A Word Against Bottom Feeding

Bottom feeding is not an uncommon thing to see (unintentional?) hypocrisy on exhibit on the few (good) liberal blogs I’ve found or have been recommended. I’ve previously criticized Mr. De Long for his blatantly un-collegial (anti-collegial) attitude that he displays and which is repeated here. This horrific meme, which apparently he is fond of enought to repeat. Ed Brayton, blogging here, regularly trawls for what he finds offensive or ridiculous that is on offer from the “other side” and lampoons it. Yet this is exactly the same sort of thing just given a patina of respectibility. Bottom feeding the opposition and representing that as representative of the same is just as bigoted and offensive as the behaviour which they attempt to lampoon. I will give Mr. Brayton his due. He doesn’t represent his blog as anything but what it is: a sort of National Enquirer for the libertarian/atheist reader. Mr. De Long on the other hand, represents his blog as an academic and principled blog. Yet we find him regularly engaging in bottom feeding and maintaining the pretense of the high minded intellectual. If one were to dip to Mr. De Long’s level for a moment, this would mean that if the GOP is the “stupid *and* immoral” party perhaps the Democrats are the “supercilious and immoral” party.

Mr. Niven on occasion will do the same, but here, for example, he seeks out thoughtful discourse and discusses it. The point of this enterprise is that if you want to raise the level of discourse then the way to do that is not to lower yourself to the bottom denominator but to seek out, engage, and elevate the best arguments, individuals, and ideas of the other side. It may be easier to disparage the Moore’s, the Ms Sykes, or political cartoonists similar output. However, this isn’t helpful in the least.

On blogs, in periodicals, and in books good conservative political, economic, theological, and political thought can be found quite easily, unlike it seems thoughtful progressive blogs and thought which are (for me) much harder to locate. If you want to raise the level of discourse this is the course you need to take. If you think discussion and intercourse between the sides of the aisle and between the various divisions in our society is of value, the only way to do that is to find the best of the other side and engage that. As fun as it might be, the sarcasm, humor, belittling and lampooning only serves to widen the divide and lower the tenor of the debate. It is counterproductive.

22 Responses to A Word Against Bottom Feeding

  1. And what happens when the bottom becomes the top? Recently the Republicans were debating passing a resolution accusing Obama and Democrats of being socialist. Somehow I really think if top Democrats pushed a resolution calling Bush a Nazi 8 years ago the GOP wouldn’t frown and say they would only discuss high brow commentary on Bush.

    Mark has already told us we can’t consider Rush Limbaugh a major part of the right….but the right does! So let’s take a lesson from my father in law who made a very pointed observation about young women. He said once how can they complain about men looking at their asses when they not only wear low cut pants but call attention to their asses by putting huge tattoes on their lower backs!

    My thinking is if you have a nice bottom, feel free to flaunt it but if your bottom is kind of stupid looking best to try to cover it up. The right would do well to remember they aren’t 20 years old anymore.

  2. Uh, yea. I think Plato already covered this ground, or something like it, in The Republic. He explored the idea that only the very most enlightened of people should enter the realm of politics and its concomitant discourse, and while a great many interesting insights came out of his playing out the idea, it did not result in a practical program. Some have even suggested that Plato intended it as a subtle satire of the idea that “philosopher kings” should rule.

    So, there you go. I mentioned Plato. Was I sufficiently “high-minded”? May I continue commenting?

    The blogs you mention highlight the flaws and follies of people, predominantly the follies and flaws of conservative, god-addled people. If they are attempting to conceal their biases, they’re doing a spectacularly bad job of it. No one has to read what they say. Certainly no one has to agree with what they say.

    If you think the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and assorted blustering televangelists — or Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann or whoever — are beneath commentary, by all means don’t comment on them.

  3. Dale,

    If you think the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and assorted blustering televangelists — or Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann or whoever — are beneath commentary, by all means don’t comment on them.

    Well, I try not to. But that wasn’t my point. My point was that if you (left or right) want to raise the level of discourse, commenting on the worst of the other side (and even worse, representing as more than it is) is counter-productive … and if you are doing it with the ostensible reason of raising the level of discourse, it’s hypocritical.

    For example, if you want have discourse with “conservative, god-addled” people, then you’re better off finding the best ideas they have not the worst.

    Boonton,
    It seems you really need to find and review some of the stupid resolutions put for by the Democrats if you think stupidity in the beltway is not bi-partisan.

    Otherwise, you’re not actually addressing the point I was making, i.e., how (and how not) to raise the level of discourse.

  4. Calling out stupidity raises the level of discourse. Pretending it doesn’t exist or that it isn’t ‘representative’ does not.

  5. Boonton,
    Imagine you’re in a classroom. Some of the kids are goofing off doing stupid things, many are not and trying to engage in the discussion. Paying all your attention to the stupid kids does not raise the level of discourse. It lowers it. “Calling out the stupidity” highlights it, it gives it payoff in the form of attention. It is not helpful, but the reverse. It merely has the false pretense of being at all helpful.

  6. But that’s the wrong analogy….unless you believe that me and the rest of the left are the more intelligent teachers and you guys are the ignorant, roudy students.

    A better analogy might be two sports teams. We both meet on the field of competition and put out our best effort. If you field a crappy team the correct incentive to fix that problem shouldn’t be for our side to cut you lots of breaks. The correct incentive should be for you to get trashed on the field and hopefully your coach, managers or owners will see the need to fix the problem.

    It’s not our job, for example, to say that David Brooks puts forth more intelligent positions that Rush Limbaugh and therefore pretend that he is the leader of conservatives or the GOP. It’s your job to say Limbaugh’s a clown and treat him as such. If you can’t or won’t, well then you reap the rewards of selecting a clown for your leader.

  7. Boonton,

    But that’s the wrong analogy….unless you believe that me and the rest of the left are the more intelligent teachers and you guys are the ignorant, roudy students.

    Both side have intelligent students (and teachers) and rowdy goofs. We are drawn, demographically, from much the same cloth. Your side has its share of clowns. The point would be for the intelligent reasonable people to ignore the clowns (on both sides) and engage each other in fruitful discussion. That is the only way to raise the debate.

    So, for example, I might read (who? suggestions?) and you might read Ms Delsol and comment and reflect on these. ISI press has two series, “The library of Modern thinkers” and “crosscurrents”. I’ve searched some of these books and have not seen any hits from liberal blogs, academic or not. You claim the right is intellectually out of ideas. I say, that’s the pot calling the kettle black. The left has a majority stake in academia and that in turn is creating intellectual flaccidity. Your side is failing to engage the ideas of the other by a pretense that it doesn’t exist.

    Move your sports analogy to a debate team analogy. Both teams have good debaters and a bunch of, well, knuckleheads who aren’t interested in rhetoric but use tactics reminiscent of the political arena of the early 19th century. If you’re interested in good debate wouldn’t it be wiser to engage the good debaters on the other side and pointedly ignore the regrettable faction of the other side.

    If you want to raise the level of the debate, the point is that neither side need discuss doings and actions of the knuckleheads on either side. If you do otherwise, you are (a) not raising the level of debate and (b) something of a hypocrite if you pretend that is the substance of the debate on the other side ala De Long.

    It’s not my job to say Mr Limbaugh is a clown (or Ms Sykes). It’s my job (and yours) to ignore them. If you give them attention that itself is their payoff.

  8. Mark,

    Who said “elevating the discourse” is someone’s goal? Who claimed it is his highest goal? “Elevating the discourse” could mean at least a handful of things, not all of them meriting the top of the priority list. I think you have a bit of a straw man here. I’m very familiar with the work of Ed Brayton and LarryNiven, and both are pretty plainspoken about what they’re doing: they’re calling attention to the BS they see. Period. They assume, I think, that if they see it, it is sufficiently “out there” and prominent enough to be worth countering. (It’s not as though they’re reporting on what the dumbest ten guys in their workplace are saying to one another around the water cooler.)

    Anyway, your debate team analogy tells the other way. In debate — debate qua forensics — there are tactical considerations that simply must be weighed, whether you think they add to the sum of human wisdom or not (generally speaking, they do not, I assure you). Presentation matters. Rhetorical skills matter. A debater with a poor argument but a mastery of the tactics can, and often does, win in the game of forensics.

    So it is with politics, even religion. We may stand back and tsk-tsk at the shallowness and shoddy reasoning of [pick your target], but as in forensics, the shallowness and shoddy reasoning will get very far and do plenty of damage if people who know better just turn their noses up and pretend it’s beneath their precious time.

    The point of calling attention to idiocy is to show people how to see past the slick presentation and see idiocy for what it is. It’s also a statement to its purveyors that they are not fooling everyone.

  9. Dale,
    Is not production of the best discourse in the best interest of the nation as a whole? How could that not be so?

    As far as Mr Brayton, I think my description of his blog excuses him from the charge of hypocrisy, if you need clarification I don’t think he is hypocritical. I think his blog is mostly of entertainment value for a particular audience. He is not engaging the other side in any meaningful way, but entertaining (his) choir, i.e., those who agree with him.

    Mr De Long however, in his suggestion that there is a common goal in academia (good discourse might touch on that goal) in education that would suggest the exclusion GOP members from that community because “clearly” the existence of crass tactics “proves” that. That claim only proves that Mr De Long is hypocritical, i.e., using low tactics while declaiming them.

    Mr Niven, unlike Mr Brayton, is far more likely to engage blogs like Mr Pruss’s or perhaps essays on First Things for which I was commending him.

    However, “stupid” party might be attached to the wrong party. For it seems that you are suggesting that the left is so stupid that they cannot notice, ala Mr De Long’s piece, that a comparison of Ms Pelosi to a Ian Flemming caricature is too “slick” for the rubes to notice. If the left is that clueless perhaps the label of intellectual deficiencies is misapplied.

  10. … “stupid” party might be attached to the wrong party. For it seems that you are suggesting that the left is so stupid that they cannot notice, ala Mr De Long’s piece, that a comparison of Ms Pelosi to a Ian Flemming caricature is too “slick” for the rubes to notice. If the left is that clueless perhaps the label of intellectual deficiencies is misapplied.

    I’m not sure what you’re addressing here. I wasn’t attaching “stupid” to one party over another, nor to either side in the broader liberal-left vs. conservative-right conflict. Such punch-counterpunch has its place, but it’s not the point I was making.

    I’ve come across many mentions of him, but I’m unfamiliar with Brad DeLong’s work. Even assuming his #1 stated aim is to “elevate the discourse,” I just don’t see how this precludes him addressing examples of poor reasoning and flawed opinion-slinging.

    I think we’re going to have slapdash ideas and mindless politicians for as long as we have small-d democratic politics, and for that matter, it’s not as though politics has been dominated by high-brow ideas in non-democratic times and places. I think an orthodox Christian view would be that this phenomenon began right after Eden and has never let up. Whatever advances people have managed to scrape together in this area have come by the honest effort of carefully observing the bad ideas and working to expose them as such.

    Plus, it’s just good clean fun to ridicule fools, all the more if the fools are self-important or widely-admired.

  11. Dale,
    OK, the “stupid party” thing was uncalled for, I was thinking your final paragraph connected to Mr DeLong’s piece, which was so very partisan (more on that below).

    Mr DeLong isn’t just “pointing out” flawed reasoning. He writes,

    “that nobody dedicated to education and truth-telling could stomach being a Republican today, and nobody who isn’t dedicated to education and truth-telling had any business being a Republican.”

    Stupidity and non-truth telling is a bi-partisan affair. The GOP does not hold any upper (or lower) hand in that affair. I would not want to be publicly known as a GOP member and have Mr DeLong on my PhD or tenure review committee with him on record as being bigoted in the way that he is. The University environment is one that is (supposed) to relish the free exchange of ideas … that he makes (twice now) statement is a direct affront to that principle. One third of the country (roughly) belongs to either the Democrat or the Republican parties. The notion that one or the other has “no business” being in education or has “dedication to the truth” is a partisan matter is at best a fool.

  12. Dale,
    Do you know any left leaning blogs that regularly deal with with the serious ideas that come from opposing points of view? I’m always on the lookout for such things. I’d welcome any recommendations.

  13. Both side have intelligent students (and teachers) and rowdy goofs. We are drawn, demographically, from much the same cloth. Your side has its share of clowns. The point would be for the intelligent reasonable people to ignore the clowns (on both sides) and engage each other in fruitful discussion.

    It should be recognized, though, that clowns have their usefulness. They make quick and easy points, they sometimes produce some really interesting insights by approaching their topics from the more poetic style of the brief, cutting point rather than ponderous theoreizing…..So the ‘team’ should have some clowns but too many clowns become a problem. A sports team may need some really aggressive players, even ones that sometimes draw a foul, but too much of that and the team becomes less about the sport and more about being thuggish.

    So with this in mind, that the clowns and thugs are useful, why do you assume that both sides always and forever are exactly equal in terms of the porportion and rank of their own clowns and thugs? If so then there must be some remarkable mechanism at play that keeps the size and influence of each sides thugs always equal. If that’s so, one needn’t worry about improving the other side, simply improving your own would produce an equal reaction on the other side. But this is optimistic. If no such mechanism exists then ‘disarming’ your own side leaves you open to attack by the other.

    The right in general has more clowns and thugs than the left at this point in history. Try as you might, Fox News is simply not balanced by CNN or MSNBC. Keith Oberman or Stephen Colbert are simply not mirror images of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. Yes I’m sure you can find an example of a leftist calling Bush Hitler for each other my examples of a rightist calling Obama a fascist or socialist. That does not establish that both sides are equilivant at this moment.

    The left has a majority stake in academia and that in turn is creating intellectual flaccidity. Your side is failing to engage the ideas of the other by a pretense that it doesn’t exist.

    I’m willing to accept that the left’s dominance of academia has caused an intellecual flaccidity there. Fortunately academia remains very separated from ‘the real world’ which both helps academia make independent observations as well as protect the real world from tis worse aspects of group think.

    But this kind of proves my point. If the left dominates academia and has produced intellectual flaccidity then what about the right? They are a minority with a lot of guns aimed at them. They don’t have room for slacking off so you quite often get pretty interesting people when you dig up a right wing academic. But that demolishes your attempt to depict both sides as always equal in their rates of ‘thuggishness’.

    If you’re interested in good debate wouldn’t it be wiser to engage the good debaters on the other side and pointedly ignore the regrettable faction of the other side.

    ….

    It’s not my job to say Mr Limbaugh is a clown (or Ms Sykes). It’s my job (and yours) to ignore them. If you give them attention that itself is their payoff.

    But this call for (non)action is quite self serving. If Limbaugh is always fouling but no onee calls him on it then ignoring him works great for your team. You reap the foul and at the same time get to claim the mantle of high sportsmenship. Physician heal thyself. Ignore Limbaugh but also ignore any and all candidates who fail to ignore him. Reject those GOPers who pay homage to him. Ignore those who call him ‘teacher’ (as the National Review did recently).

    Stupidity and non-truth telling is a bi-partisan affair. The GOP does not hold any upper (or lower) hand in that affair. I

    How very relativistic of you. We all have an equal share of the truth and falsity. You sound like the mushy relativists that the right often like to bash. The ones that say things like Islam, Judism, Christinaity, and Wicca are all the same etc. Why should stupidity and non-truth telling be bi-partisan?

    Why is it impossible for one side to end up doing it more or less? Your insistence that everything is always equal is just another type of affirmative action and a very insidious type at that. It basically gives your side a green light to behave as badly as they are tempted to because the other side will ‘always’ be just as bad. Unless you can produce a convincing argument for some mechanism at play that always keeps the sides equally bad or good, this should be rejected as not serious.

    [Note: Edited slightly by moderator (Mark) for readability]

  14. Boonton,
    If the right has “too many clowns” again, wouldn’t it make sense for the sensible to highlight the sensible?

    But you’re right,

    Fox News is simply not balanced by CNN or MSNBC. Keith Oberman or Stephen Colbert are simply not mirror images of Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity.

    You’ve forgotten NBC, ABC, CBS, and PBS. So, you’re right, it’s not balanced, Fox is quite outnumbered. Do you want to talk about print media? Yes, the right dominates talk radio … but the left dominates all other forms of media (blogs excepted for I have no clue as to how one might measure that).

    Yes I’m sure you can find an example of a leftist calling Bush/Hitler for each other my examples of a rightist calling Obama a fascist or socialist.

    Hmm. How much do you wanna bet you can’t find examples of Mr DeLong stating that “No Democrat” should be in academia on account of such statements. He’s a hypocrite.

    Finally, you call for Reject those GOPers who pay homage to him.

    Exactly what would you suggest I do differently? Where have I praised Mr Limbaugh on these pages? Where have I sought out and singled out the lowest denominator and pretended it was the highest? (keep in mind my morning links section is to highlight the topical and controversial, I’m thinking primarily of my evening essays which are more representative of my thinking).

    And this isn’t about “relativism.” It’s about zeitgeist, that is we share the spirit of the age. Hannah Arendt noted that German Jews participated somewhat in their own demise because they were a product of their generation just were their killers. I’m saying we share the same (or very similar) percentages of fools and the wise because we come from the same cloth, we go to the same schools, have the same jobs and work together. If you will, that is the “mechanism” that keeps us so similar.

    I didn’t offer that “nobody” should call Mr Limbaugh on his “fouls”. I offered that is the job for your side’s clowns. And if you do in fact engage the clowns … I’d offer you are one of the other sides clowns.

    Again, I fail to see why you would make a stand against good and thoughtful discussion.

  15. Mark, I don’t think thoughtful left-leaning blogs are as hard to find as you suggest, but here are a few, in no particular order:

    – Obsidian Wings
    – Matt Yglesias
    – PZ Myers (aka “Pharyngula”)
    – Greg Laden
    – Denialism Blog
    – The Dollars & Sense Blog
    – Michael Bérubé
    – Harper’s
    – Bouphonia
    – Crooked Timber
    – Butterflies & Wheels
    – Normblog (Norman Geras)
    – Obscene Desserts

    Naturally, my own blog has nothing but high-quality content, from the first post to the last (‘faith in honest doubt’). ;-)

    There’s always Andrew Sullivan and Will Wilkinson, both of whom advance arguments that fall all over the conventional right-left spectrum.

    This is the blogosphere; you have to expect a lot of chaff with the wheat, even in the best of blogs. There is also, rather famously, no consensus on what makes for wheat and what makes for chaff. The point remains: there exists thoughtful content out there if you want to find it. I would even include Sadly, No! — snark galore, but it’s not uncommon for a real argument to be found lurking beneath.

    -Cheers

  16. You’ve forgotten NBC, ABC, CBS, and PBS. So, you’re right, it’s not balanced, Fox is quite outnumbered.

    Really? I recall when Bush vetoed the ChiPs program for kids without insurance I listened to a very good debate on NPR which featured a right wing think tanker and a left wing supporter of CHiPS. Never before or since have I heard the argument against the program be as well made, as well detailed and as well thought out. Sorry, if you want to say Bill Moyers is biased…yea you’re right but Moyers is simply not a left wing version of Sean Hannity. I’m more likely to get the best argument the right has to offer on Moyers than I am to get the best argument of the left from Hannity.

    Yes, the right dominates talk radio … but the left dominates all other forms of media (blogs excepted for I have no clue as to how one might measure that).

    But we aren’t talking about ‘share of voice’…we are talking about what % of clowns and thugs are allowed to share whatever portion of the share of voice the left and right has.

    And this isn’t about “relativism.” It’s about zeitgeist, that is we share the spirit of the age. Hannah Arendt noted that German Jews participated somewhat in their own demise because they were a product of their generation just were their killers. I’m saying we share the same (or very similar) percentages of fools and the wise because we come from the same cloth, we go to the same schools, have the same jobs and work together. If you will, that is the “mechanism” that keeps us so similar.

    I would say there’s a valid point here. The clown has a special place in discussion. The clown or jester can challenge orthodox ways of thinking in unexpected and creative ways. There’s a difference, though, between being a clown and being a thug. I would say that for a while the left participated in its own demise by yielding the clowns to the right. As they were pushed from power, the left secluded themselves in ‘safe areas’ like academics or niche local political environments (say big cities, unions etc.) By yielding the ‘clowns’ to the right the left remained out of power for a long time unable to change its way of thinking about its own orthodoxies…intellectually stagnent.

    I think a compelling narrative, though, is that the right got too lazy with power. The clowns seemed to work so their own set of intellectual regidity came into play and the clowns ceased becoming a way to challenge orthodoxies and spur innovation and become more thuggish. William F Buckley, you may recall, had a very healthy clownish impulse to himself. Even Rush did and does to some extent. But Sean Hannity is less of a clown than a thug IMO and I’m not the only one to pick up on this admittly ancedotal observation that today’s GOP clowns appear more like thugs.

  17. Mark never bottom-feeds, of course. Like he never held up the worst examples of Prop 8 protesters he could find as if they represented the movement as a whole.

  18. JA,
    Point out where I did that in an essay. I don’t recall ever writing an essay about prop 8, while admittedly my position on marriage is not embraced by either party.

    Boonton,
    So why is it can’t find a decent left/progressive blog to cut my teeth on in the morning? And I’ll agree there is a place for humor. One problem is I have no difficulty finding good serious writing from the right, not from the left. Now that may be the left feels (currently) secure and that they have no need to defend the principles behind their positions or to do any serious apologetics for their positions.

    And is seems then Mr DeLong is (self) casting himself as a thug then?

  19. Dale,
    I’m going to work on that list of yours a bit. Let me see if I can’t get some help from you. In my opinion the best conservative (thoughtful) blog is PJM’s Richard Fernandez. Here’s my query. Read his last 4 or 5 posts in full (or more if you like). What one or two left wing blog do you think best compares to that in content form and style (but of course not message).

  20. What stands out for me about the blogger you highlight is the presence of observation and lack of argument. Or to put it less kindly, I note a pronounced lack of point.

    Consider, say, the post comparing the murderer of Dr. Tiller with John Brown (“gory, gory hallelujah”) — sure, I don’t have to squint too hard to see the parallels. I’ll charitably pretend this is the first time I’ve heard a “pro-life” person compare the “pro-life” thing with abolition. Still: so? What’s he getting at, exactly? He’s randy for a civil war? Against one?

    Same for the more recent one, “bookends,” quoting:

    Yet if one is justified in fingering anti-abortion activists as contributing to the climate which killed Dr. Tiller, what can be said of those who made the acts in Arkansas intellectually attractive to Abulhakin Muhammad, formerly Carlos Bledsoe? One of the dangers of political speech is that listeners might actually take words seriously. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter”, Barack Obama once said. He was right: they do. For that reason the murders of Tiller and Long won’t just be about a criminal tragedy, as if it were some drug-fueled, mindless crime. They will be about words and their consequences.

    Um, huh? I don’t have any trouble “pointing fingers” at the incendiary rhetoric that helped foment both of these killings. Who does? And what, pray tell, does Barack Obama — either his words as such or his statements concerning the power of words — have to do with either?

    Yes, Obama agrees that words matter. So do I. So does your preferred blogger. And … ? And therefore … ? If I’m uncharitable, I have to say your preferred blogger is tying something Obama said with the killing of a US soldier in Arkansas. What statement of Obama’s is so implicated, precisely? If not a statement of Obama’s, then whose statement(s)? Why is this a matter about which to be coy and insinuating? Why not state the position clearly?

    Surely this can’t be what you mean by writing that engages the strongest of the arguments of the other side. Please. Where is the argument in the first place? Or the counterargument? I see lots of names dropped but very few clear points expressed.

    I could go on: the thing about “the perils of Facebook” is, again, a more or less kinda-sorta interesting set of observations that don’t particularly go anywhere. Is he trying to be sententious?

    As for the one preceding it, “offstage,” trading in a mix of fake outrage and casuistry over Pelosi’s supposed sins in the Bush-Cheney war crimes, is just abysmal, and on the same grounds I’ve mentioned here (and more besides).

    To answer your query directly: I’m afraid I can’t cite a left-liberal blogger who comes across that way; inasmuch as I’ve found such, I’ve long since stopped reading and forgotten the URL. I prefer clarity — even clarity with which I disagree — over a retiring, vacuous haze.

  21. Dale,
    Well, I’m sorry you don’t like Mr Fernandez blogging.

    However, I’d like to thank you for your suggestions. I think I added three or four of them to my RSS feed (plus yours). ObWings was already on it. I’d had Mr Yglesias but at some point I tired of him and de-listed him.

  22. Dale,
    And I hadn’t read “bookends”. I’d disagree with your take. He wasn’t blaming Mr Obama for the killing of the Arkansas soldiers. He’d noted that the killer was a “recent Muslim convert”. The only connection was agreement with Obama that rhetoric has (sometimes) deadly consequences.

    Are you being a little too defensive? Is it because I told you he was conservative, and therefore everything need be an attack. (see Mr Fernandez (long ago he blogged on blogspot with an alias “Wretchard” until a year or so ago when he, like Spengler, discarded pseudonymous blogging, replies in comments on that thread #5. And at #12 there (finally) is actual criticism of Mr Obama).

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