View Full Version : The Ideological Switcheroo Edition

02-25-2008, 07:28 PM

Bloggin' Noggin
02-26-2008, 01:05 AM

Wow -- a case where I feel exactly the same as David Frum!

02-26-2008, 02:13 AM
What "gets my back up" is, that Judis replied that he didn't have anything to do with TNR's editorial decision to pursue the McCain non-story, and Frum persists with this discussion. It's busted, guy! Judis is not going to play lib straw man to your indignant conservative. They agreed!

What really "gets my back up" is, that on bhTV, we have to listen to this gossip instead of substantive issues.

How about limiting horse race diavlogs to Conn Carroll and Bill Scher? These two know what's going on, have inside scoops, and can disagree without resorting to hackery and personal attacks! Unless there some meta-theme involved, can we leave the horse race behind! I'm sick of the election! It's been how many years now, how much wasted money, and still no election!

Meanwhile, the budget is in the red, SWFs are buying up loans, and the economy is in recession! Give the egomaniacs some baseball bats and let the last man or woman standing take the prize! All this wasted money and adolescent drama is not worth it! It's just the White House! It's not like the world would explode without a politician in the Oval Office! Let's have a semblance of proportion here.

02-26-2008, 02:50 AM

Sorry, I don't at all agree. I enjoyed the discussion a lot, and I would say that it wasn't so much a horse race conversation as it sounded like Risk players gaming out scenarios that were often quite a bit removed from the daily tout.

I grant that Frum sounded like an obvious hack at times in trotting out the stale attacks against Obama -- "lightweight," "clueless supporters," "Obamamania," yada yada, and when he tried to play gotcha a couple of times, but I thought Judis was able to rein him in as easily as any sharp professor defuses a class clown.

I take your point about serious issues being less covered than we might like, but the reality is, nothing of substance ever gets done in an election year. Every politician already in office waits to see what the country appears to care about based on what they say in exit polls, and no politician already in office dares to do anything that could be used as the basis for an attack ad. No one will even talk about problems that don't (seem to) have a quick fix. I recommend surrendering to the inevitable: it's a time for talking inside baseball about the horse race, if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor.

One final note: I don't think Conn and Bill do a particularly good job of analysis. I think they do a good job of summarizing the buzz on the A-list blogs, which is useful, and I like their chemistry -- they can engage in partisan bickering and make it sound like bantering. Frum and Judis, by contrast, seemed a lot more weighty in trying to draw historical parallels. Well, maybe not weighty (especially some of Frum's), but at least they sounded like they came from a place of remove.

Maybe it was just the corded phones.

02-26-2008, 03:00 AM
Wow -- a case where I feel exactly the same as David Frum!

Indeed. I liked that point, too. Shows what happens when you let the lawyers play editor.

However, if you follow care to follow the story, it does appear that there's a lot of there there. TPM has been doing a great job linking and summarizing. Watch this (http://www.veracifier.com/episode/TPM_20080225), for example. Read this (http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/mccains_fec_problem.php), for another.

So, I think it's worth giving some credit to the NYT reporters, despite how mangled the story came out.

02-26-2008, 03:08 AM
Another good point, well, more of an idea, that Frum raised: His comparison of the Bush 2000 strategy versus McCain, compared to the Clinton 2008 strategy against Obama -- try to make the opponent blow his cool.

No way to know whether it's true, or whether HRC was consulted or it was just Bill going off the reservation, but it certainly sounded plausible.

[ADDED] Today's kerfuffle (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/179989.php) about the Obama-in-tribal-clothing picture seems like another page from the same playbook -- issue the picture on the sly, wait for Obama to say something about it, and then try to spin his statement: "Why does he think it's divisive (*wink*)?"

02-26-2008, 07:09 AM
"The Ideological Switcheroo Edition", eh? Is that why Frum is on the left side of the screen this time as opposed to his normal (ideological and screen positioned) right?

02-26-2008, 09:17 AM
I agree that Obama has run a technically skillful and effective campaign. Still to be seen though is whether he can weather Republican attacks. You have to admit that every time the Clintons have criticized Obama, even mildly, the Press excoriated them and came to Obama’s defense. Likewise, when Obama and Edwards attacked Clinton primarily in moral terms, those same members were mostly silent or backed up the two guys.

They have also been lax in uncovering any of Obama’s skeletons. Perhaps there are none, but if there are, they will likely come out too late for the Democrats to adjust their choice. I really don’t feel that the Press has done the Democrats any favors with their fawning coverage. Also since many Democrats instinctively recoil at any suggestion of internal conflict, you cannot equate what occurs in the Primary with was is yet to come. To me, Barack Obama’s ability to flick the Clintons off his shoulder and his mournful and rather prissy objections to their “tone” will prove much less potent against Republican’s whispering campaigns and slander.

Whatever real or imagined scandals might surface against the virtually blank-slate Obama candidacy, will probably have a strong effect. On the other hand, the Clintons are so callused from the stink bombs that have been continually thrown their way (most of them undeserved) that they are likely to prove less lethal, since we have already seen that they know how to govern -- and it appears that John McCain is also encountering some troubles of his own.

02-26-2008, 12:07 PM
I grant that Frum sounded like an obvious hack at times in trotting out the stale attacks against Obama -- "lightweight," "clueless supporters," "Obamamania," yada yada, and when he tried to play gotcha a couple of times, but I thought Judis was able to rein him in as easily as any sharp professor defuses a class clown.

Gee, whatever in the world would make you think Frum is a hack hewing with all his might to rehearsed talking points and pre-planned spin? (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9014?in=00:05:28&out=00:05:40)

But yeah, it was amusing to see the nonchalance with which Judis defused & disarmed Frum. Just the body langauge is telling: Frum seems perched, erect, almost anxious, while Judis is relaxed and reclining throughout the vlog, and actually manages to get the better of Frum while simultaneously feeding a baby!

uncle ebeneezer
02-26-2008, 01:57 PM

Bloggin' Noggin
02-26-2008, 02:03 PM
Thanks, Brendan. I'm a big TPM reader, myself. I wasn't thinking so much of this particular story as of all those many stories that seem to be written with a kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink for the insiders and not for me. I think Frum is hitting on one thing that is quite often rather annoying about mainstream political press coverage. I find the only way I can grasp the point of many a news story is to read the blogs.
When old media types attack the blogosphere, they just talk right past all my experience of it. I find myself infinitely better informed -- not just about what my side thinks of the news, but about what others think as well. And gvien that the blogosphere is in constant left-right conversation (though sometimes that's too polite a word for it), I find it very hard to believe that people who read the blogs really end up less informed or less aware of other opinions. My own experience of the blogosphere is almost entirely positive, and those who attack it sound like old fogeys who knock things before they try them.

02-26-2008, 02:39 PM

Well said. I, too, love that I can find a million different takes on a given story, and I agree, I feel better informed for it.

I do think there is something to the criticism of the blogosphere for its potential to serve as an echo chamber, though. If one reads nothing but, say, Daily Kos or Little Green Footballs, it's possible to become more reinforced in one's beliefs, and in some senses, become less well-informed.

Of course, this is nothing new to the blogosphere. Back before the Internet, the same problem occurred with people getting their news only from one source.

But your basic point is spot-on -- it's great that it has become so much easier to go beyond what one reads in the NYTimes.

02-26-2008, 03:26 PM
Hi Brendan,
Besides TPM, which blogs to you read daily (or frequently)?

02-26-2008, 04:46 PM

Besides TPM, which blogs to you read daily (or frequently)?

Strictly speaking, I don't read any blog every day. But here are the better-known political and semi-political blogs that I read at least several times a week, besides TPM:

Achenblog (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/achenblog/)
Alicublog (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/)
Balloon Juice (http://www.balloon-juice.com/)
Bats Left Throws Right (http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/)
Cosmic Variance (http://www.cosmicvariance.com/)
Daily Dish (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/)
James Wolcott (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/blogs/wolcott/)
Jon Swift (http://jonswift.blogspot.com/)
Lawyers, Guns and Money (http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/)
Matthew Yglesias (http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/)
Paul Krugman (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/)
Pharyngula (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/)
Rolling Stone: National Affairs Daily (http://www.rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs)
The Plank (http://www.tnr.com/blog/theplank)
The Rude Pundit (http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/)
Sadly, No! (http://www.sadlyno.com/)
Tbogg (http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/)
Visible Man (http://www.npr.org/blogs/visibleman/)

If you're really interested, you might also take a look at the blogrolls on my blog (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com) and my public list of subscribed feeds (http://www.bloglines.com/public/bjkeefe).

The discerning reader will note a decided tilt to my regular reads. I ask, not for the first time, for recommendations for good conservative blogs.

02-26-2008, 06:58 PM
"A good conservative blog." That's a good question isn't it? I regularly read Ace, Malkin, Hot Air, LGF, Captain's Quarters, Confederate Yankee, Power Line, Townhall, and Redstate, and probably one or two that I'm forgetting. (I'm not a masochist, I think I get a good picture of the right-wing id from these sites.) I'm sure you've seen most or all of these; I see no need to provide a link to any of them. Power Line and Redstate occasionally have good items, but there's so much dishonest bullshit padding them that they're not going to qualify as "good."

The Volokh Conspiracy (http://www.volokh.com/) doesn't suck, though he's really not so far over to the right.

National Review' (http://www.nationalreview.com/)s The Corner (http://corner.nationalreview.com/) is indispensable, of course. The quality ranges from superb (Ramesh Ponnuru) to interesting, but quirky (John Derbyshire), to laughably pompous (Mark Steyn), to loathesome (Lisa Schiffren). If there's one conservative blog to read, this is the one.

Douthat (http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/) is pretty good, of course.

Bainbridge (http://www.professorbainbridge.com/) doesn't suck either.

http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ is surprising un-awful if a bit predictable.

At this point I begin drawing a blank. A nod towards Instapundit (but no link): prbably the most overrated blog of them all. Also if you're into pain The Weekly Standard has some execrable blogs.

In a nod to fairness I'll add that I find DailyKOS and SadlyNo no more useful than any of the right-wing blogs I've refrained from praising, here.

Damn, I almost forgot to cite Frum's blog (http://frum.nationalreview.com/) on NRO. which is relatively reasonable.

02-27-2008, 12:52 AM
One vote for Scher and Carroll, and one vote for another pairing, eh?

But, we can agree: just once a week for the horserace?

02-27-2008, 01:04 AM
One vote for Scher and Carroll, and one vote for another pairing, eh?

But, we can agree: just once a week for the horserace?

Heh. You're asking the wrong person. I am a junkie for horse race talk.

This is not to say that I don't support your wish for diavlogs on other topics.

02-27-2008, 01:37 AM

Thanks for the many recommendations. I do tend to hit some of the ones you listed by following links. In particular, I end up on The Corner so much that I might as well think of it as a regular read, although to be fair about it, I'm usually only reading the posts that other people have marked as howlers.

I find all these that you listed a complete waste of time: Ace, Malkin, LGF, Confederate Yankee, Power Line, Townhall. I'm sure there are occasional worthwhile nuggets, but the amount of venom and the shallowness of thought usually apparent makes the sites too painful for me. Generally speaking, these blogs are so far gone that I can't even respect them as merely holding differing opinions. You might be right about considering them as a useful measure of the current zeitgeist of the far right, but the best I can do is read blogs that watchdog them.

Don't know these very well: Hot Air, Redstate, Captain's Quarters. CQ occasionally sounds reasonable, from my limited experience. Maybe I'll try to fit them into the "occasional" rotation somehow.

I should have listed Ross Douthat's blog in my list of regular reads. I probably drop by his site at least a couple of times a week. He's pretty good -- lots for me to disagree with, little that I find offensive or mindless.

I keep meaning to read the Volokh Conspiracy more often, but time has a way of getting used up. Thanks for the reminder.

Don't know Bainbridge, the Evangelical Outpost, or Frum's blog at all. I'll have a look. Thanks.

I agree with you about Instapundit being overrated. Usually, it's just links prefaced with "heh" or "indeed," or with some kind of Kaus-style "hmmm?" one liner appended. The longer pieces that he's put up, that I've seen, have failed to hold my attention. Glibertarian claptrap or mindless lefty bashing, typically.

Also agreed: DailyKos doesn't do it for me, either. Too often, it's stridency mixed with bad writing. I know there are countless counterexamples, but I haven't taken the time to figure out how to sort the wheat from the chaff. Too much other good stuff readily available elsewhere.

I do like Sadly, No! because they write so well and are so damned funny. It's more dessert than a real meal, a la The Daily Show, but some of their stuff is outstanding in a gonzo journalism fashion. For example, did you read Mister Leonard Pierce's coverage of CPAC? Links collected here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2008/02/so-what-else-is-happening-at-cpac.html), if you're interested.

Thanks again for your effort.

02-27-2008, 02:44 AM
Hi Brendan,
Thanks for the list, complete with links! I'll have to check some of those out. I read about half of them regularly, but some I hadn't heard of before.

But what about Atrios? I'd love to hear your thoughts about Dr. Black and his blog.

Of those on your list, I enjoy Yglesias, Lawyers Guns & Money, Balloon Juice, and Sadly No the most.

As for conservative blogs: You do have two on your list: Balloon Juice and Daily Dish, but I assume you enjoy them for the same reason I do: they have rebelled against the Republican Party and it's great fun to see their attack their former allies. Plus, they have good blogs, except for Sullivan's disgusting promotion of the idea that African Americans are genetically inferior. That alone has actually made me stop visiting his blog as often. I used to read him daily until he started up with the blacks are a subspecies of human routine. As with everything he does, once he gets stuck on a theme, he can't shut up about it, so for a while there were were getting almost daily posts on the subhuman status of black people. And his loathing for Hillary is a bit off-putting, too.

As for real conservative blogs, I do read Althouse regularly. But I basically agree there aren't any decent conservative blogs out there. They are all a strange mixture of lies, paranoia, hate, conspiracy, and delusion. It's just not much fun reading that kind of stuff.

I do try to skim them on a regular basis just to keep a finger on the pulse of the dark side of American politics.

Anyway, it's late. I should be in bed. So I'll catch ya later.

02-27-2008, 02:51 AM
Oh, you know what's a really good blog? (IMO)

Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/). Have you read that at all?

Also: Crooked Timber (http://crookedtimber.org/).

02-27-2008, 03:12 AM
I myself tend towards sites that are aggregators and on the right side of the spectrum two of the better are

American Thinker (http://www.americanthinker.com)

lucianne.com (http://www.lucianne.com/)

02-27-2008, 03:55 AM

But what about Atrios? I'd love to hear your thoughts about Dr. Black and his blog.

I read him from time to time. Usually the way it happens is that I follow a link, and then I read what else is nearby. As you probably know, he doesn't have his blog set up so that permalinks point to individual posts on individual pages, so it's easy to glance at what else is nearby while waiting for the one giant page to finish loading.

I find Duncan's thoughts quite worthy, and I like his sense of humor. I just don't much care for his blogging style. I know this isn't always the case, but it feels like every time I visit directly, I see little besides but links and posts that just say "open thread." At least, that was my impression when he was on my regular rotation, which is why I now just rely on serendipity to bring me there. Probably I'm missing a lot of good stuff, but ... so many sites, so little time.

I guess you could call Daily Dish and Balloon Juice conservative. I did add them to my regular rotation as part of an earlier effort to read non-lefty blogs. Of course, their ongoing appeal to me and their recent expulsion the "True Conservative" in-group are probably related.

You're right about Andrew Sullivan getting stuck on topics that offend or annoy. I don't remember much of his "subhuman" riff. It's possible I gave him a timeout after noticing the first few.

As for real conservative blogs, I do read Althouse regularly. But I basically agree there aren't any decent conservative blogs out there. They are all a strange mixture of lies, paranoia, hate, conspiracy, and delusion. It's just not much fun reading that kind of stuff.

You're a more tolerant man than I, regarding AA. I won't elaborate; I'm sure my feelings on this matter have been presented at excessive length already.

I think it's an exaggeration to say that there are no good conservative bloggers, but it does seem to be the case that they're hard to find, that most of the ones that I hear about make my skin crawl, and that any that I do find readable end up being labeled as "not a real conservative."

02-27-2008, 03:55 AM
I myself tend towards sites that are aggregators and on the right side of the spectrum two of the better are

American Thinker (http://www.americanthinker.com)

lucianne.com (http://www.lucianne.com/)

Thanks, Pisc. Never heard of either. I'll have a look.

02-27-2008, 04:56 AM

Yes, I like both of those blogs, too. I probably hit them several times a month. Same excuse about time limitations, mostly.

It's also the case the Drum is so in line with my thinking that there isn't a lot to be gained from making his a first priority.

Crooked Timber is one of those blogs that I feel like I should read more often than I do. They cover a lot of stuff I don't know much about, and their posts are often substantive essays. This is also, sadly, why I sometimes don't read it as much as I'd like. You know how the Web promotes ADD. Lately, also, of course, I'm caught up in the horse race.

02-27-2008, 07:45 AM
You know how the Web promotes ADD.
God, that is so true.

I'd write more, but I have to go to work. :(

02-27-2008, 04:30 PM
I'm surprised it didn't occur to me earlier, especially since AFAICR you're a fan as well but Jerry Pournelle has a blog (http://www.jerrypournelle.com) and ge definitely counts as right-wing. He's also a bit of a crank, but you definitely can't call him intellectually dishonest.

02-27-2008, 06:30 PM

Thanks. Yeah, Pournelle is a bit of a hawk, but he rites gud.