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November 2, 2009

“He used…sarcasm. He knew all the tricks.”
Posted by Patrick at 06:48 PM *

You may recall Alan Grayson (D-FL) as the freshman Congressman who explained that the Republican health care plan is “don’t get sick, and if you do, die quickly” and who told Chris Matthews that he sometimes has “trouble listening to what Cheney says because of the blood that drips from his teeth.” Naturally, having violated the Washington, DC rule that says that liberals are required to be thoughtful, high-minded, and terrible on TV, Grayson is now being cast, by the guardians of our political discourse, as History’s Greatest Monster.

Digby responds to one such guardian, Stuart Rothenberg:

You see, it’s one thing for Republicans to give speeches on the floor of the House saying that Democrats want to murder the elderly or that they plan to create sex clinics and force teenage girls to have abortions. That is simply folksy language these people use to communicate with their people. When Newt Gingrich blamed Susan Smith’s murdering of her own children on liberalism, Lady Frothenberg understood that it was harmless hyperbole. When Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and the rest of the conservative movement leadership say daily that Barack Obama is a black racist who hates America, it’s simply their way, and we all understand that it is just entertainment for the masses who require this type of crude stimulation.

But when one calls a former Enron lobbyist a K-Street whore on an obscure radio show, one has simply gone too far, sirrah, and it will not be tolerated.

There will be a town hall meeting this evening led by Pastor Dick Cheney to discuss the possibility of witches in the village and what types of enhanced interrogation might be used to determine the breadth of the infiltration. Our deep sense of decency, morality and civility demand it. And thank you once again, Lady Frothenberg, for bringing this egregious breach of proper behavior to our attention.

Whatever the rest of you do, don’t encourage this miscreant Alan Grayson to do more of this boorish behavior by donating money at his crude web site: Congressmanwithguts.com. If you do, I certainly hope you don’t plan on being invited into the any of the finer homes and establishments in the Village because you just aren’t welcome there!

Sage advice. Why, if more Congresspersons talked like Grayson, who knows what might happen. Can’t have that.
Comments on "He used...sarcasm. He knew all the tricks.":
#1 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:14 PM:

I think digby's piece missed its goal, at least for me--my overriding reaction was discomfort at how digby kept misgendering Rothenburg in a way that was clearly intended to be insulting. I don't like using gender as an insult (in any direction) and it got in the way of the points digby was trying to make.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:18 PM:

"At long last, Mr. Grayson, have you no shame?"
"Nope."

About bleeping time too.

#3 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:28 PM:

@1: Thank you. I was wondering if Stuart Rothenburg was a woman or if this was a truly unworthy rhetorical device to discredit the opinion of someone you disagree with. Do not want.

As far as Grayson, I can go either way. I heartily believe that you do not defeat your enemies by becoming them, but the people of Florida's eighth district are entitled to choose their own representative.

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:39 PM:

Isn't Digby a woman?

#5 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 07:50 PM:

Serge @ #4, yes she is. I think she felt that Rothenberg's knickers had gotten into a twist, thus the femininization.

#6 ::: Shane Stringer ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:00 PM:

Actually, the iconography she's invoking here is one of some imagined Ladies Who Lunch society of the olden days, complete with fainting couches (for the vapors, don'tyaknow) and pearl clutching. In some quarters, it's a common way to refer to the Washington Media Villagers who can handle torture, lies leading to war, and other atrocities, but INCIVILITY?!! Oh, my, I do feel a spell coming on!

#7 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:04 PM:

In a later post she (Digby) lays into Sally Quinn (Washington hostess extraordinaire and the Post's ex-executive editor Ben Bradlee's wife), with references to Quinn's longtime antipathy toward Hillary Clinton. Quinn took it on herself to offer some unsolicited advice to Michelle Obama today.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:05 PM:

Yep, the second paragraph of comment #3 pretty much stands as a living demo of why liberals lose.

#9 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 08:17 PM:

Patrick, surely you cannot believe that such base tactics as harsh rhetoric are justified for ends so trifling as the saving of thousands of lives!

#10 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 09:07 PM:

Patrick: On the contrary. The diversity of liberal expression is why we're winning. I know that we wouldn't carry the day with 300 Democratic representitives as awesome as Louise Slaughter (my most awesome and high-minded and most liberal member of the 110th Congress harumph) because there are parts of the country where "I know you are but what am I?" is a stunning debate tactic. Just like it would be a mistake to ignore my intelligence and idealism just because playground taunts are useful tools to influence critical policy in someone else's neighborhood.

The problem is that there are so few thoughtful conservatives and that they aren't sufficiently telegenic to rip the microphones from their rabble-rousing colleagues. But I'm not sufficiently noble to shift my own brain into neutral just to make it a fair fight.

#11 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:03 PM:

Matthew Daly, #10: "Patrick: On the contrary. The diversity of liberal expression is why we're winning. I know that we wouldn't carry the day with 300 Democratic representitives as awesome as Louise Slaughter (my most awesome and high-minded and most liberal member of the 110th Congress harumph) because there are parts of the country where 'I know you are but what am I?' is a stunning debate tactic. Just like it would be a mistake to ignore my intelligence and idealism just because playground taunts are useful tools to influence critical policy in someone else's neighborhood."

Hmm.

Wait. Matthew Daly. Isn't he the guy whose linked-from-Making-Light profile on Dreamwidth says: "We seem to spend so much energy gathering at the extremes of an issue and shouting insults over a vast and fertile middle ground, wasting both ideological resources and our energy. Thoughtful conservatives are more of a blessing to our society than ignorant liberals and I am angrier when my representatives copy the asinine antics of their rivals when they feel that it suits their short-term needs"?

And isn't he also the guy whose Making Light posting history includes such statements as: "I am concerned that we would still be waiting for desegregation or a repeal of anti-miscegenation laws if we waited for social enlightenment to come to a majority of every political structure in the nation. Justice delayed is justice denied"?

Call me kooky, but I'm basically getting the impression that Matthew Daly simply says things that sound good in a show-offy way, no matter how completely they contradict earlier observations. This holds whether he's nobly patting himself on the back for his broadmindedness toward "thoughtful conservatives", or harshly insisting that "justice delayed is justice denied." In his mind there's no contradiction, because both kinds of statements leave onlookers with a warm glow of righteousness.

Definitely, he's exactly the kind of rigorous thinker I'm going to be counting on to keep track of what's a "debate tactic" and what are "playground taunts."

Dear Matthew Daly: Being good matters. Winning does too. Because it's not just about the wonderful private perfect virtue of lovely us.

#12 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:15 PM:

High-mindedness is great, but sometimes you're faced with something truly awful, and at times like that you sometimes need invective just to drive home the fact that things are not normal.

In the United States of America, thousands of people die every year because they have little or no access to health care. Thousands more people are bankrupted trying to stay alive. This is barbaric, and the people who profit off this system and who want to preserve this system are barbarians. Pretending that this is a civilized policy disagreement--that we're merely haggling over the numbers in paragraph three of page 12 of a budget bill, or the wording of the proclamation of National Beet Week, and can laugh about it over coffee together when the session is over--will get us nowhere.

Just today in the House a Republican representative from North Carolina came out with this stunner:

And I believe the greatest fear that we all should have to our freedom comes from this room, this very room. And what may happen later this week, in terms of a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.

What's going on in this country is not normal. It's surreal as hell. Refusing to identify imbecility by its true name will just encourage this country to float further and further away into whatever alien dimension it has entered.

#13 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:31 PM:

Jeez, I thought the quotes were pretty literary, anyway. Which is encouraging in itself.

So long as Congressmen can come up with these types of one-liners, we should re-elect them. Once they get to slinging dry, crusty rhetoric, we ought to toss them out. Keep 'em fresh, I say.

I also recommend everyone check out congressmEnwithguts.com - it offers up a fine photo gallery of our ample-bellied House of Representatives (in profile, usually... a fine browsing experience, to rival only the Orbison in Clingfilm stories...)

#14 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 10:34 PM:

The idealist in me recognizes Grayson's statements as hyperbolic and wishes that our discourse wasn't so full of this type of overheated rhetoric.

The realist in me recognizes that a situation where one party is allowed to regularly slander the other with the most outrageous rhetoric while the victims are expected to remain timidly polite is much much worse than one where both parties go at it with fists flying.

So while I can't quite bring myself to cheer Grayson on, I still prefer a world with him in it to one without.

#15 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2009, 11:30 PM:

Well, at least now I know that my Dreamwidth profile hasn't gone unread. Yes, I am both of those people. I'd confess to containing multitudes, but in fact I do not contradict myself.

The progressive movement has a lot to get done, and not as much time as I'd like to do it in. Marriage equity is one of those things, and commonsense health care reform is another. In a pluralistic society, we get those things done by talking TO people we disagree with and forming consensus with all but the most intransigent of the minority factions. It doesn't get done any other way. And I agree with you that winning matters, and I agree with others on this thread who make the point that the stakes are high.

As I have not yet failed to say in a comment in this thread, I respect that Rep. Grayson champions a point of view that has a following. And I would appreciate the tactic much more if I thought misrepresenting our opponent's hidden agendas as much as they misrepresent ours improved our chances of winning. But has it? My mind hasn't changed, neither has yours, and I can't imagine that it has moved any equally fervent conservatives who know that they're also not into killing the elderly. The only difference I can foresee is that now my dear Fox-addicted grandmother gets to play the "Everyone does it" game instead of her normal state of being too righteous to repeat the lies that she forces herself to listen to.

I apologize if I come across as so virtuous as to be ineffective. I will say that I have played dirty when I thought it was necessary to achieve a victory in a matter that is important to me, and I would do so again without reservation. What I will not do is to play dirty when all it does is make me dirty.

#16 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:23 AM:

I think it's appropriately high-minded to recognize evil and name it.

#17 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:35 AM:

Matthew Daly @ 15:
And I would appreciate the tactic much more if I thought misrepresenting our opponent's hidden agendas as much as they misrepresent ours improved our chances of winning

Who's talking about misrepresenting our opponents? I hear people talking about telling the truth about them, as opposed to trying to maintain a polite fiction that they are debating in good faith.

#18 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:40 AM:

Like it or not, politics is theater. Liberals need fewer college lecturers and more standup comics. It doesn't matter how high- minded and intellegent you are if nobody listens because you're boring.

Grayson is one of the few Democrats willing to "speak truth to stupid". You can't just counter right- wing lies by refuting them -- Glenn Beck can spew more lies, half- truths, and innuendo in five minutes than a team of fact-checkers can refute in a month. And the fact-checkers will be a month out of date, and boring to boot.

Humor is one of the best weapons against the pompous, blustering, ignorant bigots that currently control the Republican party. They're ridiculous. Point it out. Point a pencil at them and yell "riddikulus" if nothing else.

#19 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:43 AM:

Chris, #14: I learned a hard lesson from dealing with my parents: you can spend a lot of time setting a good example, and some people still just won't pay attention to it. When dealing with people who are oblivious to good example, one must emulate the farmer with the stubborn mule and do what it takes to GET THEIR ATTENTION first.

Matthew, #15: I have never heard such a load of utter hogwash in my life.

#20 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:17 AM:

Matthew Daly @ #15, one of the points is that Grayson is not misrepresenting the Republican position. For example, they have been saying for four months that they'll have a health care reform plan. They've presented none.

They are obstructing for political purposes and should be called on it, loudly and frequently. That's why Grayson's remarks resonate with those of us who have watched our side politely turn the other cheek for years. He's calling them out as the liars they are and it's nice to see.

#21 ::: David Sucher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:18 AM:

Matt, #15 --- "...misrepresenting our opponent's hidden agendas as much as they misrepresent ours..."

My impression is that Grayson is not at all misrepresenting what current-day Republicans are saying. But maybe I am wrong. So could you please offer some examples of how Grayson is misrepresenting anything, hidden or visible? By anyone? For example, I thought his characterization of the Republican Health Care Plan was statesmanlike (I am thinking of a statesman like Churchill.)

#22 ::: David Sucher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:19 AM:

Matt, #15 --- "...misrepresenting our opponent's hidden agendas as much as they misrepresent ours..."

My impression is that Grayson is not at all misrepresenting what current-day Republicans are saying. But maybe I am wrong. So could you please offer some examples of how Grayson is misrepresenting anything, hidden or visible? By anyone? For example, I thought his characterization of the Republican Health Care Plan was statesmanlike (I am thinking of a statesman like Churchill.)

#23 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:27 AM:

Like Liza in the first comment, I'm uncomfortable with the sexism in Digby's attacks on Rothenberg. I think Grayson comes across as nasty without being sexist. He's nasty in the right direction.

Serge (4): yes, Digby is a woman. She's a progressive who objects to sexist policies when she sees them. But she's been surrounded with sexist images and rhetoric for decades...like anybody, she gets some of it on her hands. The "Lady Frothenberg" bit looks like a sexist mistake, which is a different sort of thing than a sexist character flaw.

I'm impressed that Senator Grayson is NOT using insults that inflict collateral damage. He's not saying his opponents are morally blind, or emasculated, or that they prostitute themselves to insurance companies. A lot of vivid insults draw on images of some large category of people being obviously contemptible. I approve of the way Grayson seems to be playing this fairly clean, as well as approving of the side he's taking.

#24 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:12 AM:

Alas, not being an American citizen, I cannot contribute. Not for any lack of wish, though.

#25 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:41 AM:

I don't think it's sexism on Digby's part; I think it's observation. The wingers have a long-established habit of enlisting women as attack bimbos, because it's nearly impossible to beat down their arguments face-to-face without looking like a cad.

May I speak for a moment here as someone who once, long ago, was a right-wing activist? Here's one datum: Digby's one of the best writers and thinkers on the leftward side of the blogosphere. Here's another: over the past twenty years, the language and content the far right allows itself to use has turned vile.

So: you want to know why lefties tend to lose? A big part of it is that there are people on the far right who have publicly, repeatedly, explicitly advocated killing you, or imprisoning you without trial; yet what you're doing is fretting about the spiritual impurity of Alan Grayson, and the possible presence of wispy, hair-fine traces of sexism in that screed of Digby's.

Coarse vs. refined speech is a false dichotomy. What we need is effective speech.

#26 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:47 AM:

There are so many useful lines where Patrick took the title from.

Vercotti: Well I had noticed that the lad with the thermonuclear device was the chief constable for the area.

Sums up the whole sorry mess, doesn't it.

Cue grams

#27 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:13 AM:

Transatlantically, I simply can't see any down side to Rep. Grayson finding his voice. The legislature, any legislature, OUGHT to be a Hogarthian scrum, because its members ought to be advancing or defending deeply held principles with all the passion they can muster.

I'm deeply suspicious of politicians who always try to civilise the process. Essentially they're saying that the debate should be restricted to a narrow consensus within which it doesn't much matter who wins. And that's wrong. Much of the time it does matter.

The British House of Commons has been blessed for many years with Dennis Skinner, one of the last members to understand this. They keep trying to shut him up; they haven't succeeded yet. I believe he's retiring at the next election, and we'll all be poorer for it, but he should go to work as an adviser to Alan Grayson.

#28 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:16 AM:

I love this bit from Digby's quote of Rothenberg:
"also asserts that “life at Harvard wasn’t easy. Alan cleaned toilets, and worked as a night watchman.” And he “graduated from Harvard in the top two percent of his class.” Surprisingly, given what he does include, Grayson does not include his SAT scores or his IQ.''"

WTF?

What does it *matter* what the SAT scores were?

We should be glad that somebody with that kind of drive and intelligence is willing to work as a congress-critter, and on the progressive side, as well.

I also like the rank opportunist in Grayson to skip any delay and jump right to using the anti-ACORN bill to go after cheating defense contractors.

Beats the hell out of someone like Charlie Wilson.

#29 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:41 AM:

I'm also pretty sure that Grayson does not wildly misrepresent the motivations of his opponents. These are the words of one ordinary town hall attendee, who was approvingly profiled by the New York Times as "calmer" and "more reasoned:"

“We’ve got to do something about those people who can’t get insurance,” he said. “There has to be a safety net there. But I don’t want that safety net to catch too many people.”

I can't think of any kind or generous way to spin this utterance.

#30 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:07 AM:

Harry Truman seems appropriate here:

"I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they think it's hell."
#31 ::: Matthew Ernest ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:30 AM:

"I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."

This may in fact be true, but certainly not in the way the speaker intended.

#32 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:45 AM:

It just gets me that whenever any democrat says, or does, something to fight back they are labelled as crude, petty, mean, or hurting the cause. But from repubs it is just "business as usual." And in the end the repubs manage to destroy or water down whatever it was trying to be done.

It's great to be high-minded, it's the kind of thing that makes the people who always lose feel good. "He beat me, but in the end I know I was fairer and the better man." I wonder if some of the current reaction is simply from the last twenty or so years of being beat down since Reagan? Dems got so used to losing they rationalized it away.

There is nothing wrong with defending ones views, there is nothing wrong with meeting strong language with strong language. There is nothing wrong with the use of shocking or strong language when appropriate. Plus Grayson has not actually lied.

#33 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:55 AM:

Wesley :

"High-mindedness is great, but sometimes you're faced with something truly awful, and at times like that you sometimes need invective just to drive home the fact that things are not normal"

Part of the problem is that 'high-mindedness' is conflated with being nice, in a sugary sort of dishonest way. The Villagers, of course, are big on this

Grayson is being as high-minded as one can get - he sees people doing evil, and calls them out on it.

#34 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:00 AM:

Like a good many others here, I don't think Grayson misrepresents anything. He's making accurate observations in a manner memorable enough that people notice, and his targets squirm. This is why the Republicans in Congress hate him. He jabs in tender spots, and they are not used to having that happen anymore.

As far as the Republicans are concerned, they've forgotten how to take a punch, and are now in the position of the schoolyard bully who's just been hit by what he thought was a target, and is now crying in the hope that the teacher on playground duty won't remember any of his misbehavior. The Villagers are in an awkward position; Grayson is violating the script they are accustomed to, which leaves them flat-footed, and furthermore, he's pointing out the deficiencies in the Emperor's wardrobe in such a way that everyone has to look--and they're the ones who are supposed to be saying things like that!--except that they haven't been.

As for inappropriate rhetoric, it's not as if he's Lyndon Johnson asking about someone's goat-abuse habits. There are a good many past representatives, many of them dead Lo! these many years, who would recognize Grayson's wit for what it is, and be highly entertained. It used the be a regular feature of congressional debate, but we've been blanded away from such things, and now it's a shock to the system.

Grayson's use of his five minutes in the evening sessions has been interesting; what he says may not be addressed to the whole House, but they are picked up by C-SPAN's cameras and the Congressional Record, and so gain attention during a part of the congressional day that can be a little dull, because the representatives present are typically just speaking for Buncombe.

The US House of Representatives has survived the wit of John Randolph of Roanoke (Examples: "Never were abilities so much below mediocrity so well rewarded; no, not when Caligula's horse was made Consul." and "He shines and stinks, like a rotten mackeral by moonlight." [said of Edward Livingston of Louisiana]) and even benefitted from it at times. It will survive Alan Grayson.

#35 ::: Craig Ranapia ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:12 AM:

There is nothing wrong with defending ones views, there is nothing wrong with meeting strong language with strong language.

In my book, there's nothing wrong with any woman who's called a "whore" -- or subjected to any kind of sexist or misogynistic abuse -- responding with a good right hook.

And am I the only person who thinks that if you've got to say "Glenn Beck and the tea-baggers are worse" to defend yourself, you've lowered the bar to the bottom of the Marianas Trench? I supported Obama in large part because the prospect of an articulate, rational grown-up leading at least one branch of Government was rather attractive.

#36 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:25 AM:

TNH #25: Thou hast said it.

#37 ::: Craig Ranapia ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:43 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden@25:
Coarse vs. refined speech is a false dichotomy. What we need is effective speech.

So, can you tell me what exactly was "effective"about Greyson calling Linda Robertson a "K street whore"? What I find ironic about Greyson and his apologists, is that they're exhorting liberals to get down in the very sewer that sure doesn't seem seem to be working for the GOP. Or am I living in some alternate universe where the Republicans aren't imploding?

#38 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Bruce Baugh @16: I think it's appropriately high-minded to recognize evil and name it.

It is. And I in no way object to strong language used in politics - politics is the business of life and death, and appropriately excites strong emotions.

But naming evil is one thing - naming it "whore" is another. Should we countenance, say, racist attacks on Michael Steele on the basis that our cause is pure? The best on the left condemned sexist attacks on Sarah Palin as inherently wrong, because you can't stand for equality except for people you don't like.

K Street hack, K Street lackey, shit-eating K Street scumfuck, make it as strong as you like, but don't attack anyone who doesn't deserve it.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:04 AM:

Or am I living in some alternate universe where the Republicans aren't imploding?

Wow! I really love the universal public health care we have!

Good thing the Republicans imploded. If they hadn't maybe they'd have been able to block it.

#40 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:42 AM:

I, for one, am vastly enjoying Grayson's ability to deliver some well-deserved smackdown to assholes who want my son to die because I'm not independently wealthy. And no, I don't consider that even faintly hyperbolic, it's just the truth. High time somebody said it out loud.

Like it or not, politics is at least in part about rhetoric. It's how we express things that are important to us. I'm happy somebody with progressive ideas can grasp that, because I'm sick to death of all the rhetorical acumen being concentrated in the assholes.

#41 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:47 AM:

Craig, are you under the impression that the Republicans are imploding because they use rhetoric? I was under the impression that they're (too damned slowly) imploding because they're just bugfuck insane.

The fact remains that rhetoric is a tool. Used exclusively by the bad guys, it is killing us - literally, in too many cases.

#42 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:49 AM:

Craig @37...

What if she is one?

I'm not full au fait with the US political landscape, but that phrase seems to me to be an insult with very definite meaning. "K Street" is a shorthand for a scurrilous system of lobbying and corruption, and somebody who has sold out to that, who effectively has given up principles for not just immoral but illegal profit, is possibly more of a whore than anyone selling their body on the street.

Linda Robertson isn't feeding a drug habit, or a pimp. She's not a victim. She's not struggling to live through the daily humiliations of what looks toi her to be the least worst option.

Actually, calling her a "K Street whore" might be an insult to prostitutes.

#43 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:56 AM:

@Wesley #12

In one sense, the old lady from North Carolina (this is being typed by an old lady from Colorado, by the way) is correct. I think that the need to fear terrorists is, at the very least, overstated.

I am sick and tired of America looking under the bed every night for terrorists.*

The America I grew up in was the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Not the home of the wuss and the heavily wire-tapped.

Poor segue into second topic: as a physician (disclaimer: lifelong registered Democrat), I believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. I have had the incredible fun of telling people because they were poor and uninsured they had to go home and die. The majority of them would have died even with health care, but not all. And this was when I worked at a county hospital.

If Obamacare can fix that, I am all for it, whatever it takes.


*I will admit that the arrest of an alleged terrorist living about a mile and a half from my home gave me a moment's pause. Fortunately, it appears he flunked bomb making school in Pakistan. So I am not looking under my own bed for terrorists, yet.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:56 AM:

fidelio @ 34... it's not as if he's Lyndon Johnson asking about someone's goat-abuse habits

"Did I say goat-abuse? I meant to comment on my distinguished colleage's oat-abuse. I envy his moral fiber."

#45 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Wesley #29:

I don't have context for the quote, but the safety net quote makes perfect sense, and it's exactly how we do all safety net programs: the goal is that people who need the help get it, but not people who could provide it for themselves. This is a difference between, for example, Medicaid and Medicare. In one case, you're trying to provide a safety net, so that poor people won't die for lack of basic medical care. In the other, you're providing a service for everyone who qualifies.

Now, many people want medical care to be a service for everyone who qualifies (all citizens and probably all legal residents, too). If that's your goal, you want a different sort of system than if your goal is a safety net for people who can't get insurance. It's not insane to prefer the safety net approach, and I can imagine good ways to make that work, although I suspect cost-shifting will lead that to evolve into a service that in practice covers most everyone. (And I think this is the real reason behind the bitter fight over the public option--if you just let people opt into Medicare or Medicaid, cost shifting will push all the sick people into that scheme, and we'll end up with a de facto national health system.)

Similarly, I don't know why they thought national health care would destroy the country. But the good reason to fear something like that is that we haven't done too well at cost control so far, and you can imagine this having a big impact on the deficit over time. (I don't know how consistent they are about this--a dismaying number of people who worry about the deficit when talking about health care are pretty calm about it when talking about occupying Afghanistan for the next twenty years, invading Iran to keep them from getting the bomb, etc.)

#46 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:38 AM:

Is there a good source or link for the context of some of these Grayson quotes?

I think civility is probably overemphasized (I suppose Joe Wilson would agree), but smearing and strawman arguments are crap.

Grayson's comment about the Republican health plan fits that bill. What's the difference between that and JC Watts' comment on CNN that the Democrats were always on the side of the terrorists? Or Sarah Palin's comment about how the Obama plan would introduce "death panels?" All of this fits the same pattern: instead of discussing what's actually been proposed, you infer the worst possible motives and ideas and plans, then smear your opponents with them. This is bullshit, but it is pretty effective at firing up the base.

The Republicans oppose Obama's health reform. This is consistent with their stated values and ideas. That's kind-of refreshing, since they spent the last eight years flushing most of their values down the toilet whenever Fox News or Karl Rove told them to. I think they're wrong on this issue, but opposing massive changes to the healthcare system is not the same thing as people "don't get sick, and if you do, die fast." At all.

Speaking the inconvenient or unspeakable truth is worthwhile and important. Not letting politeness get in the way of that is also important. But I sure don't see that Grayson quote as doing those things. I see it as strawmanning the other side to score some cheap points. I don't like it much more when done by Democrats than when done by Republicans.

#47 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Serge #44: That's barley acceptable.

#48 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:54 AM:

When I first read Rep Grayson's statements I was a little upset that "our side" was stooping to similar depths to "the other".

Then my wife asked my mother-in-law what she thought of Sarah Palin. Mother-in-law's response: "She's a little flaky sometimes."

I thought I'd see blood, my wife was biting her lip so hard.

Biting one's lip to avoid offense has gone on too long. We need people (if they're politicians, even better) to stand up and point out the horse-shit for what it is in monosyllabic, soundbites. No beating around the bush. No polite changing of the subject. Just: "That's horse-shit!!"

As for the imploding of The Right: I'll believe that when I see it. I think they'll make some gains today, but before this time next year I'm hoping the curtain will be pulled back and someone will be pointing, and shouting: "Horse-shit!"

#49 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:11 PM:

What's the difference between that and JC Watts' comment on CNN that the Democrats were always on the side of the terrorists? Or Sarah Palin's comment about how the Obama plan would introduce "death panels?"

The difference is truth. The Democrats were not, as a matter of objective fact, always on the side of the terrorists. The Obama plan would not have introduced death panels. Those were lies.

But, AFAIK, one aspect of the Republican plan, such as it is, would deprive the poor of medical coverage (or rather keep them deprived) - the families of poor patients would be stuck with bills they cannot pay, bills which would grow in size the longer the patient remained in hospital. In other words, their plan for the health of the poor actually is "don't get sick, and, if you do, in order to avoid losing all your assets and bankrupting your family, either get better fast or die fast."

#50 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:13 PM:

I think the conservatives are better at rhetoric, or at least, they have been for the last decades. I first noticed it in college, the conservative review was funny and well written, the liberal whatever it was was really badly edited and just a poor paper. A lot of that's probably funding, but it's been in the pipeline for a long time.

It's good to see a few Democrats have the chops to deliver some good lines. Rhetoric has been around politics since the beginning -- It's a necessary but not sufficient quality for political success.

Though, I have to quibble a bit. I don't think that the republicans plan is for people to die. It's to go bankrupt, then die. Gotta squeeze that turnip.

#51 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:20 PM:

I have the feeling that the more outrageous the statement (on either side) the closer to theater it is, and that the professionals shrug their shoulders and get down to business. Most of the work gets done in the middle of road.

#52 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:23 PM:

Crag @35: I don't think you can call that statement misogynistic in the context. If any man or woman is essentially selling their votes and positions to the highest bidder then they are a whore in my books. Call a spade a spade. I sometimes wonder if people read too much into some attacks, looking for hidden codes because they expect them from the right so it has to be that way.

It's been proven time after time that you can't just smile, nod, and ignore them. You have to, at least to some degree, come right back at them. Being high-minded does not mean being a wimp and just taking whatever garbage is thrown at you. IMHO the dems have taken the garbage for way to long and need to fight back more.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:24 PM:

Fragano @ 47... Chaffing at the collar?

#54 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:26 PM:

(1) -- Please be it noted that "Craig Ranapia" is *not* me

(2) -- Albatross (# 45) exactly how we do all safety net programs: the goal is that people who need the help get it, but not people who could provide it for themselves

Screw that. I am not satisfied with letting the "free market" decide who has enough financial resources to live. And it will come down precisely to that -- if you do *not* guarantee that the safety net can catch *everyone* then there will be the "line" beyond which the paper documents say that this person cannot be covered, because, on paper, they make too much. So they will be told to go home to die.

And that *will* happen.

And the GOP does not have any sort of a health-care plan. They have numerous plans (the better to do the bait-and-switch with)that are a little bit less of a give-away to the insurance industry than is current.


And the more I see the capricious nature of the private-industry approach to insurance exclusions, the more I want to see a single national system that is transparent and uniform

-- not a system where a victim of domestic violence can be denied coverage once they report the abuse.

-- Not a system where a woman will be denied coverage for a normal pregnancy because she once had a C-section

-- Not a system where an infant can be denied coverage because some clerk deems them too "fat"

-- Not a system that treats a normal pregnancy as a "pre-existing condition" that can be excluded from coverage

(and all four of these conditions *do* obtain, currently, and the exclusions were put in place deliberately, likely by account executives who were rewarded, just as insurance companies have been rewarding clerks who have the sole assignment of finding ways to cancel coverage once somebody makes a claim)

*You* sir may be satisfied with that system. *I* am not.

#55 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:36 PM:

David Sucher @21 (et al): Sure, here is an example of what I mean by Alan Grayson "misrepresenting our opponent's hidden agendas as much as they misrepresent ours":

"The Republican health care plan is this: 'Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.'"

I believe it to be misrepresentation to characterize your opponents' plans as so callous that they would have to be inhuman to pursue them. It sounds like a very bold indictment and resonates well with people who were already inclined to doubt the humanity of their opponents, but I don't support it. I've heard the "homosexual agenda" chorus for decades now, to give another example of the device's use, and I don't believe that has ever convinced anyone who didn't already want to be convinced. And, of course, we're smarter than they are (better looking too), so we're even less likely to be swayed for long by pretty half-truths.

I do support the argument that the current health care system makes sub-optimal medical and economic decisions that force people in making agonizing decisions between the care they need and the care they can afford, and I support the many who carry that argument. It doesn't have the zazz of Grayson's comments, but it doesn't have the Achilles heel that your opponents can truthfully respond "No, that isn't a part of our plan." (Except, of course, that the Republicans don't have a plan, I know.)

The other advantage is that any response to my argument is focused on health care and not dragging the spotlight over to how rude or awesome Grayson is and how much we need to either support or defeat him in the next election. This circus has enough rings as it is, and my appreciation of the polling is that too few people already are paying attention to the center ring.

#56 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:40 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 25: "I don't think it's sexism on Digby's part; I think it's observation. The wingers have a long-established habit of enlisting women as attack bimbos, because it's nearly impossible to beat down their arguments face-to-face without looking like a cad."

And this makes feminizing a man in order to dismiss his points as simple hysterics not sexist how, precisely? Without the underlying sexist assumption, calling him "her" and "Lady" would bear no rhetorical punch whatsoever. Feminization is a vein of attack that bears weight only insofar as the reader agrees with the assumption that being hysterical is characteristic of femininity.

"the possible presence of wispy, hair-fine traces of sexism in that screed of Digby's."

I hardly think you can describe the dominant motif of a piece as "wispy, hair-fine traces." This wasn't a simple one liner--I challenge you to find a single reference to Rothenberg that doesn't overtly feminize him. Digby rather explicitly ties her critique of Rothenberg into a critique of feminine "over-sensitivity" in order to lend to her arguments sexism's considerable weight--and as a (not doubt unintended) result, reinforces sexism as well.

I'm ardently in favor of Democrats actually taking a stand for once, and calling Republican nonsense what it is. However, the second they start employing the same sexist and racist tropes and images that Republicans abused for so long, then I'm going to call them on it no matter how much I agree with their message. I'm not willing to accept equality as collateral damage in the quest for Democratic rhetorical supremacy.

#57 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:41 PM:

Craig @54 - I might add:

- Not a system where sick people are forced to choose between moving to another state and keeping their health care.

- Not a system where people with families are indentured to their present employment because they will lose health care if they move or, God forbid, start a business instead of remaining in a state of corporate indenture.

Those are also conditions currently pertaining, and ones that affect me directly. I'm self-employed, and my son has kidney problems. Right now, he's stable. But really and truly, if reform doesn't pass, we will have to leave the country, because if his kidneys go, we can't afford to pay for treatment, there's no insurance we can buy that won't consider it a preexisting condition, and in no civilized country in the world would that preclude his getting the care he needs. Just in America, so that rich assholes can get richer at my expense.

#58 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Michael @ 57 -

If your son has end-stage renal disease, the cost of dialysis is covered by Medicare for all ages.

http://www.cms.hhs.gov/ESRDGeneralInformation/

#59 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:52 PM:

Matthew Daly (#55) You may not think that the actual GOP health care plan is for the poor to die quickly (or in agony, over a long time), but that certainly will be the result.

We are, still, a great nation.

And it is, to mine eyes, appalling that the touted level of care we should strive for is to let 'em die? when we have the ability to make them well?

And the great "masses" (actually, thankfully,a minority)that the GOP claim as their "base" sees it as laudable to deny coverage because someone may have made some bad decisions in their finances, and that some of the more vocal *have* said "go home to wherever you came from and die there".

That the GOP even wants to *admit* that these people are the "base" and *court* them by patronizing the talk-show mobsters like Beck and Limbaugh, gives me all the reason to approve of them being mocked and ridiculed as a "responsible political party"

#60 ::: mattwel ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:55 PM:

Grayson is crossing no lines, but it still may be bad for business.

The Republican party is an unholy alliance of the geniuses and the morons. You can get away with fear-mongering and character assassination when addressing morons because their hands are like big clubs that can barely operate doorknobs, let alone keyboards to fact check what they've been told.

Democrats in contrast are the average to pretty-smart set, and they 1. Expect their intelligence and notions of civility to be respected, and 2. will call you on your mendacity.

I know I always bristle a little when this stuff is offered to me. It's absolutely allowable, it's just also a bit patronizing and therefore insulting.


#61 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:58 PM:

Steve - yeah, I know - he doesn't. (Yet.) He still couldn't get insured for anything else, although that probably undermines the rhetorical strength of my argument. Both our kids have incurable diseases, though, and moving from Puerto Rico to Indiana means they'll never be insured. Normal countries don't do things that way, and why America thinks it's just peachy the way things are set up is beyond me.

Fortunately, both our kids are also European citizens, as is my wife. So we do, in fact, have recourse to a civilized venue if things should go wrong - but I would miss my house.

#62 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 12:59 PM:

I'm not concerned with his remarks; he'll either go over the edge or he won't. It's a myth that there are few liberal commentators who can get down and dirty with the far right. Air America had a number of them. What has me concerned is the impression he gave, in that YouTube video I saw, of not being willing to debate but instead harassing a fellow Congressman. The question is can he hold his own in a debate? Or does he just posture?

#63 ::: LDR ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Florida must be a very strange place, if it can elect someone like Alan Grayson and ban people from visiting their dying same-sex partners in hospital.

#64 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:02 PM:

Also, I really get tired of being told that intelligence and some imaginary desire for civility in our public discourse correlate. Incivility is expressive and above all else fun. I don't want to listen to grey drones in Congress, I want me some circus. If people care about their views, they should express them humorously and incisively and in a memorable way. This is how public opinion is swayed. It just is.

Grayson is exactly what this country needs.

#65 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:02 PM:

LDR, you know, you're right.

#66 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:02 PM:

Craig R. @ 59: If they are embracing Ayn Rand then that is pretty much what they want. She seemed to hate the "masses", the poor and those in the lower strata of society.

#67 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:07 PM:

While I don't want to give the impression that Florida is not a very strange place, the reason Grayson was elected is that he talks well and with humor, and conservatives respect that. I think American aren't nearly as conservative as our national politics would indicate (certainly polls show this to be the case) - but the Americans I know do expect wit. If progressives would just stoop to offering more wit, this country would jettison the GOP so fast they'd have carpet burns. I don't see what's so difficult to understand about that.

#68 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:14 PM:

If a hundred Congresspeople routinely spoke truth to Republican BS the way Grayson is doing, I'd think it both important and appropriate to nitpick his presentation a lot. Since, however, he's nearly alone at it, I think the most important and appropriate thing right now is to make it clear to him and the rest of Washington DC how much I approve of blunt plain speaking, and how much I wish others do it. Not to grant anyone a blank check, to frame every criticism I might have within a context of "But please, keep it up!"

I think the country can survive one Democratic Representative sometimes crossing from blunt to tacky. I am not at all convinced it can survive what the Democratic establishment colludes with the Republican Party to let business do to the rest of us.

#69 ::: Pat H ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 01:26 PM:

When I see liberals quivering over one of their own being too loud, possibly even rude in public, I am inclined to shout - "Where have you BEEN for the last couple of decade?" Or maybe it's just that too many of us gave up TV for the sake of the children.
I refer to the 1980's - Ronald Reagan was president, and CNN was the TV news of record, and there was a program on that station called Crossfire. It was clear to me from the beginning that the premise of this show was that it did not make the slightest difference whether or not you were right - if you could yell louder than the guy on the other side of the table, you won. If you could keep your opposite from speaking, you won.
I see the recent political news as only the logical extension of this. Most of the time, it seems to be conservatives shouting in the marketplace, and liberals quietly shaking their heads in disapproval of the noise.

Yes, I think that Grayson goes a little over the top sometimes. At least he can be heard.

#70 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:06 PM:

Pat G #69:

And do you think that has made the country a better place? That we've made better decisions because we've adopted the screaming-heads model of discussion for politics? How has the 24-hour news show cycle and the talking-heads scripted discussion of the acceptable viewpoints and the artificial outrage of the week worked out for us, as a country? This rose as I was becoming politically aware, and it seems to me that it has led us off a cliff, to value sound bites and one-liners as though they were real arguments, and to tune out the real arguments. The result is that we're making consistently disastrous decisions as a country.

I don't find strawman arguments convincing or appealing. Perhaps I'm just not the target audience, but I don't see this improving discussion or debate or getting us to better decisions as a country. I do see why it's often a short-term political win. Eight years of having the whole country run on that basis has left me with a pretty bad view of that sort of thing.

#71 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:11 PM:

Craig Ranapia, do I understand then that we're only allowed to refer to K-Street lobbyists as whores if they're male? This seems inconsistent. Is it intentional?

I have long perceived Ann Coulter's public gig as a variety of whoredom, and I don't think it's sexist or a species of misogynistic abuse for me to say so. I think I'm saying something true about the nature of the transaction.

If you think that Alan Grayson's statements put him in the same sewer as longterm GOP operatives, I can only conclude that you aren't all that familiar with their habitual language and style. Grayson's well within the historic norms for parliamentary speech. If you can't see the difference, try this: while you may dislike Grayson's choice of adjectives, it is nevertheless the case that the things he says have a perceptible connection to fact, and that he says them in order to make specific and relevant points about genuine political issues. They also have the property of being comprehensible as they stand, rather than being encoded references to less admissible assertions and sentiments. (See also: Fidelio @34.)

Am I the only person who thinks that if you've got to say "Glenn Beck and the tea-baggers are worse" to defend yourself, you've lowered the bar to the bottom of the Marianas Trench?
Probably not; but it's still hyperbole.

Albatross @46:

But the good reason to fear something like that is that we haven't done too well at cost control so far, and you can imagine this having a big impact on the deficit over time.
If you look at it in terms of total healthcare spending, we've done next to nothing about cost control, it's a major problem, and it's going to get bigger. One of the arguments I find persuasive is that a national health care system is our best option for getting costs under control. There's a terrific article by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker, The Cost Conundrum, that's pretty much the only piece of writing on this subject I'd describe as a must-read. I know Obama required everyone at the White House to read it.
(I don't know how consistent they are about this--a dismaying number of people who worry about the deficit when talking about health care are pretty calm about it when talking about occupying Afghanistan for the next twenty years, invading Iran to keep them from getting the bomb, etc.)
Yup. They were also calm when Bush's tax cuts for the well-to-do generated a budget deficit that makes entitlement programs look puny.

Patrick keeps telling me that their real objection is that they know national health care would be as dear to the voters' hearts as Social Security was to previous generations, and they don't want the Democrats to get credit for doing something that good for the voters. If he's right, I'll have to conclude that the Republicans have completely lost track of "consent of the governed," "will of the people," and "public servant."

Fragano @36: Thank you.

SeanH @38, have you thought about the implications of believing that "whore" is that much worse than "shit-eating scumfuck"? Sex workers are human beings. (See also: Dave Bell @42.)

Throwmearope @43, thank you for clarifying the issues. I sure don't envy you your experience.

Back in a bit -- I have to go vote.

#72 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:12 PM:

I know far too many people who are in exactly this situation of either don't sick or get better immediately or die.

And I hear the right of every sort saying this isn't their problem and they don't want to pay for the health care of these sick people. This includes my sister. Whose insurance will drop her in a hot minute if she shows up with, say, breast cancer.

As it stands mostly now your health insurance is good only as long as you keep paying ever higher premiums and deductibles -- and don't use it.

Love, C.

#73 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:12 PM:

The thing about tactics and strategy is that good strategy beats good tactics, but however good your strategy is, it's not going to help if you get run over and crushed within the first five minutes of the fight.

#74 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Given that Ann Coulter is on record as wanting to beat me with a baseball bat ... all I can say is that I hope she tries someday. There would be few things more personally satisfying than taking it away from her, smashing her across the face, then shoving it up her ass.

#75 ::: Craig Ranapia ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:18 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 41:
Craig, are you under the impression that the Republicans are imploding because they use rhetoric?

Um... yes, because words have meaning? Sorry, but I'm not the only person on the center-right who looks at the GOP and thinks any party that speaks with the voice of Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin cannot speak for me. And a party that's stridently telling moderates to fuck off (just look at the NY-23 race) is going to get what it's asking for. I think there's a reason why numbers of voters who identify as Republican are at historic lows, don't you?

Larry@52:
I don't think you can call that statement misogynistic in the context. If any man or woman is essentially selling their votes and positions to the highest bidder then they are a whore in my books.

And does that apply to Democratic staffers who used to work as lobbyists for trade unions or civil right groups or gay rights advocates or environmental groups? Hey, if you want to have a serious discussion about how to get the lobbyist-industrial complex out of Washington, be my guest.

But any politician -- left or right, Republican or Democrat -- who is going to attack any uppity woman who has the gall to disagree with him as a "whore" is, in my book, a sexist shithead who is unfit to hold public office in any nation with any pretence to civilization. They're also gutless cowards when they're doing it on a radio show, rather than to the person's face.

As someone pointed out upthread, I don't have to have any time for Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter (or Hillary Clinton, come to that) to say vile abuse like "whores", or "castrating bitches" or "ugly drag queen c**ts" is totally unacceptable. If you actually have a sound argument on your side, why do need to go there?

Back on planet Earth, grown-ups can express strong disagreement without resorting to the rhetoric of sexism, racism, homophobia or flat out prickery. That's not being a wimp, that's being a decent human being. And where I work, an attack of potty mouth in a staff meeting or in front of clients would be a one way ticket to the nearest unemployment line.

Then again, I think the likes of Bill O'Reilly are to be shunned, not emulated.

#76 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Craig Ranapia @75:

And does that apply to Democratic staffers who used to work as lobbyists for trade unions or civil right groups or gay rights advocates or environmental groups?
That would depend on what they did for them.
any politician ... who is going to attack any uppity woman --
That's where I have to disagree with you. He wasn't attacking them for being uppity. He was decrying their political doings.

Women have moral agency just like men.

#77 ::: Craig Ranapia ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:49 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden:
Craig Ranapia, do I understand then that we're only allowed to refer to K-Street lobbyists as whores if they're male? This seems inconsistent. Is it intentional?

I don't even call the sex workers of my acquaintance (both male and female) "whores." My sense of self-preservation suggests that trash-talking your way into a smack-down from folks who've had some experience dealing with violent johns and gay-bashing predators is a very bad move.

If you think that Alan Grayson's statements put him in the same sewer as longterm GOP operatives, I can only conclude that you aren't all that familiar with their habitual language and style.

Oh, you mean the folks who routinely compare my fourteen-year stable monogamous partnership with another man to child rape, necrophilia and getting jiggy with animals? Think again. But I'm quite happy fighting for the civil equality of gays, lesbians, transgenders and their families without responding in kind. It's not only degrading, but it doesn't actually work.

What I do think is that trying to play the Rush Limbaugh's of this world at their own game is dumb politics, bad strategy, doesn't get results and is just a shitty way to behave.

I have long perceived Ann Coulter's public gig as a variety of whoredom, and I don't think it's sexist or a species of misogynistic abuse for me to say so. I think I'm saying something true about the nature of the transaction.

Fair enough. I'm sure similar perceptions exist of people who work for the many divisions of multi-national corporate publishers like Holtzbrinck. Doesn't mean calling you and Patrick "corporate whores" adds anything worthwhile to a meaningful discussion of contemporary SF/fantasy publishing, as opposed to trolling for a fight.

#78 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 02:57 PM:

Want to take that back? Now?

#79 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Craig #75:

As an aside, I don't hear "whore" as mysogynistic, just as descriptive, in this context. If you have no principles and just go to the highest bidder, you're a whore. (Though in that case, wouldn't the lobbyist be a pimp, and the company or cause they're lobbying for be the john?)

This does, however, make me want a congressional reprise of some Firefly dialogue, something along the lines of "How about I keep out of your whoring, and you keep out of my thieving?"

I suspect you're right about why the Republicans have lost so many people. And they appear to currently be in an arms race of ideological purity. This is great news in terms of seeing them stay out of power, but not such great news in terms of providing the Democrats with functional and sane opposition. And it's genuinely terrifying when you reflect that Obama can f--k up badly enough, under some circumstances, to see them back in power sometime soon. That will happen even if they're a party in which Rush Limbaugh is the intellectual core and Sarah Palin is the face and Newt Gingrich is the moderate elder statesman.

#80 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 03:12 PM:

albatross @ 79:
That will happen even if they're a party in which Rush Limbaugh is the intellectual core and Sarah Palin is the face and Newt Gingrich is the moderate elder statesman.

Precisely why I'm uncomfortable with the current received wisdom that they've "imploded", and aren't a threat to the reforms that this country desperately needs just now.

#81 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 03:24 PM:

Bruce #80:

In national security/civil liberties issues, the administration is the main threat to reforms the nation desperately needs right now. In economic issues, it's a wash. In terms of health care, the Democrats seem to me to be crapping up their plan to the point that it will compete with the existing clstrfck for suckitude in many ways, out of some combination of needing to hold their coalition together and needing to keep a bunch of health related industries happy with them.

#82 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 03:35 PM:

Craig @77:
Well, you certainly have an interesting way of advocating civility in discussion.

Even I, who am not generally a fan of what John Major once called "Yah, boo!" politics, acknowledge that Grayson's commentary is pointed, intelligent, and at least arguably based in reality.

You haven't managed that in this comment. I suppose you were trying for some kind of demonstration of how calling people whores isn't good for the discourse, but rather than, like Grayson, making a point about their public behavior and their private finances, all you've done is make a fool of yourself. Anyone who has read this blog's* extensive and informative commentary on the publishing industry knows better than to mistake Patrick and Teresa for corporate shills.

If your next comment is not more mindful (and, indeed, apologetic), then neither you nor your arguments will be welcome here on this blog. Because both are rather thoroughly discredited at the moment.

If you feel that this comment isn't clear enough, and want to discuss the matter further, you can email me at abi at sunpig dot com. But although I'm probably your best friend on the moderator team right at this present moment, that's not saying much. Don't try my patience.

-----
* Not to mention Tor.com

#83 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Craig Ranapia @75: I am not sure if it is on purpose, but you seem to be deliberately ignoring the context of the comments to focus on a single word and it's possible meanings. In the context it was used it does not seem to me to be an attempt to demean a woman because she is a woman.

Anyone doing the same could be called a whore in the context. It's not about party or affiliation. But we are currently discussing one persons use of a word to apply to another. She happens to be a woman which is what set you off it seems.

As for the rest, I am not going to even bother going down that path. I haven't seen anyone else here attempt to insult or belittle you. I am not sure why you are all of a sudden getting rather antagonistic considering you seem to "prefer the high road." If you are trying to prove a point it missed the point because it is nothing like the original comment in context, meaning, or purpose.

#84 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Thank You, The Onion:

Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck

An honors student died in the crash today, leaving the nation to wonder why the grisly experience of burning alive was not reserved for Glenn Beck.
#85 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 71: "I have long perceived Ann Coulter's public gig as a variety of whoredom, and I don't think it's sexist or a species of misogynistic abuse for me to say so."

It is rather insulting to sex workers, though. (Notice how we're battling over labels here? That's usually a sign that there are some unpleasant connotations in the mix.) I don't mean that in a clever "tee hee I am saying lobbyists are worse than whores!" kind of way. The fact that the term in common parlance for someone who puts their essential selves on sale to the highest bidder is borrowed from sex work reflects a moral system where a person's (woman's) moral worth is determined by their sexual behavior--a principle I do not accept. By using a term like "whore" as a synonym for "abandoning all morality in the pursuit of money" we're implicitly condoning the judgment that people who have sex for money are committing an immoral act. Personally, I think advocating for an industry that degrades the quality of human life is qualitatively, not just quantitatively, worse than giving someone a blowjob.

Now, we work with the discourse we have, not the discourse we wish we had. If "whore" is the term that best reflects the meanings and connotations that you're trying to evoke, fine. Terms drift too: once upon a time "scumbag" meant condom, and the political application was an appropriation. I can see an argument that "whore" is making a similar transition. But let's not pretend that our pure intentions somehow unsully the terms we employ--however justified your hatred of a woman is, the moment you call her a bitch you've just unleashed a huge and unfair cultural force against her.

James D. Macdonald @ 74: "There would be few things more personally satisfying than taking it away from her, smashing her across the face, then shoving it up her ass."

I cannot believe you just said that, as though it were normal and appropriate.

#86 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:49 PM:

Teresa #71:

It's interesting to ask how much we can do with cost-saving by moving to, say, something like medicare for all. My impression is that cutting costs almost always ends up hurting someone who has enough influence to be heard. Even fairly natural stuff like negotiating hard on drug prices for medicare gets pushed back against, because the drug companies will lose lots of money on it. When cost cutting happens, it targets the politically weakest parties, regardless of harm done. (Hence, we have lots of dermatologists and not many gerontologists, lots of procedures and not much time talking to/being examined by our doctors.)

In some sense, the scariest outcome is that we solve the access problem (make sure everyone can get insurance and nobody dies from lack of basic health care or goes broke from hospital bills), but not the cost problem. Because then, there will be *zero* pressure to solve that cost problem, and *lots* of pressure to not cut costs. And yet, the current system is visibly failing, and has been for some time. People are being ground up in the gears of that system on a regular basis, people who did nothing especially dumb, but who just got unlucky. I'm sure something needs to be done, and I'm deeply skeptical of the ability and especially the good intentions of almost everyone who will be involved in doing it.

And part of this is that it seems to me that our government and surrounding infrastructure (media, academia, think tanks, justice system) are broken in some fundamental ways. Will we do for the healthcare system what we've been doing for the financial system? (That is, ensure the profitability of the politically-important big players at all costs, and bring in people from the industry to write the regulations.) Will we approach health care reform with the care with which we approached the construction of the DHS? Can we expect the same kind of honest information and debate from the media on health care reform that we're getting now on torture, domestic spying, and domestic propoganda programs? Or on financial regulation?

I think some people see us as being caught between a basically benign and helpful government and a hostile, incompetent oligarchy. Or between a basically benign and helpful set of industries and a hostile, incompetent government. I suspect both sides are half right, and I see very little reason to expect much good to come of it. And perhaps less good to come of sticking with what we have, as the f--king ship continues to sink.

I'm sorry this is such a depressing comment. Seeing how much hasn't and apparently won't change with the change of power in Washington has probably got me gloomier than I should be.

#87 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:53 PM:

Craig Ranapia @75 - yes, words do have meaning. I'm pretty sure that the meaning of Grayson's words are, in fact, congruent with reality, whereas the GOP's are not - hence the aforementioned implosion. Which is what I said in the last comment.

That said, I have to agree with your parsing of the usage of "whore" here. Like it or not, the word means both "someone who abandons morals for money" and "female sex worker". Calling a woman a whore and pretending you only meant the former gloss is disingenuous at best - even though you can in fact expect to use the term for a man in that sense. Teresa@71, I disagree with you on this one, although I see where you're coming from, because there is a gender slant on the word, even though we may decry that situation as sexist and inconsistent.

Craig @77, final paragraph: facepalm.

heresiarch @85: scumbag meant what?!? My head has officially exploded.

#88 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:53 PM:

#85 ::: heresiarch

I suspect that objections to Jim McD's statements would presume that Ann Coulter is either "Normal" or "appropriate"

Are your objections based on the fact that Coulter is female, or on the fact that you think Jim would be being "uncivil?"

Since Jim is speaking of a person who has threatened him, I think he may be allowed leeway in expression.

And especially since he is describing an act that would be *in direct response to an actual physical attack.*

He is not saying he will hunt Coulter like a dog and bash her head with a baseball bat. He is saying that if she were to attempt to attack him, as she has threatened, that he would be happy to oblige her in retaliation.


(and yes, I'm cranky at the Right/Reich-wing blowhards these days, especially since what they have openly expressed is not a desire to better the part of their fellows in the nation (except their economic fellow-travelers), but to have Obama *fail.*

In my opinion, this is so they can try to deflect the gaze of the public from the truly horrible job they have done during their sojourn in the controlling seats of power)

#89 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 04:56 PM:

albatross @86: I just want to say that was a pretty good comment.

#90 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 05:17 PM:

Wyman Cooke @ 62: You saw harassing instead of debating. I saw a devastatingly effective cross examination.

Grayson has trial experience and it shows: the essential point of cross examination is forcing an obtuse witness to admit that what he just said a minute ago was full of shit, and part of doing that is cutting evasive answers off at the knees. (Now and then Chris Matthews will do this on Hardball, ask a straightforward question that a commentator doesn't want to answer, and just keep asking it until they stop ducking and make the embarrassing admission.)

#91 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 06:04 PM:

TNH @71, Orrin Hatch agrees with Patrick about Republican objections to health care reform.

Jim @74, dude, WTF brought that on?

#92 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 06:14 PM:

lightning #18: Grayson is one of the few Democrats willing to "speak truth to stupid".

Ah, now that's a nice turn of phrase; I'll have to remember that one.

#93 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 06:29 PM:

#91 Avram Jim @74, dude, WTF brought that on?


My disgust for my fellow liberals who are upset that one of our number is insufficiently mealy-mouthed, while the right-wingers are advocating actual physical assault on me and mine with a deadly weapon.

There's Ann Coulter, "Ha ha ha, I'm so cute, I can beat you up with a baseball bat and you'll just wring your hands and cry, ha ha ha, I'm so cute."

She can try. She's welcome to try. Any time, any place. See how that turns out.

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 06:52 PM:

I'm entirely with Jim on the Ann Coulter thing. She advocates beating liberals with a baseball bat and thinks it's too bad terrorists didn't blow up the New York Times.

If someone kills her I'll say "Gosh, what a terrible shame! That poor person will probably go to prison."

#95 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:02 PM:

Oh, that's much less interesting. Here I thought she had actually advocated the physical abuse of James D. MacDonald specifically, by name. That would have rocked.

#96 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:10 PM:

Jim @93, the thing is, I'm pretty damn sure Coulter is not actually planning to assault you with a bat. So what it looks like you're doing is fantasizing about beating a woman up and sodomizing her with a bat (and that latter part is pretty hard to portray as self-defense, unless you're a cop and Rudy Giuliani is the mayor).

And it sort of comes out of nowhere, since there hadn't been any earlier talk in the thread about physical assault, and only one mention of Coulter. It reads like this fantasy you've got is something you're carrying around with you, y'know? Like you're dwelling on it, and it just bubbles to the surface whenever anyone mentions her name. It's a bit creepy. And it's the sort of macho, blustery posturing that Teresa used to mock Mark Atwood for spouting on RASEFF back in the day.

#97 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:36 PM:

Jim @93, the thing is, I'm pretty damn sure Coulter is not actually planning to assault you with a bat.

Maybe she isn't. Which makes her either a hypocrite or a coward.

But plenty of people who listen to her do assault gays, and blacks, and homeless, and immigrants, with bats, and worse.

And "fantasizing about beating a woman up and sodomizing her with a bat"? Really? Please. Sorry I'm not sufficiently mealy-mouthed. The person who's fantasizing about beating people up is Ann Coulter.

#98 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 07:59 PM:

Barry, #33: Maybe it's time to pull out that Sondheim line again: "Nice is different from good."

albatross, #45: I don't have context for the quote, but the safety net quote makes perfect sense, and it's exactly how we do all safety net programs: the goal is that people who need the help get it, but not people who could provide it for themselves.

The thing is, the people who are providing things for themselves are by definition not even in a position to be caught. They haven't fallen. The guy in the New York Times article was talking about letting people fall.

Teresa, #71: Grayson apologized for that particular statement, and I think he was right to do so. Some insults come with unwanted baggage. The word "whore" can be used as strong metaphorical invective on men, but it gains a particularly unpleasant subtext when applied to women. It's like the way "articulate" can be either complimentary or racist depending on who it's applied to.

That said, in reply to SeanH, #38: make it as strong as you like, but don't attack anyone who doesn't deserve it.

The issue isn't whether she deserved to be insulted--given that she's a former Enron lobbyist, I'm willing to give Grayson the benefit of the doubt--but whether Grayson did it well.

#99 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:02 PM:

When somebody is vocally advocating beating liberals with a baseball bat, I tend not to bother analyzing whether they are actually planning to assault me — I'm willing to take them at their word and treat them as actively dangerous.

#100 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Jim @97, no need to limit yourself with "or" -- I'm sure Coulter is both a hypocrite and a coward. Probably some even worse things too. So what?

And the person fantasizing about beating people up is, in fact, both of you.

#101 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:19 PM:

Serge #53: No, just feeling a bit rye.

#102 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 08:38 PM:

albatross at #86 pretty much sums it up for me. I supported (didn't get to vote for) the guy who had the big sign that said "Change" in front of him, in the hope that there was a sincere recognition that corporatocracy is a disastrous path for the United States. So far, so not-so-good.

I'm no advocate of "the worse the better" policies of electing Republicans, but I have to say that if the sweep that Democrats made in 2006-2008 on the promise of liberal & progressive policies wasn't enough to tell Democrats to stick together to pass those policies, I don't know what it will take. 60 Democrats in the Senate apparently isn't enough. What will it take? 65? How do they plan to get to 65 without doing anything? Even then, how are these progressive policies going to get passed when the President only intermittently seems willing to use the bully pulpit? (How does the President expect to get re-elected without delivering much for those young & minority voters who sent him to office, for that matter?)

The corrosive belief at the heart of all this is that Americans just want nice bipartisan centrists, when in fact Americans want people who can get things done (whatever they say in polls). To their credit, I think a lot of Democrats (including Pelosi and many other Congressional Democrats) get this. The Blue Dogs do not, and do not seem to understand that they are first in the firing line when Americans watch Congress dither. Obama... well, I just don't know yet. I don't want him to discover this the hard way in 2012.

#103 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:16 PM:

Craig R. @ 88: "And especially since he is describing an act that would be *in direct response to an actual physical attack.* "

Let me be very clear: Forced sodomy is not acceptable under any circumstance. Not even if the person just attacked you.

I am appalled that I even have to make this point.

Avram @ 96: Thank you.

#104 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 09:21 PM:

I have to say, I back Jim on this thing. I think we are taking some statements too literally perhaps for whatever reason.

@103: Are you taking him at his literal word to further the argument?

#105 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:21 PM:

heresiarch: And I am appalled that you are appalled.

Good job on siding with the bullies. No wonder you're beaten before you start.

#106 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:40 PM:

Jacob Davies @ 102: "The Blue Dogs do not," perhaps - but in the defense of the Blue Dogs, they're mostly from deep-purple states (like Indiana; a Blue Dog used to "represent" me down in Bloomington) and we deep-purple states are really having a hard time grokking the need for change.

As you know, I am in favor of change. I've found that when I express the need for change, people also follow my argument and agree with it. But Congresscritters do not win by getting out in front and leading, they win by saying what people want to hear. And people still want to hear that America is great, and those liberals just want to take all your money and give it to the urban poor.

When you don't have enough money, you don't want people to take any more taxes, even if you don't have enough money in part because you have to pay too much for health care. The people around me don't care about health care - they don't have teeth anyway. (I wish I were kidding.) They'll get emergency care if absolutely necessary, but planning is not an issue, OK? Against that backdrop, keeping the gummint out of the system makes perfect sense.

This is why rhetoric, as opposed to the mythical competent people rolling up their sleeves and getting things done, will always win. My neighbors simply don't believe that there are liberals or competent people who want them to succeed. They've never seen such an animal. At least the GOP tells them they'll succeed if the government will just let them keep more of their money. They lie, of course, but they'll still win the argument.

As to the use of violent rhetoric: while James and heresiarch are sliding gently into that dark abyss of flamage we all know and love, let me say this. Jim is right. Not in wishing to perform sodomy on Anne Coulter, but in the absolute sense that the only way to counter violent rhetoric is to show that it can have no effect, or even backfire. I believe it was Al Franken who called Bill O'Reilly's bluff on that - am I right? O'Reilly had said he'd kick Al Franken's ass, and Al said, name the place and the time? And O'Reilly never mentioned it again. Jim's specific usage may be inappropriate given the audience, but I can't fault the technique in general. Heresiarch, forced sodomy is never acceptable, granted. I'm not sure that the threat of forced sodomy is so cut-and-dried. Although I could agree that it is at least of questionable taste.

#107 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:44 PM:

Also, it seems to me that when somebody says "stick it where the sun don't shine," they're not necessarily envisioning actual anal engulfage in Technicolor, any more than when I call somebody a scumbag I am envisioning a used prophylactic. We have this thing in language called "figures of speech" that aren't necessarily meant to be taken in their full literal senses, but rather in a sort of poetic-license way.

#108 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:53 PM:

Also, I don't remember the news media or conservative politicians (or conservatives in general) being up in arms, literally or figuratively, when Bush41 said that ACLU members (and liberals in general) were unAmerican, or when his son said that people politely disagreeing with him were traitors.

So I'm not too unhappy when Grayson calls some lobbyist a whore, although I think it's more appropriately applied to several congresscritters, who have sold their legislative services for money. And it's also far milder than my own opinion of most congresscritters.

#109 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 10:54 PM:

Even in a fully literal way, no one (other than Avram and heresiarch) is talking about sodomy, forced or otherwise.

I'm talking about assault with intent to maim.

#110 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:08 PM:

I'm going to have to digress and say I really admire Ann Coulter. Right-wing ranters like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are generally uncreative and crude about their diatribes, and if they've got any creativity it's generally used in deciding how to get their followers to ditto along with them.

The Evil Ms. Coulter, on the other hand, regularly says things that are so over-the-top wrong that I find that the only responses I can come up with are sputtering incoherence and inability to find a starting point for rational discussion about how appalling whatever she's just said is. And that's entertaining and unusual, with a level of skill and talent that probably would have been wasted if she were using it on the side of Good rather than Evil. And AFAICT, almost nobody on the right wing tries to take her as a serious pundit, unlike the lesser wingnutfotainment purveyors, so she's Mostly Harmless.

#111 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:19 PM:

heresiarch @ various: Thanks for taking the time and thought to write what you have here. For the most part you're writing things I not only agree with but feel too strongly about to be able to word them clearly myself. (That said, I'll give it a try here anyway...)

James D. Macdonald @ 105 and previous: There is a streak in our culture that says male violence toward women is acceptable. It's a thing a lot of people are working to change, and it's a thing a lot of people are privileged to be able to ignore. But as long as that streak of violence is there, when I see a comment like yours at 74 I won't feel amused, I'll feel threatened. I typed a much longer explanation here which I'll instead summarize as: as long as a threat of violence has a possibility of truth, either in the speaker's mouth or in another's, I won't be able to find humor in it because I'll be too busy defending myself for the times when it's true.

I refreshed before posting this, and saw your latest comment at 109. Have you already forgotten what you wrote earlier today? "No one is talking about sodomy"? How about your own words at 74, "then shoving [the baseball bat] up her ass"? No one put those words in your mouth but you, and your apparent disingenuousness here disgusts me.

#112 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:41 PM:

heresiarch @ various: Thanks for taking the time and thought to write what you have here. For the most part you're writing things I not only agree with but feel too strongly about to be able to word them clearly myself. (That said, I'll give it a try here anyway...)

James D. Macdonald @ 105 and previous: There is a streak in our culture that says male violence toward women is acceptable.

Fortunately, no one's talking about male violence toward women, either. I'm talking about me and Ann Coulter.

It's a thing a lot of people are working to change, and it's a thing a lot of people are privileged to be able to ignore. But as long as that streak of violence is there, when I see a comment like yours at 74 I won't feel amused, I'll feel threatened.

Are you, personally, Ann Coulter? If not, you aren't being threatened. Even if you are Ann Coulter, unless you bring your baseball bat you're safe.

And, ready for this? I'm not trying to amuse you.

I typed a much longer explanation here which I'll instead summarize as: as long as a threat of violence has a possibility of truth, either in the speaker's mouth or in another's, I won't be able to find humor in it because I'll be too busy defending myself for the times when it's true.


Again, no attempt at humor, and no one other than Ann Coulter needs to worry.

But you should worry about Ann Coulter, because you are a person she wants to beat up with a baseball bat. She's come right out and said it. Presuming you're liberal, that is.

I refreshed before posting this, and saw your latest comment at 109. Have you already forgotten what you wrote earlier today? "No one is talking about sodomy"? How about your own words at 74, "then shoving [the baseball bat] up her ass"? No one put those words in your mouth but you, and your apparent disingenuousness here disgusts me.

Are you calling me a liar?

You disgust me.

Go sniveling to Ann Coulter and all her bullies and trolls and teabaggers and thugs and loons, tell her how sorry you are for living, and hope they doesn't beat you up too badly.

#113 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:48 PM:

Michael Roberts @106: Jim's specific usage may be inappropriate given the audience

Yeah, that right there. Anne Coulter doesn't post here, doesn't read here. Jim blurted out an offensive violent fantasy in a thread where Coulter hadn't previously (except for one peripheral mention) been the topic, to no effect but offending some of the locals.

And as far as that Franken/O'Reilly example goes, you'll notice that Franken didn't respond with a lurid description of how he'd beat O'Reilly up.

#114 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2009, 11:53 PM:

I'm shutting this thread down for the night.

I posted my #113 before I saw Jim's #112. I don't want anyone to think I'm just trying to get the last word in.

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