Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Jonathan Chait calls Atrios and Kos left wing loonies

The left-wing blogs have taken after me for this, especially this passage describing the party's left-wing activists: "These are exactly the sorts of fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s. They think in simple slogans and refuse to tolerate any ideological dissent."

Daily Kos has taken particular umbrage....After quoting my column, he proceeds in the next two paragraphs to call my column "obvious crap," "intellectually dishonest," and "bullshit." Oh, and he also calls me a "moron." Atrios, for his part, has taken issue as well. His counterargument, which I hereby quote in its entirety, is this: "Wanker of the Day."

Simple slogans? Refusing to tolerate dissent? Can't imagine where I got that idea.


To paraphrase Kevin Drum If you think that I have no desire to get into the middle of this infantile shouting match, you have not been reading the blog regularly (no surprise almost no one does). I am delighted to agree with Drum that Chait is totally totally wrong, Kos and Atrios are not at all like the " fanatics who tore the party apart in the late 1960s and early '70s." It is in fact so obvious that he is wrong that I think it likely that he did no googling at all to check his claim.

He quotes them and notes support for his claims that they "think" in slogans from the fact that they use slogans and that they "do not tolerate dissent" because they do not respond politely when they are accused of being irrational intollerant fanatics. I would like to dissent from Chait's implicit assertion that totally unfair harsh personal criticism based on false factual premises is exactly identical to dissent, but given his confusion he might sue me for libel (or slander or whichever it is on the web).

Kos and Atrios do indeed use slogans. This suggests that they are the sort of people who understand how politics works (as does their traffic and impact on special elections). They do not think in slogans. It is clear to any regular reader that they mostly think with reasoned argument expressed with words (although I suspect that Atrios, a recovering economist sometimes slips into thinking with numbers and formulae cause it's a hard habit to kick sometimes).

As Chait would have known if he had bothered to check, the brevity, harshness and rudeness of their comments on him is due to the fact that they have read and heard his argument many many times and have attempted to refute his argument with facts and reasoning many times. I think that anyone who has read their long past efforts to refute the argument made by Chait will agree that they have totally utterly refuted it because it is nonsense.

My favorite old proof that Chait is full of it was Kos' response to someone who wrote that James Webb had a shot at the Virginia Senate seat but would have to get past the Kos wing of the party. Kos quoted that claim then noted that he supported Webb. Later Kos wrote a post begging Webb to accept his assistance. I should point out that James Webb called the last class at Annapolis with no women "the last class with balls" and that sexist midshipmen who harass women for both principle and pleasure call themselves Webbites. He aint Jane Fonda, he aint George McGovern he aint even Huber Humphrey. He is a Bush hating Democrat who can win a statewide election in Virginia and for Kos that is plenty.

Kevin Drum , whose patience is infinite, provides a new proof that Chait is wrong.

I want to test Chait's journalistic integrity. Before making his claim about Kos and Atrios he should have checked with google (no google no journalism that's my motto). I can easily find disproofs of Chait's claim e.g. by searching the daily Kos for Webb and wing. That's cheating. I am going to use words which Chait should have used and report back when I have proof.

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