Supplemental: Ways to get Joni Ernst elected!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2014

Some Iowa activists help:
In Iowa, some activists are trying to get hog-castrating Republican Joni Ernst elected to the United States senate.

Actually, we’re trafficking in a tiny bit of snark. The activists in question are liberals. In this morning’s New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg described their recent efforts:
STOLBERG (10/29/14): At the University of Iowa last week, Ms. Ernst was just four minutes into her stump speech promoting her “Iowa values,” when several young women began shouting her down. The scene grew so raucous that the candidate cut her talk short, ducking inside a classroom building to slip out a backdoor.

“Women are watching! Women are watching!” the protesters chanted as she left. Stacia Scott, a 22-year-old social worker who helped lead the protest, echoed Democrats’ talking points about Ms. Ernst. “Joni Ernst,” she said, “is not a woman for women.”
“Women are watching? Women are watching?” That’s what we’re afraid of!

It’s always hard to say how voters will respond to events like this, or to anything else for that matter. Beyond that, we find no sign that this event is being discussed in Iowa.

We’re sure the activists in question are wonderfully well-intentioned. But good intentions don’t necessarily cut it with average voters.

We liberals are famous for staging jihads which alienate average voters. We’re seeing this impulse enacted more and more often as our emerging liberal news orgs continue to emerge.

How can liberals and progressives bring average voters to their side? It’s a very important question.

We can shout at people we don’t support. Or we can learn how to speak persuasively to average voters—in the vernacular, we can learn to “talk pork to the people.”

That said, we’re a tiny bit under the weather today. So we’re going to leave it right there.

61 comments:

  1. In this post, Bob eschews his favorite target, bad reporting, for his second favorite target, liberal women.

    Watch a tape of the event and see if Bob should have stuck with the former.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VREPgMtEQw4

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  2. I don't know whether or not this sort of demonstration helps politically, but I would say it's immoral. This sort of incivility undermines democracy.

    If there were some overriding life-and-death issue, like the war in Vietnam or ending slavery, I could perhaps appreciate the need to coarsen our civilization, but not for a routine election.

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    1. Don't know if I would go so far as to call it immoral, DinC.

      But clearly it is the worst thing since Carol Costello ruined the world.

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    2. Yes, disrupting a political rally for a far-right candidate who has proclaimed loudly and repeatedly her ability to juggle bull testicles (in order to woo votes from male farmers) is truly a civilization-coarsening act.

      Leave it to the consummate ConTroll Dinky to frame it that way.

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    3. More of that big-city liberal condescension towards rural voters at work.

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    4. More of that resentment and Fox spin from the Sandhills.

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    5. Well what do you call it when someone implies that performing typical farm related work is beneath a candidate for Senate?

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    6. If we ever need a Senator to castrate hogs, Jodi Ernst gets my vote. If I need one to stand up to actual, real-life elites, voting for Ernst is the last thing I'd do.

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  3. It is good to see Bob now uses a throwaway paragraph at the end of a piece of campaign coverage by a New York Times reporter as the gospel truth from which to lecture today's liberals. They've come a long way since New Hampshire and the War on Gore, eh, Bob?

    Next he'll praise a New York Times op-ed columnist. Wait. He did that yesterday.

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    1. Speaking of the Brooks column, I am glad Somerby spent time reading and repeating the comments made to it in the Times. That allowed him to overlook this gem:

      Brooks "In a Bloomberg View column last month, Sunstein pointed to polling data that captured the same phenomenon. In 1960, roughly 5 percent of Republicans and Democrats said they’d be “displeased” if their child married someone from the other party. By 2010, 49 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats said they would mind."

      I followed brother Brooks link and Sunstein's as well. There appears to be no such polling data.

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  4. Hope you are feeling better soon!

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    1. Some chicken soup and a bowl of Ben and Jerry's will head you right back in your direction for the week, perhaps before it is over.

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    2. I just hope majneb and his/her cadre of "Jackass" fans don't find out about the blogger's discomfort - it would make their day.

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    3. It's only funny when Rachel Maddow contracts Ebola from a bus -- not when Bob is mildly under the weather.

      Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and I wish him a speedy recovery.

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  5. Gee, I don't know, Bob. How do we appeal to the "average voter"? Before we begin, wouldn't we have to define this "average voter"? Is he and she part of the "We, the people are dumb"? Or are they individuals in a diverse nation of 300+ million who are working so damned hard to raise their kids and pay their bills that they really don't have too much time left over to participate in our favorite spectator sport, politics?

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    1. I took it as referring to the voters in between the extremes of committed liberal voters and committed conservatives voters -- the ones not strongly allied with either party, who are the vast majority of voters. I don't think he meant average in terms of income, intelligence, or worth. But you are right that he perhaps should have specified, so feelings wouldn't be hurt. Most people are pretty happy to be average -- in the sense of normal.

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    2. Well, I find the term "average voter" to be very fuzzy. And muddy. And extremely open to individual interpretation -- like yours -- that may not be what the writer means at all.

      Thus the writer should practice what he preaches and make sure he clearly defines such terms so that he communicates clearly, crisply and with meaning.

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    3. The "average voter" might also be defined as non-ideological voters. They pride themselves on voting not for party, but rather for "the best candidate". Part of their reasoning goes that the way a candidate carries him/herself is a reflection of their "leadership skills". It's a voting block that decides a lot of elections.

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    4. And once again "average voter" can be "defined" in any number of ways, which makes it fuzzy AND muddy to throw it out there without any further clarification.

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  6. After Bob gets better and covers all the bad things the press did in Presidential campaigns after Nixon, I suggest he create a series on this:

    "We liberals are famous for staging jihads which alienate average voters."

    I nominate letting convicted murderers out on fulough for Part 1.

    During his service as a candidate in 1988 Al Gore took the initiative in creating "Democrats furlough murderers" as a jihad to alientate voters.

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    1. Bob covered this issue in real time in his blog of Nov 1, 2002. I don't think you can fairly say Gore "created" the issue. Republicans are certainly more responsible for "making it an issue" in the campaign.

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    2. Thankls for the link. Bob wrote:

      "Is it true? Did Al Gore “bring Willie Horton to the American people?” ... What actually happened in 1988? ... Candidate Gore challenged Candidate Dukakis to defend a Massachusetts furlough program under which convicts serving life sentences without hope of parole were released on weekend passes. In particular, Gore noted that two furloughed prisoners had committed new murders while on weekend leave."

      Just as others really "invented the internet" and "Willie Horton," saying Al initiated furloughs in the campaign, just like he initiated creating the internet in Congress, gives proper recognition to Al's effort.

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  7. Liberals need to stop snoozing while their values are being steamrolled. Of course, as soon as they stop snoozing and stand up for their values, they are alienating "average voters." In the '50s, Bob would have been one of those people telling blacks that they were being too militant and demanding, and were "alienating average voters" with their insistence on being granted the rights held by everyone else. Then, he would have written a long screed against that smirking faker Walter Cronkite, for, I don't know, wearing a funny-looking mustache, while failing to pay proper attention to the communist threat in Southeast Asia. Average voters are worried about it, Bob would say, and instead of talking about those dark people with their angry, white-alienating foolishness, Uncle Walter should be exercising his gatekeeper powers to keep an eye on what's important. In his view, while he finds the John Birch Society has different views from his own, he thinks they have it mostly right on Southeast Asia and the problem of them uppity blacks demanding their rights. And Uncle Walter should shave his mustache. Ordinary people don't like it.

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    1. Don't you think there might have been some other way for those women to express their values besides disrupting the speaking engagement of a political candidate?

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    2. Yes. I'm sure there are a number of less effective ways.

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    3. I think there were other ways for blacks to fight for their rights besides being chewed up by dogs, and disrupting the meals of average voters by sitting at segregated lunch counters, and disrupting average voters' commutes by sitting in the "wrong" seats on buses. I can't think of better ways, mind you, but sure, plenty of other ways. I suspect if you could come up with BETTER ways yourself, you'd have suggested one, rather than using a limp question as a weak way of making a point.

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    4. As a matter of pure optics, the civl rights protests of the late '50s and early '60s strongly resonated with the average voter of the time, thus paving the way for political victories such as the Civil Rights Act. Make no mistake, this was due in large part to the leadership and organizational discipline of MLK and those who shared his vision. The conduct of the protesters was tightly scripted and controlled to appeal to the sensitivities of middle america. Because they thought about tactical effectiveness and optics, they succeeded in persuading people.

      Now compare that to clueless college students screaming banalities at the other side in order to shut them up.

      Make no mistake,

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    5. Oops -- never leave a mistake behind ....

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    6. Sorry, the civil rights movement (of which I am a direct beneficiary) was attacked then the same way Bob is attacking these "clueless college students" now. So, too, was the gay rights movement. I remember people like Bob tut-tut-tutting at them not even ten years ago (I will confess to being one of the tut-tutters). And look where they are now. And if you knew more about the civil rights movement, you'd know that MLK was the soft edge. There was a much harder edge, one that was used as a means to say, "Look, if you don't like what King is doing, the alternative is Malcolm X." Both edges were needed to get results.

      When you want something, you fight for it. You risk pissing people off to make a point. You stake out territory, and issue warnings that you will defend it And then you defend it. Sure, there are risks. And you have to be smart in pursuing your goals. But nothing is achieved without the passion of "clueless" people who are willing to go out and fight. When your cause is essentially correct, as was the gay rights movement, the civil rights movement, and you stick to things for the long haul, then you win. But you can't win without fighting.

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    7. 8:55 PM you make a good point. However, the civil rights movement and the fight for gay equality were special. Blacks and gays were severely discriminated against, so their protests engendered sympathy.

      But, what great social movement did these Iowa protesters stand for? None, as far as I can see. They apparently just wanted to obstruct a Republican candidate.

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    8. If one looks back, the Civil Rights movement involved a great deal of calculated, even practiced decorum. Aiming at those who could be swayed it sought to always maintain the dignified high road. That's why it had staying power, and why it succeeded.

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    9. It also involved a great deal of calculated ... we'll say "impropriety," at least according to the standards of the time. And it was very practical. And that's why it succeeded.

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    10. It does seem to me that more thought went into planning how to protest than now occurs. Why have slogans been reduced to generic catch phrases such as "no justice, no peace" instead of being specific to the issue at hand? Sitting down at a lunch counter and refusing to leave gets across the point of not being served there. Shouting no justice no peace at an event, no matter what the event or what the circumstances gets across nothing but disruption.

      Some of the worst examples of this were the interviews conducted with demonstrators at global meetings who didn't have any idea why they were there or what issues they were protesting at that particular meeting. I think it is worthwhile distinguishing between effective and ineffective means of protest and trying to use ones that will sway voters not repel them.

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  8. Liberulz - especially wimmenfolk - shouldn't disrupt a tehadist candidate's stump speech which includes as Iowa values that personhood begins at conception because .... SNOBBERY.

    lulz

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    1. Even Al Gore, growing up in a fancy hotel suite in D.C. knew better than to snobber the hogs.

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  9. Sheryl Gay Stolberg is a very bad person

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    1. She is not youngish. She did not go to Yale. She can't be that bad.

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  10. Hope you feel better soon

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  11. This is even worse than I thought. The one positive point Bob ever makes is that the left should be fighting on the economic front (which is a point I agree with 100%). What were those protesters saying? "Raise the wage." Ernst opposes, not just raising the minimum wage, but the existence of a federal minimum wage. So who are these kids out there fighting for? "Average voters!" People who work, need jobs, need a living wage. Really, Bob is just a fucking crank. There is nothing the left does or doesn't do that he won't complain about. I have defended him in the past, hoped he would get better (once upon a time, reading his blog was one of the first things I did each day) but never again. He's just a fucking cranky old man. And he won't change.

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    1. Is disrupting a campaign appearance really "fighting" for the economic interests of average voters? When that scene appears on television throughout the state that night one needs to consider the undecided "casual voter's" reaction. Consider how television "journalists" are likely to cover it, fleshing out the protesters message, or, playing up the sizzle for all it is worth. In the last days of a close campaign these types of stunts can sink a campaign.

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    2. Better to say nothing and let the "average voters" know that the left doesn't really give a fuck about them. Bob, of course, would complain about that, too.

      Ernst is another in a long line of extreme right wing candidates. If you won't protest against her, you won't protest against anything. If you won't try to highlight that she is just (and I mean JUST) this side of batshit crazy, that she opposes things that a broad majority of Americans support, then why are you on "the left"? For that matter, what is the left good for? Bob's punching bag?

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    3. I haven't followed the Iowa election. Does "the left" even have a candidate in the race? Or instead, and I'm just guessing, a candidate who flatly denies the idea that he's even a dreaded liberal. Perish the thought! If that's the case I would say we on the left have far bigger problems to tackle than Bob Somerby's criticism.

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    4. We aren't talking about "candidates," but *activists.* The point is, you have people out there agitating for something that Bob claims they should be agitating for. They aren't snarking, or sneering, or smiling, or talking about luxury conferences, or insulting those poor, downtrodden rural voters, or talking about black people being shot to death -- all the things that just piss Bob off even more -- no, none of that. They are calling for a raise of the minimum wage, and OPPOSING what Bob always claims he opposes: a pro-plutocrat candidate. And this, too, pisses Bob off. The Democratic candidate's notional stands are irrelevant, except to someone trying to deflect attention away from Bob's hypocritical crankery.

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    5. How do you get all that from the slogan "women are watching" that was shouted by the women at this campaign event? How would any random voter attending that event get such a message from the disruption?

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    6. As pointed out, a well organized and well thought out protest movement can make a difference. I think it is fair to say that Bob and others might feel that this particular protest was not well thought out and potentially counter productive. Of course, some feel that any protest is productive, in which case you would disagree with Bob. That does not make Bob wrong or you right. In a free, mostly democratic society, what is the legitimate limit to protest?

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    7. Now you are approaching the question of when does protest become terrorism or vandalism. When does the minority opinion's right to expression become an insistence on their own way, enforced by any means? We have a supreme court to decide such things in our mostly democratic society.

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  12. OMB (The OTB asks a Very Important Question)


    "How can liberals and progressives bring average voters to their side? It’s a very important question." BOB

    We think this question is the most critical one raised by the OTB since he posed questions about closing the educational gap.

    We are confident, once he explores it as fully as he did the gap, you, his readers, will know exactly what to do.

    Meanwhile, praise your infants often and use large words like "plutocrat" and "corporate looting" so they will be prepared when it is their generation's turn to take over where BOB has led you. And keep you eyes on the skies. Women are not the only ones watching, we assure you.



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    1. So, you think that talking to infants in order to prepare them for literacy is foolish or somehow funny? And what was that crack about women?

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    2. The answer to both of your questions is no. Do you want to try asking if we hold the same opinion of your intellect as BOB professes to hold of the intellect of the press corps?

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    3. What was that crack about women -- you didn't say.

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    4. How does "No" answer the question "What was that crack about women?" Do you think women are watching you? Are they watching the skies? What exactly do you think they are watching? Or are you suggesting that others watch women? What exactly did you mean -- or do you no longer remember what schizophrenic oddness was passing through your brain when you wrote that? "No" is not an answer.

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    5. Someone waaaaay up above posted a link to the actual event. Watch that link. Don't trust Bob, who is a cranky old fuck, to tell you what happened, because Bob doesn't actually care what happened: he just wants to complain about the left being stupid, and attack Rachel Maddow for her smirking. Don't trust Stolberg, because she is stupid and lazy, and probably corrupt, and can be relied on to skip anything having to do with actual leftism. WATCH THE FUCKING EVENT. You will hear the students saying "Raise the wage." Then, think about this protest, so, SO terrible in Bob's eyes, in the context of Bob's complaints about how the plutocrats own the discourse, how the only things they allow on the air are trivial smirking, how Maddow is in the pockets of the plutocrats, and how the left never talks about things that are important to the average voters. WATCH THE FUCKING EVENT. Then tell me if you think Bob, in his endless series of screeds against the left, actually gives a shit about leftism, or if he's just a miserable, perverse, cranky old fucker who will be complaining about shit until the day he dies.

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  13. I don't know what ZKoD is saying either.

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    1. That ZKoD is famous for staging jihads which alienate average Howler readers. He needs to learn how to speak persuasively to average Somerby regulars—in the vernacular, he can learn to “talk pork to the people” who, as Somerby reminds us "are dumb."

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