Sunday, November 15, 2009

When Some Bloggers Really Should Hang Up Their Keyboards

It's pretty interesting when your blog gets picked up around the Internet as "all that is wrong" with the rightroots blogosphere. But that's apparently what happened to some extent with my post yesterday, "Bowing Before Monarchs and Tyrants: Obama 'Restores' America's World Standing With His Head Down - UPDATE: REAGAN DIDN'T BOW!!"

A key case in point is
Charles Cooper's blog at CBS News. I've included a screencap because this post badly needs a correction, "Firing A Shot Across Obama's Bow." The first few paragraphs provide a clue to Cooper's idiocy:

The usual crowd of armchair patriots is having a collective fit over President Obama's decision to greet Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko with a bow.

A bow?

I kid thee not. This post by Donald Douglass at the aptly-named blog
American Power was representative of the sort of apoplectic commentary triggered by the president's visit with the royal couple as he arrived at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Saturday.

"Obama's breach of protocol is of a piece with the substance of his foreign policy. He means to teach Americans to bow before monarchs and tyrants. He embodies the ideological multiculturalism that sets the United States on the same plane as other regimes based on tribal privilege and royal bloodlines. He gives expressive form to the idea that the United States now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world. He declares that the United States is a country like any other, only worse, because we have so much for which to apologize."

Don't let appearances throw you. Turns out that Douglass is an
asssistant professor of political science - one who also declares that he despises "the hard-left radical agenda and discourse" (which I gather includes Mr. Obama and his cohort of closet commies.) His class must be a delight.
Okay, just a few objections:

One, Cooper misspells my name. I'm not sure why exactly, but my guess is that having checked my sidebar profile, with my picture there, Cooper noticed my black American background, and then inferred incorrectly that my last name must be spelled with a double "s". It's not an uncommon mistake, actually, because for some reason folks in the past have automatically assumed that I'm somehow related to
Frederick Douglass. This mostly happens among people who've only listened to my name, not actually read it, so Cooper loses double points for poor reading comprehension. (I'll leave aside the question of whether the "Douglass" inference is a form of subtle racial profiling, although clearly to be black with that last name means you must be related to the great 19th century emancipator.)

Second, Cooper should actually take a minute to comprehend what's written and linked to at the post. As I wrote there, "The headline up top is borrowed from Power Line, '
Why is This Man Bowing?' ...", and the block quotation that follows (Cooper's second-to-last paragraph above) is Scott Johnson's analysis, not mine. So why not take issue with Power Line? Too quick off the mark, I'd guess. But even an unranked blogger of the lowest 9th tier wouldn't make such a pathetic, rookie mistake.

Finally, Cooper engages in a rank ad hominem attack at the end of the passage, where he notes that it "Turns out that Douglass is an assistant professor of political science ..." My academic position is totally irrelevant here. This is actually a variant of the "I can't believe you're a professor" slur, which I wrote about previously (see, "
You're a Professor, Really?"). Recall that it's not only one of the most stupid leftist attacks, but one of the most intolerant, for it assumes that conservatives shouldn't be inside today's college classrooms.

Cooper's post is so bad, in fact, that CBS News should be embarrassed.

But actually, Cooper's not alone in today's dunce cap hall of shame.

It turns out that Darren Lenard Hutchinson, whose blog is "
Dissenting Justice," and who is a Professor of Law at American University, has joined the follies with a demonstration that he ought not branch out into interdisciplinary work in comparative governmental studies.

Note first that Hutchinson goes all in with the demonizing headline at his entry, "
Rightwing Fecal Matter Alert: Obama Bows in Japan, World Ends."

Oh brother. Fecal matter? That's harsh, if not a bit silly.

Too bad Professor Hutchingson couldn't follow up the trash talk with some solid analysis. For example, from the post:

The rightwing has spewed smelly fecal matter before, but the latest is the most odoriferous in recent memory. Rightwing bloggers and other commentators are having a nervous breakdown because President Obama bowed when he met with Emperor Akihito of Japan ....

The blog American Power keeps the stench going with an essay "Bowing Before Monarchs and Tyrants." Video footage of Obama greeting Akihito accompanies the article lunacy.

The blog's description of Akihito as a "monarch" or "tyrant" demonstrates the paucity of facts in contemporary conservative commentary. A real monarch (as opposed to a constitutional monarch) exercises absolute power and dominion in a country. Emperor Akihito, however, is merely a figurehead.

Constitution of Japan gives executive power to the Cabinet and legislative authority to the Diet. The Constitution also creates a national judicial system. Furthermore, it states that "[t]he people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them."

By contrast, the Constitution of Japan describes the Emperor as a "symbol." The Constitution also states that the "Emperor shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in this Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government" (italics added).

Even though Akihito is simply a symbol of state, American Power argues that Obama's bow shows that "the United States now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world." This statement is simply diarrhea. It also
misuses terminology.

First, note how Professor Hutchinson also fails to realize, despite the citation and the block quote, that the analysis at the post is Scott Johnson's, not mine. Thus, duh, Professor Hutchinson should be attacking Power Line for its "fecal" material instead of American Power. (And I guess it's a good thing that Hutchinson's screwing up as a law professor who blogs and not as a practicing defense attorney, for I'd hate to think about how such stupid mistakes might end up putting people behind bars.)

Professor Hutchinson, further, suffers from a basic ignorance of comparative political institutions, and especially an ignorance of the concept of a constitutional monarchy. His mistake is to confuse the specific enumerated powers of the Japanese emperor with that of the generalized model of monarchical authority in a political regime featuring a king, queen, prince, emperor, or emir, etc. For whether the office is head of government or head of state (or both), it doesn't matter how real authority is vested. That is, it matters not so much whether we have a "figurehead" or an "absolutist", it's that there is some sort of hereditary ruler at all, i.e., a monarch. Indeed, this is basic governmental studies. As Wikipedia's entry on the specifics of constitutional monarchy indicates:

A constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the perimeters of a written (i.e., codified), unwritten (i.e., uncodified) or blended constitution. It differs from absolute monarchy in that an absolute monarch serves as the sole source of political power in the state and is not legally bound by any constitution.
Professor Hutchinson does no better, really, on the more narrow controversy of appropriate diplomatic protocol. Americans citizens, least of all the President of the United States, do not bow to foreign monarchs. The president is not a subject of the Emperor of Japan, or any other of the world's kings. A slight nodding of the head while shaking hands is all that's needed, and in fact no previous president has prostrated themselves anywhere near the manner that President Obama did this weekend.

Leftists accuse conservatives of extreme wingnut partisanship when what's really at issue is the completely unnecessary obsequiousness of President Bow-down-a.

And one more thing about Professor Hutchinson: My post does not call the emperor a "tyrant." The reference, at both Power Line and American Power, is to the president's previous breach of diplomatic protocol in bowing to the Saudi king last april. At that time the White House denied Obama's bow. There's no question about it this time.

It's bad enough that we're having this ugly partisan split on the appropriate diplomatic niceties for an American president abroad. But it's especially bad in my case to be attacked so ignorantly by a blogger at one of the three major television networks AND by a professor of law at a major U.S. university based in the nation's capital. I would expect more from people in such positions, much more.

Thus, I call for
CBS' Charles Coooper and American University's Darren Lenard Hutchinson to post corrections and apologies to their blogs. And THAT would be the appropriate protocol, given the magnitude of their mutual asshattery.

RELATED: From Jake Tapper, "On President Obama's Bow to the Japanese Emperor, An Academic Friend Writes That Both the Left and the Right Are Wrong." (Via Memeorandum.)


Paco said...

Way to go, Doug! I think that's an example of Stacy McCain's Rule 4, isn't it? ("Make some enemies"). I'm green with envy!

Paco said...

I mean Don (sorry).

Tapline said...

DD, Great Post...and Congratulations for being recognized at all....Stay well....

Mark Harvey aka Snooper said...

The guy is an Obamatard and must be reconciled as an ASSHAT. Don't know what an ASSHAT?

Take your arse off of your backside and place it over your face. The smell and verbiage is identical.

AmPowerBlog said...

Paco: Doug's actually fine, if you want to call me that. My friends called me "Doug" when I was in high school!

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Tapper. Stay well too!

AmPowerBlog said...

Aren't they all, Mark, LOL!

Reliapundit said...


AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Relia!

LifeoftheMind said...

They lied before. They got caught. Now they throw a temper tantrum.

Dennis said...

When you get that kind of attention then you know you have done something right. They must really fear you as a blog and your commentary.
The more the Left attacks the more you are right. Congratulations for making it big.

Kevin Gleeson said...

A quick word on wherefore the extra "s": I heard Alan Keyes explain in a speech where the "s" at the end of his name came from. He said the original slaves' surnames were that of their master with an -'s at the end to denote them as his property, and that after their emancipation they either dropped the -'s, or sometimes just the apostrophe. Mr. Keyes is in fact descended from a slave owned by a relative of Francis Scott Keye.

Looks like Cooper's trying to show you to the plantation house, Donald!

AubreyJ......... said...

Keep up the GREAT WORK, Donald!

You really have come a long way since the early days of your postings on the Blogs.

I for one am very proud to know you my friend...


Dave said...

Nice shooting, Dr. D.

LOL-I think you hit 'em right between the eyes, too.

I think the lefty talking-asses are becoming not a little testy at having to ceaselessly defend the public gaffs of the Comrade Chairman.

After all, they helped to sell America this steaming pile of manure, and are now desperately trying to extend the warranty on it.

And remember, there is really no such thing as bad publicity.

Just ask Rush Limbaugh.


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Dan Collins said...

It's interesting that the other professor should make such a deal of the Emperor being a symbol or figurehead, considering that the bow itself is an entirely symbolic gesture, and Obama--like other liberal academic types--seems to believe that the world can be reformed entirely through the proffering of symbols. If the entire episode isn't about symbolism, then what *is* it about?