Saturday, November 26, 2005


(This column will appear in the 12-1-05 THE ALBANY (GA.) JOURNAL)

Misuse of intelligence to justify invading Iraq. Kerry’s “true” Vietnam War record. Privatizing Social Security to enrich fat cat Republican Wall Street brokerage firms. Clinton’s inexcusable failure to capture Osama Bin Laden. FEMA’s Mike Brown, the failed executive from The Arabian Horse Association, and his spectacularly inept response to Katrina.

You name it, and the Blogosphere has fierce, take no prisoners advocates on either side of an issue. (“Blog” is short for “web log,” sites on the Internet where persons can post information, comments, photos, and more.) Also known as “Cyberspace,” this is the one venue in modern America where political musings and diatribes are measured by their wit, their passion, their veracity, or lack of same. It is one place in our country where all persons have an equal opportunity to persuade.

Anyone with access to a computer can create a website- and they range from the fancy and well heeled (millionairess Arianna Huffington’s launched with great fanfare last year), to the obscure and inexpensive (i.e. my own modest costs me nothing and lets me post pictures along with essays, including my Albany Journal columns). Even if you don’t have a website, you are free to roam the electronic universe and post comments on other people’s websites. It’s just like writing letters to the editor, but usually there is no editor, swearing and scatological comments are permitted, and they are immediate, appearing within seconds on the website for all to see.

Comments posted on websites such as The Washington Monthly can range from the rabid right wing:

No way is GWB even below average. His achievements in the GWOT are historic. We have 25M Afghan tasting freedom and prospering for the 1st time in 1,000 years. We will have a prosperous Democracy in Iraq and have completely re-written the rules regarding terrorism. Arafat was Bill's best friend. GWB exposed him as a total fraud and piece of garbage. He was Bills most frequent Oval office visitor. Bush correctly refused to meet him. We've seen the effects in Lebanon, Libya, the Ukrane and other places... What GWB has done globally has been brilliant tactical diplomacy...
Posted by: rdw on November 21, 2005 at 8:15 PM

To the irrepressible, unabashed left:

Daddy Bush managed to get the Turks to buy in. I wonder why little Bush failed so miserably, at such a key portion of the pre war planning? ...Too bad little Bush let the world down with this latest miserable failure in his life, which is a long list of miserable failure after miserable failure... All because Cheney sold our nation's credibility for a few good quarters on the Halliburton balance sheet.
Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on November 21, 2005 at 8:18 PM

And from the drily witty:

“The interesting thing here is that we will be withdrawing about 60,000 troops by a year from now. That's the Bush plan”. (from rdw’s comment)

The original plan was to be down to about 30,000 troops by fall 2003. How'd that work out?
Posted by: Stefan on November 21, 2005 at 6:34 PM”

To the blunt:

Bush will be remembered as the new Warren Harding, and Iraq his expensive and disatrous Teapot Dome
Posted by: phleabo on November 21, 2005 at 7:43 PM

Net surfers can glom onto whatever political viewpoint suits their interest or curiosity- including right wing blogs, such as The National Review Online, which gives us print commentators such as Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg, and Victor Davis Hanson’s website. Hanson, a rising syndicated conservative commentator, was reported to have been brought in to brief White House staffers. He, Lowry and Goldberg are apparently part of the Republican “talking points” network, whose recipients receive their faxed or e-mailed talking points to defuse the latest Bush Administration imbroglio or national Republican scandal. (Jon Stewart’s capable staff at The Daily Show continually delights in skewering the administration’s apologists by running rapid clips of the Bush Bots repeating the same phrases- i.e. virtually simultaneous whining about the alleged “criminalization of politics” came out of the mouths of Administration spokespersons and right wing political pundits in the wake of Tom Delay’s money laundering indictment).

Unlike talk radio, which is dominated by the rabid right- Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity (other than Air America, which can’t be heard over the air in SW Ga. or most other places, I couldn’t think of a “left wing” talk show), the best writing and research in blogs come from the left. Atrios, Daily Kos, This Modern World, Billmon, Washington Monthly have all reported stories that later hit the mainstream media, and the debates and discussions there are generally steeped in facts and analysis of the highest order.

One key difference between the left and the right in the blogosphere is that the best leftish blogs permit their audience to post comments, regardless of ideology. By contrast, most right wing blogs either remove critical comments, or, like the National Review and Hanson websites, won’t permit any dissent in their well ordered universe, where the war in Iraq is a resounding success and President Bush is a brilliant theorist. If this sounds like hyperbole or a line from Harriet Myers’ resume, consider this paragraph from Hanson’s November 23rd commentary (

"The president misled us." "Still no WMDs." "If I had only known then what I do now…"
This is the intellectual level of Democratic wartime criticism about the Bush administration as we near the third Iraqi election — the one that will finally give faces to the first truly elected parliamentary government in the Arab world. So what is behind this crying game at home — when we are so close to achieving our goals abroad?

Ah yes, “so close to achieving our goals” in Iraq. Sounds like Dick “the insurgency is in its last throes” Cheney has found a soulmate in Victor Davis Hanson, whose expertise and Ph.D. are not in political science, but in the classics of ancient Greece and Rome (in this, Hanson resembles his fellow charlatans like “Dr. Phil” and “Dr. Laura”who aren’t “real” doctors who treat human maladies.)

So no matter who you are, if you are looking for validation, information, well reasoned debate, irrational diatribes, or hypocrites repeating their scripted lines from the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove’s White House, the blogosphere is the place to go.


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