Monday, April 17, 2006

Joe Klein has been getting a fair amount of grief in Blogistan lately; his latest gaffe is his current Time column, an embarrassing love note to Newt Gingrich, which was posted on the magazine's Web site yesterday.

I'm sure Klein would tell you that he's not a conservative. So I find it curious that at times Klein's column is rather hard to distinguish from a column about Newt written by Shawn Macomber for The American Spectator.

Macomber also writes articles for David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine (for example, "Kerry's New Hate-America Man"); he's a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger.

So try to guess: Which of the paired statements below came from Joe Klein, a guy who once wrote a biography of Woody Guthrie, and which came from Shawn Macomber, who has a blog named after an essay collection by Ayn Rand?

A: It's almost always a joy listening to Gingrich when he's on a tear. And he's almost always on a tear of some sort.

B: For an hour Gingrich reeled off on all this and more with humor, warmth, and an encyclopedic brilliance that was at times humbling to mere mortals.


A: Gingrich asks, ... "Now, say you're a small-business owner wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. How long does it take the Federal Government to respond to your emergency loan application? More than 11 weeks, on average ... Katrina was a decisive moment for our country. It proved that our government is broken...."

B: Noting that the same people in the federal government who failed to respond effectively to Hurricane Katrina were now in charge of the avian flu preparations, Gingrich sarcastically suggested a motto: "Your city, too, can look like New Orleans."


A: "He's probably carrying too much baggage to be President," said Peter Bergin, a Republican state representative from Amherst, N.H.

B: Now, one needn't be a K Street political consultant to divine that Gingrich has a lot of political and cultural baggage.


A: When he talked about Hillary Clinton, it was to praise her support for electronic health-care record keeping.

B: The ... junior senator from New York has herself praised Gingrich (and he her), going so far as to collaborate with the liberal boogeyman himself on a health care bill.


A: As the man said, Newt may be carrying too much baggage to be President, but wouldn't it be fun -- and a boon for our democracy -- to have him onstage in the coming debate?

B: Whatever the final outcome, we can all probably agree [a Gingrich campaign for president] would be a whole lot of fun to watch go down.

Give up?

Klein is (A) in each case above. Macomber is (B).

I think.

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