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January 03, 2009 03:23 AM UTC

Colorado & the Golden Age of American Political Aristocracy

  • by: davidsirota

Aristocracy n

Definition: Government by the best individuals or by a small privileged class.

Though I’m not home in Denver right now (I’m in an airport heading there right now), I’m guessing there are many who are fairly to quite mystified by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s (D) selection of Michael Bennet for U.S. Senate. It makes no political or policy sense whatsoever. Indeed, the only thing that rationally explains this individual appointment (as well as the New York appointment and many of Obama’s economic/national security cabinet appointments) is the fact that we are living in a Golden Age of American Political Aristocracy.

In terms of politics (ie. ability to get reelected in 2010, ability to lift the statewide ticket in 2010, etc.), Bennet makes no sense for reasons that are undeniable: He’s A) never run for any office in his life B) never run for – or even held by appointment – a statewide office in Colorado and C) lived in the state of Colorado for barely a decade.

Had any one of these factors not been true – had he, say, lived in Colorado for barely a decade but held office, or say, lived in Colorado all his life building up strong connections in the community – there might be some shred of an argument that he is a good political choice in comparison to other candidates like Ed Perlmutter, Andrew Romanoff, Joan Fitz-Gerald, Diana DeGette or John Hickenlooper. But they are all true. I mean, Bennet is even from Denver – so you can’t even make the argument that he’s some sort of smart geographic choice designed to appeal to the rest of the state, again – especially when compared to the other Denver-ites (Romanoff, DeGette, Hickenlooper, etc.) who could have been named.

Policy-wise, Bennet has some education experience as head of Denver Public Schools, but his record there is, ahem, mixed, and more importantly, it is incredibly thin when put up against people like Romanoff (the Speaker of the House), Perlmutter (a congressman and former Senate president) and even Hickenlooper (Denver’s mayor). Additionally, the policy area he does have significant experience with – education – is a relativcely minor issue at the federal level (for instance, federal funding comprises only about 9 percent of public education – despite the fanfare about No Child Left Behind, states and localities still make the big decisions on public education). It’s not that education at the federal level is totally unimportant, it’s just comparatively minor. In terms of the really huge issues the Senate will deal with – Iraq, health care, trade, economic stimulus, labor law reform – Bennet is a complete and total blank slate. We know almost nothing about him.

So as I said to start, the only thing that rationally explains his appointment is the emboldened power of political aristocracy (and, by extension, money) that is sweeping the country. By aristocracy, I mean all of the factors of aristocracy implied in its dictionary definition’s focus on priviledge. That means not just familial lineage – but also money, inside connections and academic/economic advantage.

Bennet, as MSNBC reports, comes from political and academic aristocracy:

Bennet was born in New Delhi, India in 1964. The circumstance of the exotic locale was that his father, Douglas Bennet, was serving as an aide to Chester Bowles, then the U.S. ambassador to India and previously foreign policy aide to President Kennedy.

Bennet grew up in Washington, DC and attended the exclusive all-boys St. Alban’s school. He went on to graduate from Wesleyan University, and in between undergraduate school and law school he served as a body man to Ohio governor Dick Celeste. After graduating from Yale Law in 1993, he served in the Clinton administration as counsel to Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, a position that included writing speeches for Attorney General Janet Reno. (emphasis added)

Like a seasoned operative in this Golden Age of Aristocracy, Bennet promptly parlayed all of that into a big-money job for right-wing billionaire Philip Anschutz:

He worked for six years prior to his tenure at the City of Denver as Managing Director for the Anschutz Investment Company in Denver, where he had direct responsibility for the investment of over $500 million. He led the reorganizations of four distressed companies including Forcenergy (which later merged with Denver-based Forest Oil), Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theaters, which together required the restructuring of over $3 billion in debt.  Bennet also managed, on behalf of Anschutz, the consolidation of the three theater chains into Regal Entertainment Group, the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world.

Considering his lack of legislative record, lack of experience in any elected or statewide office, and considerable ties to the biggest of big money, it’s logical to be concerned about how a Senator Bennet will vote on issues. Off the top of my head, I’m wondering, for instance, whether someone with this kind of resume is going to be in favor of tougher financial industry regulations?*

But I think there should be an even deeper concern about what Bennet’s appointment says about the political age we’re living in.

Colorado has no dearth of very, very qualified people to be U.S. Senator (especially considering that being a U.S. Senator is one of the easiest jobs in the United States – your major responsibility is to vote yes or no and then be told how awesome you are by the 50 taxpayer-funded sycophants who comprise your personal staff – a lot easier than the average factory job). More specifically, we have a lot of people who have worked very hard passing good public policy and building the grassroots of the Democratic Party for years here (many who are named on the list of aforementioned potential candidates). Looking at this bench, and then selecting a person with almost none of those qualities confirms that what gets rewarded in politics today is not legislative accomplishments nor even political ones – what counts is money, inside connections, Ivy League pedigree and a Beltway-padded resume.

Clearly, the same (if not more) can be said of the imminent nomination of Caroline Kennedy to the U.S. Senate in New York – a state which, by virtue of its sheer size, has even more super-qualified candidates, and yet a state which will likely see its senate seat given away to the daughter of a famous politician (by no less than the heir to a local political dynasty!) based almost solely on her last name. And here’s the real kicker – whether in Colorado or New York – the subversion of meritocracy and manufacturing of aristocracy counts more today than it has at any time in contemporary history.

Yes, politics is always a battle between meritocratic idealism (ie. good ideas, grassroots work, etc.) and aristocracy (ie. money, insiderism, aristocracy, privilege, etc.). Yes political aristocracy has always existed, even in meritocratic eras. And yes, there are desirable merits to various facets of aristocracy (for example, we should want well-educated people in government). But there have only been a few infamous historical moments where aristocracy has totally, completely and publicly supplanted the desirable non-aristocratic factors of meritocracy to the point where no one’s even trying to hide it anymore. One of those infamous moments was the Gilded Age, when billionaires publicly tried to buy U.S. Senate seats. Sadly, the other infamous moment is right now.

What’s confusing, of course, is that we just experienced a presidential election that saw the first African American elected to the White House – an election that seemed to reaffirm the meritocratic myth that “anyone can be president” as long as they are qualified. Somehow, we are being simultaneously taught that lesson while also being taught the opposite about U.S. Senate seats.

But, then, Barack Obama’s White House appointments over the last few weeks underscore that – his individual election aside – this remains the Golden Age of American Political Aristocracy. In appointing primarily center-right Washington insiders, he makes the Bennet and Kennedy appointments seem mundane – even predictable. When even the first African American president in American history says insider connections, Establishment seals of approval and proximity to money/power – ie. the credentials of Political Aristocracy – should dictate upward mobility, then run-of-the-mill governors from Colorado to New York are probably going to signal the very same thing.

The problem, of course, is the psychological effect on the rest of the country. All of these moves say to America that there is a real bipartisan Ruling Class in this country, and that that Ruling Class is more adept than ever in tightening its grip over the rest of the nation. That’s nothing new – most Americans have long known the political system is rigged. But what is new is that the Ruling Class’s re-confirmation of its power and control is happening so brazenly and so soon after an election that thematically promised something different.

In the short term, that may only depress the activist class that had momentarily reengaged in politics based on its (all together now!) hope in those promises of change. Prioritizing aristocracy over meritocracy says to everyone from state legislators to campaign volunteers that the way to get ahead in politics is not to spend lots of time, for instance, building your local party or building a grassroots organization, but instead to simply be lucky enough to have been pulled out of the most privileged crotch as a newborn.

But there could also be a long-term effect – especially if the dominance of aristocracy in our government is expressed by either legislative inaction, or legislation designed to protect the aristocracy (the latter which would be unsurprising from aristocratic policymakers). The depressing reality of politics typically perpetuates the constant low-grade disillusionment we’ve all gotten used to. But when overt in-your-face reminders of that depressing reality (like the Obama Cabinet picks or the Bennet and Kennedy appointments) are dropped into the mass public’s frothing stew of economic angst and ginned up “hope,” once-surmountable disillusionment can metastasize into demoralization and then into backlash – and specifically, the government-is-evil kind that Ronald Reagan once rode to victory soon after a Democratic landslide.

I’m not, of course, predicting that for 2010 or 2012 – at least not yet. There’s the distinct possibility that in spite of the Golden Age of Aristocracy, the government will be forced to take some basic actions to fix major problems afflicting the non-aristocracy. But if you think there’s no mass psychological effect of professional politicians – whether Ritter, Paterson, Obama or anyone else – essentially celebrating insiderism, money and aristocracy, there are whole American history books which suggest otherwise.

* I just want to be clear – none of this means that Bennet will end up being a poor political or policy choice. He may end up being a great candidate for reelection and a great senator on policy. My point is simply that knowing what we know right now, on both political and policy grounds, he doesn’t even come close to the qualifications of the other potential candidates – that, in short, his appointment is fundamentally about aristocracy.  


44 thoughts on “Colorado & the Golden Age of American Political Aristocracy

  1. His specialty and experise both at DPS and in the private sector was in turning around troubled institutions.  I suspect that the urgent need for someone who knows how to do this when Congress is getting into the business of dealing with failed automobile companies, failed banks and failed insurance companies, to name just a few, is probably what tipped Ritter to make the decision that he did.

    A few counterpoints are worth noting.

    Colorado’s Governor Bill Ritter, and our nation’s President-Elect Barack Obama, the men making some of the appointments in question, have some of the most plebian origins in recent memory for their posts.  Truman is the only President in recent memory with more humble origins, and I’m not sure any Governor of Colorado has had such hard scrabble roots.  Indeed, Ritter, for all of his ambivalent relationship toward the union movement in the newspaper headlines, is one of the few men to hold high public office in the state to have put in some various serious time as a blue collar worker in Colorado who has spent time living in a family on welfare.  Ken Salazar, who is creating the vacancy that Mr. Bennet is filing in the “elitist, aristocratic” Obama adminstration, likewise had rather humble origins deeply rooted in Colorado, as did his brother, Congressman John Salazar.

    The last Democrat to hold the Presidency, Bill Clinton, also wasn’t terribly blue blooded, although his wife and our current nominee to serve as Secretary of State in the Obama administration is the child of a self-made millionare and the wife of one of the most powerful and successful men on the planet.

    Certainly, there are politicians who have family legacies in politics, like the senior Senator from Colorado, Mark Udall, who is a member of the American West’s greatest political dynasty.  Andrew Romanoff, of course, who was a leading candidate for the job, and no knock to him for he is a gifted legislator and campaigner, has a background very nearly as privileged as that of Mr. Bennet.

    Then again, another serious candidate for the appointment and a political mentor for Bennet, Mayor Hickenlooper, made his own fortune in business.  So did Jared Polis, who is the newest member of our Congressional delegation.

    But, the claim that our politics is more aristocratic than it used to be doesn’t hold up.  There have always been men of privilege in national politics.  George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson were not self made men (although Benjamin Franlkin was as self made man).  But, there are no real indications that this is more true now than it was in earlier years.  

    1. Hamilton was self-made. He was a bastard immigrant who was snubbed by Princeton before making his way to King’s College and leading perhaps the most important life of any of the founders, save for Washington. His financial expertise grew out of his time as a child in St. Croix when he was put to work at a very young age. He may have the least aristocratic roots of any of the prominent founders.

        1. Is that none of the founding fathers got what they wanted. They all compromised beyond what they saw as non-negotible points. But in that compromise they created something that I think is far superior to what each would have created on their own.

          Their brilliance was not only in what they tried to create, but in how they compromised to produce a constitution that could pass (barely) and would work for over 200 years.

          I would also say that Hamilton’s greatest contribution is our economic system which he created and is still with us today.

        2. Hamilton gets a very bad rap. It was him, not Jefferson, who saw the potential for a vigorous Federal government to be a force for good in society.

          Hamilton’s philosophy is much closer to the ideals of the post-FDR Democratic Party than Jefferson’s.  

  2. Sirota has a long screed against him claiming that this is a sign of the apocolypse or something.

    Look, we want the people running this country to be fucking brilliant. We want people who are so good that what we find impossible they resolve in a week.

    So yes, we want people who went to the best schools, who’s job record is one of major accomplishment after major accomplishment.

    And yes, the parents you have helps in this case. Although it’s more what the parents do than their position in society.

    Of course, if you really like the blue collar, clearly non-aristocratic, regular-joe kind of candidate – Sarah Palin is running again in 4 years…

    1. George W. Bush was one of the very last members of the generation in which family connections were dominant and academic talent wasn’t terribly important if you wanted to get in.

      By the time Bennet, Hickenlooper, the Clintons, Romanoff, and Obama were attending those elite East Coast institutions, the admissions process had become dramatically more meritocratic and dramatically more numbers and academics driven.

      Are there still legacy admissions at those schools?  Sure there are.  But, legacy admissions now rumbles around in the same territory as sports scholarships and celebutante admissions, instead of providing the dominant factor.

      Elite educational pedigrees and meritocracy are not nearly so strongly at odds with each other as they were in the 1950s and before.

        1. You’re right. They are still common. For example, about 14% of my school is made up of legacies, and legacy applicants enjoy nearly a 40% acceptance rate, compared to ~9% for everyone else.

          But in response to ohwilleke’s point, it’s actually the case that the legacy applicant pool (at least at my school) tends to be better qualified than the rest of the pool. So while legacies may have an easier time getting in, they also tend to be just as–if not more–qualified as their peers.

          Regardless, graduate and professional schools don’t do legacy admissions anyway, so the fact that Bennet got into Yale Law, which is the best and the hardest law school in the United States, means he is actually smart.

          Antagonizing someone because of his or her elite educational background is just silly.

          1. …really, I do.  But let me add my two cents, because why not.

            It’s not clear what you mean when you say that legacies tend to be better “qualified.”  By what measure?  It seems that several measures may be affected by the status of the parents (e.g., perhaps the students’ admissions into prep schools were the result of legacies too).

            Also, while it may be true that professional and graduate schools don’t officially have legacy programs, it is also true that the top post-grad schools admit a huge, disproportionate number of students from schools with legacy programs (e.g., Harvard Law admits a large number of students from Harvard College, etc.).  So, it’s a never-ending story.

            1. I looked up Harvard’s application process. I saw two things that made me give up on private schools and just apply to my state school instead.

              First is the fact that they explicitly ask on the application form whether you’re intending to apply for need-based financial aid. This seemed a huge conflict of interest to me, despite the claim that it had no connection to your odds of getting in (and the newer claim that Harvard loves poor people, so needing financial aid may actually help you!).

              Second is the spot on the form where you mention who among your relatives gave gifts to the university, which I would have unfortunately left blank.

              Nowadays Harvard does not have that family donation slot on the form anymore, but they do have the only inoffensive form of affirmative action left:


              Are a student’s chances of admission enhanced if a relative has attended Harvard?

              The application process is the same for all candidates. Among a group of similarly distinguished applicants, the daughters and sons of College alumni/ae may receive an additional look.

              The legacy students tend to be white and tend to be rich, which also correlates with doing better in school. But this form of affirmative action means you have to make a special effort to go even further to compensate and get some diversity. Neither Harvard nor the other schools seems to do this.

              1. …talk about a waste of money.  That’s like giving money to Bill Gates or God or something.  Or, I wonder if giving money to those who have the least need for it is akin to a camel squeezing through the eye of a needle.

              2. Almost all of the top private schools in the country have need-blind admissions, which means they don’t even look at your parents’ finances while when making admissions decisions. Oftentimes, if you don’t come from a rich family, it’s actually cheaper to attend one of these private universities than your local state school because the financial aid packages are so generous. Furthermore, a lot of these schools give outright grants instead of loans, so you graduate without any debt.

                Secondly, I have never seen a college application that asks if your family has given money to that school. They ask if any of your family members have attended the school in question, but never about gifts. (Though I am probably younger than you are, so things might have changed.)

                Finally, while legacy admissions are probably disproportionately white, I’m sure things are changing as more and more minorities are attending these schools. After all, there’s race-based affirmative action at these schools to make it all “better”!

                1. Many schools keep a fairly solid division between applications and financial aid. Harvard claims they do, but what reason is there to believe that? They ask about your income and your financial aid plans on the application form itself. My recollection is that most of even the elite schools would never do that, as it clearly discourages people from even trying to apply.

                  Why should a poor kid send $65 for an application fee to a school that looks like it’s planning to reject anyone who’s not rich? Maybe Harvard has the most ethical people on staff that have ever existed in humanity, and they all studiously ignore the financial aid box on the front page, but I don’t think a reasonable student could conclude their application form is need-blind.

                  Of course, it’s impossible to tell you exactly what the forms looked like when I applied for college (it was definitely pre-internet), but my memory is that at least one of these elite schools had a question which effectively asked if your parents were givers. Might have just been my interpretation of a legacy question (which again is different in theory but not so much in practice).

                  Finally, I read your last paragraph as saying that any positive number cancels out any negative number. If you do race-based affirmative action and you do legacy-based affirmative action, it’s likely you’ll end up with a lot more white students than if you do only race-based. As for the merits of race-based affirmative action, that’s another story, but I believe it has some. (I grew up in a very very white neighborhood, where people would openly use n***** during academic competitions against kids from the city, and those fuckers really needed to be around someone black for once in their lives.)

            2. But I think the legacy applicant pool tends to have higher SAT scores and higher GPAs. Of course, you can argue that SAT scores correlate with income and blah blah, but the point I was making is that just because you’re a legacy does not mean you’re unqualified, especially in this day and age.

              We can argue the merits of legacy admissions, but it’s worth keeping in mind that legacy admissions are vital to universities’ financial health and the community they’re trying to foster, and it’s not something that will go away anytime soon.

        2. states:

          “Yale’s retention rate increased dramatically in the ’60s “because of changes in admissions policies and the desirability of an education at Yale.” More specifically, the transition to a need-blind admissions process ensured that the University would accept the best and the brightest, not just the entitled. “With financial aid policies we’re just pulling students here from a much larger pool . . . Between 1965 and 1970 a big change came-Yale became a true meritocracy whereas before it had been an aristocracy.”

          George W. Bush was admitted to Yale in 1964, the last year before the reforms were introduced.

          As to the current impact of legacy admissions:

          Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America’s highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions’ minimum admissions standards. . . . White students who failed to make the grade on all counts were nearly twice as prevalent on such campuses as black and Hispanic students who received an admissions break based on their ethnicity or race.

          Who are these mediocre white students getting into institutions such as Harvard, Wellesley, Notre Dame, Duke, and the University of Virginia? A sizable number are recruited athletes who, research has shown, will perform worse on average than other students with similar academic profiles, mainly as a result of the demands their coaches will place on them.

          A larger share, however, are students who gained admission through their ties to people the institution wanted to keep happy, with alumni, donors, faculty members, administrators, and politicians topping the list.

          From here.

          So, excluding sports scholarships, it looks like legacy admissions for white students currently make up about 5-10% of all admissions at selective institutions, and that race and ethnicity based admissions (exclusive of sports scholarships) are similar in number.

          Prior to the theoretically need blind admissions instituted in the late 1960s, more or less across the board in the Ivy Leagues, a far, far greater share of admissions were wealth rather than ability based.

          1. They’re only talking about people who aren’t qualified to be there based on stated criteria.

            Looks to me like 10% of all admissions are white kids who aren’t qualified and got in only because of legacy stuff. But as noted above in this thread, many legacy kids are qualified (though most qualified students get turned down). I think that makes the number substantially higher.

            Of course, we have no real data, and can only trust what the universities say. And of course they have a really strong motivation to lie about this: if you thought 40% of all students at Yale were people with parents who’d donated, would a Yale degree be worth very much? And if a Yale degree weren’t worth very much, would all those parents donate? This stuff plays a huge role in university policies even in the state schools I’ve seen. I’d imagine it’s bigger at a private school.

            1. for roughly 300 years before it adopted “officially” need blind admissions.

              Prior to the GI Bill, education was much more closely tied to wealth, there was less credential inflation (a BA was about as common then as a graduate degree now, and professors routinely had MAs), and our country was less meritocratic.

                1. A fairly large share of Yale graduates for the first couple hundred years went onto become clergymen, which provided a steady income and job security, but only a middle class standard of living and little prospect for advancement.

                  If your son wasn’t a good fit for business, politics or diplomacy, you often set him up to be a clergyman as a sort of moderately downwardly mobile step.

  3. until I read this…or at least the first quarter of it.

    Bennet’s a great choice…if only b/c his choice has inspired such a…um…response from Sirota.

  4. Why the antagonism against Bennet’s education background? Don’t we want the smartest to run our country?

    Does Mr. Sirota realize that St. Alban’s is one the best secondary schools in the DC area? Does he realize that Yale Law School is the best law school in the United States? Bennet’s educational background is a testament to his intellect and capabilities. The fact that Bennet attended Yale Law and was the editor of its Law Review demonstrate his meritocratic achievements! I’m sure his family’s prominence and wealth helped him to attend St. Alban’s, but if one were rich, who wouldn’t send his children to the best schools?

    Finally, Mr. Sirota’s screed against an alleged “aristocracy” seems misguided. Perhaps what is true is that America is being run by its elite, but what is wrong with that? By elite, I mean the most capable, powerful, smartest, connected, etc. All of these attributes help in governing, and after eight years of sheer incompetence, it’s good to see the best people roll up their sleeves. It’s mentality like Mr. Sirota’s that give rise to people like Sarah Palin, who can only be described as a national disgrace.

    Of course, “average” people can also become great public servants and government leaders, but it is also unfair to rail against public servants just because they come from a rich or prominent family. Just as one family can have generations of doctors or carpenters, another family may have politics as its family business. Also, keep in mind that there are MANY people of privileged backgrounds who are great public servants. How do you explain the effectiveness of Senators Ted Kennedy, Jay Rockefeller, and the late Sen. Claiborne Pell?

  5. I wasn’t going to comment on this again but I see that Kos is now parroting Sirota’s nonsensical “aristocracy” line. I really wish that these gadflies from the coasts knew SOMETHING about the people they casually declare Enemies of the Revolution.

    Does Sirota know that my first choice for this job, Ed Perlmutter, comes from a big family of rich GOP land developers? Does he know that Joan Fitz-Gerald is tied to the oil, gas and mining industries so tightly she squeaks?

    Bennet was not my first choice but he does not “depress” the “activist class,” he has worked with many of us and built bridges to us. He is certainly capable of earning our support and he has two years to do that. If Sirota wasn’t an East Coast carpetbagger himself with NO CLUE about any of these people other than what he reads on MSNBC, he’d know that.

    1. Who would take the unenviable task of running the Titanic that is DPS and try to affect positive changes is not an aristocrat.  Bennet had to get his hands dirty.  He had to get screamed at by lunatics over and over again, and he had to take on the CEA and the DCTA to actually get some good done in the classroom, which is their supposed mission.

      It’s not like he did this knowing there would happen to be a Senate appointment out there.

      When denigrating Bennet as some sort of bourgeoisie outsider, go ahead and google:

      Manual High School Closed


      Bruce Randolph School

      As usual, Sirota is long-winded, obtuse, and faux-class warrior to the hilt.  Yawn.

    2. Governor Bill Ritter was born and raised on a hardscrabble dry-farm east of Aurora, middle born in a poor Catholic family of 12 children. He got his undergrad at CSU and his JD at CU.

      The idea that Ritter, solely charged with picking the next Senator, was party to some kind of mythical LaRouche-inspired Skull and Bones backroom deal that resulted in Bennet is about the dumbest goddamn thing I’ve ever heard. It could only have been uttered by a clueless imported commentator who has absolutely no idea what or who he is talking about.


    Read the comments–soon it will be Markos, Sirota, Chris Bowers and a couple of other disaffected bloggers in the corner of the gym, snickering to themselves about the “popular kids” to cover up their insecurity from not being one. Oblivious that their own ridiculous behavior is what made people stop paying attention. The clearest indicator is how their own readers are the ones rejecting them.

    These guys need a path to continued financial solvency besides rage.

    1. These guys need a path to continued financial solvency besides rage.

      That was honestly one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever read on this blog.

      1. This all sucks because unlike you, I share many fundamental goals with these people. And I acknowledge their role over the past few years in moving public opinion back towards sanity and away from your party’s predilection for corrupt, bigoted, demagogic lunacy.

        My problem is that rather than engage in the new power reality they helped to their credit to bring about, too many of these “thought leaders” in the netroots see no way to continued relevance other than to stoke the same rage against whoever is in power that they stoked before, with seemingly no recognition that power is changing hands, lest the revenue streams from ads and books take a hit.

        And to even say this gets you labeled a “concern troll” and banned pretty quickly from the bigger progressive blogs. They know what’s up–if you look at traffic graphs for most of these bigger blogs, you’ll see their readership fell off a cliff, generally speaking, after the election: except for a few spikes coinciding with the authors pitching a massive fit over Lieberman or this or that Cabinet member. Angst sells, hooray! Meanwhile, those valleys between the spikes get deeper and deeper and the important people who used to read find better things to do…

        At least the Guvs are honest when they say they’re “in it for the page views.” But Guvs seem to deal in facts not rage, a much more sustainable industry.

        1. Bowers (or maybe it was Stoller?) flew off the handle about something last week and I commented, “when the only tool you have is a hammer…”

          It’s why Sirota has been so good on Jay Marvin’s show, he has to engage issues beyond simple outrage. The fact that a guy who went to Northwestern, spent 5 years in DC, was on a national radio program weekly and then helicoptered into Montana 6 years ago could write this is beyond ironic.

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