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Gadflyer suckitude
I’m always impressed by The Gadflyer’s ability to suck, but since I reread their solitary interesting article (Gorenfeld’s Moon piece), I was struck again by how insanely wordy they are. Gorenfeld’s article, for example, was about 3 times longer and not really any more interesting than his pieces on his blog. Another case it point: the Gadflyer blogs. Amy Sullivan’s Political Aims is wordy beyond any reason. See:

You know, guys, this is what the Bush communications operation does. They’re the ones who can’t hear a bit of criticism without retaliating. Aren’t Democrats supposed to be more tolerant?

Apparently not. Last week I talked to a Washington Times reporter who was writing a story about how the Kerry campaign doesn’t have its act together when it comes to religion. Since the article was going to come out whether I talked to her or not (many in the campaign seem to operate on the assumption that if they don’t comment on some stories, the stories will go away — no, they just go on without your side being told), I decided to take the opportunity to nudge the campaign to take on religion questions directly. There’s still time to get back on course, but so far the campaign has erred by approaching religion as a constituency problem — “How many Catholics in the Rust Belt can we get if we do X?” — rather than as part of their overall communications and policy strategy. And while the top level of the campaign seems open to framing Kerry’s policies in moral terms, the people in the mid-levels freak out at anything that’s too overtly religious (i.e., mentions the word “religion”). I also thought it was particularly important that I talk to the reporter since the other main person interviewed for the piece — Fr. Robert Drinan — was offering the ridiculous advice that the campaign should “steer clear of talking about religion.”

The campaign got the message — just not the one I was hoping. They’ve just pulled my access to interview a policy staffer for a totally apolitical profile. I’m interviewing a Republican staffer for the same piece and they haven’t pulled my access, even though I’m a raving liberal and all.

If being a loyal Democrat means I need to choose between saying nothing critical of the Democratic nominee and speaking up when I see the campaign screwing up, then I guess I’m disloyal.

Here’s a suggestion for the Kerry campaign, free of charge: Spend some of the time you’re wasting worrying about giving access to someone who has worked for Tom Daschle, David Bonior, the ACLU, and half a dozen Democratic campaigns, and find someone like me (not me…like me) to speak on behalf of the campaign on religion issues. You desperately need it. And most professional Democrats can’t do it. A successful campaign recognizes its weaknesses and does something to fix them.

And what’s the gist of this?

The Kerry people are officially not taking me seriously. I granted an interview to a Washington Times reporter, hoping I could publicly nudge my campaign of choice into thinking about religion, but it seems like they’ve responded by cutting off my access to a staffer. Assclowns!

OK, that might not be ideal, but I think I convey the same point with a lot less dross. And of course, “The Flytrap” is the worst blog ever. Check out Tom Schaller’s response to Hitchen’s Farenheit review.

Dear Mr. Hitchens:

Thankfully, I read your advice to young contrarians as carefully as I did. For now I feel compelled to employ the very lessons you taught me in exposing your own “moral frivolity” and artful dissembling in reviewing for Slate Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

To begin, let me state up front that I have my own issues with Mr. Moore’s previous work. I think Moore commits a sin common to directors including Woody Allen and Spike Lee, namely, that he puts himself too squarely (or perhaps in Moore’s case, roundly) into his films – literally, by appearing onscreen, and figuratively with a heavy-handed touch that provides a constant reminder of who is behind (if not, alas, also in front of) the cameras. At the risk of sounding inversely paternalistic, I find the best portions of Moore’s films tend to be those where he’s heard and not seen – or better yet, neither seen nor heard.

But you, Sir Chris, take Moore to task less for his artistic devices than his presentation of the facts.

Is that entire intro not totally superfluous? It would work, maybe, if Schaller tapped into some heretofore-unseen gonzo style, but he’s incredibly vanilla and whiny. I’m never 100% happy with the first drafts of columns we get at USA Today, but they always end up less bloated than this.

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