Just finished up at the Pajama Media event at The National Press Club (ah, the irony) in Washington DC.....the best and the brightest were in attendance. And while I don't have much to report that is new and earth shattering, it was, for me, a wonderful experience. Most of these bloggers I have only emailed, or commented on, or admired from afar. Meeting them was magnificent. My idea of an ideal evening.
"“How Partisan Is Too Partisan?"
The issue of high partisanship in the blogosphere is preferable to a highly partisan mainstream media masquerading as objective journalism. At least you know where you stand with the blogs. Honesty vs deceit. Give me the media landscape of Lincoln - a boisterous cacophony of hundreds of disparate voices - let the people decide!
IMAO, the topic of the panel "“How Partisan Is Too Partisan?" is a luxurious conversation we can not afford. The left is not on the side of America. Gay rights is a mute point (Pim Fortuyn!) when the enemy will behead all gays (and Jews, and Christians, and infidels etc.) Abortion is irrelevant if you're dead. It seems to me that the only party that matters at this historical crossroads is the party of life, and those who wish to fight to live free. In other words, the Republicans.
Robert Tracinski over at TIA Daily made the most compelling argument for crushing the left come November;
For some time, I have been promising to offer my recommendation for how to vote in November's congressional election. Now that the vote is getting closer, I'm ready to offer it—and it is considerably different from what I originally expected to say.
My recommendation, I should make clear, is for the overall choice between Republicans and Democrats. But of course, in the American system—unlike some of the crazy parliamentary systems in Europe—we don't vote for parties, we vote for candidates. So if your local congressional candidate has championed a particularly evil political agenda, is under indictment, or is named "Katherine Harris," then by all means vote for the other guy. But if your local House and Senate candidates are unexceptional—and too many of them are—then in a narrowly contested election like this one, your vote is really a vote for which party is best qualified to control Congress. It's about which party should have the power to appoint committee chairmen, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, and generally steer the agenda of the legislature.
I have indicated before that my idea of the best outcome was that the Republicans lose and the Democrats don't win. The Republicans, I thought, ought to lose enough seats that they feel they've been punished for tolerating runaway federal spending, while the Democrats ought to fail to regain control of Congress, so they're not able to control congressional committees that would allow them to de-fund the war in Iraq or otherwise undermine the War on Terrorism.
But as the election gets nearer and I think more about what is at stake, I have come to realize that the best outcome is for the Democrats to lose. The Democrats' failure to regain control of either house of Congress would be a good start. But an unambiguous and humiliating defeat—even a loss of Democratic seats in the House and Senate—would be much better.
I have realized that the best thing we can do in this election is to crush the left—because the Democratic Party adds nothing of value to the American political debate.
What has the left, which is associated with militant secularism, contributed to this debate? Today's Democratic politicians are falling all over themselves trying to demonstrate how religious they are. In a speech last week, former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry lamented that he was too "reticent" in 2004 in discussing how his Catholic faith shaped his political views and called for a "faith-based debate on the issues of war and peace." Meanwhile, favorite leftist strongman Hugo Chavez calls President Bush "the Devil" and claims that Jesus Christ was "the first socialist."
So much for the left's attitude toward Christianity. What about Islam? If you proclaim that faith should never be imposed by force, and you are unwise enough to use Islam as an example—well, then the left-leaning New York Times will be the first to scold you. Sam Harris—author of The End of Faith and a card-carrying member of the secular left—has bitterly complained about his fellow leftists' willingness, in the name of an allegedly secular cultural subjectivism, to make excuses for Islam.
If you want to have a debate over the meaning of religious freedom and the separation of church and state, I think you'll find that the most interesting debates on that subject are going to happen within the right. The left is contributing less and less of any value.
And that brings us to the War on Terrorism. When there is an actual battle raging between secular Western societies and fanatical religious zealots who want to impose their religion by the sword, there is only one political party that is asking you to fight back.
There is a lot of debate on the right over the best way to fight back. Should we commit more troops to Iraq? Should we change the kinds of troops we're deploying, dispersing special forces more widely among Iraqi troops as trainers and advisors? Should we try to undermine the Iranian regime by supporting dissidents, or will we have to use force to prevent the Iranian theocracy from getting the bomb?
What does the left contribute to this debate? Virginia Democratic Senate Candidate Jim Webb complains that we're losing in Iraq and thinks that the answer is to engage in more diplomacy to lure Syria and Iran—our enemies—to "stabilize" Iraq (which they will be happy to do, by making it into an Iranian client state). As Pakistan gives up the fight against al-Qaeda and surrenders its northwestern province to Taliban rule, John Kerry complains that we're losing the war in Afghanistan—and proposes that we increase our aid money to Pakistan. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton returns to wag his finger at us again and insist that his utter failure to strike back at Bin Laden was really the best defense against al-Qaeda that we could have expected.
And I'm not even counting the barking moonbats of the far left who think that al-Qaeda terrorists are "freedom fighters."
So if you want to have a vitally needed debate over how to fight and win the War on Terrorism, you'll have to have it within the right. The left contributes nothing but proposals for surrender, appeasement, and passivity.
As far as the war is concerned, that "D" next to a candidate's name on the ballot stands for "defeat."
A defeat for the Democratic Party in November's election would be a crushing blow. If they lose when every short-term political trend was in their favor, everyone will see it as a public repudiation of the Democratic Party. I advocate this outcome, not because I think it will cause soul-searching and a change of policies within the left—though that may well be the short-term result—but simply because it will add to the disarray and decline of the left. The decay of the left, and of the Democratic Party in particular, is the long-term trend of the past three decades, and we should do everything we can to hasten it, because the more the left fades from the scene, the more the national political debate will be a debate within the right.
Working on the post but here's a taste;
The panel - Michael Barone (US News), Paul Mirengoff (Powerline), Tom Bevan (Real Clear Politics), Mark Blumenthal (The Mystery Pollster). Moderator: Glenn Reynold, Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Jane Hall of Fox News Watch. Richard Miniter.
Below, left to right, Roger Simon at the dais introducing the panel - Reynolds, Bevan, Blumenthal, Hall, May, Mirengoff, Rosett
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, Tom Bevan, Real ClearPolitics and pollster, Marc Blumenthal
Michael Barone and Bevan, RCP
Mary Katherine Ham.May my girls grow up to be just like her. If she represents the future, then the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.
Tigerhawk and Atlas
Paul Mirengoff of Powerline and Claudia Rosett
Contemporary hero, Cliff May, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
Atlas and my favorite editor in chief, Gerard Van der Leun
The inimitable Michael Totten
TIGERHAWK! I spent a good amount of the evening with Tigerhawk and while he is probably the most bi-partisan of the bloggers, I enjoyed his POV, inasmuch as it differed from my perspective. He speaks of Hillary as a legit candidate - not my POV.
Nidra Poller (right) and I
I will have more as soon as I get back to New York
In a broader sense, the whole notion of objectivity in the media has fallen away on partisan lines. Conservatives look at FOX News and find the coverage exactly as advertised ("fair and balanced") while liberals see FOX as a shameless propaganda machine and mouthpiece of the Bush administration. Liberals read the New York Times and believe they're getting an objective take on the news, conservatives see a paper thoroughly riddled by liberal partisanship engaged in an agenda-journalism crusade against the Bush administration.
There aren't any profound conclusions to draw - not by me anyway - except that when it comes to discussing "how partisan is too partisan," the left and the right will have to agree to disagree. It was a great event last night and I was honored to be included among such a distinguished panel of guests.
Josue Sierra writes about it at TownHall
One key thing was clear from last night's conversations. The MSM is in decline, and the blogosphere is maturing and growing. I'm looking forward to seeing first hand what this means come November and 2008.
I think we are more partisan because more Americans are understanding what is at stake--a root understanding of how we see the world around us, and how that affects policy makers. If all religions are equal, and if good and evil is relative, or worst--non existent--then why would anyone care about partisanship?
Most people do care because most people understand that there is a right & wrong, and good & evil, and in today's political environment, the Democrats have chosen to embrace all sorts of ideologies, basically standing for nothing out of fear of offending someone (except Christians, of course...they don't count for the Liberal left). Most Americans want a leadership that will stand for what most Americans believe in, and the left is just out of touch with this.
UPDATE: Classical Values wrote a great post here. Well done