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By Brendan Loy

As you may have heard, former Republican vice-presidential nominee and future presidential candidate Sarah Palin today decided it would be a good idea, on the very day of the memorial service for the victims of a deranged, ideologically incoherent lunatic’s murderous rampage in Arizona, to respond to her critics by accusing them of “manufacturing a blood libel” against her. In classic Palin fashion, she further inflamed the situation by the use of that loaded term. In classic Palin fashion, she played the victim — always her favorite and most compelling role — even in a situation where there are actual victims lying dead or wounded who deserve the public’s attention far more than she. In classic Palin fashion, she appealed to her base by taking the best-defense-is-a-good-offense tack against her critics, stoking the flames of culture war instead of making any effort, any at all, to rise above the fray and appeal to the better angels of our natures.

Moreover, in classic Palin fashion, she made no distinction between those among her critics, like the execrable Kos, who really did accuse her of being morally responsible in some way for the shooting, and those who merely suggested, with varying degrees of subtlety and sensitivity, that perhaps, although Palin isn’t morally responsible, this was nevertheless an opportune moment to tone down the type of rhetoric and imagery she and others have, in fact, used (imagery which Giffords herself feared could lead to violence — a salient fact that was bound to be reported, not “manufactured,” by any responsible news media, even though there is no indication — as most have acknowledged — that the actual shooter in this incident was inspired by her imagery or rhetoric). She simply lumped these various people all together as purveyors of a “blood libel.”

Most of all, in classic Palin fashion, she made sure today would be all about her.

A good politician, a self-aware public figure, a true leader, would not have allowed the basest of her critics to set the terms of the discussion, and would not have sunk to their level, as Palin always seems to do. Instead, such a figure would have used the unfair attacks as an opportunity to elevate the discussion and, in a classy way, to “be the better person,” to find a minor point she can concede and then challenge others to do the same. In this way, she would have united and instead of divided, healed wounds instead of pouring salt on them, subtly scored a few political points without anyone even realizing she’d done so, and then turned the focus back where it belongs (hint: not on her).

As I wrote on Twitter earlier, “For me, as a father of two daughters and a believer in the democratic process, this tragedy is about a 9-year-old girl murdered because she was trying to participate in the democratic process. That’s an unspeakable tragedy and atrocity. This is about her. It’s not about Palin. I hate the Left for making it about Palin, and I hate Palin for making sure it continues to be about Palin.”

As I also wrote on Twitter earlier, “Sarah Palin reminds me of myself during my blog’s peak. Overly defensive and lacking self-awareness about it. I suspect she, like me back then, knows she’s being defensive, but feels it’s justified and doesn’t see the bigger picture. She knows the defensiveness bothers some people, but figures they are her enemies anyway. All right-thinking people understand! What can be hard to recognize, in the heat of the moment, is that the defensiveness turns people off, even if you’re right.”

It’s a bit embarrassing for me to admit that about myself and my history, since, as an aspiring lawyer, I should have known better. But my “lawyer” hat and my “blogger” hat are two very different things, and never the twain shall meet. On my blog, once upon a time, I was a keyboard warrior, fighting pitched battles just like Palin, albeit on a vastly smaller scale. In retrospect, I quit blogging for a while in 2008 and 2009 partly because it burned me out, all the fighting, all the sniping, all the endless defensiveness.

The difference, of course, is that I was a law-school student and blogger. She wants to be President of the United States. Also, I was 24 or 25, childless, jobless, a long-time student in a bit of a life-bubble — still a mere child myself, really — and sorely lacking in perspective, as many people at that age and life situation are. I may still occasionally fall into a similar trap even these days, but for the most part, I look back now on some of the old rantish blog debates, in which I fervently defended myself against my & the Irish Trojan Blog’s critics, and feel more than a little embarrassed by the over-the-top manner in which I conducted myself — lumping the genuine blog-trolls (my analogs to Kos) in with the more rational critics, escalating every debate to a fever pitch, going on and on and on and on about the most mundane and insignificant slights, and feeling justified in all of it because I could always depend on certain regulars (my “base”) to leap to my defense. Even where I still feel I was completely right on the merits of a particular issue, I debased myself in the process of trying to prove it. I realize that now.

Palin, meanwhile, is 45 years old, a mother of five, a former half-term governor of a state and a national political figure — in other words, someone who you’d think would have a little more perspective and self-awareness. Yet she appears to feel absolutely no embarrassment whatsoever about her endlessly defensive and inflammatory posture toward everything. Whether it’s accusing her political critics of “blood libel” in the midst of a national tragedy, or publicly flogging the teenage father of her grandson, or needlessly extending the shelf-life of a controversy in which a talk-show host inadvertently (but, yes, offensively) insulted her underage daughter, she seems completely incapable of embarrassment or self-reflection or magnanimousness with regard to anything. She doesn’t know how to respond to her critics except by stooping to their level and fighting them in the trenches, taking every little kerfuffle and controversy and “going nuclear” with it, making every debate another battle in the endless culture war that is her public life. And she has no idea that, in the long run, this is not a good thing for her to do.

To call her behavior “unpresidential” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

There’s a reason why polls show that, even among Palin’s most fervent supporters, even among the “base” conservatives who worship the ground she walks on because she is absolutely the perfect culture warrior, a non-negligible percentage say they can’t picture her as president and don’t really want her to run. She has no filter, no self-control, no self-awareness, so she constantly behaves in a manner that’s simply unbecoming a president. Some might not articulate it quite that way, but I think many people viscerally recognize this. And I think that, more than anything about her ideology or her resumé or even her mannerisms and perceived intelligence level, this is what will prevent Sarah Palin from become ever occupying the White House (thanks be to God). She hasn’t the foggiest idea how to act like a president, and she steadfastly refuses to surround herself with those who would temper her urge to fight every battle and help her see the big picture, because she regards those people as, by definition, out-of-touch establishment elitists.

Perhaps most importantly, she has more than enough fervent supporters backing her at every turn — folks who, if she declared tomorrow that the sky is purple, would proclaim from the rooftops that she’s right, and that anyone who claims otherwise is engaging in an outrageous, hateful campaign against her — that it seems unlikely anyone will ever get through to her on this point. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now. Today was perhaps her last chance to turn it around, and she didn’t. Because she can’t. She doesn’t know how. This is simply who she is.

And she’s just inspired me to write about her for a good half-hour, while the memorial service is going on. And for that, I hate her and I hate myself. Ugh.

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Comments on "In which Sarah Palin reminds me of… myself. And not in a good way."

97 Responses to “In which Sarah Palin reminds me of… myself. And not in a good way.”

  1. Alasdair Says:

    “… this tragedy is about a 9-year-old girl murdered because she was trying to participate in the democratic process”

    The tragedy is the unnecessary death of people …

    The hyperbrendany is to imply that the 9-year-old was murdered because she was trying to participate in the political process …

    The *fact* is that the 9 year old was unlucky enough to be in teh wrong place at the wrong time … bullets don’t care who they hit … and, even worse, the perpetrator of the killings basically didn’t care, either – since he is turning out to be an essentially-unhinged not-particularly-political nutcase …

    As you will hopefully point out the the assorted Loy-kids at an appropriate time, “No-one held a gun to Daddy’s head to make him write the post [to which this is a response] … Daddy’s *own* internal demons compelled him to a highly-emotional response” …

    When the kids ask “But, Daddy, why did you respond so emotionally to Sarah Palin so much of the time ?”, I wonder what will be your reply …

    Me, when someone for whom I have little or no respect publicly expresses something, I make the conscious and personally-responsible decision whether or not I will allow myself to respond … and, a lot of the time, I allow the spiny sea urchin tossed in my direction to fall and break harmlessly on the ground – I learned a long time ago that I am not required to catch it between my bare hands to where the spines impale me …

    Because I understand the “blood libel” reference, and because I understand that Sarah Palin’s knee-jerk detractors are trying to promulgate just such a blatantly and arrogantly-false blood libel, I know better than to take offense at the reference …

    Rational folk cannot stop you yourself from hating her and hating yourself – all we can do is point out that it ain’t necessary … if you don’t respect her, then her words are of no moment, and are but “an empty gong or a clashing cymbal” … certainly nothing worth the effort evidently put into typing such a a long (and, I suspect, heart-felt) post …

  2. Brendan Loy Says:

    I’m going to follow my own advice and not get dragged into responding to the above nonsense. Anyone else have anything to say?

  3. gahrie Says:

    I just want to how you think she should have reacted to those attacking her?

  4. gahrie Says:

    You do realize that she was being accused of causing the murder of those in Arizona less than an hour after it happened? Sounds like a blood-libel to me. And she’s the bad actor in this case for defending herself?

  5. David K. Says:

    I was always impressed how restrained you were in your absolute power as blog owner that you didn’t ban more than one person that whole time actually. I’m not sure i’d have that same level of self control (although I wouldn’t hold to the same laisez faire commenting philosophy either).

    I can agree its easy to get pulled into those sorts of situations, i’m certainly guilty of it myself, and its something i’m going to try and avoid this year. I’m a little behind you in blog experience maturity apparently :)

    Also, I am part of someones base! Thats so cool!

  6. David K. Says:

    @gahrie – She could have shown maturity and leadership by rising above it and serving as an example. Is it understandable for a person to want to respond to such comments about themselves? Absolutely. Is it reasonable for most people to actually respond? Sure. But for someone who wants to be President, there is a higher standard, there HAS to be. Sarah Palin once again fell WELL short of that standard.

  7. Brendan Loy Says:

    Here’s a start, gahrie. Also, what David K. said.

    And keep in mind, while it’s true that “she was being accused of causing the murder of those in Arizona” by a small group of idiots, it’s also true that the vast majority of liberal commentators who spoke about Palin, her map, “vitriol,” the “tone,” etc., were NOT “accusing her of murder.” There’s a vast spectrum of opinions that were expressed, some totally outrageous like Kos’s, some very nuanced and attempting to be sensitive and fair, many somewhere in the middle. It’s the demagogic genius of the cultural warriors Palin — and also her downfall as a potential leader — that she makes people forget that, and gets them to pretend like the entire Left was unified in calling her a murderer, which is just complete and utter bullshit.

  8. Rebecca Loy Says:

    @gahrie, how about instead of trying to say that her crosshairs were not a reference to gun violence, which they clearly and obviously are, she could’ve said, hey, this may not have been the best metaphor to use, though we were clearly targeting a congressional district, not a person, and we were obviously intent on using the democratic process. And that’s the tragedy here, that the democratic process was threatened by violence. Blah blah blah.

    Instead of making this about her, she could have made it about a bigger idea, a larger ideal. That’s what makes politicians and charismatic leaders powerful–ideas. Palin is trying to be the biggest victim on the block instead of trying to lead; she’s reacting to the discussion instead of controlling it. That’s not presidential. Hell, I can do that.

  9. Brendan Loy Says:

    A key line from the linked Frum piece is this:

    Take the accusation seriously. That does not mean you accept the accusation, nor even that you explicitly acknowledge it. But understand why people – not all of them necessarily out to get you – might feel negatively about this past action [the infamous "map] in light of current events.

    This is part of what Palin seems incapable of. She seems to be unable to get beyond the notion that anyone who criticizes her is “out to get” her. She is totally blinded by her own conception of her victimhood.

  10. Brendan Loy Says:

    Another way of thinking about it is to consider the speech Obama just gave. Frum said Palin should “suppose you were president right now. The country would want you to say something about this terrible crime. What is that something? Say it now.”

    Can you imagine Palin giving the speech Obama gave tonight? I certainly can’t. That’s not to say she couldn’t do it if she were president, but she has never demonstrated anything to lead me to believe she could, either. She certainly didn’t do so today.

  11. AMLTrojan Says:

    If in fact Sarah Palin truly has presidential ambitions (and I’m not so certain she really does, at least for 2012), then yes, Frum and Brendan have a very valid case. She has most certainly not been very “presidential”, and her reaction to recent events is another reminder of that.

    OTOH, if we believe Palin when she says that she intends to operate from her unique position in order to catalyze and shape the national political debate in a way no one else can, well, mission accomplishing. The Right could use someone unafraid to wade in the muck, call it how it is, and rally the troops on a scale rivaling what the Left was able to do via MoveOn.org and other breakthrough activism, and with the rise of the Tea Party phenomenon, Palin has been able to make the most of her politically opportunistic moment. Syndicated columnists and talk show hosts simply do not have that level of cachet (nope, not even Rush Limbaugh).

    The point should be obvious, to anyone who hasn’t wanted to consider it until now: politics can be ugly, and each side needs leaders willing to get down and dirty and fight the good fight; to defeat the dragon, you must become the dragon. Just don’t ever make the mistake of pretending that you can change back from a dragon to a knight once the fight is over (as if it will ever truly be over).

  12. Casey Says:

    It’s a trap Brendan!

    Sarah Palin wanted you to write this blog article, I tells you!

    She is deliberately ignorant and offensive. That’s the plan. She wants to piss off the social elites (by which I mean thinkin’ folk). Then she can label the resulting reasonable rebuke as a form of repression, and rally her fellow oppressed narcissistic stupids in the march of the morons!

    Do not fall for the traps of this devious bitchsphinx!

    We must all simply ignore her obnoxious squawking. It is the only way she will ever disappear permanently into the realm of B-reality TV where she belongs.

  13. gahrie Says:

    I am simply flabbergasted that people are trying to make Palin the bad guy out of all this. She made no accusations against anyone. She had absolutely nothing to do with encouraging these murders or even creating a climate that lead to them. The murderer has had a fixation on Rep. Giffords since long before anyone had ever heard of Palin.

    Even accepting that Palin has been a bad actor purely for the sake of argument:

    Has she been more irresponsible than Krugman? Than the local sheriff? Than Kos?

    She didn’t interject herself into this situation…she was thrown into it by the Left.

    And your answer is that she should just shut up and take it like a woman?

  14. gahrie Says:

    In other words, it was Palin who made this all about her, it was the irresponsible Left who did that.

  15. gahrie Says:

    should say “…it wasn’t Palin….”

  16. Joe Mama Says:

    I’m with gahrie (and Alan Dershowitz) on this one — there is nothing improper in Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” to defend herself against the vulgar accusations that have been made against her by many on the Left. If that is what causes you to be concerned about a further inflamed culture war then the problem is you, or more particularly, your hate-on for Sarah Palin.

    I also agree with Jonathan Chait that Palin’s “rhetoric and imagery” is neither exceptional nor prone to incite anybody. It doesn’t need to be “toned down” any more than the now very well-documented “rhetoric and imagery” that has come from liberals and Democrats, because there isn’t the slightest shred of credible proof that any such rhetoric or imagery coming from anyone has incited anybody to do a goddamn thing (and much of what is purportedly “dangerous” rhetoric turns out to be lies spread by dishonest hacks). Why is now any more opportune a moment to “tone down” the rhetoric than any other time? Because of what this crackpot just did? Those who know him best keep saying that he didn’t watch TV or the news, or listen to talk radio, so until someone can prove otherwise these murders tell us exactly dick about how dangerous the political discourse is, and I can hardly think of a bigger waste of time than genuinely complaining about it. Hell, at least the partisans who complain about the “toxic atmosphere” selectively (and dishonestly) are advancing the interests of their side.

    I’m also not buying the “oh, she is just playing the victim” meme, another popular refrain against political opponents with the nerve to fight back. First, I don’t recall detecting much self-pity coming from Palin in the past (except for maybe when she resigned as governor), and I didn’t hear any in her video today. And second, she isn’t “playing the victim” any more than anyone else who responds to obnoxious political attacks. She could’ve been the “bigger person” in Brendan’s eyes by ignoring them (or by posting her video tomorrow or yesterday, not today … OMG! HAS SHE NO SHAME?! (barf)), but then she runs the risk of letting her critics’ lies spread unopposed and become the conventional wisdom, so neither I nor any fair-minded person would begrudge her a retort.

    P.S. The “there are actual victims lying dead or wounded who deserve the public’s attention far more than she” line is f*cking ridiculous Brendan, and you should know better. I completely agree that the focus now should be on the shooting victims and not Palin, but take a wild-ass guess who didn’t want to do that right off the bat (hint: NOT Sarah Palin)…

    P.P.S. I also totally disagree that “in classic Palin fashion, she made sure today would be all about her.” I know Brendan can’t be convinced, but I found her statement today to be much more about the victims and the political process than it was about her. As Brendan’s blog post demonstrates, Palin’s critics are far more preoccupied with her than she is with herself.

  17. James Young Says:

    Brendan,

    Sorry, but your strong dislike of Sarah Palin shows through this blog post, and folks are right to call you out on it.

    Last time I checked…

    -you did not have a columnist take to the pages of a major paper and say that you basically caused this horrific accident before all the bodies were even room temperature (see Krugman, Paul, NYT)

    -DId not have, oh, about 200 (and counting) Twitter users saying things like they wish your, and I quote, “b*tch ass was strung up”

    -Have people threatening your family

    -Have Chris Matthews say that you cannot be exonerated because, basically, all the facts weren’t in.

    But yes, you’re right, other than that she’s got no reason to be defensive. Of course, by actually _hitting back at her attackers_ she’s a thin-skinned nincompoop who in no way showed any Presidential acumen. I’m sorry, but I _want_ a President whose not going to let someone talk smack and be like, “I must take the high road” but instead calls someone out. While I don’t personally think she’d be the best President we ever had, I think that she has been more than patient with the attacks against her and her family.

    I mean, seriously–if someone openly and repeatedly speculated that Loyette wasn’t actually your child, I’m pretty sure neither Becky nor you would take it kindly. If in 17 years someone knocks Loyacita up, you welcome the young man into your home (albeit grudgingly because there’s no way he’s good enough for your daughter) and he proceeds to spit in your face, I’m reasonably certain you would not be so sanguine about his actions (and I _know_ Becky would make him regret the day his parents ever met). So really? You’re going to try and say she’s “unpresidential” for that? Wow, when did we start requiring Vulcan training in order for someone to be President? Because I’m pretty sure you, being the Star Trek geek that you are, know that’s a pretty impossible bar to climb for a human…so why are you expecting it of anyone, to include Sarah Palin. Oh, wait, because you’re a biased party who just can’t seem to embrace his disdain for almost every Republican public figure. (“Wait, I like ____.” “I’m going to point out the obvious comparison to the redneck who is always ready, willing, and able to name all one of his black friends.”)

    Regardless of political persuasion, when someone accuses you of murder or being an accessory to murder, it _is_ blood libel. Especially when, as the original blood libel did, it has a pretty darn good chance of inciting violence. Tell ya what–let someone threaten your life or your family’s life after saying you instigated a heinous act that just might blow the lid off this country (and yeah, scoff if you want–no one thought Gavrilo Princip’s little firearms demonstration was going to be a big deal either), then come back and say you might not want to film a statement hitting back at your detractors. Because Lord knows if someone painted a huge bullseye on my back you bet your sweet a** I’d be nipping that sh*t in the bud. You know, before someone plugged a family member or myself.

    I am always amazed at how people of a liberal persuasion (yourself included) get all frothing at the mouth at the mere mention of Sarah Palin’s name, then can’t understand why the woman reacts in a matter they consider poorly. The simple fact of the matter is if it wasn’t the map, it’d be some other reason why she and conservatives were at fault. Why? Because the Dems got their a** handed to them on 2 November and the media’s been looking for some event to turn the tide back ever since then. See folks openly speculating about an OKC moment. Want to talk about unpresidential–that should have been immediately denounced when it made the news. But I digress.

    Bottom line–Palin’s video was a Rorschach test. Unsurprisingly, your results came back that you don’t like her and think that she should be banished to the backwoods of Alaska. Don’t try to pretty it up by claiming logical reasons or “oh, the indignity of releasing it the same days of the funerals.” Man up, and say that you don’t like the woman, won’t give her a fair shake if your life depended on it, and if she demonstrated her ability to create cold fusion live in your living room you’d still say she was some dumb bimbo from Wasilla who never should have been allowed to leave Alaska. See, would’ve saved you the half hour.

    Oh, and Becky–really? You are going to go with the “crosshairs are bbaaaaaaad” meme? Strange, but there are Dems who said, no kidding, that Republican candidates should be put up against the wall and _shot_. Like straight “Death to Mensheviks” style. But hey, let’s carp on a map that had crosshairs on it. Because, you’re right, Sarah Palin should be held to a higher standard than her opponents or the political standards we’ve had in this country for about 20 years or so. I’m sorry, but as I alluded to above, there is no doubt in my ever loving mind that if someone threatened your beautiful kids you’d go Mama Grizzly crossed with Walking Orca in a New York minute. So you can’t cut Sarah Palin some slack for not renouncing a map that A. wasn’t her graphic alone and B. was the same as that used by the Dems in many districts (to include my own)? Really? I’m not saying you’re being hypocritical, but whereas Russia is _not_ visible from Sarah Palin’s house, the Sovereign State of Duplicitous is within hand grenade range of that position you’re taking.

  18. Joe Mama Says:

    how about instead of trying to say that her crosshairs were not a reference to gun violence, which they clearly and obviously are,

    Bullfuckingshit, Becky. Her “crosshairs” clearly and obviously were not a reference to gun violence. Period. And if they were, then there is a whole truckload of far more “violent” rhetoric and imagery you would have to denounce — not the least of which (by former Rep. Kanjorski) was pointed out by James Young — to be intellectually honest and taken at all seriously here.

    Really, you’re just validating Palin’s point.

  19. AMLTrojan Says:

    Having now read gahrie, Joe Mama, and James Young, I’d like to add to my comments @ #11 a bit. I agree with these three comments especially, that Palin is a Rorschach test, and we see the results in Brendan and Becky’s predictable reactions. I did not for a second believe that Brendan’s screed was wholly fair to Palin, but conceding that bias, was there any validity to any of the points he was trying to make (fairly or unfairly)?

    IMHO, I believe Palin can be critiqued for not being sufficiently presidential — as demonstrated with evidence from both the past few days and going back further. I thus tried to make reasoned, value-added commentary on that point.

    OTOH, measuring “presidentialness” is about as Political Junkie as you can get, and beyond that, a debate about “presidentialness” should never spark the kind of emotional nerve that you see happening with Brendan here. Or at least, if it does, it screams “lack of perspective”. So, while there was a bit of trolliness to Alasdair’s comment @ #2, in general he was spot-on. This post is more about Brendan’s inner demons than anything about Sarah Palin. I am not inclined to forbear much for those making a BFD out of the speck in Palin’s eye when one can build houses out of the planks present in the eye sockets of their own side’s candidates. Put simply, the level of reaction Sarah Palin manages to provoke from her political opponents is astounding, and that can only be ascribed to subtle genius on her part, or madness on their’s. I believe it’s a bit of both.

  20. Joe Mama Says:

    Glenn Reynolds has it about right:

    Has any other public figure ever had to try to act “Presidential,” though, while being accused of complicity in mass murder?

    On the other hand, if (as isn’t clear to me) she actually wants to be President, she’ll have to learn to be Presidential. Barack Obama has had his problems in that department, too, and unlike Palin, he’s had the benefit of a desperately supportive and eager-to-please mainstream media.

    Palin, on the other hand, has been royally screwed-over by that same media, and has managed to come back and beat them out again and again, from “death panels” to “blood libel.” And that engenders considerable sympathy. A musician friend of mine who’s not especially political emailed me the other day: “I don’t particularly care for Palin, but every time they do this to her, I find myself hoping she becomes President, out of pure spite.”

    I understand the sentiment, but being screwed over by the media, while it may breed sympathy, isn’t a qualification for being President. Richard Jewell was royally screwed over by the media, too, but he didn’t belong in the White House because of it. if Palin is to be elected President, it’s not going to be on a sympathy vote.

    But here’s what’s going on in the dance between Palin and what she calls the “lamestream” media: Every time they attack her, they wind up doing something that hurts them worse than it hurts her. She may not become President, and she may not even want to be President — though, regardless, it’s in her interest to keep everyone guessing as long as possible — but with little more than an Internet connection and Facebook she’s done more lasting harm to their position than anybody else. Last night Barack Obama threw them under the bus over the whole “rhetoric” question, just hours after she had managed to work them into a snarling frenzy with an Internet video. Even though it’s hurting them, they can’t — and I mean, literally, psychologically can’t — leave her alone. And she’s getting rich the whole time.

    So I don’t know about “Presidential,” but who’s dumb, here?

  21. Joe Mama Says:

    In fairness to Becky, I read that Palin’s people said the targets on her infamous “map” weren’t really targets, which is perhaps what Becky was referring to above. That’s obviously stupid on Palin’s part — they were targets. But if any use of a target is “a reference to gun violence,” then there is a whole department store chain out there that is referring to gun violence, so my point still stands.

  22. Brendan Loy Says:

    Having spoken with Becky about this IRL, I do believe that’s what she meant, Joe.

    A couple of quick thoughts. First, the main reason I posted this wasn’t because of some inner “emotional demons” (huh?) but because I thought it was an interesting comparison between Palin and myself, one that I’ve made a few times on Twitter and wanted to flesh out here. The only really emotionally raw part of this post, it seems to me, is at the very end where I say “I hate Palin and I hate myself” for writing about this during the service. That came off way more strident than I intended. My intent was simply to anticipate the obvious point that, “if you think we should stop talking about Palin, why are you talking about Palin?” And then I realized what time it was, and that I was missing Obama’s speech, and I was annoyed with myself. But I don’t think that my word choice there indicated I’m somehow haunted by the specter of Sarah Palin floating around in my soul.

    Second, and I know you all won’t believe me because you think I’m a MINO (Moderate In Name Only) or CINO (Centrist In Name Only) or whatever, but I was genuinely sympathetic toward Palin on Saturday, as my Twitter feed demonstrated — I was calling out (and in a couple of cases, including Kos, publicly unfollowing) liberals who were unfairly attacking Palin. I also had a lot of fun with the #BlamePalin hashtag game, which had as its premise the very notion that people were unfairly blaming Palin for assorted miscellaneous things. I realize y’all don’t get to see this stuff if you’re not on Twitter, but it’s been clear if you follow me there that I was more than willing to come to Palin’s defense against the unfair attacks. But she lost me at “blood libel,” and I’m not the only one, and that’s not solely because OMG PALIN-HATERS HATE PALIN, THE END. She took a moment where people outside of her base were actually somewhat sympathetic to her position, and she completely squandered it. That’s my whole point. It isn’t that her response wasn’t at least arguably justified (just as my various blog-rants at comment-trolls and critics were, in many cases, intellectually justified), but rather that it was incredibly unwise and made her appear small and petty. As somebody said, the woman never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

  23. AMLTrojan Says:

    Joe Mama @ #20, I dare say Glenn largely said the same thing I said in #11, just in a different way. Great minds think alike?

  24. Brendan Loy Says:

    P.S. One of my most-retweeted tweets ever was this one at 12:19 PM Saturday:

    If u claim to know gunman’s political motives (or uncritically RT claims) b4 facts emerge, I will #unfollow u. I suggest others follow suit.

    I think blasted and unfollowed @markos for tweeting, “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” Among others.

    Just so’s you know what I’m talking about.

  25. AMLTrojan Says:

    Brendan ##22, all I can say then is, Shame on you for being lost by Palin at “blood libel”. If what the Kossacks and Krugman were spewing wasn’t a modern-day blood libel, what is? I reject the notion that a reference to blood libel must specifically include an anti-Semitic component for it to be valid. The denotation of the phrase “blood libel” is crystal clear; just because there is an anti-Semitic connotation to its past use doesn’t mean the phrase can’t be used with validity otherwise. Really, you’re bitching at Palin over semantics, which is only a shade less bad than blaming Palin for the murders because of her supposed “toxic” rhetoric. Her response was “unwise” only insofar as she would care to maintain the temporary sympathies of those who otherwise have consistently hated her guts regardless (e.g. people like you).

  26. AMLTrojan Says:

    Really, you’re bitching at Palin over semantics, which is only a shade less bad than blaming Palin for the murders because of her supposed “toxic” rhetoric.

    Let me re-write that:

    Really, you’re bitching at Palin over semantics, which is only a shade less bad than blaming Palin’s “toxic rhetoric” for “contributing to the atmosphere” that led to the murders.

  27. dcl Says:

    Yipes this is getting nasty.

    I think, without question, that Sara Palin and her lot could certainly have handled the PR side of this better. Which is more to the point really because in this case the PR is the entirety of the issue, and team Sara’s PR team has been completely tone deaf in terms of rallying anything beyond her already supporters. If that’s your goal fine, but don’t be surprised or upset when you take a hell of a lot of figurative flack for that from those that don’t already support you, or otherwise find you annoying.

    Let’s face it, when you exercise the amount of extreme editorial control over your facebook account that Palin does, deleting absolutely anything that is even remotely critical of you or could be read in anyway as offensive to tea party conservatives and then having the, lets face it, stupidity to leave a comment like this up is basically inexcusable on PR 101 grounds:

    “It’s ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a left wing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as ‘they’ say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly.”

    http://obamalondon.blogspot.com/2011/01/inexplicable-edits-on-sarah-palins.html

    If you have a history of just leaving comments alone, that’s one thing. But you delete a comment like “Guns and nutters don’t mix…” But you leave that shit up, well your PR team is tone deaf and you pretty much deserve the metaphorical flack you get for that.

  28. David K. Says:

    There is a significant difference between a target symbol and crosshairs.

  29. dcl Says:

    Note, the author notes many comments that are over the top dumb form Palin hatters. I don’t have any issue with her curating her facebook page as she sees fit. My point is simply that the editorial decisions in this particular instance are farcically tone deaf. I do not mean to say or imply anything beyond that point.

  30. AMLTrojan Says:

    Really, David?

    Actually they aren’t crosshairs, they are crop / register marks from printing. If you want to see real crosshairs, here’s a screenshot taken from a video used by Dems targeting JD Hayworth a few years ago.

    Now, perhaps you’ll argue, “OK, technically they aren’t crosshairs, but for most of the public, that’s what the perceived intent was.” In which case, I must ask, how is a target any different? A target is something one aims a weapon at, while crosshairs are something one uses to help aim a weapon at a target. I see no substantive difference in the imagery being effected.

    For you to defend the use of targets while decrying the use of crosshairs that aren’t even really crosshairs reeks of partisan tonedeafness to the extreme.

  31. Joe Mama Says:

    ROFLMAO @ David #28

  32. dcl Says:

    David, as much as I do like John Gruber, the argument presented for a target and cross hair being substantivly diffrent:

    http://daringfireball.net/2011/01/bullseyes_and_crosshairs

    is, at best, weak. Likewise AML’s assertion that they are registration marks not cross hairs is equally weak.

    Yes the target is the target as in target practice, but it’s also placing a target one something in the case of the DNC map. Cross hairs are for target accusation. So in that sense, the Palin has a logical flaw, as a gun has one set of sights, where as a shooter may possess multiple targets.

    I never did understand why RAF chose a target as their logo, and then went and placed it on strategically vital sections of the aircraft.

  33. dcl Says:

    As a note, yes they are in fact registration marks, but arguing that that was either the intent or the perception is laughable on it’s face.

  34. Alasdair Says:

    dcl – the Obama London commenters and their vehemence are quite something … it got especially amusing when one of ‘em went all Democratic Underground about the “repug thugs” – given that DU is what I use as the Internet standard for a site that removes comments with which it does not agree and bans commenters who don’t toe the line … the projecting in the comments was remarkable …

  35. gahrie Says:

    The exact nature of the marks on Palin’s map is immaterial. The use of such maps is quite common in politics, and indeed were used by the Democratic Party and Democratic web sites such as the Daily Kos.

  36. dcl Says:

    Al, you wonderfully completely missed the point so I’m going to ignore you.

    Gahrie, @35. No real argument with you there. But I also have little doubt that should one of the Dem targets been shot following re-election that there would have been outrage from some on the Right. The same way there has on the left.

    This is PR and politics. Thus far Sara’s seems to be rather tone deaf in the face of the tragedy.

  37. AMLTrojan Says:

    dcl @ #32, I stand by my assertion that the crosshairs are in fact registration marks — that is incontrovertibly true, as you concede in #33. Now, I have no problem referring to the map as having crosshairs, even though that is technically incorrect; clearly, that was the intent of the map’s creator, and I was in no way, shape, or form trying to imply the map’s symbolism referenced printing and not targeting. I only brought up the technical distinction in response to the bogus comparison / differentiation from the “target symbol” as cited by David. They may have used different symbols, but both Republican and Democratic forms of that map referenced “targeting” that district or that congressperson for defeat, and neither form of symbolism was more violent or less violent than the other.

  38. David K. Says:

    Sorry no, I disagree, targets are something you shoot at INSTEAD of people. A crosshair, and yes those are crosshairs, play any FPS game and tahts what you’ll see (or some variant).

    Also there is a substantial difference between noting a state as a target to win electoral votes in, and a specific person being targeted as Palin was doing.

    Now if it were just this one map I wouldn’t think it was as big a deal, but its this map combined with constant angry and often gun related rhetoric. Couple that with the people she associates with, supports, and/or who support her.

    In other words, its not the one single thing its that larger pattern of behavior thats the problem.

    Finally, quit with the bullshit excuse of “hey some other person did this thing which is bad”. If Sarah Palin robbed a bank she wouldn’t be innocent because you could point to a Democrat who had also robbed a bank.

  39. David K. Says:

    @AMLTrojan – Bullshit. They ARE crosshairs. They LOOK like crosshairs, they were used AS crosshairs. Just because something else also uses the same shape doesn’t make the marks on the map not crosshairs. If some white supremacists put up a map with swastikas on them and later peopled tried to claim they were using them as eastern religious symbols would you really buy that excuse?

  40. gahrie Says:

    David K continues to make these murders about Palin, instead of a crazy murderer and his unfortunate victims.

  41. Brendan Loy Says:

    there is a substantial difference between noting a state as a target to win electoral votes in, and a specific person being targeted as Palin was doing.

    Since we’re making fine distinctions among different types of “targeting” symbolism, I think it’s important to note, again, that it wasn’t a “specific person being targeted,” graphically, but rather a specific district. Yes, a district is smaller than a state, and yes, the “target” was an individual congressional seat held by an individual person (just as would be the case if we were talking about a Senate seat rather than electoral votes in the “state” context). But it’s NOT like Palin put gunsights/crosshairs/target/whatever on Giffords’s FACE. That would, I think (hope) we can all agree, have been far worse.

  42. AMLTrojan Says:

    David, you are so far off your rocker, it’s disturbing. You are seriously Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

  43. dcl Says:

    AML, I was agreeing with you that one cannot, with a straight face, make a substantive material deference between using targets and using crosshairs.

    Tough this entire thing is a complete PR disaster for Palin, and her team has handled it extremely poorly.

  44. Brendan Loy Says:

    More deranged Palin-hating lunacy from the Left in the form of… John Podhoretz?

    So Sarah Palin said this morning that she and others are the victims of “a blood libel.” This has immediately ignited a controversy over Palin’s words, which is just like the last controversy over Palin’s words, and the controversy over Palin’s words before those: she uses provocative phrasing, her critics scream, and then they scream more loudly, and they scream following each other’s screams, and the phrase is amplified and amplified and amplified, getting a cultural currency it would never have achieved otherwise (”death panels,” “lock and load,” “hopey-changey thing”). The overreaction by her enemies triggers heated defense among her supporters and an ah-shucks tone among those who find her interesting and tend to agree with her views but are uneasy with her loose command of wonky facts and detail.

    As for the use of the phrase “blood libel,” it’s perfectly appropriate if taken as two words strung together. We have all, those of us on the right, been accused of having blood on our hands in the wake of this massacre, it is a libel, and it is therefore a blood libel. But “blood libel” is also a term to describe a very specific brand of anti-Semitism. It’s the accusation, born in medieval England, that Jews sought out Christian babies for their blood to use in Passover matzah. It has been repeated and echoed over the centuries, and the term has come to mean, very generally, the evil notion that Jews are killing non-Jews to make use of their corpses in some fashion.

    So in the sense that the words “blood” and “libel” in sequence are to be taken solely as referring to this anti-Semitic slander, Palin’s appropriation of it was vulgar and insensitive. I guess. The problem is that I doubt Sarah Palin knew this history, because most people don’t know this history, including most of the anti-Palin hysterics screaming about it on Twitter at this very moment. She used it as shorthand for “false accusation that the right bears responsibility for the blood of the innocent.” She shouldn’t have, though she certainly had no intention of giving offense to those sensitive about it, because it would be an act of lunacy to open that can of worms for no reason.

    But here’s the thing. Sarah Palin has become a very important person in the United States. Important people have to speak with great care, because their words matter more than the words of other people. If they are careless, if they are sloppy, if they are lazy about finding the right tone and setting it and holding it, they will cease, after a time, to be important people, because without the discipline necessary to modulate their words, those words will lose their power to do anything but offer a momentary thrill — either pleasurable or infuriating. And then they will just pass on into the ether.

    If she doesn’t serious herself up, Palin is on the direct path to irrelevancy. She won’t be the second Ronald Reagan; she’ll be the Republican incarnation of Jesse Jackson.

    I’d say she’s already quite a ways down that path. Unfortunately, she has a larger base of fawning supporters — who vote — than Jackson ever did, so she may remain more of a political force than he has. But she’s ultimately just as unserious as he, and I see no likelihood of that changing. Like I said, if it was going to, it would have by now.

  45. AMLTrojan Says:

    The Podhoretz text which you have emphasized is not seriously different from the point Glenn Reynolds and myself made. It’s not clear to me that Palin truly wants to be president — or at least be the type of person who could be considered by a broad swathe of people across the middle-to-right of the spectrum as “presidential”. In that vein, Podhoretz’ contrasting of Reagan and Jackson is deftly apt. His only error is the implication that Jackson is or was irrelevant. You don’t have to be a serious presidential candidate yourself to be relevant in the national discourse, or to be a kingmaker. Jackson served a very useful function for the Democrats for a couple of decades, infuriating the Right and shoring up the Democratic base among African-Americans in the process, and it’s whitewashing history to pretend otherwise.

  46. David K. Says:

    “David K continues to make these murders about Palin, instead of a crazy murderer and his unfortunate victims.”

    Bullshit gahrie, complete and utter bullshit. Those who initially blamed Palin without evidence acted in an irresponsible manner, and I have said this. I’ve also said Palin was NOT to blame for what happened in Arizona.

    There is a huge difference between assigning blame to Palin for what happened, and criticizing Palin’s rhetoric as bad in general.

    So don’t try and pull another one of your bullshit red herring attacks here, its not going to fly.

  47. David K. Says:

    “one cannot, with a straight face, make a substantive material deference between using targets and using crosshairs.”

    Again I disagree I think there is a difference between them. Alone that difference might not be substantial but when you couple that difference with the specific language and metaphors Palin and co. have chosen to use it magnifies that difference.

    @AMLTrojan –
    So because I disagree with you on this I’m “off my rocker”? Because I think when you look at the larger picture of what she has said Palin’s choice of image holds more meaning? Wow you seem to have an incredibly narrow definition of sane and normal, that seems to equate to “thinks almost exactly like me and agrees with everything I say”.

    Of course its statements like yours that are at the root of the problem of civility in political discussion, so thanks at least for serving as a perfect example of how NOT to engage in civil debate.

  48. David K. Says:

    I eagerly await gahrie’s retraction of his completely baseless and false accusation towards me.

  49. gahrie Says:

    I’ve also said Palin was NOT to blame for what happened in Arizona.

    There is a huge difference between assigning blame to Palin for what happened, and criticizing Palin’s rhetoric as bad in general.

    I disagree, but again lets accept your statement for the sake of argument.

    Surely your attacks on Palin’s rhetoric are at least as untimely, lacking in self-awareness and inability to see the big picture as Palin’s attempt to defend herself from those of you attacking her?

  50. gahrie Says:

    Of course its statements like yours that are at the root of the problem of civility in political discussion

    Really??

    Were you even able to type that sentence with a straight face?

    Hypocrisy and projection know no bounds in some people.

  51. Brendan Loy Says:

    New tone, people, new tone.

  52. David K. Says:

    @gahrie

    Um, why would my comments about Palin be unaccapetable in a post talking about Palin? Also, how long should I wait before criticizing Palin for what I believe to be an unpresedential moment she just made? Thats ludicrous. This IS a discussion about Palin of course I’ll criticize her in it if I see a reason to.

  53. Brendan Loy Says:

    It’s not clear to me that Palin truly wants to be president — or at least be the type of person who could be considered by a broad swathe of people across the middle-to-right of the spectrum as “presidential”.

    It’s not clear to me that Palin understands the extent to which, through a series of unnecessary missteps (or behaviors more befitting a talk-radio host or outlandish TV celebrity than a serious national political figure), she’s boxed herself into a corner where she can’t become president, even if she later decides she wants to, and even if she could overcome all the other serious obstacles that would have stood in her path regardless of her tendency toward “unpresidential” behavior.

    That said, I will consider Palin a de facto 2012 presidential candidate unless and until the day when she announces she’s not running, in much the same way that I consider Romney, Huckabee, etc. to be candidates-until-proven-otherwise. If she wasn’t at least seriously entertaining the notion, she would have said so by now… unless of course she’s deliberately stringing us along, which is also admittedly a live possibility, but also one that doesn’t counsel against the candidate-until-proven-otherwise treatment. If it looks like a candidate and acts like a candidate and quacks a candidate…

  54. David K. Says:

    @gahrie

    Yes I was. Andrew’s statment was completely unnecessary and uncivil.

    Please tell me where I have done the same in this thread? I have criticized arguments made and decisions made. I haven’t called in to question anyones sanity just because I disagree with them have I?

    How is it innacurate to say what Andrew said is an example of the problem when it comes to civility?

  55. dcl Says:

    David, if you are going to continue to maintain there is a substantive difference between the two you are going to need to make the argument as to what that difference is because nobody here is buying it. The supporting language is at best a difference of degree not in kind.

  56. David K. Says:

    @dcl

    You keep ignoring the part though where I said that alone the difference between the two would not be substantive. Its the combination of gun sights along with the rhetoric and reputation. “Don’t retreat, reload” “Second ammendment remedies” etc.

  57. David K. Says:

    There is a subtle difference between the two, a target symbol is something you shoot as an alternative to shooting other objects. When I did archery in college we shot at targets on boards instead of, you know, at each other. Meanwhile a sight is what you use to shoot with and more directly points towards shooting something/someone.

  58. AMLTrojan Says:

    David, I stand by my assertion: You are so partisan sometimes, it renders you effectively nuts. Like at #56, where you again try to explain away your statement that “There is a significant difference between a target symbol and crosshairs” by saying “alone the difference between the two would not be substantive. Its the combination of gun sights along with the rhetoric and reputation.” So IOW, there is no difference between the symbolism, the symbolism is bad solely because of the speaker (i.e. conservatives / Republicans). I’m sorry, but participants on all sides must play by the same rules:

    Ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski, the Pennsylvania Democrat … said in October: “That [Rick] Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida. Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him.” Reached by phone Tuesday, Kanjorski said “only fruitcakes” would take his statement about Scott literally.

    Fruitcakes like Loughner? But I digress. How about these examples?

    Even before [George W.] Bush was elected president, the kill-Bush talk and imagery started. When Governor Bush was delivering his 2000 convention speech, Craig Kilborn, a CBS talk-show host, showed him on the screen with the words “SNIPERS WANTED.” Six years later, Bill Maher, the comedian-pundit, was having a conversation with John Kerry. He asked the senator what he had gotten his wife for her birthday. Kerry answered that he had taken her to Vermont. Maher said, “You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone.” (New Hampshire is an early primary state, of course.) Kerry said, “Or I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.” (This is the same Kerry who joked in 1988, “Somebody told me the other day that the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they’re to shoot Quayle.”) Also in 2006, the New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi, spoke to graduating students at Queens College. He said that his fellow Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, would “put a bullet between the president’s eyes if he could get away with it.”

    And, of course, you have Paul Krugman hosting parties where guests are burning despised political figures in effigy.

    But no, apparently it’s Palin that’s the inciting, hateful one.

    David, your hypocrisy and double standards know no bounds.

  59. Alasdair Says:

    AMLTrojan #58 – at the risk of being seen to defend David K, I am reasonably sure that it is not strictly accurate to say that his “hypocrisy and double standards know no bounds.” … I am sure that even *he* has some limits in such areas, for all that he keeps going further that one would have believed possible, on a regular basis …

    On the “blood libel” issue, there is a good write-up here putting thisngs in reasonable perspective, that even those whoa re anti-semantic in this blog’s commentariat should be able to understand … I particularly liked “And neither is it “antisemitic” nor trademarked by the Jewish people, no matter what some hysterical Jews, most of them suffering from PDS, may claim.”

  60. AMLTrojan Says:

    Adding to Dershowitz’s defense of Palin on the “blood libel” issue, there’s plenty of additional evidence that the outrage coming from Palin’s detractors is baseless, hypocritical, manufactured, and phony.

  61. gahrie Says:

    Yes I was. Andrew’s statment was completely unnecessary and uncivil.

    Please tell me where I have done the same in this thread?

    In this thread? You haven’t. In almost every other thread on this blog you have contributed to, you have.

  62. Sandy Underpants Says:

    Wow, when do the Republican primary debates start? It’s my recollection that we had primary debates in January of 2007 for the 2008 election. We’re late, we’re late. January is half over and we don’t even know any of the candidates yet. Palin will clearly pull a Fred Thompson and avoid the first 50 debates, which is a smart move, but Newt, Palin, Romney, Huckster, Rudy, John McCain, and Ron Paul on the same stage. Oh man, I can hardly wait. You’re talking worried about a blood libel from sissy democrats? Get on stage with those power-hungry, crusty old white dudes, Sarah. It’s gonna be a blood bath.

  63. David K. Says:

    Wait, so because I clarified my statement I am an unhinged partisan? That makes sense I suppose if YOU are an unhinged partisan. Cross hairs and target symbols ARE different.

    Further this is just more bullshit:

    “And, of course, you have Paul Krugman hosting parties where guests are burning despised political figures in effigy.

    But no, apparently it’s Palin that’s the inciting, hateful one.”

    Please point out where I said that Sarah Palin is the ONLY hateful, inciteful person out there. It should be easy since you claim I’m a hypocrite with a double standard. I’ll bet you a $1,000,000 you won’t find it. Why? BECAUSE ITS NOT THERE.

    Criticizing Palin doesn’t mean she’s the only person out there who has done something wrong. And finding someone else who has ALSO done something wrong doesn’t exonerate Palin. I mean really, I just pointed out how that was a bullshit deffense in this very thread.

    You continue to exemplify the type of behavior that is dragging political discourse in this country down. And yet you accuse me of being the unhinged one? Sorry dude, its not me, its you.

  64. David K. Says:

    “In this thread? You haven’t. In almost every other thread on this blog you have contributed to, you have.”

    As I said in an early thread to Cartman, I have in the past done things I’m not proud of. Largely it was because I stopped taking the high road in discussions against you and Alasdair, because frankly you have been just as bad, so quit trying to pretend like you are innocent.

    Further, in admitting my mistakes in the past I also said I was going to work on being more like Brendan and rise above that type of behavior. So yeah, I think if you are going to accuse me of being the one in the wrong in this thread, it should, you know, actually pertain to stuff in this thread.

    Andrew’s statement was a perfect example of the sort of problem thats out there. There is nothing hypocritical about that, its in fact quite accurate.

  65. David K. Says:

    Also I note how you completely leave out the context of the burning in effigy link:

    “The econ department, the finance department, the Woodrow Wilson school,” Wells says. “They were all very nervous, so they were grateful we were having the party, because they didn’t want to be alone. We had two or three TVs set up and we had a little portable outside fire pit and we let people throw in an effigy or whatever they wanted to get rid of for the past eight years.”
    “One of our Italian colleagues threw in an effigy of Berlusconi.”
    “I put out some coloring paper and markers so that people could write stuff on it and throw it into the fire. People really felt like there was stuff they wanted to shed! I had little hats and party whistles.”

    Thats significantly different from the idea that they were burning politicians in mass effigy. I mean they MIGHT have, but the article doesn’t say they did. The burned stuff people drew in crayons on paper. And by they I mean the people who drew it.

    Now I agree that burning people in effigy is always tastless. But again, there are differences here. Palin’s words and actions have been in public as a leader. Krugman’s actions were at a private party among friends and colleagues. Surely you can see how those actions should be judged differently right? I mean you can’t tell me you have never done or said anything in private that you don’t think would be acceptable in public, and especially not from a person in a leadership role influencing other people?

    I mean honestly, if some of my Republican friends (and yes I do have them) wanted to take a picture of Obama and use it for dart practice I wouldn’t be concerned one bit. If Sarah Palin did the same in public with a shotgun? Yeah, I’d say that was unnacceptable.

    Context matters.

  66. David K. Says:

    Also, if it were Democrats doing the same thing with Palin in private, versus Democratic leaders doing it in public, I’d say the same thing.

  67. gahrie Says:

    because frankly you have been just as bad, so quit trying to pretend like you are innocent.

    No.

    I haven’t been as bad. Point out the times where I called you names? There might, might be as many as half a dozen spread over several years. You insult me and call me names on almost every thread we both participate in.

    There have been times when I have gone out of my way to defend some of your actions and comments by placing the best possible interpretation on them.

    I am more than willing to allow some hypothetically third party to come along and read all of the threads that you and I have participated on and judge our relative behavior. Hell, I’d help pay for it.

    I bet not only that such an analysis would vindicate me, but I bet it would also show that I supply more citation and evidence for my assertions than anyone else on this blog.

    So, no I haven’t been nearly as bad as you, and while I make no claims to innocence, I do assert my claim to being more civil.

  68. dcl Says:

    just to clarify something, quoting the WSJ OP-ED page is about as convincing to a Liberal as quoting the NYT OP-ED page is to a conservative. That is to say not… you will need to try harder.

  69. Alasdair Says:

    dcl #68succinctly shows a significant difference between the conservative folk who comment on the posts in this blog and the non-conservative/davidkian ones …

    On the conservative side, we tend to give citations and qotes (with associated links) so that readers can go see upon what we base our side of a discussion …

    On the davidkian side, the tendency is more to quote without citation – and yet also to demand that citation and links be given in response to less-than-coherent ranted questions … followed, of course, by ignoring the list of links often supplied in response to such a challenge … (inconvenient truths strike again, eh ?) …

    Does it count as insulting name-calling when I refer to the less-than-conservative folk as davidkian ??? (innocent grin)

  70. David K. Says:

    @Alasdair – Um no, thats not true at all, so unless you can prove it, I kindly ask you to shut up.

  71. David K. Says:

    @gahrie – You remember it one way I remember it another, fine, we agree to disagree. Regardless two things are definitely true.

    1) AMLTrojan is the one in this thread who is engaging in uncivil behavior

    2) You made a baseless, untrue, accusation about me which you have yet to apologize for or retract.

  72. James Young Says:

    Jeez. And you folks wonder why I say we’re closer to Kilkenney Cats than we all realize…

  73. gahrie Says:

    You made a baseless, untrue, accusation about me which you have yet to apologize for or retract.

    Where? If you are talking about:

    “David K continues to make these murders about Palin, instead of a crazy murderer and his unfortunate victims.”

    Did you or did you not tweet almost immediately after the murders a post associating Palin with the murders?

    Have you or have you not continued to attack Palin for her map while ignoring or dismissing similar Democratic maps? Have you attacked Palin for her rhetoric while ignoring worse rhetoric from the Left?

    Are you now attacking Palin for responding to those attacking her?

  74. David K. Says:

    “Did you or did you not tweet almost immediately after the murders a post associating Palin with the murders?”

    No I did not.

    “Have you or have you not continued to attack Palin for her map while ignoring or dismissing similar Democratic maps? Have you attacked Palin for her rhetoric while ignoring worse rhetoric from the Left?”

    I haven’t seen examples of worse rhetoric from the left, the worst rhetoric I have seen comes regularly from the right, but regardless that doesn’t mean I’m making THESE MURDERS about Palin. I’m making THIS POST WHICH IS ABOUT PALIN ABOUT PALIN.

    “Are you now attacking Palin for responding to those attacking her?”

    I’m criticizing Palin for her response. I’ve also criticized those who baselessly attacked her when nothing was known, but thats beside the point.

    Again, your statement was that I made these murders about Palin. I did not. I never did. Saying that I did is a blatant and outright lie.

    Further, you may disagree with my criticism of Palin, thats fine, thats reasonable. But you go a step further and seem to have a problem that I criticize Palin at all. Every time I (or Brendan or others) criticize her you seem to get up and arms, not about what we are talking about, but the very fact that we are criticizing her in the first place. Here you are trying to do the same by implying that because I am not criticisizing someone YOU think I should be that I shouldn’t criticize at all. That’s ludicrous. Should I not criticize Palin because hundreds of years ago Genghis Khan did terrible things? Or because five days from now some one else might do something you dislike? I’m sorry but no. This is a post about Palin, and in it I am talking about Palin. To claim thats somehow invalid is just asinine.

  75. AMLTrojan Says:

    dcl @ #68. do you comprehend the circularity of the implied logic in your statement: only conservative sources should be used to rebut conservative claims; and only liberal sources should be used to rebut liberal claims?

    How about we read the source, examine the information on its own merits, and then make a call about its relevancy and potency? Eh?

  76. gahrie Says:

    But you go a step further and seem to have a problem that I criticize Palin at all.

    No, I have a problem that you criticize Palin unreasonably. You would never (and don’t currently) hold anyone on the Left to the standards that you do Palin.

    Again, your statement was that I made these murders about Palin. I did not. I never did. Saying that I did is a blatant and outright lie.

    So you are saying that Joe Mama lied on the Atrocity thread when he stated that you had written a tweet immediately after the murders attacking Palin? If so, why didn’t you respond over there?

  77. Tweets that mention In which Sarah Palin reminds me of… myself. And not in a good way. -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brendan Loy, Brendan Loy. Brendan Loy said: @ryanaston @keder @snowed_in: I hate myself for talking about her during the service, but here's my longer take: http://bit.ly/gJ9vYv [...]

  78. Joe Mama Says:

    HA!

  79. dcl Says:

    AML @75, no simply pulling the same thing your side does when I or other cite something on the NYT OP-ED page. That is, ignoring it completely as biased load of crap.

    To your and AL’s point, it’s basically a waste of time to cite an opinion in an argument about opinions. You are simply backing up your assertions with someone else’s assertions. Generally when citing opinion pieces, I do it more in the this is interesting, what do others think of the reasoning than to try and argue that it is in any way fact or operative.

    Citing a story in a journal article, or the Times news sections or WSJ news sections is different as it, at least hopefully, brings some additional relevant facts to the table.

    Hence my point, I’m not going to convince you of anything with a Paul Krugman OP-ED, so why you expect to convince me of something with a WSJ OP-ED is beyond me as the bias and bias against the biased source goes both ways.

  80. AMLTrojan Says:

    dcl, you’re being obtuse. There’s a difference between citing an opinion (such as Krugman in the NYT or Taranto in the WSJ), and citing an op-ed piece of their’s that is listing facts. The reason I linked to WSJ BOTW was for the source material it was citing. I did not quote James Taranto and his voice in the article, I quoted his evidence.

    The WSJ is the #1 newspaper in this country by circulation and is the most trusted news source for the vast majority of non-government decision-makers in this country. If you want to dismiss it out of hand as a “biased load of crap”, that speaks to your own narrowmindedness.

  81. AMLTrojan Says:

    Also, going back to the well yet again on the supposed indecency of Palin using the “blood libel” charge, a rabbi explains why it was a perfectly legitimate use.

  82. dcl Says:

    Yes, and the WSJ op-ed is the biggest pice of conservative talking points BS. And that’s before the thing was bought by Rupert “Faux News” Murdoch. Thus anything printed on the WSJ op-ed page must be assumed to be a stinking turd of poorly fact checked conservative talking points BS. Does the WSJ even bother to have a token liberal? At least NYT has David “the RINO” Brooks… I’m not being obtuse, I’m doing the EXACT same thing you and Joe, and AL and Gahrie do all the time–annoying isn’t it.

  83. Joe Mama Says:

    Speak for yourself, dcl. Whenever Brendan cites that asshole Krugman for whatever reason — usually with a plea along the lines of “yeah, I know it’s Krugman, but is what he saying wrong? — I try to make it a point to take the facts Krugman asserts, such as they are, at face value. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do the same re Taranto, who is much less objectionable. Since your response to AML was to resort to source bias in lieu of argument, one must assume you don’t take issue with Taranto’s recitation of the facts.

    Oh, and Al Hunt was at the WSJ for 35 years or so.

  84. Joe Mama Says:

    P.S. The biggest distinction between the NYT and WSJ, besides ideology, is how each differentiates between fact and opinion pieces. NYT reporting is often indistinguishable from its op-ed page, whereas the WSJ by contrast usually does an excellent job separating out editorializing from its reporting.

  85. AMLTrojan Says:

    Does the WSJ even bother to have a token liberal?

    Thomas Frank had a column in the WSJ called “The Tilting Yard” from 2008 to 2010. It’ll be interesting to see who they replace him with now that he’s off to Harper’s.

    OTOH, I don’t see how that’s relevant. As Joe Mama alluded to, regardless of the source bias, if you can’t make an argument based on the facts presented by an op-ed columnist who happens to be of an ideological stripe you’re not inclined to tolerate, you’re both ceding the evidence as well as advertising yourself as incapable of rational debate.

  86. Joe Mama Says:

    P.P.S. Hunt left the WSJ in 2005, but I believe their current “token liberal” is still Thomas Frank.

  87. David K. Says:

    “No, I have a problem that you criticize Palin unreasonably. You would never (and don’t currently) hold anyone on the Left to the standards that you do Palin.”

    Then I guess a majority of Americans are unreasonable since they hold the same views that Palin is unfit to lead.

    Further, again with the bullshit about having to criticize others for it to be valid. I’m not going to spend my whole life going through an exhaustive list of every politician out there and criticizing them, that’s stupid. I focus my criticism on Palin because of two things.
    1) Her prominent, influential position
    2) How wrong I think she is
    I have yet to find someone on the left who rises to the same levels in both areas as Palin does, hence I spend time criticizing Palin. It’s called prioritization.
    Finally, if my criticism of Palin is wrong on it’s merits then fine, argue the merits.

  88. Joe Mama Says:

    Woops, I guess I stand corrected re Frank.

  89. David K. Says:

    “So you are saying that Joe Mama lied on the Atrocity thread when he stated that you had written a tweet immediately after the murders attacking Palin? If so, why didn’t you respond over there?”

    Yes he did and I don’t bother responding to each and everything on this blog because it ends up being a waste of time.  Your statement above was completely false yet you continue to try and defend it with unrelated crap.  In this thread I criticized Sarah Palin for something she had done and in NO WAY related it to the shootings, yet you continue to insist that’s what I did.  It’s clear you were wrong, but as usual you refuse to accept that.  There’s no point in continuing until you do so.

  90. gahrie Says:

    David K:

    Yes he did and I don’t bother responding to each and everything on this blog

    But you did respond. However you made no attempt to deny making the tweet, (in fact you implicitly admitted to making the tweet) you merely attempted to justify your tweet attack on Palin while hypocritically attacking the rest of us.

  91. Alasdair Says:

    First, the low-hanging fruit …

    David K #87 …
    1) Her prominent, influential position
    2) How wrong I think she is
    I have yet to find someone on the left who rises to the same levels in both areas “

    a) Vice President Biden
    b) Dennis Kucinich
    c) Rev [sic] Al Sharpton
    d) Sooooooooo-close-but-not-and-almost-President Gore
    e) Keith Olbermann
    f) Saint Al (of the Cult of AGW) Gore

    Yup, Mr Gore *EARNED* both nominations … (grin) …

  92. Alasdair Says:

    AMLTrojan #85 – there you go again, expressing yourself as the rational conservative that you are ! Don’t you know that that is kryptonite to the davidkians who comment herein ?

    For a challenging and potentially interesting gedanken, try to envision our David K utilising “Trust Yet Verify” on all his sources of information …

  93. AMLTrojan Says:

    Hey David:

    To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

  94. dcl Says:

    Oh yay, more bullshit from the WSJ op-ed page.

  95. Joe Mama Says:

    Look, more argument from dcl. Oh, wait … what’s the opposite of argument?

    That was written by Glenn Reynolds, not the WSJ editors. It’s technically “from the WSJ op-ed page” in the sense that they gave Reynolds space, but if, say, you had linked to a piece that Laurence Tribe wrote in the NYT and instead of making a worthwhile comment I just said “Oh yay, more bullshit from the NYT op-ed page,” I would be a mere troll, like you.

    Explain why it’s bullshit or go screw.

  96. Joe Mama Says:

    P.S. Reynolds’ comment could’ve come directly from Abraham Lincoln.

  97. Joe Mama Says:

    P.P.S. “Based upon the Lincoln quote it would appear that Sarah Palin, rather than acting ‘unpresidential’ in her response this week as her critics claim, was acting quite presidential after all. Even Lincoln-esque.”



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