Recently, Rick Esenberg had this to say:
My second post ("Being serious ...) was prompted by commenters who repeated the slander that "Bush lied and people died." If you believe that, I do think that you are either misinformed or hopelessly partisan; even not serious.
He had this to say of Charlie Sykes:
I do listen regularly to Sykes and I think your description of him is just wrong. He needs to be entertaining so he gets polemical but, for a general audience talk show, I think the discussion on his show takes place on a remarkably high level.
So let's see..."Bush Lied, People Died" -- a slogan based on the absolutely correct premise that the Bush administration deliberately misrepresented and overhyped the intelligence on Iraq to justify the invasion -- is slander. While Sykes -- who has cast Jim Doyle as a segregationist, a criminal or just calls him "despicable;" who insinuates that the people who voted for Michael McGee were thugs themselves; who routinely calls liberals unpatriotic or worse; who routinely twists facts to make his "point" -- somehow represents a "high level" of discussion.
Also on the topic of Sykes, Esenberg seems wildly overgenerous in his interpretation of how Sykes discusses issues in the "central city"(i.e. black people).
But so is every conservative I know - even the dread Charlie Sykes who I have yet to hear, as Mike claims, give a lecture about "racism being understandable and black people getting what they deserve." To the contrary, what underlies his concern - and mine - about street violence is a strong conviction that black people - who are overwhelmingly its victims - don't "deserve it."
I don't know ... but when I listen to Charlie Sykes I hear him:
- call people lined up at the Coggs Center for free food vouchers moochers and suggest they're all chiselers
- say Milwaukee voters (i.e. blacks) will vote to require private employers offer sick days because they're shiftless
- read a story of some teens robbing a Wauwatosa family and conclude by asking if people seriously believes a summer jobs program would have stopped them (this was some years ago)
- categorically reject any argument that economics have played a role in the central city's meltdown and instead blame it on the "culture" or people just not taking responsibility for their lives
- use the tragic drowning of a child at a family pool party at a downtown hotel to riff on the sickness of the "culture" yet ignore the story of a Waterford girl who nearly drowned at a house party
And so on.
The Brawler allows that Charlie Sykes has some compassion for inner city crime victims. But the Brawler also suggests that he's more concerned with trundling out right wing talking points (Charles Murray, your office is calling) or stoking the flames of self-righteous indignation among his listeners in Oconomowoc. You know: entertainment.
UPDATE: The Brawler realizes he has been whinging on about Esenberg for some time now ... All the Brawler can say that the whole myth of "Bush acted in good faith/everyone else got it wrong" is so well-established now that it's going to enter into the rightwing canon of big lies along with "the media lost Vietnam," "The New Deal dragged out the Depression" and "Wisconsin's generous welfare benefits attracted shiftless African Americans up from Chicago."
This despite the facts that, as the Brawler has been whinging, the Bush Administration made claims about Iraqi and WMDs that went far beyond what the intelligence showed; that the Bush Administration was packed with proven prevaricators; and that people in the intelligence community at the time -- including a Marine general -- believed the Administration was cherry-picking intelligence.
The Shark is by all reports a mensch (the Brawler wouldn't use the world "soulless" to describe him), but his embrace of arguments that are only going to be more threadbare with the passing of time is disappointing.