Red and Blue, Slugging It Out

It’s Nov. 10, so we have under our belts now a week’s worth of either legging the victory lap or pondering early death, but the blogosphere is having trouble moving on.

At Talking Points Memo, we find Josh Marshall wading chest-deep into the great Red State/Blue State debate. Seeking to address the apparent perception that Red America represents the “country’s moral ballast,” he observes that “virtually every form of quantifiable social dysfunction” is higher in the Red states, diving headlong into the messy nitty-gritty of murder statistics. Perhaps having swallowed one too many angst-ridden blue state self-examinations about “moral values,” Marshall notes rather stiffly that blue states have a culture too: “it’s based in modernity and tolerance.”

Oxblog’s David Adesnik is another blogger still clinging to his election post mortem like a toddler to his teddy. After complaining about “how far Democratic pundits are willing to go in order to demonstrate that Bush’s victory has nothing to do with his foreign policy and everything to do with evangelical homophobia and ignorance,” he agrees with E.J. Dionne’s contention that “[i]t’s easier to salve those wounds by demonizing the religious conservative.” Not ready to throw his pair of campaign flip-flops into the souvenir pile, Adesnik opines: “Democrats spent the entire election demonizing Bush & Cheney, insisting that their lies tricked voters into approving of their foreign policy. All I’m suggesting is that Democrats shouldn’t flip-flop in the midst of demonization.”

Over at The Corner, bloggers are gripped by the Specter Spectacle. Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a reader’s email, which contains questions for Arlen Specter that KJL thinks some interviewers (read: Bob Shieffer) should be using, such as “Can you name ONE Supreme Court Justice who was appointed by a Democratic President AND IS ALSO a middle of the road non-ideologue?” and “What is your connection to the Kerry/Specter election signs? Do you know who produced them? What do you think of those signs?” (Oooh, a Kerry/Specter sign scandal! Pull up your socks, Watson, the game is afoot.)

Ramesh Ponnuru criticizes the Hugh Hewitt perspective on Specter, lecturing his ideological kinsman: “The likelihood that Specter will make solid commitments to conservatives seem to me to get higher the more heat he takes now … If he wants to pull Specter right, that is, Hewitt should be lending his voice to the anti-Specter chorus rather than criticizing it.” Turning knight-in-shining-armor for the AP’s Lara Jakes Jordan, Ponnuru then takes on Hewitt’s temper tantrum over Jordan’s “(liberal) agenda journalism,” defending her reporting of Specter’s recent comments (and of Santorum’s controversial remarks about sodomy last year). Ponnuru then indulges in a little finger-wagging: “We discredit our own honorable argument about the media’s bias if we resort to it every time a Republican gets himself in trouble with his own words.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Yglesias stomps off the beaten path a bit, deciding that it’s time to dump a bucket of cold water on any who may have treasured the notion that the media have self-restraint vis-a-vis sensationalized coverage of school shootings and terrorist beheadings. Taking Jane Galt (a.k.a. Megan McCardle) to task for her “Terror’s little helpers” post on self-regulation in the media, Yglesias launches into a mini-lecture on free market economies 101. He notes that news networks “that chose to deliberately forego profitability for some high-minded reason or another would immediately face intense pressure from its parent company to shape up” because “[t]hey’re supposed to be making money for their bosses and shareholders.” Far from the sunny optimist about his fellow Americans, Yglesias writes “[i]f behavior is to be changed, it needs to be at the level of news consumers, which strikes me as unlikely to happen.”

Apparently tired of gazing at his own navel, James Wolcott drops any pretense at pondering the issues of our times, and works his way round to Andrew Sullivan’s rear end. Enormously pleased with himself for breaking “buttgate,” Wolcott delights Wonkette! and Slate’s Dana Stevens with the latest on the derriere that evidently required scratching after an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Ah, the Marketplace of Ideas at work — gotta love it.

Susanna Dilliplane

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Susanna Dilliplane is a contributor to CJR.