Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bloggers With Blinders

Too funny.  Via Atrios, I just read of conservative bloggers who scheduled conference calls with three Congressmen vying for Delay’s vacated Majority Leader spot.  And while the first two calls went decently, the one with Congressman Blunt gave them a bad taste in their mouths (you can guess what that taste was).  

To quote Dale Franks at QandO Blog:
As far as I'm concerned, the Blunt call was a disaster for Rep Blunt. My dominant impression was that he was trying to stack the deck with ringers who'd throw him softball questions, so our group's ability to question him closely would be limited by squandering time on people who were not part of our group, and whose questions he saw in advance. In short, he was trying to spin us. As far as I can tell, Rep. Blunt broke just about every rule for how to deal effectively with bloggers. I don't think he could've alienated me more effectively had he intentionally set out to do so.

Welcome to the real GOP, Dale.  Try not to wipe the bootmarks off your ass, or they’ll just have to go through the trouble of making new ones.

Here’s more from Dale:
Then, Rep. Blunt just outright pissed me off. He said words to the effect that, while he understood that many of us supported someone else, and he knew we'd be writing up the call later, he hoped we wouldn't write or do something that would jeopardize our ability to work together later, and since he was gonna win—already had the votes locked up, in fact—we would be dealing with him.

What the hell party has he been looking at for five years?  This is exactly how the GOP’s been running things since Bush took office, and even going back before that, when he was merely a candidate.  This isn’t something that Blunt invented to get this leadership spot.  This is the standard operating procedure.  Did he really believe that those orchestrated Bush events were done so simply to keep out the rabble-rousers?  Has he never heard that Bush receives questions before many interviews?  How did he not realize that “Jeff Gannon” was a complete set-up, as a lifesaver to a Whitehouse receiving questions it didn’t like?  Or that this was a regular feature of Whitehouse press conferences?  The question isn’t why this one congressman was screwing around with the rightwing bloggers, but why they’ve never noticed this before.

But that’s the thing, these people haven’t been noticing this.  They’re still up in arms about the “liberal media” and haven’t realized that the media does this exact thing.  They toss softball questions and make sure to not write the bad stuff, or risk losing important access.  Because there’s always another reporter to take your place.  That’s not to suggest that all of the media is like that, but they don’t need all of the media.  They just need a few loyal scribes to submit their questions beforehand and only write the good stuff.  And it works.  And it looks like Blunt was pulling the same crap, so he could get some loyal bloggers who wanted access to a bigwig.

And in the meantime, the GOP has become a complete sham.  But these people haven’t noticed.  They’re so busy attacking traitorous libs and the supposedly Bush-hating media that they haven’t noticed the prank that’s been played on them.  The GOP leadership, from Bush to Rush and on down to the lower-level players are playing a game with their loyal supporters, and the supporters fall for it every damn time.  They’re trying to set us off against one another, so we don’t notice what the heck’s going on up above.

And that’s the thing.  Just reading this one post of his, I suspect that I have far more in common with Franks than he has with his own party.  But he just doesn’t know it.  He’s been the victim of professional stagecraft and manipulation for years, and is just now having the blinds pulled up.  But the big question is whether he’ll use his new found sight to uncover similar scams being pulled on him, or if he just thinks this is an isolated incident.  Unfortunately, it sounds like he thinks it’s just isolated.  Hopefully, he’ll prove me wrong on that.  I have no problem with people having different opinions than me, but too often, the Republican leadership is just fucking with the facts and messing with our minds.

(As a disclaimer, I’ve never read anything else by Dale Franks, and do not know if my description necessarily applies to him directly.  This is solely based upon the surprise he seems to have experienced by the tactics these people have used for many years.)


Dale said...

And had you read more than one post of mine, you'd realize that a) I am not a Republican--although I'm most certainly not a democrat--and that B) I regularly criticize the Republicans and President Bush specifically.

My surprise came from the fact that this guy, who should be in a position to "get it" after seeing what the years under DeLay has brought, still doesn't get it.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Of course, my mistake. You're not a Republican. You're a "neo-libertarian" who leans heavily towards the Republicans. Were I a cynical person, I'd say that this was merely a device whereby you can attack Dems without having to defend Repubs; as if having any disagreements with Republicans is enough to put you into a different category. And seeing as how I am a cynical person, that is what I say. I disagree with some things that Dems do, especially the "New Democrat" types, and I've voted for third-parties, including in presidential elections; but the Dem label sticks to me, so I don't pretend otherwise. I suspect it's not much different for you, except you'd prefer the idea that you're a free-agent. To be nice, I'll call you a Goldwater Republican and leave it at that.

BTW, I have now read every post of yours that showed on your mainpage today, and none of them suggested that you weren't a Republican, and a few that suggested you leaned in that direction (you didn't have very many posts). I also read a blogmate of yours referring to Bin Laden as being in the "Murtha Wing of the Democratic Party". Nice. Overall, I stand by the post I wrote, though I might have worded a few things differently. Again, if you were at all surprised by Congressman Blunt's actions, you haven't been paying attention.

ballgame said...

Dr. Biobrain: Nice post. I just want to echo your point. There are some very intelligent and PROFOUNDLY confused folks out there. Not long ago, someone I know -- an extremely sharp, highly accomplished professional with whom I've shared the occasional intellectual discussion over the years -- lent me a copy of a book by Thom Hartmann. Can't remember the title, but it was the one about how the institution of the corporation with its quasi-citizen status was undermining American democracy ... pretty radical stuff.

So when the two of us got together for lunch very recently, I was taken aback when my friend started spouting the Bush line ... we were in Iraq because of 9/11 ... the mass media is heavily biased towards liberals ... the killing of a couple thousand by terrorists is something that clearly elicited a gut-level response (understandably), but the prospect of millions or billions dying in our lifetimes because of the impact of global warming did not elicit much concern even on a theoretical level.

If my friend were an idiot, or a jerk, or a rabid fundamentalist, or Chicago school free market devotee, I could just write it off. But to the best of my knowledge, none of those things apply, and from out past discussions I would have thought that we were on the same page in regards to a lot of basic sociopolitical issues. I'm not sure I can quite put my finger on it here, but it's almost as if there's less _emotional_ cognitive dissonance for a person when they choose a perspective which is subtly endorsed by the mass media even if such a perspective should generate significantly more _intellectual_ cognitive dissonance (since that perspective is fundamentally at odds with the person's core beliefs).

It's like there's a desire to feel 'above the fray', watching the puppet show of two roughly equal parties -- the bumbling Democrats and the hard-headed Republicans -- going at each other the same way they have been for a century, with the 'pendulum' swinging one way, then another. Caught up in the show, they're oblivious to the python-like grip one of the parties has gotten on the whole production.

I may have mangled a metaphor ... and I'm not sure I explained myself very well ... but hopefully you get my gist. Digby, as usual, has an excellent perspective on this today in his "Limbaugh Nation" post.