Dave Weigel Snarks at the Execrable Maureen Dowd:
Also, in this column, Dowd asks why Obama doesn't exercise power the way a Renaissance Pope did. Because derp.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) May 1, 2013
Somebody please tell Dowd that members of Congress are adults who will not give up on principles if Obama hugs them nyti.ms/130hXQS— daveweigel (@daveweigel) May 1, 2013
Jonathan Chait Snarks at the Execrable David Brooks:
David Brooks and the Role of Opinion Journalism: Brooks… smuggl[es] into his schema notions… at odds with intellectual honesty. The detached writer, he argues, “sees politics as a competition between partial truths.” Well, yes, sometimes it is. On the other hand, sometimes politics is not a competition between partial truths. If you’re committed a priori to always seeing politics as a competition between partial truths, you will render yourself unable to accurately describe the times when it’s not and find yourself writing things that are provably untrue. Writing things that are provably untrue — rather than, say, being irritating — ought to be the central thing to avoid. It’s a shame Brooks has done such an injustice to the topic…
Charles Pierce Snarks at the Execrable Peggy Noonan:
Peggy Noonan: Now they're in their 60s. When they went through the 9/11 section of the library, the day before the opening, some had tears in their eyes. They understood now what that day was. Young journalists: You're going to become more tolerant with time, and not only because you have more to tolerate in yourself. Because life will batter you and you'll have a surer sense of what's important and has meaning and is good.
Charles Pierce: Says the aging harpy who, only several paragraphs earlier, had called the president a snooty Ivy League elitist who thinks he's smarter than everybody. And who then goes on, demonstrating how much more tolerant she's grown with time.
Peggy Noonan: President Obama was more formal than the other speakers and less confident than usual, as if he knew he was surrounded by people who have something he doesn't. "No matter how much you think you're ready to assume the office of the president, it's impossible to understand the nature of the job until it's yours." This is a way of seeming to laud others when you're lauding yourself. He veered into current policy disputes, using Mr. Bush's failed comprehensive immigration reform to buttress his own effort. That was manipulative, graceless and typical.
Charles Pierce: This is the passage in question: "Seven years ago, President Bush restarted an important conversation by speaking with the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And even though comprehensive immigration reform has taken a little longer than any of us expected, I am hopeful that this year, with the help of Speaker Boehner and some of the senators and members of Congress who are here today, that we bring it home - for our families, and our economy, and our security, and for this incredible country that we love. And if we do that, it will be in large part thanks to the hard work of President George W. Bush."
Charles Pierce: Also, too: "(Applause.)" Perhaps we should re-examine our premises here. Naw.
Peggy Noonan: Back to the point. What was nice was that all of them-the Bush family, the Carters and Clintons-seemed like the old days. "The way we were." They were full of endurance, stamina, effort. Also flaws, frailty, mess. But they weren't… creepy.
Charles Pierce: Back when the Clintons actually were in the White House, Peggy Noonan called the First Lady at the time, among other things, "a highly credentialed rube," a "person who never ponders what is right," and "a squat and grasping woman." But not "creepy", not like the current First Family. I'd hate to read what she would have written had she not grown so tolerant with age.
And Henry Farrell snarks on Clive Crook:
Bubbles: Clive Crook tells us again that Paul Krugman is shrill and angry.
[Krugman] is wrong about many of the people who disagree with him and about the best way to guide opinion. He’s enormously influential with those who need no persuading, which is to say not very influential at all. He would have more influence where it would actually make a difference if he developed—or at least could feign—some respect for those who aren’t his disciples. … Krugman says his opponents are motivated by politics. …. Talk about lack of self-awareness. Does Krugman imagine that he isn’t motivated by politics? A line has been crossed when the principal spokesmen for contending opinions have no curiosity whatsoever about their opponents’ ideas and radiate cold, steady contempt for each other. … Meanwhile, for the side that thinks it has the better arguments, naked contempt for dissenters is plain bad tactics. That isn’t how you change people’s minds.
Clive Crook previously on self-awareness of one’s own political motivations:
We floating voters see things differently. We approve of consensual politics, thinking that it delivers better policies. And we believe this for two main reasons. First, good policy involves trade-offs.… Second, good policy requires stability
the message to the electoral centre was consistent: Mr Obama would have let the left have its way if he could. What he should have done – and what he ought to do from now on – is simple. Instead of blessing leftist solutions, then retreating feebly to more centrist positions under pressure, he should have identified the centrist policies the country could accept and advocated those policies. … The left will tear its hair over another surrender and the centre will note where the president’s sympathies actually lay.
He should have chosen centrism unreservedly – as many voters believed he had promised during his election campaign. Then he could have championed, as opposed to meekly accepting, centrist bills that maintained the role of private insurance in healthcare and a stimulus that included big tax cuts. … Had he owned and campaigned for those centrist outcomes, the left would have been no angrier than it is anyway. The anger of the left, like the anger of the right, is always simply on or off: it cannot be modulated. But this fury could then have been co-opted as Mr Obama’s and the Democrats’ best asset going into November – proof to centrists and independents that the president was on their side.
Clive Crook previously on how one should be curious about the ideas of dissenters, rather than treating them with naked contempt:
The Democratic party’s civil libertarians seem to believe that several medium-sized US cities would be a reasonable price to pay for insisting on ordinary criminal trials for terrorist suspects.
Nothing short of the Scandinavian model (plus stronger unions, minus the commitment to liberal trade) will ever satisfy the Democratic left. Its role, its whole purpose, is to be betrayed. So betray it, Mr President, and start leading from the centre.
I think it would be fair to say on the evidence that Clive Crook fancies himself as a centrist only interested in the pure and disinterested exercise of good policy judgment, but is in fact strongly (and even irrationally) motivated by his partisan animus against the left. I think it would also be fair to say that he’s at the ‘naked contempt’ towards dissenters end of the spectrum himself when those dissenters have the poor judgment to be leftwing.
Crook closes the column by suggesting:
if Krugman got out of his bubble a bit more, he’d find that the other half of the country contains no more than its fair share of knaves, fools and lunatics—and a lot of thoughtful, public-spirited Americans whose views on the proper scale and scope of government are different from his, yet worthy of respect.
Perhaps Crook might consider taking this advice himself. I’d actually be willing to help set it up for him in the unlikely event that he did.