Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Real man of financial genius?

It's just too easy to point out the hypocrisy and silliness in the story line about conservative rage and racism. If you want to see expressions of simple outrage over public policy (be it the war in Iraq or the President's health care plan), go to a public meeting. They're pep rallies. If you want considered arguments about these things, read the New Republic or National Review. (What you read won't always be well considered, but you'll get the reasons for the outrage.)

What's more interesting is whether this is a good strategy for the left. I understand that bloggers enjoy all the snickering about "tea bagging" (itself reinforcing the popular image of liberals as sexual libertines) and their posture of superiority. But none of this is particularly appealing to the unconverted. The President increasingly seems pedantic and his party comes across as petulant and arrogant. You can pretend that significant expansions in the size and role of government do not raise profound and troubling questions, but you won't convince a majority in that way.

So why do it? The answer is suggested by Democratic Party leader Mike Tate, recently castigated by Charlie Sykes for his intemperate rhetoric. Charlie sarcastically calls Tate a "real man of political genius."

But maybe, in a way, he is. Of course, he sounds like a bit like an automaton filling in the blanks about how awful the other side is.

But doesn't that raise money?


Anonymous said...

Are you talking about the same Charlie who loved loved LOVED the "genius" Nazi bumper sticker?

Anonymous said...

I have heard a lot about how racist it is to disagree with Obama. I was looking at the signs at the tea party rally, and I do not see any Nazi signs or signs that have Obama dressed as a communist or Socialist. It seems like concerned citizens trying to voice an opinion, to me.

Is it just me, or is it telling that the very first comment on this board is negative and tries to associate a conservative with a Nazi symbol? No issue is important, only the disparagement of the messenger. Bush with a little mustache and a Nazi symbol was standard fare at all rallies of the left 2000 through 2008 and conservatives are the owners of 'hate'?

And what was the main issue target of all that hate for Bush? The war in Iraq and to a lesser extent Afghanistan. Since Obama took over has anything changed? (I mean besides a commitment to send more troops to Afghanistan). Nothing. Obama took over, changed his mind about removing troops from Iraq, told the public 'there are good reasons' and whoosh bang, the problem is solved. No more negative press, no rallies with Obama and a little mustache. No Cindy Sheehan... What changed? How did it go from 'Bush the dictator' to 'defend the President from the racists'?

Anonymous said...

I think the point of Anon 9:36 was that for Charlie Sykes to castigate someone for intemperate rhetoric is, well, like for the pot to berate the kettle for being black.

Speaking of being black -- which, as our President allows, he was even before the election -- Obama's assessment is right on the money. There are a few people who are particularly opposed to him just because he's black. (There's probably a higher percentage of such folks in South Carolina than here.) There are some who voted for him only because he's black. The majority of people want to hear him defend his policies on their merits, which I thought he did eloquently, simply, and not at all pedantically (or for that matter boorishly) in his media blitz on the Sunday talk shows.

When the President talks, he is pretty persuasive. He comes across as modest and reasonable. It is this fact that drives his ideological opponents batty. They are reduced to complaining about how "boorish" or "pedantic" his "endless utterances" are, which does not ring true to anyone who is not ideologically predisposed to disagree with anything he says. His opponents cannot abide hearing him. In some cases, Joe Wilson being an example, there's probably a racial component to that animosity.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

I think part of the reason I have nothing but disdain for teabaggers is that none of this rage was present during the years we were putting two wars and, by golly, a government-funded drug insurance plan - on the national credit card.

I am well aware that the left was just as vicious and brainless over Bush - I lived in DC for most of this two terms and had to deal with all the protests, which as far as I could tell were, for the male attendees, just opportunities to meet girls.

The problem is, given the total lack of credibility for the right, and the emotionalism and brainlessness of its arguments (Death panels, socialism) and its leadership (Limbaugh, Palin), as a fairly conservative, independent voter, the mockery of the teabaggers is right on par.

I'm sorry Rick, people who just got done fellating the previous administration despite its fiscal insanity now complaining about debt and government spending is just too much. Imagine Steinbrenner getting on TV and complaining about player salaries, or Clinton complaining about morality....just, no. It doesn't play. You don't get to cheer the doubling of the national debt over 8 years and then, on a dime, complain about debt under the next guy. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

"the very first comment on this board is negative and tries to associate a conservative with a Nazi symbol?"

Because Charlie loved loved LOVED it when the "genius" Nazi bumper sticker was portraying liberals.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the reason we have Obama in the WH and the Dem's in the house is because the majority of Americans did not like what either party was doing.

The Tea party participants are from both parties and the more the Dem's bash them the more they'll grow. If the Repubs think they'll get a free ride on this, they best think again.

The American people may just want people that run the government the way they want it ran. It is highly doubtful "we the people" want to be kissing the feet of either party any longer.

Display Name said...

You said it in your lede: Yup, it's just too easy to make the story line about teabagger rage contain a great deal about silliness and hypocrisy. Sure, if I want to see the spelling errors on the signs in person, I'll go to the rally. I don't expect comically illiterate criticisms in the National Review. However, I've yet to see their (tea-party-ers?) plan in any venue. Most of the time it's all about funny pictures and catch-phrases about the secret evil nature of Democrats.

Rarely do they extend rage to Republicans, hence the catcalls about hypocrisy. If they do mention Bush, it's usually to say they were quietly and strongly opposed to many of his policies in the privacy of their own homes while he was in office, but they were too busy cheering his other policies at the pep rallies to find the time and the catch-phrases to criticize the ones they didn't like.

I don't remember seeing Tea Party or National Review discussions of how the momentum of Bush's overspending could've led to today's outrageous debts. It's amazingly convenient that the financial collapse happened right at the end of Bush's term, hmm? But please, show us the plan. Show me the way we'll cleanse the stables and flush out the influences that led to our elected officials being so out of control.

As for closet sexual libertinism, Utah and Alaska lead the nation in online porn consumption. Maybe next time you can explain why oral-to-male-genital sex demonstrates moral weakness and/or antinomianism.

AnotherTosaVoter said...


You hit it. Let's not forget the likely Republican nominee for governor addressed the tea party here over the weekend.

What was funniest was seeing a prominent conservative blog proclaim that Obama was a failure because the recession wasn't over yet. Of course a search of the site showed that in 2003 he was still blaming Clinton for the recession of '01-'02. Funny how one President got 3 years of benefit of the doubt and another only got 7 months, isn't it?

Just because the letter after his name was the right one. Pathetic.

Dad29 said...

When the President talks, he is pretty persuasive

Sure. But then there are the 'fact checks,' and ...poof!!!......the dreams go away.

Dad29 said...

Rarely do they extend rage to Republicans, hence the catcalls about hypocrisy

perhaps you wouldn't appear so ignorant if you watched the video of Malkin's speech, John.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Dad, are the talking points on GOP arguments any more favorable?

No, they aren't.

Display Name said...

Dad29, I'd be glad to hand you the full transcript of Malkin's rant so you can show me where she extends the same rage to Republicans that she lays on Democrats.

She rants, she raves, she didn't make much sense in many spots. It was bizarre. What rhetorical technique is that when you simply emit a stream of phrases designed to incite?

Phrases like her opener: "My fellow Americans, if we believe my colleagues in the lame-stream, behind the curve, ostrich-head-in-the-sand media, you are nothing but a bunch of teenie tiny fringe hate-filled racist political terrorists."

Phrases like "Carol Browner, socialist-tied corporate crony lobbyist, Beltway swamp creature, we're calling you out."

And oh yes, she mentions Republicans - ones who didn't toe the Republican line: "Republican sell-outs! Don't think you're safe! The eight House Republicans who voted for the cap-and-tax monstrosity, we know your names, we're calling you out."

AnotherTosaVoter said...

I saw a brief interview with her on the 10 pm news that night. The look in that woman's eyes as she spoke...there's at least 9 or 10 kinds of crazy in there.

illusory tenant said...

I understand that bloggers enjoy all the snickering about "tea bagging" ...

They'd have no reason to snicker but for the condition precedent of Fox "newsman" Griff Jenkins reporting that one of the original "tea party" organizers had vowed to "tea bag the White House" while dangling his own tea bags in front of the camera.

It's certainly not the snickerers' fault that Griff & Friends are unaware of popular usage.

reinforcing the popular image of liberals as sexual libertines

Lord only knows what a silly joke has to do with sexual libertinism, but I suppose popular image is less an impediment than the actual sexual libertinism of the conservative Republican "Family Values" crowd, including Mark Sanford, John Ensign, and Mike Duvall, to name but a few.

And I see somebody has already noted Charlie Sykes's enthusiasm for tarring liberals with Nazi imagery. He even fought with an ecumenical group over that one, didn't he.

You're right about at least one thing, Professor: the hypocrisy is self-evident.

illusory tenant said...

A recent Sykes "blog" headline:

"SURRENDER AND BETRAYAL ... don't make us safer."

What's he doing there, accusing the president of the United States of treason? And he's upset because Mike Tate called somebody an "extremist"?

Are you guys serious?

Jay Bullock said...

I suppose popular image is less an impediment than the actual sexual libertinism of the conservative Republican "Family Values" crowd, including ...
You forgot Mr. Liz Woodhouse.

Dad29 said...

Dad, are the... on GOP arguments any more favorable?

Since your query was indecipherable as written, I deleted some text AND will assume that "favorable" actually means "factual."

In which case, the answer is Yes, the GOP talking points ARE more factual.

No contest, my man.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:02: "I think the point of Anon 9:36 was that for Charlie Sykes to castigate someone for intemperate rhetoric is, well, like for the pot to berate the kettle for being black."

Well duh, Charlie is an instigator. He also thinks flinging 'it' back is a fine tactic. My point was that millions of people thought it appropriate and just to paint a Hitler mustache on Bush on signs at the Democrat sponsored rallies during his Presidency. Sykes thought a bumper sticker making fun of liberals using a swastika was funny. Liberals are very eager to paint any conservatives as greedy, racist bastards akin to Hitler. For every occasion there seems to be a way to put Nazism and conservativism together and personally I think this one was a bit of a stretch.

While Sykes might be some sort of closet Nazi because he thought a joke was funny, none of those 'Bush is a Nazi' people are hate mongerers. No, no, they were pointing out Bush's hatemongery... And the best part is those people called Bush a hate-monger primarily for his wars, but Obama is a symbol of love, hope and change so the fact that he is continuing all actions and is (I think?) planning on escalating action in Afghanistan is somehow no longer a bad thing.

I can only say 'duh' to your next paragraph too. Of course there are some people who hate Obama because he is black, just as there are some people who hated Bush because he is white and represented the white man who kept them down. Just as there is a group of people who are serial killers. The insinuation going around liberal blogs and even mainstream media is that racism/hate is some sort of conservative proverb and we are all greedy racist bastards.

Where were the tea parties during the Bush years? That's an easy one. Party organizers are the people who start and more importantly pay for these rallies. I do not expect Democrats to rally with Obama/Hitler signs protesting the war now, just as I did not expect Republicans to tea-party Bush policies even though they were anything but fiscally conservative during his Presidency. Really now, did you?

Lastly: "When the President talks, he is pretty persuasive. He comes across as modest and reasonable. It is this fact that drives his ideological opponents batty."

I agree with the first part, but I think you missed the mark on the second part. What drives me (and I think the vast majority of non-partisans) batty is that his reasonable words are nothing like what comes out of Congress. The current healthcare bill only carries a small part of his sensible words and a whole lot of bloat and gloss. If there were a sensible health plan that addressed current problems to save money right now, as well as in the future, he would not have the resistance from the people that he has.

Unfortunately for us all trial lawyers are one of the larger single suppliers of Dem cash, so reforming the tort hell that we have now is flat out off the table and I believe pharmaceuticals are a major Rep cash spigot so they will never help the people out at the cost of their cash either.

Anonymous said...

"tort hell"

lol! Run for your lives!

Dad29 said...

The look in that woman's eyes as she spoke...there's at least 9 or 10 kinds of crazy in there

Well, unlike Obama's Commie pal formerly of Honduras, she isn't claiming that The Joooooooos are aiming radar-waves at her head.

I am more and more impressed by your coherent and rational argumentation, Tosa!

Display Name said...

Come on, Daddio29, don't run away. You said I was "ignorant" of Malkin's speech. Would you care to show me where she castigated Republicans as she did Democrats in her speech? Again, I'd be glad to give you the transcript. Show me.

AnotherTosaVoter said...


Indeed I mistyped when I asked my question. I was asking if the fact check orgs are any more kind to the GOP talking points.

A good number of these are GOP talking points and, sure enough, many are false.

I certainly hope you don't rely on the party itself or other partisan hack sites to check the arguments?

With regard to Obama's friend, I've always thought crazy is crazy regardless of party affiliation, which makes your retort rather pathetic, as if the former Honduran President's insanity has any bearing on Ms. Malkin. I'm sorry but simply watching the woman talk and reading her blog indicates she has mental and emotional problems, and I'd say that even if she were spewing left-wing blather.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I give a crap about defending either party, and that I think one is better than the other. You're smarter than to buy into that false dichotomy, are you not?

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Dad, I think your refusal to answer John's question also calls into question your credibility and intellectual honesty.

That's a typical partisan hack tactic.

Anonymous said...

Herr Professor is apparently getting lazy. He blathers on one topic or another and then the readers fisk it. He doesn't come back to defend his often inconsistent blatherings. What gives?

Anonymous said...

"tort hell"

lol! Run for your lives!

12:13 PM

Heh, looks like I found one of those contibuting trial lawyers. I note the 'anonymous' and the pathetic attempt to laugh off a problem that you cause. I would have expected something a little bit more clever from a lawyer.