Target: Campaign Desk

Mickey Kaus’ disdain for John Kerry has now become so delusional that he has begun to assume that Kerry’s own campaign strategists share it.

Today, citing a poll that, oddly, shows a drop in the number of voters who say they know a lot or a fair amount about Kerry, Kaus writes, “the Kerry team appears to have gone beyond a mere passive hide-the-candidate strategy and taken it to the next level, pursuing a pro-active make-the-voters-forget-the-candidate strategy.” That no doubt would be the strategy Kaus himself would employ, were he running Kerry’s campaign. But there’s a reason he’s not.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan is looking past November (we hear that’s possible) and predicting “outright Republican civil war after this election,” regardless of who’s president. Sullivan sees the battle lines being drawn like this: “The fiscal conservatives will be fighting the ‘deficits-don’t matter’ crowd. The realists will be out to topple the neocons. The Santorum-Ashcroft axis will continue to wage war on any Republicans not interested in legislating either the Old Testament or the dictates of the Vatican.” And you thought the Democrats were fractious.

Via Oxblog (of course), we came across this “guess the presidential election year by the electoral college map” quiz. It’s fun, as long as you can get past the fact that it was pretty obviously designed by and for people who want to prove to themselves and others that they actually know which states Rutherford B. Hayes won in 1876.

And in other news, it’s “Lefty Bloggers Attack Campaign Desk” day. First, Kevin Drum takes issue with our criticism of the New York Times for credulously repeating John Kerry’s inaccurate claim that 2 million jobs have been lost on President Bush’s watch. Drum thinks Kerry’s spin isn’t such a big deal. But he glosses over the crucial point that Kerry’s numbers ignore public sector jobs, which are generally included in jobs figures. If you throw in the 700,000 public sector jobs created since 2000, the net figure for total jobs lost is 1.2 million. By that measure, Drum, and Kerry, are only 40 percent off the mark.

Meanwhile Atrios is in a dither over our takedown of the Washington Times. He’s mad because he thinks we haven’t made it sufficiently clear that the Times does this kind of thing all the time. “God, sometimes I think I’m the only person who lived through the 90s,” Atrios laments.

He has a point: No doubt the Times has published an endless number of poorly-reasoned, even offensive pieces on its op-ed page between its start-up in 1982 and today. But, hey, we’ve only been around since January, and there’s plenty to do just flagging down any given day’s press foul-ups.

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.