Friday, September 5, 2008

Cultural tribalism and unrestrained personality attacks work

The initial data seems to support Glenn Greenwald's fears: we Americans fall for emotional oversimplifications.
clipped from
But the idea that Americans instinctively recoil from negativity or that there will be some sort of backlash against Republicans generally and Palin specifically because of how "negative" their convention speeches were is pure fantasy. Cultural tribalism and personality attacks of those sort work, especially when they're not aggressively engaged.

Every four years, the GOP unleashes unrestrained personality attacks on Democrats and exploits cultural resentments. Every four years, Democrats tell themselves that such attacks don't work and are counter-productive. And every four years, that belief is disproven. These "character" issues end up mattering largely because Democrats, in election after election, allow wars over "character" to be waged in a largely one-sided fashion.

blog it

I hesitate to advocate a similar reliance on personality-based politics on the part of Democrats, liberals, the Left, etc., if only because it is a distraction from the actual issues we face. However, that might be a false dichotomy. Why can't those who oppose the Republican (or, more generally, the party-independent regressive-theocratic-corporatist) agenda link the personal and the political, since the two are usually inseparable in real life anyway? And why can't they "grow a pair"? This reader agrees:

clipped from

I think Glenn is NOT arguing that Dems copy the way Republicans
attack. He is probably simply suggesting they attack the same way
he does. By directly confronting their lies and with passion.

Nothing Glenn has said in the last two polls suggests to me that
he wants Dems to engage in 7th grade personality bashing. Glenn may
not want to toot his own horn, but we can: the dems should use
Glenn as a model for attack.

blog it

No comments: