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A Wanker Whipping Up Fear
August 26, 2012 6:32 PM   Subscribe

In May of 2010, Michael D. Higgins (now President of Ireland) had an exchange on an Irish radio station with Tea Party supporter Michael Graham, about the state of politics in the United States.

Here is the entire debate, which focused a fair bit on the situation in Gaza, and gives you a background for what led to the heated exchange above.
posted by gman (40 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome.
posted by evilDoug at 6:35 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best candidate for US President that I've heard yet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 PM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love this guy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:51 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bravo. We need more like him on our continent. It's long since past the time that we need to stop coddling these knobs and playing their game. Call them out and shut them down every time they yammer their inane garbage.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Like a Jedi Knight, nay a Templar Knight! This is a flash of pure inspiration, and let me tip my hat to the genesis of this statement. Higgins absolutely lights it up here; flamethrowers it right past the hapless Graham. Superlative statesmanship! A merciless sladgehammer of an exchange. a veritable Bernini of a goal.

*apologies to Mr. Ray Hudson

posted by vozworth at 6:56 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a matter of fact he is lovable in the best sense of the word--bright, feisty, a poet an activist and a damn good politician. The role of the Irish President is largely ceremonial but it is elected and does represent the hope and values of the country. It would be the best Irish import/export, depending on where I am, in a long time. Thanks for posting
posted by rmhsinc at 6:57 PM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Probably the third time I've heard it. It hasn't gotten old yet.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:58 PM on August 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's a hell of a thing to shout down a man whose profession is to shout down others, and it's another thing entirely to do it without spouting garbage. Well done, Mr. Higgins. I owe you a drink if you're ever in Boston.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:59 PM on August 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, hey, and Graham works for the Herald. I now owe Mr. Higgins two beers.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:06 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this was on As It Happens a while back. Lovely.
posted by maudlin at 7:26 PM on August 26, 2012


Not to bring the wet blanket, but is "exchange" really accurate?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 7:28 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was a baseball bat fight, and Graham didn't have a bat.

This was as lovely a rant as as I've ever heard.
posted by mule98J at 7:35 PM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


This was as lovely a rant as as I've ever heard
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.And that's exact what this rant means. Nothing. The Tea Party continues apace. The US continues to fall. Just because someone from another continent ranted about means absolutely nothing.

Everything ends. Everybody dies. This includes us. This includes the US.
posted by eriko at 7:45 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the YouTube link: "Apologies for closing the comments on the video, I tried opening them before but was inundated with racist bile from deranged Tea Party supporters (by the way: it's 'Muslim', not 'muslin', and it's 'Kenya', not 'kenyah') .... and life's too short for that."

"Deranged" is about as good a descriptor of those nutters as any. It really is like arguing with Justin Beiber fans, except that the Beliebers leave the caps lock key off.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 7:58 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not to bring the wet blanket, but is "exchange" really accurate?

It was edited, and you can hear the edits. Presumably the original had more in the way of both parties.
posted by kenko at 8:01 PM on August 26, 2012


If there's one clip you can get a potential Mitt voter or tea partier to watch, make it this one:
And then, in her rage, Ms. Ann Coulter drew back the curtain, and revealed the great and powerful Oz.
I knew it was bad, but I had no idea the phrase "Fair and Balanced" had veered of the cliff of and exploded into a thousand pieces.

Further than that, they are angry that their candidate found a way to ensure that every single person in Massachusetts had access to health care. Helping find a compromise between single payer and unregulated private care, and getting millions of people better access to health care, is contrary to their vision of what this country should be.

My friends from Europe now joke about the next revolution in the United States being waged for the right to not have health care or due process and most importantly, the right to have the rich pay less proportionately than anyone in the lower to upper-middle classes. That last one completely blows my mind.

It's like when Mitt Romney said that he wasn't very concerned about the poor. Okay... but is he actually more concerned about the rich? Have there been some articles I've missed talking about how tough it is to step down to imported Turkish tiles instead of the ones they wanted from Milan? Are we truly concerned that if Trump has to step down to an eight car garage from his planned ten that he's going to hop on the first flight to the Caymans or Monaco and spend the rest of his money there instead? Are they getting cramps from counting their massive increase in income in the last three decades, or the wads of cash they keep from the Bush Tax Cuts? How does anyone here anything other than white noise when someone says, "Why can't I keep all of my millions of dollars instead of just most?"

For the rest of us, a million dollars represents thirty years of work. It would literally be like winning a lottery every year, and the super wealthy have the gall to complain that we have to return to a sensible tax structure? Who are these people, and why is anyone voting for them?

There is some psychology at work here that I will never understand.
posted by deanklear at 8:03 PM on August 26, 2012 [44 favorites]


It was edited, and you can hear the edits. Presumably the original had more in the way of both parties.

The full discussion is available here. (Via, which is where I first heard this--from a FB post.)
posted by NailsTheCat at 8:15 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]




That was great.
posted by smoke at 8:39 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some days I remember the world could be a better place.
This is one of those days.
posted by Mezentian at 8:46 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ain't no truth like angry, Irish truth!
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:55 PM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


It really is like arguing with Justin Beiber fans

You argue with Justin Beiber fans? what about? Pimples? Stuffed toys? Bed time?
posted by mattoxic at 9:07 PM on August 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


The thing is that probably half the people in Ireland, or indeed any country in the educated democratic world, could have given that idiot a reasonable rebuttal to his rants. The US has totally lost all respect for intelligent discourse to the point that it no longer occurs here. Sad.
posted by fshgrl at 10:08 PM on August 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


I would wager that a good many people in the US could a rebuttal just as well as a citizen of another country save for the fact that our politicians and public faces tend to avoid being in the same room with anyone able to offer such a rebuttal. The exceptions, of course, are highly choreographed interviews and debates where those able to offer wise rejoinders are kept far away and mixed in with the pre-picked crowd.
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:15 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


A catchy song by the Saw Doctors about what a great guy Michael D. is. Written 20 years ago when he was first elected to the Dáil Éireann (Parliament of Ireland).
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:36 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I lost it at "Ah, I see, the farther from the facts you get, the more ships there are"
posted by hattifattener at 10:43 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would wager that a good many people in the US could a rebuttal just as well as a citizen of another country save for the fact that our politicians and public faces tend to avoid being in the same room with anyone able to offer such a rebuttal.

This reminds me of the amazingly awkward (and supposedly banned in the US) interview Bush did on Irish TV back in 2003 or so. (Trigger warning: GWB talking about how Saddam used weapons of mass destruction "against the neighbourhood")
posted by fshgrl at 11:00 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Michael Graham responded to the clip’s new found viral staus yesterday, tweeting: 'If opposing Arab terrorists and supporting Israel’s right to self defense still means I’m a 'w**ker', nothing’s changed.'"

Indeed it does, and no it hasn't.
posted by jaduncan at 11:15 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


(principally due to the fact that the same disingenuous claims are being made)
posted by jaduncan at 11:27 PM on August 26, 2012


Indeed it does, and no it hasn't.

Those were my thoughts exactly when I read his response the other day.
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:40 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sent him a thank you e-mail. It was beautiful how he let Graham Have It!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:46 PM on August 26, 2012


"You've got about five porkies right there!"
posted by bicyclefish at 11:52 PM on August 26, 2012


I wasn't particularly impressed by either of them. Michael Higgens is great at rhetoric but he used cheap shots; he carefully avoided responding to Michael Graham's substantive points; and he said a number of things which were technically true but were quite misleading. For instance, he justified talking to Hamas on the basis that it was the elected government - but even in 2010 Hamas' mandate had expired, without any agreement to hold fresh elections. Similarly, he ducked and weaved around the issue of Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel. I don't particularly care what his political views actually are, but he's a man of great skill who uses it in a dishonest manner.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:59 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and the super wealthy have the gall to complain that we have to return to a sensible tax structure? Who are these people, ...

The Congress?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:00 AM on August 27, 2012


[Comment deleted; please focus comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 2:02 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


deanklear: For the rest of us, a million dollars represents thirty years of work. It would literally be like winning a lottery every year, and the super wealthy have the gall to complain that we have to return to a sensible tax structure? Who are these people, and why is anyone voting for them?
I note for the record that no one is actually suggesting a sensible tax structure. What's under discussion is an increase in the top marginal rate from 35% to 39.6%. On the left this is seen as common sense, especially considering the two long and costly wars the U.S. fought in the last decade. On the right, the question is whether to call this 2% increase on the portion of a person's income between $250,000 and around $390,000 and a 4.6% rise on everything over that as the "Taxmageddon" or the "Taxpocalypse".
posted by ob1quixote at 2:05 AM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Similarly, he ducked and weaved around the issue of Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel.

He did? Seemed to address it around the 14:00 mark ...
posted by psolo at 3:55 AM on August 27, 2012


Harvey Kilobit, I had no idea this was _that_ Michael D. Thank you for making that connection!

*me, goes off humming to untangle headphones cord.*
posted by wenestvedt at 5:39 AM on August 27, 2012


ob1quixote: exactly. We're also told it's class warfare to get the capital gains taxes back to something resembling reality.

and no more posting from my iPad for me... here=hear, of=off
posted by deanklear at 5:49 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


he's a man of great skill who uses it in a dishonest manner.

Whereas Graham lacks even the skill.

Michael Graham. What an nth-rate shit-stirrer. I used to encounter his work and occasionally him in the nineties. Always looking for a fight, with a perpetually aggrieved attitude that I chalked up to being born in LA and raised in Pelion, SC.

Graham's a sparkling example of the adult who's never gotten over high school and an early exposure to H.L. Mencken. He once described Oral Roberts University, his alma mater, as an institution combining "the intellectual rigor of a Sunday School picnic with the sound theological theories of a slumber party séance." Which, yeah. Why did he stay? It was easier to stir shit at ORU.

His first book was titled Banned From Public Radio.

Immediately following the Columbine massacre, Graham was fired from WBT radio Charlotte for remarking that killing the athletes at the school was "one minor benefit of this otherwise horrible story." WMAL-AM fired him in '05 after he repeatedly described Islam as a "terrorist organization." Following that episode he said "I honestly don't know what Disney is investigating me for, unless it's for doing a compelling talk show that gets people's attention. I thought that was my job."

His third book was titled The Dumbest Generation. His fourth was Redneck Nation.

Sadly—or hilariously—despite a life spent vigorously stirring the shit, Graham can't even boast of being a very successful shit-stirrer. He's vastly less famous or influential than Limbaugh or Coulter or Beck. Strictly third-string. But he can boast of having had his ass handed to him by the President of Ireland.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:41 AM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


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