Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 26, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

TOOTSIE ROLLS....In the New York Times today, Charles Blow describes the caricatures of left and right we'll soon be treated to in the upcoming presidential campaign:

The left will be reduced to fist-bumping blacks and intellectual elites with gun aversions and gay agendas. An amoral, tail-tucking lot that coddles criminals, raises taxes and has gone Chicken Little over global warming.

The right will be lambasted as ultra-conservative cretins who want to conflate the Constitution and the Bible, are pro-life before birth and pro-death after trial and blindly follow war-hungry fear-mongers who obsess over "terrorists" like a Tootsie Roll commercial.

"Obsess over terrorists like a Tootsie Roll commercial"? Huh? What hip new cultural reference am I missing here?

UPDATE: Thanks, commenters! Turns out this isn't a hip new cultural reference, it's a hip retro cultural reference — though I'm not so sure about the "hip" part. Anyway, it comes from a 70s Tootsie Roll jingle:

The world looks mighty good to me
Cause Tootsie Rolls are all I see!
Whatever it is I think I see
Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me!

Naturally, YouTube has the video. Glad we got that straightened out.

Kevin Drum 1:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Comments

The world looks mighty good to me
When Tootsie Rolls are all I see!
Whatever it is I think I see
Becomes a Tootsie Roll to me!

Posted by: rfs on July 26, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Whatever it is I think I see / becomes a Tootsie Roll to me!"

Posted by: Adam Kotsko on July 26, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The description of the right seems right on.
____________________________________________

Posted by: Aris on July 26, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty accurate, too, I'd say, except I'd add for the right that they'll sell our national birthright to their corporate buddies for a song.

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 26, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an anti-war leftie, but I personally think the left has gone a little chicken little over global warming.

Posted by: flubber on July 26, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal,

I agree but don't think that particularly distinguishes them from most of the current crop of "centrists" they refer to as the "Left"..

Posted by: wmac on July 26, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Whatever it is I think I see / becomes a Tootsie Roll to me!"

Posted by: Nony Mouse on July 26, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Another "I must be wise and impartial, for I always Split The Difference!" op ed. Friggin yawn. Other than the word "cretins," I'd say the description of the right is accurate enough and not a caricature at all. I mean, some wingers aren't cretins. Misguided, longing for feudal monarchy, or if they can't quite get back to that at least a decent banana-republic police state. But not cretins. Not all of 'em anyway.

Posted by: DrBB on July 26, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, what you're missing more than anything is the extent to which the "caricature" of the Right is rather more accurate compared to that of the "Left." That's just a matter of fact, not my preferences.

Posted by: Neil B. ♫ on July 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK
The right will be lambasted as ultra-conservative cretins who want to conflate the Constitution and the Bible.

HOW IS THAT A CARICATURE???

Posted by: Anon on July 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

The improbably named Charles M. Blow is a very poor writer and doesn't seem to understand that the Founding Fathers feared "the tyranny of the majority" precisely because most Americans are dumber than a stump and can be led to believe damn near anything out of fear and stupidity.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 26, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

If that is true, CD, then it is very unfortunate that the Democratic Party has worked so hard to expand majority power for more than 70 years.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 26, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

What was most infuriating about that article was that it was headlined "Americans move to middle" and tried to argue that Americans overwhelmingly agree on many big issues that "as a whole, don't neatly line up with either party's platform" -- but then the examples he gave were almost entirely (8 out of 9) views that are characteristic of the left, not the right. So it seems like it should have been headlined "Americans move to left."

Posted by: Clara on July 26, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

. So it seems like it should have been headlined "Americans move to left."

But that would have contradicted the Narrative.

On the tombstone of the Republic will be the epitaph 'Killed By A Story Arc'.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 26, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

People need to check out the jackass stupidity at

http://mccainnow.com/index.php

I came across the Web site by accident looking up someone's name, and it's just awful. It exists, I guess, for dumb postings about how Democrats are afraid, incredibly afraid, of Mike Huckabee, etc., etc., etc.

But let's not forget the incredibly awful graphic of McCain himself. They try to flatter him, but he still looks old and sickly and just weird. Then they surround him with an otherworldly glow. (Is he...Jesus??). And then they give him a backdrop of about a dozen shadowy outlined figures. I guess they're supposed to be McCain supporters rapturously listening to his wisdom at a speech, but they look like evil monsters (zombies? aliens?) in a 1960s horror film--"Children of the Damned," maybe.

Add to that the lame, dumb tagline "keep your faith, keep that courage" (thank you, e.e. cummings-mccain), and you have a many-carat gem of stupidity on so many levels.

Posted by: Anon on July 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen, I think Republicans/conservatives (despite the anti-mob-rule rhetoric) have been in modern times more attracted to direct popular control like petitions, referenda, ballot propositions, etc.

Posted by: Neil B. ♫ on July 26, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Anon I didn't see the shadowy other figures, but did find this idiotic put-down of Obama:

Obama and his Walk to Work and Wear a Sweater Energy Policy
Barack Obama with his "Walk to Work and Wear a Sweater" energy policy is bad enough. Imagine the state of this nation, which still drives the global economy with a President Obama working with the Democratically controlled Congress.
$4.00 a gallon gas will seem like the good old days.

How massively fraudulent. Conserving energy by walking etc. is exactly the best way to quickly reduce demand and thus oil prices. McCain and his Yahoos are willfully deceitful or stupid.

Posted by: ☼ on July 26, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, I would agree that Republicans have an unfortunte populist element. I just thought CD's remarks were odd, since the Democratic Party's greatest source of electoral strength has been for decades been built on the notion that whomever is in the most numerous or powerful faction can obtain smaller factions' wealth. Throw in the total destruction of the Commerce Clause as a limit on majority power in national government, a judicial development always applauded by the Democrats, and I though CD's comments were ironic.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 26, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

The right will be lambasted as ultra-conservative cretins who want to conflate the Constitution and the Bible, are pro-life before birth and pro-death after trial and blindly follow war-hungry fear-mongers who obsess over "terrorists" like a Tootsie Roll commercial.

And you know, that's really too bad. Because focusing on the fact that they are rigid, narrow-minded, and not all that smart just detracts attention from the epic fail of their ideology, policies, and actions.

Posted by: Jennifer on July 26, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen wrote: "... the Democratic Party's greatest source of electoral strength has been for decades been built on the notion that whomever is in the most numerous or powerful faction can obtain smaller factions' wealth."

Under the US Constitution, the Congress has the power to levy taxes, and the power to spend tax revenues lawfully to promote the general welfare. So-called "libertarians" whose "libertarianism" has no actual content other than a monomaniacal hatred of taxes, have long described this arrangement in the terms that you use here.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 26, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

If you take the average xenophobe and watch that beloved old commercial the xenophobe can imagine the tootsie rolls as terrorists or black people!

Posted by: William on July 26, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Dustin Hoffman was excellent in the "Tootsie" role.

Posted by: navamske on July 26, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

The difference is that the so-called "left" will be "lambasted" by the corporate-owned mass media, from which most Americans get most of their information, as well as by the corporate-funded right-wing propaganda machine which works in close coordination with the corporate-owned "mainstream" media. Meanwhile, the so-called "right" will be "lambasted" on a few blogs and independent media outlets that are read by fairly small numbers of people.

The corporate-owned mass media does not "lambaste" the "right" -- on the contrary, they work hard to legitimize the "right" as part of mainstream political discourse, while excluding, marginalizing and ridiculing the "left" as beyond the bounds of legitimate debate.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 26, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Fat White Guy,

No, not sprinting, just a measured pace. You must know the old joke about the two bulls on the hill? Well, you're one of the Heifers down in the valley. Laugh it up, because you're about to be f*cked six ways to Sunday.

Posted by: on July 26, 2008 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

And I'd love to see the Republicans who have the guts to break ranks - because you know there's Dems who do - but gosh, they aren't McCain, 'cause ever since this campaign started, he's done everything he can to not be independent.

Posted by: Crissa on July 26, 2008 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

mudwall jackson: i'll say this for both mhr and john bolton: they're pseudo intellectuals of the first rate.

You're being generous. While they once may have been sentient and motile, after 20+ years in a freezer, suffering from self-inflicted hypoxia and hypothermia, the most charitable description really disgusting icky stuff. They should have been hauled off as hazmat/biohazard and declared a national security threat long ago. Or maybe the administration sees them as the last line of defense.

Posted by: on July 26, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

As the actual singer of that jingle in 1976 I have had more than 30 years to consider those lyrics, and I have to say that analogy falls a little flat with me. For one thing it minimizes the long-term significance of the jingle in American history. However, if he want to record a version, I'm available. Oh, I assure you though, the reference is hip.

Posted by: Tootsie Roll Girl on July 26, 2008 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Tootsie Roll Girl -- Speaking as one of those on the receiving end, living with that running through our heads for decades has not been a pleasant experience.

And don't give us that "it minimizes the long-term significance of the jingle in American history". If anything, it elevates it to current relevance and cements its place in American history, even if unjustifiable. Moreover, have you considered the number of brain cells that have been occupied by that ditty, the reduction in national IQ, and what we could have accomplished had those cells been focused elsewhere?

Say what you will, but your words ring hollow. History strongly suggests that we should have elevated Cheetos above the Tootsie Roll as the preeminent bulwark of God and Right. Had we been more forward looking and our brain cells not so preoccupied and distracted by your tune, we might better have our attention focused on that which threatens us today.

Yet you say you are "available". Ha! Tempt us not! What agenda are you hiding? You beguile and inveigle us with a return to the Golden Age, with your sweet echoes of times past. Yet by your post here you have clearly shown your liberal left-leaning bonafides. As if... as you still try and distract us from the issues at hand?

It's Cheeto's I say! Cheeto's! There lies our destiny! Oh you Tootsie Roll Cassandra! For shame! Begone you of soft and chewy! It is the crunchy that is our challenge, for which we yearn, which you shall not be pry from our cold dead fingers, and for which we shall not perish from this earth in pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in order to form a more perfect snack.

Posted by: on July 26, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

So how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

Posted by: Jet on July 26, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

What hip new cultural reference am I missing here?

Actually, it's more like the hip replacement culture.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on July 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

But I was nine, I got McDonalds for lunch, and there was a free pinball machine in the recording studio. How could I resist the temptations? I'm only human.

Who cares about the implications anyway. Politics/shmolitics. Maybe once removed, but I was used as a cultural reference in the New York Times today. My jingle will outlive McCain and Obamma; it may even outlive the war. Keep you Cheetos. How cool am I?

Posted by: Tootsie Roll Girl on July 26, 2008 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Tootsie Roll Girl -- Yes, let's hope this war has a very short life, and your jingle outlives this conflict for many many years. Peace.

Posted by: on July 27, 2008 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, SA, I know your dishonest method of Constitutional interpretation takes the phrase "general welfare" to render the rest of document meaningless. Congraulations. The fellas in Philadelphia, in your view, could have written the document up in about ten minutes, between rounds, by simply saying "Congress may do whatever it wishes if it claims to be promoting the general welfare." I guess they were just killing time for the rest of the summer.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 27, 2008 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

The presidential candidates bring it on themselves.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said in an interview published on Saturday the size of a residual U.S. force left in Iraq after the withdrawal of combat troops would be "entirely conditions-based." In comments seized upon by the campaign of Republican rival John McCain, Obama told Newsweek Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki recognized Iraq was "going to need our help for some time to come."


Even though he voted to bring the troops out immediately, and even though he isn't convinced that the surge was effective, Obama will keep the troops there as long as Iraq needs our help. Does "some time" mean "a long time" as in common parlance, or does it mean "some time decided in advance"? Clarifications galore soon to come.

Of course, McCain doesn't get off Scot-free (hmm, I wonder if that expression is hate speech, like "black hole"), but you guys showcase his statements.

because you know there's Dems who do [have the guts to break ranks].

Most prominently, Joe Lieberman breaking ranks on the Iraq War issue.

Posted by: on July 27, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Putting my own personal agenda as a cultural icon aside, I think parody is precisely right (correct). At least as it applies to the public's perception on the issues. It is the parties themselves that have led to the parody. They minimize the concerns and beliefs of the people and bring their rhetoric to that condescending level - thus bringing themselves to the point they imagine us to be. It would be insulting if you don't see it for what it is. But then the media responds to these childish interpretations and we have constant chatter above our heads, but below our minds.

They play us for fools, and it is easy to become one. It's quite a feat to fight against the machine. It's a vicious circle. But it is important to remember this is an advertising language. Few believe the people or the issues are the boiled down bits as described in this article. Even on a gut level, we all know the problems are complex and there is more than one dimension to everyone and everything involved.

But appreciating that wouldn't make a snappy op ed jingle.

Posted by: Tootsie Roll Girl on July 27, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I like caricatures, and the NYTimes cover was a classic.

I think that the editorials, like this one, will in the long run have more effect:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/opinion/27rich.html?_r=3&ref=opinion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

"hapless" doesn't begin to describe the McCain campaign.

Matthew R. Marler

Posted by: on July 27, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Will Allen wrote: "I know your dishonest method of Constitutional interpretation takes the phrase 'general welfare' to render the rest of document meaningless."

You don't "know" any such thing. You are just cutting and pasting rote pseudo-libertarian boilerplate: taxation is tyranny, with or without representation. At least a mugger doesn't make me call him my "sovereign". Blah blah blah.

Frankly I've heard it too many times to find it even slightly interesting any more. As far as I'm concerned it's just a lot of whining from people who want to enjoy the benefits of living in a decent society but don't want to bear any of the costs.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 27, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, no, SA. I've never said taxation was tyranny. You are lying. Why?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 28, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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