I Stand to be Corrected…

I Stand to be Corrected

E.D. Kain’s post of his evolving thought process has me thinking of Mark McKinnon.

For those who do not know the name, McKinnon is one of the bottom feeders who helped to destroy America’s ability to solve problems. McKinnon is a hype master, a spin doctor, a bull shit artist without peer and a complete weasel.

It was McKinnon and his image making machine that sold George W. Bush to America. And while that alone should earn him his own circle in Hell, he is responsible for even greater damage. For it was McKinnon who took the virtue of learning–the skill to evolve your understanding of an issue based on knowledge–and twisted it into a liability. McKinnon sold the idea that a mind that could not learn-would not learn–was better than a mind that did. McKinnon sold the idea that stubborn ignorance is a virtue and that fear of knowledge should be celebrated. It was McKinnon who invented and sold the whole “Decider” line of bullshit. It was McKinnon who sold the idea that wisdom is a bad thing.

The 2004 Campaign was McKinnon at his best. It was McKinnon who invented the idea of the “flip-flop” as a way to attack John Kerry’s willingness to evolve his thinking as he learned new details. McKinnon sold Bush’s prideful stupidity and rigid, incurious mind as virtues. It work. Now, any evolution of thought presents a new “gotcha” opportunity for an impressively lazy press corps and there is very little room for any politician, pundit or even citizen to admit that any new information or learning has led to an evolution of their thinking. The mere act of thinking has become a bad thing thanks in large part to the work of Mark McKinnon.

The notion that changing your mind is always a sign of weakness–and an action to be treated with contempt–is what McKinnon sold to America. It is–of course–bullshit, but McKinnon was very good at selling shit sandwiches as a tasty snacks. And his playbook is now part of the sacred canon of wingnutopia and our failed media experiment.

Over in the real world, folks evolve their thinking all the time. It is a virtue to celebrate. If Bush had the ability to learn he might not have been the complete fuck up that he turned out to be. But the poor bastard was surrounded by sycophants like McKinnon who always celebrated his closed mind as a beautiful thing.

I think the ability to change your mind is what separates the so called Left from the so called Right in America. On the progressive/liberal side you can change your mind and have great arguments and discussions with folks over points small and large. Sometimes these folks will provide new information and your mind will change again. Your position will evolve.

On the modern conservative/glibertarian side, learning and changing your mind based on new information is seen as a weakness and a thing to be avoided. The talking points are handed down daily and one must never deviate from them or you will be run out of the tribe. Facts and new information must be treated as taboos because they always run the risk of calling this or that talking point into question.

The art above is by Paul Darmafall. He was an outsider or visionary artist from Baltimore. He used to make his signs from found wood, paint, glue and broken glass. Then he would hang them around town. He was known as The Glassman. The painting above hangs at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. His art was his way to communicate his philosophy of life, patriotic feelings and spiritual beliefs. Certain phrases and themes were repeated in his work. One that I’ve always like is in this painting of George Washington. It is:

“I stand to be corrected.”

I think about that line as I write my posts and interact with comments, questions and challenges. I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to learn. I stand to be corrected. This is why I call myself a liberal, a progressive and a Democrat.

There were times in the past when the willingness to be wrong, to be corrected, to change your mind was a virtue on both the Right and the Left and a skill practiced by both Liberals and Conservatives–but that is not the case today. Now that willingness to ‘be corrected’ only lives on the Left. This really is too bad, because our ability to solve problems really would be better if thinking, learning and the openness to changing your mind was seen as a healthy and normal thing on all sides of any debate–but it is not. Perhaps this is why E.D. and so many others who start as self-identified ‘conservatives’ and/or ‘libertarians’ find themselves moving to the left–it is the only political space left in America that still values debate, learning and evolution of thought.

The American Right has descended into a madness of group think and a celebration of ignorance. It is harmful to our Nation and much of that harm can be laid at the feet of Mark McKinnon.*


*Oh, in an effort to prove he is without shame McKinnon is now one of the founders of “No Labels”, a group dedicated to selling America freshly wrapped servings of bullshit on a plate.

107 replies
  1. 1
    Johannes says:

    Yes. Well said!

    ETA: Cue M-C to call us both cudlips. Or whatever.

  2. 2
    Little Boots says:

    Nice, and sorry for my pompous response to one of your posts last night. We have to allow people to change their minds, but somehow that is always a little difficult.

  3. 3
    freelancer says:

    McKinnon belongs to a deplorable class of political consultant that profits off of our dysfunction. Some of them have even been drawn to export this divisive, focus grouped media pandering mode of operation to other countries. Anyone with a Netflix account owes it to themselves to spend an hour and a half watching the documentary “Our Brand is Crisis”.

    It will sicken you, the same way our politics sicken you. But you will feel worse knowing that we have unleashed madness upon the remnants of the American Empire.

  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    The mere act of thinking has become a bad thing thanks in large part to the work of Mark McKinnon.

    Oh, I don’t know Dennis, and for sure McKinnon is a weasel of the first order, but I don’t concentrate my fury and blame onto hucksters as much as reasonably well educated citizens that have not suffered near enough pain to break out of the exceptional American slumber bullshit we’ve been in since the early fifties.

    The Mckinnons of the world can scrape together enough votes in a close election with their wordsmithing bullshit, but the problem goes much deeper than that, and I am convinced the only thing that will focus the mind of Americans born and bred in relative prosperity, is to suffer significant loss in that prosperity, that is the only thing to take their minds off their prejudices and fears long enough to put the effort into finding out what matters.

    Similar principle as “hitting rock bottom” for alcoholics before they are teachable to new ways of thinking.

    And it seems to me we are set on cruise control for a very hard landing/crash in this country, and there is no political savior for that reckoning. A perfect storm of complacency and economic philosophy fail, firmly woven into the fabric of murrican society, that can only be extracted by some serious deprivation way beyond anything we have been accustomed to, or imagined in nearly everyone’s living memory.

    Mckinnon exists from lazy minds and will fade with focus, usually brought on by hunger.

  5. 5
    Little Boots says:

    Just talking to people today, in Wisconsin, I think there is a fair amount of rethinking going on, right now, among people who thought they were voting for something and got something else.

  6. 6
    Maude says:

    I heard McKinnon on the radio a few months ago about No Labels. He was crazier than a s house rat. He was so sure of himself and what he said. No room for doubt.
    I know people who refuse to even think that they are wrong about anything. They really dig their heels in.
    Mediocrity is another thing that has taken hold.
    I don;t like the fact being ignorant is acceptable. People get away with this and I can only rant.
    I start some sentences with I could be wrong but…
    So what if I’m I’m wrong? I don’t care. I can find out what is right.
    Learning starts with I don’t know. That’s a major problem for the arrogant. Same with admitting mistakes.
    Reagan said it best: Facts are stupid things.
    We have to come out of this. The country has gone downhill and problems have to be solved.
    WI is such a hopeful sign. We could be at a turning point and then again, maybe not.

  7. 7
    Dennis G. says:

    Truth be told, what is going on in Wisconsin to defend 200 years of progress on workers rights is far more important than anything I could write and I was glad to see that was the focus of your comments. I hope the movement catches fire and there are ways folks can help from a far–even from where I sit in Maryland.

    Give that Walker douche-bag hell–he has earned it.


  8. 8
    Platonicspoof says:

    @Little Boots:
    Good luck in Madison!

    Rachel Maddow really spelled it out tonight as political war.

  9. 9
    Mike in NC says:

    McKinnon sold Bush’s prideful stupidity and rigid, incurious mind as virtues.

    Must admit if I’d ever heard of this clown, I completely forgot due to the veritable army of handlers and sycophants (Rove, Hughes, Rice, et al) that Dubya arrived in Washington with.

    Rove, after all, styled himself as a Mark Hanna for the 21st century, ready to usher in the blessings of The New Republican Majority for decades to come.

  10. 10
    Rob says:

    Boom! Beautifully concise enunciation of a complicated idea: “I stand to be corrected”. I plan on quoting the hell out of that, btw. It really does sum up the differences between Left and Right in my mind. Recently I’ve been expressing Wing-nuttiness as ‘religious belief applied to secular topics’ but your iteration is much less clunky.

  11. 11
    Little Boots says:


    Thanks. I went more than a little overboard last night, but I really think this is important for a whole lot of people, not just in Wisconsin.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @Little Boots: At the end of the day reality always wins. People will listen to the lies only up to the point that someone raids their refrigerator and cleans out their bank account. And then they get angry.

  13. 13
    Little Boots says:

    @Dennis G.:

    Too true. We gotta stop this shit somewhere.

  14. 14
    Dennis G. says:

    @General Stuck:
    I don’t know if it is fury as much as it is I want weasels like McKinnon to get their name check as they work to reinvent themselves for the next scam.

    Perhaps you are right and the fall will be extremely hard. If it is I can only hope McKinnon feels some of the pain, but by that time he’ll most likely be living in a walled-off and highly protected beach compound in Veracruz.

  15. 15
    WyldPirate says:

    @General Stuck:

    That was a hell of a good post, General Stuck.

  16. 16
    Ash Can says:

    @Little Boots: Cool. (Not for them, but good to know.) Thanks for reporting in.

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:

    @Dennis G.:

    I hope I am wrong, and every day I look for signs of that. No luck so far.

    edit – though what is happening in Madison is certainly a bright spot and maybe little by little enough people catch on before it becomes a hard fall.

  18. 18
    Little Boots says:

    @General Stuck:

    And maybe that’s our biggest problem. We don’t actually want people to have a really hard landing. But maybe they need it. Still, I hope not. Let’s try everything else first.

  19. 19
    Little Boots says:

    @Ash Can:

    AFSCME’s running these ads just with disillusioned Republicans. Not sure what effect it’s having, but I like the idea. And John Nichols (from the Nation, very good guy) has been talking all day on progressive radio about the Tea Partiers who are turning out to protest this. They didn’t know what they were signing up for. Now they know.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @beltane: One of the the things that struck me at the Capitol today was the contrast between the rage at Walker and the camaraderie and friendliness between the protesters.

    I don’t think we will win this battle. Walker has the votes. I do think he and the Republicans are screwing themselves in Wisconsin for the next couple of elections.

  21. 21
    John W. says:

    You’re giving McKinnon too much credit. If not him, there’s a thousand people (if not more) that would have done the same thing.

    The problem is that there are legions waited on baited breath to believe this shit.

    Take ED. Whether he changed his mind or not, he’s worth reading because he thinks critically. That’s not a value that the right encourages at all. They value affect and faith. (Indeed, it’s only the elites that determine policy – and that doesn’t really include consultants.)

    Hell, the one thing corporate America is great at is selling people shit they don’t need or want. Of course their political candidates of both sides will do the same (and that goes for both parties)

  22. 22
    WyldPirate says:

    It seems to me that some of you Obots might find a tiny shred of value in the black-hearted soul such as McKinnon if it’s for nothing more than this:

    Last summer McKinnon, who lives in Austin, announced he would leave the McCain effort if it was going up against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
    As noted by The Times’ Maeve Reston, McKinnon and his lucky black hat (that’s not the lucky one in the picture) have been a fixture in the former POW’s comeback campaign and part of the five-man strategy team including Rick Davis, Mark Salter, Charlie Black and Steve Schmidt.
    But he’s sticking by his vow that if the Democratic candidate was Obama, he would step off the McCain ad team because Obama’s election “would send a great message to the country and the world.”

  23. 23

    For it was McKinnon who took the virtue of learning—the skill to evolve your understanding of an issue based on knowledge—and twisted it into a liability.

    In an appeal to your sense of history, Dennis, I think it’s fair to say that McKinnon owes no small debt of gratitude to the Know Nothings of the mid-19th Century.

  24. 24
    kdaug says:

    Good post, and interesting observation, but it occurs to me that the McKinnon mindset is also an evolution of thought in it’s own way. Manipulative, pushing a meme, making the proles celebrate their stupidity, but for a purpose – the better to control them.

    There is method behind the madness on the right, and it’s deliberate. The billionaires aren’t quite as clever as they think, and you can generate a lot of energy if you can show people they’re being played (see Madison, WI).

  25. 25
    Steeplejack says:

    Dennis G.:

    Typo alert: “sacred cannon” should be “sacred canon.”

    Good post.

  26. 26
    Little Boots says:

    There just seems so many so worse than McKinnon. Not sure about this, Dennis.

  27. 27
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    About Wisconsin, I gotta think that Scotty Walker is just pounding his desk right now and saying “Why me, damnit? The guys at the Club for Growth told me that all I had to do was repeat some crap about deficits and pampered union thugs and everything would fall into place! Why are these dumbass proles making my life so difficult? That fatso in New Jersey isn’t catching this shit!”

    The least the bastard could do is come out and address the crowd. I’d be happy to see any Republican do that.

  28. 28
    Little Boots says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    He initiated this so deliberately. He is the author of all of this. I think he wants this. I think his shriveled little teabagger soul is loving this. YMMV

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @WyldPirate: eh, not so much.

    On August 27, 2008, the Dallas Morning News reported that McKinnon helped Cindy McCain in her preparation for her GOP convention speech.[18] At this time McKinnon clarified that he was not in fact “returning” to his role as media advisor to the McCain campaign, but that he was instead helping the McCains out of his “friendship” to them.[19] Rory O’Connor from the Huffington Post reported NBC had actually reported incorrectly on McKinnon’s role in the McCain campaign. According to O’Connor McKinnon felt that he was keeping true to his pledge in not attacking Obama by only “acting as a facilitator to help with Cindy’s speech. That means helping to identify speechwriters, Mari Will and Lionel Chetwynd, and working with them and Cindy on the speech.” O’Connor also noted that McKinnon stated that he was not helping the McCain campaign with advertising.[20]
    Although it was also reported by Vanity Fair that McKinnon had returned to the McCain campaign to prep Sarah Palin for the United States vice-presidential debate, 2008,[21] in their recent reportorial book Game Change, journalists John Helilemann and Mark Halperin suggest that McKinnon was extremely reluctant to help coach Palin for the debate. According to these political journalists, “(Rick) Davis had pleaded with Mark McKinnon, who had decided to sit out the general election because he wanted no part of flaying Obama, to ride to their rescue; he agreed, but just for that one night.

    McKinnon is seven kinds of fraud, and a sanctimonious snake besides, he reminds me of Chris Shays and a few others– all anguished high principle about the direction the Republican Party is going in, but when push comes to shove, they do what they’re told, how they’re told, when they’re told, McKinnon also likes to make a pious noise about being an ex-Democrat, not noting that he left the party when he fell in love with GW Bush

  30. 30
    Dennis G. says:

    @Little Boots:
    Without a doubt there are many who are worse than McKinnon and when you meet him he is, of course, a ‘nice’ guy. But his kind always get a pass for the things they do and I wanted him to have a name check. Bush and everything he did might have happened without McKinnon, but it didn’t happen that way. Mark was a player and his efforts deserve recognition.


  31. 31
    Little Boots says:

    @Dennis G.:

    that is true. Never ignore the little gray men, or women (hi, Cokey Roberts.)

  32. 32
    Jasper says:

    @General Stuck:

    Similar principle as “hitting rock bottom” for alcoholics before they are teachable to new ways of thinking.

    There’s also a saying that alcoholics can get off the elevator at any point on the way down – no need to hit the basement floor.

    I’m not optimistic, but there’s always hope.

    Sort of along those lines, I always thought it was unfair that Emanuel got such a hard time for his “never let a crisis go to waste” line. It’s just fact that big change usually requires a crisis or some other big push out of a comfort zone. I’d think a jobs depression, worst in 80 years, would do it, but so far, I’d be wrong.

  33. 33
    WyldPirate says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I wasn’t trying to take up for him, Jim. I think McKinnon is a fucking worthless scumbag just like all assholes who are basically in the advertising/image-making business. I was more surprised by his seeming single redeemable quality as a human.

    I find it interesting that–for someone that pushed the heinous nature of a political candidate changing his mind based upon changing evidence/developments–that McKinnon is basically a chameleon of change himself.

    Not surprising, though. I don’t think that most of the high muckety-muck Conservatives/Rethugs even begin to buy the horseshit they are selling. They simply use it to get over on the rubes who comprise their base.

  34. 34
    Little Boots says:

    that always seemed like the perfect Kinsley Gaffe, talking truth out of turn. And a fairly useful truth, which I think is usually the unspoken part of that definition.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:


    I wasn’t trying to take up for him, Jim.

    I didn’t really think so, I had just been reminding myself that MM was teh one I was thinking of, who made such a show, and got so much press, for refusing to work against Obama, then did. And still says he didn’t and still gets press accolades for it.

  36. 36
    hamletta says:

    I’d think a jobs depression, worst in 80 years, would do it, but so far, I’d be wrong.

    Well, considering what’s happening in Wisconsin, you’re kinda wrong. But Tennessee is trying the same thing. If we get thousands on Legislative Plaza in Nashville, you’ll be wrong-wrong.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

  37. 37
    Little Boots says:


    I know, what if the middle class doesn’t even have to be murdered, but decides to commit suicide instead? What the hell can we do?

  38. 38

    @Little Boots: Don’t apologize. You were passionate. You should be. It’s amazing what’s happening in Wisconsin.

    @Omnes Omnibus: Really? I read over at WaMo that we only need one more Republican to turn. I think that may happen (especially if the Dems keep playing “Where’s Waldo?” with themselves). You just took a lot of wind out of my sails.

    dengre, I agree with you that in today’s Republican Party, there is no room for independent thought. It’s frowned upon, looked down upon, and heavily discouraged. I am not exactly sure when that happened, but it’s pretty clear it’s a motivating factor for the GOP now.

    @hamletta: There was a study a bit ago about people’s happiness not only resting on how much you have and make and whatever, but how you perceive others around you. So, if you perceive others as having the same or more than you do (or anything close), you’re not as happy with what you have. I think that’s part of what’s going on.

  39. 39
    hamletta says:

    I really want to understand why these people are doing what they’re doing, though.

    Do they really want a few people to have all the money, and everybody else be scraping out a living? Do they not understand how it will fuck up our society?

    Why do they want to make people so miserable? How does that enhance your life?

  40. 40
    Sixers says:

    Over in the real world, folks evolve their thinking all the time. It is a virtue to celebrate.

    The same real world that bought wisdom was a bad thing? The people who bought that shit were more to blame than McKinnon.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I don’t want to get my hopes up. I hadn’t seen the Wa Mo piece.

  42. 42
    Little Boots says:

    thanks, asiangrrl, I just hate what I was doing with that, “you better talk about what I’m talking about, nothing else matters”, stuff. I hate that guy, and I hate that I was that guy. But thank you. It really does matter a lot. I hope everyone gets that. What is happening here right now matters nationwide. It really does.

  43. 43
    Mark S. says:

    I want to join this revolution:

    Belgium has been without a government for 249 days – longer than Iraq – as parties from the Dutch-speaking north and French-speaking south remain split. Students took to the streets, with the promise of free beer and chips, and dozens stripped to their underwear.

    They dip their chips in mayo, but everything else sounds all kinds of awesome.

  44. 44

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m sorry. I can’t find it. I thought it was at WaMo, but I might be wrong. I can understand not wanting to get your hopes up.

    @Little Boots: Yeah, but it IS important, and anyone who didn’t want to talk about it didn’t have to talk about it. It needs to get as much exposure as it can. And, it does matter nation-wide because what happens in Wisconsin will be a road map for other states (for good or for bad).

  45. 45
    Little Boots says:

    @Mark S.:

    I may be living that soon. Half our Senate has fled the state. I kind of like that.

  46. 46
    Little Boots says:


    thanks, again. I kind of agree, but DO NOT ENCOURAGE ME. I gotta calm down.

  47. 47
    AkaDad says:

    Kain was never really a Conservative, he was a Liberal plant. Cole would never front page a true conservative like me, because Liberals can’t handle the truth.

  48. 48
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    You know, all this Wisconsin stuff should have me raring to write 4 pages about Thomas Paine for English Lit tomorrow, but I just ain’t feelin’ it.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mark S.: I’m off to France in a week, but I will gladly shuttle up to Belgium to help them end their political crises if it involves nudity. I also will offer to be their new leader if they agree to give up all this “4 countries” talk.

  50. 50
    Yutsano says:


    Seriously, dude, that all you got? Your troll-fu definitely needs work.

  51. 51
    Little Boots says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Would it help if we start a Revolution? American or French? Your choice.

  52. 52
    Suffern ACE says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I believe they need one Democrat present for a quorum. I don’t think WI has a filibuster. One Democrat needs to flip.

  53. 53
    Left Coast Tom says:

    @Mark S.: Their beer is really, really, good.

  54. 54
    AkaDad says:


    You just proved my point. :=)

  55. 55

    @Little Boots: OK. I give you this song. It’ll calm you down.

    @Yutsano: You back! What you buy?

  56. 56
    mai naem says:

    @AkaDad: Is this snark? Are you kidding? Uhmm, any conservative blogs out there “allowing” liberals as front pagers? Yeah, didn’t think so.

    I can’t stand Mckinnon but Matt Dowd needs to be right there with his buddy McKinnon. Both scuzzbags who wanted to make a buck.

  57. 57
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Left Coast Tom: Yes. That diet of beer an mayo fries makes me think the people will be especially receptive to my broccoli mandate. Free music downloads, though.

  58. 58
    Little Boots says:

    oh my god, thank you asiangrrl. I loved that.

  59. 59
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Just my contribution to keeping the pharmaceutical industry alive and well-fed. And cough drops. I’ve been home from work since 2 and working on healing the voice, but no major progress on that front yet. If it’s not back tomorrow I’ll jog on over to the clinic so I can do non-phone related work tomorrow.

  60. 60

    @Little Boots: You’re welcome. Yutsano turned me onto it, and it’s been a fave ever since.

    @Yutsano: Ah, yes. The bass growl that you temporary have. That’s funny. I read the thread from last night. I’m a second alto, so when I get a cold (as I kinda do now), I drop to a bass.

  61. 61
    AkaDad says:

    @mai naem:

    Of course they do, because compared to me, many conservative front pagers are liberal.

  62. 62
    E.D. Kain says:

    Excellent post, Dennis. Very well said.

  63. 63
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: The bass growl is totally gone. I could have made it through a work day sounding like Barry White, regardless of the long-term implications. As it is, I either get it healed by tomorrow, or I get a doc’s note to do non-phone labor.

    And that’s not his best song. This is.

  64. 64
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mai naem:

    Matt Dowd needs to be right there with his buddy McKinnon

    Dowd… I think he was the other one I was trying to think of. Isn’t he the one who has said some things mildly critical of Sarah Palin, and maybe Beck, so now he’s the go-to guy for a “non-partisan” take anytime CNN is feeling Fox-lite-ish? so we’re supposed to forget he was an operative for Bush-Cheney-Rove. Just like David Gergen (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I) now speaks for liberals because he spent six months working for Clinton.

    OT: I am an unreconstructed Letterman fan-boy, but why the fuck does he have Paris Hilton on once a month? same goes for Donald Trump.

  65. 65
    Little Boots says:

    they’re talking crazy in that other thread! I think it’s soccer.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:


    At the end of the day reality always wins.

    And along those lines, this interview on NPR this morning was a pleasant surprise.


  67. 67
    Little Boots says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    so was yours, incidentally.

  68. 68

    @Yutsano: Is good. I like other song better. Non-phone labor. For some reason, that makes me giggle.

  69. 69
    Little Boots says:


    whose reality? That’s always the pisser.

  70. 70
    burnspbesq says:

    @Little Boots:

    Any time a former Dubya White House staffer calls out Congressional Republicans for being unserious about fiscal policy (and, in this case, for adding to the world supply of human misery), that’s not a bad thing.

    You never know which snowflake is going to be the one that causes the avalanche.

  71. 71
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    on Matthew Dowd:

    Dowd began his political career as a Democrat, working for, among others, Texas Lt. Governor Bob Bullock. In 1999, he switched parties to become a Republican.[1]

    Lemme guess: He was traumatized by the Clenis

    and this is like they were programmed to write the parody of their own selves by some perverse godling

    Dowd, Matthew J., Ron Fournier, and Douglas B. Sosnik. “Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect With the New American Community.” New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006. Includes interviews with people whom the authors met at Applebee’s restaurants.

  72. 72

    @Yutsano: By the way, I’m crafting my post to convince Cole that I should be the “right-leaning front-page poster” he’s seeking. I should have it posted at ABL’s place in a bit.

  73. 73
    freelancer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Comments. Kudos. Willingness to right a previously held position shown to be not in line with current facts. Others may have welcomed you to Balloon Juice as one of our many, but I would like to welcome you to a select group of people who self-identify as “Skeptics”. Whether you know it or not, you are one of them/us. Skeptics are legion, and we come down on the side that favors empiricism, pragmatism, and critical thinking above all logical fallacies. I have an idea, and my first thought is the idea, the second thought is “Wait! I might be getting ahead of myself. What am I getting wrong? Please, I beg of all of you out there that consider themselves rational or thoughtful to poke holes in this idea before I consider this idea that bubbled up in my head to be sacrosanct.”

    This is one of the reasons this political blog has attracted many scientific minds and those who prize rigorous evidence in their claims amongst almost all other political blogs.

  74. 74
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Wingnut welfare here we come! Does this mean we can buy a winter house in Whitehorse? Huh? Huh? Can we pleeez??

  75. 75

    @freelancer: hmmm. I am skeptical of this. and damn you for making me watch that netflix docu again. (shakes fist)

  76. 76
    freelancer says:


    There’s no way that’ll work, unless your aim is Swiftian at best.

  77. 77

    @Yutsano: Yes. I will be rolling in the dough if this pans out.

    @freelancer: Dude. You’re saying I can’t do rightwingbatshitcrazy? Oh, ye of little faith.

  78. 78
    freelancer says:


    I TOLD you it’d piss you off. We’re in the dead of a Midwestern Winter, here I am feeling the plague of SAD as much as any other office monkey, but feeling a bit more optimistic because Spring is nearer, and you blame me for gravity the ethical sellout of Carville et al upon your soul. I’m pulling for you, and everyone here is, as much as they’re fighting for everyone else here with whom they’ve made a connection. We’ve been having great weather here a couple states over. If you can, whether your somebody is there, do yourself a favor and just take a mental health day and spend a day in sunlight. You are worth it.

    I have a trip to sunnier skies coming up in two weeks, and I plan to make it the most stress free, sun filled part of this new year.

  79. 79

    @freelancer: I am not a skeptic at all. That is why I can be a good rightwingnutter. Or, rather, in this case, a person of “right-leaning” ideology.

  80. 80
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @General Stuck:

    General, the problem is, we went through this once before.

    And it’s been utterly forgotten.

    All the lessons learned of the 20’s and 30’s have been washed away. It’s why the banking crisis of the late aughts happened, set up by the vile Ferengi toad Phil Gramm and endorsed by the gormless Bill Clinton, in 1999.

  81. 81
    JustBeingPedantic says:

    I think the ability to change your mind is what separates the so called Left from the so called Right in America.

    The ability to change your mind is what separates mature adults from children.

  82. 82
    freelancer says:


    You’re saying I can’t do rightwingbatshitcrazy?

    You can’t do it with the subtlety and nuance that would render it authentic. You can hate on minorities. You can hate on organized labor. You can hate on atheism. You can hate on gays. You can hate on environmentalism. You can hate on Science. You can hate on women.

    Unless you do all these things with the correct amount of self-righteousness and passionate indignation, you are barking up the wrong tree. I come from Catholic families on both sides who hide residual racism, homophobia,anti-atheism, and promote community in the name of patriarchy, manifest destiny, and unacknowledged white supremacy/class privilege, and even though I have what is considered a gift in terms of mimicry and impersonation, I can’t spoof the right wing to satisfaction.

    However, let’s say I could, but what would that do to my psyche? Hawthorne warns against spoofing, because it’s not worth the larger point gained through deception.

    No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

    That said, Go, DougJ, Go!

  83. 83
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Libertarianism (and its close philosophical cousin, Objectivism) are basically rationalizations of a three year old screaming “MINE!”

  84. 84


    Hawthorne warns against spoofing

    I was wondering about the DougJsplanation on that one.

    And Go Evo!

  85. 85

    @JustBeingPedantic: I read that last word as chicken–which works, too.

    @freelancer: I get what you’re saying. However, there’s mad monies to be made!

  86. 86

    @beltane: They get mad, but at whom? Are the teatards mad at the financial and political elites that crashed the economy? No, they’re mad at brown people, and one brown person in particular, the one in the White House who is trying (albeit too timidly and by half-measures) to rectify the situation.

    Getting mad by itself isn’t enough.

  87. 87
    freelancer says:


    Nathaniel never anticipated the internet. Hoocoodanode.

  88. 88
    JustBeingPedantic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Rationalization? You’re giving the Libertarians and Objectivists way too much credit. They’re nothing but selfish children in mature bodies.

  89. 89
    Fax Paladin says:

    @asiangrrlMN: OK, this is bugging me too much. Jerrod Niemann, “Lover, Lover”? Is that the video you intended to link to? The song is passable enough, but the video… he feels justified in giving away all her shit because she doesn’t fuck him enough? Do I have that right?

    It may be my defective Y chromosome showing, but I thought his ass needed hauling off in handcuffs at the end of that.

  90. 90
    Elizabelle says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    WRT “Applebee’s America” (and why do I always assume David Brooks is one of the authors?)

    Have seen that very tome at the local 99 cents store.

    Overpriced even now.

  91. 91
    matoko_chan says:

    what the fucking hell are you talking about, Dennis?
    EDK has always been a “libertarian”, right back to Culture 11 days.
    he hasnt changed a nanowafer from his core “civil libertarian” positions.
    he has always believed in the god-given right of the conservative base to believe in wrong, stupid, and counterfactual memes, like his endorsement of the FETUS=SLAVE calumny as “reasonable”.
    And that is what is destroying America, not Mark McKinnons ideological purity.
    EDK is a panderer. Right naow hes pandering to juicers. Sorry to piss in your cornflakes but your Glorious Conversion hasnt happened.

    America is being destroyed by anti-empiricism.
    Conservatism DOESNT WORK.
    Its a failed paradigm.
    And anyone that cant admit that is just lying.

  92. 92
    matoko_chan says:

    @freelancer: you dumbass see above.
    EDK is a self-identified “civil libertarian”.
    that means sukking bankstah cock while holding the socons jackets so they can beat the crap out of minorities and civil liberties and work hard to impose chattel slavery on women and children.
    Libertarians in America are one leg of the three legged stool of conservatism.
    do i have to dig up old culture 11 archives?
    the problem in America is that conservatism is a failed paradigm.
    it doesnt work.
    EDK is trimming around the edges so you will LIKE him.
    its part of the both sides do it too, we are being spammed with the same bullshytt argument hes always pushing.
    like FETUS=SLAVE is just another reasonable viewpoint.
    its not ideological purity that is destroying america, its ANTI-EMPIRICISM.
    Anti-empiricism PROTECTS ideological purity, because the base just hears what they wanna hear.

    why do you think he NEVER responds to me?
    Because im telling the truth.

  93. 93
    matoko_chan says:

    Aimai got this fucker cold.
    EDK wants a pat on the back because hes “evolving”.
    He hasnt evolved since Culture 11.
    He’s still a civil libertarian, he still pushes “we are all the same”, he still defends the god-given right of the conservative base to believe in counterfactual, wrong, bad, and stupid ideas and to try to IMPOSE those ideas on the rest of us.
    Him riffing about unions and schools is like Conor writing about Palin at Culture 11 or Levin at the dish.
    EDK agrees with the obvious but hes just trimming.
    Conservatism is a failed paradigm.
    Empirically, it didnt work.
    Empirically, it CANT work.
    When EDK admits that i’ll believe hes changed.
    until then hes frontin for the cudlips.

  94. 94
    MoZeu says:

    As a general matter, I think it is true that open, good-faith debate and careful application of facts is almost entirely absent on the right-hand side of the political spectrum in this country at this time.

    On the other hand, as someone who used to spend quite a bit of time at Daily Kos, I can attest to the fact that traits such as willful blindness, rigid adherence to orthodoxy, fear of contradictory information and a strong inclination to shun “non-believers” are not hard to find on the political left either.

  95. 95
    debbie says:

    I believe that it was McKinnon who was behind the Gore-stole-our-debate-book scam in the 2000 election. He and others accused the Gore campaign of perfidious theft, but as it turned out, the book was mailed from McKinnon’s office to the Gore offices. McKinnon finally acknowledged it but insisted it had all been a mistake — he’d thought he was returning some clothes to the Gap.

  96. 96
    matoko_chan says:

    @MoZeu: we are talking about EDK and his fake conversion.
    i havent ever seen Darksyde say AGW denial or creationism are reasonable positions.
    what is destroying our country is not partisanship and ideological purity….its anti-empiricism.
    its lying.
    conservatism doesnt work. evolution happened. Hayek was wrong. IDT is crapology. AGW is a fact. fetuses are not slaves.
    until EDK can admit those facts….he hasnt changed.
    he is frontin’ for your approval, like aimai said.
    there is only one side that is anti-empirical, and one side that LIES.
    consider Dennis’ hobbyhorse, racism.
    empirically, the right has a large component of racism.
    do people like EDK acknowledge that and try to reform their base?
    Do they say….racism is WRONG?
    nope, they clutch their pearls, nod their heads and say they cant do anything about it.
    because if they try the base will eat them alive.
    and then they get the Breitbart/Rush shock troops out there to try to prove the NAACP and the left are the REAL racists.

  97. 97

    While they certainly popularized the embrace of ignorance, I have to see McKinnon and his ilk as a symptom rather than a cause. This is one reason educational “reform” will never happen in any real sense. Too many have too much to fear from an educated electorate.

  98. 98
    Xenocrates says:

    Don’t give McKinnon all the credit. He thought “1984” was an instructional manual. Ignorance is Strength??

  99. 99
    Evinfuilt says:

    “I stand to be corrected”, “I don’t know”, these words are required for true science and research. Which is why the current group of conservatives can’t make it in academia. They want to start with their answer and throw out any facts that get in the way.

  100. 100
    matoko_chan says:

    @Evinfuilt: that is correct, they are anti-empirical….that is why 94% of scientists are not-republican.
    and that is i why i am gobsmacked that EDK is still here scamming the juicers.
    he is not part of the solution.
    he is obviously part of the problem.

  101. 101
    j says:

    The epitome of this phenomena is that the (never)right celebrates ignorance to such an extent that their heroes are college drop-outs like Rush, Beck, Hannity, and Palin (who “earned” enough credits over the course of 5 or 6 schools to “qualify” for a degree).

    They have succeeded in demonizing “East Coast egg heads” like they tried to do i the 1950’s with Stevenson.

    Kennedy had “The best and the brightest”, Carter asked “Why not the best?” and the wingnuts have “Nah nah nah, I can’t hear you”, LALALALALALA.

  102. 102
    matoko_chan says:

    @j: 50 years of IQbaiting and racebaiting to win will do that.

  103. 103
    matoko_chan says:

    conservatism doesnt work. evolution happened. Hayek was wrong. IDT is crapology. AGW is a fact. fetuses are not slaves.

    NONE of these things are “reasonable” to dispute. THESE ARE EMPIRICAL FACTS.
    EDK is still part of the problem.

  104. 104
    walt, ex-dittohead says:

    Excellent commentary, which is why I read this blog and got bored reading the right wing/libertarian blogs and talk radio. “I’m willing to be corrected” is much better than the attitude of “I’m not always right, but I’m never wrong” that I hear from winger coworkers now.

  105. 105
    JerseyJeffersonian says:


    Well, that was a fine job that country boy did with “Lover, Lover”, but you might want to check out the original from 1992 by the Chicago-based band Sonia Dada. It got a lot of airplay around here on the Univ. of PA station, WXPN. Soulful, and phrasing to die for.


    Thanks for reminding me of that song…

  106. 106
    JerseyJeffersonian says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    True dat. Good comment, General.

    What is particularly worrying is, when the power-down occurs, with whatever suddenness or slowness it transpires, the nation is less well suited in several ways to get across it than it was during the Great Depression: 1) The large number of family farms that existed at that time are no longer present. At that time, if the prodigals who had migrated to the city to follow the rising tide of industrialization found themselves out of work, they were able to return to the homestead, and they could take advantage of the still existent family-based agriculture to at least feed themselves; 2) And speaking of industrialization, there was a much larger and more self-contained industrial base available to carry the nation along when international commerce became restricted. We not only could, but did, make what was essential to our society’s well-being for the most part.

    We do not today have in place some, or sometimes any, of these survival mechanisms should we find ourselves confronting such a catastrophic breakdown. Add to this the concern that our “way of life” is incredibly energy-intensive, and therefore extremely vulnerable to interruptions of access whether due to currency failure, resource depletion, or disruptions of a supply chain. Our auto-based society is not well suited to negotiate these sorts of shocks. Even if ways could be found to efficiently transition to alternatives to fossil fuel powered vehicles, the very roads over which they would travel are still tremendously dependent upon the ready availability of plentiful and cheap energy for their construction and their maintenance. It’s one big ball of wax, and the heedlessness with which we have waltzed ourselves as a society into these blind alleys is remarkable.

    That Cole fella is right on the mark in starting to garden more seriously. I’m right behind him myself. I don’t think that the wife gets how seriously I am taking these matters yet. I’d like to be found to have been needlessly alarmist, really I would; but there’s a bad moon risin’, and not to acknowledge this would be foolish.


  107. 107

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