‘Chief, Put Out the Fire, Will Ya?’ How the Left Has Channeled Sam Quint

quintWhen you write about politics and debate issues as often I do, you tend to form a pretty good understanding of the opposing traits that make conservatives and liberals two very different types of people. Thus, when you have a friendly discussion with someone you don’t know very well, you might find yourself taking note of the subtle things they say or do that might tip off where they stand politically.

It’s a trivial exercise, really. I’ve always been of the opinion that someone’s political leanings have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not they’re a good or bad person. In fact, I’d say it’s the last thing people should precondition a friendship on. Some of my best friends happen to be ultra-liberal, after all.

Still, you sometimes can’t help but deduct who is an ideological ally and who is an ideological foe.

Some of us even go as far as to seek out ideological allegiances with fictitious characters from television or movies. I often hear people on the left hailing Andrew Shepherd from The American President as their ideal liberal leader. Righties tend to look to roles cast more in the mold of 24‘s Jack Bauer.

I don’t typically put much thought into which made-up people are most likely to stand shoulder to shoulder with me at a political rally, but I must admit that the other night, I did just that.

It might have been because I had just finished some back and forth, online-debating (if you can call it that) with some of this website’s regular liberal visitors, but something caused me to look at one of the all-time great screen-characters in a whole different light.

One of my favorite films is Jaws, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece about a gigantic shark that is terrorizing the small community of Amity Island. So when I came across the movie on television a few nights ago, I couldn’t help but stay up and watch the last half of it.

Though it was Jaws‘ nail-biting suspense and frightening shark scenes that made the movie a summer blockbuster many years ago, it was the dynamic between the film’s three key characters that turned it into a classic.

One of those characters is Sam Quint, the salty shark-hunter played brilliantly by actor Robert Shaw. Shaw steals many of the film’s scenes with his blunt demeanor and off-color sense of humor.

Politically, Quint initially seems like an obvious conservative. He’s a rugged individualist. He’s an entrepreneur and a capitalist, owning his own business and maximizing his profits based on demand. He’s a man who clearly recognizes the incompetence of government, knowing all along that the local police and the island’s mayor are ill-equipped to deal with their town’s deadly serious shark problem.

But as the movie progresses, an awful lot of similarities begin to emerge between Quint and today’s progressive left. For starters, he has a real problem admitting that the things he’s doing just aren’t working. He demonizes those who offer better solutions, letting his passion, pride, and desire to make a name for himself outweigh all reason. Most notably, he distracts others away from the topic at hand when he knows he’s losing the debate.

This has been a real hallmark of the left in recent years – the refusal to debate a topic based on its merits. Instead, liberals often interject completely irrelevant issues into a discussion in order to redirect the conversation away from any meaningful dialogue.

Just like Quint repeatedly distracts Chief Brody every time the chief tries to use Quint’s radio to call for help, the professional left changes the channel to a different station whenever the arguments being made against their side are making too much sense.

If the topic is the bad economy and high unemployment, we hear about a War on Women. If the topic is the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, we hear about the need for a “larger discussion” regarding who should be eligible for that status in the first place. If the topic is the Benghazi cover-up, we hear all of the left-wing parrots hyping some list of 50 or so individual acts of overseas violence that took place during the Bush era. If the topic is unsustainable entitlement programs exploding our national debt, we hear about how expensive the Iraq war was.

The brazenness and consistency of it is truly remarkable.

Imagine if, during the Bush era, every criticism of the administration was addressed by Republicans and conservatives with the counter argument of Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, or the Marc Rich pardon. That’s about where we’re at right now in our national debate. It’s calculated attention deficit disorder.

Sadly, the strategy actually seems to be working for the left, so I don’t see it changing anytime soon. They seem to be able to find a way to successfully cloud just about every serious issue there is, further dumbing-down the American public when it comes to the country’s most important topics. And though we’ve seen the media take a few nibbles at the administration lately, they won’t be playing the role of the great white shark any time soon – at least not until the next Republican president takes office.

For now, we’re stuck on the sinking boat with Quint. I just wish the acting was as good.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • John Daly

    All I ask is that people actually read my columns before they respond to them. Try it some time.

  • John Daly

    You didn’t actually read my column, did you?

  • Wil

    You watch too many movies!

    • John Daly

      Possibly… but Jaws is one of the greats. Easily worth an annual viewing.

      • legal eagle

        Your statement that there is a particular way “left” changes the subject etc.is such a generalization that it’s hard to take your blog too seriously. Facts are facts and hypocrisy is hypocrisy….If you believe Obama is covering up the 4 deaths in Benghazi and I say that Republicans didn’t see any problem in Bush covering up the reasons for invading Iraq resulting in 50,000 Americans dead and wounded that doesn’t change the subject. In the legal world, its called “argument” not evidence….

        • John Daly

          Are you honestly going to lecture me about generalizations, legal eagle? You’ve read that stuff you’ve posted here, right?

          And the Iraq “cover up” is a left-wing fantasy. Being wrong and lying are two very different things.

  • I Hate Fascists

    Let’s have a look at some of your better solutions. Repeal Obamacare. Trickledown economics. The Ryan budget aka Right Wing Social Engineering. Eliminate Medicare. Eliminate Medicaid. Increase defense spending. Repeal Obamacare Persecute gays, Muslims, Mexicans. Repeal Obamacare. Give the Koch Bros a tax cut. Raise taxes on those below the poverty line. Repeal Obamacare. Repeal Dodd-Frank. Castrate the CFPB. Eliminate the EPA, FDA, BATF, and IRS. Declare climate change a hoax. Declare evolution a myth. Ban violent video games and give every little psychopath the real thing. Voter suppression. Voter intimidation. Genetic engineering of the Electoral College. And of course Repeal Obamacare. Listen up you screwball right wingers. You are the Big Red Hate Machine. You are the self proclaimed Stupid And Proud Of It Party. And you will remain as such. You have no other choice. Stupidity and hatred are inbred, in every sense of the word, in you. No one with any sense takes you seriously. Not the media or anyone else. Cry all you want. That is the way it is, that is the way it is going to be, and there is nothing you can do about it. And YOU WILL NEVER EVER EVER EVER TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK.

    • John Daly

      Does someone need a hug?

    • John Daly

      BTW, You do realize that your little side rant here proved precisely the point I made in my column, don’t you?

      • Integrity

        Sadly, there are a few others that miss this point as well. Great article which expresses many of my own views, but only better.

        • John Daly

          Thanks. I appreciate the compliment.

      • I Hate Fascists

        Really? What point is that exactly?

        • John Daly

          Think about it really hard. It will come to you… Meh, probably not.

          • I Hate Fascists

            Exactly. You have no point. How is that some of your best friends are ultra liberal when you believe that liberals are accountable for everything that is wrong with this country? And how do they put up with your sanctimonious preachings? They must be the type of liberals that are timid and submissive. Well I’m the other kind bro.

          • John Daly

            I believe liberals are accountable for everything wrong with this country? Uh, no. They’re just doing the most damage by far. And my liberal friends run the spectrum. A few are even hardcore activists.

            The obvious point you missed is that people like you can’t debate the topic at hand, and instead throw out completely unrelated things as your rebuttal. You could have replied in a way that refuted the point I made in my column, but you didn’t. Maybe you couldn’t. Instead, you went off on some Chris Matthews-like rant about everything you hate about conservatives (more accurately the things you ‘think’ conservatives believe in).

            Like I said, you proved my point.

          • I Hate Fascists

            You are a riot Alice. Proved your point? The one you admit could be (and was) easily refuted? The “topic at hand” would seem to be that liberals demonize your “better solutions”. Is repealing Obamacare (38 times) a better solution? Is trickledown economics a better solution? The Ryan Budget aka Right Wing Social Engineering? etc. etc. Well you and your “better solutions” got your tushes kicked in November. Is that an “unrelated point”? And you will continue losing elections as long as you remain the self-proclaimed Stupid Party. Is that an “unrelated point”? And you will remain the Stupid Party because stupidity is inbred in you. Is that an “unrelated point”? Now turning to your so-called liberal friends. Since attacking liberals is a full time job for you, why would anyone not assume that you think they are doing all the damage? But that is very benevolent of you. How much damage exactly do you think liberals are responsible for? 90%? 80%? If you believe that, why would you want them as friends? And who do you think is doing the rest of the damage? How much damage do you think the right wing is doing?

          • John Daly

            You did it again. lol. Keep going. This is entertaining. The Ryan budget, Obamacare, Bobby Jindal, the election, blah blah blah. I’m starting to believe this is a clinical problem.

            You guys don’t even try to deny the problem my column pointed out. You just continue to substantiate it. This is great.

          • John Daly

            Let me extend an olive branch IHF, just because I think you’re a sweet kid…
            The column was about the problem with lefties like yourself side-stepping the topic of discussion, and instead going off in some other direction because you can’t debate the actual argument.

            Read your posts above (especially the first one) and honestly tell me that I’m wrong. You can’t.

          • I Hate Fascists

            The economy? Unemployment? The IRS? Benghazi? We have had many lively discussions on these and other topics, and I have never side stepped any of them. You could look it up, as they say. You on the other hand have side stepped all my questions.

          • I Hate Fascists

            Lord have mercy. Now listen up. “…demonizes those who offer better solutions” This is in your column right? “…distracts others away from the topic at hand when he knows he’s losing the debate”. This is in your column too right? So I listed out all your “better solutions” and pointed out that the “demonizing” was done in November at the voting booth. You call that “side stepping”? And we didn’t lose the debate. We won the debate, the one that counts, in November right? You call that side stepping? Then to help you out (because I am such a sweet kid), I pointed out that you labeled yourselves the Stupid Party and proceeded to become even stupider. You call that side stepping? And you keep getting stupider you will keep losing elections. Is that side stepping? What do you want to talk about? Jaws? Did you ever see the Monty Python movie where the Black Knight has his arms and legs cut off and wants to keep fighting? That’s what you remind me of.

    • Jeff Webb

      You left out “Repeal Obamacare.”

      Your last sentence is refreshingly honest. Not a whole lot like you make clear your evil intentions to take this country away from the pro-freedom, Constitutional Republic model established by far better people than you.

      Know this: you haven’t “taken” anything yet, and if your side keeps trying to, you’ll learn there most certainly is something we can do about it.

      • I Hate Fascists

        Exactly. What is it now 38 times you tried to repeal Obamacare? You thought for sure you would take the country back in November with the above agenda? That didn’t work out too well for you did it? And you promptly labeled yourself the Stupid Party. So now what exactly do you intend to do about it? There’s only one thing you can do. Get stupider. And keep losing elections.

        • John Daly

          Jeff came up with the label of “Stupid Party”?

          • Jeff Webb

            You know, there actually is an argument for that. Many years ago, a kid in my class I wasn’t too fond of told me his birthday was coming up, and he was thinking about inviting me. I responded, “I don’t want to go to your stupid party!”

            It’s understandable that IHF uses the same phrasing as I did; I was 9 years old.

        • Patrick H.

          I Hate Fascists, you are one of the most hateful bigoted people I have ever heard. You are insane and need to be put in a mental institution, I’m not kidding.

          • John Daly

            Sadly, It’s a classic case of projection pretty much anytime he posts here. Hi screen name has always been the tip-off.

      • legal eagle

        Let’s repeal Medicare and Social Security…Who cares about those old people….Let their kids take care of them…

        • John Daly

          Thanks for being the second person to prove the point of my column.

    • Wheels55

      I’m guessing you weren’t friendly with other kids when they tried to play with you. You probably said “These are my toys, so get away. You will NEVER EVER EVER EVER GET TO TOUCH MY TOYS AGAIN!”.
      By the way, you are sounding very hateful. Don’t make us put you in a time out.

  • Paul Borden

    In addition to the tactic you cite (i.e., changing the subject), those
    on the left have two other favorite tactics. Point out something is
    wrong, and when they can’t deny it, they simply say, “Your guy (usually
    Bush) did it, too.” So two wrongs make a right? The other is setting up
    straw men. When the Tea Party argues against higher taxes, the left
    turns the argument into the Tea Party doesn’t want ANY taxes. In the IRS
    case, in the hearings today, Dems tried to claim the Tea Party groups
    et. al. shouldn’t complain because the IRS must check them out before
    granting tax-exempt status. Nobody has a problem with that. The problem
    is the Tea Party groups et. al., were targeted and held to different and
    unfair standards, to put it mildly. Note also that the IRS never denied
    any of these groups tax-exempt status, which could have led to
    challenges and lawsuits, but simply made the process so onerous that the
    groups would drop their requests. BTW, my name is Paul Borden but
    disqus won’t let me change my name.

    • John Daly

      Very true. I wrote a column on the annoying straw man arguments a while back. Annoying stuff for sure.

      http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/calling-for-a-straw-man-candidate-to-enter-the-presidential-race/

      • Paul Borden

        That’s one I must have missed. Sorry!

      • Jeff Webb

        That column was clearly your best one, and that’s not just because the rest of your work is mediocre. ;)

        • John Daly

          lol. Thanks Jeff. I was pretty happy with it at the time, but for whatever reason, it seemed to capture the least amount of notice of just about any of my columns. Oh well. ;)

          • Jeff Webb

            I feel ya. I remember not long ago what a tepid response I got from my self-published book, “The Case for Elevator Flatulence.”

            I just figured the decent, literate people were out of town, leaving the ignorant schmucks in charge. I hope it gave you the same relief.

  • GlenFS

    Doesn’t seem the be any way off that boat. As you said, even the election of responsble people in government only causes the media to grow fangs. Maybe we can hope for a better cast of characters with which to share our plight? You know, some decent folks that the next iteration of suicidal leftists can blame for the mess they made for us all.