The Questionable Authority

I might have mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: if you want to know what got me actively working on a political campaign last year, it was the cumulative “final straw” effect of some Congressional Republicans who saw fit to question the “Americanism” and “patriotism” of their political opponents. Well, I’m definitely an opponent of the Republicans, and I was really, really, really sick of having my patriotism and commitment to America questioned, so I finally got off my butt and started to work for change.

I mention this because I just found the following gem of a quote over at Comrade PhysioProf’s place. I’ve redacted a few words in the interests of family friendliness and workplace readability, so feel free to take a look over there to get the full effect:

The dude has overf—ingwhelming majorities in both chambers and he “needs to convince Republicans blah, blah, blah”!?!? What he “needs to do” is tell those America-hating neo-feudal s–theels to sit down and shut the f— up and take their goddam motherf—ing medicine.

Not. Good.

We’ve got no right to expect the right wing to stop calling us anti-American if we’re going to turn around and talk about how much they hate America. And it would be really nice if they stopped calling us anti-American.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 28, 2009

    Part of the reason that people make comments like this on both ends of the political spectrum is that many people actually believe this sort of thing. People have trouble understanding that someone can virulently disagree with someone else and do so in good faith.

  2. #2 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 28, 2009

    The far-right-wing objectively does hate many of the fundamental Constitutional foundations of America, such as: (1) freedom of speech, (2) secular basis for government, (3) primacy of the legislature over the executive, (4) racial equality under the law. To the extent that our Nation embodies these Constitutional imperatives, they hate America.

  3. #3 Mike Dunford
    January 28, 2009

    Ah. I think I’ve got it now. They shouldn’t call us anti-American, because when they do they’re wrong. But it’s OK for us to call them America-haters, because when we do it, we’re right.

  4. #4 elspi
    January 28, 2009

    Mike
    You are well on your way to losing WWII though overuse of Godwin’s law.
    (You called Hitler a Nazi, so he wins).

    There are decent people who voted republican, but they have recanted, and we are left with the hard fascist core. And yes I realize that by calling the Fascists fascist, I violate Godwin’s law, but which part of “authoritarian nationalist” don’t you understand?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

  5. #5 Mike Dunford
    January 28, 2009

    That Hitler was a Nazi is actually a matter of objective fact – his membership in the party is a matter of record. I doubt that Hitler would have had any problem with people referring to him as such.

    I strongly doubt that any of that can really be said about the right wing. Their vision of what America should be is radically at odds with mine, and I think it is radically at odds with what most of the founders believed. That makes them wrong and deluded – traits which are not desirable, but which can hardly be called anti-American.

  6. #6 Coriolis
    January 28, 2009

    Oh give me a break. Have you ever had to argue with children? Sometimes, you can speak reasonably and get your point across – and sometimes they get so completely fixated on getting it their way that there isn’t much arguing to be done about it.

    Well, the republicans have been so completely fixated on their toys (i.e. destroying government and lowering taxes) for so long that there is no reasoning with them at the moment. I think it’s a good thing that Obama extended an olive branch and gave them a chance to be reasonable about it, but they slapped it away – and now it’s time to do what we gotta do.

    Maybe 20-30 years in the future they’ll reinvent themselves and we might have something resembling a national dialog as opposed to a shouting match. But for now, there isn’t, and there’s no point in softening the language just to be polite.

  7. #7 eric
    January 28, 2009

    Ah, the siren song of being able to treat public policy differences as tests of loyalty after you’ve won an election. We just played that song for eight years. Now I have to hear it for another four or eight? Its enough to make a moderate cry.

  8. #8 Isis the Scientist
    January 28, 2009

    You know Mike, I agree with you. I try to teach my child that just because someone is unkind to him it doesn’t mean that he should act the same in kind.

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    January 28, 2009

    Thank you. This kind of rhetoric is toxic no matter which side uses it.

    I too well remember exchanges from 40 years ago where a virtuous-sounding proposal was on the table, and someone pointed out that it wouldn’t work — it had desirable goals, but those wouldn’t be the results. At which point the objector was accused of hating children or some such, so that nobody had to listen to him any more.

    If there is a core value more essential to a civil society than all of the Bill of Rights, it is this: “reasonable and informed people of good will may differ.” Reject that, and it’s only a matter of time until the others follow.

  10. #10 D. C. Sessions
    January 28, 2009

    the republicans have been so completely fixated on their toys (i.e. destroying government and lowering taxes) for so long that there is no reasoning with them at the moment.

    Now, now. The last eight years have certainly not been about “destroying government.” Not about “lowering taxes,” either, although “lowering (my) taxes” might be correct, for some versions of “me.” Payroll taxes, for instance, have not dropped a penny.

    As for “destroying government,” that’s also patently false. Government may have been directed at other objectives, but the overall power has increased pretty steadily. It’s just that the priorities have shifted to keeping brown people out of the country, restoring the power of the Church, and generally keeping the rabble under a tighter leash via more surveillance.

    Note, by the way, that the new Congress and Administration haven’t made any hasty moves to reverse course on those fronts.

  11. #11 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 28, 2009

    If there is a core value more essential to a civil society than all of the Bill of Rights, it is this: “reasonable and informed people of good will may differ.” Reject that, and it’s only a matter of time until the others follow.

    The deranged fucknuts still left in the Republican ship-of-fools are unreasonable, ignorant, and of ill will. They hate you, your families, your friends, and they would laugh and spit on you as you lay in the gutter as they leeringly seek to further their depraved ends.

    The only people left in the Republican Party are white supremacists, irredeemable misogynists, theocratic wackaloons, and a smattering of plutocratic greedfucks (although most of the latter have been smart enought to flee).

  12. #12 Pierce R. Butler
    January 28, 2009

    It’s not just that the Repubs have been wrong about, to a first approximation, everything, over the last (twenty-)eight years.

    It’s more that they’ve worked actively to destroy the Constitution, the economy, the ecosystem, the military and intelligence arms, education systems at all levels, and many other aspects of what we call America – and have been largely successful in these efforts.

    Perhaps the best comparison is to a drunken and violent patriarch who abuses all other members of his family, repeatedly, to the point of hospitalization – but when confronted cries out how much he “loves” them, and how much they need his “discipline”.

    Maybe psychologists and social workers have a precise term for this kind of serial abuse, but the average onlooker is not unjustified in calling such a person hateful.

  13. #13 Zuska
    January 28, 2009

    The problem with extending an olive branch to the ultra right wing religious conservative sector of the Republican party (which is pretty much what the Republican party has been these last eight years or more) is that they are demonstrably not interested in understanding others’ point of view or in any sort of compromise. They are interested in imposing their ideological worldview on everyone else. I’m not making this up; they are pretty explicit about their agenda in their in-group speeches and policy meetings (e.g. Values Voter Summit and the like). It’s not a question of working with them to find common ground; they don’t want to find common ground with us, they want us to behave and think they way they do. This is absolutely necessary, in their point of view, to keep God from enacting retribution on the U.S. (e.g., 9/11, Hurricane Katrina) for our sins (e.g., secular humanism, tolerating gays).

    A good book which explicates this situation quite clearly is Cynthia Burack’s Sin, Sex, and Democracy: Antigay Rhetoric and the Christian Right.

  14. #14 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 28, 2009

    Perhaps the best comparison is to a drunken and violent patriarch who abuses all other members of his family, repeatedly, to the point of hospitalization – but when confronted cries out how much he “loves” them, and how much they need his “discipline”.

    That reminds me of this old post from my blog (excerpt):

    The Democratic Party is the sober responsible spouse who continually cleans up after the out-of-control drunken asshole Republican Party spouse who crashes the car, fucks the babysitter, blows out all the credit cards, and then cries: “It wasn’t my fault; you should have stopped me!”

    http://physioprof.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/republicans-are-drunken-assholes/

  15. #15 Coriolis
    January 28, 2009

    Well you got one thing wrong CPP. He doesn’t cry “It wasn’t my fault; you should have stopped me!”, but “Yeah and it was good that I did that and I’m gonna keep doing that, *and* you should be happy about it!”.

  16. #16 Mike Dunford
    January 28, 2009

    @Zuska:

    I didn’t say anything about extending an olive branch to them. I see absolutely no reason not to oppose them vigorously when they’re wrong on an issue, and I can’t really think of an issue I think they’ve got right.

  17. #17 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 28, 2009


    The deranged fucknuts still left in the Republican ship-of-fools are unreasonable, ignorant, and of ill will. They hate you, your families, your friends, and they would laugh and spit on you as you lay in the gutter as they leeringly seek to further their depraved ends.

    The only people left in the Republican Party are white supremacists, irredeemable misogynists, theocratic wackaloons, and a smattering of plutocratic greedfucks (although most of the latter have been smart enought to flee).

    Phisioprof, do you know any Republicans in real life at all? This frankly comes across as the sort of opinion one would develop if ones notion of who was in the Republican party was dictated by a) reading what left wing blogs say about the party and b) reading what the extreme right says. There are moderate Republicans. And I’m pretty sure that at least some of them don’t hate me, my family or my friends. I know that at minimum because some of them are my family and friends.

    And even those who aren’t family and friends and aren’t moderates don’t necessarily hate anyone. One doesn’t need to be a “theocratic whackaloon” or any of your other charming phrases to possibly favor small government, or to want a strong militiary or to think that teachers unions aren’t such a great thing or a hundred other opinions. One might not even agree with those positions to see that people have those positions not out of hatred but out of thought processes very similar to the thought processes that you or I use to arrive at our conclusions.

    Now on to Pierce’s remark:

    It’s more that they’ve worked actively to destroy the Constitution, the economy, the ecosystem, the military and intelligence arms, education systems at all levels, and many other aspects of what we call America – and have been largely successful in these efforts.

    As far as I’m aware pretty much no one intends to damage the US Constitution and you can be damn well sure that none of the Republicans intend to damage the economy. And you can be pretty sure on similar grounds that no one at all in the Republican party intends to damage the US military. Making these sorts of claims simply damages one’s own credibility.

    Things aren’t great right now. Sure the US military is stretched pretty thin by 2 wars but both those wars had strong bipartisan support at the time of they started. The US economy isn’t doing well and that’s certainly partially a fault of the current administration but that’s also partially the fault of a large variety of other factors including normal economic cycles.

    Finally, of the things you list in so far as they can be traced to anything connected with Republicans they are due to the previous administration which did many things that made many Republicans uncomfortable. Indeed, many who voted for McCain did so with the explicit understanding that they hoped he would not be like Bush in many respects.

    Demonizing political opponents isn’t helpful and simply further damages the signal/noise ratio in our political discourse.

  18. #18 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 28, 2009

    Er, sorry about that. For some reason quote tags didn’t go ok on my comment above. It should be clear though which paragraphs are being quoted.

  19. #19 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 28, 2009

    Finally, of the things you list in so far as they can be traced to anything connected with Republicans they are due to the previous administration which did many things that made many Republicans uncomfortable. Indeed, many who voted for McCain did so with the explicit understanding that they hoped he would not be like Bush in many respects.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Bush was the fucking apotheosis of the conservative political program as it has developed over the last 40 years. You “moderates” can’t just wash your hands of the fact that you enabled the worst of the Bush excesses in this that or the other area, just so that you could satisfy your own particular greedy impulses. To the extent that you didn’t cheer on that shit, you laid down with a fucking dog and now you got fucking fleas.

  20. #20 BikeMonkey
    January 28, 2009

    My problem with so-called moderate Republicans is that they enabled this twenty-eight year campaign to systematically dismantle all that is Right and Good about the grant social compact of our country. They stood by and voted for that action and now they want to run away and claim that it isn’t their responsibility because they themselves (now) claim to disagree with the wackaloonery.

    Sorry, no sale. Have some stones and own up to what you did in your “moderate” Republican-ness. otherwise you are just pathetic craven cowards.

    oh and Doc Isis? At some point you are going to have to tell your kids that it is sometimes okay to punch the schoolyard bully right in the nose. Trust me on that one.

  21. #21 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 28, 2009

    Physioprof, even if I thought that Bush was the “fucking apotheosis of the conservative political program” it wouldn’t be terribly relevant. There’s no reason someone can’t say that they like some but not all aspects of the “conservative political program” and would in that context identify as a Republican. Moreover, the notion that Bush is the “apotheosis of the conservative political program” is false at multiple levels. I’ll just list a few examples. First, much of the right-wing is unhappy with Bush’s judicial appoints to name but one issue. Second, there’s nothing in the “conservative political program” that favors deliberate lack of transparency which is more of a Cheney thing. Third, many people on the far right had somewhat isolationist stances aren’t happy with the use of our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fourth, many on the right are very against immigration whereas Bush has been by and large moderate on immigration issues.

    In any event, there are many moderates who do admit they were wrong to have voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 so your claim about “you moderates” is also inaccurate.

    Frankly, a lot of what you are saying sounds like the sort of thing one sees at Free Republic or Conservapedia but with a few words changed. That should bother you.

  22. #22 Pierce R. Butler
    January 28, 2009

    Joshua Zelinksy: As far as I’m aware pretty much no one intends to damage the US Constitution…

    Apparently your awareness has an eight-year hole in it, big enough to include thorough sabotage of checks-&-balances, the Bill of Rights, the status of treaties, and much more.

    … you can be damn well sure that none of the Republicans intend to damage the economy.

    And no drunk driver intends to wrap a car around a tree, either. Therefore, drunk drivers should not be held responsible for their mayhem?

    The rest of your lame excuses for the party (again) totally repudiated by the (short-memoried) voters are so weak that further rebuttal would make me liable for charges of assaulting the handicapped.

    … the previous administration which did many things that made many Republicans uncomfortable.

    Aww, poor babies. Thousands of American troops are dead, as are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis & Afghans, and the fanatics and fools who cheered on Bush-Cheney for year after year are “uncomfortable”. Boo. Hoo. Hoo.

    I’m not “demonizing” you, you stupid sack of hypocrisy, I’m blaming you. You and your suddenly clean-handed leadership have committed vast crimes and permanently damaged the country and world I plan to spend the rest of my life in. The rest of us have a very strong and utterly rational interest in reminding all citizens just why your gang should never be allowed any position of power ever again, no matter how much you try to shift responsibility for your blatant malfeasance on to “a few bad apples” at the top.

  23. #23 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 28, 2009

    Pierce, thank you for almost completely missing most of my points. In regard to the Constitution I was discussing the claim that the Republican party had tried to actively destroy the Constitution. That’s simply false. Even Dick Cheney for all his problems attempted to construct legal arguments for his action. Thinking someone’s understanding of the Constitution is extremely wrong doesn’t mean they want to destroy it.

    Regarding your analogy with the drunk driver let’s take the analogy one step further: If someone has a serious history of drunk driving, we don’t decide the person is evil. We take away their keys and get them help. The voters in the last two elections have done just that; They’ve taken away the Republicans’ keys.

    I’m fascinated by your language in the last two paragraphs in which you repeatedly refer to “you.” I presume in that context you mean me which is interesting because I have never voted for George Bush in my life and have voted for a Republican for congress exactly once (the candidate was more of a libertarian than a real Republican and he wasn’t elected). And yet you say that “You and your suddenly clean-handed leadership have committed vast crime” and refer to “your gang” and “your blatant malfeasance.” You seem to have concluded that anyone who disagrees with you must be part of some set of monolithic Republican evil. I’m curious if you think Mike is in that category for writing his above blog entry. I’d tentatively suggest that one thing that got the US into the many messes it is in right now is the working assumption by Bush and co. that anyone who disagreed with them could be ignored or branded as evil. Please don’t stoop to their level and please don’t further inflame the already unproductively partisan politics we have in the society.

  24. #24 Comrade PhysioProf
    January 29, 2009

    Please don’t stoop to their level and please don’t further inflame the already unproductively partisan politics we have in the society.

    Depraved right-wing shitbags are all for “bipartisanship” and “reaching across the aisle” when Dems are in power. When Republicans are in the majority, not so much. I often wonder if these “moderate” assholes really believe their own bullshit, or if they are just outright liars.

    Allow me to spell it out for those dumbfucks who haven’t been paying attention for the last 40 years. “Partisanship” is completely pragmatically and ethically neutral: it is intrinsically neither good nor bad. What matters is the policies of the parties involved. If “bipartisanship” means “letting Republicans continue to fuck shit up” then it is not a good thing. If “partisanship” means reality-oriented Democrats telling deranged Republican assholes who reside in a racist, misogynist, theocratic, neo-feudal fantasy world to sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and allow the rational adults to clean up the disgusting mess those assholes have made, then it is a good thing.

    The Republican Party has spent the last 40 years completely utterly fucking up everything they have touched. It is time to shut the fuck up with the absurd apologetics. The only reason nonsense like this is even part of our political discourse is because of the toxic waste dump of our national press/media, who just can’t seem to unwrap their lips from around right-wing cock no matter how morally and pragmatically bankrupt right-wing politicians, politics, and policies become.

  25. #25 eric
    January 29, 2009

    PhysioProf:

    “Partisanship” is completely pragmatically and ethically neutral: it is intrinsically neither good nor bad.

    No, I disagree. The definition of partisanship is something like fervent support for a party. But if my representative is putting the welfare of his/her political party ahead of the welfare of my district, state, or nation, its bad. Very, very bad. I don’t want my representative improving the fortunes of the X party, I want them improving my district. That’s their job.

    Now, if you are using partisanship in a more colloquial sense to mean something like ‘trying to pass laws without compromising with your opponents,’ well, I’d agree that’s just politics and ethically neutral.

  26. #26 DrBubbles
    January 29, 2009

    Do you guys not know how politics work, or not care? Are you unaware of the *fact* that negative campaigning is a successful strategy? Politically speaking, the media is not a playground sandbox, it’s the streets and rhetoric is a weapon, not conversation.

    The Republicans had 16 years to grant some respect to Democratic conciliation. They didn’t and they don’t and they won’t unless and until they start to fear (electorally speaking) the Democratic Party. And that’ll take a few more election-day smackdowns. But if you think nuclear miss-prissy-pants Democrats will survive their inevitable policy screw-ups as well as the manly-man Republicans survived theirs, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise.

  27. #27 catgirl
    January 29, 2009

    I agree that it’s a huge mistake to call these people anti-American, especially in such a hostile way. It’s not just about the two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right stuff. More importantly, the last the thing we should do is stroke the extremists’ victim complex. They already complain about the Big, Bad, Liberal Media and the persecution of the War on Christmas even though over 75% of Americans are Christian and plenty of non-Christians celebrate Christmas. We don’t need to stoop to their immature level of insults, and we certainly don’t need to give them any more reasons to pretend they are being persecuted.

    The way the Republicans in Congress are complaining about the Democrats not being bipartisan enough, they sound like whiny 5 year-olds saying, “The president told you to play nice, but you are being mean!”

  28. #28 Pierce R. Butler
    January 29, 2009

    Joshua Zelinsky: Just because some jerk claims what he’s doing is “pro-xxx” while he’s actively working to undermine xxx does not mean it is inaccurate to call him “anti-xxx”.

    And when some other jerk emits several paragraphs lamely defending the Republican party mafia, how is it unreasonable to conclude that said person represents that particular gang of ne’er-do-wells?

    To do anything and everything possible to scrub the toxic infection of Republicanism from (what remains of) America is the diametric opposite of being “unproductive”.

  29. #29 Mike Dunford
    January 29, 2009

    Pierce, Dr Bubbles, and PhysioProf:

    I think all of you are continuing to miss one of the basic points I was trying to get across:

    Drawing a line when it comes to claiming that political opponents hate the country, are traitors, are anti-American, or otherwise impugning their patriotism doesn’t imply any need to stop other forms of criticism or opposition.

    And face some facts: Mitch McConnell could be making a hell of a lot more money out on the lecture circuit right now than in Congress, and going into this most recent election he knew full well that he wasn’t going to come out as majority leader. He still fought tooth and nail to retain his seat. Ever watch a campaign close up? Unless you’re a masochist, it’s not something you put yourself through for kicks and giggles.

    Personally, I think that McConnell is one of the worst things to happen to the American political scene in recent years. Pick an issue, he’s on the wrong side. His ideas are poor, and his obstructionism makes it extremely difficult to get things done that need to be done. I’ve got serious questions about his wisdom, his political vision, and (metaphorically speaking) his parentage. But as diametrically opposed as his vision of what this country should be is to my own, I’d have to be a fool to question his commitment toward working for what he sees as the best interests of his country.

  30. #30 Pierce R. Butler
    January 29, 2009

    Mike –

    Fwiw, my planned next comment was to have been a blast against the Democrats, followed by a few swipes at the system which both Major Parties™ have in common.

    But McConnell serves well enough as a specimen of the net negative effect of his party.

    As you point out, his net impact has been harmful, in politics and in policy, to the still-increasing cost of us all. And he is hardly so stupid as to have missed that his party was going to reap some whirlwind in ’08.

    But as a capo in the GOP mafia, McConnell is already the product of intense artificial selection. At his level, only those with a hunger for power remain: “leaders” who quit easily have already been weeded out, as have most of those motivated by greed for money (v. Phil Gramm).

    The extent to which McConnell et al believe their own rhetoric about the higher good of America is neither measurable nor relevant. The point is that their continuance in US politics is detrimental to what we need to do to recover from their crimes and blunders (as is the Democrats’ failure to bring the clearly indictable – which sfaik doesn’t include McConnell – to courts of law).

    Your point also highlights the phrase you started with, “anti-American”. I haven’t used that phrase here so far, but if you will grant the parallel with such usages as “anti-aircraft” or “anti-personnel”, I’ll be happy to.

  31. #31 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 29, 2009

    DrBubbles, you seem to be arguing that people should stoop to the lowest level because it works. Well forgive me but I’d rather have a minimal attempt to have a decent dialogue than deliberate mud throwing.

    Pierce, and yes when someone says they are “pro-x” and what they are doing in fact undermines x it doesn’t mean they are “anti-x” it generally means they are misguided about what will help x or what x really stands for. That doesn’t make them “anti-x”.

  32. #32 Coriolis
    January 30, 2009

    If all you’re arguing is that these people believe that what they are doing is for the best, that’s trivially true. Not just for them but for practically any political leader no matter how vile and deranged their policies are, from the tribal militias butchering each other in Africa to hitler. Practically all of them and their followers believe that what they are doing is ultimately in the best interests of their people.

    Which is why political leaders should be judged on the real effects of their policies, not their imagination about what those policies should have done.

    That is why Joshua, when somebody follows policies that undermines x, they are anti-x, no matter what they believe they are doing. If they are misguided, then they can maybe fix it and change, but unless they do, their intentions by themselves don’t change the effects of their actions.

  33. #33 Pierce R. Butler
    January 30, 2009

    Joshua Zelinsky @ # 31: … when someone says they are “pro-x” and what they are doing in fact undermines x it doesn’t mean they are “anti-x” it generally means they are misguided about what will help x or what x really stands for. That doesn’t make them “anti-x”.

    If you are trying to convince us that, say, Dick Cheney is merely innocently misguided about what he has been doing to the United States for the last eight years, may I suggest you’d have better luck setting up a stand to sell 100%-pork hot dogs in downtown Hebron?

    Even if you feel it would be the “decent” thing to do, to give the Busheviks the benefit of the doubt, there are too few Americans left so innocent or misguided as to think there is any doubt about the criminality of the (at last!) past regime. Even those dead-enders who support the Repubs don’t deny their multiple violations of the law, they just claim their violations of US law, the Geneva Conventions, etc, were “necessary” to protect us all from the boogeymen of which they are so terrified.

    Or do you claim that it’s “mud-throwing” to accuse Al Capone of tax evasion, the Pope of being Catholic, and bears of shitting in the woods?

  34. #34 DrBubbles
    January 30, 2009

    >31

    I thought we were beginning a new era of evidence-based reality. Democrats have tried conciliation. Republicans have refused it. That is the evidence of the real world. And you want them to be *more* conciliatory?? Do you not see the implausibility of that?

    We do not have drawing-room politics anymore. That is a simple fact of American life. It’s not something that Democrats can change unilaterally. Republicans won’t make nice until it’s in *their* interest to do so and a couple of electoral setbacks haven’t convinced them it is.

    No later than eighteen months from now, when the 2010 races heat up, you’re going to have to choose between having a clean mouth or clean hands. You may not like it, and you may not always have to make that choice, but for the present you do. That’s just the political reality of the present.

  35. #35 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 30, 2009

    Bubble, conciliatory is a distinct claim from mudslinging. I can argue forcifully for specific political positions without having to engage in insults and obnoxious ad hominem attacks.

  36. #36 Pierce R. Butler
    January 30, 2009

    Is there any way to address the politics of the last eight years without obnoxious ad hominem attacks, when the key movers have been such obnoxious hombres?

    Is there any way to address the politics of the present without the context of the last eight years?

    To “analyze” the legacy of malfeasance we face without calling the bastards responsible for so much of it the harsh labels they have earned would be not just euphemism, but whitewashing.

    There was a story a year or so back about a rape defendant’s lawyer who somehow persuaded a judge that the accusations faced by his client were so prejudicial that the word “rape” should never be used during the trial. You seem to be demanding the entire country treat the entire Republican party with the same ridiculous kid gloves – even as the rivers of blood and tears they’ve caused continue to rise.

  37. #37 JakeS
    January 31, 2009

    OK, so “America-hating” is arguably outta line – depending a bit on whether you believe that the Wall Street creeps most of the Republican (and Democratic) party(ies) are in the pocket of actively hate Americans or just don’t care about them.

    But aside from that and the frequency of four-letter-words, is there anything really objectionable in that statement?

    Obama has got overwhelming majorities in both chambers. Tactically he does not need to convince Republicans – he needs to push sound policies.

    Strategically he does not need to convince Republicans. Strategically, he needs to break their will or ability to oppose sound policies at some future point in time.

    The republicans (and most of the Democrats) are neo-feudal oligarchs who should not be given the time of day.

    And since the Republicans have precious little of value to contribute to political discourse (even less than the Democratic party), he does need to tell them to sit down, shut up and stop breaking things.

    “Bipartisanship” and “broad coalitions” are not virtues in and of themselves. They are only virtuous inasmuch as they lead to sounder policies. When you have a fundamentally Reaganite party in power – like you have now – doing “bipartisanship” and “coalition-building” with people even farther detatched from reality is not gonna help improve policies.

    – Jake

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