December 09, 2003

Blog Awards

Much to my surprise, it looks like I won two blog awards while I was out of the country. Iíd like to say Iím thrilled, but I donít think I really deserve either of them.

The first is for Favorite Left-of-Center blog from Right-Wing News, a dubious honor if ever there was one. (No offense to site owner John Hawkins, but it is a bit awkward, you know?)

I also won the Best Liberal Blog over at Wizbang.

I appreciate the nominations and the votes. How could I not? But look. Iím not really left-wing anymore. I suppose Iím still slightly left-of-center; Iím going to vote for a Democratic Congress next year and Iíd rather vote for a hawkish Democrat than for George W. Bush. But when you really get down to it, Iíve left the left. Not for the right, but for the middle. Iím an independent, a moderate, a centrist, an apostate, whatever.

During the 1990s my hawkish foreign policy views were a nice fit on the left. Isolationists were at home on the right. But the two sides flipped after September 11. Since the Democrats ran away from their prior convictions and I stayed right where I was, it seems to me ridiculous to say Iím the one whoís a heretic. But whatever. Ultimately it doesnít matter who changed and who didnít. The point is that Iíve parted ways with the left on the biggest question of our time.

I think I would have a much harder time winning a Best Centrist Blog competition. Roger L. Simon and Matt Welch would almost certainly cream me. But if anyone does feel like nominating me for something else in the future (and I profusely thank those who supported me this time), please bear this in mind.

Thanks, folks!


UPDATE: Oops. Looks like the Wizbang voting isn't finished yet, so I may not actually win that one. Sorry! I didn't pay close enough attention. I'm still a bit out of it and trying to catch up...

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 9, 2003 02:21 PM
Comments

But look. I’m not really left-wing anymore....if anyone does feel like nominating me for something else in the future..., please bear this in mind.

Uhh, oops. I just nominated you for the "best far-left blog" competion. ;)

Posted by: Jim at December 9, 2003 07:21 PM

Aha, NOW im jealous. I didnt even win best sidekick!

Interestingly Instapundit won most overrated AND best overall blog!

For my money I find Sofia Slide Show and Jay Redding to be some of the best looking.

Anyway, congrats!

Posted by: sblafren at December 9, 2003 09:26 PM

Man, you're going to be frickin' livid when Bush pulls out before the '04 elections.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 9, 2003 10:07 PM

Welcome back Michael!
I have to ask you and your readers what I suspect is a dumb question so I can answer what I'm sure is a dumb assertion by the Aussie Bush-baiters:
Why doesn't Bush give the traditional televised weekly press conference, and is this considered a sign of weakness, arrogance and/or media manipulation by anyone other than the rabid far-left?
Thanks!
And the photos are great.

Posted by: suzanne at December 10, 2003 03:32 AM

Michael - correction, you haven't left the slightly-left-of-center...it left you. The principles you followed are still there, just the people further left than you betrayed those principles and gave them a bad name.

I don't think it's a bad thing to say you're slightly-left-of-center...just continue to make clear that you're holding the fort till they get back :)

I'm there with ya, too, by the way.

Posted by: Barry at December 10, 2003 08:00 AM

Michael - Welcome Back! Maybe they should rename your category to 'Best Counter-Revolutionary'. Your inbox must be full of fun stuff by now...

Happy Festivus!

Posted by: George Jong at December 10, 2003 08:38 AM

Mike, you are still a Liberal even if not a Leftist.... do keep in mind the difference.

Suzzane, Bush DOES give weekly press confrences. Just because the Aussie press doesnt report on it doesnt mean its not happening (if a tree falls...).

In fact, if you ever want to know info like this, just google it, or visit the White House website (if you want info on the other branches of our government, Congress or the Supreme Court, you will need to visit their own sites, they each take care of themselves seperately - gotta love Seperation Of Power).

weekly radio messages:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/radio/

weekly press confrences:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/briefings/

The House of Representatives
http://www.house.gov/

Senate
http://www.senate.gov/

Supreme Court
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/

Whitehouse
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Posted by: sblafren at December 10, 2003 09:19 AM

Well, I voted for you.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at December 10, 2003 09:51 AM

I voted for you in that category in the Wizbang poll as well. I took it as "best liberal-as-we're-hoping-to-redefine-the-term here in the blogosphere" and thought it made sense to vote for you in that context. I wasn't about to let a paleo-liberal like Matthe Yglesias win. Last time I looked you two were pretty much neck-and-neck. Which remindes me, it's time for my daily vote.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at December 10, 2003 12:02 PM

But look. I’m not really left-wing anymore...

Hmm. I'm with Barry. I thought your line was that you stayed in the same place while the left moved left. (You said this when I suggested I'd moved right following C. Hitchens.)

But whatever you are, welcome back. Missed ya while you were gone.

Posted by: Anne Cunningham at December 10, 2003 02:54 PM

I’d rather vote for a hawkish Democrat . . .

I'm kind of curious how familiar you are with the Democratic candidates' stands, and what your definition of "hawkish" is.

Did any of the major Demo candidates in fact call for an isolationist response to 9/11? Seems to me that all of them supported the war in Afghanistan. And to the extent that they had reservations about invading Iraq, weren't those doubts related to Bush going about it the wrong way -- i.e., a way unlikely to lead to a stable, secular democracy?

If by "hawkish" you mean being in favor of invading a dictatorship under a false pretext, flouting our allies, and with no planning for the aftermath, then I'd be surprised if that was your philosophy before 9/11 -- and even more surprised if you really think that was a mainstream Democratic opinion.

Like it or not, you're the one that's changed, Michael.

Posted by: Swopa at December 10, 2003 04:05 PM

Swopa,

I have no doubt that the Bush Administration is absolutely dedicated to hunting down Islamofascists and blowing their asses off the face of this planet. Most people on the left (but blessedly not all) would rather bitch and piss and moan and be against everything.

Bush liberated 18 million people from a fascist, and you respond by complaining about process and blaming him for the treachery of France. That, my friend, accomplishes exactly zero.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 10, 2003 06:10 PM

You mentioned something I've been saying for a while now. In 2000, I disagreed with Bush because he was an international isolationist. He was wrong and has seen that isolationism doesn't work. I was right and stand by my previous convictions, despite those convictions now being championed by politicians I previously disagreed with.

Side note about the Gore endorsement. His disrespect for Joe Lieberman and general lack of courtesy is astounding. If the tables were turned, I am absolutely certain that Bush would have called Cheney before endorsing anyone else.

Posted by: Joe Maller at December 10, 2003 06:52 PM

Michael, the term for your views is "Anti-Idiotarian."

Posted by: FH at December 10, 2003 09:19 PM

Heh. Michael, both MB and I agree with you on quite a few things and our blog seems to have been nominated in Wizbang under 'conservative' blogs.
I'd also count myself as an independent and have for quite a while. I think we got stuck in with the conservatives because OTTH concentrates a lot more on foreign policy than on domestic and we're on the hawkish side. (Well, what would you expect from the members of the 'Brigade of Bellicose Women'?)

Posted by: Kathy K at December 11, 2003 05:36 AM

. . . the Bush Administration is absolutely dedicated to hunting down Islamofascists and blowing their asses off the face of this planet.

As Tennessee Williams wrote, "Wouldn't it be funny if that was true?" Unfortunately, I think it's more accurate to say that the Bush Administration is absolutely dedicated to getting reelected -- and whenever "hunting down Islamofascists" interferes with that goal, the Islamofascists are let off scot free.

That would explain letting Osama bin Laden slip out of Tora Bora, wouldn't it? And cutting back intelligence resources from the ongoing pursuit of al-Qaeda so that they could be diverted to Iraq? And Bush's quasi-cut-and-run policy of handing over sovereignty in Iraq by July 1, 2004 ... which may well have put Iraq's ayatollahs in the driver's seat for establishing Islamic law, if they choose to push for it.

You see, the reason I'm "complaining about process" is that I think Bush's process is leading to bad results. But judging Bush on his results, rather than his rhetoric, seems to be an unwritten taboo on blogs such as yours. Why?

Posted by: Swopa at December 11, 2003 07:52 AM

"Suzzane, Bush DOES give weekly press confrences."

Just for the record: this is completely false. He does do the weekly pre-recorded radio speech, a practice begun by Ronald Reagan.

"Why doesn't Bush give the traditional televised weekly press conference...."

One reason might be is that there's never been such a thing, nor anything close, under any President. The closest thing would be that Roosevelt and Kennedy both tended to be free about letting a gaggle of reporters come into the Oval Office on an approximately weekly basis and they would answer questions off the record. Needless to say, there was no television or radio broadcast of this.

Errors all around!

Posted by: Gary Farber at December 11, 2003 11:00 AM

Swopa,

Though I agree with you that Tora Bora was botched, I am also of the opinion that Osama bin Laden is dead.

If you want to set yourself up as more hawkish than Bush, that's great. But if you wish we had left Saddam in power instead of demolishing his regime, please don't tell me you care more about results on the ground than I do.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 11, 2003 11:42 AM

I continue to have trouble with the argument that the elimination of Saddam Hussein (assuming that it actually happens at some point) is such a transcendently good thing that it is worthy of any cost whatsoever -- that he was, apparently, a threat to either the basic territorial integrity of the United States or the continued existence of humanity as a species.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 11, 2003 12:45 PM

It's not like white people were liberated.

Posted by: Jaybird at December 11, 2003 04:34 PM

Gary, sir...

Your "correction" to my answer to Suzzane left a little to be desired.

Suzzane wrote:

"I have to ask you a dumb question so I can answer a dumb assertion by the Aussie Bush-baiters:

'Why doesn't Bush give the traditional televised weekly press conference, and is this considered a sign of weakness, arrogance and/or media manipulation?'"

To which I answered:

“When did you stop beating your wife?”

No, seriously, I answered:

"Suzzane, Bush does give weekly (televised) press confrences [well ok, the term is 'briefing' rather than confrence, but its the same thing]."

I then sited my source:

Press Briefings by Date:

December, 2003
December 11, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

December 10, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

December 9, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

December 8, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

December 4, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

December 3, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

December 2, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

December 1, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

November, 2003
November 28, 2003 Press Gaggle with Dan Bartlett

November 26, 2003 Press Gaggle with Claire Buchan

November 25, 2003 Press Gaggle with Claire Buchan

November 24, 2003 Press Gaggle with Claire Buchan

November 21, 2003 Press Gaggle with Claire Buchan

November 17, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

November 14, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

November 13, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

November 12, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

November 10, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

November 7, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

November 6, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

November 5, 2003 Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

November 4, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

November 3, 2003 Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan

etc. etc. etc.
You might notice that these are more like daily briefings.

You might also note that he doesnt personally stand at the podium for them either.

But the fact that he doesnt personally give his own press briefings each week is not a sign of media manipulation, nor that he has fear of or disdain for the media.

As you noted, no President gives his own weekly televised press confrences... that is what the White House Press Officer is FOR, fercryenoutloud!

Besides which, as you agreed, he does do the weekly radio addresses, begun under Roosevelt.

Weekly radio messages:

President Bush's Radio Address by date and topic:

Date Topic
Dec. 6 Economy
Nov. 29 Thanksgiving in Iraq
Nov. 22 Medicare
Nov. 15 Medicare
Nov. 8 Economy
Nov. 1 Iraq
Oct. 25 Iraq
Oct. 18 Iraq
Oct. 11 Iraq
Oct. 4 Iraq
Sep. 27 War on Terrorism
etc. etc. etc.

Errors all around? I'll say. Where's the beef?

Posted by: sblafren at December 11, 2003 04:56 PM

"It's not like white people were liberated."

It's always so adorable watching Republicans use the language of antiracist liberals. Like watching a four-year-old prodigy try to say "schadenfreude." You know that the word itself has no meaning to the kid, but he continues on, putting syllable after syllable together, trying mightily to show that his thoughts have more depth than they do.

Sorry; the Party of Haley Barbour and its adherents simply has no moral authority in the area. Keep trying, though -- one of these ad hominem attacks is likely to resonate with somebody, and maybe you'll pick up a pen pal or something.

Posted by: Kimmitt at December 12, 2003 02:31 AM

Kimmitt,

It is no more right to paint the entire Republican Party as Haley Barbour than it is to paint the entire Democratic Party as Cynthia McKinney. Both parties have mutually hostile factions, and you really ought to allow that.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 12, 2003 09:09 AM

Republicans don't get to race-bait, and when they do, they get to be called on it in the most strident of terms.

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