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New Tension with Bloggers for Obama

Updated 7:18 p.m.
By Jose Antonio Vargas
DES MOINES -- It's bad enough that the netroots, as the more partisan wing of liberal blogosphere likes to call itself, is unhappy with Sen. Barack Obama for reaching across the partisan divide. Now the freshman senator's mug and slogan have been featured on the conservative the Drudge Report in an online ad.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said it's a mistake. "Someone is circulating a screengrab of an Obama ad on Drudge. Even if it's true, it wasn't intentional," Burton told The Trail. "The site isn't on the approved list of sites we advertise on."

Intentional or not, it could trigger yet another round in an ongoing online slaughter.

Obama, as The Post reported today, may be attracting Republican and Independent voters to his campaign in a stump speech that reaches out beyond his Democratic base. But the netroots are none too pleased with Obama's strategy. And Obama's getting pummeled.

Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, the influential and widely read liberal blog, had publicly talked about voting for Obama. "You know, I was going to vote for Obama and even announced that a week or so ago," he wrote yesterday. No more. Reacting to Obama's speech -- in which the freshman Illinois senator said, "I don't want to go into the next election starting off with half the country already not wanting to vote for Democrats. We've done that in 2004, 2000" -- Moulitsas wrote: "Psst, Barack, slamming John Kerry and Al Gore is what Republicans do. Not Democrats . . . Last time I checked, Gore won his election. And really, is Obama going to argue now that the nation was divide because of the Democrats' fault? Is that the latest right-wing talking point he wants to peddle?"

Things get even rougher from there.

"What the hell is up with Barack Obama?" wrote Molly Ivors on Whiskey Fire. "I don't get the guy. Is he a Dem? Or is he prepping to run with Michael Bloomberg should this whole 'Democrat' thing not pan out?"

Added Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, reacting to the latest poll from the Des Moines Register showing Obama ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton and former senator John Edwards: "...if the DMR model is correct and Obama is truly ahead, the majority of his support is not from Democrats. Which is probably one of the reasons he feels at liberty to engage in wink-wink, nudge-nudge derision of them in an appeal to more conservative voters."

Some will argue that the netroots are outside the mainstream, even outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party's base. But this latest tension, coming on the heels of Obama's attacks on independent expenditure groups funded by such Democratic base stalwarts as unions, raises questions about whether or not Obama is seeking to run as someone independent of the Democrat's traditional constituency and interest groups altogether -- and whether he's going to have to, no matter what.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 2, 2008; 2:20 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Next: Chelsea Clinton's Electoral Ambitions


Moulitsas is a hack stooge. Everybody knows he's been on the take to Hillary's Op except the high school sized collection of amatuer nofriendo goofballs he has blogging online. It accounts for the majority of his hits. Real Democratic activists know its just a fundraising scam for Centrist Dems of which he gets a cut. His flagship ad account is from ChevronTexaco by jiminy...LOL. Softball wussery at best, craniorectal impaction most often...DIALY, in fact, on the dailykos... Moulitsas is irrelevant. He sure had influence in Iowa kind like his backing of Ned Lamont. Amateurs. Nice cross promotion piece, WaPo, for the Newsweek dullard you hired...LOL. What a joke...On your payroll...

Posted by: StrategicDemObserver | January 4, 2008 3:58 AM | Report abuse

capemh, in reference to judicial appointments, I agree that this is likely to be a tough legacy -- all the more reason to push for a Democratic congress and president in 2008. It's doubtful though that we're looking at the Supreme Court remaining in conservative control for 30 to 40 years -- if a Democrat wins in 2008 and again in 2012. Scalia for example is currently 71 -- somehow I think he probably bows out before age 101 or 111. The balance may be 5 to 4 now, but there's a pretty good chance that those numbers will be reversed again -- provided that the Democratic majority delivers good results.

I'm definitely not saying "why can't we all get along". I agree with you about the far right -- as Goldwater said "you can't compromise with these people". If Democrats continue to make inroads they have a legitimate chance to have a filibuster proof 60 seat majority in the Senate by 2008. If they simply gain the presidency and retain their current slim margins in the Congress they still have the chance to achieve more than is possible in the current environment.

This doesn't mean that there aren't areas where bipartisan consensus can be achieved with American interests front and center. An issue like the 2007 Lugar-Obama nonproliferation initiative is a true bipartisan measure -- one that benefits national interests. There is no reason why nuclear nonproliferation needs to be transformed into a partisan issue -- it is the kind of issue that matters to all Americans.

The oil dependence issue is another agenda item that can be achieved through bipartisan consensus . . .

In the case of this issue, OK, guys like John Coryn might get cut out of the equation, the Texas delegation might fight these issues tooth and nail, but these can be consensus issues that advance American interests -- not just those of one party or one region, or one special interest.

There is also the chance of creating real campaign finance reform -- vis a vis some of the electoral reform that Feingold, Obama, et al have worked on in recent years. Having a strong ally in the White House with a long-term track record on ethics reform at the state and federal level suggests to me that this can be achieved -- if there is a partner in the White House who makes these issues a priority (I am more willing to trust a candidate who has made this issue a decades long priority than one who simply says he will make this issue a priority).

FDR was able to move things because the American people delivered a congress which supported his legislative agenda. Even in the face of a very conservative court two branches were able to make sweeping and lasting changes -- many programs -- including Social Security are still with us.

I don't see this as an issue of "playing nice" so much as it is knowing when to pick your battles and advancing an agenda in a way that you get more than just a bare majority to buy into your agenda. If a leader can't build coalitions -- he can't effect much long-term change in a democratic system. The goal isn't necessarily to make friends, or to create a perfect society -- it's too bring all the stakeholders to the table and forge the best possible compromises for the greatest number of people -- to create something that can endure.

The Constitution itself was forged by leaders with very different competing interests. It wasn't a perfect compromise for any one party -- but it was about as good a compromise as could be achieved at the time. The compromise wasn't a question of being nice or being tough -- those questions didn't even enter the equation. The leaders were sent to the convention to forge tough compromises and they did their job. We need leadership who knows how to broker deals -- and we also need a population that is able to continue to hold the leadership to account in order to make sure that those deals are cut the right way.

In this election I don't think there is a single silver bullet -- but I do think that Obama has the ability to get the job done the right way. His track record gives me a degree of confidence that he has the right priorities and that he will broker deals that represent my interests.

I think it's also worth noting that Unity08 has put a target on the backs of Obama, Edwards, and Huckabee -- saying that Michael Bloomberg is likely to run as an independent candidate for president if one of these folks wins his party nomination. This suggests to me that some large corporate interests are worried that these candidates may not be sufficiently one-sided enough in their deal making (it's kind of bizarre that they would effectively view Clinton, Romney, Guiliani, and Thompson as "reliable friends").

It also gives me pause about the kind of candidates who they think might be acceptably "less partisan" -- whatever that is supposed to mean.

Posted by: JPRS | January 3, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

If you want to talk about legacy, just look at the lifetime appointments he made to the Supreme Court and the rest of the Judiciary. That, alone, will have a 30-40 year "lasting change" on you, me and the rest of the country.
The center has shifted under him to the point that Goldwater would be considered a liberal. How's that for a legacy?
What if his legacy is this "Imperial Presidency", one where the President's powers can't be checked by the Congress or the law?
And, what about the public media being owned by just a few corporate behemoths? It's getting to the point that Fox News is getting to be the norm, not the far right extreme.
But that isn't the point. If the next President isn't going to go toe-to-toe with the miscreants who got us into this mess, if he isn't going to get rid of all of the Bush cronies that have been insinuated everywhere in the Federal Government, from the SEC, FEC, FCC, Justice, Defense, etc., then who cares who gets elected?
Look at this partial list of the issues Shrub has been responsible for:
There is power out there, unleashed by Bush/Cheney, that isn't going to take being cut off lightly.
It is a ruthless world. People die, fortunes made and lost, just based on who gets elected. If you think that, just because your candidate is "nice" and "willing to compromise" that he/she won't be trashed, won't be hammered? I still think that Kerry lost because he was too nice and didn't believe the Swift Boat turds accusations would be believed and that he was above all of that nasty stuff.
Christmas, you can't overturn his policies by asking nicely. First you have to win the election and then you have force the change, what with most of the Congress dependent on lobbyists for campaign funds and the Senate with the arcane filibuster (which, when we should have used, Democratic centrists joined with the Republicans to prevent it, but, now with the Democratic majority, where are the Republicans from the "Gang of Fourteen" to prevent filibusters?)
You almost sound like Rodney King, "Why can't we all get along?"
Nobody give you anything in this world, you have to work and fight for it. What worked in Chicago for getting stop signs and street lights doesn't work when you are up against international corporate, banking and defense industries. It's a street fight and you have to be willing to fight every step for any progress. Go back and read what some of the newspapers were saying about every President who worked to improve the lot of the common person or did anything to move the United States forward. FDR even tried to pack the Supreme Court to move his agenda forward. Play nice? No, that is for losers.

Posted by: capemh | January 2, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

capemh, just to clarify -- do you think scorched earth politics actually produce lasting gains?

e.g. will Bush's policies stick beyond his term, or will they be reversed when the Democrats control both the White House and Congress?

I ask:
1. Because if Bush's political tactics produce long-term results, then I think it's pretty much a wash in terms of who we elect. What's done is done.
2. If not, and there is pressure to over-turn Bush's policies, it strikes me that part of the reason is that politicians who insist that it's "my way or the highway" don't build the type of long-term consensus that produces lasting change.

Personally, I think Bush is a failure exactly because he was unable to build any real lasting coalitions. All that he did was engage in scorched earth politics and burn bridges -- even within his own party. When Bush leaves he will have no major domestic policy achievements to his name; no major foreign policy achievements; only one minor diplomatic achievement; and it is quite likely that he will pass along a deeper recession than the one he inherited.

Aside from the fact that he won two elections -- and has quite likely lost his party the next two (as well as both branches) -- I see Bush's presidency as a cautionary tale in how NOT to be successful at the job. That strikes me as the appropriate lesson.

Posted by: JPRS | January 2, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't know where Obama was in 2000, he only became a Senator in 2005. But if he was paying attention, it was the Republicans who lied and smeared their way to the election victories in the last two Presidential elections.
The Democrats, Gore and Kerry, were moderate Democrats who ran to the center. They were nominated, in no small part, in order to appeal to that centrist voter that the DLC has been telling us would win us those elections. It didn't work.
They were not "divisive".
In fact, there was always a sense that they were a bit pompous and contrived. They, it is said, thought that they were smarter than us and that you wouldn't want to have a beer with them.
So when Obama claims that they were divisive, what the hell is he talking about?
On top of the eight years of Bush that we have been suffering through, we went through eight years of the Clinton administration, where we had the DLC choice as President. While better than the alternative Republicans, he was hardly the liberal beacon of the party.
So, now, many of the people (and bloggers) from the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" want to try it another way. The genteel center-right way of the past sixteen years feels like an abject lesson to me that you have to be who you are and fight the fight from the heart.
I could have gone with either Obama or Edwards, until Obama decided to move to the "Lieberman Wing of the Democratic Party" and start blathering right-wing talking points like this.
Bush has shown us the way. Is there anyone out there who can honestly say that they think that Bush has done what he has done because he was conciliatory? He did what he wanted to without concern about kissing up to his opponents. A Senator has to be able to compromise in order to get things done. Obama isn't running for Senator.
You don't win the Presidency by playing nice with the opposing party. You win because you are smarter and tougher. You win because you can convince people that you have the answers, not that you are willing to find middle ground answers with your opponents. I want the next President to piss off Wall Street, not go to them for donations. I want him to not only "feel my pain", I want him to do something about it. I want him to get the troops out of Iraq, not linger with tens of thousands of soldiers in harms way. I want him to protect the Constitution, not subvert it. And I want him to prosecute those who have.
I'm not sure if Edwards will carry out the promises he is making, but since he is the only one making them, he will have my vote.

Posted by: capemh | January 2, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Great insights into the lemming nature of the blogs sited in these posts. Since his bleating rhapsody over the empty suit, Edwards, Kos has lost all remnants of any authority with which he discussed politics in the past; I never trusted his so-called progressive politics anyway, since his predominantly white and male fawning fans became cheerleaders instead of critical thinkers. Like Americablog's whiny, knee-jerk reaction to Obama, these blogging purists diminish the complexity of true progressive politics which are, in the end, the politics of inclusion.

Posted by: pvbeck | January 2, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a egomaniac and he will run as a independent if he does not get his way. It has always been about himself and those hyper idiots following him are going to regret it. damn shame.

Posted by: tootsieroller | January 2, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

zukermand, yes, in a kind of poetic way you capture one of the major problems with Hilary Clinton's candidacy. She is an immitator, not an innovator.

All of a sudden "change" polls well and guess who miraculously starts positioning herself as an agent of "change". Her rhetoric today is a compendium of Obama and Edwards's greatest hits from 8 months ago.

The lack of originality is part of her problem -- the inside the box, inside Washington thinking is part of the problem -- so we get her recommending "Colin Powell" as a one of her global ambassadors. Absolutely appropriate for 2002. Not so much now.

I'll dig you some information up on Clinton vis a vis Obama and bloggers. We could even look at site metrics at DKos in terms of recommends (Clinton owns Friday nights -- but that's about it). Although I suspect you probably have very little interest in metrics.

Posted by: JPRS | January 2, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

dafergu3, insights like yours, at once profound and original, are too rare. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 2, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Look its mostly true that there aren't significant policy distinctions between Obama Hillary and Edwards. However here is the major difference between Hillary and Obama:

When Hillary says anything, without even pausing a moment to consider the merits of what shes saying, a large fraction of Americans will reject it. However, simply because of his back-story (and rhetorical choices), Obama has more of a capacity to get Americans to give a fair hearing to what he proposes.

For instance think of how the immigration issue will play out with these two candidates. Immigration is such a conflicted issue because Americans are of two minds on the issue. On one hand in an era of heightened insecurity (economic and otherwise) white and black America is not sure 'brown' is really American -- especially when brown speaks Spanish.

On the other hand Americans are also proud of our history as a nation of immigrants and want to welcome newcomers whose presence validates many of the positive things that we believe about our country. Both Obama's and Hillary's policy prescriptions on immigration reform won't be that different, but Obama's capacity to get America to listen will strengthen in Americans our inclination to view immigration not as a threat but something that makes our country great. I mean passing a immigration reform law will only solve one aspect of our "immigration problem."

You can make a similar case on health care, et cetera.

Of course if you think that its unrealistic to think that Obama can move the center of the American debate and what we really need is an effective fighter that knows how to take a punch and then punch back, Hillary is probably a better option.

PS Washington Post. You should probably add Obama and Barack to the spell checker.

Posted by: dafergu3 | January 2, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

nonagon:"Obama did not say anything negative about Kerry or Gore in that quote. He's essentially saying, "being divisive and polarizing didn't work in '00 and '04; we Democrats need to be more positive and inclusive this time around.""

That's very funny.

Posted by: zukermand | January 2, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Clinton does not pander and she has not made a serious play for netroots support this election cycle (either hiring bloggers, or aggressively courting them) so the end result is that there is some resentment towards her candidacy on the part of some bloggers.

On balance though Clinton seems to be doing pretty well in the lefty blogosphere. Even on sites like DailyKos she has a dedicated following -- especially from left-center and socially moderate commentators (they do exist even on sites like DKos). Her supporters are outnumbered by Edwards supporters, but her appeal outpaces someone like Obama, who seems to have mostly a handful of high profile hired guns (not sure where Markos falls, but I would be surprised if the Obama campaign hasn't courted him).

Posted by: zukermand | January 2, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

what a stupid article.

Posted by: alexandrais | January 2, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Koz's post intentionally misleads and is very irresponsible. Obama did not say anything negative about Kerry or Gore in that quote. Obama is campaigning using a more inclusive message than the platforms in the 2000 and 2004 elections, where--like it or not--we lost. He's essentially saying, "being divisive and polarizing didn't work in '00 and '04; we Democrats need to be more positive and inclusive this time around." There are no personal attacks in that quote. How slimy of Koz to spin it as such!

Posted by: nonagon | January 2, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama does not pander and he has not made a serious play for netroots support this election cycle (either hiring bloggers, or aggressively courting them) so the end result is that there is some resentment towards his candidacy on the part of some bloggers.

On balance though Obama seems to be doing pretty well in the lefty blogosphere. Even on sites like DailyKos he has a dedicated following -- especially from left-center and socially moderate commentators (they do exist even on sites like DKos). His supporters are outnumbered by Edwards supporters, but his appeal outpaces someone like Clinton, who seems to have mostly a handful of high profile hired guns (not sure where Markos falls, but I would be surprised if the Clinton campaign hasn't courted him).

Posted by: JPRS | January 2, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"This notion -- which Chris quickly admitted was a figment of his imagination, was immediately picked up by every Dem blogger on the net, including the ones you cite here and many more."

Whiskey Fire did NOT "run" with this. I know, because it's my blog.

Reagan's Rule was "never speak ill of a fellow Republican," so any Republican who finds the criticism of Obama here comical or childish needs (as usual) a hypocrisy check. It's just sensible politics: don't try to benefit yourself at the expense of your party. Doing so will always come back to bite you. This fundamental political mistake has been precisely the Democrats' problem since 2000 -- too much pandering to phony "centrism."

All the stuff about how you sound "immature" if you're an unapologetic partisan (and gasp! one with a blog!) is based upon the fear that such expression actually works. And it does. Nobody ever won an election *without* an energized base, you know.

Posted by: therswhiskey | January 2, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I am one of the people that frequent those blogs. I used to read Firedoglake(Jane Hamsher) every day back during Plamegate.
Daily Kos (Kos, Marcos) has been my home for nearly 5 years. Huffpo, TPM, Bradblog, etc were my daily reading.
This primary season has made something extremely apparent to me. They all are suffering the exact same syndrome that the MSM does. It has become worse than an echo chamber. The lead bloggers establish a narrative, then everything that they write about the candidates has to pass a smell test as to whether it can fit into that narrative.
Kos and Jerome Armstrongs book "Crashing the Gates" focused on growing the party. Kos in the past has endorsed Democrats in house races in previously conservative districts, and appologised for some of their social conservative votes when making into congress. At the same time, the John Edwards phenomenon on the Daily Kos is something I find utterly hypocritical. Here we have a one term Senator who voted for the war, for the patriot act, for no chiled left behind, for the continuance of NAFTA, and never introduced one single piece of progressive legislation. Yet now, he is a Hero on Daily Kos because of his ridiculous class warfare rhettoric. I used to be very impressed with the intellectual honesty I used to find on the Daily Kos, John Edwards should be an afterthought on Daily Kos. The fact that his senate record is 180 degrees in the opposite direction from his campaign rhettoric should have the effect of everyone on the Daily Kos of calling BS to his entire candidacy. Now with Edwards using 527 ads, and claiming that he can't control them, all the while his ex campaign manager is the one LEADING the 527 that is funded with a Mellon donation of $495,000.00. The central theme of Edwards Campaign is "Fighting against Corporations and Special Interests"...His mouthe just doesn't square with his actions. Yet there we have Kos and a whole lot of sycophants at the blog falling right in line. Makes no sense to me. Especially when you compare Edwards record side by side with Obama's.
I always new that the Daily Kos was slanted more to the left, and that is why I liked it these many years. The main thing though is that It was above everything else HONEST in the past. If someone posted something that couldn't be backed up with facts, they were quickly shot down. Now though, anyone that brings up Edwards dishonesty and his actual record they get destroyed with troll ratings and villafied as they continue to appologize for Edwards real record, and just swallow in whole his supposed "Evolution". If anyone brings up the honest fact that Edwards should be more compared to Romney than Truman they get killed.
It really is something to see. I will say this, The Daily Kos has lost all credibility with me. They are more interested in listening to each other and have turned into exactly what we used to rail against in the past.
I am more than certain that when the nomination process pairs down and is settled, they will rally round the nominee. The only thing is that without the credibility I used to find there, the depth of their support will only be apple skin thick, and the readership will continue to decline.
As a strong supporter of Barack Obama, I welcome the ridicule of the readers at the daily kos due to their failure to rally around the real progressive in the race.
I also know that they will be there when Obama wins. They rallyed around Kerry in '04, and he was the weakest Democratic candidate since Dukakis.

Posted by: smcguire27 | January 2, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, these bloggers like to roar and shout and that is why they like Edwards. But they haven't got a clue how to get anything really done in this country, so they jump Obama for pointing out the truth, that we need independent voters to win and to govern. I don't like Bush because he doesn't talk, he just fights... and he has made a mess of the world because of it. So John Edwards comes along and he jumps Obama for wanting to have dialogue. Edwards claims you can't talk about problems you have to have a fistfight. Well, that sounds just like Bush to me and why I have grown mighty tired of the left progressive bunch like Moveon and Kos. They just want to yell. But we need urgently to get things done and I think Obama's even keel is the way to do it. Bring the country together with the focus on solving problems. That is the only solution. Both Hillary and John are all about fighting the GOP, but that ain't gonna fly when trying to change things. Obama is the only one making any sense.

Posted by: goldie2 | January 2, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with the post? I know its down to the wire but really!! Must you expose your lack of sleep and caffeine induced delusions to the rest of us? First Cohen and now this! Very disappointing.

Posted by: vrinda_23 | January 2, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

So long as he remains true to the self he's revealed through his community works, books, votes, speeches, I have faith he'll survive even thrive the oversight of bloggers doing due diligence for us Dems.

Posted by: jhbyer | January 2, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Mike Rogers will be attacking next!

Barack Hussein, stay out of Public Bathrooms!, and don't wink at any Aides!

Posted by: rat-the | January 2, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I think it helps Obama if the nutroots leftwing fringe gets upset with Obama.

Obama doesn't put party over principle and that's what these leftwing rabble rousers are doing. KOS and others should keep up the complaints, it gives Obama more credibility as a leader.

Posted by: BadBilly | January 2, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it, the blogosphere -- especially on the left -- IS populated almost exclusively by whiny, two-year olds. The reason they nlog is so that someone...anyone...will listen to them and perhaps think they are the next James Carville.

As I like to say, blogs are not even worth the paper they are printed on. Pun intended.

Posted by: nick.jacobs | January 2, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

If Democrats are angry about 2000 and 2004, and Republicans are angry that Democrats are angry about 2000 and 2004, you've got a situation where -- on whichever side you land -- half the electorate is mad at you. How are you going to win?

Although John Kerry and Al Gore won on the Democratic side, neither, sadly, won enough crossover votes to turn the election solidly and incontrovertably in their favor.

Markos and the rest of the "Kos"-sacks should just chill.

And I agree that it is rather childish to extend and endorsement and then pull it for something as inconsequential as this.

If Markos is that fickle, perhaps we're better off without his endorsement.

OBAMA '08!!!

Posted by: jade_7243 | January 2, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

As a frequent visitor of Daily Kos, I must point out that the reaction to Kos's post was swift and firm. Within half an hour, several highly recommended Diaries from Obama supporters had effectively rebutted Kos's unfair smear on Obama.

It is not surprising that the majority of the influential bloggers in the progressive netroots have staked out an almost irrational anti-Obama, pro-Edwards position. The netroots is angry and wants the angry contentious progressivism that Edwards espouses, not the courteous but firm progressivism that Obama can deliver.

Once Obama rolls up Iowa and Edwards drops out, look for a seismic shift in Obama's favor as the netroots looks to him as the only viable Anybody-But-Hillary candidate.

Posted by: gmarkoff | January 2, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

From Daily Kos
The Mendacity of Richard Cohen
by BarbinMD
Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 03:38:34 PM PST
Call it mendacity, call it hypocrisy, or call it Richard Cohen, because after reading his column in today's Washington Post, it's clear that those words are all interchangable.

In a column about a lie that wasn't a lie, Cohen begins with a lie of his own:

John Edwards lied about the cost of his haircuts.

Apparently Mr. Cohen decided to ignore the fact that the cost of Edwards' haircut(s) was revealed through...wait for it...the Edwards' campaign's FEC filings.

And with that mendacious start, Cohen moves on to the real target of his ire: Barack Obama:

What concerns me is the lie or fib or misstatement -- call it what you want -- involved in Obama's assertion that more young black men are in prison than in college. It is a shocking statistic -- and it is wrong. But when The Post's lonesome but formidable truth squad, Michael Dobbs, brought this to the attention of the Obama campaign, he not only got the brushoff but the assertion was later repeated.

Well, if that formidable truth squad says it, it must be wrong, right? Wrong:

There are more black men in jail in the United States than there are in higher education, a new study has found. [...]

According to the study, there were 791,600 black men imprisoned in America in the year 2000, compared to 603,032 enrolled in college or university.

So, with the entire premise of Mr. Cohen's screed disproven, perhaps this is all that needs to be said about his latest load of codswollop. Nah.

After saying that he understood why Obama made the claim because, "it ought to be true," (huh?), he meanders into perhaps the oddest aside in pundicratic history:

After all, it ought to be true that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It ought to be true that he had ties with Osama bin Laden. It ought to be true that aluminum tubes were intended for a nuclear weapons program, and it ought to be true, really, that none of this mattered since what mattered most of all was a larger truth: Hussein had to go and the Middle East had to be urban-renewed for the sake of democracy.

Whether Cohen felt the need to once more reiterate his support for invading Iraq, or if he felt that a column about Obama wasn't complete without a reminder that his middle name is Hussein isn't clear. But it does provide a segue of unintended humor when he next cites the phrase, ""the delusional style in American punditry," as he agrees with someone who says Obama isn't, "a portrait of sterling honesty or authenticity." Pot, meet kettle. Which brings Cohen back to his original concern:

So the cavalier dismissal of Dobbs, The Post's truth-hunter, is troubling. Since he writes that the Obama campaign would not comment, it is reasonable to assume that it doesn't give a damn -- that this is a little matter and the candidate is engaged in something grand. The phony statistic is, in its way, like a composite. There's a larger truth here, get it?

Since Cohen isn't concerned about the actual truth, it's impossible to take him seriously when he wants to talk about larger truths, particularly when you read:

When John McCain sticks to his insistence that the Constitution established the United States as a "Christian nation," I don't like it, but I know McCain and I know his character.

John Edwards lied about his haircut, except he didn't, Obama lied about statistics, except he didn't. McCain did and does lie about the Constitution, but that's okay because Cohen knows his character?

That pretty much sums Mr. Cohen's character, doesn't it? And his mendacity

Posted by: tioluwanimi | January 2, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest some bloggers need hyper-partisanship to survive and Obama threatens that meal ticket.

Posted by: TennGurl | January 2, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

LOLer! The "DaiKy" Kos! I like it! I LIKE IT!!!

Posted by: rat-the | January 2, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Al Gore won! Where? I was not even aware he was political after his LOSS in 2000!

That Statement of FANTASY, is all I ever needed to hear to confirm my every suspected doubt, about the credibilty of the Daily Kos!

Posted by: rat-the | January 2, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"the netroots, as the liberal blogosphere likes to call itself, is none too pleased with Obama's strategy."

The excerpts you've chosen to quote make them sound like a bunch of spoiled two year olds. How childish do you have to be to retract an endorsement because a candidate uses an inclusive message, rather than demonizing the opposition?

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Stop calling Kos influential, as least as far as this election goes. He's not. And in case you hadn't noticed, Dem bloggers are very similar to the traditional media in that they are very, very good at circling the wagons. If one blogger says it, they all jump in together. Excellent case in point: Chris Bowers at one point, pulling the information directly out of his ass, said that Obama folks were putting together "oppo" on Dem bloggers. This notion -- which Chris quickly admitted was a figment of his imagination, was immediately picked up by every Dem blogger on the net, including the ones you cite here and many more. They hammered Obama for completely false information. It's what they do. I regularly read blogs and I can assure you that I couldn't care less what kos thinks. Most of the others who frequent his site feel the same way.

Posted by: cmss1 | January 2, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It's getting very interesting, to say the least.

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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