06/12/2007 11:07 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Joe Klein Trashes the Netroots

In his latest commentary in Time magazine, the pundit Joe Klein praises those Democrats who voted to give President George W. Bush another $100 billion to continue the occupation of Iraq. Klein gets snippy with what he calls the "free range lunacy" of "left-liberal bloggers" for criticizing Congressional leaders who believe that perpetuating the U.S. military presence in Iraq is somehow in our nation's interest.

Klein blames these intemperate bloggers for "bullying" Representative Jane Harman and Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton into voting against the $100 billion. He denounces their votes as "kowtowing to extremists," and he decries the "fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere." In Klein's world, lefty bloggers "savage" and "ridicule" people who do not "move in lockstep" with the "most extreme" elements.

Klein's little article, entitled "Beware the Bloggers' Bile," is an interesting piece of punditry because it shows beyond any doubt that Time magazine's top political analyst has not the foggiest idea about how grassroots activism influences leaders in a modern representative democracy. He sees the vote in favor of giving Bush the money to continue the occupation of Iraq as a courageous, even heroic, political choice. As Klein would have it Democratic Congressional leaders should backstab the voters who put them in power last November, continue to rubber stamp Bush's failed Iraq adventure, and remain duplicitous in one of the most costly catastrophes in modern American history.

Joe, here's how it works: You see, there is something called the "base" of the party, and these are usually people who are passionate (unlike you) about their core political values. In the case of the Democrats, the "base" cares about labor unions, health care, the social safety net, and restraining the more murderous tendencies of America's marvelous military machine -- remember the 2.5 million dead Vietnamese?

Anyway, you see, Joe, this thing called the "base" of the Democratic Party will be voting in next year's presidential primaries, and it is comprised of many of the same people who put the party in charge of both chambers of Congress. They'll be pretty important in these elections getting out the vote, walking precincts, participating in phone banks, etc., and they're a tad bit angry about the killing and the torture and the horror their government has unleashed on the world in recent years. People who voted for the Democrats last November expected them to move substantially against Bush's occupation of Iraq. You see, Joe, this is sort of how democracy is supposed to work.

Joe, you didn't seem to mind when Bush appointed all of those right-wing, anti-choice judges, which reflected the prerogatives of the Republican Party's base. And I don't recall you denouncing those corporate lobbyists Bush elevated to positions controlling the federal regulatory agencies, which was also in response to the GOP's base. Why do you now advise the Democrats to betray their base on the occupation of Iraq?

No president should be allowed to launch a war of choice based on lies and deceit, and then hold 160,000 soldiers hostage in order to perpetuate it. There is plenty of money in the pipeline right now to bring the troops home in an orderly redeployment. May 2007 was the second bloodiest month of the entire occupation. Voting against the $100 billion was the right thing to do. Please, Joe, stop giving the Democratic Party your poison pill advice.