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Plays Well With Others

Posted by Rick · May 10th, 2004 · 19 Comments

I’ve been watching — and, of course, participating in — discussions in the Comments sections of various posts on this blog over the last week.

Long ago, when I was in grade school, my teachers would write comments on my report cards. Aside from the information my grades might communicate, these little notes allowed my parents to know how well I was performing as a “citizen.” In particular was a phrase — “plays well with others” — that sometimes humorously pops up periodically in discussions on my job, where I work as the Director of Information Systems responsible for managing a good-sized group of so-called “geeks.” Those who have had this experience well appreciate that it’s a job akin to herding cats.

But if that’s true, trying to facilitate fruitful discussions on a blog often seems like herding feral cats.

Cultures, Customs, Classes & Cliques

Gibson, Ivancevich & Donnelly note that

Our behavior in any situation involves the interaction of our personal characteristics and the characteristics of the situation. Thus, identifying all of the factors is time-consuming and difficult; frequently, it is impossible. — Gibson, Ivancevich & Donnelly, Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes, (1988) Business Publications, Inc.

And that would seem to be even more the case when talking about faceless individuals who have somehow managed to stumble into a blog-based discussion on the Internet. This blog, for example, sees approximately 125 visitors per day from all time zones. There are factors such as culture, political disposition and social status (e.g., “young vs. old,” “financial status,” etc.) that color their reading and, for those who participate, their participation. Each group, as well, comes with its own understanding regarding proper communication and argumentation.

In The Last Samurai, a movie which was otherwise more escapist than anything else, I found some interesting points being made. One which is relevant here is when Katsumoto and Algren first meet face-to-face in the “foyer” of a sort of temple Katsumoto’s family had built over 900 years previously. Algren says to Katsumoto, “I’ve seen how you treat your enemies.” Katsumoto replies, “Do warriors in your country not kill people?” Algren states that they do not behead kneeling defenseless men who have already surrendered. After explaining that the man Algren had seen beheaded was Samurai and had asked for assistance in taking his own life because he was ashamed of his defeat, Katsumoto says, “Some of our customs seem strange to you. You do not understand them.”

And so it must be in a blog discussion where some participants come from other countries, cultures, classes and cliques.

Gladiatorial Games: Losers &…Losers

On the other hand, by and large, most of the discussants here have been from the United States. And that raises another set of issues. For in the United States — and the blog comments here certainly bear this out — we seldom engage in dialogs anymore. How could we? Our models — Hannity & Colmes, Bill O’Reilly, Hardball and the like — are primarily gladiatorial in nature. I started to say that they were gladiatorial contests, but this isn’t true: They are merely gladiatorial, with the main thrust being ratings. Hence, I suppose, they are some kind of gladiatorial entertainment…but contests have winners. The result of the gladiatorial games presented nightly on Fox, MSNBC and even CNN are wholly without winners. Nothing is ever resolved before the show ends; most people never even get to present cohesive, coherent, or clear arguments before the hosts say something like, “We’ve got fifteen seconds left. [Fill In The Name of Some Guest Here], I’m going to give you the last word. Please sum up your entire philosophy with respect to this subject.”

I’m quoting from the first (hardback) edition; the Amazon link is to a newer (paperback) edition; the subtitle changed, also.

As Deborah Tannen notes in The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialog, these models not only either oversimplify or overcomplicate issues — most issues, such as how best to balance business needs with environmental concerns of global warming, have more than two sides; some, such as the reality of HaShoah (the Holocaust), have only one — but also lead to cynicism amongst viewers. There are other problems with this, as well. Tannen notes [p. 14-15] how the search for the “pacemaker cell” in research regarding cellular slime mold evolved [pun intended] because that’s the way the problem was framed. But you might call this “pacemaker cell” the WMD of the slime mold world; there is no “pacemaker cell” in cellular slime molds. It was just assumed there was such a cell which was then earnestly sought, with a lot of resources wasted in the process.

In addition to the cynicism is the very real fact that, well, very real facts are often not made available to the public. When the idea is to present “both” sides of a topic even when there are more (or less) than two sides, facts are either ignored (particularly in the case where there are more than two sides) or invented (particularly where there aren’t two sides). The reportorial job of the press is not done and, again, the public loses. Those whose ideas are either glossed, not represented or are misrepresented also lose. Presidents — Republicans and Democrats (and, incidentally, there’s your “both sides” again; there’s no real recognition possible for “third” parties) — have their agendas twisted beyond all recognition. Additionally, the aggressive nature of modern reportage since Watergate functions to turn every minor personal foible into a career-ending risk. Americans simply cannot follow the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” model before casting potential candidates out.

Personally, I think the press loses, too. Rather than holding honorable positions in society, they end up loved by no one, feared and/or shunned by most. No one wants an attack dog — especially when it’s not their attack dog — running freely through the house.

But on this blog, I’m much more concerned with another reason Tannen gives for why “the culture of critique” (Tannen uses “critique” as a synonym for “criticism”). The problem is that it doesn’t solve our problems.

While refusing to play well with others does create an interesting and sometimes entertaining spectacle, it is virtually completely useless for improving society. Unless one’s goal is purely entertainment, it’s worse than useless; it moves things in the other direction.

Taking It Seriously

I hear some (maybe all?) of you saying, “Look, Rick. You need to get a life. You take ‘your’ blog way too seriously.”

Fair enough. Let me throw that back at you, though. Why are you here?

I have no major illusions about this blog. Right now, readership varies between 75 and 130 people per day. Among them, anywhere from just over 100 to just over 175 pages (blog articles) are read per day. Even as close as the United States’ 2000 Presidential election was, these numbers would not matter. And the world isn’t going to come to an end here if people decide they’d rather hurl epithets at one another than have a meaningful discussion. But if that’s what people decide to do — and I want to be emphatically clear that I’m not of the opinion that Nat is the only one at fault here, Ye Other Readers of Mine — if this note were only intended for provoking Nat to thought, I would have posted it as a comment to something he said, rather than a “regular” blog article. But if that’s what people decide to do, fine.

On the other hand, neither does it matter when you sit around drinking beer with your friends and engaging in discussions functionally equivalent to those on this blog. That doesn’t stop you from doing it. It doesn’t stop you from considering it important enough to note when one of your drinking buddies goes off half-cocked and refuses to even hear your point of view. And it certainly doesn’t stop you from trying to change his or her mind when you disagree. And if your drinking buddies talked to you the way people writing comments on this blog talk to one another…well, even if you didn’t go to jail, you’d probably never speak to those buddies again!

The Point

I started this blog not just to change the minds of other people on issues I felt were important, but to have my own mind changed! Dale Carnegie, in his seminal and important book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, noted that “when Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, he confessed that if he could be right 75 per cent of the time, he would reach the highest measure of his expectations.” Roosevelt was no dummy (whether you liked his policies or not). And I have to agree with Carnegie: If being right 75 percent of the time was the highest measure of Roosevelt’s expectation for himself, I’m pretty sure I’d be safe to conclude that I’m not right all the time! So, partly, I maintain this blog to learn something from those who visit; I value the words of those who are kind enough to post their comments, even when — maybe even especially when — they disagree with me.

On the other hand (as Tevya would say, “how many hands do I have here!?”), you just don’t know what could happen if enough people did start to read and participate in this blog. And it’s entirely possible that just one person might be changed in a way that improves their life and the lives of those they touch. This is the same principle that grounds the Jewish belief that “he who saves a life saves the world entire.”

When Nat finally wrote his “Buchenwald” piece, I felt good. I didn’t agree with his post, as anyone who read my rebuttal knows. But I thought, “Finally! Finally he was engaging us in a dialog instead of only name-calling or insulting. It was a miracle. It was…well, it was like this:

The door burst open and in rushed the shammes, his eyes alight with holy fervor. “Rabbi!” he shouted, upon entering the tzaddik’s study. “A cripple just approached the bimah, laid his hand on the Torah and threw his crutches away! I witnessed the whole thing!”

The rabbi, a Hassid known throughout Lithuania as a wonder worker, jumped up from his chair and raised his hands heavenward. “A miracle from heaven!” he cried, his face aglow with spiritual rapture. “But where is the man now?”

“Lying in the aisle,” answered the shammes. “The poor man fell on his tuchus!” — condensed from The Encyclopedia of Jewish Humor, edited by Henry D. Spaulding; Jonathan David Publishers, New York; 1969; p. 81.

Yes, sadly, that’s just what it was like, because immediately after the first responses came to his article, Nat, unable to find sound footing for defending his position, feel back on invective.

Criticism Can Be Good

I explained the situation with Nat this way for two reasons. One, to show that I don’t take it all too seriously; it’s possible to joke about it. Two, to criticize Nat, but (hopefully) in a friendly way.

“Wait!,” you may be thinking, “I thought you were railing against criticism!” If that’s what you thought, you misread me. If I’m “railing” against anything, it’s not the criticism, it’s the way the criticism is being done. To quote Tannen again,

It is not criticizing that is bad; what’s corrosive is the tone of the contempt, the flippant air, the savagery. These make citizens feel more and more cut off from people… — and from the larger community we all live in. — Tannen, supra, at p. 91.

When you believe that what someone has done is wrong and you are engaging in an otherwise meaningful dialog, I think you should criticize them. And you should be willing to be criticized when you are wrong. And you will sometimes be wrong.

What I’m asking — of all readers — is that you “fight fair.” The scorched earth approach may make you feel you’ve won the argument, but in reality everyone just gets burned up. Don’t argue with people here in a way that you would not argue with your spouse or your friends.

It’s not a requirement. It’s a suggestion. And although my personal opinion is that Nat has been the most obvious example of someone who might want to ponder this post, I could name others; this post isn’t aimed at Nat. It’s the result of my thinking about the otherwise great discussions that have presented themselves over the last week or so have been going, the purpose they may serve and they ways in which they may fail to serve.

So poke fun at one another. Playfully taunt one another even. But if you’re ever going to be able to work well with others, if you’re ever to have a hope of convincing one another, I suggest that you conduct yourself in such a way that we can say of you: “Plays well with others.”

Categories: Blogs & Blogging · Social Issues


19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nat Dawson // May 11, 2004 at 5:19 am



    (for you dumbed-down Liberals that does NOT mean “let’s do each other’s nails!”)

    Vive le Bush. Viva Bush. Long live our great President George W. Bush

  • 2 Rick // May 11, 2004 at 7:35 am

    Just because you were generous enough to prove my point doesn’t mean I’m going to reconsider your request to be a paid contributor. 😉

  • 3 Bob // May 11, 2004 at 7:36 am


  • 4 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 7:53 am

    Dumbed-down liberals? Yep, you got it, Nat! We’re too bloody stupid to get into a no-win war in a country that was never a threat to us. We win wars in the Balkans with very limited American casualties and increased support (as opposed to increaed hatred) for Americans throughout the world. I guess we really are stupid!

    The smart ones are the ones who can’t speak English properly, can’t testify before Congressional committees alone, and get appointed to the White House by the Supreme Court!

    Come on, Nat. Got any IDEAS today? Guess not.

  • 5 Nat // May 11, 2004 at 8:05 am

    Liberals are bad, Conservatives are good
    That one thing I know for sure
    I also know another thing
    that Kerry’s an incredible BORE!

    I’m in a slow moving meeting
    so I thought I run off a quick doodle
    I can’t help but notice your lack of interest
    In Kerry, the conceited Poodle.

    Your total disinterest in your nominee
    Is very real and almost palpable
    You whine about W, but all the while
    You just wish the Poodle was half as affable!

  • 6 Bob // May 11, 2004 at 8:09 am

    The narcissist is an actor enacting a monodrama, yet forced to remain behind the scenes. The scenes take centre stage, instead.

    The Narcissist does not cater at all to his own needs. Contrary to his reputation, the Narcissist does not “love” himself in any true sense of this loaded word.

    He feeds off other people who hurl back at him an image that he projects to them. This is their sole function in his world : to reflect, to admire, to applaud, to detest – in a word, to assure him that he exists. Otherwise, they have no right to tax his time, energy, or emotions – so he feels.

    The Narcissist’s ego is weak and lacks clear borders. Many of the ego functions are projected. The Superego is sadistic and punishing. The Id is unrestrained.

    Primary objects in the Narcissist’s childhood were badly idealized and internalized.

    His object relations are distraught and destroyed.

    See, when you can’t play well with others you get a special name!

  • 7 Rick // May 11, 2004 at 8:21 am


    Well, I’m glad everyone liked the article. 😉

  • 8 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 9:51 am


    For what it’s worth — my choice in the race for the Democratic nomination was John Edwards. My second choice was Wesley Clark. I’m hoping that Kerry picks one of those two for the second slot on his ticket. Time will tell.

    Kerry doesn’t interest me nearly as much as those other two — but the primary voters have spoken.

    At least I know these things about Kerry:

    1) He served in Viet Nam and was awarded medals for bravery. He had a rich daddy who probably could have bought Kerry’s way out of danger. He didn’t choose that route.

    2) Kerry had the courage, when he got home from the war, to say that the war was a huge mistake and a terrible waste of American lives. The men who waged that war, such as then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, are now saying the same thing.

    3) Kerry does not believe in taking money from poor people and giving it to the non-working wealthy.

    4) Kerry believes in fiscal responsibility and would not continue this insane trend of outrageous budget deficits that hurt our economy and weaken the dollar around the world.

    5) Kerry can speak English properly. He has a brain. He would be awake, instead of asleep, at the wheel. He would have a handle on what was happening in his administration — as opposed to having handlers telling him what to think, what to say.

    6) John Kerry would probably shit razor blades if someone in his administration outted a CIA agent. He wouldn’t protect the traitor. He wouldn’t hire people who would hire others who would even think of doing such a thing.

    7) John Kerry would be increasing pay and benefits for active duty military personnel, not cutting their pay and benefits (as Shrub has done). Kerry would increase benefits to veterans, not cut them (as Shrub has done).

    8) Kerry would listen to what the CIA was learning around the world — as opposed to instructing them to change their reports and cook their data to suit his poltical positions.

    9) Kerry would go after corporate tax dodgers who set up mail drops in the Carribean to avoid paying their fair share of U.S. taxes. He wouldn’t applaud such moves, as the current administration does.

    10) Kerry would not question the patriotism of a brave man like John McCain simply because the other man disagreed with him on something.

    These are but a few reasons that Kerry would be a vast improvement over what we have had to suffer through during the past three and a half years.

    While I think it is WAY too early to pay attention to polls, Nat, you were mentioning them a few weeks ago. If you’re looking at the polls now, it must depress you. Shrub is behind again and has the lowest approval ratings he has ever had. This is after a $60 million advertising blitz trying to smear Kerry. And Kerry hasn’t even really begun spending his money yet.

    I do believe that polls close to election day are worth looking at. Research has shown time and time again that exit polls done on election day are extremely accurate indicators of how people cast their votes. That information used to be useful, back when this country actually counted the votes that were cast.

    If votes are actually counted this time (and I have very serious doubts that they will be), there’s no way Shrub can hang on to the White House. As Wesley Clark said, “It’s going take a lot more than five Supreme Court justices to keep this guy there.” My fear is that all it’s going to take is the companies that own and program the electonic voting machines (machines that can be programmed to produce whatever results are desired, regardless of what buttons voters push) will be all it takes.

  • 9 Bob // May 11, 2004 at 10:23 am


    I agree with you that the vice presidential choice will be huge. Kerry needs more than his credentials to get the job, his VP will need to bring substantial experience with him, especially military experience in this climate of conflict. Obviously, I think that Clark is the best choice.

    And I hope that they announce it sooner than later. Democrats need to build some momentum, especially since Bush is losing his in light of prison photos, Rumsfield defense, etc.

  • 10 Nat // May 11, 2004 at 12:57 pm

    Edwards schmedwards, Clark the shark
    They’re all a bunch of losers
    I fear only the perfumed mountebank, Sharpton
    To me he’s a wonderful schmoozer

    Al brought some life, some poetry, a style
    to this race between dullards and wonks
    To me he’s the only personality you’ve got
    In your party of bores & snores – the Donks

    But the Kerry campaign would never run with Al
    He’s just not a compliant party hack
    Besides, haven’t you been reading the news?
    Kerry never hires anyone who’s Black

    I find it truly laughable
    it really make me merry
    That people think they’ll EVER see
    the tax retuns of Mrs. Kerry

    Oh yes, some wonderful first lady
    this haughty woman woman would make
    If any country needed bread in the world
    She’d say “well, let them eat cake”.

  • 11 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 1:12 pm


    I don’t think Kerry needs anyone else’s credentials to get most Americans to vote for him. War Hero vs. War Zero is a pretty easy choice for anyone with more intelligence than a turnip.

    I believe Edwards has the best vision of any of the candidates who ran for office this time. James Carville says Edwards is the best stump speaker he has ever heard in his life. And Carville’s heard a lot of them. I worry that Kerry may not choose Edwards for that precise fact. Edwards is much better in front of a crowd than Kerry.

    Clark does have a strong military background. An attorney who used to have the office next to mine (and who is now a Republican elected official, by the way) was serving in the Balkans when Clark was there. This guy didn’t see it happen, but he told me this story (which I saw printed in Newswek about one week later):

    Clark was in a convoy that was driving into Sarajevo when one of the vehicles went off a cliff. Clark, a four-star general, rappelled down 400 feet and was the first person on the scene to check on the fate of those in the crashed vehicle. That’s leadership. That’s guts. Those are things that Shrub’s crowd in Washington would never dream of having.

    When my friend ran for office this year, for what it’s worth, my wife and I walked precincts for him. The rumbling everyone heard was my ancestors back east rolling over in their graves. But this guy was telling everyone he was a fiscal conservative. So, obviously, he’s really a Democrat — regardless of what political label he wants to use.

  • 12 Nat // May 11, 2004 at 1:12 pm

    REVISED POETRY (errors that were due to ‘equipment malfuntion’ have been corrected)

    Edwards schmedwards, Clark the shark
    They’re all a bunch of losers
    I fear only the perfumed mountebank, Sharpton
    To me he’d be a wonderful schmoozer

    Al brought some life, some poetry, a style
    to this race between dullards and wonks
    To me he’s the only personality you’ve got
    In your party of bores & snores – the Donks

    But the Kerry campaign would never run with Al
    He’s just not a compliant party hack
    Besides, haven’t you been reading the news?
    Kerry never hires anyone who happens to be Black

  • 13 Bob // May 11, 2004 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Edwards’ charisma is one of the reasons I thought Clark should be the choice. He is known as ‘military’ but won’t overshadow Kerry’s Purple Hearts or speaking ability.

    Also, a four star general will be speaking to equals with the Joint Chiefs. I would hope that Kerry would ask and consider Clark’s advice.

    You walked for a Republican? OK, I’ll buy the first round, you’re obviously under the weather!

    Get better soon!

  • 14 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 2:19 pm


    I never did tell my gray-haired mother about walking precincts for a guy who claimed to be a Republican. I don’t think I ever will. She would disown me — just before she dropped dead from shame.

  • 15 Nat // May 11, 2004 at 4:41 pm

    Kerry was in Florida
    Man, this guy is sorry
    a thrilling speaker he is not
    I think you Libs should worry

    The man is all about himself
    He’s such a pompous a##
    I’d love to know who Kerry sees
    when he peers in a looking glass

    Kerry talked about “the uninsured”
    And about his legislative intention
    Funny that, when Libs are in power
    “the uninsured” never get a mention

    Bill and Hill from Arkantucky
    8 years in the center of power
    Funny that, how they never spoke
    of “the uninsured” for even half-an-hour

    But as soon as the Libs are out of currency
    their meaningless Liberal slogans are back
    Suddenly “the uninsured” is an urgent problem
    What a bunch of hypocrites and flacks

  • 16 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 4:48 pm

    For a neo-con to call a liberal a hypocrite:

    1) that’s like a Republican calling a Democrat a big spender

    2) that’s like a TV preacher calling someone else immoral

    3) that’s like Shrub calling someone else stupid

    4) that’s like Rushbo railing against someone because they are addicted to drugs (which he as done)

    5) that’s just what I would expect

    Bill and Hillary’s work to help the uninsured were one of the things that got Republicans so worked up early on in the Clinton years. Remember? They demanded to know who Hillary was talking with and what was said!

    Now if she had only been plotting with energy companies for ways to screw consumers (especially consumers in California), THAT would have been O.K. and would obviously have to have been kept secret to protect “national security,” right?

    Where were you in the 1990s, Nat? I don’t think you were living in the states, from the sound of what you write.

  • 17 Nat // May 11, 2004 at 6:14 pm

    1) Where is Mrs. Kerry’s tax return? Why hasn’t it been made public? Do you think this woman is unaccountable?

    2) Where is the semen-stained dress?

    3) Where do “the uninsured” go when the Dems are in power?

    4) Considering Kerry’s use of Botox, does this not send off alarm bells regarding the extreme vanity of this man?

    5) Why didn’t Ted Kennedy immediately call for emergency help after he drove a car with Mary Joe Kopechne in it off a bridge on Chappaquiddick? [If he had done so she would be alive today.] Isn’t everyone required to report an accident in which there is a possible fatality or are there special exemptions from the rules in the case of Liberal Senators?

    Kennedy is always posturing and primping demanding that President Bush “apologize” for this and that. Why has Kennedy NEVER apologized to the Kopechne family for his direct hand in their daughter’s death?

    Kennedy speaks – with hate oozing from every pore of his hate-contorted fat face – saying that Bush “concocted” the war in Texas. Well, what about the SEVENTEEN LONG DISTANCE PHONE CALLS Kennedy made to CONCOCT a cover story for his malfeasance at the exact time Mary Joe was fighting for her life? He would know know about “concocting”, wouldn’t he?

    Did you know that an evidence collector at the scene said that “Kennedy might just as well have taken a gun and put it to Mary Joe’s head”. But of course, the lying, philandering, drunken bum was only charged with a misdemeanor. Of course, HE’S A LIBERAL.

    6) How can you even LOOK AT “Bobby Byrd” knowing he was a Grand Dragon in the Klu Klux Klan? When you were marching in Selma he was hosting KKK cookouts. But now he’s the dean of the Senate liberals. Why isn’t this man ostracised for his racist views – just as Lott was – or are there special exemptions from the rules in the case of Liberal Senators?

    7) Why does Kerry refuse to hire minorities in his campaign?

    8) Why does Kerry speak out against “special interests” when the record shows he is the #1 beneficiary of their largesse?

    9) Why does Kerry demand to take Holy Communion when it is well known he supports abortion and he voted against the ban on partial birth abortion and the RC Church would rather not have this vile hypocrite darken their doors?

    10) Do you think Jimmy Carter, of all people, the weakest, naivest little man to ever sit in the Oval Office, the man who said he was “surprised” by the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan and the man who began this whole Middle East cauldron by failing to keep the Shah of Persia in power; has ANY RIGHT whatsoever – and bearing in mind that he is an ex-president – to be critical of the superb effort that the Bush Administration has undertaken to reverse the course of Islamo-facism that was unleashed by Carter’s complete and absolute failure to avert the return of Khomeini?

    You liberal Democrats MAJOR in hypocrisy. And yet you drip with condescension when your idiotic, failed policies are questioned. How dare you criticize decent and honorable men, like President George W. Bush, who come in and try to clean up the messes your redneck, naive, rube Presidents (Carter and Clinton) have made of the world.

  • 18 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 8:07 pm


    I will personally pay you $5,000 if you can prove that John Kerry has used botox on his face. This is just another in the stream of lies that the “moral” Republicans repeat so often in the Republican-owned, Republican-controlled mainstream media that they eventually become accepted by dumb rednecks as being true.

    I have seen some references to the botox lie on the Drudge Report, but nowhere else.

    Put up or shut up, Nat. Give me the proof. I’ll give you the money. Can you do it? I think we all know the answer to that one.

    People who lie are fine ones to talk about hypocrisy.

    Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nat? Where is Osama bin Laden? WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?????

  • 19 Mark // May 11, 2004 at 8:14 pm

    As long as Nat keeps calling Liberals hypocrites (what a joke!), and keeps referring to the dress, I must re-post my earlier observations about neo-cons and the true reasons behind their constant drumbeat about Clinton and girls. Nat had no response for these observations earlier (I can see why). When Nat displays his outrage at some of the situations I mention below, I will believe he has some degree of sincerity in his holier-than-thou morality. His silence about people like Bill Thomas and Governor Gang-Bang will display for the world that there are other agendas behind Nat’s broken record — agendas that have absolutely nothing to do with sex or morals — but have everything to do with jealousy and partisan politics that is so rabid it has turned into irrational hatred.

    When neo-cons keep focusing on Clinton’s ability to get girls while ignoring the outrage of an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country done with no exit strategy, putting our troops in harm’s way while cutting their combat pay, meanwhile diminishing the resources needed to fight terrorists such as Osama bin Laden who have attacked us and are a real threat to attack us again — this indicates a complete bankruptcy of morals, serious thought, and common sense.

    The neo-cons never talk about the sexual escapades of Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingstone, Helen Chenpoweth (one political observer far more clever than I once quipped that, “Helen Chenoweth is living proof that you actually CAN fuck your brains out!”), Henry Hyde, etc. This shows that it’s not sex and morality that they are truly concerned about. They never could attack Clinton in the issues (he held the high ground and had a track record of outrageous success), so they had to go after him on something that would stir up other idiots who also have never been able to score with girls, and would therefore also feel jealous.

    I feel genuinely sorry for anyone who can talk of nothing other than this broken record about Clinton and girls. Envy doesn’t look good on the neo-cons. And it doesn’t cover up the gall, the hypocrisy, and the duplicity. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to watch.

    Forgive me! I inadvertently failed to mention two prime examples of G-O-P (Greed On Parade) duplicity regarding sex from right here in the Golden State.

    Congressman Bill Thomas is Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. A few years ago, it was revealed that Thomas (who is married) had been carrying on a long-term affair with a lobbyist (also married) who regularly lobbied the Ways and Means Committee! Any Republican outrage? Of couse not! Did we spend $60 million in taxpayer money to investigate? Of course not! Was Thomas impeached? Of course not! He’s still in office. He still chairs the Ways and Means Committee.

    To my mind, screwing a lobbyist who is trying to influence your committee is a much more grievous and outrageous violation of the public trust than anything Bill Clinton ever dreamed of doing. If the Republicans had been screaming for Bill Thomas’s head, I would have at least had some modicum of respect for the sincerity of their attacks on Bill Clinton. Their silence regarding Thomas was further proof that the screams about Bill Clinton being able to get girls was about jealousy and politics, and had absolutely nothing to do with any so-called “morals.”

    Of course, who could forget the way the Right Wing screamed “pussy, pussy, pussy!” when our own Governor Gang Bang was elected last fall? The Republicans (stauch self-appointed defenders of our nation’s morals) WERE screaming about Governor Gang Bang, weren’t they? What will we tell our children?

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