My friend Peter Richardson, on the politics of cool:
[M]illions of Americans are more comfortable with plain style. For them, the truth has already been provided (often through revelation), so arguments based on evidence are pointless -- worse than pointless, actually, because they can only move people away from the truth.
The theology behind plain style, I would add, has two political corollaries. First, politicians who accept this received truth are given wide latitude, even when they display little or no control over policy issues, history, geography, language, science, etc. What matters is what's in their hearts. Second, compromises with those who don't accept this received truth degrade it and are therefore unacceptable. …
In short, liberals and conservatives aren't even playing the same language game. Worse, what counts as success in the liberal arena -- a well supported and sophisticated analysis -- is a resounding defeat in the conservative one. This makes reasoned debate, the liberal's strong suit, counterproductive. Compromise, the basis for much workaday politics, is also off the table because conservatives regard it as a spiritual sell-out. If we liberals also renounce polemic, we have little left in our toolkit -- unless we think nightly doses of television satire will sway voters searching for their pitchforks.