How (not) to win friends and influence voters

How (not) to win friends and influence voters

: The obnoxious self-inflicted orthodoxy of some on the left is hurting the cause and the party and any chance of getting elected again.

Today over at Kos, Armando calls me a “right-wing media gadfly.” Commenters then pile on, as is their sport, and say that because New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has been hanging around me, he must be right-wing, too. What liberal media, indeed. And then my bete taupe, Eric Alterman, uses his column in The Nation to call me “a self-styled evangelist for right-wing bloggers.” And when I say that we’re all journalists now thanks to the internet, he says: “That, of course, is nonsense. Journalists aspire to standards of fairness, accuracy and research that are not generally observed by Jarvis’s pajama-clad army.” These are standards not generally observed by Alterman in his spreading of innuendo not backed by the slightest reporting or fact. But I digress.

What does my right-wing look like?

: I voted for John Kerry, though reluctantly.

: I voted for Bill Clinton, eagerly.

: I am dying to vote for Hillary Clinton.

: I vote Democratic in local races in my corner of New Jersey, when they have the guts to run.

: I am pro-choice.

: I opposed the Bush tax cuts.

: I am against school vouchers.

: I am for gay marriage and quit the Presbyterian Church over its bigotry against gays.

: I am for universal health care.

: I fight for free speech in America and elsewhere.

: I wrote a cover story for The Nation.

So why do these guys want to drum me out of their corps (or what they think is their corps)? What are my crimes of political incorrectness?

: I didn’t support Howard Dean.

: I supported the war in Iraq on the humanitarian grounds that we had a duty to finish the job of removing a tyrant who had murdered millions and bring democracy to an oppressed people. I call that a liberal, humanitarian, nation-building cause. These guys don’t.

: I didn’t support Howard Dean.

: I dared to criticize Koz for attacking Americans who were murdered in Iraq and dared to repeat Zephyr Teachout’s recollections about the Dean campaign trying to curry favor with Kos via a job.

: I didn’t support Howard Dean.

: I choose to be civil to bloggers who would call themselves conservative and though we disagree they are usually civil to me.

: I didn’t support Howard Dean.

: I do support the notion that we need to bring democracy to the world and that without it, terrorism will continue.

: I didn’t support Howard Dean.

And for these sins, Kos calls me right-wing, Alterman calls me all kinds of things, and Oliver Willis rises to the rhetorical heights of calling me, as he calls anyone with whom he disagrees, “stupid.”

Is this the left, the caring, human, open, inclusive, warm, huggy, humanisitic left? Or is this just its wackier, ruder wing of the party? I vote for the latter.

But this is how liberals treat our own if we don’t agree with ever syllable certain folks proclaim or if we don’t seethe and spit at the other side.

This is no way to win elections and no way to enact change and no way to influence policy. If this wing continues to be the loudest voice of the party and, in fact, takes over the party, then you can bet that the Democrats will forever be in opposition — a role these folks love like cultists who feed on attack — or, worse, even sink into extinction. I’m not a third-party guy; never have been, never want to be. But being attacked for daring to disagree on one issue or with one self-proclaimed leader is no way to win friends and influence elections. I hope the Clinton wing retakes the party from the spitting fringe.

I’m no right-winger. But I’m not their kind of left-winger. I’m proud to sit in the center with most of America, in a country that isn’t at war, red v. blue, but is getting sick of the fringers who are.

  • Ben Lange

    It’s always amusing to see how disillusioned a liberal can be when he discovers how other liberals think and operate.

  • Jeff B.

    Are you surprised, Jeff? Your real crime is being a liberal whom conservatives can talk to and get along with. I think you’re wrong on any number of things (your Stern/FCC obsession, for one), but I visit this site and occasionally comment because, get this, you come off as someone who’s willing to listen to me even if in the end you completely disagree.
    See what reward it has brought you? Your comments are plagued by Kos Kidz like gandhi and Roundy McHeartdisease (aka O-Dub), who excoriate you not JUST for holding certain non-orthodox political beliefs, but more crucially for being someone that right-wingers occasionally agree with.
    You want a perfect example of a similar ostracism in the making? Take a look at what’s currently happening to David Corn of The Nation. He’s more reliably “Left” than you’ll ever be (this isn’t meant as an insult, merely that he’s hard Left whereas you’re moderate Left), but still…now you’re hearing the Kos Kidz and their ilk calling him a mole, a traitor, etc. Why? Because he calls them as he sees them, and occasionally that doesn’t comport to the “Bush is always wrong/always involved in conspiracy” worldview that they’ve invested in.
    You’re not going to get an apology or any form of detente from these folks, Jeff. Might as well get used to it.

  • daudder

    You’re not a rightie, just shell shocked.

  • jong

    There is room in the Democratic Party for all of us. I dont even agree with myself all of the time. What I dont like is vulgarity. We can be strident and oppositional without resorting to bombast. We can disagree but still respect one another and know that we are DEMOCRATS.

  • Mike G in San Diego

    It’s been said before, but it bears repeating:
    These days, the Right is looking for converts. The Left is looking for heretics.

  • MattJ

    Be comforted that when the Left gets back into power, it will be guys like you who are in charge, and they’ll still be outside the tent and angry as all get-out.

  • earl

    What strikes me the most about the battles of the last few months is not your stand on the issues–your list is very similar to mine–but that you keep posting about your personal pissing contests. That got old in a hurry. And it gives the appearance that the pissing contests may be your goal.
    From an uninvited critic: I don’t come nearly as often because of it.

  • william

    Smirky calling you stupid? That’s a laugh.
    Anyway, I don’t agree with you on most political issues, but I very much appreciate your posts relating to the flow of information and technology.
    Don’t let the “fever swamp” get you down.

  • Franky

    I think the problem is that at the moment we on the left are going through a rough time – we lost an election to a man many of us believe to be a total mediocrity, we feel there’s a creeping religious right trying to take over and many feel that the right continue to set the agenda for debate. You see your role as that of the concerned friend to the left giving advice on how to straigthen out. Many on the left see that criticism in terms of yet more attacks, coming in conjunction with a shameless right-wing punditry. I think the anger comes from a belief that now is the time to stand together and the last thing the left needs is another critic.
    Not saying I agree with this, just trying to explain the feelings of some.

  • I’m right with you Jeff! I can barely manage to read the lefty drivel anymore, even though its the stuff I grew up on. What happened? Did I really change into a war-mongering bigoted fascist ideologue? Or is that just what they want me to believe? Anything but to allow dissent from within (let alone from without). Ohs well, I throw my hands up in the air. Of course, its the Democratic Party which has suffered and will continue to suffer in the long run. That is the most troubling thing for me. Congratulations, you lefty wackos! You’ve succesfully hijacked the party. Good grief.

  • JC

    Maybe its because you go to your “outrage” routine, regarding left-wing bloggers, and not right wing. You use this forum to attack Juan Cole, Eric Alterman, Daily Kos, etc – but I have yet to see you go after (an an example) Powerline and Hindrocket, for calling (you included) Democrats, betrayers of American.
    Look, if you go around criticizing only left, and it doesn’t seem warranted, and then you are committed to one of the biggest bait and switches ever pulled by an american adminstration, what are people supposed to think?
    Like Michael Totten (a previous liberal), or Armed Liberal over at Winds of Change, what you write about makes you seem more like a liberatarian neocon, than a democrat.
    And, perhaps I’m wrong, but, cui bono, those attacks help you to stay in favor with media circles, and thus your own financial interests are served.

  • The fringes of both groups are hyper-annoying. They are not interested in progress or effective government; it’s all simply about being “right.” Often, this need to be “right” trumps everything, even their moral code (isn’t tolerance a key tenent of the “liberal” morality?

  • paladin

    Hey Jeff, don’t let the bastards (left or right) get you down!

  • EverKarl

    You forgot one: You didn’t support Howard Dean.

  • Jeff,
    I assume you are looking for honest (but diplomatic) feedback, and not more statements of the form: “nothing wrong with you, they’re the problem.” I would be skeptical of those opinions. From what I see they confuse “listening” with “preaching to the choir”.
    I find that you’ve often got interesting, provocative views on a number of issues.
    On the Iraq War, you may want to look more closely at how John Edwards handles his support for the war. He never goes ballistic, he treats everyone with respect. Even if he strongly disagreed with someone, he’d never call them “Professor Pondscum”. That’s an admirable quality, and one to emulate.
    When you start to throw around expressions like that, you may appeal to folks looking for fresh meat, but you lose the respect of folks who didn’t come here to see a street fight.
    Instead of going into hyperdrive, it may make sense to take a breath, and ask yourself why you’re reacting so strongly.

  • Oat

    We need more voices like yours–voices in the middle, voices of rationality that refuse to sacrifice intellectual honesty for partisanship. Keep on truckin’, Jeff.

  • Jeff, I was shocked that Armando called you a “right-wing” gadfly, and posted a comment to that effect. But seriously, here is my problem with you (consider it constructive criticism). It has nothing to do with your views on issues. It has to do with the fact that you are always beating the drum for the right-wing bloggers, and reserving almost all of your criticism for the left-wing ones. Go through your archives and look at the number of criticisms against fellow Dems and then compare it to criticisms of Republicans. Excepting the free speech issue, I think you will see that the criticisms of fellow Dems is like 10-1 over Republicans. And you are the go-to guy for right-wingers. Whenever you criticize Dems, you get a bunch of links from Instaclown, Little Green Nazis and PowerLibelers saying something to the effect of “even good democrats like Jeff Jarvis know that the left is committing treason.” And make no mistake Jeff, they do that all the time.
    Look, I am probably to the right of Clinton and you on many issues. And I am happy to criticize Dems, but I try to focus the criticisms on Bush and the Republicans. If you don’t like criticizing people fine, but the stuff you spew against fellow Dems doesn’t show that.

  • Moreover, this constant BS about the Dems getting killed at the polls is laughable, and you keep repeating it. Look, memo to everyone on the right: The Democratic candidate for President won the popular vote in three of the last four elections. The most recent candidate (a very weak one) just lost by a whopping 2 1/2 points –the tightest margin of victory ever for a sitting President (they either win big or lose big).
    I suggest you go read about the Democrats’ hubris in 1993 when they controlled both houses of Congress and the Senate. Among other things: they tried to jam the largest refom of a social program down the throats of the American people in 30 years (Hillarycare). Sound familiar to anyone?
    You on the right seem to be going down the same path. I’m with you on one thing: Hillary ’08. She’s going to clean the house with the wingers who continue to underestimate her. She’s going to play great in the South, just watch.

  • WJA

    For that matter, how the hell did a fiscally conservative backer of the first Gulf War who wants to appeal more to anti-abortion supporters and guys with Confederate flags on their trucks become the ultimate lodestone of contemporary liberalism?
    (When contemporary liberalism was defined down to mean “Hates George W. Bush”, I guess.)

  • Kat

    Only mentally deficient adults or little children who don’t know better, resort to the kind of namecalling crap some of you leftists engage in. {Instaclown, Little Green Nazis and PowerLibelers} How fucking juvenile is that? Grow up already or go play with your dinky cars. This kind of spoiled brat behaviour gives all Democrats a bad name because too many of them engage in these temper tantrums. You’re not my friend anymore, Jeff, cause I don’t like what you said–bawaaaaaaaaaaa. If you don’t take it back, I’m kicking you off my team–sniff, sniff, snort.

  • They are stupid to attack you like that.
    They agree with you on many things and should praise you when you write something good (or at least admit you sometimes do).
    And criticize what you write when they disagree with you rather than labeling or attacking you.
    The same thing with the attacks on Corn. He is wrong about some things in his recent writing, but some of his criticisms are valid.

  • Dishman

    JC wrote: … but I have yet to see you go after (an an example) Powerline ..
    Hindrocket wrote … Jeff Jarvis, who is a Democrat and a liberal but is also a genuinely nice, smart guy.
    I searched Powerline, and while that may be the nicest thing they have to say about Jeff, it’s not atypical. I think he generally gets respect from the right, so it’s pretty easy to return it.
    From the left, it seems like he catches a lot of “ineffective advocacy”.

  • IMHO, you’re having too much fun. Face it, Jeff, sometimes you laugh in some very serious faces and sometimes you get in their serious faces. And that can make a body mad. So what do you expect, a rolicking crowd? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
    Everyone could stand to lighten up.

  • JC

    Yes, of course powerline “respects” Jeff – as Cinninnatus says, Jeff criticizes democrats over republicans in a 10 to 1 manner.
    What’s not to like?
    When Jarvis starts his “pondscum” rantings against offensive statements like the following – – then we will see if the right continues to be so nice.

  • There is a definite “party line” attitude on the far left and if they keep it up they will force centrist Democrats like me to become left-leaning Republicans. This is a definite danger in a two-party system.
    As a life-long Democrat it is starting to look to me like I may actually have a greater chance of influencing Republicans from within their party than trying to keep Democrats from insanely running off a cliff again.
    I can hear the catcalls from the extreme left already “good riddance.” Oh well.

  • I’m a right-winger.
    : I voted for George W. Bush, twice, enthusiastically.
    : I voted for Bill Clinton in ’92 and am ashamed and disgusted at myself for it.
    : I would vote for Hillary Clinton only if the Republicans were to nominate Alabama Judge Roy Moore.
    : I vote Democratic in local races in my corner of Nevada, only when my fellow Republicans put up someone who reminds me of Alabama Judge Roy Moore.
    : I am pro-life.
    : I supported the Bush tax cuts.
    : I support school vouchers.
    : I support the teachings of the Roman Catholic church on marriage.
    : I am for keeping health care in the private sector.
    Yet, I love reading Buzz Machine. I especially and strongly appreciate your tireless fight to protect and defend the first amendment (even if I won’t go all the way with you, and listen to Howard Stern). You always have something interesting to say.
    You challenge my beliefs and while my basic moral code is non-negotiable (and probably not a whole lot different from yours), I am also open to changing my tactical preferences. As an example, I think we both share the goal of having the best health care system that we can reasonably afford to maintain. Right now I believe that single-payor Hillarycare would diminish the quality of health care. But I’m open to arguments that I’m wrong. And I like reading arguments that test my beliefs. And I won’t read a “true believer” website that would call me Nazi or idiot or Nazi-idiot in order to hear the counter-argument to my positions.
    As another example, in 2000, you “left-wing” Clintonistas were totally right about the importance of nation-building as part of our foreign policy agenda. At that time, I completely agreed with then-Governor Bush that the U.S. had to get out of that business. Turns out, you were right (in your leftism) about that and we were wrong. So I don’t see how, when your views on a particular issue have stayed consistent, yet we conservatives jumped the fence and began to agree with you, that now makes you a conservative. That don’t make sense.
    You’re no right-winger. But I am. And for those lefties who say you don’t go after conservatives, I got two words: Michael. Powell.

  • Jeff, I call you stupid when you act as a tool of the right. You take every opportunity to piss on Democrats and don’t realize the right is laughing at you as they pretend to let you into their club (take for instance Hinderaker of Powerline, who gives you praise above while at the same time demonizing the party you’re supposedly a member of). I don’t care if you supported Dean or not, most Democrats didn’t or he would have been the nominee (I voted for Edwards in the MA primary, myself). I didn’t and don’t support this war because its never been about the humanitarian liberation of the Iraqi people, and I’m surprised to see someone as seemingly smart as you still buying that. Almost 1,500 American soldiers have died to this date, and we aren’t one iota safer than before.
    What have you done to embrace anyone on the left? You’ve engaged in the right’s demonization of Dean, Kerry, etc. and excoriated folks who would question this idiotic war and the mendacity of those running it. Gee, golly, wonder why we’re hostile towards you?
    I’ve got my problems with Joe Lieberman. I think he’s an anti-free speech sanctimonius tool. Yet not even Joe Lieberman pisses on the Democratic party as much as you.
    I’m in the Clinton wing. I think he’s the best president of the last 30 years by far. I believe in his policies and fighting spirit, as do the vast majority of Democrats. You do realize that your pals on the right consider him devil incarnate, and blame 9/11 on him with the repetition of howling monkeys, right?
    And “stupid” is several levels up from “pondscum”.

  • Chris Josephson

    In a nutshell, I see the problem as being that Jeff is a Liberal and those who are attacking him are the Leftists that are trying to hijack the Democratic Party.
    Although Leftists and Liberals may support many of the same issues, a true Liberal will always clash, eventually, with today’s Leftists.
    Liberals support the free exchange of ideas with people no matter what their ideology. They seek out people who disagree with them and try to have a calm exchange of ideas and facts.
    The Leftists I see in today’s Democratic party don’t support a free exchange of ideas. They may seek out people who disagree with them, but it’s usually to destroy people and show how ‘bad’ they are.
    I’m from Massachusetts and come from a long line of people who are Liberal, in the same way Jeff is. (I call it classical Liberalism to distinguish between what passes itself off as Liberal today.)
    Among people I know, Liberal and Democrat have never been pejoratives. They’ve always been labels people have associated with the free exchange of ideas, no matter what those ideas are.
    Unfortunately, for the Democratic Party, many life long Liberal Democrats that I know want nothing to do with the Democratic Party and its supporters today.
    This is because they dislike the attitude they see from the Left, and they don’t like the Left’s influence on the party.
    So if people want to keep trashing someone like Jeff, go ahead. But please know that you are driving many people away from wanting to support Democrats.

  • richard mcenroe

    Jeff, if you are not with the dogma du jour, you are a right-winger and an apostate.
    You can never be liberal enough

  • Maybe the fact that you think Howard Dean is a liberal is part of the problem.
    Just because the Republicans have moved so far right they can’t be called conservative anymore is no reason to think that middle of the road Rockefeller Republicans/Clinton Democrats are the heart of the Democratic party.
    If you’re such a wonderful Democrat, how is it you get along so well with people so far right they can’t say the word “liberal” without snarling? Read the comments in this thread: you are beloved by liberal-bashing wingnuts and distrusted by even conservative Democrats.
    We’re about the same age Jeff, so I find it hard to believe that you think the current incarnation of the Democratic party is anything like LBJ’s party or even Jimmy Carter’s.
    If you don’t like the idea of the Democratic party moving back to the left where it belongs, you can always switch parties. The Republicans need some “real conservatives” to reclaim their party from the knuckledragging wingnuts.
    I think your problem is that you still have some decent principles, and realize that the Republicans are too unprincipled for you. But you flirt with them because they like you. Just remember that they like you only because you’re easy.

  • Michelle

    Don’t engage them. Don’t read them. Seek out the blogs to the left of certain who rise above name-calling and put-downs – they’re just the peanut gallery, they’re not the movers and shakers.
    Read: Marc Cooper, Norm Geras, Harry’s Place, War & Piece, Mark Kleiman, Brad Delong and happily follow links from there.
    Although he annoys me, I do check in on Kevin Drum because he puts some thought into exploring issues in depth.
    By the way, Dean is going to break some hearts. (Dr. Dean can be very pragmatic. I know I voted for as Governor. He’ll work well with Hillary.)

  • WJA

    > not even Joe Lieberman pisses on the Democratic
    > party as much as you
    That’s it in a nutshell: Willis thinks Jarvis is right wing because *he’s not sufficiently loyal to the Democratic Party*. (Add that qualifier to “hating George W. Bush”, and you have Willis’ attenuated conception of liberalism.)
    Then again, Willis’ model “liberal” is a President who executed a retarded black man to get elected, balanced the budget, ended welfare as we know it, pushed through NAFTA despite screams of protest from environmentalists and unions, lobbyied for anti-terrorism legistlation strenuously opposed by the ACLU, initiated a program to encourage more religious expression in the public sphere, and bombed Kosovo, the Sudan, and Iraq without explicit UN consent.
    Who was this dude calling “stupid” again?

  • Jeff,
    I also left a defense of your liberal cred at Daily Kos. Armando’s a lightweight blowhard and if he honestly thinks that you’re a right-wing gadfly his head is further up his ass than I had originally surmised.
    Kos’ increasing reliance on a blogger pool consisting of shrill yet insubstantial substitutes such as Armando is one of the main reasons why I don’t check in at TDK as often as I used to.
    Don’t let it go to your head that we’re all scrambling to your defense, though… :)

  • Earl: I’m responding to the guys who attacked me.
    Cincinnatus: I criticize Democrats because I am a Democrat and I want Democrats to win. If we can’t do that, we will never win.
    JC: I just this week sided with Ygelsias vs. Powerline — and also noted how the discussion was, at least, intelligent. As for Pondscum: Yes, anyone who, in my view, jeopardizes the very lives of people I know and respect with innuendo deserves my vitriol. The folks who want me to spit get mad when I spit. The problem is: I chose my targets. And Pondscum deserves the enmity.
    Oliver: Calling people “stupid” in a disagreement is, well… stupid. It’s one-dimensional. It’s demeaning to yourself. It’s disrespectful. It speaks no substance. It is shallow. It is immature. And that is the real problem with all the ones I criticize here for criticizing me: There is a one-dimensional, dogmatic immaturity to their politics. They’d rather argue than win. They will not sit down, lion with lamb, to change the world. They just want to shout that the rest of the world is — to us Oliver’s other favorite word — “wrong.”
    If you can’t criticize your own, you can’t improve and win. If you can’t see some points the other side has, you can’t find the middle and win. You could say that these are the judgments of a sellout; I did, too, when I was 15. But maturity teaches that compromise and understanding and dialogue are necessary to find and take the middle… to win.
    The immature would rather fight than win. The mature find the way to win.
    Look at Hillary Clinton today: She is finding the middle. Hell, look at Ted Kennedy; he befriends George Bush when it can be helpful. The complaint I had about Bush from the day of his first alleged victory is that he did not reach out (but then came 9/11 and that reset the scales). The complaint I had about Dean was exact the same; he tried to win by fighting rather than fighting by winning. That is your problem, Oliver et al: You prefer the fight. You love fighting so much that you want to fight with your own.
    Yes, I criticized Kerry, but I voted for him. If more of us on our side had criticized Kerry, maybe we could have helped him win. If you’d been willing to criticize even Dean, maybe even he could have won. But that didn’t happen.
    Instead, you criticize those who don’t fit with your orthodoxy… rather than considering the need to expand your orthodoxy to include more… to win.
    That is why I support Hillary Clinton already: She shows the maturity to listen and win. Try it.

  • dries

    i’m to the far right of you, but agree with you most of the time. weird, but that how it happens.
    to your critics & detractors: ” dogs bark, but caravan moves on”. or like my grandma used to say: ” dog’s bark doesn’t reach heaven”. who cares about altermann? who even knows who altermann is?

  • Gunther

    This whole thread is odd, because outside of the first couple of comments in the Kos post that Jarvis refers to, all of them (and I repeat, ALL of them), were about Bill Keller and the Times. The “extreme left wingers” at Kos aren’t nearly as obsessed with Jeff Jarvis as he apparently is with himself.

  • Eileen

    Right, Oodja, oh mighty defender of Jeff to your buddies (who you also malign) at Kos.
    With qualifiers and lead-ins like these…
    “It’s not like me to go and defend Jeff Jarvis, but come on – he’s hardly “right-wing”.” and,
    “While he can be a royal pain in the ass – you definitely got the gadfly part right! – Jarvis is a free speech absolutist,…”
    …who needs enemies, really? I’m sure Jeff won’t allow anything to ‘go to his head’ on this.
    Oh, :)

  • Gunther: I figure Bill Keller can take care of himself; he has been doing a quite good job of that lately. It was enough of a punchline that these fringenuts consider him right-wing. That shows the quality of their thinking.

  • Stanger

    The problem is that you are a CLASSICAL liberal, not a modern one. You believe in the rights of the individual, not the state (or the mob, as the case may be), at least in principal. I disagree with several of your ideas about HOW to empower the individual, but I do respect your DESIRE to empower the individual. Unfortunately the Democratic Party has become the communist party. We need an alternative. I would like it to be the Libertarian Party, but alas, it is not. Where else to turn?

  • Shrill? My ass. Oliver’s entirely cogent comment above (which easily belies Jarvis’s snide comments about the “rhetorical heights” to which Oliver’s capable of aspiring) is obviously bound to sail right over the heads of the glad-handers here, so let me amplify.

    We are in a state of political emergency in this country. Our discourse is being brutalized, and the space for ordinary democratic politics being shrunk. This is not the product of symmetrical assaults by “extremists” of both sides, regardless of what moderates like to fantasize. Mainstream discourse is being handed over in great chunks, and increasingly, to the Hewitts and Hindrockets and Hannitys and O’Reillys—to the brutalists of the right, and only to them. (Find me any left-wing “brutalist” offered a platform remotely comparable in size.)

    These are the people for whom “liberals” like Jeff Jarvis are happy to provide cover. Jeff, I don’t give a good goddamn who you say you vote for, or plan to vote for. The actual effect of your work is to embolden the right-wing shouters and ranters. You consistently skew in their direction, too consistently for it not to be noticed. And they are a threat. As loyal servants of the proto-fascist tendency that now controls the Republican party, and the machinery of American government, the Hewitts and Hindrockets and their ilk are doing everything they can to undermine the legacy of tolerant, liberal democracy that Americans have enjoyed for so long. They are doing everything they can to make honest dissent impossible, and you’re standing by and applauding as they do it.

    Don’t agree with me? Fine. But understand that there are quite a lot of us, ordinary, unflamethrowing left-liberals, who are terrified of where this country is being taken. We see an encroaching fascism, we see the destruction of American ideals that we love, and we don’t have the luxury of making the nice distinctions you’d like us to make, Jeff. Whatever you do in the privacy of the voting booth, you’ve set yourself up to enable the anti-democracy right. You willingly make yourself a useful idiot, and it pisses us off—not because we’re “searching for heretics,” but because it’s do or die this time and we need everybody we can get, and you’re on the wrong side. You don’t have to agree with that. But that you can’t even begin to get it—that you think it’s somehow all about a Howard Dean litmus test—that’s just proof, if any were needed, of your dire political immaturity.

  • Jeff

    I’m a liberal, married to an academic liberal. But I have found myself avoiding Kos, Atrios, Oliver Willis and others recently because they all seem engaging in the same kind of behavior that I can’t stand from sites like Powerline, Instapundit and LGF:
    Endless denunciations of the other side. Middle school taunts. Thin-skinned rantings. It gets old. I’m tired of the wanker of the day, I’m tired of the campaigns to get X fired, I’m tired of being called a traitor or a moonbat because I generally pull the lever for the Donkey.
    I’m spending a lot more time lately with Yglesias, Josh Marshall, the Decembrist, or Kevin Drum (best blog out there).
    Jeff, I imagine you haven’t experienced much vitrol from the right because you supported the war in Iraq. If you’d opposed the war, I have a feeling you’d have acquired the moonbat label long ago.

  • HA

    It is clear from your stands on the issues that you will never find a home in the Republican party.
    But it is also clear from the punctual arrival of the ideological cleansers like Oliver that you no longer have a home in the Democrat party. The seditious Marxbots who have take over the party do not tolerate dissent from the party line.
    So you will be shunned until you recognize that under the new rules, “liberalism” is the Party, and the Party is the State.

  • “my bete taupe”
    Cute. Better than Alterman deserves.
    How about “bete puce” . . .

  • “There is a definite “party line” attitude on the far left and if they keep it up they will force centrist Democrats like me to become left-leaning Republicans. This is a definite danger in a two-party system.
    As a life-long Democrat it is starting to look to me like I may actually have a greater chance of influencing Republicans from within their party than trying to keep Democrats from insanely running off a cliff again.”
    Many of us former Clinton and Gore voters already went there. I predict a vibrant vocal liberal Republican wing by 2008, which will create an interesting showdown as presidential nomination time approaches.

  • Eileen

    “Unfortunately the Democratic Party has become the communist party.” Stanger, unfortunately I’d have to agree with you. As a right of center Lib who frequently disagrees with Jeff, I nonetheless respect his ethics and views. And I have watched the “fringenuts'” anti-democracy/anti-U.S. campaign displayed with ever increasing fervor, pitch and hatred, even against their own.
    I see the tirade as endemic throughout the MSM, with very few exceptions, and it is virulent among lefty bloggers and commenters. I actually find myself feeling sympathetic or at least saddened as I observe the angst and struggle of Dems to Somehow Coalesce and find their way. Such anger! IMHO, if they continue on this course, implosion is a likely scenario for the party. I start to hear bellowing like that which must have reverberated around the La Brea Tarpits. I envision people paying to visit a NYT exhibit at the Smithsonian. And if someone like Keller were to make a move to achieve balanced, more centrist reporting (and maybe he Is given a few of the Kos comments I read – if so, Kudos!), you’d have the Kos people poised to attack for any such perceived ‘transgression’. As Jeff said, what an amusing punchline.
    Maybe the fringies need to just honestly and openly join the Communist party and let the ‘classical liberals’, as you say, regroup and carry on. It might even allow the Democratic party to survive. As it stands right now, however, they are screeching out their own eulogies.
    As for Hilly, Jeff, I’ll leave that one for another day or year..

  • Reading through the comments I find the liberals a bit confusing in their comments,some examples:
    1. I may actually have a greater chance of influencing Republicans from within their party than trying to keep Democrats from insanely running off a cliff again
    2. We see an encroaching fascism
    3. Maybe the fact that you think Howard Dean is a liberal is part of the problem.
    4.Maybe its because you go to your “outrage” routine, regarding left-wing bloggers, and not right wing.
    I try to find rational liberals to see what the other side of the political spectrum has to offer and you are one of the very few that I can read and respect. I hope your wing of the fractured left wins. Liberman and Jarvis in 2008.

  • Carson Bennett

    Reading Oliver Willis’ comments reminds me why I don’t go there anymore — it has become the gossip section of the Left: who agrees with whom, who disagrees with whom, he dissed the Party, she agreed with those guys. It’s not only non-informative but it gets boring quickly.
    And this latest crusade of Alterman’s is bewildering. How many people do you know who have a phd who TELL you they have a phd? Juan Cole, sure; but after that, how many smart people have to pull out their piece of paper with their name on it under the big lettering SMART. I don’t get it — why is he using credentialism? Do credentials get extra points in a debate? This is the kind of clubbiness caste system that makes non-phd Alterman admirers nervous: hey, maybe I’m just allowed to clap, not speak, in this club.

  • SloppyDawg

    “mentally deficient adults”
    “little children who don’t know better”
    “fucking juvenile”
    “Grow up”
    “go play with your dinky cars”
    “spoiled brat”
    “temper tantrums”
    That sounds like some serious name-calling to me, Kat.

  • Eileen

    Now I understand a bit more. A few choice quotes from your own blog:
    “In my sophomore year of high school I read the Communist Manifesto for a Western Civ assignment, mostly as a provocation. (Our history classes were all taught by baseball and soccer coaches.) It had an effect, though: I’ve been a Marxist of one sort or another pretty much ever since.”
    “I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”
    Good God. Care to share that man’s name?

  • Jeff,
    There’s a lot of us here in DC who would be interested in hearing your views first hand. I’d like to suggest the Drinking Liberally forum as one that you’d enjoy, and as one of the people that sets these things up, it would be great to have you as a speaker.
    If you’re interested, and OW is so inclined, we could also put up an informal debate between you and Oliver. From talking to him a few weeks ago, I would say that both are closer to the center than you might realize.
    Would you be up for this?

  • wally

    Jeff, there are two or more frames of reference here. On the one hand, most Americans are willing to support a candidate based on that individual’s persona. That crosses, and blurs, party lines. And it’s a good thing. Similarly, even the most partisan recognize that it’s possible to engage neighbors – people they meet face-to-face – in rational political discussion and not come to blows.
    At the same time, even the least partisan will point out that things are different at the highest political levels, where the winner takes all. Some would even suggest that groups recently engaged in bipartisan efforts haven’t been respected, but burned. (Kennedy/NCLB, AARP/Medicaid.)
    Given the high stakes, and the way the game has been played, it shouldn’t surprise that those who advocate dialogue get attacked. I’m sure the same thing happens on the right. (Andrew Sulluvan?)

  • kl

    “If you’re interested, and OW is so inclined, we could also put up an informal debate between you and Oliver. From talking to him a few weeks ago, I would say that both are closer to the center than you might realize.”
    Oliver is close to the center… of the Earth. He crashed right down through the tectonic plate, that one.

  • J. Peden

    What Alterman says is possible. Therefore, it is true. That’s the way I think about it.

  • I criticize the left Jeff, but I don’t do it to please people who want to screw me over. Ted Kennedy worked with Bush on No Child Left Behind (an initiative I supported as well). Bush screwed him over. I don’t enjoy the fight, Jeff, but these people hate us and you’re giving them cover. I’m perfectly happy with a Dem party that’s got Jarvis, Willis, Clinton, Dean, etc. You’re the one who’s advocating exclusion in this case Jeff (because Howard Dean was right about invading Iraq, and is right about expanding the bridge between the red and blue states – something you would know if you didn’t have your nose so buried in the right’s caricature of him), not I.
    I like Hillary Clinton and would vote for her in a heartbeat, but your Republican pals who you seem to think so highly of would do their damndest to destroy her it would make the Kerry campaign seem like a walk in the park. Why can you not see these basic things?
    (still trying to figure out how “Pondscum” aids our social discourse more than “stupid”)

  • To the other commenters: please define far left beyond your dittohead-style caricatures. Was Bill Clinton “far left”? (cause that’s who I’m essentially identical with politically)

  • Cog

    I will say it again, even though it got me banned on Kos and mocked endlessly on Atrios, Kos and Atrios are two of the main reasons the Democratic party is in its current state.
    The left-leaning media glommed onto the outrage-du-jour peddled regularly by both, and normal, middle of the road people on both sides started to tune out.
    Ted Kennedy stands up in the days before the Iraqi elections and embarasses not only himself [which is getting harder to do], but his country and the entire Democratic party. Barbara Boxer calls Bush a liar, and then misrepresents a half dozen facts in ludicrous accusations. Howard Dean was just elected to head the party, and like his head was in the sand for the last 2 years, says we need to move to the left and not become more like Republicans.
    What happened to party of Bill Clinton? I voted for Clinton twice, but his sentiments have been flushed out of the mainstream. Why could no one in the Democratic party take notice of discontent that drive voters to supported McCain and Perot?
    Kos and Atrios are two of the major reasons the Democratic party is in a state of shambles. At least they are aware of it now, each time I posted about it on their respective websites, over 100 comments followed. “Screw them” indeed.

  • Cog

    Oliver sees himself as identical politically with Clinton?
    Do you want me to quote some of your mediamatters hyperbole back to you?
    Amazing. Dean isnt the only one with his head in the sand, or who is in a state of denial.

  • Eileen

    And we also have a lefty guy, Michael, here, talking about murdering a man in Reno just in order to ‘watch him die’. I know it ended up being off topic, but No Follow Up or acknowledgement? Who ARE you people?

  • JRK

    Pro gay marriage, anti tax cuts, pro-Clinton and even pro-er Hillary, Nation writer, abortion advocate: anti school vouchers…whew, what a laundry list! And to think that used to define the quite hard left, not the new so-called moderate. I think it’s delusional to think the Democratic party could win on your platform, much less Kos’ or Atrios’. No wonder Hillary has moved away from these Deaniacs, and yes, moved far to the right of you as well. The most telling numbers of the last election aren’t the ‘small percentage/margin of Bush’s victory’ touted elsewhere in comments, but the fact that Bush tallied over 9 million more voters than last time. I don’t believe this is an anomaly–I’ll bet Dean helps turn out even more new center/right voters against Hillary.

  • J. Peden

    JRK: did you see what Dean just did prior to the “Tom McCall Debate” in Portland, Or.? He/his staff suddenly tried to make the debate with Perle “off record”. They wanted to put a full black-out on the whole thing – no audio, video, or even reporters’ renditions of what the debators said.
    Organizers were mystified, if only because this contradicted the basic nature of the Debate’s reason de etere’. What can any rational person make of this even otherwise?
    How many voters will be repelled from the Democrat Party because of these kind of actions? I don’t know, but am counting on it perhaps in some way like Bush enc. counted on the Iraqis to turn out.
    [Dean put on his usual display of nonsensical thinking during the actual debate, which itself was run very well by Pacific University, replayed on CSPAN, but not hardly covered by “The Oregonian” at all. Anyone could have written a hell of an article about it in 2 hours or so.]

  • “Murdured a man in Reno just to to watch him die,”is a Johnny Cash lyric. I don’t think he’s serious.

  • Eileen,
    Get bent. I do happen to think Jeff can be a royal pain in the ass on some issues, but you know what? I’d rather have that and a blog I can keep coming back to for intelligent and thoughtful debate than the mindless dittoheading of the far Left and far Right echo chambers.

  • Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash:
    I hear the train a comin’; it’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
    And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when.
    I’m stuck at Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin’ on.
    But that train keeps rollin’ on down to San Antone.
    When I was just a baby, my mama told me, “Son,
    Always be a good boy; don’t ever play with guns.”
    But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
    When I hear that whistle blowin’ I hang my head and cry.
    I bet there’s rich folk eatin’ in a fancy dining car.
    They’re prob’ly drinkin’ coffee and smokin’ big cigars,
    But I know I had it comin’, I know I can’t be free,
    But those people keep a movin’, and that’s what tortures me.
    Well, if they freed me from this prison, if that railroad train was mine,
    I bet I’d move on over a little farther down the line,
    Far from Folsom Prison, that’s where I want to stay,
    And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away

  • You know you could take almost ever post here and change the party (right – left) and the names of the people and not change the discussion, you are all talking about the left beating up on its own, how about the right? People that step outside of the right party line get nailed and not just in a blog in the real world. Disagree with the administration and you get nailed to a cross… I wish I had answerers… I do not, just questions. I do know that I have not heard anybody on the right condem Ann for her mouth… but they have condemed Spectere…

  • And p.s. Eileen, here’s my whole comment (why bother excerpting):
    “It’s not like me to go and defend Jeff Jarvis, but come on – he’s hardly ‘right-wing’. Unless the Iraq War has now become our absolute litmus test of liberality, in which case you’re tarring half the Democratic party along with Jarvis.
    While he can be a royal pain in the ass – you definitely got the gadfly part right! – Jarvis is a free speech absolutist, so at the end of the day I think he’s on the side of the angels no matter how much he seems to enjoy rubbing shoulders with the Devil.
    And anyone who relishes the thought of voting for HRC in 2008 can’t be all bad, right?”
    Again, I may not see eye to eye with the folk at Daily Kos, but I am not a troll. However much you would have preferred me to write “Fcuk you Jef Jarves rulzzz u librul weeners!” I’m not going to pretend I don’t have my own differences of opinion with those expressed here at BuzzMachine as well.
    My own sense of self-identity isn’t so invested in one person, party, or cause that I must unequivocally accept or absolutely denounce. How about yours?

  • J. Peden

    Al Hill: David Horowitz took Coulter to extreme task on McCarthyism. He was reasoned, but/and basically said that Coulter fell prey to the “McCarthyism”-as-tarring she criticized.
    I read Horowitz’s criticism before I [happened] to read Coulter’s book. Then I did not agree at all with Horowitz.
    What many people miss is that Coulter is nearly always sarcastic, then showing that the tars which many leading Liberals use are really “all they got”, only name-calling tars in very much the same way as is hate-speaking by racists and the charge of “McCarthyism” as currently made by certain Liberals.
    And that a much better actual case can be made about certain Liberals than what they make about those they tar, on the grounds that these Liberals actually are what they claim the others are, thought chaotic, controllists who model the very evil they decry.
    The point is that the case can very easily made that the terms used by certain Liberals to tar others actually apply much better to these Liberals themselves. That’s why Coulter says the “horrible” things she says about “Liberals”.
    But Coulter argues that McCarthy was not very much wrong, or at least correct in very significant ways. Likwise, she thinks she is right about “Liberals”, Leftists or whatever one wants to call them. I agree with Coulter. But the case always must be made. There are plenty of examples of Liberals/Leftists who are totally unable to make the case for what they say regarding the evil of their targets. They make the case rather against themselves, oddly, just as do the Terrorist sadomasochists who decry and want to kill “Infidels”.
    Basically, all such people show thought chaos in service of control, as self. They oppose and see their enemy as free-thought itself. Tarring is all they got. Hate with a desire/need to control is all they are.
    Coulter shows this fact meaning only where it applies, as I interpret her. But if the shoe does not fit, don’t wear it. Yet it still does fit many Liberals/Leftists, many of who actually lead the Democratic Party. So Coulter raises the question of what a “Liberal” is and invites everyone who calls themselves a “Liberal” to see how they like it, given the realities of the leadership of the Democratic Party and that of actual issues, such as Terrorism, composed as it is of sadomasochists who want to kill or at least enslave us in a way very analagous to that in which Communists did/do.
    There is nothing wrong with outing these people by examining them. Many seem to beg for it. Coulter obliges.

  • Peden,
    Let’s kill them and they are traitors is not being sarcastic… it is being an extremist… Your message seems to be that name calling and threats by the right are alright because they just speak to a deeper truth… but that the same thing done by the left is bad and nasty no matter what… If you can not see the bad in some on the far right… the way I see the bad in some on the far left then you are missing some of the discussion… Ann has the right to say what she wants to … and I have the right to think she is a mean sprited, grandstanding, cruel person.

  • Am I the only one who believes Jeff is trying to help the Democrats win? Why can’t we see that Bush’s victory was more about the left’s rejection of the common man than any policy or issue? It ain’t about Bush, people. The problem’s in the mirror.

  • Ebb Tide

    This was a great comment thread! Thanks for the lyrics to Folsum Prison Blues, Steve Rhodes.
    Only one fact need be forefront in a Dem’s mind:
    Kerry got 8 million more votes than Gore in 2000.
    Bush got 11 million more vtoes than he got in 2000.
    Now go to work, Dems.
    (Jarvis is right, btw.)
    “Dog’s bark, caravan moves on” I loved that quote, too, but I can’t find the original poster’s name.
    Always great reading here.
    Suggestion: Let’s everyone stop the name calling, that phase should be over by now (I allowed 3 months after the election, personally, then I began to think the vitriol was non-productive.)

  • If my friends distanced themselves from me, but my enemies rushed to embrace me, I’d take a long hard look at myself.
    Either you’re applying the wrong label to yourself, or you’re exceedingly vulnerable to flattery.

  • J. Peden

    Al Hill: unfortuneately we are in a war against people who want to kill us. I’m siding with those who recognize this and will accept help from these kind of “extremists”.
    I’ll take Coulter in my foxhole – and all radical Christians. Alterman, I’d have to kill, and perhaps the rest who think “dissent” without a plan is not supporting terrorists who want to kill me. Coulter is not kidding at this level, the real one.
    Who cares if there are “extremists” on each side? There always are.

  • BumperStickerist

    There’s a strong hint of ‘Spartacus’ in the political leanings of Messers. Zuninga, Black, and Willis … no actual plan, no real awareness of the strategic situation, but a whole lot of piss and vinegar.
    They’re amateurs, plain and simple – from Kos’s Schrum-like ‘O-Fer’ in his endorsements, to Black’s tin ear, to Willis’s effete Donkey-branding “strategy” which has now been replaced by *outrage* over Hume’s … well, accurate, portrayal of FDR’s position on SS. All three of whom hold up DEAN(?) as the right guy for the DNC. Right for ?what?
    This is a party that’s serious? I think not.
    There’s no attention to detail or follow-through … Willis has the attention span of my seven year old, Atrios the charm of my drunk uncle – after the fourth beer, and Kos, the only one of the bunch that approaches original thought, is chronically dyspeptic.
    Perhaps they watched too many Mickey Rooney ‘Hey Kids, Let’s Put on a Show!’ films, which works until you try to take the production nationally.
    Meanwhile, Reynolds, through his statements, *wants* a viable Democratic party. Jarvis seems to as well. Ditto Kaus, Sullivan, Goldstein – if pressed, and – dare I say – Charles Johnson?
    There’s no ‘fear’ on the part of the conservatives or Republicans at what’s taking place … just a deep desire to have an opponent that’s worth a damn.
    Sadly, all we have are tomato cans.

  • Do you want me to quote some of your mediamatters hyperbole back to you?
    So… you can’t actually point to anything? I thought as much. News alert: Bill Clinton likes the Media Matters site.

  • jeremy in NYC

    Oliver: As someone who has been reading you site for a while, I don’t get the sense that your positions have chaned – just the whole manner in which you approach them. YOu used to write some very thoughtful posts analyzing the issues and breaking them down (and, yes, discussing where your political opponents might have a point).
    Now, it’s pretty much all attack, all the time. It’s like reading a non-stop unrolling of Atrios’ “wanker of the day” meme. Good red meat for the die-hards, pretty boring for the rest of us. Everything is black-and-white in your writings now, which is pretty simplistic – much like Bush’s Manichean “them-or’us”, although you’re applying to people who may only disagree with you on certain issues.
    I mean – look at that comment above: “If my friends distanced themselves from me, but my enemies rushed to embrace me, I’d take a long hard look at myself.” Aside from the fasct that the other alternative would be to examine one’s friends (which is what I think Jeff does), there you have it: there are two sides, period. No deviation. So what if one agrees with the Democrats on 80% of issues, and Republcians on 20%. Can one work with the Repubs on those 20% issues, or is one supposed to shut up and support things that person opposes, in order to help the “team”? And would you consider that some kind of sign of integrity?

  • J. Peden First I have been shot at and Ann would scream so loud in a foxhole she would get you killed, second the people we are at war with always want to kill us… and we them… listen to yourself you are saying that you would kill some one for disagreeing… one of the founding rights of the country… The terrorists are bad… but they should not have us so scared that we lock down the whole country… we are letting them control the way we act… no search warrants, no legal rights, we are moving towards a place where people disappear in the middle of the night… and once you let that happen you have no control over who disappears…. By the way Jeff… we aggree on a lot and dissagree on a few things but I alway read your posts…

  • “So what if one agrees with the Democrats on 80% of issues, and Republcians on 20%. Can one work with the Repubs on those 20% issues, or is one supposed to shut up and support things that person opposes, in order to help the “team”? And would you consider that some kind of sign of integrity?”
    It’s more like a question of where do you draw the line? As the GOP keeps pandering to the extreme hard right and the well-outside-the-mainstream warmongering neoconservatives, at what point do civilized people say, ENOUGH!?
    The right NEVER admits error, despite a decade of Democrats backing down on welfare, taxes and even a war of aggression. Real liberals are taking back the Democratic party, and real conservatives should wonder just what in the hell happened to theirs.
    When you’re opposed to people who take no prisoners, you develop an aversion to people who think they can be friendly with both sides.
    Oliver Willis hasn’t changed, but many of his readers have.

  • Armando

    As a media gadfly, you are Right Wing in my opinion.
    IF that passes for vitriol from the Left, well. I gotta wonder what you think of what is said at LGF and Powerline. Literally, I have to wonder as you never write about the hate spewing from those blogs.
    For the record, my piece was really about Keller, not you.
    Good to hear you’re a Dem though. Appreciate your voting for our guys.

  • Armando

    And Jeff, I didn’t support Howard Dean either.

  • I’ll take Coulter in my foxhole…
    You kinky bastard you!

  • J. Peden

    I would be really hoping Ann would scare away the enemy, so I could get down to the real purpose of my foxhole, to bore to the center of the earth, not as the evil oodja has so offensively suggested.
    Coulter is looking better and better to me, though. I think it’s time for a check-up, a colonoscopy or something to see where I am at.

  • Cog

    “So… you can’t actually point to anything? I thought as much.” – O
    Someone is a little defensive. FYI, I did not quote any Kos or Atrios rantings either.
    “News alert: Bill Clinton likes the Media Matters site.” – O
    More power to him. The second he starts placing some of your infantile political attacks in his speeches, is the second he loses all credibility with the centrists and moderates that helped get him elected.

  • Marc

    I can’t remember a comment thread I’ve had such a range of strong reactions to as this one. By and large, a credible an reasoned display of thinking on both sides of the debate with the name-callers and kool-aid drinkers shouted down as is appropriate.
    The one comment I feel compelled to respond to is J. Peden’s defense of Ann Coulter. I have read everything this woman has written and she is the single most frightening person in the political landscape today in my opinion.
    She is vindictive, myopic to an extreme, and has obvious self-esteem issues that cause her to lash out at anyone who deigns to disagree with her. She is no beacon of investigative light Peden. She is an attack dog, frothing at the mouth at the slightest provocation and as dangerous as any such creature that has been allowed to taste human blood. (dang! I resort to name-calling.)

  • Eileen

    Thanks jonny goldstein and Steve Rhodes for cluing me in. [Never have been much of a Johnny Cash fan, obviously.] But even if that ‘lifted’ line had been presented in quotes, I would nonetheless find it a disturbing statement to find in someone’s ‘Biographical notes’.

  • Eileen

    As for Ann, I think she’s the master of incisive, sarcastic wit and she typically has me laughing. But then, I took one of Michael’s statement at face value here when it turns out I shouldn’t have either. Maybe we all just need to lighten up a bit?

  • earl

    This is long. I’m not apologizing, I’m bragging. And it’s critical of your argument here, Jeff Jarvis. I doubt it covers much you haven’t thought of, but I think the points are worthy of your thoughts and, hopefully, your response.
    JJ: Earl: I’m responding to the guys who attacked me.
    Oh c’mon, Jeff. “He hit me first!” When does it end?
    JJ: Cincinnatus: I criticize Democrats because I am a Democrat and I want Democrats to win. If we can’t do that, we will never win.
    I’m with you 100% on that. People seem to think you do it too much. Seems to me a big part of the problem is that your criticism of the left does not always seem to come from the left. It in fact seems to come from the general area of the pond that is the home of creatures like Hinderaker, creatures that deserve the disgust and wrath of good humans everywhere. Why does it seem like that, Jeff? I know that’s not your home.
    JJ: JC: I just this week sided with Ygelsias vs. Powerline — and also noted how the discussion was, at least, intelligent.
    You must have missed this gem from Hindrocket:
    You dumb shit, he didn’t get access using a fake name, he used his real name. You lefties’ concern for White House security is really touching, but you know what, you stupid asshole, I think the Secret Service has it covered. Go crawl back into your hole, you stupid left-wing shithead. And don’t bother us anymore. You have to have an IQ over 50 to correspond with us. You don’t qualify, you stupid shit.
    JJ: As for Pondscum: Yes, anyone who, in my view, jeopardizes the very lives of people I know and respect with innuendo deserves my vitriol. The folks who want me to spit get mad when I spit. The problem is: I chose my targets. And Pondscum deserves the enmity.
    Oliver: Calling people “stupid” in a disagreement is, well… stupid. It’s one-dimensional. It’s demeaning to yourself. It’s disrespectful. It speaks no substance. It is shallow. It is immature.

    JEFF! Do you think anybody reading this believes you for one freaking second??? You’re trying to explain how “pondscum” is okay and “stupid” isn’t??? Jeff, we’re cringing here. We’re watching a good man shrivel. Stop it, already. We expect beter from you. Pondscum and stupid are the same. They’re bad they’re good they’re useless they serve some purpose. Hey, I just hought of something: A person actually can be “stupid,” but you can’t actually be “pondscum.” Well, not unless you’re like dead or something. In a pond. WHO CARES? NEXT TOPIC!
    Instead, you criticize those who don’t fit with your orthodoxy… rather than considering the need to expand your orthodoxy to include more… to win.
    Check this out Jeff:
    Instead, you criticize those who don’t have sex with fuzzy bunnies… rather than considering the need to expand your sex life to include more… to win.
    Instead, you criticize those who eat pork… rather than considering the need to expand your diet to include more… to win.
    I’m just sayin’, Jeff.
    I won’t speak for Oliver, but there is a bit of Oliver in me, so…I cannot “expand my orthodoxy” to include people whose fundamental ideas about the world and the country and life itself I find utterly nonsensical and often downright horrible. Why would you ask someone to do that? I disagree with those people. In many cases I vehemently disagree with them. I don’t want to sleep in the same pup tent with them. Don’t ask me to.
    JJ: But maturity teaches that compromise and understanding and dialogue are necessary to find and take the middle… to win.
    Again with the winning. What’s with all the whining about the winning? I hate winning. It gives me a rash.
    I kid. Jeff, I agree with you. And of course I disagree with you. Maturity also teaches when not to compromise. That’s simply true. People disagree about the “when” of it, is all.
    I am guilty of much of what you criticize. There is much in me that needs maturing. This world is shocking and horrible in so many ways–and because of that many of us are hurt and angry and scared and resentful. We lash out. We say stupid, pondscummy things. It’s okay. We wake up, we take care of the kids and critters, we’re nice to strangers, we’re all excellent lovers. We need critics, Jeff. Nudge us, smack us up, laugh at us, keep doing what you’re doing. Do it from your heart. Just don’t dismiss us.
    S’funny. This is all in the abstract. I’m talking to an invisible person with my fingers. It’s so weird. Enough of this for now…I’m go expand my orthodoxy around a cold beer and chips. Until next time.

  • Bill

    You are fundamentally a useful idiot. When discussing a number of issues, such as Iraq, you continually dismiss those who have a great deal more knowledge about the subject than you do. You refuse to examine evidence (perhaps because you cannot recognize evidence). You also misstate the arguments of others.
    The other problem is that you are a publicity hound. If Eric Alterman had either a radio or television show on which you hoped to appear, your behavior strongly suggests that you would be far more solicitous of his views.

  • Well, Bill, I refused to appear on another show with Alterman and he said he did likewise. So much for that analysis.

  • Armando: And what DOES qualify as “right-wing” in your view? You call everybody you don’t like or with whom you disagree “right-wing”? Seems so.
    Yeah, and I know you were writing about Keller but as I said in a previous comment, he has shown he can take care of himself. I’m commenting on your glib labeling me me because you don’t want me to belong to your club.

  • Bill

    It is difficult to decide whether your response to my remarks was due to dishonesty or stupidity. Refusing to appear on a show as a guest when another guest would also appear is not the same as attacking the host of a show. After all, it does not keep you from other appearences. Nice try.

  • jeremy in NYC

    Bill: give it up. His point was that if he were a publicity hound, he wouldn’t be declining appearances. Also, we’ve been almost polite here so far – try and cooperate.
    As for the “right wing” thing – as far as I can tell, there are two types of left-wingers: (1) those who “see” that the Replicans are always evil, are always up to no good, are plotting to hurt innocent people for laughs, etc., and should be blasted at every turn, and (2) those who agree on some points with Republicans on some points and try to make common ground on those points. I think to Armando, Oliver at al, the first are real left-wingers, are fake liberals, Republicans in Democrats’ clothing, or “useful idiots” who serve the Republican overlords’ nefarious plans.
    Kinda sad.

  • Deb

    For the record re: Earl’s “gem from Hindrocket” — the comments were made in an email reply to Earl and were not a post to the Powerline website. I am not condoning the language or the response, however I do think it an important distinction. Following the (not so private afterall) email, Hindrocket posts an Public apology and an explanation (not an excuse). You can see it here:

  • J. Peden

    Ha, Marc, you lose: it only counts against when you do it, not when Coulter and I do it. [Damn performance anxiety.]

  • Armando

    Whatever Jeff:
    It is my perception that your actions as Media watchdog/blog watchdog/all around gadfly are more concerned with “liberal bias”, Left Blogosphere malfeasance, etc.
    Maybe you see yourself as a Media Gadfly equivalent of Mickey Kaus, I dunno. But let me ask you this, do you think it is just me or do you think someone like Kevin Drum or Matt Yglesias might think of you as Right of Center?
    You want to think of yourself as center Left, that’s your perogative – but that’s not my perception of you.
    Anyway, what matters is what you write, not how you are labelled – if you are comfortable with it – then what’s the problem?

  • Bill

    I will explain my point in the hope that you might follow. Even publicity hounds give up an occasional appearence. My point was that Jeff would be extremely solicitous of Alterman if Alterman had a regular show offering the promise of multiple appearences. (By the way, neither Jeff nor you denied my other point, that Jeff ignores both evidence and those who have more knowledge than he does.)
    Second: I am happy that you feel that you can define who is a liberal. However, I do not recall claiming to be a liberal. (What is your defintion of liberal? Is it the liberalism of John Stuart Mill? Or is it Manchester School liberalism?)
    I opposed the Iraqi war in part upon grounds that come straight out of Edmund Burke, particuliarly his response to the French Revolution. Burke argued that those who wish to overthrow customs, social relations, established norms, etc. have the obligation to prove that they are correct in the claims that they make for the outcome. They must also be correct that the costs are worth that result.
    Burke did not accept pro-Revolution arguments which rested upon claims for the Rights of Man. Instead, Burke said that he wanted the rights of an Englishman. This was not cynicism. Burke was arguing that rights could only exist where a combination of history, tradition, social structures and other factors support those rights. In that sense, rights are like law: as legal realists pointed out (in the 20th century), without a means of enforcement, there is no law. Burke was very suspicious of those who were willing to have others die for their “idealism”, particularly when they did so in comfort and safety.
    This leads me to my final point. I still argue Jeff is a right-winger, or a fellow-traveler. However, he is no conservative.

  • I would not be solicitous of Alterman under any circumstances and have more than demonstrated that.

  • Deb
    The eamil from hindrocket wasn’t a response to me, just to be clear. And I completely disagree that because it wasn’t on his blog, it was a “personal” email, that somehow makes it okay.
    That email was to a stranger who had read his blog and made a civil critique of an article about Gannon/Guckert. I posted it in response to Jeff’s comment about the “intelligent” discourse and overall defense of Hindrocket’s blog. It is all the more telling that the email was so vile–the man behind the curtain and all that.

  • YetAnotherRick

    Michael wrote:
    “…And they are a threat. As loyal servants of the proto-fascist tendency that now controls the Republican party,…”
    Dave Niewert is really a Rove operative, isn’t he?

  • The Republican party is not interested in working with the Democratic party. They are interested in wiping out the Democratic party. When I started my blog way back when I was naive about such things.

  • Debo

    Earl: Thanks for the correction on the recipient of the email. The self-correcting blog at work… There are a few other minor clarifications I’d like to made.
    You can’t disagree with me that because it was a personal email that it was okay — because I don’t think that makes it okay either.
    We also don’t disagree that there is no legal or technical guarantee of privacy attached to the content of any email.
    Not to worry. We can still disagree on whether an email to one person and a post to the public carry different weights and warrant different degrees (dismay? disgust? outrage?) and kinds of response (ignore? reply? publish?).

  • earl

    Well said Deb.
    On your last item, where we do disagree: don’t you think there’s something to the “man behind the curtain” thing? He sends his vile side to one person and then takes it off for the masses. Makes me think of certain priests… I dont’ see how you can’t see that as a disguise. We got a look behind the curtain and I think, given what I’ve seen of that site and their ability to distort, lie, slander, envy, etc. … I think we got a look at the real thing.

  • Earl, that email from Hinderaker would be more impressive if the guy he sent it to hadn’t made an obviously stupid mistake (claiming that Gannon got his press pass under an assumed name).

  • jerome

    “If my friends distanced themselves from me, but my enemies rushed to embrace me, I’d take a long hard look at myself.

    Either you’re applying the wrong label to yourself, or you’re exceedingly vulnerable to flattery.
    Posted by Mark Gisleson at February 26, 2005 12:01 PM”

    Jeff, read and reread what Mark has to say. Consider again what others just told you about your defense of the use of “pondscum” immediately followed by a critique of the use of “stupid”.
    Consider all the errors in your blog. Your critique of Bruce Willis, your slamming of Salam Pax, your claim that Dean was too left when most observers understand he is centrist, your carrying on the Dean Scream for far too long, all of your pissing contests.
    Look at how you behaved at the WTC. Didn’t jump in to save lives, didn’t clear the area, just gawked.
    Jeff, you regularly behave with idiocy. Down deep, you are shallow. Not a nice guy, just a nice facade. Just an older white guy with media connections. Elitist.
    Your aim is to make money off blogging, others aim to speak their own version of the truth, and hope that money will follow. You make yourelf available, and bend over backwards to those that will help you. There is a name for these behaviors.

  • Jerome: You’re digging pretty damned low, mate, but I’m going to answer you about 9/11.
    To this day, my wife is mad at me for staying as long as I did. I stayed because I am a reporter. It’s what I’m trained to do and it’s what I did that day.
    But as the cloud of destruction overtook me, as I heard people screaming around me, as hunks of that building hit me in the back and other bigger ones hit the ground all around me, as I was blinded and choked and lost in the darkness, I could think of one thing: my family and the children I could be leaving behind. People only feet away from me died there that day.
    I have asked myself to this day whether I should have stayed to do more. But the police told us to go. There was nothing I could do. And if I had been near the second tower when it came down — instead of only a few blocks away — I could have come near to dying once again.
    This is a most serious matter to me. And you throw it out as a glib insult.
    I won’t even bother putting an adjective to what I think of you.

  • earl

    Ai yai yai, Deb. Why are you looking for diversions? Jeff’s point and the one I was responding to was about civil and intelligent discourse–what the hell does the right or wrong of the guy’s email have to do with that?
    And for the record, here’s excerpts of the guy’s email:
    Your recent post on the JD Guckert/Jeff Gannon story has to be one of the saddest examples of conservative head-in-sand syndrome I have ever seen. You claim that there are three issues being brought up by liberals: 1) He isn’t a “real” journalist, 2) He was a Bush administration plant, and 3) He had something (?God knows what) ??to do with the Valerie Plame story. Of course, you blatantly ignore the most important issue, the one that is easily found on hundreds of blogs covering the story: how did a person using a fake name get access to the White House? If I applied for a pass to the White House using the name “Max Power”, I would not get in unless I had some friends high up at the top.
    He goes on:
    A closely-related issue is exactly what the links are between GOPUSA and Talon News. Now, you may think it perfectly acceptable for the President and press secretary to consistently call on a reporter who is working for what is essentially an arm of the Republican Party. If so, it would be nice if you would admit it. That doesn’t mean that others aren’t allowed to have a problem with that arrangement, however.
    You also take Americablog to task for “finding nude photos of Gannon and posting them online.” He didn’t “find” photos taken by some paparazzi at a secret party; he found websites where Guckert (let’s use his real name, not his pretend name) posted his own photos.
    The guy was wrong–“stupid” by your description–about Guckert getting in under an assumed name. (Got any similar “stupid” moments with thoughts and words, Deb? I sure do.) He was correct (read “smart”) about several other things, and right out of the GmyOPic’s playbook, Hindrocket ignores those things and screams about the one wrong one.
    One other point: The issue of the assumed name is a relevant one. The guy made what is a very common mistake and didn’t think the thing through. He was close:
    His question was: …how did a person using a fake name get access to the White House? Guckert didn’t get into the White House under an assumed name, he was allowed to sit in the White House press room under an assumed name. That’s at least as bizarre and three times as scary. Hindrocket could have made that easy mental leap and talked about that important issue. Or the other ones that the emailer mentioned. Hindrocket chose not to. And Deb, in your last comment, so did you. Is Hinderaker’s email any more impressive now?

  • earl

    Jeff I’ve got your back in regards to the response to Jerome. That’s all.
    Wait, no it isn’t. You still haven’t responded to my rather long comment. I’m feeling left out here. Wassup?

  • jerome

    Well if I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but Jeff, I’ve listened to your blog entry on this, and correct me if I’m wrong, but in fact, you were not working as a journalist on that story. Nor did you file a story about 9/11.
    Please do correct me.

  • Jerome: The link has been on the side of this page since I startd the blog. This is a copy of the story I filed for our online sites and newspapers at Advance. I also was calling in reports to and the paper that day.

  • jerome

    Well I stand corrected on that then, my very sincere apologies. My recollection of your audio did not include that you were reporting at that time.
    I stand firm on my other points. Regrettably, you’ve made this blog a haven for your smears, innuendo and pettiness and factual errors, and it’s only on very rare occasions that you show any ability to reflect on what that means. Ironically, you seem to always find pissiness in the other guy.
    I’ll reiterate what Mark said before: If my friends distanced themselves from me, but my enemies rushed to embrace me, I’d take a long hard look at myself.

  • Earl, sorry, but when the guy gets wrong the fact that he calls “the most important issue”, it’s hardly some sort of VRWC trick to ignore the rest of what he has to say.

  • Waldron

    Maybe it’s because you use the phrase “certain folks”?

  • Waldron

    (we liberals hate that!)

  • James

    Jeff: I’m not sure if you’re reading comments on posts from 3 days ago, but you said you quit the Presbyterians because of the church’s stance on homosexuality. I guees you don’t know about the “More Light” movement within the Church. I’m an elder at a church in NJ, not too far from you from what I understand, and we welcome and ordain gays and lesbians – and there are plenty of churches like us. Check out the link.