Is It Just Me?

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It’s very difficult in retrospect to track any kind of gradual evolution, either in nature or in human events. One can have a sense of things changing and landscapes altering subtly over time, but there is seldom some kind of watershed event that can be isolated as a real turning point (though we often try to create one.) “that was the day the river changed its course…” or, “the point when their marriage began to falter…” or “the moment that made me realize it was time for a career change.”

Things tend to just gradually shift over time, and then a day comes when you recognize that everything is different. This feels like one of those times, politically speaking. Everything seems different to me. There is a level of reckless, petty, bitter hostility between the two major parties that seems almost unprecedented to some political observers.

I know Newt Gingrich shut down the government and President Clinton was impeached. Those were nasty, contentious times, but they didn’t feel like this. As I recall, there wasn’t this sense of (as the Bible puts it) “a great gulf fixed.” It was more like a shallow coulee that people shouted lively, cheerful insults across, and regularly traversed for fraternization with the other side. Now it’s a vast, yawning, impossible chasm. It’s the Grand Canyon.

Polls also show that people are much less content with their government during times of perceived hyper-partisanship…and that the public isn’t even particularly happy about the new Republican Congress they’ve just elected.

What is causing this increase in really bitter partisanship? It can’t be something the public wants, since we see many of these polls showing they really hate this kind of relentless political warfare. It can’t just be the economy, because party interactions were already getting intensely sharp and divisive before the crash in 2008.

So, is it the president’s race, as many would contend…or a backlash against changing social attitudes? Is it immigration and the gradual changing of the face of America?

Or am I simply imagining the whole thing, and it’s always been like this? In a way, I would really find it encouraging if you could convince me that it’s not all that different nowadays… that it’s just me.


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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143 Responses to Is It Just Me?

  1. fopplssiegeparty says:

    I can’t believe that it’s more partisan now than ever in our history, though it certainly is in my lifetime (age 52).

    It may be all the things that you mention along with the growing realization that the economies of the world are becoming more intertwined. As this occurs, there will be some equalization of lifestyles. Since the US has been the largest pig, it will suffer the most.

  2. filistro says:

    @fopsie… it just occurred to me after the post went up that the partisan gulf has widened greatly since the advent of right-wing talk radio. I don’t know if that’s a cause or a symptom…. but the haters over at Freeperville worship Rush Limbaugh as a god. (I’m actually not kidding.. when Rush had his heart attack in Hawaii, they would put up “prayer posts” for him, full of tears and pleading for his recovery, which would immediately soar to a thousand comments and need to be replaced. It was totally creepy.)

    I don’t know if he creates the animus, but he certainly whips it up and makes expressions of hatred permissible.

  3. robert verdi says:

    This is the norm if somewhat more tame compared to previous outbursts in US history.
    Here is a quick synopsis:
    1. 1776-1783- 30% of the country stayed loyal and ended up being driven out of the nation during the war.
    2. 1783-1789 General break down in law and order and several states either planning war against each other.
    3. In response to the Jay Treaty and his policy in regards to war with France George Washington was reviled and executed in street theater.
    4. When Adams was president Jefferson and Madison penned the Virginia-Kentucky resolution which claimed states have the right to nullify Federal laws at their discretion.
    5. During the war of 1812 the Federalists flirted with succession.
    6. In 1824 after the “corrupt bargain” that circumvented Jackson’s march to the Presidency the Democrats launched a vicious war of Obstruction that makes the GOP look liked a bunch of pikers.
    7. Jackson’s Presidency which was so bitter and involved so many battles that it boggles the mind Civil War didn’t break out then and there.
    8. 1840-1865 Run up to and Civil War.
    9. 1865-76 Reconstruction and the triumph of political terrorism in the south.

    That is the first hundred years of US history, now you tell me would you prefer that discourse or the modern variant?

  4. shortchain says:

    It’s not hardship that breeds partisanship. It’s uncertainty. Hardship brings people together, uncertainty splits a population into classes each growling at the others and trying to grab as much for themselves as possible.

    So you need to re-examine your theory that it isn’t the economics, because the uncertainty started back in the eighties, when the Cold War had ended but the shifting of jobs overseas had begun. That accelerated in the 90’s as the cutbacks in basic research multiplied and investment into American infrastructure languished. The Clinton years, while providing prosperity to the haves, didn’t really raise the income of working people.

    Hyper-partisanship — and the grifters who opportunistically make their fortunes on it — is a symptom, not a cause. The Limbaugh and Palin types are not capable of running a one-man popsickle stand without some willing victims to throw money at them, let alone actually create anything.

    And, BTW, hardship hasn’t really struck the vast majority of Americans yet, so expect the hyper-partisanship to continue.

  5. filistro says:

    robert.. those are good points, and it certainly hasn’t been all beer and skittles in American history. But most of the conflicts you reference were regional or territorial battles rather than straightforward partisanship.

    I’m bemused by this new total hatred between ideologies. I think the modern conflict is more dangerous because constant partisan warfare and gamesmanship in Congress makes it virtually impossible for government to function. I realize conservatives think an ideal world is one where government can’t function at all… but truth is, the rest of the world is beginning to move inexorably forward and leave America behind while the American government is mired in petty wrangling and battles for political points.

    This is no longer a world where a big country can afford to get left behind just because it would rather squabble endlessly at home than get with the program and be competitive. I think gridlock partisanship is dangerous to America’s future.

  6. GROG says:

    @fili,

    We’re living in a time where the issues of the day have never been more divisive. The left is trying to destroy things like traditional marriage. They want to build a mosque at ground zero. They passed unpopular healthcare legistlation. They have tried (and failed) to pass unpopular cap and trade legislation. They want to raise taxes during an economic downturn. They fight against illegal immigration laws. They want to “fundamentally transform American” when it doesn’t need to be transformed. Debt and deficits have never been more out of control. Regulation has never been more intrusive.

    Which ever side of these issues you’re on, people are very engaged and care a great deal about them. When people think their freedoms are being taken away along with their jobs, things become contentious.

  7. Monotreme says:

    I’ve recently read The Broken Branch by Mann and Orenstein. Even though it was written in 2006, if anything the problems described there have gotten worse.

  8. robert verdi says:

    filistro,
    although there was a regional aspect, ideology as in do we support the French or the proper interpretation of the constitution were pillars of the battle, in other words ideology was pretty important.

  9. robert verdi says:

    filistro,
    I should have added I think a lot of other countries are currently engaged in pretty fierce battles as well.

  10. Mainer says:

    Robert is right that we have had many contentious periods in this country his list could be brought forward to include the Grange movement, much of the 1930’s, McCarthism, The Vietnam war but I think the one most likely to draw parrallels would be the rise of the KKK and associated actions after WWI. I would offer this URL for some reading:

    http://www1.assumption.edu/ahc/1920s/eugenics/klan.html

    I would also offer the following from that connection as a starter. Would any one want to guess which side of this a Limbaugh or a Beck would come down on? Things ar not different in terms of passion we just have more media to helf keep it going and growing.

    Further, as we will see, the second Klan espoused all of the “mobilizing passions” Paxton identifies as characteristic of fascism:

    Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to “weld” the fascist “tribe” to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly.

    1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.

    2. The belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group’s enemies, internal as well as external.

    3. Dread of the group’s decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.

    4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence, if necessary.

    5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.

    6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny.

    7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success in a Darwinian struggle.

  11. mclever says:

    GROG,

    Your perspective on what “liberals want” is very skewed. Each of your examples is hyperbole or exaggeration at best.

    Liberals aren’t trying to destroy traditional marriage. If you look at the recent survey on the subject, the conservative poor who were less-educated were the ones who didn’t believe in marriage anymore. If higher education correlates with liberal voting behavior and higher education also correlates to higher belief in marriage, then I really don’t think you can fairly accuse the liberals of trying to destroy marriage. If anything, marriage is being devalued by those who discourage education and suppress the working classes, because that (apparently) is what fosters more single parent households.

    Liberals aren’t building a mosque at Ground Zero. Those who support the mosque simply believe in upholding our nation’s Constitution and don’t think it’s right to engage in religious discrimination. They don’t see why it should be such a big deal if a religious group wants to upgrade their existing facilities in downtown Manhattan that just happens to be a few blocks from Ground Zero.

    Liberals passed healthcare legislation, which is largely unpopular due to distortions and misperceptions. Whenever people are polled on specific provisions from the PPACA, each one has overwhelming popular support, with the exception of the “mandate”, which most policy analysts admit was necessary to stop the pattern of those who buy insurance from always covering the costs of those who don’t. Unpopularity doesn’t make it wrong. We should all agree that something needed to be done about the healthcare crisis within our country. If you can’t see that, then I’m not sure we can even discuss this subject rationally. I’m sure the law will be tweaked again in the future.

    With regard to cap-n-trade, I’ll say again that unpopularity doesn’t make it wrong. We can debate the merits of the policy without appeal to popularity, because decisions that affect our nation should be made based on reasoned analysis rather than popular whim.

    With regard to taxes, Republicans beat the drums of debt and deficit as soon as a Democrat sits in the White House, but when Obama caves to seemingly-popular demand to do something about the deficit, suddenly the Republicans are all upset about that, too. Would you make up your minds? Do you want him to do something about the deficit or not? Cutting spending during a recession, especially spending on the social programs that are helping to keep our fellow citizens alive, would be inhumanely cruel. Are Conservatives really that dispassionate about their fellow citizens?

    You say that liberals fight against illegal immigration laws. I’d fight against illegal laws, too. Wouldn’t you? (Just kidding) Liberals are by no means unified on immigration issues. This is a very fluid debate, with people on both sides of the aisle alternatively arguing for amnesty or crack-downs. Most business people want amnesty, and most unions want to send all of the job-stealing bums back home. I don’t think you can fairly plant this one on liberals or conservatives.

    You claim that regulation has never been more intrusive. That’s a pretty bold claim. I think prohibition and “bedroom laws” were more intrusive regulations than anything currently on the books, and last I checked, it was the liberals who overturned most of those overly intrusive laws.

    So, what I think is that the gulf isn’t as vast as people want to make it to be. There’s a lot of rhetoric raising and hyperbole, but not a lot of interest in talking about the things that unify us as Americans. Those joint values that we all hold in common. The vast majority of Americans have the same ideals of freedom, liberty, peace, compassion, choice, etc, but we sometimes have different opinions as to the best way to reach those ideals. That’s where the conflict arises.

    If we can all at least agree that we’re trying to sail the ship in the same general direction, then maybe we can work out some compromises. But if you listen to the media pundits, a 3-degree shift in the tack is a 180-degree course change. That sort of exaggeration is so counter-productive that, even with a prevailing wind, our ship ends up dead in the water as we squabble over how to set the sails.

  12. mclever says:

    shortchain makes an excellent point that it isn’t necessarily “hardship” but “uncertainty” that breeds the hyper-partisanship. Hardship breeds camaraderie and commitment to overcome the struggle. A manipulative leader certainly could channel that community spirit towards counter-rational goals, but it isn’t the inevitable outcome.

    On the other hand, uncertainty breeds fear. Fear lends itself to lashing out at “others” in the search for someone to blame. As differences get exaggerated and groups divide in order to protect their turf, that can create an environment of hostile hyperbole… Partisanship.

  13. filistro says:

    @ GROG… your post highlights one of the main problems (IMO)… a reckless, inflammatory way of framing the discourse. We could just as easily say:

    The left is trying to destroy things like traditional marriage.

    ***The left is trying to give the same rights to everybody.

    They want to build a mosque at ground zero.

    ***They want to protect the freedom of religion America was founded on.

    They passed unpopular healthcare legistlation.

    ***They are trying to extend healthcare to 40 million uninsured.

    They have tried (and failed) to pass unpopular cap and trade legislation.

    **They are working to protect the planet from catastrophic climate change.

    They want to raise taxes during an economic downturn.

    ***They are struggling to balance the budget.

    They fight against illegal iimmigration laws.

    ****They are trying to protect immigrants from predatory employers.

    They want to “fundamentally transform American” when it doesn’t need to be transformed. Debt and deficits have never been more out of control.

    These two sentences totally contradict each other.

    Regulation has never been more intrusive.

    ***Lack of adequate regulation in America has come close to destroying both the domestic and the world economy.

    GROG.. I don’t think you even realize how closely your statements track with (and illustrate) the 7 points Mainer posted above.

  14. Thanks to mclever & fili for a proper beat down.

  15. dcpetterson says:

    I don’t think it’s ideology so much as football.

    If there really was an ideological divide, I’d expect there to be some consistency. When Republicans make proposals, and then vote against their own proposals on the grounds that enacting these socialist policies will destroy our liberties — there’s something other than ideology going on.

    When you have someone like John McCain flipflopping on all of the principles he held so dearly in 2000, and now seemingly unaware he ever thought any differently than he does today — it’s not an ideological break.

    When I was in high school, I never had any “school spirit.” I saw no purpose it cheering for my school at the weekly football game, simply because it was my school. Nothing made my school particularly better or more worthy or more deserving than some other school. I went there as an accident of the street address of the house my parents had bought. The same was true of all the other kids at my school. They were there, not because they had chosen The Best School In The World, but because of geography.

    Yet great numbers of them went to football games every Friday evening and cheered and danced, and even sometimes got into fistfights with kids from the other schools. Some of it was good fun, of course. But the broken noses and the vandalism of other schools and the time someone broke a window and stole some old trophies and painted filthy words on the hallway walls — really? Because it’s a rival school?

    Too much of our politics has degenerated into team sports. The fans just want their side to win. For the players, there are rewards in the form of powerful positions and the ability to channel money to friends or even to themselves. But the game itself has become the goal. Ideology and policy and doing something for the good of the country is no longer a consideration.

    Oh, the players do talk a good game, telling us how this or that is good or bad for our nation. But their willingness to turn around and oppose their own policies next quarter — the way football teams switch directions on the field — proves these stated positions are tactics, not principles. Note, for instance, that deficits only matter when there’s a Democrat in the White House. The historic arms agreement negotiated with the Russians — following the principles set forth by Reagan back in the 80’s — is going to be opposed by Reagan’s own party. And so it goes.

    I’d believe it was ideological if there was some consistency to it, or if Republican actions actually matched Republican rhetoric. But no, it’s just a game to these people. And they’re not the ones who have to repair the playing field after they’ve had their fun.

  16. GROG says:

    fili said:

    a reckless, inflammatory way of framing the discourse.

    LMAO! Yes, because you guys never do that when it comes to the Tea Party, or Palin, or Bachmann, or O’Donnell, etc.

    But you guys again have completely missed the point. The issues that the left holds so dearly are extremely controversial and emotional issues to most Americans. You cannot have the far left agenda that I oulined above and then not expect there to be division.

    And some want to blame the partisanship on Fox News, right wing radio, and Obama’s skin color. Come on.

  17. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    You have no understanding of what the “liberal agenda” is, as you have so convincingly demonstrated over and over.

    Why not stick to something you may understand? Tell us what the conservative agenda really is, and how it will reduce the partisanship filistro describes.

  18. @shortchain

    Great question!

  19. filistro says:

    DC.. as usual, you cut through all the noise and put your finger right on the problem, with unerring, incisive accuracy. (It’s really spooky how you are often more able to elucidate what I’m thinking than I am… :-)

    Politics has indeed become a GAME… and it’s a game of “win at all costs”.. even if one of the costs is reversing your own position when the other side seems to be moving toward it.

    Pragmatism is dead. It’s no longer a matter of “get ‘er done, however we have to do it.” It’s more “DON’T get it done, if the other side might get credit for it.”

    What I’m asking all you astute political observers and historians… is this new? Has there been any time in the past where partisanship was sufficiently fierce that politicians would so readily reverse their own firmly-stated, on-the-record positions if it would help to punish and impede the other party?

  20. drfunguy says:

    @ Grog,
    Do you really think it fair to discriminate against 10 oercent or more of the population based upon their sexual orientation?
    Do you know that in most states you can be fired from your job or evicted from your home for no other reason than you sexual orientation?
    I would like to know what is destructive about eliminating this discrimination.
    Do you have specific examples from countries, like Canada, where discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is specificially prohibited caused “[detruction of]marriage?

  21. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    Ours is an ideological and cultural divide far more than a partisan one. Robert’s reference to the Jacksonian period is an apt analogy for our time on multiple counts.

    Then as today, there was a rebellion of the interior states against the “corrupt aristocrats of the east” demanding popular democracy.

    Then as today, there was a deep suspicion of the national bank and bankers in general.

    Then as today, there was a rebellion against the federal bureaucracy and the resulting spoils system.

    It is ironic that the father of the Democratic Party who provided the symbol for that party because the elites called Jackson a “jackass” would be very much at home in the Tea Party rebelling against a very different modern Democratic Party.

  22. dcpetterson says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Filistro.

    Let me point out also one of the truly pernicious aspects of this game, and of the technique used to maintain it. An enduring Republican meme is the idea that government doesn’t work, and shouldn’t work. We should not rely on government to do anything useful, because government is corrupt and inefficient. The people in government, we’re told, are selfish and greedy, and do not have the good of the people at heart.

    Note that this description applies precisely to those who play The Game. The description above is exactly what is needed in order to continue The Game. Republicans do not want government to work, because a working government that does the things the nation needs it to do would get in the way of playing The Game.

    Republicans tell us government should not work, and should not be allowed to. When they are in power, they make certain government doesn’t work, then they point to the corruption they cause as proof that government is corrupt. They point to the government they broke to prove that government is broken. They point to their own partisan gamesplaying to prove that government merely plays partisan games.

    We should not rely on government to fix the nation’s problems, we’re told, because government is incapable of doing anything useful. After all, look at how many government officials are merely concerned with being re-elected, instead of working to fix the nation’s problems! Oh and by the way, send me a campaign contribution…

    I cannot understand why anyone would vote for someone who openly opposes doing the job we elect them to do. How in the world did we get to the point where people run for office on a platform of not allowing government to do its job?

    John Boehner openly admitted his number one goal is to prevent Obama from being reelected. He doesn’t care about the nation. He doesn’t care about jobs or the deficit or any of the divisive social issues. He doesn’t care about the wars or about pollution or global climate change. He doesn’t care about taxes. All he cares about is making sure his side wins. And he tells us that government regulation is bad, because government is corrupt, because the people in government are interested only in playing partisan games rather than in doing anything useful for the nation.

    Why in the world do people vote for these guys?

  23. Monotreme says:

    Has anyone else read (or heard about) The Broken Branch?

    Because anyone who’s read it, or has even the most rudimentary understanding of what the book is about, would NEVER claim that “the Democrats started it”. (Where “it” is the partisanship and regular beat-downs of the other side in Congress.)

    They both “started it”, and they both ratcheted it up, but it is only getting worse. It honestly needs to stop, or Congress will destroy itself as an institution.

  24. Mainer says:

    Fili, not sure how astute I am about much of any thing but framed as you did your last I suspect we have not had a time when when the whole deal was to disrupt. As has been pointed out we have certainly had impassioned times in this country but a clear cut policy to divide has not manifested itself to the degree we now have it, at least in so far as I can tell.

    I would reference though your last sentence. “Has there been any time in the past where partisanship was sufficiently fierce that politicians would so readily reverse their own firmly-stated, on-the-record positions if it would help to punish and impede the other party?”

    There in lies the rub. we have way too many firmly stated positions that never meant any thing when they were firmly stated. I also find it beyond belief that in this electronic day and age we have politicians making out landish statements and then looking like a deer in a head light when some one shows them the clip of them either doing it or having said some thing completly different. It is almost as though they run off at the mouth because they are expected to say some thing when in front of a tv camera and they just don’t get that the purpose of them being on the camera isn’t so that we may admire their visage but to hear what they may have to offer. I almost wish there were camera stations positioned about the building so that they could troop like Lemmings past it and get their tv camera fix. We could always put big flat screens in the cafeteria so they could then watch themselves.

    The other piece is the whole punish the others. This gets back to your THEM and US. Now Grog gave us one of the best examples of that we have seen for a bit (and right on cue for my facist/KKK piece, gawd love him) when a side is adicted to the use of propaganda to advance its agenda there is always the probable out come that they will dehumanize what they see as the opposition, I believe we have seen that with the simple use of the word liberal. The other greater danger for the side deploying the propaganda is that it becomes increasingly hard to determine what is actually true and what is you own propaganda. One could argue that we have seen that with Hitler thinking to the end that he was but one great battle from victory, leaders in the USSR pushing for more and more weapons and production of stuff when they had bankrupted themselves making the stuff they already had. With the current right they have cooked the books and manipulated the game to the point where most conventional metrics are not working as well any more. Bart’s constant harping about the country being center right being a classic example. But now the politicians believe it too as they are not bright enough to remember it was their spin merchants that started the rumor.

    But punish the others? Well yes McCarthy was certainly all about that now wasn’t he? How many other politicians or presidents of recent times had their “lists” or used the Federal services to intimidate or gain advantage over the O T H E R? What is new is that we now have too much tv time to fill and too little of substance to fill it with.

  25. filistro says:

    Whenever I post one of these “what-if-and-why?” kind of posts, I learn so much for reading and thinking about your answers. I really love the way this place (and your opinions) cause me to ponder an issue from aspects I would probably not otherwise consider.

    So this time I asked two questions about partisanship: has it ever been this bad, and what is causing it.

    I think after your responses I’m ready to suggest a couple of answers, for the sake of further argument….

    Yes, it’s been very bad in the past, but not in quite in the same way. The difference is that politics has evolved from pure ideological warfare to a winner-takes-all GAME. And the “all” in this case is MONEY. Politics has become a very, very rich game, because the team that controls Congress has access to the levers of power and thus the spigots of money as well.

    And so it’s big business, and as corrupt and vicious as Vegas was back in the day. As always, the people who are really pulling the strings don’t care about ideology at all, they just care about MONEY. But in order to get to the fountains of cash they still need to win elections. So on the right they have begun to use whatever means at their disposal (mostly the “rightwing noise machine”) to influence millions of sincere and honest people like GROG (who is a person I genuinely like despite our political differences) and they drive these people almost crazy with a constant message designed to activate fear of change and loss of the lifestyle and country they love.

    And yes Treme… I do think it starts with the Republicans, simply on the grounds of cui bono. A lot more money flows to individual Republicans when they control the levers of power… so they are much more motivated to do whatever it takes to get and maintain that control.

    My opinion. YMMV.

  26. filistro says:

    @Bart… Then as today, there was a rebellion of the interior states against the “corrupt aristocrats of the east” demanding popular democracy.

    Then as today, there was a deep suspicion of the national bank and bankers in general.

    Then as today, there was a rebellion against the federal bureaucracy and the resulting spoils system.

    Bart, read Mainer’s post just above (which he put up while I was composing mine)… and ask yourself this:

    Where does the “suspicion:’ and “rebellion” originate?”

    It’s a very important issue that Mainer poses. And I think the answer to that question may just also contain the answer to all my questions about partisanship.

  27. marc miwerdz says:

    Grog: I notice you put “fundamentally transform America” in quotation marks. Where is this quote from?

  28. shortchain says:

    After reading all the comments, I’d just like to say that, from what I can see, the differences are far more partisan, opportunistic, and cultural than ideological, although, as with many of these situations, one side wants to pretend that their problems with the status quo are ideological.

    Ideological disagreements don’t generate the heat that cultural ones do, because ideologically opposed people can — and often must — still mingle culturally. But cultural differences can and do fester, because there is no meeting of the minds possible when there is no meeting. Further, one side of the cultural dichotomy we are faced with has rejected intellect, so there will be no meeting of the minds.

    This is not unprecedented in American history. What’s unprecedented is the amount of power that the corporate elite has gathered to itself, and the process that has been created to allow them to wield that power, through lobbyists, fund-channeling organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, and PAC’s.

    And yes, filistro, it’s the MONEY that has produced where we are today. As Michael has said, money operates as a lubricant in business. Turns out it also acts as a lubricant in politics. The slide into corruption has been so smooth and frictionless that some people are still unaware just how corrupt the whole thing has become.

    The fact is that the spoils the winner takes when they win the political game have become so lucrative that they are worth playing the game with no regard for rules or quarter.

    And that’s why the partisanship is so intense.

  29. Monotreme says:

    @fili:

    I’m happy to disagree with you in this instance. If nothing else, it puts paid to the story that all Liberals are some monolithic, mindless Zombie Army — because we both know who fits that description.

    They both started it. For example, Jim Wright (D-TX) as House Speaker held a vote open for six hours for the first time in Congressional history, just so the Democrats could whip a few recalcitrant votes. That had never been done before. With the advent of electronic voting, there had been (up until that point) a House rule that voting was to take place in a 15-minute period. He also manipulated the system (e.g. declaring a new session so that a vote would take place in a separate session, as required.) Remember the Wright Amendment? He was incredibly high-handed and petty as Speaker.

    A couple of Speakers later, Newt Gingrich dug to new lows of despicable behavior. Then as the House swung back and forth, each successor as Speaker has dug the hole deeper.

    Meanwhile, animosity between the two houses has increased. I was amazed, in my brief period being an acolyte of a real Congressional lobbyist, to hear the anger and bitterness from politicians of the same party directed against the other house of Congress. Here in the almost-square state where I live, the House Republicans and Senate Republicans hate each other. That’s unprecedented, as well.

    At some point, we have to elect a Congress that then elects a leadership that says, “enough is enough.” Regardless of what has happened it the past, it’s time to bury the hatchet and get to work.

    I honestly fear the nation’s car will be in the ditch and we’ll all be killed and our spirits will continue to argue about whose fault it was.

  30. Todd Dugdale says:

    Ever since Reagan, the real agenda of the Right has been to eliminate the Left. It has nothing to do with policy differences. In the Big Picture, the Right is selling a return to the Fifties, and the evil liberals are keeping this from happening. As long as one liberal lives and breathes in this country, that one individual will be (to the Right) the one single thing that is preventing our ‘return’ to the Golden Age: a time where everyone agreed on everything, where those who did not conform to the ideas of majority were fair game for any kind of abuse and violence, where women and minorities “knew their place”, where jingoism and “us against them” dominated our discourse with the rest of the world, and where a benevolent Old Boys Network kept “weirdos” and “commies” from attaining anything resembling success or power.

    As evidence of his thesis I offer the current situation: despite winning control of the House, state Legislatures, and Governorships the “problem” is not any barrier to implementing policy, as seen by Republicans. It is, rather, that they do not have ALL of the power. That is why the next two years will be devoted to endless investigations and unrelenting attacks on the President, instead of solving or even trying to address any of the issues the Right was elected to act on.

    The magical answers that Republicans dangle in front of the electorate all have a very strange pre-requisite: unanimous applause.

    If the applause is not unanimous, such as in the Iraq occupation, the “magic” fails to work. This is why the “dissent is treason” narrative was invoked. Any kind of “negative energies” deprive the magical Republican solutions of potency, and that is just plain evil. Why do liberals want to stop America from returning to a Golden Age? Because they hate America, naturally. And, since Republicans are the “good guys”, when they do something dishonest, illegal, or brutal it’s completely justified and okay. The other side “forced them” into it, after all. There can be no compromise with an existential threat.

    Thus, extreme partisanship is inevitable. One Party does not seek Victory so much as seeks the utter Defeat of the other Party; not marginalisation, but elimination. It’s a quasi-religion in which faith is more important than facts, in which everything is clearly separated into black and white, and in which the Faithful are under constant attack and must defend themselves by any means necessary.

    So, is it the president’s race, as many would contend…or a backlash against changing social attitudes? Is it immigration and the gradual changing of the face of America?

    It’s a fear of change; a desperate desire to turn the clock back. If the magic fails, they will not get another chance. They see that charges of Republican obstructionism did not help Obama, and they know that blaming the Left for obstructionism is a losing proposition for them. They need to produce results, and they can’t.

    The Right has also lost control of the message, which they once were very good at. Crazy, vitriolic, and hateful speech is given a tacit wink and a nod, in the name of unity. There is virtually no line that someone on the Right cannot cross now. There is no “message discipline”. And that encourages partisanship and polarisation.

  31. Mainer says:

    You are probably right to some extent Mono but when Bart or Grog read your post all they will see will be the section about Wright (and yes he was a piece of work) what will be lost will be what then transpired under Gingrich, DeLay,Armey etal.

    I realize that there has been in the minds of many people a tit for tat kind of abraseviness between the parties going on for some time. But the for me at least the appearance has been that once some of this reached a certain point each up ratchet has been coming primarily from the Republican side of the aisle. I would like for the Democrats to just turn away from it but as we have seen of late if they do they do not have a snowballs chance of getting their side of the message out for the media is only interested in the sensational and if you are not throwing bombs at the other side then you are not getting air time. I also think one has to look at the amplitude of the attacks being delivered. In terms of delivery the Democrats have been tossing ping pong balls while getting pummeled with rocks.

    I also know that politicans will put the best spin on things that they can to enhance their position, been going on forever, but when was the last time a party has intentionally built its position or positions on provable lies? And when have we seen a time when a politician caught flat out lieing and called on it just shrugged it off and continued the lies as if nothing had been said? Now in Bart speak the president does it all the time and his side is pure as the driven snow but it my world view the only snow job has been the one coming from the R side of the aisle. Don’t tell me that Democrats should tone it down when they are having to deal with loudmouth, lieing, self serving dirt bags. You want civility? Then elect civil people not reactionary ideologues. For now the only chance the Democrats have is to push back harder. It is time to get in the face of Republicans and jab some fingers through some chests, call liars liars and send the Republican professional victims off in another direction in their warren.

  32. Todd Dugdale says:

    BDP wrote:
    Then as today, there was a rebellion against the federal bureaucracy and the resulting spoils system.

    Whatever ‘rebellion’ is happening today along these lines is a sham.

    People like regulations when they protect them from an employer screwing them over, for example. They hate regulations that restrict their own actions, however.

    The other people speeding on a highway are dangerous and should be ticketed. When you are pulled over for speeding, however, it’s all very unfair and pointless. Why aren’t they out stopping real criminals?

    Likewise with the “spoils system”. I don’t recall any conservative outrage over Bush making conservative appointments to the SCOTUS. He won, and the spoils go the victor. When the other side does that, though, it’s terrible and unfair. Look at the contortions from the Republicans over “earmarks”. Earmarks that go to another district are bad and wasteful, but those that go to my district are deserving and are just “my taxes coming back to me”.

    Tell a farmer that those subsidies he gets are ‘socialism’ that are increasing our deficit and undermining our free enterprise system, besides being a massive federal bureaucracy. See how much he is “rebelling” then. Ask someone buying that farmer’s product how outraged they are about the federal bureaucracy that controls food safety. I don’t predict a reaction of “rebellion”.

    Is there a “rebellion” against the DOD? That’s a pretty huge federal bureaucracy, and they have a lot of regulations, don’t they? People must be very upset about that.

    How incensed is the Right over that federal bureaucracy governing “faith-based initiatives”? You know, the one that shovels money into evangelical churches with almost no oversight at all? I haven’t heard about any “rebellion” against that, though. I find it odd that no conservatives worry that those millions might not be spent wisely, or just simply pocketed, because that is the taxpayers’ money and it is driving us into ruinous debt.

  33. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili: “Where does the “suspicion:’ and “rebellion” originate?”

    From the same place as it did in Jackson’s time: Elites violating the first principle of the Republic – the government must implement the will of the people.

    Todd Dugdale:

    BD: “Then as today, there was a rebellion against the federal bureaucracy and the resulting spoils system.”

    Whatever ‘rebellion’ is happening today along these lines is a sham.

    To cite the most recently blatant example, The government strong armed the banks into issuing garbage loans to the constituents of a certain political party and then the bureaucrats who set up this system went onto make millions in commissions buying up this garbage at Freddie and Fannie.

    Of particular note in this regard is one Richard F. Syron. This piece of work was President of the Boston Fed when it issued guidance to mortgage lenders to issue garbage loans to meet CRA goals. Then Syron went on to head Freddie Mac, where he made millions in commissions buying up this junk against the express warnings of his CFO that he was destroying his own company

    When the home mortgage bubble burst, the Fed first bailed out the banks and then started printing money to buy up the garbage loans. Meanwhile, the government nationalized Freddie and Fannie, saddling the tax payers with at least a third of a trillion dollars in liabilities.

    This is just one example of the corruption of the elites running our unaccountable bureaucracy. Sham my ass.

  34. drfunguy says:

    Bart,
    People on this blog might take you more seriously if:
    You didn’t always allege that all corruption comes from Dems (or if it comes from Republicans, it is ones that are not conservative, you know, those poseurs like Nixon, Reagan, and Bush).
    You didn’t engage in vague hyperbole and exageration with every post.
    You provided reputable sources for your information.
    A case in point: “The government strong armed the banks into issuing garbage loans to the constituents of a certain political party and then the bureaucrats who set up this system went onto make millions in commissions buying up this garbage at Freddie and Fannie”
    I am not sure what you mean, but am certain that you are implying that anyone who votes democratic may be complicit in some vast conspiratorial corruptive … something (bad).

  35. dcpetterson says:

    From the same place as it did in Jackson’s time: Elites violating the first principle of the Republic – the government must implement the will of the people.

    This “rebellion” idea is a marketing campaign by Rupert Murdoch. It is being funded by the elites. It never ceases to amaze me how weak minds are taken in by advertising.

  36. Mr. Universe says:

    @DC

    Dude, that comment was totally worthy of being an article of its own. This particular comment section bhas been rather interesting.

  37. GROG says:

    @marc widerdz

    Grog: I notice you put “fundamentally transform America” in quotation marks. Where is this quote from?

    This is the exact quote from his campaign speech at the Univ. of Missouri in Oct. 2008.

    “We are five days from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,”

    http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2008/10/30/obama-speaks-crowd-40000/

  38. Bart DePalma says:

    drfunguy says:

    People on this blog might take you more seriously if: You didn’t always allege that all corruption comes from Dems…”

    Corruption is bipartisan and the nature of government power. Your problem is that this fact of life comes closer to you Dems as the Party of Government.

    You didn’t engage in vague hyperbole and exageration with every post.
    You provided reputable sources for your information.
    A case in point: “The government strong armed the banks into issuing garbage loans to the constituents of a certain political party and then the bureaucrats who set up this system went onto make millions in commissions buying up this garbage at Freddie and Fannie”

    I have previously posted the section in my book discussing this case along with the dozen or so sites. You either missed it or simply did not bother to read it.

    If you are actually serious about learning the truth, I would recommend two books.

    The first is by a left leaning economist who correctly reports on the lead up to the mortgage crisis, but then lamely blames it on politicians in good faith trying to address the income disparity: Raguhuram Rajan, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy (Princeton University Press 2010).

    The second comes from a conservative. It is more polemical, but does an even better job than Rajan in digging up dozens of sources: Peter Schweizer, Architects of Ruin (Harper Collins 2009).

    If you are not in turns aghast and furious after reading these books, there is no hope for you as a free thinking person.

  39. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    And Obama was right. Not in the way he (and many of the rest of us) hoped, but the whole episode reminds me so forcibly of this (which I just saw on BalloonJuice) that it’s troubling.

    Which party is the simple one I leave everyone to decide for themselves.

  40. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    Sure, you can find books that you can interpret (or, given your documented reading comprehension issues, misinterpret) to support your bias. How should we evaluate your statement about your cited economist, “who correctly reports”?

    Trust me, anyone with a working mouse or other pointing device and a browser can come up with countering citations.

    Why should we take your word for his being correct? And it’s very telling that you accept part of his argument (the part you believe in already, apparently) and reject another.

  41. Todd Dugdale says:

    Bart,
    thanks for proving my point and missing it simultaneously.

    You just selectively got outraged.

    Which Party is proposing (and implementing) regulations on the financial sector, and which Party is railing against them?

    Aside from that, there is a curious dichotomy here. These “banksters” are evil and corrupt on the one hand. They have too much power, and their interests are not our interests.

    But on the other, they are wealthy and must be honoured as the generous creators of jobs, mostly by giving them tax cuts. And we need to “unfetter” them, because they are noble and good. They do not need to be “regulated” or be subjected to some kind of demeaning oversight.

    The reason this “rebellion” is a sham is not because it lacks outrage. It’s a sham because it’s remarkably selective in its targets. It lacks ideological cohesiveness. You have people whose income depends on a huge federal bureaucracy dispensing federal revenue “rebelling” against — federal bureaucracy and spending.

    Essentially, you are hyping the success of a marketing campaign, not some deeply-held ideology or policy.

    One last point: you guys are the government now. You know, that evil thing that you despise and are “rebelling” against. You can drop the “powerless outsider” routine now. You’re in. I guess that people are “rebelling” against conservatives now, if your analysis is correct.

  42. drfunguy says:

    Barted: “If you are not in turns aghast and furious after reading these books, there is no hope for you as a free thinking person.”
    If you don’t think as I do there is no hope for you as a free-thinking person?
    Hmm, a bit oxymoronic wouldn’t you say?

  43. Bart DePalma says:

    Shortchain:

    The reason books have endnotes is so you do not have to take the author’s word concerning a fact.

    Here is how you judge sources.

    The best are primary sources such as statements by or documents written by someone involved or with personal knowledge. The Clinton Administration and the Fed were very open about what they were doing. My primary sources include three fed documents and the statements of a variety of Clinton officials. The Clinton folks were particularly open about their view that a home mortgage was a “civil right” when they were speaking to housing groups like ACORN.

    The next best are secondary sources, usually news articles, from folks who interviewed the primary sources. There are dozens of these concerning the government creation of the CRA junk mortgage market. The reason most folks did not connect the dots is because the articles were buried in the back of the news section and they only reported nuggets of the story rather than a big picture.

    Go check these books out of your local library, go directly to their endnotes and start googling them. Most of them are available on the internet, including the Fed documents.

    Unless, of course, you want to remain willfully ignorant.

  44. GROG says:

    @Mainer,

    Now Grog gave us one of the best examples of that we have seen for a bit (and right on cue for my facist/KKK piece, gawd love him) when a side is adicted to the use of propaganda to advance its agenda there is always the probable out come that they will dehumanize what they see as the opposition…

    What you posted in the fascist/KKK piece describes exactly what is posted and discussed at length by posters on this very blog every day. Propaganda is used to dehumanize the Tea Party movement with ugly names like “teabaggers”. They’re called racist because one sign by an unknown person is found amongst hundreds and thousands at a rally.

    Palin, O’Donnell, Bachmann, and Angle are often called crazy in attempt to “dehumanize” them. Palin is constantly accused of bogus ethics violations in attempt to “dehumnize” her.

    DC Patterson above: Republicans tell us government should not work, and should not be allowed to. When they are in power, they make certain government doesn’t work, then they point to the corruption they cause as proof that government is corrupt. They point to the government they broke to prove that government is broken. They point to their own partisan gamesplaying to prove that government merely plays partisan games.

    You don’t get any more inflammatory without citing any evidence than that.

    And then he goes on to say about Boehner: He doesn’t care about the nation. He doesn’t care about jobs or the deficit or any of the divisive social issues. He doesn’t care about the wars or about pollution or global climate change. He doesn’t care about taxes. All he cares about is making sure his side wins.

    But I’m accused of being a fascist because I was inflamatory. It’s becoming difficult to take you guys seriously.

  45. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    How can anyone take you seriously when you claim that “teabagger” is used as a pejorative by others, when it was the teabaggers themselves who first used it in reference to themselves?

    How can anyone take you seriously when you claim it was “only one sign” that expressed racism? There were a lot of signs — but we don’t need to point at signs, we can simple look at the polling of the teapers, where we find racist attitudes abound.

    How can anyone take you seriously when you claim that the blatantly illegal actions by Sarah Palin — for which she resigned rather than face further investigation — were “bogus”? Nobody is “dehumanizing” Sarah Palin. They’re merely pointing out she doesn’t have a working brain, as such. All too human a tendency, especially on the right.

    The way that the GOP seems to be engaging in national sabotage in order to further its political fortunes is widely noted in many venues. Pretending that pointing it out is “inflamatory” is hardly to be taken seriously.

    Oh, and do, please, answer the question as to just how the GOP and the conservatives intend to actually, you know, make things better. I’m dying to hear how, although that failed spectacularly during the Bush administration, it will work now. (You do know the often-used definition of insanity as trying the same thing after it has failed before and expecting it to work, don’t you?)

  46. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    You continue to amuse. Accusing someone else of willful ignorance. Hilarious.

    I’m not going to bother chasing your trail of breadcrumbs. I read widely, and, personally, I generally choose to place what little faith I can manage in those who have actually been correct in their predictions. Krugman, for example.

    I note that, in every single case where I have followed one of your wild goose chases, it has turned out to not back up your story. After a while, the impulse to bother … declines.

  47. GROG says:

    Nobody is “dehumanizing” Sarah Palin. They’re merely pointing out she doesn’t have a working brain, as such.

    Shortchain, are you claiming that you are not inflamatory and contentious but I am?

  48. dcpetterson says:

    @shortchain
    Pretending that pointing it out is “inflamatory” is hardly to be taken seriously.

    You don’t understand. Telling the truth about Republicans is inherently inflammatory. They really are that bad.

    All of the nation’s top generals support the new START treaty. Seven out of the eight former commanders of US nuclear forces support it. Our military tells us this treaty is vital to America’s security. Republicans oppose it because it would give a win to Obama.

    I quoted John Boehner as saying that defeating Obama in 2012 is his primary objective. He didn’t miss-speak. A couple of days later he referred back to his comment and reiterated it. He clearly does not care about America’s issues. He wants only to play partisan games.

    There really is no way to make these people sound good, if you tell the truth about them. As Harry Truman once said, “I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.”

    The entire professional Republican Party has become a marketing gimmick. It exists to sell its product (FOX “News”). The health of the nation is irrelevant to them. Corporate profits are relevant. America’s well-being, not so much.

  49. GROG says:

    So to recap, you think the use of the word “liberal” is dehumanizing and contentious but the following are not?

    *Calling Palin, Angle, O’Donnell, and Bachmann crazy incessantly.
    *Falsely accusing Palin of numerous ethics violations (If you don’t think they’re bogus please list all of her ethics violations in which she was found guilty. )
    *Claiming the Tea Party movement is a racist movement and referring to them as teabaggers. (It’s a complete lie that they gave the name to themselves, regardless of what Keith Olberman claimed. )
    *Claiming Sarah Palin does not have a brain.
    *Claiming John Boehner does not care about the nation.

  50. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    As DC says, pointing out the self-evident truth to you must be inflammatory. Or “inflamatory”, whichever you prefer.

    Now, if I were to say, just for example, that I’ve nothing against Sarah Palin as a person — she appears no worse, if no better, than millions of other Americans — but I think anyone who pretends that such an intellectually lazy attention “addict” (we don’t want to use the commonly-accepted terms, which connote selling one’s body for money or having a substance-abuse problem) brings anything worthwhile to the table of national politics is either disingenuous or delusional — that would be inflammatory.

    But pointing out that she’s intellectually an empty sock is nothing but the bare, unvarnished fact. Even she knows this and is obviously getting the most out of her brief stint of fame before her shelf life expires and she is relegated to the trivia question section of history. C’mon — Governor, then VP candidate, then author, then reality show subject? That trajectory only goes one direction — down.

  51. GROG says:

    @DC

    I quoted John Boehner as saying that defeating Obama in 2012 is his primary objective.

    He feels, as many do, that defeating Obama in 2012 will be very helpful to the country. It does not mean he doesn’t care about the country. This is where you are being dehumanizing and contentious. It amazes me how you constantly accuse people of the very things that you do on minute to minute basis.

    Do you not believe that defeating Bush in 2004 would have been helpful to the country?

  52. Realist says:

    @Bart,

    If you are actually serious about learning the truth, I would recommend two books.
    Yes, you did recommend those two to me, back in September.

    The first is by a left leaning economist who correctly reports on the lead up to the mortgage crisis, but then lamely blames it on politicians in good faith trying to address the income disparity: Raguhuram Rajan, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy (Princeton University Press 2010).
    I am still on the waitlist to get this one from the library. There is something very wrong with your assessment of the book, I suspect. But I’m withholding formal judgment until I get a chance to read it.

    The second comes from a conservative. It is more polemical, but does an even better job than Rajan in digging up dozens of sources: Peter Schweizer, Architects of Ruin (Harper Collins 2009).
    Yes, I read this one. I can see why you liked him so much. He writes in a similar fashion to you. He cites sources, makes claims about the citations, and yet when one looks at the sources, one finds that many of the crucial ones were saying something completely different from his claims. He apparently has a reputation for this style of writing, as do you.

    If you are not in turns aghast and furious after reading these books, there is no hope for you as a free thinking person.
    Oh, I assure you, I was both aghast and furious after reading Schweizer’s book. Probably not for the same reasons as you, though.

    Here’s a question for you, Bart: Which party was in control of the executive branch when the bulk of those dreadful CRA dollars were distributed? This might help you answer this question.

    Now for a second question: Why was that the case?

    Oh, also, before I forget, I should remind you that every other reference you provided back in September suggested exactly the opposite conclusion from yours.

  53. dcpetterson says:

    @GROG
    Do you not believe that defeating Bush in 2004 would have been helpful to the country?

    I would not have opposed a vital strategic arms treaty with Russia for the sake of embarrassing Bush.

    I would not have opposed providing health insurance to thirty million Americans for the sake of embarrassing Bush.

    I would not have done everything I could to prolong the worst recession in nearly a century simply for the sake of embarrassing Bush.

    Boehner cares more about partisan games than he does about America.

  54. GROG says:

    But pointing out that she’s (Palin) intellectually an empty sock is nothing but the bare, unvarnished fact.

    No it is not. That’s your opinion masquerading as a fact for the purpose of being dehumanizing, contentious, inflamatory, and divisive.

    And filistro wonders why there is so much partisanship these days.

  55. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    You’ll conveniently forget about all this by the next time we discuss any of these things, but fine:

    That Bachmann is a loon is not in question. Angle, and O’Donnell too. Incessantly? Well, they’re always loons, so I guess if we are to reflect truth, we must be consistent. And that Sarah Palin is intellectually lazy has been noted by Lisa Murkowski, newly re-elected GOP senator from AK. Would it really make you feel better if I say Sarah Palin has a brain, just doesn’t bother to use it? I hardly think this rises to the level of inflammatory, though.

    Sarah Palin committed unethical acts as governor. Read down the article about how she misused state funds for travel, etc. Now, she avoided “being found guilty” by resigning — but the charges were not refuted and still stand. Or are you going to hide behind the fiction that, because she avoided the trial, she has to be presumed not guilty?

    It’s not just one person who remembers that the teabaggers gave themselves that nickname. See here for where the name came from.

    As for Boehner, this is the guy who handed out tobacco industry payouts on the floor of the House, and who lives in the pockets of the lobbyists. Are you going to pretend that he really cares about the rest of us out here? We’ve got no money to match the amounts he gets from his Wall Street friends.

  56. filistro says:

    GROG… the entire fascination with Sarah Palin is because she might run for president. If she doesn’t run and entirely quashes any suggestion that she ever will, she will immediately fade into the background.

    The liberal obsession over her really has nothing to do with her family, her personality, her mental acumen or political expertise APART FROM HER ASPIRATIONS TO THE PRESIDENCY. Liberal criticism of her is totally generated by the possibility of a Palin presidency, and a sort of horrified, appalled disbelief that many Republicans actually seem to consider this a viable possibility… based on no visible qualifications apart from the fact that she looks good, she’s brash and combative, and she hates Barack Obama.

    Trust me, if she withdraws from political contention, she will no longer be a topic of interest, any more than you will see liberals in the future discussing Christine O’Donnell or Sharron Angle.

    So… please pay close attention… in the light of that fact (which I’m sure all the liberals here would echo… we’re actually getting pretty tired of Sarah Palin, to tell the truth) please answer this question.

    Do you personally feel Sarah Palin would be a good president?

    I don’t want any kind of evasive equivelancy here, like “better than Obama.” I want an honest yes or no.

    If yes, please tell us why.

    TIA.

  57. GROG says:

    @shortchain,

    Thanks for proving my point. Some teapartiers use a teabag as a prop. That in now way proves they first called themselves the sex act “teabagger”.

    @fili,

    I think she would make a fine president someday. As far as qualifications, she had more qualifications than Obama so I don’t buy the ugliness towards her being justified by her lack of qualifications.

  58. Bart DePalma says:

    Realist:

    I do not excuse the Bush Administration for its part in the government created CRA junk mortgage market. The Republicans liked expanding home ownership because they are the party of the suburbs and small towns, they believe that home ownership is necessary to realize the American Dream and they thought they were creating new Republican voters.

    I take both the Clinton and Bush Administrations to task for this sordid bipartisan mess in my book. Indeed, the chapter following the one on the mortgage debacle is how Bush set the table for Obama socialism on multiple levels. The Bushies hardly come out well in my take on recent history. Indeed, I compare the Bush Treasury Secretary to Vito Corleone at one point when he was making the banks an offer to take TARP money they could not refuse.

  59. dcpetterson says:

    I’ve noticed something. A common feature in right wing rhetoric is grab a word that sounds bad, and use it as an insult, without any actual comprehension of what the word means.

    Bart does this pretty often with words like “socialist” and “totalitarian,” which he misapplies to Obama and other recently-elected Democrats. There isn’t any way that any sane person could actually think these words describe any modern Democrat — that is, if you use the real definitions of these words. but if you use them to mean “stinky poopy head,” then they’re a generic sort of insult that could alloy to anyone.

    In a similar way, GROG is now using words like “dehumanizing,” “contentious,” “inflamatory,” (sic) and “divisive,” without any apparent concern for what these words really mean. They merely sound nasty, and he hopes it’ll get a rise from progressives to whom the concepts behind these words matter.

    I think wingers should be a little more honest, and just use words like “doo-doo headed slime muffins,” because that’s really what they mean. They’re simply hurling feces without any concern about saying anything meaningful.

  60. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    What do you call somebody who mails and delivers teabags as a statement?

    Palin more qualified than Obama? Weren’t you saying you couldn’t take us seriously? What, precisely are her qualifications that compare with Obama’s? What have been her successes, what bills did she vote on, what bills did she propose or shepherd through the AK legislature?

    List her successes for us, please.

  61. filistro says:

    GROG..

    1.) the sex act is not “teabagging.” It has nothing to do with tea. It is “T-bagging.” That said… in spite of their noisy protests at the “teabagger” label, tea party groups continue to use the teabag as their symbol. I think they do this because their followers have a paranoid victim mentality which they exploit to great effect. They enjoy constantly casting themselves as victims of the nasty left, and if they can entice others into calling them “teabaggers” they can whine about it and try to generate sympathy and outrage.

    2.) Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but none of the contributors at this site use the term “teabaggers.” We seem to have made a tacit decision to adopt the term invented by shrinkers, which is “teapers,” and we all use it. I can’t speak for the others but my personal reason for this choice is that I find it extremely offensive when conservatives insist on talking about the “Democrat Party” and I think it would be hypocritical to sink to the same level of nomencalture.

    3.) You only answered half my question. I assume you’re saying “yes” she would make a good president. Please tell us why you think so. (You’re a reasonable person… If you believe she would be a good president, you must have some basis for that belief beyond pure partisanship.)

  62. Monotreme says:

    Bart:
    If you are not in turns aghast and furious after reading these books, there is no hope for you as a free thinking person.

    Realist:
    Oh, I assure you, I was both aghast and furious after reading Schweizer’s book. Probably not for the same reasons as you, though.

    Monotreme: (snicker)

  63. dcpetterson says:

    It is time to kill another one of Bart’s right wing memes.

    The Community Reinvestment Act did not cause the economic meltdown.

    Read this and this.

    Bart, after you’ve educated yourself, come back and we’ll talk. Until then, stop with the simplistic rightwing talking points. Sound bites are fun. But you clearly haven’t a clue as to the meaning of the phrases you use.

    Just say “Democrats are poopy and they do poopy things and I don’t like them because they’re poopyheads and they’re poopy.” It will make as much sense as your other noise.

  64. GROG says:

    DC,

    In a similar way, GROG is now using words like “dehumanizing,” “contentious,” “inflamatory,” (sic) and “divisive,” without any apparent concern for what these words really mean.

    These are all words used on this thread by leftwing posters. That’s why I chose them.

  65. GROG says:

    DC said:

    In a similar way, GROG is now using words like “dehumanizing,” “contentious,” “inflamatory,” (sic) and “divisive,” without any apparent concern for what these words really mean. They merely sound nasty, and he hopes it’ll get a rise from progressives to whom the concepts behind these words matter.

    Those are all words used on this thread by leftwing posters. That’s why I used them.

    DC said:

    An enduring Republican meme is that……we should not rely on government to do anything useful, because government is corrupt and inefficient.

    There you go again with another statement meant to be “dehumanizing,” “contentious,” “inflammatory,” and “divisive. Do you have any quotes from a Republican to back that up? It must make reference to “anything useful”. Thanks.

  66. dcpetterson says:

    @GROG
    Those are all words used on this thread by leftwing posters. That’s why I used them.

    Yes. As I said, “They merely sound nasty, and he hopes it’ll get a rise from progressives to whom the concepts behind these words matter.” You repeat them because you read them. But your usage of these words seems to indicate that you don’t actually know what they mean. Your usage is, “Oh yeah? Well so are you! Neener neener neener!”

  67. dcpetterson says:

    @GROG
    Do you have any quotes from a Republican to back that up?

    Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

    Rasmussen: “59% Still Believe Government Is the Problem”

  68. Monotreme says:

    GROG:

    Do you have any form of argument other than tu quoque? Because if you do, this would be a good time to use it.

  69. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    “Those are all words used on this thread by leftwing posters. That’s why I used them.”

    Case in point. Next time, consider looking up the definitions to see if they apply.

    Personally, I’d try to avoid dehumanizing any human. And I don’t aim to be contentious — as in deliberately provoking argument — In line with that, I’d just like to say that my use of the term “teabagger” is nothing more than using the term they originally used for themselves. I was blissfully unaware of any double entendre and remain unamused by it. Since filistro thinks it’s divisive, and not wanting to engage in clumsy constructions on “Tea Party” to describe these folks, I’ll try and restrict myself to “teapers”.

    There’s not necessarily anything wrong with being contentious in a discussion thread, mind you, as long as it’s done thoughtfully. It’s not even clear to me that being divisive could possibly be avoided. After all, there are two kinds of people, those who divide people into two kinds of people, and those who don’t comment on discussion blogs.

    Wasn’t it Ronald Reagan who said something like “The most frightening words in the English language are these: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”? And there are a lot more recent examples, too. Or are you going to hide behind your goal-post moving requirement that it has to have reference to “anything useful”?

  70. dcpetterson says:

    I meant to include this one as well:

    Sarah Palin: ‘Government is the problem’

    Do not pretend that Republicans aren’t pushing the meme that government is the problem, GROG. No one will buy that from you.

  71. shortchain says:

    I missed DC’s comment until mine posted. Didn’t mean to pile on that quote.

    Adding to DC’s list, Senator DeMint (R-SC) recently said the same thing.

    Please note that link goes to Senator DeMint’s own web site. Is that authoritative enough for ya, GROG?

  72. GROG says:

    Government absoultely is the problem, but I missed where they said “we cannot rely on government to do anything useful”. Or were you just being disingenious and inflammatory et al?

  73. GROG says:

    Do you disagree with Tomas Jefferson when he said “that government is best which governs least”?

  74. Monotreme says:

    @GROG:

    Didn’t work. Try again.

  75. shortchain says:

    And GROG plays the card he loves, interpreting everyone else literally, but being vacuously general himself. Hypocrisy in action.

    Hey GROG, for the third and final time, why not answer my questions above, about how the conservative agenda will, in spite of the available evidence (AKA “the G. W. Bush administration”), reduce the contentiousness, divisiveness, and inflammatory political disagreements and usher in a new era of prosperity, security, and everyone singing kumbaya.

    But you can’t, can you? Thanks for nothing.

  76. Monotreme says:

    @GROG:

    DC said:

    Let me point out also one of the truly pernicious aspects of this game, and of the technique used to maintain it. An enduring Republican meme is the idea that government doesn’t work, and shouldn’t work. We should not rely on government to do anything useful, because government is corrupt and inefficient. The people in government, we’re told, are selfish and greedy, and do not have the good of the people at heart.

    Do you understand what a paraphrase is? Because I honestly don’t see quotes, either existing or implied, around what DC wrote. I do see a paraphrase.

  77. Mr. Universe says:

    @Grog

    (((Sigh)))

    Making a false statement repeatedly is not going to make it true. A Fox commentator used the term teabagger first without being aware of association with the sex act. There’s’ video, dude.

  78. GROG says:

    @Mr. Universe,

    Why don’t you post the video where he said “teabagger” then, dude.

  79. Jean says:

    DC and shortchain,

    I doubt you’ll get an answer from GROG. He’ll just ignore the question, as usual. Republicans have been full of talk of vague “conservative principles” but short on specifics and details.

    DC, have you noticed increasing discussion that the Republican approach seems to have shifted from their hoping conditions don’t improve to taking steps to ensure conditions don’t improve, and gone from rooting for failure to Republicans trying to guarantee failure.

    If so, as Steve Benen over at the Washington Monthly states: “If that’s the case, though, then it’s time for a very public, albeit uncomfortable, conversation. If a major, powerful political party is making a conscious decision about sabotage, the political world should probably take the time to consider whether this is acceptable, whether it meets the bare minimum standards for patriotism, and whether it’s a healthy development in our system of government.”

    See:

    http://www.theygaveusarepublic.com/diary/6961/gop-fought-recovery-from-the-start-for-own-gain

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_11/026737.php

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/opinion/19krugman.html

  80. dcpetterson says:

    An interesting news story from last January.

    Chuck Todd admits FOX News created and hypes the Tea Party Movement.

    The whole Teaper thing is no more than a FOX advertising campaign. Note that FOX employs most of the most likely Republican candidates for President. The Republican primaries will be a FOX reality show. American politics is being purchased by Rupert Murdoch.

    And the really funny thing is that GROG and Bart et al don’t realize they’re not voters any more. They’re consumers. They’ve been drawn into the reality show that FOX presents 24/7, and they’re buying the products — the politicians that FOX sells them.

    Like loyal purchasers of Ford Trucks, or fanatic followers of daytime soap operas, right wing voters have become entranced to the FOX storyline.

    I suspect these consumers really are convinced it’s important for the country to elect FOX employees to government positions. Fiction is a powerful tool. The suspension of disbelief makes it possible to avoid seeing the internal contradictions in the dark and paranoid fantasy world FOX has created for them. They really do believe that Obama is responsible for the enormous Bush deficit, and that “reducing the size of government” is enough to eliminate the debt and bring back full employment.

    Jean, you’re absolutely right. Republican strategy has gone from merely doing nothing to actively trying to disrupt the functions of the government and of the economy. Their reckless and feckless opposition to the START treaty is proof of that. They pretend they’re concerned with the deficit, and yet they are insisting on driving us trillions further into the hole to give new tax breaks to the top 1% of the elite ruling class.

    This top-down “revolution” is portrayed as a “grass roots movement” — like any fan club, yes, there are devoted volunteers, but the driving force is the content providers, the creators and bankrollers of the products being sold. Amazingly, they’ve convinced their customers that by enriching these totalitarian elites, they are somehow making themselves more free. Fiction is a powerful force.

  81. Monotreme says:

    DC:

    Show me a direct quote where Fox News says to their viewers that “by enriching these totalitarian elites, they are somehow making themselves more free.” Thanks.
    :-)

  82. Jean says:

    DC,

    re” Their reckless and feckless opposition to the START treaty is proof of that.

    And they’re in such fine company in their opposition: Iran, North Korea and the Senate Republicans.

  83. dcpetterson says:

    @Monotreme

    LOL!

    I’ll just wait until next time Bart talks about “liberty” and quote you that instead.

  84. dcpetterson says:

    Iran, North Korea and the Senate Republicans.

    Have we a new Axis of Evil?

    I’m not saying the Republicans are in league with the North Koreans and Iran. Or that they have a secret agreement with American’s enemies. I’m just asking the question.

  85. Monotreme says:

    This is for you, GROG.

    http://washingtonindependent.com/31868/scenes-from-the-new-american-tea-party

    Now be quiet about the “teabagger” thing, okay?

  86. shortchain says:

    Looks like we won’t get anything back from GROG or Bart. Can we discuss Sarah Palin’s reading list now? And can we make suggestions for her? To help reduce the divisive nature of the political environment, not to be contentious — and certainly not inflammatory — but rather to de-de-humanize, or rather, humanize, our friends on the right.

    C. S. Lewis never struck me as insightful. The only thing I really took away from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was that you shouldn’t close the wardrobe door behind you if you are hiding in it. Yeah, that didn’t seem too profound to me either. And the series went downhill from there.

  87. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says:

    Chuck Todd admits FOX News created and hypes the Tea Party Movement.

    Did you even read the Todd quote? Todd does not say that Fox News created the Tea Party. However, what he does say is instructive:

    TODD: I don’t know they are in the center. I mean when we did our own polling on this it’s clear that the tea party gets a big benefit because there is one news organization that gives them a huge bump all the time. I mean they are favorable among Fox viewers is through the roof and the rest of the country sort of doesn’t know a lot about these folks.

    Todd is correctly noting the polling in the beginning of 2010 showing that Tea Party folks watched Fox News and Fox News viewers were among the only folks who knew about the tea party because of a near black out of coverage by the Dem media before the Tea Party driven Scott Brown upset shook their world view. When the Dem media started reporting on the Tea Party, the polling showed nearly all of the country had heard of the Tea Party by Summer 2010. Apparently, the voters liked what they saw because 41% of 2010 voters self identified as Tea Party supporters in the Dem leaning exit polling.

    Todd’s next comments show that the Dem media was aware of the power of the Tea Party well before they started reporting on our activities:

    But I think that, I want to go to something E.J. said about the Republican Party. I think the most striking thing about the minority party today is that a Republican can’t go home and it’s mostly because of this tea party crap cannot go home and sell a piece of pork that they got from Washington. It’s now when you bring home something, saying hey, “I brought federal dollars to this,” you’re on the defensive now. And so that does make the president’s challenge — it’s not as if he can trade, you know, go and have these trades with a Susan Collins or an Olympia Snowe or let’s say a Lamar — let’s move over to more of the conservative center right — Lamar Alexander or something like this because they’re not getting a benefit at home of bringing something back because we have like destroyed this idea that somehow anything from government that comes through is bad.

  88. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    I object on principle to referring to anything other than certain commentators on MSNBC as “Dem media”. You can call them that as soon as evidence surfaces that talking points originating in the Democratic Party are repeated, verbatim, by some media outlets. You know, like what happens in Fox News with the GOP.

    Until then, every time you use “Dem media” I’m going to interpret that as “media”.

  89. Monotreme says:

    James Madison knew a thing or two about abrogating liberty. (http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/07/hbc-90000432)

    Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

    –James Madison, Political Observations, Apr. 20, 1795 in: Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 4, p. 491 (1865)

  90. dcpetterson says:

    Yes, Bart. Todd confirmed that the Tea Party was publicized and sold to the American people by Rupert Murdoch. Had it not been for FOX “News” advertising, the Tea Party would scarcely have gotten any more press than any other lunatic fringe group.

    Of course, us political junkies remember the Teaper town hall riots of the summer of ’09.

    And if you want to take credit for Scott “The One” Brown, go right ahead. I’ve asked before, are you guys planning to primary him out of the party when it’s time for re-election? How’s it feel to have been played for a fool by someone even more nakedly a political opportunist than Palin?

  91. Bart DePalma says:

    Shortchain:

    You can object all you like, but four-fifths of reporters support Dem positions, make campaign contributions to Dems, offer stories which are generally indistinguishable from Dem talking points and give awards to fellow reporters who fabricate stories against Republicans.

    Did you read Todd’s comments? They do not even offer the pretense of neutrality. NBC’s senior WH correspondent is on national television bitterly complaining that the President can no longer bribe RINOs with pork “because of this tea party crap.” I doubt David Axelrod would have said it any differently.

    Please do not insult my intelligence and even attempt to argue that Todd is not a card carrying member of the Dem media.

  92. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    You say: “four-fifths of reporters support Dem positions,” — lacks a citation or other evidence.
    You say: “make campaign contributions to Dems,” — lacks a citation or other evidence.
    You say: “offer stories which are generally indistinguishable from Dem talking points” — lacks citation or other evidence.
    You say: “and give awards to fellow reporters who fabricate stories against Republicans.” — lacks citation or other evidence.

    Oh, and for evidence, we need something more tangible than your fevered imagination…

    Take care.

  93. Mr. Universe says:

    I believe Chuck Todd is a closet conservative. But like Russert he keepsit under wraps.

  94. GROG says:

    Mr. U,

    I’m still waiting for your video.

    Monotreme said:
    Show me a direct quote where Fox News says to their viewers that “by enriching these totalitarian elites, they are somehow making themselves more free.” Thanks.

    DC know what I’m getting at when I ask for quotes. He does it routinely to myself and Bart, therefore he gets called out on it.
    (Btw, your picture of tea partiers holding those demonstrates nothing. What the hell is your point?)

    Most commentators on this site obvisously want nothing more than an echo chamber to stroke their egos. Your responses make less and less sense every day. I have no idea why I waste my time here anymore.

  95. dcpetterson says:

    @Bart
    You can object all you like, but four-fifths of reporters support Dem positions,

    So, you’re theorizing that people who are actually informed tend to support Democratic positions, as contrasted with low-information FOX consumers, right?

    And you are also making an unfounded accusation that reporters will, of necessity, allow their political positions to color how they present objective news, right?

    I assume you have proof of your accusations, right?

    At least we’re past the point where anyone pretends that FOX “News” is anything other than a 24-hour commercial for right wing political product. Right?

  96. Realist says:

    Please do not insult my intelligence…
    Is that even possible?

  97. dcpetterson says:

    @GROG

    We’re still waiting for you to answer any of the questions people have asked you.

  98. Realist says:

    @GROG,

    Btw, your picture of tea partiers holding those demonstrates nothing. What the hell is your point?

    Apparently you need someone else to connect the dots for you.
    The date on the article was 2/27/09, just over a week after Santelli’s CNBC broadcast most commonly cited as the beginning of the national movement. The author captioned the first photo as “The best sign I saw.” In that photo was a sign that said “TEA BAG the LIBERAL DEMS BEFORE THEY TEA BAG YOU !! FREEREPUBLIC.COM

    This use of the term was well before any of those on the left started to run with it. What do you presume was the intent of that sign? And why would David Weigel, a conservative columnist, call it his favorite sign?

  99. dcpetterson says:

    GROG, the FOX commentator who first used the title “Teabagger” to refer to the Teapers was Neil Cavuto. We discussed it extensively on the old FiveThrityEight. You can do your own research.

  100. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, a quick scan of the Internets shows countless articles abotut Teapers prior to January of 2010. Here’s one example. Note the date: August 29, 2009.

    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/cnn-gives-tea-party-express-free-pub

    You may have a short memory, but the rest of us don’t. The “Dem media” wasn’t doing any kind of blackout of Teapers. They were being reported on as being the crazies they were, and the instigators of the Town Hall near-riots, and the cause du jour of FOX “News”. If you have access to FiveThirtyEight’s archives, you’ll find frequent discussion and mention there.

    Playing the victim card again?

  101. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Obviously, what you desire is an anechoic chamber where you can babble without consequence, contradiction, or even hearing how absolutely stupid you sound.

  102. Monotreme says:

    Here ya go, GROG.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,520899,00.html

    I honestly am not going to connect the dots for you. I will point out, however, that the date on this is May 2009, so about three months after Santelli’s rant and the protest I cited above.

    The term was in common use by those who supported the movement for the first few months of its existence. That you find it offensive says a lot about your selective memory and worldview.

  103. Monotreme says:

    This is pretty funny. It’s an angry World Net Daily post from late April 2009, where the author is upset that Anderson Cooper and others have used the term.

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=96049

    This is two months after the sign we’ve been discussing, and a month before Cavuto used the term on Fox News.

    Hypocrisy much?

  104. GROG says:

    @monotreme,

    Mr U said:

    A Fox commentator used the term teabagger first without being aware of association with the sex act. There’s’ video, dude.

    And you know Cavuto said it first how? Your own pictures that were supposed to be proof even predate Cavuto’s column. You guys are a waste of time.

    Still waiting for Mr. U’s video.

  105. Monotreme says:

    GROG, trying to educate you makes my brain hurt.

    You said, upthread,

    Propaganda is used to dehumanize the Tea Party movement with ugly names like “teabaggers”.

    You’ve been presented with conclusive evidence that the term was in common use amongst those on the right before it became a pejorative term on the left. In fact, all the evidence is that “teabagger” was being used by those involved in Tea Party protests themselves, before Maddow and others pointed out the sexual nature of the term and used it for ridicule. Otherwise, Maddow’s joke wouldn’t have meant much, would it?

    Q.E.D.

    Nut up or shut up. Just admit that you made a mistake (I’ve done it, it doesn’t hurt much) and we can get on with discussing more substantive issues.

  106. Monotreme says:

    Here is the Maddow video from April 9, 2009 which makes it clear the term “teabagging” was in use by Tea Party protesters well before Maddow started making fun of them.

    I’m not in the mood to do your homework for you, but if you construct a timeline of all this evidence, you’ll find that your version of events is just plain wrong.

  107. Monotreme says:

    Investigating the origins of “teabagging” as a verb has been fun.

    Mr. U was wrong about one thing. It wasn’t Cavuto, it was Griff Jenkins. You can see his Fox News clip in the Maddow video above. He got the idea from ReTeaParty.com.

    The entire history is laid out in this April 2009 Salon article, but of course, you don’t have to believe any of this evidence if it has been filtered through the so-called “liberal” or “lamestream” or “Democrat” media. Of course, those descriptive terms that have found common use on the right are just good adjectives, and not used pejoratively at all.

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2009/04/14/teabagging_guide

    I would also point out, obiter dictum, that all this evidence shows the nonsensical nature of Bart’s claim that the “Dem” media ignored the Tea Party movement until 2010.

  108. dcpetterson says:

    @Monotreme

    I think it was me, not Mr. U, who first suggested on this thread that it was Cavuto. The link from Mr U for May 20, 2009 however does show that Cavuto also used the term.

  109. Mr. Universe says:

    Thanks Treme,

    You really didn’t have to go to all that trouble looking that stuff up. I wasn’t.

    And see, GROG, even I can be wrong (about Cavuto) just not about my original premise.

    Done, and done. Thank you America! Good Night!

  110. Monotreme says:

    Actually, it was a blast. I was procrastinating instead of writing my novel. It really was neat to see how the term “teabagger” was coined, mutated, and spun out of control. I think it was a naïve coinage that Maddow and others picked up and used for comedic effect.

    Then people like Cavuto insisted on continuing to use it, which is the strangest part of all. Shirley (whoever she is) by then, they knew it was a loaded term. So to speak.

  111. dcpetterson says:

    Well, we certainly have proven that the label “teabagger,” used to refer to right wing protesters c. 2009 – 2010, was coined and used by those protesters themselves, and/or by their corporate sponsors (such as FOX “News” commentators and reporters). It was later used as a term of amusement by other commentators who realized and understood its double meaning. Still later, its use was bemoaned by the same right wing protesters and commentators who had originally used it.

    We’ve also shown that there was no “Dem media blackout” of these protesters. The “mainstream media,” and even MSNBC, extensively covered their activities beginning as early as April of 2009, or perhaps even earlier. The idea that the “Democrat media” refused to cover these protesters until they showed their true strength in January of 2010 is absolute nonsense.

    Of course, this won’t stop wingers from 1) complaining when someone uses the term “teabagger,” nor 2) pretending that the “Democrat-controlled media” didn’t cover these protesters until early in 2010. I’m certain we’ll continue to see this nonsense, as if we had never gone through this exercise.

  112. Bart DePalma says:

    Grog:

    The sexual innuendo Tea Bagger is the kind of juvenile jab you would expect from MSNBC and many posters here. It does not quite rise to dehumanizing.

    There are plenty other examples of the latter – Nazi, KKK, Astroturf, racist, stupid, ignorant, etc… You know, the standard grab bag of progressive invective you would expect from MSNBC and many posters here.

  113. GROG says:

    Monotreme said:
    Nut up or shut up. Just admit that you made a mistake (I’ve done it, it doesn’t hurt much) and we can get on with discussing more substantive issues.

    You have got to be kidding me. This site has gone from commenters who used to be interested in honest disucssion about issues to a site more interested in a “gotcha” mentality when they know they’ve lost the issues debate.

    Even though Monotreme, Mr. U, and DC have still failed miserably to prove it was the right who first used the term “teabagger” as a demeaning slur, it doesn’t matter and was only used a deflection from the original topic.

  114. Bart DePalma says:

    DC:

    The idea that the “Democrat media” refused to cover these protesters until they showed their true strength in January of 2010 is absolute nonsense.

    There were hundreds of thousands of stories written in 2009. There were thousands just on Obamacare. How many did the Dem media write concerning the Tea Party rebellion against Obamacare? A rather historic event given that it was the first grass roots populist movement seeking limited government since Andy Jackson.

    I am actually at work on the Tea Party chapter of my book right now. The number of stories by the Dem Media on the Tax Day, Independence Day and 9/12 protests put out by non-Fox and non-WSJ major media outlets in the United States can be counted on two hands for each event with essential silence in between each event. Foreign news agencies provided almost as much news as did the American Dem media.

    However, both Dem media interest and polling on the movement took off after the Brown election victory. There were hundreds of stories growing in volume as the 2010 election neared. Panic trumps Dem media omerta.

  115. Realist says:

    @Bart,
    However, both Dem media interest and polling on the movement took off after the Brown election victory. There were hundreds of stories growing in volume as the 2010 election neared. Panic trumps Dem media omerta.

    Or, perhaps, stories about politics are more interesting closer to elections. You’ll see the same sort of story growth about everything else having to do with the midterm elections. Believe it or not, most of the country doesn’t really care about politics outside of the last few months before major elections.

  116. GROG says:

    Realist said:

    GROG,
    Apparently you need someone else to connect the dots for you.
    The date on the article was 2/27/09, just over a week after Santelli’s CNBC broadcast most commonly cited as the beginning of the national movement.

    Let me connect the dots for you. Janeane Garofalo from 2/18/09:

    “The Teabaggers, that is racism, pure and simple.”

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/02/18/janeane-garofalo-republican-party-and-teabaggers-are-racists#ixzz161moRRk6

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/02/18/janeane-garofalo-republican-party-and-teabaggers-are-racists

  117. Monotreme says:

    You guys forgot to mention Alinsky.

  118. drfunguy says:

    Bart,
    I was surprised by your statement that ten or fewer articles could be found on the tax day protests (and other events) in non-FOX or WSJ media.
    So I did a simple search on Tea Part and tax day protests between march 15 and May 15, 2009 in a few so-called liberal newspaper sites and found the
    Washington post had five articles; NYTimes had 4; LATimes had 1; Boston Globe had 2. Thats 12 already so I stopped. The google news archive search engine turned up over 500 articles from news sources for that date range but I don’t have time to determine which are FauxNews propaganda and which are more credible sources.
    Some blackout.
    You lack all credibility regarding media criticism since you make statements that are so easily determined to be false. BTW this exercise took less than fifteen minutes; perhpas you should do a bit more homework before that book goes to press.

  119. dcpetterson says:

    @Bart
    How many did the Dem media write concerning the Tea Party rebellion against PPACA?

    You are joking, right?

    Tens of thousands. The town hall near-riots, for instance, were covered extensively. Use The Google.

    You really do live in an alternate universe, don’t you?

  120. dcpetterson says:

    This was such a fascinating and wide-ranging and productive thread — exploring so many aspects of recent politics, exploding a number of rightwing talking point myths — I’m running out of ideas for another column…

    We’ve discussed the history of the right-wing protests against the PPACA, beginning with the FOX advertising and merchandising campaign that created the town hall near-riots and astroturfed “Tax Day,” “Independence Day,” and “9/12″ FOX-driven media events. These were all extensively covered by all the media, both traditional and Internet-based.

    One common name for this ad campaign that was used by many of its consumers and fans, and by some of the FOX celebrity endorsers, was “teabaggers.” This name fell out of disfavor among the fan base by the late spring or early summer of ’09, when news commentators outside of the FOX ad campaign pointed out its sexual double-meaning. Today, the fan base prefers names such as “Tea Party” to designate this product line, and this is the name most of the media uses as well.

    There are right wing protestations that “teabagger” was a term first applied by the “liberal Democrat media,” or that the “liberal Democrat media” did not even cover this FOX ad campaign until early 2010. These talking points have been roundly disproved. Indeed, they are contradictory. If the “liberal Democrat media” ignored the “Tea Party” product line until sometime in 2010, they could hardly have invented the term “teabagger” nearly a year earlier, in the spring of ’09.

    We have also shown that right wing consumers of this ad campaign will not cease enjoying their fictions about the “liberal Democrat media” as described above. This is hardly surprising; the FOX reality show about the “Tea Party” is a compelling and enjoyable piece of political fiction, complete with colorful characters such as Scott “The One” Brown and Half-Governor Sarah “You Betcha” Palin. Consumers also are encouraged to think of themselves as being somehow ideologically related to the patriots of the original American “Tea Party,” even though there is no actual resemblance between the issues then and the fictional issues in the FOX programming.

    What interesting times we live in!

  121. filistro says:

    Selective memory is such a fascinating thing. All the giggles back in the early days were about how deliciously, ironically funny it was that uptight, sexually-repressed wingers chose to call themselves a term already being used in a whole different way by extremely sexually UN-repressed teenagers. Now they pretend the term was first applied to them by others, when anybody with a google can instantly prove otherwise.

    It almost makes me wish we hadn’t taken the pledge not to use the teabag term. They hardly deserve the courtesy, especially when they still insist on saying “Democrat Party.” But we on the left will keep being decent and considerate regardless of the response, because…. that’s just how we roll. :-)

  122. filistro says:

    It’s amazing how tone-deaf wingers are to popular culture. They just have no feeling for what’s hilariously funny, even when it comes out of their very own mouths.

    Remember Alan West, the new Teaper congressman from Florida… the one who wanted to hire a as his chief of staff a woman who says all illegal immigrants found guilty of crimes should be hanged and their bodies shipped home C.O.D…. and if “ballots don’t work, bullets will”.. ?

    Well that guy was on Meet the Press yesterday, and criticized govt. security apparatus for the reaction to draconian pat-downs at airports. He suggested the admin. were at fault because “before they started this new policy, they should have put out some feelers.”

    Oh dear. What a bunch. They’re really FUN, aren’t they? ;-)

  123. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro

    What I don’t know, however, is if this specific bit of selective amnesia has lodged itself only in the wingers who frequent this site. Do the Freepers also exhibit this particular ailment?

  124. filistro says:

    One more comment… this is for Bart, and about the Tea Party and the partisan divide. It’s anecdotal but very revealing, I think.

    I am registered at a website for writers where they chat about everything including politics. One of the regulars is a scriptwriter whose work has appeared on numerous major sitcoms. He lives in a Denver suburb and is a real romantic, patriotic, “old days of glory” kind of guy. He describes himself as a lifelong conservative Democrat. I’ve never met him in person but I have warm feelings for the guy, he’s so sincere.

    For some time he’s been fascinated with the Tea Party as a grass-roots, all-American, revolutionary movement, and some months ago in his wealthy, semi-retired state he decided to join up and see what he could do to help.

    He just posted this morning that in recent months he’s visited every Tea Party group within a couple hundred miles and the search has been very discouraging. He’s gone to various meetings and feels very lonely, says there are no other “thoughtful conservative Democrats” anywhere in the movement. They are all what he describes as “Sarah Palin Republicans” and so “socially conservative, hate-filled and intolerant” that he feels uncomfortable and embarrassed to be seen at the meetings.

    His disillusionment and disappointment are really quite painful to witness.

    As I said, merely anecdotal.. but telling nevertheless.

  125. filistro says:

    @DC.. What I don’t know, however, is if this specific bit of selective amnesia has lodged itself only in the wingers who frequent this site. Do the Freepers also exhibit this particular ailment?

    There have been at least a million threads at FR (okay, probably no more than a few hundred thousand ;-) explaining to the “fact-free liberals” exactly how this controversy evolved.

    What REALLY happened was, the Tea Party began happily using tea bags as a clean, tidy, visually effective symbol of its new movement, whereupon Anderson Cooper and Janene Garofolo, both “truly evil homosexuals” and part of the “vicious homosexual agenda” began calling the Tea Party activists “teabaggers”, knowing full well (because of their own perverted lifestyles) what an ugly, sexually obscene term this was.

    In response the Freepers (who take an inordinate pleasure in discussing all aspects of this controversy… you could say they get all wee-wee’d up at the very idea of T-bagging) … launched a fairly successful campaign to respond by calling all anti-Tea Party liberals (redacted) .. a word I had actually never heard in my life, but the Freepers are extremely fond of.

    Since they began their campaign, I notice the word has popped up in posts by wingers both at the old 538 and more recently here at this site as well.

    Note: I edited my own post to take out the actual word, since it’s really pretty ugly.. even if the Freepers DO like it a lot.

  126. GROG says:

    Yes fili, and Mr. Universe is going to post a video any minute now proving that rightwinger were the first to use the term “teabagger”.

  127. GROG says:

    These discussions are becoming downright absurd.

  128. dcpetterson says:

    Thanks, filistro. Most informative.

    It is nice when you can retroactively create history, no?

    We have always been at war with Eastasia…

  129. GROG says:

    And any minute now Monotreme, DC, and Realist are going to provide proof that rightwingers used the term “teabagger” before Janeane Galofalo did.

    @fili,

    You really need to venture outside your comfort zone of Freeperville for your all your information regarding the opinions of conservatives. Get out and meet some real people and shake some hands and get to know them instead of hiding behind far right wing websites. I would bet 99% of conservatives have no idea what Free Republic is. There is life outside of the internet.

  130. Bart DePalma says:

    drfunguy:

    drfunguy says:

    I did a simple search on Tea Part and tax day protests between march 15 and May 15, 2009 in a few so-called liberal newspaper sites and found the
    Washington post had five articles; NYTimes had 4; LATimes had 1; Boston Globe had 2. Thats 12 already so I stopped…

    I do not have time to duplicate your searches, but the NYT had one published article (not blog) on the 4/15/09 Tax Day Tea Parties using your search parameters:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/us/politics/16taxday.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=tea%20party%20tax%20day%20demonstrations&st=Search

    BTW, I do need to clarify my statement. I was referring to the national Dem media coverage of the Tea Party. You can find brief articles in local papers across the country discussing a small portion of the over 800 local Tax Day Tea Party demonstrations. Nate used these to try to come up with a count at 538.com, an article which I uses as a source.

  131. filistro says:

    @GROG… You really need to venture outside your comfort zone of Freeperville for your all your information regarding the opinions of conservatives. Get out and meet some real people and shake some hands and get to know them instead of hiding behind far right wing websites.

    People keep saying this to me, and I have no idea why. I’ve never claimed the Freepers are representative of all conservatives. I know they’re extreme, that’s why I spend so much time with them. I’m researching the attitudes, psychology, background and evolution of social conservatives, and their impact on the American political process. If you can point me to a more target-rich site for that research, I’ll happily sign on.

    Meantime it’s like telling Jane Goodall to ignore those messy chimps and study dogs or cats because they’re also furry mammals, and so much more plentiful.

  132. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, what do you classify as “national Dem media”? I can’t think of a single entity I’d call “national Dem media.”

  133. dcpetterson says:

    @GROG,

    For what date would you like proof of the right wing use of “teabagger”?

  134. dcpetterson says:

    Any minute now GROG will supply proof that Janeane Galofalo used the term “teabagger” to apply to right wing protesters before any of the right wing protesters (or any commentator on FOX “news”) used it to apply to right wing protesters. At the very least, he’ll supply documentation of the first date Janeane Galofalo ever used the term, so that GROG’s accusations can be examined for their credibility.

    Otherwise, any minute now GROG will admit it has been shown that many right wing protesters used the term to apply to themselves, and FOX “News” commentators used it to apply to right wing protesters, many times in the spring of 2009.

    Actually, any minute now GROG will continue to make a fool of himself.

  135. shortchain says:

    Any minute now Bart will clarify that, when he referred to “Dem media” what he meant was all the media that didn’t cover the early Tea Bag deliveries, thus ensuring he cannot be proven wrong. In a further demonstration of logic, he’ll point out that “circular reasoning” is just a derogatory left-wing term for “having no loose ends”.

    And any minute now GROG will shorten his argument to simply “huh?”

  136. shortchain says:

    ***WARNING*** — off-topic, contentious, and probably divisive, but I hear that the Tea Party caucus has shown its spine to the “elder statesmen” of the GOP in Congress.

    That is all. Now we can get back to the vital question of media coverage of the TP (or Tea Bag protests) of 18 months ago.

  137. Curb Stomp says:

    Wow. The liberals here are complete retards.

  138. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: “Bart, what do you classify as “national Dem media”? I can’t think of a single entity I’d call “national Dem media.””

    The national news media apart from Fox News, the Washington Times, the WSJ editorial page and a literal handful of regional papers.

    Check out any of the ongoing Pew surveys of reporters. The left dominates the news media in this country to the same extent the right dominates the military.

  139. Monotreme says:

    GROG, dearest, you need to go back and look at the link you provided.

    It’s from 2010, not 2009.

  140. filistro says:

    Teabag Timeline:

    *The first mention of a new “Tea Party” was in January of 2009
    *During February of 2009, various groups held “Tea Party protests” where they dumped teabags (as opposed to loose tea, which was expensive and messy) into various waterways and onto public areas.
    * In March of 2009, because the teabag dumping on public property was illegal and resulted in fines, people began wearing teabags on their hats and clothing at rallies and referring to themselves as “teabaggers.” Several FOX news hosts repeated this term during their heavy promotion of Tea Party events, but all video has now been scrubbed.
    * During March 2009 rallies we saw the infamous “Teabag the Liberal Dems” sign. Teabagging for Jesus signs were also popular.
    * In early April of 2009, liberal personalities like Rachel Maddow and Janene Garofolo began making jokes about the double entendre of “teabagging,” a term right-wingers were usign ot self-describe. Also early in April, Anderson Cooper said on air that “it’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.”
    * On April 15 2009, Ann Coulter wrote a scathing column about “liberal perverts” and their abuse of this innocent political term.

  141. dcpetterson says:

    Well, Bart, since we’ve already offered you extensive coverage of the Teapers from MSNBC throughout 2009 — presumably, you accept MSNBC as “Dem media” — clearly you’re wrong about any sort of “Dem media blackout.”

    But go on with your alternate reality. It must be a fun place to live.

  142. filistro says:

    From Jay Nordlinger, editor, National Review: The Rise of an Epithet.

    Key paragraph from article linked above:

    And, before you knew it, we had the “tea party” movement. What protesters were doing, of course, was invoking the spirit of the American Revolutionaries, and their Boston Tea Party. According to the website of the Tea Party Patriots, the movement is committed to three “core values”: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.

    The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.

    I have no doubt you are sexually hip, but just in case you’re not, please know that “teabag” has a particular meaning in certain circles.

    Can we now please all agree that conservatives started it… since they are on record, in print, ADMITTING THAT THEY DID?

  143. drfunguy says:

    Bart
    my nytimes search

    http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?frow=0&n=10&srcht=a&query=+%22tea+party%22+and+tax+day+protest&srchst=nyt&hdlquery=&bylquery=&daterange=period&mon1=03&day1=15&year1=2009&mon2=05&day2=15&year2=2009&submit.x=19&submit.y=14

    4 pieces turn up. One is an editorial, one is a NYTimes magazine piece.
    Note that I only searched at 4 large national so-called liberal outlets; I didn’t look at the Seattle Times, SF Chronical, SanJose Mercury News, or many other possibilities (or any non-print media). And I limited my search to 30 days before and after 15 April. Doubtless an expanded search would turn up more.
    If you continue to claim less than 10 national articles about tax day protests in other than Murdock or the Unification Church (WATimes) owned outlets then I won’t try to further convince you.

    Re. the “Dem media”, why are reporters more important than editors (mostly conservative) or more importantly owners (mostly conservative) in determining ‘bias’. Who do you actually think sets editorial policy?
    Hey, I’ve got an idea, maybe bias should be examined by numbers of conservative vs. liberal sources cited, appearances and minutes given to conservative vs. liberal spokespeople on sunday talk shows, column inches of coverage of various topics, or other actual, you know, actual measures of bias in the actual news. You may be surprised by how conservative the US media are when such objective measures are applied.

    Or have you considered that reality may have a liberal bias?

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