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March 25, 2006

Comments

Whether approvingly or not, your guess is as good as mine.

Ah, ambiguity. Most times unintentional.

Sometimes not.

Sebastian:

while i largely agree with what you wrote, i think that firedoglake or another demcratic partisan might modify your list a little:

(a) referencing the dispute over Froomkin which may have lead to his hiring in the first place;

(b) getting legitimately attacked for being a biblical literalist -- while he's entitled to his own beliefs, does the WaPo really need to give a soapbox to someone who doesn't [believe/understand] evolution, especially given the Republican War on Science;

(c) racism -- with the Corretta as a communist comment, he is, at best, incredibly ignorant of the civil rights movement. at worst he is a racist and there was other evidence to support that charge.

(d) his first few points contained scorching diatribes against the left. given the Post's history with FDL and BD's own launch, the fact that there was an immediate backlash is something he and the Post brought on themselves.

i have no idea what kind of blogstorm the Post's hiring of Dan Drezner or Eugene Volokh would draw. If they drew the same kind of backlash as BD drew, i might have to reconsider my position.

and while i recognize that my own partisanship is coloring my view of this case, i find it awfully difficult to cast much blame on the liberal blogs. BD's style of partisanship was bound to generate that kind of response.

Domenech addresses that quote in his last Red America post, ending with a classy "people who misunderstand need to learn to read" comment:

In regards to another old post where I referenced something written by Father Richard John Neuhaus regarding the book "Freakonomics", I suggest that people actually take the time to read what is said. Neuhaus is setting up in blunt terms the logical consequences of the argument made in "Freakonomics" that hey, abortion may be icky, but at least it deters crime by eliminating people who may become criminals -- in this case, minority children in urban areas.

Neuhaus, one of the most outspoken, respected and influential pro-life intellectuals in America, finds this logic as morally disgusting as I do. He is putting this logic in its bluntest terms to show the full degree of its inhumanity. A few people have noticed this, but for those who are still having trouble, I highly recommend this.

For a respected intellectual, Neuhaus certainly doesn't do a very good job of communicating his point, and Domenech's posting the quote without comment was also not the best example of clarity in communication. Still, I'm not willing to call him a racist for it.

"And as an aside, I wasn't aware that DU was referred to outside conservative circles. I've certainly never seen it linked by any liberal, progressive or even left-wing blogger; in fact, if it weren't for the relentless drumming by conservatives, I'd never have heard of it, period.*"

To this day, I still don't know what it is, where it is, who is in it, who founded it, what its purpose is, or anything about it. And "yes," to all of the above.

I'm not saying it's a mythical enitity, but so far as I'm directly concerned, it is. I imagine I could find it if I googled, but why I'd want to, I have no idea.

In contrast, I've seen a bunch of links to FreeRepublic over the years, and visited a smattering. And I've heard of lucianne.com, but never visited, and not seen it much linked on rightwing blogs, either.

I have on a couple of occasions followed a link (from a rightwing site, gasping in horror, usually, but also on a handful of occasions from some extreme left blogs) to some "IndyMedia" site/post, so I at least have a vague grasp of what they are and how they work, but they're on a vaguely similar level of beyond-the-fringe kookdom, in my world and worldview.

"Democratic Underground"? Beats me. Never yet in my life seen a link to it, whatever it is, or a quote from it, or a reference to it other than that it's Evil.

I guess I don't get around enough.

Can't say I'm impressed with the quality of posts, in general, at Washington Monthly, though my sampling of that is very low, indeed, and it didn't seem at all comparably bad to the horrorshow that is LGF, but I've not sampled or looked at LGF since somewhere in mid-2005, either. Just for the record. (And you should know by now what I think of unmoderated mass comment sites.)

Gary: too lazy to Google, but it's Democratic Underground. Back when I first discovered blogs, it was one of the first I discovered (along with kos), and since, at the time, my self-appointed mission was to answer factual questions about Wes Clark, and provide factual responses to errors, and since DU contained lots of errors, I hung out there for a month or two. At least at the time, it was silly -- a lot of people who seemed, to me, much more likely to be high school students than your average ObWi commenter, or even your average Atrios commenter -- but generally not actively malevolent. Conspiracy theories were sometimes indulged, and people made the sorts of insults they might make towards their high school classmates via email, but it wasn't the sort of downright scary "let's string those traitors up and let them hang by their toenails" atmosphere of LGF. (It did have sort of the same 'geez, do you guys ever venture outside your ideological bubble?' feel, but the bubble seemed to me less malign.

Though, as I said, it was often silly. -- At the time, the most vitriol was directed by Deaniacs against supporters of any other candidate. (Note: this is just DU Deaniacs, not Deaniacs generally.)

Still, I'm not willing to call him a racist for it.

Love him, hate him....love him and hate him...Steve Gilliard weighs in on this here*.

*With a special guest appearance by Josh Trevino in comments

CaseyL, with all due respect, your 4:19 is totally inadequate, and does make Domenech's detractors look bad. If you'd looked at the post you'd see that it was not his post at all. It was merely quoted verbatim and without comment (though with attribution, it should be noted). Furthermore the quote itself expresses a very strong disapproval for the abortion of black babies, despite the presumption that it would have a beneficial social effect. Neuhaus cares so much for the unborn child that even future criminals qualify! Neuhaus' primary argument (though you have to read very carefully to get it, as the quoted text itself is rather incoherent) is to accuse black leaders of practicing eugenics on their followers.

No, I'm not joking, though I am being deliberately inflammatory, and I am definitely being unfair to Neuhaus, who probably had no idea that he was misreading Leavitt, or that Leavitt's analysis was itself poorly constructed.

That said, alleging that Domenech is a racist is pretty much fishing in a barrel. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're hungry but lazy) Gilly has already yanked out all the big'uns, gutted 'em, cleaned 'em, and fried 'em up for ya. (I coulda sworn somebody already linked to that in this thread but now I can't find it) Parsley and lemon available...

Oops. Previewing before posting does no good if you don't read down to the bottom, huh? Sorry...

I think Gilliard's point about the segregationist billboard is pretty weak. Domenech's motivations for calling CSK a communist aren't quite as clear as were the motivations of the folks behind that billboard. I understand why this sort of thing would raise suspicions of racism (particularly when added to the growing heap of circumstantial evedence) but it's hardly conclusive, and doesn't account for the possibility that he was just uncritically regurgitating a pre-existing right-wing slur.

The only thing that is crystal clear to me is that the comment was very, very stupid.

"evidence"

Blech.

All that said, I agree with Gary's statement "there aren't a lot on the right who should walk away from this Domenech defense feeling proud" even though he meant it as an example of something that isn't correct. There aren't a lot on the right who should walk away from this Demenech defense feeling proud. I don't, and I didn't defend him at all. The knee-jerk defense that many exhibited without getting the facts was not a good thing, and the fact that it was done by people somewhat on 'my side' makes me cringe.

I would agree with that comment as well.

Can't say I'm impressed with the quality of posts, in general, at Washington Monthly, though my sampling of that is very low, indeed, and it didn't seem at all comparably bad to the horrorshow that is LGF, but I've not sampled or looked at LGF since somewhere in mid-2005, either.

The posts are fine; agree or disagree with Kevin (and I do both on a regular basis), his only extremism is in his moderation. That, and his unforgivable support of the University of Spoiled Children. (:

The comment threads... well, they were always a bit bruising, but an entirely new era dawned when Kevin went sleuthing through Bush's Vietnam records. Flamers holding every conceivable position descended in a horde and the discourse went to hell in a handbasket, never really to recover. I and a number of other regulars actually sent Kevin emails begging him to start moderating his comments -- there was one particularly vile troll with the alarming talent of bringing out the vileness in others that was particularly derailing any attempt at conversation -- but he never did, for reasons as-yet-unspecified.

That said, the discourse there has limped its way back to substandard -- with a number of individual commenters being quite cogent and interesting, I hasten to add -- so it's not in any way comparable to the other sites in question.

"Can't say I'm impressed with the quality of posts, in general, at Washington Monthly,"

Sorry, that should have been "comments"; the posts are fine, and generally very good, if sometimes rather obvious; but often not obvious.

I probably agree with Kevin some 85% of the time or so, though I'd hesitate to put a real number to it; but generally we're of like mind on most topics; it's actually one of the poli-blogs I read most frequently, though frankly mostly I try to get most of my news unfiltered, by reading lots and lots of newspapers and magazines myself, rather than mostly blogs.

But bloggers I tend to agree with a lot tend to include Kevin, Matt Yglesias, to some degree Brad deLong, to some degree Brad Plumer, Ted Barlow, Tim Burke, Mark Kleiman, a smattering of others; some "Hilzoy" character. Glenn Greenwald has been giving some good commentary since his recent rise, though pretty much just on a couple of issues (but Brad deLong also is a on the limited focus side, though he also goes eclectic at times, more so than Glenn has).

I don't much care for the firebreathing blogs, though some do some good investigative work; as I keep saying, I don't find that adjectives and anger lend much value, more than not, though they have their place in limited doses. But generally speaking, the blogs that like to use a lot of adjectives turn me off; I think very poorly of Bush; I don't need a lot of shouting and cursing to think that. (Thus, no enthusiasm from me about Firedoglake.)

I'm very fond of Jim Henley, by the way, even though we disagree on various perspectives, but agree on others; I like John Cole, even though I think it's a shame his formative political experience was being a kid during the Reagan era and thinking everything was great, and I have to admit that Tim F. has helped out Balloon Juice, despite my dislike of bloggers diluting their voice by adding others to previously personal sites.

Gromit, commie civil-rights activists is one of those dog-whistle code-word secret-handshake things. Remember how liberal bloggers, on account of not knowing the secret anti-abortion handshakes, were mystified when W mentioned Dred Scott in his inaugural speech?

I think commie is a little out of date actually -- more evidence that squaresville parents are to blame. "Grandstanding" civil-rights activists would probably be the most common usage nowadays, but womanizing, money-grubbing, or self-genocidal civil-rights activists would all get the point across too. Billmon, who like Digby has seen the inside of the underbelly, elaborates on the commie issue halfway down this post. Look for "Anyone who's spent any time among the Freepers..."

BTW, wow. I haven't looked at Gilliard's comments in a long time. There's some pretty ugly stuff being said there too. Alas...

Radish, I understand, but if it wasn't ambiguous, it wouldn't work as a code word. Had Domenech actually been around during the civil-rights era, I might bring a different set of assumptions to this question, but he came of age after the overt racism of the Dixiecrats-turned-Southern-Republicans was driven underground, and if he's like the other fire-breathing young conservatives I know, he was raised on a steady diet of straight-up anti-communism without the segregationist overtones.

I'm not ruling out the possibility that he was conscious of the implications of what he was saying, but it is also quite possible that he grew up more or less in an ideological bubble (he certainly liked to hang out in one over at Red State), and had been shielded from the history behind the slur. So I need more conclusive evidence than this if I'm going to brand him a racist.

radish, you're right: it's a quote-post, without commentary (and without paragraph breaks, for some reason), which makes me wonder what the point of posting it was. However, I won't mind-read. Like I said, I have no particular desire to wade through Domenech's work.

...and if he's like the other fire-breathing young conservatives I know, he was raised on a steady diet of straight-up anti-communism without the segregationist overtones.

I'd like to preemptively note that when I wrote this I didn't mean to suggest that Reagan-era conservatism is without its own racial baggage, just that "communist" as a segregationist code word was, I think, peculiar to the Civil Rights era.

"...were mystified when W mentioned Dred Scott in his inaugural speech?"

Debate, actually; that's campaign stuff, not inaugural stuff.

"I think commie is a little out of date actually -- more evidence that squaresville parents are to blame."

If he'd said something to the effect that Martin King (and by extension Coretta Scott) had communist associates, he'd have been okay, if pushing guilt-by-association; but that wouldn't have been remotely red meat enough, so he simply lied. And then claimed exuberance, or somesuch, when called on it when the spotlight was on (want to bet he'd never have taken it back if it was not for the WaPo job?).

"So I need more conclusive evidence than this if I'm going to brand him a racist."

To be clear, and to use a word popular in some circles: ditto. I'm not exonerating him, but neither would I make the accusation without conclusive evidence, rather than interpretation and indications and penumbras or associations.

Apropos of nothing, West Wing just had dialogue with Santos (Jimmy Smits, it's five days before the election) on how "Atrios is flying in; you have an interview on Eschaton." "You know, I speak 3 languages." "It's a blog."

Oh, and I left out a line about "I'm talking to a guy named 'Atrios'"?

And now he just finished the chat and said, apparently of Atrios "Not much of a people person."

I doubt Ben was speaking in code or constructing deliberate lies.

The King communist thing was more like thoughtless parroting of something he heard, or slightly more thoughtful assuming something without researching it. It is more in tune with the lack of scholarship implied by plagiarism

Gromit, hmmm, definitely plausible (as is Jay S's explanation -- see I did read all the way down during preview this time!). Fair enough. The "commie civil rights leaders" trope has never struck me as particularly ambiguous, but then I don't actually know any College Republican types. I'm glad you're giving Domenech the benefit of doubt, but with all the other indicators about Domenech, the most generous I can be about all this is to give Neuhaus the benefit of the doubt and think of the original author as "clueless" rather than "bigoted."

CaseyL I wonder what the point was as well. My working hypothesis is that when you're up against ruthless baby-killers who are otherwise indistinguishable from normal people you have to keep reminding yourself of the distinction. (The part of that link I'm referring to is the baby-killer part, but Rx you read the whole thing if you haven't already).

Gary, oops, thank you. Shoulda used them internets thingies... I commend you and Gromit both for your sense of justice. Me, not so much...

I'm fairly sure that Neuhaus was trying to be satirical. A very, very mean-spirited mocking streak runs through that kind of highly intellectualized, very conservative Christian theorizing. They look at Swift and Chesterton and others, and lose sight of the charity involved.

Ooo, Passer-by, you might want to check out the Scalia thread ;^)

Gary, I missed "West Wing", but Eschaton seems like a rather unlikely place to find an interview with a presidential candidate. Like Instapundit, it's not big on actual content. So it seems it was like the appearance by "Lawrence Lessig" (played by Christopher Lloyd) on the show a while back, where they used the name and a few characteristics of a real person to produce a character that clearly wasn't that person. I don't understand the point, and they'd obviously never do that with a television pundit or newspaper columnist.

"Gary, I missed "West Wing", but Eschaton seems like a rather unlikely place to find an interview with a presidential candidate."

West Wing not infrequently gets technical details wrong. They're good at atmosphere (and condensing things down to 8 or so characters, of course, in an immensely unbelievable way; flaws of television), but not to be taken as having a documentary-level degree of accuracy, as you note.

They had a couple of other mentions of Atrios, but I figured I'd stop documenting. Yeah, it's just a way of sounding hip and with it and up to date, and besides, it's an alternate universe, anyway. In their universe, where American troops are in Gaza, and the Presidential election is this year, etc., Atrios does interviews with the Democratic Presidential candidate 5 days before the election.

"I don't understand the point,"

The point is a bit of homage, and to amuse those in the know. Don't see anything wrong with it, myself.

"...and they'd obviously never do that with a television pundit or newspaper columnist."

They had an obvious Maureen Dowd clone referred to, in the whole schtick about Donna's, well, anyway. But referring to a well-known mainstream media figure by name wouldn't serve the same purpose of tipping the hat to someone only cognescenti would recognize.

As for Lessig, he thought it was a hoot, and as it happens, he was involved in the drawing up of a post-Soviet constitution, and has years of expertise on the subject (maybe you're not aware of this?); see here. This seems (you give me the impression; I may be misunderstanding) to bother you for some reason, but I'm not clear why.

I rather doubt, incidentally, that Duncan Black would turn down an opportunity to have the Democratic Presidential candidate chat live online five days before the election, though who knows, maybe I'm wrong.

It doesn't bother me. I just found it strange. I did know that Lessig enjoyed it.

I agree that Atrios wouldn't turn down the opportunity, but I seriously doubt it's an opportunity that would be offered. Kos would be equally unthinkable politically but at least has had candidate interviews (and candidate diaries) on his site. But as you say, it's a rather different universe, as you can see by looking at the Republican presidential candidate if nothing else.

But enough of this off-topic babbling. The page is already unmanageably long.

"But as you say, it's a rather different universe, as you can see by looking at the Republican presidential candidate if nothing else."

Would that we could have Arnold Vinick as the real Republican leader. (I've seen spoilers indicate that Santos will win, which is what I've taken the plan to be all along, but, of course, since they won't be continuing the show, they can do absolutely anything they want, now. Maybe Martians will land; who knows?; I'm wondering who the new Democratic Veep candidate is going to be; I'm also still rather sad the show won't continue, though perhaps it's time.)

Von, if you've got time to read the comments/comment in response, you surely have time to update and apologize.

http://blogs.wizbangblog.com/2006/03/06/the-11th-commandment.php>Well done, Von.

CMatt, huh?

Jes, well past tedious.

Just expressing my disapproval to Von for posting "Onward" here. It wasn't written to convince ObWi readers of anything, IMO, particularly given the defense of it, or lack thereof. Being lambasted by Charles is far preferable to watching Von's paper training. Not trying to revive the thread, just wanted to note this to him.

Rilkefan: Jes, well past tedious.

Likewise.

Von, if you've got time to read the comments/comment in response, you surely have time to update and apologize.

I've covered that subject, Jes.

I've covered that subject, Jes.

Yes, that you shouldn't have to apologize for insulting "the Left" in a wild generalisation because really you meant the people writing and commenting on a handful of specific posts. But as you haven't bothered* to update your post to say so, your explanation about exactly who you were insulting is buried down in this thread, leaving your generalized insult to "the Left" on public view.

*"Haven't bothered" is a little unkind: I recognize that you have good reason to be busy right now, and that updating a blog is fairly low on your list of priorities. But, assuming that you're not just another RedStater Republican who believes that if you have to criticize, even mildly, another Republican, you must preface your criticism with gross abuse of "the Left", updating this blog post ought to be on your list of priorities somewhere. Albeit, I admit, well below new-baby priorities, partner priorities, and job priorities. Still. I never thought you were just another RedStater Republican, and I'll be delighted when you do the update and apology that shows you're not.

Jes- I agree with you that von has shown a surprising lack of class here, but I feel like you are decending into extortion with that last sentence. Even if that weren't beneath you, which I think it is, its clearly pointless by this stage of the conversation.

I think you might just be right about this clause: "Republican who believes that if you have to criticize, even mildly, another Republican, you must preface your criticism with gross abuse of "the Left"' After all von did violate the 11th commandment, maybe the sweeping critisism of the left is the required pennance.

Frank: but I feel like you are decending into extortion with that last sentence. Even if that weren't beneath you, which I think it is, its clearly pointless by this stage of the conversation.

Ah, actually, you're right. Oh well.

After all von did violate the 11th commandment, maybe the sweeping critisism of the left is the required pennance.

I'm not sure it was even a penance... ;-) I think by now the 11th Commandment is reflex.

But here is the thing: Von did not violate the 11th commandment with the original post. He made exactly two points:

1. He feels sorry for Ben.

2. He can't wait to see Ben return.

He didn't criticize at all in the original post.

By RedState standards, manyoso, Von did criticise Domenech: he said "I won't minimize his errors" and "the final charge stuck (and properly so)". When violating the 11th Commandment, however justly, it seems to be reflex to include a scattershot and much harsher attack on the opposition - as if by making the whole post an attack on the opposition, you can shield your own mild criticism of your own side from being "misused".

I think someone upthread got it right: this was a post more intended to maintain Von's Republican credentials than anything else.

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