HE STARTED IT!

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02 06 01


"HE STARTED IT!"


I love to argue with right-wingers. I don't know why. It isn't good for my blood pressure, and it brings out the nasty, hateful side of me which I'm generally able to squelch, but there's something about it that's almost irresistible. Kind of like poking a sore tooth - it's painful, but you just can't keep yourself from pushing on it.

I'll admit that one of the draws is that it's so easy to win an argument with them. Their biggest defense is some variation of "He/she/they/it/you started it!", and once you get them to that point, you know they're out of ammunition. Generally, this takes about five minutes, depending on the argument.

I also love to debate, but I don't know if I'd enjoy debating a right-winger because I've yet to find a right-winger willing to debate anything. Argue? Sure. Debate? Nah. If I'd had opponents like the right-wingers I encounter on message boards (or the mouthpieces on TV) back when I was on my high school debate team, I'd've won the state championship hands down.

Republicans have two basic methods of arguing. One is the "He started it!" methodology; the other is what I like to call the "barking dog strategery" (in honor of Dubya).

You can always tell when the right-wingers on message boards have been faithfully memorizing every word that slithers out of Rush Limbaugh's mouth, because they all begin to sound like drones. Their basic message? Everything liberals - especially liberals named Clinton - ever do or even think of doing is bad. Because of this, everything Republicans do is good. You can't blame Republicans for anything, because liberals are bad, mean people.

You'd think this line of reasoning wouldn't be the least bit effective, and yet the ditto-heads give every appearance of believing wholeheartedly in its power. After all, the rhetoric about votes having been counted twenty-seven times (or however many times they claimed the uncounted votes had been counted) really caught on with the Bush supporters. When I was at a protest in late November, a middle-aged fellow who looked relatively normal (so much for my judgment) approached me and said in a dangerously quiet voice: "How many times do you want the votes to be counted?" He didn't respond at ALL well to my cheery reply of "Just once would be really great!", and began yelling "They've been counted and re-counted and re-re-counted!" The poor schlub actually seemed to BELIEVE what he was saying, and since I'm a Pollyanna at heart who will never learn that some people just prefer to live in ignorance, I made the mistake of trying to enlighten him. The result was awfully similar to what happens when I try to calmly yet firmly tell my dog to stop barking. "They haven't actually all been counted--" "They've been counted three times!" "No, what I'm trying to say-" "They've been counted and re-re-re-counted!" "Well, but they haven't, and here's why--" "They've been counted five times!" "SOME of the votes have been recounted, but there are others--" "They've all been counted six times!"

I did manage to finally get rid of the barking fellow at the protest (I think he was up to eight vote counts by the time he wandered away to find solace with his fellow Bushies), but, of course, have had to listen to the same routine from every right-wing pundit and talk show guest. Sean Hannity is my favorite barking dog; he even went off on the "re-re-re-count" mantra last night on Hannity & Colmes, when Doug Hattaway was trying to explain why so many Democrats are still angry (Way to go, Doug!). Hannity didn't have quite the energy he used to, though...there was a silly grin on his face as he repeated "The votes were counted", and I suspect he's realizing - in light of the fact that Gore's picking up more votes in Florida's media-sponsored vote-count with every passing day - just how stupid he sounds.

When the "barking dog strategery" doesn't work, Republicans move on to the "He started it!" defense. This is the very foundation of the right-wing philosophy - they can't really defend or justify anything they do (and don't particularly want to), and they have never developed any sort of moral code, so they have to rely on the actions of Democrats to determine what is acceptable and what isn't. If a Republican does anything which is in any way, shape or form reminiscent of something a liberal did or might have done in the past, then the Republican can't be blamed - in fact, he should be praised! To illustrate this philosophy, I will repeat a conversation I had recently with a fellow named Irf. Irf is my imaginary Republican friend - I'd happily repeat a conversation I had with a REAL Republican friend, but I don't have any Republican friends.

ME: Hey, Irf. Do you ever wonder what Dubya did while he was AWOL from the National Guard?

IRF: Oh, yeah, like Clinton had a great military record.

ME: But do you ever wonder what Dubya did while--

IRF: And Al Gore likes to brag about having gone to Vietnam, but he was just a journalist.

ME: But about Dubya--

IRF: You liberals are amazing. You fall all over yourselves worshipping a draft-dodger, then have the nerve to criticize someone who actually served.

ME: But the point is that Dubya DIDN'T serve. He slithered into a cushy spot in the National Guard and then didnt bother to show up.

IRF: Well, Clinton sure as hell didn't serve - he was a draft-dodging son-of-a-bitch.

ME: Hmm. Let's talk about the cocaine. Does it bother you that there are so many rumours about Dubya being a coke-sniffer?

IRF: Al Gore was a pothead.

ME: I think most people were potheads of one degree or another during the Vietnam War. And you're right; Al Gore smoked pot, though I don't think he was a "pothead". Anyway, that doesn't really bother me. Are you saying it doesn't bother you that Dubya used cocaine?

IRF: You hypocrite! Gore was a pothead!

ME: But about Dubya--

IRF: You've got some nerve making vile insinuations about Bush's youthful indiscretions when you worship at the feet of a draft dodger and a pothead!

ME: So you think Bush WAS a cokehead?

IRF: All you liberals ever do is make sleazy attacks against people. You're so disgusting. Just like that pothead Al Gore. I'll bet you're a pothead, too.
Why don't you find something constructive to do, instead of making personal attacks?

ME: Um, YOU'RE making personal attacks, you know. I mean, feel free, but--

IRF: Like you've never made a personal attack? Gimme a break.


When I first started posting on political message boards, I was under the mistaken impression that their ridiculous style of "debate" was limited to the masses. But it didn't take long before I realized that ALL Republicans argue this way. Just watch the talk shows on CNN, MSNBC or FOX. Bush's tax cut goes primarily to the upper 1%? Not an issue - look at the pardon Clinton gave to Rich! (I'm not sure what that has to do with tax cuts, but Bob Novak seemed to think he'd scored a touchdown when he made that particular comeback). Most Republicans seem to be opposed to campaign finance reform? Yeah, but Clinton got a lot of gifts when he left the White House - next? Bush doesn't seem to have much support among African-Americans? Ha! Gore didn't have many African-Americans among his staff! John Ashcroft lied during the confirmation hearings? Bah! Clinton lied about sex! Etc., etc., etc.

Really, in the end, you have to feel sorry for right-wingers. They're trying to defend the indefensible. Can you blame them for resorting to schoolyard tactics? If they couldn't fall back on the comfortable, tried-and-true "He started it!" defense, they'd be left to stutter and stammer as badly as Dubya did when a Democrat asked him recently why he felt faith-based organizations wouldn't use federal money to proselytize, but foreign family planning clinics couldn't be trusted with it because they might mention the word 'abortion'.

I wonder how well the "He started it!" technique would work for us. You think we could hogtie every registered Republican in the country on every Election Day, and not release them til all the polls were closed, and then explain to the world that it was okay because Dubya started it?

Hey, I'm game.


-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 22, 2001

Answers

I loved the dialogue with IRF. It was so true-to-life. I've had similar dialogues with a large number of similarly mindless dittoheads. I look forward to reading your treatment of the typical dialogue with a less-than-brilliant Libertarian. They swivel their hips in a different pattern, but it is often just as predictable.

Will you ever reveal what IRF stands for, or must we supply our own version? No problem. I can think of 4 or 5 right away.

-- Little Nipper (canis@minor.net), February 23, 2001.


BWAAAHAAAHAAAHAAHAHAHA!!

How true Cherri! How VERY TRUE!!

They always change the subject to Clinton!

"Ain't" is a good example, hasn't said a thing about Dumbya, but spams the board incessantly with negativity about Clinton.

This is the whole philosophy of right-wingers. They can be as stinking filthy rotten as they want, as long as they have a scapegoat who they claim is worse that they can point their finger at. Very childish, disgusting behavior indeed.

-- repug scum (look at him @ he's. bad!), February 23, 2001.


Discuss among yourselves.

-- (Paracelsus@Pb.Au), February 23, 2001.

Little Nip- As written above, "Irf is my imaginary Republican friend".

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 23, 2001.

Although in real life I have a real life republican friend. Hopefully she will come to her senses one day :o)

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 23, 2001.


Um....how can anyone with a lima bean for brains NOT change the subject to the Clintons?

The subject of "the most corrupt, morally abject leader this country has had in its entire history" by its very nature naturally tends to draw negative comments, and lively discussion.

Not to mention his significant other. Which of the two is worse is a whole 'nother discussion.

And the sorry, sordid story's not even over yet.

It seems that as long as there are Clintons in politics, there will be scandal, trouble, lies. And there are still actually idiots out there who still actually propose to defend these people?

(yes, I said "idiots")

-- Chicken Little (cluck@cluck.com), February 23, 2001.


That's funny, Cherri. I am a Libertarian, and I see the exact same strategies employed by Republicans AND Democrats when I bring up a political topic they'd rather not discuss.

Your post, while correct for the most part, ignores the fact that all sides are afflicted with this particular strain of political Ebola, in which the affected person's brain evaporates and the mouth jabbers incoherently.

Republicans aren't the only ones that act like that.

-- Already Done Happened (oh.yeah@it.did.com), February 23, 2001.


"I love to argue with right-wingers."

Cherri, pray tell why any normal rational person would want to argue with you? Most of us routinely ignore your posts along with those of Squak and others of similar mind set. Fortunately you are free to waste your time if you wish.

P.S. Are you really Sherri Nakken's sister?

-- Another Libertarian (Liberals@re.dupes.too), February 23, 2001.


Lets see...Chicken Little wants a story....hmmm...how about the recent one where Daddy Bush, ex-head of the US Secret Police, and Brother Jebb, Leader of the state where Democratic voters were disenfranchised, conspired with the US Supreme Court to halt the recount to get little dyslexic W. back in the Oval Office with all Daddy's old buddies?

-- Please (open@your.eyes), February 23, 2001.

Cherri this is so typical doomer mentality. Fitting though. I can just imagine Will continue or Big Dog saying the very same thing about the pollies. The doomers had no frappin evidence that the world would end but they kept on arguing about it and smug that they knew they were right. You have no evidence about w but you continue to beat a dead horse, just like a freakin doomer. You've learned a lot from those idiots. On the positive side, at least you have the ability learn. Sad... how truly sad.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), February 23, 2001.


Hey, I had almost this exact conversation with Maria just a couple of days ago! I kept trying to talk about the nine people killed in the Greenville accident, and she kept bringing up the Lincoln bedroom scandal. At the time, I thought her non-sequitors were the result of some hideous brain damage, but thanks to Cherri, I now know that it's only the results of too much Fox News.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (tarzan@swingingthroughthejunglewithouta.net), February 23, 2001.

Tar, I kept trying to talk about the nine people killed in the Greenville accident. You sure did and never, not once explained why it was "important" that they were killed by scum oil tycoons. Tar, you've just reduced yourself to the level of doomer mentality and you're braggin like a proud cock. :)

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), February 23, 2001.

Yes, that's it Maria. Keep lying about my position. If you repeat that lie long enough, eventually someone, somewhere might beleive it.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (tarzan@swingingthroughthejunglewithouta.net), February 23, 2001.

Hey Cherri,

I didn't "say" anything. I posted an article. So many assumptions of what was in my mind. Seems so many people think they know more about what I am thinking then I know myself.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 22, 2001.

You wrote this on the Big Oil at the Controls thread. Hmmm. Seems to me that we do know exactly what you're thinking, more *than* you, yourself, knows. Too funny!

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), February 23, 2001.


Both sides are capable of being afflicted by the "barking dog" syndrome. It's been my experience that the liberal dogs usually know a little more about what they're barking about, though, and show more ability to be able to shift from barking to listening. Limbaugh-dogs seem to have a harder time learning "new tricks", and are much more easily threatened/violent.

Liberals: labradors, huskies, st. bernards

Conservatives: pit bulls, rottweillers, rabid/abused chihuahuas (don't laugh, I've probably been snapped at by chihuahuas by more than any other breed!)

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 23, 2001.



Hannity & Colmes

Now there's two barking dogs with totally opposite views.

-- Buddy (buddydc@go.com), February 23, 2001.


Hi Cherri,

I shouldnít even get involved in this, but what the heck.

1) I donít like Rush Limbaugh. Heís on the radio here at the shop, but I barely listen. I think heís hypocritical. If the Dems do it, itís wrong. If the Reps do the same thing, well according to Rush, thatís okay. Double standards all the way. When I *do* hear Rush, itís mostly the humor I hear, not the rhetoric.

2) In no way think Liberals are "mean bad people" I think they meant well and got a lot accomplished for this country. But now they are going overboard. Their time has passed. (Why didnít NOW stick up for Jones? Why did the Dems allow Flynt to dredge up dirt on the Reps but not the Dems?) In my opinion, there is certainly enough dirt to go aroundóin both parties.

If you had your imaginary conversation with me, it would have gone something like this (but remember, I believe in less .govóa small "L" libertarian if you will):

ME: Hey, Irf. Do you ever wonder what Dubya did while he was AWOL from the National Guard?

Mar. I didnít know that, really?

ME: But do you ever wonder what Dubya did whileó

Mar. Well, sure I would wonder, but I didnít know that. I never heard it brought up during the debates. You would think Al Gore would have capitalized on this point seeing as GWB was saying how much he loved the military people and all. >u>Why didnít Al Gore bring this major point up while debating?

ME: But the point is that Dubya DIDN'T serve. He slithered into a cushy spot in the National Guard and then didnt bother to show up.

Mar. "Slithered?" Hmm, as I said, I didnít know he did that. I do know he was in the air force in Texas during the war, but thatís about all.

ME: Hmm. Let's talk about the cocaine. Does it bother you that there are so many rumours about Dubya being a coke-sniffer?

Mar. Rumors. Rumors do not belong in any debate. Rumors run amuck in politics. Both ways. I never believe rumors about anyone and I would hope no one believed in any rumors they heard about me.

ME: I think most people were potheads of one degree or another during the Vietnam War. And you're right; Al Gore smoked pot, though I don't think he was a "pothead". Anyway, that doesn't really bother me. Are you saying it doesn't bother you that Dubya used cocaine?

Mar. As I said, I donít engage in debating "rumors."

###

For better or worse (and I hope itís for the better) GWB is the president. Although I believe Adele Stevenson said; "thereís not a dimes worth of difference [between the political parties]" and I agree.

Mar.

-- Not now, not like this (AgentSmith0110@aol.com), February 23, 2001.


"I also love to debate, but I don't know if I'd enjoy debating a right-winger because I've yet to find a right-winger willing to debate anything. Argue? Sure. Debate? Nah."

Cherri, so what is it you want to "debate"? All you did here was rant.

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.


Cherri posted on another thread talking about the Clintons' troubles:

Look at the Rich parden then look at the Bush parden, Bush profited directly from the parden he gave. Defend these facts and then you hint about Clinton's motives, you will sound foolish.

"The key to Dubya's money empire is Daddy Bush's post-White House work which, incidentally, raised the family's net worth by several hundred per cent. Take two packets of payments to the Republican Party, totaling $148,000, from an outfit called Barrick Goldstrike. That's quite a patriotic contribution from a Canadian company. They can afford it. In 1992, in the final hours of the Bush presidency, Barrick took control of US government-owned property containing an estimated $10bn in gold. For the whole shooting match, Barrick paid the US Treasury only $10,000. Barrick made deft use of an 1872 gold rush law meant to allow pan-and-bucket prospectors to gain title to their tiny claims. In 1992, Clinton's newly elected administration was ready to prevent Barrick's stunning grab. But Barrick is a lucky outfit. Bush's Interior Department expedited procedures to ram through Barrick's claim stake before Clinton's inauguration. Ex-Pres George Bush was lucky, too. When the electorate booted him from the White House, he landed softly - on the Barrick Goldstrike payroll, where he comfortably nested until last year.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 21, 2001.

Also from the Be afraid thread:

The media today not only make up things and/or exaggerate the truth, they print out-right lies without any possibility of being held responsible for their actions.

The claims that Hillary had registered at that high priced store was an out and out lie, written by one person in the press which was picked up and built up even more by other members of the press. Not one of them printed a retraction or wrote the truth after it was told to them by the representatives of the store. "The News" is no longer the news as it once was. They are nothing more than scandal rags.

-- Cherri (jessam5@home.com), February 23, 2001.

Hmm but Cherri doesn't believe that the scandal rags did anything wrong in "picking and building up" w's AWOL or cocaine habits. Of course that's good investigative reporting. What's that about he started it?

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), February 23, 2001.


A rough quote from the 60s--- Wm F Buckley was asked why Robt Kennedy avoided appearing on Firing Line? Buckley: "why does baloney avoid the slicer?"

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.

Another piece of trivia---in his book Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky counsels never to debate the facts. Always attack, always go for the ad hominem. Sound familiar?

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.

The issue of "scandal rags" is important. Journalism for pay is suspect at the very least. But the fact is that the National Enquirer has scooped the Establishment press twice in a month--The Jesse Jackson story (true) was first broken by the Enquirer and then by Drudge. Finally it made the "respectable" press. Ditto (excuse the expression) the Hughie Rodham story.

Question--why aren't authentic (in their eyes) press sources breaking these stories?

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.


I offer an speculative answer to my own question on press scoops. I have no idea if this is true but it makes sense to me. I think these stories were leaked to The Enquirer as a kind of damage- control. The people involved knew that it could no longer be kept secret so they deliberately leaked it to the least respectable news source. Just a theory.

BTW, for those who don't know, Rules for Radicals was for partisans of the Left.

I'll shut-up now.

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.


No, noÖ..continue on Lars. You are right on track here and the Clintonís are only just starting to cook.

-- Barry (bchbear863@cs.com), February 23, 2001.

Bemused, let's continue with the doggie metaphor--

Liberal doggies

not house broken

chews my new shoes

superficial prima-donnas like French poodles

handsome but stupid like Irish Setters and Alec Baldwin

overbred, subject to neuroses and inherited tendencies

undisciplined, prone to whimpering and whining

conservative doggies

man's best friend, ever-faithful like Old Dog Tray

hard working like sheepdogs, dogs of Flanders, Malamutes

loyal bravehearted guard-dogs like German Shepherd police dogs willing to take a bullet for me

dogged dogs that track down the truth to wherever it leads like bloodhounds

gentle, strong, intelligent like Golden Retriever seeing-eye dogs and helper-dogs

obediant, unpretentious dogs of the people; Heinz dogs, mutts that bring me my newspaper and slippers

resolute, bull dogs like Winston Churchill

any dog that will fetch me a stick, catch a fisbie, frolic in the evening

WOOF!

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.




-- (-@-.-), February 23, 2001.

All dogs have to be taught not to crap in the house, whatever political breed they may be.

-- Already Done Happened (oh.yeah@it.did.com), February 23, 2001.

WOOF!

-- Lars (larsguy@yahoo.com), February 23, 2001.

Down, Lars. And stop drinking from the toilet!

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 23, 2001.


In answer to your question, Lars, I think the mainstream press hears these "rumors" and holds on to them until they have no choice left but to report on them because everyone else is. They "feed" on each other in this regard.

While Rush Limbaugh has a lot of listeners each week, he still pulls in less than 1% of the American public. The majority of folks simply don't CARE about Jesse's indiscretions. Remember that Mr. Clinton was elected AFTER exposure of his affair with Gennifer Flowers. The Lewinsky coverage that went ON and ON to the exclusion of ANY other news turned off the mainstream audience to this coverage.

Hughie's story is a joke, as MOST folks have a brother who hasn't been a stellar example.

The same holds true of the smear campaign against Clinton. When the public is bombarded with tale after tale, just to realize three weeks later that the tales weren't true, people wake up. The next tale is simply seen as more smear.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), February 24, 2001.


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