A Goldblog reader writes me, in reference to my criticism of Dan Baum:
I think you're being a bit hard on Baum. He's frustrated by Joseph Lieberman, and he thought that getting Jews to tell Lieberman that he's wrong about the public option would be a good idea, because he assumed Lieberman listens to Jews. I think the danger here is that Baum could be understood to be a Jewish Al Sharpton (except that he's not arguing for ethnic solidarity on behalf of a Jewish cause) but he's right to say that ethnic politics are a fact of life. But on the other hand, or the other other hand, I guess, I think he it's possibly dangerous to introduce religion into this debate. When the Catholic bishops do this on behalf of abortion -- tell Senators they're not good Catholics unless they vote against abortion rights -- leftists like Dan Baum go up in arms.
So on balance, I'd say Baum is just being naive. The problem is that what he's doing makes it look like he's setting himself to be the Catholic bishop of the Jews, which is bad news not only because he's mixing religion and policy-making, but because, based on a pretty extensive on-line search, I can't find any proof that Dan Baum has ever identified himself previously as a Jew, or taken the "Jewish" line on any sort of issue. So you are right in saying that his appeal is a naked appeal for blood solidarity, when he's never expressed an interest before in solidarity with his fellow Jews. Still, though, you were hard on him since he was trying to change Lieberman's mind, and based on what you've written, you want Lieberman to change his mind as well.
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