Sunday, June 12, 2005

Memo-ries, Like The Corners Of My Mind... 

By now many of you have read of the new, improved UK Memo that came on the heels of the original Downing Street Memo. My blog-sibs will have more on that in the near future.

But listen: what could be worse than having something like this drop in your lap and nobody cares? Well, how about someone you might trust, someone influential with lots of bandwidth and readership, who tells the world through numerous outlets that the people who care about this are crazy conspiracy theorists who needn't be taken seriously, since none of this proves anything. From my own site:


What could be more cutting than the discovery that someone you have respected for years, someone you defended against attacks by others who felt he was a rudderless punk, this person has pretty well single-handedly undercut one of the most important revelations the left has been able to use since Bush was appointed Dauphin by his daddy's buddies? Granted, he's not fuzzy lovable, and he has an acid tongue, but for years I overlooked his New Republicitis. I wonder what his predecessor and successor Lewis Lapham has to say about Michael Kinsley these days?

Well, Kinsley has shot his keyboard off, no doubt in the service of "balance", and unleashed a spray of indiscriminate fire across the bow of the LA Times:

"After about the 200th e-mail from a stranger demanding that I cease my personal cover-up of something called the Downing Street Memo, I decided to read it. (By mentioning 200 e-mails, I do not intend to brag. I'm sure Tom Friedman got many more.) It's all over the blogosphere and Air America, the left-wing talk-radio network: This is the smoking gun of the Iraq war. It is proof positive that President Bush was determined to invade Iraq a year before he did so. The whole "weapons of mass destruction" concern was phony from the start, and the drama about inspections was just kabuki: going through the motions.
Although it is flattering to be thought personally responsible for allowing a proven war criminal to remain in office, in the end I don't buy the fuss. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the left's revival. Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes ideological self-confidence. It takes a critical mass of citizens with extreme views and the time and energy to obsess about them. It takes a promotional infrastructure and the discipline to settle on a story line, disseminate it and stick to it.
It takes, in short, what Hillary Clinton once called a vast conspiracy. The right has had one for years. Even moderate and reasonable right-wingers benefit from a mass of angry people even further right. This overhang of extremists makes the moderates appear more reasonable. It has pulled the center of politics, where the media try to be and where compromises on particular issues end up, in a rightward direction. Listening to extreme views on your own side is soothing even if you would never express them and may not even believe them."
Gosh, thanks for the broadbrush libel, Michael. Oh, I'm not quoting any more of it, it's full of snarky disdain and ho-ho-ho condescension. But what prompted this unplanned post was finding this poison in the op-ed pages of the Washington Post. And not only in WaPo, but with a weathervane for it on the front page.

So I'm at mithras' blog, and I go:

"Well, the density and incuriousness of the American public is enough of an obstacle without Michael Kinsley (who used to edit Harper's and had some credibility until he decided to mud-wrestle with Susan Estrich) popping off in the pages of the LA Times about how the blogosphere's Loony Left has gotten its panties in a bunch over some no-news memo that doesn't prove a thing about Bush's intentions, and how we poor deluded fools are weaving conspiracy theories out of information that was in plain sight clear back in 2002. His piece drips with such disdain and scorn that I woudn't be surprised if LGF and the RNC sticky-post it on their front pages for the next two weeks.
With ex-liberals like Kinsley purging the ranks of us "fringe elements", who needs Karl Rove?"
And he goes:

Which is about all there is left to say.

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