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Headlines of the Weak In Review

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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.

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  1. Amusingly, the defenses almost exactly mirror the defenses of Bush’s performance by the Right. Either Dubya’s “me no talk good English” is a rope-a-dope strategy to lure Democrats into bashing the little man, or it’s because a hostile press won’t give the guy the same breaks they gave to Clinton.

    Given that Gary Bauer and others are whining that they aren’t getting anything out of the current administration (what, killing Plan B isn’t enough?), I await the Republican equivalent of “not lame” candidates. I’m just curious if anybody who actually advocates smaller government in any way, shape, or form will make the cut.

  2. Interestingly enough, the MSM may be co-ordinating it’s efforts. This week’s Time magazine feature the 10 best (and 5 worst) Senators.

    The Best? Cochran, Kennedy, Levin, McCain, Kyl, Conrad, Snowe, Spectre (er Specter), Durbin & Lugar.

    The Worst? Burns (no argument there), Allard, Akaka, Dayton and Bunning.

  3. Worst..government..ever..

  4. I’m no fan of Wayne Allard, but what the heck did he do to knock Ted Stevens out of the bottom five?!

  5. Kyl is in the top 10? Surprising

  6. You know, I can’t think of a single Senator who isn’t bloviating ass.

    Seriously, can anyone think of a Senator who isn’t a net loss?

    I mean, if the “Best” consist of the likes of Kennedy, Snowe, and McCain . . .

  7. SR — I’m not sure what Allard’s major crimes are, but local radio here in Denver did a spot on this the other day, focusing on the fact that he’s a quiet, retiring guy. I think in the eyes of Time, a good senator is out making headlines and bringing home the bacon.

  8. I think in the eyes of Time, a good senator is out making headlines and bringing home the bacon.

    BP – From what I read of it, that’s exactly the case. The porkers were the winners. It seemed like the more worthless legislation a senator could foist on an unknowing public, the more Time would kiss his ass. Akaka was ripped mainly because he didn’t do anything. Considering his politics, that’s the best thing I could say about the guy.

  9. Let me get this straight – Emmanual has dramatically expanded the number of veterans running for office under the Democratic banner. He’s worked to recruit, support, and highlight them.

    But that fact that, on one occasion, he backed a non-veteran over a vet in a nomination fight is supposed to refute the notion that he’s done a good job recruiting and supporting candidates who are veterans?

    Not buying it.

  10. Translation: If only the media would report the good news from Iraq…

  11. That’s a really great metaphor, Tim, because the position the Democrats are in heading into the next election is so very similar to the position the United States is facing in Iraq.

  12. Tim,
    It seems as if you think you you have a gotcha with the “Not Lame” thing, when in democratic circles that is exactly the point. The conventional wisdom in dem circles is that the Democrats have been lame, standing for very little and getting rolled by the Republicans.
    Amy’s thesis is that in reality the scene has changed since 2004, but the cw has not caught up with it yet.

  13. The sad thing is that the examples of the un-lameness in the article are 1) defeating the Social Security semi-privitization and 2) defeating the Dubai Ports deal. If these are examples of what renewed Democratic “strength” will bring, that’s really f’n lame.

  14. Halfway-intelligent seeming: Wyden; Bayh; Talent
    Most likely recipients of libertoid shiv (aesthetic grounds): Coburn; Dole; McConnell
    Totally worthless: Ark., Del., Neb.
    Scariest-looking: Bennett (Utah)
    Funniest: Chafee (R.I.)

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