Monday, January 26, 2004

Silly Sully

Last night in our little conversation Silly Sully said the following:

...what you'll never hear atrios do, is criticize the left...

after which I deservedly called him a liar. He then posted the following “challenge:”

On the radio last night, I made the point that blogger Atrios never seems to criticize the left. He denied this and called it a lie. So I asked him to cite a recent case in which he criticized the left or had anything good to say about president Bush. He couldn't. Well, he's now got plenty of time to prove me wrong. Let's see a few recent examples of his taking on the left or defying pure partisanship. If he can't, I'd appreciate him withdarwing the notion that I was committing a lie.

He's already shifting the goal post, requiring that I also demonstrate that I ever praise Bush and also wants recent examples.

The thing is, of course, is that no matter what I write in “defense” of the challenge, debate team gold star winner Andy will declare victory. You see, it all depends on how we define “the left” and what it means to criticize them.

I'm not sure what “the left” means in Andy's world. Sometimes it's Salon and the New York Times. Sometimes it's Tom Daschle. Sometimes it's Hillary Clinton. Sometimes it's the mythical Transnational Progressivism movement, operated out of Barbra Streisand's basement. Sometimes it's some guy with a sign somewhere that Andy doesn't like. Sometimes it's a website in the Netherlands which proves the existence of a liberal fifth column operating out of liberal blue state enclaves like Provincetown and Washington, D.C.

As for criticize, I'm sure what Andy will require is that I've criticized them in a way he agrees with. It won't be enough to prove I'm ever critical of the Left, but critical of them from a perspective he endorses.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I regularly criticize the New York Times and Salon. I've criticized the American Prospect and even the liberal New Republic. I regularly criticize the congressional leadership. I've criticized Daschle for selling out for farm interests. I've criticized Clinton, Kerry, Lieberman, and Edwards for their Iraq war votes. I've criticized Russ Feingold for voting to confirm John Ashcroft. I've criticized Dennis Kucinich for his abortion flipflop. I've criticized all of the major Democratic candidates for various things they've done in the campaign. I've criticized the Dems for passing that Medicare nonsense. Given that they're the minority party, there's little to criticize them for doing proactively – such as stupid legislation they've proposed . They're the minority party – they can't do much but react. But, I've criticized Fritz Holling for being behind stupid digital copyright-related stuff. I called for Jim Moran to resign from his leadership position after his anti-Semitic comments, as did Nancy Pelosi, and he subsequently did step down. I said that their little “pledge of allegiance under God” performance was when I was most embarassed to be a Democrat. Andy may not agree with these criticisms, but they are criticisms nonetheless.

The implication of Andy's statement is that in order to make “my team” look good, I only ever criticize the other team. That's what a hyper-partisan would do – never find foul with anything they do. So, if, say, Tom Daschle proposed a constitutional amendment banning abortion I'd say “You rock Tom! That's Great!” despite my lifelong opposition to such a thing. I don't do that. I can't think of any major person/entity/publication on “the left” that I haven't criticized.

I don't care what some guy with a sign or some other person-we're-going-to-pretend-is-representative-of-the-left says or does. I don't really feel the need to scream and shout every time Cockburn writes something I don't agree with, largely because I never read him. He doesn't represent me or the Democratic party, so why should I? I have no idea what Transnational Progrsesivism is, and I really don't understand why the Left gets equated with Militant Islamic Fundamentalism simply because we're occasionally insufficiently enthused about indscriminately bombing countries which have nothing to do with it. Generally, there's little point in critcizing the powerless, and only in the fevered imagination of Adam Yoshida do the elements of the left which are unpleasant to me actually have any political or financial power.

But, once again, Andy showed himself to be the small little man that he is. I had my list of “things to attack Andy with just in case” at hand, but after listening to 100 minutes of cordial nonconfrontational discussion about blogs it really didn't seem appropriate. It wasn't.