Tim: I agree with you — as i suggested before — that the Clinton-hatred V. Bush-hatred parallel annoys me. I really think they’re apples and oranges (it’s sort of like those absurd comparisons between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton because both were babyboomers). And, I think you’re right to the extent that Brooks sounds like he’s scoring cheap points by triangulating here (but I give him the benefit of the doubt that he was more detailed than how he was quoted). After all, Republicans supported (or lead) Clinton on most of his major accomplishments. As we know from Legacy, crime, welfare reform and Nafta were conservative Republican issues which Clinton simply signed on to. Bob Dole shamed Clinton into going into Yugoslavia. And, even National Review (and the Weekly Standard) supported Clinton on the Iraqi airstrikes, Kosovo, etc. The New Republic supported Bush on the war, but not so much afterward. While the Washington Monthly, the American Prospect and — duh — the Nation have been gnashing their teeth about almost every single Bush initiative, domestic and foreign.
But, nevertheless, many of these points are ones conservatives should be making to Kurtz rather than ones Kurtz should be expressing himself. Look: I think it would be wonderful if the Washington Post or some other major paper actually hired a Tim Graham to do serious conservative media criticism. But I do think that compared to the alternatives Kurtz is at least a straight shooter. To me, it’s the difference between, say, Chris Matthews and Tim Russert. Matthews doesn’t even know how to ask a fair question anymore. Russert may ask the wrong question, but I trust that he’s approaching the issue in good faith. Kurtz may have his biases, but I don’t think they’re ideologically significant.