Occasionally I will listen to left wing radio for chuckles. As I was driving back from a board meeting this afternoon I listened to Randi Rhoads try to explain away the victory of Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
Rhoads is one of the best cheap shot artists around. She consistently claimed in the half hour I listened to her that the Governor is under investigation (no credible news source can confirm that and the one story in a Google search suggests that the Governor himself initiated the Grand Jury like proceeding) and that Walker continued a deficit brought on by his predecessor (according to David Brooks of the New York Times Walker "did turn a $3.6 billion deficit into a $150 million surplus, albeit with the help of a tax collection surge. He did make it possible for willing school districts to save money on health insurance so they could spend it on students." The PEW Center for the States counts it the same way.)
But what struck me as particularly amusing about her rants was two things. First, left wing and right wing radio have very similar sponsors (Gold sellers, stamps.com, a testosterone and female hormone replacement pills). Second, both have their dark villans (which are different) but they use remarkably similar adjectives to describe them. Rhoads boogie man was "billionaires" - who spent eight times what her poor underfunded candidate, the Milwaukee mayor, had. Interesting but wrong. There seems to have been a funding advantage for Walker's side although most people are still sorting out the dough. It is clear that organized labor contributed some pretty huge checks.
But third, lout mouthed (and I intentionally changed the D to a T) people like Rhoads and Michael Savage on the other side, tend to disrespect the idea of civil discourse. Ultimately the way we will work ourselves out of the problems we face on public budgets is to begin to a) look at the facts and agree on them and b) then begin to quit calling each other names.
Tom Sowell, in a book called A Conflict of Visions, argued that the left and the right actually have different meanings for the same words (so for example Equality means something different between the two sides). In this case while the language may be the same, their meanings are different. In the long term that does not help us out of our fiscal mess.