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May 24, 2009

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Spag

"The Democrats are talking about the issues, and the Republicans are talking about the Democrats."

Kind of like the last eight years when the Republicans were talking about the issues, and the Democrats were talking about George W. Bush.

Sorry Ed, but you engage in that which you decry in this column on a regular basis, and as a result have no credibility arguing against the "team sport" view of politics in my opinion. You are clearly on one team and can't stop taking jabs at conservatives or Republican's almost daily even if you don't mention them by name.

One also need look no further than how conservatives are routinely treated on your blog to see the full effect of team sport tactics in action. Who you choose to censor and chastise for their behavior around here is also quite telling. And did you forget where your sarcasm and snark is always directed? In the team sport atmosphere of this blog, this is the equivalent of the obnoxious sports fan. In other words, you are a Cameron Crazy without the stupid blue striped shirt. (I realize "them's fighting words").

Folks, this is why hypocrisy and the credibility of people ALWAYS matters.

As for Obama, he pays lip service to opposing viewpoints- and then turns around and trashes them as he did this past week when he called for reconciliation and then proceeded to point fingers. But I suppose there are those out there who can can't see that "Change We Can Believe In" is about style, not substance. Ed is apparently falling for it.

brandonB

Spags way of finding common ground?

Fred Gregory

"But the same old shouting matches are not getting us anywhere"

Yeah and blaming Bush at everyturn for everything including swine flu, is helpful?

Like this no class cheap shot.


Obama takes swipe at Bush in Memorial Day message

Speaking of our military men and women the President said:

'And yet, all too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility. We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve. That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear – and all who have worn – the proud uniform of our country.'

It might have been superior for the president to have offered only a patriotic message and a word of thanks and remembrance for the fallen soldiers, but that's debatable.
What seems wholly out of place, though, is the president's swipe at his predecessor, George W. Bush, and others.

The Memorial Day weekend message should have been an easy opportunity for the president to talk about the sacrifices and heroism of the current members of the military and how it is part of a 235-year tradition of gallantry and sacrifice. Someone in the White House press office NEEDS TO GET OFF THE POLITICAL GRIND.


Spag

Brandon, I don't pretend to be something I am not. I fully and freely admit to being a conservative and to taking a side consistent with that position.

Fred, the teleprompter can't help himself and if Ed wants to set his target on someone (other than himself), he can start with Obama who can't stop himself from bashing his predecessor and political opponents as you illustrate.

Chris

Spag -- nobody is accusing you of not being conservative -- but you are also displaying a trait most often associated with them -- "but what about what the DEMOCRATS did???" This type of response, to good-sense philosophical thought such as Ed displays, belongs on a playground with other 5-year-olds (e.g. "He started it!") and not when the subject on the table is common groud.

"...taking a side consistent with that position." What I think we are all being asked to do is come to the middle. If you can't or are not willing to do that, then keep your irrelevant and unhelpful comments to yourself.

David Wharton

OK, here's some common ground between us: I agree we should try to find common ground, work to repress our tribal impulse to demonize enemies, and focus on issues as far as possible.

More common ground: I agree that Rush is often guilty of whipping up partisan passions, tribalizing his audience, and unfairly demeaning the motives of his partisan opponents. (I also think he provides original insights and analysis on issues that can't be found elsewhere, and is worth listening to for that reason.)

That said, I think your column shows how much you see things through azure-tinted glasses. Its rhetoric was obviously framed so that the Republicans seemed guiltier of partisan overzealousness than Democrats.

Here's my evidence.

(1) You provide NO example of partisan sins from the blue side of the divide, thought plenty are to be had. If you're going to single out Rush, why not also -- in the interests of post-partisanship -- go after Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow? You don't even acknowledge the existence of leftist partisan commentators. Do they not seem partisan to you? (See Glasses, Azure-Tinted.)

(2) The evidence you cite to support the statment, "The Democrats are talking about the issues, and the Republicans are talking about the Democrats," simply does not support it. If you go to the site that Under the Dome used to get its information, you find that Virginia Foxx, and Virginia Foxx alone, used the word "democrats" frequently. NONE of the other Republicans did so. (Yes, I went through each entry and checked. Did you?)

So you illegitimately used the Foxx brush to tar the rest of the Republican delegation in order to make the kind of unfair generalization that you frequently decry on this blog, and which is the specific topic of this column. (None of which is to deny the fact that Virginia Foxx is a dimwitted twit.)

Post-partisanship entails not only nice words saying that we should be more post-partisan, but also real concessions and compromises. Personal gestures, such as sometimes saying "You know, you're right. I was wrong to say that, and I could have framed the argument in a less partisan way," can often go along way toward bridging the partisan divide.

See, now I've made two post-partisan concessions: namely, that Rush is often unfair in his commentary, and that Virginia Foxx is a twit.

The ball's in your court.

keith

here is the link if anyone wants to see the sunlight foundation site called Capitol Words,

SUNLIGHTFOUNDATION

Spag

Chris, read what Ed wrote again carefully. Why is it do you think that Ed chose to ignore the past eight years of constant attacks on Bush and why is he ignoring the current relentless attacks on Republicans by Obama? Because Ed is guilty of exactly that which he writes about. In fact, that is his most annoying trait- his refusal to acknowledge that he is also a political actor with an agenda who takes sides just as often as anyone else.

He chose to make an example of one side of the debate, while ignoring the same sins by the side he affiliates with and in the process does exactly what you accuse me of here by implicitly declaring "it's that side that is the problem". The article itself is taking a side and pointing fingers.

You can call his words in the N&R "good sense philosophical thought" but his actions on this blog are very frequently in conflict with those words. I just wish he would admit it. He is nowhere near as objective as he claims to be and is just as guilty of the partisanship he assigns to others.

Fred Gregory

Spag,

Just one more recent illustration of Obama being not so post-partisan, which is ignored by the "why can't we all just get along ? " crowd.

President Above-It-All

"Excoriating Bush is good politics for Obama, which is what makes his repeated exhortations to look ahead so disingenuous. In his speech, he rued that 'we have a return of the politicization of these issues.' In other words: Dick Cheney, please shut up. But when did the politicization of these issues end? Has the Left ever stopped braying about Bush’s war crimes?

Obama bracingly politicized these very issues on the stump, staking out unsustainably purist positions because they suited his momentary political interest. Now that’s he’s president, he wants the debate to end. He’s above the grubbily disputatious culture of partisans and journalists. And he’s above contradiction because, as ever, he occupies the middle ground, one 'obscured by two opposite and absolutist' sides: those who recognize no terrorist threat and those who recognize no limits to executive power.

And there Obama stands, bravely holding his flanks against straw men on all sides."


Bubba

"What I think we are all being asked to do is come to the middle."

Been there, done that.

"To the middle" always means "to the left of center".

Ed Cone

I'm not asking people to come to the middle.

I'm simply saying it would be better -- and more productive -- if we did not dehumanize people with whom we might disagree on political issues.

OK, imho: "Obama's handling of the auto industry is unwise and I oppose it."

Not good: "Anyone who supports Obama is an America-hating stooge."

OK: "Abortion should be illegal, and people who think it should be legal are on the wrong side of a profound moral issue."

Not good: "People who support legal abortion are immoral."

OK: "GW Bush made a terrible mistake by invading Iraq."

Not good: "Bush supporters are a bunch of mindless militarists."

Etc.

Fred Gregory

Not good ??:
Dick Cheney

Andrew

Did anyone else giggle when Fred cited a National Review article to prove that President Obama has been partisan?

The National Review after all bills itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for Republican/conservative news, commentary, and opinion."

Something about pots and kettles comes to mind.

newtogso

What I know is that I never stop before I press send on a post wondering which side I'm o (liberal/conservative/independent/green/right/left/dem/rep/libertarian, etc.), but that won't stop anyone from pinning a label on it anyways. Anyone else ever get this feeling? Before you post on here do you run it through one of the above filters? Labels are too easy of a way to shortchange what could be an effective debate/conversation...they always redirect once introduced.

Spag

Gee, no tilt in that list Ed. How about "anyone who opposes Obama is a mindless, racist neanderthal." Or "Rush Limbaugh wants Obama's agenda to fail, so he wants America to fail". Or "those Christians are just a bunch of intolerant bigots for not supporting gay marriage".

You also fail to address at all Mr. Obama's demonizing and finger pointing even as you cite him as an example of "post partisanship" and reasonable disagreement.

A lot of people might support your premise, but you chose some horrible and biased examples (that completely undermine your point) to illustrate it. Further, your own track record isn't so good in this area either. Writing a piece about not pointing your fingers at people and not demonizing them while pretty much doing exactly that within the piece itself is going to draw criticism. You aren't alone though, because Obama has been doing similar things a lot lately.

I hope the Right does treat Obama better than the Left treated Bush. But what I am hearing is a call for unilateral disarmament. I.E., "now that we've had our eight years of trashing Bush, let's call for civility in public discourse- even as we continue to trash the Right and all that it stands for- because hey, we earned it. We won".

Fred Gregory

Drew Who,

Don't forget to vote in the poll. ( link above in my previous comment ) Daily Kos is an organ of vile hate filled diaries unlike NR which has been around for over 50 years with the calm and savy commentary of conservative intellects.

Steve Harrison

Apples and oranges, Fred.

Dkos is a wide-open forum. Anybody can post blogs and/or comments there, and it takes a lot of complaints from members to get someone banned.

National Review has a staff of writers, even on their blog. And unless I missed something, regular readers can't even post comments.

Ed Cone

Again, I'm not saying people should not hold political viewpoints, or make political arguments, or be critical of policies.

So pointing out my political viewpoints, real or imagined, is not relevant to the point of the column.

I am arguing against blanket condemnations and easy dismissals based on group allegiance, real or imagined.

So saying "liberals do the thing you are criticizing" is part of the thing I am criticizing, as would be liberals doing it.

It's really not that complicated, folks.

Brad Krantz

It's NOT that complicated, Ed, if you would simply admit to the following facts...and they ARE facts, cause I heard 'em on TalkRadio:

Abortion is murder, as is the mere advocacy of the RIGHT for a woman to choose to have an abortion.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research funded by taxpayers is capital punishment of the unborn.

Obama may not be a legitimate president since I have not seen his birth certificate.

Obama hates Israel and the Jews and is using willing dupe Rahm Emanuel, his Chief of Staff, as a cover. Emanuel is an Orthodox Jew who was a civilian volunteer in the Israeli Defense Force.

Obama hates the military, has dismantled our defenses and can't wait to release as many Gitmo prisoners as he can to help spread terrorism and fear throughout the Homeland.

Obama's Neo-Fascist takeover of American Free Enterprise knows no limit. His goal is to run all the banks, auto companies, and Wall Street itself, as he seizes the means of production, like a good Commie would. His longer-term plans include repealing the Constitution unilaterally and becoming President For Life, like his heroes Chavez and Fidel.

Waterboarding is not torture; it is "enhanced interrogation"

Driving 105 in a 65 is not speeding; it is "enhanced transportation"
____________________________________________________

It's a start, Ed, if you really meant what you said. If not, then you've exhibited a typical liberal double standard.

Beelzebubba

If war is the health of the state, then discord is the pulse. Conflict, whether real or imagined, is the respiration. If a country like the US can arm both sides in a conflict and coerce each side to battle each other to extinction, how much more efficient can they be when the citizens are armed only with a remote control, a mortgage and a certificate validating their attendance at an institution subsidized by the state.

Obama has kept his promise and changed...into Dick Cheney. Few of the moderate socialist conservatives are appeased with this transformation. Cheney pretends to skewer Obama as he continues Bush policies. For this to continue, the state needs only a simple majority to live in fear of one or the other. Then, the metaphysical state can be legitimized. To remain legitimate, it must only convince the same herd that it holds the power to create harmony from conflict, peace in our time, healthcare for everyone and a free and democratic whatever. Tort reform, tax reform, ponzi reform, healthcare reform and Gitmo/torture reform provide rhetoric for the skittish swarm to be for or against.

The dynamics of modern American politics contain the discourse of Hobbs and Machiavelli. Making the herd aware of words of the twits and troupers who they have fastened their ego to do nothing to foster transparency. Those words simply feed the political machine which thrives on the conflicts which already exist inside the herd members.

Spag

"So pointing out my political viewpoints, real or imagined, is not relevant to the point of the column."

It is relevant Ed because you are asking people to do something you don't do yourself, and in fact do in the very column at issue.

And your viewpoints are pretty clear, nobody is imagining anything.

Krantz misses the point completely. I noticed how he too forgot to mention how Obama calls for reconciliation even as he bashes his predecessor and his opponents in the same speech. Further those "talk radio" listeners also listen to his show, so I don't know why he feels compelled to insult them as mindless drones. I also don't know where he gets his data, because I don't know anyone who is making the strawman arguments he lists except for maybe the abortion one which if you read what Brad wrote, it makes logical sense which I'm sure is not what he intended. ("X is murder. If you support allowing people to choose to commit X with immunity, then you are legalizing murder"). That's logically correct, but nobody is allowed to believe abortion is murder or they are Right Wing Christian wackos (forget the number of non-Christians who also don't support abortion) out to trample rights. So when you call for a civil dialogue, you have to also do away with the kind of demonizing that Brad just engaged in.

It also doesn't escape me that Brad also pulls an Ed Cone- providing a list of alleged Right Wing transgressions while ignoring the Left. I suppose that really is the point of Ed's article in the first place- the Right is wrong on everything so why don't they shut up unless they come around to our view otherwise their view points are inherently nasty because they are wrong. All in the same article urging people to stop pointing fingers.

Maybe I should provide a list of my own like "Sarah Palin should have said that Bristol getting pregnant was a terrible thing, everyone was upset about it, and they hope the baby grows up knowing she wasn't wanted and was an embarrassment to the family and we have the news tapes to remind her in case she doesn't, otherwise Palin is just a terrible, lying, hypocrite because it's all her fault that her daughter got pregnant because Palin was so stupid that she thought telling her daughter to not have sex was actually good advice." Translation: If you don't agree with my views on sex education, you are a moron.

Or "I wanted George W. Bush's policies to fail, and that is okay. It is my patriotic duty to oppose the President when I think he's wrong. But if you want Obama to fail, you hate America and you want America to fail."

Or "The free market has been an utter failure, and only greedy conservatives still believe in that ridiculous tired theme anymore."

Or "If you don't support gay marriage, then you hate people."

Or "A vote for John McCain was a "code word" for "I hate black people".

Or "Going to a tea party protest is simply another way of saying "I am a racist".

Or "If you don't support Obama's tax policies, then you are selfish and greedy".

Or "If you don't support allowing illegal immigrants to attend college here or support programs that deport criminals, you are a racist".

Or "If you don't think waterboarding is torture, you are an idiot."

Or "If you support waterboarding to gain information from terrorists, then you don't support the Constitution".

The list goes on, and that is before I really go back and visit the nastiness during the Bush years.

It appears to me that Ed's gamble is that the people who read the paper won't read this blog so they won't see him not practicing what he preaches on a regular basis, and maybe Krantz hopes that not enough people who listen to his show will see his comments here so they won't laugh out loud the next time he goes on about how reasonable and balanced his show is. But hey, I'm open minded because I still read Ed and I still listen to Brad. Maybe I should blame the liberal media and the evil talk radio for only giving me one perspective.

Fred Gregory

Spag,

Nice job. BK last seen headed for Cone ER.

Ed Cone

I think I'm pretty consistent about not making blanket statements demeaning groups of people, both here and in my column.

That's because I actually believe what I say about doing so being problematic.

Thus I am not prone to saying things like, "Fred and Sam fail to understand the simple concepts here because they are conservatives," when "Fred and Sam fail to understand the simple concepts here" is the point I wish to make.

Spag

Your article wasn't about "groups of people" in the literal sense as far as I can tell. It was about demonizing people with opposing ideas and the only examples you could find were of people with conservative ideas ostensibly demonizing people with less conservative ideas. Your careful selection of examples was nothing more than a form of the very same demonizing.

This pattern repeats itself on this blog, often in more explicit ways, such as when you allow ideologically aligned commenters to call non-ideologically aligned commenters every name in the book and engage in the same demonization with nary a word, but when it happens the other way around, you are usually quick to judge. Again, team sport at play.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Fred Gregory

Spag,

No correction necessary. You nailed it just as did Dr. Sanity with great chart:

THE POLIITICAL LEFT: UNITED IN HATE WITH AMERICA'S FOES

And guest update from michele Malkin:

"Welcome to civility and tolerance in the age of Obama." If the people coming here to comment from leftist sites like Firedogpuddle (I refuse to call them a lake, they are too shallow) exhibit any degree of "civility" or "tolerance", it is only because they probably remembered to take their medication today. I suspect most days they forget since being in touch with reality is such a painful experience for them. Funny isn't it how angry and intolerant they were when they were out of power; and now that they control the White House, Congress, and most of the MSM, they are still enraged.

Lex

[['And yet, all too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility. We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve. That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear – and all who have worn – the proud uniform of our country.']]

This isn't necessarily Bush-bashing. The VA's disability compensation-and-pension program has been farked up for decades, under administrations of both parties.

Fred Gregory

Barack Obama ran against McCain by bashing Bush. This meme is wearing thin. He has attacked President the former President ( not Grant, Lex )in every major speech since he took office, REALLY !!. The campaign is over. He got the job now it is time to take responsibility. But he may have some mental block against that.

Nice try to excuse that no class jab but it was clear at who it was aimed.

At ease.

Spag

Encouraging your enemies by bashing the Commander in Chief during a time of war doesn't do soldiers any favors either, and that is a betrayal. Obama also voted against supplemental funding for the war that provided more equipment to the troops when he was in the Senate, but I guess he doesn't consider that "failing to give them the support they need".

It is becoming more clear that Obama is incapable of coherent thought. He simply contradicts himself too many times, and often in the same speech. Even the teleprompter (which is not that much smarter than Obama himself) can't save him.

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