Way back in 1970, President Richard Nixon nominated a judge named G. Harrold Carswell to the United States Supreme Court. There was a flurry of criticism and protests decrying Carswell as unqualified to serve, and eventually Nixon withdrew the nomination. But the whole incident sponsored one of the greatest quotes I’ve ever heard from politics.
Senator Roman Hruska (R-Nebraska), a die-hard Nixon backer at the time, was told that Carswell was a “mediocre” nominee. Hruska responded by saying “There are a lot of mediocre Americans. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they?”
David Anderson is someone I’ve grown to enjoy sparring with. He’s honest, fair and decent, which is a rarity among those who discuss politics on the Web. (He’s also consistently wrong on the issues, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Back on August 6, David announced he was fed up with the whole Swift Boat mess, and would be boycotting the issue from then on. Fair enough; there are plenty of issues I’d just as rather not discuss myself, so I decided to respect Davids decision.
Unfortunately, David himself couldn’t respect it. On August 9, he predicted that the whole Swifties mess would “become highly poisonous” and “self-destruct” within two weeks. (Which, by the way, expires today.)
The boycott resumed for another two days, until David simply couldn’t resist an article that denounced one of the authors of the Swifties’ boat. He had to link to it immediately before going back to his boycott.
But nine hours later, the monkey got on David’s back again, and he had to cheap-shot the Swifties again. But that wasn’t enough; less than an hour later he was singing the praises of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” for their attacks on the Swifties.
This was a bit too much for David, though, and he climbed back on the wagon later that evening, re-affirming his boycott.
This time it lasted until the 16th, when David reviewed MoveOn.org’s response to the Swifties’ first ad and found it wanting. He agreed the issue isn’t just gonna go away for Kerry if he keeps ignoring it, a prediction that is proving accurate.
David took another hard fall off the wagon on the 19th, when David found out MSNBC and the Washington Post were saying more nasty things about the Swifties. And he took a second shot a bit later in the day when Salon released it’s hatchet piece on the Swifties’ book.
David must’ve decided the whole boycott was a bad idea when the anti-Swifty movement started picking up steam, because on the 20th he gleefully pointed out the attacks against their supporters and their credibility. Later, he reviewed the second ad from the Swifties (which had been skilfully prologued by the first one) and acknowledged it was powerful.
Yesterday David went completely head-first into the bottle over the Swifties. I wrote a long, involved piece on Kerry’s record AFTER Vietnam, largely because nobody else seemed willing or able to do so. David titled his piece “Quick, The Swift Boat Thing Aint Workin’!,” which I interpreted as implying I was attacking Kerry on post-Vietnam matters because the attacks on Kerry in Vietnam were failing. Sorry, David, I was just “moving on” and talking about other matters, ones I thought more germane. Or do you want to keep talking about the 250+ Swifties and their sworn affidavits?
But to tie it back to the quote at the top of this piece. Senator Hruska said that he believed “mediocre people deserve representation, too.” I guess David’s supporting Kerry because even wafflers deserve to have their voices heard, courageously embracing every possible stance on every issue.
(Author’s note: I dunno what the hell went wrong with my brain, but in the above I repeatedly used “Oliver Willis” and “Oliver” when I meant “David” and “David Anderson.” Perhaps it’s because in preparing the piece I noticed David repeatedly cited and admired Oliver that the two somehow became interchanged in my head. I have edited the above piece to remove all references to Oliver and replace them with references to David. I offer my heartfelt apologies to David, Oliver, and everyone else who saw that. As atonement, I’m going to force myself to go to the gym and work out, even go swimming during the Kiddy Hours. And while in the pool, I will be bashing my head against the side repeatedly for being so stupid.)