Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: October 2009

More Renovations Afoot

No need to watch your step, folks … the surface changes are minor and shouldn’t cause any big trouble … but I’ve done a bit of remodeling behind the scenes here to better serve you, our valued patrons.

Specifically, I’ve finally finished porting my heavily customized blog template to Blogger’s newer “Layouts” format. The process was about as fun as it sounds, but part of the payoff is that I can now classify my posts using “labels” (a.k.a. “tags”) for your surfing and post-discovery convenience.

This of course means I have a new job to do (isn’t it neat how that works?) — choosing appropriate tag set, and going back and tagging all of my old posts. I’m only partway through that, with most of 2007 through 2009 left to go, so the categories aren’t yet complete (though “9/11” is mostly there already), but note that you can now discover posts on related topics using the “Labels” links that appear at the end of each post and under the “About Me” box in the right sidebar. (You may now welcome me to the early 21st century. Thank you.)

I’ll of course be tagging new posts as I go from now on, and I hope to finish tagging the rest of the old ones soon.

That’s it. Please let me know if you run into any problems during the bringup, including posts that seem misclassified. — Thanks!

The Management

Anita Dunn, Maoist in the White House

What possible place could there be for an ardent admirer of Mao Zedong in the United States government? White House Communications Director, apparently. Madness.

At Say Anything, via Instapundit:

How can any high-level American political official seriously cite Mao as a favorite political philosopher and not be driven from office immediate with jeers and derision?

Mao was a mass murder. A tyrant and a dictator whose teachings amount to a cruel ideology that murdered tens of millions and oppressed hundreds of millions more.

Obama needs to explain to us why someone like Dunn is serving in his administration.

Nick Gillespie at Reason (also via Instapundit):

I admit it. I want my reality back. I don’t know when it went missing. But I want it back.

Victor Davis Hanson (thanks again, Glenn):

I am not a big fan of saying that officials should resign for stupid remarks. But interim White House communications director Anita Dunn’s praise of Mao Zedong as a “political philosopher” is so unhinged and morally repugnant, that she should hang it up, pronto.

Mao killed anywhere from 50 million to 70 million innocents in the initial cleansing of Nationalists, the scouring of the countryside, the failed Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, Tibet, and the internal Chinese gulag. Dunn’s praise of a genocidal monster was no inadvertent slip: She was reading from a written text and went into great detail to give the full context of the remark. Moreover, her comments were not some student outburst from 30 years ago; they were delivered on June 5, 2009. Her praise of Mao’s insight and courage in defeating the Nationalists was offered long after the full extent of Mao’s mass-murdering had been well documented. Mao killed more people than any other single mass killer in the history of civilization.

So where do all these people, so intimate with our president (Dunn is the wife of his personal lawyer), come from? A right-wing attack machine could not make up such statements as those tossed off by a Dunn or a Van Jones. There seems to be neither a moral compass nor even a casual knowledge of history in this administration. And now we have the avatars of the “new politics” claiming it’s okay to praise Mao’s political and philosophical insight and his supposed determination (“You fight your war, and I’ll fight mine”) because Lee Atwater supposedly once evoked Mao too.

Ms. Dunn should simply duck out of her D.C. suburb and ask any Tibetan or Chinese immigrant in his 70s and 80s what life was really like in Mao’s China.

Ironic Surrealism, via @velvethammer, has video of Anita Dunn describing the Obama campaign’s press strategy:

“Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control,” said Dunn.

“One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters,” said Dunn, referring to Plouffe, who was Obama’s chief campaign manager.

“We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it,” Dunn said.

Continued Dunn: “Whether it was a David Plouffe video or an Obama speech, a huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was. … Making the press cover what we were saying.”


At The Atlantic: Megan McArdle: “Radical Chic”:

I thought that this must be some kind of grotesque conservative exaggeration, but no, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn really did tell a graduating high school class to emulate Mao Tse-Tung’s bold and imaginative attitude during his takeover of China. Most of us look at the tens of millions who died and maybe think twice about trying to imitate the late Chairman, but hey, think different!

Glenn Reynolds adds::

The White House has long since outrun conservatives’ powers of exaggeration.

I’ll say.

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