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Friday, August 05, 2005
Blogtroversy on the Right Side of the Aisle?--Updated!

(Welcome Politburo Diktat and Captain's Quarters' Readers!)

Couple of interesting battles going on right now. Rachel has a good summary of the La Shawn Barber dust-up, which Aaron also covered over at Lifelike yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Commissar has taken a good whacking to Power Line:

ACVR and Powerline - too stupid for words. Ironically, they have both exacerbated the problems they pretend to address. ACVR is allegedly concerned with voter fraud, so they issue a slanted report under false pretenses. Powerblind, a leading powerful blog, “the voice of the new media!” is allegedly going to expose the old media’s sloppy, partisan, poorly researched, agenda-driven nonsense. So they blindly repeat ACVR’s sloppy, partisan, poorly researched, agenda-driven nonsense. The whole point of the blogosphere, it’s only value to our ongoing national debate, is its ability to fact-check and “keep honest” the Dan Rathers and the Howard Deans. This is not the first time Powerblind has acted like old media.

ACVR is the American Center for Voting Rights. They issued a report which got pretty much wall-to-wall coverage on the conservative blogs, stating that the Democrats were far more guilty of voter intimidation than Republicans in 2004. Now, according to several posts, it appears that ACVR is a Republican front group. I don't know the truth of it; Captain Ed reports that at least one of the two signers of the report is an unreconstructed liberal. But I do find it highly suspicious that their "About Us" page doesn't identify the people involved in the group.

I checked the database at Open Secrets for some of the names that I found on the ACVR site. Jim Dyke is show as the media contact; there are four shown, but I'd guess that the most likely candidate is the one shown as having donated $500 to President Bush, and whose occupation is the Republican National Committee. Brian A. Lunde, whom Captain Ed identifies as a former Carter staffer (See Update), is shown as donating $2000 to President Bush's campaign. The Commissar points out that a Barbara A Lunde, also of Arlington and the same zip code, also donated $2,000 to President Bush. Not sure if they're husband and wife, but I did locate a reference here (PDF file) to Brian and Barbara Lunde donating to North Dakota State University.

Here's a reference to Brian A. Lunde on today.

Brian A. Lunde, Former DNC Executive Director: "This Is An Issue That Affects Each And Every American, Regardless Of Party." (CoMPASS, "Influential Senior Group Leader And Former Democratic Party Official Join CoMPASS Advisory Board," Press Release, 5/6/05)

Update: Captain Ed has acknowledged that apparently Lunde has joined us here on the dark side. ;)

The Republican side of the blogosphere is generally willing to criticize and correct our own, and especially to correct ourselves when we're proven wrong on the facts. When we have differences of opinion among ourselves, on, say stem-cell abortion or intelligent design, or whether women have the sensibilities to be President, things become more scrappy.

And I actually assume that the report is pretty accurate in terms of what it describes. But it's fair to strongly criticize the report as the left is doing as coming from a bunch of apparent Republican operatives, because that also tells me that their estimates of the scale might be wrong. That is, they would tend to doubt reports from the Democrats more than they would those from the Republicans. It's a bias we are all prone to--at Kerry Haters I definitely reported and investigated Kerry a lot more than I did the President.

And I'm certainly not associating myself in general with the Commissar's argument on Power Line itself. The Power Line guys made the mistake of linking to a story that a lot of people linked to, that a media source had already cited, that many other bloggers had trumpeted. If anything, they were late to the story (as they were this evening with the link to McEachern's column). I agree with the Commissar probably a bit more than I do with Power Line, but they generally play fair and I suspect they will acknowledge their error in relying on this report as well.

La Shawn's a terrific blogger, but as I commented over at Tinkerty Tonk, closing off discussion of what she must have known was a contentious statement is not the way to debate. La Shawn may think she's here to deliver the truth to her adoring public, (which for the most part, I'm part of, I should add) but blog readers are all looking for well-expressed arguments on both sides that we can weigh in our minds and decide which to carry forward. If she's got a good argument as to why women generally don't have the sensibilities to run the country (and I'd be willing to bet she does), then put it forward into the community of ideas that is the blogosphere at its best.

On the general question raised in her post, I think she's right. There are very, very few women I'd trust to run the country. On the specific question of Dr Rice, I tend to agree with those who express doubt that she's really up for a run at the White House, but if she wanted to I'd be willing to listen to her pitch, because she's got the spine for the job. Liddy Dole, maybe--she's smart enough. Beyond that, though, you've really gotta think hard. The Republican female Senators? The Republican female governors (are there any?)? Among Democratic women Janet Napolitano's probably the most realistic candidate aside from Hillary and if you don't think that's a joke you don't know Janet.


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