Category Archive 'Talking Points Memo'

20 Jan 2011

Palin Upsets Progressives

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Via Ka-Ching!

At Talking Points Memo, progressive Josh Marshall engages in some serious navel-gazing on the question of whether all the negative attacks on Sarah Palin by leftist blogs are giving her attention and inadvertently increasing her influence and inflating her importance.

Frequently a reader will write in to say, “Why are you giving her so much attention? You’re just pumping her up. If you and the other places would stop giving her so much oxygen, she and her whole circus would just wither away.”

I don’t know which circle of the hell of myopia you need to be residing in to think like this. But it’s very deep in there, I assure you. Much as I love this thing our team has created, I assure you that Palin’s popularity, notoriety, footprint on the public stage is quite independent of TPM. Indeed, TPM and a dozen other similar or not so similar publications you can find on the web. Palin is such a big deal because she’s got a chunk of the political nation that is very, very into her. She resonates deeply with her core supporters. She’s one of those people who cuts an electric figure on the public stage because she slices right through the society and generates one intense response from one side and a completely opposite but equally intense response from the other. And she says, let’s be honest, a lot of really crazy stuff.

This is actually a real blind spot for liberals in general — the idea that things that are crazy or tawdry or just outrageous are really best ignored. Don’t give them more attention. You’re just giving them what they want. Or maybe it’s not so practical and utilitarian. Maybe, they say, it’s just beneath us. Focus on the important stuff.

On so many levels this represents an alienation from the popular political culture which is not only troubling in itself but actually damages progressive and center-left politics in general no end. It’s almost the fatal flaw. Democrats often console themselves that even when they don’t win elections, usually their individual policies are more popular than those of Republicans. Too bad you can’t elect a policy. It’s true for instance that Health Care Reform — which still has more opponents than supporters — is pretty popular when you ask people about its individual components. But why is that? It’s not random, because that pattern crops up again and again. It’s another one of the examples where liberals — or a certain strain of liberalism — focuses way too much on the libretto of our political life and far too little on the score. It’s like you’re at a Wagner opera reading the libretto with your ear plugs in and think you’ve got the whole thing covered.

It is a lot of fun to see the progressive rats furiously spinning the wheels in their cages over Sarah Palin.

Palin’s ability to cause progressives generally to behave like roaches that have had 100% pure methedrine dropped on their carapaces is really, in my view, her most delightful talent.

Hat tip to Rodger Kamenetz.

26 Jan 2010

Laurie Mylroie and Neocon Conspiracy Theory

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Edward Jay Epstein, in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, explains that the Anthrax spores used in postal attacks around the time of 9/11 had been weaponized by a coating of silicon greatly enhancing their effectiveness as an aerosal. Over 100 scientists had had access to the particular strain of Anthrax, and the FBI’s ham-handed investigative efforts applied such intense scrutiny, pressure, and public accusations that they resulted in two suicides and a public apology including a $5.8 million settlement with no actual resolution.

The crux of the investigative problem is the silicon. None of the scientist suspects or the laboratories they had access to possessed either the specialized equipment or expertise needed to weaponize the Anthrax. Over 8 years later, the case remains open.

The Epstein editorial came to mind this morning, as I was looking through the Memeorandum aggregator page and found a link to this sneering hit piece by Justin Elliott, one of Talking Points Memo’s little leftist elfs.

Elliott is busily trying to marginalize Laurie Mylroie, a Harvard-educated Arabist, who has served on the faculty of Harvard and the Navy War College and as an advisor to Bill Clinton, identifying her as a “crackpot” and conspiracy theorist. I had not been previously familiar with Dr. Mylroie, her books, or opinions, but looking into all this, it is very clear that she has taken a position very much at odds with the prevailing consensus of the foreign policy and intelligence establishments and the media, one attributing a far more significant ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda and an active role on the part of the Iraqi regime in both the first WTC bombing and 9/11.

I don’t own her books (I just ordered two of them), so I don’t know if I agree with her, find any of her evidence persuasive or her reasoning credible, but I am interested in seeing what she has to say. Thank you, Mr. Elliott. Whenever I see the left performing one of their little excommunication-on-the-basis-of-thought-crime ceremonies, I always develop the suspicion that the target of such attention may be perfectly correct.

The TPM hit piece notes that the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment (an internal Pentagon think tank) was employing Dr. Mylroie as recently as 2007 as a consultant to produce reports on Saddam Hussein’s strategy for dealing with UN inspections and his intelligence service. She had previously written in 2005 a History of Al Qaeda. I plan to read it carefully.

The popularly prevailing theory, completely excluding state support for al Qaeda’s terrorist activities, is very useful if you are interested in asserting Iraqi innocence in order to indict Bush, but it does leave a number of important problems unanswered, like where did those weaponized Anthrax spores come from?

24 Jul 2009

Does Posting This Make Me a Racist?

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Zachary Roth apparently thinks so.

But I don’t know that we need to take his opinion into serious account. He’s just another of those exiled British journalists, so orthodox left that he posts in Talking Points Memo, and the sensitive sort who cries on the job.

I seem to remember the left’s commentariat having no similar problem with satirical stereotypes applied in editorial cartoons to people like Condeleeza Rice and Clarence Thomas.

03 Jan 2009

Not Enough Media Bias in Washington For Him

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Josh Marshall complains that representatives of the MSM in the nation’s Capitol are insufficiently on his side.

Like many others, I’ve been saying this for years. So I’m surprised to be surprised. But the journalistic establishment in Washington, whether it’s the Post or the Politico or much of the rest of the journalistic apparatus in the city, is essentially Republican in character — not necessarily in terms of individual voting habits, though you’d be surprised, but in fundamental outlook about whose opinions matter and how government functions, which is what really counts. And you can see that resurfacing with increasing clarity just in that last week.

Personally, I think the Washington Post would need to be blowing up US troops with IEDs to be more any more anti-Bush Administration than it is. I’d be curious to see Josh Marshall try expanding and justifying this curious claim to victimhood.

11 Mar 2008

TPM Fires Contributor For Not Supporting Obama

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Linda Hirschman found out the hard way that diversity of opinion is just not the democrat netroots way. If you want to retain your posting privileges, you have to follow the party line. There are no independent perspectives on the left.

16 Nov 2007

It’s So Easy Being Republican, Sometimes

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David Kurtz, at Talking Points Memo, wonders why the New York Times isn’t doing its job of serving the interests of the Left in today’s campaign politics story by finger-pointing and hyperventilating over John McCain’s failure to punish the supporter in South Carolina who referred to the Lady Macbeth of Chappaqua using a less than complimentary term.

(Incident originally linked here).

Not only did the Times’ Katharine Q. Seelye fail to punish John McCain and Republicans generally, she actually did what is even more unthinkable, and noted that the incident could actually work against Hillary.

And then, in expressing his own indignation over this completely irresponsible disclosure, Kurtz then falls into exactly the same trap himself and winds up saying the same (true) thing even more explicitly.

But we also learn from Seelye that this whole incident could really hurt Clinton because, you know, it’s a reminder of how much voters don’t like her:

    Mr. McCain’s attack on CNN also serves to keep the episode involving the hostile question alive and as a reminder that many voters view Mrs. Clinton as divisive.

Sort of a polite way of saying Hillary really is a bitch.

A hat tip, and thanks for an afternoon laugh, to TPM!

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