Sunday, November 07, 2004

Guilty Pleasure

When I volunteered to become a high school debate coach I didn't know any more about Forensic Speaking that I do about Calculus. All I knew is that I wanted to be in a high school were the students had some light behind their eyes. At the interview the principal asked if I would coach debate. I told him, "I'll be the best debate coach you've ever had!" Four months later, after failing to find anyone else so foolish or desperate he hired me.

For two years our team showed up at every trounament. We were cannon fodder. Schools eagerly invited us to their tournaments; sure chances for their teams to stack up W's and entry fees without any threat. In the tab rooms other coaches lectured me on why they were so great. Sometimes I felt they could hardly restrain themselves from patting me on the head in pitty. I admit there were pleanty of tears on my pillow. But we were learning. By year three we had a good L. D. debater, a CX team or two, some kids willing to research Extemp, and a wonderful orator who actually won tournaments, and we knew we weren't dumb. At the 1988 region tournament Clearfield and Weber Highs tied for first. They were exultant. I noted our squad missed victory by two points. I knew that the next year we would win. We did, and the next and the next, and on and on; the dusty trophies crowd my classroom. I am grateful for the things I learned in debate, and appreciate the many fine coaches who are my friends. The greatest thing about being a coach is seeing the light of confidence and learning in the eyes of one's students, but once we started to win I discovered a "guilty pleasure". It was to see the disbelief, frustration, and even rage in the eyes of the coaches who were so sure their teams were better than ours and then lost to us. These were not the debate teachers I will always count my friends, but the ones who skeemed to stack the deck; that tried to recreate debate so they could win without work. Coaches to whom winning was their only validation in life. These were the coaches who mannipulated the tab room, and heaped scorn on our upstart team. These were coaches that believed their kids were better than mine. Coaches that never figuered out that if my kids were their kids they would have loved them too. It never occured to them that I enjoyd their attacks on me and mine. It was so much more fun to be the target of their excuses and the butt of their frustrations than of their pitty. What a laugh to see the disbelief in their eyes.

Now I savor the light in the eyes of our President and the majority of voters who elected him. I will take some guilty pleasure in the frustration, shock; even rage of our foes. For weeks they told us how good their candidates were. Exaulted in Kerry's "inevitable" victory and superior debate proformance, and now they squeel in unbelief at Bush's victory. The bumbling and over confident "coaches" of the loosing squad in this election include Mike Moore, Leon Panetta, James Carvill, Paul Begalla, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CNN, and especally the New York Times and CBS. I have enjoyed watching these disgruntled coaches, these arm chair quarterbacks, that called all the plays to their fanitcy victories, melt down. It is such fun to hear and read their recriminations. Below I can only share a few. I have no short hand to get lines off the T.V. but here are a few "drippings" from the melt down of the New York Times spin machine. I cherry picked their thoughts, but do give references if you what to read them in context.

NYT - November 4, 2004, from Maureen Dowd, OP-ED Columnist, THE RED ZONE

"The president got re-elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance, and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel (sic)."

"W. ran a jihad in American so he can fight one in Iraq -drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, of "values voters." as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocation stem cell research, and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage."

"Mr. Bush, whose administration drummed up fake evidence to trick us into war with Iraq, sticking our troops in an immoral position with no exit strategy, won on "moral issues."

"Just listen to Dick (Oh, lordy, is this cuckoo clock still vice president?) Cheney ..."

"Meanwhile, the blue puddle is comforting itself with the expectation that this loony bunch will fatally overreach, just as Newt Gingrich did in the 90's. But with this crowd, it's hard to imagine what would constitute overreaching. Invading France?"

NYT - November 5, 2004, from Andrei Cherny, Author of The Next Deal, WHY WE LOST:

"I ... [worked] for Al Gore and John Kerry ... That neither won is not primarily a commentary on them. Nor were their defeats really the result of ... mistakes, attacks and tactics ..."

"The overarching problem Democrats have today is the lack of a clear sense of what the party stands for."

"Democrats have a collection of policy positions that are sensible and right. John Kerry made them very clear. What we don't have ... a worldview that makes a thematic argument about where America is headed and where we want to take it."

NYT - November 5, 2004, from Tom Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, WHY THEY WON:

" Meanwhile, out in Red America, the right-wing populist revolt continues apace ..."

"... this long-running conservative revolt is rife with contradictions. It is an uprising of the common people whose long-term economic effect has been to shower riches upon the already wealthy and degrade the lives of the very people who are rising up ... It is a revolution that plans to overthrow the aristocrats by cutting their taxes."

"... culture wars ... a way for Republicans to speak on behalf of the forgotten man without causing any problems for their core big-business constituency."

" Against this militant, aggrieved, full-throated philosohy the Democrats chose to go with ... what? Their usual soft centrism, creating space for this constituency and that, taking care to antagonize no one, declining even to criticize the president ..."

"... Democrats must confront the cultural populism of the wedge issues with genuine economic populism. They must dust off their own majoritarian militancy instead of suppressing it; sharpen the distinctins between the parties instead of minimizing them; emphasize the contradictions of culture-war populism instead of ignoring them; and speak forthrightly about who gains and who loses from conservitive economic policy."

NYT - November 5, 2004, from Paul Krugman, OP-Ed Columnist, NO SURRENDER:

"President Bush isn't a conservative. He's a radical - the leader of a coaligion that deeply dislikes America as it is. Part of that coalition wants to tear down the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, eviscrating Social Security and, eventually, Medicare. Another part wants to break down the barriers between church and state."

"Without the fading but still potent aura of 9/11 ... he wouldn't have won at all. And future events will almost surely offer opportunities for a Democratic comeback ... The resurgence of Al Qaeda, the debacle in Iraq, the explosion of the budget deficit, and the failure to create jobs ... occured on Mr. Bush's watch. They were the consequences of bad policies made by people who let ideology trump reality."

"... Democrats are not going to get the support of people whose votes are motivated, above all, by their opposition to abortion and gay rights (and, in the background, opposition to minority rights)."

"But for the lingering aura of 9/11 they [Kerry/Edwards] would have won."

"They [Democrats] should keep the pressure on Mr. Bush when he makes terrible policy decissions, which he will."

NTY - November 7, 2004, from Maureen Dowd, OP-ED Columnist, ROVE'S REVENGE:

" Just how much did Karl Rove hate not being one of the cool guys in nigh school in the 60's [in Salt Lake]? Enough to hatch schemes to marshal the forces of darkness to take over the country?"

"The Boy Genius ... Helped [W.] get the second term he dearly wanted to surpass his father ... happy to crush the liberal elites inspired by Kennedy's New Frontier under the steamroller of 19th century family values."

"[The] White House's frontier is not a place of infinite progress and expansion, stretching society's boundaries, It doesn't battle primitivism; it courts primitivism. Instead of the New Frontier, Karl and W. offer the New Backtier."

"W's presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and fact with faith. We're entiering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading American to an exciting new reality, the Bushies coccon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches."

"They don't call to our better angels; they summon our nasty devils."

"Now they [the Bush conservitives] want to reshape the county on "moral" isues - though their morality seems to allow them to run a campaign full of blatant distortions and character assassination, and to mislead the public about the war."

There is one more not from the NYT. This morning on C-Span I heard Leon Panetta imply that the reason people voted for Bush is that they hate blacks and gays.

Every year the defeated coaches (Not all by any means, but enough to make it fun), would rationalize and blame. Every year they promised new strategies, miracles of justice, or new region boundries would topple our team; give us the defeat they all knew we deserved. Every year we won again. We beat Clearfield, Weber, Davis and Skyline. When they came into being we took North Ridge and Freemont. And every year we beat Bonneville High. No advisory gave me so much selfish pleasure as the coach from Bonneville High. I spent hours in coach's lounges listening to him recall his glory days on the Weber College debate team - they beat Harvard!!! He lectured me on the how's of debating, judging, and coaching. Each season he explained to me his new wonder program to assure victory. He accosted me, blood vessels about to pop, to accuse me of cheating and to shout to the auditorium filled with studnets, that I didn't know anything about debate. He dropped my teams whenever he judged them and sought to have my squad disqualified. Then season after season, he went down to bitter and angry defeat. It didn't get any better than that!

If the losers of this election knew how much pleasure they bring to the bright eyed winners by their virulent attacks on the REELECTED President or their melancholy bemoaning of the "stupidity, bigotry, and fanaticism" of the people that defated them, they would shut up and slink off to sulk in silence. Their eyes, red with rage, are such a hoot to behold. Not all relitivists have become jokes. John Kerry magnanimously admitted defeat, Carville has been quiet, even Clinton conciliatory. They are a lot more noble, but not near as much fun!


Beef Jerky said...

I saw a lot of the same similarities when I was a missionary in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (just 6 months ago). When what we taught was accepted by the meek and humble, the opposition became enraged. We had people of other faiths showing up at the doors of our investigators just minutes after we'd been over to share the gospel with them, and they'd try and discredit everything we'd said to our investigators. Later on, when one of those investigators later became a member of the church we represented, we'd watch neighbors cease to talk to our new converts, and family members would cease to coexist with them. It was incredibly sad and heart-wrenching. But those who stayed firm, despite the great opposition, became my heroes as they truly lived what they believed. The opposition, no matter what the topic or scenario, is always out there. It's how you face the opposition that determines the kind of fighter you are.

Bryan Hickman said...

Note: I never thought I'd say this...but Carville was a class act on election night. In an interview, fairly early in the evening, he called Ohio for Bush (well before any of the networks) and said that, apparently, the country is not what the Democrats thought it was.

That, in my opinion, sums up their entire problem.

Not all Democrats, as you point out, have been so willing to admit fault in this regard. Instead, they decry the tactics of the Republicans and the "ignorance" of the voting populous. Nothing is more funny than a liberal caught, with the facts against them (as they almost always are) trying to justify their position through egg-lobbing, name-calling, or, as we've seen in the news "peace" protests (peace=vandalizing cars, army recruiting stations, assaulting police officers, etc.).

Keep it coming. We can take it.

Anonymous said...

If I were to write a response, would you give me extra credit?

Layton Lancer said...

Good question Anon. I second it. If I continue to wrote on your blog do I get extra credit? lol ... not that I'm desperate or anything I'm just curious. And yes ... Curiosity killed the cat ... but I'm not a cat am I?

Beef Jerky said...

Now, now, children. There are more important things in this life than extra credit. The Democrats are soon to go on rebound, and we must be nimble and strong, and able to rebuttle their ignorant comments. No, this is true. ; )

Anonymous said...

and the Meek shall inherit the earth

Layton Lancer said...

Was that supposed to be a slam on the Beattitudes anon.? There's more important stuff to debate about, like Beef Jerky said ... We need to be ready to rebutt the ignorant democrats. Let's leave Jesus' sermon out of this ... I mean I think it's great, but I also think that he doesn't exactly like what's going on in the world today. As soon as we figure out this mess that we're in and straighten it up then the Lord will bless us sufficently ... but let's concentrate on the present.

Anonymous said...

Hi Loll Man,

You Met my debater daughter last week. I am very proud of her because of her mental and spiritual toughness. She enjoyed meeting you. I love the blog. Hope to read more. Keep up the absolutist good work in a world blinded by relativists. KS

Medical Blog said...

Let's leave Jesus' sermon out of this .