April 15, 2006

Angry Lefties, online.

WaPo has a big article on the web's lefty ranters, but it's mostly a cutesy profile of Maryscott O'Connor, of My Left Wing. Here's the most substantive passage:
What's notable about this isn't only the level of anger but the direction from which it is coming. Not that long ago, it was the right that was angry and the left that was, at least comparatively, polite. But after years of being the targets of inflammatory rhetoric, not only from fringe groups but also from such mainstream conservative politicians as Newt Gingrich, the left has gone on the attack. And with Republicans in control of Washington, they have much more to be angry about.

"Powerlessness" is O'Connor's explanation. "This is born of powerlessness."

To what, effect, though? Do the hundreds of thousands of daily visitors to Daily Kos, who sign their comments with phrases such as "Anger is energy," accomplish anything other than talking among themselves? The founder of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas, may have a wide enough reputation at this point to consult regularly with Democrats on Capitol Hill, but what about the heart and soul of Daily Kos, the other visitors, whose presence extends no further than what they read and write on the site?
Actually, I have to admit that I blog for self-expression, not with any expectation of affecting anything. In fact, I strongly favor blogging for the sake of blogging and mistrust bloggers who are tapping the medium because they have a goal that they want to accomplish. I have to think that the monumental talkfest that is blogdom has got to be having some effect. But I quite love the fact that the effect is far beyond the control of the individuals who take up blogging because they want to make something specific happen.

106 comments:

James R Ament said...

I say on my blog: "I am not pursuing fame, fortune, journalistic credentials, or high status among the anointed. I am seeking, and occasionally finding, clarity from my reading, writing and practiced living." Yep - It's about "self-expression" and I enjoy reading yours.

chrisburp said...

Lefties were comparatively "polite"...and just sick of being a "target" of the right? Did I miss the time they were "polite"? I mean I'm only 41 years old...was it before my time?

bill said...

I mostly agree with Ann's reasons for blogging and I blog for serendipitous moments like this (and wonder how I got by before the internet).

I'm reading the post and "Anger is energy" gets stuck in my head. I continue reading while also thinking "I know this from somewhere." Type type type; click click click. That's it!

John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten) singing in PiL (Public Image Limited). Song is Rise:
I could be wrong
I could be right
I could be wrong

I could be wrong
I could be right
I could be black
I could be white
I could be right
I could be wrong
I could be white
I could be black

Your time has come
Your second skin
The cost so high
The gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you

I could be wrong
I could be right
I could be wrong
I could be right

II could be wrong
I could be right
I could be wrong
I could be right
could be black
I could be white
I could be right
I could be wrong
I could be black
I could be white
They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
They made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way

May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think self-expression is probably the reason most people blog, even if they say they want to change the world through their blog posts.

I think blogging can have a huge impact on real-life politics but I agree with Prof. Althouse that its hard to discern the exact effect and much harder to actively make a real life change through blogging (though not at all impossible). Its kind of like that butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the world...

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hovsep said...

Chris & Sippican, I don't think its fair to say anger or politeness is exclusive to or predominantly a feature of conservatives or liberals.

First, public expression of anger at what is perceived as wrongful government action is healthy. If only more people had stood up sooner and loudly expressed their anger at Hitler or Stalin, millions of lives might have been saved or made better.

Second, fire and brimstone conservatives are famous for their use of anger to mobilize their followers. Liberals use anger, conservatives use anger. Both can be impolite and polite, depending on the circumstances.

Third, bank robbery is no more an example of liberalism than killing abortion doctors is an example of conservatism.

Goatwhacker said...

Do the hundreds of thousands of daily visitors to Daily Kos, who sign their comments with phrases such as "Anger is energy," accomplish anything other than talking among themselves?

Yes they do, namely alienating me from their positions and taking them less seriously. I could say the same for far-right blogs.

On the other hand I would says thoughtful blogs that are done well have the potential to sway my opinion or at least better understand an alternative position.

Gaius Arbo said...

I blogged about this one, too. It's actually quite sad to go through life that bitter and angry.

I have no illusions that my blogging will change the world.

Aspasia M. said...

What Joe said in his 10:04 post.

I agree.

Joan said...

I'm 42, and I can't recall a time when Republicans or conservatives routinely used profanity in their castigations of their political opponents. Anger, sure. Dire predictions, sure -- the whole fire & brimstone schtick. But the swearing has not been equal opportunity.

I don't think the profile is cutesy at all. I think it's sad. I feel very bad for the poor 6-year-old. What is he learning about political discourse from his mother? Everything in that article points up the fact that all these screamers are cases of arrested development. Very few of them can make a case without using profanity. What about Bill, the guy who went to the trouble of listing 26 alphabetically ordered insulting adjectives to describe the president? I'm sure he thought he was very clever, and I bet he's thrilled to be quoted in the WaPo. In reality, he has just revealed himself to be a perpetual adolescent.

They write this stuff and feel better about themselves, but why? What have they really accomplished? "A Rant With Results"? What results, 200 replies on a profanity-filled diatribe? Does anything concrete ever come of this, say, in election results? So far: no. (To be fair, they've had success in fundraising, but that hasn't translated into a single victory at the ballot box.)

They're all candidates for therapy.

A final tiny nitpick: the punctuation here,To what, effect, though? What editor let that first comma through? It makes no sense.

paulfrommpls said...

Re: the "anger" of the right that's constantly referred to as the ur-source of today's general anger and the left anger in particular:

1. Who they're pointing to are the politicians and some media figures, like Limbaugh. There was no phenomenon that I'm aware of an enraged, vulgar Republican rabble. An enraged vulgar rabble is a new one, and the left can rightly claim credit for its spontaneous creation.

1a. I suppose the callers and listeners to the Limabush-style shows might qualify. I didn't listen then though; and frankly I would be surprised if the conversation rose to the dishonest and vulgar levels of the Kos world. It doesn't today, at least when I listen to Hewitt, Prager, and a few others. People can be mad. They can be astonished. They're not overwhelmingly dishonest or vulgar. (A tip: try to get people listening to Dennis Prager. If you don't find him basically reasonable, you're out there beyond reason.)

2. While there are scattered righty-type sites that can be labeled occasionally enraged and vuglar, they're also not to the perfected and constant level of Kos or Atrios. And more importantly, those kinds of sites do not define or at least dominate the conservative blog world, as they do the left.

3. When I bring this up with friends, one defense is always: well, that's the fringe, like (and I heard this just the other day) the white supremacists on the right or something. Well if so then I'm even more disturbed at the frantic courting that goes on by Democrats, what with their "diaries" at Kos and what-not.

4. The Kos-style vulgarians are the only emotional and intellectual (or whatever) muscle on the left these days.

Aspasia M. said...

Yeah, Ann Coulter is so civil.

So who is Ann Coulter's equivalent on the left? What "lefty" says the kind of things she says about SCOTUS justices and still gets invited on major TV news shows as pundits?

That MUST be why she get's invited to speak at Republican events.

She's the model speaker for the Young Republicans?

paulfrommpls said...

For me, the main role of the conservative blog world has been to present and sort through the basics and details of a non-lefty view of the world, a view which in both aspects (basics and details) has long been disappearing from most institutions that define "morality" in politics: like schools, colleges, most print media.

So it's been energizing to discover and help (in a tiny way) define this alternate world view.

What I find funny about left places like Kos and their fans is that they are the new stupid/stuck status quo, just like our image of conservatives in the 1950's. I don't know what's gonna happen when that finally begins to occur to them. It may never happen, of course. They're highly resistant. By definition they are truth-seeking open-minded moralists. That's just reality.

KnightErrant said...

Like you, Ann, I blog for me. It's like posting the pages from my daily journal on the corner telephone pole. Though I may prattle on about matters politics from my decidedly neo-pinko philosophy, it's just for me. If no one else reads it, I am just as happy.

Anger is not a lefties only thing, try reading RedState. People write because they care about something. For far too many people, the only emotion they can really feel is anger.

I prefer the old-fashioned philosophy, "We can disagree without being disagreeable." But, the disagreeing part can be a lot of fun.

Aspasia M. said...

Jill Carroll.

LGF comments. The height of civility.

Ann Althouse said...

As someone who's been personally attacked by commenters at both Eschaton and Little Green Footballs, I can say the LGF people were nastier.

Johnny Nucleo said...

SippicanCottage said: "What's a mob in the street for, in a representative democracy?"

You know, I never thought of that. If not intimidation, then what? Anyone have an answer?

Peaceful protesters are not exactly mobs, but what is their purpose? To sway voters? Do they think people will see the protest and think, "Wow, a lot of people believe this so maybe I should, too"? Or is there an implicit threat in any protest. "Look at our numbers. Do as we say, or else."

Of course, I'm not in favor of restricting peaceful assembly. And protesters are often on the side of good. But it's undeniable that the threat of violence can get things done.

paulfrommpls said...

Ann Coulter crosses the line at times. If you share her basic perspective, she can be very funny; and some of the things the left sees as crossing the line aren't really if you share her perspective and can appreciate the overstatement and hyperbole. But she does go too far. When she truly crosses the line is usually when she's not funny. She's weird.

Our political world is knee-deep and the water's rising in examples of commentators and politicians on the left accusing specific conservatives and conservatives in general of being evil or dishonest or stupid or fascist. The blog world is full of the vilest suggestions; and I have no doubt that it would be possible to find things famous lefties have said that at least approach Ann C's worst offenses. They wouldn't strike you that way because of course they're all based on holy truth.

AJ Lynch said...

Anne:

I agree with you. Blogging = self expression and it (godd and bad) gets memorialized on the blog for you.

The piece on O'Connor should have probed more on her work background and what her friends and family think of her spending (wasting) so much time ranting.

btw, I am always amused at your critics. They all seem to believe you should be some lefty lib and you have betrayed them.

paulfrommpls said...

Ann: Take a day and propose rational alternatives in the discussion at Kos or Atrios and see what happens.

And of course at DU disagreeing commenters are banned; last time I looked anyway that was still true.

Anyway, as I said, the presence of angry/vulgar conservative sites is granted. It's the dominance of that style on the left side - and its energizing role in left politics - that seems like the distinction to me.

Aspasia M. said...

The blog world is full of the vilest suggestions; and I have no doubt that it would be possible to find things famous lefties have said that at least approach Ann C's worst offenses.

What surprises me about Ann Coulter is her platform. She's on TV regularly. She's invited to speak at the Young Republicans conference. Editors publish her books.

I can't think of a leftist who have said the things she's said that would be given that platform. (SCOTUS, ect.)
-----

The discussion of public protests and riots are interesting. There's quite a history of public protests in our early Republic.

Ben Franklin's wife once had to hold of a mob with a gun. This was when people in Philly thought that his sentiments were more with Britian then the Americans. His son being a royal governor was one aspect of confusion, at the time. Once Ben F. got back from England, he clarified to the people of Philly where his political sentiments were.

Aspasia M. said...

More on Riots:

Americans got out of control with their riots in the Antebellum period. They were pretty nuts in the 1840s. Protestants and Catholics would fight each other. The fire companies would race each other to a fire, and then engage each other in a fight. There were nativist riots; voting riots; brothel riots; abolitionist riots; the draft riot; and the funniest was the Astor House riot.

The Astor House riot was actually caused by Shakespere. Men in the streets chanted the witches chant from MacBeth. They had to call out the militia to stop that riot.

When people got tired of all the riots, cities began to create professional police forces. Prior to that point, the mayor or governor had to call out the militias to stop riots.

paulfrommpls said...

geoducks-

I see your point there. I just see her as unqiue in general: an actual humorist (and again you'll have to take my word for that, because I'm sure you find her anything but funny; but if you're not allergic to here she's that rare humorist in print who can make you laugh out loud) who's also taken somewhat seriously as a commentator.

In that regard, I suppose Al Franken is similar. He does say things (like on hs show) that strike me as amazingly hateful about the prez and administration, but for the left that just seems okay because, you know, he's right.

It's also similar to Ann C. in that when he gets most strident is when he stops being funny.

paulfrommpls said...

Not to advertise - my blog is only a sporadic thing - but geo, you might be interested in the totally opposite takes on the life of William Sloane Coffin I linked to and quoted yesterday. It relates to the riots topic.

Aspasia M. said...

The Astor House Riot was in NYC.

Richmond had a bread riot during the Civil War.

Bread riots were pretty common when food got too expensive or scarce. It wasn't uncommon for cities to enforce a maximum price for food staples in the early republic and antebellum period.

England also had bread riots.

In American Revolutionary period people in Boston had lots of little riots. The rioters would attack the houses and property of Tories and those politically alligned with Britian.

Aspasia M. said...

but geo, you might be interested in the totally opposite takes on the life of William Sloane Coffin I linked to and quoted yesterday. It relates to the riots topic.

I'll check it out. Thank you for the reference.

For anyone interested in riots and disorder in the Revolutionary period, see Paul A. Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834.

Gilje's book is lovely. The writing is so smooth it's like eating ice cream.

Americans, though, really lost it in the Antebellum period. For that time period, see David Grimsted, American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward Civil War

It's very Gangs of New Yorkesque

The Drill SGT said...

Not that long ago, it was the right that was angry and the left that was, at least comparatively, polite.

That must have been well before my time. I remember being called a "baby killer" on my return from serving my country. My patch of the country had the SLA, SDS, Black Panthers, and Weathermen. Altogether a polite group.

Aspasia M. said...

That must have been well before my time. I remember being called a "baby killer" on my return from serving my country. My patch of the country had the SLA, SDS, Black Panthers, and Weathermen.

When you said "baby killer" I thought you were talking about the people who gather outside of Planned Parenthood clinics and shout "baby killer". Because they're so polite, and all.

Why don't I remember the returning Vietnam vets? hmmmmm. Maybe because that happened before I was born?

Do you have any new examples from, say, the last 20-25 years?

Or we could continue to talk about history: KKK, lynchings, Haymarket, the Wobblies -- lots of interesting stuff.

Gahrie said...

Ann Coulter-isc figures on the left?

How about: Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Paul Begala and James Carville?

And that's just off the top of my head.

Brendan said...

An excerpt from a recent Dennis Prager column:

Here are three questions comparing liberals and conservatives:

1. During the 2004 elections, which car was more likely to be "keyed," i.e., deliberately scratched -- a car with a "John Kerry" bumper sticker in an overwhelmingly conservative area, or a car with a "George W. Bush" sticker in an overwhelmingly liberal area?

2. When speaking at colleges, do right-wing or left-wing speakers need and receive police protection?

3. In a debate between a right-wing and a left-wing speaker before an audience equally divided between left and right, which audience group is more likely to boo and hiss at the speaker with whom it disagrees -- the liberal or the conservative?

Here are the answers:

1. Where I live in liberal Los Angeles, drivers of most vehicles with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers have told me (and I have often seen) that their cars (and mine) were deliberately scratched. When I have asked about the fate of cars with Kerry-Edwards stickers in equally conservative areas in, for example, Orange County or even the Bible Belt, no Democrat has reported such intentional damage to his car. This does not mean it never happens, only that it is far more rare. I would bet a lot of money -- and I am not a gambler -- that cars displaying conservative messages in liberal areas are far more likely to be defaced than cars with liberal messages in conservative areas.

2. When Ann Coulter goes to college campuses, she is accompanied by a bodyguard. And colleges routinely bring in police to protect her and to guard against student violence. No bodyguard or police contingent is necessary for Al Franken. Another leftist, Noam Chomsky, a man who has devoted his life to attacking America, goes from campus to campus without worrying about having so much as a pie thrown at him, something regularly done to conservative David Horowitz.

3. Whenever I have debated representatives of the Left before politically mixed audiences, I have been hissed and booed far more than my opponent was. Others who debate leftists report identical experiences. Why? Because in general, conservative members of the audience are more civil and less angry.

There are a few reasons for this discrepancy. One is that the more left one goes, the more one is likely to encounter people who substitute "social justice" for personal morality. Another is that in the eyes of most leftists, people who oppose their "progressive" views on the environment, the war and taxes are such morally inferior people that they are not owed decent behavior.

But the biggest reason is the most obvious one: Liberals hate conservatives far more than conservatives hate liberals.

knoxgirl said...

Geo: Al Franken, Michael Moore are the big ones that come to mind.

I agree Ann Coulter is extreme, I think she does more harm than good by far.

knoxgirl said...

Oh yeah, Brendan's post reminded me:

Noam Chomsky!

That guy is worshipped.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hovsep said...

I am always amused at your critics. They all seem to believe you should be some lefty lib and you have betrayed them.

I don't think any liberal commenters come to this blog under the impression that Prof. Althouse is a liberal. We all know she is at least nominally in the conservative camp and on some issues very firmly a conservative. We, or at least I, come here because she tends to be civil and interesting and curious about others' opinions on a wide range of things.

The dispute in this comment thread is over whether liberals are and always have been more angry and impolite and even murderous than conservatives (a view expressed by some commenters but not necessarily Prof. Althouse herself). That is not an ideologically conservative opinion. Its partisan. So, I don't think arguing over that here is evidence that we expect Prof. Althouse to be a raging liberal.

I obviously can't speak for the Professor, but it seems to me that she hasn't tried to create an echo chamber of commenters who agree with everything she says, and until she says as much, liberal commenters will continue to express their opinions here.

I feel I need to add a little defense of sites like RedState (which is highly censored to include only comments that agree with the posters) and DailyKos (which is not censored). Those aren't about an openminded volleying back and forth of conservative and liberal ideas. They have an agenda and they attract a certain kind of reader and commenter and they tend therefore to be more aggressive and angry. As a liberal, I like reading the main postings on DailyKos. The comments and diaries hash out liberal priorities and strategies; they don't debate whether liberal ideas are worthwhile. If you go there as a conservative looking to debate the issues, you'll be disappointed. That's not what its for. And seriously, if you go to RedState or any number of similar sites, you will find plenty of venomous angry posts and comments. Their angry rhetoric is not a liberal or conservative thing. Its an echo chamber thing.

Aspasia M. said...

1) I think it's silly to say "civility for me but not for thee."

In other words, it's rather inconsistent to believe that:

"Group A is civil and polite when they yell "baby killers" but Group B is not civil when they yell "baby killers."
---------------

2) What I find more interesting about this story is what it says about the WaPo and it's relationship to bloggers.

The WaPo has been having an on-going foodfight with the "left blogosphere."

Debbie Howell, Bill Brady, the Ben Domonech blog thing, ect.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hovsep said...

I am nonplussed when I hear "if you stood up to Stalin and Hitler" talk referring to the people I see marching around our free country.

I'll give you some ground on that. After I wrote it I realized its weakness as an example. I should have said "If only more people had stood up sooner and loudly expressed their anger at Joe McCarthy's unethical Red Scare tactics or FDR's internment of Americans of Japanese dissent..." My point is that public anger, even in a representative democracy, serves a good purpose and sometimes we need more, not less, of it.

I will also give you some ground on the value of mass demonstrations. I personally think huge marches are a waste of time and resources that could be better spent on real education about your cause. But I think people just like to get together with people who don't like the way things are being run and say so as a group. Its easier for some people to express themselves as part of a group. I don't think marches are inherently bad though.

Honestly, as a 30-year-old political East Coast liberal, I've never heard of Katherine Ann Powers. I'll look her up, but I feel quite strongly if the facts happened as you described them in today's world, liberals and conservatives alike would denounce her. I also 100% reject your contention that she somehow represents liberalism more than the abortion doctor murderer represents conservatives.

CB said...

It's worth noting that Dailykos, the highest-profile liberal blog, also endorses and supports candidates during elections, and has, I believe, a perfect (or at least a near-perfect) record of losses.

paulfrommpls said...

Joe: my position is specifically not that the left side has always been more angry/irrational.

My position is that they've slud (thank you Dizzy Dean) into it gradually over the last few decades and fell into it exuberantly after 9-11 especially over the Iraq war. And that this being arguably the most dangerous time in our country's history - people disagree on that, but I'll defend it - it's a real bad time for the side I grew up thinking was the side of hope to begin acting that way.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Regarding the relative politeness of liberals and conservatives.

A few days ago I had a meeting with a tax consultant, a guy I had never met before. Nice guy, but he didn't hesitate to make known his dislike of the Bush administration. Several Bush-bushing comments during a one-hour meeting.

Isn't it impolite to talk politics with strangers? Didn't that used to be the rule?

A question for liberals out there. Do you find that strangers make known to you their conservative political beliefs out of the blue, without any kind of prompting?

FXKLM said...

The biggest difference I've noticed between extremists on the left and extremists on the right is that the right-wingers are usually able to control themselves and look civil when they're speaking before a mixed audience. Ann Coulter has said some pretty vile things when she was speaking to a right-wing audience, but when she's on mainstream television she seems perfectly sane and pleasant. When Michael Moore gets in front of a mainstream audience, he uses the same over-the-top rhetoric that he uses when speaking to lefties.

It's easy to assemble a list of quotes from left-wing pundits and right-wing pundits that are roughly equal in their extremity. But people who aren't especially involved in politics and just get a brief glimpse of right-wing pundits and left-wing pundits tend to get a better look at the uglier side of left-wing pundits.

Aspasia M. said...

A question for liberals out there. Do you find that strangers make known to you their conservative political beliefs out of the blue, without any kind of prompting?


My husband says that yes, at his jobs he has heard many conservatives share their political opinions freely when they think that their fellow workers agree with them.

In his opinion, this is a human trait shared by people.

====
Honestly, as a 30-year-old political East Coast liberal, I've never heard of Katherine Ann Powers.

Yes. Same here -- I've never heard of her before. (I grew up in the Midwest and on the West Coast.)

Aspasia M. said...

Ann Coulter -

Sane and Pleasant?

To each their own.

somefeller said...

"A question for liberals out there. Do you find that strangers make known to you their conservative political beliefs out of the blue, without any kind of prompting?"

Yes, actually I hear that frequently. I've had more than a few people, including in business settings, sound off about Hillary Clinton or some similar bogeyman without prompting. Part of it may be related to the fact that I live in Texas, but I actually live in a fairly blue part of the state (urban Houston), so that can't be the whole explanation.

One weird thing with me is that for some reason, when I lived in Boston, I had white racist cabbies share their views about blacks, Arabs, etc., with me just out of the blue. This happened to me fairly often actually, which I thought strange, since it wasn't like I walked around Boston wearing a hat with a Confederate Flag on it or something. I realize that is a different issue than the liberal / conservative thing, but I thought it worth mentioning, while we're talking about unsolicited opinions.

Maxine Weiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CB said...

paulfrommlps:
I thought the past participle of "slide" was "sludden." :)

Johnny nucleo:
That is very impolite; I had a law class taught by an outspoken conservative Christian, and in a sort of higher-education bizarro world, was subjected every class period to a lecture on why Christians were obviously right on every political and legal issue--very irritating, even when I happened to agree with him.

Maxine Weiss said...

oooops.

Hey geoduck2: Mort Sahl is the equivalent of Ann Coulter, and was doing what she did 30-40 years prior.

Check out his website---www.mortsahl.com, on the quotes page, uh-oh....it seems that Ann Coulter may have "borrowed" (ahem) some of her schtick!

I'm blogging for love. Please love me and visit my blog:
www.maxinesplace.blogspot.com

Brent said...

For either liberal or conservative side:

I remember a TV interview with Bill Cosby from the early 70's in which he said (to the best of my recollection)"If you have to work blue, your brain is out of material. Any 6 year old can get a laugh from potty humor."*

The point being: if you don't have the facts or the truth on your side, just add an expletive or two to show "passion" - you're certain to convince someone that your "passion" means you're right!


* And . . . before you bring up "Genius" Richard Pryor . . .
Cosby is well known for having problems with Richard Pryor and Redd Fox, among others. At Pryor's death: “I wish that every new and young comedian would understand what Richard was about and not confuse his genius with his language usage,” comedian Bill Cosby said through a spokesman Saturday.

Joseph Hovsep said...

A question for liberals out there. Do you find that strangers make known to you their conservative political beliefs out of the blue, without any kind of prompting?

I think its always tasteless to make partisan political comments in a professional setting. I've hear plenty of inappropriate anti-Hillary and anti-Bush comments here in upstate NY. I think the WaPo article probably sums up the reason if there's more of that from liberals: despite approval ratings hovering around the level of Bush's waist size, the GOP controls every branch of government, so there is more passionate anger from liberals who feel disenfranchised than conservatives who merely feel disappointed by their leaders. The fact that Bush is so widely disapproved of may also lead people to assume that others are in the mainstream and thus make politically charged comments at inappropriate times because they don't realize its unwelcome.

paulfrommpls said...

JOE: I think there's only a very casual relationship between W's approval rating and the kind of stuff I've been seeing and hearing for years.

SteveR said...

gee I'd rather have Al Franken, Michael Moore and Ann Coulter who are relatively transparent.

Far more troubling to me is someone like Bill Moyers, who sees himself (and sells himself) as an intelligent and astute observer of many things. I think he's basically dishonest and far more dangerous than angry.

Plenty of sore losermans to go around and this blog is a nice place to avoid the fray with some noticeable exceptions which we generally ignore. I very much like to read comments that take a different but well reasoned view than my own. I can at least respect that and even learn from it and sometimes change my mind. When some one calls my POV stupid, racist, right wing, homphobic, medieval, etc, the discussion is over and I'm sure the reverse is true.

FXKLM said...

Ann Coulter -

Sane and Pleasant?

To each their own.


Have you ever seen her on the Tonight Show? She seems like the most moderate person you've ever met. She smiles. She's likable. She's completely uncontroversial. I know that she would not ordinarily be described as sane and pleasant. That's my point. When she's in front of a mainstream audience, she tones her persona way down.

Michael Moore, on the other hand, rants like a lunatic no matter where he goes. Even when he speaks before a large and basically apolitical audience like at the Oscars or on non-political talk shows, he doesn't have the sense to pretend to be moderate and likable.

Most people don't go to Heritage Foundation events and college lectures. Most of them don't even watch cable news. They form their impressions based on appearances in large, mainstream events like the Oscars. And in those situations, right-wingers are consistently more moderate and likable than left-wingers.

dave said...

Far more troubling to me is someone like Bill Moyers--

Oh, for Christ's sake.

It's official: all the idiots are here.

Please stay behind the yellow tape. Thanks in advance...

SteveR said...

Dave calling me an idiot tells me a lot about you. No intelligent rebuttal, just name calling. What about Bill Moyers would you care to disagree with me about?

Do you have a stake in his enterprise that you care not to reveal or do you just revere him?

Don't tell me for Christ's sake Dave, you have no idea what that means. You remind me of an eight grader I once taught.

Aspasia M. said...

I like Bill Moyers. I remember his interviews with Joseph Campbellas interesting. Moyers seems more likely to interview Martin Marty (of Christianity Today), which is much ore interesting to me then a shock jock shtick.

----

I did see Coulter on Bill Maher a few years ago when I used to get cable. She made a joke that women shouldn't have the vote. ha. ha.

But it was her comments about SCOTUS that pushed it over the line for me.

Aspasia M. said...

Because tomorrow is Easter & we're talking about Bill Moyers:

For example, here's an article by Martin Martin in Christianity Today at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/133/52.0.html. It's titled Changed Lives, Luther, The Daily Gife of New Life.

"Are you born again?" Bill Moyers asked me in 1976 for a television program on a term that most Americans were first learning. My answer: "Yes." When? February 26, 1928. Moyers, "You don't look old enough for that early date?" He was thinking Baptistically; I was talking about my baptism at three weeks of age. "And that does it for life?" he asked. I answered, "'Yes' and 'no.' I was also 'born again' this morning."

Happy Easter and Happy Passover.

The Drill SGT said...

Katherine Anne Power:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n24_v45/ai_14752830

My favorite is an unrepentant Susan Rosenberg. Long after the end of the Vietnam war, she was still working on armed revolution in the US. A participant in an armed robbery (yes, they always seemed to be described as botched :), She was ultimately caught unloading nearly 800 pounds of explosives in 1984.

"Convicted leftist terrorist Susan Rosenberg must be counted among the unlikeliest candidates ever to be awarded a university teaching post. Just four years ago Rosenberg was serving out the 16th year of a 58-year sentence for the possession of more than 700 pounds of explosives and a stockpile of illicit weapons. Moreover, the onetime member of a leftist terrorist outfit called “The Family” was also a suspect in a 1981 robbery-gone-awry that left three people dead in Nyack, New York.

However, next January students at Hamilton College, a small liberal arts school in upstate New York, will know Susan Rosenberg, not as a terrorist, but as a professor. Rosenberg, whose sentence was commuted by Bill Clinton on his last day in office, will be teaching a one-month writing course at Hamilton entitled, “Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity, and Change.” The half-credit class draws on Rosenberg’s time in prison. According to the directors of the Kirkland Project, the campus left-wing “social justice” organization that contrived to bring Rosenberg to Hamilton, the aim of the class is to get students to examine “how the memoirist uses the writing to survive particular circumstances and to change.”

Given her continued belief in revolutionary violence, one could ask if Rosenberg has changed at all. A former student activist in the 1970s, Rosenberg’s radical ties include involvement with several terrorist groups, including the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground. It is through her affiliation with a Weather Underground affiliate group known as the “Family” that Rosenberg became a suspect in the October 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car carrying $1.6 million in which two policemen and an armed guard were murdered. Though Rosenberg has steadfastly denied any part in the robbery, she was indicted both for plotting the robbery and driving the getaway car. Contrary to the claims of many of Rosenberg’s devotees, prosecutors never retreated from those charges; they only dropped these charges in 1984 after Rosenberg had been sentenced to 58 years in federal prison for the possession of dynamite and a weapons cache. Rosenberg could not be reached for an interview.

Sanitizing Terrorism

What rankles more than a few Hamilton professors is that one would know none of the darker details of Rosenberg’s past by taking Kirkland Project’s directors at their word. In one announcement, notable more for what it did not say, the Kirkland Project touted Rosenberg as “a writer and teacher, but also an activist and AIDS educator. She was incarcerated for years as a result of her political activities with the Black Liberation Army and was released through a grant of executive clemency by President Clinton in January 2001.” While in prison, Rosenberg had indeed worked with AIDS sufferers. But the Kirkland Project was silent on the far more objectionable aspects of Rosenberg’s biography. The Kirkland Project further hailed her as “an award-winning writer, an activist, and a teacher who offers a unique perspective as a writer.” It gave not a hint of Rosenberg’s extensive terrorist rap sheet, her confessed commitment to violent revolutionary struggle, and her less-than-distinguished academic background.

This glaring omission has several Hamilton professors furious. Steve Goldberg, a professor of art history at Hamilton, takes heated issue with what he calls the Kirkland Project’s “laundering” of Rosenberg’s biography. “This is not truth in advertising,” says Goldberg. “She’s being presented as someone who was wrongly imprisoned, and who was a victim, rather than the perpetrator of terrorism. And I find that to be absolutely reprehensible.” History professor Robert Paquette agrees. “In the case of Susan Rosenberg, the Kirkland Project presented a remarkably sanitized version of a convicted terrorist.”

Apologist for “Armed Violence”

It is Susan Rosenberg’s choices, once the subject of newspaper headlines, which lie at the heart of the professors’ objection to this hiring: Far from a model of rehabilitation, many at Hamilton warn, Rosenberg is an unreconstructed extremist who has never disowned her radical faith or her belief in violent extremism.

Upon her arrest in 1984, for instance, a New York Times report quoted an unrepentant Rosenberg, who exclaimed, “We’re caught, but we’re not defeated. Long live the armed struggle!” Rosenberg’s revolutionary fervor had not appreciably mellowed by 1989, when she told an interviewer, “I don’t want you to come away thinking that I’m repudiating revolutionary struggle for the United States because I'm not. I think all kinds of resistance are necessary.”


“I think that the most extreme and difficult forms of violence stem from the system under which we live and I think it’s the system that’s responsible for a multitude of these faces of violence,” Rosenberg has maintained.

SteveR said...

Heree's one of my favorite Moyer's from 1991 interview with Eric Alterman:

"The right gets away with blaming liberals for their efforts to help the poor, but what the right is really objecting to is the fact that the poor are primarily black," he told Alterman. "The man who sits in the White House today [George H.W. Bush] opposed the Civil Rights Act. So did Ronald Reagan. This crowd is really fighting a retroactive civil rights war to prevent the people they dislike because of their color from achieving success in American life."

Joseph Hovsep said...

I'm sorry but I don't see any relevance to the Katharine Ann Power story. So she was a leftist who went wacko and ended up killing a man. She in no way represents the left.

You don't have to look far to find armed militias and other violent predators who kill people and identify as right wing. But their existence does not undermine conservatism in general as an ideology. Extremists of all ilks can and do go off the deep end. The original post was about bloggers who write angrily from a liberal perspective. They are no more likely to become your Katharine Ann Power than right wing ranters.

FXKLM said...

I did see Coulter on Bill Maher a few years ago when I used to get cable. She made a joke that women shouldn't have the vote. ha. ha.

I've said this twice already, and I thought I was pretty clear. I'm talking about when Ann Coulter appears on television directed at an apolitical audience. Bill Maher doesn't count. People who watch shouting head political shows are already committed to a party and aren't going to be swayed by the personality of a lone nut pundit on television. I'm talking about the perception of people who watch the Oscars and the Tonight Show.

knoxgirl said...

This is overall a very high-quality, respectful blog that draws commenters of the same ilk. If I say so myself. However, I can't think of a troll who *hasn't* been an angry liberal. Not one. I'm not talking about voicing strong opinions, I'm talking about being inappropriate in one way or another.

To those who say this blog might draw angry liberals because Ann's conservative (!), I can't think of one thing Ann takes a conservative perspective on, other than being a bit "hawkish" on terror. Yet liberals who visit this blog and comment often state that they believe she's just posing as a liberal.

This is insulting, and just further proof that democrats are getting angrier and unwittingly alienating people they should be reaching out to. There's lots of us who would LOVE to have an alternative to vote for believe me!

[Ann, I know you don't like people speaking for you and my comments about your political leanings are based purely on my observation as a long-time reader, and I'm not trying to put words in your mouth.]

Aspasia M. said...

FXKLM,

I usually don't watch the Tonight show.

Quite frankly, she "joked" about killing a SCOTUS justice. There's a line; she crossed it.

Ann Althouse said...

Knoxgirl: "I can't think of one thing Ann takes a conservative perspective on, other than being a bit "hawkish" on terror."

That's pretty accurate. I'm liberal on every social issue I can think of. And I've been registered as a Democrat since I first registered in 1972. I can count on one hand the Republicans I've voted for in all this time -- and have fingers left over.

somefeller said...

I just Googled "Althouse" to get over here. (Too lazy to type in the URL.) Google apparently puts a couple of quotes from the blog under the link. The second quote on the Google page was: "I can always make a pretty butt ..."

That's really apropos of nothing, but I just wanted to point that out. Now, back to the regular programming.

monkeyboy said...

Rhandi Rhodes joked about killing the president, is she also beyond the pale? Wasn't there a liberal commentator who asked that Justice Thomas' wife feed him fatty foods so he could die? Is she beyond the pake as well?

I think the point about the weathermen and the bank robbers is that Eric Rudolf and the Georgia militia don't get teaching posts at conservative collages, nor is there a conservartive icon like Che.

monkeyboy said...

pale of course, not pake.

Pogo said...

Sippican's right on the money, as usual.

In choosing "social justice" as its raison d'etre, the left has repeatedly fallen into violence. The anarchists of 1900 led to union thugs in the 1930s, communists giving nuclear secrets to Russia in the 40s and 50s morphed into bank robbers and Black Panthers of the 60s, which gave way to PITA and Earthfirsters.

In the 2004 presidential election, the tires of 20 cars and vans rented by the Republican Party to carry voters to the polls were slashed by 5 Milwaukee Democratic activists (one the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore).

In Minnesota, one of the SLA members had been hiding in plain sight since 1976, when a radical named Kathleen Soliah
planted a pipe bomb beneath a patrol car in an attempt to avenge the slain SLA members. (It was a 'botched' murder; she pled guilty to reduce the cahrges.) She was the darling of the Twin Cities press, at least until some of the uglier stuff came out. Still, people frequently mentioned how 'long ago' this was, so, I guess, what's the big deal.

Sippican's story about his dad is in fact the crux of the issue. Conservatives and moderates (like Ann) are able to disagree in a reasonable manner. But over and over again we see leftists want to kill people who disagree with them, or when they don't get their way. It's a big "fringe", that one.

Aspasia M. said...

Monkeyboy,

If anyone jokes about POTUS that way they can expect a visit from Secret Service. That kind of threat may be a felony.

In my opinion, threatening violence against public figures is crossing the line. I do not find it to be funny for public speech to go there.

Aspasia M. said...

Pogo,

I assume you're also talking about Eric Rudolf?

Who blew up that building in Oklahoma again?

Some leftist? And who organized those militias in Idaho and Montana? Leftist commune hippie groups? Right?

Why don't you make it simple for us:

Short Pogo:

"THE LEFT IS EVIL."

ok. We understand your point now.
-------------

Whatever. Look, if you like Ann Coulter, go for it. I don't. I think she crossed the line.

I thought this original post was about bloggers.

The left can pull up wacky quotes from rightists. People from the right can pull up wacky quotes from leftists.

That gets silly very quickly.

(Unless we need to pull together inflamatory quotes in order to teach a class on rhetoric.)

I think the most interesting thing about this article is the food fight between the WaPo and bloggers.

Jeff said...

Sippican,

"We'll get Hessians from south of the border if need be."

Brilliant!

Knoxgirl,

Someone said, "The Right looks foir converts while the Left looks for heretics"

Marghlar said...

So, I'd been lurking for a while, but hadn't commented, mainly because I have difficulty getting excited about partisan squabbling, which I usually view as boring. I generally feel alientated by both major parties, and think that political discourse is dull at best, and more often absurd than just dull.

But then I read Pogo's last post. And it bugged me enough that I was going to respond...but I think geoduck has done so quite well. So all I will do is offer a second on that.

Yeah, some leftists one time robbed some banks and blew some stuff up. Some rightists have done their own share of public mayhem and murder. It is equally absured to claim that either the typical liberal or conservative is somehow intrinsically supportive of violence as a means of politics.\

Basically, the reason I never bothered posting on this thread before was that the whole thing was ad hominem from the outset. It's like a preschool shoving match -- "you guys are nastier or ruder than our guys."

RE: Ann's post up top: who cares? Honestly, all I find inflammatory rhetoric to be is a waste of space. It's like reading a brief -- you quickly learn to see through all the emotional and persuasive window-dressing, and focus on the structure and content of the factual and legal claims being made beneath. The fact that some bloggers and commenters chose to engage in that stuff is a reason not to read them, but not really a cause for concern. That's why I have this site bookmarked, and almost never read Kos.

I agree with geoduck that it crosses the line when anyone makes threats of violence. Short of that, we are all grown ups, and I think we can handle our daily dose of free speech by people we disagree with. Let's stop all acting the victim because someone spoke harshly or used a bad word, and start engaging on substance, not form.

Till the discussion gets there, I'm outta here.

Elizabeth said...

"A question for liberals out there. Do you find that strangers make known to you their conservative political beliefs out of the blue, without any kind of prompting?"

Yes, all the time. I hear everything from quite normal, average conservative economic politics to the far extreme bigots assuming that I'm heterosexual, or seeing that I'm white, so I must agree about the [fill in the epithet here]. I have to listen to Rush when I sit in the waiting room at any number of stores and service providors. I hear it in bars. Conservatives aren't shy and retiring about their politics, in my experience.

The Drill SGT said...

Yeah, some leftists one time robbed some banks and blew some stuff up. Some rightists have done their own share of public mayhem and murder. It is equally absured to claim that either the typical liberal or conservative is somehow intrinsically supportive of violence as a means of politics.

I think the point that scippican, Monkeyboy, pogo and I want to make (among others) is that while both the left and the right may have their wacko's, most on the right recognize that theirs are wackos and distance themselves, while the left seems to adore their wackos.

Look at how academia treats those radical terrorist cop killers we talked about above. Excuses are made, teaching positions provided, pardons granted. What did the right say about McVey? How about, "can I pull the switch?" Rudoph? "I understand why he did what he did, but he crossed the line, lock him up and throw away the key"

I read both left and right blogs. I have campaigned and voted for democrat presidential candidates almost as many times as I have republicans, but but I won't vote for another until they (dem's) get their act together on security issues.

Reading both, I think that you see more "anger" in the left blogs. The right ones are as "passionate", but less angry and unless prone to use foul langauge. Trust me, I was a Drill SGT, I do understand the value of a good cussing out, but it's part of the job :)

Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl, I think you're wrong on the troll count. I have thought of at least two commenters, neither of whom seem to be around much lately, that they could have been bots, so programmed and vile were their responses to myself and other liberal commenters.

Elizabeth said...

"most on the right recognize that theirs are wackos and distance themselves, while the left seems to adore their wackos."

How'd you miss those "Run, Rudolph, Run" tshirts?

The Drill SGT said...

LOL,

I really did miss seeing those tee shirts. BTW, I just googled "Run, Rudolph, Run" and came up with 5 million hits, and at least the first 100 were all music lyrics of a Christmas song. No tee shirts.

Personally, I'm very pleased he was caught. Of course I happen to be one of those pro-choice republicnas tht most don't think exist.

As for the rest of us right wing reactionaries? Well, I know at least one that wanted him caught. John Ashcroft, Satan's right hand man, (J/K here folks) was very pleased that Rudoph was found. As I recall Ashcroft was very much pro-life. I guess like some of us, he just happens to be more anti-criminal.

I doubt Rudoph will get a republican pardon either. Unlike Susan Rosenberg, who killed 2 police officers and a guard, and is an unrepentant revolutionary with a passion for high explosives. She gets a pardon, and becomes a college faculty member on the strength of her correspndence MA and her revolutionary zeal.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aspasia M. said...

I agree with Maghlar.

I like his analogy to a legal brief; if we can't get to substance it's just a bunch of emotional rhetorical flurishes.
-----

Is there anything interesting to say about the traditional media versus blogs?

Maybe we just can't find a good jumping off point for a substantive discussion?

Aspasia M. said...

What a lovely opportunity to wish all my friends here, and our lovely and erudite hostess, a Happy Easter; or perhaps, a Joyous Pesach; or maybe, if you're Druid, Cead mil failte for your Beltaine; light a lotus lantern for us all, you Buddhists, when you chant your Shakamuni Buddha. And you Zoroastrians have just a swell No Ruz.

Thank you Sippican! Happy "fill in the blank" celebration to you too!

Mr. Geoduck found a funny article in Slate: "The Two Minute Haggadah: A Passover Service for the Impatient." By Michael Rubiner
Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006.


I love it. Here's a sample:

Four questions:
1. What's up with the matzoh?
2. What's the deal with horseradish?
3. What's with the dipping of the herbs?
4. What's this whole slouching at the table business?

Answers:
1. When we left Egypt, we were in a hurry. There was no time for making decent bread.
2. Life was bitter, like horseradish.
3. It's called symbolism.
4. Free people get to slouch...

The four kinds of children and how to deal with them:
Wise child—explain Passover.
Simple child—explain Passover slowly.
Silent child—explain Passover loudly.
Wicked child—browbeat in front of the relatives...Eat matzoh. Drink more wine. Slouch.
Thanks again, God, for everything.



Don't eat too much chocolate!

Kirk Parker said...

Since someone asked:

"I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter, and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease..."

-Julianne Malveaux

And sorry Joe, regarding Katherine Ann Powers, but your age only exempts you from having heard about her the first time around. Her recent discover was big news, all over the US. And Sippican is barely exaggerating when he says, "And when they finally ran her to ground, she was carried around this state on the shoulders of every democrat politician...", because there actually were Democrats who didn't excuse her or call for great leniency. But lots of people on the left did!

Thorley Winston said...

If you're Atheist, um, you can, well, I don't know -- have fun doing your taxes.

Thanks but mine were done in February. ;)

Thorley Winston said...

A question for liberals out there. Do you find that strangers make known to you their conservative political beliefs out of the blue, without any kind of prompting?

Not really, I’ve usually had the opposite experience living in Minnesota where typically if someone in a class room, at a bookstore, bus stop, or a neighboring table in a restaurant spouts off about politics, it will tend to be someone on the (far) Left. From my experience this was just as true when Clinton was president as it is now.

Craig Ranapia said...

I think the pathology of the loony left and the rabid right is remarkably similar - they're people who've turned politics into a secular religion with it's own pantheon of saints, demons, heretics and doctrines that must never be qualified, let alone questioned. They distrust of nuance and discrimination, are absolutely convinced that that someone you disagree with isn't merely wrong but EVIL, and a reliance on ever-more exreme rhetoric.

Well, I prefer Wordsworth's 'happy warrior':
--It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought

Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought

Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:

Whose high endeavours are an inward light

That makes the path before him always bright;

Who, with a natural instinct to discern

What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;

Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,

But makes his moral being his prime care;

Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,

And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!

Turns his necessity to glorious gain;

In face of these doth exercise a power

Which is our human nature's highest dower:

Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves

Of their bad influence, and their good receives:

By objects, which might force the soul to abate

Her feeling, rendered more compassionate;

Is placable--because occasions rise

So often that demand such sacrifice;

More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure,

As tempted more; more able to endure,

As more exposed to suffering and distress;

Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.


Being angry doesn't put me off - after all, there's a neverending supply of things in the world we should be infuriated by. But it's the bitter, joyless resentfulness - the cynicism and contempt - that makes me sad.

Daryl Herbert said...

2. While there are scattered righty-type sites that can be labeled occasionally enraged and vuglar, they're also not to the perfected and constant level of Kos or Atrios.

How about FreeRepublic.com?

The excellent execution of their software (their site's infrastructure) gave them a huge edge in getting people to join/follow). To this day, it's better than anything at dKos, etc. That was the place to be in the conservative internet.

But with Blog*Spot.com and the decentralized nature of the blogosphere, they must be losing influence. You don't have to "go along to get along" in the blogosphere, unlike at FR.

If you want to see some serious hate (worse than LGF commenters but drawing from the same base), drop by there.

It's true that "vulgarity" (defined as four-letter words) is not tolerated, but hateful tirades are encouraged. That's how you establish your bona fides.

Now that decentralization is the order of the day, a highly centralized place like FR is actually walling itself off from the rest of the blogosphere, diminishing its influence.

How'd you miss those "Run, Rudolph, Run" tshirts?

Even at FR, which is the place to go to get your finger on the pulse of the hard right, I never heard so much as a whisper in support of that bastard. You're at least a thousand times as likely to encounter a supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

You don't have to look far to find armed militias and other violent predators who kill people and identify as right wing.

They're actually not THAT easy to find. They're kind of rare, even. Really. Most "militias" are just bible/gun-toting dorks. Not insane murderers, and hardly dangerous. Just upstanding and whatnot. They don't take gays and atheists into their membership... kind of like overgrown Boy Scouts. In fact, they're A LOT like overgrown Boy Scouts (running around in the woods with bibles/guns/uniforms). They hate the UN, but that's not the same as murdering Americans. Not even close. It's patriotic, even... in a way that killing Americans is not.

Daryl Herbert said...

You're at least a thousand times as likely to encounter a supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

(in real life, not on FR, in case that wasn't obvious)

Joseph Hovsep said...

I'm liberal on every social issue I can think of. And I've been registered as a Democrat since I first registered in 1972. I can count on one hand the Republicans I've voted for in all this time -- and have fingers left over.

Wow. I've only been coming to this site for a few months, but I'm surprised by your self-description. I apologize for misrepresenting your views. The reasons I though you identified as a conservative are the conservative advertising, support for the war, the heavy predominance of conservative commenters and the fact that you seem to be sensitive and curious about people's opinions on social issues but don't come out very often clearly on one side of issues like gay rights.

Noumenon said...

Paulfrommlps:

(A tip: try to get people listening to Dennis Prager. If you don't find him basically reasonable, you're out there beyond reason.)

You'll have to be careful in your selection. His most recent column, "Why the low jobless rate challenges Left and Right", is at least superficially bipartisan, but the one I actually clicked on to read, "The Islamic threat is greater than German and Soviet threats were," begins like this:

"Only four types of individuals can deny the threat to civilization posed by the violence-supporting segment of Islam: the willfully naive, America-haters, Jew-haters and those afraid to confront evil."

He's not leaving any room for reasonable people to disagree.

(I don't really find his liberal-vs-conservative article convincing either. The car-keying thing is anecdotal, plus LA is much denser than the Bible Belt --> 1,000 LA liberals might pass a Bush/Cheney car and be tempted, versus only 50 Alabama conservatives who might come across a Kerry sticker in the same time. Ann Coulter needs protection at universities, and Noam Chomsky doesn't -- but that proves nothing until you have them visit someplace conservative, like a military base, and see if the reverse is true. His last point about being booed is anecdotal again and really depends on the liberal opponent -- if the "liberal" is Joe Klein from Time, of course he's not going to offend anybody and be booed as much as Prager, who's a pretty strong partisan.

(I do think the left is less civil to visiting speakers and politicians, just Prager doesn't prove it. The right seems less civil to "liberals" taken as a group.)

knoxgirl said...

Elizabeth said...
knoxgirl, I think you're wrong on the troll count. I have thought of at least two commenters, neither of whom seem to be around much lately, that they could have been bots, so programmed and vile were their responses to myself and other liberal commenters.

Uhm.... ok. Maybe there were a couple I missed.

You can't read this blog often and not notice that the ones that keep coming back and are nasty to Ann (and sometimes have to be deleted by her) are on the left.

Adam said...

There's an obvious reason why there's more "anger" from the left than from the right: liberals are not in power, and there's more to be angry about. I assume that if blogs had existed from 1993-2000, positions would be reversed.

paulfrommpls said...

Neumenon -

You're right that Prager's not leaving room for reasaonable people to disagree, there, concerning the threat; that'e because he doesn't believe reasonable people can disagree. And I agree with him on that. Being reasonable doesn't mean not having firm opinions on big questions.

Yet I guarantee you that if someone called his radio show with a plausible explanation as to why they thought differently, he would treat them with respect.

If you don't believe we face a threat to civilization from radical Islam, I'd love to hear it. Very sincerely, I would love to believe it. Before you do though, get a subscription to The New Republic and read the article "Ahmadinejad's Demons."

http://www.tnr.com/user/nregi.mhtml?i=20060424&s=kuntzel042406

Johnny Nucleo said...

Knoxgirl said: "I can't think of one thing Ann takes a conservative perspective on, other than being a bit "hawkish" on terror."

Hear, hear. The fact that being hawkish on terror has become a de facto conservative position is the most distressing aspect of our current politics. Sure, sure, liberals will say, "We're hawkish, too, we just disagree on strategy." This does not convince.

It's like when Michael Moore says he loves America, but never has anything good to say about her. What if a guy talked about his mother the way Michael Moore talks about America? You'd think the guy had issues.

Deep down, many liberals have America-issues. Because they are ambivilent about America, they are ambivilent about her defense.

Elizabeth said...

Drill Sgt.: I didn't say Eric R. represents Republican ideals; he's the extreme, fringe hateful right. And even if the Freepers don't love him, people kept him fed and hidden for a good long time while the feds hunted him.

knoxgirl, I haven't missed the folks you mean, and I don't miss them when they lay low! But given your statement that all the trolls on this site have been on the left, I wish you wouldn't then dismiss my response with a "gee must have missed some."

reader_iam said...

I'm a little nonplussed about those over thirty not recognizing the name of Katherine Ann Power. True, the "botched" (I'm with you, Sip) robbery was decades ago, but it was a HUGE story when she, a fugitive, was discovered. That was in the early '90s. All kinds of militant left--and regular left--history was revisited in print and broadcast. Heck, "Law and Order" even "ripped the news" from the headlines to do a thinly veiled version.

It takes me aback that people don't know the recent history of their particular political leanings. It seems to me rather basic that whether left or right (or middle or mixed), we ought to be at least somewhat conversant about both past glories AND past excesses.

Maybe it doesn't matter and it's a small thing. Still very surprising to me.

Joseph Hovsep said...

It takes me aback that people don't know the recent history of their particular political leanings.

I suppose I should have known who Katharine Ann Power was and should be embarassed to admit I don't. Note to self: google before admiting ignorance.

But the point of me revealing my ignorance is that she is not any kind of icon of the left that lefties know and talk about when they get together. Noam Chomsky, yes. Ralph Nader, yes. Al Franken, yes. Katharine Ann Power, no.

And she certainly is not the recent political history of my political leanings. I think she is probably the kind of "leftist" that conservatives know all about and inappropriately lump her in with ordinary liberals, perhaps like Fred Phelps is the kind of right-winger liberals know all about and inappropriately lump in with ordinary conservatives.

SippicanCottage said...
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ChrisO said...

For the sake of accuracy, Katherine Ann Power diddn't actually murder anyone. An ex-con who was part of the robbery machine gunned Officer Schroeder while Power sat in a car. She's certainly guilty under the law, and was engaged in something for which she should pay a price, but to tell those who are unfamiliar with her that she "murdered" someone isn't quite accurate. I do remember Katherine Ann Power. And it's certainly not true that everyone on the left lionized the Weather Underground. I was very involved in anti-war politics at the time, and most of us considered the Weathermen to be extremist glory hounds.

One thing I have noticed about the Right is a real penchant for self congratulation. No matter what the Right does, they can never be as bad as the Left, by definition. They condemn Duke Cunningham (only after he pleads guilty, mind you) and try to portray it as some big principled stand. Forget the fact that Rudolph was a folk hero when he was on the run. Many of you may not want want to embrace the fact, but it wasn't liberals who were celebrating him, and hiding him, for that matter.

And what about Waco? The Right loves to point to Waco as a great injustice. Do you remember how that incident began? Four ATF agents were murdered and 16 were wounded as they approached the compound. Were their lives worth less than Officer Schroeder's? The reason the Right finds it so easy to ignore the ATF murders is because they were going to take the Branch Davidians' firearms away, which is apparently a capital offense.

And in addition to Little Green Footballs, check out Ace of Spades. I used to comment there occasionally, but the vile, violent reaction to my posts became too annoying. I remember challenging commenters there to condemn the guy who offered to kill liberal professors and tack their hides to his barn. After a lengthy thread, a couple of people grudgingly agreed.

But many of the folks on this thread seem to have it all figured out. If someone on a leftist thread goes overboard, they represent the Left. If someone on a Right wing board gets extreme, they're an anomaly and are disowned by proper thinking conservatives everywhere. Hogwash.

ChrisO said...

Incidentally, Michelle Malkin recently posted on her blog the phone numbers of UC Santa Cruz students who opposed military recruiters on campus. She clearly wanted her readers to respond, and respond they did. Read some of these peaceful, reasonable missives from the Right and then tell me again how the Left has cornered the market on vitriol.

http://saw.revolt.org/node/51

Marghlar said...

ChrisO: ack, those are appalling.

Kirk Parker said...

ChrisO,

That's a terribly selective recitation of what happened at Waco, but tell you what: would you like us to promise in advance that we won't complain if some Federal agency decides to serve you a warrant in the same manner?

SippicanCottage said...
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Marghlar said...

I'm concerned that normally rational people are beginning to say they're ready to indulge in irrational, violent behavior.

Who, precisely, do you mean? I agree about not having political opponents -- I think politics is about the least interesting thing I know of. I also heartily agree that people who use violence to achieve political goals deserve the harshest sanctions are legal system can dish out. But I think you are missing some other posters points -- that this seems to be, in the end, an equal opportunity phenomenon.

You can point to Katharine Powers, and they can point to comments made by pretty high level Republicans suggesting that violence against federal judges might be a good thing.

I'm pretty agnostic about this debate -- I really don't care who is nicer, I care much more about whose ideas are better. But I have trouble, as an observer, seeing this distinction you claim to be drawing between rage on the left and rage on the right.

SippicanCottage said...

"But I have trouble, as an observer, seeing this distinction you claim to be drawing between rage on the left and rage on the right."

That might be because I never made it.

Here's why I told my story in the first place:

"Not that long ago, it was the right that was angry and the left that was, at least comparatively, polite."

That was an astonishing assertion, in my experience. I pointed it out. That's it. Lots of excuses were made for Katherine Ann Power for instance, including the one from Newsweek I offered.

There is no excuse for killing people while trying to violently overthrow the government in a civil society. Flashmob hamstringing of the conduct of the normal legal functioning of a civil society is a sign of the deterioration of political discourse. Are those statements so very far out on a limb?

ChrisO said...

Kirk Parker:

In what way was what I posted a seelective recitation? Notice I wasn't talking about the end of the standoff. I happen to think that Koresh brought the whole thing on himslef and his followers, and that there's strong evidence that the Branch Davidians committed suicide. But I certainly understand those who hold a different view. However, the fact remains: the reason there was a standoff was because the Branch Davisians refused to surrender. That was always an option, but they selected armed resistance.

None of that changes the point of my post, however, which is that the Right has been strangely silent on on the fact that four Federal agents were killed and 16 wounded while serving the warrant. And yes, I do promise that if Federal agents try to serve a warrant on my heavily armed compound, I will not kill them. OK?

And Sippican, it's you who are spreading the "minor falsehood." Check this link to Malkin's blog.
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004974.htm
As you will see, she didn't post a press release that happened to have contact information on it. She posted only the contact information, with the clear intent that her readers would go after them. I mean, who's kidding who? How often do you see press release contact information posted, particularly without the press release attached? And it may be possible to find the contact information on the Internet, but that's not what happened, is it? (And by the way, does she really have to use "unhinged" in every paragraph?)

As for the hate mail she's getting, I don't support that. But if you recall, the premise of the original thread was that hate mail like that seems to be the provenance of the Left. My point, as demonstrated by the e-mails received by the Santa Cruz students, is that both sides are capable of engaging in that kind of bile. Pointing out examples from the Left does nothing to refute that.

And as for what Waco, Eric Rudolph and Duke Cunningham have to do with the issue, it's very clear. You go to great lengths to talk about the support that Katherine Ann Power received (although I'm curious where you read contemporary accounts that "pleaded that she had a real good reason to rob that bank.") The fact is, Eric Rudolph was a folk hero to many people when he was on the run. Check out this NY Times article:
http://www.rickross.com/reference/rudolph/rudolph6.html

And please show me the Right wing sites that focus on the murders of the ATF agents. There seems to be a willingness to ignore the fact that all the Branch Davidians had to do was surrender peacefully, and no one else would have died. The Right was clearly more interested in using the tragdy to make hay against Clinton and Reno.

My point was that I see a lot of Right wing sites that go to great lengths to paint conservatives as willing to criticize their own, while Leftists blindly support anyone who shares their views. As the examples I've listed point out, that isn't exactly true. And the answer isn't to declare that anyone who does support these characters is part of a fringe and non-representative. Wishing doesn't make it so.

On another note, I see a lot of comparisons between Al Franken and Ann Coulter. Franken can be mocking, but I'd love to see quotes of his that compare to "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." or "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors." or "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." I think people lose sight of just how offensive Coulter is. Franken can be snarky, and I'm sure he bothers people who don't agree with him. But there's a world of difference between what he says and the bile that spews from Coulter.

Marghlar said...

Sippican --

My apologies. I thought you were making a different point than you were making. I agree that members of all political persuasions seem to have about an equal willingness to wander into this sort of nonsensical territory.

-mark

SippicanCottage said...
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Marghlar said...

Wow -- I'm really glad your father was ill that day.

I remember discussing this case back in crim law...one of the places where I part company with much of the left is when violent crime comes into the picture.

People who maim or kill other people while playing politics deserve to be put into a cage, pure and simple. I have no sympathy for Powers or her cohorts. You can't play with guns and explosives, and not expect someone to eventually get killed.

I am apalled at the Times quote -- as if the mere fact that it was the Sixties excuses such stupidity and criminality. Just because a lot of people are getting high doesn't mean their social duties are suspended...I'm a fan of a fair number of cultural reforms that came from that era, but I think the left does itself no good when it engages in apologia for those criminals.

These kind of issues are why I get repulsed by partisan politics...hearing that Times quote, or hearing the disgusting things some politicians were saying after Michael Lefkow's murder, makes me think that these characters are elevating partisan sentiment over pretty basic human values.