What sort of person SAYS things like that?

Gina reported a minute ago that Speaker Harrell was “overwhelmingly re-elected, 112 to 5, over Ralph Norman.”

As we expected.

But that’s not what interests me today. What interests me is the sort of rhetoric Norman was using going into this vote:


“In 2011, if (House members) give lip service to conservative values but don’t follow through, I’m going to be part of pointing it out and recruiting candidates to run against them,” said Norman,who defines conservative values as funding core services like law enforcement and education while making cuts elsewhere and dismissing “feel good” legislation.

“I’m planting the seeds and willing to put my name on the line with it,” he said.

What sort of person says things like that? Particularly when everyone knows he has no support. Has he no sense of irony? Has he no decency? Does he really think he sounds like anybody any sensible person would want to follow, talking about how he’s going to make the General Assembly — the same General Assembly that is rejecting him and his “leadership” — conform to his almighty Will?

This takes me back to that Nikki Haley/Sarah Palin rally that depressed me so. Nikki gets away with saying such obnoxious things because she has a pleasant voice and pleasing face and because, let’s face it, she’s a dame. Put enough sugar on it and it doesn’t sound so bad (unless you actually listen). But that doesn’t mean the things she says — such as the fact that established politicians are “scared” is “a beautiful thing,” or that she will “burn” lawmakers if they don’t obey her — are any less ugly. (As I said at the time, “What’s the difference between ugly good ol’ boy populism and Palin/Haley populism? Lipstick.”)

This mode of expression, this obnoxious, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude toward other human beings, is a distinguishing characteristic of this political trend with which Mrs. Haley, and Mr. Norman, identify.

And you know what? It is probably the one thing that bugs me the most about them.

Couldn’t they advocate the things they advocate without this hostile attitude? Is it really essential to who they are and what they stand for?

37 thoughts on “What sort of person SAYS things like that?

  1. Karen McLeod

    But public media encourages this sort of approach. Listen to Limbaugh and Beck. People love it. It’s far easier to toss threats around than it is to reason–and it sounds so–so, well, “manly,” and BRAVE. Unfortunately, it tends to evoke a similiar response in the other party. And one must escalate the attack in order to retain one’s macho image. People yell louder and louder, and when one can yell no louder, then God help us, we find ourselves having to resort to physical violence or appear cowardly. In short, I find this sort of political polemic downright scary.

  2. Brad

    Indeed. Much heat, little light. This is why I’ve been railing against 24/7 TV “News” and its aiders and abetters, the political parties, for all these years.

  3. Doug Ross

    Did you see what Willow Palin said/wrote the other night on Facebook:


    ” During the premiere of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” Sunday night — a boy named Tre who went to school with the Palin kids wrote a status update that read, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska, is failing so hard right now.” The comment sparked an intense response from Willow — who replied on the boy’s wall, “Haha your so gay. I have no idea who you are, But what I’ve seen pictures of, your disgusting … My sister had a kid and is still hot.”

    Willow followed up that comment with another that read, “Tre stfu. Your such a faggot.”

    Bristol Palin also got in on the smacktalk — writing a message to Tre saying, “You’re running your mouth just to talk shit.”

    One comforting thought for me is that there is at least some possibility that Willow will be pregnant before Palin decides to run again. How many knocked up daughters can her campaign glorify?

  4. Barry

    @ Brad

    This is the approach the state of South Carolina takes as well- as Senator Sheheen pointed out in the campaign.

    I remember someone asking Sen Sheheen if he would fight for SC.

    Sen Sheheen said he would- but his approach would be one of working with people, working with other states, working with folks – versus getting up and screaming bloody murder (paraphrasing here) and talking all tough but not getting anywhere.

  5. Joanne

    This is sad and disgusting on a level I didn’t think any educated person could stoop to.

    I agree, Brad. It seems the more overtly obnoxious the better.

  6. Luke

    Does Doug really put a lot of weight into teenage Facebook comments? He might want to visit a high school for a day to see how teenagers really act. It’s not a flashback to Happy Days with Richie and Potsie.

  7. Luke

    Brad I’d think you are against 24/7 news on television because you worked in a one-shot per day newspaper. In this environment, newspapers are old news.

  8. Luke

    “One comforting thought for me is that there is at least some possibility that Willow will be pregnant before Palin decides to run again. How many knocked up daughters can her campaign glorify?”

    Did Doug really say this? “comforting thought”? How does a mature grown man think of a “knocked up” teen daughter of anyone as comforting? Would he feel the same if it were his daughter? Comforted?

  9. Tom Fillinger

    The level of intellectual credibility and substance in most BLOGS and other media exchanges is a sad reflection of our culture. Vacuous, ill-informed, desparaging and an attack upon the other contributors.

    The objective of such exchanges SHOULD be to move all participants to a posture or conclusion that has correspondence with reality.

    Much of the verbiage is partisan, smart alec garp. And, as Kathryn pointed out, there are a whole host of “weenies” (her designation) that don’t post their real identity.

  10. bud

    Q. What sort of person SAYS things like that?
    A. A Republican

    How is this any more provocative than the war mongering statements made by Lindsey Graham in Canada?

    How is this more evil than the ongoing attacks on our president accussing him of being a Kenyan born Muslim?

    How is this more dastardly than Mitch McConnell of suggesting that it is only Republicans who care about fiscal responsibility?

    How is this more disgusting than Joe Wilson shouting out “You Lie” to the POTUS @ the SOTU address?

    Let’s call this what it is, typical Republican speak.

  11. bud

    “Bulldozers were used to push the bodies into mass graves,” the psychologist wrote after her interview with him. “The bodies would fall apart, the smell was unforgettable. He felt badly that the bodies were treated with such disrespect. There was no effort made to identify the dead so that their families could know what happened to them. He was expected to handle many of the dead bodies which were significantly decayed and often ‘oozing goop’ into the ground.”

    These are comments made by a young soldier who went AWOL after his second tour of duty in Iraq. This is what we’ve created by the words of George W. Bush and his cronies. We must never forget those mendacious words. We must reflect on the sabre rattling and falsehoods of 2002-2003 so that the war mongering of Lindsey Graham today is put into proper context.

    These are the words that send chills through my spine to a far greater extent than some two-bit state politician who has little chance of increasing his power base (at least in the short run). So let’s focus on the words of folks like Lindsey Graham who would have us slaughter thousands, even millions, of Iranian citizens on the pretext of some enigmatic threat.

  12. Doug Ross


    My daughter made it through high school without getting knocked up. Palin’s 0-1 so far. If Willow becomes a high school baby mama too, that says plenty about Sarah. And now Bristol is doing abstinence PSA’s with “The Situation” from Jersey Shore? That’s like having Michael Vick do PSA’s for dog shelters.

    I know how kids talk. I have three kids 17-22. If my kids used that kind of language, I would not be proud of it, especially if it was made public. If you find Willow’s posts harmless, good for you.

  13. martin

    It’s not populism, it’s bullyism. These people are simply grown up school yard bullies who have brought their childish and adolescent behavior to the halls of our representative government.

    And, they are encouraged in it by their supporters who fall for and revel in the orgy of rabble rousing perpetrated by Beck and Limbaugh.

    I know Brad thinks this has been the equal opportunity behavior by democrats and republican to the other side’s presidents. That just ain’t so.

    What do you think the response would have been to Bill Clinton’s Vice President and his chief of staff and Clinton’s equivalent of Karl Rove and other administration officials outing an undercover CIA agent? You know what it would have been like if you lived through the Clinton years. It would still be going on.

    But, Bush was allowed to sail through, backtrack on his promise to fire anyone in his administration who had anything to do with it and faced not even hard questioning about it from the so called press.

    Bill Clinton and his whole administration would have been tried for who knows what if they had blown the cover of a CIA agent for political purposes.

    And, now we have START. As someone on a blog said the other day, when Kyl did his thing, this is what has become typical Republican Congressional behavior. Send one person to negotiate with Dems, like Lindsey on energy, Grassley on health care and Kyl on this treaty. Do as little as possible to make progress for months, then change your entire position when time comes to act.

    Please tell me when the Democratic party as a whole has engaged in this specific type of behavior and I will be more than willing to listen. But, I don’t think anyone will find it.

  14. Brad

    OK, this is going to sound really awful, but… what else is a blog for?

    Ralph Norman may be a heck of a nice guy, and maybe I’ll meet him sometime and we’ll get along famously.

    But… I went and looked for that picture of him after reading the post, after typing “What sort of person SAYS things like that?,” and when I saw his picture, I thought, “A guy who looks just like that.” Something about the expression. He looks exactly like a guy who’d go around saying stuff like that.

    See what I mean? An awful thing to say. It’s probably just a bad photo, right?


  15. bud

    Doug, I have to agree with Luke on this one. Luck as much as anything else is responsible for teenagers making it through high school without becoming parents. The very best parents end up becoming grandparent way before they should.

  16. Mark Stewart

    I keep coming back to Norman’s statement that you quoted where he said he would focus on key conservative issues . . . like funding education.

    Maybe some people do get it, but don’t know how to explain it within their polarized political outlook? Maybe he just doesn’t understand rhetoric. Or leadership.

    Since I had never heard of him before this week, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he does next. He had what is called a teaching moment – will he learn from it?

  17. Doug Ross


    I’m saying that I have seen no indication that Sarah Palin cares how her kids behave. She glorified her unwed daughter’s pregnancy during the campaign and they even came up with a sham engagement to make it look halfway proper. That engagement disappeared as soon as the election was over.

    Hey, some parents are too busy with their ambitious careers to pay attention to their bratty kids. That’s how they end up pregnant.

    And look up the word sarcasm in the dictionary. It may help you understand my comment about being comforted rather than taking it literally.

    p.s. yes, my kids are all perfect little angels. No unwed children, high school/college diplomas, not even a traffic ticket. Sarah Palin’s got two high school dropouts and is on the road to number three. She has no shame.

  18. Kathryn Fenner

    @bud–of course you can’t ensure that every single kid graduates form high school and doesn’t become a parent prematurely, but there are plenty of things you can do to increase the chances– be there, not flying all over the country advancing your political aims. Make it clear that unless a child is attending school or has completed, satisfactorily, his or her education, that child will not receive financial support. Don’t rely on abstinence as the sole means of avoiding becoming a grandparent.

    When a child does fail at completing his or her education before becoming a parent, don’t “make lemonade” or political hay out of it! It’s not a good thing, Sarah!

  19. Doug Ross


    Sorry, luck has nothing to do with teen pregnancy. You can absolutely guarantee that you will never become a parent in high school if you decide not to. Otherwise, you can roll the dice… that’s the only part that has to do with luck.

    If you don’t jump off the bridge, you won’t get wet.

  20. Brad

    That’s true. Fortunately, we don’t have powerful chemicals coursing through our bodies telling us “Jump off the bridge! Jump off the bridge! Ohmanohmanohman, look at that bridge! I reallyreallyreallyreallyreally wanna jump off of it!”

    Of course, with teenagers and sex, you DO have that problem…

  21. bud

    Sorry, luck has nothing to do with teen pregnancy.

    That is such a ridiculous statement I thought for a moment that Brad posted it. (Just kidding). Doug, you take yourself far too seriously if you think your fantastic parenting skills alone prevented your children from engaging in risky behavior. If you really believe that I’ve got some great bottom land to sell you.

  22. Doug Ross

    @bud and @brad

    Calling it luck is a copout. Most teenage girls DON’T get pregnant, do they?

    In addition to it being 100% possible to avoid pregnancy, there is also a 100% possibility to prevent the baby from being born.
    There are also a variety of methods available to reduce the possibility of getting pregnant somewhere close to 1%. Female birth control + a condom is probably 99.9%.

    Unwed teenage girls having babies is a choice not chance.

  23. Kathryn Fenner

    The most effective method of reversible birth control still results in about one pregnancy per 100 women per year. Not the best odds….

    but your child can certainly finish his or her education, in this day–parents are no longer required to drop out!

    Oh, and there’s perfectly legal, safe, and in my mind ethical, abortion….for now, anyway….

  24. Luke


    You wrote:

    “One comforting thought for me is that there is at least some possibility that Willow will be pregnant before Palin decides to run again.”

    “Unwed teenage girls having babies is a choice not chance.”

    Are you off your medications? Just when I think you can’t say something dumber, you open your mouth.

  25. Tom Fillinger

    Kathryn – Legal. Safe & Ethical – NOT!

    The key to your post is the staement “in my mind”. We cannot survive as a community if Social Policy is determined by every independent member of that community. That is correctly identified as anarchy.

  26. Kathryn Fenner

    Look, Tom, I acknowledged that there is a controversy regarding the ethics of abortion. I am not determining my belief in the ethics as a weirdo outlier–my views are shared by the majority of the country. It’s only down here in the theocracy that you get the illusion that I am out there….

    The US Supreme Court wrote a brilliant opinion discussing the legality and ethics of abortion. I’m quite familiar with it. Are you?

    and guess what–even where abortion is illegal, it still happens. Has done since time began. Do we want dead or maimed teenagers?

  27. Mark Stewart

    Tom, the clear majority of the people support the availability of abortion. As they support the death penalty. Go figure; but we are not ruled by anarchy.

    It’s just like whenever I hear someone use the term “Obamacare”; I know that person either has a generous pension plan or they are in the Medicare system. Everyone has a political voice, but older men are simply less relevant when the question is abortion. And yet they rage the loudest. Why is that?

  28. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Mark– the other option for Obamacare haters is that they are victims of demagoguery. Want to guess what TV and radio they listen to?

    and Mitch McConnell says Americans don’t want anyone to lose tax cuts in this terrible economy. I know I’m happy for the rich top 1 or 2 % to pay more of their fair share….the top 25%? The rich get richer and the middle class and below are losing ground, but I bet a good chunk of those who would most benefit from enhanced government services are opposed to having anyone’s tax money pay for them……kinda like how SC hates them feds–even though we get back considerably more than we pay out.


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