Monday, November 22, 2010


Politico's Ben Smith is 100% right for once...but 100% wrong as well.

The weekend collapse of the Adminisration's airline screening policy is hard to understand as a matter of messaging, with Clinton undermining the TSA's screening regime and the relevant official sending a hazy mixed message on the subject, even as the screening policy remains in place.

There's no doubt about who won on this issue: Matt Drudge chose it and drove it, illustrating both his continued power and his great sense of the public mood, and it now seems a matter of time until he gets results.

But the moment is also, a smart Democrat notes, representative of how this administration (and to be fair, everyone in public life) continues to wrestle with "populism as narrated by the Drudge Report." There are some echoes of the Shirley Sherrod mess in the panicked, mixed reactions.

Drudge still rules the Village whenever he sets the shiny ball rolling, but it's Villagers like Smith who follow it and then blame the left for saying "You know what?  He has a point for once."  Obama really is on the wrong side of this TSA problem, and it's not a messaging issue, but a "continuation of a moronic Bush policy issue."

Drudge wouldn't have his power if it wasn't for guys like Ben Smith, who manage to A) confirm that Drudge runs the Village High School Cool Kids and B) dump on the Left by equating anyone who thinks the TSA issue is a serious problem to Breitbart and his Shirley Sherrod story.  Ben Smith ought to know better than this.

Just because Drudge covered the story doesn't mean it wasn't a problem before he used it to attack Obama.

Ahh, but the real problem is the Left's reaction to this, and the normally excellent Kevin Drum is a prime example.

I know I'm totally off the reservation on this, which is a little weird since I'm a bit of a privacy crank. But I think liberals have been badly rolled on this. We're usually better about letting ourselves get sucked into the Drudge vortex.

Yes Kevin, you are waaaaaaaay off the reservation on this, and doing Drudge's work for him.  And giving into this silly theory is exactly what Drudge wants to do:  remove the fact that it was Bush, not Obama, who created the TSA from the public discourse.

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