Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 8, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LEFT-WING LOONIES?....Jon Chait took a lot of abuse yesterday for writing a column that suggested it would be OK if Joe Lieberman won his primary race in Connecticut:

The left-wing blogs have taken after me for this, especially this passage describing the party's left-wing activists: "These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent."

Daily Kos has taken particular umbrage....After quoting my column, he proceeds in the next two paragraphs to call my column "obvious crap," "intellectually dishonest," and "bullshit." Oh, and he also calls me a "moron." Atrios, for his part, has taken issue as well. His counterargument, which I hereby quote in its entirety, is this: "Wanker of the Day."

Simple slogans? Refusing to tolerate dissent? Can't imagine where I got that idea.

If you think that I have no desire to get into the middle of this infantile shouting match, you're absolutely right. At the same time, though, there is a massive misconception at the center of this argument that's worth mentioning. At least I think there is, anyway.

Chait calls the Kos/Atrios wing "left-wing activists." Marshall Wittman more colorfully calls them "McGovernites with modems." But this is a serious misreading. In fact, if I have a problem with the Kossite wing of the blogosphere, it's the fact that they aren't especially left wing. Markos in particular specifically prides himself on caring mostly about winning elections, not fighting ideological battles.

Now, there's no question that the left blogosphere is vaguely in favor of all the usual liberal goals: progressive taxation, decent healthcare for everyone, tolerance for minorities, and so forth. And, yes, they're loudly in favor of these things. But let's face it: with occasional exceptions here and there, these aren't the things that consistently get their blood boiling. What does is two things: the war in Iraq and the almost criminal negligence and incompetence of the Bush administration.

So is the liberal blogosphere liberal? Of course it is. But to compare it to the left-wing radicals of the early 70s is to misunderstand it completely. Netroots favorite Howard Dean is no lefty radical, and at a policy level most of the high-traffic liberal blogs are only modestly to the left of the DLC except on Iraq.

Frankly, I wish lefty bloggers did care more about fighting over policy issues. Not only is it a healthy argument to have, but it would give us something to coalesce around if we win back Congress in November. As things stand now, though, I have a feeling that if we win in November the netroots won't really have a very good idea of what it wants to accomplish, and will therefore default immediately to the longtime favorite game of liberals everywhere: the circular firing squad.

That may be too pessimistic on my part. Regardless, though, "McGovernites with modems" is about as far from reality as you can get. Chait and Wittman should know better.

Kevin Drum 2:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (140)

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Comments

kevin did you post this twice or is my computer seeing double?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on May 8, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

We're having server problems today. This was double posted for a few minutes before I removed one of the copies.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on May 8, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who says they remember the radicalism of the 70's wasn't there.

Posted by: dilbert on May 8, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Chait and Wittman have absorbed the rightwing spin well: Everyone who disagrees with the Republicans is a crazed leftist and must be marginalized.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on May 8, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Can anybody give me an update on KOS's record for winning elections? Last I heard, he was O-for-12.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on May 8, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I think the larger point stands. It does appear to some of us lefties, that the "blogosphere" has in way too many cases slide into its own version of the same "don't want to hear any dissent" policy that it so frequently criticizes on the right.

IMO, far too much of what is written on these blogs is just self-referential back-scratching nonsense, and it is utterly predictable that anyone who dares to criticize a Kos, a Digby, whatever is immediately fired upon by the loyal foot-soldiers.

To this leftie at least, it has a certain unpalatable reek.

Posted by: JR on May 8, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

"almost criminal"?

Posted by: bryrock on May 8, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not only is it a healthy argument to have, but it would give us something to coalesce around if we win back Congress in November. As things stand now, though, I have a feeling that if we win in November the netroots won't really have a very good idea of what it wants to accomplish, and will therefore default immediately to the longtime favorite game of liberals everywhere: the circular firing squad.

I'm not sure I follow this. If the Dems win in November everyone is going to coalesce around the idea of investing the Bush admin. and holding them accountable. As they should. You have to remove a malignant growth before you can turn to other issues re the patient's overall health.

Posted by: rp on May 8, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

that should be "investigating"

Posted by: rp on May 8, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this fall right into the GOP framing? That the 'liberal left' lacks a clear agenda?

While I understand the need to win elections to shape policy, not having a clear policy agenda is making it difficult to win. And 'being against the war in Iraq' is not a clear policy agenda.

Posted by: thr on May 8, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

So is the liberal blogosphere liberal? Of course it is.

How can you tell? The so-called liberal blogs never talks about issues. For the most part, they avoid all discussion of them. Any discussion about Iraq centers totally on the failure of the Bush administration -- never about alternative solutions.

Kevin here has talked about health care, but Kevin's positions are what I would call Orange County Democrat -- in Illinois they are called Republicans. (I suppose in Alabama they are called Communists.)

But I completely agree with the comment "the netroots won't really have a very good idea of what it wants to accomplish" -- this is precisely why I think the Republicans will retain both houses of Congress. Between an idea -- even a bad one -- and a shrug, the idea will always win. People who vote for Republicans believe they are voting for low taxes, strong defense and "conservative moral values" (whatever they are). Even when they see that those they have voted for are not delivering the goods, they know what their vote was about.

The Republicans once tried the same strategy that the Democrats are using. When opposing a sitting president with terrible approval numbers, they felt all they had to do was be the "anti-candidate". So, in 1948, they believed all they had to do was "not be Truman" -- they lost.

In November, unless people know what they are voting "for" they will not change their stripes -- even if they think GWB is the worst president ever.

Posted by: Dicksknee on May 8, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

It is about time that you realize that they only Dems worth electing are those who vote for Bush's proposals and give good snuggling action to Bush.

How DARE you even think of trying to challenge Lieberman!?!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on May 8, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Kevin, there are three things that get the left blogosphere into a tizzy. You forgot to mention the ongoing ditziness of the mainstream press. I'd argue that that's actually THE issue that overrides all others. Call it what you want - deference to the administration, incompetence, whatever - the ongoing reluctance of the Washington Post, New York Times, the networks and the cable nets to simply point out the obvious failures of and bad faith shown by the Bush crowd animates all of us who while away our days on the blogs. Writers and readers both. If there was hard-hitting investigative reporting emanating from the Times and the WaPo over the past six years, the left blogs probably would not exist as we know them today. There was a vacuum, you and us have filled it.

Posted by: bling on May 8, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I had this very conversation on Saturday with someone. She said, essentially, "I hate all extremists - the future is in the center" and I said fair enough, but there are no left wing extremists in this country. At least, not any with any media presence. The entire debate has been dragged so far to the right that what is called the center is considered conservative anywhere else in the civilized world.

As Chait proves when he says "yes, Lieberman is a disaster along every conceivable axis, but let's not rock the boat anyway."

Posted by: craigie on May 8, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Wittman should know better?

Are you kidding?

Maybe this a different Wittman you're talking about?

Of course he thinks the left b'sphere's too liberal - we're Democrats!

Posted by: Sifu Tweety on May 8, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Good post, Kevin, but your prediction does seem pessimistic. My prediction is that, if Democrats are successful enough in November to actually control the policy agenda (a huge "if" -- a thin majority won't be enough) the angrier posts and comments from the left will die down. They won't disappear altogether, but enough that policy debates would gain more attention.

There are good policy-minded bloggers out there, and even some of the angrier bloggers (like Atrios) would focus a lot more on policy if the political environment changed.

Remember that the blogosphere as we know it has only existed during the Bush presidency. Liberal bloggers probably would have been much different if this existed in the pre-Lewinsky Clinton years.

Posted by: PapaJijo on May 8, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

You have to admit that this is v. funny: "These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent.""

If you call someone a destrictive fantatic, is the really tolerating ideological dissent? Hm. And when they come back at you with additional insults, well ... do we -really- wanna go to the whole 'he did it first' thing?

And you're right, Kevin. Most of the leftnet has all the -style- of angry activists, because they (okay, -we-) are beyond furious at the crimes of this administration, and the willful ignorance that infects the public conversations about these things.

Torture, secret prisons, illegal wiretaps, damaging Medicare, lying us into a war without an exit plan, working hard to lose Afghanistan, alienating allies and empowering enemies ... we're not simply furious with these things because they are leftie issues, we're furious that they have -become- leftie issues.

I'd rather spend my time learning about policy, but shit--first you have to put out the fire. I just can't believe that somehow the right thinks the inferno is a jolly old campfire, and resents the lefties wildly spraying hoses.

Posted by: adam on May 8, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Regardless, though, "McGovernites with modems" is about as far from reality as you can get."

I'm missing why this appellation is so far off the mark. The McGovern crusade also had a rather single minded focus anti-war activism.

Saying a group are McGovernites isn't the same as saying they're Maoists.

Posted by: Petey on May 8, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

favorite game of liberals everywhere: the circular firing squad

Ain't that the truth.

Posted by: BB on May 8, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

JR: Yes, there's something to that. I wish there were a little less self-congratulation in the left blogosphere and a little more willingness to civilly disagree with people who are basically on our side. But that's just the way these things go sometimes.

Bryrock: Point taken.

RP: I'm all in favor of investigations, but I don't agree that it's enough. We also need to have some serious legislation in mind that we want to try to pass. At this point, I'm not entirely sure what that would be.

Bling: True. I should have mentioned that.

PapaJijo: Good point.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on May 8, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Bling:

Good point. That is the overriding issue--and the underlying one.

Posted by: adam on May 8, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

and will therefore default immediately to the longtime favorite game of liberals everywhere: the circular firing squad.

sounds like we're already there.

Posted by: cleek on May 8, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I have the classic centrist's complaint: Clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right.

It's a dead heat as to which is most delusional. The right is marginally more dangerous - but they've pissed off the military too bad to stage an outright coup at the moment.

Posted by: CFShep on May 8, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Any discussion about Iraq centers totally on the failure of the Bush administration -- never about alternative solutions.

Solutions to what? A problem created from whole cloth by the Bush Admin?

So, if I were president and nuked half of Europe, and people got up in arms about it without providing an "alternative solution", I should be reelected?

Posted by: BB on May 8, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK
As things stand now, though, I have a feeling that if we win in November the netroots won't really have a very good idea of what it wants to accomplish, and will therefore default immediately to the longtime favorite game of liberals everywhere: the circular firing squad.

This is dead-on. We need to get our policy house in order, with appropriate nooks and crannys for our outside the left mainstream thinking, before we take back Congress and/or the White House. Our circular firing squad proclivity only helps the GOP and hurts our country.

Posted by: Edo on May 8, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Kevin, there are three things that get the left blogosphere into a tizzy. You forgot to mention the ongoing ditziness of the mainstream press.

At the risk of making this sound like Monty Python's "Spanish Inquisition" sketch, there are four things, then - with the fourth being the unwillingness of Congressional and other prominent Dems to take a stand for the things that Dems supposedly already believe in.

Posted by: RT on May 8, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I also am glad your senator, DF, was so supportive of the President's new nominee, Kevin. Bravo!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on May 8, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

We call them left wing loonies because they have this santizied view of man which might not be true.

Look at the issue of health care, left wing loonies want good health care for everyone, but you know, not everyone wants good health, many are satisfied with mediocre health, and would rather have the cash. This is not an unusual attitude.

And it is this idea that something that seems obvious on the suface, and easily said, is not always true underneath, and even it it were true, it is not clear that government programs can deliver it.

Take race relations. Oh, they say, we must advance and make the races equitable, help everyone be equal. That is not always what the races want, some just want to be left alone to their own devices, they do not want to mix. What they all want is a reasonably fair shake when they do enter the economic game, pobably not much more than that.

I equate left wing fanatics who want to use government for things they see as required with right wing fanatics who do the same. I see little difference between the Freepers and the Leftists.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

A comment on Iraq and "criminal negligence", and a summary of the McCaffrey report, can be found here:

http://www.redstate.com/story/2006/5/7/233158/5786

What Bush has accomplished is way too complex to be described as "criminal negligence". He has started a new program on energy development. It will be modified, but I doubt it will be killed as Carter's was. The prescription drug plan will be replaced by something more streamlined, but I doubt it will be replaced by anything resembling the Democratic proposal. Most of Bush's judicial nominees have in fact been confirmed, and some who had to wait a considerable time have just recently been confirmed or will be confirmed soon. The federal tax take as a percent of GDP is the lowest in decades; the debt is a problem, but most of the debt is held by Americans, so it mostly represents bi-directional intergenerational transfers (e.g., building new transportation and energy structure now, so beneficiaries can pay for it in the future.)

I don't defend everything Bush did against all criticism, but the extremity of such phrases as "criminal negligence" is totally disproportionate. In total, Bush is not quite as good as Clinton; most of our serious problems are bipartisan in origin. We won't have permanently balanced budgets until we halt (or cut in half) the automatic inflation-indexing of federal entitlement payments; but as long as we have reasonable economic growth, as we do now, the annual budget deficit will fall.

there is lots to criticize, but the Democrats are at best only slightly better than the Republicans.

Besides, don't Kos and Atrios always get behind the most extreme of candidates, exactly as claimed? I know they supported Busby in the campaign to replace Cunningham, and she isn't especially extreme; but don't they indeed lean much more strongly to the McGovernite wing of the Democratic party than the Lieberman wing?

Posted by: republicrat on May 8, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

CFShep:

In what ways are the vast majority of elected Democrats not centrist?

If you could mention any specific issues on which mainstream Democratic officeholders are clownishly left, I'd be v. interested to hear it. Thanks!

Posted by: adam on May 8, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if I never saw another "Wanker of the Day" or "Bobo's World" post, it would be too soon. And the high school cliquishness of Atrios' comment section got out of hand a long, long time ago. But he's actually making more substantive posts of late. Like the blogosphere in general, you have to gloss over some dreck to get to the good stuff. Lefty blogs aren't any different than (e.g.) techie blogs. There are going to be hot-button issues and unassailable conventions in any domain. Blogs are written by human beings, after all.

BTW, I'm old enough to have voted for McGovern. Other than an uncompromising opposition to the VietNam war, I don't think he was the slightest bit radical for his era.

Posted by: modus potus on May 8, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

most of our serious problems are bipartisan in origin

A false critique when one party has all the power.

We won't have permanently balanced budgets until we halt (or cut in half) the automatic inflation-indexing of federal entitlement payments

Social Security has been running massive surpluses for years, decreasing the unified budget deficit.

but as long as we have reasonable economic growth, as we do now, the annual budget deficit will fall.

GDP growth does not exist in isolation from policy.

Posted by: BB on May 8, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I do not believe that Wittman and Chait, and the other members of the print media who make this loony left argument are being honest and sincere. Markos is very clear in distinguishing between being liberal and being partisan. His distaste for Lieberman is not policy related, although the war does get everyone's dander up. His distasre for Lieberman is his support for Bush, Bush's programs and Bush's court nominees. Lieberman strengthens the Republican message and the Republican party. Nobody who has read Markos would call him a loony leftie, or a Mcgovernite. This is an attempt to marginalize the critics.

That's what Markos (and I, ftm) object to.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on May 8, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

They do know better, but if you're hoping they'll change don't hold your breath.

You're right, the darlings of the Kossack blogosphere are not the Democrats that are farthest left. Quite the opposite. The Black Caucus is not at the table, nor are most of the genuinely progressive members of the party (Bernie Sanders aside).

Who's lionized by Atrios, Kos, Huffington, etc.? Conservative, new democrats who've broken ranks with innefective leadership to criticize the president and enumerate the outrages of the past 6 years, beginning with the 2000 election, including the exploitation of September 11, and culminating in the Iraq War, but not excluding the laundry list of domestic corruption, incompetance and regressive, destructive, and shortsighted public policy.

Howard Dean, Paul Krugman, Al Gore, John Murtha. These were all conservative democrats in the 1990s and probably still are. The difference between them and Chait, Lieberman, etc. is that there was a limit to how long and how hard they'd allow themselves to be pushed around by Delay and Bush.

The choice is between subservient deference (losing all the while) and fighting back - which is the Kos cause celebre. When these guys find a moment to stop clicking their heels maybe they'll remember just how conservative Howard Dean was in 1998. Maybe then they'll make sense of the irony that the single position that makes them hate Howard Dean so is also the position of his that was most obviously right.

Posted by: - on May 8, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

If Chait and Whittmann want whine about radicalism, they should write about the Washington Post and New York Times and Joe Lieberman who have been silent about so many radical things that Bushistas have done to harm our democracy.

Unchecked Executive power for the President for one.

Posted by: lib on May 8, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Petey is correct that if Kevin's premise about the "netroots" today being bound together by anti war sentiment is correct, then it is exactly "McGovernites with modems."

KOS and his netroots supporters are a fascinating phenomena. Markos does talk endlessly about winning and not ideology, but thus far he has never won and mostly has not even come close. And perhaps even more importantly, what is the sense of dedicating yourself to winning elections if you do not have some ideaology to promote. It is very weird. And if the democrats somehow capture the house this year, all the KOS energy likely will remain on that anti-Bush track. A democrat house really could do little other than attack Bush and obstruct anything he wants.

And, the actual intellectual content of the KOS site is a combination of sophomoric, trivial, hateful, mean and self congratulating stuff. As a somewhat detached observer, it is remarkable that KOS' modest intellectual efforts have achieved such great stature. (I'm not saying KOS is dumb. He may be smart, but his writing does not reflect any intellectual effort.) I suspect the "power" of KOS and the netroots is vastly overrated, and that professional democrats probably recognize that already, so they just want to provide enough attention to them to keep them from attacking the ultimate democrat nominees.

Posted by: brian on May 8, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all in favor of investigations, but I don't agree that it's enough. We also need to have some serious legislation in mind that we want to try to pass. At this point, I'm not entirely sure what that would be.

Exactly. We need some sort of pact ... or contract .. with the citizens of America .. or something. Something the Dems can stand behind and run on - elect us and we'll do this ...

Posted by: Geo. on May 8, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Markos in particular specifically prides himself on caring mostly about winning elections, not fighting ideological battles.

Really? Then why are the Kos Kids trying to defeat Lieberman - a SURE win in the election? And replace Lieberman as nominee with a neophyte who would leave the CT Senate seat up for grabs?

Seems to me that the Kos Kids are doing the complete OPPOSITE of "caring mostly about winning elections"! They are deliberately choosing to make it HARDER for Democrats to win the CT Senate election.

Posted by: Al on May 8, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Pot Callling the Kettle Black?

Chait says the response shows intollerance of dissent, but perhaps he should look at his own comments which started this pissing match to look for such evidence.

What does Chait say is a "basically right" description of those wanting Lieberman to lose the primary?

Lieberman's allies say the lefties are a pack of crazed, ignorant ideological cannibals.

They're both basically right.

I see, its ok to describe Lieberman critis as a "pack of craze, ignorant ideological cannibals" but for those so insulted to accuse you of being intellectually dishonest proves they are intollerant of dissent?

We do need less canibalism among Democrats, why dont you and the rest of TNR take the lead and stop using your space to lodge petty criticisms and insults against blogs like the Daily Kos and Atrios. Try practicing what you preach. Hint, claiming a description of Lieberman critics as crazed fanatics isnt a good start, nor does putting the criticism in someone elses mouth before proceeding to declare it bascially right make such name callling ok either.

Posted by: Catch22 on May 8, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Leftists are betrayed by Liberals. Kos and MoveOn are not Left. Soros and Springsteen are not Left. Had Kerry won in 2004, the US would still have the same political and economic problems today, with the possible exception of more US troops in Iraq. Perhaps that is why we need a Democrat to win, so those who cogently understand that wealthy corporatism is the political problem will learn Democrats will not do anything to solve it and abandon the party. Abbie Hoffman wrote that politcal activism increases when a liberal moderate assumes power because the level of liberalism the new administration is willing to accomplish does not meet popular expectations. That was Hoffman's explanation why liberal anti-war demonstrators were willing to become radicals when Johnson was president.

Interestingly, news headlines say conservatives are becoming complacent and uninvolved because Bush has not met their expectations.

Posted by: Powerpuff on May 8, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

brian:

I'm actually putting together a webpage for the left blogosphere, to support a bunch of Democratic candidates and have a 100% guaranteed success rate!

So far we're endorsing Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy for Senate. Check us out ... we win!

Posted by: adam on May 8, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Great column, Kevin, and some good comments above. Couple of notes:

1. "Chait and Wittman should know better." Of course they do - but I don't think they care.

First, from what I've read of their stuff they're pretty ticked off at being completely superseded on the net by better writers and better analysts (Kos and Kevin for example.) They hate the fact that in the rough and tumble ratings game of the net - they're getting smoked.

Second, what they're doing it appears to be in support of the people who are paying them - corporate interests and / or right wingers (Peretz and DLC respectively)

Third, to say it more harshly - the fact that their basic charge (that all those activists liberals are McGovernite crazies) is a cheap shot from the neo-con play book, might just stem from the fact thay basically are neo-cons. Wittman has made clear his undying love for McCain, and Chait made clear how much he just hates Howard Dean. They're just playing at being liberals, so that they can whine more.

One other note: to say as some commentators do that the left wingers don't discuss policies and alternatives is just nuts. There are tons of liberal websites (like this one) which have drilled down pretty far into the nitty gritty of Iraq, Social Security, health care, economic growth and a lot of issues that are important to this country.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 8, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"McGovernites with modems" is a perfect name for the crazies on the left.

In 1972, McGovern's platform was withdrawal from Vietnam. The result? McGovern lost 49 states.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on May 8, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency nails it.

But something happened in the summer of 1974 that proved that McGovern was right, and those who did not vote for him were morons.

Posted by: lib on May 8, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: So is the liberal blogosphere liberal? Of course it is. But to compare it to the left-wing radicals of the early 70s is to misunderstand it completely.
To compare McGovern with left-wing radicals is to misunderstand him completely.
JON CHAIT: These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent.
Chait assbackwardly thinks it's "ideological dissent" when he uses "simple slogans" (left-wing activists, lefties, fanatics) every second sentence; but when others dissent, they are proving his point. You want a slogan? How about "centrist hypocrite."


Posted by: jayarbee on May 8, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

In 1972, McGovern's platform was withdrawal from Vietnam. The result? McGovern lost 49 states.

And the inflation-adjusted price of gas at the time was $1.26.

Posted by: BB on May 8, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean did a wonderful job yesterday not taking the bait from Delay about investigations and impeachment.

The Dems will win in November and 2008 only if they have hopeful, reasonable policies to offer. Investigations are fine but they are not a policy and, although fully justified, they will only fuel another cycle of bitter, paralyzing partisanship.

Lets work more on what we are for and less on who we are against.

Posted by: jb on May 8, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

What's particularly misguided about Chait's criticism is that it misses the boat even with regard to the anger of left wing blogs.

Not only is the left blogosphere far less left wing than Chait pretends, and more mainstream, even the anger of the left blogosphere is no longer out of the mainstream. Today, just about EVERYBODY is pissed off past the point of coherent speech at the Bush WH.

Who's still out there without a clue about how things have changed, and how little of the marginalization of the blogosphere continues to make any sense? Why the MSM, Chait being a too excellent example.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 8, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Earth to MSM:

It's MAINSTREAM nowadays to ridicule Bush. EVERYBODY DOES IT.

LOOK AT THE POLLS, BITCHES.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 8, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

The last time there was a circular firing squad among the left side of the aisle, it was during the attempted coup d'etat against Bill Clinton--and Lieberman and TNR were front and center with the tommy guns.

Posted by: kth on May 8, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

"don't want to hear any dissent" policy that it so frequently criticizes on the right

A social scientist named Robert Michele studied unions and social democratic parties of Europe and found that these 'democratic' institutions were just as un-democratic as communist and Fascist ones. It should be no surprise that any organization, left, right or moderate, act the same way - as vehicles for the elitists who run them.

Posted by: Powerpuff on May 8, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I can enjoy a good debate over policy, having served for seven years as a senior analyst for Democratic state legislative leadership. However, I would offer that we need to first agree on a few unifying general principles around which Democrats and progressives can organize politically, and then leave such attention to detail for a later discussion.

In that regard, Daily Kos, et al., are quite right to place their primary focus upon winning elections. Our immmediate priority should be to rid this country of this criminal Bush Cartel.

To use an aged but still appropriate cliche -- let's not put the cart before the horse.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 8, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

We keep bemoaning the lack of Democratic policy positions. Funny, I listened to Howard Dean on ABC yesterday. He laid out some policy positions. They sounded like the beginnings of a plan. How come we haven't had a discussion about them? I understand Pelosi hinted at some other policy ideas on Russert. Again why are we not talking about her ideas?

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 8, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get it: After all these years they still think that crook Nixon was better than McGovern????

Posted by: aw on May 8, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

There's a "McGovernite wing" of the Democratic Party? Do tell. I thought it pretty much died in 1972. There's entirely too much of this kind of name-calling by those who would shriek if we called it the "McCarthyite wing" of the Republican Party.

The so-called "left-wing" blogs are actually made up of mainstream liberal Democrats. They do have many policy principles in common. They universally opposed privatization of social security, for example. They are largely for national health insurance, probably single-payer. They were, correctly, against the war to begin with and are for its prompt curtailment. They are against a war with Iran (except in the unlikely event Iran attacks us). And so on. What's the big deal? It's a pretty good program.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Only "almost" criminal negligence?

Posted by: catherineD on May 8, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Kos is wrong here too, not to mention atrios. They genuinely aren't arguing any substance when they attack Chait.

But I really don't understand Chait. If he could get ahead of Kos on getting rid of Lieberman, then it wouldn't only be a "McGovernista" issue anymore, now would it?

Posted by: mac on May 8, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

In 1972, McGovern's platform was withdrawal from Vietnam. The result? McGovern lost 49 states.

In 1972 Nixon's platform was also withdrawal from Vietnam. The result? Nixon won 49 states, and the Republican administration withdrew combat forces from Vietnam in 1973.

Posted by: Stefan on May 8, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent."

Who were the those "fanatics" who allegedly tore the party apart. I'd like him to name names. George McGovern? Ed Muskie? Maybe Bobby Kennedy? Eugene McCarthy? Not a fanatic among them. The radicals of the time were all outside the Democratic Party. Or if they were in, the real radicals who tore the part apart were the followers of George Wallace, who over the next decade defected to the Republicans to form the Christo-Republican Party of today.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

David in NY:

I'd love to see Kevin asking Chait that question. (I presume the answer is 'Ward Churchill's father.')

Posted by: adam on May 8, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Also, Chait misses the point of why the Democrats need to get rid of Lieberman.

1) Public Policy. Lieberman has consistently come up with genuinely stupid public policy propostions, such as:
a) Creating the Dept of Homeland Security,
b) Gutting the SEC provions in the 1990s,
c) proposing to abolish FEMA - right before the hurricane season (that'll make 'em feel good!) and of course:
d) The Iraq War!

2) Spokesman for the Party. He's regularly used by Fox and other outlets as the spokesmen for the democratic party. And generally you've got to think he's purposefully put their to make the party look bad. He spouts GOP talking points, slams his own party, and generally comes off as a a self-righteous A**h***. Does anyone seriously believe he attracts young voters that the party needs?

3) Because he's Bush's favorite Democrat.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 8, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Except for a brief time in 1972, unabashed liberals have NEVER been in charge of the Democratic Party.

As for "left-wing radicals", they have hardly ever even BEEN in the Party, except occasionally along the fringes.

Posted by: dan on May 8, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's true the Kos candidates haven't won an election. however the success is that these candidates were virtually unknown in hard to win districts for Dems traditionally and thanks to the internets, money was raised and exposure was given. And the number some of them have garnered have been impressive, even in defeat.

Of course it's easy to laugh and make fun of these candidates that they;ve all lost. That's fine. Majorities don't happen overnight and all you need to understand this is to examine the Goldwater/Gingrich strategies. They built their majorities over years of getting defeated.

I'm sure it gives the average Bush follower much glee to proclaim, ha ha Kos kids lose again.

Remember history, as it always swings back the other way and a day will come when you won't be so smug about it.

Posted by: DC Limo Full O' Hoes on May 8, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

And regarding Jon Chait - doesn't he write for the dying TNR. I'm suprized that print that mag in color - I'm suprised they have enough money.

So Kevin says that Kos doesn't have an opinion other then to win elections.

Will Kos has this opinion of Chait - "obvious crap," "intellectually dishonest," and "bullshit."

After watching Nancy Pelosi with Russert and his quick fire legal questioning designed to catch Polosi in no, no even when she should have said yes - just whom is or these so called fanatics whom are tearing the party apart today.

Todays ugliest firing squard is the centrist Dem folks whom tell congressional Dems to be afraid of the GOP and Bush. That's what is really losing elections now.

Posted by: Cheryl on May 8, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

I see little difference between the Freepers and the Leftists.

Hard to see anything with your colon encasing your head.

And carefull with that leftist tag. Thats code for anyone who doesn't whole-heartedly agree with Dear Leader.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on May 8, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

"The entire debate has been dragged so far to the right"

The author is using the old conventional wisdom of what is right and what is left. Bush, except possibly for the war, would normally be called a Rockerfeller Republican.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Markos in particular specifically prides himself on caring mostly about winning elections, not fighting ideological battles."

ROTFLMAO

I guess his pride is just about shot. Hillarious.

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on May 8, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect the "power" of KOS and the netroots is vastly overrated, and that professional democrats probably recognize that already, so they just want to provide enough attention to them to keep them from attacking the ultimate democrat nominees.

I suspect you don't have a clue.

As far as Kos's winning record, if you can't see that he has consistently backed darkhorse candidates and make the comparison to consultants who scam millions and still lose when they should have won(Kerry), then your head is so far up your lower intestines that no operation will ever allow you to see the light of day.

Or maybe your paychecks are signed by by one of said loser consultants.

A waste of bandwith either way.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on May 8, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Now Atrios will know not to call Chait the Wanker of the Day.

OMG, Atrios is like SO rude.

Posted by: lib on May 8, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I also want to defend McGovern, because I think he's been cheap shotted and blamed far too long.

1) The biggest reason McGovern lost is that he was crushed by one of the well funded political machines in history. Nixon had a huge amount of money, a huge wave of fake prosperity through wage and price controls, as well as good, albeit stolen info to beat McGovern. And that machine survived to this day. Look at Bush's team - they're almost all trained Nixonites, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove, etc.

2) McGovern's own party savaged him in the election. The whole democratic "center" just stuck a knife in his back and then were "surprised" that he got crushed.

But the most important thing I think is the political machine he faced. As Gene Lyons and others have pointed out, major democratic leaders have avoided thinking about what a ferocious, angry and well funded machine is working to destroy them. Major GOP operatives crushed McGovern, they harrassed and effectively destroyed Clinton's Presidency, and with the media's assistance destroyed Gore's credibility in 2000.

And despite Bush's plummeting polls, this machine is still around, and very well financed, with lots of allies. And it will be looking for its next target.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 8, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I guess his pride is just about shot. Hillarious.

Blablabla is about right. DLC dems are like self hating gays. All about letting their inner abused child rule their life.

Get over yourself

Posted by: SnarkyShark on May 8, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Don't people understand the DIFFERENCES of the Left Blogosphere? We don't go to Kos and Atrios for policy. We go there for community, for reenforcement, for conversation like talking at the back fence with your neighbors. They send us off to be active and to read about policy, but it's not there and it shouldn't be. Of course Markos focuses on winning elections, because that's what we focus on. Policy comes from Ezra and Matthew and TPMCafe and David Sirota. The Young Turks! And many others. To portray the whole of the Left Blogoshere as just Markos and Atrios is just plain silly. Their function and position in it is huge and without question, but understand their position and function before shooting off your mouth,

Posted by: lurker on May 8, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Those "radicals" who tore the party apart were the ones who thought blacks had rights. The south left and joined with Nixon. But hey, being morally right isn't as important as making sure no one disturbs Chait's sinecure.

Posted by: Rob on May 8, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Of course that communist activist Brad DeLong shows Chait to contradict himself within his own writing.

Posted by: Rob on May 8, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I have the classic centrist's complaint: Clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right.

To the center of you: Imaginary halo, over your head, and fence post, up your butt.

Posted by: kc on May 8, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Brad DeLong does have it exactly right. Oddly, as DeLong points out, Chait has it right too, up to a point. But like all these DLC center-liberals or whatever, Chait can't just agree with anyone on the "left." It apparently isn't allowed by some secret by-laws that no one else is allowed to know about. No, instead of just stopping with his trenchant criticisms of Lieberman, he is compelled to turn and say, "You guys on the "left" [wherever that is], are bad too! Bad, I say!" And then he can end the column. Perhaps it's just filler because he can't think of anything else to say, but probably not. There must be a rule, somewhere ...

I can see why Chait is miffed, of course. He thought should be pleased with him, even though he irrelevantly and gratuitously insulted them. Most people learn the lesson not to do this at about age 12, of course, since the insulted are rarely pleased, even if the main point is in their favor. But Chait must have been sick the day they taught that lesson, or something.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I am lost on this thread.

All I can say is that the issue in the mid term election, and the presidential one will be stagflation. So, Democrats might go back to the old mantra, "It's the economy, stupid"

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

It's just sloppy thinking on Chait and Whitmans part. Writing the opinion piece without looking into the subject of your criticism. A good old jouralistic flaw.
Chait I don't get. He is capable of much better
Whitman is of a type. One of these thinkers and opinion makers who thinks that we need to destroy liberals to save liberalism. The tragedy is he doesn't understand that he is working off of right wing "facts" and ideas that have been "gamed" to allow him to arrive at his conclusion.

More Turnip Days, less think tank ideas, please.

Posted by: Nemesis on May 8, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"McGovernites with modems."

Hah ha.

And Marshall Whitman is a Dixiecrat who is wearing an ass (donkey) costume over his white robe.

Posted by: red on May 8, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

What is all this stuff about substance and policy? Don't you people live in the same fading republic that I do? People don't vote for substance they vote for personality. It's an American Idol world folks.. policy ain't gonna get it done. We need a vibrant personality like Slick Willy Clinton again. Joe Leiberman thought he was building "jomentum" in the Democratic Primaries last time around when in reality everyone was just hoping Grandpa would go home to his front porch and read the funnies. Substance? Policy? Agenda??? Can anyone tell me what Bill Clinton's winning agenda was in 1992? All I know is the man went on Arsenio and played the sax while wearing shades and he instantly got a big jump on Bush I. Agenda? C'mon!!! And what is all this about the evil mainstream media? Have you people read some of the nutcase stuff on the web? I check this blog out from time to time and it's interesting but some of you have to wake up and smell the oil. Agenda has nothing to do with American politics... Sadly.

Posted by: gluey on May 8, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jonathan Tasini is challenging Senator Hillary Clinton on her support for the Iraq war.

I do not think Sen Clinton should be rewarded with a higher office because she gave President Bush a Blank Check to go to war.

Those "liberal" Democrats who cannot see a year ahead to offset the Tragedy of War (Kerry, Clinton, Lieberman) or who hold the conservative view that people are selfish, fearful and easily misdirected by patriotic propaganda requiring the use of the same tactics to win an election, are not worthy of my vote. How about yours?

And from a practical point of view, all that Kerry Flag Waving in 2004 sure worked, didn't it?

Either you believe people are inherently peaceful when treated equitably or you buy the conservative mantra that private (selfish) interests are all that count. Liberals are different than conservatives, aren't they?

Senators Leiberman and Clinton have not yet proposed an Equitable solution to the Palestinian Question, the source of heat in this conflagration. Tensions in the Middle East will never resolve without a Free and Prosperous Palestinian State next to a Free and Prosperous Israel. It would be a whole lot cheaper to give each Palestinian family $250,000 or more in compensation for lost or abandoned property, than to continue this expensive hostility for decades more.

Posted by: deejaays on May 8, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Chait still had the best column I've ever read on Bush: http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=PLC0BZ4uv8VdFvbJQbMx5G%3D%3D

And Nancy Pelosi needs to step down from her leadership position - she was mealy-mouthed to the point of incoherence on Meet The Press yesterday, and she had a big glob of masacara under her right eye the whole time. She looked totally out of her league. Anyone on the fence will be turned away by the thought of her as the second most powerful politician in Washington.

Finally, in spite of my fondness for Chait, I don't think his column gave any good arguments in favor of Joe Lieberman, and many good reasons that anyone with a liberal political view should actively oppose him. This is one column he should have spiked. Maybe he's too busy watching his kids these days to know when he's written a crappy column.

Posted by: brewmn on May 8, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the response Kevin.

Folks, admittedly this is anecdotal, but tell me if it doesn't ring some bells.

On Saturday, at my local post office (here in the Metro-Boston area), a woman with a clipboard came up to me and asked me I'd sign a petition to get an anti-Iraq war initiative on the state ballot this November.

I attempted to address her as a human being and explain why it was that although I disliked the Iraq war as much as anyone, I didn't think this was a particularly effective mechanism for opposing it.

I got through about 1 and 1/2 sentences when the lady just turned her back on me and walked away.

Now, I'm asking you, and this comes from someone who supports her underlying premise, i.e. that the war is wrong, roughly how impressed do you think I ended up being with her "presentation"?


Can't any of think of at least 5 or 6 reasonable objections to the idea that hundreds of volunteers are spending their Saturdays trying to get a "Massachusetts opposed the Iraq war" initiative on a state ballot.

In no particular order, how about:

a) what an incredibly obvious set of data points to poll, I imagine anyone remotely familiar with MA politics can guess whether the prevailing sentiment here is pro or anti-Iraq war

b) what is the likely pragmatic effect of such an initiative? Hint: if you answered "President Bush slaps his head and says 'oh my God, I've lost Massachusetts' or even 'the rest of the country slaps their head and says wow if Massachusetts opposes the war we better re-think things' then I don't think you're a very astute student of human nature or national politics

c) what a waste of volunteer time and energy when there are so many thousands of important things we actually need to do to take back political power

etc., etc. , etc.


It alternately boggles my mind, and irritates the living crap out of me that my "co-religionists", aka liberals are both:

1) wasting their time on such utter non-productive and self-important political theater

and

2) being so damned rude about it in the process

and thereby decreasing rather than increasing the chances that in my lifetime the undecided center will swing back to the left


What is being achieved by this?

I don't really understand the venom I see against "centrists" but IMO it matches quite well with what Chait described

Posted by: JR on May 8, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone ever explained just what it was that George McGovern was so wrong about?

Posted by: rk on May 8, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, brewmn, that's exactly the problem. Chait has written plenty of great stuff that critiques Bush but with the "one strike and you're out" policy on some blog sites, he's toast if he says one damned thing that's less than fully loaded against Bush.

I think I really do understand his frustration with that.

Posted by: JR on May 8, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, this is the first time that I am in complete disagreement with something you've posted on this blog. Chait, unfortunately, is correct in his assessment of the high-profile left blogosphere, at least in regard to its unwillingness to tolerate dissent on pet issues. Sure, they're pissed off about the lies and incompetence of the Bush administration, but why take it out on Lieberman, a solidly liberal member of the Senate for years according to essentially every agency that classifies members by ideology, because of his stance on one foreign policy issue? This is the point of Chait's article, and now he's experiencing the phenomenon he so aptly described first-hand.

Posted by: Jeremy on May 8, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

And the high school cliquishness of Atrios' comment section got out of hand a long, long time ago.

Which makes that catch-phrase "kool kids" doubly annoying. If I could smack anyone who's typed it in the last year, I would.

Posted by: DonBoy on May 8, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

JR -- Well, I tried to explain Chait's error above. It was a bit of socialization he missed at an early age. It goes like this. People will be annoyed with you if you say, "I agree completely with you, but you're an asshole anyway," which was basically what Chait was saying to the blogosphere. Besides which, as numerous people above have noted, Chait's anti-leftist comments are wrong (because the blogs aren't particularly leftist) and wrong (because they misrepresent history as well as current politics).

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

aw: "I don't get it: After all these years they still think that crook Nixon was better than McGovern????"

Spot on.

I normally love J. Chait, but I disagree with him on this. Lieberman is a loser for the Democratic party. And McGovern was a sane, decent man.

As for policy, I'm not worried. We run on a policy of "restoring America the beautiful"

Say by some miracle the Dems do win back the house &/or Senate in 2006. Bush is still in charge of the WH and the agenda unless we seek to impeach him. If he is muzzled, we might not have to do that.

If we regain both houses, we
--Clean up the corruption & sleeze in Congress.
--Address the media by restoring fairness in broadcasting rules and breaking down media consolidation.
--We advocate for non-partisan districting, address the funding of elections issues, again, aim for clean elections with clear paper trails and transparent government.
--Hold Bushco's government agencies accountable for performance.
--We challenge the Department of Defense's takeover of intelligence and funding of non-essential military projects.
--We shine the light on Bushco corruption and secrecy.
--We seek to balance the budget by restoring taxes to their pre-Bush years levels,

As for the war in Iraq, Bush, Cheney & Rummy will still be in charge of that fiasco. The Dems resist warmongering by Bushco against Iran. The Dems can hold the administration accountable for torture, secrecy, etc and the billions of dollars that have gone unreported into Halliburtons' pockets.

That would be enough for the 2006-2008 years.

If we had both houses, sure we could also address health care and pump some serious money into sustainable alternative energy and easing the burden on Americans in what will be a painful transition, but that could also wait for 2008. But the first thing is to halt the takeover of the US by fascists.

Posted by: PTate in MN on May 8, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I suspect the "power" of KOS and the netroots is vastly overrated, and that professional democrats probably recognize that already"

The position of Markos and the "netroots" to more conventional Democrats is the position of the Bolsheviks to the Mensheviks.

The Bolsheviks were the minority of the opposition, but were best at packing and dominating party meetings. The Mensheviks were the majority of the opposition, but were not successful at packing and dominating party meetings.

Since Czarist Russia was not democratic, the Bolsheviks were successful despite their minority status. However, in societies that determine power at the ballot box, the Bolshevik strategy almost always loses to the Menshevik strategy.

In our world, Markos and the "netroots" have the most power in closed party meetings. It's why they were able to mau-mau the DNC into selecting Dean as chair. However, they are much less successful when public elections are held, since they aren't very concerned with winning over majority support, which is why Lieberman will win re-election either as a Democrat or Independent.

The fascinating thing to watch in the future is the success of the strategy of the Warner for President campaign. By paying off Markos and Jerome with cold hard cash to say nice things about Warner for the next couple of years, they will build support for Warner among the small universe of party activists. I think the Warner people know this won't translate into actual primary voters, but it'll be interesting to see how much they can influence the pre-primary state of the race through their payola strategy.

Posted by: Petey on May 8, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Why take on Lieberman, Jeremy asks? Because he gives important cover to Bush, unnecessarily critizes other Democrats, and supports the Iraq War, that's why. Moreover, there's no downside. Connecticut's not electing a Republican Senator this year, that's for sure, and Lamont will be at least as good as Lieberman on policy.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

By paying off Markos and Jerome with cold hard cash to say nice things about Warner for the next couple of years, they will build support for Warner among the small universe of party activists.

Hey Petey, you crafty troll. Got any actual facts to back up your libel?

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Chait neither writes coherently nor reads intelligently. This is what Kos actually says:

Okay, the part about us being "extremists" blah blah blah is obvious crap. Chait knows better. Or should. So either he's a moron, or he's being intellectually dishonest. Probably a little of both.

On target it seems, to judge how Chait then recast Markos' words to make them sound more extreme than they are.

The problem with Chait's piece, as any number have pointed out, is that he takes Lieberman apart brick by brick, but then argues that he should be left alone because he's just one of several Democratic war hawks. That's an absurdity. Lieberman is being challenged in a primary on the very points Chait mentions. Does no obvious or long lasting harm to anybody but Lieberman if he's sent packing.

Posted by: smintheus on May 8, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought that it wasn't that the blogosphere didn't support progressive policy ideas-- I've seen lots of them put forward-- merely that we could all agree that we have an overriding interest in getting the government out of the hands of these total nutjobs.

That's why getting rid of Lieberman isn't nutty, and it isn't ideological, it's pragmatic. He provides some semblance of bipartisan cover for the worst of what Bush has done in office.

Posted by: clb72 on May 8, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Tragedy of War "

I do not see how this war will be an issue. It is a small war by most standards, it was expensive for us, but it is basically over.

You can make a lot of legal arguments about illegality, but if there is an issue at all it will be the cost of the war, to us. At a trillion dollars, the war cost is similiar to prescription drug, interest payments on the debt, total cost of pork over six years, Lotta Children Left Behind, etc etc

But, as some great demon of the devil's malicious excercise, it won't fly as an issue.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Look at PTate, and her list of issues. Stick with that and you will win.

Run against the war you lose.
Run on National Healthcare you lose.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

What David in NY said at 5:10. Lamont pried a check out of my warm, undead hands. How sweet it would be to see the back side of Lieberman. Then he can go whine at "Democrats for Nixon" dinners.

Posted by: shortstop on May 8, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

It is a small war by most standards, it was expensive for us, but it is basically over.

Well, except that it's not basically over, it keeps being expensive, and the longer it lasts the bigger it is.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Calling Wittman a wanking idiot is just on the cold impiracle evidence that nearly everything he writes is a giant question begging exercise, where what he believes is correct is correct because it is what he believes - and almost invariably wrong. It is made all the more spectacular by how often even the most rudimentary research skills would let him learn his facts and conclusions have no basis in reality.

Seriously, you rot your brain even going to his site. By bringing him up to all of us, you rot all our brains. Don't be a brain rotter, Kevin.

The KOS website is absolutely stuffed to the gills with policy ideas and debates. That they don't often make the front page is due to a) only people really interested in X policy are going to read it and b) we have no power to implement anything, so focusing on our policy differences before we get power is putting the cart in front of the horse.

Atrios is more about countering the spin. He does it well. It is understandable that "democrats" who internalize the spin wouldn't like him.

Posted by: Mysticdog on May 8, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

'McGovernites with modems' says more about whom Chait keeps company (TNR) than about reality. McGovernism (if that term can be used) passed from the scene a long time ago, and people who use his name in vain pine for Nixon.

Posted by: Marc Valdez on May 8, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Matt has looked at the polls on the war lately, at least not in Connecticut. People around here hate the war. They hate it.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey Petey, you crafty troll. Got any actual facts to back up your libel?"

Hey David in NY, you un-crafty troll. Are you actually asserting that Warner doesn't have Jerome on his payroll? Are you actually asserting that Markos and Jerome don't have a joint consulting business?

Posted by: Petey on May 8, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Petey, that was what I was asking.

Posted by: David in NY on May 8, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is. David, everyone hates war, and most of us hated this war from beginning to end, but we went along.

America hated WW2, the Viet Nam war, the Korean War, WW1, the Civil War.

If the issue is, what is the best way to wind down the war, voters will go with a conservative approach on winding down the war, do it resonably, and the Republicans will win.

Poll the Dems. Ask them if the Civil War was worth it. They will say yes. Ask them if they liked the Civil War, they will say no.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent. Moreover, since their anti-Lieberman jihad.....blah blah blah

what delicious irony!

Posted by: Cabaret Voltaire on May 8, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Thanks, Petey, that was what I was asking."

If you've got the time and inclination, the FEC maintains open records on the internet on pretty much everything that takes place in a federal campaign that involves money changing hands. In other words, you can look it all up.

-----

The fascinating thing to me is trying to separate Markos's labors of love from his labors of cash.

In 2004, he originally gave support to Dean as a labor of love due to Dean's anti-war position. His later willingness to run hit pieces on the other main anti-war candidate, Wes Clark, was a labor of cash.

He supported Paul Hackett in his Congressional general election race as a labor of love. In the Senate primary, he shifted from supporting Hackett, to being neutral, to then running hit pieces on Hackett, as a labor of cash. (Sherrod Brown paid a significant amount of cash to Armstrong/Zuniga.)

He's opposing Lieberman as a labor of love. He's supporting Warner as a labor of cash.

Posted by: Petey on May 8, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

KD's comments about "Kos" himself are correct, but it's not correct to conclude that the dailykos community--the source of most of the info on the website--is center-left. I ran a poll there a year ago that gave everyone a -5 to +5 spectrum of political leaning (-5 being right-wing and +5 being left-wing, of course), but leaving the specifics of what those numbers meant to the poll-takers to decide. The mode was +3, the average around +4, but nearly 25% chose +5. The users on dailykos are much to the left of Kos himself, and that's why I like dailykos more that its founder.

Posted by: Data on May 8, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

dilbert,

Sure they were. They're talking about the anti-war crowd at the DNC convention of 1968 and the wannabe's who followed. These are the far left groups who've marginalized the party since 1968 and given the term 'liberal' the stature George Clooney is so thrilled about. You haven't been able to elect a liberal nor anyone from the North to the Presidency since 1960 and that's not going to chance in 2008 either.

There's a reason this has happened. There's a reason your electoral performance since 1992 has been so dismal. There is a very clear distinction between JFK and LBJ and current liberal politicians. And it all goes back to 1968. There's no question liberals are smarter and better than everyone else. There's no question as long as that situation holds you'll be sitting outside looking in.

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Frankly, I wish lefty bloggers did care more about fighting over policy issues. Not only is it a healthy argument to have, but it would give us something to coalesce around if we win back Congress in November."

So write a fucking policy entry? Seriously, is there anything lamer than crying about how "the liberal blogosphere" doesn't do something you want it to do, when you won't do it yourself? Well, yeah, I guess crying about "liberal blogosphere" not doing something you want it to do, when it actually does exactly what you want it to do in many places, you just don't notice because you waste your time visiting (and telling us about) Andrew Sullivan and Marshall Wittman, discreditted hacks who couldn't write a coherent policy about household laundry washing.

Posted by: Mysticdog on May 8, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats have to turn away from the lobbyist money and give us health care.."

It is the same as with taxes and war. If the Democrats propose nationalizing the Health care system, you will lose the voters in the details. Everyone want you to pay for their health care, but once the debate starts, everyone will be asking, who's health care will I pay for?

Taxes are also difficult. But taxes are a little more familiar to us, and, like war, we don't like it but we will choose a better tax plan.

Which winning candidate ran on nationalized health care and anti-war? Dean. He never got out of the New England Primaries.

On health care, the Dems can say, we will simplify it and some government mandates will be needed. On taxes, the dems can say, we need to restore some sanity to upper braket taxes to keep the government and economy efficient. On the war, the Dems can say, the time has passed when US troops are helpful, Iraq must stand on itw own two feet sooner than later.

But all this is mute, for one reason, it is stagflation time. Dems will be running on yesterdays polls because they don't take the time to understand economics.

Stagflation is hear because Bush has determined he will deflate the dollar. This is news that kind of got lost in the past few weeks, but IMF bankers and economists are already churning out reports and forecasts based on a deliberate depreciation of the dollar.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's not that Kos and his ilk are more liberal. It's that they're more partisan. There are plenty of people who are further left of center who aren't as partisan, and plenty of people who are left of center who are even more partisan.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on May 8, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

George Clooney may be a good looking guy. Even I think he's a good looking guy, but no one's seeing his movies. They're dead. Ding dong dead. Finito. And liberals are dead too. You liberal guys are handsome dogs, I've always said so, but pretty soon you're going to find out what a seriously handsome man can do at the polls. I'm talking about John McCain. He's the real deal. He will smash Hillary into pieces and grind her under his heel and there's nothing you guys can do about it. Because it's done. It's a done deal.

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

The 6:13 post is not rdw

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Nice post

Posted by: Dating Services on May 8, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain??

Maybe the John McCain that ran in the primaries against Bush. But not the current McCain who is too cozy with the flat taxers and evangelicals. The new McCain does not pass must with the South Park libertarians, who would probably still hold their nose and vote for Hillary.

Posted by: Matt on May 8, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

--Address the media by restoring fairness in broadcasting rules and breaking down media consolidation.

Ptate,

Get over it. Rush is a national institution. Fox is a national institution. Conservatives have three talk radio networks 24/7. Air America is dead. You can't roll back this clock anymore than you can stop globilization.


Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

You guys are so funny- "the lefty blogosphere that doesn't tolerate dissent". OMG, ROFLMAO.

Now, the lesbian granola bake collective looking for concensus in the worker brigade meeting- THAT was a left that didn't tolerate dissent. Sure, they were vegetarians, but they could also serve a knuckle sandwich.

Of course, those were the days when the fire department refused to hire women firefighters, and you couldn't buy granola in a store that wasn't a collective.

Now, apparently some of you have never thought about why they have socialized health care and public transit in France and Germany. The reason they have those things is because they have strong Socialist and Communist parties- and those wild-eyed pie-in-the-sky ideas save them 5% of their GDP in addition to the benefits of everybody being able to get good health care.

So, you can blather all you want about the McGovernite left, but I can assure you that those of us who were the McGovernite left have dealt with bigger problems than you.

And if you think lefty bloggers are causing your problems, all I can say is, My brain's not dead- sorry about yours.

Posted by: serial catowner on May 8, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Stagflation is hear because Bush has determined he will deflate the dollar. This is news that kind of got lost in the past few weeks, but IMF bankers and economists are already churning out reports and forecasts based on a deliberate depreciation of the dollar.

Are you braindead?

Stagflation is very high inflation and very low growth. We have very low inflation and very high growth.

The IMF has been effectively castrated. Few nations need to deal with the IMF and no solvent nation would want to. Their record is abysmal.

This is the strongest and best balanced global economy in your lifetime and the US is very well exposed to the fastest growing regions. GWB has increased the number of free trade agreements from 3 to 11 and is negotiating another 17. We've seen terrific GDP growth since the 03 supply side tax cuts and will continue to see great growth.

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see now, job creation in my county, zero. Prices over the past two years, doubled.

Say, RDW, what planet are you broadcasting from? Or are you just one of the grafters who's fastened their teeth on the government tit for no-bid contracts from the Bush gang?

Cause what you're talking about ain't happening where I'm living.

Posted by: serial catowner on May 8, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

BS Kevin, with your site and TPMCafe, Dave Sirota and Glenn Greenwald, we'll have what we need to have that disucssion and quickly. Believe you me we will it goes on, just quietly because we need to actually win first.

Posted by: MNPundit on May 8, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

I find Petey's statements very credible, and I'm a fan of Daily Kos. But from Kos' paranoia over the blog-campaign finance rules, it's very clear that he's interested in making money and being a player. Maybe it's ideological. Maybe he wants to build his empire to change the world. But I believe that Kos' website is setup to take money from political campaigns, committees and candidates.

The extent to which that influences the site, I don't know.

Posted by: glasnost on May 8, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Rdw - your genuine blindness - which stems from your selective interpretation and daily manipulation of economic statistics as articles of faith, while knowing very little about the deeper relations between them and society, is fun to laugh at from here.

No one making less than 100K per year is happy with this economy. And you don't have a clue why. So you pretend it doesn't exist, as does most of the media.

You're never going to find out either. You're not interested in finding out, anymore than you're actually interested in helping ordinary Americans prosper. You're just going to ride your cheap shots and sanctimonous self-congradulations into total political defeat.

Posted by: glasnost on May 8, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Markos in particular specifically prides himself on caring mostly about winning elections, not fighting ideological battles." K-drum.

So how many did he win lately?

Posted by: cecce on May 8, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

No one making less than 100K per year is happy with this economy. And you don't have a clue why. So you pretend it doesn't exist, as does most of the media.

I'd beg to differ on one point--highly doubt rdw is making anywhere near $100K, but he thinks he probably should be, and so he votes as though he might be someday and already is.

The rest of it is right on.

Posted by: shortstop on May 8, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

On a national level, Losing Senator Lieberman would be devastating to the Democratic Party. With Southern conservative Democrats a dying breed Senators like Lieberman give the Party a much needed moderate/hawkish/religious hue. Am I the only one who recalls that the last time the Democrats were successful was under the leadership of the third way DLC styled Southern Governor Bill Clinton?

The Democrats losing Lieberman would be worse for the party then the Republicans losing Santorum.
(I cant believe you guys...shezzzz)

Posted by: Fitz on May 8, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see now, job creation in my county, zero. Prices over the past two years, doubled.

If that's the case you live in the dumbest county in the world. The economy had added over 6M jobs since the tax cuts and inflation has averaged about 2% in those 3 years. If your prices have doubled it's because shop-owners have recognized they live among exceedingly stupid people.

I live in PA just outside Philly. PA has a 4.5% unemployment which means less than 4% outside Philadelphia. My county's rate is 3.3%.

This is a fabulous economy averaging nearly 4% since the tax cuts which is the stongest period of sustained growth since Reagan. The Dow and S&P have rebounded from Clintons bubble while personal wealth and home ownership are at all time highs.

Best of all is Bush has quietly negotiated a series of free trade agreements to facilitate the process of globilization and the closer alignment of the US economy with those of Asia and Eastern Europe. In the 1st Qtr unit exports increased by a soaring 12% due largely to exposure to the robust Asian economies. And this is before free trade agreements are completed with South Korea, Indonesia, Malasia, Thailand and nearly free trade with India, Pakistan, Veitnam and Japan.

GWB has followed exactly the opposite path of Western Europe ensuring our economy will continue to grow at double their rates for at least another decade.

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

You're just going to ride your cheap shots and sanctimonous self-congradulations into total political defeat.


Not true. In order for the democrats to actually win they'll need to unify and come up with a positive, upbeat theme. You've got 15 Senators running for President so unification is out of the question. Even if it were a possibility you've got Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi leading the party. They suck. Harry could put an insomniac to sleep and Nancy's most outstanding feature is she pounds more makeup on than Kathleen Harris.

You also have Howard Dean heading the DNC. It's very good he'll get the moveon.org crowd motivated but just how good is that really? He's going to insult everyone else.

Not until your party has coherent leadership with a unified, positive message will you get one of the Houses back. You are not there yet.

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

fitz,

Losing Santorum will not by itself be a major blow. Casey as you should know is known for being exceedingly dull and very catholic. Like Ricky he's anti-abortion and supported both John Roberts and Samuel Alito. He's a fiscal and social conservative who would partially make up for the loss of Leiberman in the DLC.

I'd much prefer Ricky over Bob and while this is your best chance for a pick-up it's far from a lock. He's lowered Casey's lead to 6% and has been working the state very effectively. The pro-choice liberals in Philadelphia are not at all happy with this nomination. Casey will win the primary but a 3rd party pro-choice candidate will remain in the race and will take some of that philly vote.

Losing Lieberman would be a much bigger blow for the Democrats. Almost alone he represents sanity.

Posted by: rdw on May 8, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with this post. Man, Chait should start listening and watching International ANSWER. Now there are some extreme lefties. Kos, Dean, Atrios? Not so much.

Posted by: vaughan on May 8, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

No one making less than 100K per year is happy with this economy.

gee. I know lots of people who make less than 100K per year who think the economy is good. I make less than that and I am impressed with the economic growth.

Posted by: republicrat on May 8, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting comments about McGovern. I voted for him because I did not want Nixon to win a landslide, but I doubted that McGovern could actually be a better president, and I was certain that he would lose the election. When the Watergate scandal bloomed and Nixon resigned, I didn't feel vindicated so much as I felt very surprized. For a supposedly (and really) smart man, Nixon did a lot of stupid things; and for a fundamentally decent man, he did a lot of really mean and evil things.

McGovern himself wasn't so far left, but his rhetoric was awful, especially when it was sincere. His voice sounded whiney. "McGovernites" were considerably to his left on most issues, and offended many more "mainstream" Democrats with the extremity of their rhetoric. But the real story was that if the Democrats had truly believed that Nixon could be beaten they would have nominated someone else, both for Pres and for VP. I think that 1972 - 1975 mark some sort of low point in American history. McGovern v Nixon, Bush v Gore, Bush v Kerry and Bush v Dukakis are among the worst choices ever presented to the American electorate.

Posted by: republicrat on May 8, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

As things stand now, though, I have a feeling that if we win in November the netroots won't really have a very good idea of what it wants to accomplish

Sadly, Kevin, I think you're right.

Posted by: wilder on May 8, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

No one making less than 100K per year is happy with this economy.

I don't know about that, but I do know lots of people making more than 100K who aren't happy with it.

Posted by: craigie on May 8, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

You are right. Atrios, AmericaBlog, Kos. None of these blogs are especially left leaning, even by todays standards. They are radical in that they approach information and critical analysis in a way independent of the corporate controlled media

It seems like any position to the left of Bush's evangelical right is can now be called left-wing, or even radical left, without even raised eyebrows of doubt by the MSM. Crazy how the press keeps this up.

Posted by: ChetBob on May 9, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

The left-wing blogs have taken after me for this, especially this passage describing the party's left-wing activists: "These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent."


Umm Kevin those left wing activists, such as Kirkpatrick, went on over to the Republican Party, the Neo-Cons. Harry and Lynde Bradley are huge supporters of AEI and Privitization. Perhaps you missed that in your Post and thats why the Atrios people are telling you, Its the Same People.
Here;
The Allen-Bradley Company was founded in 1903 by Lynde and Harry Bradley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (1) In 1942, Lynde died and turned his assets over to the creation of a charitable foundation, which culminated in the formation of the Lynde Bradley Foundation that year. The name was changed to the Allen Bradley Foundation in 1958, but was sold to Rockwell International in 1985. Some of the proceeds from the sale went to Bradley Foundation, which changed its name to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. (2)

Lynde and Harry were conservative philanthropists who believed in American democratic capitalism by way of free representative government and private enterprise. Thus, Bradleys programs support limited, competent government; a dynamic marketplace for economic, intellectual, and cultural activity; and a vigorous defense at home and abroad of American ideas and institutions. (1)
~~~
Democratic Capitalists
~~~~
Each year, the foundation gives $250,000 awards to people for outstanding achievement. In 2003, Mary Ann Glendon, Leon R. Kass, and Charles Krauthammer won the awards. Among the judges selected for distributing these awards were: Robert H. Bork, William F. Buckley Jr., Jeane Kirkpatrick, and James Q. Wilson. (7)
~~~
YIKES!
Many of Bradleys 2003 grantees are among the leading organizations of the right wing, particularly its neoconservative sector. The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research was given $600,000 for the Foreign and Defense Policy Studies program, the Bradley Lectures, and some type of survey analysis. The Hudson Institute received $446,100 for the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal. The Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and Middle East Forum received $50,000 each. The FPRI grant went towards the Center for the Study of America and the West and general operations. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies received $40,000 for research on U.S.RussiaCaspian affairs. (16)
~~~~
Nuff Said, Do you see?
I don't agree with people throwing the Stupid and Ignorant and Wanker word around though.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 9, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

You are right. Atrios, AmericaBlog, Kos. None of these blogs are especially left leaning, even by todays standards. They are radical in that they approach information and critical analysis in a way independent of the corporate controlled media..
~~~~
What in effect they do is to give people information, they don't want you to agree with them necessarily.

Posted by: Mach Tuck on May 9, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Late to the party, but in whose world is Wittman one to take seriously? He's a "Democrat" on loan from McCain, a grown man who refers to himself in the third person, and a stupid animal nickname at that, and his grasp of policy and politics -- see his spectacular misunderstanding of the NSA wiretap scandal -- continually* makes me wonder how he thinks he's remotely worth listening to.

* OK, "continually" is a bit strong, since I rarely pay attention to people who are still buying Wittman's con.

Posted by: ArC on May 9, 2006 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

I support Jon Chait for my vice presidential selection 110%...now on to Iowa! ( Loud preternatural cry from the gut ) ACID, AMNESTY AND ABORTION!
( YEE - HAR! )

Posted by: professor rat on May 9, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Some people just don't get snark do they?

Reading all the comments here I want to post again without rushing down to show my respect for Tom Eagleton.
The Bolshevics modus operandi was to call themselves the majority when, in absolute fact, they were ALWAYS in the minority. So going by the emperical facts of that the DLC clique are the Bolshies and Kossacks and etc are a mix of SR's, Menshies and anarchists.
Get yr metaphors right and the narrative flows naturally. Btw. The pre-Lenin figure Napoleon blamed ' anarchist plots' for his coup and Lenin blamed lawlessness and chaos for the CHEKA and RED TERROR as he became the Napoleon of 1918.
Finally I don't care how you do it but this ' Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer, Ein Media claven must be smashed into a thousand pieces - by any means necessary.

Posted by: professor rat on May 9, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

modus potus: I'm old enough to have voted for McGovern. Other than an uncompromising opposition to the VietNam war, I don't think he was the slightest bit radical for his era.

Thanks, mp, for saying this so I don't have to. And the current electoral climate is a lot more like 1974 than like 1972 (when Nixon was on top of the world). By 1974 most of McGovern's positions were not seen as radical at all, and a crop of Democrats were elected who actually represented the party's base.

Then the powers that be set about to make sure nothing like the 1972 convention could ever happen again. Result: Jimmy Carter and his all-corporate cabinet. That wing of the party became the DLC (which is almost entirely funded by big corps and dedicated to keeping the party Republican Lite).

With any luck, the national grassroots organization and mobilization that the net makes easier will finally help drag the party back to better representing its base.

By the way, Kevin, did you post about this WP article on the House Dem proposals? Doesn't it undercut just a bit the idea that there will be policy disarray when Dems retake the House?

Posted by: Nell on May 9, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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