Kos Diarist Has Little Crush on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Kos Diarist Has Little Crush on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Screencap Photo Daily Kos diarist Sally Kohn has come under some understandable fire for her confession of having “a little crush on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I know I’m a Jewish lesbian and he’d probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon…

She thinks he’s “cuddly” and compares him favorably with Kermit the Frog.

Charles Johnson attributes these views to “new mainstream voice of the Democratic Party,” since they’re at Daily Kos. AllahPundit joins in, calling it “communique from the new center of the Democratic Party.” Not to be outdone, Gateway Pundit proclaims, “The leading democratic blog has a crush on Ahmadinejad! Maybe it’s his Holocaust denying?… Or, maybe it’s just that he wants Israel wiped off the map?”

In fairness, even Kohn acknowledges that Ahmadinejad is a bad guy:

I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding.

Kohn’s willingness to overlook a man’s evil because he Speaks Truth to Power is silly, bizarre, wacky, and all manner of other adjectives, clean and otherwise, that come to mind. I’m not sure, though, that it means much other than that Kohn is a rather immature thinker. Is this, as Don Surber suggests, an example of Bush Derangement Syndrome at its finest? Or, as Bruce McQuain argues, moral equivalence at its worst? No doubt.

Representative of the views of Markos Moulitsas, much less the Democratic Party? Uh . . . no. Does anyone really think this is what people like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or even Teddy Kennedy and Dennis Kucinich really believe?

Now, DiscerningTexan makes a fair point, which recalls the old adage, You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas:

You will recall of course that all the Democrat candidates paraded like pilgrims to Mecca to the Kos Convention in Chicago earlier this year; and you are aware that the Kossaks are on the front lines of Democrat Party activism and fund raising.

So, especially you centrists out there: the next time you are in the polling place, keep in mind that the Democrats on your ballots–the same ones trying to portray themselves as “moderates” or “centrists”–have been taking huge sums from these nutcases (not to mention criminal “bundlers” like Norman Hsu and other sources eminating from Communist China…). And even nutjobs do not part with their money for nothing; they expect a little ROI. And men like George Soros have been pouring millions into organizations like MoveOn.

There’s a lot of this sort of nonsense at Kos, Democratic Underground, and other essentially unmoderated netroots forums. Then again, there’s quite a bit at places like Free Republic and elsewhere on the right. Red State is more careful about this sort of thing than Kos, but I’m sure one could find some objectionable nonsense there without too awfully much trouble.

Regardless, DT goes too far when he argues:

It is a fact that today’s Democrat Party has become almost exclusively beholden to people who use smear tactics to slime outstanding Americans like Petraeus, and who openly display their affection for mass murderers who have been openly killing US soldiers, executing political dissidents, and mutilating, oppressing, and even killing their own wives and daughters. During the Vietnam War, it was only fringe radicals like Jane Fonda, the Black Panthers, and the Weathermen who used this kind of rhetoric. Today that exception has become the rule for Democrats. No wonder their rhetoric in the last several years has been so full of hate and venom, and so short on ideas that capture the imagination of the voting public.

I agree that the level of discourse has sunk in recent years, as the language and means of expression have gotten more course. Arguably, owing to demographic and cultural issues, there’s more of that on the Left than the Right. Still, the GOP is beholden to its more radical elements, too. Those are the people most likely to be engaged early in the process, to volunteer their time, and to give money.

Kohn’s way of thinking (and much of the reaction to it) represents the real danger of the permanent campaign mode in which American politics has seemingly been mired the last decade or so. We spend far too much time in Us vs. Them mode, emphasizing our not unimportant differences and too little recalling our much more important and numerous commonalities. No mainstream figure in American politics is comparable to Ahmadinejad and it’s not only asinine but destructive to believe otherwise.

Thankfully, as Ed Morrissey notes, those who do constitute “a minute percentage.” But a far larger percentage are but a couple steps away in their thinking, constantly throwing around words like “treason” and “betrayal” when discussing perfectly legitimate actors in our political system that happen to strongly hold different views about what’s best for the country.

UPDATE: An Andrew Sullivan e-mailer sees no end in sight of this polarized atmosphere:

There seems to be an assumption that politicians are divided, but Americans wish to be more united. The problem is: we are the divisions. There is no “us” (citizens) and “them” (national politicians). The pols reflect our divisions.

Sadly, that’s probably right.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    This is grounds for an old-fashioned Pinochet-style disappearance.

    The fact that B. Hussein Obama, Hilzilla, and Slick Johnny Edwards all went the Daily Kos convention shows that they have the same views on the Iranian Hitler as the Jewish Lesbian.

  2. Michael says:

    OMG! Stop the presses! A DKos diarist posted her personal feelings on her personal diary, how dare Markos and the Democratic partly allow such a thing to happen! Someone silence her for the sake of our freedoms!

    In related news, Zeldorf Somethingorother III posts inflammatory comments on OTB, this represents the entirety of the GOP’s thinking.

    Seriously, when can we stop over-reacting to personal posts made in unmoderated personal diaries just because they use dailykos.com as a host instead of blogspot.com?

  3. James Joyner says:

    In related news, Zeldorf Somethingorother III posts inflammatory comments on OTB, this represents the entirety of the GOP’s thinking.

    That’s actually quite a bit different. For one thing, OTB doesn’t host gatherings of presidential candidates where we’re treated as the voice of the party’s future. For another, commenters on a blog are clearly separate from the blog in a way that those posting under the site’s logo are not.

    Seriously, when can we stop over-reacting to personal posts made in unmoderated personal diaries just because they use dailykos.com as a host instead of blogspot.com?

    That’s essentially the point of the post.

  4. laura says:

    The left has lowered discourse by throwing around words like treason and betrayal? You are serious? Jesus, that’s so intellectually dishonest that it isn’t even worth refuting.

  5. Anderson says:

    The analogy I thought of was, liberals who (due to some horrible, repressed psychosexual trauma) think that Ann Coulter is teh hottt!!!

    I don’t see that those people are much more deranged than the dKos poster in question. True, Coulter does not wield repressive powers at the head of a tyrannical government; but then, she hasn’t had the opportunity yet, either.

  6. Michael says:

    That’s actually quite a bit different. For one thing, OTB doesn’t host gatherings of presidential candidates where we’re treated as the voice of the party’s future.

    So if you hosted a “YearlyOTB” conference that featured GOP presidential candidates, then you (and th GOP) would be responsible for Zeldorf’s comments?

    For another, commenters on a blog are clearly separate from the blog in a way that those posting under the site’s logo are not.

    Different how? It’s still your logo at the top of the page where Zeldorf is making his comments.

    That’s essentially the point of the post.

    Essential the point, perhaps, but you spent multiple paragraphs and referenced multiple other postings about how DailyKos, Kos, and all of the Democratic party are extremist America haters people before reaching that point.

    It’s as dishonest as a post saying “Here is a long list of people saying bad things about someone I disagree with, but I think they’re over reacting”. Its a “Some say” post, don’t act like you haven’t propagated the over reaction.

  7. James Joyner says:

    The left has lowered discourse by throwing around words like treason and betrayal? You are serious? Jesus, that’s so intellectually dishonest that it isn’t even worth refuting.

    I didn’t say this was an exclusive province of the Left. The “treason” meme is mostly used by the Right; “betrayal” of late by the Left.

    It’s as dishonest as a post saying “Here is a long list of people saying bad things about someone I disagree with, but I think they’re over reacting”. Its a “Some say” post, don’t act like you haven’t propagated the over reaction.

    Well, no. I’m rounding up examples of what I’m disagreeing with. Presumably, most people haven’t read those posts.

    The only ones I agree with even in part are those decrying BDS and those who note that there’s taint that comes with associating with a site that so regularly gives its masthead to that sort of thing.

    Different how? It’s still your logo at the top of the page where Zeldorf is making his comments

    Because it’s clearly labeled “Comments” and part of a dialog about the bylined post. If ZR had posting privileges here, then, yes, that criticism would be expected. I’m not focusing a post on a Kos commenter but a diarist.

    Still, the post acknowledges that the views expressed by the diarist aren’t those of the site host or the Democratic Party.

  8. Michael says:

    Well, no. I’m rounding up examples of what I’m disagreeing with.

    Um, how is that different than what I said you were doing? Or is it just that I see it as dishonest and you don’t?

    The only ones I agree with even in part are those decrying BDS and those who note that there’s taint that comes with associating with a site that so regularly gives its masthead to that sort of thing.

    I can only hope you are referring to BDS, and not the diary post in question, since it was never to my knowledge put on the front page, or even on the list of recommended diaries.

    Because it’s clearly labeled “Comments” and part of a dialog about the bylined post. If ZR had posting privileges here, then, yes, that criticism would be expected. I’m not focusing a post on a Kos commenter but a diarist.

    This Sally Kohn was never given front page privileges, nor to my knowledge were any of her posts elevated from the front page of dailykos. Most of her diary entries gathered less than 20 comments each (which may be a lot for OTB, but is nothing at dailykos).

    At OTB there are 2 classes of postings, Articles and comments. At DailyKos there are 3, Articles, Diaries and comments. You may want to give Diaries all the authority of an Article, but in reality they are not much more than comments. You , James, could start a diary on dailykos, post exactly what you post here at OTB, and Markos wouldn’t stop you. Does that mean you would represent the Democratic party?

  9. James Joyner says:

    You may want to give Diaries all the authority of an Article, but in reality they are not much more than comments.

    I dismissed the posting as that of an immature thinker and unrepresentative of Kos himself. Still, there are hundreds (thousands) of diarists that post all manner of nonsense. When you’re associating with DailyKos, that’s what you’re associating with. Without the Diaries, DKos would be a mildly popular liberal blog. With them, they’re far and away the most powerful political blog.

    You , James, could start a diary on dailykos, post exactly what you post here at OTB, and Markos wouldn’t stop you. Does that mean you would represent the Democratic party?

    I don’t claim that the site or even the posters represent the party. Indeed, I generally think they don’t and are just a tool used by the leadership to energize part of the base.

    But, yes, association has its costs. Republican candidates are regularly and reasonably tarred with their associations with the likes of Bob Jones University, the Catholic League, and the like. It goes with the territory of sucking up to the fringe.

  10. Michael says:

    Still, there are hundreds (thousands) of diarists that post all manner of nonsense.

    And an equal or greater number that do make sense, and are either personally or politically insightful and well written.

    When you’re associating with DailyKos, that’s what you’re associating with. Without the Diaries, DKos would be a mildly popular liberal blog. With them, they’re far and away the most powerful political blog.

    And youtube.com would be irrelevant without user submitted videos, but that doesn’t mean that a person who associates with Google gets “tainted” by every obscure video posted there.

    DailyKos is not a singular entity, it is an open community platform for political discussion that tends towards but is not limited to liberal progressive ideals. If blogger.com held a political rally, nobody would claim that every obscure blogger.com post “taints” people who associate with them.

    Republican candidates are regularly and reasonably tarred with their associations with the likes of Bob Jones University, the Catholic League, and the like. It goes with the territory of sucking up to the fringe.

    Only the complaint here isn’t about Kos the owner, or DailyKos the entity, or even the personal opinions of those who represent the site, but rather one member of the site acting on their own accord and of their own opinions. Sally Kohn is a nobody in DailyKos, she just has a rather unpopular diary there that someone happened to take offense to and spread all over the internet.

    If some private in the Army posted a blog about having a crush on the Iranian President, nobody would say that association with the military is “tainting” politicians.

  11. Triumph says:

    So if you hosted a “YearlyOTB” conference

    This would be sweet!

  12. Steve Verdon says:

    And youtube.com would be irrelevant without user submitted videos, but that doesn’t mean that a person who associates with Google gets “tainted” by every obscure video posted there.

    DailyKos is not a singular entity, it is an open community platform for political discussion that tends towards but is not limited to liberal progressive ideals. If blogger.com held a political rally, nobody would claim that every obscure blogger.com post “taints” people who associate with them.

    Somebody is just not getting it. Michael, the point is that DKos and all of its trappings are fairly well known as an extreme Lefty site. As you note some comments, articles and diaries are good, insightful, etc. Others are not, and some even sound pretty damned idiotic. When you associate with DKos you associate with the whole thing, not just the good parts.

    If some private in the Army posted a blog about having a crush on the Iranian President, nobody would say that association with the military is “tainting” politicians.

    Jesus Christ, is somebody having a problem constructing a good analogy?

    1. The military is not a website devoted towards political opinion, fund raising, and support.
    2. The military is pretty non-discriminatory when it comes to who they let in in terms of politics.

    These are pretty significant differences that render you analogy just patently silly. Same goes for your google analogy. Google is not a political website, it has not set itself up in the political world as a way for candidates to raise money, talk to one segement of a political party, etc.

  13. James Joyner says:

    And youtube.com would be irrelevant without user submitted videos, but that doesn’t mean that a person who associates with Google gets “tainted” by every obscure video posted there.

    DailyKos is not a singular entity, it is an open community platform for political discussion that tends towards but is not limited to liberal progressive ideals. If blogger.com held a political rally, nobody would claim that every obscure blogger.com post “taints” people who associate with them

    Google is primarily a search engine that also has other businesses. DKos is primarily a community for political commentary.

    People rightly refuse to associate with Free Republic and similar sites on the right because they are cesspools. While I freely acknowledge that this diarist isn’t representative of the main page posters, she’s not atypical of the community at large.

  14. Michael says:

    Somebody is just not getting it. Michael, the point is that DKos and all of its trappings are fairly well known as an extreme Lefty site.

    It is well knows as an extreme Lefty site, yes, but people don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that it is a site comprised or many independent and uncensored voices, and not a singular entity with a singular mindset.

    Jesus Christ, is somebody having a problem constructing a good analogy?

    Actually I was, I couldn’t find a right-leaning example of an independent community that politicians voluntarily associate with. If you can think of one, feel free to replace “private” and “military” with the appropriate terms.

    2. The military is pretty non-discriminatory when it comes to who they let in in terms of politics.

    As I noted already, anybody can get a diary at DailyKos, you can even post diary articles that are contrary to the opinions of Markos, and contrary to the political views of the site maintainers. The only discrimination they do is on quality of content, not the opinion of the content.

    People rightly refuse to associate with Free Republic and similar sites on the right because they are cesspools.

    Do you mean to say that only the comments on Free Republic make it a cesspool while the articles themselves are insightful and well written, or that the owner/operators and front-page posters also contribute to making it a cesspool?

    While I freely acknowledge that this diarist isn’t representative of the main page posters, she’s not atypical of the community at large.

    I think, from reading the comments left on her article, that her feelings are indeed atypical of the community at large.

  15. James Joyner says:

    Do you mean to say that only the comments on Free Republic make it a cesspool while the articles themselves are insightful and well written, or that the owner/operators and front-page posters also contribute to making it a cesspool?

    I mean to say that respectable conservatives tend to eschew FR altogether because it’s a cesspool. I’m not sure DailyKos is a direct analogy but it and MoveOn and similar groups get more open association from Democratic politicians than any comparable sites on the right from Republicans.

    I think, from reading the comments left on her article, that her feelings are indeed atypical of the community at large.

    I only got through the first twenty or so but they’re universally in the same vein, including such insights as “Ahmedinejad is THEIR Bush” and “Unfortunately they have more in common that Bushco would EVER admit outloud. .”

  16. Steve Verdon says:

    It is well knows as an extreme Lefty site, yes, but people don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that it is a site comprised or many independent and uncensored voices, and not a singular entity with a singular mindset.

    No, James seems to have covered that quite nicely too when he wrote,

    Representative of the views of Markos Moulitsas, much less the Democratic Party? Uh . . . no.

    […]

    There’s a lot of this sort of nonsense at Kos, Democratic Underground, and other essentially unmoderated netroots forums. Then again, there’s quite a bit at places like Free Republic and elsewhere on the right. Red State is more careful about this sort of thing than Kos, but I’m sure one could find some objectionable nonsense there without too awfully much trouble.

    Regarding,

    As I noted already, anybody can get a diary at DailyKos, you can even post diary articles that are contrary to the opinions of Markos, and contrary to the political views of the site maintainers. The only discrimination they do is on quality of content, not the opinion of the content.

    Sure, but just as Free Republic is predominantly Conservative/Republican doesn’t change the fact that people have self-selected with regards to these sites much more so than with the military. And guaranteed, if I were to start a diary at Dkos not one of my posts would see the light of day on the front page.

    I think you’ve been barking up the wrong tree. I think you’d be much happier slagging AllahPundit, Charles Johnson, et. al. as they seem to be the one’s holding the views you are ascribing to James.

  17. DA says:

    I, for one, am not sure I understand JJ’s point. It seems (to me) to be (a) not every fringe poster on DailyKos represents DailyKos, progressives, the netroots, or Democrats, (b) presidential candidates should distance themselves from DailyKos because of the fringe posters, and (c) diarists on DailyKos should somehow be taken more seriously than commenters (despite the fact that literally anyone can become a diarist, and anyone who is able to comment is also able to have a diary). I don’t know if I’m representing this properly, but regardless, I don’t see the logic.

  18. anjin-san says:

    Clearly, given the utter failure of the Bush administration, the right has little left to talk about beyond shrieking about blog postings and newspaper ads.

    James at least has been posting some decent music videos to fill the empty space. One can only hope that the GOP returns to sanity and will once again has something meaningful to say.

  19. Heidi says:

    Don’t waste your time on that bum, baby. He’ll leave you for another babe, after you’ve converted.