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Limbaugh’s Methodology

Conor Friedersdorf has a piece up at the Atlantic that has some substantial excerpts from a recent edition of Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, wherein we are given an explanation of How Rush Limbaugh Decides What Is True.

Specifically, Limbaugh compares his defense of Clarence Thomas with his lukewarm approach to Chris Christie. 

Rather than recapitulating Friedersdorf’s post, I would recommend you surf on over and read the whole thing.

The upshot, based on Limbaugh’s own words:  he vehemently defend Thomas not because of evidence or specific knowledge of events, but because of “Character, conservatism, and my knowledge of the left.”  In other word, he was certain that Thomas was a true conservative (definition unclear, by the way) and he did not trust those who were testifying against Thomas.  This was all he needed to know to passionately defend Thomas (and I can confirm that he did, as I was regular listener to Limbaugh at the time).

However, Christie’s situation does not have a clear fight between the ideological left and right, so Limbaugh doesn’t have the passion he had with the Thomas situation.  Indeed, Limbaugh is quoted as saying the following:

It’s just every Republican who has entered the fray defending Christie has to put a caveat out there "if he’s telling the truth." Now, if there were a fervent ideological foundation, if there was a substantive reason of believing in Governor Christie, then whether he lied wouldn’t matter. They’d be out there defending him left and right just to make sure the Democrats don’t get away with this. And I’ll admit that was part of the reason that I jumped into Clarence Thomas. There was no way they were gonna get away with this if I had the ability to have a little bit of something to do with it. There’s no way. I wasn’t gonna sit there and put up with this. I’d done enough to find out he was a fine man and know this was a witch hunt. They were out to seek and destroy.

So, in short, it isn’t about evidence, it’s about ideology.  This is not a surprise, to be sure, but it is rather remarkable to read such a blatant admission of that fact.

In sum:  facts be damned, so long as “they” don’t get away with attacking someone on my team.  This is a microcosm of how far too many view politics.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Ideological politics is a relatively recent development in the USA pic.twitter.com/RysWCsdOvu— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) January 16, 2014

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is a microcosm of how far too many view politics.

    It’s how politics get done Steven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  3. KM says:

    Goes something like this:

    “My team, right or wrong! They have to be right because they’re who I choose to affiliate with. I’m not wrong (never wrong), therefore they can’t be wrong since I’m associated and I would never do that with such losers. Can’t have failure reflecting on me, no matter how obscure the linkage. So if I’m correct, they are correct by default, which means anyone who is opposed must be incorrect! The incorrect people who attack them (me) must be evil/bad/twisted since who would attack those who are right? Those bastards – who cares what they said or what facts they have, how dare you not correct-like-me!!”

    I’ve said it before: BIRGing and CORFing. Since Rush can’t be associated with wrongness and failure, he automatically assumes all people like him (“conservative” by his nebulous definition) are truly correct and worthy, while all those NOT like him are truly wrong and despicable for having a different opinion/belief/set of facts/life. Understand that and understand the “logic” he uses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. john personna says:

    @KM:

    There is a much older word that works just fine.

    Tribalism is the state of being organized in, or advocating for, a tribe or tribes. In terms of conformity, tribalism may also refer to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are more loyal to their tribe than to their friends, their country, or any other social group.

    I’m not really sure about the rise of “Ideological politics” (see above) if that is just defined by the use of alternate naming in a two-party system.

    As we’ve seen, Straight Ticket Voting goes way back, and has only broken down recently, in what is also called this ideological era.

    Perhaps it is characterized by competing trends.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Some PolySci class did a study a few years ago. (I believe others have done the same thing.) They checked verifiable predictions by well known pundits. (Krugman won.) They concluded there was a strong correlation between prediction accuracy and financial success. A negative correlation. Pundits don’t get rich by being right. They get rich by affirming the beliefs of their audience. Limbaugh was just stating his marketing principle. His Dittoheads loved Thomas, so he loved Thomas. His Dittoheads dislike Christie, so he dislikes Christie. Truth or falsity simply doesn’t enter into it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0

  6. C. Clavin says:

    So, in short, it isn’t about evidence, it’s about ideology.

    Which is why you see so many commenters here flailing about so…when confronted with evidence contrary to their belief…they invariably resort to nonsense rather than question those beliefs. Republicanism has become a religion…and questioning the party dogmata is tantamount to sin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  7. KM says:

    @john personna:

    I’m not quite sure tribalism is the best fit here as tribalism’s ultimate loyalty is to the tribe, not the individual. Rush doesn’t value conservatism because it is worthy and thus he follows it. No, Rush values conservatism because he values himself and thus he values what category he feels he fits with. He’s abandoned enough conservative positions to rush to attack “liberals” to really qualify as loyal to the tribe (for instance, ignore a real instance of big government abuse and petty overreach that should have small gov people screaming). He’ll throw one of his own under the bus if it meant ratings.

    Rush is loyal only to Rush – he just happens to be conservative. It’s the ego, you see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  8. john personna says:

    @KM:

    Is a witch doctor loyal to the tribe? Probably, but he also knows he has a good gig.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. john personna says:

    @C. Clavin:

    If they are tribal, they’ll try something, anything, to defend their tribe’s position (or members).

    That’s clearly shown above in the Thomas v Christie contrast. Limbaugh saw the attack on Thomas as an attack on the tribe, whereas the threat to Christie was less so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. Anonne says:

    Rush is leading the cult… tribe… in this instance, same thing. Like Jim Jones, he only does it to aggrandize and enrich himself, but the lemmings follow. He gets to frame the discourse, define what is true. And the stupid media follows, leading to even stupider people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. al-Ameda says:

    That’s entertainment.

    I am fairly sure that Rush is a conservative, I am not so cynical that I believe that his methodology is all for show. However I am equally sure that Rush has determined the most efficient and effective way for him to maximize his income and profitability is to give the current conservative base Republicans what they want. For the past 15 years or so Rush has been at or near the top of his radio market – he makes well over $50M per year. His ratings dwarf the so-called ‘progressive’ opposition alternative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. ernieyeball says:

    I was listening to Mighty Mouth one time not long after his broadcast was nationally syndicated.
    He was going on and on about how he had just voted in his first New York State election. It was a primary election as I remember.
    A caller challenged him on the air. “Rush you did not vote in the election.”
    “I did so!” The big man bellowed! “No you did not and I have proof!” “What proof?”
    Turns out in New York when you vote in an election you must sign a card. This is to prevent electors from voting twice. We do the same here in Illinois.
    The card is a matter of Public Record. The caller had looked it up. No signature.
    When presented with this evidence live, on the air, the Great Gas Bag was hardly contrite.
    “What? You mean you have to sign a card to vote in New York?”
    Did anyone give a damn that this Bloated Sack of Protoplasm was exposed as a bald faced liar?
    You be the judge!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  13. rudderpedals says:

    @john personna: This. Definitely the well paying gig is the driver.

    The position taken on any given issue is driven by hooking the sweet, sweet ad money, leaving nothing on the table. Better yet if the ads are for gold, guns and headache powders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Gavrilo says:

    Is Christie telling the truth? It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @john personna:
    Tomato tomato, I suppose.
    From where I stand there is a religious fervor that tribalism doesn’t fully explain.
    Dieties like Reagan.
    Iconograpy like the Laffer Curve and the Confederate Flag and Tea Bags dangling from Tricorns. These things are used to imbue factuality to their world-view…so that the membership can view it as realistic or truthful.
    But, of course, your mileage may vary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  16. john personna says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Competing tribes often have competing gods.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  17. Woody says:

    It’s just a peek into the prosperity gospel of the modern conservative movement.

    These are the same citizens who believe the U.S. does not torture, as by definition we always do the right thing for the right reasons, thus, we conduct harsh interrogations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  18. grumpy realist says:

    It’s the constant attempt to explain away data that falsifies one’s claims that I don’t understand. I thought that that was what adulthood was–being “grown-up” enough to admit that you might be wrong and to keep constantly double-checking your assumptions.

    (Of course, I’m a physicist; when we fool ourselves the result is something like a part of the Urals going radioactive, so we have a wee bit more incentive than some blowhard entertainer.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  19. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It takes rigor. How many on the left side of the spectrum have schooled themselves to trust science on vaccines and GMOs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  20. Tony W says:

    @john personna: Yep – both sides do it. The left is unreasonably adhered to science and reason, and the right operates on anecdotes and ‘faith’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @john personna:
    Tribes are capable of reason, moderation and, yes, even compromise.
    Religious fundamentalism is about absolute truth, righteousness, and simplistic worldviews.
    Indeed…religious ritual leads to tribalism.
    As the egg comes before the chicken…religion comes before tribalism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  22. Scott O says:

    @john personna: How many elected officials on the left reject vaccines and GMOs? How many elected officials on the right reject global warming and evolution? It’s just not equivalent.

    But maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. Is there a blue state where school boards want to “teach the controversy” about vaccines?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  23. Pinky says:

    Friedersdorf misses Limbaugh’s point. If you’ve listened to his show, you know what he meant. His whole show is based on media criticism and narrative analysis. The rest is just Bayesianism. The probability of the left developing a narrative against Clarence Thomas was very high, so Limbaugh felt comfortable dismissing it when it happened. The probability of the left doing the same against Christie was lower, in Limbaugh’s estimation, making it more likely that the narrative was true. (A lot of people would disagree with Limbaugh on the likelihood of the left going after Christie.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  24. bandit says:

    The lefty circle jerk of hate condemns tribalism – whatev

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 21

  25. C. Clavin says:

    @bandit:
    Thanks for proving my point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  26. al-Ameda says:

    @bandit:

    The lefty circle jerk of hate condemns tribalism – whatev

    Have a nice glass of cranberry juice, you’ll feel better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  27. slimslowslider says:

    @bandit: gettin’ turned on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    @Scott O:

    Ah portable goalposts are so convenient.

    What kind of elected official is R.L.?

    (Left _media_ is certainly all over the GMO threat.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  29. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    The probability of the left developing a narrative against Clarence Thomas was very high, so Limbaugh felt comfortable dismissing it when it happened. The probability of the left doing the same against Christie was lower, in Limbaugh’s estimation, making it more likely that the narrative was true.

    That still doesn’t excuse Limbaugh’s confession that his entire defense of Thomas wasn’t predicated on whether Thomas sexually harassed someone or not, but on what his politics were. If anything, he’s just admitting to being as bad an actor as the left he constantly demonizes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  30. john personna says:

    It probably would have been better to gracefully accept tribal beliefs in the liberal community and then to remind that they don’t always make it to policy.

    At the level of my comment though, do those beliefs exist in both communities, yes we can find examples.

    And the real purpose was to remind that we should ALL try to be rigorous, and not just accept tribal folk beliefs.

    I actually considered GMOs as a bit of a pig in a poke, not so much bad as a wildcard. I have learned though that many extensive studies have found no evidence of harm, and even the opposite, environmental benefit with reduced pesticide use.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  31. KM says:

    @Pinky:

    The probability of the left developing a narrative

    felt comfortable dismissing it when it happened

    In other words, defend our guy right or wrong so the article was spot on. Do you not see a problem with determining the veracity of a situation by its media airtime vs the facts? “Narrative” is terminology used to demean – like it’s a mere storytime instead of a presentation of facts. The opposite should be in play – “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. KM says:

    @john personna:

    It probably would have been better to gracefully accept tribal beliefs in the liberal community

    For someone who’s very tribalistic about the independent political community, that might have been wise. Mutual respect and all….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Also don’t think of Teh Left as one huge monolithic mass. Those of us who are scientists are just as appalled by the anti-vaxxers as anyone. Ditto for the Truthers.

    As have said before, the weird on the ultra-Left and the weird on the ultra-Right end up in the same place, which is complete paranoia, whether it be conspiracies about the Government and the FBI having put radio receivers into your fillings so they tell you what to believe, or all pharmaceutical businesses are in cahoots with one another and that chemicals synthesized from coal tar are different from chemicals synthesized from organic ingredients, which is what you get on the left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  34. Tillman says:

    @KM:

    “Narrative” is terminology used to demean – like it’s a mere storytime instead of a presentation of facts.

    A presentation of facts, sure, but favorable to one’s political viewpoint, diminishing some facts and exaggerating others. “Narration” is a shameless “both sides do it” phenomenon. Hell, “narration” is a human condition.

    The problem comes when “narration” becomes the sole cause of action, such as Limbaugh’s defense of Thomas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  35. Tillman says:

    Also don’t think of Teh Left as one huge monolithic mass.

    Heh. I think I can hear john personna’s head exploding from the East Coast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    How many on the left side of the spectrum have schooled themselves to trust science on vaccines and GMOs?

    Um, most of them. The vast majority, I’d say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  37. john personna says:

    @KM:

    Heh, my peeps are the non-tribals, the post-tribals, and yes I stand with them.

    Out of curiosity, can you name an “independent tribal belief,” other that is than “don’t lump me into a tribe.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  38. Rafer Janders says:

    @KM:

    He’s abandoned enough conservative positions to rush to attack “liberals” to really qualify as loyal to the tribe (for instance, ignore a real instance of big government abuse and petty overreach that should have small gov people screaming).

    Well, yes, but being against “big government abuse” and “petty overreach” isn’t really a conservative position — it’s simply a pose that conservatives adopt when convenient and abandon when not. When it comes to civil rights, say, conservatives are “small government” because small government lets them discriminate. When it comes to the military or farm subsidies or banning abortion or gay marriage, suddenly they love what government does and liberty goes out the window. They love petty overreach when they’re the ones doing the overreaching.

    Conservatism as a political practice isn’t at all about such things as small government, etc. — it’s simply the worship of, and attempt to perpetuate, the status quo and the power structure, about keeping the disenfranchised down. Rush, therefore, never by definition betrays conservative principles because Rush always comes down on the side of power and money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  39. john personna says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Sixty-two percent of women think genetically modified foods are unsafe to eat, a view that’s shared by far fewer men, 40 percent. Indeed a plurality of men think these foods are safe, while women disagree by better than 2-1.

    Similarly, while 49 percent of men say they’d be less likely to buy food labeled as genetically modified, that jumps to 65 percent of women. (Similar numbers of women and men say they’re more likely to buy organic foods.)

    There’s also a distinction by age; people under 45 are about 10 points more likely than their elders to think genetically modified foods are safe to eat. But a bare majority of young adults still calls genetically modified foods unsafe.

    There’s also a political difference. Republicans divide evenly on whether genetically modified foods are safe or unsafe. Independents rate them unsafe by a 20-point margin; Democrats, by a 26-point margin.

    Oops, looks like independents aren’t in front on that one.

    Note though that no group is fully up to date on the science.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  40. john personna says:

    It is pretty funny that KM thinks an iconoclasts’ tribe would have shared values, beyond no shared values.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  41. KM says:

    @john personna:

    Interesting. You say my peeps and then go on to say you have no group. Don’t lump you into a tribe but you identify with a group of people who identify that they’re not a group.

    Isn’t that a little like a teenager who wants to be “unique” and “different” by following the latest trend or their friends? You are part of a group, John, no matter how ruggedly individual you think you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  42. KM says:

    @john personna:

    It is pretty funny that KM thinks an iconoclasts’ tribe would have shared values, beyond no shared values.

    I think it’s pretty funny you keep trying to make this about you and your view of independents.

    You keep trying to convince everyone on a bunch of threads. I’m not sure why you’ve got this absolutely rigid view that independents are this wild and free bunch that answer to no one even themselves and somehow have no internal agreement on anything at all while everyone else are partisan “iconoclasts”. If that’s not tribalism…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  43. john personna says:

    @KM:

    I believe you were the first in this thread with an ad hominem attack.

    Not too extreme a one, but it did attack me, the person when I had not done the sane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  44. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    What about vaccines?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. KM says:

    I believe you were the first in this thread with an ad hominem attack.

    How the hell is it an ad hominem to point out you’re part of a group?

    Plus…

    It probably would have been better to gracefully accept tribal beliefs in the liberal community and then to remind that they don’t always make it to policy.

    Really, John, come on. It may have been snark, but yours was the first shot. I’m not trying to be offensive here – I’m sincerely pointing out that for someone who first mentioned the term tribalism, you are very quick to point to it in others but forget 4 fingers point back at you. I’m an Independent (big I) so theoretically I’m your peeps. I have no problems when someone calls me out on mine – don’t be cranky when someone does the same to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  46. john personna says:
  47. john personna says:

    @KM:

    So, you want to “fault” be for being in the non-group group?

    And for my personal efforts to ground my beliefs in reason, have I got that right?

    Have you ever been here?

    http://www.overcomingbias.com

    If you ever have time, Dan Ariely’s MOOC on irrational behavior is also very good.

    Descartes’ Error, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  48. john personna says:

    Shorter, if you have to argue that a non-group is just as much of a group as a group … you are probably trying too hard.

    The “peeps” joke is about other people that I probably disagree with about 50% probability, correlation p=0.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  49. john personna says:

    @this:

    You down voters really don’t have math, do you …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  50. john personna says:

    @this:

    Seriously dudes, if you can down vote any post that endorses Overcoming Bias, Dan Ariely, and Descartes’ Error … that’s pretty whack.

    Especially after I say it is about my _efforts_ to ground my beliefs in reason. No actual claim of success there.

    Are you saying you oppose the effort, and prefer tribal values?

    Also known as in-group attitudes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  51. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    Eh, that’s not that interesting. It’s a bit confused, and it doesn’t address whether people on the left are more or less likely not to accept the science behind vaccines. Personally, I know hundreds of Democrats, and yet I can’t really think of any beyond three or four who don’t believe in vaccination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wow, I had no idea there were as many as 5 politicians frequenting this site that would take offense at my characterization of their low morals. Wonders never cease.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. john personna says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    It is hard to find good data on genuine “distrust.”

    At least on the phone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  54. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    OK, but in the absence of good data then where do you get your sense that many on the left distrust the science behind vaccines?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  55. john personna says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I was probably influenced by things like this:

    GOP might be anti-science, but so are Democrats

    And I tend to think GMOs and vaccine questions are “alike.”

    I don’t know why they’d break differently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  56. john personna says:

    Maybe they are hanging a lot on Washington being a Blue state, but:

    In July, 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported a 1,300 percent increase in pertussis (whooping cough) cases in the state of Washington, which has the highest reported rate of vaccine refusal (6.2 percent) in the nation. More than 2,500 cases had been reported by mid-year—a rate unseen since 1942. The Seattle Times reported two infant deaths attributed to the outbreak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  57. Pinky says:

    @john personna: (John, you’ve got to toughen up a bit if you’re going against the tribe on OTB. Just two cents from a neutral party.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  58. john personna says:

    @Pinky:

    Do you not self-identify as Republican? But yeah …

    I mean, the whole thing about an in-group is to have an out-group.

    People not in any group are by definition out-group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  59. john personna says:

    Related:

    Arizona’s independent voters have eclipsed Democrats in number and are rapidly gaining on Republicans, but those expecting this group to wield political influence are likely to be disappointed, a nonpartisan research group contends.

    That’s because independents are a diverse group that doesn’t fall in line with one political party or have a consistent set of beliefs, according to Thinking Arizona, a Tucson-based organization run by Richard Gilman, former publisher of The Boston Globe.

    “It’s very hard to design a position or a platform or an approach that’s going to appeal to all of these people,” Gilman said in a telephone interview.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  60. Pinky says:

    @john personna: I’m a neutral observer to your discussion with KM in that I don’t have a dog in this horse. And I do self-identify as a Republican, but not for the party’s sake. I take my stand on issues as they come. To me, the whole thing about politics is policy, not having an in-group or out-group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. Grewgills says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I would guess it is people thinking you meant that was how politics should be done, rather than commenting on the corruption inherent in the system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  62. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    The granola left is definitely very anti-GMO with very little scientific grounding. I was a bit surprised how many on the right were also anti-GMO, perhaps it’s just the reflexive distrust of science and scientists that has grown out of opposition to the idea of anthropogenic global climate change and support for creationism. On GMOs, it is a case of both sides do it, but the left does it more.

    Looking at recent polling, about 18% of Americans think that vaccines cause autism despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Fortunately most of them don’t believe that strongly enough to forgo vaccinating their children (92% get the full compliment of vaccinations). I couldn’t find any evidence on the breakdown, but would guess the granola left has more than its share.

    The marked difference is that while some loonies on the left believe some anti-science nonsense, they don’t have much influence in party platform and they don’t get elected. The loonies on the right that believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old and reject any science that points to the likelihood of anthropogenic global climate change have a substantial influence on party platform and do get elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  63. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    John,

    I don’t understand why it troubles you that people will downvote what you have said. Just accept that downvoters don’t agree with you and probably never will. Their opinion of you should have no effect on your own esteem. Why does it seem to?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  64. Tony W says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: had to downvote you – just for fun!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  65. Moosebreath says:

    john persona,

    Would this be a fair statement of your political philosophy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. john personna says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    It bothers me because reasonable people should be able to put “a search for reason” above “partisan agreement.”

    If we can’t, what state are we really in? How on earth can we solve our problems? By just fighting until one tribe wins?

    @Moosebreath:

    That’s funny, but the way it goes in real life is that I get accused of being a partisan on the left, or the right, in turns.

    As a longtime reader I’m sure you remember that I’ve been accused of being a progressive more often than not.

    Apparently though that is worth very little, where I actually end up in my positions, I must buy the branding …

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  67. john personna says:

    Jesus, 4-5 people down voted a search for reason.

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  68. john personna says:

    Put differently, that whole “stupid party, crazy party” thing?

    You just yielded it.

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  69. wr says:

    @john personna: Have you ever considered that there are people out there downvoting you simply because it seems to annoy you so much?

    I am not such a person, but we do have some commenters here whose main goal in life seems to be annoying others. And you make it so obvious that being downvoted pisses you off that it’s like a free shot…

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  70. john personna says:

    @wr:

    It’s a dual edged sword though. If “a search for reason” is down 4:1, that says something about my comment, and something about the community.

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  71. Pinky says:

    @wr: It’s like playing online poekr. There’ll always be one real slowpoke, and everyone gets bothered by him, but there’ll be one person who just launches into a tirade against him. That guy is the first or second one to lose. He’s shown what his weakness is, and everyone is going to just keep pushing his buttons until he makes a mistake. Unfortunately, people do treat online political debate as a zero sum win/lose game just like poekr. Then again, I’ll admit it, every time John complains about down-votes a sick part of my brain wants to down-vote him for it.

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  72. john personna says:

    @Pinky:

    As I say though, it isn’t without a flip side.

    I suspect the logic is “john says he supports the search for reason, and while I (secretly) agree, I can’t say that now, because we are all mad at john.”

    It becomes a transparent proof of the irrationality of political discussion.

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  73. KM says:

    @john personna:

    I’ve always thought that it was someone expressing an opinion they couldn’t be bothered to type a reply up for. Most of us will comment if we want to say something but you can’t discount lurkers who are just here to read but can’t/won’t voice their thoughts besides the buttons.

    And you make it so obvious that being downvoted pisses you off that it’s like a free shot…

    I must say John, it is a prominent aspect of your posting that you must address the “idiot downvoter”. If they can’t be bothered to direct an actual reply to you, why dignify with one of your own? Don’t let it stress you – debate the willing. We’re always good for a post or two :).

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  74. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    @john personna: (John, you’ve got to toughen up a bit if you’re going against the tribe on OTB. Just two cents from a neutral party.)

    So you’re the “Switzerland” of OTB?
    I’ve always thought you were the South Ossetia of OTB :D

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  75. Tillman says:

    @john personna: Which is the more irrational: downvoting someone being rational, or continuously asserting that you’re rational when they keep downvoting you?

    Honestly, I think they’re downvoting a cognitive bias on your part. There’s been no lack of misinterpreted terms and jargon (on your part or others) in “the reason debates,” but you have glued on to this notion lately that being politically Independent is a matter of being iconoclastic, or opposed to groups, or in favor of rationalism instead of tribalism. You’re making the same error Rafer did in his calculation about liberals’ take on the science of GMO, and painting with broad strokes.

    Which is really weird because I recall a few threads back your argument was that you can’t paint Independents in broad strokes. The real problem is that you’re expressing your consternation as an attack on “the search for reason.” You must see how this might come off unfavorably.

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  76. Tillman says:

    @al-Ameda: As long as we’re claiming to be nations on OTB, I think I’ll take Molossia.

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  77. Pinky says:

    @john personna: Only of the potential irrationality of political discussants.

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  78. john personna says:

    @Tillman:

    The right way to engage that would have been to make a rational case that independents are not diverse and non-aligned. It is NOT to down-vote direct evidence that independents are not diverse and non-aligned.

    Doesn’t this Pew Study support my view?

    Note that Pew divides voters into their own groups, based on opinions, and then notes the breakdown in their self-identification. To use my framework, they try to group people in the position space, and then show how that relates to self-identification.

    Pew certainly does not find that independents are closet Republicans or Democrats.

    Right?

    Now on GMO and vaccines, was actually right, wasn’t I? Those issues do show a liberal bias. In the case of GMO a significant one, in the case of vaccines slight.

    I never said that all liberals believed those things, look back.

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  79. john personna says:

    Jesus Christ, the game at OTB is “how many ways can we ignore the data.”

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  80. Neil Hudelson says:

    John,

    You seem to be turning into this guy: http://xkcd.com/386/

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  81. john personna says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Maybe, but I say this:

    It is pretty funny that KM thinks an iconoclasts’ tribe would have shared values, beyond no shared values.

    to many down-votes. Whereas Pew says this:

    Independents have played a determinative role in the last three national elections. But the three groups in the center of the political typology have very little in common, aside from their avoidance of partisan labels.

    … maybe everybody needs to toddle over to Pew, down vote them, and accuse them of cogitive bias.

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  82. merl says:

    I thought he popped a handful of pills and just made shit up.

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  83. KM says:

    @john personna:

    Perhaps this might be why:

    beyond no shared values.

    =/=

    very little in common,

    Close but not the same thing. Perhaps your downvoters share your aversion to imprecision in the search for reason and are pointing it out?

    Or maybe they’re just trolling you as I said before. At this point, who cares?
    Wasn’t this thread about Limbaugh in the first place? Shouldn’t we get back to that?

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  84. john personna says:

    @KM:

    I tell you what, if you want to split those hairs, go ahead.

    But if you think that hair-splitting is trolling … you might have some “cognitive biases” going on.

    I mean, do you want to do it?

    What ARE the shared values for independents?

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  85. john personna says:

    Geez dude, you prefer to think that something essentially correct is a troll.

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  86. john personna says:

    Oops, I got that trolling part turned around. Sorry.

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  87. john personna says:

    BTW, I am still getting shit like this in another thread:

    They are your peeps and it seems they are saying that large group of self identified independents are deluded or liars and shudder to think indistinguishable from partisan republicans in their behavior.

    NOT supported by the data.

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  88. KM says:

    @john personna:

    Oops, I got that trolling part turned around. Sorry.

    Forgiven. Now, in an effort to save the thread, any thoughts on Limbaugh? Take it and run with it – field’s yours.

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  89. john personna says:

    @KM:

    Well, I’ve said that I think it’s tribalism, and that like a witch doctor he jumps up and down and gets the tribe excited. He builds in-group values and identifies the out-group. He characterizes the out-group as a malicious force.

    To find someone like that on the left you have to go to Olbermann on a bad day … and we see where that got Olbermann.

    There are people on the left who slant things, but no one in an equivalent position of media power with as strong rhetoric as Limbaugh.

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  90. wr says:

    @john personna: “Jesus, 4-5 people down voted a search for reason”

    Dude. They’re f#cking with you. Let it go.

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  91. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tillman:

    You’re making the same error Rafer did in his calculation about liberals’ take on the science of GMO, and painting with broad strokes.

    Well, actually, it’s easy to claim this in retrospect, but I was more focused on the claim about vaccines. I have no real idea about GMO and don’t follow the topic at all, but I do a bit of attention to the vaccine debate, and it annoyed me that John lumped them together, as I’m not sure there’s the overlap he claims. I believe a lot more people are leery of GMO food than are of vaccines, and being “anti-vaccine” is in no way a part of the liberal identity the way that, say, being “anti-climate change” is part of the conservative identity now. There’s simply no comparison.

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  92. ernieyeball says:

    Well Damn…Home DSL Internet Connection has been down since yesterday…trying to catch up on the Free Wi-Fi at Mickey D’s…jumping in after being away for a time it’s like I’m being reassimilated by the Borg…are collectives and hives anything like tribes?

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  93. john personna says:

    @wr:

    As I say, I think it reflects badly on them. I marshaled the data, the evidence, made the case … and they’d rather just down vote it.

    Hiding finely in a wrinkle that “very little in common, aside from their avoidance of partisan labels” might actually mean the opposite.

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  94. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    BTW, I am still getting shit like this in another thread:

    They are your peeps and it seems they are saying that large group of self identified independents are deluded or liars and shudder to think indistinguishable from partisan republicans in their behavior.

    NOT supported by the data.

    Except that it is supported by the data, even data that you linked to.
    1. You have specifically referred to independents as your peeps.
    2. According to the Pew poll you linked 25% of independents support the tea party.
    3. According to polling 40% of tea party members self identify as independent and most tea party groups are nominally independent.
    4. The tea party is the rebranded far right of the Republican party.
    5. The pew poll you linked identifies in its categories ‘staunch conservatives’ and describes them as ‘politically active supporters of the tea party.’
    6. It follows that a large cohort of self identified independents (25%) are in effect not just Republicans, but very conservative Republicans. The other option being that they are ignorant.
    7. Given that the article you linked identifies the tea party supporters as staunchly conservative republicans and also identifies 25% of self identified independents as supporters of the tea party it follows that those independents are either deluded (don’t know what the tea party really supports) or they are calling themselves independent despite being staunchly conservative Republicans.

    BTW, I wasn’t the one that down voted you, but agree with others here that you get more than your share of down votes because it so obviously gets under your skin.

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  95. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    And, the more I think of it, the less there’s any resemblance between a claim that being anti-GMO or anti-vaccines is “anti-science” in the same way that rejecting climate change or the actual age of the Earth is, because, quite simply, most people who are leery of GMO or vaccines don’t know the science. Many in this camp (of whom I am not one myself) probably believe that they don’t know what’s in this stuff, they’ve been burned before by industry or government claiming that dangerous substances are supposedly safe, and they have an understandable reluctance to put something in their or their families’ bodies that may be dangerous. However, many of these same people, if exposed to the science, will change their minds. They’re skeptical and ill-informed, but not against learning or science per se.

    The same can’t be said of those who reject climate change or evolution. The science is simple and well known, and there’s no personal danger or fear of putting something into their own bodies to overcome. It’s pure ignorance for the sake of ignorance.

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  96. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    As I say, I think it reflects badly on them. I marshaled the data, the evidence, made the case … and they’d rather just down vote it.

    John, as others have noted, they’re not down-voting the date, the evidence or the case…they’re down-voting you. You’ve made it plain it bugs you, and in so doing have painted a target on your back. You’ve personalized this.

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  97. Grewgills says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    A fair number of the anti GMO folks and the anti vaxers (thankfully a much smaller group) are religious in their convictions on these issues. The anti vaxers in particular have been repeatedly confronted with the complete scientific rejection of their claims and have moved the goal posts so many times it is difficult to keep track of*. So far as I can see there isn’t really a direct relationship between vaccine rejection and politics, but the granola Left has embraced it and anti GMO positions more than most.

    The opposition to GMO is more complex. There are some legitimate concerns about some types of genetic modification, but most in the anti GMO crowd are much more likely to shout about frankenfoods than to engage the real concerns.

    Again though, the anti vaxers have no voice I am aware of in national politics and the anti GMO crowd have very limited support nationally. Part of this is that to be anti GMO is to be anti corporate and it’s hard to resist the lure of all that money. That, I think, does far more to stem the tide of anti GMO regulation than scientific literacy.

    * First it was supposedly the mercury, then when it was shown autism rates weren’t lower where mercury wasn’t in the vaccine, they claimed it was something else. This has now been through several iterations.

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  98. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    I think we are kidding ourselves if we don’t think there is an analogue to that group on the left.

    As to the accusation that self identified independents that reliably vote for one side or the other are either lying or deluded, that leaves out people that just don’t want to be bothered and people that want to appear above the fray (a white lie maybe).

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  99. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    Sorry to threadjack. I blame lack of sleep for a heightened sense of SIWOTI.

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  100. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: thx captain obvious- you could easily replace “republicanism” with “liberalism” and get a similar effect.

    the real issue is Americans are a “headline” group- they don’t read the story or check facts. and no, i don’t listen to rush- i have a life/career!

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  101. Don L says:

    So now we’ve fallen so low as to deliberately try to confuse “character” with ideology?

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  102. al-Ameda says:

    I have to admit, it does sound better, perhaps more noble and majestic, to say that one is
    “independent” than to say that one is aligned with one political party that includes Michele Bachmann, Steve King and Ted Cruz, while the other major political party includes pedestrian pols like Dick Durbin and Harry Reid.

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