In Markos Moulitsas's first column for Newsweek, the proprietor of the liberal website Daily Kos sadly personified exactly what's wrong with today's Democrat Party as well as the media: the inability to see things beyond the grips of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
In fact, you could diagnose the malady right in the headline, "Make the Bush Record the Issue." Maybe more surprising, Markos also pointed his pen at Ronald Reagan.
Someone ought to tell Moulitsas, who was hired to offer commentary concerning the 2008 elections, that neither of these former presidents is running for office next year.
Unfortunately, much as the Party members he supports, Kos seemed totally oblivious to this fact, and actually wrote a column about the current campaign that didn't mention a single candidate in it (emphasis added throughout):
Times are tough for the Republican Party and its candidates. Earlier this month, according to Gallup, more people strongly disapproved of George W. Bush than any previous president since the advent?of polling-and, really, how could things be any different? Bush can boast of an unwinnable quagmire in Iraq, a decimated housing market, economic instability and a collapsing dollar, a dysfunctional health-care system, a still-devastated Gulf Coast, a wealth gap of a scope unseen since the Great Depression and a pervasive and disturbing image of America as a hapless, blundering giant, rather than a beacon of freedom and morality in the world.
Yet despite this dismal rap sheet, Republicans refuse to distance themselves too far from Bush and his record lest they take a hit from the fringe voters who still support his presidency.
The validity of such criticisms or lack thereof aside, what was clearly apparent is that in his first column in his new assignment, Moulitsas was speaking to his Daily Kos readers, and not to a larger audience more interested in what the current candidates stand for rather than the typical invective about Bush regularly published at liberal blogs.
In fact, Markos seemed so unaware of this that he even attacked former President Reagan:
In his first Inaugural Address, Ronald Reagan remarked that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." While the quip has provided Republicans with a cheap slogan for two decades, the philosophy behind it is beginning to box them in.
A cheap slogan? Does Markos think so referring to this important statement by one of America's most beloved Presidents will appeal to readers outside the Netroots?
This seems especially absurd given the historically low favorability rating of all federal government officials today thereby indicating that the overwhelming majority of citizens on both sides of the aisle do indeed see government as the problem.
But that was just the first insult Moulitsas disgracefully hurled at Reagan:
When Bush chose a head for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, did he select a competent administrator experienced in disaster management? No, he appointed Mike Brown, an attorney previously fired as the "judges and stewards commissioner" of the International?Arabian Horse Association for gross mismanagement. He was an incompetent horse lawyer, yet Bush deemed him capable of running the nation's top disaster relief agency. Reagan, who once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'," might have approved the choice, but the abandoned residents of the Gulf Coast would undoubtedly beg to differ.
Amazing, wouldn't you agree?
In the end, if all Newsweek readers get from Moulitsas is Bush and Reagan bashing, editor John Meacham should be concerned with his new hire.
Of course, the cynical flipside is that this is exactly what Meacham wanted: Netroots-style vitriol pointed at Republicans for the next twelve months.
For myself, not that he or his followers care, I'm very disappointed with Markos.
Regardless of how much I disagree with virtually everything he supports, one of Moulitsas's strengths during the 2006 election cycle was profiling candidates in states and districts around the country.
With that in mind, in future columns, Moulitsas should stick to the differences between the visions being offered by those seeking the most powerful office in the land, while shying away from the real or imagined failings of the Bush and Reagan administrations.
Such is a great strategy when trying to unseat an incumbent, but quite foolish during a cycle when all candidates are vying for that which they currently don't possess.
As such, when the sun rises on the first Tuesday in November 2008, the character and vision of those on the ballot will exclusively be on the minds of voters as they enter polling stations across the fruited plain.
The sooner Markos realizes this, the sooner he'll be preaching beyond his typical choir.
Carpe diem, Kos!