The Blogometer: 6/7/2005


June 07, 2005

6/7: Debacle, Interrupted

The Hotline‘s Blogometer takes the daily temperature of the blogosphere. For more information on the thinking behind this feature, go to the end of the story.

Much talk was given over to the SCOTUS’s ruling on federal and state laws respecting marijuana, which the Blogometer will mostly not cover. For a sample, law prof Lawrence Solum provides a summary of the Ashcroft/Gonzales v. Raich(PDF) decision. For his federalism-minded dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas gets good marks from conservatives; libertarians agitate for legis. to change the situation. For more, click here.

For the rest of the day’s big news, keep reading:

TRACKBACKS: Bloggers Offer To Kerry John’s Books Home For Him

Where the blog swarm is headed, who’s taking part, and what they’re saying:

    • In 2 articles by the Boston Globe‘s Michael Kranish today, it is revealed that Kerry earned a C-average at Yale, including a few D’s, and hasreleased his military records to the Globe. Conservative bloggers crow at first, but many still find questions unresolved.

      >>At PoliPundit, the SF-180 clock finally comes down after 128 days, as the Boston Globe reports that Kerry has signed the form and released his military records. “PoliPundit“: “About 145,678,984 of you have e-mailed me to note that John Kerry claims to have released his military records. PoliPundit.com has been a driving force in the never-ending quest to get Kerry to come clean, and I don’t believe Kerry has yet complied. … I’m taking the Kerry SF-180 clock off the top of this page, since Kerry has finally given in. But ask yourself this: Why has it taken Kerry more than a year to take this step? Where are those missing hundred pages?”

      >>A header at Decision ’08 refers to the wisdom of signing Form 180 during the WH race: “Is John Kerry the Stupidest Politician Alive?” First sentence of the post: “All signs point to yes.” USS Neverdock: “The biggest question of all remains unanswered. What type of discharge did Kerry originally receive?” Wizbang has more questions including about Kerry’s grades. Ankle Biting Pundits compares Kerry to “Pinto” from “Animal House.”

      >> Liberal Eschaton links to the story, but writes about the SBVT instead: “Still liars. Someone should count up the number of hours on cable news these people were given, and then we could talk about it at a conference on blogger ethics.”

      >>More: Vodkapundit; Brothers Judd; Power Line; Michelle Malkin;Pejmanesque.

  • A New York Times report on Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s (D-NY) big NYC fundraiser draws a modest amount of attention, nearly all from the left.
    >> Liberal Ezra Klein dubs the speech “Hillary Gone Wild.” Arianna Huffington: “The trouble with Hillary’s speech was that for all the partisan speechifying, it was almost exclusively empty rhetoric that she was dishing out. … Indeed, throughout the speech, Hillary adopted the tone of a powerless activist whining about those in power rather than a high-profile member of the World’s Most Exclusive club. The low point came when she blamed much of the Republicans’ success on a too timid press corps.” At CAF’s ThinkProgress, David Sirota praises those same comments about the press: “The reason I said those comments are courageous is because there are very few politicians in Washington willing to give voice to the public’s frustration with the media. Conservatives have made an art form out of intimidating the media — and its time for progressives to fight back by demanding the press do its job, instead of serving as a propaganda machine.”

    >>Plus: People’s Republic of Seabrook; Slant Point; Corrente; The Corner; Political Wire.

BUSH: The White House’ll Git You Ef You Don’t Watch Out!

Moderate liberal Bull Moose: “The Moose urges Mooseketeers to prepare themselves for the Bush summer offensive. The next two months could be critical to the future of the Bush Presidency and the Republican hold on power. Since the inauguration, Bush has been falling in popularity and his agenda has stalled. … Beginning this week expect the Bushies to launch a fierce counter-offensive against the Democratic insurgents to regain control over the capital. They will move a form of social security privatization through the Senate and House. More right wing judicial nominations will be offered. A showdown is imminent over one or more Supreme Court vacancies. And Dr. Frist has much to make up for in his failing panderfest to the right.”

At TPMCafe, Josh Marshall mostly agrees: “A few years back I wrote that the Bush presidency resembled a confidence game — and the one thing I a con artist can never allow is their appearance of mastery and control to be broken.”

Liberal New Donkey: “When it first became apparent that the Texas scam of Reed taking Abramoff-generated Indian Casino money to run anti-gambling initiatives had been replicated in Alabama, I thought: Hmmmm. Texas and Alabama. Alabama and Texas. Don’t we know somebody famous who made these two states his personal political stomping grounds in the 1990s? Some guy named [Karl] Rove? … Somewhere, the bloodhounds are gathering and getting the scent of dirty dollars. It will be interesting to follow their trail.”

WHITE HOUSE ’08: Brownback … He’s A Lego Maniac

With Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) putting a hold on a Bush jud. nominee, a diarist at RedState calls “incomprehensible, no matter how pro-life he is.”

  • MyDD‘s Chris Bowers disagrees: “It is not incomprehensible, it merely shows that the nuclear option was a right-wing power grab, pure and simple. Further, with Frist’s Presidential chances dead in the water after his failure to nuke the Senate, it great to see the theocon heir apparent engage in a little self-immolation.”
  • Liberal The Anti-Sam: “Opposition is fine. If he wants to vote against her in the full Senate, that is certainly his right. However, bottling her up in committee so that she never gets a vote is extremely hypocritical. Doesn’t Brownback believe all such positions receive an up or down vote from the senate?”

In a post to his One America Committee blog, ’04 Dem VP nominee John Edwards tries to downplay his differences with DNC chair Howard Dean. At the site, the post has attracted about 150 comments since its posting last p.m. But only a few blogs have picked up on the Edwards post, including left-leaningPolitology, which writes: “For those that are all in a tizzy about Edwards supposedly “rebuking” Dean’s statement about many Republican (lawmakers) not working an honest day in their lives, it would be instructive to read this blog entry by John Edwards.”

DailyKos, on “hateful anti-immigrant crusader” Rep. Tom Tancredo‘s (R-CO) interest in a WH bid: “Immigration WILL be a big issue in the coming years. And there’s a way to approach the issue that doesn’t include frothing at the mouth. … Illegal immigration isn’t something to cheer. But we can’t ignore it, and we can’t cede the issue to hate-mongers like Tancredo.”

BLOGS VS. THE MSM: All Too Throaty

Libertarian Megan McArdle at Assymetrical Information: “To journalists ten or twenty years older than me, this is the long-awaited end to a grand mystery. To people my age or younger, it just doesn’t matter that much. Baby boomers, many of whom seem to have trouble accepting the fact that time has passed, often seem incredulous that the major formulating events of their lives simply aren’t that interesting to everyone else. Vietnam and Watergate have become the language of public debate, even though both ended over thirty years ago.”

  • On his MSNBC blog, lefty Eric Alterman continues to go after Ben Stein.
  • PressThink‘s Jay Rosen compares post-Watergate journalism to a church, and some top j-schools’ new investments: “Maybe what we need is not funding for a new church, but a breakaway church, or two, or three of them. (And what is Fox News Channel, but that?)” Jeff Jarvis adds: “And what are bloggers but 10 million Luthers pounding on the door?”

Conservative Wizbang, moderate Mickey Kaus, and liberal Kevin Drum all go to work on a David Cay JohnstonNew York Times piece, “Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind.”

Liberal journalist Anne Lamott: “You will never believe in a million years what I just saw on the CNN morning news: NEWS! You could have blown me over with a feather. … The first three stories were about Darfur, the Baath party congress in Syria, and Rumsfeld on North Korea. I am not making this up; I swear to God.”CJR Daily has a similar report, titled: “CNN Stuns U.S. With Actual News.”

BLOGGERS VS. BLOGGERS: Men Cannot Live On Progressive Causes Alone

A group of female participants at DailyKos have started a separate blog,Women Kossacks. Its creation may be due in part to a controversial post byMarkos Moulitsas (cut from the Blogometer at the last minute) wherein he criticizes the “women’s studies set” and then backtracks.

At Pandagon, Amanda Marcotte opines: “I’m not gonna dodge it like a coward, which was my first inclination. And I’m not gonna mince words, either — as someone who gets called a man-hater and a sexist on average once a day, if not more, I can safely say that Kos was being a big weenie about being called out for honest-to-god sexism in touting out the tedious stereotype that feminists are humorless wretches.”

BLOGS VS. THE WORLD: Geldof Taps Blogs (And Joe Trippi) To Help Save The World

Conservative John Hinderaker at Power Line: “Joe Trippi called me last week and asked whether I would cooperate with him in setting up a conference call in which bloggers could talk to Sir Bob Geldof about his Live8 campaign to persuade the industrialized countries to help Africa. … I agreed mostly because I think highly of Joe, and thought it would be nice to participate in a bipartisan activity. On the merits of Geldof’s campaign, I had reservations … To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Geldof is an extraordinarily knowledgeable guy. Equally important, he is not soft-headed about Africa’s problems. He emphasizes free markets and the need for political reform, which should be, and according to Geldof will be, a condition of the assistance that he advocates.”

Jeralyn Merritt from TalkLeft writes while still on the phone: “We’re asking Sir Geldof questions now. He’s so passionate on the subject. This is not a campaign to raise money, it’s one to influence policy. They want bloggers to spread the word. If you’re a blogger, lend your voice.”

IN THE STATES: And The Winner Isn’t …

Stephan Sharkansky, one of ’04 GOP GOV nominee Dino Rossi‘s most tireless supporters, writes at Sound Politics: “Congratulations to Mr. Rossi for a fight well fought. Among the two gubernatorial candidates between whom the margin of separation was 1/13 the number of illegal votes, he would have been the better governor. May he stand to fight another day.” 240+ comments follow.

  • Washington State Political Report: “The Democrats should seek court sanctions against the Rossi gang for filing the suit and also for signing motions that were not supported by the evidence. In opening AND closing argument, Rossi’s mouthpieces repeatedly referred to evidence that they did not submit, and this is sanctionable behavior.” More from the WA Dem perspective at Horses Ass.
  • RedState: “Rossi has just announced he will not appeal today’s ruling to the state Supreme Court. Smart. That court is wired to WA Ds, and Dino finally needs to rise above the fray. … The contest suit was more than worth the gamble. Yawning gaps in the credibility of the state and King County election systems have been widely exposed. Rossi’s future political fortunes get a boost; as do chances for a well-crafted election reform initiative in WA.”
  • Liberal Whiskey Bar: “I can hear the sound of conservative heads exploding from 3,000 miles away. I’ve got a feeling Judge [John] Bridgeshas just been added to the right wing’s list of ‘out of control’ liberal judges — notwithstanding the fact that local Republicans were praising his fairness just a few days ago. … On the other hand, it’s at least mildy encouraging to see the Democratic Party in Washington State give as good as it gets, and fight for power just as ferociously and effectively as the GOP did in Florida.”
  • From DC, Michelle Malkin live-blogged the proceedings.

A few bloggers at The Left Coaster take on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA). One regular notes that he “refuses to return the money that he received” for his campaigns from scandal-beset GOP fundraiser/coin dealer Tom Noe.Another writer, citing a report that Schwarzenegger donors get “special access,” writes: “Can a case not be made that those who so participate in the governor’s ‘reform’ of California are “motivated by economic self-interest” instead of “doing the best job for the state”?”

MISCELLANY: Newt’s Heir?

A few liberal bloggers have been linking to a post at Washington Monthly‘sPolitical Animal, featuring an exercpt from “The Stock Ticker and the Superjumbo” by liberal journalist Rick Perlstein. In the pamphlet, Perlstein “argues that Democrats need to stop their relentless effort to fine tune every campaign in an effort to attract swing voters (a stock ticker approach), and instead pick some big ideas and stick with them (a superjumbo approach).” One oft-quoted passage: “Here’s a riddle: what is a swing voter? More and more, it is an American who thinks like a Democrat but refuses to identify as one. … If it is true that party identification … is the best predictor of voter behavior, isn’t getting this selfsame public to identify with the Democratic Party much, much more than half the solution?”

Liberal Tapped, on freshman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who has been “on the leading edge of Republican pushback efforts on ethics issues,” asking whether House Min. Leader Nancy Pelosi‘s aides “violated House rules by discussing” a MS House race in Pelosi’s office. Tapped‘s Sam Rosenfeld: “It’s likely McHenry has been puffed up a bit by papers like Roll Call and is enjoying the attention, but that’s part of the reason he’s worth keeping an eye on. The goofy ethics micro-issue he’s latching onto, the outsized rhetoric, the angry letters — this is classic Newt Gingrich-style bomb-throwing, and the fact that it’s a deep backbencher lobbing the bombs only enhances the comparison.”

Liberal TX blog Burnt Orange Report solicits new bloggers: “Writing for BOR is a great opportunity to become more involved in politics and activism. BOR is read by about 60,000 visitors a month, and blogging for us is certainly one way to get yourself read and known by leaders and activists in the Texas Democratic Party.”

INTRODUCING…: More Blogs

SCOTUS Blog, by the “botique” SCOTUS-focused firm Goldstein & Howe was a major focal point of discussion of Aschroft v. Raich yesterday. Concurrently, they also launched a new blog, the Supreme Court Nomination Blog.

BLOGGER SPOTLIGHT: One, Two, Three, Can You Digby It, Sucka?

Today the blogometer talks to lefty “digby,” who writes Hullabaloo.

What is your full name?

Wouldn’t you like to know? Just call me digby.

What is your age?

48

Where did you grow up?

All over the world. My father was in the military and then the military industrial complex.

Where do you live now?

Santa Monica, Califronia

What is your occupation? Have you ever worked on a political campaign or for the mainstream media?

I work in a very unglamorous part of a very glamorous industry doing what most white collar workers do. Shuffling papers and sitting in meetings. It’s as dull as dishwater; trust me. I have never worked on anything more than a local political campaign and walking precincts for the Democrats every four years. I have experience in the entertainment media, but not the press. From what I can see, there is little difference.

When did you start blogging and why?

I started writing on usenet and political boards back in the 90’s during the Great Republican Panty Raid. At the time I considered it a healthy new alternative to drunkenly sitting at the end of the bar pontificating to the ashtray, and certainly an improvement over banging my head repeatedly against a wall.

Seriously, it was a beautiful little example of that vaunted dot-com synergy. The internet became available just as American politics turned batshit crazy. When blogs emerged as the next big thing it seemed a natural fit for me — my own little soap box where nobody could tell me to shut up. It quickly evolved into an obsession. I’ve barely left the house in three years.

What has been your favorite post, or favorite story to write about, in that time?

I can’t say that I have a favorite post. I’ve been at this a long time now, by blogging standards. I wrote a series of posts on Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech in which I compared the current state of politics to the period just before the civil war that people seemed to find intriguing. And of course, readers can’t get enough of my post excerpting passages from James Dobson’s childrearing tract “The Strong Willed Child” in which he brags of beating his little daschund (named Sigmund, of course) with a belt.

Describe your typical blogging schedule. And what is your average output?

Let’s just say it’s an up-at-dawn, soul destroying seige that I can never fully tell you about.

OK. I admit that it’s hard to pry me away from the computer. But sadly, sometimes I have to actually do things that make a small amount of money. No matter what, I’m always online first thing with my morning cup of caffeine. I check in all day and often throughout the evening. During the election I was posting constantly. Otherwise it depends on my work schedule or my level of inspiration. I try to write several posts a day but often fall short.

Who is your favorite political blogger? Favorite non-political blogger?

That’s very tough. There are a huge number of great bloggers out there and I read most of them at one time or another. I’m dependent upon Atrios to tell me which way the wind is blowing in the blogosphere every day. He’s got a real nose for the zeitgeist. Avedon Carol reads more blogs and posts interesting links to them than any human should be allowed to do. For sharpness and clarity of thinking, nobody is as good as Matthew Yglesias. I don’t know how anyone can read and write so much, so constantly, so well. The Daou Report reads all the right wing blogs so I know what’s cooking with them. And for the sheer joy of reading wonderful prose, both humorous and moving, I always read James Wolcott, Roy Edroso, Jeanne D’Arc and Arthur Silber.

I’m afraid I don’t have time to read any non-political bloggers. If I’m not reading political blogs, newspapers, magazines or books, I’m working, sleeping or interacting with fellow humans. Sometimes even with my spouse.

Who is your favorite mainstream media columnist?

Paul Krugman is probably most liberal bloggers’ favorite columnist because he is the only one who writes the way we write. In our view he tells it like it is — smart, uncowed straight talk, filled with righteous indignation. I have also long loved Gene Lyons and for political analysis, Ron Brownstein is always interesting.

Frankly, I think the liberal punditocrisy is a big part of liberals’ problems and is what perpetuates the milquetoast image that’s killing us. I have a much bigger beef with them, as a group, than I do with the MSM as a whole. I understand why Democratic politicans sometimes have to be cautious and overly prudent: they have to face voters and Republicans. I have no idea why liberal pundits are so timid.

What is your favorite television news program, either network or cable?

Any show that features young reporters looking at computer screens and reading from blogs. That’s what I call exciting television news.

Actually, there is virtually no news program worth watching on television. I often have it on in the backround while I write, but it’s mostly to document the outrages. The shout fests are so predictable by now that I can keep the sound off and mouth the talking points before they even regurgitate them. I get my news from a large variety of print and online sources.

What MSM-produced websites (i.e. newspapers, magazines) do you visit on a daily basis?

NY Times, Washington Post, BBC, MSNBC, The Guardian, Weekly Standard, The New Republic, National Review and a few others. I visit other newspapers also, but irregularly, and often through a link on a topic I’m researching.

What non-MSM websites (i.e. blogs) do you visit on a daily basis?

I visit all the top liberal blogs and many others as well. I also regularly read Slate, Salon and Democratic Underground, Smirking Chimp and the like. I don’t really have a ritual, however. I tend to write longer pieces, and I don’t write all that fast by blogging standards, so some days I never get past the NY Times orDaily Kos.

How often, or do you ever, read a newspaper in its dead-tree (i.e. print) form?

I read the L.A. Times every day in its dead tree version.

How do you see the new media and old media affecting and influencing each other in the next five years?

If I knew that I’d be making some stock buys right now. I really have no idea.

Blogs and other online media will eventually be seen, I suspect, as helpful to the dailies and newsmagazines in that they are for the first time in many years beginning to make the printed word the default method to get real news again. It’s just more fragmented and less local than it used to be — like everything else in the world. And yes, they have to put up with criticism, but they also have many more eyes that are reading them. It seems like a fair trade-off.

Blogs will be their friends once they find a modern financial model to make a decent profit from the internet. (Subscriptions aren’t going to do it. It has to be advertising.)

As for content, as I said, the internet serendipitously came along at the same time that American politics fell off a cliff. The mainstream media continues in its failure to either see or admit that. Blogs are simply filling a void. When the world goes nuts you can either ignore it and hope it goes away or start screaming. We’re screaming. If the mainstream media finally hears us and takes stock of itself many of us will probably go back to shopping or watching “Law and Order” or whatever it is we did before impeachments, supreme court decided elections, inscrutable wars, torture and nuclear options began happening and the media blithely carried on as if everything were normal. I earnestly look forward to that day.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Another Installment Of “The Way Blogs Work”

Today we’re going to learn about “memes,” also known as “tags,” also known as whatever happened to e-mail forwards. Functionally, little separates the contemporary “meme” from the once-ubiquitous e-mail forwards of yesteryear, both of which ask the recipient to answer some diverting, thoughtful questions about one’s own preferences or experiences, and then forward them along to friends. A key difference is that memes and tags are played out on blogs, and so are written with the possibility of public consumption in mind. And unlike the personal nature of many old e-mail forwards (i.e. “what one quality do you look for in the opposite sex?”), today’s memes tend to be more substantial. Some are about politics, but more are about ideas than power, and many are about books.

One meme that’s going ’round the blogosphere at this moment are 4 simple (but diverting) questions about books. We start with lefty Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Making Light, a regular stop for the Blogometer. One person who cited him was libertarian James Landrith. All bloggers mention where their links came from — i.e. who tagged them. Let’s go backward from Landrith: fromKnappster to Being Thomas Luongo to a few economists, starting with The Eclectic Econoclast and Economics With A Face to Freespace toTexasBestGrok to Llama Butchers to Irish Elk to an actual member of the clergy, Diary of a Suburban Priest, and another, Zadok the Roman, to Cnytrto Deo Gratias to parent bloggers such as Minivan Mom to Philothea Rose at Home to Illuminated Obscurity to Working Mommy and Sarcastic Kitty on 5/13. We can’t go back any further, unfortunately, because Sarcastic Kitty didn’t include the URL of her tagger. Anyway, we think you get the idea.

LEST WE FORGET: Protester Protesters Protested

Protest Warrior is a GOP-leaning satirical activist group that enjoyed some attention during WH ’04, but lately has been less active. Jesus’ General is a Dem-leaning satirical blog along the same lines as the pro-Bush BlameBush!.

The Jesus’ General blog is run by “Gen. J.C. Christian,” who until recently subscribed to the Protest Warrior mailing list. Recently J.J. Honeycutt from the Spokane Protest Warrior chapter sent out an e-mail soliciting ideas for a new meeting, and “Gen. J.C. Christian” wrote in:: “We’re facing a manpower crisis. When I look at our membership, I see a lot of able-bodied men and women of military age. I say we hold a rally at the recruiting station. Then, after a few speeches, we all go in and sign up. Heck, we can always fight the liberals later. It’s time to take the Protest Warrior flag to Iraq.”

After trading a few e-mails, in which “Gen. J.C. Christian” declares himself to be “above all else, one hundred and ten percent heterosexual,” a final reply comes from Honeycutt: “Hey, I found your website… neat stuff. I subsequently deleted you from the our PW chapter. Thanks for the memories.” Jesus’ General sums it up: “I’ve been dishonorably discharged.” There is a brief, polite comment on Honeycutt’s blog, Rock For Life.

Posted by at June 7, 2005 12:00 PM

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