August 23, 2009

Bob Kerr's Condescension

Justin Katz

Sometimes Bob Kerr is really difficult to take, and I'm beginning to put my finger on the reason. In his Friday column, he characterized Rep. Barney Frank's quip that conversation with a particular town hall participant would be like "trying to have a conversation with a dining room table" and query as to her planet of origin as "a small, witty and welcome comeback." From Frank and Kerr's perspective the response was justified, but it takes a smarmy condescension objectively to declare that a powerful man telling a young lady among the public that she's like a table was merely small and witty.

The statement recalls another instance, just after the election, when Kerr described this bumper sticker as "clever and funny and not mean-spirited": "Joe the Plumber, Meet Barack the President." Not mean-spirited because Kerr says it to be so. And now, with anxious Americans crowding town hall meetings and unable to keep the cool tone of a LaRouche supporter making Nazi comparisons, Kerr opines:

So maybe, just maybe, a big bunch of us will look at how close we are coming to a total breakdown in the way we are supposed to conduct our public business. We might even be embarrassed and disturbed at how a calculated sideshow of irrational raving has threatened to keep us from learning the things we need to know. We might want to try reasonable debate again.

Does Kerr allocate some of the blame to an administration that, as one of its first acts, released a report broadly citing conservatives as potential terrorists, thus signaling how it perceived opposing views? No. Does he urge restraint from a Democrat Congress that's been passing expensive, power-grabbing legislation like rectal gas, in such a way as to diminish the opportunity for the American people to have their opinions considered? Nope. Does he take to task members of the mainstream media — ostensibly objective reporters — who openly mock citizens who disagree with the liberal line? Yeah, right. Does he sympathize that a ravenous government and the various strata of elites who unquestioningly support it are scaring a large number of the hoi polloi? Not on your life.

How fortuitous that the same issue of the Providence Journal should print an op-ed by James Haught drawing our attention away from the current administration to call President Bush "a religious crackpot, an ex-drunk of small intellect who 'got saved.'" Should we expect critiques from Kerr of the visceral hatred from his co-leftists?

I suspect not. The opinions of the likes of Kerr is clear: We, the smart people, are now in power, and the rest of you should just shut up and listen.

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INCREDIBLY, back in early 2003, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse

That's the first line of the editorial you (Justin) linked. What is also incredible is that this is the first that I have heard of this. As you read this essay what stands out is not just the incredible justification of a war but also the fact that it went largely unreported at the time. As to your claim that this article was meant to take attention away from the healthcare insurance debate of this current administration how then are any new historic facts to be known. What is also incredible is what you think is important in the newspaper.

Posted by: Phil at August 23, 2009 10:50 AM

Kerr is a tired ,old, bitter man.He looks to Obama and his retinue as some kind of Vitamin B12 shot for his geriatric mind.Kerr and others like him "decry"haters,yet are so full of hate,it oozes from them like pus from a sore.
I don't deny hating people.There,I said it.Call me names,whatever.I hate people who I perceive as trying to shoehorn me into an anthill existence while they live outside it because they're "special".
Social engineers.How did this country manage to survive without them all this time?Since their ascendance,it has declined rapidly.Cause and effect.
I am amazed that I grew up free to do what I wanted without the vile little turd Steven Brown making it possible.
Of course,not everyone had that chance,but it wasn't social engineers who caused the fall of segregation-it was people of conscience.Don't confuse the two.Kate Brewster and James Farmer are(were,in his case) at the opposite ends of the continuum.If the name James Farmer doesn't ring a bell,look it up-he was the most underappreciated civil rights crusader of his time.
Bob Kerr needs to go fishing with Charley Bakst as the chum.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 23, 2009 11:15 AM

It doesn't particularly matter if Haught intended to distract from current debates. The point is that he turning his eyes toward a more comfortable, more permissible vitriol: that toward President Bush.

As for the report on Biblical references, there's just too much room for misinterpretation and skew to take the whole thing seriously. A rhetorical example ("this situation is like in the Bible...") may too easily be understood as a literal statement, especially in conversation between people of different native languages.

Being a believer, myself, I'd add that the notion of a zealot who truly believes the end times are near should lead one to have expected much more public vociferousness on related topics.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 23, 2009 11:39 AM


Having not had the information that was available at the time how could someone like me raise my voice against a zealot that was leading us. Any comment from me about what Bush's motivations for leading us to war would have been conjecture and would have rightly been pounced on by supporters as precisely that. When I read about any President talking about Gog and Magog to a foreign leader and the subject is war I am alarmed. Although I do not wish to mock anyone's beliefs I also do not want to be subjected to those same beliefs.

"Does Kerr allocate some of the blame to an administration that, as one of its first acts, released a report broadly citing conservatives as potential terrorists, thus signaling how it perceived opposing views?"

This is what you wrote and you are in error. The report you referenced was prepared before the Obama Administration started. Please do not continue to spread this lie. I would hope that your beliefs include truthfulness.

Posted by: Phil at August 23, 2009 1:51 PM

Does it really matter who yells and screams. They have no intention of changing the way they vote. The yelling is out of pure frustration that we have zero control over these guys.

Posted by: KARIN at August 23, 2009 6:45 PM

Bob Kerr is your prototype stupid liberal. He couldn't make the case any better for the utter idiocy and moronic mindset that embodies the stupid liberal. He has to be thankful for the union at the ProJo, because anybody who thinks his sorry ass would be around, absent a union, is crazy. Just think of the waste of money when the ProJo has to pay Kerr and forgo some local news coverage that is so lacking and destroying that paper. Can you possibly imagine having to write that check from your checkbook every week.
The funniest part of it is that Kerr thinks he is some insightful luminary, when in fact they just can't get rid of the stupid bastard. What a clueless stupid liberal jerk.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at August 23, 2009 7:10 PM

I haven't read a Kerr column in years. He's like what Bill Maher will be when he's old and bitter and humorless (compared to Maher's present status as middle-aged, bitter and humorless).

Posted by: Tom W at August 23, 2009 10:46 PM

But remember, PG, a liberal who has military service is an even bigger menace to society in the eyes of the right than a liberal like me who's never worn the uniform. Kerr is seen as betraying the right, similar to the way Ann Coulter goes more nuclear on Republicans who don't follow her dictates than she does on Democrats.

Posted by: rhody at August 23, 2009 11:34 PM
The funniest part of it is that Kerr thinks he is some insightful luminary, when in fact they just can't get rid of the stupid bastard. What a clueless stupid liberal jerk.

Bob Kerr is a Vietnam Veteran, who served when,Cowards like,PRO-WAR Bush,Cheney ,Limbaugh,Carcieri,Oreilly, Frist, Gingrich, Guiliany,DeLay who CHOSE NOT TO FIGHT 4 THEIR COUNTRY !

[This comment is out of chronological order because I accidentally deleted it during a spam sweep. --- JK]

Posted by: Proxy Guy at August 24, 2009 4:20 AM

Rhody-Kerr's war service to the US was honorable.So was mine.Yet you think I'm wrong 99% of the time.That's your prerogative.You must live in fantasyland.I don't think Kerr "betrayed the right wing" since he's always been a liberal.War veterans come in all political stripes.The only thing we are generally of one mind about is resisting attempts to cut back on VA benefits.
Being prodded into the Iraq war by draft dodgers like Cheney,Perle,and Wolfowitz pissed me off beyond belief.But of course,since I dare to espouse some conservative beliefs,I'm an "extremist" in your book.You once accused me of threatening a local activist simply because I said she ought to meet a real terrorist one day after she called ICE agents terrorists.
You were full of **** on that one.This particular woman got up in front of a RI Senate committee recently and stated that the US doesn't have the right to define its borders.She's a lunatic.You're pretty free with the accusations from behind an alias.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 24, 2009 4:38 AM

Joe, spare us the irrelevancy and stay on topic, puh-leeze.
If I may clarify, I find military folks human like the rest of us, and some of them hold views that aren't with the right's program. People like me, well, we don't "know better." But those military people, from Bob Kerr to Ron Kovic to Colin Powell, who don't necessarily subscribe to the right's version of political correctness endure the kind of venom even I haven't had to taste.

Posted by: rhody at August 24, 2009 9:37 AM

>But those military people, from Bob Kerr to Ron Kovic to Colin Powell, who don't necessarily subscribe to the right's version of political correctness endure the kind of venom even I haven't had to taste.

Venom incomparably milder than that experienced by Blacks like Clarence Thomas or Bill Cosby who don't tow the liberal line.

Indeed, I don't believe that there's a "liberal veteran" counterpart for "Oreo cookie" and "Uncle Tom."

And let us not forget this administration's recent DHS report branding conservative veterans as potential domestic terrorists.

Posted by: Tom W at August 24, 2009 12:07 PM

With Thomas, it's not a racial thing nearly as much as his "I got mine, screw the rest of you" attitude, which can also be heard this summer from the microphone of many a health care town hall.
To me, Cosby's just playing the role of charmingly cranky old man. I'm tired of seeing gangstas used as role models, just like he is.

Posted by: rhody at August 24, 2009 12:16 PM

Rhody-are you running this blog now?I think it is always relevant when one is falsely accused of something.You wouldn't like it too much,I'm sure.
I have no beef with Kerr's service,just with about 80% of what he writes.Can't say the same for Charley Bakst-he's a total scumbag.
Ron Kovic?He was paralyzed.He's entitled to whatever attitude he has.
As far as Powell goes,I was hoping he had run in 1996.Dole lacked any spark,and he was old.Powell could have done a great job and been much more deserving of the honor of being the first Black American President than this community organizer.
often you have no idea what you're talking about.You just parrot Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 24, 2009 3:52 PM

Joe, you're giving me too much credit. Getting as worked up as you do over a simple blog poster like me who holds no political or financial power cannot be good for your blood pressure.

Posted by: rhody at August 25, 2009 1:25 AM

Well,Rhody it's not as much fun as breaking down doors to arrest drug dealers,but arguing wiith the politically corect crowd will just have to do for now.
My BP is normal,believe it or not.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 25, 2009 10:45 AM
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