Glenn's reply to my open letter
My original letter is here.
Glenn's response, followed by mine to him:
Thanks for sending me that email letting me know of your post. The email you sent it to is one I really don't use any more and only check very sporadically, so I am only seeing it now.
I registered for an account at Corrente a few days ago in order to post a comment correcting a false claim that was made about me there, but my account hasn't been approved, so I haven't been able to comment.
I understand the point you're making but it's all grounded in a false premise - the same false premise as the other Corrente post: that I was an Obama supporter during the primary. I just wasn't. I didn't support Obama either in public, in private, or in secret in my brain, and that's not going to change no matter how many times Hillary supporters assert that I did.
For many reasons, I largely didn't write about the primary wars. I didn't really feel strongly about any one candidate. I would have supported any of the plausible Democratic candidates more or less to the same extent over McCain. Even if I had a strong preference, which I didn't, I didn't think that I could have any impact on the race no matter how often I wrote about it. And I didn't want to support a candidate and thereby impede my ability to work on the issues that I write about and work on.
So it's completely false to say that I had some role to play in Obama's nomination or that I am only waking up now to his flaws, etc. etc. That's just all fabricated out of whole cloth.
The very few times I wrote about the primaries, I tended to focus on media issues -- I criticized the media treatment of Hillary on several occasions and did the same with Obama. Starting in late February, I did believe Obama was likely to be the nominee, and so focused on media treatment of him more, but I never advocated that Obama be the nominee or that Hillary should leave the race.
I criticized Obama in the past as well -- for circulating what I thought to be an overtly and inappropriately religious flier in South Carolina and for failing to take a leadership role on FISA. The only time I criticized Hillary, as I can recall, is for her lack of leadership on FISA, and I criticized Bill for his Jesse Jackson comment about Obama in S.C.
That was the sum and substance of my involvement in the primary. I'm well aware of Obama's flaws as a candidate and long have been. I recall vividly what he did during the Connecticut Lieberman/Lamont primary. I'm supporting him now and criticizing him when he deserves it exactly as I would have been had Hillary been the nominee.
There's a tendency on the part of people for whom a strong primary preference was their overriding political concern to project that mindset onto others. Not everyone shared that mentality and I definitely didn't. There were bloggers who were reverent of Obama and hostile to Hillary -- but I wasn't one of them, and I have to say that I resent to some degree the willingness of people to simply concoct facts about what I wrote and did and then assert them as though they're true. I'm not saying you did that -- I found your comment thoughtful and insightful -- but it was grounded in the same myth that I was "pro-Obama" in the primary.
Feel free to post this on Corrente. I would have posted it myself, but my comment registration wasn't approved.
Glenn, thank you for your reply.
I'm sorry about your difficulty in getting an account. For a number of reasons, our process for approving accounts has gotten seriously bollixed up, and quite a few folks are frustrated. I hope we can work out the kinks before too long. It would be great to see you comment here, if and when you are moved to do so.
The premise of my letter/post was not that you were an Obama supporter (or an uncritical one, if you were). It was that the left blogosphere, with staggeringly few exceptions, joined the mainstream media in embracing the kind of malignant Manichean mentality that you wrote a book about.
The "intellectual," "activist," and "creative classes" of the Democratic Party collectively decided and ritually repeated that Obama was a transformative savior and that Hillary was a Rovian racist warmonger-assassin witch with Multiple-Personality Disorder, bent on destroying her own party in pursuit of her selfish, entitled aims. A small bit of searching on leading sites like Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, and most any A-list blog's comments threads (and, frequently, the posts themselves), will show how routinely these ridiculous positions were put forth, often with the barest of criticism.
If wishes were mulligans, I'd like to have seen you focus some (or more, if you did some that I'm falling to recollect) of your astute and articulate how-we-fix-America attentions on that problem when there was still time for the candidates to have been properly vetted and properly pressured to earn their progressive bona fides.
As one of the most insightful critics of the Beltway's smarmy and deceptive "bipartisanship" meme, perhaps you might feel that in retrospect Obama's post-partisan agenda needed to be called out more loudly and regularly for its utter dishonesty and for its deleterious effect on whatever small resolve the Democrats may have had to protect and restore the Constitution and other foundations of American decency and legitimacy.
As time-travel, like impeachment, is off the table, my goal is to encourage you to tell the story of how progressive netroots helped get us into this fix, how the Left — just when the public was truly ready for real change — got just as lost in truthiness as the Right has been since St. Ronnie ascended to the White House. It seems an awfully fitting theme to envelope into your arguments about the hazards of placing Obama beyond criticism, as his own set of angel wings prepare to waft him into that stately home.
If you feel it would be gainful, I could describe where I did get the impression that you leaned somewhat more toward Obama than Hillary, but IMHO that topic is something of a red herring in this discussion. I don't dispute that you were at least relatively even-handed as a rule, and I unreservedly take you at your word about your true preferences or lack thereof among the candidates.
My goal is to enlist those who would listen into helping us all understand and learn from what went wrong in the blogosphere during this campaign and to help determine what steps should be taken to build a Progressive Blogosphere 2.0 that won't fly off the rails at the first glimpse of shiny, hopey promise or at a suddenly tempting whiff of old, unfounded smears against Democrats.
Again, I thank you for your taking the time to respond and for blowing the whistle on Obama and company's outrageous capitulation on FISA and more.