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Aug 18 2011

Impact

We were all having a good inter-blog chuckle reading the reactions to an e-mail that was sent to supporters by the the New Mexico Director of OFA telling them to read the poorly written, unsubstantiated, hair-on-fire rantings of an obscure blogger/alleged activist named Spandan Chakrabarti. The article, which was supposedly written to “explain” the debt ceiling, was couched in pejoratives calling Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman a “political novice” and President Obama’s critics the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere.” It got a thumbs down reaction from several well known web sites, including this one. Now we here at Stars Hollow make no claim to having any greater on-line impact in the blogosphere than any other site, after all we are still in our “growing” stage, but to our amusement late last night, we discovered that Mr. Chakrabarti’s web site doesn’t compare to the impact of our Chief Editor, ek hornbeck. We googled Mr. Chakrabarti’s name and this is the first page of that search:

Please note, The Stars Hollow Gazette article that mentioned the name, “Spandan Chakrabarti“, is 3rd while the blogger’s own web site is further down the page in 6th.

ek hornbeck‘s reaction was “I told you his on-line impact doesn’t begin to compare with mine.”

This embarrassing kerfuffle hasn’t ended for OFA or this obscure blogger. This morning Dr. Krugman responded:

Well, at least they’re paying attention.

I would say this: on one side you have the GOP, which responds to completely crazed Tea Party demands by doing all it can to assure the hard right that it’s on its side. On the other, you have the Democratic establishment or at least part thereof, which responds to complaints from its own base that it’s going too easy on the crazies by lashing out at the base, with a bit of bearded-professor bashing on the side.

Way to strengthen your bargaining position, guys.

And the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent added his opinion:

That said, this story does provide a window into what I think is a real problem – the nature of the Obama team’s frustration with liberal critics. The problem is that some on the Obama team don’t reckon with what it is lefty critics are actually saying. Obama advisers get angry when they think liberal critics are refusing to accept the limits placed on him by current political realities, and when lefties presume at the outset that Obama will inevitably sell out. That’s reflected in Sandoval’s angry email and in other periodic explosions of anger at the “professional left.”

But the lefty critique goes considerably further than this. It’s an argument with Obama’s team about tactics and strategy, about what might be attainable if he handled these negotiations differently. The case from these critics is if Obama approached negotiations with a harder line, it would be better politics because it would juice up the base and show indys he’s a fighter. They also advocate for this course because the current dynamic is hopelessly broken – and they think a more aggressive approach has at least a chance of broadening the field of what’s substantively possible. (There’s a segment on the left that also thinks Obama wants what’s in the deals he keeps securing, but the points above are broadly what many lefties agree on.)

Whether you agree with this critique or not – people make persuasive cases in both directions – Sandoval’s email shows a broader failure to reckon with what it is that has lefty critics so ticked off. That’s the real problem here – and it’s one of the key causes of the tension between the left and the White House.

One good thing about all this is it got the attention of the traditional media and, for what it’s worth, the White House who denounced the e-mail by their own campaign director. And it got us more attention which is always a good thing. 😉

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