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Yes, The New Yorker

By Michael J. Smith on Friday May 26, 2006 11:18 PM

Photo of Jeffrey Goldberg at the ADLThe latest New Yorker mag contains a very entertaining long piece on the Democratic Party by Iraq war booster Jeffrey Goldberg. (Goldberg is shown at left accepting the second annual Daniel Pearl award from the ADL. The winner of the first award, delightfully enough, was the Archwindbag himself, Thomas Friedman.)

The bottom line of Goldberg's piece, of course, is that in spite of the best efforts of fine, intelligent, hard-headed, patriotic folk like Third Way, the Democrats are still doomed because they're such wild-eyed lefties -- the cases in point being, guess who, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. The latter could, it seems, tour the country disembowelling immigrants and still not convince the public that she's on their side. Americans -- we may be crazy, but we're not stupid.

Goldberg's bottom line, silly as it is, doesn't matter -- who cares what Goldberg thinks? -- but purely as theater-of-cruelty, it's a wonderful hatchet job: probably the most accurate, and certainly the most interesting, piece of reportage that I have ever seen from Goldberg's pudgy hand. It's hard to say which poor brute in the Democratic menagerie comes off looking worst. I think it's probably Nancy Pelosi, who unlike Hillary, was naive enough to give Goldberg an interview:

Nancy Pelosi made a game attempt at ferocity when I talked with her. "Here's my thing and I will say this and you have to bear with me. I'm a mom.... Think 'lioness'. This is how Democrats are. You threaten our children... you threaten our country, you're dead. You're dead."
Tony Soprano in drag -- great stuff, huh? But I can't start quoting, or I'll never stop. Barack Obama threatens military action against Iran. Howard Dean free-associates about Dick Cheney's skills as a hunter. Middlebrow historian Sean Wilentz wheels up the big intellectual guns. Chris Dodd suggests that Democrats should run to Bush's right on National Security, like Kennedy did with the "phoney missile gap" -- Dodd's words -- and then hastily adds that nowadays, of course, we have a real missile gap, or something even better.

Since I'm a nerdy kind of guy, what struck me most was an extended series of deep-thought analytic ruminations about the composition of the electorate. The electorate consists of liberals, moderates, and conservatives. There are about twice as many conservatives as liberals, and the rest are moderates. And there you have it: the Pythagorean Theorem of contemporary American politics.

Now this kind of sophomoric, intellectually impoverished, one-dimensional farrago of empty categories would be unsurprising if it sprang from the febrile brain of Goldberg himself. But no; these shallow vaporings come straight from the mighty intellects at Third Way.

Goldberg allows as how the Dems might possibly win back the House in '06, purely on public disgust with Bush and Co. But he's pretty skeptical about their prospects in '08. And dear me, much as I hate to agree with a guy like Goldberg, I think he may have it exactly right.

Comments (2)

J. Alva Scruggs:

The hapless, dithering and feckless narrative makes good camouflage for career-minded malingerers. And corporate determinism is easy to peddle if you take a shallow look at the Pew and PIPA surveys. If worse comes to worse, you can write off the success of progressive candidates in conservative districts by calling the electorate there an anomolous progressive enclave.

Amazing how a blithering cud-chewer like Jeffy Goldberg can come to a plausible conclusion by way of an utterly warped method. It's kind of like watching a monkey fling his own shit at a blank wall and end up with a reasonable facsimile of Whistlers Mother.

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