Paul From Minneapolis

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Excitement At The Huffington Post

If you don't know, the Huffington Post is a new “group celebrity blog,” put together by Adriana Huffington, who in an earlier era might have been Dorothy Kilgallen.

It’s actually got a bit of a mix of views, as captured in the debate between Byron York of the National Review and HBO boxing commentator Jim Lampley over Lampley’s belief that the 2004 election was stolen. Elsewhere, Chris Schenkel says the World Bank is flawed, while "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan go at it over the flat tax, but this exchange is the big one so far, for me anyway.

It got off to a rough start as Jim Lampley nearly destroyed his intellectual reputation, in the process of introducing the world to the possibility that he has one. He did this by basing his certainty of 2004 election fraud on three lines of reasoning:

- Exits polls are never wrong. (Very slight exaggeration)
- Even if they were ever wrong, they would never be wrong in a certain direction because of a design flaw.
- Sports bookies are never wrong. In this case, the bookies could not be wrong because they were relying completely on the word of exit pollsters. Who (you will recall) are never wrong.

In the face of York’s stunned dismissals of his first sally, Lampley has gotten a bit more substantive and pulled back from the edge of drooling nonsense. Could it have been an opening feint? He is a boxing commentator.

So he didn’t surrender, and I’m still reading. But I sense that JL is a guy who you know will simply never acknowledge a basic mistake in his own thinking or misperception of something key; he’ll just keep finding ways to prop up the storyline he likes. It’s an incredibly common trend on the left, and to become a public spokesman for this perspective is a viable career move. I think it’s what Keith Olbermann has considered doing.

I don’t think it’s pure cynicism, but I think it’s some.

As you may know, a gathering aspect of the conservative self-image is “we can’t be like the left.”

Meaning: convulsively aggressive against the other point of view, illogical, closed-minded, smug, ignorant. A mix of those things. Not that everyone’s like that over there, seen from the perspective of wherever I am. Although I would observe that as you lose those traits, it becomes harder to remain on the hard left. Passion against our national crimes is what defines the left these days, and as you calm down you start seeing the explanations for the crimes, in most cases, or the other side of the story, in most cases, and you realize that true crime is rarer than you thought, and even occurs in some places you never thought to look before.

So I feel compelled to not be like them and to check out Jim Lampley’s case. Maybe I will employ the rope-a-dope.