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Janeane Garofalo and the Art of Civil Political Discourse

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The other day “actress” Janeane Garofalo imparted more of her sage knowledge on one of those pseudo political cum comedy shows.  You know the kind, the comedy shows that pretend to do real news, and hoodwink the under 25 crowd who doesn’t know the difference. They are nothing but snide, sarcastic snark without the facts.

Then again, to people like Garofalo, facts don’t matter.  For several months now she has been on a anti-anti-Obama binge, condemning anyone who does not worship the Great Leader the way she does as racist. That’s fine, she’s welcome to her opinion.  My annoyance with people like Garofalo is their abject failure to comprehend that not everyone agrees with them, all the time.  It’s rather juvenile, actually.  Pathetic.

Garofalo considers anyone who takes part in the Tea Parties or any other sort of protest to be racist. Good for her. One of the more annoying aspects of such rants is that Republicans such as myself who don’t quite agree with the methods or what is going on are forced to defend their right to make fools of themselves. If you look at it that way, then Garofalo has a right to make a fool of herself, even if it is reaching the point of abject boorishness.

People like Garofalo need not be political to be single-mindedly partisan.  They have a tendency to spring forth like weeds in a well tended flower bed.  You can’t completely destroy them without ruining the flowers and you can’t let them spread.  They remind me of one of the desk-top Zen Gardens I once sold when I was in retail.

It was a great idea perfect if you did not have small children or cats.   The ones I sold were rectangular, being something like 6” X 10”, rosewood, with a half inch rim.  The kits included a little bag of white sand,  a little bamboo rake, and a handful of stones, always  in an odd number.  I kept one on my check-out counter as a point of purchase sale.  My customers would play in the sand and arrange the stones. 

The best designs were quite simple, with no more than five stones.  My favorite arrangement had three stones, two placed closely together and the other some distance from it.  Five stones was cluttered.  If the designer went beyond five stones, the whole process just did not work.

People like Janeane Garofalo are like a Zen Garden.  As long as they can snuggle up to the larger stone, and have only one other stone or rock in the little garden, things look good.  Two additional stones detract from the primary stone.  Add a couple more and you don’t notice the main stone at all, there’s just too much competition.

You encounter such individuals throughout life.  One of the most perfect examples I know was a home-room teacher I had in high school.  She was Mrs. Ra-Ra School Spirit, sponsor of the cheerleaders or spirit club, always hyping whatever athletic event was current. 

Remember back to the days when you were an incoming high school freshman?  Every week I had to buy my little booster ribbon.  I joined the club that made all the spirit posters.  It was exciting going to all those pep-rallies – for maybe three months.  By the time basketball season came around, I found the club annoying and quit.  Never again did I wear a school spirit ribbon. 

I grew out of it.

For some reason I was stuck in Mrs. Ra-Ra School Spirit’s home room (do they still have those) for the next three years.  Every Friday she would assail those of us who couldn’t be bothered with school spirit.  What kind of people were we?  Did we want the team to lose?  If you did not support “the team” why you were….treasonous.

The worst examples of this mind-set are encountered in the small town religious-social life anyone who has ever survived a small town has endured.  If you don’t do such and such for the Lord, you’re going to hell. I seem to remember once being told by some over-zealous friend’s mother that I would be going to hell if I didn’t ditch my Beatles’ collection. 

Sound familiar?

If you don’t believe exactly what Janeane Garofalo wants you to believe, then you’re a racist.

Is there any difference?

It doesn’t matter which side of the political aisle one is on, but the threat now looms constant.  If you don’t (fill in blank) then you are a (fill in blank).

There is nothing like a good verbal battle consisting of political insults, but it helps to wage that battle with opponents who are well armed with actual facts and figures rather than juvenile emotion. This constant battle of epitaphs of “you are a racist if” or “you are a RINO if” are becoming as stale as Rush Limbaugh’s left-over cigar smoke. As much as I like a good cigar, stale smoke makes me turn the color of Kermit the Frog.

To constantly condemn someone who disagrees with a person who is of a different race, gender, religion, or orientation as bigoted and biased defines down that bias.  To constantly support someone who is of a different race, gender, religion, or orientation is equally biased.  When someone like Janeane Garofalo does nothing but condemn anyone who happens to disagree with Barack Obama as racist is juvenile.

Do you know whites who voted for Obama simply because of his race?  I do.  Is that not as racist as the three people (all Glenn Beck devotees) I know who voted against Obama because of his race?  What do you do with the fact that one of the people who voted for Obama would never ever vote for anyone Hispanic, and would have problems voting for someone who was Gay?  How to you throw racism into the mix when at least two of the three people I know who voted against Obama because of his race, would hold their nose to vote for a Hispanic Republican, and would willingly vote for an African American Republican.  They would have no problems voting for a woman or someone who was Gay?

How does Janeane Garofalo explain this other than the fact that each and every one of us has the Constitutional right to freedom of speech, assembly, etc. etc.?  Do people like Garofalo or your misc. Ron Paul Bot understand that we have a right not to support “the” cause? 

Perhaps the problem is not about racism at all.  What if the problem we are seeing with these individuals is more a maturity issue?  If we were living in our pre-cable, pre-24 hour news cycle, pre-internet days no one would ever even know such individuals existed let alone had a political opinion. Shrill, illogical voices of irrational vitriol were consigned to the letters to the editor pages of local small town weeklies. They were considered the “town crank” and their letters were put in a certain file.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a good political head-butt.  But, the epitaphs are getting old and stale.  They are also becoming more and more childish, spoiled and petulant. “True Believers” both liberal and conservative seem to have forgotten that opinions other than their own have merit.  There are some “True Believers” liberal and conservative who have reached the point of boorishness.  They are stale and hackneyed.

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About SJ Reidhead

  • Arch Conservative

    Garfolo….aka “Queen Anti-Viagara” has about as much objective insight into and influence on American politics and political discourse as the pumpkin pie I mistakenly left out on the counter uncovered last night and now must be thrown in the trash.

    Although it is her right to voice her opinion I think her time would be better spent doing what she does best, making awful movies that nobody wants to see and making all male members of our species within earshot or eyesight flaccid.

  • Deano

    Seriously, you guys really don’t have anything to write about more relevant and meaningful than Jeanne Garfalo…really? Honestly even a paragraph on her seems to me to be an overreaction and waste of everyone’s time but two multi-page stories?

    Or is this the new official Republican talking point now that “death panels” has fallen by the wayside?

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    I just thought her nitwit actions were the perfect example of how pathetic dialogue has become – right or left. Garfalo is no different than the idiot kid who decided to burn I should burn my science fiction library because I would go to hell for reading them. But, because she is “famous” she gets a microphone, not that anyone cares. Once upon a time her epitaphs would be written off as a “crank”.

    Don’t you want to know what has changed in our society?

    SJR

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    SJ writes:

    “The other day “actress” Janeane Garofalo imparted more of her sage knowledge on one of those pseudo political cum comedy shows. You know the kind, the comedy shows that pretend to do real news, and hoodwink the under 25 crowd who doesn’t know the difference. They are nothing but snide, sarcastic snark without the facts.”

    As opposed to Fox News, where a college drop out like Sean Hannity read GOP talking points and opposition research, fellow drop out Glenn Beck calls the President “racist”, and people like Mark Furhman can get hired and put on the payroll.

    I’m sure the Southern fried, senior citizen demographic that sparks Fox News’ ratings boom is every bit as concerned about “facts” as the young folks you claim to blindly listen to Garafolo.

    When you can explain to me, a conscious Minority living in America, how what I’ve seen on Fox News, heard on Hate Radio, and witnessed at Palin Rallies, Tea Bag Parties and the cyberklanning that permeates the right winged blogosphere against President Obama ISN’T at least partially motivated by race, I’ll be all ears.

    You haven’t made your case as of yet.

    –Cobra

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Seriously, you guys really don’t have anything to write about more relevant and meaningful than Jeanne Garfalo…really? Honestly even a paragraph on her seems to me to be an overreaction and waste of everyone’s time but two multi-page stories?

    The reason that Garofalo gets this attention is that she’s a convenient example of the kind of bigotry which Cobra is here to represent in his most recent comment here. In Cobra’s absence we can point to Garofalo to show how the left is spinning and smearing to try to advance their illiberal agenda.

    Dave

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Dave,

    Are you referring to my comment above, or some other comment on a different thread?

    –Cobra

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Never fear, tomorrow I am laying into conservatives, but I will be doing it on my personal blog. I don’t thing BC wants to go where I’m going with my complaints there.

    The right can be just as nasty as the left, trust me. At least the left rarely eats its own, like the right does.

    SJR

  • Arch Conservative

    Kudos to you Cobra for lapping up the propaganda of the People’s Demokratic party that has enslaved minorities over the last 40 years through welfare and other government programs.

    Surely Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have done more to oppress minorities than the liberal inspired programs which have done nothing but perpetuate poverty and dependency on the government…….

    The left rarely eats it’s own? Tell that to Joe Lieberman or any of the sorry individuals who either went to prison or died for the sins of the Clintons.

    Cobra was right about Garofalo though. No one takes her seriously and considering she said the things she said on Olbermann and Mahr I’d say the number of people that actually heard them is less than you could pack into the Sizzler on all you can eat Wednesday night.

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Re: #8 – Arch Conservative;

    I do not take Garofalo serious. She is simply my choice of an example of an irrational idiot who is more interested in her own personal opinion than she is the fact that others have a right to their personal ideas and opinions.

    We have a heck of a lot of far far far right conservatives like that, screwing things up for the GOP.

    Then again – everyone has a right to make a fool of themselves in public.

    SJR

  • Arch Conservative

    Like who SJ? Beck and Hannity aren’t even as close to being as far right as Garofalo is to the left.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Arch Conservative writes:

    “Kudos to you Cobra for lapping up the propaganda of the People’s Demokratic party that has enslaved minorities over the last 40 years through welfare and other government programs.”

    A. Since I can identify actual slaves in my ancestoral tree, that kind of statement means absolutely nothing to me. It actually makes you sound silly.

    B. There are more WHITES on government programs than minorities.

    C. If White Conservatives like Reagan, Bush Sr., Reinquist and Bork had there way, there would be no Civil Rights or Voting Rights for minorities in America today (they were ALL OPPOSED to and CAMPAIGNED AGAINST those acts.)

    D. You have the right to your opinions. I have the right to call you out on them.

    –Cobra

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Beck and Hannity aren’t even as close to being as far right as Garofalo is to the left.”

    How much further you want them to go, Arch, and that’s a serious question? To become KKKers? I really don’t know. What factions of the far far Right you’re talking about that apparently I’m not familiar with?

  • Doug Hunter

    “How much further you want them to go, Arch, and that’s a serious question? To become KKKers?”

    Logic Fail. Too far would turn them anarchist, not KKK.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was just wondering, Doug, what kinds of people Arch associates with, since apparently he knows them fairly intimately.

    So it wasn’t an exercise in logic on my part, only a good old philosophical bait.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you trying to rebel against me, Doug?

  • Doug Hunter

    I’ve never agreed with you in the first place. You’re generally civil towards me so I act in kind. You know labeling the right as racist/KKK/etc gets under my skin. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a useful, if unethical, ploy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But I wasn’t doing that, Doug, as you can see. And I’d well understand your resistance to reading the comment “the right way” and putting an antagonistic slant on it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And why do you say the ploy was “unethical” rather than philosophical? All I wanted to accomplish is to trip Archie, not to peg him or anything of the sort. Is that “unethical”?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Indeed, even Arch knows that because he didn’t take the bait. And I doubt whether he’d call me unethical for baiting him. He’s too smart for that.

  • Doug Hunter

    “And why do you say the ploy was ‘unethical’ rather than philosophical?”

    A normal reading of your comment placed the KKK to the right then you said that was the only faction you were ‘familiar with’. That displays either unethical behavior, misrepresenting your knowledge of the right, or your own ignorance.

    If it’s ignorance research anarcho-capitalism, otherwise please try and avoid purposeful misrepresentation in your attempts at glorified namecalling in the service of race and class warfare.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Garofalo is so not worthy of two minutes of serious thought.

    BTW I liked the Zen garden analogy.

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Garofalo is so not worthy of two minutes of serious thought.

    a good thing, because there wasn’t any in this post.

  • doug m

    Why would you swipe at the Left and hide your swipes at the Right on your blog? Extremely dishonest and disingenous. I wouldn’t defend her statements, but how is Garofalo not an actress? The use of quotes by the “writer” reveals ignorance.

    Speaking of ignorance, I continue to see this Arch person discuss women only in context with sex. Sounds like he is overcompensating.

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Re: #23 Doug M

    The reason I snipe at conservatives on my blog is because I do try to be halfway polite on BC. I feel freer on my own blog to go for the jugular, which I have done today with one specific person.

    The Pink Flamingo is my personal blog. It comes first. BC comes second. It is my choice to do what I want with my blog and what I put there. I can’t imagine anyone having the audacity to say I am dishonest because I chose to make my personal blog a priority. Yikes!

    One other thing – lighten up a little. I am fully aware that Garofalo has a rather impressive body of movie/television roles. Just because someone has appeared in dozens of movies. Please, do not assume I am that ignorant.

    SJR

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Please, do not assume I am that ignorant.

    then perhaps you should not write as if you are.

  • Clavos

    An “impressive body of movie/TV roles” does not an authoritative pundit make, nor is it particularly noteworthy; a career in entertainment is lucrative, but not important.

  • doug m

    You certainly can do whatever you like with your blog, but don’t expect people not to see thru the b.s. of your rationale. Attacking the left where there’s a larger audience and then hiding your swipes at the right on your blog makes you disingenuous. If you don’t like it, maybe you should reflect on your decisions.

    And if you incorrectly used the quotation marks, take it up with your editor

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    re: 25 – Clavos
    My original draft included the term “alleged actress”. I figured if I said something like that I’d be slammed. Just goes to prove on BC you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    re: #27 Doug M
    Nothing I write will ever be up to your standards. Ergo, I don’t give a rip. If you knew anything about the things I’ve written the past couple of years at BC, I’ve taken plenty of swipes at the right. But, like the subject of this article, you would rather complain with an actual basis in fact.

    SJR

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Sorry – typo

    reply to #27 – Doug M should read:

    “…you would rather complain withOUT an actual basis in fact.”

    SJR

  • Clavos

    SJ,

    My comment was not aimed at you.

    It was aimed at actors and actresses who, by virtue of their celebrity, set themselves up as arbiters of our society, its politics and its mores.

    It was even more aimed at the ignoramuses who pay attention to them.

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Clavos:

    I know your comment wasn’t.

    SJR

  • doug m

    “Alleged actress” would also be be incorrect, so all that shows is two wrongs don’t make a right.

    As far as any basis in fact, I was responding to your own words in the comments so it has nothing to do with my standards. If the rest of your writing is as poorly reasoned as you’ve demonstrated in the comments, I’ll pass on your past articles

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Doug;

    You proved my point.

    SJR

  • doug m

    Sj, that’s more than you seemed to do. Have fun hiding at your blog

  • doug m

    Not clear how I am emasculated or a liberal just because I see women as more than a sex object. Maybe one day you’ll grow up and learn that, because I can’t imagine your mother is proud of you.

  • Arch Conservative

    You’ve read two of the hundreds of posts I’ve made on this site but you know me so well that you can state I only view women as sex objects.

    You apparently have no sense of humor Doug so I just figured you must be a liberal.

  • Clavos

    I have reached the stage of life in which I would be delighted to be a sex object.

  • doug m

    I don’t know you. I only reacted to what I saw and you were 2 for 2. If you have a problem with that, look in the mirror. If you think your cracks were funny, you are the one lacking a sense of humour.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    @ #38:

    Being an object is about the most to which I can aspire.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Good to see you back – hope everything is well with you.

    I agree wholeheartedly that being a celebrity in no way makes one an authority on political matters…but you must admit that both liberal and conservative thespians are guilty of it. We’ve got a lot more of them…but you’ve had by far the more politically ambitious and involved (Reagan, Schwarznegger, Thompson, Ventura, Heston, Sonny Bono (ouch!), etc.). I can’t think of any – ANY! – liberal thespians who’ve run for and been elected to a significant political office.

    Does that mean that the Republicans are more likely to choose someone on their celebrity rather than whether they’re an authority on political matters? We see which thespians were elected, huh? All conservatives….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I can’t think of any – ANY! – liberal thespians who’ve run for and been elected to a significant political office.

    Psst… Glenn,

    Al (the world owes me a living) Franken….

  • frog

    SJ, you don’t have to believe Janeane Garofalo to see some of these rallys are somewhat racially motivated. Where were all these people when Bush was in office and the price of gas was 4 dollars a gallon? And don’t tell me the government and especially Bush weren’t reaping the benefits from the billions in profit!

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    I did not say some of the people attending some of the rallies weren’t. To place a broad statement on everyone attending being a racist is a crock, and you know that.

    I also think your theory about GWB is a crock. BUT, you are entitled to your opinion, she is entitled to hers, I am entitled to mine.

    Don’t you get tired of this all or nothing epitaph game of chicken?

    SJR

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    SJR,

    So when I repeatedly see things in the anti-Obama movement like:

    Obama Monkey T-Shirts

    Obama Monkey Dolls

    Obama “Spook” Portrait

    Watermelon White House

    Witchdoctor Obama

    …I should be led to believe–

    What?

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    So, based on five obviously racist references, at least one of which (the watermelon one) is from a single individual, you conclude that I, anti-Obama because he’s a liberal Democrat, am a racist?

    Wonder why I like (and would vote for in a heartbeat) Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell?

    Pelosi’s a white woman; I dislike her even more than Obama. Obviously, I must be a misogynist, too.

    Paraphrasing Freud, sometimes a liberal is just a liberal.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos,

    That’s what you just don’t get. All of those anti-Obama references have NOTHING to do with his political philosophy. They have EVERYTHING to do with his ethnicity.

    The only reason I stopped at FIVE examples is because posting links beyond that number would prompt the ASKIMET to flag me for spam. This post was only skimming the surface.

    And I’ll say it out loud…if Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams didn’t work for, take money from, read from the script written by, endorse the philosophy of, and IMHO, pander with sycophantic glee to every whim of the White Male Conservative Power Structure, they TOO would be openly subjected to the SAME racist derision and contempt expressed against President Obama.

    I say “openly”, because we’ve all observed how fast White Conservatives dumped on Colin Powell once he begin to express his own opinions on Affirmative Action and the 2008 Election.

    Any honest student of American History in regards to race will come to a similiar conclusion.

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    Well, since you really rule out any other possibility, Cobra, I guess I’m against Obama only because he’s black.

    I’m a racist.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and Cobra:

    By your lights, I’m also a misogynist, because I totally disagree with Hillary and Garofalo.

    Oh and anti-Hispanic, because I don’t like Sotomayor, even though I’m a mexican.

    And an anti-Semite; I can’t stand Rahm Emanuel.

    And on and on.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos writes:

    “By your lights, I’m also a misogynist, because I totally disagree with Hillary and Garofalo.”

    If you disagree with Hillary and Garofalo by disparaging their gender or female body parts, or remain silent when others in your vicinity do so, then you just MAY be a misogynist.

    Clavos writes:

    “Oh and anti-Hispanic, because I don’t like Sotomayor, even though I’m a mexican.”

    Not that I’m accusing you of such a thing, but the concepts of ethnic self-hatred, collaboration, passing and selling out aren’t new ones in America. Ward Connerly immediately comes to mind for me…

    Clavos writes,

    “And an anti-Semite; I can’t stand Rahm Emanuel.”

    IMHO, as long as you aren’t marching around with posters depicting Emamuel with Jewish stereotypes, or tolerating those around you doing such a thing, there’s no comparison.

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    I don’t ever disparage female body parts, I have too much fun with them. However, I do disparage male body parts, because most men think with them.

    Cool! Ward Connerly is a man I greatly admire, and for whom I would vote in a heartbeat.

    And I’m a self-loathing Latino (except that ethnically, I’m northern European, as are all the millions of non-indigenous mexicans).

    So according to you, I can despise all those other people for their politics and/or other failings, but my dislike of Obama is racism.

    Racism is such a good catch-all concept. It explains and excuses so much.

    What a crock.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos writes:

    “Racism is such a good catch-all concept. It explains and excuses so much.

    What a crock.”

    Yes. American History is indeed a “crock” when it comes to racism. American Society is STILL TO THIS DAY influenced far too much by racism, IMHO. Why, it’s 2009 and we still have folks like Keith Bardwell in positions of power and influence.

    But since this IS indeed America, you have freedom of speech. You never lost that right.

    What you’re ASKING for in this thread, isn’t “freedom of speech.”

    You’re asking for freedom from criticism of said speech.

    You want amnesty from the judgement of said speech.

    You want immunity from the consequences of said speech.

    You want sanctions against other individuals for expressing free speech condemning the free speech that you find agreement with.

    Sorry, my friend. It just doesn’t work like that. And if somebody wants to juggle watermelons, swing around monkey dolls or sport blackface, they and those around them giving silent, tacit approval should expect to be labeled as unindicted co-conspirators of racism.

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    Garofalo is so not worthy of two minutes of serious thought.

    a good thing, because there wasn’t any in this post.

    Nor is there in any of Garofalo’s moronic publicly disseminated rants.

  • Clavos

    should expect to be labeled as unindicted co-conspirators of racism.

    OK.

    I’m a racist.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cobra –

    What you’re ASKING for in this thread, isn’t “freedom of speech.” You’re asking for freedom from criticism of said speech. You want amnesty from the judgment of said speech. You want immunity from the consequences of said speech. You want sanctions against other individuals for expressing free speech condemning the free speech that you find agreement with.”

    VERY well said! I’ve never heard it said better…and I hope you don’t mind if I use it in the future whenever someone complains about the criticism they receive for exercising their freedom of speech in truly offensive ways.

  • Doug Hunter

    Racist, schmacist. Just more verbal diarrhea from the party that has nothing but race baiting… period.

    They can call entire groups racist, hateful, associate you with nazism and genocide, make broad generalizations about how whites have acted and the horrible things they’ve done and think nothing of it yet put one basketball or watermelon in the same image as a black even in cartoonish fashion they act like it’s like the fucking apocalpyse.

    It’s bizarro world out there and the inmates are running the asylum. Cartoonish goofiness is hate speech while real hate speech is lauded as social work, Orwell would be proud.

  • zingzing

    doug: “They can call entire groups racist, hateful, associate you with nazism and genocide, make broad generalizations about how whites have acted and the horrible things they’ve done and think nothing of it…”

    well, that is what republicans say about dems as well. that’s just the way it is, isn’t it?