Most profound

One of the curses of the internet age for newspapers (among many) is that we are  bombarded by scammers placing classified ads. Sometimes they make me angry, and usually I just ignore them. But the opening sentence of this one made me chuckle:

I want to place a Paid To Drive advert on your profound Newspaper and both online(Website) and onprint(Newspaper) for the duration of 21days(3weeks). 

Chick fileted

At Electric City Weblog, Dave Budge wonders why the left hasn’t been more outspoken about threats to block Chick-Fil-A stores in Boston and Chicago because its owners oppose gay marriage.I’m never quite sure what Budge means when he talks about “the left,” but I have read criticisms of the mayors’ statements from such conservative stalwarts as Mother Jones, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan (a fiscal conservative who strongly supports gay marriage), Kevin Drum and Digby. And those are just places I usually look.

This isn’t just a Budge thing. Those on the right seem to perpetually refuse to believe that anyone to the left will take a stand for the First Amendment. Mike Huckabee was making the same case on the radio Thursday.

But why? If liberalism means anything, it means a belief that robust and uninhibited public participation leads to good government. I think the misconception arises from two things:

1. People on the right appear to have a harder time adjusting to evidence that doesn’t match their preconceived conclusions. You could write a book about it.

2. People on the left just don’t have the same media megaphone that the right has. When the right gets up in arms, the message rings loud and clear across the country from Fox to Limbaugh to Hannity to Huckabee to Beck. The left has no equivalent. MSNBC is trying, but its audiences remain tiny. Even if the mainstream media were as far left as many conservatives think, they still couldn’t just pound on the same points hour after hour, day after day, the way Limbaugh and Hannity do. The rules don’t allow it.

When you fail to hear outrage from the left on issues like this, it isn’t necessarily because the left isn’t trying. It’s because the left isn’t heard.

Anti-colonialists, unite

I listened to just a couple of minutes of Glenn Beck today, and I heard him call Barack Obama an “anti-colonialist.” I’m pretty sure he meant that as a bad thing.

So are there any pro-colonialists still left out there? It’s true that I didn’t always pay attention in history class, but I thought this country was founded by anti-colonialists and is pretty proud of that fact. But not when the anti-colonialist is named Obama, apparently.

New on the right

From the Flint Report I found a new right-leaning blog here. Then I immediately got into a discussion with the proprietor on the use of funds from the Accommodations Tax. Kind of interesting.

I’m always looking for conservatives to argue with, especially since I banned myself from Electric City Weblog, but the options aren’t good. My recent comment at 2 Helena Handbaskets has been awaiting moderation for 10 days now. We could have a timelier correspondence by packet ship.

I have weighed in at Rabid Sanity a few times, but that never seems to go anywhere. It’s all depressing. I have been sick and cranky, so I’m spoiling for a fight, but it’s tough to have one around here.

Talk radio update 2

As part of his ongoing crusade to show that Barack Hussein Obama is not really American, Glenn Beck played an excerpt of this quote from Obama:

[G]enerally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

“Other than Woodrow Wilson, what president has ever referred to the Constitution in the way that Obama has?” Beck said. He added, “Most Americans like the way, you know, the Constitution was written.”

I don’t know what other president has referred to the Constitution that way, but it was interesting to see that Montana’s Joe Balyeat has done so (look down to the fourth paragraph or so). Obama and Balyeat: sounds like a ticket.

Talk radio update

Got back late Saturday from a big week in Missoula, visiting my daughter and seeing Steve Martin in concert with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Great show, great time. But now I’m behind on everything.

I figured the talk gurus would be all over Obama’s “They didn’t build that” remark on Thursday, and they were, but not as intensely as I had anticipated. Is it possible that they considered the whole affair too trivial and inconsequential even for them? Nah.

Hannity had a caller who swore that she and her husband built their agricultural business — not clear exactly what sort of business — from scratch and sent their kids to college, all without a nickel of government help. Dunno. She said they drove around a lot on business, so I’m not not sure how they avoided using government-built roads. And it sounded as if the business wasn’t hugely successful, so I’m not sure how they sent all those kids to private schools that get no government funds or government-backed loans. Quite an achievement.

The most entertaining pitch was from Glenn Beck, who was willing to acknowledge that businesses need infrastructure, such as roads, to be successful. And he even acknowledged that roads are built with tax dollars. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to take the next step and acknowledge that in most cases it is the government’s job to assess and collect those taxes, plan and design those roads and then build them or award contracts to build them. He couldn’t give the government an inch of credit for any of that.

I guess if you are as invested as Glenn Beck is in the belief that government never does anything right, then it’s hard to grant that maybe government really does do some useful things, and that in some cases the whole system actually works pretty well. Hang on, Glenn. You will figure it out one day.


Just waiter

Much attention has been paid to President Obama’s recent “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” line. That’s despite the fact that it was taken out of context and the fact that, even if it is what Obama really believes, it’s not something he would deliberately say in public. Obviously, it is either just inelegant phrasing or some secret Freudian slip that reveals the real evil underneath. Conservative pundits have gone with option No. 2.

But little attention has been paid to this remark by Mitt Romney at a recent high-dollar fund-raiser: “The waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments, they’re not having a good year.”

Set aside the obvious rudeness of making remarks about people who, by the nature of their position, have no power to respond. Romney is clearly using these people as stand-ins for the middle class. But there is no evidence that he knows anything about them or that he attempted to learn anything.

No doubt, many waiters and waitresses are struggling, and many people regard those jobs as low status and undesirable. But it isn’t clear that either of those things applies to the people who were working Mitt Romney’s room. They may love their jobs. They may all have gotten raises this week. They may resent being singled out publicly as examples of the struggling middle class.

If so, Romney probably will never hear about it. He doesn’t see them, doesn’t hear them, doesn’t know or care about their concerns. They aren’t real people, just grist for the political mill.

On the other hand, somebody at Democratic Underground pointed out that if the waiters and waitresses were getting 20 percent of each $50,000 plate, they had a pretty good night.