Last week, NewsBusters brought you "Stumped," as April Ryan struggled to cite a single foreign policy success by her super-fave, President Obama. In the best Hollywood tradition, this morning we bring you a sequel--Stumped II: Syria!

On today's Morning Joe, lugubrious lefty Eric Alterman of The Nation mag was stumped when Joe Scarborough asked him what the US should do about Syria. After humming, hawing and a couple of false starts, Alterman asked how much time they had.  Right, as if if only he had more time.  Shades of that SNL skit in which President George H.W. Bush tries to skate away from a question only to be informed by the moderator that he had plenty more time. 



The left-liberal magazine The Nation has just published its 150th-anniversary issue, which includes Alterman’s piece on the state of American conservatism. Alterman makes two main points. One is that conservatives are ideologues, whereas liberals are pragmatists. The other is that prominent righty pundits routinely spew nonsense not because they’re dumb, but because extremist plutocrats control the conservative movement.

“We have allowed conservatives to define the terms of debate at a time when conservatives have lost all sense of moral, intellectual and especially practical responsibility,” opines Alterman. “Today’s conservative intellectuals [are] making calculated attempts to undermine our democracy, exploiting and manipulating a public that has decreasing resources for the kind of reliable information that would lead to a pragmatic ‘liberal’ response. It’s time we woke up to that reality while we still have a country—and a planet—left to save.”



From a non-Jew, it would smack of anti-Semitism.  From Eric Alterman? You be the judge.

The author of the Altercations column at Media Matters has a running complaint:  Rick Klein, editor of The Note at ABC News, pays too much respect to the work of other Jewish pundits. Jennifer Rubin, one of the chief bloggers at Commentary's "Contentions" blog, was Alterman's first target, in his August 1 column [emphasis added throughout]:
I realize I may be the only person in the world to care about this, and I only care a tiny bit, but what does Commentary's Jennifer Rubin have on The Note's Rick Klein?

I realize that Mr. Klein is, in many respects, a fully-worked ref, citing right-wing publications that have proven consistently wrong about everything throughout the past eight years -- following the requisite ABC advertising which justifies the expense of the effort to his corporate overlords -- while ignoring those on the center-left who have proven right. But even so, Commentary? Come now. The guy cites her every day. Are they dating? Did his mother lose a bet to her mother playing canasta in Boca?