[Hi, Angry Black Readers. This is a guest-post by friend of ABLC, Ian Boudreau, who is a science writer in North Carolina. You can contact him at @iboudreau on Twitter. asiangrrlMN.]
When The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf sat down to write a response to Jonathan Chait’s excellent essay for New York Magazine (“When did liberals become so unreasonable,” Nov. 20th), the results were predictably, well, unreasonable.
Friedersdorf’s title alone (for which he may not be directly responsible) is enough to cause eye-rolling: “Why do liberals keep sanitizing the Obama story?”
The list of grievances is a familiar one to anybody who has kept even passingly abreast of liberal intellectuals’ responses to current events over the past three years: the Obama administration has expanded the use of drone strikes in the Afghan theater; they have done nothing to roll back the ancien régime’s warrantless wiretapping of American citizens or collection of powers to the executive; they have continued apace with the “war on drugs,” etc. Friedersdorf also makes several claims that range from bizarre, to egregiously misleading, and in some cases flatly false: the Obama administration is collating a “secret kill list” of American citizens (this an apparent reference to Anwar al-Awlaki, the “American” member of al Qaeda who served as the group’s chief English-language propagandist and who died September 30th in a fairly unsurprising manner); it is responsible for an “Orwellian turn” of airport security procedures; it illegally entered into the conflict in Libya earlier this year.
Even if you were to grant Friedersdorf his laundry list of complaints against Obama (and I don’t), his post is a protracted non sequitur that talks past Chait’s thesis so as to give Friedersdorf a fresh opportunity to re-air his personal grievances.
(Click for more dissection of Friedersdorf’s piece on Chait)