October 29, 2006
The Lynne Cheney Smear Blowback
So let's take a quick look at the Lynne Cheney/James Webb imbroglio. A few days ago, Sen. George Allen (R-VA, 100%) released passages from some of the books (fiction and non-) published by his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb... excerpts that denigrate women and are very sexually explicit (and one bizarre cultural scene that probably isn't sex related, but is still awfully weird).
In a powerfully idiotic response that smacks of panic, Webb lashed out... not at Sen. Allen, but at Lynne Cheney, the wife of the vice president:
There’s nothing that’s been in any of my novels that in my view, hasn’t been either illuminating the surroundings, or defining a character, or moving a plot. I’m a serious writer. I mean, we can go and read Lynne Cheney’s lesbian love scenes if you want to, you know, get graphic on stuff.
I rely for veracity of the quote above upon CNN, which showed a clip of Webb during Wolf Blitzer's interview of Lynne Cheney -- ostensibly about her children's book, Our 50 States. I think it unlikely -- at least! -- that CNN would manufacture a fake clip just to burn Jim Webb.
Hugh's transcript of what Webb said is completely accurate: here is the YouTube clip. Webb's insert starts at 5:45 into the video:
(If this thingie actually works, it's the first YouTube video ever posted on Big LIzards!)
Let's start with the easy reasons why this is just about the worst way Webb could have chosen to respond to the Allen attack:
- Lynne Cheney isn't running for election anywhere. Neither is her husband, Vice President Dick Cheney.
- Neither of the Cheneys is from Virginia; both are from Wyoming, thousands of miles away.
- Lynne Cheney is a very sweet lady, beloved in most of the country (like Barbara Bush the elder); attacking her is like attacking Grandma.
See if Secretary Webb can squeeze this in between his ears: you don't attack someone like Lynne Cheney in the middle of your tight senatorial campaign. You just don't.
Why not? Does she have absolute moral authority, like Cindy Sheehan or the Jersey Girls? No, not at all; Lynne Cheney mixes it up in politics, and you can debate her (as Blitzer does) without anyone calling you a degenerate. But the reason you don't attack her is that you just end up looking like a big, mean, stupid jerk -- who doesn't think very highly of women.
- But here's one more reason why this particular fight picked by Webb demonstrates judgment so bad, it alone should disqualify him from public office: the very claim he made is a complete fabrication, easily disproved -- even by looking at left-liberal, Democratic websites like this one!
There are fifteen different excerpts on that site from Lynne Cheney's novel Sisters; please take the time to read them all. It shouldn't take you more than a few minutes -- five, tops. Let me know when you're back.
Dum de-dum, dum-ditty-ditty-dum-dah-DEE! ...Oops, sorry about that.
All right, now for the $20,887,197 question (that's the total amount raised in the Virginia Senate race as of mid-October, by the way): Would somebody please quote me the passage from Cheney's 1981 book that constitutes a "graphic" "lesbian love scene?" (Believe me, I've read hundreds, and I know what they're supposed to look like.)
All right... how about a non-graphic lesbian love scene? The closest we come is "Sophie" (evidently the protagonist) seeing a couple of women "embracing" in a wagon (the book takes place in 19th-century Wyoming, so you can envision this as a pioneer's covered wagon, if you please; a conestoga; a prairie schooner). Maybe you could call that a non-graphic lesbians in love scene; but that's not the same thing, is it?
You can contrast those passages you just read with these, courtesy Jim Webb. See if we can determine which of the two is "graphic."
Now honest to goodness, I have nothing against Webb writing graphic sex scenes in his books (though they appear a bit florid and forced; but maybe they're better motivated in context). I've written such myself -- and in a science-fiction magazine read by children! I think Allen's attack was silly.
And there are a number of responses Webb could have made that would have defanged the attack, maybe even turned it back on Allen. For example, "what will Geoge Allen do next... attack Murphy Brown?" Or if that's too esoteric, how about, "when I write about bad guys, I make them act really bad. That's why we call them -- bad guys!"
But I am at a complete loss here. How could a major-party candidate for the United States Senate be such a chowderhead, such a dunce, as to allow the DNC (or whoever gave him the talking points) to make a complete ass of him?
Has James Webb literally never heard of Google? Or for heaven's sake, he could have just sent a gofer down to the library to check the book out, then spent a marathon night reading the thing, before making a foolish charge so publicly.
As I said: judgment this incredibly bad, in and of itself, should DQ him from the job he's currently pursuing.
(Thanks to commenter Keys for catching a couple of typos above.)
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 29, 2006, at the time of 5:03 AM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/1405
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
It seems the tackiness of the Va campaign is spreading. I was glad she asked him if he wanted us to win in Iraq. Someone needed to ask that question.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at October 29, 2006 6:18 AM
The following hissed in response by: Mike Wood
Lynee Cheney is the Vice-President's daughter, not his wife.
The following hissed in response by: nk
I heard Lynne Cheney on Laura Ingraham two days ago. She strikes me as a person of exceptional qualities. Certainly no one, as Dafydd says, that a politician should gratuitously choose as his opponent.
Laura Ingraham asked her whether the correct way to pronounce Cheney was "Chainy" or "Chinny". Mrs. Cheney took the trouble to answer with a joke. Paraphrasing: "I had the same question so I asked old uncle ___. He told me 'Chainy'. He had a little dog that was jumping around and I asked him what kind of dog it was. He said: 'A Bagel."
Slightly off topic: Speaking of gratuitous, the stuff Webb is being criticized about seems that way to me. Is it spice or filler that publishers demand these days to make popular novels more commercial?
The above hissed in response by: nk at October 29, 2006 7:32 AM
The following hissed in response by: Smitty
Neither Webb or Allen come out smelling like a rose in this. One, for Georgie Boy's campaign for springing this BS in a I daresay desperate attempt to 'get' Webb
Two for Jimmy Boy's response which smacked of total dumbassery.
Thank God I don't live in Virginia, it's like picking between Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee.
Freakin' November 7th can't come soon enough. Let it end, just don't let it be a Democratic majority.
The above hissed in response by: Smitty at October 29, 2006 9:48 AM
The following hissed in response by: Fritz
Mike Wood, Lynne is his wife. The daughters names are Elizabeth and Mary.
The following hissed in response by: Keys
Hiighly intelligent and pertinent observations. It appears Hugh's son--I'm guessing at the Welsh meaning of "ab"--has little time and much to say in it. I'd suggest that he write his stuff in Word, though, or reread his writing, or have someone proofread it.
Word would put wavy lines under "progonist" for "protagonist" and "florrid" for "florid." The typos are like a sour note in something Bach wrote. Or a poor choice of words in anything Shakespeare wrote.
I'm hoping that Michael Steele gets elected. He won't be a candidate for President, but if I were Mitt Romney, I'd pick Mr. Steele as VP. So far, he looks first class and under control. George Allen is a fine senator. Period.
The following hissed in response by: Don
Perhaps neither Allen or Webb come out 'smelling like a rose' on this - but Webb has helped Allen make his point, which is that Jimmy Webb is just a little bit of a nutter.
Those bits of writing (while not terribly perverted as such things go) do Jim Webb no favors either politically or as literature. Pat Conroy he ain't. Hell, Lynne Cheney he ain't!
Webb sounds like he ripped off a fellow named WEB DuBois whom I used to read a bit. I stopped because it wasn't exactly great literature, you know?
But Webb's stuff is on a disticntly lower level than that; DuBoise would never have given us the banana-cutting scene
The following hissed in response by: Major Mike
There's a word for politicians like James Webb who don't know how easy it is check things out on Google. They are Pre-Googleian™ politicians.
The above hissed in response by: Major Mike at October 29, 2006 8:32 PM
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