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November 03, 2005

Comments

dorf

Dean of what, agitprop?

SteveMG

Brilliant post you son of a bitch.

Barone does have a good point if I can copyedit it a bit.

Viz.:

The Right, now in power, goes after institutions that, in their view, challenge or threatens that power. E.g, the press, the cultural elites, et cetera. In any event, the Right wishes to maintain power and the status quo and thus become, in effect, realists since they don't want to invade Iraq and destabilize the entire region, so to speak.

The Left, out of power, goes after the institutions in power. They're idealists who see the current order as completely corrupt and illegitimate. They want to invade Iraq and overthrow the crooked bastards and don't care about the consequences of their action since the existing order is unjust anyway. Mixing my military metaphors, they wish to burn the village down in order to save it.

Okay, needs work but I'm cleaning up dog vomit and typing at the same time. Geezus, the things dogs eat will amaze you sometimes.

SMG

topsecretk9

OT--- But Steve
I feel your pain. I have a goof-ball dog that inhales whatever available when excited including plastic grocery bags...He has 2 modes...excited or asleep.

Big Time Patriot

"Two "conservatives" bitterly denounce two "liberals", then all change."

Didn't you mean to say that on cable tv two "conservatives" battle someone "only slightly right of center" and perhaps one person "slightly left of center" (but not if they are too good of a shouter-arguer).

But hey I'm just going by the polling numbers on support of the Iraq war by the public versus the support of the Iraq war by cable tv "pundits". (Cable TV does bring out the parenthetical terminology doesn't it? Such as "fair and balanced", etc.)

miriam's ideas

I've always considered Noonan a pretentious bitch--the MoDo of the right, only wordier.

Jake

Isn't Peggy Noonan tiresome?

kim

CT and JBG should understand that they are both superlative thinkers.
=============================================

Lesley

"Barbaric yawp"?

Yup, just a Tower of Babblers, a veritable confusion of tongues, the whole lot of us.

"God himself created the anti-Christ called the Internet and did confound the civility of all the earth."

Genesis 11:1-9 Bible of Peggy

Geek, Esq.

Well, the cat is out of the bag.

The social conservatives are nothing more than oxen exploited to pull the GOP cart.

After all, they're just Wackos.

Consider one memo highlighted in a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tx., sent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to describe his strategy for protecting the tribe's gambling business. In plain terms, Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives.

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."

Syl

Geek illustrates the basic phenomenon: everything has equal weight and each instance of an 'outrage' to either side is brought to the fore as if it holds the key to some objective truth.

In reality it's all just background noise and most of it is truly meaningless.

But pit one head against the other on even the most trivial of issues and you end up with each head reaching to extremes just to outshout the other.

The viewer has to take sides. 'Yeah, you say it, man!' or 'Jerk!' and the accumulation of these arguments, where both sides ignore any common ground, just makes partisans even more partisan.

Bush isn't a divider. Cable talking heads and blogs are.

Rick Ballard

"maybe bloggers can exchange ideas across the political spectrum without a lot of name calling"

What a wonderful and touching idea! I have to go find the lyrics to "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" to put myself in the proper mood to "exchange ideas".

Oh, that reminds me, I need to get out to the range tomorrow too. I'll search for the lyrics when I get back. First things first.

Nite all.

sammler

The only way I can see for more reasoned argument, rather than more savage invective, to gain ground is if there is a format where two viewpoints are forced to stand against each other, sharing the same screen real estate. Even the Becker/Posner interchange format is not intimate enough. (Suppose Messrs. Becker and Posner disagreed about most things -- it would be too easy for readers to skip past one of them, and therefore too easy for either of them to address his base instead of his opponent.)

Senators deserve a lot of criticism, but they are at least kept in contact with their ideological opponents. Bloggers need not be; readers very often are not. It is an effort of will for me to check what, e.g., Matthew Yglesias has chosen to yammer about today; sometimes I just can't be arsed. I feel this is typical.

A shared-screen format is one way to puncture the echo chamber. Another is an exchange of space: two opposed bloggers guarantee each other, say, 1/3 of each posting's length to be used for on-the-spot rebuttal.

One problem is that the Blogosphere is now itself established, and the most powerful Moties have too much to lose in a scheme like this. Neither Mrs. Malkin nor Mr. Moulitsos got where they are by engaging the opposition.

sammler

Oh, and comments are also an unsolved problem. You could not permit open comments on a debating blog, as every thread would dissolve into a flame war. But commenters might add significant arguments. My best guess is that you'd encourage trackbacks, which the posters could forage through for extra ammunition.

Syl

"extra ammunition"

But that's the problem. Argument. Argument is good but there is argument on everything! And instead of a few hundred people arguing, we have thousands and thousands.

Even if there is an issue that is bi-partisan. Say immigration. A bi-partisan discussion will drill down soon enough to the areas within the larger argument they disagree on.

We don't want to stop argument. The fact is that there is more and more and more. I think it's a natural consequence of so many people being engaged.

I think Peggy is right that strident voices stand out but I think she has the reason wrong. It's not because they're trying to distinguish themselves from the crowd, it's that they have stronger/more partisan arguments that others, who are arguing, turn to "for ammunition."

The best arguers rise to the top naturally, not because they try to do so.


Syl

And this arguing back and forth involves the pundits as well. As stronger arguers in the blogosphere rise to the top, the pundits are simply answering them and become, naturally, more strident themselves.

So everyone becomes more strident simply because that's how arguments evolve.


JayDee

The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media.Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.

How behind the times is this guy? That right blogosphere better get cracking with their effective undermining...seeing as Bush's approvals have fallen solidly into the 30s and his DISapproval has now broken 60. The "undermining" of the right presupposes that the Old Media is reliably false and wrong....whereas you'd be hardpressed to find more cuckoos and tinfoil hatties anywhere on the planet than amongst US rightwing bloggers.

Arguments - both on tv and in blogs - get pretty monotonous. But the ultimate usefulness of the Internet is as a source of instantaneous information. I came here to post the same quote Geek posted. Here we have a DeLay boy admitting what the left has been denounced as crazed for saying - that the right wing cynically exploits Christians for political gain, while willfully confusing the mainstream as to the true issues. The "Old Media" would never have coughed up this information. It is thanks to leftwing blogs that this factual and important TRUE information gets disseminated. In fact, the entire Abramoff scandal - and the slime of Pub involvement - is going to be thoroughly microexamined and utilized by the leftwing blogosphere in a way that could never have happened before. Dems will get a powerful political tool from this activity that they would likely never have uncovered through their traditional machinery.

There's a problem of course with all the volume. I see someone comparing Malkin and Moulitsas above, which is a completely irrelevant comparison except that they both attract fans from the extreme ends of the political spectrum. Malkin is interested merely in getting rich by inciting passions through asinine hyperbole whereas Kos has a very real world agenda of reorganizing Democratic politics to wash out the old machine and build a populist grassroots network responsive to actual human beings. It's the difference between a silly fluff propagandist and a serious political activist, but the noise of the blogosphere tends to blur those vital differences.

TM

One problem is that the Blogosphere is now itself established, and the most powerful Moties have too much to lose in a scheme like this. Neither Mrs. Malkin nor Mr. Moulitsos got where they are by engaging the opposition.

That list is endless. And a lot of the big blogs (more on the left) are essentially fund-raising agit-prop sites where the point is to raise the outrage and the cash.

One might as welll ask for the DNC and RNC sites to be more fair and balanced.

It is an effort of will for me to check what, e.g., Matthew Yglesias has chosen to yammer about today; sometimes I just can't be arsed. I feel this is typical.

Mega-dittos. There is a theory that most people don't want "news", they want validation - flip on NPR (or Rush) and be reassured that the bad guys are still bad, and the good guys (most especially you, the listener) are on their trail.

Complementing that is the idea that people like me read the NY Times as an alternative to snorting crystal meth - either technique gets the old blood pressure jacked up pretty quickly (well, I am going on what I have read about cyrstal meth).

JayDee

Funny should mention NPR as if it were the counterpart of the OxyRush. Considering that WH shill Tomlinson has just resigned from CPB after an Inspector General's report was issued regarding his activist politicizing of our public airwaves.

CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz... was investigating whether Tomlinson violated the Public Broadcasting Act by commissioning an outside content analysis of the politics in Now With Bill Moyers—and other PBS shows—and by enlisting a White House staffer to help write rules for two new ombudsmen, one a former Reader's Digest colleague of Tomlinson's.

What we're experiencing right now is the epiphany that all the rhetoric used to inflame us politically is empty. These he said/she said talking heads represent our political reality. The rightwing, for example, is not opposed to activist judges - they just want it to be their kind of activism. (Witness the fact that votes to strike down Congressional legislatiion have been cast overwhelmingly by the Thomas/Scalia end of the court.) The complete loss of integrity by the media has created a vacuum that political propagandists have rushed to fill. That's how we get yahoos in middle America who think they're opposed to judicial activism but wanted the courts to tell Terri Schiavo's family exactly how to handle her end of life tragedy.

I think it's healthy. People are already waking up to the fact that they've been lied to repeatedly by those in power, and that the media helped them do it. At this point what we have is profound mistrust, which could devolve into apathy. However, given the dire straits most middle class people are finding themselves in - economically, educationally, healthcare-wise - the more likely result is that people will start demanding some standards of ethical truth. It may take time, but necessity is the mother of invention, and people can only take so much before they start to act in their own best interests.

Syl

JayDee

Those polls you happily cite are bogus. The parties have parity now. The poll data is weighted with far fewer republican respondents than democrats.

Syl

"People are already waking up to the fact that they've been lied to repeatedly by those in power"

See what I mean? The arguments become strident and more and more partisan.

People are indeed waking up to the fact that partisans and the press are claiming we've been lied to.

Are you proud of yourself for swaying pulbic opinon through lies?

Epphan

Civil discourse? Never. You’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead throat. The best way to cut through the clutter is not volume, it’s accuracy. Just ask TM...Made quite a name for himself lately...not by being insufferable, but by being right. And please don’t be too hard on JayDee. He is indeed just waking up -- From a nap that has lasted since 1998. Remember how hard life is on him...cursed by being so much smarter than everyone else.

TexasToast

Epphan is right about accuracy - but it isn't always enough. Precision and accuracy arnt enough if one insults half of you readers in the presentation of those facts. Tom is right that most folks seek validation more than information - which is why this comments board is so unusual. Its not that there arn't commenters who regularly inflame the other side - its that soome of these commenters have something to add along with the invective.

JayDee

Syl, ALL these polls are bogus - Zogby, AP, CBS and ABC? All of them? That's the kind of wishful thinking that has got the WH into the morass it's in. If you'll notice Pub numbers have declined as Independent numbers have risen. Could that just be a natural realignment that is occuring in the population? I know I rarely meet a person who claims any strong party affiliation. More and more people consider themselves Independent.

What that means is that in the future politicians are going to have to appeal to people's actual needs, wants and desires for their government, rather than attempting to propagandize them and fool them into supporting a corrupt political machine. All to the good, and much credit to the vibrant discussion fostered by the Internet. As corporate media has robbed us of a true egalitarian marketplace of ideals, the Internet has replaced it - for those Americans still capable of reading and writing.

I know I'm a true pest on this board, but I'd like once again to congratulate TM for what he's got here. It may not be always nice and polite but this is a real refuge from the rampant censorship of most political blogs. As I'm NOT one of those seeking self-validation, I really appreciate it.

Syl

Epphan

"The best way to cut through the clutter is not volume, it’s accuracy."

True, and I ignored that in my analysis. Some will stand out from the others through stronger partisanship. Others will stand out for their accuracy.

Jim E.

Did TM, in a comment, imply that NPR and Rush Limbaugh are comparable in terms of their purpose and audience? That's laughable.

Patrick R. Sullivan

' "maybe bloggers can exchange ideas across the political spectrum without a lot of name calling" '

Hey, let's call it a 'politeness policy'.

Oops:

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/archives/000363.html

Rick Ballard

Jim E.,

You're sure right about that. Rush can actually motivate a segment of the population that is large enough to have an impact on politics. NPR has nice music, if you like the type of music that they play.

JayDee

Yeah, Rush appeals to something much more abundant in American society - chauvinism, pretentiousness, sneering disdain for your fellow citizens, bigotry, ridicule. And let's not forget hypocrisy - nothing like a drug addict who broke the law to keep his fix coming railing against both lawbreakers and drug addicts. It says a lot about the condition of our culture that this juiced up load of pork lard has so many worshipping acolytes.

NPR tries to appeal to intellect. Americans aren't really into that.

Rick Ballard

JD,

I feel your pain. As a devout Sorokossack it must be terrible to awake each morning knowing that, once again, your intellectual inferiors are going to reject you and your delusions as being puerile when not jejeune.

I wish I could offer you some hope but there is none to be had. The Sorokossacks may well succeed in splintering the Democratic party but they offer absolutley nothing that appeals to the non-delusional 80% of the electorate which will continue to effectively marginalize the delusional.

I'm looking forward to your posts subsequent to the Democrat's defeat next fall. I'm sure that you will retain the optimism that you continue to display now after having lost three elections running. "Those who cannot learn are doomed to repeat, etc." There is always room for the gullible in this great nation and it is good to be reminded of it with living proof.

arrowhead

JayDee: "Yeah, Rush appeals to something much more abundant in American society - chauvinism, pretentiousness, sneering disdain for your fellow citizens, bigotry, ridicule."

Have you ever listened to his program? As one who used to buy into that portrayal of Rush Limbaugh WITHOUT ever having heard him on the radio, I can attest to the fact that the image is false.

About 10 years ago, a local radio affiliate had scheduled an entire day in which the then radio talk show hosts would join together in groups of three or four to co-host given hours in the program day. Rush was paired off with two fairly liberal women hosts (one was Dr. Barbara DeAngelis (sp) -) who took exception to his views. This was the first time that I had heard the man and, contrary to the image you put forth, he was intelligent, genial, polite, courteous and at times very funny. In short, he was nothing like what he is typically described to be. Even the two women commented on that fact at the end of the program.

Following that day, I had opportunities to listen to re-runs of "the best" of his program while traveling and since have become a regular listener. I have yet to find him to have a "sneering disdain" or to be bigoted. He represents a point of view that until talk radio and the blogosphere had no forum for expression. He is unfailingly courteous to his callers and unashamedly, consistently conservative. Beyond all that, he's the best at what he does and can be funny as hell to boot. His version of the "Rock Mountain Showdown" between James Carville and Fritz Hollings is not to be missed.

Gary Maxwell

"NPR tries to appeal to intellect. Americans aren't really into that."

Close your eyes and tell me Charles Winchester III is not being channelled!

JohnH

A "nice" exchange of views between left and right is not going to happen. The point was made that readers would simply skip over the part written by the other side and only read their own side. True. The discussion is 95 parts loud assertion and 5 parts fact. It is only when a new fact comes out regarding, e.g., the Plame affair that both sides take notice and try to parse it for their own advantage to the degree that they can. Facts are the only things that alter the argument. And when people like Kristoff ignore the facts, they are jeered at until they grudgingly acknowledge them. Mickey Kaus has a great piece on Kristoff's "fake but accurrate" spin on his earlier Joe Wilson pieces. Mickey says the NYT can put misinformation on their front page, then "correct" it behind the wall of TimesSelect. Vintage Mickey.

Appalled Moderate

TM:

See this comment thread for why "Network of the Nice" might not work.

General thought. The world is full of decent, intelligent folks who, nonetheless, differ with each other sharply on politics. Unfortunately, it seems less full of folks who are willing to assume or acknowledge that any person offering an opposing political argument can be both decent and intelligent. Hence, what one frequently gets in these threads is not people interacting, learning new information, or even scaling new heghts in imaginative polemical rhetoric. One, instead, gets sermons, rants, diatribes, talking points, and the very latest thoughts from El Rushbo or Randi Rhodes.

The internet is supposed to be an interactive media. It'd be nice if folks in the comment section did more interacting, and a little less reacting.

tim maguire

While the internet does seem to lend itself to assumptions that the other side is arguing in bad faith and it takes a real effort for two people unfamiliar with each other to disagree agreeably, I don't see any evidence to support Noonan's assertion that this is spilling over into the rest of the world.

To the extent that it's happening, I think it's caused more by the right's overreaction to Clinton in the 90's and the left's tit for tat overreaction to Bush in the 00's. (That is, the over the top rhetoric has its roots in pre-internet events).

Fortunately, they're both paying a big price for their silliness. So while it may be growing, it is not growing persuasive.

Geek, Esq.

As Tom DeLay's aide has explicitly stated, the Republican party depends on the stupidity and sheep-like behavior of "the wackos."

The Republican strategy has been to cultivate their base like mushroomms--keep them in the dark and covered in manure.

Geek, Esq.

Of course, there are principled and intelligent Republicans and conservatives out there, like TM.

But the Republican party and conservative movement doesn't belong to them. It belongs to the DeLay/Abramoff crime syndicate who command an army of braindead "wackos."

Rick Ballard

AM,

I am curious as to what you feel an appropriate response to a generalized absurd ad hominem should be. Leaving it unanswered, IMO, implies a type of acceptance which may lead the inobservant to conclude that the argument has merit. Having participated on and watched comments sections for a few years I have observed that not responding simply encourages additional comments of like nature.

Perhaps your experience has been different.

Rick Ballard

Thank you, Geek. Very illustrative.

Trained Auditor

National Partisan Radio (NPR) is more analogous to Bill O'Reilly, in that both maintain a pretense of playing it straight down the middle. And make no mistake, they are ideologically analogous.

Have you wondered why Air America's ratings suffer? I believe they fail to divert liberal listeners to their new radio network because, in NPR, liberals already have their own radio network. They won't switch because it seems, with NPR, liberals simultaneously find both the ideological succor and intellectual pretension they crave.

Geek, Esq.

Thank you, Geek. Very illustrative.

Hey, that's your boy DeLay and his crowd explicitly stating it.

I'm sure you're busy writing Republican representatives condemning them for wearing their Hammer lapel pins.

Geek, Esq.

To put it another way, Republicans can either stand with Tom DeLay or stand with principles of honesty, ethics, and decency.

Sue

Appalled,

"...and the very latest thoughts from El Rushbo or Randi Rhodes."

I was thinking I was going to have to agree with you when *bam* I ran across your own reaction. It slips in...at the most inappropriate times, doesn't it? I'm talking about that part of us that can't help but be slanted, one way or the other. Had you truly wanted to get your point across without your own reaction interfering you would have said Rush Limbaugh and Rhandi Rhoades.

Appalled Moderate

Rick:

I doubt there's a hard and fast rule for responding to obvious ad hominem shots. Some people you just should not respond to, and rely on the blog host to enforce some standards. Other times, a dose of comedy is probably in order.

But really, the problem begins when somebody comes in with the assumption that the other side, and anyone allied with them, is not dealing in good faith.

Just one other thought. Every now and then you see a good point or an interesting thought from a person that you'd usually designate a troll. If that's the case -- do something different and engage the good argument. You might encourage the guy to open up, rather than slide into the usual "chickenhawk, chicken hawk, nyanh, nyanh, nyanh" or "joe wilson is a traitor so you must be too" stuff.

Appalled Moderate

Sue:

I used "El Rushbo" to let the Dittoheads know that I actually listen to the program every now and then. He refers to himself that way.

Ms. Rhodes doesn't give herself nicknames. But, frankly, only someone who listens to Air America (every now and then) is likely to have heard of her.

JayDee

This was the first time that I had heard the man and, contrary to the image you put forth, he was intelligent, genial, polite, courteous and at times very funny.

Truth is, I've only heard the man but rarely myself, only on those rare occasions I'm in the car midday on a weekday. And I agree he seems to thoroughly understand his role as an entertainment figure who happens to use politics as his vehicle. (I think this is true of a lot of these people - Ann Coulter, for example, understands her role as a pure media creation.)

However, you'd have to be on the receiving end of his venom, I think, to understand how absolutely evil he sounds. Every complex issue is cast as a cartoon battle between the noble "Americans" and the foul, fetid "libs". From the callers he gets, it seems his primary attraction is the satisfaction he arouses in them ... at hating HALF of their fellow Americans. Loathing them, ridiculing them, treating them as caricatures. I'm sure the psychological reason for his success is that he allows people to feel a vicarious superiority to people that exist only in their own imaginations.

I get the same vibe from Hannity - that he markets in hatred of his fellow Americans while incongruously portraying himself as the greatest of Amurricans. In fact he and his callers greet one another as "great Amurricans", with hilarious lack of self awareness that they despise so much of this country they congratulate themselves on loving. Hannity is less of an entertainer, but more of a gifted propagandist, who never answers an uncomfortable question nor poses a fair one.

As you can tell, I'm no NPR listener (boring) and can't seem to get the Air America signal strong enough to listen to regularly. I enjoy the pubbie shows. They tell me alot about what kind of people are attracted to this philosophy and also about how their big corporate delivery machine pounds that message into pliable brains, repetitively, simply, until it is absorbed deeply and subliminally.

Sue

Ms. Rhoades is infamous, especially if you listen to El Rushbo. Her assasination of Bush skits didn't go over too well with El Rushbo and his fans. Why would you want to let someone know you listen to Rush? Does that make you some kind of appalled moderate because you both listen to Rush and Rhandi? :) It would just make me want to jump off a tall building.

Rick Ballard

AM,

I really agree with you on that. After reading comments for a while you can pick out the "honest" opponents from the Kossacks fairly easily. I tend to read with care what Jim E. and Jeff have to say and I will mention it the next time they make a good point.

I'm not sure that I would place the burden of policing comments on the blog owner. Policing takes time and effort that might be better spent at other endeavors. Commenting communities can become self-policing and the use of humor and ridicule (after the initial dismantlement of the ad hom or tu quoque argument) is fairly effective.

Have you ever seen the equivalent of the Kossack seminar poster's coming from the right? Most of the real wackos on the right seem to me to be solitaires on a mission rather than the groupthink graduates of Chomskyite indoctrination centers. Aside from libertarians, of course.

For those who enjoy scoring debate, I would reccommend this Fallacy Index to track false arguments. And for those wondering where the Kossacks get their brilliancy in debate, a quick study of this synopsis of Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" will provide as much information as 99.4% of the Kossacks possess. Geneerally, they don't have a clue as to where their profs stole the tactics.

JayDee

Chomskyite indoctrination centers

Uh, this is way beyond delusional and paranoid, dude. You're way past time for accepting you share this free and open society with people who happen to think differently from you - sincerely, intelligently. It's part of what America is supposed to be about. That's what the Rushbos and Hannitizers are missing - America isn't about everyone thinking like them. It's about everyone thinking for themselves.

Rick, the only way you can possibly continue to hold yourself in such high regard as a disciplined debater is by confining yourself to a blog like this one where you feel protected. I've noticed you have a pure knee jerk response and resort instantly to the ad hominem attack, seeping with ridicule and disdain, the minute you've identified one of those eeeeevil "kossacks". Or is that a Sorokossack. Your question to AM was funny, because I always imagine you having a blood red face reading "lib" comments in your comfy pub world, just seething that you have to be exposed to such people!

TexasToast

Rick

Good post - except for the fact that there are "groupthink graduates of Ayn Rand indoctrination centers" posting on this board. You must not be looking hard enough.

There are also thoughtful honest posters on the right (including our host) who I may not agree with, but who lapse into screeds only occasionally. Cecil is one such poster. Forbes and SMG are others.

Its a good board because, so far, it hasnt been taken over by screemers, there are some truly clever jokesters on both sides, and it hasnt become a choir of true believers.

I hope it stays that way.

Appalled Moderate

sue:

I listen to them because I happen to be curious about what they are saying at that point in time. I also listen to C-Span, NPR, and recordings of Your Truly, Johnny Dollar.

I will say I learn more from blogs and npr than the talk radio guys people.(From YTJD, I learn that when a beautiful doll has a gun, there's usually gonna be trouble)

Patrick R. Sullivan

' However, you'd have to be on the receiving end of his venom, I think, to understand how absolutely evil he sounds. Every complex issue is cast as a cartoon battle between the noble "Americans" and the foul, fetid "libs". From the callers he gets, it seems his primary attraction is the satisfaction he arouses in them ... at hating HALF of their fellow Americans. Loathing them, ridiculing them, treating them as caricatures. I'm sure the psychological reason for his success is that he allows people to feel a vicarious superiority to people that exist only in their own imaginations.'

I love these Great Moments in Self-Unawareness.

JayDee

Explain, Patrick. Don't hide behind implied ad hominems. Do you think I feel a vicarious superiority to say, Rick? I really don't. I realize Rick and his kind have an enormous amount of power over the direction my country might be headed in, and I am curious about what motivates those like him - or you. And are you implying I've demonized conservatives in my imagination, just the way Rush has created cartoonish images of libs for his listeners to ridicule? I think at times I have done that, because I really can't get my head around some of what motivates you guys.

But the biggest difference between me and you guys is that I'm here, and I check out your partisan propagandists whenever I can, and at least try to comprehend what you think and why. Can you say the same? My impression of the average conservative is he's decided any of his fellow Americans who think differently than him are just morons and fools, and he'd as soon listen to his dog as listen to one of them. That isn't a patriotic sentiment in my opinion. It's profoundly unAmerican.

arrowhead

JayDee - Re: the same para. referenced above, "However, you'd have to be on the receiving end of his venom, I think, to understand how absolutely evil he sounds. Every complex issue is cast as a cartoon battle between the noble "Americans" and the foul, fetid "libs"." etc.

It reminds me of something Harry Truman once said regarding the phrase, "Give 'em hell, Harry." He responded, "They say, 'Give 'em hell.' I just tell them the truth and they think it's hell."

Geek, Esq.

Most of the real wackos on the right seem to me to be solitaires on a mission rather than the groupthink graduates of Chomskyite indoctrination centers. Aside from libertarians, of course.

Rick, have you read that story I linked to above?


Sue

Appalled,

I didn't mean to imply you shouldn't listen to whatever you wanted. I just meant to imply if I had to listen to Air America, I would jump off a building. :) I would rather visit the web sites to find out what the left is thinking. That way, I don't have to listen to their voices and can skip the crap and go to the meat of their argument. I used to think I was a moderate. Until moderate meant liberal. Then I figured I wasn't liberal, since I was right of center, so now I just admit it, I'm a conservative. :)

Trained Auditor

"My impression of the average conservative is he's decided any of his fellow Americans who think differently than him are just morons and fools..." JayDee, above.

This is fascinating, hearing the thoughts of one's ideological adversaries about perceived motivations. I mean this sincerely. I really think a lot of the left and right presume the same thing about their opponents' motivations.

For example, my impression of the average liberal is she has decided that any of her fellow American's who think differently than her are evil (e.g. greedy, selfish, etc.) or clueless dupes.

I think the key to bust some of these myths, as has been pointed out, is to mingle intellectually with those players on the other team who argue in good faith.

Syl

JayDee

It's unbelievable how you think you know who 'conservatives' are. I don't even know if am one or not! I'm on the right side of the aisle and have made many friends and believe me, they do not all think alike. We have arguments among ourselves.

And I can't figure out who all makes up the Democratic party either. All I hear is the noisy ones who seem to me to be extreme. And Kaus. Where's the in-between? I see differences, yes, I'm just not sure of what they are.

The thing is we have only two major parties in America so each has to absorb all kinds of different views.

I'll use the term 'liberal' because in God's truth I don't know what else to say. Is that the same reason you use 'conservative'? I honestly don't know.

JayDee

Yeah, but Jim, that's exactly why it's bullshit. Rush isn't telling the "truth" and he knows it - if you don't. That right there is the motivating conceit of conservatives. It completely defies common sense that any political perspective, in and of itself, gives anyone ownership of the truth. This sneering attitude from the right does nothing but line Oxyboy's pockets, and give his listeners completely undeserved shots of self importance. (I mean, no offense, but a lot of his callers sound like they dropped out of fourth grade. Rush's ladles of flattery are probably as addictive to them as oxycotin is to the fatboy.)

Geek, Esq.

Cutting to the core of the matter:

What we liberals don't understand is why folks dedicated to limiting the power of government so fervently support a movement and party leadership that has become a brazen caricature of what they supposedly despise about big government.

Syl

Geek

That's easy. Bush isn't a fiscal conservative.

JayDee

Syl, truth be told, I don't know any real life human being as partisan as those on blogs. And in real life, those people (us)probably seem a lot less rabid as well.

In my circle of friends, family & neighbors it seems the older people are more conservative, but usually for very nonsensical (to me) reasons - like the way the Iraq War reminds them of their salad days in WWII. Many of them now vote Dem because of Social Security, but still skew right in their politics. And of those who still vote Pub, it's usually some other one issue reason, usually abortion.

The younger people I know are almost all Dem. Mainly because they don't support the war and think the pubs are only out to help the rich, don't care about families or working people. Middle aged people who've accrued a bit of wealth tend to be Pub, for much the same reason, though I haven't noticed any strong sentiment for the war even amongst them. Middle aged people who haven't gotten along so well - Dem. Just generalizations, and I don't live in a gods,guns or gays state, which would change things I'm sure.

I don't know anyone who likes Rush or Air America, of any political persuasion. It's just not that important to most people. They like to listen to music in the car.

Appalled Moderate

Geek:

I don't think your '80s conservative (which would include me, by the way. I worked on the same conservative college newspaer as Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D'Souza back in early Reagan years) is the same bird as your 00s conservative. There is a larger concern with enforcing social conservatism through government than there is with reducing the size of government, or getting it off our backs.

Geek, Esq.

That's easy. Bush isn't a fiscal conservative.

No Republican with any power on Capitol Hill is.

I mean, why is Tom DeLay the 2nd or 3d most powerful Republican in the country? My thesis is that the Republican party leadership has become what they used to despise. And that the rank-and-file Republicans are okay with that, because their team is in power.

TexasToast

Actually, Geek, what I don't understand is why government is invariably evil - unless its shootin' the bird at other governments.

A complex society needs good government. There are many things that only good government can do - like homeland security, and disaster relief - but idealogues wanted to avoid Section 8 housing vouchers and put evacuees in insta-manufactured-housing-slums. Why?

Geek, Esq.

I don't think your '80s conservative (which would include me, by the way. I worked on the same conservative college newspaer as Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D'Souza back in early Reagan years) is the same bird as your 00s conservative. There is a larger concern with enforcing social conservatism through government than there is with reducing the size of government, or getting it off our backs.

The funny thing is, the movement to enforce social conservatism through government has been a consistent loser for the past 30 years.


I mean, they beat on their chest about stopping gay marriage. Whoop-dee-shit. Was gay marriage even conceivable as a political reality in 1992?

The social conservatives aren't getting what they want. The small-government conservatives aren't getting what they want.

Who is getting what they want? Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay.

Tell me again why Republicans vote Republican.

Geek, Esq.

Actually, Geek, what I don't understand is why government is invariably evil - unless its shootin' the bird at other governments.

A complex society needs good government. There are many things that only good government can do - like homeland security, and disaster relief - but idealogues wanted to avoid Section 8 housing vouchers and put evacuees in insta-manufactured-housing-slums. Why?

Good government is essential.

I mean, what's worse: Big government by those who don't want it to do what it's supposed to do, or big government by those who do want it to work and help people?

Rick Ballard

TT,

I include Randians under the libertarian rubric and covered them under my "aside from libertarians" comment.

JD,

Naughty boy. A visit to the linked Fallacy index might be helpful in determining what fallacies you commit in each of your posts. ad hominem is just the start - check on "strawman" and try and find something on taking the clairvoyant position - it reall doesn't gain points with judges.

Geek,

DeLays aide should be disciplined for being as foolish as the clumsy Democratic staffers to the Judiciary Committe who disclosed the planned Dem obstructionist behavior. If the Dem staffers still have jobs then DeLays fellow should keep his - perhaps with a stern admonition to use better judgement in committing his thoughts to another medium.

That's an example of tu quoque by the way.

Delay's main function is to effectively move legislation through the House. He's very good at it and I hope he regains and retains his position for as long as he is effective. I'm afraid that I cannot take the political hack masquerading as a District Attorney very seriously at all. I'm unsurprised that you choose to do so.

Appalled Moderate

Because they do not want what the Democrats have been offering. (More spending, self-flagellation as foreign-policy, unrelenting secular moralizing.)

Trained Auditor

Geek, there's plenty I and other conservatives find wrong with some Republicans generally, and President Bush in particular: 1) He's a poor speaker, 2) he has poorly protected our nation's borders, 3) he made an Iraq War planning mistake (namely, not enough troops), 3) he supported renewal of the so-called assault weapons ban; there's more.

It's just that I and many conservatives agree with Bush's (and Republican) positions, on balance, more often then not. So do a majority of Americans, as evidenced by the 2004 election (a time when both sides' messages were well represented).

Geek, Esq.

DeLays aide should be disciplined for being as foolish as the clumsy Democratic staffers to the Judiciary Committe who disclosed the planned Dem obstructionist behavior. If the Dem staffers still have jobs then DeLays fellow should keep his - perhaps with a stern admonition to use better judgement in committing his thoughts to another medium.

Did the Dem staffers refer to the Democratic base as "the wackos" who could be egged on with simplistic propaganda?

And this DeLay aide is under indictment.

And funny you should mention that Democratic memo. Because it was exposed by *gasp* unethical and possibly illegal conduct by Congressional GOP staffers.

Gary Maxwell

Geek its a good question you raise. Thatis:

Tell me again why Republicans vote Republican

a very simple answer is pretty dispositive. Because they aren't democrats.

Appalled Moderate

Rick:

Keep your eyes on the Abranoff investigation. I don't take Ronnie Earle seriously. But the Abranoff thing has the potential to be very serious for DeLay.

JayDee

More spending, self-flagellation as foreign-policy, unrelenting secular moralizing.

As opposed to what the Pubs are offering - more spending, chest beating as foreign policy and unrelenting evangelical moralizing?

Geek, Esq.

It's just that I and many conservatives agree with Bush's (and Republican) positions, on balance, more often then not. So do a majority of Americans, as evidenced by the 2004 election (a time when both sides' messages were well represented).

No, in reality the Democrats lost because people didn't trust them to protect national security.

And people agree with the GOP rhetoric, not its record.

Appalled Moderate

JayDee:

Hence "Appalled" as my first name...

Geek, Esq.

a very simple answer is pretty dispositive. Because they aren't democrats

Okay, why don't you insist on having your party's leadership actually represent your concerns? Or is bad, ineffective, wasteful, and oversized government (plus completely reckless fiscal policy) a price y'all are willing to pay to prevent the other team from winning an election or two?

Rick Ballard

"but idealogues wanted to avoid Section 8 housing vouchers and put evacuees in insta-manufactured-housing-slums. Why?"

TT,

Because the enabling legislation for disaster relief provides statutory guidance with regard to emergency housing?

I am unsure as to why you would believe that following the appropriate legislation would constitute an ideological postion. Given the date of the Stafford Act I think Bubba had to have signed it.

Geek, Esq.

(More spending, self-flagellation as foreign-policy, unrelenting secular moralizing.)

Please compare the discretionary spending under Bill Clinton from 1992-1994 to that of George W. Bush. Today's Republicans make the 1990's Democrats look like Goldwaterites.

And 'secular moralizing?' What does that even mean?

creech

This is better than a college dorm bullsession. Everybody gets to make his point in full without six other people jumping in mid-sentence and shouting him/her down. On the other hand, there's no beer and pizza (or pot).

Gary Maxwell

Gee why are you so concerned?

But since you asked If you havent noticed the conservatives have gotten Harriett Miers withdrawn and Bush has suddenly starting talking about the border security and both houses of congress have begun to push through spending bills with reall cuts in them.

Mark my word on this. The thing that is keeping democrats from winnng elections has nothing to do with what the Republicans are doing and EVERYTHING to do with what the Democrats are doing and not doing.

JayDee

So do a majority of Americans, as evidenced by the 2004 election (a time when both sides' messages were well represented).

Up right until Bush ripped off his mask and showed his true face - as the anti FDR who wanted to gut Social Security. Can ANY Bush fan explain that maneouver to me? I saw that crash and burn coming from a mile away, and couldn't believe he was actually that clueless. Between that and hopping on a plane to interfere in a private family tragedy - the public sentiment has been realigning dramatically.

Dwilkers

Wow you guys are trotting out just about every ignorant cliche and bogus lefty rant there is. All in a thread about moderation in discourse. What a perfect example of the subject.

The debate between left and right isn't a debate about whether or not government is evil, and normal conservative folks obviously don't see government that way. The debate is about the proper scope and reach of government power. Liberals generally tend to think government should do more, conservatives generally tend to think government should do less. Liberals tend to think in terms of forced compliance through regulation, conservatives tend to think in terms of regulation through market mechanisms. In essence its fairly simple.

Conservatives are all for having a fire department to put fires out, and police to catch criminals and enforce laws, and an organized defense to protect the country, and on and on.

As far as Limbaugh is concerned, and I swear this is true, the ONLY people I ever see posting about Limbaugh is Libs. I am beginning to think his main audience is liberals. To me his show is boring, its something for people to listen to that don't like listening to music and that are in their cars all day. I prefer to listen to sports radio, but even that is being taken over by the Jim Rome types now - Rush Limbaughs of sports radio if you will.

Geek, Esq.

But since you asked If you havent noticed the conservatives have gotten Harriett Miers withdrawn and Bush has suddenly starting talking about the border security and both houses of congress have begun to push through spending bills with reall cuts in them.

Mark my word on this. The thing that is keeping democrats from winnng elections has nothing to do with what the Republicans are doing and EVERYTHING to do with what the Democrats are doing and not doing.

Harriet Miers was undone first and foremost by her lack of qualifications. That made it safe for them to attack her nomination.

And, you'll have to forgive me if I'm unimpressed by Republicans TALKING about taking certain actions. They also talk about reigning in big government.

2006 is going to be a bad year to be a Republican running for office.

Appalled Moderate

Geek, I didn't vote for Bush in 2004, so don't ask me to play compare and contrast. I don't like the Dems, but, on balance, feel they are less likely to ball things up at this juncture. I don't believe in their policies, but at least they aren't incompetents into s&m games with terrorists.

"Secular moralizing"? Listen to Al Gore, and figure it out.

TexasToast

Well Gary - in Texas it has to to with TRMPAC and dividing Travis County into three congressional districts. Gerry - meet mander.

Are we going to find a judge who has never made a political contribution?

I well remember the threats our nonpolitical judges in Tarrant County were subjected to in the 80s. Its sad that probating a will is now a political act.

Geek, Esq.

The debate between left and right isn't a debate about whether or not government is evil, and normal conservative folks obviously don't see government that way. The debate is about the proper scope and reach of government power. Liberals generally tend to think government should do more, conservatives generally tend to think government should do less. Liberals tend to think in terms of forced compliance through regulation, conservatives tend to think in terms of regulation through market mechanisms. In essence its fairly simple.

The point is that the Republican leadership in Washington are every bit the big-government, big-spending cheerleaders that they claim the Democrats are.

To put it another way: Government is only going to get bigger and more corrupt until Republicans toss out the power-obsessed career politicians in D.C.

Reform is IMPOSSIBLE so long as Tom DeLay is running the show in D.C.

Geek, Esq.

Listen to Al Gore, and figure it out.

I think I'd rather concede the point.

JayDee

Liberals generally tend to think government should do more, conservatives generally tend to think government should do less. Liberals tend to think in terms of forced compliance through regulation, conservatives tend to think in terms of regulation through market mechanisms.

But what's important to note is this is NOT the way most people vote. I think this would be a great debate for the American people to have - basically, what kind of government do you want, how do you define its role? But we didn't have that debate the last election. We had fear mongering and insults and attack ads and gay marriage nonsense.

The average American believes in certain things, and you don't have to scratch too hard to find out what it is: they want good jobs, they want Social Security, they want cheap gas, good schools and affordable health care, they want the government to butt out of their private life and they don't want their kids to go to Iraq. That's where the average person is at. Economic theories are immaterial to them.

Gary Maxwell

TT you wrote:

"Are we going to find a judge who has never made a political contribution?"

Apparently you missed the news. Chief Justice Jefferson has already selected. Its Pat Priest. A democrat. And retired ( that makes me two for two ) and wait for it... not from Travis County. Ronnie Earle was desperate for a Travis County judge and a travis Co jury.

Next up venue change. I have on record Tarrant county as a prediction. Now the judge is a Bexar county resident, I believe, so I should get some odds but I am sticking to it.


Trained Auditor

Geek, with government spending you point out a good GOP/conservative fault-line (illegal immigration is another one). But I think conservatives value many other issues advanced by Republicans that, on the whole, outweigh the splintering effect of over-spending.

But splitting conservatives from the GOP is an unfruitful method of attack for liberals. That's because liberal are on the wrong side of the wedge with which they may try to fracture the GOP. Conservative awareness of those who are pounding the wedge (typically media liberals) tends to dilute the effect.

More productive areas of opportunity for our liberal friends might be issues that split the general public from the GOP, such as stem-cell research and (as JayDee indicates) Social Security. These are issues about which I would argue Republicans should capitulate. Until the media advantage that Democrats enjoy in such debates is further neutralized, the cost of pursuing Social Security reform or resisting stem-cell research will not be worth the benefits.

Of course, we Republicans are not unaware of fault lines between Democrats and liberals or the general public. These are taxes, partial-birth abortion, gay marriage, reverse discrimination, and others.

Gary Maxwell

We had fear mongering and insults and attack ads and gay marriage nonsense.

Hey we agree Let recap

fear mongering ( Democrats tell Seniors again that the Republicans are going to take away their Soc Sec check for the third straight election )

Insults ( John Kerry is heard calling the Presidnet a Liar and then there was Howard Dean a wlaking talking insult machine).

Gay marriage nonsense. ( the SF mayor decides he is above the law and then Massachusetts Court ingonr the will fo the voters lots of nonsense )

Rick Ballard

TA,

Don't forget the big one - defense. The Islamofascists provide continuing reasons for the public to think that advocacy of cut and run in the ME may not be wise.

Geek, Esq.

More productive areas of opportunity for our liberal friends might be issues that split the general public from the GOP, such as stem-cell research and (as JayDee indicates) Social Security. These are issues about which I would argue Republicans should capitulate. Until the media advantage that Democrats enjoy in such debates is further neutralized, the cost of pursuing Social Security reform or resisting stem-cell research will not be worth the benefits.

Quite honestly, the Dems are going to lose every election unless they can get "the wackos" to stay at home for an election.

The only way they can do that is to get the Republicans into a position where they're forced to alienate either swing voters or "the wackos."

Stem-cell research ain't gonna cut it--nobody determines their vote based on stem-cell research.

The best thing the Dems can do is be the party of reform and outsiders. Tom DeLay is our biggest asset so far--and I sincerely hope that every idiot wearing a Hammer pin has had their picture taken.

Gary Maxwell

Geek

My sincerest congratulations! The first step in any 12 step program is admitting you have a problem. You just did. Now about dragging that group at Kos to the same conclusion, well, good luck with that. I have not have my shots so I am not even going to get your back.

And a bonus was your very funny comment about Al Gore. I bet we could share a beer and not be at each others throats by the end. You dont like Big Al and I would prefer the Hammer to be something other than a leader of my party.( that does not mean I agree with a partisan DA hit job ).

Dwilkers

"To put it another way: Government is only going to get bigger and more corrupt until Republicans toss out the power-obsessed career politicians in D.C."

Actually, we'd simply be switching out one set of not all that honest people for another. Corruption is here and will always be here. Just because Boxer's son's deals with the casinos doesn't get covered by the media doesn't mean they don't exist you know. The only thing to do about corruption is catch it and prosecute it. I presume you aren't so naive as to think one party is 'honest' and the other is not.

I'm 47 years old. Every year there is a new scandal - regardless of which party is in power. Maybe that's because political parties are made up of people and some people are just greedy and stupid, but whatever the reason, if a Dem was president today we'd be seeing the same thing.

Syl

JayDee

"Syl, truth be told, I don't know any real life human being as partisan as those on blogs."

Thanks for your reply. The same here. Well, my mom is pretty partisan but we don't speak any more. Most of the people I know in the real world I don't even know which way they vote except for my closest friends who aren't speaking to me anymore either.

There was a clerk in the grocery store and I had mentioned Iraq. And she said, are they grateful? And I said 'yes' though they don't all show.

She said, that's all I need to know.

I thought that was a rather nice answer, actually.

I think most people hear all this stuff as background noise. I think they even guess in polls and remember the last thing they saw on TV and their answers depend on that...and the push polling always helps them out anyway.

They don't start paying much attention until it gets close to an election.

That's fine. We're supposed to live our lives and unless we're professional politicians sometimes it seems such a waste of time and energy to argue all the time.

Rick Ballard

Geek,

DeLay is absolutly meaningless wrt a non-Presidential year election. There are only 30 House races that are contests (and that's stretching it by 10) and only about 8 Senate races that could result in changes. He has already stepped down and in the unlikely event that he was convicted of anything prior to the election it will be played by talk radio as a political trial and outcome and could very well stimulate those people you enjoy disparaging to show up at a higher rate than they otherwise would.

No one outside his district will make a voting decision based upon that type of nonsense.

Unless the economy tanks badly before the end of the third quarter or there is another serious terrorist attack this is going to be a no power change election. The range of possible outcomes without those two factors occurring is a six seat swing in the House and a two seat swing in the Senate. And the swing won't necessarily be in the Dems favor.

Geek, Esq.

We'll see how many of those races are safe in 2006. I was in DC in 1994 when a lot of 'safe' Democrats got thrown out of office.

Abramoff will make Plamegate look like small potatoes.

TexasToast

Ah but Syl, it is fun. Living in Texas practicing tax law gives one a clear understanding of when to keep one's mouth shut. I'd buy Gary that beer he wants, and we would probably enjoy it (though he is still wrong) :).

I used to work for a man whose politics I violently disagreed with, but he was one of the most honest people I ever knew. He told a story of meeting a certain liberal Texas politician who was trying to figure out how on earth he got admitted to the same party. "Just who do you know?"

But it works both ways. My aunt was Executive Director of a professional group in Houston who sent a delegation to Washington on an annual basis to discuss their concerns. She spoke to Delay's office and was asked, "Who are the members of your delegation?" Since none of the delegates were Pioneers, Delay's schedule was suddenly full.

And so it goes.

Rick Ballard

Geek,

You can almost see the sail from where you stand on the shore, eh?

'94 was a success for the Reps because of Hillary's incredible miscalculation regarding health care (mommy commissar knows best) and because the Reps put together the Contract With America. The Reps may put together another contract and if they do, well, they kept their word on the last one.

Maybe the Dems will come up with something similiar but it would have to have an awful lot of wink and nudge in it to get it past the Kossack historicists. We'll see.

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Wilson/Plame