Bad Times at Goodtimepolitics: Turning Politics Upside Down

I hope I can be excused for a somewhat personal indulgence. It is more than that though — this post is a “case study” of some of the frustrations of Internet communication, especially about politics.

The other day “goodtimepolitics” published a comment on TMB. I clicked on his link which brought me to his blog, Goodtimepolitics, which is essentially an anti-Obama site that publishes about twice daily with sensationalized negative posts about Obama.

A post caught my attention because of a picture of Obama answering a phone upside-down (shown at left) with a large caption, “Obama taking the phone call at 3 AM…The Phone is upside down!” Because I knew that this photo was photo-shopped (the original is shown at right — notice also there is no clock set for 3), I thought I would say something about it:

The upside-down phone picture is a hoax.

Goodtimepolitics (hereafter GTP) responded:

No kidding Dennis!

And this is where my completely pointless conversation with GTP began. I am including almost all of the conversation here (with a little commentary), mostly because GTP subsequently deleted the whole thing. Please understand that in doing so I’m not trying to make some kind of caricatured argument for Obama (considering how pitiful GTP’s arguments are). I do think that some of the things I say about Obama are important, but I’m also including this conversation simply to show how it is pointless to talk to some people about politics. Plus the conversation is pretty amusing.

Me: Oh, so you already know, and yet don’t have a problem putting it on your blog without being clear that it’s a hoax? You might say “no kidding,” but many people do not know it’s a hoax and so you feed into false rumors about Obama. Then again, your blog doesn’t seem to be above this at all, so I don’t know why I’m even surprised or why I’m even saying anything about it to you.

Yes, Dennis, why are you surprised? And why are you saying something to him? This is going to go nowhere…

GTP: Oh it gets on your bad side when someone picks on your beloved Obama huh Dennis? Well it didn’t or don’t seem to keep you far left democrats like Obama from painting a totally and complete lie about President Bush now does it Dennis?

The picture above shows just about the way it would be between Obama and Sen. John McCain! Obama is a lier and has proved it many time over in his campaign! Thanks for the comment anyways!

I should have known, at this point, that GTP is simply not worth my time. But I couldn’t let him get away with this, so I thought.

Me: For one, I’m not a far left Democrat. I’m actually an unaffiliated moderate (as well as a social conservative and former Republican).

I don’t know what you are referring to when you talk about a “totally and complete lie about President Bush,” so I can’t comment on that. Regardless, do you think that two wrongs make a right? That it is OK for you to post a misleading picture about Obama just because you see him and other Democrats as liars? Assuming you are right, how are you any better? I’m taking issue with the below-the-belt tactics of YOUR blog, and the tactics of others (in your eyes) should be irrelevant. Why not raise the level of discourse, remove the misleading picture, and simply make intelligent arguments? I would say the same thing to a liberal blog doing this kind of thing to McCain.

GTP: Dennis you said “I would say the same thing to a liberal blog doing this kind of thing to McCain.” And I say you had better get busy my friend as you have alot of saying to do to the Liberals!!

Also this old Two wrongs don’t make a right, does not save Obama from his first wrong anymore!

And my dad can beat up your dad.

Me: Is it possible for you to consider the criticism I’m giving you without immediately deflecting it off onto others?

I am not responsible for the liberal bloggers you are referring to, nor am I responsible for Obama’s wrongs (in your eyes). However, you and I are responsible for the things we say on our OWN blogs. I have come into contact with your own blog, and so that is why I am giving you this criticism. I would do the same for liberal blogs that I come in contact with. But I’m not going to make a crusade of it, for liberals or conservatives.

GTP: Just to add for your reading enjoyment Dennis, there is no lie about Obama in this blog! Obama is unexperience and thinks he knows everything when in fact he knows nothing but how to lie himself! He has lied to his own supporters. He said he would not support the warrantless wire tapping and he voted to pass the bill…that is a terriable thing to do to his own supporters. How can you Dennis vote for Obama knowing that he allowed his children to listen to Jeremiah Wright saying God’s name in vain and condemning America?

Dennis you have that right, we are responiable for what we say on our own blogs and not others, so I suggest you start thinking about that! Its pretty bad to try and defend a man that has so many low life friends, like Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers a terrorist and allows his own children to listen to a pastor saying God’s name in vain! You better clean your own house before telling me what to do!

Why am I still talking to this person? Well, maybe some things I say could make a difference to some people reading his blog, at least…

Me:

there is no lie about Obama in this blog!

Yes there is. The very thing we started talking about, goodtime. The upside-down photo, without any disclaimer about it not being an accurate photo, can properly be called a “lie.” Especially when you consider that there are many people who will think it is accurate.

Will you simply answer two questions for me: How is this photo, as you use it on your blog, not a lie? and Do two wrongs make a right?

Regarding the other things you say about Obama — look, we’re going to disagree about what these things mean and how important they are.

More importantly, similar things can be said about McCain. If we use the same standards you are using for Obama, then McCain clearly has “lied” about a whole lot of things. So why don’t you compare these “lies” of Obama’s with the “lies” of McCain, rather than simply run a smear site for Obama?

You better clean your own house before telling me what to do!

I welcome any specific and constructive suggestions that you have for my own blog. I am not responsible for yours, nor am I telling you what to do. I am suggesting, however, that you either remove the misleading picture or make it very clear that it is photo-shopped.

GTP: Dennis its getting useless talking to you, like I said isn’t it perfectly ok to have alittle fun with Obama’s picture as its seems to be fun for the Democrats to make fun of John McCain a war hero which Obama is not!

You’re trying to say let Obama attack McCain but don’t touch him because he’s blacks! I’ve heard that nonsense all my life Dennis. I have news for you, Obama isn’t black, he’s a mixed bred anyway you look at it! His sister even says he was a muslim!

If that picture is the only thing on my blog that you don’t like then I’m doing great!

Now answer my question if you dare!

Can you Dennis vote for Obama knowing good and well that he allowed his children and his wife to sit in a Church listening to Jeremiah Wright saying God’s name in vain and cusing America?

Good grief.

Me: I’ll answer your question after you answer my two. You still haven’t.

Also, by the way, there are LOTS of things on your site I take issue with. I was simply highlighting a clear lie. It’s not simply having a little fun because it really is misleading and can shape how people think of Obama. I don’t think it’s OK for you OR for the Democrats you talk about to do this kind of thing. (Again, do two wrongs make a right?)

The biggest thing I take issue with is you simply focus on all of the negative things about Obama and make these silly claims without talking about the whole story (e.g., saying that Obama does not care an ounce about visiting the troops in Germany without saying that he did visit troops in Iraq or talking about how the Pentagon cautioned him against the visit). You do not discuss issues that people might be concerned about with McCain and simply focus on all of the positive about him. It is a very one-sided and unfair blog that misleads more than anything.

Also, when you say that Obama “isn’t black,” I wonder, first of all, why it even matters that Obama has a black father and white mother. Also, it shows that you don’t understand what it means to be “black.” Race is not about skin color. A person can be “black” and have a white parent. It is not at all incorrect to say that Obama is “black.” That is simply the way racial relations are constructed in America.

GTP: Dennis: “Again, do two wrongs make a right?”

Goodtimepolitics: “Maybe you should ask the Obama campaign that one! But no it don’t but why should anyone take an attack without fighting back” Obama loves to dish it out but don’t seem to be able to take when it gets dished back at him!”

Dennis: “saying that Obama does not care an ounce about visiting the troops in Germany without saying that he did visit troops in Iraq or talking about how the Pentagon cautioned him against the visit”

Goodtimepolitics: “I was talking about the no visit to the biggest U.S. military hospital in Europe that Obama did not take the time to visit and give the troops his respect.” By the way the Pentagon cautioned him against bring all the news people and their cameras with him so I ‘m saying since he could have a photo campaign sesson then he refused to visit. I wasn’t talking about Iraq I was talking about Germany!

Dennis: “when you say that Obama “isn’t black,” I wonder, first of all, why it even matters that Obama has a black father and white mother.”

Goodtimepolitics: It matters because Obama says he’s black when he’s not..thats could be considered a lie on his part! He also says he never was a muslim when in fact he was going to school as a muslim and his sister says everyone in the Obama family was muslim. Another lie by Obama.”

Ok! I have answer your questions! Let see what kind of answers I get now!

Would you Dennis feel good about voting for Obama knowing that he allowed his children and his wife to sit in a church listening to Pastor Jeremiah Wright saying Almighty God’s name in vain and condemning America?

Could you support Obama and hold your head up knowing that he was friends with a known terrorist William Ayers and that it was a party at the home of this terrorist that started Obama Ill campaign for senator?

Could you vote for Obama after hearing him say that he would not support the Warrantless phone tapping bill and then him voting for the bill?

OK, it’s time for my last post …

Me: I’m still not exactly clear on whether you think two wrongs make a right. Apparently you have said no and yes. Whatever. You say that we should ask Obama this — I’m not even going to try to argue with you on this. I will simply say that I can just as easily say that you should ask McCain. We can play this game forever (just like gangs do). But I’m not going to. I’m done on this one, and I will simply reassert once again that it is not right for you to have the upside-down picture, regardless of what other blogs do and regardless of whether you perceive Obama to be a liar. I’m done.

About Obama not being black. You are oversimplifying the fact that what it means to be black in America is not always clear cut. Historically, America (unlike other countries) has used the one-drop rule to define someone as black or African-American (one drop of black blood means all black, and this designation was used for purposes of slavery, segregation, and discrimination throughout U.S. history). Now, many Americans are starting to move away from the one-drop rule, but this doesn’t mean that it is a “lie” to say Obama is black. In these matters, typically preference is given to what members of a group prefer to include. In a recent poll, 66% of blacks, knowing Obama has a white mother, consider him “black,” not “biracial.” This is compared to 55% of whites and 61% of Hispanics who consider him to be “biracial,” not “black.” In these matters, Obama has been considered to be “black” by the media because that is his preference. Race is always a cultural construction, and it often is not cut and dry. After all, about 15% of slaves imported to the U.S. were “biracial” to begin with. So I guess that no African American is “black” and they are all “biracial.” By your standard, any one of them that calls themselves black is lying. No doubt this could be said of many “whites” as well. I’m done here as well. Check out the Wikipedia articles on “black” and “African American” for more information.

Regarding Obama being a Muslim, this has been thoroughly rejected by snopes.com.

You might also check out the snopes.com page that debunks “50 lies” about Obama. I say this because these 50 lies remind me of the kinds of things you are doing on this blog: very oversimplified statements that are meant to mislead. At best, they are misleading; at worst, completely false.

Would you Dennis feel good about voting for Obama knowing that he allowed his children and his wife to sit in a church listening to Pastor Jeremiah Wright saying Almighty God’s name in vain and condemning America?

Better than I feel about voting for McCain, who left his wife and children to marry a young, hot, rich woman whose family catapulted his political career. Who unquestionably had an affair and quite likely committed adultery. And who said, regarding the border fence, “I think the fence is least effective. But I’ll build the g-d–n fence if they want it.”

Could you support Obama and hold your head up knowing that he was friends with a known terrorist William Ayers and that it was a party at the home of this terrorist that started Obama Ill campaign for senator?

Higher than I’d hold it by supporting McCain, who not only is friends with President Bush, but has not repudiated his failed policies and is almost entirely aligned with them (there are a few exceptions). This matters much more to me than that Obama has had very minor relations with a person who used to be a terrorist, and who he has fully condemned and who is in no way involved with his campaign or his politics. (Also, Obama’s campaign hardly started at his house. It was simply announced that Obama should be the successor of a retiring state senator. Obama was simply there; he didn’t choose for the party to be at Ayers’ house.)

Could you vote for Obama after hearing him say that he would not support the Warrantless phone tapping bill and then him voting for the bill?

Yes, considering that this is more complicated than you’re making it out to be. Obama called his vote on this bill a compromise that was worth supporting, even though he disagreed with parts of the bill and wants to work with getting a section removed. This happens all the time; bills are always complicated. At any rate, I can certainly return the same questions your way regarding McCain and the recent torture bill, offshore drilling, and the Bush tax cuts (all positions he has totally flipped on, even though he was once adamantly opposed to his present position).

We could go on and on like this all day long. But it really is quite silly.

And then GTP erased our entire conversation. (Thank goodness for cached webpages.)

I certainly welcome responses to what I have written here (as well as any other commentary on our conversation).

But I’ll simply let you decide who is trying to turn things upside down.

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12 Responses

  1. Well done, Dennis. I don’t view this as an Obama vs. McCain debate, I view this as an intelligence versus stupidity debate. Score a point for intelligence.

    I’m gonna make myself an “Obama is unexperience” t-shirt.

  2. Rutkowski,

    Yes, but maybe only half a point, considering I’m not sure what it says about my intelligence that I even had this conversation :)

    I would love to see that t-shirt :)

  3. As soon as the ad hominem attacks begin, the time for reasonable discourse has ended – at least on the Internet, anyway. That probably should have been your first indicator that things were not likely to go well.

    I’m sorry this fruitless exchange took up so much of your time and energy.

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets riled up by politics. I’ve had many a fiery discussion like this.

  5. That the man can’t spell liar speaks volumes.

    It’s no use dealing with these people. We understand that when one acts in this fashion one is hurting the level of civic discourse in this country; the rest of us just have to live with the very real fall out.

  6. No, you get a full point.

    It wasn’t even like you little by little gave them the rope to hang themselves. It is more accurate to say that by your ability to calmly make claims and back them up logically, GTP was overcome with the urge to gnaw out of their straightjacket, run to the shed in the backyard, get out a length of nylon rope (you know, the kind that’s good for moving stuff in car trunks that won’t close and that you singe the end off of when you cut), and then… GTP took over from there.

    Full point, and nothing less.

    I’m thinking it will be a purple t-shirt with white block lettering.

  7. I’m glad you posted this. I have the same weakness you have – sometimes I know I should say nothing but I can’t resist.

    For me, GTP represents what is wrong with much American political dialog. GTP was unable to defend his stance; he employed a series of logical fallacies and sensational claims without providing evidence for those claims. He brings up old issues – Ayers, Wright, etc. – which require some sort of defense as to their current relevance. And, what annoys me most, he divides the world into two camps – liberal and conservative – and assumes that anyone who disagrees with him is an “extreme liberal.” Implicit in this labeling is his assumption that the word itself, “liberal”, is pejorative by its very nature. Had he read more of your blog he would have found that you often don’t fit into that label – I’ve found you to be quite moderate and pragmatic on many issues – and at the times when you do, you defend your position with reason and evidence..

    Both candidates have a series of flaws that can be discussed maturely and intelligently. Reducing Obama (or McCain) to these worn-out platitudes simply dumbs down the dialog. I disagree with much of what Obama says for reasons that GTP will never take the time to examine; by refusing to more carefully consider his opinions, he severely weakens his stance. Readers of your conversation are likely to become more supportive of Obama due to GTP’s poor defense.

    The most unfortunate thing is that while you repeatedly demonstrated his lack of thought and research, he had no idea and is now telling his friends that he just destroyed another tree-hugging, extreme-liberal, communist Obama supporter.

  8. I’m liking you more all the time, Ryan :)

  9. […] hoaxers crawl out of the woodwork, onto the internet Dennis at Thinking in a Marrow Bone — not an Obama supporter, mind you — posted a conver… he had with a guy who posted a hoaxed photo of Barack Obama, purporting to show him holding a […]

  10. Just stopping by to see if you’re still crying about a picture of Obama holding a phone upside down? He doing worst than that, he will not answer the call to secure the border or to stop his big spending and stop raising taxes on small businesses.

    Still to this day you have not said a thing against the liberals that made fun of Sarah Palin with pictures. I’m sure you will erase this because you know I’m right!

    Obama has a very low approval rate and losing his control over congress…he will be a lame duck soon!
    Good blogging!

  11. […] Dennis at Thinking in a Marrow Bone — not an Obama supporter, mind you — posted a conver… he had with a guy who posted a hoaxed photo of Barack Obama, purporting to show him holding a landline telephone upside down. This is the hoax photo The real photograph. Notice there is no clock on the wall, and the phone works properly. By the way, the suit fits, too — Obama’s a very tall man, and that’s what a well-fitting suit looks like on a tall man sitting in a low chair. […]

  12. So goodtimepolitics is such an insecure exhibitionistic masturbator he feels the need to come & spew here after wiping his spoo off from his own site.

    When “liberals that made fun of Sarah Palin with pictures” they didn’t need to photoshop them to make her look ridiculous.

    I’m sure Dennis will not erase this because you know you look like a self-righteous, simpleminded git!

    We could go on and on like this all day long. But it really is quite silly.

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