Wednesday, May 10, 2006

RATIONAL DISCOURSE

The Captain's Quarters has an article recently about the tone of politics and the reaction of some to the slightest variation from the accepted dogma. For years, Washington DC insiders have commented that they've not seen the equal of the level of bitter anger and vitriol aimed at President Bush at any time previous in their careers, and Captain Ed notes recent a column by Richard Cohen.

Two items from prominent opinion journalists point to a meltdown in the Democratic base even as they close in on a vulnerable GOP in midterm elections. Jonah Goldberg and Richard Cohen have one thing in common: irrational e-mail. However, while the conservative Goldberg received one ludicrous rant regarding the Jewish conspiracy to control oil, Cohen received thousands of hysterically angry e-mails denouncing him as an administration stooge -- for writing that Stephen Colbert bombed at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Cohen responds in amazement in today's column, "Digital Lynch Mob":

But the message in this case truly is the medium. The e-mails pulse in my queue, emanating raw hatred. This spells trouble -- not for Bush or, in 2008, the next GOP presidential candidate, but for Democrats. The anger festering on the Democratic left will be taken out on the Democratic middle. (Watch out, Hillary!) I have seen this anger before -- back in the Vietnam War era. That's when the antiwar wing of the Democratic Party helped elect Richard Nixon. In this way, they managed to prolong the very war they so hated.

The hatred is back. I know it's only words now appearing on my computer screen, but the words are so angry, so roiled with rage, that they are the functional equivalent of rocks once so furiously hurled during antiwar demonstrations.

Perhaps the Right got this insane during the Clinton presidency, but I doubt it. When we disagreed with columnists who overall remained sympathetic to conservatism, we didn't send hate e-mail (or regular mail) by the thousands accusing them of being Clinton stooges. There was certainly a segment of irrational people involved in the debate, but they didn't control it the way that the analogous segment on the Left appears to do now. We see it in the rise of MoveOn and International ANSWER as significant political forces on the Left. Now Cohen has felt its power, and he sees its danger.

Commenters responded:

Think it's bad on the net?

It's worse face-to-face.

...and dumber, if you can believe it.

Every myth, every bad joke, every BusHitler reference... people live by those concepts on a day-to-day basis. And they get really mad when you challenge those ideas. I've had a guy just sit there, very loudly repeating the same stupid entence, because he didn't have a real response to what I was saying. It's like talking to a three year old.
-by Cirby


This reminds me of when, on Super Bowl Sunday, I was at the store buying some supplies, and I made a comment to a stranger in the crowded parking lot that I maybe the only Republican driving a Volvo in town, when we were both commenting on deranged parking lot behavior. The guy started yelling at me that I had better wake up because "Bush lied and kids died".
The internet can bring out the worst in people in terms of heated comments. God knows I fall into that category. But I was flabbergasted that a stranger would take a tiny comment - said in context of a joke - and use it as an invitation to start literally yelling in public.
-by hunter


The left is far more-unhinged over President Bush than the right was over Clinton. During the highly embarassing Clinton Administration, the conservatives mostly tried to not think about him, which was admittedly difficult since almost every day there was something else in the "news" about some previous or current nefarious act. Mostly the conservative response to Clinton's numerous misdeeds consisted of a disgusted shaking of the head, and the possible mutter of something like, "What a POS", which pales in comparison to the left's increasing and incessant insanity over the past 5 years.
-by Cowgirl


Another place you can see the derangement is on Amazon. Most books get a handful of customer reviews, but conservative books will gets hundreds. The book 'Women Who Make The World Worse" has 334 customer reviews, and some of them even admit they did not read the book, but gave it a half a star anyway. Some on the left even treat Amazon as if it is a blog and the review section is for comments. So you will see 'Bush lied, kids died' remarks in a review of a book about Hillary Clinton.

This shows not only intolerance, but a willingness to lie to get ones way. Childish behavior and it predominantly comes from the left.
-by MagicalPat


We're talking about really nasty people whose favorite entertainment at parties is by getting their kicks taping photos of Bush and Laura to the toilet seat just to have their jollies pissing on the President and his wife. Of course I live in NYC but I bet this type of thing is more common among the Angry Ones than I'd like to admit.
-by Syn

It's hard to sympathize with Cohen. The MSM and the leadership of the Democratcis party have actively encouraged the spread of this kind of hate, by their own dishonest and foolish statements.

Presumably they assumed that they could control the monster they created. Hopefully it is starting to dawn on them that it would just as soon devour them also.
-by flenser


I think the Left is quite motivated and it shows on the lunacy of attacking what should be a allied opinion.

But there are nuts on both sides.

I dont have the link anymore, but some of the stuff I read on the conservative blogs (and published "Christain" magazines!) was violent, rightist, and downright scary stuff.

This is one of the only conservative sites I post to. And it is because occasionally we have a reasoned discourse here and less name calling.

Call me a decently informed devils advocate.

So here is a position:

Can we agree that both sides of the cutural divides have absolute nutcases that (all to often) we focus on and say "wow look how nutty curtural side X is" rather than focusing on any moderate soultions?

This post is another example of that. And it is what the press should rightly be condemned for: looking for the extremes so we can all have a good fight.

There are alot of things that we could all agree on. Abortion, Homosexuality, and whether or not colbert was funny are probably not some of them.
-by Foston


Foston, I'm sure that we all have run across right wing fever swamp sites and people. However, the difference is that they are the way out there's, mostly ignored, barely tolerated, if tolerated at all, while the fever swamp sites and people on the left are their mainstream. You never see large groups of conservatives act, speak, or write in the manner that the Lefties do.

Look up and down the Ecosphere. How many barking moonbat righties are in the top 1000? 1, maybe 2? How many barking moonbat lefties are in the top 1000? Almost all.
-by William Teach


The left's willful wallowing in Napoleon Hill's "Seven Major Negative Emotions" is why I've long before now stopped taking what they say as "arguments" - and have more properly classified them as "symptoms."

Check of proof:

- (1) Anger and (2) Hatred: these are obvious on their face through the name-calling and epithets that they use as sentence-filling crutches and substitutes for logic.

- (3) Fear: this plays out in their unwillingness to cope with the world as it is, their moral rudderlessness, their defeatism and appeasement-mindedness, and by their dread of confronting the emotional ugliness inside them. Thus, they engage in wishful thinking, self-deception, selective outrage and selective laryngitis, deception of others, and assorted avoidance mechanisms (e.g., projection onto others of their own inner negativity).

- (4) Superstition: manifests itself through the assortment of bizarre conspiracy theories they so easily resort to and tenaciously cling to no matter how hard they're pressed with inconvenient facts.

- (5) Jealousy: this reveals itself through resentment and hostility toward those more industrious and/or prosperous than they are: from hatred of Capitalism (e.g., Walmart) to decrying "tax cuts for the 'ultra-rich,' 'winners of life's lottery.'"

- (6) Greed: reflected in their desire to get "something for nothing" - prosperity without effort, security without sacrifice, rights without responsibilities, risky "alternative lifestyle" behaviors without consequences, or the ability to utter uninofrmed and hateful expressions without running the risk of being criticized for the same.

- (7) Revenge: the lust for which is manifested, for example, in the openly-stated "agenda" of the donkey party if returned to power.

The emotional mind is much like a garden patch: The difference between the positive emotions and their negative counterparts is that the former must be consciously cultivated, while the latter will, like noxious weeds, voluntarily invade a mind that is lazily left unguarded. If not resisted, those negative emotions will eventually take over one's thoughts completely and become that person's character.

Unfortunately for themselves, and for civilized political discourse, much if not most of the left today has not only surrendered to emotional negativity, but has actually embraced it ... only to discover that like the tar-baby, it's embraced them as well.

Mr. Cohen has, to his partial credit, finally had the scales removed from his eyes in this regard.
-by Gaius Livius


The Right certainly had its time hating Clinton during all the various scandals (and his subsequent weaseling out of all of them). But I never heard Republicans or Conservatives spouting the bumper sticker slogans like I now hear (constantly) from the Left. The whole "Bush lied, soldiers died" and "no blood for oil" mantra keeps being repeated ad nauseum, regardless of whether the speakers even know what they're talking about. It seems to give Liberals something to cling to in order to perpetuate their hate.

I think that, deep down, these are the same Liberals who stood by Clinton even as he betrayed their ideals and made fools of them. And they are determined that if their guy screwed up and got busted for it, they'll be damned if they'll let a Republican get through his administration without suffering the same fate. And then we've got Bush doing his best to give them ammunition, either by putting incompetent people into high office or just flubbing a speech. But these Liberals see no difference between lies vs mistakes, or coverups vs genuine national security issues. Doesn't matter. They will continue to shriek the same slogans until they manage to either unseat Bush or elect someone like Hillary who will give them a feeling of vindication. That they didn't support a felon (Bill Clinton) in vain.
-by reverse_vampyr


I see this hate every day as I debate liberal bloggers. Even when I am talking about something philosophical that has nothing to do with the war in Iraq or President Bush they eventually bring it up. This hate of Bush is reaching the level of a psychological disorder, and it scares me to no end.

I recently tried to start a campaign with both liberal and conservative readers to write three nice qualities of major politicians with whom they totally disagree. The result was largely one of mockery, people either refused to do it or did it with a satirical tone. Even a blogger who called bin Laden an intelligent individual was unable to say one nice thing about his President. That is hate.
-by little cicero


It amuses me that Cohen is "shocked, shocked" that all this venom came his way for merely panning a comedian's act. If he had read his own paper about two weeks ago, he would have seen a profile of lefty blogger Maryscott O'Connor, who is consumed with hate for the President and anyone to the right of center. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401648.html">[Link]

As a independent, I don't consider myself part of any party "base". I read mostly right-leaning blogs, because they mirror my view that we have to fight Islamofacism. When I do disagree, I don't spew venom like the Kos Kids. For example, Michelle Malkin has been tough on the President vis a vis immigration, but she has stopped short of telling "the base" to stay home in November. She is starting to irritate me by pointing out every biligual White House incident. I agree with her that border security should be strenghtened, but a bilingual White House web site is not going to endanger the Republic. But I respectfully disagree, unlike the cretins who have called her every racist and sexist name in the book. That is why she doesn't have a comment section.
-by ClericalGal

DrSanity examines the psychological basis for the behavior of people regarding the Colbert appearance:

So, what are we to make of Colbert's humor at that dinner? Rude and insulting is too nice a word for it (and I must admit that I usually find Colbert rather funny). It was very revealing precisely because it revealed something about Colbert and any of those who found it hilarious--it revealed immaturity and intolerance. To be precise, it was just another attempt at displacement, the underlying psychological motivation of Bush Derangement Syndrome. The purpose of this kind of "humor" is to hurt. It makes very few feel pleasure except at the pain of someone else.

This kind of humor is found in children and adolescents mostly. The "ha-ha!" shout of the character Nelson, who makes fun of everyone's pain; while blissfully unaware of his own family's psychopathology in The Simpsons is an example; or one of the three stooges beating up on another.

and one of the commenters on that site had this to say:

Today, kiddies, we try a little experiment in logic emulation. We start with a simple premise in 10, then expand on it with a series of questions and answers, then loop back in the program to restart the loop.

10 But it's being so BRAVE to criticise Bush to his face - because he might have you dragged off to Gitmo!

20 Has he ever done so?

25 No, but he MIGHT! After he institutes a theocracy with himself as king!

30 Has he ever said he wants to do that?

35 No, but he MIGHT, if he thought he could get away with it!

40 Do you think he could get away with it?

45 No, but he MIGHT, if we weren't constantly watching him!

50 And Colbert's been watching him?

55 Of course! How else could he have known enough to Speak Truth to Power! Why, Bush might have him thrown into prison!

60 Has Bush ever done so with any dissent?

65 No, but he MIGHT! After he institutes a theocracy with himself as king!

70 GOTO 30.
And so, with a simple BASIC style of programming, you too can emulate the concentric logic loops of the left...
In the 1990's, when President Clinton was in power, the right was indeed somewhat loopy in it's criticism at times. I recall getting emails about all the people connected with the President who died, and how Foster's suicide wasn't really suicide, and how Ron Brown was shot in the head and died from that not a plane crash, and how drugs were run into Arkansas at an airstrip and Clinton was connected, and so forth. All political opposition will have those on the fringe who will bring up conspiracies and dark "secrets" and concoct wild theories.

But the tone and all-consuming bitterness and hatred regarding President Bush is unique in my experience, and harkens back to the attitude that was held toward President Lincoln. While the right was disgusted by the idea of such a man being president and bewildered that anyone could remotely consider him qualified, let alone dignified for such a position, the mania and fixation on discredited and totally refuted talking points that the left relies on and endlessly repeats now is bizarre and sad to watch.

Never would a conservative, out of the blue, begin to argue that President Clinton was a murderer or drug dealer, you would not have people who incessantly worked their anger and concern over President Clinton's policies and actions into every single conversation as the left often does now.

The term Bush Derangement Syndrome ("the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush." - Charles Krauthammer) was coined to attempt to describe this behavior and mindset. There is something truly deranged about some of the radical left in their attitude and behavior concerning this president.

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