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While the vast majority of Americans of both parties, no party, conservatives, liberals and moderates came together yesterday to breathe one huge sigh of relief that U.S. Navy Seals had rescued Capt. Richard Phillips from the hands of pirates in a lifeboat off the Somali coast — and feel a sense of national pride — one segment of Americans was going on the attack:

Some conservative radio talk show hosts.

I got to monitor nearly 9 hours of weekend talk radio yesterday in a drive from Las Vegas to my home in San Diego — a trip longer than usual due to snail-paced Easter traffic. And most of the shows were not pretty as hosts expressed joy at the rescue but were on the direct or indirect attack against President Barack Obama.

If it hasn’t become clear in recent weeks, the reaction of these hosts made it clear: conservative talk radio has not just jumped the shark, it has jumped the pirate’s mast.

According to the AP, Obama did have a little to do with the events that unfolded:

President Barack Obama twice authorized the military to rescue a U.S. captain who was being held by Somali pirates and whose life appeared to be at risk, administration officials said after Sunday’s rescue.

The Defense Department twice asked Obama for permission to use military force to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast. Obama first gave permission around 8 p.m. Friday, and upgraded it at 9:20 a.m. Saturday. Officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations said the second order was to encompass more military personnel and equipment that arrived in the Indian Ocean to engage the pirates.

But on several shows from various cities (some local talk show hosts and national ones) these are some of the things listeners were told:

*An L.A. host said Obama really had little or nothing to do with the Navy’s action. The host said his sources said the Navy captain had standing orders to do what he needed to to save Phillips. He told listeners to ignore “some reports” that were coming out. It was clearly a reference to the above AP report — the implication being that it was inaccurate, a lie or just the administration trying to grab credit.

*The Navy was decisive and all Obama was doing was getting bogged down in jurisdictional matters – -dithering, and the Navy, in effect, acted when he wouldn’t. (The full story is not out yet, but most reports suggest close coordination between the Navy and Marines in the field, the Defense Department, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Obama, with the White House solidly backing military contingency plans)

*Obama merely wants to bring the captured 16 year old pirate back to be tried in the U.S. so the ACLU and other groups will get the justice system to go easy on him.

*Obama dragged his heels on this issue for days and it was only the Navy that responded in a decisive way — in effect dragging Obama along as it took the initiative.

*It was a “great victory for the Navy” and “indirectly a victory for Barack Hussein Obama.” This national weekend host repeatedly referred to Obama’s middle name.

On Saturday, driving to Las Vegas before the rescue, I listened to about 6 hours of conservative talk. Some were live shows and some canned reruns from the previous week. Conservative talkers were then lambasting Obama for not doing anything about the crisis, not using the Navy and not using the Navy Seals. Obama was sending a signal to the world that he was weak, to pirates that he was a pushover, was seemingly afraid to use U.S. military might, was indecisive…

It’ll be most interesting to see how conservative talkers handle this story today. Question: Must EVERY, single issue be turned into a raging diatribe against the guy who beat their candidate for President?

Talk radio has had an explosive growth in the U.S. and still gets great ratings in most markets — that is, except for most progressive talk, which you can find if you hire a private detective (and then it’s iffy).

But now conservative talk has gone to a new level or, perhaps, a new depth. It’s no longer just predictable in the ideas but in its consistent TONE which is invariably angry, demonizing and dismissive of anyone who doesn’t totally agree with the talk radio political culture conventional wisdom. It is increasingly lacking idea content and becoming a seeming nonstop grudge fest.

Conservative talkers are heavily promoting the “Tea Parties” on Tax Day — parties patterned after the historical Boston Tea Party.

But conservative talk is becoming so predictable now in tone and content that if this trend continues, the event that may most represent today’s over caffeinated version of conservatism may not be a Tea Party — but Custard’s Last Stand.

JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Braindead

    Not sure it really matters. The left is more concerned with what the right is saying then what actually happened. The right trys to neuter Obama for his actions in this and the left tries to neuter the right for saying something negative.

    Flip………flop. 2001-2008 has just started over. Only the names have changed. Those once outraged are now cheering and those once cheering are now outraged.

    What a great country driven by a cesspool internet and cheered on by a Main Stream Media who only wants to make a buck and have become nothing more then tabloids.

    What a great day this is. The great Uniter, centrist, Moderate Obama has united us all as he seeks bipartisan support from the FAR LEFT and the LEFT. What? Huh? Independents? Moderates? Conservatives? Far Right? What is that?

    Bah they don’t matter. We all know they are braindead Americans.

  • CStanley

    Ridiculous reactions to events which should provoke only praise for all of the parties involved- from the ship’s captain (who acted with extreme heroism) to the Navy Seals AND their Commander in Chief. These talk show hosts should answer one question- would you have refrained from criticizing Obama if the mission hadn’t ended well, and saved your criticisms only for the Navy Seals? Of course the answer is no- there would have been no end to the comparisons to Jimmy Carter’s botched hostage rescue attempt.

    So far this has been a sticky situation played nearly perfectly; we now move in to the next phase and there may well be room for critiicism but these folks have made their opinions irrelevant since they’re unable to give credit where it’s due.

    I do hope we soon see an end to the partisan sniping- both from the conservative talk show hosts and from the blogosphere regurgitating everything they say and attempting to portray them as the center of gravity of the right. These types should be ignored, but it seems to serve the purpose of the left and center left to continue the tactics begun by Carville and Begala, to stifle any organized opposition from the right by discrediting any conservative movements by portraying talk radio hosts as their leaders.

    • unebaiser

      It seems to me the talk show hosts portray themselves as the conservative leaders.

      • CStanley

        Well, of course they do, but that alone doesn’t make it so. And even to the extent that they do have a big role right now, my point is that it’s due to a void that needs to be filled with more serious leadership- but I think that moderates are so afraid of looking foolish for being on the same side as some blowhard entertainers that they won’t even consider whether there are more serious people out there trying to lead a principled opposition to the country’s leftward shift. And I was just bringing up the left wing fringe stuff to ask why it is that moderates were never similarly scared away from the Democratic party by some of the buffoons on that side.

  • “Flip………flop. 2001-2008 has just started over. Only the names have changed. Those once outraged are now cheering and those once cheering are now outraged.”

    Great point Braindead. This is what caused me to continue my protest vote in this past presidential election.

    I do hope we soon see an end to the partisan sniping- both from the conservative talk show hosts and from the blogosphere regurgitating everything they say and attempting to portray them as the center of gravity of the right.

    Me too CStanley. Those talk show hosts are not the center of gravity of the right. Yes they have listeners. Yes they have “followers”. But if they were the center of the universe of the right, which would make them serious player in all politics, we would have a very different country (for better or for worse).

  • Judging from much of the right blogosphere’s manic output yesterday (and today), I agree with you CStanley. It’s wholly unfair to pin this frothing insanity only on the talk shows.

  • JSpencer

    To the extent that rational and mature conservatives of integrity and objectivity are susceptible to being lumped in with standard bearers like Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Malkin and their myriad clones, then it is truly unfortunate and they have my sympathy. That said, if greater efforts are not made by responsible republicans to regain control of their party from that cancerous ilk (or even the perception of control) then they had better get used to seeing a continuing decline in influence. There is certainly room for legitimate criticism of the Obama administration, and it needs to be made if there are to be constructive checks and balances, BUT that criticism will need to be seen as coming from a credible place if it is going to be productive.

  • CStanley

    Polimom, I think that’s an unfair, blanket assessment of the ‘right blogosphere’. None of the sites that I read regularly had anything that could be called ‘frothing insanity’. I’m sure people can easilly find right wing sites that did have that kind of reaction, but that’s par for the course in the blogosphere, right and left. I find it highly irritating when people leave comments like yours here, without citing which sites your talking about, because many of the readers will take you at your word and believe that’s an accurate assessment of all conservative opinionators.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Polimom quallified her criticism by saying “much” of the right blogosphere–which I think is true enough–not throwing a blanket over everything and everyone.

    • CStanley

      You’d still have to make reference to which sites (to attribute it to the ones that everyone already knows are ‘frothers’, just as we all know there is left moonbattery at certain liberal blogs) and do some kind of quantification in order to make that judgment in a fair manner, George.

  • CStanley

    To the extent that rational and mature conservatives of integrity and objectivity are susceptible to being lumped in with standard bearers like Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Malkin and their myriad clones, then it is truly unfortunate and they have my sympathy. That said, if greater efforts are not made by responsible republicans to regain control of their party from that cancerous ilk (or even the perception of control) then they had better get used to seeing a continuing decline in influence.

    The left was pretty rudderless for quite some time, and now the right is experiencing this. When there’s a void in leadership, the vocal extremes (and especially, entertainers) end up filling the vacuum. I’d like to think that I’m one of the ‘rational mature conservatives’ you refer to, but there’s just not a whole lot that people like myself can do without leadership (and even when people are banding together to speak out, ie, tea party protests- our political opponents are seeking to discredit that by tying it strictly to the faux leaders.)

    What I find a bit amusing is that people on the left and moderate left now are using the technique that Rush Limbaugh masterfully used to discredit the left for years. A lot of you who probably never listened to him much don’t realize it, but one of the main reasons for his success was his use of parody to ridicule liberals by highlighting the fringe foolishness. By making liberals appear to be followers of loony lefties, Limbaugh effectively made it embarrassing to be a liberal. Now, his opponents are using him and other talk show hosts to do the same to conservatism. It would have been nice to think that moderate left leaning centrists would be above stooping to Limbaugh’s tactics, but apparently it’s not to be so.

    • unebaiser

      You are exactly right,the problem is, it works.The conservatives did not complain
      about it when it was beneficial to them,so why now?Turnabout?I agree with you though,it is a sad state of affairs when a draft ducking coward can ridicule a man who serves his country honorably.Where was the maturity then?

      • CStanley

        Sure, but a lot of those who (in many cases correctly) criticized the conservatives for not speaking up then are now being just as syncophantic in regard to their party now. There’s immaturity, hyperpartisanship, and heads in the sand to go around on all sides, and I think the country is best served by centrists who are willing to criticize all of it instead of just the portion which bugs them the most.

  • I’m sorry, CStanley, that you are irritated. But so am I — and I did qualify my assessment with “much of”. I even posted so there’d be a trackback.

    But I’m actually beyond irritated. I’m furious.

    This was — IS — an inspiring moment. I’m extremely proud of everyone involved, from the incredibly heroic Captain Phillips to the military to the president. We ALL should be.

    Clearly, PDS is alive and well. BDS was/is disturbing and mad. So is ODS. And it’s downright revolting when displayed in the face of a truly inspiring event.

    • CStanley

      But you have a responsibility to direct the criticism at those who deserve it, without impugning others, Polimom. I’m sure I could easily find you half a dozen prominent right wing or right leaning bloggers who reported this straight up and gave credit where credit is due. Broad brush comments like yours prevent moderate readers here from even bothering to check, and those bloggers lose credibility as a result of your blanket criticism.

      Besides, part of my irritation is that you chose to make a snarking response to my own comment, and in doing so you obviously twisted my meaning.

      And a final note- those who feel that we should all be united in celebration over this are not helping the cause by picking at the partisan sores. If you continue focusing so much attention on those who aren’t falling in line as they should, you’ll only grow in anger and disgust at those who view things differently than you do. Those folks may well be wrong, but the polarity between your side and theirs won’t dissipate if you constantly express anger and irritation when they’re not ‘with you’.

  • Those folks may well be wrong, but the polarity between your side and theirs won’t dissipate if you constantly express anger and irritation when they’re not ‘with you’.

    I don’t have a “side”, CStanley.

    Broad brush comments like yours prevent moderate readers here from even bothering to check, and those bloggers lose credibility as a result of your blanket criticism.

    I’d be both surprised and disappointed to learn that the comments section is affecting somebody’s credibility — much less that anyone’s prevented from looking into things further thereby.

    But you have a responsibility to direct the criticism at those who deserve it, without impugning others, Polimom.

    I agree. I do. And I did.

  • CStanley

    I don’t have a “side”, CStanley.

    Then who are you angry with?

    And I’m sorry, but a measly qualifier like “much of” does not make your comment accurate or precise by a long shot. If you have a complaint with specific blogs, name them rather than asserting that certain ones which provoked your irritation are representative of an entire side of the political blogosphere.

    I’d be both surprised and disappointed to learn that the comments section is affecting somebody’s credibility — much less that anyone’s prevented from looking into things further thereby. It may be disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue that people are influenced by what they read (whether in the main posts or comments.) If we didn’t believe that the things we write have any influence, I doubt most of us would spend the time that we do expressing ourselves in this manner.

  • kathyedits

    I do hope we soon see an end to the partisan sniping- both from the conservative talk show hosts and from the blogosphere regurgitating everything they say and attempting to portray them as the center of gravity of the right. These types should be ignored, but it seems to serve the purpose of the left and center left to continue the tactics begun by Carville and Begala, to stifle any organized opposition from the right by discrediting any conservative movements by portraying talk radio hosts as their leaders.

    Allow me to point out, Christine, that you yourself invited Polimom’s comment about the right blogosphere with the above paragraph in an otherwise great comment. And in fact you are mistaken when you write that talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck et al. are fringe figures and not the center of gravity on the right. Although it’s true they *act* in ways that you might imagine would make them fringe figures, they are in fact NOT fringe figures. Rush Limbaugh, especially, has been almost totally embraced by right-wing bloggers and, even more to the point, by Republican *leaders* in Congress. Glenn Beck not quite as much — I guess acting out dousing someone with gasoline and setting them on fire is a bit much even for the currently configured right — but you will still find well-known, widely followed bloggers who do support him.

    Moreover — and this is perhaps even more important — even when bloggers, pundits, and congressional leaders on the right do not explicitly express approval of what these extreme talk show hosts say and do, they do not, for the most part, disassociate themselves from it, condemn it, or even criticize it. If I’m not mistaken, Rush Limbaugh attended and spoke at CPAC, and if that’s not a stamp saying that he is a mainstream, valued conservative, I don’t know what would be. When the controversy about Limbaugh wishing for the president to fail was at its height, in the blogosphere and elsewhere, it pretty darn near became political suicide to condemn his remarks or even disagree with them.

  • CStanley

    I didn’t invite anyone to distort what I wrote, Kathy. If Polimom had responded without sarcastically writing that she ‘agreed with me’, it wouldn’t have irritated me (she’s certainly entitled to her own opinion which differs from mine, which would then trigger a non-irritated response from me- but she’s not entitled to claim agreement while stating an opinion that is much different than mine.)

    Re: center of gravity- my point is that when a party is so clearly in the minority, it lacks real leadership and the fringes do become the most vocal and obvious. But, if moderates from the left of center want a healthier political clime they will refrain from giving those fringe voices more power than they deserve. It’s fine, and accurate, to note that the right lacks a more serious spokesperson than Limbaugh right now- but what I see happening among ‘moderate voices’ goes beyond noting that and appears more like gleefully sticking a spear in the heart of any growing conservative opposition.

    And sometimes the less respectable voices of a political movement have to serve as place markers. I don’t recall a whole lot of criticism from the moderate left of Michael Moore, or Code Pink, or Daily Kos, or Keith Olbermann, Randi Rhodes, or MoveOn.org. I think that people who weren’t happy with the tone and tenor of those movements or personalities knew that they couldn’t cut off their noses to spite their faces. Eventually the Democratic party has found more serious leadership, but it didn’t do so by denouncing the annoying voices on the left or having a litmus test ( I hear people hear sometimes saying that they can’t possibly support conservatives because of Limbaugh, but they somehow never felt the same about his counterparts on the left.)

  • I don’t have a “side”, CStanley.

    Then who are you angry with?

    My goodness that’s clarifying. Apparently one cannot criticize unless one stands across some arbitrary line in the sand — a line helpfully (randomly?) drawn by others.

    Not only that, but I’ve noticed at a number of sites that one cannot level any kind of criticism without being dumped (or welcomed) into a big labeled box… and while that’s par for the course in some quarters, it’s surfacing more than I remember on erstwhile “moderate” blogs.

    And no, I’m not going to play this game by the new rules.

    Added:
    “I don’t recall a whole lot of criticism from the moderate left of Michael Moore, or Code Pink, or Daily Kos, or Keith Olbermann, Randi Rhodes, or MoveOn.org.”

    That seems to be the real bone folks want to pick. “I didn’t see/hear all this before!” Thus, criticism is either a) not legitimate, or b) requires a yin for any negative yang.

  • CStanley

    I’m not following you at all, PM. I’m simply pointing out that in your first comment, you didn’t specifically criticize certain individuals who made ungracious comments, you lumped it into a criticism of the right blogosphere (even though you did allow for exceptions- but your criticism was still a broad one.)

    So who is doing the ‘labelling’ or putting in a box, here?

    And yes, when people didn’t react on principle when they should have in the past, they will now be susceptible to questioning on their supposed principled opposition now. When principles are applied selectively, there’s a betrayal of other motivation. I think that some people from the center left might now realize that they ignored things that should have been criticized before, or criticized unfairly when they should have been more principled- and anyone who owns up to that is fine in my book. I similarly feel that I should have become more politically engaged and should have seen what was happening within the GOP and spoken out against it sooner. But without some kind of self reflection like that, I’ll continue to view what some are now doing as disingenuous.

    I’ll repeat something I’ve said in the past- we all, I believe, are susceptible to distortion of our own biases. We see the egregious behavior of those with whom we disagree much more clearly than we see it among those with whom we mainly agree. I realize you resist being categorized to one ‘side’ or the other, Polimom, but I don’t believe that anyone is immune to this. People like yourself, who aren’t strongly in one camp or another, seem to believe that their biases are based in fact instead of opinion- but that’s why I’m pointing to the fringe lunacy on the left because for some reason those sorts of people didn’t provoke the same sort of distaste for you that the right fringe does. Why is that, if not that you actually agree more with people on the left and thus are more willing to overlook things? I’m sincerely asking, not accusing.

  • $199537

    Must EVERY, single issue be turned into a raging diatribe against the guy who beat their candidate for President?

    Heh, welcome to the conservative’s world from 2001-2008.

    Anyway yes the talk show hosts are predictably spinning this against Obama and they’ll keep doing this as long as it sells, which looks like a long time. My only criticism of Obama was his unwillingness to answer questions about the piracy incident until it was over, otherwise everything turned out fine.

    CStanley I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while there are certainly some thoughtful conservative websites, personalities and blogs out there, the more partisan and vocal ones seem to be the ones driving the GOP right now. In that sense it might be reasonable to generalize since the ones making all the noise all seem to have the most power.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    CStanley–

    You know Polimom was trying to agree with you, right?

    Do you actually disagree that there was “much” complaining about Obama’s role in this in the right blogosphere?

    • CStanley

      Yes, I do disagree with that, George (and I don’t think that PM seriously was agreeing with me- perhaps she can clarify whether she genuinely misunderstood me or if she was deliberately using sarcasm when saying she agreed with me.)

      At best it might be close to 50:50 in terms of right bloggers taking a laudatory tone, and even among the ones who didn’t there’s mainly criticism that isn’t ‘frothing’ but just some expression of relief that Obama didn’t dither, or some pointing out that in fact he did have to be asked twice before giving the authorization. I think that’s nit picking, but it’s not beyond the pale to comment on the facts of how the event transpired.

      • unebaiser

        You cannot believe everything the talk show hosts say.He did not have to be asked twice before anything.That is another lie.He gave authorization two separate times.This is how the right wing whack jobs twist the facts and make their audience seem uninformed.

        • CStanley

          I was wrong to say “fact” when what I meant was that some people have been questioning this. The report that some bloggers were questioning did make it sound like Obama held off giving the orders the first time he was asked, and although I don’t know that we know that that’s false, I’m more than willing to accept that he gave the authorization when it was needed. It was not my intent to dispute that, I simply pointed out that the discussion about those facts that were in question wasn’t over the top in my opinion, even if I disagree with the need to question that particular detail.

  • CStanley

    CStanley I’m going to go out on a limb and say that while there are certainly some thoughtful conservative websites, personalities and blogs out there, the more partisan and vocal ones seem to be the ones driving the GOP right now. In that sense it might be reasonable to generalize since the ones making all the noise all seem to have the most power.

    My gripe is that this is a completely self fulfilling phenomenon, DaGoat, when moderates continue to highlight the less thoughtful members of the right blogosphere and talk radio. And those same moderates are the only hope for reversing that trend, which I believe is in the best interest of the country.

    • HemmD

      “My gripe is that this is a completely self fulfilling phenomenon, DaGoat, when moderates continue to highlight the less thoughtful members of the right blogosphere and talk radio. And those same moderates are the only hope for reversing that trend, which I believe is in the best interest of the country.”

      CS

      Why should moderates, or for that matter the left, NOT have the job of highlighting the nuts on the Right? Their form of criticism is not “less thoughtful,” its nut job crazy. The way to reverse the trend is for anyone and everyone to bring to light their hypocrisy, paranoia, and crass manipulation of “the facts.”

      I know who mentioned a list from the left who you consider equally extreme, but I would be happy to have you show me where Olberman has acted in any way similar fashion as Limbaugh. What lies has he stated, what film has he edited to make its subject appear to say one thing when he actually said another? Let me know.

  • DdW

    What a shame that a joyful event that should unite Americans—and for which our President should receive at least a tiny bit of credit–has engendered such undeserved criticism by some on the right, and such a discord on our comments board.

    When the events unfolded yesterday, I said to myself, now, finally here’s something on which all Americans could unite and feel good about–how wrong I was.

  • DdW

    “My only criticism of Obama was his unwillingness to answer questions about the piracy incident until it was over, otherwise everything turned out fine.”

    This is called “Operational Security” You don’t let the enemy know what your plans or intentions are.

    • $199537

      This is called “Operational Security” You don’t let the enemy know what your plans or intentions are.

      Hillary Clinton and Petraeus answered some questions in a general fashion but Obama completely refused to discuss it. I’m not sure why that was.

      I would have liked to hear from Obama that the US does not pay ransoms and demands that criminals stand trial, which of course turned out to be their position. Repeating the guidelines that the US has always followed would not have hampered security.

      All in all though it turned out great so way to go Obama.

  • Nope. CStanley’s quite right. I sarcastically leveraged her comment, and it was wholly in reaction to her last paragraph:

    “I do hope we soon see an end to the partisan sniping- both from the conservative talk show hosts and from the blogosphere regurgitating everything they say and attempting to portray them as the center of gravity of the right. These types should be ignored, but it seems to serve the purpose of the left and center left to continue the tactics begun by Carville and Begala, to stifle any organized opposition from the right by discrediting any conservative movements by portraying talk radio hosts as their leaders.”

    I was already beyond irritated with the right blogosphere at that point, and seeing a valid criticism twisted into something that “…serves the purpose of the left and center left… to stifle any organized opposition from the right…” put my dander right up.

    In the interests of harmony CStanley, and with due respect to this blog and moderation, I apologize. I could have shared my frustration without using your comment to launch. It was simply handy.

  • CStanley

    OK- truce, PM! I can comfortably agree now to simply disagree with your opinion of the prevalance of nastiness in the right blogosphere on this, without any further irritation in the way you expressed the opinion.

  • frustratedsr

    With such loudmouths as Limbaugh, it isn’t hard to take offense with their remarks. It seems as tho no matter what President Obama does, it never is right, in their opinion. Pres. Obama is commander-in-chief. Of course he had been made aware of the hostage situation with the pirates and had to make a decision. I am quite sure none of the recent presidents has been responsible for a hostage by pirates….nor an economic downturn in the country as it is now…nor so many people “hurting” in the USA. I feel he has repaired relations with several leaders of foreign countries, and we’re fortunate to have him as president. Give him a chance. He’s been pres. about 90 days now?

  • CStanley

    frustratedsr- I agree in the sense that neither Obama’s supporters nor his detractors should be drawing broad conclusions from this one incident, even though the celebration of the outcome of the event is very justified. I’d think that Obama’s supporters would guard against making this a ‘Mission Accomplished” moment for Obama, since this is round one of what will be an ongoing conflict for security in the shipping channels. And likewise, Obama’s political detractors shouldn’t make themselves into knee jerk critics of everything the man does because then they have no credibility to criticize when it’s appropriate.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    I also apologize for misunderstanding.

  • elrod

    Is there a way to alter the structure of these threads. I can’t follow who is responding to whom? It looks like CStanley is responding to CStanley. Tyrone, this is probably a question for you since you know the technical side of things here.

  • kathyedits

    my point is that when a party is so clearly in the minority, it lacks real leadership and the fringes do become the most vocal and obvious.

    Not necessarily. It didn’t happen when Democrats were in the minority (in fact, quite the opposite — Democrats were terrified of the “extremist” label from Republicans). And in fact, I don’t recall the Republican Party ever being so rudderless and lacking in leadership and so dominated by the lunatic fringe as it is now.

    And sometimes the less respectable voices of a political movement have to serve as place markers. I don’t recall a whole lot of criticism from the moderate left of Michael Moore, or Code Pink, or Daily Kos, or Keith Olbermann, Randi Rhodes, or MoveOn.org. I think that people who weren’t happy with the tone and tenor of those movements or personalities knew that they couldn’t cut off their noses to spite their faces.

    Well, Christine, the answer to that is simple: None of the blogs, organizations, or individuals you named (with the exception of Randi Rhodes, and she has no influence whatsoever) are in any way comparable to people like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. They don’t preach hatred or mimic setting people on fire or stalk female bloggers and harass them with hostile questions while they are on vacation or lie on a daily basis about stuff that is so transparently untrue it can be debunked with just a few minutes’ fact-checking. Having strong political views, whether left or right, is not that same thing as being factually and morally irresponsible.

  • HemmD

    Kathy

    Thanks for pointing out the false comparison between those who CS named to the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck.

    It’s one thing to criticize based on facts, and quite another to base criticism on paranoia, lies, and cynical manipulation.

  • CStanley

    Kathy, your rebuttal and Hemm’s seconding of it are strictly matters of opinion. And those opinions will differ wildly depending on one’s perspective. I’m sure neither of us has the time nor inclination to do an accurate survey of blogs right and left over the past eight years, so we’ll probably have to agree to disagree. I’ll just throw out two examples to make my case though- was the left terrified of being labelled extremists in the wake of the MoveOn “General Betrayus” ad? And on the topic of female bloggers being stalked, can you deny the vile and threatening stuff that Michelle Malkin has experienced?

  • Wow. Firefight. Personally, I’m delighted that “our side”, the USA rescued the captain, wasted the pirates and sent a message (don’t tread on me?). I applaud everyone involved, from the captain to the president.

    I’m delighted that “your side”, the GOP is now loudly represented by its extreme-cum-mainstream pundits Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Coulter, Beck, Hannity et al. The characterization of this as roughly 50:50 is frankly laughable. The audience represented by the extremes I mention far far surpasses any moderate elements of “your side”. The more these extreme heavyweights fume at our hugely popular president, the more I like it.

    “My side”, yes, I’m an unashamed, unabashed liberal, has returned grownups to the government, intelligent, thoughtful people devoted (for the most part) to the good of the country, not to lining their pockets at our expense, and not constantly seeking to exploit and amplify divisions between us. (afraid I can’t apply that to the Dem Congress yet).

    I look forward to both parties continuing their current behavior as the sun sets on the pathetic GOP. May a new party, truly representing mainstream values, emerge from the ashes.

    • CStanley

      The characterization of this as roughly 50:50 is frankly laughable.

      Then please show me how my statement is inaccurate in regard to the reaction in the blogosphere to the rescue mission. I never made the claim which you seem to be laughing at in regard to the relative audience size of certain radio and TV personalities.

      • Fair enough. I looked at a dozen “right voices” linked here and most didn’t mention the pirate story at all. I’ll take your word for the 50:50 blogger response. You have to admit though that the coverage from high profile and high audience voices on the right are what most Americans will be exposed to, not relatively obscure bloggers. I’m not trying to smear all Republicans with scorn because of the Limbaugh/O’Reilly/Hannity/Beck/Coulter/McCain/Palin/JoeThePlumber axis of lunacy. But that’s how “your” party is coming across. I’m fine with that. May their shrill voices continue to characterize the GOP to voters throughout Obama’s two terms. Meant no offense to you personally.

        • CStanley

          No offense taken personally, GD- it’s just that what I keep pointing out is the self fulfilling part of it when you say that the right is currently being represented by the talk show hosts and such. That will continue to be the case if ‘the right’ is portrayed that way on sites like this one, because you’ve got to admit that when time is limited people are going to tune out to blogs which they consider to be hyperpartisan if they consider themselves moderates, and if the consensus here is that the right is hyperpartisan but the left isn’t then people will get all of their news with a left tilt.

  • CStanley

    Why should moderates, or for that matter the left, NOT have the job of highlighting the nuts on the Right?

    Because when it’s done in an unbalanced, selective fashion it tilts public opinion (that was what I was pointing out, that this was Limbaugh’s forte and it’s how he helped tarnish the liberal brand and even the word liberal. When people don’t have time to check out whether the accusations that this is what the right blogosphere in general is all about, they come away with that perception. For some left or left of center commenters, this effect is deliberate, I’m sure, while others (I’d put Polimom in this category) aren’t intentionally trying to skew opinion unfairly.

    I would be happy to have you show me where Olberman has acted in any way similar fashion as Limbaugh. What lies has he stated, what film has he edited to make its subject appear to say one thing when he actually said another? Both Limbaugh and Olbermann play the game of distortion by ridicule. Sorry, but I have no interest or time to play a tit for tat comparison of the two. If you’d like to delude yourself into belief that Olbermann and the rest of the gang at MSNBC are paragons of journalistic integrity, and that they only appear biased because the truth has a liberal slant, be my guest.

    • HemmD

      CS

      You of all people should know that facts kind of matter when evaluating someone’s opinion. Lumping people together in an inaccurate fashion because you don’t have the time is rather lame. Either Olberman has unjustly ridiculed or he didn’t. I’ll be happy to provide evidence that Limbaugh has done this.

      Your opinion is stated but unfounded. False comparisons drive the sniping that you said you deplore.

      • CStanley

        The reason I’m unwilling to engage in this, Hemm, is that I’ve been there and done that with regard to this topic. If you want to do a short version of it, then go ahead and give me a couple of your examples about Limbaugh ‘lying’ and I’ll show you how they’re probably not lies but distortions, and I’ll give you a couple of comparisons to some of the Olbermann crap.

        In the end, I’ll bet you that neither of us will have changed our opinion. This seems to be one of those cases where people can’t even agree on the facts, so the opinions don’t budge no matter how long we debate it.

        • HemmD

          CS

          As long as you wish to split hairs between lies and distortions, I’ll pass.

          What would be the point of trying to have a conversation wherein these two words lose similarity? “Because when it’s done in an unbalanced, selective fashion it tilts public opinion,” it’s a lie with a purpose.

          And I so appreciate your concern that I am deluding myself. You know I’ve been worried these past eight years that I was missing something, that maybe Limbaugh et al had the truth I just couldn’t see without their help. You’ve convinced me that the Right wing echo chamber distorted the truth for my own good.

          • CStanley

            I’m back online if you have any more to add to this, Hemm. If you choose to drop it, I’m fine with that but you seemed interested in having me back up my assertions which I’m willing to do as long as it doesn’t go round in circles.

            (I see I’ve messed up the order in the thread because the comments appearing below this one were posted prior to this one- hopefully that makes sense.)

          • GeorgeSorwell

            I’m not really sure where to put this in the threaded comments so it will be noticed, but since yo posted the previous comment only 13 minutes ago, I guess you’re watching here.

            You’ve asserted a 50:50 statistic.

            I wonder if you could show us how you derived that figure?

          • CStanley

            LOL, I love the way you don’t question Polimom’s assertion of how she characterized “MUCH” of the right blogosphere (that was lauded as an accurate qualifier) but I have to show scientific methodology for saying that I felt it was a pretty even split.

            Let’s see, how did I derive it? I thought through the fact that I probably had read about a half dozen of the usual right leaning blogs that I frequent and hadn’t seen anything offensive (and had seen some that were appropriately praising the action), and then considered the fact that there are probably about a half dozen rightie blogs that I rarely visit because they’re hyperpartisan, but they are undeniably big players in the blogosphere so I was assuming that they were the ones that had annoyed Polimom.

            So, I’m sorry to disappoint that I can’t give you the standard deviation of probability of accuracy of my assessment, but it was just a personal guesstimate. You may want to ask Greendreams who did some checking and seems to agree that I’m not far off.

          • GeorgeSorwell

            CStanley–

            So, you’ve done the same thing Polimom did?

            You’ve done the same thing you’ve spent this entire thread complaining about?

            Only you put actual numbers to yours?

            How is what you did any different?

          • HemmD

            Nope

            I’m done with this as the hair was presplit.

          • CStanley

            My you’re in a good mood today, Hemm. I thought we’d had some good discussions in the past so I’m guessing I said something that ticked you off in this thread, but I can’t figure out why. Is my opinion of Olbermann offensive to you for some reason? Do you really see him as a reasonable, nonpartisan commentator? You don’t think that the comparison to Limbaugh is apt at all? That surprises me because in past conversations with most moderate left leaners, a lot of other people have agreed with me (they might find him entertaining, but they don’t want to claim him as an honest, nonpartisan representative.)

            And yeah, I am splitting hairs on lie vs. distortion because the latter is what I think both of these guys do. Why is it a problem to call a spade a spade?

          • HemmD

            The problem with calling a spade a spade is that implies both entities are spades. By and large, Olberman has backed up his assertions with facts, links to sources, etc. He has sometimes made mistakes, but that is a far cry from the new reality in whole cloth that Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, etc have produced.

            Obama is not a radical, fascist, socialist, etc. This isn’t shades of grey comparison, this is the BS you wish to condone or justify? You and I have had our share of in-depth discussions, but neither has ever attempted to BS the other. Your contention that there is some seminal difference between lies and distortions as a starting point in our discussion makes me wonder who I’m talking to. Call it a personal problem on my side.

          • CStanley

            And I would argue that by and large, Olberman uses other tactics besides using nonfactual statements most of the time, and occasionally veers from facts. That’s why I made a distinction between outright lies and distortions, because it’s much easier to find examples of the latter from both Olbermann and Limbaugh.

            Even though I initially resisted doing so, you asked me for specific examples from Olbermann and I took the time to respond to that request, but you are silent in response to those examples. One of them is even a specific example of what you explained as unacceptable from Limbaugh, taking a clip and editing it to have a person’s words twisted (my example was Bristol Palin, who used the word “choice’ to describe her decision to bear her child when answering her critics who thought that her mother pressured her to do so, and then Olbermann claims that this shows her to be ‘prochoice.’)

            And in your second paragraph here, you’re veering off into other topics which really can’t be done justice in the middle of another thread IMO. The topic at hand was whether or not the conservative blogosphere is willing to give credit where due to Obama for how he handled a tense hostage situation. I don’t know why you are bringing up whether Obama should be called a socialist or not. If anything, that liine of criticism of Limbaugh and other conservative opiners would just bring a countercharge from me about Olbermann’s use of hyperbolic criticism of Bush. I’m the one who is saying that both Limbaugh and Olbermann should be marginalized, while you seem to want to defend one and condemn the other.

          • HemmD

            CS

            You are absolutely right, there’s no point in “debating” this question.

            “taking a clip and editing it to have a person’s words twisted (my example was Bristol Palin, who used the word “choice’ to describe her decision to bear her child when answering her critics who thought that her mother pressured her to do so,”

            From the interview:
            VAN SUSTEREN, AFTER ASKING ABOUT THE TABLOIDS: What didn’t anybody get? What didn’t people understand?

            BRISTOL: That, there’s a lot of things. They thought that, like, my mom was going to make me have the baby, and it was my choice to have the baby. And it’s just, that kind of stuff just bothered me.

            Bristol believed it was her choice. The Prolife position is that you have no choice.

            “BRISTOL PALIN: Everyone should be abstinent, whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.”

            It appears Bristol also believes abstinence only is not realistic. Her words.

            Bristol doesn’t realize that she’s pro-choice. What’s your point? Olberman lied about what she said?

            The two quotes above are direct from Newsbusters.

            Compare these with some of Limbaugh’s statements:

            Discussing Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama “numerous times, three times in Illinois voted for legislation that would allow doctors and patients to murder babies who survived abortions and were out of the womb. Radical stuff. Three times he voted for this.” Limbaugh misrepresented the legislation Obama voted against, a bill that amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 and that opponents said was unnecessary, as the Illinois criminal code unequivocally prohibits killing children, and posed a threat to abortion rights. Mediamatters.com

            Oh that’s right, distortions are not lies.

            “Well, we’ve got another tape from — I get these guys confused — Usama bin Laden. Another tape says he’s going to invade Pakistan and declare war on Pakistan and Musharraf, which, ladies and gentlemen, puts him on the same page with a Democrat presidential candidate — that would be Barack ‘Uss-Obama.’ ”

            “His education plan is Maoist (no surprise given the Ayers/Klonsky influence), and he is otherwise a Bolshevik. I’m also quite sure, given his character traits, that he would be a Stalinist if he thought he could get away with it”

            Do I really have to mention “Barack the Magic Negro” ?

            You are absolutely right, there’s no point in “debating” this question.

  • CStanley

    I’m leaving soon so if you want me to respond to your examples of Limbaugh, Hemm, it’ll need to be in the next 15 minutes or so. Otherwise we’ll have to either agree to disagree or resume the topic at a later time.

  • CStanley

    OK, well, I do have to run but I’ll go ahead and leave you with a couple of Olberisms if you want to respond to them. I know that he took statements made by Bristol Palin out of context from her interview with Greta van Susteren and made it seem that she was politically prochoice (in opposition to her mother.) I believe that Newsbusters covered that one.

    And I recall that he also said that Palin cut funding for special needs kids, which Factcheck.org refuted.

    I’m not sure if he was one of the many (which included the Obama campaign itself) that kept repeating, devoid of context McCain’s statement about “100 years in Iraq” but I think he was part of that distortion.

    And finally, even having a segment titled “The Worst Person in the World” and using that to highlight people on one side of the political spectrum exclusively, is itself a distortion based on selection bias. Any right wing commenter who did that would be immediately seen as using a soapbox to discredit the left, but for some reason you don’t think so when a lefty is doing this? If Olbermann has ever featured a Democrat in that spot, I certainly must have missed it.

  • kathyedits

    I have to go to my pathetic part-time job, but I just want to say, since T-Steel wanted comment, that I am really very badly confused by this threading system. I know it’s supposed to make things easier, but I don’t understand how it works at all. I’m having more trouble matching my or others’ comments to the replies made to them than I did before.

    Sorry to be a downer. πŸ™

    • HemmD

      kathyedits

      I tried to answer your questions, but the indents don’t see to work in formatting my “help.” My reply ended up down below

    • HemmD

      kathyedits I used a finagle to fix the formatting. It should also be indented under your original post (let’s hope)

      Here’s how it works (I think) You can leave a comment just like you did. Comments made by each person goes right below each other like a list.
      The difference is when you reply to to a comment. Replies are now indented under the comment you are replying to. If they reply to your comment, it is indented under your reply. It would look like the following:

      Comment A
      Comment B
      ………..Reply to Comment B-reply
      …………….Reply to your comment B reply
      …………Somebody else’s reply to comment B
      Comment C

      Hope this helps

  • CStanley

    OK, I have to agree with Kathy that the threaded comments aren’t functioning well in my opinion, and now George has posted a comment which I was going to reply to but there was no ‘reply’ button underneath it. I’ll respond here, to this:

    So, you’ve done the same thing Polimom did?

    You’ve done the same thing you’ve spent this entire thread complaining about?

    Only you put actual numbers to yours?

    How is what you did any different?

    Polimom made an assertion which I disputed, and then I made my own assertion. You have questioned that, I responded, and if you wish I’ll list the specific blogs that I read regularly which specifically praised the mission (and I believe most of them specifically gave credit to President Obama- but if you want to sift through to make sure of that, go ahead.)

    Anyway, my list of regular reads includes:
    HotAir, particularly Ed Morrissey (who not only had a positive post about this but the other day when some conservatives were complaining that Obama was being too quiet he had posted on it by defending that tactic, saying that Obama was right to not publicly comment at that time.)

    Poligazette

    QandO (where I noticed that McQuain not only commented in a positive fashion but then got into an argument with a commenter who disagreed.)

    Outside the Beltway

    and Jonah Goldberg of NRO (who also was criticized for making a laudatory comment toward Obama, and then argued that people were being ridiculous to question that.)

    And Richard Fernandez who blogs at Belmont Club, hosted by Pajamas Media.

    I also have a couple of regular reads whose takes on this I didn’t agree with (Rick Moran was too dismissive IMO, and I found Blackfive and other military bloggers to be disappointing- and I was surprised that the Anchoress didn’t comment although she hasn’t posted much today at all.)

    • HemmD

      CS

      I hope my corrected thread explanation for kath helps, probably not πŸ™‚
      it should be directly above your last comment – this one

    • HemmD

      CS

    • HemmD

      CS
      You obviously weren’t meant to answer George. His is the only comment that doesn’t have a reply button.

      • GeorgeSorwell

        Hey–you’re right!

        And I was hoping to get a comment so far over to the side, it would be nothing but a column of single characters!! ; )

        • CStanley

          Hey, no fair! I want to get the last word! πŸ˜‰

    • GeorgeSorwell

      CStanley–

      By your own admission–quoting you from one of your previous comments–you made a “personal guesstimate”, from a handful of blogs you read.

      That’s also what Polimom did. And she avoided blaming the entire right blogosphere, even if you didn’t like her choice of qualifiers.

      So again, I’d really like to know how what you did is different from what Polimom did, especially in light of your complaints.

      Who deserves blame for what, CStanley?

      • CStanley

        I’m sorry that I don’t know how to make this more clear to you George. Polimom made an assertion which I disagreed with and I made a counterassertion which I’ve justified with some numbers and links when asked to do so. I’m questioning why you are asking me to provide backup when you didn’t similarly feel that was necessary for PM. If your point is that I didn’t immediately list all of the blogs that I was referring to, well, gee, shoot me I guess. Sometimes I state opinions and then if someone questions the basis for it I attempt to give my rationale and links or facts to back my opinion. I assume most other people do so as well. If you disagree with the asssertion I made, you are free to go round up as many links as you want to prove me wrong.

        • GeorgeSorwell

          CStanley–

          I’ve counted nine blogs there. Do you really think you got a representative sample of the right blogosphere? Enough of a sample to make the stink you made here?

          I don’t think Polimom needed to provide backup because she was obviously making a personal guestimate.

          Polimom did something so normal that you did it yourself in the very same thread.

          Didn’t you?

          That’s my complaint. I hope it’s clear enough.

          And, you know, CStanley, when challenged by GreenDreams, who called your number “frankly laughable”, you didn’t respond by providing your nine-blog backup. Instead–you placed the burden of proof on him: “Then please show me how my statement is inaccurate in regard to the reaction in the blogosphere to the rescue mission.”

          • CStanley

            And I don’t think I accused Polimom of doing something beyond the pale. The ‘stink’ I’ve raised is an admittedly long series of comments as I responded to things, others responded to me, and back and forth. And during the course of that, I also realized that one reason I was really irritated with her is the way she had snarked on my comment, which she also realized and apologized for- and that’s fine, we all do that at times and I have no further issue with her over it.

            And in regard to your other critique (isn’t this getting a bit nitpicky??) about my response to GD- I was pointing out there that he was misrepresenting my claim because the part he was saying was ‘laughable’ was in how influential talk radio is, which had nothing to do what I’d asserted. If he’d asked me for numbers or examples I’d have given them at my earliest convenience, just as I did for you.

    • $199537

      I like Ed Morrissey but deleted my Captain’s Quarters bookmark when he moved to Hot Air. I don’t like Hot Air at all – way too much knee-jerk anti-left rhetoric. Maybe I need to give Ed another chance.

      I used to read Althouse a lot but deleted that one too when I realized she was too wine-and-cheese for my taste.

      I read Blackfive when I am interested in a military topic and agree his response to the pirate situation was disappointing.

      Don’t like Jonah Goldberg much but read NRO a lot.

      I’ll have to check out some of your other sites.

      Right now I check out Memeorandum frequently and go where it looks interesting, plus I do like RealClear Politics for a good selection of articles. I still have Neil Boortz bookmarked mainly because he’s entertaining to read and he’s stayed a fiscal conservative through the whole mess of the last decade.

      • CStanley

        I think a lot of people associate Hotair with Michelle Malkin (I believe she owns it, but she doesn’t blog there.) I never read it much before Morrissey moved there, but now that I’m going there to read his stuff I don’t really see the knee jerk partisanship to be anywhere near what I thought it would be. I disagree with some of what the other main blogger there (allahpundit) writes and he definitely has more sarcastic tone than Morrissey but it’s not like it’s wingnuttery either (in fact he wouldn’t fit in with a lot of wingnuts because he’s a vocal atheist.)

        I agree about Althouse but I still read her occasionally (love her photos, too, so I guess I lean toward the artsiness a bit.)

        Boortz is from my current hometown and I enjoy listening to him on the radio even though I quite often disagree and find him obnoxious. He says what he thinks though, and it’s obviously based on what he believes and not on carrying water for a politician or party. My biggest annoyance with him is over immigration- I think he really does have bigotry behind his stance and as the mother of a Hispanic child it really bothers me that he stirs up that kind of sentiment in our community.

  • HemmD

    kathyedits

    Here’s how it works (I think) You can leave a comment just like you did. Comments made by each person goes right below each other like a list.
    The difference is when you reply to to a comment. Replies are now indented under the comment you are replying to. If they reply to your comment, it is indented under your reply. It would look like the following:

    Comment A
    Comment B
    Reply to Comment B-reply
    Reply to your comment B reply
    Somebody else’s reply to comment B
    Comment C

    Hope this helps

  • StockBoySF

    One great thing about the howling conservatives yelling “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” is that they are getting the rest of the country used to foreign (and in this case Muslim) names.

    America elected it’s first non-white American who has a funny name. Many people did not think America was ready for this, especially since the middle name is the same as that of one of our enemies.

    So let the loonies howl.

  • Wow. This threaded comments “thing” is tough when there are so many. I can see that the number of comments keeps increasing, but I have to scroll all the way through, slowly and carefully, to figure out where the discussion is continuing.

    I’d just like to take a moment to give a kudo to CStanley, who appears to have been taking fire all day long. For the most part, she’s maintained composure and stayed on track — a difficult thing to do.

    :>

    Having said that….

    “I think that moderates are so afraid of looking foolish for being on the same side as some blowhard entertainers that they won’t even consider whether there are more serious people out there trying to lead a principled opposition to the country’s leftward shift.”

    CStanley, speaking for myself only, fear of looking foolish for agreeing with blowhard entertainers isn’t the problem. For me, it’s that these blowhards are obfuscating coherence to the point of gibberish. I do, however, agree completely that there are people out there who are seriously, rationally trying to address valid concerns. Unfortunately, they are (imo) being drowned out by the outrageous and mad.

    How do you propose elevating the volume for the more serious people, so they can be heard?

    • CStanley

      Thanks, PM πŸ™‚

      On elevating the volume, I don’t think it’ll happen until the moderates start taking anyone on the right seriously. That’s what bothers me so much about people on sites like this one who keep harping on the stoopid conservatives and completely ignoring anyone who could be taken seriously. I hate to mention Joe by name because I know he (understandably) doesn’t like commenters critiquing the site for its adherence to centrism and balance, but quite honestly I’ve seen a major transition where he used to frequently post links from thoughtful conservatives and now those occasions are few and far between, while there’s a constant drumbeat about Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck.

      Even if the reality is that rational conservative commentary has become more scarce, I’ve listed the sites I visit almost daily and there is almost always something there which could be discussed among moderates without anything but reasonable disagreement. And if moderates truly care about the health of political discourse and rational opposition to one party rule, I hope they will begin noticing that those conservative or center right commenters still exist.

      • I visit several of the sites you mentioned, and while I agree that they (and a number of others) can (and often do) write rationally, I’ve not always found the commenters to be quite as enlightened. I’ve also found, sometimes, very little room for dissent, no matter how moderately presented.

        :>

        But thinking about this further… I think the blowhards are *enabled* by the reasonable conservatives who, perhaps fearing the extreme hostility that would result, seem unable to consistently call out the problem in their own conservative ranks. I’m far more impressed, for instance, by someone on the right who’s willing to call out the Glenn Becks or Rush Limbaughs. Those who do so (Rick Moran comes to mind as a recent example) attract a great deal of attention.

        Yes, a lot of that attention is unwelcome, coming from enraged “fellow conservatives” — but it also attracts people like me who are then more likely to hear such a person’s opinions.

        Crazy as this may sound, I think it is from within that the correction will have to occur.

        FWIW (and keeping w/ the spirit of this thread) — I thought the same of the left throughout the disturbing BDS displays.

        • CStanley

          You know, in theory I thought the same thing and I suppose should now think that that’s the remedy for the right, but in reality I’m not so sure that it works out that way.

          Look at someone like Andrew Sullivan, who came to a realization that he no longer supported the Iraq War and other policies of the Bush administration. Fine, no beef with that- much better to admit a change in viewpoint and be willing to criticize the party you previously supported on those issues where you disagree. But now, does he ever really write anything representative of conservatism?

          Same with John Cole of Balloon Juice. It seems like these people become poster children of ‘reasonableness’ for the left and then they end up succumbing to the groupthink or something- or maybe they start to enjoy being thought of as cool and can’t stop seeking the adulation.

          If I could think of someone from the left who ever admitted changing their mind on anything or admitted support for Bush on ANY issue whatsoever, I’d run through in my mind whether or not it worked out that way in reverse, but I can’t think of any examples like that.

          But quite honestly, I do feel like most conservatives have given up trying to get any respect from moderates. If you’re going to be ignored or ridiculed all of the time, why bother anymore? It’s really frustrating- and when I see reasonable centrists like you or DaGoat joining in the choir of criticism of the right, I think you’re playing into the hands of those on the left who want to continue to discredit conservatism in general. I realize for you guys it’s a heartfelt sentiment and not intentionally trying to stifle opposition to the left, but it still results in that all the same.

          Don’t get me wrong though- I agree that correction has to come from within in terms of having some thoughtful and intelligent leaders emerge. I’m just saying that people have to provide incubation for that emergence too, and not crowd out the growth of good seeds by constantly giving sunlight and oxygen to the weeds.

          And to clarify, I do realize that both Sullivan and Cole are conservatives in the mold of classical liberals, somewhat libertarian. I realize that they focus now on those areas where their views cross over and mesh with today’s US left. But it would be nice if occasionally they’d use their newfound respect to actually engage their leftie followers on issues that represent other facets of conservatism (particularly for Sullivan, who wrote a manifesto of sorts but now seems to see no reason to follow through on it as it would cut into his Palin rants.)

        • CStanley

          Re: commenters- some blogs have good comment sections, some do not. I don’t think it has much at all to do with the quality of the thinking and writing of the bloggers, but rather whether those bloggers take an active role in policing the comments and responding or enforcing comment policies. The lowest common denominator seems to gravitate to any site where they can get away with what they do.

  • archangel

    hello there, just passing through, no one here cept the crickets on the hearth… but, I did want to say that I just sent a note to Tyrone about the threaded comments. I am finding them difficult to follow unless read the time frames posted on each one and sort of zig zag a bit. I note a couple commenters here have noted similar. (if you have any more to say about the new threads, leave it here, and I’ll ask Tyrone to put up a separate post so that people can address it there. Ultimately, it’s what works best/ most easily for you that we’re interested in.

    Although the indents do seem to work to signal ‘threads,’ I think maybe I’ve gotten used to hearing people on the glass screen as at a gathering in person… all sort of talking, cross-talking etc, at once… rather than my following just one conversation between two or more persons. But, others may apprehend differently?

    also, just wanted to mention, I think arguing points and yet weaving peace in and out of those as warranted is a class act. I found all your ongoing discussion here just that. I listen /read hard, and for subtext sometimes, and I one of the things that stood out to me was C. Stanley’s assertion that (paraphrased) unless one has studied their own biases and preferences in depth– (I understood her to be talking about folk like us who are blogwriters) and perhaps too, the motivies behind them– it is darn hard to be driven snow. Maybe we need the ashes for color and traction… lol. In depth psychology, this phenom is called two things, projection (positive or negative or some of both), and in the consulting room, counter-transference. Another time I’ll tell you about the training psychoanalysts often have to not do away with those components/ foibles exactly, but certain to know them well so they’re not allowed to interfere in ‘seeing’ others, or at least interfere minutely instead of gargantuanly.

    What I heard too here on your comments today, that I cherish, was that many here also find trying to balance viewpoints being a significant key to progression about the important matters in our world(s). Thomas Aquinas said that all manifest in the universe comes from God and is pure, but… well, when it seeps through human beings it gets all muddy. lol. I’ve certainly had my share of the big muddy. Fortunately, we all are washable!

    hope that last made you smile.

    kindest regards,
    dr.e

    • CStanley

      A big smile, thanks, Dr. E.

      And thank you for explaining my thoughts on self analysis of our bias, better than I could explain them. I hadn’t even made the connection to counter-transference, which I learned a bit about in a different facet of my life, but that is a wise point.

      As for the threads, I’m having difficulty as well and I’m not sure whether I might have caused some of the difficulty myself by not using it properly (sometimes using ‘reply’ button, other times adding a new comment at the bottom) but more so than that, I find it difficult to come back and find new comments when they’re interspersed in the threads instead of listed chronologically.

      So, my preference would be the old non-threaded comments, but that may be just me.

  • JSpencer

    FWIW, I’m not a fan of threaded comments either. I believe they distract from the coherent flow of comments.

    As for the conspiracy bloviaters: Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, etc. like it or not, these people have come to represent the right for more people than you may think. FOX is hardly a fringe media outlet eh? There was a program last night on public radio, OnPoint I believe, in which they talked about the over-the-top rhetoric coming from these people, and there were many clips played that clearly illustrated the sort of frothing at the mouth conspiracy fomenting that many of us are concerned about.

    As I said before, responsible republicans need to address this as it is making their party suffer. When they come out and criticize irresponsible loudmouths like Limbaugh, and then later go crawling back to apologize, it really raises the question about who is calling the shots. If these are indeed fringe figures, then they shouldn’t need to be kowtowed to the way they are. The sad thing is that many of the followers of these blowhards are sufficiently weak minded and uninformed, they believe all that hot air.

    And yes, there was loudmouth over-the-top ranting about Bush too, but there was no real quantitative equivalence to what we are seeing now. I certainly don’t recall any democrat legislators crawling back to Elinor Clift and begging her forgiveness for criticizing any of her commentary. As for Keith Olberman, he didn’t even come on the scene in any major way until Bush had already been in office for some time and had done a fair amount of damage. Again, I see the false equivalence, and I see it being accepted from the left as well… perhaps because they are more philosophically more inclined to bend than is the right.

    So it goes…

    • CStanley

      The kind of kowtowing that you say is limited to the right probably is best played out with regard to racial politics on the left. I think definitely that no Democratic politician would dare criticize Jesse Jackson (didn’t Bill Clinton catch hell for coming close to that during the primaries?) or Al Sharpton or even an obvious criminal like Jefferson.

      And in all of these cases, I think what you have to realize is that people are afraid of offending the constituents or listeners/fans- not the politician or opinionator him/herself. There’s a recognition that a certain portion of that fanbase or constituency would be savvy enough to understand criticism while a sizable portion would not, and would take it as a dissing of them personally.

  • CStanley

    You are absolutely right, there’s no point in “debating” this question.
    Yes, I can see that I was right to assume that you believe everything is exactly the way Media Matters frames the issues, and that the criticisms of Rush Limbaugh are generally accurate (they’re usually not- though I’m quick to point out that this doesn’t mean I’m a fan or supporter because I think his style is divisive.)

    Bristol believed it was her choice. The Prolife position is that you have no choice.

    Of COURSE prolifers recognize it’s a choice, but we don’t believe the choice to abort is a morally permissible one and we don’t believe it should be legally acceptable in most cases. It’s absurd to say that anyone who recognizes that the option to abort is currently legally permissible is thus ENDORSING that situation.

    And again, it’s the fact that the interview was clipped to exclude why she was saying this at all- it was in response to critics who asserted that her mother had forced her to make that decision, that’s why she even used the phrase that it was ‘her choice’.

    “BRISTOL PALIN: Everyone should be abstinent, whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.”

    It appears Bristol also believes abstinence only is not realistic. Her words.

    This part was taken out of context too. She is young and didn’t articulate it that well, but what she was saying is that the current cultural environment doesn’t empower girls (or boys, for that matter, though it rarely plays out that way) to say no, and that’s why abstinence is unrealistic. It’s a shame that everyone by and large missed her point, because it’s a really important one that adults/parents need to wake up to.

    Bristol doesn’t realize that she’s pro-choice. What’s your point? Olberman lied about what she said?
    Yes. And no, you don’t know Bristol Palin’s thoughts better than she knows them herself.

    Compare these with some of Limbaugh’s statements:

    Discussing Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama “numerous times, three times in Illinois voted for legislation that would allow doctors and patients to murder babies who survived abortions and were out of the womb. Radical stuff. Three times he voted for this.” Limbaugh misrepresented the legislation Obama voted against, a bill that amended the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 and that opponents said was unnecessary, as the Illinois criminal code unequivocally prohibits killing children, and posed a threat to abortion rights. Mediamatters.com

    Oh that’s right, distortions are not lies.

    I don’t see a distortion or a lie there. Obama gave speeches on the floor of the Illinois Senate saying that this legislation was unnecessary, ignoring people who testified to the contrary. We recently saw reports of a case in FL which also proved that abortion providers can’t be trusted to judge viability of neonates that survive abortions (even though FL, like IL also has laws prohibiting infanticide), which is the situation that this legislation sought to remedy. Also, Obama claimed he’d support the legislation (even though he continued to say he didn’t think it was necessary) if it comported with the language in federal statutes- and then when the language was changed to do so, he still voted against it.

    So what is the lie or distortion supposed to be in what Limbaugh said about this situation?

    “Well, we’ve got another tape from — I get these guys confused — Usama bin Laden. Another tape says he’s going to invade Pakistan and declare war on Pakistan and Musharraf, which, ladies and gentlemen, puts him on the same page with a Democrat presidential candidate — that would be Barack ‘Uss-Obama.’ ”

    “His education plan is Maoist (no surprise given the Ayers/Klonsky influence), and he is otherwise a Bolshevik. I’m also quite sure, given his character traits, that he would be a Stalinist if he thought he could get away with it”

    I have no idea what this excerpt is about, though it seems to show Limbaugh expressing opinions in an inflammatory manner (do you dispute that Olbermann does the same?), which is something I’ve repeatedly expressed distaste for.

    Do I really have to mention “Barack the Magic Negro” ?
    Depends if you’re going to mention that it was a liberal in the LA Times who wrote that and then Limbaugh picked it up to satirize about the power struggles within the black political power base. You might want to google Camille Paglia, another liberal, to get the low down on how Limbaugh was riffing on that.

    Anyway, I’m glad that you can now see that I was right about how pointless it is to debate about these guys- everyone has their own opinion and pretty much claims their own set of facts to justify the opinions. I still say though that the most intellectually honest judgment is to wash your hands of all of them. I’ll admit, I occasionally get drawn into defending Limbaugh against inaccurate allegations, because the allegations get repeated so often without rebuttal that people have a much different impression of him than the reality- and yet I know that even setting the record straight to that degree is pretty futile.

  • JSpencer

    β€œYou know, I’ve spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.” ~ William F. Buckley

    Good effort Bill, unfortunately the job is bigger than ever now that you’re gone…

  • archangel

    ok, thank you, Jspencer and CStanley and others here throughout the threads for your comments on the ‘threaded’ situ. I’m passing this onto Tyrone too.

    And JSpencer, thanks for the Buckley quote… there seem an awful lot of ‘Bills” in the political world nowadays, arent there? But, WFB, whom I knew, is one I miss more than any, dead or alive Bills. Especially his later work. The art of wit and insight. Rare.

    dr.e

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