An interesting observation:
On the "mixed" forums that I visit--and where I post for a larger audience than we have here--in this dusty corner of the web, I often go head to head with some rather far-right wingnuts. When this happens, I make it a point not to:
1. Use insults.
2. Name call.
3. Ridicule a position without a specific and sourced rebuttal.
Invariably, those on the "right" violate all of these rules; even when they are otherwise articulate and well-informed. I've often wondered why this is and have finally, I think, figured it out:
The political right makes no distinction between these tactics and legitimate debate. Quite literally, they believe that insults, name calling and baseless ridicule are exactly equivalent, equally valid, and indistinguishable from any other debating technique. Rush limbaugh does it. Sean Hannity does it. Even President Bush does it.
And the media duly reports it. Bush's phrase, "You can run, but you can't hide" has been widely repeated in the mainstream press as a great comeback to Kerry's reasoned rebuttals and specific proposals in the last debate. Why? He offered no specific rebuttal at all.
And yet, empty phrases appear to be as valid as actual information--perhaps even more, if they make a good sound bite- for this election season. I guess I should work more on my snappy comebacks, name calling and insults; it would save me a lot of time compared to researching issues, forming positions and defending them with facts.
Maybe Kerry should do it , too. You know, instead of using big words and facts in the next debate he could just say things like, "My opponent is too dumb to run this country." or "We can't afford four more years with Dick Cheney at the helm." Who knows? It might work.