If you're keeping score at home, this week, speaking on behalf of the home side, Peter Beinart suggests we all jettison Michael Moore, who's never done anything except make a lot of successful movies and support Wesley Clark. Meanwhile, across the field, not only does C-Plus Augustus do a photo op with an accused child-diddling parson, but also David Brooks uses his prime piece of real estate to popularize a eugenics Creepazoid from deep on the fringes of the fringe. And there's your national dialogue for you: Democrats must keep their best friends in the attic while Republicans keep the bats**t brigade right there in the front hall.
Moore apparently has become a punchline for "all that social justice stuff," among the DLC corpocrats. Bruce Reed cited him on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal -- and what a fine place THAT is to find a Democrat. (I hope Vince Foster's family thinks to call Bruce over the holidays to compliment him on his new pals.) On CSPAN, I also heard Moore's name used in vain by none other than strategist Jim Jordan who, when we last heard from him, had John Kerry running a strong fourth in New Hampshire, but widening his narrow lead over both Al Sharpton and Trigger.
Thanks for coming back, Jim. Mine's the gray Buick. Bring it around, will you?
(And while we're at it, the Slate piece about MoveOn.org was another prize, especially the blind quotes from an "aide to one of the Democratic presidential candidates," and if the candidate in question isn't Weepin' Joe Lieberman, I'll eat Michael Kinsley's hat. Note to Slate -- there are any number of rightist groups whose only function is to "excite a finite universe" of hysterical wingnuts, and the Republicans seem fairly cool with it.)
As long as we're cutting people loose, here's a notion. How's about we start ignoring The New Republic for a while? I mean, it's been a pretty good 20-year run for the Singer midgets since they signed aboard Ronald Reagan's Excellent Nun-Slaughtering adventures in Central America. People still take them nearly as seriously as they take themselves -- and this is despite Ruthie Shalit and Stevie Glass, and the Bell Curve, and Liz McCaughey's health-care horsepucky, and Beinart's own defense of on-your-Beltway-duff reporting from a couple of months back. Turning a highly successful -- would TNR really like to measure itself against the works of Michael Moore using any of the conventional benchmarks of American success? -- progressive activist into cheap shorthand in order to advance the progressive cause is a strategy that leads me to believe that maybe some of the golden children need to get out into the country more.
As near as I can tell, the worst thing most rank-and-file progressives have said about Michael Moore is that he's a lousy boss. (And, boy, is THAT not an argument available to any TNR editor.) Whatever quibbles you may have had against his movie --and I'm not sure that this particular magazine ever will be in a position to quibble about anyone's facts again --the movie showed the country an awful lot that the country's alleged media gatekeepers declined to show it while they went haring after the fantastical grounds of an increasingly bloody war. If some of the suckers are feeling a little guilty now, that's their problem, not Michael Moore's.
And, Dr. Alterman says he's co-hosting the Majority Report on Monday. Dr. Atrios will be doing it on Tuesday and Wednesday.