I've been trying to figure out why liberal bloggers are always attack the motives of neoliberals, and I think I've made some progress. It's not that the bloggers are lazy punks who attack motives as a substitute for argument and need to constantly reassure each other of their own comparative righteousness because they feel guilty about their lockstep acquiesence in an agenda they themselves may have nagging qualms about. Not that at all! Rather, a) they are thinking of Joe Klein on a bad day, and b) there is a generation gap at work--not that they don't remember the '70s, when many of the problems of liberal orthodoxy became glaringly obvious, but that they don't remember the decade before that.
Specifically, the young'uns seem to assume that in harping on the flaws of liberal orthodoxy aging boomer journalists are betraying their original, authentic liberal impulses. So there must be a reason for this disloyalty (careerism, desire to bolster credentials on the Washington party circuit, cash payments from Karl Rove, etc.) But many of us aging boomers aren't betraying our original liberal principles. We are being faithful to our original New Left principles. What was the first critique of liberal orthodoxy to which I was exposed? The Port Huron Statement. Who was the original archenemy of '60s radicals? Lyndon Johnson. Where can you find a thoroughly self-loathing indictment of the entire edifice of Johnson's Great Society liberalism? In the Democratic Platform of 1972 (as Thomas Geoghegan pointed out in a famous New Republic essay, "Miami and the Seeds of Port Huron"). What constellation of doctrines are radical legal scholars--the "Crits"--trying to reveal as a fraud? "Liberal legalism."
In short, orthodox liberals were the enemy of many who grew up in the '60s. Still are! We aren't selling out in attacking traditional Democrats and their interest group supporters. We loyally pursue the ideals of our youth! Though I'm happy to take Karl Rove's money.
There's a big opening for a top-tier "anti-comprehensive" immigration candidate in the Republican presidential field as well as in the Democratic field, Ramesh Ponnuru notes. ... P.S.: Of the Big Six candidates, zero oppose semi-amnesty, apparently. That seems out of kilter. ... [But Ryan Sager says "immigration is an absolute non-issue in presidential elections ... If there were a significant constituency prepared to vote just on immigration, Tom Tancredo would actually register in the polls.-ed. The night is young. Sager adds "Tancredo will probably be the Republicans' Mike Gravel" in tomorow's debate, "so it should at least be fun to watch"-ed. The MSM is certainly primed to portray Tancredo as a kook. But Gravel had to act wild in the Dem debate because he was trying to out-antiwar eight other candidates who were also antiwar. Tancredo doesn't have to out-anti-comprehensive the leading GOP candidates, because they are all pro-comprehensive. He** can draw attention to himself by simply disagreeing.]
**--Update: I should say that Duncan Hunter, among others, could do this too. ... 1:16 A.M.
Excitable and Gullible: Our self-proclaimed Conservative-of-Doubt appears to have once again taken a satire seriously. [Not 100% clear--ed. It's either very serious or very subtle. Sullivan's blogging isn't usually subtle.] ... 12:03 A.M.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Sweeps Week Special: While I wasn't paying attention, Bob Wright staged a bloggingheads discussion with the New York Sun's Eli Lake, who vlogged from the Green Zone in Baghdad. It makes Lake's analysis of the "surge" less-than-abstract when he admits he doesn't feel safe. ... P.S.: Lake's even colored green. ... And he makes a good point about Petraeus. ... 10:51 P.M.
Searching for the Greatness of Chuck Hagel, Cont.: According to Robert Novak, Sen. Hagel says we've
got to get [our troops] out of [Baghdad] at least, get them out of the middle of civil war."