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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


Why Youth Use the Word Socialism

Here’s why so many young people say they support “socialism” despite the fact that it is politically toxic to many American voters and the actual policy agenda that they support isn’t really socialist.

For a wide variety of progressive political strategists it is understandably frustrating that Bernie Sanders and his followers insist on describing their objective as “socialism” when their actual policy agenda more closely approximates that followed in the Scandinavian countries – which are market economies with substantial social regulation and welfare systems and not socialist economies – and the term socialism is wildly unpopular with many of the working class people that they sincerely want to win to their side.

As Ruy Teixeira notes in a recent post:

…for many who use the term, their idea of socialism seems closer to a traditional social-democratic mixed economy than a radically different system that would somehow do away with profits and markets. So why call it socialism, a term that has all kinds of unpleasant associations and does imply a replacement of capitalism? Why not call it “people’s capitalism” or “democratic capitalism” or “the advanced mixed economy” or whatever?

By grasping nostalgically at revolutionary rhetoric, the Left sets the bar high for public embrace of what might otherwise be quite popular policy ideas, from single-payer health insurance to free college to a job guarantee.

Teixeira, along with others he mentions including John Judis, E.J. Dionne, William Galston, Fred Block and Andrew Koppleman, all carefully distinguish between the classical definition of socialism and the range of political platforms, economic policies and government institutions that the modern left actually supports. Their common hope is that that these clarifications might wean the left away from its unnecessary infatuation with “socialism” as their label of choice.

But in order to understand the preference many young people have for the word “socialism” these days, it is important to understand that for many, their advocacy of the term is not based on support for any specific set of policies or specific form of government so much as it is on a profound rejection of the basic moral and ethical value system that is inextricably bound to capitalism.

It was the great intellectual contribution of the otherwise appallingly un-intellectual Ayn Rand that she was willing to proudly express and glorify the underlying value system of pure capitalism – the social Darwinist view of the world popular at the beginning of the 20th century. It held that:

Greed is good, altruism is bad

Competition is good, cooperation is bad,

Contempt is good, compassion is bad.

The poor are not the “blessed” of Jesus and the bible. They are lazy, despicable losers who deserve their fate and the scorn of the successful.

There are inherently superior individuals and inherently inferior individuals and an ideal society would give absolute freedom to the former and absolutely nothing to the latter.

And so on. Anyone wanting to wade through 90 interminable pages of this essentially sociopathic philosophy can find it in her book, Atlas Shrugged.

Back at the end of the 19th century there were many social Darwinists who had the courage to express this moral and ethical philosophy proudly and openly but after World War Two the rhetoric of naturally superior people and utterly worthless inferior people carried with it a little too much of the lingering odor of the gas chambers to be argued in polite company. Rand was the only major figure willing to champion Social Darwinism without apology.

Instead, the post-war defenders of capitalism argued two things:

First, that Capitalism was the only alternative to state totalitarianism and prison camps. Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom was the Ur-text of this view for intellectuals; Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom was the Cliff Notes version for college freshmen. Buying and selling things in markets was a magnificent exercise in freedom; paying taxes and supporting social programs was tantamount to suffering the whips and chains of slavery (one leading conservative taught his toddler son economics by buying him an ice cream cone and then taking a series of big bites out of it while saying “You see, this is the federal tax, this is the state tax.”)

Liberals argued that some minor reforms of the capitalist system could be made in the name of compassion but that such reforms had to be made very timidly because there was, as the Kennedy Administration economist Arthur Okun, titled his 1963 book, a “Great Tradeoff – Equality versus Efficiency.” Any interference with the perfectly balanced, automatic operation of a completely unregulated free market inevitably reduced economic efficiency and made all of society poorer as a result.

Stripped of its fancy math, the logical argument behind this “perfect efficiency” notion was the following:

If one accepts the necessary sassumptions that all businessmen and all workers have “perfect foresight” about the future and all men and machines are perfectly mobile and adaptable, then, in principle, an ideal free market economy would automatically be optimally efficient.


Because with his perfect knowledge of the future each businessman would only hire the most productive workers he could possibly find and each worker would only choose the job that paid the best wages for his particular skills. As a result, each worker would get exactly what he was “worth” and each businessman would always get the most productive possible workers for the job.

This same perfect knowledge of the future would also allow the businessman to produce exactly what consumers desired and consumers to know exactly what bundle of goods and services would give them the maximum satisfaction. The logical deduction from these assumptions was therefore that an ideal free market would necessarily produce the maximum possible economic efficiency and consumer satisfaction.

Stripped of the elegant mathematical equations that the theory basically plagiarized from classical physics and electrodynamics, as a purely logical argument this conclusion really sounds very silly – and, in fact, it really is. Using exactly the same assumptions it can be shown that Santa Claus could also create

a “perfect” economic result. With his perfect knowledge of how good or bad every little boy or girl had been (perfect foresight) and with infinite elves to produce exactly the right toys (perfect mobility of labor and capital) Santa could produce maximum economic efficiency and consumer satisfaction as he flew around the world instantly delivering all the toys on Christmas eve.

No-one in the real world (other than economists and small children) took this argument seriously but as long as unemployment stayed reasonably low and the standard of living gradually increased during the 80’s and 90’s the idea that the “free market” was basically efficient was able to escape close scrutiny. In fact, as the 2000’s progressed, the business establishment and the wealthy became increasingly convinced of their own spectacular genius and innate natural superiority and increasingly demanded not only lower and lower taxes but also the most abject and humble awe, respect and admiration from the “little people” below them.

The 2008 crisis blew up this fantasy, revealing a vision of the wealthy and powerful as venal money grubbers who cynically extracted vast bonuses from their corporations while the economy collapsed and millions of ordinary people lost their homes and jobs. The generation of college students coming of age in this era, as a result, looked behind the economic textbooks and began to perceive capitalism as a conspiracy of vastly overpaid men hiding in luxurious mega-mansions and gleefully reciting the interminable harangues of the hero in Atlas Shrugged to themselves like magic incantations.

Quite naturally, then, many young people were attracted to Occupy Wall Street and then the campaigns of Bernie Sanders. It was an emotional reaction – a moral and ethical outrage at the twisted morality of “Capitalism” that generated their advocacy of socialism and not the details of economic policies platforms and institutions. They simply felt that unfettered capitalism was an inherently immoral system and “socialism” a convenient word to suggest a more humane alternative.

This suggests that the common ground progressive “social democrats” and “socialists” can find with each other is in the realm of morals and ethics, in their shared rejection of the cynicism, greed and selfishness of “ideal” capitalism’s social Darwinist philosophy.

In closing his post, Teixeira suggests that “just for old time’s sake” Social Democrats should recall the song “The Red Flag” the traditional, idealistic anthem of the British Labor Party that had been sung at every annual conference since the 19th century.

It well recalls the triumphs past
It gives the hope of peace at last
The banner bright, the symbol plain
Of human right and human gain

To find common ground with the modern socialist supporters of Bernie Sanders and AOC, traditional progressives and social democrats can also recall a more recent anthem of social protest that was also shared by millions:

imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world,
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

It is on this shared belief in the hope and possibility of a more moral and ethical social system than venal social Darwinistic capitalism, and not in debating the details of programs and policies or labels like “social democrat” and “socialist,” that the basis for political collaboration and alliance can be found.

“Team Spirit” explains why white working class voters think economic system favors the rich but support GOP

Greg Sargent today poses a seeming mystery today in his Washington Post blog:

The new Washington Post/ABC News poll starkly illustrates the challenge Democrats face. It turns out that an overwhelming majority of non-college whites believes the U.S. economic system is stacked in favor of the rich — but far more of those voters also think Republicans, not Democrats, have better ideas to address that problem.

Greg suggests this represents a paradox but the answer lies in the analysis of “team spirit” vs policy. As the poltical scientist Lilliana Mason noted in a recent WaPo commedntary:

My research suggests a key reason why this happens: our partisan identities motivate us far more powerfully than our views about issues. Although voters may insist in the importance of their values and ideologies, they actually care less about policy and more that their team wins.
This “team spirit” is increasingly powerful because our party identities line up with other powerful identities, such as religion and race. Over the last few decades, Republicans have generally grown increasingly white and churchgoing, while Democrats have become more non-white and secular. This sorting of identities makes us care even more about winning, and less about what our government actually gets done.
…When social and partisan identities align, we begin to detach our votes for candidates from our policy interests. The most important thing is to stick with the team. It doesn’t matter if the team you voted for opposes the very policy you voted to enact.

Unfortunate, but true.

The GOP’s implicit alternative to the Iran deal is to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. Most independent studies say this won’t work but GOP Neo-Cons aren’t worried because it would still build support for their real aim: putting American “boots on the ground”

It is easy to predict that the Republican attacks on the agreement negotiated with Iran will carefully avoid one major topic: the alternative the U.S. should pursue in order to force Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. If the deal is rejected, the U.S. will have to have some kind of alternative policy other than just letting Iran resume its nuclear development program at full speed.
The alternative policy, floated by various Neo-Cons this spring, is to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations.
Several weeks ago I took a look at the military arguments for this alternative. Click on the link below in case you missed the original piece.
For many Neo-Cons the real objective of bombing Iran’s nuclear sites is to build support for an invasion. For this, a failure could be more useful than success. That’s why they seem untroubled by the unrealistic assumptions on which they rest their case.

“Creeping Quagmire” — the GOP Neo-Con’s alternative military strategy for Iraq

A message from Ed Kilgore:
Dear Readers:
Since the recent military setbacks in the struggle against ISIS, a growing range of conservative voices have been asserting that our current military strategy “isn’t working” and that a new strategy is needed.
Oddly, however, in the latest pronouncements of the major GOP Neo-Conservatives you just can’t find any clear statement of what this fundamentally different military strategy might be. There are a variety of specific suggestions but no overall strategy that underlies them.
This TDS Strategy Memo argues that the GOP Neo-Conservatives do indeed have an alternative military strategy in mind, but it’s not one that they are willing to publicly discuss.

Democrats, here’s something odd. The GOP Neo-Conservatives, who consider themselves the world’s great masters of military strategy, aren’t saying what their basic military strategy is regarding ISIS. Why? Maybe because it doesn’t sound very good when you say it out loud.

You can read the memo HERE.
We believe you will find this memo both useful and important.
Ed Kilgore
Managing Editor

Democrats: the mainstream media gang is whining with operatic self-pity because they think Hillary is treating them as if they were no better than partisan GOP operatives of Fox News. It’s our job to tell them that Hillary is absolutely right.

In recent days a number of mainstream political commentators and members of the Washington press corps have been sputtering with indignation that Hillary Clinton is treating them as something less than the fiercely independent champions of the American public and noble guardians of American democracy.
Here, for example, is Jason Horowitz of the New York Times, loudly harrumphing his resentment at Hillary’s refusal to treat the press with what he considers the proper respect and attention.

The solution for [Hillary’s] team has been to keep the press at bay as Mrs. Clinton reads the scripts to her daily campaign shows…”The media was confined between the bar and the stove,” Gary Swenson said, describing an event with Mrs. Clinton at his home in Mason City, Iowa, on Monday.
…There is no one to force her out of her Rose Garden. Neither Bernie Sanders nor Martin O’Malley has applied significant pressure on her. That leaves the news media as her only real opponent so far on the way to the Democratic presidential nomination, and while it may not be great for an educated populace or the furtherance of American democracy, it makes all the political sense in the world for Mrs. Clinton to ignore them, too.

And just in case anyone missed Horowitz’s modest identification of himself with nothing less than the furtherance of American democracy itself, he also promoted his article on twitter with the following painful attempt at wit:

In Iowa, Queen Hillary and the Everyday Americans of the Round Table distribute alms to the clamoring press

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, on the other hand, took a pretentious “more in sorrow than in anger” approach, piously lecturing his readers on the invaluable role and value of the press:

The role of the media is to show voters who these [candidates] are, really, and to explain how these people would govern the country if elected. Like the media or not, that’s a very important role — and one that is essential to a functioning democracy.

Other mainstream commentators and journalists took essentially similar stances. They were the noble defenders of American democracy; Hillary was the cynical politician who was refusing to follow the rules.
Progressive commentators responded with fierce and entirely justified expressions of contempt for this sanctimonious posturing. They pointed out that for many years the Washington establishment press had been obsessed with trivial, horse-race coverage, had continually sought “gotcha” moments instead of substance, had ignored important policy questions and had focused on finding superficial “flip-flops” while ignoring the growth of genuinely pernicious views. Many progressive commentators noted the long and grotesque history of articles about scandals regarding the Clintons that turned out to be totally devoid of content (e.g. whitewater, Vince Foster’s “murder,” Benghazi) and the equally pathetic way the D.C. press had repeated and legitimized a variety of clinically delusional charges against President Obama – charges they knew perfectly well were nonsense.
For Democrats, it is always deeply satisfying to watch progressive commentators energetically mock and ridicule the breathtaking conceit, vanity and narcissism of the mainstream media and their absurd pretentions. But it is imperative to note, however, that the progressive criticisms do not adequately emphasize one centrally important point.

For many Neo-Cons the real objective of bombing Iran’s nuclear sites is to build support for an invasion. For this, a failure could be more useful than success. That’s why they seem untroubled by the unrealistic assumptions on which they rest their case.

America is now witnessing the beginning of a mini-boomlet of calls for a large scale aerial bombing campaign aimed at crippling or destroying Iran’s nuclear installations. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies have taken to the editorial pages of the New York Times and Washington Post to press the case that a bombing campaign is the best way to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
As it happens, both of these authors have advocated exactly this same course of action at various times in the past, a fact which weakens their assertion that a bombing campaign is uniquely necessary at this particular moment in history and must be undertaken without the slightest delay.
However, the various optimistic assumptions that are embedded in their advocacy of a bombing campaign have provoked even greater skepticism. These assumptions include:

• That heavily bunkered and widely dispersed installations built over more than a decade for the precise purpose of withstanding “bunker busting” bombing attacks can be effectively crippled or destroyed by U.S. bombing.
• That the aerial bombing of installations, some of which are within visible distance of Tehran and other major cities and the destruction of which would produce radioactive dust particles similar to those produced by a terrorist “dirty bomb” are more likely to make the Iranian people rise up and overthrow their own government rather than to unite behind it in opposition to a foreign attack.
• That while a bombing campaign is universally agreed to only be able to temporarily delay and not permanently end Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon, the U.S. can solve this problem by bombing the country’s rebuilt nuclear installations over and over again every few years (The Israelis cynically call the military strategy of repeated attrition attacks against potential threats like this one “mowing the lawn.”)
• That a bombing campaign against Iran will not produce a vast wave of terrorist action against the US but rather a smaller number of manageable attacks that a resolute American populace will be willing to accept as the price that must be paid for fighting “the war on terror.”

A wide variety of global strategy organizations have produced studies estimating the likelihood that a bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear installations might actually have some or all of these results. They include:
The Council on Foreign Affairs
The Center for Strategic and International Studies
The Wilson Center
Congressional Research Service
Institute for Science and International Security

And Foreign Policy in Focus
Suffice it to say that not one of these analyses considers it likely that all four of the optimistic assumptions noted above would simultaneously prove to be correct. In fact, such an outcome is generally viewed as having more in common with the likelihood of drawing an inside straight four times in a row. There is widespread agreement with the view that Kevin Pollack of Brookings Institution (an analyst generally viewed as a military “hawk,”) presented in his 2013 book “Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb and American Strategy.” The London Economist summarized his conclusion as follows:

An American air strike would certainly be more destructive [than an attack by Israel alone]. But, in the medium term, it might not be all that much more effective. Although it would wreck lots of machinery, Iranian know-how would survive. Iran would probably quit the Non- Proliferation Treaty, stopping international inspectors from monitoring its subsequent pursuit of a weapon…
…Mr. Pollack argues that evidence of Iran’s continued defiance would present America with a horrible choice: defeat over a vital national interest, or an impossibly daunting invasion and occupation that would tie up virtually the entire active-duty American army and Marine Corps.

Given the widespread skepticism that exists about the probability of success of a bombing campaign, the breezy, “let’s go for it” optimism expressed in the commentaries of both Bolton and Muravchik seems rather odd. But the most plausible explanation is suggested by nature of the choice indicated in the quote from Pollock above.
Even before 9/11 the fundamental view of the Neoconservative lobby was that America would ultimately need to plan and execute a full scale ground invasion of Iran to achieve “regime change” i.e. the overthrow of the ayatollahs and their replacement with a pro-Western government. The reason the initial target neoconservatives selected in the Middle East was Iraq was because the 1991 US invasion revealed that the country was in essence completely defenseless against a massive U.S. tank and armored infantry attack. Once Iraq was occupied, neoconservatives argued, it could then be converted into a giant network of military bases, storage depots, ammunition dumps, staging areas and gargantuan airfields so that vast columns of Abrams M1A1 tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles could be launched into Iran, supported from the air by hundreds of Apache Attack Helicopters, F-15’s, A-10 Warthogs and B-1 bombers.
There was nothing particularly secret about this strategy. That part of it which was not published in think-tank monographs and magazine articles in the conservative journals between 1996 and 2003 was gleefully blurted out over Starbucks cappuccinos and cocktail party canapés to solid progressive journalists like Josh Marshall, John Judis and others who then dutifully reported virtually all of its major elements to their readers. The Neo-conservatives’ widely discussed power-point slide presentations which showed the proposed targets of future military actions invariably included Iran as the ultimate prize. Their well-known slogan was “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad; real men want to go to Tehran.”
Seen from this perspective, an aerial bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear installations, regardless of whether it is successful or not, will materially help to establish the political foundation for putting “boots on the ground” in Iran later on. In fact, the paradoxical fact is that a bombing campaign would actually be more effective for this ultimate purpose if it failed rather than if it succeeded. A bombing campaign that did not achieve its objective would become the proof that a ground invasion was absolutely indispensible. The predictable wave of terrorist attacks launched against U.S. targets in retaliation for the bombing would “stiffen the spine” of the American people and create the necessary patriotic and martial spirit to provide popular support for a ground invasion. And, as Pollock noted, Iran’s continued defiance would present America with the specter of defeat and humiliation over a vital national interest if it did not redeem its reputation with a successful ground invasion.
In short, if the ultimate objective of a bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear installations is actually to build political support for a future ground invasion of Iran, a bombing campaign that fails to achieve its objective could be substantially more useful than one that succeeds. It is therefore not greatly surprising that the advocates of a bombing campaign seem so breezily unconcerned about the unrealistic assumptions upon which their case is based.

The most important and unstated “lesson” of 2014 is that the GOP’s embrace of extremism as a calculated political strategy worked perfectly. It has invalidated key elements of Democratic political strategy. It is urgent that Democrats face this reality

A Message From Managing Editor Ed KIlgore:
Dear Readers:
Since Obama’s election in 2008, The Democratic Strategist has repeatedly insisted on the unprecedented nature of the political transformation that has been occurring within the GOP.
In a series of strategy memos we have tracked the growing influence of extremism as a political strategy and philosophy within the GOP–an extremist strategy and philosophy that views politics as essentially a form of warfare and political opponents as literal enemies.
The 2014 elections represented the final triumph of this strategy within the GOP and demonstrated its very successful employment in a range of political campaigns. Democrats now urgently need to understand how this political strategy works and what can be done to combat it.
We are therefore pleased to present the following TDS Strategy Memo by contributing editor James Vega:
The most important and unstated “lesson” of 2014 is that the GOP’s embrace of extremism as a calculated political strategy worked perfectly. It has invalidated key elements of Democratic political strategy and it is urgent that Democrats now face this reality.
You can read the memo HERE:
We believe you will find the memo both useful and extremely important.
Ed Kilgore
Managing Editor
The Democratic Strategistbr />

Rasmussen tells survey-takers: “If we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you.”

You have to admire the nerve of polling companies that have absolutely no shame in the way they bias their questions in order to get the answers they want. Take for example this recent question from Rasmussen:

“President Obama says the United States doesn’t have a strategy yet for dealing with ISIS. How concerned are you that the United States does not have a strategy for dealing with this militant group?”

Any wild guesses about how the responses to this question turned out? I mean, really, how many people are going to say, in effect, “Nah, we don’ need no stinkin’ strategy. We can just make something up as we go along.”
So it’s hardly a surprise that 73% of voters said they are indeed “concerned,” 47% are “very concerned,” 25% are “not concerned” and only four percent 4% are “not at all concerned.”
It’s a basically meaningless question, but it produces the headline Rasmussen was seeking to produce in the first place: “73% of voters concerned by Obama’s lack of a strategy”
And now here’s how Rasmussen frames another question, this time when they want to get a positive response:

“Do you approve of President Obama’s decision to launch U.S. airstrikes to help the democratically-elected government of Iraq fight al-Qaeda-led militants who threaten to take over the country?”

This question is, of course, a trifecta of factual inaccuracy: After all, few Sunni’s or Kurds would agree that elections in Iraqi are “democratic,” Middle East experts agree that the ISIS extremists, grotesquely vile though they may be, are not the same organization as the Pakistan-based al Qaeda and few if any military observers think ISIS can actually take over the Shia areas of Iraq, areas that include the capital, Baghdad.
But once you load up the question with a bunch of helpful little hints like the ones above it’s hardly a surprise that 60% of likely U.S. voters approve of President Obama’s decision while only 20% oppose it and 19% are undecided. Realistically, the airstrikes may very well be the right thing to do, but Rasmussen’s ridiculously loaded question obviously sheds no light on the issue at all.
Oh well, and so it goes, I guess. But, just as a scientific experiment I do wish that Rasmussen would ask the following questions:

1. Obama admits he has no strategy for dealing with the political and military threat that a potentially hostile Nova Scotia might pose to northeastern Maine and northern Vermont. Are you at all concerned that Obama has no strategy to deal with this threat?


2. Do you approve of Obama’s decision to aid the heroic freedom fighters of East Timor in defending their staunchly pro-western island nation against the imminent threat of invasion by insurgent rebels from Tonga?”

I’m willing to bet the survey responses to these questions will be almost exactly the same as the ones Rasmussen got to the questions above, even though until they were asked these two questions most of the respondents probably thought Nova Scotia was just smoked fish and a Tonga a South Beach cocktail.

Wow. George Will really “goes there” today. He argues ordinary people are too stupid to be trusted with democracy and that enlightened judges committed to “markets” and limited government are needed to curb their ignorant and “unwholesome” populist whims

George Will’s column today is really a doozy. Quoting from a book by Illa Somin, a law professor at George Mason Law School, he spends most of the column reciting a familiar litany of facts about most peoples’ very limited knowledge – political and otherwise – a list that many, many, many others have cited before.
But then Will takes a mighty leap off what might be called the “anti-populist cliff.” He says:

Political ignorance, Somin argues, strengthens the case for judicial review by weakening the supposed “countermajoritarian difficulty” with it. If much of the electorate is unaware of the substance or even existence of policies adopted by the sprawling regulatory state, the policies’ democratic pedigrees are weak…
… An engaged judiciary that enforced the Framers’ idea of government’s “few and defined” enumerated powers (Madison, Federalist 45), leaving decisions to markets and civil society, would, Somin thinks, make the “will of the people” more meaningful by reducing voters’ knowledge burdens. Somin’s evidence and arguments usefully dilute the unwholesome democratic sentimentality and romanticism that encourage government’s pretensions, ambitions and failures.

Take away the five-dollar words and overactive thesaurus and what you have here is a prescription for overriding the people’s democratic choices because “unwholesome democratic sentimentality” (AKA belief in majority rule) allows the plebian riff-raff to make choices that encourage the government’s “pretentions and ambitions.”
But no worries mates, no worry at all. Good old Captain George Will has your best interests at heart. After all, letting conservative judges make decisions for you will make the “will of the people more meaningful by reducing voters’ knowledge burdens.”
Gee, what a swell guy he is. What a pal. He’ll let all us dummies relax and watch TV while we leave all that complicated “decision stuff” to smart guys like him who know what’s really best for us.
It would almost be funny if it wasn’t also genuinely and profoundly disturbing.

Sigh. So many pompous year-end retrospective columns about the year’s news and not one of them admitting the four most obvious facts of all

Gee Whiz. Look at all those newspaper columns and TV reports in the past week that review the big stories of the year. Not one of them manages to note any of the four most extraordinary facts about the media in 2013:

1. That every one of the major, hysterically hyped conservative “Scandals” of last year – the Benghazi “cover-up,” The IRS “targeting” of only Tea Party groups, the “hopelessly broken beyond repair” Federal Health Care website — scandals that dominated the headlines for weeks and supposedly exposed the essential evil at the core of the Obama administration – have turned out to be fundamentally bogus. (The only genuine scandal, the one regarding NSA surveillance, is the one in which the conservative media is largely on the side of the government agency involved, not the whistleblowers).
2. That not a single major publication or media outlet in the conservative universe has modified, retracted, corrected or in any way publically conceded errors in their original reporting on the above subjects.
3. That with the exception of the New York Times recent report on Benghazi not a single major publication or media outlet in the mainstream media has devoted anything like equal time to producing updated reports that correct the bogus accusations they originally broadcast than they devoted to the original reporting (No, CBS’s suspension of Lara Logan is not a counter-example. CBS just conceded errors in her specific report, not in their overall coverage).
4. That not one of the major year-end “round-ups” in the mainstream media in the last two weeks has pointed out any of the three facts above.

It really makes you wonder exactly what the coverage would have been like if conservatives were right and the media really was slanted to the left. It’s genuinely hard to imagine how an even more conservative media could be much worse or more unfair.