Sunday Morning Open Thread

I liked this post by Kevin Drum on persuasion:

My own experience, which I think is fairly generalizable, is that within the course of a single conversation hardly anybody ever changes their mind including me. Arguing is a dominance game, and in a face-to-face confrontation over anything of significance (virtual or otherwise) we hairless apes will go to considerable lengths to avoid conceding dominance. So if we find ourselves on the losing end of a confrontation, we end up simply switching to new arguments, trying to redefine the terms of debate, cherry picking our evidence a little differently, burrowing down into ever more trivial subarguments, or reverting to mockery and then walking away. In other words, pretty much anything other than actually conceding that someone else is right and that our worldview might need to be updated.

That's lawyering. Kevin extrapolates to discussing politics - "arguments will start to sink in maybe a day or a week later when the emotional charge has worn off. You'll probably never know that you've successfully persuaded your adversary, since it's a gradual change that happens offstage and is rarely acknowledged (dominance games again), but it happens. [. . .] Thus politics." I disagree with that - that's political punditry. In politics, a large swath of the electorate has no commitment to a particular belief - if they do have a commitment, it is to jersey color. If there is, it is jersey color commitment. Generally, folks will agree with whoever does best for them- the old "are you better off now" question. Most people don't think about policy, and process even less, than pundits think.

Open Thread.

< Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Accuser's Lawyer Predicts Dismissal | Another Reason Not To Care Who Is Elected President? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Since this is an open thread (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Edger on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 10:04:51 AM EST
    I'd like to add that...

    The one thing, the main thing, the central point, that Nat Hentoff is obviously too obtuse to get, is that Barack Obama doing all things that George Bush and Dick Cheney deserve to be in prison for doing is a good thing, because he's a "Democrat".

    If he was a Republican, it would be a bad thing.

    Not one of the aspiring Republican candidates for the presidency next year has said a word about this. And Obama cherishes their silence.

    -- Obama bans war criminals, except our own, Nat Hentoff

    I'm sure he cherishes the silence from not only Republicans...

    Which Goes to the Analogy (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by The Maven on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 11:33:30 AM EST
    of the jersey color commitment.  Most Americans don't analyze policy positions all that closely (except perhaps for ones that obviously affect them directly), but merely support either Democrats or Republicans based on generalized past practice and prior voting habits.

    This kind of rooting for the "favorite" team can go a long way to explaining why so many self-described Democratic voters have been willing to follow the party as it's moved steadily towards Republican-lite (and sometimes not-so-lite), with the similar phenomenon of Republicans following their party as it plunges into affirmatively harmful crazyland.

    Team loyalties are hard to break, and someone raised rooting for a particular team is still likely to root for them long after moving to a new location, continuing to wear their old team jersey even if none of their beloved old players are still around.

    When the team's biggest rivals do something, it's inherently bad and worth booing (voting against), but when your own team picks up the same practice, it suddenly becomes a non-issue that if not cheered (voting for), at least provokes no reaction (off the radar).  Jersey colors can be a powerful factor.


    Minds and hearts (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 10:30:52 AM EST
    I realized last week that it is sometimes easier to change someone's heart than their mind.  Somehow, to change your heart, which may lead to a change of mind, does not seem like a defeat.  

    Some "fights" go away the minute (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 11:30:49 AM EST
    someone wins because they weren't that important to begin with....so no big behind the scenes change takes place once the power struggle is over.

    If you are dealing with a room full of people though and attempting to get any single task completed you never start that process by going from one person to the next and asking them what they want and how they want to do this when you ARE THE LEADER AND THE MOST POWERFUL?  That's like sitting at Sonic with six children trying to figure out what everyone wants to drink...don't they have like a 100 combinations or something?  And your daughter that worked there in high school will not quit talking about what it tastes like if you mix watermelon and sour apple in a diet sprite while the guy on the speaker just wants to know what the heck to bring because everything isn't about you and your creative children.

    The next President we have had better be a mother.  I'm tired of people being unforgivably  stupid about limited resources, must reach today goals, herding, and taking things away from "bad" children until they shape up.

    Rick Perry vintage video (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 11:40:40 AM EST
    Rick Perry discusses in the style of George Bush Abstinence

    That's very amusing ... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 12:35:34 PM EST
    but what's interesting is that imbedded in that long rambling, almost completely incoherent answer is the fact that Perry's a big government Republican.

    "Obama for America" called me ... (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 02:33:20 PM EST
    this afternoon asking for money.

    I kept the fundraiser on for a while, because I wanted to hear the script and the objection responses.

    The script tries to play to people's nostalgia for '08.  Lots of use "grass roots" and suggestions that what we did before we can do again.  "We need you."  "Your help is essential."  And so on.  A very emotional plea and probably effective with a number of people.

    The objection responses, however, were pretty crappy.  Essentially all the stuff we've heard from Carney et al.  And that BTD has been ridiculing.  The first level was about the difficult task he was given.  Then it went to "these things take time".  Then to blaming the Republican congress.  Then an interesting one (I wrote it down):  "Only under a Democratic administration would the kind of debates you are referring to even be possible."  And finally some scare tactics about a Republican in the White House.

    The fundraiser either had no real knowledge of politics or had been instructed to stick to the script.  Because there was no direct response to any of my claims.  Just the generalities listed above.

    Obama has instructed his people (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 03:02:54 PM EST
    not to get bogged down with details. Fundraiser was just following orders from on high.

    President Obama counseled supporters Wednesday evening "not to get too bogged down" in details when explaining his record to voters during the campaign.
    ...focus on broad themes when it comes to his policies on taxes and war, instead of the specifics of individual policies. link

    As digby says

    This is actually a reprise of the 2008 campaign's quasi religious "how I came to Obama" strategy:

    Yeah ... (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 03:34:24 PM EST
    I bet it will work to some degree.  

    But most of the money this time will come from larger donors and corporate bundling.

    Of course, the amount of "grass roots" support Obama received in '08 was something of a sham.  More of it than they were willing to admit was PAC arranged, but designed to look like individual contributions.


    Well, that's good planning on their part. (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 07:11:17 PM EST
    President Obama counseled supporters Wednesday evening "not to get too bogged down" in details when explaining his record to voters during the campaign.

    Because those details are a serious b!tch.

    If I thought that was (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 06:41:40 PM EST
    a volunteer activist who called you, I'd be really sad for them.

    I suspect, though, it's a professional fund-raising firm, which is what most high-profile pols use.


    This early in the game, that's true (none / 0) (#24)
    by sj on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 07:14:58 PM EST
    I suspect, though, it's a professional fund-raising firm, which is what most high-profile pols use.

    Historically, though, as the campaign heats up, it is volunteer activists making those calls as campaign dollars are used for other purposes.  Of course, O is working toward a 1 billion dollar campaign chest, so maybe he's not counting on volunteer activism.


    Word (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by sj on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 02:36:14 PM EST
    You'll probably never know that you've successfully persuaded your adversary, since it's a gradual change that happens offstage and is rarely acknowledged

    Many of us here have noted that some of the O diehard supporters of 2008 have become very vocally disillusioned.  It didn't happen during any of the discussions.  It is an admission made later.  

    So regular attempts at persuasion are necessary even if it seems futile.  Even if it is futile, because some one else may hear and begin to think.

    Having said that, making the SC argument is an exercise in futility as far as I, myself, is concerned.  But when one feels strongly one should continue to make the case.

    celebrating ... (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by desertswine on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 05:14:52 PM EST
    in Tripoli  - al jazeera

    I'm up through episode 10 of (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 11:52:18 AM EST
    season 5, and definitely in love with Matt Smith, as well as his portrayal of Dr. Who.
    He really smoothed out the rough edges from the early episodes.
    He's right up there with Tom (?) with the scarf as one of the best doctors, possibly slightly better than Tenant.

    Wait till end of season (none / 0) (#10)
    by Marvin42 on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 01:13:53 PM EST
    Without spoilers: when you figure out you may have to go back and watch it again to see what really happened. Clever stuff.

    Never watched Who before Moffet/Smith/Season 5 (not my thing) besides the few Moffet penned episodes, but Season 5 on is a new beast.


    Well, Drum also does a nice job (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 11:58:51 AM EST
    by telling us all about the "dominance" angle, in ratifying the Obama-as-wife-beater prespective on his "leadership" style.

    He's gotten this far by beating on his base, so (a) why not continue, (b) he can't stop now because they'll turn on him, (c) he had and has no other claim to being on top, other than having established his dominance.

    The beaten spouse has two alternatives, only one of which really obtains in this (metaphoric) context:  turn your back and walk away.

    I still think it will be Huntsman (none / 0) (#9)
    by loveed on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 01:09:23 PM EST
    Jon Huntsman entered the race at the end of june.
    He been away in China for the last 2yrs. Shielded from the craziness of his party. He is not associated with the party of NO. He's the only one running with foreign policy experience. Ran his own business. He's conservative enough. He has a great record to run on.
     I watched Huntsman on ''This Week'' this morning. He will be on the Piers Morgan show tomorrow on CNN.
     Summer is winding down. Now is the time for him to make his move. The media has beat up on all the others running. The more the media beats up his opposition, it make them unacceptable.
     Romney has been around a long time. His poll numbers tell you,they don't want him. Perry = GWB. Bachmann is her own worse enemy.
     The repub. wants to win. They will pick the candidate that can win.
     Before Sept.27th, there will be 3 debates. I think afterward the numbers in the polls will change.

    You are preaching to the choir here (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Politalkix on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 01:13:57 PM EST
    that Huntsman is the best among the candidates in the Republican field. Your time will be better spent in trying to convince TPers and GOPers in this regard.

    More data on lost revenue (none / 0) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 01:26:03 PM EST
    Hard to let the medicine go down. (none / 0) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 02:08:56 PM EST
    Drum..."in other words, pretty much anything than actually conceding that someone else is right and that our world view might need to be updated."    If his medicine were allowed to be absorbed he would have written something along these lines:  ....conceding that someone else is right and that our world view was always wrong and needed to be corrected.  

    it might happen (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 02:33:56 PM EST
    with people who are actually capable of thinking. for those, such as the tea party crowd, who are totally vested in, well, nonsense, facts just don't matter, and never will.

    you'd be better off spending your time having that discussion with a brick wall, at least it won't come back with some stupid limabaugh "fact".

    One runs a risk at times (none / 0) (#19)
    by vicndabx on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 03:45:13 PM EST
    We say this:

    a large swath of the electorate has no commitment to a particular belief

    as a rationalization against the idea that we may be out of the mainstream's thinking on an issue.

    People may not be thinking about an issue all the time but that doesn't mean that when they do think, they can't reach an informed conclusion.

    You LEAD them there (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Dadler on Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 06:30:06 PM EST
    LEADership.  Imagine that.