THE BLOGOSPHERE vs THE VSPs….In the National Interest today, David Frum levels a blast at the lefty blogosphere (“personal,” “rude,” “bitter,” “imperfectly grammatical”) in the guise of an essay about the split between liberal bloggers and the Very Serious People™ of the liberal foreign policy establishment. It’s provocative in spots, but his thesis can be summed up pretty briefly: (a) the liberal blogosphere doesn’t like the liberal foreign policy community much and isn’t shy about saying so, (b) this kind of populist revolt has happened a bunch of times in the past, and (c) it never lasts long. Sometime soon the blogosphere will turn its sights elsewhere and the foreign policy experts will reassert their control — but perhaps as “an expanded and enlarged community.” So everybody’s a winner!
Well, maybe so. Hell, probably so. But I’m curious about something. This is just a diversion from the main point of his essay, but where did this paragraph pop out of?
Few presidential candidates have drawn more support from the liberal FPC [i.e., “Foreign Policy Community”] than Barack Obama. Obama has been endorsed by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and advised by Harvard professor Samantha Power, Clinton counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke and even George W. Bush’s former NSC Senior Director for the Middle East, Bruce Riedel. Compared to Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s foreign-policy team looks a little like a gala performance in Branson, Missouri: all the names you remember from decades ago.
I guess this all depends on how you define “liberal FPC,” but FPC advisors don’t come much more “decades ago” than Zbigniew Brzezinski, do they? And let’s not forget Anthony Lake and Susan Rice, two Obama advisors who are ex-Clintonites in good standing (as is Clarke, of course). Samantha Power is, indeed, a new face on the foreign policy scene, but the fact is that every Democrat’s foreign policy team is made up mostly of ex-Clintonites who are fully paid-up members of the liberal FPC. So what’s the point of this strained assertion? Apparently it’s to set up an argument that Obama, once embraced by the FPC but now a darling of the netroots, has responded by becoming the next best thing to a foul-mouthed blogger (“this once-irenic candidate now hurls accusations with the brio of a blogger on the Daily Kos”). This accusation is so absurd that it’s hard even to know how to respond.
Anyway, Frum’s piece has some entertaining vitriol here and there, and once you get past the pro forma comparison of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to Joe McCarthy (yeesh), he even ends with an admission that maybe the liberal blogosphere will end up having a positive effect on the FPC. There’s not a lot of new insight in the piece, but it might be worth reading just to get a sense of what the all the liberal catfights look like to an outsider.