Jason Rosenhouse over at ScienceBlogs has crafted a marvelous post about the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.
It makes me weep.
It has become a cliche of modern political life that Republicans “play the game” so much better than Democrats. This is code for saying that Democrats have pesky things like souls and consciences that make it impossible for them to stand in front of audiences and tell bald-faced lies about their opponents.
Surely you noticed that there was almost nothing in the way of personal attacks during the entirety of the Democratic convention. Why do you suppose that is? Do you think that Democratic strategists just aren’t aware that negative campaigning, especially at the national level, is nearly always effective? Or do you think it’s because they find it genuinely distasteful to attack people with the requisite ferocity? That when given the opportunity to address a large fraction of the country they prefer to point to the policy failures of their opponents and to explain what they would do differently given the chance?
Ever wonder why there is no liberal equivalent to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck? It’s because normal, mentally healthy people are incapable of the sorts of things that they do. Most people are not capable of sustaining the anger and dishonesty required to engage in hours a day of sustained attack. Most people care at least a little bit about getting their facts straight before holding forth on television or radio. Only brain-dead fanatics are capable of that sort of extreme simple-mindedness. To find that on the left you have to shoot right past liberal into the realms of the extreme left-wing, where you will not find anyone with either an ounce of power, or an ounce of loyalty to the Democratic party. The crazy right-wing is fanatically loyal to the Republican party. The extreme left votes for Nader and gives lectures about how there is only the Republicrat party.
The Republicans think nothing of pitting one part of the country against another. John Kerry was from Massachussetts. As far as Republicans were concerned, that was a legitimate issue against him. The Northeast is a shadowy place full of people of shady values, the sort who don’t put their country first and sneer at people who do. They are perfectly happy to use a major American city (that would be San Francisco) as a bogeyman for scaring people into line. Can you imagine any Democrat, regardless of the electoral map, talking about Kansas or Oklahoma in such terms?
There is much, much more.
The republicans in the comments are trying their hardest to refute this, but they are not getting much traction.