Clarifying

Joe Nocera has a good column about Elizabeth Warren that’s a bit too optimistic:

To listen to the House Republicans, you’d think the financial crisis of 2008 was like that infamous season of the long-running soap opera “Dallas,” the one that turned out to be a season-long dream. Subprime mortgages? Too-big-to-fail banks? Unregulated derivatives? No problem! With the exception of their bete noire, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Republicans act as if nothing needs to be done to prevent another crisis. Indeed, they act as if the crisis never happened.

[…..]

Senate Republicans have vowed to block her appointment if President Obama nominates her. Yet even if her nomination goes down in flames, Senate confirmation hearings would be clarifying. Americans would get to hear Ms. Warren explain why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the potential to help Americans. And they would get to hear Republicans explain why the status quo — including the everyday horror of the foreclosure mess — is just fine.

We’ve heard the word “clarifying” a lot lately, Bobo told us a Mitch Daniels nomination will lead to a clarifying debate about the role of government, for example. The idea that our society is capable of a clarifying debate is, of course, ridiculous. Steve M.:

That’s where I part company with Nocera. In what way would this be beneficial or “clarifying”? In the political life of modern America, how often does a hearing of this kind ever have the slightest impact?

James O’Keefe or Andrew Bretbart can crank out a deceptively edited video and the entire political culture — the entire culture — is sent into a tailspin within 24 hours. What could be said at confirmation hearings for Elizabeth Warren that could possibly have a comparable impact?

And why is that? To some extent, it’s because the things Republicans would say at those hearings that Joe Nocera thinks would be so self-condemning are things Republicans know they can get away with saying, because only a small percentage of Americans (most ly angry lefties) know how outrageous they are. No one’s primed the general public to be infuriated at Republicans who are apologists for fat cats the way the right-wing noise machine primes people to despise, say, NPR elitists or alleged white-hating black racists like the Shirley Sherrod of Breitbart’s disgraceful video.

There are two big currents in national American political dialogue. There is the big conservative scandal-and-hate machine and there is the reaction against it. That’s all we have and it’s all we’re likely to have for quite a while.

All these fantasies about clarifying debate and civil discussion between people of good will are just that, fantasies.






70 replies
  1. 1
    jl says:

    I agree that the chance is zero of a ‘clarifying debate’ with useful points made by sane and honest liberals, centrists and conservatives.

    Partly because the second and third parties to such a debate do not currently exist in Congress.

    If dishonest centrists and conservatives kill off the consumer financial safety commission, then I do hope that act will be clarifying to the electorate for the next election.

    Just as I hope what is going on WI, MI and ME will be clarifying.

    Edit: and maybe in FL too, I hope.

  2. 2
    Hunter Gathers says:

    There is the big conservative scandal-and-hate machine and there is the reaction against it. That’s all we have and it’s all we’re likely to have for quite a while.

    It’s going to last that way until the demographic timer goes off, and then it will only get louder, because then the conservative movement is going to get really pissed off. Which begs the question – What the fuck do we do until then? The next GOP administration is going to do shit that will make Dubya look like a liberal.

  3. 3
    kdaug says:

    Know how to clarify? Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and skim the scum off the top.

  4. 4
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    If I may paraphrase a certain blogger,

    I don’t think there’s many swing voters who are excited by the idea of eliminating public broadcasting confirmation hearings.

  5. 5
    jl says:

    @efgoldman:

    “To have a scorched-earth policy, you have to scorch the earth.”

    That was an awesome comment on the last post, which I nominate for one of the rotating mottos at the top of the blog. Srsly.

  6. 6
    tweez says:

    I must quote an author far more eloquent than I,

    Debate and reason do not work, because Conservatism is no longer operationally a political philosophy, and the GOP is no longer a political party. They are cults, and no self-respecting cult junior assistant copy-boy who is gunning for a promotion to the Cult Home Office ever made it into cult middle management by saying, “Whoopsie! Looks like we got this one wrong! Maybe the infidels are right this time and we need to rethink the Glorious and Infallible words of our Foundational Dogma.”

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    All these fantasies about clarifying debate and civil discussion between people of good will are just that, fantasies.

    There are no people of good will on the right.

    They’re all fascist scum.

  8. 8
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    “What the fuck do we do until then? The next GOP administration is going to do shit that will make Dubya look like a liberal.”

    Then I suppose we’ll just have to hang onto the White House until then. The record for us is 20 years straight, can’t be too hard to beat.

  9. 9

    Sadly true.

    If you read conservative blogs, you’ll see they’re always complaining about the terrible, ferocious tactics of the liberals and the Democratic leadership. Really, they think they’re victimized, and are always writing about how the poor, fair-minded right wing needs to stop being so upright in their tactics.

  10. 10
    WarMunchkin says:

    We don’t have debate, we have elite conventional wisdom, people who uncritically recite elite conventional wisdom because it makes them feel knowledgeable or something, and people who pound it into the heads of the masses.

    Also, I’m not done smashing my head into the wall after todays’ news of the airstrikes on Libya.

  11. 11
    Church Lady says:

    “All these fantasies about clarifying debate and civil discussion between people of good will are just that, fantasies.”

    Well, duh. Don’t you even read the comments section of your own blog?

  12. 12
    RSR says:

    My friend the Suburban Guerrilla often laments that Democrats get so caught up in how great their policy points are that the fail to win the overall messaging war.

    In sucky sports analogies, we’re busy extolling the benefits of BABIP when the masses want home runs.

  13. 13
    James E Powell says:

    @efgoldman:

    As the campaign gets closer, though, the muddled middle will start paying closer attention.

    When that muddled middle starts paying attention, they will be greeted by a completely unified (uniform) Republican campaign using market-proven phrases to define and frame the campaign debate. Each of these phrases will seem familiar and true to the muddled middle because they have been hearing them stated as facts (“social security is broke!”) in the background for over a year.

    The corporate press/media will prevent any effort to take the campaign debate outside of the frame built by the Republicans and will not allow any new issues to be added to the list of issues that Real Americans and Serious People care about.

    In late July, 2012, there will several reports that Obama and Reid are meeting to try to work out major themes that they’d like to high-light in the campaign. A post-Labor Day rollout will be promised.

  14. 14
    VidaLoca says:

    The idea that our society is capable of a clarifying debate is, of course, ridiculous.

    This. WTF is a “clarifying debate” anyhow? Have we ever had one, in this country? Can anyone think of an example?
    I can’t. On most issues, the stronger group imposes their will on all the other weaker groups and that’s how we roll until the stronger group loses its control — then it’s back to “clarifying debate” while the forces realign and some new strong group arises.

    Why bother looking for something that doesn’t even fucking exist outside of the fucking Oakshottean confines of the minds of intellectual dwarves like Bobo?

  15. 15
    DW says:

    There’s a couple of factors here. One is an inherent difference in motivation between conservative and liberal intelligentsia. Conservative intellectuals are affluent, white and largely male, which matches the demographic characteristics of conservatives at large. They have a personal stake in politics. Conservative pundits are plugged into the base because in most respects they are the base. The liberal elite is also largely white affluent men but supporting causes not in their own personal interest. That’s altruistic which means unfortunately it’s unreliable. Megan McArdle suffers personally under liberal rule – she won’t get the tax breaks she likes or God forbid might have to pay higher taxes. Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias do not suffer personally under conservative rule so they have less self interest in fighting the good fight. Consequently one side is more motivated than the other. At the elite level, conservatives are more concerned about winning, liberals about being noble. It is no accident that Nancy Pelosi, who saved health care reform after Scott Brown’s election is the daughter of a Baltimore politician and the product of a Catholic rather than Ivy League education. She’s more plugged into the base.

    A second aggravating factor is that at some level, most conservatives realize their time is running out. When your strongest supporters are over 65 and you’re busy alienating black and Latino voters, you know time is not on your side. Chris Rock’s whole schtick that the conservatives are like little children throwing a tantrum just before sleep has a lot of truth to it.

  16. 16

    It’s time to start simplifying our messages. We have all these complex ideas, and yeah, that’s all fine and dandy, but we need sound bites. “Death panels” is a lie, but it’s catchy. “They lie.” “They take your money.” “Democrats save you money.” Simplified truths. And lots and lots of mockery, too.

  17. 17
    slag says:

    There are two big currents in national American political dialogue. There is the big conservative scandal-and-hate machine and there is the reaction against it. That’s all we have and it’s all we’re likely to have for quite a while.

    True.

    All these fantasies about clarifying debate and civil discussion between people of good will are just that, fantasies.

    Also true. But there is hope for Democrats and liberals in the fact that Sarah Palin polls poorly.

    If Dems can retain the Sanity mantle, with it comes the contingent of voters that gets turned off by the racket emanating from the scandal-and-hate machine. Of course, this means we’re basically stuck with little better than Harry Reid Democrats throughout that foreseeable future. Nonetheless, that’s better than the alternative. Sad, isn’t it?

  18. 18
    goblue72 says:

    The MSM is right-wing. It is owned and controlled by a small group of multi-national corporations known as the Big Six – Disney (ABC, Espn, A&E, Lifetime, 277 radio stations & multiple publishing houses and film studios), Comcast/General Electric (NBC, CNBC, Bravo, SyFy, Telemundo, USA, Weather Channel, and various publishing and film companies) (News Corp (Fox, Fox News, 122 satellite TV channels, film studios, the Wall Street Journal, etc.), Time/Warner (CNN, CW, HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, 150 different magazines, film studios, etc.), Viacom (MTV, VH-1, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, film studios and more) and CBS (CBS, Showtime, 30 TV stations, 130 radio stations, major publishing companies and more)

    Basically, if you ever watch TV, go to the movies, listen to commercial radio, or read a book, there’s a near certainty that the content you are watching/listening/reading is owned by one of only 6 companies.

    It should not be a shock that pro-worker, anti-rich, populist political movements and the actors within those movements, as well as sympathetic actors within government are given the short shrift, are marginalized, are belittled and are generally tried to make go away by the mass media.

    The game is rigged. The only choice is to go radical and destroy it.

  19. 19
    redshirt says:

    This might be obvious, but it occurred to me the other day, in sublime fashion, that the remaining key to Republican’s success is their buckshot focus on Greed/Fear. Name the hot button issue, and it’s focused on greed/fear – guns? Abortion? Gays? Taxes? God? Etc. All they need is for folks to latch onto one of these single issues, and forget everything else. How many of us know smart people – good people – who’ll vote Republican because of the perceived tax issue. Or “they’re gonna take my guns”.

    I don’t know how you counter this, except through education, but they’ll make sure that can’t happen either.

    A related question: How do the tolerant deal with the intolerant?

  20. 20
    piratedan says:

    seems to me that the Dems have to do a better job of simply stating the truth that the Republicans are the party for the rich and the party of big business. The other problems is that the Dems are caught wearing the same damn clothes or have been co-opted at so many levels to not have it be that much of a difference. I almost wonder if it isn’t time for a rebirth of a progressive party and/or a labor party

  21. 21
    KG says:

    @asiangrrlMN: good luck with “they lie” or “they take your money” and especially “Democrats save you money”… the perception remains “Republicans cut taxes and Democrats raise taxes.” Despite the reality of the last 10-20 years, the belief is that Democrats are all about taxing and spending and that Republicans want to cut government waste and cut taxes so “people can keep more of their money.”

  22. 22

    @KG: I know. I’m being overly optimistic because I think that if we can stick to three or four simplified truths and just keep repeating them over and over again…sigh. I’ll go back to my dreamland now.

  23. 23
    mclaren says:

    This is all very true. Ever since Saddam attacked us by sending those two airplanes into the twin towers, America has been under siege from enemies both without and within. If it hadn’t been for all those underpaid California agricultural workers getting loans to buy overpriced houses, the 2008 financial crisis would never have happened. And if only the Iraqis hadn’t used WMDs against our troops we would already have won in Afghanistan.

  24. 24
    BR says:

    OT: New Massive potential Oil spill in the Gulf:

    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/bl.....eepwa.html

    So, what’s going on right now?

    1. Rescue and recovery efforts in Japan, and emergency nuclear mitigation efforts.
    2. A new -peacekeeping- oilkeeping mission in Libya.
    3. A possible new massive oil spill in the gulf.
    4. A federal government several weeks away from a potential government shutdown.
    5. Revolutions / riots in several other Middle Eastern nations.
    6. NPRACORNPLANNEDPARENTHOODUNIONS!!!!11!!1!

  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    @BR: That laser-like focus on jobs will make your head spin I tell you what.

    @asiangrrlMN: Don’t matter if they’d rather go to the noise machines like Fox News anyway. Propaganda that reinforces your whitey world view is much easier to digest than niggling things like facts and leftie slogans.

    Hi hon. Got new Interwebs today. Me iz liking mucho.

  26. 26

    […] Clarifying , at Balloon Juice. Leave a Comment LikeBe the first to like this post.Leave a Comment » […]

  27. 27
    srv says:

    I like this nihilist DougJ better.

  28. 28
    Martin says:

    Wow, we broke out the B-2s. Really pushing the limits of ‘supporting role’ when those fuckers come out.

  29. 29
    Yutsano says:

    @Martin: Wait…what the…fuck it. I’m gonna overthink things.

  30. 30
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    Guardian,

    Operation ‘Odyssey Dawn’ under way

    Sounds like we’re going to make them listen to some Jefferson Starship LPs

  31. 31
    Yutsano says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel): So much for no more torture, and I say that as a man who shares a birthday with Grace Slick.

  32. 32
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Martin: I found what you had to say over on the “nothing to see here” thread/slap-fight illuminating, btw.

  33. 33
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Yutsano: Don’t make us get out Red Octopus.

    Confess!

  34. 34
    magma says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel):
    “Odyssey Dawn” is a good porn name.

  35. 35
    Xenos says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel):

    Operation ‘Odyssey Dawn’ under way

    Why the classical reference to getting lost wandering around the Mediterranean for ten years while picking fights right and left? I suppose it could be worse — if Bush were still president he would have named the operation “Aeneid Dawn”, which would have turned the next three generations of Libyans against us.

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel):

    Gah! Don’t even mention that evil name. No, no, it’s too late

  37. 37
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Xenos:

    Why the classical reference to getting lost wandering around the Mediterranean for ten years while picking fights right and left?

    Yeah, good point.

    Not that it’s germane, but isn’t dawn always rosy fingered in the Odyssey?

    And isn’t sweet crude oil rosy in hue?!? OMG!

  38. 38
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Mark S.: Dude, relax. That’s Starship. I said Jefferson Starship. You’re safe.

  39. 39
    KG says:

    Why the classical reference to getting lost wandering around the Mediterranean for ten years while picking fights right and left?

    Truth in advertising?

  40. 40
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel): No. It is not rosy in hue. If anything that looks more amber. If it’s even really sweet crude.

    That’s a stretch, dude. Luckily, you are coming to the end of your prescription Vicodin.

  41. 41
    Yutsano says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel): Put down the keyboard and back away slowly. When you start replying to yourself, you are entering the phases of blogging overload. Think of the children why dontcha!

  42. 42
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Yutsano: Did Freud say that everything in your dreams represents an aspect of yourself?

    Are you not, Yutsano, really just a manifestation of my anxiety over the approach of April 15?

    Plus my anxiety that good pho cannot be had east of the Cascades?

    ETA:Okay, fine. I’m taking a shower.

  43. 43
    slag says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel):

    good pho

    Two words that rarely belong next to each other.

  44. 44
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Martin:

    Really pushing the limits of ‘supporting role’ when those fuckers come out.

    I will simply never understand this mode of thinking. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me six thousand times in a row, still…shame on you? Though I suppose it’s thematically fitting with the rest of the thread.

    Assuming the reporting is accurate, of course.

  45. 45
    Xenos says:

    FWIW, similar arguments from Wolcott linking to Driftglass recapituling Gilliard…

    I am interested in seeing how far into the political desert they and their Centrist enablers can be driven.

    When the centrist enablers are the main route for information for 95% of the public, there can be no clarifying debate. Except between ourselves, of course.

  46. 46
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @slag: So, you’re not going to finish your phở ? Give it here.

    There actually was good phở to be had here in my little town right before I moved back from Seattle. A Vietnamese family with whom I was acquainted had opened a restaurant. Shortly after that, they did something for which I still cannot find it in my heart to forgive them; they fucking won the lottery and retired.

  47. 47
    Arclite says:

    Strange, I am getting a DNC “renewal” letter. I don’t remember ever becoming a member. Is it possible I may have been automatically registered through some political donation I made?

  48. 48
    DFer says:

    @piratedan:

    seems to me that the Dems have to do a better job of simply stating the truth that the Republicans are the party for the rich and the party of big business. The other problems is that the Dems are caught wearing the same damn clothes or have been co-opted at so many levels to not have it be that much of a difference. I almost wonder if it isn’t time for a rebirth of a progressive party and/or a labor party

    Yes, lets have a new progressive party that we’ll accuse of being “the same as the others” as soon as they win enough seats to wield an iota of power.

    PROGRESSIVE PARTY: Get disappointed by someone new 2012

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    @Arclite: Amazingly enough I got a similar letter. And I’ve never registered with a political party ever. Since you don’t have to in order to vote here and I think they tend to be shams anyway, I never have. It was rather disconcerting.

  50. 50
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason (formerly frosty) says:

    @Arclite: Possibly that’s how you got on the DNC mailing list.

    I’m disheartened to find that someone’s contributions result in me getting 3 identical letter from Nancy Pelosi every week or so. Don’t these people know how to scrub a database???????

  51. 51
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @DFer:

    It would seem to be much less work to simply co-opt the Democratic Party from within than to go about creating a third party alternative.

    Modern Progressive Activism: unwilling to truly change the world through their actions for fear that they will no longer have a place within it.

  52. 52
    slag says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel):

    Shortly after that, they did something for which I still cannot find it in my heart to forgive them; they fucking won the lottery and retired.

    See…now if the state hadn’t interfered in your life by offering up a lottery, these people would still be in their rightful place–slaving behind a hot stove preparing your pho. There’s a Reason article in here somewhere.

  53. 53
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @slag: I’m not sure they’d be against the lottery. I can totally see them feeling like someone who had lottery money as deserving, regardless of how they got it. Having a lot of money by definition means you are a producer in this economy. You don’t actually have to “produce” anything.

  54. 54
    slag says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason (formerly frosty):

    Don’t these people know how to scrub a database???????

    Well, since every letter I get from them is addressed to:
    [My Name]
    [My Address]
    “No mail please!!”
    [My City, State Zip Code],
    I’m going to say “No, they don’t”.

  55. 55
    slag says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex): That’s true. But doesn’t it really depend on who the money-haver is negatively impacting? I mean, if some Reason author doesn’t want these people to have money, then a multi-paragraph essay on whatever real or imagined Evil got these people their money is bound to ensue. Intellectual integrity is for suckers, after all.

  56. 56
    DFer says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    It would seem to be much less work to simply co-opt the Democratic Party from within than to go about creating a third party alternative.

    You would actually need to have an organized movement that wanted this to do that. As it is, most Democratic voters themselves are a bunch of pansy-ass wishy-washy unprincipled pussies.

    I mean seriously, go to any Democratic club meeting. I’ve been to a dozen, all of them are so proud of their moderate centrist views and non-confrontational attitude. If anything I’d say most elected Democrats, including President Obama, are actually better fighters and more courageous than the idiots who vote for them. These people would have dumped HCR after the first month, and would have never even tried to argue against extending the Bush tax cuts. (I sat at one Democratic club meeting in Long Island in October where they were livid the President was still considering not extending the tax cuts “considering the economic and political situation” with some in the room actually saying they were going to vote for the GOP candidate for Congress for the local House seat, who almost won)

  57. 57
    Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel) says:

    @Slag: And how they did slave. Tran, the oldest son I believe, ran a local greasy spoon they owned during the day and worked the swing shift @ Mitsubishi @ night. That cat worked like hell. It could almost make one believe in a benevolent creator, the whole lottery thing. Almost.

  58. 58
    slag says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Irish Steel): Multiple jobs and the dream of winning the lottery? I believe that is “uniquely American”. The only way I know they’re not real Americans is that they actually won the lottery. I’m surprised INS didn’t come a’knockin’ after that.

  59. 59
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @Yutsano: Sharing a birthday with Grace Slick is not so bad. I have to share mine with David Hasselhoff.

  60. 60
    Platonicspoof says:

    FYI, my comment got disappeared, and while I then refreshed the page, the status bar included “comment-2485706”.
    The latest comment on the page I see is #2485697.

    Did I get teleported into the future?

    Edit: Or maybe comments are numbered regardless of which post they appear in?

  61. 61
    Suck It Up! says:

    Why does anyone think the American people give two shits about these confirmation hearings?

  62. 62

    I almost felt guilty ready that NYT piece, excellent as it was, because doing so plays right into the hands of the NYT paywall model. In the not so distant future it’ll be increasingly more difficult for the poor people affected by stories like, bankruptcy and home foreclosure, to even access NYTimes information regarding what is being done on their behalf (or against it as the case may be). On the other hand, Fox will still be eager as ever to flood the public airwaves with all manner of distortion aimed precisely at the folks most vulnerable.

    In the final analysis (American style), the ‘winner’ in these media wars will probably not be the one with the best or most accurate reporting, but the one who is able to squeeze the most money out of their operation. Unrestrained capitalism will win no matter what the outcome for the citizenry, so enamored of the concept’s allure that they’ll willingly continue to support it, even from the confines of their tent cities, lest they abandon the hope of themselves ever encountering a Horatio Alger moment.

    Fox will set up free television news feeds at the tent cities. “News” will be projected directly onto the sides of the abandoned warehouses the people in the tent cities used to work in. Fox’s “news stories” will reinforce the aforementioned Horatio Alger meme. The entire effort will be a huge money maker for Fox. Their profits from the Spam advertisements alone being sufficient to cover the operating costs of the entire operation.

    Enjoy.

  63. 63
    wvng says:

    @James E Powell:

    Spot on. Even more so now with Citizens United.

  64. 64
    Dennis SGMM says:

    How in the world do you have a clarifying debate with a bunch of nihilistic, hypocritical assholes who would rather see the whole shithouse go up in chunks than to concede a point?

  65. 65
    El Cid says:

    @joe from Lowell: Now (and pretty much anywhere before) I’m one of the only few liberals (extreme lefty on the inside, but whatever) among people who ever seem to say anything on politics.

    They voice their views in loud outrages on Obama and socialism and destroying the economy. There are in fact some cooler heads (two) who say that they’re conservative but they think that a lot of the stuff the hard right says is going too far. So far this has meant that the latter group doesn’t scream about Satan and homo terror babies and burf certifat much.

    Both the conservative groups mention a lot how you just have to have things like FOXNOOZ because otherwise you couldn’t hear anythings from conservatives.

    And that it used to be that you could have a real debate, but now liberals have made it that if you aren’t like them, they just don’t even listen to you.

    On more than one occasion I’ve expressed my admiration that they managed to keep expressing their political opinions when so many conservatives are aware of, whether or not they’re in the presence of, two liberals. Two liberals! These brave soldiers manage to loudly blather on about ‘all the inflation’ and ‘we’re spending ourselves into the grave’ and such, even though somewhere a liberal might be listening. One. Two in the same place is really unlikely.

    Particularly brave in that the boss is also proudly and loudly conservative, though one of the ones who are merely strong financial ‘conservatives’.

  66. 66
    El Cid says:

    @Dennis SGMM: It may help clarify for the conservatives any non-conservatives they didn’t know about in their families or friends or coworkers or neighbors. This is a necessary step before the cleansing fire.

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    All these fantasies about clarifying debate and civil discussion between people of good will are just that, fantasies.

    I’ve said it before and will say it again: movement conservatives see this country as their birthright and theirs alone. That wonderful birthright has been infected by people like us (whether it’s about religion or race or national origin or perceived lack of American loyalty – the “why” doesn’t really matter anymore) and it’s their mission in life to restore it by cleaning out the infection.

    That’s what fuels their movement and the current ultra-polarized divide. Good luck having any kind of discussion of good will with people whose unifying drive is the fact that they hate you.

  68. 68
    piratedan says:

    @DFer: perhaps I am too set in my menchevik ways, eh comrade? When can we start equating Rove, Limbahhh and the Koch Brothers as the Romanov’s? Who will be little Anastasia? Megan Kelly?

  69. 69
    taylormattd says:

    Doug, I would like to add one thing. You say this, which is true as far as it goes:

    All these fantasies about clarifying debate and civil discussion between people of good will are just that, fantasies.

    But it’s not the whole story. It’s also a fantasy that any discussion, not just “civil” discussion would be clarifying. And by that I mean it is just as much of a fantasy to believe the scales will fall off the public’s eyes if only a lefty politician would loudly or angrily or non-civilly “tell the truth” about republican perfidy.

  70. 70
    Catzmaw says:

    I listened to those hearings the other day as one GOP Rep after another indignantly asked questions of Warren which they then would not let her answer. The questions were loaded with straw men and unfounded assumptions and the tone was hostile and disbelieving. At one point I heard a GOPer implying that the financial crisis was the direct result of the regulatory agencies’ actions (actually inaction) in “making” the banks give loans to bad risks. He wanted to know how her agency was going to avoid the trap of … um … creating another financial disaster by over-regulating its failure to regulate(???) or something. I’m serious, it came off sounding like he was saying that too much regulation creates a climate of unregulation which leads to chaos. Another GOPer said she needed to explain just how she was going to decide which regulations should be used against financial entities. She replied that the law specifies the agency must undertake a cost-benefit analysis and cannot adopt regulations the costs of which exceed the benefits. He then accused her of dodging the question because she “wouldn’t answer” it. Another WTF moment.

    These bastards intend to bring down the agency. Nothing will be clarified through hearings because it will be more of the same.

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