The Dean's dilemma


We remind the faithful, once again, of the brilliant observation by our favorite "Dean," David Broder. Referring to speeches given at a Democratic National Committee meeting in 2007, he said:

One of the losers in the weekend oratorical marathon was retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who repeatedly invoked the West Point motto of 'Duty, Honor, Country,' forgetting that few in this particular audience have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military.

Reason David Broder should retire already, No. 6,718:

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military's definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits -- and triggering outrage from veterans' advocacy groups.

(The myth of pro-military conservatives was the subject of a Think Again column in May, here.)

A current Republican senator is apparently none too happy with his party. He told the Politico's Roger Simon that, for example, "The perception among Hispanics is that the Republican Party is the party of the rich. And, in many ways, it is." He also believes that "[p]eople want government in times of need," and that "John McCain was not a good messenger once you got past the issue of Iraq."

Who is this renegade? Dunno, exactly, as Simon inexplicably granted him anonymity for this piece. What is Politico's anonymous sources policy, and how does this example adhere? Most publications do not allow people to rag on other people without giving up their name; the purpose of anonymity is to get actual information to readers that would otherwise be unavailable. It would be nice to get a clarification of that outlet's policy on anonymous sources. Recall that they had a rough start in this regard, "breaking" two stories in one week, based on anonymous sources, that turned out to be flagrantly false.

In the meantime, we have started a little parlor game in a Daily Kos diary to see if we can figure out the identity of the mystery senator. (Simon provided a string of potentially revealing clues, including that he is a moderate on immigration, and campaigned with Sarah Palin.) Feel free to join in.

George Zornick writes: There's been a lot references to a supposed uproar amongst liberal bloggers over the potential Hillary Clinton nomination, usually employing some variation of the word "ablaze," and inserting the MSM shorthand for the left-blogosphere --"the liberal Daily Kos Web site."

Yeah, not so much.

The Return of McCain Suck-Up Watch: At least 15 CNN reports between November 10 and November 22 referencing Sen. John McCain's appearance at a November 13 rally in support of Sen. Saxby Chambliss' re-election bid failed to note that McCain reportedly criticized as "worse than disgraceful" and "reprehensible" a campaign ad Chambliss used during his 2002 race against then-Sen. Max Cleland. The only exceptions to this pattern occurred on November 13, when CNN's Rusty Dornin stated in two separate reports that McCain's recent appearance in support of Chambliss "raised eyebrows" and was "a little bit ironic," given McCain's previous criticism of Chambliss' ad. The rest is here.

If a tree falls in a forest, etc.

God, you funna fella.

Read my friend Deb's blog. Amazing, isn't it?

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Thomas Beck
Hometown: East Windsor, NJ

With all due respect to Mr. Nader, who certainly has the right to run for president, the problem is, he's running only for president. He's not building a party, he's not trying to elect congressmen and Senators and state legislators and mayors and governors. He has no chance of being elected -- he also has no chance of expanding the political discourse to include his region of the spectrum - because it's all about him. It's always about him. If Nader truly wanted to make a lasting difference in the American political arena (as opposed to the lasting difference he has already made in other areas), he would make it be about far more than just him. He'd start a real party and recruit talented like-minded people to run for other offices. Until he does that, however, he leaves himself open to the kind of criticism he has received (rightfully so, in my mind).

Name: Bob Thena
Hometown: Easton, PA

Ralph Nader ran in 2008?

I didn't notice....

Name: Carl
Hometown: Muscle Shoals

What mexluver05 lacks in spelling chops he makes up in vitriol. I don't think anyone is suggesting that Ralph Nader has no right to run for president or any public office. Instead it's a question of intent or purpose. I'm reminded of the old country music saw: "A gentleman is one who knows how to play the banjo -- but doesn't."

Name: Larry Howe
Hometown: Oak Park, IL

Eric --

Why won't Ralph Nader post to Altercation under his own name? Using the alias mexluver05 is not fooling anyone. How do I know this? Only an ego-maniac like Nader would insist that he's the reason that we're alive and well today. And all this time, I've been thinking that he's the reason we've had Bush as president.

Yes, Ralph, you had every right to run, and I have every right to hold you responsible for your contribution to what's transpired since.

Name: Charles Hinton
Hometown: Satellite Beach, FL

I watched Obama on the TV today as he introduced his economic advisers and thought of all the things that he had to fix in the coming months and years. There are so many critical things to fix, it seems likely that the crimes committed by the "Bushies" during the last 8 years will likely never see the light of day. Even though no one is likely to be punished I think there should be a great truth telling.

How could this all come about? Maybe it could work by means of a commission to which all with knowledge can tell all they know and provide the information on where the bones are hidden. And then the culprits could be offered immunity from prosecution if they confess the truth to all they did and likewise to all else they know.

And then prosecute only those that lie or leave truths untold.

Name: Cleo Jones
Hometown: Chicago, IL

I'm glad you're addressing Brooks Barnes' categorically unfair diatribe re Angelina Jolie. It was such a slap in the face to a young woman who spends so much of her time doing for others. I thought to myself, even if one takes Barnes' suggestions (no facts or evidence support his vague assertions, just quotes from one of the most notorious tabloid liars around, Bonnie Fuller from STAR magazine) on their face, the omission of Pitt from this article is either highly misogynistic or doubly insulting to him -- as he appears to be idly standing by doing nothing in Barnes piece. He's an afterthought throughout the entire piece. I think Barnes includes him once in parentheticals (saying, "with Pitt's help," he writes) -- well, where is Barnes' evidence to support even this? If Pitt "helps" Jolie with her "dirty work," (you know, 'helping' the world's less fortunate and all) then how much does he help her? 5% or 98%?

Furthermore, there was no "gotcha!" in this so-called "gotcha." It was a joke. Barnes goes back 6-7 years to Angelina's divorce from Billy Bob Thornton, which some say was causal because of her adoption of Baby Maddox. He then cites US magazine as asking her to tell her story (split/divorce/adoption) to them -- she refuses, but supposedly gives them a time and place to take pics of her and her son at the park. Again, no evidence -- and no named sources that this happened. So what does Barnes say Jolie gets out of this? Well, he claims, she appears "like a young mother unsuccessfully trying to have private time with her son." Am I missing something, Mr. Alterman? If Angelina had just left her apartment on the way to the grocery with her young son as part of her daily routine, and the paparazzi had snapped pics, wouldn't she STILL appear the same way?

Most of all, who writes "gotcha" stories on events concerning one of the most philanthropic couples in Hollywood that are YEARS in the past? If by some stroke of luck, Barnes is correct, and just happens to be a crappy writer who doesn't know how to support his premise -- just how angry am I supposed to be that People Magazine ditched the Country Music Award fashion spread in exchange for a couple of sidebars about AIDS in Ethiopia, courtesy of some Jolie-Pitt arm-twisting? A part of me wonders why I am so perturbed by this piece -- and the answer is, I guess if I had seen this headline and skimmed this story in The STAR at the checkout line at my local Walgreens, I wouldn't be having this reaction -- but the NYT? My God, this is just pathetic.

Name: Barbara
Hometown: Portland, ME

So, the financial market gets bailed out, but manufacturing doesn't. 300M jobs vs how many from the auto segment? GMAC is looking to become a bank, smart move on their part, look at the capital potential there is. Same management (came up through the ranks) that gave us Enron fraud and all the derivatives, gets rewarded by not being allowed to fail. Is Paulson requiring any heads to roll? Doesn't seem like it -- oh, I know, they had a plan. That's the difference.

The long haul issue for me is that we have become a nation that is run by consumer consumption. Not producing stuff -- but consumers buying stuff. How do we buy this stuff? On credit, apparently. So shouldn't we be trying to change this? To create an economy that is not "service" or financial services driven, but with something that creates more bang for the buck? Maybe that is what Obama is trying to do, with infrastructure and new technologies. But why doesn't the press do some real analysis on the "fundamentals" of the economy -- no, not the workers -- the economy. Until we get dialogue on that, I think we will be stuck looking for answers in all the wrong places -- like banks.

Name: Ken Filmer
Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Quick correction to your Brian Wilson review: The band consists of four members of LA's Wondermints, not the Peppermints. The band itself is just called the Brian Wilson Band. They are really terrific -- his music is rich & challenging, and they certainly rise to the challenge. Not a big fan of Hammerstein, I went instead to his Sunday night show at the lovely, newly renovated Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ. It's great just to see Brian Wilson performing again after all he's been through. Every time I see him, he looks a little more involved and animated. Music heals!

Name: Scotty
Hometown: Richmond, VA

What's going on in my town? Well, this is the weekend we power wash the Confederate War Memorial. Then in December there's the denture festival downtown to look forward to, and then there's the wrasslin' and monster truck combo at the National Guard armory. I don't mean to brag, but I'm really stoked.

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