And if I were trying to become rich and famous, I would not be in graduate school or working as a non-partisan critic of political spin, both of which pay virtually nothing and attract far less attention than partisan vitriol. ~Brendan Nyhan
It is certainly rich to see Kossacks accusing someone else of seeking glory and power, since Daily Kos and associated blogs exist for virtually no other purpose than to mobilise and organise (and whine) in the pursuit of Democratic power–power that the chief Kossacks undoubtedly expect will benefit them once they have driven the craven centrists out of their midst and cleansed the party in a purifying fire of maniacal raving. They like to make noise, and they like to get noticed–it is part of the blogger persona, though it seems to have developed a mutant strain with those folks. They have some real influence, but I bet they also expect that influence to profit them. I’m not holding that against them, but it is peculiar that they would set about making a reasonable, non-partisan critic into some kind of gold-digging shyster, as if there was big money to be made in hacking off two thirds of the population and alienating the most politically hyperactive people on the Web. What this entire episode, which began here, has shown is not so much that liberal magazines are easily intimidated by the blog left, but that the blog left chooses to crucify the oddest people for seemingly spurious, frivolous reasons and thus reveals their own shocking frivolity.
So Nyhan said that it was stupid to compare the administration to fascists–well, it is stupid, just as it is stupid to compare ever third-rate dictator on the planet with Hitler. He also said that calling a book about Ann Coulter Brainless was, well, rather brainless, since Coulter may be many things but a person lacking in intelligence isn’t one of them. What bothered the Kossacks in the first case and the TAP editors so much with the others was that Nyhan was perfectly right in both of these cases and all they could do was throw a hissy fit.
No, there is no reward for even-handed or judicious or intelligent criticism if it does not exempt your “side”–and you simply must have a side–and in pointing out precisely those flaws that plague all partisans you will mostly receive scorn from both sides in due course. Today the GOP bloggers are saying soothing, conciliatory things about Mr. Nyhan, but that is because he was “defenestrated” by liberals for saying things critical of liberals; were he to make the same sort of dismissive remarks about Islamofascism at NRO, they wouldn’t be able to get him out of the window fast enough.