Friday, January 19, 2007

Twilight of the Right-Wing Blogs

It doesn't take long in bloggerland to come across the reoccuring names: the two David Sirotas, for example, or my favorite, the two John Coles. Juan Cole is an expert in middle east studies, while John Cole is a professor of some sort (I've never found out his subjects). John Cole is also a republican, one of the few on the net who have come to criticize the GOP (and in a fierce way). Naturally, John has received no small amount of criticism from various factions of the right-wing blogs who have yet to put down the kool-aid and go into detox.

John Cole's
latest catch is the Senate Republicans killing the ethics reform offered by Democrats by attaching poison pills (among them the line item veto found unconstitutional in the 90s) to the ethics reform package, which they knew the Democrats would never pass.

Last night in the Senate, and for the second time in a week, Republicans scored a victory for spending restraint when they forced the majority Democrats to object to a vote on an earmark reform amendment. The amendment to S.1, The Ethics and Lobby Reform Bill, was offered by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and would incorporate the “A Second Look at Wasteful Spending Act of 2007” into the legislation.

***

The fact is that Democrats object to the Gregg amendment and the DeMint amendment because they aren’t really against earmarks. They only wanted to campaign on the issue, not actually do anything substantive about it. Now that they are in the majority, they want all the perks of office; and that includes easier access to taxpayer dollars for their constituencies and their re-election chances. But feisty Senate Republicans are not letting them have their pork and eat it too. So, Sen. Reid, Sen. Durbin and the rest of the Senate Democrats are obstructing their own bill and explaining. And, as we know in politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

In the fantasyland of Red-State (and the post above is a perfect example), every word they put on their blog will be taken at face value, and no investigating of the world will be undertaken of any kind. No one will ever take 30 seconds to read that rag the Washington Post for example:

Senate Republicans scuttled broad legislation last night to curtail lobbyists’ influence and tighten congressional ethics rules, refusing to let the bill pass without a vote on an unrelated measure that would give President Bush virtual line-item-veto power.

The bill could be brought back up later this year. Indeed, Democrats will try one last time today to break the impasse. But its unexpected collapse last night infuriated Democrats and the government watchdog groups that had been pushing it since the lobbying scandals that rocked the last Congress. Proponents charged that Republicans had used the spending-control measure as a ruse to thwart ethics rules they dared not defeat in a straight vote.

The low level of respect with which the bloggers at Red-State hold their readers is astonishing. The assumption that their readers will never see through such falsehoods, never tire of such blatantly childish political games, and will never read or watch another news outlet that will reveal Red-State's version of events to be the flat-out lie that it is, borders on the delusional.

John Cole has a suggestion for his fellow republicans (and his fellow bloggers):

So rather than be a petulant chilkd (like the Senate Republicans), I would accept I am not in the majority anymore, and vote for the ethics reform they are advancing. While not perfect, it is better than what is out there now. Instead, the GOP has chosen to block it and has delivered us:

NOTHING.

They, however, have an issue and rightwing blogs can now babble incessantly (as Red State already as) about how the Republicans are the real reformers. How do they get the title of real reformers? By blocking the reform package.

Up is down. Black is white. You don’t need to worry unless you are doing something wrong.

The inability of the right-wing to address such issues honestly is but one reason the Republicans lost control of congress in November. Sticking to such messages as Stay the Course worked fine when it was only the dirty hippie godless liberals showing concern. It doesn't exactly help on voting day however to be calling your own constituents traitors and questioning their patriotism. When Republicans started showing concern over the Iraq war that strategy fell apart, and thus we have Tony Snow trying to tell the nation "we've never been Stay the Course" with a straight face.

(and if you want to know how the republican tactic of saying anyone who opposes illegal warrantless wiretapping is a traitor worked out, just ask
Alberto Gonzales).

This is where the reality-based blogosphere runs into one of its hurdles: how to tell between the right-wing bloggers who are purposely lying, substituting propoganda for facts, and between the right-wing bloggers who are batshit insane. The former are pathetic and desperate, while the latter are sad and dangerous. While the ones who simply sell their souls for power can be proved wrong with 30 seconds on Google, the ones who are batshit insane operate from a position of considering themselves to be always correct on an issue. Any attempt to disagree with them in any meaningful way is defined by the crazies as pure partisan hackery. What's to discuss, when you're obviously so completely, utterly right on an issue?

Take a look at this reaction from
Blogs for Bush, after a round of commenters winning arguments ended up being banned (right after a post complaining about Democrats and censorship no less):

Lefties:

This is, as I'm sure you're aware, BLOGS FOR BUSH.

There are plenty of places out there where you can post overwrought appeals to emotion and hatred of Chimpy McSmirk Bushitler. We here at Blogs for Bush, however, have a moral obligation to not allow the spreading of lies - so don't bother trying to post lies (as a handy reminder: if what you are about to try and post makes it out that President Bush is the spawn of Satan, then it is a lie...remember, Bush is not Satan...you can disagree with him, but you shouldn't hate him...if you do hate him, you're probably either a progenitor of lies, or someone gullible enough to fall for them).

We also have a deep and abiding respect for President Bush - Blogs for Bush wasn't started up by people who thought that President Bush was a so/so kinda President. We really do think he's quite good - if we wanted to read an endless stream of insults to the President, we'd go over to Daily Kos or DU.

Finally, you ain't paying for this blog - this blog is provided free of charge to all who wish to participate, but participation is on our terms, not yours - this is not a free speech zone...America is, but this blog ain't. If you want to be absolutely able to say whatever you please, then pony up for your own blog and you will find B4B right in your corner defending your right to speak your piece. On your own dime, not ours.


There is no room for dissent with bloggers of this mentality, and there is no room for progressives in their version of America. They do their best to restrict the reality of those who disagree with Bush into two, and only two, categories: Liars or Fools. The true reality of Blogs for Bush is it is in no way a blog. It is propoganda, and propoganda inevitably fails, as do all political movements based on it. The right-wing will continue to decline until it replaces sound-bites and ideology with reality-based policy.

I'm in no rush to see this decline end however. Though a cornered animal is a dangerous animal, it is still a cornered animal, and it will be ended. Meanwhile, the 2008 outlook is great for Democrats in no small part to the conservative meltdown, so take as long as you need (through 2008 would be great).

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