There may be no better way…
…to arouse the ire of some liberal bloggers than to attempt an inevitably futile defense of Joe Klein, and Mudcat Saunders may deserve to be knocked about for his efforts, but I don't understand how personally some folks seem to have taken his opening piece at Swampland. Foolish though his focus may have been, it wasn't a broadside against the liberal blogosphere at all.
His target was pretty well defined, if not specifically linked. He was talking to Democratic bloggers who "who have appointed themselves as intellectually superior and believe the only way to win an argument is to shout the loudest with personal attacks." Now, I'm not real sure who those bloggers are, but I'm pretty sure I'm not one of them and I feel no compulsion to defend them, either.
Likewise, I don't think anyone would slot me into the "Metropolitan Opera Wing" of the Party, the folks Saunders identifies as those who "talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance." Nope, doesn't sound like me. Doesn't sound like you, either, does it? So there's no reason to take offense, right?
Of course, his failure to identify any particular voices has led to charges that he's built a straw man to battle, but is that so? You can call them the "Metropolitan Opera Wing," or "limousine liberals" or the "white wine and brie set," but whatever you call the checkbook activists, you know they're real. They're just not us.
So why the internet ire? Saunders, like his Presidential client, is breaking a taboo that Americans of nearly every political stripe observes for a variety of sometimes conflicting reasons. He's talking about class, and talking about class is making trouble. I noted with bemusement one observer who saw the opera reference and immediately saw gay-bashing. Fact is, most folks, myself included, don't really associate opera with gay folks. Ballet, maybe, and musical theater, certainly, but not the opera. The opera is, at least from the view here in the cheap seats, for rich folks, the tuxedo and fur coat crowd.
And that doesn't sound like me, either, even though I own a tux. Saunders may be wrong about lots of stuff, and he's probably right about some other stuff, but his critique of the self-defined "intellectually superior" doesn't offend me, because it's pretty clear he's not talking about me.
I certainly hope he's not talking about you, either.