DOES POLITICO ACTUALLY READ LIBERAL BLOGS?…. Following up on the last item, there was something else in that big Politico piece about the president’s fortunes that rankled. John Harris and Jim VandeHei came up with six reasons why President Obama isn’t faring better politically, and the fifth blamed “the liberal echo chamber.”
Polls show most self-described liberals still strongly support Obama. But an elite group of commentators on the left — many of whom are unhappy with him and are rewarded with more attention by being critical of a fellow Democrat — has a disproportionate influence on perceptions.
The liberal blogosphere grew in response to Bush. But it is still a movement marked by immaturity and impetuousness — unaccustomed to its own side holding power and the responsibilities and choices that come with that.
So many liberals seem shocked and dismayed that Obama is governing as a self-protective politician first and a liberal second, even though that is also how he campaigned. The liberal blogs cheer the fact that Stan McCrystal’s [sic] scalp has been replaced with David Petreaus’s [sic]*, even though both men are equally hawkish on Afghanistan, but barely clapped for the passage of health care. They treat the firing of a blogger from the Washington Post as an event of historic significance, while largely averting their gaze from the fact that major losses for Democrats in the fall elections would virtually kill hopes for progressive legislation over the next couple years.
This leaves me with the impression that John Harris and Jim VandeHei don’t read many liberal blogs. I read quite a few, and their analysis strikes me as largely bizarre.
There was plenty of coverage of Petraeus replacing McChrystal, but progressive critics of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan uniformly noted how little the war would change.
There was plenty of coverage of the health care debate, but to argue, simply as a matter of fact, that that liberal blogs “barely clapped” when the Affordable Care Act became law is just ridiculous.
There was plenty of coverage of Dave Weigel getting screwed, but to argue that liberal blogs are “largely averting their gaze” from the midterm cycle and Democrats’ expected losses is completely at odds with reality.
Greg Sargent nailed it: “It’s one thing to criticize liberal bloggers for having unrealistic expectations, given whatever we’re supposed to agree represents ‘reality’ in Washington…. However, to make the argument that liberal bloggers have their heads in the sand about Dem losses this fall is just flat out false. All VandeHarris are revealing is that they don’t regularly read liberal blogs — and that they know they can count on the fact that the Beltway insiders who will snicker knowingly about this article don’t read liberal blogs either. And that’s fine: Don’t read them! But please don’t make stuff up about them and call it journalism.”
* Yes, Politico managed to spell both Gen. McChrystal’s and Gen. Petraeus’s names wrong. Sure, I have more than my share of typos, but if I’m writing a piece for publication, I’m inclined to check the names of those with stars on their shoulders.