State of the Race

Arguing with Republicans is starting to feel like this:

Only without the joke. It’s the certainty, the absolute certainty about things that are completely wrong. Obama’s gonna raise my taxes. Well, no he’s not, and here’s why he’s not, and here’s in fact how much money you’d save in taxes if you make amount X.

But … Obama’s gonna raise my taxes. I know you say and he says that he won’t but it’s a campaign, they all lie, he’ll get into office and he’ll raise my taxes.

I just … OMFG NO, okay? I am not good at talking to people who have no ability to learn things. I am willing to sit and argue with you about how Obama’s tax cut might not work for you, or how his health care plan might be a big change from what you’re used to, but I cannot … the sky isblue even if a Democrat says it is.

If you tell me McCain’s gonna give me a $5,000 tax credit to pay for my health care, I can explain to you in detail that that would not have even begun to cover my surgery last summer, which cost $25,000 not including the pre-surgery way fun ambulance ride and emergency room diagnosis of “let’s give this a whack and see what happens” which was another $6,900 or so. I can argue that that being the most recent case in which I’ve needed health care, not even gettinginto how much my “let’s not be crazy even if Tom Cruise thinks I should be” medicines and doctors are, you can take your $5,000 tax credit and shove it up your privileged, wrinkled ass, but I can’t sit there and say, “He’s not gonna give me a tax credit.”

Am I making sense? It was a rough weekend. It’s a different argument, arguing the adequacy of the policy rather than its existence. Arguing the facts rather than just stuff I think I know, like “John McCain sucks” and “Sarah Palin’s stupid.” Don’t get me wrong, I love those arguments too, I’m a smartass online for a living, being one in real life isn’t exactly a stretch. But arguing with Republicans at this point about what President Obama would actually do for them (orto them, if you wander into the “he’s a secret Muslim” alleys of Crazytown) is like presenting them with a freshly baked apple pie and hearing, instead of “Is that gluten free,” “What an ugly bicycle!”

I don’t know of any other response but the one I’m capable of giving, which is … a long unblinking stare, followed by a burning desire for a grain alcohol IV.

A.

10 thoughts on “State of the Race

  1. I recently challenged a Republican co-worker to take 15 minutes and “sell” me on John McCain— on his own merits, without mentioning Obama, without mentioning Democrats, without mentioning Palin. Tell me about his skills, his experience, and explain in detail what one part of his re-election plans that meant the most to him. Talk to me about how his health care plan will work for you, etc.
    They were unable to do more than about 4 minutes. They couldn’t think of concrete examples, didn’t know much about his health care plan, but that hadn’t stopped them from giving him 200 bucks of their hard earned cash.

  2. So, the West Wing clip is an enactment of the nightmare A has been having nightly for the last week or so?

  3. Oh, honey. I know it’s hard but just try considering this:
    We don’t need them. There are more of us than there are of them, not to mention all the independents who get it, too.
    We don’t need to argue with them. We’ll win without them.
    And four years from now, when things are worlds better than they are now, the only argument will be, are you better off now than you were four years ago?
    Game. Set. Match.

  4. I read a lot of things you write here and like them very much, but I think you are slightly wrong.
    The $5000 tax deduction would be for you to buy insurance not to pay for your eye surgery directly. The problem with this deduction is that most of us have no freaking clue how much our insurance really costs because our insurance pays some of it. So Obama is saying that an average insurance policy costs $12k and McCain is saying that it costs $5k. Both have legitimate sources for this information, but it is not really clear what insurance costs. The costs tend to vary. Under the McCain plan, young people who are cheap to insure may have a good deal for a few years until the insurance rates climb and wipe out the benefits of the credit at some point.
    The Obama “tax savings” are somewhat dubious. I think he is assuming savings after rolling back the capital gains tax cut that Bush implemented not savings from the current tax rates. I would like to see a more honest version of how much people save– not that I expect many people to be making a lot of capital gains with fewer houses selling and stocks being in the toilet.

  5. There’s no point in arguing with Republicans. They’re going to lose horribly and continue to do so for a while, and there’s no reason why the 28-percenters shouldn’t be roundly ignored, marginalized, and un-linked to, even if it is to make some sort of stupid example of them.

  6. In my mind I have little arguments with republicans all the time. In real life I don’t. I really don’t like doing it. I grew up with these people and I really don’t enjoy it. Knowing the wingnuts like I do, the good ones put you on the defensive right away. I even wrote a post about their tactics and techniques based on my experiences.
    Now for a long time I figured that it was good for me to be able to respond correctly to their comments. “Here is what his policy is really about.” And it forced me to actually know what I’m talking about. That is a good thing. But at some point I figured out that even if I had the exact facts and could respond to their attacks from my defensive posture that still wouldn’t allow me to ‘win’ the conversation. They won’t allow it, even if they had to throw over the chess board.
    They would simply change the subject to something that would put me on the defensive again, “You know that your Obama voted against FISA, what do you think of that?” or occasionally they would concede a point and then move to some other thing that they know about and force you into defensive posture again. I’ve heard Hannity concede a point on the radio and then he just moves on. The Caller doesn’t get to have a victory dance. “In your FACE Sean. IN. YOUR. FACE!” so you have your momentary triumph. Two second later he is back to telling lies and spreading innuendo. When you are talking to a real person a victory dance will not help change someones mind unless they are intellectually honest, and most of them aren’t. Also, since most of them are men, they won’t admit defeat because it would mean they have a lower status than you. That is something most men are loath to do. They can’t even admit they are lost most of the time because it would mean admitting to a stranger they are “weak”.
    Now as I observer Sam Seder, I’ve noticed a great technique he uses when he talks to wingnuts. He doesn’t even give them their first premise, because it is usually wrong. That throws them into a tizzy.
    Now if I cared I would do to them what they want to do to me, bring up some nonsense about their leaders and make THEM defensive, like what VirgoTex brilliantly suggested above. Note how she took away the easy talking points up front. That put them in a place they aren’t used to being.
    I remember when they had the “Get Spocko” three hour show on K S F O. Someone actually asked them about the law that I was supposedly breaking. Ms. M organ said, “That’s above my pay grade.” Then she went back to telling everyone what a coward I was for not revealing my identity to a woman who attacks others for a living on broadcast radio.
    Sometimes I WANT to “win” the conversation. Other times I want to win the war.
    Changing people’s mind on something that they feel reflect their true beliefs is hard. Because that means to them that they have to give up their beliefs. So, instead of giving up their beliefs they give up on the candidate.
    When people change their mind it might require either a radical rethinking of their beliefs or a rationalization that says, “I’m still believing what I’m believing when I make this different choice.” I think that this is why things like Obama talking about faith are important to some people.

  7. spocko, as I was reading your comment this afternoon, my boss, a genuine yella dawg, was wrestling with an email reply to his soon to be brother in law, who’s been baiting him with the standard Repubican repertoire of email/internet conspiracy uproar. Boss told me later he concluded it was pointless to try and “win” but felt he’d made progress just by laying down some ground rules for engagement: if you want to to discuss this with me, DISCUSS it, back it up, prepare for counterpoint, and act like an intelligent life form. Otherwise, STFU and let’s talk football.

  8. Put the grain alcohol in a watermelon first, it’s healthier. Then hang the watermelon on an IV pole or something. I’m not sure how it works.

  9. virgotex. Sadly I have stopped corresponding with some of my sibs because of politics. In a way it means that the people who want to divide us for votes, profit and fun, have won.
    During a time in America when we could have pulled together we were torn apart.
    And I blame a number of groups including “Christians”, talk radio hosts and conservative think tanks.
    On the left there are people to blame too, but I want to focus on the ones who spent millions and created an infrastructure to divide and rev up hate for profit as “entertainment”.
    Sadly we won’t get paid the same to defeat them in the “marketplace of ideas”.

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