Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bush Being an Idiot is Not the Point

George Lakoff has a good essay pointing out that however fun it is to point out that George Bush is an incompetent, deeply incurious man -- that's not the point. We don't want to replace him and the Republicans because he's incompetent -- but rather because he's achieved the goals of what passes for mainstream conservatism.

Good piece. Go read it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More on Insane Republicans

I ran across a new-to-me blog, Back to the Woom (via Blog Around the Clock, née Circadiana), which pointed at "The Moral Majority Is Watching Your Inner Child Molester", which is an interesting take on some of the batshit insane Republicans running our government.

Followup to Sanity = Pussiness

I've been poking through some of the diaries at Daily Kos, and followed a link to this one, about how Ann Coulter, by being her batshit self, functions in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (VRWC) as an outlier to help make the rest of the Republicans look moderate.

That post linked to another (by thereisnospoon of There Is No Blog), a post which introduced me to the concept of the Overton Window, which is explained, out in plain sight, by a member of the VRWC. To save you googling, here are the top two google links when you search for "Overton Window": first and second.

Basically, the Overton window idea says that if you lay out all the possible political policies regarding a particular issue, and order them along some continuum, you'll find that only some set of them is politically possible, and that these cluster in the Overton Windw. If you get a bunch of people to talk about and make noise about some ideas to one side of the existing window, you can shift the window, or at least widen it out. Especially if you have them make noise about ideas that are farther out than the "next step" outside the window, then you legitimize the ideas in between by sounding radical and making them look moderate. (This requires those making noise on the far-out ideas to take some heat and stand their ground.) It's what the Republicans do and the Democrats don't (remember the whole health care "debacle" in 1993-1994?).

In other words: the Democrats are pussies.

But it's not just that. The Democrats seem to think that the way to win an argument is to be reasonable. It reminds me of engineers talking to salespeople. Why do salescritters and marketroids make more money than techies, even in tech companys? Because techies always act reasonable, even though it is they who create the real value in tech companies.

A strange thought just occurred to me: when was the last time liberals/progressives/whoever actually engaged in Overton-window frame dragging? I'd argue that it was in making the overt expression of racism and sexism vulgar and beyond the pale. That was actually working (it didn't "cure" racism and sexism and other isms; it just pushed things underground, but it did shift the discourse; anyone who thinks that nothing's changed in the last 30 years or so hasn't been paying attention, especially to attitudinal shifts toward homosexuality) -- but then the right wing hit upon "Political Correctness" as a pushback mechanism. They don't like it when their tools are used against them!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Democrats are too sane

In watching the latest Republican circus (ring one: gay-bashing; ring two: making sure that obscenely rich people get to keep more of their wealth), I was forcefully reminded of an idea that first occurred to me back in the Clinton years:

Democrats are too sane.

What I mean by this is that the Republicans have some seriously batshit people in Congress, from Rick Santorum to Sam Brownback (can we turn "Brownback" into a verb? "Yeah, the two of them met at the bar last night and spent the night brownbacking"), and some even crazier motherfuckers in the House. They push for crazy shit all the time.

And then the Republican leadership (sic), which is only marginally less bugfuck than their fringe, can settle on something that's only 80% insane, and look "moderate", and willing to "compromise" in doing so.

I don't even know what the left/progressive version of Rick Santorum would be. Someone who supports public group sex -- with animals -- in Central Park or the Boston Common? There simply is no one on the left as crazy as the whacked-out Right Whingers. There is certainly no one as extreme as the extreme Right in any level of government. When John Kerry is your example of a Dangerous Liberal, you clearly didn't look very hard.

And just think of how long it took them to find Ward Churchill after 9/11 -- months to find one lone nutball of an ethnic-studies professor at a mid-size university. That's the best they could come up with?

This goes hand-in-hand with the wingnut "think" tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute (which, credit where credit is due, is not as crazy as the others): these folks give cover to the not-quite-as-pathological "moderate" Right Whingers.

And the Democrats? They're people who have forgotten how to negotiate: they ask for what they want, rather than for what they know they can't get, and then they get 20% of what they want instead of 80% after the haggling is done.

Democrats are a bunch of pussies, basically.

Did Iran get the U.S. to take out Iraq?

I was reading this post about PSY-OPS (Psychological Operations) over at Daily Kos and it spurred me to wonder....

When (if?) we know what really happened with the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, will we conclude that Iran managed to get the United States to take out their biggest direct enemy, Iraq?