6 years ago: Triple Lindy

November 26, 2007, here on slacktivist: Triple Lindy

What I don’t understand is how the individual people who make up the noise machine handle this logically, intellectually or emotionally.

If you’re completely unprincipled and you don’t care about logical consistency or coherence — if all of politics is just a big game of Fizzbin — then this isn’t a problem and it’s simply a matter of following the latest talking points from the central office: Talking to Syria is now Good. We’ve always been at war with Oceania.

But I would think that at least some of these right wing bloggers and talk radio hosts, and maybe even one or two Fox News readers, are actually true believers sincerely arguing for what they genuinely believe. I can’t imagine it’s easy for them to suddenly have to stop believing X and start believing Not X.

It’s actually even stranger than that — they have to suddenly switch from arguing that Nancy Pelosi is a demon because she believes X to arguing that George Bush is a genius and a patriot because he believes X, all while somehow arguing that Pelosi is still a demon. It’s like the Triple Lindy of cognitive dissonance.

How do they accommodate that? What’s the mental trick? Seriously. I don’t get it.

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  • Rory
  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I think circumstances have changed rather significantly in the last few years. Actually, the change seems to have started around the 1970′s and has been gradually worsening, with a sharp spike starting with Obama’s presidency (to the point that half of all filibusters ever have been performed in the last five years).

  • Rory

    Both those posts are from this year, and the first refers to a filibuster which occured this year while the second makes it clear that it is discussing current circumstances which have been the case for over a year, made particularly relevant at the time by a filibuster which had just occured. Also, the increase in filibustering is only a problem if filibustering itself is a problem, which in the first post Fred implies he doesn’t consider to be the case.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Also, the increase in filibustering is only a problem if filibustering itself is a problem, which in the first post Fred implies he doesn’t consider to be the case.

    I disagree with your premise. Rephrase, different subject, for illustration: “The increase in sugar is only a problem if sugar itself is a problem.”

  • Veleda_k

    If someone told me that out of all the surgeries ever performed in my city, half had been performed in the last year, I would think there was something very wrong going on. That doesn’t mean surgery is bad in general.

  • Rory

    I know perfectly well that something can be OK in moderation but become a problem when there’s an excess of it. I just don’t see how that’s the case where filibustering is concerned.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    You don’t think there’s such a thing as an excessive amount of filibustering?

  • Rory

    I think you’ve misinterpreted what I’m saying – I’m not trying to propose some general rule that if any increase in anything is bad then that thing itself is bad. It’s just that in the particular case of filibusters the only obvious reason I can see to consider an increase in the number of filibusters to be a bad thing is if filibusters themselves are a problem. Also, if I understand the second of his posts that I linked to correctly, Fred does consider the filibusters themselves to be a problem, not merely an indication of a problem.

  • Lorehead

    Please note that that what Fred supported and what Fred objected to were not the same thing. Wendy Davis’ talking filibuster was the equivalent of Rand Paul’s or Ted Cruz’s talking filibusters in the Senate, which I don’t recall Fred having ever complained about.

    We’ve come to call the rule that 41 senators can block any legislation or nomination, which only has existed since 1975 and only became a routine tactic against all Senate business since 2009, a “filibuster” too. But they are two different things, and procedural obstruction has clearly gotten out of hand in the U.S. Senate in a way it hasn’t in the Texas state legislature.

  • Rory

    No, I think any amount of filibustering is excessive. It’s one MP vetoing potentially the entire rest of the parliament by abusing a system set up to present relevant arguments and instead presenting what could just as easily be repetitive trivia. But I do see the argument that filibustering should be alowed because if someone cares about something enough to spend the amount of time required to filibuster talking about it that should count for more than someone with a weaker opinion. What I think definitely isn’t the case is that filibustering is OK in principle but sometimes MPs do it in circumstances where it isn’t appropriate, because the entire justification for filibustering (or at least the only justification I’ve ever seen presented for it) is dependent on the idea that an MP’s willingness to do it itself shows that their opinion is strong enough to warant filibustering.

  • Lorehead

    You’re using the word “filibuster” disingenuously. (Edit: You stated that this was an honest misunderstanding, and I respect you for that.) Your second link is his objection to a supermajority requirement, not to a senator taking the floor and speaking for thirteen hours.

    Besides, there is no hypocrisy in saying that both sides should play by the rules that are in place, and also that the rules should be changed.

  • Rory

    Oh, OK, my bad. I hadn’t heard of that sort of filibustering before and had assumed Fred was refering to filibustering by speaking for a long time. In that case my accusation is entirely false.
    I’m sorry I falsely accused you of hypocrisy, Fred.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I largely agree right up until the second part. If their goal is deliberately sabotaging the government, then I don’t think what they’re doing can be considered justifiable no matter how strong their opinions are. That’s not their job.

  • Charby

    The thing about this kind of filibuster though is that the MP/Congressman doesn’t have to do any actual work. They don’t have to get up and talk for any amount of time. They can just basically refuse to vote for cloture and that’s the end of it. It’s not the same as Rand Paul or Wendy Davis getting up and talking for a long time, where you can say, ‘OK, they clearly care a lot about this issue because they’re going to all this trouble’. That kind of filibuster is kind of cool; the kind we’re talking about here requires no effort and is extremely abusable because it’s basically automatic.

  • Lorehead

    Now, any people who endorsed the Wisconsin Democrats’ running to Illinois in 2011 to deprive the state legislature of a quorum and create a de facto supermajority requirement that way, did not clarify that they meant that it was legitimate to play hardball for the moment but the rules should change to prevent this kind of abuse, yet object to supermajority requirements today, are hypocrites.


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