|Source: The Daily Beast- Writer Gore Vidal, on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971-|
What I respect probably most about both Gore Vidal when it came to debating and their senses of humor was the way he was able to make points without stating the obvious. He could say things similar to Margaret Thatcher on the right. Where she said that the problem with socialism, is that you eventually run out of other people's money, when a lot of other anti-Socialists would say things like, the problems with socialism is that it spends, taxes and controls too much, that sort of thing.
Whereas someone like a Margaret Thatcher would use humor and get right to the point of it. Gore Vidal and Bill Buckley had similar styles when it came to debating, even though they came from the opposite side of the political spectrum. They could put someone down or crack a joke at their expense, not to destroy them or hurt their feelings but even make them laugh as they were doing it. They could punch their opponents without calling them names. Ron Reagan same thing. He didn't call his political opponents as he called them, not political enemies which is different. He didn't call them idiots, he just said that they know so much that isn't actually true. They believe their own hype and rhetoric and actually take it seriously, which can be a problem in politics.
That's the style of humor and debate that I prefer and practice even though I'm not perfect at it. I try to stay as close to facts as possible, especially when I'm critiquing the opposition, which for me would be right-wingers, whether they are Republican or not. And lately when I'm critiquing the Right, it's been Neoconservatives for the most part unfortunately. Classical Conservatives the Bill Buckely's of the World, seem to be MIA in the Republican Party, which is unfortunate.
But it's not just the right that I critique but I write satires about the, lets say farther left, ( to not offend any of my oversensitive Socialist friends ) while right-wingers have a tendency to call Progressives Communists or Islamic Fascists or any of these labels that aren't true. When it comes to so-called Progressives, ( locked in the closet Socialists, in actuality ) Socialist is accurate except for the Barack Obama's of the world who actually is a Progressive and not a Socialist. ( Newsflash for the Tea Party ) More of a RFK or FDR classical Progressive than anything. I say things like Socialists want to take care of people by spending their money for them.
I try not to make it personal, especially when I'm critiquing the opposition and you can do that by staying as close to the facts as possible. By not name calling, not making it personal, instead of calling someone and idiot or ignorant, try saying something like they would make a great fiction writer. Which is a great way to describe most of the speeches of Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, rather than trying to insult them by name calling.