With Friends Like These, Coakley Doesn’t Need Enemies

This diary is going to be short, a quick lesson in how not to win an argument.

If you want people to consider your point of view on a particular political issue, you might want to be rational, engaging and above all respectful.

Like this now-famous diary from realworld, which outlines their views on the Coakley race and why they cannot support her. Politely presenting an argument, with emotion but without insults.

Or this diary from Nathan Aschbacher on the strategic implications of voting for, or against, Coakley. Rational, fact-based, with details on Coakley’s financing presented in the comments, even a fun little ascii graph on voting preferences.

Alternately, you could condescend to your audience, comparing them to delusional children living in a fantasy world, like the diary Tbogg cited in response to realworld. (Bonus points here for recycling an absurdist put-down of Nader-supporting liberals to bash Coakley-skeptics a year later. Write once, alienate twice.)

Or perhaps you prefer to be explicit and call them infantile, political idiots and spurned children, like Jason Rosembaum did in his response to realworld and comments on their initial diary.

Maybe you want to mix the ‘grow the fuck up’ message with a little light Obama criticism, while being sure to condemn your target audience as irrational extremists, like Blue Texan did here.

The very first things I ever read on the Coakley race, beyond the fact that it existed, were diaries like these. In them, I saw a consistent pattern: Coakley skeptics were polite, rational, open for discussion and wanting dialogue. Coakley backers were angry, smug, insulting and rude.

Every article I read about Brown shows him to be a thuggish simpleton, a bully who should be kept as far away from power as possible. So why is it that almost every diary I read in support of Coakley is characterized by.. thuggish, bullying behavior? Why is it that almost every pro-Coakley piece I’ve read on this site makes me LESS inclined to give her a chance? Bearing in mind that I’m not even the target of their wrath (not being a MA voter), it starts to feel remarkably personal.

So yes; with friends like these, Martha Coakley has no need for enemies.

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