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Scribes With Constipation and Fury

On the blogroll to the right (and down) there are a handful of liberal blogs listed. I like to keep tabs on both sides of the conversation, even if from time to time it feels as if those two hemispheres are thrust parsecs apart by different priorities, different topics, and indeed entirely divergent views of reality. (One, you’ll note with humor at the impudence, actually endeavors to call itself the ‘reality-based’ community.) But one thing that may always endear to me a soft-hearted liberal as quickly as a sure-shot conservative is good writing. The internet is as big —bigger, in fact —than Earth in some ways. There is good writing to be found everywhere. For every political ideology I can name (or can locate) a handful of blogs with commentators who do a better job sowing his camp’s seeds than any New York Times columnist.

The biggest conservative-minded blog is Power Line. Roughly 77,000 individuals read it every day. The writing is crisp, clear, and usually brief. They are lawyers with law to say and clients to satisfy. And one has the distinct feeling that, even in the early morning and after hat-hanging time at five o’clock, their lawerly dress never fades. In “Some Thoughts on Casualties in Times of War and Peace” for example, John Hinderaker notes with characteristic warmth that public support for America’s war in Iraq is fading, but that that does not make a goal unworthy. He begins with a thesis (that public support is faltering and supports may well be a minority) and through sensical argumentation builds a bulwark for that thesis. One which in turn buttresses his personal politic.

The biggest liberal-minded blog is the Daily Kos, which attracts no fewer than 500,000 eyeballs every day. There is no comparison to be made between that figure and that of Power Line, as Kos’ main draw is an interactive commenting and meta-blogging system that invites multiple hits per visit. And Kos, when the left side of the internet is looked at as a pie, represents a dominating share. Power Line, in contrast, is merely a bigger little fish. It has many equals and near-equals on the right.

Kos employs a stable of five or six front-page commentators, all of whom seem to have indistinct temperments that, melted together, produce a site voice rather than an author’s voice. Critique is made easier by the fact that well-nigh every front-page writer on Kos has refused to reveal his real name.

The site voice I mentioned is eminently shrill. In “Bush Supporters of the Far Right: Cries from the Lake of Fire” one of the pseudonymous penmen, Hunter, lashes out at a Republican writer whose latest piece attempted to lowball the import of the indictment of Tom DeLay. Hunter’s piece is full on blue language and snobbish, our-side-only references and cant. Instead of analyzing the conservative’s argument bit by bit, he reprints a passage and uses it as a ticket to Bashville. The writing is ugly, brutish, and ineffective to anyone who does not already agree with him. His rail ends: “Get used to the world you have created, and the stench your worshipped heroes have unleashed.”

And that, friends, is why I’ll no more of the Daily Kos.


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