I didn't expect Bob Somerby to be back at The Daily Howler until after the new year and hadn't checked. Jim e-mailed today saying that The Daily Howler was back up Thursday. (Thanks for the heads up, Jim.)
We're going to highlight the two columns because that are worthy of attention. (As is The Daily Howler each day.)
Our resolution would have been: Be a bit less acerbic this year about various lefty/Dem/centrist bloggers. Then we came home from vacance Wednesday night and read Kevin Drum’s inexcusable piece about Social Security in that day’s L.A. Times.
And yes, Drum’s piece is inexcusable, built on a heartless, predictable slander. “I used to be a Social Security doom-monger,” he says at the start of his piece. “Like everyone else my age, I knew the familiar drill: Social Security is a demographic time bomb.” And why did Drum, like everyone else, think SS was such a mess? His explanation is simply astounding. It was because of Clinton and Gore, he reveals! Yes, this really is Drum’s account of how he became so disinformed about the future of Social Security:
DRUM (pgh 2): Politicians were eager to feed my fears. Bill Clinton urged us to "take action now to avert a crisis in the Social Security system." Al Gore made the Social Security "lockbox" a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. And George W. Bush insisted earlier this month that Social Security was "headed toward bankruptcy down the road." As a result, most young people today are convinced that Social Security will be gone by the time they retire.Incredible! Just try to believe that he wrote it! Clinton and Gore misled young people, Drum says. And there’s more: According to this phantasmagoric account, Bush seems to have avoided misleading statements until he finally offered one “earlier this month!” Let’s state the obvious: If this utterly ludicrous account had come from a Republican operative, it would have occasioned raucous, head-shaking laughter. (In fact, no Republican would ever write something so daft.) But coming from Drum—a voice of the “liberal” Washington Monthly—it helps us see, at the start of the year, the fallen state of our political discourse. And it raises an obvious question: Why exactly do Drum and his cohort lie in your face in this manner?
That's the beginning of part one (from Dec. 30th). Here's the start of part two (from the 31st):
Incredible! Why don’t we all just agree to say that Clinton and Gore murdered Laci Peterson? That would only be slightly less daft than Kevin Drum’s claim in the L. A. Times—the claim that he and his poor abused cohort were misled about SS by the twin Dem terrors. To see a real journalistic obscenity, gaze again on the words the great blogger penned when the great L.A. Times came a-calling:
DRUM (12/29/04): I used to be a Social Security doom-monger. Like everyone else my age, I knew the familiar drill: Social Security is a demographic time bomb. Life expectancies are increasing. The baby boom generation is getting ready to retire. Every year we have a smaller number of workers supporting a larger number of retirees.
Politicians were eager to feed my fears. Bill Clinton urged us to "take action now to avert a crisis in the Social Security system." Al Gore made the Social Security "lockbox" a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. And George W. Bush insisted earlier this month that Social Security was "headed toward bankruptcy down the road." As a result, most young people today are convinced that Social Security will be gone by the time they retire. “Politicians were eager to feed my fears,” Drum wrote—and then, he quickly named Clinton and Gore! Incredible! According to Drum, it was Clinton and Gore who “fed on the fears” of his poor abused g-g-g-generation! But how about that famous Frank Luntz poll, the one in which Generation X-ers said they believed in UFOs more than in Social Security (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/21/04)? That poll was taken in 1993, cranked out by the anti-SS propaganda machine that actually shaped the views of Drum’s cohort, and that had already done so for years. It would be seven more years before Candidate Gore would (intelligently) suggest that the surplus should be placed in a lockbox. But so what? In Drum’s bizarre world, it was actually Gore—arguing that SS was viable—who fiendishly “fed on the fears” of his friends. And what about the generation of conservative agitprop which actually misled Drum’s abused cohort? That was buried beneath the waves, as Drum—for reasons he needs to explain—simply lied to his L.A. Times readers, blaming a generation’s confusion on those established twin demons, Clinton/Gore.
Please note, he also weighs in on Sliding Doors which may be of interest to some. (I haven't seen the film but enjoyed his comments.)