TBogg

Real men don’t bother with details

The Big Trunk, one of three who make up the Wanker Triad over at Powerline (Ask us about Rathergate!!!) sets out to hunt the great white Dayton…and flails and fails.

In May 2004 the whole country witnessed Senator Dayton’s weirdly dissociated performance at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Secretary Rumsfeld. Dayton hectored Rumsfeld:

You’re increasing the number of forces, the number of tanks over there. How can this have anything to do but to escalate the level of violence, the opposition of Iraqis, intensify the hatred across the Arab world to the United States, and more atrocities? How can this have any result other than to put us deeper into this situation and make the conditions there worse for our forces and for our nation and for the world?

So. Who’s weirdly dissociated?

The Associated Press
Updated: 2:58 p.m. ET Nov. 30, 2004

WASHINGTON – Fueled by fierce fighting in Fallujah and insurgents’ counterattacks elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. military death toll for November equalled the highest for any month of the war, according to casualty reports available Tuesday.

At least 135 U.S. troops died in November. That is the same number as last April, when the insurgence flared in Fallujah and elsewhere in the so-called Sunni Triangle where U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies lost a large measure of control.

On Nov. 8, U.S. forces launched an offensive to retake Fallujah, and they have engaged in tough fighting in other cities since then. More than 50 U.S. troops have been killed in Fallujah since then, although the Pentagon has not provided a casualty count for Fallujah for more than a week.

From the viewpoint of the United States and Iraqis who are striving to restore stability, the casualty trend since the interim Iraqi government was put in power June 28 has been troubling. Each month’s death toll has been higher than the last, with the single exception of October, when it was 63.

The monthly totals grew from 42 in June to 54 in July to 65 in August and to 80 in September.

Advantage: Dayton.

The Trunk:

On October 12 Dayton became a national laughingstock when he evacuated his Washington office in the face of what he declared to be “a heightened risk” of terrorism. Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson archly referred to the hallway outside Dayton’s office in the Russell Senate Office Building as the “Zone of Death.” We noted the evacuation in “Yellow alert” and posted Dayton’s Star Tribune column explaining the rationale for the evacuation of his office in “Terminated with extreme precaution.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman took up the defense of Dayton in his column “Dayton fires back at ‘rats'” (now unavailable). The column quoted Dayton defending his actions, first before a Minneapolis Rotary Club audience and then a teachers’ union gathering:

“They try to destroy you in order to defeat you,” he says with anger in his voice. “They are sewer rats, and they’re down in the sewer. If people want their politics down in the sewer, they’re going to end up with sewer rats rather than public servants.”

Dayton, 57, isn’t up for reelection this year but has inadvertently found himself in the cross hairs in a brutal election battle fought against a backdrop of muddled terror threats and juvenile name-calling.

The scion of a wealthy department-store family, Dayton sometimes seems wide-eyed, has a stiff, formal manner and sometimes stumbles over his syntax – making him a popular target for right-wing hatchet bloggers [Ed.: He was talking about us — the guy really has a way with words, doesn’t he?] and operatives…

[…]

Coleman then returned to Dayton’s address to the Rotarians:

“It should be considered unpatriotic,” he says, “to brag at the country club about not paying taxes.” [Ed.: We still have no clue whom he was talking about.]

The Rotarians listen respectfully, then brace themselves when he finally is asked why he closed his office.

He explains that, given the terror briefing he attended, he could not let his staff remain in Washington while he and the rest of Congress were back home, politicking. It would be immoral and cowardly for him to leave “other people’s sons and daughters” at risk while he was safe at home.

“I pray to God I’m wrong,” he says. “I probably am.” [Ed.: And not just about that!]

The Rotarians relax and seem reassured that their senator is not from another planet.

We didn’t entirely credit Coleman’s interpretation of the Rotarians’ response to Dayton. Indeed, Coleman’s spin suggests why we describe Coleman as a reliably partisan hack. But we understood Coleman’s message: Minnesotans were to join the teachers and the Rotarians in appreciating Senator Dayton’s special brand of courage, “the courage to shut his office.”

Here’s the story from when it happened:

U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minnesota, closed his Capitol Hill office Tuesday until after the November 2 election, fearing a possible terrorist attack that could harm his staff or visitors.

However, U.S. government officials said there was no new intelligence concerning a possible attack, and authorities said congressional members have not been advised to close their offices.

“There’s no new threat or information pertaining to a threat that’s come in. We continue to advise (people) to take caution … but there’s no new information that we’ve put out,” said Sgt. Contricia Ford of the U.S. Capitol Police.

[…]

But Dayton told reporters in Minneapolis that Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, recently briefed lawmakers on a “top-secret intelligence report on our national security.”

“I would not bring my two sons to Capitol Hill between now and the elections,” he said.

Dayton issued a statement earlier in the day, announcing that he was closing his Washington office until after the election.

“I do so out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise visit my office in the next few weeks. I feel compelled to do so, because I will not be here in Washington to share in what I consider to be an unacceptably greater risk to their safety.”

Dayton said he could not give details of the intelligence report that Frist presented to senators two weeks ago. Dayton said he’s asked Frist three times to convene a meeting of all senators to discuss the situation, but Frist has not agreed.

[…]

Dayton will move part of his staff to his office in the Fort Snelling Federal Building in Minnesota and other operations to Senate office space away from Capitol Hill. Telephone calls will be routed to his Minnesota office.

Congress is in recess until after the election.

The Trunk implies that Dayton closed his office and hightailed it back to the relative safety on Minnesota (where, incidentally, Mr. Trunk happens to live and work and hide out himself) when Dayton was already back in his home state and was concerned for the safety of his staff and visitors. These distinctions seem lost on Trunk-man. He’s out to make a point and nuances and facts be damned

Let’s count the ugly innuendoes

Senator Dayton’s special brand of courage

“Coleman is by far the Star Tribune’s worst columnist, but last week Star Tribune columnist Doug Grow took the baton from Coleman in detecting courage in the senator where it would not otherwise have been apparent..”

“That’s good enough for Grow, although it leaves a few questions in my mind regarding the courage necessary to impute deliberate dishonesty to a high government official who appears to have been operating on the same intelligence information that other government consumers of intelligence were.”

“You might expect Dayton to understand what it means to be the victim of imperfect intelligence, and of the responsibility to take action that errs on the side of safety for those whose safety is in your hands, but you would of course be mistaken. Such an expectation would be based on the assumption that Dayton’s public comments on the evacuation of his office were bona fide, or that he applies a principle of consistency to his actions.”

“In his opposition to the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice last week, Senator Dayton stood shoulder to shoulder with former Ku Klux Klan Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd as well as eleven other Democrats. Recall that Dayton is the occupant of the senate seat once held by Hubert Humphrey. The word that comes to my mind in connection with Dayton’s remarks and his vote against Condoleezza Rice is not “courage,” but rather “disgrace.”” (my emphasis)

So. Is the Trunk a partisan hack or is he just sloppy and negligent with details and numbers and facts which , we would think, would be detrimental to him in his capacity as an attorney and senior vice president for a bank in Minneapolis?

Or is he just another fucking wanker?

Survey says: wanker.

Bonus:

“Coleman is by far the Star Tribune’s worst columnist…”

Odd. Lileks never mentioned anything last week about losing his job, although that would explain why he’s been sleeping in every morning.

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