A Shark in the Kiddie Pool (FDL Book Salon Presents Cliff Schecter)
(NOTE: We have a Jane Update (!!) from John at Crooks and Liars. Our girl is home from the hospital! Whoo-hooooooo!!)
You know that Republican pundits must groan inside and quake in their Stacy Adams loafers when they hear they're going to be appearing with Cliff Schecter. Schecter is to talk shows what runaway pit bulls are to neighborhoods with children. For those of us who cringe at the mealy-mouthed equivocations of most liberal pundits, for those of us who shout at the television every time we watch another spineless lefty wither under the torrent of incoherent abuse that spews out of Ann Coulter like bilge-water, for the people in the audience who wanted to throttle John Kerry for knuckling under to the character smears of the 2004 campaign, Cliff Schecter is a ray of hope. A tiger in a tea room. A bomb in a china shop.
I have long maintained that it is incumbent on the left to present arguments and narratives that are as metabolically exciting and visceral as the arguments put forth by the right. Again and again, I see left wing pundits and politicians bring knives to the right-wing gun fights and get their asses handed to them by the fast-talking, interrupting, belligerent conservative Opinionati. In a political environment as highly charged and combative as the one that the Republicans have been constructing since Newt Gingrich reared his ugly head in 1994, it's political suicide to cling to some kind of outdated notion that liberals have to be "nice", passive, and accomodating. We all just want to hold hands and sing Kum Ba Yah, right? Get naked and shake our dreadlocks at Bonnaroo, but that's after we all have a long, long talk about our feelings over a pot of fennel twig tea because Everyone's Viewpoint is Valid to a Certain Extent, right?
There are many on our side who maintain that we, as forward thinking, conscientious stewards of progressive ideals should maintain a certain level of civility when dealing with the Right. We have a responsibility not to sink to the level of your Melanie Morgans and Anti-Idiotarian Rottweilers, and while I may agree that we need not sink quite that low, I think it would be good to have some individuals on the pundit circuit who, when Ann Coulter fatuously puts forward that, say, Baghdad isn't any more dangerous than Rodeo Drive will shoot right back, "Oh, is that so, Ann? So, you'll be doing your spa weekend and shopping spree in Sadr City when, exactly? That may be the single most blisteringly inane thing I think I've heard anyone say since you said things were 'going swimmingly' in Afghanistan. Why the hell do they even let you on television, you old bag?"
Cliff Schecter is that kind of guy. So more power to him.
These days, Mr. Schecter is working on a book project that I'm sure he will be happy to discuss with us today. Also, he is launching a new website on Thursday called The Real McCain with another FDL favorite, Robert Greenwald. The rest, we'll let him tell you himself. Everybody please give a big FDL welcome to Cliff Schecter!