Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Throw Terry McAuliffe Down The Well!

I had hoped to stay away from this story, but a much better blogger than I, Ben Tribbet at NLS, called out the blog, Too Conservative, which according to Ben works for Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, for what he claims is an anti-Semitic rant.

Good for him for doing so.

The essence of Ben’s case is the fact that Too Conservative castigated Terry McAuliffe for taking money from Haim Saban on the basis of no other evidence whatsoever than the fact that Saban is Jewish, which is basically what they did.

Not just that, but the people at Too Conservative assert:
Terry McAuliffe … should immediately denounce Saban and return all of his contributions, and maybe not plan so many fundraisers in Hollywood

What, then, is Saban’s crime that makes him so toxic?

Actually, none that has been proved. Congresswoman Jane Harmon was apparently picked up on a wiretap of an “Israeli Agent“ some time ago allegedly making a deal that she would intervene on behalf of two accused Israeli “spies” (that’s a whole other story, by the way, but I’ll leave it at that for now) if another, unidentified person, would lobby Nancy Pelosi to make Harmon chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee.

First, it is unclear that any action was actually taken as a result.

Second, it is unclear that even if some action was taken, it was illegal.

Third, the reason this is coming to light now is because the CIA is pushing back against the Obama Administration for actually saying that torture is wrong. So, it is entirely possible that the real crime is the CIA compromising an intelligence asset for political purposes.

But we can leave all that behind and move on, because our focus is the Old Dominion.

For a variety of reasons, a couple of national bloggers jumped to the conclusion (since corrected) that this supposed “Israeli Agent” who was the subject of the wiretap is Haim Saban, a media billionaire who is a long-time contributor to Democratic causes and candidates and, appropos of absolutely nothing, also happens to be among the most generous of philanthropic families in the United States.

And one of the candidates he has been generous to has been Terry McAuliffe, to the tune of some $250K.

From there, Too Conservative infers all sorts of nefarious connections from Terry McAuliffe to, as Too Conservative describes it, “a pro-AIPAC lobbyist who attempted to use his extreme wealth to elevate a Congressman to a position where she could reduce charges of espionage against the United States of America.”

And from there it is a short trip to, “No wonder Terry McAuliffe is the most disliked of any candidate for Governor.” No wonder, indeed. He associates with Jews! He takes our money!

Actually, I don’t know the folks who run the website Too Conservative, and so I’m not in any position to look into their souls and call them anti-Semites.

But some of the language in their post, specifically, the allusion to “Hollywood,” the pejorative characterization of Saban as “pro-AIPAC,” the reference to the previously identified Jewish man’s ”exrteme wealth,” and, frankly, just the glee and rhetorical ease with which Too Conservative makes this argument, ought to at least give them pause. Intentionally or not, this post traffics in anti-Semitic imagery and seems just a little too smug to me.

Meanwhile, too my new friends at Too Conservative, I offer up this as a peace offering. Enjoy, fellas, and feel free to sing along at your computer monitor. No one will ever know.


  1. Aznew, Saban was identified by both the Washington Post and New York Times as being a major pro-AIPAC lobbyist. That is fact, without comment or opinion. And the "allusion to Hollywood" is because Saban's incredible wealth is due to his status as a film mogul. His religion and ethnicity is completely irrelevent, which is why I made no mention of it in my post.

    Ben's minimization of actual anti-Semitism in an effort to distract from the story here is troubling, but I was hoping Ben was the only irrational person to actually buy that this is some racist rant. I am fully prepared to discuss the actual facts of the matter if you are.

  2. Exactly. The only fact we know about Saban is that he is a pro-AIPAC donor. The rest of this story is already being walked back, or, at best, has been aggresively and categorically denied.

    So, in the end you saying that it is "no wonder Terry McAuliffe is the most disliked of any candidate for Governor," and that he should return Saban's donation and "denounce" based on the only actual fact in this case, that Saban is a pro-AIPAC lobbyist. Okay, you don't actually identify him as Jewish, so your post leaves open the possibility that he is that rare bird - a goyisha billionare supporter of AIPAC with a Hebrew name.

    And, so you know where I am coming from, I don't support AIPAC(in the Israeli political spectrum, I'd probably fall somewhere in the more liberal side of Kadima), and I'm not a supporter of McAuliffe (I support Creigh).

    Also, I don't know you, and I tried hard not to call you names or characterize you as a person. I like Too Conservative, and you guys seem fairly intelligent for right wingers ( :)), so I don't think for a minute you were consciously trying to write an anti-Semitic rant. I wouldn't even characterize the post that way, but I do think the language and the mere fact that it was written is worthy of consideration in this context.

    If you wish to discuss further off-line, feel free to write - aznew@comcast.net

  3. No, I'm not interested in continuing this offline.

    The other fact we know about Saban is that NSA wiretaps picked up on a conversation between a Congressman and someone else where they said Saban could be used to lobby Pelosi by cutting off funds in order to get Harman appointed chair of the Intelligence Committee.

    It wouldn't matter if Saban was from Israel or Australia. The problem Ben has, and for some reason you're following down that line, is you assume any of this has to do *because* he's Jewish. That's just absolutely not the case. This is a major Congressional scandal, and it's been reported by the New York Times and Washington Post. That's what seperates Saban from any other donor in this race.

  4. NSA wiretaps of American citizens are illegal. They were illegal in 2005 when the conversation supposedly took place. Disclosing the contents of such a conversation would also have been illegal. Further, all parties involved (Pelosi, Harman, Saban) have vigorously denied that anything of the sort has ever happened.

    Dragging out an old, denounced rumor is exactly how the right wing spin machine loves to work. You attack a person directly if you can't attack them on the issue. You then discredit their associates, if you can't discredit them. Haven't we had enough of this kind of politics? I know the voters certainly have! If you don't think so, please keep it up. I'll be happy to take a Democratic victory in November.

  5. Dan - I'm not sure if that addressed to me or Too Conservative, but I agree with you.

    I think this whole story is BS. The question is whether it gains some menacing connotations because it involves that "pro-AIPAC lobbyist" who is using his "extreme wealth" to, in so many words, undermine justice (even tho this so called espionage case is total BS and probably will not stabnd 1st Amendment scrutiny).

  6. Yes, it's all the bidding of those nefarious agents of the vaunted right-wing smear machine, the New York Times and the Washington Post, who reported the story.

    All I did was repost the story and say McAuliffe should return the money. If McAuliffe doesn't want to, then he can explain why not if people ask.