Out of the past

Who said this in 2006, in a piece titled “The Digital Lynch Mob”? No googling.

At any rate, there is a certain segment of the online left (and right, for that matter) who think that the key to electoral victory is to keep a certain segment of the population in a frothing rage. Any perceived slight must immediately be met with an email campaign and a ‘Wanker of the day” post that can be linked by the entire “spittle-flecked monitor” wing of the Democratic party, and that will ensure that the evil NEOCONS are kicked out of office in November.

Update. It’s our own esteemed host (via).

91 replies
  1. 1
    BerkeleyMom says:


  2. 2
  3. 3
    Irreverend Moon says:

    Sully. Gotta be.

  4. 4
    DougJ, Head of Infidelity says:

    Ha ha ha.

  5. 5
    Butch says:

    No, John Cole. The piece referenced Eschaton.

  6. 6
    AA+ Bonds says:

    easy, Cole

  7. 7
    PeakVT says:

    Now let’s not pick on the young and uninformed…

  8. 8
    AA+ Bonds says:

    is it really a surprise that no one at BJ remembers anything

  9. 9
    Morbo says:

    @Butch: Has to be correct or there would be no point in posting it.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I am both young and wasn’t around then but it’s pretty easy to tell from the writing style and the opinions expressed that it is Cole sometime before 2008 or so

    The archives for this place are pretty interesting esp. the whole DougJ arc

  12. 12
    Snayke says:

    That’s Sully. Has to be.

  13. 13
    JonathanW says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I imagine most BJ readers came here well after 2006. I started visiting during the ’08 election.

  14. 14
    lahke says:

    It’s Cole. Atrios linked to it in the current wankerfest.

  15. 15
    AA+ Bonds says:


    Fair enough, so did I

  16. 16
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I think it is more than okay that John Cole is as angry now as I was in 2006

  17. 17
    Percysowner says:

    I came here around the time John Cole was “converting”, so I didn’t see the original post. FWIW, I guessed Sully. Congratulations John, you really have come a long way.

  18. 18
    J.W. Hamner says:


    My guess is Sully too.

    EDIT: Though I now see that was a wrong guess. It does seem to fit Cole’s style much better in retrospect.

  19. 19
    Phil P. says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    esp. the whole DougJ arc

    Can anybody point me to this in the archives? I’ve been a reader since pre-Cole-conversion times, but I somehow completely missed this. Have looked for it before, but to no avail.

  20. 20
    tomvox1 says:

    Key takeaway from Cohen vs. Cole: the latter has learned from his mistakes and, yes, even apologized for them. Cohen, on the other hand, is still trying to justify his errors and moral failings. And, in fact, still making regularly massive blunders in logic and ethics is his bird cage liner-column.

    Good on ya, Cole, for coming so far so fast, I say.

    Also, too: The Internet is for Gotcha.

  21. 21
  22. 22
  23. 23
    Trentrunner says:

    F. Scott Fitzgerald


    And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the spittle-flecked past.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    amk says:

    dougj, you’re so fcuked. hut wait till cole comes after you with his strap-on.

  26. 26
    AnotherBruce says:

    Just guessing Howie Kurtz.

  27. 27
    handsmile says:

    Robert Mitchum: “Baby, I don’t care.”

  28. 28
    Wee Bey says:

    I wanna say Greenwald, but it isn’t douchey enough.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    I remember being sent here by the Great Orange Satan’s blogroll in the mid 2ks. I never understood why they had JC there as this was not like any of the other sites. Even when there was some nugget of agreement the surrounding arguments were a nightmare. Those guys must have seen some flicker of light in that dark soul of yours John. Guess it became a flame.

  30. 30
    Pathman says:

    Got a linky to that post?

  31. 31
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    See, both sides do it, even if they are the same person.

  32. 32

    @JonathanW: Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I imagine most BJ readers came here well after 2006. I started visiting during the ‘08 election.

    Speaking for myself, but I think I was part of a throng, I started haunting these comments as John was making his conversion, which was catalyzed by the Terri Schiavo affair.

  33. 33
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Luke, 15:7, people.


    @Phil P.:

    Oh man, that would take some work given how you have to search them . . . I just went back to some random date and started reading the comments sections

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Impressive. Now somebody’s got to figure out a way to link to DougJ’s scorched earth campaign.

  36. 36
    Face says:

    I’m old enough to remember the whole dust-up between Cole and the Sadly, No gents. Lordy what a bunch of infantile bitches that fight morphed into.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    See, both sides do it!

    Time Machine Cole strikes again.

  38. 38
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Does Andrew Sullivan actually use the term “wanker” because that seems a little . . . on the nose



  39. 39
  40. 40
    amk says:

    @PaulB: ewww, not going there. I heard that place is a putrid mess.

  41. 41
    Trinity says:

    Awesome sauce.

  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    I am spittle-flecked, but don’t know whether it’s mine or somebody else’s.

  43. 43

    By the way, who came first, DougJ or Dug Jay?

  44. 44
    28 Percent says:

    I came over from The Poor Man. Who incidentally, never pet blogged.

  45. 45
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    From what I’ve read the best idea would be another WordPress blog that reads like the bit DeLong does where he blogs a calendar day from WWII from some book or another

  46. 46
    Lee says:

    @Phil P.:

    Can anybody point me to this in the archives? I’ve been a reader since pre-Cole-conversion times, but I somehow completely missed this. Have looked for it before, but to no avail.

    DougJ started in the comments as a master troll spoofing right-wing talking points that drew in many a victim.

    He then branched out to other blogs and online Q&A sessions. He counted a number of high profile coup then became a FP’r

  47. 47
    beergoggles says:

    @Face: That’s what prompted me to add them to my rss feed.

  48. 48
    Anya says:

    LEAVE JOHN COLE ALONE! You bastards are lucky Tunch is even letting him post. What do you want from him? LEAVE HIM ALONE!

  49. 49
    Klaus says:

    Yeah, let’s get the dirt on Doug. Who is he, where does he come from?

  50. 50
    andrewsomething says:


    I’ve long stopped reading the GOS, but I also came here back when Kos was linking to “even the conservative John Cole.”

  51. 51
    Jim Pharo says:

    It’s terribly rude not to pretend to have forgotten our host’s youthful/unwise indiscretions. Terribly, terribly rude.

    I for one shall always believe that Master Cole has always been the paragon of common sense and virtue that he is today. Unless he goes back to his old self, in which case I shall pretend never to have heard of him.

  52. 52
    RP says:

    Does Atrios list himself? He’s right up there. (Although maybe “wanker” is the wrong term for him. “A**hole” is probably more accurate.)

  53. 53
    DougJ, Head of Infidelity says:


    I started off as an over-the-top troll here.

    I also did a lot of local blogging but I keep that semi-secret here.

  54. 54
    liberal says:

    No, that’s reserved for the guy who posted “David Broder” @21.

  55. 55
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @DougJ, Head of Infidelity: Don’t tell me, that you were BoB

  56. 56
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Deleted, double comment,

  57. 57
    Steve says:

    Technically, the post was called “The Digitial Lynch Mob.” Because it wouldn’t be Cole without both (1) thunderous indignation and (2) a glaring typo.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    Damn. Between this onslaught and Cole getting his ass kicked by Charles Davis on teh twitters, he’s having a rough couple days.

  59. 59
    crazy c says:

    I just like how the comments to that post include the insanity that was Birdzilla…

  60. 60
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Don’t tell me, that you were BoB

    BoB spent a lot of time posting on Obsidian Wings before he was here at BJ. Trolling a moderate blog like ObiWings doesn’t strike me as DougJ’s style, but I could be wrong, it has happened before.
    A bit of BJ trivia: to a small degree I’m personally responsible for BoB showing up here. One day he was trolling outrageously at ObiWings and the commentors there were as usual taking apart his arguments in the serious, substantive and polite manner typical of that blog, which meant that Bob being what he is, this criticism was having no impact at all. Knowing that trolls on BJ tend to be killed and eaten rather than tolerated, I suggested to BoB that he move his schtick over to Balloon-Juice instead of ObiWings, and a few weeks later he started turning up in comments here on a regular basis.
    Given how things worked out subsequently, I’m not sure whether I should be proud of this or ashamed of it.
    As Paul Harvey used to say, “now you know the rest of the story“.

  61. 61
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:


    DougJ’s spoofery was my favorite part about this blog a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

  62. 62
    runt says:

    I’m curious (and yellow): How many of the people who used to follow angry wingnut Cole has made the transition to follow angry, but sensible Cole? Has the commentariat here changed a lot since those days?

  63. 63
    JC says:

    Anyone remember when the topics de jour were, “Cindy Sheehan, saint or sinner”, and the various permutations of “The Plame Game”?

    that was an interesting summer…

  64. 64
    nitpicker says:

    I was hoping you’d make the list, John. If that shit went down the memory hole you’d be impossible to live with.

  65. 65
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @runt: Don’t know, I started hanging out here since Obama’s inauguration.

  66. 66
    JWL says:

    “.. the words are so angry, so roiled with rage, that they are the functional equivalent of rocks once so furiously hurled during antiwar demonstrations”.

    Richard Cohen wrote that 6 years ago, and he’s full of shit. The only anti-war demonstrations he can possibly be referring to are those assemblies protesting the Vietnam War, and I can’t recall a single one that resulted in rocks being thrown in “furious” fashion. It’s insulting- not merely a fabrication, but a lie easily refuted by anyone who remembers the era.

  67. 67
    slag says:

    Cole is exactly right. Bombs don’t hurt people. Blogs hurt people.

    Well…at least he got his priorities straight eventually.

  68. 68
    Steve says:

    @runt: I came over here from Kos back when John was starting to flip and Markos kept citing his as an example. I miss Darrell. He was never the same after I caught him plagiarizing John Cornyn.

  69. 69
    JenJen says:

    “You just about made this list, Cole!!” – Duncan Black

    Ouch. ;-)

  70. 70
    Jacel says:

    I recall, pre-flip, John often being cited as a conservative blogger worth reading. One virtue was him being one of the rare writers on that side who grounded what he had to say in actual life experience in the military.

  71. 71
    Lynn Dee says:

    Cole wasn’t nearly as funny as a rightwinger as he is now as a disgruntled leftie.


  72. 72
    taylormattd says:

    So PUMAschaton has a sad about 2006 Cole, huh?

    The fact that he picked on Atrios’ schtick in that post doesn’t mean the post is wrong. Let’s face it, the purpose of the left blogs is RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE RAGE!

    Just have a look at FDL, Eschaton, Digby’s blog, Talk Left, Daily Kos, etc. any time there is an anonymous, single-sourced gossipy piece about a White House staffer possibly saying they might be willing to (GASP) have a meeting with the Speaker of the House.

  73. 73
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JWL: He’s getting Vietnam antiwar protests mixed up with the Palestinian intifada. Seems like the only way that would happen would be if you tended to confuse the US and Israel.

  74. 74
    Comrade Mary says:

    Huh. My earliest comment here was in October 2005, although I know I was following the blog a lot earlier. John was still nominally conservative, he was still slagging Kos and Amanda marcotte, but he wasn’t denying that global warming was real. Tim F. was a co-blogger by then, too. Also.

    John never did adopt that ocicat, though. Aw.

  75. 75
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    10000 pixel cuts.

  76. 76
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @taylormattd: Atrios doesn’t rage, though. He doesn’t have the passion for it. He’s more like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites.

  77. 77
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Comrade Mary: What ocicat, pray tell. Did Tunch now about this?

  78. 78
    Comrade Mary says:


  79. 79
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Comrade Mary: Tunch and Ocicat staring matches, that would have been fun..

  80. 80
    Citizen_X says:

    Hah hah, Cole going on about “spittle-flecked monitors.” Now that’s funny.

  81. 81
    gnomedad says:

    Both sides of the brain do it.

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:


    Has the commentariat here changed a lot since those days?

    The commentariat has changed a fuckton just in the last 18 months. Never mind the transition period from asshole authoritarian Republican to asshole authoritarian non-Republican.

  83. 83
    apulrang says:

    I’ve been a reader here for I think a couple of years. I don’t recall having ever commented before.

    Has John ever done a post recapping the how and why of his “conversion”? If he is comfortable with the idea, I think it would be an incredible service, especially to late comers like me. This is a sincere question … I don’t wish in any way to ridicule or disrespect John for any of his past views or expressions of views. I’m just interested in how such conversions or evolutions occur.

  84. 84
    Steve says:

    @taylormattd: The principal offense of those blogs, I think, is that they tend to rant about different things than John would like to rant about. It’s not like John is constitutionally opposed to flying off the handle or something.

  85. 85
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    Does Atrios list himself? He’s right up there.

    I’d guess that he will.

    He chose “wanker” for a reason, to claim it for American bloggy discourse, following the example of The Editors:

    I’ve figured out what is wrong with this country. What is wrong with this country is that there are too many fucking wankers running around. I’ve also figured out why we have so many wankers running around. It’s because we have no word for “wanker”. We’ve got a lot of terms of derision which express similar ideas – “douchebag” comes quite close – but miss the mark by being too intense. Calling someone a “dick” or a “douchebag” isn’t dismissive enough – it expresses too much active disgust, as opposed to passive contempt. “Tool” is very close, but doesn’t have the same je ne sais pas. “Loser” is also quite close, but it isn’t shameful enough. Everybody loses all the time; it’s not fun, it’s not a source of pride, but normal people don’t have any problem talking about it. Only wanking is really wanking.

    Jonah Goldberg will likely make the list, because he is a supreme wanker. Tommy “suck on this” Friedman is almost certainly going to be at the top. One of the characteristics of the wanker is their misguided sense of their own value — and the reason to get angry at wankers is that they assume degrees of authority and media pedestals to which they clearly have no right.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @taylormattd: Jeebus on a cracker. Just how hard did you get grudge fucked at FDL?

  87. 87
    TK-421 says:

    Ha ha, this is awesome. In a couple years we’ll be linking back to JC’s posts about how we should stop bitching about Dem Party leadership, Rahm Emanuel, Bipartisan compromising, etc.

    Better late than never, I guess, as is always the case with “moderates.”

  88. 88
    chrome agnomen says:


    you could start by going back to around the terri schiavo time, and read posts. that seemed to be the final straw.

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:


    In a couple years we’ll be linking back to JC’s posts about how we should stop bitching about Dem Party leadership, Rahm Emanuel, Bipartisan compromising, etc.

    Cole is nothing if not consistently wrong.
    What I’m finding amusing/interesting is that Cole still gets a lot of the “big things” wrong but his OODA Loop cycle seems to be getting shorter.
    IMO, we’ll hit Peak Wingnut about the same time Cole gets something dead right and insightful just from the jump. Of course, at that point we’ll be in full frontal, “Cats and dogs sleeping together!!! Basically all the worst parts of the bible.”

  90. 90
    apulrang says:

    @chrome agnomen: Thank you very much! Man, I’d forgotten what a farce that whole Schiavo affair was. I guess the bright side of it was that it was one one of those special moments when a lot of Republicans just couldn’t pretend any longer that theirs was still the party of Eisenhower and Lincoln.

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