Monday, June 26, 2006

The issues of the day

Lots of folks are pointing out that the rumored troop withdrawals now being discussed are a lot like what the "cut and run" Democrats proposed only a week ago. They are predicatbly howling about the hypocrisy of the Administration for embracing today the very policy they savaged yesterday.

Well of course it looks like Orwellian hypocrisy from a policy standpoint. But none of this has ever really been about policy, people. Congressional Democrats won't get credit for the apparent turnabout. Congressional Republicans couldn't have gotten credit if they had chimed in, either. I think the appropriate lens through which to view this is Glen Greenwald's: the White House is only concerned with defeating challenges to its absolute, unilateral power. The Bush/Cheney team will utterly reject any and all attempts by Congress to assert any role whatsoever in the GWOT. That is the dominant dynamic at work here.

And then there is the swiftboating of Kos. We shouldn't really be surprised at the attacks or their maliciousness. Kos calls what blogs are doing "Crashing the Gates;" we should expect that the gatekeepers will fight back, and that they will slime the figureheads of the movement that threatens their primacy.

There are a couple of things going on here. First, I think it is growing acknowledgement that we are fast becoming a serious thorn in the sides of those gatekeepers. The New Republic screws up; blogs rub their noses in it. Judy Miller leads the Times into disgrace; blogs makes sure Bill Keller and Pinch Sulzberger pay a price. If anything I am surprised it has taken this long for the Swiftboating to begin.

As per Ghandi's observation, we are now officially well past the "first they ignore you" stage. I think this pretty solid evidence that, as I said a few weeks ago, we are moving past the "then they ridicule you" stage. The fighting stage is going to be ugly.

But the outlandish claims from the likes of David Brooks are simply laughable. The idea that the left can function as a cohesive force under a centralized authority is absurd to those of us who actually make up this herd of cats. There are times many of us wish Bobo's fantasy had a grain of truth to it, but it seems to be an ironclad rule that a group of n lefties will have n+1 leaders. Kos may be the closest thing to a leader that the left blogosphere has, but by the standards of a far more disciplined and hierarchical right, Kos has less command-and-control power than your average Republican precinct captain.

What we have here is a textbook case of projection. The right is disciplined and top-down; Kos's attackers are of the right, or at least familiar and comfortable with it; they assume that the left, which is largely a black blox to them, is similar. It is a stupid, obvious mistake, but they seem to be making a lot of those.

Oh, and what Homme d'Poor says.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to read the New Republic, and I don't have time to keep up with all that goes on at Daily Kos. That's why I follow blue meme. So I don't understand the virulence or its instant spread among people who supposedly take pride in being respectable.

So can you do some more work for me? What the hell happened here? What sequence of events brought Kos from a scrappy leader of the fringe to public enemy number one? Whom did he offend, when? What did he do to deserve this?

If you can't make those logical connections, then what's missing from the story? Who is injecting the talking points and venom into the process?

I'm ashamed to be ignorant, but I'm not shy. I'll say it right here: I don't get it.

9:01 AM  
Blogger bluememe said...

Pretty simple, actually.

When blogs looked like an amusing diversion to keep the kids occupied while the grownups talked about Weighty Matters, said adults tolerated Kos and the rest of us. Now that he and we are daring to challenge them mano a mano, they feel threatened, and are lashing out with all the nastiness at their disposal. They don't want us upsetting their apple cart. They don't much like being embarassed when we throw their failings back in their faces, either. And they think they can destroy us in the same way they destroy others: pick off the "leaders" and cow the rest of us into silent obedience.

And who is doing this? Who have we been attacking? They're all tired of it, and all want us muzzled.


9:58 AM  

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