Politics Archives

"My Break with the Extreme Right," generating lots of controversy

By Michael Fumento

My Salon.com article "My Break with the Extreme Right" is creating quite the furor.

Another Conservative Defector Denounces the Movement
," Washington Post, By Jonathan Bernstein, May 25

"Breaking With Movement Conservatism Over Its Ugliness," The Atlantic, By Conor Friedersdorf, May 25

"Bartlett, Sullivan, Frum ... And Fumento," Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast, May 25

"Another One Leaves the Movement," David Frum, The Daily Beast, May 24

"Apostate Conservatives, Ryan Cooper, Washington Monthly blog, May 25

"The Right Wing Tilt Toward Mass Hysteria," Huffington Post blog, by Zaki Hasan, May 29

"Another Prominent Conservative Takes On The New Right," Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway Blog, May 24

"Fumento on 'Today's Right-Wing Darlings'" Jonathan Adler, Volokh Conspiracy (Major Right-wing Blog), May 25

"Former National Review Writer Renounces the Right: "The New Hysterical Right Cares Nothing for Truth or Dignity," by Charles Johnson (Highly Influential Former Right-Wing Blog)

"Moderate Republicans Eaten by the Far Right - Or rather, looking in the mirror?" by Siguhu, The Daily Kos (Extreme-Left Blog), May 24

"Writer Michael Fumento Quits Conservative Movement, Calls It 'Hate, Anger And Fear Machine'"" by Dan Avery, QUEERTY (Gay Web site), May 25

"Conservative Quits Right, Cites Allen West 'Extremism,' Malkin 'Hate,'" The New Civil Rights Movement Web site, by David Badash on May 25

"Writer Michael Fumento Quits Conservative Movement, Calls It "Hate, Anger And...", Agency of Books to Worldwide, May 26

On the other hand, a former editor of mine at the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto, dismissed a highly-researched piece of 2,700 words with a solid argument and tons of links with a single tweet: "In what alternative universe is Michael Fumento a 'prominent conservative'?"

That's it; everything I wrote in Salon.com devastated in 144 characters or less. In Taranto's mind, anyway.

My credentials are clearly stated in the piece, and include about a score of articles for newspaper for which Taranto works including the original expose of Erin Brockovich and a piece that denied a newspaper a shot at the Pulitzer Prize for alarmist reporting that heretofore had everybody convinced. Oh, and my classic piece that snuffed out the alleged black church burning epidemic of 1996. Yeah, Wall Street Journal. Now try VERY HARD to recall one piece that Taranto has ever written that's had any impact on any issue in the U.S?

That said, it's true I haven't appeared in those vaunted pages in seven years. That's when the rabid right took over. If you couldn't work in some nasty gratuitous attack on the left, they didn't want you.

May 29, 2012 08:38 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  TrackBack (0)

Of mice and men and Christine O'Donnell

By Michael Fumento

A recent exchange between Christine O'Donnell and Bill O'Reilly, with a lack of scientific information on both sides.
O'REILLY: Everybody knows that scientists have enough knowledge to clone a human being if they wanted to.

O'DONNELL: Right.

O'REILLY: But they're not, at least not that we know of. And now they're in the monkey realm. And I don't understand, if that's the possibility that people might be cured, why the objection. Because I never buy the slippery slope....

O'DONNELL: By their own admission these groups admitted that the report that said, "Hey, yay, we cloned a monkey. Now we're using this to start cloning humans." We have to...

O'REILLY: Let them admit anything they want. But they won't do that here in the United States unless all craziness is going on.

O'DONNELL: They are - they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they're already into this experiment.

Fact check:

Presumably O'Donnell was misremembering a 2005 report about growing human brain cells within mice. Not the same as an actual functioning human brain. Yes, it has been demonstrated that some mice are more intelligent than members of Congress but no genetic manipulation was required.

Regarding O'Reilly, as per usual when you see the term "everyone knows" it's a hint of something untrue. It is possible that scientists now have the capability of cloning a human being.

But cloning mice proved fairly easy, sheep much harder, and monkeys much harder yet. Until somebody actually does clone a human being, we won't know whether scientists have enough knowledge. But of course at some point they will have the knowledge and the will clone humans. And it won't be the end of the world. We already have human clones. They're called identical twins.

October 20, 2010 06:38 PM  ·  Permalink

George Will on Sarah Palin and the populist movement

By Michael Fumento

Columnist George Will notes that Sarah Palin is "obsessively discussed as a possible candidate in 2012," both by liberal and conservatives, but because she has stirred the imagination of the populist movement on the right - which in turn stirs reaction on the left.

Yet in observing that the latest poll shows 71 percent of Americans - including 52 percent of Republicans - think she is not qualified to be president, he asks: "Why? She is not going to be president and will not be the Republican nominee unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states."

"This is not her fault," he says. "She is what she is, and what she is merits no disdain. She is feisty and public-spirited, and millions of people vibrate like tuning forks to her rhetoric. When she was suddenly forced to take a walk on the highest wire in America's political circus, she showed grit." But "She also showed that grit is no substitute for seasoning," and this lady quit her office as governor of a lightly-populated state after only 17 months. She was a mayor of a small town before that.

Will also points out that "full-throated populism has not won a national election in 178 years, since Andrew Jackson was reelected in 1832." William Jennings Bryan lost three times in a row, Perot never got a single electoral vote. "In 1968, George Wallace, promising to toss the briefcases of pointy-headed intellectuals into the Potomac, won 46 electoral votes with 13.5 percent of the popular vote. He had the populist's trifecta - a vivid personality, a regional base and a burning issue."

He concludes, "Populism has had as many incarnations as it has had provocations, but its constant ingredient has been resentment, and hence whininess. Populism does not wax in tranquil times; it is a cathartic response to serious problems. But it always wanes because it never seems serious as a solution."

Right. Populists are always extremely sure of what they're against, but that's not enough. You have to have a very good sense of what you're for. And being "for" being against something isn't what I mean. Moreover, we all know about the problem with decisions made in anger.

It seems that Palin's main attraction to many populists is that the left has tremendous disdain for her. They jostle each other aside in their efforts to save the damsel ostensibly in distress - though between her book, her Fox gig, and $100,000 speaking fees she seems to be doing pretty well for herself. And indeed, it's precisely because she's able to take advantage of that distressed damsel persona.

So pour out millions more words in her defense, if you will. But be thinking seriously about who can best lead the government in 2012 and what important issues we could be addressing if those millions of words - and the energy of the populist movement - were directed elsewhere.

February 18, 2010 10:09 AM  ·  Permalink

Worries about the direction of the Tea Party movement

By Michael Fumento

"The Tea Party is still taking shape," says the front page headline in today's Washington Post. The Post is a liberal paper, but that sounds like a fair headline. The story may or may not be fair, but there were some quotes in there that if representative are worrying.

Thus Jim Linn, an electrical engineer from San Diego, allegedly told the reporter that, in her paraphrasation, "the Constitution must be interpreted in ways that match his understanding of the Founders' intent. That would mean scrapping a lot of the amendments, he acknowledges, but not Nos. 2, 10, 16 and 17."

Of course, the Founders enacted all ten of the first Amendments as the Bill of Rights. That includes Nos. 1 and 3-9. But it's possible those were just his favorites. It's also entirely possible that the Post reported played the old game of interviewing tons of people and just quoting the most outlandish ones. Let's just hope this fellow isn't representative.

More worrying was this regarding former U.S. representative Tom Tancredo (Colo.), who ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. "When Tancredo said, 'His name is Barack Hussein Obama,' the audience booed loudly."

Let's be clear on this. Obama did not choose his middle name. He did not choose the parents who gave him that name. O! would that we could have chosen our own parents. Among other things, mine would have been wealthy.

Here's an explanation of why that middle name is used against him.

Debbie Schlussel, self-identified "conservative political commentator, radio talk show host and columnist," blogged in 2006 that:

Obama's full name - as by now you have probably heard - is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Hussein is a Muslim name, which comes from the name of Ali's son - Hussein Ibn Ali. And Obama is named after his late Kenyan father, the late Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., apparently a Muslim.

And while Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim Streets see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not.

And her point being?

It's true that Islam is not "the religion of peace" that Pres. G.W. Bush asserted. The Koran does in fact call for waging war upon and killing non-Muslims. But most Muslims don't accept that as part of their belief system. It's those who do, the Islamists, that we need worry about - not Muslims generally. I've had Islamist Muslims shoot at me with AKs, machine guns, sniper rifles, and mortars. Debbie Schlussel has not. So I know the difference.

Being Muslim doesn't inherently make you evil. But in any case, all Schlussel was able to say is that Muslims consider Obama a Muslim. So what?

I'm Jewish on my mother's side so Jews consider me a Jew. I've been in synagogues four times. I'm a practicing Christian. If Obama thinks he's a Christian and goes to a Christian church - which we knows he does, he has to be considered a Christian.

But no, the point is being a Muslim is inherently bad and that like it or not Obama is a Muslim. We know that's her point because she titled her blog: "Barack Obama: Once a Muslim, Always a Muslim."

Gad, lady! He was never a Muslim, any more than I was ever Jewish!

But apparently that's why saying all three of Obama's names at a Tea Party rally is a way to rile up the masses.

And that's worrisome.

February 6, 2010 11:51 AM  ·  Permalink

Too, too much about Rep. Joe Wilson's heckle

By Michael Fumento

Gee, and I thought August was supposed to be the slow news month.

"Joe Wilson is racist!" Why? Pres. Obama is black. Well, in the U.S. he is. That's a result of slave laws and the so-called "one drop rule." In any other country he'd be called mulatto - as white as he is black.

But okay, in this country he's called black. Wilson is white. Ergo, Wilson is racist right? Maybe. But you don't establish a pattern with one reference point.

Then you get the people who defend Wilson because, they say, Obama did lie.

Then you get the people who say Wilson is wrong because, they say, Obama didn't lie.

And then there are those who say it's arguable whether he lied or not, and go into a DEEP discussion of the merits of the accusation, but ultimately conclude Wilson shouldn't have done it.

I think even the last category is missing the mark.

No you're not going to get a 700-word column out of this, but here's all it comes down to. Wilson didn't show disrespect for Pres. Obama, be he black, mulatto or a shade of purple. He showed disrespect for the Office of the President.

It's that simple.

September 16, 2009 09:20 AM  ·  Permalink