A week with the Left By Mary Katharine Ham Monday, July 31, 2006 How was your week? I spent mine with Randi Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, and Al Franken, and it was fabulous. No, really. I stumbled on the local âprogressive talkâ station last week, and the commentary left my jaw on the floorboard of my car so often, I couldnât manage to turn the station. My jaw was actually in the way of the radio dial. Maybe thatâs the business model. Pack the airwaves with enough crazy and listeners find themselves unable to escape. I learned many things this week. 1) Al Franken is sane. Hey, itâs a relative term. In comparison to Randi and Stephanie, I mean. I have a feeling Air America may have hired Rhodes and Miller to make Franken look reasonable. This week, Franken shined by very nearly whole-heartedly acknowledging on the air that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hezbollahâs attacks. I was as surprised as you are. 2) Hezbollah doesnât exist, and even if it does, itâs certainly not a terrorist group. Both Randi and Stephanie can do half-hour segments about the Israel-Hezbollah conflict without ever mentioning Hezbollah. They show awe-inspiring restraint. On Air America, Israel is attacking a Middle-Eastern democracyâLebanonâwithout provocation in an attempt to, as far as I could tell, just be really evil. In fact, being really evil is a motivation ascribed to Bush, Cheney, all neocons, and all conservatives for every action theyâve ever taken. When Hezbollah is mentioned, it is as a progressive, do-gooding civic organization that could use just a bit of refining of its self-detonation-inclined members. 3) The Left has its own issues with sexuality. On Air America, Ann Coulter is no longer Ann Coulter. She is Mann Coulter or Andy Coulter because no one on the Left airwaves can manage to discern her gender. Randi excoriated Coulter for 10 minutes about insinuating that Bill Clinton and Al Gore were homosexual before herself saying she thought Coulter was probably right about Gore. She then went on questioning Coulterâs sexuality for another five minutes. 4) Want moral authority? Buy a plunger. Randi shared a story about how sheâs making some repairs on her house. Her abode has recently required some roofing and plumbing. It didnât sound like the repairs were major, but their impact went far beyond her hot-water heater. Randi explained that working on her own house helped her understand, just a little bit, what it might be like to be an Iraqi citizen who comes home one day, and through no fault of his own, finds his home destroyed. Who knew that all it took to feel the pain of 35 years of dictatorial oppression and understand the struggle to live in the face of a brutal insurgency bent on continuing that oppression was a trip the Home Depot? That must be some kind of horrible customer service. As a bonus, the same home repairs helped Randi understand what it must be like to be a Katrina victim. Apparently, they stock moral authority on Aisle 14. 5) Moral distinction, schmoral distinction. In one of the more uplifting moments of the week, Stephanie Miller admitted that there was a moral distinction between Israelis who attack terrorists and accidentally kill civilians in the process, and terrorists who deliberately target Israeli citizens and use Lebanese citizens for cover. It didnât last long before her co-host reminded her that Israelis, in their zeal for being really, really evil, target ambulances and U.N. posts without remorse. The conclusion of that conversation was, despite the moral distinction, the result was the same in either caseâcivilians were dead. So, really, thereâs no moral distinction at all. Whew, nice save, guys! That was a close one. 6) Bush is dumb, and this is still very, very funny. You know how sometimes you just want to time-warp back to 2003, or even the 2000 primary season? You can do it on Air America. Anytime youâre yearning for those oldie-but-goodie âBush is an idiotâ jokes, theyâre dishing them out. And, theyâre still laughing, really hard. At the same joke. Over and over and over again. 7) Peace is good and war is bad. Who says the American Left canât be trusted with foreign policy and national security? All of the Air America hosts have plenty to say about it. Our foreign policy should be to make peace, not war. With whom we are making the peace and to whose demands we are caving makes no difference as long as there is peace. You see, because peace is good and war is bad. War is bad because people die during wars. Republicans, what with their tendency to be really, really evil, are in favor of people dying, particularly innocent civilians. Democrats are in favor of people not dying, which is quite obviously the morally superior position. That must be some of that nuance theyâre always saying Bush lacks. You know, because heâs so dumb. Oh, and evil. Donât forget evil. Do yourself a favor and stop in on your local âprogressive talkâ station every once in a while. I promise you, youâve never had so much fun doing opposition research.