Shame on me for reading young Conor in the first place, but this is beyond stupid:
I’d suggest that folks who use this silly knife and bazooka analogy reflect on the politicians who are elected in the United States. Check out our presidents and senators. You won’t find a lot of people who take the bazooka approach to public discourse. Angry, self-righteous bile spewing isn’t actually effective.
What would you call the Willie Horton ads, what would you call the Swiftboat ads, what would you call the “Daisy” ads? I get that in each case, the presidential candidate didn’t get tough with anybody, Mr. Gittes, his ad men did, but that’s a meaningless distinction, especially since young Conor is arguing against the political value of Keith Olbermann here.
To suggest that invective is completely ineffective in American public discourse is idiocy. As operative after operative commented about after the Tucson shooting, politicians use over-the-top rhetoric because it works.
Update. Also too, Richard Nixon, e.g.
A telling anecdote recounted by Pat Buchanan to New Yorker writer George Packer last year captures the dark spirit that still hovers around the GOP. In 1966 Buchanan and Richard Nixon were at the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia, S.C., where Nixon worked a crowd into a frenzy: “Buchanan recalls that the room was full of sweat, cigar smoke, and rage; the rhetoric, which was about patriotism and law and order, ‘burned the paint off the walls.’ As they left the hotel, Nixon said, ‘This is the future of this Party, right here in the South.’ ”