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: http://www.theatlantic.com/...
-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: http://www.youtube.com/...
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.