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Bill Moyers Presidency Idea Continues to Spread… to What End?

In the twelve hours since jclifford caught the Bill Moyers for President bug, the virus has continued to spread from its genesis in a smart (of course) Molly Ivins article. Here’s who’s talking about a Draft Moyers movement this morning:

A Piece of My Mind:

Molly Ivins and others are talking about Bill Moyers running for President. She talks of his candidacy as being a way of addressing moral issues, but as if it were doomed to failure — even failure to get the Democratic Party nomination. The article below from “The Nation” addresses this, and says that Moyers could be a viable candidate. Who knows? It appears that Bill Moyers has quashed discussion on the subject (go to But stranger things have happened in American politics…

Kalilily Time:

What would happen if all of us literate liberals here in the blogosphere and elsewhere used the Net to rally support for Moyers? Maybe we can change the world. Moyers: The choice for intelligent leadership.

Tennessee Guerilla Women:

Toward the dream of taking our country back, Molly Ivins wants us to write letters to Bill Moyers…. Ivins thinks that Moyers as a presidential candidate would both elevate the discourse and provide the Democrats with a clue of what a spine looks like.

An added bonus would be the chance for those from the Dark Side to see what kindness and humility look like.

He wouldn’t win, but America might.

Face it folks, what Democrats are best known for is the willingness to say whatever they think you want to hear. There is nothing they believe in strongly enough to throw caution to the wind and risk defeat.

Democrats are desperate because they lack courage. And I feel desperate for courageous leadership.

Amazingly, they still don’t get that the failure to summon the courage to stand for something is a lose/lose proposition. They lose elections. The nation loses the hope of surviving these dark times.

Bill on DailyKos:

Moyers/Ivins in ’08? Why the hell not? I mean, why the hell not??

I have to say, when I started reading Molly Ivins’ article, I was highly skeptical, because I thought Molly Ivins considered Moyers’ election at all likely. It’s not: he’s expressed too many opinions too openly, and has mused about enough possibilities that the Republicans could take him out of context and make him look like the AntiChrist with less than a day’s serious work. There comes a point in many people’s lives when their free expression makes it impossible for them to be elected president, and so they take on other roles.

But by the end of Ivins’ article, I got it: the idea is not for Moyers to be elected president. The idea is for Moyers to run for president. The idea is to get him up there on the stage and say what nobody else is willing to say, in that folksy understated and pensive way of his that makes it really hard to disagree with him publicly without looking really hardhearted. Moyers says a lot of the things that Dennis Kucinich says, and a few of the things that Noam Chomsky says, but unlike Kucinich and Chomsky Moyers manages to not come off as a nut in his mode of expression. So yeah, I guess this is a pretty good idea.

Moyers himself makes a Moyers 2008 argument when he writes:

An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy — or worse.

Molly Ivins, ever practical, suggests that if you want a Bill Moyers candidacy, you send him an encouraging postcard at P.O. Box 309, Bernardsville, NJ 07924.

2 thoughts on “Bill Moyers Presidency Idea Continues to Spread… to What End?”

  1. chesapeake says:

    Sometime you’ll have to tell us where in Chomsky’s writings he “comes off as a nut.”

  2. Jim says:

    I said Chomsky “comes off as a nut in his mode of expression.”

    Here’s an example:

    In 1954, the CIA engineered a coup that turned Guatemala into a hell on earth. It’s been kept that way ever since, with regular US intervention and support, particularly under Kennedy and Johnson.

    One aspect of suppressing the antifascist resistance was the recruitment of war criminals like Klaus Barbie, an SS officer who had been the Gestapo chief of Lyon, France. There he earned his nickname: the Butcher of Lyon. Although he was responsible for many hideous crimes, the US Army put him in charge of spying on the French.

    When Barbie was finally brought back to France in 1982 to be tried as a war criminal, his use as an agent was explained by Colonel (ret.) Eugene Kolb of the US Army Counterintelligence Corps: Barbie’s “skills were badly needed….His activities had been directed against the underground French Communist party and the resistance,” who were now targeted for repression by the American liberators.

    Since the United States was picking up where the Nazis had left off, it made perfect sense to employ specialists in antiresistance activities. Later on, when it became difficult or impossible to protect these useful folks in Europe, many of them (including Barbie) were spirited off to the United States or to Latin America, often with the help of the Vatican and fascist priests.

    There they became military advisers to US-supported police states that were modeled, often quite openly, on the Third Reich.

    Noam Chomsky here is purposefully skirting the line — not outright saying, if you read very closely — that the U.S. is neo-Nazi in its policies, but tiptoeing right up to it by drawing parallels. I can’t look into Chomsky’s mind to figure out why he would wish to do this — perhaps it has to do with dramatic flair, perhaps it is something else — but for whatever reason he is writing an essay in which he’s toying with calling the U.S. neo-Nazi. Toying with it, implying it, but not coming right out and saying it.

    So then, on the one hand, when someone responds and says, “How can you call the U.S. a Nazi regime?” Chomsky can throw up his hands and say, “Oh, how misunderstood I am! Why, you know that when I wrote ‘the United States was picking up where the Nazis had left off,’ that I was only referring to the approach of both parties to the French resistance!” La, la, la. Flame wars ensue.

    This is classic passive-aggressive behavior in writing, and it is just one example of it. It’s a grown-up version of sis sticking her finger right in front of bro’s nose, then bro calling from the back seat, “Sis is touching me” and Sis saying, “I never touched him! Never once!” It’s a non-high-school version of the Queen Bee in high school who approaches the New Girl and says, with an icy smile on her face, “Welcome to Newberry High! Well, isn’t that an interesting outfit you have on there… what? What did I say? Well, you don’t have to be so rude…”. Chomsky is expert at pressing everybody’s buttons with just enough room to claim that, by golly, he never said what he clearly means to imply. It gets him lots of attention but it’s tiringly psychodramatic.

    Either that, or he really, sincerely has no idea that he seems to be implying that the U.S. is exterminating millions of Jews, Gays, Gypsies and disabled people, and running experiments just like Mengele’s, and sticking religious people in Ghettos and making them put on the yellow stars, etc. etc. etc. when it is painfully clear that the United States is doing no such thing. No, the United States has a history of different things, on a different scale, with a different impact.

    In either case, intentionally or unintentionally, he “comes off like a nut” even when he is writing nothing but the truth because he packages it in such a way that makes it appear (to me at least, since I recognize this is subjective, but I also know to a lot of other people, some conservative and some not) on first impression that he’s saying things that are just plain bizarre.

    So there. That’s what I mean.

    In contrast, Moyers doesn’t play that game. If anything, he’s generous to a fault in the interpretation of others’ thinking, and he tends to straightforwardly say what he means, mean what he says, and ask questions when he’s not sure what he thinks — something that he owns up to a fair amount. That’s what makes Moyers more appealing, and “come off as less of a nut,” when he says some of the very same things that Chomsky says.

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