Obama: Democrats Are “Generally Fact-Based, Reason-Based” While the GOP Denies Science

During a comprehensive interview with The New York Times, President Obama attacked modern conservatism and the GOP for being too ideological and extremist. He continued by describing the Democratic Party like so:

And by the way, it generally is fact-based and reason-based. You know, we’re not denying science, we’re not denying climate change, we’re not pretending that somehow having a whole bunch of uninsured people is the American way.

Borrowing Politifact‘s ranking system, I’ll give this quote a “Mostly True.” For now.

I’m glad the president qualified his observation with the word “generally” because although the Republicans have slowly allowed the lunatics to take over the asylum throughout the last 14 years or so (mostly in the last five), the far-left wing of the Democratic Party is beginning to give the tea party a run for its crazy money. Put another way, yes, the Republican Party has ceded control to its crackpot tea party flank, almost irrevocably disconnecting it from reality and reason, but the far-left is growing louder as well and there’s a serious danger that the Democrats could repeat the GOP’s idiotic validation of its extremist wing.

By in large, America has gone nuts. Our political cheese has slipped off our political cracker.

The discourse has grown so utterly dysfunctional and incoherent — up-its-own-ass in reaction to every minuscule social media blip and every hyperbolic political headline, making it difficult to find an actual “fact-based and reason-based” discussion anywhere. Everything on the far-right and, yes, the far-left has become, to one degree or another, a conspiracy theory. NSA, drones, Benghazi, healthcare, Guantanamo, Gaza, Syria, immigration, teleprompters, the word “folks” — you name it and there’s a privileged crank being paid to spam Reddit with scare-headlines about it. And it almost always includes predictions about the end of America as we know it, with our perhaps-Kenyan, perhaps-conservative, perhaps-liberal, perhaps-pacifistic, perhaps-war-mongering president accelerating the inevitable death of the nation.

Is the tea party far-right more guilty than most for amplifying the nincompoopery? Absolutely, yes. While it was obvious five or six year ago that the ascendancy of the first African-American president would totally precipitate a meltdown among a particular subgroup or two, no one could’ve predicted where we are today. We can begin describing the movement’s psychosis with the historical fact that the Boston Tea Party for which it’s named was in fact a protest against parliament cutting the corporate tax rate to zero for the British East India Company, allowing the corporation to sell tea more cheaply than colonial importers. But since “taxed enough already” made for a convenient “T.E.A.” acronym, they went with the name anyway. From there, the tea party only disintegrated further into spastic gibberish.

–Tax cuts for everyone! Except nearly half of all Americans who pay too little, and Cliven Bundy shouldn’t have to pay any taxes if he doesn’t want to, and we’ll shoot you dead if you try to force him to pay.

–Don’t temporarily shut down this memorial! Meanwhile, let’s de-fund or abolish the Department of the Interior.

–A 99-percent scientific consensus on man-made climate change is a massive hoax.

–A healthcare reform plan originally devised by the conservative Heritage Foundation and promoted by top Republicans throughout the 1990s is an unconstitutional, socialist government-takeover.

–Congress is exempt from Obamacare, even though the Obamacare law newly requires Congress to buy insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

–Obama doubled the deficit, even though the deficit has actually dropped from $1.4 trillion in 2009 to $514 billion at the end of this year.

–Undermining the commander-in-chief while troops are in harm’s way is unpatriotic, but only if the commander-in-chief is a Republican.

–We should still be sacrificing American lives fighting a war in Iraq.

–Even though scientists say otherwise, emergency contraception covered by Obamacare is abortion-inducing simply because we believe it is.

–We hate frivolous lawsuits, but the solution to checking executive power is a frivolous lawsuit.

–Obama abuses executive orders even though he signed the fewest executive orders of any two-term president in history.

–”Legitimate rape.”

AR-15s for the blind!

The list goes on and on. The worst thing is that more than a few of these items have been mainstreamed by the establishment Republican Party. Seriously, many of us would welcome a civil debate on the basis of whether taxes are too high or whether spending is too low, but few have the patience to engage the mainstream GOP while it panders to its completely nonsensical base. Yes, politics often includes spinning the facts and, yes, politicians sometimes bend the truth (even President Obama), but it seems as if too many members of the modern right (be they politicians or participants) augment the original sins of politics with contradictory, inconsistent flailing — short-attention spans, historical blindness and an almost complete rejection of intellectual honesty.

And it’s getting crazier on the far-left, too.

I hasten to note, however, that the increasingly radical far-left has a very, very long way to go in order to be mainstreamed with the same vigor and electoral prevalence as the tea party, but it’s doing its best to make a show of it. Not unlike the tea party, the far-left ultimately began to lose its marbles in reaction to the Obama presidency. Prior to that, during the Bush years, there was a lot of noise, too, but it had a patina of intellectual honesty fortifying it. Plus, it made sense for the far-left to vocally oppose the Bush administration. But any attachment to political reality began to rapidly whither sometime around late 2009 and the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The opening shot: Kill the bill! Big names on the far-left refused to accept anything short of single-payer, therefore the ACA was weak and a betrayal of progressive values. The phrase “disappointed in Obama” would quickly be joined by “war criminal” and “worse than Bush.”

When the Obama administration began, many of the most pious top-shelf progressive writers, bloggers and activists decided that in order to be taken seriously, they must oppose the new Democratic administration with the same exuberance they used against the previous administration, even though the Democratic administration would pursue an agenda significantly comparable, though obviously not identical, to progressive goals. On the surface, this accountability mission sounded noble and honest enough. But in practice the narrative was lost and the plan rapidly disintegrated into screeching at the Democratic president irrespective of what he did or didn’t do. Successes were conspicuously ignored, or spun into failures, while failures were routinely coupled with Bush-era failures. “Accountability” quickly turned into “self-defeating, dumb accountability,” and the plan, unbeknownst to those executing it, dissolved into ineffectual white-noise.

None of this is to say the Obama administration has been flawless, but when landmark actions such as the overturning of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell or the historic passage of the ACA and the stimulus were downplayed as weak genuflections to the center-right, without acknowledging any view of the long-term impact as it pertains to reversing the politics of the previous decade, it became clear that self-righteous personal cred was prioritized over a realistic view of how the U.S. government functions and what political successes in this divisive age actually look like.

And if you happened to have noted the political realities involved in turning the ship of state, you’ve probably been tarred with the “Obamabot” label, in spite of the groupthink, clique mentality of the people who created and compulsively repeated the “Obamabot” insult in the first place. While it’s to be expected coming from the far-right given its obvious differences with the administration’s agenda, the collective scolding of anyone who refuses to blindly and indiscriminately scold the president, regardless of the facts, is sadly another characteristic of the far-left’s slow disconnection with political sanity. Broadly speaking, the far-left appears utterly incapable of realizing that change is slow, incremental and impure.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that the far-left has been to-date unsuccessful at mustering the same political support among the Democrats that elevated the tea party to its present status within the GOP.

So, for now, Obama is right. There are generally more adults running the show on the Democratic side. But who knows how long that will last. Social media has not only whittled political disagreements into 140-character freakouts, but worse, it’s legitimized sensationalistic ledes, which, in turn, have been legitimized with prestigious journalism awards. The participants who are most effective at writing click-worthy, outrage-inducing headlines are the participants who invariably receive the most attention, irrespective of content, and this can only cheapen the quality of the debate — now deteriorating at internet-speed.

  • azza007

    The Lying ass’whole in chief — must define fact base — he never gives us any information that’s fact based — news that’s fact based — in fact he would not recognize
    fact based if it hit him in his baboon face — nor would a liberal recognize fact base —

    We not only watch what the criminally based scientific goofs spread but also what the
    other honest scientist have to say — and there is plenty of disagreement between both
    sides to not fall for a liberal lie — Honest scientist don’t say the discussion ends here !!!

  • AK Fletcher

    Great article!

  • labman57

    It’s a curious position being taken by representatives of the social conservative movement — the idea that a college education is a waste of time and that intellectuals are elitists and should be shunned.
    Reality-challenged politicians and pundits — especially those affiliated with the tea party movement — have embraced ignorance of the modern world, and they regard a distrust of the well-educated as an attribute to be used in their desire to be perceived as “just one of the common folk”.
    Lord knows we don’t want our children to go to college and have their heads filled with all kinds of IDEAS. Before you know it, they’ll be thinking for themselves, challenging the status quo, and developing new points of view.
    And we certainly don’t want our national leaders to be eloquent, scientifically literate, and generally well-informed about the world in which we live.
    Much better to derive scientific theories based on the teachings of the Bible, and to form national public policy based on the rumors, gossip, urban myths, and unverified anecdotal accounts described in supermarket rags and online blogs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      On that account, I think too many liberals are being way too dismissive of liberal arts studies.

  • toolpusher

    I agree. Nobody but those RIght-wing Tea people want fiscal responsibility, individual accountability and a strong national defense. What is WRONG with these people. Liberals know that no one but them believes in this kind of crap. It’s the welfare state for everyone, even illegals.

  • spiderbucket

    It’s encouraging that I have seen a few like-minded articles on Salon and HP recently. There is nothing wrong with some self-policing. It’s not too hard to find some pretty stupid shit without looking to hard on the left lately. Finding it on the right is a given. But I would think people would want to be better than that.

  • Red Mann

    I would like to see some specifics of the far left extremism. Also you should show how this extremism has taken over the Democratic party and some statements from Democratic elected officials and candidates that begin to approach the systematic craziness of the right. There is plenty of evidence of the right wing crazy, just check out Media Matters or Right Wing Watch. You should also show any media outlets that support this extremism.

    • spiderbucket

      Serious question. If someone did show you examples, would you even consider admitting that there may be something to it ? This is a quote from a long time liberal blog from earlier today:

      “In recent weeks, Maddow has been staging an instructional film on how to avoid influencing voters. Over at Walsh’s Salon, the children trumpet louder and louder, playing similar songs.”

      • Red Mann

        You actually think that this was a serious question? If there is actual evidence, of course I would consider it, but I seen very little from the right based on evidence.
        When you source something, you should provide a link, otherwise the quote makes no sense, however, I found the source and it’s Bob Somerby’s opinion about Rachel Maddow’s using paper dolls in sarcasm of the McDonnell corruption case. Where’s the extremism there? It was reporting on the trail and she was pointing out a paper’s sarcastic use of the cutout dolls. No lies were told and no distortions made. Thanks for playing, try again.

        • spiderbucket

          And neither myself or the writer of that quote is from ‘the right.’ And it was a serious question. The reason I asked it because the usual response to facts from documented sources is to deflect, deny and turn it into ‘Well, you are lying about being …liberal….black…whatever..’ Right wing stupidity is easier to find than trash in the streets. I expect better from ‘progressive’ sites like Salon, HuffPO, and Banter. Your denial of something that we all know to be true makes me want to use the old tried and true shut down – ‘it’s not my job to educate you.’

  • D. Alexander

    The right wings denial of history and science is amazing. I point to their insane worship of Reagan when most of them don’t appear to know what he did. A conservative called today ranting at Thom Hartman about his saying Republicans are pushing a racist agenda and invites more racist to their party. She did not know about the southern strategy, or Reagan visiting Philadelphia Miss., or about Lee Atwater. She was absolutely clueless and kept trying to talk over him. it was really sad because no one has their facts at hand more than Thom.

  • elgallorojo

    When the Obama administration began, many of the most pious top-shelf progressive writers, bloggers and activists decided that in order to be taken seriously, they must oppose the new “far-left” anti-war, anti-torture, anti-bankster, anti-1%, pro-labor, anti-fossil fuel, anti-police state progressives with the same exuberance they used against the previous administration, even though the Democratic administration would pursue an agenda significantly comparable, though obviously not identical, to the faux-hated Bush administration.

    Bob, if you wrote this, I’d be 100% on-board with you!

    #CescaAgitprop

  • muselet

    Leftier-than-thou types have on occasion descended on the blog, demanding to know why the Democratic Party doesn’t pay more attention to them and their concerns (I always picture them stamping their little feet when they do so, I can’t imagine why). I usually take a deep, cleansing breath and endeavor to explain.

    The short answer is that Righties vote.

    The long answer is … longer.

    The far-Right took over the GOP not because its members pounded their fists on tables and threatened not to vote, but by becoming the GOP’s most reliable voters. Any election, they’d turn out; in primaries, to push the most-conservative candidate, but in general elections they’d do months of GOTV work and then fall in line and vote for the candidate with an R after his name—hell, they’d work for the R, even if they had problems with his positions. Then they started running candidates for local and state party positions and would sometimes win; and after those wins, the far-Right party leaders would push for the party to move farther Right.

    And they didn’t stop voting. Ever.

    That’s how to gain influence in a political party. When the far-Left puts in nearly four decades of work to take over the Democratic Party instead of pouting and sitting out elections, then I’ll trouble myself to take the far-Left seriously.

    My answer generally hasn’t been well-received by the Lefty purity brigade. Again, I can’t imagine why.

    –alopecia

    • spiderbucket

      I keep saying that the circular firing squad is going to get undesired effects come election time. But what do I know ? I’m only a cis straight white guy with good looks privilege. ;)

    • feloniousgrammar

      So true— I think Willy Stark’s line in All the King’s Men is truth— “If you don’t vote, you don’t matter.”

      • muselet

        Absolutely.

        –alopecia

    • Kerry Reid

      The lefty purity brigade of the 60s is why Alinsky wrote “Rules for Radicals.”

    • elgallorojo

      It ain’t “leftier-than-thou,” bub. It’s “more-pragmatic-than-thou.” The milquetoast Bobdino method (as well as the Obama method) he preaches ensures more and more Republican and RWNJ rule. This is proved each and every day as we slide into right-wing hell.

      • muselet

        “Pragmatic,” my arse.

        There is nothing pragmatic about moaning because Obama didn’t instantly end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is nothing pragmatic about demanding! the ACA be defeated because it wasn’t single-payer. There is nothing pragmatic about ignoring the systematic Republican obstruction of any initiative coming from this administration.

        Most important, there is nothing pragmatic about sitting out a midterm election to teach the Ds a lesson. (In case you missed it, the lesson the spoiled children taught the Ds was that they weren’t necessarily reliable partners.)

        Pragmatic would be working long-term within the Democratic Party to effect long-term change, not sulking because nobody’s given you a unicorn that poops rainbows.

        –alopecia

        • Mike Lumisch

          In case you missed it, the lesson the spoiled children taught the Ds was that they weren’t necessarily reliable partners.

          That needed to be said again, unparenthetically.

    • courtbt

      That’s what I’ve been saying for years…but now, I don’t think I want them to grow and become a reliable voting force.

  • la bibliotequetress

    I kind of hate the phrase “far left” although I use it myself. I actually consider myself pretty far to the left, inasmuch as I believe in extremely liberal civil rights combined with pragmatic economic policies which include, but are not limited to, socializing some markets with the goal of achieving personal security and well being among all citizens, in line with the overall wealth of the country.

    I’m not a 9/11 Truther, don’t think the CIA killed JFK, don’t think Obama has been a disaster– even though I disagree with some of his choices, not only did Obama come into the worst mess since Carter walked into a recession, inflation, and post-Watergate White House, but also I have never seen a President deal with as much nonsense from Congress; I’m just glad our President has had a meltdown.

    I don’t even think most of the Truther, Snowden loving, GMO misunderstanding, government-is-out-to-rape-us types are genuinely left. Most of them don’t seem to have any clear political slant except to be anti-government, and not even with the clear thought of Proudhonist anarchy. They are not skeptical of politics and political assertions (which we all should be) but cynical about the whole government, elected officials, and federal employees. I’ve come to think of it as “Hipster Nihilism for the Intellectually Lazy,” with the primary difference between them and the RWNJs being a rejection of evangelical Protestantism. Some of them are as unapologetically in favor of unregulated free markets as anyone on the right: the Air BNB or Uber/Lyft arguments on Twitter or Reddit exemplify that.

    But the Democratic Party has not hugged these whackjobs to its bosom like the GOP has with the RWNJs. Of course, the Dems have always had a more diverse range of philosophies among its members than the GOP ever has, even back when there was such a thing as a liberal Republican, so the small shrill klatch of loons haven’t been able to control the Dems by tantrum the way the RWNJs have with the GOP.

    • David L.

      You get my [non-existent] vote for Comment of the Week.

      Perfectly articulated; I find myself in a similar position, politically. I cringe with the perjorative use of “far-left” too, but I completely agree that those intellectually lazy hipster nihilists don’t have an ounce of leftism in their blood.

      Once again, phenomenal comment.

      • feloniousgrammar

        They’re not grounded enough to run a taco stand, but they have all the
        “answers”. They’re noxious and a lot of centrists and conservatives who aren’t nuts think of them when they think of “the left”. Their reputation (which has become our reputation) of hating the U.S. is well-deserved.

        During the Bush years I was kicked out of Information Clearinghouse for saying that their view of the U.S. being the most evil nation was American Exceptionalism.

      • la bibliotequetress

        Sometimes I want to find a less loaded phrase than “left” yet I do not want to concede it– it has a noble history of being in favor of the republic and opposed to conservative fogey entitled totalitarianism. I’m hoping that if enough of us, who I think of as the Rational Left, stick to the description, then we’ll get it back from the nuts.

    • woodrowfan

      Well put….. the truther types seem to be contrary simply to be contrary. But “Hipster Nihilism for the Intellectually Lazy” is a wonderful way to put it…

    • Regina Wanassa

      Absolutely spot on. Excellent, excellent summary. Thank you.

  • mr spork

    Republicans put their crazies in positions of power, Democrats do not. There’s the difference between the two.

    • spiderbucket

      No, they just start online magazines and fan the flame of hatred. (Former liberal)

      • mr spork

        My point still stands. The Democratic Party lunatics are not in Congress making laws that affect people, is what I’m saying.

        • feloniousgrammar

          Agreed.

      • JozefAL

        Because it’s not like the GOP crazies don’t start online magazines or fan the flames of hatred. (Spiderbucket stupid conservative)

        • spiderbucket

          Yep, all former liberals are lying and all black people that do not agree with you are not actually black.

  • Mike Rothschild

    The emoprog left has completely lost me with their whining about how Obama started “another war” in Iraq. The “even one bomb is too many” crowd is just as bad as the “we’re not bombing them enough” crowd.

    ISIS are some of the most evil people on the planet right now, and if a series of limited airstrikes can knock the back a few pegs and save thousands of innocent lives, then it’s the right and moral thing to do – regardless of the dudebro brigade’s complaining.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      It’s funny-weird how often their “purity” requires people (even children) to go hungry and without medical care, or be butchered.

      • la bibliotequetress

        Logic learned from Jenny McCarthy.

        • Mike Lumisch

          Grrrr…… And they feel free to ban GMOs and herbicides and pesticides and cattle, knowing full well their bellies will always be full and they will never have to pull a weed under the scorching sun.

        • Regina Wanassa

          And tactics learned from Joseph McCarthy

          • la bibliotequetress

            Exactly!

  • nerdnam

    The problem with the left is that they just don’t believe in voting.
    The problem with the right is that they do.

    • aynwrong

      Exactly right!

  • Toolymegapoopoo

    Another masterful piece, Bob.

  • Michiganmitch

    Chuck Todd, where is Bob Cesca and what have you done with him?

  • Tena Hollingsworth

    This is a great piece, Bob.

  • Hank

    Excellent post. Now all the “bit dogs” from both sides will begin to prove your point.

  • undsoweiter

    Good write, Bob. There seems to be an epidemic of “magical thinking” in this country, and it’s not limited to the right.
    When you have a prime-time lineup of shows about Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle and ghosts, on cable channels that used to cover hard science stories, it’s pretty clear that the public understanding of the difference between fact and fantasy has been blurred. Whether that is accidental or not, is debatable.

    • feloniousgrammar

      Oh, I think it goes back further to media polls asking “Who will be the next POTUS” and other fortune-telling requests. In fact, I’d say it goes back to my sixth grade in education in ’71-’72 when opinion was being encouraged as if it were good as a vote.

      Perhaps it all got worse when we stopped teaching civics in public schools.

      Language is thought and what’s missing in language if often more telling that what is presented. What’s missing most these days is context. Three 24/7 cable news programs and no one is getting paid to do research as simple as doing an internet search.

  • don

    I am wondering if the “But I am being reasonable and fact based and you’re not” argument works when he is arguing with Michelle? ;) Probably, about as well :).

    • D_C_Wilson

      I wonder if Michelle has spent the last five years trying to prevent Obama from accomplishing anything and spreading insane conspiracy theorries about him.

      • don

        Lol. Touche :).

    • feloniousgrammar

      Two Harvard lawyers in love? They probably argue very well, if a little dryly.

  • missliberties

    The vision of the internet as the boiling kettle of democracy. Human nature always pays too much attention to sensationalized stories. Has it been a boon or a bain in our politics?

    The 24 hour rule still applies to all news stories. You just can’t believe so much of what you read in the internet, especially when the right intentionally lies to gain raw political power. See Benghazi.

  • Rolf

    I like the fact Bob acknowledges the weird stuff brewing among some extreme leftists. There are examples of liberals denying science as well. Take for example the anti-GMO crowd. Their “how can we know what will happen?!” arguments are as dumb and ludicrous as the ones raised by opponents of stem cell research. No better are the anti-nuclear fearmongerers who blow catastrophes like Chernobyl or Fukushima way out of proportion. As tragic as those events were, the blatant exploitation of them by over-zealous activists has nothing to do with a pro-science approach.

    To be honest, I’ve grown a bit tired with all this conservative-bashing that has become so popular nowadays. When someone assumes a moral and intellectual highground, as many liberals do, I expect them grapple with serious problems, not wrestle with absurdities spewed by dingbats on FoxNews.

    it’s fun to make fun of 70-year-old creatonists, but it does get boring after some time.

    • don

      Perhaps, issues are more complex than we give them credit for being. You mentioned two topics: GMO and Nuclear Power. It would be one thing if Monsanto was just trying to make a more productive crop but they are trying to take ownership of the genetic code of the food we eat. Their aggressive acts to make food crops developed by farmers over the century (open source food so-to-speak) illegal is why many of us reject GMOs. As for Nuclear Power I think only the truly numb don’t consider Fukishima a colossal catastrophe that forces us to rethink at least how we do nuclear power. It is the even we were assured would never happen and it did. How do you trust the rest? Its becoming a very complex world. A two sided debate doesn’t really work anymore.

      • undsoweiter

        Why am I not surprised?
        Monsanto only controls 23% of the global seed market, and a lot of that is in cotton, not food. They aren’t the only ones involved in GMO. I don’t agree with their business practices, but most of the debate beyond that is hype.
        If Fukushima has taught us anything, it’s that antique light-water reactors can be criminally mismanaged, hit by an unprecedented earthquake, a 40 foot wall of water, melt down and blow up, in triplicate, and still not kill anybody.

        • don

          Of course, they are not the only ones involved in GMO. But, statements like “only controls 23% of the global seed market” might make you wonder about your casual discounting of facts as some kind of denial. I don’t think I want the Microsoft model running my food supply.

          As for Fukishima. No one has died? Seriously? Some of the clean-up workers have started to already die let alone what is coming. Are there better nuclear power options? Probably. But that is not what we have in place and won’t until we get out of the nuclear weapons business. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

          There is no such thing as an “unprecedented Earthquake” by-the-way. Or tsunami for that matter.

          Its not hard to image why you are not surprised ;).

          • undsoweiter

            The butcher’s bill from Fukushima presently stands at -0-. WHO estimates that that figure will hold for the foreseeable future. Reports to the contrary are bunkum.
            The Tokoku quake was the strongest in recorded history in Japan, probably the most seismically active place in the world. That’s pretty unprecedented.
            As I said, I don’t care for Monsanto’s business practices, but the figure I gave is accurate. If you have a solution, I’m all ears.

            http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-firms/10558-the-worlds-top-ten-seed-companies-who-owns-nature

          • don

            I agree that radiation effects are hard to measure in a short ount of time. The science and facts does seem to be confusing. Do you trust the integrity of the institutions involved to report honestly?

          • undsoweiter

            I have no reason to doubt the World Health Organization’s projections.
            The facts aren’t conflicted, facts never are.
            The problem is that a lot of people, with a lot of varying agendas, are saying a lot of things that simply aren’t true; aren’t based on a scientifically sound foundation, or, for that matter, a logical one.
            There’s the rub. Otherwise perfectly intelligent, reasonable people choose to believe, what they want to believe, even if the facts don’t back them up, and will fight to the last drop of blood in support of those beliefs,
            Climate Change? Thousands dead in the US due to Fukushima? I have seen the same person believe fervently in the truth of both, even though the facts support the former and refute the latter.
            That’s people for you.

          • don

            I didn’t say the facts were in conflict I said the Science and the Facts seemed to be in conflict. Science will correct I am sure as the fact become more numerous.

            There is still reasonable controversy over the lasting effects of Chernobyl. Even three years later I am not confident in what we know went on and is going on at Fukashima.

            Risk analysis is tricky. Increase cancer rate calculations is tricky. The risk/reward of Nuclear Power is especially tricky. The assertion that “no one has ever died” from nuclear power is unprovable. Statistics does not yield truths it yields relative probabilities.

          • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

            And the effects of radiation are cumulative.

          • feloniousgrammar

            Don’t make me laugh. It hurts when I laugh at suggestions like that.

            http://bigstory.ap.org/article/safety-violations-site-us-nuclear-plants

          • undsoweiter

            I’m trying to understand where you’re going here. These are violations over twelve years.
            For a more detailed point by point review.

            http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/enforcement/current.html

          • feloniousgrammar

            And there are violations for 2014. There is no excuse for safety violations in nuclear power plants.

          • undsoweiter

            That’s why the NRC is there, onsite, 24/7. The rules and inspection regimes that these plants operate under are very strict. That’s why there hasn’t been a radiation fatality in this country’s civilian nuclear fleet in…….oh…….ever. A safety record unparalleled in any industry, anywhere.
            However, I’m not married to them. The very minute that the last smokestack on the last coal-fired power plant in America is cold, I’ll discuss closing down nukes.
            But, not a moment before.

            http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Air_pollution_from_coal-fired_power_plants

          • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

            O’tay.

          • feloniousgrammar

            A lot of arguments for “intellectual property rights” are just a big sponge for corporations and shareholders to be more parasitic.

          • Badgerite

            Don! You’re making SENSE. What’s up with that?

          • don

            Big full moon :).

          • feloniousgrammar

            Seattle is doing well with it’s larval stage of solar energy development, batteries just keep getting better, wind energy is growing, and gathering energy from the sea is getting off the ground. Why spend the ridiculous amount of money it takes to get an uninsurable nuclear power plant up and running?

            Besides, most of our nuclear power plants are getting old. The dangers of nuclear power plants are statistically more risky when plants are old and when they are new. I see no reason to spend a lot of our money subsidizing this industry that doesn’t have good solutions for safeguarding their waste. Radioactive elements to boil water to turn turbines is so 20th century.

          • Mike Lumisch

            Nobody has died from Fukushima, despite the hysterical vaporing from the scare sites:

            http://jimstonefreelance.com/shutupordie.html

            That particular link claims that 500 workers are dead, that the cleanup is controlled by the Israeli Mafia, and that unit 3 was blown up by a nuclear weapon. Nothing to see, just another day at the office…

            What is truly disgusting is all those ideologues who were dancing with glee when news of the tsunami came out, because FINALLY and at LONG LAST maybe somebody was going to die in a nuclear accident. Maybe a whole bunch of somebodies, maybe enough to kill off nuclear power forever.

      • Badgerite

        It does work. But for it to work, both sides have to operate under some rules of accountability as to accuracy, truthfulness and good faith.
        As Bob points out, that is not really the case now. The GOP has gone off the rails.

      • la bibliotequetress

        Don, I don’t think the GMO issue Rolf cites is about whether or not Monsanto has predatory business practices– they may well have– but rather that some people, mostly on the left, have claimed that GMO’s are dangerous to ingest. There is absolutely no evidence that they are.

        That does not let Monsanto off the hook for union busting or for trying to corner the commercial seed market.

        • feloniousgrammar

          And suing farmers (taking their land, even) because GMO crops are planting themselves in the farmers’ fields.

    • missliberties

      It is important to listen to peoples concerns whether we agree or disagree. Not listening just makes them angrier. But I don’t know how you cooperate with people who are so unreasonable and whose leaders are so mendacious.

      • Rolf

        The left has produced its share of mendacious personas as well. Punditry has dominated the media. Everybody is clamoring for attention and the easiest way to do it is to tap into that rich source of resentment generated by the bipartisan conflict. Its all too easy to just pick a side and scoff at what the other have to say. Both liberals and conservatives are guilty of that. If either side wants to do something good, they better stop blaming the opposing team, man up, and start writing a political narrative which won’t be marred by petty grievances.

        • Neddy Merrill

          I don’t think persona means what you think it means.

      • Otto66

        Mendacious. My “New Word” of the day. Thx.

    • Otto66

      Ya lost me when ya said Chernobyl and Fukushima were blown out of proportion. Just how many deaths?

    • feloniousgrammar

      Chernobyl was huge.

  • courtbt

    It’s a lot easier to point the finger at the other side and say “Look how crazy they are” while ignoring the crazy in our own ranks. I agree that the Tea Party is absolutely worse, especially considering how much control they have over the Republican party at the moment. But part of why they got that level of power is because the Republicans didn’t take them seriously until it was too late and they were winning elections. If we just keep pointing to the Tea Party and ignoring those within the liberal community who are extreme (I’d argue far-left libertarianism, for instance) – the roles could be reverse someday. And that should worry us…

    • missliberties

      Case in point the Greenwald worshippers, the so called principled far left liberals, who infiltrated DailyKos. They slandered Obamacare and helped the landslide tea party victory in 2010.

      I do believe in forgiveness, but I have a hard time forgiving liberals for their nit picking purism, that enabled the tea party. That I realize is not the only factor. It would be nice if democrats would stand up and stand behind their policiy issues, like protecting our safety nets.

      The crux of the GOP argument is ALWAYS, welfare. Shrink government, pay less taxes, because lazy blah people on drugs are picking your pocket.

      What is the crux of the Democratic argument for why we should be proud of our nation and why government is good?

      • feloniousgrammar

        And wasn’t 2010 the worst possible time? Census people, census— redistricting on top of gerrymandering! Emos gut-shot the left, the President, and the whole country, for that matter.

        • missliberties

          I am actually still furious about it. There is no excuse for how stupid that was.

          • dbtheonly

            How do we start fixing things?

          • feloniousgrammar

            Get out the vote and start building a vision with a view to the long term.

      • Mike Lumisch

        The Daily Kos was a great place up until the 2006 midterm elections. Then came the 2008 elections, and the pretend radicals could smell victory so they joined the parade hoping for a share of the goodies. When the Democrats couldn’t deliver enough magic flying unicorns that poop chocolate chip ice cream and pee lemonade, the sunshine patriots went all petulant. So long as votes on the center are more reliable than votes on the left, that is where the responsible politician will look for them. Glorious defeats may be stirring to the 8%ers but they are defeats all the same.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      Well, they appear not to be bothered by random men and women being given the power to require doctors to lie to women about the effects of abortion and the “personhood” of a fetus, and requiring women and abortion clinics to jump through so many costly hoops that it becomes impossible for women to get a legal abortion, or states making it impossible for women to get any affordable reproductive health care at all.

      Neither do they concern themselves much with racial injustice, and even when they do, they minimize it by focusing on individual cases without putting into the context of white supremacy and their own white privilege.

      So, they aren’t on my side, but are a thorn in my side.

  • OptimisticallyCynical

    There are several opinions regarding certain issues held by the center left that are less than fact/science based. GMO and alternative “medicine” practices like homeopathy and acupuncture come immediately to mind…or just about anything that comes out of the mouths of Dr Oz or Deepak Chopra. As a nation, we are generally not all that scientifically literate. Our trust in scientific research and literature only holds when science reinforces our bias. Being a skeptic requires a willingness to question deeply held beliefs.

    You’re right, though, that the far right tends to be at odds with modern science more frequently than people from the left. Their affinity for their mythology tends to turn them away from things like facts and science. I wouldn’t completely excuse the mainstream left from the conversation. Failure to fully comprehend the facts and science that surround issues like GMO or medical quackery is actually harmful.

    • dbtheonly

      Though isn’t the anti-vaccination movement generally one of the Left?

      I also recall several dietary plans that have wide “leftist” support.

      As for whether Rightist or Leftist scientific denial is more dangerous, I’d rank climate change as more dangerous long term, anti-vaccination short term.

      • feloniousgrammar

        I understand perfectly why conservative people get pissed off when the uber-lefties get into the morality of overly-involved and expensive diets.

        • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

          I seem to have lost the edit option. I think I have bugs in my browser.

      • muselet

        Though isn’t the anti-vaccination movement generally one of the Left?

        According to Kevin Drum, here and here, not really. The vaxxer movement seems to be a pretty nonideological sort of stupidity.

        –alopecia

  • D_C_Wilson

    I think there is an important distinction between the far left and the far right that goes beyond just their relative influence on the parties. The far right has immersed itself into a Bizarro world that bears little resemblance to reality. They’ve convinced themselves that Obama is an illegal alien and a radical Muslim, that he is a dedicated Marxist determined to “punish America” by importing millions of illegal immigrants in order to “KIll Whitey” and turn America into a socialist hellhole. Insane conspiracy theories that were once on the fringe have now become the mainstream.

    Yesterday, I caught a snippet of one of Bryan Fischer’s insane rants. In it, he proclaimed that Eric Holder is refusing to prosecute any case in which a white person is the victim. It doesn’t matter that he has no proof of what he’s saying. His audience eats it up because they want to believe it.

    On the other hand, the ranting on the left is mostly kvetching because Obama didn’t turn out to be the perfect liberal savior they had hoped he would be. Their bitching might be irrational and they might be ignoring the political realities of how difficult it would have been to push, say, a single pay plan through Congress, but at least their complaints are based on things Obama has actually done. The right, on the other hand, is still following the Clint Eastood model of ranting at an invisible Obama that exists only in their minds.

    • http://theravenspoke.blogspot.com/ TheRaven

      Bryan Fischer is some of the best anti-GOP agitprop that DNC money can’t buy. Democrats couldn’t possibly appeal to a single deranged fool who takes him seriously, but Fischer puts an exclamation point on every GOP negative.

    • Otto66

      Well stated.

    • Neddy Merrill

      “It doesn’t matter that he [Bryan Fischer] has no proof of what he’s saying.”

      It seems that Mr. Cesca is in the same boat. There are no links provide to backup his claims to all this far left lunacy. I’d like to see some proof of what he claims..

      • D_C_Wilson

        Ask him yourself. I’m not Bob’s spokesman.

        • Neddy Merrill

          Just where do you get the fucking idea that I’m asking you anything or to speak for him.

          • D_C_Wilson

            Um, the fact that you replied to my post.

          • Neddy Merrill

            I commented that Bob, like Bryan, provided no proof for his charge. Again, how did you conjure the idea I wanted, or expected, you to speak for Bob?

          • feloniousgrammar

            Where have you been?

          • Neddy Merrill

            Here, then there.

          • Mike Lumisch

            This is too funny to be true.

    • http://www.skeeterbitesreport.com SkeeterVT

      I have to disagree with Bob Cesca on one point. Yes, there are differences between the Far Left and the Far Right, but they do have one glaring thing in common: They share — in radically different ways — the same population demographic.

      The Far Right is dominated by aging white males bitter over the fact that the world is changing in ways they don’t like and can’t do anything to stop it, because they’re outnumbered. So they fly into paroxisms of rage.

      The Far Left is dominated by immature young white males who think they “know it all” and have little to no experience in dealing with the real world. They, too, are outnumbered, thus they, too, fly into temper tantrums when the mainstream refuses to accept their radical prescription for change and insists on going slowly and gradually.

      The two groups have something else in common: They both stubbornly refuse to accept the fact they they’re in the minority. They both refuse to accept the reality that the vast majority of Americans do not accept their radical, extremist prescriptions.

      These two extremes are really two sides of the same coin: Privileged white males who can’t stand the fact that they can’t have it their way all the time. The rest of America won’t let the extremists have it their way all of the time.

      • imavettoo

        So you’re calling Jane Hamsher an immature young white male? I believe she was the main spur to what Bob’s decrying & that’s the reason I haven’t read FireDogLake in several years.

        • feloniousgrammar

          Oh, I imagine her white privilege is behind a lot of her opinions and obviously white women can be as racially biased as any white male, but it looks to me like the majority of the navel-gazing left who appear to have devoted their lives to tearing down Obama are white and male.

          • Mike Lumisch

            That little stunt Hamsher pulled on the ACA, partnering with Grover Norquist of all people to sabotage health care reform, was facilitated by the knowledge that she was never going to miss a doctor’s visit no matter how the legislation turned out. So, yeah, white privilege makes loud demands and carries a big ass club.

            But I do think there is a kernel of an idea lurking in here, that white guys – divided into their respective clusters, young and old – are driving the extremes on the political landscape. Women and minorities have too much too lose if things go belly up.

          • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

            Women who are more concerned with being ingratiating with the men in their circles— professional white feminists, for instance— tend to not be much concerned with most women and their children.

            When PWF start talking about their maids and nannies with some genuine insight and show that they’re listening to them, I’ll consider listening to the lean-in crowd. Fuck the glass ceiling— too many minority and low income women are treading water. Strength in numbers requires the numbers and telling women of color that their race issues are “distracting” is evidence of some seriously fucked up white privilege talking.

        • http://www.skeeterbitesreport.com SkeeterVT

          I haven’t read FireDogLake for quite awhile, either — and I used to post my columns on that site.

      • Regina Wanassa

        The Far Left has its share of aging, regressive white males too.

  • woodrowfan

    As much as I like your articles Bob I think yo’re engaging in a bit too much of “everybody does it” here. Both left and right have their share of nuts. But how many of the left’s are in a position of power in state or national governments? The Right’s nut caucus in the US Congress, and in the state legislatures, is quite large. Where is the equivalent on the left? Where is the left’s equivalent of the dishonest mass media presence of Fox “News” or the am radio talking heads? The Democrats have done a far, far better job of keeping their fringe on the fringe than have the Republicans. There’s as much chance that they’ll get to drive policy as I have of getting Ebola from some Honduran child refugee.

  • http://theravenspoke.blogspot.com/ TheRaven

    ….the far-left wing of the Democratic Party is beginning to give the tea party a run for its crazy money.

    Do not conflate “far-left” with “Democrat”. Refusal to listen to extremism is a distinguishing characteristic. The GOP is owned by Teahadists who control only 15% of congress. The Occupy movement, Code Pink, the loonies at Common Dreams and other manifestations of far-left extremism have no role in Democratic politics. One can critique Democrats for being too centrist. I’d like to see the Warren style of aggressive liberal progressivism have more influence. But let’s be clear: Warren is nowhere near the level of GOP “extremism” which is in fact mass derangement, shameless bigotry and other anti-American activities which deserve the FEMA camp internment they all yearn for. With a free ride in a black helicopter, of course.

    • Churchlady320

      I do ask, however, how Warren represents a difference from the president who brought her to Washington in the first place? She created her policies under his support for them. By assuming a distinction and ignoring her full embrace of Dodd Frank two weeks ago, doesn’t that factually challenge the idea there IS a difference between President Obama and Senator Warren?

      • http://theravenspoke.blogspot.com/ TheRaven

        Who cares?

      • Badgerite

        The left would start going after her the same way they have gone after Obama if she were ever to be elected president. And for exactly the reasons Bob states. They would consider a moderate approach that actually produced achievements for the progressive movement to be not complete victories and not pure enough. They would accuse her of being a sell out. She would just be the latest savior to ‘disappoint’ them.

        • Saren Arterius

          Even the uber-pure Bernie Sanders will start explaining political realities in frank terms if you sit him down and talk to him about it. He’s not an idiot.

          • Badgerite

            I should think so. Something the punditry on the left seems to fail to appreciate are the realities of life not only politically in congress but also in the world at large.

        • Mike Lumisch

          Exactly this. The same weak minded enthusiasts who built up a fantasy of Obama as the Great Lefty Savior then turned on him like a pack of rabid hyenas when he refused to wave his magic wand and give them everything they demanded. Warren knows this and is too smart to take the bait: these people have proven repeatedly that they are unreliable and can not be counted on to deliver support when times are difficult.

          The irony is how these fake radicals whine so loud and long that no one respects them and no one will listen to them and they never get what they want from the electoral process. Of course not! Who in his right mind is going to waste precious political capital on a gang of open traitors? Just this afternoon there was an exchange with an idiot naderite who was kvetching that he has been working since 2008 – a whole six years, can you believe his dedication to the cause? Such the political Hercules – to elect Democrats and he still doesn’t get everything he asks for from party central. He is so self righteously angry that he is going to stomp off and do what he can to sabotage the elections and teach the despised Democrats a lesson: way to demonstrate you commitment to the cause, dude.

          I like to remind people that the Religious Right spent thirty years stuffing envelopes and running for dog catcher before they became a power within the GOP. It looked like an overnight victory, to the stupids at least, but in fact it required decades of patient and thoughtful preparation. There is an example we would do well to emulate.

          • Badgerite

            And—-sometimes they are actually wrong. As per the law of unintended consequences.

    • Otto66

      Agree.

    • feloniousgrammar

      It matters at the ballot box, especially when emos convince others that “both sides do it” so why bother? If it appears to centrists that “both sides” hate this Administration and the Democratic members of Congress, then they might agree and sit out the midterms. Most complaints about “the left” are relevant to Emotarians, not the majority of the left. When I saw Melissa Harris-Perry launch into a diatribe about Obama, I had to let her go, in spite of all of her other good coverage. There is very little fair coverage of President Obama and Congress on any “news” programs.

      Most centrists are working people with families who aren’t in the habit of studying issues, situations, and policies. They work from impressions. And sad, but true, most Americans don’t understand how the government is supposed to work.

      Warren is also nowhere near Presidential material, right now. She’s good in the Senate.

  • Razor

    our political cracker

    Who is, Louie Gohmert?

  • Neddy Merrill

    Who on the left criticized “…the overturning of Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell…as weak genuflections to the center-right?”

    There were probably some that said it should have happened sooner, and it should have, but that hardly gets close to far right crazy. Likewise, pointing to shortcomings in the ACA, and advocating for single payer is not exactly the “hair on fire” crazy of the right.

    Generally, an ill conceived post.

  • Otto66

    Mr. Cesca? Please don’t use “Politifact” as a touch stone to make a point. As proved by a host on MSNBC, they are unreliable. And now your drifting into “Both-sides-do-it” article writing? There is a lefty at Esquire you should be reading
    Last grip. The Teaparty would not have existed without the money back of the Kochs and their ilk. Just another bitchclub organized by the right.

    • Janice DeHaas Rodrigues

      Politifact & Factcheck.org actually do a fine job & are willing to make corrections when warranted. We never like it when their answers don’t conform to ours. It’s so hard to sort through all the BS so I count on them to do the research, objectively, for me. I didn’t love it when they rated the Hobby Lobby issue “Mostly True”(I wanted it “True”— but it was perfectly understandable—it had to do with H.L.s statement that they “Didn’t know they were already covering the contraceptives that they object to”—one has to take them at their word, I suppose, but for me it seems incomprehensible that a company so strongly & devotedly against abortion wouldn’t have checked their Health Insurance policy, previous to the ACA, to make sure they weren’t covering these things that so upset them—Well, they had been covering them, but it only upset them because now “Obama says they have to”—–so hypocritical ! You can go & read their lawsuit complaint where they state this yourself. But again, there is so much nonsense to sift through in the media, I wouldn’t snub them. I was going to post a link on Politifact’s dialogue with MSNBC producers concerning Maddow’s statements but it wouldn’t let me here. It’s called “Responding to Rachel Maddow”

      • Otto66

        Politifact had shown themselves, to me, as hacks long before Rachel took them to task. She, however, knocked them more eloquently then I ever could.
        Guess we just disagree on their worth.

      • Hank

        “We never like it when their answers don’t conform to ours.”

        Thank you for such an honest statement.

      • Red Mann

        Perhaps, but it has seemed to me after following Politifacts for a few years that they have a much more stringent standard for the left than for the right. Calling Obama’s doctors/insurance “Keep them” statement the lie of the year was ridiculous. There were thousands of right wing utterance that were far worse.

  • http://www.osborneink.com/ OsborneInk

    Thank you, Bob. Just last night, I put a static front page on Osborne Ink to let people know that it’s on indefinite hiatus — for all these same reasons and more.

    • muselet

      Matt, I understand your frustration and honestly I don’t blame you a bit for stepping away. It’s a pity that the crazies have driven a sane voice from the conversation.

      –alopecia

      • http://www.osborneink.com/ OsborneInk

        The crazies drove me to BU, so I can see why it would seem like they drove me away from OsInk, but one drove me from anything. I’ve just moved on to other things.

        BreitbartUnmasked.com takes up most of my workday, and what time I have left goes to greatwarblog.com, so there’s really just not any time or energy left to write a post for my own site.

        • muselet

          I saw your announcement this morning, so I know you’re not simply bailing out, but a group effort like Breitbart Unmasked doesn’t have the same tone or (dear Cthulhu, I hate this term!) flavor as an individual blog. The pleasure of reading your blog was that you wrote about topics and events I would not otherwise have encountered, and I thank you for that.

          Time to add Breitbart Unmasked and Great War Blog to my daily reading.

          –alopecia

          • http://www.osborneink.com/ OsborneInk

            Please do add us to your daily reading, and be sure to catch the Thursday THREATCON posts!