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A fighting Left

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, October 2nd, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags: ,

This live performance on CNN by Congressman Alan Grayson gives me some hope for the American Left.

Unlike nearly every other Democrat I have ever seen Grayson doesn’t back down and when the Republicans try to attack him for lowering the standard of debate (ironic considering their “death panel” smears) he just slaps them right back.

It gives me heart to see some green shoots of a fighting Left.

Update: Damn.

32 comments on “A fighting Left ”

  1. outofbed 1

    Yes he very confidently gave it right back
    Great performance
    Weird place ,the states. why are the even having the debate? 40 00 deaths a year for people with no medical cover. WTF

  2. IrishBill 2

    Why is such a fundamental policy being debated? Because their civil society has decimated by thirty years of successful class/culture war waged on its ordinary citizens by a vampiric oligarchy.

    • outofbed 2.1

      vampiric oligarchy? If I knew how to pronounce that I would use it

    • Quoth the Raven 2.2

      IrishBill – Do you not think it should be debated Irish?

      Do you think forcing people to buy the insurance companies product as is part of Obama’s plan is a positive move? Or do you think it’s merely handing the victim over to the vampiric oligarchy? And what about more durg patent protection. Drug patents are pernicious and cost many lives and Obama is going to make it worse. That’s why Big Pharma is right in behind Obamacare.

      The Democrats and the Republicans are both part of the “vampiric oligarchy”

      • IrishBill 2.2.1

        I don’t think it should be debated on the terms it is being debated on at the moment. I know you’re anti-state QTR but we’re not going to go from rapacious capitalism to the withering of the state overnight.

        Like Chomsky says, every radical must also be a reformist:


        • Quoth the Raven

          IrishBill – I’m a reformist. I’d find little to comment on on this blog if I wasn’t. But Obama’s “reform” is not reform. It is simply more of the same.

          • IrishBill

            I hadn’t seen the latest version of it until a few minutes ago (update added). You’re right.

            • Pascal's bookie

              oh yeah, it doesn’t look good, but there is still a ways to go. And cats can get skinned in different ways.


              That’d be interesting. let the blue states run whatever systems they like, and combine resources to do so if they wish. Watch Texas compete with that. Where would you open a factory?

              Senate leader Reid is promising some sort of public option, but no one thinks it’ll be any good. Major lib lobbys are reminding him that he’s up for election next year and if he can’t pass lib programs with 60 votes, then what fucking use is he? Libs would be in no worse a position if Reid lost his seat to the GOP, and the Senate Dems could get a leader that didn’t suck so hard.

          • Draco T Bastard

            True, most of the “reform” that we’ve had over the last century has been solely to maintain the unsustainable capitalist system.

  3. Tigger 3

    What a bunch of wimps. They’re crying because he called them out while their supports sport Obama-Hitler posters and scream about death panels?

  4. ak 4

    Stunningly good. Goffy and all other Key-lite pretenders take note: reality is back, oleaginous spin now very last-year. Keep it simple and strong, and don’t be distracted.

  5. HitchensFan 5

    My god. Good on him. But the poor guy having to battle such rednecks

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    John Stewart last night was good. He really gave it to Congressional Democrats for their timid responses to Republican attacks.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Here’s a typically cheerful Mark Ames on the already happening bs and totally reason filled rightwing response. (contains more Grayson goodness grilling banking regulators in committee).

    …and here’s the ever awesome digby laying out the dynamics of the republican trademarked hissy fit.

    • BLiP 7.1

      Great links, thanks. Frightening that we’ve seen the Right use the same tactics here – those unforgivable personal attacks-by-rumour and the astroturfing of the EFA complete with Nazi signs.

      Thanks National Ltd. I’m lovin’ it.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        No worries.

        About the awesomely named Erick Erickson responsible for launching the ‘Grayson is teh anti semite’ lie in the Ames piece…


        …he appears to be an expert in crazy:

        Erick Erickson, the managing editor of RedState.com and a city councilor in Macon, Georgia, has called for the abolition of Macon’s police force if it votes to unionize.

        ya rly

    • Very interesting links. I particularly liked Digby’s phrase “the right’s successful use of phony sanctimony and faux outrage”.

      This explains a lot. The tactics the nats have used in the past couple of years have been sourced from overseas and the rightious indignation is a pretense, designed to win the emotional argument whereas us lefties tend to prefer using logic to win.

      Grayson is a good example of how to counter this. Stick to your lines, do not complicate the argument and stand up to them.

  8. BLiP 8

    “Nattering nabobs of negativism . . . foot dragging, knuckle dragging neanderthals” Great stuff!

  9. Bill 9

    Very fucking impressive. There a school you can attend to learn to control the dynamic of an argument like that?

    All those barbs that were meant to distract and pull down slicing straight back instead. Beautiful!

    I have no problem saying that I’d have been toast in such a debate. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that almost all of the left I’ve ever encountered or witnessed would also be toast. I recognise the dynamic of the argument…cannot always pinpoint its details in an instant = toast….. as something very common and yet ‘everyone’ on the left seems at a loss as to how to counter or deal with it.

    So where be the school?

    • IrishBill 9.1

      I think it may be in the Bronx, where Grayson is from.

      • Tigger 9.1.1

        Notice how he used his size to intimidate them – he’s used to scrapping. You use whatever you have to your advantage. And you don’t stop kicking until your opponent is lying still on the ground. Sometimes you don’t even stop then.

        How soon can we kidnap him for Labour?

        • Bill

          IB and Tigger…see.

          In the Bronx or anywhere else outside of the safe arena of ‘civilised’ politics, the arena constructed by the middle classes, the patterns of that exchange simply wouldn’t exist because the right wing pricks would have gotten a kicking for being annoying and dishonest little pricks.

          Their ( the right wing) bullshit is easy and they do it at least in part because ‘one must be civilised’….ie, they are safeguarded from the beating they would get elsewhere. (elsewhere not including anywhere generally inhabited by middle class liberals)

          So in an arena where one must be seen to behave in a ”civilised’ fashion regardless of the heinous crimes perpetrated on people by ‘civilised’ politics, it really is a knack to give a metaphorical rather than physical kicking to these wee pricks.

          There are definite rules and patterns to be learned and definite rules and patterns to be unlearned if the left is going to engage successfully with the right on the terms that they, the right, have successfully set down and that ‘political society’ follows.

          • Tigger

            Can’t help but feel Grayson was let off the leash by the powers in the party – if it worked they can follow behind and if not they can say it was all him, plus he gets to brand himself as someone not afraid to say the tough stuff – it’s a win all around.

            And he got to call the Republicans some stuff that they’ve been asking for. And in the Bronx, if you ask for something it’s definitely coming your way…

            • Bill

              I don’t think he was ‘let off the leash’ as such. I reckon it’s simply that he is the first instance of someone on the left having caught up in the kind of arms race of debating techniques.

              After commenting last night, I read Pascal’s Bookie’s links (12:48 digby) which explain it pretty well in my book.

              As I think I said before, the technique being used by the right…and I’ve been unfortunate enough to have experienced it first hand…is a difficult one to counter. Yes, you can see it coming, but finding an effective counter….avoiding the ruse, is hard because it’s not within the bounds of ‘normal’ or habitual to and fro.

            • RedLogix


              It’s hard to do well because it’s an emotional thing. In the heat of the debate you don’t get the seconds needed for the intellect to engage at an abstract level. Look again at Grayson… he does it by keeping his message simple and on-track… and by doing so he can respond to the attack without leaving pauses in which he risks being shouted down.

            • Bill

              So to make it less of an emotional thing it would be helpful to better recognise what’s coming, get and remain detached and basically do it by the numbers. eg, pick the personal attack (say) as it’s being launched but instead of thinking “Fuck. This is b/s but how the fuck am I going to get out the way or sling it back or….oops! too late, there goes me bleeding all over the floor again”, be able to pick it as ‘technique or attack type a’ requiring ‘response type a or c’, take your pick and run with it.

              Which comes down to a detailed breakdown analysis of how the technique is deployed and learning the proven workable responses. There are a limited number of ploys in the repertoire which I am sure can actually be learned and countered. The right is not employing a ‘natural’ flow of argument but avery contrived and I suspect, learned technique.

            • Quoth the Raven

              Redlogix – I hear a lot of this keeping it simple nonsense on this site. Healthcare is a very complex issue and it does no one any service providing emotional oversimplifications. It is disrespectful and shows an irreverence towards the intellect of his audience.

            • RedLogix


              Depends on the forum and on the audience. The fact remains that by being ‘reasonable’ the Dems are being used to wipe the floor with over a debate which should have been a straightfoward, popular win.

              The reason why not is that their well-funded opponents have been dishonest, regressive buffoons willing to resort to any smear or distraction. Playing fair with them was never going to work. Grayson exposed them for the tools they are…. and won respect at the same time.

              Intelligent, reasoned and nuanced debate has it’s place… but it doesn’t win fights like this one.

            • Bill

              Red is right. When people employ the techniques displayed on the vid clip, there is no point following any natural instinct. Actually, there is….but not in so-called civilised arenas. The right and others who have and are adopting their techniques ( some advocates and lawyers for eg) would not use them on the street because they would, quite literally, get a kicking. But by using them in an environment where getting a kicking is off the cards they actually win debates and arguments.

              So the trick is to resist your natural inclinations, become detached and kill their game by being as contrived. Once their technique is rendered obsolete it will be ditched and we just might be able to get back to a scenario where proper debate/argument takes place.

            • Quoth the Raven

              Redlogix – No, of course it shouldn’t have been a popular straightforward win. Just look at what they plan to do.

              The democrats are also well funded by Wall St and big pharma, there’s little difference there.

              By engaging on a low level they’ve allowed them to take down the level of debate and argue on their terms. Though I’m not sure the Democrats would have ever wanted a sincere debate on healthcare.

  10. Mach1 10

    Michele Bachmann announces the latest far right fantasy, the health care reform bill is going to allow Planned Parenthood to set up … sex clinics in the schools of America! With free abortions for 13-year olds!

    What’s worse than death panels? Sex clinics!

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