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Polarization and the Blogosphere
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, September 23, 2005

Andrew Sullivan points to this commenter at Daniel Drezner's blog....
What's changed is that after five years of presidency, the elections are finally over. It is now safe to criticise Bush, because such criticism can't possibly matter any more - it can't affect his reelection chances.
Forgive me if I don't perceive this as responsible conservatism. Responsibility would have been criticising him before it's too late to do anything about his weaknesses.

Sullivan calls it "a change in right-wing blogs". But did the right side of the blogosphere really avoid criticism of the Bush administration prior to the election, though? Perhaps I'm wrong, but—in general—I really don't think that's the case. There have certainly been some blogs that fit that bill, but most right-of-center bloggers I've read leveled quite a bit of criticism against the Bush administration before the '04 election.

I don't know of any significant right-of-center bloggers who defended the Medicare Drug bill, and very few Righties have resisted criticizing the administration for No Child Left Behind, the massive discretionary spending, the poor record on free trade, or on immigration policy. In foreign policy, there's been quite a lot of criticism of the torture and abuse problems, the lack of clear legal process for detainees, and for various mistakes in Iraq.

I recall all of that quite clearly. This blog, for instance, spent quite a lot of time castigating the Bush administration. (here, here, here, here, here, here, etc) A couple weeks prior to the election, I declined to endorse Bush, writing that a Kerry Presidency "is still better than the permanent loss of the GOP [for] libertarians and fiscal conservatives. Inasmuch as one vote can exert any influence, my only option is to make a principled vote for Nobody." I'd rather lose an election than the soul of the Republican Party.

But not everybody, apparently, sees it that way: Drezner points to Jesse Taylor at Pandagon, who finds "the conservative blogosphere to be one of the most closed-minded, insular, circular pits of denial I've ever encountered". If, by "closed-minded, insular, circular pits of denial", Jesse means "they disagree with me a lot"......well, I guess we're guilty as charged.

But that's a very odd criticism for the Left side of the 'sphere to make. While it's rather clear that top Right-of-center bloggers like, for example, Glenn Reynolds [Instapundit] Reynolds, The Volokh Conspiracy, and James Joyner [Outside the Beltway] lean towards the Republican Party, they've also been quite willing to criticize Bush.

But which prominent Lefty blogs were critical of Kerry on policy? How many (actual) liberal bloggers declined to vote for Kerry? Perhaps I missed it, but I don't recall, for example, Pandagon stepping outside the Party lines during the campaign. I'd bet money that, given a single pre-election month, I could find far more criticism of Bush/praise for Democrats from the above-mentioned Right-of-center bloggers than I could find criticism of Kerry/praise for Republicans from the left-of-center bloggers.

And "insular"? I've noted before that prominent liberal blogs like "Daily Kos, Atrios, Pandagon, Smirking Chimp, Dean for America, TalkingPointsMemo, Matt Yglesias, MyDD, Orcinus, and TBogg" have embargoed rightwing blogs altogether.

I realize that both sides will tend to have caricatured, sometimes cartoonish, views of the other, but it's really very hard to see where Jesse Taylor and Andrew Sullivan get the idea that the right side of the 'sphere is unwilling to criticize Bush. I really wonder whether the left side of the 'sphere believes it has any obligation to intellectual integrity to criticize their own for bad policy, corruption and failure now and then.

MORE: Incidentally, I'd be interested to know which blogs—left and/or right—you guys think are overly partisan, and which are not. Leave your nominees in the comments...
 
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Comments
Face it;
Angry Andy’s just trying to convince himself it was all a Bush-Driven conspiracy... including his own, often more than lukewarm support of Bush.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jon,
I did not offer any criticism of Bush before the ’04 election. None at all. I didn’t blog one negative bit about him.

Of course, I started my blog on Nov 9, 2004, so that might explain it. I’ve offered quite a bit of criticism since...
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://unrepentantindividual.com/
Completely agree. I used to go to quite a few leftie blogs but after a while it just seemed like a complete waste of time.

Early on, there was an least some modicum of honesty but the whole left side has become a huge koolaid drinking echo chamber. There has never been any critism of the left of center and onwards (leftward off course) for anything. Moreover, if anyone on the left speaks out against something on the left he dislike, the most vicious personal attacks are launched against them. If a minority person decides to be on the right side of the sphere, again the visious personal attacks.

Although, the left likes to complain about certain right side blogs not allowing comments, what they do is more insidious. How many times has a reasonable comment be deleted and the commentor blocked on a left wing blog because they started winning the argument. Lots of examples. Look at QandO, how many completely crazy args have been allowed to stay. I don’t see that a certian Cia experiment commentor has ever been banned for the nonsense they produce.

The real problem is that perhaps Jesse really believes his statement. More’s the pity.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
A data point, which may or may not mean anything: my blog, Obsidian Wings, has people from the left and from the right. Both groups are most often linked by liberal blogs, and the conservatives who are linked by liberal blogs are usually not linked because e.g. the liberals are taking their posts apart, or saying "look, here’s a stupid argument". That has happened, but it’s a lot rarer than a liberal blog linking to one of our conservative writers and saying: here’s an interesting point. Conservatives almost never link to any of us; the number of times any have linked to (liberal) me could be counted on the fingers of one mutilated hand.
 
Written By: hilzoy
URL: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/
Left leaning blogs frequently criticize Dems - it happens all the time. But the criticisms come from the left - not the right. In other words, most lefty bloggers criticize Dems for trying to be too much like Republicans. Wingers, of course, don’t recognize this as valid criticism and thus discount it or dismiss it. But I would say that lefty blogs are far more critical of Dems than right blogs are of the GOP.

But then, lefty blogs tend to be more grass roots oriented and thus more likely to challenge the establishment players. Hugh Hewitt is a good example. He is a radio show host first, blogger second. Part of the establishment. A more establishment based player than, say, Atrios.

As for criticism of Bush before the election, with few, minor exceptions, there was not criticism of Bush from the right. None whatsoever. What I recall was a lot of scare mongering about a possible Kerry presidency. But when it came to actual criticism of Bush - forget it, there was none.

The main reason, of course, that you did not see much criticism of Kerry from the left is that Bush is so horrible, so terrible, that whatever differences lefty bloggers had with Kerry (remember, most were behind Dean, not Kerry), they were forced to put them aside. And now, of course, the rest of America is seeing what we on the left knew all along about Bush: that he is a bumbling incompetent idiot concerned only with his political survival and with paying off his political backers. What else can one say about a wartime president with a 38% approval rating?

Katrina is what finally crystalized it. Bush was playing guitar in California and talking about WWII on the day after the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States struck the mainland US. Think about that for a moment. On the day after Katrina hit, Bush was devoting zero attention to it, and was instead mugging for the camera. It said everything about Bush that those of us on the left have been screaming all along: he is out of touch, he doesn’t give a sh** about the average American, he is incompetent, and he is more interested in rewarding his political backers (e.g., Mike Brown at FEMA), than he is with the welfare of the American public.

So now that Bush’s shortcomings have become so painfully obvious, it is hardly surprising that those on the right are saying stuff such as "well, you know, I was critical of Bush back in the day." Of course they are saying that: Bush is a sinking ship that no one wants to go down with. Of course, it has nothing to do with reality - mind you, these are the same people who were sporting band-aids to mock John Kerry’s purple hearts, medals he earned in service of his country.

Well, they got what they wanted: a Bush presidency. So now, we have three more years of ever increasing debt, three more years of incompetence in Iraq, three more years of the war on science, three more years of the war against the middle class, and so forth. As I have said before, one can only hope that in three years it won’t be too late to undo all the damage he has done.

Oh, by the way, Cap’t Joe, is it possible once, just once, you could sound like a damm cliche of a winger. The "koolaid" line has run its course. Can you be original, just once?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Hell, even NRO’s The Corner criticized Bush. Still does.

Another problem with the lefty blogs is that when it comes to President Bush, they do nothing but criticize. Doesn’t matter what he does, good or bad, right or wrong, they piss and moan about it. They’re like the little boy who cried wolf. By the time they’ve got a genuine gripe, they’ve frittered their credibility away on partisan whinging.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
"What else can one say about a wartime president with a 38% approval rating?"
Once again I started reading without looking at the author [d’uh]. The above line is how far I got until the "wait a minute, this is a lefty wacko who might be the MightyKoocoo."alarm went off. Sure enough. She then goes on to give a thumbnail version of her talking points - apropos nothing. Finally, I assume as a joke, she twits Capt. Joe for not being original! Ahh, the irony.
Re-read the comment. It could very well be the result of an AI program recycling liberal talking points gleaned from the cocoon. I see that the programmers are still having trouble with the responsiveness. I am guessing that sometimes they intervene in order to maintain credibility and other times they try out letting MK respond on her own. Message to programmers: it needs work.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Perhaps the right (and slightly right-of-center, which is where I’d be) didn’t criticize Bush, because of the alternative. Call me a scaremonger, if you wish, because I was pretty scared to think of what my country would be like with Kerry at the helm. It doesn’t really matter though, because it’s all water under the bridge. Any honest conservative should be criticizing the Administration. Our spending is at an absurd level, with the highway bill and the money being thrown at Katrina (and Rita, soon enough). It sort of reminds me of the scene in one of the Batman movies, where Jack Nicholson’s the Joker. He parades through Gotham, tossing cash about willy-nilly. I’m not (yet) calling Bush a joker; just the imagery of money being tossing about makes me think of that. I don’t even want to get started on immigration and energy policies.
 
Written By: CyanCyde
URL: http://
Why MK? I was just channeling you. After all you are a perfect cliche of Luna myotis auriculus (the common variety of moonbat). I find it hilarious that you would cast the un-original stone at anyone considering the temper of your posts.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
What else can one say about a wartime president with a 38% approval rating?"

Man, this is a real bummer to Bush’s ’08 election chances....


Anyway, as for most partisian blogs:

I nominate Sullivan. On BOTH sides, depending on his mood, the weather, or what he had for lunch. :)
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
DO NOT publicly criticize your own team. Do it privately. No right-wing or left-wing blog should be obligated to publicly criticize their own. It is a silly concept. Leave it up to the other side to try and tear your side down. Don’t do it from within.

If you do, you will regret it in the end. Someone will rub your face in it.
 
Written By: Steve
URL: www.yahoo.com
If you do, you will regret it in the end. Someone will rub your face in it.
Couple of problems with that. Everything of consequence is public on the Internet. It’s pretty hard to "do it from within" without anyone outside finding out about it.

Secondly, if a group refrains from criticism of its own position because it "looks bad", then they lose practice in defending their position against anyone. That shows up in general elections. Republicans, who are accustomed to defending their position against the left, the press, libertarians, and each other, tend to win public arguments and elections. The left, who are unaccustomed to being called on silly arguments by the press, and who don’t seem to want to critique each other, are much less capable at offering defenses of their ideological positions.

They can do it in slogan form, of course, but that doesn’t work with people who are not already convinced. I can name several slogans that the left leans on as crutches to justify their positions: "No blood for oil", "War is not the answer", "Bush lied-people died", "Halliburton!", "Stolen elections!", etc. etc. Where are the equivalents on the right?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
DO NOT publicly criticize your own team. Do it privately. No right-wing or left-wing blog should be obligated to publicly criticize their own. It is a silly concept. Leave it up to the other side to try and tear your side down. Don’t do it from within.

If you do, you will regret it in the end. Someone will rub your face in it.


I agree Steve, if your blog is there carry water for "your side" and nothing else.

Are the principles of your side so weak that they require you to cover up the truth? Or if not, how about acknowledging when those on "your side" don’t live up to those principles? Cover that up too?

If so, then, in all honesty, you’d simply be a shill. I’m not sure anyone wants to be seen as that.

Criticism when warranted is healthy and necessary on both sides. And the kind of instant feed-back blogs can render to those sometime idiots we call politicians is useful, especially when it tells them they’re all wet.

Ask Dick Durbin (although I recognize he’s not the best example since most of his criticism did not come from the left).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I’ve found that since John Cole finally got fed up with Bush his site is actually quite enjoyable now. Used to be something to avoid.

Really I’m gradually finding a lot of the blogosphere tough to tolerate, whether left or right. When it becomes nothing more than cheerleading I bolt, even if it’s a libertarian site. Some group blogs seem to avoid this though for the most part: check out Liberty For Sale or Balance of Power, for example.
 
Written By: b-psycho
URL: http://psychopolitik.blogspot.com
kausfiles.com is a moderate lefty who is intellectually honest and willing to criticize the Dems.
agree wholeheartedly w/ the thrust of your post, though.
 
Written By: Jim, Mtn View, CA
URL: http://
im a flamin liberel!
 
Written By: bubba
URL: http://electronicbubba.blogspot.com/
How often does the left wing or right wing take time to reevaluate some of their popular memes that just aren’t factually true? Where’s the evidence? Both sides are frequently guilty of this.

How often does either side praise a left wing or right wing blog for being insightful?

How often does a blog demonize a site just for one post even if other info is quite good or worth knowing? When the mudslinging starts and people just stop reading an opposition site, communication breaks down. Is it so hard to say someone has a point just because you don’t like them? Is it necessary to start drinking the electric koolaid and start using suspect evidence to support your position (ask Dan Rather and CBS or Instapundit’s frequent links that err on the side of the positive in the war...he’s a lawyer, he should know better than to cite so much damned anecdotal evidence in the Iraq war... or Michael Moore, Rush, Coulter...etc.

It’s frequently more and more difficult to find someone who’ll take the time to actually read from a wide number of sources. Though Andrew Sullivan does have problems occasionally, he’s a blogger who won’t just claim that the blogosphere corrects itself, but actually corrects mistakes when they’re pointed out to him quickly. Try finding quick corrections on other blogs in a completely new post. (many just correct at the original post which no one really goes back to read)

And while I’m talking about Sully, how many right wing blogs defended Abu Ghraib or just didn’t believe it was true? (I recall some Koolaid drinkers on the right actually agreeing with torture as policy). Sullivan is correct to take right wing blogs to task for Bush support in the face of how much the war created blindness to Bush’s war conduct. Regardless of whatever reservations the right had over domestic policy (Many, many right wing blogs did attack Bush’s domestic policy), it never occurred to the right wing to take a serious look at the evidence in Iraq in front of them. I wish this didn’t make me sound partisan, but when ANY president is bungling something so important so badly, any change that divides the branches of government would have been for the better. It’s really hard for the right to blame the left wing now when they control the government hence people criticizing Bush en masse and bailing.
 
Written By: Steve2
URL: http://
I find most bolgs are incredibly silly. Conspiracy theories abound. Judging from most comments everyone is preaching to the converted in an incredibly sophmoric way. Actually I am being more than generous since most of the comments I have read either right or left are mindless and often profane. This is not intended to be a criticism of the right since I have recently entcountered wild left wing comments stating that John Roberts is gay. Then I go to "World Net Daily" only to find that it is a thinly disguised "Shameless Commerce Division" designed to take advantage of the uninformed. Instapundit is considerably better than most. I would really like to see a blog site either right or left that was actually interested in a reasonable debate. Very few sites that I can find actually lay out the values they espouse and the reasons the boggers hold them. It may be a war but it should be a war of ideas not a war of mindless vituperation.
 
Written By: Seth
URL: http://
I find most bolgs are incredibly silly. Conspiracy theories abound. Judging from most comments everyone is preaching to the converted in an incredibly sophmoric way. Actually I am being more than generous since most of the comments I have read either right or left are mindless and often profane. This is not intended to be a criticism of the right since I have recently entcountered wild left wing comments stating that John Roberts is gay. Then I go to "World Net Daily" only to find that it is a thinly disguised "Shameless Commerce Division" designed to take advantage of the uninformed. Instapundit is considerably better than most. I would really like to see a blog site either right or left that was actually interested in a reasonable debate. Very few sites that I can find actually lay out the values they espouse and the reasons the boggers hold them. It may be a war but it should be a war of ideas not a war of mindless vituperation.
 
Written By: Seth
URL: http://
It’s not really a fair fight. While it’s absolutely clear each side can be as moonbatty as the other, the right controls the White House, Senate, House, Sup. Ct., much of the federal judiciary and most of the state houses. It’s the JOB of the party out of power, the "loyal opposition," to blame, criticize and complain. This is how it works. But somehow, the right does not appear to be capable of taking this graciously, as gents and ladies. Why? It’s darn unsportsmanlike. Big bad conservatives seem (to the minority left) to act like schoolyard bullies—question authority, slammed to the cement. But this heavy-handed and downright ungentlemanly weilding of all that superior power (on top of everything else that makes the underdog party bonkers) drives lefties especially nutty.
 
Written By: Indiegirl
URL: http://
What else can one say about a wartime president with a 38% approval rating?
He has delivered freedom, democracy and hope for the 30 million formerly oppressed citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Not bad, not bad at all.
 
Written By: Dogwood
URL: http://
It’s the JOB of the party out of power, the "loyal opposition," to blame, criticize and complain. This is how it works. But somehow, the right does not appear to be capable of taking this graciously, as gents and ladies.
You are correct, it is the job of the loyal opposition to do those things. It also is the job of the loyal opposition to offer ALTERNATIVE solutions to the problems facing the country. And I’m sorry, "Give peace a chance" and other slogans don’t qualify as solutions.

During the campaign, it was very easy for the lefties to criticize the president’s war record, but I did not hear Kerry explain how he would conduct the war differently if he were elected. If the president is doing such a terrible job, it is the loyal opposition’s job to criticize and to offer an alternative plan. But all that is offered is the above mentioned slogans, or a cut and run plan that is all but unacceptable to average Americans.

 
Written By: Dogwood
URL: http://
Steve said:
DO NOT publicly criticize your own team. Do it privately. No right-wing or left-wing blog should be obligated to publicly criticize their own. It is a silly concept. Leave it up to the other side to try and tear your side down. Don’t do it from within.
This is partisanship. Partisanship places one’s party ahead of one’s principles. Partisanship is the antithesis of citizenship; it is raw, naked desire for power and nothing more.

The citizen uses political parties to find others who share their ideas of good government, to spread those ideas to others who don’t know about them, to persuade others who might agree, and to dispute others who disagree. The partisan uses the political process to gain power and will advocate whatever ideas of good government he thinks will best bring him to power.

Steve: do you value your "team", or do you value what you think your team should stand for?
 
Written By: eddie
URL: http://
Oddly enough, I remember leaving a comment at this very site during the frothy days of Rathergate suggesting that you (or your other contributors) should cover illegal immigration with a little bit of the same force.

Of course, a million or so more illegal aliens later, we see that that plea wasn’t heeded.

In fact, Insty and others lead the Rathergate charge in part (IMHO) to drown out any discussion of Bush’s policies. Why spend time discussing massive illegal immigration, spending, the Armageddon Army, the Our Leader billboard/the Bush Pledge/protester arrests, etc. etc. etc. when you can spend time discussing Dan Rather?

Then, it was soon on to al Qaqaa. Rather than attempting to find out just how much explosive force was scattered to the winds, we got an endless round of sub-Lawrence di Rita attempts to obfuscate the matter.

While there might have been criticism of "Our Leader" prior to the election, there were also curious incidents of noise which may have been intended to make serious discussion of policies difficult.
 
Written By: Lonewacko: illegal immigration news
URL: http://lonewacko.com
I’m a Republican, and I have some concerns about some of the stuff Bush has done (and hasn’t done). However, I would never vote for a Democratic candidate, no matter how attractive he/she may appear, for one reason: coattails. A Democrat win for the White House would bring in so many leftists across the entire government that I would actually fear for the country, given how loony the Left has become. As bad as the Republicans are, the Democrats are far worse.
 
Written By: Bob1
URL: http://
How many (actual) liberal bloggers declined to vote for Kerry?

On a slightly related topic, every Green Party member I know voted for Kerry. This was in Kerry-safe counties in Kerry-safe California. My sample size is small, but to date I haven’t found one Green who will admit voting Green.
 
Written By: Brandybuck
URL: http://www.usermode.org/blog/
I do agree that there was a "not-Bush" agenda on many progressive/liberal/democratic blogs, especially after the primaries. However, prior to this, there was a lot of in-fighting. Kerry was not universally popular, but in the end was perceived as the one candidate with the best possible chance of defeating Bush.

Many Democrat’s still lament that Kerry was put to the task, since he did not seem to put up an agressive fight for the office he saught. Many were looking for the voice they heard from a young veteran, not the seasoned politician.



 
Written By: sdk
URL: http://
It’s not really a fair fight. While it’s absolutely clear each side can be as moonbatty as the other, the right controls the White House, Senate, House, Sup. Ct., much of the federal judiciary and most of the state houses. It’s the JOB of the party out of power, the "loyal opposition," to blame, criticize and complain. This is how it works. But somehow, the right does not appear to be capable of taking this graciously, as gents and ladies. Why? It’s darn unsportsmanlike. Big bad conservatives seem (to the minority left) to act like schoolyard bullies—question authority, slammed to the cement. But this heavy-handed and downright ungentlemanly weilding of all that superior power (on top of everything else that makes the underdog party bonkers) drives lefties especially nutty.
 
Written By: Indiegirl
URL: http://
Dogwood, I agree the job of the opposition is to proffer alternatives. The alternative to war, ideally, is, of course, peace, but Iraq is a very difficult thing to resolve. I may put a moonbat bumper sticker on my car ("give peace a chance" —almost always more radical an idea than "support the troops" although most democrats i know want to do both) but that slogan merely reflects the sentiment of a liberal heart, and obviously does not constitute an exit strategy, or a foreign policy. realistically, i know that we cannot cut and run. that would do terrible damage to our global reputation and also desimate any hope for a stable Iraq (not that our presence there is *good* for our global image, or has turned out to be a stabilizing force in the middle east at this point. nor is continuing the war effort good (more importantly), for our unity and our ability to deal with problems and disasters here at home).

Liberals cannot end or win this war for us. But does that mean we must shut up? Maybe. But that’s not human nature.

By the way, it’s funny: I read lib. and con. blogs and I see that each side uses the exact same words to describe the other: loony, dangerous, demented, uninformed, batty, wingnuts, unAmerican, bungling idiots, etc., etc. We may not communicate with each other. But it’s clear we all speak the same language ;).
 
Written By: Indiegirl
URL: http://
A war-time president with 38% approval ratings means one of two things:

A. We’ve lost Maine and upper New York to German forces and we’re pretty angry about presidential mishandling of the war.

B. The far-off foreign war is not really affecting us at all, but we are sick of seeing a body count, which by the way is all the media offers as news from the region.

Regarding blogs, prior to an election you should expect some "rally around the flag" effect. Plus, with so much criticism of Bush, the right wingers tend to be more on the defensive - that’s only natural with the left wing poop-flinging storm everyday.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
It’s not a matter of playing solidly for one party, but rather demonizing and rejecting out-of-hand the other party.

I have more than my fair share hatred for both sides, but what gets to me are those who refuse to empathize with opposing mindsets and spend time understanding and following opposing arguments rather than sampling a few and composing ridiculous impressions.
 
Written By: William Gillis
URL: http://williamgillis.blogspot.com/
Aside from the fact that there are plenty of reasons to believe the 38% poll figures are inaccurate (not to say Bush is doing swimmingly, but I’d bet his numbers are more around 41% or so, and even Bill Clinton had his time in the 30’s, in 1994-5) I just find it hard to take Sullivan seriously about anything, anymore. A formerly great writer who had a daddy figure in W and, once W came out against gay marriage, did the whole emotional turnaround.

Lots of dem sites criticise dems - although I never see the far left dems criticised. And lots of right wing blogs criticised Bush before the 2004 and are still doing so. Good lord, just take a look at NRO or the folks at Lucianne on an average day. There are plenty throwing out criticism.
 
Written By: Little Flynn
URL: http://
I really wonder whether the left side of the ’sphere believes it has any obligation to intellectual integrity to criticize their own for bad policy, corruption and failure now and then.

If the left had intellectual integrity, then they wouldn’t be leftists. After all, communism and socialism are evil, and people with intellectual integrity abhor evil. QED
 
Written By: Ed Minchau
URL: http://robot_guy.blogspot.com
The problem for me with most lefty sites is their criticisms of George Bush, at rock bottom, are founded on the presumption that he is evil, un-caring, stupid, and a liar. The "argument" goes from there. It’s childish.

I’ve sometimes asked on lefty sites for suggestions on how Bush should pursue the war in Iraq. Not whether we should have gone in, but what to do now. The answers are universally "Get out!" followed by criticisms focused not on terrorists, but on the United States. How can a discussion be on-going under those terms?

I’ve visited Pandagon. You can’t get an intelligent discussion there. It’s like entering a bar of angry drunks.
 
Written By: Salt Lick
URL: http://
Ed Minchau, et al

I think that you made a mistake.

Q. E. D. (QED) is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" (literally, "that which was to be demonstrated").

It is often used at the end of a mathematical or logical proof. However, you simply are making statements. There is no demonstration to result, or proof. The courseness and simplicity of the statement is worthy of certain sunstantiation. However, you did not even approach to accomplish this. In fact, ironically, you show that people of YOUR integrity needn’t be intellectual or factual at all!





 
Written By: sdk
URL: http://
Ed Minchau, et al

I think that you made a mistake.

Q. E. D. (QED) is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" (literally, "that which was to be demonstrated").

It is often used at the end of a mathematical or logical proof. However, you simply are making statements. There is no demonstration to result, or proof. The courseness and simplicity of the statement is worthy of certain sunstantiation. However, you did not even approach to accomplish this. In fact, ironically, you show that people of YOUR integrity needn’t be intellectual or factual at all!





 
Written By: sdk
URL: http://
It’s not really a fair fight. While it’s absolutely clear each side can be as moonbatty as the other, the right controls the White House, Senate, House, Sup. Ct., much of the federal judiciary and most of the state houses. It’s the JOB of the party out of power, the "loyal opposition," to blame, criticize and complain. This is how it works. But somehow, the right does not appear to be capable of taking this graciously, as gents and ladies. Why? It’s darn unsportsmanlike. Big bad conservatives seem (to the minority left) to act like schoolyard bullies—question authority, slammed to the cement. But this heavy-handed and downright ungentlemanly weilding of all that superior power (on top of everything else that makes the underdog party bonkers) drives lefties especially nutty.
 
Written By: Indiegirl
URL: http://
It used to be a 2 axis political world (see the Libertarian short quiz): social (abortion, gays, school vouchers) and economic (taxes, regulations).

The Left wants big gov’t in the economy, and lots of individual freedom socially; the Right wants small gov’t in the economy and big gov’t control over morality, heavily influenced by traditional Christian thinking.

The Iraq war adds a third dimension, which really breaks down the Left-Right single axis that was already insufficient.


I’m looking for Kerry/ Dem voters who are willing to be critical of Kerry & Dems. Quite a few "Liberal Hawks" fit that; though most/many voted Bush, despite being pro-gay, pro-choice; anti-Tax Cuts. Michael Totten is such a Liberal Hawk.

I like Marc Cooper, who hated Kerry, but hates Bush more. At least he’s serious about his criticism; I usually disagree with his Bush criticism. Jeff Jarvis & Jay Rosen (Buzzmachine, PressThink) seem reasonable, too.

Most Bush criticism, like on Abu Ghraib, uses some "unreal perfection" as the standard, the implicit alternative. Abu had some small, unacceptable torture—and Gen. Karpinski was fired (now Colonel). It also had more humiliation, like the Stanford Prison experiment shows.

The anti-torture folk are unable to say: how many minutes of sleep-depravation is it before torture? (my own opinion—it’s NOT torture.)

Bush’s PR was terrible in not acknowledging that something was wrong, and was being fixed. He’s a bit better on Katrina, but yes "out of touch" is a fault. So what? What about his policy afterward (HUGE HUGE HUGE amounts of federal cash)?

I am much more upset about his policy than him being in- or out- of touch with folks, though I do wish he was more in touch.

If I have to choose between good figurehead/ bad policy and bad figurehead/ good policy—I prefer good policy.

The Bush-haters are barely willing to define what "good policy" is: endles tax increases, separation of church and state to make any reference to Christian sin the equivalent of illegal hate speech, and devotion to, if not subordination to, the UN on international affairs. Or something else. Doesn’t matter, as long as it’s not Bush.
Bahh.
 
Written By: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad
URL: http://tomgrey.motime.com
t’s the JOB of the party out of power, the "loyal opposition," to blame, criticize and complain. This is how it works. But somehow, the right does not appear to be capable of taking this graciously, as gents and ladies.

Actually, the JOB of the opposition party ins’t to blame (bitch and moan) or complain (reflexively oppose). It IS there to CONSTRUCTIVELY criticize, and offer alternatives. So far, the opposition has done preciuous little of this. You’re very good at the ChimpyMcBusHitlerHalliburtonBloodforOil stuff but not very good at the actual alternative solutions thingee. You’re very good at voting against a qualified judicial nominee because he "didn’t talk enough about what kind of father he is" but not much else.

So I have to give the right side of the blogsphere a pass here. I mean, there’s times I want to criticize the administration, but I just can’t find it within myself to ever do something that will align myself (even if only for a fleeting instance) with scum like the Daily Kos or any of George Soros well paid minions (that means you Oliver)

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I tend to view both the Republicans and the Democrats as Tweedledee and Tweedledum these days, just coming at things from different direction. Both parties have been taken over by lunatic fashions.

The Democrats have the left wing loonies who don’t realize the world has changed significantly since the sixties and tend to have knee jerk reactions on things like war and racial politics. The Republican Party made a pact with the Christian fundamentalists for power, and now they have been more or less taken over by them, pushing for their moral agenda and willing to trample the constitution to do so.

The one reform I’d like to do is to restructure our voting system to encourage the formation of third parties and to reward, not punish, people for voting for them. Then the Republican party could break into two parties, a Christian Party and a Conservative Party (not that conservatives can’t be christians or vice versa, incidentally). And in the Democrats you can have the Liberal Party composed of Dean and the other far left and a moderate party that I can’t think of a catchy name for at the moment.
 
Written By: Martin Terman
URL: http://
The one reform I’d like to do is to restructure our voting system to encourage the formation of third parties and to reward, not punish, people for voting for them

You can view the results of a system like that.....check out the mess that resulted from the German elections...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Indiegirl: Its the JOB of the party out of power, the "loyal opposition," to blame, criticize and complain. But somehow, the right does not appear to be capable of taking this graciously, as gents and ladies.

Actually, in those rare moments when the just blame and/or constructive criticism which are the loyal opposition’s job are offered, most of us take them graciously—certainly far more graciously than the left does in the far-more-frequent instances when the reverse occurs. The problem is (as shark has pointed out) the left on the whole hasn’t been providing anything of the sort. What they have been doing is indulging in an ongoing tantrum, complete with shrill caterwauling and mindless accusations, along with being in a complete state of denial as to their party’s own flaws.

I’d also advise against bringing up gracious behavior when the current reigning king and queen of your end of the political spectrum are Howard "Howling Mad" Dean and Cindy "Potty-Mouth" Sheehan.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
As to the blogsphere "refusal to spell out positions explicitly" and allow for mature public discussion - I have to say I miss Den Beste. Sure, some people vehemently disagreed with him, some people agreed with him, but his posts on the Iraw War generated just the sort of strategic national discussion that was needed. If only we had a national leader who was as capable of or willing to set out their goals and strategies directly.

On another front, does anyone even notice anymore that there are a ton of "right-wing bloggers" who are pro-war but not social conservatives in any way, shape or form? The social conservative nexus is the scare-group used by the Left, but almost none of the "right-wing" bloggers that I read are social conservatives. Being a supporter of the Iraq War does not actually imply that you don’t support gay marriage, women’s rights, right to abortion, secularism, etc. It just isn’t that simple.
 
Written By: SolidState
URL: http://
Instapundit differs from Bush on select issues (stem cells, for instance), but he is, at the end of the day, hopelessly partisan. He claims over and over that he is not Republican, but I don’t think even he believes that any more. I read Powerline for about five minutes, and its partisan outlook is only trumped by its sophomoric tone.

Having said all this, I really don’t expect these guys to be fair. They exist to be partisan.
 
Written By: Charles GIacometti
URL: http://
I really truly sincerely don’t think I need to visit MediaMatters or MoveOn or TruthOut or half a dozen other leftozoid blogs, given that I get a dozen emails a day, every effing day, forwarding "interesting" excerpts (or for all I know, entire issues) of this crap in my inbox. This is strong evidence that there’s some kind of evil evangelical hoodoo going on with those sites, is alls I’m sane. There’s gotta be some reason why these people feel like they have to shout that much.
CJ
Look at QandO, how many completely crazy args have been allowed to stay
There are reasons for spending attention on this site and that’s sure one of them.
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
M Kult Ra
Left leaning blogs frequently criticize Dems - it happens all the time
I’m pretty sure that no one here can remember seeing you, personally, criticizing any Dems, on this blog. But I personally could easily be wrong about this.

Auntie Ach
on partisan whinging.
What is the philological damn entomology of the term "whinging" please and thank you? It’s apparently combined from "whining" plus something else, but what? Is this one of those jokes that you hafta visit somebody’s blog 100 times before you get it or what? You ain’t talking Strine here, are ya?

deeply superficial Steve
DO NOT publicly criticize your own team. Do it privately. No right-wing or left-wing blog should be obligated to publicly criticize their own. It is a silly concept.
If that concept is silly, then "credibility" is silly-on-stilts. But, see, for the rest of us, it ain’t like that. Or at least I hope it’s not.
Leave it up to the other side to try and tear your side down. Don’t do it from within. If you do, you will regret it in the end. Someone will rub your face in it.
Every time my face has gotten rubbed in something stupid that I’ve said, I got smarter. Not prettier or more popular, and certainly no nicer, but definitely smarter.
You are telling your students to AVOID personal embarassment by avoiding knowledge, literally and exactly. So I keep hoping that if I read on further, it’ll turn out that you’re just kidding. Hope is good, right?
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
Indie, criticize away, constructively.



I guess my biggest concern with the lefties is their apparent desire for the United States to lose the Iraqi war. I don’t care if you supported or opposed the decision to go to war. What I do care about is this: now that the country is at war, does your end of the political spectrum actually want us to win the war?



Using a personal example, I was bitterly opposed to GHWB sending troops into Somalia, but once those troops were on the ground, I wanted nothing more than for them and the good Ole’USA to kick butt and take names. Cutting and running after losing 18 soldiers was a disastrous decision that helped convince Osama that we were a paper tiger.



Unfortuantely, it appears that many of the leftie leaders do not want victory in Iraq but defeat for the country and especially GWB.



Finally, I do not understand the obssession with "our global image" that lefties wring their hands over. I understand the need for good PR, but I also understand the much greater need for good leadership, which requires making tough decisions that may prove to be controversial.



Nations will not stand with us because they like us. They will stand with us because they believe it is in their national interests to do so. The leaders of France and Germany had other agendas, such as winning domestic elections and fulfilling national delusions of military and economic adequacy by attempting to create a counterweight to American power and influence in the world.



I want our friends to respect us (that does not mean they agree with or support every decision we make) and I want our enemies to tremble in their shoes. Maintain that type of global image and we will do just fine as a nation



 
Written By: Dogwood
URL: http://
Dogwood, the left of COURSE wants america to WIN. at everything she does. always. that is why they’re angry. they think this administration is off track and making wrong choices. they think iraq is a losing battle.

dissent is not some sinister plot to undermine america. it is honest diagreement with the adminsitration. americans are DYING in iraq and almost half this nation does not see why or how this is in our interest.

but make no mistake, democrats cry when any beautiful brave young soldier or marine suffers injury or heaven forbid, pays the unltimate price on foreign soil or sand.

of course some wars are necessary. (afhganistan, for example.) but IRAQ? can you seriously not see the room for at least *questioning* the wisdom in that?

never mind that some of the fringe positions at yesterday’s antiwar rally where batty barkers organized by that HAMAS sympathizing group, ANSER. the left is scattered and frustrated and poorly focused in a lot of ways.

but do not forget: 47 million ordinary, clear-minded, concerned, hopeful, optimistic, patriotic Amreicans voted AGAINST GWB. and that was before his approval numbers plummeted as they have been doing these past months.

and "image" is not about winning an American Idol contest. it’s about alliances and partnerships and power in numbers in a globalized world.
because leadership, first and foremost, means getting people to want to follow you and go your way. but the world is no longer lining up behind us. and that hasn’t happened quite this way before. and i think there is something wrong with it.

 
Written By: Indiegirl
URL: http://
I have to assume right away that Robert Fulton is an Instapundit fan. I can’t tell you how many times I have posted about Instapundit and have had people try to rile me by taking my name "Charles" and and turning it to "Charley" or "Charlie" or "Chuck." This is the commenter’s analog to Instapundit’s famous witty retort, "Heh." Both are hopelessly lame: the sort of thing that worked in Junior High, but doesn’t work with me.

Having said that, let me address Mr. Fulton’s point about Instapundit being center-right. Actually, I don’t know what Instapundit is, because 90% of his posts are defensive screeds about Bush. He claims to be Libertarian, but he rarely voices anything like a pure Libertarian point of view. He claims to not be a Republican, but he is only defensive of Bush and constantly on the attack against Democrats. If you are suggesting he is conservative and that somehow the current Republicans are conservative, well, forget it. Bush spends like a drunken sailor on leave. He doesn’t seem to even care about deficits. He doesn’t care about states’ rights. He seems to find the answer to every problem in massive, profligate federal government spending (the prescription drug plan, the Katrina clean up, etc.

I know plenty of real conservatives. Instapundit is not one of them. The key word here, as I said in my original post, is that he is partisan. My American Heritage defines partisan as "A fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea." I take the first sense—Instapundit (and the frat boys over at Powerline) are fervent supporters of today’s incumbent Republicans. Nothing more and nothing less.

Indeed, this is what makes them so problematic. If Bush were a conservative, I would respect his partisans more.
 
Written By: Charles GIacometti
URL: http://
Hi Robert,

How about if I say you are right, that I am a wild-eyed lefty. Let’s move on to my actual point.

Can you tell me in what ways Bush is a conservative? Because I don’t see it. Reagan was conservative. Gingrich was conservative. Bush is sort of everything and nothing at once.

So when I see someone like Instapundit stridently defend him, I can’t conclude Instapundit is conservative. I can only conclude he is pro-Bush. And being pro-Bush is what exactly, except being pro-Bush?

And I see almost no evidence that Instapundit is Libertarian. I have a lot of Libertarian friends. I love to hear their point of view, though I only sometimes agree with it.

Take Instapundit’s "coverage" of Katrina. It was 50% defensiveness of Bush, and 50% attacks on any Democrat involved. Not a word about what a Libertarian response to the crisis may have been. I even wrote him about this and asked why. His response? Not a word.

That is all I need to know about Instapundit.

Charles
 
Written By: Charles GIacometti
URL: http://
of course some wars are necessary. (afhganistan, for example.) but IRAQ? can you seriously not see the room for at least *questioning* the wisdom in that?
Indie, I can understand the debate about the wisdom of going into Iraq. However, that debate took place, lefties had months to voice their opposition to the idea of invading Iraq, but Congress voted to give the President the authority to go to war, and we went. Debate over.

The only thing left to do now is figure out how to win and to do so as quickly as possible. As a nation, we need to stop wringing our hands over the decision to go to war and instead concentrate on winning because the lefties’ cut and run strategy isn’t an option.

Why is it so important to concentrate on winning instead of hand wringing over the original decision to go to war? Because our enemies know they cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so they have to win the psychological battle.

If you want to criticize the execution of the war, and offer viable alternative strategies for conducting the war, then great, I would love to hear your ideas. But standing around equivocating about the decision to go to war, well, that only encourages the enemy.
 
Written By: Dogwood
URL: http://
Charles G.

If you guys (by "you", I mean the left) had actually done more argumentation than absolve the locals (Blanco, a democrat, and Nagin, a democrat) and blame Bush (a republican), we might have taken your arguments as more than the blind partisan bs they actually were. By equivocating the roles of the federal vs the local authorities, "you guys" and the MSM needed a counterweight and I am glad Insta did a bit. The fact that you still are pushing this line of horse poop means you are still carrying water for that defunct thesis or are so far in the echo chamber that you can’t find your way out again.

And Instapundit pushes a lot of libertarian ideas. If you are basing your judgement of them on what your so called libertarian friends think probably means these guys are cut of the same cloth as the regular libertarian party which is completely bankrupt on concepts and ideas.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Right frame: Bush was right to go into Iraq.
Right spin: Everything bad that happens is made worse by left spinning and left ignoring anything good.
Hoped for conclusion: Elect more Republicans.
If Bush WAS right to go into Iraq, then even from a supposedly objective stance, the rest follows, logically, since electing more Republicans would be granting power to the poeple who handled it correctly.

Which is why the Democrats’ only chance is to delegitimize, by any means possible, inclduing lying, the Iraq war.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jon
Incidentally, I’d be interested to know which blogs—left and/or right—you guys think are overly partisan, and which are not. Leave your nominees in the comments...
There is or was a blog whose sole raison d’etre was examining partisanship, itself, as methodically and objectively as possible. It’s called "Lying in Ponds." I think lately the proprietors have cut back drastically on the number of msm columnists that they follow, and rate, and I don’t think there ever has been a similar clearinghouse type site for blogs. Nor, probably, could there be, what with the relentless expansion in the sheer size of the damn blogosphere.
Mr Grey
It used to be a 2 axis political world [snip] The Iraq war adds a third dimension, which really breaks down the Left-Right single axis that was already insufficient.
Boy howdy it was! But to this day, there’s lots and lots of folks who prefer to think in only two dimensions, and worse yet there’s lots who prefer to think in only one.

I like Marc Cooper, who hated Kerry, but hates Bush more. At least he’s serious about his criticism; I usually disagree with his Bush criticism. Jeff Jarvis & Jay Rosen (Buzzmachine, PressThink) seem reasonable, too.
Ahmina check out these sites, especially Cooper’s. His outlook sounds like me, circa autumn 2004. For that matter, it still does.
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
Please help me out here. Is there a difference between Libertarians and libertarians? [The BIG "L" and the LITTLE "L" for my liberal friends] I think that Libertarians are the guys who love cant more than power to change things and libertarians are those who share many of the beliefs of Libertarians, but who want real power and are willing to compromise to get it.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Shark
You can view the results of a system like that.....check out the mess that resulted from the German elections...
Ach, zose Chermans! They had an election between two mediocre candidates that ended in a tie. That could never happen here...
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
Steve said above:
DO NOT publicly criticize your own team. Do it privately. No right-wing or left-wing blog should be obligated to publicly criticize their own. It is a silly concept. Leave it up to the other side to try and tear your side down. Don’t do it from within.

If you do, you will regret it in the end. Someone will rub your face in it.
That’s EXACTLY right, IMHO. Jesse Taylor and the other lefty bloggers are on crack if they think we’re just an echo chamber, and I’m tired of it. We won the freaking elections, but you’d never know it from all the whining and hand-wringing among right-wing bloggers. It makes me retch.

Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”

I wrote about this just last night/this morning, because I’m fed up with amateurs trying to play political strategist (stratergerist)—not that I’m one, but I do take cues from the successful ones. I see no point whatsoever in the incessant whining and sniping at members of our own party (much less at other right-wing bloggers, but I digress); all it does is create the dreaded malaise and the meme of the week, "Bush-bashing fatigue" (also "Bush fatigue"). What’s the end result of all the bitterness? Republican voters stay home on election day(s), and Democrats get elected.

See how much the war, the budget, immigration, the judiciary, etc. will go your (the collective "your") way when the Dummocrats take office.
 
Written By: Beth
URL: http://bamapachyderm.com
IG
the left of COURSE wants america to WIN. at everything she does. always. that is why they’re angry. they think this administration is off track and making wrong choices. they think iraq is a losing battle.
No. Their solution to the "losing battle" of Iraq is to quit, to pull out, to withdraw, i.e., to voluntarily lose. To them, that’s somehow different from "losing," but really, it’s not.
but do not forget: 47 million ordinary, clear-minded, concerned, hopeful, optimistic, patriotic Amreicans voted AGAINST GWB. and that was before his approval numbers plummeted as they have been doing these past months.
Most of those, including me, voted FOR the other pro-Iraq-war candidate. So pretending that this last presidential election was some kind of referendum on continuing the Iraq war is both disingenuous and tiresome. So I hope that’s not what you’re doing, but it sure scans that way.
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
Is there a difference between Libertarians and libertarians? [The BIG "L" and the LITTLE "L" for my liberal friends]
Looks to me like the difference between "Libertarian" party members (hence the capitalization, denoting a proper noun) and "libertarian" philosophy holders. How’s that controversial?
Beth
Steve said above:
DO NOT publicly criticize your own team. Do it privately. No right-wing or left-wing blog should be obligated to publicly criticize their own. It is a silly concept. Leave it up to the other side to try and tear your side down. Don’t do it from within.
If you do, you will regret it in the end. Someone will rub your face in it.
That’s EXACTLY right, IMHO. Jesse Taylor and the other lefty bloggers are on crack if they think we’re just an echo chamber,
Following Steve’s advice is exactly the process by which you, Beth, become part of an echo chamber. Steve is disseminating advice for propogandists, and you are endorsing it. That’s what kool-aid drinking echo-chamber dwellers do. It’s bullshit, and you should stop.
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
But sir, but sir, do you then commend that which you cannot countenance? How can that be?
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://
Some of both.
For Steve and Beth, the propaganda-trons, I have only abuse. They’re uninstructable partisan fuckwits, the both of them.
For any other observers of my abuse of Steve and Beth, I hold out some small hope of having an eentsy instructive effect. But not very much.
And for our darling new IndieGirl, I take the middle path, hoping only to chastise, yeah, chastise, that’s the ticket.
 
Written By: Stoop Davy Dave
URL: http://

 
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