Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Messing with Republicans

A good friend of mine is a conservative. We frequently have lively debates about politics, in which he slavishly repeats Republican talking points he heard on FoxNews or right-wing talk radio.

Recently we were discussing how the media seems to be controlling the perception of the candidates to an unhealthy degree. I suggested that it's better to seek out information on your own, through multiple sources, but especially the internet blogs and open forums which have a tendency to be self-correcting through consensus.

Yes, of course there are significant exceptions to this line of reasoning. Many blogs are ridiculously one-sided (hmmm...I can't seem to think of any right now...) and quite a few discourage or ban any contradictory viewpoints. But in a lot of cases you do have a forum to express your opinions and engage in debate about specifics, which is typically denied in a traditional MSM outlet like The O'Rielly Factor or the Glenn Beck show. Those are lectures, not discussions.

So I encouraged him to seek information on his own, even through conservative blogs. I cautioned him to avoid blogs that don't allow dissent, or heavily censor comments that don't agree 100% with their agenda. The important thing is to be able to question the information you're given in a democratic debate.

Naturally, this concept met with some resistance. It's much easier for a majority of people, from BOTH sides of the political spectrum, to get their information through the one-way flow emanating from the TV, radio, or newspapers. But conservatives especially seem to accept being lectured at more readily than progressives.

And I raised the example of how the media, especially the conservative media, had made a big thing out of Barack Obama's middle name. He tried to claim it wasn't an important issue, that a candidate's middle name was simply part of his name and is often mentioned in a newscast. He took the position that the name of a candidate should be widely known.

I asked him if he knew Obama's middle name.

He didn't hesitate. "Hussein!" he triumphantly proclaimed.

Then I asked him what John McCain's middle name was.

After several wildly inaccurate guesses, he meekly admitted he didn't have a clue.

I had to laugh.


spazeboy said...


CT Bob said...

Yes, but is Rodham really Hillary's middle name, or is it her maiden name? Hmmmm?

(no points if you Wiki it)

Anonymous said...

a) Rodham is her maiden name (as in Hugh Rodham (her father)....I didn't wiki it, either); sadly (for an Obama supporter) I always knew this.

Also, as a minor point, if you should identify your enemies, you should at least SPELL the name right: the idiot's name is spelled O'Reilly. Liberals, unlike conservatives, try to get things right.

Anonymous said...

BTW, her middle name is DIANE.

CT Bob said...

While I agree with you that spelling is usually important, there's no shame in screwing up the name of a total asshole like Bill O'Reilly.

Not when I keep seeing guys like him referring to Barack as "Osama" instead of Obama. In fact, I prefer to refer to O'Reilly simply as "Loofah Boy", or even "The Sexually Harassing Shitbag Who Paid Millions To Silence His Victim".

Sellitman (Kevin) said...

Whenever I argue politics with conservative friends the best tactic I have found is using facts.

They just don't have a comeback when presented with them.

Anonymous said...

Sellitman -

The only problem w/ your approach is the FoxNews/Neocon mindset that screams:

"Don't bother me with the facts, I KNOW I'm right; and you're un-American if you don't agree."

Iraq WMD, anyone?