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The supreme law of the land

By Tom Toles


Play nice

President Obama is back to calling for a more civil discourse, and we're all for that. Actually, NOT everybody is for that. Some people LOVE the tone of this conversation. Also, the tone of a conversation is far more a symptom of political dynamics than a cause, and I don't know how far you get focusing on the symptom.

Why has the conversation become so toxic? I say look for the underlying causes. Monday I offered an axiom about history. Here's another axiom, about everything else. When confused about why something that seems counterproductive is much in evidence, ALWAYS wonder first about the money. Is somebody getting wealthy from it? Well, let's see, are Rush Limbaugh or Fox News making money? Is there a whole cast of talking heads (look at your TV screen again) getting rich riding atop this oil spill of crudeness?

But the other part of the equation is politics. Fox and Rush have an audience. Loaded conversation sells because there are buyers. Buyers who have decided, with some agit-prompting, that government does not serve their interests. In a capitalist political marketplace, you can't stop the sellers. You have to offer the buyers a more compelling product. Good luck with that. --Tom Toles ***



By Tom Toles  | May 5, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Federal government, Supreme Court  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: If you see something, say something
Next: One long-winded debate...

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This is what we need. and then we could see thing being done to help People.. Not themselfs.. Just think how fast thing would get fixed, if we all live by the same LAW!

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

Posted by: Goldrush49 | May 10, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his accomplices are hypocrites and the worst offenders and Toles is clueless or just another media pimp, take your choice.

Posted by: jblast2000 | May 9, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The Right HATES Unions..

BUT they belong to one..


they are trying to kill this one too.


Posted by: Issa1 | May 6, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama was curt and dismissive of his predecessor, and anything but respectful of his office. He has been curt and dismissive of Senator McCain. The President may not be the most divisive president in our nation's history, but he's right up there, in the running for that title. His constant pleas for bipartisanship seems to suggest his way is the right way. There are reasons to object to his programme, good ones. True, there are some racists out there, but don't the Democrats have a few, like Jesse Jackson and Al Shartpton to name two.

Posted by: sailhardy | May 6, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

And yes, some Blacks are racist. So are some Koreans.

Either way, racism does not a National Political Party make. Except for one. And we know_ who they are.


Posted by: Thinker_ | May 6, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

A True Christian...

What year is it?

Thank you. Senator Byrd is 200 years old. The DixieCrats are no more. Take a deep breath and look at the world again.

You'll see a LOT has changed since you were being offended by the racist Democrats who are all dead now.

Think_ about it.

Posted by: Thinker_ | May 6, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Why is it rarely pointed out by the Left that UNIONS were clearly included, along with corporations, in the recent Supreme Court ruling to which Mr. Toles is referring? Indeed, unions could well turn out to be the prime beneficiary of this constitution-based decision.

And as we watch the beginnings of Europe's eventual financial collapse, not to mention that of California or NY, how is it that liberals can still defend socialism as a viable, sustainable end regardless of how well-intentioned it may be?

Posted by: Moose7 | May 5, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Thinker_ says:
"The five pillars of the Republican Party. They're so racist, the Blacks in their party hate Blacks. It's true! You can ask BOTH of them."

I say to cut the BS. I grew up with and lived around dyed in the wool Dems. most of my life and I can honestly say that I have heard FAR more racist trash from their mouths than any of the Repubs/Libertarians that I have known. Not to say that I haven't heard similar racists trash from Repubs/Libertarians, but FAR less so than from Dems. Afterall, wasn't Sen. Byrd, a Dem., a Grand Master of the KKK in WVa?

And when it comes to racism, it is not limited to white people. I lived in a NYC suburb during the boycott of Korean owned businesses by African Americans in the early '90's. Those AA's they interviewed spouted some of the most racist things you can say about Koreans, and not a single outraged comment from Jesse Jackson or Al Shrapnel denouncing such overt racism by blacks.

So, Think_, next time you decide to type a response, maybe you need to do some research before spouting the party line.

Posted by: ATrueChristian | May 5, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Pararanger,
("We just see things differently and remain willing to defend our point of view with facts versus name-calling.")

If this is what you truly believe, you would be a rarity among people I have seen calling themselves conservatives. Appallingly snide, nasty and cynical has been the norm, with a healthy pinch of racism to boot. IF you are sincere, you would be a breath of fresh air from the elephant graveyard.

Posted by: gdwtch52 | May 5, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Dear Cynical C,

You just don't get it about messaging. Remember Obama's 'Change' mantra? Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? It wasn't because POTUS is a dullard, it's because he understands strategic communication (unlike you). In order to win policy and election debates, you have to simplify the discussion to target a wide audience. Thus, your debate points about the lazy, lemming-like conservatives is like a glass house: don't throw rocks. The reality is conservatives are just as smart as liberals and have comparable educational backgrounds. We just see things differently and remain willing to defend our point of view with facts versus name-calling.

Posted by: pararanger22 | May 5, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Toles,
I think that in this case having the President talk about a more civil discourse seems a bit disingenuous. I seem to recall that it is his party and its supporters who have been calling the Tea Party, never a more typical collection of middle Americans if ever there was, "Nazi's, Racists, Tea Baggers, Un American, Traitors" and such. As for when this toxicity began perhaps you should reflect upon the sort of debate put forward by the Democrats and their supporters braying for the death of the last president. It wasn't pretty and if what we have now is referred to as "blow back" or unintended consequences then the Democrats have only themselves to blame as they set the tenor of the debate.
As for "follow the money", Fox and Rush Limbaugh are minnows compared to Big Pharma, the Healthcare industry and the Unions who are rushing up to the trough to feed on government largess. It used to be what's good for America is good for GM. Perhaps that needs to be changed to what's good for the Democrats is even better for their friends, really Big friends. Too bad if you're just a taxpayer.

Posted by: RockDoctor | May 5, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Ya'know. It is real interesting that when the shoe is on the other foot the liberal crowd begins to call foul.

It is also interesting that when liberal Americans come out of the wood work to poke and to criticize a conservative administration it is said they are speaking from well versed, informed points of views and that no body has "whipped them up" with half truths and false information.
But when it comes to conservative Americans speaking out against a liberal administration, then the liberals claim that it must be a conspiracy of the right to agitate and to mislead the public in what is really going on.
Liberals do not own the street corner when it comes to a quality education and an informed point of view. Millions of conservatives and liberals have gone to the same schools of higher learning, had some of the same professors, read some of the same books, but have walked away with their own understanding of what it all means.
Do conservatives get caught up in politically emotional rhetoric? Yes. Do liberals get caught up in their own emotional political rhetoric? Yes.
So my advice to the Libs out there is to get off your holier-than-thou soap box, get off what ever you're smoking, and see the world for what it really is. And to get it through their skulls that change, for the sake of change, is not always "the right thing to do."

Posted by: Rollo3 | May 5, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think one of the reasons that there are no moderate or liberal phenomena to equal the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck is because moderates and liberals tend to take what they hear with a grain of salt -- even if it appeals to them. Not only aren't they afraid to scratch the surface and look around at a number of views on any issue, they're eager to do it.

A recent study told us that Tea Partiers tend to be better educated than the general population, but my guess is that they're not more literate. I doubt they read widely. From every comment I've seen them make on video and every quote I've ever read that one has made, they appear to be lazy thinkers who are looking for someone to tell them what to think, and then pat them on the back and assure them that they are somehow superior to everyone else (and without even trying -- imagine that!).

Unfortunately, we are in a battle of large corporate interests and a wealthy elite against the middle class -- and the former has learned to manipulate a powerful resource in their war on us: the arrogant, short-sighted, bigoted and selfish ignoramuses among us. It's a brilliant strategy! And the middle class is getting wiped out.

Posted by: CynicalC | May 5, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Left wing talk has no audience. Why? Because the American public sees it as an elitist group who have only their own naive interests at heart. Name me one strictly left wing show that has an audience? Joyce Behar is not a money maker because she is wrong. And the people know it.

Posted by: bobbo2 | May 5, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Always wonder first about the money? See if anyone is getting rich off it? You mean like Al Gore and the rest of the global warming fear mongers/venture capitalists?

Posted by: aswnylaw | May 5, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Rush has been rich for decades and Fox is the number one source for news for years.

But nice try cartoon man (wait, you get paid too right?)

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | May 5, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Toles,

Although I'm conservative, I'm glad you opened up a blog to comment on. I like your cartoons (though I disagree with most) and always wondered about your actual opinions -- whether or not you were dyed in the wool liberal or someone who is serious about the concept of 'fair and balanced.' Therefore, I was disappointed in your slam of Rush and Fox, only because you didn't equally rough-up Olbermann/Matthews and MSNBC. You can't honestly believe MSNBC has any journalistic value left in their corral of mystics that make a living out of generating lies about the right. Secondly, I acknowledge Rush and Fox make $$ at what they do. But you make $$ too! Shouldn't you mention that in your introduction to this issue? Finally, take an issue with Rush or Fox, document their opinion (e.g., climate change), give us your counter opinion, and let's debate. This would be palpably better than just throwing mud at the conservatives - try and beat us on the issues!

Posted by: pararanger22 | May 5, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

The Rush Commodity Center turns an oil spill into food for his home-schooled mother nature and CO2 into an infomercial that his accomplices can fill in the amount of the blank check on future generations.

Posted by: ozonator | May 5, 2010 5:14 AM | Report abuse

You thought lack of respect for the rule of law could be confined to the bad guys?

The chickens have started coming home to roost.

Posted by: politbureau | May 5, 2010 5:14 AM | Report abuse

If people would check out the reality instead of taking what is being fed to them in whole cloth, then Fox stops being a valid news source.

Unfortunately, most Fox news listeners are too lazy to do that. They just lap up the crap being dished out and never bother to think for themselves.

Our Federal taxes are lower now that they were when Obama took office. Check it out. Almost 400 billion of the stimulus package went for tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

I fully understand that people don't want to pay for what they get, so rather than ask for tax cuts, or shrinking government, suggest a program that benefits yourself that you want cut. Thats the only way to shrink government, to cut programs. And that works only if the people that directly benefit from the program are willing to accept those cuts without punishing the politicians that do it.

Posted by: reussere | May 5, 2010 4:38 AM | Report abuse


I believe the "mistrust of Government" seems to have coincided with the "mistrust of Hussain Obama" and most importantly...

The fascist morons (Repubs.) LOST.

They dont trust the Government voted in by the "other" half of America, the land that they partially love.

Basically, what you have is thinly veiled racism, bigotry, fear, ignorance, and greed.

The five pillars of the Republican Party. They're so racist, the Blacks in their party hate Blacks. It's true! You can ask BOTH of them.

Fox. Please.

Taxcutsin12, you are frighteningly ignorant. If there were a God, he would make your TV explode and drop a history book in your lap.

Posted by: Thinker_ | May 5, 2010 4:30 AM | Report abuse

You got that compelling product part right the liberals tried to sell their ideas on talk radio and they went bankrupt. Fox news draws a bigger audience than MSNBC and CNN combined. The compelling product is nothing more using truth and facts.

Posted by: taxcutsin12 | May 4, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

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