In recent months the brand-R talking point heads have descended into a new form of the old Two Minutes Hate technique. It consists of dissecting the brand-D candidates while laughing insanely.
Hannity is the simplest: Oh, that Obama character, hahaahaaaHAAAARRR! He's a real piece of work, hahaahaaaHAAAARRR! He's gonna take us straight into Socialism, hahaahaaaHAAAARRR! by raising our taxes, hahaahaaaHAAAARRR!
Beck has a wider variety of noises. Taking apart Joe Biden's acceptance speech: "From Afghanistan to Iraq," EEEEErrrgghh! My head is exploding! "From Amtrak," GGGHHHAAAARRRgh! AMTRAK? AMTRAK? AMTRAK? When did Amtrak ever make a profit? Have you seen an Amtrak train?
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This technique can backfire. It gives the listener a chance to think about the speech being ridiculed.
Take Amtrak. I hadn't probed this point before, but listening to Beck's squawking made me stop and think.
Is this really a good comparison?
Does highway travel earn a profit? No.
So why should train travel be expected to earn a profit?
All forms of travel are subsidized in one way or another, because freight and passenger transportation are critically necessary to a functional nation, and all forms require an organized infrastructure that is beyond the capabilities of companies operating in pure competition.