red or blue pill?
November 1, 2006 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Awakenings. Conservative (Pajamas Media) Blogger John Cole (NOT Juan Cole) writes as if awoken from a trance:
In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don’t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson’s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don’t know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a “terrorist-enabler” than to swing back. I don’t know how to react to people who think that media reports of party hacks in the administration overruling scientists on issues like global warming, endangered species, intelligent design, prescription drugs, etc., are signs of… liberal media bias.
Some of the comments give me hope for our future...
posted by rzklkng (50 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Frist!
posted by hincandenza at 1:19 PM on November 1, 2006 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that all strikes me as a little disingenuous. They mocked Kerry's purple heart, after all. The guy who attacked the person with Parkinson's was Rush Limbaugh, of "feminazi" fame. The terrorist enabler stuff goes back to 2004, if not 2002.

None of what he describes is new, what is new is that none of it is working. This guy is the worst kind of voter, he just wants to be on the winning side, regardless of who or what it is.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:21 PM on November 1, 2006 [3 favorites]


Jesus Christ, I swear Cole must have beaten Google in traffic this morning.

I still remember him and some of his attitude toward me and others a few years back, so I like Ezra Klein's summary of all this.
I used to notice this guy John Cole in his comment threads. And I'd see Matt and him arguing back and forth, sometimes in comments, sometimes on front pages. I used to wish serious, tough rightwingers like John would take me seriously, and I took it as a major mark of accomplishment when, later on, John began blasting my beliefs over at Pandagon. This was, mind you, no more than two years ago. So here's a selection of John from back then:

• On Reagan's death, mocking the response of lefty bloggers (actually quite funny, too).

• John talking down to me about Clinton.

• John defending Republican chickenhawks.

• John parroting the "flip-flop" charge on Kerry.

And here's much more. Point is this: John's often been an asshole. But he's been a consistent asshole. He adores the military. He loathes political opportunism (which he often called out in me). He thinks Reagan is awesome. He thinks taxes are bad. And here he is, amidst all that, in February of 2004, suggesting Al Roker should play Jesus in Gibson's Passion of the Christ, because "[t]he look on Tom Delay’s face as he went to a viewing of my version of the Passion would be priceless."

At the time, he was a member of the right in good-standing. Now he is not. Why? Because as the Christian Coalition replaced the Reaganite Right, he said the same things he's always said. And as the political desperation of the GOP birthed a series of smear ads and lies, he called that out, too. He's not a leftist. And believe me, Democrats, you'll notice when you start trying to pass policy or retain power. He'll be a royal pain in the ass. And that's because he's a conservative. In the end, the current rightwing revulsion towards John isn't because he left his party. And it's not that they left him. It's that they're kicking him out for being insufficiently hackish.

posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:24 PM on November 1, 2006


Is the site down?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:27 PM on November 1, 2006


but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election.

Neither do the voters of VA, at least according to the polls. Webb is polling above Allen for the first time since that crap came out.

It has seemed like the right wing has been steadily growing more and more insane over the past few months, starting with the run-up to the CT primary.

It's good to see that someone so wrapped up in the myth (certainly anyone in pajama's media would qualify) can see through it finally, the way the republicans are doing it is just disgusting it has nothing to do with governing with conservative values, or even governing at all. It's all about power.

I have no problem with honest debate, but the current crop of republicans are more interested in trying to trick people into voting for them by bashing the democrats. But now they have no one left to blame but themselves.

Good fucking riddance.
posted by delmoi at 1:28 PM on November 1, 2006


It's down at the moment, mr_crash_davis. I had it open a few minutes ago.
posted by taosbat at 1:29 PM on November 1, 2006


I'm not sure that's fair, Pastabagel. It sounds like he's been politically active for much of his life, and has stumped for losers before. The thesis of his argument is that control of the party has moved to the Christian right (he uses Schiavo as a turning point for him). According to him, his beliefs haven't really changed, it's just that they're no longer valued by the party.

In my opinion, it takes far more courage to stand up and publicly admit that you've been wrong and you've been misled then it does to rigidly stick to a party line (on either side) and shout out "I told you so!"
posted by pardonyou? at 1:30 PM on November 1, 2006


Never mind, I can get there now. Someone prob'ly dumped a truckload in the tubes.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:30 PM on November 1, 2006


I'm sorry, Republican Youth Camp?!!? Good god. Are there democratic party and green party versions too? How awful.
posted by jamesonandwater at 1:36 PM on November 1, 2006


...it takes far more courage to stand up and publicly admit that you've been wrong and you've been misled then it does to rigidly stick to a party line...
posted by pardonyou?


I agree with that. I also think he's a little late to the game; and, better late than never.
posted by taosbat at 1:38 PM on November 1, 2006


pardonyou? - I suppose I was hasty anda bit harsh. But criticizing his party for their tactics is still bogus, I think. Lee Atwater wrote the playbook, Rove et al. are writing the appendix. Willie Horton set the stage for what we see today (and Atwater even apologized for that, if I recall correctly).

The problem is the party is nothing but the christian right now. Their fiscal responsibility credentials are long gone (thanks to Reagan, btw), and whatever strength in foreign affairs the Republicans had was killed and buried when Bush's fighter landed on the aircraft carrier.

Schiavo clinched it for him, for me it was dumping Powell and keeping Rumsfeld. The criticicsm should be focused on what they did at the top of the administration - the wrong-thinking, poor judgment, crappy management, and incompetent leadership - not the tactics and behavior or some of their satellite hacks.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:42 PM on November 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


Kerry folds a second time, just when our country needs him to stand up. What a coward. I have to wonder if he secretly works for the GOP.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 PM on November 1, 2006


Wow, I'm surprised to see some republicans upset about that horrible bankruptcy bill. There were some democrats who supported it as well (Such as our dear friend Joe Lieberman)
posted by delmoi at 1:49 PM on November 1, 2006


Lieberman is a Democrat in name only.
posted by keswick at 1:53 PM on November 1, 2006


I really liked one of the comments, which I can't get back to right now because the site is a mess. That person said that he thought of the Democrats as the Stupid party, and the Republicans as the Evil party.

I'd extend that to call the Repubs both stupid AND evil, just not quite as dumb as the Democrats.

I so, so wish we could get a party that's actually focused on improving the country and fixing our problems, instead of how much they can loot the Treasury. We have a huge amount of work to do, and we don't have much time left to get started. I don't think real reform, getting back to basics, is going to happen with either of these parties in power.
posted by Malor at 2:00 PM on November 1, 2006


Yeah, that all strikes me as a little disingenuous. They mocked Kerry's purple heart, after all.

He was just reminding them of that.
posted by homunculus at 2:05 PM on November 1, 2006


Schiavo clinched it for him, for me it was dumping Powell and keeping Rumsfeld. The criticicsm should be focused on what they did at the top of the administration - the wrong-thinking, poor judgment, crappy management, and incompetent leadership - not the tactics and behavior or some of their satellite hacks.
posted by Pastabagel


For me, it was Dick Nixon who did the trick. I was an independent until the Republican party started running religious 'stealth candidate' whackos for our local school board in the 80's & I had to declare an affiliation to vote.

For my mom, Iraq did it. She switched to vote for her favorite democrat in the primary for the 2004 election. She took a bunch of locally prominent life-long repuclicans with her. Good on mom!
posted by taosbat at 2:06 PM on November 1, 2006


I've been seeing a lot of this kind of about-face in pundits lately. I was watching the most recent Real Time with Bill Maher, which had Andrew Sullivan on. Normally he's a pretty solid defender of the current administration (on most points anyway) but now he is clearly pissed. (I don't read his blog, but based on his reactions on the show, I'd say it was the whole Habeas Corpus thing.)
posted by quin at 2:24 PM on November 1, 2006


I've never gotten the military-adoring, tax-hating Republican dislike of the Democrats. They just don't seem all that different on that score. All the accusations of Marxism thrown at everyone from Michael Moore to Hilary Clinton. Even if it's hyperbole (and I'm not sure that it is), it's just bizarre. I consider myself a Social Democrat - I'd love to have a party like the SDU to vote for. And for all practical purposes, I'm a pacifist as well (not really, but I'm so skeptical of military adventures that I may as well be). And I vote Democratic. But not because they support *any* of those positions. I vote for them for the same reason Cole claims he will - for general competence, some fondness for civil liberties, a slight attention to environmental concerns. The areas in which I disagree with Cole seem to me to be the same areas in which I disagree with Kerry, Clinton, Carter, Gore, Reid, etc, etc, etc. I can understand why the theocrats dislike the Democratic party - if you think a microscopic blot of cells is a person, well, the Republicans are your party. Same with the various bigots. But Clinton didn't seem to have any problem giving my money to General Dynamics. And I don't remember spending any of my Augusts in the 90s in Majorca, either. It's like they believe their own propaganda. I pretty sure that I'm going to have to emigrate if I'm going to live in the kind of country I would prefer - what do the Coles of this world know that I don't?
posted by bonecrusher at 2:33 PM on November 1, 2006


OK, so WHO IS SUPPORTING THESE GUYS?

They've managed to alienate everyone on just about everything. Fewer and fewer people support the war. Libertarians are pissed about the habeas corpus / indefinite detention thing. Christians are getting an unending parade of sexual or violent scandals to put them off the party. Economists looks at what the Republicans have done to the country's finances and weep.

About the only group left that doesn't have a good reason to hate the Administration is Big Business. And they don't actually have many votes.

So how is it that there are still truckloads of people apparently willing to vote for Republicans next week? Are there really THAT MANY people who vote solely because of terror-based scare ads and ignore absolutely every other issue?
posted by InnocentBystander at 2:38 PM on November 1, 2006


Dear Bonecrusher--alas, though you may speak of leaving your country, I would guess you won't...just being a bit upset, no?

As for Joe L: he is not a Democrat now. But as an independent he may well be in a better psotion than ever. A close balence of GOP and Dem Senators might need his vote one or another way and he will be in a strong position.

It is wise to remember this cliche, that seems nearly always to hold up:
The liberals are filled with guilt, anguish; the conservatives, filled with vitriol and hate.
posted by Postroad at 2:39 PM on November 1, 2006


If this guy is such a conservative why do most of the first comments seem to come from liberals, or at least not from conservatives?
posted by caddis at 2:40 PM on November 1, 2006


John's commentariat has gotten more and more liberal over the past year or so. He's (usually) a good guy to argue with, and he has gotten into some huge dustups with his audience. In fact, there was a point earlier this year where he just seemed exhausted and I feared he really was going to quit, but he kept tangling with his commenters and each side gave as good as they got. The welcome addition of co-bloggers Tim F. and Tom from Texas have given John some breathing space, but have also broadened the scope of the blog and made some of the content more liberal.

He had some thoughtful conservative commenters, too, but most of those slipped away as John got more and more stroppy about the GOP. Right now, you see a bunch of Red State faithful blasting John for being a turncoat, the usual shit-disturber Darrell, and the regulars: a mish-mash of similarly disappointed conservatives, moderates, liberals and lefties, all of whom have stuck around through thick and thin, screaming matches and cat-blogging.
posted by maudlin at 2:55 PM on November 1, 2006


Keswick writes: Lieberman is a Democrat in name only.

Actually, he's not any more.
posted by bardic at 2:56 PM on November 1, 2006


Kerry folds a second time, just when our country needs him to stand up. What a coward. I have to wonder if he secretly works for the GOP.

He didn't fold. It was appropriate to apologize for his phrasing, and attack the republicans for making a huge deal out of it.

Lieberman is a Democrat in name only.
Actually he's a "Connecticut for Lieberman" candidate now.

I've been seeing a lot of this kind of about-face in pundits lately. I was watching the most recent Real Time with Bill Maher, which had Andrew Sullivan on. Normally he's a pretty solid defender of the current administration (on most points anyway) but now he is clearly pissed. (I don't read his blog, but based on his reactions on the show, I'd say it was the whole Habeas Corpus thing.) --quin

Sully has been anti-bush for a long time, basically since the gay marriage crap

It's like they believe their own propaganda. -- bonecrusher

Exactly, that's exactly how it is.
posted by delmoi at 2:57 PM on November 1, 2006


What delmoi said re: Sullivan. He's been opposed to the handling of Iraq for a while now and hence, the few Bushbots that used to tout him as an example of how open their "tent" was have abandoned him.

He believes in small government, accountability, and less government intrusion in our lives.

What do you call these people now? Certainly not Republicans.
posted by bardic at 3:02 PM on November 1, 2006


Selfish assholes?
posted by dydecker at 3:08 PM on November 1, 2006


Hope?


I remain "without feathers" for the time being.
posted by tkchrist at 3:08 PM on November 1, 2006


So, he has taken a path similar to Andrew Sullivan?
posted by caddis at 3:16 PM on November 1, 2006


Because bloated government, nobody in the White House taking responsibility for any mistake ever, and the govenrnment stepping all over the 4th Amendment is the height of selflessness dydecker? Please explain.
posted by bardic at 3:16 PM on November 1, 2006


Nice to see John Cole posted to the front page. I've been reading him since '04 and he's always been one of the most thoughtful and interesting of the conservative commentators. He's very unique amongst the major political bloggers in that he's always been very open about his doubts, even in the heat of the '04 election.

Its also been interesting to watch how the rest of the right wing blogging community attack him as viciously (if not more) as they would a 'moonbat.' Cole was one of the founding members of RedState and he's been rewarded for his honesty with an enourmous amount of vitriol there.

Which makes me wonder if people like Renyolds, Hewitt, Johnson, Malkin, etc., really believe the stuff they spew or if they stay the course out of fear of what would happen to them should they actually express even a twinge of doubt.
posted by pandaharma at 3:27 PM on November 1, 2006


Nah, I just meant that people who philosophize all rarified about "small government" object the govt helping poor people go to the doctor and get an education. that's all.
posted by dydecker at 3:31 PM on November 1, 2006


Hmm, I wish I had started reading this guy earlier.

I'd like to put my arm around him, give him a smile, say its okay, then smash his head as hard as I could on the desk.

"Hurts doesnt it? Good. Welcome to the real world. Sorry it took a brain-dead woman, rampant corruption, a raping of the Bill of Rights and thousands of dead soldiers overseas for you to pull your head out of your ass. We need you. Stop whining and start helping."

Wash. Rinse. Repeat with every other Republican who suddenly comes to their senses.
posted by elendil71 at 4:03 PM on November 1, 2006 [11 favorites]


"Hurts doesnt it? Good. Welcome to the real world. Sorry it took a brain-dead woman, rampant corruption, a raping of the Bill of Rights and thousands of dead soldiers overseas for you to pull your head out of your ass. We need you. Stop whining and start helping."


Oh my. That was good.
posted by docpops at 4:06 PM on November 1, 2006



Postroad -
Dear Bonecrusher--alas, though you may speak of leaving your country, I would guess you won't...just being a bit upset, no?


That wasn't what I meant to say. My point was that support for the sort of policies that "Fiscal Conservatives" accuse the Democrats of supporting (and that they refer to when justifying their loyalty to the Republican party) just can't be found on this side of the Atlantic.

(Actually, I work about 30% of the time in Germany, and do regularly think of re-locating there. In many ways, not just economic ones, I prefer it to here. But it's very, very hard to actually emigrate.)
posted by bonecrusher at 4:13 PM on November 1, 2006


Hoping to avoid Mrs Cheney chewing my ass out, it might be apropos to point out that both Sullivan and Cole are not heterosexual. This adds a bit of impetus to their dissent, I would assume.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:16 PM on November 1, 2006


Why do they want to remain in power, but without any principles?

Nice that he "opened eyes", but he still doesn't understand shit about -power- , or is playing the gullible idiot.

I mean I like awakenings and eye opening as the next man, but as much as I don't believe in born-again-christian, I also question the i-was-just-sleeping-forgive-me
posted by elpapacito at 4:55 PM on November 1, 2006


"it might be apropos to point out that both Sullivan and Cole are not heterosexual."

Source, please?
posted by zoogleplex at 5:33 PM on November 1, 2006


Hoping to avoid Mrs Cheney chewing my ass out, it might be apropos to point out that both Sullivan and Cole are not heterosexual.

Something about that sentence does not sit well with me. I can't quite put my finger on it.
posted by spiderwire at 5:35 PM on November 1, 2006


You know, I ran into this Cole guy before he started criticizing Bush et al., in 2002 and 2003, on his own site, and sites like Pandagon.

He was an asshole. A jerk. Not particularly reasoned or coherent. I don't really like holding him up as some kind of example. Yay, he woke up. Good for him.

But I'm sure he's still a jerk.

(Online, at least. I'm sure lots of people that come across as jerks online are perfectly decent folks in real life).
posted by teece at 5:47 PM on November 1, 2006


I can't quite put my finger on it.

Kinda weird, huh? I thought of other labels, but it just sounds like name-calling or ad-hom.

The point in my head is if you are a Christianist, neocon, and/or wealthy bastard, this Administration provides good service. If you are a class-enemy of one of these groups, well, you're rather f-cked.

As for me, the worst thing this admin can do to me, (other than throwing me in a Halliburton-built, FEMA-run camp for the Insufficiently Patriotic) is put the country on track for defaulting on our Japanese-owned T-bill debt ($300B+).

I vote Dem for the other people, not what they do for me. As a white & nerdy 30-something, I have no /actual/ complaints about this admin. Things go bad thanks to them, I just bail.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:11 PM on November 1, 2006


I hope he doesn't expect history to forgive him.
posted by atrazine at 6:34 PM on November 1, 2006


Y'know, maybe the reason the Administration is all cock-sure about things is that this election ain't gonna matter. In fact, it almost looks as though the Democrats are being set up to take control of the Houses.

Alas, I can't imagine what the nefarious plan might be, other than perhaps to declare a state of emergency and simply throw the Houses out of government.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on November 1, 2006


declare a state of emergency and simply throw the Houses out of government

<img src="http://jacks-gallery.ne.us/images/pass_the_popcorn.jpeg">
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:52 PM on November 1, 2006


alas, though you may speak of leaving your country, I would guess you won't...just being a bit upset, no?

You never know. After the 2004 election I obtained dual citizenship in a EU country.

About the only group left that doesn't have a good reason to hate the Administration is Big Business. And they don't actually have many votes.

But they do have influence.

“To alleviate concerns that the new Congress may not adopt the proposals — regardless of which party holds power in the legislative branch next year — many are being tailored so that they could be adopted through rulemaking by the S.E.C. and enforcement policy changes at the Justice Department.”

. . .and the government stepping all over the 4th Amendment. . .

Did you hear the one about the 4-star General and former head of the NSA who did not know that the 4th Amendment contained the phrase “probable cause”? He actually argued with a reporter about it.

Wait, it gets better! He was promoted to Director of Central Intelligence. You can’t make this stuff up.

As for Cole, where was he in the days after September 7, 2004, when Cheney gave his "vote for W or the terrorists will nuke us" speech?
posted by mlis at 9:00 PM on November 1, 2006


Other part of the sentence, HM.

Heywood Mogroot: Mrs Cheney chewing my ass out

Something about that sentence does not sit well with me

I can't quite put my finger on it
posted by spiderwire at 11:09 PM on November 1, 2006


Another on like this. Also has the Webb-Allen angle. More articulate too.
posted by hwestiii at 11:13 PM on November 1, 2006


We've just had a 6-year demonstration of the power of Neo-con ideas.

Dear Cons: as "the president" said in Firesign's "We're All Bozos On This Bus":
"Someday we won't have to deal with questions like yours ever again."
posted by Twang at 11:46 PM on November 1, 2006


Kerry folds a second time, just when our country needs him to stand up. What a coward.

I wonder what it would've been like, back when he was a j.g., to have to go to him (or be taken in front of him by a Chief or an LPO) as an enlisted man in his command who was in one of those situations where I needed to be "counseled" in private but stood up for within the chain of command. I doubt JK would've had the leadership cojones to "take one for the team" for one of his men in that sitch -- instead of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, kinda the other way around. If anybody has a counterexample, I'd love to see a link to it.
posted by pax digita at 5:22 AM on November 2, 2006


pax_digita: I wonder if that's why his entire Swift crew came out to join him on stage at the 2004 Democratic convention?

You dislike Kerry, fine. I'm not so fond of him myself. But there's nothing to indicate that his service record was anything but sterling. I, for one, would rather have had him as CO than any of the Christianists, serial adulterers, timeservers and mental midgets I served under.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:12 AM on November 2, 2006


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