Politics of Hate

The communications chairman of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County wished a horrible death on the children of Ted Cruz' speechwriter.

argument-cartoon-yelling

So, this happened in the noon hour Friday:

Carpenter, a longtime blogger and TV talking head, is currently Ted Cruz’ speechwriter.  Brauer was, at the time of said tweet, communications chairman of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County. He resigned by close of business, presumably in lieu of being fired.

In addition to the post above, which got most of the attention, he doubled down with the following:

To Brauer’s credit, he has both publicly apologized to Carpenter and left up for all to see the evidence of his bad day on Twitter.

I don’t think these tweets are particularly representative of the Democratic Party or tell us much about “the mindset of the left” or the like. But he is an exemplar of a disturbing trend of reasonably bright, well educated people who are in the business of politics who seem to genuinely hate those on the other side. They seem to genuinely believe that those who disagree with them on matters of public policy are evil people.

That’s especially odd, in that the tendency for people who study politics for a living is to become jaded by the process, seeing it as a game in which both sides are simply trying to win rather than a meaningful clash of ideas. Brauer and Carpenter are (well, were) in the same business: as flacks for their party. It’s an inherently cynical line of work, requiring bright, talented people to sublimate their own views to voice the talking points that appeal to a target constituency. To be sure, a speechwriter or communications person can shape those talking points, but they invariably have to back policies and ideas that they personally find eye rolling dumb.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Brauer was, at the time of said tweet, communications chairman of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County.

    I don’t think these tweets are particularly representative of the Democratic Party or tell us much about “the mindset of the left” or the like.

    So, the chosen spokesperson for the Democratic Party in Sacramento County is not a fair representation of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County? A Communications Chairman wasn’t intending to communicate a certain message?

  2. Tony W says:

    Oh my, a Democrat behaved like Ann Coulter!

  3. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And was fired for it. Note the difference in party behavior.

  4. PJ says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, the chosen spokesperson for the Democratic Party in Sacramento County is not a fair representation of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County? A Communications Chairman wasn’t intending to communicate a certain message?

    @allanbrauer is a personal twitter account and not the official twitter account for the spokesperson for the Democratic Party in Sacramento County.

  5. Mark Ivey says:

    Politician´s and their staff were better off before they invented Twitter..

  6. PJ says:

    @Mark Ivey:

    Politician´s and their staff were better off before they invented Twitter..

    The same thing could be said about blogs. And the world wide web.

  7. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, the chosen spokesperson for the Democratic Party in Sacramento County is not a fair representation of the Democratic Party of Sacramento County?

    So….Democrats in Sacramento are awful people. What’s your point?

    (PS….I’m being facetious. We don’t need to go digging up all the awful things people have said and pretend they’re a “fair representation” of anything but that person’s own awfulness.)

  8. Eric Florack says:

    but, this is what the left does.
    always has.
    hate is what the left bases its politics on.
    as is demonstrated here in the comments section daily.

  9. Woody says:

    Dear Eric, Jenos, et al:

    Yes, there are some Democrats who are jerks. This is also true of some Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, anarchists and monarchists.

    There are roughly 320 million Americans. Some have jobs more public than others. Some of those public types say or type stupid things. Your fee-fees should be able to withstand such schmutz, I think.

    I don’t freak out over jerks in low-level politics. I do get disgusted by high-level political jerks as they are supposedly the responsible leaders of their faction, and represent their followers as such.

    What Murdoch and his ilk (yep, MSNBC too) have done is to dramatically overemphasize minor, local idiocy into some existential outrage. Don’t be so quick to spend your righteous anger on cheap gew-gaws.

  10. steve says:

    Can’t say I really care what the professionals say and do. I find it more disturbing that this is percolating down to the local level. One of my younger colleagues won’t come to dinner because his wife doesn’t want to talk with someone who might be a liberal. In our soup kitchen two of our very liberal volunteers made fun of George Bush, pissing off a couple of conservatives who quit volunteering. People actually believe too much of the crap put out by the outrage machines.

    Steve

  11. Ernieyeball says:

    @steve: In our soup kitchen two of our very liberal volunteers made fun of George Bush, pissing off a couple of conservatives who quit volunteering.

    Please tell us the George Bush joke.
    Maybe I can use it on other thin skinned conservative quitters.

  12. Scott says:

    What I find astounding is the total lack of self awareness and control people have these days. They say, write, tweet anything and are surprised when blowback happens.

  13. rudderpedals says:

    Recoil in horror at a foreseeable response to incitement.

    Something something sows something whirlwind

  14. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah…how this guy said it was dispicable.
    But what of the substance???
    I don’t really care about a nobody from County Politics.
    I do care about the class warfare that Republicans are waging at all levels…and have been waging since Reagan.
    If OTB was serious we would be talking about $40B in food stamp cuts while shoveling tons of socialist money at Ag-Biz.
    Truth be told you can’t support that…so you attack a low-tier messenger.

  15. mattbernius says:

    It seems to me that the increase in vitriol is formed by a number of forces that are currently converging. Chief among them is the rise of Political Entertainment — and in particular the Conservative Media Complex — and the rise of Social Media/Personal Broadcasting.

    To some degree the two have some shared qualities — in particular the focus on the charismatic and controversial individual voice.

    What’s astounding to me — as it is to James — is how any professional spokesperson actually believed that he (or she) could get away with this type of posting (especially directing it at a fellow spokesperson versus the actual politician). The entire thing seems like career suicide (or auditioning for a media gig) and I have to wonder if (and how much) alcohol was initially involved.

  16. rudderpedals says:

    @mattbernius: …how much alcohol was involved

    Matt wins

  17. Moosebreath says:

    @C. Clavin:

    “If OTB was serious we would be talking about $40B in food stamp cuts while shoveling tons of socialist money at Ag-Biz.”

    Or how 90+% of all of the income gains in the last 30 years went to the top few percent. Or how the 1% is back to where it was before the recession, but the rest of the country isn’t. It seems it’s only called class warfare when the lower classes fight back.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    Florack talking about hate is ridiculous…go to his website and search the N-Word.
    Florack is a dispicable man…and should never talk about any one else and hatred.

  19. mattbernius says:

    @C. Clavin:

    But what of the substance???

    Then he should have said something of substance versus turning it into a personal attack (in particular on an individual’s children).

    Given the fact that he was a PR professional makes it even worse, as he should have realized that his execution would all but ensure that the “substance” would never be discussed.

  20. Moderate Mom says:

    @mattbernius: I hope he was drunk, otherwise he seems to also be committing career suicide. In his professional life, he’s a partner in a communications firm. Doubtful that every single one of their clients are liberals that would be fine with what he tweeted.

    He also seems to not like women very much. Can’t remember the website, but they highlighted some tweets he made (last year, I think) to some conservative woman, and they were truly vile.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @ Matt…
    Well, duh.
    Like I typed above…how he said it was dead wrong…but what he was referring to…spot f’ing on.
    And ignored by OTB.

  22. JKB says:

    @Scott:

    What I find amazing is the total lack of creativity and wit by those ostensively employed to be communicators. It’s an indictment of the American education system.

  23. C. Clavin says:

    Just like OTB chose to ignore Reinhart and Rogoff rigging the data to sell debt reduction and austerity in the face of recession.
    But hey…the world hinges on this guy from Sacramento.

  24. JKB says:

    @Mark Ivey: Politician´s and their staff were better off before they invented Twitter..

    Politician´s and their staff didn’t invent anything and, historically, have been of little benefit to mankind for all the copy and false accolades afforded them.

    Sadly, society esteems the charlatans in government rather than the men and women who have transformed mankind and brought billions out of poverty:

    For example : The question being propounded, What is the value of the combined services to man of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, as compared with those of Sir Henry Bessemer? Ninety-nine out of a hundred men of sound judgment would doubtless say, ” The value of the services of the two statesmen is quite unimportant, while the value of the services of Mr. Bessemer is enormous, incalculable.” But how many of these ninety-nine men of sound judgment could resist the fascination of the applause accorded to the statesmen ? How many of them would have the moral courage to educate their sons for the career of Mr. Bessemer instead of for the career of Mr. Disraeli or of Mr. Gladstone?* Not many in the present state of public sentiment. It will be a great day for man, the day that ushers in the dawn of more sober views of life, the day that inaugurates the era of the mastership of things in the place of the mastership of words.

  25. mattbernius says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Like I typed above…how he said it was dead wrong…but what he was referring to…spot f’ing on.

    Right… and again you miss the larger point about how for a message to be effective it needs to be packaged in a way that guide future discussion of its substance versus becoming a discussion of the message.

    BTW, this entire thread is about *discussion of the message* because that’s what James has set up. So trying to get people to discuss Cruz here, on this particular theme, is off topic. Good luck getting that conversation going.

    Frankly that’s why I wouldn’t hire this guy in the future, he’s already demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of what he’s supposed to do as a press agent.

    If OTB was serious we would be talking about $40B in food stamp cuts while shoveling tons of socialist money at Ag-Biz.

    One of the most boring responses from commentors on either side are declarations of what would make this or any other site “serious.”

    I encourage you to start your own “serious” blog and write that material there rather than asking others to wage your battles for you.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    JKB is, meanwhile, not an indictment of the Education system…but merely proof that stupid can’t be fixed.

  27. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin: Just like OTB chose to ignore Reinhart and Rogoff rigging the data to sell debt reduction and austerity in the face of recession.

    Yes, it is quite terrible. You should stop reading it.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @ Matt…
    The vote to strip $40B from food stamps and dump truck loads of cash on Agri-Biz was days ago.
    And was ignored.
    Instead we get a side-show about some no body…with zero mention of what it is all about…or in other words…absent substance.
    And I’m not sure where you got Cruz out of that…except y’all love that side-show too.

  29. Ernieyeball says:

    @JKB: It’s an indictment of the American education system.

    Yes it is!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROxvT8KKdFw

  30. C. Clavin says:

    I encourage you to start your own “serious” blog and write that material there rather than asking others to wage your battles for you.

    It’s not about waging wars…it’s about serious coverage of issues.
    But you are right…it’s your website and if you choose to ignore issues that undercut you Party affiliation…that’s your right.
    Carry on sirs.

  31. C. Clavin says:
  32. Davebo says:

    @mattbernius:

    Good luck getting that conversation going.

    It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to discuss in my opinion.

    I encourage you to start your own “serious” blog and write that material there rather than asking others to wage your battles for you.

    Why? He could just cover for James and his passive aggressive dithering. I hear that can get one promoted to a front page poster here.

  33. wr says:

    Sounds like a guy who just snapped after spending who knows how much time playing that cynical game. Maybe it was watching the other party spending millions to con young people into not getting health insurance while taking food out of the mouths of poor people and shoving cash at rich “farmers.”

    Of course it was stupid, self-destructive and wrong. But at some point what the other side is doing — actually trying to cause the deaths of poor people for political gain — stops being part of the fun game of politics.

    Yes, he was probably drinking, yes, he was definitely being stupid. But maybe he was just one player of the game who could finally see it for what it really is.

  34. al-Ameda says:

    Well, there you go, all together now: Both sides do it.

    Always about a 50/50 split, and nearly perfectly equal in the distribution of “hateful” comments between Republicans and Democrats.

  35. Eric Florack says:

    @Moderate Mom:
    That WAS and IS the substance.
    Hate, pure and simple.

  36. Eric Florack says:

    @al-Ameda: No, both sides dont do it.
    Both Democrats and Republicans may do it, but thats not both sides.

  37. mantis says:

    In 2009 Erick Erickson called a Supreme Court justice a “goat f*cking child molester.” Since then he has been elected to the Macon city council, was hired as a CNN contributor for three years, and hosts a daily radio show.

    Spare me your highly selective outrage over some jerk who has now lost his job and will likely never work in such a position again. If he were a Republican, he’d be celebrated as a hero.

  38. rudderpedals says:

    In vino veritas.

  39. george says:

    But he is an exemplar of a disturbing trend of reasonably bright, well educated people who are in the business of politics who seem to genuinely hate those on the other side. They seem to genuinely believe that those who disagree with them on matters of public policy are evil people.

    I think this is the root of it. I know a lot of people across the political spectrum. I know very few who I would consider evil (and they’re pretty evenly spread across the spectrum as well), and no one I would hate for their political views.

    Hating someone for their poltical views says a lot more about the person hating that the person being hated – generally such people are best ignored and avoided. They almost never say anything worth hearing.

    That isn’t to say that some people have nutty views – I’d argue that the GOP is full of that currently. But hating people for their political views puts you in the 99% percental of nutty.

  40. Mikey says:

    I’m not sure what’s worse: this guy wishing painful, horrific deaths on the children of a political adversary, or all the commenters on this post who are using the negating “but” when commenting about it.

    Stop. Just stop. There’s no “but” that could possibly begin to think about the merest shred of the barest possibility of being appropriate in this context.

    It’s entirely appropriate to discuss, and if you disagree with them condemn, Republican votes on food stamps and Obamacare and other things that assist the poor. It’s entirely inappropriate to do so in a way that implies a justification for a statement like “May all your children die from debilitating, incurable and painful diseases.”

  41. michael reynolds says:

    This began with a simple formulation: abortion is murder. From that point the dialog began to spiral down and down and down. Once you decide to call your political opponents murderers, there’s no civil discourse.

    These are the reckless fanatics of the Right. I’ve been warning people about this for 40 years now, and no one on the right is capable of ever pulling back and saying, “Wait a minute, maybe we should soften that a bit. Maybe we should keep talking.”

    The anti-abortion movement, fueled in many though certainly not all cases, by an underlying white resentment, is where it began. That angry sub-culture has been fed and watered by the right-wing hate machine of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, who have done so solely for profit. Those same people are now the Tea Party and are tearing their party apart and hurting American politics.

    Where were you, James, when your party was attacking Democrats as baby killers? You’ve moderated lately, but where were you 20 or 30 years ago on this? Let me ask you straight up: is abortion murder? Are Democrats “baby killers?” Because if the answer is “Yes,” then you are not in a position to rant about hate.

  42. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    @al-Ameda: No, both sides dont do it.
    Both Democrats and Republicans may do it, but thats not both sides.

    There are other “both sides”?

  43. Todd says:

    @Mikey:

    Stop. Just stop. There’s no “but” that could possibly begin to think about the merest shred of the barest possibility of being appropriate in this context.

    I agree, there’s no excuse that’s good enough to justify even having those sort of thoughts, much less tweeting them out to the public.

    I don’t buy the false equivalency argument though.

    Chances are pretty good that this one act of stupidity may be enough to end this guy’s career (and probably rightfully so).

    If he were a Conservative saying the same sort of things about some “libtard’s” kids, he’d probably gain thousands of new twitter followers, and depending on who he worked for, might not even lose his job.

    … sadly.

    That being said, I honestly don’t think it’s one side or the other that’s “destroying our country”. It’s THE GAME. As long as we continue to believe that people who don’t agree with us are the “enemy”, there’s virtually no chance that any of us will “win”.

  44. mattbernius says:

    @Davebo:

    It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to discuss in my opinion.

    To be clear, discussing Cruz’s positions is reasonable… in a thread where the central topic is Cruz’s opinions or how they related to a specific policy discussion. My point is that this post is more about the specific tweets and issues around what James calls the “politics of hate.”

    BTW, for those who want a “more serious” exploration of topics, try pitching a story.

  45. mattbernius says:

    @Todd:

    If he were a Conservative saying the same sort of things about some “libtard’s” kids, he’d probably gain thousands of new twitter followers, and depending on who he worked for, might not even lose his job.

    … sadly.

    To be fair, there are a number of liberals who have built their career’s on this. At least one is currently serving in the House (looking at you Mr Grayson). While one can argue that it’s far more developed on the Conservative side (see the Right Wing Media Complex), it isn’t a left/right problem so much as it’s an issue of the modern charismatic media industry (among other things) and its intersection with politics.

  46. Todd says:

    @mattbernius: I do agree that there are idiots on the Left too … I’m not a fan … actually, I’m not even a Democrat … so feel no need to defend them.

    I think I tired to say something similar to what you did:

    That being said, I honestly don’t think it’s one side or the other that’s “destroying our country”. It’s THE GAME. As long as we continue to believe that people who don’t agree with us are the “enemy”, there’s virtually no chance that any of us will “win”.

    THE GAME is the problem.

    At this point in time, there are more “players” on the right than the left … which is why I don’t buy the false equivalency argument.

    That said, I’ve tried point out to my non-conservative friends too that it’s just as much game play to say things like “this should be fun to watch” when talking about the Republicans government shut down/debt ceiling plans.

    We should all be in favor of sane, rational people in government … whether we agree with their political/policy views or not.

  47. michael reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:

    The Left’s “media,” is more NPR than anything else, and NPR is utterly devoid of hate speech. Neither does the New York Times. Neither does PBS.

    In the last couple of years we’ve seen MSNBC become increasingly like Fox News. And MSNBC’s ratings have dropped. Why? Because despite the attempt to portray both sides as equally guilty, there is a basic difference: liberals are not capable of wallowing day after day, hour after hour, in hate and contempt. We aren’t built for it. In fact, we’re built for the “Well, on the other hand. . .” We are by our natures suckers for reasoned argument. We suck at fanaticism.

    What has happened is that the Right has ceased reasonably arguing. Look at this blog. Do you see a conservative making rational conservative arguments? Where? I’m hungry for intelligent debate on issues. It doesn’t exist because one side — and only one side — no longer lives in consensual reality and refuses to debate anything in a rational way.

    The ambient IQ around here among headliners and regulars is quite high. A whole bunch of very smart people come here. And yet what we have representing conservatism is Florack, Jenos, Superdestroyer, Bill, Jack and assorted others who are simply incapable of forming or defending a rational point of view. We are frequently unable to tell whether the person on the other side is a genuine true believer or a troll doing parody.

    So, no, this is not both sides do it, or both sides suffer from it. As has been pointed out above, when one of “ours” goes off like this, we shun them, fire them, disappear them. When one of “theirs” goes off like this they are feted, promoted, given an hour on Fox News.

    There is no moral equivalency.

  48. wr says:

    @mattbernius: “At least one is currently serving in the House (looking at you Mr Grayson).”

    What is the terrible thing that Grayson said? Oh yes: “Here’s the Republican plan if you don’t have health insurance: Die quickly.”

    In other words, he’s guilty of not pretending that the Republicans really care about insuring poor Americans as they work to strip away any chance they have of obtaining insurance.

    Meanwhile a Republican congressman from Texas STILL refuses to say on TV that Obama was legitimately elected.

    Oh, yes, they’re exactly the same.

    Honestly, it’s gotten to the point where people who tsk-tsk over the mean things being said are actually a huge part of the problem. Because the Republicans in Congress are trying to starve poor people, and they are spending millions on ad campaigns to talk young people into going without health insurance. For a bit of political gain they are endangering millions of American lives — but since it’s mean to point that out, we have to tiptoe around the truth.

    Both sides don’t do it. Both sides aren’t the same. There are real, objective differences.

  49. @mattbernius:

    One of the most boring responses from commentors on either side are declarations of what would make this or any other site “serious.”

    I encourage you to start your own “serious” blog and write that material there rather than asking others to wage your battles for you.

    Amen.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would never presume to tell anyone what to write. I am grateful for the blog and I recognize how much work goes into it. I’ve done it myself at times in the past but there’s a difference between banging out a comment in between writing the stuff I get paid to write, and actually putting yourself out there to be hammered upon. That’s why I think Doug Mataconis — who is on the receiving end of a lot of stuff — is particularly worthy of praise for his diligence, energy and discipline.

  51. dennis says:

    James, I love you, brother; but this post is about five years (and counting) too late.

  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tony W: And was fired for it. Note the difference in party behavior.

    29 upvotes for a false statement.

    He resigned by close of business, presumably in lieu of being fired.

    And is this one of those things we’re not supposed to talk about? Like the guy who, after seeing the FRC listed as a “hate group,” armed himself with Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and went to shoot up the place? You know, those things that Don’t Perpetuate The Narrative that it’s the right wing that’s all hateful and violent?

  53. @michael reynolds:

    To be clear, I do not mind suggestions about topics worthy of consideration. What gets tiresome (and having done this for over a decade, I have heard it quite a bit) is ongoing insistence that one write about X, Y, or Z. If one is truly interested in writing on a topic, I very much (and with no sarcasm) think that they ought to start their own blog.

    Speaking solely for myself, I blog what I am inspired to blog, and there is grand methodology behind it (I have some specific goals and guiding principles, but it does boil down to, as I have noted before, and with a nod to Douglas Adams: I blog what it occurs to me to blog, more I cannot blog).

    There is, to be honest, a lot that I would like to discuss that I simply lack the time to address. I have a lot less time to blog these days than I did in my early days of blogging.

  54. (And I especially think people should start their own blogs when what they want is for myself, James, Doug, or whomever to not only write on a specific topic, but to write from the point of view of the person making the suggestion. If one wants to read their own opinions, the best way to make that happen is to write them down. There is a difference between saying, “I wonder what Taylor, Joyner, etc. think about X” and “I want Taylor, Joyner, etc. to write what I think about X.” The latter is how most of the comments above come across.)

  55. @Jenos Idanian #13: You are splitting hairs–you are right, he resigned. But are you really stating that he would have retained his job had he not resigned?

  56. anjin-san says:

    seem to genuinely hate those on the other side

    Last year I had a woman I’ve know for over 40 years punt me as a Facebook friend because I objected to the characterization of the election as a choice between “freedom and free stuff” she made on her FB page.

    She was the first girl I made out with at the drive in, we have quite a bit of history, and it was all pretty good. She still refuses to talk to me.

  57. dennis says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Florack talking about hate is ridiculous…go to his website and search the N-Word.

    I knew I shouldn’t have, and I knew what to expect; nevertheless, I took you up on that invitation. Wow.

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: To split even a few more hairs, I simply said it was incorrect, not a lie. And whether or not he would have been fired — we’ll never know. I can think of quite a few Democrats who, by all rights, should have been canned, but weren’t.

  59. mattbernius says:

    @wr:

    What is the terrible thing that Grayson said? Oh yes: “Here’s the Republican plan if you don’t have health insurance: Die quickly.”

    As a regular listener to the Stephanie Miller show, one which he was a regular guest, I can say that he has said a lot of incredibly stupid and hateful things about Republicans. And since listeners and the hosts typically agreed with those views, he got lots of praise for them. This is no different than what happens in Conservative media.

    To your point and @michael reynolds, let me note that I never said it was equivalent between the two sides. I was simply stating the fact that neither side gets out clean on this.

    I’m not sure that I buy the entire “liberals” are smarter argument (and MR I know that’s a bit of a reduction of what you wrote, but it seems to me that’s the key undercurrent). I just think, that at this moment, the Republican part and the Conservative movement has become a victim of it’s own “success.”

    There have been numerous efforts to replicate the success of Conservative Media by people on the left. A handful have been successful (individual radio programs and certain websites). Many have not.

    In part that’s because Conservative media got there first. Part of it’s because the very nature of the Conservative movement (i.e. resistance to change) works better in terms of marketing to niche audiences. And, in part, there’s a better demographic crossover among Conservatives and the media that enable Conservative media’s success (which, generally speaking, are older media forms).

    The net result (which currently the left doesn’t have to contend with) is an intermingling of politics, entertainment, and business where the crowd has largely taken control.

    The problem/challenge is that its pretty clear that many parties on both sides of the aisle (or the comment page) have come to see each other as enemies. And the excuse that they use is that “the other side hates you.” The problem is that becomes an excuse for returning the hate and attacks. We can’t change them, we can only change ourselves.

    And far too many of us keep taking up the bait — especially when dealing with trolls from “the other side.” I mean seriously, why does anyone respond to the folks you mention @MR?

    It’s not like anyone will ever change Eric F’s opinions. Or that he’s interested in a grounded argument. At what point in engaging with him or other’s like him, are we, supposedly “smart” people just adding to the “politics of hate?”

  60. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Really? Care to list them, given that there are “quite a few?”

  61. mattbernius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That’s why I think Doug Mataconis — who is on the receiving end of a lot of stuff — is particularly worthy of praise for his diligence, energy and discipline.

    Seconded. While I don’t agree with many of Doug’s points, I find the three things you noted — his diligence, energy and discipline — to truly be inspiring.

    I’ve been really grateful to have “keys” to OTB. And while some life changes have made it more difficult for me to blog, I’m hoping to channel my own inner Mataconis and get more material up and out.

    As you point out:

    I’ve done it myself at times in the past but there’s a difference between banging out a comment in between writing the stuff I get paid to write, and actually putting yourself out there to be hammered upon.

    Generally speaking it’s far easier to react to a post then spin the topic out fresh. And in my case, all too often I find someone has usually said what I was hoping to (not to mention did a better job of it).

  62. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Charlie Rangel, Terry McAuliffe, and witness the near-comebacks of Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer. Toss in serial liar and fabricator and plagiarist Joe Biden and downright loonies Nancy Pelosi and Sheila Jackson Lee… there’s a half-dozen for you right there.

  63. @mattbernius:

    I mean seriously, why does anyone respond to the folks you mention @MR?

    I have to concur with this sentiment (even though I have guilty of fruitless engagement myself). There are some people who are simply not worth encouraging by responding to them because they are not interested in honest discourse.

  64. Grewgills says:

    @PJ:
    and written communication in general

  65. dennis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    There is a difference between saying, “I wonder what Taylor, Joyner, etc. think about X” and “I want Taylor, Joyner, etc. to write what I think about X.” The latter is how most of the comments above come across.)

    Steven, I think most all of us come to this site with the former in mind; I know I do. I consider OTB to be my middle-of-the-road go-to blog and am always curious what you guys have to say about a particular current event. Sometimes you guys touch on it, sometimes you don’t. I hope you don’t really feel that we want you to write about what WE think about a particular topic, although I admit that it’s our nature to seek out bias-confirming info.

    Keep up the good work; it’s appreciated.

  66. michael reynolds says:

    @mattbernius:

    It’s not like anyone will ever change Eric F’s opinions. Or that he’s interested in a grounded argument. At what point in engaging with him or other’s like him, are we, supposedly “smart” people just adding to the “politics of hate?”

    That is a really good question.

    The historical events that formed my political world view tend to be the Holocaust, WW2, the Great Depression – all of which preceded my life, thankfully) Jim Crow, Vietnam, the Southern Strategy, Stonewall, the Beatles, Roe v. Wade, the Clinton impeachment, 9-11, the Iraq War, and the Obama presidency. (And of course a bunch more, but then we’re getting into a really long list.)

    Like a lot of Jews (ethnic-cultural not religious) the Holocaust holds the number one spot. One of the lessons of that horror is that the Floracks of the world should not be ignored, but exposed and questioned and attacked, early and often. We did the meek, reasonable, passive thing in 1938-1945, and it didn’t work out so well.

    Am I saying people like Florack are Nazis? In effect, yes, that’s exactly what he is in my opinion. Give Florack a gaudy symbol, a charismatic leader, and an acquiescent public and I believe he would absolutely put on a uniform and start rounding people up.

    He’s just one nut, but in the last 40 years we’ve gone from seeing people like him marginalized to seeing a major American political party actively courting his support and pandering to his hate. The back and forth in comments isn’t just about the participants. There are non-participating readers as well.

    So, on balance, I think you go after aszholes wherever they pop up. You expose their lies, you expose the vacuity of their reasoning, you expose their dishonesty, and you don’t tire of doing it. It’s a mitzvah.

  67. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    downright loonies Nancy Pelosi

    And exactly how has Pelosi demonstrated herself to be’ loonie’?

  68. anjin-san says:

    downright loonies Nancy Pelosi

    How exactly is Nancy Pelosi a “loonie”?

    My experience with Pelosi goes back decades, and I bump into her from time to time at events around the bay area. I don’t particularly care for her, and I think she is vastly overrated by fellow Democrats, but to call her “loonie” is simply parroting of nonsense from the right wing noise machine.

    Do you ever wonder why no one takes you seriously?

  69. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Charlie Rangel, Terry McAuliffe, and witness the near-comebacks of Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer. Toss in serial liar and fabricator and plagiarist Joe Biden and downright loonies Nancy Pelosi and Sheila Jackson Lee… there’s a half-dozen for you right there.

    That’s about as pitiful as I thought it would be.

    Rangel for being a crook, not a hater, I assume. Since he is a crook, and not a hater. Terry McAuliffe for. . . being an unlikable twit? You have some evidence he’s a hater?

    Then we’re on to Weiner — rejected by Democrats. And Spitzer — rejected by Democrats. Neither was a hater, they were both, well, let’s just say they were David Vitters. So again, two guys we took out ourselves.

    Finally, recognizing that you had nothing, you toss in Biden and Pelosi. For. . . plagiarism? Really? That’s what you got? Is that like when the Ronald Reagan confused his movie roles with his actual life? And was canonized by you people?

    I would submit your list as ExhibitA in my case that no, there is no moral equivalency.

  70. @dennis:

    I hope you don’t really feel that we want you to write about what WE think about a particular topic, although I admit that it’s our nature to seek out bias-confirming info.

    Not at all. I assume that most readers are interested in what we have to say, for any number of reasons. I was just responding to what C. Clavin was writing above (and the type of comment I have seen for years). BTW, I can understand that readers may be disappointed, and even frustrated, that we fail to address a particular topic.

    Keep up the good work; it’s appreciated.

    Thanks–I appreciate you saying so.

  71. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Ah yes the REAL™ conservatives that are the REAL™ majority, but are magically frozen out of politics and the national debate by the left wing media. If only they could overcome their innate goodness and politeness and bring this country back to the perfection that was 1952.

  72. @michael reynolds: A fair point of view.

    After a while (years, in fact) I guess I have grown weary of engaging some of the specific actors in question and wonder if, at some point, one is not lending them more legitimacy than one is refuting their nonsense.

  73. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Is that like when the Ronald Reagan confused his movie roles with his actual life? And was canonized by you people?

    Not to get too off topic, MR, let’s not forget his preparing for the Reykjavik summit with Gorbachev by reading Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. Another WOW moment.

  74. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I understand that perspective. Its largely why I started commenting here.

    The issue with it — which gets back to addressing the substance of the message versus the form of the message — is I think it can be done without actually every having to directly engage with the troll.

    My goal isn’t to “win” the argument with the troll (we all know that the Internet never allows a last word). Instead I’m interested in winning over the 80% of readers who never actually comment. And doing that requires a different sort of response IMHO.

    After a while (years, in fact) I guess I have grown weary of engaging some of the specific actors in question and wonder if, at some point, one is not lending them more legitimacy than one is refuting their nonsense.

    Frankly, I think it’s useless to engage them in direct questioning because they are incapable of the necessary honesty to actually answer the question. To your point, all questioning them does is give them a platform and all insulting them does is make them victims. Both feed their ego.

  75. michael reynolds says:

    @Grewgills:

    I’m pretty sure the REAL conservatives would have won World War I except they were stabbed in the back by International Jewery, Communists, homosexuals, the dark races and . . .

    Oh, wait, that was a different bunch of magically disenfranchised fanatics. Sorry.

  76. Neil Hudelson says:

    @JKB:

    Really? While the person in question is vile, he also is a partner in a communication firm that I’m guessing has a fairly high end client list (given his position) and he himself–until just now–was an executive party leader in the capital of the 9th largest economy in the world. And this is evidence to you that our education system is failing?

    Furthermore, you think the key to improving our education system is having teachers focus more on creativity? So we should be focusing more on arts and music education, as well as creative writing? Ok. I’m in. I’m glad you have come around. I didn’t realize you were so liberal when it comes to education.

  77. michael reynolds says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I think that’s a valid point of view. But I guess I’d argue that it’s worthwhile for readers to see someone whose opinions they might find resonate a bit with their own, dismembered on a regular basis. It feeds the victim complex of people like Florack, but it doesn’t make him look like a team you’d want to join up with, unless you were just a masochist. And bear in mind, non-response still leaves him endless opportunity to rant away. So the choice is between crazy haters taken on with something like Aikido, and crazy haters taken on with street brawling.

  78. george says:

    @dennis:

    Not to get too off topic, MR, let’s not forget his preparing for the Reykjavik summit with Gorbachev by reading Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. Another WOW moment.

    I’m kind of amazed Reagan read that and liked it – it isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but Clancy actually treated the Soviets as real people (and not mindless communist drones) in it. I’d have thought that reading, let alone, liking a book like that back then would be enough to get you expelled from the Republican party. You sure you’re not thinking of “Red Dawn”?

  79. dennis says:

    @george:

    You sure you’re not thinking of “Red Dawn”?

    Nope, it was Red Storm Rising. I clearly remember the day we discussed it in my American History class and how flabbergasted I was at the prospect. I mean, going to summit with the other major world power with THAT mindset is quite frightening to think about.

    As a disclaimer, I read RSR three times!!!

  80. Matt Bernius says:

    BTW, to prevent a thread hijack, I’ve created the following self-explanatory discussion:

    Open Question: Why do you respond to trolls?

  81. Matt Bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So the choice is between crazy haters taken on with something like Aikido, and crazy haters taken on with street brawling.

    I’ll always chose Aikido under those conditions.

    Street brawling only works when you can actually land a punch and shut the person up. Being the internet, neither of those things is possible. All you end up doing on “commenting brawling” is expend a lot of energy and all too often make yourself look bad in the process.

  82. dennis says:

    @george:

    Clancy actually treated the Soviets as real people (and not mindless communist drones) in it. I’d have thought that reading, let alone, liking a book like that back then would be enough to get you expelled from the Republican party

    Two things, george.

    First, it was the back door, invisible communications between level-headed U.S. and Soviet officials that kept the two sides from smokin’ each other and, thus, the entire world.

    Second, we’re talking GHW Bush, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, not Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Steve King. There’s no comparing the GOP statesmen of that era with the GOP clowns currently trying to pass themselves off as someone serious.

  83. anjin-san says:

    @ Grewgills

    bring this country back to the perfection that was 1952.

    The fascinating thing is that their fantasy about the 50s does not include the actual tax rates from the 50s.

  84. anjin-san says:

    GHW Bush, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft

    Bush 41 was a poor domestic President, but on foreign policy he and his team were first rate. Seems like a long vanished golden age compared to the current clown show.

  85. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If you define a “rational argument” to meant whatever progressives have decided that is correct, then I guess it makes sense that people would believe that everyone else is just not wrong or misguided or irrational.

    As an example, I do not claim that Democrats and progressives are wrong from their POV on immigration. I understand that they want more automatic Democratic Party voters; they want to expand the underclass; that they want to expand the demand for public school teachers, social workers, law enforcement, and other government employees, and that Democrats want to transform the demographics of the U.S. to change the social, cultural, economic, and political culture of the U.S.

    What is odd is that progressives fail to understand that others have different priorities than they do (such as having children versus living in an urban area), are willing to tolerate a different set of downside problems (lower taxes for more people falling through the cracks).

    Maybe everyone should just admit that people have different priorities, different motivations, and thus will come to different conclusions.

  86. dennis says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Maybe everyone should just admit that people have different priorities, different motivations, and thus will come to different conclusions.

    See, Matt, this is the type of shi-ite that I mentioned on your side “troll” discussion! This from superdestroyer who, for lack of the crap he just finished shoveling, is obviously and absolutely CLUELESS about the behavior of the GOP the last five years.

  87. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    MR, if and when you respond to superdestroyer’s asinine and cognitively dissonant comment, I hope you’re not as riled up as I am so that you can do your usual justice to such asininity!!!

  88. Grewgills says:

    @anjin-san:
    but… but… REAGAN!!!

  89. Woody says:

    @michael reynolds:

    @dennis:

    Thanks, gentlemen – these two posts reflect why this is one of my favorite sites for politics.

    Many posts a day, nearly all top quality – just amazing, and I’m grateful.

  90. superdestroyer says:

    @dennis:

    I guess two insulting profanity filled rants is what passes for “rational discussion” for progressives these days.

    Once again, I guess trolls are defined by progressives is anyone who will disagree with them. As I have posted for years, I believe the current form of the Republican Party is massively wrong on many policies. Yet, I mention that Republicans have different priorities than Democrats and I receive nothing but “rational” insults.

  91. dennis says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Yup — that’s me every day!!! Really, you think THAT”s profanity filled??? Man, the world I”M living in . . .

  92. Sarah Palin says:

    @steve:…conservatives who quit…

    I heard that joke when I was Governor of Alaska and I did not think it was funny at all!

  93. dennis says:

    @anjin-san:

    Bush 41 was a poor domestic President

    Which is why I cast that worthless, protest vote for Perot in ’92. What an idiot…

  94. bill says:

    @Tony W: ann coulter is not a party official- she’s a columnist. and, she’s way funnier than this dude.
    @C. Clavin: do you mean “class” as in “lack of”? and why does our country need more food stamps when our dear leader has dragged our economy back to life all by himself? food stamps keep food prices higher, so it’s like treading water-or trying to have an intelligent conversation with a junkie.

    on a side note, this really didn’t make the “news” anywhere for some reason- and we all know that reason and just live with it.

  95. wr says:

    @bill: “food stamps keep food prices higher”

    Say what? Even the moral monsters who use the excuse that slashing food stamps will get lazy minorities to find a job don’t try for something this stupid. You should really go back to getting all your information from Fox, because when you try to come up with somethng on your own it’s really sad…

  96. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Let me also add in Mayor Filner, whose sexual harassments (and assaults) were covered up for years by CA Democrats.

    But again, this Violates The Narrative that The Right Is The Party Of Hate And Violence And Oppression, so we don’t talk about that, do we?

  97. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Oh we don’t fail at all to understand that honest conservatives have different priorities. But that doesn’t apply to you. You’re so single-mindledly xenophobic and racist that you’ve been repeatedly warned by the actual conservative who owns this blog. You’re obsessed. That is not rational.

  98. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    OK, one more, and I’m more irritated that I forgot him than I am about forgetting Filthy Filner.

    Why the eff is Alec Baldwin still a popular actor, and even considered a potential mayoral candidate for New York? The guy’s a borderline psychotic, and has been known as such for years. He deserves the Mel Gibson treatment even more than Gibson does.

  99. Jeremy R says:

    The personal Twitter account of someone working at the county level for a political party? County level political figures aren’t always the brightest of bulbs, for example:

    http://billingsnews.com/index.php/4230-racist-joke-stirs-debate
    http://billingsnews.com/index.php/4232-2-say-they-saw-racist-joke-online

    Under a cardboard box that was held up by a stick with a string on it, the “snare” had a watermelon as bait. Underneath it a caption read: “BREAKING NEWS: The Secret Service just uncovered a plot to kidnap the president.”

    However, this particular image was allegedly re-posted on the personal Facebook page of Jennifer Olsen last Friday. Ms. Olsen happens to be the chairwoman of the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee and a leader of the Yellowstone County Montana Shrugged Tea Party.

    http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2011/04/racist_orange_county_republica.php

    The Weekly has obtained a copy of an email sent to fellow conservatives this week by Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party.

    Under the words, “Now you know why no birth certificate,” there’s an Obama family portrait showing them as apes.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/racist-email-federal-judge-richard-cebull-sent-his-buddies-about-president-obama-s-mom

    Judge Richard Cebull, Chief U.S. District Judge for Montana, sent a “joke” email from his courthouse chambers, using his official court email account, that compares African Americans to dogs. Here’s the punchline:

    A little boy said to his mother, “Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?” His mother replied, “Don’t even go there, Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!”

  100. dennis says:

    @Woody:

    I know, Woody, and I apologize. I did better on Matt’s why-feed-the-trolls post, though.

  101. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Why the eff is Alec Baldwin still a popular actor, and even considered a potential mayoral candidate for New York?”

    Oh My God. Stop the presses! Mean, rude, borderline insane is “even considered a potential candidate”!!!!!

    That’s practically like being elected in a landslide!!!

    Considered a potential candidate!!! Well, that certainly proves how terrible Democrats are, if they consider this man a potential candidate!

    So all we need to know now is who considers him a potential candidate — besides potentially himself and potentially a few political consultants positioning themselves for a job just in case — and what it means to be considered as a potential candidate. But this is truly a shocking revelation, Jay, and we’re all glad you brought it up.

    And in return, I can answer your typically stupid question: He is still a popular actor because he was very funny in a well written part on a successful series, and because he’s done some truly excellent work in a lot of movies. And, of course, because people who aren’t obsessed morons don’t judge whether or not they like an actor’s work by his politics.

    But you are slipping — you forgot to mention he now has a show on MSNBC!

  102. PJ says:

    @wr:

    And, of course, because people who aren’t obsessed morons don’t judge whether or not they like an actor’s work by his politics.

    Exactly.

    Adam Baldwin is an idiot, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy watching Firefly or Chuck.
    And I’m not going to petition Joss Wheadon to kill off Jayne Cobb if there’s another Firefly movie. 😉

  103. wr says:

    @PJ: It’s funny, I’ve never heard a liberal say “I won’t watch Frasier because of Kelsey Grammar’s politics.” Or a Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis movie. And while I know plenty of people who won’t watch anything with Chuck Norris in it, I’ve never heard them say it’s because of his politics, just that he’s a lousy actor in lousy movies.

    And while the week or so I worked with Norris numbers among the longer ones in my career, that didn’t have anything to do with his politics, either…

  104. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Jeremy R: You’re forgetting that Doug has a lengthy history of finding Republicans at similar levels saying and doing stupid things, and giving them plenty of attention.

  105. dazedandconfused says:

    Ill wishes should never be directed at anybodies kid. Also, a little originality goes a long ways.

    How about….“May a person with syphilis piss in your eyeballs.”

  106. george says:

    @wr:

    It’s funny, I’ve never heard a liberal say “I won’t watch Frasier because of Kelsey Grammar’s politics.”

    Actually, when I was in university many years ago, there were a lot of folks debating whether an artist’s or writer’s politics should be taken into consideration when deciding to purchase (or even peruse) their work. That was long before “Frasier” though, and the discussions tended to be pretty abstract.

    I always thought it was pointless – like the general population (myself included) I suspect a lot of great artists and scientists were smucks at times (Newton for instance was apparently often less than angelic, but I can’t imagine ignoring his physics or calculus because of it, though I suppose if you hated studying physics or calculus you might have a different opinion), and so I’d rather take the best of someone had to offer rather than judge them by their worst traits. But it wasn’t a universal opinion, and there were folks at either end of the spectrum who refused to “support” someone who had differing poltics.

    I suspect it still happens though. Especially the extremes. Quite a few letter writers in both “Salon” and the “National Review” for instance are happy to say they’d never talk to even family members who voted the wrong way.

  107. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    OK, one more, and I’m more irritated that I forgot him than I am about forgetting Filthy Filner.

    Unlike Senator David “strong pioused Christian values” Vitter, (former) Mayor Bob Filner was forced out by his own Party.

  108. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: But you are slipping — you forgot to mention he (Alec Baldwin) 0now has a show on MSNBC!

    I have prayed that Alec Baldwin would die ignored, in obscurity. HIs having a show on MSNBC shows that sometimes prayers are answered. Thank you for the good news.

  109. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I have prayed that Alec Baldwin would die ignored, in obscurity.”

    Of course you have. Your loathing for people who have accomplished something in their lives is quite well documented. For some reason you seem to believe that bitterness, envy and self-pity are attractive characteristics.

  110. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Sigh… do you have even the slightest bit of self-awareness? You quoted me accurately, but you cut off the punchline.

    What kind of a moron quotes the setup for a gag and gets all bent out of shape over it, then ignores the punchline?

    You gives me a sad.

  111. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    you cut off the punchline

    It’s only a punchline if it’s funny. That is the prattle of the dead.

    At any rate, Baldwin can make more money in an hour working on a second rate TV network than you make in a year, and have beautiful women standing in line to jump in bed with him in the proecess.

    Of course you are right to sneer at him 🙂

  112. anjin-san says:

    here were a lot of folks debating whether an artist’s or writer’s politics should be taken into consideration when deciding to purchase

    An interesting question, as is the one of a creative person’s character. Miles Davis had few, if any redeeming features as a human being. Stan Getz put his wife in the hospital with beatings, twice. Yet I have a hard time imagining life without their music.

    Stan Getz – The Peacocks

    Miles Davis – It never entered my mind

  113. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    An interesting question, as is the one of a creative person’s character. Miles Davis had few, if any redeeming features as a human being. Stan Getz put his wife in the hospital with beatings, twice. Yet I have a hard time imagining life without their music.

    You are so right. Many artists are extremely undesirable people. Self-centered, driven, narcissistic – that focus often propels them as artists, but just as often stunts them as social beings. Ever read a biography of Picasso? He used, used-up, and destroyed people along the way. But, again, his artistic talent was monumental.

  114. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Toss in Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Gary Glitter, Roman Polanski (he deserves two mentions)…

  115. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    We’re now also hearing stories of J. D. Salinger’s serial history of exploiting young women, too.

  116. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: At any rate, Baldwin can make more money in an hour working on a second rate TV network than you make in a year, and have beautiful women standing in line to jump in bed with him in the proecess.

    But, in the end, he’s still Alec Baldwin. Who called for a sitting Congressman and his entire family to be murdered. Who called his 11-year-old daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig.” Who held up a planeful of people because rules are for Little People. Who has, on several occasions, assaulted photographers. (OK, they were paparazzi, so those would be misdemeanors.) Who called a black photographer from the New York Post a “coon” and a “crackhead.” Who called a woman on Twitter a “compulsively distorting bag of Midol.” (While arguing that Joe Paterno should NOT have been fired.) Who…

    Eh, that’s enough. Just do a Google search on “Alec Baldwin a-hole.”

    And no, I didn’t have all these incidents at my fingertips. I just remembered a couple of specific incidents and remembered that there were a lot more of them, so did a quick digging.

  117. anjin-san says:

    Jenos Idanian #13

    Are you complaining because Baldwin can be obnoxious? Hateful? You just blew up another perfectly good irony meter.

  118. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Dude, you’re judging me on my behavior here. As they say, on the internet no one knows you’re a dog.

    I’m talking about Baldwin’s known behavior in real life. And after some serious introspection, I can’t think of any time I’ve done anything as vile as Baldwin has.

    OK, there was that one time with your mother, but we were both really, really drunk, and that goat had it coming. But other than that…

  119. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Dude, you’re judging me on my behavior here.

    I spent a lot of years working behind a bar, you get to be a very good judge of people. My read on you is that there is not more to you than meets the eye.

  120. Grewgills says:

    @anjin-san:
    To be fair (and I disagree with most of what Jenos posts) judging someone by the comments they make facelessly to other faceless individuals on the internet is a lot different than seeing them and how they interact with people out in the real world.
    I try not to, but people behave differently behind a pseudonym on the internet than they do in their day to day physical encounters. It wouldn’t surprise me (much) to learn that Jenos was much more moderate than his arguments here would indicate and that he just enjoys playing the devil’s advocate and tweaking the noses of people he feels are overserious.

  121. anjin-san says:

    @ Grewgills

    I try not to, but people behave differently behind a pseudonym on the internet than they do in their day to day physical encounters.

    There is some truth in that. For example, I doubt very much that Jenos would say a word about my mother if we were in the same room.

    A great deal of what Jenos says is obvious BS. The undercurrent of a small sprit and a desperate need to be seen that runs though everything he says however, rings true to me, and I suspect I am not the only one that feels that way.

  122. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    My gosh, Baldwin is indeed a bad man. How lucky we are to have you to inform us.

    Were you not an ardent admirer of Ann Coulter, a woman who has made a career out of hate speech, you might just have a shred of credibility here.

    But you have, and you don’t.

  123. Ernieyeball says:

    @george: …so I’d rather take the best of someone had to offer rather than judge them by their worst traits.

    Where do you think you are? Sesame Street?

  124. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “but you cut off the punchline”

    That was your idea of humor? That explains a lot.

  125. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: There is some truth in that. For example, I doubt very much that Jenos would say a word about my mother if we were in the same room.

    Actually, I probably would. But I’d count on voice tone and the absurdity of the goat line to convey that I was being facetious.

    As far as Ann Coulter… she’s fun, but I rarely read her. And I don’t think she’s ever done anything as a-holish in real life as Baldwin has done, over and over and over again.

  126. bill says:

    @wr: i don’t watch fox but thx for the advice. supplementing food purchases assures that prices don’t drop to compete with available dollars- it’s simple economics. but this detracts form the whole issue of why do we need to put half the country on food stamps if we’re recovered economically? aside from that our economy is floating on a huge gov’t subsidy provided by the fed…..thank them for not being able to get an interest bearing savings account.

  127. Barry says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:”Actually, I probably would. But I’d count on voice tone and the absurdity of the goat line to convey that I was being facetious.”

    You’d be counting a lot on a little, IMHO.

  128. george says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Where do you think you are? Sesame Street?

    Okay, that made me laugh – nicely done.

    Some good examples of great artists who had real flaws but who it’d be hard to imagine doing without in some posts. Same is true for many great scientists. Purists who believe we shouldn’t read/look at/use the work of people with bad politics/character/prejudices wouldn’t be able to drive a car, or use a computer, or in fact use much of modern technology – some of the greats in science, upon which so much technology is based, had the same kinds of flaws as great artists.

    Part of it I’d guess is that really driven geniuses tend to ignore or see as interuptions everything not directly related to their work … or at least that’s my guess, not being a genius myself.

  129. wr says:

    @bill: “why do we need to put half the country on food stamps if we’re recovered economically?”

    Because, as has been documented recently, something like 95% of the economic recovery has gone to the top 1%, while everyone else is seeing unemployment and wage stagnation.

  130. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Barry: (shrug) I can live with that. The other day I encountered a lady who was a Baptist minister, and I told her my favorite Baptist joke:

    Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up?

    Might lead to dancing.

    Could’ve ended very badly. She guffawed and took out a pen and paper to write it down, along with a list of members of her congregation she was going to share it with.

    I take chances like that all the time in real life. Occasionally it blows up in my face, but most of the time I skate right up to the edge and catch myself. Keeps my life interesting.

    In real life, I have some advantages. I can pick up on body language and voice tone to see when I’m getting too close to the edge, and I’m pretty good at that. Online, I have to wing it.

    In the line above about anjin’s mother, I actually put some thought into it. I considered “sheep,” but that has too much sexual baggage. And the same for “was asking for it,” so I went with “had it coming” — which is usually associated with some kind of violence or other non-sexual context. The notion was to start off with a “yo mamma” line, then swerve with the “both drunk” bit. Introducing the goat added the absurd element to the premise, and the “had it coming” pushed it even further from the sexual context implied by the cliche setup line.

    A simple “yo mamma” line would have been simply a juvenile attempt to insult annie, and I didn’t want that. Aside from the sheer lameness, it would have been an example of the “hate” (a hugely overused term) being discussed here. So I piled on a bit more to move it from a straight insult into a bit of absurdity in an attempt to defuse the tension a little.

    Not my best effort, but I didn’t think it that bad. And took me maybe a minute to think it all the way through. I knew some would have a knee-jerk reaction to it, but they have the same reaction to anything I say, so I don’t take them into consideration. I hoped at least a couple would get a smile out of it.

    And even if they didn’t, I did.

  131. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Because, as has been documented recently, something like 95% of the economic recovery has gone to the top 1%, while everyone else is seeing unemployment and wage stagnation.

    You’re not supposed to say that about Obama’s wonderful recovery he’s engineered. Even if it’s true.

    Racist.

  132. Moosebreath says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “You’re not supposed to say that about Obama’s wonderful recovery he’s engineered”

    True. We’re also not supposed to say that about Bush the Younger’s recovery. Or (to a lesser extent) Clinton’s. Or Reagan’s. We’re just supposed to salute the rich and thank them for allowing us to breathe the same air as they do. Oh, and cut their taxes some more.

  133. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Take anything that Ann Coulter has written, replace her references to “liberals” by “Jews”, and what do you have? Yup, I thought so.

    “Oh, but I was only being an entertainer….”

    Churning out the materials for the two-minute hate. Yup, what a class act.

  134. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Actually, I probably would. But I’d count on voice tone and the absurdity of the goat line to convey that I was being facetious.

    Well, my mother is 80, she has had two go rounds with cancer, and her memory is going, which is scary because her mother suffered from severed dementia later in life – so my sense of humor where she is concerned is kind of limited.

    But, I will tell you the same thing I did about seeing who could handle guns. Lets get together, and see how it works out in the real world. I am up for it if you are 🙂

  135. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: And I’ll repeat my answer to your veiled threat: sure, as long as I can bet against myself. I’ve handled and fired a gun exactly once in my life, and I am extremely confident that I would be shown up by pretty much anyone.

    I dunno why you want to keep asserting your superiority in this area. I conceded that one from the first instance. And I have no interest in giving you the chance to prove what we both say is true.

  136. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    exactly once in my life

    Funny that’s also the maximum number of times you would ever crack wise about my mother in my presence. Well, as we know, lots of guys are bold on the internet and abject cowards in real life.

  137. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Funny that’s also the maximum number of times you would ever crack wise about my mother in my presence. Well, as we know, lots of guys are bold on the internet and abject cowards in real life.

    That’s quite a bold threat right there, sport… I guess, after the last time you said I blew up your irony meter, you hadn’t gotten around to replacing it.

    Funny, I didn’t peg you for the type to respond to words with threats of violence. And while it’s ambiguous, your touting your gun skills could even be considered to be a death threat.

    So, you wanna make this physical? Bring it on, chump. I guarantee you that I will bleed all over you and cost you one HELL of a dry-cleaning bill.

  138. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, you wanna make this physical? Bring it on, chump. I guarantee you that I will bleed all over you and cost you one HELL of a dry-cleaning bill.

    Based on your recommendation I’ve invested in Dry Cleaning Futures.

  139. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Don’t put all your retirement on that one. I only got so much blood…

  140. Ernieyeball says:

    @george: Okay, that made me laugh – nicely done.

    Thanks mom! By the way I like your latest nom de plume!

  141. Ernieyeball says:

    @george: I’ve never heard a liberal say “I won’t watch Frasier because of Kelsey Grammar’s politics.”

    I am an anarchist and I never watched Frasier. I thought it was kind of dumb.

  142. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos Idanian #13

    Settle down Bevis, no one it going to beat you up. Though that’s a risk you take when you talk smack about another guys mother out in the real world.

    I’m not trying to scare you, but I am trying to instruct you, though I suspect it is pointless. Yesterday you made a lot of noise about how Alec Baldwin is a jerk in the real world, while you are just pretending to be one on a blog. No sale. If you were a decent person, after hearing about what my mother has been going though, you would have said something like “hey, sorry about your mom, I did not mean anything by it.”

    Instead, you break out your victim fiddle, and spew out more lame attempts at humor. “Its all about meeeeee” – we expect this from a child, but its pretty sad in an adult.

    So no, I am not buying it that you being an annoying twerp on OTB day in and day out is just an act. Over time, people tend to run true to form. Chances are very good that you are an annoying twerp in real life.

    But, you have a choice. This is a laboratory where you could attempt to morph yourself into something other than a twit. Unless, of course, that is all you aspire to be.

  143. John D'Geek says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If one is truly interested in writing on a topic, I very much (and with no sarcasm) think that they ought to start their own blog.

    I’ve been considering this for a while, now, but I don’t think I have the “admin time”. I would especially want the thoughtfull commentary; but I’ve long given up on most commenters here. I don’t suppose OTB accepts submissions?

    (The irony is my “short list” is filled with Liberals … and Doug and JJ).

  144. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I knew some would have a knee-jerk reaction to it, but they have the same reaction to anything I say, so I don’t take them into consideration. I hoped at least a couple would get a smile out of it.

    And even if they didn’t, I did

    And there’s your special insight into Jenos/Jay Tea’s psyche. Like so many of his ilk, the pleasure he gets from insulting people is of paramount importance. It’s why so much of their politics is based not in rational thought or coherent ideology, but rather “whatever pisses liberals off.”

  145. bill says:

    @wr: well, obama’s been in the house for 5 yrs- who’s to blame for that now? and really, enabling just doesn’t teach people anything.

  146. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: The previous times I’ve apologized around here, it’s been taken as a sign of weakness and it only encourages the idiots. In my explanation was an inferred declaration that it was intended without malice.

    If you did not pick up on that inference, then let me make it explicit: I intended no malice, just a brief excursion into silliness and absurdity to break up the mood. If in doing so I offended you, it was without intent.

  147. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    just a brief excursion into silliness and absurdity to break up the mood

    Yes, you seem to consider yourself to be something of a card.

    Back in the day, I spent a LOT of time with professional comedians, including some of the best in the world. At clubs I worked, and out on the road. I know my way around humor.

    You are not funny. You are not even mildly amusing. I have an excellent memory, and I remember exactly one thing that you have said in here that really was clever.

    Talking about another guys mother is pretty much verboten, unless you know him really, really well. Even then it is not such a great idea. It’s not “silly” – it’s crass and boorish.

    You keep referring to “the idiots” – you might want to consider that the idiots are not the ones you think they are. This is actually a pretty good room.

    LIke I said above, the question is if you want to be something other than a twit. Give it some thought. While you are thinking about it, consider that you do not seem to have won a single ally, friend, or admirer in you time here, and maybe a change of approach is not a bad idea.

  148. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I love to read you explaining how brilliantly funny you are. You are David Brent reborn in America.

  149. wr says:

    @bill: “enabling just doesn’t teach people anything”

    Well you see, this is where you’ve gone wrong. Food stamps aren’t intended to teach people anything. That’s why we have schools. Food stamps are intended so that America citizens don’t go hungry.

  150. anjin-san says:

    Food stamps aren’t intended to teach people anything. That’s why we have schools. Food stamps are intended so that America citizens don’t go hungry.

    Would that I could give this a dozen up votes.

    I am around people that are genuinely poor every day of the week. (I have a mentally ill relative that lives in a low rent boarding house)

    Most of them are always working to hustle up a buck. They have an extensive recycling operation, with a small fleet of bicycles equipped with carts patrolling town looking for empties. They collect things that have been thrown away, fix them up and sell them at local thrift shops. One of the girls help me with my aforementioned relative, doing his laundry, and cleaning his room (she does a very good job) some of the guys hustle up any odd jobs they can get. There is a vegetable garden in the back.

    In short, these people (most of whom do get some sort of public assistance) don’t sit on their asses all day getting drunk and watching TV, all the while laughing at people who have jobs. I have know people I would classify as bums who get public assistance, but to tar all poor people with that brush is simply ignorance. And it’s worth noting that I have known more than a few well to do folks that are somewhere between unscrupulous and outright crooked.

  151. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I’ve lost count. Is the fifth or sixth time you’ve asserted absolute wisdom and knowledge based on hanging around with drunk people? ‘Cuz that’s what your repeated assertions of authority boil down to.

  152. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    So you are sticking with twit? Well, I tried.

  153. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    @anjin-san: I’ve lost count. Is the fifth or sixth time you’ve asserted absolute wisdom and knowledge based on hanging around with drunk people? ‘Cuz that’s what your repeated assertions of authority boil down to.

    Absolute knowledge and wisdom? Only Sarah Palin has that, as Katie Couric learned the hard way.

  154. anjin-san says:

    Sarah Palin

    One of the great founts of unintended comedy.

  155. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Among other things, I’ve spent countless hours hanging around with comics in coffee shops and hotel rooms into the wee hours of the morning, listening to them discuss their craft.

    Do you have any similar experience? Because you seem to spend a lot of time explaining to people that something you said was humorous, why it was funny, and that they ought to get it and laugh.

    Good comedy, humor that is actually humor – it just works. You don’t need to provide Cliff’s Notes with it.

  156. Grewgills says:

    @anjin-san:

    Good comedy, humor that is actually humor – it just works. You don’t need to provide Cliff’s Notes with it.

    True, but unfortunate. Most of my jokes are for me. If anyone else laughs, it’s gravy.

  157. Matt says:

    @anjin-san: Thanks for the musical links.