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More Turning of the Tide

chicago dyke's picture

(Warning: I wrote this while suffering a little heat stroke and a failing connection in Dupont circle, so forgive me if it isn't all that it should be. I'll do follow up if I have time-CD)

There’s an interesting book review in the Hill today, which I picked up at the Metro station on the way in from the airport. I’m not sure who Tim Carney is, but it sounds like he’s well informed about several of the issues that concern us a lot on the blogosphere. What I thought most noteworthy about the review, in addition to developing the urge to buy this book, comes from the reviewer’s tone. I also can’t recall reading anything by Ms. Sheffeld, but at the same time I find her work here to be all-too familiar.

She begins with a suggestion that Mr. Carney is or will be persona non grata once this work gets around, because “in a city where government and lobbyists are ubiquitous, he can’t be making many friends...by throwing dirt on the major players in town.” Numerous responses to such a suggestion come to my mind, not the least of them having to do with the idea that one can hardly dirty a pen full of shit-grubbing swine, but I suppose that’s a little extreme.

The book is titled “The Big Rip-off; How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money.” Here’s what made me sure I should check it out: Mr. Carney is a “former reporter for Robert Novack,” which I assume to mean that he did a lot of the hard work while Novakula did the insider networking dance to help his protégé’s career along, probably taking credit for some of Carney’s research as his own in the process, but I digress. But if this proves true in a meaningful capacity (I can’t get on the @%#@# free wireless here for some reason, so I can’t look him up just now), the book becomes doubly of worth to me.

Sheffeld notes right away that Carney is unafraid to announce that “big business supports Democrats almost at an equal level with Republicans,” according to FEC records. The list that follows that statement seems to me a tad confusing with respect to that point, in that there is a difference between “Democrats” and environmental groups, Enron and Attorneys General working on tobacco industry cases. But I find myself warming to anyone who, according to Sheffield, asserts that big business and government agents and lobbyists are “all at fault...work[ing] to bilk taxpayers, bog down market forces, and seize private property.” Sounds about right to me, Tim, and I don’t even live here.

Sheffield throws around terms like “evil incarnate” and “bashes” and “radical” to describe the tone of the book. She also mocks his youth and the use of “cultural references” (I wonder if he talked about blogs). His writing is “raw” and “unpolished,” and if only “time will tell” if he deserves the questionably valuable “muckraker” label. She can’t quite deny that because of the scope of his efforts, the book “deserves a review.” I wonder if she means that trendy neocons should make it a coffee table selection just to be scandalous at the next couple of fundraisers they throw at home. Oh, the rape and pillage of the American treasury and Constitution, it’s just so funny, ha ha, it is to laugh.

This is probably the wrong way to start a series on DC, but cut me some slack- they shamelessly left out free copies of this rag and I knew there was more to it than is to be found in the free online version. And while I have no doubt of the value of publications like these as we keep track of who’s saying what about whom, once again I’m sadly struck by the high school Kool Kidz tone of the writing. If Sheffield is anywhere close to telling the truth, we’re likely looking at the product of a young man’s profound disillusionment with the system, coming to see, as any thinking person does, that concepts like “conservative fiscal policy” and “free market” have little to do with Republican praxis today, nor do they hold much weight in the minds of that party’s discoursive elite. I suspect Mr. Carney knows exactly which bridges he’s burning by writing this, and either doesn’t care or is celebrating their demise.

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