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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ann Althouse's Comment War

Ann Althouse wrote something about the Able Danger story that people didn't like, and boy did she get a raft of abuse about it. Read the comments in this post. Perhaps what ignited the brawl was this:
This isn't a vendetta about Gorelick. The only other mention of her on this blog is in this post linking to my own Instapundit post (to make a place for comments). I'm genuinely concerned about the Able Danger story. But now that Think Progress is drawing attention to Gorelick, I can see that her presence on the 9/11 Commission impairs the credibility of its report. That's terribly important!

Isn't it?

If it's not, explain why, respectfully and rationally, and I'll discuss it with you. Don't just go into that ridiculous hysterical mode. My recent experience with lefty blogs that misread, freak out, and hurl insults makes me unwilling to engage with people who don't show a commitment to civil discourse. I'm going to save time by assuming it's not going to go anywhere.
There are over 150 comments, and many of them are rather rough. I'll start with a very reasonable one from a leftie:
As for the 9/11 Commission I think that we have enough concern on both sides of the aisle about its' composition so as to caste doubt on its' worth when it touches on any politically sensitive point, which these days may even includes its' title page.

Historians will look back through our times and discover far more flaws in the system than the ones we are aware of because we are all too emotionally involved with the events and the politics of the events. Systems do not, nor can they, anticipate asymmetric events. The 9/11 Commission is as useless as the system they investigated. Just as security is a myth when it comes to networked computers, so too is a logical algorithm to an abstract concept.

That's my point of view from the left side of the blogosphere, the old fart, high school degree side of the left.
But many are more are in this vein:
The fact that you voted for Bush tells me all I need to know about you. I have no respect for anyone who voted for George effin Bush. Anyone who voted for Bush, with the exception of the very rich, is merely a tool for this god awful administration.

You seem to be an intelligent woman. You write fairly well. With all of the information available to you, why in the world would you vote for Bush?

If you bought into the Swift Boat bullshit, then you're not terribly savvy. The information was out there, you know, the truth, but too many people like you prefer to ignore it. Look at the facts sometime ~ you might actually learn something.

"W" stands for Worst. president. ever.
Ann also voted for Gore in 2000 and Senator Feingold in 2004, but her sins cannot be forgiven:
Oh, and would the woman named Ann Althouse have preferred "a pusillanimous, jiggling sac of bile who can't write worth a shit named Ann Althouse"? Note that I'm not calling you that--just asking a question because I'm sincerely interested in the answer.
How clever!
Give me a break, Althouse. You are no better than your scum sucking Dear Leader who has all the sudden silenced himself over the Plame leak because of its faux concerns for "an ongoing investigation" when it turned out that their previous talking points turned out to be BALD FACE LIES.
So Ann makes the point that invective is not likely to convince those who are in the middle of the road to vote Democrat, and things really get hot:
Why don't the left wingers give you any support? Just look at your self-serving list of reviews at the top of your blog.

"Formidable law blogger Ann Althouse." – Slate
"The divine Ms. Althouse." — Terry Teachout
"Althouse is cool." – Jonah Goldberg
"She's smarter than me." – Glenn Reynolds

umm, maybe if you weren't such a 'suck-up' to the rabid Reichwingers' you would be more credible. So you believe in gay marriage and abortion rights. Well, John Gotti threw wonderful block parties for his 'neighbors', it din't make him any less of a scumbag or relieve his moral responsibilties for his other behaviors.
and some regular readers chime in with stuff like this:
I think the basic lesson we can take from this thread is the following: no matter how socially liberal you are, if you are something of a hawk on foreign policy generally or Iraq specifically, you will be openly and viciously ostracized by the left.

If this attitude ever begins to fade, expect Republicans to start losing elections again. Otherwise, expect results like the last three election cycles.
Just amazing. This is something I never expected to see on Althouse's blog. You know, on Blame Bush I saw a serious accusation of bigotry made against a man who commented that he was straight. It was rather funny, because the accuser seemed to think that any man who didn't wish to perform oral sex on another man was displaying bigotry.

I think we are suffering from a severe lack of genuine tolerance and respect for each other, and I think the Democratic party is doomed unless it can suppress the type of thinking displayed in the comments responding to Ann's post. I agree with the "old fart" from the left. Where did all the old-time liberals go? Several people wrote that they would rather vote Democrat but were wondering if the Democratic party had room for them any more.

Oh, you poor babies. Does poor wittle women get their feelings hurt? Michelle Malkin gets upset about her emails, now this babe gets upset about the comments, and on and on and on. Maybe you women need your own private internet so you can be safe from everyone who uses language you don't like. The web is an open forum. For now. I assume when you women get control all comments will go through Super Nanny so nobody can say anything that hurts your precious feelings. . PC uber alles.
Howard: I think that wins the award for most pointless comment of the week.

Great post once again MoM.
Howard, I'm pretty sure that it was some of the men on the comments who wrote about the misbehavior of the left. Men have that objective nature - they tend almost instinctively to enforce rules as applying to everyone, whereas women instinctively tend to deal on a person-to-person level.

But one of Ann's points in this post is that she was being told to fact check something in an independent article. That's probably not possible so it is an untenable objective rule. Her other main point was that invective is not a winning strategy.

I don't like PC thinking and I don't like censorship. It's not like Althouse was deleting comments either. I dislike dialogue that's mostly composed of invective. Without facts and reasoning I don't see how a person can explain what they stand for or why.

I can't claim that some women and some women's movements don't do exactly what you are talking about - constantly change the rules so as to suit themselves. I don't think Ann Althouse does, and most of the women I know don't.

Objectivity and fairness are terribly important to me. I think those habits are the underpinnings of a civil society.

I've got tell you that since last year I've seen DU swing two times between the two modes of dialogue. I've seen constant posters over there arguing ferociously. It seems to me as if the traditional Democrats are fighting an internal culture war, and I don't know if they will win it. You believe they will. I am not so sure.

DU is unfairly characterized as being far left. It is actually has a much broader base.
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