Saturday, February 10, 2007


An Olive Branch for Joe

I know I've been very rough on Joe Klein here and here, but blogging seems to have opened his eyes a bit. Little by little, he has slowly begun to comprehend why those liberals are so darn angry. He still suffers from Beltway Astigmatism, his worldview wildly distorted by D.C.'s conventional unwisdom; after all, it's a place where pack journalism's dishonest narratives always trump facts and logic. But his vision problem doesn't seem quite as acute as it was only a few days ago.

Much of the credit goes to Joe himself, who has wisely allowed commenters on his new blog a generally free rein to criticize him, sometimes in very harsh terms. A lesser blogger would've screened out all but the most fawning commenters.

Perhaps we the readers of Swampland can even have something of a dialog with Joe, so in that vein, I commented on today's post, The Elements of Vile:

Joe, in some small ways, you're starting to understand what's been going on for the past two to three decades. The GOP has an extremely powerful and dishonest smear/propaganda/brainwashing machine that has poisoned our politics, weakened our democratic republic, and almost thoroughly corrupted our journalism.

Let me tell one little story that I think illustrates a tiny bit of the damage. I know a woman whose basic tendency is toward a liberal point of view, but she isn't a politics/journalism junkie like I am. Yesterday, after I first explained the actual facts behind the Nancy Pelosi military airplane manufactured "scandal," she told me that one thing Pelosi had done awhile back had given her a bad taste in the mouth: that Pelosi had appointed a criminal to some position.

My first reaction was "Huh?" Then, after asking her a few questions, I realized she was referring to the manufactured "scandal" over the appointment of the chair of the Intelligence Committee. I had to explain to her that: a) this started because it was well known that Pelosi was disinclined to appoint the ranking Democrat, Jane Harman, because Harman had not displayed sufficient spine in standing up to the Bush regime over the past several years; b) the next highest seniority Democratic member of the committee was Alcee Hastings, which would've been a bad choice (IMHO) because he'd been impeached and removed as a judge...and yes, he had also been tried but acquitted in a criminal case, though questions remained with regard to his behavior; c) Pelosi had never ever given even the slightest indication that she would appoint Hastings; d) yes, seniority would be a factor in the appointment but Pelosi could easily override that factor; and e) Pelosi ended up passing over Hastings as well and appointed someone else -- someone who didn't have Hastings' dirty laundry -- as chair.

The woman said, "Oh, I never knew about all that," then explained that her knowledge had been mostly from quick readings of newspaper headlines and ledes. Of course her misunderstanding had been caused by misleading, sensationalistic, dishonest journalism that strongly insinuated that a) this was a personal "catfight" between Pelosi and Harman; and b) if Pelosi didn't name Harman, then she was going to name Hastings. Of course this spin was total BS -- pardon my incivility, but no other phrase is really accurate.

This is the kind of thing I fight in my daily life all the time. Another woman I know thought the entirely fictional "We got Osama in our sights" smear of the Clinton administration -- from a TV movie!!! -- was actual fact. Even though I patiently explained that this story had been debunked -- I wish I had remembered at the time that the principal debunker was Richard Clarke -- she continued to believe the fictional story over the factual one.

It's enough to make you want to bang your head against a wall...or start a blog.

"The GOP has an extremely powerful and dishonest smear/propaganda/brainwashing machine that has poisoned our politics, weakened our democratic republic, and almost thoroughly corrupted our journalism."

Sometimes I wonder if Liberal and Conservative brains are just plain wired differently. Strange stuff, this reality thing...but coming from the epistemological perspective of the Red State Nation - you know, the politically impoverished 51% of us? The 61 million that cast a vote for George W. Bush and trust him more than the bizarro Ringling Bros. circus running Congress these days...I can easily substitute "Democrat Party" for "GOP" in your paragraph above, and it just seems to make a lot more sense to me.

And, hey, sorry about "poisoning (your) politics". That wasn't very nice of us was it? was all so much better back in 1993...wasn't it?

Well, look on the bright side little Monchie, your long, 8 year captivity is almost over, your salvation draws nigh - just two more years of this sordid Babylonian exile you currently endure, and then, before you know it, Hillary will be leading you across the Potomac (hey, its not the Jordan, but it'll do) and into the glorious light of a scandal and corruption free administration............or....................NOT!
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