In this post, here, I pointed out that, no, rudeness is not a Conservative principle, but that it most definitely is a leftist principle, and even a common tactic, which they use in discourse of all kinds.
I do little thought exercises all the time, and one of them is to tabulate, roughly, the time that a Conservative speaks compared to the time a liberal speaks, in any forum where they’re debating informally.
I don’t recall ever having seen a time when the Conservative took more time than the leftist. Ever.
National Public Radio does a little “Point-Counterpoint” thing every Friday in which E.J. Dionne, leftist, and David Brooks, sort-of-rightist, “discuss” the week’s events(1). The session is supposed to be NPR’s nod to giving Conservatives a teentsy-weentsy voice at their extreme-left network.
In that little session, which I’ve heard dozens of times, I’ve tried to estimate the comparative times each commentator takes. It’s rarely close. Dionne takes at least 55-60% of all the talking time, and when they disagree, he always inserts a last rebuttal to something Brooks has said — even when the host or hostette has indicated that they need to move on to the next topic.
Remember the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates the last election go-round? The media tabulated it and in the Presidential ones — there were, I believe, three — Obama always took more time than Romney. In the one Vice-Presidential debate, Joe Biden took a lot more time than Paul Ryan. Even the media remarked on it. Mind you, the times each took were supposed to be the same, give or take a few seconds.
A personal story that illustrates what I’m trying to say. I have a “friend” — more like a pal — a woman who is a hard leftist. She and I go at it from time to time, and our exchanges are characterized by one overriding trait: I rarely if ever get a thought completely out before she has interrupted me, and prevented me from saying what I was going to say. Numerous times, I’ve said to her, “Now let me finish this thought,” and begun to talk, always to no avail. I never get to finish the thought.
Her interruptions take the form of talking over me, meaning she not only jumps in when I’m speaking, she does it more loudly than I’m speaking, so that the only way to re-take the floor would be to talk over her, at which point it would quickly degenerate into a shouting match, and you will see in Example #4, below, why that simply won’t happen.
One time, I was having a debate with her when we — my “friend,” my then wife and I — were going home from the beach. She sat in the back seat, my wife was in the front passenger seat, and I was driving. We were discussing abortion, and it was a context in which I had to speak loudly to overcome the engine noise and the open windows. The result was that she couldn’t talk over me. If you saw me, you’d understand why. I’m quite large, and my voice ummm… projects. The topic was abortion, and I beat her handily. Very, very handily.
Another time, after a short (15 mins. or so) debate, I began to tell her that, “You know? You never allowed me to complete even one thought during our entire discussion here, and I’ll bet you think you ‘won the debate.'”
I got about as far as “You know? You never allowed…” before she interrupted me to let me know that she considered the debate over.
You other Conservatives out there, you know — personally — what I’m talking about here, don’t you.
Not really an example, but try it yourself. Anytime there is some kind of “point-counterpoint” kind of exchange on any of the media outlets, use a couple of stopwatches or just make a rough estimate, and time the lefty and the righty to see who takes more time. See who interrupts more. See who is allowed to get his or her entire point out. It never fails. The lefty will interrupt more, take more time, and become indignant if she is interrupted.
While rudeness is a leftist principle, even a leftist value, politeness is a Conservative principle. However, politeness can’t be used as a tactic, particularly against those for whom rudeness is a well-honed and refined tactic. It’s why we Conservatives tend to “lose” the informal debates, and to mop up the floor with the left in structured debates that have well-enforced rules. It’s hard, though, to win a debate if your thoughts aren’t heard.
So, with FOX News’ new found clout after the Republican debate, I have a modest suggestion. Presumably, through clenched teeth, the Democrats will accede to either Presidential, or Vice-Presidential, or both, debates on FOX. It’s the only way for their candidates to be seen by the public.
Here’s my suggestion: The network should insist on one simple rule. The time limit is the time limit, plus the time necessary to balance out the time for each candidates. To be granted in the final statements.
Here’s how it would work: Let’s say that Democrat nominee Martin O’Malley(2) is debating Ted Cruz. Let’s say that after the allotted time is up, O’Malley has taken four minutes and 22 seconds more than Cruz. Cruz then gets four minutes and 22 seconds more than the usual time allowed for his final statement.
If the usual time is two minutes, then O’Malley gets his two minutes, and Cruz then gets six minutes and 22 seconds for his final statement. Furthermore, the one who takes more time must give the finishing statement first, which will give his or her opponent not only more time for a closing statement, but a greater chance to rebut as well.
Let’s see if the Democrats would go along with actually making the debates opportunities for actual equal time. You know: like the rules say.
By the way, FOX should practice this with all such forums they have. You know those times when they show the anchor in the middle, the liberal on the left and the Conservative on the right. Those times.
(1) – David Brooks is kind of the pet “Conservative” at the New York Times and NPR. He’s hardly a Conservative, but at least he’s to the right of E.J. Dionne. That’s not saying much; so’s Trotsky. Dionne can be counted on always, no exceptions, to toe the Obama Administration line. I’ve never heard Dionne say the slightest thing negative about any initiative of Obama’s, or of any other leftist. Whereas Brooks agrees with Dionne about half the time, and the other half advances nothing more than tepid disagreement. It should be noted that the great, and definitely Conservative, Ramesh Ponnuru fills in for Brooks from time-to-time. I’m not sure how that ever got through the NPR top brass, but it did.
(2) – My current prediction for the nominee of the Democrat Party. The scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton, I’ve also predicted, won’t even make it through to the Convention. And the only Democrat running who’s not a complete nutcase is Jim Webb, hence he’s out. After all, the last four Democrat nominees have been, respectively, Obama, Obama, Kerry, Gore… This is not a party inclined to nominate normal people; people who are not complete nutcases. They just keep topping the previous nutcase with an even nuttier nutcase. Hence, O’Malley, the father of the current “success story” that is Baltimore.