Thursday, March 25, 2010

Doomed To Fail

Not that I don't agree with the sentiment behind Gawker's Mickey Kaus oppo research project, but I just can't see it going anywhere, for three reasons:

(1) Mickey is the Boring Kind of Weird. Here's a man who has been making literally the same three or four points -- illegal immigrants bad, welfare bad, unions bad, and sometimes health care good -- using the same arguments written the same way in the same forum for what feels like an eternity. That's a different kind of weird than "screwing a member of your staff and then having a creepy fundamentalist organization encourage you to bribe your way out of it"-weird.

(2) Nobody Cares. Oppo research is valuable for finding embarrassing information or proving that someone is a hypocrite. I doubt Mickey is actually capable of embarrassment (how would he write what he writes otherwise?) and in any event he's likely to be too boring to have done anything particularly embarrassing (see #1). As for hypocrisy, Mickey's political leanings are so wildly incoherent that it's pretty much impossible to tar him as a hypocrite. Only one thing would really get to Mickey's reputation: evidence that he knowingly hired illegal immigrants. [What about buying a Chris Bangle BMW? -- ed. Okay, two things.] Everything else is either common knowledge (he's an idiot) or representative of his acknowledged past as an actual liberal. Even if he committed a Kardinal Sin and once *joined a union* [The Harvard Law School Local 402? -- ed. I know, I know, bear with me], he can just claim that doing so helped him see the light and turn into the blog version of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

(3) You Don't Need Oppo Research for a Crackpot. There's a reason why the phrase "Hey, Lehane, what do we have on Dennis Kucinich?" has never been uttered. I mean, look at Mickey's greatest hits:

- Referring to waterboarding as "semi-torture" and believing that the issue was an electoral winner for the GOP.

- Screaming about how health care reform will be incredibly expensive, obliquely referring to death panels and then endorsing health care reform anyway.

- Tinfoil hat speculation involving Obama encouraging a flood of illegal immigration in advance of the 2010 Census.

- His hilariously habit of linking to the kind of websites that are on Southern Poverty Law Center watch lists.

- His fervent desire to drastically cut social security benefits for current recipients. (Remember, he's a Democrat!)

- Displaying foreign policy chops that Tom Friedman would find woefully naive.

- Opposing help for the unemployed in the midst of high unemployment because it represents an nefarious, secret attempt to repeal his precious welfare reform, and citing to wingnut think tanks for proof.

- Having literally no idea how Washington works.

- Having literally no idea how Wall Street works.

- Seriously believing that dire predictions about the housing bubble and its effect on the U.S. economy were just ploys by liberal do-gooders to expand the welfare state, and that the housing bust was "no big deal".

And that's just random stuff I managed to write about when I was bored! His archives are a veritable treasure trove of offensive and wrong.


That's really Mickey's advantage here: if you get one thing wrong, you'll hear about it forever ("And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion", etc.); but if you live wrong, then there's too much to work with -- it'd be like criticizing Christopher Hitchens for making inflammatory statements or Lady GaGa for dressing like a MegaMan boss ... where do you even start?

Good luck, Gawker. You're gonna need it.