Political Animal


December 11, 2012 5:23 PM From Tiger Beat On the Potomac

By Ed Kilgore

Somehow or other, I got to the end of the blogging day without once looking at Politico. So I read with virgin eyes a hilarious rant from Charles Pierce about a VandeHei/Allen piece on the fiscal negotiations:

One of my primary criticisms of Tiger Beat On The Potomac has been that the entire enterprise has been dedicated totally to gossip, triviality, and Drudge-baiting to the exclusion of what’s actually going on in the country to the people these politics are supposed to serve. Alas, today, the two presiding intellects of the publication put their watery heads together to discuss “bold” policy choices. I hereby take back everything I wrote in the former vein. If this is their idea of discussing policy, I wish to the god that gave me breath that they’d go back to who’s zooming whom at some lobbying shop.
In short, Messrs. VandeHei and Allen have decided that the way to a “rocket-propelled” economy is to cut corporate tax rates to almost nothing, close a bunch of loopholes that will reopen under new rubric in approximately 11 seconds, and essentially do away with the American middle class, or at least impoverish its dwindling membership to the point at which nobody can afford to buy anything anyway.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s true VandeHei and Allen thought the way to come up with a consensus economic growth agenda was to spend a lot of time deep in conversation with major corporate CEOs, including such sterling sources as JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon.

I do think Politico serves a useful purpose beyond gossip, in its coverage of the details of Beltway doings and horse-racing, which affect us whether we like it or not. But I’m with Pierce: it’s not where I’d willingly go for policy thinking.

Read the whole Pierce piece if you’d like to end the day with an angry laugh or two.

UPDATE: Jonathan Chait, who’s normally not in the same camp as Pierce, has this to say about the Politico think-piece: “VandeHei and Allen…understand their role here not as exposing the insider nexus but as uncritically transmitting its point of view….. It should be preserved for generations as the early-21st-century cri de coeur of an incestuous, self-satisfied economic and political elite.”

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Rich on December 11, 2012 6:03 PM:

    Mike Allen is an eccentric whose daddy was a major Bircher. VandeHei is married to a wingnut operative. Of course, they're going to get the economic ideas from wingnut central.

  • c u n d gulag on December 11, 2012 6:16 PM:

    Most of Politico's coverage is jejune. uninformed, and essentially uselss - particularly anything reporting by HuffDeVan'sFumes, and AlienLifeForm.

    And that's when it's at its best.

    The rest is Drudge and RedState with some money to pay for a glossier cover.

  • Ken Burd on December 11, 2012 7:49 PM:

    Ed, in my view well over 90% of the "reporting" in Politico is pure insider folderol. I believe that clearly biased blatherers such as Allen and Vandehei (as Rich pointed out) deserve the takedown Mr. Pierce gave them.

  • DRN0001 on December 11, 2012 8:04 PM:

    K-Thug takes them down as well, citing Pierce and Chait, and adding links to relevant others:

  • Patrick Star on December 11, 2012 10:29 PM:

    "Tiger Beat on the Potomac" - damn, wish I'd thought of that!

  • bluestatedon on December 12, 2012 12:20 PM:

    Politico = Drudge with better graphics.

  • E.Hatt-Swank on December 12, 2012 4:04 PM:

    Tried to resist the urge, but can't help myself mentioning this: I enjoy Charles Pierce's writing, and certainly Politico is extremely deserving of a good takedown. But Pierce writes for Esquire, for goodness' sake! I wonder, does he ever attack his own employers with as much vicious glee as he does Politico? I don't read his stuff regularly because I would be too embarrassed if anyone ever caught me looking at Esquire (subtitle in browser: "Beautiful Women, Men's Fashion, Best Music, Drink Recipes").