Obamacare

The Latest Reason to Never Listen to What Republicans Say: Their Politics Is a Fanatical, "Jihadi" Religion

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Yet another entrant today in the sore winner/Republicans-are-ruining-everything-about-the-Democrat-run-government category from pop sociologist and would-be Teddy Kennedy biographer Neal Gabler:

I WANT MY ALT TEXT BACK!

The tea-baggers who hate President Obama with a fervor that is beyond politics; the fear-mongers who warn that Obama is another Hitler or Stalin; the wannabe storm troopers who brandish their guns and warn darkly of the president's demise; the cable and talk-radio blowhards who make a living out of demonizing Obama and tarring liberals as America-haters—these people are not just exercising their rights within the political system. They honestly believe that the political system—a system that elected Obama—is broken and only can be fixed by substituting their certainty for the uncertainties of American politics.

As we are sadly discovering, this minority cannot be headed off, which is most likely why conservatism transmogrified from politics to a religion in the first place. Conservatives who sincerely believed that theirs is the only true and right path have come to realize that political tolerance is no match for religious vehemence.

Unfortunately, they are right. Having opted out of political discourse, they are not susceptible to any suasion. Rationality won't work because their arguments are faith-based rather than evidence-based. Better message control won't work. Improved strategies won't work. Grass-roots organizing won't work. Nothing will work because you cannot convince religious fanatics of anything other than what they already believe, even if their religion is political dogma.

And therein lies the problem, not only for liberals but for mainstream conservatives who think of conservatism as an ideology, not an orthodoxy. You cannot beat religion with politics, which is why the extreme right "wins" so many battles. The fundamentalist political fanatics will always be more zealous than mainstream conservatives or liberals. They will always be louder, more adamant, more aggrieved, more threatening, more willing to do anything to win. Losing is inconceivable. For them, every battle is a crusade—or a jihad—a matter of good and evil.

There is something terrifying in this.

Please do read the whole thing–it gets worse.

I am reminded of my Bloggingheads debate the other day with Michelle Goldberg. She said she couldn't think of a single rational argument against Obamacare, positing that its critics love the status quo, and when I countered that there are plenty of rational, constructive critiques of Obama's plan from people who think the status quo sucks, including Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, she said that it was really a shame because she loves that supermarket but can never shop there again.

It is so, so much easier to believe that your debate opponents are insane terrorists than it is to learn anything about the best of their arguments. And doing so in the name of rationalism and civility? Priceless.

UPDATE: Via Instapundit I see that public-radio warhorse Garrison Keillor has a final solution to the Republican Problem: Encourage them to die:

When an entire major party has excused itself from meaningful debate and a thoughtful U.S. senator like Orrin Hatch no longer finds it important to make sense and an up-and-comer like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty attacks the president for giving a speech telling schoolchildren to work hard in school and get good grades, one starts to wonder if the country wouldn't be better off without them and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provided with aspirin and hand sanitizer. Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.

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  1. The Democrats are beyond pathetic as a ruling party. “Why won’t the opposition simply disappear? Why don’t voters know that we know better than they do?” Whining when controlling two branches of government is not going to win you any seats. If your ideas are so out of the mainstream that you not only can’t get crossover from the other major party, you can’t get everyone on your team to play along, either, you’ve got serious problems.

    That, or all the Republicans, most independents, and virtually all Libertarians are in a secret organization designed solely to make the Democrats look bad.

    1. Whining when controlling two branches of government is not going to win you any seats.

      Losing the congress in 2010 is Obama’s best hope to avoid becoming the next Jimmy Carter. The only way people will remember his presidency fondly is if his plans are thwarted the way that Clinton’s were.

      -jcr

  2. Hey, that’s funny. Funny alt text. You know what I want more. The preview function! C’mon squirrel, get with it!

    1. Wait, you can see the alt text??

      1. Yeah, buddy, that’s his own hair

      2. Yes. It says “I WANT MY ALT TEXT BACK!” Not germane to the photo, however.

        1. Not working on safari though, will test in firefox

      3. You can see alt-text on IE but not Firefox. Squirrels, I demand you fix this! We want Matt’s alt-text back!

        1. Now that I know the Firefox alt-text bug, I see that all of Matt’s pictures yesterday had alt-text. Forgive me for doubting you, Matt. My faith shall never falter again.

          1. I doubt it is a firefox bug. If they just followed the html standard, firefox would have very few problems. Some versions of IE, on the other hand….

            1. The alt-text is supposed to go in a title tag. Alt is for text browsers, screen readers and such.

              1. Yeah, but presumably Matt is doing what he always did, and it isn’t working anymore on FireFox.

                1. It’s possible; I only switched from Safari (where it works) to Firefox a couple days ago. I don’t recall if it worked or not when I was using previous versions of Firefox.

      4. Using Google’s Chrome, I see the alt text, plus your Social Security Number and mother’s maiden name, Matt.

          1. Who? Google or Matt’s mother?

  3. Anyone attempting to make the Dems ook bad is obviously racist

    1. Ook? You mean like Orang-utans?

      Racist!

  4. oh ffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck this guy

  5. anyone who uses “teabaggers” automatically discredits themselves

    1. I have to wonder why the democrats feel so comfortable tossing off an anti-gay epithet like that. I wonder when they’re going to resume calling black republicans “niggers”, and white republicans “nigger-lovers” like they used to from the end of the civil war until sometime in the 1970s.

      -jcr

      1. “Teabagging” is not a “gay” or “straight” activity.

        1. It’s probably more straight than gay since there are a lot more straight people. Even subtracting all the prude women out there.

    2. Even if you’re giggling while you say it? Because as soon as I saw the first teabag getting waved around, I started chortling.

      I mean, tax policy aside, a bunch of folks gathering in downtown Austin and waving teabags around is frickin hilarious.

    3. Yet wearing a hat made of tea bags makes you a rational person.

  6. This guy used to be on FOX News Watch, as their liberal media analyst, and he made the show down right unwatchable. He is an insufferable prick.

    1. Gabler was one of two liberal analysts, opposite two conservatives. I always assumed FoxNews put him there to show how ridiculous the far left can be. Anytime he started a comment with his trademark “look-it”, you knew what was about to follow was going to be pure gold.

  7. I can’t see any alt text anymore. Is it a Firefox issue that still needs to be resolved?

    1. In Firefox: ctrl-u; ctrl-f; type img then hit ENTER four times;

      1. Or you can *right click* on the image and select “properties”.

  8. I don’t have time to do this with strikethroughs, but substitute “Left” for “Right”, “Democrat” for “Republican”, and “Bush” for “Obama” in the above piece, and it could have been written a year ago.

    Call this projection, or whatever, but the thing that scares me is that guys like this are guilty of the very thing they are criticizing, yet seem to think they are being completely rational. Sure, they qualify it as a criticism of the “extreme” right, but in reality we’re at a point where every disagreement with the guy in power is labeled as “racist” or “jihad”. That’s one of the worst, and scariest things that can happen in a free society, IMO.

  9. “The fundamentalist political fanatics will always be more zealous than mainstream conservatives or liberals.”

    He really doesn’t grasp the irony here, does he?

    And what’s with his fixation on forcing men’s balls into other people’s mouths?

    1. Every time I hear some TV talking head use the term tea-bagger I wish the interviewee/co-host would respond with something along those longs.

      “You know Dianne, I didn’t see anyone dunking their nuts into a gaping mouth, but if you just lean back for a second I can arrange it.”

      1. longs=lines

        *fucking no edit, no preview, no reading my own commetns*

      2. I would pay to see this

        1. Pay to see him say it? Or pay to see him do it?

  10. ‘their arguments are faith-based rather than evidence-based’

    well, he makes a great point there, that statement certainly does not hold true about liberals… oh wait … ummmm… global warming and the high preist of greenness, the Holy Goracle… yep, Libs are all about facts, logic, and reason, the debate is over. This is our last Olympics, whey even hold them, the end is nigh, only the Goracle can save us now, repent ye unbelievers…

  11. Shave the beard already, Neal. We get it. The 60s was the greatest time to be alive because of your heroic generation. Just die off already. All of you.

    1. Wait a goddam minute there Solanum. This fucking boomer (b. 1955) was fighting for liberty and sanity when you were still shitting green. I wasn’t alone either.

      1. Don’t make me put a Slayer CD on.

      2. Strikethrough works?!?!?!

        1. Those squirrels have been busy in the past day or so.

  12. The tea-baggers who hate Obama hate him because he reneged on his campaign promises regarding gay rights.

    The Tea party protestors for the most part oppose him on economic grounds.

    -jcr

    1. gay rights? the fuck? I haven’t heard shit about gay rights or abortion from any but the most extreme right-wing commentators

      1. My Dear Sir,

        You Just Lost the Game.

        Sincerely,
        MiD

    2. That was just great. Sheer brilliance.

    3. What? The only promise Obama (and Biden) made during the campaign regarding gay rights (that I heard, anyway) was that they would not support legalizing gay marriage.

      And they haven’t. Gay Obama-supporters have no reason to be disappointed. They got exactly what he said they would get: nothing.

  13. Solanum +1

  14. It is called projection Matt. People like Michelle Goldburg are themselves insane. So they assume everyone else is nuts and they are the sane ones.

  15. Rationality won’t work because their arguments are faith-based rather than evidence-based.

    Oh, now there’s a knee-slapper. Gabler can tell us all about how rational it is to believe that the government that has our healthcare system about 80% fucked can do better if they get to force us all to buy a government-approved HMO plan.

    If he wants to accuse anyone of being religious rather than rational, he should take a good hard look at why he admires the murderer of Ms. Kopechne.

    -jcr

  16. Michelle Goldberg. She said she couldn’t think of a single rational argument against Obamacare

    I don’t doubt for a minute that she can’t think of such an argument.

    -jcr

    1. she can’t actually address the arguments, so she sticks her fingers in her ears and goes “la la la” so she can pretend they don’t exist

  17. ‘As we are sadly discovering, this minority cannot be headed off’

    Is he trying to say that far left libs are a majority? I don’t buy that at all. I think the majority are apathetic, they just do not care as long as they have 300 channels of TV and a blackberry to play with. The libs have certainly been the most vocal for a long time, which is why things are so f’d up now, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I guess that old saying is true. But, now that things are so f’d up, maybe the tide is turning.

  18. Michelle Goldberg. She said she couldn’t think of a single rational argument against Obamacare

    And the angle in her book Kingdom Coming is analyzing the enemy. I’m guessing fail

  19. Gabler talks like the Democrats need to convince 100% of the public to get anything done. (“We can’t persuade these jihadis, they will never admit they are wrong, blah blah blah.”) And Keillor is no better (“They are 32% of the population.”) Uh, guys, if the “jihadis” are less than a third of the population, you can win almost every single election and almost every single legislative vote without ever convincing any of them.

    1. smoke and mirrors… can’t criticize the reps who are actually responsible because they wear the same blue nametags

  20. I tend to think my opinion on everything is the most accurate assessment possible. Even when I adopt a stance opposite from my previous position. Aren’t we all that way? and where can I get a job stating the obvious?

  21. More lazy attacks on the right trying to pass for debate.

    Come on. Surely, someone on the left is capable of lifting a finger to do better?

  22. Rationality won’t work because their arguments are faith-based rather than evidence-based.

    I forget, is this called “projection” or “transference” in psychological terms?

  23. Democrats seem to come from the group of folks that don’t want to keep score at tee-ball games. They have some insatiable need to please everyone. It makes it real difficult to just pass the bills they say are necessary for the betterment of the country. Constantly chasing the everchanging whims of the voters.

  24. When an entire major party has excused itself from meaningful debate and a thoughtful U.S. senator like Orrin Hatch no longer finds it important to make sense and an up-and-comer like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty attacks the president for giving a speech telling schoolchildren to work hard in school and get good grades, one starts to wonder if the country wouldn’t be better off without them. and if Republicans should be cut out of the health-care system entirely and simply provided with aspirin and hand sanitizer. Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.

    FTFY, Gar old buddy. I couldn’t agree more.

    1. Yep. I often wonder if we’d be better off without the Democratic and the Republican parties.

  25. Every political party needs evil scapegoats. These clowns are hurling epithets hoping to have someone actually strike back. Hey, the Emperor is naked and has been for a long time.

  26. I remember the same non-sense being said about Democrats during the Bush administration (particularly during Bush’s first term). It just demonstrates how tired and stupid American politics is at its center.

  27. Crap. The problem is that the Democrats have become their fringe. Even the GOP knows better than to actually give much more than lip service to its fringe. Except during war, then they often get weird, too.

  28. Oh, and to be fair to Garrison Keilor, he’s making a joke using his unique brand of “stealth humor,” which renders the wit undetectable to human understanding.

    He’s really good at it. You can listen to his two hour comedy radio show each saturday night, and never catch one joke.

    1. OK, you almost made me laugh out loud.

  29. I am reminded of my Bloggingheads debate the other day with Michelle Goldberg. She said she couldn’t think of a single rational argument against Obamacare,

    That, Michelle, sweetie, is becasue you are a shit-addled, partisan fucknut.

    Try actually thinking.

  30. I don’t think I’ve every seen a group win so decisively and then bitch about it almost immediately. I guess being the leader isn’t as easy as it looks. Not that what the last group did was lead, but I don’t remember seeing this level of bitching and whining about every fucking thing.

  31. Matt Welch,

    I thought you were incredibly polite in your discussion.

  32. if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.

    We could round them up, and concentrate them in facilities where we could keep an eye on them; if we put them do work, tunneling into mountainsides, they would be of some use to us before they die.

  33. For them, every battle is a crusade — or a jihad — a matter of good and evil.

    That’s funny, since it was Howard Dean who said:

    “This is a struggle of good and evil. And we’re the good.”

    in reference to domestic politics and Democrats and Republicans.

  34. As the Instapundit asks, when will this elimationist rhetoric be condemned?

  35. “the ugly incivility of recent months”

    What gives with the short memories of these pansy progressives? Did they shut their eyes and plug their ears for the 8 years of patchouli stink outrage that saw Bush all but burned in effigy?

    This incivility is an old snowball, and it’s anything but ugly. With any luck, no matter which party wins what battle, it gets worse from here.

    1. They did burn Bush in effigy — in San Francisco, right after the 2004 election.

      http://www.zombietime.com/sf_r…..er_3_2004/

      http://thehive.modbee.com/node/15660

  36. The Dems obviously need a need slogan, assuming they have one now.

    I’ll get it rolling….

    “The Party of Intolerance.”
    “Because Veruca Salt is what you look for in leadership.”
    “Whiny. Petulant. Nasty. Ironic.”

  37. Actually, wouldn’t getting rid of tax paying Republicans make the deficit worse?

    1. New Economic model:

      1) Trial lawyer sues public sector employee

      2) Trial lawyer pays taxes on winnings

      3) Taxes go to pay public sector employee

      4) Go to 1

  38. The Democrats: I don’t want your blood money!

  39. Hold on a second. Having a small-government philosophy constitues religion? Can we be recognized as such and be left alone to practice our beliefs? And would we call it Church or Gulch?

    1. the corporation can be our church and it can be tax exempt!

  40. Be more funny! [bangs top of TV with fist]

  41. I remember the same non-sense being said about Democrats during the Bush administration

    No, you don’t.

  42. What the GOP did do during the last go around was make snide remarks about the Democrats hating America when they challenged the GOP on anything relating to foreign policy or the WoT. While ungood, that’s not quite the same as whining about the other side thinking different thoughts that you do. Oddly, the left seems to have made a religion of its core views, with any differing view being heresy. You’d expect more of that from the right.

    1. Pro Lib, I agree with this except I don’t know why you’d expect it more from the right (even with the Religious Right involved) than the left. The going theory* is that many people latch onto goofy shit to believe whether they have organized religion or not.

  43. Jebus Aitch Kryste on unicycle.
    Democrats are the most disreputable, vapid, substance-less demonizing of their opponents, scum bags… Second most at best.

  44. What I want to know is, where do I sign up for being left out the governments health-care system? While we’re at it, can I be left out of the welfare system, the education system, the arts, social security, and the bill for them all?

  45. I remember the same non-sense being said about Democrats during the Bush administration

    I remember lots of stupid things said during that time, and yes, both parties are filled with partisan fucknuts, but nothing so nasty and mendacious as the vicious and underhanded bile being spewed by the Dems currently.

    The Dems choo-choo really has gone chug-chug-chugging around the bend.

    I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised to see that the Dems don’t like competition, it’s book and verse of their platform after all, but I never thought that river ran so deep.

  46. Is there anyone who has a real job and that actually contributes to society and the economy, that thinks like this guy? I don’t know any. I know people who think this way, but they are all life time resident academias. The only people that give them any credence at all are their liberal colleagues, students supported by their parents, and stay at home soccer moms. These people have no grasp of reality at all. I disagree with conservatives on some issues, agree on others, but the libs have went totally insane.

  47. The accusations of hating America during the Bush administration remind me of the accusations of racism during Obama’s.

  48. The accusations of hating America during the Bush administration remind me of the accusations of racism during Obama’s.

    I think it’s safe to say that accusations of a lack of patriotism are a lot easier to bush off than accusations of racism.

    OTOH, this may spell the end of the race card as a weapon, since its overuse has become so obvious and shopworn. Probably not, but one can dream.

  49. Anyway, Chicago getting knocked out of the Olympics in the first round is the funniest and most gratifying thing I’ve seen all week. Yes, the Olympics Committee is a bunch of tea-bagging racists.

    1. Good thing we elected someone so popular outside of America, or we might have been embarassed.

      The world loves Obama. They love him like a dog they can beat over and over, that will still dependably come back tail between legs, simpering and whining and begging for forgiveness.

  50. That bitch looks like a teabaggee.

    He loves slurping Kennedy cock.

  51. Cunts like Garrison Keillor don’t seem to realize they have options. They can move to their socialist State of choice.

    Liberty-lovers will fight hard since we have no where to go. Those people who think guns are icky really want to keep pushing, don’t they?

    Thankfully, the rifle butt will be enough to take care of fetuses like Keillor; no reason to waste ammo on shitbags like him.

    1. They can move to their socialist State of choice.

      Keillor moved to Denmark in the 80s but came back, damn his folksy-leftist soul.

  52. Art-P.O.G.,

    I was thinking about the religious aspect of it. What’s funny is that the Democrats seem to have made quite a religion out of some of their views (with dogma, opposition being heresy, etc.), all while mocking the religious sensibilities of their opponents. Reality-based community indeed.

      1. OK, let me try that again. I see why you’d think that, but using my 20/20 hindsight, this really isn’t surprising.

        JB,
        what’s your damage? You don’t have to spout invective all the time.

        1. Against those that deserve it? You betcha. You may like having a gun stuck in your face demanding money from you every day, but I don’t, and I don’t like being told to like it either.

          Better to rant here and get out my aggression while I bide my time waiting for Obama to run things into the ground.

  53. So… if I blow myself up in a room full of Democrats, do I get 72 Friedrich Hayeks in the afterlife?

    1. If you blow yourself in a room full of Democrats, you get a positve vote from the tenure committee.

    2. Sometimes TallDave is funny.

      Except when he talks about anything related to the military.

  54. No, no Prol, you’ve got it all wrong.

    The Dems are good and just. Their views are TOTALLY based in reason because they *are* the smartest people in the room. Dissent and competing ideas must not only be defeated, but crushed, because, as you know, there is only one true way.

    Only a wacko religious wingnut would dare question their ways.

  55. I mean this with all sincerity and will the full understanding that we’re crazy in some respects, too: The only true intellectuals in politics today are libertarians. You’ve got to be a historical and economic ignoramus to think that command-and-control or anything like it is a sustainable or preferred option. Especially given the nature of American culture.

  56. “Thirty-two percent of the population identifies with the GOP, and if we cut off health care to them, we could probably pay off the deficit in short order.”

    Cut off health care to them? Mr. Keillor may be surprised to find out that some of this 32 percent pay for their own health care. Your kind doesn’t own everything yet, Garrison.

  57. OK, Garrison Keillor, I’ll Bite … exclude me from your healthcare, and don’t tax me for it (because, you know, you shouldn’t mind because the increased taxes will be such a great deal for that gov healthcare; more for you and your buddies).

  58. Seward|10.2.09 @ 10:51AM|#

    Matt Welch,

    I thought you were incredibly polite in your discussion.

    But then she checked out the thread accompanying that video and it was straight back to the bulimia she had thought conquered in her last undergrad year.

    Personally, I enjoy smacking around those who possess a strong will but are fundamentally misguided of either sex, but she seemed, so, I don’t know a good way to describe it without being insulting, lost, out of her depth, fragile.

    I did say she was mentally defective, but that is like a warm hanky used to wipe a baby bottom in the verbal arsenal.

  59. The Olympics committee is racist! There could be no other reason to deny the great and powerful Ozbamawambe! Rio is out too, too many blacks there, I guess it is Madrid.

  60. I finally saw the word that was eluding me: supremacist. The Dems have largely become a party of the political type of supremacist. Look at the language and the condescending rhetoric. All that’s missing is referring to dissenters as “you people.”

    Which, of course, makes old Gar’s wish somewhat of a eugenicist’s wish.

  61. So is this meme all part of the secret plans of the secret planners?

  62. “You cannot beat religion with politics”
    This is how I feel every time I talk to a statist / conservative / socialist. They have faith that central planning is better than free markets. No amount of history that shows the opposite is true will prove them wrong. They only have their faith and their incredulity that free actors looking out for their self interest will result in a better society than their control.

  63. …she said that it was really a shame because she loves that supermarket but can never shop there again.

    She’ll shop there again. They all will. That’s the beauty of it.

  64. It seems that liberal columnists never argue with any particular individual. They just vaguely define some group and argue against that.

  65. I love it when Democrats, like Neal Gabler, openly demonstrate they’re as sub-moronic as Republicans. Priceless. Where is MasterCard when you need them.

    The politics of hyperbole rule.

  66. “[Michelle Goldberg] said she couldn’t think of a single rational argument against Obamacare, positing that its critics love the status quo, and when I countered that there are plenty of rational, constructive critiques of Obama’s plan from people who think the status quo sucks, including Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, she said that it was really a shame because she loves that supermarket but can never shop there again. ”

    She really responded like that? Do these people listen to what they are saying? She intends to boycott Whole Foods for it’s CEO offering solutions contrary to her views, but the other side is not debating in good faith?

  67. Shorter Gabler (with no res[ect for Lucas): “Only the Republicans believe in absolutes!”

  68. Funny, but I agree that Neal Gabler is projecting. What I don’t understand is how you can say that and not see it on your side either. I really don’t see how we can have a conversation by throwing insults at each other.

    And I don’t boycott Whole Foods, although it’s way too expensive to shop there often. In fact, I agree with 6 out of 8 Mackey propositions. I just don’t understand why individuals, especially with “pre-existing conditions” can’t buy into a group plan. All he said was “you need a loan”. Not really going to help with, say, cancer. I’d rather be able to buy insurance, which is not currently offered or is unaffordable. We really need reform, but we need to understand social and financial implications of it. Republicans seem opposed to Obama on political grounds rather than being serious and trying to work out a compromise.

    And finally, how can you seriously cheer about Chicago’s Olympic loss? That’s just mean-spirited. Is every Obama’s upset bringing you so much joy that you no longer care about the actual issues?

  69. I also agree that the quoted part of Garrison Keilor’s column is moronic. And yet, up above that there is a totally brilliant paragraph:

    …we believe that adversity is a stimulus of intelligence, so we don’t want our kids stuck in the slow track in school, putzing around in the shallows, trapped in boredom and lazy thinking. We want the schools to push them, make them write whole sentences and paragraphs, grapple with calculus, learn about the Renaissance, and all the more so if they’re bound to become truck drivers. What is so disheartening about politics is the putzing around in the shallows. The sheer waste of time — years, decades, spent on thrilling public issues in which the unconservative right fights tooth-and-nail against the regressive left and nothing is gained. It’s like a tug-of-war between two trees.

    How can you ignore that?

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