Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Inside the Inside the Beltway
The so-called liberal punditry is quite frustrating.

Eleanor Clift is usually right on. But her latest editorial piece is really off the mark in my opinion. In that piece, she goes with the GOP talking point that the Feingold Censure Resolution is a gift to the Republicans.

Digby does a fine job dismantling her argument and citing lots of interesting comparisons. But this concluding paragraph caught my eye:
If the Democrats lose in November, I'm sure she'll [Clift] find plenty of reasons to blame Democrats, but it won't occur to her that the reason people didn't vote for the D's was because the party listened to people like her and campaigned like a herd of neutered animals instead of listening to their hearts, their minds, their constituents and their leaders who were prepared to take a stand for what we believe in. No, they'll blame the "extremists" who want a safety net and a sane terrorism policy --- and leaders who defend the constitution. It couldn't possibly be that their tired, stale reflexive passivity is to blame when half the base fails to turn out because they just. have. no. hope.
Like Lynne's post below regarding why-oh-why anyone would vote for Bush, I've often wondered what it is about the liberal punditocracy that is so willing to find a reason Democrats are always wrong (and thus, why Republicans are always right). I certainly agree with Digby's assertion that Clift's point of view is quite representative of the "liberal" inside-the-beltway crowd, and especially that it's a chronically losing strategy. But I also know that Clift's not stupid. She knows Bush is in the 30's with popularity, Iraq is going poorly, and that the mood of the country isn't exactly on Bush's side. Hell, the Republicans took down Clinton with popularity polling in the 50-60's, peace, and the strongest economy in generations! So what gives with an interpretation that Feingold calling for censure is good for Republicans?

I've written this before and I really do believe it's true. In this day n' age, there are an incredible number of pundits, and so much opinion in the media, it's gotten very difficult to differentiate yourself. I can remember not that many years ago when there were only a couple of outlets for "inside the beltway" conventional wisdom. Now, like assholes, everyone's got an opinion and a voice, myself included.

Given the increased competition to draw patron's to your opinions, I often wonder if professional journalists don't overthink the issues, ending up being too cute by half. Taking a contrarian position is one way to make yourself distinct, controversial, and readable. Clift's position on Feingold is just such a position that defies logic and rationality, making it appear that she knows something that other's don't (and thus, you really have to read her). But you know what? Sometimes a rose is a rose.

Just as an example, I have never seen anyone discussing Eleanor Clift in blogs. Today, there are at least three different in-depth posts that I've read in a very quick perusal of the net. Wonder how many people took that buzz, learned about Eleanor Clift, read her column, and will remember her?
Blogger mikevotes said...
I generally do take issue with this "conventional wisdom" that the Feingold resolution is bad politics, (I'm a supporter) but you have to recognize the position that anything that takes the discussion away from the Bush administration's blunders does have a downside.

Also, just in a coldly political analysis, is it to early to turn on the Bush hate so far out in front of the midterms? I don't know, I'm just asking, but outside the base, are you spending your momentum too early? Would this be better politically sometime in June of July?

I really don't know, but it's difficult to maintain outrage that long. I guess the question comes down to an analysis of whether the center and republicans turning against Bush are permanently "turned" or not.

Just pondering.


Blogger GreyHair said...

No offense, but you sound like a Democrat consultant ....


The Dems have been overthinking politics. You do what you do because you believe in it. When you take that approach, people begin to believe in you (and thus vote for you).

How long did the Republicans keep the pressure up on Clinton? Was there ever a time in his administration when he wasn't being attacked with moral outrage?

I also don't understand how putting forth a censure resolution is "taking the heat off Bush"? This statement is only true if Dems ending spending a lot of time discussing a censure as strategery and wringing their hands about the propriety/politics of such a "move".

The MF'er should be impeached and tried as a criminal. But if we can't get that discussion going, then a censure is next best.

Do the right thing, and let the politics follow. Typically, the politics will go your way when you believe what you're doing.