Wrapup: We have a new "Think Again" column, picking up on the food fight between the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and The Huffington Post's Nico Pitney and the larger issues we think it raises here, and my new Nation column, "How Bold is Barack?" is here.
I did a celebratory column on Al Franken's victory for The Daily Beast here.
Oh and I appear to have started a twitter account, here, but don't get too excited about it yet.
My profile is http://twitter.com/Eric_Alterman -- is that right? We'll see, I guess.
"The dust that Pancho left down south/Ended up in Lefty's mouth."
Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "When The Levee Breaks" (Memphis Minnie)--Long ago, I crossed "the ultimate line" in my love for New Orleans.
Part The First: Oh, for the love of god, just shut up already. If you're in a hole, dude, first rule is to...stop...digging. Plus, why do I believe that "crossing the ultimate line" is a good Christian euphemism for the old Southern political maxim--allegedly adhered to by, among other people, both Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich--that "Eatin' ain't cheatin'."?
Part The Second: While I am happy that former hippie love god NormColeman has exited the stage, I am not at all sanguine that Senator Franken will be much more than another slightly left-leaning Clintonian. Sixty votes is nice--it makes John (Box Turtle) Cornyn cry--but there's now about an eight-month window to get anything done with it. Recalling Franken's old radio program, on which threadbare Rolodex Cowboys like Norm Ornstein used to be regulars, doesn't encourage me much, either. Neither does his quote about sixty votes not necessarily being a magic number to get things done. And my wish for LBJ to rise angrily from the dead flares anew.
Part The Third: Matthew Y is a very smart young man, especially nowthat he apparently has given up on the Sisyphean task of explaining why theWashington Wizards ever will be any good. But this, alas, is unicorn-shopping at its most gullible. While I have no doubt that it is remotely possible that the nice lady across the street with the pro-life bumper stickers on her car may very well not give a damn who's buying condoms where, and how old the people are who are buying them, the organized political structure of the pro-life movement has been demonstrably anti-woman and anti-sexuality from the very first mailings itever sent out. It has been financed and organized by religiousorganizations devoted to a truncated and joyless view of human sexuality.It has as its formal legal basis a philosophy for which the true targetnever has been Roe, but Griswold. It does not believe in a constitutionallyguaranteed right to privacy in any sphere, abortion just being the mostobvious and inflammatory one. And, most important, none of this willchange. Ever.
Part The Fourth: The Vanity Fair piece on Sarah Palin is pretty much a cowardly hit job by pathetic (and largely anonymous) people who stillbelieve in the John McCain they constructed in their own heads. TheRepublicans didn't lose because they nominated a public omadhaun for thesecond spot on the ticket. They lost because their standard bearer was athoroughly ridiculous man. And because the nomination of someone thoroughlyridiculous was inevitable, given the current state of the Republican party.There simply was no other alternative than some kind of crackpot oranother. They're all that are left.
Part The Fifth: I always hate to disagree with Sal, but I've always dated Rod's decline precisely from the release of Atlantic Crossing.I've never forgiven him for completely botching Danny Whitten's exquisite"I Don't Want To Talk About It," which should have been a slam dunk.
Part The Last: My invitation to the wedding must have blown off theporch, so I had no idea that Rep. Mary Bono was married to Rep. Connie Mack IV. And thus are Cher and Chief Bender forever distantly linked in history.
I'm sorry, but this column is just silly. Worse, it's silly in a completely conventional and hackneyed way. Good Lord, Tsarina Mooseburger made this same case better at the apogee of her Moment--in that grudge-addled acceptance speech at the RepublicanNational Convention--than the author of his column does here. (And let'sleave aside the fact that the New York Times hired a columnist who soobviously slept through the 1990s.) The reflexive anti-intellectualhalf-gainers that a young and highly educated conservative needs toaccomplish before graduating from the Young Pundit's Academy rarely end inanything more than an ungainly bellyflop. (Remember back in The Day whenAndy Sullivan sounded like he was running for mayor of Omaha? Or the timela Coulter waxed nostalgic for her days in Kansas City? Where do these twopeople choose to live again? Thought so.) This is no exception. Thecitations of Truman and Jackson are laughable. (Where's Palin'santi-corruption committee? Where, in god's name, is her Battle of NewOrleans?) And there were "professionals" who "pressed into service" thisflibbertigibbet? Jesus H. Christ At Talladega, is this guy seriouslyarguing that she didn't grab at this opportunity with both hands and allher bicuspids? Yeesh. But the underlying conceit of the whole business ---that inexpertise should be celebrated on the same level as actual expertisebecause you can sell the former in a political context is nothing more thanlazy intellectual slumming by people who, at some level, feel awfullyguilty about the advantages with which they were raised. It also conformsto certain premises that can be found in certain books that I am far too modest to mention.