Archive for February 17th, 2007


I believe this is the first time I have ever been able to identify all eight Invisibles without assistance. I am feeling right pleased with myself.

Anyone not familiar with the Invisibles quiz, you should check it out if you consider yourself a film buff. It’s an ingenious concept, and diabolically challenging.

2 comments February 17th, 2007 at 11:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Movies

Dances With Masks

The Edwards fiasco, and Glenn Greenwald’s recent echoing of my observation that the Republicans do not appear to be very serious about what they claim to be serious about both highlight something that I’m very frustrated about. What’s bugging me is that, with a few exceptions, the Democrats always take everything the Republicans say at face value, rather than as cynical political manipulation.

Bill Donohue accuses John Edwards’ new blogger hires of anti-catholic bigotry, and Edwards basically says, “Yeah, that kinda bothers me too” instead of pointing out that Donohue’s own long history of anti-semitism and homophobia disqualifies him from accusing anyone else of bigotry, or calling attention to the obscene and un-Christian rape and death threats that Bill Donohue’s and Michelle Malkin’s minions directed at his employees until they resigned.

Republicans and their pundits/operatives regularly accuse Democrats of being weak on terror, and Democrats respond by defensively trying to look tough instead of pointing out that the Republicans are the ones opposing enhanced port security and chem/nuke plant security. Republicans accuse Democrats of not supporting the troops, and the Democrats soft-pedal their war criticisms and back away from defunding the war, instead of pointing out that it’s the Republicans who are dragging their feet on giving the troops more/better armor and equipment, who are shortchanging them on their rotations home, who are forcing them to return to combat long after their service obligations should have expired, and who are treating veterans benefits as an afterthought or an unsustainable burden.

The problem is, the Democrats seem to have an operating assumption that Republicans are honest, or that they need to at least pretend to believe that Republicans are honest, in the interests of “civility”, or else risk offending the All-Powerful Swing Voter. They need to get over this, and fast. Yes, there will be times when a Republican makes an honest and sincere critique of Democratic policies, and the Democrats should respond on the merits. But they need to learn to distinguish between honest criticism and smears, then respond accordingly. Some common-sense tips on how to do that:

1) Consider the source. Do they have a long history of attacking Democrats with accusations that turned out to be false? Do they have a long history of doing the exact same thing they’re accusing you of? If so, make that the centerpiece of your response: They are not credible, and this is just another smear from a professional liar. NOTE: Some oppo research capabilities would be very useful here. At a bare minimum, you should have some web-savvy staffers looking for blog entries about the accuser(s). Most slime leaves a lengthy and pungent trail.

2) Trust your gut. If your immediate reaction is that the accusation is completely ridiculous, bordering on fantasy, chances are the accuser doesn’t even believe it themselves. Let your incredulity shine through in your response.

3) Don’t trust the media. Do not allow the media to confer legitimacy on bullshit: They are in on it. If they’re propagating right-wing memes that you know to be untrue, call them on it and question their journalistic integrity for reporting lies as fact, or even as “one side of the story.” Lies do not deserve to be reported on as anything other than lies.

4) Fuck civility. No, you probably shouldn’t actually swear, but neither should you worry about being likable or nice. Attack. Hit hard. Be outraged. Don’t apologize unless you’ve made a factual error. Don’t worry about alienating voters; if anything, their respect for you will grow if you aggressively defend yourself. Be more like Paul Hackett or Jim Webb. Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and say, “I said it, I meant it, I stand behind it” five times.

5) You are not above the fray. Unless it’s Gary Busey accusing you of conspiring with the Venusians to steal Earth’s greenhouse gases, never assume that it’s obvious that an attack is bogus. Respond, and quickly.

6) (UPDATE) Put your process-talking skills to use. Instead of talking about what other Democrats are doing, and how they “need to do a better job of talking about” religion/terrorism/Iraq/Mars, bitches, talk about what the Republicans are doing, how their entire strategy is based on dishonest attacks, spreading fear, and suppressing dissent. Make it clear that their fake outrage is a cynical tactic that cheapens our discourse and perverts our democracy.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot more, but that should be a good start.

12 comments February 17th, 2007 at 02:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Favorites,Politics,Racism,Religion,Republicans,Rove,Sexism

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