I’m not sure what to make of some responses I’ve received over the past few weeks to comments made supporting ideas from a conservative viewpoint. I can only summarize, since they involve people I’d prefer to stay on friendly terms with.
There’s an e-mail or blog comment floating around contrasting conditions now with those in the summer of 2006, such as the Dow, price of gas, unemployment rate, etc. The idea is that things were great while the GOP held Congress, but the Democrats have screwed it all up since taking over Congress.
This gets sent as a “reply-all” to a big list of people, many of whom are liberal, most importantly the originator of the list. I guess I should mention that the initial e-mail was an invitation to consider the questions raised about Gov. Palin by Matt Damon. So that gives you a sense of the level of sophistication at the start of this chain of events.
The first quick reply tried an argument by analogy to the effect that someone adopting a troubled 10-year old isn’t to blame for problems that appear at 12, accompanied by the usual derisive slams about bad logic and lameness. The counter was obvious, that if the adopted child didn’t have problems at 10, the problems at 12 are indeed the new parents’ fault. With of course the sarcastic references to being brain dead.
Of course the premise of the comparison of 2006 with 2008 is that conditions were good before and lousy now, so the first argument by analogy fails without pointing out why there were underlying troubles. The response to the contrasts needed to provide information about why that premise was false. But of course that requires time and substantive thought. Easier to whip off a quick analogy people will connect with. Fail.
After the argument by analogy dies its quick death, the left-wing response takes it farther into realms of mindless drooling on the keyboard. The allegorical ten-year olds are now pregnant children of Gov. Palin, and the sender of the contrast is encouraged to acknowledge his affinity with Larry Craig and Ted Haggart as a closeted, self-loathing homosexual, part of the “20% silent but deadly minority freaks.”
If that sums up the left-wing response to a fairly weak conservative talking point, a mildly reasonable expression of conservatism would sweep the political scene. If all it takes to send liberals berzerk is to throw out some simplistic data points, some straightforward, clear points would point out the vacuousness of much of the left-wing in the country. I don’t think many Americans would embrace it.
But of course there are substantive, thoughtful liberals, just as there are nut-ball right-wingers. But I think the tail is shorter on the right than it is on the left, and not making that clear to the country at large has been a missed opportunity for the GOP this year, IMO.