The Corner

Who’s Being Serious Here?

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic is normally a pretty decent journalist, but last week he wrote something so egregious I beat up on him a bit in my column today about the media’s treatment of the GOP:

That the Republican party has been flailing since the 2006 midterm elections is pretty hard to deny. At this point, sorting out what is wrong with the GOP is the political equivalent of cleaning out the Augean Stables, and there’s no shortage of people willing to grab a shovel.

But of all the horse, er, puckey that’s been flung, perhaps the most baffling is the narrative that the GOP is so bereft of ideas it is not to be taken seriously. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, who’s not known for being a partisan bomb thrower, appeared to be vying for the David Broder Award for Lazy Conventional Wisdom when he recently wrote, “My Republican friends keep asking me when I’ll take the GOP seriously again and why I’ve stopped writing about ticky-tak political gamesmanship and GOP consultant tricks. When they’re a serious party with serious ideas, then we can talk.” Snap! Well, thank goodness Ambinder will presumably keep us abreast of the latest Democratic ticky-tak political gamesmanship and consultant tricks. Surely those are still worth covering.

To support his decision to ignore Republican politics, Ambinder cited poll numbers straight from a liberal blog that supposedly demonstrate that Venezuela — not specifically the country’s socialist government, but the country as a whole — has a higher approval rating than the Republican party. Of course, the same meaningless CNN polling data also show that Americans have a higher opinion of Turkey than of the Democratic party. Maybe Ambinder can explain what that means — perhaps Armenians and Kurds are underrepresented in the polling sample?

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