ANOTHER BLOGGER ETHICS PANEL. Amity Shlaes, author of a book about the wretched failure of the New Deal, starts her new Bloomberg column by complaining of leftblogger incivility aimed at such blameless targets as Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor. I have to admit, I was excited to see this. I have toiled lo these many years documenting the abuses of the rightwing blogosphere, and would have liked to compare notes with someone from the other side.
Alas, Shlaes only leads with three examples, and then moves on to her real theme, which is how bad the Obama is and FDR was. But she drags the bad-blogger schtick through the whole thing ("So here’s a new motto: more leadership, less bloggership"), to suggest it is evidence that the present Administration "isn’t comfortable yet at the summit of political power," and hence must order Josh Marshall, Matthew Yglesias, and Allison Kilkenny "out on a mission of distraction, trying to prove that everyone else is too far to the right."
It's noteworthy that, at this late date, people like Shlaes think bloggers are only making fun of them because the Obama Administration directed them to do so. We've been razzing them since before there was an Obama Administration. But Shlaes has made a good living for years as a conservative operative, and has only rarely acknowledged the less-credentialed voices out there -- as in this 2005 column of hers, in which she discourses on DNC Chairman Howard Dean: "Howard the Hound goes for blood, and his party values him for his following among bloggers." That's not very civil, but then she didn't feel she needed to be: her column goes on to explain how Blue Dog Democrats are going to destroy Howard the Hound's liberal dreams -- "rescue the party," in her terms -- and send him and his wretched bloggers into deserved obscurity.
Clearly things haven't worked out for Shlaes, and now in the ruins she senses that Howard the Hound and his bloggers have pulled a fast one on her. So she rails against the coalition that, she imagines, hectors her and her buddies to this day. Though she has disappointed me, I'd be a churl not to thank her for placing my kind near the center of the groovy socialist revolution. It's as close to power as we are likely to get.