Left and Right

Some excellent media analysis from Brian Beutler. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have an argument. Among pundits, "Conservatives are saying exactly what you'd expect--that Hillary's correct, and that diplomacy is bad and that nobody will ever support Obama's idea." On the other side, you see liberals arguing that Obama's right, right? Or else liberals arguing that Clinton's right? Well, no:

Liberals, of course, responded as they always do--by neglecting to evaluate the merits of the two positions and offering instead a maddeningly typical meta-analysis of the argument--one that defaults with 100 percent regularity to the idea that only hawkish ideas seem serious.

There are a lot of ways in which the progressive punditocracy is more admirable than the conservative one, but this really and truly isn't one. The candidates, as Brian says, are for the first time having an exchange that at least seems to reveal something about their approach to foreign policy and ideas about how the United States of America should relate to other countries. This would be a good time for progressive journalists to try to provide their audience with arguments about who's right, arguments that, if persuasive, could shift the direction of public policy. The amateur-hour political analysis is silly -- as is always the case, Obscure Political Controversy X will prove politically damaging to Candidate A if and only if the press gives Candidate A negative press coverage as a result of OPC-X.