing to Bill Clinton. Of course, the Moonie Times offered no retraction or apology. The result: tens of millions of Americans were disinformed by malicious Moonie propaganda.

It kind of surprised me that in How to Beat the Democrats, Horowitz rehashes this ugly canard (Horowitz spends two and a half pages tearing down straw man Clinton and his speech). Even though Ann Coulter wrote about this when it first came out (her article appeared on Horowitz’s web site), she didn’t bring it up in Slander. Not only did Horowitz do this but I found out last night that Rush-clone Sean Hannity is doing the same thing in his upcoming book, Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism. These shameful episodes illustrate how important it is to be diligent in pointing out the lies of the right.

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