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William F. Buckley Jr.
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, February 28, 2008

Like Andrew Sullivan, I cannot say I was directly influenced a great deal by William F. Buckley Jr. - at least, not philosophically - but it is difficult to escape his contribution to the political landscape, which has surely helped shape us all. And I came to admire him a great deal, over time. Marc Ambinder's thoughts on Buckley are similar to my own...
He was astonishingly gracious for a man of his position, intellectually honest to a fault; [...] He came to oppose the Iraq war, he was noticably more sympathetic to gay people (and perhaps to civil unions) as he grew older; he believed that conservatism under George W. Bush had lost its way; he was humble enough to allow his magazine to prosper under editors who thought differently. His was a conservatism of doubt.
While there is much to like about Buckley's philosophy and politics -

Temperamentally, however, I have long admired him as an ideal model of the political mind - intellectual, inquisitive, combative and civil. He was all of those things, but it was his "polite impertinence" - what Mark Tapscott called a "rebellious, irreverent attitude" - that made him such a compelling, persuasive character on the political stage.

Sadly, modern pundits and intellectuals seem to have forsaken the Buckley style and choose instead to become political vulgarians, dependent upon base appeals to outrage and hyperbole. The modern style may be good for ratings and for short-term populist appeal, but it can - has, I think - become ultimately self-destructive.

Now, to political philosophy...

While I am a libertarian, rather than a conservative, I have found William F Buckley Jr. to be the kind of conservative with whom I can find comfortable alliance. That is not to say he is not sometimes wrong - he has been, as have we all - but he was unafraid to be persuaded, to break ranks with his own, and to stand firm when he thought necessary. William F. Buckley Jr once said, "I share about 90 percent of the views of most libertarians", and if that was perhaps a bit of a stretch, it was far less of a stretch than many modern conservatives would be willing to make. (cf: Rick Santorum's rejection of the libertarian right: "This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don't think most conservatives hold that point of view. ... They have this idea that people should be left alone ... Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world..."

I'll end with Radley Balko's poignant observation, which I fear to be true, while still holding out hope for change...
Buckley leaves an enormous legacy, but to the detriment everyone, the right left Buckley years ago. Where Buckley stood athwart the tide of history and beat it back with wit, sophistication, and argument, we today get [screeds] from lowest-common-denominator clowns ... Where Buckley mistrusted government and aimed to slow the world down, he's been usurped on the right by the likes of William Kristol and David Brooks, men who want to use government to remake the world in their own image. Where Buckley flourished in cosmopolitan Manhattan and took delight in life's finer things, modern conservatism has grown disdainful of the marketplace of culture, commerce, and ideas abundant in urban areas ...

The 15-year GOP ascent to power from 1980 to 1994 gave rise to rightist thinkers more inclined toward activist government, just one that was ... using the federal government to promote conservative values through intervention in areas like health care and the public schools, remapping the Middle East, and other ideas that require too great a belief in the competence and benevolence of bureaucrats and politicians for sensible rightists like Buckley.

I didn't agree with Buckley on everything, of course. But he represents a time when conservatives and libertarians shared quite a bit of common ground—indeed when both philosophies largely sprang from the same well of ideas and influences. I don't think that's the case anymore.
William F. Buckley's great legacy is that he helped to build a powerful, coherent political vision and a coalition to pursue that vision. It is time, I think, to begin rebuilding.
 
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Or in other words, "The Right isn’t Libertarian...."waaaaa’aaaah.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sadly, modern pundits and intellectuals seem to have forsaken the Buckley style and choose instead to become political vulgarians, dependent upon base appeals to outrage and hyperbole. The modern style may be good for ratings and for short-term populist appeal, but it can - has, I think - become ultimately self-destructive.
Heh. And here I was thinking exacty the opposite... that the smarmy, PC ‘respect’ for the disrespectable, was self-destructive, because it runs directly in opposition to the truth. It’s one thing taht always left me feeling vaugely uncomfortable with Buckley.

It’s that sense that has so many so very uncomfortable with John mcCain, for example. Specifically, his falling over foreward to apologize for speaking the plain truth about that Hugo Chavez Wannabe, Barrack Obama. The supposed straight talk express take detours though this kind of itelectual dishonesty as a matter of routine.

There are other examples besides Mccain, of course, but he does make a rather good example.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Limbaugh just had a nice first hour on this topic...Buckley as the "civil/respectable" Conservative, Limbaugh as evillllll successor...I liked his point, look at what Liberals said about Buckley when he was alive and most active..."Crypto-Nazi" anyone? NOW, Liberals like him, but at the time, they excoriated him as a hate-monger and Nazi...sound familiar?

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So I’ve got to die to get respect from those whose whose ideas I scorn? No sale.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
"Sadly, modern pundits and intellectuals seem to have forsaken the Buckley style...."

Yep, things were so much better in the good old days. Actually, I don’t recall anyone else having his style.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Limbaugh just had a nice first hour on this topic...Buckley as the "civil/respectable" Conservative, Limbaugh as evillllll successor...I liked his point, look at what Liberals said about Buckley when he was alive and most active..."Crypto-Nazi" anyone? NOW, Liberals like him, but at the time, they excoriated him as a hate-monger and Nazi...sound familiar?
It is far more than that. Buckley engaged Vidal, and though they had their moments (Nazi-Queer), their’s was an honest and intellectual debate.

Limbaugh doesn’t talk TO his adversaries as Buckley was NEVER afraid to do, Limbaugh just talks ABOUT his adversaries.

Limbaugh uses tricks and wordplay (words mean things my arse), where Buckley used valid argumentation and logic.

Buckley may have despised what liberals stood for, and liberals may have despised what Buckley stood for, but the mud-slinging was the exception and cordiality and direct debate was the rule. Buckley hated the ideology, but never the people. Buckley did not speak to his base, because he barely had one, he spoke to everyone. Limbaugh has no interest in changing the opinions of anyone, only fanning the fires of existing opinions. That’s the difference.

Limbaugh’s not evil, he’s just a guy who found a way to make a ton of money tellng people what they want to hear. Buckley was already rich, and he made his mark by convincing people of what they did not want to hear. You don’t do that by showing disdain for the PEOPLE that hold those views.

Let me simplify this.

Can you imagine Limbaugh sitting chair to chair, without moderation, and debating with Noam Chomsky?







 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Captin this all seems to be about venerating WFB, well for my side that’s OK. But the other side didn’t until he died...and then they have to use his death to lament something that never existed...civility in the debate.

I don’t know if Noam and Rush could debate...but the incivility and foolishness and pompousity would certainly be in BOTH CHAIRS...I think Ole’ Noam dun dee-veloped the art of tell’n folks what they’all wantz to here, two....Amerikkka SUCKS....an’ sinz ole’ Noam’s been’a dwe’nn well before Brother Rush, I’d say that the prize fer a’mouth’n silly stuff that makes you a pile’o cash otter go to Noam...doancha think?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Limbaugh’s not evil, he’s just a guy who found a way to make a ton of money tellng people what they want to hear. Buckley was already rich, and he made his mark by convincing people of what they did not want to hear. You don’t do that by showing disdain for the PEOPLE that hold those views.
Well thank you for allowing that Limbaugh is not, in fact, evil. That’s a lot more of a concession than we can usually get from anyone on the left...

But honestly, this whole line of discussion- especially when it comes from the left - is a whole crock of sh*t. It’s yet another tired attempt to discredit Limbaugh, this time flying under a false flag of "civility"

Nobody on the left gets to whine about civility, not for a few decades at least. Not after the way Bush has been treated.

Hate gets repayed by hate. Too late to cry off now...

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
They weren’t nearly so civil when Ronald Reagan died. I know of a few who had bottles of champagne ready for that day.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Or when Tony Snow announced he has cancer, or Cheney was in Iraq when that guy blew himself up at the outter gate, or when...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"Can you imagine Limbaugh sitting chair to chair, without moderation, and debating with Noam Chomsky?"

No, because I imagine he’d take no pleasure ’debating’ someone who’s politically insane.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Not after the way Bush has been treated.
Wow, a documented case of Clinton amnesia.

$100m in investigations into land deals and other equally inane nonsense, and you want to complain about how Bush has been treated?

WFB was civil, period.

If you want to argue that the ensuing incivility that has overtaken the conservative movement was reactionary, fine, then people can just call you reactionaries.

I may not be the best guy to speak for "the left", since I have always liked WFB and he informed a lot of my opinions as I grew up.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
No, because I imagine he’d take no pleasure ’debating’ someone who’s politically insane.
I also suspect that Noam would leap at Rush like a wild animal withing 3 minutes.
$100m in investigations into land deals and other equally inane nonsense
Well, considering there was evidence of shady dealing, I hardly consider such an investigation equal to lefties crying out how they hope Bush gets blown up...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
If you want to argue that the ensuing incivility that has overtaken the conservative movement was reactionary, fine, then people can just call you reactionaries
No, I am going to argue your central point, and in fact I absolutely refuse to grant you your premise- that incivility has overtaken the conservative movement.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
No, I am going to argue your central point, and in fact I absolutely refuse to grant you your premise- that incivility has overtaken the conservative movement.
fair enough....

Ann Coulter
Michael Savage
Michael Reagan
Rush Limbaugh
Sean Hannity
Gordon Liddy
Laura Ingraham
Michelle Malkin
Bob Novak

Try to find this many people given this big of a stage who are this rude, in the time of WFB... of any political ideology.


 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Who cares? There’s incivility on both sides. What of it? It’s politics. I wouldn’t expect any less.

The point is to win elections and advance your ideas. Civility? Not when when national defense, taxation and gun control etc. are at stake.

Plus, what’s there to be civil about? Liberals/socialists think govt. should run the health care system. Conservatives/Libertarians think the govt. should stay out of health care altogether. L/S’s think C/L’s are mean and evil. C/L’s think L/S’s are misguided and foolish. That’s not exactly the sowing the seeds of civility, and it’s not gonna change unless one side acquiesces. Anyone wanna just let the other side win? Not me.

I just want my ideas to advance. I don’t like incivility, but I can always tune Annie C. out. I like Socialism even less, and I can’t tune out the govt.

%$#* it!
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Try to find this many people given this big of a stage who are this rude, in the time of WFB... of any political ideology.
You’ve apparently never tuned into Air America. Those people eat babies.
 
Written By: rob
URL: http://
Just read Limbaugh’s comments on this point, since I can’t get his show at work, these days. (Building blocks the signal)

His thinking seems to mirror my own fairly closely... So many made those comments last night, before he did, that there’s something to this on both a fundamental and and instinctive level on the part of many... and I suspect most... conservatives.

It interests me, particularly in light of the comments above about how conservatives are not libertarians, whereas they had more in common with the libertarians in the past, that (at least in my perception) the majority of self-titled conservatives who insist on being ’civil’ to the contemptible left, are mostly the kind who more often lean toward the power of government than did the conservatives of old.

A shorter version of Limbaugh might be: The Truth is often uncivil. Like, saying a candidate’s full name, as an example.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Ann Coulter
Michael Savage
Michael Reagan
Rush Limbaugh
Sean Hannity
Gordon Liddy
Laura Ingraham
Michelle Malkin
Bob Novak
Again, I absolutely refuse your premise.

Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham and Malkin are certainly not "uncivil". Again, just because you assert so, doesn’t make it so.

At any rate, what these pundits say sure isn’t anything compared to what stalwarts of the Dem party have said about Repubs. But at any rate, the fact that you can only rattle off the traditional liberal bugaboo list amuses me.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark, ya gotta understand... since words mean whatever they want them to, Liberals currently attach to the word "uncivil" to mean anyone who disagrees with the left, and particualrly those who back their points with facts and with some verbal and rethorical force.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Kinda like the SacBee article that said the GOP is planning on using both barrels against Obama in the general election. As if the Dems were going to give McCain a pass. Seen NY Times recently? Sheesh.
 
Written By: rob
URL: http://
Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham and Malkin are certainly not "uncivil". Again, just because you assert so, doesn’t make it so.
Let’s define out terms in order to dispense with the idea that anyone that disagree with one’s view equates to incivility.
in·ci·vil·i·ty
–noun, plural -ties for 2. 1. the quality or condition of being uncivil; discourteous behavior or treatment.
Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95
"I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."
- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02
"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."
- Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02
"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."
Hannity and Colmes, June 15, 2005.
I’ll tell you who should be tortured and killed at Guantanamo: every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress.
Michael Savage (third most popular radio host after Limbaugh and Hannity)
"I can guarantee you [liberals], you wouldn’t be in business too long. I can guarantee you you’d be arrested for sedition within six months of my taking power. I’d have you people licking lead paint, what you did to this country."


Savage again, March 14, 2006.
"...these big-mouthed, phony scum of the ACLU, who should be rounded up, arrested for sedition. Their property seized, and they should be put into Abu Ghraib prison as far as I’m concerned. That wouldn’t be enough of what I’d like to see done to the ACLU. They’re the worst vermin America has ever tolerated. The worst vermin in the history of America are the vermin in the ACLU."

These people are not chosen because they are incivil conservatives, these are the MOST POPULAR conservatives.

There’s always people willing to be vile, but they disappear without an audience to embrace them. According to the ratings, conservatives love these people, even though they may disavow them in mixed company. (See Ann Coulter speaking AGAIN at the CPAC conference)



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

......crickets
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"Try to find this many people given this big of a stage who are this rude, in the time of WFB..."

In the time of WFB there were probably not that many people in total who had that big a stage. Three networks, no cable, no satellite. Fox or CNN alone can field that many rude commentators these days, of both ends of the spectrum. Not even including the hordes of part-timers and cameo appearances.

I might also take issue with your definition of ’uncivil’, if I knew what it was. I note you include no examples of Michelle Malkin, and your Limbaugh quote indicates a non-existent sense of humor. I seem to recall going through something like this some time ago; was it you that linked to a list of 70(?) quotes revealing the heinous nature of Rush Limbaugh, some of which reflected the stupidity of the compiler rather than the nastiness of Limbaugh?
Although you have provided a definition of ’uncivil’, it begs the question of what does ’discourteous’ mean, so we return the starting point.

Furthermore, is this alledged increas in incivility exclusive to conservative commentators/pundits/etc. and a product of their evil political beliefs? I would think that anyone who does not live in a cloistered monastery/nunnery would notice that incivility has increased throughout society.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Uncivil might include repeatedly, baselessly insinuating that your political opponents are guilty of murder. Which Limbaugh has done.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Jeez, get a sense of humor. Just because he doesn’t have a laugh track to point out every joke doesn’t mean he is always serious. You may not appreciate his ’humor’, but he was hardly being serious there. I’ll bet you think he has an actual "Golden EIB Microphone’ and sits in a real "prestigious Atilla The Hun chair at the Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies". I don’t care much for Al Franken or his sense of humor, but even I realize his book title, ’Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot’ was an attempt at humor. Believe it or not, many things Franken says are meant to be humorous, even though he doesn’t have a laugh track either.


(From your link)
"why I think so little of Limbaugh as a serious political analyst"

Yeah, I think we get that, but even he repeatedly claims to be only an entertainer. Funny how you don’t seem to take that as literally as his joke about Ft Marcy Park.

I have no experience in live radio broadcasting, but many years of listening to and watching radio and television tells me that if Jesus Christ had a daily talk show he would tell some bad jokes, insult some people, and occasionally make other screwups. Maybe others have a perfect record of never having to retract or apologize for a statement, or regret saying something, but I have never heard any. You know any?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Recognize Fort Marcy Park? Limbaugh is saying that..."hey, if Kerry wins, the Clintons will have him killed"."

I’ll bet even a pretty serious group like the Secret Service disagrees, and thinks it was an attempt, however feeble, at a joke, not a call for assasination.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
but even he repeatedly claims to be only an entertainer.


Nice cover, but when he’s not user the entertainer dodge to escape accountability for what he says, he believes he is much more, unless you think he is entertaining, or joking here too...
"I don’t think Congressman Paul has a snowball’s chance," Limbaugh said.

"You have the power yourself to make him the Republican nominee," the caller responded.

"That is very true, and that is why I must exercise this power responsibly, not as a cheerleader," said Limbaugh, "which is why I’m not picking a name right now. I alone have the power to move the [Republican] base."

Limbaugh continued:


The exercise of my ’power’ ? it’s not something I’m really conscious of on a daily basis, but it would be foolish and silly for me to deny that I possess it. But the primary effort in the usage of my power is to educate and inform as many people as possible so they get in the arena of ideas and eventually go vote. Because I believe in ideas and ideas triumph, and when elections are won, I want them to be won on ideas, not labels and other things that are devoid of substance. ...
But I did want to make note that I finally have now acknowledged what everybody knows, and it is one of the reasons that I am the biggest target of the American left simply because of that power. This is a power, my friends, that could be used for good or evil. I choose to use it for good. ... It’s the elephant in the room. Why deny it? That would be false humility, and there’s nothing that grates on me more than a person that engages in false humility and tries to laugh it off. ... I’m not going to sit here and deny what you all know.
So the most listened to conservative makes vicious attacks on a daily basis, routinely accuses his opponents of crimes from pedaphilia to murder, and laughs it off because he claims he in an entertainer.

He may only be an entertainer, but conservatives have GIVEN him power, so like it or not, he is the most popular conservative, and by virtue of his popularity, he is the voice of conservatism.

He may only be joking, but the joke is on conservatives.

Take Ann Coulter (please), conservatives have to disavow her comments about once a month becaue of her, uh, incivility, but do they stop buying her books or paying her for speaking engagements? NO!

None of these people positively espouse ideas and use sound logic and argument to win people to their way of thinking, instead, they speak to most base acrimony of people who are already in agreement with them, and spend all of their trashing the people they should be trying to convince.

It is probably good theater, and perhaps that is the problem, we have replaced dialogue with theater. I for one found WFB’s debates with anyone to be great theater, and you probably did too, but perhaps that’s too cerebral for folks that think they are learning something by watching Hannity and Colmes.

In any case, the most popular conservatives are characterized by incivility.

Is it the same with popular liberals? I don’t think so, but you could prove me wrong.

Has Olbermann suggested torturing conservatives?

Has Franken suggested that all Republicans in Congress should be killed?

Has Ed Schultz lamented that the 9/11 bombers did not hit the Washington Times building?

No, no, and no.

I know there are examples of absolutely nutty liberals, but they do not seem to become the most popular liberals when they do this. Ted Rall is a lunatic, and he has a following, but he is far, far from being as popular with liberals as Limbaugh is for conservatives.

Michael Moore is called the Ann Coulter of the left, and he is popular, so maybe he’ll qualify, but I don’t think he is in her league when it comes to nasty hateful attacks, but he’s trying!




 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Jeez, get a sense of humor.
Yeah, that’s what the Edwards’ bloggers said when people dared to criticize them for the things they had written. It was just "humor!"
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
"Nice cover, but when he’s not user the entertainer dodge to escape accountability for what he says"

Yeah, he learned those evasion techniques in VRWC training classes. Evidently he wasn’t paying close attention, though, as he seems to accept responsibility for his statements in the following quote provided by you.


"That is very true, and that is why I must exercise this power responsibly, not as a cheerleader," said Limbaugh, "which is why I’m not picking a name right now. I alone have the power to move the [Republican] base."

Repeat;
"I alone have the power to move the Republican base"

If you actually think that was a serious remark there is no point in even discussing this with you. As for the rest of the quote, he acknowledges something even you say is true. So what?

"Tongue-in-cheek is a term that refers to a style of humour in which things are said only half seriously, or in a subtly mocking way.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue in cheek"

"So the most listened to conservative makes vicious attacks on a daily basis, routinely accuses his opponents of crimes from pedaphilia to murder, and laughs it off because he claims he in an entertainer."

Exaggeration of the type you accuse him of. How ironic.

", he is the voice of conservatism."

Poppycock. I suppose Al Franken was the voice of liberalism, too.

"In any case, the most popular conservatives are characterized by incivility."

Repetition of your accusation still doesn’t prove it. I note that you still have not shown how uncivil Malkin and Novak are.

"Is it the same with popular liberals? I don’t think so, but you could prove me wrong."

So you admit you don’t actually know if liberals are more uncivil than conservatives. That kind of ruins your argument, don’t it? In any event, so what? If being rude or discourteous is so abhorrent to you you must find dealing with the real world to be quite burdensome.


***********************************

"Yeah, that’s what the Edwards’ bloggers said when people dared to criticize them for the things they had written. It was just "humor!""

Ooooh!! A mortal wound! I am undone!
And at Nuremberg the excuse was ’following orders’, thus military discipline is an evil thing to be avoided by all civilized armies.

"Dictionary: perspective (pər-spĕk’tĭv)

Sponsored LinksPerspective Definition
What Is Perspective? Find Out w/the Dictionary Toolbar
Dictionary.alottoolbars.

a. The relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole: a perspective of history; a need to view the problem in the proper perspective.
b. Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view: the perspective of the displaced homemaker.

*****c. The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance: tried to keep my perspective throughout the crisis."*****


Perspective (particularly def. c) and tongue in cheek. Useful concepts.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Repeat;
"I alone have the power to move the Republican base"
What are you reading into this?

Rush Limbaugh, alone, with no assistance from others, can move the Republican base. Was there any doubt???

So you admit you don’t actually know if liberals are more uncivil than conservatives. That kind of ruins your argument, don’t it? In any event, so what?
I do not believe that liberals are more uncivil than conservatives, that was my point. That I am civil enough to acknowledge that I am not infallible and could be proven wrong seems to have confused you.
If being rude or discourteous is so abhorrent to you you must find dealing with the real world to be quite burdensome.
Interesing comment, it doesn’t say anything about me, but do you really find the world so terribly rude? I don’t. The people I interact with, including strangers, are almost never rude. Maybe it’s something you project?
"In any case, the most popular conservatives are characterized by incivility."

Repetition of your accusation still doesn’t prove it.


On radio, the number one, two, and three talk radio personalities are Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage. They are very different, but their commonality is their consistent incivility towards people that disagree with them.
I note that you still have not shown how uncivil Malkin and Novak are.
Is this the deal breaker, or just a time waster?

If I post uncivil remarks by these two, do you acknowledge that I am correct?



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
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