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Somerby is, of all my regular online readings, the one most guaranteed to make me uncomfortable, which is why I put myself through the masochistic ritual. Much more uncomfortable than, say, reading Kristol or Goldberg. They're an annoying but predictable joke; little more. Reading them is the symmetrical opposite of "what digby said," etc. It massages one's prejudices but in no way threatens them.

Somerby's another can of worms, though.

There's his insistence that every time smug lefties mock the tea-partiers [i.e., the rank and file right] for being/acting stupid [or racist], it reinforces one of the right's two ur-memes: Liberals think they're smarter than you are. And every time that happens, a right-wing angel gets its wings. This, says Somerby, is no way to get the r-a-f right to listen to you or rethink any of their assumptions -- and it's hard to say he's wrong.

And Somerby never misses a chance to go back to the One Great Crime from which great [political] fortunes have sprung: the hounding of Gore in 1999-2000 by the media, including the so-called liberal media, a crime that has gone not only unpunished but unacknowledged by leftie pundits. Somerby says their silence on the subject has careerist, tribal motives, and again, it's hard to argue. I can't much enjoy Frank Rich anymore, thanks to Somerby.

He's the wormwood I make myself drink along with the fine vodka of what-digby-said, etc.

I wouldn't want him to change, although there are some mornings I'd dearly love to edit him. Even a little.



I'm not impressed with Somerby's complaints about digby's Palin post and Steve Benen's Paul Rand post. While it's good that we don't all walk in lockstep, it's another thing to bend over backward in order to present a different perspective and Somerby is really stretching here.

Regarding digby's post it's lame to say "Well, part of Palin's speech was word salad but look, here she made sense"." It's like the old British joke about only parts of the egg being spoiled. Of course digby's going to bring up the word salad. If you're a speaker with a well-thought-out message that you believe in then there shouldn't be any word salad.

What this speech tells us isn't that Palin is smarter than we like to pretend, it's that someone else wrote it and Palin is trying to wing it without a teleprompter (an option she has boxed herself out of after all those Obama-teleprompter jokes) or reading her notes all the time. It's harder than it looks, but if she knew what she was talking about she could do it. The word salad part is the give-away.

As for Benen's post about Paul's fence, speaking as one of the commenters (who, I admit, enjoyed myself by making an insulting remark, just like the ones Somerby scolded us for): Benen also linked to the article that according to Somerby explains how the fence would work.

Paul does mention the fence and border stations in the same paragraph. But supposing you follow Somerby's leap -- "Oh, he means an electronic sensor that would alert a border patrol station." It still doesn't explain how this would work. Wouldn't wild animals set off the sensor? A falling tree branch? How many times would helicopters have to scramble for a false alarm? Does this quasi-explanation make the idea any less dumb? Even other Republicans couldn't figure this out. Why shouldn't we make fun of it? To quote Oscar Wilde, we'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

And now the Paul campaign has walked this back, according to Benen's latest update, and blamed the "underground" part on some un-named fall guy.

Which leaves Somerby as the only person who thinks the underground fence makes sense -- if in fact he does and isn't just looking to be contrarian.


"Regarding digby's post it's lame to say "Well, part of Palin's speech was word salad but look, here she made sense"." It's like the old British joke about only parts of the egg being spoiled. Of course digby's going to bring up the word salad."

It may be "lame" to say it, but if you truly cared about moving public opinion on the oil spill issue why wouldn't you focus on the part of Palin's speech that you agree with? Your comment perfectly exemplifies Sommerby's point. Its oh so much easier and feels so much better to just mock the idiots who don't agree with us. We liberals don't try to persuade because doing so would be "lame."

Elayne Riggs

"Somerby, however, isn’t taking the same packaged tour." Would that tour be the (in)famous liberal blogger junket to New Amsterdam, or the group trip to meet Bill Clinton right before Hillary declared her candidacy in '07?

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