David Horowitz - Columnist
Horowitz is a noted author, commentator and columnist. His
is the founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture
and his opinions can be found at Front
Page Magazine. [go
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Credible Is David Corn?
unreliable, untrustworthy and unable to understand...
[David Horowitz] 4/22/05
my political career as a conservative, I have had to get
used to the unscrupulousness of my leftwing critics, and
accept it as a fact of life. Whenever one of them puts a
finger to the keyboard to write a story about me I know I’m
going to be misrepresented and caricatured, my ideas will
be shredded, my values turned upside down and the emerging
picture will be an object of easy derision and scorn. Leftists
long ago apparently lost the ability to argue a reasonable
February 14th of this year, the Nation’s
Washington Bureau Chief David
Corn wrote a column about me with the charming title “Is
David Horowitz a ‘Lunatic’?” It was actually the second time
a frustrated leftist had so referred to me. The first time
instance was Paul Berman’s charge that I was actually “demented
lunatic” I’m still intrigued by the thought of what an
undemented lunatic might be.
upset because I had taken a complimentary statement he made
about my influence as a New Left writer in the Sixties and
used it in an ad for my autobiography Radical Son. The
point of using the quote was to establish my credibility as
a critic of the New Left. But Berman was beside himself at
having said anything positive about a member of the devil’s
party, and blocked the publication of the ad in venues like Dissent and The
New Republic (it did appear once in the latter).
I had actually
befriended Berman in my conservative days (I didn’t really
know him when I was a radical). It was a minor gesture an
invitation to sit at my table when he was looking very lost
and isolated at a meeting of the Committee for the Free World.
I also praised his work even though he had denounced mine.
Obviously my gestures counted as nothing to him, since I had
failed to make the human grade.
this up because I also have been cordial to David Corn despite
our political differences, attending his book party at Arianna
Huffington’s mansion and inviting him to my Restoration Weekend
on my tab. This also has counted for nothing when it comes
to reciprocating common human decencies.
of Corn’s attack was a “Washington Journal” program we did
together on C-Span in January 2003, right after the State of
the Union Address, which was the main subject of our on air
discussion (though you would not know this from Corn’s attack):
David Horowitz a “Lunatic”?
try not to spend too much time--that is, any--thinking about
David Horowitz, the 60s radical turned Reaganite rightwinger.
I used to find him amusing, even though wrongheaded. We emailed
on occasion, and I (almost) enjoyed debating him on television.
But in January 2003, we were booked together on C-SPAN for
an hour. For much of that time, he ranted and railed, accusing
anyone opposed to the invasion of Iraq of
being a self-hating and treasonous American. (General Anthony
Zinni? Brent Scowcroft? Who knew?) At one point, he became
enraged over the fact that The Nation magazine had dared
to use French words on the cover of one issue. After ignoring
his madness for much of the time, I finally told him that if
he was going to continuing using the time to exorcise (or exercise)
his psychological demons, I would have to charge him $110 an
hour. Following the show, several C-SPANers greeted me and
apologized for having submitted me to Horowitz. Since then,
I have kept my distance from Horowitz. Who could tell when
his head might explode?
took me two months
to get around to responding to this because I had to secure
the actual transcripts from the C-Span broadcast to restore
a little reality to the free floating fantasy that Corn had
come up with to make this attack. Of course some of these accusations
can gain credibility if the audio-visual reproduction
of body language and tone is missing. For example, Corn’s claim
that I “became enraged” over The Nation’s use of French
words on its cover can only be truly appreciated by viewers
of the videotape who will see that I was smiling and that this
was a joke, however lame. The cover of the Nation, which
can be seen here was
an article about Europe’s
view of America on
the eve of the Iraq war.
The headline was “America Oui/Bush Non!” I didn’t
actually catch the rest of the title or the fact that it was
about European views, but I did think it interesting that of
all the European languages available, The Nation had
selected that one.
is the actual passage from the transcript, which shows first,
that the term “rage” is Corn’s, and it is not even a description
of any reaction I actually had to the cover, but is a projection
by Corn of the reaction I might have to the cover
(and actually did have to the conversation that followed).
is the February 10 issue of the Nation,
the cover of it. And
in the previous issue of the Nation,
you have George Bush riding on a horse. Inside,
there is an article by David Corn, “Bush's Terrible Twos.” What
was the purpose of this article? And it's illustrated by
representing the Bush administration, the key players, as
members of the Sopranos, or
the Bush Sopranos, I guess they're trying to call it.
I’m sure David will be outraged at our lack of respect for
the Bush administration here in comparing them with a TV
crime family. I should say I had nothing to do with the article
-- with the drawing, which I think is brilliant….
as a passing comment, let me note the irony in Corn’s comment
that it is “brilliant” to portray the leaders of one’s own
country -- currently under attack from terrorist forces and
headed for war with a dictator who had already used poison
gas on his own minorities -- as the mafia. Our leaders, pretending
to be liberators of Iraq,
are actually a crime family. How brilliant. This sordid farce
itself suggests a certain blind (and misdirected) rage, wouldn’t
for the “French” comment:
the American University college
newspaper, you will find -- this is yesterday’s edition --
an ad placed by Mr. Horowitz, “The peace movement isn’t about
peace.” Tell us what this is about.
so-called peace movement that you saw -- in Washington and San
was organized by the Workers World Party, which is a self-styled
Communist party, which is aligned with North
Every speaker was allowed on the platform only with the permission
of the Workers World Party. This is a Fifth Column in America in
support of our enemies. And you know, while I’m doing this,
this Nation cover -- I notice they use French.
the infamous “French” episode turns out to be an afterthought and
hardly an articulated thought even. It was inspired no doubt
by the fact that the French that week had stepped into the
open as Saddam Hussein’s chief defender and potential savior.
the conversation didn’t end there. No sooner were the words
out of my mouth that Corn seized on the comment to bait me
(and this is where the rage part actually does come in):
Corn: Oh, my
god, they use French!
slap did in fact set me off.
this [cover “America Qui”]
is their [The Nation’s] [hypocrisy and] cowardice. The
Nation has opposed every single American war since I
was born. They supported the Communists. They have opposed
every … [U.S. military
action against the Communist adversary from the time of]
Truman [and] Eisenhower. This is a magazine of the so-called
revolutionary left, which does not like America as
it is, does not like its institutional structures, does not
like its freedoms. And
you know, I just have nothing but contempt for this magazine, that
I [once] actually wrote for….when I was younger, and --
Corn: And more
Horowitz: And more foolish. But, you know, to be a patriot
of -- to be patriotic, and of course, the Nation people
would cringe at the idea of [this kind of patriotism]. [They
would call it] phony patriotism. But patriotism is when the
rubber hits the road, when our men and women are in harm's
way already, [and] we have been at war since 1991 with Saddam
Hussein, when every American man, woman, and child is threatened.
To [conduct] a full-scale internal war against the administration
[as the Nation left is doing], to weigh in with libels
[e.g., that the Bush Administration is equivalent to the
Sopranos], that this is a lying administration, that we can’t
trust it, to go to Baghdad as some Democrats have [done]
and say we should trust Saddam Hussein -- this is betraying
I'll let you have the last word, Mr. Corn.
I’m going to charge you $100 an hour for the therapy you're
getting here from venting all this rage you’ve contained.
Horowitz: My country is at war. Why shouldn't I be upset?
passage is evidently also the pretext for Corn’s malicious
and baseless claim that I conflate all critics of the war
with traitors: “For
much of that time, he ranted and railed, accusing anyone
opposed to the invasion of Iraq of
being a self-hating and treasonous American.” In fact, I
have posted on my website under the headline “View From The
Patriotic Left” articles on the peace movement by Michael
Berube, Todd Gitlin and other anti-war activists just to
make the point that not all critics of the war not even
all leftwing critics of the war are “self-hating and treasonous.”
entire episode by the way occupied about three minutes of
the hour long show. But consider how revealing Corn’s own
attitudes as expressed in these exchanges and in his latest
attack on me are. In the midst of America’s
war with al-Qaeda, Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein, Corn’s view
is that the real criminal is Bush and patriotic concern for
the safety of the nation on the eve of a war is a form of
psychosis. This is a good example of a physician who needs
to heal himself.
is more to David Corn’s reckless and truthless attack on
me, including a history lesson based on his false reporting
of what I am alleged to have said in a C-Span speech on the
war in Iraq.
According to Corn I am supposed to have said that the Democrats’ attack
on the commander-in-chief “is unprecedented in the history
of democracies …That in the middle of a war the opposition
party would not join forces with the partying power and form
a unity coalition in the defense of the homeland.” Corn responds
by recalling that Tom Dewey criticized Roosevelt for
stifling discussion of the threat from domestic Communism
during the war.
example merely shows how obtuse David Corn can be when he
is not even trying. What I actually said was that “Never
before has a major opposition party taken half the country
out of a war in the midst of a war that we were winning and
that we had to win.” I know this, because I have given this
speech and made this comment many times. The point I was
making in every variation of this verbiage is that Democratic
leaders and leftwing ideologues like David Corn have opposed
a good war that overthrew a dictatorship and liberated
millions of people -- not just the policies of the war. And
this is what is unprecedented.
toppling of Saddam Hussein, the liberation of 25 million
Iraqis, the beginnings of democracy in Iraq, the election
to the presidency of a member of an Iraqi minority that had
been subjected to poison gas attacks all this was made
possible by a war that most Democrats not only opposed but far
worse that was denounced by Ted Kennedy as a “fraud,” by
John Kerry as “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong
time,” and by Al Gore as a “betrayal” of the American people.
full views of the war in Iraq are
available in Unholy
Alliance (which David Corn has been invited to discuss
on this site and refused, and evidently not read) and the
We Are In Iraq. The only bright side of this discussion
for me is that if one has to be called a lunatic and a liar
by someone, better it should be someone as transparently
unreliable, untrustworthy and unable to understand what his
opposition is saying as David Corn. tOR
opinion piece first appeared at FrontPageMagazine.com reprinted
by permission of David Horowitz. Copyright 2005