Thursday, June 22, 2006

Volume vs. Passion

I've been doing my best to remain ignorant of whatever stupidity is consuming the self-appointed godheads of the lefty blogosphere this time. I understand it's another round of Kos shooting his mouth off against the Opponent of the Week™, who did something boorish and juvenile to get back at Mr. Markos who seems to have ticked said person off by shooting his mouth off... well, same old same old.

Ed Kilgore gives me about as much detail as I care to know (too much, in fact) and then hoists Mr. Self-Righteous Savior of the Left© up by his own petard - by pointing out that the Old Left (rather like Old Europe) is a far more complicated place than the gung-ho netroots will admit.
After all, TNR just posted an article by its editor-in-chief, Martin Peretz, endorsing Al Gore for president in 2008. As regular readers of Daily Kos know, Gore has become the runaway favorite for 2008 among Kossacks. Inconvenient but true, eh?

I had an immediate mental image of Markos and Marty sitting uncomfortably together on an Al Gore campaign bus (perhaps emblazoned with signs reading "Re-Elect Gore To A Third Term") rolling through rural Iowa a year or so down the road. That's probably cynical of me, but I gotta tell you, if Gore does run it looks like he'll have the most incongruous set of supporters since Mo Udall and George Wallace both endorsed Jimmy Carter in 1976.

This brings me to one of the fundamental mistakes of the netroots. They equate being loud with being committed, substituting volume for passion. The mention of Al Gore (my absolute #1 choice for President, as my regular readers know) makes the case. There are two left blogospheric pundits yowling at each other like cats with cans tied to their tails. The storming, the shrieking, the character assassinations, the put downs, the accusations and counter-smears of not being sufficiently "progressive". Yadda, yadda, fucking yadda.

Then there is Al, who took one of the most cruel defeats in US political history, refused to either pity himself or get pissed off, and has turned himself into a pillar of passion, one dweeby, dorky PowerPoint slide at a time. Anyone who just listens to the guy can tell this. He isn't grabbing the limelight; he is earning it.

I read a lot of blogs and sites, mostly because I'm a political junkie. I see a familiar pattern - blogger starts out small and interesting, blogger gets following, blogger gets better known, starts up own site, loses focus, becomes blowhard, devolves into irrelevancy, tossing out the occasional thoughtful post, but mostly being reduced to snarking and too often flouncing off in a huff after one-too-many bulleye criticisms. What I also see is the refrain that they deserve to be as rudely outraged as they like because they are angry.

Now, the Rude Pundit (never work safe, always worth the read) has honed rudeness to a fine edge, one that deserves respect for the sheer perfection of its political commentary, but there is only one Rude One. Here is someone who has passion for crafting the well-turned expletive, shocking us week after week at the tame, almost cuddly, nature of curses and fornication when compared to true obscenity - the Cheney administration.

So, call me less than impressed at the outrage of the week. The johnny/janey-come-lately drama queens of the blogosphere and their constant emotional crisis over being treated like any other interest group are wearing thin.

And why people with true passion and profound commitment to all of the body politic, like Al Gore, compel us to acknowledge the truth.


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