« Why do conservative bloggers lie? | Main | Don't Blink »

March 05, 2005

Lies for Truth

Reacting to the recent liberal magazine editor roundtable (which I'll be saying more about later), Digby and Atrios are nailing Beinart for bringing up the "snubbing" of Bob Casey, the anti-choice governor of Pennsylvania who was denied a speaking slot at the 1992 convention. Now, Casey lost his spot because he didn't endorse the ticket, not, as the story goes, because he was anti-choice. But while Beinart is repeating a canard, he's repeating one that has crystallized into truth for many, many voters, and so long as the tale enjoys that kind of belief, simply ignoring it and condemning those who mention it does us no good.

The reason the story has stuck -- a politically active and progressive friend repeated it to me mere days ago, and I'd be entirely unsurprised if Beinart actually thinks it's true -- is because there's a very real perception of the Democratic party as entirely intolerant to anti-choice views. And until that perception dies, the story will continue to live. It exists now as a heuristic, a little parable encapsulating the Democratic intolerance that everyone knows, or thinks they know, to be true. So I wouldn't aim fire at Beinart for mentioning it, I actually think it's helpful to repeat. Here's why: In order to for a party to undergo an image change, it needs something to change against. We're not going gradually improve our numbers by knocking on every door and methodically poking holes in the Casey story. A better idea would be to embrace the Casey story as an example of what our party doesn't do anymore.

After all, Atrios has been out front in defending Bobby Casey (anti-choice son of the ex-governor, currently state treasurer) as a challenger to Santorum. Indeed, I've seen precious little outrage against Casey's view, but quite a bit of pleasure over his entrance into the race. In Rhode Island, choice-skeptic Langewin is being pushed as a Chafee challenger. And it was barely a month ago that Hillary "Hammer and Sickle" Clinton stepped up to the plate and endorsed the compromise position, that both sides agree abortions must be reduced and the Democratic party wants to focus on achieving that goal. And it was not her but Carol Tobias, of the National Right-to-Life Committee, who embraced dogmatism and informed the world that there would be no compromises on the issue. And no one should forget that Harry Reid, one of the few anti-choice Senators in the caucus, was elected to lead the party, and yet no San Franciscans are rioting in the streets.

The shift here is, of course, entirely perception. Democrats are not going to start curtailing choice (see Roemer's ill-fated candidacy), but they're done with the intolerant image that makes the Casey canard an archetypal tale of party behavior. And while Beinart didn't mention the story to disprove it, I wouldn't be so quick to condemn its invocation. Correcting the record on Casey would be almost impossible, but using it to show how we've changed is the sort of Sister Souljah moment that can crystallize an emerging perception. And setting the party's more overtly-inclusive message in concrete, easily-understandable terms would do us a world of good. In the end, it's not really important to disprove the story in the past. It's disproving it in the present that matters.

Clarification: This post shouldn't really be taken as a defense of Beinart; what I'm suggesting, after all, is not what he was doing. It's more to argue that Beinart and those to his right are going to keep repeating the Casey story because it fits into a particular frame. Rather than try and correct that -- after all, as Lakoff would tell you, when the facts don't fit the frame its the facts that get thrown out -- we can use the recent actions of the party to draw the contrast with the Beinart story, thus using it to change the frame. That the younger Casey is running and attracting considerable party support makes the opportunity all the riper.

--Ezra

March 5, 2005 in Politics of Choice | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d8346e236169e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Lies for Truth:

Comments

I disagree.
It is absolutely critical to "aim fire" at those who continue to repeat the lies of the right as if they were historical truths. And further, whether Beinart thinks it's true surprises you or not, it is his job to know better and he damn well should.

The crap that came out as "truth" during the War on Gore proves how dangerous this phenomenon is. I'm sure there are still some "liberals" out there who believe Gore claimed to invent the internet.

Isn't this one of the main purposes of (the good) blogs; to set the record straight?

And i'll say one thing as very much a progressive but ambivalent regarding the abortion issue; if you don't want the right to call you "pro-abortion" I suggest you (along with many others) drop the "anti-choice" reference.

Ps i do very much enjoy your blog btw..

Posted by: b.hunter | Mar 5, 2005 5:43:09 PM

They call me a babykiller, actually. I think anti-choice is much nicer than pro-wirehanger...

Posted by: Ezra | Mar 5, 2005 5:58:08 PM

"simply ignoring it and condemning those who mention it does us no good."

Unmitigated bullshit. Condemning those who persist in its propagation does a lot of good. Either Beinart gets his story straight or he gets run out of town. If, as you speculate, he actually doesn't know it's untrue, all the more reason to embarass him and get him to stand down...I'm tired of being spoken for by mutes who scream.

Sheesh, Ezra, please get off the frame-is-more-important-than-truth bandwagon.

Posted by: Nash | Mar 5, 2005 6:36:21 PM

Yep, I'm sure Beinart's very, very embarassed. Run out of town? He's the editor of The New Republic and just got a $600,000+ advance to write a book based on an article that the blogs tried to run him out of town for (the "softs" stuff). I don't think our strategy is working...

As for truth vs. frames, we've got Novak lying about what Dean said a week ago, we've got an administration putting out bills with unabashedly Orwellian names, we've got senators opposing privatization but supporting personal accounts, we've got a gay male prostitute lobbing softballs in presidential Q&A's and attacking Democrats as gaybashers, etc. I wish simply operating a truth squad was enough to win the debate, but I've seen absolutely no evidence for it. Sure hitting the Casey story down when it pops up is fine; but using it to end the perception of Democrats as intolerant would be much nicer -- it'd suck the life from the tale. I hate to say it, but I really wish Dems would get off this truth is more important than the frame bandwagon. We might be reality-based but the country, and the advertising tactics that decide who leads our government, are not.

Am I cynical enough for you? ;)

Posted by: Ezra | Mar 5, 2005 6:46:20 PM

ohmigosh, my hyperbole was showing!

The elliptical subject of my "sentence" was you, Ezra. Yes, you are cynical enough for me, and I have to admit I join you at times. But only at times.

Some of us are tired of Democrats trying to re-frame the arguments being the focus of our energies; others of us are tired of the apparent pragmatism of the Democrats overshadowing what there was to be pragmatic about in the first place. All I am asking you to do is grant that, in all honesty, like many of us, you are bound to have the internal struggle yourself. And, if you admit that, to maybe not be quite so didactically sure of yourself when you make these pronouncements. A little less Liberal Oasis here, just a suggestion. And for me, a little less drama queen. Each of us could stand to remember, and take some solace from, the fact that some 59 million citizens didn't vote for the current state of things.

Posted by: Nash | Mar 5, 2005 7:31:44 PM

Absolutely. But then, I'm not one who think there is a great internal tension between the two. Take this post for example. I'm arguing that simply truth-squadding Beinart won't work, that this story has stuck because it represents a widely-help belief about Democratic dogmatism. And from there I'm arguing that, considering the resources we have at our disposal (blogs), we're unlikely to be able to disprove the story to each and every American. As such, using the story to our benefit, contrasting the canard with the current Democratic party (where Casey Jr. is running, Harry Reid is leading, and Hillary Clinton is finding consensus) would do something much more powerful than disprove some fable from 1992 -- it would make it obsolete. The Democratic party has image problems that hurt our message -- people like what we say, but often aren't fond of us. We've realized that and are taking steps to fix it. What Beinart said is just another opportunity to explain who we are today.

Far from cynical, I find the whole idea rather optimistic.

Posted by: Ezra | Mar 5, 2005 8:41:45 PM

A line from my long-dead Dad seems poignant at times like this. We didn't make our world, we inherited it.

Posted by: opit | Mar 5, 2005 10:44:50 PM

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
钢托盘
木托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
杭州托盘
成都托盘
武汉托盘
长沙托盘
合肥托盘
苏州托盘
无锡托盘
昆山托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
南京钢制托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘

托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
塑料托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
木托盘
塑料托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘


托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 5:43:41 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.