Bizzaro World Emerges

When we were little tykes, Campaign Desk enjoyed watching a Canadian children’s television show called You Can’t Do That On Television, which ran on Nickelodeon in the 1980s. While the undisputable highlight of the show was seeing people get slimed, we were also big fans of “the opposites” - skits where kids and adults did things they would never, ever, do in real life. We thought of the opposites as we trolled the blogosphere this morning, marveling as bloggers and journalists alike broke from their traditional, partisan roles. It was kinda like seeing some kid’s mom get her mouth washed out with soap - only, admittedly, a little bit less satisfying.

We begin our tour with Glenn Reynolds, who temporarily departed from his steady diet of anti-Kerry posting yesterday to write that Kerry’s “tone — and substance — were just right” when the candidate spoke last Friday on the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. (No similar change of tune from Kerry-hater Mickey Kaus - the world hasn’t gone that crazy.) TNR’s Noam Scheiber, meanwhile - normally quite sympathetic to the left side of the political spectrum - attacked a column by Harold Myerson of the lefty magazine The American Prospect, in a post entitled “The Left’s Fuzzy Math.” (Not to worry, though: the Prospect’s Matt Yglesias then went after Scheiber’s logic. The circle of life continues.)

“In other bizarro news,” as Amy Sullivan notes, Fred Barnes of the conservative Weekly Standard is arguing that Democrats now have an opportunity to retake the Senate. Well, perhaps this one’s a bit of a stretch: [I]f you actually read the piece,” writes Sullivan, “Barnes manages the sneaky little trick of undermining even the Democrats’ best hopes in the guise of assessing their chances of victory.”

Over at Pandagon, meanwhile, Ezra Klein has joined a chorus of lefty bloggers condemning cartoonist Ted Rall, ostensibly their ideological brother. Rall recently published a cartoon that questioned whether Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who was killed in Afghanistan, was an “idiot” or a “sap” instead of a “hero.” Writes Klein: “I just want to mention that Ted Rall is a flaming idiot whose presence on my side of the ideological divide causes me no end of embarassment (sic).”

And conservative Andrew Sullivan says the conventional wisdom in Washington right now - that “Kerry is such an awful candidate that he is doomed in the fall” - is a fallacy. Argues Sullivan:

Kerry also tends to finish well in campaigns, and has said exactly the right things on Iraq lately, if he wants to reassure voters that he is the man to finish the job there. The Democrats are also energized. It’s a long, long way to go, and I’m predicting nothing (except a massive gay-baiting campaign by Karl Rove in the summer). But I do think that Republicans who think they’re a shoo-in because Kerry is such a bad candidate are deluding themselves. This election will be about Bush.

That concludes this edition of “the opposites.” Tomorrow, we imagine, your regularly scheduled programming will resume.

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.