The Lonely Centrist

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Joe Klein, where have you been?

Here's an idiotic column by Joel Klein. Klein's thesis - Democrats are winning this year because they are finally punching back. This is a good example of how extreme partisanship befuddles the mind. Klein apparently missed the campaign of 2000, in which the NAACP ran ads associating George Bush with dragging blacks to death behind pickup trucks; or the campaign of 2002, in which Democrats accused George Bush of putting arsenic in drinking water; or the campaign of 2004, in which Democrats accused George Bush of, well, just about everything.

Democrats over the past decade have been ruthless, mean, nasty, oppositional, crude, determined, thuggish, brutish, reckless and, if I had my thesaurus handy, much more in their attacks on Republicans. The same could be said about Republicans attacking Democrats. What always strikes me as odd is this deep-rooted belief among many Democrats that Democrats have failed to strike back, to stand up to Bush, to play tough with Republicans. I suppose it doesn't fit the typical Democrat's self-image. Republicans are also prone to think of Democrats as particularly nasty these days, but they seem much more willing to accept and take responsibility for their own hardball tactics. I think this goes to something in the conservative psyche - they kind of like the idea of being tough, they don't take it quite so seriously, and they like watching Democrats whine about how mean Republicans are - it makes them (the Republicans) feel they are winning.

The major point of all this is, if you don't like the present tone of politics, one of the first things you've got to do - Republican or Democrat - is drop the notion that somehow your side just hasn't been tough enough. I think Democrats have lost recent elections because they've got few ideas, and those they have are rejected by most people. I think Republicans will lose this election because of the invasion of Iraq and the scandals that demonstrate they've become a little too comfy with power. But it's not because Democrats were weak or nice in the past, or because they are "punching back" this year. The "they started it" blame game gets us no where.

The minor point is this: Joe Klein gets paid money for such nonsense?

  • The Skeptic
  • Andrew Sullivan
  • Michael Barone
  • The New Republic
  • National Review
  • Democracy Project
  • Bob Bauer
  • Center for Competitive Politics
  • Ryan Sager
  • Going to the Matt
  • Professor Bainbridge
  • Volokh Conspiracy
  • Mystery Pollster
  • Amitai Etzioni
  • Alexander Chrenkoff
  • Middle East Media Research Institute
  • Right Democrat
  • Democrats for Life