Is today officially Freaky Friday? Because either I'm still rubbing sand out of my eyes and not seeing straight, or I actually agree with the two Davids (Brooks and Harsanyi) and with the archconservative Club for Growth.
New York Times columnist David Brooks is, as Rolling Stone has called him, the ruling class's "house bumlicker" - a man who actually has written that "primary voters shouldn't be allowed to define the choices in American politics" (Uh, who should? New York Times pundits?). But in his column today, I think he actually does a pretty good job of getting to the heart of John Edwards presidential campaign and what it is all about. He paints Edwards as a fiercely competitive, genuinely populist conviction politician (Brooks actually calls him "Reaganesque" - and not in the Doug Lamborn, we-don't-yet-"want"-to-win-in-Iraq sense) who most Washington insiders and media pundits will never really understand, but who is developing a strong connection to working class voters in the heartland.
Usually I think it's a bad sign if a progressive is being praised by a right-wing pundit, because usually the praise comes from that pundit for the progressive doing something right-wing. But in this case, its the other way around - a right-wing pundit is offering up grudging praise specifically BECAUSE a candidate is genuinely his ideological opposite. And I agree with his assessment.
I'm not sure if any Jann Wenner publication has ever called the other David - the Denver Post's David Harsanyi - a "house bumlicker," but I doubt it. He may be conservative, but he's more a straight-up libertarian than a David Brooks-ish power-worshiping Cadillac Con. And the principle behind his column today is right on. If indeed the ballot access laws were followed in pursuit of a ballot initiative to deprioritize enforcement of marijuana laws, then the initiative should be put on the ballot - it shouldn't be blocked by the Denver City Council (again, if that's what's really going on).
Whether you are adamantly for or adamantly against full decriminalization of pot or legalization of pot only for medical purposes, or deprioritization doesn't matter - this is not a marijuana issue, it is an issue of ballot access laws being followed and letting voters decide (oh, and by the way, if you are 1980s-style chest-thumping, throw-'em-all-in-jail Republican who thinks all efforts to relax marijuana laws are only supported by those Damn Dirty Hippies, think again - many of the most conservative Republican states in the country have passed such laws through ballot initiatives...Alaska and Montana, for instance, are a lot of things - but 21st Century Woodstocks is not one of them).
But my favorite is the Club for Growth - the fringe-conservative group that proudly represents the GOP's Genghis Khan wing and which targets primaries at merely-extremist-conservative Republicans in the GOP's Trent Lott wing. Check out this story from the stenographers over at The Politico in which they basically lift my entire previous post about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), sans attribution (I forgot - it's only "news" in the nation's capital when the Punditburo convenes a Very Serious Washington Breakfast to deem something Important). The one thing new The Politico story does report is that the Club for Growth is now attacking Huckabee. The Club has a new press release on its website saying Huckabee is "the John Edwards of the GOP."
While I don't agree with the Club's assessment that Huckabee's support for more investment in public parks, a higher minimum wage, and a bill outlawing price gouging during natural disasters means that he is the harbinger of the apocalypse - I do agree (as I said on Tuesday) that he is the only candidate other than Edwards in the 2008 presidential race running explicitly on economic populist themes.
I don't know - maybe the conservative movement woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Or maybe it's me who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Either way, it's nice to see some parts of the Right Wing Noise Machine (probably inadvertently) stumbling into something it is usually allergic to: accuracy and commonsense.
But hey - I guess if stopped watches are right twice a day, then conservative political/media elites can very occasionally make some sense, too.
Cross-posted from Working Assets