Thursday, January 31, 2013

Right wing commentary run amuck

Sinclair Davidson seems to have written a piece for the Conversation about the announcement of the Federal election date in a hurry and with nothing of importance to say.

The silliest thing it contains is this:
The date of the election is known, but the government is not in caretaker mode. Given the expectation that the government will lose the coming election, should it be in caretaker mode? Reasonable people can disagree on this point. After all, having the government in caretaker mode for eight months is a bit too long.
No, reasonable people cannot disagree on this point:  no one can credibly even attempt to argue that knowing an election date in advance (as in Parliaments with a fixed term) is relevant to "caretaker mode"; nor has bad polling  8 months from an election ever been suggested before as a reason for a government to stop governing.

Another thing I want to note is this:   I used to get really annoyed with Tim Dunlop when he was a paid blogger for News Ltd putting on the "voice of reason" approach in that forum, and then sneaking off to his own personal blog to make snarky, nasty and personal attacks on John Howard.

Sinclair Davidson is exactly the same on the Right side.   For the Conversation, the voice is Mr Reasonable.  Or when he turns up on Andrew Bolt's show to warn of "stagflation" more than a year ago.   (No sign of that yet, by the way.)  But at the blog he runs, particularly in comments threads, it's the abusive, over the top, voice
There is no role for “civility” in a free speech debate. Those who would steal our birthright are scum who deserve all the contempt they have earned. There can be no surrender, no compromise, and no meeting of minds.
Or in the gun control issue:
 Gab – don’t be nice about it. Steve and his ilk are happy to have children murdered to make political points about gun ownership.
And of course, he lets the blog threads run that way too.  Where else on the Right side of politics can we find such witticisms such as suggesting that the way to "deal with" Leigh Sales is to "kick her in the s__ts?"   Or people can tell hilarious [/sarc] jokes about the PM sleeping with her dog.  And Michelle Obama - she's so ug-ly (a theme repeated at various times by nice old conservative Catholics CL, nilk and the most annoying commentator in the world Mk50.)  I see that only today there's yet another reference to Obama as the "Magic Negro"; and who can forget Steve Kates, an economist with an absolute obsession with (what he says is) everyone else in the world not understanding Say's Law (and Keynesian economics being the root of all evil), blaming the Romney loss on "damaged women"?   (OK, that link is to his Quadrant article where the term appeared, but I'm pretty sure he linked to it from Catallaxy.)

Bizarrely, conservative Catholicism gets special protection from Davidson, and in fact the blog seems to be a special haven for them; absolutely rabid sweeping generalisations about Muslims on the other hand - well, they're OK.

I've noticed the blog - train wreck that it is - has been attracting more women commenters lately.  And, of course, Judith Sloan contributes posts, often blithely dismissive of things like climate change and matters in which I have my doubts she has any particular expertise.  (Yes, it's the branch of the right that most resembles the Tea Party.)    Ever a comment from her about how the threads deal with women on the Left of politics?  Not that I've ever seen.   Same with Quadrant writer (and conservative Catholic) Phillipa Martyr.  The threads were absolutely full of foul "slut calling" of Sandra Fluke last year; Rush Limbaugh was the voice of reason, according to them.

The only thing good about this is that it seems to me that Sinclair Davidson can't really have any friends or be influential on the Liberal Party, can he? given that he is so dismissive of them if they don't follow the line on matters he is over the top about, such as free speech.

But what is more annoying is the way that Andrew Bolt, Catallaxy and the opinion pages of The Australian have all become dominated by the same characters who cross reference each other continuously.  It's a mini version of what has gone on in the US with the right wing blogosphere and the Wall Street Journal (and Andrew Bolt's TV show counts as a mini Fox News too.)

What has happened to moderate and sensible right wing commentary in this country?  And why does a large part of the Right have to proudly display the same  (actually, worse) ugliness in discourse that those on the rabid left used to show under (say) John Howard?  

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