Mark Schmitt is a senior fellow and advisor to the president at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank affiliated with the FDR Library. He is a former executive editor of The American Prospect.
There’s a particular tone that many young Washington pundits adopt (having learned it from themasters) that seems counterintuitive and knowing, and yet manages to be predictable and hilariously naive at the same time. Here’s a classic example of it, from Josh Kraushaar, editor of The Hotline, in a regular column whose name, “Against the Grain,” should have been a flashing warning sign of the smart aleck/dimwit combo to follow.
In a controversial interview with Newsweek as the 2008 presidential nominating fight heated up, historian Sean Wilentz dismissed Barack Obama with a memorable phrase: "beautiful loserdom." Like failed Democrats of the past, including high-minded reformers such as Adlai Stevenson and Bill Bradley, Obama wouldn't get his hands dirty. "You can't govern without politics," Wilentz warned. Pragmatic engagement and compromise were the only way to get things done.
Today's big political profile is Todd Purdum's "The Man Who Never Was," in Vanity Fair, in which the intrepid reporter smacks his forehead in astonishment! John McCain, it turns out, might never have been much of a "maverick" after all, but simply a run-of-the-mill Washington operator:
Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
No sooner had Christine O'Donnell made her debut as the newest heroine of the far-right Republican resurgence, (taking the Delaware Senate nomination from the state's moderate GOP icon, Rep. Mike Castle) than the sensible Washington consensus warned against making fun of her social-policy views.
Yes, the Republican Party seems to have gone a little nuts, at least in Delaware, or as Jon Chaitexplains it well, it is “reaping the whirlwind” for its choice to cast political debate in the Obama era in apocalyptic terms.