Firebagger/Obot ethnic tension was threatening to escalate into a regional conflict in the last thread so I thought it might be time for a new one.
A few topics….
First off, James Joyner kindly responded to John’s fine post. He poses the question
Has the noise machine gotten so prolific that it drowns out any good legislation?
I hate to do the SATSQ routine, but the answer is obviously “yes”.
Secondly, I highly recommend Mark Schmitt’s piece on Harold Ford:
The independence movement melds populism of both the left and right varieties (see Lou Dobbs, author of the 2007 book Independents Day), centrism, and technocratic anti-politics into one messy soup. Concern about long-term budget deficits and slipping U.S. economic superiority, plus tax cuts, are usually mainstays of the movement’s vague platforms. The mere idea of being somehow different from whatever is on offer in current politics seems to be “unity” enough. Independents share not a vision of where to take the country but an analysis of its politics.
Second, most of the people involved in these efforts aren’t independent at all but deeply embedded in the political system as candidates or consultants. (McCain and Lieberman are lifelong politicians; among Ford’s several titles is chair of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.) They never suffer for lack of funds. And the most gullible audience for their efforts consists of the most practiced purveyors of conventional wisdom, like Washington Post columnist David Broder, who swooned over Unity08. Often it seems like the independents’ primary complaint about the state of American politics is simply that they’re not the ones running it.
But the independents never have to face up to these contradictions because of the third fact about these efforts — they almost never amount to anything. Bloomberg, who’s spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars of his fortune on his three campaigns, is the exception, but even after almost a decade, he hasn’t been able to extend his technocratic project beyond the city or into the future. Because the independence projects fade so fast, the idea never quite goes away. It’s always available as an imaginary alternative to the actual political choices before us.
Finally, I’m a bit surprised that Jon Mecham let this Jonathan Kay piece on teabaggers into Newsweek. I can only imagine what lunatic will be allowed to write a rebuttal in next week’s issue.