Washblog

We don't listen to each other

I don't wonder very often why people hate politics, and in a very good year, only 60 percent or so of registered voters vote.
Susan Owens will only take questions from qualified inquisitors.
Mike Stark gets beat up.
And Young Republicans get kept out of a political rally in a public building.
Bush kept out non-Republicans during his "public" events during his social secruity campaign.

This third instance, especially the conversation over at the Stranger's blog on Cantwell's response  (link above) is what inspired me to write here today.

Andrew's (Villeneuve?) comment that kept me thinking last night:

...we can all obsess over some 19 year old dickwads who weren't allowed into a private campaign event

Salty language aside, since when is a political rally a "private" event? Probably since politics became a tightly controlled media product, rather than an open public discourse.

Politics aren't private, at least they shouldn't be. They should be the most public, most common thing we have. Granted, they probably would have been rude or disruptive. They might have had to been ask to leave later on.

Politics should not be so caustic that we simply don't listen to people we don't like. Maybe this is left over from the 2004 campaign (Goldly has a great story in the Slog comments about being forced off a sidewalk during a rally), but I'd rather live in a state where protesters are welcome than bared.

Maybe I'm just from Olympia though.

< Conservative Agenda Goes Unchallenged | Nuns against McMorris* >
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Politics have always been rude.  Now, on the Republican side, they've become violent.

Dems and progressives could listen better, true.  And Cantwell's campaign decision was ill-advised.

But it's hard to listen to people in a group that talks regularly about exterminating you.

We've been subjected to such violence, us liberals. Ongoing, regular language of extermination, physical violence, a methodical use of our laws and media to propagandize and suppress the civil rights of all people in the country.  In general, the Right has become violent in thought and deed. Just look at the examples you've chosen.  With President Bush setting the example early on.

Sharkansky, the blogger Owens was referring to is extremely partisan and has been caught out in inaccuracies multiple times. He plays political hardball -- that's his thing.  His thing is not truth but advocacy, and extreme partisan advocacy that includes dirty tricks and character assassination.  Just think.  Johnson is the guy who walked into an Auburn 5th grade class and told the students he wanted to get rid of all the Democrats.  

Putting Sharkansky in the mix was an undignified thing for the Johnson campaign to allow -- unjudicial.   So what was Owens supposed to say: I don't talk with extreme partisan bloggers who don't tell the truth?  Well, that would have gotten her into a new morass.  She didn't say it perfectly and she was a little clueless and undiplomatic.  But you can't blame her for being imperfect or not knowing everything about emerging media.  The Sharkansky tactic was a clear attempt to ambush her and they've made full political use of it.  

Goldy's account on the Slog piece says it all:

On a related note, during the 2004 recount a protest was held outside Rossi headquarters, with Dems on one side of the street and R's on the other. I found myself on the wrong side of the street, and rather than j-walk in front of the assembled police, I decided to hold my own, and carrying my sign, walk through the crowd of Republicans assembled on the sidewalk, so that I could get to the cross walk.

When I did, I was immediately surrounded by group of young, male Rossi supporters, who in an organized fashion created a phalanx around me, and forcing me off the sidewalk and into the parking lot in front of Rossi's headquarters. The then held me there and started screaming for the police to come and arrest me for trespassing, with one man shouting that I had threatened in. A nearby police officer rolled his at them and walked away. I pushed my way to the crown and walked towards the corner, but not before somebody tore my sign out of my hands and stomped on it. I picked up my sign and crossed the street at the light. As I crossed the streets the R's behind screamed at me to come back and fight, calling me a "pussy" and a "faggot."

And these were just Young Republicans... you know, the "mainstream" sort of folks.

Again, in context, I have little sympathy for the McGavick protesters who were denied the opportunity to disrupt the Obama event.

Posted by: Goldy | November 1, 2006 11:02 AM

by noemie maxwell on Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 08:11:38 AM PST

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I know you have been around politics for a long time. Like me, I expect you have observed some of the old and newer tactics at play in this years campaigns. I would submit that what we are seeing is really nothing more than a series of gotcha efforts played out in the press in order to feed the media need to sell ad space on local TV and in the papers.
My view is that this is a result of campaigns gaining and understanding of how to use the Internet and digital images to feed the news markets hunger for tabloid like content. If a building burns is it news if their is no footage?

First debates: The ancient art of debate jousting is well known. The game begins with the new face wanting 50 debates all held at their parties monthly meetings. The known face begins with two debates one on each side of the mountains and stipulates who the interviewers will be and other terms which stress their strengths. Lighting, height of the podium, relative height of the candidates, # of cameras and so on. Extending the negotiations reeks havoc with the opponents schedule and changing the terms once both parties have signed up is but one tactic.
In the Owens/Johnson case the event sponsor played a role in setting the political trap. Not surprising since the downtown young men's republican club (as they used to be known back when Rossi was made president by then party chair Jennifer Dunn) has never been known as a bastion of neutrality.
But I expect the Owens people liked the prospect of having Josh Felt asking hard hitting questions about the closeted conservative Johnson. The league of woman voters would never have entertained a change of interviewers after the terms were set. But when this change was allowed, the trap was set. Owens had no good choice. She could back out and suffer the fall out. Or, she could go into a hostel crowd with one hard hitting interviewer friendly with her opponent and Joel who would remain milk toast so as to not harm his image. She was left with no good choice so point Johnson.
To suggest that the loss of this one debate was meaningless and that Owens stated reason was damage control.

As for the Obama/Cantwell event, the makaka remark, Start getting jumped on and McSafeco running an ad showing him talking to Dems taping his stump speech, these are all moves in the political chess game.
We tape their events they tape ours. We try to keep their people out they try to keep ours out. If the candidate slips up one side wins. Candidates used to ask if their were any reporters in the room and if not might make some colorful remarks. Now every one of us is a reporter.
Sure, perhaps it would be nice if things were like they once were. But then, with all of the media owned by a few and the President still able to brainwash so much of our nation for so long, it was only due to the Internet and a bunch of video that things are turning around when they are.
I for one am willing to take the good with the bad. Lets just get better at chess than the opposition.  

by Particle Man on Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 09:53:56 AM PST

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If you put a carnation over your left ear I will introduce myself to you and we can continue this chat.

by Particle Man on Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 10:18:21 AM PST

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  • probably by emmettoconnell, 11/02/2006 01:27:20 PM PST (none / 0)
Andrew's (Villeneuve?) comment that kept me thinking last night:

   

...we can all obsess over some 19 year old dickwads who weren't allowed into a private campaign event

For the record, I never said any such thing...wasn't my comment.

Northwest Progressive Institute

by nwprogressive on Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 11:04:08 PM PST

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