Friday, August 6, 2010

Dogs, Not Barking

1. Gun control.  Once upon a time, any murderous gun rampage was a "Start your engines" signal to liberals to campaign for new gun control measures.  Perhaps it still happens on the margins of politics these days, but not a peep (as far as I know) from the most prominent mainstream Democrats.

2.  Abortion.  In the Elena Kagan confirmation process (and before that, Sotomayor).  It did get a mention, but almost none, taking a back seat to many other issues.  I agree, however, that abortion probably explains Ben Nelson's vote.

3.  How about: Al Sharpton, or Sharpton's heir.  Is there anyone today playing the role that Sharpton played in the 1980s and 1990s?  At least, with a similar amount of media attention?

4.  Well, of course, when the White House finishes a long day of plotting to take everyone's guns away (see item #1, and really item #2 as well), they relax by plotting to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine.  But surely this one isn't barking because of a media conspiracy to keep it quiet.


  1. What about Al Sharpton's hair? Ba dum dum!!!

  2. >Is there anyone today playing the role that Sharpton played in the 1980s and 1990s?

    Sarah Palin.

  3. Shoot - I had an answer for 3 - then looked up and was staring at it -- Kylopod beat me to it. That's a kind of comforting way to pigeonhole Sarah...too comforting.

  4. ASP -- I agree. I actually first made this comparison over at TNC (who apparently beat me to it, but I came up with it independently), in a discussion about Palin's presidential prospects. I argued that Palin was like a right-wing version of Sharpton in some ways, but that unlike him she actually has a shot at her party's presidential nomination. Others disagreed with me on that point, but it's a fact that Sharpton never was selected as a Democratic running mate, and the idea that he ever would be is laughable.

    Still, the similarities are uncanny: the victimology, the buffoonish ignorance, the naked opportunism, the camera chasing, the core of devoted fans. Obviously there are differences. Sharpton has never traded on good looks or sex appeal, and he's way more articulate. (Yes, I used the a-word about a black guy, but keep in mind who we're contrasting him with.) If I was forced to choose between the two, I'd probably pick him, but then I have my partisan bias, and I'd probably leave the country under those circumstances.

  5. I'm sorry you want MORE dogs barking? After the barking dogs of "socialism" and "Muslim-y stuff" and "terrah terrah terrah" and "OMG BROWN IMMIGRANT PEOPLE" etc. etc. etc.?


    Dude we have NEW dogs now. The Republican Party rolled out a new product, the media swallowed it whole, and now this is what we've got.

  6. Heh, someone's missed the point of this feature.

    Only a comment on #3- assuming we're talking about the role Sharpton played specifically in/for the black community, I imagine it's hard for anyone to fill that role with Obama around (and that's probably why we're talking about Sharpton in the past tense, even though he's very much kicking). I think it must be hard to claim a mantle as a black leader with him around right now. And if that claim is based on grievances and an oppositional stance with the current power structure, that's probably even harder since the community can identify with the top of the power structure a little bit more.

  7. Colby said it. Nobody needs a Sharpton when you've got an Obama.

  8. Well, we may not need him (or want him, or desire ever to see his face again), but my vote for Sharpton redux is Kanye West.


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