Yellow Elephants on Parade

Oye Operation Yellow Elephant, the anti-war movement's in-your-face effort to sign up young Republicans for duty in Iraq, is breaking into a full trot - and taking fire.

It's holding a Blog Your Campus back-to-school contest, soliciting posters that promote OYE's mission "to expose the hypocrisy of hawking College Republicans and other conservatives who are too cowardly to fight in the war they demanded." By way of encouragement, it offers some examples of the Freeway Blogger's work. Prizes include an iPod Shuffle (small version) and various T-shirts.

Locally, OYE is encouraging recruitment of the Montgomery County Young Republicans, posting brief pictures and bios of the officers, and generally ridiculing the whole lot. The post was written by the Spin Dentist, a member of the All Spin Zone, the lefty Philadelphia political blog. OYE is waged by a coalition of bloggers at lefty sites, and commanded by General J.C. Christian, of Jesus's General.

A sample of the dentist's drilling: "Next is James C. Saring, and among his accomplishments is being named the Pennsylvania Young Republican Richard M. Nixon Man of the Year in 2004. (As an aside, these folks give tons of awards -- or maybe the officers here are hogging all the awards. . . ) James has quite a square jaw there, and also a bit of a Charles Manson gleam in his eye. I'm thinking he's a candidate for service in Tikrit. Anyone agree? Encourage him to enlist by emailing ..."

Someone must have alerted Jim Saring to the campaign, because he replied:

"For your information, one of our former Montco YR officers is serving in Iraq in the Army JAG and an officer of our neighboring federation (Bucks County) has just enlisted in the Army Rangers. Several YR federations in Pennsylvania have sent care packages to our troops and are continuing these efforts. Tell me sir, what have you done."

Lab Coat Larry replied to the reply. "Too bad that care packagin' and flag-waving is negated by the fact that you actively support a party that lied to start a war. I'm sure troops would forgo the Oreos and blankies if they could be led by a competent administration that doesn't treat them like a neo-con lab project and doesn't send them into battle without armor."

That sort of back and forth is typical of the discussion since the Yellow Elephant campaign began in early summer. The Baltimore Sun quoted Young GOPer chair Nathan Taylor saying: "Most of our members either serve, have served, or plan to serve in the United States Armed Forces, or have participated in events or projects supporting the United States Armed Forces. We will not be intimidated."

Which prompted this retort from Atrios, the Philly blogger born Duncan Black: "There you
go. Most serve, have served, plan to serve, OR HAVE PARTICIPATED IN EVENTS OR PROJECTS, such as Operation Drink a Beer for the Troops, Operation Burn a Dixie Chick CD, or Operation Put a
Yellow Ribbon on my SUV, supporting the United States Armed Forces."

A Philly blogger called The City Troll finds the whole operation offensive:

"I find it amusing that the so called free thinking Liberals are starting a public campaign to harass people who have a different point of view than yourselves. The same old stupid cries over and over. If your going to support the countries military actions you can't speak about it unless you serve. Do you know how pathetic and silly that makes you all sound? The so called supporters of free speech and minority rights have created a campaign to attack others that don't think as they do.Your actions are the same as giving prizes to people for putting up posters to harass Blacks, Gays, Women, etc.. The only difference is that your replacing one of those groups with conservatives. What would your reaction be if a campaign that plastered posters ostracizing any whites for supporting Civil Rights? and prizes would be given to the best poster."

Greg Seher
Posted 08/29/2005 11:49:21 AM

I have a logical recommendation for the Young Republicans under attack by the Yellow Elephant movement. They need to find out what types of vehicles the liberals who run the movement are driving. If they aren’t driving hybrid vehicles, check that, they should be riding a bicycle or use mass transit, then they are just as hypocritical as the conservatives who won’t join the war are. Actually it is worse, joining the military would mean you are willing to die for you cause, pretty extreme, being green friendly is simply a matter of monetary expense and convenience of travel.

Posted 08/29/2005 12:04:33 PM

I was always proud of the fact that I own an American car, and saw irony, after 9/11, when people would have American flags on their Japanese, Korean or German cars. In fact, I didn't buy an American flag to place on my car... it is itself an American symbol. I can see where you're coming from, though. My car gets 29/19 but I drive it about a mile a week :p That's just coincidence and timing though, before I only worked in the 'burbs and had to drive everywhere. But I'm not liberal or conservative (as I'm not political). I'm just a spectator to one of the greatest shows on Earth :) But if I were liberal, I would come back with "We're over there fighting for the oil, we can drive whatever we want..." .... might want to plug that hole in your argument.

Posted 08/29/2005 12:10:57 PM

Jason, liberals thinking that the US is there for the oil, as much as they want to believe it, doesn't make it so. If we were there for the oil, it wouldn't $70 a barrel.

Posted 08/29/2005 12:20:02 PM

Well, they have a good argument. As I said, I'm not liberal, I was just pretending to be for the moment :) However.... Venezuela has recently made the headlines with that preacher guy, Father 'Sin. What was the first thing we learned about Venezuela? 5th highest oil blah blah blah. The middle east is a hotbed for the stuff. It can't be coincidence. I'd like to look up the oil output of North Korea vs. their amount of WMDs, and wonder why we haven't given them an ultimatum yet, like Iraq. This from a spectator...

That Dude from Philly
Posted 08/29/2005 12:39:59 PM

This yellow elephant group is disgusting and more to the point moronic. "lets go make Republicans go sign up for the service", maybe they should go and check who is in the service...80+% Republican already. Their is going to be some SERIOUS blowback to to this "peace" of s**t movement.

Posted 08/29/2005 12:41:42 PM

Two things: FDR, Abraham Lincoln. The older I get the more convinced I am that liberalism needs short-term memory to sustain itself.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/29/2005 01:00:44 PM

What interests me most is how the comments on this piece, and many others on Blinq, are from those who don't ID themselves as liberal. Why is this? Is it because, as one very liberal blogger told me recently, she doesn't read sites that aren't by liberals?

Posted 08/29/2005 01:05:41 PM

Yeah, that whole thing's pretty rediculous if our armed forces are 80% republican. I wonder what the percentages are in Iraq? Or Afghanistan for that matter.

Posted 08/29/2005 01:16:17 PM

(On percentages in Iraq) I was just wondering. It would be pure coincidence and not at all any kind of argumentative evidence. Dan, I would like to give you a definitive answer, but I don't understand the question :P Maybe you don't come across as a left or right site, maybe because you post something political then post alternative arguments... maybe because you post about stuff that can go either way or can't go any way... like Katrina. I'd like to see a political argument on that one :)

Posted 08/29/2005 03:58:36 PM

Dan, I'm liberal, and I wrote the piece on OYE. And if the only rebuttal you could find was that of The City Troll, you need to get a better gig. Go look at his/her words. I counted several faulty analogies, but the thing that got me was three misspelled words in the first eleven, of the TITLE, for God's sake! I love how Greg Seher considers every liberal is "green." No worries, as I ride a bike to work, but the labelling is pretty insane. There's hardly any monolithic (look up the word, City Troll) position held by any three liberals when they come together, so such generalization is absurd. But one thing we've noticed, a huge number of Republicans support the war in Iraq. It is supposedly a "noble cause," but you can be sure George Bush has not encouraged his girls to join up.

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/29/2005 04:21:09 PM

Nice to hear from the Dentist. The other rebuttals come in the comments section here, which I suppose I could hoist up into the main post. Spelling plagues us all - I see two in your All Spin Zone post on Operation Yellow Elephant: rationing and discrimination. Clearly these - and mine, especially - are typing mistakes.

Posted 08/29/2005 04:35:08 PM

"There's hardly any monolithic position held by any three liberals when they come together" Liberals don't share many positions? Are they at war with each other too? I'm cooking up some popcorn.

Posted 08/29/2005 04:54:31 PM

Dan, no, those are definitely "spelling errors" and not typing mistakes :) "Speach" is repeated numerous times. However, what should be noted is that spelling correctly is not a prerequisite for thinking correctly.

Posted 08/29/2005 07:21:50 PM

A more important question, is where that 80% figure comes from. Surveying the military isn't the easiest thing to do, especially with politics, since dissent in the ranks is discouraged, to say the least. All politics for that matter are discouraged, as the military is at its heart an apolitical organization. I've heard someone mention the 80% number before, but they wouldn't tell me where it comes from.

Posted 08/29/2005 07:23:44 PM

And Dan, I mistakenly responded to the troll when he posted a comment in regards to this post at Philly Future I shouldn't have hopped in since that isn't my role - but indeed - the post *was* a troll. It was ment to stir heated argument and not discussion. Shit - he admitted it with his own name - "City Troll". Experienced folks on the net should know never to feed the troll. It leads no where. As for the armed forces being "80% republican" - ummm... anyone care to lookup what income bracket they are in? Do we see our political leaders and our captains of industry sending their sons and daughters to war? I think it is probably in nowhere near in the same numbers as the hard working folk from all over America. So Yellow Elephant has a point to make there. Anyway.... What interests me most is how the comments on this piece, and many others on Blinq, are from those who don't ID themselves as liberal. Why is this? Is it because, as one very liberal blogger told me recently, she doesn't read sites that aren't by liberals? I try and read a huge mix of sites with different points of view. But I recognize I am not the norm. If that is true of liberals - it is certainly true of conservatives as well. Human nature doesn't change no matter your political view point. We seek out voices we relate to. I think Jason nailed it when he asked Maybe you don't come across as a left or right site, maybe because you post something political then post alternative arguments... maybe because you post about stuff that can go either way or can't go any way... like Katrina. I'd like to see a political argument on that one :) One thing to consider is that you are quickly becoming a site where others know they can get recognized and become part of. Your site is seen as possibly 'neutral' might make this site fly paper to conservatives. Another thing to consider is the political makeup of the readership of the Inquirer.

Posted 08/29/2005 07:36:36 PM

"What interests me most is how the comments on this piece, and many others on Blinq, are from those who don't ID themselves as liberal. Why is this? Is it because, as one very liberal blogger told me recently, she doesn't read sites that aren't by liberals?" Why would you expect more liberals than conservatives on your blog? If your blog readership matches the general population, then you would expect to have a mix. If you want more liberals, post make liberal sounding posts. If you want more conservatives, make conservative posts. If you want to attract the middle ground, stick with what you're doing. My experience is that 99% of readers never comment. Only the two ends do the commenting. You're finding the middle (or atleast the self-proclaimed middle). Don't change. Of course, it'll be hard to foment some sort of community around moderation. People like to hang out with their own kind. DailyKos or FreeRepublic are examples. Personally, I used to only read conservative blogs. But I started using BlogLines, and found that it's increased both the volume and diversity of my blog reading. I have my 30 or 40 blogs that I look at, and only see when they are updated. No need to constantly check back to the same sites. I just read what's new. Like a meta-blog. Of course it also means, I don't see the comments, unless I actually go to that blog. Regarding Karl request for Armed Forces voting patterns, since we don't have minders inside voting booths, here are the results of a survey. "In the survey of more than 4,000 full-time and part-time troops, 73% said they would vote for Bush if the election were held today; 18% said they would vote for Kerry. Of the respondents, 59% identified themselves as Republicans, 20% as independents and 13% as Democrats." Again, unscientific, by the articles own admission. But it is striking. The article goes into more details. (dammit, if you want more commenters allow some HTML!! italics, bold, underlines would be a start!)

Daniel Rubin
Posted 08/29/2005 07:37:46 PM

Thanks for your thoughts, Karl. Blinq does seek to be a Greyhound station of sorts. Lots of comings and goings, as well as people who bring their toothbrushes.

Posted 08/29/2005 11:32:51 PM

The problem is... once you get attacked my trolls - how do you deal with them! DAMN. Alex - sounds like you and me are on the same page here. BTW - I was wondering the *income* of those enlisting. My bet is the sons and daughters of those in power are NOT in the armed forces to any appreciable degree that compares with those that are.

Posted 08/30/2005 12:27:05 AM

Karl, sometimes trolls are just on the other side. Depends on your perspective. ;) In any case, given that a significant number of the enlisted are right out of high school, how much can they possibly be making? Even the rich kids don't graduate high school making 85K a year. More like 6 or 8 bucks an hour. If took the average yearly salary of an 18 year old, I bet it'd be close to that of the average enlisted soldier. That being said, it doesn't matter what they were making, or what their families were worth (i think you really meant that), because the armed forces don't care. They're not in that business. I guess you could argue that somebody's daddy knew the somebody, or a Congressman pulled some strings, but if you're families run in those kinds of circles, you're probably in college to begin with, and going into the ROTC. At which point the question asked again is, "how much can a college senior make?" Regarding the BTW, that's happens to be one of the "facts" from Fahrenheit 9/11. The numbers ( ) work out to "a Congressional household is about 23 percent more likely than an ordinary household to be closely related to an Iraqi serviceman or servicewoman. "

Posted 08/30/2005 01:15:28 AM

Yeah, I'm a liberal, and I'm proud of it. It puts me in pretty good company. Jesus, Lincoln, King, FDR, etc. And i love listening to what the other side has to say. I listen to 1210 all the time. Nothing makes me feel better about my positions than listening to the bigots, racists, and xenophobes who dominate the other end of the political spectrum.

Posted 08/30/2005 01:40:08 AM

"If took the average yearly salary of an 18 year old, I bet it'd be close to that of the average enlisted soldier." That's really sloppy. I meant to say "the average newly enlisted soldier."

Posted 08/30/2005 03:15:18 PM

"Why is this? Is it because, as one very liberal blogger told me recently, she doesn't read sites that aren't by liberals? " You get some conservatives who do the same. But IMO it's foolhardy to enter an echo chamber (and the Internet is a great echo chamber if that's what you are seeking) - you need to read up on other points of view, lest yours fail to interact with criticism and become first absurd and then dangerous. So being a blind ideologue transcends ideology.

Posted 09/02/2005 09:29:08 PM

I spent 20 years in the US Army - Last assignment was the 1st SF Group (Airborne). So I certainly would not call me a leftist liberal. Please do not bother to state a "Thanks for your service." line that is absolutely meaningless. Plain simple fact is these recruiters of Yellow Elephant people get it and the Young Republican defenders don't. The only real hateful speech that I have heard comes from the pugnacious pukes of priviledge (sounds like Spiro Agnew - former Republican Vice President & CONVICTED FELON). It is also interesting that they try to pin the major American conflicts on Democrat Presidents. The Vietnam involvement started under Republican Eisenhower after the French failed at Dien Ben Phu, and the Civil War actually began at Fort Sumtner after the election of Republican Lincon although many try to blame Buchanan. Wilson and FDR were actually dragged into the World Wars by the events created by other nations. They sure remind me of the Hard Hats and I wish they were part of a Silent Minority. Just as FDR declared war on Japan and Wilson responded to the neutrality violations of the German Navy, I believe GWB was correct to go after the Taliban - that was were the enemy attackers lived. But Iraq, which I opposed before it began (check my letters at various Congressional Offices), was a predictable insurgency just like Vietnam, and will probably take even longer to resolve. Most of the Vietnam Veterans like me that I see at the hospitals during treatments for our wounds hate this Iraqi war, and it probably won't be long before all of us start voting for Democrats regardless of issues. I truly hope that your Republican Congressional heros will realize that to continue the persecution of this war, a draft will be required. Then all the belicose beligerent babblings of the Yellow Elephant Brigades of the Corps of Young Republicans will be limited and put to good use saying "Yes, Sir!", "No, Sir!" and "Sorry, Sir!"

Posted 01/04/2006 01:36:21 AM

Aww, what's wrong, Dude From Philly, does the truth hurt? You sound real bitter! As an Army armored cavalry vet who is a diehard Democrat(some middle class people actually vote FOR their own interests!) I'm curious as to where you pulled the whole 80% thing from: your ass or a crackerjack box?! I agree with piegan2137 in that I'm certainly no far left liberal, but asshole Bush's administration and the stupidity of the middle class people who voted for his oil baron ass sure has made me lean in their direction. Bravo, OYE!!!

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