Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Thursday, November 19, 2009
  It Figures

In a classic jumping the shark moment, the far right is claiming that the thugs from ACORN stole the election a couple of districts over in NY-23:
“As evidence surfaces, we find out that reported results from election night were far from accurate. ACORN and the unions did their best to try and sway the results to Obamacare supporter Bill Owens," Hoffman wrote on his campaign site. "Rest assured, they will not succeed, and I am therefore revoking my statement of concession.”
This guy is officially on my Loon List.

UPDATE: It seems that 52% of all Republicans think that ACORN stole the Presidential election. Oy. That means over half of GOPers are now on my Loon List.

I am beginning to theorize that the right wing lunacy that spawned against Bill Clinton only went slightly dormant during the Bush years and is back 3 or 4 times stronger. I really see the ACORN crap and Teabagger conspiracies no differently than the claims 15 years ago that Hillary killed Vince Foster. Insanity.
"We need to make sure that fair elections are a reality in NY-23, just like our Founding Fathers envisioned. So long as we remain the "land of the free," we MUST ensure every vote is counted. Help us today so we may be the first of many conservative victories during the Obama Regime."

Damn, where was he during Bush v. Gore?
Thank god liberals don't believe in lunacy like stolen elections and wars started for Halliburton, nor that Bush was warned ahead of 9/11 by the Saudis, nor that the FCC should punish Fox because "democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one," nor that melding the President's name with "Hitler" is a reasonable way to make a political point of protest.

OK, given the margins in 2008 vs. 2000, I will grant that it is sillier to believe 2008 was stolen, than it was to believe that 2000 was. But the rest stands. In whatever you are measuring, half the people are below average. So it is not news that half of conservatives are (or that, say, the head of the DNC is!)

Hyperbole aside, I think you are too smart to really believe that the notion that Hillary killed Vince Foster is as plausible as the belief that Acorn is a corrupt organization.

I would have thought you'd be tired by now of using the same homophobic slur to describe conservative protesters. As with Chris Rock and the N-word, just because Anderson Cooper used it doesn't mean you should.
Believing that ACORN is a corrupt organization is not the equivalent of believing that they stole the election.

Do more than half of liberals actually believe that Bush was warned ahead by the Saudis? I'd be interested to see those #s.

I'd also be interested to see how often Bush was compared with Hitler vs. the number of times Obama has been compared with Hitler during an equivalent time period. Or how often a so-called "liberal" media outlet invoked Hitler's name, or imagery like swastikas, in comparison with the president, compared with the number of times, say, Fox News has done it.

Yes, there are fringe elements on both sides of the political spectrum. Absolutely. But that doesn't automatically mean that there is equivalence in the extent to which the "fringe" has seeped into the mainstream.

It's too easy to give "tit for tat" arguments. ("yes, but liberals have done this!" "yes, but conservatives have done this!"). But not only will we never get anywhere that way, there is also a real danger in doing this...because it has the potential to make all things equivalent, therefore ignoring rising waves in society.
The Bush knew about 9/11 "interesting theory" and punish Fox quote were by the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (Howard Dean). But as it happens, there was a Rasmussen poll indicating that 35% of Democrats believed that Bush "knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance." Now, 35% is lower than 52%, but I think the 9/11 conspiracy theory is quite a bit more crazy than the notion that 2008 was stolen. (Elections can and have been stolen, there was widespread talk of 2000 and even 2004 being stolen, Acorn is corrupt; you merely have to be ignorant of the 2008 margin of victory and the logistics of such a level of cheating -- as are most people -- to thus be susceptible to the "Acorn stole it" argument.)

I agree that tit-for-tat arguments have the danger of spreading bad behavior. But so do "the other side is crazy" arguments. I do not think that crazy Democrats make crazy Republicans an acceptable thing, but I do think they refute Greg's "the Republicans are crazy" theme, as the more honest statement is, "a lot of people are stupid, ignorant or crazy."

I have seen photos of parades containing numerous Bush / Hitler banners, including large group banners (e.g., at I don't think you can find similar numbers of Obama / Hitler banners, which are probably less numerous than banners calling for the hanging, shooting or otherwise killing of Bush (also at zombietime). You can find a fair number of banners with "Obama" and "Socialist," but that would seem to me to be a somewhat more substantive claim, seeing how he's socialized two auto makers and has said (while a Senator) that the goal of the public option is to move everyone to a single-payer system.
Dave - I resolved a long time ago not to get into "he said - she said" about which end of the political spectrum's extremism is more troublesome with you. I've said it before, the loony left has nothing on the extreme right.

That said, I do want to point out that the verb form of the word teabag is, indeed, a slur and it is sexual in nature, but it is no more homophobic than the word blowjob, which is not actually homophobic at all.

You can say what you want, but "Tea Party Patriots," as they prefer to be called, do not merit the respect that I give to the gay rights community. Not even close.

(P.S. When Howard Dean said the Cynthia McKinney crowd's ideas were "interesting," he was being quite dismissive of the notion, not inquisitive. Sarcasm gets lost in the printed word.)
So if I call a bunch of leftwing marchers -- who are at least half, and indeed primarily male -- a bunch of "cocksuckers" that's not homophobic?
Dave - If those left wing protesters were having "cock parties" rather than "tea parties" and send "cocks" to members of congress and hanging "cocks" from their rearview mirrors, I might concede a parallel. But even then I would not agree that the it is homophobic.

Please tell me that I don't have to spell out the dominant versus submissive roles of the two acts to explain the differences.
So sucking a cock is dominant, while sucking a scrotum is submissive? Or is it the other way around?

And that is key in determining whether the term is homophobic, how?
The bagger is the pitcher, not the catcher.

Give it a rest, Dave.
Leaping over the discussion of sexual techniques, I'll say it was on Fox News that I saw the swastika invoked.

I agree that there are some very rational conservative thinkers. But I think Greg's point -- and certainly at least my concern -- is that the most rational thinkers are increasingly marginalized by the so-called fringe.

Dave, I'd be curious about your reaction to the RNC's 10-point list of principles that they claim is not a litmus test. Yet if a politician doesn't agree with at least 80% of them, they'll fail to get any funding. To me, this seems not just strategically foolish, but also just plain dangerous.

What's funny is that I can remember just a few years ago having a discussion where I said that in some ways, the republican party seemed more open to politicians who don't fit the traditional mold (i.e. Schwarzenegger, Powell). Now all of a sudden it's all about RINOs and ideological purity. And any time a large enough group starts talking about ideological purity, that strikes me as very, very dangerous.

I'd agree about the stupid, ignorant, and crazy, though.

I hadn't read about the 80% litmus test and my first readings indicate it is only in the proposal stage (backed by 10 “key conservatives” out of almost 200 RNC members), with wording not yet finalized. But here goes my current take (which opinions might change):

Not being a Republican, I don't have strong opinions about the internal governance of the party with respect to campaign funds. But if I were running a political party, I think I would have some sort of rules for membership in good standing. If a party doesn't have an ideological position, then what is its purpose: seeking power for its own stake?

I think that what burned the Congressional Republicans in the end (as it has burned most parties everywhere after a run in the majority) was the opposite problem: the perception that they had in fact given up on principles and acted cynically to maintain partisan advantage. More directly related to the issue of campaign finance, many Republicans have felt burned by the party giving money to Chafee, Specter, and Scozzafava -- money given to RINOs, and without even getting the seat with the "R" on it anyway.

All that said, the 10 "rules" as they now stand mostly seem vague and/or lacking in historical perspective, many having been "broken" in the past even by obviously conservative Republicans like Reagan. (Not to mention that as more of a libertarian/federalist I personally would have come up with completely different rules.)

I haven't done an analysis comparing the two parties' records of tolerating internal dissent. It may not be possible to do so in a rigorous way, as the RNC and DNC, neither of which gives money in every race, don't say why they don't donate to a given candidate (usually, no doubt, it is because the race isn't expected to be close). But I do think a pro-choice Republican can obviously get further than an anti-abortion Democrat. (Even the proposed “litmus test” opposes “government funding of abortion” not abortion itself, although the Republican platform IIRC has long opposed abortion.) Further, I do not know of any Republican comparable to Lieberman, a party leader thrown out in the primary for his ideological apostasy.
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