The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ethnicity and Politics

There's been a lot of noise at the top of the blogosphere (the Arctic region, as it were) about the influence of Jews on our national discourse, in particular regarding Iran. Note that I don't say "the Jews;" the discussion, properly understood, regards the unavoidable fact that a lot of high profile opinion-makers are Jewish, and clearly have an emotional attachment to Israel that they don't about, say, Thailand. Thus, Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein and others have pointed out, their opinions on the matter may not be strictly defined by the best interests of the US.

Anyway, I bring this up not to inveigh - while the point seems trivially true to me, it's hardly worth getting in the mud about - but to bring up a parallel that has, I think coincidentally, been raised simultaneously.

The redoubtable Bob Somerby, of the Daily Howler, has for the past few days pointed his finger at a more specific target than his generalized "millionaire pundit values" as a villain in our discourse. The problem is, in his words, "those g*dd*amn m*cks." He points to an extensive list of Irish Catholic pundits who are prominent in our punditry (especially at NBC), and whose old-fashioned values - sexist, hidebound, "blinkered" - have been a major cause of their obsession with the Clenis and hatred for Hillary. It's an interesting thesis, and certainly makes sense as a generator of what is, frankly, stunningly reactionary commentary on these two very important Americans.

Now, Bob was long ago dismissed by much of the lefty blogosphere as a bit of an embarassing uncle, someone who harps tirelessly/tiresomely on the War on Gore. Myself, I still read him every day because he never develops outrage fatigue - he never gives Chris Matthews or Frank Rich a pass because they're temporarily saying something pleasing, or because "that's just the way they are." And it seems to me that, with the cranking up of the Kewl Kids, his profile is rising once again. But I haven't seen anyone mention his thesis. And I think it's important, if only to help Dems defend themselves from the coming onslaught.

If you thought the War on Gore and the pathetic coverage of Kerry and the Swiftboaters were bad, you haven't seen anything yet.


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