Thursday, October 16, 2008

Arguing to win, not to understand (or, "Here is my answer Mr. Hannity.")

I was listening to Sean Hannity on my way home from work. It is an effort to try to understand where the extreme Right is coming from, not for pleasure. How anyone can listen to Hannity endlessly repeat the same thing hour after hour, day after day, is a wonder.

In a moment of exasperation he asked, "How can the Left continue to support Obama, with all of this evidence stacked against him?" I think he was truly befuddled.

What he doesn't understand is that a man like him has no credibility outside of his most ardent followers. Every accusation Hannity makes against Obama carries so much exxageration that one never knows where the truth ends and the lie begins. He is like the boy who cries wolf.

So the reason he is looking for is simple... he is not an honest man. The truth is that if McCain HAD jumped ship years ago and gone Democrat and was running with Liberman on the same platform and talking points he does now, Sean Hannity would be shredding him - not defending him. As much as Sean may reference truth, the reality is that his truth changes according to party lines.

This is why people like myself are not moved by many arguments given by the Right, these arguments are looking to score points... not be consistent or truthful. I am not saying that people on the Left don't do this as well, but the Left doesn't have 24 hours a day of AM radio training them in this mode of discourse.

An example of this came in last night's debate. McCain said the American people need to know about Senator Obama's relationship with William Ayers. Obama then gave a detailed review of his relationship -

"Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago. Forty years ago, when I was 8 years old, he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. I have roundly condemned those acts. Ten years ago he served and I served on a school reform board that was funded by one of Ronald Reagan's former ambassadors and close friends, Mr. Annenberg.

Other members on that board were the presidents of the University of Illinois, the president of Northwestern University, who happens to be a Republican, the president of The Chicago Tribune, a Republican- leaning newspaper.

Mr. Ayers is not involved in my campaign. He has never been involved in this campaign. And he will not advise me in the White House. So that's Mr. Ayers."

McCain then went on with his talking points as if Obama had not responded -

"... Sen. Obama chooses to associate with a guy who in 2001 said that he wished he had have bombed more, and he had a long association with him. It's the fact that all the -- all of the details need to be known about Sen. Obama's relationship ..."

Ummmm..... he just gave us those details......

It is clear that McCain really didn't want an answer to his question. He did not refute what Obama said... McCain just pretended Obama hadn't said it.

What I will say in McCain's behalf is that I do not believe that incident is a demonstration of what is at his core... he is just trying to get some traction in these last weeks.

However we all meet, or hear on the radio, or read on blogs, people who are like this at their core. They get frustrated and angry that we will not see life their way. They take it as a personal affront that we disagree with them. When you meet them, here is my advice.... smile and nod. :)


Alec Martin said...

If ANYONE from the Republican Party would have sat on a board with an unrepentant ABORTION Clinic Bomber- like Eric Rudolf- they would have been thrown off the ticket.
If ANYONE from the Republican Party would have stepped FOOT in a David Duke's-style KKK Church, they would have been off the ticket.
Bill Ayres and Barack Obama have served on boards together. Barack wrote a glowing review of Ayres radical book. He sat in the pews of Rev. G.D. AmeriKKKa Wright for 20 years, while he spewed his Black Liberation Theology, Hate America, Hate Whitey Marxist hate speech.
He wants to "spread the wealth."
Raise taxes on the middle class and above - to give "welfare checks" to those who don't even PAY taxes.
Joe the Plumber and Joe Sixpack are the REAL America LOVING and RESPECTING folks- like John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Barry thinks America is a flawed, bad country that needs "change."
His wife says that "America is a downright mean country."
We need positive, God-fearing Americans.
Obama says that people in Pennsylvania and other places are "bitter people, clinging to their guns and religion."
We want this man to be in charge of this country.
I think not.
I PRAY not.
Wake up- America!

Andrew said...

New Rule: Americans are no longer allowed to use the phrase "Wake-up" during political arguing. People are awake just fine... they just disagree with you.

Bruce said...

You are a better man then me.....Hannity, Limbaugh, etal cause my blood pressure to go up too much so I avoid them. They lie. Plain and simple.

In Ohio we have WLW out of Cincinnati, 50,000 watt AM station that features right winger Bill Cunningham. I listen to him when I am in the car. He lies virtually every time he opens his mouth. Truth doesn't matter.....Just keep the base enthused.

The saddest thing is that years ago I was a supporter of men like Hannity, Limbaugh, and Cunningham. (and I used the pulpit to promote their ideology)

What is needed is open, honest debate. The shrill ideologues on either side wear me out, and at times, anger me.

Andrew said...

Bruce - Yep, I used to be a big Rush fan too... grew up listening to him. Went to the Rush to Excellence show in Detroit.

I think what amazes me most is how incredibly redundant these shows are. They will be going off on Obama about something, I'll change channels for a while, half hour later I come back and they are still on the same topic saying the same thing as when I left. 6 minutes of actual content is rehashed for 60.... boring, boring, boring.

BTW, I haven't seen you or Alec before, how did y'all come across my blog?

Bruce said...

I am not sure. You have been in my Feed reader quite awhile.

I am an Emerging/Emergent Church advocate so I suspect that is where I found a link to your site.

Redlefty said...

The "spread the wealth" attack against Obama makes me laugh with irony, since McCain is the one who has continued proposing bigger and bigger bailouts to banks and mortgage companies. This takes money right from the pockets of responsible homeowners.

And which party added all the pork to the recently-signed $700B bailout bill? Hint: it was the "small government, no pork" party.

Both sides have massive problems. One day perhaps we'll have a third option, but our country isn't there yet.

marianne Marty said...

I must say that I also think that America is a very "flawed country." How could you not? I think I am a very flawed person. That's why I am always striving to improve. Seeing the flaws is the first step to working hard. I am not sure what America is supposed to "wake up to" other than well. .it's flaws. I don't know of many countries who have an uglier past to repent for than America, we killed off virtually an entire race of American Indians, we imported another race to enslave and proceeded to brutalize them for the next 100 years, and then there's all the mistakes we made in wars since then. .and the torture we have been guilty of only recently. I think flawed would be an understatement. We clearly have a lot of work to do and a lot to repent for. But of course that is not Palin's perspective, she said in the VP debate that American's were "unapologetic." Yikes!
Oh gosh, if someone held it against me every time I "associated" with someone who made very bad choices I'd be in trouble. Only people who live in very very small worlds have probably not associated with people who have later disappointed them or found out things about them that were very alarming. But most "community organizers" and successful people lead such broad lives it would be impossible to know everyone intimately. Billy Graham was very close to Nixon who was clearly guilty of some very terrible behavior which Graham later repented the associated for. And as far as McCain and Palin being "loving and respectful" I am at a loss. McCain has shown so little personal integrity and dignity it is like looking at a different person then the one we saw running for the bid in 2000. When people booed at the mention of McCain at Obama's rally this week he said "stop, we don't need that, we just need you to vote." Palin never discourages this behavior and McCain only rarely. He actually referred to Obama as "this one" in the 2nd debate (that's respectful?). He attacks him constantly in such a nonsensical way it is beyond puzzling. And yes many people do get welfare who don't "pay taxes" like my grandmother who was permanently crippled and widowed with 10 children in the 30's. And people who have been so poorly educated in the school system that they can barely earn a living, until they get sick or have other issues that may lead to welfare. . .not everyone on welfare is looking for a free ride. Like my Aunt in Slidell, LA who was widowed a year before Katrina when my Uncle who served his lifetime in the military died and after her house was destroyed had to go on welfare. Poor people and widows have always been here and if I remember correctly Jesus said we were to take care of these people. .and I'm sorry but most Americans just aren't getting it done through charity. Not even close. I grew up in a church where the pastor embezzled money and was removed and some of the more prominent members were later found to be guilty of rape, murder and other acts. Thanks God I do not consider myself liable for my pastor's or anyone else's behavior who I may have "associated with". I learned from it and am now more careful about where I go to church.

Brook said...

Marianne -
would you start a blog already?!

societyvs said...

McCain is a very bad public speaker compared to Obama - this is very clear in all of the debates.

McCain also is always in attack mode - I guess that what happens when you're losing by 10 points in the polls.

The choice of VP's actually has helped make all the difference - Obama picked better plain and simple...people would be afraid to vote for Palin (she seems rather uneducated to me - like a Bush Jr woman clone).

Obama has plans that will actually help America in your lifetimes - namely in healthcare and the green economy (heck you might even pass up Canada). Obama is a very smart person and to be honest - reminds me of Kennedy.

societyvs said...

Oh yeah, and Ann Coulter may be a horrible windbag with views similar to that of the Grinch - maybe my eyes decieve me - but she is pretty.

Steve H. said...

Marianne, I'm with Brooke. Give in to the dark side and start a blog. I can almost feel the power courseing through you as dark energies swirl in your...SLAP...sorry I got carried away!

Andy, liberals do have 24 hr radio although its still in its infancy. And its just as moronic. I listened to 760 AM Progressive almost everyday in Boulder and would often have to turn it I do with the right wing stuff. Randi Rhodes would get on and nothing W. or the Republicans EVER did was positive. For me, thats the real test, when you can't say ONE positive thing about the other side...I lose interest because then your argument means nothing to me.

For me, the closest thing I have to rational "right of center" talk is my man Dennis Miller!!!

OneSmallStep said...

**It is clear that McCain really didn't want an answer to his question. He did not refute what Obama said... McCain just pretended Obama hadn't said it.**

McCain seemed to do this a few times. He kept commenting on Obama raising taxes, even though Obama said that he'd cut 95% of the taxes. There was also the connection to Bush, with Obama saying that the reason he connects the two is that McCain has supported Bush's economic policies. McCain described all the ways in which he broke with his party ... and yet I never heard him describe how he broke with them on an economic basis, which was Obama's whole point.

Now, this may just be a thing that McCain does with Obama. But that scares me, because a President cannot afford to ignore responses/evidence like that, simply to prove a point. McCain could have at least said here are the reasons why I say Obama will raise taxes, rather than behave as though he didn't even hear Obama's response. Plus, it's just disrespectful to the audience.

The other thing that scares me about McCain is that I got the impression he truly does not like Obama at all. And that's fine, he doesn't have to. But can we really afford a President who is that evident in his disdain? How would McCain act with world leaders he doesn't like?

Andrew said...

We don't get Dennis out here, I would be interested to hear him (love his standup). It is too bad that most talk radio is shrill, unbalanced, rabble rousing. I love listening to intelligent conversation. I wish there was a radio version of the round table discussions that are on News TV Sunday morning.

Marianne - Good to hear from you. It is always telling when people want to white wash the American past. This is not a sports competition. We do not need cheerleaders screaming we're number one! Aren't we adults here? Do we need our self-esteem constantly stroked like some stuttering teenager? I go crazy when both candidates have to keep saying "America is the greatest this" and "The best hope that". Could you imagine working side by side with someone who constantly tooted their horn like that - always wanting to vocalize that they are better than you. Would there not be a breakdown in relationship? Well, we need to relate with the World, our fellow co-workers in the international community. Being the Prima Donna is not helping.

Jon L. said...

Don't have time to comment on some of the things brought up... but I do have to concur with Steve on Miller's radio show, although I only catch it once in a while. These are times listed for Salt Lake City:
KLO-AM 1430 12p-1p
KTSN-AM 1340 3p-6p
KELY-AM 1230 11a-2p

Chad said...

Keep up the great stuff Andy, I love reading it. I sent you some stuff on Facebook last night that might help with all the false accusers making up lies about Obama.

Alec, if you want another vote for McCain quit forwarding the false statement about Obama. McCain almost got my vote until I started researching most of the anti-Obama emails I've recieved and checked the sources and found out where they were originating. Pretty nasty stuff. I figure God must really want Obama in office because the "deciever" is working overtime to spread some pretty good lies.

marianne Marty said...

Oh I know. But I am done with my political rants. :) I voted today so as far as I'm concerned it's all out of my system. Also I can't find any mention online about Obama writing a glowing review of Ayres book? Anyone got anything on that? I'd be interested to know. . .
Good talking to everybody. . .sorry for the super long "blog." I've never commented on anyone's blog before! hee I was just catching up on Andy's blog since he posted a plug for it. . .I hope everyone has a great and relaxing weekend. Brook, hurry up and come down here already. Lori's little Indian children are a riot. . .and it's not hot here anymore! :) yoohoo!

marianne Marty said...

Ok maybe one more blog! ha Does it drive anyone else crazy that McCain keeps putting banners up at rallies saying "Country First"? I mean out of all the things in my life, God, family, ethics, charity. . ."Country" may be in the top 10 but FIRST? I mean some people don't even have a country. My roommate has dual citizenship in Canada and India but lives here. . what is HER country? She loves all 3 and doesn't really care where she lives. Is "Country" really some people's #1 priority? Thoughts?

Steve H. said...

I get Dennis Miller via I-Tunes and through his web site at:

Redlefty said...


On the "Country First" thing, I'm not sure, but yesterday Palin said that she was proud to have the "Pro-America" people at her rallies.

The worldview behind a statement like that is disconcerting to me.

Lorim said...

Things must be getting pretty intense if even my little sister is blogging these days. I only wish I wasn't so busy at work and could do the same. But alas, I must get back to the sale of Christian products.....

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