Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A "Conversation" With Dana Loesch

So someone posted video of Dana Loesch starting an argument with me at the 9/12 tea party rally. I know the chest-thumping macho thing to say would be that I completely destroyed her in conversation, but I actually think the conversation was mostly pretty useless. Yes, most of her talking points were idiotic and yes, I stood my ground and tried to point out how idiotic they were, but she's been trained as a right-wing pundit in how to continually change the subject and talk over the other person, so I don't think the conversation was ever really able to go anywhere interesting. Nevertheless, I also don't think I did badly nor do I think she made any substantive points. But I thought it might help to clarify some of the points from the conversation to show just how ridiculous she was being.

First, here's the video:

Some points about the conversation:
  • The reason I hesitated about whether I'm "a Washington University employee" is because I'm on dissertation fellowship this year, so I actually was not sure whether I would be classified as an employee. However, I am pretty sure that I'm not considered "staff." It's not because I was trying to "conceal my identity" as they claim. And for the bazillionth time, I'm not, "using the university's resources to smear and libel private citizens."
  • Speaking of which, she's still ridiculously claiming that I "libel" and "defame" her by responding to her public political statements. She also claims that responding to her opinions is equivalent to "stalking" her. On this definition, I am also "stalking" Bill Hennessy, Ed Martin, Roy Blunt, Jim Hoft, Adam Sharp, etc. etc. etc. And, for that matter, Dana Loesch is "stalking" Eric Boehlert and President Obama. She sure as hell would be "stalking" Russ Carnahan when she burned a picture of him and said, "This is how a fire smells when it's burning Tyranny" on this definition. But on the real definition, it's not stalking to criticize other people's political viewpoints that they state on blogs or on Twitter. Most people with even a modicum of intelligence realize that once you put a political opinion out on Twitter, people are going to read and respond to it. Likewise, it's not "libel" to use evidence to point out when other people are wrong.
  • As I say in the conversation, all of this blabber about "stalking" and "libel" is an attempt by Loesch to shut down political discourse, and shows just how scared she is of having people actually analyze her comments.
  • She said I tried to expose "payola situations" and hence was "coming after her job." Well, sorry, but if her husband's business Shock City Studios gets $5,000 from Ed Martin and she fails to disclose that while giving Martin favorable coverage, then I'm going to mention it (BTW, Chad Garrison and another reporter who wasn't in a position to write about it agreed that this was a newsworthy story). It's called "a conflict of interest" and most people are capable of recognizing clear instances of it.
  • She thought she was clever by saying that the Congressional Black Caucus also made a video there so, "does that mean she's in the pocket of the CBC?" But, as I said in the video, I think the rules would be exactly the same. If she was reporting on the CBC, then she would have a duty to disclose that she had a financial conflict of interest. Transparency isn't only a good thing for the government. It's also quite an important feature of a well-functioning media. I tried to explain this to her but her Fox News Guide to Conversation kicked in and she simply ignored my point multiple times before changing the subject.
  • She says that I "attack them personally" but "never address the merits of their ideas." Hilarious.
  • Dana alluded to the right-wing conspiracy theory that health care reform is "unconstitutional." As I point out, this is not true according to the dominent interpretation of the commerce clause:
    While I agree that the recent commerce clause cases hold that Congress may not regulate noneconomic activity, as such, they also state that Congress may reach otherwise unregulable conduct as part of an overarching regulatory scheme, where the regulation of such conduct is necessary and proper to the success of such scheme. In this case, the overall scheme would involve the regulation of "commerce" as the Supreme Court has defined it for several decades, as it would involve the regulation of health care markets. And the success of such a regulatory scheme would depend upon requiring all to participate. (Among other things, if health care reform requires insurers to issue insurance to all comers, and prohibits refusals for pre-existing conditions, then a mandate is necessary to prevent opportunistic behavior by individuals who simply wait to purchase insurance until they get sick.)
  • Finally, her comment about "poll numbers" was a complete distraction. We were discussing whether the law was unconstitutional, not whether it was popular. Incidentally, the latest poll shows a very small difference between the number who view it favorably and those who view in unfavorably, 43-45.

  • Anyway, watch the video, judge for yourself. I think at the very least it's mildly entertaining.


    1. Great job, Adam. She really didn't make any convincing arguments, in my opinion, and I am so tired of her talking about paying her own way when she has accepted government assistance in the past.


      That said, you're right on the commerce clause. I had a law prof tell my class once that the commerce clause is pretty much the federal government's excuse to get into whatever business it wants.

      Anyway, kudos. You did a great job and represented!

    2. nice work wading through rhetoric echo chamber Adam, I'm always amazed at how far folks from the right wing will go to supress conversation and debate even before real issues can be discussed... Dana wanted to shut you down before anything of substance could be talked about

      Anyways, kudos to you for going and engaging folks

      Was that Sharp yelling at you to 'get a job' and 'graduate already'? Sounded like him but it was off camera and hard to tell...

    3. Here is the problem:

      Dana Losesh has a rock star, GOP vagina and you don't Adam.

      I am not trying to be silly or insulting to women, but the GOP loves these women that they put out in front of their 50+ white male base. She is the queen Tea Bee and you saw how all those worker wasps circled around to protect her.

      I hate to say it you used intelligence and words to confront her; however, the neanderthals nearby were in a daze listening to you. They just saw your "communist-like" beard and thought, "I sure like that black nail polished, tattoo arm, vagina lady much better than him."

      I only say this because you were out vagina'ed Adam. You definitely outsmarted her by 1000 times with facts, language and discourse.

    4. I think you should have a substantial conversation with her. But there should be rules of debate engaged, rather than yelling and finger pointing on her part. She was on her home turf, with lots of backers standing next to her and if you want to have a conversation, you need to be on equal ground and not in a crowd situation, so perhaps you should invite her to a conversation. All this online stuff only breeds hate and she clearly disliked you to begin with.

    5. That was an extremely difficult and irritating video to sit through. Talking to Loesch in that environment you couldn't have expected anything different.

      Did you talk to other people at the rally? I imagine you could have had some nice conversations with the others so long as they didn't immediately seize up and go on the defensive/offensive because they knew who you were.

    6. Vanessa, I'm happy to debate her under the conditions you suggest. But it'd be even easier for her to simply respond with a blog post. I personally think conversations via the internet are more productive because all of the references are there for people to see: the discussion is not dependent on arguing about what the exact quote of some politician is because you can link to the exact quote. But, conversations in person have more entertainment value, I suppose.

    7. Chris, why yes indeed, I had several nice conversations, including one with the guy in sunglasses standing behind Dana in the video (to her right). A great many people I spoke with were nice and interested in having a real conversation. It seemed like it really was the organizers of the event that were obnoxious: they followed me and others around with signs that said "Communist Infiltrator" and "Soros Paid Stooge." I think they were the ones name-calling and making angry comments like "get a job."

    8. I love how she checks her big super-duper punk rock watch once the guy in the orange shirt starts "schooling (I hate that term)" her on polls. Who was he anyway? He seemed to be on her side until she kept talking and then he was all "actually I agree with him (Adam) on that" and completely sidetracks her.
      I dont get how she feels she is a private citizen being stalked, when she is only being critiqued on things she says publically as part of her job as a political pundit! Reading and critizing her PUBLIC blogs be they political or mommy is not stalking or cyberbullying! Doenst she want page views?
      She wants to know why you wont debate her on her policies or the merit of her ideas.. what ideas? What policies has the TP proposed other than "NO" to anything and everything that Dems try to do? Thats not a policy or a meritable idea to debate.
      I think its probably true that the individual TPers are sincere in their desires, I think the STLTP leadership is GOP-business-as-usual.

    9. Anon, actually the guy you are referring to is Kenny Murdock. He hosts a radio show on 920 AM: http://www.wgnu920am.com/index.php?option=com_sermonspeaker&task=latest_sermons&id=10023&Itemid=64 . He seemed like a very cool guy... described himself as a moderate but was interested in having intelligent discussions about the issues. I was able to speak with him for a while after Dana left.

    10. LOL to Show Me No Hate's comment above. It's so true.

      Good job to you, Adam. I think you did great, especially considering the circumstances. I think conversations like that are so useless in general, I agree that a blog post would be more productive. It was certainly entertaining, though!

      Now, can you please address the "Sounding Fathers?" Is Chris Loesch the head singer for that band? Other than being ridiculous, I find it curious that Dana has never mentioned that her husband is the front man of that act. I wonder if they were paid for their appearance at the rally.

      You have to give the Loesch's credit for being excellent opportunists. They are riding this Tea Party trend all the way to the bank.

    11. I also hate how she thinks everyone is in this for the fame, just because she is. No, some people are politically active because they care! Not for money, TV appearances, retweets, fancy hair treatments or any of the rest of it. Being on TV or having 10000 twitter followers doenst make you more legit than anyone else. I get so tired of the too-cool-for-school attitude, I dont think it helps anyones cause.

    12. Sara, to be fair, I think that Dana did say that her husband was the lead singer of the band. However, you're quite right that she and the other leaders of the St. Louis tea party are riding this thing to the bank. And I can tell you that there are several local conservatives who feel that way about the St. Louis tea party as well.

    13. Thanks for clearing that up. The band is so funny. Those wigs...the ridiculousness kills me.

    14. It's impossible to have a meaningful conversation with someone who won't stop yelling and interrupting you. I thought you did a fine job of seeming sane and rational in the face of her blustering bellicose rhetoric, Adam. Unfortunately, it seems that to the St. Louis Tea Party organizers, speaking calmly and rationally about politics is the equivalent of collapsing and crying. Yet if you had yelled and interrupted as much as Dana did I have no doubt they would have called you unhinged and threatening. There is just no way to win with these folks, because they are not interested in rational discussion.

      Also, I want to note that Dana Loesch accuses EVERYONE who publicly criticizes her of stalking and libel, not just Adam. She seems to have a really difficult time accepting the fact that as a public figure who speaks publicly about politics, she is (LEGALLY) subject to a certain level of public scrutiny and public criticism by others.

      She has accused me of libel and I don't even write about her that often.

    15. Hi Adam, I'm the guy in the sunglasses who was standing next to Dana. I'm not a tea partier. I'm a veteran of the Iraq War and while I consider myself a moderate, there is no doubt that most of the tea partiers would consider me a liberal. I came to the tea party as a student of political science and was lucky to walk right up on this confrontation by accident. Unfortunately the video cuts off just before I shoo away the rude old man telling Dana not to waste her time talking to "these people". I tried my best to keep you from getting shouted down. Kenny and Dana were actually starting to have a decent discussion before the down-shouters ruined it. I made a comment to Dana (I had no idea who she was at the time) that I'd like to see more of the more rational discussion she was beginning to have with Kenny (I found out his name after). I even told Dana that she should tell the down-shouters that she can handle this without their help, and allow you and Kenny to be heard. Its not like she needed any help from the crowd. She kind of looked at me like I was from outer space. That might be because she new from my appearance and tone that I'm one of "the other". At the very least, you deserve kudos for walking into the lion's den. I was pretty nervous in the middle of that crowd. I felt like it could turn ugly any second. It was nice to meet you and Kenny. I have a lot of thoughts on this I'd like to share.

    16. Oops, that last "new" was a typo. Should have been a "knew."

    17. There sure was a big distance between Dana and Gina Louden that day. Later Gina had on her Facebook wall:
      "The beauty of years in politics and a fun run in the Capitol is that you know the prize goes to those who rise above, stay humble and focused, and don't compromise with evil. If only all the good guys could get that before they lose everything."
      No sign of Louden at the tea party headquarters "grand opening the next day either.
      There were only a couple grassroot leaders introducted by Dana on stage at the tea party, but their websites and other websites list dozens of them. Then you just know Dana makes friends all over the place. She needs to return her too-cool-for-school attitude to the actual owner.

    18. You know I'm from the opposite side, even so-you did a fine job of being calm and rational in the face of our favorite STL shrieking harpy.

      In reading the comments, I feel obligated to once again point out that there is a *great divide* between the TPers and Republicans. The STL Teeps are behind Ed Martin because he's really one of theirs more than ours.

      The situation with Rove (rightly) analyzing the crackpot in Delaware this week, also illustrates the great divide. He's been broiled alive for being honest about the candidate's shady history and lack of integrity. I've heard numerous comments this week from locals and Internet types both, explaining that a candidate's background doesn't matter--it only matters that she will vote the way she's told to. (WHAT?? By whom??) President Obama's background was relevant, as any candidate's should be.

      The TPers are radicals, with lots of religion thrown in. They want to drag us all morally to the right, where they believe a downsized govt will be better utilized to legislate morality for us all. Ick. Ick. Moderate Republicans don't want that! Independents don't want it. People should be very wary of the "leaderless" "grassroots" Tea Party (which just opened an office this week in Sout STL!).

      People are lemmings, and people like the Loeschs are smart enough to exploit the lemmings. Every time.

      Perhaps this calendar will interest some of you:


      I cite it because viewers can clearly see the religious undertones exposed in the events-and a quick look at the rest of the site shows how the volunteers are identified as "Liberty Evangelists"---charged with handing out pocket constitutions (which they must fundraise to provide).


    19. Dana turned up on a chat forum in June 2009 about three days *after* I posted some comments about her TP activities. She accused me of stalking her.

      She didn't use her real name, and pretended like it wasn't her. When I clicked into her profile, she'd mistakenly set up her account to show her email address (dloesch@blahblah.bla).

      I still get a laugh out of that one.

      She had to be searching her name to find it. Typical fame whore.

    20. Maybe Dana should follow her own advice.

      Madonna defends adoption
      By Dana Loesch
      10/25/2006 4:15 pm

      Addendum: Oprah’s also interviewing the Dixie Chicks, who said that they are not ready to “make nice.” That’s fine, I’m not ready to watch you further exhibit more zeal than knowledge in a shrill little parrot voice, Natalie Maines. Good gawd, I cannot stand those preacher-entertainers. Shut up and make music. If you want to spout politics, run for office. I listen to music to ESCAPE that.

      So Dana, many of us can't stand you acting as a false prophet/entertainer on your radio show.

      If YOU want to spout politics, run for office. If not, STFU. Right?

    21. I'm not sure if Dana knows that a web log is actually a public thing. It isn't a private journal, its a public log of information. "Stalking a Mom Blog" is an oxymoronic statement straight from the mouth of a _______.