Keith Olbermann Cuts Through Republican Rhetoric of Supporting Freedom


Keith Olbermann calls on George Bush to apologize to the nation, not just for his failed policies but for violating the principles the principles of freedom which this country represents:

In a larger sense, the President needs to regain our confidence, that he has some basic understanding of what this country represents — of what it must maintain if we are to defeat not only terrorists, but if we are also to defeat what is ever more increasingly apparent, as an attempt to re-define the way we live here, and what we mean, when we say the word “freedom.”

Because it is evident now that, if not its architect, this President intends to be the contractor, for this narrowing of the definition of freedom.

Olbermann reminds viewers that George Bush has violated the principles of the Founding Fathers of this nation:

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”

Those incendiary thoughts came, of course, from a prior holder of your job, Mr. Bush.

They were the words of Thomas Jefferson.

He put them in the Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Bush, what would you say to something that anti-thetical to the status quo just now?

Would you call it “unacceptable” for Jefferson to think such things, or to write them?

Between your confidence in your infallibility, sir, and your demonizing of dissent, and now these rages better suited to a thwarted three-year old, you have left the unnerving sense of a White House coming unglued – a chilling suspicion that perhaps we have not seen the peak of the anger; that we can no longer forecast what next will be said to, or about, anyone who disagrees.

Or what will next be done to them.

The present crisis in our democracy reminds us a lot of Watergate with one important difference. During Watergate the media frequently reported on Richard Nixon’s crimes until he was forced to resign. Since then the fairness doctrine has been eliminated and the media has been consolidated under generally conservative ownership, quieting most voices of dissent in the media. The supposedly liberal media reported every step of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but until recently kept quiet about Bush’s misdeeds.

I am pleased to see that Keith Olbermann is not only speaking out about the specifics of Bush’s actions, but the general principles which have been violated. Far too often, liberals have allowed the right wing noise machine to use words like freedom in an Orwellian fashion as they have violated. It is important that supporters of freedom stand up to show that the Republicans have fallen under the control of authoritarians who have no support for freedom. Similarly we must show that, despite their rhetoric, Republican support for corporate welfare is opposite to the prinicples of capitalism, and that the Republicans are the ones who have cut and run every step of the way, refusing virtually every Democratic recommendation, to keep the country safe from terrorism.

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10 Comments

  1. 1
    insatiable yucca says:

    this is the same guy that compared the bush administration to between wars fascisms, isn’t it? he blew it, you must find another source…

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Before saying he “blew it” I’d need to see his actual statement (as opposed to how sometihng he said might have been distorted in the conservative blogosphere).

  3. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    As suspected tihs is a total mischaracterization of what Olbermann was saying. It was Rumsfeld who brought up the Nazi era, and Olbermann was right in condemning Rumsfeld for his intolerance of dissent. Olbermann also quotes Edward R. Murrow. That puts him in pretty good company.

  4. 5
    insatiable yucca says:

    did u actually watch the video i sent you??? the following three sentences were spoken by olbermann:

    – america is barely a democracy

    – the bush administration has achieved the destruction of our freedom

    – this country faces a new kind of fascism (referred to the bush administration)

  5. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Yes I watched, and read the transcript.

    You are misquoting Olbermann and distorting what he is saying. You are basically doing the same thing he is accusing Rumsfeld of doing in his attack on dissent.

    For example, Olbermann did not say “america is barely a democracy.” He said:

    “This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely. And as such, all voices count – not just his.” In the context in which it was said, responding to Rumsfeld’s attack on dissent, this is appropriate.

    He did not say “the bush administration has achieved the destruction of our freedom” He said:

    “The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this Administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.”

    It was Rumsfeld who used the phrase “new kind of fascism” which puts a totally different meaning on it when Olbermann turns it around to oppose Rumsfeld’s opposition to dissent.

  6. 7
    insatiable yucca says:

    the two you contectualized dont sound any different to me after you put the whole sentence around them. and the third, you did not actually deny that olbermann talked of the bush administration as a new kind of fascism.

  7. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    The meaning is quite different from what you alleged. I suspect you realized that too or you wouldn’t have given a list of phoney quotes preceeded by “the following three sentences were spoken by olbermann” If Olbermann had really said anything wrong you would have quoted him rather than giving a twisted version of what he said.

    As I noted above “a new kind of fascism” was a quote from Rumsfeld. Olbermann’s use of analogies to the Nazi era means something totally different when he is quoting Rumsfeld as opposed to if he had brought it up on his own.

    You cherry picked references to Nazis to attack Olbermann and misrepresent what he actually said. Olbermann was primarily comparing the Bush Administration to Neville Chamberlain:

    “Thus did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy excepting the fact that he has the battery plugged in backwards.His government, absolute and exclusive in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis. It is the modern version of the government… of Neville Chamberlain.”

    The comparison was for both opposition to dissent and believing they had all the answers, being unwilling to listen to others:

    “That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the acts. It, too, had the secret information. It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s – questioning their intellect and their morality.”

    Of course this is far less dramatic than to cherry pick a few words out of context to make it look like Olbermann is saying something entirely different from what he said.

  8. 9
    insatiable yucca says:

    you must decide: am i cherry pickin this guy’s words or am i twisting them?

    i dont think we are understanding each other on the last of the three sentences in question: im not claiming that the guy is, when he speaks of ‘a new kind of fascism’, actually comparing the bush administration to nazi germany. my only claim is that the guy does refer to the bush administration when he says ‘new kind of fascism’.

    two things: i only need this weaker, second claim in order to say, as i did at the beginning, that that’s the guy that compared america to between wars fascism. second, you still haven’t denied the claim of mine in question

  9. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    You are both cherry picking and twisting Olbermann’s words at various points. Regardless of how you want to classify it, you are misrepresenting what he said.

    The claim that Olbermann is comaparing America to fascism is a distortion of Olbermann’s commentary. Sure you could find a grain of truth in it, but it is a dishonest half-truth to describe it as you did. Saying someone is making comparisons to Nazi Germany gives the wrong impression unless the specifiics and context are given. You went out of your way to distort the specifics.

    These attacks on Olbermann are rather meaningless as he said nothing wrong. They appear to simply be a means to distract attention from Rumsfeld’s statements which were totally inappropriate for a cabinet secretary in a democracy.

    Olbermann’s primary comparison was to Neville Chamberlain, not to Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany only came up because Rumsfeld, whose speech he was referring to, made such references. Olbermann was specific in his comparisons, such as suppression of dissent, and not making any claims that the Bush Administration shared the other traits of Nazi Germany.

    Bottom line is that Olbermann’s commentary was a valid response to Rumsfeld’s speech. It only contained references to Nazi Germany and fascism as Rumsfeld brought up the topic. My objection is to Rumsfeld’s intoleration of dissent, while Olbermann said nothing wrong.

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