31 May 2011

Who's Being Extreme?

*Update - Michael's follow up post consisted of this "analysis":

No comparison

I think I’ve finally figured out why these neo-conservative talk show hosts and bloggers [yours truly] are clueless at interpreting the Founding Fathers. Just look at who they idolize… In 1985, President Ronald Reagan received a unique assembly of foreign visitors at the White House. After welcoming them, the president addressed the press on their behalf. Pointing towards the group he said, “These are the moral equivalent of America’s Founding Fathers.” The Gipper's guests were members of the Afghan Mujahiddin. Today we refer to them as the Taliban.

With all the distortions and unprecedented destruction of our fundamental founding principles being carried out by the current administration, Michael points to Ronald Reagan as an example of being "clueless" about interpreting the Founding Fathers. Yet he continues to ignore the elephant jack-ass in the room. This should remove any doubt regarding Michael's "serious" and "objective" analysis and criticism regarding the Tea Party and conservatives.

Once again (see my previous response here), blogger Michael Aubrecht attempts to take the Tea Party to task for being, as he describes them, "Liars and Conspires" (sic). I think Michael meant conspirer or perhaps conspirator. Anyway, Michael's circular reasoning just doesn't cut it with me. Moreover, in accusing the Tea Party of believing in an "ultra-conservative utopia of American-Exceptionalism", he cites leftist historians and websites - "Alternet" for example, which promotes "social justice." Uh-huh. While Michael seems to have lots of issues with the "ultra-right", as he calls them, he seems to have no problems with the ultra-left.

Michael also takes Glenn Beck and David Barton to task for their "distortions" while referring readers to Jon Stewart's Daily Show for accurate analysis and perspective. Uh-huh.

Regarding the "document" faux pas in the video, I don't believe Barton was specifically referring to Jefferson's writings. There are, in fact, thousands of official federal and state documents which use the phrase, "In the year of our Lord" - referring to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, I have one hanging on my office wall. It is a gubernatorial appointment from 1994. 

And, finally, Michael is really scraping the bottom when he not so subtly suggests that those who might agree with at least some of the perspective of Beck, Barton, et al are Nazis by stating that their perspective and analysis "would have made Joseph Goebbles proud." 

Now who's being extreme?


Michael Aubrecht said...

Richard your post quotes me out of context and should be explained properly. I respect your right to differ with me on these political matters, but you should not misrepresent me like this.

I do appreciate the link to my post as I believe anyone who reads it will see the context of my statements. I linked to yours in return. This will be my only comment:

1. Thanks for catching the misspelling in the title. I have since corrected that.

2. The Jon Stewart clip was to show Barton's claims, not to quote: "refer readers to Jon Stewart's Daily Show for accurate analysis and perspective."

3. There is no faux pas in the video, Barton is specifically referring to Jefferson's documents because that is what he was specifically questioned about.

4. The "Goebbles reference" was because he was a Propaganda Minister and I consider Barton to also be a propagandist. It was not implying that anyone who agrees with him or Beck are Nazis.

5. You say that "Michael's circular reasoning just doesn't cut it with me." when I am simply quoting what Barton has said. Your rebuttal did not challenge a single historical distortion that this guy has made.

Once again I am completely puzzled by your crusade to defend an organization that you claim not to belong to.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


"your post quotes me out of context"

I don't believe so.

"anyone who reads it will see the context of my statements."

I agree.

Jon Stewart's show is often used by you and other bloggers as a source while at the same time criticizing Beck. Stewart, a comedian that has to have every other word bleeped. Go ahead, keep using him as a source.

"Barton is specifically referring to Jefferson's documents"

I watched the video several times. I don't believe he was.

"a Propaganda Minister"

Right. For the Nazis.

"Your rebuttal did not challenge a single historical distortion that this guy has made."

Let's get specific. Which "distortion?"

"I am completely puzzled by your crusade to defend an organization that you claim not to belong to."

Then you have a short memory as I've explained that several times. One does not have to belong to an organization in order to defend it. As already noted here recently, I've been advocating many of the TP positions since 1980.

13thBama said...

How does one become a "National Socialist" by quoting Beck or Barton? I believe the work "Iran" means "Aryan". It sounds like he is looking in the wrong place for Nazi's.

13thBama said...

"...word "Iran"..." is how it should have read. I guess Nazi's should have been Nazis too?

Now you see why I don't write for a living :)

Chaps said...

Ever notice how hard-core leftists always have to "explain" what they meant when someone calls them on their distortions and outright lies? From the President on down to newspaper editors, they make these outrageously inaccurate assertions then, next day, "explain" what they really meant. I suppose it's the written equivalent of the "intellectual stammer" that the President has when speaking without teleprompter.

13thBama said...


Do you care to explain that?


Sorry, I couldn't resist

13thBama said...

A progressive calling Beck a propagandist is rich. Meanwhile we have Leni Riefenstahlesque videos of children singing "Barak Husein Obama, Mmmmmm, Mmmmmm, Mmmmmm."

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The Alternet article is classic liberal spin and so typical of "objective" historians and "unbiased" reporting. Its laughable.

Chaps said...

I am beginning to think that "Michael" is not a real person. Perhaps he is a construct made by Richard to personnify the absurdities spouted by many leftists. Nobody could be that clueless about America and have views so incongruent with history... unless, of course, they were an academic. (Remove tongue from cheek)

Michael Aubrecht said...

Please don't forget the thought-provoking bonus link I added this morning. Thank you.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"Thought provoking"?

Thomas said...

"Mein jungs"? Try "meine jungen" and besides when Libs play the "Nazi card" they should at least know "ein bisschen".

13thBama said...

"Today we refer to them as the Taliban."

Really? Really!?

Michael Aubrecht said...

Sorry Thomas, looks like you need to brush up on YOUR German.

Your wrote: ‘meine jungen’ which means "my young" (which makes no sense in this case)
I wrote: Take it away ‘mein jungs’ which means ‘my boys’ (of which I was referring to Beck and Barton)

I thought you conservatives were supposed to be smart.

Kevin McCann said...

I'm very disappointed in the direction that Michael's blog has taken and his obsession with attacking the Tea Party and conservatives in general. I would comment on his blog, but it appears he no longer allows them to be posted.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

It has been quite a dramatic turn about.

Michael Aubrecht said...

Gentlemen this is all about the Tea Party's manipulation of history and religion for political gain. I cannot understand how you can defend them and say that I am dissapointing when they do this again and again. Did you watch that video clip of Palin? How can you explain that one? Richard himself has to caveat every time he mentions the TP by saying in parenthesis (albeit imperfect etc). How any Christian or Historian can support this movement is beyond me. Please explain how you can excuse and forgive these gaffes again and again. Hats off to Kevin for being the only commenter to have the guts to use his real name.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


I've already explained why I support the movement. How many times do you need to hear my answer? Many of those you've quoted as credible critics are themselves leftists. Real convincing Michael.

Gaffes, you want to talk about gaffes? Let's see, the President thinks the U.S. is comprised of 57 states, he doesn't know the difference between "corpsman" and "corpse-man", and has omitted "Creator" out of quoting the Declaration of Independence several times, yet you ignore these gaffes.

For you to suggest that your criticism is simply about the TP's "manipulation of history and religion" as if you're some objective, concerned historian is laughable. You've actually stated that the Founders were Progressives and Socialists and you have the audacity to accuse the TP of manipulating history and religion? Right, Michael.

It's probably a good thing you don't allow comments on your blog, because your posts could not stand up to scrutiny and criticism.

Michael Aubrecht said...

Why do you guys act like I’m some sort of political liberal or leftist activist? I guess I have to spell it out AGAIN…I have a Revolutionary War period-themed blog. The Tea Party butchers Revolutionary War period history. I call them on it because I believe they are insincere and fraudulent in their campaign. I don’t care about Republicans or Democrats or anyone else who does not (once again) fit the Revolutionary War period-themed period of my blog.

Lets talk politics…I only registered to vote when I was 37 years old (I’m 39 now), and I have only voted once in my entire life. I’ve lived 50 miles from Washington DC for 17 years and commute to Crystal City (where I work for the govt.) everyday and I have never visited a single political site in Washington D.C. e-v-e-r. I don’t even know who my local representatives are here on Fredericksburg. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t read the politics section of the newspaper, I don’t ‘really’ care about current political events. I look for Tea Party gaffes on news pages and then research and comment on them. I have no desire to follow politics in any way shape or form. I have no intention of voting again (once again) unless it really affects me directly.

I probably only know the names of about 3 people in this current administration and I really don’t care what direction America is going in the grand scheme of things unless it affects my life directly (which it rarely does). My “obsession” with criticizing the TP is no different than Richard’s obsession against with academia. Why don’t you all get that? The TP in my opinion are historical and religious morons. I call them on it.

Obviously you guys all care a helluva lot more than I do about the state of American politics and President Obama’s agenda. I more concerned about the Major League baseball season. I will continue to call the TP out when they say stupid things that fit the theme of my Revolutionary War period-themed blog. And the comment function on my blog periodically accidentally erases the posts so I turned it off.

Seriously, when I say I don’t care about the state of American politics… I REALLY mean I don’t care… It’s all about the history gaffes and propaganda. Got it!? I’m not a liberal, or a leftist ,or a conservative, or a moderate. I’m really a ‘don’t give a damn” kinda’ guy.

Michael Aubrecht said...

The CWI dropped you because you turned into some kind of anti-academia crusader and that is why you are no longer part of the CW blogosphere. In fact, I don't see you linked on anyone's CW blogs anymore. You went from being a great historian to some kind of Glenn Beck wannabe who misquotes and misrepresents people in order to support you vision of some kind of Reaganesqe-Utopia. You're the disappointing one. Every time I post something political you immediately react to it over here (compare the posting times) and then you have the nerve to call me friend? I never did that to you. You troll my blog everyday to see how you can react to it. That's the kinda' person you have turned into.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"Why do you guys act like I’m some sort of political liberal or leftist activist?"

Oh, I don't know, maybe sourcing ACLU attorneys and the Huffington Post has something to do with it.

"I look for Tea Party gaffes on news pages and then research and comment on them."

Why just the TP?

"Richard’s obsession against with *academia*."

Which produces much of what is consumed by the general public in the realm of history. What, are they off limits? Since academia is the primary source of historical literature, logic dictates that academia should be a major topic of every history blog.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

The CWI can link to whomever they choose. That's their prerogative. Though I spend a great deal of time posting about the WBTS (and is still my primary focus), the theme of this blog is a bit broader.

"The CWI dropped you because you turned into some kind of anti-academia crusader"

BTW, is that what they told you?

"I don't see you linked on anyone's CW blogs anymore."

You need to get out more.

"Glenn Beck wannabe"

Actually, I prefer Rush Limbaugh if I had to choose but I'm truly quite happy with who I am.

"Every time I post something political you immediately react to it over here"

Not every time. But so what? You already admit you go trolling for TP gaffes - are you above having your comments subjected to the same scrutiny? And I was posting about the TP long before you started. I will continue to defend this grassroots organization that is based on our Founding principles, friend or not. I don't back off my principles for friends, family or anyone else Michael. I would not expect that of anyone. Call it tough love.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

BTW Michael, your assumption that academic historians (most of them anyway), do not have a political perspective that influences their work and analysis reveals your naivete, as several posts I'm working on will further reveal.

Don't misunderstand me - I don't have a problem with this being a fact. It's just human nature. My problem lies with those who deny it and claim complete objectivity and then hypocritically accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of.

13thBama said...

Michael is not about anything but the revolution.

Hat tip to Mr. Alinsky.

Michael Aubrecht said...

Here is my last comment to this particular post. Unlike yesterday, I don't have a bunch of cocktails in me as I comment. That said, the sentiment is still the same. I can't say that I am as politically uncaring or cynical as I posted above (of course there are some issues that matter greatly to me), but I also can't say how I feel any plainer than this:
I wanted to take a brief moment, a very brief moment, to address what has become a bit of an ongoing misunderstanding in regards to my Tea Party criticisms. Although I have received great support from most of my readers, some folks who do not share the same views as I do, have accused me of being some kind of partisan liberal or “leftist” as they call it. They also believe that I am on some kind of mission. My TP posts have already strained one friendship and I want to clear up any misconceptions before any more of these debates arise.
I am not a liberal, or a conservative, or even a moderate. I am not a left-winger or right-winger. In all honesty I don’t consider myself anything at this point as current politics do not interest me that much. I can go both ways depending the issue. My issue with the Tea Party is simply how I view them from a historian’s perspective. My criticisms are in regards to their interpretations. Simply put, I believe the Tea Party to be insincere and fraudulent and I will continue to call them out when I feel they are manipulating history in support of their political agenda.
This is a blog that focuses on the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. The posts that I have done on the Tea Party are directly tied to the theme of my studies and this blog. I don’t pick on Democrats or Republicans because they do not base their persona on early American history and then misquote or misrepresent it time-and-time-again. If they did I would include them too. All of my Tea Party posts have links to examples and I leave it up to the reader to judge for themselves.
Please keep in mind that there are many historians (public and academic) posting on the very same issues. That's often how I find out about them. More importantly, please remember that political commentaries are only a portion of what is posted here on "Blog, or Die." They fit the theme, which thankfully features a lot more history than politics. Now that we’ve cleared that up I return you to your regular programming…

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"I believe the Tea Party to be insincere and fraudulent"

The TP is the most legitimate, spontaneous, grassroots policital movement to emerge in a generation. The fact you can't see that, quite frankly, calls into question your analysis and warrants even more scrutiny of your positions and perspective.

"and I will continue to call them out when I feel they are manipulating history in support of their political agenda."

And I will continue to call you out when you misrepresent them.

13thBama said...

If you think you haven't chosen a side, look around at those standing with you.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Good point 13B. I've pointed out before how a writer at HNN lamented over Eugene Genovese's switch to the "other side." These same academics then loudly claim its all about "objectivity and scholarship" and go on to accuse their critics of the very thing they themselves are guilty of. It makes for great entertainment and its like shooting fish in a barrel!

Kevin McCann said...


I'm not sure if you're still keeping up with this particular discussion, but here's my response.

First, thank you for the compliment. I believe if someone expresses an opinion, one shouldn't be ashamed to attach his name to it.

I've enjoyed reading your posts for the past few years, as well as watching your "Naked Historian" video series. These clips are a creative way to share Virginia's lesser-known historic sites, and I commend you for taking time to make them. I've also admired how you shared your Christian beliefs shared in both your blog and intertwined in many of your books.

But reading the comments you've made after my own, I'm more confused than ever. You're an educated man with a passion for the early history of our nation. You've written books and articles--and produced a documentary--about individuals whose heroism and sacrifice helped make our country what it is today.

And yet you've never registered to vote until your late thirties, and even then you voted only once. Elections hold no interest for you unless the outcome directly affects you. You have no idea who your elected representatives are. Unfortunately, for all that you know about the founding of the United States of America--and those who fought to destroy or defend it during the Civil War—you admittedly take no personal responsibility in its direction. It's your prerogative to care or not to care, but I think it takes away from your arguments against the Tea Party when you don't “practice what you preach.”

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Kevin - Michael's assertion of "no partisanship here" is in the parallel universe category. He says he only criticizes the TP and the right because they get their facts and history wrong, yet he can't bring himself to criticize Obama and the left. Check out his most recent post /6/7/2011) about (again) Palin. He's quite obsessed. What is quite delightful about this particular post (at least to me) is his including this comment from a cartoonist:

"I think maybe we’re expecting too much out of these people to understand 200-year-old history, when they can’t even get recent history right."

Delicious. I will be using that in an upcoming post I've been promising for quite some time.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"he can't bring himself to criticize Obama and the left."

For the same infractions.

Michael Aubrecht said...

@ Richard: Wow you must have my blog on some kind of alarm as that post was only up for a few minutes before you commented. Give me some Obama and the Left gaffes that fit my theme and I will gladly focus my criticizing on them too.

@ Kevin, Thank you for the thoughtful response. As I stated in a follow up post to that “rant,” I was reacting with some anger (and alcohol). I did register last but I voted in the last 2 presidential elections. I’m not that uncaring and I do know our local reps are. My choice in the last election was Ron Whittman who I took on a tour of the battlefield in hopes of getting his support for our Civil War foundation (which he promised and never delivered) and some crazy chick named Crystal Ball. I sat that election out. You are correct when you say “Unfortunately, for all that you know about the founding of the United States of America--and those who fought to destroy or defend it during the Civil War—you admittedly take no personal responsibility in its direction.” I try to avoid current events whenever possible as I have little faith and hope in this country. Perhaps that is why I spend all of my time in the past.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael - Wow you must have my blog on some kind of alarm as my comment was only up for a few minutes before you responded. And I've given you a number of them Michael. You're playing games.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Let's not forget how upset Michael gets when someone refers to Obama & Co. as "socialists."

13thBama said...

Show me your friends and I'll show you your future.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

13B - simple, but profound.