Monday, December 22, 2008

Matt Yglesias, Jennifer Palmieri, and the Third Way

People aren't getting some of the key issues in the public smackdown of Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress. It turns out that Yglesias, who is as far left as possible without being formally identified as communist, was smacked down by Jennifer Palmieri, who is the interim chief at the Center for American Progress.

It turns out that Yglesias
wrote a post recently on the Third Way, a centrist Washington Democratic policy shop, in which he offered an ultimately unwelcomed turn of phase. Here's the key quote (in bold italicized text), in the context of the the full paragraph, which most of Yglesias' defenders are leaving out:

Third Way is a neat organization — I used to work across the hall from them. And they do a lot of clever messaging stuff that a lot of candidates find very useful. But their domestic policy agenda is hyper-timid incrementalist bullsh*t. There are a variety of issues that they have nothing whatsoever to say on, and what policy ideas they do have are laughable in comparison to the scale of the problems they allegedly address. Which is fine, because Third Way isn’t really a “public policy think tank” at all, it’s a messaging and political tactics outfit. But Barack Obama’s policy proposals aren’t like that. At all. Nor do personnel on his policy teams — including the more ideologically moderate members — stand for anything that’s remotely as weak a brew as the stuff Third Way puts out. And yet, Third Way loves Barack Obama and says he’s a moderate just like them. Which is great. But everyone needs to see that these things are moving in two directions simultaneously. At the very same time Obama is disappointing progressive supporters on a number of fronts, he’s also bringing moderates on board for things that are way more ambitious than anything they were endorsing two or three years ago [emphasis added].
Well, it turns out the Palmieri didn't like this at all, so she logged into Yglesias' blog at Think Progress to write this:

This is Jennifer Palmieri, acting CEO of the Center for American Progess Action Fund.

Most readers know that the views expressed on Matt’s blog are his own and don’t always reflect the views of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Such is the case with regard to Matt’s comments about Third Way. Our institution has partnered with Third Way on a number of important projects - including a homeland security transition project - and have a great deal of respect for their critical thinking and excellent work product. They are key leaders in the progressive movement and we look forward to working with them in the future.
This is a D.C. Democratic-insiders' squabble. The Politico reports that Palmieri might be tapped as an Obama administration assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. So let's break it down:

1) Palmieri's a hack. Who would want to work with her - much less under her - with a demonstrated leadership like that?

2) Palmieri's even more of a hack if she doesn't realize that Yglesias' views above are entirely representative of the organization she currently heads. Maybe she doesn't actually read Think Progress, one of the most disastrous "progressive" blogging outfits on the web. Or if she does, she's down with the filth and spew eminating there, and she only makes a stink of things when her hat's in the ring at the Pentagon. Either way, once again, she's not a very good manager, and the country certainly doesn't need that kind of waffling, self-serving "expertise" on defense policy, unless such abject caving to political pressure is the style of policy leadership and diplomacy expected at Obama's Defense Department.

3) Take a look at Yglesias' post, in any case: If Third Way's positions resemble the practical meaning of the term (Britain's Tony Blair, President Bush's greatest ally on the Iraq war, was a well-known leading advocate of "third way" ideological centrism), he's either living in an isolated pocket of the hard-left blogosphere, or he's truly lost his mind. Sure, the netroots left can raise a big stink on many issues, and these folks get a lot of media coverage for all their blustery talk and self-exaltation. But they are not mainstream. Hillary Clinton dissed them, Joseph Lieberman dissed them, and Barack Obama's now repudiating them (think Rick Warren). This is smart politics (or, on Warren, brilliant Machiavellianism, but that's an aside). Talking "bullsh*t" on one of D.C.'s insider think tanks is hardly the worst offense one might find coming out of the fever swamps of the online Democratic Party base. The considerable outrage among the commenters at Yglesias' post, and well as the support Yglesias is getting from fellow bloggers, only confirms that deep split between the activist base of the party and the top operatives who will have to actually govern.

Remember the debate about a "center-right nation? Stuff like this demonstrates it better than ever. It's actually funny, however, that both Yglesias' original post and then Palmieri's subsequent smackdown reveal that no one involved in this debate's got a shred of class.

13 comments:

Pat Houseworth said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS DD.....And a great New Year too!

Keep fighting the good fight into 2009.

ibc said...

Came for the Yglesias reference; stayed for the superficial, cheap, self-indulgent patriotism. I look forward to your continued irrelevance in the decade to come.

"I AM PRO-VICTORY"

God. What a turd.

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks Pat. Have a good one yourself.

Donald Douglas said...

IBC: No need to come back. Hang out with Yglesias, who also doesn't care for patriotism.

Trish said...

Merry Christmas Donald!
Enjoy the time with your family!
And best wishes in the coming year!
God Bless America!

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks Trish. You too!

chrsux said...

While I disagree with Yglesias's politics, I don't get why his post demonstrates a lack of class. Or is it that anyone who has a political view different from your own is by definition without class?

Moreover, the outrage on the left blogs has almost nothing to do with the politics of the situation. It has more to do with the perception that Yglesias was being censored or controlled by the corporate side. Of course this argument is ridiculous, but you don't actually address this in your post. Instead you misrepresent the position of the lefties so you can attack them for having a political view different than your own.

It seems to me that you are the one without class here...

chrsux said...

ps. Re:"pro-victory Associate Professor of Political Science"

So, is this a tenure track position?

Perhaps if you taught at some place other than long beach community college, your vocation might carry some weight. As it stands, your position affords you the same amount of respect as someone whose profile reads:
"pro-victory guy standing on a random street corner"

slag said...

What a coincidence! I'm "pro-victory" and I "abhor irrationalism" too! We must be BFFs (in an ironic sort of way).

Grace Explosion said...

" At the very same time Obama is disappointing progressive supporters on a number of fronts, he’s also bringing moderates on board for things that are way more ambitious than anything they were endorsing two or three years ago [emphasis added]."

I think this is a very valid point that I'm believing. Obama is going to "drive the team"... left... very left... cloaked in verbiage that makes socialism look like "bailouts" and "stimulus packages". He's going to propagandize, I would think, the daylights out of the "economic opportunity". (Crisis is opportunity to a Marxist.)

I find it amusing that the "honor" of these people are being challenged, as they assert how progressive they really are... and turn to insult one another.

"There is no honor among progressives." That's a saying, right?? "Progressives" aka "thieves": I think those words are interchangeable in famous sayings.

They're hard left. Their goal is to eliminate classes... and they start with eliminating class among themselves.

(Bada boom bada bing).

Grace.

Donald Douglas said...

They're not progressive at all, as you well know, Grace.

Thanks for visiting.

Ellen said...

"As far left as possible without being formally identified as communist"? That common-or-garden variety liberal Yglesias?? Like "a fascist in all but name" and the like, " this is the kind of cheap hyperbole that damages one's credit with serious people, left or right.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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