Too Loathsome To Loathe. But I’ll Try.

Michael Brodkorb said it best in his headline:  PAWLENTY HATER NICK COLEMAN HITS NEW LOW.

First came his first, deeply stupid column on Friday, which blamed the “No New Taxes” pledge for the disaster as rescuers were still frantically combing the wreckage for survivors, roughly 12 18 months before the NTSB actually expects to know what actually happened.

Then, his – I’ll be charitable – scabrous and incoherent appearance on MSNBC.

And now, Saturday’s column, an apologia for the politicizing of this tragedy, and an attempt to seize “moral authority” on behalf of the likes of Coleman – fact-free politically-motivated ranters – from people who actually stayed awake in math class, went to engineering instead of J school, and actually have to deal in facts and science for a living.

The column distills everything that make Nick Coleman America’s worst working columnist into a melange of gutless lying that is almost too depressing to fisk; indeed, I’ve almost given up critiqueing Coleman, since under normal circumstances he’s become an irrelevant self-parody.

But people are dead, and this – I’m done being charitable – gutless illiterate habitual-liar political hack is trying to use this catastrophe to bully the ill-informed into accepting his deeply, abidingly stupid politics.

According to the pundits, the president’s response to the disaster at our end of the Mississippi is an effort to be seen as more compassionate than he appeared in 2005, when he just looked out the window of Air Force One after the levees broke in New Orleans.

Minnesotans will welcome the president. We need presidents to be comforters, and leaders, at times such as this…But let’s not pretend his visit isn’t all about politics, too.

Everything about this disaster — except the heroic efforts to rescue and recover the victims — has been steeped in politics. And the most calculated political effort has been the posturing and spinning by public officials trying to act commanding while making sure they don’t get pinned with responsibility for the collapse.

Alternate – and as it happens, factual – explanation:  They’re working their asses off to get ahead of the lies that people like Nick Coleman are telling about the situation; lies that are contradicted in Coleman’s own paper; lies that can only be aimed at swaying the gullible and ill-informed (i.e., Nick Coleman’s entire audience) into taking a desired action at the polls.

If you think everyone should play nice about it, you are living in Pollyanna Land. We are in a bare-knuckled political brawl in this country, and the government is in the hands of government haters who want to starve it or, in the alleged belief of presidential ally Grover Norquist, want to “drown it.”

You can’t drown government. It is people who drown.

Again, Coleman lies.  Not only does nobody this side of Ron Paul seriously discuss dismantling government, but one of the things tha so irritated wahabbi-DFLers like Coleman before this tragedy was their “myopic” focus on…roads and bridges, as opposed to boondoggles like the Ventura Trolley.

Friday, the Taxpayers League — the heart of the No New Taxes beast — called on us not to point fingers. They probably disconnected their phone and took down their sign, too.

Actually, sources tell me they were inundated with hateful calls, likely as not from people inflamed by ignorant  moral vermin like Nick Coleman.  Unlike Nick Coleman, the Taxpayers League took the phone calls, and responded.  Try calling Nick Coleman sometimes; he may sound like a stroke victim (no offense to stroke victims or, for that matter, vermin), but he can sure dish out the verbal abuse.  I have the voicemail tapes to prove it.

No New Taxes is not a slogan that works anymore.

We wouldn’t know, would we?  Remember – this bridge was first drawing red flags under the Moe Ventura Administration, when the DFL was spending the surplus like a crack whore with a stolen Gold Card.

That means don’t blame the people in charge for letting 140,000 vehicles a day — 1.7 every second –cross a bridge that wasn’t fit for traffic.

And again, Coleman is not just a gutless, cynical liar, but an illiterate, ignorant one too.  He repeats the lie that the “50” rating implied a “50-50” chance that the bridge was going to collapse, or that it wasn’t fit to be driven on.  His own paper iterated that, in fact, it was a rating; a rating that caused a response (more inspections, more scrutiny, and a focus on the year 2020, when the bridge was scheduled for major reconstruction or repair).  These were decisions made by engineers, people who deal in fact, calculation and empirical conclusions.  The opposite of Nick Coleman.

No one knew it might fall? Give us a break. What do you need? They were talking about bolting plates on it to keep it up. Maybe duct tape was next.

Nick, you lying, illiterate numbnuts:  You state this (“bolting plates”) like it’s some kind of anomaly.  That’s how you maintain bridges – indeed, any big steel-girder construction – when you have neither the option nor the need to take the whole shebang out of service.

And, in the opinion of engineers who do this for a living and for whom it is a matter of empirical science rather than ill-informed opinion, they didn’t need to take it out of service.

If they were wrong, it was not a matter of insufficient money.

The rest of Coleman’s paper doesn’t seem to have a problem getting that fact out there.

Why does Coleman?

Bottom line: It fell.

At least he got one fact right.

Is it political to be angry about that? So be it. Everything is politics. Politics is not a dirty word by itself. Politics builds bridges and schools and hospitals. And politics can make them fall down.

Catch that?

It sums up the problem with people like Nick Coleman.  “Politics” doesn’t “build” anything.  It decides how things like taxes are gathered, and how government budgets are spent.  Since we live in a “democracy”, that process is going to be bumptious and imperfect.  Perhaps Coleman would prefer a dictatorship?

But politics doesn’t build anything; engineers, ironworkers, carpenters and masons do.

And barring the odd war here and there, it doesn’t “destroy” anything either:  wear and tear does.  Time does.  “Acts of God” do.  Traffic does.  Design flaws and construction errors and undetected flaws in material do.   More often, confluences of all of the above do; the Titanic wasn’t sunk by an iceberg or a design shortcoming (un-capped watertight compartments) or faulty assumptions (that only three compartments would vent to the sea) or misplaced arrogance (doing flank speed at night in an ice field); it was the combination of all of them that doomed the ship.

Likewise, it’s every bit as likely that some combination of material flaws or deterioration combined with decades of heavy use and occasional abuse, construction practices, heat, weight of traffic, and undetected material faults caused this catastrophe as it was the nonexistant “lack of money”.

When Pawlenty vetoed the transportation bill in May, “Commissioner” Molnau was beside him, smiling. Dear, Minnesota. A transportation commissioner who grins while her department is being knifed is not a transportation commissioner.

Could we please follow this logic into the newsroom?  A “journalist” who makes s**t up as he goes along isn’t a “journalist”.

Now, a bridge has fallen and people are dead. The buck has to stop somewhere. Molnau was in China when it happened. She probably kissed the Minnesota turf when she got back. Because a Chinese transportation commissioner whose bridge collapsed might lose her head.

And a columnist who gang-rapes fact to chase a further his politics should certainly not be working in a town that values “fact”.

Jay Reding also guts Coleman like a fish.