Greg Sargent

Recent Articles

MORE ON DEMS...

MORE ON DEMS AND IRAN. I see that in last night's post on Iran I inadvertently wrote that Dems should be figuring out how to respond after strikes come. Since the post was meant to make the opposite point -- that Dems should be thinking through how politically to approach Iran now -- a quick clarification is in order. A lot will of course happen between now and any move on Iran. The point is, the more specific war plans start surfacing, and the more Bush officials leak the lie that Iran can build a nuke faster than you can say "Kenneth Pollack," the greater the pressure will be on Dems to stake out positions. There are many ways the politics of this could unfold, of course, but Dems -- and the rest of us -- need to start thinking through how to deal with the various scenarios now, rather than after this reaches full boil. In addition to the long-term heavy lifting of attacking the ideas that brought us Iraq and possibly Iran, the key will be figuring out some core messages on Iran...

HOW SHOULD DEMS...

HOW SHOULD DEMS HANDLE IRAN? As depressing as this is, it's never too early for liberals and Dem thinkers to start figuring out how to prevent Dems from dividing if Bush orders, say, limited strikes on Iran. Al Gore and Howard Dean might oppose them, as perhaps will the new and improved John Edwards . But what about other presidential contenders -- Mark Warner , Evan Bayh and Hillary Clinton ? (Then there's always Joe Lieberman , who will probably volunteer to sit astride the first falling bomb, Dr. Strangelove style.) Seriously, this is a real question: What are the prospects (assuming they exist at all) for anything approaching Democratic unity on Iran? And how might it be achieved? On Social Security, Dems stayed in line -- partly because defeat would have been catastrophic, and partly because they were persuaded that they could win. And it worked. Can Dems be persuaded that a debate over Iran can be won, too? Matt smartly suggests a broad, longer-term approach to winning this and...

DEMS ARE EITHER...

DEMS ARE EITHER PHONIES OR THEY'RE RADICALS. One of the more devious verbal tricks commentators use on Democrats is to rhetorically box them in: Either Dems are too cautious and scripted, or they're too radical and hate America. Atrios is right when he says of Joe Klein 's new book: I've got nothing against insiders dishing on the Kerry campaign, but the idea that they would dish to Klein to support whatever pernicious and destructive narrative he'll be concocting about how we all hate America demonstrates a tremendous lack of judgment. We've glimpsed the narrative Klein has created. In the Time magazine excerpt of his book, Klein says Kerry was "smothered" by his consultants. Whatever one thinks of the Kerry campaign, or of consultants in general, I think it's clear that Klein's assault is really a back-door way of launching a familiar attack on Dems: That Democrats will say or do anything to get elected -- including abandon their core moral principles. That is the tale that the...

FRED HIATT REFUSES...

FRED HIATT REFUSES ACCOUNTABILITY; BILL KELLER ACCEPTS IT. The big news organizations need to come to terms with their role in spreading White House misinformation -- and their failure to dig out the truth -- in the run-up to the Iraq war. Because if they don't, they risk making the same catastrophic mistakes again in the run-up to the possible conflict with Iran -- and those mistakes could have even graver consequences. Bill Keller understands this. Fred Hiatt doesn't. The fact that some powerful media figures still won't accept accountability for their pre-war blunders is awfully discouraging -- it suggests that they're fully prepared to commit those blunders all over again. Case in point: Today's Washington City Paper has an extraordinary interview with Hiatt, in which reporter Eric Wemple notes that the Post editorial board hasn't yet apologized for its role in spreading the Bush administration's pre-war deceptions, and asks Hiatt if they'll ever issue a mea culpa. Says the piece...

BILL KELLER AND...

BILL KELLER AND THE BLOGS. Bill Keller is answering questions at The New York Times 's site this week, and at one point he offered a somewhat testy view of the blogosphere in responding to a couple of readers who wrote in asking about the Judith Miller affair. Keller responded: Sigh. I can't imagine that there is anything to say about the Judy Miller episode that I have not already said, publicly and to The Times staff, over and over. At The Times, as in most of the media-watching world, we have registered the Miller saga as an important cautionary tale, and moved on. But the story has an afterlife in the impending trial of Scooter Libby, and, as our Q&A mailbag demonstrates, the subject has settled into some quarters of the blogosphere as a partisan obsession and an object of grassy-knoll conspiracy theories. The hard-core enthusiasts feed on blogs that have little to offer but harebrained speculation. (And they think Judy Miller was credulous!) ... [T]he experience last year has...

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