Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Fellow DC Democrat

by: Matt Stoller

Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 00:28


So occasionally someone pulls back the curtain to show how DC actually works, and today we got a little glimpse on a fairly minor scale.
Matt Stoller :: Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Fellow DC Democrat
One of my favorite bloggers, Matt Yglesias, put up a post a post a few days ago talking about the think tank Third Way, a DLC spinoff.  He called them a 'neat organization' that does 'clever messaging stuff', but also said their "domestic policy agenda is hyper-timid incrementalist bullshit."  He excused that by saying that "Third Way isn't really a "public policy think tank" at all, it's a messaging and political tactics outfit."

And this is true.  Everyone knows Third Way operates mostly as the policy arm of the DSCC.  While I don't like their ideology, the role they've carved out is politically useful.  

So then today, I come upon this post on Matt's blog.

This is Jennifer Palmieri, acting CEO of the Center for American Progess Action Fund.

Most readers know that the views expressed on Matt's blog are his own and don't always reflect the views of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Such is the case with regard to Matt's comments about Third Way. Our institution has partnered with Third Way on a number of important projects - including a homeland security transition project - and have a great deal of respect for their critical thinking and excellent work product. They are key leaders in the progressive movement and we look forward to working with them in the future.


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DC = Mayor Fenty or Vincent Gray (4.00 / 4)
So occasionally someone pulls back the curtain to show how DC Versailles actually works, and today we got a little glimpse on a fairly minor scale.

Fixed that for you


The comments oh mercy... (4.00 / 3)
I'm howling reading them.  I don't read Yglasias routinely, but now I too will think of the Third Way as "incrementalist bullshit" thanks to the extra attention this brings.

This is how not to do damage control.  


Excuse me, Jennifer (4.00 / 3)
Your DLC is showing.

Jennifer Palmieri invites your feedback (4.00 / 1)
From her public bio (4.00 / 1)
So everyone knows, this is not some super-secret email address I'm giving out. It's posted on her public bio at CAPAF.

[ Parent ]
I hope that Palmieri (4.00 / 2)
utilizes Open Left's policy of The Right to Respond.


Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

Would that be ironic? (4.00 / 7)
From that post, in 2007:

"The "Right to Respond," is a standing promise on Open Left where any progressive activist, campaign, or organization we discuss in any front-page post is granted at least one front-page post in response. If we blog on the front-page about the group Third Way, for example, then Third Way will be allowed to post on the front-page in response to our piece."

Or would that just be an amazing coincidence?


[ Parent ]
there's history there... (4.00 / 2)
It's not just a coincidence Third Way is mentioned there.

When the site started, it was an organization the front pagers were actively critiquing. IIRC, the major complaint was just the name Third Way itself is an affront to progressives because it triangulates.

My further recollection is Third Way had the first Right to Response piece. It was a lame attempt to say why progressives should not be offended.

This is all from an admittedly foggy memory of distant events. Someone with a better memory (or time to hit the search button) should be able to fill in details. :-)

They call me Clem, Clem Guttata. Come visit wild, wonderful West Virginia Blue


[ Parent ]
Does this apply to congresscritters on the BushDog list? (0.00 / 0)
And have any of them taken OpenLeft up on the offer?

[ Parent ]
14 comments (4.00 / 1)
On Matt's original post that so offended Third Way.

On tonight's?  313 and counting.


Not to mention (0.00 / 0)
Third Way bashing is now a meme in the comments section.   I had no idea CAP was so wishy-washy.

[ Parent ]
it's probably the same everywhere (4.00 / 3)
I got blowback from people for criticizing Leonard Boswell and even for reporting that the Organic Consumers Association thought Vilsack would be a terrible choice to run the USDA. Why "trash" Vilsack on a blog in his home state?

The difference is that the complaining people don't have front-page posting privileges at Bleeding Heartland. But if I had to work in the Iowa political world, instead of just commenting on it as a hobby, criticizing powerful Iowa Democrats would create problems for me.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


object lesson (4.00 / 3)
I was thinking something very similar. Good thing those of us running West Virginia Blue (and so many other state blogs) are just citizen activists, hobbyists, political junkies.

As atrios noted, there's not many economic models that support full time blogging and truly independent editorial.

They call me Clem, Clem Guttata. Come visit wild, wonderful West Virginia Blue


[ Parent ]
Sometimes I love me the internets. (4.00 / 5)
Someone gets criticized for being hyper-timid, and freaks! Oh, the ironicism.

And sometimes that 'Village' metaphor is a little scary.


Ironicism??? (4.00 / 3)
I'll have to rememberize that one!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Oh man... (4.00 / 1)
Let this be a case study for popular, successful bloggers who are considering going to work for a "progressive" organization, advocacy group or media outlet.

I can appreciate why the Center for American Progress would want an influential new media "asset" like Y working for them, but it seems so stupid to bring him onboard and then damage his credibility with imperious intrusions like this. I'm deeply suspicious that this kind of treatment might cause Matt to self-censor and pull his punches, which inclines me to trust him less.

In contrast, Greenwald's arrangement with Salon seems to be going well, and nothing seems to have been lost in the transition.


not a direct parallel (0.00 / 0)
Kevin Drum seems no different to me over the years as he has moved from place to place. He's fairly centrist anyway, but still he writes critically on various topics and I don't notice any difference in what topics he covers or how he covers them as he's moved from one venue to another.

They call me Clem, Clem Guttata. Come visit wild, wonderful West Virginia Blue

[ Parent ]
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