Friday, May 16, 2008

The sad state of our political discourse

A couple days ago, President Bush implicitly compared Barack Obama to pre–World War II appeasers of Hitler. That in itself is bad enough, but yesterday a right-wing talk radio host named Kevin James appeared on Chris Matthews' show. After James yells "Bush good! Obama bad!" for about five minutes, Matthews decides to ask Kevin James what "appeasement" is. He asks him what, specifically, Neville Chamberlain did wrong.

And obviously, James doesn't know. He tries to respond by shouting his talking points over and over again, but he clearly has no idea what he's talking about. He doesn't know what appeasement is, and he doesn't know what Chamberlain did. All he knows is that "appeasement" is the Republican word of the day to attack Obama with.

It's very funny to watch, but unfortunately, it's also all too typical of our political discourse today. Context doesn't matter. History doesn't matter. Accuracy doesn't matter. Just get your talking points and keep shouting them. Don't worry if you don't even know what they mean. That's not the point. The point is to make lots of noise and make the other side look bad.

This is also, to digress a little from politics, all too typical of American education. Kevin James isn't just some guy who dropped out of high school or something. According to his Wiki entry, he has a BA and a law degree, and used to work as a prosecutor. (God help any defendant, guilty or innocent, who had to face a blustering ignoramus like that in court.) How does anybody with an education like that manage to be completely ignorant of such a key turning point in 20th century history?

Oh, and here's a special Unintentional Comedy Bonus: the slogan of his home radio station, KRLA 870 in Los Angeles, is "Intelligent. Conservative. Talk Radio." Two out of three ain't bad, I guess.


  1. Great clip. This guy is a tool.

  2. He's one of the worst I've seen. I just wish more TV hosts would actually challenge people like that more often. Usually they just let them get away with it.


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