Monday, August 29, 2005

Shorter Publius

"Liberals are so mean!"

OK, that's not really fair to Publius, though the "shorter" conceit* was never meant to be fair.

But he is - I do hesitate to say this, but the situation compels - somewhat full of baloney here:

I had a disturbing realization last Friday night during the Bill Maher show. The guests were Arkansas Republican governor Mike Huckabee, columnist Dan Savage (who guest-posted for Andrew Sullivan recently), and playwright Eve Ensler (who wrote the Vagina Monologues). It was an interesting trio – a Southern Republican governor, a playwright, and a gay liberal columnist/humorist. The problem was that by the end of the episode, I liked Huckabee much more than I liked either Ensler or Savage. Even though I agreed with both of them substantively, they were bitter, snide, and thoroughly unlikeable. In short, they were – like too many of the Left’s public faces – horrible rhetoricians.

Bless Publius's heart, he's so easily swayed by the affable face of ee-ville - he thought Rick SANTORUM was a likeable guy, for Gawd's sake. And who the hell died and made Eve Ensler and Dan Savage "the Left's public faces?" I mean, I personally love Dan Savage's funny, raunchy sex advice column, but really, is it fair to hold "the Left" responsible for what Dan Savage says on a TV show?

I didn't see the Maher show (and won't since I'm not getting HBO until The Sopranos comes back on). I've never read or seen Ensler; I read Savage's columns and I think they're funny, though ruthless; it's hard for me to imagine him being "bitter, snide and thoroughly unlikeable." But hey, maybe he was. But let's be fair:, Tom DeLay, Ann Coulter, and Bill First aren't exactly huggable, either.

Maher's show is an entertainment show, and it seems to me silly to complain about "the Left" based on what a couple of relatively obscure writers say . . . or how they appear. I said Publius was "somewhat full of baloney" because he makes many good points in that post. But he doesn't offer any criticisms of what Savage and Ensler SAID, he just doesn't think they were likeable. I certainly agree with him that the left needs more effective "rhetoricians" - Nancy Pelosi just isn't very skillful - but I'm not sure what he thinks we should do about the likability quotient. It's so subjective. I'd rather have a beer with Howard Dean, or Bill Clinton, or James Carville, or Paul Begala, or just about ANYONE on the left than with, say, Tom Coburn. I expect a lot of people on the right would rather have their eyes gouged out with hot knitting needles than have a beer with Howard Dean. No one is likeable to everyone. So what's "the Left" supposed to do? Trot out a Golden Retriever puppy to expound the left's point of view?

That would be just ridicul- hmmmmm .

(Stolen from the excellent busybusybusy)

Update: Here's another highly likable contender for the Face of the Left.


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