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Friday, March 7, 2008

Marketing the Nutroots

Among bloggers there is an ongoing debate as to why the liberal blogosphere is significantly more powerful and popular than the right blogosphere. The right heavyweight blog is Red State and it averages about ninety thousand page loads daily. Liberal heavyweights like Daily Kos and Huffington Post average two and three times that much. Erick Erickson, of Red State, had this to say about the situation.

"have families because we don't abort our kids, and we have jobs because we believe in capitalism."

In other words, he believes that conservatives have better things to do with their time than blog. I have to respectfully but totally disagree with his analysis. (Which of course has a strong element of condescending cynicism toward his ideological opponents) I believe that the reason that the left has been far more successful on the blogosphere has more to do with human nature and the way the left blogosphere has marketed to that human nature.

In my ten plus years in sales, I have learned that there are two types of people in this world: logical and emotional. Logical people are very easy to work with, especially in mortgages. With logical people, all you need to do is explain the numbers and constantly focus on them. If the deal is good for the borrower, the numbers will bear that out and a logical person will process and understand that. With emotional people, you need to find the right button and push it, and keep pushing it. It is a total crap shoot and anything can set them off. Emotional people will find all sorts of things right and wrong that have little or nothing to do with whether or not they are actually getting a good deal.

Now, I have generally found that conservatives more often than not are logical thinkers, and liberals are more often than not emotional thinkers. That is one reason that I am a conservative. For instance, the arguement against socialized medicine is entirely logical, and the arguement for it is entirely emotional. Proponents of socialized medicine will bemoan all the uninsured and proclaim that everyone deserves free health care, and that anyone against socialized medicine has no compassion for those less fortunate than them. Opponents will point out that it loses consumers intrinsic instinct for valuation, its costs are hidden, and that it will only add to our bureaucracy. The first are all entirely emotional arguements and the second are all entirely logical ones.

The manner in which this relates to the left blogosphere is that I believe the left blogosphere has played to their audience's natural tendency toward reaching for emotion. If liberals are emotional, then the far left, where the blogosphere inhabits, are pulled entirely by emotion. The left blogosphere caters to this by allowing very little limits on content. Whether through comments or through diaries, the left blogosphere is all go. Check out this picture of Justice Anton Scalia on Daily Kos recently. Because Scalia is a political opponent, the far left has attached a level of hate towards him. An even more famous picture at the Kos, is one of Joe Lieberman in black face. By placing no standards of decency on content, sites like Kos and Huffington Post allow their readers to express their deepest emotions in any way they choose.

To emotional folks like the far left, that is a match made in heaven. They hate conservates, Bush, and everyone else that isn't exactly like them, and places like Kos allow them to express that hate in any way possible. Whereas most sites would never allow such filthy content as dressing Scalia up as a Nazi, the Kos is perfectly comfortable with it. While this makes his site the magnet for all of the gutter content on the web, it also makes him a marketing genius.

Kos, Huffington Post, and others like it, have found the right nerve to attract a plethora of readers that have largely the same political view. Because Kos allows free reign, the out of control emotions of the far left are given an outlet to express that hate with absolutely no censor.

It is much like a crackhead finding a crack house. This is a match made in heaven. There are millions of far left folks with hate toward everything and they need an outlet to express that hate. Kos et al is just such an outlet. When Nancy Reagan fell, there was immediately dozens of comments wishing her death and hoping she went to hell. In fact, whenever any political opponents get sick, you can expect the left blogosphere to immediately spring into action with an orgy of wishes of death and destruction: Tony Snow, Ronald Reagan, and even Dick Cheney. The comments are totally uninhibited as well. Here are some samples from a recent diary...

Not because I want to get into the middle of another Clinton-Obama-supporter's smackdown, but because the person who really gets a walk for kicking babies and eating kittens is McCain. (Can you say "John Hagee?") Now -- that is media puppylove. I mean -- the MSM would buy the Viagra and stroke McSame's wrinkle-y butt 'n bits just to have his babies.


They keep thinking Hillary will get better and stop pulling this s%^t. They don't want to admit what a sk&*k Hillary is and that they've been supporting someone who would easily become the smear queen. After all they sent emails to their friends asking for donations to Hillary. What will their friends think of them if they actually questioned their support of Hillary. They reflect Hillary herself, her denials about her husband's infidelity that she has let go on and on and on for years.

I have recently been running a series about racist forums where racists spew hate at folks they hate because of skin color, religion, or national origin. There is little difference between the racist forums and places like the Kos, except at the Kos the hate comes from ideological differences rather than racial or religious ones. There is a great danger in allowing the inner most ugliness to have free reign. All of these folks used to stand in the background and control their hate. Now, they have an outlet where it is not only allowed but encouraged. This is a stroke of marketing genius, however I believe that it is also quite dangerous.


roberth said...

That was a well thought, well written post. Thanks.

One item is you mention the level of hate and vitriol is 'dangerous'. This is true but in general the media won't report it as they sympathize. If this same type of writing were found on conservative blogs it would be outed by the media and attacked.

Dr. Forbush said...

Hey Robert H,

I love your post, keep thinking that way and we will have Barack in the White House.

The only reason George W Bush is in the White House today is because of the conservatives pushing the emotional button over and over again. For example, the abortion issue! For 2004 it was the Gay Marriage issue. How is that logical? Right, it isn't logical at all. Instead a bunch of church going conservatives convinced themselves that Gay's would over run the country if they didn't rush off to the polls in Ohio. And, while they were there they thought that George W Bush would protect them from nuclear terrorists. Tell me that those are not emotional decisions...

mike volpe said...

The reason that Bush is in the White House is because John Kerry was found to have no semblance of any plan on any foreign policy issues, and because he had a muddled position on social issues. The Dems like to pretend as though people were scared into voting for Bush but the reality is different.

While I agree that the GWOT is in and of itself an emotional issue, the Dems ran on the "we hate Bush" campaign in 2004. You don't get anymore emotional than that.

Those that are against Gay marriage are against it for logical reasons. Proponents create emotional reasons for opponents, like that we hate gays, but that is just not so.

Once gay marriage is introduced, then marriage is redefined and then the definition is whatever anyone wants it to be, and eventually any combination of anyone is getting married. Those that are against gay marriage simply want to hold in place an institution that has been in place for thousands of years. That is logical. Changing it in a radical way even though it has been one way for thousands of years is in and of itself an emotional position.

Dr. Forbush said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. Forbush said...

The difference between Bush in the White and Kerry in the White House was one state - Ohio. The reason the Bush supporters out numbered the Kerry supporters in Ohio was because of the anti-gay legislation promoted by Christians in Ohio. The methods used to push this agenda were mainly emotional fear issues.

In fact, the main tactic used in 2004 was fear. And, fear is the most emotional issue of all. Most conservatives are motivated by fear at some level. They either fear that liberals will take over the government and take away their God given right to tell everyone else what to do. Or, they fear that crooks will rob them if they venture into the city. They have xenophobia. They fear that they will loose their property. And, conservative politicians play on those fears and exaggerate them.

If conservatives were logical they would realize that we are spending way too much money on a tiny risk of terrorism. How many people were killed in the US by terrorism in the 20 years leading up to 9/11/2001? How many people are killed every year by problems in the mining industry, for one example? But, there are hundreds of ways people die every year and spending a fraction of the money spent on Iraq could save those lives by reducing risk. Why are we building a democracy in Iraq and neglecting Afghanistan? Logic would suggest that we take care of the primary problem first. That seems logical to me. The conservatives in power decided that an emotional outburst in Iraq would teach Saddam Hussein a lesson. If Bush’s daddy didn’t get embarrassed by him in 1992 we might not even be in this war.

We spend way too little on the huge risk of not educating our children. Risk is never quantified in a conservative conversation. If you want to be logical, then we need to place numbers on risks and calculates how much we should spend on them. If conservatives had done that in the first place they would have spent money on the risk of Hurricanes. Instead we spend little money on health care, in which every one of us is going to need eventually. We would have considered the risks of allowing investors to buy bad loans from people who have no morals. When conservatives become honest about the numbers they assign to risk, then maybe your argument will hold water.

Ali-Asad said...

Your argument could be applied to the NAFTA debate in Ohio where the left's rhetoric doesn't match the empirical and theoretical evidence in suppport of free trade. Furthermore, the economist has a great article in the same vein about how conservatives and liberals form their morality at a young age.

Ali-Asad said...

Your argument could be applied to the NAFTA debate in Ohio where the left's rhetoric doesn't match the empirical and theoretical evidence in suppport of free trade. Furthermore, the economist has a great article in the same vein about how conservatives and liberals form their morality at a young age.

mike volpe said...

What a bunch of nonsense Dr. ForBush (nice name though).

I don't remember what the exit polls in Ohio said, but they wouldn't have said that. Folks may have said something generic like that they voted on the values issues, but they wouldn't have said they were scared of gays.

Of course, this so called anti gay legislation I can only assume is a ballot measure that would have defined marriage as one man and one woman. You continue to add emotional arguement to what is a rational one. Marriage has been one man and one woman for thousands of years, and it has been so because that is the model family unit. Marriage is first and foremose meant to promote a stable family environment. It isn't meant to promote alternative lifestyles.

Furthermore, you go into a rant about how terrorism isn't that much of a risk. I disagree. The reason that there haven't been many deaths from terrorist attacks is because we take the risks seriously. Yours is the typical dovish perspective. Terrorists are quite serious in destroying this country and turning the entire world into their version of Islam. They aren't going to stop just because we don't take them seriously.

That is a list of nineteen attacks that we have foiled that we know of. Do you still think the terrorist threat is overblow?

Then, you say this...

"In fact, the main tactic used in 2004 was fear. And, fear is the most emotional issue of all. Most conservatives are motivated by fear at some level. They either fear that liberals will take over the government and take away their God given right to tell everyone else what to do. Or, they fear that crooks will rob them if they venture into the city. They have xenophobia. They fear that they will loose their property. And, conservative politicians play on those fears and exaggerate them."

That's a nice rant, however you are going to need to provide specifics to back up that rant in order to be taken seriously.

Your kind is plentiful. You rely on rhetoric and demagoguery and you rarely back up anything you say. That may work against a weak debater, but here it will be challenged and countered.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see you position yourself as logical. The Bush administration attacked a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, cooking the information so it looked like it did, and has paid a trillion dollars to just try to stablize it (although it now is moving toward Iran--something that would never have happened prior to the US attack). This position is not what any sane man would call logical. Pure distilled emotion. Bush conservatives want our country afraid, so we will give up our civil liberties without so much as a complaint. I hope you rethink your stand. Also, if you think liberals have a corner on the market of emotional rhetoric, listen to Michael Savage and his talk show ilk. Those guys try to whip the populace into xenophobic rages. Very scary!
Best wishes to you as you try to sort this out. I appreciate your thoughtful, if wrong minded, assessment.

mike volpe said...

You say a lot Anonymous, and most has nothing to do with the piece.

First, George Bush is not the same as conservatives.

Second, no one in the Bush administration ever said that Saddam had anything to do with
9/11. No one in the administration cooked any books. Both of those are myths created by his opponents who are so driven by hate that they create things that were never there.

After that you go into a long diatrobe where you again assign things to Bush that simply aren't true. Bush doesn't want us afraid or take away our civil liberties. Those are also things that you assign to him as a creation of your hate.

Look, you can try that rhetoric and demagoguery here, however I have debated plenty of folks like you. You are uninformed and you don't know anything that is not set up for you in nice easy talking points. If you insist on demagoguery it will be identified and challenged.

Demagoguery, by the way, is a great tool to appeal to those that are swayed by emotional arguements.

Dr. Forbush said...

Of course I am rooting for Bush, he is the only president that we have. And, maybe some time before he leaves office he will make the right decision on some issue. It’s bound to happen eventually.

I didn’t say that Ohioans said that they were afraid of gays. I said that there was a larger turnout of conservatives, because there was an anti-gay measure on the ballot. This was a calculated strategy by the republican party, which had placed these measures on the ballot in key states around the country. Ohio turned out to be the place were it affected the presidential election.

About terrorism, simply give me the facts. How would you calculate risk? How do you measure it against other things that the government has a hand in? If it isn’t about death and destruction, then give me your view. I never see numbers for comparison on this argument. Is terrorism about saving lives, or saving the property of the wealthy? If we calculate risk based on the risk of losing property, then you need to figure whether it is worth while spending 3 trillion dollars (current cost) in order to protect how much wealth? It is like an insurance policy. But, somehow the conservatives don’t seem to argue about the numbers on this issue. Either the numbers don’t support their argument, or they don’t know how to count.

It isn’t very nice to call names, especially when you don’t know my history. I would not call myself a dove. I certainly believe in fighting to defend our country. However, I don’t believe that we should spend more money on the poor in Iraq than we spend on our own needy. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly believe that we should help people in other countries, but we can do this in more effective and efficient ways. I can’t believe so many conservatives, that normally are tight with their money, are so willing to continue to pour their money into the inferno of Iraq. Why not fix Afghanistan and nip the Taliban in their bud. I was rooting for invading Afghanistan before it was fashionable. When the Taliban destroyed the ancient Buddhas it was a crime against humanity, and the conservatives laughed. For some reason the conservatives don’t recognize Oriental art with the same furvor as their Christian art. If the Taliban had destroyed an ancient Christian church or a temple to materialism, like the World Trade Center then suddenly it became fashionable to attack them.

Strange how conservatives don’t seem to use logic.

Dr. Forbush said...

So Mike,

Are you saying that Dick Cheney is not part of the Bush administration? Mr. Cheney has said that Saddam Hussein was tied to 9/11 many times. He was pushing the idea that al Qaeda had met with Hussein before 9/11, a meeting that has been since proven to be mythical.

Of course Bush and Rice have said otherwise and then quickly changed the rhetoric to say how important the war in Iraq was to the GBW.

mike volpe said...

Let's try this again Dr. Forbush. We seem to be talking past each other. The so called anti gay measure was actually a measure that defined marriage as one man and woman. This was a measure that wound up in several states and in each it not only passed but overwhelmingly. The reason this measure wound up on a lot of ballots was because judges in Massachusetts made gay marriage legal in that state by judicial fiat. Thus, citizens took it upon themselves to put in their state's constitution the idea that marriage is one man and one woman.

What effect it had on the election in Ohio is debateable, however your characterization that it was anti gay is patently ridiculous.

I have given you the stats on terrorism. Since 9/11 we have thwarted 19 attacks that we know of. You are now using Bush's success against him. Since we haven't had an attack it isn't a serious threat. Bolderdash. Since he has taken the threat so seriously, we haven't had an attack.

I called you dovish, which is an observation not name calling, because you said that terrorism is not the threat that people like me make it. That makes you dovish on terrorism. In your subsequent follow up you are now suddenly concerned about Afghanistan. It will take decades and generations to finish the job in Afghanistan because Afghanistan is so backward that they have no highways. If we are to wait until that job is finished, we will do nothing else for decades. Our military can walk and chew gum at the same time, and we can open up other theaters while we are working our way through Afghanistan.

mike volpe said...

Cheney, and anyone else in the admin, never said that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11. Saddam did have contacts with AQ throughout the nineties. It is unclear what the results of those contacts were, however our own intelligence supports the idea that there were contacts between the two groups.

Dr. Forbush said...


You said: "First, George Bush is not the same as conservatives."

Interesting that George W Bush defeated John McCain in 2000. So, George W was the best you guys could come up with back then. Now, you guys are running with the guy who placed second...

George W Bush sucked and he beat out John. Logic dictates that John McCain must suck even worse....

Obviously the conservatives must be full of logic!

mike volpe said...

let me tell you one of the many indicators that you have lost a debate, Dr. ForBush. One is when you don't answer specific points but rather try and change the topic to something that is totally irrelevant. First, Republicans aren't necessarily Conservatives. Second, Presidents aren't necessarily chosen solely on ideology. At the time, Bush was a very popular governor with a history of good governance. Furthermore, he had name recognition that McCain didn't. Also, governors are much more apt to become president than Senators. Finally, my point was that pointing out something that Bush did as in your estimation emotional over logical is nonsensical because Bush and Conservatism isn't necessarily synonymous.

Dr. Forbush said...


Let me point out that I have already won the debate. The rest was just for fun.

The issue was: Resolve conservatives are logical liberals are emotional.

Based on this simple issue All I needed to do was point out one emotional issue that conservatives have used to disprove this. I have successfully put forward the point that the conservatives have used the GBW to create fear in voters so that they would vote George back into office. Since the debate was so simple, I also threw in a couple of Christian conservative issues - namely gay marriage and abortion which are largely emotional driven.

Like I said above the rest of the debate was merely for fun...

mike volpe said...

Let me tell you another sign you have lost the debate, when you have to point out you are winning the debate. In any debate, it goes without saying that each side thinks it is right. If it didn't, it would take the opposite side.

First, you pointed out no such thing except in your mind. What you did was go on a long rant in which you used vague and incendiary language that was never backed up with anything sniffing evidence, examples, or facts. You continued to proclaim that the amendment that defined marriage as one man and one woman was actually anti gay. That it wasn't. Furthermore, without one number to back you up, you proclaimed that this amendment won the day in Ohio.

Finally, if I indicated that Conservatives are always logical and Liberals are always emotional, then I apologize. Everyone is a combination of both, however Conservatives use logic far more than emotion and vice versa for liberals.

Dr. Forbush said...

Surely you joke when you say that "Bush was a very popular governor with a history of good governance."

The Texas Governor has very little responsibility compared to other states, like California or New York.

Second, almost every corporate job that George W Bush had turned to rust:

* Arbusto, an oil exploration company, lost money, but it got considerable investments (nearly $5 million) because even losing oil investments were useful as tax shelters.

* Spectrum 7 Energy Corp. bought out Arbusto in 1984 and hired Mr. Bush to run the company's oil interests in Midland, Texas. The oil business collapsed as oil prices plummeted by 1986, and Spectrum 7 Energy was near failure.

* Harken Energy acquired Mr. Bush's Spectrum 7 Energy shares, and he got Harken shares, a directorship, and a consulting arrangement in return. Harken, under Bush, brought in Saudi real estate tycoon Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh as a board member and a major investor. Over the next few years, Harken would turn out to have links to: Saudi money, CIA-connected Filipinos, the Harvard Endowment, the emir of Bahrain, and the shadowy Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
o A 1991 internal SEC document suggested George W. Bush violated federal securities law at least 4 times in the late 1980s and early 1990s in selling Harken stock while serving as a director of Harken. This is essentially the same kind of activity that Martha Stewart is going to prison over. Except at the time of the investigation, Mr. Bush's father was president and the case was quietly dropped.

Just for a few examples.

He even sucked as an owner of the Rangers. If the conservatives, (and I mean conservatives not Republicans) cared about the function of the government they never would have allowed him into the White House. Conservatives generally care about keeping the status quo, however, evidence of his experience would suggest that everything was about to turn to dust. But conservatives did not use logic in this case either. Instead they were emotionally drawn to the name "Bush."

BTW, if declaring yourself the winner in a debate implies that you lose the debate, then I would suggest that you did this first when you said: "let me tell you one of the many indicators that you have lost a debate, Dr. ForBush."

And that was before I pointed out that I had already negated your argument with evidence of an emotional outburst by a conservative.

If you want to change the debate topic midstream then you need first concede that you lost this argument and then create a new topic. At least those are the logical rules that debate normally follows.

mike volpe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike volpe said...

First, Bush had a 60% approval rating as governor when he announced his run. Second, did you just try and impugn his time as governor by pointing to potential failings that he had when he was in private practice. Are you really this dumb? What in the world do his previous jobs in the private sector have to do with the price of tea in China, or better yet, his time as governor of Texas.

Dr. Forbush said...

You might be interested in this post, because it contradicts what you said above:

I don't know if you can trust the Pentagon, but they are the only ones with these documents, so we don't have much choice.

mike volpe said...

Did you read the piece, or better yet do you read anything I have said? I never said that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11. I never said he had any "operational links" to AQ. That means that they worked on attacks together. That is what operation links mean. They had contacts. Saddam trained lots of folks at Salman Pak. That doesn't mean that they ever worked on any specific attack together, and I never said they did.

Your arguements are getting progressively more pathetic, with all due respect.