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Keyword: ‘e.j. dionne’
September 23rd, 2010 at 8:15 pm
E.J. Dionne Thinks Tea Party is a Scam

Pulling out a scribble of notes from his tickler file, columnist E.J. Dionne thinks the Tea Party is “one of the most successful scams in American political history”.  Why?  Because the “so-called” liberal media is giving an obscure, ideologically-driven set of voices a microphone big enough to capture the nation’s attention.  To Dionne’s dismay, few of his fellow gatekeepers “recognize that the tea party (note the intentional lower case lettering) constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its members.”

I don’t think Hillary Clinton could give a better summary of the media’s unyielding adulation for Barack Obama.  Like Clinton, Obama was a one-term senator with nary a public achievement to his credit, but somehow his lack of a record was billed as “fresh” and “exciting.”

News flash to Dionne: the media likes a good story, and the TEA PARTY is the most compelling political drama this year.  Hate it if you must, but don’t call it a scam.  That’s a project for bloated institutions and the candidates who support them; not sporadically organizing coalitions of free people.

January 4th, 2010 at 4:25 pm
E.J. Dionne’s Recommendation to Democrats: Commit Suicide
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When asked to identify a leftist counterpart to the wit and wisdom of conservative commentator George Will, liberals commonly cite The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Frankly, that’s a bit like a D.C.-area baseball fan offering the Washington Nationals as a counterpart to the New York Yankees, as confirmed again by today’s commentary from Dionne.

In it, Dionne counsels a veritable suicide strategy for Democrats hoping to avoid a landslide defeat in November’s 2010 Congressional elections.  In the face of poll after poll demonstrating widespread public opposition to ObamaCare, Dionne advises Democrats to trumpet its virtues.  He apparently remains blissfully oblivious to the fact that the more people learn about ObamaCare, the less they like it.  Since Obama demanded legislation before the August Congressional recess, the public has swung from narrow approval to wide disapproval, yet he advises that Democrats tell them more?  Dionne subsequently argues, presumably with a straight face, that Democrats should utilize proposed carbon cap-and-tax legislation in their effort to gain electoral momentum.  As is the case with ObamaCare, however, Dionne’s recommendation flies in the face of public skepticism and opposition toward this costly bill that will raise utility costs for everyday consumers, cripple businesses struggling in a weak economy and surrender additional American sovereignty to United Nations-style climate regulation.

Those in the legal profession often advise against interrupting opposing attorneys who are dooming their own cases.  One suspects that Republicans are similarly in no hurry to interrupt Dionne’s advice to Democrats.

November 19th, 2009 at 10:04 am
Can E.J. Dionne Count?
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Here’s an exercise:  ask a liberal to identify a single commentator from the left who rivals such conservative commentators as George Will or Charles Krauthammer.  Their usual answer?  The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, Jr.  This is very revealing, because it appears that Dionne has difficulty counting, let alone rivaling his conservative counterparts in intellectual stature.

In his column today, Dionne attempts to excoriate Senate Republicans for their obstructionism, including their alleged tendency to filibuster.  In one passage, he states that, “the extra-constitutional filibuster is being used by the minority, with extraordinary success, to make the majority look foolish, ineffectual and incompetent.”

No, Mr. Dionne, the Democrats are doing a splendid job of that themselves.  But regardless, this commentary raises a larger question:  can Dionne even count?  After all, does he not realize that the Republicans don’t even possess the number of members sufficient to filibuster?

Somebody send this man a calculator.

June 27th, 2012 at 10:27 am
Court Analyst Jeffrey Rosen in Full-on Political Hack Mode

There was a time when Jeffrey Rosen was a thoughtful center-left court analyst, with a constitutional interpretive philosophy clearly to the left of Madisonian/conservative textualists but nonetheless willing to give credit where due to conservative jurists and to recognize their arguments and their consistency even when he disagreed with them. Well, for years it has been clear that those days are long gone, and that Rosen barely maintains the veneer of thoughtful and fair-minded analyst while actually going far down the road that columnist E.J. Dionne long ago traversed, into full-time partisan hackery.

Witness Rosen’s new analysis of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Arizona immigration case. It is couched throughout in terms of “giving credit where due” to conservative justices. But that stance is just a pose. Look more closely, and you’ll see that he gives credit only when the conservatives agree with him. If they agree with him, then they are showing an ability to be “modest and nuanced in tone and substance” while demonstrating a “vision of bipartisan nationalism.” But he warns that if they don’t agree that the ObamaCare individual mandate is perfectly constitutional, then they will suddenly appear “partisan and unrestrained” and will have violated their “previously expressed judicial philosophies.”

In other words: Agree with me, and you are wonderful. Disagree with me, and you have switched in three days from being wonderful to being a vicious, partisan, right-wing hypocrite.

This, and so much else that he writes in this piece, is pure and utter hogwash.

Rosen’s entire frame of reference is skewed, and give absolutely no credit to the actual interpretive philosophies in use on the right. There is no such thing as a “vision of bipartisan nationalism” in conservative jurisprudence. What is at play isn’t a results-oriented “nationalism” — which, of course, contradicts many other instance where Roberts and even Anthony Kennedy have stood firmly for state authority vis-a-vis the national government — but instead an honest attempt to apply the original public meaning of the Constitution’s or legislation’s words to the case before them.

How, pray tell, would it violate Roberts’ “previously expressed judicial philosophy” for him to rule the mandate unconstitutional? After all, it’s not as if Roberts hasn’t recognized limits on Congress’ interstate commerce powers before. Remember when he decided the Commerce Clause powers did not extend to protection of a “hapless toad (that), for reasons of its own, lives its entire life in California”? And of course Kennedy has recognized Commerce Clause limits both in U.S. v. Lopez and U.S. v. Morrison. As this new question of a different type of extension of those powers presents an unprecedented question — because the federal power assertion is itself unprecedented — there is no reason at all to believe that it would violate these justices’ philosophies or to show an engagement in partisan shenanigans for Roberts and Kennedy to rule against the mandate. Likewise, although conservatives would be hugely (and rightfully) disappointed and even angry if Roberts and Kennedy go the other way, that doesn’t mean conservatives would be right in suddenly finding Roberts to be a sell-out; it would just mean that he applies the law to these particular facts differently than we do.

But for Rosen, who invents a jurisprudence of “bipartisan nationalism” that is alien in form and substance to everything conservative jurists believe, a judge’s motives or intellectual integrity can be credited or discredited, or both in the same week, completely dependent on whether or not they agree with his conclusions based on a jurisprudential approach that doesn’t even exist.

What a crock.

October 18th, 2011 at 6:06 pm
How to Eviscerate a Pundit
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Regular readers of the blog know that there is a small gallery of Washington pundits that I simply cannot abide; not because I disagree with their views, but because I despise the predictability of their positions, the ballast of their prose, and the intellectual laziness of their work.

That’s a group that includes Tom Friedman, Joe Klein, and E.J. Dionne, amongst others. But there’s a special place in pundit hell for the professional joiner: the columnist who always has to march in lockstep with Beltway fashion. That’s why it’s so delightful to see the once-respectable Fareed Zakaria get noted in the New Republic’s list of over-rated DC thinkers. The précis is priceless:

Fareed Zakaria is enormously important to an understanding of many things, because he provides a one-stop example of conventional thinking about them all. He is a barometer in a good suit, a creature of establishment consensus, an exemplary spokesman for the always-evolving middle. He was for the Iraq war when almost everybody was for it, criticized it when almost everybody criticized it, and now is an active member of the ubiquitous “declining American power” chorus. When Obama wanted to trust the Iranians, Zakaria agreed (“They May Not Want the Bomb,” was a story he did for Newsweek); and, when Obama learned different, Zakaria thought differently. There’s something suspicious about a thinker always so perfectly in tune with the moment.

Indeed. Fareed Zakaria is a man who writes Gallup polls in paragraph form. Nice to see the media take notice.

January 3rd, 2011 at 11:05 pm
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest … and Into the Washington Post’s Offices
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File E.J. Dionne’s new column paying nominal tribute to the incoming Republican class of congressmen under articles we didn’t finish. The reason? This passage:

There is already a standard line of advice to Speaker-to-be John Boehner and his colleagues that goes like this: Democrats overreached in the last Congress by doing too much and ignoring “the center.” Republicans should be careful not to make the same mistake, lest they lose their majority, too.

This counsel is wrong, partly because the premise is faulty. Democrats did not overreach in the 111th Congress. On the contrary, they compromised regularly. Compromise made the health-care bill far more complicated than it had to be and the original stimulus bill too small. Democrats would have been better off getting more done more quickly and more coherently.

Seriously, folks … he gets paid for this.

November 11th, 2010 at 9:33 pm
Re: House GOP Leadership Team Taking Shape
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Ashton makes a good point about the geographic diversity of the GOP House leadership in comparison to its Democratic predecessor. Another interesting addition may be Kristi Noem, the incoming freshman who will serve as the At-Large Representative for South Dakota and who looks to be in line to fill a new position being created to give some leadership representation to the burgeoning ranks of Tea Party-affiliated conservatives. Noem is attractive, articulate, and has a compelling biography. She looks to be a definite rising star in the party.

I think the mix of the two parties may be reflective of what caused the Democrats to go astray in the past few years. Looking at the new Republican leadership, only Texan Jeb Hensarling comes from a state where Republicans are reliably strong in both federal and state elections. Democrats, on the other hand, populated their leadership ranks with figures from the deepest of the deep blue states. They governed that way too. And in so doing, they forgot all the lessons that gave them control of the Congress.

In the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, Rahm Emanuel in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate gave considerable flexibility to their recruited candidates, allowing them to run with conservative positions on a host of issues that allowed them to escape being tarred as liberals in the Midwest, the South, and the Mountain West. While they succeeded in getting a large percentage of those candidates elected, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda then lurched so heavily to the left that the new members had to run for reelection in the shadow of a record that undermined all their pretensions of moderation.

The facile interpretation of this trend is that a party always has to govern from the center to keep its majority. That’s also the rationale for liberals like  E.J. Dionne, who hope that the new conservative majority’s stand on principle will alienate them from the electorate. In his most recent column, Dionne writes:

Give Republicans credit for this: They don’t chase the center, they try to move it. Democrats can play a loser’s game of scrambling after a center being pushed ever rightward. Or they can stand their ground and show how far their opponents are from moderate, problem-solving governance. Why should Democrats take Republican advice that Republicans themselves would never be foolish enough to follow?

This is what happens when a static mind attempts to comprehend a dynamic landscape. The problem with Dionne’s analysis is that he assumes the left and the right are equidistant from the center. This is false. When Gallup polled the question in June, 42 percent of Americans identified as conservative, 35 percent said they were moderate, and 20 percent said they were liberal. That means the self-identified center-right represents an astonishing 77 percent of the country. By contrast, the center-left at its theoretical apex is only a slight majority of Americans. When you then factor in that 56 percent of independents broke for Republicans this year — and that that represented a 36 point swing from 2006 — you see how steep the hill is for Democrats.

Dionne and his counterparts in Congress need to learn the lesson: in a center-right country, it’s more important for Democrats to moderate than Republicans. If you doubt that, ask Bill Clinton — he might remind you that he’s the only Democratic president to be elected twice since FDR.