Bob Turner: Bloviating, Cognitvely Dissonant, 9/11 Traitor
Joe Biden once famously said that Rudy personifies "a noun, a verb and 9/11."
A few weeks ago, I noted that Bob Turner could almost be Rudy's Mini-Me, except for the fact he has trouble putting together a noun and a verb.
David Nir describes Turner’s speaking “style” thusly: "It's all wingnut talking points, if a wingnut had a mouth full of marbles and a belly full of bourbon"
David Weprin only has marble in his mouth when he speaks; Turner is worse; he writes like he talks:
“Social Security and Medicare need to return to their original purpose all extremities need be eliminated and place in non-guaranteed social programs.”
Having witnessed firsthand Turner debating, I am also reminded of Robert Christgau’s description of Billy Joel as an “uncle who has the quirk of believing that OPEC was designed to ruin his air-conditioning business.”
Turner is indeed mostly the “citizen-politician” he calls himself.
A man pretty successful in one field who therefore thinks he possesses superior insights into another in which he’s taken an interest.
I suppose we should be grateful he’s not fascinated by medicine or archery.
Mostly Turner is a self-righteous bloviating extremist who wouldn’t be given front page posting privileges by any self-respecting blog.
Turner fancies himself a modern day Jeremiah, the only man brave enough to tell the truth, which consists entirely of simple thoughts delivered in a manner in which it is clear that the real enemy is nuance.
He is Limbaugh without the jokes (which is not an improvement), or Beck dumbed down (which is).
Turner wants to cut the federal budget by over a third, but disdains any increase in tax rates on the wealthy; in fact, he has proposed further tax cuts which would primarily inure to their benefit.
Turner sometimes grudgingly admits to wanting to eliminate some loopholes in the system, but seems unable to name any.
The only tax increase Turner has supported is eliminating the extension of the Payroll Tax cut.
In other words, Turner wants to cut taxes on the rich and pay for them by raising taxes on the poor and middle class.
But, asked at last night’s debate about extending a tax cut for the middle class, Turner said he’d be all for that.
One of the hallmarks of the Turner style is his utter content (albeit often expressed angrily) in the face of cognitive dissonance.
Turner is a man of ideas, although probably not more than two at any time.
Turner’s one big idea is that the deficit is our nation’s only real domestic problem (outside of legal recognition of same-sex relationships) and the cause of all our other ills, but that raising taxes on the wealthy cannot be countenanced, so government must virtually be eliminated, which is OK, since it only does harm anyway.
Turner can see no circumstances which would ever justify a temporary stimulative bout of deficit spending, even to prime the pump during a recession.
Turner prefers Herbert Hoover economics.
Turner’s secondary idea is “Muslims=bad.”
The first idea dominates Turner's his thoughts.
The second idea dominates his literature.
The purity of Turner’s simple-minded moral clarity has been spoiled by the prospect of possible victory
Turner used to issue pronouncements like the Social Security quote above, and these beauties:
“There are people in Washington, and I can mention Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, who know what to do.”
“My desire to go to Congress was to fix what’s broken and go home. End subsidies. End government dependencies. Dramatically cut the budget by 30 or 35 percent.”
Now Turner calls David Weprin a liar for accurately quoting him and then explaining the clear meaning of those quotes.
Asked to explain the quotes, Turner admits they were “blatant pandering” to right wingers he was courting.
He then sends in Ed Koch to vouch for his true views.
But what if it turns out he was pandering to Ed Koch?
Mostly though, Turner does not seem to be pandering. He appears to honestly hold his contradictory beliefs at the same time.
Which brings us to 9/11.
Bob Turner does not want to trample on the First Amendment, but at the same time thinks that using zoning regulations to target one religious group alone to prevent it from constructing a religious facility is compatible with the free exercise of religion.
Bob Turner honestly believes in the Zadroga bill, even if he told a firefighter last year while campaigning that the firefighter's union should pay for the firefighter’s 9/11 related disability.
And apparently, the Volunteers Union should have to pay for the disability costs of their members as well.
No contradiction, says Bob, if you don’t believe him, he’ll send Peter King in to vouch for his true views.
But perhaps the ultimate contradiction of Turner’s 9/11 patriotism comes from his shameless attack on David Weprin’s support of a property tax increase in 2002.
Turner believes that 9/11 changed everything, or should have, including our interpretation of the First Amendment’s free exercise clause.
There is only one thing Turner thinks should not have changed
You guessed it:
When Michael Bloomberg took office on January 1, 2002, New York had just been devastated by the first foreign attack upon our mainland since the 1812 war. A large part of Lower Manhattan, and all that it meant for the city economy, lay in ruins, eviscerating tax revenues, while the costs of coping with the damage ate further gaping holes into the City budget.
It was anticipated that there would be a six billion dollar revenue hole to accompany the hole we already had in the ground.
The only options were to raise taxes or drastically cut services.
There was only one tax increase the City could enact for itself without their cooperation, which would do what was necessary.
It was the property tax.
Bloomberg proposed a 25% tax increase because he had no choice.
The new City Council was dragged kicking and screaming; their Finance Committee, led by David Weprin, cut the tax increase considerably, to a still record breaking 18.5%, but could do no more (or rather, no less).
The Council then swallowed the increase like it was castor oil.
Mr. Weprin knew that voting for such an increase was politically risky, but he did it anyway, refusing to behave as Mr. Turner would advocate--like a sniveling, simpering coward or a grass-eating right-wing ideological fanatic.
Turner is now sending out literature attacking Mr. Weprin for his courageous and necessary actions.
In demagogue-ing against the 2002 tax increase, Turner is showing no shame whatsoever, and no sense of history about an emergency measure enacted in a time of grave crisis (and cut back, under Mr. Weprin’s leadership, as soon as recovery was within sight—I still remember my rebate).
Mr. Turner is despicably rousing rabble about the 2002 tax increase, spewing vile invective against Mr. Weprin for having had the good sense and cajones to do what was necessary at a time when the City was financially in a condition referred to by experts in the field as “being upon the balls of its ass.”
Like many New Yorkers, I consider myself a 9/11 survivor, it was only good luck that kept me from being at my workplace a few blocks away that morning.
I then worked for an elected official who represented much of the Lower Manhattan area, and picked up the rest in the 2002 reapportionment.
I spent countless hours of my life dealing with the recovery over the next year and 1/3, and would have spent even more time doing so if circumstances hadn’t moved me on in my employment.
Domestic Partner and I met just a bit more than two months after 9/11 and were engaged by February and married in August. I do not think this would have occurred either but for 9/11.
I tend to think a good deal of my liberal-internationalist (tempered by realism) viewpoint on defense and foreign policy, which puts me so at odds so many times with my friends on the left (and increasingly, on the isolationist right) stems in large measure from that day.
In the aftermath of 9/11, I strongly supported our Afghan incursion (and supported it for far longer than I probably should have) and the fight against Islamo-Fascism (I even call it by that name). I cheered the death of Bin Laden and then cheered some more. I’m cheering the fall of Khadafy (anyway you wanna spell it).
We were (and are) at war.
War for those freedoms we hold most precious.
Those who surrender to the enemy things that we hold most precious oppose, like our First Amendment right to religious free exercise, are traitors.
To do so in the name of political expedience is almost a capital offense.
War demands accountability.
Those who try to go on the cheap in paying for the care of our wounded are to be disdained as cheap lowlife bastards.
War demands sacrifice.
Those who refuse to ante up a few more dollars to help pay to heal, to rebuild, and to sustain our cities destroyed in battle are the handmaidens of traitors. To exploit such selfishness in the name of political expedience is almost tantamount to flag burning: legally permissible, but still despicable.
Bob Turner should hang his head in shame.
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