September 29th, 2012

Open thread

Commenter KL Smith writes:

Neo: slightly OT but, since you’ve mentioned another blogger … I think getting a post/discussion going on Ann Althouse’s meltdown over the Obamaphone lady video would be very interesting. I’d like to see what your regular commenters think.

Now, it just so happens that (a) I read that piece of Althouse’s last night and did some research on related issues and wrote a rough draft of some things I want to say about them; (b) I’m too busy to fix it and publish it right now, although I plan to; and (c) I noticed that her post (and several related posts on her blog from today) has about 700 comments right now.

Clearly a nerve has been touched. And so now, with KL Smith’s request, I thought I’d provide this open thread for you to talk about it while I go do some stuff. Hopefully, some fun stuff.

You don’t have to talk about the Althouse post, either. Talk about whatever you want to talk about. There’s no dearth of topics, that’s for sure.

87 Responses to “Open thread”

  1. Darrell Says:

    My synopsis, because Rush plays the obama phone lady over and over, it proves that all Romney voters are racists and we are trying to get althouse to fear black people, and so, she is voting for obama.
    Thanks for pointing this out KL, I may have missed it since I don’t read her every day, but due to this shallowness I am no longer interested in anything she has to say, ever again.

  2. expat Says:

    I don’t read Althouse, but she seems to suffer from white guilt. Isn’t it just as racist to assume every white Romney supporter listens to Rush and is unable to turn off the subconscious signals he allegedly sends.

    Perhaps she should question whether Obama’s comunity organization approach to improving the situation of poor blacks really works. My opinion is that his philosophy is wrong. It breeds even greater discontent and robs people of the ability to find satisfaction in their own abilities and accomplishments. But then I question how many truly poor peole Althouse has even really talked to. I suspect she is an isolated academic.

  3. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Look. It’s over.
    Obama wins.
    I encourage all my conservative friends to keep up the effort to show their resistance, but Obama supporters might as well take a break.
    Save their gas. It’s a done deal. They can stay home.

  4. Mr. Frank Says:

    What stunned me is Althouse’s revelation that she is undecided on the election. I don’t see how that is possible for a conservative given the gap between left and right this time. We have a socialist who blames America first running against a big business guy who loves America.

  5. KLSmith Says:

    Mr Frank: Althouse claims to be a fiscal conservative but, states that she is very liberal socially.

  6. Carl in Atlanta Says:

    I’ve been reading Althouse daily since maybe 2010. She’s very intelligent but does live in the Madison bubble, not to mention lily white WI. Sometimes it shows, as in this controversial thread about Rush and the obamaphone lady clip.
    She’s got a great blog – very thought provoking, and she and her hubby were true heroes during the Madison protests. In fact, I’ve been thinking for a while now that she might be a “changer”, especially after she married her conservative husband Mead (she did vote for Obama in 08). I was saddened to see her get on this classic stereotypical-liberal high-horse about Rush overplaying the audio of this video and therefore somehow showing that he’s a racist, but haven’t given up on her yet. I hope she doesn’t turn out to be another Andrew Sullivan – someone suggested that I check him out in 2002 as a gay conservative blogger; at that time he was 100% behind Bush, the WOT and sounded like a classic conservative. However, Abu Grahib [sp]sent him off the deep end and he never come back ( he went even deeper into the fever swamp after Palin was nominated).

    I certainly hope that Ann is not now playing some kind of Dylan-esque ‘Weatherman’, trying to maneuver to be sure she ends up on the winning side….

  7. KLSmith Says:

    ( Thank-you, Neo )

    A lot could be said about racism and the perception and accusation of it. I was more interested in Althouse herself, however. She drives me bonkers and whenever she does a post like that I wonder why I waste my time reading her.
    A few of my thoughts:
    1. She’s not as smart as she thinks she is. She says we all vote emotionally and if you say you vote rationally then that is proof you’ve made an emotional decision – that we’re not robots. What? Of course our emotions color our decisions but, smart logical people can and do reason. She seems to actually be saying abandon reason and let your emotions rule. I think this may explain why she chose to teach law rather than practice it.
    2. Several of her commenters think she toys with them and I think they may be right. Quite a few seem very invested in how she will vote. I guess out of respect or admiration for her.
    3. A few have mentioned that Glenn Reynolds’ (Instapundit) links made her blog what it is – probably true.
    4.She claims to be “cruelly neutral” and still undecided. From reading her, it’s obvious she is itching to vote for Obama. I think she is either being disingenuous or incredibly wishy-washy. Definitely appears to be suffering from liberal white guilt and not too bothered by what Obama does/doesn’t do.
    5. It is probably due to the addictive nature of the internet that I had kept reading her blog. And, that I credit her post linking an article on e-cigs with ending my 40 yr tobacco habit. But that’s another story and I think I’ve paid my loyalty chit.

  8. parker Says:

    Obamaphone woman is upsetting to people like Althouse because Obamaphone woman is in your face angry and defiant. She is obviously proud to be on the welfare plantation and wants more goodies she did not earn, and believes Obama will provide them. Obamaphone woman’s attitude does not fit the liberal narrative of the poor, noble black woman under the thumb of racist republicans.

    This is what is disturbing Althouse and she wants to find a ‘reason’ to banish it from reasonable discussion by trying to convince us our revulsion of Obamaphone woman’s attitude is a purely emotional (and racist) response. Althouse does not recognize our revulsion is based not upon racism or emotion, it comes from our understanding of how things work in the real world.

  9. kolnai Says:

    So, one day of Rush she feels uncomfortable with and four years of Obama and his media lapdogs racializing everything, and she goes with the one day.

    Gotcha.

    I am certain that I know brain-science better than Althouse does, and she’s dead wrong about the “science” showing that we only make decisions emotionally. Brain scientists (but more often popularizers of it) often spin their tests that way, yet that is interpretation, and bad interpretation at that. Any philosopher could tell you in two seconds how bad the case is on behalf of such reductionism (she should read Raymond Tallis’s “Aping Mankind,” while we’re on our high-horses recommending the laity get some book learnin’).

    Furthermore, she contradicts herself by saying (within three sentences) that our decisions are mere neuron-blasts and that “we are not computers.” What? You just said that we are. The computer interpretation of the brain does not posit that we are pure Cartesian rationalists (if she thinks that then she really doesn’t know what she’s talking about, contrary to her rather testy avowal). Rather, it posits that there is a biological syntax attuned to ecological information that we respond automatically and pre-consciously to.

    Which is what Althouse believes.

    I confess I’m not an Althouse reader. I glance in from time-to-time, but she always struck me as condescending; an attitude that turns me off more than any other.

    I feel no emotion telling me to change my opinion on that.

  10. Crystal Says:

    Althouse does deserve praise for her recent postings calling out the lame stream media for trying to sway votes for Obama. I, too, thought she was seeing the light, but lately it is apparent, she is not. Her position on the moocher is inexcusable, and frankly, I feel personally insulted that she thinks we do not have sense enough to figure out the difference. Yep, she hit a nerve, and I’m down to my last nerve.

  11. Kurt Says:

    After I read the post, I was inclined to comment, but then I read the other comments and felt like I didn’t have much to add to what the last three commenters (Carl in Atlanta, KLSmith, and parker) already said.

    I’ve been a long-time Althouse reader (since at least some point in 2004), but was as baffled by how she could have voted for Obama in 2008 as I am with how she can be “undecided” now. I think that the “Madison bubble” explains part of it, but only part of it. Her thinking in this particular post is so twisted that it’s absurd. In short, it is the sort of twisted thinking that only flies in a place like Madison, sadly enough.

    Let’s see if this is all clear: Rush Limbaugh plays a clip of the Obamaphone lady over and over to point out the entitlement mentality fueled by the Democrats, and as a result, Althouse is inclined to conclude that any Republicans who refer to this incident are racists and that she might not vote for Romney because of it. There are so many logical fallacies at work there, it is astounding.

    Carl in Atlanta wrote: “I certainly hope that Ann is not now playing some kind of Dylan-esque ‘Weatherman’, trying to maneuver to be sure she ends up on the winning side….” I think that is probably a good way to look at it.

    The only other possible explanation I can come up with is that she’s trying to find a way of making the case for her vote that will not make her too much of an outcast in Madison. But even that doesn’t make any sense, since she voted for Bush in 2004 and supported the Walker reforms and Walker in the recall. So it’s not like she’s afraid of being on the unpopular side in Madison–but perhaps only when it is the winning side, as Carl speculated above.

  12. Kurt Says:

    I just saw this great post which I found linked at Instapundit. There’s a screen-shot there of an Obamaphone website, which has since been taken down. As noted at that post, the Obama administration (or at least some of their allies at certain companies) seems to have hijacked a program that predates Reagan and used it as a way or promoting Obama.

  13. baklava Says:

    I stopped reading Althouse a month ago. It had to do with her “me” mentality.

    Her feelings about rush playing the video matters more than attempting to educate dependent people who are able bodied.

    I would NEVER accept a free phone as an able bodied person. I would never accept any assistance really.

    But then again I’ve learned how to do fifty things in life. From jewelry making to electrical to tiling and cooking and cleaning.

  14. baklava Says:

    Wait am minute! I’m convinced now to vote for Obama!

    I see her point!

    Let’s see…. Rush is racist and therefore all Republicans in Congress are racist. We need to also get more Democrats in the house so that it’ll be good again!

  15. Oldflyer Says:

    Thank you Neo. I did not read Althouse previously, and you confirmed the wisdom of my inaction.

    If her post is representative of what passes for intelligent commentary in the 21st century, then God help us all.

    I will make a confession. If abhorrence of people who use race as a vehicle to demand advantage over their fellow citizens; of people who use race to divide their communities; who use race at this point in our social development to falsely accuse others of sins that occurred long before either accuser or accused were born, then I am racist. On the other hand, like most Americans that I know, I ] treat each individual with with the same respect and consideration that I extend to any other.

    So, I do not need to hear from Althouse and her ilk. She can vote as she wishes, for any reason that she can rationalize. That is certainly her right as an American. But, her pompous, arrogant screed would be insulting if it were not so shallow as to be ridiculous. Moreover, it reveals more about her than about those she attempts to lecture.

  16. parker Says:

    Althouse is on par with a foaming at the mouth arab spring terrorists attacking the embassy in Cairo. Its all emotional rage against Western Civilization that has provided relative political and economic stability since 1946. In our blundering way we have until recently, prevented mass intertribal slaughter. Now they see the cat has left the house and the mice are free to prey upon each other. Along the way of this path of self-destrcution they occasionally they have the urge to blame all their intercine conflicts on the USA.

  17. baklava Says:

    I’m more convinced than ever. In fact, i’m glad that Rush is playing the video because now my eyes are open to the necessity of electing Democrats…as many as possible.

    We need more taxes, stimulus, dependency, more decline of America’s fiscal situation. We need more stupidity, more drugs, and finally more economic illiteracy.

    Dear Ann, I might start reading you again. The train wreck that you are is just fascinating. Slowly ever so slowly becoming senile and losing any hope of clarity. I might want to watch that. On second thought…my grandma who is 95 and in a facility has better reasoning capability.

  18. Paul in Boston Says:

    When I first saw the video of the Obamaphone lady it immediately made me think of this lady, http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=vLg1QzdAdLo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvLg1QzdAdLo. It had to be a send up. Sadly, it’s not.

    Althouse’s reaction reminded me of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s long ago prediction that welfare was in the process of destroying the black family and would lead to dangerous social pathologies. He was excoriated for this and called a racist. So when people like Althouse see, or hear, the video repeatedly it’s the same syndrome, it’s racism not the massive failure and destructive consequence of welfare policy.

  19. KLSmith Says:

    kolnai: yep; sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s a lawyer.

  20. gcotharn Says:

    The commenters, above, have made outstanding comments.

    I agree that Althouse was likely set off b/c the Obamaphone lady displays human nature characteristics which are basically denied by leftist doctrine which insists that low income persons are noble souls who are merely unlucky and oppressed. I speculate that Althouse is emotionally attached to parts of that doctrine. She cannot bear to reconsider her beloved doctrine. Therefore, publicizing the Obamaphone lady, again, again, and again, is painful to Althouse, and must be rationalized as racism.

    I don’t read Althouse any more, except when other blogs point to specific posts, for this reason: I sense insincerity. She is not genuine and authentic. I sense that she has this personality trait: a belief/desire that she is of a special class of person who is smarter and more enlightened than the rest of us. I sense that she blogs with type of false modesty which she intends to appease her readers, yet all the time she knows she is superior, and she knows she is just playfully pretending to be authentic and genuine. This is all big speculation by me. I eagerly admit I could be wrong.

    One other personality trait of Althouse, and I have sensed this trait in many “changers” in the blogosphere – and I am a changer, and have felt this inclination myself:
    deep in our psyches, we wonder if we have been misled/fooled by conservatives who publicly act as reasonable and loving persons, yet privately are clever racists.

    From sampling Althouse over time, I suspect Althouse has a big big dose of this type of paranoia about clever racists who are merely posing as loving and reasonable conservatives.

    So, I have been very hard on Althouse. I must admit that there is something about her personality – and including my speculations above, which really really activates me and offends me. She flips my buttons. Maybe it is merely that I suspect she is insincere and inauthentic (just as she suspects that conservatives are closet racists), and I HATE insincere and inauthentic.

  21. Promethea Says:

    Two points:

    (1) Alhouse is a government worker, and salaried people like that often have a difficult time imagining what it’s like to own and run a business. She’s naturally inclined toward liberalism because the government takes care of her.

    (2) Liberalism is a form of mental illness. Liberals are drawn toward perfectionism and have extreme difficulty dealing with the real world.

    As a former, recovering liberal, I understand this foolish drive toward utopianism. I still have peace buttons in my drawer. Althouse can’t make that final step toward breaking through the feel-good bubble to at the real world of facts and consequences. She’s too self-involved to look critically at the relative merits of Obama v. Romney.

  22. Promethea Says:

    Oops, sorry . . . “feel-good bubble to look at the real world”

  23. kcom Says:

    “Let’s see…. Rush is racist and therefore all Republicans in Congress are racist. We need to also get more Democrats in the house so that it’ll be good again!”

    It’s way worse than that, at least as I read it. I would boil it down to the following

    She is going to vote for Obama because what Romney said was racist.

    Correction: She is going to vote for Obama because what Romney did was racist.

    Correction: Romney didn’t say anything or do anything. She is going to vote for Obama because what a supporter of Romney said is racist.

    Correction: She is going to vote for Obama because what a lukewarm supporter of Romney (who didn’t support him in the primaries) said is racist.

    Correction: The lukewarm supporter of Romney didn’t say anything racist. She is going to vote for Obama because the lukewarm supporter played (more than once) a video widely available on the net. On one program on one day in a four year presidential term.

    Which term was full of failure, lying, setting one group of Americans against another and presiding over the worst economic recovery (or lack thereof) since the Great Depression, while racking up enormous deficits as far as the eye can see.

    So the fact that a reluctant supporter who has no official part in the campaign and has no official blessing from the candidate, said nothing but only played a video multiple times (to his everchanging audience) of a woman saying outrageous things is a direct reason not to a vote for the candidate because of “racism”. But, when a member of the opposing ticket (namely Joe Biden), an actual vice presidential candidate, makes the outrageous, libelous, and racialist claim that Republicans are going to put black people “back in chains,” that is somehow not disqualifying as a reason to vote for that ticket. (Notwithstanding the fact it was Republicans who got them out of their chains in the first place.)

    This is the same ticket that has racialized the Justice Department, referred to a “typical white person”, and otherwise grouped people by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character (when I listened to that tape I didn’t hear race, I heard a total lack of content in someone’s character).

    That coming from an educated person, a law professor, and one who is supposed to be in the moderate middle. I went to bed truly disturbed last night after I read that post. The first time a blog entry has ever done that to me. There is no hope for the future for our country if we have to fight that level of stupidity and inanity in someone with those sorts of qualifications.

    I’ll boil what I said down to one quesiton – How come what Rush didn’t say is disqualifying to Romney but what Biden (and Obama) did say is not disqualifying to them?

  24. gcotharn Says:

    Example:

    me, on street, observing gang bang looking young man approaching me. The young man is black. I move to other side of street.

    Thus, I have asserted that all cultures are not equally good: gang bang culture is not equally good; is actually dangerous to my health.

    To counter, a leftist ought argue that all cultures are equally good. Instead, a leftist will argue that I am racist.

    But, my crossing the street had nothing to do with race, and everything to do with culture. If nerdy Urkel had approached me, I would not have crossed the street. If a man in clean and ironed church-clothing had approached me, I would not have crossed the street.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I draw a parallel to Obamaphone lady.

    She violates the leftist doctrine that the poor are largely noble persons who are unlucky and oppressed.

    Yet, human nature tells us that this leftist doctrine is obviously wrong. Despite many, many, many exceptions and permutations and examples of bad luck circumstances: it nevertheless remains true that most of the overall population of the poor are poor due to their own lack of virtue.

    The Obamaphone lady personifies this.

    The left does not argue for the truth of their doctrine that the poor are largely noble and virtuous. Instead, the left shuts down discussion via shouting “racism.”

    Then the left goes home and once again clings to their comfortable doctrine, as a child clings to a blankie.

    Except: racism is not the key issue. If the Obamaphone lady were white, she would still personify the macro truth about virtue and income. She would still personify the macro truth which the left wishes to avoid discussing. And which Althouse wishes to avoid discussing, b/c Althouse prefers to cling to her blankie.

  25. gcotharn Says:

    Another truth which the left wishes to avoid discussing: Pres. Obama is attempting to buy the votes of the poor by offering them goodies. Obamaphone lady also exemplifies this.

  26. thomass Says:

    expat Says:
    “assume every white Romney supporter listens to Rush and is unable to turn off the subconscious signals he allegedly sends.”

    Plus it is an assumption that Rush is racist. I’d bet he play the same clip regardless of the race of the speaker… over and over…

  27. thomass Says:

    parker Says:

    “This is what is disturbing Althouse and she wants to find a ‘reason’ to banish it from reasonable discussion”

    Makes sense.

  28. thomass Says:

    kolnai Says:

    ” Brain scientists (but more often popularizers of it) often spin their tests that way”

    Yeah; I could give rational reasons for voting against the left (like grandpa had to shoot his way out of a socialist country to get to the USA)… and they’d spin that as emotional (fear or something). You can spin anything into being emotional if you start from the idea that everything is emotional.

  29. kolnai Says:

    gcotharn -

    Yes, what you said is what I sensed as well; I just called it “condescension,” but I meant basically what you did.

    Glad to see I wasn’t hallucinating that quality in Althouse’s writing.

    And in any case, even if she is not generally like that and we’re both wrong, there is no denying that this recent outburst is incredibly condescending. Just read her comments replying to her critics below her post.

    “Oh, I know a LOT about brain science [because she's a lawyer? Because she read a few books and articles?], so here’s something for you, my little rabble, READ the gospel at this amazon link. See? You’re all as stupid and emotional as I am! It’s SCIENCE.”

    Gross.

    I can’t stand people who talk like that, perhaps because I am surrounded by them in academia, but most likely because it’s just intrinsically off-putting. It didn’t help that her familiarity with basic logic and the difference between actual neuroscience data and interpretations of same was not in evidence. Quite frankly, what she said made no sense.

    I’m not sentimental about this because I never liked nor read Althouse anyway. But I can see how those who had begun to trust in her as a worthwhile, sane center-left voice like Kaus or Mead, would feel pretty much betrayed by her tantrum.

  30. kolnai Says:

    By the way, if any of you haven’t yet, check out this speech by Pat Cadell:

    http://minx.cc/?post=333328

    It goes to a discussion neo started last week about the media and when it changed from relatively (stress on “relatively”) non-Soviet to outright Pravda-esque. Cadell locates the decisive moment in the Dukakis-Bush race.

    I was too young then to know much about that; but it’s worth pondering.

  31. thomass Says:

    One last point. Did Rush bring up the lady’s race? Because it is a radio show. Being a radio listener I thought Debbie Wasserman Schultz was black… for quite awhile (six months or more). Until I saw her picture.

  32. M J R Says:

    A PROMINENT DEMOCRAT’S INDICTMENT

    Patrick Caddell is a Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor. He served as pollster for President Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and others. He is a Fox News political analyst and co-host of “Campaign Insiders” Sundays on Fox News Channel and Mondays at 10:30 am ET on “FoxNews.com Live.”

    Brief highlights hand-selected by M J R (then the adddress in its entirety):

    A staff member in the White House who is a senior aide and has a full Secret Service detail, even while on vacation, and nobody in the press had asked why. That has become more poignant, as I said, last week, when we discovered that we had an American ambassador, on the anniversary of 9/11, who was without adequate security—while she still has a Secret Service detail assigned to her full-time, at a massive cost, and no one in the media has gone to ask why.

    Peter Schweizer has done a study talking about corruption. Sixty percent or 80%—it’s closer to 80% I think, now—of the money given under the stimulus to green energy projects—the president and this administration’s great project—has gone to people who are either bundlers or major contributors to Barack Obama.

    But nobody says a word.

    Of course Republicans don’t raise it because in Washington, they simply want to do it when they get back in power. And, of course, the press doesn’t because they basically have taken themselves out of doing their job.

    If a president of either party — I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified! It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.

    [S]ome of it is deliberate, in my opinion—to pump up the numbers using the 2008 base to give a sense of momentum to the Obama campaign.

    When I have polls that have the preference of Democrats over Republicans higher than it was in 2008, which was a peak Democratic year, I know I am dealing with a poll that shouldn’t be reported.

    The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power. When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, [dot dot dot] they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.

    Entire address:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/29/mainstream-media-threatening-our-country-future/

    Mainstream media is threatening our country’s future
    By Patrick Caddell
    FoxNews.com
    Published September 29, 2012

  33. KLSmith Says:

    gcotharn: yes, I sense something insincere or inauthentic also. after thinking about it tonight, I think it is her law training enabling her to see both sides of an argument. she can understand what conservatives might think about an issue (unlike most liberals that are incapable of a real intellectual argument). Her acknowledgement that the right might have a valid point on occasion probably makes her readers think she is in agreement with said viewpoint. When she may or may not be.
    Something I think is strange is that she has posted before that she’s not that interested in politics. Then why does she blog about it? Just for hits? I think her readers are right to feel insulted by her.

  34. KLSmith Says:

    Caddell is right. The 4th estate is now part of the 5th column. The enemy within. Enough of them anyway.

  35. beverly Says:

    MJR: I’m glad you posted that link about Caddell. He’s genuinely frightened and angry — so much so, that his voice shakes.

    Here’s the video. “This video is equal parts terrifying and infuriating,” says Ace.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=brDZJA8j-8c

    His belief? We’re on the verge of losing America.

  36. rickl Says:

    I’ve never been a regular reader of Althouse, although I’ll click a link to her site now and then. When I learned that she voted for Obama in 2008, I knew that I didn’t need to take her seriously or waste my time on her.

    She clearly wants to vote for Obama again, and is looking for an excuse to justify her decision: “Those wascally wacist Wepublicans made me do it!”

    A lot of people were conned and guilted into voting for him in 2008, and I’m willing to cut them a little slack. But only a little–they should have known better. I have to regard anyone who votes for him twice as an enemy. Period. Full stop.

  37. rickl Says:

    As an aside, the only positive thing that Obama has done for the country has been to cause some people to get over their “white guilt”, and to realize that blacks are by far the worst racists in America today.

  38. baklava Says:

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/09/saturday-night-card-game-shes-got-an-obama-phone-and-shes-proud-deal-with-it/

    This guy provides sanity.

    Ann, Please stop voting.

    signed,
    concerned citizen.

    P.S. You get more of this of you vote for this.

  39. JFM Says:

    Ann Althouse is an intelligent woman who has not been able to escape from the New York Times bubble.

    I don’t visit her site as much as I once did.

  40. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I’ve read Althouse off and on for quite a while, and my take on her is that she loves being the center of attention (note her choice of a career that puts her at a lectern in a room full of people who must listen to her and respond as she directs.) Watch how often she posts about the number of page views or comments she gets compared to some other blogger that she looks down on, or cautions readers not to click on some link that she’s discussing because she doesn’t want the other blogger to get the page views. I think this is the source of the insincere tone that gcotharn and KLSmith noticed — I think her blog is a form of performance art, intended more to provoke interest and keep herself at the center of attention than to explore ideas or express views. She often writes in an intentionally oblique, mysterious fashion (the whole “cruel neutrality” thing) that seems intended to manipulate her readers to get page views, comments — negative or positive, she doesn’t seem to care — and maybe even a link from Instapundit. And then she can post some lofty rejoinder about how foolish her critics are for failing to understand the superior nuance of whatever original post triggered the response. It’s pretty transparent and unpleasant.

    HOWEVER, she does attract the occasional great comment. Buried in the 700+ comments on that original post of hers about the Obamaphone lady, there are some remarkably insightful remarks by somebody named “exiledonmaist” about the effects of liberal social policy on the poor people he (she?) sees at work in some inner city medical context. And then this gem from Freeman Hunt in a subthread about eating candy:

    “When I was a kid, I used to separate [Reese's Pieces] all out by color.

    Oh, shoot…

    I shouldn’t have said that should I? Now Althouse is definitely going to vote for Obama.”

  41. kolnai Says:

    Whew. I just spent some time perusing the comments section on a few of Althouse’s posts (which I’ve never done before). Some notes:

    1) There are some serious a-holes over there. Every time I encounter a comments section like that on a blog it makes me appreciate neoneocon all the more.

    We really have hit the dialogic sweet spot here.

    2) I saw Althouse reply to someone (I kid you not):

    “I’m not pushing some political agenda. This is real, baby.”

    Okie dokie. As if having a cogent ideology makes you a fake, baby.

    3) Althouse is really dug in on this racist dog whistle thing. In some of her replies she mentions hidden conduits in the neural pathways that are massaged by hateful messaging, producing tacit racist thoughts.

    Except in Ann Althouse and Teh Indupenentz, who see all. They just keep it real, baby.

    Althouse believes that most of us are just too stupid to pierce the skein of false consciousness as thoroughly as she and the folks of her political ilk have done. But also that we all just emote from our reptilian brains. And thus she does. But then, she rises above it, somehow. And we don’t.

    Whatever.

    See, I thought it was this kind of puffed up pretense to cognitive superiority that conservatives objected to in the mindset of actual and would-be progressive overlords, whereby people like the Obama-phone lady are bread-and-circused into dependency.

    Another illustration, that, of the unbridgeable gulf between conservatives and liberals: liberals are simply incapable of taking seriously the things that conservatives REALLY dread (such as a ruling class of progressive overlords lecturing us about our reptilian brains), and thus they must construe them as veils, one and all, for baser emotions. That way, conservatism can be subsumed within the liberal taxonomy, and the liberal mind can rest easy – there is no legitimate competing ideology, only more hate to suppress.

    4) Have a good Sunday everyone :)

  42. rickl Says:

    kolnai Says:
    September 30th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    We really have hit the dialogic sweet spot here.

    Neo needs to make that her motto. Or something.

  43. SteveH Says:

    Obamaphone lady is a dysfunctional American citizen. Conservatives know that government played a huge roll in making her that way. Liberals think it’s cruel to point her out because she’s black and simply can’t help it.

    So who is the racist?

  44. Teri Pittman Says:

    People like Ann Althouse do not know any real poor people. Most folks of her class look down on poor people (hatred of Walmart, “bitter clingers”). And to be honest, most poor folks don’t have high level blogs. One of my friends on welfare used to refer to her welfare check as her “paycheck”. If I tell you that she was white, it’s okay to discuss that. Had she been black, it would somehow be racist to discuss it. My concern is that this seems to be a subtle way to say blacks just aren’t as capable as other races and must be treated and discussed differently. And that is a real shame. We should be discussing ways to unleash black (and Hispanic) entrepreneurship. The mentality of the “obamaphone” lady is not limited to any particular race.

    And as a side note, why is it so awful to talk about the Obamaphone? Have folks forgotten “Reagan cheese”?

  45. fmt Says:

    Steve H: You nailed it.

  46. Sam L. Says:

    I will note that she seems to have a lot of trolls.

  47. Jay Guevara Says:

    One insight into the Left (which includes Althouse, her protestations to the contrary notwithstanding): notice that the characterize the speaker as black, but she’s also a woman. Yet nobody seems to regard the clip as a smear on women.

    Clearly the bleating about racism requires the clip convolved with projection from its viewers.

  48. NeoConScum Says:

    Ann Alth..ou..se…? Who?

    By-the-By, N-Neocon…Directly due to you, Missy, I’ve become a very big fan of Dr.Jacobson’s fine site.

  49. Lizzy Says:

    Democrats/Lefties pursue programs that make them feel good about themselves – it’s more about their intentions than the actual results. The Obamaphone woman is the perfect illustration of how so many of these feel-good Lefty programs make people dependent (and in this case, proudly so).
    This makes people like Althouse feel bad about herself, because it forces her to see how detrimental these feel-good programs can be. So as a defense mechanism, Althouse lashes out at the messenger, Rush, instead of the true culprit, decades of public policy that has infatilized people to the point that they rejoice in their dependence.

    *Sorry if this as already stated on Althouses site – couldn’t bear to wade through the comments.

  50. gcotharn Says:

    smart comment, Mrs. Whatsit.

    Also, today, in the daylight, I am feeling more generous, and want to acknowledge that we are all human, and fallible, and more complicated than my simple speculation allowed for. Althouse can be defended, against charges of manipulating her readers, by this simple and compelling factoid: she married a commenter. Kudos to her for that.

    I still suspect she is manipulative and inauthentic. However, she is probably also filled with significant goodness, and is, like me, just another human being who is struggling along as best she can. So, I respect that. I simply do not desire to read her blog.

  51. baklava Says:

    She refers to a free republic post on her. She is definitely aware of the stir she has caused.

    Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have the capability of reviewing her comments in a serious way.

    Just like Obama! She hasn’t learned and doesn’t plan to learn and calls out her opponents. Just like Obama.

    I actually lost sleep over this. Partly because i’m site from wielding a pick axe for 2 days straight but I reviewed her original comments repeatedly. She strung out the fact that Romney isn’t a strong candidate and therefore people like Rush are over powering his message.

    For Obama, Stephanie Cutter and Joe soptic over powering obamas message or Jeremiah Wright or the total EMPTY CHAIR PRESIDENCY doesn’t have her thinking….

    Its the fact that we have strong voices like Rush.

    Like High Hewit, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, etc. i’m projecting that she is pre disposed towards hearing conservatives negatively and I want to know why.

    For any clear thinking person who understands economics 101 and believes in PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, dependency is CRUEL. Not her being undecided. Being undecided isn’t cruel. Cruelty is the enslavement of Americans on dependency and a nation in decline. Teach that Ann.

  52. gcotharn Says:

    baklava,

    Althouse doesn’t have a to-the-bone understanding of Eco 101: she still believes smart persons in a distant capital can make better decisions … than can a large number of localized persons who comprise a market. Althouse doesn’t have a to-the-bone comprehension of the cruelty of dependency: she still believes that gifted elite must care for and nurture their hapless inferiors.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Separately:
    I’ve been absent from the net for a month or so, and therefore am compelled to reiterate my (and other commenters) most frequent assertion on this blog:
    buck up, b/c Romney is going to win by a decisive margin.

    The race was always going to be won by the Repub candidate, and remains almost impossible for Romney to lose. Romney is sorta kinda trying to lose it, yet he will not campaign so incompetently as to completely lose it. In fact, given Romney’s management skill, I expect he has a competent plan laid out for the final drive to November, and he will, in the end, win the decisive victory which was always there for the taking by the Repub nominee. The American public will not miss the fact that Pres. Obama is an incompetent executive. Excepting for MASSIVE incompetence by a Repub nominess: Pres. Obama was never going to win. No way, no how. Even the Pravda media cannot pull off an Obama victory.

    Buck up. Take a deep look at the situation: you can see it: the American public is not so far gone that they will re-elect Barack Obama. Our nation is not dead yet, our citizens have not yet lost our spirit. Be confident!

  53. foxmarks Says:

    You may have hit the dialogic sweet spot because for the past couple of months, the place has become much more of an echo chamber than it was during primary season.

    Big Media is biased. Liberals are mentally and psychologically defective. Politicians and candidates lie. U.S. foreign policy is failing.

    What did I leave out? Ballet, aging and jello. The cultural posts and comments remain interesting. The core political stuff is a rerun of McCain 08. The polls are not to be trusted! He’s better than Obama! Wow, look at the VP candidate!

    I’m hoping the monotonous GOP turd worship will fade after the election. This used to be my favorite spot on the intarwebz.

  54. gcotharn Says:

    foxmarks,
    some aspects of your comment are misguided. For instance: does anyone here actually like the GOP? much less worship it? I think not. I think the GOP sucks, and I wager that most here agree.

  55. Brad Says:

    Why Romney is going to lose if Obama gets any turnout:

    http://whiskeysplace.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/why-the-sailer-strategy-doesnt-work/

    The meat:
    ” A Liberal Black man is simply unassailable. Not just because the media says so, and slavishly follows someone like Barack Obama around hoping to lick his boots. No. It is because a very large segment of White voters feels that way. And any attack simply turns them off.

    We are talking about people like this. White women. A non-trivial amount of whom worship Barack Obama (because he’s Black) as if he is the second coming of Jesus, Chocolate Edition, 100% less Vanilla.

    Obama took single White women in 2008, on the order of 70%, about the same as his margin among Jewish voters, but unlike Jews (who are about 4% of the population and simply don’t matter in voting much anywhere — thus the general and inevitable drift to anti-Israeli policies because Jewish votes don’t matter), single White women exist in sizable numbers. Single White Women out-number married White Women by a considerable margin. Late marriage, with its inevitable high divorce rates, pretty much guarantee that. A woman married to her second, third, or fourth husband is not likely to consider him much of anything but a companion anyway, and thus essentially one step above a servant, basically disposable.

    The famous Gender Gap exists for a reason. White women, particularly single ones but even married ones, have very different interests and desires than White men.

    Much of the Democratic policies are aimed at simply stopping White guys. From changing the world any more. Women and the rest WANT IT TO STOP. Largely they’ve succeeded. Underlying the HATE HATE HATE of unsexy White guy nerds (and no one does that better than White guys) is the change they bring, that make women generally losers. Suppose America transitions from a nation of Hollywood, Academia, Government, NGOs, and low-level service to manufacturing and energy extraction? How will that help women? Will they play a leading part in it, as they do Hollywood (particularly TV which is almost exclusively female in audience composition)? Or will they simply stand around and watch like White guys at an NBA game?
    … Black men and women know they have as much chance in a world run by nerdy White guys, with a premium on abstract, high IQ, math and science thinking and doing, as the average White guy has of making the NBA or NFL lineup. The same is true for most Hispanics. And White women.
    The problem with the Sailer Strategy is that it presupposes that most Whites have the same interests that if properly identified would lead to bloc voting the way Blacks (98% Democrat, year in and out) or Latinos (75% Democrat, year in and out) vote. That’s wrong.”

    This guy is in many ways an ass, but I hope his number crunching is wrong, because if he is right only a smaller than average Democratic (or larger than average Republican) will defeat Barry in this election cycle.

  56. Otiose Says:

    The problem with Althouse’s response to the response to the video is twofold.

    One is that this idea that someone (maybe subconsciously) is using it to appeal to others (again maybe subconsciously) towards some manipulated end (vote against Obama) has no logical foundation and there is no logical response. It reminds me of the old Freudian attack for ANY behavior you find objectionable. It’s not rational so there is no rational response.

    The second is more of an observation/opinion… and that is Althouse may be telling us about what’s going on inside her own head not so much ours or others. And that (for me) tends to identify her as a ‘liberal’ (or a leftist whatever) because one thing I have noticed is that the leftists (here in CA that I meet) see EVERYTHING through a racist lens.

    They / Obama only want what is right and good so if you disagree you must be a racist even if you don’t know it.

  57. rickl Says:

    Whiskey is right more often than not.

  58. RandomThoughts Says:

    Just like the “Obama money” people (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAtrD_0Eh2I) , the “Obama phone” woman is both a gullible fool, and black. The fact that she’s black somehow means it’s unacceptable to spotlight her idiocy?

    I’m so tired of people like Althouse who apparently want to give a pass to asininity based on the color of the person displaying it.

  59. holmes Says:

    Foxmarks is unhappy that our comments are not committed to taking the system down. As he is, except he holds some sort of minor local elected office (as I recall from a comment of his), so I wonder what he’s doing in that office….

    I left a comment on Althouse’s blog previously that said if she votes for Obama, I simply won’t read her blog anymore. It’s not a quid pro quo threat; it’s just a rational reaction to someone who is so clearly self-deluded. Why waste my time reading an individual like that? I prefer to read blogs that are straight forward.

    As to her actual comment, it is completely illogical and she is projecting her tendency to emotionalism onto others. First, we’re voting for two candidates- Obama and Romney. Is Romney being racist? Why should what someone who supports Romney says move anyone from Romney the candidate? Secondly, and I stole this from one of the comments on that thread, when did Rush become racist? Why didn’t Althouse, who has listened to Rush for some time now, pick up on his racism earlier than a month before the election (when she’ll have to vote for the liberal to continue to have credibility with all of her colleagues and still get invited to parties?) She is supposedly very insightful (just ask her), so when did she come to this realization?

    It’s absurd. Rush probably ran Obama’s “You didn’t build that” statement over and over again. Was that racist? She has jumped the shark. Go ahead and say it, Althouse- conservatives are just hateful racists and their ideology can be best explained that way. And speaking of emotionalism, I get pretty upset when someone characterizes me as a racist for wanting to help poor people not be poor and dependent for the rest of their life. So, Althouse has now been deleted from my Google Reader. Vaya con Dios, Chica.

  60. holmes Says:

    We had a youth leader talk to us (a train the trainer kind of thing) at our church. He said one of the interesting things about the youngest generation is that they really do not see race anymore. There’s no double-take when a white female and black male (or vice versa) walk down the hall hand in hand. But for the Boomers, they can’t understand that world. It’ll be nice if/when we actually get to the place where people really don’t see race as anything more than hair color- an interesting trait and descriptor, and nothing more.

  61. parker Says:

    gcthorn says:

    “foxmarks,
    some aspects of your comment are misguided. For instance: does anyone here actually like the GOP? much less worship it? I think not. I think the GOP sucks, and I wager that most here agree.”

    IMO the democrats want to take the country to hell in a hand basket aboard the Starship Enterprise traveling at the speed of light. When in power the republicans tend to put the hand basket in the back seat of 1960 Impala and cruise at 60 mph as they gawk at the scenery.

    The only virtue of the GOP is that it is easier to make a u-turn in an 1960 Impala.

  62. Gary Rosen Says:

    gcotharn, your comments at 12:13 and 12:53 on Althouse and Obamaphone are excellent. I occasionally hit Althouse’s blog, mostly for the purpose of taunting an antisemitic troll named “Cedarford” whom she allows to roam free. Some of her regular commenters are insightful and funny. AA herself is, as they say, a “legend in her own mind”.

  63. neo-neocon Says:

    holmes: actually, Althouse jumped that particular shark quite some time ago. In the 2008 election she showed the same tendency to cry racism where few others saw it. In fact, it could be argued that her position on Rush playing the Obamaphone lady tape makes more sense than her position back then—on the Hillary Clinton anti-Obama ad and the “nig” pajamas. If you don’t remember, here’s the original post on the subject (there were quite a few more, I seem to recall), and here’s Vanderleun’s takedown of it.

  64. ErisGuy Says:

    So let me see:

    Althouse decries emotional voting, then implies she’ll vote for Obama because Limbaugh ran a video she didn’t like. If that’s rational according to professorial standards of Madison, I want to move to another planet.

  65. holmes Says:

    Neo, yes, thanks! I have read Althouse’s blog for a while, though more perusing it casually, so I missed that from 2008, or at least don’t recall it.

    Vanderleun’s takedown is impressive.

  66. carl in atlanta Says:

    Neo:

    Re your 8:16 to holmes:

    My God, I never knew. It’s like the Farrakhanian numerology thing!

    Or to be more charitable, maybe it’s just a paranoid obsession like that expressed by Woody Allen (in Annie Hall) where he’s convinced that some guy who’s asked him, “Did you eat yet?” actually asked “Jew eat yet?”.

    In case anyone doesn’t remember it, here’s a link to that scene:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaPBhxXhprg

  67. KLSmith Says:

    Sorry, I don’t know how to embed links but, anyone interested should read “When Divas Have Hissy Fits” by Virginia Postrel. It’s from 2006 regarding another accusation of racism meltdown. At the Liberty Fund conference against her peers.
    Apparently, getting up on her high horse seeing racism where no one else does is a thing with her.
    It’s seems more clear to be now why she’s an Obama voter. She’s the great white hero cutting the black man a whole bunch of slack. Reverse racism and a morally superior condescension to those who disagree. That doesn’t make her a bad person, of course. And I think her philosophy regarding the emotional/rational decision making is even stranger.

  68. Judith L Says:

    AA’s reaction to phone lady reminds me of “The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.” I still don’t understand her assertion that phone lady elicits fear of blacks. If phone lady elicits fear, it’s fear that we will be saddled with a huge bill for free phones. That fear has nothing to do with race.

  69. carl in atlanta Says:

    KL: I Googled that phrase to Virginia Postrel’s 2006 post and followed her links down the rabbit hole to Jonah Goldberg’s and Ronald Baily’s posts.
    I’m quite disillusioned; she’s been one of of favorite bloggers and I think Ive even speculated here a couple of times that I thought she might be undergoing a Neo-like “change”.

    Live and learn….

  70. DonS Says:

    Racism has become the great evil of our culture. Personally, I think there are greater evils.

    I grew up with a racist (against blacks, but not antisemetic or antihispanic) dad who was a great man in most respects. I never agreed with his racism, but I very much loved other things about him.

    Also, there is a rational basis for ethnic prejudice. There are behaviours that some ethnic groups engage in more then others, and while the cause is almost certainly culture, it is hardly surprising that people will notice the correlations and draw conclusions. To defeat racism, skin color or ethnic identity has to fail to tell you anything about the persons behaviour; as long as skin color is a useful predictor it will be used as such.

    I think it was good to get past the blatent racism of the 50s and 60s, but at this point the use of racism as an excuse and political club is well past its expiration point.

  71. DonS Says:

    http://reason.com/blog/2006/12/29/grande-conservative-blogress-d

  72. DonS Says:

    Sorry, I don’t know how to embed links but, anyone interested should read “When Divas Have Hissy Fits” by Virginia Postrel.

    Pretend that ( is

    Do this:

    (url)http://neoeocon.com(/url)

  73. DonS Says:

    Pretend that ) is >

  74. holmes Says:

    Wow, now I vaguely remember that incident, and I think I might have stopped reading her for a while after that, but returned after a few Instapundit links. She clearly has race issues. I’m sure she hates racism, but she seems more upset when it’s not there and some emotional response in her needs it to be.

  75. KLSmith Says:

    holmes: agree
    DonS: ?

  76. gcotharn Says:

    DonS,

    You make an important point, and it is a point which can hardly be made, in America in 2012, without attracting accusation and scorn: there are worse things than being racist.

    I am reminded of my frequent assertion, here, and I mean it sincerely, and I think most thinking persons would agree with it: even a racist would be a better POTUS than Obama.

    But, returning to Althouse and PC persons who have elevated racism (as a cudgel with which to bludgeon their political opponents):
    they ignore this reality: among the population of Americans who hold undeniably racist opinions, exists a large portion who would, on a moments notice, risk their lives to try and save the life of a black person; who would not hesitate to leap into the lake to save a drowning black person; who would not hesitate to go into a burning building to save a black person.

    Here is a thing to consider: while these racist Americans were risking their lives in effort save black persons, just WHO would be standing passively on shore, unwilling to dive in and risk drowning; and just WHO would be standing passively on the street, unwilling to run into a building and risk being burned?

    Well, Ann Althouse and the rest of the PC left, that’s who. These shouters of racism would be the very persons who stood by and watched the black persons die. All I can say is: if you’ve lived very long in America, and you’ve paid attention to human nature, you know that the racists are more likely to risk their lives than are the PC left. It is simply true, if you’ve been paying attention to people. IMO.

    Therefore, I restate and reshape DonS’ opinion: there are worse things than what the PC left identifies as “racism.”

  77. gcotharn Says:

    I wrote a phrase which, in my mind, was metaphorical, but, in actuality was sloppy and unfair. I wrote: “Ann Althouse and the PC left…” I ought have left Althouse out of the phrase, and thus eliminated any possible personal implication re her. I apologize.

  78. Book Says:

    This all illustrates to me another truth about our current political culture: Republicans by and large are much less tolerant of racism in their midst than Democrats.

    Their intolerance is a good thing, it weeds out the scum that have no place among us. Unfortunately, I think it’s largely motivated by a desire to end the accusations of racism. Republicans are just sick and tired of it. Racism disgusts us, but proving that fact is nearly impossible. It is like trying to disprove a conspiracy theory. “It’s POSSIBLE that all republicans are SECRETLY racist, therefore we look for “hints” and “dog whistles” that maybe they are using to communicate with their racist brethren! Burn the racist witches!”

    On the other hand, when a Democrat says something that would otherwise be called racist, it is largely ignored or explained away. Because he’s a Democrat. SEE: Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Robert Byrd, etc, etc, etc

    The fact of the matter is, TRUE racism in today’s culture is incredibly rare. Other than pedophilia, it is the most condemned immoral behavior in the U.S. This post publishing statistics of racist ideas within political parties did a good job laying out the facts that racism has almost nothing to do with political affiliation. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a monopoly on racism against blacks. (the poll does not address antisemitism, racism against whites, Asians, or Hispanics.)

    Unfortunately, for people like Althouse, it is only her perception that matters. Arguing with her is as futile as arguing with a conspiracy theorist…or a puritan witch burner.

  79. holmes Says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/romney-garbage-man-ad-video-132521031–election.html

    I wonder what Althouse would say, sober-minded as she is, about the juxtaposition of this particular ad. What is it that the Union is trying to say here about white Mitt Romney?

  80. holmes Says:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/329098/mitt-romney-worked-garbage-man-charles-c-w-cooke

    Ha ha ha!

  81. DonS Says:

    KLSmith,

    Attemting to show how to post links.

    Look at the brackets (> and it’s opposite) above your reply sceen.

    Use “url” and “/url” inside the brakets.

  82. MissJean Says:

    parker, your Impala comment killed me. I actually visualized Romney being passed by the Enterprise, captained by the president (Biden makes a terrible Spock but probably ok as Bones).

    On Althouse: Years ago she freaked out over the implied racism of a libertarian or some such – that’s the previous incident you mentioned? I just remember thinking that she probably was suffering from jetlag and low blood sugar. As for her current comments, I think she’s justifying her vote just like those high-minded cohabitating couples who said they wouldn’t get married until gays could, too. (Never mind that they lived together a decade and aren’t married to this day…) It just SOUNDS so right!

    To the fox: I’m sorry my level of commentary doesn’t meet your high standards. I blame reading too many old books and the time I voted for a Green Party candidate.

  83. KLSmith Says:

    DonS: Thanks. I’m pretty much computer illiterate.

  84. holmes Says:

    Althouse is at it again today, this time decrying that a concealed video from 2007 is racist to show in context. She’s officially persona non grata in my book for dirtying up my (second :) favorite blog, Instapundit today.

  85. neo-neocon Says:

    holmes: don’t you know, it’s racist to say a black person is being racist?

  86. holmes Says:

    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/152568/

    Elizabeth Foley incisively cuts through this.

  87. Jeffersonian Says:

    I don’t know how to say this in a nice way. My thoughts on reading Ann Althouse’ comments on the 2007 video are as follows.
    1. Of course the video is relevent and important. Had independant voters seen it in 2008 it could and probably would have changed the way they voted.
    2. This is why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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