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Testing 'American Taliban'

Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

Over the past couple of weeks a number of liberal bloggers, including Glenn Greenwald, my colleague Jamelle Bouie and myself, have been arguing over whether or not Markos Moulitsas's book, American Taliban, in which he compares conservatives to Islamic extremists, goes too far.

A secondary question is whether replicating the right's tendency to attack its political rivals by portraying them not as merely wrong, but as threats to freedom itself, will ultimately profit a party that depends much more than the GOP on the support of moderates to win elections.

Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson's race in Florida against Republican Daniel Webster offers a kind of experiment on "American Taliban's" usefulness as a political epithet. In a new ad, Grayson refers to his opponent as "Taliban Dan" and compares his views to those of Islamic extremists:

 

The ad warns that "religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iran, and right here." It also shows Webster saying "Wives submit yourselves to your own husband," and "She should submit to me. That's in the Bible," while the announcer says, "Daniel Webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us." It's frightening, isn't it? It's also wrong.

The problem is that, as far as the quotes about his wife are concerned, Webster is being smeared, Shirley Sherrod style. Factcheck.org has the full context of the video, in which Webster is actually counseling against listening to verses in the Bible that tell women to "submit" to their husbands. The ad's representation of Webster's views on abortion -- he opposes it in all circumstances, including rape -- is accurate. That's outrageous in my view -- I don't think women should be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, let alone pregnancies that result from rape. But it's not accurate to suggest Webster thinks wives should "submit" to their husbands. That said, it's amusing to watch conservatives who have no qualms about amplifying the most repugnant smears against liberals complain that Grayson isn't playing fair. Of course he isn't playing "fair." He's playing like a Republican.

Grayson's district is more moderate than his reputation might suggest. It went for George W. Bush by 8 points in 2000 and 10 points in 2004, while flipping to Obama, who won it by only 5 points, in 2008. Nate Silver's model has Florida's 8th District in the "even chance of takeover" category, with a 52 percent chance of flipping, although the Grayson campaign's most recent internal poll shows Grayson running away with the race. 

Whatever you think of Moulitsas's argument, and I've been pretty clear in stating I disagree with the comparison, the race in Florida's 8th District offers a test of whether Democrats can win by talking more like Republicans. If he wins, other Democrats might consider adopting similar tactics. 

UPDATE 10:47 a.m: I didn't mean to be flippant above--it's clear that Webster is a threat to women's freedom to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. But as an elected official, his means would obviously be quite different.

UPDATE 1:17 p.m: Sarah Posner argues that while Grayson took Webster's comments out of context, Webster was still arguing that wives are religiously obligated to "submit" to their husbands.

By Adam Serwer  | September 28, 2010; 10:41 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, House Dems, House GOPers, Political media  
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Next: Another Christine O'Donnell embellishment: She misleadingly claims she studied at Oxford

Comments

I agree with much of what Adam writes here but I'd like for him to point out one GOP advertisement this cycle that calls a Democrat "Taliban."

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

What??!!

His opponent is Daniel Webster and Grayson isn't comparing him to the Devil?

Plus it's FL; they'll believe anything down there.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 28, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

" American Taliban, in which he compares conservatives to Islamic extremists, goes too far."

That really depends on the goals. If you're trying to win over moderates, independents, people who just don't pay that close attention and decide to vote for the flavor of the month . . . then it's probably a bad, and alienating strategy. If you want to preach to an increasingly marginalized but important base of voters, many of whom are currently highly demotivated, then it might be a great strategy.

However, it gives a lot of fuel to their opponents. "You see this? This is what they think of you. This is what they think of your preacher. Your friends, your brothers, your sisters, your parents. They think your elderly grandparents who haven't missed a day of church in 40 years are *no different* than the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11! If you don't want to vote for the Republican, then at least cast your vote against this!"

Or something to that affect. I'd find that argument compelling, at any rate.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"Of course he isn't playing "fair." He's playing like a Republican."

That doesn't make it right. One of the (many) things that drove me away from the Republican Party was their lies and general nastiness. It wouldn't have been that bad if I were dumb enough to believe the poop the GOP was pedaling, but I wasn't.

When I see one party being small, petty, nasty and untruthful it does NOT endear me to that party. If the Dems try to "out stupid" or “out mean” the GOP they will drive a lot of people away, especially the people who are only with the Dems because the alternative is sooo much worse.

On the other hand, Dems have been bringing knives to gun fights for a LONG time. It is nice to see a D dishing it out like the Rs do on a regular basis.

As to Kos' book, well, I think the title is a tad hyperbolic, but I haven't read the book yet, so I can't venture an opinion on it.

Posted by: nisleib | September 28, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@Adam

If I recall correctly, it was a Republicn who first used the term American Taliban in reference to himself. This was during the whole "I'm proud to be a right-wing extremist" phase last summer.

And I'd like to check, do you feel that the comparisons in the book between the Taliban and the Right-Wing in this country are inaccurate? Do you feel that Markos lied in his book or twisted facts to support his thesis in a way beyond what is considered standard for an arguementative essay?

If so, please provide evidence and back up those claims. But if you're complaints are merely based on some knee-jerk reaction to the rhetoric, even if accurate, then I'd suggest getting off your high horse and move back into the realm of factual debate. If someone's stances on religion as a basis for government is equatable to the taliban...then it's totally fair to point out that parrellel, and being direct isn't being unfair.

The difference between making that charge, backed with direct examples, is not even close to the type of baseless demonization we saw coming from the right in the past decade. To equate those two instances of rhetorical use as comparable seems more spurious than anything in Markos' book.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 28, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Also, I'd like to note, after having been married 20 years I think it's objectively and indisputably true that (a) wives *should* submit to their husbands and (b) it's never going to happen, and you're lucky if they don't poison you and bury you out in that soft patch in the back yard and plant tomatoes over your desiccated corpse.

/snark

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

snj3, the standard GOP attack is to accuse Democrats of surrendering to terrorism.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | September 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Boy that moral high ground is gonna feel great when Republicans are back in office huh? SMDH i swear progressives have to be the only people in politics that habitually shield the other side from attacks. Id love to see an example of a conservative fact checking a Republican's attack ad agsinst a Dem and taking them to task for being over the top. I swear man this kinda stuff absolutely drives me nuts. Repubs called a man who lost three limbs in combat a terrorist sympathizer but this? This is just beyond the pale.

When Grayson wins going away I hope it shows other Dems that politics is a contact sport.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | September 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Angle, O'Donnell, Paul, Palin, Ayotte and Miller all hold extreme religious viewpoints they want our country to adopt.

Either America wake up to these extremists or one day we'll wake up all being forced to recite the bible, be prosecuted for premarital sex, gay people will be punished and we'll be in some idiotic global holy war because these paranoid conspiracy theorists think someone is out to take over their way of life.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - 20 years? No wonder you are so cynical! snark/

Posted by: nisleib | September 28, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The fact that Grayson won the district alone and is still competitive shows that his style works for voters.

After all, who doesn't like a Congressman with GUTS who supports the Middle Class?

Oh right. Establishment Republicans don't like a Congressman with GUTS who supports the Middle Class.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 28, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@BBQ: "If I recall correctly, it was a Republicn who first used the term American Taliban in reference to himself."

I'd like to see some evidence of that. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but that sounds crazy to me. I can't believe a Republican would actually do that, if it wasn't at least playing off left-wing smears to that effect.

If true, thats f-word-ing mentally incapacitated.

@nisleib: "That doesn't make it right. One of the (many) things that drove me away from the Republican Party was their lies and general nastiness"

Indeed, that's what drove me away from the left. It wasn't really a party affiliation issue, but I found the tactics and general oppressiveness of certain hard-lefties very eye-opening to a naíve young liberal such as myself, at the time. Which led me to question many of the things I had taken for granted, and twenty years later . . . here I am.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7 at 10:42 AM


It is your approach that is wrong. The economy is dynamic - economic growth is the key.

You are taking a static stat - and somehow implying that if something can be done about what is static, it will cure the situation.


Investment is the key to economic growth and job creation.

If you start to take from one group and just give to another, you start to distort the economy - and reduce economic growth - that ends up hurting everyone - probably the poor more than the rich.

The economy is an combination of incentives and investments - it isn't a series of piles of wealth.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 28, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

sgwhiteinfla - I'd forgotten about the Max Cleland morphed into Osama Bin Laden ad.

That was deffinetly one of the lowest blows I've ever seen. IMO, that is straight up evil.

Even Alan Grayson wouldn't go there. That is one of the reasons I don't think it is wise for D's to try to out-evil the Republicans; they just don't have it in them.

Posted by: nisleib | September 28, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it. Haven't you professional journalists ever heard of a figure of speech.

He's not literally calling them Taliban. Them forcing their religious beliefs is Taliban'ish.

You'd think some of you would understand the difference having journalism degree's or whatever it takes to do what you do.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"I'd like to see some evidence of that. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but that sounds crazy to me. I can't believe a Republican would actually do that, if it wasn't at least playing off left-wing smears to that effect.

If true, thats f-word-ing mentally incapacitated. "

I remember this too. I'll find it really quick.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - You must be a generation older than me, because I don't recall seeing the left being overly oppressive. If anything they seem spineless and overly professorial to me.

What era are you talking about? I wasn't around for the Vietnam era, is that the time you are talking about?

Posted by: nisleib | September 28, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, Adam above says "women should be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term". I agree with him ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Here ya go, the Taliban technique self comparisons of the GOP leadership are here from Sessions. In all honesty, it was more a comparison to their insurgency techniques of disruption.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_02/016759.php

Maybe Democrats should come out and say we are adopting the Nazi technique of total domination, not saying we're Nazi's or anything, that's not what I'm saying, just to use their tactics! Brilliant, right? Amirite?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7 at 10:42 AM

I will give you one more line of thought - cause and effect. If you don't like the effect, identify the cause and do something about the cause.

Many economist will tell you that the development of the disparity in wealth right now is the result of the Clinton Free Trade deals.


Why? Jobs have been lost. Factories have closed. Main Street businesses are gone. Small towns have been hurt.


Who has gained? Big multinational corporations have gained - big corporate executives - but the increases in stock prices among those companies has helped hedge funds.


The benefits of Free Trade has tended to be concentrated with the few

While the hurt of the Free Trade has hurt the many. Clinton and crew would say that the total benefits to the economy EXCEED the total losses. However, the concentration hurts both the dynamics of the demand economy - and few people are comfortable with it.


CONCLUSION - if you really want to do something about the disparity in wealth - the Free Trade agreements are what to look at and that revisions to those agreements are what is needed.

If that is realy the source of the problem - and instead of address that cause, one devises a broad economy wide scheme which creates economic distortions and economic disincentives all over the nation, that scheme will end up going backwards, not forward for your purposes.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

As for the ad itself...the video is edited out of context, and that I disagree with.

But other than that...I'm find with it. Remove the clips of Webster - or find others that can be used in context but follow the same line of attack - and the rest of the ad can pretty much stay the same.

Is it hyperbolic, election-time rhetoric? Sure. But is anything other than the out-of-context video "wrong"? Not really.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

rukidding7 at 10:42 AM

Many of the solutions that you think might work - will not work.

Economic distortions and disincentives are horrible things - they build up over time. 1% per year in less growth might SEEM like a small price to pay.


However, in just 10 years, the build-up causes the economy to be 10% smaller - taxes are 10% less and there are 10% less of everything for everyone.


Economic Growth, on the other hand - produces more of everything for everyone - 10% MORE can be distributed throughout the economy and everyone is better off - and the governments have 10% for union contracts and massive government program, which I'm sure you like so much.


CONCLUSION:


It is a FACT that ECONOMIC GROWTH is the most important economic policy goal.

Would you like to argue with that one? The logic is earlier in this post.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 28, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

I think it was some obscure Congressman that used the term directly...but I can't find video/reporting on it at the moment. I'll conceed that I don't have a link to back up the direct use of the term.

I remember it, though, because it was a follow up to the Rep. Sessions referring to the Taliban as a 'model' for insurgency that the GOP should follow in terms of governance (mike also posted this link).

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_02/016759.php

It doesn't matter how many times he'd like to say "I'm not saying the GOP is the taliban"...once you make that comparison yourself, you are now open to that line of attack until you fully retract it. He never did, and in fact reitterated the point again and again.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

We should have a drinking game here on this blog.

Every time SaveTheRainforsts says the word FACT, everyone drinks.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

GOP Rep (Pete Seesions, Taliban-TX): We Need Taliban-Like 'Insurgency'

http://www.drudge.com/archive/117504/gop-rep-we-need-taliban-like-insurgency

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 28, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Mike, I'd have to go to the liquor store every morning.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 28, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

rawstory.com — US House Representative Wally Herger, of California's 2nd congressional district, expressed "enthusiastic approval" of a town-hall attendee who described himself as a "proud right-wing terrorist," newspapers in northern California report. — Submitted Aug 23, 2009

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

And from this Blog:

One speaker said he could trace his ancestors back to the Mayflower and said “they did not arrive holding their hands out for help.”

“I am a proud right wing terrorist,” he declared to cheers.

Herger praised the man’s attitude.

“Amen, God bless you,” Herger said with a broad smile. “There is a great American.”

http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/gop-rep-calls-man-who-identified-himself-as-right-wing-terrorist-a-great-american/

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 28, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"Mike, I'd have to go to the liquor store every morning."

True, but maybe I'd remember to pick up a Lotto ticket that way.

Posted by: lmsinca | September 28, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@kevin: "I can't believe a Republican would actually do that, if it wasn't at least playing off left-wing smears to that effect."

You are correct, Kevin. They finally found the correct cite and it was an audience member at a town hall playing off the common smear of calling Tea Party members terrorists.

And still I wait for any GOP advertisement this cycle that calls a Democrat "Taliban."

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington - Why do you hate my liver?

What do we have to do if he quadruple spaces a nonsensical rant? What if he spams the same triple spaced rant in multiple threads?

Better yet, what if he blames everything from Lindsey Lohan's drug problem to Dubya Bush's lack of intellect on Bill Clinton? I'm thinking that might call for sniffing glue; because that is one of the only things that can make a person dumb enough to follow STRF logic.

Posted by: nisleib | September 28, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

It should also be noted that it was Sessions' comments, along with other similar stories, that inspired the name of Markos' book in the first place. It didn't come out of thin air.

I also love how much of a rukus it's caused...considering we've seen stuff just as bad or worse (and with a much higher frequency) coming from the right for decades.

*rolls eyes*

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 28, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@mikefromarlington: "Either America wake up to these extremists or one day we'll wake up all being forced to recite the bible"

Yeah, um, that's not going to happen.

"be prosecuted for premarital sex"

That's also not going to happen. Because, frankly, that's pretty much the only kind of sex there is. Did I mention I've been married for 20 years?

"gay people will be punished"

The only way that's going to happen is that we get gay marriage, and gay people get married in large numbers. Then they'll find out what punishment is. ;) Did I mention . . . ?

"and and we'll be in some idiotic global holy war because these paranoid conspiracy theorists think someone is out to take over their way of life."

I'm assuming that last part, given that it followed that first part, was said with a deep sense of meta-irony.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Why would a GOP advertisement call a Democrat "Taliban?" While I realize that reality has little to do with GOP smears, the Taliban reference reflects a theocratic ideology, something I doubt even the GOP would try to smear Democrats with.

Rather, the GOP likes the Democrats are "terrorist sympathizers" or the President "pals around with terrorists" smear.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 28, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@BG "Plus it's FL; they'll believe anything down there."

A low blow my Windy City friend...but alas pretty accurate...and you know how much the truth hurts.

I mean imagine a CEO is has done such a miserable job that his own board of directors tosses him out..FIRES HIM..saying he's going to destroy the entire corporation and then have to pay off a 1.7 BILLION dollar Medicare/Medicaid fraud violation fine.

And yet the R's here in Florida think this guy is a great choice because he's not a politician and he has plenty of experience as a businessman. Plenty of experience as a businessman...Yeahhh one who got fired and who cost his company 1.7 BILLION $

If you think Tea Partiers are stupid...R's here in Florida make Forrest Gump look like an intellectual...and so yes BG

"Plus it's FL; they'll believe anything down there."

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 28, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

Did you hear about the new "Divorced Barby Doll?" She comes with half of Ken's stuff.

Do you know why divorce is so expensive? Because it is worth it.

You've heard about the debate about when life begins? I maintain that it begins when the divorce paperwork is finalized.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I'm just saying, if you truly are miserable being married (and for some reason I doubt you are) there is always an answer.

Posted by: nisleib | September 28, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@cmc: Good answer.

So, the right uses the "Dems are terrorist sympathizers" smear and the left uses the "tea party activists are terrorists" smear.

The idea that the left does not play the same exact games as the right is just ridiculous.

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Actually, sbj, no. The GOP = Taliban reference has more to do with the theocratic tendencies of the GOP, not the terrorist tendencies of the Taliban.

But, heck, who would blame you for pursuing the false equivalency argument? I know the right doesn't do nuance.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 28, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

A brief list of GOP attacks can be found here:

http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/gop-dissent-attacks.html
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | September 28, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Here's what the Tea Party Senatorial candidates are masking under their faux fiscal conservatism.

http://blog.makezine.com/ddyrdy.jpg

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

A brief list of Bush=Hitler images can be found here:

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0S020uUEqJMMVwA1baJzbkF?p=bush+hitler&fr=404_news&ei=utf-8&x=wrt&y=Search

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I dunno about the Taliban comparisons, but down here in the south we've been plagued by what I refer to as the Shiite Baptists for as long as I can remember...

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

sbj - the Bush-Chimp images are a lot funnier.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

sbj's internet search found a bunch of loonies! What a shocker!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 28, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

All, Christine O'Donnell is again nabbed fudging her education record:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/another_christine_odonnell_emb.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 28, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "Kevin - You must be a generation older than me, because I don't recall seeing the left being overly oppressive. If anything they seem spineless and overly professorial to me."

Live experience with real, live uber-lefties. This was 1990, 1991, for the most part.

Nothing like up close and personal and in your face. I went to art school. Somewhere there's footage of me (skinny, in a black turtleneck with a sports coat, objecting to Jesse Helms attempt to censor art by defunding the National Endowment for the Arts or some such thing--I think it had something to do with Mapplethorp, but I'm not sure). However, I had experiences both during the Gulf War Protests and in multiple photography classes--where it turns out fully-clothed, contrasty, artsy-fartsy black-and-white photos of women is attempt to oppress and objectify them, because I couldn't help it, because there was no way to photograph a woman--especially, no way to be a heterosexual man photographing a woman--without being an oppressive tool of the patriarchy, dedicated to oppressing womanhood. And on and on . . .

Of course, I've always been a tech geek, and computers and technology in art were becoming a big deal at my school, just when I was attending, and I did a number of technology-assisted pieces, and so was always defending my work against poo-flinging luddites (sorry, still a bit testy about it), not due to content or quality of work, but because there were computers involved, which somehow prevented "art" from "happening". And so on. And these luddites were not, I might note, card carrying conservatives.

Your mileage may vary. I was a lot more wary as I became more and more conservative, so a lot less disappointed when people who seemed ideologically aligned with me (or my new take on things) turn out to be personally disappointing or fall far afield from what I believe a principled adherence to a certain philosophy would entail.

Thus, my slogan: Trust no one over 30? Hah! Trust no one over 3. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"sbj - the Bush-Chimp images are a lot funnier."

I quite agree. Whaddya think of the Obama Joker Socialist pics?

Hilarious!

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: "I quite agree. Whaddya think of the Obama Joker Socialist pic"

I assume you're being sarcastic. They were stupid, pointless, and vapid.

"sbj - the Bush-Chimp images are a lot funnier."

But I assume you're being sarcastic because you're responding to that. Those were also worthless. That level of effigy does not begin to even approach an immature level of public political critique.

Jonathan Swift, it is not.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I wondered what it was about the Phoenix Institute that Ms. O'Donnell is not proud of. Turns out the PI runs summer seminars around the world. That's what it does.

The 2010 Summer Seminars for the Study of Western Institutions at the University of Notre Dame (USA) and the Neuwaldegg Castle in Vienna, Austria...

Good thing she didn't attend the seminar in 2010 or she would have attended Neuwaldegg Castle College.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | September 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Kevin - pardon my saying so, but in what way does embracing a philosophy of helping the powerful maintain advantage over the powerless in any way address your disagreements with radical feminists or rigid purists?

I've long been pretty disgusted with the typical leftist rallies & protests for the reason that they won't stick with an agenda. So you go to an event to show your opposition to going to war with Iraq, and you're assaulted with hours of s****y poetry, paens to wiccan, speeches about legalizing pot, and on and on and on. The left, outside of the Democratic Party, which isn't left anyway, is pretty wild and wooly when it comes to trying to get on the same page. For whatever reason, there are a lot of people who, while they agree with the broader principles of equality, government run by the people rather than the corporations, living wages for working people & etc, for whatever reason just can't climb down off their personal hobbyhorses for even a few hours to focus on support of one goal or idea. It turns me off, too.

But I am turned off way worse by people who serve as apologists for injustice, inequality, and the idea that money is more important than people and should have the deciding say in governance, which is why I am not a conservative. You complain about the art purists, but have less of a problem with the theocrats? How does that happen?

The radicals on the left are like annoying little gnats buzzing around your face. The radicals on the right are like a pack of angry pit bulls ripping your flesh. There's got to be some deeper-seated reason why you find the latter more acceptable.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, here are a couple GWB as the Joker pictures too:

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/politics/2008/07/bush-as-joker.html

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Oq2HpCjjqJQ/SJfhtaIe8bI/AAAAAAAAATs/Za2ngqssq5U/s400/bush%2Bjoker%2Bf.jpg

http://www.freakingnews.com/Joker-Bush-Pictures-59820.asp

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey Adam -- the fainting couch is over there. Screw the high road. These people are scum and should be called so at every opprtunity.

Liberals: afraid to take their own side in a fight. No wonder people think we're weak.

Posted by: Tangerine3 | September 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

UPDATE 12:47 a.m: I didn't mean to be flippant above either.

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@kevin: Sarcasm - Family Guy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBztjzDr0fM

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, well.

It appears that Mr Sargent believes that babies should die simply because they did not chose their parents wisely.

How ghastly.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 28, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

GWB as the Joker pics aren't funny.

LAURA Bush as the Joker pics - now THOSE are funny, mostly because you don't have to even put the makeup on her for her to look like the Joker. As seen here: http://totallylookslike.com/2010/08/10/laura-bush-joke/

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

CORRECTION: 12:43 p.m

(skipsailing: although I suspect that Mr. Sargent feels the same way, this thread was written by Mr. Serwer ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I forget how utterly morally depraved and delusional -- and dishonest -- the left is, I see another thread like this one. Really, there's nothing else to say.

Except that I can't wait for you to start calling each other Taliban theocrats when someone gets back to lecturing about church doctrine on social justice should be the basis for our laws.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well, except that social justice as a concept exists, and has existed for thousands of years, outside of church doctrine. It's not an exclusively christian concept, you know.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

That's a brilliant insight. Neither are supposedly "theocratic" policy positions of the right exclusive to the church.

But you'll have to take up your point with fellow liberals here, who claim I should be subject to their views on Biblical morality.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"GOP = Taliban" really gets the trolls all bunched up, don't it?

It obviously hits too close to home.

These people are seeking to destroy multi-ethnic/multi-religious America and make it a theocracy. It is obvious.

Their revulsion at the separation of Church and State makes their hatred of the American melting pot apparent for all to see.

GOP = TALIBAN. So true.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Really? So what's the basis for all the gay haterade on the right, if not for religious belief?

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It almost seems as if Grayson is desperate? I would think that he should win in a cakewalk but perhaps Webster is close...

Ethan's favorite factcheck.org:

"We thought Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida reached a low point when he falsely accused his opponent of being a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, and of not loving his country. But now Grayson has lowered the bar even further. He’s using edited video to make his rival appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said."

http://factcheck.org/2010/09/rep-grayson-lowers-the-bar/

And folks here want to defend Grayson? Unbelievable.

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"And folks here want to defend Grayson? Unbelievable."

NO, sbj, the APPLAUD and IDOLIZE him as the MODEL for all the Party should be doing.

These people are vile and without conscience.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Jake, I thank you and stand corrected.

and ethan, I don't want a multi culti morass. I want people to view themselves as distinctly Americans first. The process of assimiliation is vital to sustain the kind of society that made us prosperous.

yes we can acknowledge and respect the attributes of the "home country" but ultimately the folks who emigrate here are here and ought to act like it.

and it isn't a revulsion about some mythical seperation that concerns me, it is the fact that if the liberals had their way God would have no influence on America at all. That's foolish on its face. People seek guidance from somewhere I'd much prefer that folks be guided by such long lasting concepts such as the decalogue, than by the pronouncements of some bureaucrat as written in the federal register.

No, old son, I'm not advocating a state religion, but I am saying that the godlessness of the liberals has driven religion from the public sphere. the results of that are now clear. Our prisons are full, the airwaves and the internet are clogged with filth and parents have to work tirelessly to protect the childhood innocence of their off spring.

its a sick society and in large measure that sickness can be traced back to the demands of the American left. If ever there was a pernicious force in our culture it is that.

dEcades after the ACLU and the great society our treasury is empty and our prisons are full, our students are failing by most international measurement standards. Way to go liberals.

Taliban? come now, militant leftists have done massive harm to America. Folks like you percieve the right as a threat and IMHO that's because you have no effective counter to the facts as they stand. Liberalism has failed us. Time to move on.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 28, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Really? So what's the basis for all the gay haterade on the right, if not for religious belief?"

I can only suggest that you go try to educate yourself. You are just proving my point about you again.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Adam, your critical reading skills deserted you on this one. Webster agrees that the bible requires wives to submit to their husbands: he simply says husbands should pray that they fulfill the bible's assigned role as husband.

KOS has the actual quote, in context:

"Find a verse. I have a verse for my wife; I have verses for my wife. Don't pick the ones that say, um, she should submit to me. That's in the Bible, but pick the ones that you're supposed to do. So instead, love your wife, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, as opposed to wives submit yourself to your own husband. She can pray that if she wants to, but don't you pray it.

Same with your children. Pick out the ones that have your responsibility listed in to it. Yes, children are told to obey their parents, but more importantly as fathers we're told not to provoke them to wrath."

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/9/28/905990/-FL-08:-Did-Taliban-Dan-really-say-that-Why-yes,-he-did!

Grayson did not smear Webster: he accfurately stated that Webster believes wives have a duty to submit to their husbands.

Posted by: newtonwhale | September 28, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Adam, your critical reading skills deserted you on this one. Webster agrees that the bible requires wives to submit to their husbands: he simply says husbands should pray that they fulfill the bible's assigned role as husband.

KOS has the actual quote, in context:

"Find a verse. I have a verse for my wife; I have verses for my wife. Don't pick the ones that say, um, she should submit to me. That's in the Bible, but pick the ones that you're supposed to do. So instead, love your wife, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, as opposed to wives submit yourself to your own husband. She can pray that if she wants to, but don't you pray it.

Same with your children. Pick out the ones that have your responsibility listed in to it. Yes, children are told to obey their parents, but more importantly as fathers we're told not to provoke them to wrath."

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/9/28/905990/-FL-08:-Did-Taliban-Dan-really-say-that-Why-yes,-he-did!

Grayson did not smear Webster: he accfurately stated that Webster believes wives have a duty to submit to their husbands.

Posted by: newtonwhale | September 28, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Typical qb. Unable to answer a question, it's deflect, deflect, deflect, smokescreen, smokescreen, smokescreen.

"Neither are supposedly "theocratic" policy positions of the right exclusive to the church."

Ok, so tell us then, where all the gay bashing on the right comes from. It's not a hard question, though I'm sure you'll come back with just as cogent a response as that last one. In what universe does "I can only suggest that you go try to educate yourself. You are just proving my point about you again," answer a question asking what the basis is for the homophobia on the right?

Guys who can't answer - who won't even ATTEMPT to answer - easy questions are in no position to be lecturing anyone about "educating" themselves.


Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not you agree with Grayson's ad, there's no question his opponent is a religious zealot intent on basing our laws on his religion.

If you are in Grayson's district, what are you doing just sitting there...go volunteer for his campaign. Unless, of course, you like living under religious law.

Posted by: Dema | September 28, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28:

You're welcome : )

Dema:

Unless there's also a "valid secular purpose" no imaginary, evil law that Webster and the GOP manage to pass (and get Obama to sign or override his veto) will withstand a court challenge. Talk about "selling fear" though!

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"yes we can acknowledge and respect the attributes of the "home country" but ultimately the folks who emigrate here are here and ought to act like it."

What the heck does that mean? How does someone act like an American? Do you mean act Christian?

"I'm not advocating a state religion, but I am saying that the godlessness of the liberals has driven religion from the public sphere"

Again, what in THE heck are you talking about "Godless"? I am Jewish. I am not "Godless". Your rhetoric is insulting and intended to insult.

"Our prisons are full, the airwaves and the internet are clogged with filth [...] its a sick society and in large measure that sickness can be traced back to the demands of the American left"

WHAAAAA? Complaining about pollution, complaining about the airwaves full of filth and that is the "American left's" fault? Who wants New Source Review for power plant smokestacks? Who wants clean energy? Who wants environmental protection? And you complain that our environment is dirty? You complaining about the airwaves full of filth and yet you listen to Rush Limbaugh spew hate every day.

But it's "All the Liberals' fault"!

HELLOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Honestly, you are so backwards that it is truly perverse. There is no doubt in my mind that you have some kind of mental condition.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 28, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Jenn:

"Unable to answer a question..."

Your question is on the order of asking someone "When did you stop beating your wife?" In other words, it contains a false premise.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 28, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, if you cannot grasp basic concepts I suggest a bit of remediation.

what I offered was clear enough for even the meanest intellect to grasp. that you don't get it is a function of a closed mind.

enjoy your sense of insult ethan. Wallow in it. It seems that it is easier to cop an attitude than it is to open your mind to a different POV.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 28, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the fine book, They Thought They Were Free. Nobody every thought that the party in question would ever actually do the things claimed in their leader's book, but they all thought that it was acceptable hyperbole, the people singled out for scapegoating deserved what they got, and once the minorities were removed from society their germs would be gone as well, leaving a pure majority group.
Grayson has the guts to point out the truth, the right has a tantrum for having the truth pointed out, and the media liberals rush in to pretend that their guy is wrong and the crazy guy shouldn't be treated like a grown-up or held accountable. What difference is there between the Taliban, a religious fundamentalist group of Brand M, and the equally repressive fundamentalism of Brand C, besides branding and bling? It's the difference between Kleenex and Puffs.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | September 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Scott, you always love to wade in and offer your support for an unsupported statement, don't you?

So, pray tell: who on the left is opposing repeal of DADT? Who on the left is hostile to equal rights for gays, either under the heading of gay "marriage" or "civil unions"? I'm just asking. You think it's unfair to state a premise that homophobia or anti-gay bias exists solely on the right? Then give examples about why that's inaccurate and therefore unfair. Otherwise, it's just more of the same old qb playbook...deflect, deflect, deflect, smokescreen, smokescreen, smokescreen.

Swear to god it's a blessing that I never had to teach one of you. I can't imagine the hours of arguing and whining that would ensue when "2 + 2 = 5" was marked incorrect on your test paper. qb would launch into a dissertation about how not only was it a ridiculous question, but that it's not the question that was asked. Then you'd come along and chime in with how there was a false premise inherent in the question.

No coincidence that whiny children grow up to be conservatives.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

arrant nonsense Jenn. You are seeking to create a causation with zero proof. Your thesis is that the attitude of Americans toward gays is based solely on religious teachings.

what proof of that do you have? Are you saying that thoughtful atheists could never decided that open homosexuality is bad for a society? If so, kindly prove it.

It is really that simple.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 28, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Skip, you're mentally ill. That's the only clear thing about your post.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 28, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Typical qb. Unable to answer a question, it's deflect, deflect, deflect, smokescreen, smokescreen, smokescreen."

I spent a day grinding your economic arguments and your credibility into fine dust the other day, and you remained a dishonest brat to the very end, even after I repeatedly laid out your gross faleshoods and distortions.

I did that to make the point once and for all and don't plan to engage your smart-a** but uninformed filibustering again. If you ever grow up and are able to address ideas in an honest and informed way, perhaps. But not until. So enjoy yourself and our ever-so-clever mouth.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"You are seeking to create a causation with zero proof. " ~ Skip @ 3:02 PM

"the godlessness of the liberals has driven religion from the public sphere" ~ Skip @ 1:15 PM

Split personality much?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 28, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting seeing newer conservative posters learning that Ethan actually lacks basic reasoning capacity and considers those who try to reason mentally ill.

Same old same old.

My gosh, how they make "even" lms look reasonable!

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"I spent a day grinding your economic arguments and your credibility into fine dust the other day,"

Yes, by arguing that Starbucks "created demand" by opening stores on every corner, many of which closed 1 to 1-1/2 years ago when the "demand" that should have been "created" by the supply of Starbuck's didn't materialize.

You also cited "silly bands" as an example of "supply creating demand", never pausing with this BS trope even when it was pointed out to you that the maker/distributor of the things waited until AFTER the craze hit to expand from 20 to 250 employees. That dumb guy - if he had hired those 250 people 2 years ago when he started making silly bands, before kids were into them, why he'd be...broke and out of business today.

Seriously, you are about the worst of the worst with this kind of stuff. From the type of "responses" (if they can even be called that) you give to any comment or question, it's clear that you know the things you argue are unsupported by fact...and yet here you are, trying to spin BS into gold.

And, by the way, you've still failed to answer the question: tell us then, where all the gay bashing on the right comes from.

Obviously because you can't. So you'd like to make it all about something else.

It's not about anything but your inability to answer a question. You claim that homophobia and anti-gay bias is not the function of religion, that it exists outside of that. Fine. Give us some examples. Because all I ever hear from your ilk is "god hates fags" and "a man is forbidden to lie with a man" and "gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because marriage is a sacrament designed by god."

You got anything else that would indicate the homohate is coming from somewhere else? Put it out there. Or shut up. I'm not interested in arguing any of the other things you'd like to turn it into, and though your continual attempts to obfuscate may be really impressive to your intellectually slow brethren, no one else is buying them.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@JennofArk: "Kevin - pardon my saying so, but in what way does embracing a philosophy of helping the powerful maintain advantage over the powerless in any way address your disagreements with radical feminists or rigid purists?"

That particular moment in my life was eye-opening, and led to me questioning many things. It led me to question many beliefs I had previously assumed to be self-evidently true. And through that process, I reached the point where I thought it was more accurate and more appropriate to call myself a conservative.

However, there is a premise in your first sentence I cannot agree with. Simply put, I do not embrace a philosophy of helping the powerful maintain advantage over the powerless. I expect very few conservatives, Republicans, or libertarians think of their beliefs that way.

"So you go to an event to show your opposition to going to war with Iraq, and you're assaulted with hours of s****y poetry, paens to wiccan, speeches about legalizing pot, and on and on and on."

Agreed. In my case, I considered myself a liberal but I had a naive conception of what that meant. Also, I had exposed myself to no conservative thought at the time, and was an atheist to boot--and the atheism was the last thing to go. I was probably more rigidly conservative when I was still an atheist, I think. Point being, I had a few encounters, and became a little bi-conservative. Then I went in, whole hog. Feminists boycotting art history classes because of the display of zaftig nudes of the 18th century . . . all that stuff was just the gateway drug.

And my main point is that it is self-destructive, on both sides, to take the Animal Farm approach: i.e., that some animals are more equal than others. Censorship is bad, unless we're doing it. Freedom is good, unless these people have too much freedom. Propaganda is terrible, unless it serves a positive purpose in the advancement of this worthwhile goal. It alienates a lot of people who would otherwise be on your "side", be that left or right.

But wiccan poetry is awesome. Don't be dissin' the wiccan poetry.

"But I am turned off way worse by people who serve as apologists for injustice, inequality, and the idea that money is more important than people and should have the deciding say in governance, which is why I am not a conservative."

Which is fair enough. I wouldn't try to convince you otherwise, because (a) there is always a possibility, however slight, that you're completely right and I'm complete wrong and (b) I think, despite the messiness of it, the best governance actually comes, over the long term, from protracted battles over legislation and the repeal of legislation. I tend to think a large country that was actually united, instead of at odds, would probably be a bad thing. Which perhaps is counterintuitive.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Jenn:

"So, pray tell: who on the left is opposing repeal of DADT? Who on the left is hostile to equal rights for gays, either under the heading of gay "marriage" or "civil unions"?"

I never suggested anyone on the left is either of these things (although some certainly are). You are changing the subject.

Your question was founded on the premise that the right "hates" gays, and that religion teaches its adherents to "hate" gays. Both premises are false.

Typically, you seem to believe the foolish notion that opposition to something (or, at least,opposition to certain things you don't oppose) can only be derived from "hate".

"Swear to god it's a blessing that I never had to teach one of you."

I wholehearedly agree.

This reminds me of an old baseball joke...A shrill woman sitting in the stands behind home plate starts to heckle the umpire. By the fifth inning she is really laying into him, and at one point she shouts out "If I were your wife I would feed you poison." At this the umpire finally turns around and says "If you were my wife, I'd take it."

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 28, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/weekend_open_thread_2.html#comments


Like I said, all I have to say to or about Jenn at this point.

In two days you haven't learned anything. You can't even ask an honest question.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

Best comment ever on PL.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@Jenn: "You complain about the art purists, but have less of a problem with the theocrats? How does that happen?"

No, although I might differ on what makes a "theocrat", and our risk of incipient theocracy, which I consider to be approximately zero. Indeed, I think the goal posts have been so far moved, some have lost perspective. We were much closer to being a theocracy in 1940 than we are today. I'll say that much. But, no, I don't care for theocrats. Ours is a secular government, and should be so ordered.

I think having fits about a nativity scene in a public square is foolish, as misses the spirit of the 1st amendment, but not the death of God in America if they aren't allowed.

"The radicals on the left are like annoying little gnats buzzing around your face."

Well, mostly, these days, I suppose.

"The radicals on the right are like a pack of angry pit bulls ripping your flesh."

I think that's a significant exaggeration. It's either an extrapolation of the behavior of .0001% of folks to a much larger group, or an interpretation of certain behaviors that puts the worst possible spin on them. Certainly, it's not my personal experience of most conservatives. The political process is giving us some interesting people, but their are light years of difference between a Linda McMahon and a Christy O'Donnell, or even a Sharron Angle (who, despite her shortcomings, I still prefer to Harry Reid). Supporting Linda McMahon (not relevant, since I can't vote for her, and all my political donations go to MasterCard) is not the same as support theocratic pitbulls. It simply is not a fair comparison.

And to be clear, my exposure to hard-lefties was an eye-opening experience, that led, eventually, to reading Buckley and Thomas Sowell and Hayek and Friedman, listening to talk radio, etc. It was immersion in conservative thought (and a resonance it had with me that I can completely understand that others might not have) that led to my road to Damascus moment.

Yet I fully appreciate that many have had the exact opposite experience. Clearly, it takes all kinds.

"There's got to be some deeper-seated reason why you find the latter more acceptable."

I would prefer better behavior from many on the right and left. However, if Zombie Reagan showed up tomorrow and starting terrorizing the poor people and eating their brains, I'd have to be against the brain eating, but still for more than half of Reaganomics. While some on "my side" may engage of sociopathic behavior, it doesn't make them wrong when they state of that 2+2=4 or that for every action there is an equal opposite reaction. Those things remain true, independent of the behavior of what may sometimes be less than ideal standard bearers.


Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

methinks QB has both jenn and ethan assessed correctly.

Brats.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Metaphors. They are metaphors. Jesus how hard is that?

When one looks at the extremists in the right wing and compares the views issue by issue to the values of the Taliban, I'm sorry to say but the extreme right wing is a hell of a lot closer to the Taliban's values than my own.

With that in mind I will defend liberals calling fundamentalists American Taliban.

Posted by: kindness1 | September 28, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Grayson's Taliban ad now approaching "Epic Fail" status as even MSNBC goes after him!

"Grayson equated Webster to terrorists who murder people and “throw acid in girls’ faces,” as Brewer says. That’s not an honest approach to women’s issues; it’s a man exploiting women’s issues in order to lie and smear his opponent."

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/09/28/video-grayson-taken-to-the-woodshed-by-msnbc/

Posted by: sbj3 | September 28, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

From now on, I guess I'll just call liberals Communists. They are a lot closer to Communist values than I am.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

qb:

"Best comment ever on PL."

I'm guessing yours is the only vote I'm getting.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 28, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Skip,

Here's some of that "filth on television" for ya:

http://mit.zenfs.com/5/2010/09/bristol.jpg

She must be one of those "Godless Liberals".

Fool.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Scott - wrong. I realize that reducing my comments falsely to saying that I claimed the right 'hates gays' is the only way you can thread the needle. So let's look at ALL the comments. First up:

"Really? So what's the basis for all the gay haterade on the right, if not for religious belief?"

Yep, the word "hate" is in there. Next:

"Ok, so tell us then, where all the gay bashing on the right comes from."
The word "bash" is actually not an unfair description of the right's approach to gays. I suppose you can "bash" someone without also "hating" them, though I don't know why anyone would without that motivation.

Next up:
"...answer a question asking what the basis is for the homophobia on the right?"
Again, "homophobia" is not an unfair description to the right's approach to gays. I don't know how else you could describe efforts to deny gay people the right to adopt children, since there's no scientific basis for doing it.

Then there's this:
"You think it's unfair to state a premise that homophobia or anti-gay bias exists solely on the right?"
Which includes the as-neutral-as-possible term "anti-gay bias", which clearly does exist on the right --- otherwise, they wouldn't promote constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage, fight to keep gays from being included as protected under hate crime laws, push to deny adoption rights, etc.

So much for me putting it all down to pure and simple "hate".

But the crux of the question here is that qb insists that anti-gay sentiment isn't a function of religion (or should we say the misguided followers of it); I merely asked for examples where it's rooted in something else. He failed to provide them. You injected yourself into the discussion with a claim that I had made an undefined "false premise", then come back later to define the "false premise" as me claiming the right "hates gays" which as demonstrated above, I never said. I used a word, "haterade" and "homohate" but also described the right's position to gays as "anti-gay bias" and "homophobia", both of which are fair terms. You really step in it when you say I claimed that "religion teaches its adherents to "hate" gays," which of course I didn't say or even intimate. I cited quotes arguments made by people on the right who are anti-gay - arguments couched in their religious beliefs - but I did not characterize them as examples of religion teaching adherents to hate gays - merely as cudgels used by people who are anti-gay. Cudgels that they use in their LEGAL arguments, no less. That's the point, bright boy. We're trying to get to an example where anti-gay bias is defended or supported by something OTHER than religious belief, and neither of you seem up to providing any example where it's rooted in anything else.

But you acheived your goal didn't you? Which was to blow more smoke to try to help qb avoid answering a question and change the subject.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Like I said, all I have to say to or about Jenn at this point."

More avoidance. Why don't you just throw out something about samurai culture in medieval Japan? It wouldn't make your avoidance and dissembling any more obvious than the comments you've made so far.

Posted by: JennOfArk | September 28, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: "fight to keep gays from being included as protected under hate crime laws"

Technically, most of those same folks (not all, but most) are opposed to the concept of "hate crimes". Given that hate crimes are, essentially, thought crimes.

If a person assaults a gay guy and then explains it by saying, "Actually, I think gay guys are great, I just like hurting people because the pain of others excites me," that shouldn't be adjudged a lesser crime. Nor should politically incorrect thoughts be a crime--which, if you say an actual crime is worse because of the thinking of the person perpetrating it--is essentially what you're saying.

Hate crime is just one of a number of bad ideas that identity politics has spawned, and while folks on the right may be opposed to homosexuality, or believe it's a lifestyle choice, etc . . . to characterize opposition to the concept of hatecrime as anti anything, other than anti-thoughtcrime legislation--is inaccurate.

BTW, I am indeed a righty, and I'm a big fan of homosexuals. Especially ultra-hot lipstick lesbians. But I don't discriminate. I'm a fan of both Derrons on Bewitched, and the Brady dad.

Pink Pistols. Log Cabin Republicans. The folks of Homocon. Those are some He-Man Homosexuals if ever I've seen 'em.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: "Why don't you just throw out something about samurai culture in medieval Japan? "

And what's wrong with Samurai culture on Medieval Japan? Next you're going to be dissing on Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

(Hey, I can do non sequiturs just as good as qb).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, my goodness, if that was not an Olympic-quality gymastic exercise in intellectual dishonesty.

Let's do a careful, systematic refutation of jenn's rant. As always, it's critical to keep a clear eye on the issue from the beginning, because as always jenn tries to evade and change it as she shifts ground.

It started not where she says but with my comment:

"Except that I can't wait for you to start calling each other Taliban theocrats when someone gets back to lecturing about [how] church doctrine on social justice should be the basis for our laws."

The point here, of course: the hypocrisy of liberals. To which Jenn said:

"Yeah, well, except that social justice as a concept exists, and has existed for thousands of years, outside of church doctrine. It's not an exclusively christian concept, you know."

Notice the fallacy here. Jenn is excusing liberal advocacy of the incorporation of church teaching on social justice into our laws, on the ground that something called "social justice" can be advocated on nonreligious grounds as well. This assumes identity of the two, of course, which is at best an unsupported and highly improbable assumption.

And it would not in any event excuse the hypocrisy of liberals like those on this very blog who on the one hand denounce conservative "theocrats" and other the other demand federal enactment of church "social justice" doctrine. This fundamental point of course went right past jenn, never to be addressed.

I responded, however, to her point on her own terms:

"Neither are supposedly "theocratic" policy positions of the right exclusive to the church."

Now, note that I said "policy positions." This means, most significantly in the current climate resistance to the radical drive to redefine "marriage," and probably secondarily to gays in the military. So the only claim here is that such "policy positions" are not necessarily based on christian church teaching.

To which jenn responded:

"Really? So what's the basis for all the gay haterade on the right, if not for religious belief?"

So immediately jenn has tried to switch from "policy positions" to "haterade," which she now to Scott incredibly claims does not mean she said conservatives "hate" gays: "I realize that reducing my comments falsely to saying that I claimed the right 'hates gays' is the only way you can thread the needle."

Is this not dishonest? Indeed, a few lines later she blandly admits: "Yep, the word "hate" is in there."

And note that she has also again tried to shift the question away from the original one of the claimed exclusivity of church teaching to "what's the basis of all the anti-gay haterade."

(continued)

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Continued refutation of jenn:

Then, as she summarizes to Scott above, she demanded to know the "basis" for "all the gay bashing" and "all the homophobia." So now "policy positions" = "gay bashing" and "homophobia" as well as "hate" and "bias." These two new slurs, she now claims, are "neutral" and "fair."

Of course, that is ridiculous. These are terms invented by the left to demonize opposition to gay rights movements. But, having promiscuously used them to phrase her "questions," and having had it pointed out by Scott why her questions were thus misleading and evasive, she has no choice but to mount a nonsensical defense of them as "neutral" and "fair."

She later makes this incredible statement:

"It's not about anything but your inability to answer a question. You claim that homophobia and anti-gay bias is not the function of religion, that it exists outside of that. Fine. Give us some examples. Because all I ever hear from your ilk is "god hates fags" and "a man is forbidden to lie with a man" and "gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because marriage is a sacrament designed by god."

So she continues to substitue loaded terms for "policy positions," and now twists my words again to suggest that I said conservative policy positions not only are not necessarily but are not a function of religion. And then we get the usual "your ilk" hate speech of the left. She has never heard (or seen) me say a word about hating gays.

And then after admitting that she equated "policy positions" with hating gays, she incredibly again denies having done so at all. Indeed, I defy anyone to defend this statement of hers as making the least bit of sense:

"You injected yourself into the discussion with a claim that I had made an undefined "false premise", then come back later to define the "false premise" as me claiming the right "hates gays" which as demonstrated above, I never said. I used a word, "haterade" and "homohate" but also described the right's position to gays as "anti-gay bias" and "homophobia", both of which are fair terms. You really step in it when you say I claimed that "religion teaches its adherents to "hate" gays," which of course I didn't say or even intimate."

This person has repeatedly asserted that (1) conservatives hate gays ("haterade," "homohate," "homophobia), and (2) religion is the basis for their hatred. Then she denies it, admits it, restates it, and denies it again.

As for her "question," go educate yourself, jenn, as I said. I know plenty of nonbelievers (in the military and out) who oppose gay marriage and gays in the military. Gay marriage hasn't been a norm of many nonchristian societies through history, and still isn't. Surely you know this? On the other hand, "social justice" is an idea much more closely identified with religion -- the Catholic Church to be specific. How about you prove to us its widespread "existence" for thousands of years outside the church?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

It occurs to me, btw, that the simplest answer to jenn's (willfully ignorant) question about conservative policy positions on homosexuality is one I forgot to state: entirely apart from religion, they can be supported from the position of natural law. I.e., gay marriage is contrary to nature.

Are you really so uneducated that you didn't know this argument, jenn? Or were you just playing dumb to instigate something? Of course, there are many other such arguments as well. NR published a great essay on it just a couple of weeks ago. If you read anything besides the left blogosphere, you might have seen it. I'd recommend it if you are still lost here.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Jenn:

(I see qb has responded to you already, so some of this may be repetitious, but since I took the entire train ride home to compose it, I figure I will post it all.)

"I realize that reducing my comments falsely to saying that I claimed the right 'hates gays' ..."

I didn't "reduce" your comments to anything. I was responding to the whole of your original question, which undeniably was premised upon the notions that the right "hates" gays, and that religion teaches people to "hate" gays.

To be sure, your later comments expanded on this to suggest why you hold the premise, but since those comments followed my original, they cannot be coherently used to suggest that I "falsely" reduced your position to something it isn't.

But just to be clear please state your opinion explicitly: Does the right "hate" gays? And does religion teach people to "hate" gays?

"The word "bash" is actually not an unfair description of the right's approach to gays."

Yes it is. Just like your use of "hate", it implies that opposition to something (like DADT, for example) can only be explained by animosity, not a thought-out policy difference. Hence, a policy position that seems to adversely impact gays is deemed to be "bashing" them. That is no less foolish than assuming that certain policy positions must be derived from "hatred".

"Again, "homophobia" is not an unfair description to the right's approach to gays."

Only if one believes that it is "fair" to inaccurately characterize someone's positions. I know lots of conservatives, and not one of them has a fear of gays.

""Which includes the as-neutral-as-possible term "anti-gay bias""

If you think "anti-gay" is as neutral as possible, you need a better imagination.

Hate, bashing, homophobia, anti-gay...these are all loaded terms used as rhetorical strategies, employed to preempt debate and bully others into agreement before even having a rational discussion. If they accept your premises, you've won the debate without even having to make an argument, as evidenced by the following:

"...[Anti-gay bias] which clearly does exist on the right ---otherwise, they wouldn't promote constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage, fight to keep gays from being included as protected under hate crime laws, push to deny adoption rights, etc. ".

So, according to you, opposition to gay marriage is by definition ("otherwise they wouldn't...") anti-gay. If you believe that, it doesn't matter what argument one might put forward in opposition to gay marriage, it still is, necessarily, anti-gay. Simply put, your mind is completely closed to the possibility that someone who disagrees with you on these issues is not a "hater" or a "basher" or "anti-gay", because they are by definiton. Your definition, anyway. That is not the way to a respectful and constructive dialogue.

(cont'd)

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 28, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"But the crux of the question here is that qb insists that [what Jenn prejudicially calls] anti-gay sentiment isn't a function of religion (or should we say the misguided followers of it); I merely asked for examples where it's rooted in something else."

Come, come. You didn't "merely" ask. Otherwise you wouldn't have had to inject your question with such prejudicial language as "hate". That aside, although qb has suggested that you to educate yourself on this, I am happy to be the instructor if need be.

Take gay marriage. Some people oppose gay marriage on the grounds that the only interest that the state has in sanctioning marriage at all is because of children. As NR put it, “The reason marriage exists is that the sexual intercourse of men and women regularly produces children. If it did not produce children, neither society nor the government would have much reason, let alone a valid reason, to regulate people’s emotional unions. (The government does not regulate non-marital friendships, no matter how intense they are.)”

Read this and see if you can find even a hint that its opposition to gay marriage is driven by religious conviction. (This is also the one that I see qb has recommended.)

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/245649/case-marriage-editors?page=3

Gays in the military? Frankly I am not even aware of a strictly religious argument for keeping gays out of the military. The only ones I have heard of are strictly secular and relate to military discipline and morale.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 28, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

"Gays in the military? Frankly I am not even aware of a strictly religious argument for keeping gays out of the military. The only ones I have heard of are strictly secular and relate to military discipline and morale."

Excellent point that I completely missed. In fact, of the military folks I know, probably the most adamantly against gays openly serving are the least religious. So go figure how it is a religious issue in that context.


Posted by: quarterback1 | September 28, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

nsleib: "I'm just saying, if you truly are miserable being married (and for some reason I doubt you are) there is always an answer."

No, I love my wife. But marriage, like basic training and a lifelong military career, is not for everybody. Plus, while I am glad I got married and am busy raising a family, I'd not get married again. Once is enough. Shortly after he became a widow, my wife's father got remarried, with predictably problematic results. The folks who get married more than twice mystify me. If it didn't work out the first two times...

Of course, one of the best things about bring married with children? One evening alone can be a pure bliss unknown to the single man.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 28, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2:

Only a man could have written that. Women have religious law imposed on them all over the country...they call themselves the "pro-life" movement. No "valid secular purpose"...just the imposition of religious law.

Posted by: Dema | September 29, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

JakeD2:

Only a man could have written that.

Women have religious law imposed on them all over the country...the enforcers call themselves the "pro-life" movement. No "valid secular purpose"...just the imposition of religious law. Not imaginary. Very evil laws that the GOP manage to pass.

Posted by: Dema | September 29, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

So glad you can tell me when life begins, JakeD2. You should let everyone know since you're so omniscient. And advocating for the unborn v. the "right" to end life for convenience sake? I think I'll take the former. But we see this on the left all the time. If you're unable to vote-unborn, infirm, or otherwise incapable-you're of no use and they will willingly, and even passionately, advocate for your termination. No wonder they see a board dictating one-size-fits-all medicine as anything but a "death panel" when, for millions of those who will needlessly die because some bureaucrat decides that they don't fit into a category deserving of additional care will learn the meaning all too soon. Commit bureaucide if you want, libs. But don't take the rest of us with you.

Posted by: JW13 | September 29, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Re: "wives submit to your husbands..."

1 Corinthians 2:14

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

If biblical scripture is foolish to you, then perhaps it is due to the lack of a spiritual perspective.

Posted by: ardoinbecky | September 29, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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