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Roger L. Simon

Duking it out on Air America

February 24th, 2009 - 7:48 am

Yesterday was one of those days so dizzyingly busy it was hard to remember if I was coming or going and hard to remember everything I did. It began with a stint on the floor of the Chicago futures market, making a video in the shadow of the Affaire Santelli, and ran into an afternoon and evening of book events, culminating with a late night two-hour appearance on the remarkably thoughtful Milt Rosenberg Show.

But it was an interview that came right in the middle of the futures market chaos that I may end up remembering most from this lengthy round of book promotion – and it won’t be fondly.

A publicist called a week or so ago wondering if I would be willing to be on Thom Hartmann’s show on Air America. (Hartmann is the current Al Franken replacement.) Sure, I said, always anxious to promote my book and curious about what AA would be like. I must confess to a tinge of trepidation at the moment, knowing this would be oppo media, but in another sense it made me all the more eager to go on.

And go on I did. Hartmann turned out to be the rude type who interrupts you and puts words in your mouth, making assumptions about what you think from the most conventional of liberal playbooks. I sensed immediately that he hadn’t read the book through and when I called him on it, he admitted it, but allowed as how that was impossible given his schedule. (For the record, the likes of Rosenberg-above, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Laura Ingraham and even the nefarious Gordon Liddy read the book through, as did, of course, Armstrong Williams – twice – for the one-hour interview he did for BookTV. But they, of course, may not have been as busy as Mr. Hartmann.).

Nevertheless, I excused him. Anyone who has gone on shows of this nature to promote a book with any frequency knows this is a common occurrence. It was a comment he made shortly thereafter that I found to be despicable.

He said that, “After 9-11, you and Ron Silver were frightened,” or words to that affect, implying that Ron and I had become suddenly terrified of the terrorists and our acts thereafter, supporting the war on Islamofascism, were motivated by a (one supposes) bullying cowardice.

Whoa… Let me first say something about my good friend Ron that is perhaps a little bit out of school, although he has alluded to it on his own Sirius radio show. For the last two-three years Ron Silver has been battling terminal illness, the one we most fear, taking all manner of debilitating chemo-therapy treatments, experimental and otherwise, while continuing to traipse across the country, often in acute pain, speaking out on those political issues that cost him many a Hollywood job. (He was once a leading man.) Ron Silver has shown more guts than almost any human being I know, whatever his political viewpoints.

I don’t make those kinds of claims for myself at all. But… although I have many flaws… arrogance, narcissism, frequent readers of this blog can fill in their own… I am no coward (no more than the normal one anyway). Actually, I’m a bit of a hothead – and admit it. I want to be in thick of things. On 9-11 I wasn’t in the slightest bit afraid. I was furious and ready to fight, ready to stand up for what I saw as a great danger to Enlightenment values. 9-11 wasn’t a call to cower in the corner for me. It was a call to arms in the defense of ideals I cherish. In fact, it made that clear to me as nothing before.

Mr. Hartmann, of course, had his own assumptions. He is a shrink by training – of some stripe anyway. But no matter what school of therapy he espouses, I’m sure he’s familiar with phenomenon of projection. So I’ll give him tit for tat. It may be conventional liberals of his sort that were the ones terrified on 9-11, not Ron and I. It would explain their subsequent behavior.

I leave that to Hartmann to cogitate, though I suspect he will reject the idea out of hand. So it goes in our divided world. I got into a bit with him on Air America, even raised my voice a tad. I’m not sure how well I did, but if I’m to believe the emails (and comments below) I received, much better than I would have anticipated. (Hartmann’s emails may run the other way.)

Apropos the above-mentioned interview with Milt Rosenberg, who ironically is also a psychologist by training, it will soon be online as a podcast. I will post the link when available. And check out the website for the Rosenberg show (link above). The list of guests is more than a little impressive.

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