Invasion of the Tony Norman body snatchers

What or who the hell got a hold of Tony Norman?

About two months ago, Tony wrote an article criticizing Rick Santorum’s use of his children in his political ads and in doing so Tony branded Ricky’s kids with some nicknames including “Big Lisp.”

Today, two months later, Tony apologized, sort of, by writing:

In criticizing the senator for dragging his kids into one of the most acrimonious Senate races in the country, I may have stepped over the line by giving nicknames to his six kids.

Had I that column to do over again, I’d make the same points minus the gratuitous insults. Those were unnecessary. Sometimes, I’m just evil. Ask my wife.

I am never shocked by anything Tony Norman writes, mostly because I can’t understand a damn thing Tony Norman writes. He’s always grammatically correct … always has proper sentence structure, yet still manages to be one of the most incomprehensible columnists I read. He uses 60 words when 6 would suffice.

Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s prurient narrative of oral fixations in the Oval Office created enough of an illusion of moral probity on the part of the GOP to put the Democrats on the defensive for years.

I mean, I understand what he just wrote, but still: verbose.

That said, I am shocked that he actually apologized, even if it took him two months to do it and even if he said he MAY have gone too far. Tony Norman is NOT the type to apologize for his writings, ever, so I can only assume there are some unsavory photos of Tony in the hands of some republican who has resorted to blackmailing him into publicly taking back his words.

I’m guessing they are photos of him working the phones in Melissa Hart’s campaign office.


  1. little honda
    November 3, 2006 1:27 pm

    Regarding Santorum — I think he is smug but this article caused me to go ‘hmmm’
    Political Theater and the Real Rick Santorum

    Every poll suggests that Rick Santorum will lose his race to return to the U.S. Senate. That’s probably good news in Pennsylvania’s bobo suburbs, where folks regard Santorum as an ideological misfit and a social blight. But it’s certainly bad for poor people around the world.

    For there has been at least one constant in Washington over the past 12 years: almost every time a serious piece of antipoverty legislation surfaces in Congress, Rick Santorum is there playing a leadership role.

    In the mid-1990s, he was a floor manager for welfare reform, the most successful piece of domestic legislation of the past 10 years. He then helped found the Renewal Alliance to help charitable groups with funding and parents with flextime legislation.

    More recently, he has pushed through a stream of legislation to help the underprivileged, often with Democratic partners. With Dick Durbin and Joe Biden, Santorum has sponsored a series of laws to fight global AIDS and offer third world debt relief. With Chuck Schumer and Harold Ford, he’spushed to offer savings accounts to children from low-income families. With
    John Kerry, he’s proposed homeownership tax credits. With Chris Dodd, he backed legislation authorizing $860 million for autism research. With Joe Lieberman he pushed legislation to reward savings by low-income families.

    In addition, he’s issued a torrent of proposals, many of which have become law: efforts to fight tuberculosis; to provide assistance to orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries; to provide housing for people with AIDS; to increase funding for Social Services Block Grants and organizations like Healthy Start and the Children’s Aid Society; to finance
    community health centers; to combat genocide in Sudan.

    I could fill this column, if not this entire page, with a list of ideas, proposals and laws Santorum has poured out over the past dozen years. It’s hard to think of another politician who has been so active and so productive on these issues.

    Like many people who admire his output, I disagree with Santorum on key matters like immigration, abortion, gay marriage. I’m often put off by his unnecessarily slashing style and his culture war rhetoric.

    But government is ultimately not about the theater or the light shows of public controversy, it’s about legislation and results. And the substance of Santorum’s work is impressive. Bono, who has worked closely with him over the years, got it right: “I would suggest that Rick Santorum has a kind of Tourette’s disease; he will always say the most unpopular thing. But on our issues, he has been a defender of the most vulnerable.”

    Santorum doesn’t have the jocular manner of most politicians. His colleagues’ eyes can glaze over as he lectures them on the need to, say, devote a week of Senate floor time to poverty. He’s not the most social member of the club. Many politicians praise family values and seem to spend as little time as possible with their own families, but Santorum is at home almost constantly. And there is sometimes a humorlessness to his missionary

    But no one can doubt his rigor. Jonathan Rauch of The National Journal wrote the smartest review of Santorum’s book, “It Takes a Family.” Rauch noted that while Goldwater conservatives see the individual as the essential unit of society, Santorum sees the family as the essential unit.

    Rauch observed, “Where Goldwater denounced collectivism as the enemy of the individual, Santorum denounces individualism as the enemy of the family.” That belief has led Santorum in interesting and sometimes problematical directions, but the argument itself is a serious one. His discussion of the
    philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, for example, is as sophisticated as anything in Barack Obama’s recent book. If Santorum were pro-choice, he’d be a media star and a campus hero.

    The bottom line is this: If serious antipoverty work is going to be done, it’s going to emerge from a coalition of liberals and religious conservatives. Without Santorum, that’s less likely to happen. If senators are going to be honestly appraised, it’s going to require commentators who can look beyond the theater of public controversy and at least pretend to care about actual legislation. Santorum has never gotten a fair shake from
    the media.

    And so after Election Day, the underprivileged will probably have lost one of their least cuddly but most effective champions.

  2. L
    November 3, 2006 1:38 pm

    Yeah, Hitler liked puppies, too.

    (Godwin’s Law for the win!)

  3. Judge Rufus Peckham
    November 3, 2006 1:44 pm

    I, too, am glad Tony Norman apologized.

  4. Zsa
    November 3, 2006 4:06 pm

    I think the only reason R-Ick has done anything to help the underprivileged is because poor people are just so….yucky.

    Think about it, if poor kids are in Healthy Start programs and people with AIDS are in housing, there’s less chance of him actually running into one of them on the street, on the very slim chance he’ll actually be anywhere near the house he supposedly lived in.

  5. Lino Gunn
    November 3, 2006 6:06 pm

    Zsa, that’s uncalled for.

  6. Buck Golden
    November 3, 2006 6:34 pm

    I beg to differ. Tony is an excellent writer who writes about important issues with his head and his heart. Rick Santorum is a self-serving monster. Yeah, right he’s been a big help to the poor. Time and time again he’s voted against funding for programs that provide contraception and cancer screening services to low-income women. He’s a first rate hypocrite. Man on dog indeed.

  7. William Pitt
    November 4, 2006 1:40 pm

    Blah, blah, blah, hate, hate, hate

  8. Buck Golden
    November 4, 2006 2:53 pm

    Well said.

  9. kelly green
    November 5, 2006 2:48 pm

    I feel for the people of PA if Santorum does not get re-elected. He HAS done well for PA. Even if you do not like him personally or the GOP party, losing him and the power he has in DC will hurt PA. If you don’t believe this, just watch and see if Casey gets in. He will do nothing for western PA, if in fact he does anything at all for the state.
    Oh, I take that back, he will make sure the illegal immigrants can come in, pay no taxes and yet enjoy all the benefits that you hardworking taxpayers have. And that is just one thing he will do. Forget about any tax breaks for anyone. Forget about any property tax relief. Vote on the issues, not the person!

  10. Maria
    November 5, 2006 4:02 pm

    Kelly’s right!

    – I mean, it was Rick who found the missing WMD’s.
    – It was Rick who pointed out that the proper place for a woman was in the home and not in the paid workforce.
    – It was Rick who made the right call when he said that peophile priests should be blamed on liberals in Boston.
    – It was Rick who said that there’s something unatural about public schooling.
    – It was Rick who brought up the terrible scourge of man-on-dog sex.
    – It was Rick who said Rumsfeld is terrific.
    – It was Rick was for the Iraq War, against raising the minimum raise, who belives higher education for single moms is a waste of time, and who thought the only thing wrong in the Katrina aftermath was that the people of New Orleans weren’t punished enough.

    Let’s all remember the issues on Tuesday!

  11. Scott
    November 6, 2006 8:37 am

    And…this is the reason I don’t do politics on my own Blog.
    That said, I usually skim Tony Norman’s articles because although I usually don’t agree with him AND he usually gets my blood boiling, he DOES make me think, and exposes me to a different way of thinking than my own.

  12. pittgirl
    November 6, 2006 9:40 am

    In my defense Scott, this was NOT meant to be a political post. This was a “Holy Shit, Tony Norman apologized for something he wrote?!?!?” post. But with the election tomorrow, of course it will turn political.

  13. Scott
    November 6, 2006 10:56 am

    Oops, sorry, Pittgirl – that wasn’t directed at you but rather at some of the commenters!

  14. Ed Heath
    November 6, 2006 12:34 pm

    Well, Little Honda actually performed quite a service by putting the Brooks piece up here. I know Tony Norman had been to some writing colloquium thingie for some months, but I really question whether its helped his writing. Brooks, the conservative, consistently produces writing that is (in my estimate) less offensive to liberals than Tony’s stuff is to conservatives. I mean, ok, Tony’s command of language is impressive, and Brooks stuck some stuff in his praise of Santorum like savings accounts for children and tax credits for homeowners that don’t really seem to help the poor. On the other hand, frankly, the Bono quote is compelling. At the end of the day (or the post), the ability to see the other guy’s point of view seems to be a vanishing commodity, and Tony sure isn’t helping in that department.

  15. Awesome Comet
    November 6, 2006 1:48 pm

    For the record, I enjoy nothing more that a nice burst of political discussion every now and again. Particularly when people are keeping it as issue-oriented and high-minded as they are. Although pasting an ENTIRE op-ed piece into a comment is a little much.

    In re Santorum, for whom we’re told we should all vote because he “fights for Pennsylvania” what with the military bases and airports and highways and things of this nature … how does this jibe with “Conservatism”? With fiscal discipline? With ballooning defecit spending as far as the eye can see? Isn’t Rick really bragging that he’s an ace at pork-barrel politics? Bringing home the bacon doesn’t actually mean “fighting” like with wrestlers and boxing gloves … it means “cooperating” with other senators that are building bridges to nowhere and museums for pizza toppings. This is a Republican?