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U.S. President George W. Bush shakes hands with Democratic U.S. Senator Zell Miller, who offered his support to Bush at a fundraising reception, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, January 15, 2004. REUTERS/Larry Downing
Third Way leaps to the defense of Zell Miller.
So Third Way took a shot at me today, using Politico as their vehicle, because I guess having no constituency is no barrier to access if you have enough hedge fund managers on your board.

Politico has given me space to respond, so I'll save my substantive rebuttal for that venue. But I do want to make a couple of quick points. First of all, it's easy to see why it's happening.

It happened because Third Way co-founder Jonathan Cowan was once an aide to Andrew Cuomo, who is the second coming of Joe Lieberman. I've been beating up on Cuomo lately, so Third Way is leaping to his defense by attacking me. Fair enough.

It happened because Third Way's efforts to kill Social Security didn't just run up into a buzzsaw at Daily Kos, but our activism convinced Democrats to run far, far away from what they urged. They even lost a co-chair in the process. Fair enough.

It happened because of this. Fair enough.

But what's truly funny about their attacks on me is that they have to invent words in my mouth to make a coherent argument. I've written over 10 million words the past decade, and yet we get passages like this:

A charge implicit in the Moulitsas post is that moderate Democrats lack political courage—that they would do the right thing if only they were brave enough. This just doesn’t withstand scrutiny.
You rarely see that blatant an example of a strawman argument. It's actually a thing of beauty. "He didn't say this thing, but let's pretend that he did, and OMG that pretend argument that we invented out of thin air fails scrutiny!"

Note that bullshit arguments are part and parcel of Third Way's repertoire. As they were attacking Social Security, they completely invented a Colorado ballot initiative that wasn't (claiming it raised taxes on just the rich, when it raised taxes on everyone). So it's not as if honesty comes naturally to that crowd. But for now, I'll make one more observation. This appears to be the nut of their argument:

Of the 10 former Democratic senators that Moulitsas identifies, seven were replaced by Republicans, one by Montanan John Walsh, who is in a fight for his political life this year, and another by Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who is unlikely to make the DailyKos Pantheon of Progressiveness.
Donnelly didn't replace Evan Bayh. He replaced Dick Lugar. But that simple fact check isn't the point I want to make. The point is this:

Who cares if seven of the 10 were replaced with Republicans? Ten years ago, Democrats had 49 members in the Senate. Today they have 53 plus Bernie Sanders and Angus King. And even if they lose the Senate this year, which they won't, it won't be much more than a rental as 2016 is a stellar map for us (up to 10 potential pickups).

So is it better to have Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller in a 49-seat minority, or is it better to replace them with better Democrats in a 55-seat Democratic majority? Only morons would argue for the former, but apparently, that's what Third Way wants to be.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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