OUR OWN TEAM’S STUFF KEEPS HAPPENING TOO: Our team has produced this movie before!


Part 3—It’s a low-quality film:
On its face, it should have been easy to make an obvious point.

Jeb Bush had offered a weak, selective response in the wake of the Oregon shootings. He seemed to say there’s nothing the federal government could do in response to these repeated mass killings.

Lacking any other ideas, he ended up responding to the moderator’s suggestion that we should pray more often.

The candidate’s response was selective, soft, weak, “can’t do.” Beyond that, it had the look of a classic surrender to a big interest group.

We’d even be inclined to say that Bush’s overall statement was less than obsessively honest. This is why we say that:

As everyone knows, Congress could do certain things in an attempt to reduce the frequency of mass shootings. To cite the most obvious example, Congress could eliminate the ludicrous “gun show loophole” which allows a person to purchase a gun without any background check.

The public overwhelmingly favors this move, as Alan Berlow explains again today in the New York Times. For whatever reason, the hapless, hand-wringing Candidate Bush couldn’t even bring himself to mention it!

Congress could also loosen the three-day rule on background checks which allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the gun he used in his mass murder in Charleston—a gun he shouldn’t have been able to purchase under existing law. Ruth Marcus explained this point on Sunday’s Meet the Press:
MARCUS (10/4/15): There is no perfect solution but there are marginal improvements. Limit the size of magazines—that would have stopped Jared Loughner from killing as many people before he stopped to reload. Make the background checks so that it's not automatic that you get it if it's not completed in three days. That might have stopped Dylann Roof from having his guns.
For a fuller account of the breakdown which let Roof purchase his gun, see this report by Media Matters.

As Marcus noted, there is no “solution” to this problem—but marginal improvements are possible, and the public overwhelmingly favors at least one. Last Friday, Candidate Bush completely skipped this obvious point in his flaccid discussion of our repeated mass shootings.

For whatever reason, he wasn’t willing to mention the fact that there are certain things we plainly can do. For our money, that was a lazy, uncaring response—a response which bordered on dishonest. It shouldn’t be hard for us the liberals to make that point, especially when Bush’s “can’t do” approach was widely echoed by other Republican candidates.

It ought to be easy to make this point about Bush’s jellyfish offering. Increasingly, though, we the liberals don’t even try to approach the public with winning arguments and presentations.

Instead, we do what we did last Friday, which basically wasn’t especially honest: We enroll ourselves, once again, in The Cult of the Offhand Comment!

What do we do when we enroll in dull-witted old cult? We pretend we’ve found a perfect quotation from someone like Candidate Bush—a quotation which shows us, and the rest of the world, how heinous The Other Tribe is. We rush off to show the world how immoral and callous The Others actually are.

Tribal warfare has always proceeded in such ways, dating back to life in the swamp. Because make no mistake: When we play the game this way, we’re working with our prehistoric, reptilian brains.

In this instance, we grabbed two words from the many words Candidate Bush spoke that day. We pretended that he callously said, “Stuff happens,” in an especially callous dismissal of the fact that innocent people had been killed.

When we played this tired old game, we were being less than honest—and around the country, others could see that we were being sub-honest! When we play the game this way, we sometimes gain a short-term advantage—but we often heighten the tribal divisions which make real progress impossible.

Increasingly, we the liberals like to play this way. We don’t seem to know how to convey the most blindingly obvious facts to the public—for example, the fact that the so-called special committee on Benghazi was a giant politicized con.

Unable to convey such obvious truths, we’re forced to wait for a giant gaffe, such as the giant gaffe committed last week by the hapless Kevin McCarthy. Or we’re forced to pretend that a gaffe has occurred, as we did the case of Bush’s alleged callous comment.

Sad to say, we liberals have produced this movie before! Obvious example:

In the last presidential campaign, Candidate Romney made an ironic remark about the way he “liked being able to fire people.”

To our instantly pleasured tribal brains, it sounded like an utterly callous remark! Here’s the problem—as was obvious to all, Romney wasn’t talking about firing regular employees. Quite plainly, he was speaking about “firing” health insurance providers which were providing bad service.

On the day the comment occurred, a wide range of liberal pundits made this obvious observation. They noted that Romney’s remark was being taken out of context by some observers.

A string of pundits quickly noted that Romney’s remark was being misinterpreted. But so what? Everyone knew what Romney meant, but we liberals decided to play our game. Those initial words of caution were quickly forgotten. Throughout the campaign, we kept pleasuring ourselves by repeating this comment, pretending that Romney had something other than what he had plainly said.

Let’s ignore the marginal honesty we display at such times. Today, we’ll ask a different question: Why are we so incompetent that we’re forced to play this game? Why can’t we liberals approach the public in an honest manner and win?


Jeb Bush offered a half-assed assessment in the wake of the Oregon shootings. Rather than explain that obvious fact to the public, we shot a familiar old film:

We pretended we’d found a two-word quote which showed us how callous the candidate is. This pretending made us feel tribally good—but it made us look phony to others.

Why are we willing to play a game which is less than obsessively honest? For today, let’s ask a different question:

Why are we liberals forced to play this stupid old game at all? Why can’t we go to the pubic with real arguments—and win?

Why can’t we simply talk pork to the people? What is keeping us the liberals from daring to struggle and win?

Tomorrow: The road not often attempted


  1. "Hillary Clinton Readies Oppo-Research to Go to War Against Joe Biden"

    "According to a source close to the Clinton campaign, a team of opposition researchers working on behalf of Clinton is currently digging through Biden’s long record in office to develop attack lines in case the vice-president runs. The research effort started about a month ago and is being conducted by operatives at Correct the Record, the pro-Hillary superpac founded by David Brock, which is coordinating with the Clinton campaign."


  2. According to a source close to TrollzRUs, cicero is accurate when his entire comment is a cut and paste job with a link.

    1. @ 12:42

      Would cut & paste from actual news stories add accuracy to your howler posts or do you prefer to just repeat second verse same as the first protests about conservatives posting here?

    2. I know you are a sensitive lad, so you think my comment is critical. I am, in fact, merely telling people, using the same level of verifiably accurate sourcing as the "source close to the Clinton campaign" that your comment seems accurate to my source. You should be proud of the credibility I added to your fine work.

    3. Why are you posting partisan garbage that in no way relates to the post at hand? It's rude. If you want to talk about something else, go somewhere else.

    4. @Greg

      B.S. allows for partisans on his blog. That is why he doesn't delete yours or my posts. But good to see your only objection is the post doesn't relate to B.S.'s post. Except of course it does as HRC is engaging in the practice that B.S. finds objectionable.

    5. Can you be less of a tool, cicero?

    6. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.
      Or, at least he couldn't be more of one.

    7. BTW, cicero.
      Have you told your CEO at work (Bozell?) that you'll do what you, not what he wants, yet?
      I'm waiting to hear how that worked out for you.

    8. Candidates are not supposed to be coordinating with SuperPACs, so why is cicero's source assuming that it is Clinton who is doing this opposition research?

    9. cicero has no source. cicero is a cut and paste man in this instance.

    10. @3:35

      Brock's Media Matters can not coordinate with HRC, that is why he created "Correct The Record" in order to blatantly work for her behalf. Have you ever heard HRC repudiate anything Brock says or does in regards to his Lhasa Apso attack dog response to any media/pundit/commentator/politician criticism of HRC?

    11. cicero,
      Have you told your boss that workers like you run the show in the business world, as you implied on yesterday's post?
      I'd love to hear his reaction.
      Also, since you imply the workers make the decisions in the business world, why are they still being under-compensated for their labor?

    12. @ 9:27

      You have now moved the goal posts from liberal media owned by corporations to any and all employment. Now that you have conceded liberal media is not being held back by their corporate paymasters, you attempt a lame invalid analogy that if a worker doesn't make the same pay as their boss they must be suffering from some yoke of tyranny. What does this have to do with the preponderance of liberal media?

    13. Nice try.
      Let's just agree the media is liberal, because corporations aren't going to let conservatives, who know nothing about economics, math, business, science, history, the military, etc anywhere near the mainstream media.
      The corporate paymasters aren't going to let morons work for them. If only the people would be as protective of the government.

    14. cicero,
      Being dishonest (or playing stupid), isn't going to convince anyone that the media is the one and only industry where the workers make all the decisions. 0% facts.might work on conservatives, but once you add a second braincell, your whole theory is shown to be bullshit.

    15. Look at cicero, making believe he's a moron, just so he can deny the hole in his theory the size of the Grand Canyon .


    16. @10:53

      The media corporation executives work for stockholders. What workers are you speaking about? Since you proclaim an expertise on how conservatives are behind all media corporations and they decide what stories are covered and aired could you explain why they acquiesce to airing stories destructive to corporations and only step in when they discover too late that their producers rigged their information?

  3. "Why can’t we simply talk pork to the people? What is keeping us the liberals from daring to struggle and win?"

    It goes back to the media again. They won't report substantive campaigning, policy statements, criticisms of other candidates policy or proposals. They have decided that stuff is boring and will not attract readers, so they won't cover it.

    1. Just like lazy liberals to blame it on the media. It is dumb. And of dubious morals to do so. In our view.

    2. 1:32,
      Actually, they know that stuff will attract readers, and that is exactly why they won't cover it.

    3. Just like Bob's post on the wonderful kid in Baltimore attracted his readers and got them excited enough to comment.

  4. Again, in his nonsensical attempt to play Solomon and cut the Media Bad Behavior Baby in half, Somerby struggles to follow basic logic. As he himself all but states, "Stuff Happens" is a fairly reasonable summation of Bush's comments. He actually did make the statement, and displayed not even a vague grasp of the unspeakable pain this, and the chronic number of shootings like this one, produce.
    I would not even disagree that a sound argument for Somerby's overall point could be made. But this is a terrible example.

    1. Somerby's post is a little more nuanced. "Stuff happens" is not a reasonable summation of Bush's comments. His comments said that there is nothing that can be done about the stuff that happens, so why infringe on people's freedom. Somerby took issue with the idea that nothing valuable can be done.

      If you summarize Bush's remark as "stuff happens" then you cannot go back and ask Bush why he wouldn't attempt some of the reforms Somerby described. Further, I disagree that Bush expressed no compassion -- he did say repeatedly that the events were tragic etc. It is unfair to ignore that.

      It is a classic difference between conservatives and liberals that when there are problems in society, it is better to do something about them than to passively accept their occurrence as inevitable. Boiling that down to "stuff happens" and calling Bush callous makes it his personality problem, not a fundamental point of difference between their party and ours. Liberals embrace change to improve lives. Conservatives want to preserve the status quo (or resist change) to ensure safety, or return to better days by rolling back change (reactionaries). Drawing that distinction will attract more voters than simply calling Bush a bad guy.

    2. "Stuff happens" is a reasonable tweet in a world of instant social media. Twitter is not a forum meant for reasonable summaries, and Somerby posts are never summaries of anything.

  5. We’d even be inclined to say that Somerby's posts on this topic are less than obsessively honest. This is why we say that:


    Go to about the 45 minute mark and you will see that Bush's comments themselves are out of context remarks to a question which had nothing to do with the Oregon shooting.

    Despite being notified of this error the first and second time he posted about it, Somerby has chosen to ignore this fact. Let’s ignore the marginal honesty he displays at such times. Today, we’ll ask a different question: Why are we so incompetent that we don't all call him on this game?

    1. You have repeated this complaint several times now. Somerby offered the remarks Bush made in the context of the shooting to demonstrate the unfairness of summarizing that view as "stuff happens." I believe the constitutional issues raised to Bush when he said "stuff happens" have a great deal to do with events like the Oregon shooting. If guns were not in people's hands by virtue of the 2nd Amendment, there would be far fewer shootings. Limiting those constitutional freedoms would result in fewer Oregon-type events. Most normal people can see that connection. Why not you?

      Somerby doesn't read his comments. Calling a difference of opinion or emphasis in a post "dishonesty" is no way to engage your new friends here in conversation. WE are not incompetent but it might be worthwhile to ask why YOU are going around calling everyone names?

    2. Somerby wasn't the one who pulled that remark out of context. Why are you criticizing him for it?

    3. Because he is less than obsessively honest, @3:33.

      @ 3:10 you may believe the constitutional issues raised in the question to Bush by the Atty. Gen. of South Carolina have a great deal to do with Oregon. The Atty.Gen. says it did not. But that matters not to the point that Somerby simply disappeared the question if his first post and falsely said the question was about the mass shooting in the second post.

    4. Somerby didn't "disappear" the question. He presented the context for bush's remarks about Oregon so people could see he didn't say "stuff happens" about Oregon.

      You are focusing on something extremely trivial in a way that makes it clear your main purpose is to attack Somerby. That makes you a troll.

    5. You are incapable of holding Somerby to the same standard he demands of others. That makes you a sycophant.

    6. It isn't the same standard, troll.

      That was pointed out already at 4:53, 3:33, and 3:10.

      Pretending it's "the same standard" is yet another reason that you are a troll, troll.

    7. Somerby simply disappeared the first question asked of Bush in his first post on the topic, then chided Ryan Lizza for disappearing the second question, which he Bob Somerby, neglected to discuss either. Here are Somerby's words edited for space:

      "Where did that longer statement by Candidate Bush come from? ...Here’s where that statement came from:

      ...Lizza managed to tweet that much of Bush’s initial, larger statement about the Oregon killings. Even at that, he didn’t bother transcribing the follow-up question to which The Beast was responding when he finally gave our tribe the two words we thoroughly loved."

      Perhaps Lizza did not transcribe the question because it was not a question. In any case Somerby left it out as well.

      Bob is not merely failing to meet the same standard. Gack! He is duplicating the practices he criticizes you silly sycophant.

      Alas! In his second post, Bob resorts to misrepresentation:

      "Last Friday, Candidate Bush was asked to state his views about the latest mass shooting."

      No, Bush was not asked that. He was asked whether he thought the 2nd amendment applied to individuals or to militias. He was not asked anything about what happened in Oregon. After a long answer to the question, he launched into an attack on Obama and brought up Oregon out of the blue. Bob begins with that part of Bush's statement and falsely represents what it was in response to.

      Sorry sycophant. The posts are in front of you and I provided a link to video of the actual event on the site of its host and moderator, the Attorney General of Souh Carolina.

      You are the one pretending. And you are pretending facts don't exist when they show "our leader" Somerby is as hypocritical a narrative peddler as the people he deplores. Ignoring facts in front of your face is the fisrt sign of sycophancy.

    8. You cannot read and you are annoying those who can.

    9. You say Bush brought up Oregon out if the blue, but he didn't. Even Bush saw the connection between the 2nd Amendment, guns in the hands of individuals, and the Oregon shooting. That undercuts your complaint about Somerby, which had no merit even if the questions were not connected.

    10. "Somerby doesn't read his comments."

      George Washington never told a lie either.

    11. Bush brought Oregon up out of the blue. Watch the clip. Only someone who reads a blog which disappeared the question and the first part of Bush's response to it could make such a ludicrous assertion.

      Even the man who asked the question, the Attorney General of SC Alan Wilson put it bluntly in his own tweet on the topic:

      "My question was not re: Oregon"

  6. OMB (Talking Pork to the People With the OTB)

    We agree with BOB. Almost everyone is not obsessively honest enough. Especially in our post journalistic world, when Twitter has stripped the meat off the bones of our discourse.

    Hrd to tweet stuff in contxt. Shame on Lizza.

    "Even at that, he didn’t bother transcribing the follow-up question to which The Beast was responding when he finally gave our tribe the two words we thoroughly loved" wrote BOB.

    Here, to be obsessively honest, is the second question:

    "Moderator (AG of SC Alan Wilson): And I remember right after Columbine. And this is a long, long time ago I was listening to the radio, and they were talking about how schools you’re not allowed to have prayer vigils. But the second – being allowed to pray, I should say, or have, you know, Christian or Jewish or whatever faith-based groups on these public education schools. But then the guy said, you know it’s funny that you send a guy there with an Uzi or a handgun to shoot a bunch of people, the first thing they do after the tragedy –--prayer vigil, whatever the faith-based group is and always to say that you should do that on the front end, maybe you wouldn’t have these tragedies on the back end."

    Had Bush been obsessively honest he would not have used this inciteful question to fumble his way into the "stuff happens" language.

    Bush could have said: "Yes, it is possible front end prayer could have prevented this stuff and other stuff like it from happening. Anything is possible.

    Alternatively he could have said: "I believe God has a plan. As tragic as these deaths are, who are we to question it."

    Finally he could have said: "They should have rushed the shooter, damn it."

    We look forward to a multi part series defending poor Dr. Carson for the mainstream press mangling his musings on a Malala like approach to mass shooting.

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