Sunday, August 10, 2008

Defining the Worst as the Norm

Today’s question is: What is the cheapest trick in the right-wing blogosphere?

I know...where do you start? Is it the constant repetition of GOP talking-points designed to ridicule Democrats who might dare to wear scarves in Muslim countries or claim the very real benefits of proper tire inflation? Is it the citation to and propping-up of conservative columnists and "think"-tank "thinkers" like Bill Kristol and John Bolton, who have been dreadfully wrong about everything – not least the Stupid War in Iraq – as authorities on anything? Is it hacks like Charlie Sykes running whole memos from Scott Walker and David Clarke, as if these self-serving politicians have anything interesting to say?

No. The cheapest trick used by right-wing bloggers is to try to demonize and misrepresent the left by seeking out offensive comments, usually made deep in obscure comment threads, often anonymous, and to try to present the comments as mainstream lefty thought. It’s a sneaky kind of subterfuge, a smear within a lie; especially when the anonymous comments may have been posted by right-wingers pretending to be lefties so they can "find" the comments later and use them to dishonestly beat us over the head.

A primary purveyor of this sort of sleazy maneuver in the Cheddarsphere is John McAdams, who is apparently is some kind of professor to various unfortunate students at Marquette University. McAdams blathers on about all kinds of issues, real and imagined, within the Marquette community (keeping an eye on a fellow Marquette lecturer with impure thoughts here, trying to brow-beat the student press there) and among Catholics (those who dare to stray from his wing-nut evangelical Catholic orthodoxy get a spanking, although, alas, the beyond-sanctimonious McAdams has not gone through the trouble to get himself ordained).

In the last couple of months, McAdams has exploited the deaths and illnesses of various right-wingers by pointing to their alleged vilification in the comment sections of left-wing sites. Citing selective comments on Democratic Underground and Daily Kos, McAdams declared after the death of right-wing commentator and former WH press secretary Tony Snow that the entire left is "so shameless in their hate. They think their views are the only decent ones, and therefore all who oppose them deserve to be hated. They are, in other words, proud of their hatred." "Hate" is the key word here, in case you missed his point.

In fact, except for those who knew him inside the Beltway, who had nothing but nice things to say, Snow's unfortunate early death was greeted with, at most, indifference in the mainstream left. For what it's worth, I thought his appointment as press secretary set a bad precedent by lending undue credibility to a certified radio wing-nut - who's next, Sean Hannity? I also thought his smug. condescending attitude at the podium should have earned a bit more blow-back from the pitifully cowed MSM correspondents. On the other hand, the guy didn't deserve to die young, fer cryin' out loud. And nobody with a legitimate lefty web presence said otherwise.

But lefties behaving well does not fit in McAdams preordained construct, so he digs deep to make stuff up. Defining the worst as the norm, he decides the left reacted "with all the venom one might expect". Well, what one of him might expect, maybe, especially when he is trying to separate normal Americans from center-to-left flirtation by creating non-existent boogiemen.

Oh, and as if you needed help on that point, McAdams is shocked to find out that liberal bloggers are more "profane" than otherwise merely offensive conservative bloggers. "The kind of vulgarity used on leftist blogs betrays a fundamental contempt for the sensibilities of others," he declares. Well, I don't use much profanity on my blog myself, but several come to mind about elitist snobs like McAdams with the kind of contempt for the intelligence of others he displays on a regular basis. That's much more offensive, I think.

Gathering ideas and links from Wing-Nut Central and googling feverishly, McAdams also finds shame in the reaction of some Brits to the anticipated demise of Margaret Thatcher. I don't know what this has to do with anything in this country, but, you know, to blind squirrels like McAdams, a lefty is a lefty is a lefty. Elvis Costello had the best take on Thatcher almost 20 years ago: When England was the whore of the world/Margaret was her madam. She was perfectly healthy then, although he did promise to "Tramp the Dirt Down" after she was gone. I think people in other countries can own their own contempt for their criminal leaders without suffering input from our fifth-rate commentators. We'll have our own celebration of Dick Cheney's passing soon enough.

Republican flack Brian Fraley also checked in last week with his typically-unoriginal contribution to the smearing of the left by digging deep to find anonymous people on lefty sites kicking Bob Novak while he's down with inoperable cancer. The guy at Texas Hold 'Em Blogger, who likes to play racist games with Obama by calling him the Chocolate Jesus (yeah, I know Harris does it - that's no excuse), decided to poke around on Obama's official website and found anti-Semitic contents. "Birds of a feather flock together," he concludes.

Several obvious points should be made here. First of all, it is entirely possible and maybe even likely that the commenters posting on these lefty sites are about as left-wing as Tom Delay. These are anonymous postings, for the most part, easily left by nut-right interlopers who then "find" them later and send the links around to the needy community of giggling fellow travelers. They read as authentic as those supposedly "liberal" callers on wing-nut radio shows whose convictions crumble under the weight of the host's genius.

Secondly, whatever is on lefty sites that represents the opinions of actual people who think they are being supportive of Obama or left causes, those comments pale in comparison to the vitriol that boils under and on the surface of nut-right sites all over the net. Just one visit to the Free Republic site will expose all manner of the language of bad intent for Tim Russert, Ted Kennedy and any other dead or injured non-right-winger. All of this blather from these sad bastards means absolutely nothing in terms of what passes for mainstream right-wing "thought", and I would never pretend it did.

The right's constant attempt to smear the mainstream left with our anonymous alleged fringe proves nothing but their deep insecurity with their ability to fight us on our real issues. Wrong as they can be, they continue to grasp at straws that don't exist, under pretenses that are as thin as the logic in their position papers.


Anonymous said...

Dear Anon:

I am a proud conservative and I think Mike is 100% wrong in almost everything he writes about. However, he has every right to his opinion and I respect his right to express it.

I really find your post really offensive, and on the border of libelous (I am not an attorney, so maybe it is not technically so).

I have no idea about Mike's personal or professional life and I really do not think slinging personal attacks is relevant, constructive or in good taste. We conservatives are bigger than this and must not resort to this type of action. This type of behavior just reinforces Mike's premise that conservatives cannot argue the facts so they must resort to personal attacks. Which is usually a tactic of the left. I have yet to meet a lefty, who does not at some point in the conversation call me a name. I just laugh and know that I have just won the argument. However, I am smart enough to know that not all progressives (liberals) are like this.

I ask all my conservative friends to stop posts like this and to respond to Mike's misguided posts in a respectful way, even though he might not respond to you in kind.

Also if his posts get you so mad that you must resort to personal attacks, I would recommend that you do not visit his blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon- Thanks for proving Mike's point. You stay classy.

Mike Plaisted said...

I deleted his ass again. I understand there are ways to make these kinds of people disappear, comment-wise. Banning his IP or something? If anyone has any ideas, plese e-mail me.

I am trying not to get to the point where I have to moderate the posts. I want to keep the flow as immediate as possible. Anyway, thanks for the comments by conservatives who know how to discuss things. That's 99.999% of you.

Anonymous said...

Since when does incivility in the blogosphere have the slightest correlation to political leanings? Check out the comments to any article on any topic, and you're sure to find the most boorish, rude, and incredibly tasteless remarks; from advocating the wholesale slaughter of Muslims, inner city residents, or congressional Democrats, to wishing a horrible death to conservative Republicans, evangelicals, and oil executives...

To say nothing of what commenters wish upon each other!

Display Name said...

Over on the new The Right View Wisconsin, a Lake Country newspaper columnist describes how liberals are equivalent to terrorists, and how she'd like them all to go away and have everyone be just like her.

Anonymous said...

i remember when jeff wagner took a call from a 9/11 conspiracy nut and as soon as the call was over he said, "there is the voice of the anti-war movement." i wonder, if he ever took a call from someone who advocated violence against an abortion provider, whether he would say,"there is the voice of the pro-life movement?" wagner is also the one who called sen. feingold "baghdad russ," essentially calling him a traitor, and who went on to honor oliver north by introducing him at a boy scout function.

Tom McMahon said...

Whatever you're looking for, that's what you'll find.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard a conservative or anyone else call a talk show and advocate violence toward an abortion clinic. The violence that goes on at abortion clinics is done by liberals and abortionists.
Thousands of times per day.
Why do you liberals find yourselves in need of abortionists?
I think we all know the answer.
Immorality. Libs know only one form of morality. Taxation.
Soothing the lib conscience by spending others income.
In fact Planned Parenthood a.k.a. The DEATH HUT, will recieve $350,000,000.00 in tax money this year. But to libs that is ok.....because.....
It's for the children.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess if Gus has never heard it, then it must never have happened.

Case closed.


Display Name said...

I agree with you more often than you might imagine, Mr. McMahon. On the other hand, I've been looking for a blog that doesn't regard non-conservatives or half-conservatives as "the enemy," immediately conflating all that is evil and unholy with all those who are not exactly like them. One that's not afraid to use big words, classical allusions and proper spelling, and encourage the same among its visitors. One where you might have a good conversation, where you'd look forward to visiting because you'd find something truly interesting. Some place with a healthy skepticism of both left and right, a respect for science and intellectualism. A place you'd call "civil." Instead, I have not been looking for right-wing loons eager to call me names before I've even sat down, so to speak, but I do find a lot of them. I blame the Greater Internet F*ckwad Theory.

AnotherTosaVoter said...


Since it's apparent you're not going to answer my questions in the principles thread, perhaps you'll answer this one:

How are you any different? Don't you pretty much define the right by what you hear from the "wing nuts" on the radio?


You're right. Unfortunately hacks on both the left and right will use the tactics of the other to justify their own, because we all know the actions of others define what's ethical.