So, after getting ripped by Jon Stewart and the Comedy Central gang, Judge Anthony Napolitano did a most unusual Fox News commentator rebuttal – he promptly appeared on The Daily Show, ‘debated’ Jon Stewart and laughingly took his lumps in a Civil War Trivia Contest.
He was charming, funny, garrulous, and a good sport . . . and still drop dead, scarily wrong. Even when corrected by a three person panel of Civil War professors, he avowed, loudly but with great good humor, that Lincoln started the Civil War, imposed the tariff that was the real cause of the war; slavery was dying, had already been banned in Puerto Rico and Brazil, was not economically viable in the South; yada, yada, yada.
So, I liked the guy. I actually agree with some of his libertarian leanings. I’d enjoy having a beer with the guy, probably five or six while we told each other how full of shit we were. It would be fun.
My problem, then? The reason I have a hard time listening to him complete a sentence on the Civil War? Well, that’s easy and takes only a quick perusal through the comments on the Daily Show’s posting – ‘I enjoyed the debate’, ‘Napolitano’s right, Stewart’s a commie, the professors liberal stooges’, and, scariest of all, ‘Wow, the Judge really opened my eyes.’
First, this was not a debate of opposing views. A debate would be something like, “Was Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus legal….”. What Stewart and the liberal stooge panel did was correct Napolitano’s history. I use the noun loosely here, because nothing Napolitano states so convincingly is remotely true. He gives himself deeper historical underpinnings for his politics, but that doesn’t mean any of it actually occurred.
Second, and apropos of nothing above, he’s the only person in the history of the world to give anything James Buchanan did, said, or thought any credence whatever.
Third, I cringe at the thought of the number of people getting their history from this very vocal faux historian and spreading their newly discovered knowledge.
Last, why didn’t I come up with the whole tell me I’m wrong and you’re a subversive who should be reported and vilified thing while I was in college and/or law school?