STARTING TOMORROW: Otherization is Us!


The Ohio 88: Here at this award-winning site, we're praying for Candidate Ryan.

We refer to Candidate Tim Ryan, the six-term Democratic congressman who's running for the open Senate seat in Ohio. 

For whatever it's worth, we're also praying for Candidate Morgan Harper, who's running for the same Senate seat. But since Ryan is profiled in the Washington Post today, we're going to focus on him.

To be more specific, Ryan and Harper are currently seeking the Democratic nomination for that open Senate seat. In the Post, Michael Scherer starts his profile of Ryan as shown:

SCHERER (1/31/22): Congressman Tim Ryan has been traveling the foothills of western Appalachia with a joke about marriage he hopes will make him Ohio’s next U.S. Senator.

The voters he needs to turn his way—the forgotten, the struggling, in communities with hollow factories, Trump flags and fentanyl epidemics—don’t agree with everything he stands for as a Democrat. But then, he asks his small crowds, who does?

“If my wife and I have 10 conversations in one day and we agree on six or seven of them, we crack a bottle of wine and celebrate how great our marriage is,” he said at a recent stop here along the Ohio River, just a few blocks from an empty brownfield where furnaces once burned. “So why would you think you are going to agree with someone 100 percent of the time?”

Ryan’s bet—and the national Democratic dream—is that a few issues still just might matter more than his party label. He lists three whenever he speaks, after talking up his small-town upbringing and all of his union relatives who once worked at steel plants or auto suppliers...

It may be that Ryan won't win the nomination. it may be that Morgan will. But if Ryan ends up as the nominee, will he able to draw white working-class voters (among others) back into the Democratic Party fold?

We're praying that he will! Scherer defines this part of the party's political problem:

SCHERER: The pitch has made Ryan one of the most consequential Democratic candidates of the 2022 cycle, a test case on whether his party has any hope of reclaiming its erstwhile White working-class voting base, as former president Donald Trump, who sped their flight, waits in the wings. The struggle is, by any measure, uphill—Democrats have just one statewide win in the former swing state since 2012—and Republicans remain favored to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R) in November.

Republicans during the Trump years ceded strength in the college-educated suburbs to make inroads among Whites and Hispanics without college degrees in more rural areas. Issues like political correctness and disdain for political elites accelerated the drift, hitting the Democratic Party hardest among White working-class voters, who have the ability to decide elections in the presidential swing states that border the Great Lakes.

Republicans nationwide got votes from 50 percent of Whites without college degrees in 2000, when George W. Bush ran, and just 45 percent in 2008 at the end of Barack Obama’s first campaign. Trump won in 2016 with 62 percent of the same voters, with only a slight drop-off to 59 percent in 2020, according to data compiled by the American National Election Studies.

The near-term future of the party, and the next presidential contest in 2024, may well depend on whether the party can reclaim some of its old appeal, much like Sen. Sherrod Brown, the last Democrat to win statewide in Ohio, did in his 2018 race.

The GOP moved from 45% of that vote all the way up to 62! Can Democrats regain some of that lost vote? We pray they'll be able to do so! And Ryan is out there pushing hard. Here's how hard he's working:

SCHERER: With less than 10 months to go before the general election, Ryan has already visited 72 of the state’s 88 counties in a full-press effort to try to persuade the hinterlands, a handful at a time, that Democrats like him are human beings who breathe the same air...

Ryan has already visited 72 of Ohio's 88 counties! Sadly, pathetically, this question comes to mind:

How many of those 88 counties are actually Bumfuck Counties? How many voters in those counties know they're openly viewed that way by many people in our self-impressed liberal tribe?

Last Friday, Kevin Drum citation of "East Bumfuck County" was surprising, strange, disappointing. For a background report, just click here.

Drum's citation was disappointing—but at that point, the floodgates opened. The comments to his post were appalling, but were also highly instructive.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is full of loathing and otherization. The otherization to which we refer is very, very, very dumb. It's also self-defeating.

Bill Clinton "believed in a place called Hope." Many members of our tribe believe in a place called Bumfuck.

We're often eager to showcase this view. We'll ponder the topic all week.

Tomorrow: "The rat smart thing to do?"


  1. But they are all racists with inferior brain structures!

    1. That they are racist is evinced by their actions, (but nobody can read minds) and by the plight of people of color in America; that they have DIFFERENT (nobody has ever claimed "inferior") brain structure is a scientific fact.

      If right wingers feel inferior due to their racism or their other values, that is on them; the Left is interested in improving society, full stop. Right wing establishment power and wealth has been gained at the expense of the rest of us, including rank and file right wing voters; right wingers have no interest in losing what those with power and wealth have gained, therefore they resist progress.

      Somerby has a basic misunderstanding of voter demographics as well as electoral politics; while of slight significance in the past, in this century there are no significant amount of voters switching parties, it is all a matter of motivating voters to actually get out and vote.

  2. Is Bob still trying to pretend it’s possible for a liberal to have more contempt for Republican voters than Republican politicians do?

  3. "But then, he asks his small crowds, who does?"

    Ha-ha. So, now your liberal cult's politicians are trying to gain popularity by declaring their contempt for the same liberal cult they represent?

    Nice. Thanks for the laughs, dear Bob.

    However, while we too are cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a massive defeat of your liberal cult in November, we would advise you, dear Bob, not too celebrate it yet, dear Bob. It's just too early. Let's talk about it in September...

  4. If Ryan wins, it may not be because of his joke about his wife or his appeal to working class issues, but simply because of the effort he has put into making contact with individual voters by visiting 72 of the state's 88 counties.

    This is the campaign technique that got Bill Clinton elected governor of Arkansas and Hillary her Senate seat in a state that she had just moved to. She got in her car and conducted a "listening tour" that visited as much of the rural territory in the state of New York as she could.

    This is grassroots campaigning and it works. People tend to trust someone they have met and talked with.

    1. This is correct, this is the bone simple point Somerby wants to pretend does not exist.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Somerby calls Kevin Drum's mention of Bumfuck County a "citation" but a citation is when you are referring to someone else who either created or used that term in an important way. Drum was NOT referring to anyone else's usage. He used that term and intended that term himself.

    It is perhaps "nice" of Somerby to try to shift the blame for it off of Drum's shoulders, but it is also dishonest. Drum can take responsibility for his own words and I think he would perhaps not agree with Somerby's criticism, and might even stick up for his word choice.

    It is also odd that Somerby treats Drum's usage as 100% serious and an obvious insult instead of a possible attempt at humor. Somerby himself was recently defending even the most offensive humor (about rape and incest) when Saget performed it, but now it suits his purposes to treat Drum's likely humorous remark as serious, simply because he thinks The stupidest of others should never be embarrassed by their own moronic behavior.

    Read the news today about the moron who deliberately wore a misspelled t-shirt to a Trump rally and thinks that smoking cigarrettes and being blood type O-neg will protect him from covid. These are the people we are not to call stupid because why? It might hurt the South's fee-fees? These are the guys with the "Fuck Your Feelings" t-shirts. I think our feelings about their garbage should matter too and I applaud Kevin Drum for sticking up for the truth about Trump territory.

    1. "How many voters in those counties know they're openly viewed that way by many people in our self-impressed liberal tribe?"

      "These are the people we are not to call stupid because why? It might hurt the South's fee-fees?"

      Well illustrated, it continues to be the case that one can always turn to the comments for an example of what Bob's saying.

    2. I wasn’t aware that the voting patterns of red state voters were determined by the comments of Veronica at Bob Somerby‘s blog.

    3. Wow, what is with all the straw men today, holy crap. Are you just a troll now then?

    4. Congratulations, rationalist. You found one comment at a blog no one reads that you think might illustrate Somerby’s point.

      Do you think one example proves that “otherization is us?” How many liberals are there total?

      Do you think comments like this, or at Drum’s blog, have any real effect on what conservatives think about liberals? If they do, to what extent do they have that effect because they are highlighted and publicized by Somerby, or conservative outlets intent on showing that “otherization is us?”

    5. Rationalist,
      Feel free to cite an example of someone from “our tribe” showing more contempt for Republican voters than Republican politicians,
      Good luck.

    6. The comment was from this blog!

      I can't even follow the rest of your post. I quoted Somerby, I quoted "Veronica", I pointed out that it illustrated his point. What exactly are you on about? It isn't based on anything I wrote. Let's disengage please.

    7. Berto, that's also a straw man, out of scope with my comments, and shows poor reading comprehension. Hmmm... why is this such a pattern with all our distinct and different commenters?

    8. Rationalist, Somerby is clearly saying that ALL liberals do this, not just some. And he uses Drum’s commenters as a way of doing that. What do you think “otherization is us” means?

    9. Rationalist,
      Is it a straw man if I ask you what besides bigotry and white grievance Republican voters believe in, or is it only an impossible task?

    10. Not only does Rationalist not understand Somerby's point, they also do not understand how Somerby's point is utter nonsense. At any rate, they claim to not understand these things.

  7. I manage an Assisted Living Facility and two service technicians came in and neither were vaccinated.
    They said it was BS. So how does one communicate with morons? Please explain.

    1. It isn’t a straw man. It is the heart of the discussion Somerby is attempting. How do you communicate with people who have a certain worldview or mindset? Somerby has suggested viewing them as victims. It is entirely unclear how that is helpful in any practical sense.

    2. The heart of the discussion? I'll simply remind readers what we are discussing and it'll make my argument for me.

      "Fox News viewers don’t deserve contempt. Save it for the folks fleecing them."

      Which led to comments like:

      " having sympathy [for] them is simply not possible..."

      "...most Fox News types are also huge assholes."

      "They deserve all the scorn, ridicule, and contempt we can muster."

      "It's hard to vilify an entire group of people... But I usually do so anyway."

      "They deserve contempt"

    3. That doesn’t address the issue. Not his not to talk to them, but how TO talk to them.

      And this is what some of Drum’s commenters said. Do they speak for all liberals? Or do we start by re-educating Drum’s commenters and then proceed to other liberals? Do you think all liberals say these kinds of things?

    4. I seriously can't follow your wandering focus.

      The context of these comments all along is the way liberals show disdain for conservative voters (a.k.a. people that watch Fox News).

    5. But it doesn’t show that, rationalist. It shows (possibly) how some liberals show disdain for conservatives, not how “liberals” show disdain. Do you not get the important logical distinction?

    6. liberals show disdain for conservative voters

      Ah yes. And if it wasn't true, republican polls and the entire RW Media Industrial Complex would have to make it up.

      Come to think of it, that's exactly what they do. huh!

    7. Please provide evidence that people vote for Republicans due to so called liberal contempt.

      Any lefties here vote left, not because of your values, but because some right winger showed you contempt?

      In fact, notably FDR said he welcomed right wing contempt to roaring cheers shortly before he won in a landslide.

      Do you see how ridiculous and empty Somerby and his fanboys are?

    8. You misread the quote by Roosevelt. Our side is very, very dumb.

    9. bwhahhaahah

      uh, no the FDR quote is not misread, your claim just exposes your ignorance and bad faith in discourse.

    10. What are your values?

  8. Somerby likes to bring up Lincoln as some sort of role model for liberals, “the better angels of our nature”, etc. It’s a noble sentiment, but it did not work for Lincoln. The war was unavoidable. And he was assassinated.

    Let’s also contemplate the impossibility of getting all liberal commenters on every liberal blog, including Drum’s, across the entire web to refrain from making any comment that could even remotely be construed as negative about conservatives.

    Even if it were possible, does anyone honestly believe anything would change?

    And Somerby likes to chastise unknown commenters, because he thinks it makes his point about liberals. But the commenters at blogs like Drum’s are more politically engaged than the average liberal, and are seeking a place to interact and freely discuss things with others.

    And I would say that Somerby is being obtuse when he chastises commenters in cases where it is possible that their anger is justified, and not exactly meant for public consumption and do not reflect Democratic Party policy (such as that espoused by Tim Ryan).

    Does he think liberals pre-internet didn’t have similar discussions in private, just as conservatives did? One ought to be able to discuss what is on one’s mind without some jackass on a high horse swooping in to condemn everyone for not being as “high-minded” as himself.

    What does he expect of liberals? They are human too.

    1. "Let’s also contemplate the impossibility of getting all liberal commenters on every liberal blog, including Drum’s, across the entire web to refrain from making any comment that could even remotely be construed as negative about conservatives."

      And you think you can identify straw men in other people's writing? Maybe start with your own and see how that goes first.

    2. How many negative comments are acceptable to Somerby? Is he only concerned with the ones at Drum’s blog? If he doesn’t find them there, you can bet he will search elsewhere.

      His whole thesis is “this is how liberals are.”

      That what “otherization is us” means.

    3. Do you feel like the Drum comments misrepresent the consensus liberal attitudes towards Fox news viewers? The comments from the trolls here are exactly the same as the Drum comments.

    4. So, liberals show contempt for fascists. Who cares?
      It would be a much bigger problem if being treated with contempt was a deal-breaker for Republican voters. The history of Republican voters electing politicians who are contemptible of them, shows this isn't at all the case.

    5. Our team is very, very dumb.

    6. 5:20 no I would not say that, I would say that your team has been snookered into voting for Republicans for a variety of reasons, mostly related to unresolved childhood trauma.

    7. Cool man. Sick come back.

    8. glad you approve, happy to oblige

    9. Fox News viewers are a subset of Republicans, just as liberals who write comments on blogs are a subset of Democrats.

      Floridians are a subset of our nation's citizens, just as those from East Bumfuck County are a subset of whatever Southern state they come from.

      None of these subsets represent the whole. But they do demonstrate behavior that can be called deplorable and shouldn't be tolerated without comment by anyone.

      When Hillary made her comment about deplorables among the Trump supporters (estimated as about 40%), Trump immediately generalized it to ALL of his supporters, who gleefully went out and had t-shirts made telling the world how happy they were to be deplorable. Like the guy who was so proud to have misspelled "villain" that he had to show everyone his ignorance.

      There is nothing that people on the left can say about these deplorables that they aren't already saying themselves, via their behavior. That's why the liberals with the "Let's go Darwin" t-shirts are right. Nature will catch up with these guys faster than liberals can, and with much less charity since reality is a bitch. Sort of like when the FBI tracked down the insurgence via their Facebook brags (with photos of themselves smearing feces, one wonders whose?).

      So it doesn't matter what liberals say, especially on blogs that no self-respecting conservative should be reading. These guys have been given enough rope to tangle themselves up in and fall off a roof. We just need to stand back and give them space. Nature will take them down without any help from us.

  9. Rationalist,
    Try not to show contempt for Republican voters who are so fixated on the rigged economy, and aren’t just bigots dontchaknow, that they were amped up to elect a guy who has a long history of stiffing his contractors through financial leverage.

  10. “our tribe is full of loathing and otherization.”

    How is this not a straw man?

    Drum’s commenters are full of loathing and otherization, thus our tribe is full of loathing and otherization.

    1. Surely even you, dear mh, assuming you've been alive in the last couple of decades, should be able to realize that demonization and hate-mongering is your liberal cult's only tactic?

    2. Republican voters won't vote for politicians who are contemptuous of them, said rat-fuckers.

  11. Back when Obama was reelected to the presidency, I was talking with a woman at my bridge club. She was about 70 years old and a retired school teacher. Out of nowhere, responding to nothing that had been said at the table, she said "If I had a gun, I would shoot that Obama!" And no, she was not senile.

    What are liberals to make of statements like that? Is there some way to have a conversation with someone who does that? Where would you start?

    It is easier to talk to someone who merely says "I have always voted Republican and I will never vote for a Democrat." when you ask them why they are supporting Trump. But when you try to reason with them, they retreat to that statement and don't want to continue the conversation. How do you talk to someone like that? I don't know and neither does Somerby.

    The question of how to maintain respect for the folks who say these things (and much worse) must be secondary to the problem of maintaining any kind of dialog with Trump's true believers. They are like the covid deniers who insist on their deathbeds that they don't have covid. There is no way to talk to them. And my feelings about that are not contempt but sadness.

    1. Your study of one Republican who was 70 made you give up on activism, and you wanted to share this as some kind of field research about how other people are useless.

  12. I had a long conversation with a bridge partner at a tournament in San Francisco. He explained that he was voting for Trump because he himself was a small business owner and he expected Trump to be good for his business. I described the 27 women who had accused Trump of sexual assault and asked how he could elect someone as president who had done those things. His response was "Well, if you feel that way, you obviously shouldn't vote for Trump." But it had no impact on his decision.

    How does anyone reason with a man who doesn't care that a presidential candidate has credible accusations of assaulting 27 women? I cannot see how anyone can consider such a candidate fit to hold our highest office. The video of Trump bragging about his conquests is enough to preclude that. So I cannot conceive of what to say to a man who considers such a thing to be less than a dealbreaker.

    Somerby needs to tell me what to say to such a person that will break through to him. And why shouldn't I feel contempt for a man who will tolerate the abuse of women in exchange for some unspecified advantage to his small business.

    Again, I don't feel contempt for the guy -- who is a good bridge player and seems like a nice guy. But I do feel sadness that there are folks who will put up with the worst human being on earth in exchange for some financial gain that may or may not even materialize down the road. Are people on the right so easily bought off? Again, I feel sadness rather than contempt, and a great deal of bewilderment about the values of those on the right.

    1. "His response was "Well, if you feel that way, you obviously shouldn't vote for Trump.""

      Whoa. Very good. Perfect.

      This is exactly the way normal people react to brain-dead dembottery.

    2. Obama and Hillary raped several countries leaving tens of thousands dead including thousands and thousands of children. Are these the treasured values that make you proudly cherish Democrats?

    3. Don't forget JFK seduced and raped his teenage intern.

    4. 10:21,
      Your bridge partner friend is lying. He voted for Trump specifically because of the 27 women who accused Trump of sexual assault.
      I, too, wish this wasn't how Republican voters choose their governmental representation, but I, unlike the NY Times and the rest of the MSM, have accepted this truth.

  13. Back in 2015, one of the directors of my local bridge club bet me that Hillary's first act, if elected, would be to confiscate all of the guns in people's homes. I took that bet, but it was moot because Trump won instead. But nothing I could say to the guy could make a dent in his belief about her plans for gunowners. This, despite Hillary's own campaign ads reassuring hunters that she too had hunted as a child and was with them, and her stated respect for the 2nd Ammendment. My friend chose to believe Alex Jones instead.

    So, you tell me how to get through to our friends and relatives who believe such things, no matter what anyone says to them. Somerby has provided no help, other than to call us dumb and blame us for the intransigence of Trump voters. But I know that I didn't convince that guy to listen to Alex Jones instead of Hillary, and I showed him no contempt whatsoever, since he is a much better bridge player than I am, and I considered him a friend.

    Many of us are sad that our longtime friends have wandered down the Fox path and seem to have let go of reason in the process. We don't know what to say to them, and we have not been calling any of them names or displaying "self-impressed" contempt at all. We have been worrying about them and trying to talk to them.

    Trump has broken up marriages, divided families, caused people to leave their workplaces, lost people business, and ultimately, he caused 147,000 estimated unnecessary covid deaths through his mishandling of the pandemic and his covid vaccine denial (his change of heart is too little, too late to help the deceased, including peoplem some of us knew personally and cared about).

    I find myself more and more offended by these daily diatribes of Somerby's, as he implies that we don't care about these people lost to Trump's influence. Of course we care about them! And we did not drive them to Trump by our contempt. They have driven us away in frustration because it is too hard to stand by and watch them circling the drain.

    Somerby just keeps gaslighting us and it is beginning to make me angry -- at Somerby, not the former bridge partner who cannot play in club games any more because he won't wear a mask or get vaccinated. I don't know why he won't change his mind, but I do know that his life was better before he was pulled into Trump's orbit.