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You're Welcome!

I've gotten a curiously large number of emails over the past week from various persons thanking me for writing the blog. Well, you're all very welcome, I enjoy doing it enormously. And, indeed, thank you for reading. Tell your powerful marketing friends to buy some BlogAds even in this post-election environment and I might even be able to pay the rent. Pretty exciting stuff.

Declining revenues (and the fact that we lost) aside, I personally find the end of campaign season rather liberating. Over at The Gadflyer, for example, Jonathan Weiler says liberals need to be more careful about calling Bush (or his woefully underinformed supporters -- not all his supporters, to be sure, but a majority of them) stupid or ignorant or whatever lest we be termed elitists. This is probably right, but for the next several years I don't need to care and this is just a weblog written for the pleasure of myself and whoever chooses to read it. I'll be as elitist as I want to be which, to be perfectly honest, is pretty damn elitist.

November 8, 2004 | Permalink

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Being on the losing side of an election has precious few comforts. [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 12, 2004 12:11:43 PM

Comments

well, i agree that we shouldn't call them "stupid," but calling them "underinformed" or "illinformed" is, in my estimation, indisputable.

Posted by: howard | Nov 8, 2004 12:27:12 PM

We're not supposed to call Bush's demographic base stupid and/or ignorant, yet they can call us names, year in and year out, since roughly 1789?

I'll have to think about this.


Posted by: gavin mcnett | Nov 8, 2004 12:27:35 PM

Jonathan Weiler says liberals need to be more careful about calling Bush (or his woefully underinformed supporters -- not all his supporters, to be sure, but a majority of them) stupid or ignorant or whatever lest we be termed elitists.

By all means you should continue to call me stupid and ignorant, because even if you cease, I'm still going to call you elitist.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida | Nov 8, 2004 12:30:12 PM

I've certainly enjoyed your blog, though I enjoyed it more before you set out to compensate for the supposed "hack gap". Here's hoping the pawn shop hadn't sold your integrity yet!

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Nov 8, 2004 12:32:54 PM

"We're not supposed to call Bush's demographic base stupid and/or ignorant, yet they can call us names, year in and year out, since roughly 1789?"

Trouble is that the Democratic party needs to reach out to these people. if they feel they are being condescended to, they will keep on voting GOP. The Democrats can't win a national election without these people, the Republicans under Bush have just proven that.

Posted by: Brendan | Nov 8, 2004 12:35:35 PM

Let's see; stupid GOPers own all three branches of Government and a significant chunk of the media and we're elitist?

Wow.

Posted by: Jadegold | Nov 8, 2004 12:35:38 PM

My parents, New Deal Democrats, brought me up to believe that if I see somebody doing something out of ignorance, it's a service to try to set them straight. Whether it's "don't pump the pedal so much, you'll flood the carburetor" or "not all manufacturers declare all their contents, so since your boy is really allergic to peanuts, check with an independent source before you buy those snacks" or "Hussein had no ties to Al Qaeda and no weapons of mass destruction", these are things that neighbors and fellow citizens do for each other. And if people persist in denying any challenges at all to their convictions, then "stupid" seems a pretty good handle. If we want to be classy about it, we can always quote Mary Baker Eddy and her marvelous description of "willful ongoing ignorance as a way of life".

And yeah, Matthew, in the meantime, write for the hell of it. I think there's real merit in it, since the one thing we know for sure is that the particular strategies and tactics of this last round didn't quite work. Multiplication of new possibilities seems the obvious way to go.

Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Nov 8, 2004 12:44:22 PM

Misunderinformed? Stupidery?

But seriously, as I wrote in what may be my last blog post ever, Republicans won because of the constant talking down of the left that has occurred in their ranks for the last thirty (at least) years.

Every single problem in the life of a struggling now lower class worker can be (and has been) blamed on liberals, elitists and so on and so forth. If that isn't condescension, I don't know what is.

Posted by: dstein | Nov 8, 2004 12:45:55 PM

My take on this, posted at my URL, is that this no-ridicule meme (which I've seen in 4 or 5 places already) is a Republican talking point.

I think it has two meanings. One is, "My friend here may be dumb, but he can whip your ass, loser." The cockiness that trolls have comes from their awareness that they don't have to win arguments. They just have to wait for their retarded big brother to show up -- i.e., the people who still believe that Saddam had WMD and was behind 9/11.

Second, David Brooks and a lot of others were hired on to fill the equal-opportunity hire-the-handicapped conservative quota. They have to present some version of the Republican line, no matter how stupid the Republican line may be. It's written into their job descriptions.

Brooks, for example, is a pretty smart guy, and he has to be embarassed sometimes by the sack of shit he's hustling to the American public. When we call the fluff voters and evangelical madmen "stupid", it reminds him of who his friends really are (people whom he'd never think of spending time with).

It also reminds him that people are stupid because people like Brooks make their livings keeping them stupid. It's gotta bother him sometimes.

So I say, more and better ridicule.

Most of them are embarrassed

Posted by: Zizka | Nov 8, 2004 1:11:47 PM

I tend to be a bit on the conservative side, but not so far that I would feel any particular sting from name-calling. I came to this sight to try to find a reason to vote for Kerry, I never really got a good reason to vote for Kerry, mostly laundry lists of why not to vote for Bush. The bottom line is that the name-calling gets in the way of a real exchange of ideas. I hold a whole lot of liberal ideals as well, and it is good to get a frame of reference that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to find. Sometimes I post and know I am going to get blasted. If I get a blast from somebody like Zizka, Howard, Windhorse, or Bob I know I will probably learn something, or at least get a well thought response that shows where I may have been looking at something the wrong way. In short I gain perspective. The other extreme of that is somebody who will copy/paste a portion of my statement, followed by “moron” and give no thought to it. I have thick skin and have been called far worse, sometimes with justification, but that response helps nobody. So if the name calling makes you feel better about yourself, well then by all means, but I have grown to really enjoy the exchanges here, and the best ones take place without the name calling (Unless Crusader is envolved).

Posted by: Kevin | Nov 8, 2004 1:13:10 PM

FWIW, even rednecks have memories.

Posted by: praktike | Nov 8, 2004 1:26:16 PM

Call me a contrarian but I think the CW is entirely wrong. Sure there is a sizeable portion of the GOP base that lives in willful ignorance and hates to have that fact pointed out. While they may constitute a majority of the GOP (then again, they may not), they certainly constitute a minority of Americans.

I suspect that a lot of Bush voters would support the Democrats a whole lot more if the leaders were more willing to tell Bush to go fuck himself. There's a definite sense that if you can't stand up to Tom DeLay you won't stand up to Kim Jong Il. Or if Bush lies to you and you fall for it, you're twice as likely to fall for the lies of the Saddam Husseins of the world.

Talking nice isn't going to win over the hardcore Jesuslanders and it only causes the Dems to lose the respect of those on the fence.

Plus it is annoying. I don't respect people who can't figure out that the same people who bring them FoxNews also bring them the "Hollywood" trash on the broadcast Fox channels. Why should I pretend that I do?

Posted by: space | Nov 8, 2004 1:27:20 PM

"There's a definite sense that if you can't stand up to Tom DeLay you won't stand up to Kim Jong Il. Or if Bush lies to you and you fall for it, you're twice as likely to fall for the lies of the Saddam Husseins of the world."

Excellent point, space.

In the finaly analysis, Bush won because his campaign successfully positioned him as the plain-talking, hard-working man of the people. His final pitch on the stump came down to his (alleged) personal qualities of fortitude and grit. He's won over the Truman vote.

The fact that Harry Truman, were he alive today, would probably kick Bush in the nuts, while our current batch of leaders take the high road, is the Democrats' problem.

People call us "elitists." What they mean is "pussies."

Fight back.

Posted by: Thomas | Nov 8, 2004 1:42:45 PM

I have searched in vain for a good substitute for "pussies". Unfortunately, it fits Dems perfectly. We desperately need a more appropriate term so that we can accurately describe our leaders without pissing off the 51% of the population that I actually care about.

Posted by: space | Nov 8, 2004 2:03:16 PM

Thanks MY - Great blog.

The cockiness that trolls have comes from their awareness that they don't have to win arguments. They just have to wait for their retarded big brother to show up...

Or Zizka, we can simply wait until you inject the brilliant idea of deleting trolls' comments.

This is politics however, and everybody knows that until the end of time, the ridicule will not stop, so in fairness to you Ziz, you're correct to call bullshit on that one.

Posted by: Drew - Dallas, TX | Nov 8, 2004 2:11:36 PM

I would like to see more civility and less name-calling.

But let's be honest: if 75% of liberals never again uttered a condescending, insulting, elitist, incivil or whatever remark, the right-wing would (a) constantly focus on the 25% still making such remarks, and (b) claim that all the nice-nicey comments were in fact condescending, insulting, elitist, incivl, or whatever.

Posted by: Oberon | Nov 8, 2004 2:20:45 PM

Declining revenues (and the fact that we lost) aside, I personally find the end of campaign season rather liberating. - MY.

It shows. I think your stuff since the election has been quite interesting, well written and thought provoking. Elections bring out the partisan worst in everyone.

Posted by: drank | Nov 8, 2004 2:24:32 PM

re: I'll be as elitist as I want to be which, to be perfectly honest, is pretty damn elitist.


There have been all these suggestions as to how we "elites" can morph ourselves into good ol' boys 'n' girls in order to heal our country. I guess it's up to us to make the first move since we're on the losing side. But frankly my dears, I would rather have open heart surgery without anesthetic than attend a Pentacostal prayer meeting. And as to my elitist tastes, I don't know how I can convince Red Staters that I respect their home spun "values." I have no intention of trading in the Metropolitan Opera for the Grand Ol Opry. On the other hand, I purely love barbeque (the Eastern North Carolina variety), grits and collard greens. That should count for something, shouldn't it?

Posted by: gk | Nov 8, 2004 2:28:57 PM

Kevin, watch Bush. You may end up concluding that the fact that Kerry was not Bush was enough. By November you have three choices: A, B, and not voting. (Third party votes are non-votes.) By process of elimination Kerry was the one.

I think that few liberals have the cult-of-personality tendencies that quite a few conservatives have. People talk about the Deaniacs, but some of Bush's admirers are not in the real world.

It's really not reasonable to like a candidate more than only so much. They're flawed by definition.

That's a conservative principle, BTW.

Posted by: Zizka | Nov 8, 2004 2:30:14 PM

Kevin: The reason we've been so fixated on Bush is that we really think he is perhaps the worst President ever. I think Kerry would have made a fine President, but even if he had been a mediocre do-nothing President, this would have been a gigantic improvement in my eyes.

Posted by: Walt Pohl | Nov 8, 2004 2:30:29 PM

I see a bit too much blending here of what are separate things to be careful about. There's what "we" might say about Bush, his administration, and other Republican operatives, then there's what "we" might say about all of the Bush supporters.

Further there are charges of stupidity vs charges of incompetence vs charges of just being plain wrong. These things are different.

I tend to agree with Weiler that focusing on leveling the stupidity charge is just counterproductive. For one, it's provably untrue in the universal sense.

But make no mistake, there is no reason to mince words when it comes to calling the administration or the Republican leadership to task on the wrongness, and indeed the immorality, of their policy positions.

And for crying out loud, stop putting the terms moral and values and immoral in quotation marks. Doing so cedes this ground to those who define those terms too narrowly.

Posted by: Walker Willingham | Nov 8, 2004 2:32:10 PM

John, you're right, there's a tremendous market for people peddling the stories that justify the conspiratorial mindset, and for good reason. All these people have their worldview completely set through years of training, so when someone like Stephen Hayes shows up and writes a book about Saddam and al Qaeda, no one cares that his thesis and evidence are absolute garbage, because it can just be referred to as justification. The ideas and the mindsets are already there, and the proof will one day follow. The people who provide it, whether its in the media or in the government are able to ride the wave.

But space and oberon are exactly right. That's really what the election was about. Kerry was branded as weak, and willing to sell out the US to foreign interests. In addition to the semi-fascist nationalistic fervor that whipped up in people, it was a complete distortion (as MY has noted in the post about the weekly standard's endorsement). Again, the mindset was already there, it just needed to be justified by anything slightly related.

Posted by: dstein | Nov 8, 2004 2:33:00 PM

Fuck em. If Elitist means bothering to find out that there were no WMD and no links to Al Qaeda, please sign me up. While you're at it please pencil me in on the Shrill list to.

Posted by: Harold Babar | Nov 8, 2004 2:46:12 PM

We need to be better at deriding and ridiculing Bush and his cronies. It has to be funnier and less bitter. We needed to provide a better narative for humor writers with regard to Bush. Less 'regular guy with regualr values and intelligence caught in a big job', and more 'since he is a coward at heart he acts like a bully'. Less 'stubborn cowboy' and more 'everything he touches turns to failure'.

Posted by: theCoach | Nov 8, 2004 2:48:48 PM

As someone who's been reading your blog daily for more than two years, I've got to add my sincere thanks also!

Posted by: Nicholas Morrow Williams | Nov 8, 2004 2:56:42 PM

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