Does he offend you because he says he a liberal? No. He offends because he’s dishonest.
There is a part of me that wants to put this whole Tottencrat/liberal thing in a box, and then blow up the box. But then I read something that he writes and wonder why anyone would ever pay him for his work. It’s not that he’s a bad writer, he’s…well, okay. But let’s face it, Kevin Drum, Jim Capozzola, or Jeanne at Body & Soul could write rings around him on his best day. It’s that he’s either sloppy (see how many times he has to correct his posts by reading his comment sections) or, well, prone to misrepresentation to make his point. And one would think that someone who manages a grand total of one post everyday would at least take the time to do a bit of research, instead of quoting NewsMax or, worse, a Drudge headline, before shooting off his…keyboard.
Case in point, from his comments section:
The problem I have with Wesley Clark is that he says he would let France veto our foreign policy. And since France’s foreign policy is to explicity contradict ours (the “hyperpuissance” must be tied down for the sake of the world), Wesley Clark would paint the US into a corner.
Now, he’s a smart enough fellow, and I have a feeling he would grow in office and figure out what the French are up to. But, like I said, I only have a feeling this is the case. I can’t prove it to myself or anyone else. I could be wrong and giving him too much credit, and so I don’t want to chance it.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 7, 2004 06:50 PM
Here is what Gen. Clark said:
CLARK: Well, if I were president right now, I would be doing things that George Bush canâ€™t do right now, because heâ€™s already compromised those international bridges. I would go to Europe and I would build a new Atlantic charter. I would say to the Europeans, you know, weâ€™ve had our differences over the years, but we need you. The real foundation for peace and stability in the world is the transatlantic alliance. And I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as the American president that weâ€™ll consult with you first. You get the right of first refusal on the security concerns that we have. Weâ€™ll bring you in.
And in return, we want the same right on your security concerns. And that would reinvigorate NATO. We then put the foundation in place to have a real transatlantic agreement. And working with our allies in Europe, we could move the world. Weâ€™re 600, 700 million people, weâ€™re three permanent seats on the Security Council, weâ€™re half the worldâ€™s GDP. We can do it. Whether itâ€™s dealing with North Korea, the value of Chinese currency, or the problems of nuclear developments in Iran. And so thatâ€™s the essential first step. George Bush cannot do it. Heâ€™s compromised those ties. It starts with personal respect. He doesnâ€™t have it. Heâ€™s forfeited it. I do.
The first thing that you will notice is that Gen. Clark doesn’t even mention France, but if Totten doesn’t play the dump-on-the-French card, well, his little buddies like Glenn Reynolds and Andy Sullivan and all the “heh heh, we hate France, snerk snerk” damaged-chromosome types will go elsewhere for their gallophobia, and then where would he be? After all, if someone makes a post on their blog and none of the ‘cool kids’ links to it, does it even exist?
The second thing that you’ll notice is that Clark said:
“And I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as the American president that weâ€™ll consult with you first. You get the right of first refusal on the security concerns that we have. Weâ€™ll bring you in.
And in return, we want the same right on your security concerns. And that would reinvigorate NATO. We then put the foundation in place to have a real transatlantic agreement.” (my emphasis).
“Right of first refusal” means that you are giving someone first shot at something, not allowing them to veto it. And if they demur, you move on to the next one. If Totten doesn’t already know what “right of first refusal” means, then he is facing a long, unfulfilling career as a writer. (For more on “right of first refusal” see Prof. Bainbridge).
Maybe I’m being too hard on Totten. He seems like a nice guy (much like Daniel Drezner who has also been known to occasionally reach beyond his grasp) and it’s obvious that he wants to be taken seriously. But when he tosses off little nuggets like his “French veto” comment in order to play to the dumbass crowd, he forfeits the right to be read as a serious writer.