We have a very special announcement tonight. Last night we told you that there would be not one but two prizes awarded in our contest -- the best Joe Klein quote to be voted on by the readers of this blog, and the Charles P. Pierce Award for Excellence in Klein Snark to be awarded by a panel of FDL judges. Our version of the Thalberg.
But we know how these things go -- with decisions this subjective there will inevitably be charges of jury tampering, favoratism and just plain bad taste. And thus we have enlisted the outside assistance of a judge with too much at stake to be swayed by the lures both sexual and chemical inevitably proffered in exchange for such a crown, someone who would never allow his good name to be sullied by succumbing to base and carnal temptations.
The sole judge for the Charles P. Pierce Award for Excellence in Klein Snark will be noneother than Charles P. Pierce himself, who set the gold standard with this piece.
So sharpen your quills and get ready for tonight's contestants as we enter the second round semi-final of "Joe Klein, In His Own Words":
10. "This month, Democrats may use procedural tricks to stop all Senate business and block a Republican effort to eliminate minority filibuster rights and jam through seven federal judges proposed by the President. The fight may be winnable, but it is a culture of law cul-de-sac. The Democrats will be shutting down the Senate over a matter of process rather than substance, a pinhead of principle most civilians will find difficult to understand. The Armageddon of confirmation battles—over the next Supreme Court Justice—will probably follow soon after, and it may cement a public impression of the Democrats as a party obsessed with the legal processes that preserve the status quo on issues such as abortion, gay rights and extreme secularism—and little else. The political damage may be considerable."Remember to vote by number and only once for the best quote. Your analysis will be evaluated separately for snark factor, so please argue your choice passionately for the benefit of your fellow commenters. The winners will receive a copy of the newly released DVD of Action.
11. "[I will] have a lot more to say on this (NSA) issue next week -- but first I have to learn more about it."
12. "The notion of calling it wiretapping is questionable, I think, although I'm still not entirely sure."
13. "People like me who favor this program don't yet know enough about it yet. Those opposed to it know even less -- and certainly less than I do."
14. "The president has said privately he doubts that he will ever get credit for this eruption of American diversity. But admirably, he has never really asked for credit. He hasn't gone around trumpeting the fact that during his first term, the Secretary of State and the National Security Adviser were the first African Americans to hold those positions. Or that there were four women in his Cabinet. Or that Gonzales would be the first Hispanic Attorney General."
15. "And then there is the pessimism problem. Populists of both strains tend to believe that the system is rigged by dark and powerful forces that prevent the little guy from getting ahead, which means they tend to be angry. They also tend to be dividers rather than uniters. Even the nice-guy populism attempted by former Senator John Edwards in the last presidential campaign had a divisive edge. His theme was "two Americas." Pessimism, anger and unsubtle divisiveness tend to be total nonstarters in American politics."
16. "In fact, liberal Democrats are about as far from the American mainstream on [the NSA spying] as Republicans were when they invaded the privacy of Terri Schiavo's family in the right-to-die case last year. But there is a difference. National security is a far more important issue, and until the Democrats make clear that they will err on the side of aggressiveness in the war against al-Qaeda, they will probably not regain the majority in Congress or the country."
17. "Bill Clinton gives the appearance of taking stands-for some sort of tax cut, some sort of welfare reform, some sort of balanced budget-but these are ploys, mirages: they exist only to undermine positions taken by the Republicans. He doesn't fight for anything substantive-except of course, re-election. ...He has fallen into the dangerous habit of lip synching the presidency: he gives the appearance of leadership, but not the substance."
18. "And so the President finds himself in an exceedingly odd position for a post-Reagan Republican. He is acting like a Democrat, standing for abstract principles and high-minded long-term projects in the face of a public demanding easy answers and immediate results."
Bring your best work because someone -- we don't know who -- is obsessed with searching Technorati for the name Joe Klein.
Let the snark begin.
First Night Semi-Final Round