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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Kevin Drum linked to an interesting old post on Sir Richard Mottram's eloquence and I happened upon this remarkable artifact

WANTED: FUNNY LIBERALS....BUT I'M WILLING TO SETTLE FOR MERELY WATCHABLE....Glenn Reynolds says today that a piece by Jack Shafer "does a good job of capturing why I no longer consider myself a leftist, even though not many of my actual positions have changed."

Shafer talks about something that I've wondered about myself for quite a while: why are there so few good liberal commentators? Conservatives tend to be more fun to listen to and to make their arguments more cogently, while liberals either seem unbearably out of touch or else simply unable to make a short, coherent point. This has been true since at least the mid-70s when Shana Alexander was regularly outgunned by James J. Kilpatrick on 60 Minutes' famous Point-Counterpoint segment.

I think liberals have a tougher rhetorical job than conservatives, whose arguments are often fundamentally simpler and more appealing to everyday ideas of "common sense," but that's no excuse. Al Franken managed to write an incisive and funny piece of liberal invective a few years ago; why aren't there more people like him out there?

I think that Mr Drum should watch the half hour news hour and Prof Reynolds should learn to tell more plausible lies. Actually, I think it is possible that, way back in 2002, conservatives were less mush mouthed than liberals. Trying to defend Bush can sure ruin one's sense of humor, while liberals have a very target rich environment.

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