Shameless Self-Promotion Update

I have an interview with J Street‘s Jeremy Ben-Ami up at TAP Online. I think I got some good stuff from him, if I may so so myself, especially the AIPAC portion Ezra highlights here.

Oh, and a TAPPED roundup:

June 27th: “Unity Hiring”, on Obama hiring former Clintonistas.

June 30th: “You Can Be a Follower, But Who’s Your Leader?”, on Nigerian Anglican archbishop’s Peter Akinola’s severe homophobia. Points if you can tell me the song the title quote is from.

July 1st: “Turn and Face the Change”, on Obama changing course on same-sex marriage. I got an angry email from an Obama press secretary about this one – victory!

July 2nd: “What McCain Knows”, on McCain’s economic knowledge or lack thereof. I tried to title it “What You Know About That? McCain Knows All About That!”, but the T.I. could not survive.

July 7th: “Webb: ‘Under No Circumstances Will I Be a Candidate For Vice President.'” I think that one’s self-explanatory.

July 15th: “Minor Threat.” In which my reckless disregard for the Islamofascist menace is made patently clear.

July 15th: “The Outrage Culture.” Hey, media, why so mad?

July 16th: “Nunn Sense.” Take a wild guess at what I think about Sam Nunn.

July 17th: “Shooting Those Washington Bullets Again.” On a proposal to whack Robert Mugabe. Here the title reference is pretty easy.

The Wonderful, Wonderful Intertubes

Do you read Democracy Arsenal? Because you should. And if you do, you’ll find the sight of young Ilan Goldenberg schooling his competition on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? as funny as I did:

Notice how he likes Jerusalem more than America “because it’s safer”. You keep repeating that, Ilan.

Also, as if you needed proof that Obama is better at computers than McCain:

Via Danger Room.

More Unity

Well, I certainly didn’t expect the debate that’s emanated from this post. Mike Meginnis and Ned Resnikoff have typically smart takes in response. In retrospect, it was unfair to lump Glenn Greenwald and Stephen Suh together. Greenwald has real, constitutional concerns, and hasn’t engaged in the “woe is me, how will I vote” handwringing that’s characterized too much of Cogitamus and Shakesville as of late. Suh’s concerns – namely, one naughty joke Bernie Mac told and that Obama didn’t respond to in an appropriately Helen Lovejoy-like fashion – are far less substantive, and his tendency to dub anyone who refuses to buy his bullshit as anti-feminist or misogynistic is extremely off-puting.

I guess my overriding concern in writing the post – which was really more of a throat-clearing than anything – was that there are some readers in the liberal blogosphere who are, for lack of a better term, really dumb. These are the people who read about the “sweetie” incident – or even more important things, like FISA – and see something worthy of denying Obama their vote, something worthy of Nader-like “two sides of the same kind” rhetoric. These people may see posts like Greenwald’s, and especially Suh’s, and see vindication. Obviously, bloggers shouldn’t be held responsible for the crazy things they lead readers to do, but there should be some base level of responsibility for high-profile bloggers, and I think that includes a commitment to promote progressive policies and candidates, or to at least not damage them. Some prudence when it comes to criticizing Obama, at least, is warranted.

In a way, for all their hatred of him, these PUMAs are basically of the same breed as David Broder. The “pox on both your houses” rhetoric, the refusal to acknowledge differences, and, of course, the end result of helping Republicans – it’s all there.

Today in “Ugh”

Hey, Dave Remnick? Michelle Obama isn’t Angela Davis:

This gets at a larger question, though. If you look through this as a political junkie, the satire is pretty evident. You know that there are people who think that Michelle is a radical whitey-hater, and those who think Obama a flag-burning Muslim, and you know that those people are ludicrous. But for the average person, it’s massively offensive. Even if it was intended in jest, it gets to enough of the latter group to make intent irrelevant.

About Unity

Everyone who calls themselves a progressive, a liberal, a leftist, whatever needs to read Theda Skocpol. And Larry Lessig. Getting mad about something like the FISA deal, which is, as Lessig says, a tough call which probably won’t be anywhere near as disastrous as the world thinks it will, isn’t helpful. It wouldn’t be helpful in a primary election against a center-right candidate like Hillary Clinton, and it sure as hell isn’t helpful in a general election against a far-right candidate like John McCain. When you choose to criticize someone, you do so with the understanding that, if you’re in a prominent enough position, you will hurt them. You will damage them. You will make their success less likely. You will help their opponent. And when that someone is Obama, and that opponent is McCain, that’s immoral. That’s anti-progressive. That helps the forces that have been beating the shit out of our country for the last eight years. And so people like Glenn Greenwald, people like Stephen Suh – y’all need to shut up.

I know, I know – you’re not Obama staff. You don’t need to defend his every move. You have principles. But you know what? I’ve got principles too. I think unwanted occupation is evil. I think that a society in which someone can die because they can’t afford health care is sick. I think when modern industry and technology is destroying our planet we have an obligation to save it. I think every child in America is entitled to an equal chance at success in our economy, and that the system as it stands is very, very far from that goal. And at the heart of all those is my fundamental belief in promoting the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Because you can call it crass, you can call it cold, you can call it calculating, but utilitarianism makes the world a better place. It makes lives more livable. It’s about subordinating means to ends, yes, but those ends are pretty damn righteous.

And you know what, Glenn? You know what, Steve? There are two candidates in this race, and one of them is going to work toward those ends a hell of a lot better than the other. Neither’s perfect, neither’s going to turn America into a happy land of sunshine and unicorns, but one will end the war. One will fight for universal health care. One is committed to stopping global warming. One will appoint progressive judges and protect a woman’s right to choose. One will extend all the federal rights of marriage to same-sex couples. And one of them has said that his first priority upon taking office will be reviewing all of Bush’s executive orders and repealing the unconstitutional ones. We ought to be fighting for that candidate. We ought to be defending him and attacking his opponent. He’s not perfect, but he’s the best candidate either party has fielded in my lifetime, and if that’s not good enough for you, then you’re going to spend your whole life being disappointed.

So if you’re upset about FISA, fine. If you’re upset about one thing that Obama said at one fundraiser, fine. But writing long, angry rants about it? Threatening to not vote for Obama? That’s stupid. That’s idiotic. I know, I know, “it’s my vote”, but that’s a stupid way to go about using it. It doesn’t serve the interests of those disappointed by Obama, let alone the interests of the country. If you’re a progressive, if you’re a liberal, if you’re leftist, whatever – you’ve got one candidate. You’ve got one option. You can be disappointed, but don’t pretend that that isn’t the case. Don’t pretend that you can do anything but harm the causes you hold dear by not voting for Obama. Because you can’t.

Right now, we’ve got the best chance in decades for progressive change, the best chance in decades to accomplish the goals we’ve fought for for lifetimes. Let’s not blow it.