When I was about three, my older brother would tease me, sometimes mercilessly. When I complained to my parents, they gravely advised, "Pay No Attention to him." Not having heard that expression before, I ran up to my brother, screaming "No Attention. No Attention." This led to much hysterical laughter by my parents and brother, which just seemed to my three-year-old sensibilities like more teasing, this time with Mom and Dad joining the fun.
It turns out that the New York Times, acting in loco parentis for us liberals, thinks that if we just paid "no attention" to the right wing hatemongers, they would fade away, just as my parents thought my brother would get tired of teasing me if I actually ignored him instead of using my aggressive (shouting "no attention") tactic.
I am certain that actually paying no attention to my brother would have worked just as well as it did for John Kerry, when he just ignored the Swiftboat Liars.
That just went away, didn't it?
Former NY Times Editor Bill Keller is the King of Flaccid Liberalism, most recently being deeply offended by Obama's embrace of the Buffett Rule, and comforting himself that "My hunch is that Romney will manage to shake off most of his extremist accouterments, because they never seemed to fit him." In other words, the Etch-a-Sketch strategy is just fine with Keller.
Today, via Twitter, he promotes as a "must read" an article in the NY Times Magazine by fellow Flaccid Liberal Steve Almond titled, Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I am One. The theme of this orgy of self-flagellation is that liberals are to blame for the popularity and notoriety of the Mighty Right Wing Wurlitzer, including its chief poisonous organists, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Almond reveals his utter cluelessness in this selection:
The underlying question — should American women receive help in protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies? — is part of a serious and necessary national conversation. Any hope of that conversation happening was dashed the moment Rush Limbaugh began his attacks on Sandra Fluke, the young contraceptive advocate. The left took enormous pleasure in seeing Limbaugh pilloried. To what end, though? Industry experts noted that his ratings actually went up during the flap. In effect, the firestorm helped Limbaugh do his job, at least in the short term.Aside from the very questionable comment about Limbaugh's ratings, did Almond know that Rush lost many advertisers, as did some other hate-radio guys after the Fluke incident? As Ryan Cooper at Political Animal puts it:
Almond is so invested in his narcissistic victim-blaming that he didn’t seem to consider the idea that the very project of drawing attention to The Crazy is working out quite well recently.Cooper notes, in addition to the successful Fluke/Rush pushback, the effective Komen backlash, Heartland's disgrace when the left exposed its Ted Kaczynski ad and the very successful anti-ALEC campaign.
Almond combines the false belief that the left's outrage helps, rather than hurts the hate-peddlers, with a second fallacy I'd call the "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" fallacy: Writes Almond:
This pattern of defensive grievance, writ large, has derailed the liberal agenda and crippled the nation’s moral progress. . . . It’s for this exact reason that the left can no longer afford to squander time and energy engaging the childish arguments of paid provocateurs. We have to seek out those on the right willing to engage in genuine dialogue and ignore the rest.This paragraph is a paradigm of the fantasy world in which faux liberals like Almond live. He ignores that the same people capable of exposing hate by Fox and Rush can and actually are also spending energy on "constructive political action." He need only go up to Providence or visit Netroots Nation on line to easily find this.
But perhaps the most infuriating part is Almond advising us to "to seek out those on the right willing to engage in genuine dialogue." Of course, Almond doesn't bother to name anyone, because he can't because there aren't any. With whom are we supposed to "dialogue" in Republican leadership? Mitch "Our Primary Goal is to Defeat Obama" McConnell? Jim "Fire all Gay Teachers" DeMint? Mitt "Two lies at day at least" Romney?
Republicans' torrent of "Nelson on the Simpsons" phony outrage and derision yesterday at Obama's "fine" comment?
My diary yesterday was Doesn't Anyone Remember the John Birch Society? It was in part a comment on how the mainstream media willfully or negligently refuses recognize that the GOP is the John Birch Society now. There is no dialogue, and we are obligated to highlight this extremism at every turn until voters are justifiably sickened by it.