If you're just joining us (and where have you been?), you'll want to read the two Air America related posts below for this to make any sense.
Spoon and Joe: We're more similar than different here. I still don't see why we need to act like assholes to make our point. The link Spoon sent me is a perfect example of the perfect way to handle an asshole commentator. Did Riemer call Medved any names? No. Did he attack Medved's character? No. He didn't have to. Medved managed to look awful on his own. You fight fire not with fire, but with flame-retardant material...and then you point out who the arsonist is. That "self-defense" (to use your term) is every bit as effective--I'd say more so--than name-calling. So your example of Riemer actually goes against yoru thesis (unless you're saying that Riemer would have been better off if he'd said "You're an asshole, Medved" instead of doing what he did). This past year, Kerry didn't fight back in either fashion, and that was the Democrats' problem.
Joe..."some people deserve to be yelled at." Who? When? Who gets to decide? How much verbal abuse is okay? What kind? Is it acceptable for those at the Republican Convention last year to wear banjd-aids with purple hearts on them? Can anti-abortion protestors call patients and doctors at clinics "baby killers"? If not, why is it okay to call Pat Robertson a Jesus killer? I am simply not with you here, and need more explanation. It seems to me that, rather than drawing these sort of murky lines in our political discourse, we ought to say "be civil with people, and show your passion and anger toward issues and not towards people." What's wrong with that? When faced with silence in the face of Matthew Shepard's murder (or other examples you cite), why not quote Matthew 25 to the silent fundamentalists? Won't that work better--and reach Christian fence-sitters--better than third-grade-level name-calling would?
Spoon..."A lefty Karl Rove" might give us the win, sure. Let's go a step further. Would you like a lefty Lee Atwater? Atwater, I might argue, did more to harm our democracy than any individual in the twentieth century. If we could warp the election with the lefty version of Willie Horton--and win--would you do it? Would you like someone to research, find, and play a Gennifer Flowers card against the president? I don't. It'd mean that no issues would really be addressed anymore. We'd have both parties working towards the lowest common denominator. And when our party took over in Washington, it'd be considered acceptable to oppress anyone who disagreed with us every bit as much as the entrenched Republican majority does now. In other words, we'd still have an oppressed political minority in this country, rather than a political minority that the majority values and works with. Meet the new boss--same as the old boss.
Help me out here, guys. Am I getting anything wrong?