Times Tries to Predict Future, Bloggers Disagree

The Blog Report is a regular feature in which CJR Daily looks at how big news stories are playing in the blogosphere.

An article appearing in today’s New York Times mulled over the identity of today’s Democrats, noting that the prevalence of centrist candidates in the midterm elections might signal a rightward shift in the party. Throughout, the article alluded to potential future conflicts for the Democrats and included a telling quote from Representative Ellen O. Tauscher (D-California)

“I think there’s tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love,” Tauscher told the Times, adding that this was something “we’ve got to fight.”

The article apparently upset many liberal bloggers, who afterwards lashed out at the Times.

Writes Talk Left: “Do we Democrats have an ideological war on our horizon? The [Times] seems to hope so… Let’s face it, this story is nonsense. There will be no fights now. Maybe later, but not now. Not on the issues that matter now. Heath Shuler will not drive Democratic policy on abortion. Never.”

For other progressives in the ‘sphere, it was the Democratic politicians speaking with the Times’ who deserved the walloping.

“You want to know why the public still has lingering doubts about whether Democrats stand for anything?” asks David Sirota in the Sirotablog. “It is because of precisely this kind of behavior—behavior that above and beyond any one issue sends a message that Democrats are interested only in their own self-promotion, not in actual convictions. Only people who really, truly in their veins are opposed to any serious change would go out days before an election and brag to reporters that their entire rhetoric about corruption and the war is actually just hollow ploy to fool voters, thus endangering their very chances to win the election.”

And, of course, there was plenty of vitriol left over to hammer longstanding antagonists of the far-left, like Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois).

Writes Downwithtyranny!: “Ironically, progressive and grassroots Democrats have rallied behind the right-of-center Emanuel shills for the sake of party unity, while Emanuel, Schumer and their cabal have done all they could to undermine progressives.”

Most moderates and conservatives, however, tended to the view the situation slightly differently.

“After all the attention that has been devoted to the nutroots and the like, folks are awakening to the fact that it is cool to be centrist,” writes Bull Moose. “Hopefully, the Democratic Presidential wanabees will wake up to the fact that they must court the center of American politics in order to reach the Oval Office. Democrats can conquer red America - but they must do it as radical centrist insurgents.”

“I’m shocked, shocked, that parties don’t gain the majority with fringe, extreme candidates,” notes Right Off the Shore. “I was sure it was people like Ned Lamont that gave parties that edge.”

One right-wing blogger found some common ground with her liberal counterparts in questioning the legitimacy of the article—though for slightly different reasons.

Comments Right Thinking Girl: “The whole article is stinky and silly because the writer never addresses the fact that Republicans are, by and large, more conservative than Democrats, and if America wants conservatives—as the article admits—then the Republicans are likely to maintain both houses, as I believe they will. Still, such an idea can’t even be entertained at the [Times]. It would be apostacy to dream that Republicans stand for anything more than gay pedophilia, Halliburton loving, war mongering zombies. And this is from the party who believes in nuance.”

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Andrew Bielak was a CJR intern.