A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Blogging Style Sheet To Live By

From michael in chicago, over at My DD:

The name "Bush," not "Republicans," often gets much of the blame directly in the Blogsphere. We must help everyone remember that Bush is a REPUBLICAN president and can't do much with out his friends in the REPUBLICAN controlled congress. So here are my suggestions for bloggers:

When referring to Bush, always include the word "Republican" in close proximity to his name as in "Bush and his Republican Culture of Corruption..."

When referring to Congress, remember to remind readers that the Legislative Branch is Republican controlled. For example: "Legislators in the Republican controlled Congress today proposed legislation that would cut veteran benefits..."

When writing about Bush or Republican leaders like Frist, always include the word "Republican" in association with them. For example, instead of "Majority Leader Bill Frist" use "Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist."

When referring to the Republican Party, always start with the words "Republican Party" rather than "GOP." To the less politically aware, the lack of awareness that "GOP" is the Republican Party may be to the Republicans' advantage.

All of this is completely obvious to those of us in the Blogosphere, but to those not politically aware the word "Republican" can and should be directly associated with scandal, corruption, and lies.

Words look small and harmless, but count for much.


Anonymous Shawn said...

I think I'll be saying more on this at my own blog, but this looks like trying to dazzle with style instead of substance.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Joseph Marshall said...

You must remember that My DD is a far more politically engage blog than my own, and one where people are more inclined than I am to clobber Republicans rather than to skewer them, like me.

But the principle is correct. We are a country of party government not personal government, where the office is ultimately more important than the person, and where no person, even the one in the office of the President, is above the law. Though several Presidents, including our current one, have attempted to make themselves so.

So the party should always be indentified, because our broad general choices of what philosophy governs us are embodied in the parties. And what philosophy governs us is usually far more important than what person governs us.

Moreover, the person who holds the philosophy should be judged by it, since one of the most common characters in politics is the canting hypocrite.

This is why I have to work to keep a straight face when someone tells me that they vote for the man and not the party. A bad philosophy can do far more public damage than any person. Short of electing an outright criminal or a total fool, I vote the philosophy, which is what makes me "partisan".

Now most of us who are Democraticly partisan in this sense also think George W. Bush is very nearly a total fool, and I have said so here.

I also think that Tom DeLay is a criminal and Bill Frist is a venal weakling. Don't tell me any of that "innocent until proven guilty" business, either. That is a legal principle in any trial and not out of it.

I'm not a citizen of Texas and will not be serving on DeLay's jury, and, even if I were, I would be honest about it and let myself be disqualified.

But, even in these cases, the damage they do to the country stems far less from the private flaws of their character and more from the party philosophy they espouse.

The presidency is, to some degree, an exception because so much power is vested in one individual. So we all spend far more time on GWB's character than his actual philosophy and party affiliation. But party philosophy matters more, even here.

This is the reasoning behind michael in chicago's post, and he is writing to fellow progressives, after all.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On "style vs. substance"...I don't think so at all. What we have to work with here is rhetoric. The choice of words is part of the framing of the argument, and framing is all. The one crucial thing the Right has done best in the last 40 years has been to move the argument, whatever it's about, to their home field. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes not. But it is about the choice of words and it is not a trivial point.

Democrats, by and large, suck at framing. This had better change.


9:50 AM  

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