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Hey, Rubes!


Did you know that Joe Klein of Newsweek Time magazine is not an employee of the Republican National Committee or a registered Republican voter? It’s true! And yet, just days ago, at this very site, I referred to Joe Klein and Cokie Roberts as "two Republican reporters." Try to believe I said it!

On Wednesday, the Daily Howler‘s Bob Somerby reviewed my July 2 Talking Head Review, and he kicked me to the curb like an unsolicited manuscript concerning the 2000 election. Bob says he’s caught me red-handed, pulling the wool over your eyes.

Let me introduce my good friend Bob to the literary device known as comic hyperbole. Here’s how it works.

We take a political columnist who is well-known for fact-free and unsubtle diatribes against Democratic pols and the Democratic Party. One who says things such as the following:

Such sobriety seems beyond the reach of most Democrats. They make fools of themselves even when they speak the truth.

And this:

He [Peter Beinart] is not afflicted by the excesses, delusions, indulgences or grandiosity of the current leaders of the Democratic Party.

…the "progressive" reluctance to acknowledge the possibility of the judicious use of American power, even when the world supports it (as the United Nations did during the first gulf war), has crippled the Democratic Party’s credibility on matters of national security in perpetuity.

And even this:

[Al Gore] is a smug, stubborn, and aloof human being. He will clutter the race in 2004, suck money from other candidates, force some interesting possibilities from the field, run another awkward, tired faux-populist campaign and, if nominated, he will lose, more decisively this time, to George W. Bush.

And, based upon the man’s own words (which are well-known to the supposedly gullible readers of this site), we label Klein a Republican. Amusing, no?

Somerby says: It’s bad to characterize Klein as a Republican because he sometimes says things critical of the Republican Party in general or specific Republicans in particular.

I say: When you become a serial purveyor of fraudlent talking points concerning Democrats which are indistingiushable from Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman’s Greatest Fundraising Speeches, you deserve ridicule. And that includes the insult you earn from the content of your running commentary: Republican.

Oh, sure, I could have accused JoeK of having "Millionaire Pundit Values" or of "typing up scripts." I could have called him a "fake," or a "celebrity." Indeed, I could point out that JoeK "want[s] to trash major Democrats only," and then express the most profound bewilderment as to Joe’s possible motive for doing so.

Instead, I called him a Republican. I did it my way.

The other charge of misinformation on the Somerby bill of particulars involves Wall Street Journal national politics editor John Harwood.  Somerby assures us — in italics — that John "isn’t a ‘rightwinger,’" as I asserted. He fails, however, to make a meticulous case for that proposition, so we’ll just have to take his word for it.

Or we could consider one of Harwood’s own recent statements, such as this one from February in which he identifies his favorite blogs:

My favorite and most frequent destination is, which has a great collection of current polling data and links to smart commentators. I like Marshall Wittmann’s blog, I tend to visit blogs not at a set time but rather because I’ve heard of something especially there or I want to sample activist reaction to a specific political development. Those include redstate, instapundit, huffingtonpost and dailykos. (Emphasis added.)

Harwood identifies two personal favorites, Real Clear Politics and The Bull Moose Blog.

Real Clear Politics links to a wide variety of sites and oped pieces, but claims very few commentators as its own. Those would include John Stossel, John Leo,  Thomas Sowell, Michael Barone, Larry Kudlow, Jed BabbinV.D. Hanson…. Beginning to notice a pattern?

Need more clear proof as to RCP’s real politics? Ask Real Clear Politics’ own readers, if you can get them to stop prattling on about the "sick" and "twisted" supporters of reproductive rights, the insanity of marriage equality, and those "parasit[ic]" victims of Hurricane Katrina. What’s not for a wingnut to love?

And then there’s The Moose. What comes to mind when you think of The Hudson Institute, The Heritage Foundation, The Christian Coalition and an "unofficial DLC blog" championing the candidacy of John McCain? What exactly does John Harwood like so much about the Bull Moose Blog — the daily single post portraying liberals as traitors, appeasers, nuts and Jew-haters — or — the pretty pictures of Teddy Roosevelt and a red and blue moose at the top?

I don’t see how I ever got the idea that Harwood is a right-winger. Many folks endorse as their "favorites" those political websites which espouse views directly opposite to their own. No, Harwood isn’t a right-winger; he’s a certified wingnut.

As for Somerby’s assertion that "you were told [by me] that it was too odious to discuss what was said on this program [meaning This Week] because it was all so Republican-scripted," it just ain’t true. What I did tell you was that it was a beautiful day, one too nice to spend too much time typing up G.O.P. talking points.  And, yes, in referring to "the panels," I was referring to not only This Week, but also Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday, which featured the talking points of long-standing G.O.P. partisans Bill Bennett, Bill Safire and Bill Kristol (not to mention rightwingers Brit Hume and John Harwood). Including Fred Thompson on This Week, that’s four indisputably affiliated and employed Republicans to zero Dems. Sorry, Bob, but I prefer self-pity to self-delusion.

Tomorrow: I emit low, mordant chuckles.

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