David Brooks of the New York Times has been on quite an anti-liberal blogosphere roll of late. After eviscerating Markos Moulitsas Zuniga – the proprietor of the Daily Kos – in a June 25 op-ed entitled “Respect Must be Paid For,” Brooks again ripped into Kos on Friday night’s “The News Hour” on PBS (video link courtesy of Crooks and Liars). Brooks followed this up with another op-ed tangentially on this subject Sunday.
On Friday evening, the discussion between host Jim Lehrer, Mark Shields, and Brooks centered around Joe Lieberman’s problems in Connecticut. Lehrer asked Brooks how Lieberman is impacting the 2008 presidential campaign. Brooks responded (emphasis mine):
Well he's made life difficult especially for Hillary Clinton. Because in my conversations --we're talking about the netsroots [sic], who are the real problems for Lieberman, people generated by the Daily Kos and other web sites-- I find privately most of the Democrats despise those people because of the way they practice politics so viciously that they don't want to get in the crosshairs. And they don't want to offend the liberal base of primary voters. So they want to support Joe Lieberman, but they don't want to get in the crosshairs. So a few have come out, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, couple others have come out strongly for him, others, Hillary Clinton has sort of been on both sides, others just won't commit.
Fascinating. So, in Brooks’ view, the Democrats actually want to support Lieberman, but can’t due to their fear of a backlash by the ultra-left wing of their base…the denizens of the liberal blogosphere. However, Brooks saved his real views on this issue for Sunday’s op-ed entitled “The Liberal Inquisition” (emphasis mine)
But over the past few years [Lieberman] has been subjected to a vituperation campaign that only experts in moral manias and mob psychology are really fit to explain. I can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the Internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate.
Brooks elaborated on how absurd the claims by the netroots are concerning Lieberman:
So these days, for example, one hears that Lieberman is a crypto-conservative, a Bible-Belter. In reality, of course, this is a man who has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign. He has a Christian Coalition rating of 0.
Brooks then really came down on the impact the liberal blogosphere is having on politics: “Over the past few years, polarizers have dominated Congress because people who actually represent most Americans have been too timid or intellectually vacuous to stand up. Even today many Democrats who privately despise the netroots lie low, hoping the anger won't be directed at them.”
Whether you agree with Brooks’ views or not, he does appear to have a firm grasp on what the netroots is doing to the Democrats. And, despite the opinions of liberal bloggers, these activities, much as in 2004, are not helping Democrats win at the polls.