Now it’s gone too far

I can’t take ManziGate anymore. I just caught myself nodding along with Marc Ambinder, something I promised myself I would never do:

Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow’s grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann’s hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald’s criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn’s keepin’-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.

I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don’t exist — serious Republicans — but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.

Ambinder is one of the voices of Official Washington (he co-wrote The Note for years). So it’s pretty shocking to hear this from him. But he’s completely correct — I read lots of compelling criticism of Obama from the left and literally none only Daniel Larison from the right.






97 replies
  1. 1
    Cervantes says:

    Can anyone deny … ?

    Of course they can, silly.

  2. 2
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    I’ve actually found Ambinder’s commentary less obnoxious lately. I wonder if it has something to do with his other life changes.

  3. 3
    geg6 says:

    Yeah, much as it pains me to say it, I read this earlier (via Sully, damn him) and also found myself nodding. He’s absolutely right. The criticisms from the right have been so cartoonish and over the top that you really can’t take them seriously. So the only serious critics of Obama are those on the left (but not the Hamsherite left, mind you, who are just as nuts as Beckian right). I don’t always agree with all his left critics, but I’m glad they generally make serious arguments that take reality into account.

  4. 4
    Sue says:

    What’s really awful is that Dems only seem to pay attention to the crazy coming from the Right – why? Why are they listening to people who have indicated that they would never vote for a Dem anyway? Well-informed and angry doesn’t cut it; frothy-mouthed and angry gets the attention. Apparently a letter to your elected representative is only taken seriously if every other word is misspelled.

  5. 5
    HyperIon says:

    @Sue:

    Why are they listening to people who have indicated that they would never vote for a Dem anyway?

    The Repubs who would vote for a Dem make the sound of one hand clapping. How does one listen to that?

  6. 6
    Syphon says:

    The big difference between the right and left:
    During a Democratic Presidency, we get intelligent and constructive criticism from the same side as the administration

    During a Republican Presidency, we get blind and unquestioning devotion from the same side as the administration

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    Are you implying that Obama=Hitlerstalin does not constitute thoughtful critique of the President?

    Shame on you and your dhimmitude, too.

  8. 8
    qwerty42 says:

    @geg6: Jane’s (and others) anger was understandable to a degree, but her remedy was foolish. I appreciate the criticisms from the left have been (mostly) good; certainly the most trenchant. The right has been pretty much a cartoon of criticism (and endless fodder for Wonkette). Ambinder’s post was really on target, and kudos to Sanchez for starting this, though I doubt it will have any lasting effect.
    As for Manzi, I guess this is how it will end.

  9. 9
    Betsy says:

    Funny, I seem to remember you expressing a different sentiment long, long ago, yesterday.

    “The anti-Manzi jihad hasn’t spread as quickly through the wingosphere as I would have hoped”.

    Ask, and ye shall receive.

  10. 10
    Zam says:

    @Syphon: But all the republicans tell me they were outspoken critics of Bush so it must be true.

  11. 11
    Scott H says:

    but… earlier today I read skimmed a long discourse by Jonah G wherein he tried to determine what kind of socialist Mr Obama is. (neosocialist, I think is what he came up with)

    That’s just the sort of trenchant, insightful analysis that leads to better policy.

  12. 12
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    It’s an interesting question … which is more of a problem for progressives, for the cause?

    Crazy carping from the right, insane ObamaHitlerMuslimBirther crap, or sane but gratuitous and counterproductive carping from the left?

    Even useful or necessary carping from the left just adds to the noise level, so that it becomes harder and harder to tell the sane and useful noise from the stupid and useless noise.

    Isn’t this what drives down the approval numbers, emboldens the oppositionists and the contrarians, and encourages more of the crazies?

    There is a reason that the right works so hard to present a unified message and maintain discipline in public: It magnifies their effectiveness. It’s one reason, I think, why the right could maintain solidarity during the Bush years even in the face of tremendous criticism and repeated failures of policy. The left doesn’t have this unified message stream and appearance of solidarity. It appears weak and diffuse and disorganized.

    The people who can’t govern and don’t like government seem steady and on message, and the people who want government to succeed seem confused and in disarray.

    For my money, Dems just have to learn how to craft, and deploy, and make best use of a more unified set of understandable messages that represent progressive thinking on key issues.

  13. 13
    Svensker says:

    You mean “drill baby drill” is not serious policy? And “teleprompter Saul Alinsky ACORN Ayers OMG death panels sockalist” is not serious intellectual discussion? Who knew?

  14. 14
    Syphon says:

    @Zam:

    What?! When did all the Republicans decide they were terrorists?! How did I miss this?

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left?

    liberals aren’t as inclined to blindly worship their leaders as conservatives. in fact, they’re almost as happy tearing at each other as they are when going after conservatives. maybe the difference now is that other people are paying attention because it gives them a way to fill out the “even the liberal _____ thinks Obama sucks” template.

  16. 16
    jibeaux says:

    I wonder when the teabaggers will join up with Hamsher to demand bank reform because they’re so populist and stuff, and join the ACLU because they’re so concerned with freedom and individual rights.

  17. 17
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    “Apparently a letter to your elected representative is only taken seriously if every other word is misspelled.”

    Only if it’s written in green ink as well.

  18. 18
    Tom Hilton says:

    Yeah, I had the same reaction. (Although like Main Gauche, I’ve found Ambinder more reasonable lately.) I think they’ve finally lost Ambinder.

  19. 19
    Zam says:

    @jibeaux: Actually on campus here our student ACLU group has been completely taken over by the baggers. They routinely put out flyers and events pushing for students to vote against any sort of tax increase. They even were distributing anti- health reform lit.

  20. 20
    Josh says:

    This is how I view the current state of conservatism right now:

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    Upon the pallid bust of Pallas just about my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted–nevermore!

  21. 21
    Roger Moore says:

    I read lots of compelling criticism of Obama from the left and literally none from the right.

    How about Larison? He’s not particularly good on domestic policy, but he does have quite a bit of trenchant criticism on Obama’s foreign policy. Of course in foreign policy he’s expressing an anti-interventionist, paleocon POV, so he’s closer to the DFH left than he is to mainstream Republicans, but he’s still a compelling critic from the Right.

  22. 22
    Bob L says:

    Thus the ultimate irony of modern American politics; the Democrats the opposition party to the Democrats.

  23. 23
    liberal says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    For my money, Dems just have to learn how to craft, and deploy, and make best use of a more unified set of understandable messages that represent progressive thinking on key issues.

    The problem with that is that many Dems (including Obama) aren’t interested in enacting progressive solutions on many key issues.

  24. 24
    DougJ says:

    @Roger Moore:

    You’re right, I forgot about Daniel Larison.

  25. 25
    David Hunt says:

    @Cervantes:

    Can anyone deny … ?
    Of course they can, silly.

    Yes. We have always been at war with EastAsia.

  26. 26
    jibeaux says:

    @Zam:

    Oh, great.
    Because spending a year hunting down a charity for your mother’s glaucoma surgery is very liberating. Trying to figure out what to do when the COBRA coverage runs out and your eight-year-old has Crohn’s disease really makes you taste that individual freedom.
    How depressing.

  27. 27
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    The problem with that is that many Dems (including Obama) aren’t interested in enacting progressive solutions on many key issues.

    I agree partly. Where I disagree is WRT Obama. I think he knows that progress is made in increments, that picking the right fights is often picking the amount of progress that can be made at any given time. Progressives don’t seem to get this.

  28. 28
    liberal says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    I wonder if it has something to do with his other life changes.

    Which are…?

  29. 29
    Llelldorin says:

    One problem is that–unlike, say, 30 years ago–the policy debate in this country is very poorly aligned with the political parties.

    We used to have center-left and center-right parties, each with a very nasty underbelly (Birchers in the case of the Republicans, segregationists amongst the Dems). Now Nixon’s southern strategy has reached its conclusion–one party with center-left and center-right wings, and one party that’s all nasty underbelly and no policy to speak of at all.

    Instead of inter-party policy debate, we have one party that’s utterly torn by intraparty divisions and another that might as well be the American branch of the PNF.

  30. 30
    jibeaux says:

    @DougJ:

    How could this blog forget Larison? Judging from the commentary, this blog is pretty much the only entity that reads Larison. I think he’d be in the “marginalized” category.

  31. 31
    liberal says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I think he knows that progress is made in increments, that picking the right fights is often picking the amount of progress that can be made at any given time.

    Maybe on health care reform. For finance or foreign policy, the evidence in favor of your position is zero.

  32. 32
    El Tiburon says:

    @cleek:

    liberals aren’t as inclined to blindly worship their leaders as conservatives.

    I think this is true for the most part. According to my conservative friends, if I argue for healthcare reform or financial regulation it’s because I’m a big Obama supporter. It couldn’t be that I’m for HCR regardless, it’s because I’m an Obama sycophant.

    Of course they think this because this is how they are: their worship of W and Reagan goes without saying.

    But, as Greenwald and others have pointed out – it does seem to many liberals/dems seem to ignore or accept or rationalize when Obama carries on the same heinous policies that W. did regarding indefinite detention, etc.

  33. 33
    BenA says:

    I think a certain amount of the sudden reasonableness from the Villagers has to do with the success Obama has had. I don’t think you’d see quite so many reasonable articles, not to mention so many laments about the lack of intellectualism on the right… if Obama hadn’t passed HCR. I mean if you want to look which way the wind is blowing: The economy seems to be getting slightly better, Obama will pass Wall Street reform, and nominate (and most likely confirm) a supreme court justice all before the election.

    I mean this week it’s Ambinder, last week it was Halperin.

    The Villagers are just paying attention to who’s winning…. and trying to be ahead of the curve just enough to say “I told you so.”

  34. 34
    DougJ says:

    @jibeaux:

    I forgot he was on the right. I think of him as being like Sullivan.

    I’m still not completely sure it’s accurate to say he’s on the right. But he says he is, so I’ll include him.

  35. 35
    Nick says:

    @Sue:

    What’s really awful is that Dems only seem to pay attention to the crazy coming from the Right – why?

    The media forces them to by only covering the crazy coming from the right, and they FAR outnumber left critics.

  36. 36
    Sarah says:

    Repblicans are not ethical.

  37. 37
    Nick says:

    @El Tiburon:

    it does seem to many liberals/dems seem to ignore or accept or rationalize when Obama carries on the same heinous policies that W. did regarding indefinite detention, etc.

    I absolutely rationalize it, not because I like it, but because I’m realistic to where the public is on those issues.

  38. 38
    Mark S. says:

    I was looking for something that was more germane to this topic and accidentally stumbled upon this horrible Bobo column. Bobo starts off by humbly claiming to be the center (and therefore reasonable), and saying he was hopeful when Obama took office. But the Democrats screwed it up by trying to do something coming up with proposals that offended Bobo’s Burkean bells:

    One of the odd features of the Democratic Party is its inability to learn what politics is about. It’s not about winning arguments. It’s about deciding which arguments you are going to have. In the first year of the Obama administration, the Democrats, either wittingly or unwittingly, decided to put the big government-versus-small government debate at the center of American life.

    The totally 100% authentic teabaggers objected, and Obama
    has lashed out at poor bankers and oil companies. Bobo doesn’t want a war over the size of the government; can’t we all just accept that the Republicans are right and everybody hates government? There are no problems that can’t be solved by just admitting that Grover Norquist is right and any increase in taxes or spending should be taken off the table.

  39. 39
    Montysano says:

    I’ve been wasting time lately, smacking down stupid shit that some winger friends post on FB. It goes like this:

    They post something stupid and/or easily proven to be untrue;

    I say “Y’know, this is not true”, with links an such.

    They make comments about libtards, ACORN, Kenya, Death Panels, etc…….

    And then post something else stupid and/or easily proven to be untrue.

    The hive mind is a mysterious thing.

  40. 40
    geg6 says:

    @liberal:

    I’m guessing it’s Ambinder’s very public and, actually, quite endearing battle with his weight and relationship with food. He’s been through quite the battle lately and been very open about it. I think he either had gastro bypass surgery or is planning one.

    It has made me like Ambinder a little lately, despite my past white-hot hate for him.

  41. 41
    Cat Lady says:

    I can’t get enough of ManziGate. We may just be starting to discern the ship of state being turned. Obama is just not a radical. He just isn’t, either in policy or demeanor or language, and his ability to stay calm, cool and focused above all else is his most effective tool to keep marginalizing the crazier wingnuts. The more they twist themselves up in their inchoate rage, the calmer and more reasonable he seems. I’m worried about the midterms, but if the Repubs make a few gains, it will be temporary. They’re too far gone.

    ETA: I’m not happy about executive privelege and our Israel policy. Maybe a second term will free him to really do something substantial there.

    /Obot

  42. 42
    Josh says:

    @Montysano:

    I’ve had experiences similar to this. No matter how many times I prove them wrong, they come back with more misleading or just wrong assertions.

    They willfully ignore facts for their preconceived notions or their ideology.

    They don’t argue honestly and they back up their points with unhinged blogs that do nothing but engage in the most unscrupulous speculation and pass it off as if it is fact (even if it was proven wrong by another independent source).

    It’s absolutely crazy how these people can be divorced from reality. My guess is that the divorce wasn’t amicable.

  43. 43
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    Maybe on health care reform. For finance or foreign policy, the evidence in favor of your position is zero.

    Not sure what you are arguing, or that you are either.

    In finance and foreign policy, Obama is not seeking and making progressive changes? Or not making them big and fast enough?

    The former is just obviously wrong, and the latter is arguable but in my opinion about an inch away from useless concern trolling. What’s the third option?

  44. 44
    liberty60(Veteran, Great War of Yankee Aggression) says:

    To add fuel to the fire, re: “RedStaters as Stalinists”-
    The Florida GOP now demands loyalty oaths.

  45. 45
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @liberal:

    I forgot that Ambinder’s stuff hasn’t been pointed out on this blog. He wrote a pretty intelligent, endearing article on obesity recently (http://www.theatlantic.com/mag.....sity/8017/), which documents his own struggle with obesity and the serious health problems that resulted from it. He underwent gastric bypass surgery and basically looks like a different person.

  46. 46
    schnooten says:

    @Josh:

    They willfully ignore facts for their preconceived notions or their ideology.

    I think Anselm called that “faith seeking understanding.”

  47. 47
    geg6 says:

    Like I said in my earlier comment, I give Ambinder some props here.

    But until they take on, and I mean really TAKE ON, this sort of idiocy (and not just Beck and Limbaugh, but Murdoch and FOX and the Mays family and Clear Channel), I can’t take their “come to Jesus” moments very seriously. And I have yet to see a single one of them do it other than through coy euphemisms like calling them collectively “entertainers.” And not a single mention of Murdoch/FOX or Mays/Clear Channel that I am aware of.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....023483.php

    Hell, I almost feel sorry for Beck. He is so obviously mentally ill and he’s being exploited for all that the exploitation has made him a wealthy man.

  48. 48
    DougJ says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    I thought about writing about that, but it seemed too personal. Also too, as much I respect his writing about this, I am tired of the At Pack obesity discussion.

  49. 49
    Kryptik says:

    @Nick:

    The media forces them to by only covering the crazy coming from the right, and they FAR outnumber left critics.

    Not to mention that a whole lot of crazy on the right comes straight from the Dems’ colleagues in Congress across the aisle.

    The reason the right-wing crazy gets so much press isn’t that it’s more representative of Republicans in the country. It’s that it’s more representative of Republicans in Congress and DC.

  50. 50
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @DougJ:

    It’s not really necessary, because it speaks for itself. I’m also personally a little concerned when it comes to criticizing figures like Ambinder, Russert, J. Goldberg, Limbaugh et al that at least some of the negative rhetoric that gets bandied about is motivated by anti-fat sentiment (it’s one thing to be politically wrong, it’s another to be politically wrong and fat!); so it’s best not to stress anyway. But I think you are going to start seeing him on TV shows a lot more often now, which is going to say a lot about our attitudes toward fat people in American society.,

  51. 51
    xochi says:

    I actually thought Ambinder’s most trenchant criticism was this:

    It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing. The obsession with ACORN, Climategate, death panels, the militarization of rhetoric, Saul Alinsky, Chicago-style politics, that TAXPAYERS will fund the bailout of banks — these aren’t meaningful or interesting or even relevant things to focus on. (The banks will fund their own bailouts.)

    I’m a bit dubious about that last parenthesis, but that’s off the subject. Part of the reason for this is less about conservative epistemic closure, and more about how the media is more interested in playing up fights between liberals and conservatives than it is about calling bullshit on transparent falsehoods.

  52. 52
    Josh says:

    @schnooten:

    Hm. Now that I think about it, they do have a sort of quasi-religious fervor with regard to their obstinate viewpoints. If you say anything that doesn’t match up with their worldview–in my experience, anyway–they claim you “hate America” and that “you’re statist” and essentially purposefully misinterpret and twist anything you say to make you seem like you’re some sort of evil bogyman and they’re the righteous martyrs fighting for freedom.

  53. 53
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Zam:

    Actually on campus here our student ACLU group has been completely taken over by the baggers. They routinely put out flyers and events pushing for students to vote against any sort of tax increase. They even were distributing anti- health reform lit.

    Somehow I’m not surprised that teabaggers are trying to infiltrate true civil libertarian groups like the ACLU.

  54. 54
    wrb says:

    @Josh:

    It’s absolutely crazy how these people can be divorced from reality. My guess is that the divorce wasn’t amicable.

    major win

  55. 55
    Sentient Puddle says:

    OT: Jan Brewer signs the bill.

  56. 56
    schnooten says:

    @Josh: The connection came to me when I read hogan’s piece at RedState in response to Manzi, particularly this line:

    I frankly don’t know if every statistic in Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative was correct or not. Nor do I know if every statistic or number in Reagan’s A Time For Choosing speech in 1964 was correct. I DON’T CARE. I know the facts were in the ballpark, and more importantly, the principles were timeless and correct.

    “The principles” are what they hold to, and when facts contradict those principles, then it’s the facts that are wrong.

  57. 57
    Montysano says:

    @Cat Lady:

    We may just be starting to discern the ship of state being turned. Obama is just not a radical. He just isn’t

    I’ve been thinking for months now that younger and/or smarter Republicans will start to bail, deciding that going down with the doomed Teabagger ship is a poor strategy. I’m still waiting…

    Obama has done a masterful job of marginalizing them, of painting them into tight corners. Behind the calm, professorial front is a take-no-prisoners politician. What makes it even easier is that the GOP came to believe their own “Obama can’t function without a teleprompter” bullshit. Lee Atwater would have told them that believing your own spin is often fatal.

  58. 58
    Mike Kay says:

    what part of this is shocking?

  59. 59
    cleek says:

    @El Tiburon:

    But, as Greenwald and others have pointed out – it does seem to many liberals/dems seem to ignore or accept or rationalize when Obama carries on the same heinous policies that W. did regarding indefinite detention, etc.

    oh, you don’t have to tell me… i tried pointing this out here when DougJ posted his first post on the “epistemic closure” thing.

    the results were not pretty. :)

    more about authority…

    i know wingnuts will say that lefties have no problem with giving government more authority. and it’s true that lefties are basically comfortable with giving the govt authority to help its citizens. wingnuts, on the other hand, know that they have to oppose everything Dems do, and so have adopted some handy quasi-libertarian rhetoric about how giving government more authority here and there is “tyranny”, while defending every government program that they benefit from.

    really, i do think it’s little more than rhetoric; their own actions prove it. as i see it, “conservatives” are full of shit when it comes to the “tyranny” rhetoric. they love government authority just fine, as long as it’s doing what they want. lefties too. but we admit it.

    on the other hand, i think the American right is much more fond of strong, coercive authority than the left is. the right claims the military and the police. religious fundamentalists are typically hard-right politically. etc..

  60. 60
    Josh says:

    @schnooten:

    That’s quite frightening. My first question, and one that would get me harangued something fierce, would be what makes those principles timeless and correct if they don’t have any basis in reality.

    I can predict the answer as being some form of the following: You don’t understand because you’re just a libtard statist who hates America so much you have to change it to be a soshulist eutopia (of course, they’d never be smart enough to know the difference between an eutopia and a utopia–or why you don’t use “an” before “utopia” even though it begins with a vowel).

    They won’t even bother trying to base their assertions in fact or ground them in some sort of verifiable reality. I mean, THEY know more about what the Founding Fathers want more than anyone else–especially a liberal English major who knows how the absolute ambiguity of the language of the Constitution makes it what it is.

    One time one tried arguing in favor of limited government, claiming that the Federalist Paper #10 backed up his position–completely ignoring the fact that this one was written by Alexander Hamilton in favor of a strong federal government.

  61. 61
    SGEW says:

    Once again, I hold that Marc “I Only Express My Own Opinions Through Very Subtle Snark” Ambinder is greatly underestimated.

    He’s one of the few “Villager” journalists whose reportage (i.e., facts and issues reported) I mostly trust. If nothing else, he’s an excellent example of a “right-leaning” media figure (if he even is!) whose opinion I take seriously, and who earnestly (so earnest!) tries to reach a common ground for discussion.

    There! My Ambinder apologia for the month.

  62. 62
    Tonal Crow says:

    @schnooten:

    @Josh: They willfully ignore facts for their preconceived notions or their ideology.

    I think Anselm called that “faith seeking understanding.”

    It’s more like “faith refusing understanding”.

  63. 63
    geg6 says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Which give the Dems all the ammo they need to start on immigration reform next. Obama put out a statement on it today:

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010.....tion-bill/

  64. 64
    WereBear says:

    @geg6: I’m flat astonished. A right winger suffers… and gains compassion for others?

    You sure this wasn’t Pilgrim’s Progress?

  65. 65
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Josh:

    That’s quite frightening. My first question, and one that would get me harangued something fierce, would be what makes those principles timeless and correct if they don’t have any basis in reality.

    The need to have convincing rhetoric is what makes dogshit principles “timeless” and “correct”. That’s really all there is to it. The suit really is empty; there’s not even a wraith inside.

  66. 66
    schnooten says:

    @Josh: “Timeless and correct” principles:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    At least I think that’s what they’d say.

  67. 67
    Culture of Truth says:

    Will smaller government Tea Partiers oppose the new Arizona “papers please” law?

  68. 68
    Brachiator says:

    Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left?

    Trenchant, yes.
    Effective, well, that’s arguable. The intelligence and honesty of someone like Rachel Maddow is like a continually refreshing breeze, but there is too much from the left that reeks of “What? Obama isn’t governing like a liberal” nonsense that assumes that the president’s main job is to appease progressives. And someone like Greenwald is ultimately a dishonest broker because he imagines himself to be a kingmaker with respect to Supreme Court nominees and seeks not to offer criticism but to have a hand in policy.

    That said, Ambinder is not nearly hard enough on the right. They are not interested in criticism at all, only in stirring up opposition to anything that the Democrats propose because they have drunk their own kool-aid and believe that conservative Republicans are the only real Americans, and the only legitimate political party in the United States.

    It’s also funny that Ambinder refers to the noxious impact of conservative popular entertainers, but still has to acknowledge that an entertainer from the left, Jon Stewart, meets all the standards of being both trenchant and effective.

  69. 69
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    A right winger suffers… and gains compassion for others?

    How’s this for compassion? Sarah! testifies in e-mail hacking case:

    Mr Kernell, from Tennessee, could face up to 50 years in jail if convicted.
    __
    Asked by reporters if she thought the charges were excessive, Mrs Palin said: “I don’t know, but I do think there should be consequences for bad behaviour.”

    I don’t know, how hard would it be to say ‘yeah, 50 years is pretty well over the top’ ?

  70. 70
    JGabriel says:

    Hassle the Foreign-lookin’ People is now the law in AZ.

    Brewer just signed the bill. Police are required to demand papers from anyone who looks foreign, or potentially face suits from local, presumably non-foreign-lookin’, citizens.

    ETA: I see that Sentient Puddle has already made the announcement.

    .

  71. 71
    Josh says:

    @schnooten:

    Hm. That’s a good point. Most of the people that I’ve argued with base their entire interpretation of the constitution and laws from a “natural law” point of view and criticize me for not buying into that.

    To rely on some perception of “God” to grant you inalienable rights is akin to relying on a shyster to be honest (not a knock against any God, just a knock on the mentality).

    This one guy was absolutely shock–SHOCKED–when he tried to argue Jefferson’s religious views by bringing up “The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” and I put him in his place because I actually have a copy of it and have read it and he–googled it.

  72. 72
    dmsilev says:

    @JGabriel: Sigh. Guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, given that apparently the Governor has to appease the teabaggers before the primary.

    What an absolute trainwreck of a law, though. How long until there’s a cottage industry of people shaking down cities to “protect” them from lawsuits that they aren’t doing enough to hassle brown folks?

    dms

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Jan Brewer signs the bill.

    She never had a choice. I couldn’t understand why some people thought there was even a smidge of a chance she would not sign that bill.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    I think he knows that progress is made in increments, that picking the right fights is often picking the amount of progress that can be made at any given time.

    This is the ultimate pre-rationalization and carte blanche mentality.
    It’s a can’t-lose belief system.

  75. 75
    LuciaMia says:

    hey are marginalized, even self-marginalizing,

    The Right has launched it’s own Cultural Revolution. Anyone who is out of step is denounced as a traitor and a rhino.

  76. 76
    Legalize says:

    The only “news” here is that the Villagers are finally starting to figure out that the Confederate Republican Party is full of shit – or that it has become so crazy that even the Villagers themselves have to finally admit it.

  77. 77
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Montysano:

    I’ve been thinking for months now that younger and/or smarter Republicans will start to bail, deciding that going down with the doomed Teabagger ship is a poor strategy. I’m still waiting…
    __
    Obama has done a masterful job of marginalizing them, of painting them into tight corners. Behind the calm, professorial front is a take-no-prisoners politician. What makes it even easier is that the GOP came to believe their own “Obama can’t function without a teleprompter” bullshit. Lee Atwater would have told them that believing your own spin is often fatal.

    President Obama’s has certainly been greatly aided in his mission to marginalize those possibly mythic “sane conservatives” (no matter how young or old) by just how much of their own bullshit they believe. It’s pretty easy to render your opposition moot if an increasingly large portion of them keep believing things that are further and further detached from reality. Especially things that lower their ability to credibly and successfully criticize their opponent. If you think President Obama is some kind of unnatural citizen who pulled a fast one on the entire country over the course of a 14 month campaign to install some kind of radical anti-American agenda…the chances are very high you will not be successful in going up against his administration. And your rate of success is only going to decrease as people become more and more familiar with him, and see just how transparently bogus your inflammatory rhetoric is.

    As frustrating as it is waiting on their house of cards to collapse, in the long run, these people are ultimately fucked, without any kind of realistic recourse to prevent that from happening. Well, outside of discarding their entire worldview, but I think we all know how likely that is to happen.

  78. 78
    Mike Kay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    She never had a choice. I couldn’t understand why some people thought there was even a smidge of a chance she would not sign that bill.

    There you go with your ultimate pre-rationalization and carte blanche mentality.

    :^)

  79. 79
    LuciaMia says:

    Mrs Palin said: “I don’t know,

    How long before she should just have this tattooed on her forehead?

  80. 80
    schnooten says:

    @Josh: It certainly comes in handy to appeal to a higher power than a monarch when asserting independence from his kingdom. We’re living under different circumstances now, to say the least.

  81. 81
    MikeBoyScout says:

    SHORTER Ambinder: Serious Republicans are being systematically thrown to their death out of the Overton window.

  82. 82
    Josh says:

    @schnooten:

    You get the feeling that they’re constantly re-fighting the Revolutionary War with an enemy that doesn’t exist anymore, which lets them win every single time.

  83. 83
    licensed to kill time says:

    @LuciaMia:

    Yesterday. Well, last year. Well, about mid 2008? Ok, today is good.

  84. 84
    Mark S. says:

    @Josh:

    I thought conservatives didn’t like natural law arguments because they kind of imply that there are unenumerated rights.

  85. 85
    Mike Kay says:

    for all the Firetards and PUMAtards who say Obama is worse than bush, if that’s true, then why does Cheney hate Obama so much?

  86. 86
    catclub says:

    @Mike Kay:
    Cause Cheney hates Bush, too.

    Makes perfect sense.

  87. 87
    Sly says:

    If you think President Obama is some kind of unnatural citizen who pulled a fast one on the entire country over the course of a 14 month campaign to install some kind of radical anti-American agenda…the chances are very high you will not be successful in going up against his administration.

    The people who thought the New Deal represented some kind of Communist Coup of the United States believed just as vociferously in their cause, and proceeded to lose in the biggest landslide in American history. Know what happened? They maintained that belief in perpetuity. There are some people so incapable of self-reflection that it is impossible to reach them at all, much less actually teach them something.

    Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered. But stupid lasts forever.

  88. 88
    Josh says:

    @Mark S.:

    I thought so too. At least until they started to argue for them.

  89. 89
    Svensker says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Will smaller government Tea Partiers oppose the new Arizona “papers please” law?

    No.

  90. 90
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    This is the ultimate pre-rationalization and carte blanche mentality. It’s a can’t-lose belief system.

    Heh. I have no idea what that means, but I don’t think you do either, so it’s a wash.

    It’s obvious to me (which means that any number of people here will not see it) that Obama is a practitioner of the art of the possible, not an idealogue. I am pretty sure he has said as much in so many words himself; he is a self-declared non-ideologue.

    One of many reasons I voted for him, and will again.

  91. 91
    Mike Kay says:

    @Legalize:

    The only “news” here is that the Villagers are finally starting to figure out that the Confederate Republican Party is full of shit –

    In many ways, for the past 40 years washington was no different than Iraq under Saddam. As long as the Sunni republicans were in power the shia villagers felt they had to submit. They’re just beginning to learn to depend on themselves (which in some cases must be scary, cuz all they’ve known is fealty to the terror and benevolence of the Saddam conservative regime).

  92. 92
    teak111 says:

    Obama=HCR, clear-headed foreign policy, financial rescue, financial reform, and an emerging econ.
    GOP= birthers, tea baggers, bloated radio hosts, etc.

    IOWs-leadership/progress versus my two-year old in need of a nap and diaper change.

  93. 93
    Robert Waldmann says:

    Recently I tried to make a list of reasonable and reasonably honest conservatives (not counting economists and my personal friends). I asked for suggestions for additions in comments.

    Someone suggested Daniel Larison and John Cole.

    You see where I’m headed. Larison is reasonable and very intelligent, but is he still writing from the right ? Is he a conservative in good standing ? Even though he writes at the heterodox “American Conservative” ? That might be forgiven but he is too honest to be tolerated.

    I guess he is well on his way to becomeing a neoprogressive (like a neoconservative but going the other way — neoliberal refers to the late unlamented 1990s IMF – World Bank – US Treasury Washington consensus).

  94. 94
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChockFullO’Nuts:

    Heh. I have no idea what that means, but I don’t think you do either, so it’s a wash.

    Puh-leeze. Visualize me giving you the “exaggerated wanking off motion with the whole forearm moving”.
    You know exactly what I’m saying here. Any outcome is by default the correct one if you have the mentality you are saying.
    I wish someone would take “art of the possible” out back and bury it.

  95. 95
    gnomedad says:

    @Cat Lady:

    The more they twist themselves up in their inchoate rage, the calmer and more reasonable he seems.

    Maybe they figure if they get angry enough they’ll render him catatonic.

  96. 96
    Quiddity says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: I noticed that too. Perhaps Marc’s recent ruminations on obesity have been a factor.

  97. 97
    The Raven says:

    Political spectrum croak, offered in a fit of clarification. I’ve eschewed the explicitly violent factions, so as to better highlight the philosophical differences.

    Far Right—Grover Norquist

    Moderate Right—Eugene Volokh

    Center—Josh Marshall

    Moderate Left—Jane Hamsher

    Far Left—Noam Chomsky

    Obama’s stolen the moderate conservatives thunder, and so they don’t have anything right to say.

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