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Ready to rumble? Village Voice Author, Rick Perlstein, Here to Debate the Freeper Horde
08/03/2004 | Rick Perlstein

Posted on 08/03/2004 12:09:31 PM PDT by dead

Opening Statement

Dear FRiends:

I once suffered two great frustrations in being a freelance political writer. First, the loneliness: you put an article out there, and you might as well have thrown it down a black hole for all the response you get. Second, the ghettoization: when you do get response, it would be from folks you agree with. Not fun for folks like me who reliish--no, crave and need--political argument.

Then came the Internet, the blogs--and: problem solved.

I have especially enjoyed having my articles in the Village Voice posted on Free Republic by "dead," and arguing about them here. The only frustration is that I never have enough time--and sometimes no time--to respond as the threads are going on. That is why I arranged for an entire afternoon--this afternoon--to argue on Free Republic. Check out my articles and have at me.

A little background: I am a proud leftist who specializes in writing about conservatives. I have always admired conservatives for their political idealism, acumen, stalwartness, and devotion. I have also admired some of their ideas--especially the commitment to distrusting grand social schemes, and the deep sense of the inherent flaws in human nature. (To my mind the best minds in the liberal tradition have encompassed these ideals, while still maintaining that robust social reform is still possible and desirable. My favorite example is the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, author of the Serenity Prayer and a great liberal Democrat.)

Lately, however, I've become mad at the right, and have written about it with an anger not been present in my previous writings. It began with the ascension of George Bush, when I detected many conservatives beginning to care more about power than principles. The right began to seem less interesting to me--more whiny, more shallow--and, what's more, in what I saw as an uncritical devotion to President Bush, often in retreat from its best insights about human nature.

I made my strongest such claim in a Village Voice article two weeks ago in which I, after much thought, chose to say conservatism was "verging on becoming an un-American creed" for the widespread way conservatives are ignoring the lessons of James Madison's great insights in Federalist 51 that in America we are supposed to place our ultimate trust in laws, not men.

Finally, in what I see as the errors of the Iraq campaign, I recognize the worst aspects of arrogant left-wing utopianism: the idea that you can remake a whole society and region through sheer force of will. I think Iraq is a tragic disaster (though for the time being the country is probably better off than it was when Saddam was around--but only, I fear, for the time being).

I am also, by the way, a pretty strong critic of my own side, as can be seen in my latest Village Voice piece.

So: I'm yours for the day--until 7:10 pm CST, when I'm off to compete in my weekly trivia contest at the University of Chicago Pub. Until then: Are you ready to rumble?

Respectfully,
Rick Perlstein


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cheese; cutandpaste; flake; flamingvantiy; fr; freerepublic; frinthenews; hatesamerica; ifeelpretty; mediabias; moose; nopartinggifts; notdebate; perlstein; pinko; poopstain; rickstillhasntshown; seeyalaterliberal; thanksforplaying; triviacontest; villagevoice
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For background on this thread, please see:

Village Voice writer Rick Perlstein to defend his liberals positions against all Freepers

Here are all of Rick Perlstein's articles posted over the last year or so:

09/16/03 - Come Out Fighting (George Bush is dangerous and it’s patriotic to destroy him)

12/02/03 - Attention, Wal-Mart Voters: Lost Jobs and Military Funerals Haunt Bush in the Heartland

01/13/04 - Last Copter Out of Baghdad: Bush Flees Iraq Mess On The Campaign Express

05/03/04 - The Divine Calm of George W. Bush: Iraq's a mess, half the country hates you - just keep praying!

05/18/04 - The Jesus Landing Pad: Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move

07/21/04 - Church of Bush: What liberal infidels will never understand about president

1 posted on 08/03/2004 12:09:32 PM PDT by dead
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To: dead

checking in : )


2 posted on 08/03/2004 12:10:54 PM PDT by alisasny ("I will leave no hampster behind" John F'en Kerry : ))
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To: #3Fan; AAABEST; alisasny; Always Right; AmericanChef; AmishDude; an amused spectator; Arpege92; ...

For those interested (and probably a few who aren't).


3 posted on 08/03/2004 12:11:17 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead
Village Voice writer Rick Perlstein to defend his liberals positions against all Freepers

I bet he can't do it without name calling.

4 posted on 08/03/2004 12:11:40 PM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: dead
Mr. Perlstein,

As best I can remember I have not ready any of your works so I am not in a position to engage you. But I thank you for giving the opportunity to those who have. Thanks!

5 posted on 08/03/2004 12:12:27 PM PDT by Phantom Lord (Distributor of Pain, Your Loss Becomes My Gain)
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To: dead; EllaMinnow

Thank you for the alert!

Pinging Ella.


6 posted on 08/03/2004 12:15:52 PM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: dead

Dear Rick,

What exactly are we excusing repressing and rationalizing about GWB?

Sincerely,

A proud Right-winger : )


7 posted on 08/03/2004 12:16:41 PM PDT by alisasny ("I will leave no hampster behind" John F'en Kerry : ))
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To: dead

Mr Pealstein please respond to this :

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1183700/posts

by David Horowitz (one of the more articulate voices of the right) should you choose to reflect on him and his work it might gradually lead you out of the liberal quagmire you have gotten yourself into...good luck climbing out.


8 posted on 08/03/2004 12:16:52 PM PDT by woofie ( I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.)
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To: Phantom Lord
Marijuana: gateway drug?



9 posted on 08/03/2004 12:17:20 PM PDT by evets (God bless president George W. Bush)
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To: dead

Who is Rick Perlstein?


10 posted on 08/03/2004 12:17:24 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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BUMPMARK for later


11 posted on 08/03/2004 12:17:57 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Puppage
I bet he can't do it without name calling.

From what I've read from his posts and responses he has not "name called" in anyway whatsoever. Sadly, that cannot be said for some FReepers.

12 posted on 08/03/2004 12:18:13 PM PDT by Archangelsk (Laura Croft is a geek's wet dream and nothing more.)
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To: HitmanNY

...and what is this "Village Voice"??


13 posted on 08/03/2004 12:19:32 PM PDT by CarmichaelPatriot
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To: dead
What's this all about? Perlstein a masochist? And why would anyone want to beat a leftist bloviator who enjoys the pain?

Let's tickle him to death!

14 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:07 PM PDT by G.Mason (A war mongering, red white and blue, military industrial complex, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
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To: dead

No time to post now, but, I'll try to join in when I get home.


15 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:11 PM PDT by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and sign up for a monthly donation.)
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To: dead
"When we think of Bush's character, we're likely to focus on the administration's proposed budget cuts for veterans"

Overall vet spending is up faster under Bush in ~3 years than Clinton in 8. If that is a "cut," I'm Bill Gates.

16 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:11 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Mullahs swinging from lamp posts.....)
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To: dead
"when I detected many conservatives beginning to care more about power than principles

1.) Obviously, the author has not listened to a great amount of conservative talk radio hosts who rail against Bush's immigration and spending policies (just to name a few).

2.) Isn't it intellectualy dishonest to paint a group of people with a broad brush? I thought the left was more open minded than that.

17 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:13 PM PDT by The Iceman Cometh
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To: dead

I take it Perlstein's looking for material for another article?


18 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:13 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions=Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: HitmanNY
Who is Rick Perlstein?

*shrugs*

The son of Mr. & Mrs. Perlstein?

19 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:27 PM PDT by ItsOurTimeNow (1xy1xx)
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To: dead
I recognize the worst aspects of arrogant left-wing utopianism: the idea that you can remake a whole society and region through sheer force of will

An Ecotopia would worry me too, but I think in the case of Iraq, your concern is unfounded.

20 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:31 PM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: dead

Not interested.


21 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:53 PM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: Archangelsk

Here I am. Who'll have the opening shot?

Rick


22 posted on 08/03/2004 12:20:57 PM PDT by Perlstein
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To: dead

Welcome and let YOUR education begin. I'm sure in a few days here your friends at the Village Voice will no longer recognize your writings.


23 posted on 08/03/2004 12:21:07 PM PDT by Patrick1
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To: dead
Perhaps you can answer this question. Based on John Kerry's anti-war activities in the 70's, and his no vote to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, and his pronouncement to bring the troops home quickly from Iraq, which was was Kerry's more intellectually honest vote: to authorize war OR his no vote on authorization to fund it? And why?
24 posted on 08/03/2004 12:21:38 PM PDT by Use It Or Lose It
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To: dead
"James Madison's great insights in Federalist 51 that in America we are supposed to place our ultimate trust in laws, not men. "

So you're trying to get the Dem Senators to approve "original intent" or "strict constructionist" judges? I must have missed that article.

It would be especially nice to see an article in the Village Voice bemoaning the way judges who don't feel bound by the rule of law have led to the backlash of a federal marriage protection act or amendment.

25 posted on 08/03/2004 12:21:49 PM PDT by mrsmith ("Oyez, oyez! All rise for the Honorable Chief Justice... Hillary Rodham Clinton ")
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To: dead
Dear Mr. Perlstein:

Do you believe that President Bush was justified in going to war against Hussein based solely on Hussein's firing of missiles at our pilots over a multi-year period? If not, why not?

26 posted on 08/03/2004 12:22:20 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: Perlstein

see my post 7 I got the first q : )


27 posted on 08/03/2004 12:22:24 PM PDT by alisasny ("I will leave no hampster behind" John F'en Kerry : ))
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To: dead; Perlstein
Rick... Welcome...loved you in Hellboy .

Sorry, bad joke. Hadda get that outta the way. ;)

I have read through several of your articles, and would take issue with several things, but rather than take up too much of your time (because I'm sure there are others that would like to Q&A with you as well), I'd just like to get your thoughts on a few big items.

What in your opinion, are the differences between a liberal and a conservative? I mean, seriously. rather than name-call, what exactly is it that makes you call yourself a liberal? Give us some details...not just the old, "I care for the poor, I want to help people" crapola. If you're one of those who really, truly believes that conservatives are simply out to make as much money as possible for themselves on the backs of everyone else, then there's no sense in going any further, because the philosophies are simply too far apart.

Cheers,
BigB

28 posted on 08/03/2004 12:22:34 PM PDT by TheBigB (I'm more frustrated than a legless Ethiopian watching a doughnut roll down a hill.)
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To: dead
Finally, in what I see as the errors of the Iraq campaign, I recognize the worst aspects of arrogant left-wing utopianism: the idea that you can remake a whole society and region through sheer force of will. I think Iraq is a tragic disaster

???? Excuse me, but what how are we forcing our will on Iraq. We liberated them from a brutal dictator who was using force for his personal gain and power. The left somehow mistakes Saddam's Iraq with a free sovereign nation.

29 posted on 08/03/2004 12:22:36 PM PDT by Always Right
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To: dead
Dear Rick:

1. Some argue the vehement criticism and anger towards Bush is visceral, motivated by more than strongly-felt policy disagreement. Some would say the vehement criticism and anger towards Clinton was no different, just coming from the opposite direction. Are they different sides of the same coin? What are your thoughts?

30 posted on 08/03/2004 12:22:39 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Brad Cloven

Veterans Accuse Dems of Distorting Facts About Bush
By Robert B. Bluey
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
July 30, 2004

Boston (CNSNews.com) - Veterans who support President Bush accused Democrats of spreading misleading information about the state of affairs for the millions of veterans who rely on the government's health care benefits.

On several occasions throughout the Democratic National Convention, speakers have criticized Bush on the issue of veterans' benefits. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the vice presidential nominee, raised the issue in his speech Wednesday night.

"Let me tell you," Edwards said, "the 26 million veterans in this country will not have to wonder when we're in office whether they'll have health care next week or next year. We will take care of them because they have taken care of us."

Edwards was referring to a repeated Democrat line of attack that Bush allegedly cut spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"It's blatantly a lie," said Griffin T. Dalianis, a Vietnam veteran from Nashua, N.H. "Our own hospital in Manchester is receiving money now that has been moved into Veterans Affairs. It will give us a full-service hospital. Right now, disabled veterans, and I am one, have to travel over 140 miles roundtrip to get any kind of services outside of a little wound."

The Democrats' claim has been debunked by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Bush, in fact, has overseen a 27 percent increase in funding for veterans. That number would increase to 37 percent, based on this year's budget proposal.


31 posted on 08/03/2004 12:22:54 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Mullahs swinging from lamp posts.....)
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To: dead
"...when I detected many conservatives beginning to care more about power than principles. The right began to seem less interesting to me--more whiny, more shallow--and, what's more, in what I saw as an uncritical devotion to President Bush, often in retreat from its best insights about human nature."

I noticed that you apparently slept through the 8 years of Bill and Hillary Clinton so it would be useless to discuss anything with such an open-minded individual as I'm sure you are.

Adios, my friend.

32 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:04 PM PDT by Hatteras
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To: Perlstein

Try # 8


33 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:17 PM PDT by woofie ( I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.)
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To: alisasny

Alisa, this is the article where I critique conservative rationalization:

http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0429/perlstein.php

Rick Perlstein


34 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:29 PM PDT by Perlstein
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To: dead

Vietnam veteran Paul J. Chevalier of Portsmouth, N.H., said when compared to other administrations, Bush has done more to help veterans than he's getting credit for.

"In the eight years under President Clinton, the total money allocated to the VA increased 30 percent during those eight years," Chevalier said. "In the first three years of President Bush's administration, it has already gone up 40 percent."


35 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:33 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Mullahs swinging from lamp posts.....)
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To: dead
I detected many conservatives beginning to care more about power than principles.

I don't see any of that amongst the Dims....</sarcasm>

...in what I saw as an uncritical devotion to President Bush...

He saw that here?????

36 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:33 PM PDT by Onelifetogive
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Mr. Perlstein,

Having been confronted by an Kerry supporter on my way to get in line for a Bush rally, and leaving him crying- yes, crying- after cordially debating with him and presenting facts, and shaking hands as we departed, I've realized that until there can be a detachment between emotions and reason, civilized debate can never take place. I, therefore, appreciate your invitation, but nonetheless decline.

Sincerely,
Republican Warrior Princess

37 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:34 PM PDT by rintense (Results matter.)
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To: Archangelsk
"Sadly, that cannot be said for some FReepers."

Well smack our unprofessional writers mouths!

38 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:37 PM PDT by G.Mason (A war mongering, red white and blue, military industrial complex, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
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To: dead

In Perlstein's article on people who love Bush, I wondered why he painted conservatives/Republicans as people who change the subject if they don't have a good answer, when that's exactly what liberals/Democrats do.


39 posted on 08/03/2004 12:23:57 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: dead
"I think Iraq is a tragic disaster (though for the time being the country is probably better off than it was when Saddam was around--but only, I fear, for the time being)."

It's perception. The mainstream media portrays Iraq as being in chaos or at least at the threshold of near-anarchy. They show a suicide bombing here, a church attack there, a roadside bomb, mortars shelling American positions, etc. Whew!

Furthermore, the media shows places that it either collectively likes or collectively doesn't care much about one way or the other as near-utopian.

Rio, for instance, is portrayed as a calm paradise...but in Brazil on average every day there are 110 civilians shot dead in daily gang wars and crime sprees. Yet there it is in the news media, the calm, peaceful, paradise of Rio.

In constrast, you'd be hard-pressed to show 110 civilians killed by the Iraqi insurgents on their bloodiest of days over there. Typically, there will be 1 or 2 Americans killed each day there and 60 to 70 Iraqis (including bad guys) taking daily dirt naps.

110 Brazilians *every* day...versus 1 or 2 Americans.

Yet Rio is paradise and Iraq is chaos. Go figure.

5 Legislative Days Left Until The AWB Expires

40 posted on 08/03/2004 12:24:00 PM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: dead
I made my strongest such claim in a Village Voice article two weeks ago in which I, after much thought, chose to say conservatism was "verging on becoming an un-American creed" for the widespread way conservatives are ignoring the lessons of James Madison's great insights in Federalist 51 that in America we are supposed to place our ultimate trust in laws, not men.

Mr Perstein:

Two part question:

  1. What examples can you site of conservatives doing what you claim above?
  2. Is it your claim that liberals do not engage in this behavior?
Thank you...
41 posted on 08/03/2004 12:24:00 PM PDT by danneskjold (All balloons, what the hell! There's nothing falling! What the f%#@ are you guys doing up there?)
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To: dead
"As A proud leftist"

Proud of this, huh? and this:

And also proud of the lady who was happy about getting an abortion, no doubt.

Where does a dialog begin within someone like this?

42 posted on 08/03/2004 12:24:18 PM PDT by BenLurkin ("A republic, if we can revive it")
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To: dead
Mr. Perlstein,

I'm not very familiar with your writing. Your description of the right's sudden shift to "whining and shallow" seems rather vague. Could you explain in exactly what way?

43 posted on 08/03/2004 12:24:34 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions=Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: dead
the idea that you can remake a whole society and region through sheer force of will.

This is a strawman. Of course you can't "remake a whole society...through sheer force of will..." .

What you CAN do is remove a dictator and give the people of the country a fresh start at democracy. I think that is exactly what W. says we are doing. Ultimately, it is up to the Iraqi people, just like it was up to the people of Germany and Japan.

That certainly worked out ok.

44 posted on 08/03/2004 12:25:03 PM PDT by Taliesan (fiction police)
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To: dead
Hey, Rick: here is a quote from Reinnhold Niebuhr:

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Reinhold Niebuhr

I think that sums up exactly the situation in Iraq. I have faith in God and America.

Why do you believe that Iraq must become true and make complete sense in the immediate context of history?

45 posted on 08/03/2004 12:25:22 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith (I shook my inner child until its eyes bled...)
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To: Perlstein
Who'll have the opening shot?

1 - John Kerry said in his acceptance speech that we will only go to war because we have to - how would you interpret that against prior military actions in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq and even Korea and WWI? How profound a change is that policy? To what extent do you agree with it?

2 - On Fox News Sunday, John Kerry continued to insist that the president misled the nation about Iraq trying to get uranium ore from Niger, despite American and British findings to the contrary. Do you agree with Kerry? Or is he now lying himself?

46 posted on 08/03/2004 12:25:59 PM PDT by dirtboy (Forget Berger's socks - has ANYONE searched his skin folds for classified documents?)
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To: cake_crumb
it's easier than doing real research for an article. He probably will wait for someone to say something really stupid and he will put it in his article to show how dumb Freepers behave.

If only i could think of something stupid to say! i could get my name put in a village voice article and it could be seen by tens of hundreds of people
47 posted on 08/03/2004 12:26:16 PM PDT by barryallen
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To: evets

Don't forget that kerry/Edwards have better hair (wow, THAT'S deep)


48 posted on 08/03/2004 12:26:21 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions=Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: Phantom Lord

Dear Mr. P,

Can you give us the short course on why you would want Kerry as President without dissin' Dubya? We all hear how much The President is hated by the left...we just want to hear why Kerry is so loved by the left.

Kind regards,
Liberty


49 posted on 08/03/2004 12:26:21 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (It's a mighty world we live in but the truth is we're only passin' through)
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To: Perlstein

Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill Clinton of raping her. Do you believe her?


50 posted on 08/03/2004 12:26:22 PM PDT by Tribune7
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