Sunday, November 1, 2009

Classics of the Genre

This morning, Facebook friend Douglass posted:
What if we could know, scientifically, that one side has the edge in brainpower? Should that change how we think about political issues? 
 Which led to a classic conversation.  Here it is, in it's entirety. 
Poster #1
"Are Liberals Smarter Than Conservatives?"

No, but liberal elites reek of this arrogant condescension. They also enjoy trumpeting their supposed "smart power" with self-supporting junk science, such as this self-congratulatory article.

Liberals are herd animals. Sheep. Maybe this gullibility is hard-wired in the liberal brain? Or is gullibility just another word for stupid?
Poster #2
Jon: First para., touche.
Second para., is as much a mirror as a window. The non herd people are actually the independents. One should always be cautious of those in power, no matter their hue.
Thanks, Jon and Ed. Methinks a nerve has been tickled. I figured this piece would have the effect of catnip, especially for the bobcats of the Arizona outback. Actually, it was produced and published by a nonprofit think--repeat, think--tank, the American Enterprise Institute, that has skillfully championed, with a warrior's commitment, every right-wing cause in the cultural and political wars of the last four decades. I was experimenting with my new arsenal of weaponized irony.
Doug - you are THE MAN!

Poster #1 - projection much?
Me again:
Another suggestion for Jon, who seems not to know the correct form. It is now standard for RW blog posts to have LOTS OF CAPITALS and EXCLAMATION POINTS as you TEAR APART THE GULLIBLE LIBERAL SHEEP!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and lots of myspelings.

You might start by questioning that LIBERAL AEI.

Poster #1
I've had forwarded to me various versions of this meme over the years - liberals "proven" to be more intelligent via "scientific" studies. "Knee jerk tests prove!..." conservatives are more reactive. Janeane Garofalo:: "conservative brains are abnormal", etc etc

If this article was meant as satire, I missed the joke, I guess. Maybe someone can ... explain it to me (s-l-o-w-l-y -- I'm not a brainiac lefty!)

I was a devout Democrat for over 25 years, now independent/unenrolled. I don't type in caps. Just annoyed by holier than thou, "smarter" than thou, elitists....
Jon, sorry to lump you. In some ways I think the article misses one key question. There are plenty of smart and stupid and ignorant people on "both sides." I think a better question is what people along the liberal to conservative continuum do with information. I think the Iraq war is instructive in addressing that question. In particular, the very odd polling that came out after Bush's man Duehlfer came back from Iraq and said: no WMD, aren't any, weren't any, sorry. Polling showed acceptance of that result by Dems and independents, and showed that the number of republicans who believed there were in fact, WMD, actually increased. Against objective fact, they chose to believe what they preferred to believe. They're called Zombie lies:  
btw, I was a devout non-partisan until the reign of George W.
Poster #1:
More proof for my gullibility theory, maybe. "Polling showed acceptance of that (misinformation) by Dems and independents..."
Also, polling results are not the same as "objective fact".

The "Zombie lies" article is just more prejudice in search of junk science to support it.
Scientific methodology out the window in favor of partisan pretend science.

I was apolitical until the narcissistic Clinton years..
No Jon, polling results are not the same as objective fact. The reporting from Bush's own WMD expert, who believed before the war the Iraq had WMD, who had full access in Iraq to anyone and anyplace he chose to go, working for a president who was finding that his core public rationale for the invasion was a fiction, reported persuasively and conclusively and quantitatively that they were all wrong.

And I would rate this thread as a classic of the genre.
Now, take it away NY23rd...
Dierdre K. Scozzafava's decision to suspend her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District seat is a shocking development in what had already been an extraordinary race.
In her statement Saturday morning, the assemblywoman explained the reasons behind her decision: "It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so."
During the day Saturday, she began to quietly and thoughtfully encourage her supporters to vote for Democrat William L. Owens.
Ms. Scozzafava finished a distant third in the latest Siena Research Institute poll with 20 percent support of likely voters. Her opponents, Mr. Owens and Conservative Douglas L. Hoffman, garnered 36 percent and 35 percent respectively.
The third-place finish in the respected survey, coupled with a shortage of campaign money to overcome the difference in likely support, forced her hand. So did the shift of moderate Republicans — such as former Gov. George E. Pataki — to back Mr. Hoffman.
The Watertown Daily Times initially endorsed Ms. Scozzafava as the best-qualified candidate in the race. We still think she is. However, in suspending her campaign she released her supporters' commitment to her. That left voters to choose between Mr. Owens and Mr. Hoffman.
Of the two, Bill Owens is by far the superior and only choice.
The Democratic candidate has demonstrated a willingness to listen to people about ways in which he could help the district as their representative in Washington. Mr. Owens has remained focused on the economy and job creation throughout his campaign. At the same time, he has shown an understanding of the military, a keen desire to help dairy farmers, an ability to work with labor unions and an eagerness to learn more about the vast, 11-county district that he hopes to represent.
Mr. Owens seems to approach politics and challenges with an open mind, a generous spirit and a can-do attitude. He has conducted a dignified campaign in comparison to Doug Hoffman.
Mr. Hoffman is running as an ideologue. If he carries out his pledges on earmarks, taxation, labor law reform and other inflexible positions, Northern New York will suffer. This rural district depends on the federal government for an investment in Fort Drum and its soldiers, environmental protection of our international waterway and the Adirondack Park, and the livelihood of all our dairy farmers across the district, among other support. Our representative cannot be locked into rigid promises and policies that would jeopardize these critical sectors of our economy.
For a member of Congress, there may be a time to promote reform in Washington, but there is also a time to work within a system that best serves the people you represent.
It is frightening that Mr. Hoffman is so beholden to right-wing ideologues who dismiss Northern New Yorkers as parochial when people here simply want to know how Mr. Hoffman will protect their interests in Washington.
The race has changed, but voters still face an important choice. Northern New York must send to Congress a representative who serves their interests first and foremost.
The Times endorses Bill Owens for Congress.
 John Cole: About That Big Tent Party
You know the thing that I find most amusing about the NY race is that what they are basically telling every moderate Republican across the country is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a loyal Republican for decades, it doesn’t matter if you know the district and the people, it doesn’t matter if you fit the district, and it doesn’t matter that you have given decades to the party. It just doesn’t matter. If the teabagging wingnuts and the shrieking lunatics like Malkin don’t like you, high profile crackpots like Palin and Dick Armey and others are going to swoop in and back some clown who doesn’t even live in the district and then shit all over the area’s voters, telling them their interests are “parochial.”
Now that is how you build a sustainable party!
John Cole: This Was Inevitable 
Nothing surprising about this (via the GOS):
It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same. It’s not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh’s lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region. I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.
In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.
Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. There’s too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.
We’ll see if the wingnut purge works out for them. In related news, it turns out that Hoffman is a Glenn Beck follower and has signed his pledge. This just gets more awesome with every day.
And this from Hoffman’s position page made me chuckle: “I was brought up to believe marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s how I feel. I don’t want to persecute anyone but that’s what I believe. Marriage ought to stay marriage. Period.”
Unless, of course, your name is Michael Schiavo, and then marriage is between a man, a woman, the wingnuts, and a Republican congress.
  •  Steve Benen adds: 
    This is extremely unusual. It's not every day -- it's not any day -- that a Republican congressional candidate endorses the Democratic congressional candidate in the same district three days before the election.
    But for Scozzafava, Hoffman -- the right-wing accountant who doesn't live in the district and is unfamiliar with local issues -- is just that awful for her community. In some ways, if the special election in New York's 23rd is a skirmish in the larger battle for control of the Republican Party, Scozzafava would prefer to see the moderate Democrat win, rather than let far-right radicals score a key victory.
    So, does this mean Owens has a better shot on Tuesday? Maybe a little, but the odds are still against him. Chris Cillizza explained, "Polling conducted by the Siena Research Institute -- and released on Saturday -- showed that more than 60 percent of Scozzafava backers were self-identified Republicans, meaning that the majority of them are likely to back Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman."
    In the bigger picture, though, if the Tea Party's purge leads moderate Republicans to start siding with Democrats in greater numbers, the GOP will shrink further, and continue to move in the wrong direction.

In a district represented by a Republican lawmaker in every election since the Civil War, the national Republican Party not only endorsed the consensus choice of local GOP leaders in the special election in New York's 23rd, they also invested $1 million last month. Yesterday, on the verge of an embarrassing third-place defeat, she quit.
The right-wing inmates have decided it's their asylum now, and they're just getting started.
Republican Dede Scozzafava's decision Saturday to drop out of the New York special congressional election gave conservatives a big win, but may present a challenge for Republicans heading into next year's mid-term elections. [...]
The message from national and New York conservatives is unambiguous, though: This was an angry, energized base telling the national party that an anything-for-a-majority approach by GOP leaders is unacceptable. They are serious and deeply concerned about what's going on in Washington.
While the Empire State's unique ballot rules and a Republican candidate to the left of the GOP mainstream helped open the door for Hoffman's unlikely run, the national effect of this race may be to embolden more conservatives to take on party establishment-approved candidates who don't toe the ideological line.
And so the new phase of The Great Purge begins.
"I think it will empower tea party activists to look for moderate scalps in other districts," fretted one senior GOP strategist with national campaign experience. "The question is, Will we go through a period in the party where a great purge begins?" this strategist asked.
Hasn't it already? Scozzafava was a respected local Republican, with a record slightly to the right of most GOP state lawmakers in New York, but she was deemed insufficiently conservative. Sen. Arlen Specter was a Republican senator for nearly three decades, but he was deemed insufficiently conservative. Gov. Charlie Crist is supposed to be a rising GOP star from the nation's largest swing state, but his future is in doubt because he's been deemed insufficiently conservative. Eight House Republicans supported energy reform in July, and the base has targeted them for retribution. Newt Gingrich, for reasons I've never understood, is considered one of the GOP's great idea men. But the Tea Party/wingnut crowd has turned on him, too.
When Newt Gingrich is too moderate, and trying to pull the Republican Party closer to the American mainstream, it's safe to say there's something deeply wrong.
It's also safe to say the national Republican Party, which has suffered consecutive electoral failures and has seen its brand deteriorate further this year, has a problem for which there is no obvious solution.
Frank Rich reflected today on the right's Jacobins:
The right's embrace of Hoffman is a double-barreled suicide for the G.O.P. On Saturday, the battered Scozzafava suspended her campaign, further scrambling the race. It's still conceivable that the Democratic candidate could capture a seat the Republicans should own. But it's even better for Democrats if Hoffman wins. Punch-drunk with this triumph, the right will redouble its support of primary challengers to 2010 G.O.P. candidates they regard as impure. That's bad news for even a Republican as conservative as Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose primary opponent in the Texas governor's race, the incumbent Rick Perry, floated the possibility of secession at a teabagger rally in April and hastily endorsed Hoffman on Thursday.
The more rightists who win G.O.P. primaries, the greater the Democrats' prospects next year.... Though [Beck, Palin and their acolytes] constantly liken the president to various totalitarian dictators, it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode. They drove out Arlen Specter, and now want to "melt Snowe" (as the blog Red State put it). The same Republicans who once deplored Democrats for refusing to let an anti-abortion dissident, Gov. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, speak at the 1992 Clinton convention now routinely banish any dissenters in their own camp.
The opportunity for Democrats is obvious. The majority party, fearful of the electoral consequences of a struggling economy, has found new reason for optimism: a Republican Party in which night-wing nihilists are deliberately driving moderates from the party ranks.
"During August, Republicans thought they'd be able to harness the energy of the far-right, but the opposite has happened," DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen said. "The far-right, tea-bag party is leading their Republican Party around by the nose."
The message for Democratic strategists writes itself. DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse explained, "The true leaders of the Republican Party like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Tim Pawlenty have said to all moderates and independents: 'When it comes to being part of our party, you need not apply.'" DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer added, "The Republican Party's extreme right wing ideologues sent a chilling message to the few remaining moderate Republican Members and candidates: moderates are not welcome in the Republican Party and differing opinions will not be tolerated."
Ironically, Dems may have some help getting the word out. Party leaders will spend the next year arguing, "Moderates aren't welcome in the Republican Party."
To which conservatives will reply, "You're damn right, they're not."



  1. I am not 100% sure it's time to celebrate the teabaggers gaining control of the GOP.
    It feels to me like everyone is on edge right now; how do we know the crazy won't flare across the US?

  2. I'm not celebrating. I'm terrified. It's like watching a train wreck, and I'm on the train.