When the Ideologue Gets Ugly and Shrill

You are what you eat, and you are what you say. Or put another way, the kind of person you are is revealed by the language and terms you use to characterize those whose politics or policies you disagree with. Ken Green tells me everything I need to know about him here, of which this is a sampling:

So let’s see who is running the asylum under Obama. As I pointed out in 2009, Obama’s science team is composed almost exclusively of environmental radicals, and until recently, Carol Browner, Gore’s disciple (and yes, a card-carrying socialist), was part of Obama’s team as well. Her disciple, Lisa Jackson, has unleashed an unprecedented tidal surge of environmental regulations into the teeth of an economic downturn second only to the Great Depression.

Here I thought that environmentalists were thoroughly disenchanted with Obama’s green policies. And that part about Browner being a “card-carrying socialist” is quite the gem, and culled from especially credible, non-partisan sources, too! What a proud moment for the AEI gang, when one of their own speaks truth to power with such forthrightness and unassailable evidence.

27 Responses to “When the Ideologue Gets Ugly and Shrill”

  1. EdG says:

    Just checked wikipedia. Don’t much care if she was a member of some ‘socialist’ labeled group as that is a very broad term. But this tells me much more:

    “From 1988 to 1991, Browner worked as legislative director for Senator Al Gore, and became known as a Gore protégé. She helped prepare amendments to the Clean Air Act and managed Gore’s legislative staff.”

    By the way, as disenchanted as enviros may be with Obama, he’s the only game in town for them. Obama’s mistake with them, and everybody, was creating expectations that were impossible.

  2. In that post Ken Green denies the GOP are anti-science:
    “I know of virtually nobody on the right who denies the core of climate science”
    Oh really? Really??!! How about the speaker of the house, Boehner, when he accused climate scientists of alleging that CO2 is bad because it’s a carcinogen? (No such thing is true.)
    In fact, find out here what EACH and every 2012 Republican candidate thinks on two key science issues, climate change and evolution, then say it again, Ken.

  3. Chris Mooney says:

    I stand un-rebutted, but very emoted-at.

  4. Paul Kelly says:

    I’ve read the linked Green piece and found nothing that could be considered shrill or ugly. Socialism in an accepted and broadly practiced form of government. Calling someone a socialist is no more shrill and ugly than calling him a free marketeer.

  5. Keith Kloor says:

    Sure, Paul. Nothing shrill about “environmental radicals” and nothing ugly about “card-carrying socialist.” I’m sure that Green used terms like these in precisely the manner you suggest. 

  6. jeffn says:

    meh. Banging on about how someone is a “socialist” or “denies evolution” is an old tactic of the shrill. Call it a dog-whistle for the faithful to “go sic ’em boy.”
    What’s worse is the willingness to lie in order to shut down debate:
    How do you debate the level of spending with people who’ve been lied to and really believe the spending isn’t out of whack? You can’t, of course. You can only have a shouting match. Similarly, how do you discuss global warming with people who believe windmills can power the entire US and that there are millions of “climate refugees” in the world right this very minute?

  7. Marlowe Johnson says:

    in their defense, the folks at AEI spare no expense when you visit — the cookies and other refreshments are great — and the decor (larger than life oil paintings of dead rich white guys) is impressive…

  8. kdk33 says:

    KK: the kind of person you are is revealed by the language and terms you use to characterize those whose politics or policies you disagree with

    Sweet.  Shall we start with your incessant Tea Party Ad-Homs.

    Pot.  Kettle.  Black.

  9. kdk33 says:


    What in the world do climate change and evolution have to do with each other? 

    In the early days, it was climate change deniers and tobacco deniers, then it was big oil, now it’s anti-science republicans as evidenced by evolution.  These linkages are increasingly silly.

    BTW, if you look at the videos the answers are far more nuanced than you would portray.  So you are a) unable to appreciate nuanced arguments in areas of science with uncertainty or b) you’re just pushing a narrative.

  10. Keith Kloor says:


    Do tell me what I’ve said that’s been untrue about the Tea Party, or how I’ve slandered their good name 

  11. kdk33 says:


    Too funny.  Shall we start with Frankenstein Monster, at least that’s the last one I can remember. 

    I think you’re other readers can remember the many other instances.

  12. Keith Kloor says:

    Sure, have had it. But the Tea Party needs no help from me in shaping its public image. They’re doing a fine job of it themselves.

    I’ll say it again: the Tea Party will be the best thing that happened to the Democrats and President Obama. You go ahead and keep counting up your chips from the 2010 elections. Let’s how many you’re holding next year or two years after that.

    I suspect by then that Frankenstein will have thoroughly scared the wits out of the general populace. 🙂


  13. Tom Fuller says:

    Keith, there may be a future piece for you in all this. Something about the way so many of us modulate our tone and change our voice depending on the venue we’re writing for. I’ve done it. I’ve seen a lot of people do it. I think Ken Green is doing it here, too. It’s a bit more than just writing for your presumed audience. It’s even more than the difference between posting and commenting, which produces a dramatic change in and of itself.

  14. Stu says:

    ‘Radical environmentalist’ can also have a positive connotation, especially for environmentalists.

  15. Dean says:

    Keith – It’s unclear to what degree tea party extremism will hurt Republicans in 2012. It is the Dems best hope, but it is no guarantee. It probably kept the Repubs from grabbing the Senate in 2010, but they did swamp the House despite it, nor do they show any regrets from the Senate result.
    The history of US politics is that committed, passionate political minorities tend to have an outsize impact on politics. This is how a country that loves its alcohol got prohibition way back when. The Anti-Saloon League puts the NRA to shame for effectiveness of a lobbying group.
    A lot does depend on who they nominate, but with Bachmann faded and Perry fading, it seems the likelihood of a juicy opportunity there may be fading. While it seems that many conservatives are only now discovering that Christie is a RINO by any current definition (he recently said that we humans are causing global warming – OMG, the thought of it!), the more likely R nominees will not be quite as easy to play this off of. the main question is whether a Romney nomination, if it comes to pass, will result in a third party Tea Party effort. This would be the real Dem savior. Look at the Colo Gov race in 2010, where the R came in third.
    PS – The last time a President won reelection with unemployment this high is Roosevelt in 1936. And the Republicans then were a lot like the Tea Party now. So it is a hope for the Dems. But Obama has not shown himself to be a Roosevelt – yet.

  16. NewYorkJ says:

    Tea party approval has hit a record low recently.


    For that reason, andn backlash over perceived overreach in Congress,  I think they’re going to lose many seats in the House in 2012.  But the Senate has many more Democratic seats in play from the 2006 sweep, and that could actually cause it to flip.  And with unemployment likely to be > 8% in 2012, Obama has serious headwinds.  KK understands how inept the Republican field is, and in a normal year, that would mean sure defeat for them.  But these aren’t normal economic times.  In the 1930’s Germany, a party more extreme than the U.S.  tea party rose to power due primarily to hard economic times.  It’s conceivable the tea party could keep up their run, even if < 30% like them.

  17. harrywr2 says:

    Tom Fuller Says:
    September 29th, 2011 at 11:55 am Keith, there may be a future piece for you in all this. Something about the way so many of us modulate our tone and change our voice depending on the venue we’re writing for.
    I’m pretty sure you’ve hot the nail on the head here Tom.
    I’m pretty sure Keith would go absolutely nuts if he could see some of the Fund Raising letters various groups associated with Republicans send out.
    I also get fund raising letters and phone calls from various Democrat groups that almost always universally cause me to send more money to Republican groups. I even took the time to explain to one group that every time a ‘Liberal Leaning’ group called me on the phone I would donate $100 to a Republican and that they should take me off their contact list. They still call.
    Oops…just got another liberal ‘red meat’ email from Patty Murray…anyone know Herman Cains’ mailing address so I can send him some money 😉

  18. kdk33 says:

    Friends of Herman Cain, inc.
    P.O. Box 2158
    Stockbridge, GA  30281

  19. Dean says:

    “I even took the time to explain to one group that every time a “˜Liberal Leaning’ group called me on the phone I would donate $100 to a Republican …”
    Sounds like you’re one of those folks who needs to contribute more in order to share the sacrifice . . . and I don’t mean to Herman Cain.

  20. Mike Mangan says:

    The Tea Party is to the Left in America what the Jews were to the Nazis in Germany.  The Tea Party is a convenient scapegoat for a political class that does not want to answer for the unsustainable $15 trillion dollar national debt.  The world is a few creaky steps away from a global depression and you want to vilify the moms and pops who point this out.  You people are beneath contempt.

  21. Paul Kelly says:

    Want to see ugly and shrill? Google tea party terrorists. Get 6,630,000 results in 0.23 seconds. The tea party cuts across all political and social demographics. It’s about fiscal responsibility and the scope of government. It has nothing to do with the issues of the religious right.

  22. NewYorkJ says:

    PK: Want to see ugly and shrill? Google tea party terrorists. Get 6,630,000 results in 0.23 seconds.

    The infallible Google approach also yields 39,300,000 for “obama terrorist”.  Better rethink that. 

    The tea party represents primarily the extremist wing of the Republican party (combined with far right Independents who vote that way), also hyper-partisan and hypocritical.  For example, only 27% of them (4/5/10 NYT poll) have an unfavorable view of George W. Bush, 12% have an unfavorable view of Palin, 6% Glen Beck, while nearly 90% disapprove of Obama.  They preach principles of small government and limited debt, yet their preferred leaders have a long history of big spending and even greater borrowing, from tax cuts aimed heavily at higher income people to multiple wars to post-9/11 expansion to expansion of Medicare (which Paul Ryan supported) – all running in the trillions in costs, and more relevant to the topic of fiscal responsibility, all financed with red ink.  The tea party also supports heavy deregulation, which in part lead to the big financial bubble, bust, near depression, and even bigger surge in deficits as revenues collapsed.  Few of the current “tea party” members made a peep when their preferred leaders were in office, when the bubble grew, and when the bust and waterfall of red ink began to cascade. 

    When Obama took office, tea parties emerged from underneath their rocks.  Lead on by spiritual leaders like Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, suddenly all things they ignored or accepted over the years mattered, and balancing the budget was important.  Unfortunately, when you take tax increases (even on just wealthier Americans, who have benefited the most from the tax cuts) off the table and propose in its place huge cuts to everything from infrastructure, to science research, to Social Security (after years of supporting policies that lead to fiscally unsustainability) while protecting high-income Americans and corporations, while calling everyone you don’t agree with “socialists”, you’re going to alienate many people.  So the tea party is resigned to hoping/praying economic conditions worsen.  They are doing their part.

  23. Mike Mangan says:

    Are you daft, NewYorkJ?  No Tea Party “leaders” were even elected until last year.  Who am I kidding?  Of course you know nothing except the same old bigoted, hate-filled propaganda you’ve been fed for the last year.  They’re nothing more than an ink blot for you to impute the worst of motives.  How perceptive of you to assume they stand for all you’ve ever hated about Republicans.  May I assume you’re just another totalitarian who demands ever more taxes from citizens while spitting on them at the same time?  

  24. Matt B says:

    Wow, there sure is no shortage of hot opinions about a group that is estimated to make up 4% of the US population: 
    Turns out that the gay population in the US is also estimated to be about 4%:
    So, it looks like a pretty even playing field; both the hard-line right & left have their Kulaks to demonize and blame for all manner of societal problems, and you can rip away at them because you’re only pissing off 1 in 25 people! Is this a great country or what?  

  25. Kendra says:

    “…. tea parties emerged from underneath their rocks.”

    Very interesting slur! I wonder what it’s like to hold ordinary people many of whom, yes, are moms and pops and many of whom have not been politically active in the past, in such contempt. There is, of course, the lunatic fringe that attaches itself to every movement and I do recall some discussion on this blog of who, and why or why not, does or does not publicly disavow that fringe.

    My question to you with such strong opinions is – on what basis do you hold them? Have you met any of the rank and rile? Have you formed your opinion based on a certain pundit sphere, youtube, dislike of Bachmann (who is not their leader, nor Limbaugh, nor Beck, etc., all of whom I see as simply taking advantage of their agreement with the basic concerns of the tea parties)?

    I ask in all honesty, living in Europe I too have not gone to any Tea Party rallies. I have an opinion based on certain issues I have followed “long distance” which to me reflect a certain constituency which may have been attracted. I also deliberately put myself on the mailing list of one in my home state, so I would know at least what that particular group was directly saying and planning.

    So, please, what is your evidence?

    What is it you hate so much? 

  26. “It has nothing to do with religion”?
    Suuure it doesn’t.  Tell me another one.
    Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.
    So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
    More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 “” opposing abortion, for example “” and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.
    and from good old Wikipedia:
    The Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as “born-again Christians“,compared with 75%,48.5%,and 34% for the general population, respectively.

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