Some Call This Cowardice

Steve Almond playing hide and seek as a child.

Steve Almond playing hide and seek as a child.


Steve Almond’s plan for liberals

This may be the single dumbest op-ed in the NY Times this year, which would be an accomplishment, given that Friedman, Brooks, Douthat, and Bruni all write there. Apparently Steve Almond thinks that if liberals would just ignore nasty old Republicans, then we’d have an amazingly civil public discourse and Fox news would shrivel up and die. The logic goes something like this:

1.) Ignore Mean Republicans
2.) …
3.) UNICORNS!

Just ridiculous. You don’t win the debate by walking away from it our cowering from bullies and hoping for some magical civil discourse to appear. You win by punching the bullies in the mouth.






158 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    And yet, every time there is a post on this blog about an outrageous statement by some wingnut, there will always be some commentor criticizing the blogger for giving the statement publicity. So apparently the “ignore them and maybe they’ll go away” school has more adherents than just the guy who wrote this op-ed.

  2. 2

    This is why the NYT will never get my money.

    It’s not fit to line a birdcage. If it weren’t for Paul Krugman, the political commentary there (if you can call it that) would be complete trash.

    Mere words cannot describe my loathing for these clowns.

    Therefore, I choose not to read them. Sometimes I get sucked in because of the temptation of rubbernecking the slow-motion-trainwreck, but I usually end up regretting that.

    If I could package my sheer ire of this rag into a comment, the resulting explosion would destroy their servers, the IDC they are housed in, level their HQ, and the entire surrounding block.

  3. 3
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I really dislike the “bully” metaphor, but, yeah, there’s no reason not to integrate positive advocacy, “reactive” counterpunching, and full-on ridicule into liberal political discourse. Conservatives have been turning innocuous remarks and anecdotes into hissy fits for 40 years, and it sure hasn’t hurt them. I don’t get why to so many pundits liberals have to be high-minded all the time while conservatives get to wallow in the gutter.

  4. 4
    gene108 says:

    The picture of the little boy “hiding” behind the tree is really cute.

    Makes me wish to be young again, on a bright sunny day like today.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    I find it interesting that Almond completely ignores the media’s role in spreading right-wing framing. Fair and balanced and both sides differ just conveniently get ignored by him. But of course everything is the fault of dirty liberal hippies and we should all cut our hair too.

  6. 6
    Will says:

    The problem isn’t that just a few million angry conservatives are listening to Limbaugh it’s that politicians are listening to and taking orders from Limbaugh. Sure it’s easy to ignore Rush but it’s not easy to ignore those politicians who don’t ignore Limbaugh

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    If I could package my sheer ire of this rag into a comment, the resulting explosion would destroy their servers, the IDC they are housed in, level their HQ, and the entire surrounding block.

    But you can’t, so it won’t. Thanks for playing.

  8. 8
    Egg Berry says:

    Isn’t this “blaming the victim”?

  9. 9

    @gbear: Uhh.. yeah? Did you miss the part where I said I avoid reading it?

  10. 10
    cathyx says:

    That is such a cute picture. If you know kids that age, they actually think they are hidden.

  11. 11
    elftx says:

    For someone ” not trying to soft-pedal the very real pathologies of the modern conservative movement” he did a damn good job of doing just that.

    I am sooo fucking tired of this bullshit!

  12. 12
    harlana says:

    OT but this is a brilliant speech, hiliarious and terrifying, by Van Jones at Netroots Nation. Ham & Egg Justice.

  13. 13
    cathyx says:

    There is something to be said about ignoring republicans. Dems should do it.

  14. 14
    Jewish Steel says:

    Oh, I was bitching about this on the wrong thread:

    @M Riles: From that same op ed:
    “The underlying question — should American women receive help in protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies? — is part of a serious and necessary national conversation.”

    Conversation? I thought we already elected a guy who did something about this? Why do we need a conversation?
    That guy is one sorry sack of totebags.

    .

    @Yutsano: This guy is a media idiot. First he thinks he’s going to get a fair shake on Hannity then he thinks that if we just turned away from demagogues, politopia! Everyone makes kissy-kissy and our problems vanish.
    When do I get an op-ed? Pollyana motherfucker. grumble grumble.

  15. 15

    @cathyx: If nothing else, it tends to increase one’s quality of life. As I’ve said before, republicans add zero value to the human experience.

  16. 16
    c u n d gulag says:

    Yes, we Liberals need to grin and bear it!

    “Please Mr. Rush, once more in my ass!
    But this time, throw some stones, sand, and ground-glass inside my ass! Oh – and NO Vaseline or rubbers to interfere with your sexual pleasure!”

    Harder. HARDER!!!

    Mr. Almond-no-joy-no-clue, stfu!
    Don’t speak when you know not what-of you speak!

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @cathyx: This is complicated when they control one house of Congress and can stop legislation at will in the other.

  18. 18
    gene108 says:

    @Yutsano:

    I find it interesting that Almond completely ignores the media’s role in spreading right-wing framing.

    The sad thing is between Sen. Franken’s book Lies and the lying Liars Who Tell Them and Media Matters, there’s ample evidence about how the right-wing media plays the MSM.

    The MSM would have to admit they’re being played by partisan right-wing rags, such as The Washington Times, American Spectator, etc. and basically say they screwed up in pushing President Clinton’s business dealings from the 1970’s as front page news for months and months, just because these right-wing rags were churning crap out about it or conveniently stick their head in the sand and pretend nothing bad ever happened.

    The MSM has chosen the latter.

  19. 19
    Donald says:

    I didn’t agree with all of it, but he had a point. I almost never watch MSNBC in the evening anymore, because so much of it is mindnumbingly stupid, in part because they are constantly harping on some stupid thing a conservative said.

    You can be an intelligent liberal and do an intelligent show–look at Bill Moyers and Chris Hayes. Plenty of hardhitting discussion there. Or you can just do a somewhat more intelligent, but still brainkilling liberal version of Fox.

  20. 20
    Jewish Steel says:

    @cathyx: I think Republicans would love to be ignored so they can get on with the business of disassembling everything that’s good about US govt.

    Better to discuss it in quiet rooms?

  21. 21
    CW in LA says:

    Wait, so the problem isn’t Repubes being assholes, it’s Democrats responding to Repude assholery? Egg Berry is spot on; classic blaming the victim.

  22. 22
    ChrisNYC says:

    This guy thinks the contraceptive debate’s underlying issue was “should women receive help to avoid becoming pregnant”? That there is an amazing freaking statement. Yeah, pal, keep telling yourself that the OTHER liberals are the problem.

  23. 23
    Jewish Steel says:

    @ChrisNYC: I smell religious guilt here.

  24. 24
    Lolis says:

    I laughed when I saw this. Steve Almond is a creative writer and essayist. I am not sure why the New York Times thought he was qualified to offer political commentary. He is about as insightful on politics as Kim Kardashian.

  25. 25
    Maude says:

    A bit OT but, An Yahoo! News story:
    Woodward and Bernstein share a byline.
    Please shoot me. The media needs to be shut down and a new media put in it’s place.
    Nostalgia for the Nixon Watergate time is sick.

  26. 26
    Paddy says:

    Funny, I just put up video that goes along with this perfectly-

    Video- David Shuster Schools NYT’s Rubin Over Media Bias

    Rubin’s so smug in her little world- “Well, I write about it all the time!” Well missy, just because you write about it doesn’t automatically make it so. And Shuster dealt with her perfectly, slightly amused at the silly winger and armed with facts.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    Our pundits suck, especially in comparison to theirs. Theirs are tireless, relentless, and willing to be single-mindedly vicious to achieve their ends, whether they do it politely or as complete and utter assholes. With the exceptions of Krugman, Colbert, and Chris Hayes (and sometimes Rachel Maddow, though she has firebagger impulses at times), ours are all cowards, more concerned with having their nice lives in the Village than with actual liberal values.

    Fuck them and fuck this asshole. We should be much less “civil” and push back hard. Loudly and often.

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    @Lolis:
    What is a creative writer? I’m not snarking.

  29. 29

    Here’s the Almond antidote: Ron Silver (before he went right-wing and then died) as Bruno Gianelli on The West Wing.

    What he said.

  30. 30
    MattF says:

    Introspection is just not the right tactic for dealing with wingers. Just. Not.

  31. 31
    Ben Franklin says:

    You win by punching the bullies in the mouth.

    Getting medieval on Republicans will be essential in this War.

    The faint of heart need not apply

  32. 32
    kindness says:

    You win by pointing out in clear and simple terms why Republican wish lists are going back to the policies of bush43.

    How hard is that?

  33. 33
    jl says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    Some odd thinking in that column. If, as I think GOP messaging clearly implies, some people are more equal than others, then asking for equal treatment is asking for for extra help, as a special interest group. I guess.

    Long run problem for the GOP is that list of people who are less equal than others just keeps getting longer. Now looks like cops, firefighters, paramedics and teachers joined the list for reals.

    So, real message GOP wants to sell is that between 95 and 99 percent of the country is composed of greedy special interest groups. Divide and conquer, just as Walker said.

    Liberal pundits need to do their homework, and confront the BS head on, rather than goof around with the navel gazing and meta(or is it meta meta, or meta meta meta?) BS in this worthless NYT column that wasted several minutes of my life.

  34. 34
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “Liberals are ruining America: I know because I am one”

    The title alone would keep me from reading the article.

    Absolutely ridiculous. I guess if Romneybot 2.0 wins, Almond will be happy to shut his mouth when all the mess hits the fan.

  35. 35
    Neldob says:

    Yeah, that ignore thing worked so well for John Kerry in 2004.

  36. 36
    gene108 says:

    I read the 1st page of this op-ed before having to stop.

    Where would Al Gore, Jr. be today, if totally ignored right-wing claims about how he “invented the internet”? Maybe he’d have won in a landslide against Bush, Jr.?

    Who is he kidding.

    Most people don’t care about reasoned discussions and never have. Getting people angry enough to get out of their chairs on the first Tuesday in November to win an election is all that matters. Period.

    If you want to shut the right-wing blowhards up, you beat them so badly at everything they do that they won’t have a rock to crawl under.

    The Democrats had this opportunity in 2008, but screwed up by underestimating the severity of the economic crisis, underestimating how difficult it would be to get HCR passed (plus Ted Kennedy not being there in the Senate just compounded an already difficult problem, which gets overlooked), and not realizing the Republicans had given up on governing, if they have to share power (I admit this should be a shocker, when power sharing is the backbone of our political system for centuries, but it wasn’t for some of us outside the Beltway).

    If Mr. Almond want’s to shut these mofo’s up, he needs to work to get liberals elected and turn “conservative” into a dirty word, no politician will want to identify with.

  37. 37
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I wonder if Mr Almond remembers what Newt Gingrich once called Rush, “The Majority Maker”? It was Limbaugh in ’93-94who probably single handily lead the war that wiped out Clinton’s Medical Reform efforts and the disaster in the congressional races, even with the Dems getting back the House and the defeat of impeachment, I believe the Dems and the liberals should have saw this tidal wave of the RW wurlitzer back then and tried neutralize it, but they used the strategy of Mr Almond, until it was too late. Now Dems and progressives are playing catch up, though it is like a Prius trying to catch a Lamborghini. Walker’s victory in Wisconsin is a good example. The public sector unions especially the teachers are portrayed as the devils with black hats. And the progressives(except the blogosphere) allow the unions to be burned at the stake.

  38. 38
    BGinCHI says:

    Almond is a nut.

  39. 39
    jl says:

    Question is, how to stop the waste of time and resources caused by this dreck.

    Any lawyers here know if people can join a class action lawsuit against fraudulent pundits?

    If this is typical of what Almond writes, he will join Friedman, McArdle, NRO crew, Brooks… oh, so many come to mind.

    Do we sue them personally, or the corporations that foist them on us? Probably individuals, since corporations have more rights now than lesser people.

    Sue for time costs of wasted time reading the crud. I’ll throw out federal minimum wage, about 7 bucks, I think, for starters.

    Edit: Yeah, if there is a way to get up a class action law suit, I will join. Could argue that the time costs way low ball estimates. Ignores that damage to national income through ignorancification and stupefaction of the populace. We just want to recover the cost of the time wasted reading the stuff.

    Edit: took me a couple of tries to please the spelling master on the stup word

  40. 40
    Ben Franklin says:

    Walker’s victory in Wisconsin is a good example. The public sector unions especially the teachers are portrayed as the devils with black hats. And the progressives(except the blogosphere) allow the unions to be burned at the stake.

    San Dlego and San Jose as well. The screaming mimi’s are getting traction, and we watch in horror. But, we aren’t disparaging.

  41. 41
    cokane says:

    Hmm Cole, I do think some of what he’s saying is true. I don’t think liberals, or moderates, or whatever, anyone who cares about integrity. I don’t think they should appear on fox news.

    Not that I think this would cause the network to shrivel and die. But no one of integrity should enable a network that misinforms its audience. And it’s not like a guest appearance will help put a dent in that misinformation, they get the final edit of your appearance after all.

  42. 42
    Paddy says:

    @Paddy: Erp on 27, Rubin works for Washington Post.

  43. 43
    gogol's wife says:

    @jl:

    I’m not a lawyer, but I believe you’re dreaming. Nice dream, though.

  44. 44
    M Riles says:

    @Jewish Steel: Wow. Not surprised I missed that in all the stupid. Didn’t realize reproductive rights were up for discussion

  45. 45
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    1) Rush didn’t lose advertisers because he was ignored. While Rush has a large audience for radio, its still a minuscule portion of the electorate. Most people wouldn’t know what drivel he spews unless someone else complains about it.

    3) He criticizes liberal commentators like Stewart and Colbert but they mostly mock stupid things politicians say and do. (and occasionally Bill O’Reilley).

    2)Who quits their job over a speaker coming to a college? That’s overreacting a bit I’d say.

    3) I prefer to find out what the wingnuts are saying via Stephanie Miller.

  46. 46
    Jamey says:

    I generally ignore everything Republicans say. But when they attack, I defend.

  47. 47

    News Flash: Concern Troll Is Concerned. Is there a faster way to get published in the MSM than to stake out a position of “reason” in the mythical center and criticize the left from this lectern?

    Ya know, I’m all for a little self-examination; “an unexamined life isn’t worth living” and all that. But the fact of the matter is that one side of the political divide in this country seems to cleave to the idea that the unexamined life actually gets you all of the power and all of the treasure, and it has gone about consolidating said power and treasure in pretty spectacular ways over the last 30+ years. So self-flagellation about politeness is worse than useless.

    By all means, Mr. Almond, go do something to “strengthen the community.” But free yourself from the idea that civility will cure the right-wing of its excesses. They are playing for keeps.

  48. 48
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Will:

    The problem isn’t that just a few million angry conservatives are listening to Limbaugh it’s that politicians are listening to and taking orders from Limbaugh.

    Exactly, which Almond seems to be oblivious to. We can’t ignore these people because they are dictating the direction of this country.

    Another issue he fails to recognize is that even when you get the average conservative Joe alone and have a conversation in which they realize that they agree with you COMPLETELY about an important issue, that part of their brain switches off as soon as Rush or Sean or stupid Steve Doooooooocey says something else. What is scary is how incredibly gullible the millions of “angry conservative” voters out there are–they fall for each and every piece of propagandized crap thrown their way, even if it’s against their own interest. Sorry, but we’re just not the same–liberals just don’t do this.

    We live in a nation where almost half the people have absolutely NO critical thinking skills whatsoever. Being nice to their puppetmasters is not the way to go.

  49. 49
    Keith says:

    Give them what they want so the hostages go free? Yeah, solid strategy.

  50. 50
    jl says:

    What is really irritating about the column is that, in several topics, this Almond dude implicitly accepts GOP talking points or framing, and then recommends against arguing against it.

    Good example is treatment of women’s reproductive services, as ChrisNYC pointed out above.

    OK, I guess if a person is too lazy or inept to think about the assumptions and framing that different parties use in a debate, best thing might be to just ignore it.

    But, seems like a loser (as in, ‘What an effing LOSER!’) approach to me.

    So, maybe Almond should add a note that his column is addressed to hapless losers. That would clarify the intended audience, and the point of the column.

  51. 51
    CW in LA says:

    @Keith: Wasn’t that what Ezra Klein was advocating the other day? The self-hating liberals are out in force lately, aren’t they?

  52. 52
    Shrillhouse says:

    Somebody call those Americans Elect wankers, I think I just found their candidate…..

  53. 53
  54. 54
    jl says:

    @Shrillhouse: Would be a good vaporware candidate. Too bad they closed up shop for this cycle. Oh the humanity, missed it by ‘just that much’!

  55. 55

    We should have another music thread. There’s only so many ways you can say Steve Almond is a boring hack.

    /yawn

  56. 56
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Who fucking cares about this nutbar Almond.

    I’m practically beside myself waiting for mistermix’s postmortem on Kos’ NRN vanity project.

  57. 57
    jl says:

    @CW in LA:

    ” Wasn’t that what Ezra Klein was advocating the other day? ”

    I only pay attention to Klein when he brings some numbers and some analysis.

    On the other punditizing vaporific BS, I see little difference between Klein and other mushy centrist quasi liberals in the media.

  58. 58
    liberal says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    The public sector unions especially the teachers are portrayed as the devils with black hats. And the progressives(except the blogosphere) allow the unions to be burned at the stake.

    As a dead white European male once said: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity”

  59. 59
    jl says:

    @danah gaz (fka gaz):

    Fool on the Hill
    http://youtu.be/Tg1k_G6fRpQ

    Dammit, I forgot about Nowhere Man.

  60. 60
    Observer says:

    @John Cole: Feh.

    The main (but not only) problem with the argument as presented is that Democrats are supposed to try and find reasonable Republicans to go do legislation with.

    If you’re gonna pick on something you should have picked on this. The part of the argument about ignoring Fox etc. is actually bang-on.

    Fox and the rest of the Republican party doesn’t try and convince “reasonable” Democrats. No successful political party in Western society tries that approach. The only party which does so is the Democratic party; everyone else tries and convinces actual voters and they tend to do that by aiming their communications and legislative agenda at actual voters instead of their political opponents.

    So the op-ed was revealing but not in the way you believe.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    boss bitch says:

    You win by punching the bullies in the mouth.

    But Liberals aren’t even doing that much.

  63. 63
    jl says:

    @Observer:

    Fox is part of the GOP.

    I don’t see how ‘Democrats are supposed to try and find reasonable Republicans to go do legislation with.’ differs from what I said above. That is a GOP talking point. For example, the chronic whine from Boehner and other GOP leaders that Obama will not work with the GOP, will not show leadership.

    I think the whole column is example after example of implicitly accepting strategic framing and assumptions pushed by GOP/Fox (and they are just different parts of the same thing).

    Maybe the poor soul means well, but he don’t look it.

  64. 64
    Citizen_X says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I really dislike the “bully” metaphor

    What metaphor? They are bullies, and they ought to be treated as such.

  65. 65
    RSA says:

    Almond:

    We have to seek out those on the right willing to engage in genuine dialogue and ignore the rest.

    Been there, done that. And yet arguing with my geriatric in-laws hasn’t seemed to bring about any change in our national politics, at least that I’ve noticed. Gee, I wonder what’s missing from Almond’s prescription?

  66. 66
    Valdivia says:

    I am so glad I don’t read the times anymore…

  67. 67
    jl says:

    On a positive note, the pic for this post is really cute.

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    That’s probably a photo of Cole as a boy, don’t you think? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  69. 69
    Unsympathetic says:

    Neville Chamberlain failed with Almond’s strategy.

    But, hey, this time is different, right?

    Perhaps Almond has a future as a picker of stocks.

  70. 70
    Baud says:

    @RSA:

    We have to seek out those on the right willing to engage in genuine dialogue and ignore the rest.

    Did Almond really say that? I didn’t read the article, and I’m glad I didn’t. Why do we have to seek them out? Don’t they have any responsibility here?

    Oh, I forgot, IOKIYAR.

    Never mind.

  71. 71

    @jl:
    Moar reggie
    Ain’t No Sunshine

    I don’t know what’s best. Reggie’s skill, or the effect he has on the fluffed white bobbleheads on the stage and the suburban moms in the audience.

    It reminds me of when I first saw him perform in 2k6 in the seattle center (next to the food court). My friends on stilts eating fire, and moms practically knocking over their strollers rockin’ to him.

    Pure, unadulterated WIN, in any case.

  72. 72
    Redshift says:

    Any lawyers here know if people can join a class action lawsuit against fraudulent pundits?

    Fraudulent in what way? That’s the reason it could never succeed. The job of pundit is to be provocative and opinionated, not to be honest, accurate, or to ever accept that reality is different from what they want it to be.

  73. 73
    Valdivia says:

    @Yutsano:

    And Bill Keller was pimping this on twitter precisely because the piece takes the Village’s role out of the equation.

  74. 74
    jl says:

    @danah gaz (fka gaz):

    Interesting, I like the dubby stuff.

    Was there a muppet in that? I skipped through again, but didn’t see it again.

  75. 75

    @jl: Yes there was a muppet =)

  76. 76
    burnspbesq says:

    Any lawyers here know if people can join a class action lawsuit against fraudulent pundits?

    Yes, I know the answer to your question.

    I kinda doubt the it’s the answer you were hoping for.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    My suggestion to sue was metasnarkaphor.

    But if a letter ever does show up in the mail, I’m in.

    @burnspbesq:
    OK great. Burnspbesq is on it. I’ll check the mail regularly. Thanks in advance.

    Edit: Well, what kind of lawyer are you? I just might sue!

  78. 78
    JPL says:

    The problem with the article is that the sane Republicans became independents some time ago. Get off my lawn..

  79. 79
    darrius says:

    No surprise Wrong Again Cole is wrong again. But it’s impossible to prove so I won’t bother wasting my time.

    Add popular media to the long list of thing Cole obviously knows NOTHING about.

    I’ll say one thing which will go in one ear and out the other. If ‘popular media’ is ignored then by definition it is no longer popular.

  80. 80
    Baud says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t get why to so many pundits liberals have to be high-minded all the time while conservatives get to wallow in the gutter.

    They want to keep their jobs.

  81. 81
    samuel says:

    No surprise Wrong Again Cole is wrong again. But it’s impossible to prove so I won’t bother wasting my time.

    Add popular media to the long list of thing Cole obviously knows NOTHING about.

    I’ll say one thing which will go in one ear and out the other. If ‘popular media’ is ignored then by definition it is no longer popular.

  82. 82
    John Weiss says:

    Josephine County in Oregon is a case in miniature of what will happen to our Nation if the “conservatives” get their way.

    http://www.currypilot.com/News.....-next-year

    No police, no public schools, no help for the homeless. No increased taxes no matter the cost.

  83. 83

    From Why Shit So Crazy?

    Apropos to the thread I think. Could be the soundtrack, I guess.

  84. 84
    Egg Berry says:

    What was that phase someone said, the only goal of conservatives is to find out what pisses off liberals, and do it repeatedly?

  85. 85
    Nutella says:

    You win by punching the bullies in the mouthneck.

    FTFY

  86. 86
    Jewish Steel says:

    @M Riles: Yeah, back to the quiet rooms. Hopefully it’ll be chaps doing the deciding this time. No yucky gurls alowed!

    @jl: If I roll over on my back and wag my tail fetchingly, do you think Republicans will rub my pink belly? It seems to be what they want.

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I’m practically beside myself waiting for mistermix’s postmortem on Kos’ NRN vanity project.

    I don’t know if this is snark or earnest, but I am too.

  87. 87
    jl says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    From evidence so far, probably best bet is to request a DougJ review of Providence RI hangouts and drinking establishments.

    I’ve never seen that part of the country, so info would be useful.

  88. 88
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Egg Berry: It’s cleek.

    “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.”

  89. 89
    Yutsano says:

    @darrius: @samuel: Poor Durf. Can’t keep his sockpuppets right. Must be tough sucking up to Harper all the time.

  90. 90
    BethanyAnne says:

    @harlana: That was really good, thanks for the link.

  91. 91
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @CW in LA:

    Wasn’t that what Ezra Klein was advocating the other day?

    No.

  92. 92
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    Ron Silver (before he … died)

    Huh. I did not know that. He was dead to me after his Neo-Con conversion.

  93. 93
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Yutsano: Durfs gotta durve.

  94. 94
    Chris says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    Huh. I did not know that. He was dead to me after his Neo-Con conversion.

    I’ve never quite grasped the psychology of liberals who turn conservatives.

  95. 95
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Chris:

    I’ve never quite grasped the psychology of liberals who turn conservatives.

    They made some money and got greedy? Although in Silver’s case I think he was taken in by the GWoT Kool-Aid. 9/11 changed everything and all that silly bullshit.

  96. 96
    Teresa says:

    It’s always the same with people like Almond, shut up and take it. I’m guessing much like Lieberman, Zell Miller he’s got a money deal in the works and the payers are conservatives.

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    You know, a certain religious minority in central Europe tried ignoring some rather unpleasant political types who seized control of the government.

    That worked out REALLY well for millions of members of the certain religious minority.

  98. 98
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Chris: Weren’t all those NeoCons supposedly Marxists before they converted?

    I think the appeal for them was the power contained in Marxist rhetoric and not, like, helping people lead better lives.

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @John Weiss:

    The home county of Art Robinson.

    Josephine County is an absolute shithole.

  100. 100
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Not just Marxists.

    Trotskyites.

    SERIOUS shitheads.

  101. 101
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Ah, yeah. That’s it.

    I knew I was off by a few clicks but I didn’t think they were Maoists.

  102. 102
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @samuel:

    I’ll say one thing which will go in one ear and out the other. If ‘popular media’ is ignored then by definition it is no longer popular.

    Wow, that is profound. Deep, even. Are you a philosopher by trade?

  103. 103
    Redshift says:

    @efgoldman:

    Who was at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
    Hmm.

    Invited by Fox. So hey, it could have been a lot worse.

  104. 104
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    john, if you need togo somewhere and be a conservative for a while, i am sure your blog can get along without you.

    seriously, though, its one thing to punch a bully in the mouth, like in the movies, or when its already understood by everyone, and i mean everyone has to already know who the bully is, but that is a necessary precondition for that whole john wayne/ralphie storyline to work.

    the reality is, the broderian pandering is strong enough, and the unions are bad, women should shut up, post racial, et al, schtick still has enough people that want to believe it, that when the bullies cry unfair, and wail and sob at their victimy, enough people will want to believe it, because it fits what is easy and confortable, the punchy-mouthy thing won’t work.

    you have to establish firmly the bully/toadie/mark relationship. or in the short term, maybe you work around the edges of the white noise.

  105. 105
    jl says:

    @efgoldman: That was a joke, son. A joke, I say.

  106. 106
    John Weiss says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Well, you’re right, mostly. Grant’s Pass has a very nice Thai restaurant. Medford is pretty awful but there’s a good Indian restaurant. Mostly the wifie and I stay on the Pacific side of the mountains.

    Yeah, good ‘ol Artie. He ran his son as a democrat against Peter DeFazio, hoping, I suppose, to ‘primary’ him. DeFazio, of course, crushed him. Art is a mean, low-life SOB. I can’t imagine using my son in such a manner.

  107. 107
    gbear says:

    @John Weiss:

    The sheriff’s office already closed its major crimes unit and records division, reduced its K-9 unit to one dog and will drastically reduce patrol deputies – going from about 25 road deputies to six, three of whom work on contract to patrol specific areas.

    Are the three deputies who work on contract patrolling neighborhoods that can afford private protection? This is what it’s going to come down to…

  108. 108
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jewish Steel: The appeal of a small, disciplined party. led by far-seeing, committed, ideologically pure cadres, acting as the Vanguard of a larger, inevitable, Revolution, and playing midwives to history as a result, is not limited to the left — hell, on the left the dream is as dead as Kelsey’s nuts.

    The modern GOP in fact is the last major Leninist parliamentary party in the developed world.

  109. 109
    Warren Terra says:

    Was it even the dumbest of the day, considering that Bruni took a look at the political landscape and decided to reel off some happy talk about the GOP’s Gay-friendly future?

    (Disclaimer: I didn’t finish reading Bruni’s insipid, insane piece).

  110. 110
  111. 111
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @darrius:

    Hey!

    @samuel:

    Your sockpuppets are crashing into each other. Don’t drink and post while insane, you might hurt yourself.

    That and everyone learns what a douche you are.

  112. 112
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jewish Steel: And a hearty “All power to the Soviets of preachers and hedge-fund managers!” to you, too.

  113. 113
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @John Weiss:

    That’s our local rag here in Brookings. Bishop (the Sheriff) goes through this every other year. Property costs are through the roof here, rentals for the locals are the same and the local economy flat out sucks, adding more property taxes is going to go nowhere fast here.

    Never mind that there are a lot of retired people living here in McMansions, as if they were living in some exclusive community. Actually, they have built themselves some really nice gated communities here. The perfect places to ignore the rest of the mess around them (we proles).

    We are packed with retirees who make getting anything passed next to impossible and full of low paying jobs that make it next to impossible for the lifers here to make a good living. I would guess that the median age here is 60, mostly due to the large influx of retirees.

    They pretty much dictate what happens here now, we’re just along for the ride.

  114. 114
    Citizen_X says:

    @samuel:

    it’s impossible to prove so I won’t bother wasting my time

    I know, SNFTF damnuel/sorryass troll, but this is so fucking stupid it achieves some kind of tard genius.

  115. 115
    Michael57 says:

    Try reading the article without the stupid headline–it makes a lot more sense. I think Almond has a point about our team enabling the Neanderthals. And if you point out that there aren’t any reasonable right-wingers around, maybe that’s in part because we’re enabling the loons to shout them down. Maybe they are in hiding.

    Almond is a good writer about obsession (Candyfreak) and music (Rock & Roll Will Save Your Life). And he’s well liked and respected in the Boston arts community. Check people out before you start calling them Broder or worse.

    Seriously–it’s the headline that pisses you off, admit it. And guess what, writers don’t write their own headlines.

  116. 116
    gogol's wife says:

    This is totally OT and the thread may be about dead, but I just have to share my joy that the tortured pigs have disappeared from the ads.

  117. 117
    MattF says:

    @Warren Terra: Yeah, the NYT op-ed conservatives have trouble getting in touch with their inner thug, so they end up just confused and incoherent. Sad, in a way.

  118. 118
    gogol's wife says:

    @Michael57:

    I think people are reacting to the fact that the only reason Mr. Almond is featured in the NYTimes Sunday Review is that he seems to be a liberal criticizing liberals. If he were criticizing right-wingers he wouldn’t get near that real estate.

  119. 119

    @samuel:

    If ‘popular media’ is ignored then by definition it is no longer popular.

    Your theory fails to explain why Carrot Top exists.

  120. 120
    bemused says:

    The little boy could be saying, “Don’t bother me. I want to be alone”. All that is missing is a trio of pets surrounding the boy.

  121. 121
    hilzoy says:

    Look: he’s describing stupid, unattractive character traits, like listening to your opponents hoping they’ll say something stupid so you can get a charge of moral righteousness. He’s right to think that’s vile. But he’s wrong to think (a) that that’s a problem with “liberals”, as opposed to a problem with *him* (this is one of the many columns that makes me think: “what do you mean “we”, white man?”); and (b) that this is the main problem out there, and if “we” liberals just stopped doing it, life would be dandy.

    I actually do think it’s worth looking for reasonable Republicans. But (imho) you have to distinguish between professionals and civilians. People who make a living being Republicans (politicians, think tank people, consultants, Fox news people, conservative bloggers, etc.) are, best I can tell, mostly either bought and paid for or beyond convincing, by now. And they have taken up, of their own free will, professions that give them a responsibility to get things right.

    But people who are not in this professionally — who are busy trying to keep food on the table and raise their kids, and do not pay a lot of attention to politics — are a different story. Trying to get past the shouting with *them* should never seem like a lost cause. When it does — when we conclude that 40-odd percent of our fellow citizens are not worth talking to, and should be treated as enemies to be defeated rather than decent people who might have gotten things wrong — then our democracy will be in even worse shape than we think it is now. And that will be true whether we’re right or wrong about them — because if we’re wrong, then we’re willing to give up on the idea of reasoning with our fellow citizens without being forced to do so. That’s a terrible thing to do.

  122. 122
    gogol's wife says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I mean Sunday magazine. I haven’t read either one yet so got mixed up. Point still holds.

  123. 123
    Allan says:

    I see more minutes of Rush Limbaugh nightly on Lawrence O’Donnell than you’ll ever see on FoxNews.

    “Look at what this jerk said” is a lazy way to fill air-time, and it gives the jerk another audience.

  124. 124
    xian says:

    @Michael57:

    we’re enabling the loons to shout them down

    is pure unadulterated bullshit

  125. 125
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Michael57: Liberals need to take a good hard look in the mirror and think about the ways in which they can help Republicans. Have I got that right?

  126. 126
    Bill Murray says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire: I think he/she is Yogi Berra

  127. 127
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    There’s some awesome war pr0n on 60 Minutes right now. I nearly came in my drawers when Panetta said we’re going to blow up Iran if they get a nuke.

  128. 128
    John Weiss says:

    @gbear: “Are the three deputies who work on contract patrolling neighborhoods that can afford private protection? This is what it’s going to come down to…”

    I believe that the three are private protection. Sucks.

    Josephine and Curry counties have the lowest property tax rates in Oregon. Both are on the verge of going broke. If those counties indeed go broke, looks likely, then the State of Oregon will take control and raise taxes whether the majority of citizens, that would be Republicans, like it or not. I can’t wait for the screaming to start.

  129. 129
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Citizen_X: This is crossing into pet peeve territory, I realize, but IMHO now that we know more about bullying and how to take it seriously, the idea that the One Right Way to confront bullies is to hit them back doesn’t ring true or feel all that helpful, either for real or metaphorical bullies.

  130. 130
    LanceThruster says:

    I say, “It’s *clobberingP time!”

  131. 131
    John Weiss says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: Odie Hugh!

    You’re right on every count. Do you live in/around Brookings?

    My fellow conspirators and I have opened a permanent (we hope!) Democrat office next to the Redwood Theatre. Yesterday we opened for the Art Walk. There were lots of new faces. We signed up about a dozen folk for our newsletter.

    BTW, most of us commie-socialush Dems are retirees.

  132. 132
    Ben Franklin says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Bob Shrum?

  133. 133
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Amazing how it’s always upon liberals to try and work toward that civil discourse, but the GOP are allowed to be children flinging their shit-filled diapers to the ceiling and flinging mashed peas into the dog’s face, with the only chidings being toward the Dems for not giving into their whims even more.

    Our political discourse. You can’t even laugh to keep from crying anymore, because it’s simply too fucking depressing.

  134. 134
    samuel says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: Carrot who? Nobody cares about him anymore so he is irrelevant….like Coles opinions on this very thing.

  135. 135
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @darrius:
    @samuel:

    Either of you guys ever met a dude called Taco? Or satireV? Or Derffred? I think you’d probably like them.

  136. 136
    John Weiss says:

    @samuel: Are you unable to post either a positive or interesting comment? Or is flinging shitte your sort of thing?

  137. 137
    Heliopause says:

    The sad truth is, there is no one right way to engage the political opposition. It’s a complex calculus with many factors to consider. Sometimes you engage and sometimes you ignore. I’m talking here mainly about intellectual discourse.

    Policy and legislation are a slightly different animal. 2009-2001 were defined by what Nelson, Lieberman, Spector , Collins, Snowe, and like-minded might agree to. If Almond is saying that one should seek out these types and “get something done” then he’s simply describing the first two years of the Obama Administration.

  138. 138
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @John Weiss:

    Yep, it’s me home. It’s a beautiful town with some serious problems. If the state does step in, take over and raise taxes, the retirees will grumble and some may even move out of the area. As much as they would bitch about it, many of them have the money to pay higher taxes without suffering (evident by the expensive cars and McMansions they own). The locals will really suffer because they can’t afford to pay more in property taxes or higher rental prices. IMO, those that can would leave (mostly the well off retirees) and everyone else would be left to pay for the mess left behind.

    The local economy is pretty much caring for old people and tourism, that’s pretty much it. We’re out on the edge or Nowhere, Oregon, like many other rural parts of the state. The state and feds own much of the county and the money that the feds used to pay counties like ours (for snagging up much of it for themselves) is long gone. One thing that really gets me is that I see more young families using food stamp cards at the local stores than I do see old people using them.

    That really seems odd but many of our elderly transplants are well off and that is reflected at the ‘grocery level’.

    Sad but at least the retirees don’t have to eat dog food, eh?

    I forgot to add, why am I telling you this? ;)

  139. 139
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    BTW, if you see a T-topped white/black ’78 Mustang II (think Charlie’s Angels from the 70’s) driving around town, that’s me. My wife drives it every other blue moon but she prefers my driving “The Chariot”, she gets to kick back and enjoy the ride and I get to show off a beautiful wife and nice car.

    It works for both of us. :)

  140. 140
    Yutsano says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    I get to show off a beautiful wife and nice car

    I don’t know about the car, but I can vouch for his wife being a stunner. And she’s smart and feisty enough to cuss him out when he deserves it. ODH, you lucky stiff.

  141. 141
    John Weiss says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: Heh. Brookings! Well said. You’re telling me this to get it out in the open/off your chest. And it’s the truth.

    I wish you’d come check us out at the Dem HQ. We’re open midday maybe 11:00 ’til 3:00. As we are a herd of cats, the hours won’t be regular until mid-August. There are some mighty fine folk in our little clique and no one lives in a McMansion (funny co-incidence, that).

    We live a few miles from Brookings, as the jay flies, in what is laughingly referred to as a sub-division, in a fir forest. The wife and I think we’ve died and gone to heaven.

  142. 142
    John Weiss says:

    @Yutsano: You live here too?!

  143. 143
    Yutsano says:

    @John Weiss: Nah I live in Seattle. I have sources though. :) If we ask nice maybe ODH will post that vid again.

  144. 144
    pluege says:

    You win by punching the bullies in the mouth.

    unfortunate, but so true. Everyone’s been waiting for it. Even the bullies,a.k.a. republican/conservatives who know somewhere deep down in what is left of their stinking festering souls, that someone needs to stop them. Too bad democrats are the only ones in position to do it and have no desire or capability to do it.

  145. 145
    John Weiss says:

    @pluege: “Too bad democrats are the only ones in position to do it and have no desire or capability to do it.”

    I’m thinking that it may come down to ax handles in the street. Too bad I’m old enough to have to leave it to the children.

  146. 146
    John Weiss says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: Yutsano said you have a video. Pretty please?

  147. 147
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @John Weiss:

    I mentioned your post to my wife and she said “We (daughter and herself) were over by the Redwood and saw the Obama signs there.”, which made me laugh. She works at what I call ‘the local community center’, Fred’s, (as does our daughter) and they know everything that’s going on around here so they keep me informed on what’s happening around town.

    We live down at the south end of town (down near the end of Alder, off of Memory Lane) in rental hell. I have many computer customers up north of town (Cape Ferrelo/Carpenterville areas) so I’m up there quite often.

    I’ll have to drop in some time and scare the hell out of you peeps. I’m always happy to find others of a like mind, this area has few enough of us as it is.

  148. 148
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Yutsano:

    While the car is damned fine, my wife always wins the beauty contest. Most arguments too. ;)

    Put us and the car together though, and I’m just happy to be alive. :)

    @Yutsano:

    I can’t locate the link and our daughter moved it so I’ll ask her later and post it once I find it!

    “Asshole” indeed. ;p

  149. 149
    John Weiss says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: “I’ll have to drop in some time and scare the hell out of you peeps. I’m always happy to find others of a like mind, this area has few enough of us as it is.”

    Ha. More of us than one would think. Do drop in. You all are more than welcome.

  150. 150

    […] From Ballon Juice: This may be the single dumbest op-ed in the NY Times this year, which would be an accomplishment, given that Friedman, Brooks, Douthat, and Bruni all write there. Apparently Steve Almond thinks that if liberals would just ignore nasty old Republicans, then we’d have an amazingly civil public discourse and Fox news would shrivel up and die. The logic goes something like this: […]

  151. 151
    Michael57 says:

    Hmm, I just think I’m older than a lot of you. I do remember when there were reasonable republicans. Just because they haven’t been spotted since the early 90s doesn’t mean they can’t come back. But they can’t come back now, Almond says, because we’re feeding a narrative– that the rightwing crazies who are now in charge have the weight to be in charge of a national party and have ideas that are worthy of serious attention. I think this is what Almond is trying to say. He’s describing a box we’re in, not endorsing it. He’s saying we’re enabling them by arguing with them instead of simply calling them absolutely bugfuck nuts every time they open their fucking mouths. Jesus Christ, Ike called the Birchers nuts. These are Birchers. If Ike could do it, why can’t Obama? Why can’t we? Why can’t we make people see it? Maybe, Almond says, because we’re satisfied with simply being right. We stop there, because being right is easier than working.

    The only thing I wish he’d said was that the NYT and the Post etc. are guiltier than anyone in feeding this narrative. Maybe he’s lumping them in with us, i don’t know. But every time you see a nut with a byline, a Kristol, a d’Souza, a John Fucking Woo, you know our national discourse just lurched to the right again.

    Sure, a poke in the nose is the best way to deal with a bully. But look, the bully is still there. Now what?

  152. 152
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Michael57:

    Why can’t we make people see it?

    Because, they think, if it works, don’t fix it. IOW, it’s profit that drives everything. Really, it’s always been that way, but now people feel no remorse for crass money-mongering. IPOF, it’s a sound-byte pregnant with personal pride. The Media simply apply the principles of business. They are only part of the equation. The people who buy print or watch teevee know what they want. The businessman knows what he wants.

    As for Republicans and the Bob Shrums of this world, it’s time to don the brass knuckles.

    There is no middle-ground in this. We must as Hunter S. Thompson declared “Exterminate the bastards”

    Metaphorcially, of course.

  153. 153
    kuvasz says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Which is why they are more akin to the Bolsheviks of Russia than to anything American. For them, everything comes down to attaining and retaining power and cashing in, nothing more.

  154. 154
    Ken_L says:

    The man’s got a point IMHO. To much time and energy invested in “OMG have you seen the stupendous bullshit x wrote today???” type conversations. Too much time and energy ridiculing and sneering at others for being wrong and stupid; not enough time and effort generating enthusiasm for liberal initiatives and values.

    Where are the liberal blog posts trying to set the agenda for public discussion? Cos as a subscriber to memorandum, what I mainly see are right-wing posts and reactions to them.

    OK you want to punch bullies in the face until they quit. Then what? Too much of what I read suggests the punching has become an end in itself, which is part of what Almond is saying. It might not be a problem if it was having good results, but manifestly it isn’t. Enduring 10 more years of right wing rule in the fond hope we’ll be saved eventually by demographics doesn’t seem like much of a strategy to me. We need to give people a reason to vote for Democrats this year, and ‘the other side are evil morons’ isn’t going to do the trick.

  155. 155
    LosGatosCA says:

    @Will:

    Exactly.

    Same for Grover Norquist. Instead of a radio sewer show he has a word processor with a ‘pledge’ in it.

  156. 156
    LosGatosCA says:

    @cathyx:

    I imagine a lot Russians had the same attitude about the Bolsheviks.

    Pay no attention, it’s just a phase, they’ll grow out of it. What are they going to do? Have purges? Send us to Siberia? Collectivize the farms? Heck no. They’d have to kill millions of us to do that.

  157. 157
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @LosGatosCA: Didn’t he tell Samantha Bee that he came up with the pledge when he was 12?

  158. 158

    If you don’t stand up to Right Wing noise, low information voters assume that the Right Wingers are correct and the Left Wingers are just going through the motions when objecting.

    If you do stand up to Right Wing noise, but are uncivil then you lose support of people who want the discourse to be civil.

    This is the trap of a rigged game. The corporate media–including PBS and NPR–enable the bullshit and sometimes lies. They distract people from the important issues. And then the Left is supposed to dig the situation out of the hole in seven-second sound bites.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] From Ballon Juice: This may be the single dumbest op-ed in the NY Times this year, which would be an accomplishment, given that Friedman, Brooks, Douthat, and Bruni all write there. Apparently Steve Almond thinks that if liberals would just ignore nasty old Republicans, then we’d have an amazingly civil public discourse and Fox news would shrivel up and die. The logic goes something like this: […]

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