Posts from January 2004

Whose side are you on?

Whose side are you on?
: Someone I like and respect said this to me in email:

I would never say this in public, but you are happy to slam Dean and the other Dems on your blog but you never tell anyone who you are for. Just like negative campaigning doesn’t work, negative blogging has its limits.

Well, that person was too nice to say it in public but I will. What the heck.

My life is an open blog.

But the problem is, I don’t know who I’m for. (Hell, I can’t even say that without getting my knickers in a grammatical gordian knot: I don’t know for whom I am? Oh, well…)

In this blog, writing about politics, I’m just a voter and I’m transparently subjecting you to my process of selecting. I’ve done that in other areas. In the early days of this blog, my few readers watched me give up my cherished pacifism in the face of our generation’s Hitler (a comparison I make quite intentionally, unlike others who have lately used it glibly). I’ve gone from disliking and distrusting Bush to at least giving him a chance to do his job (and weblogs have helped me be more open-minded). And I’ve decided that I don’t like the new Burger King sandwiches after all. This is the transparent life. That’s one reason we webloggers get attacked — who the hell could care less what you think? — but we also get attacked if we’re not transparent. So I’ll be transparent. So call me the Invisible Man.

When it comes to politics, though, it’s not so easy for a journalist to reveal preferences; we have that beaten out of us at an early age. There’s no crying baseball. There’s no political preference in journalism.

But my email correspondent is right — and so, for the most part, is Roger L. Simon when he challenges us all to vote in public — and so I should at least give you the context of where I stand right now, in case you could possibly care:

I have been a life-long Democrat and liberal and I’ve enumerated various stands here (never enough for the satisfaction of some, but they can kiss my NWL ass). I’ve been disturbed by many trends on the left, leaving its roots and soul behind. Too often, the left cares more about PC than free speech; today it cares more about fighting Bush than fighting a tyrant like Saddam. I could go on and on but I already have. Unlike Simon or Totten, I haven’t left the fold; I just dyed my sheepskin black.

It’s no surprise that I don’t like Dean and the more I see of him the less I like him. I won’t hash it all over again because I’ve hashed him plenty but I think he is destructive, trading on bile rather than on building a future. I say he is wrong on the war and that ousting Saddam is a humanitarian and thus a liberal issue. I disagree what he says about many issues (including media) and agree about some. But in the end, I think he is far from inclusive and he is hot-headed and perhaps even a bit unstable; I do not think he would make a good President; I also think he has no chance of winning the election. As a voter, he turns me off and I say so. And as I’ve said here, I think his negativity is what has lost him the nomination. I am not alone. Far from it.

But because Dean was — through the fault of my fellow media travellers — so long the presumed front-runner and winner, I will admit that I was lazy. What was the point of studying the stands of a dozen other candidates when none of them will win or, at the least, most will not survive until my state’s primary? The primary system will do its job, I figured, and then I will do mine. But the last few weeks have changed all that.

I had hoped early on that Clark would be the alternative to Dean but he has, instead, tried to become Dean the Sequel. He harps on the war with the same shrill tone as Dean. He flipflops menacingly. He reveals himself to be an amateur and if this were American Idol, I might be forgiving, but this is the Presidency we’re talking about. Clark is not my man.

Lieberman would be my man — if only he could win. We agree on the war. He is the most mature and experienced of the entire field. He’s smart and practical. He’s a Clinton Democrat and so am I. We disagree about many issues — among them, government control of entertainment content. But all in all, he has come the closest to my weltanschauung. But he’s losing.

So now I turn to Kerry and Edwards and, quite frankly, I don’t know enough about either of them yet. Sure, I’ve followed Kerry over time but I need to study up on what he’s saying today, for politicians do morph, don’t they? And Edwards is impressing people but I fear that could be because he’s the one about whom we know the least, and thus he’s the one in whom many are now putting their greatest hopes. He is the blank slate. So I’ll watch him, too.

So I’m not engaging in “negative blogging.” I’m engaging in honest blogging. I don’t like or trust Howard Dean and I say so here. I have been unimpressed with Clark and I’ve said so. I am still figuring out the rest of the pack if the primaries don’t select for me.

And that, folks, is the way things are.

Should you give a damn? No. I’m just one voter. But since (some of you) asked….

Any enemy of yours is…

Any enemy of yours is…
: Qiwi Lisolet (what a great name, eh? I hope it’s real) wonders about my suggestion that we should counteract our overdoes of friends networks with an enemies network:

Does this mean that the enemy of my enemy’s enemy is my enemy?

A question for friend networks and foreign policy alike.

Take that! Please!

Take that! Please!
: Atrios responds well to Sullivan.

I’m disappointed that this is turning into a talk-radio decibel derby. It’s unbecoming and unproductive. Who’s to blame? Well, Andrew did throw the first punch last night. But as I read comments on my site on my Treo from the studio, I saw mention of insults thrown at me (and, I assumed, other show guests) over on Atrios’ comments.

And today, I hit my fill with inane, childish, immature, offensive, stupid, braind-dead, numbnuts (enough?) name-calling and insults going on among a few people without lives on my comments. You know it’s getting bad when it turns into a game of insult poker: I’ll see your homophobe and raise you and anti-semite!


This is precisely what gives the Internet its bad reputation as a neglected schoolyard, populated by childish, churlish, ignorant little street urchins.

Discussion and argument and challenges over issues and ideas is welcome here and should be welcome on all weblogs.

But bitchslaps — as good as they might feel at the moment — should be the subject of regret.

This is our neighborhood. Let’s clean up the graffiti.

The snow tracking poll

snow.bmpsnow.bmpThe snow tracking poll
: Forecast for New Hampshire Tuesday: Snow. What does that mean? Deaniacs are more cultishly motivated so they’ll wear their PJs inside-out (see blow) and trudge through mountains of cold stuff for their man. Clark people are military and tough and they will go to the polls in their Humvees. Lieberman voters are long-suffering and will suffer for their man. Edwards supporters will worry about the snow on his hair. Who the hell knows? It’s too late for polls and guesses and pundits and pronostications about what the weather will do. Now the vote is where it should be: with the voters.

The blog for those without lives

The blog for those without lives
: MarthaWatch. [via IWantMedia]

The snow day meme

The snow day meme
: Has anybody else heard this: Our kids suddenly started wearing their PJs inside out. Turns out all the kids do it when they’re hoping for a snow day. It’s good luck, says the meme. We didn’t do that in my day. We trudged through four feet of snow with nothing on our feet but….

Off the air

Off the air
: Just got home from the Chris Lydon radio show. I had fun; who doesn’t love a microphone? But the problem is, whenever I get off their air it feels like the morning after: Did I make a fool of myself? (Of course.) Will anyone remember? (Well, it is radio.) Did I talk too fast? (Am I me?) I was quite honored Chris included me for an hour of his show and so, I also felt like a guest in his house, at his party, hoping I wouldn’t spill any red wine on the rug, wishing I’d get invited again.

It was amusing at the end listening to Andrew Sullivan go after Atrios and turn this into, oh, just another radio talk show, albeit one with bigger PBS words. What is it about conservatives and radio? Do the microwaves boil their blood? Sullivan said he criticizes Bush but Atrio never criticizes liberals. Atrios was nonplussed. I was merely amused. I did, however, join in when Andrew went after Atrios for being anonymous. Andrew set it up well, talking about transparency as a virtue of this medium and then accusing Atrios of being transluscent. I agree. If he has some good professional reason why he can’t, then he should at least give us a hint. He owes that to his readers.

I also enjoyed asking Frank Rich when he’s going to blog. He said he has no time and wants a life.

Net: I’m glad that Chris got two hours on many stations to explain and explore weblogs. This phenom is still damned new and now’s the time for this discussion. I hope it becomes a regular gig (and I hope he will invite me back after the carpet cleaners leave).

More links and comments over at the Blogging of the President site. And Doc practically transcribes the whole two hours (sorry I talk so fast, Doc).


The betting line

The betting line
: The stats kid discovered by Kaus gives his final projections: Kerry wins in the 30s; Dean recovers to the mid-20s; Edwards is third; Clark is fourth and thus toast; Lieberman is Lieberman.