Monday, August 30, 2010

Bob Dutko: Whoring for Republicans!

Bob needs to convince you that he's taking a principled stand on every issue. When an issue arises, Bob has parsed every argument, thoroughly researched and applied the most rigorous logic. So when Bob attacks the patriotism of a fellow American, you can be assured that this fellow American has done something so vile as to warrant massive opprobrium.

So here is Bob questioning the patriotism of liberal pundit Ed Schultz:

According to Bob, it is perfectly acceptable to question the patriotism of an American citizen because they don't like the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA."

Bob has offered no evidence or argument on which he can accuse Schultz of be unpatriotic!

This is typical Dutko whore-mongering for Republicans. And if you read your Bible, Bob's slandering of liberals contradicts the Word of God.

In Paul's letter to Titus (3:1-2), Paul instructed Titus to "Remind [Christians] to be under the control of magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise. They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone."

Further, in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul commands that "supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing..."

Clearly, Bob by slandering Ed Schultz, Bob has disobeyed God's Word. But ask yourself: Have you every heard Dutko offer prayers for President Obama? Has Dutko ever offered any prayers for any Democrat? Of course not.

Dutko is playing a political game, continuously attacking "liberals" and questioning their patriotism in order to get Republicans elected. These personal attacks stem from Bob's belief that Republicans are better aligned with God and only they should lead this nation. But realize, for Bob to attack liberals the way he does, he must disobey God.

Ultimately for Bob, political goals trump God's will. Bob is a Christian in the way Dr. Pepper is a doctor: It's all marketing, designed to sell you something. Just know that Dutko's show is as nutritious for you mind as sugar water is for your body.


Pat said...

When considering the comments of right-wing extremists, I think it’s good to keep in mind that words lose much, if not all, of their content. Essentially, what they’re trying to do is get everyone worked up so they can be more easily manipulated. The audio clip you posted is only an example. Although I didn’t hear the show from which it comes, so I don’t know the context, familiar themes are present.
First, “liberal” means “anyone who’s not delusionally right-wing,” or, synonymously “anyone I don’t like.” This is why hyper-right-wingers like McCain are referred to as liberal by Bob and his ilk. Not being one for nuance, “liberal” and “radical” are interchangeable in Bob’s lexicon. “Patriotism” is used in similar fashion: anyone who isn’t dysfunctionally nationalistic or isn’t liked by Bob becomes unpatriotic.
To elaborate: etymologically, “patriotism” means “love for the fatherland.” Let’s consider people we love, say a cousin (the analysis works no matter who you substitute). Is it consistent with love of this person to say he has flaws? Of course. In fact, to insist otherwise would be a sign that there’s something wrong with our understanding of human beings, that we’re blinded in some way, etc. Is it consistent with love of this person to say he hurts us deeply when he betrays our trust or does something we condemn? Of course. In fact, if we didn’t love him, we’d be merely outraged by his reprehensible actions, but not hurt emotionally or feel let down in a way that goes to the heart of our relationship.
All this sounds right, so how does this apply to patriotism? Well, for well-adjusted people, we feel patriotic, meaning that we contemplate our country with affection – our fondest memories, greatest hopes, and so on are somehow tied to it, its culture, etc. But as in other instances of affection, we aren’t required to distort reality. So, a well-adjusted patriot would say of the US that we’ve done reprehensible things and continue to do so, and that our affection for our homeland impels us to intervene for its (and our collective) sake. So, we might protest, condemn publically, etc. Denying that racism, neglect of the poor, illegal violations of other nations’ sovereignty, and a long list of things are unfinished business, for example, is as dysfunctional as denying that our alcoholic cousin drinks in an unhealthy way, or is abusive, etc.
As clear as this is, Dysfunctional Bob and his friends would like to convince us that calling the cops to stop our cousin from killing someone in a rage is somehow to betray him, as if allowing him to murder and then deny he did it is somehow to support him. Further, Dysfunctional Bob tells the story as if it ends there – as if well-adjusted patriots merely “call the cops” metaphorically and then go home thinking their duty is done. Of course, this leaves out the love part, which induces us to help out as we can in a healthy way (meaning not losing sight of who did wrong, who needs protection, etc.).
This not losing sight of important things is what Bob seems to attack in his “patriotic” rants, including the snippet you posted. In particular, although I didn’t hear Schultz’s whole quote, and I certainly wouldn’t rely on Bob to provide it or the context, Schultz’s point seems to be the reasonable one that being subjected to emotional manipulation by dwelling on sugar-coated images of the object of affection so as to elicit a welling up of good feelings to the point that they obscure unaddressed wrongs in need of attention is to be rejected.

Irl Hudnutt said...


There is another purpose for smearing people with negative labels: It keeps them on the defensive, forcing them to deny, deny, deny. At that point, the issue becomes the person being attacked and not an argument about the policy the objected to.

It's the same thing as asking "So, have you stopped beating your wife?" Once suspicions have been raised, you have to do extra work to catch up.

Pat said...

When I said that labels like “liberal” and “unpatriotic” are applied to people not liked and that the words are robbed of content, I meant to say that there is no standard for applying them, besides designating someone as “to be shunned.” To use a concrete example: Obama is often labeled a “radical” (which I noted is pretty much interchangeable with “liberal” when Bob & Co. use it). Now, let’s ask: to whom should the designation “radical” be applied? It seems to someone who espouses an ideology that rejects a significant portion of the most fundamental guiding principles of a society. In a contemporary setting, perhaps someone that thinks that rather than publicly traded companies or sole proprietorships, a society is just only if it permits commercial enterprises solely in the form of worker managed, collectively (government) owned firms. Does Obama qualify under this definition? It’s absurd to dignify the question with an answer. Still, this is the charge from the extreme right. So what gives?
Well, what gives is that they’re not seeking a description of Obama, much less an analysis of his position. What they’re seeking is a shrill way to say “we hate him.” This is a visceral reaction, not an intellectual one. If asked why they hate him, they wouldn’t be able to summon a cogent answer, but would summon more contentless terms to keep expressing hate.
The upshot of all this for your response is that people must recognize terms like “liberal” as mere designators of things/people hated, not as having content. In this way, it’s different for terms like “wife beater,” in that the latter is a substantive accusation – it can be proven to be the case or to have no merit. Because of this important difference, the moment someone who’s not a right-wing extremist falls into the trap of saying “no, I’m not a radical,” he loses the exchange. Indeed, he can’t win because it’s not about an argument (giving good reasons, taking into account evidence), it’s about being the object of an emotional reaction.
So what to do? One approach that’s not all bad is Obama’s (at least it’s one I’ve heard him use on occasion): redirect and cast doubt on whether the proponents of hate are cannibalizing their own party. “In the health care reform package that passed, we used ideas proposed originally by Bob Dole and Jim Baker. Now you might think that they’re liberal, but I think the ideas are good.” My own recommendation, since I’m not a politician and have no interest in becoming one, is to call attention to the term’s being empty: “you sound like a little kid calling someone who doesn’t feel like playing with you ‘baby’ or ‘scaredy cat’. Isn’t it time to grow up and state opinions that are defensible instead of calling someone infantile names?”
Anyway, I’m happy to consider objections to/comments about my analysis.

Irl Hudnutt said...


I think your analysis is spot on. (And the fact you use the word "etymologically" makes me all giggly.)

The game that Dutko et al., are driving at is a game of division: By using empty words like "unpatriotic" or "liberal" they are indeed determining the "pure" versus the "unpure."

Perhaps I didn't make my point clearly enough. When Dutko accuses someone of being unpatriotic, the accused must then spend more time proving his patriotism and not doing something more substantive.

And as you point out, it's also a very cheap rhetorical trick. The accusation is meaningless and lifts the burden from the accuser to deal with substantive issues.

Bob is king of the insubstantial. He would rather scream about someone being unpatriotic rather than formulating standards by which we can demonstrate someone is unpatriotic. The former is easy, the latter is hard.