Matt Lewis explored a pattern of conservatives embracing someone [e.g., Cliven Bundy] who is being “bullied by the government or the mainstream media, and turning them into some sort of folk hero," only to wind up with "egg on their face" when that person "says or does something utterly stupid."
On Wednesday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas took that point and ran with it, claiming that an affinity for wackos is "baked into [conservatives'] worldview" and that "there is no similar phenomenon on the Left." Moreover, Kos asserted, right-wing "anti-government rhetoric inevitably breeds eliminationist and/or delusional cranks."
Lawyer-writer Mike Godwin says he came up with Godwin's Law to discourage facile comparisons to Hitler and Nazism, but sometimes facile happens anyway: Daily Kos featured blogger Hunter declared Monday that "Wayne LaPierre and Sarah Palin at the National Rifle Association [convention] is what an American Nazi Party rally would sound like if Germany had won the war."
From Hunter's post on the Indianapolis convention (emphasis added):
The scholar and author Garry Wills, a onetime idiosyncratic conservative (he wrote regularly for National Review in its early years) who in the 1960s and '70s turned into an idiosyncratic liberal, blogged this past Tuesday on the New York Review of Books website that many opponents of Obamacare constitute an irrational "cult" that has "a religious commitment" to "certitude about [the law's] essential evil." For such persons, wrote Wills, Obamacare is "haloed with hate."
The headline referred to "partisan asymmetry in motivated cognition," but in his Thursday blog post on the Washington Monthly's web site, Mark Kleiman said it in a more colloquial way: Republicans are "radically more detached from reality" than Democrats.
Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA, asserted that for the GOP, "the fringe has become the base," and that America would benefit from "a series of devastating electoral defeats for the Republicans sufficient to shock them back into contact with consensus reality."
Lefty bloggers often use "get the popcorn" and similar phrases when they anticipate being entertained by conservative infighting. If Salon's Heather Digby Parton is right, popcorn consumption in the netroots will be sky-high a little over a year from now for a "political cage match of epic proportions" between "two grotesque phantasms": the Tea Party and the mega-rich. The prize for the winner: the Republican party.
Digby believes the upcoming clash wouldn't even be happening if not for the GOP establishment, which, after all, "created the Tea Party out of that original white, working-class bloc [of former Reagan Democrats] by feeding their prejudices and stoking their insecurities."
Hardly any members of the demographic group in question are old enough to vote yet, but we may be witnessing the emergence of a Democratic party campaign theme for 2020. Bryce Covert of ThinkProgress wrote Wednesday about a "gender gap" in children's allowances, citing a Junior Achievement survey finding that almost 70 percent of boys get an allowance, while not quite 60 percent of girls receive one.
Covert mentioned other studies which found that even though girls spend more time per week than boys on household chores, the boys are paid more for their efforts, and that while not many boys babysit, those that do tend to receive more money per hour than female babysitters.
Common-ground alert: Salon's Alex Pareene doesn't think much of the New York Times's opinion columnists as a group, and neither, presumably, do NewsBusters readers. As for the reasons why, well, let's just say most of Pareene's almost certainly aren't the same as yours.
Pareene blasts Maureen Dowd for "sloppiness, not to mention rote repetition of themes and jokes and incredibly lazy thinking" and skewers Nick Kristof for his alleged "do-gooder liberalism [which] involves the bizarre American conviction that bombing places is a great way to help them." He likes Thomas Friedman even less, writing that Friedman "is an embarrassment" who "writes stupid things, for stupid people, about complicated topics" and "dutifully pushes a stultifyingly predictable center-right agenda."
Many consider "America -- love it or leave it" one of the quintessential conservative slogans. These days, however, according to Daily Kos writer Mark E Andersen, right-wingers don't seem to love America, but that doesn't mean they're leaving. They're still here, fearful and angry about a changing America, just like they were a few decades ago when they fought against racial desegregation.
In a Monday-morning blog post, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall commented that ex-CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson appears to have "serious temperament issues" given that she wondered if a liberal organization might have taken money to, in Marshall's words, "go after her because of her reporting on Benghazi and other rightwing bugaboos."
Movement conservatives are on an anti-Obamacare bender and feeling pretty good, but eventually they may pay for it with a painful political hangover.
That, essentially, is what Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall wrote on Friday in an article titled "How the GOP Bet on Failure And Lost." Marshall acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act probably will help Republicans in this year's midterms, but that in the long run, they'll suffer at the polls unless they face the supposed fact that the law is a success.
This past Monday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas proclaimed that the left had "won the battle of ideas." On Wednesday, Kos followed up by claiming that even though many on the right publicly took issue with his thesis, privately conservatives understand that America as a whole has turned against them, and that they prove it by "trying to disenfranchise" Democratic-leaning groups.
Liberals often complain about the mainstream media's unwillingness to state that many right-wing talking points are (supposedly) bogus and even bizarre. One such liberal, media critic Eric Alterman, wrote last year that "[o]ver and over, no matter what the issue—no matter how outlandish, illogical, or simply untrue the conservative argument has been—journalists create a sense of false equivalence between positions that rest on data and logic and those that don’t."
This past Sunday, Daily Kos featured writer Egberto Willies blasted the MSM for failing to expose alleged GOP lies about Obamacare and other health-care topics. Willies declared that the media's overall poor performance has brought about "an uninformed populace and a corrupted politics," but added that the good news is that truth-telling left-wing bloggers are riding to the rescue.
On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos announced that Laura Ingraham was joining ABC News as a contributor. So the network that long employed a Cuomo and still employs a Clinton "bimbo" destroyer has formalized a relationship with a conservative pundit. To the Left, this is yet another example of the mainstream media attempting to compensate for a liberal bias which never was significant and vanished altogether roughly forty years ago. They want no debate.
In a Tuesday piece for Salon, Heather Digby Parton, who blogs at her own site under the name Digby, asserted that the conservative claim of liberal media bias is "absurd" and a "political tactic" that "[d]espite the rise of FOX News and hundreds of right wing talk show hosts dominating much of the airwaves" somehow remains effective. Oh, and by the way, Ingraham is a "vile racist" and a former "vicious homophobe" who "has transferred all of that hatred on to undocumented workers."
Daily Kos boss Markos Moulitsas thinks that conservatives typically come off as angry and resentful, and in a Monday post he argued that's because culturally, economically, and politically, the world "has left them behind...[T]hey've created an entire alternate media world in which to cocoon themselves. But they know they've lost."
Kos warned liberals not to celebrate just yet: "[P]ower isn't just about ideas. It's about wrestling the institutional levers of government from the retrogrades. Those entrenched economic and conservative interests wield power via the Supreme Court, through gross gerrymandering, through voter suppression efforts. So we've got a lot of work ahead of us."
Imagine a Yankees-Red Sox game during which the Yankees broadcasters acknowledged mistakes by their team and good plays by the Sox, while the Boston announcers ranted relentlessly that the Yankees stank and were lucky not to finish 0-162.
According to Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, something similar happens routinely in political media. Drum believes that both in general and regarding Obamacare specifically, liberal pundits are far more likely than their conservative counterparts to discuss their side's failures and give the other side credit where it's due.
On Friday, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas contended that conservatives would benefit if they stopped opposing the Affordable Care Act, since their efforts actually increase the chance that one day, America will have what they would abhor: a single-payer system. He added that "luckily," righties won't take his advice and will keep trying to destabilize the ACA.
Moulitsas asserted the impending victory of single-payer as scheduled for arrival in Vermont in 2017: "This is the future of America, and Vermont is leading the way."
After Stephen Colbert takes over from David Letterman on CBS's "Late Show," he'll host as himself, not as a parody of a conservative pundit. That may disappoint Salon's Joan Walsh, who in a Wednesday article called Colbert "an ally to progressive causes" and lauded him for "calmly and brilliantly inhabit[ing] a persona [on 'The Colbert Report'] that puts him in the psyche of delusional, entitled, wealthy conservative white men like [Bill] O’Reilly, bullies who want their country back, and are willing to do plenty of damage as they try (but ultimately fail) to retrieve it."
The main point of Walsh's piece was that Bill-O's Tuesday "meltdown" in response to Colbert's "relatively harmless spoof of [O'Reilly's] recent freak-outs over the politics of inequality" indicates that O'Reilly no longer is a good sport about Colbert's mockery of him. "Now O’Reilly has marked Colbert as an enemy," wrote Walsh, adding, "Colbert is under [O'Reilly's] skin, and I’m grateful for that."
Should one tolerate intolerance? What is intolerance? Daily Kos writer Mark E Andersen implicitly asked those questions in a front-page post this past Sunday, and answered them in the manner you'd expect of a blogger for the lefty site.
Apropos of the flap over former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich's backing of Proposition 8, Andersen declared that he, like "the vast majority of us on the left," is "tolerant" of different opinions, but that he won't put up with "actions" he finds "bigot[ed]...outdated, backwards," such as opposition to same-sex marriage. He asserted that it's a "simple fact" that "the Tea Party and their conservative brethren...are bullies."
Digby is far from the biggest name in the left-wing blogosphere, but she's one of its most influential figures. Lefty bloggers often introduce links to posts on her site, Hullabaloo, with the phrase "what Digby said" (it's sort of their equivalent of "megadittoes").
On Monday morning, Digby published a piece in a higher-profile outlet, the liberal online magazine Salon, in which she contended that because Ted Cruz "has his finger on the pulse" of evangelical conservatives, he has a far better shot at the 2016 GOP nomination than does Rand Paul, even though Paul, Digby opined, should have no problem pulling in the racist voters that are (allegedly) so common on the right.
In 2003, future U.S. senator Al Franken trashed conservatives in his book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them." This past Wednesday on the lefty website AlterNet, blogger Amanda Marcotte posted a brief, unofficial follow-up to Franken's work in which she detailed "5 Things Conservatives Lie Shamelessly About."
"Conservatives have figured out a neat little rhetorical trick," claimed Marcotte, a regular at The Daily Beast and Slate. "One lie is easy for your opponents to debunk. Tell one lie after another, however, and your opponent’s debunkings will never catch up. By the time the liberal opposition has debunked one lie, there’s a dozen more to take its place."
Competition between rivals often brings out the best in both. Think of Bird and Magic, or Lennon and McCartney. In a Tuesday piece for Salon, writer Edward McClelland dared to adapt that principle to the quintessential Cold War foes, the United States and the Soviet Union, contending that American capitalism "never functioned better than when it was forced to compete with [the] rival economic system" in the USSR during the three-plus decades after World War II.
McClelland asserted that President Reagan's hostility toward both the Soviets and American labor unions led us down the path to today's globalized economy in which big business can mistreat workers with near-impunity now that Communism in its greatly weakened state can no longer keep corporations in check.
Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, blogged on Tuesday morning that despite scary rhetoric from conservatives about "the 'death of freedom' and...jackbooted Obamacare Nazi Alinsky thugs," the Affordable Care Act has done or will do a great deal of good for our health-care system.
Kos wondered, "Anyone know how much freedom was lost?" as a result of the ACA, and cheekily invited right-wingers to quantify, a la Bill Watterson's Calvinball, any such losses.
Liberals understand that talk radio is highly important to conservatives, but Daily Kos writer Jed Lewison went a step further in a Friday post in which he asserted that Republicans seem to prefer hosting a talk show to being an influential congressman.
The peg for Lewison's post was the announcement from Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) that he's leaving Congress after his current term to host a radio program for Cumulus Media. Lewison noted that Rogers "has been the most popular member of Congress for Sunday show bookers for two years running, even outpacing the king himself, Sen. John McCain."
On Thursday, American novelist and editor Benjamin Kunkel, who believes in the long-term "nonviability of capitalism," was the subject of an interview in the liberal online magazine Salon in which he stated that right-wing allegations about President Obama's socialist agenda are both "quite absurd" and "not altogether wrong."
The relevant exchange between Kunkel and interviewer Josh Eidelson (emphasis added):
Believe it or not, for the past few days liberals' fascination with conservative book publishing seems to have surpassed their fascination with righty talk radio (though neither will ever come close to matching the intensity of their obsession with Fox News).
Last Friday, McKay Coppins noted on BuzzFeed that while books by a few conservative electronic-media stars like Bill O'Reilly are extremely popular, "midlist" right-of-center titles have become a tough sell. On Monday, Salon's Alex Pareene took issue with much of Coppins's piece, arguing that the key problem with conservative publishing these days isn't niche marketing or excess supply, but lousy quality (emphasis added):
What's the Matter With Kansas? author Thomas Frank believes the matter with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as presidential campaigners was that they spent too much time "selling tidy homilies" about "hope" and too little advocating ideas such as single-payer health care. Frank stated his case Sunday in his latest weekly column for the liberal online magazine Salon.
Frank suggests that all the non-ideological rhetoric of hope from Clinton and Obama presaged the sort of lefty-disappointing policies they've often yielded (e.g., "Clinton’s deregulations [and] Obama’s spying program"). In that regard, he comments, they're typical of Democrats over the past three-plus decades:
On Friday, McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed detailed two major developments over the past decade or so that, according to some on the right, have hurt conservative book publishing: specialty imprints such as Threshold Editions have had the effect of relegating most righty books to a "niche" a la "science fiction or nutritional self-help guides," and this segregation has created economic pressure for those imprints to issue titles by "cable news and radio provocateurs" instead of "combative intellectuals" in the tradition of the late Allan Bloom.
Coppins presents the massive popularity of Bloom's 1987 work The Closing of the American Mind as the Big Bang for right-leaning books. He opines that it forced establishment publishers to realize "a potentially lucrative fact: Conservatives knew how to read."
In a Tuesday post, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas celebrated the "genuine progress" American liberalism has made over the past ten years, but warned that it still must battle plenty of countervailing forces, including -- yes, NewsBusters readers -- a pro-conservative media.
Kos notes that Democrats now control the Senate, which wasn't the case in 2004, and observes that since then, the party's caucus in the upper chamber "has shifted significantly to the left," given the departure of supposed squishes like Evan Bayh and Tom Daschle as well as the arrival of progressives such as Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren. He also exults that fewer than two dozen Blue Dog Democrats remain in the House of Representatives, making today's House Dems as a group distinctly more liberal than a decade ago.
Do conservatives overrate their popularity and, consequently, their power? Quite possibly, suggested Washington Post blogger-reporter Chris Cillizza in a Saturday post on the Washington Post's web site.
The peg for Cillizza's item was a recent Pew Research Center finding that five right-leaning online outlets, including The Washington Times, The Blaze, and Breitbart.com, were "among the most shared [news sites] on Facebook, but [not] among the most visited [news] sites" overall. Cillizza, wondering why these righty sites would generate so much Facebook traffic even though they had far fewer visitors than "more mainstream" sites, speculated:
On this St. Patrick's Day weekend, if you're in the mood for a lamentation of Irish-Americans' ongoing shift to the political right, you're in luck. Andrew O'Hehir provided that and much else in a Saturday piece for the liberal online magazine Salon.
While O'Hehir believes that the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal was "unambiguously a good thing for the people of Ireland and their British next-door neighbors," it had a downside stateside: "[T]he last connection between Irish-American identity and genuine history was severed...On one hand, Irishness [now] is a nonspecific global brand of pseudo-old pubs, watered-down Guinness, 'Celtic' tattoos and vague New Age spirituality...On the other, it’s Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan and Rep. Peter King...consistently representing the most stereotypical grade of racist, xenophobic, small-minded, right-wing Irish-American intolerance. When you think of the face of white rage in America, it belongs to a red-faced Irish dude on Fox News."