Jonah Goldberg Doesn’t Care

In his most recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Jonah Goldberg demonstrates again what a lousy trade the Times made when they picked up Goldberg in place of Robert Scheer.

In the second paragraph of his column, Goldberg prefaces his citation of Times colleague Jonathan Chait saying, “…and I’m not making this up…” It is considerate of him to alert us to when he is, or is not, making things up. It would be even better if he did so consistently.

Much of the article, which he introduces as a critique of the Democrat’s lack of ideas, is devoted to a defense of Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Fox News). One of the obvious fabrications Goldberg unleashes is his contention that his critics are hypocrites because…

“There was no lack of enthusiasm for Lieberman when the sainted Al Gore picked Joe as his running mate.”

Oh, wasn’t there? That falsehood could easily be debunked with a simple web search. Here is a single page with dozens of critical articles from a wide array of sources ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Washington Post; from American Atheists to BeliefNet; from David Broder to Michael Moore. Goldberg must have done zero research for this column. And for this invented reference to Lieberman’s alleged popularity, he reaches back six years, conveniently ignoring Joementum’s dismal failure as a presidential candidate just two years ago.

He also can’t help contradicting himself. In the fourth paragraph, he accuses Lieberman’s critics of being driven by their opposition to the war in Iraq:

“For good or ill, there are no grand ‘big ideas’ behind the anti-Lieberman cause. It’s driven by a riot of passions, chiefly against President Bush and ‘his’ war.”

Jump down two grafs and Goldberg characterizes his own “hawk-versus-dove analysis” as “weak,” pointing out that:

“…there are other Iraq war supporters whom the Democratic base hasn’t targeted.”

Goldberg’s conclusion is that Lieberman’s opponents, whom he disgustingly refers to as “anti-Joe jihadists,” are guilty of the great sin of opposing Lieberman’s pro-bush positions. What a shock. Democrats are against Bush, as well as other Democrats who support him. This is actually the one thing Goldberg gets right. The anti-Lieberman crowd got that way because of Lieberman’s consistent support of Republican causes, starting with the war, but also including Supreme Court justices, reproductive choice, and censorship. And it doesn’t help when he attempts to squelch dissent by warning Democrats that:

“…in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril”

But I must give credit where credit’s due. Goldberg signs off the column saying:

“You can be a moderate, like Virginia Senate hopeful Jim Webb or former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, or a flaming liberal, like Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, and that’s fine as long as you’ll “stand up and fight”…..The important part is that you care.”

In Goldberg’s mind that statement is some kind of a denunciation. That’s unsurprising for a party that long ago chose politics over people. I view the statement as an unintentional affirmation of the big-tent inclusiveness of the Democratic Party, where caring about what you say and do is amongst the principles we value in our representatives.