El Gato needs some kibble.

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August 06, 2009



Sorry, but this is way off mark. First, in order for Meyerson to address every point you're asking for he'd need 3500 words. Second, your examples don't quite back up your claim of "creeping-vallagerism."

The first example you show (after the excerpt from WhiskeyFire) isn't, as you tagged it, "analysis," rather it is straight reporting, which is something that is all-too-often lacking in columns these days. Meyerson doesn't offer an explanation, he is just relaying the facts.

In the second example, Meyerson suggests a plausible explanation for some of the outrageous behavior followed by a bit of hedging--that'd be the words you bolded--about the motiviation, in essence admitting that he does not have the answer, which is pretty much the opposite of how the "villagers" operate.

Listen, if Meyerson is a "villager" or nearly one, then what of the beloved Krugman? And how far are we from castigating Conason or Alterman? Would Molly Ivins make the cut? Go ahead and criticize Dionne for being one of them (though he's really a bit too smart to be lumped in) but save your fire for people who really deserve it. We don't need to start purging people right now.

¡El Gato Negro!

But Meyerson isn't supposed to be doing straight reporting, his column is on the OpEd page for a purpose: To provide analysis.

And how many fucking words does it take to say "astroturf"? A sentence or two at the most, I'd say. Again, he offers racism as a proximate cause, but offers no reason why the racism is expressed through opposition to a health insurance reform bill, rather than, say, any of the other dozen ways in which the wingnuts get their Klan on.

And you know, "creeping villiagerism" is my attempt to be nice. You're right, I don't have a lot of evidence that this is what's wrong with his column, but the alternatives are worse, so I guess I should have said that I hope that's all it is. I was trying to offer the idea that perhaps he is letting "commonly accepted wisdom" stand in for some things which he should fucking well know better.

Also, I love the Krug, but have you ever read any of his pre 9-11 stuff? He's a huuuuge free-marketeer (or at least he was, back before Goldman-Sachs et al went all Lord of the Flies on our economy.) Why the fuck do you think he got the Times spot in the first place?

I'm not suggesting we "purge" anyone, but if you have an OpEd column in one of the most sought after spots in publishing, doesn't it seem like you could check your assumptions a little*, before you go mistaking fake astroturf populism for the real thing?

The tone of my reply may make it hard for you to tell, but I'm actually happy you commented.


*Something I think Krugman does quite a bit, having read him regularly for a number of years, so yes, he's a villager, but it seems like he takes steps to be in the village, not of it.


You know, I think the trouble is that Meyerson didn't write the column that you (and flory, apparently) wanted him to.

His statement about filibusters is factually accurate and by including the fact that they more then doubled under the Republican majority supports his argument that the right has kicked itself into overdrive. I don't read anywhere in there that he's claiming that there is any sort of populism behind the rightwing backlash over healthcare reform. Rather, Meyerson pretty clearly lays out the case that there is a loud, active minority battling the majority, many of whom aren't fighting back with the same level of ferocity.

Almost certainly some of this is astroturfing, but that's not wholly proven and Meyerson is obviously leaving that alone until it is. In the meantime, he points out that the Dems and their allies aren't as active. It's really as simple as that.

Not to assume too much, but you'd do yourself a favor if you took some time to read Meyerson's past columns. He's as much of a "villager" as Bernie Sanders is one of Washington's political elite.

(BTW--This is, I think, the first time I've visited your blog. I know I've seen your comments at other places and I usually think they're astute. The other posts I took the time to read are good as well. I just think that on this you're digging in when you might want to climb out of the hole and take a look at the surroundings.)

¡El Gato Negro!

Thank you for your response.

I'd have to say we must continue to disagree about the extent to which the townhall disruptions are astroturfed, Rachel Maddow, Crooks&Liars, FDL and DKos have all written/talked substantively about the Scaife/Olin/Koch money flowing into groups like Freedom Worx and Americans for Prosperity and through them to our little brownshirt brigades. As to the loudmouths showing up on their own, when "Friar Rush" Limbaugh announces the time and place of a meetup in Florida which consequently is stormed by teabaggers, it's not too much of a stretch to see a relationship which approaches pretty closely to causation. How much actual "democratic participation" would that meeting have recieved if Rush hadn't gone all Radio Free Rawanda on it?

And again, and possibly I have not stated it clearly, I'm not saying that Meyerson is in cahoots with the GOP, just that he may not be looking at the whole picture. I have read his columns on and off, going back to about just after the 2008 election, and like I said, he is not the worst of the lot at the WaPo by a wide margin. So, even though I will concede and give him the benefit of the doubt for why he chose not to include this information (Perhaps it's nothing, I myself only heard about Freedom Worx and the false populism of the townhall disruptions only a few days ago. Perhaps Meyerson wrote his column before then.) I maintain that this column would benefit by taking some space to delineate the nature and history of those backing the protesters, and I remain curious as to why he has not done so. It could simply be that he has allowed some village common wisdom to seep into his consciousness unnoticed. I caught myself using conservative buzzwords just the other day, so I'm not immune. It's just the kind of thing one should watch out for, especially if one writes columns for a huge daily paper.

Again, gracías.

¡El Gato Negro!

Here's Rachel Maddow talking about all the groups involved in the "recess rallies",
I swiped the link from Brendan Skwire, but it goes to a Maddow vid.

Many, many more pipples should know about this aspect of the anti-reform protests.

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