The Evil, Authoritarian, Crypto-Fascist Puppet Master [Updated With Beinhart Response]

August 15th, 2006 10:06 AM

Those mean-spirited Republicans. They're all about the politics of hate. And now this! Can you imagine, calling a political opponent an "evil, authoritarian, crypto-fascist puppet master"? Wait a sec. That wasn't a Republican. It's a Huff Poster describing Dick Cheney.

Oh, and for good measure he calls President Bush "a smiling, dry alcoholic with sadistic tendencies."

The author in question is Larry Beinhart, who, as per his web page, is a member in good standing of the liberal establishment: Fulbright Fellow, novelist and screenplay writer, written for Newsday, LA Times, International Herald Tribune, Esquire. Couple Emmys.

The thesis, if such it can be called, of his column 'Americans with Disabilities: The Reaility Challenged, is that Bush, Cheney and company suffer from the "disability" of being "reality-challenged." Why do I suspect that if a conservative wrote such a piece about liberals, the 'disabled community' would be up in arms? Something along the lines: "Using the language of disability to attack political opponents is deeply offensive to the disabled community, while impoverishing the political conversation our country should be having." Sound about right?

Anyhow, according to Beinhart, "the reality challenged people are running the government." But - demonstrating that he's got a good sense of humor - Larry goes on to claim that Bush-Cheney "convinced virtually all of our media that their view of the world was real."

Oh yeah, those Bush lapdogs of the MSM. And Beinhart claims Republicans are reality-challenged?

Update: Beinhart Replies

NewsBuster editor Greg Sheffield has received an email from Larry Beinhart responding to this item and in particular to the comments from those offended by his 'disability' theory. Because Beinhart expressed the wish to have submitted his response as a comment to the thread, we set it forth below in its entirety.

Dear Greg,

First, I would like to thank you for drawing attention to my post on
Huffingtonpost. It's appreciated.

Second, I would like to apologize to anyone who is "challenged" in
other ways than "reality challenged" for any offensive I may have

I chose the phrase and the concept because "challenged" as a
substitute for handicapped, which was a substitute for crippled, was
the sort of 'politically correct' term that the right so loves to
satirize. Rush Limbaugh, for example, has had a great deal of fun
with the word challenged.

The phrases the drew the most outrage were included in the following
sentence: Even if you think of Cheney as an evil, authoritarian,
crypto-fascist puppet master, or if you think of Bush as a smiling,
dry alcoholic with sadistic tendencies, the question remains, why
would they pursue policies that were pretty obviously doomed to failure?
I put it that way because I felt that many of the potential readers
would, in fact, think of Bush and Cheney that way and therefore
dismiss my point before they got to it. Had I been writing in a
longer format - book or even magazine - I would have sourced those
descriptions (though they are not quotes, they are paraphrased
summaries) the first from Conservatives Without Conscience by John W.
Dean and the second from Bush on the Couch, by Dr. Justin Frank.
Left or Right, I think I'm drawing attention to a real problem and
some real issues that we all ought to address.

For example, I think we really should have gone after Bin Laden and
we should have gotten him. I think the failure to do that has created
great problems. When an outlaw - be it Bin Laden or Jesse James or
the neighborhood crack dealer in his new pimped out Hummer - goes
free and stays free, his success encourages others.
Going into Iraq was clearly a mistake of gigantic proportions. Both
in its concept - that Iraqis would instantly take up Western style
democracy - and its execution - that we therefore could do it with
150,000 (as compared to the occupation of Germany with over 1,600,000
if I recall).

I don't think that happened because Bush and Cheney are bad people.
Nor do I think Leiberman and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry supported
the war because they're bad.

But I do think there was a real inattention to reality. A set of
realities that were not particularly hard to find or invisible.
Somehow I would like to think that one can be a conservative and
perceive that Iraq after Saddam would be very like Yugoslavia after
Tito and plan accordingly.

I would like to think that there would be enough sense of history on
the right to understand that Saddam and bin Laden were natural
enemies. You wouldn't need special access to secret intelligence to
know whether they were, but you would understand from public
information that we should have extraordinary proof, as with a
miracle, to believe they were united.

Frankly, I would like to see the other side - whether you call them
Democrats, Liberals, the Left or Satan's Army - take up reality as
their guiding principle, above and beyond ideology, what works or

So once again, thank you for noting my work. I tried to write this as
a comment on the post, but couldn't do that, so I offer it you to
post, in response to the thoughts and feelings of your other readers.

Thank you

Larry Beinhart