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  • BLOGS AND GROUPS....

    BLOGS AND GROUPS. Noam Scheiber , in this whale of a post , teases out some of the implications of the interactions between netroots types and traditional liberal interest groups that Garance wrote about yesterday. I think the macro-level impact of the rise of netroots influence should actually be pretty easy to summarize -- ceteris paribus it will make the party less liberal on the issues that are really, really important to key interest groups and more liberal on the other issues. And I think that's generally what you've been seeing: somewhat more flexibility on, say, abortion but for the first time serious efforts to counter the influence of the business lobby over formerly obscure issues like bankruptcy reform and telecommunications regulations. And, of course, questions of war and peace, where Democrats have traditionally felt totally free to spurn the sentiments of liberal voters, counting on loyalty to the key liberal interest groups (none of whom care about any non-trade...
  • LEFT, RIGHT, AND...

    LEFT, RIGHT, AND CRAZY. Via Belle Waring , Michael Ledeen uncorks a doozy: In today's "reportage" of the World Cup semifinal between Italy and Germany, the (lefty) Washington Post reported that the game-winning goal was scored on a left-footed kick, while the (righty) Washington Times reported it was scored on a right-footed kick. The Post account was correct, but don't you find it mysteriously symbolic of something or other? This mostly seems symbolic of the dementia of rightwing media criticism to me. --Matthew Yglesias
  • MORE ON NUTMEGGERS.

    MORE ON NUTMEGGERS. Garance reminds me of something that will be a very important factor if Lamont wins the primary. If that happens, certain MSM liberal and centrist pundits will start writing immediately about how the Democrats have lost their soul, gone radical, cashiered the last good man (I know, but they will). That will set a tone: Virtue will triumph only if Lieberman pulls it out. That narrative will be set in stone unless, that is, three things happen. First, other Dem senators must follow Hillary �s lead (and come on, folks, give her props) and say they�ll support the Democrat. Key here obviously is Schumer , upon whom HRC has just put tremendous pressure. I covered Chuck�s Senate race, and Hillary campaigned hard for him. I was there the day after the 1998 primary, when contenders Gerry Ferraro and Mark Green stood next to Chuck at a press conference affirming that they would absolutely support the Democratic nominee -- support that was not exactly a given, especially in...
  • LIEBERMAN'S DECLARATION OF...

    LIEBERMAN'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. Mike Tomasky explained it best last week. Just read the whole thing -- or if you read it already, read it again . Greg Sargent , for his part, writes this about a potential independent Lieberman candidacy: if I understand this dynamic correctly, any success Lieberman has in portraying the Dem at the top of the ticket as too far to the left will likely complicate efforts by down-ticket Dems -- such as these House candidates -- to win over moderates, independents and centrists. Which raises the question: Even if Lieberman is resoundly defeated in the primary and -- unlikely as this may now seem -- withdraws from the race, wouldn't the same line of attack be available to the Republican Senate candidate? In the most recent poll I've seen, Lamont wasn't running much further ahead of Republican Alan Schlesinger in a head-to-head matchup (17 points) than Lieberman was running ahead of him (15 points) in the primary. Those look like a solid leads in...
  • THE WISE BILLIONAIRE...

    THE WISE BILLIONAIRE MYTH. James Fallows , liveblogging the Aspen Ideas Festival, talked to a pollster who's effusive about third party opportunities: Who were the people who could win the presidency on a �let�s cut the shit� platform? He said there might be ten or so possibilities, but the no-brainers were Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They could afford the $1 billion or so of their own money the campaign would cost, and everyone would understand that this actually represented a significant sacrifice on their part. Obviously the sacrifice is so great that neither man would ever consider it. (Press conferences? Sitting through the negative ads? At least they wouldn�t have to hold fund-raisers.) But it�s a nice thought. Why exactly is it a nice thought? Warren Buffett is a good investor, Bill Gates an able computer programmer and philanthropist. What makes anyone think these guys would positively rule at foreign diplomacy? Or show wise judgment about wars? Or ably adapt to an...
  • FOUNDATIONS. Matt...

    FOUNDATIONS . Matt writes that "foundations with liberalish sentiments are actually significantly wealthier than the rightwing foundations created to counter them. The difference is that the right's foundations focus on politically efficacious giving, while a huge proportion of liberalish giving is dedicated to fairly ineffective efforts at direct amelioration of problems or efforts to identify 'best practices' that go duly ignored by the political system." All true. But it's not just mistaken tactics that separate the two sides, it's identification. As Chris Hayes wrote in his excellent article of the left's funding dysfunctions: "for the progressive movement, the single largest source of funding comes from institutions that don�t consider themselves part of the movement itself. This means that organizations are caught between pursuing their political objectives and pleasing their apolitical funders." The left's foundations aren't accidentally focusing on "direct amelioration of...
  • THE POLITICS OF...

    THE POLITICS OF RESENTMENT. Writing on global warming, a Jonah Goldberg correspondent wonders "If Al Gore were to be convinced that global warming WAS a natural phenomena, would he be so worked up about it?" before answering his own question, "I don't think so, yet the consequences would be the same." Jonah says this has been nagging at him for a while and comments: What if science could prove 100% that the earth was warming dangerously but that this was 100% natural (i.e. from sunspots or some such)? I suspect this would scatter the current environmental coalitions and antagonists in all sorts of interesting and unexpected ways. To be sure, many environmentalists would still be concerned. But, I think, a large amount of the passion would be gone in certain quarters once the fun of blaming capitalism and mankind was out of the equation. I think the reluctance on the part of some on the right to fix the problem would evaporate while the reluctance to "tamper" with nature would cause at...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: JERRY'S KIDS. President Gerald Ford gave us Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld . He also gave us John Paul Stevens . Harold Meyerson muses over a minor president's surprising legacy. --The Editors
  • THE MIDDLE-CLASS PUNDIT...

    THE MIDDLE-CLASS PUNDIT CLASS. Newbie media critics like to point to the big-shot opinion-makers on television as a way of dismissing the entire "pundit class" as a wealthy elite that's out of touch with America. But in so doing they reveal their ignorance of the pay dynamics of print journalism, where newspaper columnists remain a middle-class bunch, according to a new survey. Presented Saturday at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference by the University of San Francisco's J. Michael Robertson , the survey of 124 columnists found that : Respondents have been a columnist for a median of seven years. Median salary for the full-timers is $50,000 to $60,000, and median pay for each freelance column is $50. Freelance columnists, on average, make only 10% of their income via their columns. [Link added.] Pay at this level is not just characteristic of smaller papers in out-of-the-way places. Most left-of-center opinion magazines pay writers roughly at the same level, if not...
  • CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS....

    CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS. If you've been looking for someone to criticize Peter Beinart 's book for going too far in the direction of abandoning liberal hawk orthodoxy, look no further than George Packer 's review of The Good Fight . The more interesting part of the review, however, is actually addressed at Francis Fukuyama , who writes in his book that "Before the Iraq war, we were probably at war with no more than a few thousand people around the world who would consider martyring themselves and causing nihilistic damage to the United States. The scale of the problem has grown because we have unleashed a maelstrom." Packer thinks this outlook is mistaken, and that "although the Iraq war wasn�t inevitable after September 11th, a global polarization along religious lines probably was . . . the battle lines were already forming well before shock and awe and Abu Ghraib." Why? Well, because he "was in Somalia during the Afghanistan war, and even Western-oriented Muslims there saw the...

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