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I know this is a weird dairy but I was just clearing out my DVR and caught Joe Klein on Face the Nation this weekend dismissing Benghazi and figured he earned a shout-out. Now, as an avid Daily Kos reader, I'm fully aware that the enmity some have towards Klein here is only surpassed by Friedman. To many of you, he's an example of The Village mindset, mainly cause he's for doing more cutting of entitlements than us and he's to the right of us on economic issues from education reform to "free" trade. On these issues he's basically where the beltway is, maybe a smudge to the left. And because of that, we lump him, with the beltway in toto. But on this one, I think the Kos community is off-base, and we fail to realize that he's broken with the beltway on the actual hard issues, that even liberals are afraid of.  

Some examples of the indepandance and rational thought:

-Even when he takes positions we don't agree with, you at least see an effort to put meat on the bones. Like he's suggested Obama except a premium support private option to Medicare but demand that the Republicans accept a strong public option for Obamacare. That way, both systems can be streamlined and would actually work hand in hand to bring down costs. I don't agree with the idea, but its coming from a place of thought and its rational. As opposed to mindless calls to hike the eligibility age of Medicare without realize the cost-shifting and inefficiencies it would produce.  

-He routinely calls out the Republicans, actually in harsh terms, and rarely falls into the trap of false equivalency. More significantly, he is more than willing to take unpopular positions, and make harsh breaks with the beltway establishment on the left and the right.

-His harsh critiques of Israel, his routine blasting of AIPAC, and his defense of Chuck Hagel have clarity and, for someone with his mainstream cred, take courage. On these issues, with the exception of Chris Hayes, there's isn't a liberal on TV who takes the true liberal position that Klein consistently espouses. Here's a clip:

-At the height of the Benghazi fiasco he wasn't just exonerating the WH or Susan Rice from harm, he was claiming the whole thing was a witchhunt with no wrongdoing, simply bad luck. Something no-one agreed with him on, even people critical of the Mccain attacks. See this Morning Joe clip to see what I mean:

So while our litmus test for who we like take cues from should be ideological, our litmus test for respect shouldn't be ideological, it should be independance along with rational thought. Thats what separates Joe Klein from, lets says, the Washington Post Editorial Board.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I just can't get over Primary Colors. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I do agree that Klein does have interesting things to say.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:59:25 PM PST

  •  OK, some good points (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I think I recall in Time that he is a big supporter of Kissinger, and that galls me.  I think Super K did a huge amount of damage to America's image.

    Also, he takes too much pleasure when Clinton demeans Obama.  He calls it straying off the farm, or something, and has an expression on his face that is approving.

    He is all right.  I read his columns.

  •  Thanks, ai. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, MPociask, HoundDog

    I suppose I'm definitely guilty of taking a dim view of Joe Klein, which may seem like a knee-jerk Kossack response. But the reason that many of us are so down on people like Klein and Friedman (or David Brooks is another one) is because they seem to embody a kind of reasonable-sounding conduit for implicitly reactionary thinking. They're the kinds of talking head whose measured tones and seemingly mild-mannered moderation give Democratic viewers/readers permission to explore less-than-Democratic thinking.

    It's a Village thing, and it's annoying, to be sure. But it's also dangerous, because it's these folks -- and not the Rush Limbaughs or Glenn Becks, God bless 'em -- who serve as a kind of punditry gateway drug, introducing the chattering classes to the tantalizing appeal of austerity politics, he said/she said reportage, and false equivalencies.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:04:40 PM PST

    •  I agree with your description (0+ / 0-)

      for the beltway echo-chamber as a form of reactionary commentary that sounds reasonable but doesn't have much thought put into it. Its for that reason that I think Klein should not be lumped with the others, cause to have his  viewpoints on many issues that are set in stone in DC require someone who, while isn't always right, has the ability to ignore the echo-chamber and construct an independent thought. Of course, he ain't perfect and, like all of us, has had his moments of lazy punditocracy.

  •  "indepandance"? (0+ / 0-)

    Is that the dance you do just before you jump into da fire?

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:08:25 PM PST

  •  Who? Oh, you mean Joke Line. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, dougymi
  •  I'll respect him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when he admits he's been wrong.  Before I totally stopped reading him, he got into it with a lot of his readers at swampland because he made a statement about FISA and wiretapping that was just plain wrong and his only defense for it was to insult his readers and assert his superiority on everything under the sun.  He lost me and a lot of other people when he did that.  If you're wrong, admit it. Don't insult people as a defense. Just freakin' admit it and move on.  

    IOW, I'll probably never respect him.  His Villager outlook on life means he will never be wrong and if he is, it's never his fault.  It will always be the fault of the reader who just won't acknowledge joke line's perfection in all things. Eff him and let him eat cocktail weenies with cokie!

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:13:51 PM PST

    •  He has changed his mind on some things (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

         When Bush the Lesser tried to partially privatize Social Security, Klein thought that might me a good idea. I exchanged several emails with him (this was before Swampland) but we had to agree to disagree. Several years later, he did admit that privatization is not a good solution for Social Security and the program does not need radical changes.  He also "kinda supported invading Iraq" but soon after, realized it was a huge mistake. He's still wrong on several important issues but I cut him some slack because he really tries to get it right. Also, he was one of the few villagers willing to actually converse with outsiders about these issues. Until Klein got Swampland where people could comment, he did spend a lot of time answering emails from his readers. That always impressed me since even local reporters tended to ignore their readers. Just my 2 cents.    

      • I said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The litmus test shouldn't be whether you've been wrong in the past, even on big issues. Its whether you actually try to retain some governing philosophy for your viewpoints, and still retain that philosophy even when it's a minority opinion. That last part is where he's different from the other Villagers, they're all conformists, and hardly even challenge conventional wisdom on typical debates like the debt ceiling, let alone toxic ones like Israel.

  •  I remember him when (0+ / 0-)

    the good doctor was running for president.  I'll sit this one out.

  •  Tipped and rec'd not for agreement but because (0+ / 0-)

    you post is well written and I'm sort of a sentimental sucker for when people forgive others and even go to extra trouble to present positive evidence to balance reputations.

    Our society would be a much better place if we had more compassionate and reflective people like yourself, ai002h.

    Unless you happen to be Joe, Mrs. Klein, or Joe Jr.  :-)  (Well, maybe still then.)


    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:49:42 PM PST

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