Forgive the name-calling, but there is really no kind way to say this: Joe Klein is an ignorant hack. I've had enough of his preposterous posturing and more-liberal-than-thou moralizing. After this post, Klein will be banished along with Ann Coulter, Jonathan Chait, and Pat Robertson to my own private Phantom Zone.
Klein on Monday joined the Yglesias chorus, huffing and puffing about those reactionary Senate Republicans who hope for a Christmas miracle to defeat the health care bill. Klein roused himself from his fainting couch to type:
Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma--who, with James Inhofe, constitute the most extreme Senate delegation from any state--prayed for the incapacitation or death of a Democratic Senator so that health care would be blocked. But that wasn't all. He also offered this:
"The crisis of confidence in this country is now at an apex that has not seen in over 150 years, and that lack of confidence undermines the ability of legitimate governance," he said. "There's a lot of people out there today who...will say, 'I give up on my government,' and rightly so."
This is borderline sedition.
Oh, stop it, you preening ass. Just stop it. You don't even know what sedition is, you poseur. You embarrass yourself and debase what remains of your career with such imbecilic braying.
Recall how Klein in October made a fuss about the White House's ill-starred effort to marginalize Fox News. "Let me be precise here: Fox News peddles a fair amount of hateful crap," Klein wrote. "Some of it borders on sedition. Much of it is flat out untrue." (Mind you, that was the introduction to a piece critical of the administration.) Of course, Klein was neither precise nor correct. Nothing about what Fox News does is remotely seditious. Nor was what Coburn said on the Senate floor seditious, "borderline" or otherwise.
Joel and I interviewed University of Chicago constitutional lawyer and historian Geoffrey Stone about this sedition guff a couple of weeks ago. Stone is a liberal. He didn't like the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy or many of its counterterrorism policies. I brought up Klein specifically and asked Stone what he thought of pundits who cavalierly toss around "sedition" in reference to... well... stuff they don't like.
"I'd prefer that they didn't," he replied.
We don't have seditious libel laws in this country anymore. There is "no meaningful legal concept" of sedition. It is no longer a crime to "imagine the king's death." Klein wishes to transform his distaste for conservative dissent into a criminal offense. Well, Klein can take his dudgeon and cram it high and to the left, for all the good it would do. He should go back to writing anonymous romans-à-clef. Fiction suits him.