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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Responses to our Bachmann segment

--posted by Tony Garcia on 4/02/2006

Today on the show we discussed heavily the whole Bachmann ordeal. We summarized what we have been covering as far as the conventions and discussed the damage being caused by Bachmann's win-at-all-costs tactics. We were mentioned by Eva on one of her blogs which was quoting something we said on the air (the "bible-thumpers" portion of some analysis). I'm not going to rehash the larger point (because I have already posted on it) but there is something that I would like to mention from Eva's comments section.

One of the comments was from Jeff. (I'm guessing it is Bachmann supporter Jeff Kouba).
I think Tony is getting out into the weeds in his opposition. The fact he uses a pejorative term like "bible thumpers" ought to be a clue he is not operating from a standpoint of sober analysis, but instead has his own hang ups.
Yep. That was it. Now let me first ask these questions of Jeff.

1) What hang ups?
2) Was there a description of who exactly was being referred to as "bible thumpers"?
3) What is the evidence of the link between using a pejorative term to the conclusion that the analysis was not "from a standpoint of sober analysis"? Your comment, btw, implies that ANYONE using a "pejorative term" is "not operating from a standpoint of sober analysis".
4) What was the context of the term? Was there a larger point being made in which the term was relevant?

I hate when partisans speak because they constantly do things like this. I call it hit-and-run rhetoric.

Jeff, rather than trying to dismiss the speaker as not-sober in the analysis, why not attempt to understand the points of the opposition? Or at least explain your own claim. You criticize my analysis You fail to criticize the actual analysis and move right to dismissing the analyist. I will say the same thing about you in this case that I say about liberals who do this. You are unable to actually refute the analysis provided and instead attempt to shut down the marketplace of ideas. It is a position of weakness on your part.

The reason politics has sunk to the level it has is people do not listen to the opposition, analyze and refute. In your case you simply state "he is not operating from a standpoint of sober analysis, but instead has his own hang ups". Explain that. Give examples of how a selected part of a larger point is a demonstration of having my "own hang ups". What hang ups and make the link between my analysis (which is somehow mysteriously not sober) proving some unnamed hang ups.

Finally, Jeff, I will say that you had ample opportunity to call in. We gave the phone number several times and THAT part of the show was fairly early.


Blogger Jeff said...

Yes, you did invite me to call in, which was kind of you. Sunday was my anniversary though, and I was doing other things with the wife.

As to the term "bible thumper", you used it in this statement:

"She can win the bible-thumpers (the people who would support the Bible becoming the law of the land and believe in the separation clause EXCEPT when it comes to Christianity) but cannot win the majority of the religious people (people who believe in a higher being AND also understand the importance of the separation of church and state)."

This passage was in your post entitled "Bachmann--her career at the cost of her party."

In this same post, you describe supporters of Bachmann as robots, lemmings, single-minded, sheep, rude, impolite, nasty, and disinterested. In another post on Bachmann, you describe Bachmann supporters as blinded, and people who cannot think independently.

This is the root of my disagreement with your "analysis". I think you are hung up on something, and I don't understand what it is. By what definition of objectivity is this adding anything to the debate? How are these ad hominem attacks not an "attempt to shut down the marketplace of ideas"?

Three points.

First, am I wrong in concluding that in your mind you equate bible thumpers with these adjectives? Am I wrong in concluding that you think Bachmann supporters, the ones supposedly throwing party activists out on the street, are mostly bible thumpers?

Second, I don't understand your distinction between "bible thumpers" and "religious people". Do bible thumpers not believe in a Higher Being?

Third, making the Bible the law of the land? Where is this being pushed as an issue? Where is this a factor in the 6th CD campaign?

I think you have a gross misunderstanding of what motivates people of faith, and why they support Bachmann.

That you have to resort to stereotypes and personal attacks does not fill me with confidence that you've given these matters a lot of serious thought.

Eva quotes you as saying on the show that "Bachmann is running a very scary, dark, machine-like campaign".

In a comment in Andy's post, David Strom said this: "By focusing on the scores, especially a 1 point differential, Bachmann opens herself up to this kind of criticism. By saying she outperformed Krinkie in those years, she begged people to check the facts.

If instead she had simply argued that she was as fiscally conservative as Krinkie, and her scores show that they are nearly indistinguishable, there would have been little grounds to criticize her. It would be nitpicking. But as the lit piece invited nitpicking by claiming that a 1 point difference in lifetime scores shows she outperformed Krinkie, she invited people to point out that the numbers don’t add up, and invited a discussion of the 2005 score issue.

That was a mistake, and Bachmann would do well to drop the lit piece in my opinion. It is not accurate, and any fair examination of the facts shows that. In no way shape or form did her lit piece suggest that Krinkie and Knoblach’s votes from 1997, 1998, and 1999 were included in those scores. In fact, by referencing on 2001-4 by year, she made it clear that she was comparing the time they were all in the legislature together."

To me, that's fair, honest, addresses the facts, doesn't attack people personally. In short, helpful analysis.

I compare that with what you're doing and I see something rather different.

April 03, 2006  
Blogger Tony said...

First, Happy Anniversary. How long, if you don't mind my asking?

Interesting that THIS discussion about a classification of certain religious people is being had instead of the overall point: Why is Bachmann sacrificing her party for her own personal resume?

Points brought up:
1) I think Bachmann's infusion of supporters contain the Bible Thumpers. In other words, if you have a group of the Bible-Thumpers close to 100% of them will support Bachmann. She is a charismatic and Bible-Thumpers are easily led by charismatics. Are all of Bachmann's supporters Bible-Thumpers? No. Bible-Thumpers are a sub-set of Bachmann's supporters.

If you have a group of (as I defined them) religious people they will be split in their support of Bachmann, Esmay, Knoblach, Krinkie.

That is the point. Bachmann's strongest and most unique quality is "religious appeal" (making moral issues into law, for good or bad, like abortion, gay marriage, etc). However, even with THAT being her strongest asset as a candidate she cannot win the endorsement in a straight up race. Hence, grab the otherwise very minority part of the party (Bible-thumpers) and bring them into the process to blindly follow marching orders in the effort to endorse Bachmann.

2) Bible Thumpers believe in a higher being, of course, and think that their beliefs should be allowed to be broadcast in the public square. Talk to them on a different day about a Muslim praying in public and you will get a different reaction. I'm not over-generalizing this group, btw, I have talked to quite a few over the years in my BPOUs in both the 3rd, 5th & 6th CD. I have some within my family. They are very scary people. The are the Christian version of the Taliban (sans violence). Their IDEAL society would be only Christians, school prayer should be allowed because Christians should be allowed to pray anywhere (mind you, they don't want other religions having the same freedom) and their justification for laws to be passed have primarily this answer: "Because the Bible tells us so." Sorry, that absolutely misses the importance of the Separation Clause.

3) This ties into #2 above. Basically the panacea of Bible Thumpers is the Bible to be the justification and rationalization of the laws of the country (not the whole world, mind you, because those other heathens can just go to hell). Are they pushing the Bible to be law? No, not directly. Indirectly, yes. Gay marriage, for example. What is YOUR reason for being against it? Can you make a secular reason to be against it? Is YOUR #1 reason to oppose gay marriage "the Bible says it is wrong"? Listen to the callers on KSTP, for example, who call with that rationale.

Like I said, I do not have to go to the radio for these people. I can go to my former BPOUs (this is my first year in my new one and cannot say what they are like yet). I can call up various members of my family.

Again, are they pushing the Bible as law? Not directly. But the issues they are pushing are because of the Bible. Not because of what is right vs. wrong.

I thank you for challenging this label I have placed on a sub-set of people. Once in a while I realize that I was not very clear in what I was trying to express and you have pointed that out. If you disagree with this assessment then so be it, but I still see some huge room for improvements in my explanation. I stand very firm in my assessment, however. I have seen these types (a small minority of the population to be certain) and left many churches as a result of them. I have left enough churches to realize there is not A church that "gets it" (though Mormons I talk to seem to come close, and I consistently rank very close to Orthodox Jew in online tests...but that's irrelevant to this discussion).

I do not throw names around lightly. I have considered this issue (specific to Bachmann) for nearly a year. I have been watching very closely.

When I first met her in person last April my Spidey-senes went haywire. Something was not right so I have been watching her, her actions in public and behind the scenes, her supporters, the actions of the supporters, the rhetoric of her and her supporters, etc.

I'm not here to fill you with confidence on how long I considered this. You can believe me or not when I tell you that I do not come to an opinion strongly without very serious consideration. This comes out on the air every now and then. Marty, Tommy & I have many discussions because of this. Examples: the Port deal, Harriet Miers, Term Limits and one of yesterday's topics, camera surveillance in the public. I think much harder on issues than most people...than most bloggers I would bet.

Strom's comments are based purely on empircal analysis. I come from the more philosophical analysis. If someone is unable to understand the difference between the two and the importance of both they will be very easily offended by my blog, especially when it is time to swipe at their sacred cows.

The depth of analysis and thought get missed by people (especially when they don't agree with my conclusions) because the analysis is not generally based on numbers (which can be distorted, see Bachmann's website for prime examples). The analysis, structuring of argumentation and logic seem to be more esoteric. I accept that.

Those who have issues with that: the intellectually lazy, the intellectually dishonest, the intellectually inferior (though that is a very small part of the population) and the people afraid to look at themselves in the mirror when they are challenged (though they are not necessarily intellectually lazy, dishonest or inferior).

Do I have a gross misunderstanding of what motivates people of faith? Perhaps...but you did not explain what you think my understanding is, what the truth is in motivation of people of faith and the comparison between the two. I do understand that there is a huge difference between various people and how their faith motivates them, cause them to act, etc. Even within a congregation there will be huge differences.

Don't make the mistake in thinking I am shoving people of faith into "Bible Thumper".

April 03, 2006  

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