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Whiners, Cry-Babies, and A Thought

The Houston Texans lost to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon. Of itself, that is hardly shocking; the Texans are still a young team, and even there they are rebuilding from the previous coach's bad decisions, while the Colts are one the NFL's strongest franchises, powerful every year. What disappointed me, however, was the way in which self-proclaimed fans in Houston immediately went on a temper tantrum after the game, demanding coaches be fired and players traded, out of some vague notion that these professionals were less competent to make the Texans a successful club than the emotionally unstable mob of malcontents who contend that rash and chaotic upheavels are the best way to reach the promised land of winning games, divisions, and eventually Super Bowls. Those who have actually studied those teams which reach and win the NFL's title game, note that the actual path to greatness is something a bit more rational and far less profanity-laced. Yet the screaming weenies persist, and their numbers are never small when their chosen team is anything less than perfect in results. Small spirits always harass the greater ones, it seems.

The same thing happens in Politics as in Sports. We see the candidates starting in on one another in a fairly juvenile manner of debate, but even more we see foul behavior and bitterness in the ranks of partisan snipers. I thought about posting some of the comments made on websites like Daily Kos and Polipundit, just to name two of the most rancid antagonists on each side. Now granted, from my conservative point-of-view it sure looks like the Left is far worse about this than the Right is, but every so often Ann Coulter writes something utterly cruel and heartless and she gets applause for it, or Michael Savage makes a baseless disparagement of a class of people and his callers call him brilliant for it. As for the Left, just look at Al Gore, Michael Moore, or Harry Reid. They are not only evil in their intent and thoroughly dishonest in their arguments, but also have propogated a cadre of like-minded minions who shout down all reasonable debate and discourse in the belief that only their side has the right to speak.

That's the thing, really. I have tried to have discussions on the most sensitive issues with people who disagree with me, both Conservatives and Liberals. More and more often, it is impossible to touch certain topics, even to find out the reasoning and evidence for why someone holds a certain position. Ask most Liberals what they would do about Al Qaeda, and you will get a sermon on the evils of President Bush, but never a serious, considered alternative to the War on Terror. When I tried to discuss the obstacles to resolving the Illegal Immigration crisis on the Polipundit site in 2006, the site owner began a series of tirades that led to him kicking off the other four writers, not for disagreeing with him but for not instantly agreeing to write only in support of his position and opinion. More and more, I realize that these are not outliers, but actually represent the present tone and mietre of the campaign. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not allowed by their 'base' to promise military support for America's allies, even where we have treaty obligations in place. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are not allowed by their 'base' to say that Roe v. Wade is not likely to ever directly be challenged in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during their lifetime, and so even if elected President they would never be in a position to "overturn Roe v. Wade". The issues which matter most are swallowed into the gaping maws of popular expectancy. I would even dare to say that this, more than anything else, is what is killing excitement for the 2008 election. I said before that the GOP would miss Dubya, and the fact is that none of the present crowd of candidates rises to his level. Given that fact, if any of the present Republicans were to try to compare themselves to Reagan, the resulting laughter from the absurd attempt would drive them from the field. As for the Democrats, we are bereft of a substantive explanation of their planned policies from any of them - the Bush-hate demands that all speeches focus, indeed obsess, with the current President, even though he will be a private citizen after this next election.

The Blogosphere carries its share of the blame for this corrosive atmosphere, though most of it still rests with old-guard mandarins in the MSM who bitterly resent the fall of Soviet-style socialism and the Fairness Doctrine. But unlike the NYT, LAT, and their devolutionary progeny, the Blogosphere can also be a source of solutions for this problem. It's a bit early for New Year's Resolutions, maybe, but even so one cannot help but wonder what it would be like if the Blogosphere worked to calm tensions, not play on them, to suggest specific solutions and debate the pros and cons openly and honestly, rather than simply trashing the other side. What if Democrats could accept that George W. Bush did a pretty good job? What if Republicans could accept that the public saw something they liked in the Democrats in 2006? What if we argued the issues and the proposals to solve crisis, rather than created lists of remembered slights and offenses? What if we were less like The Sopranos, and more like real adults?

Hey, it's Christmas Eve, and just maybe now is a good time for a spirit of renewed hope and optimism. What do you think?


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Comments (16)

DJ - Sadly, our societal ca... (Below threshold)
BPG:

DJ - Sadly, our societal case of arrested development will probably not allow any kind of reasoned argument to happen. It's a shame that politicians cannot simply talk about what they will do without worrying about "the base". I would think it's like life itself - if what you say is accepted by other people, then they will associate with (or vote for) you. If what you say is not accepted, then you're on your own.

I don't care which party a particular candidate belongs to - if they speak to me, then they do. If they do not, they do not and I don't vote for them. In my case, being under 35 and gainfully employed, no politician has much to say to me. :)

DJ: A tad too pessimistic. ... (Below threshold)

DJ: A tad too pessimistic. Just as Pauline Kael was out of touch due to her circle not having any Nixon fans, when you hang out with the lunatic fringe, all you're going to see is fringe.

Trust me, there are an awful lot of people who disagree with the tactics and rhetoric of both the right and the left. There are plenty of conservatives who won't vote solely on the basis of a candidate's views on Roe-v-Wade, and there are plenty on the left side who think the terrorists are a far bigger danger than is Bush.

Having said that, the mushy middle don't vote, and for that matter, don't care (primarily because they have real lives), as much as those who comprise what you refer to as the 'base', so their views are lost/ignored at this point in the election cycle. But they do come out for the general election; their importance is illustrated by the need for the nominees to 'move to the middle'. You want a nicer tone to the campaign? Figure a way of getting the unengaged involved earlier in the process of choosing a candidate (and good luck at that).

And I wouldn't go as far as you do in assigning blame to the blogosphere, nor do I see it as being able to "calm tensions", as the blogosphere has (and will have) far less impact than they think and would like to have. Sure, they have their triumphs, but real influence isn't going to be had by a relative handful of pajamas-clad guys in their mother's basements reading the blogs written by other pajamas-clad guys typing away in their mother's basements. It can be a fun distraction, but it's not a real mover and shaker... and given that the political blogosphere is full of the ranting lunatics, that's probably a good thing.

Al Gore is "evil in his int... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Al Gore is "evil in his intent?" Please, do tell.

I suppose it could be more "rancid," but you don't do much service to your own argument when you fire off stuff like this.

jp2 - the fact that Algore ... (Below threshold)
Michael:

jp2 - the fact that Algore is enriching himself off his global warming scam seems evil to me.

I was born and raised in Ho... (Below threshold)
Bucky:

I was born and raised in Houston, I'll let you in on a little secret. The reason Houston had the first domed stadium, and contiues to have enclosed sports venues is; It's always fair weather in those stadiums. Perfect for fair weather fans. Remember this is the city that ran the Oilers out of town after making it into the playoffs several years in a row. Unfortunately, while most people do not act this way, niether do they stand up and call Bovine Scatology on the whiners, and crybabies. I see it as a nationwide problem, one which will come to a head soon enough. The vast majority of folks are begining to get a bit weary of all the boo-hoo-hooing.

to follow up my above post,... (Below threshold)

to follow up my above post, per Evan Thomas in Newsweek, the fire breathers make up only 20% of the population.

D.J.:<blockquo... (Below threshold)
langtry:

D.J.:

More and more, I realize that these are not outliers, but actually represent the present tone and mietre of the campaign. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not allowed by their 'base' to promise military support for America's allies, even where we have treaty obligations in place. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are not allowed by their 'base' to say that Roe v. Wade is not likely to ever directly be challenged in front of the U.S. Supreme Court during their lifetime, and so even if elected President they would never be in a position to "overturn Roe v. Wade". The issues which matter most are swallowed into the gaping maws of popular expectancy.
Truer words have not been written about the upcoming election. It despairs me that no one can talk to eachother anymore about these matters, and that the most doctrinaire among us are *moderating* the debate.
Absolutely hilarious. ... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

Absolutely hilarious.

Al Gore wrote a great book last year on exactly this topic, "Assault on Reason". It dissects America descent into "Idiocracy" and how the right disregards truth and reason for partisanship and theocracy.

DJ and Gore want the same thing for America but DJ calls Gore evil. For the hardcore authoritarian conservatives there is no "waking up".

Another good piece, DJ.... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Another good piece, DJ.

RE: "Hey, it's Christmas Eve, and just maybe now is a good time for a spirit of renewed hope and optimism. What do you think?"

Sadly, it isn't going to happen.

Both sides may bury the hatchet for the next day or so, but no one forgets where they buried the hatchet. (I just returned from a Christmas celebration at a friend's house, where President Bush was blamed for everything bad in the world - and I mean everything. It never stops. It's very sad.)

Have a nice Christmas, DJ.
We've enjoyed your writing.

Take care.

dr lava ~ Thanks for the ol... (Below threshold)

dr lava ~ Thanks for the olive branch there, asshole.

Of course, people have been complaining about the "tone" of political discourse for a long time, but today's rhetoric, as impassioned and hyperbolic as it often gets, pales in comparison to past campaigns. For instance, the first two contested Presidential elections between John Adams and Jefferson would make the "dirtiest" of today's campaigns look tame, as would the 1824 and 1828 elections. Today, we consider it "negative" or "attacking" to mention an opponent's record or prior statements.

As Jack Lambert said when the NFL changed the rules to protect quarterbacks from injury, "Maybe quarterbacks should just wear skirts." Historically speaking, the level of discourse today is mild.

And how are we to have a calm and rational discussion on issues when we cannot even agree on the premises in the first place? How do you reach a consensus on a foreign policy, for example, when one side believes America is the cause of much or most of the world's troubles? It is as if we don't even speak the same language.

Inconceivable! <br... (Below threshold)
Vizzini:

Inconceivable!


[sorry for the repetition, but it fits too well]

dr lava - "Al Gore wrot... (Below threshold)
marc:

dr lava - "Al Gore wrote a great book last year on exactly this topic, "Assault on Reason". It dissects America descent into "Idiocracy" and how the right disregards truth and reason for partisanship and theocracy."

You forgot to mention how The Goracle disregards the truth while making millions with his carbon credit scam.

Gore's "Assault on Reason" ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Gore's "Assault on Reason" was aptly titled, but not about his enemies but how Gore himself assaults reason in the book.

Merry Christmas, DJ, I hope... (Below threshold)

Merry Christmas, DJ, I hope your health problems are improving and that your Christmas is joyful. Thanks so much for your kind words here at WIZBANG after the death of both of my parents earlier this year. I deeply appreciated your kind words as well as the kind sentiments of others. The very best to you on this greatest of all holidays.

Political differences of others should never be any more important than what church one decides to attend. And differences in others is what makes us all unique and different than one another. Unique creations of God.

"Hey, it's Christmas Eve... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"Hey, it's Christmas Eve, and just maybe now is a good time for a spirit of renewed hope and optimism. What do you think?

Yes, most definitely. Now, and going forward.

Has it dawned on anyone ... (Below threshold)
Myron:

Has it dawned on anyone else that people only believe what they decide to believe? Facts or truth or evidence seldom has anything to do with their beliefs. Also, there is such distortion in the sources of information that it is impossible to know for sure what is truth.
The only source I have found of pure truth is the Bible. I know, now you think I'm a religious nut, but you're not the first nor the last.
In all the debates on the blogosphere, it is more about emotions and "sticking up for my team" than it is about finding truth. It is the same on both sides, though my general impression is that the liberal side is more wacky and is more likely to believe in the absurd.
If you don't want to be convinced, nothing I or anyone can say will make you change your mind about an issue. If it were a question about iron sharpening iron, then debate would be good, but it is usually more a issue of mud-slinging (to use nice words)than of anything constructive.




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