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Hi, folks!  it’s the new Iron Grey Winter version of this blog, replacing the chirpy, sunny, lighthearted summer-in-Paris version of this blog.  And in keeping with the season, it’s time to respond to David Horowitz’s response to Wednesday’s post.  Here we go!

David writes: 

Michael Bérubé has written a blog response to my comments in Frontpage about our picture grid which has got leftists like him climbing walls.  It’s not much of a response since it merely repeats the same squeal about putting radical Islamicists in the same database (and therefore on the same picture grid) as Michael Moore, Ward Churchill and Barbra Streisand.  But of course Moore and Churchill are on the record as supporters of the Zarqawi “resisters” referred to by them as “patriots” and “revolutionaries” and deserved avengers of “root causes"– and of course so are a very large number of leftists.

Well, that explains why Roger Ebert and Barack Obama on are that page!  Who can forget Ebert’s incendiary review of 28 Days Later, the one that began, “All power to the patriotic revolutionaries of the Iraqi Maquis!  May al-Sadr and his resistance sweep through the imperialist occupation forces like the biological agent in this film sweeps through the decadent British Isles!” Of course, calling for the withdrawal of US troops isn’t quite the same thing as supporting Zarqawi; on the contrary, a very large number of leftists complained bitterly that the incompetent Bush/Cheney crew let Zarqawi get away in the course of “planning” their botched war in Iraq.  Do you remember that, folks?  I remember it.

Of course there are leftists who are not supporters of the radical Islamicists, but so what? As I pointed out, Stalin put an ice pick in Trotsky’s head for calling for a revolution against Stalin’s police state. Does that mean one shouldn’t put them in a database on Communism and post their pictures on the same Communist grid?

It’s a fair cop.  The analogy to Sean Penn and the Ayatollah Khomeini pretty much speaks for itself.  Though it was unclear just who had the ice pick.  No, wait, that was Basic Instinct.

The striking thing about Bérubé’s response is his unwillingness to join the intellectual argument.

Damn, this humble blog doesn’t know anything about intellectual argumentin’!  You’ve all come to the wrong place for that kind of thing.  But then, I didn’t realize there was an intellectual argument here.  I thought Horowitz was complaining, last time around, that people like me had “seized on a quirk in the format, an entirely innocent feature of the site”– yes, I do believe those were the exact words– and that “the mere listing of these figures in the database was not intended to suggest that there are organizational links or common agendas or coinciding agendas between these individuals.” Now he tells me that there was an intellectual argument at work after all, and that there apparently are organizational links or common agendas or coinciding agendas between these individuals.  Color me confused!

But actually, folks, I think we all know I did join the intellectual argument.  I read David’s response to the critics of his website, and I found it, er, disingenuous.  Apparently he did too, because he’s abandoned that “entirely innocent format quirk” nonsense, and has gotten down to the serious shit-slinging.  Like this:

I have written an entire book called Unholy Alliance:  Radical Islam and American Left which describes the common agendas of the left and analyzes at length the writings of his friend Todd Gitlin who I describe 1) as a leftist who has attacked the Chomsky left (which shares the affinity of Churchill and Moore for our enemies) and 2) yet someone who regards America in terms pretty similar to those of Hamas, Churchill, Chomsky and Moore. Not a single leftist has bothered to engage the views in this book, so why should I expect Bérubé to engage the arguments of my explanation for the inclusiveness of the database.

When someone says that Todd Gitlin “regards America in terms pretty similar to those of Hamas, Churchill, Chomsky and Moore” (and what is it with the Moore obsession, anyway?), no, I don’t take him seriously.  Sorry about that!  I don’t “engage” with people who plaster the subways with wheat-paste posters explaining in six-point print how the Trilateral Commission killed Bruce Lee, and I don’t engage “arguments” like this, either.  That’s how it goes in the real world of intellectual argumentin’.

But of course Bérubé and Gitlin and academics like them inhabit a monolithic academic universe where they don’t have to answer their critics because they’ve effectively purged them from the faculties of the universities they so gracelessly dominate.

Quite true!  I never answer my critics.  But it’s good to see that David’s been reading this blog for a while now.  It was hard work– hard, hard work– purging the English department of its legions of tweedy, meerschaum-chomping Irving Babbitt fans, and then wiping out all the Horowitz moles infesting our graduate program.  But every reign of terror has its good side, too!  Even if we’re a bit graceless about it now and then.

Which brings me to the second and third themes of Bérubé’s blog– I fibbed about my invitation to Hamilton and about my Academic Bill of Rights.  My appearance on O’Reilly did present me with a problem. I had called Maurice Isserman a leftwing academic I knew at Hamilton and asked him to invite me to speak on campus which he graciously did. O’Reilly was asking me a question the gravamen of which is can I get faculty invitations to speak on campuses. I have spoken on somewhere between 250 and 300 college campuses in the last 15 years. The invitation from Isserman is the only faculty invitation I have ever received and I initiated it, forcing Maurice into the position of refusing me or saying yes. He could have refused me but he didn’t, so in writing about it I tried to be gracious to him. On O’Reilly I didn’t have time to explain all this and so I glossed over it because it was truer to say that I had to be invited by students (and the second time I went that was exactly the case) than to say the faculty there-- the Kirkland project in particular, which is what we were talking about-- would invite me.

Oh, please.  O’Reilly said,”but it is to Hamilton’s credit that you were invited to speak there, correct?” Exactly how much time do you need to say, “why, yes”? 

Enough of this silly stuff, folks– yes, even I have my limits when it comes to silly stuff!  The real issue is this.  Some years ago, I referred to David Horowitz as a former member of the “far left.” By this I meant that he stayed with the Panthers for years after every sane leftist in America realized that they’d degenerated into a handful of paramilitary thugs, and now he goes around blaming the rest of the sixties left for his own hideous political judgment.  This made him mad, understandably enough, and he insisted to me that he was never a member of the far left, by which he meant groups like the Weathermen.  Fine, so be it.  Let’s grant David the distinction, and let’s call him a former member of the “almost far left” instead of the “far left.” And yet his database– like so much of his work after the attacks of September 11– is designed not merely to blur the distinction between the far left and the far far far left, but between the far left and goddamn Barack Obama, Barbra Streisand, and Bill Moyers.  “It should be obvious,” David writes, “that even the otherwise innocent Barbra Streisand shares negative views of the Bush Administration and its mission of liberating Iraq with anti-American jihadists like the aforementioned Zarqawi, even though we are sure that she deplores some of his methods.” So there it is– anyone with negative views of the Bush Administration, anyone who opposed this war, is in cahoots with Zarqawi. You don’t see what’s wrong with that, well, that’s your business, but don’t complain when sane leftists respond to this nonsense with squeals of outrage– or, here on this blog, howls of laughter (read the comments again, David!  they’re really very funny.  Ishtar of the Internets– damn, I wish I’d said that).  Don’t complain when we don’t engage “arguments” that are patently ridiculous.  And don’t complain– on your way from the Ohio state legislature to Fox News to the Colorado state legislature, eking out an existence on the very margins of American society– that you aren’t getting more speaking invitations from the very people you insult and slander.

Posted by on 02/25 at 10:04 AM
  1. Let’s grant David the distinction, and let’s call him a former member of the “almost far left” instead of the “far left.”

    See, now this is where the Libertoonians have a point abut the limitations of the one-dimensional political spectrum. Horowitz’s behavior with regard to Huey et al was pretty much of a piece with those current day folks in the Mumia cult of personality. This has little to do with one’s posiition left or right, and much to do with one’s propensity for following leaders. Ask any Cultural Revolution veteran or their analogues in the Religious Right.

    Nice smackdown, Michael, and just the thing I needed to wash the taste of Sowell’s latest Andy-Rooney-like offering out of my mind. I need to pay more attention to what part of the paper I read before coffee.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/25  at  11:30 AM
  2. Michael, I know it is hard to take Horowitz and his ilk seriously, but they do show how far right and ideologically intolerant even the mainstream has become. There are two acceptable takes on those who disagree with them: they are far left (and doesn’t Bill Moyers merge with Emma Goldman in our minds?) or they are evil. You do a great job of responding to Horowitz systematically and rationally. What happens when we cease engaging and responding to their silliness? The Swift Boat Veterans offer an important lesson.

    And, dammit, I’ll not rest a moment until the Trilateral Commission is brought to justice for the murder of Bruce Lee. On this point we part company, my friend.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  12:13 PM
  3. "I meant that he stayed with the Panthers for years after every sane leftist in America realized that they’d degenerated into a handful of paramilitary thugs, and now he goes around blaming the rest of the sixties left for his own hideous political judgment.” This really is the crux of Horowitz; you could have skipped the rest. He was “late to the party” with the Panthers and probably contributed to someone’s murder by them. That everyone to the left of Genghis Khan should have to pay because of his own stupidity and culpability is ludicrous. If he realy wanted to atone for his sins, he should have gone to jail (something he’d happily suggest someone else do, given the same circumstances) or do penance (?sp) in some other way. A trip to Mother Teresa’s in Calcutta would have done us all a lot of good (half way round the world washing lepers under the control of a charismatic figure who kenw how to modestly use the limelight would have kept him quiet). And if we have to hear about how we all love Chomsky (a genius, but also an evasive, mindfucking martinet), I think my head will explode.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  12:16 PM
  4. Berube --> Christo --> Kim Jong-Il --> Madelaine Albright

    Posted by Ezra  on  02/25  at  12:20 PM
  5. Berube --> Christo --> Kim Jong-Il --> Madelaine Albright

    [...] --> Jennifer Love Hewitt --> Johnny Depp eating oatmeal --> Janet Bérubé --> Michael Bérubé

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/25  at  12:46 PM
  6. Keep the chain going until you reach Kevin Bacon. Next stop .... Jerry Mathers.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  12:50 PM
  7. Berube --> Orange & Black --> Flyers --> 1974

    The same year Horowitz supposedly came to his senses about “the Left”.  Subtle message, Michael!

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  12:52 PM
  8. Does it occur to anyone else that the last four years have been based entirely on “technicalities” that didn’t even turn out to exist?  For instance, the administration “technically” didn’t say that Iraq was connected to bin Laden, Horowitz didn’t “technically” say that Roger Ebert was “technically” in cahoots with Fidel Castro, etc.  The generic first response to any objection is, “I am frankly shocked that you are baldly stating what I only intended to very strongly imply!  I thought you leftists were supposed to be all about ‘nuance’!”

    Posted by Adam Kotsko  on  02/25  at  12:56 PM
  9. I know that blog comments that say “Great post! Love your blog!” are boring, but....

    Great Post! Love Your Blog!

    For all the humor (smooth, clumpy, sandy or whatever) this is a very serious issue.  Horowitz may have been late to the New Left picnic, but he’s the leading edge of the VRWC’s current campaign to conquer the academy by firing everyone who doesn’t agree with them.  Laughing at them is an important part of beating them, in part because any honest response to this crap must include noting its utter ridiculousness, but the larger issue here is very serious.  One of the many things I appreciate about your running discussion of Horowitz is that despite the humor, the space you devote to it suggests that you take it as seriously as you should.  Which is just another, long-winded way of saying…

    Great post! Love your blog!

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  12:58 PM
  10. Great Posts...Love your site…

    Always comfortin’ to know somebody’s twistin’ Ol David “Duke” Horowitz’ forked li’l tail…

    But you’d best watch yerselfs...The Dukester’s liable to notify you that you been drafted into th’ Army of Fascist Red-Shirts…

    See Y’all at Boot Camp...(Or should that be “Huarache Camp?)

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:07 PM
  11. Horowitz’s gibe at Todd Gitlin is fascinating. Gitlin, as a consistent critic of the far left--including his own past with the far left--who has not become a right-winger, threatens Horowitz’s whole world picture, his entire rationalization for his involvement with murderers. How he must hate Todd Gitlin.

    It reminds me of how closeted Republicans must hate, hate, hate the gay marriage issue. By ratifying same-sex affection as a potentially grown-up activity, a conservative activity, a stable activity, it threatens their whole rationalization for remaining in the closet--for remaining ashamed. The powerful gay Republican DEPENDS on the belief that homosexuality must be something childish and shameful. If it wasn’t childish and shameful, they wouldn’t have an excuse to be in the closet. And if they weren’t in the closet, they wouldn’t have any power in the Republican Party.

    For the worst thing for a powerful Republican who lives for their power would be to leave the closet. Because then they wouldn’t be powerful Republicans any more.

    Likewise, for Horowitz, Gitlin, by ratifying being a former ultra-leftist who has not become an ultra-rightist--by proving that someone like David Horowitz can be a grown up--threatens his whole rationalization for--for remaining ashamed of himself as well. The powerul former-ultra-right Republican DEPENDS on the belief that being a former ultra-rightist must be something childish and shameful. For Horowitz has to believe that it is shameful--that it was not merely he who personally and intimately assisted murderers, but all leftists (thus his obsession with linking someone like GITLIN to murders like Hamas).

    For [insert name of closeted powerful gay Republican here], a gay man in a mature lifetime partnership shows that being gay is not shameful. But [closeted powerul gay Republican] has to believe that gayness is shameful--that it is not merely he who personally and intimately has committed himself to a furtive, secret, dirty life, but all homosexuals. He has to share his shame, universalize it. Or else he will realize that he, alone, is the shameful one.

    Horowitz has to believe ALL leftists are aiders and abetters of murders, because he is an aider and abetter of murders. For the idea that ALL leftists are shameful abetters of murders is the source of his power. He has to share his shame, universalize it. Or else he will realize that he, alone, is the shameful one.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:11 PM
  12. Michael:
    You should be ashamed of yourself! Engaging in an intellectual battle with an obviously unarmed David Horowitz is like shooting fish in a barrel using an M-60 machine gun.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:13 PM
  13. Kotsko, about half of Richard Nixon’s speeches were simply variations on this very argument: “I am frankly shocked that you are baldly stating what I only intended to very strongly imply!  I thought you leftists were supposed to be all about ‘nuance’!”

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:13 PM
  14. Dammit, me too.  I’m proud to be on your side.  Same with Juan Cole, same with all the folks who’ve taken their valuable time to keep truth alive in Kansas classrooms.  Bless you all.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:18 PM
  15. Michael,

    Great stuff! But a little clumpy for my taste.

    Whorowitz was on Scarborough (don’t ask why I was watching) and was his usual arrogant, know-everything self. How can anyone argue one day that something is a quirk and then turn around the next day and defend it as logical? It boggles the mind. Remeber what Newt Gingrich once said: Let’s send the left back to the university’s where they belong. Now where are they going to send us, Broadway? Hollywood? Amsterdam?

    I am anxiously awaiting you to start indexing the right.

    And as an aside, now way you should have lost for Funniest Post in the Koufax Awards.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:21 PM
  16. Zarqawi and the Ayatollahs are actually far RIGHT, not far Left.  There is a long history of warfare (political and physical) between the Arab left and Islamic fundamentalists.

    Horowitz is playing a little 3-card monte with the facts here so he can smear people he doesn’t like.  But as I’ve said elsewhere, maybe all this attention just encourages him.  You know the type:  there was undoubtedly a kid in your fourth-grade class just like him.

    Posted by RJ Eskow  on  02/25  at  01:22 PM
  17. Who is this Horowitz prick to deserve this much attention?  Sorry if I’m beating upon a tired drum, but shit like this doesn’t need to be sniffed to know it’s rotten…

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/25  at  01:45 PM
  18. Using Horowitz’s leap of logic between radical Islam and the American Left as the basis for argument, I wonder how he would respond to the the suggestion that neo-Con philosophy of governance is indistinguishable from certain forms of European fascism (everything old is new again). And our damn trains don’t even run on time!

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  01:52 PM
  19. I will not read your blog again if you continue to omit any background colors or flower photos.  Too drab.

    See you behind the net, bro!

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  02:04 PM
  20. Michael,

    Excellent post!

    My favorite Horowitz Tick is when he cries foul at people “not engaging in intellectual arguments” or being “totally hysterical and illogical”.  You’d think someone who’s spent more time on college campuses than I have spent being alive would understand how “intellectual argument"(and especially logic) work.  Someone really ought to explain it to him.  You know, you make an assertion and then attempt to prove it using supporting facts - the method has been working great for close to 500 years.  He gripes in his autobiography that “the Left” in the 1960’s wasn’t as well read as he is.  Too bad all those high-falutin’ books he lists didn’t teach him the basics.  Maybe a little liberal education might have done him some good.

    Another of the many major problems with Horowitz is that he never stopped being a Stalnist.  Every argument he makes amounts to “YOU ARE BEING DISLOYAL TO THE PARTY!!!”.  Just because he left one party and went to the one up the block doesn’t change his basic outlook.

    Hitchens and Horowitz actually make a great pair now, which is sad.

    Posted by jayinbmore  on  02/25  at  02:05 PM
  21. Gravamen?

    I’m sure either Kamen Rider V-3 or Kikaider roundly defeated and humbled the gravamen for All Time when they reared their evil rubble-imbedded heads on Japan TV in the 70s.  Surely you must have, on that purged-leftover faculty over there, some erstwhile Japanese national of the correct age-group who can corroborate this.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  02:06 PM
  22. Hey! Don’t you be dissin’ ISHTAR like that!  The songs are actually quite good.  Maybe if Horowitz started singing songs complaining about the left… Or got Charles Grodin as his sidekick…

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  02:06 PM
  23. RJ Eskow beat me to it. how is radical islam considered far left? what a silly thing to say. you have to actually flip the line 180 degrees to get a clearer picture of ideology at work here. what we’re seeing played out on the global stage is two extreme “rightist” belief systems duking it out.

    i think what we have here is nostalgia for the good ‘ol days of kicking commie ass. the language is the same, the tactics are the same, the propaganda’s the same. “leftist, freedom-hating arabs” has the same ring to it as “leftist, freedom-hating commies.” why change a good thing?

    Posted by random  on  02/25  at  02:19 PM
  24. On O’Reilly I didn’t have time to explain all this and so I glossed over it because it was truer to say that I had to be invited by students

    In other words, he lied.  It wasn’t a misstatement (whoops!), it was a deliberate lie.  David Horowitz, redefining academic freedom!

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  02:26 PM
  25. Before we all get too excited about the rhetorical prowess and keen fashion sense of ‘smoove’ Mikey B, let me again remind readers that he is not yet on the Ho’s shit list. I still say he can’t do it within a month. Don’t forget that Horowitz put the ‘b’ in badass, and if necessary he’ll keep The Doctor off the list, if only to deprive him of the props his readers THINK he deserves.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  02:45 PM
  26. another lovely piece of writing, M.

    but it occurs to me that what is going on here with Horowitz and his ilk, is really just some middle-aged, semi-literate play-ground game of the “i know you are, but what am i? na na na” sort. albeit with possibly very serious consequences for some of us at some point down the road...like losing our jobs.

    i recall a great Tom Tomorrow cartoon on this from a ways back, actually. in essence, EVERY debate between the “left” and the “right” follows the same script:

    RIGHT: the sky is green.

    LEFT: no, the sky is not green. look, you can see that it is not green. here is what green looks like, here is what the sky loo--

    RIGHT: that doesn’t even matter because it isn’t even the main issue, the real issue is that you are an antelope.

    LEFT: what?

    RIGHT: and antelopes clearly have always supported the forces of Evil.

    LEFT: how are antelopes evil? that doesn’t even make sense! i can’t be an antelope, i don’t even have hooves, i--

    RIGHT: but you admit that the sky is green, right?


    and on and on. the “left” keeps making the mistake that these people have some intention of being logical or rational, and really they just do not care.

    they are not using rationality or logic to win elections or drive the public discourse, they are using gut-level emotions. all the “debate” is meant to do is to keep the “left” busy, and hopefully also to make them look “out of touch with America” or “flip-floppity” or whatever might impress the base.

    so, of course Horowitz abandons his “format quirks” less than 48 hours after he offered that as an explanation. all he needs to do is be righteous and indignant and make a lot of noise. he doesn’t have to make ANY sense whatsoever. you can tell by his tone that his minions are sending him plenty of jack-booted affirmation of what a genious he is and how he is kicking so much liberal ass now.

    how do we counter this? it’s like arguing with drunks or crazy people.

    probably i should close with something from Alice in Wonderland here…


    Posted by Librarian  on  02/25  at  03:07 PM
  27. It’s clear that the “quirk in the format, an entirely innocent feature of the site” was by design to provoke outrage and therefore bring attention to the most important person in David Horowitz’ world. Lacking an 8"+ Gannon and a digital camera, this was his plan B.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:11 PM
  28. I fully agree with Librarian.  What the left needs to do is DEFINE a positive agenda.  We can’t win by being the anti-right.

    And that means that the Democratic leadershit needs to be able to tell the world why abortion is moral, and be able to voice a clear, concise statement of values.

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/25  at  03:12 PM
  29. Librarian, love your analogy...very good
    Michael, love your new look, so left wing/islamo-facist.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:15 PM
  30. Random thoughts on Horowitz:

    1) The guy is obviously an obsessive personality, something nourished in part during his childhood (I believe he practically brags he was raised by card-carrying Communists). When the whole thing blew up with the Panthers killing someone, well, he had to find a new cause in which to blindly believe. Which, of course, undermines any claims he might make to “rational argument.”

    2) There’s probably more than a little shame/guilt for his distant complicity in a murder perpetrated by the panthers. By identifying them with “the left” and then doing his damndest to discredit and destroy “the left,” he’s found a penance he can feel good about. Again, another reason to smirk at any of his claims to mounting an intellectual argument.

    3) I’m always amused by his passing remarks that academics don’t take him seriously as a bona-fide intellectual in his own right. This has less to do with the political thrust of his beliefs than his perception that academics look at him and say to themselves “Really, he’s not that bright.” Rather than engaging in a rational debate, his tactics lean more towards crying foul and blaming political bias. It’s really quite childish, and it’s kind of funny to watch Horowitz squirm when he gets needled on bona fide intellectual and educational points where he has no ground to stand on. Here’s one example I still remember:


    4) Has this guy ever proven himself at anything that would justify his current self-appointed position as an expert on political and intellectual trends in the academy? If I recall correctly, he dropped out of graduate school and wrote for a radical publication whose intellectual standards were not the same as the academic journals where all those evil freedom-hatin’ liberal faculty cut their teeth. It seems all his support comes from right-wing foundations that will throw money at almost anything that cries “liberals are evil.” All of which probably feeds his continued insecurity.

    Ah, I’ve wasted enough time on this putz.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:30 PM
  31. About Horowitz: I first heard him carry on about the liberals who kept on censoring him with their Stalinist Political Correctness on KCRW, which was basically Liberalism Central. “Well, he’s obviously guilted management into inviting him,” I thought. Later, I heard (and saw) him turn up in other places, always with the same kvetch: those brainwashed commie liberals wouldn’t listen to him speak, he would intone, from one nominally liberal pulpit after another. It took me a while to realize that when Horowitz comes into a room full of liberals, the only Stalinist in the room is himself. Just imagine a President Horowitz, and think of the show trials and detention camps we’d have. And, oddly enough, affirmative action for conservative academics.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:45 PM
  32. David Horowitz is the personification of the paranoid style in American politics and it’s fruitless to engage with him. He cannot be persuaded of anything nor can evidence or logic and penetrate his ideological straightjacket. He is the political equivalent of a man wearing a tin-foil hat to keep out the voices. 

    I fail to understand why anyone ever responds to anything he says. He’s crazy and trying to reason with crazy people is fruitless. Moreover, every time someone responds to another of his paranoic accusations, they amplify his soapbox, increasing the spread of the paranoia virus. If folks simply ignored him, he would eventually go away. After all, those who fund him would stop subsidizing his delusions if no one responded and amplified his message. As it is, he’s a useful tool for them because the left continues to legitimize his accusations by responding to them instead of laughing them off as the fantasies of a deranged mind that they are.

    Horowitz is so nuts; he should be a joke. The only reason he isn’t laughed out of the room is because people who should know better continue to engage with him as though he worthy of anyone’s attention.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:49 PM
  33. Ryan--

    i was actually thinking we would do best if we could convince folks that voting Democrat would make them rich and skinny, and that it would save the lives of their children and old people from evil wolves, because that is the level of argument that the Republicans have been using effectively.

    for an actual, rational platform to work against that...i don’t know. we’d be listing the sub-points to our debt reduction or whatever plan, while they are shouting “FREE COOKIES!” and “LOOKOUT! TERRARISTS GOT YOUR BABY!”

    for the platform to beat free cookies, the electorate would have to be able and willing to become educated about the issues, and to face difficult choices in the present in order to preserve the future. it’s kind of like trying to run on the promise to RAISE taxes.

    so, vote Democrat & lose 10 pounds in one week!!!

    ask me how i did it!!! you can also earn EXTRA $$$ in your spare time @ home!!! just ask these people who tried it!!! 1-800-VOTEDEM!!!


    Posted by Librarian  on  02/25  at  03:59 PM
  34. and what is it with the Moore obsession, anyway?

    Michael, you don’t spend much time reading other sites’ comment threads, do you?

    Every good wingnut knows that simply invoking the name of The Evil One will reduce one’s America-hating enemies to quivering jelly.


    And for those really stubborn stains, where simply going “Michael Moore Michael Moore Michael Michael Moore Moore Moore! QED!” is insufficient, you can go into hyperdrive by pointing out that Michael Moore is fat. That does it every time.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  04:18 PM
  35. Well, I think Kerry lost to the weakest republican candidate in known history for two reasons: a. he couldn’t justify his record (or wouldn’t, for idiotic political reasons) and b. when he did try to define an agenda he talked down to the american public.  His behavior in the last few weeks of the election warranted a drumming.

    Democrats could pay for a whole lot of social programs simply by pulling out of Iraq.  When we can find more people (like Dean) to challenge the morality of the Iraq war we will be heading in the right direction.

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/25  at  04:22 PM
  36. Ruth Alice,

    I don’t think the problem is that liberals or intellectuals continue to engage Horowitz and thereby legitimize him. Such engagements inevitably leave him looking like a twit and are few and far between compared to the real problem: that people keep paying him money to do his shtick, and politicians and pundits give him a forum as though he is legitimate. The problem in Ohio, Colorado, Georgia, etc. isn’t that Horowitz engaged faculty in a debate about his Academic Bill of Rights, or that during the “reparations ad” fiasco he sat down to roundtables around the nation. It’s that he got some whiny kids to complain about bias in the classroom (why else would the prof use a RED!!!!! pen to deduct points for split infinitives, slipshod arguments, and wrong answers?) or paid a newspaper to publish an ad (knowingly putting the staffs of 18-22 year old editors in a bind), and then went on to work with sympathetic Republican state legislaters who are less interested in ensuring educational quality than they are in advancing a political/ideological agenda. Then he goes on Fox News and whines about he’s “forced” to do this because the evil liberal universities won’t accept his Academic Bill of Rights, or inflammatory newspaper advertisement, or his catalogue of incidents of bias that reduce to hearsay, or his credentials as a real former member of the left, or.....etc. It’s kind of like the “debate” over evolution and intelligent design: creationists go to the pundits and politicians while real scientists, who kind of, um, know what they’re talking about, say “you have to be kidding me.”

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  04:27 PM
  37. In all seriousness, why does anyone pay any attention to Horowitz?  The guy is a clown.  The way to deal with clowns is to ignore them.

    Posted by Toast  on  02/25  at  04:30 PM
  38. What up with the new picture?  Looks like Napolean-of-the-Laundry.

    Also you seem to be aging rapidly.

    Posted by Max  on  02/25  at  04:48 PM
  39. That Laundry are the Gates...Is the Gates....hummm...the first time i heard fo the Gates, i thought they were talking about Bill Gates and couldn’t figure out what he was doing hanging in Central Park....drugs maybe?

    I am so culturally backward in this great state of Colorado...after all, we tried to get that damn ABOR passed to be a bookend piece for TABOR.  Since Horotwitz’s ABOR didn’t get made into a law, Horowitz now has the Campus Republicans sitting in on classes wearing brown shirts and keeping track of red pens and tattling on the teacher if a dirty word like “liberal”, “academic freedom” or maybe “Bush is dead wrong” or “David Horowitz doesn’t understand the Constitution of the US” fall from the lips of said teacher.  Now that the Republicans are in a minority in the State Legislature, they are reduced to writing idiotic editorials in the Rocky Mountain News whining about liberal oppression and vile academics like our own Ward Churchill who of course speaks for all liberals and academics in the state…

    In terms of lunacy, Churchill and Horowitz deserve each other.  Only, no one threatened Horowitz with losing his job because he opened his mouth and said stupid things.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  05:08 PM
  40. Know I know why you posted up the picture of you in the leather jacket… you were getting your Hell’s Angels mojo working to kick a little Horowitz ass! 

    So much for the kinder, gentler bay-ruh-bay.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  05:15 PM
  41. Not only is Horowitz a Stalinist McCarthyite dirtbag, he is clinically insane.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  05:33 PM
  42. The new picture is just to convince Horowitz to put you in The Network, ain’t it? Admit it, Berube, this is a stab at your own personal shirtless-Kennedy photo.

    ...I’m sorry, what was the rest of this post about? I tried to read it, but it seems I’m unwilling to join the intellectual argument. (Boy, that Teddy Kennedy shore is FAT, ain’t he? Har har)

    Posted by Alex  on  02/25  at  06:52 PM
  43. This may come as a shock to many of Mr. Horowitz’s readers, even to Mr. Horowitz himself, but it should be said nonetheless. The Ayatollah Khomeini is, in fact, dead. If he were alive, he would no doubt have issued a fatwa againts Mr. Horowitz for lumping him in with all these other weirdoes. I rest my case.

    Posted by Kate Vasey  on  02/25  at  06:57 PM
  44. P.S. I’m a bit upset that I got left off Mr. Horowitz’s hate-list, actually. I bet I’m more of a lefty than Barbara Streisand. I used to have a Che Guevara poster, me. Long Live Senator McCarthy! Oh, right, he’s dead too? Well excuse me!

    Posted by Kate Vasey  on  02/25  at  07:02 PM
  45. Good point, Kate.

    Further, Dave Brower, featured on the site under Environmentalists, is also dead. I used to work for Dave Brower, so logically I also worked for Khomeini. (Dammit Horowitz, put me in your zoo!)

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/25  at  07:02 PM
  46. napoleon-of-the-laundry

    Here I thought you had a Matrix obsession.

    Posted by Ms. Not Together  on  02/25  at  07:24 PM
  47. David Horowitz is such an idiot. It was an ice axe, the kind that mountain climbers use, that was used to kill Trotsky. And, Stalin didn’t kill Trotsky himself he had a hit man do it. the record is clear, Horowitz just isn’t good at getting the facts right.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  07:38 PM
  48. (David “Duke") “Horowitz just isn’t good at getting the facts right.”

    It was good enough back when he was one of J. Edgar’s COINTELPRO-phylactics…

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  07:58 PM
  49. Michael, I thought the term they just designated at the MLA convention was the “Sorta Far Left”?

    Posted by Susie from Philly  on  02/25  at  08:35 PM
  50. Why not “near Left,” parallel with “Near East”? 

    I mean, obviously even “near Left” would be an ocean away from mainstream, good ol’ American values!  Like the “Near East”!  Plus, Americans are already conquering the “Near East”!  This just gets better as I mindlessly continue typing.

    Posted by Adam Kotsko  on  02/25  at  08:47 PM
  51. I don’t really care about Mr. Horowitz and the Black Panthers because the real rant is the cry of the Frat Boy right that now wants to settle scores with all those 60’s types that ignored them.  Look at the president. Yale legacy, frat boy, Bones, cheerleader and from what I understand no one gave a shit.  Hell, Gary Trudeau was a bigger Man on Campus!  It just wasn’t fair!  Now the natural order has been restored!  And Davy gets to be the hammer that these folks can use to demolish the ones that made them look bad in class while they struggled to get a “gentleman’s C.” Consider the recent dust-up between Jonah Goldberg and Juan Cole.  How dare Prof. Cole put Jonah down for not reading any books on Iraq!  His opinions were valid because, well because!  And when you examine a lot of the complaints of leftist bias in the classroom it usually turns out to be a case of some student spouting off with no facts and shaky argumentation skills as well.  Well those days are over, nerdss are being put back in their place and turncoats like Hitchens and Horowitz will lead the charge!

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  08:49 PM
  52. But of course Bérubé and Gitlin and academics like them inhabit a monolithic academic universe where they don’t have to answer their critics because they’ve effectively purged them from the faculties of the universities they so gracelessly dominate.

    I always love this argument.  The Republicans own the White House, Congress, the media, 90% of the corporations and they still get their knickers in a knot because the Democrats run the History Department.

    Posted by Dee  on  02/25  at  11:46 PM
  53. I dunno.  I don’t really know that much about Horowitz.  Judging the guy by what you’ve quoted, I’d have to say he’s looking for friends in all the wrong places and blaming everyone else in sight for not finding any. Pues por lo menos,ese ¿como se llama? Churchill tiene cojones.

    Dee: They need—desperately—for us not just to lose power politically but to agree with them.  They feel badly abused because here we are looking rosy cheeked and talking disrespectfully about their leadership.  They’re not at all comfortable with democracy!!

    Posted by PW  on  02/26  at  12:28 AM
  54. Why do the right wingers hate Michael Moore?  Becaue he is fat?  Nay, it is becuase he uses their polemics and twists them to smack them on the bottom smartly, and not only that he is smarter than they are.  There is nothing right wingers hate more than people who are smarter than they are, which is about 60% of the population.  Witness Horowitz’s diatribes againt the innocent and illustrious Michael Berube, no relation of the fat Michael Moore, they just happen to have the same FIRST NAME which makes them part of the SAME NETWORK, hence communists by affiliation and neonazi/islamo-fascist/liberals to boot.

    I mean, either Michael is smarter than David.  There are no SMART right wing Michaels, certainly not smarter than DAVIDs.

    I will now shut up.  Thank you.

    Posted by Carol  on  02/26  at  12:28 AM
  55. See, this intellectual argumentin’ works better if you use precise language.

    I wouldn’t call Horowitz a “member” of the far left either. I’d call him a “groupie” or “hanger-on” of the far left.

    For some reason he seems to think that his truly hideous moral judgment and his noisy conversion are some sort of an indictment of the left.

    Perhaps it would if he hadn’t been in the barely-occupied radical fringe then and if there were any evidence that his judgment had since improved. He’s just found a new fringe that lets him try to revenge himself on people who unfairly leapfrogged him in public intellectualness while he was busy writing misty fan mail to thugs.

    He didn’t leave the party. The party left him. About five years before he got the message.

    Posted by julia  on  02/26  at  01:32 AM
  56. At The All–Night Right Cafe

    Hmm, let’s see. I’ll have the… uhm, I’ll have the… gravamen.

    I’m afraid it’s a little insubstantial tonight, sir.

    That’s ok. Just scramble it.

    Scrambled? Ah. Yes sir. Did you want the gravitas with that? No, of course not. Scrambled gravamen. Coming right up.

    Posted by  on  02/26  at  12:43 PM
  57. "it’s good to see that David’s been reading this blog for a while now.  It was hard work– hard, hard work– purging the English department of its legions of tweedy, meerschaum-chomping Irving Babbitt fans, and then wiping out all the Horowitz moles infesting our graduate program.”

    You joke, but when David Horowitz came to Stanford he told stories not unlike the ones you made up in your joke-post. Like the prospective Asian Studies professor who was taken out for a getting-to-know-you dinner and gotten drunk and accidentally let slip that he thought there might be something to school vouchers. The prospective professor, Horowitz reports, was immediately dismissed.

    Posted by Aaron Swartz  on  02/26  at  12:47 PM
  58. "Immediately dismissed”? From the dinner? Like, during which course?

    Posted by  on  02/26  at  01:04 PM
  59. Horowitz and his fellow travelers aren’t taken seriously by academics because they do shoddy intellectual work and no original research. There is certain snobbishness on the part of academics toward people in government, the non-profit sector, etc., although competent academics usually recognize competent colleagues from outside the academy. (NB: I’ve been an academic and have worked in government and the nonprofit sector, so I’ve seen all sides of this). Horowitz and company are simply so far beyond even academic hackwork as to be ludicrous.

    BTW, for all the talk about Moore’s looks, it’s not difficult to notice that many right wingers seem to be pasty-faced fat guys with bad comb overs (e.g., Rove, Gingrich). If one wants to get into that kind of argument, then the wingers really can’t let themselves be caught calling the kettle black.

    Posted by  on  02/26  at  01:13 PM
  60. From David Ives:


    TROTSKY: Funny. I always thought it was an ice pick.

    MRS. TROTSKY: A mountain-climber’s axe! A mountain-climber’s axe! CAN’T YOU GET THAT THROUGH YOUR SKULL?

    (Trotsky dies. Bell.)

    Posted by slacktivist  on  02/26  at  03:00 PM
  61. I’m delighted to see Michael & all the commenters here ‘taking on’ David Horowitz.  It is a conundrum as to how seriously he deserves to be engaged considering the utter lunacy of most of his ideas & arguments.  But as an earlier commenter noted, if you don’t you run the risk of going the way of Kerry in the face of the Swift boaters.

    I write a blog much of which is devoted to the issue of Mideast peace.  Frontpagemagazine, Horowitz’s online mouthpiece (or one of them anyway) just published a hatchet job on a group I belong to, Brit Tzedek, saying basically it’s a front for anti-Zionist Jew/Israel haters.  In the Horowitz universe, if you criticize Israel coming from a Zionist perspective, then you’re the same as Al Qaeda.  Interesting approach that lies squarely in the intellectual twilight zone of illogic.

    For anyone who’s interested in reading more on this, the link to my name will take you to my post.

    Posted by Richard Silverstein  on  02/27  at  04:12 AM
  62. “In all seriousness, why does anyone pay any attention to Horowitz?  The guy is a clown.  The way to deal with clowns is to ignore them.”

    This is true only if you don’t mind being loaded into a cattle car and sent to the extermination camp. The 20th century was a parade of clownish mass murderers.  The people who laughed at Stalin’s boorish nonsense, or the silly uniforms of the SA, or the nonsensical ravings of the interarahamwe or those losers in pointy white hats often ended up on mass graves. Clowns who get sponsored by the powerful are both dangerous in themselves and signifiers of a collapse of the social contract. When the elites protect and promote a clown like Horowitz, the Turner’s diary people are not far behind.

    Posted by  on  02/27  at  12:04 PM
  63. To compare Horowitz to a nazi is a bit far, isn’t it?

    To attack those who run against the wind of moral government is no bad thing, but to do so without having defined “moral government” is just whining, what?

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/27  at  04:28 PM
  64. To assume that Horowitz is a harmless clown, unlike all those sig-heiling failed academics in Wiemar or the Serbian nationalist “intellectuals” is to firmly clap hands over eyes and hope it made the monster go away.

    Posted by  on  02/27  at  07:28 PM
  65. If A wants X
    And B wants X and the mass murder of U.S. citizens
    Does A necessarily favor mass murder?

    c)yes, only if “A“‘s are Democrats
    d)yes, only if “A“‘s are Democrats or French

    Posted by mrkmyr  on  02/27  at  08:31 PM
  66. Whoa there Chris!

    You mean that Dave Brower and the Ayatollah Khomeini are both dead? There must be some kind of conspiracy going on,surely? What is this, the Twilight Zone?

    By the way, mrkmyr, I’d forget about Franco-American relations for the next century or two if I were you. We still haven’t forgive the UK for Agincourt and the Hundred-Years-War. Putains de rosbif!

    Kate Vasey

    Posted by Kate Vasey  on  03/04  at  06:21 PM
  67. I also responded to a dKos diary with these comments:

    In 1968 I had a right-wing professor I fought with throughout my high-school American history class.  On the final, he demanded an essay on this topic: “Name and describe five things the United States has done to stop the spread of communism since WWII.” Though I thought he would fail me for it, I wrote instead about how US attempts to stop the “spread” of communism were hurting the US.  I expected the teacher to fail me--and I would have accepted the grade. 
    He didn’t fail me.  Though I hated him throughout the year, I still appreciate that he was honest in his views, and could honestly evaluate a presentation of an opposing view.  I learned a great deal in his class, even though I thought (and still think) his views were idiotic.

    See, education is really the responsibility of the student.  If the professor is honest about where she or he stands, then the student can learn, no matter the disagreements.  Horowitz is trying to scare teachers from expressing their views, driving them underground.  When that happens, we will no longer be able to learn from those we disagree with.  And the loss will be all of ours.

    Like the vast majority of left-leaning professors, I argue with my right-leaning students, challenging them, trying to get them to step outside of the box of their preconceptions.  They may hate me as much as I hated my high-school history teacher.  Fine.  I will still treat them honestly, just as I was treated.  And my colleagues will do the same.

    When that happens, real education happens.

    Horowitz’s crusade is setting out to destroy education by muzzling opinions not like his own, by intimidating professors--even to the extent of planting students in classes so that they can complain about the professors.

    What he is doing is against everything this country stands for.

    Why, why does America not turn its back on him?

    Posted by Aaron Barlow  on  03/17  at  05:05 PM
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    Posted by ubogvomm  on  01/01  at  03:49 AM
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    Posted by oirzgelz  on  01/05  at  04:31 PM





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