Sunday, January 29, 2006

Political Teen: Just a Partisan Hack?

I'm not sure. I came across this kid's site while voting in the "Sixth Annual Weblog Awards". I thought: politics is cool; I should check this site out. (My thoughts generally are this profound.) I was expecting something different than what I got though--so far as I have looked, this kid's site is little more than brainwashed talking points sent to him by the RNC. Or more likely, imbibed more naturally from overexposure to Fox News.

But, being the "dialogue freak" that I am, I thought I would try to suggest an alternate interpretation of the "facts" this kid laid out. He seems very keen on repeating the misleading fact that Abramoff clients contributed to both the Democrats and Republicans--true, but misleading because as Joshua Micah Marshall points out, American Indian tribes have historically supported Democrats, and still do; Abramoff clients though suddenly gave large amounts to Republicans while their Democratic support was reduced or stayed the same. So, I tried to post this in a comment--which I had to register to be able to do as well:

I'm a bit confused here. I didn't see Howard Dean, and I'm not a big fan of his, but it seems to me that your attacks on him here are little more than partisan bs.

First, Bush has admitted to surveilling Americans without approval of the FISA court. The details are sketchy, and contradictory, with a Pentagon source saying that the program involved specific wiretaps and an NSA operative claiming that he wasn't able to state precisely what was going on, but that it was a "vacuum"; he said this in an interview with the libertarian Reason magazine, along with other comments that suggest that Bush has authorized the use of the top-secret Echelon to spy on Americans with connections to terrorism (connections meaning anything from calling numbers associated with terrorists to calling numbers associated with people who called numbers associated with terrorists.) The former NSA guy was also the source for the NYTimes story that said that millions of Americans had been surveilled without a warrant. This also fits with the WPost story in which the FBI claimed that it followed up thousands of leads generated by the program that led to nothing.

So, basically, I'm not sure why you're objecting to Dean on this point.

Secondly, the Abramoff scandal is a Republican scandal. Abramoff has been considered a top Republican operative for years now--by himself among others. Democrats certainly aren't all pure and good when it comes to accepting favors and money from lobbyists--but since the K Street project focused on excluding them, they have had much less to be corrupted by.

Looking at the evidence, Abramoff cannot be said to have directed funds to Democrats. It is true that a number of American Indian tribes that were Abramoff clients contributed to Democrats; but these tribes (like virtually all tribes) donated previously almost exclusively to Democrats. The Abramoff clients continued to give to Democrats, but the levels stayed the same or went down in almost all cases. The contribution to Republicans, though, went up several hundred percent.

Abramoff was a conservative Republican. And the Democrats have no power today. Couple that with the evidence above (which is reported in bits and pieces all around, but compiled by TalkingPointsMemo.com) and you can't honestly say that the scandal is a bipartisan one.

Abramoff did not direct his clients to donate money to Democrats. And it insults people's intelligence to suggest so.
This comment doesn't seem able to post on Political Teen's site. So, I thought I'd give him the chance to respond by posting it here.

As I see it, the main difference between a hack and a partisan individual who is involved in politics is that a hack has no interest in dialogue except as a means of bludgeoning his or her opponent. A partisan individual, though, wants his or her party to be the best, and is willing to look at how and where it fails honestly.

The question now is this: is the Political Teen a hack, or is he an honest partisan?

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