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June 24, 2007

Michael Bloomberg, Fascist?

By Ankush

I wonder if this is a preview of the type of analysis we'll get when Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism finally comes out and we can all bask in the glory of his very serious, thoughtful argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care:

What’s not O.K. is Bloomberg’s clichéd call for a New Politics. This shtick exploits democracy’s Achilles’s heel — the same that Mussolini and Hitler exploited to dramatic effect. Bloomberg has cast himself as a man of action who will fix our broken political system by transcending partisan differences.

Indeed.  "Obviously," Goldberg observes in the last paragraph of his column, "Bloomberg is no Mussolini or Hitler."  What a relief! 

In any event, the problem with people who call for a New Politics isn't that they sound like fascists, or that they haven't signed up for Goldberg's seminar on remedial political philosophy. ("Democracy isn’t about agreement, but disagreement."  Thanks!)  It's that, across a rather large number of issues, there are good ideas and there are bad ideas, and consensus fetishists end up treating the bad conservative ideas as though they're worthy of our serious consideration.  There's also the little problem, as Jonathan Chait writes in a  not-crappy variation on the piece Goldberg was trying to produce, that "in the age of George W. Bush, the substance of the partisanship scold ideology is no longer, by any reasonable definition, centrist. They are moderate Democrats who don't want to admit it."

June 24, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

So seriously- who is your audience? I am not doing this to be a troll, but why are you arguing with someoen that most of the American public has never heard of or cares about?

Posted by: akaison | Jun 24, 2007 11:26:33 PM

Akaison: Huh? To the extent you're making the argument Nicholas made in an earlier post, I'm in agreement -- we could do without the endless speculation about Bloomberg's presidential ambitions, the bizarre scenarios that people are spinning, etc. But, last I heard, Bloomberg did make the arguments about partisanship that Goldberg and Chait write about, he is still the mayor of New York, and, conveniently enough, I still live in New York, which means that I'll continue to have more than a passing interest in his public profile and statements and that, notwithstanding your gripes, I may actually blog a thing or two about the man. Thanks!

Posted by: Ankush | Jun 24, 2007 11:49:43 PM

All I'm asking is why do these people matter at all? It's not a grip. It's observation. I mean who elevates them to importance enough so that we care about what they think in terms of Bloomberg? It's like the healthcare discussions that sometime happen here. Most of the American people want to change on this issue that involves government action, and yet people seem to be debating the few yahoos who don't want it, and instead argue the free market approach. Why do we care what they think? It seems like your audience is arguing with them as people often do with people like JasonR. Again, it's a real question. Maybe you can help me understand the value of why their opinion should matter? I live in NYC too by the way. I am actually in favor of a Bloomberg run if he decideds to run. I would probably go Edwards, Obama, Bloomberg and Clinton in order of preference, but I am not clear why some guys like Goldberg and Chait should matter with regard to who runs or not.

Posted by: akaison | Jun 25, 2007 12:07:08 AM

This by the way is a deeper question that I've begun to ask about whetehr the left frames too much of its thinking on every crazy point made by the right versus simply decidding what it thinks and sticking with that. I mean the real balancer should be the American peopel right?

Posted by: akaison | Jun 25, 2007 12:08:51 AM

Akaison: Wait. I read your comment as asking why people care about Bloomberg. Turns out you were talking about Goldberg and Chait. Your question is why we should care about what they think. Sorry about that.

I wish I had a good answer, but there's not one. You're free not to give a damn about what either of them thinks. Chait can at least be pretty good and insightful. Goldberg's an unmitigated hack who no one would let near a publication were it not for the fact that his mother has spent many years as a useful crazy person for the right.

Posted by: Ankush | Jun 25, 2007 12:15:39 AM

Yeah, I gathered the later was hack a while back because everytime something is quoted from him- it's l ike he sounds like he's full of shit. I just wish the left could just say that "this guy is full of shit" and move on. I think we would fair better if we could just belittle them more for what they are. Everytime I see someone take one of these nutso seriously I think- just call him ape shit psycho or say to them - you know I would have a better argument out of a drunk man on a five day bender. I think by treating them as you do- it gives the nutcases credibility that is undeserving. I mean to quote them and then argue with their position as if they said something that wasn't crazy is a little like someone actually arguing with Ann Coulter. Who is crazy enough to waste their time doing that?

Posted by: akaison | Jun 25, 2007 12:59:49 AM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 8, 2007 8:50:05 AM

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