February 13, 2006

The echo-y comfort zone of rage.

Armando over at Daily Kos, links to me and awkwardly calls me one of the "theoretically not stupid folks [who are] wondering what hit them in the Left Blogosophere." That's his typo, "Blogosophere," but you know it made me stop and think about whether it was some kind of portmanteau word comprising "blogosphere" and "philosopher." Well, don't you know, I want to be a blogosopher when I grow up. I could ponder Armando's theory of not being stupid, but I'm just going to assume it means not agreeing with him yet and move on.

Armando's link is to my recent post about the revival of interest in a year-old post called "Right and left: my sad experience." The older of the two posts observes that "bloggers on the right link to [me] when they agree and ignore the disagreements, and the bloggers on the left link only for the things they disagree with, to denounce [me] with short posts saying [I'm] evil/stupid/crazy, and don't even seem to notice all the times [I've] written posts that take their side."

Interest in that post was revived, as I explained in the post Armando linked to, when Crank at RedState wrote about how he thought a lot about what I'd said and wanted Republicans to remember that they need to engage and include the centrists and liberal hawks who are the source of their majority power.
[F]rom one issue controversy to the next, we may find ourselves on the opposite side from some of these folks. And therein lies the temptation to go the Kos path, and dissolve into spittle-spraying rage when people who are "supposed" to be on "our side" cross over and side against us. That's the situation where we need to think carefully about how harshly we go after people's motives, their intellectual integrity, etc. A ritual bridge-burning may be fun, but that's how you end up stranded on your own island.
Quoting that passage, I add: "Hardcore Democrats ought to do the same, and not just because I like people to be nice to me."

You'd think that if Armando was going to bother to link to this, he'd respond to the point that matters so much: it's dysfunctional to alienate the people you need to win over in order to gain majority power. But, though he goes on for 725 words, it's all just about how angry he is at the Bush Administration and don't I ever think about why he's so angry?

Yeah, well, but you linked to me. Don't you ever think about why your side can't seem to win elections, despite all these deficiencies in the people you are so angry at? Can't you distinguish between them and people like me, who represent the votes you need to win? I agree with you on many issues. I've been a registered Democrat since I first started to vote, in 1972. I can count on one hand the Republicans I've voted for in my life, for any office. And that's giving a separate finger to Cheney. And go ahead and make a giving-the-finger-to-Cheney joke. I would laugh at it. I watch every episode "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." You think I'm not worth engaging, because you're angry at Bush? Are elections not worth winning because you're angry at Bush? Just exactly who is theoretically not stupid?

Oh, but, wow, a Kos link -- that must bring a lot of traffic, right? No, my friends. It does not. Less than 2% of my traffic is coming from that Kos link right now, and I've got no active -lanches at the moment. I'm getting more traffic from Google and from Glenn Reynolds' blogroll. Meanwhile, there are more than 300 comments on Armando's post. Wouldn't want to leave the echo-y comfort zone. The echo-y comfort zone of rage.

And then there's this guy, who seems to think that when I said "Hardcore Democrats ought to do the same, and not just because I like people to be nice to me" I was really only talking about how I wanted people to be nice to me. And so it goes.

159 comments:

W said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gaius Arbo said...

Dealing with the Kos crowd is interesting.

I have noticed that "rightwingers" (as the Kossites label anyone at the drop of the hat) tend to have better arguments and reasoning. The Kossite's arguments too often seem to come down to "nah nah nah nah nah" with their hands over their ears.

And no, they really don't understand how to win over moderates. Instead they label someone like you as a jack-booted thug. Sad, isn't it?

Pete said...

It's my experience on this site, Ann, that the most vitriolic comments come from the Kos crowd. I think you posted once that the opposite was true, that we right-wingers actually treated you worse. (Quoxxo oughtta be along soon and demand hard, analytical proof.) Maybe I just see what I want to see but, regardless, elections aren't won by being angry. Take it from this former Clinton agonista who should probably be going through a 12 step program to get just get over it. We got nowhere with our Clinton rage. I think the same thing can be said about the Bush bashers.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I've had a similar experience as a blog reader. The tone of the left-leaning blogs makes me want to have nothing to do with those people, even though I probably agree with them on a large number of issues. (My voting record is quite similar to yours.) I wouldn't trust people with that nasty and self-defeating a frame of mind -- and with that idiotic an approach to recent presidential campaigns -- to manage my government. As time goes on, the New Left attitude of the 60s, the attitude of continual outraged protest, of always taking the critical, outsiders' stance, seems more and more obsolete and dysfunctional. The culture wars of the 90s were fun, but that was a mere family quarrel compared to the threats that now face our whole civilization, a civilization that university-educated people, for a generation now, have been trained to condemn while idealizing all others.

As Robert Frost said (quoted the other day on YARGB, I believe), "A liberal is someone who won't fight for his own side."

Henry said...

Funny, blogosophere made me think blog sophomore.

Regarding the liberal vs. conservative commentators debate, I've wondered if the difference is that conservatives, on average, are just older. So much of the vitriol, whether from Kos or LGF, reads like it's written by very young people.

Steve Donohue said...

I love that in the comment thread of the Kos post you linked above, commenters started turning on Armando for being insufficiently liberal and not supporting Chavez, supporting Iraq I, etc. (which he talks about in the post, briefly).

And I don't remember Ann saying that *her* conservative comenters were worse, just the one's who tend to collect like condensation on the underbelly of sites like LGF (my words). Honestly, I have no defense for these types either.

MGO said...

Aren't a great many right-leaning bloggers actually reformed liberals? I'm thinking of Glenn Reynolds, Michael Totten, Roger Simon, Ann Althouse, etc.

If you've been on both sides of the debate, you probably know that reasonable people can reach different conclusions, and it's awfully hard to dismiss a position as "stupid" when you've taken the same stance in the past.

TWM said...

I am one of those voters that the left needs but keeps driving away. I voted for Clinton (once) and Gore for heaven's sake, which proves I am not firmly in Bush's corner (except for the war on terror, the man has that right).

But every time I read Kos or the DU (yes, I know, it is like touching a sore tooth) or when I hear Teddy and Dean and the others open their mouths, I am driven away.

Truly said...

Is there any point in even acknowledging these periodic outpurings of bile from Kos (or LGF)? They're not going to convince you; likewise, you're not going to convince them. At the end of the day, I don't think many regular readers of this site give two hoots what Armando et al. think.

At the risk of sounding too kindergarten teacher-ish, just ignore 'em. They add nothing to the conversation anyway.

Ann Althouse said...

Pete said..."It's my experience on this site, Ann, that the most vitriolic comments come from the Kos crowd. I think you posted once that the opposite was true, that we right-wingers actually treated you worse."

No. I've repeatedly said that the left treats me badly, and anyone reading the comments here can see that on nearly a daily basis.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, Steve just reminded me! Yes, the LGF minions were much more abusive to me than any of the lefties have ever been. That is definitely the case! That was when Charles Johnson indicated to them that they should attack me, and they did. I don't harbor any fantasies that rightwingers have a special program of catering to me or that any current kindness proves anything more than a clear perception of self-interest. As for the lefties, I'm mostly complaining about their failure to see self-interest. But, personally, I like civility and rationality, whether it's a means or an end in itself.

CB said...

I am fascinated (and puzzled) by how superior the conservative blogosphere is to the liberal blogosphere, but it's even more interesting to look at the larger context. In the 1990's conservatives were consumed by Clinton hatred, and this found expression in AM talk radio, which was obnoxious but effective. Now liberals are consumed by Bush hatred, and this has resulted in obnoxious but largely ineffective talk radio (Air America) and blogs. It seems that this must relate to the fact that the Republican party has become populist while the Democratic party has become elitist, but it's still puzzling to me.

Ann Althouse said...

Truly: Armando's post was not itself an attack on me. It was an attempt to explain why the nastiness exists in other posts. That's why I felt moved to answer him. I ignore the outright attacks. There is no use giving them attention. It only makes it worse. I've definitely learned that.

Another thing about Kos is that they've built their popularity out of a certain tone, which excites their readers. Where is their self-interest: in keeping and building their readership or in helping Democrats get elected? There's a real conflict of interest there, and Democrats should be very worried about it.

hoosthere said...

Your last comment, Ann, I believe precisely hits at the current Democratic Party quandary. I am in marketing, and as such, we evaluate everything based on numbers, ROI, etc. I am not privy to their decisions, but they MUST have done some sort of split-test to arrive at the conclusion that over-heated bile raises much more money(or readership in Kos' case...same thing?) than measured defense of stated ideology.

I believe they keep sticking to their guns because more money is raised that way among their base, all the while whistling Dixie while Rome burns (not that any Democrat would be caught dead whistling "Dixie"!).

Big Dick Cheney said...

Arbo said: I have noticed that "rightwingers" …tend to have better arguments and reasoning…

Thanks pretty funny – I’ve noticed the exact opposite. While the intelligentsia kernel of the left is rooted in objectivism, the philosophy of the right, seems to me, to be steeped in religious precepts, and imaginary friendships. Wasn’t it reported that Ronnie and Nancy patronized a soothsayer? Many times one might just as well interpret the bottom line of W’s diatribes as being – this is just an aspect of my indefensible religious beliefs so I don’t even need to engage in debate – even if I could.

RogerA said...

What hoosthere said--"Kos" is an excellent marketer, and in addition to pushing a progressive agenda, is also pushing a money winner (and I am not sure which comes first).

Joan said...

I find it interesting that a link from Daily Kos doesn't generate much traffic for you. I wonder how the click-through compares when, say, Glenn links to a lefty blog.

Tibore said...

So many people keep on saying "Kos" and "the Democratic Party" in the same post (occasionally here, more often in other blogs). Just how representative of the left in general or the Democratic Party in particular do we feel Kos Kommenters are? I don't know if I'd label them as "representative" at all; it seems to me as though they're just a marginal group, albeit a really loud one.

Is it really fair to saddle Democrats with the weight of the Kossacks? It seems to me like they're the embarrasing uncle the Dems would like to lock in the attic; they're related by blood, or in this case by being on the same side of the political spectrum, but really, they're no more related than that.

Balfegor said...

While the intelligentsia kernel of the left is rooted in objectivism

Uh . . . do you perhaps mean "objectivity?" Objectivism is generally considered pretty darn right-wing these days. Ayn Rand and all that.

And I'd dispute the characterisation of conservative vs. liberal arguments, but I'd also dispute the argument that all the good arguments are on the Right too. It's just that you won't find good arguments on the Daily Kos, because arguments are not their thing. Rage is.

Balfegor said...

It seems to me like they're the embarrasing uncle the Dems would like to lock in the attic; they're related by blood, or in this case by being on the same side of the political spectrum, but really, they're no more related than that.

I hope that's correct. I don't think it is, though -- major Democratic politicians, like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, have basically endorsed Daily Kos by putting their own postings up on there, haven't they? Admittedly, those two are from Massachusetts, but there are probably other politicians who have done the same. On the whole, I think there's a sense that DKos represents the authentic, frustrated, impotent rage of a substantial slice of their base -- indeed, what in better times might have been the best part of their base (young, politically engaged, etc.)

Old Dad said...

Kos is all about his fifteen minutes and some short term cash. The Dems already have his readers' votes, but they'll always take more money.

Kos can't moderate his shtick without losing dollars.

If I were trying to brand a new left of center blog, I'd try to get share in the center, and then, and only then, drift left.

That's Dean's and the the Dem's problem. They can't hold share in the middle.

PatCA said...

"It's fun."

That says it all (from the Kos poster). Not all Dems, but certainly the crowd over there, is all about fun, anarchy, behaving badly with no retribution. Bush is their perfect foil; if a Dem got elected, they'd be lost.

As for mainstreaming their hate, Al Gore is over in Saudi Arabia today denouncing his country to our "allies." Kos would be proud. http://powerlineblog.com/archives/013130.php

Jacques Cuze said...

Conservative bloggers link to you to say they agree. Liberal bloggers link to you to say they disagree. You want the left to engage you.

You are a lifelong democrat just temporarily forced to vote for Bush.

Let's flip that around.

How frequently do you link to liberal bloggers on liberal issues to agree with them on "liberal issues"? How frequently do you link to conservative bloggers to disagree with them on "conservative issues"?

When honest, earnest, liberal commenters in your own threads ask you to look at the various legal posts that would apparently contradict your beliefs, how often do you look? How often do you not look with explanations of "oh that person is partisan", or "I don't have time to do the research", or "you would have to pay me to do that legal research?"

When "liberal" bloggers that are widely read and respected and have a background in journalism, or the law, and that are quoted and sourced by the NYTimes or the WAPO bring up objections to the policies of this administration, how many posts have you devoted to examine their cases?

When "liberal" law professors write letters and petitions to the administration about their policies, how often do you post on those letters and the legal issues that are contained in there?

Conservative bloggers link to you to say they agree. Liberal bloggers link to you to say they disagree.

You rarely engage with liberal commenters or liberal bloggers or liberal law professors.

What is the simplest explanation that would explain these observations?

You claim to be a moderate, although at other times, you proudly run to be voted "conservative blog diva".

How would Occam characterize you? How would your therapist characterize you?

Ann, embrace your inner republican, embrace that you are a privileged, white woman with a prestigious job that lives quite unlike 99% of America. It's okay and you will feel much less conflicted about your self.

Semanticleo said...

The american voter has demonstrated time and again, that what they feel
most comfortable with in elected
office, is someone who is decisive
and does not take crap, but gives it.

Except for the fringe of right and
'one issue' voters there is not a
lot of idealogical persuasion amongst the voting folks, IMHO.

I believe this is what is referred
to as the 'middle' which some
misinterpret as 'going along to get
along.'

The race for the middle is a function of that phenonmenon.

The less genuine run for the middle,
then do Whatever-TF-TheyWant.

Democrats, as a rule, tend to feel
the need to bring folks together, and make 'nice'. This is character-
ized as weakness (sometimes just-
ifiably so) by the opposition, and
the message machine of that entity
is less disposed to 'conscionable'
behavior on a more consistent basis
the the 'go git 'em/back off ebb
and flow of the Democratic machine.

That has not gone unnoticed by some
on the left. That school of
thought says that a 35% win ratio
since 1972, and using those numbers
in Las Vegas, will send you home broke.

So, they throw down the gauntlet.
They go over the top sometimes, and
sometimes they nail it. But you
cannot dispute that if the tail
is wagging the democratic dog, that
goes, in spades, for the Wing Nut
Nation and this Admin. It seems
to work for them. Just sayin'

american in europe said...

I think the left wing blogosphere wants no compromise because they figure the Republicans will lose eventually -- sooner or later every electorate decides it's "time for a change," if only to the keep the parties honest -- and when that day comes they will have carte blanche to implement their agenda wholesale: a pacifist/isolationist foreign policy, protectionism, national health care, gay marriage, etc. What they really don't want, what they fear most of all, is another Clinton, i.e. a centrist Democrat who, from a left wing perspective, is indistinguishable from a Republican. And so they are prepared to wait. In the meantime they will punish and/or bribe (with donations) moderate Democratic politicians to keep them in line, or reward those who don't need convincing (Teddy, Deano, Pelosi, etc.) In short, yest they want to win, but not at the cost of their principles.

Jen Bradford said...

Re Henry's theory that posters on Left sites simply represent a younger crowd - I've been surprised at how frequently posters I assumed were still in high school were older than my mom. Part of the reason Sheehan is so excruciating is because she sounds about fifteen.

The need to imagine they are bravely facing down a Nazi-like foe means that it's super important for even people like Ann to sport fangs. I have no idea why they don't feel silly yet.

HaloJonesFan said...

quxxo: I note that you don't say anything about the importance of secure communication systems to modern wireless networking. Don't you agree that this is a significant topic?

Oh, what, that doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand? Well, that should be just the same thing that you're used to.

You aren't an "honest liberal commenter". You're riding on the coattails of a popular, successful blogger, because you're well aware that if you had your own blog that nobody would link it. Better to be a troll on someone else's site than a failure on your own, eh?

american in europe said...

One more thing: there are some blogs that, for whatever reason, seem to attract a lot of vitriol from their opponents, while others manage to maintain a certain basic level of civility. Former liberals or self-described moderates tend to get it worst from the left because they are seen as apostates. (I'm thinking of you but also people like neo-neocon and Michael Totten, who has been forced to turn off his comments a few times when things got out of hand.) Actually, trolls on these sites tend to deny the apostacy of their target, saying things like "you were never REALLY a Democrat", because if they did accept it at face value they would have to re-evaluate some of their positions and maybe even be forced to change some of them. Human nature is such that very few people are willing to risk having to admit that they were wrong about anything, ever.

Needless to say, this isn't exclusively a left wing phenomenon. For example, Andrew Sullivan gets a lot of abuse from the right, another case of apostacy. Perhaps the real problem is that there are just more former liberals out there than former conservatives.

For an example of a conservative blog where liberal critics manage to make their case forcefully but not abusively (well, most of the time), check out Tom McGuire's Just One Minute blog. However, I don't think he has ever "switched teams", so he wouldn't be quite so offensive to the other side. Everybody hates a traitor.

Ernst Blofeld said...

The lack of click-through hits from Kos is fascinating. I wonder why that is? I suppose there are a few hypotheses:

1. The kos posts tend to be somewhat longer, self-contained essays. People read them and get their fill, and don't feel compelled to click through the link. Insty, on the other hand, tends to have posts that consist of "Read the whole thing. Heh." and a link, which promotes click-through. He doesn't feel the need to be the center of the discussion. But if this is the case, why the high number of comments without reading the linked article?

2. The Kossacks like to be in their own, self-reinforcing world of like-minded people.

3. The kos site promotes high comments participation but actually has a fairly low readership. I think this is contradicted by their traffic numbers, but perhaps Armado's posts are different.

I think we need some experiments. Maybe Ann can provoke a few more links, and we can do a regression on click-throughs vs. Kos post word count.

reader_iam said...

Amazing how much brain research there has been recently that go a "fur piece" to explaining some of this.

The "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology", for example, has published research about how mediocre we are at actually evaluating the tone and meaning of e-mails (and I think one can reasonably extend the point to other types of cybercommunication, at least for the purposes of discussion). A "Wired" reporter ponders this today.

HAH!--vh: vctmnes

(Of our hard-wiring? Or what?)

Armando said...

Professor Althouse:

I meant no disrespect to you in that post and I apologize sincerely for the "theoretically not stupid" crack. You clearly are not only "not stupid," but very intelligent. No one can question that.

Perhaps I missed the import of your post (the one I linked), but I understood it to be a discussion of 'why the Left is so angry.'

In that sense I thought I was addressing your theme.

Now, if you mean your point about engaging you, it's not clear to me that my form of engagement with you would be productive. I wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes the rudeness wins through.

It is a character flaw in me. But I do discuss substance I believe. It is not just all incivility.

Even in the post you link here, there are some substantive points made and you do not address them.

In any event, I did not intend offense, though offense would certainly be justified and I apologize for that.

Armando at daily kos.

Henry said...

One thing that has struck me about this whole discussion of left vs. right commentary is the issue may be more about tone than viewpoint.

When Ann discusses politics, her tone is often detached -- bemused or frustrated, but rarely outraged or hortatory. Thus Armando's disconnect. While Ann's detachment seems to drive Quxxo bananas, I think it's very appreciated by likeminded readers -- those who consider politics a circus instead of a religion.

paulfrommpls said...

I think it's the right-wing crazies who function as the crazy aunt in the attic: eveybody knows she's there, she's basically under control, every few years she gets out and runs around naked in the back yard and they drag her back in.

The Kos problem - the generalized problem of dishonest rage and dissent - that's more like a termite problem. For the whole country, unfortunately, not just the Democrats.

Armando said...

Henry:

My post argued that it is Professor Althouse and others who have the disconnect, but not the one you suggest.

The substance of what the Bush Administration has wrought is what has inspired our stridency and shrilness.

To many of us, the Bush Administration is so incompetent and so untrustworthy that an engaged commentator could not be laconic about it.

To wit, that is what is different about this time.

I tried to demonstrate that, for me at least, reflexive anger at Republican Preisdents is not the norm and is not the case here.

The substance is what drives the tone.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

"....I’ve noticed the exact opposite. While the intelligentsia kernel of the left is rooted in objectivism, the philosophy of the right, seems to me, to be steeped in religious precepts....."

Hmm, what precepts do you mean? Certainly alot of religious rprecepts such as "original sin" are more than jsut religious doctrines.

I think that liberals have a flawed and overly optimistic view of human psychology. I think they often discount human nature or just refuse to acknowledge it. Instead liberals rely on a sense of relative justice and relative fairness (a mostly emotional point of view). As long as everyone is in the same boat both culturally and economically) then things are okay. Thus, liberals will be satisfied with a poor society as long as everyone in the society is poor (i.e. equal).

Conservatives on the other hand reject relative fairness as a sham and instead accept the notion of a truth (or original sin if you want to be religious).

Democratic societies tends drift left because the liberal arguement is mostly based on emotion and most humans tend to look to their emotions first and their reasoning second when deciding issues.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Henry said...

Armando -- It sounds to me like you're saying your tone is justified and any other tone is not. Is that what you mean?

paulfrommpls said...

But Armando, you're simply restating what drives us crazy about your approach:

We disagree with the analysis, on substantive grounds, that the Bush administration is as supremely, uniquely evil and incompetent as you insist. And it is usually impossible to get the kinds of people who read your site to engage that disagreement honestly.

Honesty: that's the key. It's not tone. It's substance, related to intellectual honesty.

It isn't that we love W, or praise all he's done. It's just that we see a lot of ambiguity and dilemmas in the decisions he's faced - and that any president would have faced.

It's quite confusing. I always thought my left was all about embracing ambiguity. But in this new political context, any serious admission of ambiguity - on the Iraq war decision and dilemma, especially - would mean for the average Kos reader that total outrage is perhaps not justified. And they can't handle that.

That's how it seems.

reader_iam said...

I found Armando's apology quite gracious, and I think it should be viewed by commenters here in the spirit in which it was intended. I personally don't see the implication that his only his tone is a justifiable one, at least not in this particular comment.

But then, I could be wrong.

(And y'all really should check out that Wired article.)

XWL said...

Maybe at Kos they work off the theory that rather than catching flies with honey, it's best to use piles of rotting flesh and excrement.

I say let them enjoy their excrement, rotting flesh loving flies, I'll hang out with the honey loving flies.

As far as the speculation about KosKids being indiscrete due to youth and that youthful commmenters are more likely to be left-leaning, I think the opposite is true, when I hear left-leaning commenters I hear people trying to hold onto past hippie glories, and when I hear right-leaning glories I hear people with open eyes who have grown up since the Reagan Revolution.

But that's just my opinion, ignore it or accept it at will.

I do fine Armando's assumption that this whole post was just a whine about being bashed by the left instructive.

And I love how quxxo attempted for most of a post to sort of sound reasonable (and no lengthy quotes or links, that must be a record) only to devolve into the usual accusations of racism and worse privilege (since when has achievement, and the fruits of achievement been a dirty word)

And I know quxxo will claim that he wasn't calling Prof. Althouse racist when he said, "Ann, embrace your inner republican, embrace that you are a privileged, white woman with a prestigious job that lives quite unlike 99% of America. It's okay and you will feel much less conflicted about your self." but Republican, privileged, and white woman are all lefty code words for racist nowadays.

Also the majority of Americans of every description live in middle class comfort or better, but the left has to try and stir class conflict (and smother those conflicts in racial tension sauce) so everyone that's a homeowner or professional becomes white, privileged, and worst of all Republican.

Craig Ranapia said...

Henry:

I actually agree with you, and not because I consider politics a 'circus' but because it's something almost sacred to me.

I don't apologise for being a tool of the vast right wing conspiracy :), but I'd like to think that I always pay folks on the other side of the fence the basic courtesy of assuming until proved otherwise that they are decent and honourable people who hold their views in good faith.

Now that doesn't mean all political discourse has to be reduced to bland, group therapy mush. My left-wing friends and I have profound and fundamental political differences, but you've got a draw a line when blogs give space to folks heaping obscene abuse on Martha-Ann Alito's wife for crying during the hearings or 'joking' about poisoning Justice Stevens.

Armando said...

Henry:

You ask me "Armando -- It sounds to me like you're saying your tone is justified and any other tone is not. Is that what you mean?"

Not at all. I am saying that our tone does not spring from thin air and that it would be helpful to the discussion, if one is really possible, to acknowledge from where our tone stems.

I used to post as a commenter at tacitus. Josh Trevino and Mike Krempasky are friends of mine. I can discuss politics with them because they are honest and address the substance.

Yes, Krempasky at Red State play the kos bashing game, but he will address substance too. Trevino is one of the most honest Republicans you can find. John Cole as well.

To me to get hung up on "tone" is to avoid the substance. No doubt that will seem a selfish argument. But with this Administration, an engaged commenter will need to avoid getting bogged down in the tone issues.

IMO of course.

Armando said...

Paul:

You wrote

"We disagree with the analysis, on substantive grounds, that the Bush administration is as supremely, uniquely evil and incompetent as you insist. And it is usually impossible to get the kinds of people who read your site to engage that disagreement honestly."

Evil is not a word I use. Incompetent? absolutely so. Indeed, I think that is where discussion goes off the rails about Bush.

If the past 5 years have not demonstrated the incompetence of the Bush Administration, one wonders what will. That is why when you write:

"Honesty: that's the key. It's not tone. It's substance, related to intellectual honesty."

I have to chuckle. On Iraq, tax cuts, prescription drug benefits, the budget - it is your view that REPUBLICANS have the upper hand on intellectual honesty?

Heh. Then you write

"It isn't that we love W, or praise all he's done. It's just that we see a lot of ambiguity and dilemmas in the decisions he's faced - and that any president would have faced."

Glenn Greenwald would disagree with you. so would Andrew Sullivan. So would Bruce Bartlett. So would . . .

PDS said...

Ann: in my opinion, the most incisive part of your post was the tagline: "and so it goes." If nobody is listening, then nobody changes their mind, and if nobody is willing to change their minds, what is the point of the "debate"?

Armando said...

xwl's lessons on catching flies with honey was quite um, something.

One substantive point - he wrote "I do fine Armando's assumption that this whole post was just a whine about being bashed by the left instructive."

That was not my assumption. It certainly was a complaint by Professor Althous but it was more than that.

Indeed, I wrote about the "more than that." I understood THIS post to be complaining that I did not address the complaint.

DR said...

It's the irrationality of the lefties that's astounding to me. Mickey Kaus had a great comment about how many liberals, like the Sunnis in Iraq, actually believe they are the majority and thus that polarization (ie, energizing the base) benefits them. However, anecdotal and historical results indicate Conservatives are actually the majority (Bush campaigned and won as an overt conservative; Clinton had to run as a "New Democrat"; liberals dont like the label "Liberal" - they want to be called "Progressive" or else "Moderate" as in all those NPR listener surveys).

Thus Rove would be right to polarize; Kos and Howard Dean are suicidal to do so.

EddieP said...

Maybe Kos doesn't speak for the democrats, but like Saddam convinced the world he had WMD, Kos, Dean, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Kerry, Durban, Gore, etc. have soundly convinced me that they are in fact all on the same page. They sound like the Islamofascists "You owe me respect", well I not only don't respect them, I don't owe them anything. If they want my vote then they need to grow up and act like adults in this crazy world.

I respect Ann Althouse, and even if she irrevocably committed to the dem party tomorrow, I'd disagree with her, but I wouldn't trash her. I might think up a couple of cartoons though!

Henry said...

Armando -- Very fair. I'm certainly not saying tone is any substitute for substance, just that it probably has a lot to do with how particular bloggers/commentators attract a certain kind of readership.

paulfrommpls said...

There may be nothing more annoying than use of the word "heh," like that, Armando. It's smug to the max. it just makes me want to wash my hands and disengage. It captures the moral superiority that is so off-putting. It sure as hell better be backed up by being 100% accurate, capeche? And beleive me: you're not talking to anyone here who knows less about all this than you.

The Iraq war is the center of it all, of course.

Yes, to the extent that the Republicans and conservative analysts were and are willing to confront the fact of the dilemma tne situation presented in 2002 and 2003, there was greater intellectual honesty there.

I would agree that the Republicans should have been more honest at contronting doability and consequences. I'm angry at W for that. But on the central issue: more honesty.

Again: The situation presented an unsolveable, no-good-solutions dilemma; you and the Kos-left pretended it did not and that there was and is absolutely no conceivable justification for it.

I (we) disagree strongly on that, which leads to major disagreement on how we should talk about and deal with the situation given the irreversible reality that we're there.

Andrew S would disagree that there was a potential justification for the war? That it was a dilemma? The fact that you say that means you're not hearing me, for whatever reason.

Oh: Maybe you don't use "evil." But the tone and equivalent words are everywhere on the Kos left. I don't see the point in denying that.

TWM said...

I wonder. If Professor Althouse were to visit KOS and comment on a post, would the responses by the left be as civil and reasonsed as those by the right here to Armando?

Based on what I read at KOS I doubt it and that is the point, isn't it?

paulfrommpls said...

It's all about separating one's rage at W from a dispassionate analysis of what we faced and face as a nation. The Kos left has decided to stop doing that.

paulfrommpls said...

twm -

No.

Armando said...

Paul:

You wrote "The Iraq war is the center of it all, of course.

Yes, to the extent that the Republicans and conservative analysts were and are willing to confront the fact of the dilemma tne situation presented in 2002 and 2003, there was greater intellectual honesty there."

Here is where our breakdown begins is right.

Why did we go to war with Iraq? What was the dilemma we were told we faced? And was what was said then accurate?

On the use of "evil" - you accept that Bush is not called evil on the front page of daily kos correct? But you blame daily kos managment for some individual writings from a community of thousands of people.

Is that fair? I say it is not.

Armando said...

twm:

Is that the point? Are you really saying there have been nothing but nice civil responses to me in this thread?

BTW,if you think kossacks reserve their anger for folks like Professor Althouse, think again.

Hint - I got it in spades in the post Professor Althouse linked to.

paulfrommpls said...

The question you asked on Iraq is the beginning of an endless debate. But at least it's a beginning. Glad to have you on board. Probably the first step would be sorting out what you believe was said to push the war from what was actually said, the meat of the arguments actually made.

On "evil" and its uses at Kos: whatever. My characterization of the "Kos left" is perhaps sloppy; I don't mean to indict the site, but the personality and approach to politics I see in the people drawn to that rage at the site.

PS: Yes, these have almost all been civil in comparison to the times I've tried to post a comment, at Atrios for example. "Why don't you stop humping Bush's leg" is a typical starting point.

Balfegor said...

Not at all. I am saying that our tone does not spring from thin air and that it would be helpful to the discussion, if one is really possible, to acknowledge from where our tone stems.

I think the problem here, though, is that back in the 90s, when it was the Right that fed off of vitriol and vituperation, they said pretty much the exact same thing. The fact that you are pissed of for a reason does not make that reason at all compelling to other people, any more than the fact that today, Muslims are rioting in large numbers on account of a few cartoons published in a Danish paper pushes the rest of us towards iconoclasm. If anything, it provokes an opposing counter-reaction.

Now, it is helpful to acknowledge whence your tone stems. But I suspect it's not helpful to your side.

Armando said...

Paul:

Well, the fact is daily kos is not only a Democratic site, it is a rabidly partisan site committed to electing more Democrats.

The tone is tough, even, maybe especially among Democrats and progressives. As I wrote, I get slammed in the post Prof. Althouse links.

Again, that is tone, not substance.

Finally, there are thousands of people there. It just is hard to paint with a broad brush.

reader_iam said...

And was what was said then accurate?

There's no one answer to the quick series of questions you pose here. Some things were accurate, some things were inaccurate, some things were accurate so far as they went but lacked precision, some things were weighted more heavily than they should have been and so forth.

Another small point, I suppose, but it matters to me, is that within an array of answers, the inaccuracy--or imprecision--of one does not necessarily mean all the others are likewise inaccurate. This is where I tend to have a bone to pick with SOME of my more-left brethren.

Just as, on the other hand, the tendency to assume that because ONE answer is accurate, therefore it's more likely all the other ones are as well. That's my the bone I'd pick with SOME of my more-right brethren.

(Clearly, I'm part of the vast mediocre-middle. ; ) )

But you blame daily kos managment for some individual writings from a community of thousands of people.

Is that fair? I say it is not.


I can understand your point of view, though it's not where I fall. I guess I'd feel more comfortable with your stance on this particular point if, given that everyone's clear that there are abuses, some sort of clear comments policy was posted stating that such egregious excesses are unacceptable. That they're wrong. That the site hosts not only don't support those excesses, but disapprove of them.

Absent something like that, don't you think it's possible for others to have a certain point when they say that a tacit approval is being extended?

(And no, I'm not saying you should have a policy. I'm just explaining why and how it's possible to be skeptical as to how disapproving of egregious excess the hosts are.)

DR said...

Armando, it's good to see you posting here.

> Is that the point? Are you really saying there have been nothing but nice civil responses to me in this thread?

Yeah, pretty much. Can you show me differently?

I do note a very different approach to politics and commentary on the righty and lefty blogs. 2 recent examples come to mind: a) The Deborah Howell comment fiasco at WaPo. Whether you agree with Howell or not, the avalanche of invective directed at Howell instigated via the lefty blogs was remarkable and totally uncalled for. b) Jane Hamsher's jihad against Kate O'Beirne on Amazon's book reviews. Organized, childish and amazingly vindictive are 3 thoughts that come to mind.

Are there similar incidents you could point me to from the righty bloggers ?

Gerry said...

I have no idea why I am giving advice to a political foe, but perhaps it is because I know that since it is coming from my side it will probably be rejected.

Tone has substance.

Always has in politics, and always will.

TWM said...

Armando,

So far I haven't seen anything but civility towards you here -- did I miss something? Disagreement yes, but uncivil? Nope, I don't see it.

But maybe THAT is the point. Disagreement with those on the left is simply not acceptable and, as such, is automatically uncivil. At least that is the way it looks to me.

I do know that the folks at Kos don't reserve their anger for Professor Althouse or the right. Any liberal who dares to stray from the house line gets plenty too.

Frankly, I am impressed that you have been so reasoned here, considering that you hold your heart on your sleeve and that results in rudeness now and again. I read you occasionally, by the way. But the old saying is true. You catch more flies with sugar than, err, you know.

If you look back up in the thread, you will note that I am one of those swing voters the Democrats wish they could get -- while I am pretty conservative, I have voted for Clinton and Gore and could be persuaded to vote Democrat again if the tone of the party -- and the left -- changed a bit.

Unfortunately I just don't see that in the cards.

paulfrommpls said...

And like I say: IMO, the tone springs from endlessly internally supported dishonest/inaccurate substance.

Armando said...

On tone:

It is interesting that we sometimes have difficulty recognizing the nastiness in our tone. We are ALWAYS certain that we are not the ones at fault.

I suggest that the civility of someof the comments in this thread is in the eye of the beholder.

Personally,I have no objection. I don't take it seriously. I mean none of you knows me personally - it can't be thought of a s personal insult in my mind.

I tell you what makes me go off in comments threads - attacks on my integrity.

If you want to see incivility, check me going after the guy who accused me of supporting McCarthyism because I detest Castro and believe the Soviet Union was an evil empire.

That was beyond the pale for me. Call me stupid. Call me ill informed, what does that matter.

But call me a liar or call me character into question, and then it is Katy Bar the Door.

DR said...

> I suggest that the civility of someof the comments in this thread is in the eye of the beholder.

Armando, that's an interesting comment. Would you mind highlighting a comment or two here you found objectionable?

In the interests of comity and all that, it would be interesting if our relative standards were really that different from one another

Gerry said...

"But call me a liar or call me character into question, and then it is Katy Bar the Door."

It would probably be nice if we could get to a place where political disagreements could be debated without sides giving in to the impulse to call the other side liars or corrupt.

Don't you think?

Would you be able to do that?

DR said...

Here's what Jim Brady of WaPo says today about the lefty blog storm after Deborah Howell's Abrahoff column

Blog Rage http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/11/AR2006021100840.html

> Howell's inadvertent error prompted a handful of bloggers to urge their readers to go to post.blog to vent their discontent, and in the subsequent four days we received more than a thousand comments in our public forum. Only, the word "comments" doesn't convey the obscene, vituperative tone of a lot of the postings, which were the sort of things you might find carved on the door of a public toilet stall. About a hundred of them had to be removed for violating the Post site's standards, which don't allow profanity or personal attacks.

>To my dismay, matters only got worse on Jan. 19 after Howell posted a clarification on washingtonpost.com. Instead of mollifying angry readers, the clarification prompted more than 400 additional comments over the next five hours, many of them so crude as to be unprintable in a family newspaper. Soon the number of comments that violated our standards of Web civility overwhelmed our ability to get rid of them; only then did we decide to shut down comments on the blog.

As some of the posters here say, the tone is the substance.

sonia said...

I don't find the Left Blogosphere any more 'angry' than the Right Blogosphere. I think the confusion largely arises from mistaken attribution of ideological colors.

RIGHT: Tim Blair, LGF

CENTER: Instapundit, Althouse, Andrew Sullivan

LEFT: Daily Kos, Atrios, Crooks and Liars

Tim Blair's commenters are way more nasty than Daily Kossacks (Blair site was the only one, so far, to actually ban me for ideological reasons).

But because, in United States at least, Iraq War is the ultimate ideological lithmus test, all those centrists bloggers are automatically classified as right-wing.

But from my experience, an average Daily Kossack is way more tolerant and moderate than an average Tim Blair's redneck. It's just that the latter ones are quite rare, whereas Kossacks are VERY numerous.

Armando said...

Gerry:

I do do that with people I am debating.

Do you mean if Bush tells an untruth I should not say so? Well, that seems absurd to me.

Heck, John Kerry was called, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, a lot of things.

Heck, and that was at daily kos. What Powerline calls Dems is hardly my idea of civility.

Where the Right Wing blogs go over the line imo, is not the criticism, it is the impugining of patriotism. What I have called the New MCarthyism.

John Hinderaker called Jimmy Carter a traitor. That is unacceptable.

And yet many hear hold up Powerline as some paragon. Glenn Reynolds did the same thing to Dems in general.

Thise are the lines I would never cross.

George Bush loves his country. He is trying his best. Republicans love America. They want the best for it as a whole.

That they are incompetent is the discussion we MUST have.

TWM said...

Oh hell, let's all just get in a bear cage and have at it till the last man or woman stands.

Winner take all.

MrsWhatsit said...

Armando, I understand your point about substance driving your tone. But what is your response to the observation made by Professor Althouse and others here about the counterproductive EFFECT of that tone?

The problem is that the moderate voters you need are driven away by your hyper-angry tone (and by "you," I don't mean just you, but all the angry bloggers and commenters at places like Kos and DU.) To me, all that political vitriol is the Internet equivalent of the three-year-old who throws himself on the supermarket floor and screams because he wants candy, and then is genuinely surprised when the tantrum doesn't get him what he wants. But perhaps you see a rationale for the "tantrums" that I am missing.

Wouldn't it be worthwhile to strive for a more rational tone if it would help get you closer to the political victories you need? Or do you disagree that angry invective harms your cause politically by driving away voters who aren't quite as angry as you are?

Ann Althouse said...

Armando: Thanks for commenting. You have a different tone when you stop by here, and of course I prefer it. "Well, the fact is daily kos is not only a Democratic site, it is a rabidly partisan site committed to electing more Democrats." Please note that my comments are sincerely meant as advice on how to get more people to vote Democratic. I have a problem with the Kos presentation, and, as I've said, I think your interest in your own success as a blog conflicts with the interest in winning elections. You must know you have this problem.

Re the notion that privileged white women are destined to go Republican: You have no idea how funny that notion seems from my vantage point in Madison, Wisconsin, which is full of privileged white people who are horrified at the idea of voting Republican. Like many of them, I've spent my whole life voting according to my perception of the common good, and not for my own interests. I was doing that when I voted for Bush too. You may think I got that perception wrong, but I wasn't doing it for myself. My proof is that I've only ever voted for five Republicans in my life, Bush & Cheney, Ford and his VP (I remember who it was, but you don't care, do you?), and one other, not a presidential candidate.

Re how "my therapist" would categorize me: When did you stop beating your wife?

Henry, re detached and bemused: Aptly observed.

Re whether my commenters have been rude to Armando: I think there's more rudeness in this thread addressed to me.

Armando said...

MrsWhatsit:

I don't demand that Democratic candidates speak like me. I am not on the ballot.

Nor do I demand ideological purity.

We do um "suggest" Party loyalty to our officials.

Daily Kos says good things about Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy. Russ Feingold and Ben Nelson. Charles Schumer and Bill Nelson.

Do we push them? Certainly. do we think they need to be tougher in opposition? Absolutely.

Do they need to be as harsh in tone as we are? We're not idiots.

The "moderate" (I think you would need to define yout terms) voters you mention really don't spend a lot of time at daily kos to be frank imo.

And, in the end, 2006 will tell the tale. Right now, Dems hold a huge lead in the genric Congressional ballot. so far Daily Kos has not damaged anything.

And, BTW, if the Dems score a uge victory, do I get to come here and claim victory for dialy kos the way the DLC claimed Clinton's victory as their own?

Just sayin'.

Aspasia M. said...

We have several arguments/themes kind of mushed together in this thread. But, anyway, here's a couple of comments:

1) DailyKos is a partisan site dedicated to electing more Democrats. It is not a site whoes intent is to promote bi-partisan policy co-operation. It's part of the grassroots. Bi-partisanship is not part of the election process. (Our Democratic Republic is based on a winner-take-all system, and it is very difficult for more then two parties to have power in the United States. Power sharing does not occur in the U.S. Congress and White House.)

2) For those who argue that the righties supportive of the White House or Congress are more politically inclusive then lefties - several examples of White House road kill come to mind. The most recent is Bruce Bartlett. (Paul O'Niel, Colin Powell, Larry Wilkerson, ect., ect., Speaking of civil discourse, did you hear about Ann Coulter's latest? Can she say anything that would disqualify her from getting mainstream Republican party and pundit gigs?)

3) Partisan Discipline.
Delay the Hammer and K. Rove have this down to a T. (K street has been pulled into the game in a methodological manner to promote the Republican party.) The Republicans in Congress rarely buck those in charge of the party.

Meanwhile, Democrats couldn't stand in a straight line with a gun pointed at them. The Dems in Congress continually bring knives to what has long been a gun fight.

4) The Republican party has a noise machine that is supported by right-wing think tanks, talk radio, Fox News, and presses like Regency. The Democratic party has very little to support its talking points. There have been some interesting arguments that talk radio helped fueled the Congressional elections of 1994.

Meanwhile, the word "conservative" has turned into "Bush/Republican party supporter" that is relatively detached from ideololgy. Fox News doesn't support an ideology, but a political party.

I think the Brady, WaPo flap cannot be understood without being aware of this context in which the MSN talking points are produced.

vbspurs said...

No, my friends.

Awwww. You're my friend too, Ann.

Cheers,
Victoria

paulfrommpls said...

"So far Daily Kos has not damaged anything."

The whole approach to politics lost the 2004 election. Beyond that, maybe not much.

Gerry said...

Armando,

Of course, both sides should hold politicians accountable when they lie.

I would suggest to you that the threshold for determining when a lie has occurred should be a lot higher than it seems to be for an alarmingly large percentage of bloggers. The presumption of good faith is one that voters make but bloggers do not (and it is a reason that charges of "he's a liar" generally do not resonate with voters as much as the passionate would like).

I would also like to comment on this:

"Not at all. I am saying that our tone does not spring from thin air and that it would be helpful to the discussion, if one is really possible, to acknowledge from where our tone stems."

You have stated that you have felt some of the comments in this thread towards you have not been as civil as you would prefer. Did this lead you to stop and pause to think deeply about from where the tone of those commenters arose?

Even if the answer there is "yes," I do not think that is really the way to go. We do not want to have a system that encourages people to embrace an uncivil tone or manner soas to get people to put more thought into their perspectives. A better system is one where churlish behavior leads to others discounting the views and opinions of the badly behaved until they learn to "play nice." We want the incentives to be on the side of good behavior, not on the side of bad behavior.

MrsWhatsit said...

Well, moderate voters like me may not spend a lot of time at Daily Kos in particular. (It's quite true, I don't go there -- I have tried, and I just can't stand it.) But we hear plenty of the same sort of thing from such public figures as Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, and the more lurid Kos posts do tend to get reprinted and passed around by more centrist and right-wing bloggers -- so we see at least some of it.

Anyway, you didn't really answer the question. Do you think the vitriol helps you with anybody who isn't already committed to your cause? I'm not talking about influencing political leaders here -- I'm talking about influencing more moderate Democratic voters. These are the voters you need to enlist, if you ever hope to make the political leaders do what you think they should do. Isn't it something of a waste to make the most prominent and active Democratic blog into a place where moderate Democrats can't stand to go, instead of a place where constructive political growth might actually occur?

vbspurs said...

Regarding the liberal vs. conservative commentators debate, I've wondered if the difference is that conservatives, on average, are just older. So much of the vitriol, whether from Kos or LGF, reads like it's written by very young people.

It's possible.

But I've been a Conservative all my life, and am only 30 now.

I haven't changed that much in character since I was 7, although my personality has changed a bit.

IMO, your character determines your world view, but your personality determines your politics, so it's not easy to see how some people could change quite a lot.

Or perhaps, it may have something to do with the oft-quoted adage (Winston Churchill was it?), that said,

"Politics is not meant for the young"

Cheers,
Victoria

Jen Bradford said...

"The substance of what the Bush Administration has wrought is what has inspired our stridency and shrilness."

I don't buy this at all. The shrillness started immediately. It preceded 9/11, and barely missed a beat even then. It's like watching Muslims get "shrill" about the Danish cartoon, but not about terrorists who actually desecrate Islam. It's that same disconnect I feel from the Left - the outrage is so tendentious it's very difficult to take it seriously. The fact that I agree with some of what they're saying doesn't outweigh that sense of exasperation and embarrassment.

DR said...

> Meanwhile, the word "conservative" has turned into "Bush/Republican party supporter" that is relatively detached from ideololgy. Fox News doesn't support an ideology, but a political party

You're right in that a highly polarized environment does tend to enforce rigid party discipline, ie, the stragglers get shot out in the open. I assume that fact also accounts for dKos and similar sites amping up the partisanship on the left as Rove and Bush have done on the right.

The difficulty, I think, comes when you try to imagine who benefits from a highly polarized environment and that is the majority/plurality ideology.

At least in recent years, that's Republicans, not Democrats. In the South, for example, Democrats have lost much of the moderate white vote and thus have turned over the Congress on this basis alone.

The Dems cant win without the South but Southern Democrats (who arent black) are generally conservatives - support the war, pro life, socially conservative.

Is there a place in today's Democratic party for them? If not, they'll keep voting Republican at the Presidential level as they have since the 1960s and at the Congressional level as they have since 1994.

Aspasia M. said...

Hello? DailyKos was not running the Kerry campaign.

I will say something that Republicans are much better at then Democrats. The Republicans know how to speak in code to their base and pretend to be moderates during the general election.

For example:

Bush refers to Dred Scott during a debate. It's a code for overturning Roe v. Wade, but not alarming for the pro-choice "moderates" in the electorate. And it works beautifully.

Bush made sure to underline that he will choose a judge like Scalia in both 2000 and 2004, while refusing to state whether he would support the criminalization of abortion. Instead he says things like- "we have to change the culture." It is the tone, not the intent, that is important for the "moderates" and the MSN.

Or: Pro-choice moderates are highlighted at the republican convention, while not being given any real power after the election. Those who will actually hold the power in the administration are kept rather quiet. People like Powell are highlighted and then sidelined once they win elections.

(Notice how "moderates" are not much bothered that Powell has been chased out of the administration. Again, it is the tone and the sale of the politics, not the substance of how this administration administrates, that even registers with a large chunk of people.)

Armando said...

Gerry:

Shunning is an interesting choice of words.

Is that not what Professor Althouse is accusing Left Wing Blogs of doing to her?

To wit, the post, as I understood it, complained that Democrats do not engage her even if they agree with her, or she with them. I'll confess, in what I hope does not pass as uncivil, I still have not found myself agreeing with Professor Althouse once on political issues so I am not sure what to make of the complaint personally.

BTW, I think you are mixing up civil comments with civil posts. And they are two distinct things.

Armando said...

Jen Bradford:

Certainly you cna choose to "buy" what you wish.

If you mean there was outrage out of the 2000 election, well that is hardly surprising.

Do you mean their was no unity after 9/11, then you are simply not dealing in facts.

Iraq and Bush's Debacle divided this country. To pretend otherwise is not honest. whether Bush was right or wrong, that is what divided us.

LoafingOaf said...

Some of the reasons I supported trying to liberate Iraq overlap with the reasons I supported Clinton's Kosovo operation to end genocide. I don't think this makes me a "right winger" whatsoever. I'm pretty sure (although I can't prove it) that if a Democrat president had invaded Iraq, many of the partisan Republicans who support it under Bush would be strongly opposed to it under a Dem.

I like bloggers where I don't sense this partisanship over principle going on.

On the extreme partisan sites, who even knows what "left" and "right" means sometimes. For example, take a look at these threads of comments at DailyKos over a story that an Israeli is now wondering if Israel would be better off with Saddam still in power. Reading many of the Kos Kids' comments is bizarre because it felt like I was reading a bunch of Kissinger-style right wingers. They sound like they believe America should support evil dictatorships for stability in the region, and that Arab and Kurdish peoples in Iraq are not able to handle democracy. My guess is these commentators are taking this position simply because Bush is a Republican.

Here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/9/195923/8209

Example: If Goerge W Bush is Jesus Christ...Like all the Wingnuts Think Maybe he can Bring Uday and Qusay Back from the dead,return Saddam to power and we can forget this entire misadventure.

Aspasia M. said...

Jen,

The outcome of the 2000 election was contested. Then the Bush administration showed no interest in power sharing. (By the way, I believe that the administration has a perfect right not to divide up the cabnet posts among the parties.)

However, some power sharing may have be a politically wise move if the administration wished to govern from the middle. The Bush administration did not appeal to the middle, however.

Over and over again the administration has pushed through its legislation with a slight majority of votes, pressuring the Republican moderates and pushing major bills through without bi-partisan support. (remember the prescription medicare vote?)

MrsWhatsit said...

Geoduck, I agree with you that the Republicans are better than the Democrats at projecting a voter-acceptable tone. (I don't agree with you at all that moderate and right-leaning voters value tone over substance, but that's a separate subject.) Case in point: it was the Democrats who put Michael Moore next to Jimmy Carter in the presidential box at the Democratic Convention. It does not seem to have occurred to anybody how poorly this would go over in the heartland. I am not sure the mistake has been acknowledged yet! If you, Geoduck, don't agree that it was harmful, ask yourself what the left's reaction would be if Republicans ever seated Ann Coulter next to George Bush Senior during a convention, and I think you'll get the point.

I don't think the question is whether today's Democrats have a political tin ear. They certainly do. The question is, why aren't they seeing the problem, recognizing it, and fixing it? I mean, the three-year-old I mentioned earlier eventually figures out that tantrums don't result in candy. Why don't the political activists get it?

DR said...

> it was the Democrats who put Michael Moore next to Jimmy Carter in the presidential box at the Democratic Convention. It does not seem to have occurred to anybody how poorly this would go over in the heartland

Actually, I think it was Carter himself who invited Moore to sit with him, which says something about Jimmy Carter and which his recent comments at the King funeral further make quite clear

paulfrommpls said...

Mr. Whatsit -

It's a tiny quibble, but that incident is an example of a time when the Dems ever so slightly got the shaft on a story passed around the media. I believe it was more moment-related than that; it was not a planned thing.

It was just Saint Carter not understanding how damaging the image could be for the party. Hard to blame him, actually, given how lauded Moore was all week, out of camera range.

Balfegor said...

2) For those who argue that the righties supportive of the White House or Congress are more politically inclusive then lefties - several examples of White House road kill come to mind. The most recent is Bruce Bartlett. (Paul O'Niel, Colin Powell, Larry Wilkerson, ect., ect.,

That's the White House playing hardball. I don't think most conservatives or "righties" are now writing them out of the Right. To some degree, they might do so for Powell, on the grounds of his support for affirmative action, among other things -- he's a moderate, after all, and that is his appeal. But on the other hand, Bartlett is even embraced by some righties, for providing a principled conservative argument against the Bush administration. Now, they may not be "righties who support the President," to the extent they embrace Bartlett (for obvious reasons), but those who do support the President aren't exactly casting them or him out into the outer darkness.

What's more, reducing conservatism to support of the President ignores the quite public and quite marked schism between the President and his conservative base over the Miers nomination. (And, to a lesser extent, the Myers nomination.) If the Right decided to kick people out just because they disagreed with the President or failed to support him in this or that endeavour, there would be practically no Right at all.

Aspasia M. said...

Mrs.Whatsit,

I agree that a public place like a convention is the place to sell the tone.

But I also believe that we need strong grass-roots organizations like DKos. We need passionate supporters. Look at the Republican party - they don't run from their base. The activists are the ones who do the leg work, register the voters and drive people to the polls.

Moderates don't drive people to the polls. Moderates don't register voters. Moderates don't pass out political information or volunteer their time for political parties. In fact, moderates rarely even vote in primaries. They sometimes don't even vote in off-year elections.

K. Rove's strategy in this last election was to make the base work for Bush. And it worked. (For example, look at Frist and others who attended "Justice Sunday."; Ralph Reed in the Florida churches and ex-urbs; then the administration sold National Security to the moderates while de-emphasizing the social issues to the general public.

Steven said...

Armando,

Your justicfication for your tone is that it is the inevitable result of Bush's actions in his presidency.

So what are the possible conclusions someone who doesn't already agree Bush's presidency is so awful? Why, that you've already wrtitten them off as too stupid, narrowminded, or evil for you to be willing to engage them civilly. Your tone tells everyone who voted for Bush that you're unwilling to engage them, that you will sit back with your Truth and wait for them to realize the errors of their ways and try to understand you.

That tactic, of course, worked so well for the Republicans in the late '90s, when they took the same tone about Clinton, when everything they said about Clinton was predicated on Clinton being incompetent and immoral. Why not try to duplicate the Republican's 2000 electoral "success" in 2008 by acting like the president-hating impeachers of 1998 in 2006?

As justified as you may believe the tone to be, as right as it may feel, it is foolish politics.

Aspasia M. said...

Mrs. Whatsit,

I see that I didn't answer your question on why the political activists running the party don't do a better job. I have no freaking idea why they can't get it together.

Certainly the commercials in Kerry's campaign were much better before the Iowa Caucus occured. Then he fired the person who did the commercials. Why? I have no idea.

Why didn't they do a better job at responding to the Swift-boaters? I don't know.

Why did they let Kerry snowboard? I really have no idea, but who ever did that should be shot.

The Democrats don't know how to fight back, and fight back hard. The Dems need to sell their tone as moderate, talk code to the base, and learn how to fight dirty like their opposition while running an election.

The Bush people don't seem to know how to be good administrators, but they are really, really good at political fighting and selling their message to the MSM.

Balfegor said...

I don't think the question is whether today's Democrats have a political tin ear. They certainly do. The question is, why aren't they seeing the problem, recognizing it, and fixing it?

Honestly, I don't think the tin-ear is the problem. Because frankly, Bush has a bit of a tin ear himself. Or more than a bit of one -- I still cringe whenever I hear "Homeland Security." Karl Rove is there to catch a lot of these errors, but a Rove is not enough. A tone fit for polite society may be a necessary, but it is not a sufficient condition. For that, they need policies that people can actually get behind, and (at the moment) need to build up their credibility on foreign affairs. Voters aren't that stupid, after all, not so stupid that a few pretty words is enough to win them over.

and learn how to fight dirty like their opposition while running an election.

Heheh-- this is a low blow, but considering widespread allegations that pets and dead people voted overwhelmingly for Democrats (again!) all over the country in the last election, and the recent bit in the news about Democratic Party operatives slashing Republicans' tires to keep them from getting to the voting booths . . . shouldn't we say "learn how to fight dirty more effectively" or something? Because they fight plenty dirty already. For another example, on the other side, recall the Greens' complaints that Democrat activists repeatedly sabotaged their attempts to get their candidates on the ballot.

paulfrommpls said...

Here's a nice little post and comment string;

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/13/113252/771

It's not obscene, for the most part, though the commenters keep calling people like me and most of us here fascists.

But what amazes me most is how these people have absolutely zero idea where I'm coming from, or the people they mention by name as emblematic of some imagined "cult of Bush."

No concept of what makes the people they attack tick. None. Zilcherino. Assume the absolute worst, ascribe to their political opponents the most impossibly foggy-headed worldviews conceivable, do no investigation of the details of why, say, Andrew S is criticized pretty heavily these days, and stop thinking. (The post is about an alleged tendency that the minute somebody criticizes Bush, he becomes a vilified traitor, a "liberal.")

Incidentally, if I can be contentious for a minute: when Democrats mention the Swift Boat guys as so illustrative of Republican dirty tricks, it tells me a lot of how they think about conservatives.

So for some reason, out of the blue, dozens and dozens of otherwise upright citizens start obeying commands to sign on to an utterly dishonest attack ona presidential candidate? Because... Rove told them to? There's no chance any of them actually meant what they were talking about? Rove controls all; all Republicans respond to his commands?

What bizarre world do you live in, I want to ask.

ShadyCharacter said...

Geo, you write: "The Democrats don't know how to fight back, and fight back hard."

The more you guys shout that it's not that Americans reject the message of the Democrats it's that the message isn't reaching them (i.e., the Democrats aren't vicious enough/mean enough/strident enough) the more strident, vicious and mean your party and your party spokesmen become.

From that old LBJ “daisy” election commercial, to the constant accusation that Republicans "hate black people" (see the overwrought Katrina rhetoric of the left), to the accusations that Bush tacitly approved of the lynching of James Byrd, the list of vicious left-wing smears on Republicans goes on and on.

The amusing thing from this Republican’s perspective is that you guys miss the point so completely and so self-destructively that we Republicans can point it out to you day in and day out without any fear that you’d actually reverse course. So we Republicans see the Democrats as having, over the past 30+ years, alienated voters with their pettiness and viciousness, lost ground, decided it was because they weren’t petty and vicious enough. So the next election Democrats get more petty and vicious, lose more ground, and decide it was because they weren’t petty and vicious enough… ad naseum.

It’s like an invulnerable Goose that lays the golden eggs. I hope and pray you disagree with me on this =)

Gerry said...

"Shunning is an interesting choice of words."

Wish I had thought to use it, then, since I like being interesting. However, a quick scan of all of the comments in this thread, by me and by everyone else, shows that the first appearance of the text string "shun" was your comment right there.

Since I did not use that word, I am guessing you might not have read my post correctly.

paulfrommpls said...

Incidentally: my reading of the reason the Dems didn't "respond mroe quickly" to the Swifties: whatever the merit of the other charges, it was because Kerry had been caught in a decades-long, very, very odd tale about secret trips into Cambodia, and CIA guys giving him lucky hats.

None of his Swift Boat friends supported that story. Unless something has come out or still comes out out that I don't know about, it was simply an undeniable bit of strangeness that would have been impossible to explain without coming across as a complete weirdo. Far better to affect a generalized sense of outrage than respond to the specifics on that one.

He actually in early 2004 gave a reporter a "reluctant" glimpse of his lucky hat, and there is absolutely no reason to think the story is true.

Am I wrong about that?

If not, the guy's a certified nut-job, or at least that's how it would have come across.

LoafingOaf said...

The Democrats don't know how to fight back, and fight back hard. The Dems need to sell their tone as moderate, talk code to the base, and learn how to fight dirty like their opposition while running an election.

I'm an Ohio voter who's open to voting for either party, and Bush's social conservatism turns me off.

The reason I dismissed Kerry is because, unlike Andrew Sullivan, I was unconvinced Kerry would have as strong a spine in foreign policy as Bush. I feared a Kerry win for Democrats embracing Michael Moore might derail elections in Iraq, which is something I vowed to myself would be the deciding issue of the campaign no matter how many things about the GOP I disliked. I think I was right to have feared that given the actions of Democrats since.

Dems actually do fight hard and dirty. However, it won't be until they start instilling confidence that they can be trusted with national security that I will open myself to voting for them again. They have pushed me into feeling like I have to vote GOP when I really don't want to become a Republican.

Jen Bradford said...

"Iraq and Bush's Debacle divided this country. To pretend otherwise is not honest. whether Bush was right or wrong, that is what divided us."

I think there would have been antagonistic approaches to American foreign policy after 9/11, no matter who was President. I think that will be true for a couple of decades, at a minimum. Your inability to differentiate between an alternate point of view and "dishonesty" is more than a little worrisome.

David said...

To a substantial extent, I think modern "progressivism" is less a true political philosophy than it is an assertion of a social class position. Many people hate Bush (for example) for the same reason that they shop at Whole Foods: it sends a message to the people with whom they want to identify.

So, if you disagree with them on any point, it is not something to be discussed, but rather a sign of your failure to really be a member of the inner circle...almost as bad as shopping at Wal-Mart or going to a NASCAR race.

Jacques Cuze said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jacques Cuze said...

vbspurs said...

Maybe I seem to be one of the "good" ones because I'm not one.

Yawn.

Stop this incessant backtalk about not being a conservative already, else I'll delete my Althouse vote for "Conservative Blogress Diva".

Cheers,
Victoria


It's that time again when Ann pretends she is a moderate, all evidence to the contrary.

(note to XLax who accused me of racism, wtf? Ann should be proud of her accomplishments, but Ann should not pretend as she often does that she has her finger on the pulse of America. Today, 61% of America does not approve of the way George Bush is doing his job. Ann constantly claims that it is us rude and vile leftists that are out of touch with what America wants in terms of safety, religion, civil rights, etc. My point XLax was merely that being a well off lawyer, owner of an $800,000 home, professor, in a college town that is called to speak on TV and called to speak on NPR is not the life of 99% of America, and Ann doesn't show that she is looking to see what that life is like. This is not racism and this is not class warfare. This is about Ann. She and her echo chamber says that us terrible dems will never win another election, but she forgets that Bush lost the popular election in 2000, and Bush won by the slimmest majority in 2004. Think purple state. Think that almost one of every two America ns voted AGAINST Bush. Although Bush received a majority of the popular vote: 50.73% to Kerry's 48.27%, it was—percentage-wise—the closest popular margin ever for a sitting President; Bush received 2.5% more than Kerry; the closest previous margin won by a sitting President was 3.2% for Woodrow Wilson in 1916. In terms of absolute number of popular votes, his victory margin (approximately 3 million votes) was the smallest of any sitting President since Harry S. Truman in 1948.

Kudos to you Ann, truly, but you make a mistake thinking that everyone thinks your way.)

reader_iam said...

Geoduck2 (and, btw, I now have the correct pronunciation forever burned into my brain's ear!!!):

Notice how "moderates" are not much bothered that Powell has been chased out of the administration.

I'm not bothered by that, but not for the reasons I think you're implying. I'm not a fan of Colin Powell's, and haven't for going on 15 years. It's possible that others feel similarly.

Moderates don't drive people to the polls. Moderates don't register voters.

I'm not sure you could provide proof for a statement as flat and blanket as this, dear Geo, with respect.

Moderates don't pass out political information or volunteer their time for political parties.

Same as above, with an additional point: If you're a moderate registered as "no party" or "Independent," the two major parties aren't all that interested in help, frankly, especially if you're not willing to change your registration. So that may be just a bit of straw man, unintentional, I'm sincerely sure.

And, trust me, it doesn't go over real well if you say you want to simultaneously campaign for Dem X and Repub Y. Whether passionately for both or not.

In fact, moderates rarely even vote in primaries.

In many places, again based on their registration, they're not permitted to do so. Again, this needs to be put in context.

They sometimes don't even vote in off-year elections.

A lot of Americans, period, don't do this. Heck, many of them don't vote in the on-year elections--and that's regardless of how they're registered or what they think of themselves as.

And you know, there are a lot of PASSIONATES who don't vote either, for one reason or another.

I don't think any of these things, per se, can be used to definite "moderates."

I'm wondering if, perhaps, there's a tendency to view "moderate" as an exact synonym for "lukewarm"? I'd really have to question that--and would gently suggest you ponder that notion. I know quite a few passionate moderates.

For myself, I've been accused of lots of things over time, for good or for ill, justly or injustly, but never lukewarm. (I'm NOT saying that's what YOU were doing.) And I know that I'm neither particularly special nor unique.

Just the view from my place(s) in the spectrum.

RogerA said...

Hmmm---seems to me the democrats have never gotten over the fact that Bush won Florida in 2000 on a SCOTUS decision--they (IMHO) regard him as illegitimate; thus everything he has done since then is illegitmate; and of course Ohio was stolen from him by Diebold and Black Box voting in 2004 when clearly John Kerry was the more appealing candidate.

It can all be masked in discussions about policy alternatives--but it looks like pure hatred--right up there with those right wing nuts that though Bill Clinton murdered opponents--

So what Dem alternative are there:

Impeach him--oh wait; you dont have the votes--plus you'd get Dick Cheney as President (careful what you wish for)

Vote him out--oh wait, you tried that 2004 and didnt have the votes

Agonize over his SCOTUS choices--oh wait, you dont have the votes

There is one only one lesson the Democrats need to learn--get the votes and the you can act; other than that, you are crying in the wilderness--All you need is 50% plus one. Now--whats hard about that lesson?

DR said...

Armando and Geo and any others, I hope you will return to this board for other discussions.

Perhaps Ann's blog can be the genesis of some real interparty communications :-) I think these discussions have been civil and should be in the future.

reader_iam said...

Re: "Whole foods"

Well, let's not forget the "crunchy cons." I know some of them, too.

Semanticleo said...

There seems to be a lot more back and forth than giv-n-take on this site and
it raises a question for me.

Perhaps some of the moderates here
here who spend more time villifying
democratic foibles and defending
republican boners could tell me what
separates them from the conservative
republicans who claim a 'moderate'
position.

We could start with Ann and Palladian, but anyone; please
chime in!

TidalPoet said...

Not to be too snarky Geo, but I couldn't really let this pass:

"4) The Republican party has a noise machine that is supported by right-wing think tanks, talk radio, Fox News, and presses like Regency. The Democratic party has very little to support its talking points. There have been some interesting arguments that talk radio helped fueled the Congressional elections of 1994."

New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, NPR, AP Press, Chicago Tribune, CNN. Even the Wall Street Journal (if you stay away from the OP-ED pages) sprinkles in the points.

I'm not sure if you left those out on accident or if you really believe them to be apolitical entities. For some of us on the right, we think the balance is slowly starting to budge from far-left-tilt to not-so-far-left-tilt.

PatCA said...

ShadyCharacter,
You describe my move from Democrat to Independent perfectly. They couldn't have alienated me more if they had been trying.

Balfegor said...

Perhaps some of the moderates here
here who spend more time villifying
democratic foibles and defending
republican boners could tell me what
separates them from the conservative
republicans who claim a 'moderate'
position.


Uh, let me take a wild guess. They're not conservative? I strongly suspect that their views on social policy (e.g. affirmative action, gay marriage, church-state relations, etc.) diverge significantly and consistently from my (conservative) views, or the views of the Republican base. The same is probably true of their views on economic policy (e.g. welfare, wealth redistribution, taxes, state intervention generally). At an even higher level of generality, they probably don't want the same kind of society most conservatives do. Not that there is uniformity among conservatives -- we do not all emerge out of a single tradition, after all, and there are various flavours of conservative anyhow -- but there is a family resemblance, I think, among conservative attitudes which people who are self-consciously not conservative simply do not share.

AJD said...

Ann says: "I've repeatedly said that the left treats me badly, and anyone reading the comments here can see that on nearly a daily basis."

What Ann does not say is that she constantly dishes it out, too. She prods and chides and sneers. And then when someone gives in response, it's soooooo unfair and mean.

Gimme a break, Ann.

You can't take what you dish out. THAT is your problem.

The Cranky Insomniac said...

The majority of "conservative" bloggers discussed here are either libertarian, libertarianish or ex-liberals whose world views were changed by 9/11. Reynolds, Sullivan, Simon, etc., thankfully have no patience for the Ann Coulters and LGFs of the world, and they are generally going to be civil even when debating people with whom they disagree. (I think we libertarians tend to be more polite because we know SOMEONE's gonna disagree with us at least half the time...) I think the only outright conservative blog I read is The Corner at National Review; although it drives me crazy half the time, at least it's generally well-written and congenial. And the same can be said for The Plank at The New Republic, for Kevin Drum, and many other liberal blogs.

For me, what makes Kos, Atrios and their ilk unreadable is twofold: their absolute hatred for and condescension towards anyone who doesn't drink their kool aid; and their irrational and reflexive self-loathing. It's easy to figure out a Kossack's position on any issue: just pick the one that portrays America and/or Western Civilization in the worst light. (But don't question their patriotism.)

Why would anyone waste their time thinking about why Armando is so angry? It's not like you'd be able to have a rational discussion with him about it. Understanding and empathy have to be two-way streets. People who call for beheadings over cartoons don't deserve it, and neither do people like Armando or Ann Coulter. Irrational fanatics don't make good debating partners.

reader_iam said...

Well, I don't know, Andy, but I'd charactize some of the conversation with Armando on this thread as rational.

Surely I'm not the only one?

Balfegor said...

Well, I don't know, Andy, but I'd charactize some of the conversation with Armando on this thread as rational.

Surely I'm not the only one?


Oh I would agree -- he has carried himself quite well here.

Big Dick Cheney said...
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Gabe said...

Andy - This truely isn't meant as snark, but the Corner doesn't have comments, so its hard to make the argument that it is congenial. If you only look at Markos and the frontpagers you will find congeniality. It is in the comments sections where all of the offense seems to be coming from. Its impossible to speculate as to what the Corner's comments section would look like if they had comments.

Ann - One theory as to why the link from Kos has not generated much traffic (Armando, correct me if I am wrong) - Armando's post was in a diary and not on the front page (as most of Armando's writing was for the past year). This would account for far less readers seeing the post (even though it was on the rec list in a bar on the page).

word verification: eafrtd - ear full of turd

Big Dick Cheney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aspasia M. said...

Reader Iam, RE: Moderates

I'm real glad if moderates get involved in politics, particularly in driving elderly and others without transportation to the polls.

I just meant that the energy of both parties derives from the base. And I don't want to overly simplify things. I understand that there are different types of people who make up the base and the single-issue types are different from the devoted to the party infrastructure types.

But many, many people are rather apolitical. The percentage of Americans who cast their ballots is much lower then it was in the 19th century. (I am referring to the percentage of adult Americans who could leaglly vote.) Many Americans don't read newspapers, blogs or even watch the TV news for a half an hour a night.

So those that are passionate in a party tend to have a role that is important in local organization and voting.

I think its fantastic when more, not less people in a community get involved in politics and voting, particularly when they get involved in more then the general presidential election.

RE: Fighting Dirty (balfegor, paulfrompls, shadycharacter)

I do think that the Democrats do a terrible job of fighting dirty. In general, too many Dems are naive about political tactics.

For example, in '04 in my swing state (and county,) the Republicans systematically challenged Democratic votes. All of the challenges were of Democratic ballots. The Democratic party was unprepared for this challenge.

I personally know people (legal voters) who had to vote provisonally (sp?) because their mail-in ballots were challenged. I live in a swing state, and this was a political tactic that was organized and implemented systematically. This is a national tactic that is occuring. And it's smart politics for the Republicans.

In King County, Washington State, some family friends were recently challenged. (Their entire condo-building was challenged. The Republican in charge of the challenges was less then cautious in her challenges.) A few days before a recent election in Washington, they got a letter sent to their condo, telling them they couldn't vote. Anyways, they got it cleared up and they voted. But it was a pain in the neck.

Now, I'm not saying that Republicans can't challenge Democratic voters. But I am saying that Democrats have to be ready to counteract disenfranchisement. Democrats can't be naive about the hardball that Republicans play. In the past, Democrats have been very naive. Dems need to have lawyers ready - have people at the polls, publicize those legitimate voters who are disenfranchised. Put them on TV.

The same with political attacks (swift boating or Willie Horton, or whatever.) Hit back, don't let it go, don't be naive.

And I think that the Dems, in national forums, should talk to their base in code and sell themselves to moderates.

Tidalpoet, RE Media,

I understand what you're saying, but I disagree with you. I don't think that the editorial page of the NYTimes (and other "elite" papers) are very important for moving the majority of people in America. The local papers through out the country are more important. And TV is much more significant as a place where talking points are reiterated. Talk radio is important. Not many people read the WaPo or the NYTimes. Unfortunately, a lot of people really don't read very much in general. (Obviously, everyone reading this right now is not the "average" American reader. Many, many people do not spend their time reading about political tactics on blogs. Let's face it --we are geeks and should luxuriate in our geekdom!)

Big Dick Cheney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aspasia M. said...

oh my. someone is having fun with scatalogical typology.

Anyways - Jim Webb is running as a Dem for the Senate from VA. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

Kos has a big post up supporting Webb. Shwing!

reader_iam said...

b.d.c.: I think you missed a few there. You might want to go back and check. You wouldn't want, you know, to be misunderstood.

reader_iam said...

Geoduck2:

Yeah, Webb's bid is interesting, isn't it?

In ways not just confined to this, the midterms are shaping up in ways to promise quite the narrative. And the denouement? Stay tuned ...

vh: pvfuyy

"Flatulent phooey to scatalogical key board play."

Garble said...

The really strange thing is that there were several hundred comments on KOS and none of them seemed to be about this. There was one comment that referenced Althouse. Plenty of rage, little focus. In a way it reminds me of a star trek convention. Lots of vitriol for what? I do like Armando's responses though. And I think he's been exceedingly civil on Ann's blog. I want to read more of his writing. Read more of his writing.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe I just see what I want to see but, regardless, elections aren't won by being angry.

This is so true for me. I will not vote for an angry person. Indeed, one of the reasons I was SO delighted that Russ Feingold beat Mark Neumann two senate cycles ago was that Mr. Neumann came across to me as so very very angry. (I still have the Kovalic scooby-inspired cartoon on that race result somewhere).

George Bush, say what you want about him, does not come across as angry (Cheney does, though). To me at least. That doesn't mean I'd vote for him, but I won't NOT vote for him out of hand.

Of course, I've given all of $25 to a political candidate in my 40+ years of life (to Mayor Dave way back when). Rude republicans and demon democrats won't care what I think.

Jacques Cuze said...

Wah! Kosians didn't click on me, they are bad bad people! I am going to draw all sorts of conclusions about them! Wahhh!

* The lower the stickiness of a blog, the higher the relative traffic value of a link from that blog to the blog being linked. In other words, a blog where there isn't much to do besides visit (no comments, few or no special pages, short articles), will cause a higher percentage of its traffic base to visit a blog that it links than will a blog with high stickiness (diaries, long articles, polls, comments, arguments, many special pages, etc).

* High traffic right-wing blogs, such as Andrew Sullivan, Hugh Hewitt, Real Clear Politics, Powerline and especially Instapundit (among the top seven right-wing blogs, only Captain's Quarters and Little Green Footballs have comments), tend to be less sticky than high traffic left wing blogs. Among the top seven left-wing blogs in terms of traffic, Dailykos, Atrios, Political Animal, Wonkette, Smirking Chimp, Political Wire and Talking Points Memo, four of the seven have comments, and Dailykos, twice as trafficked as any other blog according to some measurements, is perhaps the stickiest blog of them all. In fact Dailykos is so sticky, I can tell you right now without equivocation that being linked by in a post by Atrios does a lot more for MyDD's traffic than being linked on a front-page story by Dailykos, despite the enormous traffic gap between the two sites. (The two huge spikes in the link were on days when Atrios linked us,. By contrast, we were linked five times on front page Dailykos articles over the last month, but you can't tell what days those are, can you? Further, as I write this, we are experiencing a third major upsurge in traffic, once again courtesy of Atrios).

* The lower stickiness of top right-wing sites, especially Instapundit, can lead to a complete domination of the right-wing blogosphere by the "one big story" if the top bloggers are all pushing one story. Glenn Reynolds in particular, who does not have comments or special pages and who rarely comments on a subject beyond "xxx has the goods on this one," or "indeed," can send the traffic of any blog he links skyrocketing to a degree no left-wing blog can even come close to matching (and he links other blogs a lot). Right-wing blog traffic, and the articles people tend to read on any individual right-wing blog, has a remarkable correlation to the interests of the top-right wing bloggers, and Glenn Reynolds in particular. That is why, in the title of this article, I called the right-wing blogosphere a top-down operation.

To make a long story short, the lower stickiness of top right-wing blogs compared to top left-wing blogs leads to greater message consistency in their half of the political blogosphere than in ours (I can show anyone extensive site meter statistics to prove this). This consistency helps stories from the right-wing blogosphere reach the national media more often than those from the left-wing blogosphere. This seems to mirror the left and the right in other mediums as well.

Jacques Cuze said...

Ann,

I would like to introduce your blogroll as Exhibit A. I quickly analyzed your blogroll by comparing it to The Truth Laid Bear top 100 blogs by traffic.

Now blogrolls tend to not be updated with great frequency. Regardless, they are supposed to represent blogs that teh blogger reads.

Your blogroll, reveals that you do not have a terribly diverse, or terribly moderate, or terribly representative group of blogs.

I classified the blogs on your blogroll and the blogs in the TTLB system as red, blue, or I can't tell. I took almost no time on each blog, if I had never visited it, I just chucked it out. Some of my measurements could very easily be in error, both type 1 as type 2.

On your blogroll then....

Easily Identifiable Blue Blogs: 2
TalkingPointsMemo
Wonkette

Easily Identifiable Blue Blogs:Red Blogs: 21
AmbivaBlog
Asymmetrical Information
Betsy's Page
Conservative Brotherhood
Daniel W. Drezner
Dynamist
Instapundit
Kausfiles
La Shawn Barber
Memeorandum
Michael J. Totten
PoliBlog
Right Reason
Right Wing News
Sissy Willis
Stephen Bainbridge
The Anchoress
The Plank
The Truth Laid Bear
Vodkapundit
Volokh Conspiracy

Political Blog on Blog Roll That Neither Side Wants
Andrew Sullivan (Is he pro-bush, or anti-torture? no one knows!)

You also apparently do not visit many blogs from the TTLB 100, you only blogroll 4 of the TTLB 100 blogs:

Blogs on Blogroll from TTLB Top 100: 4
1 Red, 1 Blue, 1 that cannot be told
10) Instapundit.com 145989 visits/day (2)
23) Wonkette, Politics for People with Dirty Minds 65520 visits/day (34)
25) Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish 59646 visits/day (14)
49) The Volokh Conspiracy - - 28695 visits/day (11)

There are 51 easily identifiable blogs on the TTLB 100 that you do not blogroll:

TTLB Top 100 Easily Identifiable Political Blogs Missing from Your Blogroll:
2) Daily Kos :: Diaries 685115 visits/day (50599)
3) Daily Kos: State of the Nation 651303 visits/day (4)
6) Michelle Malkin 289647 visits/day (1)
12) Eschaton 131736 visits/day (12)
14) Crooks and Liars 110247 visits/day (23)
16) lgf: skiing through the revolving door of life 106394 visits/day (6)
17) Common Dreams | News & Views 105774 visits/day (53)
19) AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth 96187 visits/day (484)
20) AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth 96187 visits/day (49)
21) Power Line 90163 visits/day (5)
26) firedoglake 53646 visits/day (72)
27) The Washington Monthly 47136 visits/day (19)
41) Hugh Hewitt 41020 visits/day (9)
44) MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics 35351 visits/day (71)
45) The Smirking Chimp 34865 visits/day (676)
46) Captain's Quarters 32136 visits/day (7)
47) Blogcritics.org: Blogging - A Paradigm Shift of How We Disseminate and Communicate 31804 visits/day (37370)
48) Blogcritics.org: Superior Bloggers on Music, Politics, TV, Film, Books, Sports, Gaming, Science, Tec 31715 visits/day (136)
50) Hullabaloo 27067 visits/day (45)
51) Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons 26382 visits/day (27)
52) RedState - Conservative News and Community 26071 visits/day (94)
53) RedState - Conservative News and Community 26071 visits/day (30228)
54) RedState - Conservative News and Community 26071 visits/day (44778)
56) RedState.org 23665 visits/day (11034)
57) PoliPundit.com 22725 visits/day (73)
58) Treehugger 19824 visits/day (468)
59) Pharyngula 19596 visits/day (121)
60) TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime 19413 visits/day (60)
61) Drudge Retort: Red Meat for Yellow Dogs 19366 visits/day (3940)
62) Taegan Goddard's Political Wire 18195 visits/day (214)
63) Jesus' General 17611 visits/day (88)
64) onegoodmove 16070 visits/day (617)
65) Rathergate.com 15700 visits/day (5086)
66) Xiaxue.blogspot.com - Everyone's reading it. 15514 visits/day (5271)
69) Wizbang: Explosively Unique... 14719 visits/day (22)
70) WizbangTech 14719 visits/day (12625)
71) Wizbang Bomb Squad 14719 visits/day (3923)
73) Expose the Left 14588 visits/day (100)
79) Gateway Pundit 13418 visits/day (122)
80) Riehl World View 13155 visits/day (230)
81) andrewcoyne.com 12789 visits/day (327)
84) Ace of Spades HQ 12538 visits/day (50)
85) The Jawa Report v3.0 Beta 12152 visits/day (29)
86) This Modern World 12135 visits/day (123)
87) Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald 11541 visits/day (143)
88) Pandagon 11210 visits/day (51)
89) Belmont Club 11106 visits/day (241)
91) TBogg 10752 visits/day (183)
94) The Counterterrorism Blog 10494 visits/day (82)
95) http://iraqthemodel.com/ 10075 visits/day (41)
96) Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views) 9729 visits/day (33)

Ann, as measured by your blogroll, your view of who is left or right, or who is moderate, or extreme, or what the nation wants appears to be highly skewed.

Your claim that red bloggers blog you to agree with you and that blue bloggers blog you to disagree with you appears to correlate highly with your choice of blogs that you read.

vbspurs said...

Maybe I seem to be one of the "good" ones because I'm not one.

Don't ever quote me again, here or anywhere, you obsessed, noxious, and humourless little person.

Jacques Cuze said...

About 3 to 9 months ago, if I recall, you wrote to Kevin Drum to ask
him to link to you. You didn't bother to blogroll Kevin, but he has a
good character, and he has taken to reading you.

How liberals link to you:

Search for Althouse in Kevin Drum's posts
Five links. Apparently, Kevin reads you, follows your links, and discusses your topics.

Five links

Apple Woes
5 Aug 2005 by Kevin Drum
Via Ann Althouse, the Washington Post answers a question today that's been on
my mind for a while: why do Red Delicious apples taste so lousy these days?
I could swear they used to taste better in my childhood,...
Political Animal - http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ - References

Our Booming Economy
30 Nov 2005 by Kevin Drum
Ann Althouse takes the New York Times to task for suggesting that there might be
a gray lining to today's news of healthy economic growth. Her commenters heartily
agree. The droopy old Times is just trying to bring...
Political Animal - http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ - References

The M&M Test
6 Oct 2005 by Kevin Drum
Ann Althouse on Harriet Miers:I have yet to see a single piece of writing by Harriet
Miers dealing with an issue of constitutional law or even anything purporting to
demonstrate the analytical, interpretive skills required to serve on. ...
Political Animal - http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ - References

Introverts and Extroverts
6 Nov 2005 by Kevin Drum
Ann Althouse informs us that the most emailed article at The Atlantic's website
this week was Jonathan Rauch's "Caring for Your Introvert," written two years ago.
The title is a bit of a misnomer, though, since Rauch's advice,...
Political Animal - http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ - References

Earning Your TV Time
18 May 2005 by Kevin Drum
Via Ann Althouse, here's a fascinating free market solution to the problem of
child obesity: a new kind of shoe.The shoe ? dubbed Square-eyes ? has a unique
insole that records the amount of exercise a child...
Political Animal - http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/ - References


How you link to liberals:

Three Links to Kevin, One of which is thanking him for listing you, one of
which came via Sully, and only one of which really discusses a
non-blogger issue.


"Several non-liberal blogs that I read daily or almost daily."
26 Dec 2005 by Ann Althouse
Thanks to Kevin Drum for putting me on this list: I periodically get email asking
me for a list of good conservative blogs. In fact, I got another one just yesterday.
Around these parts, we consider "good" and "conservative" to be ...
Althouse - http://althouse.blogspot.com - References

"The reason I'm mad as hell over Katrina is precisely because I'ma ...
2 Sep 2005 by Ann Althouse
Andrew Sullivan writes: Kevin Drum wants to say that the difference between
conservatives and liberals is that liberals believe in funding organizations like
FEMA or the Corps of Engineers and conservatives don't. Nuh-huh. ...
Althouse - http://althouse.blogspot.com - References

WaPo on HuffPo and some blogging advice.
18 May 2005 by Ann Althouse
Kurtz also quotes Kevin Drum:. "I guess I don't get it...250 contributors? And 65
posts on the first day? (83% by men, BTW, just to toss another match on the whole
women-in-blogging thing.) Is anyone really going to plow through all ...
Althouse - http://althouse.blogspot.com - References

Cites to Kos: 16
Cites to Atrios: 3
Cites to Kevin Drum: 3
Cites to Talkleft: 2
Cites to Matthew Yglesias: none
Cites to Joshua Michah Marshall: none
Cites to digby: none
Cites to tbogg: none
Cites to firedoglake: none
Cites to Americablog: none
Cites to patriotboy: none

Again, your behavior indicates that you ask for things from liberals
but that you do not reciprocate. It also indicates that you do read
many of the top liberal blogs.

How is this moderate behavior?

Jacques Cuze said...

You say that liberals are mean to you. You say that you want liberals to engage with you. You say that liberals should reach out to you. You say that you are a moderate.

You say a lot of things, Ann. But simple observation proves otherwise. You talk the talk, but you do not walk the walk.

Have a goodnight.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Quxxo,

You do love to go on about Bush's low vote count.

Are you aware that only one Democratic Presidential candidate in the last 60 years has won more than 51% of the popular vote?

Since you seem to love statistics so, I thought you'd find interesting.

I'm sure you'll put Bush's vote count in proper historical context the next time you mention it.

The Cranky Insomniac said...

Armando HAS been very civil on this thread. I don't generally find him to be so at kos. But I'll be honest: I rarely, if ever, head that way, for the same reason I don't go to powerline, malkin or atrios. There are bloggers whose political views don't blind them to reality, and there are those whose do.

Look, maybe I'm in a weird position: I hate the attitude and editorial stance of the NYTimes and the LATimes, but at the same time you couldn't pay me to watch a blowhard like O'Reilly and I don't think I could make it through Hannity and Colmes without wanting to take my own life. And there are blogs that make me feel the same way, on both the right and the left. I'd like to think there are a lot of people who agree with me, but everyone claims that the silent majority is on their side, so I won't.

I know I don't want to hear any more about how Bush let people die in New Orleans because they're black. I know I don't want to hear any more about how Kerry didn't earn his medals in Viet Nam. Etc., Etc., Etc.

Semanticleo said...

quxxo;

Animus opibusque parati.

Ann Althouse said...

Re the blogroll: There are plenty of big right wing blogs that aren't on the blogroll.

Semanticleo said...

"Dispatches from the fever swamp"

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2006_02_12_digbysblog_archive.html#113986005585564417

Elizabeth said...

I'm confused, David. I shop at Whole Paycheck, when I can afford it; I shop at Wal-Mart and Sam's more often, and love pretty much every redneck sport, including NASCAR. I am a gun owning lesbian who drives American cars--nothing under 6 cylinders, thanks--and subscribes to the New Yorker and Wired. I don't have a cookie-cutter identity, so I can't figure out how my politics should work under your "we hate Bush because that's what the cool kids do" formula. I must have it all wrong; I oppose him on principles, effectiveness, and policies. Huh.

My Whole Foods is in the only Republican majority district of my city. All the Land Rovers and Beemers in the parking lot with W stickers throw a wrench into the works, too. It sucks when people don't fit into simple little categories.

Do you have a nifty little formula for the "we love Bush because that's what patriotic Americans do" crowd over at Wal-Mart? Or is this identity-politics theory only for "progressives"?

reader_iam said...

Regarding Quxxo's interesting classification:

You identify Ambivaglog as red.

As red??

OK, that says it all.

I thought, Quxxo, that a lot of your stuff was just for posture and for effect. Which is why I bothered to bait you back.

Now I know that you either are either completely inable to make fine distinctions or actually believe, as a philosophical stance, that it's preferable to avoid doing so.

....

Jacques Cuze said...

It also indicates that you do read
many of the top liberal blogs.

How is this moderate behavior?


Whoops, that should be:

It also indicates that you do NOT read
many of the top liberal blogs.

How is this moderate behavior?

Sorry for any confusion.

(shorter vbspurs: I want my mommy!)

Jacques Cuze said...

Regarding Quxxo's interesting classification:

You identify Ambivaglog as red.

As red??

OK, that says it all.

I thought, Quxxo, that a lot of your stuff was just for posture and for effect. Which is why I bothered to bait you back.

Now I know that you either are either completely inable to make fine distinctions or actually believe, as a philosophical stance, that it's preferable to avoid doing so.


I am sorry Puppy Chow, but you are a disingenous idiot.

I said I ranked them all very very quickly and that it was quite likely I had let type I and type II errors in.

But yeah, I have no doubts that ambivaGlog is a red blog. Oh, you made an innocent typo? Well let's flush the rest of your argument down the toilet too.

But as for ambivablog, looking again at her site, I realize I have no clue as to what she is. Her blogroll says conservative. Her posts say Jewish. Beats me, I was mistaken to think that I had been there before. So you're right puppy chow, my numbers were all off:

Corrected numbers (a sincere thanks to puppy chow for the catch)

Easily Identifiable Blue Blogs: 2

Easily Identifiable Blue Blogs:Red Blogs: 20

Jacques Cuze said...

Which is why I bothered to bait you back.

Ha Ha! Puppy Chow admits she is a troll!

Elizabeth said...

reader_iam,

You took the time to READ Q's post? You are so well-intentioned, and I am in awe.

Ernst Blofeld said...

Re "stickiness", I think the tendency of the right-blogosphere to send links rather than keep them at their own site promotes a less echo-y chamber mentality. There's a significant amount of distance between Glenn, Volokh Consipirators, Althouse, Lileks, etc, and the cross-links promote a conversation from multiple points of view. That causes at least a partial difference in the tone between the left and right blogosphere, since the RB is engaged in a discussion of equals with differing views.

James Webb has always been a Democrat, despite the brief turn in the Reagan administration as SecNav. But I don't think the Kossites will like him much if elected. He's a populist, in the old Southern Democrat big-public-works-projects way, and with a strong martial streak, to say the least. As I recall one of his 80's novels put forward the idea of mining Japanese oil tankers in a not entirely unfavorable light. The closest political analog would probably be a 1950's-1960's Southern Democrat (minus the Jim Crow, of course). He despises the McGovernites. See for example http://www.jameswebb.com/articles/variouspubs/aeiprotestorswant.htm .

Craig Ranapia said...

quxxo:

Just to save time, do any of your lengthy screeds contain anything approximately in the vicinity of a point? Apart from snide bitchiness directed at Professor Althouse, buried under pseudo-statistical sludge that is...

Now that's another distinguishing feature of the echo chambers of both the loony left and the rabid right: politics as a religious cult complete with elaborate doctrines, law on comprehensible to the elect, and (best of all) brimstone-scented anathema for heretics.

Semanticleo said...

craig;

obliged for the fact-filled comment
devoid of any psuedoism.

Let me ask you:

Do the echo chambers of both the
looney left and the rabid right
require a tepid and passionless
middle to balance the equation?

jimcaserta said...

I inherited my Republican voter registration and have maintained it to help decide Republican primaries. However, as I've gotten older, I've found myself becoming more and more a bleeding-heart, flaming liberal. With that, the people I'm most disappointed with are the Democratic party and John Kerry. If Bush is so bad and incompetent, how come Kerry couldn't beat him? By comparison, Kerry is the incompetent one, as evidenced by his call from Switzerland for a filibuster, and conflicting - in the wrong direction - votes on Gulf War I and Gulf War II. And he almost won!

It's easy to sit back and blame Bush for everything, but hard to look at yourself and see what you could have done differently, and what you can do going forward to enact the change you want. But we're all in this together, and endless bickering gets nothing done.

Even though I'm liberal, I read Instapundit (and Althouse, among others) because they are witty and easy to read, and avoid most hard-core liberal blogs because they abrasive, impossible to follow, and I feel like I've learned nothing after reading a 1000 word post.

Ann Althouse said...

Semanticle: "a tepid and passionless middle"

You think that extremism is needed for excitement and that those of us with moderate views are not passionate about it? I feel sorry for you if your senses are so dull, and I feel sorry for the world that there are so many people in it who don't value moderation.

Ann Althouse said...

Semanticleo: "a tepid and passionless middle"

You can see the dullness of Semanticleo's senses that he writes like that: tepid and passionless -- as distinguished from all those people who are passionate but tepid and those who are passionless but not tepid. Even you boring assumptions are weighed down with redundancy.

Jacques Cuze said...

First found on a tombstone in a Cornish graveyard : "All things in moderation and moderation in all things, including moderation. I think I overdid the moderation."

or

"Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” Oscar Wilde

But the truth is Ann, that you are not a moderate and you do not share the views of the American middle. At best you are center right.

Jacques Cuze said...

I do understand how blogrolls become out of date.... If you can afford the time, please do update your blogroll, I am sure we are all interested to find out what a moderate reads.

Pogo said...

For quxxo and other harpies of the MoveOn crowd, anything starboard to Chomsky is fascism. For them, "moderate" is Howard Dean.

Verification Word xxoid: A follower of quxxo; also a skin irritant

TidalPoet said...

Geo, I won't belabor the point beyond what you've already stated. The New York Times may not have a large readership in relation to the country, but news agencies around the country (such as the local papers and TV Affilliates) take their queu's from it. Anyone in the business knows this to be true.

Beyond that, ABC/NBC/CBS do indeed have a large viewership.

paulfrommpls said...

Quxxo -

Serious question: do you honestly hope to affect the thinking of people here?

Because if so, I have some serious advice.

Semanticleo said...

Ann;

First let me say thanks for coming out to play.

I was not attacking you in my reference to a 'passionless or
tepid' middle. Wasn't it just
yesterday that you responded to
Armando by saying you were more
the attacked, than the attacker.

If you interpret my words as having
some relevence to yourself that is
regrettable. It takes passion to
maintain a webblog.

And just for the record; If I say
the black dog is a female, it is
not logical to conclude that I
believe all black dogs are female.

http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/middle_fall.html

Now as for the substance of what I
said; if a little anger about the
current leadership is missing in
your quiver of arrows, then I would
say you're not really paying attention.

Does that describe Ann?

Extremism is not a requisite for
passion, but acquiescence and
passivity is a requisite for
appeasement. If you are not experiencing more heat emanating
from the behavior of republican
leaders, rather than from the
two-left footed democratic party,
it may not be a shortage of passion.

It may be, you are truly a conservative. (of course, now I am
talking 'you' in the editorial sense.

Rather than attack my prose and
repetitive points with derision,
it would be helpful if you respoded
to the substance of my thoughts.

Thanks for commenting.

Craig Ranapia said...

Semanticleo wrote:
Do the echo chambers of both the
looney left and the rabid right
require a tepid and passionless
middle to balance the equation?

I reply:
If "passion" means the left-wing of the moonbat heaping obscene abuse on Samuel Alito's wife, while the right-wing yucks it up when Ann Coulter "jokes" about poisoning Justice Stevens then (to paraphrase James Thurber) I say to hell with it. That simple.

While I disagree with Professor Althouse on all manner of things (some of which has drawn exquisitely civil return fire), "passionless" and "tepid' aren't two adjectives I'd choose to apply to her.

Scott W. Somerville said...

As an Evangelical Christian who was simply horrified by Clinton's sexual activities in the White House, I can sympathize deeply with the Kossacks. We were outraged back then, and simply couldn't imagine an America where a majority of citizens didn't rise up and cleanse OUR White House of this evil.

But it didn't happen.

Instead, poll after poll showed Clinton's approval ratings around 66%.

It VERY slowly dawned on me that rage wasn't enough. I turned into a sadder but wiser conservative. I grew in humility--and possibly a little bit in wisdom.

I don't know if the Kossacks have reached that teachable moment yet.

Sloanasaurus said...

I have to agree with Elizabeth - it is hard to put liberals and conservatives into neat little packages. However, I think that Daily Kos is appealing to many liberals because of the ease in belonging to the club. It does not take much effort or intelligence to spew hatred. It takes a lot more work to make a rational argument. This is, of course, history's never-ending battle between the forces of reaction and the forces of reason. Kos is part of the forces of reaction and the populists will go there when they need mob support.

I don't think, however, that all liberals operate on pure emotion. Certainly there are some on this board (such as Elizabeth) who try to make logical arguments for liberal position. In the end only liberals who attempt to make rational arguments will be successful because it is the logical arguments that sway the pragmatic middle (people like Althouse) into voting for them.

Currently, in this country, conservatives have the grip on pragmatism, which is why they are winning elections and why people like Althouse are voting for them. The NSA story is a perfect example of this debate. Sure, it could be argued that bush operated illegally when spying on Al Qaeda operatives in the United States. That line of argument, however, is not the pragmatic reasonable argument, this especially understandable when you hear democrats say thing like, “we are glad Bush is spying on Al Qaeda, but……”

I don’t see it changing anytime in the future. Despite the valiant attempts from the Elizabeth’s of the world there are virtually no liberal pragmatic ideas. Liberalism is spent. All the current pragmatic ideas reside on how to reduce the negative effects of 20th century liberalism. No one is arguing that increasing government power is better for the country. The battle is now between maintaining the status quo (liberals) and reducing liberalism. This is why you don’t hear about ideas from liberals, all you hear is “Bush is taking money from the poor,” or “Bush hates blacks..” these are not ideas, they are emotions.

Semanticleo said...

"While I disagree with Professor Althouse on all manner of things "

Craig;

In all seriousness, what would those
things be?

tjl said...

I'd like to add my agreement to Elizabeth's comment. Fortunately, few of us are pure ideologues. Most of us are bundles of contradiction. In my case, I consider myself liberal on many social issues, conservative on most fiscal ones, and strongly believe that the nation should be defended. Therefore, I find much to dislike about both political parties. However, we do not have a multi-party parliamentary system in this country. It would be self-defeating to give my vote only to that rare politician who shares every nuance of my political thought.
Since we must pick and choose, and the choices available are not always comfortable ones, reasoned argument is far more likely to get my vote than shrill invective or ad hominem attacks.

Phila said...

Interesting discussion. I'm not a Democrat, personally, and I decided some time ago that the political divide in this country was not between Right and Left, but between people who care when the president lies and people who don't.

I wasn't a fan of Clinton, and had serious problems with a number of his decisions while in office; it invariably bothered me when he said things that weren't true.

I think it's fair to say that George W. Bush has been at least as dishonest as Clinton, and a good deal more incompetent (cf. his recent abysmal rating on national security from the 9/11 Commission). I fail to see how one can be politically honest or politically astute without acknowledging the Bush administration's organizational and ethical failings. When I see "conservatives" give Bush get a pass for reckless, unethical behavior that would've earned Clinton firestorms of abuse - or worse - I can't take them seriously; it seems to me to be, as Glenn Greenwald called it, a cult of personality.

I see Bush loyalists as people who admire in Bush what they'd hate in a Democratic president. That sort of double standard is irrational and dangerous, and it does indeed make me angry; I don't see any reason why it shouldn't. And while some folks on the Right may sincerely have no idea how anyone could legitimately be angry at the Bush, many others complain about this "anger" simply because they think it'll marginalize the opposition.

I respect people when they have a reasonably consistent standard for ethics. And by "consistent," I don't mean "standing by the ____ party come hell or high water." I mean having the same standard for the behavior of friends and opponents. If the Right could manage this, it might not earn my agreement, but it'd at least earn my respect. I'm not holding my breath, though.