Monday Morning News of note: Sirota slammed, Barkley wises up, McKinney losing ground

The NY Times puts into words the feelings I’ve had about the far left blogosphere for sometime now. In his unflattering critique of David Sirota’sHostile Takeover,” Tobin Harshaw writes:

The clichéd revolutionary language, the wafer-thin allusions to popular culture, and the childish taunts quickly become oppressive.

Unlike blogs, books need editors, but there is no evidence in “Hostile Takeover” that Sirota has ever met one. Despite his creditable analysis, the end product too often reads like the work of a high school newspaper editor going through his Marxist or logical positivist phase: to the author it speaks of revolution; to the reader it resonates immaturity.

Harshaw also takes issue with Sirota’s use of “facts,” something I’ve also questioned Sirota on, and his obsessive disdain with the moderate/centrists of the Democratic party:

Sirota’s facts may be accurate, but the suppositions he draws from them are often questionable…

… While Sirota urges his readers to “remember the real fight, and forget the cocktail party arguments,” his venom seems directed less at the ruling Republicans than at their main opposition, mainstream Democratic centrists… As such, the book Sirota has written is not so much a manifesto for change as a crib sheet for the Democrats’ intramural squabbling.

David Sirota, in true reactionary form, claims the NY Times has embarassed themselves by waiting until the book became a bestseller to review it, and is now on his figurative ememies list:

The Times for months refused to review Hostile Takeover, preferring to try to ignore it. Only when the book hit the bestseller list did the paper realize it was embarrassing itself by its behavior. Not surprisingly, the review that the paper finally agreed to do is indeed a spectacle – and it highlights the fault lines of power that have taken center
stage in American politics.”

The very first point Sirota takes issue with is a claim by the NY Times that Hostile Takeover is “directed less at the ruling Republicans than at their main opposition, mainstream Democratic centrists.”  Sirota writes:

That’s factually inaccurate – the book is roughly 75%-25% critical of
Republicans vs. Democrats, respectively.

I’ve read the book, and though I haven’t done any sort of breakdown on who is attacked the most in it – Republicans or moderate Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – everyone knows Sirota’s schtick is aiming vitriol at moderate Democrats in general and the Democratic Leadership Council specifically. He’s making a career of it.  So if Sirota wants to squabble with the NY Times or anyone else over just how much he is doing it, in this book or elsewhere, there are volumes of source material to refer to.

Sirota also takes issue with Harshaw’s labeling of his style as that of a “high school newspaper editor going through his Marxist or logical positivist phase,” yet Sirota turns around and displays that style in grand fashion as he spins the review:

The Times review then goes into a barrage of cliched attacks calling me, among others, a “Marxist” and a “high school newspaper editor.”

Then, unable to hide a classic op-ed page elitism, Harshaw displays outrage that “a blogger tries to write at length” in book format… That, my friends, is the fault line that is driving everything in today’s politics: a battle between the people inside the Establishment whose careers rely on protecting the status quo and the vast majority of Americans who have been locked out of their own political and media debate.

Imagine that!  A bad review of his book is equated to a battle between “the people inside the Establishment whose careers rely on protecting the status quo and the vast majority of Americans.”  Can Sirota be any more narcissistic?  And by referring to his movement as “small ‘d’ democratic influence, at least Sirota has finally quit pretending he’s a Democrat.  Or maybe his hypocritical side is showing again by inferring his loyalties are to a cause greater than to the Democratic party – the very ideal he has condemned Joe Lieberman for.

Speaking of the target of Sirota’s paranoia, the moderate-centrist Bill Clinton wing of the Democratic party, the Democratic Leadership Council, had their National Conversation this weekend in Denver.  Here are a few reports on it:

The DesMoines Register writes…

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said Sunday he wants to lead a movement to assert the Democratic Party as tough on national security and progressive at home, and made an effort to impress party activists at a national conference here.

“I would like to be identified as a leader who makes sure Americans understand the challenges that we face and that Democrats have the answer,” Vilsack, chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, said in an interview.

Vilsack, who is eyeing a 2008 campaign for president, is not alone in his party by calling on Democrats to project strength abroad and creativity in solving the nation’s economic and social ills.

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who was chairman of the group before Vilsack took over a year ago, is also attending the event and has made national security and strengthening the middle class central to his message as he travels the country testing his support.

“If people don’t first trust us with their lives, they are not going to trust us with anything else,” Bayh said in an interview.

From the Associated Press… 

Rather than being bashful, Democrats should openly talk about their religious beliefs and moral values, say moderates urging the party to court voters beyond the traditional Democratic base to win control of the GOP-run Congress this fall and the presidency in 2008.

“If we continue to have this perception in the Democratic Party that faith can’t be discussed, we’ll continue to lose elections based on wedge issues,” said Terrance Carroll, a Colorado state representative.

The view, espoused by Democrats attending the centrist Democratic Leadership Council’s annual meeting, could irritate liberals who advocate a strict separation of church and state.

But moderates claim that invoking religion will help Democrats connect with churchgoing Americans — including Republicans and independents — who polls show are more apt to vote with the GOP.

“Democrats have run from the values issues. We now have to deal with those issues of faith,” said Randal Mangham, a state representative in Georgia.

More coverage in later Donkey Digest updates.

The netroots, and the online world in general, are delighting in the Charles Barkley statement made at a John Mellencamp concert last weekend.  After Mellencamp introduced his tune “Wall Talk” by announcing, “This next one is for all the poor people who’ve been ignored by the current administration,”  former Vice President Dan Quayle left the show. 

Former NBA great Charles Barkley later stated, “He’s right… the word conservative means discriminatory practically. It’s a form of political discrimination. What do the Republicans run on? Against gay marriage and for a war that makes no sense. A war that was based on faulty intelligence. That’s all they ever talk about. That and immigration. Another discriminatory argument for political gain.”

“I was a Republican until they lost their minds,”  Barkley added.

I agree with Barkely, of course.  But the folks at KOS and other far left blogstops on the left are ignoring his his obvious jab at them.

“The Democrats have done a horrible job,” Barkley said. “A really crappy job. They spend all this time and energy getting on George Bush. They’re going after a guy who’s on the way out in two years no matter what they say anyways. He can’t run again. He can’t get fired. Why are you worrying about him?”

“Democrats have wasted the last two years going after this guy and two years from another election, we don’t have a frontrunner or a plan.”

Charles – you are, of course, referring to the “talk loudly but have no plan” small “d” democrats David Sirota proudly represents.  If you’re looking for common sense, real policy plans, and a political direction, welcome to the middle!

The Atlanta Journal is reporting that Cynthia McKinney’s grip on her district has weakened considerably.

U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney lost support last week in her political stronghold, south DeKalb County, forcing her into a runoff, an analysis of election results shows.

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson, who surprised many with his strong showing in the Democratic primary, made inroads in the predominantly black neighborhoods where McKinney traditionally has enjoyed staunch support. And he carried many precincts in largely white north DeKalb, according to the analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The AJC analysis looked at voter turnout in DeKalb, where most 4th District voters live. The AJC also compared Tuesday’s election returns in 120 DeKalb precincts with the results of McKinney’s 2002 race, which she lost to Denise Majette. (The Georgia Legislature drew new congressional lines in 2005, so only 120 precincts were the same in 2006 as in 2002.)

The analysis found:

•This year, 49 percent fewer voters cast ballots for McKinney than in 2002. That indicates those voters either did not cast ballots Tuesday, or voted for another candidate.

•Overall turnout was significantly lower this year than in 2002. Then, 47 percent of 4th District voters who live in DeKalb went to the polls; this year only 26 percent cast ballots.

•Support for McKinney dropped by an average of 4.5 percentage points across the 120 precincts. She experienced the biggest decline in south DeKalb precincts. In the precincts where McKinney was strongest in 2002, she still won majorities this year but by a lower percentage.

•Johnson had the strongest support in predominantly white north DeKalb, but he received a lower percentage of the vote in many of those precincts than Majette did in 2002. The third opponent, Coyne, received 10 to 20 percent of the vote in many of those precincts.

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