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I’m two days late on this, but that’s all right-- I’ve had other things to do.  But now I’ve gotten a chance to look at the overwhelmingly underwhelming endorsements of Kerry at Slate, and I just want to point out two things about the phenomenon.

First, let’s look at the contributions of senior writer Timothy Noah and editor Jacob Weisberg, who are generally sane, honest, and sensible folk.  Noah:

Sen. John Kerry is the least appealing candidate the Democrats have nominated for president in my lifetime. I’m 46, so that covers Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, and Gore. McGovern, Mondale, and Dukakis get the worst press in this bunch, but I liked all three of them and still do. I can’t pretend to like John Kerry. He’s pompous, he’s an opportunist, and he’s indecisive. Although I’m impressed by Kerry’s combat record in Vietnam, I can’t suppress the uncharitable suspicion that what drew him there wasn’t patriotism so much as a preppy passion for physical challenge and the urge to buff his future political resume.

He can’t suppress that uncharitable suspicion, huh?  Even though he was about eight years old when Kerry signed up for Vietnam, and-- like me-- has never faced the question of whether to serve in the armed forces during wartime, he thinks he has the cojones to cast aspersions on the guy’s motivations, and he thinks he has the right to speak about Kerry’s enlistment today as if it were some kind of cross between trying out for the lacrosse team and working as a summer clerk at a Brahmin law firm?  Mother of Jesus, talk about pompous.

Now Weisberg:

I remain totally unimpressed by John Kerry. Outside of his opposition to the death penalty, I’ve never seen him demonstrate any real political courage. His baby steps in the direction of reform liberalism during the 1990s were all followed by hasty retreats. . . .  At a personal level, he strikes me as the kind of windbag that can only emerge when a naturally pompous and self-regarding person marinates for two decades inside the U.S. Senate.

You can already see the contours of Slate forums two years from now:  is Kerry pompous, or is he naturally pompous?  Our editors debate! Here again, the sneering remarks on the “personal” level; here again, the impugning of Kerry’s “courage"-- as if Kerry never testified against the Vietnam War and earned the eternal hatred of the ghoulish Nixon and his ghoulish minions; as if Kerry did not go after Iran-contra at the height of the Reagan junta’s morning in America; as if Kerry didn’t dig into BCCI and earn the eternal hatred of the ghoulish Bushes and their ghoulish minions.  What does “real political courage” mean here, you wonder?  The giveaway is that reference to “baby steps in the direction of reform liberalism,” which really means, “Kerry didn’t go far enough in abandoning liberalism.” You know, he’s still too beholden to those old liberal constituencies and special-interest groups-- we won’t name them here, but you know who they are.

OK, so here are the two things I want to point out.  First, as many of you already know very well, these are precisely the terms under which the major “liberal” media work.  I haven’t reproduced here Noah’s and Weisberg’s denunciations of Bush, but they’re significant and severe.  Still, the governing premise is:  I may despise Bush, but rest assured I look upon Kerry with disdain!  Really--he’s not my cup of tea at all! And despite what Noah says about Democratic nominees since 1960 (and personally, I think Kerry is on the upper end of that bunch), this is very much the attitude the liberal media took toward Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, and Gore in turn.  It’s the same damn note every time:  I consider myself a liberal, but of course I don’t think much of the Democratic candidate.  He lacks charisma, he is opportunistic, he has profound character flaws, he is a weak leader, he does not inspire confidence, but . . . sigh . . . I suppose I can make do for now.

Second, and more important, this is what President Kerry’s press pool will sound like.  Think of Slate as The New Republic West, or as The Slightly Newer Republic.  It can be quite good, just as The New Republic publishes some terrific stuff every now and then.  But make no mistake.  There will be no real enthuasiasm for Kerry’s successes, and plenty of carping-- even opportunistic carping-- every time he has trouble mopping up one of Bush’s hideous messes or every time the DeLay/Frist Congress screws him or every time he goes too “soft” on one of those traditional liberal constituencies.  There might even be a story or two about his haircuts or his wife or his odious pomposity.  You never know.

So I wouldn’t worry too much about what will happen to liberal and progressive bloggers after November 2-- or after the last legal challenge has been beaten back sometime in December and Kerry has finally been declared the winner over the feral howls of the wingnuts.  I assure you that we’ll have plenty of fodder for snarky and outraged commentary well into the Kerry Administration.  And that’s why this once-humble but now pompous-and-opportunistic blog proudly endorses the Rude Pundit’s endorsement of John Kerry for President, and hopes that the Rude Pundit will keep raging rudely on.

Posted by on 10/29 at 01:18 AM
  1. No surprise you like the Rude Pundit’s take - after all, it was right here on this blog that I learned that Kerry holds Life and Death in his hands like a savage gift.  And who could vote against that?

    Posted by Miguel Sanchez  on  10/29  at  03:45 AM
  2. Posted by  on  10/29  at  04:33 AM
  3. Liberals eat our own. It’s an ancient curse. “PC” was originally an in-joke among us and our more-liberal-than-thou tendencies. Did it begin with Henry Wallace and Eleanor Roosevelt or were their English liberals carping about the Corn Laws in the 19th century? The funny thing is that the last liberal to get the King’s Touch was Eugene McCarthy. (Funny as in “rabies” not “ha-ha”.)

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  04:57 AM
  4. My email to Alex Cockburn, who has just written that those of us supporting Kerry are delusional:


    I am well aware of the risks of a Kerry presidency.  Yet, this Nader voter in ‘96 and ‘00 (and unrepentant) has decided, along with Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and not merely Generals McPeek, Zinni, and possibly Scowcroft, to vote for Kerry.  Bush II is not Goldwater as we know from Goldwater’s history that once he processed information, he often changed policy directions, as did even the not-as-dumb-as-advertised Gipper, Ronald W. Reagan. 

    There is a deep dishonesty about Bush II and his cronies and worse, an incompetence that leads me to go back to “lesser evils.” Better a more rational Cold Warrior administration full of Reagan-Bush I-Clinton administrators (Holbrooke and Rubin being major Clinton ones) than the wild-eyed, reckless, mendacious and, worst of all, incompetent bunch that we now have.

    I figure I’ll be protesting Kerry to find a quick exit from Iraq once he is found to be the winner.  Kerry as LBJ?  Yes, that is possible.  But John Kerry has a more solid record as someone who understands the New Deal better than either Clinton or Gore, which at least gets me back to LBJ on domestic policy.  Further, let’s look at Kerry vs. LBJ in matters of “national security.” LBJ did not investigate anything as controversial to the permanent Cold War establishment as the drug dealer-CIA connection or BCCI, did he?  LBJ did not vote against a war in his Senate career, did he?  He may have told Ike not to use nukes in 1954 in Vietnam, but that is not enough to get you to your analogy without some jumps. 

    Face it, Alex.  Many of us are not delusional.  On the other hand, if we follow your advice, we know we get more of Bush II.  Here, we at least have some reason to hope for a better direction for the nation.  Plus, if you wish to speak of what is delusional, let us speak of the solid 40% Americans blindly supporting Bush, who are acting more and more like fascists in their unthinking and uninformed viewpoints in parroting Republican National Committee talking points with a vehemence that borders on a violent tone.  I also don’t want to risk what happens in a second Bush II administration when there’s another foreign attack on American soil and General Tommy Franks’ prediction (stated almost gleefully, I should add) that we can flush the Constitution down the toilet comes true.

    Overall, you may wish to speak to Chomsky about this, but I believe he will agree with me that this election appears to be a campaign of the informed v. uninformed (and perhaps the rational v. irrational).  It is less left v. right, liberal v. conservative, or even Democrat v. Republican than any election I can recall. 

    You owe your readers more than saying that folks like Noam Chomsky and me are delusional.  You definitely owe your readers more than saying that this election is not about anything important in terms of how this nation is to meet any of its current challenges and policy choices.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  05:05 AM
  5. Michael,

    I understand your frustrations, but the problem is, you simply don’t understand how much hard work it is in being a “beltway independent” as Digby points out.  Now, not just anyone can be a “beltway independent”.  You can rise to the esteemed position of “beltway independent” only after some very hard work. Well, that, and gaming your way onto the right magazines and web-blogs. But ya just can’t set up a web-blog and become a “beltway independent”. 

    Becoming a “beltway independent” take much more hard work than that. Becoming a “beltway independent” means that you have to have said stuff that the SCLM deems is appropriate to be put on the airwaves and that will be safe from vitriolic conservative hate-mail and phone-call death threats.

    And just because you’re a PhD with several books to your name doesn’t mean you have the same standing as a “beltway independent”. In fact, those qualifications in your world may be a detriment to being recognized as a “beltway independent”. To be a “beltway independent” means a lotta hard work.

    And it also means being able treat the candidate of the liberal party like the starting quarterback.  You know what I mean.  Everybody loves the backup QB when the starter just through an incomplete pass.  That’s why when Gore was running in 2000 the “beltway independent” sang the glories of Senator Kerry. But once Kerry became the QB, so to speak, the “beltway independent” had to cheer for the the back up and denigrate the starter. 

    Well, I hope you’ll recognize what hard work it takes to become a “beltway independent” and humbly bow to their respected criticisms, cynicisms, and above all else, hard work to in the end still be called “liberal media” by their new friends on the right who might not invite them to their dinner parties if they stray from being a “beltway independent”.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  05:34 AM
  6. Al Giordano thinks John Kerry has political courage.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  05:42 AM
  7. Strong and incisive letter, mitchell. In 2004 one cannot, like Cockburn, resort to the old Kerry-and-Bush-are-the-same or the I-refuse-to-choose-the-lesser-of-two-evils argument without being completely irresponsible, politically and ethically.

    Reason why I only disagree with one sentence in your letter: ‘many of us are not delusional’ for me is not enough, I’d say supporting Kerry is *only* non-delusional position in this election, even if I too will join, possibly, a protest in favor of a clear plan of withdrawal from Iraq if a while elapses without me seeing one come out of the White House.

    A Kerry presidency is the only hope of doing something about the seriously dangerous shit, the 40% that are delusionally behind Bush. What to do?

    Michael seems to think they’re gone, lost to wingnuttery. I say we can attract 10% back to sanity, isolate the other 30%, go from there. Hopefully generate enough movement for a future reform of the political system. Will progressives be able to play a role there? Will we accept as ours the task of doing something about the horrible fracture that the Bush presidency has created in the country? Cheers,

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  06:21 AM
  8. Does this mean that after November 2nd we should give Kerry a free ride no matter what his actions are?  If he decides to escalate the war on Iraq, are we supposed to say OK?  If he starts pushing deficit reduction and changes his mind about health care reform, are we supposed to say nothing?  If you are trying to get progressives to vote for Kerry, you can’t expect us to support him after the election unless he shows be his actions that he intends to make life better for the majority of the country.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  06:49 AM
  9. The Rude Pundit has been on FIRE of late.....

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  07:16 AM
  10. Okay, not like the squirming pundits you cite have real left credibility, but it seems perfectly reasonable to me that a self-respecting leftist would hold his or her nose while voting for Kerry.  Not because of his motivations but because of his politics.  The whole character thing (including the Rude Pundit’s endorsement) seems like such a diversion.  Yes, he’s 100% better than Bush (as was Clinton) but both of them have been terribly wrong on a whole range of issues (NAFTA, welfare, etc.).  So yeah, the pundits were stupid, but on policy I did really vote for Kerry as the lesser of two evils, and I’m not apologetic about that.  Whether my absentee ballot will actually count is a whole other thing.


    Posted by Jonathan  on  10/29  at  07:30 AM
  11. Thanks for the Rude Pundit link—I had read this excerpted elsewhere but had not got around to reading the original. You do the best job I have seen of taking down the ludicrous Slate staff endorsements. And BTW, how old are you? I had been assuming you were 35 or so, in which case you would have had the option of joining the armed forces and going to war oh, about 13 years ago was it?

    Posted by Jeremy Osner  on  10/29  at  08:02 AM
  12. The past few days I’ve been listening to Don Imus ranting about Kerry in the camouflage suit; Kerry saying mean things about Mary Cheney; Kerry being opportunistic about the missing weapons-- he didn’t have the facts. Imus’s still going to vote for him, but.... It makes me want to throw the radio at the wall.  Why do liberals pick their candidates to death?  Can’t we leave that to Karl Rove? Is it self hatred?  Can Kerry be more of a brie-eating, narcissistic, effete baby-boomer than any of us? Is it that many of us weren’t good at team sports?  Do we know how to WIN?

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  09:19 AM
  13. Glenn has pretty much nailed the silliness of our “independent"-minded friends over at Slate. But I think there’s something at work here beyond Weisberg, Noah, Saletan, etc.’s adherence to mushy, DLC-inspired Liebermanism. It seems to me that there’s a very inside-the-beltway stance at Slate that dictates that strong, passionate beliefs of any kind are suspect. Even if they agreed with every aspect of Kerry’s platform, even if they actually liked the guy, the folks at Slate would find it extremely difficult to come out and say so, because the one thing the “beltway independent” will never do is be strongly for anything. In their view, people who feel strongly about politics and act accordingly are to be treated with a kind of bemused contempt. There’s a reason that William Saletan referred to Howard Dean as a “suicide bomber"--he gave a shit.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  09:21 AM
  14. Marianne19 (and others), there’s a very simple reason that liberal or left-leaning pundits have a tendency to criticize their own candidates. No, it’s not out of a sense of idealism-fueled-disappointment that the candidate isn’t living up to expectations. Quite simply, it’s from a smarmy sense of intellectual superiority. Their self-perception is that they pay more attention to the goings-on in the wide world, that they are more informed about issues, and that they are more rational than their conservative counterparts (who are, moreover, too often these days part of a Republican party message machine). All that’s well and good, but at a certain point it leads to the same thing as in grade school: the smart kid suddenly thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, and as such criticizes everyone else because HE could do a better job. On top of that, liberals look at the Republican party’s (kind of scary) zeal for hagiography and hero-worship, and veer in the opposite direction where suddenly they refuse to be inspired or moved by leaders at all. Put it together and you have the tepid I’ll-endorse-him-but-only-because-he’s-the-only-choice endorsements that we’re all talking about. It says that they’re not blind lemmings like (they think) Republicans, and in any case they have better ideas, if only someone would listen to them.

    And you wonder why centrist Bush voters have the same response to Democrats that they do to the annoying smart kid in high school: Even if he is right, that prick still deserves a wedgie.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  09:58 AM
  15. There’s something else very interesting going on with endorsements, too.

    Posted by Sally Greene  on  10/29  at  10:11 AM
  16. OK, Sally Greene, I’ll bite.

    And as far as the editors of Slate are concerned, I don’t see any of them running for office. It’s really easy to hide behind a computer screen and complain. Whiny little cowards.

    Personally, I admire Kerry’s guts for being willing to take on the total catastrophe he is going to inherit.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  10:25 AM
  17. Wendy, did you look at the link in my post? I’m not defending the Slate editors at all. I agree that Kerry has guts.

    Posted by Sally Greene  on  10/29  at  11:11 AM
  18. It’s a very interesting phenomenon.  I notice The Economist’s endorsement was equally luke warm.  You know, paranoia breeds paranois breeds fear and caution, and I don’t know when we’ve ever had such a paranoid administration.  Wonder if it doesn’t just make some want to cover their rears...just in case!  Seems fruitless to me, but understandable in some measure.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  11:29 AM
  19. Thanks for the response, Sally. The link doesn’t show up any differently than the rest of the post does, so I missed it. But I knew from the tone of your original post that you weren’t slamming Kerry, I just didn’t know what you were referring to. I’ll check it out now.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  11:31 AM
  20. RE: Noah,…

    Noah, I am 48 and wasnt old enough to vote until McGovern, so your comparison list is pretty irrelevant.  In fact a few years before one had to be 21 to vote, not 18.  You werent there to analyze the prospect of voting for Kennedy or Johnson anymore than you were available to vote for or against Harding, Lincoln and Hoover.

    So I heard on NPR yesterday that only 4 of you would vote for Bush, but apparently the rest of you are just a bunch of whining bitches unhappy about being faux liberals.  I hope you dont all work in the same office ... no wait, I hope you do.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  11:38 AM
  21. I like Slate.


    Posted by  on  10/29  at  12:08 PM
  22. These twits never had anything to worry about in their life.  No hard choices to make.  Ivy league educations.  And their writing still sounds like they’re doing an essay for some poli sci seminar at Amherst—it’s the form that counts, really, since there are no real world consequences.  Their snottiness is repulsive.

    It makes me think, more seriously, that it would be a good thing if more of our press corps had ever been in the Army.  I see that responsible people who have are almost universally for Kerry in a strong way.  Look at former Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, coming out for Kerry, and mentioning that they share the experience of fighting in Viet Nam.  Much of the older generation of Republicans are doing the same—names like Eisenhower, Milliken, and many others.  I think those older folks know the real thing when they see it.  Our baby pundits, on the other hand, who have never done much but go to school and write essays, still hold onto their schoolboy obsessions with the candidates’ hair styles or social backgrounds, and have no notion about what gives someone the “right stuff.”

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  12:13 PM
  23. I am the age of Kerry, Bush and Cheney, and thus was around for the draft and Vietnam.  It was the biggest issue of the day.  It consummed everyone.  I admire Kerry for doing what Bush, Cheney and I did not do - serve the country, find out first hand what was going on in Nam.
    It was a fearsome place - over 50K dead Americans.  Given Bush and Cheney’s track record back then, I do not know how they can order men into combat, they should not be allowed to.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  12:28 PM
  24. A double “right-on” to you and the rude pundit.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  12:30 PM
  25. Michael,

    like ‘Dr Wu’, I think you are ‘right-on’.  And not just the major ‘liberal’ media work under the terms you have described but also an allegedly ‘left’ magazine like “The Nation”.  One of its writers, Bruce Shapiro, comments on American matters for Australian radio and he has made many a condescending, even pompous remark on Kerry but does nothing comparable when it comes to GWB. 

    Helga from ‘down under’

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  12:53 PM
  26. Hi. I’m Troy McClure.  You may remember me from such postings as “Why Doesn’t Everyone Shut Up and Just Vote for Gore, Dammit!!” and “Someone Explain How the Hell that Colonel Klink-sounding Bodybuilder from ‘Predator’ Took California from Us?!”

    If I may, I think there’s a point to be made here: we should not give in to this whole “voter likability” nonsense.  We Democrats have a proud tradition, from McGovern to today, of finding clammy-palmed, private-schooled douchebags who are able to pander to every one of our outdated interests and ideologies in the blink of an eye, yet bravely ignore the qualities and demeanor that connect to Wal-Mart shoppers in flyover country. Sure, Bill Clinton was the one time that we ignored our own precedent and went for charisma, but where did that get us? 

    Rudepundit is right.  Those commoners in the suburbs and the prairies, as well as those “independent thinkers” at Slate and in poltical science departments, will only come around by seeing enlightened liberals like us actually down on our knees skull-stroking John Kerry.  Let’s swallow more than our pride, I say.  Only then will the truth be seen.  And, of course, that truth depends on whatever goofy stances we have to take to oppose the White House.

    Which reminds me, what is our stance today?  I’ve been so busy keying cars and stealing lawn signs, I’m a few days behind.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  01:20 PM
  27. Noah must be an idiot.  He actually liked Dukakis?  I’m from MA and was living here when Dukakis was in office.  Pardon my French, but Dukakis was a horse’s ass.  And a homophobe.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  01:21 PM
  28. I agree with Helga, who agrees with Dr Wu, who agrees with Michael, who agrees with Rude Pundit.

    People need to stop taking short-cuts to information.  Read everything, listen to the whole speech/debate yourself.  The media is not going to do it for you.  Only then can you make a truly informed choice.

    Choose substance over appearance!

    Toni from ‘down under 2’

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  01:26 PM
  29. Two quick reposites:

    1.  I was probably too defensive with Cockburn in not saying he is the one who is delusional, not us Kerry voters.

    2.  I do not think the 40% who are currently blindly following Bush are “lost.” We can get them back, but it will take honest, economic populism with a focus on bin Laden with Allied support.

    Best to everyone.  Keep the faith!

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  01:52 PM
  30. Frank Rich pulled the exact same shit just the other day: Strong denunciation of Bush, coupled with his awful, awful worry that we might spend four years behing horribly bored by John Kerry.

    Posted by DavidNYC  on  10/29  at  03:15 PM
  31. I’m tired of these pundit assholes trying to act like there’s never a good candidate.  I mean Jesus, I just wanna shake them and ask:

    “So has there ever been ANYONE you genuinely liked?  Or are you just acting disaffected because you’re “to cool” to give a shit?”

    Seriously, these people bug the living shit out of me.  It’s not the candidates’ job to overwhelm you with sparkles and lights, they’re running for President for Christ sake.  This is very serious stuff.  This is the leader of the free world here.  Wake the fuck up and realize that there are real consequences to who becomes President, and that such petty matters as “likeability” should be the last thing you ought to be worried about.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  03:29 PM
  32. You, sir, ROCK!

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  04:08 PM
  33. Posted by  on  10/29  at  04:52 PM
  34. I wish all you people who weren’t old enough to vote for McGovern would quit insulting the guy.  My first vote for President was for Kennedy, and since that time, the only vote I’ve been able to remember with pride was my vote for McGovern.  He was (and is) a decent, honest, and courageous man who was beaten by the smarmiest, most dishonest, and most criminal scoundrel who ever stole an election, despite his being correct on every issue—including his opposition to Nixon’s war—that came up in the 1972 election.  That Nixon clawed his way back to an utterly undeserved “rehabilitation” by the sycophantic scum who run our public discourse, while McGovern is now just another name for “loser” is as much a disgrace to the honor of this country as is the fact that the current criminal occupant of the White House still has a chance to steal this election.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  04:56 PM
  35. Wow, you really nailed it (as usual)!

    With “friends” like these, Senator Kerry would have more of a chance with his enemies.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  04:59 PM
  36. What’s going on here? I halfway expect an imminent deus ex machina; is this all a hallucination?  Never have I seen such fervor, notwithstanding those pathetic dweebs over at Slate!  Praise be to Rude Pundit, to Berube, and to all of you rockin’ comment posters.  My tattered faith is being restored.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  05:29 PM
  37. "No political courage”, as in for example:

    1.  Standing up against the Nixon Administration, earning himself his personal dirty-trickster-for-life, John O’Neill and getting the FBI to monitor his every move.

    2.  Blowing open the Iran-Contra scandal by following the guns-for-cocaine trade engaged in by CIA contractors, thereby earning him the label of conspiracy kook… until CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz confirmed everything he said.

    3. Blowing apart BCCI (aka Bank of Criminals and Crooks International) thereby earning himself the eternal enmity of the Bush family, a family that does nothing except revenge particularly well. 

    Anybody who holds their nose while voting for Kerry is probably doing so because they have a pantsload.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  06:29 PM
  38. Frankly, I pretty much agree with Slate.

    Disclosure: I voted Green, and would have done so if I lived in Ohio or Florida.)

    I don’t know if I’d go quite as far as Noah, but the 2004 Democratic primary field was as weak as 1988; before that, as weak as 1972.

    Despite Carter’s fractiousness, I think I’d rate him higher than Kerry.

    I do think Kerry’s 2002 pro-war (excuse me, pro-force) vote on Iraq was, indeed, political opportunism with an eye already on the next presidential campaign.

    And that, more than anything else, is why I voted Green.


    Posted by  on  10/29  at  07:55 PM
  39. OK, so I posted this thing before dashing off to my all-day meeting, then I ran to the train station, hopped my train, and eighteen hours after updating this pompous blog, I’m back home.  Meanwhile, nine thousand visitors have dropped by and there’s a whole conversation here I didn’t know about.  But I have to get to sleep because I’ve got a 7 am hockey game tomorrow, so for now I can only say this:  Jeremy, I’m 43 and registered for Selective Service in 1979, on my 18th birthday, when Carter reinstated registration in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (an interesting event, in retrospect, no?); Jonathan, please feel free to hold your nose!  I’m holding mine too, but with nothing like the force with which I clamped down for Gore/Lieberman, Clinton/Gore, Dukakis/Bentsen, or Mondale/Ferraro (in 1980 I voted for Commoner/Harris)-- please, please don’t confuse the nose-pinching of the centrist Slate/TNR CW with the nose-pinching of progressives (this goes for you too, Steve!); Sergio, I assure you that this blog will not give President Kerry a free ride, even if he shows up as a regular commenter; and last but not least, thanks to everyone for stopping by and shouting out.

    As for Mr. Doghouse Riley:  you could become a Beltway Independent if only you had the courage to acknowledge that Dr. King did, in fact, meet a lot of girls with that whole ‘civil rights’ gig.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/29  at  07:57 PM
  40. Its the Kausification of Slate really.

    It’s so convienent to just name it after Kaus that that is what I am going to do.

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  09:38 PM
  41. Slate is like “Queer Eye for the Democrat Guy” - it is really gay and effete, irreverent, hypercritical. Nothing is ever right. Saletan and Suellentrop savaged Kerry through the Democratic primaries, as did Hitchens and the whole crew. It is amazing to see how they came around to endorsing Kerry at all. Slate’s favorite word and take on things seems to be “boring” and “boredom”, and it is this ennui and anomie, I guess, that keeps bringing readers back. I like Cagle and the political cartoons which is a great contribution.

    Peter M.

    Posted by  on  10/30  at  03:59 AM
  42. Bravo.

    Posted by  on  10/30  at  05:21 AM
  43. heterosexism, anyone?

    Posted by Jonathan  on  10/30  at  05:42 AM
  44. Posted by Bean  on  10/30  at  07:11 AM
  45. Brian;

    Going Upriver isn’t all peaches and cream for Kerry.
    In the movie, one of his friends from Vietnam says he believes, in essense, opportunism triumphed over principle in his run for president.

    I’ve got a comment about that on my blog at:

    Posted by  on  10/30  at  07:44 AM
  46. Hey Michael, there is a new Paglia column at Salon.  Please read it so I don’t have to!

    Posted by  on  10/30  at  07:46 AM
  47. Now I know why I don’t read Slate anymore. To make matters worse, if you want to leave a comment in the “fray”, you have to use MS Passport.

    Posted by  on  10/30  at  07:55 AM
  48. Oh, how I hate those wimps at Slate, afraid to take a stand, “reluctantly” voting for Kerry.  I feel like slapping them, saying “Come on, be FOR something!” It’s that “above the fray” attitude that’s so infurating.  And to hell with the right wing assaults they might have to endure.  If you can’t take it, get out of the business.  This is not naive, idealistic youth talking.  I’m 57 for God’s sake! 

    I remember when I first heard of the Vietnam Vets Against the War.  What a great, admirable bunch of guys, I thought, and hey, Kerry was their leader!  Try to imagine those jerks at Slate doing anything remotely like that.

    Posted by  on  10/30  at  09:49 AM
  49. I don’t know the journalists at Slate.

    But I do know some journalists.  I’ve worked with some journalists.  Some journalists are friends of mine.

    And, I, sir, am no journalist.

    I am though a guy with a theory as to what’s the matter with the press corps on the whole.

    Fatigue.  Intellectual and moral.

    They’ve seen too much and it’s worn away their ability to care about what they’re looking at anymore.

    Anyway, I may be no journalist, and I’m certainly no John Kerry.  But I’m an opportunist and I’m pompous.  Here’s more of my theory:


    Posted by Dave Reilly  on  10/30  at  05:57 PM
  50. Posted by  on  10/30  at  06:27 PM
  51. Frank Rich’s piece in the Sunday Times had much the same tone—Bush may be deplorable, capable of doing deep and permanent damage to our republic, but Kerry’s no Fred Astaire. I’m also reminded of Stanly Fish’s op-ed piece before the debates, contrasting two speeches - one (delivered verbatim) by Bush, another by Kerry (with a couple of slightly infelicitous improvisations)- leading to his confident and sorrowful declaration that Bush was in greater possession of his ideas, that, as a Democrat, he trembled to think what Kerry might do in the upcoming debates. Of course, as any non-pundit might have guessed, Kerry demolished Bush in the debates and seemed, to say the least, in possession of a great deal that Bush lacked.

    Posted by  on  11/01  at  07:41 AM





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