Friday, May 29, 2009

Madam Secretary

I don't do a lot of blogging on Hillary directly as Alegre really has that corner of the blog market sewn up (and not just Hillary - Alegre's Corner is a must read every day for political junkies. Give her the hits and throw her some change, 'kay?) and because my political blogging interests are more about the condition of political thought than about any specific politician, no matter how admired.

I do, however, have a list of Hillary sites linked in the sidebar, with State Department links first. One link I have begun to click on routinely enough that I've added it to the streamed blog section (Just Click Already, OK?) is Madam Secretary, "an obsessive blog about all things Hillary Clinton. From her policies to her pantsuits, Madam Secretary delivers up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and gossip about America’s top diplomat." The blog is part of the Foreign Policy website.

What I find interesting about this blog is the mix of policy analysis and domestic political commentary. For example, in a post accompanied by the above photo, Hillary hitting the phones to talk North Korea, Preeti Aroon, who writes the blog, notes:
The Associated Press reports that Clinton has spoken on the phone with foreign ministers in a number of countries, and the Washington Post reports that she is asking them for a "strong, unified" response. As Clinton proved last April, she knows how to handle those 3 a.m. phone calls.
Zing. The SNL skit about The Precious calling Hillary at 3 AM on what he should do about this or that crisis has come true in more ways than one.

Aroon spends time blogging about the details of the Sec. of State's travels and appearances. It may not rate highly as "serious" foreign policy news, but it provides context to the work HRC is doing and the tone of her State Department. Aroon has also been documenting in post after post Hillary's very outspoken and aggressive diplomatic presence, as well as some of the inside baseball of who in the White House does or does not want her doing what:
I keep thinking about the cartoon (no, I'm not giving it any eyeballs) drawn by Oliphant after the "tearing up" incident during the New Hampshire campaign where he portrayed her as sitting at a table and crying about how mean the foreign leaders on the other side of the table were being to her. And now the Village is having vapors over how pushy she's being.

Which leads to an older post by Pat Lang which I did not blog about at the time, Jim Jones, Sally Quinn and the neocons, where he discusses a WaPo Op-Ed written by Sally Quinn about the whisper campaign being conducted against NSA Jim Jones by unnamed people in the State Department and the White House. Quinn tossed in this statement, "Reporters are protecting their sources, but Hillary Clinton is apparently not behind the stories. She likes her job, those who have been spun say, and gets along well with Jones. " Lang himself didn't pick up on Quinn's CDS, being more concerned about the neocon attack on Jones, but it jumped off the page at me.

Quinn, who just cannot shake her anti-Clinton psychosis, introduces what was never a question in the first place, a division between Jones and Clinton. This is another example of a Villager trying to create a conflict by innuendo - the "apparently" qualifier is the dead give away. The second sentence diminishes the professional, diplomatic and policy authority of the Sec. of State. HRC "likes her job," as though this is a mid level manager at some tech firm in a Silicon Valley office park who is denying stirring up trouble for Bob, the project manager down the hall, because they "get along well." Quinn is too smart not to know that she's trying to solicit information from "those who have been spun" to give her a call and dish some dirt.

But Quinn's petulance points to something interesting once you strip away the psychosis. One of the foreign policy conflicts that has dogged the US is an internal one - turf wars between the State Department and the White House advisors. In the Bush administration, the State Department was deliberately humiliated when it was not simply ignored. As I wrote way back in November when Hillary's name was first being bandied about for SOS, the determining factor for her taking the job was having a policy team she could work with:
But there are a few conditions under which it makes no sense for her to accept. The four most powerful positions in the cabinet are Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Treasury and National Security Advisor. Gates will be Sec. Def. for the time being. In the past, the SOS and the NSA have engaged in power struggles that have worked to the detriment of foreign policy. If Obama has the sense to put HRC in as SOS, he may suffere a failure of nerve and decide to divide powers by putting an opponent in the NSA slot to "counter balance" her influence, and we would end up with political infighting. Unless that position is filled by someone who would work with the SOS and not be a pawn in some passive-agressive game, it would be foolish for Hillary to leave the Senate. It would need to be someone like Wes Clark or Richard Clarke. Likewise, if the Sec. Tres. is filled by some tired Wall Street insider hack, there will not be a partner to work with on economic concerns. (I myself would love to see Stiglitz. He's run the World Bank, he won't be bullied, and Wall Street has no attractions for him.)
So, the Sec. Treas. position went to a hack, but the other players in the foreign policy team, Gates, Jones and Panetta, all work well with Hillary. Sally Quinn's vengeance fantasies aside, there really does not appear to be any significant division or power struggle between the leaders of the agencies (which is not to say that there are not disagreements between the leaders, nor conflicts in the lower ranks), and that the US has a fundamentally unified foreign policy team. This is a good thing for the nation.

However, this makes me ask a very serious question - just where is the resistence to deconstructing the Bush administration's terror regime originating? Obviously, the Republicans are frantically trying to keep the terms of the debate within a language game of fear and revenge, but the problem is larger than defunding Guantanamo. It has to do with the nature of executive power, the way the US's relationship to other nations and their citizens is conceptualized, the use of military and CIA power abroad to achieve domestic objectives, the constitutional constraints (and the ways in which such constraints are ignored) upon the exercise of power by the executive branch, the balance between competing claims of sovereignty, and so forth.

As I pointed out obliquely in the Guantanamo post, when dealing with the use of the state monopoly on large scale violence, "them" and "us" is not such a clear distinction in our modes of political life. We cannot arbitrarily ascribe bad motives to only part of an administration without evaluating how the whole enables the part.

Who is developing the theory of state and executive power for the Obama administration? Who is signing on to it? Who disagrees but executes? If the SOS, Sec. Def, NSA and head of the CIA are fundamentally in agreement, then does this mean they are the ones who have crafted this theory of power?

I know where I want Hillary to be on these questions. We'll see if my hopes are borne out by facts.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Guantanamo

National Journal asked for contributors to respond to the question "What Do To About Guantanamo?" There are currently 8 responses, all interesting in their own way, some more for what it says about the commenter than what it says about the conundrum of Guantanamo. Col. W. Patrick Lang (Ret.) of Sic Semper Tyrannis posted the following response:

Guantanamo has become a kind of national Rohrschach test for the American people.

It is a place seen within the mind's eye as a projection of what is inside us. I have been impressed since just after 9/11 with the depth of the illusion of personal security within which most Americans lived before the attacks. A friend called then from across the country to say that "now we all live in your world," referring I suppose to the life I had lead in the security services. The caller was a well traveled international businessman. The "blue funk" level was incredible for months. People acted as though each and every one of them stood on the ramparts on watch against the Saracen hordes. I remember repeatedly being stared at with hostility on the DC Metrorail system by men who could not take their eyes off the modest beard I then had. Supposedly grown up people would say things like "Say Muzlim, not Muslim!" Why? They imagined that to pronounce words correctly made one a kind of collaborator.

Now, we have the media encouraged phenomenon of the masses' inability to deal with the idea of prisoners charged, tried and imprisoned on our soil. This is fear of the boogy-man come back once again. This is behavior for children who need a night light. I heard a member of Congress from Kansas say on the floor of the US Senate that prisoners could not be sent to Leavenworth because the "purity" of the post and Army school at Ft. Leavenworth would be ruined by their presence. No matter that the federal prison that adjoins Fort Leavenworth is full of some of the worst people who ever lived.

And then there is the issue of the actual guilt or innocence of some of those now held without charge by the United States. When people here are asked if they think that all those held in our prison in Cuba are guilty, they generally fall silent, unable to respond. Of those who do, many of them clearly do not care if the imprisoned are guilty of anything. They might be... They are Muzlims... Keep them there and then my children will be safe...

Boumedienne, the Algerian former prisoner now living in France is a good person to remember. He, clearly, had done nothing wrong, but was imprisoned by us without charge for SEVEN YEARS. Neverheless, most Americans do not care...

It is going to take a long time for us to live this down. We should get on with it.

We should get on with it. This is what ties Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to black sites and extraordinary rendition - the inability of the people in power and the faux-innocents in the public to come to terms with the fact that atrocities were performed by Americans under our flag as an explicit policy of our government.

We cannot pretend it didn't happen. We cannot continue to squall that we're just protecting ourselves from the current Big Bad of the zeitgeist. We cannot pretend that we're doing good by covering up the evidence of evil. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for being enlightened enough to elect a Black president while we obsess about the "Muzlim" other.

Guantanamo, and all the other festering pockets of national shame connected to it, will not go away on its own. It cannot be quietly swept away, which is what the current administration would probably prefer to happen precisely because it is a reflection of something that this nation is, not even some dark side or ignorant underbelly, something not-US. It is inherent in our language, which is to say in our way of life.

Wittgenstein's observation, "A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in language and language seemed to repeat it inexorably," gets to the heart of the language game that is "Guantanamo." Using that (or Abu Ghraib, or extraordinary rendition, or war crimes) as a starting point, and you will be drawn into the hall of mirrors populated by those who both react to the images and create the new reflective surfaces that contribute to the sense of inexorability. There is the argument about security, there is the advice about not being hasty, there is the concern over precedent, there is the outrage over violations, each participant playing his or her role in the language game.

I do not mean that this is "just words" or that people are merely "playing" at being scared or cautious or concerned or outraged. Part of the language game, what makes it tenacious and gives it strength, it that it is real, the warp of the social fabric. Am I not now this very instant engaging in this game? If it was not real for me, I would not do this.

The picture, and especially the pictures, has its rules of enagagement, a known and familiar mode of objection, rejoinder, riposte, counter argument, and so forth, a mode of life fervently defended by the various participants in the language game that is "Guantanamo." This is what confounds Pat Lang's common sense advice to "get on with it" - the nation is invested in this mode of life, the opponents of this picture as much as the advocates and defenders.

The only way to cease being captive to this picture is to invent, if you will, a new language game in which this artifact can both be made into us (something ineluctably American) yet shifted in such a way that we no longer look into the reflection of ourselves that brought us to this pass in the first place. Lang's observation, "They imagined that to pronounce words correctly made one a kind of collaborator," points at the socio-psychological construction of the game, how we understand that words make us complicit in this mode of life rather than that one.

Perhaps we will simply tire of the game and abandon it, like something with a few missing pieces offered for "$1 or best offer" at a garage sale. It would be the normal way a society disposes of an unpalatable picture. Again, it's not merely that "they" want to cover it up and "we" want to live in the truth and the light. It is that to "get on with it" may be a language game this nation is not capable of playing, from any position on the political spectrum.

The disappointment over Obama's performance on this picture (among others) stems in part from the expectation that he would be a game changer, crafting a new language game yet enabling us to recognize ourselves even as we are made different than we were. I posit that the deep well of left wing resentment against Bill Clinton stems from his failure to perform a similar transformation in how we imagine ourselves, while the resentment from the right shows how close he came to making the rules of the game change.

We remain captives of Guantanamo.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Their Madness Was Allowed

Paul Krugman's latest column, State of Paralysis, is about the insanity of the California budget crisis and how a small revanchist group of far-right radicals had been steadily deconstructing the state government since Pat Brown left office. Krugman pins the origins in Prop. 13 which used a real problem of unjustified increases in property taxes to set in motion the real killer in the state - the requirement of a super majority in the state legislature to raise state taxes. This has led to wildly unpredictable and financially regressive attempts to pay for the needs of a diverse and productive state through lotteries, sin taxes and fees. Part of the reason that property values skyrocketed in the state was because the only way to expand the property tax base is to have higher and higher valuations on real estate, either in newly constructed or in "trade ups". (On the lack of move up buyers in California, see Calculated Risk's latest post.)

I was enjoying the blistering column until I came across this paragraph:
To be blunt: recent events suggest that the Republican Party has been driven mad by lack of power. The few remaining moderates have been defeated, have fled, or are being driven out. What’s left is a party whose national committee has just passed a resolution solemnly declaring that Democrats are “dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals,” and released a video comparing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore.
Not so fast, Paul. Lack of power? To the contrary, they are using their power efficiently and effectively. They have significant leverage in the form of things like the super-majority needed to have a realistic budget. They have spent years looting every treasury they could find, lining their own pockets and those of their cronies, and now scream about the need for fiscal austerity when asked what they did with the dough. That is why the City of San Diego is now in such dire financial straits - the Republican power elite in the government diverted funds away from the employees' retirement system and lavished it on the Republican National convention, an unneeded ball park, payments to developers, and other pet projects to feather their own nests.

I wondered if I was being a bit too tough on the Krug until I read Bob Somerby's post today. The Incomparable One politely takes the Shrill One to task for thinking the Republicans are being driven mad by a lack of power. After a wonderful slap-down-in-passing of Olbermann, Somerby asks, "But was the GOP driven mad this year, or in recent years? And was the GOP driven mad by a lack of power?" He then takes us on a quick historical review of their purposeful "madness" and the gatekeepers who let them get away with it. Bob's argument is very clear (my emphasis):
In fact, the GOP and its agents have been behaving this way for a very long time. We’d suggest they were driven mad by an excess of power—by the grinding power the party held through most of the past forty years.

Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve been watching as our political narratives have turned in the past six months. As we’ve watched, we’ve pondered the way the GOP controlled such political narratives from 1968 on.
Controlling the narrative is key to political leverage. This is Somerby's fundamental objection to Krugman's slip-up, and then he illustrates that the utter "insanity" of the GOP has been around for a good long time and that it was soberly presented as legitimate public discourse all the way along. For example:
Just how crazy was this era? Let’s pose a question to younger readers: Did you know that the Clintons used condoms and crack pipes for ornaments on the White House Christmas tree? After former FBI agent Gary Aldrich made that and other preposterous claims in a crackpot, best-selling book, Tim Russert devoted the bulk of a worried hour to The New Yorker’s outrageous attempt to fact-check Aldrich’s claims. Today, Russert’s scolding cross-examination of Hedrik Hertzberg and Jane Myers reads like a fever-dream from a deeply lunatic era.
This was being done in May of 1997. Bob notes "That fall, we started planning this web site. (It took some time!) But let’s be honest: Few career players showed signs of giving a fig about this spreading lunacy." (my emphasis)

You do not need a legislative majority as long as you have cowed the majority into agreeing to your filibusters, jiggered the law to multiply the effects of minority opposition on crucial government activities (vs. preventing a simple majority vote from abrogating the rights of a minority), and have the media consistently legitimizing the extremist posturing because of deeply held class resentments.

Bob points directly at this last point as what has kept the nation under the sway of Movement Conservative Madness (my emphasis):

This lunacy didn’t stem from a lack of power. It grew when Republicans had too much power. And let’s make sure we understand where that excess came from:

In large part, it came from the willingness of the mainstream press to tolerate or repeat any GOP claim, no matter how patently crazy. In large part, it came from the refusal of liberals and Dems to resist this misuse of power.

Gene Lyons resisted in 1995 with Fools for Scandal; few career players followed suit. This created an unfortunate world—a world in which Republicans and their agents could make any claim, no matter how blatantly crazy.

This is how we end up in a situation where the voters have clearly indicated they have had enough of these psychopaths, that they want an end to permanent war, that they are tired of losing ground while Little Timmy Geithner's buddies turn financial malfeasance on a stupefying scale into more money for them, that they want affordable health care, that they want to know the truth behind the lies of the criminal Bush regime, yet our "liberal" leadership is preaching the virtues of bipartisan agreement.

We have a president who is to the right of Bill Clinton and moving further right in an time when the political tides have reversed. Obama presents vague policies that would have been weak in the face of Gingrich's Contract on America, and seems determined to retain the one set of advisors from Big Dog's administration who most needed to be shown the door. He keeps talking about compromise and meeting the opposition half way as though agreement is a good in and of itself.

No, half-way to crazy instead of all-the-way crazy is not an acceptable political compromise. It should not be allowed.

Somerby concludes (my emphasis):

The GOP didn’t get crazy this year. They were publicly crazy a long time ago, enabled in their public lunacy by a wide range of major players. Liberals and Democrats hid in the woods, waiting until the tide turned.

Eventually, Bush destroyed the known world—and narratives have started to turn. But GOP’s lunacy hasn’t. For many, it’s all they know.

That tape about Pelosi is astounding. But they played similar, gender-trashing games with Hillary Clinton for many years. Our heroes were camping in the woods—or were vouching for Chris Matthews’ brilliance.

How did the GOP go mad? They went mad in a crackpot era, the 1990s. We seem inclined to forget that era today. In that era, their madness was allowed.

This is one of the reasons that I singled out Eric Boehlert's presentism as a fatal weakness of his otherwise engaging book. The failure of the liberal response to the right-wing madness is the unspoken shadow to Left Blogistan triumphalism over the most recent elections. To understand why Obama knew himself perfectly safe to ignore the liberal blogs, you need only look at the spectacle of those blogs falling all over themselves to show that they could trash the Clintons, too. The focus on tactics of a particular campaign season takes that campaign out of the decades long political context which alone can explain the continual cognitive capture of seemingly liberal opinion makers by a determined and organized political rump group.

The madness has been allowed because it has inculcated the media - from the talking heads shows to Talking Points Memo - with the fantasy that they are somehow combating the evil politicians in their smokey back rooms, yet the enemy always ends up being the Democrats. Obama is safe to the degree that he refuses to identify as a member of the party, but keeps crooning his Obamacan non-partisan love song to the admiring opinion makers who look at him and see only themselves and their belief that they are the hip heroes of the republic, all pretending to be Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman up on the big screen.

And while the hipsters hang out in their virtual bar - or maybe it's a Brat Pack era casino lounge, given the amount of gambling going on, a throwback to the days before the rise of Movement Conservatism - the madness of the right continues to be allowed.


Friday, May 22, 2009


It looks like the Spousal Unit's company is going to go with Kaiser Permanente and drop Blue Shield. Susie Madrak posted about being between a rock and a hard place (or, rather, a lack of insurance and a lack of payment options) on needed dental work. And Paul Krugman writes up the cynical "fuck you" from Blue Cross/Blue Shield in his latest column Blue Double Cross.

SU and Susie are examples of the reason why the current avaricious state of private health insurance and and beyond-dysfunctional state of health care delivery need to be uprooted and replaced with something that actually works. Krugman gets into what it takes to do so. First he points out the non-clothes of the insurance emperors by talking about a Blue Cross ad in the works (my emphasis throughout):
"We can do a lot better than a government-run health care system," says a voice-over in one of the ads. To which the obvious response is, if that’s true, why don’t you? Why deny Americans the chance to reject government insurance if it’s really that bad?

For none of the reform proposals currently on the table would force people into a government-run insurance plan. At most they would offer Americans the choice of buying into such a plan.

And the goal of the insurers is to deny Americans that choice. They fear that many people would prefer a government plan to dealing with private insurance companies that, in the real world as opposed to the world of their ads, are more bureaucratic than any government agency, routinely deny clients their choice of doctor, and often refuse to pay for care.
The point of the scare tactics is to take choice off the table. Period. These companies do not want people to even have an option of not being screwed over. Then Krugman, rightly, puts the screws to Obama, pointing out what it will take to end the insurance industry's campaign of terror (my emphasis throughout):

Back during the Democratic primary campaign, Mr. Obama argued that the Clintons had failed in their 1993 attempt to reform health care because they had been insufficiently inclusive. He promised instead to gather all the stakeholders, including the insurance companies, around a “big table.” And that May 11 event was, of course, intended precisely to show this big-table strategy in action.

But what if interest groups showed up at the big table, then blocked reform? Back then, Mr. Obama assured voters that he would get tough: “If those insurance companies and drug companies start trying to run ads with Harry and Louise, I’ll run my own ads as president. I’ll get on television and say ‘Harry and Louise are lying.’ ”

The question now is whether he really meant it.

The medical-industrial complex has called the president’s bluff. It polished its image by showing up at the big table and promising cooperation, then promptly went back to doing all it can to block real change. The insurers and the drug companies are, in effect, betting that Mr. Obama will be afraid to call them out on their duplicity.

It's up to Mr. Obama to prove them wrong.

The problem here is not so much that we're dealing with the insurance industry, but that we have a political leader who does not believe in forcing choices onto people, and most especially not forcing them onto white collar corporate interests. I wrote about this in the context of health care and retirement savings almost exactly a year ago today, in my post Libertarian Paternalism, where I looked into the intellectual environment Obama lives in and where his philosophical inclinations lie. My key point has to do with having a certain conept of what politics and government is for:

The aspect of Obama's economic approach that had always bothered me was a curious absence of any philosophy of the state as a constructive force, coupled with a stance that focused on "choice" for the isolated and abstract individual of classic economic theory. In short, there is no theory of power.

Why does this matter? If your focus is on the abstract individual and structuring choices for the individual, then you are not addressing the larger environment in which the structuring takes place...

There is, if only in the negative, a theory of government in this approach, which is that there really isn't a role for it in people's lives if it results in a requirement rather than an option for individuals. From a liberal democratic viewpoint, the purpose of government is to regulate relations of power such that those who are disadvantaged in society are not simply exploited by those who are. Our civil rights are the foundation of this regulation, but it reaches into things like workplace safety, disease control and environmental protection. Individual choice is meaningful only if the individual has some say in how those choices are structured, enabled and defended...

Choice requires context, and it is the context that is wrong in Obama's economic proposals. As in health care, he appears more concerned with maintaining the illusion of choice than addressing the environment in which acceptable choices about insurance can occur. Cassidy asks a question I have asked myself in several ways: "But for what policy purposes are the masses to be mobilized?" Just what is the vision for the society and the nation that Obama intends to put into practice? There isn't one; it is fractured into small buckets of choices here and there, with neither a philosophy of governance nor a coherent plan for transforming the steaming pile left behind by the Republicans into a strong, liberal government.

The Democratic candidates' foundation of political economy is in Keynsianism for the simple reason that it works far better than any other approach when the overall well being of the society is the central concern of government. That the libertarian paternalists equate the Clean Air Act with totalitarian government is telling. They cannot accept that government is needed to counteract concentration of power to the detriment of the citizenry, and their conceit that they will be among the winners in an unregulated society is not a hypothesis the rest of us really want to test.

This is why, for all the specific proposals, Obama's economic policies simply do not convince anyone who actually wants things to change.

What Krugman is asking, what I have asked for over a year, what anyone who actually listened to what Obama said should have been asking, is whether Obama is capable of mobilizing the power of the state for the benefit of the citizens in a way that actually forces an unwelcome outcome onto an unwilling power player.

There is no vision of what the long-term role of the state should be in improving the lives of its citizens who are not lucky enough to be counted among the upper middle class winners of the four decade class war conducted by the Movement Conservaties against the nation. We have already had five months of pandering to the interests of the financial industry in lieu of real reform, complete with the media trashing of Elizabeth Warren for not agreeing that everything is for the best in the best of all possible economic worlds.

Obama is at the crossroads. The domestic political and economic circumstances are such that he can choose to be the President and use his political capital for something that will materially improve the lives of millions of people for generations, or he can be the Preznit and posture about his wonderful inclusive hopey-changey powers while millions more citizens are immiserated. I have said for more than a year that he will deliberately go with the easy path, the one so heavily traveled the last few decades, and side with the socio-economic winners.

Prove me wrong, Precious.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Admiring Reagan

Paul Krugman is one of the best in the business when it comes to political snark. His put down today of Posner's epiphany that modern conservatism is intellectually bankrupt is both succinct and funny as hell.

But it is the middle two paragraphs of the post, where he goes after the actual ideology, should be required reading for anyone who would call themselves a liberal:

... And yet — why, exactly, should we listen to people who by their own admission completely missed the story? I mean, anyone who actually listened to what Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey were saying in 1994, let alone what passed for thought in the Bush administration, should have realized long ago that if there ever was an intellectual basis for modern conservatism, it was long gone.

And the truth is that the Reaganauts were a pretty grotesque bunch too. Look for the golden age of conservative intellectualism in America, and you keep going back, and back, and back — and eventually you run up against William Buckley in the 1950s declaring that blacks weren’t advanced enough to vote, and that Franco was the savior of Spanish civilization.

Krugman makes two crucial points here. The first is how could anyone with three functional brain cells have ever found anything compelling, let alone admirable, in the political ideology of the Movement Conservatives? They were as incoherent and intellectually compromised in 1994 as they were in 2004. There is nothing here that should be treated with anything except derision should it dare show its face in public.

The second point is the more telling. No matter how far you go back in the Movement Conservative history, you cannot find anything that is not poisonous. The founder of this ideological nightmare, William Buckley, used racism and fascism as foundations for his shining city on a hill. 1994, 1984, 1980 and the Gipper himself; it doesn't matter where you try to locate the golden era of this creed, Movement Conservatism has always already been allied with the worst impulses of the nation.

The third point he leaves as a lesson for the reader to draw - And just why does anyone on the Left feel a need to compromise with this most compromised intellectual agenda? How can anyone with the conscience of a liberal express any admiration for a faction that is rooted in socio-political commitments antagonistic to the rule of law and the fundamental premise of human equality?

Who indeed.


Monday, May 18, 2009


That's the amount of increase in the Spousal Unit's Blue Shield of California health insurance premiums this time around. His doctor's medical group is no longer in the Blue Shield network. The monthly premium goes up but the amount of coverage goes down. The hospital deduction went from $200 per day to a few dollars short of $800. One week in the hospital jumped from $1400 to $5600 overnight.

Of course, that assumes you get admitted in the first place.

At a time when there is no inflation, when California is suffering massive unemployment, and when businesses of all sizes are struggling to stay open (we'll worry about solvency later), private health insurance is jacking up the prices by 14%. And that's after negotiations.

The Spousal Unit is a healthy guy, aside from his failing eyesight. His only health problem, a bad back, was cleared up years ago by some physical therapy and an ergonomic office chair.

We bought the chair ourselves because the company couldn't afford it. They do pay 100% of health insurance premiums. On the other hand, his last paycheck, which should have been deposited on the 15th, is sitting in his wallet waiting for when there is money in the bank. This is often the case for small businesses, even in the glamorous world of high-tech; the trade off for the smaller environment is a willingness to be flexible about when the paycheck goes in.

Of course, the paycheck would go in a lot sooner if it weren't for the price gouging of the health insurance industry.

As if knowing our personal news of the day, Mark Thoma of The Economist's View links to Robert Reich's latest article, The Health Care Cave-In:

The Health Care Cave-In, by Robert Reich: "Don't make the perfect the enemy of the better" is a favorite slogan in Washington because compromise is necessary to get anything done. But the way things are going with health care, a better admonition would be: "Don't give away the store."

Many experts have long agreed that a so-called "single-payer" plan is the ideal... Not surprisingly, insurance and drug companies have been dead-set against a single payer for years. And they've so frightened the public into thinking that "single payer" means loss of choice of doctor (that's wrong -- many single payer plans in other nations allow choices of medical deliverers) that politicians no longer even mention it.

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama pushed a compromise -- a universal health plan that would include a "public insurance option" resembling Medicare, which individual members of the public and their families could choose if they wished. This Medicare-like option would at least be able to negotiate low rates and impose some discipline on private insurers.

But now the Medicare-like option is being taken off the table. Insurance and drug companies have thrown their weight around the Senate. And, sadly, the White House -- eager to get a bill enacted in 2009 rather than risk it during the mid-term election year of 2010 -- is signaling it's open to other approaches. ...

It's still possible that the House could come up with a real Medicare-like public option and that Senate Dems could pass it under a reconciliation bill needing just 51 votes. But it won't happen without a great deal of pressure from the White House and the public. Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and the rest of Big Med are pushing hard in the opposite direction. And Democrats are now giving away the store. As things are now going, we'll end up with a universal health-care bill this year that politicians, including our President, will claim as a big step forward when it's really a step sideways.

Sideways? I could deal with sideways. How about backwards? I don't yet know what is going to happen to my health insurance premiums this round. I pay part of them and I will pay a larger part this year because of a 6% cut in payroll and benefits imposed on my company.

I wonder if more than 14% of the population is completely secure in their health insurance? Between falling wages, lagging employment and the-sky's-the-limit insurance costs, what portion of the population is not a pink slip - or a slip on the sidewalk - away from health care ruin?

Since he won't be able to keep his doctor anyway, the Spousal Unit is probably going to switch to Kaiser. He's lucky he has that option. I'm lucky I work for a company so short-staffed that they can't afford to let me go if I get sick. I'm also lucky my bout of flu last month didn't turn into pneumonia, something I'm at risk for due to a congenital lung deformity. We're lucky that we could probably cough up the extra cash if one of us became seriously ill.

Basic health care should not be a matter of luck.


PS - If you care about health care, throw some dollars at the indefatigable DC Blogger whose blog on Corrente is a must-read to know the sorry political state of affairs of health care.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Bob Somerby goes off in a somewhat unusual direction in his post from yesterday. His main focus is on the misrepresentation of Nancy Pelosi's statements about when and what she knew about the Bush administration's criminal torture behavior.

One of the reasons Somerby is an incomparable resource is because he researches and sources what it is the press reports over time. His write up of the current mendacity shows what Pelosi has been reported as saying for the last six months. He presents the original material (transcripts, Pelosi's own press release, a TV clip) and then identifies how reporters, in this case the WaPo reporter Paul Kane) changed her words to make them fit the spin the press wished to "report". This is standard operating procedure for Bob, a degree of fact finding (dare we say it? a degeree of reporting) that is absent from most of the press and virtually all blogging.

Towards the end of the post, Bob links to an Oliphant cartoon that depicts Pelosi smoking a joint and claiming she didn't inhale. What Bob says about this cartoon is critical:

The political price: What political price will Democrats pay for Pelosi’s sweeping accusation? Consider Pat Oliphant’s new cartoon, which appears in this morning’s Post. Too gaze on it, just click here.

The cartoon is called “The Pelosi Position.” Pelosi is shown smoking a large joint marked “Torture.” She’s making a familiar statement: “But I didn’t inhale.”

Translation: Pelosi’s sweeping charge is reactivating press/pundit frameworks from the Clinton era. This has been obvious watching cable. Oliphant spells it out nice and clear.

During the 1990s, Clinton—then Gore—were portrayed as feckless dissemblers, "willing to do and say anything." You couldn’t believe a thing they said! Clinton had said that he didn’t inhale—and Gore had said he invented the Internet! In June 1999, Hillary Clinton even said she was a childhood fan of the Cubs and the Yankees! Earlier profiles seemed to show this was true. But so what? The press called her every name in the book (links below). As they’d done throughout the era, the corps was prepared to pretend.

You couldn’t believe a thing Big Dems said; Big Dems were feckless dissemblers. (If the press corps had to dissemble to "prove" it, dissemble the press corps would.) Given Obama’s impressive demeanor and unusual background, this framework has been dying on the vine this year. But it still lurks inside these idiots' heads. Pelosi made a sweeping accusation this week—and the framework returned from the closet.

A few guesses about the political price to be paid:

The hubbub will make it slightly harder for Obama to nominate Sotomayor (as opposed to a more "traditional" choice like blonde Diane Wood). But Obama will nominate Sotomayor anyway. Because of the hubbub and the reactivated frameworks—the nomination fight will be a bit harder. Obama, and his party generally, will lose a bit of political capital in the form of a few ratings points.

This makes the health care fight a bit harder. Does the public plan therefore come out? These are the political problems we sometimes create when we scream our deepest beliefs, as progressives have begged Obama to do all through the course of this year. (my emphasis)

Jonathan Turley just can’t understand why Obama won’t scream long and loud, just like him. Then again, the heartfelt professor already has good health care.

About the Cubs and the Yankees: In June 1999, Hillary Clinton said she loved the Cubs and the Yankees as a child. Earlier profiles seemed to suggest that this was true—but the corps called her every name in the book. It triggered an established framework, you see. Send your own kids to another room. Then, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/16/08.

In 2007, they took a turn with this bullroar again. This time, their clowning may have been even dumber. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/2/07. The n-word even got used this time! (When trashing Clinton, as when trashing Gore, the n-word was “Nixonian.”)

This is the way they portrayed Big Dems right up through Obama’s nomination. Under Obama, these frameworks had been dying on the vine. In the last day or two, they are back.

Somerby appears to be saying that because Pelosi spoke the truth about the manipulations of the CIA in the service of the criminal Bush administration, that the press will use this to make it just that much harder to achieve the Democratic agenda. On one level, the most obvious level, Bob seems to be saying that political liberals need to be quiet so as not to make things toughre for Obama. In this, I disagree with the Incomparable One, though with care, as Bob is a more insightful and subtle thinker than people assume, because the way he frames the situation, he questions why saying patently obvious and common sense political things gets some political actors demonized by the Villagers.

Combine his judgment with comments made by Ian Welsh in this comment thread on Corrente and we get a familiar picture of the culture inside the Beltway. The cultural exclusivity of the Village translates into political danger for policy and politicians who do not do not properly reflect the opinions of the Village - which is most of the substantively liberal objectives of the Democratic Party.

Bob points to the peculiar split between the party and The Precious, how the press treats "Big Dems" one way while engaging in adulation of Obama on the other. The frameworks have not been dying; they merely have not been applied to Obama. Thus we end up with the strange situation where Pelosi is being pilloried in the press for saying she did not know at the time the full extent of the Bush torture regime, while the stories about Obama (who now is in a position to know everything about that policy) refusing to release the rest of the torture photos and reinstating the Guantanamo tribunals are washed away from the front pages.

Boehlert talked about the way in which Obama got everything he wanted from Left Blogistan without having to make promises in return. Perhaps the correct framing is that he got everything he wanted from the Democratic Party without having to promise much of anything in return.

The situation is that Big Dems are still the enemy while Obama basks in the glow of media approval.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

To Paraphrase Howard Baker

What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?

A) Less than Bush and Cheney, who made contempt for the rule of law the centerpiece of their administration.

B) Long after Bush and Cheney went forward with their plans to make torture the new normal.

Yeah, I'm pissed at the cowards in Congress, too, and with the lack of backbone in the Democratic leadership. I'm pissed about both of those situations today and not just on the topic of torture.

The trouble is that the hoopla over Pelosi is doing the Republican's dirty work for them by implying that she has some responsibility for the policy of torture, rather than her true responsibility, which was reviewing, comprehending, and opposing such policy.

The crime lies first and foremost with the people responsible for authorizing the use of torture. Once they have been made to answer for their original crimes against humanity and the nation, then we can get around to the pissant Congress critters who may or may not have been informed fully and unequivocally about the use of torture.

And on the question of who knew what ands when, Alegre links to an NPR article on Sen. Bob Graham where he flatly rejects the CIA's claim to have informed Speaker Pelosi on waterboarding:

Graham says the CIA was initially reticent when he told the agency what he had found in his notes.

"They said, 'We will check and call back,'" Graham recalled. "When they finally did a few days later, they indicated that I was correct. Their information was in error. There was no briefing on the first three of four dates."

Graham says the agency offered no explanation regarding how it came up with the other dates.

The Sept. 27, 2002, briefing occurred about three weeks after the briefing in which the CIA says it told Pelosi about the use of waterboarding, a technique also described as simulated drowning. Graham, like Pelosi, says waterboarding was not mentioned during his briefing.

"There was no discussion of waterboarding, other excessive techniques or that they had applied these against any particular detainees," he says.

Pelosi has charged that she was misled by the CIA. Graham puts it another way.

"Nothing that I can recall being said surprised me or has subsequently proven to be incorrect," he says. "It was a matter of omission, not commission."

Graham says he is not surprised at the CIA's claims, noting that within a week of its Sept. 27 briefing, the agency presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee its National Intelligence Estimate of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was later shown to be flawed.

"I'm not impressed with the credibility of the CIA as it was being led in 2002," Graham says. "I think it had become an agency that instead of following the admonition to speak truth to power, it was trying to speak what it thought power wanted to hear."

Pelosi's claim of being misled at the time may not be formally correct, but the CIA has now been caught in an outright lie about what meetings it held and what topics it covered.

The proper paraphrase of Howard Baker is:

What did the Bush/Cheney administration order done and what steps have they taken to cover up their crimes?


PS - Sarah on Corrente is also channeling Howard Baker - Defending Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Right on cue, The Incomparable One, serves up another excellent take down of the so-called-progressive media by focusing on the casual acceptance of sexism by the audience as a legitimate and progressive mode of political rhetoric.

Susie Madrak, in her review of Boehlert's new book, cuts to the chase more crisply than I did the other day:

Perhaps it will help matters if I point out the only blog reviews to date have been written by the bloggers who also protested the treatment of Hilary Clinton in last year’s primary. Which raises an interesting question: Is discussing even the possibility of sexism in the liberal blogosphere the third rail? Looks like it. ...

But the book does have a few flaws. Boehlert takes great pains to list the charges of sexism in the primary without really investigating them; for instance, I can’t imagine why he let it pass when a male blogger claims there was no sexism on his site because he didn’t allow his commenters to call Clinton a "cunt" or a "bitch." (Because, of course, we all know there’s simply no other language that could possibly demean women.)

My point - that the A-List and A-List-wanna-be bloggers were on message with the major media, not in opposition to them - is most clearly demonstrated by the way in which sexism was not simply tolerated, but deliberately and aggressively deployed, first in the primaries and again in the general campaign. I also think that we have to focus on class and liberal disdain for "low culture" as something that amplified the misogyny.

Somerby has always been clued in to this mix, though he often overwhelms the fundamental argument with his exhortative style. Today, though, he sets aside his usual arch delivery and delivers a sharp, uncompromising critique of the fauxgressive media celebrities and the pseudo-liberals who love them.

Bob starts with an insightful, critical, yet also sympathetic report on Marion Barry casting the sole dissent from the D.C . city council's bill to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Bob makes clear his own disagreement with Barry, and his hope that Barry's assessment of the effect of the vote on D.C.'s black community is wrong. He then asks why there is little attention being given to Barry's opposition and arguments outside of the D.C. Metro area, specifically among the "progressive" media. Indeed, why not? This is a significant political figure making a strong argument about a possibly violent rejection of a cause near and dear to liberal hearts, an argument that has resonance in California where Proposition 8, enshrining anti-gay bigotry in the state constitution, was strongly supported by African American voters. This is a serious point of contention among traditional constituents of the Democratic Party and needs to be understood and dealt with.

What do we get instead? The trivialization of the issue compounded by blatent misogyny, courtesy of Keith Olbermann. A long but excellent excerpt, all emphasis mine:

But it’s funny, ain’t it? You haven’t heard squat about Barry’s “ugly words” on your “progressive” cable news channel! But last night, The Dumbest Person in the World devoted another lengthy segment to ridicule of Carrie Prejean, an insignificant 21-year-old who recently made the mistake of saying something about same-sex marriage which Olbermann has never even bothered describing.(For the record, her view on the matter seems to resemble that of Barack Obama. And that of Hillary Clinton. And John Kerry and Al Gore.) The big nut went on for almost seven minutes mocking Prejean—and her breast implants. But it’s funny, ain’t it? You’ve never heard a word on this program about the things Marion Barry said.

Of course, the reasons for that are obvious:

Olbermann doesn’t have videotape of Barry walking around in a two-piece swim suit. And Barry is an older man, not a younger woman. As Olbermann has made dumb-foundingly clear, he seems to live for the opportunity to ridicule young women. He never says boo about older man—perhaps understanding they could come to his studio and engage in conduct which might require him to obtain a sphincter implant.

Olbermann’s a woman-trasher—a genuine nut on this matter. And no, we hate to break the news: He doesn’t do “progressive” television. He seems to do work designed to capture the eyeballs of well-meaning young liberals. And for some ungodly reason, he does television which has long been devoted to the ridicule of women’s brains and bodies. Marion Barry doesn’t count. An insignificant creation of Donald Trump quite incessantly does. ...

For sheer stupidity, we strongly recommend last night’s buffoonish segment, devoted to the eternal dumbness of Miss California. (To watch the segment, click this.) Olbermann plays you every way but blue, citing those breast implants two separate times (including in his opening paragraph) and failing to tell you why Prejean might be upset about the way she’s been treated. (He always forgets to explain this.) You see, in the world of “progressive cable,” calling a young woman a “c*nt” and a b*itch” isn’t worthy of comment —if she fails to hold pseudo-progressive views, that is. “Where are the feminists?” Laura Ingraham inquired. We would broaden her limited framework: Where are the progressives?

Oh, we forgot! They’re dragging their knuckles and sucking their thumbs, watching a 50-year-old nutcase get his eternal jollies. And drive his rating among the demo, putting millions of bucks in his pants.

Where are the "progessives" indeed.

The Incomparable One turns the criticism of the media around to those who eagerly consume it and who are proud to count Olbermann as one of their tribe. Bob asks what Eric Boehlert danced around but couldn't quite bring himself to ask, what Susie and BTD (among others) have asked, which is why are liberals so comfortable with Olbermann's and others' use of liberal politics to engage in crude misogyny?

With Prejean, as with Gov. Palin and in an oblique way with Hillary, the mysogyny is twisted together with a culture critique that tries to have its cheesecake and spit on it, too. The high-minded disdain evinced by (mostly but not always) men like Olbermann allows both the critic and the audience to manhandle stereotypes of "low" women, simultaneously creating what is low and implanting those reviled qualities into a disposable other, inviting each other to ogle, manipulate, possess and indulge in those despicable (yet deeply desired) aspects under the guise of rejecting them. We can't just talk about Prejean's opinions - we also have to stare at her (false, deceitful, whorish) breasts which serve as proof of her shallow character, her vanity, and her desire to be fucked over. She's just asking for it!

We lose sight of the real political challenge, the deep division within the Democratic coalition about our commitment as a party to equal rights, and we are assaulted by yet another misogynistic T&A drool session masquerading as political commentary. In the end, Somerby is less criticizing Olbermann than he is those who watch him with admiration, thinking that this is somehow progressive.

To think you can engage in this kind of misogyny and be progressive is simply false.


Monday, May 11, 2009

What I Did on My Winter Vacation

Yes, I'm back. Not that I ever left, mind you, but I am back to do some blogging.

After the intense blogging of last year, I needed a break. My life was out of balance, so I did a lot of other things, very non-blogging, non-political kinds of things like watch a bunch of movies and TV shows I'd missed the first time around, collect a whole new set of recipies, put in herbs, walk all over the neighborhood, and build a few web sites.

I've also had my raise from last year rescinded in a company wide pay cut and am waiting to see what other measures may be needed to keep the company afloat. We have a good CEO and an excellent senior team who are working their butts off to keep everyone employed with benefits that are more than just window dressing.

I had a round with the flu a few weeks back, maybe even swine flu (I do live in San Diego), but have finally shaken that. The whole famn damily is doing well. Last week, we put geraniums into pots and put them on the front porch. The bright red blooms are neon against the yellow stucco.

So now I'm back to put blogging into the mix once more. Fewer posts, without a doubt. My goal is to keep up the political theorizing I began last year about the shifting cultural and political alignment of the nation, and how the netroots, even with Facebook and iPods thrown in, will not rescue the Republic.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

No Ticket to Ride

I am perusing my complimentary copy of Eric Boehlert's new book, Bloggers on the Bus (thanks, Eric), and I am mystified by an enormous lacuna in its pages.

Nowhere is Bob Somerby or The Daily Howler directly mentioned.

Perhaps I have not looked in the right place in the index or missed the specific pages where The Incomparable One is discussed, but I'm sitting here, scratching my head, trying to figure out how anyone, let alone someone as perceptive as Boehlert, can omit Bob Somerby from an analysis of the media and the blogs in Election '08, especially as Somerby was cranking out some of the most clear-eyed, trenchant commentary on the circus.

Where is mention of Somerby's brilliant phrase, Whoever Kidnapped Josh Marshall?

A phrase that neatly sums up the schizophrenia gripping Left Blogistan by the throat from November 2007 through the Democratic National Convention, and continued to rear its psychotic head through the confirmation hearings for Secretary of State Clinton. A phrase that points directly to the paradox Boehlert himself identifies, then shies away from investigating, in the final few pages of the book - that "The bad news for liberal bloggers was that as the Obama campaign unfolded... it became obvious that bloggers were never really invited to the party." (p.261)

Boehlert's book is interesting in a number of ways, and I encourage my readers to get your hands on a copy and read it, but something I find disconcerting is its presentism. Part of this is in the nature of the topic - the recent election - but to represent the political critique of both the Movement Conservatives (to use Paul Krugman's phrase) and the Villager media culture as having started with Chris Bowers, Kos and Atrios boggles my mind. In the introduction, Boehlert talks about Timothy Crouse's 1972 expose of the political press, The Boys on the Bus, from which this new book draws its name. He says,
And yet there hasn't been enough serious public attention paid to the netroots phenomenon, which is why I decided to write Bloggers on the Bus. Inspired by Crouse's book, although I'm in no way comparing my work with his pioneering effort, I believe the uniquely twenty-first-century phenomenon of the netroots ought to be documented. (p. xi, Introduction)
I agree that there has not been enough serious public attention paid to the netroots, but, Eric, sorry, Bob Somerby was blogging back in 1998, the twentieth-century. The foundation of the liberal blogosphere is Somerby's writings on the war against liberal politics and the Democratic Party conducted by the so-called liberal media. The impetus for his blog was the media assault on the Clinton Administration.

The Daily Howler is one of the (if not the) longest published political blog of substance out there. The Howler and The Horse (Media Whores Online - The site that set out to bring mainstream journalism to its knees, but found it was already there...) were the two must-read sites for anyone who wanted to get around the courtiers of Versailles. Somerby's influence on and inspiration for what we know today as Left Blogistan is as incomparable as his archives. Somerby is difficult to read, bugs the hell out of me at least half the time, and some of his obsessions are not on my radar, but unlike people like Kos, Josh Marshall, Big Media Matt and other Blogger Boyz, he has never allowed himself to be compromised or co-opted by the mainstream media. Or by a political campaign.

Somerby would probably agree when Eric says,
The outdated campaign bus had broken down. Worse, over the years not only had its media passengers slavishly maintained the same pack-driven approach that Crouse bemoaned decades earlier, but the political press had become increasingly unserious, with an almost nonstop devotion to campaign tactics, process, and trivia. (p. x, Introduction)
but would add "and the big name bloggers of the netroots, the people you so admiringly write about in your book, are part of that unserious press corps. They want to be the pool boys servicing the media celebrities in their cabanas."

On the same page, Boehlert can describe in excellent detail how thoroughly the Obama campaign worked with the mainstream media to ensure delivery of his message with his spin, and then state (with no hint of irony), "The Internet, as Barack Obama demonstrated in 2008, offered a way for candidates to go around the traditional Beltway media and communicate directly with voters." (p.x)


Obama was the candidate the MSM wanted to see elected. Obama's "joke" at the press roast this weekend (some of you reported on me, all of you voted for me) is as revealing on this count as George Bush's quip about the mega-rich ("or, as I call them, my base."). They worked just as assiduously for Obama's election as any of the Blogger Boyz. Their political war in 2008, just as it had been from 1992 through 2000, was conducted against those upstarts from Arkansas and Gore the Bore. The paradox of the 2008 election was how little effect the liberal thinkers and writers, from Paul Krugman down to yours truly, had on the public discourse. Obama was the establishment candidate, and the leading lights of the Left Blogosphere were as thoroughly managed by that establishment as any of the talking heads.

The Election of 2008 marks the moment when some bloggers were allowed on the media bus, as long as they directed their ire at the same people Tweety and Tim Russert held in contempt. Those who refused to adopt the language and goals of the CDS-afflicted DC Elite were shoved in front of that juggernaut. We're still there, clinging to the grill, just as undisciplined and scrappy as ever.

Chapter 8, The Blog War of 2008, tries to capture some of that dynamic, but is still captive to the misapprehension that the A-list blogs on the Left were not part of the media's magic circle. Or perhaps Boehlert is well aware of the phenomenon, but not willing to state it himself. Instead, he quotes a conversation he had with Paul Krugman about the campaign:
But as the primary unfolded in 2008, Krugman, a Clinton supporter, did not like what he saw online. He objected to what he called the creation of a false portrait of Hillary Clinton. To him, the pile on recalled how the traditional media savaged Al Gore during the 2000 campaign, portraying him as borderline delusional. In 2008, Krugman watched Clinton get tagged by the press as delusional, except this time lots of liberal bloggers joined in as well, he said, twisting stories and quotes to make CLinton look as unappealing as possible.

"It was ugly," said Krugman, who was also startled to see portions of the Obama-loving netroots alter their views on cornerstone issues, such as the need for universal health care. Specifically, the netroots had been stalwart in calling for government mandates to insure universal coverage. Clinton supported mandates and Obama did not, yet progressives online flocked to Obama despite his position. "Suddenly being opposed to mandates, which for me is basically being opposed to universality, becomes a touchstone of being a real progresssive?" Krugman asked incredulously. "Wow. There was a definite [Orwellian] 'we-have-always-been-at-war-with-Eastasia' feel to that."

For the columnist, the Democratic race represented a turning point for the blogs, an end to innocence. Said Krugman, "I don't think people like myself are ever going to look at Daily Kos the same way."
What we witnessed in 2008 was the cognitive capture of the major blogs by the Beltway. The A-List bloggers are now functionally and culturally part of the Village.

I doubt those bloggers will ever leave the bus.