Monday, September 25, 2006

Comment Roundup

I'd argue that the most important part of blogging (especially political blogging) is the fact that readers can comment. Sure, anyone can stand out on a street corner with a "Walberg=Bad" sign, and anyone can go ahead and post that on the internet as well. But with blogging, there's instant feedback from those hearing your message, and that forces you to work harder-- either to convince those with negative comments or to keep up the good work for the folks with positive comments.

Now, I'll admit, this is an area I need to work harder on. What I ought to do is post well-reasoned, insightful responses to all of your comments in the comments section. And I hope to do that in the future. But lately, I've been kind of busy and kind of lazy. I haven't taken advantage of the dialogue opportunity.

There are, however, some really great comments from the last couple weeks that I'd like to point out. My one complaint: Why so many "Anonymous"'s? Come on, guys, give me a name to work with!

In my brief link to the Sharon Renier interview, there's been a bit of a discussion on Renier's message. One Anonymous writes:
This is the first of any "substance" I have found on Sharon Renier. So far her campaign has been lackluster at best, I was hoping for much more from her, especially facing a wingnut like Walberg. He can be defeated.

Two things I find troubling. She's one of those who support our troops, but not the war. Can't have it both ways. You cannot support the troops by opposing what they are doing. It makes no sense whatsoever, liberal cliche-ism.

"Tax cuts for the rich" is another cliche out of the liberal playbook. That's simply a class warfare slogan. If she's going banter about cliches like this I have touble supporting her. Using that term signals an incredible ignorance of economics.

I think she is right on about her assessment of Walberg and the lies he told about Schwarz (no T). From her orginal statement, she doesn't seem to have much regard for Schwarz which also troubles me. If I were her, I would be getting to know him and his supporters and learn all you can about what he has done and what she can continue for our District. There is a huge population like me that cannot morally vote for Tim Walberg after what he did and who he aligned himself with in the primary.

I'm really hoping she can beat Walberg, he's a disingenous, morally corrupt, ideologue who will do nothing for our district. She needs to be smart; bantering about liberal cliches will not attract the middle. She needs to understand the center and know what is important to the district, especially economically. She needs to run a smart campaign of substance not rhetoric.

I'm an independent, but I deeply admired Schwarz and zealously supported him in the primary although I didn't always agree with him, I trusted him. I'm sickened by that happend in this primary and the outside influences that meddled in the race. But having to make a choice between both extremes isn't appealing either.

I MAY vote for Sharon, but I know I WILL NOT vote for Walberg. She needs to look at what Schwarz has done and follow his lead...if she is serious about winning.

We face serious issues as a nation, especially in the arena national security, which is undoubtedly the keystone issue in the 110th Congress.
And another anonymous responds:
You guys are the ones who sound like a cliche machines, not Sharon Renier. How is supporting the troops but not the war a cliche? Maybe you're not old enough to remember the aftermath of Vietnam, but when those soldiers came back home, they were directly blamed for what had happened. They were shunned, spit on, ignored. Renier's point is that it is not the fault of the soldiers that they're fighting a destructive pointless war and getting killed for nothing, worse than nothing. She is a strong supporter of the military, including expanded access to jobs and education, for those coming home. If you call that having it both ways, fine.

The same is true for tax cuts for the rich. When an administration and Congress enacts massive tax cuts which only have any meaningful effect for people earning well into six figures, I call that a tax cut for the rich. It's true that these things get labeled in shorthand, but that doesn't make them cliches. Sharon's point is that she wants to see taxes cut for those who truly need the tax cuts, and that those at the very top should pay more. Is that being out on the liberal fringe? A cut from the Pelosi playbook? Sharon’s an NRA member, and strongly against any amnesty for illegal immigrants. Does that sound like Nancy Pelosi? You might want to look up cliche in the dictionary.

The other thing is that I know there are things that Joe Schwarz started that Sharon admired and would like to finish. She has great respect for him. But her name is Sharon, not Joe.
When Joe Schwarz launched an editorial attack on the far-right in the Washington Post, I asked anyone with links to some of the pre-primary attack ads to let me know. The Adrian Insider answered:
To see some of those ads, check out this page:

After Lincoln Chafee won his primary over a Club for Growth challenger, one anonymous commenter suggested that the Club was doomed to defeat nationwide, and MI-07 was the exception, not the norm.
CFG's defeat of Joe Schwarz was for all intent and purpose...a fluke.

A dismally low voter turnout got Walberg elected, it was not about ideology but pure numbers. Speaking of numbers with less than 18 percent of the voters going to the polls, less than 9 percent actually voted for Walberg.

I hope every other CFG candidate goes down in flames. Schwarz only lost because of voter apathy, he is far more mainstream and qualified than Walberg who borders on facist. If anything, Walberg won the primary because the GOP (and the media) was asleep at the switch.

Unfortunately, Michigan was a wake-up call for complacent voters. We all have lost big-time in this election, but hopefully the rest of the nation can learn from it and with Chaffee's win, I think they got the message about CFG.
I hope s/he is right... Incidentally, another commenter on the same subject reminds us:
Bouchard is also endorsed by Club for Growth.
That being Michael Bouchard, Republican opponent to Senator Debbie Stabenow.

When an article appeared quoting some harsh rhetoric against Tim Walberg by Schwarz, one anonymous commenter reminded us:
Let no one forget that Walberg refused to endorse Schwarz after the last primary. He encouraged people to vote for the Constitution Party candidate in 2004 when he lost to Schwarz.

His campaign was based on hot-button wedge issues attacking homosexuals and hispanics.

This is not the republican party I want. Vote for the dem or write in someone with some common sense, Schwarz or otherwise.
With that, today's Comment Roundup concludes. If you're upset that yours wasn't included, don't take it personally. I have no doubt it was interesting and insightful.


I agree with you 100 percent. On my blog, every comment gets a response. If someone takes the time to not only read what I write but to post a comment as well gets at the very least an acknowledgement from me. As a journalist, it means a lot to get some feedback of any kind.

As for anonymous, I vowed when I first began blogging –even as just a poster without my own blog – no one would have to guess it was me or the same person doing the posting, even when I had the option of posting anonymously.

However, it has led to some people figuring out my true identity, and as a freelance writer that’s not a good thing. I make it a point to never, ever write about something professionally that I cover on my blog nor write or do I cover or write about politics professionally.

Actually, I met Mr. Walberg briefly back when I was a staff reporter for your beloved Daily Telegram back in 1996.
... And consider this your ackknowledgement!

On the anonymous issue, I understand perfectly why people are unwilling to reveal their names on the internet. My name isn't actually "Fitzy," for example.

I suppose what bothers me about anonymous posting is that I can't get a sense of whether I have a small but devoted group of repeat commenters or a broad group of one-time commenters. Not that it matters much, but these are the sorts of things that a Sitemeter account can't quite tell you.

I don't suppose you'd care to share your impressions of Tim Walberg ten years ago, would you?
I agree with your take on anonymous. However, I allow it because a republican blog I was on where I made it a point to attached my name, first name last initial to everything I posted, went to only allowing bloggers to post because someone said something he did not like and could not disprove about a friend of his. My blog is a free speech zone.

My meeting with Mr. Walberg was very brief. It was in the newsroom of the Daily Telegram, and he was there to meet with the political reporter and Doug Spade in a kind of informal kitchen cabinet kind of debate. That was some race wasn’t it? It was just a handshake and a hello.

This is what Walbergs handlers thinks of senior citizens.


"In fact, the Club for Growth's founder, Steve Moore, has reportedly made this comment about Social Security recipients: "I can say this because I'm not an elected official: the most selfish group in America today is senior citizens. Their demands on Washington are: 'Give us more and more and more.' They have become the new welfare state, and given the size and political clout of this constituency, it's very dangerous. One of the biggest myths in politics today is this idea that grandparents care about their grandkids. What they really care about is that that Social Security check and those Medicare payments are made on a timely basis."
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