Anti-Obama Billboard Right Outside Of Kansas City

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Barack, Crazy, Obama

What to say to this?

Well, I’ll give it a try…

Looks like 1st Amendment rights are alive and well if folks can create a billboard that sits on one of the most well traveled highways in the country and suggest Obama is a communist and make a quasi-revolutionary call. I mean…do they not see the irony of that?

Second, has Obama restricted ANY 2nd Amendment rights so far? Obviously he’s not a big gun rights advocate, and he was in favor of renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but abandoned that in April in favor of ratifying a treaty that only deals with small arms trafficking.

So yes, once again the scare tactics are easily disproved.

Moving on…


This entry was posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2009 and is filed under Barack, Crazy, Obama. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

53 Responses to “Anti-Obama Billboard Right Outside Of Kansas City”

  1. bubbles Says:

    Way to steal my state’s motto…

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  3. Simon Says:

    Their rhetoric m,ay be overheated, but your post is a strawman. “Are in jeopardy” looks to future abridgement, not past or current, so referring to the present state of play doesn’t disprove the scare tactic.

  4. rachel Says:

    I wonder at the signifigance of there being so much “Obama’s gonna take your guns away!” screeching in spite of the fact that he hasn’t done thing one to try to do that. Clinton had actually tried to restrict some people from buying some kinds of weapons,so the campaign against him had a basis in reality on that score, but not so with Obama. It’s and odd, almost Pavlovesque way of reacting that we’re seeing here.

  5. mike mcEachran Says:

    Simon – so, scare mongering without any evidence or history to back it up has validity? Okay, my guess is you’ve never killed any one, so can I can put up a sign that tells your neighbors to watch out for you, becuase you just might someday? To everyone reading, your lives are at risk – Simon very well may be plotting to kill you. Please spread the message.

  6. Jim S Says:

    What’s really hilarious is the guy tries to claim that he’s not anti-Obama.

  7. Justin Gardner Says:

    Simon, must you fight me on EVERYTHING? :-)

    Yes, jeopardy looks to the future, but when they say “are” instead of “may be” it absolutely suggests current state. Not only that, the billboard says, “They are coming for you!” One can reasonable assume that they’re suggesting the here and now, yes?

    By the way mike, yes, exactly. Still, I think the billboard is speaking pretty clearly about current state.

    bubbles…my deepest sympathies. :-)

  8. Simon Says:

    Mike, you must have missed my first sentence, in which I made it clear that I think they’re scaremongering. Either that, or you’re strawmanning too. Just because their rhetoric is overheated, however, doesn’t mean that any old argument will work against them.

    Justin, time allowing. ;) As to in jeopardy, I take that to refer to future acts by this administration. And it remains to be seen whether that is accurate or not. Which side (if either) will the administration take in McDonald v. Chicago, for instance – are they for the Second Amendment or against it? We already have reason to doubt their interest in the first amendment given their briefing and argument in Citizens United. But this billboard is manifestly directed at provoking scrutiny of the administration’s future actions, not chastising them for abridgements that have not yet occurred.

  9. gerryf Says:

    bat crap crazy

  10. Justin Gardner Says:

    Simon,

    I think the answer to my question then is “Yes, I will fight you on everything.”

    Unfortunate. I’m quite a reasonable fellow. It’ll be tiring defending these clearly unreasonble folks. Still, this is your cross to bear.

  11. Simon Says:

    Justin, if you think I’m defending them — rather than pointing out why your critique fails, which is a very different enterprise — you really didn’t read my comments. That a group is wrong does not validate any criticism of them.

  12. Chris Says:

    Yes it’s batshit crazy.

  13. kranky kritter Says:

    So, what’s the assessment of how representative this guy’s opinions are?

    Anyone who visits donklephant gets to regularly enjoy Justin’s policy of highlighting right wing kooks whenever they cross his radar screen. So he provides all of us with the bad sampling that will lead us to think the country is overrun by them.

    Just for sharts and giggles, I did a google search for ‘ “anti-Bush billboard” ‘. 13,000 hits. Wowie! Looks like the shelves are full at the left-wing kook store, too. Whooda thunk it?

    Check out this one

  14. Mike A. Says:

    Just received a phone poll from the NRA stating (I paraphrase, but these are the words used) “….Third World nations, along with Hillary Clinton, are meeting behind closed doors plotting to take our guns away from us…”

    I answered the poll that I absolutely support their actions, lol.

  15. mike mcEachran Says:

    Kranky – I mean this as a serious question. Am I a partisan hack becuase I feel the anti-Bush billboard (you linked to in your post) is valid becuase there is plenty (plenty!) of evidence that the Bushies absolutely lied to us and the deaths of more than 4000 american service members is the result; and I feel the anti-Obama billboard is based on zero evidence and therefore true quackery?

    I just don’t think I’m a partisan hack, seeing what I want to see. I think the evidence (relating to these two billboards as representing the extremes of each party) that the shouts from the left are at least based in realtiy, while the shouts from the right are two steps from crazy. Right??! Someone, please tell me I’m whether I’m diluted or not? Becuase I sometimes think I”m living in Bizarro world. Is it me??

  16. kranky kritter Says:

    Mike,

    I wasn’t trying to use that billboard as some sort of proof of exact equivalence. I didn’t spend hours digging for a perfect example. I simply showed one quickly located example of an extremely negative depiction of one side by the other. Also it was nice and vague and all-encompassing in its claim, since it did not make any specific charge.

    I believe that trying to win any debate over which side is “worse” is an extraordinarily fruitless enterprise. I have for all intents and purposes declared this battle to be a tie. Over time, It has proven to me to be a very useful and enlightening operating hypothesis. For one thing, it has helped me to make a number of reasonable fair-minded conservative and pluralistic-thinking blogger friends.

    We have to ask ourselves what we are looking for or trying to achieve by blogging, right? I would like to think that what I am looking for is insight into ways forward on various issues. When all I ever did as a partisan liberal was to relentlessly defend my views and disparage those of others, I seldom gained any insight. All I ever got was ma and someone else angry.

    Am I a partisan hack becuase I feel the anti-Bush billboard (you linked to in your post) is valid becuase there is plenty (plenty!) of evidence that the Bushies absolutely lied to us and the deaths of more than 4000 american service members is the result; and I feel the anti-Obama billboard is based on zero evidence and therefore true quackery?

    The Bush billboard doesn’t make a specific claim. You seem to be implying that the claim relates the “weapons of mass destruction” argument. I’m happy to agree that our failure to locate such weapons reflects quite badly on the competence of our intelligence. But I have to this point not seen any evidence whatsoever that the Bush admin knew for a fact that these weapons did not exist. That the Bush admin lied about WMD is a plausible claim, and IMO an utterly unproven one.

    The anti-Obama billboard seems to till very similar ground of innuendo. Is Obama “coming for taxpayers?” That seems like a defensible claim simply on the basis of the gross overspending we have seen thus far. Taxpayers will pay, right? As someone else has conceded, Obama is not especially supportive of the right to bear arms, which makes one half of the 2nd claim defensible. As to the 1st amendment claim, I am at a loss to explain what it refers to.

    That’s the kind of analysis I come up with when I try hard not to give the benefit of the doubt to the side I sympathize with while making the worst case interpretation of the views of folks I do not sympathize with.

    It’s a hard but worthwhile thing to try to do.

    So, are you a partisan hack? I can’t answer that. But I think there are simple tests we can all take that will suggest certain things to each of us. It’s this. When we blog and debate, and find occasion to search for evidence related to our debates, how often do we look for evidence that would counter our own contentions? Do we do that, or do we usually just search for things that will support whatever point we are arguing for? Do we look for the best data available only after we have formed a hypothesis in such a way that the data could either support or disprove our ideas?

  17. Chris Says:

    It looks photoshopped as well. A equivalent billboard would be more like “Bush eats your unborn fetuses” or something as ridiculous as that.

    I spend way too much time on the internet, and I run across more people that think like the crazies than those that don’t. Even my whitebread inlaws believe all the BS that’s shoveled to them from faux news. And both of them have college educations, are well read and so forth.

  18. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Simon, if these guys were referring to a corporation’s right to spew propaganda, rather than an individual’s right, the sign would not include any reference to the Second Amendment.

    Unless you think this sign implicitly argues a corporation has the right to establish a private military force, armed with whatever military hardware (up to and including nuclear arms) it can afford.

    kk,
    I sincerely doubt you would not have posted that sign, in in this context, if the tagline was “We’re morons, trust us anyway.”

    Which is what you just argued the anti-Bush sign should say.

  19. the Word Says:

    kranky wrote

    I believe that trying to win any debate over which side is “worse” is an extraordinarily fruitless enterprise. I have for all intents and purposes declared this battle to be a tie. Over time, It has proven to me to be a very useful and enlightening operating hypothesis. For one thing, it has helped me to make a number of reasonable fair-minded conservative and pluralistic-thinking blogger friends.

    Sorry- but I have a number of issues with this. Wishing doesn’t make something so. Desiring to see a world of greys might just mean you refuse to see black and white. They do occasionally happen. I think that hearing “Kill Him” and “I’ll never vote for no nigger” are not grey. When you said you wanted to make friends with reasonable fair-minded people, most of us would, but if they don’t see that some things are different and beyond the pale, they aren’t reasonable and they aren’t fair-minded.

    I’d agree that we should try to see the valid points in the other side but when their points are things like death panels they are not trying to have a debate on valid points and treating it as such is enabling deceit and obfuscation to be a strategy.

    Obama has tried IMO to see the world through your lens. He has tried to reason with unreasonable people with the result that the people will get less reform than he believes they need and deserve. All so he can try and get along with people who I think the record is clear, never had any desire to do so from the other side. Sometimes even attempting to meet in the middle means you have compromised too much. We live in a world where Republicans seem never to compromise and Democrats are expected to at every turn. You likely see grey, but to me it’s pretty black and white when someone like Grassley says that even if he wrote the bill he’d vote against it. Sometimes a banana is a banana.

  20. the Word Says:

    kranky-
    I do agree with one thing. It is generally fruitless with the people who you would have never gotten through to in the first place. I also agree that we should try to seek balance. The older I get, the less tolerant I am of things I have seen before. The old fool me once thing.

  21. kranky kritter Says:

    Sorry- but I have a number of issues with this. Wishing doesn’t make something so. Desiring to see a world of greys might just mean you refuse to see black and white. They do occasionally happen. I think that hearing “Kill Him” and “I’ll never vote for no nigger” are not grey. When you said you wanted to make friends with reasonable fair-minded people, most of us would, but if they don’t see that some things are different and beyond the pale, they aren’t reasonable and they aren’t fair-minded.

    No, wishing doesn’t make it so. The hypothesis I have forwarded can very, very, easily be criticized by anyone who has a mind to reject it as intuitively false. I don’t reject black and white, I simply have a high threshold for it. I stand by my suggestion that usingmy operating hypothesis will lead to political insight.

    Obama has tried IMO to see the world through your lens. He has tried to reason with unreasonable people with the result that the people will get less reform than he believes they need and deserve. All so he can try and get along with people who I think the record is clear, never had any desire to do so from the other side.

    I agree with you that Obvama has “tried” to see the world through my lens. In fact, I think he DOES see the world through a lens much like mine. This is probably why I like him so much. He tries very hard to steer people away from the same fruitless political defaults as I do. If he sets this example for 8 years and does not achieve as much as progressives wanted, I’ll be delighted. First because I disagree with the progressive take on many issues, and second because I think we can benefit from a role model of political decency.

    Your point about compromise is well taken. But if taken too much to heart, it leads one to paternalistically justify taking bad faith positions “for the own good” of those who you’ve deemed lacking in honor and insight. That’s ignoble. Realize that we have a 2-party system, so getting less reform than one side’s leader thinks is apt is really endemic to the system. I always presume that if any politician promises me a pizza, there’s no way I’ll ever get more than about half. And I’ll remind myself that a taste is better than nothing.

    We live in a world where Republicans seem never to compromise and Democrats are expected to at every turn.

    Under current circumstances, the GOP has very little real power. A united democratic party has the ability to do precisely as it wishes without GOP obstruction. When you are the group without much power, your best tactic is almost always delay. Politics 101, first day of class.

    It’s clear to me that democrats and their supporters are framing the current battle as an issue of “compromise for the people’s good.” But I can’t help notice that the nature of these compromises will be to change things to be far more in accordance with the way progressives think America should be, and to move things substantially away from how conservatives see America.

    Now, I don’t really agree with conservatives on healthcare, but I have no trouble accepting the idea that conservatives are not supporting reform because they honestly think that it will make things worse. The nature of a legitimate compromise is that each side gets some of what it wants. I really don’t see the part where the GOP gets anything that it really wants. The only thing I see is that the democrats are offering to go a little bit less far than they want to in return for republican approval.

    Here’s an ugly analogy. Suppose I tied your hands behind you back and said “Ill only stick it halfway in if you give me permission?” Would this feel like I was offering a compromise to you?

  22. Nick Benjamin Says:

    kk,

    If the GOP was actually getting nothing out of this Dole and Frist wouldn’t publicly claim they’d vote for it.

    Here’s what the GOP gets:
    More competition between health plans.
    The continued existence of for-profit insurance companies.
    Competition across state lines via the insurance exchanges.
    Major cost controls in Medicare.
    Anti-fraud provisions in Medicare.
    An individual mandate to buy care.
    Tort reform.

    You’ll notice that according to several Conservative commentators on this blog two or three of these alone would fix the health crisis completely.

    The only thing they don’t get is no new taxes, but given the budget projections on health care that’s simply stupid. We’re going to have to kill Medicare completely, or raise taxes. The entire GOP is strongly opposing both potential fixes.

    I didn’t mention the public option. That’s because the public option is not in the Finance Committee bill and it still got zero GOP votes.

    If Republicans were interested in compromise at all their best bet would have been to negotiate honestly with the Gang of Six. But instead Grassley supported End of Life Counseling in July, and then denounced it as “Death Panels” in August.

  23. kranky kritter Says:

    Wow Nick, your list sounds great, You’ve changed my mind.

    Hah. What a BS sales job. The medicare “cost controls” are provider side, not a GOP idea. They put ceilings on what prices can be charged for services. Cost controls? Or price controls? Conservatives are about as anti price-controls as you can get. Which I bet you know.

    The continued existence of for-profit companies? RU effing kidding me? “If you go along, I won’t kill your children.” Really? I mean, really?

    An individual mandate to buy care? The GOP vehemently opposes this. They believe people should be allowed to choose whether or not to buy insurance. It’s like you’ve never even listened to what conservatives say.

    By the way, who out there is pro-fraud? Last time I checked, fraud controls are just a no brainer presuming they can be made to work without creating a mountain of red tape. There’s no way that this is something that the GOP was clamoring for and that the democrats added in to appease the GOP. In other words, utterly unrelated to compromise.

    I am deeply skeptical that here will be anything resembling legitimate tort reform. I am sure there is something in the bill that’s being called tort reform, and I’m waiting to find out what it really involves.

    Basically, you’ve got a great big fat nothing, besides your weak-arse sales job. You’re just selling the frame, which is that the GOP won’t “compromise” for the good of the public. Again, it’s ignoble.

  24. the Word Says:

    Kranky
    I actually think I now understand how you think, and while we aren’t going to arrive at an agreement I think I get you. My frustration is that I, and a majority of Americans, voted for what we wanted and we aren’t getting it. You are happy because you didn’t want it and are getting exactly what you hoped for. I would love to see a GOP that had thinking alternatives and honorable representatives. I just don’t see it. There was a time…

    I totally agree on the political decency but that requires a decent opponent and I don’t see indications of that. If Republicans had made the argument on economic grounds or here’s the approach we think make sense or here are legitimate reasons we are against it, I’d listen. Death Panels are a Karl Rove approach – Divide, Cause Fear, and Smear.

    I get that you may want something different than I do. So for you, every loss is a win. Imagine you have waited your entire life for someone to get elected that you were proud to vote for and you did it based on supporting their vision for America. Then, when elected, they did not fight for that vision. Your idea of compromise just hasn’t played out. If the GOP was in charge of this debate and had the same numbers few would doubt they would have crammed them down our throats. So the end result is. They take and they take and we give and we give and no matter what they always get more of their vision of where we go than I do – Even when my side wins an election. If they were a willing partner in democracy, I would totally agree with you. I just think that is a fantasy.

    You then said
    When you are the group without much power, your best tactic is almost always delay. Politics 101, first day of class.

    My problem is that it is a tactic for not working together and you say that you want to work together.

    You then said
    It’s clear to me that democrats and their supporters are framing the current battle as an issue of “compromise for the people’s good.” But I can’t help notice that the nature of these compromises will be to change things to be far more in accordance with the way progressives think America should be, and to move things substantially away from how conservatives see America.

    If you don’t think we haven’t moved so far to the Right that we need a correction, your voice was not what drove the last election. Elections should have consequences. They ALWAYS do when Republicans win. Bush had people from industry regulating themselves for the last 8 years with disastrous results.

    Finally
    Now, I don’t really agree with conservatives on healthcare, but I have no trouble accepting the idea that conservatives are not supporting reform because they honestly think that it will make things worse.

    Again, I have no issue with a spirited, honest debate of the issues. Where have you seen ANY indication that that is the desire of the GOP? Where do you see any indication that any Republican will work with any proposal?

    In another post you wrote of Clinton.
    What he was was a very adept politician. I give him a ton of credit for that. While personally a very venal character, he was a really good President, because he understood that he was practicing the art of the possible. His near-total lack of serious idealism was probably his best quality.

    The last statement was painful for me to read. I’d rather both sides passionately stand for something, that they HONESTLY argue their position and that they love their country more than their party. At the end of the day, you look at the numbers and you get the best representation of your ideals that you can.

    You left me with an analogy so here would be mine. You see two husbands-one who doesn’t treat his wife as good as he should (doesn’t bring flowers or appreciate her efforts) and sometimes says things he shouldn’t. The second husband regularly beats the crap out of his wife. It makes you feel good to say they are both bad husbands and somehow the same. I see making them equivalents as enabling and encouraging abuse. There is no downside to Republicans to continue to behave in the petty way they have for years. Obama is much like a battered wife. I think he needs to stop taking it or he is encouraging their behavior.

  25. kranky kritter Says:

    I get that you may want something different than I do. So for you, every loss is a win. Imagine you have waited your entire life for someone to get elected that you were proud to vote for and you did it based on supporting their vision for America.

    Actually, Obama is that guy for me. He models precisely the approach I’ve always wanted a President to take. Quite unlike Bush 2, who I thought was hopelssly overmatched by the job. From the beginning I have seen Obama as far more moderate, flexible, and sensible than folks on the left have talked them into. He is much more like Clinton than progressives thought.

    When Obama loses on an issue I didn’t support anyways, I’m happy. I support healthcare reform, I just don’t think the GOP is guilty of the sins the democrats are accusing them of in their attempts to bully them on board with ideas that are frankly anathema to conservatives. As a liberal in my youth, I have made a concerted effort to digest the conservative perspective, and I think I’ve done a decent job. Their positions don’t surprise or confuse me or make me angry anymore. (and I’m speaking here of the views of prominent congresscritters and so on, not the blatherings of the kinds of whackjobs Justin loves to highlight.)

    You then said
    When you are the group without much power, your best tactic is almost always delay. Politics 101, first day of class.

    My problem is that it is a tactic for not working together and you say that you want to work together.

    Right. My view here only makes sense if you accept my contention that the things being framed by democrats as compromises are not compromises in the sense of including the sorts of changes the GOP favors. My sense of healthcare reform is that the GOP is diametrically opposed to the basic reform approach that the democrats want. They don’t think that substantially more government involvement will improve things, and I believe that they must act in accordance with that view if its honestly held. And I believe it is.

    If you don’t think we haven’t moved so far to the Right that we need a correction, your voice was not what drove the last election. Elections should have consequences. They ALWAYS do when Republicans win. Bush had people from industry regulating themselves for the last 8 years with disastrous results.

    I am fine with elections having consequences. But no electoral consequence requires a minority party to go along with things they don’t support. I’ve been through both parties being the minority opposition. The minority, whether democratic or republican, is supposed to oppose things they don’t think are good ideas for the country. Period. To suggest they ought to do otherwise is really quite an ugly and cynical notion.

    I agree with you that this election marks a swing of the pendulum back from the rightward swing that I personally trace as beginning with Ronald Reagan. Further, I agree that the GOP became corrupt with the power they enjoyed during that time, and that their policies came to be driven more by the desire to maintain power than any desire to bring principles to life.

    Again, I have no issue with a spirited, honest debate of the issues. Where have you seen ANY indication that that is the desire of the GOP? Where do you see any indication that any Republican will work with any proposal?

    Like I said before, I feel that the GOP perspective is diametrically opposed to the democratic one. The types of changes that conservatives think would make things better are so far out of the realm of the politically feasible right now that outlining them would probably do nothing but invite ridicule. If you’ve had the stamina to read my many lengthy posts, you know that I have repeatedly acknowledged that the GOP has not forwarded good ideas.

    Please take care to notice that the core kernel of my hypothesis here is NOT that I think the GOP has better ideas. Instead, I simply contend that the GOP’s approach makes sense given the congressional numbers and their philosophical views. IMO it’s not unprincipled or unpatriotic or anything of the sort. As I have repeatedly pointed out, it’s within the democrats’ power to pass substantial reform without the GOP’s help. All they need to do is broker a deal within their own ranks. That’s indisputable. It is IMO an utterly defensible position for the GOP to tell the democrats in essence “If you think your approach is so great, go ahead with it. We don’t, and we’re not helping.”

    In another post you wrote of Clinton.
    What he was was a very adept politician. I give him a ton of credit for that. While personally a very venal character, he was a really good President, because he understood that he was practicing the art of the possible. His near-total lack of serious idealism was probably his best quality.

    The last statement was painful for me to read. I’d rather both sides passionately stand for something, that they HONESTLY argue their position and that they love their country more than their party. At the end of the day, you look at the numbers and you get the best representation of your ideals that you can.

    I must have confused you by saying “serious idealism” when I should have said “overweening idealism.” There is an aphorism that says that better is the enemy of the best, and vice versa.” I think that all good politicians in a democratic system must fully embrace the notion that politics is the art of the possible. IMO, the epitome of Clintonism is “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Despised by both sides, it nevertheless brought forth progress towards the ideal that progressives wanted, and it has proven itself to be a pretty enduring change. Another is welfare reform. The GOP banged the drum for this for years and years, and Clinton helped them finally carry it across the finish line in a final form that was far less draconian than many conservatives wanted. Liberals insisted that things like time limits on benefits would cause the sky to fall. They didn’t. Liberals pissed. Conservatives moaned. But something was done. Ta-daa!

    You left me with an analogy so here would be mine. You see two husbands-one who doesn’t treat his wife as good as he should (doesn’t bring flowers or appreciate her efforts) and sometimes says things he shouldn’t. The second husband regularly beats the crap out of his wife. It makes you feel good to say they are both bad husbands and somehow the same. I see making them equivalents as enabling and encouraging abuse. There is no downside to Republicans to continue to behave in the petty way they have for years. Obama is much like a battered wife. I think he needs to stop taking it or he is encouraging their behavior.

    In the abstract, I wholeheartedly agree with your analogy in the sense that it points out the dangers of easy equivalence. The problem lies in the actual application of the analogy to the specific case at hand, which I have thought about at length over many, many, many, years. In the analogy, there is an objective way to make a distinction. Neglecting your wife is only selfish and unkind. Beating her is criminal.

    I have yet to come up with any sort of satisfying objective standard by which to conclude that liberal partisanship is at worst venal while conservative partisanship is more cardinal in its sinfulness. Further I have had occasion to hear both sides make the claim of the other.

    I consider myself a serious student of the dance of comparative political demonology, (as coined by a valued blogger friend). So I’ve tried to study it as someone without a dog in the hunt. I have found no sound basis on which to reach the conclusion you suggest, nor the reverse which conservatives maintain. I am convinced that the dance is pointless, and is in fact a big part of the problem.

    Perhaps you believe that the only way to get past this dance is for us all to agree with you that its conservatives who have been the ones who have played unfairly and with mean spirits and ill intent,while liberals have only ever done this as a defense against the bad guys. You have the rest of your life to truly grasp that the other side feels exactly the same way with the exact same amount of earnest fervor. Then, you can contemplate how such a stalemate can be broken.

    My take is that the only way to win is not to play.

  26. the Word Says:

    kranky-

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree

    I think a cursory glance at FactChecks of positions indicates that there is an easy way to tell who is being honest and who is being dishonest. If the GOP said, we’re not playing, that would be honest. If they said we don’t support reform that would be honest. If they said we don’t believe government should be involved that would be honest.

    Death Panels, We Support Medicare, Killing Grandma, We’re working for reform are all lies IMO. Easily proven and don’t even pass the laugh standard of real discourse.

    You then said
    I consider myself a serious student of the dance of comparative political demonology, (as coined by a valued blogger friend).

    Sorry but I find that to be absolute BS and enabling of the behavior that makes the excesses possible. There are things we could all do to keep the discourse valid. Ignoring and accepting horrid behavior isn’t one of them.

    What was done to Max Cleland is an example that sometimes evil exists. A decent person of either party should condemn it when it occurs. I worked for John Anderson a Republican because he was such a man.

    Gingrich’s first campaign in which he assaulted the family values of his opponent while having an affair himself is an example. Ensign calling for Clinton’s impeachment for the same offense is an example. I can’t stand hypocrisy.

    If you know of such things on the Democratic side, I will gladly condemn them.

  27. kranky kritter Says:

    You then said
    I consider myself a serious student of the dance of comparative political demonology, (as coined by a valued blogger friend).

    Sorry but I find that to be absolute BS and enabling of the behavior that makes the excesses possible.

    Well thanks for the blatant insult. Your battle won’t end by delivering a tit for every tat. As you console yourself that you are fighting the good fight, contemplate the tale of Sisyphus, will you?

    Beware running your engine on self-righteous anger, sooner it later its likely to consume you, if it hasn’t yetI. remain mystified as to where partisans summon fresh surprise and anger when they find that they have reaped what was sown. Again.

    Know that bringing up Newt Gingrich’s first campaign makes you appear as a grandmaster at nurturing a grudge. How many years ago was this? I don’t think I could make my point better than you do by bringing that up.

    You’ll probably still be furious about this on the day Gingrich eventually dies, unable to let anything resembling a decent word about him pass your lips. Right? On the day when Gingrich dies, don’t forget that uber partisans of the right brought up Chappaquiddick when Ted Kennedy died. Be sure to get even. It’s all about getting even.

  28. the Word Says:

    kranky-
    Didn’t mean it as an insult. I’ll clarify later.

  29. the Word Says:

    kranky-
    Didn’t mean it as an insult. In my opinion, almost every disagreement boils down to a belief that the other party is wrong in their conclusion. None of us would state an opinion we didn’t think was right. My major complaint with your argument is what I see (I will admit, perhaps by reading too much into it) as “I have come up with a morally superior way (and oh btw— am I not more perceptive and clever by doing so) of seeing things because I am not partisan and everyone else is wrong”. I find that insulting to be honest.

    I also think it ignores reality. I was just stating clearly that I find your position to be totally not grounded in reality and not productive and rather harmful to the process. I would say it to my best friend in exactly the same way, face to face. I would say it is exactly what makes Karl Rove’s tactics possible. When the defense is everybody’s doing it, you make possible the very behavior that keeps the debate in the gutter. Your thinking IMO, makes the Max Cleland smear type behavior possible and without any recriminations.

    I also apologize for the shorthand on Newt Gingrich. I assumed you were familiar with his history. He was having another affair while championing his moral superiority on Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky and pushing for impeachment. This to me means that he isn’t moral and certainly has no integrity which would grant him the moral high ground to dictate for others their behavior. He has a career long pattern of behavior showing he thinks he is beyond the rules. (You can throw Ensign and Sanford under the same bus) I believe that shows he should not to be held up as someone of honor in the process. I would say the same exact thing if he were in any party. Your relativism, gives him a free pass.

    I am not as partisan as you might think. I didn’t vote for Clinton either time because I thought the office deserved a person of better character. (That said I think he could have taught morals and ethics to most of those condemning him). If someone didn’t want to vote for Kennedy for his past behavior, I get it. I realize that some took it way over the top, but it was a valid concern. Kennedy, to be fair, did not go over the bridge again later in life while talking about responsibility though.

    And your getting even rant, totally misses the point. Some people deserve to be condemned. Some standards should be set. There are things we should condemn whether they occur in any party. You blithely dismiss any attempt by Justin to point out things that should be condemned by everyone because you see everything as a partisan attack. Sometimes, it might be. Often it is just reality. It takes more effort to be honest and to discern the difference. IMO, it takes nothing to say it’s all the same.

  30. kranky kritter Says:

    Well there’s usually a way to express disagreement without calling someone else’s seriously expressed belief complete and total bullshit, word. :-) I count myself hard to offend, so I’m untroubled. My response was more a matter of calling you out on your approach than being offended.

    My major complaint with your argument is what I see (I will admit, perhaps by reading too much into it) as “I have come up with a morally superior way (and oh btw— am I not more perceptive and clever by doing so) of seeing things because I am not partisan and everyone else is wrong”. I find that insulting to be honest.

    Fair enough. I can see how it could be interpreted that way. especially if you are used to approaching such discussions defensively or combatively. Undeniably, I am questioning your approach and suggesting another. So your perception isn’t really wrong, per se. And though I did, IIRC, use words like ignoble, I don’t think that morals have much to do with it. It’s not that I think your approach is immoral, but rather that I think it lacks utility.

    And I feel like I am speaking from a position of experience and that I have insight to offer. The dance of comparative political demonology is one that I have partaken in for many years. And as previously pointed out, it has proven itself frustrating, fruitless, and something which feels like it diminishes me by leading me to be angry, petty, and unable to give other folks any benefit of the doubt for having any insight to offer.

    I also think it ignores reality. I was just stating clearly that I find your position to be totally not grounded in reality and not productive and rather harmful to the process. I would say it to my best friend in exactly the same way, face to face. I would say it is exactly what makes Karl Rove’s tactics possible. When the defense is everybody’s doing it, you make possible the very behavior that keeps the debate in the gutter. Your thinking IMO, makes the Max Cleland smear type behavior possible and without any recriminations.

    You have used language related to “enablement” on more than one occasion. You seem concerned that folks behaving badly in the CPD dancem ust be subject to recriminations. You feel you must take a combative stance that maximizes the chances that these bad actors won’t “get away with” these things you object to. I’ve been there, so I like to think I understand. As time passed, I came to question whether my correspondingly combative stances had any positive effect against such bad actors. And I came to conclude that it really didn’t. It often made me feel better, like I was fighting the good fight. And righteous. God yes, righteous. Been there too. Still go there.;-)

    But ultimately, my lengthy experience provided no evidence that I was ennabling or disabling anything.Eventually, it comes down to the question of what we are blogging for and looking for by expending our time in discussions like this. We each have a different answer. For me, I came to realize that I really wasn’t looking to righteously defend one sides perspective against the bad guys. I saw the conundrum of the CPD dance as a real puzzle, and what I wanted was insight. First rule of holes: stop digging.

    I spent 2 semesters in graduates school in a class called the dialogue process, which among many things asked folks to take responsibility for their own listening and to consciously work to give other speakers the minimal benefit of the doubt. You at least acknowledge that their feelings are genuine and that they are grounded in at least some insights about the world they live in, even if their overall world sketch perhaps lacks coherence.

    And that changed my approach even if only incrementally. When I blog I am primarily looking for insight and for common ground. I am looking for insight not just on the issue being discussed, but into the nature of how folks are discussing the issue. I consider myself a student of the debate as well as the content. Not trying to pat myself on the back by saying that, just trying to describe.

    And your getting even rant, totally misses the point.

    You should have seen it before I revised it to be nicer. :-)

    Some people deserve to be condemned. Some standards should be set. There are things we should condemn whether they occur in any party.

    True. Yet I must point out that, as the philosopher-king Eastwood once said, “deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” I was once dumbfounded when I discovered the quote that said that to have a right to do something and to be right to do it are two very different things.. Wow, I thought, great point. When you choose to condemn and set standards and blast back, even if you have every right to do so, be aware that you are making a conscious choose. Indeed, you are choosing a path. Over time, I came to discover that this path always leads to the same place, Nowhere but a vicious circle that lets you off right back where you started: angry.

    It’s not at all an easy thing to see that you have every right to let someone have it, and then NOT let them have it. I try to do this, not often successfully. But the reward, undeniably IMO, is personal insight into the grounding of the feelings and insights of conservatives. Further, find that I have taken away to power of folks to make me angry. That’s the temptation of the dance, to be baited, get angry, and vent. My personal feeling is that the dance diminishes the dancers.

    You blithely dismiss any attempt by Justin to point out things that should be condemned by everyone because you see everything as a partisan attack. Sometimes, it might be. Often it is just reality. It takes more effort to be honest and to discern the difference.

    Well, not blithely. Absolutely not. That’s an insult to me and my tediously long-winded posts. One that fails to offend me, BTW. :-) I do often and consistently challenge Justin on his invitations to dance, but never do so blithely, which means in essence, “without consideration.” Justin doesn’t just point out things which should be condemned. he condemns them. And he also points out the bad actors of the right almost exclusively, which gives visitors here a bad sample of the world of bad political actors. He does it because he thinks he’s balancing the scales. IMO, these scales are more problem than solution.

    IMO, it takes nothing to say it’s all the same.

    Well, it takes time and serious consideration to genuinely entertain my hypothesis as worthwhile. I believe that I am saying something much more sophisticated than “it’s all the same.” I have had my perspective boiled down to this one sentence equivocation many, many, many times. By both sides, BTW. This perception on the part of CPD dancers is a real roadblock.

    When one attempts, on occasion, to transcend the dance of CPD, I know for a personal fact that certain useful insights ensue. Granted, nothing is gained but that something else may be lost. I do know that my subtraction from the dance doesn’t seem to have changed the dance for the dancers. There is no shortage of dancers. The dance does not miss me. It’s the same dance. Neither side persuades the other. Both sides make the other angry. No righteous attempts at recriminations lessen the volume, nature, or frequency of various slanders. The dance demands these things, these ugly, unfair, slanderous dance steps, and those who dance never fail to provide it. If for any reason you chose to extract yourself from it, you would be replaced.

  31. the Word Says:

    kranky-
    Thanks for the thoughtful response. I will go this far. I think we would all do well to try to understand that position of others. Your argument loses some steam IMO when it is applied consistently. There can not be any code of good behavior. A starting point for dialogue and not just a tactic. It’s a bit like a neighbor with a bad kid. It’s their kid to raise, but at some point when their child’s behavior is impacting everyone (in a real way) in the neighborhood, it’s time for an intervention.

    I know I have said things in the past in a way that didn’t come close to communicating what I really meant. I guess the fundamental flaw I see in your position is that I see it like a group of cars on the highway. Some driving the limit, some speeding, some driving drunk and some trying to cause accidents and your position, to me, feels like we can’t have some “law” that we can all agree on to live in a civilized world. It is why we have laws. Gingrich type behavior in my view is what makes an honest dialogue possible. Search high and low for me defending a hypocritical behavior from either party and you won’t find it. I think that if that one thing was done by all, we’d live in a much better world. Ignoring it might be an effective “tactic” for less stress.

    I personally would love everyone to hold everyone to a standard (The SAME one). Honesty in debate would be a start. I have no issue with any position, just don’t make things up. On this, I think you are conscientious and for that, I support and applaud you.

    p.s. Do you get why I think Gingrich is a rational condemnation and not a partisan one?

  32. the Word Says:

    Obviously, I meant hypocrisy makes dialogue impossible rather than possible. My bad

  33. kranky kritter Says:

    Well, the problem with your analogies is that they apply to situations where there’s probably an objective standard that’s pretty easy to apply…the law. Speeding, drunk driving and driving to endanger are all illegal. That neighborhood kid is probably going to tread along the same line, and you don’t have much recourse unless the kid is breaking the law. You might tell your kids not to play with that kid, which ironically parallels the advice I am offering in relation to CPD…don’t play.

    And please note that I am not suggesting that there are never objective standards which are applicable to political behavior. There are, and when I do criticize, I try best to stick to them and apply them fairly. Things like lying. And accusing people of lying without actual evidence. My long watching of the CPD dance has shown me ample instances where partisans reliably apply seemingly objective standards one way to their side, and one way to another. That, along with using best0case scenario speculation to forgive their own side’s sins and woirst case scenario interpretations of the other sides most trivial statements.

    Newt Gingrich is IMO an interesting figure. One, his family values stances are cast forever in doubt by some of his past self-serving behavior. Seldom have I been happier to see someone’s hero shown to have feet of clay. He’s also a very bright guy. Top percentile. like Obama.This manifests itself in two ways, one good and one bad. The bad way is his unabashedly partisan weak-sense critical thinking. If he can find a way to defend his own side’s sins, he will. And if he can find a way to make the other side look bad, he won’t hesitate. He’s highly partisan.

    But not an idiot.The good way it manifests is as an intelligent and articulate explainer of conservative perspectives. I have seen instances where Gingrich has spoken and shown himself to be insightful and thoughtful. I don’t know whether we can necessarily expect honest dialogue from Newt Gingrich if by dialogue we are talking about the debate as it is conducted in public in newspaper editorials and tv appearances.

    But were it to come to pass, I would dearly love to be a fly on the wall should Barack Obama split a bottle of Jack Daniels with him in private.

    Anyway, I really don’t know that I expect honest open dialogue from politicians themselves. I think they really do need to speak in simple blunt ways that spin things to amke them look as good as possible and the other side not so good. But it troubles me that people on blogs seem so prone to mimicking them, spinning things and reflexively defending their team.

    In other words politicians are for the most part full of crap, and I understand why, and even accept it. But everyday folks talking on blogs need not share that imperative.

    Ignoring it might be an effective “tactic” for less stress.

    I’m convinced it’s more than just that. Guys like Glenn Beck for example don’t deserve my attention and I don’t see him as any sort of threat that I need to disable. None of us who disagree with him really need to reward his silly behavior with our attention or to provide echoes that amplify his twisted memes. That could change if for example I thought he had any sort of substantial influence beyond a desperate kooky fringe.

  34. Nick Benjamin Says:

    This is my response to kranky’s post. I originally typed a detailed refuatiotion of his points, but decided that a) it was too long, and b) this response alone was enough to prove my point about the GOP unwillingness to compromise:

    kranky said:

    An individual mandate to buy care? The GOP vehemently opposes this. They believe people should be allowed to choose whether or not to buy insurance. It’s like you’ve never even listened to what conservatives say.

    No, it’s like you didn’t start listening to them until they figured out opposing the individual mandate was a good talking point.

    You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything like “vehement opposition” from GOP pols before September. Grassley supported it, none of the Senate finance committee GOPers opposed it in May. Frist currently supports it.

    I’ll admit their support was tepid, but it was there. And a major reason we know they don’t want to compromise is that they did a total 180 on this issue. It magically went from being a necessary (if regrettable) element of reform to being a deal-breaker.

    So to sum up, here’s what the GOP gets out of the Baucus bill:
    *The individual mandate, which none of them opposed in May, Grassley voiced support for in August, and Frist still supports.

    *A national insurance market, with standard regulations, and increased competition, that Jimmy claims would solve health care completely.

    *Anti-fraud measures in Medicare. This is something the GOP wants, and it’s something that’s in the current bill. So by definition it’s a reason for them to support it.

    *Deficit reduction via Medicare cost controls. These are not price controls because a) a substantial part of the savings is stopping fraud, and b) Medicare already publishes a price list. It’s called a fee schedule. Nobody has to take Medicare prices, nobody but Medicare has to pay the prices on the fee schedule. The cost controls simply mean the prices on that list will grow slower than currently projected.

    And if they asked they’d get tort reform. They’re not going to ask, because if they did the tort reform they want would probably be included, which would make it more difficult for them to convince people like kranky they have no reason to support the bill.

  35. the Word Says:

    Kranky-
    Now we’re getting somewhere

    You said
    Well, the problem with your analogies is that they apply to situations where there’s probably an objective standard that’s pretty easy to apply…the law.

    That was my point. We as society agreed on a code of behavior that was codified in law. You offered lying and I suggested hypocrisy. Don’t you think we could all agree on those? It’s just a start, but what a start. I would have no problem kicking out anyone of any party guilty of either. It would also be entertaining to hear people arguing that we shouldn’t have those minimal standards. (On a wouldn’t it be nice scenario, Don’t know how it could be implemented but hard to believe that movies are deemed more worthy of scrutiny than Saxby Chambliss’s campaign against Max Cleland. Wouldn’t you think a committee of citizens could look at the fact and say- You’ve gone too far here?)

    As to Newt- He is intelligent, no doubt. In an immoral person, I think that makes him more dangerous. He is also immoral in a way that leaves Clinton in the dust. When someone repeatedly shows (and Gingrich has) that he is outside the bounds of honesty and that he will say anything to make a partisan point (including disagreeing with his own positions) he brings nothing to the debate except that he cannot be counted on to offer honesty.

    You then said
    Anyway, I really don’t know that I expect honest open dialogue from politicians themselves.

    We’ll never get it unless we demand it. I’m old enough to remember that it wasn’t always like this. The tolerance of it is what has allowed it to grow like mushrooms on a mountain of manure. It’s why I am so against looking the other way. I have no problem with either side arguing strongly for their point of view. I also realize that everyone looks through their own lens. I expect that. I just want the debate to be honest.

    The problem with Glenn Beck is that I think thinking Americans look at him and don’t take him seriously (assuming the rest see that as well) BUT He does have a huge following and he does pull the strings of a segment of the GOP base like marionettes. Think of kooky fringe as a small segment if you will but look at the depth of that pool and you might see there’s more manure to grow on than you might think. Bruce Cockburn has what I think is a great line “Kick at the Darkness Till it Bleeds Daylight”

  36. kranky kritter Says:

    Glenn Beck has a “huge” following? I don’t know about that. About 2 million viewers in that time slot, around 500k more than the other cable new networks at tha time. An audience including comedians, the morbidly curious, and apparently liberals looking for a quote to bitch about. But even if you want to say that’s “huge”, IMO it has an easily visible ceiling. He has no attraction to the vast majority of Americans. And the type of act Beck relies on wears thin, being a weepy schtick. He’s too hot. Compare him to Limbaugh, who has a cool wit and a hearty welcoming feel in the eyes of his following.Limbaugh has long since shown that his ceiling is pretty low, but he at least has the demeanor for staying power. Beck doesn’t. He’s a product of these times, and when they pass, so will he.

    He [gingrich] is also immoral in a way that leaves Clinton in the dust.

    As always, I find place like this to be a delightfully easy spot to get off the train. Not just because its the kind of comparison and weighting that I find fruitless. But also because I wouldn’t put many folks on a lower moral plane with regard to honesty than Bill Clinton. Who cheated repeatedly on his wife, and screwed a dumb young intern while President. Which was a reckless and venal and possibly criminal thing for a man in his position to do. Then he lied to congress about it, was impeached, and disbarred. To choose one over the other is somewhat like asking me to say whether vomit or feces makes a more delicious meal. The smart folks step away from the table.

    Bruce Cockburn has what I think is a great line “Kick at the Darkness Till it Bleeds Daylight”

    Libruls just luuuuuuuuv to say stuff like that. Do you seen any irony in the extraordinarily high probability that this is precisely what Glenn Beck thinks he is doing? Any at all? Even a scintilla? Kick all you want. You’ll kick ’til you die and won’t effect the behavior of those evil conservative partisans one bit. Every kick you take just exhausts you while reinforcing their certainty that they must kick harder and more furiously.

    But hey, good luck, maybe the next kick will the one that finally gets a totally different result from every previous kick.

    You then said
    Anyway, I really don’t know that I expect honest open dialogue from politicians themselves.

    We’ll never get it unless we demand it.

    While true, this sentence can be shortened to just the first part, and be just as accurately predictive of what the future of American politics holds:we’ll never get it. Some pols will be better and others worse, but they’ll always be politicians. They’ll wrap themselves in the flag and the family and the bible and so on, and try to convince you that they are more strongly in favor of all good things (like family, schools, public safety, and a strong economy) and more strongly against all bad things (like crime and the H1N1 virus and terrorism) )than the other candidate. And on all the issues where folks seem split, they’ll talk out of both sides of their mouths, These are not new things, fads that will pass. They are the nature of the beast. It’s human nature that politicians tell us what we want to hear, because we like to hear what we want.

    BTW, dropping off the grid for vacation starting tomorrow.

  37. the Word Says:

    Kranky-
    Well at least I know you will parse things critically to a high level to judge some things. ?

    I said and you objected to
    Glenn Beck has a “huge” following?

    I should have said one of the largest following of all of the commentators on the air. (I also think there is a cascading effect since it floats downhill.) How many crazy things have you heard enter the population that started with some nut starting it. To this day, people think Al Gore said he invented the internet.

    You also objected to
    He [gingrich] is also immoral in a way that leaves Clinton in the dust.

    and responded
    As always, I find place like this to be a delightfully easy spot to get off the train.

    I guess I expected you to spot the glaring difference. Again, didn’t vote for Clinton either time (I judged him unworthy) BUT to hit Gingrich territory he’d have to actively smear other people for the behavior he was guilty of himself. I do think that kicks things into the major leagues.

    I’ve asked to hold everyone to the same standard. You seem to hold no one to any standard because you feel there are no objective standards and it will always be the way it is. The problem I have with that is I had no problem saying Clinton was unworthy of the office. That means I can also objectively have the same view on Gingrich for the same offense and when Gingrich adds hypocrisy to the scale, I have no problem saying it weighs more. Oh and for the record, the oral sex is not sex defense was used decades earlier by (drum roll please) Newt Gingrich.

    I just see you as an enabler. Sorry, but that is the way I see it. Have a nice vacation though.

  38. the Word Says:

    btw-when you say it will be what will be. Most of the western democracies would respond with revulsion to the on the sleeve religious pandering in our system. So it is possible to evolve to a higher plane.

  39. kranky kritter Says:

    Pushed the vacation back a day because rain is coming.

    To this day, people think Al Gore said he invented the internet.

    I think memes tend to have legs when they ring true. I don’t recall exactly what Gore said, but I did read the actual quote once or twice many years back, and it definitely had that “let me pat me and our team on the back and give us more credit than we deserve” quality. Gore was always polishing his apples, so I don’t feel bad about this one even if the enduring quote is not accurate. John Kerry was the same way.

    I guess I expected you to spot the glaring difference. Again, didn’t vote for Clinton either time (I judged him unworthy) BUT to hit Gingrich territory he’d have to actively smear other people for the behavior he was guilty of himself. I do think that kicks things into the major leagues.

    Maybe I could spot this supposedly glaring difference if you gave me a detailed account of objectionable things Gingrich did that are worse than

    •repeatedly cheating on his wife
    •exploiting a workplace subordinate for sexual favors (admittedly, a willing one, but…)
    •lying to congress while under oath

    Notice that I have at no point defended Gingrich for the sins you have repeatedly alluded to. Instead, I’ve invited you to explain why and how they could be glaringly worse than adultery and perjury. Your answer is that Gingrich is a hypocrite? OK, he’s a hypocrite. That’s the best you got? Compared to perjury and adultery and sex with a subordinate, all of which are arguably criminal by objective standards? OK.

    I’ve asked to hold everyone to the same standard. You seem to hold no one to any standard because you feel there are no objective standards and it will always be the way it is.

    I’m quite familiar with my positions being spun into the form you cite here. At best, your description is a gross oversimplification. I like to hold people to standards when they are in fact objective.

    And I’m deeply reticent to do so as the standards become more subjective. It’s not at all clear to me what objective standard you think you are applying which casts Newt Gingrich in a glaringly worse light than Bill Clinton, unless you really want to count hypocrisy. I’m happy to agree with you that Bill Clinton is not much of a hypocrite. Libertines seldom are. To me, this means that on one moral measures mong many, Clinton might get a better grade than Gingrich.

    I have no problem whatsoever acknowledging that Gingrich acts and speaks in deeply partisan ways. And I have yet to get a compelling answer from anyone I have asked to give me an objective and verifiable standard that divides political partisanship into two categories, one acceptable and the other not. Instead I see both sides repeatedly apply subjective standards which score their team better and the other worse, depending on which principle they have placed at the top of the list at the time, in order to win the particular argument on the table.

    Oh and for the record, the oral sex is not sex defense was used decades earlier by (drum roll please) Newt Gingrich.

    Not familiar? Was it under oath?

    I just see you as an enabler. Sorry, but that is the way I see it.

    That’s ok with me. You strongly believe that you and I have a certain power that I believe we don’t. “Ennablement”comes from the psychology of substance abuse. It relates to when friends and family in essence support an individual’s bad behavior by failing to confront and condemn it. Only friends, family, and let’s say employers are in legitimate positions where they have real power to “enable” someone.

    That’s the real flaw in your argument. You are really not in any sort of position to either enable or disable the behavior of conservative partisans, because you aren’t one of them. You can’t influence the behavior of someone who doesn’t share any of your perspectives or respect your opinions or insight. People like Glenn Beck, Michael Moore, and so on and so forth are not going to modify their behavior in response to the word and actions of people who are not part of their target audience or their circle of valued advisors and friends.

    I accept this. Let me just close by touching on a thought has come up as I have thought in detail about this ongoing conversation over the last few days. On several occasions, you’ve made comparisons to parallel aspects of liberals versus conservatives. And I felt this was missing something, and couldn’t put my finger on it at first. But now I think it’s simply that liberals and conservatives don’t really have parallel flaws and blind spots. From my personal perspective, I find that liberals have an unrealistically optimistic view of certain aspects human nature, and conservatives have an unrealistically optimistic view of certain other aspects of human nature. Liberals continue to expect people to be more altruistic and less self-centered, more civically focused and less subject to inertia and entropy than centuries of history has shown them to be. When it comes to things like, say, rising up and demanding political accountability as you describe. But then when it comes to other things like adultery and sleepjng around, then its the liberals who accept human frailty and conservative who are unrealistic.

    I’ve puzzled over the gap between what people should do and what they actually do for years. My study of this gap has given me my own sense of human nature. People are not going to rise up and demand substantially better behavior from politicians. Most of the time, they aren’t even really paying attention. They’re not going to rationally conquer their biological urges either. The heart and the loins will keep wanting what they want.

  40. kranky kritter Says:

    As long as the post above is, I realize I left something out that may make my meaning unclear on the most important point:

    You are really not in any sort of position to either enable or disable the behavior of conservative partisans, because you aren’t one of them. You can’t influence the behavior of someone who doesn’t share any of your perspectives or respect your opinions or insight. People like Glenn Beck, Michael Moore, and so on and so forth are not going to modify their behavior in response to the word and actions of people who are not part of their target audience or their circle of valued advisors and friends.

    I accept this.

    When I say this, I am specifically speaking within the context of the efficacy of the dance of comparative political demonology. I accept I can’t influence liberal or conservative views within the dance. So I invite them to a different dance. When liberals and conservatives are performing the dance of arguing with the other side that their side is more virtuous than the other, neither side can say anything that will persuade or disable the other.

    I really would like to improve dialogue between liberals and conservatives and don’t believe it’s impossible. But as long as the primary interaction between the wings is to argue that one is morally superior to and more virtuous than the other, there won’t be any real progress.

    And that’s why I get so irritated by repeated posts about Glenn Beck. Not because I think Glenn Beck deserves defending, but because they inevitably attract comments along the lines of “this just goes to show how morally bankrupt Republicans are.” Then everyone dives back into the muddy rut.

  41. the Word Says:

    Sorry about the vacation – obviously it will take some time to respond.

  42. Nick Benjamin Says:

    theWord said:

    (On a wouldn’t it be nice scenario, Don’t know how it could be implemented but hard to believe that movies are deemed more worthy of scrutiny than Saxby Chambliss’s campaign against Max Cleland. Wouldn’t you think a committee of citizens could look at the fact and say- You’ve gone too far here?)

    Time is the biggest practical problem with implementing something like this.

    Movies are pretty much done months (sometimes years) before the release date. In a campaign most candidates are still fine-tuning their ads on election day, and it’s common for a candidate to create entirely news ads over the weekend before the election.

    That means your Citizens Panel has to have a turnaround time measured in hours, not days. Preferably one or two hours.

    Unfortunately even if you manage to create a panel like that you’ve got serious Constitutional issues The best you can probably do is give a logo that says “Government-Approved,” which candidates and interest group will be able to put on their ads.

    But I doubt many Americans wouldn’t pay any attention to it, and most campaigns (particularly unethical campaigns) would intentionally flout the standards, condemn the “obvious partisanship,” of the panel when it enforced the standards, and get loads of free media when reporters covered the controversy.

    kk said:

    Notice that I have at no point defended Gingrich for the sins you have repeatedly alluded to. Instead, I’ve invited you to explain why and how they could be glaringly worse than adultery and perjury. Your answer is that Gingrich is a hypocrite? OK, he’s a hypocrite. That’s the best you got? Compared to perjury and adultery and sex with a subordinate, all of which are arguably criminal by objective standards? OK.

    Gingrich also committed adultery with a subordinate. His third wife (Calista) was a staffer on the House Agriculture Committee when he started sleeping with her. They were committing adultery during the impeachment hearings.

    I have no problem whatsoever acknowledging that Gingrich acts and speaks in deeply partisan ways. And I have yet to get a compelling answer from anyone I have asked to give me an objective and verifiable standard that divides political partisanship into two categories, one acceptable and the other not. Instead I see both sides repeatedly apply subjective standards which score their team better and the other worse, depending on which principle they have placed at the top of the list at the time, in order to win the particular argument on the table.

    How many times have you seen Democrats flock to defend a pro-family values Dem caught with his pants down?

    Just look at Elliot Spitzer. He got caught with his pants down, and was forced to resign in disgrace by his own party. David Vitter won’t resign, and he’s running for reelection.

  43. kranky kritter Says:

    The citizen’s panel would run afoul of the 1st amendment in seconds if it was given any power. IMO, that’s GOOD news.

    Gingrich also committed adultery with a subordinate. His third wife (Calista) was a staffer on the House Agriculture Committee when he started sleeping with her. They were committing adultery during the impeachment hearings.

    Which makes him worse than Clinton how? When is Clinton marrying Lewinsky by the way?

    How many times have you seen Democrats flock to defend a pro-family values Dem caught with his pants down?

    What’s a “pro-family values democrat?” I’m almost certain I’ve never seen one, so the answer must be never. Ba-dump bump. Seriously though, this is the exactly the kind of scorekeeping I’m certain is pointless, especially when conducted via dueling anecdotes, such as :

    Just look at Elliot Spitzer. He got caught with his pants down, and was forced to resign in disgrace by his own party. David Vitter won’t resign, and he’s running for reelection.

    So, there’s an example of one democrat who resigned after disgracing himself, and one republican who has refused to resign after a similar disgrace. This proves what, precisely?

    If I can give an example of a democrat who disgraced himself and refused to resign, is the score tied? OK, who was the dem hiding bribe money under the ice cubes? Or was that guy actually pro-bribery, in which case he wouldn’t be a hypocrite, so he’s not as bad? :-)

    If I can name two, am I winning 2 to 1? How about 3? 4?

    I do notice that you didn’t describe anything like an objective and verifiable standard. Which is odd since you cited my graf asking about this.

  44. the Word Says:

    Al Gore defense first

    Snopes is always my first stop when on an intellectually lazy or willfully ignorant refutation. Most of the emails I have received could be dispatched in a matter of a few clicks.

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

    The destruction of Al Gore’s credibility was the result of two factors. A GOP who were only too willing to twist what he said and who intended to push the lie and a press so lazy that they would repeat over and over something that could have been verified as groundless in seconds. It’s one thing to defend things you say, it makes an honest assessment impossible when you have to defend things you didn’t say and as Gore found, impossible once it becomes the accepted knowledge.

    We agree that Gingrich is no dummy and IS highly partisan. So when he defends Gore, I’d think it would have some weight. Here’s what he said “In all fairness, it’s something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is — and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got [to Congress], we were both part of a “futures group” — the fact is, in the Clinton administration, the world we had talked about in the ’80s began to actually happen.”

    How many Republicans have you heard say Reagan ended the Cold War? Did you savage them for it? Even though it was a simplification.

    So the people you IMO make possible, completely mischaracterized a statement to create a meme that Al Gore couldn’t be trusted. There were a couple of other stories they trotted out and if you looked at them they were all bs. Love Story was another one. http://www.dailyhowler.com/h052500_1.shtml So, when you are allowed to say or do anything and get a pass from the audience, you don’t run on a record. You run on whatever the population lets you get away with.

    Eternal vigilance is necessary or the most immoral people are driving the bus.

  45. the Word Says:

    As to Gingrich –

    Skeleton Closet goes after both parties. Here’s what they had to say about Newt

    http://www.realchange.org/gingrich.htm

    This is the Sheehy article
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newt/vanityfair2.html

    My point on him, for the last time, was… He basically is Bill Clinton. Spot a thing you have a problem with and Newt also has it. The one thing that he goes beyond him on is that he started his career while smearing a lady as not having good family values WHILE he was having an affair. He then bowed out after doing it AGAIN while rallying the crowds against Clinton. That to me, makes him FAR worse. I don’t personally see how anyone without partisan blinders on could miss it. Livingston, Hyde and Gingrich all were leading the rope party and all had had affairs. Livingston honorably resigned and was replaced by Vitter who leads the current threesome with Ensign and Sanford that think Clinton should go for the same offense they still hang around with. To paraphrase, “It’s the hypocrisy stupid” :-)

    I must say I find the Lied under Oath thing a distinction of a dishonest man. You either are or you are not honest and you are not better or worse for saying some magic words. Some of us noted that Republicans refused throughout the Bush years and even refused to let their corporate friends testify under oath. That to me screamed they thought they could say anything and not be held accountable. That’s dishonest. Reagan and Bush lied about Iran Contra. Clinton lied about sex. I don’t think the two are remotely comparable.

  46. kranky kritter Says:

    How come you didn’t simply directly quote what Al Gore said, which was this:

    During my service in the US Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet.

    That’s exactly what he said. Everyone should follow word’s link and read the whole quote. Gore was seriously and IMO quite grandiosely patting himself on the back. Everyone got that? He didn’t say he invented the internet. He “only” claims that he deserves serious and substantial credit for the fact that it got developed.

    I’ll let everyone out there decide for themselves how much credibility Al Gore deserves for this statement.

    It’s only my opinion that he was doing his best to grossly exaggerate his role by letting people reach their own conclusions about his statement. I am certain the statement is technically true. I am just as sure it was fashioned to imply that hey maybe the internet wouldn’t have happened without Al Gore taking the initiative to create the internet. Which seems silly.

    The apple-polishing blew up in his face. And there’s a great lesson in this tale for people who make technically accurate statements that are vague enough to maximize the nature of their personal accomplishments. If they sound too grandiose, people will laugh at you.

  47. the Word Says:

    And finally, Nick ran with something I said I’d wish for and didn’t know if it was practical but after seeing the concerns I think it could. I couldn’t locate the exact quote from kk but at one point he said something about Obama hopefully changing the tone of debate. I agree with that. (Although he also seems to think it is hopeless) I think one way to make it happen is for the American people to demand a change. In some respect, I think they did that last November.

    We all are partisan. We all need to look to try and see our own biases. I also think it is possible to argue HONESTLY from our position. I also think both sides could help to tone things down.

    Imagine a President who took leadership and appointed a group tasked to try to turn things around. I could envision something like the Honest Debate Seal that would be made up of an equal number of Republicans, Democrats and a slightly larger group of Independants (of some sort – details to be worked out) in a ratio of something like 3 Dems, 3 Republicans – 5 not tied to a party who would basically give an ok that the party had not crossed the line. (I’d personally think it would make sense to make people no longer in politics as the arbiters. You’d likely have more reflective thought then)

    I brought up Chambliss’s campaign. Here’s what two then currently serving Republican’s said Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, “[I]t’s worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible;” Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said the ads were “beyond offensive to me. Now if they could make that assessment and say. We don’t support it. Why do some persist in saying it can’t be done? All it takes is honest, fair-minded people.

    The ad could still be run (I agree on the First Amendment) but it would also be possible for the media to say, we’re only going to run ads that have the seal since we want a robust but honest debate. Might even say Federal funds could not be used to fund such garbage (I’d rather that my tax dollars not have to go to support what I find is destructive of democracy) That would provide an incentive.

    Just initial thoughts but if you can’t sell mayonnaise in an ad without false and misleading information I would think we could get to a point where candidates could get held to some type of standard. With both parties having a stake in the game, I would think it would be in everyone’s best interest to clean up the cesspool. Right now there is a premium for horrid behavior because there is no penalty for it. Why not encourage everyone to sit down and try to make it better? Or do some have a vested interest in things as they are? We need to demand the world we wish to have.

  48. kranky kritter Says:

    My point on him, for the last time, was… He basically is Bill Clinton.

    Huh. I though this was my point. Your statement here puzzles me. Because, previously, you said the following:

    I guess I expected you to spot theglaring difference. Again, didn’t vote for Clinton either time (I judged him unworthy) BUT to hit Gingrich territory he’d have to actively smear other people for the behavior he was guilty of himself. I do think that kicks things into the major leagues.

    See, when I read this, I interpreted it as stating that in your opinion Gingrich was far worse than Bill Clinton. So, which is it?

    I have from the beginning had no problem whatsoever with grouping Gingrich and Clinton morally. It’s the claim that Gingrich is way worse that I find absurd. And I believe that all of my previous posts above made that quite clear when I said this

    Instead, I’ve invited you to explain why and how they could be glaringly worse than adultery and perjury.

    And when I said this:

    Which makes him worse than Clinton how?

    I have assiduously avoided defending either Clinton or Gingrich, and have forthrightly acknowledged the ample shortcomings of both, and pointed out that neither is entirely lacking in virtue despite these shortcomings.

    I must say I find the Lied under Oath thing a distinction of a dishonest man. You either are or you are not honest and you are not better or worse for saying some magic words.

    It’s an objective distinction. Lying and perjury are both dishonest, as you point out. I happily agree. Only one is criminal behavior. Perjury. To make this distinction is to acknowledge an objectively verifiable truth about the world we live in.

    Of course it is a bad thing to lie. To lie to an official body which represents the people of our country immediately after promising to tell the whole truth is IMO somewhat worse.

    It’s not at all clear to me how you could claim otherwise.I must say that I am utterly astonished to see you claim that pointing out an objectively verifiable truth is dishonest.

    This time I really am off to Maine. Feel free to have the last word, as I may not get back.

    Regards, Krankster.

  49. the Word Says:

    How come you didn’t simply directly quote what Al Gore said, which was this:

    During my service in the US Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet.

    For the reason that he didn’t say what the cretins have said he said. There was no need. I didn’t hide it and it was in both links Why did you not acknowledge that Gingrich backs him up on it? Every politician is going to say things in a way that is most flattering. The key word in the previous sentence is EVERY. The Internet community has also said that Gore was accurate if you read the links.

    The GOP and it seems you desire to turn his answer into a caricature that only shows your desire to not take on what he did say.

    Read Snopes – I think you are taking a position that can only be arrived at if you have a bias toward that answer going in. They didn’t. Of course, they only responded to what he said not the spin.

    You then said
    It’s only my opinion that he was doing his best to grossly exaggerate his role by letting people reach their own conclusions about his statement. I am certain the statement is technically true.

    Grossly exaggerate and technically true in the same argument are a bit at odds I would think.

    Parse this part of Gingrich’s statement if you will
    Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet.

    That is a hell of alot closer to (if not exactly equivalent to what Gore said) than your conclusion

    So bottom line Gingrich was there and he was in the other party and he refutes you, Snopes refutes you and still you hold to your conclusion.

    Too easy to pass up
    …to maximize the nature of their personal accomplishments. If they sound too grandiose, people will laugh at you.

    It’s what I think every time I hear “dance of comparative political demonology” :-) Put that puppy to sleep

    He was asked what made him worthy of voting for. Being there at the beginning of the Net and pushing for it as one of it’s strongest supporters would be something anyone should have been proud of.

  50. the Word Says:

    I’m just trying to get you to understand what I am saying without much success. You were puzzled when the next sentence, I thought was quite clear. They both have scandalous personalities and questionable ethics. For your scoreboard that means I would find them both unworthy of voting for.
    Gingrich however smears people and has since his first race and to the end of his career on their family values and fidelity to marriage when he is himself, a reprobate. So yes, let me make it as clear as possible. I THINK THAT MAKES HIM WORSE THAN CLINTON.

    You see for me, if both men are equal (or roughly so in terms of lack of character) and one then adds hypocrisy and destruction of another’s character for political gain while having no character in the department he is complaining about, I find that worse. I find it hard to fathom how any objective observer wouldn’t.

    As to my Lied under Oath distinction
    I never said that you couldn’t think it was a valid distinction. I just think it is simpler. You don’t have to ask me to tell the truth, I do. I think it is insulting to think otherwise to be honest. You simply give IMO too much credit to the magic words. If someone will lie without being under oath, how from such a person do I have any assurance that they will be honest under oath? Other than gullibility?

    When Reagan and Bush said they were not in the loop at the Iran Contra meetings and Caspar Weinberger had notes taken during the meeting that said they were. They were lying. In my opinion about something that is actually important. Why should they get a pass? Why when someone testifies before Congress do we even waste our time talking to them if you don’t really know if they feel compelled to be honest. It was called character when I was growing up. Perhaps we could start all hearings with -”Knowing many of you have no character anybody saying something not true is subject to penalties. You don’t have to take an oath it is expected when doing the people’s business and if you are dishonest, we will smite thee ”

    I think we both want honest people in government (and the rest of society) Here’s where I part company with you. You said

    To lie to an official body which represents the people of our country immediately after promising to tell the whole truth is IMO somewhat worse.

    So if they come before Congress – representing the people, as you say – and lie through their teeth but did not take an oath, it’s OK? I just find that silly. I’m not even addressing the question of legality. You are just giving a pass, once again, to the truly immoral.

    You shouldn’t lie PERIOD. I shouldn’t do it, they shouldn’t do it, and you shouldn’t do it. If you make me carry around some Holy Book for every person I encounter to take an oath on, I still have to trust their character to be honest. Guess what, the ones most likely to lie are there before or after the book appears. I’m not arguing the law. I just find it to be a pretty inaccurate judge of character.

    Have a good time in Maine. and I do mean that ;-)

  51. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Which makes him worse than Clinton how?

    In terms of sleazy sexual behavior it doesn’t. That’s the point.

    The Hypocrisy is the thing that makes Gingrich worse than Clinton.

    Personally I don’t find the perjury argument very persuasive. We all know that if he’d been forced to testify under oath Newt Gingrich would have lied his ass off. Which means de facto you are claiming gross hypocrisy is the same as not being savvy enough to dodge the question.

    When is Clinton marrying Lewinsky by the way?

    Did you mean to imply that doing staffers, who you are not currently married to, is perfectly fine if you dump your wife for them afterward?

    What’s a “pro-family values democrat?” I’m almost certain I’ve never seen one, so the answer must be never. Ba-dump bump.

    You’ve never seen Bart Stupak in action, then. He is one of the few non-Blue Dog Dems who voted against HR 3200 while it was in Committee. He only did that because the he wanted stronger pro-life language included.

    Or any of the Blue Dogs. You become a Blue Dog because you’re a Family Values guy who doesn’t viscerally hate taxes, and likes the minimum wage.

    Seriously though, this is the exactly the kind of scorekeeping I’m certain is pointless, especially when conducted via dueling anecdotes, such as :
    If I can give an example of a democrat who disgraced himself and refused to resign, is the score tied? OK, who was the dem hiding bribe money under the ice cubes? Or was that guy actually pro-bribery, in which case he wouldn’t be a hypocrite, so he’s not as bad? :-)

    That’s a strawman.

    You weren’t asking for an objective standard of corruption. You were talking about sex. And I gave it to you. Objectively speaking Gingrich is a hypocrite. So was Vitter. Add Ensign if you want. Objectively speaking Clinton is not.

    As to Rep. Jefferson, the only Dems who stood by him after he was charged were folks in his District. And he didn’t have all of them — roughly 1/4 of his district are Dems who voted for Republican Joseph Cao.The House stripped him of Committee assignments. But David Vitter is still in the GOP Leadership.
    <blockquote.I do notice that you didn’t describe anything like an objective and verifiable standard. Which is odd since you cited my graf asking about this.
    I thought I did. And apparently you understood what I meant the “objective standard” to be because you just tried to use it in your strawman.

  52. kranky kritter Says:

    At word:
    Thanks for clarifying that you think Gingrich is worse. Refer to my previous comment about feces and vomit if you remain unclear on my view. I did read Snopes on Gore. I found it fairly unpersuasive. Gore was apple-polishing, which as you point out all pols do, the kind of thing that I usually point out to you.

    Gingrich’s quote is interesting, but I don’t really have any reason to think that congress had that much to do with making the internet what it is, even if Gingrich thinks so. I read a lengthy wiki article on the history of the internet, and congress isn’t mentioned as playing any sort of primary role. Period. That’s why I continue to find Gore’s statement to be the kind of embarassingly self-important stuff that many clueless politicans say with a straight face. And politicians who try to take any sort of substantial credit for the internet are IMO insulting the scientists, mathematicians and other geeks who did all the real work. THAT is where I am coming from on the internet. If Gore had said that he contributed to intermediate development of it (since its origins predate Gore’s congressional arrival, as snopes notes), I’d have no problem with it.

    BY the way, you seem far too smart to me to have REALLY missed the point when I talked about how a statement can be both technically true and an exaggeration.

    I can’t make myself any clearer than I already have on the matter of perjury.But I would like to point out to you that when I said that that lying under oath was somewhat worse than simple lying, this QUITE CLEARLY does not imply that lying is “ok.” The diatribe that followed from your rhetorical question on this point is a dishonest way to conduct a discussion. I didn’t say lying was ok. Did I? Yet you used that as the basis for a rant. Come on.

    Thanks for the good wishes. Bar Harbor here we come.Acadia rules.

    At Nick:

    I’ve already acknowledged that Clinton’s sins do not for the most part include hypocrisy. [Unless you want to include sitting with your wife on camera and smiling and pretending you have a happy marriage.] In general, I agree that politicians who invoke really high moral standards on sexual matters are the most likely to be shown to be hypocrites. As I alluded to before, libertines are seldom hypocrites. Nature of the beast.

    The bigger a deal you make about setting any kind of high standard, the more open you are to looking like a hypocrite if you fail to meet your own standard. So republicans will in general always look more hypocritical as a group when it comes to sex-related stuff. Democrats run the greater risk of hypocrisy on anything where they set the bar higher than the GOP. Like when Jesse Jackson called NY hymietown or when some democratic staffer paid an illegal alien short money under the table to be a nanny. I forget who that was.

    My comment about pro family values democrats was a joke. That’s what ba-dump-bump means. There’s a small set. Namely the blue dogs that the more progressive wing of the dem party would love to boot.I made a joke because I had no intention of buying into your framing. I consider guys who cheat on their wives to be selfish hurtful jerks, regardless of whether or not they have held themselves up as public paragons of virtue. While it may be somewhat more delicious to the audience when a really pious pol gets caught screwing a hot young staffer, I doubt that any wife who has been cheated on feels more betrayed than another because of the husband’s politics.

    Democrats do not as a rule make as big a deal about personal sexual morals as republicans. When they gain power, they seem to screw around at comparable rates, even if my my perception is that democrats do it just a little bit more often. If you want me to agree with you that democrats are more realistic about the probability of adultery, you’ve got my agreement.

    I am not interested in defending David Vitter. I don’t even really know who he is. Apparently he’s a corrupt Republican who has not yet been deserted by his party. Like Bill Clinton I guess, if you want a more parallel example. I brought up Jefferson because he’s corrupt. It was a pretty simple point.

    What you want to do is to keep making comparisons of various individuals in ways that prove that conservatives are worse than liberals: less scrupulous, more dishonest, and so on.

    It’s a stupid game. I’ve watched it played for 2 decades. No one ever persuades anyone. Each side preaches to its own choir while excoriating the other. It’s all sound and fury signifying nothing.

  53. the Word Says:

    kk

    It’s only my opinion that he was doing his best to grossly exaggerate his role by letting people reach their own conclusions about his statement. I am certain the statement is technically true.

    Sorry but the English language does have some meaning. You didn’t say exaggerate. You said grossly exaggerate.

    An example of a technically true gross exaggeration would be something like. Ronald Reagan, the cad and his whore Nancy Reagan had their daughter 7 1/2 months after rushing into a marriage when she discovered she was pregnant. See how your complaint fails to rise to the level of gross exaggeration.

    Here’s what people who actually had a lot to do with the internet and their views on Gore’s contribution

    But the real question is what, if anything, did Gore actually do to create the modern Internet? According to Vincent Cerf, a senior vice president with MCI Worldcom who’s been called the Father of the Internet, “The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator.”

    The inventor of the Mosaic Browser, Marc Andreesen, credits Gore with making his work possible. He received a federal grant through Gore’s High Performance Computing Act. The University of Pennsylvania’s Dave Ferber says that without Gore the Internet “would not be where it is today.”

    Joseph E. Traub, a computer science professor at Columbia University, claims that Gore “was perhaps the first political leader to grasp the importance of networking the country. Could we perhaps see an end to cheap shots from politicians and pundits about inventing the Internet?”

    The issue is that they took something true and turned it into the he can’t be trusted meme which was unfair, inaccurate and a character assassination and IMO shows more about their character than his.

    This link also goes into the other gross exaggerations of what was said to get people to buy into the meme that was IN FACT a gross exaggeration.
    http://www.perkel.com/politics/gore/internet.htm

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