In the May issue of the Washington Monthly, editor Amy Sullivan contends that America is underselling the brilliance of the current Democratic leadership. As contrarian arguments go, this one contains some interesting stuff, including a claim that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was the mastermind of the Dubai Ports World dustup and a reminder that the Republicans also looked feckless prior to the 1994 turnover.
But there's plenty more in there that sets new records in it's-not-a-bug-it's-a-feature talking points. Sullivan praises Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) for "throwing out old ideas" about candidate selection and opening the field to "military veterans, sheriffs, ministers, and even one former NFL quarterback" rather than "career politicians," but somehow doesn't mention Emanuel's role in sabotaging military veteran Paul Hackett's candidacy in order to boost career politician Sherrod Brown. When Democrats look like stumblebums it's either political aikido ("not putting forth a plan was the plan") or press hostility ("Nor are reporters paying attention to Democratic policy proposals"). And the section on Empire State Rep. Louise Slaughter's abortive attack on the House Rules Committee reads like an extended version of Woody Allen's joke: She left and told me she never wanted to see me again and moved to another state and got an unlisted phone number, so I decided to break up with her. Apparently, the Dems have succeeded so brilliantly that left-leaning mainstream liberal journalists (Jacob Weisberg), leftwing bloggers (Matt Stoller), the media, and the Republicans are all against them. Now we have them right where they want us!
But the tell is the headline the Monthly gives the article:
I'm going to go out on a limb and say a vote of confidence this strong is not just passable but almost rising to adequate.