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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mike Malloy: Answering with Anger

One should never respond quickly to any development that provokes intense anger, because it is nearly 100 percent certain that whatever one does while in that state of mind will turn out to be inappropriate and stupid and will only make things worse.

Mike Malloy is the most volatile of several extra-fiery hosts on Air America. Randi Rhodes and Jeanine Garofolo are the others though they are distant seconds to Malloy, maybe because they are female and so suffer from built-in discretion in spite of themselves. Yesterday, while filling in for Rhodes, who was away defending herself against being sued, Malloy lost it while reporting that only nine among the 45 Democrat Senators voted against the renewal of the Gestapo ...er, the Patriot Act. In a fit of rage on the air, Malloy announced that never again would he so much as call the names of those Democrats who had voted wrong, and he told his listeners that if they still wanted to vote for those people, they might as well vote for the Republicans instead.

Mike Malloy is one of my two favorite broadcasters on Air America. The other is Ms Maddow. I have a lot of admiration for him. For years Malloy has been one of the most steadfast and right-on-the-mark advocates of the progressive/liberal cause. Yet the attitude and the advice that he offered here are perfect examples of how extreme pique can fatally distort a person's otherwise impeccable message.

I see what he recommended as being no sort of an option, and instead it is -- can I say it? -- harmful and even idiotic, and the fact that he was using the spoken instead of the written word and so presumably had no time to measure his utterances is no excuse, because it reveals a pernicious attitude that is too often present. By that I mean the temptation that many liberals seem to feel to stick pins into the Democrats at the slightest provocation, to the point that sometimes they do this almost more than they attack Republicans.

Because of this I have come to dread hearing radio call-ins on Air America because so many callers, while professing to be liberal and so ostensibly on the Democrats' side, can't resist taking side jabs at Democrats who veer off onto the shoulder of the road once in a while. (I'm not talking about the likes of a J. Lieberman. He is of course an out and out Republican wearing a raggedy mask.) The only answer must be that there's something fashionable about it. It must be that barrel of horse hockey called being sophisticated.

I think it is far better to save that ire for the Republicans, and I always want to ask, "What's the alternative?" I don't see any. Third parties? Ross Perot and Ralph Nader have shown that, in modern times at least, third parties only take votes away from one or the other of the Big Two while never drawing enough votes for themselves to make them anything more than just passing phenomena, spoilers and that's all.

So, no matter what individual Democrats might do, I don't see how there's any getting around the fact that their party is far preferable to the G.O.P., and that is likely to stay true far into the future, maybe for generations. That is because the Republicans, in their haste to become dominant, bought into the "Southern Strategy" too heavily and swallowed whole the Southern demogogues whom the Democrats had regurgitated, beginning in the 1960's, and it will take another long while for the Republicans to finish passing that indigestible lump that, along with their chronic curse throughout their history, the Big Money, has uglified them so.

So instead of "pitching a bitch," as the more poetic-minded in my military days might have put it, Mike Malloy and others should stay calm and instead try to get an understanding of why those Senators voted the way they did. That kind of response is much better for the blood stream and for the two optic systems.


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