Joe Klein hammers "often witless" nutroots "extremists"

When last we checked on this tiresome spat, Rick Ellensburg was shrieking that there is no good news from Anbar province no matter what right-wing Nazi apologist Joe Klein might be hearing from his (snerk) military sources. On and on it goes, with Klein at some point having picked through the hundreds of open threads at Atrios’s site to find he’s been dubbed “Wanker of the Day.” It’s all part of the grand experiment to prove, with geometric logic, that the media is actually “right-wing” because liberals like Klein aren’t left-wing enough.

First, let me say that I really enjoy blogging. It’s a brilliant format for keeping readers up to date on the things I care about—and for exchanging information with them…

But the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn’t move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed—especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable. Some of this is understandable: the left-liberals in the blogosphere are merely aping the odious, disdainful—and politically successful—tone that right-wing radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh pioneered. They are also justifiably furious at a Bush White House that has specialized in big lies and smear tactics.

David Frum senses something whiny and self-regarding in the phrase “especially people like me.” Only that phrase? It’s the fact that he seems to care so much what the nutroots thinks of him in the first place that’s whiny and embarrassing. Of course they’re unfair and fanatic in enforcing ideological discipline; to borrow a phrase from Ellensburg himself, that’s who they are and that’s what they do. If you’re going to feed the trolls, don’t be surprised when they follow you home and you end up in a moronic running feud like this one. Honestly, how pitiful is it that Joe Klein actually knows he won the “Wanker of the Day” award?

All that said, he’s grossly unfair to them himself:

The spitballs aimed at Harman, Clinton and Obama are another story. Despite their votes, each of those politicians believes the war must be funded. (Obama even said so in his statement explaining his vote.) Each knows, as Senator Jim Webb has said repeatedly, that we must be more careful getting out of Iraq than we were getting in. But they allowed themselves to be bullied into a more simplistic, more extreme position. Why? Partly because they fear the power of the bloggers to set the debate and raise money against them. They may be right—in the short (primary election) term; Harman faced a challenge from the left in 2006. In the long term, however, kowtowing to extremists is exactly the opposite of what this country is looking for after the lethal radicalism of the Bush Administration.

Yes, well, that “bullying” is called “democracy.” KP and I argue regularly about how much influence the nutroots really has within the party. She believes it’s minor, I believe it’s significant and increasing by the moment. Each of our positions is based to some extent on wishful thinking. But the fact remains, if they do have the clout to make Obama or Hillary bend a knee on war funding, more power to them. They’ve earned it; now they get to remake the party in their own filthy image. I wish we had a club as big as theirs, quite frankly, to issue a few “love taps” to the amnesty cretins within our own party right now. Exit question: Is it really appropriate to call them “extremists” if mainstream Democratic presidential candidates are at their beck and call in pulling out of the Fox debate, voting no on Iraq funding, etc etc etc? How about if fully 35% of Democrats believe Bush Knew?

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET