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October 26th, 2010

Kevin Drum clarifies a point I have made before, but he does it a lot better. He makes four points which support the idea that there is no such thing as equivalency between liberals and conservatives when it comes to the nutball factor. Conservatives will lamely try to assert claims like, “oh, well, liberals were the same with Bush” in order to ameliorate perceptions of right-wingers going batshit crazy–but anyone with a memory will recognize this for the absurd rationalization that it is. Drum’s points:

  1. Conservatives go nuts faster. It took a couple of years for anti-Bush sentiment to really get up to speed. Both Clinton and Obama got the full treatment within weeks of taking office.

  2. Conservatives go nuts in greater numbers. Two-thirds of Republicans think Obama is a socialist and upwards of half aren’t sure he was born in America. Nobody ever bothered polling Democrats on whether they thought Bush was a fascist or a raging alcoholic, but I think it’s safe to say the numbers would have been way, way less than half.
  3. Conservatives go nuts at higher levels. There are lots of big-time conservatives — members of Congress, radio and TV talkers, think tankers — who are every bit as hard edged as the most hard edged tea partier. But how many big-time Democrats thought Bush had stolen Ohio? Or that banks should have been nationalized following the financial collapse?
  4. Conservatives go nuts in the media. During the Clinton era, it was talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. These days it’s Fox News (and talk radio and Drudge and the Wall Street Journal editorial page). Liberals just don’t have anything even close. Our nutballs are mostly relegated to C-list blogs and a few low-wattage radio stations. Keith Olbermann is about as outrageous as liberals get in the big-time media, and he’s a shrinking violet compared to guys like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

As I mentioned, I have been expressing these points myself for a while now. Drum writes that he can’t exactly identify the cause. However, I see a limited number of sources. Is it that conservatives are more naturally hostile and intolerant? Is it that right-wing media sources inflame their audiences, which are far more likely to believe and even amplify the paranoia? Is it the result of an orchestrated political strategy born of the 90’s in which the Republican establishment has issued an all-out, non-stop, no-holds-barred smear campaign against Democrats? Or a combination of all of the above?

I vote for “all of the above.” Liberals tend to be far more tolerant of things they don’t agree with, while conservatives are much quicker to start ranting when they don’t get every last thing they want. This is inflamed by the drumbeat of conservative fanaticism on Fox and elsewhere in the media, in which conservative commentators are not only far greater in number and prominence, but tend far more often to make extraordinary claims. Add the background noise of the Republican political machine immediately working to demonize every liberal who shows any kind of prominence, popularity, or promise, and maintaining the smear campaign even after that person has left the scene, and you get perfect storm of perpetual paranoia and dementia that we now see cresting. The additional factor of the organizational and PR skills of conservatives simply amplifies all of this. That is seems to work so well, and now has become so commonplace that it is safe to do so, has led to higher-level conservatives joining the nutball brigade openly, rather than just enjoying it from the sidelines and contributing behind the scenes.

The real question is, where is this leading us?

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  1. Troy
    October 26th, 2010 at 09:56 | #1

    The real reason is that they’re all full of shit, their minds spoiled with rotten non-facts, theories, fiction, fables, and ideologies.

    They have the religious right with all their stupidity.
    They have the white power nativists with all their hate.
    They have the free market fundamentalists with all their self-serving BS.
    They have the neocons/likudniks with their sub-rosa interference.

    They are relatively useless in providing anything that resembles wisdom.

    Their game plan is to attack, attack, attack — it’s harder for your opponent to score when his defense is on the field.

    When I learned driving home that Bush took Florida on election night in 2000, my fists pounded the wheel once and I crumpled a bit.

    But little did I know how thoroughly his crew would trash my country.

    Doubling if not tripling (!)the “defense” budget and doubling the national debt from $5.8T on Oct 1, 2001 to $10.6T on January 20, 2009.

    Allowing the banking and mortgage sectors to go hog-wild with “innovations” that caused an order of magnitude greater blow-up than Reagan’s S&L crisis.

    Running the restored image of the US through the mud by launching arguably illegal invasions of Iraq and then totally screwing up the post-war occupation.

    But these Republicans were not my enemy. They were who they were and did what they would do. My only enemy was my fellow voters who put these people into power.

    This is a crazy place and it is going to get crazier, perhaps.

  2. Geoff K
    October 26th, 2010 at 13:59 | #2

    I’m sorry, but I call shenanigans on every one of these points

    1. I honestly don’t remember when Bush derangement syndrome set in, but obviously having 9/11 hit within a few months of taking office helped to keep the Donks slightly sane for while. How long did it take the liberal media to start demonizing Sarah Palin? Or Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell? It doesn’t seem like any time got wasted there. Besides, Obama spent almost a trillion dollars within weeks of taking office. Of course, Republicans were (and are) outraged.

    2. What percentage of Democrats think Palin is a clueless moron or Jessie Helms was a Bible-toting Nazi? There don’t seem to be any shortage of extreme opinions on the left. Heck, even I get literally called a baby-killer just for opposing Obamacare.

    3. How many thought that Bush had stolen Florida? How many *still* believe that? How many supported nationalizing most of the health industry and car industry? With the most left-wing President, Speaker and Congress in a generation (for another week anyway), this is a bad time to be arguing that Democrats are really more “moderate” than Republicans.

    4. Oh yeah, Conservatives have Fox, Drudge and the WSJ. All the poor liberals have to get their word out is ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, and 90% of the rest of the media. Who put Obama on more magazine covers than Christie Brinkley. There are only a few media outlets that liberals *don’t control, so they rage incessantly at these cracks in the opinion wall.

    P.S. When you demonize those who disagree with you as extremest “nutballs”, than you’re unlikely to sway many of them to your opinion. Heck, some of them might even be insulted at being called idiots just because they think free markets and private industry beat high taxes and government spending and control.

  3. Ken sensei
    October 26th, 2010 at 14:27 | #3

    Are you seriously comparing Obama to Palin? C’mon, Geoff, get a clue. Even *I* know more about foreign policy than Sarah Palin.

    And I don’t agree that Liberals are demonizing Palin for her ideas/beliefs as Obama has been demonized for his vision; it is clear that the woman is unfit to govern or analyze a foreign policy situation due to lack of knowledge/education about the rest of the world. [She resembles Dubya in that sense, only she’s lacks his evil streak].
    I mean, without her “cheat sheet”, the woman is clueless. Saying she is “dumb” is not the same thing as demonizing here.

    I believe Luis is referring to those blatantly racist anti-Obama billboards posted in Colorado. Where has anything anywhere near that level of offensiveness been posted in regards to Palin, O’Donnell, Dubya, or even Cheney?

    As for the term “demon” itself, one could hardly point to a man who has dedicated most of his political career to helping lower income families and uninsured Americans finally get a leg up and call him a “Demon”. While those who profit from wars they helped create, while eroding the American liberties and sentencing so-called Guantanamo “extremists” by denying them fair trials, etc., etc… Now those actions bear a much clearer resemblance of a true Demon because they are so irresponsible and self-serving. At least, that connection is much clearer to most of us posting on this blog. It is a shame to see you cannot see that…

  4. Troy
    October 26th, 2010 at 15:34 | #4

    Bush derangement syndrome set in

    The first level for me was prompted by the silly Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, then Bush banning Federal funding of several forms of stem-cell research later that year was the second step up.

    Then the bombing of Afghanistan and calling it a victory was the third step. I knew that war wasn’t over so soon, and that every innocent person we killed or harmed was going to come back and bite us, just as McChrystal later had to acknowledge.


    Then of course was the outright lies in 2002-2003 to get this war to take on the Iraqis, and having my patriotism impugned by Republicans because I foresaw that the postwar occupation would be a disaster for us. The total bullshit maneuvering to get the UNSC resolution, and failure to do so, even after he promised us:

    “We’re calling for the vote,” Bush said. “It’s time for people to show their cards, let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam.”

    he got that vote, he didn’t get support of the UNSC, and he went into Iraq anyway. He totally lied about not yet deciding whether to invade Iraq prior to this UN vote. We’re were going in regardless, to our great damage.


    Then my BDS went a bit higher as his team deregulated the mortgage sector and allowed them to blow up the economy.


    Or Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell?

    LOL. Buffoon. You belong with them, compared to their fucked-up worldviews your utterly bizarre “thinking” makes you a goddamn Metternich.

    What percentage of Democrats think Palin is a clueless moron or Jessie Helms was a Bible-toting Nazi

    Clueless moron (“Bush Doctrine? Durr, what’s that?”) and Helms being a reactionary throwback whose presence in national politics is entirely not missed . . . what’s to dispute about that?


    How many thought that Bush had stolen Florida? How many *still* believe that?

    Not Bush per se, but the Republicans. Funny having the Florida Bush campaign Chair being the Secretary of State, and his brother being Governor. Some conflict of interest there!


    “Prior to the 2000 election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Governor Jeb Bush hired Database Technologies to purge voters whose names matched or were similar to those of ex-felons, which resulted in the removal of 82,389 voters from the rolls. An investigation by Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho revealed that 95% of those purged in his county were, in fact, legally entitled to vote. ”



    How many supported nationalizing most of the health industry

    Almost nobody you stupid fuck. What we want is nationalized health insurance to eliminate middlemen and get better controls on prices.

    Just like what Japan has. You live in Japan, it can’t be all bad.

    and car industry?

    GM is not the “car industry” and it hasn’t been “nationalized”. But saving it saved Ford too:


    since if our parts industry went tits up Ford would crap out with it.

    With the most left-wing President, Speaker and Congress in a generation (for another week anyway), this is a bad time to be arguing that Democrats are really more “moderate” than Republicans.

    You are the most fucked-up piece of work I’ve had the displeasure to encounter on the internet Geoff. Between your outright lies and taunts, you must have a very empty life. I wish things get better for you. Or you die in a fire. Either will do.

  5. Troy
    October 26th, 2010 at 15:40 | #5

    just because they think free markets and private industry beat high taxes and government spending and control.

    And that’s where your ideology is screwing you up.

    I don’t call conservatives who desire less statism than we have now “nutballs’. I save that for people who are fundamentalist and/or hypocrites, either in their religion or economics.

    And the Republican party is chock full of them now.

    As a left-libertarian I agree with a lot of the minarchist argument. But I also know that in the real world that “low taxes” simply equals higher rents. It’s an iron law driven by the land market.


    Mixed economies work best. Too much or too little extra-market (ie “State”) regulation, and they blow up or die.

  6. Luis
    October 26th, 2010 at 16:04 | #6

    I call troll. Not the first time, but this is pretty blatant.

    Saying that calling Obama a fascist communist socialist Kenyan etc. is equivalent to calling Palin is a clueless moron is a laugh. The same as the conspiracy theories about Obama (FEMA concentration camps, death panels, etc.) are equivalent to noting what happened in Florida in 2000… no, obviously trolling.

    Ignore and move on.

  7. Troy
    October 26th, 2010 at 16:59 | #7


    I don’t think Geoff’s “trolling” I think it goes deeper.

    He’s obviously not a religious nutball, but I think he falls into the general neocon/Straussian mold of lying in defense of his politics.

    Lying to Geoff is like breathing. He doesn’t care. This is simply a very flawed person.

    Now, how much is his personal damage creating his politics, or his politics creating his damage, I dunno. He’s obviously not stupid, so I think it’s more of the former. The road to his current pathetic worldview would be interesting to clinically explore though.

  8. Troy
    October 26th, 2010 at 18:27 | #8

    Or maybe it’s not him. Maybe their entire ideology being a lie is what damages them.

    There are plenty of highly intelligent Mormons whose belief systems ultimately corrupt their thinking.

    Communists too can fall into a vicious circle of fallaciousness.

    Take this recent example:


    Is Glenn Reynolds “trolling” here? Or is he just patching the lie that is his worldview with more lies?

    It really is quite bizarre. I really can’t understand these people, how detached from reality they are.

  9. Luis
    October 26th, 2010 at 18:34 | #9

    I think it’s one of two things in this case. Either (1) he blindly accepts a version of reality clearly in conflict with verifiable fact (the Earth is 6000 years old, evolution is a myth) in order to feel comfortable, smug, and/or superior, or (2) he knows how to push the buttons of liberals and enjoys seeing us get upset, a la Ann Coulter. Either way, it’s a waste of time. I thought I’d give it a try earlier, but hit a brick wall.

    The best thing is to respond not to him, but to arguments. If the argument might actually have a point, then go for it (understanding that it probably will degrade after the first one or two sets of replies). If it is so blatantly one-sided, unbalanced, and laughable as what he posted above, give it its due: ignore it.

  10. Geoff Kransdorf
    October 26th, 2010 at 22:09 | #10

    [Editor’s note: in cleaning up problems in the site, I found this in the spam folder.]

    Guys here’s a clue. Difference of opinion != trolling. If you think I’m a troll, than you must have pretty thin skins. Which admittedly is par for the liberal course. You’re not known for handling criticism very well.

    Now personally, I think the evidence for Obama being a Socialist is a lot more compelling and obvious than the evidence for Palin being Clueless. She was a pretty competant and popular Governer. Obama, on the other hanhat you’d prefer to use?d, is the one who lead Newsweek to proclaim on its cover “We’re all Socialists Now” [here at Newsweek, presumably]. Palin has grown in popularity and influence over the past year (not clueless) whereas Obama has nationalized Health care and the Auto Industry (Socialist). In fact, given that Obama had barely held elective office at all before being President (he was a Freshman Senator who spent most of his limited term campaigning), I’d make a prety good argument that Palin is a more competant and experience chief executive than Obama ever was or is.

    Death Panels? Well, Obama’s own medical advisors are talking about rationing care and prioritizing medical expenses. When The US decides not to pay for your medicine or operation, what is the euphemism thay you’d prefer to use? Will it make a difference to Grandma?

    I don’t think I’m an insane troll. But I guess I’m coming from a place where sane has a different meaning.

  11. Troy
    October 29th, 2010 at 11:56 | #11


  12. Drew
    November 7th, 2010 at 15:26 | #12

    Right wingers don’t just seem crazy, they actually are. They simply don’t think the way a normal person does. But don’t take my word for it. Check the research for yourself.

    “The Authoritarians” is an excellent book that explains very clearly why they act the way they do. The author has graciously made it available for free as a downloadable PDF. You can get it here:


    I couldn’t put it down and read all 261 pages in 2 days. But then again, I’m one of those people that likes science.

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