July 19, 2004
Barbara Ehrenreich and Liberal Bloggers
Barbara Ehrenreich recently started filling in for Tom Friedman in the NY Times op-ed pages, and some liberal bloggers are not taking it very well.
Most of the A-List lefty bloggers are not really all that far to the left, at least compared to the wild-eyed hippies I hang out with at WBAI. And I don't have any problem with that, we need a variety of voices out there.. but it's disappointing to see how smugly contemptuous some of these guys can be towards folks who are a little further left than themselves.
Ehrenreich's crime, evidently, was to voice her support for Ralph Nader in 2000, which so offended these guys that four years later they still disparage her mental health and (quoting Lenin) diagnose her with an "infantile disorder."
Their bias against her is so strong they can't even recognize when she is joking:
So, Ralph, sit down. Pour yourself a Diet Pepsi and rejoice in the fact that -- post-Enron and post-Iraq war -- millions have absorbed your message. You're entitled to a little time out now, a few weeks on the beach catching up on back issues of The Congressional Record. Meanwhile, I've thrown my mighty weight behind Dennis Kucinich, who, unnoticed by the media, is still soldiering along on the campaign trail. In the event that he fails to get the Democratic nomination, I'll have to consider my options.
I think most readers will find it obvious that she she's only kidding when she implies that Kucinich still has a shot (and with the boasts of her own "mighty weight"). I mean, you'd have to assume that Ehrenreich is an abject doofus to think she really believes that. But apparently Matthew Yglesias and Ezra at Pandagon (one of my favorite blogs, for the record) are so caught up in their sense of intellectual superiority over (former) Nader supporters that they will assume just that. And even after Ezra gets called out on his blunder and admits it, he keeps digging himself deeper by insisting it was Barbara's joke that was a misfire, rather than his errant response. Dude, just admit you goofed and move on! It happens to everybody.
Listen, guys, I greatly appreciate the work you all do in your blogs, and I can to some extent understand your frustration with voters who choose principles over pragmatism. But sometimes you can cling to a grudge so tightly it stops the flow of blood to your brain. And if you want those who supported Nader in the past to feel welcome joining you this time, you should probably stop treating them like you think they are idiots.