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Inside Blogotics

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blackballing

Don't look for another John McCain appearance on "The View."

"Apparently, the Arizona senator is holding a grudge" against the show, wrote Mike Krumboltz of Y! Buzz in a post at Yahoo's TV blog in which he called Mr. McCain's September appearance "one of the more interesting moments from the presidential campaign … the Republican candidate was asked (and not in a nice way) why he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate."

Since then, "Barbara Walters saw Sen. McCain at a Washington event. During the encounter, Walters expressed hope that the senator would return to her daytime TV show. McCain promptly shot her down. Quoth the senator: 'Not anytime soon.' Such an obvious diss should give the ladies something to gab about for a few months," Mr. Krumboltz wrote. "Poor McCain. Either he's mad at the talk show hosts or they're mad at him. Guess that's all part of being a maverick."

But something else might explain it.

As was noted in this column three weeks ago, co-host Joy Behar said Barack Obama was so perfect that comedians can't think of how to make fun of him and acknowledged trying to undermine Mr. McCain's candidacy on the show. "Although I like John McCain very much, I didn't want him to be president, so I had to do what I had to do," Miss Behar said in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live."

Outing

Buried in a Washington Post account about J. Edgar Hoover's depredations — in this case trying to find evidence of homosexuality regarding a key aide to President Lyndon Johnson — were a couple of paragraphs of great interest to conservative bloggers. Neither Mr. Hoover nor his principal target (Jack Valenti) are still alive, but PBS' Bill Moyers is.

The Johnson papers, which were provided under a Freedom of Information Act request, also show, as a Wall Street Journal editorial put it, that "Mr. Moyers — then a special assistant to LBJ — requested in 1964 that Hoover's G-men 'investigate two other administration figures who were 'suspected as having homosexual tendencies.'"

Nor would this have been the only time Mr. Moyers tried to find dirt on politically incorrect gays, the Journal recalls. In 1975, "Judge [Laurence] Silberman found a 1964 memo from Mr. Moyers directing Hoover's agents to investigate Barry Goldwater's campaign staff for evidence of homosexual activity."

Peter Wehner at the Commentary blog Contentions dots the i's and crosses the t's after noting Mr. Moyers' response to the documents, that his "memory is unclear after so many years."

"Moyers is among the most sanctimonious individuals on television (quite a feat, given the competition). He presents himself as a champion of good government, an intrepid voice for integrity and honesty, ever on the lookout for people who would degrade our public discourse or act in a dishonorable manner. That's why this revelation — Moyers seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members — is particularly notable. And I suspect his excuse, that his 'memory is unclear after so many years,' probably wouldn't persuade Moyers himself, if the person in question were, say, a conservative," Mr. Wehner diplomatically writes.

And B. Daniel Blair (aka Gay Patriot West) writes at Gay Patriot that "this story about Moyers' snooping around for evidence of gay people in the Goldwater camp came out in July of 2005. For three-and-one-half years, the leading gay organizations have been silent on the matter while this onetime practioner of outing prattles away on national TV. I daresay they'd have reacted differently if Moyers were a former Nixon aide with a show on FoxNews."

Politicking

Several of the leading liberal bloggers actually have problems with the stimulus package, too, only rather than seeing it as a pork-laden path to socialism, they think it's too small and cut taxes in the wrong ways to have much effect.

Apparently the White House chief of staff agrees. In a New Yorker profile by Ryan Lizza, Rahm Emanuel was asked about criticism by New York Times columnist and economics Nobel laureate Paul Krugman that President Obama's "concessions to Senate Republicans — in particular, the tax cuts, which will do little to stimulate the economy — produced a package that wasn't large enough to respond to the magnitude of the recession."

"They have never worked the legislative process … How many bills has he passed?" Mr. Emanuel is quoted as saying dismissively before going on to a remarkable elaboration. "Now, my view is that Krugman as an economist is not wrong. But in the art of the possible, of the deal, he is wrong. He couldn't get his legislation."

Although in a bit of intellectual jujitsu, Matt Yglesias at Think Progress says this dynamic actually argues for the bill and calls "this particular form of ping-pong to be a big odd: 1. Practical Politician A offers Proposal X. 2. Outside Commenter B says that X is too moderate on the merits. 3. Practical Politician A angrily retorts that better legislation on the merits would have been impossible to secure.

"I think the right way to understand the (1)/(2) dynamic here is that the criticism in step (2) makes it easier to secure the passage of legislation. If you propose something, and every single progressive in all the land immediately lauds it as the greatest bill ever written, then your legislation is now an extreme left proposal and it's doomed. If you're going to make concessions to political reality then you need to weather a bit of criticism from your left — that's what establishes the proposal as moderate and sensible. Things like 'some liberal economists such as Paul Krugman say the proposal is too small' is a helpful piece of context-setting that prevents the proposal from appearing too radical."

Protesting

Conservative bloggers are pushing a week of "tea party" events against President Obama's economic agenda, since that phrase seems to get under the White House's skin

"We got the anti-stimulus, anti-entitlement protest ball rolling — and now the movement, spurred further by CNBC host Rick Santelli's call for a 'Chicago Tea Party,' is really taking off. I'm happy to report on several new protest events now on the docket," writes Michelle Malkin at her eponymous blog.

"My friend Michael Patrick Leahy of Top Conservatives on Twitter and his crew are spearheading 'simultaneous local tea parties around the country, beginning in Chicago, and including Washington DC, Fayetteville NC, San Diego CA, Omaha Nebraska, and dozens of other locations' for next Friday," she said, before providing links and information to those and other events in Fort Worth, Atlanta and "a terrific set of detailed tips on how to organize your own tea party protest" from Brendan Steinhauser.

"Yes, you can!" she exhorts her readers.

Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com