Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Monday, March 05, 2007
Educating Klein
Atrios has continues to try and bring "liberal" Joe Klein into the real world of politics and the blosophere.

The other day, Klein put up a post describing "left-wing extremists" listing a number of qualities that make up such dastardly types. Today, I guess in service of his continued attempt at appearing "moderate" he puts up an equally caricatured list of the traits of a right-wing radical. I'm not too sure it's possible, but in attempting to educate swampland Joe, Atrios makes a very very good point:
Anyway, as his commenters try to explain to him over and over again, the point is that to the extent that the people Klein was trying to caricature with his list of left wing extremist characteristics actually exist (stipulating for sake of discussion at the moment that they do), they aren't members of congress, they don't have prominent positions in the Democratic party, they don't have columns in Time magazine, they don't get invited to discuss the issues on CNN or NPR, they don't write Op-Eds for the New York Times and, most relevant for this discussion, they aren't even prominent dirty fucking hippie bloggers.

On the flip side, the caricature he offers up of right wing extremists are members of Congress, prominent members of the Bush adminstration, run the Republican party, have columns in Time magazine, regularly come on CNN to discuss the issues, and pretty much define the right wing blogosphere.

Klein uses too many absolute qualifiers for either list to be especially helpful, but whether either caricature is especially apt I think we can understand who he is trying to describe. On one hand we have a bunch of people who have no voice in our politics or mainstream media, on the other hand we have lots of people who are pervasive in government and who occupy prominent media spots on a regular basis.

Which is why, years and years later, people like me don't understand why the "liberal" pundits in the mainstream media too often spend more of their time swatting at powerless potentially phantom people who have no political power, rather than pointing their rhetorical guns at the people who actually have power.
Excellent. Very well said. Why the punditry can't get this is a puzzle which seems to be only easily explained by the burning desire to keep one's place in the cocktail weenie line.