Many in the GOP establishment do this for slightly different reasons. See, they’re supposed to be in agreement with the Tea Party’s core principles of reduced spending, reduced government, and greater individual freedom.
But, of course, they’re not so committed to those things. Oh, as a general rule, they favor them– but they’re very quick to sell them out in favor of some other priority, which they won’t admit is a greater priority, because they’re pretending their highest priority is reducing spending, reducing government, and increasing individual freedom.
Thus, John McCain, rather than honestly objecting to the parts of the Tea Party movement he disagrees with, or honestly expressing his opinion that we need a bigger government than Tea Partiers think we need, resorts to personal attacks: They’re Wacko-Birds. They’re Hobbits.
Read the whole thing. For a lot of readers here, I suspect you will relate to what he says. I know I do. But my experience writing on the gun topic for the past ten years has shown me that a lot of people really don’t appreciate honesty. That’s probably why sites that regurgitate what The Base wants to hear are more popular and draw a wider audience.
One reason I believe that online threads tend to go south so quickly is because the people arguing in them feel strongly about an issue, but don’t understand the issue well, and either can’t make a good argument, or have never given much thought to how complicated the topic actually is. After that, it’s pretty much guaranteed to descend into madness.
Years ago I thought the pro-2A side was a lot better at this, but in the past several years, our side has gotten a lot worse and the pro-gun control side is getting better at making their arguments. Not that their arguments are entirely rooted in sound facts, but they are getting better at spinning bullshit and making it look compelling to the uninitiated. They’re demanding we up our game, and based on what I’m seeing out there, we’re not up to it. I attribute this to two things. One is we’ve brought a lot of new people into the issue who have a lot of passion, but not much in the way of experience with or knowledge of how to argue the issue. The second thing I blame is the rise of conservative media that is better at telling people what they want to hear, and isn’t much interesting in grooming effective activists.
I think people who follow an issue closely do appreciate honesty in political struggles. I know I do. But I’ve never gotten more shit as a writer than I’ve gotten by telling people things they don’t want to hear, and most of that time what they don’t seem to want to hear is, “This issue is a lot more complicated than you think it is, what you want to do isn’t actually so easy, and there are going to be unpleasant consequences you’ll need to be prepared for and have a plan for dealing with.”