Sunday, February 22, 2009


Joe Klein had been writing things like this for the past 15 years instead of the conventional, repetitive, finger-in-the-wind drivel that comprises the bulk of his output from the period 1994 - 2009, I wonder what would have changed. It's an honest question -- maybe Klein would have been driven out of the Beltway herd and marginalized; or maybe having such a significant figure using his brain and speaking honestly would have set an example other journalists could feel safe in following. I don't know the answer, but I sure wish we'd been given the chance to see.

Speaking for myself, no matter how hard he tries to redeem himself now, I will never be able to trust Klein after reading what amounts to the same six or so columns written over and over again for years and years, all with the same two themes: Democrats must renounce "the left" and operate on the right edge of the center to be "serious;" and Democratic politicians have no principles and are controlled by "consultants," are "poll driven," and need to "stand for something" if people will vote for them. Even a casual observer will see that these two themes contradict each other, but Klein reached the very heights of his field by repeating this nonsense, in one form or another, for years, while Clinton was harassed, Al Gore was made into a national joke, and George W. Bush ran the country into the ground. Maybe this would have happened with or without Klein's abetment; like I said, I'd sure like to have had the chance to find out.