Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Andrew Sullivan Wets The Bed

Sully, my man...I'm a big admirer...but you need to buck the f*ck up.

If this is how you react to one bad debate performance and a couple of bad polls...I'm wondering WTF it would be like to have been with you at Bastogne...

I'm concerned, too, but running around the interwebs screaming that we're all doomed is not--I repeat, NOT--as helpful as you might think.

The debate is over. Its primary effects now are through media commentary on them, of which your writings are a part. How about a little more steely resolve and a little less hysterical catharsis?

Our man is the stronger candidate. We have reason and facts on our side, and that ain't exactly nuthin'. As Peirce says, notwithstanding the iniquity of the world, truth and justice are the most powerful forces in it.

Give time. Give money. Get tough.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, Winston. Last night I was so irritated with Sullivan it actually kept me from sleeping. It's not just that he sounded like a doomed minor character from the Poseidon Adventure, but taking his negative feelings about the debate and explained them by attributing moral failings to Obama. As you point out, most of the negative effect of the debate at this point is due to such negative judgements in the media. Based on the polling data, most people watching the debate though that Romney came off somewhat better, but it didn't much change minds. The real Romney bounce came only the near universal media call that Obama had not just lost but that his loss was some kind of huge, incompetence-proving blunder. When Sullivan and his cohort use a negative poll result to claim it as more evidence for how bad the debate performance was, it is they who are the cause of further damage, not the debate itself.

One side moral I take from this episode is that high school and college sport debate is really doing damage to our political discourse. Clearly, it is on scoring criteria of that sport that Romney won: he didn't stammer or seem tired, he assembled fact-ish premises in numbered lists for clarity, he smiled. His failings, inconsistency and plain making shit up, don't cost points in sport debate. I don't know what percentage of commentators were debaters in HS or College, but I'm guessing quite a few. (Sullivan, at least, is Oxford Union, triple A ball for debate types.) If you are a sport debater, you will judge that Romney's performance was good and Obama's not just lacklaster but pants pissingly bad. Moreover, like many with a background in an organized sport, you will attribute character flaws to those that don't care for or excel at your game of choice. Everyone recognizes as nonsense that brand of coach's babble in which your true and essential character is only revealed on the field of play. Not everyone can recognize a debater's belief in the revelatory power of memorized two minute note card speeches as the same sort or thing.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

LOOL "a doomed minor character from The Poseidon Adventure"

2:07 PM  

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