October 16th, 2004


Maybe I should moonlight as a Republican someday...

Rolling Stone has a great article called "Bush Like Me" in which a New York liberal goes to Florida to infiltrate the Bush campaign. Hijinks ensue.

The most sadly amusing part is when the organization has to search all over the Orlando region to find a black Republican for an interview... they finally find a born-again Christian named Lorin to help out, but once they find him, they treat him like a second-class citizen.

"...another staffer came over to say hi. He . . . asked if Lorin was planning on coming in to do phone banking. Lorin answered that he wasn't, that he was busy . . . The staffer laughed. "Oh, come on," he said jokingly. "I know how you people don't like to work."

Lorin, who was halfway out the door, stopped at this. His smile disappeared. For a moment, he was genuinely pissed off. "We don't like to work?" he said. "That's all I do is work to make you white Republicans look good."

The staffer, a jovial guy who I normally liked quite a bit, said nothing and simply slapped Lorin on the back, laughed and helped him out the door.

"Good old Lorin," he said, going back to his office.

Vienna (a Latina) also chimed in after Lorin left. The two of them didn't like each other, having once disagreed at a community meeting.

"I don't like that guy," she said. Then she explained: "After that meeting, we really got into it. We were really shouting. He called me a spic. And so I said to him, 'Hey, I may be a spic, but at least I wasn't brought to this country as a slave. I was born here.' "

Day-um. They eat their own.

The writer also comes up with one of the best critiques of fundamentalist thinking I've ever seen.

"One of the great cliches of liberal criticism of the Christian right is the idea that these people are wrongheaded because they profess to know the will of God . . . These criticisms sound like they make sense. But I think they are a little off-base. The problem not only with fundamentalist Christians but with Republicans in general is not that they act on blind faith, without thinking. The problem is that they are incorrigible doubters with an insatiable appetite for Evidence. What they get off on is not Believing, but in having their beliefs tested. That's why their conversations and their media are so completely dominated by implacable bogeymen: marrying gays, liberals, the ACLU, Sean Penn, Europeans and so on. Their faith both in God and in their political convictions is too weak to survive without an unceasing string of real and imaginary confrontations with those people -- and for those confrontations, they are constantly assembling evidence and facts to make their case.

But here's the twist. They are not looking for facts with which to defeat opponents. They are looking for facts that ensure them an ever-expanding roster of opponents. They can be correct facts, incorrect facts, irrelevant facts, it doesn't matter. The point is not to win the argument, the point is to make sure the argument never stops. Permanent war isn't a policy imposed from above; it's an emotional imperative that rises from the bottom. In a way, it actually helps if the fact is dubious or untrue (like the Swift-boat business), because that guarantees an argument. You're arguing the particulars, where you're right, while they're arguing the underlying generalities, where they are.

Once you grasp this fact, you're a long way to understanding what the Hannitys and Limbaughs figured out long ago: These people will swallow anything you feed them, so long as it leaves them with a demon to wrestle with in their dreams."

...which is the same mindset as the terrorists, some may argue.

Another milestone in Iraq.


...with no end in sight.

Common sense says not to throw good money after bad, but somehow that argument doesn't work when you're talking about human lives. Perhaps the conflict must continue because the loss would be too much to bear otherwise.

Jon Stewart's amazing rant on Crossfire.

It's wonderful. Legendary, even.

He did Crossfire and 0wn3d the format and controlled the subject from the first moment, telling Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala to stop fighting, stop making a bad, hurtful show, and concentrate on real debates and real questions instead of partisan hackery.

The transcript is here. Ifilm is streaming it online here. You can also download it with BitTorrent here and here... so you have no excuse not to watch it, now.