Recriminations, Corrections, and Standing up to Scott Peterson

It’s the last gasp (let’s hope) of Democratic finger-pointing and recriminations, and Josh Marshall is going after the “aristocracy of operatives,” who he believes truly controls the party. He thinks it’s a bit rich for these guys to complain that Democrats have lost touch with the Red States, when they’re the ones in charge in the first place. Marshall argues that these professional operators should “say a collective, my bad, my time has passed, and depart the scene.”

Noam Scheiber, writing on his New Republic blog, is thinking along different lines about a similar subject. He argues that people who say Democrats need to talk more about values miss “the degree to which cultural issues and national security credibility are connected.” Most voters didn’t decide which candidate could do a better job keeping them safe based on a reasoned assessment of each man’s policy proposals, according to Scheiber. Rather, they asked: “‘which candidate do I trust more: my plain-talking, brush-clearing, evil-denouncing commander-in-chief, or this windsurfing, paté-eating, well-coiffed guy from Massachusetts.’ Obviously, the answer to that question wasn’t very close.”

Meanwhile David Brooks’ apology in his New York Times column Saturday — for wrongly accusing John Kerry of criticizing the conduct of American troops at Tora Bora — did little to mollify Jeffrey Dubner, writing on Tapped. Not only was the apology late, argues Dubner, but Brooks still hasn’t corrected his assertion, in a separate column, that Kerry had positioned himself as “the antiwar candidate,” when in fact he had done no such thing. Don’t look for a correction on that one any time soon.

Andrew Sullivan has found a posting on Craig’s List that piqued his interest: “Go ahead and gloat by putting me over your knee and reminding me that George Bush is King! I’ll take it like a man. Any conservative women out there want to spank a handsome, polite, fit and clean liberal and make some cash? Make a sore loser out of me!” As Sullivan mischievously notes: “This is how Margaret Thatcher used to win elections.”

And David Adesnik at Oxblog refreshingly rids himself of any trace of moral relativism by assuring the world that he thinks convicted murderers are bad. Says Adsenik, butchly: “Scott Peterson is human trash and deserves to die.” He adds, “Peterson is pretty frikkin’ white, so you won’t get the ACLU crowd all up in arms about how the death penalty is inherently racist.” (Frankly, we don’t remember the Oxblog crowd being “all up in arms” on behalf of the last non-cute, non-white, non-pregnant murder victim.) Still, you’ve got to salute the courage of a man who takes on perhaps the most hated figure in America. Way to go out on a limb.

Zachary Roth

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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.