Wednesday, May 09, 2007

LOSERS. Jonah Goldberg hears from Jon Chait that Markos of Daily Kos is using the tools of the Right to win results for the Left, and disputes:
For the better part of a decade now, liberals have been trying to recreate the media of the American Right — talk radio, think tanks, etc. — without spending much effort trying to replicate the message.
One might argue that the DLC and the neo-liberals did a pretty good job of replicating the conservative message, but never mind.
The conservative infrastructure that arouses so much envy among liberals today was an afterthought. It was created because the far more valuable real estate — universities, foundations, newspapers, and TV networks — were held by liberals. Conservatives used their institutions to have serious arguments about what conservatives should believe.

The netroots crowd seems determined to skip the serious argument part and settle on the idea that liberals should simply all believe the same thing, first and foremost on the Iraq war.
This is Goldberg's traditional rhetorical gambit -- make outrageous negative claims about the opposition ("determined to skip the serious argument part") and declare his side superior, then momentarily float above his seat on a cushion of methane gas.

But this argument isn't even worth having. Goldberg only engages it because, one, he has to produce something every so often to justify his Cheetos allotment, and two, he obviously expects the Democratic resurgence to continue through 2008, and is reduced to arguing that winning doesn't mean the Democrats are better -- much as I have argued, when drunk, for the moral superiority of the New York Mets over teams that were beating the crap out of them.

Goldberg wouldn't admit that, of course, but why else be so defensive about the glory that was Grover Norquist? It's a loser's gambit. And small wonder -- because the fact is, the best arguments for defenestrating Republicans are not coming from Daily Kos, nor from the DLC, nor from any such like. They're coming from the Republicans themselves -- not in their words but in their deeds: feats of astonishing and self-evident incompetence, greed, and corruption.

It is amazing to contemplate that, after years of successfully bashing anti-war Democrats as traitors, the Republicans find themselves outpolled by Nancy Pelosi on the prosecution of the war. Nancy Pelosi! A San Francisco Democrat! Despite all the lies about her that have been dutifully parroted in the press, despite all the bullshit about her scarf, Joe and Jane Sixpack still prefer the approach of Nancy Pelosi to that of this Administration.

That's how badly they've fucked up. You can feel the unease throughout rightwing media outlets. Operatives such as David Frum are busily lining up excuses for what he surely sees as a coming Republican debacle. As for the intellectual types, they are either rocking in place, repeating comforting banalties to banish their fear, or wrapped up in self-isolation fantasies, or planting a Jesus flag on the hill in their backyard and declaring war on the Enlightenment -- none of which approaches, however entertaining to the gimlet-eyed, offer much promise of renewing the Party's electoral hopes.

This is not to say that I share their expectations. Fate is cruel, people are stupid, and Fred Thompson may yet lay out a sufficiently engaging line of horseshit to flummox the electorate into four more years of this stuff (assuming the Republic lasts that long). But increasingly it appears that they think so. As I have learned from working in corporations, that's the kind of thinking that is usually behind any epidemic of ass-covering.

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