Tuesday, both Will Hinton and Gun Toting Liberal picked up on the same blurb from Neal Boortz’s site, and then went down two different roads with it.

As noted in Tuesday’s Center of Attention, Gun Toting Liberal was inspired to question Boortz’s self-proclaimed libertarianism. In contrast, Will’s muse prompted him to use Boortz’s post to illustrate “why people think conservatives don’t care about people.� Will’s conclusion: People think conservatives don’t care about people because some of the most mean-spirited voices in America have defined the movement.

On that list of cruel voices, Will places Boortz himself, plus Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. But we all (Will included, I suspect) can think of more names than just those three. For instance, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, especially the super-blustery, pre-addiction Limbaugh. And of course, Bill O’Reilly, who should be forced to walk the streets wearing an oversized placard on his back with words appropriated from the incomparably incorrect Dennis Leary: “I’m an asshole. Lodie-dodie-do.�

But there’s another question that Will didn’t ask, namely: Why do benevolent conservatives (and yes, they do exist) tolerate the prominent, malicious voices that have become the spokespeople and hence caricature of the movement?

At least half the answer has something to do with the day President Johnson signed into law a landmark bill that irrevocably boosted civil rights in this country and prompted a mass exodus of hatemongers from the D’s to the R’s.

Post-Reagan, with communism effectively dead and no clear external foe on the horizon, the migrated hatemongers turned inward and once again applied their repressive sticks to the backs of their fellow men and women, blasting everyone from consenting adults who dared love each other in unconventional ways to frightened teenage girls who had abortions performed by professionals in sterile clinics rather than self-induced with coat hangers in cheap motel rooms.

Before long, the base haters were compelled to seek other haters to boost their confidence, buoy their hopes, and amplify their voices, especially during the Clinton era with its anti-hate theme song: “We Love Everybody, Even the Interns.�

Enter Rush, the rest of the crew, and their designated champion, The Newt, who for all his warts was never nearly as hateful as many of the constituents he represented.

So, back to the question of why hateful voices are tolerated in the conservative movement. In part, they’re tolerated because they speak for a significant, election-making swath of hateful conservative voters.

Then again, that’s only half the answer. The other half is rarely acknowledged or confronted, even in private.

PETE ABEL
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domajot
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domajot
9 years 5 months ago

I hear a stampede coming…conservatives are on the way with protest signs.

Duck!

kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

Good post, Pete! It identifies a lot of what has bothered me about modern-day conservatives—meanspiritedness. When they tied the movement to the religious right, it really gave me pause, because we all know that Jesus wanted to minister to the poor and told us not to worship material wealth.
How can it not be hypocritical for “Christians” to send the “Horatio Alger” message, complete with anti political correctness? Now, the poor know that not only do they have much less than the rest of us, but they deserve to be that way because of various moral defects

jack moss
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jack moss
9 years 5 months ago
kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

I’m sure it does- but is that an excuse not to speak out about it or try to change it?

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago
Not to be offensive, but this article is a breathtakingly shallow collection of clichés and stereotypes. If you really have a deep concern for society, ask yourself which group does the most damage. The “Cruel Conservativesâ€? or the “Caring Liberalsâ€?? Which group stripped an entire segment of our society of dignity and doomed them to generations of dependency? Which group so relies on a voting block of teachers that they ignore the children’s deplorable results in inner-city schools? It isn’t the “hateful voicesâ€? that are the real danger, but the misguided voices of naive, compassionate, guilt-ridden elites who exhibit true… Read more »
kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

So jwest, you replace one group of cliches with another? As far as I know the welfare system was reformed by a liberal, and the compassionate conservative has ignored the problem of poverty totally.

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago
Kritter, If someone was walking along, fell down and broke a leg, the liberals would treat the symptoms. They would try to make the person as comfortable as possible, cry with them in empathy, perhaps do an interpretive dance to warn others of the danger of walking and make provisions for their long term care because their misshapen leg will be an inspiration to the greater community of walkers. They would re-engineer the city streets to prevent walking hazards, pad the curbs and outlaw fast walking. Walkers would be educated, tested and licensed so as not to be a hazard… Read more »
kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

I agree that the conservative philosophy promises better results; but I also think those results can be achieved without hate or hateful thought/speech.

And I don’t think we have to go back to the days of LBJ’s War on Poverty to help less-fortunate citizens help themselves. Community grants, and small business loans work, and don’t require a lot of bureaucracy. It doesn’t have to be either or. But it seems like now we live in a “winner take all society”- social darwinism at its finest.

kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

Guntoting- and conservatives fire up their base by calling liberals morally bankrupt, the party of no ideas who can only criticize conservatives.

jwest- so its ok for you to issue generalized cliches about the differences, but not Pete? Because that is exactly what you are doing.

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago
There seems to be a generally accept premise here that “hate speechâ€? is commonplace on the right. People have conceded that this occurs on the left also, but for now let’s concentrate on the right because this article highlights it. Maybe I’m missing something because I don’t know what to look for. Could someone define what “hate speechâ€? is and perhaps cite some specific examples? Also, it appears that the concept of conservative equals racist is accepted as a given here. Are there any articles, websites, broadcasts etc. that you could point me to so I could see where these… Read more »
JWC
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JWC
9 years 5 months ago
I don’t normally comment over here – but while impressed with the original post, I was surprised with some of the comments. I guess it just proves the point with original post. As a used to be moderate/centrist type – I have moved decidedly to the left in the last six years. I can’t stand Limbaugh, Colter, or any of the other mean spirited “voices” on the right. I don’t want to be associated in any way with them. I have two “conservative” brothers. Neither of them are anything like the examples given in this post. One is a real… Read more »
jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago
Kritter, You’re absolutely right. My generalization was meant to convey a point while attempting some lame humor. (Did you like the “interpretive danceâ€? part?) The best specific example of inhuman cruelty, blatant racism and self-serving indifference to suffering is the Washington D.C. school district. Untouched by conservative hands since inception, with the highest per-pupil expenditures of any public school (higher, in fact, than over 92% of private schools), the D.C. schools condemn thousands of children each year to life of ignorance and poverty. All efforts of the compassionate conservatives to remedy this democrat-run slave ship to misery have been fought… Read more »
cosmoetica
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9 years 5 months ago
Jwest: ‘Which group stripped an entire segment of our society of dignity and doomed them to generations of dependency? Which group so relies on a voting block of teachers that they ignore the children’s deplorable results in inner-city schools? It isn’t the “hateful voicesâ€? that are the real danger, but the misguided voices of naive, compassionate, guilt-ridden elites who exhibit true racism by never really accepting people as equals.’ That libs have done dumb things is beyond dispute, but the Con answer to welfare is a minimum wage job at McDonald’s or Wal-mart, for glass ceiliungs are still extant, and… Read more »
cosmoetica
Guest
9 years 5 months ago

Jwest:

What if the DC school system had not been blighted by white flight? If tax dollars leave a city, and only the poor are left, then it does not take a scholar to figure out that the best and brightest teachers will not want to work there. Life occurs in rerality, not a vacuum, a thing too many extremists on both sides ignore.

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago

“The soft bigotry of low expectations�

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago

“……….the Right’s is usually at the end of a noose, or worse.�

I can’t believe your computer accepted those words when you hit “enter�.

kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago
Maybe I’m missing something because I don’t know what to look for. Could someone define what “hate speechâ€? is and perhaps cite some specific examples? jwest- since you have no trouble identifying it on the left, I have no doubt of your ability to find it on the right as well. Especially since you seem to find most of the comments here beneath you- must mean you are our intellectual superior. And I’d have tp disagree with your comment that some people are equating conservatism with racism- racism exists to some degree in everyone of differing political persuasions- its not… Read more »
jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago

Cosmoetica seems to have a different idea concerning conservative racism.

See Above.

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago

Kritter,

If I didn’t think most of the people here were sincere in their desire for political/social discussion, I wouldn’t be here.

I was serious in asking for examples of hate speech.

If a Limbaugh or Hannity argues against affirmative action, is that hate speech?

I really would like to know what is being included in the definition.

kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

Well, its probably in the eyes of the beholder- but for me- when Rush accused the Edwards of using her cancer to get a bump in the polls- when Coulter said that the problem with the Oklahoma bombers were that they didn’t blow up the NYT’s, Coulter’s comments about the 9/11 widows enjoying their husband’s deaths —that kind of stuff. On the left– the bloggers that wished ill-fortune on Tony Snow when his cancer returned, Ward Churchill’s comments about 9/11… you get the idea.

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago
Kritter, Thank you. I’m familiar with both the Coulter articles you cited and can see that if those passages were taken alone as serious (as opposed to humor in the full context), they would also qualify as a form of “hate speechâ€? to me. The reference to Rush would probably also qualify if he had used Edwards illness in the manner outlined, but of course that didn’t happen. Perhaps it’s the way people’s words are characterized by others that makes the “hate speechâ€? problem escalate. When one group hears what they think is an accurate account of someone’s statement, they… Read more »
Lynx
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Lynx
9 years 5 months ago

Oh yes SUPER TIMING for me to press submit on accident. Before you roast me, let me say the comment is NOT complete. Pete, I’d REALLY appreciate you deleting it. I’ll post the full one after this one. Sorry!

Lynx
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Lynx
9 years 5 months ago
So how did a discussion on why the meaner members of the conservative movement seem to be the most visible ones morph into an argument that is basically “Your side is nastierâ€? “No, YOUR side is nastierâ€? “Oh yeah, well you have cooties!â€? “Nya nya nya nya nyaaaaaaaa!â€?? How about we all agree that conservatives are all ignorant, backwards, ultra-fundamentalist freaks who somehow manage to be backwater hicks and ultra-rich elitists at the same time, all the while enjoying their favorite sport; throwing rocks at poor single mothers. Lets also agree that liberals are all aging hippy, pot-smoking, ivory tower… Read more »
MichaelF
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MichaelF
9 years 5 months ago
I have to say JWest is spot on. Also, I would like to add that the present domination of Conservative talk show hosts has not always been the case. When I was a teen growing up in the Boston area there was a real dearth of Conservative voices. The local radio shows as well as the national ones were dominated by people who were left of center. I remember how refreshing it was when David Brudnow and Avi Nelson offered a Libertarian point of view. But they were few and far between Long before the hyperbolic present talkmysters Lefties claimed… Read more »
kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago


On the March 22, broadcast of his show, Limbaugh suggested that the Edwards presidential campaign intentionally “leak[ed]” false information — that Edwards would “suspend” his campaign because his wife’s cancer had recurred — to Politico reporter Ben Smith in order “to jump-start the campaign.”

jwest– how would you interpret what Rush said any other way? You already know that Rush, Sean and Ann say things that outrage most people but please their own audience. That’s why they do it. And they have a huge following. Can we stop pretending now?

cosmoetica
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9 years 5 months ago

Jwest: So, generalizations and cliches are the sum of yr argument. Great.

As for ‘hate speech’, it’s a silly definition. It’s akin to ‘hate crimes’, or punishing motives. If one murders, it’s the act which kills, not whether it was done for money, sexual deviance, religious reasons, or plain sadism. What Kim cites as hate speech is more mere stupidity.

But, generalizations and cliches avoid realities, such as white flight’s being behind some of the poor school systems that cause….drum roll, ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations.’

Cymbal crash.

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago

Kritter,

What was the source of that quote?

Cosmoetica,

I would love nothing more than to have a detailed debate on why teacher’s unions, liberal attitudes towards the learning capacity of poor, black children and the desire for democrats to maintain a permanent underclass constitutes cruelty.

Shall we do it here or see if our hosts will start a new thread?

kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

jwest- its right on this site- in an article by Joe Gandelman titled : “Cancer Survivor WH Tony Snow Special Perspective”. Just scroll on the right margin of the blog on topics until you hit Rush Limbaugh- its the second article.

cosmoetica
Guest
9 years 5 months ago

Great, and afterwards, we can speak of classism, the power elite, and why big business, oligopolies, monopolies, Right Wing (not truly conservative) bigotry, and religious stupidity, always try to keep information from being disseminated to the masses, opposes all remedies to social problems- most often caused by myopic and outdated systems of governance, capital apportionment, and generally opposes any amelioration of the conditions that most but the top few % of people in this nation (much less the world) suffer in; and all in the name of patriotism, states’ rights, or other jingoistic nonsense.

Don’t wait: GO!

jwest
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jwest
9 years 5 months ago
Kritter, This will probably give you the best recount of what was actually said: http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_032807/content/01125109.guest.html Once you see how this was twisted around, you will begin to appreciate how some of the other instances of accused “hate speechâ€? were distortions by people who didn’t find the facts. Cosmoetica, I see you would like to expand the D.C. school subject to include a few other topics. Fine with me. Could we make it for another time? As a conservative, I have a few a people I need to oppress before they return to their hovels. Clubbing baby seals is out of… Read more »
kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago
jwest- I used to listen to Rush every day when I had a job where I drove a lot- and one thing I learned is that he tries to be as offensive to liberals as possible- every thing any liberal says or does is always interpreted in the darkest light possible, while the administration’s errors were put in the best possible light. He also offended me when he questioned whether Michael J Fox was purposely exaggerating his symptoms during campaign season. I picked that quote because it offended me, what I failed to mention is that his entire biased point… Read more »
cosmoetica
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9 years 5 months ago
Jwest: It would have been easier to type, ‘….’ and listen for the rustle of the tumbleweeds. Even your attempted humor is old as Henny Youngman’s. But while you’re being served pina coladas and looking for answers, actually read up on white flight- Google Robert Moses, and the real world today, where minorities are still harassed and discriminated against far out of proportion to their representation (I’ve worked years in retail and see the harassment daily). When news reporters actually reported on things other than pop culture there were exposes on this behavior that allowed folks to stay in touch… Read more »
G. Weightman
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G. Weightman
9 years 5 months ago
I don’t care to get into the substance of your debate with Jwest, but he’s trouncing you on style points so far. His riposte about bums and baby seals was quite amusing. You responded with an invidious comparison to Henry Youngman. Let me tell you, sir, Henny Youngman got more laughs in three minutes than a stiff like Lewis Black gets in three hours. Two other gratuitous pieces of advice for your upcoming steel-cage death match with Jwest: Pack your rhetorical toolbox with more than just hyperbole. Assigning a name to an entity, e.g., the power elite, doesn’t prove that… Read more »
cosmoetica
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9 years 5 months ago
GW: ‘I don’t care to get into the substance of your debate with Jwest, but he’s trouncing you on style points so far. His riposte about bums and baby seals was quite amusing.’ If you have not heard them ten thousand times before, like the rest of the cliches he’s deployed in this post. Welcome to 2007. Only in vaudeville wd Jwest get any laughs or style points, but say hello to Gracie. And I don’t dabble in hyperbole, which is why Jwest never answered specific comments on the DC schools nor white flight’s role in such. And if you… Read more »
kritter
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kritter
9 years 5 months ago

jwest- didn’t see you actually admit that Rush uttered the quote that was attributed to him, you just linked to his justifications for saying that in the first place-so now you are claiming he was justified in saying what he said about Mrs. Edwards because of the way others in the media were handling it?

G. Weightman
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G. Weightman
9 years 5 months ago

That’s a start. As Dr. Yen Lo, the Red Chinese brainwasher in The Manchurian Candidate, said “A little humor, my dear Zilkov, always with a little humor.â€? Now dial down your outrage meter by several clicks, and I might actually be interested in hearing what you have to say about white flight.

Oh, and by the way, say what you will about me. But don’t you dare disparage the King of the One-Liners

NICK RIVERA
Member
9 years 5 months ago
I don’t see how writing posts entitled “Cruel Conservatives” is going to foster any meaningful debate. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have evolved to such an extent and are used so inconsistently, that one could define these terms to mean just about anything–whether good or bad. I can just imagine what types of overgeneralizations would be included in a post “entitled “Cruel Liberals.” When people act like jerks, let’s just call the individual miscreants out on their garbage rather than making sweeping generalizations about an entire political philosophy. Similarly, if we’re going to criticize… Read more »
Jim Satterfield
Guest
9 years 5 months ago
Views of the modern conservative comes about from one basic weakness of their philosophy. They put ideology above all else. Anyone who fails economically in this society has no one to blame but themselves because our system is perfect in that anyone (Read this in the conservative rule book as everyone.) who works hard and follows the rules will be successful. While this sounds good it fails to pass the hard test of reality. While it works for many it is not a hard and fast absolute and the insistence on acting like it is some kind of law of… Read more »
cosmoetica
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9 years 5 months ago
GW: Obviously you need to ‘hear’ things, not read things, for, as I was having fun w Jwest’s nonsense, I was also shining you on. There is no outrage that in bear in such posts. It’s just a blog. As for Henny, I love him, and grew up watching the Dean Martin Roasts, which is why I said the use of the word invidious with him is silly! Nic: Again you’ve got it right. Political terms are so bastardized it’s ridiculous. The Liberals are bigger censors now than the Right. So-called Conservatives are obsessed with people’s sexual habits, and Libertarians… Read more »
Jim Satterfield
Guest
9 years 5 months ago

Precisely, cosmoetica. I named my blog “It’s the 21st Century, Stupid!” for exactly that reason. The number of people who think that the same institutions and solutions work in our current world that worked for those one or even two centuries ago astonishes me. How they expect the same things to work for 300,000,000 plus people in a post Green Revolution world and in a country that is moving into the totally unknowable future that appears to be a post-Industrial world just stumps me.

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