NY Giants fans loath the Philadelphia Eagles. Boston Red Sox fans despise the NY Yankees. Carl Edwards fans hate Kyle Busch. Jerry Lawler fans wanted Andy Kaufman's blood. They not only enjoy seeing their team beat the rival, but enjoy seeing anybody beat the rival. Back when the Cowboys were perennial champs, it was common to hear somebody say, "I root for my team and for whoever is playing the Cowboys." These fans delight at their rivals' misfortunes.
While all this is good fun and helps build hype for the big game\big race\big match, it's the actual contest that determines the outcome, not the opinions of the observers. The contest is not fought in the press or fan sites. Oh, if politics could be that simple.
It has become impossible for anybody on the Right to criticize a Republican, or praise a Democrat. Do so, and you risk the wrath of Boss Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, et. al. What's more, the bloggy right and conservative pundits look for increasingly vapid criticisms of the smallest details. Consider "Mustardgate". President Obama and Vice President Biden went to a local DC eatery this week for a photo op. Obama ordered a burger with Dijon mustard. The next day,
Crooks and Liars posted a roundup of right-wing pundits criticizing the president for his choice of condiments:
Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh Show guest host Mark Steyn criticized Obama as an elitist because he ordered a burger with "spicy mustard" or "Dijon mustard." Hannity claimed that Obama ordered a "fancy burger" with a "very special condiment," while Steyn asserted Obama is trying "to enlighten us" through his order. Ingraham asked of Obama: "What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup but Dijon mustard?"Wha? You're kidding, right? Of all the major issues we face, they jump on condiments? Oh well, another silly comment from one of the most partisan talking heads in broadcasting, no surprises. It's a silly issue that will die soon. Nope.
The next day in Huffington Post, Jason Linkins posted a roundup of wingnut Dijon detractors as well as a post spirited defense of burger mustard, including a link to David Frumm, who points out that mustard is the condiment of choice in Texas.
The state of political discourse has gotten ridiculous. My team is great. Everything they do is smart, right, just, and good for the country. Your team sucks. Everything they do (and I do mean EVERYTHING) is stupid, wrong, unjust, and bad for the country.
How are we going to fix our problems when we spend so much time on petty sniping?