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My Side is a Very Very Very Fine Side ...
August 21, 2012 9:23 PM   Subscribe

"Our country faces unmitigated disaster if the Other Side wins."

"The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them. Meanwhile, the Other Side has stonewalled perfectly reasonable requests to release its own documents that would expose some very embarrassing details if anybody ever found out what was in them. This just shows you what a bunch of hypocrites they are."
posted by WCityMike (110 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
What did the other dudes in the author's second period geometry class think?
posted by samofidelis at 9:27 PM on August 21, 2012 [27 favorites]


"The Other Side also has been hammering away at My Side to release certain documents that have nothing to do with anything, and making all sorts of outrageous accusations about what might be in them.

See, this is a perfect example of how Libertarian false-equivalence is bullshit, because on the one hand is the Obama campaign calling on Romney to release his tax returns, probably because they believe he used the IRS amnesty in 2009 to bring illegal money back into the US, and on the other hand are fucking birthers, who the good shitheads at Reason would have us believe are the equivalent.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:29 PM on August 21, 2012 [199 favorites]


Besides, it’s clear that the people on the Other Side are driven by mindless anger – unlike My Side, which is filled with passionate idealism and righteous indignation. That indignation, I hasten to add, is entirely justified.

Peach it.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:29 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is single handedly the worst article about politics ever made.
posted by Talez at 9:30 PM on August 21, 2012 [49 favorites]


...or preach it. I had peaches for lunch today.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 9:30 PM on August 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


Nature's candy in my hand or can or a pie, cosmic.osmo.
posted by Talez at 9:32 PM on August 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


For the love of all that's holy, do not read the comments.
posted by goethean at 9:35 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is single handedly the worst article about politics ever made.

Reason writes this exact same article literally every. single. day.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:35 PM on August 21, 2012 [27 favorites]


Is this what happens when political correctness gets taken to the next level?
posted by astapasta24 at 9:35 PM on August 21, 2012


Reason magazine? Really?
posted by bardic at 9:36 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


goethean is trying to trick me; these excellent comments introduced me to 'nieve conservatives,' which I believe is a kind of Latino snow republican.
posted by samofidelis at 9:39 PM on August 21, 2012 [14 favorites]


We are equivalent! We must be! Something must justify the political stalemate beyond a derth of answers to real world problems on one side and an unwillingness to really, really get dirty on the other.

Lots of GRAR.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:39 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


As with most things, this has been said before and better by Ford Prefect.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

"What?"

"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."

posted by Sebmojo at 9:39 PM on August 21, 2012 [55 favorites]


Snowpublicanos.
posted by samofidelis at 9:40 PM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Having been tempted to disable my Facebook account until election season is over since it has turned into little more than one "Romney/Obama is the devil" post after another, I enjoyed this.
posted by The Gooch at 9:43 PM on August 21, 2012


This is what I always hated about that absurd "South Park Republican" idiocy a few years ago: the nonsensical belief that simply remaining ignorant and saying "Everyone sucks, amirite?!?" is some brilliant insight... and not the kind of lazy, sophomoric thinking you'd expect from a marginally bright 14-year-old.
posted by hincandenza at 9:45 PM on August 21, 2012 [39 favorites]


"Come on people, let’s just be reasonable and meet in the middle between 'kinda bullshit’ and 'off the rails crazy radical’.

Reason magazine is the worst named product since Logic Studio.
posted by bongo_x at 9:46 PM on August 21, 2012 [14 favorites]


agreed with The Gooch. It's not a well written article, but I think it sums up the current political climate pretty well.

make of that what you will
posted by johnstein at 9:46 PM on August 21, 2012


The Gostak distims the Doshes!
posted by drhydro at 9:48 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


and on the other hand are fucking birthers

I think this might actually be a reference not to his birth certificate but his college transcripts. The reasoning being the nation has the right to know if Obama took classes that would shape him into the radical liberal (barf) he is. Particularly classes relating to race (double barf).

But boy, was this post a doozy. How is it someone can believe in absolutely nothing to find some sort of equivalency?
posted by munchingzombie at 9:57 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh boy a article designed to illustrate how the two parties are obviously the exact same thing and wouldn't you like to hear more about Libertarians cleave through all this bullshit. Maybe there is room for a third way but no way in hell do I want it being a libertarian vision.
posted by vuron at 9:58 PM on August 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Gore Vidal said it better, but he was still wrong: "There is only one party in the United States, the Property party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties."

Of course, this was before the Republicans became the no-government Grover Norquist / crazy Xtian party.
posted by benzenedream at 9:59 PM on August 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


Sure I mean just this month one side's platform endorsed express rights for gay people to marry and the other side called for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Why bother voting when there's so little at stake.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2012 [82 favorites]


johnstein: agreed with The Gooch. It's not a well written article, but I think it sums up the current political climate pretty well.

make of that what you will


It sums up the attitude between different nations during WWII as well, but that doesn't mean that neither side had the ethical high ground and that the consequences of each side winning were the same.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


There were people doing this false equivalence shit 12 years ago, somehow I don't think Al Gore would have started a major war based on a load of horseshit then handed it off to a giant corporate crony to suck a trillion out of the treasury teat. And based on his actual history it's pretty damn unlikely he'd have ignored New Orleans either.

You can believe that it's a lesser evil thing if you like, but guess what? Less evil is still LESS EVIL.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:01 PM on August 21, 2012 [41 favorites]


For those recoiling at the fact MeFi is linking to Reason magazine, please note the original column appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Wait, that's not reassuring at all. Never mind.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 10:01 PM on August 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


Leaving aside our views on what policy ought be, the equivalency just doesn't hold up here because the re-election of President Obama frankly won't cause disaster levels of change for good or for ill. While the administration has done a lot of important things for individuals or groups of people, none of them are costly enough in attention or treasure to really affect anyone else. The health care bill cut the deficit. The auto company bailouts were the tiniest portion of a portion of the federal budget. DADT got repealed only after all of the Joint Chiefs thought it was a good idea. The major accomplishments of the administration have been primarily legislative, in an era when the minority exerts considerable control in the Senate.

The Ryan budget, though? That's a dramatic change from the way things are right now, that might well in fact be a disaster.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:01 PM on August 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's like they took the current putrid campaign rhetoric and added an unhealthy level of smugness. That's about the last thing it needed.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:09 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


What about communitarians who have the opposite positions from libertarians? How do they fit into this trichotomy?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:11 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, this is the gradual assessment that reasonable people who depend soley on the MSM are coming to, and its important to point out that this is the narrative that is "informing" us about our candidates. Just try to find a reasonable summary of actual policy and legislative differences between candidates on cable TV. The closest you might get is "Here's republican pundit X's response to Obama's economic plan" and "Here's the DNC chair's opinion on Romney's tax cuts."

You people are journalists, journalize!

I shared this on Facebook with the hope that my Tea Party relatives might gain a tiny bit of insight and look a little critically at the sources of their information. As should democrats of course. I'm confident, on one side you'll find a party full of people who have spent years working on pet issues, writing legislation based on practical, informed experience with expert input and on the other side you'll find ideologues with little experience working outside of finance who cast often contradictory votes in order to do nothing but obstruct progress and promote politically hot issues that have no purpose but to rally easy votes. But the only thing a casual follower of politics comes away with is that there are two teams that are really opposed to each other that each count about 50% of the electorate as their base and every election cycle the football moves just a few yards left or right of the 50 yard line. I don't want whatever government wins this kind of football game.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:13 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


While I am neither a United Statesian nor particularly impressed with either of the major parties in that country, I have to admit (to myself) that I find the Republican side to be the greater of two evils. Thus, I'm just a little more familiar with the rhetoric against the GOP than the rhetoric for.

All of which is just preamble to say that I'm asking the following two questions in total sincerity, and not to make any backhanded points. I'm just not clear on all the parallels.

Questions:

If the "Other Side" is the GOP, then the "reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream" is probably the Koch brothers.

Who is it if the "Other Side" is the Democratic Party?

Similarly, if the "Other Side" is the GOP, then the ideology "developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago" is probably referring to Milton Friedman.

Who is it if the "Other Side" is the Democratic Party?
posted by ebisudave at 10:18 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


ebisudave: I'm not sure about your second question but I'm guessing the Democratic reclusive billionaire is George Soros.
posted by valrus at 10:24 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ebisudave it's probably referring to Ayn Rand.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:25 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Soros is typically used as the left-wing boogeyman despite the fact that he's dumping nowhere near the sort of cash that the Koch's and other conservative are dumping.

The left wing writer is probably Chomsky as he's been a bugaboo to the right for decades.
posted by vuron at 10:27 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is adorable how Libertarians love to say they aren't Republicans.
posted by bardic at 10:30 PM on August 21, 2012 [46 favorites]


valrus: "ebisudave: I'm not sure about your second question but I'm guessing the Democratic reclusive billionaire is George Soros.
"

I interned at the Center for American Progress, one of the big recipient of Soros money, during the 2008 election season. If my experience was any indication, a not insignificant amount of those reclusive billions is going to fancy cupcakes for 25 year olds.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:32 PM on August 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


It is getting to about that time of year where I start getting really grim about the fact that I am going to head for the polls in November and Once Again hold my nose and vote for some lesser evil, that there is no electable candidate on hand who will address ecology and particularly global warming, the dangers of militarism, the necessity of nuclear disarmament, the excesses and abuses of capitalism, the necessity of sentencing reform in general, drug law reform in particular, and the importance of addressing the utter failure of rehabilitation in our justice system, the necessity of addressing poverty and particularly hunger as essential failures to combat for the future sustainability of the human race as well as matters of intrinsic justice and morality, and many other things, as I would have them addressed.

And so it is the time that I need to get my chin up and give myself a stern reminder that there isn't a better alternative because I didn't work hard enough to make there be a better alternative: that when Barack Obama told me I was the change I'd been seeking I clapped and cheered but what I was really thinking was "okay now you go be the change I'm seeking, I'm tired and also I'm out of money". That I'm living in a relatively open and fairly run democracy at a time in human history where individuals with relatively modest power and resources have greater access to mass communication and tools of cooperation and organization and management of resources than at any other time in human history.

But since I fucked it up and didn't take care of business all four years, since I was lazy and decided that my excess money was better spent on eating in restaurants and buying electronic bookulators, well I have to head down to the polls and actually choose the actual lesser of two actual evils, as opposed to flipping a coin over two fictional straw-man equivalents. My side is worried about a very bad future where we have utterly fucked the climate, and the vast majority of scientists with the credentials to say anything about it are saying, yes, this is a very possible thing, wide spread and persistent droughts and increases in catastrophic weather and rising sea levels and massive loss of biodiversity, all very possible. I might fervently wish that my side was being a little bit more fucking hysterical about this but the thing is that the other side is utterly denying it is happening. Fingers in the ear, la-la-la, scientists are part of a vast liberal conspiracy stuff. For real. On the fucking record. The OTHER side's very bad future involves a scenario where men are allowed to marry men and women are allowed to marry women and and the social order of mankind somehow founders, and all the sociologists and anthropologists and psychologists have absolutely nothing to say about this theory because it completely insane and has no touchstone in reality. Oh yes and they are very concerned about the unsustainable deficit which is why their proposed second-in-command came up with a plan whereby you give a massive tax cut to the richest people in the world and corporations and defray about 40 percent of the lost revenues by slashing medical care for senior citizens and food stamps.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has invited, in his very clever series of advertisements he is trying to raise cash to get on television, invites me to "be Libertarian" with him for just one election - and to him and all libertarians I say, I would absolutely agree to this bargain if you agreed to spend the four years after that being an ultraviolet-left socialist liberal with me. Until then I'll vote for an electable candidate and I'll vote for the lesser of what I cannot see as anything other than rather obvious, objective, and relentlessly pragmatic evils.
posted by nanojath at 10:33 PM on August 21, 2012 [37 favorites]


Although honestly I think if the right could figure out some way to call Warren Buffett a communist for daring to suggest that the rich should pay their fair share and that inherited wealth is a negative and keep a straight face they'd probably try. Hell, who am I kidding they probably already have.
posted by vuron at 10:33 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


When ee heads fall tails a thousand times, so call heads tails both, but coin then lands on third side - the inside.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:34 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


You people are journalists, journalize!

Here is every political news story you will see until November:

The Romney talking points say this. But the Obama talking points say this. Who is right? The voters will decide in November.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:46 PM on August 21, 2012 [16 favorites]


I just stumbled on details of a new NBC/WSJ poll indicating that among African-Americans, Obama is leading 94% to 0. Unless there's some epic typo action going on over at NBC, that is a actual piece of polling data. 94 to a statistical goose egg. You'd think there'd be enough Herman Cain hangers-on to tick it up to the sunny side of 0.5%, but apparently not.

It's a bit tangential to this conversation, but I felt like I had to post it somewhere, because 94 to ZERO. There is one group of Americans who are evidently not buying into the false equivalency narrative.
posted by gompa at 10:47 PM on August 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


When ee heads fall tails a thousand times, so call heads tails both, but coin then lands on third side - the inside.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 0:34 on 8/22
[1 favorite +] [!]


I'm having a stroke or something?
posted by samofidelis at 11:05 PM on August 21, 2012 [18 favorites]


Other articles by the author almost make me wonder if he's not some kind of highly advanced content farm SEO bot. They are the words of someone who has figured out how to use the cruise control on their career.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:08 PM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, when you look at the ads from either campaign they will look similar and make similar claims. Both candidates will probably campaign on the same issues and they might use the same bogeymen to motivate the undecided. But that's not because they are selling the same product. Its because they are using ads and ads work a certain way. An ad for Snickers will take the same form as an ad for the newest version of Windows will as an ad for a new movie will as an ad for car insurance will - twenty five seconds of distraction then in the last five seconds a brand name that promises the solution to the problems you might not have known you had two minutes ago.

But the difference between those products and the Presidency is this: when you get swayed by an ad and say "what the hell, I'll buy a Doritos taco, that could be good" you're wagering a few dollars, but when you make a decision on the Presidency based on scary music and out of context and possibly distorted factoids, you make a decision that could literally cost millions of lives, as the people in Iraq and Afghanistan could tell you. You make a decision on whether we're going to move towards a fairer tax code or one where you can pay less than 1% of your $21 million dollar income in taxes as long as you are the sort of guy who gets to make $21 million a year.

I find ads for politicians to be singularly depressing, because they probably do work on people, even though it seems blatantly obvious to me that they are all smoke and mirrors. They are depressing to me even when they are for my guy because it seems to me painfully obvious that the real truth on any given issue is not going to come from someone who wants to sell me something, it's going to come from a triangulation of credible sources who are trying to act as fact checkers, but there's a lot of people that aren't interested in doing that research when it's easier to let their TV scream at them.

But while I'm that cynical, I'm not cynical enough to think that the presence of similar ads means all candidates are the same, or that it's somehow a zero sum game where all the claims or true or none of them. I'm not so cynical as to think that Casablanca and Human Centipede are the same thing because they are both movies.
posted by Kiablokirk at 11:17 PM on August 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Naturally, the media won’t report any of this. Major newspapers and cable networks jump all over anything they think will make My Side look bad. Yet they completely ignore critically important and incredibly relevant information that would be devastating to the Other Side if it could ever be verified.
Eh, it's really only true if you're a republican, and that's because they keep fucking up. (Yeah they jumped on Biden's "chains" comment but who gives a shit?)
posted by delmoi at 11:44 PM on August 21, 2012


Kind of a rip off of this classic article (pub date is wrong -- it was in fact published on 9/12/2011).
posted by novalis_dt at 11:51 PM on August 21, 2012


Yes, this is the gradual assessment that reasonable people who depend soley on the MSM are coming to, and its important to point out that this is the narrative that is "informing" us about our candidates. Just try to find a reasonable summary of actual policy and legislative differences between candidates on cable TV. The closest you might get is "Here's republican pundit X's response to Obama's economic plan" and "Here's the DNC chair's opinion on Romney's tax cuts."
Yeah, if you watch any CNN or consume any other media that's about the "Campaign" then the article is somewhat accurate, if you're talking about campaign coverage

Because the MSM's job isn't to inform anyone of anything. It's designed to drive ratings. One thing they will not do is tell you who's winning. Sometimes they'll issue some vauge, subjective qualifiers like "Romney has an up-hill battle" or whatever. But the reality is, if you look at the polling Obama is way ahead.

If you're interested in knowing who's going to win, just check out fivethirtyeight every couple days and see if the numbers change. Right now they give Obama a 67% probability of winning. And the numbers aren't changing very much at all.

If you actually watch CNN you'd think the balance of the election hangs on every gaffe, but that's totally false. They want to play up the drama and conflict in order to draw in viewers.

Yeah, the actual policies of Obama and Romney differ (but Obama is running as being much more liberal then his policies have been so far), but the "Media Spin War" has been totally vacuous.

And in a sense, what are they even supposed to talk about? Policies don't change. You can have a "substantive debate" about the Ryan plan but it would only take a couple of days to go over the details. Then what? The details don't change and so they're not really news.

Really, what the media should do is just spend a lot less time covering this b.s.
posted by delmoi at 11:56 PM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]




To be quite frank, it probably doesn't matter, at least from a mathematical perspective. Our ritual of voting is something passed down from generations, and unfortunately it is getting more and more debased with this media coverage, which leads to more people tuning out.
posted by calwatch at 12:39 AM on August 22, 2012


vuron: "Although honestly I think if the right could figure out some way to call Warren Buffett a communist for daring to suggest that the rich should pay their fair share and that inherited wealth is a negative and keep a straight face they'd probably try. Hell, who am I kidding they probably already have."

Fox host asks if Warren Buffett is ‘completely a socialist’
posted by Rhaomi at 12:58 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm casting my ballot for Ron Paul, either as the Republican, or a write in.

Romney and Obama are both shills for the banksters.
posted by MikeWarot at 1:22 AM on August 22, 2012


Umm... guys? I don't think the point of this article is to say that both sides are equivalent. I think the point is to say that the way each side views its own beliefs and behaviours is equivalent.
posted by Decani at 1:57 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Romney and Obama are both shills for the banksters."

Yeah, much better to vote for a racist nutball.
posted by bardic at 2:27 AM on August 22, 2012 [21 favorites]


Fox host asks if Warren Buffett is ‘completely a socialist’

Apparently in France you can be 'a socialist' and also Head of the IMF, so anything's possible.
posted by colie at 3:11 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was listening to an old tune by The Doors and they told me to "break on through to the Other Side" and I thought Jim Morrison was telling me to vote Republican but then the drugs wore off and I realized that the Republicans are probably not that cool with the fact that I was on drugs and that there was no way Jim Morrison would be a good person to ask for advice about who to vote for in 2012 because he died, like 40 years ago, so he's probably not really up on the details of the current election, and I thought that my whole strategy for picking my President should be more informed, but then the drugs wore off even more and I went to bed.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:37 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a shitty argument.
posted by cashman at 4:54 AM on August 22, 2012


Reading this was infuriating because I come up against this sort of false equivalency all the time in conversations with people who "don't listen to the news anymore because it is too upsetting." People (usually older people) who have checked out but are going to vote the same way they have always voted. "But Mom," I cry "You cannot vote for the Republican party! They want to take away abortion rights for all women. They want to take away rights for gays and lesbians. They want to cut medicare and social security and the EPA and the CDC and OSHA." "Yes, but Clinton raised my taxes." Aaaaaand the conversation is over.

And it is not just my mom and my in-laws and my neighbors, it is a huge percentage of people I know-- they just can't bother to be engaged with politics and they grasp at tiny little details that they accidentally hear: Biden said that stupid thing. Romney's wife has MS. We can't afford to spend so much money because we are going bankrupt. The illegal immigrants are costing us too much. And on and on. Just shallow, empty phrases with zero critical thought behind them because current events is hard and politics are dull and did you know that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise got divorced?

there is no electable candidate on hand who will address ecology and particularly global warming, the dangers of militarism, the necessity of nuclear disarmament, the excesses and abuses of capitalism, the necessity of sentencing reform in general, drug law reform in particular, and the importance of addressing the utter failure of rehabilitation in our justice system, the necessity of addressing poverty and particularly hunger

This. So very much, it breaks my heart. I fell like we are fighting for the most basic stuff that the harder, more complex issues get shoved aside. I sometimes wonder if perhaps the United States is too big, if we are having so much trouble just agreeing on a few main points because the country is so spread out and so diverse.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:09 AM on August 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Postmodern leveling.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:42 AM on August 22, 2012


Except this is the first election where one side is proposing radically different policies than the other.

If these other movements want to step up, they have to do it the way it gets done--convince people that the policies they want are going to better for the country.

As for the libretarians at "Reason," I drink with some of them. They can't argue worth a shit because their policies are a confused amalgam of GOP tax breaks for the rich, gay marriage, Ron Paul hatred of central banking with no understanding of price theory and a desire for weed and guns. They are stoner Republicans.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:54 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm casting my ballot for Ron Paul, either as the Republican, or a write in.

Romney and Obama are both shills for the banksters.


I totally understand. As a straight white middle-class male, I've felt the yoke of oppression for my entire life, which is why it's imperative that we lower taxes on banksters free market entrepreneurs. Plus, those blacks and women and gays and poors have had way too much control over their rights while taking away mine. And why is it so hard for people like me to deny their fellow Americans easy access to health care or social services? I can't even dump toxic waste wherever I want anymore. That's not letting the market work!
posted by zombieflanders at 6:05 AM on August 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


I wish I could think like this, but I live in Ohio.
posted by charred husk at 6:06 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not having to deal with this sort of crappy advertising past the primaries is a major advantage of living in Texas. When the Republicans are locks on any state-wide office you don't get a whole lot of political advertising outside of the rare national broadcast spot.

On the other hand I have to deal with a state that seems to be increasingly modeled after Lord of the Flies but you win some you lose some.
posted by vuron at 6:31 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I now must call out each and every one of you who intends to skip voting this November. I must ask whether or not you would have history remember you as ain’t-shit punks who let something horrible happen because they wanted to prove a point. Though Romney and Obama do indeed have entirely too much overlap on matters economic and military, there is one issue on which the differences between them are screamingly, glaringly, urgently obvious and that is the difference between what an Obama and a Romney administration would mean for American women.
An Open Letter To All Young Men Who Believe Themselves Justified In Not Voting This November. Courtesy of MeFi's own eattheweak.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:37 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


There are certainly massive differences between the two parties : Akin represents the official Republican party position on abortion, while Democrats broadly favor abortion rights. Democrats occasionally make some minimal effort to appoint qualified people. Yet, those differences exist only when the Republicans seek to differentiate themselves by being worse, not because the Democrat did anything themselves. I find the article completely fair when viewed in that light.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:37 AM on August 22, 2012


For those recoiling at the fact MeFi is linking to Reason magazine, please note the original column appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

For those of you that haven't had the poor fortune to encounter it, I will just clarify that the Times-Dispatch is approximately 65% wire service stories, 25% poorly-written right wing editorial content, 5% poorly-written human interest stories about the white suburbs, and 5% poorly-written crime stories about the city center.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:38 AM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


It seems like most -- not all, perhaps, but most -- of those people who tell you that there's no substantial difference between the two parties are people with no gd skin in the game.

Women are breaking for Barack by 22 points, according to the BBC World Sevice. Yesterday, someone on Metafilter quoted a 94-0 spli by black voters. Seems like people with some skin in the game see a difference. Whereas my white college bro with a sinecure in NYC posts Glenn Greenwald stuff on twitter five times a day, because he's not going to lose his health insurance if the wrong dude gets elected.

there is no electable candidate on hand who will address ecology and particularly global warming, the dangers of militarism, the necessity of nuclear disarmament, the excesses and abuses of capitalism, the necessity of sentencing reform in general, drug law reform in particular, and the importance of addressing the utter failure of rehabilitation in our justice system, the necessity of addressing poverty and particularly hunger

I want all of those things. Given the fact that not everyone agrees with me, and that the process of governing is a process of compromise, I want someone who will fight for one or two of them. What if we turn the corner on gay marriage, and next we elect Cory Booker and fight the penal system monster?

Politics is the art of standing on a stage and shaking someone's hand when you personally would like to punch them in the mouth. Democracy is a compromise. We compromised on someone who conducts extra-judicial killings by drone strike in exchange for someone (the same someone) who is ok with gay people being people. And so on.
posted by samofidelis at 6:50 AM on August 22, 2012 [19 favorites]


Exactly What You Want is not guaranteed to be on the ballot, and you're not supposed to refuse to participate if it's not. You're SUPPOSED to hold your nose and pick the option that is nearer what you want than the other one.

If you really think Obama/Biden is the same difference as the fundamentalist plutocrats, you're in denial about how bad things can get.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:59 AM on August 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Gentlemen, I give you the author of this piece, A. Barton Hinkle. Given the tenor of Mr. Hinkle's past work, and the fact that the people and institutions he has chosen to follow on Twitter are overwhelmingly hard right, libertarian, and garden-variety conservatives, I suspect Mr. Hinkle of being a lying sob more than a little disingenuity when he wishes a plague on both parties.

I'll give Hinkle one thing: it's a tough gig being a third-rate David Brooks, but he's determined to succeed at it.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:04 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hopefully he is the Barton Hinckle and not just a Barton Hinckle.
posted by samofidelis at 7:16 AM on August 22, 2012


Given the tenor of Mr. Hinkle's past work

past work > barticles.tumblr.com

BARTICLES

Great job, Hinkle. You made me hate a cheesy, punny portmanteau. You don't know this about me, but that's very hard to do.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:23 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good grief. This "pak chooie unf" BS that both sides are equally heinous played out a long time ago.

Any more, the statement that "they're the same" is pretty much just lazy shorthand for one of one underlying reality: the writer/speaker is either too ignorant to actually research the consequences of the policies championed by both sides (e.g., some low-information voters and much of the media) OR has a conflict of interest that requires them to maintain sort of a artificial neutrality (e.g., folks trying to avoid conflict with friends/neighbor/co-workers/family and much of the rest of the media).

The problem is, unless you're wealthy or a member of the majority demographic, one of the sides really DOES want to push you down the stairs.
posted by darkstar at 7:34 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hopefully he is the Barton Hinckle and not just a Barton Hinckle.

There's a hundred writers out who can give me that Barton Hinckle feeling!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


"out there"
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 AM on August 22, 2012


samofidelis, that is a beautifully concise explanation.

People who truly believe that there is no difference and there's no point in voting, or toss their votes into the write-in wasteland, are delusional or dilletantes so comfortable in their positions that the outcome truly doesn't affect them.

For the rest of you, the election will have a fairly substantial impact on how your lives go forward. For certain key subgroups as samofidelis mentioned the stakes are closer to life or death.

I can have a grudging respect for people that I think are wrong. I can have no respect for those that don't vote because they think everyone is wrong. Nothing makes me more incensed than this "pox on both houses" nonsense.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:27 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


I registered as a Democrat for the 2008 election because I believe the story of America is the expansion of equality and the Democrats, despite their many, many fuckups, have done far more than the Republicans for decades.

Harry Truman, a Democrat, integrated the armed forces. Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress. Democrats put the first African Americans on the Supreme Court, in the Cabinet, and in the White House. Democrats put the first woman in the Cabinet (Frances Perkins, in the '30s), selected the first female Secretary of State, have put more women on the Supreme Court, and had the first major-party female vice-presidential and presidential candidates. Democrats also advance people on their merits who happen to be black, or happen to be women. Republicans advance people who aren't white males like they're filling out a checkbox.

tl;dr: Thurgood Marshall > Clarence Thomas
posted by kirkaracha at 8:37 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


For the rest of you, the election will have a fairly substantial impact on how your lives go forward. For certain key subgroups as samofidelis mentioned the stakes are closer to life or death.

I misread this like four times and thought we were going to vote to make me drink hemlock or someths :( :( :(
posted by samofidelis at 8:49 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unless there's some epic typo action going on over at NBC, that is a actual piece of polling data. 94 to a statistical goose egg.

Depending on the accounting for error, that means it's 50% likely Romney must have found less than zero black supporters.

Fox host asks if Warren Buffett is ‘completely a socialist’

Fox is made of stupid, that was just demonstrating it more clearly than usual.

Good grief. This "pak chooie unf" BS that both sides are equally heinous played out a long time ago.

WE ARE HERE TO PROTECT YOU FROM THE TERRIBLE SECRET OF RACE.
posted by JHarris at 9:01 AM on August 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


samofidelis, fear not, we'd never vote for that!

(Don't hold that referendum on the same day as a Republican primary, though.)
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


colie: Fox host asks if Warren Buffett is ‘completely a socialist’

Apparently in France you can be 'a socialist' and also Head of the IMF, so anything's possible.
To be fair, France wasn't obsessed with a rival, an archvillain superfoe, in the Cold War, causing "socialist" to be a not-very-inaudible dog whistle for "communist".

America suffers from Cold War PTSD, and we damn sure aren't going to get help from the VA for it.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, much better to vote for a racist nutball.

Gary Johnson seems like a surprisingly decent candidate, and if Ron Paul wasn't an attention-seeking prima donna the Libertarians might actually have an effect on the election. A Ross Perot-level effect, but that's better than wallowing in obscurity. In any case, there are more than just three candidates this election.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:15 AM on August 22, 2012


ebisudave: "If the "Other Side" is the GOP, then the "reclusive billionaire who has funded a number of organizations far outside the political mainstream" is probably the Koch brothers.

Who is it if the "Other Side" is the Democratic Party?
"

George Soros.
posted by Bonzai at 9:24 AM on August 22, 2012


While the average American voter may be smarter than the MSM gives it credit for I am not so sure. The MSM is in business to make money and you don't do that by not knowing your target audience. Look at the normal bell curve of a natural distribution. Most people tend to be at the middle of the curve with a fair number on the downside. The average comprehension level of Americans is somewhere around ninth grade. 20% of American adults read below 5th grade level. Many of our potential voters lack the skills to follow a substantive debate. People who wish to be informed can certainly educate themselves but very close to half our population do not feel as if they need to know more than the basics we say they vote by color Red vs. Blue.

The cultural elite don't count and there Democracy is failing us. are not enough 1%ers and their hired lackeys to matter the ones that matter are the ones who don't know or are undecided. The best way of reaching them seems to be demonizing their opponents but doing so you have to punch above the belt. Or be able to distance yourself from the attack dogs.
posted by pdxpogo at 9:36 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem is, unless you're wealthy or a member of the majority demographic, one of the sides really DOES want to push you down the stairs.

The other problem is, neither of the sides shows any inclination at all to address issues that really have to be addressed, and right now. If we don't do something about the national security state (which has now been ratified by both parties) then our children will end up living in a country where gay people can get married, but only if neither of them has been shot for opposing the government. If we can't stop the implacable corporate takeover of our society, then our daughters will be able to get abortions, as long as they're offered at the local Wal-Star medical clinic. And if we we don't take on global warming, then our grandchildren can sit around their campfires and debate about whether Ogg or Grugg is more likely to help them find affordable caves.

The two parties aren't equivalent, no. The Democrats, if elected, will undoubtedly do some good things, and fewer bad things than the Republicans. If there's any hope of Obama winning in my state, I'll hold my nose and vote for the party that thinks it has a right to assassinate me with robots. Otherwise, I'll probably write in Peter Singer or something.
posted by steambadger at 9:41 AM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Umm... guys? I don't think the point of this article is to say that both sides are equivalent. I think the point is to say that the way each side views its own beliefs and behaviours is equivalent.
Decani

Nah. Maybe viewed in isolation, but this kind of rhetoric, as many have pointed out, is classic libertarian bullshit. Talk to any Ron Paul supporter for a few minutes and it comes up. This is just the normal kind of shit Reason Magazine peddles.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:48 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


what if "one side is far more heinous than the other" did not actually contradict in any way "both sides are heinous"
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2012


what if "one side is far more heinous than the other" did not actually contradict in any way "both sides are heinous"


It does not.

It does contradict "both sides are equally heinous", which is the argument made in this column and by mealy-mouthed Very Serious People all over DC's Thinktankia and Op-Edville neighborhoods. The construction "Yes, Party A does X, but Party B does Y" without any qualifier about how much more intensely wrong A is than B (even if both are wrong) means that both are argued to be equally wrong.

At least there's some honesty in partisanship.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Decani: I think the point is to say that the way each side views its own beliefs and behaviours is equivalent.

That is certainly the way I interpreted it when I posted it, Decani. Evidently it's not the way everyone else is interpreting it. I did not realize that Reason.com had a reputation of having a libertarian slant.
posted by WCityMike at 2:44 PM on August 22, 2012


It's not a reputation. _Reason_ magazine is openly and explicitly libertarian.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:09 PM on August 22, 2012


Let's not nitpick. I wasn't aware Reason.com was libertarian.
posted by WCityMike at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2012


There are differences between the candidates, and I will probably vote for Obama, even though it is almost tantamount to voting for a fourth Bush term.

But in the months to come we are all going to be subject to apocalyptic rhetoric about how bad, how dangerous, the wrong choice will be, that it's just the other guy whose presidency will usher in the last days of the republic, etc. I may agree that Obama is a better choice than Romney, "the lesser of two evils" as many critics in this thread have said.

That does not mean that the rhetoric coming from his surrogates and supporters is right.

Almost all of it is bullshit, just like almost all of the other side's alarmism is bullshit.

The low level of our public debate, combined with the funding model of most political orgs, means that the messages we hear this election will not be like the measured, realistic ones posters in this thread are offering, that acknowledge the many areas where both candidates' policies are inexcusable. Of course. No one will go on TV to say, our candidate is a little better. Our candidate is an evil mess but the other guy has many constituents who want to roll back civil rights, etc.

No.

They will say, our candidate is Jesus, the other guy is the Beast.

Now, I understand this. But it's still fair to point out how ridiculous this flavor of rhetoric is, given that both candidates are manifestly the Beast. It is ridiculous and ugly. It is a storm of lies that will rage for months. Everything possibly bad about the other guy will be blown up, without regard to its truth or importance, because (of course) winning is all that counts.

And yet the main response in this thread is to attack the article and its author. "Libertarian" is now a handy character attack you can use to prod people who stray too far from the battle lines. WCityMike has apologized(!) for not knowing Reason was a libertarian site.

But why should it matter? It's wrong to call bullshit on election-season rhetoric, because it might lend comfort to an enemy with suspect politics?

What this thread illustrates to me is the tendency of all politics towards, "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists."
posted by grobstein at 3:30 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alternately: You're either with us, or you're with the folks that want to:

a. turn Medicare into a voucher system,
b. restrict reproductive rights so completely to the point of calling a blastocyst a human being and eliminate most forms of birch control,
c. cut food stamps for poor people,
d. feverishly work to keep gay people disenfranchised from marriage quality,
e. keep minorities disenfranchised from equal access to voting, and
f. generally let folks fall through the cracks of our society by allowing their fate to be determined by a social darwinism driven by well-connected plutocrats and "the invisible hand" of a purely unregulated capitalism.

I don't need to demonize my political opponents by suggesting they're terrorists, etc.. Their own, explicitly stated policy positions are sufficient to damn them as degenerate in my view.
posted by darkstar at 4:38 PM on August 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Heheh. "Birth" control.
posted by darkstar at 4:39 PM on August 22, 2012


And marriage "equality".

I'm going to go lie down now.
posted by darkstar at 4:39 PM on August 22, 2012


You know it's perfectly possible to believe there are significant differences between the two sides and still believe that their rhetoric is cut from the same cloth garbage bag. This article seemed to me to be much more about rhetorical tricks (and the MSM's shitty coverage of elections) than specific policy aims, particularly given the complete absence of any stated policies anywhere in the article.

It's also possible to believe that despite the differences in stated aims, the differences between what the two parties will actually achieve and implement are not nearly so significant. If you learned anything from Obama didn't you learn that Congress will take your Change and/or any other input you give it and grind it up and spit out some pork-filled unreadable bit of legislation that favors special interests?

Or is this more of that old canard about how it's a miracle that Obama was able to get Obamacare passed, even in the watered-down mostly-dysfunctional state it was finally passed in, but at the same time Paul Ryan would have zero difficulty getting his most draconian budget ideas passed as-is?

But anyways: steambadger, I would favorite your comment a hundred more times if I could.
posted by mstokes650 at 5:46 PM on August 22, 2012


Umm... guys? I don't think the point of this article is to say that both sides are equivalent. I think the point is to say that the way each side views its own beliefs and behaviours is equivalent.

Yeah, reading the post (but not the article) I thought it was going to be something from The Onion.
posted by Evilspork at 6:06 PM on August 22, 2012


Egad. Stupid "Reason" article suggests that there is no difference between the candidates. MeFites get on MeFi and laugh at stupid "Reason" article...then proceed to pretend there is no difference between the candidates...but, y'know..for...more sophisticated reasons...

Gosh, I mean, Obama is just so horrible and awful and just not at all up to my--admittedly rather elevated--standards...he'd be the absolute worst thing ever if it weren't, y'know, for Romney... Gosh, you have no idea how terribly difficult it is for me to vote for such a horrible, horrible person and President...what with my standards being what they are and all, as I may have mentioned.

A President doing everything possible to tug a largely ignorant and dogmatic country--a country unwilling to make even modest sacrifices of comfort to save the planet--somewhere in the vicinity of the right direction is, after all, no better than a President who is downright eager to sell us out to the oil companies. They're really the same, you see. Anyone who doesn't wave a magic wand and fix e.g. global warming...well, all the same...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 7:24 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this the thread in which everyone rushes to implore that voting for Obama is an urgent moral imperative?

I'm leaving.

Also, the article wasn't half bad. I know everyone hates Reason around here, but give them some credit. And no, I'm not a libertarian.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:01 PM on August 22, 2012


It wasn't half bad, it was all bad. False equivalence is a big no no. You are going to have to spell out why this is such a good article.
posted by cashman at 8:10 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


grobstein: "WCityMike has apologized(!) for not knowing Reason was a libertarian site."

That wasn't an apology. It was merely a statement that I was unaware Reason was libertarian.

Libertarianism may not be popular among opinionholders in this thread. It's diametrically opposite to most of my views. But it's nothing to apologize for.
posted by WCityMike at 9:07 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


cashman: False equivalence is a big no no. You are going to have to spell out why this is such a good article.

I don't have to do anything, cashman. But the answer to your question lies a few comments up, with Decani.
posted by WCityMike at 9:10 PM on August 22, 2012


Thanks to everyone who clarified that the Democratic party's "reclusive billionaire" is probably George Soros.

However, I'm not sure if I believe the Democratic party's "influential writer" is Noam Chomsky. Even if we take the stance that it's not about who actually is influential, but who the adversarial party claims is your influence, I just don't think Chomsky rates enough mention for the GOP to use him as a point of criticism. (Not least because my assessment is that Chomsky is simply not that well known, especially among Republican supporters, so my guess is the reference would likely be effectively meaningless to their base.)

Perhaps I just don't consume enough Republican propaganda, though. If someone could show me a Republican accusing a Democrat in some way or another, no matter how roundabout, of being Chomskian (to put a word to it), that would be quite interesting to see.

Otherwise, I think the parallel being drawn in the original article with regards to the "influential writer" seems to still be open.
posted by ebisudave at 12:37 AM on August 23, 2012


I thought it was Saul Alinsky. If you google "Alinskyite", most of the top results seem Obama related.
posted by rollick at 4:33 AM on August 23, 2012


ebisudave: " Otherwise, I think the parallel being drawn in the original article with regards to the "influential writer" seems to still be open."

This issue came up a couple weeks ago when a Slate writer asked why liberals don't have their own Ayn Rand. I think Roy Edrosso provides the best answer, with an assist from one of his commenters:
Sure we have a canon -- it's called Western literature. And it beats the snot out of the sad, long-form political pamphlets wingnuts like to name-check. You will learn more about the human condition from the works of novelists, playwrights, and poets than you ever can from a thousand power freaks' blueprints for the mass production of Procrustean beds.
[...]
Let these freaks thumb their suspenders, go "Well, as Hayek says..." and call themselves edumacated. We that have free souls, it touches us not.
[...]
Political philosophy is almost entirely a liberal project. In some sense liberal political philosophy fuckin' created Western political culture. Human rights grew entirely out of liberal institutions consciously advancing specific liberal political conceptions...
[...]
That's really the reason those assbutt Republicans can even ask that asinine question in the first place. There is no liberal Ayn Rand because whereas conservatives have the One True Canon, there are multiple liberal traditions and conceptions of the political good. Almost as if liberals cared about advancing the best argument and finding the best conceptions of political organization instead of rationalizing a political order that made you feel superior to other people.
I think this is the right answer. Liberals don't have an Ayn Rand because liberalism is a big tent, and therefore listens to a very wide range of voices. Conservatives want their philosophy expressed in lock-step, heavy-handed, top-down authoritarianism, and Ayn Rand gave them that in spades. As tempting as it is to hold someone up as the "liberal Ayn Rand", I think the only winning move is not to play.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:08 AM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Otherwise, I think the parallel being drawn in the original article with regards to the "influential writer" seems to still be open.

I'm pretty sure the author had in mind Saul Alinsky and Leo Strauss.
posted by steambadger at 7:31 AM on August 23, 2012


Thank you to those who suggested Saul Alinsky as the potential Democrat "influential writer". I had never heard of him before.

Also, I agree that Leo Straus is just as valid a candidate for the Republican "influential writer", maybe even more likely.

However, tonycpsu, I don't know if I believe the Roy Edrosso quote is pertinent here. To me it's just something Democrats would like to say about themselves, not what Republicans would say about Democrats. I think, for me anyway, the point of contemplating the original article is to reflect on how each side stereotypes the other, which is precisely not how the "other side" wants to be seen.
posted by ebisudave at 8:40 AM on August 23, 2012


ebisudave: "the point of contemplating the original article is to reflect on how each side stereotypes the other"

Why must we reflect on false premises? From the Reason article:
Let’s face it: The Other Side is held hostage by a radical, failed ideology. I have been doing some research on the Internet, and I have learned this ideology was developed by a very obscure but nonetheless profoundly influential writer with a strange-sounding name who enjoyed brief celebrity several decades ago. If you look carefully, you can trace nearly all the Other Side’s policies for the past half-century back to the writings of this one person.
That statement is much truer for modern conservatives than it is for liberals -- it just is. I'm all for trying to understand the other side's stereotypes of my side in an effort to find common ground, and the author iss on firmer ground with the reclusive billionaire (Soros) comparison, but he simply whiffed on this point, and I thought it was important to point that out.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:01 AM on August 23, 2012


This got linked on Reddit yesterday, regarding extremes, and neutrality.
posted by cashman at 11:46 AM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


tonycpsu, my take on the focus of the article is not the degree of accuracy of either side, or whether their premises are false. It's the degree to which perceptions is held.

You may want to make the point that influence from a writer is more true for the Republicans, and believe to the bottom of your soul that "it just is", and you may even be right. But if you argue with a Republican, you (or any Democrat) need to contend with the fact that they believe your "influential writer" to be Saul Alinsky. (Or whoever. Or whatever the point of contention is.)

So for me, the point of contemplation here is not to size up whether there is or is not a false equivelency, it's whether or not a side like yours, which believes that your truths "just are", and another group that feels its opposing truths "just are" can can ever convince each other of anything.

Maybe not. And I'm not even making a case for whether or not the two sides need to communicate. Maybe they don't. Just pondering whether or not they can when their perceptions of each other are so firmly entrenched.
posted by ebisudave at 10:03 PM on August 23, 2012


ebisudave: "But if you argue with a Republican, you (or any Democrat) need to contend with the fact that they believe your "influential writer" to be Saul Alinsky."

OK, my counterargument.

Alinsky was more tactician than ideologue, and his tactics are just as valuable for marginalized conservatives as they are for marginalized liberals. In fact, a case can be made that in recent years, Alinsky has been more influential to the Tea Party than he has been to liberals:
Thirty-eight years since the publication of his handbook and 37 years since he died, Alinsky has found a thriving and surprising fan club in the modern conservative movement. Leahy is one of many "Tea Party" activists who have latched onto "Rules for Radicals" as a blueprint for a counter-revolution, a campaign of robust challenges to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress that is playing out nearly every day of the August recess in noisy town hall meetings. "Alinsky-cons" have taken the union organizer's "13 rules for power tactics" and "11 rules to test whether power tactics are ethical" and found a strategy that, they believe, is chipping away at the momentum for national health care reform. When they flummox representatives with chants, or laugh out loud at their attempts to explain their votes, many "Tea Party" activists say they're cribbing from Alinsky.

The most obvious beneficiary of the surge of interest in Alinsky has been Random House, which publishes the book through its Vintage imprint. According to Nielsen BookScan, "Rules for Radicals" has sold 15,000 copies since the start of this year - it only sold 35,000 copies from 2000 through 2008. Since the start of August, it has sold 1,000 copies. At Amazon.com, "Rules" is safely nestled in the Top 75 on the retailer's bestseller list, and it's No. 1 in the "radical thought," "civics," and "sociology/history" categories. Most tellingly, the people who snatch up copies of Alinsky's book at Amazon don't go on to buy more liberal texts. Instead, according to the online bookseller, they purchase Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption," Glenn Beck's "Common Sense," and Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny."

"I picked up the book after the [November 2008] election," said John O'Hara, a staffer at the conservative Heartland Institute who helped plan anti-tax "Tea Parties" in February and April. "There really is no equivalent book for conservatives. There's no `Rules for Counter-Radicals.'”

[...]

The growth of the "Tea Party" movement has seen Alinky morph from a bogeyman to a possible inspiration to conservative activists. In April, Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks, the conservative group that has provided guidance to many "Tea Party" organizers and town hall rowdies, told TWI that the group was "applying Saul Alinsky's `Rules for Radicals'” in its approach to anti-tax "Tea Parties." In June, he told Eric Kleefeld of TPMDC that "Rules" was the first book handed to new employees of the group.
Anyone who's throwing the name Saul Alinsky out there as a central thought leader within modern liberalism just hasn't done their homework.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:53 AM on August 24, 2012


Unless there's some epic typo action going on over at NBC, that is a actual piece of polling data. 94 to a statistical goose egg.

I believe the remaining 6% represents those who are unable to vote this year because of the voter-suppression tactics busted out in the swing states.
posted by panglos at 9:46 AM on August 29, 2012


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