The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The increasing irrelevance of The New Republic

Hopefully with Franklin Foer taking the helm the moribund magazine will come back from the brink. As they've moved further and further right during the Bush years, circulation has dropped from more than 100,000 to just 62,000.

There have been a number of trivial and silly pieces appearing there lately, like assaults on musician Conor Oberst (better known as the frontman for Bright Eyes) and hipster commentator Sarah Vowell. But it's pieces like Ryan Lizza's recent article on the Hillary Clinton menace that show how brain-dead the magazine has become.

While there are plenty of lefties populating Hillaryland [Look, Ma, I made a funny!], especially in her circle of female confidantes, the spirit of the place is far from the communist salon imagined by the right. Read, for example, an excerpt of the mission statement of HillPAC, which is the closest thing in Hillaryland to her national platform:

We believe America must return to the path of fiscal responsibility that led to unprecedented prosperity during the 1990's, helping to create more than 22 million new jobs and leading to historic, low levels of unemployment, inflation, crime, and interest rates and high levels of home ownership, access to education and productivity.

HILLPAC supports candidates who are working to restore investor confidence, ensure corporate accountability and protect workers' pensions.

There are very few Democrats whose central message is about interest rates, crime, productivity, and investor confidence. And the ones who exist have been hounded into silence in recent years by the Internet left. Hang out in Hillaryland long enough and you realize it has embraced almost none of the hyperpartisan culture of the so-called netroots that many Democrats are chasing. And the makeup of Hillary's core political consulting team suggests that's not going to change.

Why a multi-page "expose" of Hillary Clinton's inner circle? Nobody really cares about her except for the Bushies. But TNR has become increasingly antagonistic toward bloggers recently. The Internet left hounding Democrats into silence? So-called netroots? How could a demographic he qualifies with the term 'so-called' manage to have so much power over whatever unnamed Democrats he's referring to?

I used to really like The New Republic for their committment to accuracy and objectivity. But unsubtantiated attacks and angry editorializing have become commonplace in the pages of TNR, and that sort of thing should really be left to Bill O'Reilly. It just stinks of the sort of self-congratulatory attitude of Beltway pundits that they're the only ones fit to speak out on politics. And the more they decry those they deem unworthy, the more readers seem to be tuning out.