Cowards of the country

I don’t know who Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald is, but he just made Joe Klein his bitch:

You may not like Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, but you must admit that it’s courageous. You simply must. By order of the Washington establishment, you may question whether Ryan’s plan is sensible or humane or even remotely honest, but you have to confess that it is undeniably an extraordinary act of bravery, or else pundits will beat the confession out of you with swoony prose.

To New York Times columnist David Brooks, Ryan’s 73-page budget outline — it’s not an actual budget — is “the most comprehensive and courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes.” Here at Time.com, Joe Klein wrote that it’s “without question, an act of political courage,” while Fareed Zakaria declared that “Ryan’s plan is deeply flawed, but it is courageous.” The Economist agreed: “Credit where credit is due; whatever you think of Paul Ryan’s budget, it is politically gutsy.”

This is just weird. Ryan is a conservative Republican committee chairman in a conservative Republican caucus. He was reelected last year with 68% of the vote. Sorry, Joe, but I do question whether it was really courageous for him to propose huge tax cuts for the rich, squeeze health care for the poor, and promise that nobody over 55 — the heart of the conservative Republican base — will have to make any sacrifices. Honestly, does anyone think this week has been bad for Ryan’s career?

Ryan is showing the same kind of courage that the 101st Chairborne showed in the Iraq War, the same kind Chris Hitchens shows when he advocates bombing Iran. Among Beltway media elites, that’s the genuine article, of course, deserving of a Silver Star.

What I don’t know for sure is if Brooks, Klein, Sullivan, etc. are cowardly careerist sociopaths, just plain stupid, or both. There’s plenty of evidence for both, that’s for sure. I’m all Sullied out for now, possibly forever, but this is such a striking example of innumeracy that I’m going to go through it again (I mentioned this yesterday, h/t to several commenters).

Overall, taxes would rise to 22.3 percent of the economy, compared with 18.3 percent under the Ryan proposal. (Sullivan quoting from a summary of an alternative budget).

[….]

Kudos to the Progressive Caucus. But even with this splurge of tax-and-spend-and-gut-defense, they only manage to get revenues 3 percent higher as a percentage of GDP than Ryan’s, as Megan notes.

We all make addition mistakes, but this has been up there for over a day. And worse, there’s no mention of how much 3 percent or four percent of GDP is. I emailed this yesterday and got no response:

[C]ould you at least correct your post to say that 22.3 – 18.3 is 4 percent not 3 percent. Also, too, you might do well to estimate how much 4 percent of GDP is (it’s a little over half a trillion).

Speaking of cowardly, I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.






99 replies
  1. 1
    kdaug says:

    I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email

    Roger that. Pontificate from the perch on high, and don’t deign to engage with the rabble beneath your feet.

    Fuck ’em.

  2. 2
    Rabble Arouser says:

    I know some folks are tired of hearing about this, but I for one am glad you all are beating this drum. In politics, repetition is key. I think the same applies to calling out bad punditry.

  3. 3
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Joe Klein has a response where he wearily explains to the stupid people who read the thing he wrote that he didn’t mean that thing he wrote (an earlier complaint about the same phenomenon is the origin of my nym de blog). You would think that Klein might understand that the fact that the rest of his original post calling Ryan courageous– in which he correctly explains that Ryan’s budget is a dishonest sack of crap– just makes his hyperbolic fanboy praise of Ryan that much sillier, but he saves his scorn for those who point his silliness out to him.

  4. 4
    eemom says:

    Mr. Krugman, at the end of yesterday’s column patiently explaining why the “Ryan plan” is a reeking shitpile of evil eleventy ways to Sunday:

    So the pundits who praised this proposal when it was released were punked.

    I just fucking LOVED that.

  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Rabble Arouser: absolutely. All this pundit hysteria about Ryan’s budget is the result of the thirty year campaign of ref-working (bitch-slapping) of the SCLM by the right

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    Doesn’t that make revenues 20% higher? Three or four points higher is 20% more.

  7. 7
    Ana Gama says:

    During a discussion of Ryan’s “plan” last night on “Real Time,” Bill Maher told Sully that maybe sometime in the future he will realize his stupidity on this, just like he did on Iraq. HA!

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Kenny Rogers?

  9. 9
    kdaug says:

    Joke Line needs to feel like he’s part of the insider’s crowd. It’s his lifeline, his security blanket.

    IF the old boy would pull a Molly Ivans/Jim Hightower and go on the fucking attack, he could be good.

    But he’s skeered. And cowardice in the face of bullshit is no virtue.

  10. 10
    agrippa says:

    I am glad that you are “sullied out”. Sullivan does not have the sense to get out of a shower of rain. But, that is a commonplace within the commentariat. No need to single out a hack amoung hacks for special treatment.

    Ryan is not courageous at all. That 73 page ‘document’ is, simply, partisan boiler plate.

    American voters did vote for Republicans. So, we get the gridlock of divided government. Elections have consequences.

  11. 11
    MattR says:

    @Ana Gama: I was pleasantly surprised by the pushback Sullivan got on the panel last night. I just wish that someone had called him out forcefully as being innumerate when he was claiming that raising taxes on the rich and making moderate cuts to defense were not sufficient.

    I also wish that someone had made the point that there is nothing noble or courageous about being the first to acknowledge the severity of an issue (in this case rising health care costs) if your proposed solution actually makes things worse. (Though Spitzer did at least point out that Ryan’s plan doesn’t actually do anything to rein in health care costs other than say that his changes will rein them in (and the same with closing the tax loopholes that are going to raise so much revenue))

  12. 12
    Butler says:

    Honestly, does anyone think this week has been bad for Ryan’s career?

    No no, everyone is looking at this courageous thing the wrong way. Its not courageous in a political sense. Its courageous in the sense that telling tens of millions of people to fuck off and die takes a lot of balls. At least it would in a rational country, where an angry mob would quickly lynch this individual by said balls.

  13. 13
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Indeed, the selfsame syrupy sap. Sometimes ya gotta fight when you’re a man.

    Also too, ya gotta know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em.

    You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille.

    Flashback flashback flashback.

  14. 14
    Comrade DougJ says:

    @MikeJ:

    Yes.

  15. 15
    Stillwater says:

    @MikeJ: That’s the point I was trying to make yesterday: 4% increase in revenue can be laughed off (or not), but it’s a 20% gain over the competing plan Who in their right minds would laugh off a 20% increase in their own income?

  16. 16
    Stillwater says:

    I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.

    Oh, he read your email, DougJ, or his minions did, at any rate. They won’t respond to it for obvious reasons.

  17. 17
    Elia says:

    i saw this from Yglesias the other day & loved it. And I disagree about not hitting sully et al when it’s appropriate and in service of a broader critique. As someone said, politics is repetition: what’s more, usig individuals to represent wider trends is a timeworn classic that works.

  18. 18
    Stillwater says:

    @MattR: I just wish that someone had called him out forcefully as being innumerate when he was claiming that raising taxes on the rich and making moderate cuts to defense were not sufficient.

    You can’t call him out on his innumeracy because he admits it openly. And pointing out to him that raising taxes on the rich coupled with cuts to defense would fix the budget is, from Sully’s pov, a non-starter: only cutting or eliminating Medicare is a viable solution to him. Why? For the same reason a conservative holds any of their beliefs: it just feels right.

    Edited to correct garbling.

  19. 19
    MattR says:

    @Stillwater: Agree with all of that, but Sullivan was adamant that if we actually took those steps it would not be enough to fix the budget/deficit. At that point, somebody needed to remind him (EDIT: and the audience) that he was innumerate (and therefore was incapable of accurately making that assessment)

  20. 20
    Mako says:

    This moving money upward thing has been going on for awhile, but slyly and disguised by Reagan words. Ryan has shown real courage by honestly admitting his position.
    Never heard of Andrew Sullivan until I read this blog. Never heard of him anywhere else since. Probably because you guys have the “Hey look at Sullivan” bit all sewed up. So keep up the good work.

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    Sidney Lumet died. He directed Network and 12 Angry Men. Great filmmaker.

  22. 22
    Stillwater says:

    @MattR: Agreed. Yeah, that woulda been nice, to actually present to viewers that Sully is making no sense and that alternative plans do make sense.

  23. 23
    chris says:

    Sully drives me nuts too and I’d love to email him and tell him so. What is his email contact?

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    Ryan has always been treated as a serious guy by MSM. What was so courageous about handing MSM a plan. They were going to drool over it anyway. It would have taken more courage to present a plan with tax increases and admit that trickle down doesn’t work.

  25. 25

    @MattR: His argument is that raising taxes and cutting spending does not address the long-term problems of Medicare. He conflates our medium and short term deficit issues with our long-term health care cost problems — while saying that anyone who points to ACA as a first step is “dreaming” — and thus makes it impossible for one to, by his lights, be Serious about our fiscal future without advocating the evisceration of Medicare. He’s using a problem that won’t really be upon us for 30+ years to argue that we need to change things TODAY that are only tangentially related. The magical thinking and incoherence is truly on the level of nothing I’ve seen since the buildup to invade Iraq.

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    Sidney Lumet died. He directed Network and 12 Angry Men. Great filmmaker.

    Damn. I love much of Lumet’s work, especially Prince of the City. A wonderful ensemble film, with a great supporting performance by Jerry Orbach. And Network, And Serpico.

    And I have a special place in my heart for The Verdict. Lumet finds a pace and visual style (lots of Caravaggio like shadows, especially in the courtroom scenes) that matches the Paul Newman character’s spiritual exhaustion. Just a great piece of work and a wonderful example of visual story telling. The cast is uniformly excellent, especially James Mason, as a masterful, cynical attorney for the rich and powerful.

    Mickey Morrissey: He is the prince of fucking darkness.

    Lumet’s overall body of work is so strong that he can even be forgiven for directing The Wiz.

  27. 27
    eemom says:

    @Mako:

    Never heard of Andrew Sullivan until I read this blog. Never heard of him anywhere else since. Probably because you guys have the “Hey look at Sullivan” bit all sewed up. So keep up the good work.

    Thank you. I’m sitting here giggling over this self-important foolery. “But guys, we gotta call out Sullivan, so THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS how bad the Ryan plan is!!”

    Calling out Sullivan on this blog is preaching to the choir in a sealed echo chamber, people. Totally. useless.

  28. 28
    LiberalTarian says:

    Ah Doug. You always make my heart go pitty pat when you leap on your rhetorical stallion. :):):)

  29. 29

    Speaking of cowardly, I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.

    You don’t like John because he doesn’t read his email? That’s sad!

  30. 30
    RossInDetroit says:

    What takes real balls is bucking your base when they’re wrong and doing the right thing against public opinion.

    a good example of that is… um… I’ll work on that example. Don’t wait up for me.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Noonan says:

    Wait. You mean Sully didn’t get the “serious” vapors when the Progressive Caucus said they would unveil a counter budge? Weird.

  33. 33
    Comrade DougJ says:

    @Martin:

    Attica, Attica!

  34. 34
    Comrade DougJ says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    He has comments.

  35. 35
    Stillwater says:

    @eemom: Calling out Sullivan on this blog is preaching to the choir in a sealed echo chamber, people. Totally. useless.

    Sully addressed some of Cole’s complaints on the FP of the Dish and linked back here.

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The Verdict is one of my favorite movies. I’d forgotten that was Lumet. Pity they didn’t give Newman the Oscar for that instead of the mostly forgettable Color of Money.

    Sullivan works as a symbol of the Serious Establishment as well as Klein, Bobo, or Broder. Because he’s preening and often histrionic, he makes himself a target.

  37. 37

    You guys honestly don’t think that (everything in relative terms) this blog doesn’t have some influence within its sphere?

    You don’t think stuff like Friedman Units etc (not saying that came from this blog, but as an example) hasn’t contributed at all to Friedman being discredit among people–well, people who actually know what Twitter is, at least–who pay attention to politics?

    This kind of thinking reminds me of people who say that if we all just ignored Sarah Palin she’d go away…

    ETA: 12 Angry Men, Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon = all in my top 50 films. 12 Angry men is probably one of my 10 favorite. Such a wonderful distillation of an era during which liberals thought reason and human feeling actually mattered.

  38. 38
    Common Sense says:

    John Kerry was smart to ignore the Swift Boaters

  39. 39
    WereBear says:

    And Sidney Lumet went out with a bang. His last picture, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, was nonstop nihilistic awesome. A crime pic that knew what it was doing.

    Also, it’s worth digging up the A&E crime drama 100 Centre Street, with Alan Arkin.

  40. 40
    Mako says:

    “You guys honestly don’t think that (everything in relative terms) this blog doesn’t have some influence within its sphere?log indeed has influence.

    Within the sphere of people who read this blog, this blog indeed has influence. I suppose this Sullivan chap has influence within the sphere of people who read his blog.

  41. 41
    aimai says:

    @Brachiator:

    I thought he died a while ago–although I remember seeing him recently in something where he was acting, and was just wonderful. We watched Deathtrap last night (Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve as a young sociopath) which Ira Levin wrote and Lumet directed. Lots of fun. Also, before the devil knows you’re dead was so terrifying to me that we had to walk out. PSHoffman’s method acting is so intense that I get vertigo and have to go vomit somewhere. To contine the stream of kevinbacon style consciousness if you have never seen Next Stop Wonderland in which Hoffman plays a loser boyfriend you should definitely see it. It just goes to show what a wonderful actor he is.

    aimai

  42. 42
    Brachiator says:

    @Comrade DougJ:

    @Martin:

    “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

  43. 43
    Kane says:

    Speaking of cowardly, I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.

    Readers can share their comments on any of the many offerings at The Atlantic and The Daily Beast with exception of Sully’s Daily Dish. That in itself speaks volumes. Never trust a blogger who insists on one-way conversation and doesn’t allow a free flow of thoughts and opinions.

  44. 44
    stuckinred says:

    Attica Attica Attica!

  45. 45
    eemom says:

    @Mako: @

    two spheres and $5 will get you a cuppa coffee at Starbucks, amirite?

  46. 46
    eemom says:

    Speaking of cowardly, I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.

    Generally I agree, except for Rude Pundit. (though maybe he does read e-mail, I dunno.)

    He’s the exception that proves the rule. Or something.

    I just love the way the FP of his blog says “Mostly, the Rude Pundit doesn’t give a shit what you have to say.”

  47. 47
    Mark B says:

    If Meghan could add or subtract, she wouldn’t be able to write the incredibly innumerate columns she’s been writing for years. She’s the Barbie doll who says ‘math is hard’ when you pull her string.

    [on edit:] Ahh I see you’re referring to Sullivan, not Meghan. I believe that Meghan made exactly the same error of subtraction. I think that maybe both of farm out the hard stuff, like adding and subtracting, to someone else. Possibly even the same person.

  48. 48
    stuckinred says:

    So, what country you want to go to?

    Wyoming

  49. 49
    eemom says:

    @aimai:

    Ira Levin was an outstanding writer, though I don’t believe he ever got much name recognition. He was like the forerunner to Steven King back in the days before Steven King started cranking out shit.

    A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary’s Baby, The Boys from Brazil, and The Stepford Wives were all first-rate novels, though imo only Rosemary’s Baby was made into a great movie. Boys From Brazil with Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier was ok though.

  50. 50
    IM says:

    . I’m all Sullied out for now, possibly forever

    Now that is funny.

    I will smoke a last cigarette to that.

  51. 51

    i wish some one were brave enough to mention that there are people who have supported ryan publicly. i only hope that some day, we as a nation are brave enough, to have debates, about debates, of the issues we face.

  52. 52
    Brachiator says:

    @aimai:

    To contine the stream of kevinbacon style consciousness if you have never seen Next Stop Wonderland in which Hoffman plays a loser boyfriend you should definitely see it.

    I heard good things about this film, and once rented it but returned it unwatched because I got busy with a lot of stuff. Now I will make a point to go back and get it again.

    It occurs to me that Lumet was one of those directors who put out films I consistently enjoyed. Looking over his filmography, I forgot a little gem like The Anderson Tapes, with Sean Connery.

    He will be missed.

  53. 53
    stuckinred says:

    Dog Day is his best film!

  54. 54

    Just dropping in here to say that the “everybody gets dirty in a mudfight” comments are remarkably civil and interesting for the most part. WTF is wrong with you juicers? :)

  55. 55
    a1 says:

    Paul Ryan’s courage is the same kind of courage shown by Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin, Howard Stern, or Pat Buchanan when he complains about whites no longer running things in this country. It’s the courage to speak of hateful and ugly sentiments that their audience holds and resents that they can’t say themselves.

    Look, the wealthy and powerful in this country hold the rest of us in contempt. They feel they deserve 100% of the wealth and accommodation by society, and those below their station should get 0% consideration and should just shut up and do their bidding like good little serfs. Look at how disparagingly they use the word “entitlements” – they’re literally disgusted at the idea the filthy rabble actually deserves to get something from the public till. How awful!

    But what’s worse is that, though you believe this every moment of every day, you can’t express it, because then those lowly commoners will whine and complain, and their cries of “I can’t afford my medicine!” hurt your ears. So you stew in the sheer unfairness of it all. Imagine how you’d feel, then, when a fresh-faced guy comes on the scene and publicly announces a plan whose entire purpose is to say: “Fuck them! YOU should get this money!”

    Courageous? For the rich and powerful (and their wannabe hangers-on), Paul Ryan is their HERO. He’s their fucking Robin Hood.

  56. 56
    Ned Ludd says:

    @Comrade DougJ:

    Speaking of cowardly, I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.

    The best way to demonstrate this contempt would be if you took him off the blogroll and just started ignoring him.

  57. 57
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    I think you and Mako and everyone else whining “green balloons” couldn’t be more wrong. And in your case, particularly, because if anyone loves to call out a fool, it’s you. A good quality, even when I think you’re the one being a fool.

    Sullivan is immensely influential, especially among the Village and the TNR DINOs. And though he may not be a household name in Real Merka, his views likely influence them. Either through his influence on people who do pay attention to him, especially in the msm. Or they may just stumble over him pontificating as he is all over tv. He’s always on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, a Sunday morning middle America staple. He goes on various MSNBC shows. He is a regular panelist (at least a few times a season) on Maher’s show. He does guest column stuff in newspapers and magazines. He is one of the driving voices of punditry. I think that if we have his ear (and we obviously do), we have an obligation to forcefully and relentlessly push back on any bullshit he spews. Sully is capable of learning. Sometimes. But never without a long, drawn out temper tantrum, increasingly silly justifications, and hurt fee fees on his part.

    These things must be fought where they began and Sully is often one the persons who begins these memes.

  58. 58

    Quick thing about Sully’s lack of comments:

    In his defense, he put it up for a vote a few years ago (maybe less) and his readers voted No on comments by like a 3:2 margin.

  59. 59

    @Elia Isquire: So we’re told. There wasn’t a vote, per se. it was all by e-mail, IIRC.

  60. 60
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @geg6:
    Thank you for explicating Sullivan’s sphere of influence. I gave up TV, save for movies, some years ago so it is surprising to hear that Sullivan is swinging so far above his weight.

  61. 61
    tomvox1 says:

    Fuckin’ A, Doug J. Paul Ryan is Sully’s Cameron and we can all see how well that’s working out for the Brits. My favorite quote from Sully in all this?

    [John Cole] also seems to think that the lower tax rates are unfunded additions to the debt, as Bush’s were. But they are paid for by eliminating tax loopholes, shelters and gimmicks.

    Is Sully really this naive/uninformed/ignorant? Or just very simply an absolute upper class whore?

    Or how about this howler…

    When we have the kind of fiscal meltdown in the future that we face, offering nothing but an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is not serious.

    If you say so, Andrew. So then how’s about not just letting Bush’s top marginal tax rates expire for the top bracket but actually, you know, increasing the top rate to, say, 42%? That would take care of a lot of Sully’s “looming fiscal catastrophe” bullshit. And it might even make him go Galt in protest, which would be a blessing for all of us around here, none more so than our disillusioned host.

    Why does today’s pundit class (and apparently the fucking White House also) forget that Clinton was able to generate a surplus via Peace, military cuts and that dreaded 39.6% top rate? Arrrgh…

  62. 62

    Somebody should remind the pundit class that Ryan is a Representative – one of 435 people – who is elected by a very tiny slice of the population of the country. He doesn’t have to suffer political consequences because he’s in a safe R district. Like Michelle Batshitinsanemann. They no more speak from a position representing the American public than I do.

    If he were a Senator, perhaps you could argue this was “courageous.” If he were president (shudder), more so. As a Rep., it’s just another asshole shouting “Look at me!”

  63. 63
    Cliff says:

    I don’t see Klein as a sociopath.
    I think he’s a man of purely average intelligence who thinks he’s the smartest cat to walk the streets of DC.

    Accordingly, he’s not smart enough or dedicated enough to comprehend anyone who argues that he’s wrong.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Elia Isquire:

    The thing is, the long term problem with Medicare has NOTHING to do with its status as an item in the Federal budget.

    It has to do with our obscene health care system, which is about greed, not about health care.

    Address the parasites of the health care system (health “insurance” companies, big pharma, more tests for more profit, ignoring preventative care in favor of reactive care) and the “crisis” of Medicare and Medicaid goes away.

  65. 65
    Chat Noir says:

    @stuckinred: “Dog Day Afternoon” is one of my favorite movies. Pacino and Cazale are brilliant.

  66. 66
    Cliff says:

    @tomvox1:
    So then how’s about not just letting Bush’s top marginal tax rates expire for the top bracket but actually, you know, increasing the top rate to, say, 42%?

    This. I hate that the discussion on taxes is only about whether or not to let the Bush tax cuts expire.

  67. 67
    Mike E says:

    @stuckinred: ‘Fredo’ lives! Also, gotta love the “long, bad day” genre of films: The Long Good Friday is a stand out, and The Hangover has to be near the top of this list. Too.

  68. 68
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Address the parasites of the health care system…

    A noble and worthy goal. Lamentably, the parasites have interjected themselves between the people and every last thing that they need. Ending the parasitism of the healthcare cartel is a good first step. Ending the parasitism of the grain, oil, and everything else speculators would make for a better world.

  69. 69
    Julia Grey says:

    Sully is capable of learning. Sometimes. But never without a long, drawn out temper tantrum, increasingly silly justifications, and hurt fee fees on his part.

    But migaud, the things he’s been wrong about! The Iraq war, that egregious “Trig isn’t Sarah Palin’s baby!” nonsense, late-term abortion, and now this.

    All of it discreditable in the extreme.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Medicaid might, but we have the same problem with Medicare that we have with Social Security — the Baby Boomers, one of the largest demographic groups in American history, are becoming eligible for Medicare. It’s going to take quite a while for the snake to digest that elephant.

    Those problems aren’t insoluble if, in addition to the things you cited to decrease the overall cost, the government was willing to raise revenues to cover them, like by increasing the cap for the Social Security tax. There definitely is a looming problem, but Ryan’s “solution” would only make the problem worse.

  71. 71
    Mako says:

    “though imo only Rosemary’s Baby was made into a great movie.”

    Those of us who appreciate Sharon Stone naked and lesser Baldwins will certainly enjoy “Sliver”.

  72. 72
    eemom says:

    @geg6:

    I disagree. I think you grossly overstate his influence. The media you cite are nowhere near the mainstream, and other than that, you’re just making a series of vague and unsupported statements.

    And since you’re so fond of anecdotal evidence, note how many people have popped up here over the last few days to say that they never heard of Sullivan outside this blog, and/or that they don’t know anyone who’s ever heard of Sullivan.

  73. 73
    Julia Grey says:

    Accordingly, he’s not smart enough or dedicated enough to comprehend anyone who argues that he’s wrong.

    It’s not that he’s not smart enough or dedicated enough. It is that he has no interest whatsoever in comprehending any argument that he’s wrong. You know the old saw about it being impossible to convince a man of something when his livelihood depends on not being convinced of it.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    Mako says:

    @geg6:
    Okay. Whatever you think is best. I had no idea some guy I never heard of is so important. Maybe I should spring for cable.

  76. 76
    Mako says:

    @a1:
    “Paul Ryan’s courage is the same kind of courage shown by Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin, Howard Stern, or Pat Buchanan when he complains about whites no longer running things in this country.”

    We’re gonna need some citations on that.

  77. 77
  78. 78

    @eemom: OK so

    Chris Matthews
    the Atlantic/the Daily Beast/Newsweek
    the Financial Times
    and Bill Maher’s HBO show

    None of these are near the mainstream? Kind of a silly argument. I get that you’re sick of talking about him, so why not just, y’know, ignore it?

  79. 79
    Mako says:

    @Elia Isquire:
    Sullivan writes for the Financial Times? I never noticed. Could you link to an article?

  80. 80
    Common Sense says:

    @eemom:

    Well it ain’t 2 and a Half Men, but you never see Krauthammer on that either. Is he influential?

    @geg6:

    Sullivan is immensely influential, especially among the Village and the TNR DINOs. And though he may not be a household name in Real Merka, his views likely influence them. Either through his influence on people who do pay attention to him, especially in the msm. Or they may just stumble over him pontificating as he is all over tv. He’s always on the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, a Sunday morning middle America staple. He goes on various MSNBC shows. He is a regular panelist (at least a few times a season) on Maher’s show. He does guest column stuff in newspapers and magazines. He is one of the driving voices of punditry. I think that if we have his ear (and we obviously do), we have an obligation to forcefully and relentlessly push back on any bullshit he spews.

    Spot on. I’ve seen Balloon Juice mentioned on Maddow (someone had a brilliant comment that was a play about the UAW/automaker negotiations), and I am pretty sure it’s been brought up on Maher as well — IIRC by Sully. The influence of political blogs isn’t widespread, but the people that read them are.

  81. 81
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    Way to miss the point. But typical of you when you’ve dug your heels in. Much like Sully, as a matter of fact. To belabor the obvious, you don’t have to know who creates the CW to be exposed to and, perhaps, influenced by it.

  82. 82
    eemom says:

    @Elia Isquire:

    I don’t know on what planet Chris Matthews or Bill Maher would be considered mainstream, but it ain’t the one I inhabit.

    And no, none of those things reach anything close to the numbers of people as do the media that would be considered mainstream under any reasonable definition, e.g., the NYT, WaPo, broadcast networks, CNN.

  83. 83
    eemom says:

    @geg6:

    You know what? I’m sick of your stupid, petty insults.

    I don’t start up with you. So if you can’t engage in a dialogue with me without acting like a schoolyard bully, how about you just leave me the fuck alone.

  84. 84
    Common Sense says:

    @eemom:

    None of those things reach anything close to the numbers of people as do the media that would be considered mainstream under any reasonable definition, e.g., the NYT, WaPo, broadcast networks, CNN.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK2DqEkxzE0&list=SL

  85. 85
    eemom says:

    @Common Sense:

    damn, you’re good.

  86. 86
    sukabi says:

    @Elia Isquire: was this one of those internet polls that all you have to do is keep clicking and refreshing??? easy to game them… or was it a comment section where people wrote in their views and he counted and then closed the comments down?

  87. 87
    Common Sense says:

    @eemom:

    It’s always safe to assume that if you sound serious while espousing unserious ideas, you’ll have a gig on cable news.

    If you aren’t serious and don’t sound like it, there’s a certain spot for ya at FOX and a likely one elsewhere to maintain balance

    If you sound serious and have serious ideas, your best hope is PBS if you get lucky

    I’d guess the odds are about 50/50 that Sully takes over for Herbert.

  88. 88
    sukabi says:

    @eemom: they don’t need to hear about or read Sully to have some of his “wisdom” be incorporated into what they think…

    people are influenced by what they hear, some of it is first hand, most of it comes by way of friends and family — or other people they respect in the community / media….

    how do you think “THE DEFICIT WILL KILL US” has become THE ONLY thing that’s talked about? It’s because that’s what the “Important People” want to focus on…

    Sully is part of the conduit of Very Serious People that help to shape the conversation, and he’s a reinforcement tool for those Important People in Washington… they can point to something he’s written on the subject and say “See, this is what everybody’s talking about, we do need to address the deficit”.

  89. 89
    eemom says:

    @sukabi:

    I agree with the general proposition. I just think it’s almost impossible to know where someone like Sully fits into that conduit.

    I also think it’s true that we blogoholics tend to overestimate the influence of bloggers in the real world, just in general.

    @Common Sense:

    I’d guess the odds are about 50/50 that Sully takes over for Herbert.

    that would really be a travesty.

  90. 90
    Suzan says:

    If a Democrat proposed a budget that increased spending for the poor, cut nothing and paid for it all by a tax increase on the rich would he or she be seen as brave, courageous blah blah? No. That plan would win the Moore award.

  91. 91
    Mako says:

    @Elia Isquire:
    In my defense: Chris Matthews has a poorly rated show that very few people watch.
    I haven’t even seen a Newsweek in several years, last one was buried under a pile of Field And Streams at the dentists.
    Can’t find any evidence of Sullivan writing for FT.
    Bill Mahler also has a poorly rated show on premium cable that even fewer people watch.
    So basically, we are left with his blog and Balloon-Juice.

  92. 92
    sukabi says:

    @eemom: I would venture that his “import” is to the “meme reinforcement circle-jerk” for the Washington insiders… that then gets trumpeted on the cable yak fests… he acts as one of those “some people say” guys…

  93. 93
    mike says:

    “Kudos to the Progressive Caucus. But even with this splurge of tax-and-spend-and-gut-defense, they only manage to get revenues 3 percent higher as a percentage of GDP than Ryan’s, as Megan notes.”

    I’m not the most numerate person, but the problem with that statement isn’t just that the difference is 4 rather than 3, but that it’s percentage points, not percentages. Going from 18.3 to 22.3 is actually a 21 percent increase. Which isn’t bad.

  94. 94
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    What people like Sullivan, Broder and Klein say (yes I know Broder’s dead, but his taint is anchored in the media like a mustard seed) filters down to Low Information voters who have little grasp of issues but always vote. The Republicans didn’t score big because Obama didn’t close Gitmo or pass single-payer health care, still less because people want to gut Medicare and cut taxes for the the rich. They won big because they had some vague idea that Obama “overreached”, and that somehow deficit spending makes the economy worse.

  95. 95
    Bruce S says:

    “Ryan is showing the same kind of courage that the 101st Chairborne showed in the Iraq War”

    Yeah – this whole parade of Ryan-Love rhetoric is off-base. Ryan has yet to show even a shadow of the spine truly courageous folks have offered in the service of utterly bankrupt, immoral ideology – examples being the spunk the Kamikazes or, say, Rommel’s Panzer divisions demonstrated in WWII. Compared to those stand-up guys, Ryan isn’t even a little bit impressive.

  96. 96
    Quiddity says:

    Re DougJ’s conciliatory:

    We all make addition mistakes, but this has been up there for over a day

    I would normally agree, but Sullivan’s math error post occurred after he was charged with being innumerate by John. When someone has been accused of such a thing (in this case correctly), you should be on your toes. This proves to my satisfaction that Sullivan really is terrible with math, and probably always has been (see the Bell Curve). He’s a classic example of a British upper class twit. Good with words, but not a shred of quantitative or systems thinking.

  97. 97
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    Jeebus. For someone who purports to be be an attorney, your ability to argue leaves much to be desired. Personal attacks, red herrings, and strawmen is truly all you have? And in opposition to what is plainly and obviously true?

    You and Mako are made for each other. Neither of you can see what is plainly in front of you faces and can only see a situation from your own narrow personal experiences. I really was trying to find a way to engage you constructively but I should know better. Won’t happen again.

  98. 98
    eemom says:

    @geg6:

    I think you’re the one being a fool.

    Way to miss the point. But typical of you when you’ve dug your heels in. Much like Sully, as a matter of fact.

    Those are your ideas of “constructive engagement”?

    Note my #72. And my exchanges — on this thread, on the same topic — with people who don’t act like pissy little 12 year olds.

    Grow the fuck up.

    And yes, won’t happen again is exactly what I had in mind. As I, like, said.

  99. 99
    Ija says:

    @Mako:

    Can’t find any evidence of Sullivan writing for FT.

    It’s behind the FT paywall. But Sullivan has mentioned it on his blog a lot of times. Of course, all of us mentioning it here could just be lying because we are obsessed with Sullivan’s influence and all that. Whatever you want to believe, dude.

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