Thursday, September 25, 2008

Facts evasion

Succinctly, by laying out the facts, Bob Somerby explained how the so-called liberal blogosphere aka SCLB has transformed into Village idiots:

SEEING AN SS PROPOSAL HALF EMPTY: If you round 28 percent off to “half,” you may be misleading the voters. And you may be squandering a large advantage you enjoyed with the mainstream press. That seems to be what Obama did with the recent ad which is “ad-watched” in today’s New York Times. We highlight two key words from the text of the ad—two words which seem to be hard to defend, two words which were wholly unnecessary:

OBAMA AD: I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message. A broken economy. Failing banks. Unstable markets. Families struggling. To protect us in retirement, Social Security has never been more important. But John McCain has voted three times in favor of privatizing Social Security. McCain says, “I campaigned in support of President Bush’s proposal.” Cutting benefits in half. Risking Social Security on the stock market. The Bush-McCain privatization plan. Can you really afford more of the same?

Aarrgh. The Obama campaign can’t seem to defend two key words: “in half.” And Obama has been criticized for making a similar claim on the stump. (For two posts from, click here and then click here.) Because they stuck those two words in that ad, the Obama campaign has been widely assailed. For one example, see this column by the Post’s Ruth Marcus.

Last week, Marcus—like many mainstream journalists—was hammering McCain, quite hard, for his long string of “whoppers.” In this column, Marcus says Obama has started to even things up.

A bit of background on the issue discussed in Obama’s ad:

Marcus is part of the DC establishment’s center-left contingent. If she votes, she will almost surely vote for Obama, not for the saintly McCain. But by the time of Campaign 2000, virtually everyone in the Village was affirming the virtue of private accounts; Gore was hammered, remarkably widely and remarkably stupidly, for challenging Bush’s proposal. (Link below.)

To this day, Marcus tends to buy her cohort’s sky-is-falling approach to SS; when she writes about the issue, she tends to be ardent—and murky. Her column included some outright nonsense, such as her passing complaint about Obama’s use of “incendiary language” (that is, the word “privatization”). And the column ended up in the weeds; Marcus isn’t very good at clarifying this issue. But her basic complaint was basically accurate, a point you may not have understood from work churned by some on your side.

This childish post by Josh Marshall is a case in point. Much of the short post is incoherent; much of it is loud and childish. (“It’s apparently a big lie,” Josh childishly snarks, as he offers a reinvented account of what Obama has actually said.) But his whole post ignores a central point—Obama and the Obama campaign seem to have misstated a key, central fact. On our side, we tend to get extremely upset when McCain does this sort of thing.

Is this what we all signed up for when the liberal web was born? Were we secretly seeking the chance to bleat and cry and ignore central points? Did we want to be like Sean Hannity? If so, enjoy Josh’s post.

Hey! Look over there! Pay no attention to the title of Marcus' column, "Closing the Whopper Gap," which examines Obama's false ad claim. The SCLB via CDS-sufferer Josh Marshall overlooks Obama's "rank misrepresentation" and his "stooping to the kind of scare tactics he once derided" so that WKJM can meander about the Social Security privatization quadrangle obscuring those two points among others.

And that is Josh's point--change the subject and disregard the substance of a criticism--a Village-like maneuver as if a child obedient to the defense of The One denies the fact that Da-Da is misleading.

Just as right-wing media have defended King George and the conservative movement for decades with blatant lies, juvenile rants, and sleight of hand, the SCLB rush to the aid of their Precious with misdirection, an evasion of the facts, and on other occasions, to spread faux racial smears and misogyny. That's not what I "signed up for when the liberal web was born."

The problem for the latter "progressive" cohort is that their appeals to a critical voting bloc--Democratic women--comes delivered with a slap in the face and dismissive snarls. Still! Anglachel handily addressed the latest sexist insult (read her entire post for details) and articulated what the Blog Boyz seem to be incapable of grasping. With emphasis added:

When Democratic women say "The Obama camp has run a sexist, mysogynistic campaign," we are told we're wrong, no such thing, there was not any sexism there, except maybe some from Tweety. When Democratic women say, "No, it's not his race, it's his lack of commitment to the programs that matter to us," we are told that, no, we're all just racist bitches, and that it's our fault if he doesn't win.

What does it mean to electoral outcomes if what we Democratic women are saying is simply true? That there is too much encouragement of and reliance upon misogyny as a campaign tactic? That our objections to this candidate really are based on rational economic self-interest, and are not due to his race?

Using shame (shame of being female, shame of being racist) rather than offering benefit is a tactic that may intimidate some, and perhaps win some over who would rather be part of the pack that attacks than one who is attacked, but mostly it engenders resentment. It is nothing on which political solidarity can be founded. Hasn't the Democratic Party learned that it is not enough to run on "I'm not [insert opponent here]"? That was a losing argument against Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Shouting "The other party is worse!" does nothing to address the weaknesses and failings of our own. Put on top of that a very public contempt for the concerns of a large and (until now) unswervingly loyal constituency and this is a recipie [sic] for long term, nearly permanent loss of electoral power.

I'll never vote Republican, but for the first time in my life, I feel no desire to vote Democrat, either.

I've written reams of analysis of why the current election is shaping up the way it has and I may be wrong about my judgments on those things, but I know my own thoughts. When I say I won't vote for Obama after the revolting campaign he has run and because he doesn't have anything substantive to back him up, I mean exactly those two things, nothing more, nothing less.

It's just the truth.

I couldn't agree more. As a lesbian, I include another unpleasant contradiction over Obama's campaign affiliation with homophobes. Again! How dumb does he think LGBTQ folks are?

Does Obama think we're too ignorant to notice how the underside of the bus looks?

Good thing you rarely see the SCLB touting that they are members of the "reality-based community." With Obama's campaign, reality must have become too mind-boggling to handle.

POSTSCRIPT: The "Precious" was coined by Anglachel and "WKJM" (Whoever Kidnapped Josh Marshall) was originally minted by Bob Somerby and recognized by the senior fellows of the mighty Corrente building.

Speaking of Corrente, in response to Anglachel's spot-on post, Lambert asks again:

How can a “movement” built on misogyny and false charges of racism be considered “progressive”?

Riddle me that, Batman.